Obligatory New Year Post

Well, 2008 ended on about the worst horrible note here. A dear friend, who was like a son to my parents, whom I've known over 40 years, past away last Friday (December 26). That's just no way to end a year.

Figures, because otherwise the year ended up pretty well. In no particular order:

  1. Spent a week in Kitty Hawk, got some surfing in.
  2. Smoked many, many really great cigars.
  3. Drank some awesome scotch, bourbon and gin (Bluecoat!)
  4. Spent a lot of time in the pool.
  5. Worked at home on a regular basis (haven't totaled it up yet, but I'm guessing over 50 times)
  6. Started a fantastic workout regime, complete with personal trainer and nutritionist, with a goal of competing in a bodybuilding contest next summer after I turn 50.
  7. Entered my 50th year on this planet (the previous 35,000 on a distant planet were starting to bore me. Trust me, superhuman strength on a distant planet is overrated).
  8. Made it to my 30th year of marriage. I really deserve some sort of reward. Patti's pretty and all, but she's just SOOOOO mean!! Make the bed? Pick up my socks? You cannot be serious.
  9. I adopted some personal catchphrases: "Knock yourself out", "Cut it out!" and "You cannot be serious!" are three. The last one is said in the best John McEnroe tone and is the perfect way to whine without actually whining.
  10. Learned to cook more awesomer. I am a good cook! I like that.
  11. Did a better job of reading more; this year I have an organized plan to read 26 books. Sweet.
  12. Got back into our church Growth Group after a one year hiatus (woo-hoo!! FIRST day of the year and I already got "hiatus" of my "words to use in 2009" list) to take care of Sam, the wonderfulist grandson on this planet.
  13. Decided to actually join a local church, something I was certain I'd never do after my experiences in the dark depths of fundamentalism. Love it at Living Word.
  14. Made it through an entire calendar year without buying a new car! Wait ... is that good???
  15. On-the-cheap remodeled our kitchen. Looks fab.
  16. Spent a lot of quality time with my dad, whom I love dearly. Spent quality time with my children, too. I have the most wonderful children in the world and couldn't be prouder. Their both successful in every sense of the word, kind, compassionate, intelligent, good-looking (they thank their mom for that all the time), determined, ethical, etc etc.
  17. Got on this here innerwebs thingie (I'm tellin' ya, it's just a fad!) and found out what the fuss is about Facebook. I've reconnected with some good people from my past, some happy for me, some sad, but it's all good.
  18. Learned that the good and the bad work together to make the Mandala complete.
  19. "Tweaked" my Christian beliefs to include some Zen (good book: Zen For Christians) while keeping it Christian. Tweaked my Christian beliefs to -- get this -- include Christ's actual teachings and not just "Start with Paul" and whatever some loud Baptist from Georgia says.
  20. At the same time, I've been able to once again enjoy good, hard, Baptist preaching from time to time. We don't all have to agree, but we can benefit from one another.
  21. Switched from Republican to Democrat, moved to the left politically and voted for Barack Obama, in whom I see the same leadership qualities that framed our last great President (in my opinion), Ronald Reagan.
  22. Did a lot of really great landscaping and hardscaping. That includes installing some nice lighting in the front of the house. The Schenck Mansion is looking good. Now, on to building my underground lair...
  23. Got a new roof installed on the mansion. Paid a lot, but I'm worth it!
  24. Got a new garage door. Again, top shelf but worth it. Tip: We got windows in the garage door, a great decision!
  25. Finally went to Chicago to meet/visit Jason Fried and Sarah Hatter. I had a fantastic time and really enjoyed our dinner together at Club Lucky. Thanks, you two, for your kindness. Jason's an inspiration to me, if I could just come up with an idea I'm sure I could be even more successful than he is. I mean ... come on ... it's ME, after all! Sheesh.
  26. Played my guitar not often enough. Played my harmonica not often enough. Both of those will change in 2009.
  27. Spent too little time with Krichten; that will change in '09.
  28. Learned how to speak Mandarin Chinese.
  29. Okay, number 28 is a lie. But I did eat some Chinese food, so...
  30. Learned how to cook hog maw. Oh yeah, guess what's on my list of "things to cook every month" now!
  31. Took over the responsibilities for menu planning, shopping and cook in the house. I love doing this! I make the menu and print it up real fancy-like, then frame that and put it up in the kitchen. I wear my iPod and that makes shopping something to look forward to, since I love music. And cooking ... well, cooking is just sooooo sensual and fun...
  32. Spent five days in Las Vegas, came back with an extra $2,000.
  33. Connected with Dave Lovely, who was my best teacher at Bible School and a very compassionate guy. Dave's not understood by many, but he and I understand each other and bring out the best in each other. That's cool.
  34. Got our Square Foot Garden going.
  35. Did a full cycle of Body For Life with my wife. Results? Meh.
  36. Switched from Hank Hill's favorite fuel to charcoal and don't think I'll ever go back.
  37. Proudly watched my Pittsburgh Penguins have a fantastic season.
  38. Discovered and fell in love with Laughing Cow cheese. Bagel, Laughing Cow, every morning.
  39. Lost a friend ... and ...
  40. ... found myself. Seriously. I've never been more comfortable with who I am, and that's a great feeling.
And some other stuff that I can't remember right now.

Know what's missing? I need to do some volunteer work, something for other people. That's going near the top of my list of goals for 2009.

How about you?

All The Best,

-- Don


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