2011 Gone!

Wow, I can’t believe another year has drifted by!

A few personal thoughts on 2011:

One Post A Day is too much!

Yep, I started with a noble but in the end, unrealistic goal of one blog post a day.   I think I burnt out so much that it partly contributed to little to no blog posts for the rest of the year!   I’ve been thinking lately about the purpose of my blog – it was really to document things/tricks that I’ve found/done/learnt or taken time to figure out so that I can refer back to it in the future and possibly help others.   And this seems to correlate to the posts I get the most hits from and the people who comment about my posts.   In 2012, I definitely want to go back “to my blog roots” :)

Youth Church Band and Guitar!

One great community give back in 2011 was getting involved in the Youth Group Band at church.  OK, I don’t’ really consider myself a “youth” anymore, but it was fantastic to get involved, see other youths get involved, introduce more “youthful” music/repertoire at church, and do it all by playing the acoustic guitar more!   So much that I even had 2 guitar lessons towards the end of the year that really inspired me to do more in 2012.

Date Nights

This is something wifey and I have been struggling but I’m happy with how this went in 2011.   One date per month (minimum) on the anniversary of our wedding date.   Now that the kids are older, we tend to go out with the kids rather than without since it’s “easier”, but when we do go with the kids, we’re missing out on our own couple time.   Definitely something I want to continue in 2012!

Photography Returns!

I think 2011 was the most successful year so far in getting something back from my photography hobby.  Enough to partly upgrade my DSLR to a D700 anyway.  But I wonder now whether I should start actively pursuing paid work or continue the “for fun” aspect.   There was a time near the end of 2011 where photography started becoming a “chore” which is definitely NOT what I want it to be.  I started losing that creative/inventive spark and I don’t want that to happen again.   On the other hand, I now thoroughly recognise having to charge a reasonable amount for my time and “talent” :)

Giving The Kids Space

The hardest thing I did in 2011 as a parent was giving the kids more space and trusting them more, especially Miss 12.   I definitely struggled with the concept of actually NOT helping with her homework, trusting that she’ll study for school tests without my help and complete her homework in time.   There’s still this hidden urge in me to want to help her, help her do her best, force her to tell me how school went – but this never worked out the way I wanted.   Time and time again in 2011, I found that it was the moments when I didn’t say anything and just let her be, that she would be happier and there would be those magic moments when she would make her own effort to open up and talk – often just before bedtime.    Parenthood doesn’t get easier as the kids get older – it just changes ;)

Finally, thank you readers, friends and family for coming and visiting my blog!  I really hope you find it informative, sometimes entertaining, and sometimes thoughtful :)  May 2012 bring much more happiness and joy into your lives!

 

 

2009 – Year in Review

Wishing all my readers a Happy New Years!  Thanks for the time you spent visiting, reading and commenting on posts.   It’s kept my passion for my blog alive throughout the year.

My Christmas break in Australia was usual – lots of family and friend get-together, eating, BBQs, cold beer and swimming in our pool each afternoon to relieve ourselves from the heat (yes in Perth it’s been hovering between 30-39 degrees Celcius this last week!).  The main difference this year was the addition of Wii games and Wii Fit exercising! 

In 2009, I was again blessed with a beautiful healthy family and generous extended family and friends.   But reflecting on myself, here’s my lowdown for 2009:

The Good

Violin
I’m happy with my violin progress in 2009!  The year started with entering the YouTube Symphony Orchestra auditions online, but the major pinnacle this year was learning and playing the first movement of the Sibelius violin concerto at the Freo Eistedfodd.  Yes – only one movement for the whole year, but looking back, I don’t really know where I found the time to practise.  Later in the year, I returned to playing with ensembles – Allegri for one concert and the Fremantle Symphony for their final concert of the year. 

Reading
It started with one of those chain emails about the top 100 books of all time.  I looked down at the list and thought, “Why don’t I read some of these instead?”.  I had just finished the first 2 books of The Wheel of Time.  So I read The Great Gatsby, The Lovely Bones, The Time Traveller’s Wife and Anne of Green Gables.  This year I’ll try to knock off a few more “classics”.  2009 was also the year I started reading some Graphic Novels like The Watchmen, Heroes, Pedro and Me, All Hail Megatron and Astro City.  Not much, but a start at least :)

Travel
OK, in 2008 we went totally mad with travel.  In 2009, I still had the travel bug, but besides a recent Singapore, travel was done locally in WA with friends – two camping trips in Mundaring, a weekend at a farm at York, a week down south near Margaret River, friends’ holiday houses in Yallingup and Eagle Bay and a few days up north in a Moore River holiday home.  We are extremely lucky to have such special friends to share holiday fun with – thank you!

Blog
I continued with the blog, trying to post every week day if possible.   2009 brought 54,612 page views from 156 posts!  I’ve decided that this year, I will not force myself to update my blog every week day (even though I faltered at the end last year!).  After all, it’s quality, not quantity that matters right?  You can subscribe to my blog using the RSS feed or email if you’d like to be notified when I do update my blog or feel free to check in each week.
 
Dates with Wifey
I know 2008 wasn’t so good for this, so in 2009 we were made a New Years resolution.  Alternate fortnights to go out on a date together, and each other fortnight to go out to dinner with friends and NO kids.   Dates with Wifey actually did work most of the time but we struggled to fit it in towards the end of the year.   It was refreshing to go out, try a new restaurant or go dancing together.   But dinner with friends didn’t quite happen.  For 2010, we’re thinking of changing the date strategy to one that one of our friend’s uses – dinner date each month on the day of our Wedding.

The Not So Good

Cycling
Oh no!  The thought of dropping the kids to school, going back home, cycling to work, having a shower, and then be ready for work was too much and I didn’t cycle at all in the 2nd half of the year.  Very very bad.  Earlier in the year, I also chose to buy a new laptop instead of a road bike, which didn’t help either.   Maybe I’ll try to cycle on weekends only?  

Homework with the Kids
I wish I had more time to spend sitting down with the kids to help them on their homework throughout the year.   Their “report” card was absolutely fine, but I get that nagging voice at the back of my head that I could and should have done more.    After a day at work, and the kids’ day at school plus extra curricular activities and music practice, one of the last things to think about is homework!  You just want to chill out and play with the kids instead!

Me Time (read: PS3 Time)
This is a controversial one!  Do you find your days slipping by and not getting anything that you want to do yourself?  Without the kids and Wifey even?  I guess my violin, blog and photography “hobbies” fall into Me Time, but I also measure it by the amount of time I spend playing console games – which was negligible in 2009!    I see my pile of PS3 games keep growing and I never finish any!  How will I ever find time to complete Arkham Asylum, COD MW2, Prince of Persia or Assassin’s Creed 2?  :) :)  

Neither Here Nor There

Photography
No paid photography gigs this year, but I started experimenting with landscape photography, going on a few sunrise and sunset shoots, and attending Christian Fletcher’s workshop.  Landscape photography meant I bought a few tools to help me – a tripod with a 3 way head, a remote shutter release, and a set of Cokin filters.    Interestingly, I took less photos in 2009 compared to 2008 – only about 8000 odd I think.   Things that didn’t happen – I wanted to blow up some of my photos onto canvas big, but this didn’t happen, and I also wanted to master Photoshop techniques to bring out colours and lighting like other professional landscape photographers but I didn’t.   

TV and Movies
I will have to remember 2009 as the year Wifey and I got hooked on The West Wing, watching all first four seasons, and Battlestar Galactica, watching all of it with much interest.  Recent seasons of So You Think You Can Dance in the US and Canada, 24 Season 7 and Mad Men rounded out our TV viewing for the year.   Surprisingly, I didn’t watch that many movies this year in the cinema.   We finished the year with Avatar 3D at the IMax which was amazing, and I do remember watching Terminator Salvation and The Dark Knight at the new VMax cinema in Innaloo, but besides that, the rest of our viewing was mostly at home.  

Anyway, hope 2009 treated you well and you had a good break over the Christmas season.