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.

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