This was the day I’d been waiting for since June. I have nothing against Epcot or Animal Kingdom, and I very much love the Kennedy Space Center. But when it comes to magic, the closest I’ll ever get to witnessing real magic, it’s the looks on children’s faces when they see something wonderful. I had great memories of the Magic Kingdom from when I was a kid, and I wanted to see what it looked like through my own kids’ eyes.
I moved the family as quickly as I had the day before. My biggest need that morning wasn’t to get to Animal Kingdom, it was to return the car before we got dinged another USD$133. I’d gotten over the fact that we’d ended up with an inappropriately large and expensive car, I just didn’t want to be reminded of it again.
We charged through breakfast, Alex and I started to really dislike the constant pattern of food without sufficient variation. Finishing first, I double-backed for the car, and brought it closer to Animation Hall for pickup. However, either due to miscommunication or misunderstanding, my family went left instead of right, and took longer to get out than I’d planned. I ended up literally chasing them around the building, only to find them at the car, wondering where I was.
For me, 2012 was a bad year. Between a host of medical issues (brutal chest cough that led to pulled muscles, to appendicitis, to strep throat, a couple nasty colds-cum-killer flus, and a minor outpatient surgery), ridiculous amounts of stress, the ever-present struggle of being a parent to young children, a general malaise, and an unfulfilled burning need to travel, it’s truly a wonder I got out of bed in the morning.
So it wasn’t with any reservation that 2012 walked out of my life on Monday night, yet it still managed to leave me rather depressed. Sadly, 2013 woke me up looking already a lot like 2012, so I’m not sure if I’m able to look at this new year with much hope yet. Instead, I suppose I shall have to try harder to make things work more my way.
This not to say that I “didn’t like” 2012. It’s hard not to like an entire year in one’s life, especially one that brings so many new things to learn and experience. I just wish it hadn’t been so darned painful…
Continue reading “2012, A Year in Review”
Ten years ago today, I boarded a shuttle bus from a hotel in Vancouver, and met some of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure — nay, honour — to know and work with. (Believe me, I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years. This does not come lightly.)
It was a chance of a lifetime — something I knew then, and greatly appreciate now. A chance to connect with thousands of fellow Canadians, and experience our nation in a now-unique way. The memories were fond when it ended, and they’re stronger and more wonderful with every new day.
I’ve had people ask: Would I do it again? Damn right, I would!
For over 100 years, we’ve had a rough international agreement about at what point the sun is directly overhead, because this is when we assign an arbitrary time known as “noon”. We’ve divided the world into “zones”, which for some reason makes sense.
Like most international agreements, it’s not perfect, and many governments have gone well out of their way to thoroughly botch and/or screw around with the implementation — so much so that, in some cases, the concept of a time zone really makes no sense at all. Given the rise of the internet, the massive synchronisation between continents in real-time, and the presence of global companies, it’s frankly a wonder why we even think time zones are a good idea anymore.
So let’s get rid of them!
I like long years. Really. Yes, I complain about when things seem to drag out far longer than they should, or if I’m busting my arse far harder than I think I should. That’s part of being human, no? In the end, though, I like long years because I get to look back and not worry about how quickly time has flown by. Time should never fly by quickly — it means I’ve missed something, and … well, darn it, I just hate missing things!
This last year was a big one for me in one major way: it was a redefinition of my professional existence. Since the end of 2009, I’ve transformed from a professional manager to a … hmm … well, my title (however formal it needs to be) is “Solutions Lead”, but that belies a lot of what I do every day, and just using “web developer” or “programmer” — even with a “Senior” prefix — completely understates the reality. This year was really about taking all the skills and knowledge I’d acquired as a leader, and merging that back into my day-to-day development practices.
And that, as the saying goes, was only the tip of the iceberg…
For at least the last couple of years, Heritage Park finds a way to bring in Thomas the Tank Engine for the kids. (It’s a fake engine, but the kids don’t care.) The big thing is to ride the train behind Thomas, and tickets for the chance on the Day Out With Thomas sell out well before the day even arrives.
This year, we’d resolved to get you on that train, Monkey. And … well, we did try. But apparently we’d waited too long (trying to coordinate with other parents) and … well, we blew it. This year, like last, probably all you’d have done is stood and watched as other kids got to ride the train.
But, thanks to a fluke chance, you got to ride something those other kids didn’t even know about…
Man, it feels like a year ago since I last wrote one of these … oh, wait. (Yes, it’s a stupid joke. You should know me by now…)
2010 was the year we made contact … wait, sorry, wrong catchline. 2010 was the year my family welcomed new members, notably my youngest, a daughter (code)named Choo Choo. It was a year I changed my career outlook (yes, again), and found that I’m not (completely) useless. This was a year of family, for me, and that’s perhaps the most important aspect.
But despite all that, I hesitate to call it “a year of change”.
Every year, the City of Vancouver puts on a light show in and around the miniature train in Stanley Park. Last night, after the kids had gone to bed, Allen, Jean, and I discussed the possibility of going. The catch was tickets. Tickets for the ride are best bought in advance, and usually sell out in November. But that’s only half the rides — the other half are sold the day of, and you need to be present at the booth to get them.
Jean very kindly (extremely kindly? suicidally kindly?) went down this morning, in the cold and the rain, to line up and get tickets for the “best possible” time for us to ride, around 17:30. That is “best” as it’s early enough that we can still have dinner at a reasonable time, and it’s late enough that Nikki can join us from her job.
Tonight, I also remembered how miserable Vancouver can be in the winter.
We were supposed to go out to a lake near the Ontario border today, but Mommy and I threw up the white flag and declared us all “done”. We need a break. Monkey, you’ve been very patient being trapped in the car seat for hours upon hours. We’ve heard “I want to go home” a few times, but we suspect it’s more about wanting to get out and run around than anything else. (It’s been proven pretty much every time we’ve let you out.)
As for you, Choo Choo … well, I’m not really sure what to make of your thoughts. Aside from the fact that you’re only 4.5 months old, there’s also the consideration that, unlike your sister, you don’t sleep a lot. So we’re never really sure if you’re generally unhappy with being in your seat, tired, or hungry. I suspect at some level you’re probably all three at the same time.
Still it was absolutely necessary that we take the day off and not really go anywhere. So we went to The Forks.