Categories
life

2013 plus 1

Now, with little light remaining in the last day of 2013, seems like a good time to review the year. Challenges always stick in our memory—money has been too tight for our tastes and we’re all itching for a real vacation away from home—easy painful memories, but I want to focus on the good things we have enjoyed.
My wife has worked a couple of jobs here and there since resigning in July 2011 to earn her master’s degree, but has not enjoyed employment. That changed several weeks ago when she was hired to do work she is passionate about. She makes me proud for sticking to her principles and finding work she loves in a gasping job market. I am ever thankful that she agreed to spend her life with a bum like me.
Our oldest daughter started college in the fall at a balmy south Georgia campus where she is doing great. Her grades are hanging in there after her first semester (which is more than I can say about my own college experience) and she has lots of friends on campus and was invited to join the ΑΣΑ sorority. For now, she has declared a major in criminal justice with some thoughts of going into law.
Our two youngest are still doing great in high school; definitely in the top half (third?) of their respective classes. Great Scott, our sophomore will probably get her driver’s license next month with with her younger brother getting a learner’s permit after his birthday in the spring. They both have a bumpy ride toward learning how to be personally responsible and respectful of others, though they are learning (kicking and screaming the whole way). One of favorite TV characters, Ron Swanson[1] from the show Parks and Recreation, summed up responsibility and respect better than I can.

You know what makes a good person good? When a good person does something bad, they own up to it. They try to learn something from it and move on. Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation

They aren’t the only ones with lessons left to learn. I need to find my center and be more patient to be a better parent and husband. My biggest failure as an adult and parent is my broken relationship with my oldest son. It took both of us to reach the point we did while butting heads before he turned 18 and struck out on his own. The last time I saw him was during an awkward visit on my birthday in 2009. I love him and miss him, and want to be a better father to all of my kids.

New Year Rising

My hope is the new year will bring health, hope, and good luck to me and my family. Yours too.
My wife and I will turn 42[2] this year. As a feisty young whippersnapper, 42 sounded ancient. Now, I know I was wrong. While I’m not as spry as my younger self and surely need to lose about a third of my weight, I’m still learning and maturing while accumulating the wisdom that can only come with time.
As an inveterate nerd, I have been poking around in several computer languages.[3] My plan is to become somewhat proficient in a couple of those with a good working knowledge of the rest, because doing so furthers my ultimate, if vague, plans.
You see, for years I wanted to be a Writer. In my early 20s, I played the traditional role of drunk tortured writer, perpetually scribbling bad poetry and nonsense with fancy pens in a journal while writing very little. Then, I was hired as a journalist and wrote a lot, complaining all the while how I was so tired of writing for work that I couldn’t write for me. After my stint with print journalism, I migrated to public communications. There is a lot to love in my current job and I’m pretty good at it; however, I stubbornly remain a computer jockey at heart and want to be a professional nerd when I grow up.
Also, read less news and more books, and *groan* write more.
OK then. So, 2014 is going to be a year of growth and learning for me. Thanks again to my wife’s support for my crazy ideas and steady support so we can enjoy this exciting year coming straight at us. Strap yourself in for a Happy New Year everyone. I hope this is your year to shine.


  1. Swanson’s wisdom goes straight to the point like some amalgamation of the Dalai Lama, Yoda, and Yogi Berra.  ↩
  2. The number 42 is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, and that has to be a good thing. Right?  ↩
  3. LaTeX, Perl, python, and some PHP with a dash of CSS and JavaScript for the web.  ↩
Categories
general nerd technology writing

Labor Day

Labor Day for us meant our daughter came home for her first break from Valdosta State University, which was great. We miss her when she’s gone, which already kicked in after she left earlier today to return to campus.
We watched The Shining together; her first time. During the first half she was rolling her eyes. Second half? Scared out of her wits. She’ll carry that one around for a while. Hey, they don’t call it a psychological thriller for nothing.
On nerdier notes, I sorted out my text files and narrowed my iOS app use to Notesy for quick reference (though I’m still digging into Editorial). I also began migrating to the new Apple Affiliate program. When you click links to apps and make a purchase, you’re supporting this site.
You can learn more about me, this site, and click updated affiliate links on the About page.

Categories
check tags

Family

Julie has been in Missouri for the past five days at a work-related conference. The kids have been in Florida at SuperWow with their friends at church since Monday morning. I have been home by myself–just me and the dogs–since Monday morning.

On top of all that, we started working our short weeks at work. During the summer we work four 10’s and take Fridays off. The three-day weekends are terrific, but when you take a new work schedule and add everyone being out of town, it’s been a weird week.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. –American proverb

The buses carrying the kids are probably getting close to home and Julie is on an airplane now winging her way back. I’m not going to deny that it’s nice to have private time to find my focus. It’s nicer to know that while I’m home by myself I’m never alone and our family will be reunited soon.

Categories
check tags

Taking a deep breath

My family and some friends recently spent our week of spring break in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Julie and I led a group six kids to a cabin in the mountains. Jordan, Meg, and Kat each invited a friend with parents crazy enough to let us bring one of their kids. All told, there were eight of us sharing a three-story cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pool. Hot tub. The whole deal.

We left a knot of anxiety and work tension behind and were able to relax. After my GPS announced we arrived at our destination I sighed a deep breath. Then I took another. And another. Huge lungfuls of simple, relaxing breathing made me realize that I had been suffocating and it felt good.

This week off with nothing to do gave all of us time to breath. I relaxed on the veranda. I relaxed while we cooked S’Mores over a campfire. I relaxed in the hot tub. I relaxed while we grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. I listened to lots of music. We hit the tourist traps and drove around the countryside watching to properties blur from trailer to horse farm to shanty to mansion and round and round she goes. We had a blast.

Two promised amenities were missing: WiFi access and the heated pool. Julie and I were more upset than the kids. This limited our access to our respective office networks to a weak 3G signal. This blessing in disguise meant less work and more time on our hands than we expected.

Here’s the secret sauce though. The most therapeutic and cathartic aspect of this vacation for me was carving out a large amount of time to write.

Breathing again

I can’t remember a more concentrated writing session than this week of reflection. With a day remaining I had written more than 10,000 words. It wasn’t Shakespeare, but a found a few pearls in the sand alongside a few themes:

  • Work – yeah, the wheels kept turning the first day or two and I cranked out some writing for work
  • Vacation diary – a journal of what we did during vacation
  • Fiction – just the tiniest little smidgen
  • Blog – revisioning my blog

This blog is dead, long live this blog

That last bullet, the one about my blog, that’s the one that should have your attention because it absorbed most of mine. Carrying Stones has been festering online in one form or another for eons, all the way back when modems cranked out a noisy 28.8k. My blog has been a dumping ground for whatever was most immediately on my mind. That isn’t always a bad thing, but most of the time it’s not a great idea. There is a reason writers talk about first drafts, and editing, and (ugh!) revisions.

This is a revision of my blog, and my goal is to share something valuable with you. Everything you read here is provided gratis. I hope to provide content of the same high-quality craftsmanship that discerning readers such as yourself would expect from the books and magazines you buy.

I’ve invested my time designing a useful site for you and welcome your suggestions or requests to help me improve it for you.