old years resolution wrapup

(1. ) Get resolutions written
(2.) Ride the bike more miles – Rode 1755 this year compared with 683 last year, so, score there.
(3.) mountain rides – um, I took my mountain bike out once? I’ll try harder this year.
(4.) long trips – It feels like there isn’t another person out there on planet earth who has put as much energy into planning for something without doing it as I’ve put into planning a bike trip without doing it. One of the things that has kept me from taking a few overnighters is the challenge of finding a reliable site to camp out a reasonable distance from Baltimore. Another one is feeling a little sketch going out alone. Then the one time I screwed up the nerve to take a trip it downpoured. I just have to get over those things because of all the stuff I didn’t do last year, this is the one that I regret the most.
(5.) maybe a century? – The pinnacle of my year was completing this one. The Seagull Century was a fun ride which I’ll do again for sure. Wish my first was the Civil War Century, but that wasn’t in the cards.
(6.) Lose some more weight – lost 18 last year keep it going – Gained some back, but lost it all and 13 more. From my starting weight of 271, I’ve done a good job of paring off 31.4 pounds over the last 2 years. Given the day I’m about half way to my goal of being under 200. I’d like to step it up in 2009 and polish this one off for good, but I’d rather have a sustainable lifestyle like now with friend/family get-togethers and dinners out every now and then than deprive myself 24/7 until I go bonkers. I’m also coming to terms with the fact that at this stage in my life, every year I go without weight gain is a little victory – not that I’m going to set the bar that low for myself.
(7.) Got started with new career last year, which is good, but it left me with a billion things to learn about programming. Work on that some more. – I got caught up in the minutiae of other things at work, so aside from some personal experimentation with java and java server pages, I really didn’t do as much as I wanted to this year. I was researching education programs and looking where to pick up classes on the bits that I need to learn when I found the M.S. program in Information Systems and Technology at JHU. After looking at the course list I decided last month to apply when I realized that there were more courses relevant to my field of study available than I would need to graduate! Now I’m working towards brushing up on pre-calculus mathematics and other long-lost skills I know I’m going to need to be accepted into the program with as few prerequisites as possible. My biggest point of concern now is my undergraduate transcripts, because I learned a bunch more about the hard work and motivation I’ll need to complete this in the 13 years of work since I’ve been in college than I ever learned while I was there. Funny how survival instincts hone your skills like that :).
(8.) Finish up some more things around the house. – did some little maintenance things around the house, put up some new shelves in the kitchen and finished some trim work around the house, but didn’t get as much done on my list as I wanted. Have some repainting and other small projects to work on. Going to have the concrete walkway replaced out front this year. Not doing that myself because I don’t feel like dealing with 1.5 tons of concrete rubble or hauling and mixing new material.
(9.) Learn more about gardening – Worked on experimenting with growing some veggies. I stopped blogging about it because it was too much tedium to track the progress of 10 or so plants.  The tomatoes worked great. It was planted in too small a pot, but the vine would just shed it’s lower leaves and keep growing taller with fruits higher up. The summer squash was so-so and I only got a few fruits from the plants. I finally figured out that this was because of incomplete pollination issues, so blame the honeybees, not me. The peppers worked well, but  didn’t bloom until very late in the season for some reason. Lettuce and Radishes were a constructive failure which I’ll try again next year on. Herbs were a marginal success, but again, I learned plenty from the experience. All in all, I probably broke even on supplies after subtracting from produce bills. The big benefit was from the great tasting tomatoes. Next summer will be even better.

Not on  the list, but worth mentioning is my 1st year of roasting my own coffee. For an OCD single coffee drinker household, you can’t go wrong buying large lots of beans and roasting them yourself 150 grams at a time. Over the course of the year, I went through about 10 pounds of beans, which would have been more like 40 pounds with a lot of waste if I had bought a pound at a time at the grocery store. I would have saved a lot of money if I didn’t break the glass pot on my roaster in August and had to order a replacement :(. Savings aside, I haven’t tasted fresher coffee than when I roast it the day before, and it’s worth the effort! Sweetmarias.com is an awesome resource for anyone looking at trying this for themselves. They have an always changing list of unroasted beans from all around the world with tasting notes. Half of the fun is trying out different beans for yourself, and experimenting with different styles of roast. You never get the same tastes twice, but it’s almost always good. None of this would be possible without the roaster exhaust system I rigged up for the kitchen. That thing puts out some serious smoke when you go for a dark french roast!

That’s about it. New resolutions coming up!

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