Tag Archives: new year

Resolved (Again)

The New Year is a wonderful time to set resolutions.

It’s also a good time to look back and see how we did with our old resolutions.

Toward that end I looked back at a post of about a year ago.  I called it “Blogging Resolutions for 2015“.  You can check it out for yourself.

I vowed to write more “for my children”, travel more, and get in shape.

On the first count, I believe I hit the mark.  The writing wasn’t as voluminous as I would have liked but it was all for the kids.

As far as travel, I did travel more but to familiar places.  Unfortunately, that travel was largely to visit sick family members.  Nonetheless, it was a mini success.

midnight clock

It’s never too late to make some changes.

And as for fitness…  Well, around July 1 I finally got on track in a way that I never had.  I took the advice of a friend who’s a trainer and went for it.  I went for it hard.  And I saw results.  My trainer was even impressed with the slight transformation I had made by August when he saw me again.  Then he inspired me to kick it up a notch and add running to routine.  For the first time in my entire life, I became a runner.  My goal was to be able to run 2 miles.  Wouldn’t you know it, by early December I ran my first 5K (a little more than 3 miles)!

And then I hit a few walls.  Mainly, it’s psychological.  After that race I got the strange idea in my head that I was never going to be as good as my trainer.  And that hurt for a few minutes (days).  It’s hard when you realize you can’t be all that you wanted to be.  Man, I wanted to be shredded like you wouldn’t believe.  Just once, I wanted to sport 4% bodyfat instead of 24.  BUT…  I’m proud of what I accomplished even if I’m the only one and I decided that, once Christmas was over, I’d get back on track with a more attainable goal.  Hopefully by next Christmas I’ll be down around 20%.

On New Year’s Eve my sister-in-law brought over a few envelopes.  In each one was a resolution (or two or three) that each of us had written last New Year’s Eve.  We opened them up.  The surprising thing is that I had completely forgotten about these cards.

On my card:

“I resolve in 2015 to: father another child.”

Ouch.  OK.  Didn’t happen despite many, many attempts.

On my wife’s card:

“I resolve in 2015 to: be blessed with another gift from God.”

Yikes.  So at least we were both on the same page albeit she worded it more like a woman.  So we’re infertile.  Big deal.  Our new resolution is to treasure ever more the two we have.

Also on her card was a resolution to run a 5K.  How funny is that?  If I’d only known, we could have made it a couple’s thing.  So what if running a 5K wasn’t a goal of mine until later in the year?

Got any resolutions this year?  Feel free to share them.  If sharing’s not your thing, than draw some hope from this infertile, writers-blocked, fatty and keep in mind that there’s always a new year to be the new you.

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Christmas in the Fatherland: Day 11

Today is the day we say goodbye.

Today is the day we give hugs and kisses.

Today is the day we…  when did it get so cold?

So when we arrived it was almost 70 degrees.  Today, New Year’s Eve, it was in the 30’s.  Go figure.

We visited my brother one last time.  He had come home the previous evening.  Before heading over to my sister’s house I got a text that he would need to go back to the hospital.  He had been vomiting for the past 18 hours.  This is not good.  He doesn’t want to die in the hospital and I understand that desire.  But his pain and nausea cannot be managed at home.  My poor sister feels like she’s let him down.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  She (and the rest of my family) have taken such good care of the man.  He will NOT die alone.  He will die in the grace of the Church.  I’m only truly sad that I didn’t get that much time to spend with him and that I will likely not be present when he goes home.

Pray for my brother, please.  Pray for peace and comfort and acceptance.

I believe this is our last picture together.

By the way, don’t worry about the picture.  He told me “Post this all over the internet.”  He’s a down-to-earth sort of guy.  He doesn’t front, as they say.  I believe in prayer and in the Communion of the Saints.  Pope Francis calls this the “Year of Mercy”.  The Merciful Father will take care of him.  Please keep praying.  Annie, I’m especially asking you to bring this one to the Pink Sisters.  You’ll know what I mean.

OK, I have to move on…

We headed to the airport.  My daughter and I returned the car while my wife and son checked us in at the terminal.  There’s a monorail to take us back to the terminal.  Ascending the escalator I discovered that my daughter apparently does not like monorails.  Five and a half minutes later we alighted the car and went back down toward security.  My apologies to the other passengers on that airtrain.  She’s not normally like this.

I managed to capture a moment where she smiled on the monorail.

Our terminal has been remodeled in the past few years.  We took in the sights and sounds of a beautifully glistening promenade of shops, bars, and restaurants.  We passed plate glass windows framing jumbo jets with livery promising exotic travel.  England, Germany, Japan.  We continued until we reached the end of the terminal.

“Where the hell is our gate?” I asked.

And that’s when we discovered that our gate, gate 88, required a bit more work to reach.  At the very end of the hall was an escalator.  Above the stairwell, a sign read “Gates 85X-89” with a down arrow.

Great.  Oh well, perhaps there’s an exciting new level of shopping that I wasn’t aware of.

No such luck.  We reached the bottom to discover a windowless, basement rec-room where the gates were just doors opening to the tarmac.  Our plane was a small number.  Let me just cut to the chase.  We boarded this puddle-jumper and spent four hours in turbulence.

And another where she smiled in our rec-room terminal!

Perhaps I should not have watched that marathon of Air Disasters on NatGeo last night.  Then I wouldn’t have been prompted to pour two gin and tonics, glance out the window, and shout belligerently at our flight attendant “Why haven’t the wings been de-iced?!  Do you want another Dryden on your hands?” referring to the doomed fate of Air Ontario flight 1363.  Thank God I only yelled that phrase in my mind.  OK, I said it out loud but only to my wife and the surrounding three rows.  I would never tick off a flight crew.  They’ve got the keys to the liquor cabinet.

After two hours, this was my tray table.  It was a bumpy flight.

At least the dog was happy to see me again…

We landed.  My mother-in-law greeted us.  We headed home.  Wilma and my sister-in-law had prepped our home with food and drinks for a New Year’s Eve gathering.  We played games.  We put on silly hats.  We blew cardboard horns.

5-4-3-2-1… Happy New Year!

My wife and I kissed and I realized once again how much I love my family.

Happy New Year, dear readers.  May your 2016 be filled with peace and joy.

Please keep reading.

What’s New?

I think this is my first ever response to the Daily Post Photo Challenge.  The instructions were to post a picture representing something “new”.

Duralast, which was also one of my nicknames in college.  Or was that "san serif"?

Duralast, which was also one of my nicknames in college. Or was that “sans serif”?

Today I had occasion to purchase and install one of these bad boys for my minivan.  Admitting to owning a minivan still sucks a little bit of the life out of my soul.  But who hasn’t been there before?  Everyone’s “car” battery dies from time to time.  It’s a first world problem, to be sure, but the trip to the auto parts store (this one rhymes with AutoZone) was not without it’s “new” experiences.

I watched as a 400 year-old man with a scraggly beard and a kind heart (and all of five teeth) tested my old battery.  He stood over the front end of my car, under the hood.  “Crank it,” he said with no hint of emotion.  As I was turning the ignition I pondered that the term “crank it” to him was simply a holdover from when he first started working on cars and they actually had to be cranked manually from the front with a giant rod.

I could write about all the “new” things I discovered today pertaining to this battery but this one’s just about the picture.  So use your imaginations, folks.

But without this battery, those travel adventures I wrote of yesterday might not take place and that’s part of a whole new “new” right there.

Here We Are Again: Blogging Resolutions for 2015

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The real reason why I write.

Seems like every year I go through the same thing. I find myself looking at a WordPress interface, reflecting on the past and wondering about the future.

A few nights ago I received my blog stats for 2014. They were somewhat disappointing to me. Then I remembered that I’ve hardly blog at all this year compared to years past. True, I’ve been through a lot personally this year.

Looking back, I understand full well the reasons why I did not post as often as I have in the past.

The past was fun. I honestly enjoyed Sharing my “adventures” and chronicling our life for my children.

The future is always uncertain. I am a man who likes resolution. I like to know how things will be, how they will turn out.

I also like a sense of accomplishment. I have set goals in the past and achieved them. In 2012 for instance I blogged every single day. I did it. And I am proud of what I wrote.

This time of year, the beginning, always leaves me feeling a little depressed. Perhaps it is because going forward I really do not know what the future will bring and it is a little scary. Well I accomplish anything? Will my life impact the life of another in a positive way? And what effect will writing about it have?

Long since past the need to attract scores of followers, received tons of comments, and generally be recognized as an outstanding blogger; I want to blog in 2015 the way I began blogging in 2008. That is, I want to write for my children. I want to make my wife laugh. I want my friends – my true friends – to continue to be a part of my life though many miles may separate us.

Do I have more specific goals? Absolutely! When I first started blogging it was in the context of traveling. I hope to engage in more travels this coming year with my family. in the past I have also written about my ongoing quest to get in shape and finally conquered my crumbling spine. So I will be back at the gym this year and writing profusely about it. And in the time since I’ve started writing, I have taken great strides advancing my career. This year I hope to make a professional Leap and finally give my family in me something they can truly be proud of.

Short of achieving these goals, there is the outstanding matter of baby number three who has yet to materialize. As head of a severely Catholic household this is a matter of great pride and honor for me. With God’s blessing, 2015 might just be the year. And with my wife’s blessing, I may one day be able to write all about it! Believe me, it is a very funny and very poignant tale of true love, Fidelity, and absolute trust in God’s will.

So as I have done in years past I pose the question again. Are you with me? Will you share in my life and let me be a part of yours? Will you let me try to make you laugh, cry, and think more deeply? Will you invite others to the party?

Here’s to a glorious 2015! May God bless you abundantly with his peace.

Oh and for the love of God, would Wade Abbot and Dan Grady please start blogging again? You both right so exceptionally well and I love to read what you have to say.

2014. Am I Ready?

First a question.

How would you, the loyal readers of this blog, feel if I reversed my title and tagline?  In other words, what if this blog was called:

Raising Your Kids Without Lowering Your IQ
Harvey Millican

Or how about?…

Raising Your Kids Without Getting Too Tipsy
Harvey Millican Reports

Or even?…

Raising Kids Who Don’t Care
Harvey Drinky Winky

These chaps knew where it was at... way back in 1894! Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (pd)

These chaps knew where it was at… way back in 1894!
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (pd)

I’m excited tonight.  Not only did my mother-in-law Wilma inform me that someone had given her the complete first season of The Love Boat (and you know I can’t get enough of my Charo) but I’m also eagerly awaiting the true kick-off of the WordPress “Zero-to-Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog” Challenge!  In anticipation, the good folks at WP (namely blogger Michelle W.) posted a preliminary prompt of sorts suggesting we bloggers should be comfortable with our titles and taglines.  I will listen because she seems to have a grasp on blogging with WordPress and she’s a fellow Jerseyan (Jerseyite?).  Even the best of us don’t know which form is correct.

You all know me too well to know that I am really fond of all of you.  You’ve given me great input over the years and stuck with me when times weren’t so great.  Remember when my father-in-law got me embroiled in a near-defamation suit with a major real estate and mall management company?  Remember the writers block that almost sank me in ’12?  Remember the Dutch Elm blight of 1917?  I know, right?  You’re loyal and I appreciate that.

Speaking of “over the years” I realized today that I have been with WordPress for three and a half years!  After the first few months I jumped into the very first “Postaday” challenge in January of 2011.  That’s when I met Wade.  It was Debbi who convinced me to switch to WordPress in the very beginning (thanks to our mutual friend and my sister-in-law, Kris).  2011 saw me post nearly every day until we moved from Virginia to Texas and our new wi-fi signal decided not to like me.  2012 saw me post every single day and then some!  I was proud of myself for accomplishing that goal.  2013?  Well, you recall that I more of less gave up posting-a-day around mid August and then sort of got back into it around early October.  What can I say?  I like the idea of the challenge but I’m exceedingly glad this one is only 30 days.

Bring.  It.  On.

It’s Over

I don’t know, kids…

On the curb and ready for the trashmen...

On the curb and ready for the trashmen…

I just don’t know why this time of year always makes me feel a bit of sadness.  Maybe it’s the finality that my favorite time of year is over.  Maybe it’s that we have to pack all of the boxes away after only taking everything out a month ago.  There was so much joy in the preparation for Christmas and yet the breakdown is always so anticlimactic.  I came home from work today and took our tree down.  Then I packed up the Nativity scene from the front lawn.  And we’ve still got tons to do.  We’ve got a lot to put away until next Christmas.  You’ve already stopped playing with a lot of your new toys and even some of them are being put away — only on the shelves with your other toys, not in boxes in the garage; but still, it’s over.  Soon the days will be getting longer, the weather getting warmer, and there will be no remnant of Christmas.

For me as a teacher, it’s almost like the start of a new school year.  Going back after Christmas to a new semester can be energizing but also challenging.  When I start a year in August, Christmas break never seems that far away.  In January, however, June seems a million years in the future and spring break can’t come soon enough.

Oh well, the trees and toys and decorations may be gone; but I know that I’ve always got you two and that makes life worth living!  Hey, it’s still liturgically Christmas for another week so Merry Christmas kittens!  Who knows what the new year holds and what next Christmas will be like?  God knows and that’s a great relief.

63 More?

Just hangin’ at the playground with the kids on a lazy, quiet Sunday which happens to be New Year’s Day 2012.

It’s so lazy, in fact that I am 63 views off from my target of 100 per day.

Let’s get crackin’ people!

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Neighborhood playground. Note the giant sunscreen for the North Texas sun.