New Years

Had a fun New Year’s up here in NH with some of the usual crew and Luke, as well, who provided a nice dose of the unusual. We had a little snow, but mostly the weekend was fairly mild. Luke and I walked back and forth between the two houses several times in our shirtsleeves, Luke saying, “Yup, I’m a New England guy.”

Made chili and cornbread for Saturday night’s feed, and a fresh batch of Alton Brown’s eggnog . Light, airy to drink, and very, very tasty; the only problem with it was that the beaten eggwhites tended to float to the top whenever the pitcher sat in the fridge, but a little stirring helped that out.

While I don’t tend to make formal New Years’ Resolutions, here’s a couple of things I’ve been thinking about at the close of 2005:

  • I’m feeling a little out of touch with my body, like a friend from highschool I know is out there but I haven’t had a real conversation with in a couple of years. Kate and I have talked about whether to get more equipment to encourage us to work out more, and have pretty much settled on the realization that it’s not the lack of equipment that’s stopping us, but rather… us. So we’re considering getting cheap Dance Dance Revolution pads for the XBox (we played DDR in Christchurch, before leaving NZ, and had a ball) instead of spendy training stands for our little-used bicycles.

  • After cutting a piece off my finger while cutting scallions, it’s become clear I need a knife-skills class. Glen and Kate and I are looking at dates for one now.

  • When I first started being a professional sysadmin, I vividly remember watching the people I trained with flit from task to task to task, never completing anything, and thinking how much more effective they’d be if they’d stop checking their mail, irc, webpages, etc, every 30 seconds in the midst of doing actual work. Now, a decade later, I’ve given myself the same crappy habit. I cycle madly between multiple work tasks, personal mail, blogs, funny/relevant urls suggested by coworkers and friends, and at the end of lots of days in 2005, I would sit back and feel utterly useless. All I’d done that day was spin between a dozen activities, furthering each of them only slightly. In the last couple of days I’ve taken a few steps to try to ameliorate this – reducing my virtual desktops from 8 to 4, reading personal mail and blogs only during lunch and before/after work hours, starting each workday with a list of things I need to make progress on – but really, I think it’s going to come down to breaking habits. Not easy stuff.

  • In late summer, I began transferring into a new position at work, focussing more on security and audit compliance and less on daily systems administration. Beyond the security aspects (which I like a lot), it involves lots more paperwork and chasing people down for meetings and documentation. I need to hire someone to work for me, which is daunting because I feel like I’ve got only a tenuous grip on managing my own time, let alone someone else’s. Audit compliance is a lot of fiddly t-crossing and i-dotting, which is something at which I’ve never been particularly meticulous. When I took the job, I told myself that I’d stay with it for at least a year, knowing that it’d be unfamiliar and uncomfortable but that it’d have things to teach me. Well, I’m struggling a little, but I’m still up for learning to do this well. I’m pretty certain this isn’t what I’m going to do forever, but I’m really gonna try and do it for right now.

  • I love Kate in ways I hadn’t known I could, before. For all that 2005 held lots of lousy events for the world and for many people close to us, for me it’ll always be the year Kate and I stood and married each other in the sweaty presence of our families and friends, and danced under a tent until the wee hours of the morning, and fell asleep wanting more hours in that day. We still do.

Anyhow. I’ve been up since 6 for our weekly call with India, and I’ve been working a bit … but it’s 9, now, and time to really buckle down. I’ve got a cup of tea and a bowl of blueberry muesli and yogurt (which we developed a taste for in NZ), and the christmas tree light-timer grinding away. Looks to be a good day.