My Christmas Letter 2013

This year has definitely been one to remember. So much stuff has happened, I’m not even sure where to start. Here is a link to My Christmas Letter 2012, for those that are interested.

First off, I should mention that I moved to Georgetown. Last year, I was thinking about where I wanted to live, and after spending two months without an apartment of my own, living with family and friends, I decided to move closer to my girlfriend. The decision wasn’t easy as it is quite far from my family and friends, and Georgetown isn’t really the kind of town I see myself living in forever, but it has allowed our relationship to progress to the point that I proposed marriage in April of this year and Annie accepted. We recorded our engagement story, and had it transcribed so that everyone can enjoy reading how it happened. Check it out here: Engagement Story – Text Version.

Our wedding will be April 26th, 2014 at the Catholic church here in Georgetown. We decided to make all of our flowers from books, after seeing some amazing paper flowers on Pinterest. While it was a great idea, and it is turning out well, we’ve put hundreds of man hours into making the flowers, including a few sit-ins where we all worked like an assembly line crafting them all. At the time of this post, we are less than half done making them.

We’ve also started to try to figure out where we are going to live. The apartment I chose in Georgetown is a sketchy bachelor pad above a convenience store. It isn’t ideal for me, and definitely wouldn’t work for the two of us. Apartments in the area are expensive, but hopefully we will find something before February, when my lease is up.

My finances continue to be a strong point of stress and discomfort for me. Last year I fell behind in my taxes, but this year I’m doing better. I still have a ton of credit card debt from various mistakes, and saving up for a wedding is taking up anything that is left over each month. I am hoping by the time I’m thirty-five, I’ll be out of my credit card debt, and be completely up to date on all my taxes and whatnot. I am also hopeful that Annie and I won’t have to go into further debt for our wedding.

Since moving here, I haven’t had a chance to visit my friends, but I have seen my family here and there. One of the best events we had was a get together during the summer with both Annie’s family and my own at Presqu’ile provincial park.

My weight continues to fluctuate. It creeped up a bit during the year compared to last year, and I ended up joining Weight Watchers. Annie and her sisters are already members and have seen some great successes through the program. I am not a fan of their system, and while I plan on continuing to go to the meetings and weigh in, I will be going back to straight calorie tracking in the new year.

Another bummer when it came to my health this year was that I hurt my wrist in the late spring, and it hasn’t healed up all the way. I never had a doctor take a look at it, as it was always a manageable discomfort, and I was hoping it would be fine over time. Annie thinks the printer table that I use as a computer desk is partly to blame for the issue as it doesn’t allow me proper keyboarding posture. I am hoping to get a new desk at some point in 2014.

One last medical thing of note this year was that I had bronchitis. For those of you that don’t know, respiratory issues are my immune systems Achilles heel. It was frustrating, and hard to get rid of. As of this post, I’m still struggling with a bit of phlegm and a cough. Thankfully, it didn’t turn into pneumonia, nor did I need any antibiotics to fend it off.

Work continues to go well. I’ve been with rocketgenius almost two years now. I’ve been slowly transitioning away from support, and doing more marketing. I’ve also taken up the task of moving our documentation from MediaWiki to Markdown and re-writing it so people can download it as a guide. It can be tedious work, but I look forward to basically building out the first book of how to use Gravity Forms.

Annie and I just recently got back from the yearly trip to the rocketgenius headquarters where we had a celebratory Christmas party, and did some other wonderful team building activities. The company is small, and so it feels very much like a family. A family that I live far away from, but a family none the less.

This year marked the tenth year of WordPress’ existence and as such, my tenth year of using WordPress. I realized that I’ve done a little bit of everything when it comes to WordPress, and it is still my publishing platform of choice. It was a really neat milestone to hit.

My cousins and I didn’t hang out as much this year as we have in the past. This mean that we didn’t game together, chat and as such, I’ve missed their presence in my life. We just recently started back up a Minecraft server, and in doing so, I’ve talked to Mark more in the last couple of days than I have most of this year, and I hope to spend more time chatting with Kyle too. I am happy to say that Kyle did come stay with me here in Georgetown for a week this summer, which was definitely one of my highlights for the year. Also, we are going to make a trip to Kingston to visit family around Christmas time and I’m sure that’ll help as well.

A big part of the second half of my year has been a collaborative writing project with Annie. We published the first draft of our first novel together on our blogs. Called Second Class Supers, it follows a female protagonist in a world with a new class system: Supers. It was really fun to write, and we’ve completed over 80,000 words. Our current task is editing the manuscript and getting it ready to be a second draft. We will then look at our publishing options. With family and friend queued up ready to go, I might make one of my life goals happen in 2014: publish a novel where five or more people purchase it.

One thing you’ll notice is that last year, I was spent a lot of time doing photography, but before moving to Georgetown, I sold my camera system to Tom, a close friend of mine. At events, I’d grab other people’s cameras and take pictures. I stayed up to date on what was happening with Canon, and was still in love with the idea of getting back into photography when I had the money. In May, my fiancee decided that I needed a digital camera again and saved up. She surprised me with a new Canon T3i, and I’ve gotten back into photography in a more relaxed, less stressful, and more fun kind of way. I’m glad that the burnout I experienced in photography didn’t last and I’m even more happy that I have a nice camera to use. One of Annie’s brothers have also picked up the same camera recently, so I’m looking forward to sharing tricks, tips and equipment with him.

Lastly, I was hoping to write more than one hundred posts on this blog in 2013, and I destroyed that number with over 230 blog posts this year. If you couldn’t keep up, that’s okay. I don’t know if I’ll do quite so many again in 2014, but part of the high number was due to Annie and I participating in NaBloPoMo which is a month where you are supposed to push out thirty blog posts, and I was able to do that and three more in November.

Overall, I had a great year. I didn’t do everything I wanted, but I also did stuff I didn’t plan on. My personal life and work life continues to improve, while my health had some bumps in the road and my finances stayed just as shaky as 2012. I can’t complain though as I’m less than five months away from being married, less than five months from being at rocketgenius for two years, and less than five days from visiting my family in Kingston.

Merry Christmas!

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