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Reviewing 2011

Just like last years review I’m now doing a review of 2011. With my big decision late 2010 of going back to school to get my bachelors degree I had planned on 2011 to be a much better year than 2010 was. For most of it this has been true, but it hasn’t been without struggle and hardships.

What dominated 2010 was the issues with my hands and the brain tumor of my mothers friend (technically my stepfather). This was also mostly the dominating theme of 2011. Finally around late July, early August, the pain in my hands was mostly gone. By now, end of December, I’m mostly without pain, though I still have some bad days and still can’t stand cold. I’m really happy the Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D has done its job.

The brain tumor my stepfather (for the record, I don’t call anyone my father, but this makes writing easier; he’s an OK guy though) is suffering from was removed in 2010. So far on all scans now further growth has been detected and it’s all stable for the time being. The bad thing though is the trauma caused to the brain has affected his motor skill, memory and thinking. He’s now getting therapy, but it’s all going pretty slow. So I hope for him and my mother that in 2012 this will improve a lot, as well as that the tumor stays away.

In March my car needed to get its yearly checkup. I just owned it a year but I already had to spend about 1000,- EUR on reparations. It turned out that the timing belt should’ve been replaced when I bought the car. This was something the car salesman should’ve have told me, or rather, he should’ve fixed it before selling it to me. This was a bit of a downer.

I stopped working full time on the 1st of July. My plan was to have 2 months of me-time before school started in September. I haven’t fully quit my job though as I’m still working part time from home. Only 1.5 week after being home my mother suffered a Myocardial infarction. About a month later it almost happened again. On top of that my dog also started crippling after stepping out of the car. Aside from all that misery and stress it were 2 nice months.

At the same time I’ve also finally released the 1.0.0 version of the Maximus client and website. A few months later I also added a graphical user interface for the Maximus client and kept on working on the webapplication. I’m currently working on the 1.2.0 release of the webapplication and still have plenty of ideas to add.

In September I finally started university and it has been a blast so far. I’ve had my doubts in the first 2 weeks because I had trouble with getting up to speed with the Mathematics we were being taught taught. But I decided to pull through and in the end got an average of a 7 on my exams. Not bad, considering the last time I was being taught math was 8 years ago and the topics we were handling were almost all new to me!

Time for a conclusion! More than half this year hasn’t been too good, but I really can’t complain. My hands are doing much better, my mom is doing very good as well considering she nearly died and my dog isn’t cripple anymore, though we’ve got to be careful. In the end I’m just very happy and grateful I’ve still got my mom around, that my dog is doing well and that my health has been getting better. School doesn’t disappoint either and in general I’m fairly happy I suppose!

All that’s left is to win the new years lottery :-).

Reviewing 2010

More or less inspired by Jake’s 2010 Review and 2011 Goals article I decided I would do the same. With one exception, and that’s that I’m waiting to announce my goals, or rather plans, for 2011. As for 2010 I didn’t have much goals. But those I did didn’t really work out.

For me 2010 wasn’t a very good year. It was all fine and dandy until the beginning of May. Till the end of March or so I was busy trying to set up a small band for regular rehearsal. I had found a drummer and a bassist and we practiced a few times. The drummer bailed out soon enough with some lame excuses. After that the bassist and I lost contact and so the band project died. Even though this goal for 2010 failed we did manage to play a few times together so I don’t consider it a total failure. Rather a small one.

In the same period I was also studying to become LPIC-1 certified. Due to health issues I had to postpone it. These health issues consisted of having problems swallowing and having the feeling of a swollen throat. The root of this health issue was because stress which thanks to my doctor I was able to figure out. Luckily this problem has been solved after most stress factors were finally reduced to near 0. Still, not all are gone yet. Life’s such a joy :-P.

At the end of April I bought myself a nice new acoustic guitar. A Washburn D-10-SCE-N which I’m very fond of. For a image of it take a look at My Gear page.

Unfortunately shortly after that, around the 6th of May I started getting issues with my hands. I woke up with a lot of pain in my joints and wasn’t able to do much at all. After staying home for almost 2 weeks I went back to work but it wasn’t much more then being present and available for answering questions. Which is very frustrating considering I’m a programmer.

Not long after that my mother’s new friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Another big disappointment for the year and bringing lots of uncertainty. Aside from dealing with this, another stressful situation arose. My dog, a now 7 year old Bernese Mountain dog, is a dog that can’t be left alone for more than 5 minutes. As my mother wasn’t going to be home she couldn’t take care of him. I myself am working 40-hour workweeks and couldn’t just stay home. After a talk with my boss he suggested I’d took the dog to work. Which was a big relief, but yet something to try and see if it would work. To get to my office you need to walk a rather steep staircase. In his excitement my dog went up the stairs, ran around the offices over there barking around, and finally quieted down.

All was fine till lunch time arose. As this is his usual time to take a walk I took him downstairs and took a walk. After that he was afraid to go back up the stairs. I didn’t feel comfortable letting him walk around in the building without being able to watch over him. So we decided to make a place for him in our storage room. Which went fine for 10 minutes. He heard the ceiling making squeaking noises and entered total stress mode. Taking my dog to work clearly wasn’t going to work.

My final solution was trying a dog pension. To my BIG relief he did very well there the first day and so I had him there for about a month. Early in the morning I would bring him there and after work I’d pick him up again. If the daycare wouldn’t have worked out I would’ve gone as far as taking an unpaid vacation or quitting my job.

At the end of September my mothers friend got his surgery and the brain tumor was mostly removed. Which was another relief as it’s a risky operation. At the day before Christmas he had his final radiation treatment and is now recovering from it. Somewhere next year they’ll be doing a new scan to see if it’s all gone or if there’s still something left. The tumor was malign so I hope it will.

At the beginning of November I had once again a major setback with my hands. Which has brought me back to the same state as before. I’m currently following physiotherapy but am not seeing any improvements yet. Halfway January 2011 I’m supposed to be finished with it, but I’m not convinced I’ll be done by then.

So, all in all 2010 has been a total shitty year for me! Well, not total really. But could’ve been better. If there are things I am glad for is that the surgery of my mother’s friend was successful. My dog is doing good at the daycare and he finally is able to sleep through the night without keeping me awake or rampaging the house. It was also in November that I’ve made a big life changing decision. Which was necessary to get me out of the situation I’m stuck in now.

If there’s one word I can use to describe how I plan 2011 to be then it’s change. This life changing decision will change how my days are going to look, will make my financial income uncertain and will probably be a 3,5 to 5 year project. But it’s a change I need to stay alive and not turn mentally insane.