2023 was the year of intermission. A gap year between different parts of my life. 2022 was the year of the wedding and the honeymoon and 2023 was the year the start of getting the house together, getting my life back together, and just a bunch of other things.
Here are some highlights:
We took Mama Burke to Ireland
We made a trip with Jacque, Mel and Mama Burke to go to Ireland. Instead of spending the entire time in Dublin, we had a nice drive out to Galway and I would say the west coast of Ireland is way better than Dublin. It’s nicer in terms of climate, more quaint and the food is fantastic. The only downside is that we really wanted to stay in a castle but unfortunately I guess castle bedrooms didn’t have ground floor housing which would be havoc on Mama Burke.
We did some nice trips:
- We visited Mel’s friend Cody in Vancouver. He was an excellent tour guide and it was nice to be in Vancouver during the summer instead of the winter when I visited last time years ago.
- I went to Rental Car Rally, which was a lot of fun doing a nice trip to Los Angeles
- Los Angeles to visit all the families around late October. Big thanks to Omi & Minal, Jill & Dan and Terra & Ben for hosting us.
- We also did Mel’s first trip to Disneyland (thanks Marina and Steven for joining us and helping with tickets)
- Yellowstone trip that kind of turned into more of a scenic Idaho trip.
- Boise trip to visit Mel’s friend Jamal who was coming from London.
I survive the epic rains of Burning Man. It was fun to go to Burning Man but 100% I’m into Burning Man because my friends go and it’s super fun to see the art and hang out vs doing things myself there. I think I would no longer say I would not go back to Burning Man but it doesn’t hold the special place in my heart that I think it does for others. It’s just a fun experience to have. Being a ranger is always rewarding even though it can be tough, especially the ambiguous situations where people don’t necessarily get what they want (so many noise complaints this year).
I planted a bunch of things and mostly just grew arugula. I had some Bok Choy and Carrots that seemed to flower more than actually grow vegetables. I think that means I probably added too much fertilizer in the soil which made it flower? I’m not 100% sure but I’ll try again next year.
We got a new female ginger cat Morrigan who has been a treasure. She’s a very cuddly cat who can totally handle Ryoga and all his annoying behavior which has been fantastic. She’s been a welcome new addition though we quickly learned that Ryoga eats her poop so we had to get two special cabinets for her cat litter. Gross.
We also adopted a new dog! Mel was finally ready to get another pup after Gatsby’s death last year. So we adopted Suki, who has been a cute energetic puppy who literally jumps over the couch in her zoomies. It’s been a while since we’ve had new pups for either me or Mel and we both forgot how much potty training sucks.
Got a Car
We finally decided to take the plunge and do the 2nd biggest purchase of our lives. A car. We ended up getting a 2024 Subaru Impreza. We ended up buying new because used prices weren’t just lower enough to justify the trade off here.
I think in my best month I ran only 7 times in a month. I never started another exercise hobby and lot of the year I just stayed exhausted. Taking 2.5 months of travel made it really hard to get back into a rhythm back home. Combined with going directly into the holidays and Gatsby’s passing made it just super hard. I’m presuming that most of my exhaustion is related to a combination of poor diet and exercise. I’ve already worked on the diet sticking to a few standard meals and reducing take out.
I use a nice little google sheet to track how the day was, it seems on average I’m doing better than usual. Non-bad days have increased from 62% to 73% days. And bad days have decreased from 15% to 9% of my year. But also my best / happiest days have decreased from 22% to 17%, so basically my days have been moving toward the average. I imagine that’s pretty typical.
Resolutions from 2023
No new sport unfortunately. I did in December sign up for Orange Theory fitness class which will be a good exercise, so I consider this a failure but possibly a very last minute start.
I ended up reading about 14 books and the sequel to Worm, Ward. Ward was gigantic and nowhere near as good as Worm unfortunately. The author really focused on characters but can’t write dialogue worth shit. All his characters kind of sound and think the same. Ward is 1,920,332 words so about 11 long novels at least. So I’m going to say I got this again but by the skin of my teeth.
I didn’t end up doing this at all. Ryoga is lovely but unfortunately I never really found the time or energy to train him to do more things. I imagine with Suki it’s going to fall by the wayside to do his training.
Plant a Christmas Tree
We adopted Suki right around Thanksgiving and I figured confusing her with a new tree in the house would not the best idea so I postponed this for next year.
I ended up doing another volunteering session with VITA this year and felt really accomplished. I learned some interesting tax tricks and really actually helped save a lot of people a good chunk of change. One of my favorite stories is a woman who has 2 pet pigs, a few dogs, and a few other things and she was like the pigs are gonna get some nice fucking treats after I increased her refund by a few thousand dollars.
Unfortunately I didn’t really pick up any other volunteering the rest of the year. The hard part was not having a car to go to volunteer sites but now that it’s resolved I don’t really have an excuse.
Tackle one house improvement per month
January – I ended up building some custom screens and getting all the windows in the house screened (except one)
February – I cut an EMT rod to build a custom super long curtain rod.
March – I ended up doing a small project securing our screens with some small screws because Morrigan likes to knock the screen out and escape the house.
April – I built the garden bed
June to November – Unfortunately I didn’t keep this habit up after the first 6 months. Some projects that I started including changing out the light, installing some magnets, tightening and fixing our kitchen cabinets, and a few other things but none of them were that big a project and didn’t really finish them.
December – I installed a peg board style thing in the ground floor so I can keep my tools out of sight and out of range of kids/dogs.
Build an app
No progress on this at all. I did start a countdown app and did some good progress on it until I realized the app I was using got a bunch of updates and just ended up fixing all the things that I wanted to fix for it.
I think I only did 2.5 / 7 this year.
I honestly enjoy this one, it’s a nice one that I naturally want to finish and work on.
It seems now that we have a new pup, it’s going to require a lot more training. We still haven’t found the exact high value treat that will have her ignore the rest of the distractions for her. WHen there’s another dog on our walk, even hot dogs and string cheese do not distract her. We’ll have to work on it.
Stop Watching as much TV
At some point I realized that I have rewatched a lot of the same series over the the past year. I realized this year that I have rewatched:
- Star Trek TNG (182 episodes)
- Star Trek Voyager (182 episodes)
- Brooklyn 99 (153 episodes)
- Star Trek Lower Decks (40 episodes)
- Bob’s Burgers (270~ episodes)
- Superstore (113 episodes).
Total runtime is about 27,232 minutes of TV, 453 hours of TV, or about 1.24 hours of TV everyday. That’s about how long it takes me to sleep while watching TV at night so that sounds about right.
That’s not including new series that I’ve watched, movies, and other things. It’s a habit that fills the void on weekends but I don’t know what will replace it just yet. The goal is to stop watching TV to fall asleep and only watch it with Mel at night. Also not to watch TV during the day on weekends.
I might replace this with games or something that’s a bit more active. I’ve been doing it for December and only watched a few episodes of Community.
Push my heart rate at least once a week
I think this will be satisfied by Orange Theory class once a week but we’ll see how things go with that. I’m hoping to get back into running especially because Suki really seems to like it, we just gotta get her better at following us on leash right now she’s just too sporadic.
Do all the Trails in Joaquin Miller Park
I want to do all the trails though I have no idea how to track this yet. I’ll have to figure out how to do this and track things. There are two options:
- Print out a huge map and just manually track which ones I want to do
- Build a little website that lets me see all the trails in Joaquin Miller and track things there.
I’m going to commit to getting a tattoo this year. I’m thinking Ryoga outline drawing.
So just 6 resolutions this year.