Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Last week I finished Frank McCourt's second book - 'Tis: A Memoir - and it marked the 41st book I read this year.
That's by far the most books I've read in a year.
This year I also, finally, got off the ground with my local teaching and tutoring business, - and that, more than anything else, is what's basically destroyed my blogging career. Sorry.
There's definitely some decent side money in this and, importantly, it's something I can do during nights and weekends when my wife is around to watch the kids. Though I can actually take them with me when I need to. I sit them down outside with their own books and workbooks and they do in fact, without any issue, keep quiet outside my classroom or at the library for hours on end while I teach.
Yes, my clients are mostly all very smart Asians (who else would do math late into Friday and Saturday nights?), but no, none of them are even come close to my kids in terms of math competence.
Speaking of my kids, they are growing like weeds. My son turned 8 and my daughter - my little girl! - is already 6.5 years old. Before you know it they will be out of my house and that is quite the chilling prospect. My first wife will probably boot me out as well...
The big educational developments this year were chess and piano. Both kids started piano lessons about 9 months ago. As for chess, my son has really ramped up his game. He plays in tournaments quite often and meets with a terrific instructor once per week.
Definitely check out my post - First Chess Championship.
Christine enjoys chess as well but I don't push her as hard with math and chess, being a sexist with antiquated notions about gender expectations.
She's more into her art, dance, and now singing a little.
Another big, recent development is that we found, right under our noses, a very large Catholic homeschooling network here on Long Island. Why is this big? Well, because there just aren't that many people (out of the 15 million earthlings in the area!) who keep their children out of the *system*. And of the ones that do, they can be a very diverse set in the sense that they might homeschool for reasons totally different from the ones we do it for. Thus it can be hard to connect with families you actually have stuff in common with.
But this Catholic group is terrific. Everyone seems to be *more homogeneous*. And there are tons of kids (for my kids to hang with). It's hard to describe in words, in this short space, and to readers who have never been so far *outside the system* how critically important this *find* has been for my wife and I. But in some ways this might ultimately turn out to be THE pivotal event of 2012.
The good stuff in life is indeed out there....so don't EVER, EVER stop looking.
I did have to deal with that hurricane (Sandy) back this fall. Yeah, I shorted it and it blew up in my face. Whatever. These weathermen are right about one in 20 times! And actually, it was the snowstorm a week later that knocked down all my trees.
But since I spent weeks cleaning up my backyard and chainsawing several large trees....my physical fitness has benefited greatly.
I weigh 173 pounds now which is about 7-8 pounds more than I weighed for the past 20 years. (I had a very tight 5 lb range around 165). For whatever reason, I've added some bulk, pure muscle I suspect. And it has to be from the bench-pressing I'm doing now. Benching really, really hurts my back - or at least it used to. Perhaps my technique has improved a little? Or perhaps my back has gotten stronger???
I've also been ramping up my use of the speed bag (2,000 daily hits) and the heavy bag (kicks only). The kicking, 200 side kicks with each foot, everyday, rips my obliques more than ANYTHING else I've ever attempted. So it's something you fatties out there might want to give a whirl.
Well I managed to hit more golf balls at the range this year than I ever have. Actual rounds are still rare. I maybe played 27 rounds this year (down from 32 or so in 2011) but I have never been more excited about my golf swing AND my short game than I am now. I did change to an interlocking grip in September, which is not exactly a little tinker!....so we'll see how that works out once I get comfortable.
Am I taking the fam to Florida for an extended stay this winter, again? I don't know. I'll decide in a few weeks.
My wife will be changing jobs, sort of.
I do have an ebook that's just about ready for Kindle publication. It will be on SAT math, sort of.
I expect to be sitting, reading books, at a whole bunch of chess tournaments in 2013. I had never experienced stress levels like I felt this fall, waiting helplessly while my son was playing matches in the next room. But I do think I'm over it, somewhat. The more he competes, the more I'll learn to relax. It's only a friggin' game after all!
What else is going to happen???
Well the stock market will most certainly crash. And America will continue to *dichotomize* politically. The Democrats really do HATE the Republicans. Hate doesn't run the other way. The Republicans just think the Dems are lazy and stupid. And this entire divide goes back to *school* and the jock/nerd divide. I'm totally serious.
But now matter what, incumbents, old people, and institutions will continue to run this country aground at the expense of young people and liberty.
Taxes are getting out-of-control. At what point does the whole thing fall apart???
Whenever that it....we are most definitely one year closer.
And all y'all are one year older now....and will be dead soon, very, very soon.
So do get your affairs in order.