2017 year in review

So obviously this blog isnt getting a lot of love these days, but I’d like to try to change that up this new year. I’m thinking that I’m going to just post regardless of photos because I think its incredibly time consuming to go through photos to post. Or I am just lazy. Anyways, I’d like to review the year.

2017 was an incredibly stressful year work wise. For whatever reason (most likely accreditation) the amount of scrutiny going on was absolutely intense, and the massive turnover was evident of the stress it brought to not just me. I really am grateful for that scrutiny in many ways however. Among them, I think it made me really reflect my clinical skills, and what needed change, and what I needed to give myself credit for. It was also the first year we actually were given staff reviews, and that reflected what I had come up in my own reflection. I want to say that I came out unscathed and a better clinician because of the intense scrutiny that occurred this year, as this seems to have had a lot of benefit to me (in comparison to my previous stint of micromanagement in my past position which mostly just left me feeling bitter and dejected), but I just can’t say that’s been the total truth. It really has been incredibly hard for me this year, and I am incredibly thankful for my supportive coworkers, friends and family for getting me through this year. One of my biggest highlights for me was going to my hometown and having the most intense zen moment. I think sitting in the coulees and doing my own self reflection really grounded me and put me back on my own map and I can’t be thankful enough for my wife for supporting me to do so. It was also a great connection with my relatives as well. I also think that the massive amount of red tape it took for me to get my internship approved was equally terrible to the micromanagement surprises this year. I cannot fathom the distress I had with that and the fear I had every time I opened an email wondering if it would get disapproved again. What a year. Other pieces of work have been absolutely fantastic however. Our team has finally felt fully complemented with a full staff and that has been absolutely excellent. All staff are incredibly collaborative and supportive, and probably the only reason I work there- seeing what we can do as a team and how we can support each other through multiple challenges has been just great. Its also been a blast having two different teams to work with- both provide me with insight in what I can really appreciate from each team. I definitely feel like there is an absolute ton more of things for me to learn, but I feel like I have a good foundation really coming to fruition so far. I also feel like I could do this work for at least the next ten years, despite my former grievances. It really is that satisfying and gratifying to see the changes we can do as a team to individuals and families, as well as understand where our limitations are and accept those limitations (and grow blah blah blah). I’d say that is something I can truly be happy about in 2017- despite all my stresses, I still absolutely do not feel that the work that I do is work. Its all the red tape around my work that frustrates me, but the actual clinical work is just bloody fantastic. I don’t have FML moments the night before work, unlike other lines of work that I have done in the past. I think this has been a great year for career stuff (I mean beyond the things I talked about before).  I think given the economic climate and difficulty in finding work, the work W managed to land after multiple attempts, and my line of work has been great, and I feel quite blessed for that. Double Income One Kid. DIOK?

Relationships have been great this year. I think I have spent a lot of time with friends and family this year and its been a blessing. Our Thursday night workouts have been a blast this year with W and M. Although I don’t think I will ever be satisfied with my body image issues, I think I can comfortably say that I push myself hard fitness wise. I am particularly proud with my runs this year- stairs and stairs and stairs (whether indoors or outdoors in winter and summer) has been really pushing me and keeping things exciting in between lifts. Lifts have also been good this year, although I have been more cognizant of my limitations- I’m currently worried about possible tennis elbow in my right elbow from presses in particular. I don’t think that I have any goals for 2018 lift wise – I mostly want to be injury free.  Anyways I digress from relationships. I think there’s room for more push in a few friendships that I can do (especially with how busy things seem to be getting), but in general I just have been having a blast. I think W and I have growth left to do (in a different way that relationships naturally require), as we discover new challenges from being parents. As I type this, W and H lay fast asleep, well before the countdown- and the countdown just went by while I typed this and looked up and realized it was 2018. Parenting is a whole new level of challenge for me that I don’t think I really realized, despite what I preach to the parents I work with. What I find interesting is that although we have our challenges, I recognize those challenges from my own work as a therapist and what needs/should be done. If anything, I learned this year that I have a lot of stuff that I personally need to work through, as this seems to be spilling into relationships. I’m not sure what might mean in 2018 how I work with myself, but I do think its certainly something I need to address. I think relationships with my kiddo have been great, but I can see things that are challenging and distressing to me- I think I’m just exhausted from work and I don’t think I’m always at the Bottom of the Circle Circle of Security wise. This is something that I need to work on in 2018, as I can definitely see with my time off that things have been really different with H. I realize that I miss a lot of things when I come home depleted and retreat into my man cave, that I take for granted with H. I also immensely enjoyed my time at music class in particular with H, and seeing how much she loves song and dance. I think in time she will be just as much as an audiophile as me.  I also really enjoyed spending time with E this year- we’ve been so busy with our own lives that we rarely have the sibling time together and although I don’t like the circumstances that lead to the time together, I think it made me realize that I need to do this far more often.

Technology has been great this year. I really nailed it in my collection drive this year. Some of my highlights this year were right around the end of the year. Landing the VAIO AR desktop replacement laptop was wonderful, especially in its mint condition (aside the chipped case from the idiotic packing the seller put the laptop in – who sends a laptop in a freaking envelope?!). Really love its design and what it represented in its time (brute force power in an elegant design). It also made a change in my mindset of what I viewed laptop design. I used to be enamored with ultraportable design (rightfully so when I grew up with behemoth P4 Intel machines and miniscule VAIOs were a pipe dream due to cost). However, I have really come to appreciate the limitations those machines have as ultraportables (and not ultrabooks, which I find much less enticing). Desktop replacement machines are more interesting to me now I guess, like the AR. Matching that AR with a NIB VAIO VGP-WMS50 mouse that was clearly designed in the same lines was just icing on the cake (although the mouse doesn’t work that well, its a great design piece). I also really loved that I picked up with WF-1000x and WH-1000X M2 earphone/headphones this year. The noise canceling on my WH1000XM2 headphones is simply amazing, and well worth the cost, despite me already having a good line up already headphone wise- for traveling they were just great.  The earphones on the other hand were just a blessing for portability- no wires, easy set up so I can easily put some music on while out and about. Just great. Although I got an amazing portable line up this year with the EX1000/ZX1/PHA-2 combo, the time and space the combo requires to set up really impedes how often I use that set up. The WI1000X, although nowhere near as impressive as the NC in the WH1000XM2, is just so easy to use and sounds so good, that I am listening to more music these days. I think I really got lost in the audiophile scramble and it became more about the equipment and less about listening to the music.  Its also just so so portable that I use them everywhere. This year, I also got the MDR-SA5000 headphones which were my absolute and still absolute favorite headphones of all time design wise and sound wise. I don’t feel a giant urge to grab the flagship Z1R at all with these in tow- especially since it took me so long to actually acquire them, after watching HIFiGuy528 and LachlanLikesaThing reviews on the the cans over and over and over for years. Easily my favorite find in years. This year I also acquired the MDR-AS300 Action Cam and that really truly changed my shooting- I shoot far more video now because of how easy it is to shoot and how uncumbersome it is – with kids, its really really annoying to have equipment get in the way of you actually enjoying the moment with your kid, and the Action Cam with its BOSS stabilization has just been fantastic. It also helped me capture some of my favorite pictures from my retreat to the coulees this year. This year I also acquired the Sony LA500ED speakers and they have just been amazing- a set of audiophile grade speakers with such an elegant design and a rarity in find make me just fawn over them. Just great. I’m sure there have been other amazing finds I missed out on talking about this year, but these pieces of tech really jump out to me. Oh and one more thing- switching to Freedom Mobile and going to iOS with the iPhone 8 Plus has been amazing, as has been cutting multiple lines with Rogers (Robbers). I am paying nearly the same price as my old plan (which was already considered good compared to the crap plans on Rogers/big three telecoms) but getting much more data, and a flagship device (specifically W gets the iPhone 8 for 37.5% MSRP and I get the 8 Plus at 56.6% MSRP), whereas our old plans were bring your own device and much less data too. Sure Freedom Mobile has its reception issues, but with Shaw Cable backing it up as the majority stakeholder, I have complete confidence it will continue to grow and get better and actually provide a viable fourth competitor like Videotron/SaskTel/MTL do in Manitoba/Saskatchewan/Quebec and making the Big Three stop treating its customers like trash. I also really like iOS so far, and although I am still a bit wary about having made the right decision to go with the 8plus instead of the X, I am very happy with my phone so far. Mostly I just hate that I can’t pair with NFC because that was huge for me with all my NFC devices before and my Xperia, but that’s really just the one major annoyance. The other being that I really love the Pixel 2XL. Oh and one final thing (kind of killing the Apple last announcement vibe there)- I freaking hate Android Wear. I cannot believe how bad Google fumbled this OS- I switched to it because I wanted a mainstream device with good support and went from obscure but cool devices (like the Sony smartwatch series) to get that support. And they bombed it. Like absolutely bombed it. Two things- notifications are freaking impossible to navigate for messages in particular- its just better for me to know I got a message and I need to check my phone rather than actually seeing it on my watch- why wear the dumb watch then? I can feel the notification when it vibrates/hear it, I dont need another notification maker. I want to be able to reduce taking my phone out. The second far bigger grievance- they completely killed voice control- Android Wear 1.0 let me navigate beautifully without touching the watch- especially important for something like driving where I need to be all eyes on the road. Android Wear 2.0 killed it completely and its completely unreliable. I don’t know if it will recognize my command, or recognize the contact, or really anything. I stopped using it completely. Good thing my watch is an amazing fitness tracker for both lifts and runs. Otherwise, it would be a complete waste. I don’t understand how they messed that up that bad. If it wasn’t such a good fitness watch, I would switch the Apple Watch right now, but it is (Polar FTW). As well, notifications are actually better on the iPhone than Android (big WTF Google). I can actually navigate my message notifications when I am on my iPhone. Geeze Louise.

All in all, 2017 has been an interesting year. Lots of drama in good and bad ways and certainly enough polarizing memories to make it memorable for better or less. I think if I kept my SMART goals for 2018 to a few things, it would be having a dedicated night for me doing dinner, playdates with E so W can have her own time, and probably getting the RX100 M3 because I fricking love that camera.

 

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