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2004 In Review

Okay, I've been meaning to do this entry for a while now, inspired by Tim, Jason, Jamie, and my buddy Jeff.

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
Had a baby with my lovely wife and published a book with my name on the cover. I'd like to do both those things again. Soon, if possible.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I kept about half of my writing-related goals, and will make more, as always. I'm pretty good at keeping most of the writing-related ones, but the ones about getting in shape and picking up new skills like playing the guitar always go by the wayside. Next year should be different with a youngster around.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yup. My wife. And it was cool.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, luckily.
5. What countries did you visit?
No countries, just Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (which sort of counts). Also made it out to Portland, Oregon and the Oregon coast again, though I didn't really love it the way I did on my previous trip there in '02.
6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
I don't really feel like I lacked anything material-wise, but I did lack a sense of well-being and hope when it came to the direction of our country. That feeling grew worse as the year progressed. As a father, I'd like to have more confidence in our leaders as they shape my child's future as well as my own.
7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Dec. 14th, the day our son Drew was born. Can't remember anything else, really.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Drew. That's an easy one, though my wife did most of the heavy lifting once my part was done. It was cool seeing my book in print, but I'd done all the work on that in previous years (plus it was delayed for almost half a year, so by the time I had a copy in my hands, it all felt a bit anticlimactic).
9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't know about failures. Maybe not writing enough short stories or following up on revising my baseball novel, or probably not enjoying the art and craft of writing as much as I should have. I could've been a better friend to friends new and old.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had two bouts with nasty colds, but nothing major. A nasty touch of stomach flu or food poisoning a day ago -- not fun. Pretty much constant achy hands, fingers, wrists, and forearms from typing and using the mouse too much, but I'm used to that now.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Hmm. Probably the kick-ass armoire we got for half-price at Restoration Hardware in exchange for my old computer chair. Now the TV is locked up behind two sliding doors, as it should be. This armoire holds about 60 books, all our CDs and DVDs and VHS movies, plus the TV, VCR, and DVD Player. Plus there's space on top for more books and pictures.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My wife's, who not only put up with being pregnant most of the year, but who also had to deal with a last-minute caesarian section after 10 hours of labor, including 2 and a half hours of pushing, only to have the little guy more or less get stuck, facing up instead of down. Elizabeth pulled through it all like a champ, and I have nothing but the highest respect for any woman who gives birth.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Our Republican leaders who allowed close-mindedness, fear, and abuse of power to become part of their general psychology.
14. Where did most of your money go?
I initially wanted to say for our monthly mortgage payments, but after a quick check of my files, I was glad to see that we paid the most for our credit cards (one of which we paid off completely, and the other one whose balance we cut in half). Credit cards are evil, evil, evil, and I've not used mine since April.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The birth of Drew, hands-down. I could barely even think straight those last weeks before he arrived, and now that he's here I'm still pretty brain-scrambled, in a good way. I got a little excited for a while about John Kerry becoming president, but that went away. I also got pumped up about finishing my baseball novel, but wasn't so psyched after my novel workshop in Oregon, where I learned I had a lot of revising to do...
16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
Probably REM's "Untitled" or Ben Folds "The Luckiest," the leadoff song and the final song on the mix CD I made for Drew. I pretty much stopped listening to the radio this year, and haven't bought a CD in over a year, so I don't have any new songs in my repertoire.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
I'm a lot more comfortable with where my life is going and what I need to do to find hapiness.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish I'd traveled more, had more adventures, taken more chances, laughed more.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Stressed about finances, stressed about my writing, stressed about the baby's health and Elizabeth's health.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent Christmas Eve with my in-laws and Elizabeth, spent Christmas morning opening presents with Elizabeth and Drew, and spent the rest of Christmas day at my parents' house with my family. Lots of food and drink were consumed.
22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
Yes. With my son the instant I saw him (both in person and in his ultrasounds), and my love for my wife grows on a daily basis.
23. How many one-night stands?
Oh, this question cracks me up. Why would I start now?
24. What was your favorite TV program?
Hmm. TV. I try not to watch the idiot box, but I did get hooked on the first season of "The Apprentice," as it gave me some good stuff to talk about with my new co-workers at my new job earlier this year.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
There are two people I really dislike seeing who work in the same building as me, but I don't hate them. I don't have that much energy for that sort of thing.
26. What was the best book you read?
Carter Beats the Devil, by Glen David Gold -- a historical mystery featuring magicians. Great stuff.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Probably discovering streaming music on the Net to listen to at work -- places like "Radioio" that play a good mix of tunes that I normally wouldn't hear otherwise. Radio stations around here pretty much suck, except for NC State's college station, which can be hit or miss at times.
28. What did you want and get?
I wanted a healthy child, and we got one.
29. What did you want and not get?
A damn book deal for one of my novels.
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" -- Elizabeth and I were bawling at the end of this movie. And it's really an SF movie, which I thought was very cool.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I really can't remember what I did, though I probably went out to lunch (a rarity) at work, and Elizabeth and I went out to eat that night. I turned all of 34. Ouch.
32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Seeing Bush get voted out of office.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
Way casual, as in whatever's in the closet that's clean casual.
34. What kept you sane?
My wife, who reads me like a book but never bends my spine.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Ummm. I'm so bad at these questions. I'll go with the old standby of Cate Blanchett.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election, followed closely by the mess in Iraq.
37. Who did you miss?
My sister and her family, who moved back to Iowa last year, along with my grandmother, who also now lives in Iowa, in the same town. We plan on heading back there next year for a visit.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
Two people -- Jamie and Steffi Bishop, who I've been incredibly lax about keeping up with in the past half year.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:
Cherish your health and never take it for granted. Having had two incidents with Drew that could've been bad (they've both cleared up now), I realize how precious life is, and how wonderful it is to be healthy and to have healthy loved ones, especially the little bitty ones in your life.

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