It's been an interesting year. I realize New Year's has already come and gone, but I thought it'd be worth writing some last 2009ish thoughts anyway, just for posterity. Here are some of the things I remember most.
- I've had various blogs since college, but this year I really started to take blogging more seriously (sometimes). After mostly finishing up my home NAS series, I moved on to write several PHP-related posts that got promoted on PHPDeveloper. I've always liked to write, and I'm especially glad when something I write turns out to be helpful to someone else. I also wrote my own blogging application and migrated my efforts to this domain, where I can manage all the details for myself. In the process I've gained experience with a few new development tools, most notably the Doctrine ORM.
- Rebuilding the dynofarm.
- Over the course of the summer I spent a lot of time adjusting and upgrading our web server farm at work; ostensibly it was just an OS version upgrade (Debian Etch to Debian Lenny), but it involved a lot of other interesting research into configuration management solutions. The final result was a script we can use to set up a new server node in less than half an hour, which was a big win over our previous configuration.
- Speaking at my first professional conference.
- Back in November I co-presented a session on various Drupal deployment tools with my co-worker Adrian Rollett. I had always kind of wanted to speak at one of these kinds of things, so I'd say that's a win; for what it's worth, I don't think it went half bad, though I could have stuttered a bit less.
- Playing the trombone again.
- For years I've been talking about going back to school for my jazz studies master's; at this point, I've only taken one jazz arranging class, but it's a good start. It's also been a considerable blessing (for both Jamie and I) to be able to play in the church orchestra at Denton Bible. Both of these opportunities have really reminded me how important music is to me, and how much I'm missing when I set it aside. I've also learned how important it is for music ministries to be inclusive, and that "special music" in worship services is actually a pretty great thing.
- Teaching kindergarten choir.
- Probably one of the biggest blessings of this past year came when Jamie and I decided to help out with Denton Bible's kindergarten choir. It's a lot of work, but it's been an extremely fulfilling experience, and I'm looking forward to continuing it soon.
- Hearing Dave Brubeck in concert.
- As one of the largest music schools in the country with the oldest formal jazz studies program, UNT is a great place to hear live jazz. During the spring semester Dave Brubeck played two sold-out concerts at UNT's Murchison Performing Arts Center in Denton; Jamie and I were lucky enough to be able to attend the second. Brubeck is somewhat of a living legend, and it was amazing to see him play …I was struck by the beautiful combination of talent and joy in his performance; seems to me that that's what music is supposed to be like.
- Leaving our previous church.
- Up until late December 2008, my wife and I were members of another church in the area here. To be perfectly honest, we never fully trusted the place, and when that mistrust was confirmed by some very bad experiences with the leadership there, we decided to leave for safer waters. God has been very faithful in the midst of all of this; we ended up back at Denton Bible, and for reasons I've already mentioned (and many I haven't) it has been a wonderful change.
- Jamie getting her master's.
- Back in May Jamie graduated with her master's degree in library science from UNT; she finished with perfect grades and a year's worth of full-time librarianship in a very prominent area school district. We threw her a fantastic graduation party, and then took a cruise to the Bahamas, which was also one heck of a lot of fun.
- Discovering that football isn't that bad.
- I think I've watched more football this year than ever before, despite my usual distaste for sports. I went to three Gilmer ISD football games culminating in a state championship, and as I write this I'm sort of half watching the Dallas Cowboys work their way through the playoffs. It's gotten to be sort of entertaining, but I do still need my computer or phone nearby in case things get boring. I've never been a big sports fan, but I'm starting to discover that a lot of my resistance to it is just leftover emotional baggage from my scrawny-geek-in-middle-school-gym-class days. Probably time to let that go, I suppose.
Seems like it's been a pretty eventful year overall; I'm certainly excited to see what's in the works for 2010.