Sunday, July 18, 2021

Was it Really that Long Ago?

 (Checking blog archives...)

(Notices the date stamp of the first post...)

Fifteen years?

Five years since the blog was officially ended?

Yeah, that time did all fly by.

(Composes self...)

To those who stumble upon this blog using search or whose RSS feeds still point here, greetings!

I'm still here. Maybe it would be easier to catch up by noting what has changed over last half decade.

2016 was a rough year. In addition to it being sort of a Rapture of the Talented, my father died in May. A dog we had adopted back in 2001 just before the 9/11 attacks had to be put to sleep because of deteriorating health. Finally, I got a better feel for the density of racist @$$holes in the United States and it depressed me utterly.

The next few years were a blur because it seemed like an endless stream of awful in the political sphere. I became more active, attending protests, writing letters to representatives and calling them, and even trying to register voters.

I changed jobs in 2019 to go work for a startup founded by some co-workers at my prior job and realized that a couple of them, too, had worldviews that were either steeped deeply in the alternative fact universe or just too lacking in empathy to be worthy of respect.

A source of stability in all of this was my girlfriend, with whom I had been in a relationship since 2011. With her older child graduating from high school in 2017, we started to make plans toward combining households. I had some repair work done to my house in 2018, but there were some issues with the drain that required me moving out towards the end of 2018, and I haven't lived there since.

With a home equity line of credit, I continued to work on repairs and get rid of stuff we didn't want to keep under a combined house. Then in the summer of 2020, a lavatory feed line burst while I was on vacation and it resulted in requiring major restoration that continues to this day. I'm hoping to have the house on the market by the fall and finally out of my hands. Fortunately, the real estate market here has been strong, and I've had neighbors ask me if I am planning to sell.

 The relationship with my girlfriend has been strong. She has been supportive of me through some dark times, and I have been there for her struggles, too. Sometimes the spectre of discontent lurks in my peripheral consciousness, but I've accumulated enough tools to keep it in check. The filters that see only the negative can sneak in unnoticed, but once I see them there, I can push them out of the way.

My line of work has evolved. Since early 2008, I had been working on developing web applications using a loathed dynamic language that begins with a "P" and JavaScript. When I changed jobs in 2013, I transitioned to different, more respected language that also begins with a "P." By 2016, I had gotten involved with data sciency stuff at my employer and started to learn about machine learning, which propelled me into the startup I'm working at now.

I have slowly started to make and maintain contact with old friends from my college days, including two people with whom I roomed for two years back in my undergraduate days. I might actually show up at my 30-year homecoming this fall if the pandemic isn't too crazy again.

My older daughter graduated from high school in early June and is planning on attending college this fall. She's had some emotional struggles this past year because her birth family reached out to her over social media during the pandemic (long story). While she has met her birth sister and a half-sister a few times to exchange gifts, she has been reluctant to meet with the birth parents.

My younger daughter, who used to have intense bouts of anxiety about missing me in her grade school years has managed to move on. She's had a boyfriend for about two years going. She's entering her junior year of high school and will be taking classes through a local career center toward an associates degree.

More recently, I received word that a high school teacher from my hometown had passed away. I had taken several of my math classes with him and had a high regard for him because it was in high school that I really got bitten by the math bug.

I've debated traveling back to my hometown for the visitation, but I think I will make a donation in his memory to a charity mentioned in his obituary. I feel estranged from my hometown because the area is staunchly conservative, with an emphasis on gun culture. I didn't know his family that well, and I don't have any contact with anyone in town except for my step mom. Moreover, with COVID-19 cases on the rise, I'm not really feeling up for a large gathering, even though I reach full vaccination as of late May.

I may pop in here now and then to write down some things just so I can re-read them and get perspective, but I can't guarantee huge volumes of overanalyizng and agonizing. I don't really want to go back there because when I look back at some of those posts, I don't like what I see. Maybe that's a sign that I've grown? I dunno.