December 12, 2012: Happy Holidays

This post was adapted from our 2012 holiday letter. I did not keep a blog this year, though many of the highlights are noted below.

gingerbread display, Hawaii 2006 (c) Dr. Jane Bluestein

Greetings from Albuquerque, where it just got cold after an unusually warm fall and early winter. We hope that 2012 has been a good year for you.

This year, we’re leaning toward a more eco-friendly approach to holiday connections, more electronic than paper and snail-mail. Competing projects were among the factors that made this a somewhat easy call for me—this despite years of making my own cards (and at times, my own paper). But the holidays are a time for reflection and gratitude for the people in our lives, and an opportunity to stay in touch, so this tradition still has a great deal of meaning for us. I hope this message will convey this intention. 

2012 offered me a bit of a shift in the rhythm of my work life, a bit of a sabbatical during which I was able to finally get a few new projects off the ground. This past spring saw the first of my monthly newsletter, something I’ve been wanting to do for more than a decade and finally, this year, had the technology, support, and time to pull this off. 

I have continued the Spectrum Podcast project I started in mid-2011 and now have nearly two dozen really great shows available. I’m fortunate to know (and have met) some really talented people, and their contributions to this project make these programs truly outstanding resources for parents and teachers.

In addition, I spent most of the past 7 or 8 months building a new version of my website. After 15 years of maintaining various versions of this site with more traditional (HTML) methods, I recently switched to something called WordPress, which put me on a steep learning curve and forced me to concede the need to hire someone to help with the heavy lifting to build the framework I could use to actually create the site. 

For those of you know know me as someone who occasionally struggles with the idea of knitting with wool from sheep I did not actually raise myself, letting go of such a big part of this process was a major challenge for me. (I do occasionally have to work under the hood and am grateful for the bits of code I learned along the way, much of which is still useful here.)

That said, I’m a little surprised at how OK I am to have finally launched this site with as superficial an understanding of the underlying mechanics and code. Whether a sign of maturity or exhaustion, I’ve decided to focus on my strong sui—creating content for the site, rather than learning the programming necessary to build the site in a different platform from scratch. 

I’m really happy to have a bunch of features on this new site that I hadn’t been able to offer until now. The site is live with about half of the nearly 700 pages that was on the old site, I am working on getting the rest of the content up on the new site a bit at a time.

Jerry has been enjoying year two of retirement, a logical step after the economy slowed down. He still fills orders that come in and handles payables and receivables, but officially has been promoted from “business manager” to “helpful spouse.” Hey, it works. 

He accompanied me on another MacMania Geek Cruise in April, starting with four days in Amsterdam followed by a week on a Rhine River cruise with Mac classes and lots of really cool tours. The cruise ended in Basel, and after a day in Switzerland, we headed to southern France for the next 12 days, much of that time visiting my sister and her husband there. It was a truly amazing trip. At some point I will get my photos sorted and displayed, although I’ve still got photos from two previous trips to do, so this could take a while.

I was back in France in July, this time taking my mom to visit my sister. So although my work-related travel was relatively light, I still managed to get my miles in this year. I love these opportunities to see the world and it doesn’t take long for my feet to start getting itchy for another journey. A road trip to Taos with my book group buddies on a gorgeous October weekend certainly helped. At the same time, I always appreciate and enjoy my time at home. Always a little strange being pulled by competing desires.

I haven’t done much in the way of writing this year other than a few blog pieces and forewords for books by two colleagues. Career plans for 2013 are a little fuzzy right now.

A recent job in Seattle reminded me how much I enjoy presenting, so I hope to keep the mix of speaking, podcasting, writing, and product development going for a while. 

Not much else happening. I’ve been a bit consumed by this website and am only recently starting to come up for air. I still go to Zumba several times a week and have hit the beginning Yoga class a few times in between. I have unfinished stained glass, bead, clay, and knitting projects I’d love to get back to at some point, but am happy to just work on these things as I can. All is well.

I so appreciate being in touch with family, friends, and colleagues. I spend an awful lot of time answering email and have been pretty active on Facebook—an easy way to connect, actually. 

Once again, we hope that this has been an outstanding year for you and yours. Sending holiday greetings, love, and best wishes for an even better 2013. May our paths continue to cross—in person, on paper, or in cyberspace.

© 2012, Dr. Jane Bluestein

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