Happy (belated) 2018!

So, I kind of missed my annual/placeholder Happy New Year post this time around…

And really, that’s the kind of year 2017 turned out to be. Not catastrophic (friends, family, and pets were healthy and happy, for the most part, and we were spared the devastation so many faced and are still facing as a result of Hurricane Harvey flooding), but also not the greatest year on record, and nothing quite on time or completely as expected (like, say, 50 inches of rain over a couple of days — NOT COMPLETELY AS EXPECTED). Mixed bag. That was definitely 2017.

Some positives:

  • As noted, friends, family, and pets were mostly healthy and happy this year. When you hit a certain age, that’s a pretty big win.
  • While the travel hacking game doesn’t have quite as many big “wins” as it once did, there are still some fantastic bargains out there to see the world (even if it’s not as easy to do it in style on the cheap as it once was). We had some good trips.
  • The Weber Smokey Mountain makes some SERIOUSLY GOOD barbecue (and it’s nice of Russell Roegels of Roegels BBQ, whose brisket and pork belly are my Texas BBQ standards, to offer pointers to us home smokers). How did I manage before acquiring one of these bad boys? Nothing like doing a pulled pork or brisket or prime rib EXACTLY as you like it (low and slow, basic salt and pepper rub, with a bit of pecan or apple or cherry wood to provide just the right smoke profile, depending on the meat). I know the Green Egg has its fans, but being the fan of VALUE that I am, I think the WSM is hard to beat.
  • Speaking of value… in 2017, I finally came to see (embraced, really) the wisdom of dividend growth investing. I was never a good stock speculator, and have totally come around to the Buffet/value approach as I get older (or more specifically, the Geraldine Weiss/Kelley Wright approach to blue chip value). In any case, people need to be doing something beyond passbook savings accounts (yikes).
  • I managed to get in good gym time, which has become my recurring splurge (the Lifetime Galleria Tennis facility is not cheap, but it’s also not disgusting, and as I get older, I find that I have no interest in going to gyms that attract disreputable people and aren’t maintained/cleaned. Hey, it’s not a “value” membership if I never go because it’s not usable, right?).
  • Tomatoes… a banner crop from the raised beds in 2017. No small thing to produce good tomatoes in Houston. 🙂 Thanks to Southwest Fertilizer (excellent Parks Whopper plants) and the University of Florida’s Klee Research Lab (Garden Treasure and their New Hybrid for the win). It’s just about time to get some seeds started for this year’s effort…

Some negatives:

  • I always start the year thinking, “I’ll blog more — I have the itch” and that just tends not to happen. I do have a new project on tap that should have gotten off the ground last year, but didn’t. Life intruded. But 2018 for sure! And maybe a few more posts here? (yeah, I know…). In the meantime, I do link/annotate quite a few things here on shaarli, which show up in various sidebars and on facebook.
  • Float Trip got cancelled (and not rescheduled) for various reasons. The principal organizers need to settle on getting this going again in 2018. It’s really good to have a regular, annual “thing” that friends and family can look to.
  • Quality social time declined in general, year on year. For whatever reason, we just wound up hosting fewer things in 2017 (probably related to the aftermath of the hurricane — even though we weren’t flooded, that experience just weighed on the whole city). Gotta work on that for 2018. Friends and family are important.
  • We’re behind on so many home improvement projects… (that’s my way of trying to kick myself into gear on some of them for THIS year).

Happy 2018, everyone. Hope to see ya around.