Saturday, December 31, 2011

As another year ends...Reflections from Aloha Kugs

Well, 2011 has been a year. Some of it good. Some of it not, but say whatever else you want about it, 2011 has been a year.

And along comes another. I’ve not posted as much in this space as I had hoped this year, but hope that what I’ve posted has been worth your time to read. Thank you as always for your kind support and indulgence.

So what has this year been all about? In no particular order, I share the following observations on the year:

Starting it off with an anger management lesson courtesy of a broken hand was pretty rough as far as beginnings go. This summer’s “unpleasant incident” that led to a nifty ride in an ambulance was another banner moment, but we have persevered. Therapy helps.

We started the year not understanding what our Asperger’s child’s issues were (Our first theory was hypoglycemia-what a difference a year makes…). We end it with a far more understanding and sensitivity. I’ll touch on this more shortly.

I started the year with huge aspirations of selling my novel, of which I remain quite proud, and end it having shelved it and all other publishing dreams, save of course this ‘lil blog. Lucky us, I know…

My Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, and Buckeyes failed to win championships.

The twins have done Taekwondo for a year. Broke a few boards along the way too. They’ve played two seasons of soccer and the Boyo played Rugby. They do well at school. The Boyo is among the top readers in first grade and the Girl was called “A dream child” by her teacher. They have both been featured in the school art gallery.

The Bear played T-ball, more or less, and has turned into a seriously good artist. She does well in school and gives excellent full speed hugs. When she’s not screaming her head off, she’s a genuinely fun and funny kid. Baby Ruff-Ruff has had a year filled with adventures as well.

The Muppets came back! Now bring back “The Muppet Show!”

I single-handedly did two plumbing repairs that would have likely cost us about $200 each to have a pro complete. And to date, they appear to be working.

CM Punk and Daniel Bryan (“American Dragon” Brian Danielson) are both World Champions.

I lost weight and chopped off my long hair. Then I gained some back and my hair is long again. Both will be addressed in the New Year.

My Emmy-award winning sister just won another award. She’d want me to mention that.

REM broke up.

My wife still likes me.

Clarence Clemons, Patrice O’Neal, Hubert Sumlin, Bill Keane, Joe Frazier, Randy Savage, and Pinetop Perkins all died. Other people did too. Clarence and Patrice passing were particularly disheartening.

I believe I saw seven movies in an actual movie theater. Best of them was Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” Great movie. Honorable mention goes to “The Muppets,” “The Descendants,” and the final installment of the “Harry Potter” series.

We watched a lot of DVD’s, as we have children and are old, and that’s what you’re supposed to do since you can’t ever leave the house. Off the top of my head I remember enjoying Woo classmate Duncan Jones’ “Source Code” and “Horrible Bosses” had a few yucks.

Was a very solid year for TV in the Aloha Kugs home. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was an answer to prayer. I also enjoyed “Boardwalk Empire.” AMC’s “Walking Dead” was great as well, and I’m not really a zombie guy. FX series “Louie,” “Wilfred,” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” were tremendous, and I’m excited that there is a network out there that is allowing creative people to be funny. I haven’t seen “Breaking Bad” yet, so don’t yell at me… Doctor Who and Merlin get a nod as well from the BBC.

I read a ton this year. Notable highlights: “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. Although it’s not a new book, “World War Z” by Max Brooks was transcendently good. I also enjoyed Martin’s “A Dance with Dragons” (took you long enough George…), and Rothfuss’ “The Wise Man’s Fear.” I inhaled the “Hunger Games” series and made headway towards finally finishing the History of the Yuengling family.

Didn’t buy a ton of music this year, as it costs money, but The Decemberists “The King is Dead” is probably my favorite for the year. Honorable mention to the new Coldplay and last year’s Mumford & Sons, which I was late getting to. Have an ITunes card burning a hole in my pocket though…

So, in all, it’s been a year. What does 2012 have to offer? Hell if I know, but I imagine we will face many of the same challenges and questions we faced this year. We will learn more about Asperger’s and apply it to making the life of our family more positive and productive. I won’t discuss the incident from Thanksgiving here, because I don’t want to, but it was rough and resulted in a 7 hour drive home in the middle of the night. We survived and continue to learn how to cope.

Will I go to work? I don’t know. I don’t really want to wait tables again, though I think I could bartend in the right circumstance. I may look into those tutoring places. A little extra cash is always helpful, but not sure what I’ll be able to do before the Bear starts Kindergarten in the fall. I think I’ve covered this question pretty well here this year, but it will likely continue to be a topic for discussion in the future.

I have a whole pile of unfinished columns for this space that I shelved for a variety of reasons. Some were too personal involving members of my extended family. Some of them just stopped being interesting as I wrote them. Others just stunk. I may revisit some of them but my hope is to have new and interesting things to say in 2012.

In the end, it has been a year and I enter 2012 much as I entered 2011: uncertain what the future holds for us, but hopeful just the same. In that spirit, I wish you and yours a Hau’oli Makahiki Hou with much Aloha.