As 2010 comes to an end, it is a time to reflect on the past year. It has been a year of highs and lows in my family, but overall we have been fortunate.

This was the year that my grandma died at age 87, and that event brought all of her children to Victoria to attend her funeral and reconnect with each other. Unfortunately it was also the year that decisions had to be made about her estate, and those decisions divided the family – perhaps permanently. Over the years grandma had promised her entire estate to several of her children. In the end her children each got a portion of her estate, and the lawyers on all sides ended up with a lot of it. (I am not criticizing them – they did a lot of work on this estate and have earned the money. I just wish the family could have come to an agreement on their own, but it wasn't to be). I think back to the days when I was young and the family was close, and feel a little saddened that it will never be that way again.

This was also the year that my old friend Goldie passed away. He was a little cockatiel that was left unwanted back in 1987, and was going to be put down for lack of a home. My dad felt sorry for the little guy and brought him home, and Goldie immediately became part of the family. He would sit in the middle of our living room and watch TV with us, he came on every vacation we took (and really enjoyed being on Hornby Island where he could talk to the wild birds). When my dad had a stroke, Goldie was there as a constant comfort to him. Considering that he was supposed to be euthanized in 1987, and that the average lifespan of a cockatiel would have had him gone by the end of the 1990s, he managed to outlive my dad and make it to age 28. Considering that the record lifespan is only about 30, old Goldie didn't do too bad. We will always remember him, and the joy he brought to our lives.

This was the first full year that I haven't been a fulltime student, although I couldn't ween myself of learning entirely. I completed courses on everything from advanced semiconductor theory to artificial intelligence programming to advanced graph theory to quantum computing and medical physics – and many other courses that I am sure I will remember later. This was the year when I finally rewrote my popular series of fractal screensavers after postponing it for too many years. This was also the year when I wrote some (I think) interesting articles on mathematics and high-energy physics, even if other commitments delayed me from publishing yet (look for them in the new year if nothing else delays me)

This was also the year that my neighbour renovated his home to include a suite, and got a tenant who is questionable to say the least. Never before have I had people walking past my windows at two A.M and then staggering and falling back to their cars moments later. I have no idea what they are using that suite for, but the steady stream of clients at that hour gives me some ideas! For the first time in sixty years that house is more of a threat than a comfort.

This was the year that saw my photography sales start to really climb, and my artwork becomea line of greeting cards and other giftware. This was the year that hard copies of my dictionarystarted selling well enough to earn me a decent income. This was the year when my academic friends and colleagues started their own consulting company, Lonrach R&T, and directed some interesting projects my way – including designing a website and email servers for them. I am eager to see what new research projects they provide me in the coming year!

This has been a year of ups and downs and highs and lows, but overall I have been very fortunate so far. I hope that one year from now I can still say that, and that I will have made further progress in my life and my ongoing education.

To all of you who read my ramblings, may you have a very happy and productive new year!