In some ways, the day after a legislative session feels like New Years Day - if it only happened every 18 months. It's time to move back to Houston. It's time to see if my dog being house-trained is a fluke or not and it's time to flesh out the home with a few more items that were put off until I had a fresh 18-month clock to enjoy them (namely, a big fat recliner that I can occasionally fall asleep in with my hound dog). The session also takes me out of my weekly volunteer routine at church, although I do manage to get back for random weekends. Hopefully they'll have me back on a regular basis in a few weeks.
So, in addition to taking a proper vacation for the first time in over a decade, I thought I'd take the time to list a few more things I'm hoping to accomplish over the next 18 months:
Reading: If I really wanted to get nerdy about things, I could chart my life by the amount of reading I get done to the amount of driving I do. It's a perfectly inverse relationship: whenever I had a car and a long commute, I got very little reading done. Whenever I relied on a METRO pass to and fro, I got a jack-ton of reading done. Currently, there's a car and a short work commute (and the occasional urge to go shopping some place further than my local Fiesta). I may need to dust off the library card, sort through the Kindle, and carve out some time. But these are all doable things. Around the time of my move last year, the plan was to add a basset hound to the equation and I knew that would also suck up some free time. It did, but the training is now paying off. Elsie still needs play time from me, but I no longer have to spend an insane amount of time patrolling a very small apartment for things she's chewed up or pooped on. Bottom line: I can no longer state a good reason for why I'm not going through at least one book every two weeks given all of my time constraints. I think this will just take some will-power to get back into the habit. I'm off to an abysmal start with the first two assignments, but proper shaming can wait until I'm back to having a 3 minute commute to work.
Writing: Yes, the blog and Almanac both need some pixels typed into them. But I'm actually thinking something more like this from a habit I developed somewhere around 2009-10:
Seems that there used to be a project promoted by a church I listen to via podcast that involved a group of people devoted to transcribing books of the Bible. I gave this a shot on my own at the time and it was rewarding in a lot of different ways. I seem to have maintained a habit of collecting composition books with the intention of doing this again ... without actually starting up again with the writing. So this gets added to the list of things to get back in gear with.
Recording: Tops on the "big expense" items that I've held off on until the Lege wrapped up is an upgrade of recording gear and a few new additions to the guitar gear. I've wanted to take a few ideas that I've recorded and flesh them out into fuller songs. Technically, there's nothing stopping me from doing that with the equipment I already have. But the biggest impediment I currently have is the memory limitation on my 8-track recorder. It seems that the type of SD card it takes is limited and behind the times. If I wanted to stock up on 2GB cards, I'd be spending a small fortune to overpay for the privilege. And importing/exporting is a chore. So I'm upgrading that bit of hardware and creating a setup that lets me record a mic'd up amplifier rather than the more limiting tone of a direct line into the recorder (essentially the difference of hearing your guitar emulate something closer to a motorcycle rather than a bunch of angry bees). The amplifier and recording device are the easy decisions. The harder decision seems to be the microphones (what kind and how to use them properly) as well as the fine art of re-amping. I'm looking forward to it, though. There may be some unloading of guitar gear that I currently have in stock just to offset the crazy expense of new equipment that far exceeds the skill and talent I have to play and compose music.
More trips to the dog park: Elsie has long since made her proper introductions at the Danny Jackson Dog Park on Westpark. But her time there was bracketed by virtue of her young age and being in heat shortly before we left for Austin. So we've probably only managed to visit the place a handful of times last year. Little Elsie is now accustomed to a big backyard and a larger dog that she shares our Austin home with. I think we're going to have to work in multiple trips to the park per week to compensate for her more isolated home life in Houston. The time commitment for a leash-free romp in the park is the least of my concerns. The need to bathe Elsie after each trip is the biggest issue.
That's a sizable enough list of things that I'd hate to admit defeat over. With some amount of effort, there will be snippets and reviews from the reading list, music samples, cute puppy pictures from the dog park, and maybe some weekend posts updating the writing project. If not ... who knows. Maybe just pictures of me and Elsie zonked out on the recliner.