Monday, January 01, 2007

Like the Phoenix rising...

So here we are at the start of a new year. So much changed for me last year, and I have decided to revive my blog as part of my New Year's resolutions. This isn't as laborious for me as it may seem. I had always wanted to return to blogging, but I felt that other things in my life had to take priority at the time. Now that most of those things are either in the past or have settled down significantly, I feel that I can devote a little time here and there to keep this up. Of course, I don't have grand visions of thousands or even hundreds of people reading whatever mundane things I write. I just want to put something out there. Do what blogging was meant to do, and if a few old friends are able to catch up with me, all the better.

So, here's a brief rundown of what Kari and I have been up to lo these many months:

  1. My dissertation, which was supposed to be finished in time for a May 2006 defense, was delayed due to a problems getting it approved by MSU's internal review board. Those problems were eventually overcome once they got the right idea about the nature of the research.
  2. I finished my internship at the Ingham Regional Medical Center in Lansing, MI in August.
  3. The dissertation, then slated for an August defense, was delayed again for the severe difficulty I had recruiting research participants.
  4. We moved to Baytown in August to live with my parents. Meanwhile, Kari and I began looking for a house.
  5. I began working at the Krist Samaritan Center for Counseling and Education in Houston, TX in September 2006.
  6. My colleagues at the Krist center were invaluable in helping me recruit research participants for the dissertation research.
  7. Kari began working for Lyondell Chemical Company as an Internal Auditor. She took a business trip to Rotterdam, Netherlands after working there for a week. (I was a bit jealous.)
  8. While working on my dissertation one day at my parents' house, I accidentally spilled some soda on my laptop computer. Three days later after the soda had dried, my laptop was fried. Thankfully, I had just backed up my dissertation and lost almost nothing. Best Buy was able to recover most of my other documents, music, video, and pictures too. But I was out a laptop and didn't know how I would continue without one.
  9. Kari and I bought a house in the Clear Lake area of Houston, near NASA. We moved in on September 29, 2006.
  10. A colleague of mine at the Krist Samaritan Center was able to procure an old laptop without an operating system for me to have free. I installed my own OS and it worked. I was back in business and eternally grateful to him. This allowed me to eventually complete the dissertation.
  11. The dissertation, then slated for a November completion and a December defense, was delayed again due to my computer problems and my naivete in estimating how long it would take me to transcribe and code all of the interviews.
  12. Kari got an offer from the benefits accounting office at Lyondell to work for them. After some deliberation, she accepted the offer and began working in the accounting office immediately after Thanksgiving 2006. No more travel is required, although she gets the same pay, benefits and status that she already had. Aidan, Regan and I are happy. Kari's happy too.
  13. The dissertation was finally finished on December 22, 2006. I sent it off to my committee the next day for them to review for a January 19, 2007 defense. I haven't worked on it or my defense since then.

I am really looking forward to the new year for a number of reasons. We now own a house and are fairly settled in for a while. I like my job. The dissertation is largely behind me, and I feel that my life is really going to become more free without that hanging over my head. Of course, I'm sure we'll have our fair share of disappointments and struggles, but I'm very optimistic about the next 365 days. Now, time to begin on the right foot and clean up the house and garage. I'll post some updated pictures to my Flickr site later.


Mary Lou said...

Welcome back to the blogging world. I'm very proud of you for finishing your dissertation. That's huge! You and Kari have done such a good job with family, jobs and this move to Texas.

Kyle said...

Congrats on finishing. Amanda and I are really glad you guys are here now. I've enjoyed seeing those kids and hanging out with y'all more. We need to find some time soon to go out, just the the four of us.

Mike & Kate said...

Hello Martin Fam- glad to hear all is well! It's freezing in the Midwest so we wish we were in Clearlake right now. :)
Talk to you soon- Kate & Mike