I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions as I tend to be the type of person that really doesn’t differentiate one day from the next. Of course there are the really important ones that are special – my wedding anniversary, birthdays of family and friends, tax due dates and of course trash days. Other than these, every day is pretty much the same for me. Therefore why put together a list of resolutions that I may or may not keep? I find myself doing that naturally throughout the year anyway.However, when the new year does arrive, I like to reflect on the past by recalling good times, bad times, goals that were accomplished, ones that were not, etc, etc. So with that, I give you my list or “retro” resolutions – some of things I accomplished as well as experienced in 2006.
1. Celebrated My 15th Wedding Anniversary
Fifteen years! Seems like yesterday when I was standing on the altar sporting a white tux and a mullet hairdo, saying “I do” to my lovely wife, Irma. Now fifteen years later we are still doing. We’ve hit a few potholes along the way but for the most part, it has been a fantastic journey. I like to think that we have a pretty solid marriage. There are three main reasons for this - we have placed God in the center of our relationship, divorce is not part of our vocabulary and we are best friends. How did we celebrate? This leads me to my second item.
2. Traveled To Hawaii For the First Time
It took me 39 years but I finally made it to Hawaii. Irma, myself and two out of our three children (oldest couldn’t get vacation time) stayed at Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu. We started our ten day stay with some of the touristy things such as Pearl Harbor which is a huge tourist trap. We also attended a Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center which we later found out was run by the Mormons – not that there is anything wrong with that, but I would have rather gone to an authentic Luau run by real Hawaiians rather than Mormon students. The Dole Plantation was another huge tourist trap I wish we would have avoided.
Leaving the touristy places behind, the beach was heavenly bliss. The place we stayed at was a short walk away so we were down there daily. One of the most beautiful spots on the island was the Punchbowl Cemetery which lies in the middle of Puowaina Crater, an extinct volcano. We also drove all over the island exploring its beauty. Two conclusions I came to during our vacation – first, while it is an awesome place to visit, I would never move to Hawaii because it is difficult to drive faster than 50 miles per hour (did I mention that I like fast cars) and secondly, next time me and the wife will go alone. While I enjoyed taking the kids, it is just not that romantic if you know what I mean.
3. Played in a Christian Music Showcase
Those of you that know me in the search marketing world probably aren’t aware that I am a musician and vocalist. In fact I have been playing guitar since 1981 and starting singing towards the end of 1985. For the last 18 years or so I have mostly played in churches. In 2006, some of the musicians at my church and myself threw together a band called Nehemiah’s Project (excuse the lame web page – I didn’t do it). We put the band together so we could enter the American Christina Music Showcase that was held in Arizona in April. It is kind of like American Idol but without all the drama and lasts only two days – a battled of the bands of sorts. A panel of judges select the winners and provide feedback as well. We didn’t win but it sure was a lot of fun.
Our band also played a concert at a local Christian coffee house called Sweet Daddy’s. I unfortunately missed that concert as I was in Hawaii at the time. Although the band is currently on hiatus, I still enjoy playing with these folks on a weekly basis at our church. Being a vocalist and musician is a great passion of mine that I won’t stop doing until I’m either dead or too senile to know the difference between a guitar and a microphone.
4. Played Musical Cars With Teenagers
This is no laughing matter. I went through a total of 5 cars between my two teenagers that are still living at home. My son had a 1968 Mustang which he wrecked, no fault of his own, but rather a mechanics faulty workmanship. We ended up selling that car after it was fixed and getting him a 1998 Mustang. I figured the classic was a bit too much for him so opted for something newer. He ended up rolling that one which was his fault (crazy driving). He came out uninjured. Unfortunately the car did not. After that we thought it best to get him something a bit slower and so his current vehicle is a 1997 Mazda Pickup with a strong, but slow 4 cylinder engine.
The other two cars involve a 1995 Toyota Tercel my daughter had. She started beauty college in 2006 which was about 40 miles from our house. Because the Tercel had a manual transmission and the fact that she is a new driver, we thought it would be wise to sell the Tercel and get her something with an automatic transmission. She now drives a 2000 Nissan Altima. Five cars later and I hope to take a Sabbath this year from buying any more cars.
5. Son Moves Out, One More to Go
While we are on the subject of my children, one more is moving out. Just one to go and me an mama have the house to ourselves! My oldest daughter, who is currently 21, moved out two years ago. Now her brother who is 19 is venturing out on his own. That leaves our baby who is going to be 18 in about a month. This means we now have a guest bedroom that is really a guest bedroom. Prior to my son moving out it was a “guest bedroom / exercise room / music room / play room (when little kids come over) / where all the extra junk is stored.” Now we are shopping for a nice bedroom set so that when guests decide to spend the night, they have a nice place to rest. It can also be useful for my wife to retreat to if her hubby (me) is snoring too loud, or visa versa (going to get in trouble for saying that). My son’s old room is now the “exercise / music / play room” and my wife has finally agreed to sell all the junk in a garage sale. What doesn’t sell will be thrown out. Hallelujah!
What about the youngest? She’ll be with us until she is married which may not be that long as she is a real beauty. We were discussing a matchmaking between her and Neil Patel at SES Chicago but unfortunately she has a steady bo. Sorry Neil.
6. Increased My Roller Coaster Count
While one of my passions is music, another is roller coasters. Wood ones, steel ones, big ones, simple ones, even kiddies – I love them all! After SES in San Jose, Irma and myself snuck up to San Francisco as we normally do each year and in doing so, visited Six Flags Marine Word where I was able to add 5 more to my growing list. I am now up to 88 coasters – 20 wood, 67 steel and 1 steel trough. I am planning a roller coaster trip this summer with my buddy Gig who writes for Park World magazine. We will be hitting the New England area – five parks in five days. I hope to easily surpass the 100 mark. I still have a long way to catch him as I think his count is upwards in the area of 500 or more.
7. Visited Disneyland for the 8th Time
While I consider myself a roller coaster nut, I am even more fanatical about Disneyland. It is one of my favorite places on Earth to be. I am also pretty knowledgeable on Disneyland’s history as well as some of the secrets behind the park and its attractions. I guess that is one of the reasons why I love the place so much.
In October, we combined a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm Halloween Haunt (which my youngest daughter loves) with what would be my 8th trip to Disneyland. In fact I have been back to the park every year since 2003. I plan on going next year as well just as soon as they complete the re-theming of the old Submarine Ride with the Finding Nemo storyline. What is interesting about my love for Disneyland is that I have never been to Walt Disney World in Florida yet. Maybe this year – not a resolution mind you - just thinking out loud.
8. Lost 20 Pounds
South Beach rocks baby! I lost 20 pounds in about 3 weeks right before the SES San Jose conference. Now I could fit into some of those dress clothes that were getting a little snug. It also gave me some room to gain some weight back which is easy to do with ravioli from Original Joes. Unfortunately I’ve gained it all back. I guess I’ll call it my winter coat. I will most likely do the diet thing again before SES New York but I’m not making any promises. It’s the pasta and ice cream that kill me. They are just so good.
9. Switched to ClickTracks and Keyword Discovery, Love Then Both
Okay I’ve got to throw something search related into this seeing that this is a search marketing blog. I had been putting it off, even though I know ClickTracks is one of the best web analytics programs on the market. However I finally gave up the use of WebTrends and we now use the Optimizer version of ClickTracks. It rocks. I love it. Clients love it. Should have switched long ago.
At the same time we subscribed to Keyword Discovery, an awesome keyword research utility from Trellian. I have been telling David Warmuz at every conference I see him at that we were eventually going to switch over to his product instead of using Wordtracker, AdWords Keyword Tool and Overture’s Term Suggestion list. Now I can tell him how much we love it instead of making excuses why we haven’t subscribed yet. I don’t know how we lived without it for so many years.
10. Finally Installed a Real Blog
I’ve been blogging at this site since January 2004 but everything I posted was in a static html environment. We finally implemented Movable Type as our blogging platform and published the first post on February 25th, 2006. Now we have automatic archiving, categories, RSS feeds, comments and much more. It has done wonders for our site, improving both search visibility and traffic tremendously. Plus it is just plain fun. Plans for 2007 include publishing a blog at The Jesus Site, a Christian resource site we own and operate, as well as a personal blog where I can discuss anything that is on my mind.