2011 Year-End Review

What to say about 2011?

Stacy and Steve at Marisa's weddingThings didn’t quite work out as I expected a year ago.

I didn’t finish the novel I mentioned. But I did write nine pretty good chapters.

I didn’t finish the Educational Psychology Masters degree last spring as I intended. But I’m only two courses short and unless something unforeseen occurs, I should graduate in May.

I didn’t anticipate that WordPress was going to preoccupy a good portion of the year. I started the fictional memoirs of Annie Armstrong as a blog (the aforementioned nine chapters). I re-designed my personal site (this one, stevestockdale.com) and migrated it to the WordPress blogging/website platform. I also redesigned my DiscernThis! blog and gave my ThisIsNotThat.com a bit of a facelift. I did some other work in WordPress explained below.

I also didn’t anticipate knee surgery, or a 48-hour fear that I had suffered a retinal tear.  The knee has healed nicely and the eye is okay, if your “okay” is calibrated to include intermittent floaters moving in and out of your field of view.

Mine is. Now.

We Are New Mexico insertI anticipated, but didn’t fully appreciate, how much time I would devote to issues related to the union contract negotiations between the Santa Fe hospital, CHRISTUS St. Vincent, and the nurses and technicians union. Given my negative opinion of the hospital, I didn’t have any trouble finding reasons to criticize the hospital’s paternalistic, autocratic, and authoritarian handling of the union contract negotiations. Not that I didn’t also criticize the union, but they (the union) thought enough of what I was able to do through my blog that they thanked me in a special post-negotiations newspaper insert.

Stacy came out for a few days in August to coincide with the wedding of our mutual friends Marisa and Aaron. I went to Dallas in March to help her move into her first “on her own” apartment, a really cool loft conversion in an old downtown Santa Fe railroad terminal building. And after a short trip to Tulsa to visit my dad and his wife Juanise, I returned to Dallas in November to take advantage of a gift certificate she won for two nights in the Aloft Hotel across the street from her place (also in a former Santa Fe railroad building). At which time I got to meet the new man in her life, Chris.

The second night I was there was the night of the 5.8 earthquake centered near Oklahoma City. I was on the hotel’s third floor and, in the words of Carole King, “I felt the earth move under my feet.” Seriously strange feeling.

I suppose a general theme of the year was learning. I guess my challenge for the coming year is to figure out how to take advantage of that learning and apply it to something productive … like a job.

Here’s a summary of some of the things I spent my time on in 2011.

Writing

The first nine chapters of Annie Armstrong’s fictional memoirs, written as her blog, are posted here. Thanks to my friend Lana for giving voice to Annie and recording these chapters for those who’d rather listen than read. I also made a video to accompany her reading of Chapter 1, The Cerro Grande Fire.

8 Passages for Uncertain Career Journeys” was published in the Journal for Career Planning and Adult Development that was distributed last January. This journal issue was edited by my friend and mentor Helen Harkness.

I contributed an essay titled “Suspended in Stereotypes” for the Reader on Race, Gender and Other Minorities, compiled and edited by former colleagues at the Schieffer School of Journalism at TCU in Fort Worth, due for publication in early 2012.

Some academic attempts:

During the summer I started blogging for a new website, SantaFe.com. For a variety of reasons, I wasn’t totally into this outlet, but I wrote a few things I’m proud of under my blog name, “From Here to Discernity.”

Videos

  • I had a brain MRI in 2010. For reasons known only to that brain, I created two videos with different musical accompaniment choices to display the MRI images.
  • What Difference Does it Make?” — Rather than give the expected Powerpoint for my final presentation in my Biological Bases of Behavior course, I made this video. It’s about brains.  Here’s the paper that accompanied the video.
  • Partially due to one of my UNM courses, I made this little video for “Visualizing America’s Manifest Destiny.”
  • The Only Game in Town” — An attempt to summarize issues related to CHRISTUS St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe.
  • The Local Community Hospital Game” — In the CHRISTUS Health system, there is no such thing as a “loal community hospital.”
  • Different Shades of Cool” — Just because I felt like it one day when I woke up, this includes short clips of 20 different live performances that, to me, exemplify “different shades of cool.”
  • Last March I attended a press conference at the old Albuquerque Railyards at which grand new redevelopment plans were announced. I was inspired to create this video to commemorate it. So far as I know, nothing has progressed on the project in the last ten months.

Websites

For a couple of months last summer, I thought I was going to be working with a friend to do website design based on WordPress. That didn’t work out. But I’ve continued to work in WordPress as I’ve found it a useful framework for organizing information.

In addition to my SteveStockdale.com and DiscernThis! sites I’ve already mentioned, I created two others recently.

Ndividuate Yourself is a site that contains a well-written (natch!) endorsement of WordPress and a soup-to-nuts tutorial for how to setup  and use WordPress that’s targeted specifically (and exclusively) to beginners. My presumption is that if you have a Facebook page, know how to upload photos to a site, have ever bought anything online, and know how to use a word processor, you have the skills required to create and manage your own website with WordPress.

In addition to the well-written (natch!) tutorial, I’ve created more than 20 videos that supplement the written articles as an actual website is created through the lessons.

I also decided, after discussions with one of the Santa Fe County Commissioners, to create a new site for the community to exchange information CHRISTUS St. Vincent Hospital. I migrated “The CHRISTUS Files” from my Discern This! blog and created The Accountable to Santa Fe Network at www.A2SF.net. It’s intended to become a multisite network with online discussion forum. We’ll see how it evolves – I start promoting it tomorrow. The timing is good as the current scandal involves a $3M embezzlement by a former Chief Operating Officer whose named accomplice is the current “significant other” of former Albuquerque mayor Martin Chavez, who happens to be running for one of the three New Mexico congressional seats.

So we’ll see what happens this year. There’s a good chance I’ll be moving again. Might as well get started … where’s that editable resume?