If you're new to Kind Acts of Randomness, or just haven't figured it out yet, a lot of my life can be characterized by "Meh...close enough (shrug)". If I ever write a memoir, that may even be the title. Chances are, I'll just copy and paste everything I've posted here, rearrange a few things, and call it a day.

I can hear it now: "Come meet Dave -- author of New York Times Worstseller 'Meh...Close Enough (shrug)' live and in person at suchandsuch store!"

All of that is a long way of introducing the fact that, true to form, I'm calling 2017 over and done with a couple days early. Close enough. Shrug.

I was thinking back on the year and trying to figure out if it stood out from the other few dozen I've gone through. I went back through my photos and journals-of-sorts and, to my surprise, realized that this was quietly a pretty fascinating year.

It's no surprise that 2017 started with me hating winter and steeped in the season's blues. A post called "Soldier On." pretty much sums it up.

In February, we adopted a betta fish named Blood. It's nothing short of a miracle that Blood has made it to the end of 2017. In fact, Blood did pretty well, surviving a few months in a tiny glass bowl with tap water, then graduating to a real 5-gallon aquarium. This all isn't very interesting except I want to mark the occasion because both Maggie and I became kind of fond of tending to a fish/aquarium, and Blood especially. I think we might both enjoy having more fish down the road and 2017 is where it all started.

March marked my 3rd and final time chaperoning the Cedar Park 5th graders at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center. This is always a hoot -- if you're new to the blog, go back to the March 2017 posts for the fun.

As we historically have done at that time of year, we packed the van and headed south to Georgia and Florida for March break. If you aren't aware, click "Photo Albums" at the upper-right of the page and go see what that fun is all about.

2018 will be interesting -- for the first time in a long time, we won't be going south; rather, we'll be out to New York and Boston in March to tour schools for Jack. I know it will be great in its own right, but my heart is a little broken over not being able to get to my Happy Place this year.

We marked the end of the kids' careers at our beloved Cedar Park STEM school in Apple Valley. It was a sad time -- they loved and cared for our kids well. The shot below is from August 2007, when the Cedar Park journey was just beginning.

We also marked a 70th birthday in the family. Not a bad impromptu portrait of this part of the family tree, if I do say so myself. Birthday Girl, Dee, is 2nd from the left. She's responsible for a lot of this madness.

When I was looking back at the year, it kind of smacked me square across the grill that when the year started, we had a grade school kid, middle school kid, and one that was half-way through his sophomore year. Now we drop off two at the high school in the mornings -- one who has one foot out the door to college -- and Maggie at middle school.

That's where, looking back, this was a year of really amazing change.

But before all of that started, we hit the road one more time out to Colorado for some camping, colleges, and family.

Yes...we tried to recreate the August 2007 pic in the same spot (and with Maggie's famous squinty-face smile) 10 years later. Like I said: Meh...close enough. Still a cherished photo.

Late summer/early fall was a time to get back to work. We mountain biked a lot. Jack was the fastest. I may or may not have crashed twice on the same ride.

One thing I never could have predicted at this time last year was that I would end up in the Florida Keys doing disaster relief work. It was something I will never forget, but especially memorable will be the power of nature across hundreds of miles, and the incredible people I got to meet.

I already know this is going to be an interesting year ahead. It starts of with the transition to a new job right after the 1st, and continued "settling in" at a part-time job in the evenings. At this time next year, Jack's college applications will be submitted and we'll start to have an idea of where he'll launch his adult life. There will be driving and dating and finances and bad habits and good habits and all sorts of things I could never predict.

And, oh yeah, a cute couple will be celebrating their 20th...yeah 20th....anniversary. Wow!

Enjoy some more images from the year below.

Blessings to all of you -- all of us -- in 2018.

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