Most people say that the secret of happiness is being thankful. So here goes…

Thank you Rioja (Crianza and Reserva). Thank you Cava ( Brut and semi-Brut). Thank you Leffe, Moritz, Coronita, Heineken, and San Miguel. Thank you for keeping me sane. Yes, I am sane when I´m a little intoxicated. It´s a fact of my life.

4+1. That´s the summary of my career last year. 4 academic papers published and 1 to be published this year. It could have been 5 had it not been for the reviewer who rejected it because he is from an industrial company whose sales will plummet with our very simple solution. (OK fine! I´m guessing.) That´s real conflict of interest I ran into. At least, we will have it published somewhere where the impact factor is still relatively high for our field.

It can also be 4 experimental papers and 1 theoretical paper. Yeah theory. Enough said. But that 4 experimental papers is as varied as you can get. Think 4 experimental setups. Without divulging anything, it´s like changing your clothes every 30 minutes. It is as chaotic in the brain as you can get (at least in my brain). Good thing I have the best colleagues. We may not agree on how to write the paper or what colors the data points should be but at the end of the day, we make it work and we really make a good team. So yeah, thank you! I wouldn´t have survived changing clothes without you.  

Or 4 academic articles and 1 reply to comments which I treat as an article. Just for the heck of it? No. That article went to peer-review also. And writing that reply is far more nerve wracking than actually writing a fresh article. Not to mention that it is really hard to remember what you wrote a year ago sometimes. wink wink.

Baby. On a personal note, the wife and I started thinking about having a baby last year. “Thinking about having” is NOT “trying to have” just to be clear. I was thinking in the line of “oohs” and “aahs” and “yes! yes! yeeees!” but the the wife was thinking of adopting. Talk about diverging thoughts.

We are the masters of family planning (er not having a family?). We could be THE poster couple of family planning (not having a family?).  We celebrated 8 years of married life last year (didn´t we?) and we just once had a pregnancy scare. That happened a few months after the wedding. After that, nothing. We have a fool proof, scientifically-tested way to not have babies. I bet you there are sooo many ways.

So I gave her a bouquet of flowers for our 8th year anniversary.  She gave me a flying kiss (or maybe not, I have a bad memory). Yup, because she might not be able to resist me had she given me a real kiss. That´s how irresistible I am. We know that we are “thinking about having” and are not actually “trying to have” a baby, right? It´s just illogical “to have” before “thinking to have.” It is just not right!

I am thankful that we are finally having this conversation.

Ok, the 4 paragraphs above will be the last time I´ll talk about personal stuff between me and the wife.

Sober. There was a day just recently when I was forced to be sober. That´s when Ate Leah died. It went too fast. Early this year she was diagnosed with cancer. A few months ago, she started to come out of her treatment as though she´ll survive. Then the news that she was in ICU and she just rested…forever.

Until now I still feel numbed. I can face death wholeheartedly. Dying is part of living. But I am still fighting the inconsistencies of feeling this way and the very logic of “we live, we die.”

I try to be as logical as possible. I cannot help it. I earn, I live and I eat because I can observe and reason.

But there are so many things that even I couldn´t understand.

Phrases like “Thank you”, “I´m sorry”, “I miss you”, and “I love you” do not cost a thing, they are the hardest to say and yet they also mean the most.

So here goes for the new year:

Thank you.

I´m really sorry.

I miss you already.

I love you very much.

There. I said them. I am truly grateful for what I have. That will surely make me happy I hope.

And this spaghetti sauce really sucks. Thanks to me, by the way.

Give me that Rioja!