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Year end / Year beginning

I always make a post around the end of the year, reflecting on the year I’ve had, or at least setting out plans for the next year. I thought this year was going to be different. 2016 was a year of so much loss and so much pain; what could I possibly say, right?

But that isn’t the only truth. Some wonderful things have happened this year. People have been born. People have been married. People have had professional successes. They deserve room to celebrate those things; so, to write off 2016 as an unending pile of misery feels wrong—just as it would feel wrong not to acknowledge the likelihood that there are some dark times ahead, and good people will need to band together and work hard, to help as many of us get through it all as possible.

I guess I see celebrating where we can as part of that banding together process, or one way of keeping up strength for it, at least. I think we need to take a little time to celebrate with others and also to reflect on what has gone well for each of us, individually.

So, without further ado, here is my own list of 2016 positives, in no particular order:

  • I taught my first semester-long class, which was, incidentally, also my first graduate-level teaching experience (beyond one-shots) and my first online-only class (same). For my first time teaching, especially online, I think I did OK. I have a lot I’ll change, when/if I’m called to do it again, but the lessons learned are part of the positive, here.
  • Eric Phetteplace and I taught a Command Line Bootcamp at Code4Lib. It was really well received, and multiple people have made use of our template to run their own workshops, since then. (If you’re offered the opportunity to work with Eric on something, say yes.)
  • Dale and I celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary and agreed to stay married. 🙂
  • We are settling into life in Pittsburgh and enjoying getting reacquainted with our long-time friends and our city after half a decade apart—and meeting new friends, as well! In 2017 I want to be more deliberate about spending time with friends and letting them know they are appreciated; spending time with good people is a source of tremendous joy for me.
  • Dale and I moved into a house that has insulation in the bathroom and flooring in every room. (2015 was a rough year, too, OK?) Our landlord is conscientious, which is a rare thing.
  • I found out that a project I worked on in 2006-2008 (and cared about deeply) is finally being built.
  • Dale and I got to visit some friends we had met in Alaska, but who moved “back east” (to Michigan, so … still west of here) before we did. I was so glad to have the chance to see them again! And Michigan—at least the part we spent time in—is really underrated. It was perfect, the whole visit.
  • We also got to see an old Pittsburgh friend who had moved to Chicago, on the same trip west. It was delightful to see him and nice to see the city from a local’s perspective.
  • An Alaskan friend also came to stay with us for a week (sadly, it was before we moved out of the awful house, but this guy is pretty chill). It was fun to hang out with him, and I liked being a tour guide for a non-local.
  • I got to see the world’s largest rubber duck in person! (This one is bigger than the one that spent time in Pittsburgh a couple of years ago.)
  • I met a baby sloth, got a selfie with him, and got to ask questions of his handler.
  • I also got to eat brunch with some owls. I mean, the owls were on the outskirts, not right in amongst the eating area (silly Health Department rules… or distrust of the owls’ self control around food), but they were there. There was lots of opportunity for questions and for photos.
  • Dale got a D&D game started up, and I’m playing in it. We also got to play in several one-shot tabletop games, all of which were enjoyable. I’d like to do more of that in 2017.
  • I kicked the caffeine habit, probably for good this time. (It was harder to do in Alaska. I spent all of winter and most of the summer fighting exhaustion. Here, it’s more manageable.) I still love coffee; I just drink the placebo (decaf) version, now.
  • I finally made it to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Science Center. It only took my third time living here.
  • I got a waffle iron and some good gluten-free waffle mix (Kodiak brand, good stuff).
  • I also finally got myself a pair of fountain pens and some beautiful ink. The pens are inexpensive (a necessity, since I don’t have good enough writing to justify an expensive pen), and they feel excellent to write with. It’s a simple pleasure, but a real one.

These aren’t mine; they belong to other people. But their happiness made me happy enough that it bears mentioning:

  • Dale got to hire his first direct report!
  • Several friends got married this year, and I am really happy to see them happy!
  • Dale and I have a new nibling (gender-neutral term for a sibling’s child) as of this year!

I spent most of a previous post talking in detail about a subset of my plans for next year, so I won’t spend much time/space on that in this post. Briefly, my goals are to get out of consulting and into a development job in Pittsburgh or remotely, go to the gym three times a week, do my prescribed stretches every day, make a habit of calling my representatives, and eat more vegetables. (“More” is a bit amorphous, as goals go, I know. I eat vegetables now, but more would probably be better. I think most people are in that boat.) I also plan to go to Code for Pittsburgh events and Girl Develop It code & coffee nights—and hopefully serve as a TA for GDI classes, now and then, too.

Banner image (could be a sunrise, could be a sunset ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) courtesy of user prunkova at Pixabay

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