When I even start to think, “nothing exciting happened this year,” I just remember where I was this time last year, because this was a big one: even without the more minor stuff, I moved twice and took two trips to Latin America, so it couldn’t have been that dull. Things were set in motion last December when Erin was accepted into gSchool and we started making plans to move to Denver.
- Flew out to Denver for a couple days to find an apartment and buy a car.
- Moved away from DC, after living there for seven years. I spent three days driving a Uhaul almost-cross-country by myself, since Erin was in Michigan to attend a funeral.
- After unpacking the entire apartment (hey, I had to work, and she had a week or two off), Erin started the six-month gSchool class to become a Ruby on Rails developer.
- I started actaully learning Objective-C and Cocoa after fiddling with it a few times over the past several years.
- Spent a couple days meeting with a client near San Jose, and met up with Ryan and Kat while I was there.
- Spent a week in Tampa with the Lullabot client services department for our retreat.
- Went home to Buffalo to meet my brand-new niece, Mackenzie.
- Hiked the Eldorado Canyon Trail, which was by far my favorite of the hikes I did in Colorado.
- Attended iOS Dev Camp in Colorado Springs
- Attended Drupalcon in Portland, and spent a couple days hanging out in the city beforehand.
- Attended DrupalCamp Colorado in Boulder.
- Hosted a Beer & Bacon BBQ, which was just as great as it sounds.
- Spent a day at the Colorado Irish Festival and finally saw what hurling looks like. No, the other kind of hurling. Did NOT see Gaelic Storm because I got too much sun on the first day and was too wiped to go back for more (you’d think an Irish festival would be equipped with sunscreen dispensers the way most have Purell near the porta johns).
- Erin finished gSchool and accepted a position at Table XI in Chicago. While I was in Portland on business, she went to Chicago with her dad to find an apartment, and took the dog (Lola) to stay with her folks while we traveled and moved. Said goodbye to another city.
- Rented a Harley Davidson and spent the day riding around the mountains, to take advantage of one of my last weekends in Colorado.
- Went to Chile for a week to attend Sarah and Rod’s wedding, and spent two days with them in Valparaíso.
- Took the cog railwar up Pike’s Peak and felt kind of high for half an hour because there isn’t any oxygen up there.
- My parents come out to Denver to visit for a few days. We went for a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, and visited Garden of the Gods and Cave of the Winds.
- Packed up everything we own (again) and spent almost three more days driving a Uhaul, this time taking the long route from Denver to Chicago by way of Mount Rushmore.
- Settled into the new apartment, and Erin started her new job.
- Erin’s sister and brother-in-law come to visit twice, on the way to and back from a road trip.
- Attended SecondConf at Sears Tower
- Visited Erin’s family for an early Thanksgiving, and brought Lola back to Chicago.
- Attended CocoaConf in Boston and saw some college friends while there, then stuck around for an extra day to visit people in nearby Providence.
- Lullabot company retreat in Mexico! We had four big houses right on the beach a bit south of Cancun. It was pretty awesome.
- Erin’s folks came to visit us for the actual Thanksgiving, and we spent the next afternoon at the top of the Sears Tower.
- Found out that I get to work on some interesting projects in the new year. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to talk about it publicly yet, so I’ll just say that I’m super excited about what’s coming up.
- Spent Christmas back in Buffalo with my family, and made pit stops in Detroit on the way there and back to spend time with Erin’s parents.
Some misc highlights:
- Read 22 books.
- Watched 37 movies (the fewest in the ten years I’ve been tracking them).
- Saw a few concerts: Volbeat, Frank Turner, Street Dogs, 6’10.
- Did a bunch of hiking in the Rockies, but in retrospect, not nearly as much as I should have. I had no idea how much I would miss the mountains when we moved to Chicago, and I wish I would have taken advantage of them more than I did during our eight months in Denver.
- Saw way more out-of-town friends than probably any year before. In part, this was due to conferences and work trips (Portland twice, San Jose, Boston & Providence, Boulder), but we also had several people crash on our couch on their way through Denver and Chicago.
All in all, it was a pretty busy year, and it sure doesn’t feel like a year has elapsed since we started January: it seems like just last month that Erin was freaking out about the folks wearing cowboy hats at the Denver airport, certain that we had accidentally committed to moving to some podunk little city out west (it took a day or two before she believed me that the cowboy hats were pretty well limited to the airport staff).
I have high hopes for 2014. I mostly stick to quantifiable goals for the new year (which I’m keeping to myself), but there are a few things that I’d like to do differently in 2014:
- Get out of the house more. Frankly, this is harder for me in a major city than it was in a small one, despite my aversion to the outdoors. In Denver, it was easy: within 45 minutes of locking my front door, I could be at a trail head on a mountain; it’s hard not to leave the house when that’s an option. In Illinois, I need to work a little harder to find hiking opportunities, and I suspect that it will be too muddy to take advantage of them till late spring anyway. But, I also just need to get out of the house, even to pop down to a bar for dinner or a drink or something. For me, it’s very easy to slide straight from working-from-home to evening-tinkering-in-the-office, and there are many weeks that I don’t leave the house except to walk the dog and run errands. I need to work on this.
- Make more friends. I have no idea how to do this. In Denver, I never really met any new people, and when I did hang out with people, it was folks that Erin knew from gSchool or her previous job. There are a few people in Chicago that I (similarly) know from college and previous jobs, but I need to actually make plans with people if I ever want to see them. I’m generally content to eat dinner or see a movie alone, but this has been an unusually lonely year for me, largely because of gSchool: for the first half of the year, I was doing everything on my own because Erin was busy with classwork. Related:
- Attend more meetups. There are two iOS groups here (Cocoaheads and NSCoder), and I’ve attended both exactly once. I haven’t even made it to any of the Drupal meetups, the movie meetups, the weekly tech talks—and I have no excuse.
- Read more books and watch more movies. I wind up burning so much time on stupid crap: reading Twitter and mindlessly clicking around the Internet. There are times when one needs to just veg out (10 years ago, I would have been in front of the TV), but I could be spending a lot more of that time learning new things, or at least enjoying decent movies.
- Ship more code. I’ve been working on an iOS app since February, mostly fine-tuning and refactoring as I learn more. I’ve got ideas for at least three more, plus a couple web apps, plus some fiddly little scripts that I used to tinked with for fun. I need to get back on the release-then-iterate horse and just get more stuff on Github. If nothing else, the feeling of accomplishment (no matter how minor) fuels more coding.
In any case, I expect 2014 to be a lot mellower than 2013. We have no intentions of moving to a new city again for at least a few years, and don’t have plans for any major trips. We should have some time to get to know our new city (especially once it warms up), and I’m looking forward to that.