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The adventures of 2015

I wasn’t sure what to expect from 2015. Life circumstances meant that I wanted to travel a bit less, which meant being more selective about the conferences I would speak at. At the same time, some amazing opportunities for conferences came up that I couldn’t bring myself to turn down. Meeting new people, visiting countries very foreign to me, plus a new continent (South America!), there was much to be excited about this year! Work has gone exceptionally well. I hit some major milestones with my career, particularly with regards to my technical level, all thanks to support from those around me, dedication to some important projects and hard work on the day to day stuff.

There were also struggles this year. Early in the year I learned of the passing of a friend and local open source advocate. MJ and I navigated our way through the frailness and loss of a couple family members. I was forced to pause, reflect upon and ultimately step away from some of my open source involvement as it was causing me incredible emotional pain and stress. I also learned a lot about my work habits and what it takes to put out a solid technical book. The book continues to be a real struggle, but I am thankful for support from those around me.

I’ve been diligent in continuing to enjoy this beautiful city we live in. We went on a streetcar tour, MJ took me to a Star Wars Giants game for my birthday and we went to various Panama-Pacific International Exhibit commemorative events. I finally made it down the bay to the Winchester House and to see a 49ers game. As friends and family come into town, I jumped at every opportunity to explore the new and familiar. I also spoke at a few local conferences and events which I wrote about: San Francisco Ubuntu Global Jam, Elastic{ON} 2015, Puppet Camp San Francisco 2015 and an OpenStack Meetup.

Enjoying San Francisco with a special tour on the Blackpool Boat Tram

At the Bay Bridge with visiting friend Crissi

Star Wars day at AT&T Park

At a 49ers game with visiting friend Danita

Visiting one of several PPIE15 exhibits

Health-wise, I had to go in for several diagnostic tests post-gallbladder to see why some of my liver levels are off. After a bit of stress, it all looks ok, but I do need to exercise on a more regular basis. The beautiful blue sky beckons me to make a return to running, so I plan on doing that while incorporating things I learned with the trainer I worked with this past year. We’ve also been tracking Simcoe’s health with her renal failure, it’s been 4 years since her diagnosis and while her health isn’t what it was, our little Siamese continuing to hang in there.

And then there was all my travel!

Manneken Pis in Brussels, Belgium

In front of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman

Beautiful views from the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Canada

With MJ in obligatory tourist photo at Machu Picchu, Peru

Kinkaku-ji (golden temple), Kyoto, Japan

Space Shuttle Discovery near Washington D.C.

I didn’t give as many talks as I did in 2014, but I felt I took a stronger aim at quality this year. Speaking at conferences like FOSSC Oman and Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing exposed me to some amazing, diverse audiences that led to some fantastic conversations after my talks. Exploring new places and meeting people who enrich my life and technical expertise are why I do all of this, so it was important that I found so much value in both this year.

Speaking at FOSSC Oman in Muscat

As I kick off 2016, my book is front and center. I have an amazing contributing author working with me. A Rough Cuts version went up on Safari at the end of 2015 and I’ve launched the book website. As I push through final technical challenges I’m hopeful that the pieces will soon fall into place so I can push through to completion.

Most of all, as I reflect upon 2015, I see a lot of cheer and sorrow. High highs and low lows. I’m aiming at a more balanced 2016.