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The adventures of 2023

2023 was an interesting year. Our oldest started Transitional Kindergarten and came home having learned a bunch of new things. Our youngest matured in leaps and bounds, turning into a talking, opinionated, member of our family. We had a bit of a rocky summer with an au pair who didn’t work out, but following that we welcomed an amazing au pair into our family who immediately clicked with both kids and whose presence in our family I’m grateful for daily. I had a good year work-wise with several goals met this year and the launch of a little Open Source Program Office within our organization. I had the opportunity to attend a few conferences in-person, which has opened the door for more travel coming up in 2024. Travel in general is still quite limited, but we also had three great trips to our place in Philadelphia and enjoyed visits with family, including hosting Thanksgiving at our place for the family for the first time.

In 2023 I had to deal with some pretty big losses. The first was the loss of our cat, Caligula, in February. He was 19 years old and ultimately the care for his age-related ailments stopped being effective, and he declined rapidly within a couple days, to the point of being on oxygen at the emergency vet. He was my companion for most of my adult life, so it took months for me to start feeling normal again. In August I lost my friend and mentor Jim Fisher to an unexpected heart attack. His sudden death was shocking to an entire community of amateur radio enthusiasts who benefited from his enthusiasm and encouragement, and I’m still working my way through the loss.

I stepped up my typewriter hobby a little with my first minor repair, that of a marginally functional Smith-Corona Skyriter. I spent a couple weeks fiddling with various components to get it into a state I was happy with, and it’s become my go-to portable typewriter, and definitely one of my favorites. I always had a fascination with mechanical things, but I have discovered a real solid satisfaction from doing these repairs. Adam and I also started going to typewriter shops, and he has a lot of fun with them. The first was actually when we were in Philadelphia in April and he was fascinated by the eclectic shop we visited there, over the summer I brought him with me to Berkeley Typewriter when I needed work done on an IBM Selectric II that I picked up. In November the whole family came to a type-in in south Philadelphia. I’m glad I can share this hobby with my kids to some degree, otherwise I think I’d struggle to find time for it. I also bought a record player, which has taught me a lot of lessons about intentionally slowing down.

With the pandemic winding down, I had the opportunity to meet up with a few friends and have half day outings to myself. Becoming a parent requires a huge shift in priorities and presents massive changes to your identity, all of which I’m still adjusting to five years in. Taking time for myself, and to connect with MJ without spending the whole time talking about chores and kids, turns out to be incredibly important, and I don’t do it enough.

My first conference of the year was in April CPOSC in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which I discovered while we were in Philadelphia for a visit, so I was able to book a train ticket and make it a day trip. In September I spoke at the Open Mainframe Summit at IBM TechXchange in Las Vegas, and then in October at All Things Open in Raleigh. My final in-person event was a little PLUG meeting north of Philadelphia in November.

This year we finally had the opportunity to open the doors wide open to public settings again, so we brought the boys all kinds of places. The beach, a baseball game, adventures in San Francisco, local festivals, cherry picking, antique and model train fairs, museums, aquariums, zoos, and more. I joke that we’re a bit of a circus when we leave the house, but honestly I’m really happy to finally be able to share my favorite activities and places with our little ones.

Work has been going well, in October I went to the recording studio at IBM RTP to record a video about Linux on the Mainframe that went up on YouTube via the IBM Technology channel and I’m really proud of it. I launched an Open Source Program Office within our organization and have managed to do a lot of cross-organization and external work that I’m very happy with. The following is a rundown of talks I gave throughout the year:

In 2024 I’m hoping to find some balance between work, family, and taking care of myself. Health-wise I’m doing OK, but I’d like to find a way to sleep better, and it would be nice to make improvements to my diet and activity level so I feel more equipped to keep up with my kids as we go out on all these adventures. Here’s to the new year!