2014 Wrapup

Time for the annual roundup!

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

Went to an outdoor hockey game and survived the entire thing!
Saw a Broadway show in NYC
Played Whirlyball
Worked from home multiple times because work was closed due to life-threatening cold outside
Kayaked on a bioluminescent bay
Visited the family farm in South Dakota and rode on a combine
Attended the North Star College Cup
Saw the famous Pitons in St Lucia
Joined a CSA
Got rained out at camping, to the point where we had to get a hotel room for a night
Saw Willie Nelson, the Replacements, and Cake live
Visited Brooklyn/Coney Island
Stayed in a Wigwam on Route 66
Rented houses on VRBO
Saw a hockey game at Staples Center in LA
Ran errands on my bike regularly
Went on the High Roller in Las Vegas
Went to the “100 Best Companies to Work For” Awards for work
Had a membership to the MSP Film Society
Flew in a tiny 8-seat plane to Vieques island
Made a ton of money on eBay selling our old stuff
Visited Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Salton Sea
Drove a Jeep
Developed WebFocus reports (and hope I never have to again)
Took the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner down the Southern California Coast
Wrote my own object-relational mapper
Kayaked on the Mississippi River
Went to the Minneapolis-St Paul International Film Festival (and loved it)
Went to Disneyland
Finally felt assured that we were in excellent financial condition, due to a lot of hard work and planning
Saw the planes landing at Maho Beach in St Maarten

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year?

As usual, I worked on my 101 Things list rather than doing resolutions. We also started a list of things we want to do before leaving Minnesota, so those are basically my resolutions for this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Chris and Ryan
Missy and Joe
Chris and Meg
Wendy and Amelia

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Kristin passed away from cancer this year. That put a lot of things into perspective for many people who knew her, because she was far too young.

5. What countries did you visit?

Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia, Sint Maarten

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

More vacation time (work gave me another week, which was nice), and more time to work on personal nerd-projects. (As for the latter, I do have plenty of time when I’m at home. It’s hard to do that when I do the same thing all day, though.)

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Kayaking on the biobay in Vieques. It was so incredible it almost doesn’t seem real. You pile into a van with a bunch of people, go tearing down the most potholed road in the universe through the jungle to get to a beach, and then go kayaking in pitch darkness to see how the water lights up when it’s disturbed. It’s unbelievably awesome.

A lot of the other days that stick in my head are transportation-related for some reason. Like the day we sat watching the planes land at Maho Beach, or sailing in St Lucia, or taking the Pacific Surfliner down the California coast, or April picking us up and taking us sailing in San Diego. Possibly they also all stick in my head because they were excellent times.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

The number of projects I created in ASP.NET MVC, and the people I taught to use it. I really enjoy architecting new applications and seeing things come together.

9. What was your biggest failure?

The word “failure” is stupid. I guess I was hoping to finish my main personal project by the end of the year and ran of out time. I’m not really mad about it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had trouble with ITB syndrome on and off for most of the year, but it’s slowly improving. I’m very grateful that it doesn’t affect my daily life or activities much, beyond being an annoyance (mostly at night).

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A side-trip to Vieques after our cruise. I want to go back there a lot. Also, baskets for my bike, because that led to a lot of errand-running without our cars, not to mention exercise.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Anyone involved in legalizing gay marriage in multiple states in the US. Anyone who does charity work, especially those helping the homeless, whose condition is just going to keep getting worse.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Most politicians. Most corporate leaders, who are very happy to keep getting richer at the expense of the rest of the country. And killer cops. Jesus, stop it already. (Also the Americans who are OK with the idea of killer cops. What the hell is broken in you as a human?)

14. Where did most of your money go?

Savings. My goal is to have as much cash as possible in our emergency fund before we move. (My emergency fund wasn’t big enough to cover 6 months’ unemployment, so that’s part of it. Plus moving is expensive, and so is housing in Key West.) Thanks to eBay and freelance work, hardly any of our travel costs this year were out of pocket.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Vacation and moving!!! These are the things I think about all day.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

It’s not a song but a sound effect: that chime that starts every reggaeton song ever.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) Fatter or thinner: A little bit thinner
b) Richer or poorer: Richer
c) Happier or less happy: Happier

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Travel, taking photos, and code-writing. And volunteering. I should do more of that.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Waking up because my hip and knee were stabbing me. So unpleasant.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

We celebrated Christmas with my family at my parents’ house on December 20, and today we’re driving to Watertown to spend the holiday with Matt’s parents.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

I stayed in love in 2014. Did you know that Matt is awesome?

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Game of Thrones. You nerds were right – it’s fantastic. I’m also loving Black Mirror, as brutal as it can be.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope, though ultra-conservatives make me consider it sometimes.

24. What was the best book you read?

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. Please read it because it’s excellent. (It’s especially appealing to a Russian major who’s read a LOT of Soviet-era literature.)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery of 2014?

Ana Tijoux. We saw her at the Cedar, and it was great.

26. What did you want and get?

An awesome roadtrip to do many of the things I’ve always wanted to in California. An incredible trip to the Caribbean, the highlight of which was staying in a hacienda in Vieques – a place I’ll seriously consider moving to once I don’t have to have a real job. Their utilities/internet are too unreliable for me to be able work remotely!

27. What did you want and not get?

I want to get a new less-crappy bike before we move (mine’s super-heavy and terrible on hills), but that’s mostly my delay. I may get it before biking season next year.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

We saw so many great films this year, thanks to the Film Society and many festivals. I loved Raid 2, Under the Skin, and Starfish Throwers.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 41 this year (man, I’m old). It was low-key… we had a ton of people over for Meats one day, and then Matt and I went to a baseball game and hung out with the family.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

That’s possible?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

Comfortable. Like always.

32. What kept you sane?

Matt, exercise, and looking forward to our relocation, which is getting me through the winter.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Tim Howard is such a dreamboat.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

All of them. ALL OF THEM. This is why I don’t watch the news; I’ll light on fire from rage.

35. Who did you miss?

My grandma. Always my grandma. I had all these old photos scanned, and it makes me cry just to see her being happy. She had a very bad end-of-life experience, to say the least.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Rich, who works for our client.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014:

There comes a point in your career when the fact that you have 20 years experience doing something is all the authority you need. Be assertive and people will do it your way.

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