2018: Year in Review

I haven’t found much time to blog this year, but I’ve been looking forward to writing my “Year in Review” post. I wrote my first post like this last year, and I found it a nice way to capture the highlights and memories from 2017. Here’s some of what happened in 2018.

New beginnings

In June, I started a new job as the senior web developer at Stanford Law School. It was a big change since I had been working part time and from home for the past four years. I was sad to say goodbye to my friends at Red Earth Design, but I was ready for a new challenge. It’s been tough having to put pants on every day, but I’m enjoying my new job. šŸ˜‰

Biking to work

After starting my job at Stanford, I quickly became frustrated with my Caltrain commute. I was initially a little hesitant to try biking due to safety concerns, but I decided to do some (okay, a lot of) research to see if I could find a comfortable route. I came up with a route that is six miles each way and largely avoids busy streets. I continue to tweak my route, but I enjoy biking, and I especially like that my commute works regular exercise into my routine.

18 in 2018

I got the idea from a podcast to set 18 goals for myself for the year of 2018. I tracked them on a Trello board. Some of the goals were professional, and others were personal. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t complete all of my goals. And some of my goals were replaced by new goals as circumstances changed. But I did find it motivating to track my goals throughout the year. You’ll read about some of them below.

First open source plugin

In February, I released my first open source plugin, Plugin Notes Plus, on the WordPress.org plugin repo. It was a bit of a bumpy road at first, as some of the early users discovered some interesting bugs that I had to scramble to fix. However, things are going well now. The plugin currently has 700+ active installations.

Plugin Notes Plus banner

First talk at WordCamp

Related to above, I gave my first talk at a WordCamp in Sacramento in September. Here are the slides, in case you’re interested. I hadn’t given a talk like that since my days in science, and I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous. But I’m glad that I did it, and I’m strangely eager to do it again.

This is me talking about releasing my first plugin.

Community involvement

In an effort to become more involved with my local community this year, I joined the landscape committee for my townhouse association. The association had been planning a landscape renovation project for quite some time, but it had stalled for various reasons.

Not only did I get to know my neighbors better, but we also worked very hard to finally get the project off the ground! Our grounds are currently completely torn up, but hopefully they’ll start to look nicer soon.

Terrible two’s

Sylvie turned two in March. I didn’t really appreciate this before becoming a parent, but it’s pretty amazing to watch baby turn into a toddler. In the past year, Sylvie has become an actual walking, talking person. And, as of a couple of days ago, she even uses the potty!

One thing that I’ve enjoyed seeing is how she’s come out of her shell. We started her in music and gym classes about a year ago to try to get her involved in more social activities. Initially, she had no interest in the classes and would cling to me and cry. Over time, though, she started to take more interest in them, and now she is eager to participate.

Another thing that has been fun to witness is her speech development. Early in the year, we started a Sylvie-to-English dictionary on the refrigerator. Here are some of the more amusing ones:

  • Muscle cars: Music class
  • Bus: Bike or Bus, depending on context
  • Hugga: Helmet (because it hugs your head, maybe?)
  • Bucca: Grandma or Bagel, depending on context

Then Sylvie started forming sentences. A couple of months ago, at the suggestion of one of my coworkers, I started a private Twitter account to keep a memory of the things Sylvie says. There are some funny things in there. Here are some shareable ones:

Don’t tickle my nay nay!!!

I having a good mood!

Lately, Sylvie has begun to express more complex thoughts and even tell some jokes and try to be funny. She also likes to sing songs from music class and recite books from memory. Another fun development is that Sylvie is starting to play with toys that Bill and I actually like. Bill’s really into Magna-Tiles, while I’m having fun with Play-Doh.

The best dog ever

Calico continues to be the best dog ever. Though I think she misses me being at home with her all day, she has adjusted well to the new routine. She enjoys long walks, napping, playing tug, and practicing recalls at the park. She also had a few visits with her sister, Cello, this year.

Calico getting some snuggles

We still try to take Calico to the Guide Dog puppy raising meetings from time to time, though it’s been difficult with Sylvie’s nap schedule. Sometimes, Calico asks us when she’ll go up to San Rafael for formal Guide Dog training. We haven’t had the heart to tell her that she was “career changed.”

Family trips

Sylvie had a chance to visit both sets of grandparents this year. In July, we drove up to Oregon just in time for prime blueberry season. (Those who are aware of my blueberry obsession will realize that the timing was no accident.)

Sylvie’s favorite part of the visit was picking and eating blueberries off of the bush in her grandparents’ backyard. She still talks about it and wishes that there were blueberry bushes in everyone’s backyard. Even at this early age, she’s obsessed with blueberry picking. (Definitely my daughter!)

Sylvie picking (and eating) blueberries in the backyard

In August, we flew to Chicago to visit Sylvie’s other grandparents. From there, we drove to Lake Michigan. Sylvie enjoyed playing in the sand on the beach, and she even went into the lake with her dad a couple of times.

In November, we took a spontaneous weekend trip to Lake Tahoe to get out of the bad air from the fires up north. If you read last year’s post, you will know that this isn’t the first time we’ve taken a spontaneous trip to escape bad air. I’m going to coin the term “air quality tourism.” It was an unremarkable trip, except that we got to breathe clean air. Sylvie called it “Lake Taco.”

Reading books

One of my 18 goals for 2018 was to read more books. Though I really enjoy reading, my leisure time became very limited after Sylvie was born. For a while, I mostly consumed podcasts and some audiobooks. However, I had a hard time getting into most audiobooks. For me, nothing beats the immersive, distraction-free experience of actually reading a book.

I set a very low bar for the number of books I wanted to read this year since my life has been very busy. I am proud to report that I far exceeded my goal of reading 3 books. šŸ˜‰ Some of my favorites were:

What does 2019 have in store?

It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2019. I have no idea what to expect, though I’m excited to see how Sylvie will grow and change. I’m also looking forward to continuing to learn and grow as a developer, and I’m hoping to get some time to work on some project ideas that have been rattling around in my head.

Happy New Year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *