Category Archives: Year in Review

In review: 2013

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” - C. S. Lewis

As it is the time for such a thing, I continue my annual year in review. Although I am not yet content enough to declare victory, I am satisfied enough to lay claim to progress.

And so, I ask myself the all important question: “How did I do?”


  • Coding with Coda – A book about one of my favorite text editors was released in January. In retrospect, there are a few things I wish I would have done different. Perhaps I’ll get the opportunity to rectify that in a second edition sometime in the future.
  • DrupalCon Portland – My first work trip with my new co-workers was a fantastic success. I learned a ton about the software that is my bread and butter, and got to learn a lot about the wonderful community that makes up Drupal.
  • Getting healthier – In March I started on a wellness journey at nearly 250 lbs., and had some excellent progress this year. For years I was unable to get below 240 lbs. By June, I was at 229 lbs., and have kept the weight off. I still lift weights regularly and have learned to control the relationship I have with food.
  • Ten years – In July my wife, Amy, and I celebrated 10 years of marriage with an oddly bizarre but fun trip running around in Arkansas. Although I was sure we’d have nothing to talk about after a few days, it ended up being an excellent trip and a chance to get be reintroduced to the woman I live with.
  • Paid off credit cards – Although we used to be much better with finances and had zero credit cards, we fell back into the trap over the last few years. After our vacation, Amy and I decided to get back to our better ways and started paying off credit cards. I sold my motorcycle to kickstart the process and took on an extra web development job for some added cash. In early December, we killed off the largest credit card we had, paying off around $6,000 in four months. I sacrificed a lot of sleep and some workouts, but it was worth it.


If 2013 was defined by progress, then 2014 will be a continuation toward bigger goals. So where am I going?

  • The Whole30 – One of my most successful months was fueled by the Whole30 diet, which I will start on Jan. 1. It’s very strict, and very limited to non-inflammatory whole foods, and I just feel like doing it again (especially after the sugar-filled final days of December).
  • The Final Debt – The last debt (aside from our home) we have is our student loan debt, and it’s kind of a monster. Since we’re following the Dave Rasmey Debt Snowball plan, this is next/last on the list. Thanks to the work we did this year, we will be paying extra on our student loans for the first time since we got married. It’s going to be a long haul, but at least we’re finally making progress.
  • Obstacle Race – For some reason I want to do either a Warrior Dash or Tough Mudder race. I can’t explain it; I just want to do it. My training will begin Jan. 1 and I’ll evaluate in a couple of months if I’m ready to race in the spring. If not, then I’ll shoot for a fall event.
  • Build Something – I have a desire to build something for my girls: definitely a bookshelf, quite possibly a bunk bed, maybe both. I hate cheap crap that is often found in the stores, and for the cost of the good stuff I could make it cheaper. Mainly, I just want to make something for them, by me. They give me so much, I want to give them this in return.
  • House projects – A holdover from 2013: Painting, fixing and other little touches have been swept under the rug for awhile. I really need to rectify this in 2014. Really!
  • New projects – Technically a holdover last year, but only because I essentially shut down many areas of my life to focus on wellness. So again, I’ll say this: I have some ideas but I’ll keep those quiet for now.
  • Pursue minimalism – I’ve toyed around with paring things down. I have success here and there, but nothing I’m quite happy with. Hopefully I can make 2014 much more with much less.


  • Miscarriage – We got pregnant, then lost it early in the year. Not really much else I want to say about that.

Your turn. What goals do you have for next year?

In review: 2012

“A year from now you’ll wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb

When Josh Davis wrote his 2011 year in review, I thought “Next year, I need to do that.” And so, with Josh’s 2012 Personal Year in Review, I’m reminded of my good intentions.

Resolutions and goals are important. You can’t progress if you don’t set goals and take actions to move toward fulfilling them. Likewise, a year-in-review is a fantastic way to measure your actions against your resolutions.

So how did I do?


  • Social Media Club of Lawrence Kansas – I started off the year by joining the local chapter of the Social Media Club as Promotions Chair.
  • Startup Weekend Kansas City – In April I attended Startup Weekend at Union Station. The experience was fantastic, and got my juices flowing for a major change that happened later in the year.
  • Randall 2012 – A friend and former roommate, Grant Randall, announced his candidacy for the 1st District House of Representatives in Kansas. I started out as just “doing the website” which evolved into “Communications Manager” about midway through the campaign. Sadly, he didn’t win in November, but it was one fantastic experience.
  • Learning Rails 3 – A book I contributed three chapters to about the web development framework Ruby on Rails was released in July from O’Reilly Media.
  • Getting healthier – In October, my blood work confirmed that my low-carb/Paleo diet was working. In fact, I ended up breaking through a weight barrier I had for years, dropped clothing sizes and went up two notches on the belt.
  • Job change – After almost seven years with the City of Lawrence as its eGov Coordinator (aka, website administrator), I left in early December for a web developer position at the City of Olathe. I think I have more to write about that, but I’m not sure when it will happen. My time at the City of Lawrence was the longest job I had ever had, and leaving wasn’t easy. But after a few weeks in at the new place, I can say without a doubt that I made the right decision.


So I know where I’ve been, but what’s the new year look like for me? I have a few things in mind …

  • Coding with Coda – My little book on one of my favorite text editors will be released in the next month or so with O’Reilly Media.
  • Old projects and loose ends – I have a project or two from 2012 that needs wrapped up. I’ll be working on those intently in the first couple of months to get them done.
  • Continue my health journey – The end of 2012 was decadent. Also, the job switch screwed up my exercise routine. It’s time to get back to healthy eating, and I’m starting to get my bearing on a routine for exercise. My ultimate goal is to get to my preferred weight and …
  • Go on a trip – My wife and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage and it seems like we should take a trip or something outside the usual camping and canoeing trip.
  • House projects – Painting, fixing and other little touches have been swept under the rug for awhile. I’m going to rectify that in 2013.
  • New projects - Oh, I have some ideas but I’ll keep those quiet for now.

So how did you do? What are your plans for 2013?

Five things to achieve in 2011

Resolutions are crap, unless you actually resolve them. Here are five things I’ve been thinking about for 2011.

1. Go on a stuff diet. I’m such a clutterbug. In real life or digital, I keep a lot of things because I’m a big sentimental sap. I’ve struggled with this for a long time, but I’d like to make an ernest effort at getting rid of a bunch of stuff. If I could get a few shades away from minimalist, I’d be ecstatic.

2. Hit 4,000 miles on my motorcycle. New motorcyclists who have less than 4,000 miles or six months of riding are considered absolute beginners. In addition, accidents are more likely to happen during this period. I’d like to avoid an accident altogether and get the experience. I’ve owned a bike for six weeks and have about 800 miles so far. With it getting colder, I doubt I’ll hit 4,000 miles before six months, but I’m going to try. Here’s to a warm winter.

3. Get healthy and lose the weight. I’ve tried and failed so much in the last few years, I hate to even mention this. Not to say too much, but I’ve been much healthier and much more slender. Working a job that doesn’t require much movement really does harm to the body. This year’s Red Dog’s Dog Days was a great start, but I lost momentum after the summer. I’ve got a great space in the mancave that could use a used treadmill. I could watch movies and walk and come out much better than I am right now.

4. Take a real vacation. Like a lot of full-time workers, I get two weeks vacation per year. I spent one week of it this year moving, which didn’t feel like a vacation at all. It was a lot of work. I’d love to go somewhere like Estes Park to get away with my girls and the whoa-man. Ideas are appreciated, but must be in driving or train distance to Lawrence. I won’t fly again until the TSA lunacy is over.

5. Finish some personal projects. I’ve got a list of creative projects I’ve wanted to get done for some time now. Enough is enough. These things have been hanging around so long they’re like pets. I’m always in idea generation mode, so I doubt I could finish ALL of them, but there are quite a few I could get done in 2011. I tried to do some this year and allowed myself to get sidetracked.

Have you thought about things you’d like to achieve next year? Let’s hear ’em!