2016: Year in Review

Another year came and went, here are some highlights

While it may be cliché to say that the year flew by, it does­n’t make it any less true. In what has become a great tra­di­tion, I’d love to share some high­lights from 2016.

Becoming Cat People (Again)

Two years ago, I had a won­der­ful cat named RANDY. Due to a string of unfor­tu­nate events, I had to put RANDY up for adop­tion. I was dev­as­tat­ed. I loved him. He was so affec­tion­ate and lov­ing, in a time where I was sore­ly lack­ing that in my life. Fast-for­ward two years, and life was com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent, filled with love and hap­pi­ness. But I still want­ed a cat.

My beau­ti­ful Min­nie. She’s so cute.

So we got two. We have a won­der­ful rag-doll that we adopt­ed as a kit­ten named Pix­el. And Min­nie, a beau­ti­ful poly­dactyl cat we adopt­ed from the Humane Soci­ety. Pix­el has picked Kel­ly as her human, and Min­nie has picked me. Would I have liked both cats to have picked me? Yes, but it all worked out.

Concerts of a Lifetime

I believe I was 11 when I said to myself that if I ever saw Bey­on­cé per­form, I could die hap­pi­ly. The con­cert was at TCF Bank Sta­di­um, an out­door sta­di­um. The day of the show was rainy and right before it was about to start, there was a light­ning storm. They emp­tied the entire sta­di­um to wait it out. There we were, packed like sar­dines in the con­course, fool­ish­ly won­der­ing if this would all be worth it. The Queen B did not dis­ap­point. Bey­on­cé is a spec­tac­u­lar per­former, and her voice—my God, her voice—was magnificent.

That con­cert alone would’ve made the year. Then Kel­ly sur­prised me with Adele tick­ets. Adele. Peo­ple I saw not one, but two mind-blow­ing­ly tal­ent­ed women per­form in the span of three months. When I heard Adele’s voice, I could­n’t help but cry. Not because it was her, but her voice is unbe­liev­able. Mul­ti­ple songs gave me the chills and she sang all of my favorites. You see a lot of Adele’s per­son­al­i­ty dur­ing the con­cert, and let me tell you, she is a delight. I would love to hang out with her.

Our Trip to California

We went out this year for a friend’s wed­ding, but we also had a great time with fam­i­ly. For those of you who may not know, Cal­i­for­nia is where I was born and raised. As much as I dis­like my home state (and would­n’t move back unless absolute­ly nec­es­sary), I do miss my fam­i­ly. We’re a tight-knit bunch of Lati­nos, and I regret tak­ing for grant­ed how often we saw each oth­er and spent time togeth­er. It was an awe­some week­end. I took about 300 hun­dred pic­tures on a DSLR that I rent­ed. Only kept about 15. Using a DSLR was a new chal­lenge for me, and I look for­ward to doing it again.

My First Cruise

I was so ner­vous about this trip, almost to the point of not look­ing for­ward to it. I wor­ried that I’d get sea sick and it’d be a long week. How wrong I was! The ship was noth­ing short of amaz­ing. Not only is it an engi­neer­ing and archi­tec­tur­al tri­umph, there is some­thing for every­one on it. We had great food and drinks, watched stand-up com­e­dy, enjoyed Broad­way-cal­iber shows, lis­tened to some insane­ly tal­ent­ed musi­cians, and karaoke‑d our hearts out.

Kel­ly and I on the cata­ma­ran that took us snorkeling

And that’s only what we did on the ship. Our time on the dif­fer­ent islands was a blast, snor­kel­ing was breath­tak­ing, and my Min­nesotan-pale skin got the tan it deserved. If you’ve been on the fence about tak­ing a cruise, I whole-heart­ed­ly rec­om­mend it. I’m pos­i­tive you’ll enjoy it, no mat­ter what your def­i­n­i­tion of fun may be.

Leaving ACL

In Novem­ber, I decid­ed to leave ACL after work­ing there 4 months shy of two years. The com­pa­ny was real­ly good to me, but some of our val­ues did­n’t align, and I felt that I was­n’t inter­est­ed enough in the domain to con­tin­ue doing my best. Still, I had a great time there. I learned so much, and had the priv­i­lege of con­tribut­ing to sev­er­al appli­ca­tions the com­pa­ny makes. I walked away with more knowl­edge, and great friends.

My awe­some Adaman­tium teammates

What’s next? I don’t real­ly know yet. I hope to have some­thing more con­crete to share soon.

Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

This was the real blow of the year, but I can’t say I was shocked. I was­n’t feel­ing good for a while, and I stu­pid­ly put off going to the doc­tor. I was at a point where I just had to go, and after doing a blood test, it was con­firmed: I had Type 2 Dia­betes. Learn­ing to live with Dia­betes has been dif­fi­cult. I have to watch what I eat, make sure to take my med­ica­tion, poke myself to test my blood sug­ar, and plan meals for a set time. I used to be able to skip a meal or post­pone it, now I have to eat some­thing or my blood sug­ar will drop and I’ll feel crappy.

Hon­est­ly, I hate it. I have moments where I cry because of the con­stant frus­tra­tion it caus­es me, and I regret the deci­sions that got me here. But as with every oth­er mis­take I’ve made, I can­not undo it. The past is the past, and I can only focus on the future. I have a fan­tas­tic part­ner in Kel­ly, and she’s been so sup­port­ive and lov­ing with me. I appre­ci­ate all her help, and how much she cares for me.

While parts of this year felt dif­fi­cult, and anx­i­ety and stress-induc­ing, it was still great. I lost 15 pounds, trav­eled a lot, and enjoyed great new expe­ri­ences. I spent time with fam­i­ly, got clos­er to new and old friends, and saw some enter excit­ing new eras of their lives.

What’s in Store for 2017

Just like last year, Kel­ly and I have decid­ed to fol­low my friend Phil’s tra­di­tion of set­ting a mot­to for the year.

Our Mot­to: Embrace the New.

Here are my goals for the year:

  1. Ded­i­cate 10 mins each day to learn French
    I want to learn a new lan­guage. I’m flu­ent in both Span­ish and Eng­lish, but it’s not fair because I was taught both from birth.
  2. Lose 40 lbs.
    My bat­tle with weight con­tin­ues, but I real­ized I’ve nev­er actu­al­ly put a sol­id num­ber that I’d like to lose. My hope is that set­ting a spe­cif­ic goal will help me accom­plish it.
  3. Make $200/month in side income
    I don’t have a spe­cif­ic plan for mak­ing this hap­pen yet. I do know I have knowl­edge I can impart to oth­ers and hope­ful­ly make a lit­tle mon­ey from that.

This year feels like a good one.