2016 in Review

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I began 2016 with a big change. After more than 18 months living in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago, I moved to the South Loop. I liked Old Town, but I felt it was time for a change and I wanted to experience a different part of the city. I chose the South Loop because it is close to my office; because it was a neighborhood I did not yet know well; and because I liked the apartment I found. I moved into a high rise in late January and I really like it - especially the view of the city from my balcony.

I spent a good part of 2016 on the road - much of that travel in my car.

I made numerous to Champaign, IL, working with professors at the University of Illinois, organizing workshops, and guest lecturing.

I drove to Minneapolis and to Lexington, KY and to Columbus, OH and to Appleton, WI and to Bloomington, IN. There weren't many parts of the Midwest I did not drive to.

One trip took me from Chicago to Columbus, OH to Detroit to ann arbor to East Lansing to Appleton, WI to Milwaukee. On another, I drove from Chicago to Champaign to St. Louis; then flew to Austin, TX before returning to St. Louis and driving home. But the most tiring trip was when I flew to Sydney, Australia for 3 days to speak at the NDC conference. It took me 2 full days to get there and I ended up spending 24 hours in Vancouver and sleeping on an airport couch thanks to a mistake by United Airlines. When I returned to the US, I drove from Chicago to Wisconsin Dells for another conference; then up to Minneapolis for still another. The year began with a trip to Sandusky, OH to celebrate the 10th year of CodeMash and it ended with a drive back to Michigan to spend Christmas with my family.

It was often tiring, but I'm glad I did it. I got to speak at some amazing conferences and met some amazing people and visited some amazing places. In Australia, I spoke at the prestigious NDC conference for the first time; and to have dinner with my sister-in-law and niece, who live near Sydney.

In May, I visited Romania to speak at IT Camp for the third year in a row. This is becoming one of my favourite conferences. On this visit, I decided to spend a few days in Bucharest prior to the conference. It was an eye-opening experience as Bucharest is a formerly great city that is still trying to recover from the damage caused by Nicolae Ceaușescu and his misuse of public funds.

Overall, it was a satisfying year professionally. When I got enough sleep, I enjoyed it immensely. And when I did not, I tried to schedule an off day or a couple late mornings to catch up on sleep.

Personally, this year was also very good.

I'm continuing to work on improving my health. I hired a personal trainer and have been working out regularly. My heavy travel schedule made it difficult for me to eat well, so I gained some weight in the fall but I've already begun to lose it again. I found a new doctor in the South Loop and scheduled and "annual" physical - something I had ignored for a long time. I scheduled 2 sleep studies and I am now the proud owner of a cpap machine which promises to help me to sleep more efficiently.

My 2 boys (now 2 grown men) continue to make me proud. Nick accepted a job as Director of Basketball Operations Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville and Tim will graduate from Indiana University with a degree in Informatics.

I had a number of visitors stay with me this year, including my sons, Rowena and Sabrina (my brother Dan’s wife and daughter), my friend J from Grand Rapids, my college friend Randy, and my friends Adam and Szofia from Budapest. Other friends (Dave from Florida, Sven from Alabama, Gary and Patricia from Kentucky, and others I cannot remember today) made time to meet up with me while they were in town.

I met a lot of new people in 2016. Most treated me well and a few treated me very well. I met a nice girl a few months ago, and that relationship is going very well.

I made an effort to rekindle my passion for live music and theater, taking advantage of the numerous venues in Chicago. I saw a few plays, including “Stomp”, “The SpongeBob Musical”. and “C.S. Lewis: The Most Reluctant Convert”. I saw some old favourites in concert, including Steely Dan, Stanley Clarke, and Gary Numan. Chicago has an impressive list of theaters – large and small – and I'm trying to take advantage of this.

I continued my efforts to keep a positive attitude by starting each morning thinking of something for which I am grateful and posting that thought on social media. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, I now also record a video of this thought and post it to Instagram.

Technology and Friends - my online TV Show - continues to go strong as I passed 450 episodes in 2016. I expect to air show #500 this year!

2016 began with a big change as I changed my home base, but I spent much of the year working on things I started in 2015. Only harder.