2023 in Review

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In many ways, 2023 was a year of recovery and rebirth. I resolved some significant issues in mid-2022. This past year, I was able to focus on healing myself, improving my career, and helping those around me.


Two engagements highlighted our family news this year. My son Tim proposed to his longtime girlfriend Natale on the Pont Neuf while they were vacationing in Paris. My niece Katie announced her engagement to her boyfriend Josh at Christmas dinner.
Tim completed his third year as an IT consultant at Microsoft. He received a promotion this year.
Nick is in his fifth season coaching the Kalamazoo College basketball team. The team began the season with a 4-1 record, their best start in over twenty years.


In 2023, I made an effort to reconnect with old friends. I have met so many excellent people over the years, and I missed talking with them, so I reached out to many and scheduled a phone call. I typically planned a half hour, but the conversation almost always lasted longer.


As many of you know, I set a goal years ago to attend a home game of every team in the four major professional North American sports - NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. I made significant progress in this list during 2023 when I attended home games of 2 NFL teams (Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers), 5 MLB teams (Anaheim Angels, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and Texas Rangers), and 2 NHL teams (Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins.) I also saw many Kalamazoo College basketball games to watch my son coach the team. Most of these were in Kalamazoo, MI, but I also saw his team play in Lake Forest, IL, and Thousand Oaks, CA.

In the course of the year, I traveled to southern California twice, to Pittsburgh, to Houston and Dallas,

I can now see the end in sight of this list. I have ten or fewer unvisited sites for each league, and 28 visits remain among the four leagues.

Two things were noticeably missing this year. I had no international trips, and I had no work trips. I plan to change both of these in 2024. My team scheduled an offsite in the Seattle area in late February; and I submitted to several European conferences. DevSum in Stockholm, Sweden already accepted me as a speaker.

The Arts

I love concerts and live theater. I attended 43 concerts and 17 plays in 2023, which is a lot, even for me.

Here is a list of each I attended in the past twelve months.


Feb 17Andy's Jazz ClubShawn Maxwell
Feb 19City WineryDenny Lane
Feb 20City WineryDave Mason
Mar 4Salt ShedElle King
Mar 5AtheneumScythian
Mar 10Jazz ShowcaseBobby Broom
Mar 24Jazz ShowcaseChuchito Valdes
Mar 25City WineryThe Verve Pipe
Apr 2SPACEEmmaline
Apr 29Old Town School of Folk MusicGraham Nash
May 12Jazz ShowcaseFreddy Cole
May 13Hard Rock CasinoWayne Newton
May 14Old Town School of Folk MusicCowboy Junkies
Jun 10Old Town School of Folk MusicJames McMurtry
Jun 11Pritzker PavillionLos Lobos
Jun 15SPACECracker
Jun 27Huntington Bank PavillionNoel Gallagher
Jul 5City WineryNik West
Jul 13City WineryPuddles Pity Party
Jul 16Old Town School of Folk MusicIris Dement
Aug 10Lighthouse Art SpaceLenny White, Buster Williams, and Cyrus Chestnut
Aug 12Jazz ShowcaseCharles McPherson Quartet
Aug 22Huntington Bank PavillionGoo Goo Dolls
Sep 1Arcada TheatreDon McLean
Sep 13City WineryChris Kattan
Sep 30United CenterPeter Gabriel
Oct 11Cahn AuditoriumMary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin
Oct 19UIC ForumRachel Maddow
Oct 21Old Town School of Folk MusicSteep Canyon Rangers
Oct 23City WineryJustin Hayward
Oct 30United CenterQueen
Nov 2Copernicus CenterSteve Hackett
Nov 3Salt ShedLP
Nov 4Francis W. Parker SchoolHenry Winkler
Nov 10Chicago TheatreMy Morning Jacket
Dec 9SPACEAna Gasteyer
Dec 11City WinerySouthside Johnny
Dec 29Jazz ShowcaseMarquis Hill


Jan 29CIBC TheatreChicago
Feb 10Chicago Shakespeare TheatreWuthering Heights
Mar 1Lion TheaterDrunk Shakespeare
Mar 2CIBC Theatre1776
Mar 17Chicago Shakespeare TheatreThe Comedy of Errors
Mar 19Marriott TheatreBig Fish: The Musical
Apr 14CIBC TheatreA Soldier's Play
Apr 15Nederlander TheatreJagged Little Pill
Apr 26Steppenwolf TheatreLast Night and the Night Before
May 27Shattered Globe TheatreLondon Road
Jun 10Studebaker TheatrePersonality: The Lloyd Price Musical
Jun 16Goodman TheatreThe Who's Tommy
Jul 7Lookingglass TheatreLucy and Charlie's Honeymoon
Sep 8City Lit Theater CompanyThe Innocence of Seduction
Sep 29Shattered Globe TheatreA View From the Bridge
Nov 20CIBC TheatreBoop! The Musical
Dec 30Cadillac Palace TheatreHow the Grinch Stole Christmas - the Musical


Last year, I created a new bucket list - visiting all 15 Presidential Libraries and Museums. This year, I saw three (George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan) bringing my total to five. In addition, I visited the Dallas Museum of Art and the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles for the first time this year.

Public Speaking

Focusing on my day job this year left me less time for public speaking at conferences and user groups. I did some virtual presentations. I delivered technical presentations at six virtual user groups (SpartaHack, Tulsa .NET User Group, Cleveland Azure User Group, Cleveland C# User Group, and the Memphis Python User Group) and in person at three user groups (Elastic Chicago User Group, AI Meetup, and TCS Road Show), as well as many presentations specifically for Microsoft partners. Next year, I hope to deliver more in-person presentations.

My Job

This was my first full year on the Global Partner Solutions team at Microsoft. It was a satisfying year during which I led a number of projects and contributed to even more. I am grateful to my current coworkers and managers for their teamwork and collaboration. The culture of this team contrasts starkly with that of my last team. My new managers encourage collaboration and highlight what their team members are doing correctly, in stark contrast to my previous manager.


I volunteered once again to mentor high school students as they create projects for the ISTC STEM Challenge. I have lost count. Is this my fifth or sixth year doing this?


I continue to read frequently this year, completing 44 books, which is fewer than the last couple of years. You can view my list and my reviews here. My current goal is to read every book awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. So far, I have read 36 of the 104 books granted this award.


My online shows shows are still going strong. I decided an acceptable cadence is once per week for Technology and Friends and once every two weeks for GCast. I kept this up throughout the year. With fewer face-to-face interactions, T&F has almost completely shifted to virtual interviews.  At over 11,000 views, my most watched video of 2023 was Creating a JWT Bearer Token with Azure Active Directory [GCast 139]

I also continued to blog actively, publishing 240 posts in 2023 - an average of one every 1.5 days. I managed to post a new article every day in April, July, and August. I am especially proud of July in August because this is the first time I have published every day in back-to-back months and the first time I have posted every day in a 31-day month.

On social media, I began each morning by sharing something for which I am grateful. It has helped my mental health to start each day with this ritual. I am also in the habit of sharing interesting historical trivia, a song each day, and keeping track of friends' birthdays. You can follow me at the following links:

Personal Stuff

The year was mostly positive. The low point came a few months ago when a long-term relationship ended. It took me a while to accept this, but I am moving forward. I am grateful for the support of friends during this time.

Looking Ahead

My goals for 2024 are to continue to do well at my job, to travel more, and to do more public speaking - particularly in-person.

I will speak at the Michigan Tech Conference in March and at DevSum in Stockholm, Sweden, in June. I am waiting to hear from other conferences if they will accept my proposed presentations.

My team planned an offsite in Seattle in late February 2024 - an event scheduled and canceled in 2022. I am excited to meet my teammates - most of whom I have never seen in person.

I face the upcoming year with renewed optimism. 2023 was a good year overall, but I recognize what it lacked and will take steps to make 2024 even better!