2010 retrospective

I’m barely back from a 2-week vacation, and still easing my way back into Portland living.

Looking back on 2010, the highlights were:

  • Listed as a major contributor to PostgreSQL. In typical community-style, I found out by chance by looking at the contributors website one day, weeks after the change was made. Sneaky devils. 🙂
  • Gave talks at LinuxConf.AU in New Zealand, LibrePlanet in Boston, PgCon in Ottawa, CouchCamp in the Bay area, Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Atlanta, LinuxFest Northwest in Bellingham, WA, OSCON PG Day in Portland, Google Summer of Code Mentor’s Summit in Mountain View, and keynoted DevNation in Portland.
  • Helped run the first ever IgniteGov at GOSCON in Portland!
  • Spoke at and participated in KiwiFoo and FooCamp. KiwiFoo changed my life. At some point, I’d love to live in New Zealand.
  • Made stickers with Reid and distributed OSFY, FSFY and OALFY stickers across the world.
  • Led the second successful Open Source Bridge conference. The second edition brought in Danny O’Brien, as he started his work with the Committee to Protect Journalists, Leigh Honeywell, who chronicled the rise of hackerspaces around the world, and Mayor Sam Adams. Danny’s talk was an inspiration to me, and I’m looking for opportunities to create better and more secure software for people who fight political oppression.
  • Started work at Emma, a lovely group of people and tons of interesting problems to work on.
  • Learned Python. Well, still learning python. 🙂
  • Took a couple vacations – Fourth of July weekend in Nashville, TN and two weeks in St Croix in December.
  • Spent a week in Montana with my mom for the first time in many years and had Thanksgiving with family at her mountain-man hideout near Tally Lake.
  • Drove to and from from Montana. I love road trips.
  • Started the PDX11 site to help publicize what the city and citizens are working together to create an even better and more inviting software community in Portland.
  • Worked on trolluniversity.com with Duke and Bart. Lots of scotch, ontologies and awkward jokes expected in the future.
  • Saw one of the world’s largest tesla coils turned on and run in a giant warehouse. Twice. And learned a tiny bit more about lightning, Tesla and high voltage.
  • Connected with a ton of new friends in open source communities, and hope to make many more in the new year.

I’m sure I left a few things out. I wish I would have written this post last year for 2009, as it was also an amazing year, full of travel, new experiences and wonderful people. Maybe I’ll do that and just backdate it for myself. I forgot that I’d done a picture inspiration last year for 2010. I substituted scuba diving for flying – cheaper and quite a bit safer. 🙂 Otherwise.. mostly all came to pass.

Another thing about this year: I’m still not sure what it is that I want to become. I’ve had many conversations over the last six months with women who are at a similar stage of life – stable work/career, considering having children, loving travel, obsessed with software and communication.

What comforted me is that they were sitting with the ambiguity of it all as well, and finding ways of sifting through probabilities to home in on what’s truly important. I think happiness is an important factor in decision making about life’s goals, but there’s a big part of me that’s more apt to go for interestingness instead. So, while sometimes things have gone off the rails or been incredibly difficult in the last year, all the experiences I listed above have made the sacrifices and contemplative time worth it.