Looking Back on 2010

Inspired by numerous retrospective posts, but most especially by Selena Decklemann’s, here’s my look back at 2010. This year has brought many changes for me and I’m grateful for all the time I had to be more introspective, self-critical and focused on achieving greater happiness and success. I’m still not quite sure where I want life to take me, but feel well along the right path.


Spoke at linux.conf.au in Wellington, New Zealand. The haka dance lesson at the speaker’s dinner in Te Papa was incredible. It was wonderful to return to New Zealand, see so many familiar sights and wonderful people, and make new memories. The glow worms in the city’s botanic garden were indescribably beautiful.


Decided it was time to try my hand at something else after six great years at Google. Left at the end of March with plans to start a consulting gig after a brief vacation.


Spoke at Free Software and Linux Days in Istanbul, Turkey at the beginning of April. The slides for my presentation on Getting Started in Free and Open Source are on Slideshare – please feel free to use the content. I left feeling incredibly inspired by the open source and student communities I interacted with there, and had a wonderful time touring the city with the students who volunteered to host me: Deniz, Firat, Seda and Ugur. Many thanks to them and Boran Puhaloglu for the kind invitation to speak at the conference.


Figured out that the consulting gig wasn’t quite what I’d imagined, and spent quite a bit of time deciding what I really wanted to do. I missed the open source community and I missed feeling like my work was having a truly positive social impact. And I knew that my desire to move away from Silicon Valley was something I should no longer ignore. I spent a lot of time in Portland, Oregon during this month and decided to relocate there. I also spent a bit of time volunteering with the organizing of Open Source Bridge.


Had a great time at Open Source Bridge. Signed the lease on our new home the third day of the conference, and headed home to pack. This move was the first time in my life I’d ever truly went through all my possessions. I found letters from my high school days, photos I was sure I’d lost, and letters from my grandmother that I’d carefully tucked away in an old memories box. I decided to actually embrace the simplicity I’d been saying I wanted and got rid of more than 80% of my book collection. I admit, that hurt. A lot. I also haven’t missed them.


The great migration happened at the very end of June, and the first days of July were spent unpacking and getting the house in order. Getting the felines used to the new place was more difficult than I’d imagined. Settling into the new place went much more quickly for me than I could have hoped. I relaxed, regrouped and started to figure out what I wanted to manifest in my new found home.


Got to work in earnest on the panel I moderated at the Grace Hopper Conference on Getting Started in Free and Open Source Software. Annual camping trip in the redwoods with my Aramco brat gal pals, though sadly no music festival this year. More of that whole introspection thing.


Was proud to be a co-chair at the conference’s first ever Open Source Track. Grace Hopper was an amazing experience for me, though not for the reasons I hear most people mention. The chance to bond deeply with some women I already knew was invaluable, humbling and affirming. Decided I needed to come up with some new talk fodder. Still haven’t gotten around to that – suggestions welcome. Many thanks to all the wonderful people who helped make that panel possible.


Immediately upon returning from Grace Hopper, I started work at the Oregon State University Open Source Lab as a an Open Source Outreach Manager. My first task was to assist with the production of the sixth annual Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON). I’m grateful to have had the chance to work so closely with my new colleague, Deb Bryant, and to work closely with Jeff Sheltren, Selena and Nate on the world’s first IgniteGov.


Spent my birthday finally recovering from a nasty ear infection, but had a lovely housewarmingy type celebration the following week to make up for it. Headed back to Connecticut to spend some quality time with Jack’s friends and family over Thanksgiving. Attended his 20th high school reunion. Spent a lot more time with his Mom and grew to like her even more than I already did.


My Mom and Dad visited us for the first time. I think my Dad actually liked the cats, though he’ll never admit it. Deb Nicholson arrived the following week for some world domination plotting with other Portlanders. Missed the big software town hall, but attended the first PDX 11 meeting on creating a knowledge network (and convened by Warren Harrison). Ended the year right: quiet, mellow days off making delicious breakfast, lunches, dinners and snackies. Eschewed the usual Christmas gift craziness. Rang in the New Year with my sweetheart and a bottle of Taittinger, sipping champagne, watching the ball drop in Times Square, covered in cats. Perfect way to end a great year.

I’m really grateful to all my friends in Portland for making me feel so welcomed, appreciated and already in the thick of things. My only New Year’s resolution was to be a bit more social and spend more time with friends and colleagues. I turned into quite a homebody in 2010 and feel like I’d be better served by getting out and about more. In fact, I’m heading to a hockey game tomorrow night.

So what’s next? I don’t have many concrete ideas right now, but definitely think moving from Beaverton is the next most immediate step. Jack will start at OSU in the Fall, and we’ll see where that change takes us. I’ve vacillated back into a phase where having a bigger family than the one I have now doesn’t seem appealing. I’m really loving my work at the OSL and looking forward to all the great things we have planned for this coming year.  Onward…..

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