Tagged: Goals

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2013

Last week I posted my review of 2012. This post talks about what I’m looking forward to about 2013.

Settling in to Our New House

We were completely done moving into the new house by the end of October, but we’re far from being completely settled in. Our two spare rooms have stacks of unpacked boxes. My half of the home office is setup, but we’ve barely started on Sherri’s half and there are stacks of stuff to be sorted all over the place. That said, the rooms that are setup are looking awesome. Oh, and I’m very much looking forward to our first Spring and Summer here so we can see what blooms in the yard. Hopefully we’ll be able to plant a veggie garden this year as well.

Making Progress on My Asthma and Chronic Cough

Moving to the Pacific Northwest has not been great for my health. A short-while after moving to Portland, I started experiencing severe respiratory allergies (to dust mites and mold) and an increase in asthma symptoms. In fact, my symptoms were so slight prior to moving to Portland, I didn’t even know I had asthma or allergies! The allergies manifest mostly as congestion and decrease in breathing ability. I’ve also developed an unshakable cough. I’ve seen nearly a dozen doctors and specialists in the process of treating my cough. Together, we’ve ruled out pretty much every cause aside from allergic sinusitis/rhinitis, asthma and a slight predisposition towards respiratory infection. In a way, that’s a good thing. I don’t have lung disease or a serious viral, bacterial or fungal infection. (Did you know you can get a fungus ball in your lungs?). What I do have is difficult to control asthma and an immune system overreacts to two allergens that are, unfortunately for me, ubiquitous in this climate.

Having exhausted most other options, I started immunotherapy last month. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) is a treatment for allergies where you receive a series of injections of the very proteins you are allergic to (e.g. dust, mold, insect stings, pollen; it doesn’t work for food allergies). The injections start out at a low concentration, and increase gradually over several weeks. Know one knows exactly why allergy shots work, but we do know that they fundamentally change how a person’s body responds to allergens and reduces its response over time.

I’ll admit to not feeling a lot of optimism that this treatment would have an effect. I’ve tried a number of different medications over the last couple of years and nothing has made more than a dent in my cough. However, my pessimism seems to be unfounded. The allergy shots are already giving me quite a bit of relief. My sinuses are clearer, my lungs feel better and I’m coughing less.

Now, I’m not out of the woods yet. I still have quite a way to go before immunotherapy is complete. And, my body is so used to coughing at the slightest trigger, that it’s going to take quite some time for it to unlearn that response, even if we completely address what got it going in the first place. Nevertheless, for the first time in a long while I feel some hope about improving this chronic illness. That motivates me to stay on top of my treatment plan and to slowly work in regular exercise.

Getting Regular Exercise

I’ve always had trouble maintaining a regular exercise routine for more than a couple of months at a time. And over the last couple of years, my respiratory issues have made any kind of regular exercise feel impossible.But now I’m making progress on my cough, and so it’s time to get back to regular exercise. My basic plan for this is: home treadmill (we now have a Precor 9.27), fitbit and yoga. I’m particularly excited about the treadmill. Having it in the room next to my home office means I’ll be able to make use of it throughout the day, taking the breaks I should be taking, and won’t have to face the cold, wet Portland winter or a neighborhood completely lacking sidewalks to do so. Plus both Mom and Sherri will be able to use it as well.

Oh, and if you’re a Fitbit user, send me a friend request!

Family Trip to Hawaii

In March, we’re heading to Hawaii with both of our moms. I’m really excited about the opportunity for the four of us to spend time together and get to know each other better. Oh, and if all goes according to plan, our trip will coincide with Dori’s 70th birthday!

Events & Speaking

This year I will continue my involvement in Open Source Bridge, BarCamp Portland as well as the Open Source Day at the Grace Hopper Celebration. I will also be speaking at PyCon, and perhaps a few other conferences (we’re submitted to OSCON again). I’m very much looking forward to all of these events, especially OSB because it’s our 5th year, which I consider an important milestone.

Reconnecting with a Spiritual Community

A number of colliding factors prompted me to stop practicing with our Zen community a few months before Sherri and I got married. I have yet to find another faith community to practice with. In truth, I haven’t been seriously looking. In part this is becuase it’s take a long time to heal from my experiences and I just haven’t been ready. But I think I am now. There’s a Unitarian community in our neighborhood, and I think we’re going to start there and see how things feel.

Seeing Firefox OS Launch

Since switching to my new role on Mozilla’s Technical Evangelism team, I’ve been working exclusively on efforts to get developers involved in Firefox OS. I’m very much looking forward to making more progress towards the successful launch and growth of this initiative.

(Oh, and if you’re a developer, designer, ux, other other techie person and you’re interested in contributing xapps for our Marketplace, get in touch with me. If you know html, javascript and css you can create apps!)

Reading Challenge

In 2012, I set a reading goal for myself of 24 books. Two per month seemed like a perfectly good challenge. Well, I read nearly double that amount. In part this is because I “read” a lot of audiobooks. I do this while walking or doing chores. It’s nice to be able to read when I otherwise wouldn”t be able to. And in some cases, switching between a written book and a spoken book helps me understand the material better (and Amazon’s Whispersync for Voice makes this seamless). In any case, clearly last year’s goal was too conservative, so this year I’m setting a goal of 60. That’s more than one book per week and I’m not sure I can meet it. But it’s important to set reach goals every now and then. Want to join me? Head on over to GoodReads, sign up for your own challenge and send me a friend request.

What about you?

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

2010 Goals

Yes, it’s the obligatory “resolutions” post. These are not in any particular order.

Do Zazen (Meditate) Everyday

Finding, or rather making the time to sit is a real challenge for me. Particularly after I haven’t sat for a while. My monkey mind generates a thousand different reasons why I can’t sit still with myself for a few minute. So, rather than concentrating on the length of the zazen, I’m going to concentrate on making sure that I do zazen every day, regardless of the duration. Currently I’m sitting 10 minutes in the morning and 10 in the afternoon (aside from the time I sit with my sangha).

Attend a Sesshin

Attending a sesshin (multi-day silent retreat) was a goal for 2009 that I didn’t accomplish. I did, however, establish a retreat practice by attening a workshop and a Beginner’s Mind retreat (sesshin-lite). But this is the year I will go to sesshin for the first time. Actually, I think it’s how I’ll be celebrating my 30th birthday. Right now, the Loving-Kindness (Metta) Sesshin is the week of my birthday. If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be considering spending such an “important” birthday in silent retreat, I would have said you were nuts. But, Metta practice is something I’m very interested in (and haven’t had a lot of experience with). And, giving myself the space/time for such deep practice seems like an awesome way to celebrate my birthday.

Establish a Writing Practice

Last year I had more blog entries than I ever have before, but they were sporadic at best. My personal journal entries are even fewer and farther between. So this year, I will try to blog more, journal more and even play around again with some creative writing.

Maintain a Yoga Practice

My yoga practice dropped off substantially last year, firstly due to illness and then because the studio that I’d been going to closed. However, during the last week of the year I went to two yoga classes and was amazed at how quickly I felt its positive effects. When I’m doing yoga regularly, I eat better, I sleep better, I have fewer digestive issues, I feel more connected to my body. And it helps incredibly with zazen. So my goal is to go to 2-3 yoga classes a week and work on doing postures at home.

Improve the Garden

Last year’s garden attempt was shotgun at best. That’s okay. I’d been sick and moved in after the start of planting season. There was definitely an up hill battle to fight to even get the back yard in shape to plant anything. This year I want to grow more winter squash, trellis/cage the tomatoes and cucumbers properly, install some kind of irrigation system to make daily watering easier and more efficient, plant cover crops and actually record what we plant.

Make a Significant Contribution to the Portland Tech Community

I’m not attached to a particular way of contributing to the PDX tech community, though I do have a couple of ideas in the works.

Learn New Things

In my 2009 goals, I was pretty specific about some of the things I wanted to learn. (Ahem, three new programming languages? What was I thinking?) So this year, I’m making this goal very broad and giving myself flexibility to explore and change what I’m working on. Some things that I’m interested in now that could fall under this goal: Working on the Blue Beast (my ’72 Toyota Corona), origami, woodworking and programming.

Stay Out of Debt

Last year, I paid off all of my debt except for my federal student loan. This year, I plan to keep it paid off.

In 2009 I want to…

This post is a bit late in coming as it’s already the third week in January. But, I wanted the holiday-season cobwebs to clear a bit before I clarify my 2009 goals. They are ambitious, certainly, and I present them below.

1. Attend a Beginner’s Mind retreat and one sesshin.

I’m looking forward to attending a Beginner’s Mind Retreat. It’s the shortest retreat that Great Vow offers and it follows a rather relaxed schedule (by Zen standards anyway). It’s the sesshin that I’m terrified of. Sesshins are either 7 or 10 days and follow a very rigorous schedule including many hours of sitting. You rise at 4 a.m. and do two hours of zazen just before breakfast! I know whichever sesshin I choose will be challenging and have moments of discomfort (well, probably many). But it’s a necessary and integral part of my practice. In that regard, I look forward to it. I also hope to take the 5 Precepts this year.

2. Learn the basis of three other programming languages.

The purpose of this goal is to continue to broaden my skills as a programmer. In 2008 I learned the basics of C++. In 2009 I want to step this up. I’m planning to learn the basics of Processing, Python and Ruby.

3. Participate in more community events and start speaking at them.

This community definitely includes the Portland tech community, but I would also like to look at building my connection to the LGBT community, and find additional ways to support fellow women in technology.

4. Read 50 books.

This is roughly one book per week on top of my standard blog and magazine reading.

5. Be debt free.

This is a big one. I’ve worked up a substantial debt (for me anyway) during the processes of moving to Portland and getting settled. With diligence, however, I think I can do it.

6. Explore/Join an NVC practice group.

Before I left San Francisco, I completed an introductory course in Non-violent Communication. It’s actually what originally started me on a path to practicing Zen. Now that I’m more or less settled here in Portland, I’d like to find a way to continue building my NVC skills.

7. Develop my artistic skills.

I’m not sure which form this will take. It could be as simple as continuing to write consistently in this blog. It could be voice or instrument lessons (I’ve been itching to play the trumpet again, strangely). It could be taking a painting or ceramics class. I’m not sure quite yet. I do know that it’s a side of my brain that I’d like to develop and is an integral part of Zen training as well.

8. Launch at least two of the side-project ideas that I have.

I have a list of at least a half dozen size projects, none of which I’ve brought to fruition. In 2009 I want to make time for some of these and complete at least two.