A look ahead to 2022

Well, here we are again. Another year gone by, still essentially in quarantine, but still smiling. It’s been a good year. 

First off, Ian started his university days and is pursuing a BS in Cybersecurity at Oregon Tech. At this time, he has completed his first set of classes with straight A’s, and already registered for the next set. So proud of my best buddy. 

2021 also brought me a new job! I’m still with AWS, but have moved to a new group; I’m now Community Manager for OpenSearch! It’s really exciting to be part of an open source project with this much potential. 

At the beginning of 2021 I set a few goals for myself. Let’s go through them and see how I did. 

A look ahead to 2021

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  • For a number of years now I’d had a goal of reading 12 books, yet somehow never accomplished that. This year I made a point of it and worked at developing a habit of reading, and I accomplished my goal. In fact, I beat it and read 15 books in 2021. Happy with this, and look to read even more in 2022. 

500 lb deadlift

  • Heck yeah. Accomplished. Now to work towards 525, which would be an all time best for me, then work toward 575, which would be two and a half times my current body weight. 


  • We definitely made a ton of progress on the garden this year. One big accomplishment was building two 16 foot long garden permanent garden boxes. Now, in hindsight, I don’t think a garden is ever something that is truly finished; therefore I’m not positive I can call it complete, but that’s the point isn’t it – keep learning, growing, and getting better with the garden. 


  • Didn’t accomplish this one, but as mentioned above I’ve moved to a new role and this goal will change for the coming year. 


  • This one was just so-so in 2021, and similar to the garden, I don’t think it’s something that I’ll ever truly finish; just keep working on it.

Goals for 2022

Strength goals

  • Deadlift: 525 – which would be an all time PR for me. Once that is mine, I’ll keep working towards 575 – which will be two and a half times my body weight. 
  • Bench Press: 315 – bench has always been my worst lift. I’m going to finally hit 3 plates this year. 
  • Squat: 500 – this may be a stretch goal, but I’m going to work towards it. 


  • I do miss Hsi Lai temple quite a bit and I still haven’t found a place up here that I can practice with others. There is a small zen center not far from here that I intend on looking into. 

Reorganize the garage gym

  • I’m so fortunate to have this gym. It keeps me motivated and is open whenever I need it. One thing I need to do is reorganize the garage a bit to make better use of the space. As an example, I bought barbell racks but haven’t been able to mount them on the wall yet due to my reverse hyper being in the way. 

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  • 2021 was a fantastic year for developing my reading habit. Now I can work to dive into even more reading material. 


  • As the community manager for this open source project, I’m not typically answering technical questions. That said, I intend on diving into the product this year to see how I can better understand the needs of the community members. Plus, it’s honestly really interesting looking software.


  • Not necessarily a goal, but I plan to continue building our garden and learning what I can along the way. 


  • Just something I want to learn / get better at. I’ve long been interested in the idea of building my own digital garden – may work on that this year.

As usual, there will likely be new goals I set for myself throughout the year, but this is a good start.

20 years

Twenty years, two entire decades; a long long time.

Today, I’ve been married to my best friend, my one true love, for twenty years. We met and fell in love when we were just kids. I think about that often and know, I’m one of the lucky ones. She’s been my rock more times than I can count, and honestly more times than she even knows. She’s picked me up, and held me up. She’s pushed me forward, sometimes in hindsight I realize she’s done so when I was kicking and screaming like a child. She’s a huge reason I am am the man today. She’s a huge reason I’m even alive today.

Dawn is the one who knows me better than I even know myself. She is the one who keeps our home running, and is an amazing mother to our son. And yes, he knows how lucky he is to have her as his momma. We’ve experienced every up and down one could imagine and got through it all together. I am so fortunate to be able to spend my life with such an amazing human.

Dawn, I love you more than I can even describe.

And I thank you for bringing me here
For showing me home……..

Taking time

So I realized something recently; what I truly love about Portland is a sense of ‘not-doing’ I have come to accept. Not necessarily a non productive not-doing, but a sense of less rush, taking my time, observing the clouds. The realization that sometimes, it’s okay to do that.

California never really allowed too much of it, but that’s okay. The place just moves constantly. Although I grew up there and loved the busyness of it for most of my life, I ended up truly needing to get away from that once I entered my 40’s. And yes, I have fully accepted being an old man. Get off my lawn while you’re at it.

But here in the Pacific Northwest it’s okay to watch the trees, see them turn colors in the fall. To watch the clouds just float by while sitting on a park bench; almost in a monastic sense of just being.

It’s only been a few months since we’ve lived up here but I feel like I’m home.

But maybe not forever.

Who knows. I am beginning to wonder if one of the healthiest lessons we’ve learned when we moved away is simply that we can and everything is OK. Home is what you make of it. Family and friends are who you choose to become close with. Distance from someone never changes that.

Maybe this ‘not-doing’ is really just more time to reflect. I’ll take it.

Our New Place in Portland

We’ve settled into our new apartment fairly well and are really enjoying our new home. I’m constantly in awe of how gorgeous the Pacific Northwest is and at this point I’m starting to wonder if Dawn is getting tired of me exclaiming ‘wow, look at all the trees’ every time we drive anywhere.

The apartment fits us well for now and is teaching me how we really need less than we what we have. Finding places for the remaining boxes is motivating me to continue to get rid of my possessions. That said, we’re still working to put a few things away.

We recently took a few pictures to send to friend and family to show them our new home. I thought I would post a few as well to share. Please excuse the boxes…

Our dining area
The front room, and our new couch
The kitchen
The pantry and laundry room
The front bathroom
The dude’s room
My office
The master bedroom (or as Dawn says “where the magic happens”)
The master bath
Our patio

I hope you enjoy the tour of our new place!

It’s Time to Leave

the SoCal coast I have grown up on

California has been good to me. I was born here and had a great childhood here. I enjoyed many years of youth soccer here, later to become a coach for my own son.

I met my wife here in California. She was also born here and grew up in the state. Though we went to different schools, she and I had similar experiences with it. We went on to get married at a restaurant that her family had a tradition of celebrating things at. It became our place to celebrate things as well. In fact, in the coming weeks, we will be having a going away party there with a number of friends; some we have known longer than we’ve been married.

We had a child here in California. It has been a fantastic place to raise him so far. I think we’ve been able to give him a wonderful childhood so far. The schools he has attended have been something I especially appreciate. The teachers have been amazing; able to push him further than I would expect.

Each of my loving grandparents are buried here in California. None of them were born here though, each migrated here from other places. Heck, my Great Grandfather came all the way over from Sweden. Something I think about from time to time as we do a bit of reflection in preparation for our move out of the state.

We’ve made tons of friends here in California. People I fully expect to know into my later years. Many of them weren’t born here though. Come to think of it, many have moved away as well. Again, something I thought about as we worked towards our move.

It’s time to leave our home state for a new one. It’s time to seek new adventures and new experiences. Time to call a new place home.

We’re moving to Portland, Oregon.

A few years ago, we went and visited some great friends that had moved there. Friends we had made here in California, back in our high school days. We really enjoyed our time there.

Then a couple years ago, we started thinking about moving away. More and more it felt like something we needed to do. It was time to grow. We considered a few places, but somehow Portland kept coming up, at least in my mind.

This past January we traveled back to Portland to see our friends (and a few others we have made over the years). We also went with a different mindset than just simply going on vacation. We chose a week in January thinking it would be questionable weather and we would have to deal with it. Of course when we arrived the sun was shining and our friends thanked us for bringing the sun with us. Figures, right?

This time, within a few minutes of being there, I knew it was somewhere I wanted to call home. As I drove along in our rented car, I looked off in the distance to see a mountain, covered by a forest, fading away into the clouds. I commented to my wife “I could look at that every day.”

Drivers were courteous, people said thank you when you opened the door for them. It just felt right.

It’s a place I’m looking forward to calling home.