While it may be cliché to say that the year flew by, it does­n’t make it any less true. In what has be­come a great tra­di­tion, I’d love to share some high­lights from 2016.

Becoming Cat People (Again) #

Two years ago, I had a won­der­ful cat named RANDY.1 Due to a string of un­for­tu­nate events, I had to put RANDY up for adop­tion. I was dev­as­tated. I loved him. He was so af­fec­tion­ate and lov­ing, in a time where I was sorely lack­ing that in my life. Fast-forward two years, and life was com­pletely dif­fer­ent, filled with love and hap­pi­ness. But I still wanted a cat.

My beautiful Minnie. She’s so cute.

My beau­ti­ful Minnie. She’s so cute.

So we got two. We have a won­der­ful rag-doll that we adopted as a kit­ten named Pixel. And Minnie, a beau­ti­ful poly­dactyl cat we adopted from the Humane Society. Pixel has picked Kelly as her hu­man, and Minnie has picked me. Would I have liked both cats to have picked me? Yes, but it all worked out.

Concerts of a Lifetime #

I be­lieve I was 11 when I said to my­self that if I ever saw Beyoncé per­form, I could die hap­pily. The con­cert was at TCF Bank Stadium, an out­door sta­dium. The day of the show was rainy and right be­fore it was about to start, there was a light­ning storm. They emp­tied the en­tire sta­dium to wait it out. There we were, packed like sar­dines in the con­course, fool­ishly won­der­ing if this would all be worth it. The Queen B did not dis­ap­point. Beyoncé is a spec­tac­u­lar per­former, and her voice—my God, her voice—was mag­nif­i­cent.

That con­cert alone would’ve made the year. Then Kelly sur­prised me with Adele tick­ets. Adele. People I saw not one, but two mind-blow­ingly tal­ented women per­form in the span of three months. When I heard Adele’s voice, I could­n’t help but cry. Not be­cause it was her, but her voice is un­be­liev­able. Multiple songs gave me the chills and she sang all of my fa­vorites. You see a lot of Adele’s per­son­al­ity dur­ing the con­cert, and let me tell you, she is a de­light. I would love to hang out with her.

Our Trip to California #

We went out this year for a friend’s wed­ding, but we also had a great time with fam­ily. For those of you who may not know, California is where I was born and raised. As much as I dis­like my home state (and would­n’t move back un­less ab­solutely nec­es­sary), I do miss my fam­ily. We’re a tight-knit bunch of Latinos, and I re­gret tak­ing for granted how of­ten we saw each other and spent time to­gether. It was an awe­some week­end. I took about 300 hun­dred pic­tures on a DSLR that I rented. Only kept about 15. Using a DSLR was a new chal­lenge for me, and I look for­ward to do­ing it again.

Ab and Darcy at the wedding
Fonso at the wedding

My First Cruise #

I was so ner­vous about this trip, al­most to the point of not look­ing for­ward to it. I wor­ried that I’d get sea sick and it’d be a long week. How wrong I was! The ship was noth­ing short of amaz­ing. Not only is it an en­gi­neer­ing and ar­chi­tec­tural tri­umph, there is some­thing for every­one on it. We had great food and drinks, watched stand-up com­edy, en­joyed Broadway-caliber shows, lis­tened to some in­sanely tal­ented mu­si­cians, and karaoke-d our hearts out.

Kelly and I on the catamaran that took us snorkeling

Kelly and I on the cata­ma­ran that took us snor­kel­ing

And that’s only what we did on the ship. Our time on the dif­fer­ent is­lands was a blast, snor­kel­ing was breath­tak­ing, and my Minnesotan-pale skin got the tan it de­served. If you’ve been on the fence about tak­ing a cruise, I whole-heart­edly rec­om­mend it. I’m pos­i­tive you’ll en­joy it, no mat­ter what your de­f­i­n­i­tion of fun may be.

Leaving ACL #

In November, I de­cided to leave ACL af­ter work­ing there 4 months shy of two years. The com­pany was re­ally good to me, but some of our val­ues did­n’t align, and I felt that I was­n’t in­ter­ested enough in the do­main to con­tinue do­ing my best. Still, I had a great time there. I learned so much, and had the priv­i­lege of con­tribut­ing to sev­eral ap­pli­ca­tions the com­pany makes. I walked away with more knowl­edge, and great friends.

My awesome and hard-working Adamantium teammates

My awe­some and hard-work­ing Adamantium team­mates

What’s next? I don’t re­ally know yet. I hope to have some­thing more con­crete to share soon.

Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes #

This was the real blow of the year, but I can’t say I was shocked. I was­n’t feel­ing good for a while, and I stu­pidly put off go­ing to the doc­tor. I was at a point where I just had to go, and af­ter do­ing a blood test, it was con­firmed: I had Type 2 Diabetes. Learning to live with Diabetes has been dif­fi­cult. I have to watch what I eat, make sure to take my med­ica­tion, poke my­self to test my blood sugar, and plan meals for a set time. I used to be able to skip a meal or post­pone it, now I have to eat some­thing or my blood sugar will drop and I’ll feel crappy.

Honestly, I hate it. I have mo­ments where I cry be­cause of the con­stant frus­tra­tion it causes me, and I re­gret the de­ci­sions that got me here. But as with every other mis­take I’ve made, I can­not undo it. The past is the past, and I can only fo­cus on the fu­ture. I have a fan­tas­tic part­ner in Kelly, and she’s been so sup­port­ive and lov­ing with me. I ap­pre­ci­ate all her help, and how much she cares for me.

While parts of this year felt dif­fi­cult, and anx­i­ety and stress-in­duc­ing, it was still great. I lost 15 pounds, trav­eled a lot, and en­joyed great new ex­pe­ri­ences. I spent time with fam­ily, got closer to new and old friends, and saw some en­ter ex­cit­ing new eras of their lives.

What’s in Store for 2017 #

Just like last year, Kelly and I have de­cided to fol­low my friend Phil’s tra­di­tion of set­ting a motto for the year.

Our Motto: Embrace the New.

Here are my goals for the year:

  1. Dedicate 10 mins each day to learn French
    I want to learn a new lan­guage. I’m flu­ent in both Spanish and English, but it’s not fair be­cause I was taught both from birth.
  2. Lose 40 lbs.
    My bat­tle with weight con­tin­ues, but I re­al­ized I’ve never ac­tu­ally put a solid num­ber that I’d like to lose. My hope is that set­ting a spe­cific goal will help me ac­com­plish it.
  3. Make $200/month in side in­come
    I don’t have a spe­cific plan for mak­ing this hap­pen yet. I do know I have knowl­edge I can im­part to oth­ers and hope­fully make a lit­tle money from that.

This year feels like a good one.

  1. RANDY stands for RANDY Ain’t No Dog Yo. If you work with YAML, you’ll un­der­stand this joke. YAML stands for YAML Ain’t Markup Language. So nerdy and I love it. ↩︎

Series Year in Review

My annual tradition to look back on the year and set goals for the next one.

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