2019 – A Year In Review

A friend of mine on LiveJournal used to post these great yearly recaps that I always wanted to do on my own, but never managed to. I had LJ, and FB, and my photos app on my phone to remind me of what I had done the year before.

But I felt that 2019 was such an unusual year, plus it’s a way to exercise my writing muscles, so here we go.

January

January started off with three fitness goals – two should have been fairly easy to do, while the third was definitely a stretch.

  • Run at least 1 mile every day in 2019
  • Get 10,000 steps a day
  • Run 1,000 miles for the year

Looking at my old running stats, I managed 1,000 miles ONE TIME – back in 2008 I ran 1020.99 miles. Looking at those numbers right now, I’m surprised to see four months where I ran over 100 miles each month. I can’t even imagine. For the record though, 2008 was the year I was training for a marathon, so there were some crazy long runs in there.

Also in January, K and I were still trying to move out of the Parkland house. The decision had been made that not only the house, but also the middle property were going to be sold. So the new challenge was to go through the garages on the middle property.

When I had originally moved out at the end of 2007, basically all of my stuff was put into those garages since I didn’t know what the future was going to bring. And now I was having to go through things I hadn’t looked at in 11 years. Lots of treasures were found!

Kitty Pryde! She’ll be back in March!
Really loved McFarlane’s arty-fartsy webs!
Tacoma Sabercats puck!

Quite possibly the biggest thing to happen in January was receiving a random message from a recruiter on LinkedIn. That message would prove to be a life changing event.

February

Friday the first started early. I don’t even remember what time I woke up, but it was definitely early because I had a crazy early flight to Denver to catch.

Yes, Denver.

That random message on LinkedIn turned into an in-person job interview at a credit union in Denver.

The one bad part of this trip, was that my 1 mile a day goal was now officially shot. That’s what happens when you don’t get home until almost 11pm, and since you wore brand new shoes on your interview, your feet were killing you! (February would also be your second lowest mileage month of the year at 15.10 – March was your worst – 8.42.)

Even today, almost a year later, I have a hard time believing that this even happened.

A few days after my interview, I was officially offered the job. We were moving to Colorado!

Well, I was moving to Colorado. The plan was that I would go by myself, get settled, and then in June, K and the dog and cats would come out. K was taking care of her mom, who was going through various cancer treatments, plus it gave K plenty of time to say goodbye to the house she grew up in, and all of her friends.

Paper mice made with glue

My last week at my current job was hard. I was saying goodbye to the team I managed, and my awesome office mate. My mice were packed into a box, and then I got stuck on a mountain pass because Washington decided it wanted to have the largest snowfall in almost 50 years. But I was also excited about my new opportunity, and still very upset at the company I was leaving.

Instead of sneaking out in the dead of night, I decided to tell those that mattered to me what was happening. I reactivated my Facebook and created two going away gatherings – one in the north end, and the other in the south end.

It was really great seeing who came – and yes, even though I tried not to, there were emotions. It made me feel good knowing that these people whose lives crossed with mine wanted to say goodbye.

I also ate a giant steak.

Giant Steak
Josh said ribeyes are the way to go.

Before I could leave, one major thing had to be done – buy a new car. The KIA, or the Mazda for that fact, wouldn’t be very good for winter weather in Colorado, plus we were going to need something that was capable of towing a fairly large trailer.

I’ve been eyeballing a Jeep Cherokee for a couple of years, but after checking out its bigger cousin – the Grand Cherokee – we went with the bigger one. Trailhawk edition. And in red.

She’s so beautiful!

On the last day of February, I left Washington. But I was going to be back.

Added bonus was driving on Highway 395 for a few miles.

March

First snowfall upon arriving in Colorado.

I arrived in Colorado on the first of March – right before a blizzard was predicted to hit. There was definitely some snow, and it was damn cold that first week.

At least I had some comfortable places to sit.
When your car is frozen to the ground.

I had the weekend to get situated at my hotel before I started work on that Monday.

The first week at work was strange – typical new hire orientation – but for someone who truly does like to fly under the radar, it was uncomfortable at times because every time I introduced myself, they applauded me! Not anyone else, just me. I guess everyone (even those not directly involved in what I do) was aware of me and knew how important my role was.

More mugs!

And then as soon as I arrived, I left. I first flew to San Francisco for a work conference (and got to see some of the people I used to work with,) and then I was off to Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con.

Told you Kitty Pryde would be back!

Four days of SOLID activities. I was exhausted going back, but I had an apartment when I arrived instead of a hotel room. Plus the movers were arriving and I was going to have almost everything with me (except the wife, dog, cats, and dressers – those dressers were important!)

Stranger Things!

April

April was my first full month in Colorado, and I was still trying to get a handle on everything.

Little taste of home.

My walks at lunch continued, but they weren’t as beautiful as they were in Washington. I also experienced my first crazy Colorado weather – 80° one day, blizzard warning the next.

I also joined the hiking club that started at work. We started out slow and easy, but at the end of the summer, our goal was to summit a 14,000′ mountain peak!

Didn’t die!

May

K came out to visit in May, we jammed in quite a bit while she was here for a few days.

Belle and the TARDIS!
Adding to my Mouse Guard collection.

First we went to the Denver Pop Culture Con (we actually planned her trip around this) so she could get another MLP signature – this time from Twilight Sparkle herself – Tara Strong. And then we had some delicious Mexican foods!

Not Twilight Sparkle.

I also ran my first race since moving here – and a 10k no less. The Bolder Boulder. This race is HUGE. Over 100,000 people are at Folsom Field. This 10k was like a compressed Hood to Coast. As you run through all of the neighborhoods in Boulders, it seemed like everyone was having some crazy party at their house. Shots and cheetos and beers and bacon barely scratch the surface.

Spot on my estimated times.

The race went about as well as I expected – I’m definitely not as fast as I was before, but age and weight will definitely affect that. Plus it got hot on Memorial Day.

June

Bear not pictured.

June started out with a bang – we saw a bear on our hike!

For a work event, we visited NIST and saw the atomic clocks. This was one of the coolest things I ever done. I’d love to do another tour, but I don’t know if it would be as fun or informative as this one was.

Atomic clock!

It was also time for World Cup, so I acquired my fifth soccer jersey of the year (I may have a problem.)

I didn’t have a women’s jersey with all of the stars at the time.

Oh – and I finally met The Oatmeal! It’s still funny in a way that I have to move from Seattle to Denver to meet an artist who lives in Seattle. I even told him that. That was a fun evening.

And since July was fast approaching, I was beginning to experiment with the newly acquired Instant Pot by cooking up various chicken keto recipes for K.

Chicken adobo.

July

Oh shit – July.

The year is halfway over with, and very soon I’ll be driving back to Washington (with my friend Jeremy’s help) to pick up K. And then driving back.

On the 4th, I spent a couple of hours at quite possibly my favorite brewery in Colorado so far – 4 Noses.

So many good beers.

Then on the 12th, Jeremy and I began our 20 hour drive to Covington.

We actually took the Wyoming – Montana route.

It was quite the whirlwind trip and we barely had a minute to breath. After arriving, we loaded up the Uhaul trailer, I took a nap, and then we were off to my brother’s house for his 40th birthday.

This pretzel was delicious!

The next day, we met up with my friend Brandon. We tried to go to The Red Hot, but some crazy street fair was going on, so we found ourselves at The Rheinhaus instead. Oddly enough, their three locations are Seattle, Tacoma, and Denver. The next day, we were back on the road to Colorado – this time with three people, two cats, a dog, roof pod, and a Uhaul trailer.

A full load on the way to Colorado.

July also featured seeing Patton Oswalt live for the first time (and we had great seats too!,) going on possibly the hardest and longest hike that I’ve ever been on (our club still talks about this one!) and ended with Cascadia telling fascists and nazis to fuck off.

I bought a shirt and some stickers.

August

We found a dentist! It’s amazing what looking around on Instagram will find. Who knew. You also have to love your dentist when she gives you free tacos!

What’s better than tacos? Free tacos!

I also found one of the best Funko POP!s there is. And yes, I also tracked down the Kermit version.

🙁

Speaking of finding random things – I received an email about a health fair that was happening in Denver, and the first 40 people or so who responded, would receive FREE tickets to see Jewel and Rachel Platten.

Little bit of trivia – I saw Jewel once down in San Diego at the same little coffee shop she got discovered at. I was actually down there to see Tara MacLean, but Jewel made a surprise visit which was pretty cool.

I had a passing knowledge of Rachel Platten from listening to Fight Song far too many times, but the biggest surprise of the night was the second opening act – Josie Dunne. I had no idea who she was; K thought she recognize one of the songs though. But wow! She was so much fun and I’d see her again in a heartbeat! (I also downloaded all of her music from iTunes.)

The end of the month was pretty monumental for me. Almost nine years to the day, I found myself at the trailhead of a 14,000′ mountain. Instead of an active volcano covered in glaciers, it was just a regular 14,000′ mountain.

I don’t remember much about the summit – YES, that means I reached the top – other than it being wicked cold and windy, and even though everyone told us to look around when you reach the summit, I totally forgot. I had a co-worker take my pictures, and then I was heading down. I was exhausted.

I vaguely remember this happening.

Colorado has 58 14ers – one down; 57 to go!

September

It’s a nice stadium even if the prairie dogs have the plague.

I finally got to see a Sounders match!

Me!

This match was originally scheduled for April, but there was a blizzard (and let’s just say it was one of the least impressive blizzards I’ve ever experienced – I want a refund!) so it was scheduled for September.

Unfortunately, K flew back to Seattle for two weeks and she couldn’t go, so I had a co-worker go. It was one of the worst Sounders performances I’ve ever experienced. Guess that’s what happens when 11 starting caliber players are gone on international duty, and you make emergency signings from your USL team just to have enough players to suit up.

New bike rack works like a champ!

The next day was quite the adventure too – I rode in a bike race! I participated in the Buffalo Bicycle Classic – I did the Little Buff ride – 14 miles. It went pretty good and I’m actually thinking about doing the 35ish miler this year.

I did it!

More steak was had. I was getting pretty good at cooking a steak inside in a cast iron pan. Plus I had actual steak knives now (thank you Josh!) so it was a little easier to eat now.

I’m craving steak now.

At the end of the month, I was reminded that running outdoors isn’t nearly the same as running indoors and the slightest hill can kick your butt.

October

Paper is the traditional gift for your first anniversary.

October started with our first wedding anniversary. Sadly, we didn’t go to any pumpkin patches, but I did find a book about a pumpkin patch, so I’m fairly sure that that counts.

We met up with some internet strangers and met Joe Hill for the second time. We even have an old timey photograph as proof.

We’re pretty awesome.

Colorado’s weather continued to mystify us – it was barely fall and yet we were getting snow. (Just wait, Colorado laughed to itself!)

Snow snow snow.

Halloween arrived as did the snow.

Snow and LBD.

My costume even made people ask me if I fell in the snow. (My department at work did a Colorful Colorado theme, so my group dressed up like The Shining.)

It kind of does look like I feel into the salt on the sidewalks.
Don’t be scared.

November

November is also known as Eggnog Latte Season! Sadly, I learned that Starbucks by default cuts their ELs with non-fat milk, which does explain why they were pretty bad this year.

ELs season.

The biggest surprise in November was my spur of the moment flight to Seattle. Why you ask? MLS CUP!

Full stadium!

Somehow, against all the odds, the stars aligned and not only did the Sounders beat LAFC to win the west, Toronto beat Atlanta to set up the third MLS Cup meeting between Seattle and Toronto – but the first in Seattle.

Goodmansons!

A complete sell out in Seattle – the largest sporting event in Clink’s history – and a definitive 3-1 win for our second star.

Two stars are better than one.

I still can’t believe it happened, and I got to see it in person!

Snow!

Our summer hiking club turned into a winter hiking club, and I discovered what is possibly my favorite piece of gear that I’ve ever bought – traction devices for my boots. These are literally a game changer and are worth every penny.

Traction – worth it!

I stumbled upon a killer deal for one of the rarest and most expensive comic books that I’ve ever purchased – and it wasn’t even for me.

It is a beautiful cover.

Even though it was 19°, and there was over a foot of snow on the ground, I tried to run a 10k on Thanksgiving. It was miserable. Since the route was two laps, I said eff this, and did one lap for a 5k.

Can you see the cold?
I may have had two pieces.

Don’t worry, I still enjoyed my all you can eat pumpkin pie and some frozen yogurt (K asked if it was regular yogurt when we started – she’s pretty funny.)

Because of the stick, I think it was meant to be frozen.

November came to a conclusion with K and I celebrating our first Thanksgiving in Colorado. Instagram brought me another random discovery – a local bbq caterer that was smoking fresh turkeys in the morning. We bought one and then proceeded to eat turkey for a week.

Big ol’ turkey.

December

None of us are quite used to the sub-freezing temperatures we’ve been having, especially Olive, so I had to break down and buy her a winter coat. I still think it’s ridiculous that she needs to have a coat, but when it’s 19° out, plus she’s 12 years old now, it does help her out. It might be a size too big, but some tailoring can fix that.

Olive is quite dashing.

My third race of the year was also in December – the Colder Boulder. Only a 5k this time, I was really hoping to do well at it. Right around mile 2 I had a hard time catching my breath which made the last mile a little harder than I was planning.

I earned the beer at the end.

After living here for about nine months, I finally hung up more pictures on the walls. Not sure why it took as long as it did, but it did. As soon as Christmas is over, and all of the decorations are back in the closet, more pictures will go up.

The beginning of more art on the walls.

Speaking of Christmas – unlike last year, we actually decorated.

Our little tree looks pretty good.
Finally getting some use out of my Snoopy and Woodstock toys.

2020

And now it’s a new year. Can you believe that it’s 2020? It sounds so futuristic!

We tried to stay up until midnight last night, but only managed to make it to 10pm, and that was a challenge.

Oh – how did my fitness goals go? Not so good.

I barely managed 500 miles for the year, and had many MANY days where I didn’t run a mile, or manage 10,000 steps.

So I’m trying the same again this year.

  • Run at least one mile a day
  • Get at least 10,000 steps every day
  • Run 1,000 miles for the year

It’s a leap year – I have an extra day to get the 1,000 miles! But that’s also an extra 10,000 steps.

I’ve already done 4.92 today – just 995.08 to go.

Happy new year everyone.

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