Thursday, June 9, 2016

Best Books of 2015

*The links to amazon are affiliate links and if you purchase something via them I will earn a small advertising fee. 

   This was a fun nerdy book, that completely preys on nostalgia. Even though I was am a little young for the 80's nerd culture references I still really liked this book. 
I first read the Fitz and Fool series back in high school and college and it has been one of my all time favorite series'. So when Hobb decided to bring the story back to Fitz as an old man I was very excited. The bummer is having to wait for the next book.
This book was awesome. Apollo 13 is one of my favorite movies, and book is a comparable fictional story. Just saw the movie, and it is good too, but the book is way better.
Sanderson is an amazing. I have never been into the superhero stories, but I really love this series.
This was a new series I started based on a friends recommendation. It is light reading and has werewolves, vampires, and shape changers, and takes place in Eastern WA. 
This is an amazing and unbelievable biography.  I was afraid it was going to be depressing since part of it takes place during WWII, but I think the author's point-of-view was far enough away that it didn't completely overwhelm emotionally.  The movie was good too.
Of course I have to add a Katy Bowman book. This is the book I had been waiting for, as it is the subject that pointed me in the direction of Katy's work. I have been reading and listening for the past two years, to all the content Katy has created, and even did her 52-week Everybody Biomechanics course in 2015, but still this book had a few tidbits of new info, and some new exercises to do. I have been doing better on the everyday moving through life aspects, but I do want to be more diligent on working on the correctives outlined in this book.  

Summary of 2015

I failed at blogging last year. Not sure if I will do much better this year as I have been working part time doing custom software development / consulting work for my dad's consulting company. It has been fantastic in that I'm bringing in extra money, and I have a flexible schedule, and can work from home, and I get to make stuff that makes people's jobs easier, but it also makes it so I don't want to spend much more time at the computer blogging, making apps, or writing, and it kind of uses up all my creative energy.

I really wanted to publish a storybook app last year, and I joined 12x12, an online picture book writing group. I wrote some drafts for a handful of stories, got one polished fairly nice. Recruited a friend who was also interested in publishing some stories. Worked on illustration work through some online art classes, and then ran out of steam towards the end of the year. 

I have an update for my Open Face Chinese poker app that has been close to being done for almost the all of last year, and I really need to get that released before getting serious on a new app, but testing is really low on my things I like to do, and it seems that when I am just about ready, some new API comes out and I have to go change my code to be compatible with that and have to do more testing. I am really full of excuses. 

The girls are now in 1st and 3rd grade, meaning they are in school full time which has been lovely as I have great swaths of time to work uninterrupted, but its a bummer because it is hard to do all the fun stuff we did when they were little like playing outside, going to the zoo, etc. They still want to do activities like rock climbing, gymnastics, soccer, swimming, girl scouts, and wrestling, but at the same time get worn out not having enough down time. It has been especially tough for Allie this year. She says she needs a time machine so she can go back to kindergarten when it was half day, and she got to have play-dates.

Both kids did rock climbing in the spring and loved it and hope to start up again soon. They both played soccer in the fall. I helped coach Selena's team which was a lot of fun. They were undefeated for the season. Allie also played and was a goal scoring machine often racking up 3 - 5 goals a game, while also hustling back on defense and making great plays. Selena did wrestling this winter and learned a lot, and was amazingly tough out on the mat and ended up winning two matches for the season.

The girls are still at the cooperative public school and I have required volunteering time weekly. I have been teaching computer programming weekly in 15 minute rotations of 6 - 8 kids. I did it in Selena's 2nd grade class last school year, and then in both the 1st and 3rd grade classes this school year. It's fun because I am a favorite, and the kids get super excited when I come in. I'm hoping they have some real skills by the time they get out of elementary school.

We did our annual extended family vacation this year in Monteray, CA and I want to move there. The weather warmer than it is here, but not super hot. I think I require big tall trees to feel at home, and they have the redwoods. It is so beautiful, and there were dolphins and sea lions jumping in the surf every day while I ran barefoot on the sand. My sister and I went whale watching and saw about 30 humpback whales and tons of sea lions feeding. The whales were fluking and lifting their flippers in the air. It was amazing. Body boarding in the surf with my sister, sister-in-law and mom was one of my favorite memories of the year.

We also took a trip to Los Angeles to visit my brother for spring break last year. We got to meet my brand new niece, who is the cutest baby ever, but is already over a year now, and is walking and jabbering like crazy. And of course we did Disneyland.   

The summer was amazing and wonderful. We spent a lot of time with friends from school doing hikes almost weekly, a mud run, and trips to the beaches and parks. My sister and I also got away a handful of times and did some longer tough hikes -- Lake Blanca being the best in that we got to jump into the glacier fed lake on a 90 degree day.