2012–2013: The round-up post

I have never done one of these round-up posts before, even mentally, and I suppose by the time I finish it, I’ll know whether or not I’ll do it again 🙂

The Personal

  • I turned 27, but was still mistaken for a minor, most notably by the electrical inspector. I fully expect that this will continue to happen. My parents are both still seen as being in their 30s or early 40s quite often, especially with their respective younger children.
  • We decided to start our own family!
  • My husband got his Green Card on our second anniversary, and if you know things about Green Cards, you know that is extra wonderful. He also finished his doctoral comprehensive exams in March and can (should) be formally referred to as Dr. Adrián Sandí 😀
  • I got my first little tattoo. I’ll never have sleeves or anything super visible, as much as I love the idea, but I doubt it will be my only one.
  • I finished paying off my eye surgery (PRK for legally-disabling but stabilized astigmatic near-sightedness). I took a zero-interest health care loan because I needed to build credit – adult life, eh? Within the next 6 years or so, this will have paid itself off because I no longer have to go to the eye doctor, buy glasses, order contacts, or spend time doing any of the above. Worth it. Also, opening my eyes and being able to see clearly in the morning is nothing short of magical. If you have good vision, don’t ever take it for granted.
  • Not quite 11 months after moving there, we moved from Wichita, Kansas back to my homeland of the East Coast in a two-week whirlwind of activity, settling in a really awesome place in Jersey City at the end of June. I miss Boulevard Brewery beer, The Anchor, and The Alibi Room, but it’s not like I’d be doing any of that now, anyway. I am supremely happy to be near family and friends again.
  • I was a bridesmaid in a wedding, which I am quite hilariously bad at, but seeing two of my favorite people get married was worth it. As a bonus, they had kegs of Ommegang Hennepin at the reception, so my last beer for a while was a very, very good one.
  • I made some really amazing and inspiring friendships, mostly with various WordPress people I’ve managed to meet in person.
  • I now tweet all the freaking time, because that’s how the WordPress community works, and because I do consider my Facebook to be more of a non-public zone. My Facebook friend count has been decreasing, because I remove people. It is in no way mean or personal – I just find myself not wanting to share with not-so-close acquaintances so much, especially with more communication in a short-form public medium like Twitter and starting to feel like more of a public figure (whatever that means). Anticipating a baby while being pretty private about the details probably doesn’t help, either.
  • I traveled quite a bit in general:
    • February: Phoenix
    • March: Austin
    • May/June: Rochester, Boston, Richmond, Virginia Beach (home!), NYC before we moved back
    • July: Lake Placid, Albany
    • August: San Francisco, Chicago
    • September: Baltimore, Puerto Rico
    • October: Tybee Island
    • December: Costa Rica

The WordPress: Maker and User

  • Without a doubt, WordPress has become an integral part of my daily life. It encompasses paid work, volunteer work, idle brainstorming, and some of the most interesting and close friendships I’ve ever made. No, we don’t talk about WordPress all the time when we chat or get together 🙂
  • I was given commit access to core as a guest committer on December 18. Woohoo!
  • I contributed to the 3.4 and 3.5 cycles, earning myself a spot as Contributing Developer in the credits for both after being a Recent Rockstar in 3.3 at the end of 2011. I was especially active in 3.5, with (I think) 45 patches committed and even more time put into administrative-y things like helping lead and shape the UI group.
  • I passed my one-year anniversary with 10up as the first full-time employee, and don’t have plans to go anywhere. I’m now the “Lead User Interface Engineer”, which means any number of things, but most importantly it means that I am a worthy and tested engineer of code, code reviews, interfaces, and workflows. I adore the team and also get to spend some of my time hopefully making work lives better all around.
  • I can’t share salary information (sorry-not-sorry, because who really cares beyond just being curious), but I’m making enough to comfortably live in the NYC metro area on my pay alone. Money only matters to me as much as I need it to get by and avoid that shallow type of unhappiness, but let’s face it: it feels nice to earn more toward the area of your own self-worth and survival without having to take on a part-time job or two, like I did when I worked for the university.
  • I spoke at WordCamps Phoenix, NYC, Chicago, and Baltimore, and attended WordCamp San Francisco and the WordPress Community Summit (along with the preceding Contributor Summit).
  • I was on WP Late Night twice as a guest, which was fun.
  • I wrote a blog post that spread farther than I anticipated, or would ever have anticipated. And another one. Both were wonderful experiences, especially since I’m not usually much of a long-form blogger, or even really much of a sharer of things that are actually personal.
  • I made this blog my photo-posting location of choice, and try to keep myself looking at the iOS app like a plain old user (because I am). I also finally hooked in some more IFTTT recipes, so it’s an ever-growing collection of things I find to be of interest.
  • I care exactly zero about page views, so you’re going to get none of that in this roundup, even though technically I track it. I think it’s probably pretty low, and probably exactly because I don’t care about it.

The Music

  • I performed in January and April, and haven’t really played since. Though I am proud of those performances, I am not proud of this overall trend. However, I recognize it as a not-abnormal tip in balance as what I do and think about the majority of the time is ever-changing.


I’m not one to extensively plan or set specific goals for a given time period, or to compare one time period to another as a measure of anything specific beyond just observation. My goal and primary motivator has been the same my entire life: to be better than I was before. I don’t compete with others or with external pressure. All that said, I suppose it doesn’t hurt to write down a few of my daydreams.

  • Become the best damn mom I know I can be. I know I share a bit about the normal pregnancy things, like the baby kicking (REALLY HARD) or feeling fatigued, but am pretty reticent about everything else outside of one-on-one or small group conversations. I won’t be sharing pregnant belly shots, or talking about names, or anything like that, but I will ease up on the hiding for a moment and just go ahead and write down that we are expecting a boy sometime around April 1. I still hold my breath about it, because I know how much can change in every moment, so this better not be a jinx. That also means that right at this moment I am 6 months pregnant and yes, I look it.
  • Be a better all-around WordPress-er. This means blogging more and being a user, blogging ABOUT WordPress more over on that blog, helping in the forums (even if just in Alpha/Beta), updating and writing plugins, continuing to push the front-end development of core forward, working on getting Trac under control, etc. I would also love to help lead a release (which is much more project management than writing code or pushing an agenda), since I was disqualified from possibly being co-pilot in 3.6 thanks to the impending baby 🙂
  • Take some long-developing and suffering ideas for personal web projects and use maternity leave time to make them happen.
  • Make music. I don’t know if I’ll be performing at any point during the year, but I need to at least decide on some personal projects and goals when it comes to learning and practicing at and away from the piano.
  • Be creative again. I’ve taken cake decorating and calligraphy classes in the past, and enjoyed them thoroughly. It ain’t cheap to indulge, but seeing as I have the equipment at least, I should use it. And maybe seek more classes. Also: bake more bread, because I have to admit that I am good at it, and it is delicious.
  • Travel somewhere new and enjoy it fully with my husband, not as a whirlwind WordCamp speaking trip. I actually want to travel less, and probably don’t have much of a choice in the matter, anyway.
  • Be a better and more active friend. I can make excuses about how it’s hard to maintain friendships once you’re outside the confines of school, and even harder when your work and hobbies involve a lot of alone time at a keyboard, but nobody cares. I should just be a better friend, because my friends are amazing.

Happy New Year!

5 responses to “2012–2013: The round-up post”

  1. saddington Avatar

    The goal of being an incredible mom is excellent. the hardest job on the planet… and i wouldn’t know anything about it except i watch my wife mentor and care for our two daughters and she’s amazing – but it’s more tough than the work that i do, that’s for sure.

    congrats and serious blessings this year in that regard!

  2. Pete Schuster Avatar

    good luck in 2013 and with the new baby!

  3. Mario Peshev Avatar

    Two piano inspirations for me are:

    I’m usually playing by ear (I guess you do too) and that helps me to spend several hours without getting mad and solfège or hardcore classics (and it’s way more entertaining). Dunno if you play the guitar as well, but if not, you could try to transfer piano to guitar, it develops new skills (or get an accordion, it’s also another universe).

    1. Helen Avatar

      I actually don’t really play by ear, even though I have absolute pitch – I’m too much of a trained classical pianist and perfectionist. I studied organ as my secondary instrument as an undergrad, and did a round of voice lessons in grad school (to complement my major in piano accompanying/collaborative piano), but have never much wanted to try anything else… except the French horn 🙂 I think it’s a combination of the perfectionist and the amount of time already put into expertise at one instrument that I already need to get back to playing more.

      1. Mario Peshev Avatar

        I spent 8 years in piano lessons before I start playing by year and 3 years in a band later before I start picking other instruments. Joining a band helped me to focus on the collaborative effort and arranging my piece depending on the group performance so that balance exists. Learning different instruments is teaching you a completely different logic on compositions, progressions, picking everything since instruments are built in a completely different way.

        I’m envious of your organ education though, it’s a magic instrument 🙂

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