2016 In Review

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As I sit here this January 1, 2017, I figured it would be a good time to take a look back and reflect on what happened in my life in 2016. It also provides a good opportunity for a blog post (something that I will admit I haven’t kept up with). Hopefully in 2017 I will find the time to post more here.

Purchasing a House

Probably the biggest thing to happen to me personally in 2016 was purchasing a house in Dallas. This was a major accomplishment in so many ways. For those of you that don’t know, the housing market is very competitive here in Dallas. Since we moved to Dallas in December, 2013, we have been living in apartments (first in the West Village/Uptown area, another in Victory Park near the American Airlines Center). We really enjoyed living in the city since when we lived in San Antonio we were pretty much in the suburbs.

Uptown was out of our price range if we wanted to find a single family home (most everything is townhouse or condo) and we were pretty set on buying a house. We quickly discovered that East Dallas has a lot to offer in terms of convenience to amenities, houses that have rich character and architectural charm, as well as being in our price range. We got very lucky in our search and purchased a beautiful mid-century modern home that was originally built in 1955 and remodeled in 2012. We love everything about the house and neighborhood. I’d honestly say the neighborhood was more than we expected–we’ve never lived anywhere else and had such awesome, caring neighbors.

Travels

I didn’t get do to as much personal travel in 2016 as I would have liked. The main reason for this was our house search and purchase. We did take a week-long vacation to Spain (Madrid and Barcelona) in January/February. That trip was very enjoyable and much needed. I wish that we could have taken a 2nd trip somewhere but between house and work, there really wasn’t the time.

Work did keep me somewhat busy with travels. We did have our internal conference in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year. Vegas was where I went on a road bike tour and got the urge to purchase my own road bike and take up cycling afterwards. I also dropped in to an awesome Crossfit gym while there–I highly recommend Crossfit Max Effort to anyone visiting Vegas who needs to get a workout in.

I also got the opportunity to travel to New York for work to staff the AWS Architect Bar at the NYC Loft. I can now say that I’ve staffed the loft on both coasts (NYC and San Francisco). There were also numerous trips to Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in support of my customers in my role as a Technical Account Manager at AWS.

Cycling

After returning from the Vegas trip, I couldn’t get the idea of a road bike off of my mind. Living in uptown Dallas, there are a lot of cycling opportunities around. Within uptown there is the Katy Trail and White Rock Lake has an excellent 9-10 mile path around the lake that presents a good ride as well. I had a hybrid bike that I got about a year earlier, but as I was increasing the distances I was riding I found that the bike was becoming a limiting factor.

I finally ended up purchasing my road bike over objections from my husband, Raphael. I don’t know why he was so against this initially but he has lately become very supportive. Cycling has been an excellent activity to augment my Crossfit regimen as a means of active recovery. I don’t know what I was thinking but I registered for the Hotter’n Hell ride in Wichita Falls in August and completed a 75 mile ride–this was my longest single ride ever. It was very inspiring seeing that many cyclists in one place. It was a very tough ride–I did it solo so finishing was a major achievement. Next year I hope that Raphael will ride with me and maybe we can complete the full 100 miles together.

If you get the time, check out my profile here to see where I ride.

Crossfit

For those of you that don’t know, I have been doing Crossfit almost as long as I’ve lived in Dallas (I believe I started in January or February 2014). I could write a whole blog post on Crossfit–it’s become a very important part of my life. Raphael and I joke that before Crossfit Ronnie there was San Antonio Ronnie. 2016 was the year that I felt that I was ready to sign up for the Crossfit Open. It was more of a challenge to myself than anything else. The weekly workouts were tough and more challenging than any of the normal day-to-day workouts. It was more mental toughness than anything else.

The other thing I did was start attending my box’s Olympic weightlifting classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights. These classes focus on the two main Olympic lifts (the snatch and clean and jerk) in addition to building strength through heavy squats. These classes have helped me to improve my form and technique as well as move heavier weights during normal Crossfit workouts. I also got to participate in a weightlifting competition where I set new PRs (personal records) on both of my lifts!

Professional

2016 was a great year professionally. I was promoted to Senior Technical Account Manager at work which was a major achievement. The growth opportunities that I’ve gotten since joining AWS have been amazing. The level of talent that I work with both within the company and the customers I work with is exceptional. Working in this role is much different than what I did before AWS. In my role I’m exposed to different ideas, challenges, and needs from each of my customers. It really is eye-opening to get to see what customers do with our services and as someone who is naturally curious, I’m always inspired to learn more.

The most insightful book that I read in 2016 was Soft Skills. I highly recommend it to anyone that considers themselves an IT professional. It definitely inspired me to “up my game.” The book is full of suggestions and you no doubt will walk away having picked up a new useful habit.

I also registered this domain name (ronnieeichler.com) in 2016 based on the suggestion from the book. With it, I was able to complete my migration off of Gmail, not that there was anything wrong with Gmail. However, having my own domain allows me to control my own destiny with email and not be tied to one particular provider. This is especially important now in light of the recent revelations around data leakage at Yahoo. While I don’t use Yahoo for any important workloads, I do feel sorry for those that have all of their digital identities tied to a Yahoo email address since I know that it is painful to unwind all of that and switch to a new email address.

Looking Forward

In 2016 I did start attending Toastmasters but had to take a leave of absence with all that was going on with purchasing and moving to a new home. In 2017 I look to resume Toastmasters and improve my confidence in public speaking.

There are some things in the works (more details to come) for 2017. I’ve already embarked on some personal development initiatives and I’m looking forward to increased learning and development. I’m starting to collect my complete thoughts on 2017 goals (which I may make into another post). I’m excited for 2017 and can’t wait for what is in store!

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