Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My 2016 Christmas Card

Merry Christmas!

Once again, we've made another loop around the sun, and I'm back here at my desk working on a recap of the year that was. In this case, the year that was 2016. As always I find myself a little surprised in looking back at what I did and didn't accomplish this year.


Work was definitely different/busier/for the most part better this year. I'm still at Intermountain Healthcare, going on 8 years now, and let me tell you 8 years ain't what it used to be. Crazy how times flies.  Anyway... this year I got added to another team (Clinical Decision Support) and got a new boss, and also got involved in training our surgical teams (nurses mostly) as we transition them over to a new computer system.  So I spent a fair amount of time from April to August in 3 of our hospitals helping out with that.  Definitely learned a lot and felt like it was pretty rewarding to be so close to patient care after several years of mostly just being in an office all day.  I also spent 2 weeks working with OR nurses (aka circulators), and as a result got to be in the room for a variety of surgical procedures, so that was pretty neat. 2017 will bring more of that as we finish transition our remaining hospitals and clinics.

Bidding farewell to the OR suites at UVOC
I also presented a poster on some of the programming we've done in the new system, to automate the ordering of isolation precautions for infectious patients, where possible.

The ribbon only means that I was a finalist for the poster awards, not a winner, unfortunately.

Perhaps as a result of being busier at work, or maybe just coincidence, I didn't really travel nearly as much this year as I did last year.  I can only think of one purely vacation trip that took me out of Utah this year -- but it was definitely a fun one. I went to New York City (for the second time ever) in March and spent parts of 4 days there, graciously hosted by my friend Liz who lives there.

We went to a taping of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert (in the same theater where I went to a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman last time I was there).  I spent a day at the American Museum of Natural History. We saw Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, and saw a fun (and interactive!) Off-Broadway show called Sheer Madness.

After the show

The prehistoric skeletons are always one of my favorite parts of a Natural History museum

Caught this fountain in some warm light

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial was something I really enjoyed

Shining like the top of the Chrysler Building

The library was closed, so unfortunately I could only take pictures outside

Other fun trips I went on this year included:

A family trip to Bear Lake:

A fun day at the lake
The Juanito Bandito show was honestly very fun and very funny.

A week at Lake Powell on an amazing houseboat, where I actually somewhat successfully participated in a non-tubing water sport:


A trip to Chicago for work (where I presented the poster mentioned above):

We were there the week after the Cubs won the World Series, and for the first couple days the lions in front of the Art Institute were decked out in Cubs hats


Last year, I didn't get around to listing some of my favorites for the year, and some of you complained, so they're back by popular demand:
  • Favorite Book (Fiction): Speaker for the Dead - I read this in high school and mainly though, "Hmm... that was different than Ender's Game. This year I was really touched by it.
  • Favorite Book (Non-Fiction): Unbroken - To be honest, I didn't read a lot of non-fiction this year, but this one was pretty good and much more interesting than the depressing movie they made out of it.
  • Favorite Movie (Indie): Sing Street - Fun show about high school kids and music. It's on Netflix now!)
  • Favorite Movie (Superhero): Captain America: Civil War - Not that it was amazing or anything, but it was the best of the ones I saw.
  • Favorite Movie (Animated): Zootopia - Thought this was pretty good when I saw it in the theater. Haven't seen it since then.
  • Favorite TV Show (Drama): American Crime Story - The People vs. OJ Simpson - Partly for the fun of seeing B-list celebrities playing people from this story, and partly because I was surprised at some of the details that I missed back in the 90s. I feel like mostly I learned about the OJ trail by watching SNL.  Still crazy that he wasn't convicted.
  • Favorite TV Show (Comedy): If you can get past the swearing (lots and lots of swearing), Veep on HBO is really funny. If you want something a little more family-friendly Brooklyn Nine-Nine is still fun, and I'm trying to give "The Good Place" a chance.
  • Favorite Video Game (Xbox): the new Kings Quest - I only played Chapter 1 so far, but it was really fun!
  • Favorite Video Game (iOS): Marvel Puzzle Quest - still can't quit this game. It's a little unhealthy.
  • Favorite Video Game (Old School): Super Mario Bros 3 - A friend brought over his NES on my birthday and box of games that would have blown my 10 year old mind.  Some of them brought back a lot of memories (how did I ever beat Battletoads?), some were weird (Exodus, Ghostbusters), and one of them stood out above the rest. SMB 3 is still super fun. Definitely a classic!
  • Favorite Song: Closer (ft. Jennie A.) - Lemaitre - You know, the song from the Google Pixel phone ad.  Honorable mentions: "Girls Chase Boys" - Ingrid Michaelson, "Libray Magic" - The Head and The Heart

  • Favorite Album: Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) - I bought this on Google Play for $2 last December, and it was definitely the album I listened to the most this year. So many great songs, and a great variety of styles. If you're looking to buy it, please not that there is a bit of swearing, but there's also a clean version available.
  • Favorite Concert:  Jukebox the Ghost. Kind of a tough call here. Weezer was really fun and played nearly all my favorite songs, which was delightful.  Ingrid Michaelson was a first time for me, but very fun, too.  But Jukebox the Ghost was so much more fun seeing them this year after having had a year to discover and appreciate their music. 
Jukebox the Ghost
  • The Lower Lights Christmas Concert was also once again a special treat.

  • Favorite small change to my grocery purchases: Getting my sandwich meat from the grocery story deli instead of getting Oscar Meyer meat. Shout out to Boar's Head!


Other miscellaneous highlights from this year:

Didn't get in nearly as much hiking this year as last (I think partly because my summer was busier with working up at Park City), but I did get a few hikes in.

Willow Heights

At the Church's Heber Valley Camp

Twin Lakes (at Brighton)

Continued going to trivia night from time and time and sometimes we maybe take first place

Still have football tickets at the U, and even though we don't always win, we almost always have fun. (And usually we win, too).  Funnest games this year: BYU, USC
Went up to Mountain Green to go trick-or-treating with my nieces and nephews

    The day after Halloween, my sister Natalie got married at the Provo City Center temple

    Church-wise, I continue to attend a mid-singles ward (age 31-45). Halfway through the year, there was some shuffling of boundaries and my roommate and I ended up in a ward in Holladay, after a couple years in the Parleys 7th ward.  It's taken some getting used to the change, but they've put me to work and that's helped in meeting new people and making new friends.  I started out as a home teaching district leader and as of about a month ago, I'm now serving as ward activities co-chair.


    As I've been reflecting back on the year, I'd be remiss if I didn't take a minute to express how blessed I feel to have my parents still around.  I have a lot of friends who've lost a parent this year or recently, and it makes me not want to take my parents for granted.  My dad had a major surgery a few years ago, and this year my mom had a diagnosis that was pretty scary. Thankfully, her treatment went about as well as could be expected. So well, that I forget how scared I was when I first got the news.  I know that they won't be around forever, but I'm glad that they're still around.


    While 2016 wasn't a perfect year, and my life is far from perfect, I definitely do feel blessed to have great friends and family in my life.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.
    I always love a good collage of group photos :)