2017 Recap and 2018 Goals

Happy New Year!

A lot has happened since my last post in mid-2016 (when I got laid off from my IT job at IBM). For me, 2017 was a year unlike any other, and 2018 promises to continue that trend!

In 2017, since I wasn’t having any luck on the job search, I used the time to pick up some more IT skills. Since my IBM job had been outsourced, I was able to qualify for a TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance) grant which paid for my tuition. I had always wanted to learn more about databases, and finally had time to do it! I found a certification program for database administration (DBA) through Regis University in Denver. I took four graduate level courses, all online, and finished my coursework a couple of weeks ago.

After my 30-day severance ran out in 2016, I was able to draw unemployment funds; not the same as my previous salary, but better than nothing! This money ran out after 26 weeks, but I was then able to get Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) compensation while I was taking classes for the DBA certification. Now that I’m done with my classes, of course, I no longer get that money either, so the pressure is on to land a job….

Also in 2017, I was able to take advantage of another grant, TEC-P, to take a four week web development boot camp. I ended up taking this during the last half of my first Regis course, so for a month there, I was doing nothing but eating, sleeping, driving to & from Boulder, and studying! It was a fun course though!

Because of all the studying, my creative outlets did have to take a bit of a back seat. I am still singing with the Longmont Chorale and its smaller group, the Longmont Chorale Singers; I’m also a member of the LC Board. Last fall, two of my children and I also sang with the Coal Creek Community Chorus in Louisville, CO.

I didn’t get much done in the quilting arena; although I did a few quilts on my Statler including this one for a friend. It’s a paper pieced pattern by Violet Craft:


One of the reasons that quilting projects took a back seat is that even a small quilting project requires at least a few hours if not days (weeks, months) to complete. I needed something which provided a bit more instant gratification. I’ve loved painting ever since high school art class, and occasionally have done the paint and sip thing. (It’s very easy to mistake your wine glass for the rinse water for your brush. Ask me how I know!)  Here’s a painting I did in 2017 at Painting with a Twist in Ft. Collins:


One day I was searching for tutorials on YouTube and saw one for acrylic pouring….. and I was hooked! Here’s are a couple of my favorite paintings from 2017:

During the holiday season I was able to sell a few painted trivets and coasters, as well as some Christmas ornaments. I have been invited to demonstrate the technique for a group in Ft. Collins later this week, so there could be some teaching gigs in my future…

We belong to a neighborhood watch group, and through the website, I found out about a knitting group that was being started in the Berthoud CO area. We meet every couple of weeks and I’ve met some really fun people!

I had a break in my Regis classes for 8 weeks during the summer, so I used that time to paint the master suite in our new house. We had decided not to set up the waterbed in that room until the painting was done, so after 18 months in the house, it was time to tackle that task. I painted it in two tones of neutral gray as the yellowish-taupe did not go with my planned color scheme. Here are the before and after photos. The painting in the second picture was done by my friend Robbie Ruhaak:

And, here is how you clean the dusty waterbed bladder and find leaks at the same time!  (Yes, we were able to avoid buying a new one!):

air bubble

We also have been doing some work on our property, we purchased a bunch of trees and planted an “orchard” last summer. Our plan is to have raised beds in the space between the house and the trees, so that will be a phase that will be coming in 2018:

orchard summer 2017

And, with that, it’s time to list some goals for 2018. In general, the top priority is to find a job. While I’m working on that, the Statler can be put to better use this year; I currently have a customer quilt, as well as several charity quilts, not to mention my own pile of UFO’s! Quilting for customers will also bring in money while I’m on the hunt for an IT position.

Speaking of UFO’s (I need to finish a few) … and the fabric stash (I need to use some of it up!)….  So, I am committing to finish at least two quilt projects for each new one that I start. The one I started last week counts as a “new” project, so after I get that one done, I have to finish at least two that are in the pile. For the fabric stash, my goal is to reduce the collection by at least 50 yards by the end of the year.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a competition-worthy quilt (other than the group project I did with my friends in Minnesota and Texas). I’ve had one on the back burner for a while; given that it’s somewhat large and still very much in the design phase, it’s probably not realistic to get it completed in time for entry in the Houston show. However, the entry deadline for Road to California is October 1, so let’s shoot for that.

I’ll also be posting much more often on the blog, in order to be accountable towards reaching my 2018 goals!

Here’s to a year of more self-discovery and enjoyment along the journey!

Lori Signature



Posted in career, Engineering/programming, House, Job search, Music, Other hobbies, Painting, Quilting | 2 Comments