Major life changes in 2014

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How do we measure success? Places visited? Friends made? People taught? Money earned? Memories to cherish for a lifetime? Ability to give back to the community? Growth of fledgling company? This year had differing levels of success depending on which measuring stick I use. First, let’s take a look at some life changes.


At the beginning of 2014, my husband and I sold our cars and moved from Raleigh, NC, to Portland, OR. I’ve wanted to live here ever since I was a wee cartoonist. Although I’ve changed a lot since then, Portland remains a healthy lifestyle adjustment in most aspects (we still need an indoor pool in our neighborhood!), and it’s been great for both of us. We play together much more now that arduous commutes and transit times are out of the picture. I can’t go back to a commuting lifestyle! Unfortunately, I like to travel much more than I did three years ago, and PDX has few direct flights. I also miss my family and friends on the east coast very much. But, I’m quickly making new friends and have high hopes for next year.

Old and new friends

This year I moved away from some very good friends on the east coast. With all the travel, it’s been hard to make new friends in our new home, but somehow I’m managing! On the other hand, all my traveling means I’ve been able to reconnect with old friends, meet Twitter friends in person, and get introduced to entirely new sets of friends in countries I previously had never set foot in before. It’s amazing to me that I can meet someone Berlin one year then see them the next at a conference in Vienna, and we can pick up right where we left off! Coming home is a little sad when leaving so many friends behind, but we’ll always have Twitter and Facebook!

Tin Magpie

This was the year I started my own company, Tin Magpie. What started as an interactive agency quickly evolved into something different. While I loved taking on projects from clients, I found that I still preferred following my nose to work on creative, cutting edge projects, often at odds with client expectations.

With that in mind, I scaled back to working with just those clients whose projects aligned with my own interests. I also spun up internal projects like building experimental web animation interfaces and bringing the interactive graphic novel Black Brick Road to the Kindle Fire. I even started offering some online training unofficially under the Tin Magpie banner.

Starting the company was bumpy, not just because of our move to Portland disrupting project work, but also because of traveling so darn much. This gets back to my yearning to Make Things in 2015. Traveling is wonderful and makes memories and friends and connections, but I still need blocks of time to Make Things which I can in turn either sell or teach about.

Teaching turned out to be a very promising line of work, which I’ll talk about in my next installment.


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