In keeping with our annual tradition, this Samhain Eve we’re reflecting on everything that’s happened this year. It’s been a long year.

Samhain is the end of the old year and the beginning of the new; a perfect time for reflection and introspection. This post is different from all the other posts in our blog; it’s a glimpse into the whole of our year, not just the bloggy bits. We don’t give a lot of context here, so feel free to ask if you wish.

In November, Pace had fun with Ruby and Rails while working half-time as C9’s CTO. (She had not so much fun being a sysadmin, though.) Pace planned an elaborate anniversary surprise for Kyeli, and it turned out wonderfully. We spent the day in San Antonio in a five-star hotel, walking up and down the Riverwalk and fully enjoying each other. Kyeli invented the word “pocketopus,” meaning a pocket-sized octopus, and made a promise to be more reliable. Pace shared her transition story as an offering for the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

In December, life was good. Then our poly triad broke apart (although obviously Pace and Kyeli stayed together). That’s enough said about December. We don’t want to go into detail.

In January, life continued. We got rid of a bunch of our old stuff, and Pace read Stumbling On Happiness. She noodled about honesty vs. predictability and intent vs. outcome. We began the difficult process of helping our son deal with the separation.

In February, we moved to a two-bedroom apartment in the same complex. Kyeli acquired the most amazing cat ever, Phineas Nix. He has extra toes and ambition to take over the world! Kyeli did a powerful ending ritual and cast her old wedding ring into the sea. We did an Imbolc ritual together to dissolve old bonds and begin new ones. Pace AAAed a couple of 8s and briefly experimented with not playing one-player video games. Kyeli realized how silly Groundhog Day is. We learned that passion is water, not fire, and Pace started planning Kyeli’s birthday surprise!

In March, Pace walked a labyrinth to find out who she really is. We celebrated Kyeli’s birthday by taking an overnight vacation to Galveston. It was the best day ever, but it could have been the worst day ever. We had a $300 dinner at Clay Pit to celebrate Kyeli’s birthday. Kyeli did lots of self-work, had lots of epiphanies, and grew a whole lot. She also had a car accident and re-injured her shoulder. (She’s pretty okay.) We played a bunch of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Pace narrowly avoided getting scammed by a jerk named Gary.

In April, we left C9. We read The Four Hour Work Week, which greatly affected our plans for what to do for our next business and how to do it. Pace started dealing with the depression she had been feeling since (and months previous to) the divorce. She acquired a spiritual womb and energetic ovaries. We went to Poly Big Fun and gave our first Usual Error presentation with just the two of us. It went well! Pace played Rhem 3, and Pace and Kyeli played Myst Uru. Kyeli learned how to futz — how to build up her general problem-solving skills — and began fully coming into her own self. The plans for Kyeli’s birthday surprise were delayed but continued inexorably. (:

In May, Kyeli’s birthday surprise finally came to fruition. We flew to Boston to visit friends in Philadelphia, and on the way there we learned that 300,000,000 frightened people trump liquid. We came home to find the door to our apartment removed (they replaced it later). Pace made a list of concrete things to do to help with her depression. Improving her eating habits helped. Caffeine helped. Mourning helped. Forgiveness helped. Becoming the Insurance Agent of Divine Justice didn’t really help, but it was cool. Pace played through all of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, and we bought Samus, our new gaming desktop. After 20 grueling hours, we managed to wipe Vista and install XP on it. Kyeli learned that knowing the worst possible scenario makes everything less scary. Pace had an epiphany about motivation. She started two new side projects: an ontology of video games and Meme Wars, an online CCG.

In June, Kyeli helped Pace let go of her belief that the true nature of the universe probably sucks. Pace finally integrated her headspace and heartspace aspects by loving and accepting all parts of herself. She continued making progress with her depression and gave up searching for a perfect role model. We gave our cherry wood table away and we went back to being vegetarian. Kyeli got the new Alanis CD and avoided the yearly zombie uprising. Kyeli was incredibly emotionally scarred by The Happening. We started thinking about motivational alchemy and habits.

In July, we decided to make the Usual Error Project our career! (This is when things start happening really quickly.) We settled on the exact naming and capitalization. We set up the company as a general partnership. We set our goals and priorities. We decided to self-publish the Usual Error book. We worked hard on the second draft of the book. We rearranged our environment to support our goals, our passions, and our happiness. We joined Toastmasters to improve our public speaking skills. A couple of friends lent us $22,500, and Pace AAAed her first cata. Kyeli stopped being really hard on herself and started Twittering. We acquired another kitten, Gryphon. Kyeli started exercising every day and made big changes to her diet. She learned about accomplishing long-term goals.

In August, Pace proposed to Kyeli. She said yes! (We wanted to get remarried with just the two of us.) We set a date: November 20, 2009. We finally came up with a satisfying answer to our question about the ethics of communication. Pace’s obsession with commas and quotation marks began. We lost $900, and it was AWESOME! Megan made an awesome logo for the Usual Error Project! After a lot of hard work, we finished the second draft of the book. We played through Braid with our family up in Dallas. Pace allowed herself to believe that wealth, fame, and success come easily to her. She played through Persona 3. We realized that it is our ethical imperative to help make the world a better place. We spent two full days at Austin Java to finish up the third draft of the book, and we did it!

In September, we lost $8000, and it was no problem. We merged all our other blogs into paceandkyeli.com, pulled over some relevant posts from LJ, and began the 30-day blog-o-thon, all because Steve Pavlina believed in us. In Pace’s Ice Breaker speech at Toastmasters, she announced that she would be quitting her day job. We played lots of Spore and learned the importance of taking 5-minute breaks. We continued noodling about love-based motivation vs. fear-based motivation. Meanwhile, ten of our friends were busy editing the third draft of the book. The embiggenation-induced growing pains began. We reconciled our goal of helping people with our goal of making money. We became experts at lots of things, and deeply regretted using the word “expert” instead of “competent” or “skilled”. We made our first podcast and (unrelatedly) made it into the top million websites! We thought about buying a duplex with Kyeli’s mom and brother to convince them to move to Austin, but ended up delaying those plans. Pace learned the difference between being 99% honest and being 100% honest. A former world champion of public speaking gave a talk at Toastmasters, and we learned some useful things from it. We sang a song about milk, covered our coffee table with post-it notes to figure out our business plan, and improved our organization skills.

In October, we figured out how to address the issues that come up with the “it’s always okay to talk about how you feel” policy. Steve Pavlina made Pace cry and Kyeli got Pace pretty pink flowers, got down on one knee, and proposed to her in front of everyone. Pace had a lovely 31st birthday! Kyeli bought a beautiful left-handed bass guitar and took Pace to see Alanis in concert. Kyeli struggled with overwhelming stress and self-neglect but is now on the upswing. We helped a friend with some problems she was having negotiating with her partner. Marty finished up the illustrations for the book, and Pace finally got over her punctuation neurosis. Megan, Kyeli, and Pace stayed up until 3am working on the new Usual Error Project website. It’s beautiful! Pace co-authored an e-book with Seth Godin’s triiibe! Her case study was about bi poly kinky pagan gamer geeks. We launched our phone-in course, Communication for the Holidays. Pace reflected on how being an entrepreneur is like being transgendered. After going through 1500 pages of our editors’ suggestions, we finally finished the fourth draft today! Next comes layout and design, then we’ll be ready to publish!

Pace wrote a poem to reflect on the old year and bring in the new. We’d like to share it with you.

a year of change and growth
a year of pain and hurt
the best year of my life
(not the happiest)
but the best.

a choice, a change: divorce.
a choice, a change: grow past old patterns, old crutches.
a choice, a change: shell breaking, comfort forsaking.
a choice, a change: a path with a heart.

this is my change. this is my choice.

fully awake
i enter this new year
this new life
with delight.

Feel clear and confident about your direction in life!


Do you wish you could follow your heart, but it seems impossible? I can help you find the clarity and courage you need.

In other words, I can help you find your path.