I don’t really care for labels, but here are a few, in no particular order, that might apply and stand out as most interesting.

Contact me professionally: Linkedin
Stalk me socially: facebook, twitter
Hire me for freelance work (available on occasion): Upwork.
Non-profits: I’m always interested in giving back and helping my fellow human beans. Please reach out if you are associated with a non-profit and need help from someone with tech skills.
Finally, the obligatory contact form

Engineering Manager

To say I’m passionate about technology is somewhat of an understatement. For many years, I ran TrekVisual, a web design and development agency. Now I work remotely in Oklahoma, as an Engineering Manager for B-Stock Solutions, a mature Silicon Valley startup. Here’s a fun spotlight article on the company blog from years ago.

In my earlier days, I spent about ten years working with the LAMP stack, with my core proficiencies in PHP, HTML/CSS, and Javascript. Over time, I moved into backend and spent several years writing backend services using Node, Express, and Mongo. I spent a couple of years as a Senior Software Engineer, and then organically moved into a leadership position and was officially promoted to Engineering Manager. I have the honor of serving a team of 7 engineers, with seniority ranging from Junior to High Senior level, distributed across the world.

For anyone just breaking into tech, especially for those without formal education, I highly recommend CS50 at Harvard through edX for an introduction and foundation to CS.

Connect with me on LinkedIn!

Poipu beach, Kauai | Mary Licanin PhotographyPhotographer

For the longest time I wished I “had a good camera”. Lo and behold for my birthday a few years ago my (now ex) hubs surprised me with my very first DSLR, a Nikon D7100. I don’t have the husband anymore, but still have the camera. I love shooting landscapes and still-life. I admire people that shoot portraits, but I haven’t had much practice in this area so I have a lot to learn. I’m a world better than I was when I did my first 365 ‘photo a day’ challenge, but I’m nowhere near ‘pro’.  I tend to do my photography in spurts, and right now it’s taken a back burner to some other projects, but it’s something I’ll always go back to because it fills a part of me like nothing else can.

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.
– Dorothea Lange

Here’s my 365 photo-a-day challenge from 2014, when I started. More recent photography can be found on my photography website where you can buy prints. I also have this facebook page that I usually forget to update.

Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco, CA | Mary Licanin PhotographyStudent of Buddhism

I was raised Catholic by parents who were very religious and good Christians. I’ve always been a ‘doubting Thomas’ and questioned everything. When my father became too sick to attend mass when I was in my 20s, I became a Eucharistic minister so I could bring him communion at home. I felt like I was really doing something wonderful, because it meant so much to him. At times, I brought communion to both my parents. It was fulfilling and I am grateful for that experience.

Years later I found myself pulling away from the church. I thought for a time it was because I was angry at God for some stuff. I thought maybe it was because I had too many unanswered questions. I thought maybe it was not so much God I pulled away from, but the organization of the church, because church representatives didn’t feel to me like they represented the Christ I was taught to believe in. For whatever the reason, I felt detached from the church and from Christianity, but as a spiritual person, I needed to fill that void with some philosophy, some guidance or spiritual greater than me-ness. I stumbled across a talk by Pema Chodron, and her words resonated with me in such a profound way I knew that I wanted more of whatever she was selling. She has a down-to-earth kindness and wisdom that reminds me in some ways of my own mother, who died in 2009.

One of the things that attracts me to Buddhism is that you take what makes sense to you, and you leave the rest. You’re not asked to blindly follow any teaching. You are given the tools, the teachings, and the guidance, and the rest is left to you, the student, to accept or reject. There is no sentiment of selfishness in Buddhism. You are welcome to follow the teachings of the Buddha and remain Catholic. Buddha is not a god. He is a teacher. Simply a man, no more and no less.

In any event, whether my path leads me back to the church later on in life or not, my path today is to live with compassion as a student of the Buddha. I contemplate my shortfalls to try to understand how to be better, kinder, more compassionate. I expect I’ll be writing about these mental jigsaw puzzles in my attempt to get from here to there.

NaNoWriMo 2016 | Seekers of the Darkened Heart | Mary LicaninWriter

This year was my first year participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where the challenge is to write 50,000 words in November. It’s not so much about the number of words for me as it was about the commitment. I actually stuck to it and wrote almost every day, and I actually ‘won’ (winning just means you did it). I did feel like a winner. Anyways, that.

Poetry is also something I’ve been writing for as long as I could write. I tell people music and poetry got me through the darkest days, and I mean that pretty literally. I’ll probably share some of my writing here. It seems a shame to keep it locked up in Evernote where nobody can read it — I’m not Maya Angelou, but art is meant to be shared.