JAN 20, 2020
When I was reading Austin Kleon’s “100 things that made my year (2019)”, I thought it’d be fun to try and do something similar. I haven’t kept a particularly crisp log of 2019 so we will see what I can cobble together from memory.
Note: I’m not going to try and get 100 exactly. And I’m calling it reflections so I can include anything I want but I suspect it will end up all being positive stuff. We’ll see!
Buckley and #DadLife
- The birth of my first child had to lead off the list. Just a universe altering experience. Too much to cover here so I’ll point to some previous thoughts.
- Playing a couple of songs that make me think about fatherhood on repeat. Welcome To Earth (Pollywog) by Sturgill Simpson, Bloom by bLAck pARty, and A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall by Bob Dylan.
- Being grateful that he has been healthy and we’ve been doing at least an okay job ~5 months in. I’m glad we’ve been able to maintain our sense of humor and try to take a more laid back approach to parenting. Lots to worry and obsess over but we seem less neurotic than some at least.
- Watching his grandparents fawn over him.
- Milestones! Smiling, laughing, grabbing stuff. rolling from front to back, sticking his tongue out. Basically almost everything he does is a first and it is a ton of fun.
- I should rewind a bit and acknolwdge for stressful the early days of the pregnancy were for us. We lost a pregnany in 2018 around week 19 so we were terrified it’d happen again. It took a long, long time for us to feel comfortable and feel like this one was going to work.
- Related – the 2018 loss was a termination for medical reasons. I became a lot more comfortable being outspoken about reproductive rights in 2019.
- Baby shower was really lovely. We got to invite a lot of people and made it co-ed as well. Just a great day and nice to feel so loved.
- Waiting for a baby is hard at the end. He was almost a week late. Had a scare-but-not-really with preeclampsia. But it all worked out.
- Getting reminded how much I love the photos that come out of my Fuji x100t. I’ve been using it more and more with Buckley and it is so good at skin tones and the images always look great.
- Taking Buckley to vote in the local elections. He’s a very civic minded baby. The councillor for our ward winning by only a single vote!
- Taking Buckley to a polo match in Hamilton. This was a fun outing with friends. Sort of a fancy tailgate situation with horses. We might try to make it an annual thing.
- Buckley’s first Haunted Happenings parade. He has a lot of costumes in his future.
- Going to an orchard with Buckley for apple cider donuts!
- Watching all his older relatives play with him during Thanksgiving. Excited for him to be more interactive at future holidays or gatherings.
- Buckley staying up late to come to Notch with me when I hit 100 Wednesday runs and got my name added to the plaque.
- Lots of quick restaurant outings with him. We’ve managed to get pretty good at grabbing a bite without things going sideways or him getting fussy.
- Watching the fire department rescue Santa off the roof of the Hawthorne Hotel and strolling Buckley to the tree lighting ceremony.
Running / health / exercise / etc.
- Ran my first marathon!
- Ran the Mount Washington Road Race for the first time!
- First (unsuccessful) attempt of doing the Pemi Loop in a single day. We underestimated how badly the ice monorail and postholing would slow us down. Glad we did the responsible thing and cut it short (though we still hiked ~26 miles).
- Kind of a weird year overall. Despite running my first marathon, I actually ran fewer total miles in 2019 (939) than I did in 2018 (1,126). I tried to ramp my mileage too quickly in January in new shoes and tweaked my left IT band a bit. Then the 3 accomplishments listed above happened in quick succession leading to some burnout. But I finished the year okay and I’m back into a better groove now. Hoping that I can regain some speed at shorter distances and run a sub-3 marathon in Chicago in the fall.
- I was off and on with tracking other stuff. Made some attempts to track how many pull ups and push ups that I did. Same with alcoholic drinks consumed. But I’d have stretches where I didn’t log anything. It is a hard balance. The accountability helps me but trying to quantify everything also kind of sucks.
- Briefly held the Strava segment crowns for the Notch 5k and 10k loops.
- Bought an old English 3 speed bike for $40 and fixed it up. Cleaned off all the rust, replaced the pedals, added cork grips and a milk crate, and took it to the local bike shop for a tune-up. Didn’t ride it quite as much as I hoped but looking to change that in 2020.
- Beer mile with a bunch of friends. OOF. No thanks. I puked twice and remembered that I don’t like chugging beers. Fun in theory though.
Travel and fun and all that
- Rented a tiny little cabin in Stowe, VT in January and got completely snowed in. But it was fun. Worked on a puzzle and snuggles with the dogs while watching PBS.
- Went to an Eric Church concert at TD Garden with my cousin and her husband. We didn’t really know any of his music but they had floor seats and it was a blast.
- Playing bocce on the beach on an unseasonably warm March day in New England with a close friend.
- Going to the Salem Cheese Shop a few times for their blind tasting challenge. I never did guess correctly on which region the wines were from but it was a fun way to end a week when I could make it.
- MAUI! Our babymoon. Such an amazing trip and island. First time to Hawaii. Loved exploring the island. Loved doing lots of stuff in a relaxing way. Road to Hana was a highlight, for sure. Too many favorites to list.
- Bought an awesome straw hat in Maui that I wore a lot for the rest of the year.
- Quick pitstop in Milwaukee on the way home for an event with Lea’s family. Stayed in a cool art deco type historic hotel. Visited a nice brewery with a funny tour guide.
- Attended a surprise wedding!! A lovely couple down the street from us invited us to their 20th anniversary celebration at Ledger (a nice restaurant in town). When we arrived, it sure seemed formal and wedding-like. Sure enough, Tess and Alyssa had never been formally married and they were about the change that. Mayor Driscoll officiated and it was all very amazing.
- Went back to Eagle Mountain House! This is where we got married in 2015. So when we traveled to NH for the Mount Washington Road Race we stayed here the night before. It was fun and a bit nostalgic to be back there.
- Fun weekend in Falmouth with a bunch of Lea’s college friends and a quick day trip to Martha’s Vineyard as well.
- Wedding weekend for a high school friend at Belhurst Castle on Seneca Lake. Fun to see old friends and get to spend time at home too. Stopped at Seneca Falls to check out the women’s suffrage museum. Made a day trip to Ithaca to walk around the commons.
- Fun dinner with two college buddies at Row 34. We ate well.
- Beer advent calendar with friends. 12 of us total. Everyone supplied two 12 packs. 24 different beers to try throughout December. Kind of a lot of drinking but it was really fun.
- Hosting Christmas! Switched this year to doing secret santa so people didn’t have to buy as many gifts to cut down on consumerism a bit. Worked really well. Plus, Christmas with an infant around is adorable.
Home improvement type ish
- Converted my old butcher block desk into a standing desk.
- Generally improved the basement aka my office a fair amount. Hung more stuff on the walls. Got a diffuser and more filing cabinets. Added a plant. And so on.
- Bought an old vintage Steelcase Tanker chair off craigslist. I kind of love it but I’m not sure it is good for my back.
- Tulips planted last summer bloomed and looked great. Most of the perennials in the yard looked healthy this year.
- Biggest thing was definitely setting up the nursery. A bit stressful at times but worked out really well in the end.
- Made the living room more organized so we have a spot for all of Buckley’s toys and gear.
- Got a Dyson stick vacuum that seemed kind of unnecessary but has turned out to be a life saver. We vacuum and clean up so much more often now. Highly recommended.
- Put up frosted privacy sticker type things on the bottom half of our first floor windows. Lets in light but gives us a little more privacy than before.
User Interviews grows up
- I now have 4 direct reports on my team (2 product designers, 2 product managers).
- The company overall went from a headcount in the low teens to 40 within the calendar year. It sounds crazier typing it out. It felt like a steady ramp for the most part.
- Offsite in Austin in April with ~15 of us. It kind of felt like a turning point – here is the last time a small core group will be together before we get big. Lots of tacos, bbq, and nights ended at The White Horse Tavern.
- Worked from home full time! We’ve always been a remote team but in 2017 some of us would meet up a few days a week in office space in Boston to work together. We lost that space in 2017 and didn’t look back. I love being fully remote now.
- Awkward Silences podcast became legit. We landed an impressive list of guests and hit 20k listens. I’ve learned a lot from the guests and a lot about how to host. It has been a fun ride.
- San Diego offsite in December. Much bigger crew – over 30 of us this time. Still an awesome vibe across the team and it felt like it helped all the newer folks gel with the rest of the team.
- Bauman’s Botanicals. Found these local shrubs at the farmers market. So, so good when added to seltzer. Drank a lot of these. Excited to get more next summer.
- Bought a Pocket Operator from Teenage Engineering. I don’t quite know what I’m doing but I was able to make some fun beats. It is a lot of fun to fiddle with regardless.
- Finding and loving the Emoji Mashup Bot on twitter.
- A nice restaurant – Chez Casa – opening down the street from us. Good sandwiches, good salads, good fresh pasta. Just a lot to like.
- Buying this Parks book on a whim. Really lovely collection of National Park graphic design over the years.
- Became oddly fascinated with bag reviews from Chase Reeves on YouTube. Not exactly sure why. I’m not buying a new backpack at the moment. But I love his rambles about life and general vibe, I guess.
- The Lost Boy album by YBN Cordae. This really stuck in my head and was on heavy rotation for me.
- Getting my personal site all set up and configured on Github pages. I imported all my old tumblr posts and generally got things in better shape. More improvements to come.
- Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. Loved this book despite not knowing much about surfing.
- Finished The Americans and was satisfied by the ending. Rare for a TV show these days it seems.
- The two Fyre Fest documentaries were amazing. I loved that stupid saga so much.1
- Did pretty well with reflecting and journaling. Some meditating as well. Lots of epsom salt baths too.
- Into The Spider-Verse was so good. Funny, clever, cool soundtrack, etc. I put off seeing it for a while then loved it.
- Rhythm + Flow on Netflix was oddly capitvating.
- Fleabag was as good as everyone said. Glad we got around to watching it.
- In general, I wasn’t great at tracking content that I loved. A lot of good podcast episodes and New Yorker articles in particular that I cannot easily dig up. Going to work on fixing that somehow in 2020.
Phew, that was a lot. Probably missed stuff but I think I hit a lot of it.
I can’t in good faith include the Theranos stuff in here too. It was also fascinating but it involved real health outcomes for real people and doesn’t seem amusing as a result. ↩