2018 Year in Review

Sadly, I can’t honestly say that this year’s review is much better than last year’s, save a few exceptions. I don’t know if I’m still swimming in my grief, having a mid-life crisis or just not living right. The only thing I know for sure: I need to up my game in 2019.

Sunset in the new backyard

Month by Month

– House hunting resumed.
– Solidified our status as “best aunts” with our nephew’s birthday gifts.

– Had a colonoscopy. Because my mother died so young of colorectal cancer I’m supposed to do this regularly.
– My sister and stepmother came to visit and we indulged in perhaps the most stereotypical “girls day out” activity with pedicures. We had a wonderful time.
– Belinda’s father entered hospice.
– House hunting continued.

– My colonoscopy results came back clean.
– House hunting continued.

– Lots of social activity. Drinks and brunches with friends, seders with friends. It was lovely.
– House hunting continued.

– Finally, after what felt like a decade of searching, we found a house to buy.
– Submitted an offer on the house.
– A nice weekend on the farm which included my, stick with me here, sister’s boyfriend’s daughter. That kid is great and she loves me. We’ll call her W here on the interwebs.

– Dual purpose trip to SF: I went for work, Belinda went for a conference.
– Some very lovely people from work had a little get together for us. It was the single best time I’ve ever had in all my trips to SF. I’m lucky to work with such wonderful folks.
– As luck would have it Jason was in SF for work at the same time so we got dinners and drinks and laughs. It was so very good for my soul.
– We did some touristy things in SF that really helped my attitude toward that city.
– Our vet unexpectedly retired. She was Grace’s vet her entire life and she loved Scout. We still haven’t found a permanent replacement.
– Took our nephew to see a movie in the theater for the first time (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom).
– Belinda’s dad died.

– Closed on the new house.
– Moved into the new house. My family was incredibly helpful during this process. Special shouts to my sister who helped us pack and helped us unpack.
– Melle was the first visitor at the new house. Scout instantly fell in love with her. We had a wonderful time while she was here.

– Accepted an offer on the old house.
– Had a plumbing nightmare in the new house.
– My sister came to visit again. Our new guest room is getting used a fair bit and we couldn’t be more delighted about that.

– The plumbing nightmare continued. In the end I’m glad we had the ability to just replace the vast majority of the house’s plumbing (it was still the original plumbing!) and move on.
– High holiday meals with the Z’s, the S’s, the other S’s (including our godchildren) and The T-S’s.
– Sukkot was extremely rainy so we only had one meal in an actual sukkah.

– Closed on the sale of the old house.
– My sister visited again. We love it when she does that. This time my stepmother came as well and we had a very lovely weekend shopping for art even though it was 8 million degrees and we all nearly collapsed of heat stroke.
– Had a mammogram that had “inconclusive” results. This required a follow up mammogram and an ultrasound. Eventually those results were determined to be inconclusive too but probably nothing to worry about. Just come back in a year they said.
– Had an x-ray of my skull done for weird medical reasons. I think I’ve hit that age where literally everything in my body is beginning to fall apart/break/malfunction.
– Saw Elton John in concert. The best show I’ve ever seen thanks in part to the amazing seats Belinda got for us. He just put on amazing show. To call him a professional is perhaps the worst understatement possible but every detail of the show was built to give the audience the best experience imaginable. I’m not ashamed to say I cried a few times during the show.

– Heavy cycle of grief began.
– For the first time in many many years Belinda and I were together on Thanksgiving.

– We got old, fast.
– Grief is just the worst.
– Family holiday gatherings including a sleepover with W. She and I had a great weekend.


For four years in a row my year in review has had a “mourning” section. I don’t have anything new to say about mourning. So I’ll just slightly modify something I said last year:

I honestly wasn’t prepared for grief like this. I knew I’d be sad. I just didn’t know how all encompassing it would be. I didn’t know that a year two years later it would still be so bad.

Music Consumption

According to Spotify I listened to 85,677 minutes of music. That’s nearly 10,000 minutes less than last year. I think my lack of travel (both long drives and plane flights) contributed to the decrease but it doesn’t completely explain it. I’ll have to think on it.

Spotify’s top lists were untrustworthy this year. There was an artist in my top 5 that I barely listened to all year. So these lists are a mix of what Spotify said and what I actually feel were my top picks of the year.

Top Artists
1. Lee Ann Womack
2. Janelle Monae
3. Aretha Franklin
4. The Avett Brothers
5. Mac Miller

Top Albums
1. The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone by Lee Ann Womack
2. Swimming by Mac Miller
3. Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae
4. Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves

Top Tracks
1. Make Me Feel by Janelle Monae
2. Hollywood by Lee Ann Womack
3. Numb by Tyminski
4. Space Cowboy by Kacey Musgraves
5. Remember by Seinabo Sey
6. 2009 by Mac Miller

Beginning in late fall I started spending a lot of time with both my local public radio station, WFPK, and KCRW to help with my music discovery flow. This is another partial explanation for my Spotify listening time decreasing so much. I’ve been turned on to some good stuff through both stations so I’m going to try to spend more time with them in the new year.
For a while Spotify was excelling at personalized playlists for me but for the past couple months they’ve been really off. So I haven’t discovered much stuff to love there in a while.


The four movies I saw at a movie theater this year: Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, Oceans 8, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I loved the first three. The last one was so bad I am still mad at everyone involved with it.

In terms of streaming I recently watched Reaching for the Moon and it has stuck with me like nothing else has in a long time. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about it.

It terms of television I still think about the final season of The Americans a great deal. Killing Eve was absolutely incredible. We caved and got CBS All Access and it’s worth it for The Good Fight alone. We are still charmed by The Good Place. Salt Fat Acid Heat was delightful.

Video Games

Spiderman got more hype and I did like it a lot but Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the game of the year for me. It’s very much a choose your own adventure game and my hero was a badass lesbian who had a lot of um, lady friends, and kicked a lot of ass.


I read 45 books in 2018. A little off my 2017 pace but I also re-read all three books in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy in the wake of the movie. I didn’t include those in the count.

1. Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
2. The Book of M by Peng Shepherd
3. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
4. America for Beginners by Leah Franqui
5. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

I’d really love for the author of The Wedding Date to write a lesbian love story into one of her upcoming books. Her style of romance novel is smart, fun, sexy and feminist.


Next Saturday will mark 4 years that I’ve worked at Slack. I still feel grateful for the opportunity to work there. I hope the company continues doing good work and that I can contribute to that good work in significant ways.

The Year Ahead

In general I’m not very good at setting goals. Whenever I try to sit down and think about big picture stuff for life I kind of freeze. Recently though several goals have developed organically so I’m paying attention to them in the new year:

I want to level up financially. We leveled up significantly in the past few years so we’re in good shape but we can be in better shape and it’s important to me that we do that.

Life Outside of Work
I want more hobbies and lord help me, more socializing. I want to get back into knitting and I think I maybe possibly want to learn to play the piano. I’m open to other hobby suggestions. The only hobbies I really have right now are reading and playing video games.

I want to go to more community events. Festivals and performances, what have you. I also want to meet friends for drinks regularly instead of the oh, maybe 5 times a year I’ve got going on right now.

Those vacations I mentioned last year in this section
This year didn’t allow us much time, energy or money for travel. Buying a house, selling the old house, moving and losing another parent kept us close to home. In 2019 I want to take at least a few trips that focus on complete relaxation or seeing my people. I’m not necessarily looking for adventures or hot new things to visit. So I predict we’ll be hitting DC and maybe Key West this year. Other trips will hopefully be spent rendezvousing with our chosen family. Fam, where should we meet up?

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