2016 in review

I ended my 2015 review post with the following quote:

Most of all, I hope 2016 takes it easy on us during this next trip around the sun. And in the unfortunate event it’s not so kind, let me get through it with grace.

…and I’m not sure 2016 took it easy on us, huh? But on a personal front, it was a pretty good year.

It started off with a new season of The X-Files and all the excitement surrounding that. The season itself was 50/50 for me, but that exceeded my purposefully low expectations. It looks like we may not see another season for a while yet, if ever, so I’m disappointed in the show runners for ending on a major cliffhanger. Ah well. We’ll always have Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-monster.

I spent some time in Vancouver for a work meetup and organized a little tour of X-Files filming locations while I was there. I fell in love with the city; it’s quite possibly the only urban location I’ve visited that I could see myself living in and enjoying.

In May, I saw A Streetcar Named Desire in Brooklyn and met Gillian Anderson for the first time. That was probably one of the biggest highlights of the year for me; her performance was stunning and not something I’ll soon forget.

Over the summer, we finally had the upstairs room renovated into an office/guest bedroom, making a large portion of our home into a functional space. I love having my own office, and I pampered my inner geek by dedicating a whole wall of it to X-Files fan art. Unfortunately, it’s been too cold to use it recently, since it’s poorly insulated and relies on heat rising from the lower level of the house. If it ever warms up a little this winter, we’ll have a new heat pump system put in to fix that.

We attended Boston Comic Con as a family, met Gillian Anderson (again, because why not?), and I took a long vacation involving lots of time outside with Pokemon Go.

We also lost our oldest kitty, Nala, which was very sad.

The kids started kindergarten and second grade, respectively, which means we’ve had a lot more quiet time in our lives since September. I remember when they were babies, how it seemed like life would never feel “normal” again, and the daunting task of being responsible for small humans seemed to infiltrate every aspect of daily living. Five years down the road, I think we’ve reached our new normal.

At our company’s annual Grand Meetup, I walked my first 5k, went to meetings, worked, went to more meetings, and got two new tattoos (the second of which is behind my ear, so I’m constantly forgetting I have it) (which makes occasionally catching sight of it in the mirror kind of thrilling, TBH).

I worked hard, with my role shifting even further to the management side, but I also took more time off, and took a more relaxed attitude toward vacation overall. That was good for me. I celebrated 4 years at Automattic in May, and I remain thankful for the opportunity to work with the people I do.

My brother and his fiancée were married this fall, and I saw my husband in a tux for the first time. Highly recommended, A+++, would tux my husband again. Speaking of my husband, we celebrated 9 years of marriage and 16 years of good times.

The election drudged up a lot of, well, drudge. On one hand, it had the important effect of making me more politically aware and active; on the other, I have a new source of anxiety to contend with.

I traveled to Barcelona in November, and saw some beautiful architecture, ate delicious tapas, and hung out with my spiffy coworkers.

As the year came to an end, after feeling a bit lazy on the creative front, I challenged myself to write for 30 days straight. As a result, I started 2017 with a bunch of new short stories and drafts. I think I’m going to try to do the 30-day writing challenge every few months as a way to create new material for editing.

We celebrated a quiet, relaxed Christmas with our little family to end the year.

…and now, here we are. 2017, I’m not sure how I feel about you yet. Right now, it feels like I’m trying to keep my head above water, which I attribute partly to seasonal affective disorder and partly to the political atmosphere in the U.S. We’ll see how that plays out.

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Gallery

Christmas 2016

Wrapping up a successful Christmas; Santa was good to us this year. He seems to know how much we enjoy LEGOs, but he also came through with new card/dice games and expansions for old favorites, and sleds for outdoor fun.

We’re having quite the Classic New England Winter (TM) so far; lots of snow, regular pristine, white coatings of the stuff, which means a fair amount of plowing and shoveling and sending the kids outside dressed like waddling, hot-pink-and-purple marshmallows. In an effort to ward off the winter blahs, I’ve strung lights up to the point where our living room can probably be seen from space.

I scheduled an extra-long winter vacation, without realizing it would be almost as long as my summer break was. Not that I’m complaining, but I’m at a bit of a loss since I didn’t have any plans save for 1) surviving the holidays and 2) catching up on a backlog of fanfic reading. With the first one out of the way, I intend to start on the second, with a bit of writing of my own thrown in for good measure.

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Writing Challenge, Day ???

I counted the docs in my Scrivener project, and yay! I made it past day 30. Total word count across 32 days: 20,704. Definitely not NaNoWriMo-level stuff, but better than nothing.

If this exercise has taught me anything, it’s that I have more ideas in me than I think. Of course, there’s a lot of junk in those 32 documents, but with some extra editing, I’ll have a few short stories to share soon.

It’s also taught me that I still compulsively edit as I’m writing. It’s a disease.

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Happy birthday, big girl!

It’s been a banner year for you, Ellie. While 2016 was stomping over the rest of us, you stepped outside your comfort zone, tried new things, and came away from it all grinning and asking for more.

You went to a week-long Girl Scout camp for the first time. We worried about sending you to stay in a strange place, but you jumped in with both feet, with barely a “Love you, bye!” when we dropped you off. You sobbed for hours when it was over and still talk about your camp friends, the memories you made, and how much you can’t wait to go back. We got a glimpse of the independent young woman you’ll be, and it was both heartbreaking and breathtaking to observe.

You’re still our geek; we never have to ask you to do your homework, you voluntarily spend extra time working on math problems and making up assignments for yourself, and you’re a straight-A student. You joined the gifted & talented program this month, the youngest in your class, and it’s given you so much to talk about. I love that you love to learn, and I hope that continues!

You wow me with your ability to make friends and chat people up with only a hint of self-consciousness. Your father and I, staunch introverts, wonder how we made such a bubbly, enthusiastic kid.

And yet, I see shyness in you, too; like this fall, when you refused to dance at your uncle’s wedding. You’re starting to notice differences; what makes people stand out, what makes people blend in. If I could wish for anything, it would be for you to ignore that little voice of self-doubt for a few more years, and to dance with the freedom of your six-year-old self.

For all your maturity, you’re also loud, rambunctious, and silly. You still believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. You have to be reminded not to use bathroom words (and make bathroom noises, ahem) at the dinner table. You still want kisses goodnight and snuggles in the morning.

You’re eager to “grow up”, but scared of what that means. And I have to remind myself that you’re not thirteen (as much as you wish you were). You’re eight — eight! — and you have a lot of growing to do.

Take your time, kiddo. You’re living some pretty great years right now. I’m so lucky I get to watch and cheer you on.

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