I’m a bit behind this year as my Christmas and New Year’s week holidays were erased by a variety of illnesses – none major, fortunately – that swept our household. But late being preferable to never, it’s time for my annual year in pictures post. It’s always a useful exercise for me, as I can revisit a year easily and quickly. And by doing it in pictures, I’m not required to invest time I don’t have.
On balance, 2016 was a fine year for me personally, and a year of many, many firsts (kid-related, mostly). The fact that it was an abject disaster from a macro, geopolitical perspective takes some of that shine off, however. Election or no, however, I’m still here, my family and friends are still here and we’re all committed to soldiering on. So I’m grateful for that.
Before we get to the pictures, however: a couple of statistics from 2016.
2016 was a second consecutive year of improvement, travel-wise. My mileage was way down, as I flew less this year than I have since 2008. Only 2013 is close. Most years I qualify for JetBlue’s Mosaic program in May or June. This year, it was during my last trip in December (though admittedly some of that delay is that Virgin has poached most of my travel to and from San Francisco from JetBlue thanks to a better loyalty program). I’m unlikely to sustain quite this slow a pace of travel as a fair bit of the downturn was due to one time events like missing the Monki Gras due to paternity leave. Some of it, however, is attributable to having another analyst on board, changes in where conferences are hosted (Austin being closer than Portland, as one example) and so on. Which implies that I should be able to maintain a slightly reduced travel schedule at a minimum.
- Distance: I flew 68,365 miles, down 25% or so from 2016.
- 100K: This was the third time in six years I failed to reach 100,000 miles. Love it.
- Carrier: 41 segments were on JetBlue. Virgin was up to 12 this year thanks to the aforementioned loyalty program. Thanks to some client engagements in non-standard locations as well, I flew Delta a dozen times as well for the first time in years.
- Airport: Thanks in part to Virgin, I ended up flying out of Boston (35) more than Portland (21) again this year.
- First Time: Had never been to Tahoe before, but I can cross that off the list. Reno as well.
- Where To: Was San Francisco, most frequently. I spent more than twice as many miles headed there as to the second most popular destination, Las Vegas, where I found myself (again) far more than I’d like to be.
- My Top 5 non search-engine referrers to the work blog were 1) Hacker News 2) Twitter, 3) Reddit, 4) Wired, 5) Facebook.
- Looks like I drove between 500 and a thousand refererrals over to Amazon for specifically referenced items. It’s too bad that Amazon and Maine don’t get along so I can’t get referral commissions on that traffic.
- Per FitBit, I took 3.2 million steps in 2016, up over 500,000 from last year. My daily average was up ~1800 per day to 8710. This was largely a function of Eleanor getting older, and our enjoyment of taking her for walks around the neighborhood, but after two consecutive down years of steps it was also something I was paying attention to. Love to get that number up again next year.
With that, on to the pictures.
Got an early start on the year, as the Graveyard Shift after the baby came home was mine. I’d stay up until 5 or 6 AM, then Kate would clock back in and I’d sleep until 9 or 10. I don’t miss that sleep schedule.
One of the pieces of advice we got as new parents was to take the baby out as early as possible, the theory being that they get used to be in public spaces and will therefore learn how to behave while out. We’ve tried to practice this, and pretty much the entire staff at our local place, the Broad Arrow Tavern, has known Eleanor since this first trip out.
Baby’s first brewery? Allagash, naturally.
Our first time leaving the baby in the care of someone other than ourselves or the hospital staff, Kate and I popped out to the theater to take in Star Wars while my parents babysat for us. All the nostalgia.
Baby’s first trip to Oxbow. Unfortunately, she fell asleep and missed a visit from the brewery cat.
For my birthday this year, Kate commissioned a painting of my grandmother’s house. This was the scene of some of my happiest childhood memories, and a house that had been in our family for well over a hundred years. Just this picture brought a few family members to tears.
Got out for a little stroll at Winslow State Park.
Second day of spring. Not joking.
Finished building a (cheap) workbench. Nothing but 2x4s, 4x4s and some birch ply. I took it from this side because the lumber on the back side was so warped it looks like a pretzel.
Filed under things I wish I hadn’t had to learn, but it turns out that you can get a passport turned around in Boston in around 90 minutes as long as you’re willing to live with a passport photo taken by CVS up around the road. How long ago had my old passport expired? Six days.
Courtesy the gentleman and scholar known as Brady Murray, made my first trip ever – I know, I’m as surprised as you are – to AT&T park to see the Giants play the Sox. Beautiful venue.
About a month prior to this, I got the devastating news that my beloved Volvo S40 – my friend and companion on many adventures – was living on borrowed time, with a head gasket that was ruptured. This began the search for a potential replacement, and while I would have happily bought the exact same car, Volvo killed off the model and no longer sells cars with manual transmissions. I ended up with a truck.
I don’t remember my first trip to Fenway as well as I’d like, and Eleanor won’t either because she spent most of it in her stroller asleep. But she’ll have pictures.
Winter is coming.
Some “work trips” are easier than others.
Way up north in Lubec for a wedding, got to visit the easternmost point in the US.
This was the scene from said wedding. Not too shabby.
Turns out that when it’s hot and humid it’s hard to run the white noise machine and fan that help your baby sleep. The good news is that my annual preventative maintenance on the generator worked and it fired up immediately.
The long national nightmare that began when one of the other dads at daycare inexplicably walked off in my flip-flops – which looked literally nothing like his – was over 24 hours later when he returned them.
My first effort at building furniture was…uneven. Literally.
Great seats, courtesy my brother-in-law. Even better? The other two in our section didn’t show up.
With the leftover wood from the table, I built a bench. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of showing Kate one of the fancier YouTube builds which she preferred to the simpler one I had in mind.
It would seem impossible to nearly lose the tip of a finger due to plywood, but I nearly managed it. Four plus months later my nail is mostly grown back.
Annual pilgrimage to my happy place.
After a year’s hiatus, made it back to Chamberlain for our summer vacation.
Where life was hard.
Never miss a chance to visit Monhegan Island.
We do sunsets ok in this state.
This project, as you might be able to see from the picture, was a tire fire. First, it almost cost me a fingertip. Then, it was setback after setback. Eventually I got the thing built, however, and while it’s terrible to look at, it mostly works.
Winter wasn’t here, fired up the stove anyway.
Everyone loves the Monktoberfest.
I was very happy that Eleanor was awake and mostly willing to sit and watch the celebration of Big Papi’s career. He was the author of more happy Red Sox memories for me than anyone, and one of the best hitters I ever saw wear a Red Sox uniform. It was an honor and a privilege to watch him play, and I’m pleased that my daughter can (technically) say the same thing.
Survived the Monktoberfest yet again. No biblical flooding this year definitely helped.
It wasn’t. Unfortunately.
Best Halloween costume ever.
Aside from the years the Red Sox were in it and won it, which I prefer for obvious reasons, this was the best World Series of my lifetime. I had a very difficult time choosing a favorite, as either outcome had its positives. In the end, it had been longer for Chicago so I was content. The best part about this series, however, was the fact that I happened to be in Denver and got to watch it with my BFF and his family.
We try to get outside and hike as a family regularly. Feedback varies.
The outcome wasn’t ideal, but Eleanor enjoyed her first Biggest Little Game in America.
With this big oak dead and dropping branches everywhere, we were forced to have it felled. I’ve still got a ton of log splitting to do.
Until I had a child, I’d never heard of the Polar Express. But at least we learned that Santa is her worst enemy.
Today’s PSA: if you hate beards and don’t want to have one, do not under any circumstances let your significant other see you in one. Because you may have to keep it. Who would have thought that a Halloween costume of Benny from Stranger Things could have backfired so badly?
Popped down to Atlantic Hardwoods in Portland and picked up some rough 8/4 walnut stock.
And turned it into a pair of end grain cutting boards, Christmas gifts for both sets of parents. Cutting boards, as it turns out, are sort of a Woodworking 101 project, but learning how to mill raw lumber as part of this process led to some, ah, imperfections. As always.
A short bed pickup can hold more than you think.
Enough to build these storage shelves, at least.
The day before New Year’s Eve, we were expected to get a mere dusting.
I spent it swapping out a garbage disposal. For once, I didn’t get electrocuted or cut, nothing got broken or flooded, and everything more or less went according to plan.