2016 Year in Review: Memorable Events


I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.

Here is my 21st annual list.

Feb 9 – Shrove Tuesday – I helped cook pancakes and lots of bacon (quite the achievement for a vegetarian) and then listened to the confession of some very funny sins

Feb 22 – Harris Hill Ski Jump Competition

All Year – Activism to support public education in Boston and Massachusetts including protesting the State of the City address, a Walk-in and Rally for Boston Public Schools, the BPS Student Walkout, and the successful effort to defeat the ballot initiative to allow unlimited charter school expansion.

March – My mother moves to the Bronx, meaning that we get to see my mother more often and visit New York frequently.  In fact, I made 7 trips to New York City this year and spent a total of 3 weeks visiting!  Highlights include multiple visits to the Bronx Zoo, the Harlem Meer in Central Park, the Hall of Fame for Great Americans,  the Empire State Building, a Circle Line Cruise, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden.

April 16-18 – Patriots Day Weekend in Boston

April – participating in the A to Z Challenge

April to June – my son’s baseball season. It was a close-knit team and I got to help out keeping score.  The highlight was when the team rallied to score 18 runs in the last inning when they were down by 14 (they lost the game anyway, but they were so proud)

June 19 – The Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon

July 2 – riding the Codzilla on Boston Harbor and then watching hip hop dancers and fireworks at Christopher Columbus Park

August 6 – Susan’s Birthday at McCoy Stadium

Aug 17 – Taking a sunset cruise on the MBTA ferry with my son while my wife and daughter were on a pirate ship

Sep 12 – My daughter starts kindergarten at our local public school, meaning that both kids are finally at the same school, with the same schedule, and same drop-off & pick-up!

Oct 10 – A visit to Old Sturbridge Village

May to October – another great Boston By Foot season, leading 31 walking tours.  The highlight was a tour to two women from Toronto who told me that their first stop in Boston was the Warren Anatomical Museum

Oct 29 – A Halloween Prowl at Moose Hill Sanctuary

Oct 30 – got to have fun on four separate visits to amusement parks, including one day at Rye Playland, and three times to Canobie Lake Park.  The last time was during Screeemfest when I took my son and two of his besties to celebrate his birthday.  We had to run from monsters, but the boys also went on the Corkscrew for the first (second, third, and fourth) times.

Nov 1 – chaperone for a 3rd grade trip to Plimoth Plantation with three great kids who asked lots of interesting questions

Nov 8 – the election, memorable if not for good reasons, although I prefer to remember when progressive ideals got widespread support and exposure during the Bernie Sanders campaign, which also gives me some hope for the future

Nov 24 – Thanksgiving Day Parade

Previously:

Ten Years


Today is the tenth anniversary of the very first post on this blog!

A lot has changed in my life in those ten years where Panorama of the Mountains is one constant.

Then:

Married for just over a year with no children.

Now:

Married for just over 11 years with a 9-year-old and a 5-year-old.


Then:

Rented the top floor of a three-decker in Somerville, MA.

Now:

Own the top floor of a three-decker in Jamaica Plain, MA.


Then:

Worked in an academic library’s access services department specializing in interlibrary loan.

Now:

Work in the same library’s special collections department as a processing archivist and records management analyst.


Then:

Worshiped and was very active in a local Catholic church community.

Now:

Worship and not quite nearly as active in a local United Church of Christ community.


Then:

Didn’t own a cellphone and never planned to get one.

Now:

Smartphone addict.


Then:

Commuted everywhere by bike.

Now:

Still try to bike, but end up using public transit most of the time.


Then:

It seemed that personal blogging was going out of style just as I was getting started.

Now:

I was right. Nowadays people who get attention as “bloggers” are professional journalists and writers (or those who want to be professional) writing online, and the personal blog has all but gone by the wayside.

And yet I keep blogging.

This past year has been particularly fruitful as far as blogging.  I’ve been more consistent in writing and posting regularly (everyday for a time from December to June) and participated in The A-to-Z Challenge.  I’ve always felt that the audience for this blog is myself, and I’ve founded both a handy outlet for personal expression as well as a great reference tool to go back and see what I wrote about a particular thing at the time.

Nevertheless, I find it discouraging that I see a lot of bloggerss out there have built a community around their blogs with a core group of people commenting and reading one another’s blogs.  I’ve never been able to replicate that kind of interaction here despite various tactics including posting every day, writing on a variety of topics, participating in challenges, commenting on other blogs, and promoting my posts on social media.  Perhaps what I write is just not very interesting to most people.

Going forward I’m thinking of making changes to this blog starting in the new year, perhaps even coming up with a new name (suggestions are welcome).  I’m thinking of working on the quality of my posts rather than the quantity, so I intend to continue to post consistently if less often.  Here are some changes I have in mind:

Book Reviews
Movie/TV Reviews
Photoposts

I expect that these types of posts will continue to be common. Instead of saving them for a particular day of the week to publish, I think I’ll just go back to posting them just after I finish reading/watching/photographing.  I’m also hoping with the book reviews to become more literary and expansive in my discussion of the books.

Beer Reviews

I’ve reached a point where I find myself looking long and hard for beers I’ve never tried before so I can review them and it’s getting exhausting.  I need to reduce my beer consumption in general so I’m going to ax the beer reviews.  Perhaps if I try a particularly remarkable beer I will post a review about it, but it won’t be a regular feature.

Song of the Week
Album of the Month
Podcasts of the Week

I’m going to join these all together into a monthly “What I am listening to now” post, and again work on my narrative style of reviewing and reflecting on these things.

Music Discovery

This was fun to do, less fun to write about, and most likely dreadful for you to try to read.  I’m going to revamp this as a once-a-month feature, and instead of the album-by-album synopsis just work on writing up an overall narrative of the artist in question with a list of favorite albums and songs.

What else?

I’d like to continue to strive to write on politics and current events.  I wrote a few good posts in the past year, but I always find myself taking so long to get my thoughts together on an issue that it ceases to be relevant.  I hope to be more timely and make a positive contribution to these discussions and debates.

I’ve an idea for a series on my favorite TV shows of all time (much like I’ve done for books, albums, and songs) but the posts would be more narrative and tying together themes rather than making lists.

And perhaps I’ll finally write the series on urban development and transportation issues I’ve long been ruminating over.

Thanks to everyone who has read, commented, and shared Panorama of the Mountains over the past decade.  I hope to make it worth continued reading!

Previously:

 

The Comment Challenge (August)


I’m once again signing up for The Comment Challenge in August. I previously signed up for the July Comment Challenge, and here on July 1 I already have a comment from my partner!

The basic gist is that participants are paired up to read and comment on each other’s blog.  That’s it, pretty simple!  I pledge to make 5-10 comments on my partner’s blog, although I hope I can do more.

The Comment Challenge is hosted by Lonna @ FLYLēF and Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense

The Comment Challenge (July)


I signed up to participate in another challenge, this one called The Comment Challenge.  It will be running in June, July, and August this summer.  I missed sign ups for June, but signed up for July and probably will sign up for August as well.
The basic gist is that participants are paired up to read and comment on each other’s blog.  That’s it, pretty simple!  I pledge to make 5-10 comments on my partner’s blog, although I hope I can do more.  Following up on my last post, I’m hoping this is a way to make connections and make blogging feel less solitary.

The Comment Challenge is hosted by Lonna @ FLYLēF and Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense


While waiting for the Comment Challenge to begin in July, I plan to try to make two comments each day on blogs I read (not including responding to responses to my comments).

#humbleblog


Just want to take a moment here to point out that I have published at least one post on Panorama of the Mountains every day since December 1, 2015. As today is May 31, 2016, that means my posting streak is now at six consecutive months! In my nearly ten years of blogging, I’ve never even approached a consecutive day streak remotely approaching that long, so I want to take a moment to savor it.

In the past six months, I’ve published 306 posts (including this one). Dear lord, whatever did I have to say? I hoped posting more regularly would mean that I’d see an uptick in readers, commenters, and followers – which I have – but this is still a very lonely blog. If you like what you read here, drop me a note or share it with your friends on social media, won’t you?

According to my stats, these are the five posts from those 306 that interested the most readers:

 

Here are ten of my favorite posts  from the past six months which I think are worth reading, or re-reading, commenting, and sharing:

And then there are all 27 of my posts about Jamaica Plain for the Blogging A to Z Challenge!

 

Questions for my fellow bloggers:  How often do you publish blog  posts?  What ways have you found effective to attract more readers, and better yet, to make connections with fellow bloggers?  Have you have written anything you love and find it ignored?  I’d love to hear other bloggers’ experiences!

 

Blogging from A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal


This April, I’ve signed up to participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  The basic gist is to blog for every letter of the alphabet for each day in April with Sundays off for good behavior.  So on April 1st I’ll blog about something that starts with A, on April 2nd I’ll write about something starting with B, and so on from there.

I pondered a theme for a while and them I remembered that I long ago had the idea of doing an A to Z for my own neighborhood, Jamaica Plain in Boston, but never got around to it.

JPAtoZ

So let me officially announce…

JP A to Z

All April long I will post a photo and a little bit of text (I’m keeping these short and sweet) about something in the neighborhood of Jamaica Plain.  If you have anything you’d like to suggest, let me know in the comments or email me.  I’m looking forward to meeting and interacting with other participants in the A to Z Challenge and seeing what other people are posting this month.

New Panoramas from the Mountain


Happy Leap Day!

First, I just want to brag a bit that I’ve managed to put up at least one post every day for three consecutive months!  That may not seem a lot to some bloggers, but for me it’s like a record of 91 consecutive days and counting (and 131 posts in that time).  The blog had been fallow for a while, and I’m happy I could find the time and energy to breathe new life into it.

Second, you may have noticed a lot of movie and tv reviews lately.  While I never got around to actually announcing what I was doing, I had challenged myself to a 35 Days of Movies challenge for the last week of January and all of February.  While I didn’t reach the goal of watching and reviewing one movie a day for 35 straight days, I did watch a lot more movies than I’d had in the past few years.  Going forward, reviews of movies, tv shows, and any live entertainments will be published on Wednesdays.

Finally, I’m going to introduce a new feature in March called Music Discoveries.  The basic idea comes from my friend’s blog Desert Island Mix Tape when he listened to the entire back catalog of the Bee Gees and then wrote it up. While I don’t plan to listen to the Bee Gees, I do plan to seek out bands & artists that I’ve heard good things about (and maybe familiar with a limited amount of their output) and do a deep listen of all their albums and write up my thoughts.  Music Discoveries will be a regular feature on Mondays.

For a full schedule of Panorama of the Mountains posts, see the About page.

I’m hoping that with more regular posting that more people are reading and enjoying my blog.  If you are one of my four or five readers, please let me know what you think.  Leave a comment below, tweet me, and feel free to share your own blog!

2015 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2015 Year in Review: Memorable Events


I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.

Here is my 20th annual list.

  • 1) January-February – Boston Blizzards – It’s hard to believe that sometime in late January 2015 I was wondering if the kids were going to get any snow days because winter had been so mild.  Then we were hit by blizzard after blizzard accumulating ludicrous amounts of snow on the way to a record 110.6 inches, including 94.4 inches in just 30 days from January 24- February 22, 2015.  It was crazy, it was annoying, but it was also fun, and we all survived with a little gallows humor.

  • 2) February – Snowshoeing – I went snowshoeing for the first (and second) time at the Boston Nature Center and found it a really enjoyable way to enjoy nature in the snow. I’m going to have to get my own snowshoes and plan some longer outings in the future.

 

  • 3) March onwards – Daddy Brew Club – My friend Mike got a homebrew kit and has had me and other beer-loving fathers over on several occasions to brew, bottle, and sample beer.  The social aspect is the key part of the activity although occasionally the beer also tastes good.

  • 4) March 19-21 – MARAC/NEA meeting – The New England Archivists meeting is always fun and this one was extra special as our Mid Atlantic regional colleagues joined us for a joint meeting in snowy Boston.  There was a pub quiz and guided walking tours of Boston led by yours truly in my Boston By Foot hat (followed by beers with my fellow archivists).
  • 5) April-October (but especially the last three months) – The New York Mets pennant-winning season – Since my children were born my time to follow sports evaporated and in recent years as my son has become a baseball fan I spent more time following the Red Sox, but this season I made a concerted effort to return to following the day-in/day-out exploits of my first favorite team, the Mets.  And boy did I chose a good season to do so, as the Mets started off hot with an 11-game win streak, regressed to the mean for a while, and then after gaining new players at the trade deadline and star players returning from injury they caught fire in August and September to win the division.  The exciting season continued in the playoffs against the Dodgers and Cubs, but sadly the good run came to an end against the Royals in the World Series.  But, oh, what a run!

  • 6) April-December – Museum of Fine Arts membership – Got a membership for the first time in years and spent several days visiting and closely studying the art in this terrific museum (1, 2, 3, 4, & 5).
  • 7) April 23-26 – Trip to New York City – Peter, my mother, and I went to New York, visiting the American Museum of Natural History, Coney Island, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Bronx Zoo.
  • 8) April onwards – bicycle speaker – I got a speaker that sits on the handlebars of my bike and thus I can listen to music, podcasts, and audiobooks as I commute to work.  Such a small thing makes such a fun improvement to the daily grind.
  • 9) May 17 – Greenway Art & carousel – A gorgeous Sunday afternoon admiring “As If It Were Already Here” suspended over the Rose Kennedy Greenway, followed by a few spins on the carousel.
  • 10) May-October – Casey Overpass Demolition – Each day another piece of the elevated highway in Forest Hills was removed opening up new spaces and vistas.  A fascinating process.
  • 11) June 6-July 5 – Women’s World Cup – Another exciting tournament with many great games.  Our United States team started off shaky but got better as the tournament went along, with dramatic wins against Germany in the semifinal and Japan in the final.  Whether watching with our friends on Cape Cod or with crowds at Boston City Hall, we believed that we would win!

  • 12) June 7 – Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon – Pedaled this terrific charity ride with both of my children for the first time.
  • 13) June 13 – PawSox Game – The whole family took in this game with our church group meaning that there were lots of friends in the stands.  As an added bonus, it was Star Wars night *AND* fireworks night.

  • 14) June 28-July 1 – Cape Cod – With our friends the Rosenblatt Rossos we stayed at a rental house in Eastham, swimming in the Bay and the Ocean, roasting marshmallows and creating arts & crafts, and watching the Womens World Cup.
  • 15) July 11 – Green River Festival – A fun festival with music and balloons, but even better, a time to play with extended family.
  • 16) July 31-August 2 – Camping in Maine – Took that kids for their first camping trip at Recompence Shore at Wolfe’s Neck Farm.  Hiking, biking, a farm visit, fresh veggies, and Portland Sea Dogs baseball were all involved.
  • 17) August 31-September 4 – Daddy Day Camp – A week with no school and no camp, so I took the kids on a whale watch, on a Duck Tour and Skywalk, on the Freedom Trail, and to the Barnyard at Retreat Farm.
  • 18) October 10 – Connors Farm – pumpkin picking, a corn maze, and all manner of autumnal pleasantries.
  • 19) October 18 – Boston By Foot Dark Side tour – I lead a special tour for a church group and invited along some dear friends not in the church and had my son take a tour with me for the first time.  A special afternoon of for this tour guide.

  • 20) December 27-30 – Myrtle Beach – a holiday visit with grandparents, uncle, aunt, and cousin at a South Carolina resort town. We saw a pirate show and lots of gators, played minigolf and much, much more.

Previously:

9th birthday, belated


9 years and 11 days ago I published my first post on this blog.  Blogging was already going out style when I started and these days if someone is known as a blogger they’re more likely to be a paid columnist than an enthusiastic amateur.  I’ve always maintained that I am the number one audience for this blog and it’s still the way it works, both as an outlet for my need to write and to go back to read and remember things.  Still, I’m a little envious of the bloggers who are able to get communities of like-minded folks to discuss things on their blog posts.  I’ve never been good at the whole socializing thing in real life so I guess I’m wallflower her too.  Nevertheless if you ever have a moment to share a comment or the blog or tweet me (@othemts) about something on this blog, I’d appreciate it.

As I begin the 10th year of this blog, I have some ideas of things I’d like to write about (assuming I find the time and discipline to write about all the things I’d like to write about).

  • A series on urban development issues – making cities better through improved and increased housing, public transportation, and bicycle facilities.
  • Music discoveries – where I listen to a lot of music by an artist or band I don’t know very well and write about what I learn.
  • Movie reviews – I don’t watch movies much anymore.  I’m thinking of doing “30 Days of Movies” or something like that.

Of course book reviews, beer reviews, photographs, and commentary on important issues will continue.

And don’t forget my other blogs!

Hooray for blogging, and hooray for another year.

Previously:

The Podcast Revolution?


I’ve been surprised about the recent declarations that podcasts are the next big thing ever since the success of “Serial” (discussed at length in the latest podcast episode of To The Best of Our Knowledge).  Mainly this is because I’ve been listening to podcasts obsessively for the past ten years.  And I don’t mean this in a hipster “I did it before it was cool” way, I just assumed that lots of people were already listening to podcasts, even before I discovered them.

Anyhow, if you happen to be new to podcasts, here is my updated list of favorite podcasts.  (Ironically, I listened to the first episode of “Serial” and wasn’t interested in the rest of the series.  Maybe I’ll check out the next series).

Feel free to share your favorite podcasts in the comments.

Related posts:

Resolved


Here are some things I’d like to do in 2015.  Call them resolutions, call them goals, no big whoop.

I just plan to have fun and learn things.

 

 

2014 Year in Review: Memorable Events


I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.  I usually try to post this list close to December 31st, but late is better than never.

My 2014 list is a typical hodge-podge of activity.  Some of the events have links to when I wrote about them at the time.  Others I wrote a little bit more about in this post.

January – Furnace – Our furnace overheated and died during our holiday travels last year, and so we had a cold New Years at home, even with new space heaters bought for the occasion.  We got a new furnace installed, and it cost lots and lots and lots of money, but it works very well.  Definitely not a good thing, but certainly memorable, and it all worked out in the end.

January – Ice Skating – Peter took an ice skating class and I went ice skating for the first time in years.  My skates don’t fit anymore – ouch.  But we had fun.  Here’s my first ever animated GIF of Peter skating:

Through the year – Education activism – This year I learned a lot about the crises affecting public education, and joined other parents, students, and teachers to advocate for positive change.  There’s a lot more I could do and should do, but I educated myself on the issues, wrote some blog posts, attended a school committee meeting, and a rally on the steps of the State House.  And there were some positive results, including the defeat of a charter school expansion bill in the Massachusetts’ Senate.

February 1st – Wayne Potash concert – As aging folkies, it was a pleasure to take the kids to our old haunt of Club Passim for this special concert.

March 22nd-24th – New England Archivists Spring Meeting – My only business trip of the year took me to the lovely town of Portsmouth, NH.  Highlights of the conference include a keynote speech by punk rocker Ian MacKaye about his Fugazi Live Series archives and participating in a NEA Jeopardy! tournament (my team won!).

Pondering a Jeopardy! answer.

April 21st – Patriots Day – We took back the finish line on a beautiful spring day, with my whole family cheering on the runners in the Boston Marathon.

April to September – Red Sox season – The 2014 season was not as good as the 2013 season for the Red Sox, but we had fun attending several games, including a few with tickets given by friends who have much better seats than we usually get.  Since Peter is a member of Kid Nation, we can enter the ballpark early to watch batting practice from the Green Monster, and at one game Yankees pitcher Shane Green threw a ball to Peter. We saw rookies Alex Hassan and Garin Cecchini get their first major league hits.  And we sat behind home plate at McCoy Stadium and watching future Red Sox clobber their opponents.  We rode our bikes to Fenway and used the new bike parking.  But probably the coolest thing is when Susan and Peter got to help with the banner for the 2004 World Series Champions reunion in May.  You can see them below the 4 in the photo below.


April 22nd-25th – Spring Break in Virginia – Peter & I visited my mother in Virginia and spent time exploring Colonial Williamsburg and playing at Go Karts Plus.

June 15 – Father’s Day – Tradition dictates that Father’s Day is celebrated with brunch and a nature walk.  This year we dined at Nancy’s Airfield Cafe in Stow and then explored the swamps and caves at Rocky Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.

June 12th – July 13 – World Cup – I loved getting sucked into the quadrennial event, and following the ups and downs of the US Men’s National Team.  Particularly fun was attending public viewing parties in Watertown (see the celebration of Clint Dempsey’s goal against Portugal below) and at Boston City Hall.  Then I spent the entire final making bad puns on Facebook.

June 21st – BTU School Summer Blastoff – Ostensibly a fundraiser for our son’s school, but moreso this was an opportunity to get out of the house and dance the night away with Susan.

July 20th & 27th – Cambridge Common walking tour – For the third time, I had the privilege of researching, writing, and leading a walking tour for Boston By Foot.  This time we explored the endlessly fascinating history of Cambridge Common and it’s environs.  The official tour had a good turnout despite a downpour.  If you missed it, we’ll be running it again on Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 2 pm.


August 17 – Crane Beach – All summer long my daughter Kay asked to go to the beach.  Finally, as summer was drawing to a close we made a day-long outing to Crane Beach in Ipswich.  It may have been the best day in Kay’s young life.  We’ll have to return to her happy place more often next summer.


August 30 – September 2 – Great Wolf Lodge – We met up with Susan’s parents at Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania for four days of swimming, sliding, playing, and eating.  It was cheezy fun.


September 20th – Baseball Clinic – My son loves baseball and so there was no doubt that he would enjoy a free baseball clinic for children  hosted by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Jim Rice Field in Roxbury.  Former major league ballplayers instructed the children. They practiced throwing with Rich Rodriguez and Joe Johnson, outfield drills with Billy Sample, baserunning with Al Severinsen, and infield drills with John Tudor (seen handing a ball to my son below).


September 27th – Rockin’ With Raptors – The annual festival at the Boston Nature Center, the Mass Audubon nature center closest to our house, was a blast. There was barbecue and cake, birdhouse building, face painting, music, live animal demonstrations and many other activities.  And of course, the stars of the show were the birds of prey.  Peter was particularly devoted to asking the volunteer lots of questions about the raptors.


October 11th to 13th – Cooperstown – We went away for Columbus Day Weekend to Cooperstown, NY, staying at the lovely Lake House Hotel and visiting the Farmers Museum during the annual Tractor Fest, the Cullen Pumpkin Farm, and National Baseball Hall of Fame.


October 20th to 27th – Jury duty – I served on a challenging criminal trial with contentious deliberations.  And I was appointed foreperson.  It was a stressful week, but hopefully we made the right decision.
November 23rd – Kay leads church in dancing – One day at the beginning of church service at Hope Central in JP, my daughter went up in front and started dancing in circles.  Then the pastor joined in.  Then several people throughout the congregation started dancing in circles as well.  It was a special moment.

November and December – Nana’s visits – My mother came to visit twice late in the year spending lots of quality time with the grandchildren.  Nana and Peter played chess, we visited the zoo, we saw “Peter & the Wolf” at Symphony Hall in November, and celebrated Christmas together in December.


November 29th – New England Revolution Eastern Conference Championship – Peter and I jumped on the bandwagon as the New England Revolution made their way through the MLS postseason.  We joined 10s of thousands of fans in Foxboro as the team won the Eastern Conference against the New York Red Bulls.  The next week we saw the sad MLS Cup Final loss against the LA Galaxy on tv.

 

Previously:

2014 Year in Review: Favorite Posts


I’m slowly pulling together my end-of-year list of memorable events, and while looking through my blog I came across these posts that I’m particularly proud of from 2014. So while you wait for new content, revisit these classics or read them for the first time.

2014 Year in Review: Favorite Books


Here’s my annual list of my ten favorite books read in the year.  As always, this is merely the best books I read this year not books published in 2013.  For previous years see 2013201220112010200920082007 and 2006. You may also want to check out My Favorite Books of All Time or see Every Book I’ve Ever Read cataloged in Library Thing.

In no particular order:

And the complete list of books read in 2014 (books published in 2014 are in bold).

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas


On a peaceful Christmas at home in Boston, remembering the Christmas Truce of 1914, one of the more difficult to comprehend events in human history. Why would they stop fighting to celebrate with their enemies?  Why would they go back to war after getting to know one another?

This is cheezy, but this Sainsbury advertisement dramatizing the Christmas Truce is way better than it has any right to be.

 

Wherever you are, I hope your spending the day peacefully and safely among the people who love you.

 

16 Years in Massachusetts


Today marks 16 years since I first moved to Massachusetts.  This means that my personal state residency rankings have a new champion, as I’ve lived in Massachusetts longer than any other state.

Connecticut moves into second place, with 15 years, 9 months.

Virginia holds on to the third seed with 7 years, 2 months.

And New Jersey stays at the bottom with 2 years.

Hooray for Massachusetts and Me!  It’s been a good partnership, and I don’t see it ending anytime soon.

Related Posts:

2013 Year in Review: Memorable Events


I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.

My 2013 list is a typical hodge-podge of activity.  Some of the events have links to when I wrote about them at the time.  Others I wrote a little bit more about in this post.

20 January – A Winter Day Out in Providence  – My wife left for a business trip, and I took the kids out for a successful outing to Rhode Island which included playing at the Providence Children’s Museum, a Providence Bruins‘ game (complete with thunderstix), & Harry’s Bar & Burger for dinner and ice cream sandwiches.

8-11 February – Blizzard of ’13 – also known as Winter Storm Nemo, dumped 25 inches of snow on our hometown making much delight for the children and cooperative snow removal ventures with the neighbors.  The photo below is from our outing to Centre Street in Jamaica Plain to pick up beer & cheese.

28 February – Beck Song Reader Concert – I was part of a 50-voice choir bringing Beck’s songs of sheet music to life.  You can see me singing out from the back row in the photo below. 

Spring & Summer – Peter learns to bike – My son learned to ride a pedal bike.  Now we need to work on braking.

15 April – Boston Marathon bombing – My kids and I were at a playground far from the Marathon route when it happened, and even if we’d gone to watch we’d have been far from the finish line, but it was still shocking to hear of the deaths and injuries.  Especially considering that Patriots Day is a civic holiday that is perhaps the day on the calendar when Boston is at its most joyous, communal, and supportive.  That spirit shined through with the many people – professionals and amateurs – who rushed in to help the wounded.  I was touched by the outpouring of support for Boston, and if anything good has come out of this it is that they typically self-deprecating Bostonians are far more positive and  confident these days.  A few days later, we had the weird shelter-in-place alert, but still spirits were kept up as we shared news and jokes through social media.  Not something I’d want to live through again, but I’m grateful for all the people who chose to help and that the casualties were not as bad as they could’ve been.

language matters


27 April – Regan Youth League Baseball Parade and Teeball – My baseball-obsessed son started playing teeball and we marched through the streets of Jamaica Plain, even stopping to sing.

May & October – Kindergarten Arboretum Field Trips – I stepped into a new role in fatherhood as I served as a chaperon on two school outings to Arnold Arboretum.  I particularly like the spring trip when the kids got to see a snapping turtle up close and personal. 

May to Present – Hope Central Church – We were in search of a new church closer to home and found a new spiritual home at Hope Central.

2 June – Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon – This time my daughter was my co-pilot on this great fundraising ride through the city.

12 June –  US Open Cup game – Professional men’s soccer comes to Boston for one night only and it was great.

16 June – Father’s Day Outing to Wachusett Meadow – Two years in a row makes it a tradition, no?

28-30 June – Family Gathering in New Jersey – Susan’s family gathered in New Jersey to celebrate her Aunt Thelma and cousin Glen.  Peter enjoyed playing sports and video games with his many boy cousins.

14 July – Circle the City on the Avenue of the Arts – Huntington Avenue became a pedestrian haven for just one day.  I lead a walking tour.   Peter played lots of soccer.

12 August – Georges Island – Vintage Baseball – On a beautiful summer day, we sailed to the Harbor Islands and traveled back in time to the dead ball era.

20-25 August – Family Camp at Purity Springs – We spent a week at the Purity Springs Family Camp in New Hampshire with some of the friendliest people ever, our days packed with activities like lake swimming (and jumping), archery, paddle boarding, pooh sticks, canoeing, knee boarding, s’mores making, cookouts, and hiking.

2-8 September – New York City trip – Another great trip to the City with Peter and his Nana.

14 October – Tufts Health Plan 10K – Our friend Sharon coaxed Susan into participating in this run.  I enjoyed watching with the other spouses and children.  And Susan did great finishing all 10 of the Ks.  We are all so proud of her.

30 October – Red Sox Win the World Series – A great season, especially when viewed through the eyes of a five-year-old.

10 November – Claire & John’s wedding – Our dear friend Claire, godmother to our children, married a charming gent and we had a blast.  The kids played their part in the wedding ceremony and then at the reception we played, and hugged, and danced, and toasted the newlyweds.

“Cheers!”

25-31 December – Christmas Travel – We’ve just returned from our annual holiday swing through North Carolina and Virginia.  This year was extra special as the kids got to see all of their grandparents, all of their aunts and uncles, and most importantly, play with all of their cousins.

Goodbye 2013, you will be missed.  Hello 2014, can’t wait to see what you have to offer.

Previously:

2013 Year in review: WordPress Annual Report


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.