2018 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 23rd annual list.

  1. December 30 2017 – January 1, 2018 – New Year in Vermont

Technically, this partially occurred last year, but since I wrote last year’s list before it happened it didn’t make that list.  Anyhow, we finished out 2017/began 2018 with family and friends in Vermont which involved snow tubing, Anomia, Cataan, and a lot of Kathleens.

2. March 1 – New couch

We got a new couch.  It folds out into a bed.  It’s really fancy. We’re not used to fancy furniture.

3. March-September – Fantasy baseball

My son really wanted to play fantasy baseball so we put together a laid-back league of adults and children and had fun playing all season.  (my team finished third).

4. March 23 – NYBG Orchid Show

Flowers, flowers everywhere, even if it’s chilly outside.

5. March 23 – “Weird Al” concert

I saw “Weird Al” Yankovic in concert for the first time at the Apollo Theatre, of all places.  Also dined with good friends at Sylvia’s Restaurant.

6. Apri1 1-30 – I watched a ton of documentary films for the Blogging A-to-Z Challenge

7. April 15-20 – Great Wolf Lodge and North Carolina

We had a lovely spring break at the Williamsburg water park and then visiting family in North Carolina.

8. April-July – Youth Baseball

Once again my children had an exciting baseball season, my daughter in teeball, and my son at kid-pitch Junior level.  He even participated in the Mayor’s Cup Tournament!

9. June 10 – Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon

This fundraising ride is always a highlight.

10. June 17 – Father’s Day

As a whale of a dad, we celebrated the special day on the Stellwagen Bank on a whale watching journey.  We even saw a baby whale, bro!

11. June 28 – July 1 – Wolfe’s Neck Campground

A lovely weekend camping on the Maine coast with the added bonus of a goat hike!

12. July 21 – Janelle Monáe

We saw 2018’s top artist perform live and it was amazing.

13. August 14-18 – SAA Annual Meeting

I attended the Society of American Archivists annual meeting and even presented at the Archive-It Partner Meeting. When not learning about Archives, I got to enjoy some time in Washington, DC, and in the evenings I went to a DC United game and a Nationals game.

14. August 28 – September 1 – Chicago

Our summer vacation to Chicago included museums, parks, art, architecture, a Cubs game, a White Sox game and time spent with some fun cousins.

15. September 4 & November 6 – Primary Election and General Election

This was an important election year and I was pleased that Massachusetts candidates Ayanna Pressley, Rachael Rollins, Nika Elugardo, and Jon Santiago all won challenging primaries and eventually the general elections as well as the passage of Yes on 3 to protect equality for transgender people.  Not every election went as I liked, but significant steps forwards were made.

16. October  – The Red Sox win the World Series

It was another exciting Red Sox season, and we attended several Red Sox games.  Oddly, they lost a number of them including an 8-0 loss to the Mets in September (who I secretly cheered for while my children elbowed). But the Red Sox won when it counted, including the ALCS Game on October 14 that I attended with my son, and eventually the World Series.  We celebrated at the Red Sox Victory Parade on Halloween

17. October 31 – Halloween Trick or Treat

Recently on Halloween, I’ve stayed home to hand out candy, so I had the delight of joining my children – or should I say Bigfoot and a Ghost Chicken – as they collected loot in our neighborhood.

18. November 24 – Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

I took my family on their first visit to these national monuments which included visiting Lady Liberty’s crown and finding the name of my great-grandmother on the Wall of Honor.

19. November 30 – December 2 – Birthday Celebration in New Hampshire

I turned 45 this year, but my kids – also November babies – had bigger parties.  So we celebrated late by staying in a cabin in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.  We enjoyed snow-shoeing and riding the Santaland Express.

20. Following up on last year, I had an ongoing activity that I can’t speak of online, but came to a joyous resolution this year.

Previously:

2018 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 and not necessarily books published in 2018  For previous years see 20172016201520142013201220112010200920082007 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 alphabetical order:

Books Read in 2018

The books are rated on a scale from 1 to 5 stars with links to summary reviews. (A) is for audiobook.

Here’s a thumbnail of what the ratings mean:

  • 5 stars – all-time classic (I’m very stingy with these)
  • 4 stars – a particularly interesting, well-written, or important book
  • 3 stars – a good book from start to finish
  • 2 stars – not a good book on the whole but has some good parts
  • 1 star or less – basically a bad book with no redeeming values

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October 1918

November

December

2017 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 22nd annual list.

January to March – Photography Course: I began to learn how to put my DSLR camera to use.

January 21st – Boston Women’s March: We live in frightening times, but it was inspiring to join 125,000 other people on the Boston Common who believe in making our country a better place.

February 20-25 – Florida: Vacationed in the Sunshine State with stops at Walt Disney World, spring training, the beach, and the Everglades

March 24-25 – New England Archivists Spring Meeting: I presented at a conference for the first time.  It was also memorable because I was horribly sick that weekend too.

April 14-16 – Easter in New York: Took the kids to visit their Nana in the City, featuring stops at a chocolate museum, Coney Island, Pelham Bay Park, and the Bronx Zoo.

April – September 24 – Youth Baseball:  My daughter played he first year in teeball and my son’s team had a thrilling season winning their division championship.  Then he played in the Mayor’s Cup. And his team even appeared on NESN Clubhouse.

May 2 – November 7 – Tito Jackson for Mayor: My first time actively participating in a political campaign.  I gathered signatures, stood out with placards, and marched in the Wake Up and the Earth and Pride Parades.  I wish I could’ve done more, but mostly I wish Tito won the election. Still, got to meet an inspiring group of people with a positive vision for Boston’s future.

May 27-29 – Memorial Day in New York: Visited with my mother in New York sans children and we explored the Chihuly exhibits at the New York Botanical Garden, visited Lower Manhattan, and took in the art at the Metropolitan Museum.

June 4 – Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon: Riding with my kids in this annual event is always memorable.

June 18 – Father’s Day at Canobie Lake: I was feted with roller coasters and log flume rides.

June 26 – 3rd Grade Freedom Trail Trip: Chaperoned my son’s class tour of the Freedom Trail where the kids themselves presented on each of the sites.

July 15 – Castle Island: A beautiful summer day with friends and breezes off the Boston Harbor.

July 18 – City Splash: I swam in the Charles River and loved it.

July 28-30 – Tully Lake Campground: camping in Massachusetts, featuring a bird watching walk and disc golf.

August 13-19 – Wildwood Camp: My son went away to sleepaway camp for the first time!

August 21 – Solar Eclipse: Joined a crowd in Arnold Arboretum to watch the sun (mostly) disappear.

August 27 – SoWa Tour BBF Guide of the Month: Researched, wrote, and lead a tour of this evolving South End neighborhood.

September 1-5 – Mount Desert Island: A magical weekend at Acadia National Park and environs.

November 22-26 – Thanksgiving: Another weekend in New York, featuring the Thanksgiving Day Parade a visit to Wave Hill, and a concert by the New York Philharmonic.

Five Questions with Besty Rosenblatt Rosso:  Did you know that I appeared on a podcast.

Just a note here to remind myself of a 20th and final memorable event that wouldn’t be prudent to publish publicly.

Previously:

2017 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 and not necessarily books published in 2016.  For previous years see 2016201520142013201220112010200920082007 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 alphabetical order:

And, here is every book I read this year with rankings.  (A) is for audiobook.

The books are rated on a scale from 1 to 5 stars with links to summary reviews.

Here’s a thumbnail of what the ratings mean:

  • 5 stars – all-time classic (I’m very stingy with these)
  • 4 stars – a particularly interesting, well-written, or important book
  • 3 stars – a good book from start to finish
  • 2 stars – not a good book on the whole but has some good parts
  • 1 star or less – basically a bad book with no redeeming values

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

2017 Year in Review: Favorite Songs


Here are 20 of my favorite songs of 2017. For previous year-end lists of previous years check out my lists for 20162015,  201420132012,  2011,  2010  and  2009.

In no particular order

“Blue Mountain Road” by Florist

“Memories are Now” by Jesca Hoop

“You Would Have to Lose Your Mind” by Barr Brothers

“Cherry Blossom: by ALA.NI 

“Drinkee” by Sofi Tukker

“Every Day’s the Weekend” by Alex Lahey

“Witness” by  Benjamin Booker (feat. Mavis Staples)

“I Give You Power” by Arcade Fire (feat. Mavis Staples)

“Quiet” by Milck 

“Work” by  Charlotte Day Wilson

“Familiar” by Agnes Obel

“Cryin’ in the Streets” by Zeshan B

“Venus Fly” by Grimes (feat. Janelle Monae) – technically this song is from 2015, but the video of this most important collaboration came out this year bringing due attention to the song.

“Hot to Trot” by  Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas

“Modafinil Blues” by Matthew Dear

“The Underside of Power” by Algiers 

“A Wall” by Downtown Boys

“Future Politics” by Austra

“Learning to Lose” by Margo Price (feat. Willie Nelson)

“Straight Boy” by Shamir

 

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:

2016 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 and not necessarily books published in 2016.  For previous years see 201520142013201220112010200920082007 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 alphabetical order:

 

And, here is every book I read this year with rankings.  (A) is for audiobook.

The books are rated on a scale from 1 to 5 stars with links to summary reviews.

Here’s a thumbnail of what the ratings mean:

  • 5 stars – all-time classic (I’m very stingy with these)
  • 4 stars – a particularly interesting, well-written, or important book
  • 3 stars – a good book from start to finish
  • 2 stars – not a good book on the whole but has some good parts
  • 1 star or less – basically a bad book with no redeeming values

 

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

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:

2015 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 2015.  For previous years see 20142013201220112010200920082007 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 alphabetical order (although the first book listed is also the very best book I read all year and the one I think everyone should read):

And the complete list of books read in 2015 (books published in 2015 are in bold).

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December