Friday, December 28, 2012

Year in Review: 2012

Last year, I wrote a year in review post, in which I recapped two or three posts from every month, chosen for whatever reasons struck me as right. I enjoyed writing that post so much that I decided to make it a tradition. So... here is the 2012 year in review post.

January started off a little rough, with a scary incident involving some unleashed dogs at our local park. Pumpkin is still dog-shy, but she's gotten a lot better over the year. I remain more cautious, though. I wrote a post I really liked about the importance of comparing things in my life to realistic alternatives and not fantasies. And the month ended with a look at LEGO Friends.

In February, we figured out a plan for how to handle the choices around where Pumpkin would go to Kindergarten. As regular readers know, she ended up getting into the Spanish immersion program in our neighborhood, and we've been really happy with it. I wrote a post about "big careers" and work-life balance that resonated with some and annoyed others, and I wrote the first in what has become a series of posts about toys that build skills, even for princess-obsessed little girls.

March found me taking advantage of a toddler sick day to slow myself down.  I also pondered the role of non-academic pursuits for kids with perfectionist streaks and thought about how the limits of our imagination can hamper our communication with other people, and feed our pointless "mommy wars."

In April, I recognized some emotional effects of having weaned Petunia, Pumpkin turned 5 (!!!), and I wrote a post about men, women, and chores that got more comments than any other post I've written.

In May, we went on a vacation in Texas, and I took a reader's advice and did some reading about scanners and renaissance souls,which has helped me understand myself a little better. I also wrote a popular post about how work-life balance is both easier and harder to achieve than a lot of people think.

June was a very work-oriented month here. I wrote a post with my project manager's view of long hours that has proven to be very popular, and I also posted my reaction to the (in)famous Atlantic article from Anne-Marie Slaughter about how women still can't "have it all." I also wrote some basic advice for people making the transition from academia to industry.

July was my most prolific month, with 21 posts, so I'm going to pick four for this review. I reacted to some negative news about the scientific job market, with a bit of navel-gazing about my own career path and how something that is probably at least my third career plan since I decided to major in science has turned out to be a great career. But clearly, my great career isn't perfect (are any of them?) because I also posted about wanting to feel closer to free. I also annoyed some people by defending Marissa Mayer. I ended the month with a look at my uniform- a post I really liked, for some reason, probably because it reminds me of what I love about blogging, namely that I get a chance to ruminate on whatever is on my mind, even if it is fairly trivial.

In August, I posted a review of Soundings, a book I really liked.  I also landed myself in urgent care with an asthma attack for the first time ever, and I wrote the first of several posts inspired by reading Sarah Blaffer Hrdy's Mother Nature, this one about how the existence of differing mothering strategies within a group might be a good thing overall. I still have more thoughts about Mother Nature that I have not explored, so you might see more posts inspired by that book in 2013.

Pumpkin started Kindergarten in September, and I wrote a post about how I was trying to enjoy parenting more, inspired in part by the fun Pumpkin and I had on her last "ditch day" before the arrival of the scheduling rigors of school and in part by reading Gretchen Rubin's Happier at Home. I wish I could say I'd really learned this lesson and was now enjoying the "long days" more... but I still need to work on this. Maybe I'll do better in 2013! I also wrote about how sexism in my life is like those stupid ankle weights people wore in the 80s. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to get better in 2013.  I was apparently feeling very navel-gazey, because I also wrote about building a meaningful and happy life, and how I am still working to figure out how best to do that.

Petunia turned 3 in October, which I didn't really write about except in passing as part of the work-life storm that hit in early October. (She had a great party at a pumpkin patch with her friends, by the way.) I read Cal Newport's So Good They Can't Ignore You and wrote a post about the book and my reaction to the career advice it gives. I also wrote another Mother Nature inspired post, this one with thoughts about how our society could be reconfigured to truly support mothers.

In November, I continued to think about Cal Newport's book and wrote about rebuilding my career capital. I had a happy election night, but still wished for a better opposition. Despite the happy election news, the troubles of the world weighed heavily on me, and I eventually decided I needed to pick one thing and make it better. My Amazon earnings were a little light recently, but I still think I'll be donating my first box of diapers soon.

December started out with me thinking about careers, and I wrote a post with some advice for college students that was largely overlooked- probably because I posted it smack in the middle of finals. Oops. If you missed it and are interested in my thoughts on careers and college majors, by all means go back and take a look. I also posted some more toy guides, including one in which I tried to think about toys that would stretch skills that get overlooked in typical toys for boys. The tragic events in Newtown really shook me, but I tried to get my anger and sadness out and move on so that I could give my kids the happy holiday season they deserve. I have mostly succeeded, but I remain convinced that we Americans need to find a way to address our gun problem. I hope we will take steps towards that in 2013.

But for now, I hope everyone is having a good holiday season, and that I'll see you here (or maybe even in real life!) in 2013. Thanks for reading!


  1. Thanks for this posts, as a relatively new reading I've had fun reading some of your older stuff!

  2. Happy 2013 Cloud?

    1. Sorry, didn't mean it to be a question!!

  3. Anonymous8:36 AM

    Still hammering out the conference schedule...

  4. Whoa, time warp. I thought some of those posts were more recent than last winter/spring!


Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.