Monday, December 30, 2013

Year in Review: 2013

It is time for my annual year in review post. If you're new here, or just don't have the minutiae of my blog committed to memory, this is where I pick a few posts from each month to recap. I pick based on fluid and inconsistent criteria. That's just how I roll.

If you want to know more than that, you can check the 2011 and 2012 versions.

Now, to the posts:

At the start of January, I was still struggling to get over my sadness and anger at what happened in Newtown, and tried to explain my thoughts on guns. The other site and Twitter feed I introduced were active for about 6 months, at which point the venom and nastiness of a subset of gun fans drove me away. I remain committed to the issue, though, and am trying to find other ways to work towards change. In much less traumatic news, my company announced a move to a less convenient area of San Diego, and I thought about what that meant for my career plans. The move has happened, the commute is almost exactly as I expected, and I still don't know what I'm going to do about it.
I whined about management, and am still amused by the idea of having people who insist on propagating a neverending and rather pointless technical argument settle it with a dance off.

In February, I started using the Amazon Associates earnings from this blog to send diapers to a local charity. I've sent roughly one box per month every month, except for one month around the time my books came out, when I had enough earnings to send several boxes. This makes me happy. Thank you all for buying things via my affiliate links and making it possible. It makes me less happy that I stumbled off the thin line of appropriate female behavior at work, and felt lost in the labyrinth. That has worked itself out OK in the short term, but I think there has been some long term damage to my prospects at this particular company. Time will tell if that is true, and also if I find that I care. I also wrote about why I don't like snark, which seems almost prescient given the given the current back and forth on snark vs. smarm. (For the record, I do not agree that the opposite of snark is smarm. And I think there is also the option to just be polite and straightforward in stating our opinions, even negative ones.)

March was smack in the middle of the hubbub surrounding Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" and Marissa Mayer's every decision as the newish CEO of Yahoo. I joined in and ranted about the discussions of Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer that were driving me a bit crazy. My children's book The Zebra Said Shhh was published. I have been delighted with how well it has sold. It will not, however, be funding an early retirement for me. I also expanded on my argument that weeding is an excellent metaphor for life, which remains one of my favorite posts of the year.

In April, we took the kids on their first ever trip to Disneyland. Petunia got sick, and that prompted me to realize that  I am my children's refuge. I was (and still am!) of two minds about how to best steer my life, and I mused about what equal opportunity should really mean, and how I think we're falling far short of that goal.

May saw me start my Ask Cloud series with a question about handling an annoying co-worker.I tried out kanban methods at work and at home, and that was a successful experiment. I continue to use kanban in both places. Taming the Work Weekmy short ebook about productivity, was released. It has also done fairly well. It is gratifying to read the notes from people who have liked it and found it helpful.

In June, I wrote about the joy of problem-solving, and the importance of looking away from hard problems even as you try to solve them. I also explored how I made some important decisions in my life and wrote about how much I love my Chacos.

We went to New Zealand at the end of June, and stayed through the first week of July. Not long after we got back, the verdict in George Zimmerman's trial was announced, leading me to write about how we white people need to figure out how to fix racism. Based on how the rest of the year went, I'd say we aren't making much progress on that.

August was a month for navel-gazing, in which I talked about why it is important to me to have a side project going at most times and why true leisure is also important. It wasn't all deep contemplation, though: I also wrote about the method I use to make meal planning relatively easy.

In September, Pax Dickinson said some remarkably stupid and offensive things, and I got some important things wrong in how I reacted to that. I dealt with a work dilemma (but didn't tell you the details) and named my pet peeve Pete. That work dilemma worked itself out quite nicely, and I am glad I took the time to really think (and seek out advice) before acting. The best part of the month, though, was that Tungsten Hippo went live. I'm still having fun with this project, but wish I could make more time for the next steps, both technical and content-related.

My posts in October were all over the place. I wrote about my difficult postpartum and weaning experiences. That post was hard to write, but I am really glad I finally wrote it. I also wrote one of my rare political posts, in which the madness in Washington DC called to mind the back stories of post-apocalyptic fiction. I am glad we stepped away from the brink, but can't shake the feeling that one of these times, we won't. In a much lighter vein, I wrote about how Auckland feels like a second home.

November found me musing about having multiple online identities, and why I always use a pseudonym. Early in the month, Petunia broke her arm. It was not nearly as much trouble as I thought it would be when I wrote that post. She only had to wear the cast for about 3 weeks. On the plus side of that experience, I was able to post a picture of Petunia's nails, done up by a day care teacher to match her cast, in the Manicure Monday madness that swept the corner of Twitter that I frequent. Hope Jahren got a bunch of scientists (including me!) to participate in the Manicure Monday hastag started by Seventeen Magazine. That was fun, and also prompted some more serious thoughts. People are still tweeting out Manicure Monday pictures, and I may occasionally join in, particularly if I happen to have painted nails or something more interesting than typing on my computer for my hands to do on a Monday.

In December, I discussed how I need to work on giving myself permission to fail (another post prompted by Hope Jahren! Will this be an emerging theme? Perhaps I should start a new tag in my blog....) I also found myself writing about the 23andMe mess, which truly surprised me, but ended up leading me to some interesting things to read.

I intend to keep writing in 2014, so I hope you'll keep reading. See you next year!


  1. Happy New Year!

    I'm greatly looking forward to 2014. I know it's arbitrary to blame the year, but my loved ones (and myself) saw a lot of heartache in 2013, and I won't be sorry to see it go. I'm hoping for a renewing and healthy 2014.

    1. I hope you have a great 2014!

  2. Happy 2014, Cloud! Looking forward to your posts in this new year. And from this round-up, it seems 2013 was extraordinarily productive for you--Tungsten Hippo, two books published, and I'm sure many things you haven't mentioned. I'm sorry that your day job hasn't been a happy place of late, but it seems that you've had many good things outside of that this year.

    Hopefully 2014 will be good for all of us!


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