Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 in review

I am not sad to say goodbye to 2018.  There have been many good things about this year, and mainly difficult because I have struggled with depression and feeling overwhelmed.  I have struggled with some of my core religious beliefs and work has been overwhelming and not as much fun as it used to be.

At one of my project reviews, my boss's boss's boss told me that he thought I would come to work for free, since I was having way too much fun. Science may be boring at times, but it makes me happy when I have had my whole heart in it. This year has been a lot more of the management of science and less of the excitement of discovery.  Even though the team has done a ton of great things that unfortunately I can't talk about here. I am working hard to make changes that will bring back the things I have loved about being a scientist.  I have explored this year a bunch of different options from changing how I do my current job to changing jobs.  I don't have anything I can really announce here, but if you call me I can tell you about the options that we turned down and what could be in the future. You can follow me on twitter if you want to see what science I think is interesting: 

The news of the year has been not so great.  Too much Trump and pretty petty political drama.  I will leave Dave Barry to summarize the year.

The last two years I have interviewed the members of my family to see what were their favorite memories of the year.

Here are the highlights. 

  1. Becca - 6. Loved eating donuts after swim team where she swam the 25 yd freestyle without a kickboard! She loves kindergarten with Ms. Lewis, her new friends, and celebrating all of the holidays.  Recommended TV show: Sophia the First. Food: Tamales, hot cocoa, Dad making dinner.
  2. Kate -  9. Rocked the backstroke and freestyle in swim races.  If you remember last year Kate almost didn't get baptized because she was too afraid to put her face in this is a miracle that keeps getting better every year. She started playing the violin and last year did daily announcements for her job.  Recommended TV: Crash Course mythology and Phineas and Ferb - Which she is still angry is not on Netflix any more. Books: Wings of Fire, Amulet, and Fairy Tale Reform School. Food: Rolls, tamales, Orange Bread, Bagels, Donuts
  3. Colleen - 11. Loved swim team this year and endured water polo.  She almost beat Natalie and swims all of the events and getting so fast.  She can beat her Dad at backstroke and butterfly.  She loves her friends Natalie, Liam and Drew.  She quit the viola, but has joined honors choir at school.  Recommended Books: Goose Girl, Dragon Slippers, and Forest Born. Recommended movie: Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse. 
  4. Aleah - 14. Unlike her sisters, her favorite memory of swim team was when she was able to skip swim meets.  She hates the last week of middle school because everything has to be done at once.  Her favorite moment in school was when the band tried to have a democracy. In short, it didn't work very well.  She loves her art class.  Recommended media: Wreck-it Ralph 2, My Hero Academia, Short films on youtube. Books: Ghost, Skin full of Shadows, Nimona, Fan fiction - Yesterday upon the stair. Food: Giant sandwich from El Toluco, Chinese takeout, and pies. 
  5.  Emily - 18.  Freshman at Truman State majoring in Art.  Graduated high school in June.  Her favorite class was Ap Studio Art last year.  She worked at Crazy Bowls and Wraps and liked everything at Girl's campe in spite of all of the ticks. We traveled together to Mexico City and spent four days walking through all of the markets and eating great food: nopales and blue corn huaraches, fried tamales, ceviche, refrescos in the morning, churros, all the fruit, and tacos made from all the parts of the pig's head. Recommended media: The Expanse, Drag Race, Chris Fleming on youtube, Star Wars Movie - you had to be there.  Podcasts: Reply All.  
  6. Leila - Becca started school this year and Emily went to college.  That means no more late nights helping Emily with homework and time to focus on improving quilting business - design, website, teaching, writing, email lists, and patterns. Travel - France - especially Versailles, the Emerald Coast, and quiches in the morning. Iowa State Fair with the kids and to take photos for book/website.  San Diego - while Brian was at a conference - especially the San Diego Zoo. Mexico - the unvacation, work trip.  Quilting retreat in Hamilton. Find Leila's old blog here and keep an eye open for her new one. It is pretty great . . She also has an etsy shop with great patterns. Or find her on Instagram, Pinterest. Favorite food memories: Graduation party food, orange clove pull apart bread, eclairs, all the food in France.  Recommended books: Martin Luther biography, so many audio books.  Podcasts: Jenna Kucher - Gold Digger. Media: Great British Bake-off even with the new hosts. 
  7. Brian - Bayer finally finished buying Monsanto and we added some great new people to my team.  For work I travelled to Winnepeg and Guelph in Manitoba, Canada, Louisville, KY, Huxley, IA, San Diego for PAG meetings and presented at a Gates Foundation meeting.  Leila and I travelled without kids!! to France to celebrate our 19th anniversary.  I had come to France once before for work, but that trip was mostly corn fields and a conference in Claremont Ferrand and not a lot of touristing. This trip we hit all of the best tourist spots - the Eiffel tower, museums in Paris, Versailles, Chartres Cathedral, Dinan, the Emerald Coast, Honfleur, Mont. St. Michel, and so many more places.  France was so good.  I also went with Emily to Mexico City and hit all my favorite food places.  Recommended Books: Murderbot series by Martha Wells, Educated by Tara Westover, The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette, The Chosen - Chaim Potok, The Best Science Fiction of the Year edited by Neil Clarke. Media: The Expanse, Crash Course - Theater and Philosophy, Vlogbrothers, Bon Appetit Youtube videos. Food memories: homemade bagels, Pizza cooked on charcoal barbecue, poached eggs on salad, Rye bread, tacos in Mexico, bread in France, chocolate from Honfleur, Indian food on a date with Leila, Dinner at PAG with the Gates Foundation, bibimbap with friends from work,and  steamed puddings.