2018 in Review

This will be my fourth year in a row doing these, so you can also read about 20152016, or 2017 if so desired. They are inspired by Tilde, who has taught me that it can be a Good Thing to remember what the last year has been like. Many of the headers in this post are based on my 2018 goals.

Oh dear 2018. This about sums up how I’ve been thinking about this report, and the past year:

Which also reminds me of this excellent piece.

Stated Goals

I set out in 2018 with the phrase Space for Foundations. I do think I’ve done that, despite the above.

Do solidly (excel, even!) at my job

This was rough but also successful. The project I manage at Truss grew from 12.5 people (9 engineers, 1 person on infrastructure, 2.5 designers) to 29 people (19 engineers, 2 on infra, 4 designers, 1 product manager, 2 product owners, and a content strategist). We delivered to our client’s satisfaction and extended our contract. We’ve moved a couple dozen service members. I love my team and I love my work. Being on a team that grew so much, and at an organization that tripled in size was stressful, tho.

Role definition and clarity has been a vital step. Since I’ve been solidly performing my core responsibilities, I’m now learning product management skills and facilitating organizational improvements. It’s been intense and we’ve all been rooting for each other the whole time. I continue to be impressed by the emotional intelligence and commitment at Truss.

Also, I maybe tried (and almost succeeded) in getting cupcakes delivered synchronously across 3 timezones.

Meet one of my four savings-related goals

I have saved enough money to get my eyes lasered in the new year and met my retirement savings goal. Two other savings goals weren’t quite met, in part due to reconfiguring expectations of future life. I also increased my community investment thru Patreon, Four Elements fundraisers, and other causes I care about. I’m also feeling less awkward about money since attending an excellent workshop on money for anti-capitalists by Ride Free Fearless Money.

Go bicycle camping

Went bike camping three times! Once with an REI campout (it was weird glamping), once with a bicycle crew, and once with a group of friends to Angel Island.


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It was a good weekend.

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Responsibly wrap up some of my projects

Wrapping things up responsibly takes so much time! The ICT for Journalists whitepaper and Vulpine Blue consultancy wrapped up smoothly. Do No Digital Harm was messier and more heart-wrenching. The card game about formal and informal disaster response (ENCAPE) ended up as a talk at Frontiers of Engineering and in the National Academy of Engineering publication. I somehow managed to only pick up one new thing, which I was also able to finish on a good timeline: being on the selection committee of the Humanitarian Grand Challenge. It was super fun and fascinating. I hope to do similar things more in the future.

Keep on top of my responsibilities during Priceless and other high-tumult times

Priceless burned me out harder this year than I have ever been burned out, and that is saying something. But! I also held the line around how much time I was willing to spend on it, to the benefit of my relationships and other responsibilities.

Feel like I’m speaking 1/Nth of the time

I’m now even more comfortable taking up space than I was by the time I left Aspiration, while remaining aware and supportive of other folk in a space.

Unmet stated goals

  • Get certified for lead climbing: This is still something I’m quite interested in, but it didn’t happen this year. Oh well.
  • Continue reducing my intoxicant consumption: Actually ended up in about the same place as the year before.

  • Bicycle further than I walk (without any drastic reduction in walking): Super didn’t happen. I bicycled less than I did last year. I also was about two-thirds as physically active as I was in 2017. But I also wasn’t coping with the personal life collapse I was at the end of 2016.
  • Get the book proposal in front of 4 publishers: Tried to take on a fantastic co-author, and the scheduling complications between the two of us made this downright impossible. Need to either go solo on it or admit it’s not going to happen. I’m more and more impressed with any completed book I see on the market.
  • Complete the coding project with Tilde for the year-end report next year: Coding continues to be a thing that fascinates me, and also that I keep not making time for. I think I just need to own up to it being a thing I’m unlikely to do. And that’s ok. Not everyone needs to be able to code, basic literacy is good enough.

I was pretty upset with myself on the the first three, as they are parts of being a healthier me. But also, I survived the year, and maybe it’s ok that I didn’t manage to do these at the same time.

Other big things

Deepened my Relationship with Reed

Maybe y’all remember this guy from my post last year. I love him something fierce. Most of the things in this post were done with him, those that weren’t still had his support. I count myself as lucky, and continue to actively enjoy his company, brains, and affection. Also, tandem bike!


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Changed my pronoun

For a long time, femme pronouns that most folk used for me left with with a feeling of “well, not quite, but close enough.” In the past year “she/her” started to feel actively wrong. After running a small experiment with close friends, I feel comfortable in the larger world now going by they/them pronouns. Taking up the space to assert this is difficult, but I’m becoming more comfortable with asking for and correcting folk as needed.

Got back into therapy

Therapy is great, I think it should be available to anyone. Also, shopping around for the right fit continues to be important.

Cultural Experiences

I know this might seem silly, but I missed out on so much of Disney growing up that going to Disney Land in January felt like a cultural right of passage. Also, it was in the off season and it rained, and so there were very few people there and I am convinced everyone gets to effortlessly ride all the rides at Disney anytime they go.

Made it to Mass MoMA (my favorite museum so far!) TWICE! Once to see Godspeed You! Black Emperor perform, and a second time to do on a date while “in the neighborhood.” Turrell pieces! The lure of the dark! That one LeWitt that fucks me up every time!

Also surprised my brother, his wife, and Reed with Kid Koala tickets. Saw Dear Evan Hanson and The Jungle (both powerful and dark in unique ways). Spoke at Odd Salon about Insurance and facilitated a vizthink workshop at Write Speak Code SF. Got to experience Sound Box. Also went to a Monster Truck Jam. That’s definitely a cultural experience.

Facilitated some Kick-Ass Events

I had a hand in facilitating three events I’m particularly impressed with in 2018.

  • CivilServant.io is a citizen science group around the behavioral science of online interaction. I helped various leaders in online communities work together to describe their ecosystems, define metrics of change, and design experiments to try to create such change.
  • Make the Breastpump Not Suck hackathon judging facilitation. How can an event about equity, justice, inclusion also be a hackathon? Well, if the judging process is about collective success rather than individualism for one. Here’s how I approached the judging process which a fantastic team of judges and event organizers.
  • Crisis Convening co-organizer. Got to work with some amazing folk (Liz, Tammy, Greg, and Devin) to convene people who end up coordinating networks in times of crisis. This is an event I’ve wanted to have for a long time, but didn’t quite know how to say. Public Labs is continuing to carry this work forward and I couldn’t be happier.

More tattoo! including traveling with Tilde

Tilde and I went to England (and then to Scotland) to get tattoos from Santa Perpetua! This is my third piece of work from her, took two back-to-back days, and is the first of hers on me I can easily see. I am in love with it. It’s also my first last tattoo (the first one I can imagine I might not get any more tattoos after).


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Do you want ants? Because this is how you get ants. #tattoodetail #tattoo @santa_perpetua

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Stopped biting my nails

This may have even been last year, but this year for sure. This is such a weird and huge thing for me. I’ve been a life-long nail biter, to the chagrin of my parents, myself, and the disgust of everyone. I’ve tried carrying clippers with me, painting my nails with polish and with bad-taste-stuff. I’ve gotten manicures. I just powered thru everything to still bite them. The thing that finally did it for me has been climbing. I climb so often that my nails stay short, and there’s chalk and other people’s germs under my nails at the point when I’d usually be chewing on them, so I don’t. On the rare occasion when I haven’t been climbing in more than a week, I still haven’t chewed on them, and end up clipping them so I can get on a wall again. Fucking amazing.

Took up cross stitching

I’m bad at being bored. I have self-destructive habits around it. Being unstructured is anxiety-inducing. But the last few times I’ve picked up hobbies, they’ve turned into Things. Jigsaw ended up as a part of a national network of hacker and maker spaces I helped organize. Drawing ended up being a gig I was paid for at conferences. But having a creative hobby is awesome, and so I’ve started slowly making my way across some fabric in math-based ways.


So we’re on the cusp of 2019.

I’m going into this new year with the intention of building the foundations I’ve just put so much effort into making space for. My goals are:

  • Maintain a healthy routine for myself.
  • Figure out more future things with Reed.
  • Set a metric and improve that metric at work.
  • Try out sparring.
  • Continue to meet my savings goals and investing in my communities.
  • Complete 4 cross-stitch projects.
  • Contribute to events as support, not as main organizer.

I also want to do

  • Something that brings hope.
  • Something that brings joy.
  • Something that feels selfish.


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Coming at 2019 like

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Happy 2019, everyone. Good work on surviving.

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