YiR 2019: More Art, More Mountains, More Delight

2019 was a good year for me, I took the internal work of 2018 to new and better levels, rekindled love and started writing publicly again.

Work Highlights

This year saw larger and more complicated website builds that led me deeper into the guts of WordPress. I’m better versed in hooks and filters now and am putting together my first e-commerce site.

Litwin Books website build

Launched Litwin Books early in 2019. I started this build while in Hungary in the fall of 2018 and finished it when I came back. It’s a site dedicated to publishing academic books in the library/media/communications sector. I built it with many different sort options and implemented CSS grid for the first time (so easy!).

Pivot Legal: Know Your Rights booklet design

I love Pivot Legal, and have supported them as a monthly donor for years. So when they approached me to design a Know Your Rights Toolkit, I was thrilled.

Drawing Change website rebuild

I built a website for my friend Sam about five years ago and his business has grown so much since then he needed a rebuild. Another complicated and fun WordPress build. He brought in Heather Stoutenburg as a content strategist and I loved working her. I hope to hire her for my site next year 🙂


screenshot of DrawingChange homepage, large image of Sam Bradd smiling with marker in hand at a wall full of graphic recording


Other work highlights

  • Officially setting up website maintenance packages and offering them in a more structured way. I’m now offering this service to sites beyond just the ones I’ve built, so if you need support, let me know.
  • Reusing custom themes to offer more affordable websites for artists and activists. Here’s an example of a site I made for a writer based on a theme I built for a podcast website.
  • Working with Backyard Creative as a web developer. It’s been my goal to work in more collaborative settings and Lisa from Backyard Creative got in touch after she branded Nestworks and I built their site. We’re working on a Shopify site for Happy Island Diapers together and we’re already talking about more collaborations in the new year.

Work goals for 2020

  • up my billable hours
  • thinking of either rebranding or working with a content strategist to better align my website with my offerings
  • get serious about my own art/writing and develop a practice

Life Highlights

In last year’s post I talked of ending a long-term relationship and the personal work I was doing afterwards. Well the personal work led to something surprising: getting back together. It was a slow and thoughtful rekindling and it was the best decision of the year.

Living Apart Together

I’ve been hearing about this as a thing lately. It’s long-term romantic partners who…live apart. This is my current situation and it’s really working for me. I have huge swaths of time to reflect and do whatever I please. This solo time is a great breeding ground for art and I’ve been using it fruitfully by reading and writing lots (when I haven’t fallen down an internet or netflix hole).

Annual Sointula Camping Trip / Sister Visits

My sister came to visit and she joined us on the annual Sointula camping trip. We didn’t see any whales rubbing, but friends did a week later and we’re all very jealous about it. It rained hard for 24 hours straight and sis slept in the car after the tent flooded.

Sister and I also did Vancouver in the summer things like braving the Sea-to-Sky gondola (a few days before it was sabotaged and fell to the ground), got invited on a boat for the afternoon, raced for ferries (and made them all), went ocean swimming, and ate a lot of sushi.

Three overnight hikes / letting go of imposter syndrome

Melissa and I overnight hiked in Mt Baker National Park. It was the lowest-barrier highest-reward hike I’ve ever done. Highly recommend, would do again.

Jesse and I had a mountain adventure in Kokanee Glacier Park in August and then hiked in Manning Park on equinox weekend in September.

Before this summer I had only ever done two overnight hikes and I had imposter syndrome. I didn’t grow up doing nature things, I went to the mall as a teenager. I’ve always been the slowest hiker of any group and in the overnight hikes with all the gear and planning and possible bear sightings I felt out of my element. I would look at the other hikers and think I look just like them, but they are real hikers and I am not. I’m just along for the ride. I know this is silly and I’m sure some of them felt the same way. In any case, something changed this summer and I now feel like a real hiker. Maybe it’s just experience. With five overnight hikes under my belt and no bear attacks or twisted ankles, I feel more confident in my abilities.

Worked with a coach

One of my goals for the year was to get back into writing. I have a story brewing in me that I want to tell but I never quite make the time to do it. It’s more complicated than that, as all aspiring writers who aren’t writing will tell you. I took steps to support growth in this area, the biggest was starting to work with a coach early in the year. We talked about the emotional stuff underneath the blocks and she gave me a couple of metaphors to work with to help me see my blocks and help me change my behaviour. It worked! As of this Dec we both agreed that I’ve changed my mindset and that I’m done with this round of coaching.

Goals for 2020:

  • establish a writing support group
  • finish mountain short story and submit it somewhere
  • work on family history project

Best of

Read 42 of my goal of 45 books this year. Faves include:

  • The Idiot by Elif Batuman
  • Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
  • Hot Milk by Deborah Levy (read 4 books by her this year)
  • Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
  • Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarozuk

(I read male authors too, I swear…)

2019 Goals Reviewed

  • Put together an emergency kit: Done. I’ve got a go bag and a larger store of water, and pantry food/camping gear. I also have an emergency plan and meeting spot.
  • Get a will. Not done, but working on it.
  • Writing: check.
  • Go on dates every month: check, though not as initially planned
  • Keep on keeping on: zumba, salsafit, yoga. Yes. Love it. And now adding Monday night meditation to the mix.
  • Budgeting again. Erm, no. But I did do a shopping ban from Aug-Nov. And I solved a living solo situation by getting a part-time roommate starting Jan.