Today is the last day of 2019—and of the decade! I guess that means it’s time for my annual year-in-review post. In some ways, this year has been similar to the one before (still a freelancer, living in the same house, with the same husband and dog), but in other ways, it’s been quite significant (becoming an aunt, and making major headway on my graphic novel). Without further ado, let’s go to the highlights reel: my favorite things I did in 2019:
1. Designed Some Really Cool Books
This was my second full year as a freelancer, and it was a great one. I worked with some incredible authors and editors, and had the opportunity to create many covers I loved, including a few illustrated ones. I stressed less about dry spells (using that time to dive into personal projects), and kept myself grounded during busy periods. I got better at saying “no” to projects with big red warning signs, and advocated for myself when needed. I love being a freelancer; I’m grateful to the many talented, dedicated people I work with who make this job such a cool one.
2. Got Even More Excited About Plants
I used to think I was “bad at plants.” But when we bought our house in 2017, and I started working from home, it made sense for me to take charge of our few houseplants. I set a watering schedule, checked for dry soil, and as it turned out, didn’t kill them. In 2018, with help from my mom, sister, and aunt, I planted a bunch of stuff in the yard. In 2019, the plant enthusiasm has continued. I’ve acquired quite a few new houseplants. I saved some gorgeous echeveria from the trash after a wedding. I repotted lots of stuff. I tackled some pests. I cross-pollinated schlumbergera. I read The Orchid Thief (twice, in one year) and visited Orchids Limited. I saw a corpse flower in bloom at the CBS Conservatory. In September, I attended a meet-up for cactus and succulent fans. It turns out, I really like plants!
3. Traveled Exciting Places
Jason and I took several great trips in 2019. In May, we went to Cape Cod and Providence for my friend Kate’s wedding. In June, we went to Milwaukee to visit Jason’s college friends. In July, we went to Duluth with my family. And in November, we went to Los Angeles just for the hell of it. I loved all of these trips!
4. Hosted Stuff
Traveling’s great, but I also had fun staying home this year. Jason and I hosted a big Halloween party, and (tonight!) are having a small New Year’s Party. We also had several low-key backyard parties and porch parties throughout the summer. We hosted my friend Lizz and her husband when they visited Minnesota in May. I hosted a vegan brunch for some family members in August. And (kind of related), we dog-sat two wonderful dogs this fall: first Beans, then Maggie.
5. Went to Fun Events
I did a lot of fun stuff in and around the Twin Cities this year. Some standouts: Tuesday trivia nights, brewery bike rides, Robyn at the Palace, Angel Olsen at First Ave, Who? Weekly at the Cedar, The Remembers at Moon Palace, Crazy Daze, Saint Olaf Christmas Fest (my first time), and Kinda Kinky Christmas (third year in a row!). Jason and I also celebrated our ninth year as a couple (aka Trashiversary) and our fourth wedding anniversary.
6. Saw More Movies
I saw so many good movies this year! In theaters, I saw Us, Midsommar, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Late Night, Ready or Not, Hustlers, Parasite, and Knives Out. 2019 movies I saw at home included The Irishman, High Life, Her Smell, Climax, and Booksmart. I also checked out tons of movies from the library, old and new.
7. Read Some Good Books
I read fifty-three books this year, 90% of them written by women. My favorites were The Orchid Thief, Happy All the Time, Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor, Rage Becomes Her, The Little Stranger, Fingersmith, You Have the Right to Remain Fat, No One Tells You This, Girl Culture, and American Spy. I also continued going to book club. We meet at a brewery once a month to talk books and feminism; it’s great.
8. Became an Aunt
My beautiful nephew Otto was born on January 12, 2019. Getting to know him and watching him grow—so fast!!—is truly a blast. He’s already so determined and opinionated and funny; I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.
9. Drew a Suffragist
One of my favorite projects of the year was drawing a ten-page comic about suffragist Lucy Stone for the forthcoming Votes for Women anthology from Little Red Bird Press. I also designed the cover for this collection. I can’t wait to see it in print!
10. Worked on a Graphic Novel
At the beginning of 2019, this graphic novel was barely begun. I had ten or so pages inked, and a bit more than that scripted and thumbnailed. As of today, I have 148 pages “roughed.” My roughs are more like tight pencils at this point. I’ve got fifty-two more pages to go. After that, I’ll go back and ink and color everything. And then…we’ll see! I bought a refurbished iPad in March. That has made a huge difference in my process. I’m able to sketch out pages much more quickly—often while watching TV at night.
11. Did Hourly Comic Day and Inktober
I participated in Hourly Comic Day last February, sharing my exciting work-from-home life with the world. In October, I did Inktober for the first time. It was a fun opportunity to celebrate my favorite podcast, This Had Oscar Buzz.
12. Painted the Hallway
This might not sound like much, but there was SO much pink trim. Now it’s white. It looks great.
That’s a wrap on 2019! See you in the New Year (or tonight, if you’re coming to my party).