Like most other folks I know, I’m ready to flip the bird to 2016 and move on. In April, I officially shuttered my tea shop, which was a tad depressing. It was a rough summer with kidney stones that never seemed to leave. September was about as eventful as could be. And we closed out the year on a somewhat stressful and less than healthful note. But there was a lot of good stuff, too. Made some big time breakthroughs on the family tree and connected with a lot of new family, did a lot of running, had a great anniversary trip with Huyen, and enjoyed some really fun times with our kids and dogs.

And now, the year past…

(Previous years-in-review collected here.)

The Year, By Month



  • Surprise birthday visit to Mom for her, uh, landmark birthday.


  • Sent Huyen off on a birthday weekend away with her two best friends from high school and experienced what it was like to watch four kids for a weekend.
  • Went to a Family History Center and scrolled through actual microfilm. I felt so old school.


  • Rasine v. Huyen in “The Mousing Cat” on the Odyssey^2
  • Saw Archie Shepp, Pharaoh Sanders, and others at the Jazz Masters Tribute
  • Officially closed up shop on Asacha


  • Took the kids to their first concert: Babymetal
  • PR 5k race time (21:51, 7:02/mile pace, 34th out of 399 overall)
  • Major genealogy breakthrough taking my maternal grandfather’s roots back deep into Lithuania


  • Caught up with my freshman year RA Sye for dinner
  • Mother-in-law arrives to start an awesome (really!) three-month visit


  • Completed our first Exit Plan escape room adventure in under 45 minutes
  • First kidney stone attack. “Oh, they’re just small, so don’t worry about the fact they haven’t come out.”


  • Trip to Philadelphia to dig through an overgrown section of Mt Moriah Cemetery for my great-great-great-grandparents (first pic below)
  • 15th anniversary trip to St. Thomas (stayed at an Airbnb)
  • Several more kidney stone attacks, in the middle of the night while on St. Thomas


  • Doc says, “Oh, hey. So that kidney stone? It’s actually huge.”
  • Kidney stone surgery. Never again.
  • Rasine’s Minecraft-themed party
  • Lee “Scratch” Perry concert
  • Boss and boss’ boss move on
  • Became “management”


  • Shepp pulls his back, resulting in a panicked late-night emergency vet visit
  • Digging for artifacts at the Ashburn Colored School community cleanup event
  • Dinner with BeFyne
  • Turned 41


  • The end of America is scheduled for January 20th
  • Family battles Hand, Foot, and Mouth. I come away mostly unscathed.
  • Saw Lakshmi Singh walking around doing a story about Poplar Spring for NPR


  • Thanks to thin walls, I hear an older gentleman getting a hernia check followed by a prostate exam
  • The kids and I fight various stages of walking pneumonia
  • More visits to the doctor and imaging centers than I’ve ever had in one month


Based solely on the folks I RIP’ed on Twitter (or FB). People (and “people”) I knew personally in bold. Dates are when I tweeted/posted to FB, not the actual death date. Lots of commonly-eulogized folks omitted.

  • 1/10: Mitsu Suzuki
  • 1/18: Iron Mike Sharpe
  • 1/27: Angus Scrimm
  • 3/8: Mr. Edwards (2 months late)
  • 6/22: John Reynolds
  • 7/20: Rose Dooley
  • 8/16: Bobby Hutcherson
  • 10/26: Bob Browne (three months late)
  • 11/8: America
  • 11/18: Sharon Jones
  • 12/29: Mini-Moo
  • 12/31: Huston Smith

Books I Finished Reading

Listed in order finished.

  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  • Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall
  • Preserving Your Family’s Oral History and Stories by Thomas MacEntee
  • Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan by Kazuaki Tanahashi
  • Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem by Paula Williams Madison
  • Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz
  • Don’t Be a Jerk: And Other Practical Advice from Dōgen, Japan’s Greatest Zen Master by Brad Warner
  • I Travel by Night by Robert McCammon (novella)
  • The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue, 1957-1965 by Sam Stephenson
  • Lotus of the Heart: Living Yoga for Personal Wellness and Global Survival by Tracey Winter Glover
  • Black Fire! New Spirits!: Images of a Revolution: Radical Jazz in the USA 1960-75 by Stuart Baker
  • The Ark Sakura by Kobo Abe
  • Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher by Drew Smith
  • Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
  • Spoiled Brats by Simon Rich
  • The System of Dante’s Hell by Amiri Baraka
  • On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  • Elliot Allagash by Simon Rich
  • The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder by Charles Graeber
  • The Family Tree Polish, Czech And Slovak Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Family Tree in Eastern Europe by Lisa A. Alzo
  • Time Travel: A History by James Gleick
  • Letting Go: The Story of Zen Master Tōsui by Menzan Zuihō, translated by Peter Haskel

Total number of books finished: 22 (three less than 2015)

Books re-read: 0

Books written by someone I know or have at least spoken more than a sentence to: 1

Books featuring a footnote referencing a woman whose kids I used to babysit: 1

Physical / Ebooks finished:
Fiction / Nonfiction / Poetry:
Buddhism / Music / Preservation / Genealogy:

Books in progress at the end of the year: 2

Movies I Watched and Re-watched

Listed in order watched.

Number of movies: 54

Number of those movies I’d already seen: 9

Movies from this year: 10

Average year: 1993.76

Average rating: 3.60

… more fun stuff at Letterboxd

The Year in Numbers

Number of miles run:

Gallons of liquid consumed from 10/4-12/31 (approximately):

Movies watched:

Books read:

Songs listened to: