paying respect to 2009

i’ve seen a lot of people hating on 2009. i just can’t do that. no matter what happens in a year, i can’t look back and think of it as a time to forget – there’s always something to learn from, deepen, grow and enjoy. i’m also an optimist.. can you tell? maybe it’s all the deepak chopra, but i believe in being friends with time, making peace with the ticking clocks and changing calendars and embracing every moment. so, inspired by gwen bell’s best of 2009 challenge and david lifson’s personal year in review, i’m finally getting my fingers in gear and doing my own ’09 retrospective piece. being, well, me, i’ve infused it with visuals (which is why it took me 2 days). have you done your own 2009 personal review? if so, post it in the comments below! i love reading what other people have been up to.

note on links… the link for each month points to that month of photos on flickr. the other links are to photos, blogposts, etc.

january – i was feeling pretty good about myself at the start of this year – even on my birthday! spent a few days freezing on the mall for all of the inaugural festivities, defrosted for some dressy balls, then off to nyc for the jazz foundation of america event where we met eric lewis, an amazing jazz pianist. we also went to an amazing killers concert (awesome birthday gift!).
dc, national mall, inauguration concert '09

february – i bought my pride and joy – the canon 5dmII and promptly photographed 2 tech cocktails (dc & chicago). i spent a lot of time working on my holistic health site, making healthy food and trying to get myself into new habits. it was also a highly creative month for me – reading “the artists way” and working on my photography, writing and coding (well, tinkering) skills. by this time, we (frank and i) were working in earnest with a team in india on a project we like to call “the willow road project”.
healthy breakfast

march – i pretty much give this entire month over to sxsw, even though it was only one week. it was amazing. i took tons of pictures, made lots of new friends, blogged a lot … the rest of the month was probably spent in decompression. it was also a busy time with the willow road project – just trying to get the requirements complete, the designs done and the dev team moving. oh, i also upgraded my blog… goodbye calmwater.

april –  totally focused on health (still recovering from sxsw) and enjoying the little things, like baseball at camden yards, a sater at my girlfriends house, coloring easter eggs, and spending time around dc. the cherry blossoms were just stunning and i love that we had some quality time meandering around them and showing them off to visiting family members. oh – and i won a yelp photo contest with this photo. it’s still for sale if someone wants to purchase it! (just email me)  the willow road project continues on.. at this point, i’m frustrated it’s taking so long and dream up thankfulfor. i spec it out in one night because i know it’s a project we have to do.
DC Cherry Blossoms

may – what a ridiculously busy month. i did my annual spring return to maine to see my family (i usually avoid it from jan to apr – brrr) and my girlfriend’s bridal shower. decided to start writing a book and announced it on my blog. found a designer to help me finish up thankfulfor’s design. then a marathon of events: washingtonian tech titans, techcocktail dc 5, 2 events photographing eric lewis, other photography jobs, spoke on a panel or two, a wedding in milwaukee, get home, repack and head to…Washingtonian DC Tech Titans Party

june – taipei! yes, that’s in taiwan. what an awesome trip for computech. great tech, food, views, people and adventures. upon our return stateside i was back on the boltbus to nyc for the #140conf, speaking locally at creatives dc, then to chicago for a wedding and other festivities. trying to get thankfulfor built but having problems locking down developers. the willow road project has now turned into a long, winding, bumpy road. trying to stay optimistic about it and motivate the team while also making headway on my book.
taipei 101 and kite

july – i was lucky enough to attend a nasa tweetup, which was pretty cool. also spent more time in maine with my family, writing, talking on skype with developers and designers and then in san diego for another wedding with some of my best friends from growing up – pure joy. hanging in encinitas was definitely a highlight as was meeting deepak chopra while there. our first taste of press for shiny heart ventures came with an article in the washington post about us as digital nomads. exciting!
Jodie & Mike's Wedding

august – was just a lovely month. i made a lot of progress on my book, began writing a monthly post for, tried hot yoga for the first time, saw some amazing startups at launchbox digital’s demo day, went to see dave matthews band, enjoyed farmers markets, made major progress with thankfulfor and even demo’d it at techcocktail 6 (with a giant launch cake) where we got great feedback to incorporate before official launch. hired a new developer (from iowa!) for willow road project help. also had another very relaxing trip to maine (my sis and i went blueberry picking!).. best time of year there!
looking out at biddeford pool

september – every fall is such an exciting yet anxious time for me, as if i’m still at my first day of school. the onset of tech events might be part of it. it started early with techcocktail boston (and a brief end-of-summer maine visit), then the network solutions conference (grow smart biz), a girl geek dinner & talk, and a panel at the american independent writers conference. of course the biggest event of the month was techcrunch50 – i love going to san francisco each year for this glimpse into startup trends. another highlight was being part of a review panel at the national science foundation for small business technology grants. what makes this the best month of the year though?? we officially launched thankfulfor and got great international press coverage and started a wonderful community. at this point, we realize the willow road project has major flaws, is in jeopardy and it’s time to re-strategize.

october – even though the hectic pace continued, i LOVE october. kicked it off with the creativity in business conference in gtown, del ray’s art on the avenue, ignite dc, social ad summit in nyc (where i won a wii!!), twtrcon and blog potomac. sat front row at gw watching deepak chopra talk about his new book. also got to see bill and melinda gates talk about global health progress and needs. it was an inspiring month, busy with updates to thankfulfor and trying to finish up my book, which i had really wanted to complete by fall. some things just don’t happen the way we plan!
sunflower series

november – visiting savannah to speak at geekend savannah was well worth the unfortunate cold i returned home with. but it was my first real down time (really.. down for the count) in a year so i can’t complain. it was kind of nice to surrender to hot teas and my couch. i did get to enjoy a last leaf-peeping hurrah and work on a holiday promotion for thankfulfor – a gratitude tips page and challenge. i also worked with the epic change organization to help with tweetsgiving’s epic gratitude fundraising effort. and while we worked the entire time, it was nice to escape to florida for thanksgiving (we did interviews with cnn and while there!). our thankfulfor traffic doubled thanks to the gratitude season. it was also a reminder that the business we chose will always keep us busy during the holiday season.
fall leaves

december – as i write this, it’s january 1st, but i feel like it’s still december. can it be over already? what a flurry. we held techcocktail dc 7 and techcocktail chicago 12, went to a formal ball in chicago (fun!), watched the snow fall for days, went  to some amazing holiday parties & dinners around dc, went to maine for a week and spent quality time with friends and family at christmas. at this point, i think we have a new strategy for the willow road project, so look for that coming in 2010. we have lots of learnings and plans for thankfulfor and we just announced the launch of another project: shiny maine lobster! yes, we’ve brought my sea-faring family online. my book is written and in design! so look for that coming soon too. while there were many challenges this year (both public and private ones), i can’t help but be proud of living life to my fullest this year,  my first post-aol year, living life outside corporate walls. and doing this review helps me crystalize what i want 2010 to be like – what i need to work on and make happen – but that’s for another post.
some iphone pics... xmas

thank you 2009 for all the beautiful moments, laughter, challenges and learnings.

This entry was published on January 1, 2010 at 1:49 pm. It’s filed under good times, happiness, holidays, photo entries, tech, travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “paying respect to 2009

  1. Quite the year! 🙂 I had a pretty eventful one as well, although not as nicely illustrated with photos. The highlights:
    *I recovered from my first broken bone. While definitely challenging and discouraging at times, the experience taught me to be more patient with myself and to be thankful for seemingly silly things like being able to carry groceries in both hands.
    *I turned 40! I actually prefer it to 39, as it feels more honest. I came up with a list of things I want to accomplish by the time I’m 50, and I’ve really enjoyed talking with other women about how they reacted when they turned 40 as well.
    *I moved! I took a leave from my regular job, and moved for a one-year position to be with my partner full time, after being in a two year long distance relationship. I’m also closer to my family, and I have more friends to share things with.
    *I traveled quite a bit. I went to San Francisco, the Caribbean on a cruise, Finland, Egypt, New York, Milwaukee,Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, DC, and the northern Maine woods. Wow! I’m tired just thinking of it all.
    *I started running. I ran in high school and hated it. Now I love it, even when it’s killing me. I like the feeling of moving swiftly, and also of challenging myself at something decidedly physical.

    I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few things, but those are the reflections that come to mind. Thanks for the prompt!

  2. What a amazing year!!! Thank you so much for sharing your reflections, and illustrating so brilliantly with your photographs. SO glad to have met you this year, and am tremendously excited about all that lay ahead for you in the year(s) to come.

  3. Great list, Mia 😀 I wish my uptake of running was on par with yours. Maybe a 2010 goal.

    Thank you, Alexis for encouraging me to do this post and for your note. It’s been fun getting to know you and I’m excited by all the things that lay ahead for you too!

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