Our year opened beneath a starlit sky, deep in the backcountry of Death Valley National Park. We opted for two nights in the weird and wonderful Saline Valley and two more at our home away from home in the shadow of Lake Hill in the Panamint Valley. We skied through the winter at Kirkwood where both kids pushed themselves to new heights. Autumn skied Sentinel Bowl for the first time and Carson found his groove in Snow Snake Gully. Matt and Jody had some memorably steep and deep runs and plenty of groomers to catch our breath.
As summer came around, our travel plans took a sharp left turn. Rather than the Mexico trip we had envisioned, we decided to venture farther north (much farther) and spent two weeks in Norway and Denmark. From Bergen to Flåm to Oslo to Billund to Aarhus and finally Copenhagen, we chased the midnight sun by plane, ferry, cruise ship, train, funicular, car, bus, bike, and dinghy. In Norway we drifted through fjords, drove over high alpine passes, toured stave churches, and saw viking ships more than 1,200 year old. Our time in Denmark centered around design and architecture. We visited museums, design centers, urban beaches, brewpubs, bakeries and spent very memorable days at the Lego House and Tivoli Gardens, the latter of which found both kids on their first upside-down roller coaster (The Daemon).
Our man Carson entered the second grade in the fall. He loves to build with Lego, cardboard, masking tape, hot glue, and whatever else he can get his hands on. In the summer we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute for their annual open house, and had a chance to build underwater ROVs. The hook was set, and we decided to build our own ROV for underwater adventures 20,000 leagues beneath the swimming pool at Grandma and Granddad’s house. For Halloween, Carson designed a wicked Death Eater costume, and Mom came through on the fabrication to deliver one of the scariest costumes this side of Hogwarts.
Carson also had his first official season of soccer with the Lafayette Dolphins (with real games), and swam his way through the Gold Plus level at La Petite Baleen swim school. He is becoming steady and strong on longer bike rides, touring the NW corner of the city at bike camp and with Dad – from Crissy Field to Ocean Beach and points throughout Golden Gate Park. His first ride across the GG Bridge isn’t far away.
Career Aspiration: ROV Engineer
Favorite Song: Believer (Imagine Dragons)
The mass of volatile energy who we call Autumn continues to make us proud, make us laugh, and drive us all a little crazy sometimes. She started her final (5th grade) year at Lafayette Elementary this fall. Meanwhile, she stepped up to play club soccer with the SF Vikings this season, providing a reliable foot at defense. The team was on a winning streak before smoke from the NorCal wildfires brought the season to anti-climactic finish.
Autumn has laid waste to a towering stack of books over the course of the year. There’s an acute obsession with the world of Harry Potter, and she definitely identifies with Hermione. But her first love is art. She spent a good portion of her summer attending art camp at the de Young Museum and attends a weekly painting class at a nearby art studio. In the fall, Autumn received an Award of Excellence for her entry in the Reflections art contest. She is becoming a more capable baker, and loves to watch The Great British Baking Show with Dad.
Career Aspiration: Landscape Architect or Fashion Designer
Favorite Song: Dark Side (Alan Walker)
Jody drew inspiration during our travels, from installations by Olafur Eliasson and James Turrell, to the urban architecture of Bjarke Ingels, every turn was illuminated by something different and new. In the fall, she found time to build a stunning costume so she could embody Cersei Lannister, her favorite villain, at the office Halloween party.
The team at PritchardPeck Lighting is taking on evermore interesting projects, from office towers to theaters to taquerias. They completed their highest project yet – on the 55th floor of the Salesforce Tower. At the beginning of the year, they moved their office three blocks and a world away from their prior location on Market Street to a building of their own in SOMA. They’re keeping it real, they’re keeping it weird, and sometimes it’s just real weird.
Transcendent Moment: the midnight sun at 60° N in Flåm Norway
Favorite Concert: Florence and the Machine (Outside Lands)
Matt thoroughly enjoyed this year’s travels. Whether it’s Death Valley or Monterey, New York or Copenhagen, the chance to see (and usually eat) something new and different never gets old. But some of his favorite weekends are those spent at home: eating a picnic breakfast at Lands End, haunting the stacks at Green Apple Books, catching the sunset at Ocean Beach, the connection with this city grows deeper every year.
Work never slows down, and plenty of challenges remain. Matt’s team at Williams-Sonoma grew substantially in the past year, and he often feels like a full-time recruiter. But that Peppermint Bark isn’t going to sell itself, so the march continues.
Transcendent Moment: whale watching at the Farallon Islands
Favorite Book: Ordinary Grace (William Kent Krueger)
Life, like the universe itself, tolerates no stasis…
So we find ourselves moving through life — too often stumbling from one bout of over-scheduled delirium to the next, but sometimes with clarity of thought, and the capacity to appreciate all that we have, and the presence of mind to tell the people we love how much they mean to us. Those people are you. We love you, and we’re thinking of you, and we look forward to spending time with you, hopefully sooner than later. Peace be with you and yours, in this season and always.
Matt, Jody, Autumn and Carson
San Francisco, CA
Christie Lane Thomas says
Thank you for sharing the news about your amazing family!
Happy New Year!
Mom/Grandma Eileen says
The prose gives the overview, but the photos are amazing. I want to ask Autumn for a bite of her ice cream, but I don’t want to interrupt the moment. Matt your yearly updates are like time capsules and treasures for this mom and grandma. Thanks for sharing.