Thank you, once again, for indulging this internet-friendly and highly-edited view into the past year of this Pritchard Life.
As the kids get older, the toys get a little more sophisticated and a little more dangerous (same goes for the kids, I guess). We started the year building a 3D printer and have been melting plastic into interesting shapes ever since. Carson entered his first two robot combat competitions and discovered just how much kinetic energy a 1 pound robot can generate when he went head to head with the former RoboGames champ, Rhino (answer: a lot). Together we built a small autonomous car, and have more robot projects in the pipeline.
It was Carson’s turn this year to plan our summer vacation, anywhere in California. After much deliberation (not really), we hit the road for a week and a half in SoCal with a well balanced itinerary. After testing the limits of our intestinal fortitude at Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, we settled in for a few exceptionally chill days at Terranea Resort, where the biggest decisions revolved around which pool to swim in and when to break for lunch. From there, we hit Disneyland for a few days and capped things off with an incredibly cool tour of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, where we got to see the assembly of the Mars 2020 Rover.
Carson entered the third grade at Lafayette Elementary School, which is an active construction site for the next 12 months. He’s stoked for ski season, and plans to do more laps on Chair 6, where he laid down his first turns early in the year.
Career Aspiration: Robotics Engineer
Favorite Movie: The Martian
After six years, Autumn bid farewell to the monkey bars and math tests at Lafayette Elementary School and served as emcee at her fifth-grade promotion ceremony in June. Two months later she started the sixth grade at Presidio Middle School (go Panthers!). The new freedom (and responsibilities) came on quickly: walking herself to school, taking the bus to after-school activities, and negotiating a six-period schedule. Day by day, she’s finding her way.
Autumn remains an artist at heart, whether painting or sewing, drawing or crafting, she’s a prolific maker and creative soul. Leading up to the holidays, she put in many hours making a stockpile of Japanese Knot Bags that she sold during Small Business Saturday on Clement Street – netting a tidy profit along the way. While the soccer season (SF Vikings) consumes much of the spring and fall, we take a break in the winter to spend as many weekends skiing as we can manage. When Autumn was young, we joked about skiing Chair 10 (The Wall) at Kirkwood when she was 10 years old. Late in the season, on a beautiful spring day, she did just that. Learning the value of a solid edge and well-timed hip check, she made her way top to bottom and earned her stripes as a Kirkwood grom.
Career Aspiration: Interior Designer
Favorite Song: Calm Down (Taylor Swift)
In May, Jody teamed up with sister-in-law Jena for an epic trip to Peru. With guides to lead the way, Jody enjoyed the rare treat of having someone else worry about all of the little travel details that she is typically on point to manage. They toured Incan ruins, ate all of the things, and hiked some incredible trails on their way to Machu Picchu, topping out at a personal best 15,034 ft. along the way.
The team at PritchardPeck has grown to 13 strong, with several new designers coming on board throughout the year. One of their projects (El Pípila) earned a James Beard award for Restaurant Design [Ed. Note: due in no small part to the lighting design]. Jody and Kristin also earned some notable new jobs, including the Mission Rock development in SF and projects with Studio Gang, SOM, and BIG, the latter of which materialized after a 24-hour whirlwind trip to NYC to meet face-to-face while they were “in the neighborhood”. Dreams are free, but the hustle is always full-price.
In August, we said goodbye to Jody’s grandfather, Russ Clover. His passing brought sadness, but his spirit remains an inspiration to Jody and the rest of us who aim to follow our curiosities and never stop learning. We celebrated his life with a service surrounded by friends and family from near and far.
Favorite Book: The Coddling of the American Mind (Greg Lukianoff)
Favorite Animal: Alpaca
I’ve lived near the ocean my entire life. And while big blue is a short walk from our house, I don’t actually spend that much time in or on the water. Earlier this year, I decided to change that and started stand up paddle boarding (SUP) on the weekends. Actually, stand-up paddle boarding is a bit of a misnomer, given that I spend more time kneeling, falling, and swimming than I do standing. When I am vertical, I strike a silhouette less like Poseidon and more like Quasimodo after a 12-pack, but I’m having a lot of fun out there. Later in the year, I managed a couple of paddles in the open bay from Crissy Field to Aquatic Park, which brought it all together.
I enjoyed some great concerts this year, often with Jody, sometimes with friends, and occasionally by myself. There were small shows: Bob Moses at Mezzanine, Phosphorescent at The New Parish. There were interesting shows: Brittany Howard at The Fillmore, Explosions in the Sky at The Fox. And there were shows that were 20 years in the making: Massive Attack at Bill Graham Civic and Metallica with the SF Symphony to open the new Chase Center. In April, I traveled to Seattle to take a four-day leather working class from a master craftsman at Pratt Arts Center – because clearly I need another hobby.
Favorite Book: Reamde (Neal Stephenson)
Nostalgia Overload: Seeing the actual Delorean/time machine from Back to the Future
I’m finishing this post from the hotel lobby in Bishop, CA. It’s well after midnight and the fire is making its final stand. Tomorrow we head into Death Valley NP for our annual pilgrimage to the solitude of the desert for four nights of camping. It’s not an easy form of relaxation. The drive is long, the weather cold, and the landscape stark. But in the cold and inky black of the desert night, we enjoy a silence that stands in contrast to the buzz of daily life. And in that silenceand darkness, we find little moments of joy that shine so bright, like the first rays of sun hitting your face each morning.
We wish you moments of joy as well. We love you and hope to see you soon. Peace be with you and yours, this season and always.
Matt, Jody, Autumn and Carson
San Francisco, CA