January 2023 Monthly Review

Stained Glass Field Masked

As part of my regular routine, I try to do a weekly review similar to what I outlined in How I organize using Notion and a notebook. This year, since I’m not sharing my What I learned last week posts or setting amplify and reduce goals, I thought I’d try collecting all these weekly recaps into a monthly review.

I consider the process of doing these kinds of reflections essential. Writing about what I did and what happened around me helps me pay attention on what’s most important and (hopefully) make better decisions on what’s next.

Maybe I’ll add in some goals or targets in future months, but I’m avoiding the urge to make any “I succeeded/failed” declarations.

That’s the idea anyway. Let’s see what comes out of these as the year progresses.


January flew by! I didn’t start with any new year’s resolutions but I have decided on a theme for the year: the year of reading. I’ve been really enjoying more intentional reading time and getting comfortable with my part-time work/full-time Dad schedule. The other highlight for me is getting into drawing on my Wacom. 2023 started off solid. 😃 ✌️

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Kicking off the new year at Brassie beach!

Week 1 (Jan 2 – 8)

We started January, and the new year, by visiting Brassie beach, which was fantastic. Spent the rest of the week mostly with the kids on their last week of their Christmas holidays. It was fun, if a bit exhausting of course. We played with legos and I started an attempt to re-assemble a Tie Fighter. I also did some reflection on how I wanted to approach the new year and came to a simple conclusion that 2023 is my year of reading. 2023 is also the year of using my new Wacom tablet and wok, albeit for separate ends. I also installed a vented clothes dryer in our shed and all is right with the world.

Also, Kav and I got out on a date night and went and saw Avatar 2. Sure, it was clunky in parts and corny at times, but also spectacular and I definitely enjoyed it.

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Pancake and egg sandwich (w/ syrup added later)!

Week 2 (Jan 9 – 15)

I started again trying to get the final phase of our house renovation going, spending a bit of time drawing/exploring finishings and reaching out to (more) builders to see if anyone wants to build a front porch. I’m cherishing my daily habit of reading and finished reading Wintering by Katherine May as well as started a couple more books.

After finishing my most recent self-feedback report covering the past six months I was reminded about the importance of my daily log.

Vivian and I rounded out the week with some digital art, both manual stuff we created as well as AI-generated stuff: Dough nuts go nuts!

On the AI front, I read a couple of articles that piqued my interest. ChatGPT uses for lazy parents is funny and shows a great use for the technology while AI can’t kill anything worth preserving ****made me feel better about it all.

People keep asking me about AI and I really think how you feel about AI comes down to whether you believe art is about producing things (images, objects, data files, “content”) or about a way of operating in the world as an intellectual, spiritual, and emotional creature. How you think it is to be a human.

It was a crazy rainy and and all-around angry winter week in Glasgow. I felt like I was running in the river, not next too it. I shared a few pics like this one and this one from one of my running days as proof.

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Much of January was frosty and clear (aka perfect winter weather)

Week 3 (Jan 16 – 22)

This week was filled with work, watching Yellowstone, trying to beat the tower in Minecraft Dungeons with Sam, and trying to keep everything afloat with the kids while Kav was away in Amsterdam with her friend for a girls weekend.

Thursday the teachers were on strike so there was extra video game time after a big run around at soft play. We watched Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (second time) on Friday night as it’s one of the kids faves (they’re loving musicals at the moment, Matilda is another one they enjoyed).

I had fun playing Luigi’s Mansion 3 (solo) and have been getting really into playing Minecraft Dungeons with Sam. However, I might be a tad too into it and get frustrated with him when we makes a decision on his gear that I don’t agree with (don’t salvage that Death Cap Mushroom man!!!!). I need to chill, after all, he’s six. I become a child, Kav says. It’s not a big deal but was probably a lowlight of the week.

I was able to get in plenty of exercise even with the kids being off, and it was plenty sunny and frosty, which is just about my favorite running weather. The rivers were full and the light was perfect.

I’m really loving the fact that I’m reading more and have at least 4 books going at the moment. I’ve been thinking about how comfortable I’m getting with my crazy fragmented part-time schedule and how good it is becoming to work (and play) in spikes, not slogs. I tried my wok out for something new and cooked omelettes that looked like crap and tasted great. Also, I’ve continuing my adventures learning to design in Affinity Designer and am amazed at how many resources are out there, all you need is time.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” (Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood)

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The waterfall along my running route, nice right?

Week 4 (Jan 23 – 29)

Last week the newness of 2023 was gone for me and I was starting to feel like I was getting into a rut of everyday feeling the same, but I came across a book that helped me put that into perspective.

I am reading a lot these days but that hasn’t changed my appetite for discovering music and I shared my favorite albums from January.

The delivery of another load of logs seemed a good occasion to reflect on my new relationship with wood.

My drawing hobby continued to move forward this week as I played around with paths in Affinity Designer with results I’m happy about.

On the weekend we took advantage of a cold-but-sunny spell and took a day trip out to one of our favorite places, St Andrews, for a romp on the beach (check it out here and here) with the dog and a little lunch plus donuts. It’s a bit of a drive to St Andrews (1 1/2 hours or so) but totally worth it.

Oh, we’ve been working on a little side project with our neighbor who is a wood turner and all around woodworking guru and he made a mantle for us out of an old reclaimed scaffolding board.

All in all, a pretty good week.

That’s it for January, see you next month. ✌️

3 responses

  1. What did you think of Norwegian Wood. I’ve read a few Murakami books, including that one, but it’s been a few years.

    1. Yeah, I just shared some of what I thought of the book. I enjoyed it. Murakami has a way of creating stories that seem both part real and part fantasy. I guess that is what good fiction is all about, really.

      1. I was talking today to someone who was ‘forced’ (her term) to read one of his books by her partner but she couldn’t get into the strangeness of it. You do have to be willing to go there in your head! I can’t remember much about NW apart from the fact that it felt a bit nihilistic. Despite that I still remember really liking it. Recently read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle which I do recommend. A lot packed in.

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