Taking a hike around the 'Grand Canyon of the Pacific' in Waimea Canyon State Park, Kaua'i (Feb '19)

2019 was a year of 4 weddings (the fourth and final thanks to an elopement we unwittingly crashed, congrats John & Sara!), 2 gifted wedding eggs (congrats Robin & Mark!), 2 new baby cousins (congrats Jess & Anth and Christina & Zach!), 1 adopted cat and 9 states visited (excluding home state NY that's RI, MA, HI, VA, MD, PA, CA, CT and NJ).

A friend inspired me to write up a few things that happened this year. If you've found your way here, take a minute and join us for a whip around the last 12 months.

Carla, Peter Carlos & Ghost

Since being admitted to the Eastern District's CJA (Criminal Justice Act) panel for federal indigent defense in January, Carla's practice has been growing apace. While running her own law firm and keeping one of the busiest schedules of anyone I know, she nevertheless manages to Citi Bike to midtown most days and care for not one but two small creatures, in addition to me.

Carla continues to earn the title of "Neighbourhood Pied Piper of Adorable Animals": most everyone knows Peter Carlos, the good-natured chicken who walked into Carla's life three years ago and never left. 2019 in turn brought us Ghost, a young cat with white fur and a little grey cap.

Our equal parts sweet and mischievous cat, Ghost.

Our friend Andrew, a person with far too much idle time on his hands, lovingly built Ghost a cat ladder up to our second story apartment so Ghost could begin to get acquainted with his new home. The ladder was a hit and, so far, it seems he likes what he's found at the top.

Carla and Peter Carlos, the most resilient chicken I will ever know, hard at work building Ghost's massive outdoor cat ladder

Finally, an affable web developer offered to make Carla a new website; in June the new and improved carlasandersonlaw.com came online.

The Bellisarios

Erica and Santino were thrilled to have their three kids along for the ride in Rome this July, in addition to the sixty-odd other kids they were legally responsible for.

Carla and Erica taking in the sights—and spritzes—at the Spanish Steps (July '19)

Younger brother Luca, ever the peacemaker and overall agreeable Bellisario, had no trouble making new friends in Italy despite the language barrier.

An older gentleman living near our hotel would see Luca on his way to the subway and wave him over for some help navigating Rome's precarious streets. They'd walk together for several blocks until the man would wave Luca off, having arrived at his destination. In Italy as in life, few words, a smile and many wild gestures can go a long way.

Luca helping an older gentleman in a wheelchair get to his destination

In the spring, Luca graduated with a bachelors degree with high distinction from U of T--no small feat says the woman who did a victory lap and still barely got out alive--and began graduate school in the fall, also at U of T.

Martina, my big sister in every meaningful way except birth order, wrapped up a stint at a top communications firm in Toronto and began her legal studies at, you guessed it, U of T. As someone who still bears the battle scars from kitchen table "debates" with Martina over the years, I cannot wait to see the havoc she will wreak in the professional world.

Alessia holding her cousin's son, Giacomo

On January 21, Jessica and Anthony welcomed beautiful baby Giacomo. He is implausibly chill for an infant, setting the bar nice and high for Bellisario babies to come. His arrival, complete with mini Lowry jersey, almost certainly spurred the Raptors to their uncharacteristic championship. We thank Giacomo for all he has done in his first eleven months with us.

For my part, I had the amazing opportunity to join the Recurse Center in April for a mini batch, which is to say I spent a week in downtown Brooklyn among likeminded programmers exploring a language called Rust. I compiled my Rust to Wasm in order to do some neat interactive stuff with the DOM. In other words, I drew a bunch of moving circles on a web page.

A few of the amazing (and functional!) vintage computers at the Recurse Center (April '19)

I learned a few other useful things this year, too, like how to build a "split" keyboard, how to use a robotic arm called EggBot to programmatically draw on small spherical and egg-shaped objects (namely eggs, see: Peter Carlos) and how to make holiday cards using a solution to the travelling salesman problem.

A pen plotter holiday greeting card that is using a traveling salesman algorithm to create a Christmass tree out of a single line traversing many points

As the year and decade wind down, I'm eagerly anticipating all the time with loved ones this season affords... especially when those loved ones include three wise, wonderful grandparents who relentlessly pressure me to move home to Toronto ❤️

Two of three grandparents I miss terribly in NYC, Carmina and Maria, with sister Martina. Not pictured: Aldo 'The Boss' Troiani

Sending love to all my friends and family near and far. See you in 2020!

- Alessia