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Moments of Note 2021

At the start of every year, I begin a list called “Moments of Note.” Unlike my trademarked “Homework for Life” strategy, I’m not looking for storyworthy moments for my “Moments of Note” list. I’m not recording the amazing and terrible things said by my children, the changes in the way that I think, or realizations about myself, my friends, or the world.
I’m simply keeping a list of noteworthy moments. Stuff done. Events and occasions worth remembering.
The goal is to be able to look back on a year and recognize all that I did. I’ve been keeping this list for seven years now, but starting in 2020, it became even more valuable when the pandemic wiped the calendar clean of vacations, business trips, scheduled performances, friend and family get togethers, and so much more.
For many, the past couple years have felt like a void of monotony, anxiety, and fear. At times it’s felt like this for me, too. But on January 1, 2021, as I read my “Moments of Note 2020” to the family during dinner, something important happened to all of us. With the ability to look back on the year and recall what we had done, the year suddenly felt decidedly less empty than it had just minutes before.
We forget a lot as human beings. We make little effort to hold onto our days. We toss away our memories like they are worthless, and as a result, we end up feeling like our lives are empty, too.
But when you make an effort to remember these moments from the year, record them, and then review them, you recognize the ground that you have traveled. You remember moments that you can’t believe you nearly forgot. You feel better about the way you spent your time and the things you accomplished.
My family loved the list. Elysha, especially. They even added to it, reminding me of moments that I failed to record.
We did the same thing this year. Though separated because of COVID quarantine, I read the list to the family on New Years Eve, and we re-lived so many moments. As expected, Elysha and the kids added to the list as well. Things I had forgotten or failed to notice.
We’ll love the list even more in 5 years when I read it again.
I keep a similar “Moments of Note” list for summer vacation, to help me say goodbye to another blessed summer and ease back into the school routine in September.
Below is my list of “Moments of Note” for 2021, with a few omissions to preserve privacy. The list isn’t important, though. It means more to me than it ever will to you. Rather than reading my Moment of Note from 2021, I suggest you start your own 2022 list today, as I did a few days ago.
The first entries:
  • I miss the first Patriots game of the year thanks to COVID-19. I watch alone in the bedroom. They win 50-10.
  • Clara and Elysha test positive for COVID-19. It’s Elysha’s second time. Charlie holds out and gives us all side eye.

Not exactly an auspicious start.

But please, create a list on your phone, or dedicate a small notebook to the task, or affix the list to your refrigerator. Make it a habit. Set a reminder on your calendar or Amazon Echo or Apple Watch. Remember the moments.
In about 360 days, you’ll be so happy that you did.

Moments of Note 2021

  • I hit Bryce with the scabbard of a sword.
  • I get hired on retainer with Slack.
  • Elysha and I attend Pesca’s virtual wedding.
  • Charlie has his first guitar lesson.
  • I have my first piano lesson.
  • Return of Town Meeting, broadcast from my classroom and recorded for the school.
  • “The Other Mother” publishes.
  • We host our first virtual book launch. Elysha and Clara sing. I interview Charlie.
  • We finish reading Harry Potter Book 1.
  • We watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone.
  • Charlie reads the newspaper comics for the first time.
  • Elysha gets COVID-19.
  • The family quarantines while Elysha isolates. I sleep on the couch for 10 days and teach my class from the dining room table while they sit in class.
  • Clara celebrates her birthday while Elysha is in isolation. Deliveries of balloons, Edible Arrangement, cake from the Golder’s, and lots and lots of gifts. Clara is astoundingly positive about the whole thing.
  • Virtual book club on Barack Obama book.
  • I manage to land Kyle’s banana in the tree.
  • Clara celebrates her birthday via Zoom. Super positive again.
  • I write STORYWORTHY 2.
  • I perform in a virtual storytelling show with NBC’s Steve Kornacki.
  • Paperback of “Twenty-one Truths About Love” publishes.
  • I teach my first humor class.
  • Little snowman destroyed by little girl after walk in woods.
  • Zoom magic show on my birthday.
  • New kitchen sink installed.
  • Clara loses a tooth at age 12.
  • I win a virtual Moth StorySLAM with my first DJ story ever.
  • Sledding in tubes at Wolcott Park.
  • We finish reading Harry Potter Book 2.
  • We watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Clara hides for most of the basilisk scene.
  • I win my 7th GrandSLAM. Virtual.
  • Elysha and I get vaccinated. Thank you, science.
  • My students and I record an underutilized, under-appreciated social justice video for the district.
  • I take my students to the splash pad on the last day of school.
  • Final day of the school filled with incredible letters, lots of tears. One of my hardest, scariest, and best school years.
  • Elysha finishes her job at Morley School.
  • We attend a US Women’s Soccer game.
  • Elysha and I take two weeks of sailing lessons.
  • I launch Storyworthy: The Business with Joey and Lionel.
  • I officiate Sharon’s wedding.
  • Clara makes a new friend, Livia, whose brother plays on Charlie’s team.
  • Charlie earns the game ball after two hits, two walks, and two runs scored.
  • Charlie plays in the championship game in Little League. Loses 17-7.
  • DJ my first wedding in nearly two years.
  • Introduce Rob Hugh to golf.
  • Storytelling competition outdoors at the New Haven Festival for Arts and Ideas. Win!
  • I teach Charlie how to play chess.
  • We convert our home to natural gas.
  • Weekend visit to Martha’s Vineyard on our anniversary.
  • Travel to San Fransisco to teach. Trapped in Detroit airport for 12 hours.
  • Charlie takes archery lessons.
  • Clara gets vaccinated. Thank you, science.
  • We visiting Emily and family in New Jersey. First time since the pandemic began.
  • Clara attends two soccer camps – mean, stupid boys at the first, better at the second.
  • Weekend in the Catskills.
  • Elysha, Clara, and Charlie visit Opus 40.
  • Elysha, Clara, and Charlie see the biggest and smallest kaleidoscope in the world.
  • I perform at the Phoenicia Playhouse. Workshop and show.
  • We need to leave the Catskills early to beat the hurricane home, driving late into the night.
  • We survive Hurricane Henri unscathed.
  • Elysha and I and the kids go to dinner for our anniversary in West Hartford Center at Rizzuto
  • I get new golf clubs.
  • I set a personal best at Rockledge.
  • We finish reading Harry Potters 3 and 4 over the summer. Watch movies.
  • I play golf with Jeff, Tom, and Alice (editor) at Tunxis.
  • I go into business with Hiitide. They go out of business three months later.
  • Elysha and I produce an outdoor show at The Hill-stead. Best attended event of their summer.
  • I compete in a Moth StorySLAM (with Kathy) at The Bell House.
  • I compete in a Moth StorySLAM (with Jeni and Amy) at The Bell House.
  • Tobi takes a ride in the dryer.
  • Clara, Charlie, and Elysha go to to Hog Pen Hill Farms with Sabrina and Ben.
  • I teach a workshop in the UK (virtual).
  • I teach Ali Abdul’s YouTube class (twice) and begin consulting with YouTubers.
  • I record a story for The Volume Knob.
  • I compete in Steve’s cornhole tournament with Dan.
  • I teach a week-long virtual workshop with international students with Rustic Pathways.
  • We enjoy Clara’s Family Game Night.
  • We celebrate Charlie’s birthday with a giant water slide.
  • We watch The Sandlot on Charlie’s birthday.
  • We celebrate Luke’s birthday with a giant water slide.
  • I judge the Greater Hartford Story Slam.
  • I begin a partnership with Richard Chapman to produce a show for a streamer and film adaptations.
  • We participate in E Green family game night.
  • We make pizza with Mr. Marciano virtually.
  • I get diagnosed with a hernia.
  • Elysha and I go to Springsteen on Broadway.
  • The family attends Winding Trails family night. We ride the raft.
  • I speak at the East Hampton Public Library.
  • I speak at TEDx Berkshires. Dinner afterwards with former Governor of MA.
  • Kelli and Mike visit for the first time!
  • We attend a Yard Goats game. No hitter until the final at-bat.
  • Elysha and I attend a Neil Diamond – Hartford Symphony tribute concert with Eddie and Kathy.
  • We attend Yawgoog Alumni Day.
  • Spend our final Friday night of the summer at Winding Trails. Lightning, rainbows, Michauds, pizza, and swimming.
  • Visit Southwick Zoo.
  • Eat dinner at the Redwood Drive-In.
  • Moth StorySLAM victory in September in Boston – with Jordyn Trent alongside.
  • I finished writing SOMEDAY IS TODAY.
  • The kids temporarily return to Hebrew School.
  • Clara is named Student of the Month.
  • Charlie wins election for Treasurer of his school.
  • Field trip to Westmoor Park. First field trip since the pandemic.
  • I officiate the wedding of Cory and Shayna. Shotgunned beer at onset of ceremony  (not by me).
  • Charlie begins Cub Scouts.
  • I visit Bard College. Speak at their symposium.
  • I perform to a sold out audience at The Mount. Barbara and Gerry attend.
  • Charlie plays fall baseball.
  • Halloween stroll in West Hartford Center. Kids in costumes. Kathy giving out candy at her store!
  • We enjoy many Sunday morning Coventry Farmer’s Markets.
  • I attend my first Patriots game since January 2020 with Shep and Tony and Bob.
  • I attend a Patriots game with Elysha, Tony, and Charlie (Tony’s friend).
  • Halloween. Charlie dresses as Harry Potter. Clara dresses as a character from a fantasy novel who one person recognizes.
  • I attend Brady’s return on a Sunday night in the rain with Shep. We lose on a field goal that hits the post.
  • Elysha and I get re-vaccinated. Thank you, science.
  • Kaia and I purchase recording equipment. Kaia converts office into recording space.
  • I consult with Six Senses.
  • Andrew and Kim leave West Hartford because everyone leaves.
  • Elysha starts a new job at Webster Hill School teaching kindergarten.
  • I perform at the Alaskan Storytelling Festival (virtually).
  • The family visits the Fairy Houses. We meet a Wolcott family.
  • I hire Kaia as my production assistant and Caitlin as my intern.
  • Charlie’s team loses all of its games but still plays in the playoff against my students’ team. Charlie walks and scores a run on a steal of home.
  • Charlie starts playing the trumpet.
  • I win the last Moth StorySLAM in NYC alongside Jeni. At Housing Works. We do bad math and fail to realize I’m won.
  • I have hernia surgery. Miss two weeks of work.
  • Clara gets into the choral group, the Kellapellas.
  • We show the kids Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
  • Front and back doors and upstairs windows replaced.
  • Charlie, Elysha, and I start watching The Simpsons. He loves it.
  • Elysha and I produce a Voices of Hope show.
  • Charlie gets vaccinated. Loses his mind. Twice. Thank you, science.
  • Living room and upstairs hallway painted. Furniture for living room arrives.
  • Clara begins taking ceramics classes.
  • Charlie becomes a Safety Patrol member.
  • Finish Harry Potter 5. Watch movie.
  • Cooper Beech storytelling show. Live and virtual.
  • I officiate the wedding of Kelly Shepard after having DJ’d the wedding of Kelly Shepard 20 years before.
  • Thanksgiving with Diane Clark, Sabrina and Ben Veroczi, and Natalie Evans.
  • I speak at Hot Buzz for Books with Micheal, Roxane, and others.
  • Candlelight vigil for Jade. I speak.
  • Patriots games in the fall with Shep, Jeff, Dan, Elysha, and Andrew.
  • Eddie and Kathy announce they are moving to DC. Elysha cries.
  • Clara performs at Newington First Night. The kids sit in Santa’s lap.
  • We show the kids A Christmas Story. 8-Bit Christmas. The Santa Clause.
  • Christmas Day. Clara gets 20 books. Charlie gets baseball, archery, bugs, and more.
  • Kathy and Eddie join us for Christmas Day.
  • We cut the cord on cable.
  • I test positive for COVID-19.
  • Elysha, Clara, and Charlie go to Fantasia light show.
  • Car dies. Buy a minivan from a Cleveland dealership.
  • Pluto disappears for 36 hours. Find him on the bed in the middle of the night.
  • We celebrate New Years Eve via Facetime while I quarantine.