My highlights of 2008, in chronological order:

I’m not much of a car person, but “buying a Lexus LS 460”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/01/05/new-car-2008-lexus-ls-460/ was a treat. It’s still a pleasure to drive and we took it to “Cannon Beach, Oregon”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/01/11/drive-to-cannon-beach-oregon/, “California”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/03/19/los-gatos-to-eugene-oregon/, “Vancouver”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/05/18/vancouver-3/ and “Whistler”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/05/19/whistler/. I hope to use it to take more driving trips in 2009. We took a “trip to Mexico”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/02/01/mexico-vacation/, not in the car, which was relaxing because we spent most of the time doing nothing.

“Havana learned to walk”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/04/16/havana-walking/, we celebrated “her 1st birthday”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/04/30/happy-birthday-havana/ and “threw her a party”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/05/03/havanas-1st-birthday-party/. She’s really grown-up this year and I have a lot of fun playing with her and watching her learn.

We took a “trip to Florida”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/04/14/florida-trip/. I didn’t (and still don’t) like Florida much at all, but it was good to see my parents, brother and sister-in-law.

“Getting a Kindle for Father’s Day”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/06/15/fathers-day-2008/ has encouraged me to read a lot more and I’ve done that. I read 20 or 25 books this year, which must be a record for me. I wish I had it on all the trips we took this year, it’d be great for traveling! I hope to continue to read books at a steady rate in 2009 because I’ve got quite a stack of books waiting for me.

“Hudson’s birth”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/08/25/hudsons-birth/ was one of the two biggest highlights of my life, and certainly of the year. Two years ago I didn’t have any kids and today I’m the father of two kids. He’s only 4 months old so he’s just starting the period where he will grow up quickly. 2009 should be a lot of fun with him and Havana.

We gave ourselves “4th wedding anniversary presents”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/08/12/anniversary-presents/ that I hope to have forever. I don’t have many keepsakes, these are precious ones.

“My 39th birthday”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/11/01/troys-birthday/ was my usual quiet affair, the way I like it. Hitting 39 is only a highlight because I’m not yet 40.

Ah, politics was big this year. Being a Hillary Clinton supporter, it wasn’t looking good for a while there, but I really enjoyed “the beginning of McCain’s implosion”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/08/30/mccain-proves-he-is-a-moron/ and the many shockingly stupid mistakes he made. The finale with an “Obama victory”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/11/05/obama/ will be a moment I doubt I’ll ever forget. Not since 1992 have I felt more optimistic about America.

Finally, my favorite holiday, “Thanksgiving”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/11/27/thanksgiving-2008/, reminded me of everything I have to be thankful for.

The lowlight of the year was “Ouzo dying”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/09/11/ouzo-1999-2008/, on 9/11, of all days. I miss him.

My beers of the year were “Deschutes’ The Abyss”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/03/29/deschutes-brewerys-the-abyss/, “Raison D’Extra”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/05/24/dogfish-head-raison-dextra/, the second of which I plan to have tonight for New Year’s Eve, and “Stone Imperial Russian Stout”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/07/03/stone-imperial-russian-stout/, which I did have two of this year.

Best music of the year: Coldplay’s Viva La Vida (say what you will, it’s a great album), Colin Meloy’s Colin Meloy Sings Live!, Ryan Adams’ Cardinology, Decemberists Always the Bridesmaid EPs, Mogwai Hawk Is Howling, Sigur Ros Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust.

Best books of the year:

Easily the best book I read all year was Alice Schroeder’s The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. I couldn’t put this book (the Kindle, actually) down, often staying up until 1am until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Warren Buffett is an interesting and quirky guy with an obsession, collecting money, which almost completely destroys his personal relationships.

John Bogle’s Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, which is less repetitive than previous books and a good message for us all.

Tom Perkins’ Valley Boy: The Education of Tom Perkins. Love him or hate him, he invented modern venture capital, which has had an enormously positive impact on the world we live in. He’s had an interesting personal life too.

Steven Landsburg’s More Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics, always a fun economics writer. I love his proof that an increasing population is good for the world and his simple argument against black-and-white thinking that seems to pervade society today: arguing for extreme solutions, rather than middle-ground solutions, is akin to concluding that, because eating less will make you lose weight and live longer, eating nothing will make you live forever.

The other book I couldn’t put down until I finished it was James Conaway’s Napa: The Story of an American Eden. Who knew the rise of Napa Valley was so colorful, political and downright fascinating?

Robert Mondavi’s inspiring companion to Conaway’s Napa (and partial attempt at modesty), Harvests of Joy: How the Good Life Became Great Business. Sadly, Robert Mondavi died this year.

Thomas Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America, which I haven’t yet finished, but it’s a page-turner, even if I’m not convinced by all his points.

Matthew Bishop’s and Michael Green’s Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World, just for insight into the difficulties of effective philanthropy.

I (half-heartedly) recommend Eric Weiner’s The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World, not because of any wisdom it gives, but because it’s an example of the futility of searching for happiness outside yourself.