Readers Share This Year’s Highlights (So Far)

Readers Share This Year’s Highlights (So Far)

My partner and I traveled to Austin, Texas, from the Bay Area in April to see the total solar eclipse that stretched across North America. Like many people around the world, we camped out to watch the silver-ringed orb glow in the sky. It was mind-bending and magical, and certainly one of the best parts of my year.

Today, I’m sharing readers’ highlights of 2024 so far as we approach the year’s halfway point. Some wrote to us about big birthdays, others about new family members or spectacular adventures. Send your own tales to

Here are some highlights, edited and condensed:

“Two years ago, I started working as a substitute teacher in San Diego. Switching from three part-time jobs just to eke out a living to working full-time once again is allowing me time off in the summer so that I can recharge and refresh. I cannot remember a summer off since high school, and I intend to make the most of it. There is much porch-sitting and gelato-eating in my near future.” — Barbara Lekes, San Diego

“I made a trip to Yosemite in late February in hopes of seeing the Firefall. The first night ended up being OK, but I wasn’t treated to the full show. I decided to roll the dice and stay another day, and hope that Mother Nature would deliver the goods. And deliver she did. I’ve seen countless photographs, but nothing compared to seeing it with my own eyes. Thousands of strangers coming together to witness something truly remarkable that only nature could provide — and something that could only be witnessed if the conditions were just right. ” — Mark Chotiner, Thousand Oaks

“A year ago, my family took an internet class on ‘befriending death,’ requested by my adult son. It opened family conversations on many forbidden topics: health, estate planning, money, running out of time and, of course, death. One result was that our adult children wanted to spend more time together in spite of living across the globe. So we celebrated two big birthdays on a Danube River cruise, experiencing the magic of exploring, concerts, history, dining and having two weeks of conversations. It was incredible. It ended with all of us wanting a new adventure, nearby or far away, in a couple of years.” — Lori Silver, Carmel

“My dad turned 100 in March. Born in Portland, raised in San Francisco, he has lived an entire century, through dizzying developments in technology, through a winnable world war, through lifesaving medical procedures unimaginable in his youth. One person embodying 100 years of history? Amazing.” — Janet Galen, Menlo Park

“2024 has been kind of a mixed bag so far with injury and illness in our family. But the greatest joy this year so far has been the birth of our ninth grandchild, Coco Clementine, in late April. She is healthy and sweet and oh so loved. She brings joy and hope for a positive future.” — Jody Bomba, Lake Arrowhead

The members of Melrose Leadership Academy’s chapter of Youth vs. Apocalypse, a group focused on climate justice, successfully petitioned their school to use heat pumps instead of air-conditioning units, The Guardian reports.

The students researched the effectiveness of heat pumps, which use electricity to both heat and cool, and presented their findings at community and school board meetings. They estimated the cost of the pumps, which reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to be about $5 million, a portion of a school district bond over $700 million.

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