Thoughts & Doodles

Interesting Developments in 2020 (A Year in Review?)

We made papier-mache masks.

This year, most people I know are citing survival as their greatest accomplishment. Most of us barely went anywhere and because of that, we feel like we didn’t do anything. Honestly, I think most of us braved trials and tribulations much more difficult than we would have in a more normal year; I think “survival,” for most of us, encompasses a great many more accomplishments than a whole checklist of quantifiable goals. We had our weaknesses exposed and we couldn’t breeze past them. Some of us thrived in these circumstances, some are still struggling, and some went into denial. However we got through–those of us who are lucky enough, sincerely, to have gotten to the end of this year with our lives–I think most of us would say it was complicated. Too much to unpack in an end-of-the-year round-up. So we say, “We survived.”

This year got derailed, yes. My family took a February trip to Disneyland, when the whispers of Covid were still vague and distant. It was right about the time we got home that the first confirmed case landed in the USA, in the very hospital where I gave birth to my son seven years before. My husband had planned–for Valentine’s Day, I think, or maybe Mother’s Day, but the timeline is a bit smeary–to give me the gift of a trip to Reykjavik, Iceland. That obviously got cancelled but I got to visit Iceland virtually when Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga came to Netflix–a timely release, for me, which played on repeat for a couple of weeks.

I spent a lot of time in front of the TV, hibernating. I watched the first six seasons of Dark Shadows while crocheting an enormous, wonky blanket from all the partial skeins of yarn I’d accumulated over the years. I made the obligatory sourdough starter (Neville) and eventually left him out on the counter too long, where he molded. I rearranged my living room and dining room (now classroom) about seventeen times. I started decorating for Christmas two weeks before Thanksgiving and I didn’t regret it.

Then there was distance learning, which evolved into actual homeschooling. There was my stint with Noom (which I should really write about sometime) during which I lost about twenty pounds. There was a pretty successful NaNoWriMo. But the things that really stand out about 2020, to me, are the small things–the oddball details–that made the year truly unique for my family. For example:

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Friends & Family

Back to School, 2020 Style

Posing with our Fancy Octopus craft and their Pointillism Paintings

This year, most kids I know are going back to school without actually going back to school. Here in western Washington, school districts are starting the year with 100% distance learning, with plans to adjust to part-time in-person learning as the situation with COVID evolves. My news feed is full of back-to-school pictures of a new style, with students sitting at kitchen tables or even tucked in bed.

But my kids won’t be distance learning. They’ll be in the classroom–which is what we now call our dining room. They’ll have an excellent student-to-teacher ratio–because their teacher will be me.

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