New Year’s Questionnaire for 2020: The Year The World Stood Still

It’s always fun to post a piece so late that it’s basically irrelevant… Sigh. (And this piece would still be waiting to be finished if it weren’t for the long dentist appointment the kids and I had last week that gave me an hour in which I couldn’t work on report cards.) At least I know there are a few lovely Di-hards out there who will still read it. Thank you.

So here it is! Time to slog back through this calamitous and enlightening year and see what we can glean. We’ll try not to make the entire thing about aggravating viruses and presidents.

  1. What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?

Hmmm. Besides the masks, distancing, lineups, nose-poke tests, Zoom meetings, online school, and hand sanitizing ad nauseam?

Me: Walked the picket line, which was a big deal at the time. Attended a Black Lives Matter rally. Made polenta, tofu ricotta, donuts in the oven, and vegan pesto for the first time. Took the kids to tailgate “drive-in movies” with Skye and her kids.

Sean: Invented (with my children) the glorious game of Planterball.

E: Created my own YouTube channel. [Note: E did his best to come up with a poop-related answer to every question I asked him. I have omitted these for brevity.]

A: Walked the picket line with my mom, did outdoor dance classes (including hip-hop!).

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions?

Me: Wouldn’t you know it… I was doing really well with my No Disposable Coffee Cups resolution (I think I’d gotten one once by accident) – and then everyone stopped allowing us to use our travel mugs. It’s not like I’m a frequent beverage buyer anyway, but I was a bit miffed about this unwished-for takedown of my resolution.

Sean: I did purge clutter at one point, but then I accumulated some more. And as for healing food… I ate a lot of it, but also some other stuff.

E: Made some progress on my novel, The Death Gauntlet. Not as much as I meant to. Partly because of that YouTube channel.

A: Still haven’t figured out how to rewind time. It would be really helpful right now if I had, because then I could rewind the times when I accidentally watch kitten rescues on YouTube when I should be finishing my social studies. Or when I take 23 minutes to brush my teeth and then I don’t have as much reading time.

3. What is your resolution this year?

Me: Maintain my core fitness and get rid of stuff I don’t need.

Sean: Be the person that I want to be. (The person I want to be is lighter, plays guitar, and lives simply. He does not get lost in subreddits.)

E: Make more progress on The Death Gauntlet. (Since my parents think I spend too much time creating videos for my channel.)

A: Have less screen time, focus, and don’t dawdle. Make progress on my novel about cats, Fire of the Wild. Or any of my novels. (I start a new one whenever the inspiration strikes me, which is pretty often.)

4. Did anyone important to you die?

Me, Sean: We were saddened to hear of the deaths of Alex Trebek, Sean Connery, Eddie Van Halen, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chadwick Boseman, Kelly Preston, Ennio Morricone, Carl Reiner, Ian Holm, Fred Willard, Jerry Stiller, Little Richard, Sam Lloyd, Bill Withers, Tomie dePaola, Kobe Bryant, Terry Jones, and Neil Peart. We also mourn the below-mentioned pet rats, and our brother-in-law’s cat Monty, who was a sweet, special part of the bubble-family, though we didn’t know him long.

E: Spinkle (my rat), Beatrix (A’s rat), and my barrel cactus, Short Joe.

A: Beatrix (in October) and Spinkle (in December).

5. What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?

Me: More hugs. So many more hugs.

Sean: My mental health in tip-top shape, especially with regards to my nemesis, the smartphone.

E: The freedom to visit my friends – in their houses.

A: Less pandemic – or just no pandemic at all. Oh, and a kitten.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Me: Keeping several plants alive all season! And finally finishing the MuTu System program I’ve been working on for approximately seven years. My transverse abdominus and pelvic floor have never been stronger.

Sean: Being indispensable at work, such that I was not once laid off.

Me, Sean: Finally putting a gazebo in our backyard was a pretty big and worthwhile job.

E: Getting over 50 YouTube subscribers; crushing it at driveway basketball (which I didn’t realize I was so good at).

A: Knowing my 3-times tables like a boss; wowing my Grade 3 teacher with the “juicy details” in my writing.

E, A: Dancing awesomely in the DancEd Movement Project show for school (in January, before such a packed audience would have been impossible).

7. What was your biggest failure?

Me: Those bonsai cuttings I took from our junipers. They looked so cute and full of potential, but I couldn’t convince them to grow roots, in spite of my research and precautions and efforts. Then they became sad brown crinkle-twigs.

bonsai-cuttings
You don’t need to see the After picture.

Sean: No Covid beard (or any beard, ever. I start to grow it and then I hate it. Fortunately, my manliness expresses itself in ways unrelated to facial hair.)

E: Failure to fall asleep within a reasonable time frame, most of the time.

A: Failure to convince my parents to get a king-sized bed so that I can sleep in it with them every night.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Me: I did feel like crap for a day shortly after getting my flu shot – which beats the many days I felt like crap last year after getting the actual flu.

Sean: Nope – in spite of working not-from-home throughout everything.

E: Heck, yeah. Pandemic illness. Not Covid-19, just… the epic torment of being a kid in a pandemic.

A: Sometimes I get night sadness. (Don’t we all.)

9. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Me: Police officers who visited a young Indigenous woman for a wellness check and somehow ended up fatally shooting her. And all bigoted people in positions of authority.

Sean: Trump; Trump supporters. You know the details.

E: My sister’s, when she yells at me and I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING.

A: People who have bad farms where the animals are sick and then the virus gets out. Plus Trump is stupid.

10. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Me: Activists and Protectors making change for a more just and safe world.

Sean: Everyone who did what they had to do to flatten the curve.

E: Austin’s, for being such a great friend.

A: Laurel’s, for being such a great friend.

11. What did you get really excited about?

Me: The Indigenous Education course I took in July – so many wonderful wise guest speakers, so much valuable conversation.

Sean: Going to Washington, DC, to visit friends!… But then we didn’t actually go because it was March break. (Remember that weird couple of weeks when Covid was already a thing but we still felt like travel might be a reasonable choice? HA.)

E: Getting to see friends during the summer when it was beautiful weather.

A: Warriors (the wild cat series) – expanding my horizons from the pegasus world.

12. What events from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory, and why:

Me: Nothing in particular, right? It was a pretty uneventful year.

Sean: 1 of Trump’s 2 impeachments, and then him losing so badly. And that time the GOP had a rally at the Four Seasons Landscaping place was a moment for the books.

E, A: New baby rats! They don’t keep us from grieving our original rats, but they sure are cute and fun.

13. What political issue stirred you the most?

Me: Black Lives Matter, anti-Indigenous racism in Canada.

Sean: U.S. Election and its attendant attacks on democracy.

E: The feud in Azerbaijan about legal wine under the age of 19-and-a-half. (If it sounds like I fabricated that one… well. I am a creative person.)

A: Trump making a fit (sic) about losing the election.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Me: This is a hard question. Most of the things I wish I’d done more of, it would have been irresponsible to do more of. Like the hugs and the get-togethers and the sharing of things. So I wouldn’t actually do those things any other way. But I guess a good answer is always… blogging. 🙂

Sean: Exercise, playing guitar, reading books. All the things I plan to do more of this year.

E: Making progress on my stinking book (sic), playing with my friends.

A: Reading. EVEN MORE. And playing with my friends.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Me: This question is difficult for the same reason. I wish I’d had to do less of online school, mask-wearing, protocols… but I wouldn’t choose to do less.

Sean: Work. The overtime never ends. (Like, literally. There’s been no end in sight.)

E: Quarantining and distancing.

A: Being sad about the pandemic.

16. What do you regret?

Me: The times I let silly annoyances get to me instead of practicing compassion. Not that I expect myself to be perfect, but I could be nicer – especially when family is stuck with each other and basically no one else. I’m working on being frustrated more gently.

Sean: Most of the time I spent on Reddit. Making myself sick with worry about the US election, something I couldn’t help or be part of.

E: Not temporarily going into a coma during the pandemic so that I could miss it. It’s the logical solution.

A: Not playing more with Beatrix before she died.

17. What decision are you glad you made?

Me, Sean: Going to see Hawksley Workman and Sarah Slean and visiting our friends for Sean’s birthday! (That was two weeks before concerts became unfeasible.) Not going to DC – that was definitely the right call. Taking a very quick but lovely mini-break to Niagara-on-the-Lake to celebrate 15 years of marriage. Making a big hole in one inner wall of our house to incorporate Beth’s erstwhile apartment. Buying a ginormous couch to put in there. Then putting a fashionable plywood-and-plasticized-tablecloth wall over the hole we’d made so that Emi and her hubby Alex could quarantine at our house coming from the US, and subsequently insinuate themselves into our bubble.

E: Making myself a “Cove” where I can sit ensconced in blankets and listen to my favourite CBC podcasts (which include but are not limited to The Debaters and Laugh Out Loud).

A: Getting new rats! It was basically my decision after Beatrix died – we wanted to have company for Spinkle.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

All: Please click here.

19. What song will always remind you of 2020?

All: Various Bill Wurtz songs. (More on him ASAP.)

20. What was your favorite TV program?

Me: The Queen’s Gambit, Ted Lasso, the last of The Good Place.

Sean: Ted Lasso.

E, A: Full House, Fuller House. (We were all a bit sad when they were over.)

21. What was the best book you read?

Me: Son of a Trickster and Trickster Drift by Eden Robinson; Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith; Untamed by Glennon Doyle. Also Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad was unforgettable.

Sean: Seven Eves by Neal Stephenson

E: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

A: Guardian Herd series by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, Warriors series by Erin Hunter.

22. What was your favorite film of this year?

Me: This year it was mostly comforting escapist re-watches for me, especially rom-coms. As for actual recent movies… Enola Holmes was really fun.

Sean: Hamilton. (Is it a movie if it’s a film of the stage play? We’re gonna say yes.)

E: Onward.

A: Onward.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Me: 42, played in the snow (well, not exactly. It was May 11 and I really just wanted to mention that it SNOWED on my BIRTHDAY but I did not play in it), ate birthday pancakes, enjoyed beautiful decorations and gifts from my family and so many well-wishes from beloved people.

Sean: 43, and (as mentioned above) went to see Hawksley and Sarah, and visit our dear friends.

E: 11, had a birthday sidewalk/front-yard walk-by social, and a backyard picnic dinner with Auntie Beth and Uncle Matt; got my own basketball!

A: 8, wore my beautiful new orange shirt (it was also Orange Shirt Day), celebrated with my family, had a last, special-occasion sleepover with my beloved bubble-friend.

24. Whom did you miss?

All: Well gosh. EVERYBODY. Except each other, which we got lots of.

25. Who was the best new person you met?

Me, Sean: Um, new people? Is that even a thing?

E: I love all the Canadian comedians I listen to and I feel like I know them. Some of my faves are Charlie Demers, Derek Seguin, and Sean Cullen.

A: My friend Layla.

26. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2020:

Me: People need people, and hugs, and eye contact. Also, when pandemic life (or whatever life) is getting you down, a good walk outside never fails to improve one’s outlook.

Sean: Yes, Blackwing pencils are absolute best writing implement in the world. That’s my final decision. Unless you prefer fountain pens, in which case it’s gotta be Lamy. Or if you must have a ballpoint, Parker Jotters are the way to go. Also, democracy may be old, but it’s still got moves.

E: When you consume enough improv comedy, you start to become a comedic improviser.

A: I can be upset about the pandemic, but I can still get through it.

27. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

When will I see you again?” ???

***

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3 Comments

  1. I did not know that E was focussed on scatological content at the moment; does he know this: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/why-do-wombats-poop-cubes-scientists-may-finally-have-the-answer/ar-BB1dcQiY?rt=0&referrerID=InAppShare+%22+target

    For Arwen: I specialize in titles for books, not in writing them, myself. I have a special place in my brain called The Midden of Discarded Ideas. I suggest You should create such a spot right away so that you don’t have to keep or keep track of al the ideas you have, which are too many to act upon and can clutter up your life or your guilt quota as you get older. Also, kittens inevitably grow into something else

    Di: “…being frustrated more gently.” a very worthy goal!! I must, too.

    um… E and A did not reveal their ages on their birthdays. just sayin’. Some of your readers are old and cannot keep track, or is that the pandemic?

    1. Oh! Thanks for noticing about the birthday-age – I will fix it! And I will pass on your ideas to the kids. E may indeed then set wombat-poop-scientist as his life goal (unless they know all the secrets by then).

      I had to look up the word “midden”… That’s a good one! Both kids will probably adopt that one with glee.

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