2020: A Summary, in Which I Try Not to Be Too Depressing

Sunday, December 27, 2020

I think you'll all pardon my French when I say what a fucking year. Twenty-twenty hasn't been anything closer to what any of us expected; it is the year that just kept giving & giving & giving, in all the worst of ways.

But it still happened, & it's still worth documenting, & it's still worth hoping that 2021 brings better, bright, healthier, happier, safer, less socially distanced. Here's a recap of my 2020, the good & the bad & the worse & the hope for the future. 

January

I rang in the new year at a house party with friends... pregnant. When I got caught filling a beer can with water, we decided to break the news to a bunch of our friends that night, which was really joyful.

The next week, I left for a friend vacation in Florida with my BFF, Rebecca. It was delightful & relaxing & indulgent & so, so chill, even though she made me watch Virgin River on Netflix, which is an absurd show. 

At the end of the month, at our first ultrasound, we learned that I'd had a miscarriage, which was devastating. I took a week off work to take care of it & to recover, both physically & emotionally.

February

I started out the month by needing a second D&C related to my miscarriage, which meant more emotional & physical distress & more time off work. Not the way I wanted to start off the year... but hey, the year turned out to be bananas, anyway.

I tried to get "back to normal" by attending a jewelry swap with friends & then enjoying BriteWinter, an outdoor festival celebrating winter in the CLE.

Oh, & I started to get engaged with the upcoming presidential campaign, declaring my support for Elizabeth Warren... just before she withdrew from the race.

Also in February, we decided to pause our house hunt & instead renew the lease on our longtime apartment for another year. It turned out to be a good move, given everything that was to come.

March

In early March, I drove to Pittsburgh with Brittany to attend a Dashboard Confessional show. It was absolutely glorious. And probably kinda unsafe?

Soon after, our trip to Israel was canceled due to the start of the pandemic, which at that time didn't seem to be on most Americans' radar. 

The last thing I did "out in the world" was go to Bachelor-themed trivia night before deciding to begin self-quarantine, even though the government had made no requirement to do so.

On March 23, I learned that my friend Shoshana had died of COVID-19. She was one of the first 1,000 people in the U.S. to die of it.

April

Bring on the quarantine hobbies. In April, I barely left my house, but I did buy a spinning bike, start making tiny succulents out of Sculpey clay, & began learning how to cook/bake

My first project was homemade matzah & two kinds of macaroons for our homebound Passover, which wasn't all that different from my usual Passover observances. Except for the part where I made matzah.

On April 21, I went somewhere for the first time since quarantine started – next door to get coffee. It felt like a huge deal; I agonized over it, & then I didn't go out again for more than a week. 

May

In May, Mike & I were honored to be a part of a front porch photography project to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. (P.S.: Go hire photographer Amber Patrick. She's my fave!)

Some of my friends set up a trivia night on Zoom, which was a lot of fun & felt surprisingly normal, even though we couldn't be together in person.

I made challah for the first time, & I dip-dyed my hair pink. On my own. It went... OK. Luckily, it washed out pretty quickly. 

And following the death of George Floyd, protests for racial justice flared up around the country, including here in Cleveland. I was still too afraid to leave my house, but I tried (& continue to try) to share resources, raise up Black voices, & stand in solidarity.

June

I chronicled my many (!) quarantine hobbies. I stepped up my home cycling habit by selling my spinning bike & ordering a Peloton. 

I won a Lizzo cake

We spent our first weekend at the floating house my mom rented from a friend, located in Port Clinton, OH. It was relaxing & fun & amazing to have someplace safe to go that wasn't home

On June 19th, I had a hard time focusing on Juneteenth, consumed by the grief of the 25th anniversary of my dad's death, combined with the death of my friend's infant son. It was a hard, hard day.

We also started doing things outdoors with friends, like going to a drive-in movie & setting up folding chairs in the parking lot of Swenson's, It felt fucking great to see people again.

And at the end of the month, I enjoyed a socially distanced backyard cookout with friends. I made John Legend's mac & cheese, & we tie-dyed T-shirts. Badly, on my part.

July

I still can't believe it took until July for Ohio to issue a mask mandate, but what a relief.

We spent the Fourth of July at home, making hot dogs & other picnic foods & watching Hamilton. It felt kind of hard to be proud of America this year. 

July is when I started to get really into my newfound love of beachcombing, searching for weird little treasures that wash up on the shore of Lake Erie. 

Oh, yeah, & someone sent me on a fun little neighborhood safari, hiding tiny plastic animals all over the place – in trees & on fences & atop electrical boxes. They were such a delight to find! 

August

My 36th birthday was the first week of August, & I took a week of staycation, since there was nowhere to go. Mike got me a cheese board, & we watched Armageddon; it was perfect. 

My would-be due date came & went, which was a lot more emotionally grueling than I'd expected it to be. I wrote for the first time about my miscarriage.

Luckily, something brought me serious joy right around the same time, which helped distract me: I was published in BODY TALK, an anthology of essays, alongside big names like Tyra Banks & Aly Raisman!

raged about influencers who started acting like the pandemic wasn't happening. 

I got really into yoga, we spent some more time at the floating house, & in my perpetual quest for hobbies, I tried but hated roller skating. That reminds me: Anybody wanna buy some roller skates...? 

September

I think September was sort of a lost month? Like... seriously, approximately nothing to report.

Wait, that's not true. I encountered a super  crazy evangelical gathering at Edgewater Park, which infuriated me. Not a mask in sight. I raged about it on IG, & on the way home, I wept in front of a Breonna Taylor mural.

I rang in the Jewish new year by watching Chicago services led by my friend Jason... & about 10 minutes in, I got a text that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. Because of course we couldn't catch a single break this year.

Exhausted by the world, I took a weeklong break from Instagram, asking my friend Sammi to change my password so I couldn't cheat. 

October

I put tiny, angry, anti-Donald Trump stickers all over my neighborhood, & it felt great. And then I voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Mike turned 34 in September, but the gift I got for him – a date night at Visible Voice books – didn't take place until October. We had the whole place to ourselves, plus pizza & wine. 

Hobby-wise, I did a lot of hiking & started making tiny planters out of reclaimed Lake Erie bricks. Who... who the hell am I, seriously? 

Brittany & I visited a pumpkin patch

No plans on Halloween day, but I did get dressed up just for fun at home... as an anonymous Deatheater. And hey, now I have a skeleton onesie on hand just for the hell of it. 

November

At the start of the month, I was honored to be part of an NAACP Cleveland video about the many, many reasons for voting. 

I stress-ate a Joe Biden-themed hoho cake on Election Day. (P.S.: Get all your Cleveland sweets needs from my girl Shelby of Sweet Costo.)

We celebrated our third wedding anniversary in Port Clinton, staying at the floating house for a long weekend. We checked out a brewery & winery & hiked at a state park, & everything was lovely. 

For Thanksgiving, we quarantined, got tested, & then started a pandemic pod with my mom, which means we've since been able to safely see her a few times. That's been huge for our mental health.

We also saw my in-laws for the first time since the start of the pandemic, meeting up in Richfield for a socially distanced three-mile hike (& getting close only for this photo!)

December

I was also furloughed for a week, & I learned that my beloved boss of a decade had been laid off. I'm lucky to be employed when so many are not, but it's still been hard.

I spent a few days at my mom's house for the first time all year, which was amazing. We got to celebrate Hanukkah together, she made some delicious latkes, & we checked out the holiday decorations in downtown Cuyahoga Falls.

I also did a cookie exchange with some other Cleveland ladies, & afterward, I got the baking bug. I made dozens & dozens of cookies & other treats for, like, everyone I know.

Just before Christmas, we learned of the death of a longtime family friend, one of my dad's best friends. It put a sad damper on the holiday, remembering him & his impact on my childhood.

Mike & I spent a quiet, introverted Christmas at home together, making breakfast for dinner & watching holiday episodes of The Great British Bake Off.

And then we'll ring in 2021 quietly, too – alone, but at least together, praying for a new year that is, in so many ways, better for us all. 

Want to read past years-in-review? Check out 2011201220132014201520162017, 2018, & 2019, along with my overall recap of the 2010s

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