2020 Year in Review

This was the year of social distancing, mask wearing, quarantining and isolation. So the year in review is going to be pretty thin. It’s worth looking back all the same.

Bird Watching in Key West
Approaching Key West

Month by Month

– We were quite lucky that we took a trip to Key West in January since the pandemic made sure there was no travel after March. So at least we got one trip in. I indulged in my favorite vacation behaviors on this trip: reading, drinking, basking in the sun.
– Had a very busy stretch at work.
– Celebrated my fifth anniversary at Slack.
– Got new glasses.
– Started car shopping.

– Had several social gatherings to celebrate Belinda’s birthday. They would be the last social gatherings of the year.
– Had a Valentine’s weekend with my sister and stepmother.

– Bought a new car outright. I’ll never go back to having a car payment. I absolutely adore my car and had planned to take several road trips with it this year. But then…
– COVID-19 hit and restaurants became carry out only, non-essential businesses closed, there was a shortage of both hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

– Life in a global pandemic was very strange since both Belinda and I continued to go to work (she in a hospital, me in my home office) but couldn’t go anywhere else.
– Met my sister in a parking lot for a socially distant re-up of toilet paper and sanitizing wipes. I’m not even kidding. Her part of Kentucky did not have the toilet paper shortages that we saw in Louisville.
– Started celebrating cocktail hour.
– Zoom Passover.

– Major depressive episode. Fun.
– Belinda started car shopping.
– Bought a new coffee maker. Yes, that was the most exciting moment of the month.

– Belinda got a new car. Again, no car payment.
– Got a projector and screen for the back yard so we could have big screen movies at home. Highly recommended. We had a lot of fun watching movies out there.
– Spent several thousand dollars replacing the central air in the house. Was worth the money though. As I told the HVAC folks “I’m a middle aged woman who can’t sleep when I’m hot and this old AC system is not cutting it.” Even Kentucky’s heat is no match for the new AC.
– Spent several weekend days at my dad’s house because he now has an inground pool. It was the only thing that kept summer from being miserable at home.

– I have nothing recorded for this month that is not related to the above mentioned pool. Most excitingly my stepmother bought me a great Adirondack chair for poolside lounging for my birthday.

– Moles moved into our back yard. That was not amusing.
– Belinda worked insane hours.

– Started a rewatch of all 27 (slight exaggeration) seasons of CSI.
– Zoom High Holidays.

– Got a new boss at work. We get along shockingly well.
– Had to have a dental procedure that I had put off all year because of COVID.
– A Halloween decoration caught fire. I’ll not be taking any questions at this time.
– A clogged ice maker drain led to the refrigerator leaking a crazy amount of water.

– Well there was an election.
– Belinda continued to work insane hours.
– Struggled a lot with the loneliness this year has put us all through. I’m a homebody and an introvert so all in all the year has been better for me I think than for highly social people. But even introverts have our limits.

– Belinda got vaccinated for COVID.
– Took 2 weeks off work. I’ll be doing this every year from now on.


For six years in a row my year in review has had a “mourning” section. I don’t have anything new to say about mourning. So I’ll just slightly modify something I said previously:

I honestly wasn’t prepared for grief like this. I knew I’d be sad. I just didn’t know how all encompassing it would be. I didn’t know that a year two four years later it would still be so bad.

Music Consumption

According to Spotify I listened to 68,521 minutes of music. That’s far less than usual but for two months of the year I tried Apple Music again. So that number isn’t quite accurate.

Once again Spotify’s lists of my top 5 things are a bit different than what I thought were my top things. Although my top artist is spot on.

Top Artists
1. Josh Rouse
2. Mac Miller
3. Nina Simone
4. Kenny Chesney
5. The Avett Brothers

Top Tracks
1. Love in the Modern Age by Josh Rouse
2. Heartless by Diplo and Morgan Wallen
3. Late Night Feelings by Mark Ronson and Lykke Li
4. Think About Things by Daði Freyr
5. The Obvious Child by Paul Simon

I made a playlist with different kinds of music on it with different sound profiles to test the sound systems in all of the cars I test drove. Listening to music in the car is one of my favorite things to do so I wanted to put all of the systems through their paces. My top 5 tracks were all on that playlist. I test drove several cars, often multiple time, and then listed to the playlist a lot after I actually bought my car in March. So this year’s top 5 tracks list is very much related to my car buying activity.

I continue to be disappointed in music discovery on Spotify. But my two months on Apple Music were no better in that regard. So it may well be that the problem is me.

I am slightly disappointed in myself that for the past few years my top 5 lists have been dominated by male artists. I’ve spent some time looking at my general repeat listening patterns and other than a few strong exceptions (Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Beyoncé, early Indigo Girls) the artists I spend the most time with are overwhelmingly men. So a goal for 2021 is to both find new women artists to spend time with and go much deeper into the catalogues of women artists that I already know I love.


As previously mentioned we spent time outdoors watching movies during the summer and fall. We watched a lot of classic movies (Rear Window, Vertigo, Jaws), action movies (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic Park, Jurassic World) and spooky stuff for Halloween (Sleepy Hollow, The Village) out there. It was a lot of fun. We enjoyed it so much we are going to upgrade our screen in the spring.

It terms of television we did the CSI rewatch, a The Closer/Major Crimes rewatch and watched basically every crime show on Acorn/BritBox. Our best tv discovery of the year was “We Got This” on Sundance. I can’t even think of a good way to describe it but definitely watch it if you have a chance.

Oh! I almost forgot Ted Lasso. We adored Ted Lasso, it’s so good.

Video Games

As loyal as I am to the Assassin’s Creed series and as much as I am enjoying Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Ghost of Tsushima is the game of the year for me. It’s an incredible story with wide reaching adventures, mission types and just completely enjoyable game play.


I only read 43 books this year. You’d have thought with all the time spent at home I would have kept up with my one book a week pace of 2019. But that didn’t happen. What did happen though is that I read several very long books that I wouldn’t have looked at in past years.

1. Celine by Peter Heller
2. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
3. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
4. The Interdependency Trilogy by John Scalzi
5. The Missing American by Kwei Quartey
6. The Wormwood Trilogy by Tade Thompson

I didn’t read enough sci-fi this year because I had trouble finding good sci-fi books. I primarily read on a Kindle and the sci-fi things that Amazon surfaces are not always great. So if you have recommendations for sci-fi or fantasy books please share.


Tuesday will mark 6 years that I’ve worked at Slack. I didn’t do a 2019 year in review so I didn’t share that I had gotten a promotion to a completely different role last year. I enjoy this new(ish) role very much and the opportunities for learning it’s given me. I spend a lot of time with SQL, JQL, Google Sheets and I love it. I still need to level up my SQL skills though.

The Year Ahead

We had planned to take a vacation every quarter in 2020. Obviously that didn’t happen. I very much look forward to putting that plan into action once travel is safer. I’m, perhaps too optimistically, hoping that can begin in the summer or fall.

I am really craving relaxing vacations. The Key West trip in January was nearly perfect and I want to replicate it at various places across the country.