Twelve months later...

This week's Friday Five is a "taking stock of quarantine" question set. A year ago, I was one of the naive people, confident that the experts would have everything sorted in a few months. Twelve months down the road, I haven't lost my faith in expertise, but I have been reminded of how many other things (besides the hard work of smart people) are involved in solving problems.

I have not had a terrible quarantine.* Now, that's not to say that I've enjoyed it, but I must admit that COVID hasn't deprived me of too many desirable things that I wasn't already being deprived of. My social life and travel opportunities were already close to nil, and I hadn't sung in my beloved community chorus for some years. Okay, thanks to the virus I did have to give up attending concerts and plays, which stung hard (some of the tickets were already bought!); and the church music activities I normally supervise were radically curtailed. Also, my day job suddenly got three times harder to do, which is not what one expects more than 30 years into a career. On the other hand, my Sherlock Holmes pals embraced online meetings with gusto, so that remained a fun distraction. And, most importantly -- family being my main thing -- my closest family members were all in my bubble.

* Yes, my mom died this year, but I am not charging that to COVID.

But maybe I should just answer the questions.

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Every family has one

This week's Friday Five is called "Every family has one," and it asks for a few of my un-favorite things.

1. Who's the nastiest flavor in the ice cream parlor?
It feels like cheating to pick a savory flavor (crab? garlic? both exist!) off some exotic ice cream parlor's menu, so I'll stick to flavors regarded by people from my part of the globe as standard offerings. And my choice is ... coffee. I like coffee to drink, but coffee ice cream, to me, tastes like tobacco smells (stale and burnt). Yuck.

2. Which item in the produce aisle is most likely to spoil the party?
Arugula recently spoiled a dish for me, but there are worse veggies -- Brussels sprouts, for instance.

3. What's the most embarrassing song by your favorite musician or band?
A category of embarrassing that I run across often -- because I love opera and am open to cross-over stuff -- is "opera singers bludgeoning pop ballads." Some can subdue their gigantic voices and pull it off, but many cannot. Remember that West Side Story album with Kiri Te Kanawa and Jose Carreras?

4. Which part of your body is always in trouble?
For the last year, my right leg has plagued me nearly constantly.

5. What's the worst film in your favorite actor's filmography?
I don't have a single favorite actor, but Hugh Grant is one that I've been rather partial to for some time -- I mean, I was a fan even before Four Weddings. But I'm the first to admit that he's got some stinkers in his catalog, starting with his commercial American debut movie, Nine Months (and also including a film I dislike even more, Love Actually ... but let's not get me started).

New Year's Meme 2020

And now, only three weeks late, I'm posting the 2020 edition of that New Year's meme that I've been filling out every year for longer than I can prove (some posts having disappeared in the Purge of Aught-ten). Over the years, I've added one or two prompts to the original question set, and I've deleted others for which I could never, ever think of an answer. This year, there were no changes to the questions from the 2019 version -- but in most cases, my answers changed. 2020 was a unique sort of year!

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Is this thing on?

I haven't posted a Friday Five since August 1st -- almost four months ago. Of course, I haven't posted anything in that long. My pandemic life has been busier and more stressful than the pre-pandemic edition (which life I barely remember), meaning that time and motivation for blogging have both been in short supply. But this week's questions arrive on a rare day off work, so here goes.

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In a state

This week's Friday Five want to know what state I'm in.

1. What recently caused you to boil?
That would be Mr. Trump's irresponsible blather about postponing the November election.

2. What often causes you to freeze?
I have, over the last eight years, somehow made my way into the circles of some serious Sherlock Holmes devotees (yeah, I'm a serious devotee myself, but I'm referring to some Big Guns). These folks -- who are not only elite-level fans, but also super-accomplished individuals in their "civilian" lives -- always intrigued me from afar, but they sure can intimidate up close. Since one has to be at least a little bit well-thought-of to *get* close, you'd think I'd feel flattered enough not to be over-shy ... but I guess it's my old friend, Imposter Syndrome: what if I say that one thing that makes them realize how very ordinary I am? And so, on occasion, I freeze up.

3. When did something evaporate into thin air?
Funny you should ask. My bank balance went from quite healthy to, umm, pretty thin in one mouse click today, when I paid Three's Fall college bill.

4. What recently caused you to melt?
Watching my grandson snuggle with his soft blanket at bedtime. I babysat him last weekend, and I must say he is easy to put to bed.

5. Among United States you haven't visited, which would you most like to check out next?
One I have never, ever traveled to? Hmmm ... how about Washington state? I'd like to see Seattle.

But wait -- no condensation question?
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