PART I (12/18):
1. Who made you laugh most this year?
Collectively, that would be my students, who show up less prepared and less willing to work every semester. This should (and does) depress me, but it also makes for plenty of hilarious errors in papers and on tests.
The single person who elicited the most chuckles would be my grandson, who grows more delightful every day. His toddler malapropisms are utterly charming, at least to his grandmother.
2. In what ways was 2020 better than 2019?
I laughed at this question when I first read it, but I actually have a few answers. For one thing, the above-mentioned grandson was in existence for all twelve months of the year, and during some of those months -- thanks to working from home -- I was on his regular roster of daytime babysitters (my son and D-I-L did not get to work from home).
For another thing, I lost 30 pounds on NOOM. Yes, I have lost these same 30 pounds before, but hope springs eternal, and I'm working on the next 30.
Also on the positive side of the ledger, 2020 was the year in which I finally received a certain dinner invitation that I'd been hoping for, which tickled me despite the fact that the dinner is, of necessity, happening virtually this time around. (Perhaps I am too easily tickled?)
To top it all off, there were cost-of-living raises from two of my employers. I guess 2020 was not completely a bust.
3. What was the best movie or TV series you saw in 2020?
Well, there weren't too many movies this year, were there? But I binged a couple seasons of a TV show that I liked a lot. Promise not to laugh? It was the YouTube-turned-Netflix series Cobra Kai. Number Three Son, who has pretty good taste (and -- more to the point -- who can guess pretty well what sorts of things might appeal to me), was the instigator, and now we're both eagerly awaiting Season 3.
4. What was your favorite food discovery of 2020?
Eat-in restaurants have been off limits, and my beloved high-end-grocery hot food bars out of commission, since March. You'd think this would have motivated me -- as it did many others -- to devote my quarantine to lots of adventurous home cooking, but in fact I spent most of the hours of most days adapting to my work-from-home conditions (under which everything, it seemed, took at least twice as long to do). Thus, it was nothing but quick, plain cooking and the occasional fast-food treat for me ... until September, when I started on NOOM and Spartan-ized my eating even further.
In short, I really didn't make any major culinary discoveries in 2020, except to be reminded that I can get by with a whole lot less than I was consuming.
5. What's something nice you purchased for yourself or received as a gift in 2020?
My son bought me a Chromecast thingy so that my allegedly already "smart" TV would in fact be able to show more of the streaming services for which I have accounts. It's meant that whenever I did have a spare moment for television, there was always something acceptable to watch.
PART II (12/25):
1. What did you learn in 2020?
I learned how to Zoom. Did you? ;-)
2. What do you regret doing (or not doing) in 2020?
I regret not spending my usual five days in NYC in January, and (relatedly) not seeing a show while I was up there. The reason I cut short by a day my annual winter trip to Manhattan was that I didn't want to take the Sunday off from organist duties at church, and *that* was because I needed to save both of my two-Sundays-off-per-year for a pair of later-in-2020 weekend conferences at which I'd been asked to present. Of course, thanks to COVID, those conferences (scheduled for Spring and Summer, respectively) were canceled, and in the end I didn't use either of my vacation Sundays for anything. Also thanks to COVID, I didn't get to see much theater in 2020, to the extent that the B'way show I *would* have taken in on that Sunday I *didn't* spend in the Big Apple in January would have *doubled* the number of plays I saw for the year.
But hindsight, as they say, is ... 20-20.
3. What are you proud of doing in 2020?
Getting through two semesters of remote teaching without any grade appeals. If the teaching conditions were tough for me, I can't imagine what the learning conditions were like for the students (except, I guess, that I *can*, based on their tests and papers). Anyhow, we all got through it, and no one felt hard done by to the point that they wanted to complain to the Dean or Registrar.
4. Whom did you get to know better in 2020?
No one, really. I think I became closer friends (via shared experiences) with a couple of church people and one Sherlockian who were already my friends, but I don't know that I got to know any of them any better.
Am I splitting hairs with that answer?
5. What do you hope to accomplish in the remaining days of 2020?
I'd like to do a little tidying, to begin some work on the book project I've alluded to in other posts, and to spend as much quality time as possible with family (my son is here on his too-brief semi-annual visit; meanwhile, my mom is slipping away in hospice). The last of those items is the main priority.