A Few of My Favorite Things

Almost a month into 2021. Are we ready to remember last year? I know it sucked for almost everyone on earth but it can’t be all bad. While I pity the future history teachers who will have to explain the events of 2020 to kids not yet born, we need to remember the treasures in what was demonstrably a dumpster fire of the year. To do so, my first post of the new year is looking back at what I believe to be the best of the worst year I’ve ever experienced.
found on Reddit

Starting with my Top 10 movies from 2020. Since moving to the farm, I haven’t been able to get to the theaters as much as I used to. In 2020, theaters closed and everyone felt the same unrequited yearning for the true movie experience. However, being home all the time gave me more time to watch one of my favorite mediums. There’s a lot of 2020 movies I’ve not yet had the chance to see, but these were (in no particular order) my favorite films from the year.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Enola Holmes
Guns Akimbo
My Spy
The Platform
Project Power
Coffee & Kareem

Not a lot of new music came out last year. Or at least, not a lot wowed me in any way. Some big name artists even pushed back planned releases because of Covid. However, even in the dearth of musical debuts and massive singles, there were songs that still worked their way into my consciousness and remained there. These are my five favorite songs of 2020, also in no particular order.

Pigeon John - The Greatest
Twenty One Pilots - Level of Concern
Blue October - Oh My My
Eels - Are We Alright Again
LANY - If This is the Last Time

Being home all the time gave me more time to watch movies. But it also gave me more time to read. However, much of what I read were older books. So here are my top four books from 2020 plus one from 2019 that I read this last year. Two fiction, three non-fiction.

Mike McHargue - You’re a Miracle and a Pain in the Ass
Carlos Whitaker - Enter Wild
Max Brooks - Devolution
Stephen King - If It Bleeds
Ibram X. Kendi - How to Be Antiracist

Enough about what kept me entertained. What about what kept you entertained. Here are my five most frequently read blog posts of 2020, and these are in order with the most popular first.

Bragging Rights 
Pay Up 
The Spring of Babies 
Tour de Bux 

However, not all of my favorite posts are particularly popular. Sometimes, I write things I’m eager to share then no one seems to notice when I do. Regardless of total views, I am most proud of these five posts.

Protect Ya Neck: Sanity in the Age of Social Media 
Geeks Will Save the World 
Rise of the Sidekicks 
All Other Ground 
What Does Love Require 

Our farm’s population is always in flux. The population of our chickens and duck ebb and flow with hatchlings and death. Geese and turkeys come and go. We breed the goats in the fall and sell their kids in the spring. We find stray kittens in the barn and re-home them after getting them spayed or neutered. We are ground zero for the circle of life. We also bring in animals who become permanent residents of our circus. Three of them have become my favorite animals on our property. A with apologies to all our our pre-existing furry and feathered friends, these are the three best additions to our farm.

Edgar the Mastiff
Wasabi the Emu
Hank the Donkey

Now for the absolute best thing about 2020? We had one more addition to the family in 2020. She was a surprise we didn’t think was possible. Violet has made our world even brighter than it was before and she seems to bring out the best in her older siblings.

Annie and I inadvertently scheduled our annual camping trip for the same weekend we originally planned on getting married. Our venue canceled because of insurance issues. Then we found out Annie was pregnant. Then Covid happened and the world got put on hold. Wedding plans got delayed until further notice. Instead of getting married on the beach, we went hiking on the beach. Instead of a bed-and-breakfast, we slept in a tent. It was the best option we could come up with for a socially distanced family vacation. Instead of a destination wedding with about 50 friends and family members, we Took our family of seven camping 50 miles north of our previous plans. While there, we went hiking in the Hoh Rain Forest. This is where I experienced my most surreal moment of 2020. Along the Hall of Mosses Trail, I took some snapshots of the kids. Looking at those pictures now, I am confronted with the reality of 2020 and the weirdness of being surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty in the midst of a pandemic. Our existence on earth is a clash between the ancient and the modern, a truth most evident in photos like these.

Finally, a few of your favorite things. On New Years Eve, I asked my Facebook friends to share their favorite part of 2020. Here is a summary of the most inspiring responses.

While Annie and I (along with countless other couples) canceled their 2020 nuptials, love endured and some people found a way to get married in the midst of a pandemic. I know because my friend Syafiq DJ’d for a couple fun receptions. My friend Nate officiated what he called a beautiful wedding. And my friend Heather married the love of her life.
My cousin Allen reconnected with his dad (who travels a lot) in Miami to watch the Super Bowl. He grew up in Kansas City so the Chiefs are his favorite team. Spending time with his dad and watching his favorite team is a memory worth holding dear.
And he wasn’t the only one to reconnect with family. My Aunt Kim made a trip to Portland to spend time with her kids, my friend Julie’s son came home, and a distant cousin of mine reached out to her extended family (which included me).
Other friends focused on their home, like Natasha who remodeled her kitchen and Tiffany and her husband who put a down payment on their first home.
My best friend from high school graduated with her BSW, an old family friend watched her granddaughter graduate high school, and my cousins decided to permanently home school their kids.
Then there is my friend Jennifer who got her first tattoo. The story behind it is beautiful but it’s her story to tell, not mine.
courtesy Jennifer Nixon