The Year in Pictures — 2020 Edition

This year was different.

News of the virus in China had already begun to circulate late last year. The videos and stories coming out of Wuhan were quite terrifying. People being welded into their apartments to prevent them from leaving. Bodies being secretly cremated en masse by the authorities. Sick people being burned alive. You have to wonder now if any of that had any basis in reality. I have come to distrust the news, both mainstream and alternative.

By February Donald Trump was doing quite well in the polls. It appeared that he would go on in November to handily beat whomever the Democrat challenger ended up being. By March the disease had reached U.S. shores, and the lockdowns began. Racial strife was unleashed yet again after a series of police killings of black men, eclipsing for a time the nation’s obsession with matters of gender and sexual identity. People marched in the streets. The marches gave way to riots. Righteous anger stood shoulder-to-shoulder with hate, the flames ever fanned by media new and established.

Meanwhile the lockdowns took their toll on normal life. Vacations were canceled. People stayed home. Businesses closed. People lost their jobs. Thank God we survived all that, but my daily habit of working away from home was seriously curtailed. I rediscovered my neighborhood. Took up walking every day at lunchtime, through the heat and sun. I could sweat as much as I pleased. I discovered a new trail system they’d built not too far from us. Found out what the grasses looked like there in the evening light. Found beauty in the spring clovers. There’s a lot of that kind of stuff in this year’s set. I hope you don’t mind.

(Kassi and I did end up taking the kids on a short trip to Arkansas. That’s in there, too. I think we all appreciated the break, as little as it was. We learned that traveling with masks is not completely unbearable.)

The end came quietly. Not without a fight but without violence. Donald Trump is gone from the news after dominating the nation’s attention for four solid years. Covid is still around, worse by any measure than it’s ever been, but the raw fear is less, I think. You learn to deal with pretty much anything. We like everyone else are looking forward to a bit more “normalcy” next year, but I don’t think you ever go back fully to the way things were. You always take something from your experience and carry it with you into the next phase. I hope we can carry with us the coping skills we’ve learned and a renewed appreciation for the little world around us.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

A traditional Irish dinner. Corned beef and cabbage and Saldo. (Well maybe not that last bit…)

Yes, it’s a cheat during Great Lent. But it’s also a long established family tradition. And St. Patrick is a special patron of ours.

For dessert, s’mores over the stove, as we missed our chance for brownies today, and I neglected to hoard ice cream during the quarantine. No matter, they were delicious.

Happy St. Pat’s. How about celebrating with a Stinger tonight?

Make a Wish

Go ahead, now’s your chance.

It’s the season.

The Year in Pictures — 2019 Edition

You have unlocked bonus content!

Welcome to this retroactively inserted yearly retrospective. The date I am writing this is actually December 30, 2020. If you’ve found this page, that means you’ve stumbled upon some content that, while genuinely old, was not originally posted on this date. Greetings from the future! Or something. I suppose I could make some joke right now warning you to “turn back” from the dread year 2020, but that whole bit seems tired and depressing.

In 2019 I opted to go for a minimalist approach for my yearly “Best Of” gallery, meaning I was apparently too lazy to sift through all my photos and make some hard choices. Tsk Tsk. I plan to revisit 2019 at some point in the future and rectify that situation. After all, we had a splendid family vacation that took us to some amazing parts of the country, and this pitiful collection of 24 photos just doesn’t begin to do it justice. Not to mention this was the last year of my working stint in Pasadena, trips with Kassi to Sequoia and Channel Islands National Parks, concert photos from the Plano Balloon Festival, and whole lot more that I thankfully blogged about during the year.

Take a look!

Faces

Time does take its toll on the body.

What do you see when you look into a funhouse mirror? Another “you” staring out at you beneath the surface of the glass? Maybe you are really just one of a whole army of such “you"s, none knowing for sure what side of the glass he falls on. Maybe the “you” you are now is just another picture frozen in time; something separate and distinct from all your past and future selves. Always dying, always being born; every thought and action carving its mark forever into the lines of your face and body.

Now imagine an app on your phone that would let you peer into that funhouse — would let you see those possibilities, those infinite “you"s that could have been. That will be?

Well, particularly those possibilities that involve you growing a beard, dying your hair, looking like a douchebag, or getting really old.

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