This is the End, Beautiful Friend


This is the end, and the end is the beginning!

This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the best end of year survey I
(Me, a year ago today, full of hope.)

That’s right. It’s time for my super duper excellent end of year recap blog post! I do this every year, I have no idea if ANYONE reads them anymore (or ever), but I have to do it for me. Also, we’re all pretty homebound these days, so if you have an extra gazillion minutes to read about someone’s 2020 recap, why not do it? I find people to be endlessly fascinating, I find 2020 to be endlessly fascinating, and I find people in 2020 to be endlessly fascinating. What a year, right? I say that every year, but this year I mean it more than ever. And I hope I DON’T say that at the end of 2021. This year is enough, am I right? A pandemic and a baby? All of the little and big things that make up our strains of humanity. We all experienced love and loss; birth and death.

We’ve had sacrifices to make, and some.. haven’t. And that shows as well. I’m happy for 2021.

(This one was taken today.)

This is the End, Beautiful Friend:

Usually when I write this post, I write it when it’s still December. Sometimes I even write it during New Year’s Eve festivities! This time around, we had a quiet New Year’s at home, or as quiet as it is with five family members and 300 pets. We watched Phish, made some awesome deviled eggs, guacamole, pigs in a blanket, and burrata, and then Cassidy, Scarlet, and Des had a living room sleepover. I was tempted, but took Rider up to the bedroom. We all seemed to have bad dreams last night, which just seems to me like a good omen, of fresh hope and love and light in waking life. Let our dream selves take the brunt, while we look ahead to the future.

Amen.

This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the best end of year survey I've ever seen! Use these questions and answer them on your blog.

1 – What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?

SURVIVE A PANDEMIC! We all can pat ourselves on the backs for what we’ve seen and done, and gone through, stronger and better than before. Although to narrow it down to one main thing, I gave birth without any pain medications! Holy heck to that; it was harder than I ever imagined.

I’m seriously still in shock. I swear I’m not gloating – just surprised still.

first family photo after birth

2 – Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I really did! I didn’t have a resolution so much as a wish. To have a baby in 2020. And I swear I didn’t think it would come true so fast, or AT ALL. It did within days of the new year, so there’s that. I also had a good one word for 2020 – “drive.” And this was truly tested, by COVID-19 and by pregnancy. There were many times, mostly in early pregnancy and in early postpartum times, in which I was supposed to be doing work, but I’d just sit and stare into space. This year was challenging on so many levels, but I still love what I do, and look forward to doing it without so many limits in 2021. For 2021, I will focus on my one word – flow. And health and compassion.

3 – Did anyone close to you give birth?

ME! I’m close to myself! Still not gloating, I swear! It was me me me! (Marcia Marcia Marcia)

This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the best end of year survey I've ever seen! Use these questions and answer them on your blog.

4 – Did anyone close to you die?

It was fairly quiet on that front as well, at least within my family. Ever year has losses, though. And it was definitely a year in which to count blessings and be grateful for any time at all with loved ones, even if by Zoom or phone. Ugh, 2020 really had its suckage. Much hope for 2021.

5 – What countries did you visit?

It wasn’t the year to visit countries, what with COVID and all. If not for COVID and Rider, I don’t even know where we would have gone for 2020. I know there were initial talks about going to England for all the July birthdays. That’s still a wish, if not for London, then for British chocolate.

6 – What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?

Physical time with loved ones, brunch and coffee with friends, some light travel to start.. you know – the things we used to have EVERY DAY, that we no longer have. I have it on good authority that we will have it again, and who knows? Maybe it will be better than ever before.

man dressed as Han Solo with Chewbacca at Galaxy's Edge in Walt Disney World Resort

7 – What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Didn’t you hear? I gave birth without any pain medications! Me me me! Marcia Marcia Marcia! And I think, as always, it can only be that I’m continuing to raise two kind, happy, thoughtful kids. Everything else is just gravy, frosting, or rainbow sprinkles. Plus doing it all in a pandemic!

This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the best end of year survey I've ever seen! Use these questions and answer them on your blog.

8 – What date from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory?

I’m looking at you, February, for meeting Bruce Hornsby, but the real winner is October 13th!!!

new baby with new baby smell and new baby knitted hat

9 – What was your biggest failure?

It’s not easy to discuss failure, and this is actually the opposite of what I’d think. I failed in my career, not by not moving forward, but by failing to take a break from it when the baby came. That was bad! I wound up getting pretty sick from extending myself too much. I’m talking mastitis with the pain and fever and aches and chills, twice. Plus, just doing that to my brain!

And to my bond with the baby and the kids. Not cool, Tamara. You’re not a superhero.

This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the best end of year survey I've ever seen! Use these questions and answer them on your blog.

10 – Did you suffer illness or injury?

Oh! Well, see above. Otherwise I’ve been lucky. COVID is worse than EVER, and I’m astounded. How have we not learned, in nine months, how to NOT get the virus? Come on now, people!

I feel, as always, that I’m very healthy but I’m terrified of COVID.

mama and baby

11 – Whose behavior merited celebration?

Always, an odd question but I don’t mind odd questions. The answer is all of us – fighting for our rights to party. Really, all of us looking to make the world a better place for people – and not one riddled with difficulties and obstacles. AND THE WHOLE DOING IT ALL IN A PANDEMIC THING!

Let’s truly celebrate frontline workers.

This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the best end of year survey I've ever seen! Use these questions and answer them on your blog.

12 – What was the best thing you bought?

Oh.. hmm.. I mean I bought plane tickets for our February trip to Florida, and I’m so glad we got that trip in! Plus I kinda bought the baby because those hospital bills are unpleasant even after insurance. Cassidy bought Lucy, so I can’t take credit for that. I think the winner is four tickets to see Bruce Hornsby. I was going to go alone, and then take Scarlet to his show in NH two days after that, but then I was 7 weeks pregnant and felt weird about it all. So I gave away the NH tickets and bought three extra to the first show in Troy, NY – Bruce Hornsby with yMusic. And it was magical. He played Scarlet’s request (even reading her note aloud) and then we ran into him on the street on our way back to our car! He couldn’t have been nicer. And it was all magic.

bruce hornsby

13 – Where did most of your money go?

hmm.. I mean maybe that trip? Bruce Hornsby tickets? Things for the kids to do through NINE MONTHS OF A PANDEMIC. Or probably ultrasound and hospital bills. Worth it, but whoa.

This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the best end of year survey I've ever seen! Use these questions and answer them on your blog.

14 – What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Ice cream, mostly, and continued pregnancy health, and then continued baby health. Plus, all of the scientific/medical advancements of the pandemic, the election, and then getting baby stuff.

setting up a nursery with diapers

15 – What song will always remind you of 2020?

Oh, so many. I’ll leave you with this one, though, for obvious reasons:

16 – Compared to this time last year, are you:

Happier or sadder? A little of both, really. More love and more loss.
Thinner or fatter? I don’t love the word “fatter” but I did have a baby two months ago!
Richer or poorer? Richer in love, but poorer in money, because baby and ice cream and our big house expansion which is more of a 2021 unveiling. (it has secret doors!)

new house expansion

17 – What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I had rested when Rider was born! It’s ok, though. He’s only two-months-old. It’s not like I blinked and he’s suddenly 21 or something. During that time, I was running myself ragged, but still bonding with him! Those first several weeks are very, very hard. I have to remember that.

18 – What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying about the virus, but I’m also GLAD I did, because we didn’t get it (yet). And I wish I had worked less. Who says that? I do. This year. And I already had taken a year off of professional photography and that’s pretty hard. I do want to have a better balance in 2021, but I always say that. I guess this is the first time I’m wishing for a better balance, that leans more heavily on life.

Rather than work.

This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the best end of year survey I've ever seen! Use these questions and answer them on your blog.

19 – Did you fall in love in 2020?

I do every year, but perhaps more than usual, because of Rider. And Lucy.

mama and baby selfie I woke up like this

20 – How many one-night stands?

Let’s hope it was a year of not many of those for all, although probably safer before March?

21 – Who were your best friends?

I use that term heavily – like I’m holding a precious gem on my tongue. I have a lot of best friends. I’m not a one best friend type of girl but I think I’m pretty lucky to have the kids, husband, mom, sisters, cat, and friends I have. And Lucy! Scarlet and Lindsay, mainly!

This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the best end of year survey I've ever seen! Use these questions and answer them on your blog.

22 – What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?

This was a tough year, so the things you could find to reach out to others were powerful. So it was my idea to visit my mother-in-law on Mother’s Day and serenade her from a safe distance! And I didn’t think I’d do this, but I was much more free (TMI) with my pregnancy and postpartum journeys because I think words and photos can help others. I was really positive on social media, and also honest about struggling, and I think that’s probably my strongpoint.

two-month-old baby boy in moose pajamas

23 – What were your favorite TV programs?

The Mandalorian, mainly. I also loved The Bold Type, and Superstore is like.. way too amazing.

24 – Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is a strong word. I hate people who hate, so if I say that, am I really any better? I’ll say that I strongly dislike people and it’s mostly the same ones I disliked last year! Maybe a few new bad apples, but no one I know well.

25 – What was the best book you read in 2020?

I wasn’t, despite the pandemic, a very good reader with all that free time. Instead, I mostly stared into space. Oops. I did enjoy “Summer of ’69” by Elin Hilderbrand, among others. And I read “You Were There Too” and it was wacky.

26 – What was your greatest musical discovery?

This isn’t really new, but Glen Phillips is my second favorite singer, and he has given himself so freely with Facebook live shows three times a week since March. Just gorgeous. And I discovered Lizzo exactly when I needed to discover Lizzo.

27 – What did you want and get?

A baby! A puppy, a house expansion, a new job, even in the pandemic, ice cream, and the continued health of loved ones.

This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the best end of year survey I've ever seen! Use these questions and answer them on your blog.

28 – What did you want but did NOT get?

MOOSE. World peace. Less anxiety. Blue whales. Northern lights. A trip to Finland. A non pandemic.

29 – What was your favorite film of this year?

This was the year of not going to the movies. So weird! I did love Soul.

30 – What kept you sane?

The thought and fact that there are some people out there operating on or near my frequency. Plus, lots of local ice cream, and the way many of my favorite businesses found new and innovative ways to operate. And some of this awesomeness will far outlast the pandemic. Maybe we’ve all had to be more creative to find our Zen, and keep ourselves and others sane.

Insomnia Cookies cookie cake

31 – Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

This is so funny! This is what I wrote last year:

“Baby Yoda. Ew. Just kidding. And I had this real thing for Chris Pine, but his character died in Wonder Woman but I saw the trailer for the new one and he’s in it! And looks great! So maybe he didn’t die? Or is a sexy ghost??”

I have since seen WW84, but only a week ago, and he looked different in it! I guess I do think he’s gorgeous as heck, and perfect for gorgeous as heck her. I don’t want to give spoilers, though, so I won’t address my previous questions. I don’t have a clear 2020 answer. I’m impressed by so little, that when someone on TV catches my eye, it’s an event.

32 – Who was the best new person you met this year?

Why, Rider, of course! Whew. Glad that was an easy answer, with no competition.

This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the best end of year survey I've ever seen! Use these questions and answer them on your blog.

33 – Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2020.

I’ll never put it into words. I did learn a lot about myself and how I relate to others, though, and about the inner core and strength. I’ll say I learned to not be surprised.. if I keep surprising myself. Yeah. That. Makes no sense, but it does to me. Don’t be surprised if the magic is in you.

And all of you. Seriously, with 2020. It’s in you. And you and you and you.

mother and baby

34 – Who did you miss?

It was the year of missing. I haven’t seen my dad and siblings in over a year!

35 – Quote song lyrics that sums up your year:

“The sun will shine in my back door some day
The sun will shine in my back door some day
March winds will blow all my troubles away

I wish I was a headlight on a north-bound train
I wish I was a headlight on a north-bound train
I’d shine my light through the cool Colorado rain”

Oh my goodness, that’s it! Thanks for reading, friends, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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