Happy New Year! I hope that you had a safe and happy Christmas with your loved ones, or relaxing at home in your pajamas baking cookies. I fall into the latter category, but it wasn’t so bad. We took evening walk around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights and saw a lone coyote and a gaze of raccoons, and seeing the Christmas critters was the highlight of my holiday season. Since I have two sewing machines that have been in use for decades without oiling or tune ups (oops!), my mom found a reputable repairman and gifted tune-ups for my birthday and I finally dropped off the first machine. Covid also delayed our patio garden, so I finally planted herbs and flowers last weekend (thank you, Phoenix, for your toasty winters).
Next week, I’ll be returning to work after two weeks of time off. The break has been rather uneventful, yet exactly what I needed to mentally prepare for the year to come. Evey year has its challenges and gifts. I hope that 2020 offered you a gift or lesson to carry into the future, and I hope that 2021 offers you exactly what you need.
I hope you have an inspired holiday weekend, filled with hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Here are a few links from around the web. Feel free to share anything interesting you’ve stumbled upon in the comments.
- My good friend Tim is releasing his second book, Kotov Syndrome, on January 23rd in Kindle and Paperback format. He is an amazing author. Check it out! Alternatively, start with synopsis and preliminary feedback here.
- Fellow bloggers, I think you may appreciate this wisdom from Seth Godin: “The blog you write each day is the blog you need the most. It’s a compass and a mirror, a chance to put a stake in the ground and refine your thoughts.” Keep ob writing, my friends!
- If you are hoping to give back in the coming year, I would like to invite you to consider Kiva microlending. In the last 10 years, I have made 181 small loans to individuals in 72 countries and across multiple sectors. I’ve re-lent the same $100 over that time for a total loan value of $4,875. It’s been such a rewarding experience to witness how a small loan can literally change someone’s life.
- What unexpected blessings did you receive in 2020? I really enjoyed the Strange Gifts episode from Jocelyn K. Glei’s Hurry Slowly podcast. I think this is a great question for all of us to consider. With all the challenges of 2020, what were some unexpected gifts or opportunities?
- Three years ago, I wrote a post on Nature As The Antidote To Cynicism. In the midst of this pandemic, it’s interesting that I’ve been drawn more deeply into nature and the awe of simply existing.
- 20 great books I read in 2020 from Austin Kleon. I feel drawn to: The Dyer’s Hand and Other Essays by W.H. Auden, The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk. Maria Popova also provided her favorite reads of 2020. I’m intrigued by Why Fish Don’t Exist by Lulu Miller, Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything by Vikor Frankl, Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee by Shannon Lee, and The Unwinding : and other dreamings by Jackie Morris (the artwork!). What were your favorite reads of 2020, or perhaps ever? (My all-time favorite is probably Roberto Bolano’s 2666; you can read my 2010 review here, if you’d like.)
- Why are there so few children’s books set in the suburbs? “Children’s literature thrives on imaginative or surprising encounters, which need a geography that creates mischief and curiosity. But the suburbs, for all their benefits in real life, are places that in children’s literature lack imagination, or at least don’t provide suitable stage-sets for imaginative adventure and exploration: they are the geography of nowhere. Consequently, the most engaging stories are almost never set there.” I really enjoyed this piece.
- Suspicions grow that nanoparticles in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trigger rare allergic reactions. I am moderately allergic to polyethylene, so I’m really curious to see what the follow up studies reveal.
- “COVID-19 has forced me to reevaluate how I think about health, work, vulnerability, and strength. And I’ve wondered whether the pandemic will force our culture at large to make some reevaluations, too. Maybe it will force us to question the American cult of individualism, that idea that doing well or being well is solely down to a person’s willpower.” I’m 33 Years Old. I Got COVID-19 Eight Months Ago. I’m Still Sick from Nidhi Prakash. Over the last five years, my reduced energy has forced me to reevaluate my priorities, and I’m interested to see if and how the culture may shift.
- Peace out, 2020. It’s been…something. London calling, Mobstr