It’s been over a year of the coronavirus, and I honestly often struggle to find the good in a year of virtual house arrest. In the interests of remembering the good and finding the light amongst the dark, here is a list of 26 things, one for every couple of weeks, that I liked in the past year of lockdown.
1. Plant Subscription Box. Each month I get a lovely small plant that thrives in medium light and is relatively difficult to kill (hahaha!). In addition to the plant, they also give you a pretty pot, dirt, and some little treats.
2. My most-listened to song turned out to be Black Out Days by Phantogram, the Future Islands remix, according to Spotify. So good. I wish I could combine my Pandora and Spotify lists and see what I’m really listening to most.
3. Let’s just go ahead and include Pandora and Spotify in this list, because theyre my music players of choice. Music is perfect for creating temporary personal space with headphones when you’re sharing a living space with others.
4. My Brother serger. It took me a year to get up the courage to actually learn to use it, and now I’m exploring its extra feet and extra capabilities, like gathering. Now that I’m sewing more, I have to say I don’t know what I would do without a serger!
6. Parks and Recreation departments. I’m not sure what I would have done without city parks this past year. I have used them heavily. Three cheers for Parks & Rec departments and their great work.
7. I bought a house without ever having visited it in person this year, a coronavirus “special” thing. Luckily, I love the house!
8. Uniball Signo assorted color gel pens, micro point. I’m a huge fan of colored pens, and I am also a fan of micro-point pens. This hits the sweet spot and you can bet that Unsolicited Advice planner has a billion colors of ink in it.
9. It’s another subscription! I decided on a whim to get the Ipsy “glam bag” which is a monthly kit of personal care items. Full disclosure: I’m not a GLAM person and I don’t wear makeup so I get 95% skin and hair care items like cleansers and masks and leave-in conditioner. There’s nothing quite like self-care when you are stuck inside and don’t feel that great.
10. Bucket of natural items. These are items collected by my children from our frequent walks in the out-of-doors over the past year. We choose less-traveled paths with lots of trees and flowers and rocks, and we have kept a little bit for the memories.
11. I’m not sure what I would have done this year without my sweet puppy Nutmeg. Her royal fuzziness is sometimes the best thing in my day.
12. I bought wool slippers with soles when the weather slipped from fall to winter, and honestly they’re the best thing I’ve bought during the past year. They kept me cozy all winter. I liked storing them under the radiator to slip my feet into warm coziness.
13. I bought a sunlight therapy lamp when the winter got to be too much for me. I’ve probably been affected more by the weather this year than any other year I can remember.
14. Cranberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake. I’m not sure why this is a breakfast cake, because it would be really good for dessert too. It’s fabulous if you like cranberries. I use leftover cranberries from the holidays for it, because I always buy too many.
15. Puzzles (link to a great one by Lisa Congdon). I’ve put together more than a few this year occupying myself in the spaces when I would have gone to coffee or out to eat.
16. My favorite escape books from last year were the India Black series of mysteries, narrated by a fictional London madam.
17. My actual favorite book in 2020 was Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I really like her other Ravka/Grishaverse series as of April made into a Netflix show which of course I am watching), but I liked this book even better.
18. The early spring flowers this year, to turn a phrase, gave me life. After a cold, dreary, boring-ass winter stuck at home, the return of some warmer weather and early flowers like peach blossoms, forsythia, and of course daffodils and crocuses were more welcome than ever before.
19. Drawings and clay art by my children. They are endlessly creative, even in the midst of life being nothing like normal, and my desk, my walls, and various surfaces show evidence of their creative efforts. On my desk currently are a fuzzball with eyes, a clay flying pig and a little hand drawn picture that says “I love mom.”
20. I bought a new Mouse Rug for my desk from the Colonial Williamsburg collection. Its called Indienne. I chose the Williamsburg collection because I live up the road from it in Virginia now. Ive gotten more compliments about my Mouse Rugs over the years than any other piece of office gear I have ever had.
21. My Instant Pot. I have made a lot of pandemic meals in that thing, from the early days of stockpiling food to later days of Instacart and dull winter days.
22. Sewing was a thing that has really gotten me through some of this pandemic, learning to sew clothes over the last few months for myself and my children.
23. Our fire pit. We’ve had quite a few evenings outdoors if the weather was up for it in the fall and spring, and the kids always love to do s’mores.
25. Perler beads made a really big appearance on many an afternoon and I was glad of the peace and quiet! We’ve made so many things, and most recently our other favorite quiet-time activity Minecraft has featured in our Perler bead creations.
26. Im going to finish off this list by saying that medical science is my last favorite thing, because it gave me a vaccine, and that vaccine gave me hope that maybe things could return to a little more normalcy rather than endless days of lockdown.