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November and December Wrap-up

December 31, 2020

I started this entry a long time ago, but didn’t get time to finish until just now. I hope all are doing well, staying healthy, and had the best holidays you could. Happy New Years Eve!

Election week Recap:

(Doesn’t this already feel like so long ago?) On election night, I watched the NYT needles to get an idea of whether a president-elect would be identified that night. It quickly became clear we wouldn’t know right away. I followed the checked the FiveThirtyEight live blog, and they seemed convinced Biden had a shot a Georgia and Pennsylvania – but the early numbers made that hard for my brain to accept. I went to bed uncertain, but with hope. On Wednesday and Thursday, I didn’t get a lot done, aside from refreshing the NYTs vote counts and attempting my own spreadsheet models to see how likely it was Biden could pull ahead. The memes were so good! An overwhelming sense of relief washed over me on Friday when it became apparent that Biden would win, and would win by enough to make Trump’s coup attempts and legal shenanigans very difficult. The intensity of the relief was surprising. Our country has been so many problems remaining, and my faith in American democracy has been permanently shaken. Still, the relief of stopping the free fall to hell (as AOC put it) was very real.

Holiday Recap:

We celebrate the secular version of Christmas, centered around family and gift giving. We stayed home and saw no one. There really was no other choice for us aside from flying, which is not going to happen. I really miss seeing family, but it was also nice not to travel. LO got a lot of presents, mostly from other people. My mom always goes overboard on gifts, but she also is very willing to accept input on what we want/need. I think getting gifts at a smaller scale would be fine, but it makes her happy and I’m not going to fight that battle.

I got a few things I needed, and some things we wanted. I got a gift card to pick myself out some new clothes. It is an exercise in optimism after 9 months of mostly wearing casual lounge clothes and hardly leaving the house. I haven’t been very interested in clothes or my appearance since LO was born, honestly, but I suddenly have an urge to look just a little put together on occasion.

COVID-19 worries:

The spike across the country in November was frustrating and scary. Many of my extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins) were infected in their hot spot Midwest state, but most recovered major immediate complications. The last of my (deceased) grandma’s 15 siblings passed away of COVID after catching it in her assisted living community. My MIL and FIL were infected, and recovered I watched local cases climb with nervousness, and wondering how much longer before we’ll have to stop using childcare.

The December came, and the wave started here. We stopped sending LO to childcare as of 12/4, starting the already planned holiday break early. About 1.5 weeks later, one of her teachers tested positive for COVID and exposed the class, so the classroom closed down a few days early anyway. We didn’t get any further details on the case. I don’t know when we’ll be ready to send her back, but we opted not to cancel our contract. I think she’ll be back by February.

On a brighter note, here are some new, more happy, COVID statistics to track: Over 2 million American’s vaccinated. My mom got her first shot this week, hooray!

Money and Net Worth and Spending:

This is back to feeling super unimportant. I guess things are going well. It is really unfair how having money invested means that you can just get more and more money, without really doing anything. The more you have the easier it is to grow it.

Spending has been normal, I guess. I spent extra on Christmas presents, but everything else was normal. Food spending continues to be a bit higher, but travel and other fun spending is basically at zero. Donations continue monthly, and I topped off the year with another donation to the local food back, and one to the local dog breed rescue.

Work:

Work has been relatively good. There were no big train wrecks, and the one big blip that we had was due to randomness that couldn’t have been prevented. It was busy during non-holiday weeks, but we were able to get ahead on some things, keep the pace manageable over the holidays. The hiccup that we had was relatively easy to recover from (if still ill-timed for other reasons), which was a blessing. I’m about 2 weeks from shifting (temporarily) to more of a backseat role for a month. I’ll still be pushing forward work to get ready for the next phase I’m leading, but maybe there will be fewer meetings?

I’ve cut my time waaay down on my second project. My portion of that work is largely in a holding pattern. The project made a major decision to change one of our key partners, and I’m now feeling optimistic we’ll come out successful this summer (when I’m able to ramp back up). It will be an exciting project if we can pull it off. My boss/mentor is still leading things for now. I fully trust her to set up the project well, and that I’ll be able to shine in the role when I’m ready.

Since we’ve been keeping LO home, my productivity has suffered quite a bit, and I’m trying to just accept that as OK instead of holding myself to the usual standards. There is only so much I can do, and I am optimistic my reputation will not be overly tarnished, given everything. I’m prioritizing my family over my job, while still maintaining standards high enough to avoid letting my colleagues down.

Food:

We’ve still relied on Whole Foods delivery, an occasional Amazon Fresh for things Whole Foods doesn’t carry. I mix in some Good Eggs meal kits now and then. They are good and I feel good about the company, but they are expensive. I found a local place that is doing sets of pre-cooked takeout-style meals delivered, enough food for lunch/dinner for about 4 days for $130. They were not excellent, but they were good. Most of all, it was very very easy. I will probably do that again next month. It costs about 2-4 times what a takeout order might cost us (generally we get 2 each out of a takeout order). But quite a bit more food, and we don’t have to pickup. When we’re out childcare and trying to survive, I welcome shortcuts. On that note, I’ve been buying bagged salad kits to help us eat more veg/salad. They are a terrible value, but they are something we reliably eat and can whip up in a second.

Some of the easy and/or delicious things I’ve cooked for the first time lately: Chicken Shawarma, gnocchi, hot and sour soup, and this curry. I put a “healthy instant pot” cookbook on my wishlist because I’ve been pretty impressed with the ease and quality of instant pot meals.

Family:

LO has been amazing. Her vocabulary and language skills are developing rapidly, and it is so fun to hear what is going on inside of that little head. It is also adorable to hear her mimic every phrase we say. Two year olds get a bad reputation, but so far, this is a really fun age. There are tantrums, for sure, but we’ve been able to handle them calmly. She does miss going to school (daycare), seeing her teachers and classmates, and all the fun stuff they do there… but she’s doing OK with us too!

Cute toddler things:

  • One day we had tacos for dinner and asked her two brush all of the tacos out. Now when brushing, she says she’s getting the tacos out, and will sometimes exclaim “peeking tacos!” to indicate she’s getting a taco that is hiding out. It is very cute.
  • “Fish” was one of her early words, and she would mispronounce it so badly that it sounded like “rawrsh”. To encourage her to say it correctly, we’d say “Fff, fff, fff, fish!” Now she seems to think that fishes say “fff fff fff”. Cat says “meow, fish say fff, fff, fff
  • Wee had Chinese food one night and let her have a fortune cook. She opened the cookie then exclaimed “peekaboo paper!”
  • When she doesn’t want just to change her diaper, she claimed she is still “working on it!”
  • She gave her rocking horse a face mask
  • She started letting us know that she enjoys things by saying “having fun!” “Having play dough fun!” “Having tunnel fun!”

We have been struggling with naps a bit, and she’s been sometimes waking up with nightmares and needing to be settled. We’ve let her miss her nap a few times, but it generally has a bad result, especially multiple days in a row. So, we’ve started to try to enforce it more, to the extent we can.

Anyway, that’s all i have for now. Happy new year, readers!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 31, 2020 10:44 pm

    That local place setup sounds really good. I’d love it if some of our local shops did the same even if it is a bit more costly. I struggle with thinking of balanced meals, particularly the veggie portion. LO is at such a fun age! The twos can be terrible for some kids (sometimes it’s three, or both) but they are also a rather delightful period too with all the things that are new to them and all the new words and ways they say those words. I was going through old photos from that period with JB and it was fun remembering how they discovered the world during those years.

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