2020 Review

2020 has been different for all of us because of the Covid-19 pandemic. I've been lucky that the effects of shut-downs have impacted me less directly, since I was already working from home, and I was working in a job that could switch to fully remote work and didn't have to furlough staff. I even avoided the grocery store rushes at the start, because I had plenty of everything on hand (even toilet paper). The only things I was worried about running low on were milk, eggs, and coffee. As long as basic utilities (electricity, gas, and water) kept running, my house was a pretty functional castle, and since internet also stayed up I didn't have to go looking far for things to do.

Travel of course was an immediate impact. In March I had to cancel a trip just a couple days before going. That worked out well in the end as Canada began introducing border closures and quarantine by the time I would have been returning, and I was glad to skip that hassle. In fact, I've felt quite lucky to be a resident of Canada, first due to a more sane, helpful, and informed government response than the US, and later due to less ridiculousness about mask-wearing and distancing practices among the population. Even Ontario's conservative government, who were previously on a blitz to apply Trumpist approaches to public services and corporate governance, turned about and made a very reasonable and data-informed response (by and large).

Just before all this started, I had my last trip, a vacation in February to the UK. I went with Mike who was going to visit a friend in Paris, using that as an opportunity to spend a few days in London, visiting Colin and Anthony and showing Mike around, then I went on to Glasgow to visit Erin and Marc while he continued to Paris. Other trips of note, in 2019 I went to Fukuoka, Japan for meetings, and as usual really enjoyed being in Japan. A colleague who was originally from there showed us around in ways we couldn't have done by ourselves. Earlier that year I had a work trip to San Francisco and was able to visit the Quails, before continuing to Vancouver to race a half-marathon there with Tony and Andrea. Before that, Southampton UK for work, Lyon France for work (with side trips to London and Glasgow again). I've also hosted Colin and Anthony in Ottawa, and have been able to go to New Hampshire to my grandparents, the Crofeet, and my brother, adding the Gales in Maine last year.

Hobbies continue to be a big part of my time. My cider and wine making graduated to beer brewing, which has more steps. There are many styles of beer so many recipes to experiment with, my pumpkin ale and grapefruit ale getting good reviews. Last year Mike and I were able to take glass blowing classes, which was super cool, I've always wanted to experience the tactile aspect of that. A business restructuring followed by Covid restrictions interrupted the progression, but I hope to get back to it. My vegetable fermenting (sauerkraut, pickles, etc.) expanded to meat curing, so I've been learning how to make duck confit, the kind that actually sits covered in fat for months and ages. I also made a dry-cured ham that sat for almost a year before I tucked in, and was quite happy with the result.

Running continues to go well, though the hot summer slowed me up a bit for the remainder of the year. I'm proud of my cardio fitness and overall strength and flexibility that it's brought me. I also picked up indoor wall climbing and now do that weekly with several friends. Nic and I got certified for lead climbing, where you take the rope up with you and clip in every metre or so. That's extra challenging because you have to hold on with one hand while trying to clip in with the other, but it also opens up new types of climbing routes.

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