In last year’s letter I called 2019 the year of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Wow, I missed calling the right year ugly, didn’t I? I predict that 2020 may well be the UGLIEST year for decades to come and will long be remembered by every age group!
So before we get to all the crazy stuff that happened this year, this is what last Christmas looked like.
First, As mentioned in last year’s letter, Steve, Monnie (Steve’s mom) and I did get to enjoy our night at the Cirque Du Soleil show and stay in the fancy hotel on Union Square (amazing Christmas decorations).
Then Mom and Dad drove up on Christmas and we all had a wonderful time here in Brentwood; it went by far too fast – little did we know how rare that kind of togetherness event would be in 2020!
2020 – The Year in Review – Briefly
In no particular order, this is what the people of Earth dealt with this year: Covid19 pandemic, drone strikes overseas, wearing of facial masks and social distancing, lockdowns and ‘sheltering in place’, whole industries pivoting to working from home, crashed airplanes, ‘Hong Kong’, World Health Organization, crazy low oil prices, children of all ages having to be taught school from home, and the parents who had to change their entire lives to make this work, cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding, civil rights movement, protests, rioting, destroying of cities, the closing of small businesses across America due to no income for weeks and months, all the (very sad) Covid19-related deaths, global warming, weird ways of televising sports, Harvey Weinstein actually being convicted of sexual assault, Australian bush fires and the devastating loss of wildlife there, the presidential election that divided America’s peoples in terrible ways, trying to figure out what “follow the science” means exactly (and just whose science to follow!), and let’s not forget the invading murder hornets. (just for a little levity, see my collection of best-of-the-best funny Coronavirus memes at the bottom of this page)
And specifically in our neck of California and/or Marvel House
Most of the above, and fires, smoky skies for weeks on end, ash snowing down on everything and into our HVAC systems, appalling air quality, headaches, record heat waves (100 to 110+ degrees every day for most of our 5 month “summer’), my mom (Angel) fractured her back, Steve lost his job right away to Covid (but was hired back on by a sister company a couple of months later), Steve’s mom being severely ill for two months in the Spring (still not sure what that was), Nintu the cat throwing another clot due to his heart disease, the constant opening and closing of restaurants and other small businesses, I developed plantar fasciitis in November (extreme heel pain).
Working from home may turn into a good thing as companies have learned how to adapt technologically, and workers can move further away from congested cities. Both my 2009 laptop and desktop computers died, but I was able to replace both at Black Friday prices. The Pentagon released official UFO videos (now that’s exciting for us SciFi nerds), Elon Musk’s SpaceX logged 26 launches from Florida this year, with 24 orbital missions and United Launch Alliance flew six times with its Atlas 5 and Delta 4-Heavy rocket families (I told you I was a nerd). Lastly, South Korea’s film, Parasite, wins Best Picture – for the first time coming from a foreign-language. I saw it; fantastic movie – but be warned, it’s a dark comedy, very dark.
Steve’s sister Rhonda and her son Seth were slated to come out for a few days this week but Covid19 complications have put the kabosh on that. And so much for the Twilight Dinner Cruise we had planned on the Sacramento River for them; that got canceled too. So we’re back to the original plan, keep our gathering small, just us and Steve’s Mom. We’ve got a great week of eating planned, and maybe drive around at night to look at houses decorated for the season. Play some cards and watch Christmas movies; I can’t wait – It’ll feel like a Stay-Cation!
Family and Friends
As mentioned earlier, Mom fractured her back during a little fall and spent weeks in agony while it healed. A friend let us borrow one of those Lift-Recliner Chairs; it helped her out a great deal for awhile as it was extremely difficult doing anything at all, even sleeping. Dad was a great caregiver, and kept up week after week. Kim and I kept offering to help, but the stupid Covid19 kept my parents from having visitors.
We had beautiful laminate flooring installed in my office and the upstairs hallway in February. One of our new neighbors, who is a contractor, took it upon himself to replace his entire fence, which backed to our house, and we got a new, super nice fence along the back. The only problem is that it makes our side fences even more decrepit looking! Well, the fencing is 23 years old now. Can’t believe we’ve been in our house, that we bought brand new, for 23 years already!
Steve and Kerri’s work
Steve still works at a car dealership in Concord; great commute, but not super happy with the way management has handled employees and best practices for Covid. Unhappy enough that he’ll be looking for something new next year. Steve’s band, Public Eye played only once this year, in January; all the rest of their gigs got canceled. They hope to start playing again next year.
Notaries were considered essential from the beginning of the shutdowns, and I had the best batch of loan doc signing work this summer than I’ve ever had! Statistics showed that at one point, only 25% of the state’s Notary Signing Agents (like I am) were taking work. Real estate and title offices were having trouble getting everything booked. The notary conference I’ve helped to put on each year went virtual this year. Different than what we’d been doing but every bit as much of the work! This year though, we were able to double the number of attendees (almost 400), and include invites to every state! We had 35 of 50 states represented by their notaries! Instead of handing attendees a swag bag like we’d done in the past, we put together Welcome Boxes that were shipped to them all over the country. About a month before the event, a team of us assembled them; it took 4 of us about 12 hours to put together 300 boxes – that was a long day on the feet! Only 300 because we only planned for that many boxes, then opened ticket sales up to the waiting list to get close to 400 attendees. I picked up a handful of new website clients too so I have been crazy busy, in a good way! Notary work, websites, and I’m still involved with LegalShield too. For those who have not heard of it, LegalShield is a legal plan membership, providing customers with unlimited legal advice, and other elements like contract review, writing letters, and all plans include getting your Will created. The company has an identity protection plan as well, that not only monitors everything about you, but if your identity gets compromised, the licensed private investigators will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to resolve the issue by working with the appropriate government agencies, financial institutions, credit bureaus and collection agencies and costs far less than Lifelock, the one you see their commercials on TV. If any of my family or friends is interested in learning more about how to get these plans for yourselves, reach out to me!
Pets (pictures of all, below)
Bronn is now 92 lbs of pure muscle. And so smart. I sometimes wish he could have led a life of being a police dog, and fully utilized his power and smarts; but he’s too sweet, and I’m glad he’s ours. We still have all the cats; Bella’s swollen foot is being checked this week (arthritis?), Nintu is having heart issues, threw another clot last month, and still takes meds for his thyroid. Sammy is fine but still suffers from PTSD from his event last year, and won’t go outside. Blanca finally had the growth removed from her nose this year, but now has odd things going on with the edges of her ears (turning brown and crumbling off!). A little squeeze of antibacterial ointment usually fixes her right up!
Before the Shelter-in-Place orders, we had a fun SuperBowl party, and I got to see my friend Kim Valerio for a great weekend at Becky’s house in Palm Desert (Kim’s mother-in-law). No Carlsbad trip in August this year. We drove up to Reno for my birthday for a quick weekend. Didn’t get to attend either of the conferences I had signed up for; LegalShield and National Notary Association, as both got cancelled.
Steve and I drove out to San Francisco one Sunday for literally a few hours one afternoon, just to get away from the relentlessly high summer temps in Brentwood. It was about 55 degrees and overcast. The video shows the fog and mist coming up over the road from Baker Beach on the left.
Goodbye 2020! We are all ready to enjoy the rest of the roaring 20’s now without you.
And as always, we wish you HEALTH, Wealth, Joy and Happiness in the coming year. We are thankful for our friendships with our families and friends.
With love, hugs from us to you, Kerri and Steve,
and the Pets, Bronn (3.5), Bella (16.5), Nintu (13.5), Sammy (10.5), Blanca (9)
Short collection of funny 2020 memes – Enjoy!