I think I’m going to talk about this year in phases. The first phase was, well, normal life as I documented my events from January through mid-March. Phase 1 of COVID/Phase 2 of 2020 consisted of lots of work, crafting, exercise and staying positive. I relished the opportunity to slow things, get caught up on my crafts and establish some solid routines. I remember last October when I traveled 3 out of 4 weekends that I said out loud “I am officially overbooked,” so in a way I might have jinxed myself.
At the start of COVID, a lot was happening in the world, too. Some of it of course was extremely disturbing, frustrating and upsetting, but some of it was humanity making the best of it and being very creative. For instance, there was ESPN The Ocho, a day full of the most random sports like Norwegian belly-flopping and extreme juggling dodgeball…
And the ingenious hockey games that the Colorado Avalanche did in April, May and June. They simulated real hockey games using EA’s NHL 2019 video game. In addition, the usual commentators, announcer and anthem singer provided live commentary, goal announcements and the anthems! In addition, Bernie our mascot did stuff from his home, there were short intermissions between periods and they showed graphics and fan chants like they do on the jumbotron at the games. It really felt like I was there in the arena and it healed my soul, even if it was for a couple of hours at a time.
And then there was SGN, or Some Good News, a YouTube viral smash made by John Kaminski, an actor who was in “The Office” and several movies. Started as something to keep himself amused, it went viral and grew into an amazing beam of sunlight and hope around the world. John began by showing common people’s videos of helping each other, doing drive-by birthdays and being creative at home, and by its end in June, he was getting Pepsi to donate millions to restaurants and enabling graduating seniors to ask questions to their role models. It made me cry every week and gave me a shred of hope in humanity. I think he stopped in June when things “opened up” and “felt like normal”. Silly man.
And, of course, I got my craft on. I was prolific during Phase 1 not just in scrapbooking, but also in some new crafts. I mentioned last time that I took some jewelry-making classes, and so I decided to make necklaces for my Beaver Sisters, my friends from college that lived in the same dorm (Beaver Hall) as I did. I found someone on Etsy who engraved “sisters” on little silver beaver charms and made the rest of the necklaces. You can’t see really well in the photo, but the links are alternating gold, silver, brushed gold, brushed platinum and rose gold, and I added some blue and white beads around the beaver.
I also began a kit that I got a while back to make pom pom doggies. Remember the commercials on TV in the 80s about kits like these? They are fun!
And, I made soap for the first time in ages. The color didn’t come out how I wanted it to, but it still smelled amazing and worked great. I need to do this more often to keep getting better at it.
The Beaver Sisters also instilled what we are hoping will be a new tradition: weekly Zoom meetings to stay connected. Usually we just chat randomly with each other through Facebook Messenger whenever we think about each other, but when the pandemic hit and all of us were stuck at home, we decided to start it up. We have been prolifically meeting every weekend at differing times and it’s been a blast. We see each other, our families and our homes more than we ever have in the past. I hope we can still keep meeting once life goes back to normal, even if it’s just once a month.
I really was on a roll in Phase 1. I had tons of energy and excitement about being able to do all the things that I normally don’t have a lot of time for. It also kept me distracted and focused on positive things while the world around me collapsed. Every night I was crafting or doing some other task around the house and working out. I bought a set of videos that are high-intensity dance workouts, incorporating traditional dances like samba, salsa, paso doble and jive so you work your whole body. I really enjoy them and faithfully did them every single night of Phase 1. I’m sure you can tell where this is going…
I was also very busy at work. RFPs and proposals that had begun in February and March before COVID were still in progress, so I had a lot of work to do on those through April. My company actually had our best quarter ever from April-June. We took on more work from our clients than ever before, many of them being large IT companies who ramped up work on their apps or gave us more content to translate around internal and external communications. Neither JC or nor I faced any negative changes at work. It was just heads down get stuff done, and business as usual since we both were already remote.
It was entertaining, though, to see the rest of my company that had to dress up and go into an office panic about trying to work from home. Our CEO was freaking out about it, but once he saw that not only was it a seamless transition, but our revenue was record-high, he changed his tune about remote working and now employees who had to go into offices are asking about whether they can permanently work from home, hah!
Lastly, of course I had around 300 things get cancelled on me, but one of them was the annual work trip to Europe for the Marketing Summit. This was the third year for this event, whose purpose is to catch up with each other and brainstorm ideas and topics for how to make our content better in the coming year. (And, when in person, hang out together drinking and eating.)
Not wanting to skip it, we held it virtually at the end of May. It actually went really well other than I had to be online at 7am for three days in a row right after Memorial Day to accommodate everyone in the US and Europe. We used some cool new software to ideate ideas and have a virtual happy hour. The happy hour platform was called VirBELA and in it, we made avatars of ourselves and were basically Sims walking through some sort of corporate environment. Here we all are in the conference room.