Thursday, December 31, 2020

Things That Helped Me Survive 2020


2020 is almost over and I think I can safely say that it was not the year any of us expected it to be.  For my family and me it started in New Orleans followed by a trip to Disney World.  Then the pandemic hit.  For us it really wasn't that terrible at first.  My husband could easily work from home (and has since March) so our income wasn't impacted and my son was homeschooled so there wasn't any huge adjustment.  Our travel plans and field trips were obviously canceled but other then that life went on pretty much as normal.  Until June 18.  That was the day our never sick 10 year old was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) and the next day we found ourselves being transported to Memphis, TN in an ambulance.   But here we are at the end and while I have no idea what 2021 holds for us here are a few things that got me through 2020.

1.  St Jude Children's Research Hospital - I had heard of St Jude of course and I was familiar with the story of Danny Thomas and the creation of this hospital to find cures for childhood cancer.  I've always been a bit skeptical about big charities and St Jude is one of the biggest so I figured there had to be a catch.  But there isn't.  Since Will was diagnosed during COVID he's never gotten to experience the fun atmosphere that St Jude is so famous for but every medical person we dealt with was amazing and oh so kind and the affiliate has been just as great.  We will be going back to Memphis in February and I'm already looking forward to seeing some of them again.  And that's not even considering that the cure rate for the type of leukemia Will has has improved by more then 90% since St Jude opened its doors.  If you are ever looking for a place to donate or raise money for that really makes a difference I can't recommend St Jude enough.

2.  This cat - One of the best things about getting our own apartment in Memphis was that we could bring our cat.  I must confess - I've never been much of a cat person.  I've never disliked them but I've always preferred dogs - and I'm allergic to cats.  But Comet is kind of like a dog personality in cat form plus he's not destructive or messy.  He's not perfect.  He needs lots of attention and wakes us up periodically at night to be petted but he's got such a funny personality we don't mind too much.  Plus, he's pretty much an ideal cat for when you're not feeling good.  There is nothing he loves more then to get under the blankets and snuggle with you.  And he doesn't mind being a pillow periodically either.

3.  Reading - It's not shocking that I enjoy reading but this year it has really kept me sane.  I learned that it was best to never let my mind idle and sometimes TV wouldn't be enough to distract me but most of the time a book was either in audio or a regular book.

4.  YouTube - I watched a ton of YouTube this year.  It was perfect to have in the background or for quick bits of distraction.  Some of my favorite channels are - Bailey Sarian (her Murder and Makeup Mondays are the BEST - even if you're not into makeup), Lil's Vintage World (love her book reviews and she did a series on Tudor Queens that was fascinating), The Try Channel (because watching Irish people try all kinds of different stuff is weirdly hilarious) and This Gathered Nest (this is the only family channel I watch but I like that they seem respectful of their kids' privacy AND they have a small farm with al kinds of different animals and it is incredibly entertaining.)

5.  Bagels and Cream Cheese - Seriously, I'm pretty sure this was all I ate for at least a month and a half.  Big fan of the whipped cream cheese especially.

So what helped you survive 2020?


  1. The end of December 2019 and the beginning of 2020 were the best times I'd had in over 30 years. I had the best birthday I'd ever had, went on vacation to Mexico, went to Ohio (where I grew up) twice in 2 months and saw family I hadn't seen in a long time. Then Covid hit and the world as we knew it changed. Praying 2021 is much better!

    When my second son was born, he was in and out of the hospital for the first 2 years so I can relate to you concerning Will. I'm praying 2021 brings good news!

    My reading was very low this year. I hope to get my reading back on track soon.

    I'm going to check out those YouTube channels, they sound good.

    I love Bagels and Cream Cheese. NYC has the best I've ever had.

    I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!

  2. There's no doubt you had a double dose of horror this year with your son getting sick during a pandemic. I'm so glad treatment is going well though. I survived this year with Paddington Bear and junk food!

  3. You don't like cats????? I am so going to "jump on your lap" any chance I get from now on.

    Just joking. It must have been a tough year for you Katherine and you've been in my thoughts from afar. I am glad that you can at least end the year at home with some hope and peace in your heart.

    I'm glad Comet is there with you guys. I am going to start telepathing with him as soon as possible and next year this time, you might proclaim that you love cats more than dogs. Aah just a joke again. I love both my dogs and my cats equally. Elza just claims and demands the most attention.

    Happy New Year Katherine!!

    Elza Reads

  4. What a year. You have had so much to deal with and I am so glad St Jude has come through for you and your family. Meow to Comet for me. I'm not a big on for cats although we have had 6 in the last 30 years. They show up and I can't turn them out.

    Here is hoping 2021 is kinder to us all. Doug and I are doing Dry Januray and I hope to continue with it for a while.

  5. Katherine, your post here was so poignant and I am very encouraged by the 90% cure rate improvement figure. We had helped out St. Jude's before and my husband has participated in events at his work to benefit St. Jude's, but we'd never known anyone who actually had a child that was treated there. Your updates on Will and his care touched my heart so much. I've told many people about St. Jude's this year and recommended that they include this wonderful charity in their giving. We were happy to include it again ourselves as well. This has been a rough year in so many ways, but Will and all of you have been right at the top of my prayer list since June. Take care. 2021 is coming and we'll continue on and keep hope alive in our hearts for so many things. Much peace and comfort sent your way for next year.

  6. You've had a big year and yes its so important - although not always so easy - to keep that mind occupied. I am glad reading brought you some solace and you were able to do it. I've loved seeing how Comet has accompanied you all and Will. What a blessing.

  7. I am glad there was things there for you to help you get through this year, it was a bad year anyway and then throw in Covid and you really had a hard hitting year! You have really taken the hits and kept on going! *hugs* Hoping 2021 is a good one!


  8. First I have to say I'm not a cat person but I think Comet could convert me!
    How did I get through 2020? My family and books. Its that simple.
    And I will definitely donate to St. Jude's. My parents have for many years.

  9. I am so glad that you had such fantastic support through the year with Will's diagnosis and treatment. Having the Pandemic at the same time had to be so challenging, but you couldn't have found a better place than St. Jude's, from what I've heard.

    Happy New Year, and may all go well in 2021.

  10. I am so glad that St. Jude has been there for you. It sounds like a really genuinely great hospital. Comet sounds like such a great cat. :-) I wasn't always a cat person myself. I grew up with dogs and never imagined I'd become a cat person too. I can see how books would be more likely to hold your attention than television. Audio books are good for that, especially, I think. I seemed to watch a lot of You Tube too, now that you mention it. Especially in the early months of COVID when I was adjusting to working from home and trying to help Mouse with school.

    I hope you have a peace-filled, joyous, and healthy New Year, Katherine. All be best to you and your family.

  11. My hope for you all is that Will recovers this year and becomes a healthy and happy young man.
    With best wishes for 2021!

  12. What a lovely post and sweet pics. We are cat people and although they are all so different, the cuddly lap cats are the best. Orange gingers are know for gentleness and mellow personalities.

    Hoping 2021 is a new beginning for you and the family. Will deserves a fresh start. We have given to St. Jude's for over 15 years through monthly contributions, they and Shriner's are amazing organizations.

  13. I';m so glad you had some good things in your life last year. What a wonderful post.

    Happy New Year and may it be a healthy and joyous one.

  14. You have had such a stressful year and I love that you have made the most of it. St. Jude is such a wonderful organization and that cat seems to be the companion that your son really needed. I hope you have a fantastic 2021!

  15. I had the worst double hip dislocation when I was 31 and the two cats I had during that long almost two year haul, to get back on my feet, were my sanity saviors. It's funny how we seem to have the right pets at the right times. Hugs for Comet. 💜

    You know I love the Try Channel, too. 😊

    We try not to have bread in the house, but Baz bought bagels to have Christmas morning and I couldn't get enough. I had him go to our bagel bakery and buy two more bags. I need to stop. Ha ha. 😆

  16. I say fibre, books, and fabric were my sanity last year.