1. Elly and I have spent the whole year working on one thing, every day, to make our living space nicer for living, and now that it’s December, I’m feeling anxious when I can’t get the dishes done. My most hated chore! The water was shut off for parts of yesterday, and I couldn’t finish the dishes, and I genuinely felt bad about that because this is a habit now. Daily dishes for life.

  2. There has to be a new chore to take the number one spot on the most hated list, of course, and that chore is compost. The city does pickup, which is great, but we’re no longer allowed to just dump everything into the green bin. Now they want a bag inside, and I never know when my landlord is going to put the weekly bag in the bin. So my compost collects in its bowl under the sink, and then I miss the window, and we carry over into another week, and pretty soon, there are two bowls of of orange peels and coffee grounds. So in the 2020 spirit of FORGIVE YOURSELF, I’ve started dumping my compost into the plastic grocery bags, which also live under my sink, so that it can go into the bin. I don’t know what happens to it next, but I’ve done my part as best I can.

  3. I was a kid during ’80s and ’90s, when environmental conscious was cool (again). That was the era of the first big hole in the ozone layer. The three Rs of reduce, reuse, recycle were the popular slogan for pre-teens–after we learned to look both ways and stop, drop, and roll. I got big into environmental stuff, and while it didn’t become my job–once I realised how much science I’d have to study–it’s long been background noise in my life. I work super hard to make my footprint on Earth as small as possible. But when life gets hard, something has to give. I have to take care of myself first, and right now, that means buying more packaged food than before, making more trash than before, and giving up on plants. I’m not going to save the world this year; maybe 2021 will be better.

  4. Most people who aren’t Canadian assume the whole country gets snow. Probably because a lot of northern states have already had their first snowfall and honestly, the majority of Canada does get snow. But I live on the southern west coast. where our first snow never lasts longer than a day and often doesn’t happen until January. (Remember the 2010 Winter Olympics when we had the warmest February ever and had to pull out the snow-making machines??) It’s been unseasonably warm here all autumn, and I don’t imagine the first day of winter will change much. And yet–the pandemic has worsened, and I barely leave my house.

Chris La Tray, in Montana, wrote about an exchange he had with his friend:

Winters are so fucking long here…And that’s how we get through them: we do a lot of shit all summer long. And I hadn’t done a fucking thing.

The difference between BC and Montana is that here, the bad weather is long. We have to take advantage of the good weather when it arrives because we don’t know when it’ll return. And I haven’t done a fucking thing. I haven’t gone hiking. My bike hasn’t even been outside. I avoided the beach because it was crowded with young families, desperate to get out of the house. The closer we get to winter, the more guilty I feel about squandering sun and blue sky.

But then I say, Forgive yourself. This is a year of a global pandemic, political unrest, and class rebellion. I can go hiking in 2021. Right now, I need to rest up and prepare.

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