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Berta Reality Diary: Vol. 4: Five Good, Five Bad

No matter what happened, I was going to lose my job in 2020.

A year ago today, I worked in live entertainment. My contract was due to end in mid-February. I expected to take a short break, and then move on to the next gig.

There was no next gig.

Things didn't turn out anywhere close to the way I thought they would, but it certainly could have been worse. And it wasn't.

I thought it would be simple to look back on the the past twelve months. Once I started remembering what I was up to back then, I started to feel really strange.

I remember the crowded dining halls, audiences in dark theatres, coatrooms, and buffet line-ups. They seem strange and exotic now. I wonder when I’ll see them next.

Anyhow, on the lighter side, here are five good things (and five bad) from the past twelve months.



Cross-country skiing. Back when the lockdowns began, I was invited out to a friend’s acreage. It was a relief to get away from the city, out of suburbia We rented skis and explored the forest trails. It was a great way to clear your head.


My cross-country skiing skills. I learned I can be standing motionless in my skis, adjusting my gloves or something, and then spontaneously lose my balance and do that awkward sideways fall. At least there was only one witness.



I learned that baking is cheap, easy, and gratifying. I learned that icing is a mound of fat and a mound of sugar thrown together. In a good way. Glorious, but resurrecting my sweet tooth during the early lockdown had one nasty downside...


Gym closures came at a bad time. I like the gym. The way I eat, I kind of need to like the gym. My shape has changed this year, but not from working out.



Video games. For the first time in ten years, I started playing video games as a way to pass the time during some of the frigid late-winter quaratine days. Cooped up in the house for days at a time, it seemed like a good idea. And I mean, it was a cheap and easy way to pass some time.


But gaming doesn't do much much than blow a few hours. I'm not going to have millions of followers watching me stream myself playing Donkey-Kong. I guess a few hours gaming is no worse than binge-watching stuff on Netflix, which brings me to…



The Expanse. Last spring, I finally watched The Expanse on Amazon Prime. I had a blast watching this show, especially the first three seasons. It stands out among everything I’ve watched this year. Engaging storylines, great actors, great energy, creativity, writing that rarely slips...give it a shot if you haven’t already!


Maybe you’ve heard of Nailed It! It’s a reality TV baking show on Netflix. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Nailed It! It's a harmless, cheerful show about people doing terrible, terrible things with cakes. What’s wrong is how much time I spent watching it. I’ve seen every single episode. I thought I was better than this.



The outdoors. Sunny weather and the impulse to find activities away from other people led me to a series of memorable trips to lakes and trails across Central Alberta and to Kananaskis. I was lucky enough to have a quarantine buddy for these trips, and my little collection of camping gear grew into a respectable setup. I did more swimming this summer than I have in ages.


Sleeping in a tent.


GOOD: I have good roommates. In a quarantine year, that is one thing I am very grateful for.

GOOD: My car. This was a good year to not have car payments. My fifteen-year-old Altima continues to run like an all-star.

GOOD: If you're in to football, it's been quite a year. The Chiefs won a Super Bowl, and both Washington and Cleveland made it into the playoffs...Cleveland for the first time in almost twenty years. Let's hope we see the CFL again one day.

GOOD: I did some snake-wrangling this year. No, really:

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