Best Of 2020 1/1/21

A Year in Review by Richard Bleil

And here we are, 2020 in the bag and 2021 stretching out into the horizon before us. This has become something of a tradition, so let’s do it again, shall we? Let’s look back at the past year for and see how we did.

Readership was down this year. Last year, in a last-minute surge, we beat the 10,000 “hit” mark, but this year it looks like we’ll be shy of 9,500, a roughly 5% decline in “hits”. This year is a little bit different from last, though, in that we are now sponsored, so let’s hope we don’t tick those good people off. These “hits” came from over 50 nations worldwide, topped (not surprisingly) by the United States (over 7,770), Canada (about 590), India (almost 270), the United Kingdom (over 250), and China (about 130). There were also hits from countries like Sri Lanka, Mauritus, Slovakia, St. Lucia, Bangladesh and more. I’ve also topped over 200 “followers”, which is a pretty cool thing, some of whom have followed me from day one. Over thirty have joined in this month alone, so welcome to all of my newest followers, and many thanks to ALL of you. There’s not much of a theme to this blog, so I hope you’ll find items of interest to keep you following.

And now, counting down, my ten most frequently read posts. Tied for the number 9 spot (out of 365 posts!) is “Still in Pain”, from 11/17/20. The reality is that, years since my divorce, it still hurts. Even in the past couple of days I’ve found myself thinking about my narcissistic and emotional abusive ex-wife, and I have no idea why this would be the case. A total of 38 people read this post, and now know as much about it as I do (which is precious little). Ironically, the second post in the number 9 spot is “A Love Letter” from 2/2/20. Frankly, I enjoy writing love letters when I have someone special in my life, but unfortunately, it’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to write one. This was just an example of the kind of love letter I used to write to my wife, when I was married, at least once every two weeks and typically more frequently than that.

In the number 8 spot is “A Pickle” from 7/30/20. Inspired by my friend who found herself with FAR more cucumbers than she expected, I went into a bit about osmotic pressure and the physical chemistry behind drying out cucumbers in a liquid solution.

At number 7 is “Tough Day”, from August 17. This dealt with the death of my father, and how, despite the animosity between us and distance from him for many years, I was still hit hard by his loss. It surprises me, frankly, that a man who has been such a small part of my life for so many years still evoked feelings of loss when he passed on.

Tied for number 5 begins with “My Father” written on 7/27. My father’s passing was a common theme this year, for obvious reasons, and this was the first post where I announced my father’s passing the day before. It also launched something of a family squabble as I also mentioned how, precisely, I found out. Ironically, also tied for six (both with 43 reads) was “My House”, written on September 21. This was a sweet and funny but ironic story about how my tenant sold my first house. I told the story tongue-in-cheek, since I fully supported her doing so, but it’s one of those funny things that happens to me but seems somehow just wrong. And, no, I got none of the proceeds, nor did I deserve them. That was all her.

At number 4 with 44 hits is “The House” from 10/21. Unlike “My House” about my first home being sold, “The House” is the story of when my bid for my current home was accepted. This was a very inexpensive home and needed a lot of work before I could actually move it, but still seems to be an outstanding deal, just far too much home for me. Every day, this home does make me think of my father as I purchased it with the proceeds from his will. I guess even in his death dad took care of me.

From all the way back to January 28, even before we knew what a rocky road 2020 was destined to be, I wrote “Unrequited Love” coming in at number 3 with 46 readers. Despite the number of loves I have held for women that were unrequited, this story was a little bit different as it recalls a former student who swore her love for me, and the difficult position it put me in. I hope she found her way.

“Support Network” came in at number 2 with 47 reads. This was a difficult and painful post for me to write as it dealt with my blood family, and the lack of support I received from them in the difficult time of my father’s death. Ironically, I suspect that part of the reason this post ranked as high as it did is because of my family, with evidence showing that they had begun reading my blogs although I suspect their motives in doing so were less than altruistic.

And the most read post? At 49 hits, “My Father” (it was a common theme this year) on 7/18. Prior to his passing, my sister (correctly) put my father in hospice. This piece was written before he passed, but after he was put into hospice.


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