Things that didn’t suck in 2021

Yeah, yeah, we’re well into January the new year and I will very soon shut up about 2021, but I can’t implement my OWL (“forward”) before I take one last look back and acknowledge the things that didn’t suck in the year that is gone. I am trying to think outside of the box here (because I’ve done sort of a recap of my year already). Thanks for indulging me!


New mugs never get old. See what I did there. If you haven’t found out already that I have a soft spot for pretty mugs than you must be a fairly new reader or haven’t paid attention.


I think I’ve mentioned before that have an old gym-buddy (an older gentleman I befriended at the gym when I was still going there before the pandemic) that I meet for coffee every once in a while. We’ve loosely kept in touch after we stopped going to the gym (two years ago, gasp!) and it’s been delightful to catch up on a regular basis. Have you ever thought about the people that you regularly used to run into and that you haven’t seen anymore since the pandemic started? So odd to think that these people just “disappeared” from our lives.


Nope, not tired of it yet. I still wish I had a separate office and didn’t work out of the corner of my living room, but I am also not distracted by kids/pets, so there’s that. Things are starting to move towards a reoccupation of our offices and I am currently contemplating my options: apply for full-time remote work, go into maximum telework status (which means I have to go in on average once a week) or a reduced telework schedule (e.g. 50% work from home, 50% office). I am not quite ready to make the decision, but if you have any advice, I am happy to hear it.


My baking schedule has been going strong through 2021 and I’ve successfully kept not one, but two sourdough starters alive for almost two years now. I currently cannot imagine not pulling a beautiful and heavenly-smelling loaf of bread out of the oven every Sunday.


Enough said. As a scientist and generally left-brained person, vaccines were the only thing that made sense to me and I couldn’t have been more excited to get the first, second, and booster shot. They seemed like the only sure way out of this pandemic. Alas, it hasn’t been that straightforward, but there’s hope.


Blogging has continued to be a wonderful creative outlet for me. When I think about how long I’ve maintained this little corner on the Internet and how much has changed over the years – and how many people have come blogged and gone – and how much actually hasn’t changed at all – the fun of sharing and finding like-minded people -, I am profoundly thankful for what the Internet has made possible. It’s been fantastic to keep writing here and to forge new connections, and all this to say: I am so happy you’re here. 


In a year where travel was not really a possibility (at least we felt it wasn’t), I was forever thankful for sunshine, warm temperatures and beautiful blue skies right where I live. The wildfires put a little – okay, a big – damper on our summer, mostly because the air is awful, you’re kept indoors when the only outlet you have is to go for a run or walk, and most importantly, they threaten livelihoods. But I guess no area is spared a climate threat these days. I am still thankful that I live in a beautiful state.


Even though I didn’t read nearly as much as I had anticipated (being stuck at home so much as it was), I picked up the Outlander books again towards the end of 2021 and they’ve re-lit the fire again. The first books came out in 1990’s and there are now nine books total, with the last one being released last year. Since it had been a while since I read the previous books, I wanted to go back and re-read the series before picking up the last one. I am currently on book number 4 and so .


This is kind of an interesting thing, as I usually don’t think of myself as a very competitive person. However, when it comes to competing with myself, it turns out that I thrive on setting new goals and milestones for myself. I ran two (virtual) half marathons last year, I participated in a Power Zone Challenge, I completed a couple of Peloton programs, participated in a few monthly Peloton challenges, and not to forget, I had set a goal at the beginning of the year to complete a 365 Peloton workout streak. What can I say, I like to put these little “check marks” on my workout lists.


Jon and I watched a whole Netflix series last year (applause, please!). We’ve both been in a TV watching rut, I feel like I can’t – and don’t really want – to keep up with the latest shows on all the different streaming platforms, so for us to accomplish a whole series within a few months was really something (and it was worth it). We were both looking for something light and entertaining and Schitt’s Creek was just that.


I was “forced” to take a couple of weeks of staycation last year, as I was approaching the limit of annual leave hours that I could carry forward into the new year. For someone, who always had to scramble to accrue enough vacation time to take time off when my family visited or to take a longer trip home on a somewhat regular basis, having all these extra leave hours to use to “just stay home” for a week (twice!) was pure luxury and bliss.

What did not suck for you in 2021?

  1. I don’t know what to tell you about the work situation but part of me is really happy to see things return to some semblance of normalcy. Maybe a hybrid situation would be good transition (or just the one day a week to start??) I don’t understand why companies are forcing employees to make this decision without asking everyone to try something light to see what works best for their lifestyles? But then, companies also have to pay to keep the lights on so it makes sense.

    Omg your abs are amazing! And I’m so so happy to see the progress you’ve made in your fitness—I can see the improvement in mood and happiness overall on you!

    Also Schitts Creek. I miss it so. And David ❤️ One of the best tv characters ever.

    1. Thank you for your input, Charlotte. I appreciate it. My work place has been very flexible and has asked a lot of the employees’ input on how to move forward. I am very grateful for the opportunity to even choose in which capacity I want to come back. Part of me thinks it would be great to see people in the office again, but I know that many won’t return full time (or at all), so what’s the point for me to go in if my co-workers are not there and I am still doing Teams Calls, just in a cubicle? I am pretty sure we get some flexibility during the transition, but they have to have official word from everyone by mid-February.

      Thanks for the compliment, too. Fitness has kept me sane. Truly.

  2. WFH is the best thing to come out of the pandemic for me. I do not miss the commute or all of those nights when I had to work late and didn’t get to have dinner with my family. But some people just prefer being in the office and there’s nothing wrong with that. Does your company have a “come in as needed” option?

    1. We have had a very flexible policy throughout the pandemic, but I don’t think we have a true “come in as needed option”. Either be “remote” or come in once a week (at a minimum). I wouldn’t mind staying remote, but I wonder how that impacts the “social aspect” of my job going forward.

  3. Ah! This is such a lovely happy post!!! That BREAD is giving me all the heart eyes.

    I LOVE working from home, and have done it for most of my career. But… even though I am very introverted, it can get lonely. I might apply for the full telework, and go into the office once a week. That sounds like a really good balance of time at home, with some time interacting with your colleagues. (I suppose that only works if there are people at the office, and that they are people you want to interact with!) Oh – and that brings me to another experience based suggestion: although people are probably better about it now that we’ve all had to work from home at some point, there is a lot to be said for face time, and it can be really good to get in the office and see/interact with people face-to-face, from a career-advancement standpoint. Especially if most of your team ends up back in the office full time, it could be really beneficial to be in the office regularly.

    1. Thanks Suzanne. Bread is my greatest joy :) #carbsarenottheenemy

      Thanks for your input on the return to work situation. I don’t think I would mind going into the office once a week (I have a very short commute too), but I am wondering how many people will actually return or if I am going to do my Teams Calls from the office now with nobody around LOL I guess time will tell.
      I also see your point about face-time…. I’ve thought about it, although the people that I currently work with directly are spread all over the state and not in my office anyway.

  4. Seeing you twice in 2021 didn’t suck and
    reconnecting with my family has been good as well.
    Im so happy we are still doing the workout challenges!

    1. OMG, seeing you TWICE didn’t suck at all <3

  5. Look at your abs, San! All your hard work has paid off. Or maybe you always had great abs!

    We are returning to the office in early March. I thought it was mandatory but it turns out it is voluntary, but it wasn’t positioned that way so it may be mandatory’ish for my division? 94% of our workforce is vaccinated and everyone has to test once/week. I’m curious to get the tests they are providing. They are “molecular” tests, which is similar to as PCR, but not the same? I’m expected to be in the office Tues-Thur. But every day you have to certify that you are healthy, haven’t had an exposure to covid, etc. So I jokingly told my boss that I’ll maybe be in 1-2 weeks/month since I’m so rarely healthy. I have loved working from home but I know it’s not a permanent situation as my company really wants us back. So I am hoping that once I’m back in the routine of going into the office, I’ll be happy? We’ll see.

    1. Thanks Lisa. Working out has really kept me sane (abs where a side product but I’ll take it!;))

      Thanks so much for your input regarding the work situation… seems like you’re also about to transition back to your office soon (with less flexibility than I am afforded). It’ll definitely be a change again and I do hope that both our situations will turn out to be a good thing. Fingers crossed.

  6. In the before times, after I came back from maternity leave, I started 3 days in office, 2 days working at home. With pandemic, I went full time working from home and then some time in summer 2020, I was back to the 3 in office, 2 home. I’m still doing that for the most part, and I find that the days that I’m in the office, I’m super focused and productive on the tasks I need to do for when I’m there ( often a lot involving museum objects and physical work). The shift has made me more productive and aware of my time- I save a lot of admin tasks and emails for days at home so when I’m in the office, I really get things done. It’s not a full proof system, especially now that Gray is a super active toddler, but it’s working because it has to lol

    1. Thanks for your input, Kristen. I can see how certain things can be done with full focus at the office (esp. physical work in your case). I do think I wouldn’t mind going in once a week. I don’t have a long commute and it would be nice to get out of the house on purpose, but I am also worried that I’ll be at the office, but still not see anyone, because lots of people will stay in at least part-time telework and I might just sit in my office by myself doing Team Calls there. Guess time will tell.

  7. As I’m sitting here, staring out my window in Chicago, I am feeling a little envious at your CA weather! I’m grateful to experience this. And also grateful that, when my husband is done with his program in 3-5 years, we will be heading back west. Where the sun is always shinin’!

    I’m with you on Schitts Creek! I love it so much!

    1. I am sending some CA sunshine your way. I know you must miss it.

  8. That mug and that bread. Swooning over here in my freezing cold Canada.
    This was a wonderful “feel-good” post that made me so happy to see your list of all the things that didn’t suck about what was, for most people, A Very Hard Year!
    So glad I found this space (and started blogging myself) in 2021.
    Cheers to 2022.

    1. Thanks so much Elisabeth. Coffee, mugs and bread are life – haha ;)

      So happy you’re here and that we’ve connected.

  9. Schitt’s Creek was a fantastic part of 2021! I also discovered Taskmaster in 2021 and it has the same sort of vibe to me.

    I work from home and I think going in once a week would be nice, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to have to go someplace and get ready five days a week!

    1. Oh, Taskmaster. Never heard of it. Must look up!

      Yeah, I feel you exactly on the “not ready to have to go someplace”… and who knows what happens in the next few months.

  10. HELLO ABS.

    Wow, you look phenomenal! Must be the power zoning!!

    I think I would go into the office once a week or so, that sounds like a really nice balance. It’s not the same situation, but for me, I really needed to teach in-person classes, rather than zoom – I needed to actually see my students and interact with them not on the screen. Then again, my job is so very part-time, it feels like a nice boost to just get out of the house.

    I love that mug!

    1. Haha- thanks Nicole. Fitness has truly kept me sane and power zoning has really paid off – you should try it sometime (when are we going to ride together? Do you have fixed times?)

      I do understand that teaching is very different and that you need to see people in person (although let me tell you, the situation in Germany at my sister’s school – she’s an elementary school teacher – is truly insane right now. She has some vaccinated in-person students and then also is supposed to do some video teaching at the same time?? How do they think teacher are accomplishing anything like that these days?

  11. Blogging has been a wonderful creative outlet for me too. I love writing a post, taking and choosing the photos and then interacting with other bloggers.
    My favourite part of blogging is the comment section and reading other blogs. So inspiring!

    1. Yes, connecting with other bloggers has been the greatest joy. Thanks for stopping by, Catrina!

  12. I love working from home so much and I’m kinda glad I don’t have to make a decision about whether or not to go back into the office, even one day a week. On the one hand, it would be kinda nice to get out of my apartment and see the people I work with, but I also just loooove being at home all day and not having to worry about putting on real clothes, doing my makeup, commuting, etc. A tough decision for you!

    There was a lot that didn’t suck for me in 2021: getting vaccinated, taking a trip to Chicago with my mom, my promotion at work, getting a significant raise, becoming a Peloton-er! :)

  13. This is gonna sound overwrought af, but even going in one day a week beginning in October was like “ughhh omg” and I found myself dreading Wednesdays (my day to go in) because it was so useless. It was basically a day to stand around and chitchat with people, or fall back into the same old dumb time-wasting habits. Hardly any work got done that one day in, and the next two days were usually spent playing catch up. So my vote is 100% remote! I even got a new job that has no physical office space so I could never go into a building for work again!

  14. I love your list of all the great things that still happened. The people disappearing from is a really strange thing to experience. I have that when going shopping and then some faces you never see.

    One thing that didn’t suck in 2021 was staying at home. There were only a few days I felt like I needed to get out but overall I was happy at home. And now I am ready for a new chapter as we will move within the next two or three month.

  15. Oh, what a great list, San! I love how you stayed connected to your gym buddy! It’s so valuable to have friends of different ages, and to connect with them on different topics and shared interests. :) I had an older guy I connected with many cities and gyms ago, and I often wonder what happened to him.

    COMPLETELY agree on blogging, and on workouts (although I do not look nearly as amazing as you!). Sanity savers, to be sure.

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