Last post of 2021 (kinda)


I know, I’m cheating by backdating this one. But it’s still the liminal space between 2021 and 2022 proper, it’s the weekend, and over the last few days I was mostly focused on getting the previous post out (and making too much food for our 2-person NYE).

Anyway. 2021 in review.


I kept a weekly log of “things done” for just-about every week I was working in 2021. Most of it was “worked on Block Directory” and “worked on Pattern Directory.” I’m going to dive into that log properly when I’m back at work tomorrow, so this post won’t really be work-related.

I got the COVID vaccine as soon as I could find a place, in March/April, then Mel & I took our first trip from Philly to the Shenandoah Valley. We got a very remote cabin in the woods, which was nice, but was a nightmare to get to. We went hiking, out to a brewery, and to the Luray caverns, which I’d definitely recommend especially on a rainy day.

In June, there was a rainstorm that caused our basement to flood – possibly the whole neighborhoods’ basements. Apparently this is a problem in South Philly, since we have a combined sewer system. If the rain falls too fast for the sewers to keep up, it backs up into residents’ houses… especially if you have a shower & toilet downstairs like we do. Also means that the water that floods back up is revolting. So everything the dirty water touched had to get a deep clean or get tossed. Thankfully insurance covered the cost, but we’re still waiting on the city to install a backwater valve to prevent this… it happened again at least 3 other times over the summer.

We also continued our backyard gardening, despite having much less yard space and no dirt whatsoever. We got some outdoor chairs, and I was able to work outside in the spring. I built a standing raised bed (it’s 2ft x 6ft, 2ft off the ground). I should have lined it with an actual lining, not burlap (dirt has been falling through), but they were sold out when I was building it. Between the raised bed, pots, and grow tubs, we had a big setup. I think we were overambitious – our seedlings weren’t very strong – so next year I think we’ll cut back a little. Overall though, a good summer in our new yard.

A medium sized dog looking at the camera while laying on the floor. She has brindled fur and a white patch on her chest.

We got a new dog on September 1st, Lemon. According to her adoption listing, she’s a jindo/shiba inu mix, and while I see it, she was also found in a construction site as a puppy so I don’t know how identifiable her parents were. Either way, she’s very cute, and the perfect size. And she’s terrified of everything. She bonded with me immediately and is scared/skeptical of Mel, which sucks because Mel wanted the dog.

The cats are split on whether the dog is welcome. Voxel likes her but neither of them know how to interact with the other, and Pixel is Very Mad but wants to eat her food.

Lemon is terrified of Pixel and whines when she comes near. I think Voxel confuses her— the other one is so mad but this one is friendly, what do I do?


In the fall, my dad had a (non-COVID) medical issue, and was in the hospital & rehab for over a month (he’s healing well, and feeling better now). That meant I needed to go stay with my mom, since she needs help and can’t live by herself. I ended up living in my childhood bedroom for something like 5 weeks, then went back to help out over the weekends for another 4 weeks (said childhood bedroom has since been a storage room, a cousin’s room, and currently a pullout-couch guest room). I’m glad I was able to go back and help out, but it was a very emotional/stressful experience for a number of reasons.

I ended 2021 with a 314 day streak on Duolingo! I mentioned in my “My Typical Day” post that I had started learning Korean, and I’ve kept up with it all year. Unfortunately, I don’t think Duolingo is a good way to learn, but it’s so playable. It’s notoriously bad for East Asian languages, I wouldn’t actually recommend it. Once I hit the 365 day streak, I’m going to put it down in favor of LingoDeer, which is supposed to be better (and from the first few levels I tried, I already agree). I also want to try to journal/blog in Korean. I tried it once, it took over an hour and I got 3 sentences written that feel very much like a kindergartner wrote them. I know practice will help with that, and no one will see them (unless I get the guts to post to /r/WriteStreakKorean), so… I just need to do it.

I’m still baking, in fact I started and ended the year with babka. The first photo is a babkallah (babka-challah) with a chocolate-cinnamon filling – so twisty and tasty. The second is a cheese babka, with orange-cranberry cheese filling (the dough recipe here is also from Dessert Person). I grew up eating cheese babkas, so that flavor combo will always win to me, but the chocolate-cinnamon is delicious in its own way 🙂


I don’t really have much to say about 2022 without going into COVID, and I wanted to keep this post light. All I can say is that I hope if you’re reading this, you’re doing your part to keep your community safe. I’m hopeful (wishing) we’ll be able to travel again in the summer.

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