21 Reasons Why ’21 Didn’t Suck

When I woke up this morning, it was snowing and 5º. I lounged in my recliner, sipping a cup of coffee, watching the snow pile up as the temperature dropped. It was down to zero when Tara left shortly before 8 a.m. I felt bad that she had to work and was grateful that I didn’t have to venture out anywhere.

Thirty minutes later, I found myself climbing a hill in the snow and subzero cold. “Just a little walk,” I’d told myself, but that brief stroll turned into a ninety-minute, four-mile hike.

I may be insane.

For what it’s worth, if “dressing in layers” were an Olympic sport, I’d have taken the gold. I wore long johns, snow pants, a hoodie, a winter coat, a scarf, a winter hat with ear flaps, heavy-duty gloves, thick socks, and snow boots over my regular clothes. I even opened a pack of those disposable hand warmers and shoved them down my gloves. Despite a temperature of -2º I was not cold.

You know, for a guy who was born in Hawaii and spent nine years of his life in the tropics, I’d say I’ve adapted pretty well to this climate.

When I got home, I finally relaxed. Err…after shoveling the driveway and sidewalk first. Then I relaxed. This is what it looked like:

I had a blazing fire keeping me warm and Dexter: New Blood entertaining me. I was a huge Dexter fan back in the day. So much so that I dressed up as Dexter Morgan for Halloween in 2008, right down to the blood-spattered gloves and syringe. I’m still amazed my boss let me get away with it. Pretty sure he had no idea who I was supposed to be.

By the time the final season rolled around, I’d lost interest. Didn’t even bother watching it—and based on the fact that it’s one of the most reviled series finales ever, I don’t think I missed much. But the reboot has been earning glowing reviews and curiosity got the better of me. Showtime is free for the first month, so I figured I had nothing to lose. Signed up and started watching last weekend. And I’ve gotta say, this new incarnation of Dexter is really good!

I’m still in the basement in front of that fire. I plan to stay down here pretty much until midnight rolls around. When Tara gets home we’re going to put on records, play cards, and enjoy some cocktails. We’re ordering Chinese food from Great Wall. We don’t need to go out to party it up (and with temps dropping to -10º and wind chills -30º tonight, we’d be crazy to anyway).

So, 2021. What can I say? We all had high hopes for this year, and…sigh. Hasn’t been much better than 2020, has it? But I’m an optimist and intend to go out on a high note! I thought I’d reflect on the good things I experienced this year. Without further ado, here are 21 reasons why ’21 didn’t suck.

  1. No more Trump.
  2. Caught an amazing sunrise in the Badlands.
  3. Had a local Native American artist paint us a mural.
  4. Bought new patio furniture and an outdoor fire table.
  5. Saw 100-year-old sandstone carvings at Medicine Rocks State Park in Montana.
  6. Took a road trip to Ohio and back that included many highlights (Iowa’s Amana Colonies on May Day; White Castle; Turkey Run State Park in Indiana; one of the Wright Brothers’ first airplanes in Dayton; lunch with a longtime blogging buddy in Cincinnati; the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland; a beautiful botanical garden in Madison, WI; the SPAM Museum in Austin, MN).
  7. Enjoyed several Summer Nights concerts downtown.
  8. Got to see my parents. Twice.
  9. Drove to Bismarck, ND and back in one day to buy kayaks, and then…
  10. Kayaked a lot.
  11. Attended the Chislic Festival.
  12. Traveled a lot for work, discovering new-to-me places across the state and meeting fun and interesting people.
  13. Enjoyed a bountiful garden harvest thanks to the hard work and dedication of my wife.
  14. Received a great performance review at work.
  15. Saw Mork & Mindy’s house in Boulder, CO.
  16. Marveled over amazing fall foliage in Spearfish Canyon.
  17. Spent a surprisingly fun weekend in Omaha and got to see our new favorite comedian, Charlie Berens.
  18. We won Halloween.
  19. Enjoyed a three-day visit with my daughter and her fiancee.
  20. Invested in all new kitchen appliances.
  21. Stayed healthy.

There you go! Proof that you can always find silver linings if you look hard enough.

Cheers to a safe and happy 2022, everybody! See ya next year…

17 thoughts on “21 Reasons Why ’21 Didn’t Suck

  1. 2021 wasn’t so bad, although Betty White passed away today! Say WHAT?!

    I bought myself another Jeep for Christmas! Thank goodness, as I am always going to be that Jeep Chick!

    Happy New Year Mark and Tara!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Betty White’s death on the afternoon of the last day of the year feels like a very cruel joke. Sigh. Way to flip us off on the way out the door, 2021.

      I have always wanted a Jeep just like yours, so 2021 definitely didn’t suck for you, Kerri. Hope you have a happy new year!


  2. Love the Dexter costume! I was a big fan then and am enjoying the new season now. Your good things list is a whole lot longer than mine this year… but I do have a full bar with a dual tap kegerator so I’m okay with it.
    Happy New Year!


  3. Always love your winter photos.

    I think we fall into the trap of expect a dramatic turnaround with a new year–especially last year, knowing that Trump would be gone.

    Maybe we should just hope for marginally better?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At this point I’d be overjoyed with marginally better!

      And you’re right. The turning of a calendar page brings with it too much expectation. Especially given the state of the world these days. But here’s hoping anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I never got into Dexter, but my girls’ both loved that show. There are always things to look back on with fondness, even in the worst of times.
    Congrats on winning the Gold in winter dressing and having a good hike on the last day of 2020.
    Whoops. That was the last day of 2021!
    Happy new year to you and Tara


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