2021 in Review: A Better Year, Kinda? Maybe?

Friday, December 31, 2021


Annnnd here we are again, another year down. Time flies when you're in a pandemic, & if I'm being honest, I'm feeling older than ever.

As I started to assemble this post, I checked my phone thinking that I'd scribbled down some notes throughout the year on its... but alas, it turned out that those notes were from last year. And that, in itself, actually kind of sums up 2021: Like, what is time, anyway? 

Anyway. I doubt many people read posts like this, but I love being able to look back on my past year-in-review round-ups, so they're worth it. They take a lot of time, though, so if you wanna read 'em... you know, that'd be cool, too.


January

Mike & I rang in the new year quietly, together with cats, & on New Year's Day, we drank breakfast champagne & ate homemade cinnamon rolls from Sweet Costo

I'll never forget my mom's frantic voice on the phone as she told me that insurrectionists had breached the Capitol. I was working & didn't even know it was happening until she called me, practically screaming. I watched in horror, as so many of us did, that day & in the days to come. 

Finally, Joe Biden became president. Thank God.

And at the end of the month, I mourned the one-year mark of the D&C following my miscarriage.

February

A poem I wrote called "Where I'm From" was published in Neighborhood Voices, an anthology project from Literary Cleveland & the Cleveland Public Library. The book features more than 60 Cleveland writers.

We swapped snacks with friends so we could feel like we were spending Super Bowl Sunday together. And Mike & I celebrated Valentine's Day with a giant charcuterie board from Charcuterie By Sheils.

I met my favorite band in a private virtual video chat before they played an online show. I got to tell them about Dave, who introduced me to their music, & to take a photo with them.

I went to the doctor for the first time since before the pandemic began, to see a reproductive endocrinologist in person. Mike, who couldn't come with me, joined by FaceTime. We left the appointment feeling hopeful.


March

Mike & my mom & I contracted COVID. We don't know where or how we got it, but clearly, we all gave it to one another. Luckily, my mom was one shot in. Mike & I weren't, & we were miserable. I was especially sick, visiting the ER & later receiving monoclonal antibodies. 

Most of March was a wash. We stayed home, of course, isolating for two full weeks. It was a slow recovery. At one point, we went to the beach together to beachcomb & just breathe in the fresh air. Finally.

And I started interviewing for a job with Cleveland Clinic. They canceled my third interview because the hiring manager (now my boss's boss) saw on Twitter that I had COVID, which was embarrassing... but I got the job!

April

Mike & I went out to eat inside a restaurant for the first time since the start of the pandemic. It had been more than a year, & it felt weird, even though we'd just recovered & knew we were safe for the time being. It was strange & joyful.

I said goodbye to the Union for Reform Judaism, where I'd worked for more than 13 years. My going-away party was emotional & meaningful & honestly just everything to me. It was the right decision, but I still miss that place every single day.

I was fortunate to be able to take a week off between jobs, with nary a work email account in existence. I went to Port Clinton & Put-In-Bay alone, & it was glorious. Highly recommend.

I started my new job as a Cleveland Clinic consumer health writer, which was incredibly weird for me after working at the same place for so long. I started to settle in pretty quickly, though it was exhausting for at least a month as my brain adjusted to new routines & tasks. 




May

Once friends were able to get vaccinated, I was excited to start hosting some visitors! Rebecca came from NYC & Brittany came from Columbus in quick succession, & it was great to feel some semblance of normalcy for the first time in a long time.

Speaking of friends, when my friend Sammi came back to Northeast Ohio for her first visit home since the pandemic began, she assembled some high school friends for a picnic at Virginia Kendall Park. It was joyful & perfect.

Mike's cousin Clare graduated from high school, & we finally got to spend some time with our family, eating tater tots as big as golf balls & drinking my favorite bad New England beer, Narragansett, which is now served in Ohio.


June

After months of waiting (I was ineligible for three months after my monoclonal antibodies), I was thrilled to finally receive my first COVID-19 vaccine shot. What a joyful Shehecheyanu moment! 

My longtime BFF Christina came to visit, & I got to spend some time with her & her sweet, wild daughter, little miss Cara. We ate breakfast corndogs, among other things, & Cara terrified my poor cat.

I sustained a weird injury in which a bug flew into my eye & then I had an allergic reaction to the bug? 

We hosted an Americana-themed going-away party for some of our best friends before they moved to Tokyo. I insisted that everyone wear red, white, & blue & make their favorite American foods (lots of peanut butter) to send them off right.

July

A big month! After multiple going-away parties, we finally said a quiet goodbye to our Japan-bound friends, & yes, Mike & I both cried. We're hoping maybe we can visit in 2022?

Ashleigh came to town, & I finally got to meet sweet Ava! I saw Marchae for the first time in years! And we celebrated Erin's bachelorette party with brunch arepas & a beer festival.

We saw our fertility specialist again, who had some bad news for me about my fertility & just kind of my body in general. It was a hard call for me & the start of some health issues that I am unfortunately never really going to be rid of. 

I started going to acupuncture & am now obsessed with it. 

And I chipped away at a long-distance indoor ride the length of the Grand Canyon, a whopping 280 miles. It took me longer than I'd hoped, but I was really proud of myself for doing it!

August

We rang in my 37th birthday at the hunting club in Pennsylvania where my cousin is a member. It was our first time traveling & really being with other people (all vaccinated!) since early 2020.

I had an allergic reaction to fertility medication, which resulted in significant weight gain, which was exacerbated by my new, COVID-induced thyroid disorder. Yeahhh, August wasn't super fun for my body & me.

Annnnd then both Mike & I contracted RSV, & I would say it’s the sickest I’ve ever been in my life if I hadn’t also already had coronavirus this year. Truly a miserable experience, 0/10 do not recommend. 

Oh! But I also visited Mount Vernon, OH, with my mom, which was my first sponsored trip. It was so much fun & such a cute spot. 

September

Mannnn, what a good month. We got to see so many people during this brief window when everything felt safe.

My feature-length profile of Cleveland's Chef Douglas Katz ran in Cleveland Magazine. It was one of the most labor-intensive stories I've done but also one of the most joyous, & I can't wait to try his new restaurant, Amba, when it opens soon.

I finally went to express care for excruciating pain in my knee. I was diagnosed was an exercise overuse injury that required me to go to physical therapy & put me out of commission for a couple months.

And after years & years of following them online, I finally got to meet Becky & Nora in person!

October

Some friends got married, including my longtime friend Lindsey & her now-husband Doug, & Mike's & my dear friends Seth & Erin. 

I got on a plane for the first time since before the pandemic, visiting my friends Sammi & David in Atlanta. They've lived there for more than half a decade, & I hadn't yet visited, so it was a much-needed trip

We spent Halloween weekend visiting friends in Washington, D.C., my first time back since April 2019, & then in Alexandria, VA, visiting our friends Kevin & Amanda & their girls. Mike & I dressed as Men in Black.

November

I graduated from the Rekindle Black/Jewish Fellowship, a really amazing experience that brings together Black & Jewish Clevelanders for education, dialogue, & relationship-building. 

We spent one night looking at houses with a realtor & put in an offer on one that felt like the dream house we'd been waiting for. We learned just before Thanksgiving that it had been accepted, & we got to work planning right away!

We spent Thanksgiving in Hilton Head with my family, seeing them all in person together for the first time since the 2019 holiday. We also got to meet my cousin's fiance, which was exciting. They'll be married by Thanksgiving 2022.

December

Sammi came to town for her birthday, & a bunch of our high school friends celebrated at my favorite college bar. Worlds collide! Double the throwbacks! 

We got COVID. Again. Nope, not kidding. 

Quarantined, we celebrated a quiet Christmas at home together in our packed-up apartment. I'd requested that we not pack the living room until after the holiday so that it could still feel like home for the holiday. 

And on the 29th, we closed on our new house! We're getting ready to move in early January, & we can't believe it all moved so fast & is so coming up so quickly. 

As Counting Crows once sang, "Maybe this year will be better than the last" — but this year had a lot of high points. How was your year? And what are you looking forward to in 2022?

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