A while ago I was happy 2020 came to an end. Two years on, in the hindsight I must admit I shouldn’t have been complaining at all.
That said, all things eventually come to an end, even those appearing eternal. So it’s time for a traditional upshot post.
There are quite a few pictures under the cut, as a compensation for my lack of activity in this blog throughout the past year.
My personal troubles predated those of my fellow Russians. My mother passed on January 3rd. She was 87 and far from being healthy. I visited Russia for the funeral, which wasn’t exactly an entertaining occasion.
That was happening against a backdrop of Russia’s preparing to invade Ukraine. A threat hardly anyone in the general public — Russians included — deemed realistic back in the day.
In early February I’ve run 20 km while having COVID, being unaware of that. That proved to be an interesting experience.
On February 18th I’ve witnessed the wind level 8 (Beaufort scale) for the first time in my life on my InfoPi screen. That corresponds to an average wind speed of 17-20 m/s. The cause was the storm Eunice.
And on February 24th, as we all know, Russia went astray. There’s a lot of things said about that, and even more to come, so I’m going to pass here. I remember following newsfeeds all day in real-time, and that was gruelling.
At the end of the month we’ve been to Den Bosch (a.k.a. Oeteldonk) carnival. It brought us mixed feelings because of all what’s been happening in Ukraine at the time.
What a stark contrast the playful carnival images were with the hellish footage of Ukrainian cities under Russian shelling. We expected Kiev would go down in a few days.
I March my wife has finally got an e-bike — something she was long time asking for. She can now easily cycle 25 km/h, even in high heels.
It was also in March it became clear Kiev wasn’t going to go down any time soon.
On April 1st the nature made a good joke by covering trees in full bloom with snow.
We visited Cologne, Germany, in the Easter. The weather was perfect and the city beautiful; the only issue was that almost everything was closed during those days.
A week later we flew over to Portugal for the spring holidays, and stayed there until early May. We’ve visited lots of places in Porto (the origin on the same-named wine) and Lisbon, the capital.
I’ll remember that trip by the warm weather, the hilly landscapes, the Portugese wine, the azulejo tiles and the distinct atmosphere of the old Europe.
On our way back from Lisbon to Porto we randomly visited Bacalhôa Buddha Eden, which turned out an incredibly beautiful place, with numerous sculptures, hundreds of sheet-iron animals, a bamboo grove etc. It’s heavily underrated in my view.
In early May our family was expanded by a Bengal cat called Cheetah. She was lean and slender, and at the time we weren’t aware she was pregnant.
Mid-May I’ve had my first ever hot air balloon ride. I received it as a present a couple of years before, but the ride was postponed several times because of the COVID pandemic and bad weather.
About the same time our almost-six-years-old daughter took part in the Avondvierdaagse, an “evening four-day” walk. It’s a kids’ version of the “real” annual Vierdaagse, during which adults walk up to 50 km per day, totalling up to 200 kilometres. Since that’d be a bit too much for children, they would usually walk only five km in the evening, hence the name. Students from all schools in town are free to take part if they wish, and there are usually a lot of participants — only in Houten perhaps more than a thousand.
In the end of May I got badly injured by spraining my ankle at a trampoline park: I couldn’t even step on that foot during the next week.
That was a mishap that caused a month-long break in my running schedule, not to mention my aikido trainings. A month later I could only run 5 km, and returned to twenty only in early July. The ankle is almost completely recovered now, but it took more than half a year.
In June I won a first prize in my life, a digital DAB radio.
Another June highlight was visiting DEPOT in Rotterdam. The name’s a kind of pun: depot and de pot (like a flower pot the building resembles). It’s essentially an art depot, which is displaying (some) works at the same time. As I was told, the total worth of the works in DEPOT is about € 8 billion.
In the end of June our Cheetah gave birth to four kittens: three boys and a girl.
We sold three of those and kept one. He’s got the name Шмель (“Bumblebee” in Russian). Shmel' looks very much like the mommy, and is gradually approaching her size:
Most of July we spent in Alanya, Turkey. That proved hard: some 40 °C every day, and almost impossible to stay outside. You might go to the seaside, but you’d definitely need a cover. All in all, it’s a very touristic place, and not in a nice way: there’s literally nothing to do except lying down on the beach. It did feature a few attractions, but you could see all of them in a couple of days.
The most notable one is the Red Tower, Kızıl Kule, which reveals a magnificent sea view:
On our way back we stayed a day in Antalya, a larger Turkish city. I liked it much better there: more bars, restaurants, stores, foreigners; more life, in other words.
In August I restarted my powerlifting workouts in Basic Fit in a wish to re-attain my numbers. The last time I paid some serious attention to weight lifting was in Russia, back in 2008.
Then I had COVID, for the third time already, with very mild symptoms.
We spent another weekend in another German place: Münster, a beautiful old city.
To avoid any more surprises, we’ve had our Cheetah sterilised in September. She immediately started putting on weight and is now probably double the original size.
I got a present from my wife, the Kangoo Jumps, quite a peculiar gizmo. It isn’t as hard as it seems to start with, but pretty demanding physically, and a great way to maintain your physical condition.
It’s a tradition for us to visit the Efteling attraction park in September. It’s great fun for kids, the only downside there are the enormous queues.
Also, we’ve seen Cirque du Soleil live for the first time. The show was amazing, I particularly liked the way they let the music to direct the show.
The autumn holidays we’ve spent on Crete, Greece. The island is huge and offers a lot to see. The weather in late October was perfect: some 23-25 °C, you can even swim in the sea if you like. It’s also a great lace for hiking, has delicious food and friendly people.
It also has lots of churches and monasteries. I’m not that much into religious architecture, but some thing did impress me.
Another highlight was the city of Chania: it’s beautiful even in bad weather.
My major November achievement was making a “smart” staircase lighting, which goes on when someone approaches it. It took me full two days of work, but my perfectionism was satisfied upon completion.
Oh, and we almost completely quit drinking alcohol, impressed by Andrew Huberman’s podcast about alcohol effects on human’s body and health.
December was traditionally full of Christmas and New Year’s Eve-related fuss: Sinterklaas, Xmas parties etc.
We’re spending the Christmas period itself in the French Alps (Les Arcs), in the magic of snow riding and mountains.
The bottom line
So here’s a summary of my year in numbers and facts:
- A run of a total of 901 km. It’s less than the year before, but not so bad considering my injury, which prevented me from running during a whole month.
- I managed to recover my strength condition and push 135 kg in a bench press. That was exactly my record of 15 years ago, and I’m not stopping there!
- I wrote 55 Russian, 18 English, and 5 Dutch posts.
- I released three Ymuse versions, a Flathub listing, also it will be available in the upcoming Ubuntu version and, likely, in Debian too.
- Two versions of Sound Switcher Indicator.
That’s about it, I think.
Happy New Year to ll my readers! I want to believe the next year will be an improvement (it seems now things just cannot get any worse, but they probably can).