Tuesday, January 11, 2022

2021 - Year of the Dogs

Christof with dogs and mountain in the background

I am pretty sure I said something along the lines of "2021 has to be better than 2020" a year ago. 

It certainly was different than 2020. And for 2022 I am going to predict it will be different again. I am not going to try even harder.


dog and puppies
Yuki & puppies

The main thing that changed this year is what I now lovingly refer to as The Zoo.

Beginning of the year we had a guest cat which sadly passed away. Which affected me more than I expected.

In February we adopted Yuki who was an undernourished female Portuguese Podengo. It seemed she had a rough life and was afraid of men, including myself. She got along well with my girlfriend and our other dog Hoover though. 

After feeding her she slowly was gaining weight, though I noticed that she was increasingly looking pregnant. This was then confirmed by the vet and a week later we had the birth of eight puppies. Yuki was not able to feed them, so we spent the next weeks feeding them by hand. This is a 24h job that I shared with my girlfriend. Sadly only five of the puppies made it. 

The whole process was quite an experience in emotional stress and sleep deprivation. There were times where I couldn't think straight.

In the end we kept three of the puppies, one went to Germany, one to a village close to us and Yuki to a neighbour. 

They are still quite time consuming and have also destroyed our living room and various bits in the house and the garden. I really can't recommend to have more than one puppy. 

We are now a four dog, two cats household. 

I estimate that we are on average every second week at the vet.

Cycling & Sports

VeloViewer cycling stats image
VeloViewer 2021 Overview

With the puppies situation the time on the bike suffered quite a bit. 

I did two trips where I got a bit more riding in. One to Ripoll taking part at the Migracode Gran Fondo and another one renting a camper van and travelling to the Pyrenees

Quite a bit of time was also spend on the indoor trainer, which is great for structured trainings and when you only have an hour available.

I also bought a Concept2 indoor rower, which I am still getting used to. I should have gotten this a lot earlier, as I do miss rowing and there is not much opportunity to do it outdoor around here.

And a lot of time and kilometres walking the dogs. 


Work is still fully remote. I made a few visits to the office, which I always enjoy. 

I have taken on another team and learned some new things in the process.

Some people have left like in many companies all over the world. This is too be expected, but was still a blow to me and the team.


Photo of the river Ebro at sunset
Ebro river

Besides the two cycling trips that I did on my own we also did one trip to Germany with all the dogs to drop of one of them. I really can't recommend this either. Don't travel with four puppies in a van over 2400km. It is no fun!

In November we rented a camper van just for the two of us and travelled a bit in Spain. It was quite relaxing and we choose fancy hotels to enjoy the downtime without the zoo. 

There is really enough fun stuff to see in Spain. 


I have a separate post bout my 2021 Books. I plan to keep the fiction/non-fiction rhythm going this year.

I have a long backlog of books to read on Goodreads, but I am open to suggestions too.

Friday Links 

The links are still going. With 39 posts I kept the frequency up, usually only skipping bank holidays and vacations. 

I am still considering improving these in some way, but I also don't want to increase the time I spend on these a lot.  So writing a lot of context is out of the question.

One idea would be to put a hard limit on the number of links and removing some topics completely. If I do a change this will be gradually over the year.


No major injuries! And the virus probably didn't get me either.

I got vaccinated during the summer and boosted in January 2022. It makes you a bit more relaxed about life.

I am very impressed about how Catalonia and Spain have handled the whole crisis and the vaccination drive. It helps to have a population which is not following some weird pseudo-science.

House & Garden

Not much improvement in the house, mostly home automation.

I installed a connected cat flap in the bathroom, which gives the cats a lot more freedom and we can see how active they are. I also replaced the cat feeding stations with connected versions. This is super helpful to detect changes in their food consumption, which can be an indicator of some illness.

I also replaced some of light-bulbs with IKEA smart home versions to switch off all lights when we go to bed. 

And most recently a smart thermostat with a separate sensor. The previous one was in a room we rarely us, but had to heat all of the time to satisfy the thermostat.

The garden suffered this year. We didn't have time to plant more than tomatoes and cucumbers.

It has also been so dry that there were not many olive or almonds on the trees. I think it was the year with the least rain in recent history. This trend will likely continue, so we have to rethink our plants in the garden as the current ones won't make it.

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