2021 Year in Review

Happy New Year friends & readers!

We hope this season finds you with some peace and joy. This year brought lots of changes to the Carter-Embry home once again. 

We were vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible. Still yet, we have continued to take precautions against covid. Ammi's health over the last half decade has been greatly impacted by a flu she caught traveling in 2015. That flu triggered Chronic Fatigue/Myalgic encephalomyelitis. This puts Ammi at greater risk of Long Term Covid, which often looks like CF/ME.

Cirrus came into our lives in February of this year and he is such a bright spot. We were expecting a second Magnus; we did not get that. Cirrus is full of energy, curiosity, and mischief. On the other hand big brother Magnus is calm, questioning, and rule-following. 

This year Cirrus grew to be almost as big as Magnus. He’s learned to talk with buttons for "yard", "porch", "dinner", "water", "play", and "cuddle" (and it can be quite annoying). He can sit and wait. He adores his big brother and Bella (Ammi's business partner's yorkie). 

Magnus has taken the big brother role in stride. He’s not into cuddling his brother (but to be fair Cirrus thinks cuddling involves chewing). He does love playing lots of different games, chase being the favorite. He makes sure Cirrus is following the rules.

I was ecstatic on Christmas Day when the pups actually slept next to each other. I said it was my Christmas present from them, an actual cuddle.

We are so happy to say that after a year with us, Jim recovered enough to move back home. He is living independently in his own home. He has a nurse who visits monthly to check on him and a robot to handle his medications. He seems to have settled in well.

Daniel is genuinely enjoying his job at Autodesk. It's a big place; he didn't know what to expect. What he's found is a lot of kind and smart people. It's a company that values their people as people, not assets. They generously give bonuses, unlimited time off, and gifts. With all the desk-sitting, the Theragun massager has been a lifesaver!

Besides work, Daniel has stayed busy. When not perched at a computer or working in the yard, he was thumping away on a ukulele. This was easier since Ammi keeps getting him awesome instruments as gifts! This year she got him a Kala UBass, an acoustic contrabass ukulele. Cirrus loves to hear Dad sing and play but Magnus has been in Nashville too long. It takes more than that to impress him.

Ammi's startups have had good years (excellent in pandemic times) . This year DirectOffer launched their National app. The app got a four star rating from the Inman Real Estate Journal. In 2022 DirectOffer will continue connecting to Brokers & REALTORS® across the country. DirectOffer is giving REALTORS® patent pending listing AudioTours, InterestGrid, and much more. AuctionLook signed up more state associations. AuctionLook is the largest MLS service for Auctioneer associations in the United States. AuctionLook represents over 23 Auctioneer Associations. AuctionLook will launch a new API and new features to better serve our Auctioneers in 2023.

This year Daniel bought Ammi a saxophone, her first since high school. She's been practicing Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love" to get the hang of it again after 20 years. Thank goodness for YouTube. Ammi's still reading psychology, neurology, and sociology books. This year's favorites Nedra Glover Tawwab and Brene Brown. 2021 brought some peace for Ammis health with less struggles than any year since 2015. We're unsure if it's the slower pace of pandemic life, moving, or just enough time, but it's been wonderful. It's a huge blessing and prioritizing her health has been paramount. 

After Jim moved home we redecorated the basement. The space that was his bedroom is now an active hobby space with a table and Ammi’s Granny’s easel. His kitchen is our snack and drink area since we watch all our TV in the basement. So far we’ve built Daniel a Hurdy Gurdy, started a painting of the puppies, and began a macrame project. We researched sectional pit couches but didn't like anything. We bought a queen daybed and we can all finally fit while watching TV. We got the pups some agility-style tubes, and they love playing in them. The basement is now a play area for us all.

We've been working with local landscapers, Nashville Foodscapes. We've made some big changes outside already. Four 4'x8' raised garden beds built in the backyard last spring. We had a very productive first year harvest. This fall we put in our front yard plantings, the centerpiece being a Little Gem Magnolia. Up next: a small storage shed in the backyard, 2022 garden plan, and project list.

Since moving to Crieve Hall, we've discovered some mind blowing local places. They've fed us amazingly well, despite Ammi's soy intolerance. Here are our favorites:

Butterfly Bakehouse

Crystal at Butterfly Bakehouse has made unbelievable custom fine art cookies for us on several occasions. Ammi had hand-painted (icing-ed?) portraits of the pups that stole our hearts.

Crieve Hall Bagel Co

These best bagels I've literally ever had. Before these I would have said I don't like bagels. Crieve Hall Bagel Co at the end of Blackman Road.

Basil Garden

Basil Garden in Brentwood has been our go-to pizza since moving. The pizza reminds me of the local pizza places I hung out at in high school, and the cheese bread is amazing.

King Tuts

My favorite lunch or dinner place is King Tuts on Nolensville Road. Not only does Rocky have the best falafel, but I dream about his lamb plate.

The guys there loved meeting Jimmie Carter (Pop). They said in Egypt where they were from, President Carter was featured heavily on the news when they were young. They still ask about him whenever we pick up falafel.

Connie and Jonny

Our latest discovery is Connie and Jonny donuts. Even day-old they are still the best donuts I've ever had (I'm sorry Great American Donut). Seriously, it is hard to understate just how beautifully light these donuts are. I cannot wait until the January pre-order opens to see what the next set of flavors will be.

This year we've been lucky enough to discover great shows, musicians, and authors. These are a few of our favorite discoveries of 2021:

The Dragon Prince

Netflix Fantasy Animated Series

We found this series because Jack De Sena, the voice of Sokka from The Last AirBender, is a main character. It was quickly an all-time favorite.

Ted Lasso

AppleTV Comedy-Drama Series

Not wanting to invest in AppleTV we held out. But we finally bit the bullet before Season 2 and loved the entire series. This life affirming series kept us laughing, while making us think and talk.

The Repair Shop

BBC Docuseries (watched on Hulu, no longer available in the US)

Watch (if you can find it) a lot of really talented artisans restore sentimental antiques in an old barn in the English countryside. Bring tissues, you’re going to love it.

Austin City Limits

PBS Docuseries (that somehow Daniel missed until this year)

How did Daniel miss this? It’s music. A lot of really great music.

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story

Documentary

Oh god, I feel so old. This is wonderful, but be prepared to say it to yourself as well.

The Toys that Made Us

Netflix Docuseries

It’s a huge treat to look back at the history surrounding popular toys of our childhoods. How did the Star Wars merch craze start? Where did My Little Pony come from? Seeing the creating forces talk about their work was a blast.

The Movies that Made Us

Netflix Docuseries

Clearly, this series is along the same lines as The Toys That Made Us. It’s surprising to see in retrospect how some of these powerhouse, culture-changing films were almost never made.

It's a Wonderful Life

1958 movie

Daniel had missed until this year
A Wonderful Life. What a beautiful (and at times frustrating) flick. George Bailey’s goodness (as portrayed by the great Jimmy Stewart) can only be outweighed by the sadness we feel for him in his time of greatest desperation.

Stargate

SciFi Media Franchise | Movie & Syndicated Show

Ammi had missed until this year despite James Spader
Daniel loved the movie since he saw it in theaters but had never seen SG1. Together with Jim, we all watched the movie and many seasons. Good fun. Which do you prefer, Kurt Russell or Richard Dean Anderson? Oh, James Spader? Makes sense.

Grandson

Canadian-American Singer, Songwriter, & Musician

Grandson has a really unique voice (both in tone and words). He balances a fairly high voice against hard rock riffs for a powerhouse punch. Check out Blood // Water or Dirty
 

Robert DeLong

Electronic Musician

Catchy catchy catchy. Daniel often found himself listening to a radio mix saying “Who is this? Oh that figures, him again.” Try Long Way Down or Favorite Color is Blue (with K. FLay).

Tai Verdes

Singer-songwriter

Tai found success on TikTok and Instagram, his music was uplifting and inspirational when the world needed just that. Try A-O-K to brighten your day, and Stuck in the Middle for some impressive wordsmithing.

Joywave

Indie Rock Band

Another catchy electronic pop group, Joywave music is smooth and fun to hear. Daniel has enjoyed learning a few on the Uke, including their song Now.

Ian McConnell

Writer, Singer, Performer, Producer, And Multi-instrumentalist

We discovered Ian through his viral music video on Instagram. He’s a funny, talented local Nashvillian that produces music to match. His new Christmas song, is my all time favorite. 

Daði Freyr

Icelandic Musician

Ahh, Daði has such a unique voice. This is some seriously catchy songwriting with a distinctive Icelandic accent. Daði was going to be in Eurovision 2020 but it was canceled (there was a pandemic or something). Check out Think About Things, 10 years, and Ímyndin (feat. Arnar Úlfur).

AJR

Indie Pop Trio Composed Of Multi-instrumentalist Brothers

These three bros have been playing music and releasing albums since they were kids. Their earliest albums have them looking like young Hanson (but brunette). Their recent work is absolute fire. Well produced, written, and performed. With their catchy tunes and catchy lyrics, it’s no wonder they’ve “skipped to the good part”. WAAAAHHH WAHH WAH WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

The Halluci Nation, formally A Tribe Called Red

Canadian Electronic Music Group, who Blend Instrumental Dance Music with Elements of First Nations Music

Their band description pretty much says it. Fantastic, powerful First Nations electronic music. Check out Electric Pow Wow Drum, or if you like Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) try R.E.D. (feat. Yasiin Bey, Narcy & Black Bear). If you want to hype, nothing quite hypes like pow wow drums.

The Awkward Yeti

Online Comic

You actually see very little of the Yeti himself. This is mostly a comic about the Yeti’s organs, drawn as adorable little anthropomorphic characters with wills of their own. Heart and Brain are often at odds. Tongue issss hilarioussss. And we all feel bad for poor little gall-bladder.

Nedra Glover Tawwab

Author, Instagram Influencer, Licensed Therapist & Renowned Relationship Expert

Nedra is a therapist who focuses on boundaries and her book and post have really spoken to this house in 2021.

Elyse Myers

Instagram Comedian

Elyse embraces awkward and makes Ammi laugh on the regular.

Pet Foolery

Online Comic

Pixie and Brutus are the cutest and we love following their adventures.

Old favorites revisited:

The Good Place

NBC Comedy Series

The Good Place is an excellent show that we revisit on occasion. Ammi plans on completing the philosophy reading list from the show.

Good Omens

Fantasy Series

Good Omens is based on a book by Neil Gaiman. The production quality is fantastic and it’s excellently acted by David Tennant and Michael Sheen.

The Umbrella Academy

Netflix Fantasy Series

A fun series that’s wonderfully acted, based on a comic book, and a dark take on Superheros by Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance.

LetterKenny

Canadian Comedy Series (watched on Hulu)

If you’ve missed Letterkenny, well, bad gas travels fast. Allegedly. Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er.

You’ll have to get up pretty early in the morning. “For what?” Well, if you want to fool me. “Why would I want to fool you?” I’m just saying, if you wanted to, you’d have to get up. Pretty early in the morning. “But why would I want to fool you?”

Avatar The Last Airbender

Animated Series

A favorite we’ve rewatched a dozen times. Avatar will always be one of our favorite animated show.

THERE IS NO FILM IN BA SING SE.

Star Trek

SciFi Franchise

We’ve been slowly making our way through from the original series for years. Jim started again, and we watched them through with him, We started with TOS in 2016 and have watched every episode of every show and movie in order of original release date. Yes, even the animated series. It should have been a podcast.

The Witcher

Netflix Fantasy Series

Who isn’t watching The Witcher this winter? Season 2 just dropped and it is goooood. Daniel isn’t a huge fan of how Jaskier is treated by the other Witchers, but whatever.

Post Secrets

Mail Art Project

People have been mailing in anonymous secrets since 2005 and a few are shared every Sunday. They are beautiful and eye opening.

Humans of New York

Photography & Story Anthology Series

A photograph series on Instagram that started in NY, but has been all over the world. They share real stories of people and change lives in the process.

The Sandman audiobook | Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman

(Ammi listened and loved it)

The Sandman has been on Ammi’s want to read list for a few years, but she wanted a good edition. Luckily the audiobook came out and it was like the radio shows Ammi enjoyed on tape as a child. Neil Gaiman is one of Ammi's favorite authors, so this was a treat.

Brene Brown

Professor, Lecturer, Author, & Podcast Host

Ammi's trying to finish reading all her work. Her writing, podcast, and Netflix Special have helped Ammi become a better person. She partners with and interviews some amazing people. Brene’s goals seem to be making the world better by making people better, one at a time.

Plastic Hearts | Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus | Singer, Songwriter, And Actress

Plastic Hearts was a great album, I don’t care what you think of Miley personally. (Let me be clear we like her and don’t want to hear about it if you don’t). This album features a heavy, classic tone with lots of featured talent: Dua Lipa, Billy Idol, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks. I mean, HOW COULD IT NOT BE AMAZING?

Willow

American Singer, Actress, And Dancer

Willow was my favorite part of Red Table Talk when I was watching that, but she has been in everyone's head with Meet Me at Our Spot.

Embassy of Sound

Sound Therapist

Ammi’s old friend, Daman, has started sound baths and released a beautiful album. He uses singing bowls, gongs, chimes, and more to create mystical melodies.

After lots of research and heart searching we’ve decided on our next big adventure. We’re hoping to move to Valencia, Spain after the condo sale is final. We’ve been learning Spanish since before our wedding and we’ve fallen in love with the city of Valencia. It has amazing museums, parks, public transportation, and more. It will be the perfect home base to travel Europe.

So far our Spanish learning has been limited to apps. This year we're kicking it up. We're getting online tutors and joining a language exchange to immerse ourselves in Spanish. The pups and us will be traveling by transatlantic crossing, car, and train to arrive in Valencia. It's going to be an amazing adventure. Our hope is to rent near the Jardin del Turia (Turia Park) in Ciudad de Valencia (City of Valencia in Valencia Community).

If you haven't yet, get vaccinated and boosted against Covid so we can end this thing. Warm tidings of health and joy in the Happy New Year, 

Daniel, Ammi, Magnus & Cirrus

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