Friday, November 07, 2014

Blog Year Retrospective #9

Nine years!? Crikey! I'm here for another retrospective, remembering the highs and lows of this past year on my blog.

I took a much-need leave of absence from my blog this year and failed to document some fairly significant events, but I hope to cover them soon. Before I get into what's new, let's jump back to last November.

A year ago, I released a series of blog posts highlighting my discovery of Asperger's Syndrome and how my life has changed since I found out that I'm not, in fact, crazy. This series of posts forced me to really open myself up and share in a public venue my internal workings. It was both challenging and liberating to write, and while there was some negative feedback, I also discovered a little more of my inner strength and determination. The Man and I agree that our marriage is much stronger now that we have tools for skirting my weird brain and that we take more time to listen to each other.

Our cats just turned two years old this summer. They are healthy, seem happy, and are finally fully grown. Annie's favorite spot is the top of their cat tree in our office or relaxing between my legs as I recline in our chairs in the living room. Eddie has taken to his new ball track very well and plays with it for hours and hours every day. We attempted to take them out on leashes several times this summer, but passing cars seemed to frighten them too much, and all of the worms and frogs pose too much of a tempting treat to allow them outside for long. They no longer hide when our parents come over, and they're much more used to many of our friends now, so hopefully they'll be friendly if you stop by.

The Man and I were able to take a week off from our work and busy lives to visit Washington D.C. The trip was amazing, and we saw all the sights and ate our way across the city. Neither of us ever want to move there, but it was great to see so much history and be completely immersed in the culture and crazy that is D.C. Best part was the National Basilica, worst part was the crowds, and the thing we most wanted to take home with us was the Metro (because public transportation in our area is appalling).

Our house and yard demanded pretty considerable chunks of time this year, partly because we tore out so many plants and put in so many plants and plants, plants, plants! I am worn out remembering all of the research, shopping, price comparisons, shade-vs-non-shade plants, ugh. But we went from a jungle to a proper kept yard, and we have plans for better grass next spring and summer. Hopefully the only planting I'll have to do is a few pots and one or two replacement plants. Our only changes inside the house involve the addition of two new rocker/recliners in the living room. They were the last real pieces of post-college furniture we needed to replace or add, so now, as we recline side-by-side watching Sherlock on Netflix in the evenings, we actually feel grown up (or maybe that's because I fall asleep at 9:00pm as soon as we settle in the chairs under fleece blankets... I'm getting old).

The Man and I went back to school at the end of the summer for one week when we took the Wilderness First Responder course through Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities held at the Adventure Leadership Institute at OSU. We both certified and learned a ton in our ten days of 8-hour-day classes. The night scenario involved a trek into the forest after dark to test our skills as individuals and as a team. While some aspects of the class were slightly disappointing, the overall experience and knowledge gained are awesome! The Man and I are both super glad to have taken the class and both highly recommend it to everyone interested in backcountry medicine, self-reliance skills, or search and rescue.

Work, though not a part of my blog, remains a constant part of daily life. Without going into details, I'll say that work directly contributed to my absence from my blog this year, and while I still enjoy the work that I do, I'm struggling to find joy and lightness at work. It is hard to want to write about my life when the majority of it is spent in a more or less hostile environment every day. On a positive note, I'm still taking on new responsibilities and have hopes that, someday, this work will be properly rewarded.

The last twelve months haven't always been easy, but The Man and I are incredibly thankful for the journeys we've taken, the lessons we've learned, and the plans we've been able to make. 2014 was a year of finding a new me and a better, even stronger us.

Here's to nine years on the blog and the hope that next year, my tenth anniversary here, will be even more amazing.

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