Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Blog Year Retrospective #13

Thirteen years as an active blogger. I feel like I've been around since the dawn of blogging! So much has changed since I started this blog, and yet my mission here has remained: this is the story of my life. This is who I am. This is my corner of the world, and, Dear Reader, I'm so thankful that you're here.

When I sat down to write this retrospective, I reread several of the previous retrospectives. I was struck by how painful last year's was to write, and how much I've changed since then. Though the pain of loss never really leaves, it does fade. Thankfully, the last twelve months have been less difficult than the previous year, and I feel whole again.

2018 may have been the Chinese Year of the Dog, but in this house, it was definitely the Year of the Cat. The year began with Annie eating a sewing needle and having to have it surgically removed from her intestine in a midnight operation. We later dragged her to the vet due to her regularly vomiting up undigested food. Ew. We discovered that she has an allergy to something she had been eating her whole life, so now we're feeding her an entirely new diet. She's probably allergic to chicken, but it could be fish or any one of the other ingredients. With a vet bill now well over $2,500 for the year, not to mention the scars we both bare from trying to poke pills into Annie, we're decidedly in favor of not having to take any more trips to the vet. But wait, it doesn't stop there! Our little ray of furry sunshine got her very own Instagram account this summer. She quickly racked up a following of more than 500, and she enjoys interacting with so many other lovely grey cats (okay, really, I enjoy it immensely, and it's hilarious posting funny pictures of our silly furball daily).

The Man and I were fortunate enough to travel twice this year, both times to Washington. We spent a few days in Discovery Bay with my parents and sister in the spring, and we took our second trip in the fall to Winthrop with his parents. The two locations could not have been more different, yet they were both fun places to create our own adventures. Closer to home, we had one lovely but exhausting summer weekend with both The Man's family reunion and my family reunion back-to-back. These events are a great reminder of how fortunate we are to have such wonderful extended families that live so close (and how nice a quiet house is to return to).

Speaking of our house, we've both worked hard over the last twelve months to improve our home:
  • With the help of The Man's father, we added some CAT6 cable under the house to our office, so now we both have our computers hard-wired to the router. Yay for faster internet! 
  • With the help of my father, we spent hours upon hours working on improving our yard this spring and summer. After thatching, mowing, overseeding, watering, weeding, spraying, fertilizing, and spreading several hundred pounds of lime, we got the yard to look amazing. Neighbors were even knocking on our door to let us know how great it looked. The battle against moss will continue forever, but for one glorious summer, we won.
  • This fall, I tackled a sizable repainting job in both our master bathroom and master bedroom. The undertaking was more challenging than I anticipated, but the results were absolutely worth the pain and sweat. New shelves in the bathroom added some much needed towel storage, and all new caulking around the shower has everything looking brand new. 
None of these improvements could be considered "major," but they were more involved than we typically attempt. Hooray for DIY-ing all the things! and for dads that pitch in with an extra hand and some encouragement along the way.

In August, I had two lipomas removed. The minor surgeries cured me of annoying pain in my leg and back where the two masses were pressing on nerves. The incisions healed quickly, and I have zero pain when I sit or lean back in a chair now, hallelujah! In May, I suffered through the agony of an ovarian cyst, pain which lingered for a few months until it, so very thankfully, went away.

I created this year with all kinds of crafty supplies:

  • Having previously attempted to make one wreath, I created two more from scratch. They both turned out beautifully, and I'd love to make more, but I don't have any storage space for them. 
  • I made significant progress on my cross stitch piece that is a souvenir from our 2014 trip to Washington D.C. I hope to have it completed soon. 
  • As if these two projects weren't enough, not to mention the dozens of cards I made, I tackled learning a new craft this year: diamond painting. It's one of the most satisfying crafts I've attempted, yet it suffers from the same storage issue as wreath making.
  • I also purchased a set of professional quality watercolors, though I've not had much time to paint with them. I'd like to progress into painting landscapes or still images, but I'm stuck in the abstract blob stage right now. I can make a mean watercolor smudge. ;)

The Man also had a great moment in the past year. He was elected to be the chapter president of his professional volunteer society! He has worked hard to be successful in his previous roles, and this much more demanding position suits his talents and desires well. I'm very proud of his achievement this year, especially one so hard earned and well deserved.

We checked off a major goal recently when we paid off the last chunk of The Man's student loan. We struggled for years to make dimes out of nickles, carefully paid a bit more than required each month, whittled the debt down with our single income, and successfully paid it off several years early. We are finally done with that chapter of our lives. College is officially behind us, and they can't take our degrees away anymore! :)

With a wonderful husband, a house in good repair, a healthy cat, a bit less debt, and myself well and enjoying life, I don't think I could ask for anything more. Life is great, and I know how lucky I am. That's not bad for an "unlucky" thirteen years on this blog. Onward to fourteen!

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