Sunday, February 8, 2015

2014- My hi-jacked year.

I look at my last post- over a year ago- and I think: how can things go so far astray? I set myself a simple goal- to make more art, art journal more, and I even selected a word for the year "connect". I did do some art journaling (but failed to finish much, and not post a thing.) I did connect in ways I didn't expect. But the year was greatly out of my control.

At the beginning of February 2014, my faithful Scottie dog, Cailean (who I have featured in a few art journal pages) was diagnosed with a very virulent (vet's words, not mine) form of oral cancer. We had brought her in for bad breath, thinking it was a bad tooth- she was 13 at the time. She had never undergone a teeth cleaning at the vet due to a heart murmur. With her age added in it seemed too big a risk for her. But she wasn't eating well and the smell was awful so we decided it was worth the risk to get the bad tooth out. So when the vet put her under to pull the tooth they discovered the growths on her tongue- so big it was a miracle she had been able to swallow anything at all. They left the tooth alone and took out the three tumors. She recovered from the surgery at home,with the vet giving her a few weeks at best. Jumping ahead- she is still alive and pretty healthy- all things considered. She has another health issue I won't go into, which came to our attention in October. As the vet tells me, she's a tough old girl.

Around Valentine's Day, my 23 year old son announced to the family that he was transgender- that deep inside our youngest felt that a girl was what she truly was. Not having any experience with transgender people in our life, this was new territory for all of us to find our way through. Much of my year was spent offering moral support, driving her to many medical and therapy appointments, having a lot of time thinking about gender and identity and family and how to be supportive, and mourning the loss of a son and navigating the additional daughter to our family. It's not always smooth going, but we are getting there together. We have been grateful for the love and support we have gotten from family and friends alike.

In September I got a phone call from my old employer asking me to come back to work part time. I gladly agreed, but being a creature of habit, adjusting to a new routine took some getting used to. Did I mention that I started back at the their busiest time to year? Thankfully I wasn't starting there new to it all, so I was able to take it all in stride. It feels good to feel capable of doing the job at hand.

So those were the highlights of my year. A lot of trips canceled due to circumstances beyond my control. Some disappointments, some good stuff, but a year that left me feeling out of control and not as sure footed as I had felt at the end of the year before. So come January 2015 I was ready to make a fresh start and take control of my year....

Except that January 2015 got away from me too. On New Year's day my husband's grandmother passed away (after a night of frivolity at her nursing home's New Year's party. She started New Year's day telling her attendant she wanted to wear her newest outfit and then, just like that, she was gone. She went out with a bang, after a slow decline in recent weeks.) We spent the day with his aunt, his uncle and his uncle's partner waiting for her to be officially pronounced dead and the funeral home to pick her up. It was an interesting experience, but not what I had planned for the day (a trip to Ikea to get some items to help me reorganize my art studio/office) So the trip to Ikea happened the next weekend. Then I had to report for jury duty- and had the misfortune to be selected to be an alternate for a medical malpractice suit. Nine days of jury duty- not all consecutive, with me trying to squeeze in work before and after depending when I had to report to court and when we were dismissed for the day. Being an alternate is awful. You attend the trial and when it goes to deliberation you sit in a separate room (I was with one other alternate- the third actually had to replace one of the originally selected jurors) not allowed to speak of the case. Then it was over- very quickly- the same day- and the jury decided the case in opposition of what I thought. But there was no chance to speak to anyone about it (5:00pm and everyone was anxious to go home and put it behind them). So there was no closure for me. It was a frustrating experience.

Add to that a lot of snow here. More on the way. And it's going to get colder.

But I think February 2015 is going to be my month to turn things around.

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