The 2021 (What a) Year In Review

“I can’t wait to see 2021 gone. Next year – “
“Don’t you say it!” I screamed. “Do not say anything about 2022! I don’t want to hear that it’s going to be better. I don’t want to hear to watch out because it’s twenty-twenty, too.” I made contemptuous air quotes to emphasize that I did not appreciate the pun at all. “I don’t want to hear want to hear one word about the new year! We’re just going to sit here quietly, and hope it doesn’t notice us.”

My coworker chuckled with the kind of laughter that wavered between genuine amusement and hysterical terror. Her smile became strained as she realized what a number of other people had already agreed:

2021 was much harder than 2020.

Pandemic aside – and I cannot believe that I’m brushing a frigging pandemic aside, but I am – 2021 was an intense tornado of events and emotions for not only myself, but for quite a few members of my framily*. I mentioned in the beginning of 2020 that I felt the weight of all the work I had to do. 2021 was the year I did it. That’s not to say that I didn’t work hard in 2020 because I did – if I hadn’t busted my ass for the latter half of 2020 I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I did this year – but that was more part of my health journey, which is a post in itself. I touch on my health in this YIR of course, but this is more about the many things that happened around it because 2021 felt like it was three years.

January

I returned to school full-time which was terrifying. Up until this point, I had been taking one course at a time – sometimes none – because my health was so precarious. Also, the prior courses had been prerequisites, and though I still pushed myself to get A’s, I didn’t feel the need to distinguish myself. The courses this semester were in “my” field, so I didn’t want to just do well, I wanted to excel.

I updated my physical therapy to build muscle. Here again, this wasn’t something that I was doing new, but something that I was finally building on. I’d been doing physical therapy since July, but I started adding more resistance with tighter bands and weights in January.

About half of my hair, which was nearly as long as my waist, broke.

February

I made a few more adjustments to my physical therapy in February, but for the most part, this month was spent doing homework, and constantly looking in the mirror to figure out if I should just cut my remaining hair immediately, or wait until it grew a little more.

March

I got vaccinated against COVID. There were a lot of emotions attached to this, and sadly some of the darker things I’d been feeling, things that I thought I was finished feeling now that I was protected against dying from the virus, have become valid again. I never fully worked through them, and now I’m glad that I didn’t waste the time trying.

I cut my hair. The reason I had considered waiting was because I grow my hair out to donate it. I like to donate 12 inches because most kids request longer wigs, and chopping that much now meant that my hair would be shorter than I’d ever had it. I finally just did it. The chop might have been less traumatic if I’d tried to have it cut into some kind of style, but I was already feeling ugly and frankly did not give a f*** at that point.

April

There were some familial changes that I don’t want to examine in public, but they were pretty cataclysmic.

I started an autoimmune flare that would last about six weeks. Not only was it the longest flare I’ve ever experienced, it was the most painful because my kidneys became inflamed twice during it.

May

I finished my first full-time semester of school. It was the first time in twenty years.

My GPA became 4.00. Long story short, I’d been carrying 5 F’s in my GPA because I didn’t formally withdraw from classes over twenty years ago, when I was an 18 year old who was recovering from brain damage. I’ve achieved A’s in all my classes since then, but it was not reflected in my GPA. The school finally approved expunging the F’s from my transcript.

The company I work for moved the office for the first time. Renovations in the new office wouldn’t be finished until September, but the executives were dead-set against renting a few additional months at our current office, so they rented a temporary space in the new building.

My company hired another person to do the brunt of the work in my former position, and I began training in earnest to help/cover for my coworker in Finance.

I managed to sell off about 500 trade gallon-sized plants of my nursery stock. I’ve had to accept that even a small nursery is too much for me, so I had my first open sale since COVID, and thank God for my mother’s help because we sold that many in about five hours.

The flare continued…

June

I had another plant sale that moved about another hundred plants. (My plants really are bomb, and I do it without chemicals because I’m really a witch.)

The first Summer semester began. A fun note here is that I did not realize these were six-week accelerated courses.

I completed my 100th documented physical therapy session. I shared this on Twitter, and everyone was very sweet about it, but I had to delete the tweet. Ironically, it was because I was receiving compliments about my weight, and they were putting me in an unhealthy mental state. I’ll just leave it at that.

I got two bathing suits. Yes, this is big news for me.

July

My coworker went on vacation and I covered for her. I had been seriously sweating this for over a year, so much so that I put off re-piercing my bellybutton because I didn’t want to worry about soaking it while covering for her.

Summer classes session one ended making it the first time I had completed two semesters of school in a row.

Summer classes session two began.

August

I had a lot of support, but I chose this text because this person NEVER curses lol.

The mental crash that started in June picked up speed.

I was in limbo at work. After my coworker came back from vacation, no one could decide how much of whose work I should do. I really didn’t know what to do with myself.

COVID numbers began to rise. I’d spent months buried in schoolwork and learning someone else’s job, just waiting to get through to spend a day at the shore, and when I looked up, the Delta variant and the likelihood that immunocompromised people needed a third vaccine meant it wasn’t safe for me. I had a difficult time with this.

My healthcare provider said some pretty fucked up shit that I’m still processing.

Summer classes session two ended.

September

The Fall semester began. My advisor assured me that taking three English course wouldn’t be more than I could handle.

A company’s finances are somewhere in there.

My coworker gave her two week notice, it was a given that I would stop doing anything related to my former position, and pick up her work. I had been taught just the basics of her job to keep the office running while she was on vacation, and I now had less than two weeks to learn what she did as full-time employee, who had been there for years, and had a degree in Accounting. I was assured that I wasn’t expected to do that much.

My company’s office moved for the second time. Not only was the furniture not installed yet, but the move happened during the last three days my coworker had with the company. You know the expression “you don’t know what you don’t know”? Well, I didn’t know anything, and I didn’t know which box it was packed in either.

I randomly mentioned making ghosts out of chicken wire in a Twitter response, and it exploded. That goofy tweet is probably the only thing I’ll ever write that will achieve some measure of success, and I alternately laugh and cry when I think about the reality of that. There was enough interest that I created a TikTok account to show how I make them.

I got my COVID booster.

October/November/December

(I’m lumping these three months together because they were so hectic that I never had time to look up to see what week it was. October 1st was my coworker’s last day and the date that I had three papers due, and the next thing I knew it was Christmas Eve.)

The assurance of my advisor that three writing courses wasn’t more than I could handle was wrong.

Tell me you’re stressed without telling me you’re stressed. (My cardiologist is pissed.)

The assurance of my employer that my coworker’s job wasn’t more than I could handle was wrong.

I learned that somehow people who have actually conversed with me, still vastly overestimate my intelligence.

I somehow became responsible for the finances of a million dollar company when I don’t have my associates degree in anything much less Finance, have never done any accounting, and barely knew the financial software. That said I learned Quickbooks desktop, then I learned Quickbooks online. I learned how to process contractor payments, pay taxes, calculate IRA contributions, do international wire transfers, S corporation shareholder distributions (kind of), business expense, employee reimbursements, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I’m guessing I did correctly since the Feds haven’t smashed through the doors. Yet.

I completed a semester with three writing courses. Never again. At least not until I’m able to compose a two page essay without agonizing for hours over word I type.

I wrote a poem that my professor loved. She asked if she could forward it to the head of the Literature department because he is part of some publishing group in Boston, and she believes he would be interested in my work. So there’s a teeny-tiny possibility that I could get published, through my poetry of all things. I haven’t heard anything more though, so I’m still banking on that Tweet being the highlight of my literary career.

You can see how much of my hair broke now that it’s growing back.

For the first time ever, I made it through my first full year of school. Though it was Spring into Fall, I completed two regular full-time school semesters in a row. I’m sure that’s nothing for most people, but last year at this time I was terrified and looking for an excuse to not return to school again, and here I am on the other side. I still choke up when I actually think about that because I can’t believe I did it.

My hair has grown back about eight inches.

And that was 2021.

As much as I don’t like to admit it, there have been times in my life that I’ve given up. There were moments in 2021 when I felt like doing it again, and I’m so thankful for the loved ones I have who told me to keep going, and for God pushing me through when I didn’t have the strength to do it myself. I love you all so much.

I don’t really have many expectations for 2022. I meant it when I said that I’m not attaching anything to the coming year. For starters, I don’t think I could accomplish more than I did in 2021, and I’m still too tired from it all to try. But I know that I want to finish my first “normal” school year with a Fall and then a Spring. I want to write more poetry**. I want my hair to keep growing. I want to pitch somewhere to write an article how to help hair regrow quickly – I actually wrote those kinds of articles once. I want to sell the rest of my plants. I want to make my abdominal and glute muscles stronger to take more pressure off of my back. I want to go to the shore.

I think that’s a good start.

*Framily – The family you choose, and the ones who chose you
**This link might be dead because I’d unpublished the poetry I shared on here before, but if anyone wants to read them, I’ll retry to resurrect the posts.

20/20

You know you’ve been neglectful of your so-called blog when a friend who has been following your blog for nearly ten (holy shit!) years sends you a message to see if your blog has been hacked because she got an email that a new post has been published. It of course didn’t help that said post was one from ten years ago that I tweaked last month when I did my annual Year In Review and it somehow published as if it was new, but ultimately my protracted absence is to blame. And because I assured her that not only had I not been hacked, but was going to aim for a post a month now, I’m blathering this out now.

I’ll just put it out there: I’m in a weird place right now.

When I began checking out of the blogging scene in 2013 it was because the tip of gigantic iceberg of health issues had appeared on the horizon for me. I was, at most, marginally concerned, and only that much because I didn’t have health insurance. But the thought that it would change my life, that I’d have to adapt so much, that despite my astronomical force of will I wouldn’t still be able to do whatever the fuck I wanted didn’t occur to me. I’ve had health issues my entire life so it was old hat to me, in fact it had felt almost abnormal that I’d gone as many years as I had without an endless schedule of doctor visits, tests, and procedures. So, much like the Titanic, I cranked up the engine and plowed right into that iceberg, feeling the same shockwave as the ship felt when it realized it was not indestructible.

So yeah. Health could be better. But it could be a lot worse, so I always remind myself of that whenever I started to feel sorry for myself, which I will admit has been more than a handful of times particularly since early 2017.

Unfortunately when your health is compromised it pretty much means your entire life is compromised. My professional life is in a holding pattern because I don’t know what I’m physically able to handle. My beautiful flowers –

And that’s where I had to stop because I just broke down sobbing. Don’t feel bad; I needed to do it because, in addition to my physical and professional states, my mental state could be better. I’ve a problem letting my feelings out so when I break down like that – suddenly and when I’m alone and can ugly-cry without embarrassment – it means that the pressure valve on a pot that I didn’t realize was boiled has been released a little. This is definitely not the worst I’ve ever mentally felt though and that is a huge blessing – though my professional self might argue that at least I write better when I’m depressed. I will say that I’m just really tired and all I see every way I turn is work to be done. Physical work to try to get my malfunctioning body to perform better. School work to get a stupid degree that I don’t really need but just want. Emotional work dealing with the major changes that happened in the past two years. Spiritual work to know I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.

We’re two months out of this year already and I still don’t know which end is up, but here’s hoping that 2020 will be the year that I see clearer.

Dribs & Drabs

  • I updated the (anti)social media links in the widget. I sometimes still on Twitter but I’m not clever enough to be on there often, and I’m never on Pinterest, and G+ went down the tubes (big shock), and ironically the one on the most is Instagram and that was missing so those are updated
  • If you do follow me on Instagram don’t expect much. It’s basically dogs and cake. (Though what else do you need, right?)
  • I started baking. I’m going to be very un-hip here and say that it’s not a business, I have no intentions of making it a business, and I couldn’t make it a business even if I wanted to because I’m not very good at it since I’m adapting recipes to be allergy safe.
  • Thank you, Trish, for seeing if I had been hacked. Not only do I appreciate the concern, but by talking to you I was held accountable to write this entry which only made it into February because it’s a Leap Year. Hope you are enjoying your trip!

More Shit That’s Pretty Cool!

I feel like lately my posts sound like a first grader coming home from school hyperventilating to their parent about everything that happened that day.

“And then this happened and this happened and then THIS happened!”

But a lot has happened already this year and I’m still trying to organize and process it, and I’m bringing you all along on the ride because who likes to go on road trips alone right? I mean, it’s a lot easier to siphon gas from people’s cars when you have a lookout.

That said, I’ve mentioned in passing that I have some heart issues.

Over the past twenty years I’ve been to half a dozen cardiologists, tried a number of medications and had surgery twice. It seemed like the last surgery I had in 2010 had done the trick until about June of last year when I started to really feel like shit again. I didn’t want to have another surgery I had to go down the medication experimentation route–and let me tell you how much fun this was because I’m one of those people where if there’s a 1% chance of a bizarre side effect I will be that 1%.

Over the year I ended up trying so many different meds that I was seriously losing track of which one I currently taking. In April the doctor decided to think outside the box and prescribed me two new meds. The first thing that I noticed when I picked up the meds from the pharmacy was that the one bottle was a lot larger than usual. I unscrewed the cap and made a face at the contents.

“Holy shit these things are huge! Are you sure they’re meant for humans and not for horses?” I asked him.

“That’s them,” he replied without looking up.

“Well there should a Linda Lovelace instructional video that comes with them because I have no idea how I’m supposed to get these down my gullet.”

The eighty-year-old pharmacist finally gave me his attention and gave me a dirty look. That was good enough for me so I grabbed my bag of horse pills and left.

I took the pills as soon as I got home–which was not the best idea since I was going to fall asleep soon but I’m impatient like that.

And this is going to sound cliched but when I woke up the next morning I already felt like a different person.

Seriously it was like this:
awwww yeeaaa riding on a t-rex

Over the next three months I continued to feel better but it wasn’t until I happened to see a recent picture of me next to a picture from a few months ago in a Facebook album that it I realized just how shitty I had felt and how shitty I looked this past year.

I’m not completely fixed–I still get tired and I still have the occasional arrhythmia–but I’m feeling so much better and most importantly I’m writing a lot more efficiently since I’m not fighting to stay awake all the time. That right there is worth choking down some horse pills every morning.

An Abundance of Smart Ass(terisks)

I’m a bit MIA.*

*Again.

*sobs*

And what’s worse is that my superstition about announcing-something-until-it-has-already-happened-in-case-something-fucks-it-up keeps me from disclosing everything that has kept me from interacting with my kickass peeps on here. Just take my word for it (for now since I can’t wait until I can scream my face off) that I’ve been working like a bitch on the down and dirty aspect of being a writer–aka the business aspect of writer–and it’s extremely time expensive and about as much fun as going through your recently deceased great-aunt’s belongings and finding her collection of foot long dildos.**

**Though not nearly as awkward, so there’s that.

s hi t, shitThis business-y type work is of course in addition to recovering from the trauma of nearly losing my beloved Eskie at the beginning of the month–which a normal person would be over by now but I, on the other hand, have anxiety issues and thus continue to have spazz attacks and feel the need to stop what I’m doing and cuddle her.***

***Kira, being fully recovered, isn’t too happy when I do this since it usually disturbs her from a nap.

In the meantime I did make a video in reference to the two cases that the Supreme Court is hearing about same sex marriage this week.****

****Some of you are probably thinking that a video would take longer than actually writing a post but not for me; as much as I enjoy “vlogging” I don’t worry over it as much as I do about my written words and so I can do a vlog in a fourth of the time that I do a written blog post.

Some people will hate this video because they are stupidasses who won’t get the tongue-in-cheekiness of it*****, and some people will hate it because they disagree, but that’s their prerogative. All I ask is that if anyone feels the need to express that they disagree that they do it with respect.

*****I already have one of these and for the record, I am pro-marriage and said commenter is a moron.

In closing, it’s after 1am as I write this and I’m really bloody tired, but thank you so much for being here, my dear peeps.*******

*******Also, I know I say “thank you” a lot, but I truly mean it. I’ve had to deal with a lot of shit in my life and I just want it known how grateful I am for the support that you all have given me.

That Poor Meat-Peddling Bastard & The Evil Kat

Once again I am forced to wonder if I am the universe’s favorite plaything or whatnot.

What are the odds that when you are down in the depths of despair*, working too many hours, battling atrial tachycardia, and exhausted yet unable to sleep through the night, that you come home from work and manage to fall asleep on the couch only to be awoken by a meat delivery service trying to hawk their meat subscription service on you?

Apparently in my case, the chances are pretty fucking good.

Last week I was dozing in living room when I was roused by the doorbell ringing and the explosive barking of my dogs expressing their indignation that someone touched their doorbell. I slept-walked to the front window where I could see who was on the porch without them seeing me. I did not recognize the young man and for some reason–I’ll blame my sleep deprived brain–I decided to answer the door anyway. This is very unusual for me because I don’t open the door to strangers, not because I’m scared that they’ll kill me but because I’m scared that they will bore me.

I opened the door and the dude took a few steps back as he was greeted by two dogs snarling with all of the fury they could muster from their fifteen pound frames.

“Can I help you?” I asked him.

meat team ad“Uh yeah, I’m from CM Meats (← not their real name) and we offer a discounted meat delivery service,” he told me adjusting his hat.

I blinked at him in confusion thinking that I must be hallucinating from lack of sleep. “You’re… selling meat?”

“Yeah, you like saving money, right?” he asked revving up for his salesman spiel.

“On meat?” I was still in disbelief. You would think that with the shit that I’ve experienced that a random guy selling meat wouldn’t be that much of a mind fuck to me and yet it was.

“Yeah, we sell a wide variety of steak, seafood, chicken and pork,” he recited.

And then the evil part of my brain woke up.

“How’s your sausage?” I asked him in a low voice.

“It’s great!” he said overflowing with enthusiasm at my apparent interest. “But we only sell it as part of our pork variety case so there’s a lot of meat in there.”

“I’m sure that I could handle any amount of meat that you were interested in…unloading,” I smiled.

“The case has got pork chops, spare ribs, loin steaks and sweet Italian and sage sausage,” he continued.

“I’ve had Italian sausage, but never sage sausage,” I replied. “Though I would prefer to try it before I buy it.”

He scratched his head. “Oh sorry, we don’t have any samples.”

“That’s okay, I’ll just have to take you at your word that your sausage is as amazing as you say.”

He whipped out his clipboard and clicked his pen to begin writing. “So are you interested in any beef or chicken?”

“No, I’m a vegetarian,” I told him.

His face clouded with confusion. “But the… It’s a meat variety case. Like pork chops.”

“I’ll confess that I have no interest in chops, but if I need to buy them to get your sausage then I’ll do it,” I said. “So will you be able to give me that delivery now?”

“I…have to put in the order,” he said still looking uncertain.

The guy was obviously pretty dense and I was running out of innuendos so I crossed my arms and screwed my face into a look of annoyance. “Don’t be a sausage tease. You come to my house hawking your sausage and now you won’t give it to me? Let me be clear, I want your sausage and I want it now!”

His jaw hung open in response and he just stared at me for a moment probably taking in my knotty hair that had escaped from its hair band, the dark circles under my eyes from no sleep and my pale, anemic face.

The guy’s eyes darted around looking for an escape from the nutty nympho and he began backing away. “Sss… sorry to bother you, ma’am,” he said then turned on his heel and bolted for the safety of his truck.

I gave a very theatrical shrug and then closed the door.

I’d like to add a side note that door to door salespeople on my street are ridiculous and relentless. They do not take no for an answer and will visit your door every single day until they wear you down. Considering this and the fact that I was unable to fall back to sleep after the interruption, I feel no guilt WHATSOEVER at traumatizing the dude responsible for ruining my precious nap.

*Okay maybe it’s not that bad, but fellow “Anne of Green Gables” will appreciate the reference.