“We Do Not Remember Days, We Remember Moments” ~ Cesare Pavese

The Richness of Life Lies in Memories We Have Forgotten” ~ Cesare Pavese

 

A Year in the Life . . .

jammis-east-coast-sunrise-08-cropped

(Jammi’s East Coast Sunrise 08)

I thought that since the end of the year is approaching faster than I can track, I might attempt to do something different: I’m going to try to write a post about ten personal high points for the year 2008. Now for most people, this wouldn’t be an Herculean task; however, since it’s been a glass half-full kind of existence lately, it might be harder than I imagine to remember ten moments that really stand out for me—that and the fact that I do tend to have a curmudgeonly outlook on most things. So anyway, I’ll write as things come to me, and maybe afterwards, I’ll try to put them into some kind of logical order, or maybe, I’ll just let them stand as they are, which may be more revealing. Who knows?

  1. I finished my master’s in publishing. I do consider this a noteworthy moment in the year.  But it’s hard to place it on the time line. Graduation was in May, but my last class wasn’t until July. After walking in commencement in May, it was quite hard to have any kind of enthusiasm for the last class and then the capstone class. However, the capstone class, which was a day’s worth of panels with professionals in the industry turned out to be very relevant and informative. I was very glad, though, to make that last round trip to Alexandria, 186 miles one way. I really wanted that degree. The oddest part of all is now that it’s over, I’d love to be working on another degree. People who know me well won’t find that odd at all. They’ll just be wondering when I’ll get around to starting again.
  2. My brother-in-law (ex-husband’s brother) and his family, wife and two children, came over for a visit in July. Most of the time when they come to visit I don’t have a lot of time to spend with them because I’m working, but this time was different.  We had a couple of family parties, and I was able to spend more time with my niece and nephew. The kids went to Bush Gardens a couple of times with Alexis and Corey, but I had to stay home. I can’t do roller coasters any more, so Bush Gardens is kind of pointless without the roller coasters. I really enjoyed the visit, and I’ve kept in touch with my niece on her MySpace page since she returned to Germany. It’s nice to have reconnected, and I wish that we could see all of them more often.
  3. I got my new computer system this year with this wonderful 24-inch monitor, which is such an indulgence. Corey set everything up for me in the corner of our bedroom, even though our bedroom isn’t that large. Everyday, I sit here for several hours and write and visit some blogs and catch up on my e-mail. It’s my way of staying connected with the world and of keeping up on my writing. The beautiful monitor allows me to do intricate work on photographs and layouts, and I have a wonderful pair of Bose speakers so that I can always have music playing in the background. This was my big indulgence at the beginning of the year when we got our tax return before we could possibly know how bad the year would go. I can’t say, though, that I wouldn’t have gotten it anyway because having this system and this setup really has kept me sane.
  4. Working on the presidential election campaign this fall was just an incredible experience. I was limited in what I could do. I couldn’t do the canvassing that Corey did, but I still felt that I contributed in my own way. Election night was very emotional, and I don’t think that I smiled that much for that long in a very long time. It felt good to be able to tell my sons about something that I believed in so much and why it mattered to much to participate in the democratic process.
  5. For Valentine’s Day, we brought home Tillie, our black Labrador retriever, which was one of the best highlights of my year. After my last lab Murphy died, I waited several years before getting another lab. But when I found a black lab wandering around our neighborhood and took her in, I took that as a sign that it was time. We found that lab’s owners, but I started looking at the dogs at the shelters. At first I was looking at smaller dogs, beagles, one in particular, but I was too late. Then I started looking at labs. We went to several shelters, and I found a black lab puppy at a shelter in Williamsburg, but another woman had her name on the list for her. I put my name on the waiting list and cried all the way home because I knew that she was supposed to be mine. The shelter called the next day and said that the woman had changed her mind and that we could come and get the puppy if we still wanted her. And that’s how Silly Tillie came to live with us. She was just a ball of black fuzzy fur that first day, but she was meant to be ours, of that I was certain.
  6. This summer I got to spend a lot of quality time doing nothing but floating in the pool in the afternoon, which you can’t do if you have a full-time job. We just have one of those above-ground pools, but it’s big enough to float around in one of those wonderful floating chaise lounges and read a book, which is just great until someone lets the dogs out into the backyard. Both Shakes and Tillie love to swim, so there is no reading once they get into the pool. Humans become personal ball throwers, and the dogs will play until they are exhausted. Tillie will get out once she is exhausted, but Shakes will not leave the pool as long as I stay in; he will sit on top of the ladder and sleep, pretending to guard me from airplanes, lawnmowers and dragonflies while I float around. The pool is actually quite good for Shakes as he loses his Polar Bear fat and stops resembling an isosceles triangle. 
  7. gardenias_std
    Gardenia Blooms
  8. My gardenia bush was beautiful this year. Corey planted it years ago when it was only about 9 inches high. Now it’s about five feet tall, and when it’s in full bloom, I can cut blooms every day for several weeks. I put blooms in shallow dishes all over the house, and the smell of gardenias wafts from room to room. It’s one of my favorite smells. I tried for years to grow a gardenia bush on my own but never had much success, and then Corey came along and planted one for me, and it grows more lovely each year. I know when it has first come into bloom when a dish of blooms first appears next to my bed.
  9. This one doesn’t quite count as this year, but it happened almost a year ago. We went away last year for a family vacation right before Christmas, and when we got back, the house wasn’t decorated with a tree or anything, and everyone agreed that there really wasn’t much point in decorating  just a few days before Christmas. Well, Corey knew that I was actually very depressed about now having a Christmas tree, so he went to Kmart in the middle of the night and set up a pre-lit Christmas tree so that when I came out in the morning, there would be a tree for me to decorate. He will never ever know how much that meant to me to have that tree to put up even if it was two days before Christmas, but those are the kinds of things that he does for me, and that’s why I love him.
  10. My friend Jammi (note her beautiful photo above) and her husband Kyle stopped in town on their way to the Outer Banks, and we had lunch with two of our old cohorts from Dillard’s. It was like old home week. We had Mexican food. I showed up late, as usual. Everyone talked over each other. We didn’t have enough time. We talked about how we never see enough of each other and how we don’t get together enough, which is the same thing we say every time we get together. I love those people and miss them so much. Our days of working together were pure hell, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
  11. And finally, this one is kind of bittersweet, too. This is the first year of my life since I was 16 that I haven’t worked full time or part time. I have always worked. It took me a really long time to learn how not to work, how to stop having dreams about work, how to stop being guilty about not working, how to stop equating my self-worth with work, and how to stop feeling really bad about being disabled and coming to terms with being disabled. Writing this blog has been my saving grace in so many ways.
  12. Wow, I really didn’t think that I could think of ten positive things about this past year on which to contemplate and discourses, but I suppose I proved myself wrong. Let’s hope that I can try to take some of this positive energy into 2009 with me.

    There will be more later. Peace.