The year in review: 2013

This is my year-end letter for everyone with whom I’ve not been in close contact who hasn’t been reading my blog regularly. If you’re current with me, you can surf on to the next thing. If you’re not current, or are interested in what I’ve been up to that I both have and have not blogged about, read on.

I started out the year with grand plans for myself and my business, with high hopes that everything I wanted to happen in 2013 would manifest in due time.

I launched my website in January, after several months of studying web design on my own so that I could create something that looked reasonably professional. I think it came out pretty well, but  it hasn’t gotten quite the response I hoped it would. Shaw Pro Photo remains solvent and in the black, with infinite potential still to be realized. And that is all I have to say about that.

My ailing bamboo plant is nearly down for the count; it has only two stalks remaining, one of which has turned completely yellow. It won’t thrive but it won’t die, either, apparently. As soon as I can locate a suitable replacement, I will put it out of its misery because I can’t bear to watch it struggle along as it has all year.

Rudy, my never-fail alarm dog, has gone completely deaf in the past few weeks, as far as I can tell. He was less responsive to my voice before he got sick at Christmas, and now he doesn’t react to any sound at all. When we were at my parents’ house last week, a visitor rang the doorbell while we were napping one afternoon, so loudly that it lifted me off the mattress and even got a small “woof” out of non-alarm-dog Reggie, but Rudy didn’t even stir. Fortunately, we’ve been living together long enough now that he knows our daily routine by heart and doesn’t need me to remind him when it’s time to eat, walk, go outside, go to bed, etc. I don’t think this development will affect our daily lives in any appreciable way. He got checked out by his regular vet yesterday, by the way, and appears to be well on his way back to perfect health since his allergy attack (or whatever it was).

Reggie, meanwhile, continues to be both adorable and aggravating (she is still not able to resist tearing apart a box of tissues or rummaging through the recycling if left alone long enough in the evening), but is rather more the former than the latter.

The biggest news of this year was my mother’s stroke at the end of April. It was a crashing blow to our entire family, under which we all rallied strongly and did what we needed to do. She had spinal surgery, then the stroke, after which she lost most of the use of her legs. She went to rehab for nearly 4 months, and finally returned home in September, where she continues making excellent progress toward walking unassisted again. She’s a remarkable woman and we are all very proud of her.

At the same time I was going back and forth to my parents’ house this spring to support them while mom was in the hospital and during her first days in rehab, I was in the process of being tested for sleep apnea and getting fitted for a CPAP device. That has been a bit of an ordeal with good nights and bad nights. I am hopeful that the CPAP will ultimately prove to be helpful to me.

I joined Weight Watchers at the end of July and have so far lost about 30 pounds. My goal is to lose 50 more to reach a weight that is actually in proportion to my height for the first time in my adult life. It’s kind of exciting to think about the possibilities ahead for me. I’ve started buying clothes that are medium size rather than large or x-large, and am very pleased with the progress I’ve made so far.

In November, I enrolled in a Certified Nursing Assistant class on Saturdays at one of the local colleges. I’m not seriously considering changing careers for the long term, but I do want to have this knowledge so that I can be of assistance to my parents. I’ve done very well in the class so far, which finishes at the end of January. I take my final exam on a Saturday and report to a local care facility for my first clinical session at 0600 the next morning. I am excited about this new direction for me. Even if it is not a career move, it’s something I enjoy and am good at. I am very much looking forward to all that it will bring me.

On my way home for Christmas a couple of weeks ago, I made a detour to see my parents’ second home that was devastated by a flood around this time last year. Under my brother’s vigilant supervision, it has since been completely rebuilt from the inside out, now stronger and better insulated and fully up to code and even more beautiful than it was before. I was so pleased to see it standing proud again, restored to all it once was and more with updated electrical and plumbing, matching light fixtures in every room, and hardwood floors throughout that are just beautiful. My parents haven’t decided yet what to do with the house—rent it, sell it, or move back into it on a part-time basis—so that is one of the questions we’re looking forward to resolving in 2014.

Other news from the Christmas break … my car got keyed while it was parked out in front of my parents’ house on Christmas day, all the way from tail light to the head light on the driver’s side. Repairs will cost upwards of $1,600 and take a week in the shop. I drop the car off on Monday. Fortunately, my insurance will provide a rental for the week and pay for nearly all the repairs. I had no idea a keying could be so costly, but apparently it was deep enough that the entire left side of the car will have to be repainted. Not a Christmas present I was hoping for. 😦

On the blogging side of things, my post from August 2012 about making Dr. Schulze’s Super Tonic at home got linked on a national health news site last month and my stats just completely blew up for a several days. It was rather heady to have so many visitors in so short a time, even more than when I was Freshly Pressed last year. Going Forward received more than 20,000 views in 2013 and gained several hundred new followers, for every single one of which I am most grateful. My rate of posting has slowed way down in the past few months for a couple of reasons and I’m sorry about that, but I am hopeful that I will be able to get back up to speed in 2014.

So, it’s kind of been a big year for me and my family. I am grateful for all that I have accomplished this year, and look forward to even greater accomplishments ahead. I have continued moving forward, learning new skills and information, making healthy choices for myself, and taking really good care of everything for which I am responsible. My life is quiet and ordinary, but it is also, I think, healthy and productive every day. I am healthy. My family is healthy. My dogs are healthy. Who could ask for anything more?

Best wishes to every one of you for a happy and healthy new year also. Thank you so much for meeting me here on the page.

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