Wednesday, December 31, 2014

See ya, 2014, wouldn't wanna be ya

I think by now you all know that my answer to the above questions is an emphatic yes.

This was the year that I found out I had cancer. Four surgeries and nine months later, I'm cancer-free and on my way to being healthy. I'm extremely fortunate and grateful, but still... cancer is cancer and it sucks immensely.

This was the year that too many people close to me lost loved ones much too soon. I believe that even though the end of a life is sad, it's part of life. We will all experience the death of a friend or family member. But I'm not sure I can count the number of tragedies that hit my circle of friends and neighbors in 2014. And of course, there was the one that hit me the hardest and turned my life upside down in more ways than one.

But there were some good moments, too.

  • Aaron and I escaped the nasty winter and went to Jamaica for the first (but not last) time!
  • Bella took over the blog and became even more popular (look for the other two to get their turns in 2015).
  • We participated in the Crawl for Cancer as usual, but this time it meant more.
  • I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love from friends near and far during my recovery and grief.
  • I got to meet some bloggers in real life at a brunch in February, and then StephG visited me in late June!
  • Aaron biked 328 miles from Cleveland to Cincinnati in the Pan Ohio Hope Ride.
  • I went to Myrtle Beach with my brother.
  • I took two work trips to places I'd never been before: Denver in April and Portland in November.
  • Our nephew Jeremy graduated from high school. We couldn't go as it was three days after my "big" surgery but my mom was there.

So no, 2014 wasn't all bad, but I'm still done with it.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Not Letting the Terrorists Win

If you're on The Facebook you've no doubt seen the "year in review" montages floating around. The canned post to go along with them starts with "It's been a great year..." Well, fuck that. It's been a shitty year. There have been some good moments, but overall I'm ready to kick 2014 out the fucking door.

But Aaron and I have kept business as usual when it comes to the holidays. We still hosted Thanksgiving for 20, we'll see my family on Christmas, and we're hosting Aaron's family for Christmas this weekend. We've also had a Christmas party every year since 2008, which has grown to epic proportions. We discussed whether or not to do it this year, but decided to keep up the tradition. I can't remember exactly what was said, but it translated to "if we don't have the party, the terrorists win." So my mantra for getting through the season has been "don't let the terrorists (of life) win." I didn't take pictures at the party; I just wanted to be part of it. But here are a few festive pics:

Cocktail napkins

Mom's ceramic tree; the angel that I painted when I was 9

The morning after. (Mom made the poinsettia afghan.)

I'm not always successful at beating away the terrorists. Crying jags come out of nowhere, and sometimes I just want to be alone. And that's OK, too.

The second half of that Facebook post says "...Thanks for being a part of it." Now that I can get on board with. Through all the peaks and valleys of this year, I've had some incredible people holding me close and supporting me, whether in person or from afar. Thank you all so very much.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mine had its ups and down, as expected, but we got through it. On Wednesday I met up with my brother to pick up Jacqueline and James. The rest of the family couldn't get away this year, so I was extra happy to have these two with us. (Pardon my shitty selfie skills.)

And Jackie gave me my traditional birthday portrait:

Thanksgiving Eve a/k/a the best Gwensday of the year always brings neighbors and friends to the house, and this year we also had Aaron's sister Stephanie and her family.

Julia (with Steph and Aaron) gets in on the brine injection.
Jackie making green bean casserole.
Julia and Kate are ready to go back to the hotel for some swimming.

On Thanksgiving we had 19 at the table (actually, tableS), including some friends who otherwise would have been home alone. We did two turkeys in the oil-less deep fryer and they were yumptious.

Turkey #1 cooling off. Fortunately no critters came by.
As far as we know.

Kate, Lauren and Julia

The tradition of raiding Aunt Gila's "shoe room" continues.

Friday was super chill. Aaron put the kids to work putting up our ceiling ornaments. James wanted deep dish pizza for dinner so we went out and had this deliciousness:

Lasagna pizza from Fabian's

Saturday I met up with my brother again to drop off the kids (I say "kids" even though Jackie is 21 and James at 15 kept declaring himself to be a "grown man.") On my way home I engaged in some retail therapy and even bought a couple Christmas gifts. Then I went to Jen and Jason's house for football and Friendsgiving (no turkey; they did barbecue).

I can't even believe it's December already. Crazy!