2012 draws to a close and it is time to reflect on what the year brought with it.
I have been doing just that today as I completed the final page for our 2012 album. It has, in many ways, been a very challenging year for us, but rather than be brought down by the things we have had to face and deal with, we have, instead, spent the year focussing on the blessings. Calamaties there may have been, but in the great scheme of things most were minor and, most importantly, we dealt with them.
The year began with a whole series of electrical and mechanical problems. The fridge was the first to go and it was a toughie to replace. We love our fridge, having always wanted a proper American style fridge. I rarely drink much else other than water and I love ice in it, so to have the ice dispenser is a god-send. We wanted a big fridge so badly we redesigned the entire utility room to house it. So when it went it had to be replaced and it was a big investment at a time when money was not in endless supply.
However, we replaced it and we love the newer model even more.
The problems with the fridge were followed by a boiler issue, a cable box failure and a very dodgy internet connection. Then there was Nigel's car. Whilst washing it the valve on the tire just sheared right off and then there was an electrical problem it has to go to Chrysler hospital for. Even that wasn't simple as a small part they were fixing dropped into the engine and the whole thing had to be taken apart and rebuilt - that bit was thankfully at their expense - and Nigel was without his car for 6 weeks. Finally the windshield had to be replaced just last week.
However, the mechanical issues were all resolved, none were life threatening and everything ended well. And on a sort of mechanical note, this was also the year I got a new computer and we both had i phones which have transformed so much. Good technology!
Then there were the health issues. They began in January with norovirus (and I wouldn't wish that on anyone ... and it was made even worse living with someone vomit phobic as Nigel is)
It was followed by a reasonably significant health scare for me as I had to go and have tests and - perhaps worse - wait for results to see if the problems were cancerous. The weeks of waiting were awful but the blessing was that the tests were all clear. I don't think we really realised how worried we had both been until we no longer needed to worry.
However the defining moment in many ways was a simple picnic at Durlston Country Park when I broke a tooth. I had NO IDEA what lay ahead.
It wasn't painful but it did have to come out. I am terrified of dentists anyway so it had to come out under sedation and, for whatever reason, it developed into a dry socket and then an acutely septic socket resulting in hospital visits, morphine and the worst pain I have ever had in my life. I have shattered my leg and I would rather do that again that have that septic pain. Hell on earth ... but over. That's the main thing. It was horrible, painful and debilitating but not serious, not life threatening and was treatable.
Having not had a fab start we did have some awesome times this year. We made a pledge, thanks to our wonderful neighbours, to go away more often - just one night at a time - and have had some great nights away in places such as London, for the Harry Potter Studios tour
Stratford and the Costwolds
and most recently Ramsgate!
We have been on some fabulous day trips and made the most of our National Trust passes again
and we even managed a holiday this year - going over to Florida and having what we both feel is the best holiday there we have ever had (and we have had a lot of Florida holidays)
Everything was just perfect this year.
We loved the resort as much as ever
we had our best visit to the Magic Kingdom
we met Nigel's cyber friend Mike
and we BOTH swam with dolphins
Our home continues to be a blessing and we love being in it. This year the new bird feeder has brought us hours of joy and we have enjoyed the other wildlifee too which has included squirrels, deer, sand lizards, a rather BIG adder and 'our' cows that graze right next to us.
The cats are one of our greatest joys. Boo is completely deaf now and her sight is impaired as she has cataracts. She rarely ever leaves the study but looks healthy - though painfully thin - and is very happy.
Kira's eye is now almost completely pigmented but it doesn't seem to bother her and the vet and we have agreed to no treatment at this stage. There is no way to tell if it is malignant other than by removing the eye and that is not something we are prepared to do whilst it is uncertain and not causing her any trouble. Her allergies are under control and she is a joy to be with each and every day.
We had bad news about Fiki in the summer as he has been diagnosed with PKD which is a life limiting condition and it means he will go into renal failure. I spent the first few days after the diagnosis in tears, but whilst it is still a bit like living with a ticking time bomb as we KNOW it will happen we just don't know WHEN, we are now just enjoying every day with him to the max. He is as gorgeous as ever, although now it appears his weight gain may be due to another condition, this time hyperthyroid issues. Ah well. No doubt we will deal with that too.
The three of them are a joy that we are grateful for each and every day.
Nigel's work is now far more frequent. he has built up a good business working with several agencies and is now so much happier that he has a more regular income coming in whilst still having more flexible time to ensure a better quality of life for both of us. He is incredibly talented in so many ways and it is so rewarding to see him get the credit for the things he does.
My own work has continued to be hard with long hous but really is the most rewarding job in the world and I count my blessings every day for the chances I have and the work I get to do.
I also count my blessings that my faith continues to be stengthened, that I have learnt to hand things over and not let them worry me and that I am a stronger person for it.
And of course, our greatest blessing of all remains each other. No matter what is thrown at us we cope because we cope together ... and I fear more than anything the day one of us isn't there to help the other.
We really were incredibly lucky to each marry our best friend and to have a life together where we, I can honsetly say, there isn't a day go by where we don't laugh together, where we don't enjoy being with each other and where we don't count our blessings.
and here are the pages for my 2012 album - singly and then together as they will appear in the album (looks odd as they are in a portrait album not a landscape album
2012 - a GOOD Year
So all that remains is to thank all of you who have been visiting all year - it means a great deal, no matter why you visit.
Thank you for all of the lovely comments, the e mails and the friendship
I hope that 2013 is a year filled, for each and every one of you, with health and happiness, love and laughter. xxx
and the very last Page a Day inspirational page
On a frosty winter’s morning, a hand-lettered sign stood at the entrance to the old man’s driveway:
SALE. Inside, the old man waited for buyers. To his right, a guitar sat on a stand. The tag said $75, strap included. An assortment of chairs, a table, a coffee urn, all priced to sell, were stacked to his left.
“People just didn’t come,” he said with a sad shake of his head.
My thoughts flew back to the time, three years earlier, when I first saw the other sign, the one the man had so cleverly contrived out of a system of ropes and pulleys. The huge letters rose from the top of the
concrete-block building a few steps from the old man’s house: free live music. everyone welcome.
The sign had gone up every Friday. One evening, on our way home, I convinced my husband, David, to stop. Bluegrass music spilled from the door of the building. Inside, we discovered musicians of all ages, playing their hearts out to an audience of seven.
“Have some coffee and sit a spell,” the old man had urged. But we were in a hurry.
“Can’t stay now, but we’ll be back,” we assured him.
Well, three years later I was finally back, and it was too late. Every Friday night, less than a mile from my house, the music had been free. But my days were too complicated, and in the evenings I was too tired to stop and listen.
Today another sign is up: NEW YEAR AHEAD. Our Father’s music is alive in a sunrise, a bevy of birds
gathered outside the kitchen window, a chance to hear an old-timer’s story or a young child’s imagining—it’s up to me to stop and listen.