I'm not sure why, but those 'year in review' things have always comforted me, helping me take stock of just how much has occurred, to bear witness to the good AND the bad, and to remind myself that through all of it, I'm here to say, I made it through. Since starting my blog in late 2008, documenting my life in photos, telling the tales past and present, sharing my dreams for the future and heartbreaks in life, not to mention vocalizing my thoughts on the world around me? It's what's helped me stay sane. It's what's brought new friends into my life. It's how I met my husband. Who knew.
So, most years as a blogger I published my own Year in Pictures posts. It's amazing now to look back and see how crazy different my life is now. This time last year I was so messed up from our two failed private adoptions that I couldn't look back, so the links below go backwards from 2018, our first year on the coast, to the life I've led as a city gal before that.
2020 didn't exactly prove to be a year of thrills. Shit was rough. The business I built over 8 years has nearly dissolved, with revenues down by 80% and our arses saved by a combination of PUA payments that took nearly 4 months to arrive, then a PPP loan for the second half of the year that I just applied for forgiveness on this week, with hopes that I'll be able to get a second one in January. When you have that magic combination of being a one-car household in a rural area with no nearby public transport and much slower DSL internet, in a coastal area highly dependent on tourism in the midst of a pandemic where too many still aren't wearing masks and where local employers don't understand the concept of remote work, your options for career changes are extraordinarily minimal. Still, I tried to supplement my consulting income with part time work, and was incredibly disappointed with how too many local companies have not evolved whatsoever to protect workers from the virus (admin jobs where you are still expected to be in the office daily even though they are clearly remote-capable? ugh), not to mention a number of community opportunities I discussed with local leaders who clearly did NOT want to deal with the 'discomfort' of opening their eyes to the inequities so incredibly obvious in our neck of the woods. With everything that we've been through, and our life becoming more and more of a blank slate for 2021 and beyond, it's tossed everything we thought we wanted into the blender. Is this what I want? Am I doing what I want?
JANUARY - JUST A REGULAR WINTER MONTH LEADING TO JUST ANOTHER YEAR...WE THOUGHT...
FEBRUARY - STUFF ON THE NEWS, BUT LIVING IN DENIAL LIKE MOST FOLKS WERE BACK THEN...STILL HAD STEADY CONSULTING WORK, AND STILL HOPEFUL TO BUILD OUR FAMILY THROUGH ADOPTION...SO MUCH SO ON THE LATTER THAT I BUILT THIS BIGGER DINING TABLE FOR US ALL AFTER I MET THIS BEAUTIFUL SEVEN YEAR OLD GIRL WHO CHANGED MY LIFE...
MARCH - PANDEMIC GETS REAL. TRAVEL STOPS, EVENTS ARE CANCELLED, BUSINESSES BEGIN TO SHUTTER (INCLUDING MY CLIENT OF 5 YEARS), BAKING INCREASES, AND MY DOG BECOMES MY SOLE COMPANION WHILE THE HUSBAND IS SUDDENLY DESIGNATED AS AN ESSENTIAL WORKER.
APRIL - SHELTERING IN PLACE IS NO JOKE, AND WITH THAT, I MADE AND WORE A MASK (FROM AN OLD PILLOWCASE AND TWO HAIR BANDS) TO WEAR TO THE GROCERY STORE, COMPLETED A ZILLION JIGSAW PUZZLES, AND PUT ALL MY FOCUS INTO MY GARDEN.
MAY - OUR WORLD REMAINED QUIET. WE CURED BACON, GATHERED GREENS FROM THE GARDEN, AND NAPPED IN THE SUNSHINE OF SPRINGTIME. LITTLE DID WE KNOW WHAT THE END OF THE MONTH WOULD BRING TO A WORLD SO INSISTENT ON TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK...
JUNE - WHILE OUR LITTLE FARM CONTINUED TO BREATHE, THE WORLD LEARNED OF GEORGE FLOYD'S INABILITY TO BREATHE WHEN MURDERED BY A COP AND HIS COMPLICIT COLLEAGUES WHO WITNESSED HIS CALL FOR HIS MOTHER WHILE DOING NOTHING. IN OUR RURAL TOWN VOICES WERE ON THE STREETS, INCLUDING OURS, FOR MANY DAYS, WHILE WHITE SUPREMACISTS DROVE BY TAUNTING PEACEFUL PROTESTERS AND WHILE FEW KNEW ABOUT THE POLICE KILLING OF A BLACK LGBTQ MAN JUST A MONTH EARLIER, AND WHILE FEW PUBLICLY CALLED OUT THE RACISM AGAINST BIPOC INDIVIDUALS OVER THE CENTURIES RIGHT HERE IN OUR COUNTY. EVEN THE LOCAL PAPER (OWNED BY AN ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE CORPORATION WHO OWNS MANY RURAL PAPERS AROUND THE STATE) COULDN'T BE BOTHERED TO WRITE A STORY FOR MORE THAN A WEEK AFTER PROTESTS BEGAN.
JULY - HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO SAY THAT DURING THE WORST YEAR, WE ALSO HAD THE BEST MONTH? OUR GARDEN WAS FULL, OUR DOG WAS HAPPY, AND FOR A FLEETING MOMENT, WE WERE A FAMILY. I WAS THE HAPPIEST I'D EVER BEEN IN THAT SELFIE AND IN THE PHOTO OF THIS LITTLE GIRL WITH MY HUSBAND, TAKEN AFTER A GAME OF FRISBEE...AND JUST BEFORE SHE NODDED IN EXCITEMENT WHEN HE ASKED HER IF HE COULD BE HER DADDY. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS I WILL BE GRATEFUL FOR THE SIX MONTHS THIS SWEET GIRL WAS IN OUR LIFE, FROM HUGGING AND KISSING HER GOODNIGHT, TO TEACHING HER HOW TO BAKE THINGS WITH ME IN THE KITCHEN, TO WATCHING HER RUN WITH JOY IN THE PASTURE, TO SMILING AT HER SLEEPYHEAD SELF COMING DOWNSTAIRS FOR BREAKFAST EACH MORNING, TO OBSERVING HER DO EVERYTHING SHE COULD TO MAKE PEACE WITH HER SISTER WHO CONSTANTLY BERATED AND MOCKED HER (AND THREW TANTRUMS, TOOK OFF, AND/OR REFUSED TO ENGAGE WITH ANY OF US THROUGH MOST OF THEIR TIME WITH US...CLEARLY A YOUNG GIRL WITH A LOT OF ISSUES THAT AREN'T BEING DEALT WITH IN THE FC SYSTEM AND WOULD BE WELL-SERVED TO BE AN ONLY CHILD WHERE SHE'D GET THE ONE-ON-ONE STAR ATTENTION SHE NEEDS SO DESPERATELY, WHILE ALLOWING THE DEVELOPMENT OF A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH HER SISTER). ON HER LAST DAY WITH US SHE BUILT A FORT IN THE LIVING ROOM UNDER OUR LEGS AND THE COFFEE TABLE WHILE WE READ AND HER SISTER CHOSE TO BE IN THE OTHER ROOM DOING POKEMON. SHE CALLED ME MOM AND I SENT HER HOME WITH 'YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE' FOR HER TO LISTEN TO WHENEVER SHE WANTED. THE BRACELET SHE MADE ME IS STILL HANGING, UNTOUCHED, IN OUR ROOM. AND WHILE THE FURNITURE IN THEIR ROOM HAS BEEN DONATED, THERE IS STILL A GUEST ROOM FULLY FURNISHED, READY TO BECOME A GIRL'S ROOM IF THEY EVER CHANGE THEIR MIND. BUT I DIGRESS, BECAUSE THOSE POSSIBILITIES ARE NIL IT SEEMS.
AUGUST - I THREW MYSELF INTO PROJECTS AFTER WE WEREN'T ABLE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH ADOPTION, FROM FINISHING UP MY PUBLIC HEALTH COURSEWORK IN FOOD SYSTEMS ONLINE TO HARVESTING AND PREPARING THE FOOD WE'VE GROWN, TO RIPPING OFF THE OLD DILAPIDATED CEDAR SIDING FROM THE HOUSE IN PREPARATION FOR REPLACEMENT. WE ALSO NOTICED OUR SWEET OLD PUP WAS STARTING THE PATH DOWNHILL IN AN EXPONENTIAL WAY, NO LONGER COMING UPSTAIRS TO SLEEP IN HER BED IN OUR ROOM AND SLEEPING NEARLY ALL DAY, WITH LITTLE INTEREST IN WALKS DUE TO HER GROWING ARTHRITIS. I KNEW THAT THIS WAS OUR LAST YEAR WITH HER, AND YET ANOTHER CHAPTER WAS ABOUT TO CLOSE FOR US.
SEPTEMBER - AND WHEN WE DIDN'T THINK THINGS COULD GET ANY WORSE IN THE WORLD FULL OF PANDEMIC, POLICE BRUTALITY, MISINFORMATION, SENATE INACTION ON RELIEF PROGRAMS APPROVED IN AUGUST BY THE HOUSE, AND SO MUCH MORE? WE LOST RBG. MY HEART DIDN'T JUST FALL, IT REDUCED ME TO A MASS OF TEARS. IT TOOK ME TO THE COURTHOUSE STEPS ON A SATURDAY EVENING TO SHARE MY OWN THOUGHTS AND LISTEN TO THE WORDS OF THOSE IN MY COMMUNITY WHO *DO* CARE. IT GOT ME LOUD ON LINKEDIN, CALLING OUT THE CORPORATIONS WHO BREED HYPOCRISY, MISINFORMATION AND MORE WHEN IT COMES TO HATE SPEECH, WORKER RIGHTS, AND OUTRIGHT DISCRIMINATION. I PUT MY MONEY WHERE MY MOUTH WAS. AND I CANNED...A LOT!
OCTOBER - FOCUSING LOCALLY, WE HARVESTED THE REST OF THE GARDEN, ENJOYED THE QUIET OF WEEKDAYS IN OUR COASTAL TOWN, AND WATCHED OUR HOUSE BECOME THE PRETTY BLUE ONE WE'D ALWAYS DREAMED OF, WITH THE ICING ON THE CAKE BEING A NEW RAINWATER COLLECTION TANK TO ENSURE OUR GROWING GARDEN IN THE FRONT OF OUR HOME WILL BE FED BY THE RAIN IN 2021. GRATITUDE IS BIG FOR THIS PROJECT COMPLETION WHICH MARKED THE END OF LARGE SCALE REMODELING OF OUR HOME THAT HAD BEEN ONGOING FOR NEARLY 2 1/2 YEARS!
NOVEMBER - THE HARDEST MONTH BACK IN 2017 WAS SAYING GOODBYE TO OUR RUBY SHORTLY BEFORE THANKSGIVING, AND 2020 WAS A SAD REPEAT AS WE SAID GOODBYE TO OUR SWEET OLD GIRL LUCKY, WHO WE ADOPTED AS AN OLD PUP IN EARLY 2019. LOVE LOVE LOVE THAT LUCKY DOG AND OUR HOME IS THAT MUCH QUIETER WITHOUT HER NEXT TO US. YET WHILE WE SAID GOODBYE TO HER, WE ALSO CHEERED IN CELEBRATION AS THE BRILLIANT KAMALA HARRIS BECAME OUR VICE PRESIDENT ELECT AND SHATTERED ANOTHER GLASS CEILING FOR WOMEN IN THE BEST POSSIBLE REPRESENTATION IMAGINABLE - A STRONG, SMART BLACK AND INDIAN-AMERICAN WOMAN WHO WILL MAKE US ALL PROUD. ALL I COULD THINK OF WAS THE GIRLS AND HOW DURING THEIR TIME WITH US I SAT DOWN WITH THEM AND TAUGHT THEM ABOUT THEIR OWN AFRICAN, LAOTIAN AND INDIGENOUS ROOTS - THINGS THEY HAVE BEEN DENIED SINCE ENTERING THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM. I CRIED WITH HAPPINESS FOR THEM AND HOPE SO MUCH FOR A BEAUTIFUL FUTURE FOR THEM BOTH. IT WAS A THANKSGIVING MONTH THAT APPRECIATION WAS ESSENTIAL FOR SURVIVING THIS YEAR - FOR MAKING, FOR GROWING, FOR LOVING, FOR WINNING, FOR STILL BREATHING!
DECEMBER - AND HERE WE ARE, AT THE END OF THE YEAR WITH HOPE FOR A VACCINE BY SUMMER FOR BOTH OF US BUT STILL NOTHING LIKE IT WAS AND A FUTURE UNWRITTEN IN MORE WAYS THAN WE EVER IMAGINED. GOODBYE, AND FUCK RIGHT OFF, 2020!