Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015. On to 2016: Better, Smarter, and Full of Potential and Possibilities

There was supposed to be more time in this day to write this post, but as with most days this year something came up, or there just wasn't enough time in the day, or, as was more likely, blog posts were running through the brain as the body lay all warm and comfortable in bed. Thoughts, feeling, emotions, words, unable to escape into the internet and land here where they wanted to be because life gets in the way (or a comfortable bed).

2015 was an amazing year - amazing good and amazing bad - full of graduating from University with academic honors (magna cum laude), having the opportunity to spend several weeks traveling to a few locations in Canada, starting a new career as a self-employed contract worker, growing a great garden and learning more about the ins-and-outs of that hobby, and while we only completed one painting this year, there is confidence that will pick up when our new studio space (dubbed on Instagram [Yes, this year we "finally" got an Instagram account] and Facebook as 'Frankie's Lady Cave).

It was also a year full of seeing friends, like Club Nette (Skittles, aka, Annette Ford) and Synthesised (Cliff) in Toronto at the 2015 Toronto Tweetup (as well as a slew of others who just won't appear here - but shout out to Blonde Calamity!...sorry everyone else).
And then there was the summer house guests like Cool _Jesse (Jesse) and Synthesised (Cliff). And a road trip to Minneapolis to the Minnesota State Fair where we hooked up with Pudding Boobs (Kim) and had a great night of drinking and catching up.
And then in October, Father, and Baby Brother and his wife came to help put up a large portion of the new garage we're building (well, at this point James has been doing most of the building while we feel useless least until the electrical, insulation and drywall is ready to go up, those we can mostly do solo), and Mother and Angry Brother came too. It was the first time the entire immediate family had been together in such a way in over ten years, since the car accident. (current memory cannot recall if every member was accounted for on Baby Brother's wedding day, but if they were it was certainly not in such an informal familial way).
Dad came two weekends in a row and it was really nice spending that time with him. It was great fun cooking for everyone and connecting with some members of the family we haven't gotten to see much over the years. Baby Brother has turned out to be an amazing man of strength and intelligence and wit (he's a grade A smart ass, and we love it), and he and his wife are perfect for each other in ways that are undefinable.


The year was also not so great, as the death of our dog came quickly around graduation time. We lost massive hours at a job we were working at and got denied a more permanent position (such is the bureaucracy of a University in this day and age)
Then later in the year the most tragic of all, the sudden death of Club Nette (Skittles, aka, Annette Ford). Nothing has felt the same since, like there's a considerable amount of air and light missing from the world, the sun only shines half as bright. Given our peppered past of people who have suddenly (and not so suddenly) died, like the first boy we ever liked, cousins, uncles, grandparents, friends...we thought this would be easier to get passed. It's not. It was a massive hit to the heart and soul.

From a mental health perspective it's been up and down a lot, definitely some bad, but there's never enough time to write when the mood strikes to define the bad, or work through the bad like we used to - luckily a trunk full of culled coping strategies over the past couple of years mitigates the harm, pushes it back for some reprieve.
Physically we've managed to stay in pretty good shape - though after the death of Nettie there was a severe uptick in alcohol consumption and we've been working on getting back to better levels because alcohol will straight up fuck with your metabolism and any weight loss attempts. During a full physical (EKG and all) the doctor guessed that we must run because of the low resting heart rate. Not really sure if that means healthy, or is just a symptom or catalyst to the poor circulation. In any case, despite the extra pounds we're as healthy as they get. And the plan is to continue that into the new year. The greatest physical achievement this year was establishing a top run time (of an average of 7.04 mph for 30 minutes) - a run time we have not been able to near in awhile even after being in the gym 3-4 times a week, even when traveling. But that just gives us a goal. In addition this coming year at least one 5K, and maybe a 10K, is planned, which has been sort of a bucket list item since losing a massive amount of weight about 11 years ago and keeping most of it off over the years. It's not really a new year resolution, because those beg to be broken, rather a desire, a goal, a hope, that if doesn't happen, doesn't happen, and there will always be the next year.

This coming year is pretty scary, as uncertainty being self-employed causes much undo stress, but if it continues on the path it has been on it will be amazing. This new venture affords plenty of free time for painting and reading in the winter, and gardening and painting and travel in the summer, and cooking all year round. Plus it brings in more money than we've made at any point in our life...jutting us into a new tax bracket. (also scary!)

The non scary part of the year will be when the garage is complete. This project has taught patience this year, as the hope was that it would be fully complete by October. Unfortuntaly the concrete didn't even get poured until then, and then before anybody knew it there was cold, and snow, and the challenges of building a huge structure (and James is not familiar with how things are built in the USA, as building in England are put together differently).
Plus the garage is massive a massive project. In-floor heating, multiple access doors,six windows. a 34 x 24 structure with the back 12 x 24 space (Fankie's Lady Cave) serving as a painting/writing studio, and workout/yoga space, a gardening space (until the garden shed is built), a hangout space, and a guest area for the friends we've made on Twitter so they can have a nice space to relax and sleep while visiting. There are new visitors planned for 2016 too, so hopefully this all gets done in time! :-)

Before the garage
After the garage (34' x 24')
Meanwhile, all year there have been so many topic we would have liked to write about. 2015 was CRAZY - especially in politics and social issues, and we're always paying attention (thanks to social media it's hard not to), but then sometimes it seems like it's all really been said by everyone, because, well, it's the internet and it probably has all been said, or said faster than someone with a job, a spouse, and hobbies has time to compete with. Writing just falls to the back-burner (hence the scant few blog entries here this year compared to other years).
The one thing that's disappointing about classes being over, having graduated, is that it's harder to sit down and write with no grade or deadline looming over the head as motivation. If there's anything we can be hopeful about for 2016 it's that we can get back into writing, and not just sloppy shit like this blog post, but quality content like the academic papers we've shared with you here over the last few years, or travel entries.'s peeking right around that corner, mere hours away...full of possibilities...full of potential...potential sadness, potential happiness, potential success, potential you look at those things, how you act on those things is up to you. Make the better decision, the smarter decision, the healthier decision, and just try, day by day, to be a better you, inside and out. No, it's never easy, but what else do you have to do but try?
Don't let the rampant hate that saturated 2015 via social media and mass media and the internet in general leak into 2016 and overtake it. Hope for better, strive for better, be better.

Happy New Year, family, friends, readers, lovers, haters...May 2016 bring you all that you deserve.