2016 in Review Part 1: Overview of Events

Last year I said that 2015 was chaotic… But had I known how 2016 would turn out for me, I likely would have chosen better words to describe last year; while it went great for the first half, everything went downhill fairly quickly after June. In all honesty, 2016 has been the hardest year I’ve experienced in a while… But how did I do? What changed? Did I make any of my goals? Important questions require answers!

This post will be a chronological but generalized overview of my year and the major events that occurred. The real question of whether or not I managed to meet my goals will be answered in Part 2.

January

At the end of last year I had a Wisdom Tooth pulled. Unfortunately  I collapsed a few hours afterwards and was rushed to the Emergency Room by my Husband. As it turns out, I can’t take Codeine based medications at all as it interferes with my already low Blood Pressure and puts me in dangerous territory. I was also given a formal diagnosis for Orthostatic Hypotension, a condition I’ve known I’ve have for quite a while now but never had any confirmation of.

Despite starting the year out on a bit of a rough note due to the collapse, however, January wasn’t all too horrid. The biggest event was that my Husband and I began talking about what we wanted to do with our futures. We both have backgrounds in farming, with both of us having been raised on small family farms growing up- him more so than I. Both of us gravitate pretty heavily to that sort of a lifestyle and after a lot of discussion we decided to potentially approach his parents about taking over the 50 acres of land they have. Eventually, however, we settled on finishing out our five year plan with out current house- choosing to look into keeping Ewes on the land and starting a small sheep farm at a later date instead.

I borrowed a Camera from my adopted Father and started a project meant to combine my poetry book Devotional Bones with some Devotional Photography from my Shrine room. I contacted a few Publishers- even finding one I wanted to work with. Unfortunately the expenses ended up being too high to publish it, and I didn’t feel comfortable crowdfunding the amount. As a result, the project was placed on the backburner and never went any further. At this point I was also working for my mother at the restaurant she managed (a horrible and abusive situation) and babysat one of our co-worker’s Children three times a week on the side.

I also republished a lot of my old books this month. Most notably, though, I republished my book on Herbal Medicine; I had originally taken it off the shelves for a while because I was unhappy with the book in its original form. It got quite a bit of editing before republication- including a new cover design and title; you can now purchase it as A Verdant Introduction as opposed to its original title The Lavender Herbal.

In terms of Spirituality, a lot changed for me in January as well. The biggest change, though, came in my faith. I hadn’t had a solid faith for a while after I left Kemeticism about 3 years ago. But in the later stages of January I accidentally converted to Irish Polytheism.

In January my Co-Author, Bree, and I also started contacting various podcasts. We managed to snag an interview with Lamyka of Lamyka’s Wiccan Podcast. We were so incredibly excited to get the interview, and received the questions around January 31st. In addition to that, we had a couple of other interviews lined up as well- one with another Podcast, and another with an online Magazine.

February

Though January Bustled with Activity, February was actually kind of uneventful. Bree and I interviewed with Lamyka and the podcast episode aired on February 7th. It was great getting to talk to Lamyka during the pre-interview test, as well as during the interview.

We also traded in the Cavalier and bought a Jeep Patriot- a well needed upgrade, as the Cavy was beginning to fall apart on us due to the years it spent in Wisconsin before my Husband moved back to Oklahoma.

March

We finally got the opportunity to do the first bit of landscaping to our yard. We picked up 3 trees: A Wisconsin Willow, a Peach Tree, and a Pink Flowering Ornamental Crabapple. Additionally Husbands parents bought us a 4th tree- a Corkscrew Willow- as an anniversary gift. I also bought two roses, one Joseph’s Coat and one Heirloom.

Speaking of anniversaries, my Husband and I celebrated our first year of Marriage! They always say the first year is the hardest, but we breezed through it without a single issue- including still having never fought even once. We broke out the cake topper that was made for the occasion, but promptly made it halfway through it before dumping it; frozen cake just doesn’t taste that great no matter how well it’s stored, and we’re not sorry for saying so.

Later in the month we had a pretty close call with Wildfires that started not too far from us. At one point the smoke was so thick that I had to wear a bandanna whenever I took my dog out in order to keep from having an asthma attack. Thankfully (after a few months) they finally got the Wildfires under control after a while and only a few houses were lost on the Kansas side of the border. No one in our area was effected, but it was still a bit of a close call for us.

April

In April my Husband’s parents informed us that we would be inheriting 30 of the 50 Acres of land they owned- with 10 acres going to his Brother and the rest remaining in his Mother’s name. Needless to say, we were incredibly excited about that since we had planned to ask to buy some of the property from them. Now that was no longer necessary- and we were getting five times the amount of land we had planned to ask for.

I also improved on my Photography quite a bit; I still had my adopted Father’s camera on loan and was walking the distance to work most days. This provided ample opportunity to improve my photography skills in general- but it also helped foster my love of Macro, Urban, and Urban Nature photography.

May

Early May was an absolutely horrendous time for weather.

For one, we had the closest call with a Tornado that our town has had in decades- save a few small F0 – F2 tornadoes that have spawned around us out in open fields. This year, however, one looked as if it was going to drop directly over our town. It never did- a fact for which I am eternally grateful-  but it was certainly a terrifying experience… One I hope not to repeat any time soon.

We also had some minor flash floods. At one point my Husband and I were almost washed off a town road by one that came sweeping through fairly fast. We managed to get out of it in time (no thanks to the rude person behind us who refused to move despite us trying to reverse away from the floodwaters), however. At another point  we were worried once again that we would be flooded in again; compared to last year when the water stopped at our driveway, this year it was actually in our yard. Thankfully the water didn’t come much further than that and we didn’t suffer any damages. Other portions of town, though, weren’t anywhere near as lucky.

I  released a short (incredibly short) poetry collection titled Daughter to the Road– and had the privilege of attending my first Biker Rally in May, as well.

Growing up, my neighbor for a couple years was a Biker. Through him and his friends who regularly visited I had gotten involved with and worked with the local chapter of BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) painting faces at fair booths… But I had never actually attended a Biker specific event before so it was exciting on that front. It wasn’t all play, however. I had attended the event to photograph it for my adopted Father’s photography company- and the photos I got were pretty great for someone who had never done such a thing before; needless to say I came away from the event feeling incredibly proud and accomplished.

This was also the month I really started moving away from Digital art; if anything, getting to play with the cameras this year really reawakened the passion for Photography that I had possessed in high school- a passion which was lost over the years following Graduation because I couldn’t afford my own equipment. I have hopes to save up for my own Nikon D3200 in 2017, and begin to pursue photography seriously on my own.

June

June, of course, is my Birthday month. My Husband and I went camping- a tradition for my birthday. it was Whisper’s first extended stay outside of the house, her first experience with a giant body of water, and her first camping trip. She handled it incredibly well, though she didn’t like the lake itself all that much.

Sadly that camping trip was cut a little short. As it turns out, unbeknownst to my Husband and I, I had actually managed to finally conceive. Unfortunately during that camping trip I miscarried. As someone who wanted a child it hit me pretty hard emotionally and mentally… And in retrospect, it was the catalyst for a lot of my mental health problems later in the year.

My Husband was also accepted to interview for one of our local Police Departments- a huge step forward for him in achieving his dream of being a Cop. He decided not to go through with it, however, since there are significant concerns about his heart health and blood pressure. As a result of the medical issues he’ll likely never become a Police Officer. But it was still so nice to see him go for it at the very least, and I was incredibly proud of my Husband for making the attempt.

July

July brought on the Pokemon Craze, and I am unashamed to say that I participated in it enthusiastically; with my adopted Father having taken his cameras back, it was nice to have something else that motivated me to get out of the house and walk around- and Pokemon Go was certainly good at that. The real highlight was when I caught my first Vulpix- a Pokemon that, even though I had lost interest in the franchise as I grew older, has always been my favorite. However, I also lost several pounds while playing and discovered a hauntingly beautiful abandoned hotel in my town because of it. So perks all around!

In July we also decided that we were going to try turning several acres of the 30 we were set to inherit from my Mother in Law into an Orchard. Unfortunately we didn’t get to work on clearing the land except once this year.

August

In August my little sister got engaged… But what should have been a happy moment quickly wound up covered in family drama over who she chose to be her Maid of Honor. The most surprisingly, though, was that it came partly from my own father- a person who I honestly expected better from. Eventually this led to me quietly refusing to talk to them for a few months, especially after I was forced to kick my father out of my house over political differences. My mom’s “response” to my doing so only solidified it for me.

My Husband also switched to the Graveyard Shift around this point. We had been trying to get him on a Graveyard Shift since we got together because I’m a natural night owl and it would mean more time together for us… But it didn’t go anywhere near how we thought it would; the adjustment was horrendous. I actually found it much harder to keep up with the housework and animals, do my daily chores, cook, and generally live life- and it started to take an even bigger tole on my Mental Health.

September

I gave in and re-initiated contact with my Father because he’s the only Male left on his side of the family line; I wanted him to do Y-DNA testing to clear up a wall I had hit with his Genealogy- a project which is important to me, as my Paternal line is where my Ire-Scot heritage comes from. Things were good for a little bit.

October

October was the worst. My mother willingly disowned me for daring to ask for a little respect from them- making incredibly abelist statements and pulling her usual things; my Guild Owner in ESO (Elder Scrolls Online), who had been a friend of mine, committed Suicide; my Husband got into his first accident at work- which, by all accounts, he shouldn’t have been lucky enough to walk away from; and a million of other tiny little things that just made the month the worst one out of the year.

I launched my Patreon at the beginning of the month as well… But unfortunately I didn’t get to do anything with it in October due to all the stuff going on in my life at the time. There were two good things to come out of October despite everything, however.

First was that we added a new member to our family: Freya, an adorable Calico Kitten that we found wandering near our house the day we returned from a camping trip. The poor thing was malnourished, had Rectal Prolapse, and a severe case of Round Worms… But $200 usd later, she was well on her way to recovery; on the advice of the Vet we decided to keep her and haven’t regretted that decision since.

Second was that my Mother in Law gave me a 201-2 model sewing machine manufactured by Singer in 1952… I may or may not have cried profusely as it’s always been a dream of mine to own a 1950’s Singer.

November

November brought more Drama; the people who had decided to disown me in October apparently didn’t realize their decision had real life ramifications- nor that I would take it seriously. As a result, they invited us to Thanksgiving… And my mother promptly freaked out on my Husband (more Abelism, more of her usual stuff) for daring to decline and say something about it… In fact, November was pretty Drama filled in general; I don’t know what urinated in everyone’s Cheerios that month, but it was absurd on a new level.

But I did at least manage to find out why I had been having significant energy issues for the last few months. As it turns out, I had a pretty bad case of Anemia. How I got it, I’ll probably never know for sure (though in retrospect, my Mental Health hasn’t been the best this year and I’m sure that affected a lot of things)… But adding Iron back into my diet really did help and I was glad for it.

December

December isn’t over, yet, and already I’ve found out that I might have a condition called EDS… Christmas is this week and we’re expected to celebrate with my Husband’s family. Who knows how that will ultimately end up turning out? So here’s to hoping that next year will be better now that we are settled in and getting the hang of this thing called marriage and adult life!

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