Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes...

Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing on?

Ok, confession time. Yes, I disappeared. For a year. That has to be a new record, even for me. I never *ever* expected to neglect the blog for this long -- it kind of just got away from me there. What started as being busy with spring yard work and house stuff turned into a crazy emotional year that had me grasping to keep my head above water even to be able to get out of bed in the morning. What am I talking about? Well, here's what the last year's involved for me:

The ugly: The big D word: divorce. Well, actually, separation, but divorce is pending, so... My husband told me he wanted a divorce way back when we first got to Maryland 2 years ago. It kind of came out of nowhere for me -- I thought that we had an okay marriage. Not perfect, but we had a lot of fun together and loved each other. For a full year we did marriage and individual counseling, and things were really starting to get better and then he hit me with it again this past July -- he still wanted a divorce. In September (after lots more trauma, counseling, tears, attempted negotiations, etc.) he moved out, throwing me in to a new life of singledom that I wasn't quite prepared for, to say the least. 

Also, about 5 weeks ago, my brother, Ronny passed away suddenly. I don't have much to say about that, other than what I said when I spoke at the funeral: I know that he had an amazing heart despite all his emotional and physical afflictions (he was schizophrenic and through a freak surgical accident became a quadriplegic when I was 10). And I wish that I had had more of a chance to get to know the "real" him and to connect with him on a deeper level before everything happened (He was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was 3 and he was 16). I have some guilt over that last part -- that I wasn't able to be a better sister to him through all the trauma, but I'm working through that and do understand that circumstances made me need to detach myself quite a bit, just to be able to cope. But I know I'll see him again some day, and we'll be able to catch up where we left off. :)

The bad: Yet another (and hopefully the last!) back surgery. In November, I had my Spinal Cord Stimulator removed, because it never really was placed right and thus, never worked properly. That, I have to say, was one of the more difficult things I've been through. My husband had just moved out about 6 weeks prior, I was all alone, and I wasn't really prepared for what kind of loneliness would hit when I woke up in pain, and I had no one to take care of me. But, on a positive note, I made it through, and my back is much happier for having that garbage out of it. :)

The good: LOTS! It's been a traumatic year, but I have so much to be thankful for. For one, my friends have truly kept me sane. I have had several parties at my house this year, and when the last guest leaves, I always have this amazing encompassing feeling of being totally supported and lifted up. They've also been there especially through all the turmoil -- the emotional fallout from the separation, my surgery, etc. I have amazing friends. I'm a lucky girl. 

My mom and I went on an amazing vacation back in November -- The PaperCrafts Cruise. It was such an amazing get-away filled with lots of catching up (and drinking!) with mom, lots of papery goodness, and lots of sunshine. If only I could go a few times a year... yeah, that would make life more livable. :) On the cruise I got to meet Susan Opel and her sister Beth Opel, Teri Anderson and Kim Kesti. They are all such darling, fun, energetic women. I met several other stamping buddies whose work I had admired for a long time, too. Needless to say, I'm ready to go again! Let's start planning now!

I started doing some volunteer work. First, back in October I started volunteering for the Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County. It's the only no-kill, cage-less animal shelter in my county and houses anywhere from a dozen to two dozen cats at any one time. I've done a bit of grant writing for them, some shelter upkeep and cat socializing, and I currently am fostering two 9-week old kittens for them. The kittens are the best. They are so cute and cuddly. About a week ago I almost lost my mind and gave them back to the shelter because the gray one still wasn't litter trained, but thankfully that finally resolved itself.

I'm also volunteering as a Patient Care volunteer for Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. What that involves is basically walking around and looking for bored kids in the wards and playing with them. Pretty cool, right? It was a crazy competitive program -- I had to interview, have my references checked, go through a background check, and go for numerous medical exams and tests... but I made it!

And finally, I have been involved in lots and lots of home improvement. Right before I took off last year, we had our basement remodeled, so a lot of the year was spent putting that together and making it a comfortable space. Before my husband left last year, we also tore up a giant section of our lawn to put in perennial beds and a large-scale organic vegetable garden. That has taken up all my time this spring!  That whole area used to be all grass!  I've been so busy putting things back together, planting, weeding, learning... And it's all kind of hard on my back, so I've had to take lots of breaks. 

That about sums it up.  If I had to give this year a theme, I'd say it's been about re-finding and enjoying what makes me ME! :)  If you made it through all that, I'm amazed. If not, that's okay too. :) I Just felt like I didn't want to just ignore the last year entirely! :)

Now, since it's a papercrafting blog, how about a card? I have a lot of things to share with you, but I think I'll just start with a Mother's Day card. Since that's where I left off last year, maybe that will help us pretend that a whole year didn't just go by!

Stamp: Papertrey Ink
Paper: White Cardstock, DP by My Mind's Eye
Buttons: Oriental Trading Co., Lasting Impressions
Stickers: Heidi Grace
Word Cut-outs: Lasting Impressions
Accessories: Floss, Copic Markers

That's it for today!  I don't know how often I'll be able to blog, so I'm not going to commit myself to a schedule.  But I know that it's good for me -- a release of sorts.  Not to mention that it keeps me being crafty!  So I definitely intend to stick with it, even if I disappear now and again.  :)  

Hope you all have a beautiful day.  Until next time...


Lisa said...

Well, welcome back. I'm glad to see you back in my blog reader. Sorry that it's been a crazy year, but it seems you've come out this end of it better, faster and stronger. :O) (sorry, I'm a child of the 70's, who may or may not have always wanted to be Jamie Sommers)

rose s. said...

wow - well, as excuses go your's certainly tops them lol. so glad that you've maintained your sense of humour and have come out the other side whole. i too moved last year and had a year this side of hell but, nothing compared to you girl. hope that you have nothing but an open road of personal enjoyment and growth ahead of you. your card is beautiful and your creativity wonderful. good luck and take care

Donna said...

Hi Kathy. It's Donna Lane. Wow, I click on your blog every so often and usually (the past year) there's been no change! Boo hoo. Much to my surprise, and delight, you are "back again," and I'm thrilled. What a year you have had, but as Lisa said above, "you've come out this end of it better, faster and stronger" sounding to say the very least. Please keep it up ... I've certainly missed you! :-)

Donna Baker said...

I'm so sad to hear about all the bad stuff but it seems like your attitude and your support system helped you through! I'm sorry we lost touch for so long while you were going through all this---you know you're often in my thoughts so if you ever need to chat, let me know! big hugs and hang in there! sounds like fun going on that cruise with your mom & working with those shelters! glad your back is better now too.


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