A Year in Review

I elected to post this a few days after New Year’s for a couple of reasons:

1) I didn’t want my post to get in the way of the Thursday Thread

2) I wanted to be able to leave this up for a little bit longer while I think about the year ahead.

This year was… busy. At the end of 2012, I’d decided to go to graduate school and get a PhD in Speech Pathology. I took the GRE, did okay, I guess, and, indeed, got accepted to the program.

But I didn’t take it.

The pay cut was too big. Sure, they’d pay for classes, but I had to work for them for 20 hours a week, and the pay was less than half of what I would make if I just worked per diem. I could work half time for the school district, pay for all my classes myself, and still come out ahead (that’s how little it was). But I was told that I had to work for them, regardless of who paid for my classes.

So I said thanks, but no thanks. I’m a little sad I didn’t take it, but it’s okay. I’m not unhappy doing what I’m doing, and I never was. That wasn’t why I wanted to the PhD.

Anyway, I had surgery again in May to repair yet another hernia. It was my fourth hernia repair in three years, and was not my favorite thing in the world. Yet another reason why I was reluctant to leave my job for a PhD: I have okay insurance, but coupled with husband’s insurance, it’s pretty awesome. Double coverage pretty much rocks, when it comes to surgery and hospital stays.

Also in May, because I wasn’t going to graduate school and putting us in the poor house, husband and I bought a small, used travel trailer. It really is pretty tiny, and husband and I sleep on what is supposed to be the dinette, but it works for us. We went camping several times over the summer, to places I have always wanted to go, but never been: Crater Lake. Bend, OR. The Oregon coast. Various places in CA. We saw salmon running, watched a bald eagle catch a fish early one morning, and had deer munching on grass right across from our trailer. We also learned that our very scary looking German shepherd is great with throngs of people and super with little kids, but terrible with other dogs. Lord, he’s barky.

I think we had the best vacations we ever had. If we didn’t want to be in town for a weekend, we weren’t. We dry camped for a couple of those weekends, which meant that it was basically free. The burn restrictions kind of stunk, but better to follow the rules and NOT cause a forest fire, right?  We had enough of those this year without us adding to it.

Also this year, I started learning how to bake. I’ve never been a baker in the past–heck, if I wanted a bagel/muffin/cookie, I would just go down and get one. But with the celiac disease and the egg allergy, I have to make my own stuff. I make good cookies and muffins. I think I’ve finally gotten okay at gluten free, egg-free bread. Almost all the recipes I found for gluten-free bread required the use of eggs, which I can’t have. So the bread I make tends to be denser than normal bread, but it’s good. I’ve made quinoa/millet bread, and breads with buckwheat, and another type of bread with teff. I’m learning to appreciate things like chia seeds and arrowroot and xanthan gum.

I’ll admit, I really miss sourdough, but not enough to do my own starters with cabbage leaves and stuff like that. I’m not that ambitious. And I don’t miss anything enough to take the hit for it. I did that for years–I can’t go back to that. By the end, right before I was diagnosed (after two GIs told me, No, you don’t have celiac, despite the fact that ALL of my path reports going back three years say that I do),  I was getting pretty desperate. I threw up after almost every meal, so I only ate once a day–at night, when I had the time to hang over the sink and feel miserable. And, more often than I care to admit, I would live on nothing but one small cup of applesauce a day for up to five or six days. It was pretty miserable.

It’s so much better now.

So, I can live without the bread. It’s hard sometimes. I have yet to master the gluten-free roux–every attempt I made at making gravy was pretty pathetic. It was more like gak than something you can eat. But I guess that’s okay. I can live without gravy.

This year, my M had a health scare, too. We’d known he was diabetic for about six months when his blood sugar started going haywire. He lost so much weight. His cheeks became sunken and hollow, and I was getting scared (not that I told him that, though he probably knew, since I was hounding him to go to the doctor). Turns out, he had Type I diabetes–his poor pancreas doesn’t do much. He’s on insulin now, and we’ve had some kind of scary moments where his blood sugar dropped precipitously, but he’s doing great at managing it. He tests his blood frequently, and he’s gotten really good at administering the shots. It still scares me, but I’m adjusting.

So, given this new information, learning to cook for all of us has been an interesting endeavor. Luckily, I rarely cook with potato starch–I use garbanzo bean flour, millet, quinoa, and sorghum, which tend to be higher in fiber and protein than other breads. And I don’t give him very much of it. We’re slowly learning to adapt to our health issues, and the kids have been pretty good about it.

Also, this year, I sold another book: Highland Deception, a book set in Scotland in 1725. It comes out in a few months, and I’m excited to share it with you. But I am busy, busy. I started doing some editing on the side, which is nice and brings in a little extra money. Also, because I decided not to get the PhD in speech, I decided to pursue my TESOL endorsement (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), mostly because, if I get above a C, the classes are totally paid for, and I don’t have to quit my job to do it. So that’s cool. The coursework isn’t hard, but I do have to work on it, so it does take time. I guess I should have been doing some of the work over the break, since I have stuff due that week we get back to school, along with report cards and three IEPs that first week, but hey. I’ll get to it. Maybe Friday.

The kids are doing well. Chewey isn’t in as much trouble as he was last year. He has gotten into some trouble this year, but it’s not as bad as last year, so that’s good. He’s getting older, and he’s learning to control himself a little better. He loves his time with his dad and his sister, playing D&D, while I get some largely uninterrupted work time. And Monk? Well, she’s learning to manage her time better, and is coping well with the increased work load of her new school. We try to go to basketball games when we can, and they’re both in Scouts and swimming. I think it’s been good for both of them.

In a few days, I’ll post my list of hopes for the coming year (I am loath to call them resolutions). I turn 39 in a few months, so I have some time to reflect on my list from a few years ago: 40 before 40. I’m pleased to say that I hit some of them already. Some of them will have to wait for the bucket list, I think. 🙂

So, to all of you out there…. Happy New Year!



2 thoughts on “A Year in Review”

  1. Love your post. While I don’t cook much, when I took vegan/dairy free classes the a-ha moment that came with the introduction of arrowroot was life-changing, well, kitchen-changing.
    Glad to know you and your family are getting along well. Look forward to your next post. And congrats on the sale!

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