Welp, that year didn't go as expected.
There's been some pretty interesting highs and lows this year. Here's the breakdown:
Illness Leads to Education
I started off this year "right" with a rip-roaring case of mono. Though it knocked me on my ass, I apparently got off pretty easy. I slept a lot, didn't have a huge amount of stamina, I tired really easy, and standing in one place for more than ten seconds (like waiting in line at the store or bank) was terrifying as I felt I could collapse at any moment; but I could function. Maybe because I was in the best shape of my life when I fell ill. I was just thinking about gearing up for my next Karate rank, and had just started taking boxing lessons to improve my sparring. I was assistant teaching Tai Chi and was doing daily exercises in the morning before work.
So instead of staying at home in bed sleeping, like I should have been, I'd go into work for four hours (since I was at my strongest in the mornings), then go home and sleep for a little bit and then remote into work for a couple hours in the evenings. Looking back I'd say this arrangement was suicidally crazy, but I needed money and I really hate doing nothing. Because of that, during a stretch where I couldn't work even under those conditions, I decided to apply to a local community college with the intent of going to nursing school. (I get bored easy you see; if you leave me alone with nothing to do, I end up doing crazy things like that.)
I got in!
Now some of you might be asking, "What?!"
While others will be cheering, "Finally!"
For the first group: I've been toying with the notion of becoming a nurse for a very long time; I just never felt I had the level of maturity and emotional wherewithal to handle being in that noble profession. However, a lot has happened in my life within the past five or so years to make me feel I might actually be ready to give this a go. Being home-bound, (supposedly) recovering from mono was just that little nudge I needed to take the plunge.
I just finished my first semester of prerequisite classes earlier this month, passing with flying colors (while working full-time). I put in my formal application to the nursing program as soon as the final grades were posted.
Next semester (which starts at the end of January) will be ten credits (three classes) of general education classes that I'd like to get out of the way before doing "real" nursing school (which starts next fall if I get in). The summer semester will also be just gen-eds.
I'll know if I've landed a coveted a seat in the Class of 2019 about halfway through this coming semester. If I get in, I plan on dropping back to part-time at the 9-5 job, or stop working completely to focus on school. We'll be playing that one by ear as it comes.
The current game-plan is to get my RN and work in a hospital for as long as I can tolerate it. During that time I'd like to see if I can find an employer who'll pay for me to get my Bachelor's degree. After which I want to get even more nursing experience before going on to get my Master's and become a Certified Nurse Midwife. We'll see where and how that all goes (you know, the way to make God laugh and all that...)
As for my health: it's taken most of this year to recover my strength and stamina. I'm still seriously limiting the extracurricular activities, but happily there's plenty of others things going on presently to keep me occupied (more on that later).
Though I had every intention to push for my next Karate rank this year, thanks to mono and changes at the Karate club, I've been laying low in regards to the martial arts. I also had to drop the Tai Chi assistant teaching due to my illness; but I think the couple months I did do it served their purpose. I still practice the whole short form on my own periodically, which is quite lovely.
Recently I tried to do my morning exercises again (something I just haven't had the strength to do for most of this year). I was happy to see I could stick with it for a full week, but because I'm not really doing anything physically challenging at present, I didn't see the need to keep up with it.
We'll see what next year brings to my martial arts journey. It might be another time for a hiatus. Who knows.
Cabin in the Woods
As soon as I was well enough to do any level of physical labor this spring, my husband Rick and I headed up to Raquette Lake on any and all available weekends to continue cleaning out his father's camp (a project we'd been tackling since last summer). We had hoped to get an offer on it this spring and get it sold ASAP so we wouldn't have to pay another year of property taxes on the place, but it wasn't to be.
Still, we toiled through the summer as we slowly lost hope of selling it at all this year.
Then out of the blue, a serious offer came in. The couple were happy to pay the list price but on one condition: the camp had to be completely cleared out by the closing slated for November 1st.
Rick and I hauled ass wrangling up friends and family to help get that place cleaned out.
An outsider may wonder, "How bad could it have been? It was after all just a little camp in the Adirondacks!"
Yeah well, Rick's Dad was a hoarder and avid collector of all things not valuable. He'd lived in the camp every summer for several decades. Slowly and methodically he had haul things to up one boatload at a time. Books and furniture, and he NEVER threw out mail, newspapers or magazines. He loved all things Disney, so long as it could be fished out of a trash can for purchased for five bucks off ebay. Happily most of the stuff was meticulously cataloged and stored, but it didn't make getting it out of there any easier as you could only access the camp via a five-mile boat ride.
It was not a fun or easy project, but we prevailed and the camp was "broom-clean" before the end of October! The closing went through without a hitch and we couldn't be happier!
You might have noticed that the blog hasn't gotten much loving this year (apart from a couple really fun Kai'us-related series that I posted this summer).
It's not that I haven't wanted to write on the blog: I've got several half-baked drafts sitting in my queue waiting to be finished. Lack of time and energy is what I'm blaming (see above, lol).
Really though all my writing has suffered this year. I haven't even been working on my other WIP's, nor did I have much interest in participating in NaNoWriMo this year.
So what else could be keeping me from writing apart from recovering from a debilitating illness, helping to clear out my deceased father-in-law's Adirondack camp and going to school? Glad you asked (see below)!
This summer, Rick and I became legal guardians of my nine year old niece in partnership with her parents (my brother and sister-in-law). She started living with us in mid-August. She started the fourth grade in our school district this September, and is loving Girl Scouts and Karate (when we go).
Our days now tend to go as follows: Rick gets her up and ready for school as I get ready for work. I drive her into school as it works well with my work schedule and route. She and I get a few minutes of in-the-car-bonding time, which is fun; then I continue on to work and do grown-up things.
Rick gets her off the bus in the afternoon, makes sure she does her homework and makes her dinner.
In the evenings I come home, eat whatever is left of dinner and give Child my undivided attention so that Rick can get some alone time as she unwinds for the evening. Every evening, the three of us read together before bed. She has an early bedtime, so I get a good hour and a half, to two hours after she's gone to bed to do my own unwinding before I head off to sleep as well.
So far it's been working really well for all involved. I honestly don't mind spending my evenings this way as otherwise I'd just be on the computer, probably not being terribly productive as I haven't been writing much lately.
So what do I hope for 2017?
School will likely dominate my life for the next couple years, which doesn't bother me too much. I love learning. My current boss knows that my days at the printing company are numbered and he'll hopefully get me a replacement that I can train soon.
The small business that I run with a friend is humming along nicely. We attended a couple events as vendors earlier this year and thanks to a new product we had to offer, we nearly doubled our sales from last year in just the first few months of this one! We also have a quiet etsy presence that's continued to generate tidy sales throughout the year. Interestingly enough my business partner will also be going back to school next year, so there's no hard feelings about me being busy with academic pursuits. It just means we'll have plan our crafting days a little more carefully than in the past. (She blogs too btw. Feel free to give her a read!)
As mentioned before: what I'll be doing in the martial arts department next year is a little up in the air. Right now I'm just taking it one day/week/month at a time. I AM a martial artist though, so I'm sure something will present itself.
Same goes for writing. I have a WIP that's very close to being ready to go agent-hunting. It'd be nice to get the ball rolling again on that soon.
2017 Holds a lot of promise and potential. We'll see how it goes!