Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's the End of the Year. Again.

I'm a bit over the constant chatter of Facebook at the moment. I feel as though everyone's talking, but no one's really listening. People are shouting for tolerance while being extremely intolerant to the thoughts, opinions and belief systems of others, so I've decided to take a bit of a break. My sister-in-law, Amanda, reminded me that I haven't blogged in a long while, so I've decided to spend my time blogging our life rather than throwing it into the overly-cluttered ocean that is Facebook.

So, it's the end of the year. This time last year I looked back at 2012 and thought "I can't wait to put this year behind us. There's no way 2013 can be as bad as this."

Yeah, I know. Famous last words and all that. It has been an absolute dog of a year and I'm feeling the need to peel back the layers and see the various issues that made this year so awful, as well as the actions that saved it.

My Big Fat End of Year Meme

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before? 
I fell in hate. Deeply and forever. There's one person in my circle (sort of) who makes me furious whenever I come into contact with him. I think he knows how I feel because he stays the hell out of my way. He should be family, but I shall never ever consider him in that way. I've had violent boyfriends, an ex-husband, a brother-in-law who is not exactly a beacon of shining light in this world, and yet I've hated none of these. This man, however - yeah, I hate him.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? At the beginning of each year the family sits down and works out what they'd like to achieve by the end of the year. Mine were: 

  • Write a novel. Well, yeah, sort of achieved. Connor's illness compelled me to tell him a story each night, which I wrote down. This turned into "Peter Brown Loves Dinosaurs." I haven't edited it, though, and it sits in my computer largely ignored But it has led me to writing "Treckie Travers" which is the next novel I'm currently writing and reading to the kids.
  • Live a healthy, vegetarian lifestyle. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. No.
  • Sew Erin a skirt by the time she returns to skirt. Yep. She doesn't really wear it, though, so I don't think she likes it.
  • Read 40 novels. Thanks to the Aurealis Awards, I currently stand at about 60. So, yeah, that's probably my biggest achievement.
  • Walk/ride to school with the kids 2/3 of the school year. Well, here's the thing. Connor got sick. He's so sick he can no longer attend school. Erin used the opportunity to gain independence and started walking to school with her friends. So, no.
  • Make 6 new recipes. Yep. Achieved, and in doing so discovered the joy of Parmesan Chicken Bites. A big family favourite.
So there you have it. Half achieved, half attempted but not finished.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Plenty of people I know on Facebook gave birth, but no one I'd say I'm 'close' to. It's not like we have coffee together.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No. My mum died at the end of last year. At one stage Connor asked us if he was going to die. Thankfully, no. He is ill, but it isn't directly fatal.

5. What countries did you visit? The past. A lot.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? Connor's health returned to him. His illness is difficult on the family, but it's awful watching him suffer every day.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Amanda's party in May. It was the very first day Connor started vomiting. I look back at that first episode and shudder. I had no idea what was coming. I clearly remember saying to those present; "Oh, it's nothing. It'll pass." Seven months and it's only gotten worse. Multiple hospital visits. Hundreds of tests. One very sick little munchkin.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Managing to home-educate Connor despite the worst circumstances. Not only was his coordinator satisfied with all we achieved, she commended Lee and I for our efforts in keeping his education going.

9. What was your biggest failure? Giving up uni when it all got too hard. Connor takes up pretty much all my mental energy. I have so little left over to give to anyone else, let alone myself. And yet, it's not a failure I regret.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I was hospitalised for 24 hours with a suspected heart attack. It turned out to be Costo-Chondritis, an affliction that kept me in bed for 2 weeks. The pain was incredible.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My gym membership. It's my release. I'm not losing weight, but I do get to leave the house for an hour most days and just regroup my mental energy.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Connor has faced a difficult year, and yet he has remained cheerful, funny and an absolute joy. He has days where he can vomit 40-plus times, but he just keeps going. He has become afraid of going out, but he makes the most of being at home. My little boy has been a constant delight for us all. 

And, of course...I couldn't have kept going without the constant support of my beloved, Lee. He walks in at night and pushes me out the door. I go to the gym while he organises the kids for the evening. Once the kids are in bed he gives me his full attention and we talk, watch TV, write, read, whatever, but we do it together. He takes one day off a fortnight and uses it to take over Connor's school day and, once again, I'm pushed out the door to do whatever I want. I love my husband so much.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? I hate this question. I want to talk about the behaviour of one quasi-family member who just appalls me with his attitude but it's a touchy subject, so I'd best leave it alone for now. I just want to say that when you have a family, they should be the focus of your world, not your own ego. Also, a little respect to those around you wouldn't go astray. It's one of those things that you have to give in order to receive.

14. Where did most of your money go? I'd love to say on holidays away, but nothing as fun as all that. The car and the mortgage eat our money.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Lee's novel contract for Magwitch and Bugrat. The novel is brilliant and I can't wait to see it in print. Going to Margaret River with Lee earlier this year to attend Battcon. It was wonderful.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? "Vincent" by Don McLean. My favourite quote this year comes from the Doctor Who episode "Vincent and the Doctor" in which Vincent says to the Doctor "We have fought monsters together, and we have won." This quote sums up the family's year as we've worked together to keep Connor positive in the face of his illness (actually, most of the time it's him who keeps our spirits up). Every time I hear "Vincent" I am reminded of this quote and the strength it gives me.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer? 1)Sadder. Last year was pretty difficult with my mother's death and the loss of my job, but I knew I'd get over it eventually. This year we're working against Connor's illness (Rumination Disorder) and we're at the point of thinking we'll never seeing an end to it. 2)Fatter, but only a little. I'm eating a lot more and it's showing. 3)Poorer, but again, only a little. This year feels much the same as last year.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Nothing, really. I had the year I had and dealt with it appropriately. I would have liked to spend more time with Cass and Aisla, but Connor has to come first. He just does. 

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Complaining on Facebook. People see it as a free-for-all for offering advice. I don't want advice. You name it, Lee and I have done it. Sometimes I just wanted to rant, but people find it hard to accept that. 

20. How will you be spending Christmas? I have no idea. The Triffitt kids are all independent now, so they make their own plans and we're expected to fall into line with that. Erin and Connor are spending the day with the grandparents, which probably leaves Lee and I on the couch, sharing a bottle of Moscato and watching "Whitechapel" or "Ripper Street."

21. Who did you meet for the first time? The McMinns. Kris and Kim, you helped save our year. 

22. Did you fall in love in 2013? I answer this the same way every year, but that doesn't make it any less true. My husband walks into the room and I still get a flutter in my stomach. Seeing him fills me with happiness and I just want to push everyone aside, just so I can be with him. We go to a party or a convention and even though we start off circulating, we end up looking for each other just so we can be together. As long as our relationship is solid, the rest of existence feels doable.

23. What was your favourite TV program? This year Lee and I discovered two shows that quickly stole our evenings. Yes, there was Broadchurch, and we enjoyed it well enough, but the real winners were, for us, Ripper Street and Whitechapel. Each is amazing in its own way, but Ripper Street will forever be the show that featured the most heartbreaking scene in television history. All I'm saying is: Season Two, Joseph Merrick. 

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Oh, yes. But again, delicate.

25. What was the best book you read? I read many fantastic books this year but I think my favourite is one that I can't talk about because it's an Aurealis Awards Nominee. Keep an eye on my Goodreads.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Aiden got me listening to Sabaton and I found I really, really like their sound and message.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? A tie between The Croods and Catching Fire. Both absolutely blew me away. I now own The Croods and will own Catching Fire once the box set of the trilogy comes out. 

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 44. That's it.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If I'd finished uni this semester, but I'm not going to regret the decision to defer. Connor needed me and I met that need.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? Lee's oversized t-shirts. He never complains when I steal his t-shirts and for that I'm grateful.

31. What kept you sane? My visits with Cassandra. We had our problems in the past, but we got through them and now we spend quality time together. Yesterday I taught her to make muffins my way and it was wonderful.

Lee and the gym also helped keep me sane. 

32. What political issue stirred you the most? The refugee situation. Refugees are not criminals. I don't know why this message needs to be repeated.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.  I don't think I learned a life lesson this year. We kept our heads above water, that's all we could do.

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
This was Connor's favourite song this year because he said it makes him feel sad and happy at the same time. Every car trip features it at least once.

From Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros

Og útilykt af hárinu þínu
Ég anda eins fast og ég get
Með nefinu mínu

I engum stígvélum
Allur rennvotur (rennblautur)
I engum stígvélum

Og ég fæ blóðnasir
En ég stend alltaf upp
Hoppipola - Sigur Ros. 

So true. Connor's nose has been bloodied over and over this year, but he still gets up, no matter what.

So, that's my year. Yeah, it was hard, but I read lots, spent heaps of time with my children, built up my relationship with my daughter, took up knitting, invented and cooked up batch after batch of muffins, discovered new ways to combine cornflakes, parmesan cheese and chicken, cooked cupcakes for my other daughter to take to school, attended Crime Scene, watched the Dr Who 50th Anniversary Special at the cinema, started to write several novels, made new friends, helped my sons move out into their first rental, rediscovered songs I'd forgotten about, and kept my relationship with my husband and children alive and fresh. 



Flinthart said...

May the new year treat you and all yours at least as well as you deserve -- and hopefully much better. (Though that would be a challenge!)

Lee Battersby said...

The fact you can finish up a post like this with the word "Win" shows everything about you and the amazing positivity you bring to our world. I love you, my darling.

Kris McMinn said...

I heard a little scream behind me as Kim read this article and thought I had better read it myself... I had the same moment of 'omg, she mentioned us?!'

Thanks so much Lyn, you and Lee are amazing and we are glad to have met you both! (And your lovely children of course)