2007 has been quite a good year, for me, i think. Its seen some improvement in personal matters, in health, confidence, emotional happiness. I’ve done a lot of growing, in a good way.

The Blog

The end of January saw me starting this blog. Its been a wonderful thing: a record of what i’ve been doing, but also a way to communicate with people, both those i know through the ‘net and those i know in RT. It’s helped me to forge a better connection with my mom, i know she gets a lot out of reading this. Its developed in some ways into a photo journal, quite different to how i started out (commenting on lots of “green” issues), and while i love the photojournal part of it, and will continue with that, i also want to get back to focusing on green issues too. That problem just ain’t going away. I did experiment with a “photo a day” but that didn’t really work for me, and i think i’m happier with the balance i’ve got now.

Events

February saw us going to the Chinese State Circus, a treat from mom we really enjoyed. In the middle of February, we celebrated our 4 year anniversary, but on the same day got the news that my aunt died. The following week saw me going to the funeral, which was sad, but uplifting in a way. Mom and dad came to visit in April, and I joined the “blogging against Disabilism” day with my entry on deafness and Prejudice from your own kind in May. We observed the commemoration of Rememberance Day in the Netherlands on 4th May, as we do every year, and its follow-up, liberation day. Sez came to visit too, and she had a birthday cake – chocolate beer cake!

In June, Jess had a big day out when we walked up to the RSPCA free clinic for her to be checked over: fortunately she got a clean bill of health. I also made mom cry with my father’s day entry (mind you, that ain’t hard). At the beginning of August we travelled to Birmingham for the weekend with Jess on public transport for a family wedding, seeing dad’s family in the process, and my gran (mom’s mom) for a day. the nervousness about leaving the flat unattended and ensuing stress did me in and i was ill for a few weeks after. My glasses got damaged while visiting gran so i had to get some new ones.

At the end of August was my birthday: and the main computer decided to crash so we had to scrabble around to get the finances to replace it. After that we had to tighten our belts anyway as food prices have gone up quite a lot. In September i won an award from Beansprouts for the best One-Patch quilt, which had been made a year previously. At the end of September Mom and Dad came to visit again, to pick up the christmas cake and pudding i made for them, and to get their birthday presents.

In November it was Michiel’s birthday, so he had his buhkit, Sez stopped in overnight, and i had a stinker of a cold. So i made a cake to make myself feel better. I won a composting bin in a competition, then headed down to Brum for a weekend at mom and dad’s, which went very very well. December saw the mad rush for christmas, including having my hair cut, the weather went lovely and frostycold, Christmas came, followed by family on 27th!

The Garden

The Garden has been a major factor in this year. I decided early on to make more of the garden and grow some of my own vegetables. This started in January with requests on freecycle for wood, which i was lucky enough to get in February from someone. The Before photos were posted, i went shopping for the garden, and continued shopping! i started digging in February, and growing, and i got to be a proud momma, repeatedly! i got compost, did more digging in March, finishing one bed, and then got busy digging the other. I got a long polytunnel/cloche, a little mini one, which eventually sort of went up. Don’t think it did much good though. Bought a Greenhouse, played archaeologist, drew up a garden plan, sowed more seeds (and made cake!).

I was proud for scrubbing around in the dirt, dug some more, finishing bed 2 and planting some spuds in the process. In April we got strawberries and keyboards, started on bed 3 and the sweetpea bed (which never got finished – bed 3, i mean). Tidied the garden up, dug a hole for the greenhouse, got all competitive over my babies, and the spuds grew! more things grew in May, including radishes, and kept growing in June – even the bits i didn’t want to grow! Towards the end of June i started to see rewards for my efforts – a couple of strawberries – but the garden, on the whole, was looking really good. In July i struggled, didn’t get much done or blogged, but i did get some stuff done, and harvested some spuds!

At this point it was as good as it was going to get: between the weather (raining), the slugs (millions) and the stress of going away making me ill meant nothing got done in the garden in August and it suffered accordingly. However, things continued to grow despite my neglect and by September i’d taken more photos and things were ripening. However, towards the end of September the first vestiges of Autumn came along: i pulled the tomato plants down. The garden looked very empty after that. i did try to plant some more seeds in the hope that i’d get a harvest before really bad weather hit but the slugs got it all. I’ve been planning for next year too: bought some bulbs, planted them up, along with some cyclamen and polyanthus.

At this point with regard to the garden: could do better. Will do better. Its been hampered by the terrible weather we had last summer and my periodic gaps in care for the garden, but hopefully next year will be better.

Environmentalism & Sustainability

This year’s efforts towards being more environmentally friendly and sustainable was a bit hit and miss. I intended all year to – at some point – make my own sanitary pads, hankies and so on, which i never got round to doing and really *must* do. On the other, i grew some of my own food, tried to live more simply and cheaply, and won a compost bin, and started to use it. So its getting there. Slowly. Oh! I’ve been collecting my hair and Jess’s hair all year and come spring, it’ll be going out there for the birds. SanFran banned the plastic bag, Modbury and Brighton followed, canvas bags took off! Who next, i wonder? On the other hand, some things don’t change. Stagecoach is still dumping free tickets, Manor Gardens Allotments sadly closed earlier this year.

I started to take photos of the surrounding area, in spring, and which developed into something bigger in the Autumn, following the Autumn equinox. This is something i’m really proud of and intend to continue into the new year.

Craft work

I haven’t done a lot with regard to craft work this year. Most of my efforts with regard to that have been with card making, which i’ve done a lot of – the wedding stuff, birthday cards, yet more birthday cards, christmas cards (lots of christmas cards!).

I’ve done quite a lot of baking – not only cakes and cinnamon rolls, but absolutely gorgeous damson jam, plum jam (two kinds!), strawberry jam, raspberry jam, onion marmalade and hot crab apple and chilli jelly (using crab apples from the garden). Even came up with a nice way of labelling the jars. I’ve made preserves: bread and butter pickles, pickled onions… reorganised the kitchen in the process, and at the end of September, got a huge box of red peppers and tomatoes and froze the lot, giving me cheap veg all the way through to Christmas. Christmas and the run up to it, of course, meant lots of craft work, from christmas pudding to halloween cookies, fishy cooking, Christmas cakes (five of them – two for mom, one for sez, one for gran, one for us), Christmas decorations, made a new blind for the kitchen, alcoholic drinks like sloe gin, damson gin, limoncello and chilli vodka, mince pies and christmas cookies, and best of all, christmas leftovers!

I’ve also done a major amount of work on the family history project, finding undiscovered relatives, putting it all into essay form, making a family tree.. although the eventual aim for part of it was a christmas present for my grandmother, the research continues – this is never really something that is “finished”, just “as far as you can get at this point”.

Health & Diet

While i haven’t lost any major weight this year, what this year has seen, i think, is a better understanding within myself of my weight issues – learning about how to diet and understanding my emotional connection to food. i don’t just eat to live… i live to eat and that makes dieting more difficult. In addition, i’m coming to understand that the underlying aim in dieting, in the back of my mind, is to try to relive my teenage years again, and i think i’ve been self-sabotaging this because, of course, its not possible to do so, but also because my teenage years hurt so much at the time, i don’t want to live through that hurt again. I want a do-over, but i don’t want the hurt. I want the things i should’ve had at the time. And part of growing up is accepting that those days are gone and i won’t experience certain things.

I also have to accept that there are periods where i struggle, and that a lot of that is related to diet and general health. I did try to get the doctor to investigate but i think they just see a fat woman and don’t bother with anything else. i suspect i’m doing just enough to keep me on the right side of healthy in many cases, that if i was just a bit less proactive in doing some things then i’d be sorted out by now. I really need to get this looked at again, cos the problems i wrote about then haven’t gone away.

At the same time i’m understanding that the key to exercise, for me, is not exercise for exercise’s sake. i dislike exercise, its associated with too many negative things for me, but on the other hand, if i happen to exercise while doing other things, then that’s cool. Like walking Jess. I walk her almost every day now, and i feel much much better for it, so that’s something i need to expand on: exercising indirectly, doing things that are fun, rather than obligatory.

I think for the most part, my diet is okay. Yes. I need to cut out the sweets and stuff (which i’ve been eating far too much of over christmas) but honestly, most of the time i can’t afford junk food and rubbish like crisps or pop. it just needs tweaking, and the nurse gave me some ideas for it when i saw her back in June, including portion control.

Overview

Basically, as good as the year has been, i cannot look at it and help but think.. “could do better”. maybe that’s me being typically harsh on myself, but there’s so much else i want to achieve, and i know i can do better. Anyway. Next blog entry for all that… now i know where i’ve been, i can work out where next to go!

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