OK, I want to touch on the things I'd been wrestling with over the last year. The biggest battle was the ear infections. They kept coming off and on for most of the year, and I had the last round start the day after Thanksgiving (in both ears that time, dangit!). I've found a regimen that helps beat back the various bacterial and fungal infections, though, so while I still have days of very stuffed ears (and very deaf mama!), I can usually beat the main infection in a few days with minimal pain. I've also found that avoiding dairy will help clear up the infections faster (keeping the eustachian tubes clear for drainage, I suspect), so I'm limiting that. Reishi and French Maritime Pine Bark supplements have helped with building up my immune system. I think it's just a matter of waiting until the friendly bacteria repopulate my ears again. (As a side benefit, the pine bark has also helped calm the psoriasis!)
I've been off gluten for most of the year. The good news is that it's definitely helping with my joints and energy levels; the bad news is that even a tiny bit accidentally ingested will result in a lot of pain and lethargy for a day or two (a "glutening"). I'm getting better at dodging the accidents, but they still catch me once in a while.
Two fantastic events that I was able to attend were great fun and wonderfully educational: Wiscon and Abundia.
I turned 50 in May, got a 3DS and started playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and was given a queenly gift of a necklace crown made by the extraordinary elisem.
I edited a book, sold a few articles (about affirmations, relish, and corn), and braided for a few wonderful brides.
My dad is still with us, thank goodness. He has had a few other procedures that worked well for him, and when we've spoken, he seems upbeat and positive. The downside is that my aunt who is staying with him has her own set of issues that result in her feeling very threatened by anyone making contact with my father. It's been really hard to come to terms with this; I still get sad when I think about it. I made him a knitted vest for Christmas this year, and he seemed to like it. I hope he can feel the love I put into each stitch, as a warm hug each time he wears it.
I'm knitting a few other things, as well as doing more calligraphy and illumination with the SCA. I'm sewing a bit, doing some volunteer work, reading, writing, editing, gardening, and... well, what I'm doing is waiting not-very-patiently for a west coast job to open up for Bill so we can move back there. Right now, I'm looking at -30 to -50 degree wind chills here in Chicago, after days of shoveling snow and sliding on the roads, and I am SO READY to go home. I know he's a terrific professor who is doing awesome research and great lectures, so I'm certain he'll nail tenure. Once that happens, the universities will be fighting over him... IT WILL HAPPEN!
My daughter Julia came to visit over Christmas, which was the first time in about seven years that I've had all four of my kids in the same place at the same time. My sister Amanda also flew in for a weekend at the beginning of Julia's visit. It was terrific, except that both of them had colds and passed them on to us. All four kids got hit... but were still pretty cheerful at being able to be together for the holiday, despite the plague.
Photographic evidence of the four kiddos!
My oldest son, Cordell, and my first youngest son, Clayton, both are pulling down straight As each quarter at DePaul, and each holding down two jobs and pitching in on the household expenses. For fun, Cord built and maintains DePaul's 3-D printer, and Clay runs the weekly French movie series. They'll both be graduating in 2014, Cord with a BS in Physics and Clay with a BA in French. I think they're both walking, too, which means Bill gets to get gussied up and matriculate them. Cord and Julia are looking for graduate school positions, and Clay is applying for a Fulbright grant and hoping to spend a year teaching English for the French government. I am, if it's not crystal clear, insanely proud of all three of them!
Linc has fallen down the rabbit hole of Minecraft, and now types about as fast as I can. He and I do weekly meal deliveries for a seniors' network, and he's doing several classes: dodgeball, tumbling/gymnastics, and a weekly nature program. We trek around the Chicagoland area exploring museums, hiking trails, gardens, and whatever else catches our fancy, as well as hanging out with other homeschooling families at park days.
Ack, this went a lot longer than I intended, so I'll wrap it up and do my darndest not to let it go so long again. I do read my LJ flist every few days, and am glad to see you when you post!
I'm wondering whether anyone else is still reading LJ, and if any of this is news to you... are you all already connecting with me on FB? In any case, I hope you and yours are having a wonderful 2014 so far... stay warm and be excellent to each other!