Mid-Year Review

Early on, I learned my nemesis’ secret: stealth. It came in undetected, like a thief in the night, to steal not only my time and health, but also my strength, courage, and determination.

My nemesis thought he could steal 2019 from me. But all he got away with was a bit of tissue from my tongue and my neck, a few (unneeded) pounds from my midsection, and a bit of my ability to concentrate or focus.

Let’s review what he did not steal from me:

  • My avocation, in the form of my job. The year started off with more than 30 days off the job, thanks to politicians and The Big Orange One in DC. But despite their best efforts, I still feel quite strongly about our National Parks. Since radiation ended, I have met every deadline, every report, project, and task thrown at me. I am tired, yes, but at least I kept up. There is still much to be done.
  • My background in the sciences and my desire to read even the most tedious data. I am still happy to discuss with people just how humans impact our climate too, even if people want to live in denial. It all has to do with soil and water, systems we have really screwed up. The facts are staring us square in the face; we just need to grow up as a species and admit what we have done.
  • My health overall. Cancer is a bitch, but I still have excellent blood pressure, no signs of heart disease, kidney problems, diabetes, or just about anything else I was tested for. And believe me, I have been tested. Cancer has left me feeling numb and very UNenergetic. But those two things are attributable to the liquid diet, lack of solid food for weeks on end, and side effects of radiation. I am down from a size 16/18 in pants to a size 12 at the moment. My doctors kept threatening feeding tubes, but I resisted and I am better for it. 45 days out of radiation and I can taste most food again and am looking forward to trying new foods when I get to New York in 20 days.
  • My creativity and my desire to make things for myself. In fact, while going through radiation and staying at Hope Lodge, I designed a new scarf/wrap pattern which I hope to have ready for publication this autumn. I am in the middle of two new sweaters and a new pair of socks for myself, and a new fair isle glove design for my Mountain Woolies line that I sell.
  • My love of the written word. It seems if I sit down for more than 2-3 minutes, I fall asleep. Hoping this will pass, I have started reading the next book on my 2019 reading list, and have my friend BJ as my reading inspiration! She is cranking through her booklist like a champ. I have perhaps 10 more books waiting on my list to be read by December 31.
  • My goals of paying off my debt and buying myself some things I have needed for years. Well, I have a bit of medical bills now that I wasn’t expecting in January, but thanks to my saved up sick and annual leave (most park folks have no problem saving up leave because we are so short-handed that we never take leave), I was able to cover all of my absences for months with leave and I never missed a paycheck. So I was able to keep up with paying my pre-existing bills and that debt is declining as I’d hoped. The medical bills are on a payment plan and should be done in less than 13 months. Additionally, I have a couple new pieces of furniture for my apartment and I still get to take my vacation to New York that I hoped for back in January. Oh, and thanks to the weight loss, I got to buy some new clothes too. 😉

So suck on that, Cancer. You bit me, but I won.

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Some Random Thoughts for a Sunday

1. People ask if you’ve read any good books lately. But I generally don’t have much to share. I am pretty sure they are looking for something ‘fun’ or ‘entertaining’. But outside of the occasional mystery or re-read of a Jane Austen novel (can you ever really get enough of Hercule Poirot or Mr. Darcy?!), I really don’t read much fiction. My current tome is this:

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2. Granted, in school I grabbed on to math and science. History and civics classes were never much of interest to me. But as I have figured some things out about how I learn, I think these subjects never captured me because I couldn’t be active in them, like I could math and science. Math and science required me to think and to do. Social studies classes, at least as they were taught to me (from what I can remember), required me to merely memorize random facts. Memorization was always a losing battle with me.

3. Back to the book. Politics fascinates me, and I find working in such political entity both fascinating and entertaining. One of the chapters I just finished talked about President Hoover’s ideas and policies in the first half of the twentieth century. He talked about voluntary sacrafice a lot, both as a necessity to stave off coming crises and for personal political gains. It makes me wonder… How many modern Republicans have disavowed Hoover ideals? How many people even know what he wrote about or what he suggested to President Truman in the years after World War II?

4. How did those policies clear the way for our modern system of agriculture and food production? And the current quality problems we face in regards to food? (Emphasis mine.)

5. Back in my undergraduate years, I knew this young woman. We will call her “Red”, for the purposes of this discussion, because of her red hair. Something she said to me once stuck with me. I have no idea what we were talking about at the time, although I was probably questioning the ‘why’ of some or another concept, as I usually do. Anyway, Red giggled quietly, clapped her hand over her mouth, shook her head at me and said, “Jenny, you think too much.”
   To this day, that still stings horribly, and has forever shadowed my opinion of her. I believe it is our job as citizens, much less human beings, to question the world around us. If we are to learn, to grow, to help make this place a better place for us all, we must question our leaders and our institutions. If something is confusing, or doesn’t seem to work correctly, isn’t it better to point out the issues and change things for the better?

   Now, to the best of my knowledge, Red is still judging me on the paths I have NOT taken, and wondering why I think so much.

Let her wonder. Maybe the thinking will do her some good.

Meanwhile, I am going to keep learning and reading and questioning. This country we live in is amazing and I would rather be an active citizen than an armchair critic.