There were some setbacks.
There were some things, both on a personal or family level and on a bigger level, that were tough. That were bad. That I didn't so much love.
2012 had its share of hard times.
My mother-in-law started going downhill at the very end of 2011. She spent the entirety of 2012 in hospitals and nursing homes. We got plenty of calls from nurses telling us that "this was it." We got some confused calls from my mother-in-law in the middle of the night, panicked, afraid. It's been tough for my wife. And that will continue into the new year.
My grandmother has taken a bad turn too. Didn't know if she'd be here to celebrate Christmas. Mostly bedridden.
And her sister, my Aunt Clara, died. We all loved Aunt Clara. She was a great, funny lady. It was sad to have her go like that.
The local paper, my wife's employer, struggled to stay relevant in the age of digital media. They issued pay cuts and mandatory furloughs and eventually announced layoffs, which will take effect the end of January.
My own employer, being largely publicly funded, has taken some blows. We've had to make cuts, changes. There has been stress. Add to that lots of internal drama and fighting and easily bruised egos, and it's been less than pleasant at times.
Sam was diagnosed with HSP over the summer. A weird ailment with the potential for long term consequences. It all turned out okay, probably nothing more to worry about it, but Jen and I spent a few months worrying, imagining the worst.
And he got pneumonia, which sucked. And we were told that maybe he has asthma, though no one's really sure. Also: there was a crazy bad ear infection that sent us to the ER with a screaming boy. That was a hell of a night.
My mom had yet another surgery. She's mostly bionic now. She stayed with us for a while. That wasn't a "bad" thing exactly, but it wasn't the most fun thing for her.
I lost my passport, and we had to cancel our fun vacation to Canada at the last minute.
There were lots of shootings in 2012. Mostly regular shootings (turns out people are killing each other all the time in this country), but also those big mass shootings. Some horrible ones.
And storms. Crazy storms like Sandy. Massive "weather events."
Closer to home again, Sam had a little trouble acclimating to kindergarten. Or maybe a lot of trouble. Daily time-outs. Followed by a funky depression. Depression's not cool in a five year old.
I hurt my shoulder. Ruined it, really. Or rather, I didn't ruin it, but discovered that it was no good. My weight lifting career came to a quick halt when that shooting pain wouldn't go away. The specialist says I have something like arthritis in that shoulder, and that it's not going to get better. Lifting won't make it worse, but it'll always hurt like hell.
And so on.
But there was an awful lot going on that made 2012 a damn good year. Namely:
- Rush put out a fantastic new album. One of their best in years.
- So did Ani Difranco.
- So did Murder By Death.
- So did Vision of Disorder. (Isn't it cool that VOD is back?)
- I got to see some great shows. Stryper. Rancid. Primus. Ani Difranco. And some others, like Gwar (not so great, but the openers were alright), Nine Ball (a local band, an old friend). Not as many shows as I used to go to, but I'm old now, I'm happy with what I can get.
- My buddy Jerry is back in town. Not so great for Jerry-- he blew out his knee and lost his job and moved back from Denver. But great for me, 'cause now I get to hang out with Jerry.
- I read a lot of good books (see previous post).
- Mitt Romney didn't get elected President. Woo hoo!
- Anne Marie Buerkle didn't get re-elected to represent me in Congress. An even bigger woo hoo!
- I drank many, many, many delicious decaf soy lattes.
- I continued to make myself healthier. In mid-2011, I started running, swearing that I would be in the best shape of my life by my 40th birthday (which will come in October 2013). Since then, I've lost 33 pounds. I've gotten stronger. I've gotten far more flexible. And I've gone from not being able to run all the way to the corner without thinking I'll vomit, to being able to run 6 miles and feel pretty good afterward. My blood pressure is something like 106/66, and I had to punch new holes in my belt to keep my pants from falling down.
- I fell in love with my wife. Several times.
- Okay, yeah, kindergarten has been tough, but it's also been awesome to see Sam learning new things, making new friends. All this year, I've been able to watch him grow up more and more.
- I went to Farm Sanctuary's annual Hoe Down, stayed a few nights in a tent, and got to see all kinds of great speakers, eat awesome vegan food.
- Lots of out of town trips for work. I really dig staying in hotel rooms, where I can watch tv (a rare treat), read, eat take out food, and scribble profound thoughts in my notebook.
- A great work trip to Lake Placid, where I spent three spring days with wonderful scenery, ate terrific burritos, and actually learned a couple of things.
- My wife got a new job. Right before the layoffs were announced. Not necessarily the career she's always dreamed of, but a good job, doing good things with good people.
- Sam and I built the coolest snow fort ever. Just the other day, in fact.
- I learned that I love hockey. And baseball. And basketball. I've had a blast going to see home teams play. Suddenly, at 39, I like The Sports.
- I ran the Run of the Dead. Just about the most fun I've had in years. And I stayed alive.
- I almost started an outdoor winter kickball team. Then the league folded, so I had to scrap it. But it was fun trying to put it together.
- My wife and I took Sam to the Strong Museum of Play. I decided that I kind of wanted to live there.
- I gave Sam a big box. It was used to hold a desk that I ordered for the office. I brought it home, cut windows in it, made a working door. It's now his office. He's covered it with all kinds of vegan and leftist political stickers.
- We all took a nice, relaxing trip to Farm Sanctuary, as a family.
- I got to spend a lot of time with Jimmy, my Little Brother through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I discovered that he's a pretty cool twelve year old.
- In spite of much bullshit at work, my own programs continued to do well. I met all my goals, I've managed to keep a good crew of staff with less turnover than usual.
- I discovered green smoothies.
- Sam and I got to help out at a local food bank. Fun.
- Jen and I watched two seasons worth of "The Walking Dead," which is an awesomely good show. Can't wait till season three is on DVD.
- Sam's graduation. From Pre-K. It was a tear-jerker. There was even this little picture thing set to music, where they played a sappy Green Day song ("I hope you had the time of your life...") and all the grown-ups (me included) got weepy.
Which for me adds up to being a good year.
And of course there was more than that. Lots more.
There was some crap. But there was plenty of good. Looking back, I can say that I really liked 2012.
I expect 2013 to be even better.