(Prepare yourselves.. it’s a doozy)
I think 2010 forgot to give me one when it rushed in 4 days ago.
In general, I am not much for celebrating a new year. Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly no pessimist. I just have never seen January 1st as an opportunity for improvement, growth or raucous celebration – until this year.
2009 brought some amazing things to my life (hello, marriage!) but overall it was an incredibly sad and depressing year. Actually, to be fair, the last 7 months were filled with everything that beckons me to forget 09.
I suppose in the spirit of “looking back”, I should evaluate the goals that I had set for myself last January:
1. Live life in a healthier way – I have definitely been in the throes of overcoming an ED and early 09 was stressful with student teaching and trying to fit into a size 4 wedding dress. I backslid frequently. The stress continued post-wedding with multiple family-related dramas, but the past few months have been so much better. I’d say I met 50% of this goal. By now, I feel much stronger and am proud of my clean eating ways and how I feel overall!
2. Learn to speak Italian fluently – I thought I was pretty lucky having a mom who worked for ICE. Anyone of their employees had free access to Rosetta Stone. I had intended to take advantage of this and learn Italian as a tribute to my dad’s family heritage. I got through a few lessons and eventually became side-tracked. Maybe this year…
As I said, I don’t really celebrate new years/new beginnings – I just go with the flow. Those were the tentative goals. This is what hindered them:
January – I quit my job as a server to begin student teaching. As much as I loathed waiting tables some days, I loathed student teaching even more. This was probably the biggest reason that I didn’t see it through.
February – Student teaching continued and I grew more miserable each day. With the expectations, the planning and the constant bitchiness pressure from my cooperating teacher and supervisor, I never ended a school day happy. Luckily, wedding plans continued – rehearsal dinner was booked, caterer was booked, dress fittings began – and they gave me an extra, much needed spring in my step.
My first dress fitting:
March – More stress due to student teaching took it’s toll on my psyche and emotional well-being.
April – My darling, amazing, thoughtful best friend, Dana, threw my bridal shower in early April.
Here I am with my girls at the shower. (from left: Pam, Jennie, me, Dana & Patti)
A few days after the shower, I made the very difficult decision to leave student teaching, knowing that it would be much more difficult to finish my Master’s. I would need to complete many, many hours of substituting to complete the degree, or find a full-time teaching job (neither of which have been done.. yet). Looking back, it was probably the best decision I made all year (with the exception of saying “I do.”).
May – Without a doubt, May was the most amazing month of the year! I walked at graduation on May 9th, but I still have hours to complete to actually receive my degree. Wedding preparations were turned to full-speed as the 31st approached. We finalized preparations with all of our vendors, I decided on my hair & makeup
did a bit of celebrating with Jennie for her own wedding (in August), and married the man of my dreams. I’ll post one of my fave photos, but I think I’ll do a series of wedding-related posts in the coming weeks. I haven’t gotten my thoughts/feelings or any of the events on paper yet, so this seemed like a good place to do so. In any case, here are Steve & I on our wedding day:
Am I a lucky girl or what?!
June – Here’s where things get a little crazy.. 2 days following the wedding, June 2nd, my Aunt Angie (dad’s sister) lost her battle with cancer. I was lucky to see her and show her a couple of wedding pictures the day that she passed. She told me that she had wanted to desperately to be there, but I was glad that I could talk to her one last time. It was quite an emotional time for my family. She has been such a presence in my life – a feisty Italian girl who didn’t take beef from anybody!
This was a Christmas spent at my Nana’s house with Aunt Angie. Wouldn’t believe I’m related to these 2 very Italian women, huh?
We did have a couple of high points to take our mind off of things – my parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary and, on June 18th, we left for our HONEYMOON! We drove to Georgia to spend a few days with family, then flew to Puerto Rico to pick up our Southern Caribbean cruise. We also celebrated Steve’s 26th birthday while on our honeymoon. That day, in St. Lucia, I surprised him with a zip-lining tour through the rainforest.
Unfortunately, we didn’t make it out of June without more sad news. A friend and former coworker of mine, Eric, died suddenly in a car crash on June 26th. He was only 29. I was notified on the last day of our cruise of the loss. Steve & I had planned to spend another few days in Georgia, so I was unable to make it to his funeral. They had a great deal of footage that I could catch, though, because of his role as a police officer.
July – July was a month of searches. First, Steve & I began a necessary search for a new apartment. The one we moved into after the wedding had horrid maintenance issues and we had our fill. Meanwhile, I also continued my search for a full-time job/subbing job/teaching job for the upcoming year. At this point, I would have taken anything!
I was also dealt another blow this month when my dear friend and fellow dancer, Laura (along with her boyfriend), was killed on July 11th by a drunk driver. We were all completely unprepared to lose such an amazing girl. Trial for the driver begins at the end of this month. Preparations are in full swing for a memorial dance tribute. Here we are getting ready for a recital:
Laura was one of the most kind, compassionate and selfless individuals I had ever met. She always had a smile and will never be forgotten!
August – Early August was spent in Georgia. My maternal grandfather, who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, had taken a very grave turn and was admitted to a hospice facility near my aunt. My mom, my grandmother & I drove south to see him and be with my aunt (mom’s sister). On Saturday, August 15th, he passed away. We returned home to prepare for his funeral.
A few days after returning, on August 19th, my dermatologist called with more upsetting news. I had an unusual spot on my back removed before leaving for Georgia. The results had come back – melanoma. An area surrounding the spot needed to be surgically removed. I underwent surgery on August 24th.
Prior to surgery, we had a brief shining light – Jennie & Shawn were married on the 22nd and the weekend was filled with festivities to ease my mind. Steve & I had a wonderful time at the wedding:
My birthday followed a few days after my surgery and I was incredibly blessed to spend a lovely evening with my family! I also got some amazing gifts – tickets to the Rockettes and my KEURIG! Dancing and hot cups of tea make me smile!
September – I escaped September fairly unscathed. Granted, the poking and prodding that comes with skin cancer began and I had 3 more spots removed, but I was able to spend some great time with family and friends. I also began preparations for Dana’s wedding shower! Her wedding was quickly approaching!
October – I entered October with high hopes – Dana’s lingerie shower was planned for the 10th and I wanted to spend a weekend in Manassas with her and other friends. The man upstairs had other intentions, however. My 17-year-old kitty, Frisky, was slowly moving downhill. He stopped eating and was in liver failure, so on October 9th, we bid him farewell.
At this point, I had weathered many storms, but none hit me as hard as losing him. We adopted a very cute, very feisty Frisky as my Valentine’s gift in 1992. Look at this cuteness with his catnip:
He will be so missed!
Three days later, on October 12th, my dad called and the bad news continued. My Uncle Marvin, husband of the aunt that passed in June, had fallen from a tree and died of a heart attack. I had nothing else to do at this point but throw up my hands and pray for peace. Too many were taken this year.. too soon.
On October 24th, we threw Dana’s wedding shower. Her day was also quickly approaching! It was such a fun, lively event and I so enjoyed spending time with her and seeing her smile!
Oh yeah, we had some pretty awesome food too! You really can’t go wrong with yummy fruit salad and homemade apple parfaits!
November – Dana’s wedding came on the 14th and it was a great weekend of fun events with the girls – many whom I had not seen in a long time, including my friend, Kim, who moved to Vegas with the Air Force a few years ago.
Sarah, Kim & I getting prepped and pretty
Getting ready with the bride-to-be
Her wedding was beautiful! I had not had so much fun in a very long time. We danced and laughed and drank for hours!
December – Both November and December flew by in a flash! I thoroughly enjoyed spending this month with family. I had brief moments of melancholy looking back on the year, but the holidays were enough to make me smile for days! Mom & I had our annual baking day, Patti & Bill came all the way from Denver and I finally got an interview at a local pathology lab. Crossing my fingers.. I should hear soon!
With so much happening this past year, I have more hope for 2010 and what it might bring. Steve & I are both looking for careers in Georgia and hope to move down there this summer. I have goals – granted, they are pretty broad so that I don’t experience the disappointment of this year.
1. Continue improving my health – No more backslides; no more excuses! I do not want my family’s reactions or the stress in my own life to affect my well-being. I want to always maintain focus and drive to be healthy!
2. Find the positive in all things – While I’d like to find a career, I will value my happiness above a paycheck and a nice home. We’d like to buy our first home, but we may not have the financial means. So long as my husband and I are happy, nothing else matters. We both know that we can rely on each other for support through the difficult times – and that’s sheer happiness!
3. Strengthen my relationships – Stress has not only been detrimental to me this year, but also to my relationships. I would like to be there for my friends more when they need it (especially since 1 close friend’s husband just left for a 9 month deployment), support my family through their own struggles and keep in touch with everyone – not just via facebook 🙂
I have optimism for 2010 and know that 2009 gave me the strength to find that optimism. So here’s to you, 2010. Bring it on!