I was thinking about Christmas cards this year. I haven’t done them in awhile, because they are a LOT of work and I always feel so disorganized around Christmas. Heck, I can’t even get to my yearly blog post until after the holidays. But I do thank everybody who still sends me cards. Perhaps I will get back to sending them again some day. They are fun to get. This year, even if I had wanted to send them, there was a puppy who took up all my time. ALL my time. Any of you who have raised puppies know of what I speak. And I’m just thinking of a phone conversation I had with my sister, years ago, when she got a puppy.
Gail: this is so much work!
Me: I know, puppies are A LOT of work!
Gail: why didn’t you warn me?
Despite knowing that, here I am again, raising one. Because…a house without a dog is not a home. And we are so happy to have a dog again. I just said to Andy, last night, I love this puppy so much. He does, too.
As I write this, I am tearing up about losing Columbus (unexpectedly, cancer) and Koda (old age) in April and June (and Max in August, old age). But I keep seeing them in Buddy (short for Budweiser). I see Pepper in him too. He has Pepper’s sweet, soulful, eyes. He has some of Koda’s same herding behaviors. And he is over-the-top affectionate, just like Columbus. We are blessed. And tired.
2020 was something else, huh? Andy and I spent the beginning of it staying in touch with the kids over Google Hangouts, with Alex rigging up a way for us all to play Jackbox.tv games together. Once we knew for sure how COVID-19 was spread, and the weather got warmer, we started seeing our family in person. Just our kids, not the extended family. We even all got tested and went for a vacation in Rhode Island in August, but wound up having to head home early due to new regulations in Massachusetts after the RI case count spiked. I also met my mom in Nashua and we had lunch together, outdoors, at a park. Once. And we’ve seen Andy’s mom, Pinky. She even came here for a week and a half, but then had to quarantine for 2 weeks in her room. She hasn’t wanted to do that again, so we go to her for quick visits. I didn’t even walk with friends at first, but eventually got back to it in the warm weather. We (a small group of us) are wearing masks at this point, with the COVID cases back up. One friend made us all fleece scarves with non-porous linings, and we are all wearing those in this cold weather. Buddy and I also do a lot on our own, since he’s too young to walk a long way, yet. The local school has some nice trails that not too many people know about. The mountain is way too busy but I head to the less populated trails when I do go.
During this year, the company Andy works for got sold. That was a HUGE deal, a good thing that happened in 2020, and we are waiting, post-pandemic, to REALLY celebrate. He is still working for the new owners for a few more years before retiring. He’s a really good salesman and will probably always do some of that on the side. Or something to do with finances. And I can’t wait for him to have the time to start woodworking. We are still talking about getting an RV when he retires. And looking, casually, at lake property.
I am now officially retired, after announcing that I was going to pivot from my herbal business to creating websites. But, truthfully, I don’t know how I can make that work as a part-time job. I was heads down in it for 6 months, learning WordPress at a deeper level, making my own website, working on my own WordPress theme. Making a website is A LOT of work and time-consuming. To do it right, anyway. And I like to be available for helping with babysitting my grandkids (present and future). So I am going to go back to my little herbal business and might do a little bit of web stuff on the side and I hope to do a LOT of writing. And homesteading. And hiking. And knitting. And sewing. And reading. And….
Oh, and I turned 60 this year. And was supposed to be sleeping in a castle in Ireland on my birthday (Andy had booked a two-week-long trip to Ireland and Scotland for us). Didn’t happen (thanks COVID)…but I wrote this.
As for the rest of the family, the grandkids are growing up quickly. They are becoming even tighter best friends with all the time they spend together. And Leiana has a few imaginary friends, too. (She is quite the storyteller and keeps us amused. They both do!) The pandemic has resulted in some job losses but new jobs were gotten. Kelly pivoted from her event planning business (there are no race events, although she did help with a friend’s wedding) and started a new business called Kraft Night, where she sends craft supplies via the mail and then guides the creation of wreaths, string art, paper flowers, and more over Zoom. I, luckily, get to be her guinea pig, testing out the crafts before they “go live.” She also (BREAKING NEWS) just accepted a job with Tough Mudder this week. She’ll be working full time, but remotely, and it will continue to be a remote job. Greg works from home now and has a nice office in their house. He may wind up working from home some after we are all on the other side of the COVID-19 and people start heading back into the office. I’m actually glad about this part of the pandemic, if you have to be glad about any of it. I can attest that working from home (even if it’s not every day) provides excellent work-life balance, especially when you have kids. I was blessed to be able to do that for years.
Tracey and Roberto are in working-and-homeschooling-pandemic-challenge mode. I know how much work this is as I had the grandkids for a week and had to help Landon with his schoolwork and connection to online class time. Yikes! Hug a teacher today, would ya? It’s harder for me to help them with new puppy and being across state lines, but we did get permission from the state of MA for me to be able to babysit the kids here without the quarantine restrictions. Tracey just submitted her application to sit for the VTS test in anesthesia, which is why I was helping out with the kids. If this sound familiar, yes, she did that last year but didn’t get accepted. And she is determined to become an accredited specialist in anesthesia. She already is pretty darn good at it and teaching others. But this would make it official. Roberto is the primary person dealing with childcare (and schooling), as he waits to have surgery for a hip injury, which is keeping him from being able to teach tennis.
Speaking of teachers, Caroline’s district has her doing hybrid school. There have been cases of COVID, but so far she has managed to stay healthy, thank goodness. If we ever get together now, we all wear masks and social distance. And we try not to gather inside for too long. This year Caroline and Alex bought their first house, a cool 1860’s (roughly, I can never remember the exact date) Greek-style house with an attached barn. We had Christmas in their barn. And were blessed with a warm (although rainy) day, so the temperature inside was quite pleasant. With the new house, they also have a new puppy (a rescue, she’s a year now) and two new kittens. Alex’s startup went under during the pandemic (it was expected, the pandemic wasn’t), but he focused on his graduate school work while looking for a job and landed one within a couple of months. Another startup. He is very busy.
Another long update, but a year is a long time. And this year has seemed extra long, don’tcha think?
I’ll close with pictures. Happy New Year, may 2021 bring you many blessings. And may we be on the other side of the pandemic soon. Be patient, and stay well!