Sunday, January 24, 2016

41. 2015 Year in Review

Hello from Cedar Falls, Iowa!
It’s hard to believe a year has come and gone so quickly. One of my goals for 2016 is to be more loyal to my blogging. I have a schedule to post at least once a month, as that seems to be a fairly reasonable goal. Here’s how 2015 wrapped up, in a nutshell.

This year I managed to get out of the house more and enjoyed many outings with my significant other, noodling around town from dinners out to baseball games (Go Bucks!) and hockey games (Go Black Hawks!) and Irish Fest (Go Irish Stuff!). In July we took a road trip to Longmont Colorado which is near Boulder. It was a long but pleasant drive and we had the luck of being there right when there were bad wildfires in Canada. Smoke was so thick we could only see vague outlines of the mountains and all three of us (the dog came along) ended up with respiratory infections. Though we didn’t do what we had originally planned on the trip, we did eat at a lovely Indian restaurant in Longmont that allowed us to bring Orlando in with us and made a pit stop in a small town named Anita, Iowa which is the quintessential small Iowa town (also the namesake of one of my best friends). We also found that there were truth to the rumors about Nebraska: there is literally nothing there.

I’ve had an artful year and kicked off 2015 by signing a writing contract with WikiHow to work as one of their expert mental health writers. The contract lasted through September and I am happy to be able to say that, since they paid me, I can now officially call myself a “professional writer.” Speaking of writing, in November I completed a first draft of my first novel. I’m currently in the process of revisions and will see where it goes from there. In December I celebrated six years working at my current higher education institution where I continue to teach composition and psychology courses as well as manage the academic success center. Though it does have challenges, I still enjoy teaching and working in this field. My experience as a student at university shaped me into who I am today and, in many ways, saved my life. It feels fulfilling to be able to pay these things forward to my students. Just before leaving for Colorado this summer I also was thrilled to have three of my photos chosen to be displayed at a new local art gallery called The Space 109. The Space 109 features all local artists and I am so honored and humbled to have my work be chosen as three of their displayed pieces.

Orlando had a good year and has come a long way in healing from his anxiety and past traumas at the puppy mill. He is now able to go new places and meet new people without trembling like a leaf (for too long). His vet, Dr. Stevenson has really helped us in figuring out how to handle his anxiety and I am happy to report he is a healthy and well adjusted pup dup. He joined us on the trip to Colorado and won a staring contest with a kid in a minivan along highway 380. He underwent dental surgery in September but made a swift recovery and was back to chewing up his dog treats and plastic clothes hangers in no time. He’s done his due diligence in alerting us when the neighbors come home, or walk their dog, or when he sees a squirrel, or stray plastic bags in the parking lot. One must never trust a stray plastic bag.

Cats (Pi, L, and Cherry)
Cats are busy doing their cat things which mostly consists of eating, sleeping, and pooping with an occasional spastic sprint across the apartment. They’ve enjoyed a year of consistent kibbling and litter box scooping and are in good health.

I hope you are doing well and I've missed you all. Please comment and let me know what adventures you had in 2015. Cheers to you and yours!

Until next time,