Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Our Christmas looks like this. (A hearth over
an open fire with an enormous Christmas tree
in the background).
Today, I am thirty-four years old.  Life is a lot better than it was this time last year. Obviously, the dead stay gone, but it has been a year characterised by healing. Healing is not the same as fixing, but there's been some fixing happening too. The greatest fix is that finally, Stephen and I have our own home which is one of the very best things that has ever happened for us. We have borrowed a Christmas tree and we're spending our first Christmas on our own.

When I thought about writing my birthday post, I thought, but that's it really. We moved. This entire year has been taken up by thinking, talking, planning that move, moving, then trying to get organised in our new place. I mentioned this to Stephen and he promptly corrected me.

My year in unordered bullet points:
  • In the last six months, my health has improved. What was a good day at the beginning of the year is close to a normal day now. I'm getting bad days, rather than weeks. I don't know how this can be the case given the stress and effort involved in the move. I get a little nervous about it, afraid I'll mess it up or catch a nasty bug and lose all this progress. However, it's extremely nice.
  • I finally joined Facebook. I had resisted it for years, but after Emma died I was full of regret that we hadn't spoken more often in recent months. I hoped Facebook would be a way of having more contact with some of the people I care about, and yes, it is. 
  • Connected but not limited to this, I seem to have acquired a bunch of really great people in my life. I don't mean to suggest I have gained a great crowd of bosom buddy besties, but I have supportive people I like immensely. Some are new, others became more prominent and some are lost friends now returned. 
Lanky the wolf. (A terrifying wolf made
out of grey fabric, wearing trousers, a
waistcoat and bow-tire)
  • There have been family crises, some decidedly unbloggable. My Dad lost a third brother and my Granny lost her third son in very difficult circumstances. My mother-in-law had a bad fall from which she is only very slowly recovering, at a time when we'd just moved and couldn't travel to see her. Stephen hasn't seen his Mum since the summer, so that's the big negative of having Christmas all to ourselves. 
  •  I was going to finish my second novel this year, but we moved. It's close though and disaster notwithstanding, it will be done soon.
  • In June, I became a permanent blogger for The F-Word. This is a great honour and something I enjoy a lot. Here's a quick list of posts, in case you haven't seen any of them: 
Kirsty Allsop and myths about women's choicesSelf-defense as rape preventionPermission to kiss: consent is simpleWhen break-up music turns sinisterSexual assault allegations and attention-seekingWhen your lover says you're ugly, it's a low-down lieRichard Dawkins and the logic of "date rape"Reluctant WomenSex, lies and statisticsWhat does it mean to be vulnerable?Restrictions on porn which protect no-oneAre fat people disabled?
  • Because we've been so bogged down with house-related stuff, we've made a particular effort marking events. We celebrated our two first wedding anniversaries. We got over-excited about the Eurovision Song Contest. We celebrated my parents' 40th wedding anniversary in October, which went really well (at least, they're still together). We all wore red (it's the Ruby anniversary) and I carved flattering pumpkin-effigies of them. 
A painting of Sophie, a toddler dressed as a
superhero, standing on a cloud with the night
sky in the background.
  • We started going to church. As a disabled Christian, Stephen has struggled to find any spiritual home where he doesn't feel inconvenient until now. As a bisexual humanist, I anticipated a lot of difficulty with what's basically an Anglo-Catholic church, but it's all extremely egalitarian and anti-establishment. I mean, seriously. My main problem is that I get really into the hymns but then dyslexia strikes; I have recently read (and sung) "gifts of goodness and money" for "gifts of goodness and mercy" and, more critically, "man-made God" for "God-made man". 
  • I haven't had the space or time to paint very much, but I did produce one painting (right) and I'm still rather pleased with it. 
  • We got to see quite a lot of our nephew and niece, who are doing really well. Our nephew Alex is doing well and is a very curious and creative kid. Sophie is talking and singing more or less constantly, and her drawing is amazing. She drew her first recognisable human face before the age of two (I mean, it was recognisable as a human face - the likeness to her subject (her Mummy) was less impressive). 
  • We made a rag rug and I've done a lot of sewing. I have sewed a few items of clothing, a big bad wolf for my niece's birthday and a lot of curtains. So many curtains. Most of the curtains are now hanging at the windows with unfinished hems - I'm letting the creases drop out, in theory, although they've now had a couple of months to do this. We've also done some sugar-craft and a big marquetry project. So we did do other things, apart from moving.
Thank you all for being around.  Hope you have a lovely peaceful Christmas if you celebrate it and a very happy New Year. 


Daniel said...

awww I am glad it's been a year of healing and fixing and I have major hearth + tree envy! glad you have health improvement and you have your own place and most importantly of all you joined Facebook :)

I am glad you found a nice place of worship, sometimes we can be a little intolerant of religion (I say that as someone who was once very religious). Different churches, different communities, different groups, they are not all the same in belief. I never experienced homophobia when I was religious and yet outside of church there were horrendous people, some churches and congratulations are generally lovely. It's all about finding what fits you but I have stopped judging religion as a "whole". often the top brass are very different to the people worshipping!

Wish you wonderful things in 2015 <3

Daniel said...

genuinely but generally they probably are lovely as well :)

The Goldfish said...

Thanks Daniel,

I'm sure you're right. For some folk, religion is a tool for power and discrimination, but for other it is a framework for virtue ethics, living well and looking after other people. :-)