Gratitude, and a new Year…

Another year, another “I’m going to post something I’m grateful for every day” on social media…another year that I am dreadfully behind.

The fact of the matter is, I’m pulling away from social media more and more these days.  And that’s actually something I’m feeling grateful for.  I have resolved to spend more face to face time with people that I love, and I don’t want to spend all my time on my phone.

As is customary for me, I always want to post a blog detailing the things that I’m grateful for.

This had been a trying year.
Tragedy struck Las Vegas just a few weeks ago.  There’s been all kinds of crazy tension between people online due to political leanings, racism, sexism…friends fighting friends.  People thinking that LGBTQ rights and struggles are a laughing matter.
I personally have seen a different side to people that I thought I knew.  Intolerance for different races, sexual preferences…even snide comments from people we were once super close with.  I’m sure they thought I didn’t notice, but I did.  Believe me I did.  And it hurt.  But I’m not letting people hurt me anymore.  Its not worth my time anymore.
I’ve lost touch with more people that I loved.  Things are weird and tense.  I’m pretty certain that I’ve been written off completely by at least 2 if not more.  I try to keep things friendly, but if they don’t want to reciprocate, I’m not going to force it.

Which leads me into my gratitude list.

First and foremost, I am grateful to have people in my life who are true to their words when they say that they love me.  They stand by me.  Even when we disagree on things, they don’t let ego get in the way.  They respect our differences.  They can recognize that things have been hard, even if we don’t confide details.  I am grateful that they know that I love them as well.  Even though I’ve been shite at seeing and hanging out with people recently (something I truly hope to remedy soon).

I am grateful for my husband.  Through thick and thin, we have each other’s backs.  Through hard times.  Through fun times.  Through arguments.  Through laughter.  We’re there for each other.  We respect each other.  He’s my strongest supporter, biggest cheerleader, and the love of my life.   I love our drunken scrabble nights, our snuggly Downton nights, our bacon and cuppa mornings, and our cooking days with music and dancing.  We have our ups and downs, but the constant is that we love each other, and I’m so lucky to have found that with you, Morgan.  I love you babe.

I am grateful for my family.  My parents, aunt and uncle.  I’m grateful that we see each other almost weekly these days.  That we are able to laugh together, talk about politics, celebrate birthdays, and being cancer free.  I love that my family has so graciously and completely accepted my husband for who he is, and that they love spending time with both of us.  I’m grateful to have spent so much time with my youngest niece and nephew, Jacob and Jillian, this summer.  It really made me happy to be able to see you two for more than just breakfast one day.  Thank you for going with me to the Goddess Temple.   I’m grateful for my seester Sara, and for Meghan, and so proud of her for going off to school, that we are able to talk with snapchat.  I’m grateful for writing letters with Aunt Norma, and even though I don’t talk to them as often, I’m grateful for Unksie, Sandra, Adam, and Aunty Kathy too.

I’m grateful for my pups.  My little loves with the stinkiest breath ever…they are just the sweetest.  They know when I’m sad, and they do their best to make me feel better.

I’m grateful for new opportunities that are starting to present themselves.  Options for a future, for a change…I’m grateful that I’m able to keep an open mind.

I’m grateful that Morgan has taught me (by osmosis, mostly, and watching) how to cook more intuitively.  I’m grateful that he’s open to my crazy ideas in the kitchen.

I’m grateful for my still new spirituality.  For the openness I have with my husband about performing rituals, for smudging, for collecting rocks and crystals, and incense. For him putting up with my failed attempt to garden. (Just wait till spring, I’m totally trying again!)

I’m grateful for my witchy sisters.  For Nina, for Brooke, for Leslie, for Janae, for Lisa, for Lala, and for Heather.  You all have provided me with much needed help, information, inspiration, and resources.

I’m grateful for dance.  Every year.  I’m grateful to Sandi, for hosting the haflas, and providing a place for us to dance for the community.  I’m grateful to Phil and BBear for asking me to dance at their many charity events…for allowing me a stage to do not only traditional Arab dance, but to dip my toes in the fusion pool in a safe space.  Thanks for letting me do shots of tequila on stage and then spin around like crazy. 🙂 I’m grateful to have been able to take a workshop with a dancer I was previously unfamiliar with, but who I LOVE now!!  I’m also grateful to have been able to volunteer at the Tribal Massive this year, and meet many amazing dancers.   I’m grateful for my dance friends, old and new, who not only believe in me and encourage me, but inspire the hell out of me.  I’m grateful for the opportunities I have coming up this coming year…I already have 2 workshops to go to, and I couldn’t be more excited!

I’m grateful to friends that I don’t want to single out, but you know who you are.  You open your home and your heart to us.  We play games together, cards, smoke cigars, drink wine, eat delicious food and cheeses.  We trade smutty stories, and cookbooks.  Your family is my family.  You come to concerts with us.  You just come over and hang out and drink, and play games with us.  You offer an ear when we need it.  You play disc golf with us.  You come to my dance performances.  You encourage and inspire me to keep trying when I feel like I can’t do it anymore.  We read books and share experiences together.  We workout together.  We inspire each other on the web.  We maybe have never met in person, but we can confide in each other about experiences, and stressors.  You come to karaoke, and drink and sing with us.  You are an ear, a shoulder, and a pair of arms when I need a hug.  You give me alternative methods of taking care of myself when I’m sick, and offer amazing help and advice.

My friends, I am so grateful for you.

In a year where I feel as though I’ve lost so much, I am so grateful to know that I really have so many amazing people and opportunities left in my life.

My year in review is coming up again, and as the holidays descend upon us, I wish you and your family a peaceful few months, whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate.  May your days be filled with joy and laughter, and your nights be warm and easy.  May you be blessed with amazing food, drinks, and time with  friends and family.

Until next time, dear readers, I remain grateful for you.

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Time after time…

And so, another year draws to an end.
Hogswatch is tomorrow (although we’re celebrating on Boxing Day), and the New Year is just a few days after.

Every year, I like to take some time to reflect on all that has happened, good and bad, to see my growth, and to assess where I want to be next year.  I’ll share with you a few of the highlights:

Morgan and I celebrated one year together, and a few short months after that, we came out publicly about our open relationship.  We received so much love from our friends, it was overwhelming to me.

I attended 3 weddings this year:  One for The Punknecks, one for my dear friends Jody and Jeff, where I was a pirate wench bridesmaid, and the most recent was on Saturday: Wasaabi and Karissa, where I was asked to stand up as a bridesmaid…I was honored to have been a part of all three.

Two of my besties also had a beautiful baby girl, Calliope, who is my goddaughter.  Once again, I was overwhelmed with emotion and joy.  Calliope is a beautiful baby, good tempered, and very smiley.

I embarked on a journey towards reclaiming my health, kicking some of my bad habits, and starting P90X.  In 90 days, I lost 15.9 pounds, 11 inches off my waist, and more from my hips and thighs.  My next weigh in is actually in a few days, and I think I’ve done well these last four weeks.    I’m eating better, making better choices, and getting myself active.  I’ve seen results in the fact that I, generally speaking, have fewer body aches and pains, and can fit into my clothing more comfortably again.

I’ve done 3 photo shoots this year, 2 with my fella Morgan…I’m pleased with the photos, and can’t wait to start diving into more modeling opportunities!

I’ve seen an outpouring of love from friends, during some hard times, financially and emotionally…

I’ve also started learning to play the guitar too.  This one started as a dream that I had one night, and has evolved into a desire to really learn more about music and to play another instrument.

Morgan and I became parents to an adorable furbaby:  Gentleman Jack, a beagle/dachshund mix, has been bringing us joy (and a bit of frustration) for the last month.  I love my sweet cuddle bug, and am so happy that we rescued him.

Of course…there have been some bad things…
Multiple costly car repairs have left us feeling drained, but the car runs, and is able to get me to work.  We didn’t raise as much as we needed for a down payment on a newer car, but we were able to afford the repairs with borrowing very little.

I’ve had some people in my life decide that they no longer wanted to be friends with me, which is sad to me, especially since they didn’t even talk to me about if there was a problem, but all in all, I see it as a positive.  No more needless drama, or ridiculous judgement.

The worst part of this year, however, happened just a week ago:  My best friend of 15 years, Jake, passed away.
He had been sick and struggling with all kinds of health problems for nearly or over a decade (the time frame when the problems started is hazy, but its close to 10-11 years ago).  Last week, his liver and kidneys failed, and he passed at home, surrounded by his family.  I consider myself extremely lucky to have received a phone call from Jake’s brother Donnie the day before he passed.  Jake couldn’t speak anymore, but I was able to speak to him, and to tell him goodbye, and that I loved him.  I’ve been a mess for the last week…good days, then bad…crying fits coming out of nowhere, this has by far been the hardest loss since my GrinGran passed away 13 years ago.
Even with this loss, I’m trying to keep a positive attitude:  Jake isn’t hurting anymore.  He isn’t in pain, he doesn’t have to go to the hospital every month…and he’s been reunited with his parents, sister, and friend Ryan.  The selfish part of me misses him, and always will, but I’m glad that I could say goodbye, and even more glad that he was surrounded by family and the people he loved.

In the coming year, perhaps driven a bit by the loss of a friend who was so young, and had his whole life ahead of him, my goals are simple:  I want to live every moment to the fullest.
I’m going to continue to try to live a healthier lifestyle, curbing more of my bad habits, and making better choices…being active, and trying new things.
I want to spend more time outside.
I want to start working on my “40 before 40” bucket list that a dear friend inspired me to start.
I want to play my guitar more.
I want to love more…be more accepting, more humble…less needy…less demanding.
I want to exercise love and tolerance.

I want to live, and be a better person.
I want to give freely of my love and time, to those who need it.

To all of you who have been a part of my year, thank you.  I love you so very much

A handful of special thanks:
To Karissa and Nina: my two best girlfriends…I love you guys.  I don’t know what I would do without your love, advice, and amazing spirits.  I hope that the year to come brings you two nothing but amazingness.
To Wasaabi:  I love you, my brother.  And I have to thank you for falling in love and making a baby with the awesomest woman who is now your wife.  I love you guys SO much…thank you for always being there, for your help, love, support, and your uncanny ability to make me laugh when I need it.
To Virginie and David: my dear amazing friends, a goal of mine this year is to spend MORE time with the two of you!  I love you both so much for the amazing support you’ve always offered, and for the brain stimulating conversations that we always have…the fun games, movies, drinks…I love you both so much, you are so dear to me.
To Jake:  I miss you so much, and I love you.  I’m glad that you aren’t hurting anymore.  Thank you for helping to shape me into who I am.  Keep an eye out on me…I’ll sing songs for you every now and then, and will always smile when I remember you.
And finally…to the love of my life, Morgan.  My sun and stars…moon of my life…you’re my everything.  As we approach our 2 year anniversary, I have to thank you.  Thank you for choosing to be with me.  Thank you for your affection, for your unwavering support, encouragement,  and love for me…we’ve been through some rough times this year, and you’ve stood by me no matter what…I hope you always know that I love you.  I will always love you.  Together, you and I can conquer the whole world.  I look forward to what this next year has in store for us…we’re going to do amazing things!  I love you so much.

To the rest of my beloved readers, even if I did not mention you by name, know that you are loved by me, and appreciated.   May your holidays be joyful and safe.
Good luck on your ventures in the coming year, and know that you have a supporter here,waving her pompoms for you.

Happy Hogswatch, and Happy New Year!

Me and Jack, the night we brought him home.

Me and Jack, the night we brought him home.

Jack and I at the shelter.  I fell SO in love with him when he climbed into my lap.

Jack and I at the shelter. I fell SO in love with him when he climbed into my lap.

My dear departed friend Jake, in his younger days...

My dear departed friend Jake, in his younger days…

My love and I.  photo by Bright Borders Photography

My love and I. photo by Bright Borders Photography