I did take some time, as I’d promised yesterday, to look at my posts from last year and reflect on what was different this year.

Some thoughts. First of all, I am really overall pretty good at keeping most negativity off my blog. So, when I read about situations, I realize I’ve put the most positive spin on them that I can, which I think is good. Good for me, and good for readers. No one wants to hear constant complaints. That being said, some of those blog posts where I hint at situations really do drag up awful memories.

Last year at this time I was dealing with a very problematic coworker. And honestly? That’s as much frustration as I needed at work. I was also tasked with double checking all of her work, which is more work than anyone needs to be doing along with her own job. And keeping records of that work, which is like another job entirely. On top of that, we were put in impossible situations with grant submissions, and I had, after 11 years here, my first ever failure to submit though that was in no way my own fault. It was such high stress situations.

This year we’ve got 5 internal grants due on December 22, with only two of us actually at work that day. We are doing our best to get these in early but are at the mercy of those actually submitting. I remain irritated that a due date would be the Friday before Christmas, and think that was extremely poor planning on someone’s part. It has a serious effect on staff that I don’t think they were really looking too closely at. But, with a new and full team, and no problematic coworker, I suspect these will go in smoothly overall, despite my irritation and despite being down to only 2 team members on service that day. This year there’s so much to be grateful for at work. I’ve got a great new team to lead, two of the members brand new and hand selected by me. I’ve got my own office, which is strange to me, but I am happy for it and it will serve me very well in the upcoming year. Speaking of the upcoming year, I’ve been given multiple fun projects of the conference planning type, which is what I love most about my job, far more than grant submissions. There is so much to be grateful for at work right now, even though it remains busy.

Last year I posted a lovely Christmas memory that led to a family reunion this summer. I’d call that a massive win. I am glad I took time to reflect on Christmas years gone by. Those can’t really be recaptured, but connections can still be made and time can still be spent and those new memories are equally important.

Last year we were gearing up for family time with Mr. Ink’s family in KCMO. It was a situation that had been simmering for about a year already and came to a red hot boil that vacation, causing a familial split which has lasted all year. It was extremely painful. Extremely. It’s still simmering, but we’ve done our best this year to put everyone in the best situation possible under the circumstances. There will not be a resolution. But we’ll do our best with what we are handed. That being said, when I posted about it I certainly concentrated on the better parts of the vacation. The extended family not mine or Mr. Ink’s that took us in and did their best to make sure we had an absolutely wonderful vacation despite all that was going on. That big romanian family making sure we were well fed, complimented, gathered in, and loved. An extension of Mr. Ink’s sister in law, and honestly? It’s what I should have expected, as it’s such an extension of HER in general. Well fed, complimented, gathered in, and loved would entirely describe my relationship with her thus far.

This year? We are now contemplating another family gathering. It will involve those in the split, because it’s still important to honor Mr. Ink’s 90 year old mother in some way. But, we will be doing our best to again look at whatever bright side we can find and do our best to accept the rest of it as necessary. That gathering should happen in March. I am alternating between looking forward to it as time spent with Mr. Ink’s sister in law, a person I think I’ve made it clear I love, and dreading uncomfortable situations I know I’ll be thrown into. I guess that’s an improvement? I suppose it’s an improvement in the sense that I can’t get blindsided by these situations anymore. Eyes wide open now.

Last year at this time we’d found and had sent to us a new (to us) car! We were in anticipation of it all vacation, and it arrived right after vacation. I was still raw with hurt and hot with anger over the vacation situations, and thus my patience level was pretty low in general. Our sales person was a mess and I kept thinking that I needed to get it together and be more patient with him. Until I realized that Mr. Ink was equally or perhaps more so irritated and impatient with this guy. When the most patient man in the world gets impatient, you know you’ve got a problem. Nevertheless, we did end up with a new car, a car I’ve loved for almost an entire year now. It’s not a car I expected to love, but it’s a complete joy to drive and clearly our year and a half of test driving and attempting to make a decision paid off for us. The joy of that vehicle just hasn’t worn off.

Despite some of the awful situations from last year, the holiday in general was still pretty good. We had lovely moments at home. Miss Butterfly was sick last year, but had recovered well in time for travel. And this year I think we’ve got all those sicknesses done with ahead of time. There was time with Mr. Ink’s daughter, there was good food, and there was that really funny moment where I finished knitting Mr. Ink a new sock because he’d lost one of his hand knit socks, and as soon as the new sock was done, the missing sock showed up inside one of his fleece pullovers! That was a hilarious and joyful moment in our home. Last year there were simple moments of joy in the midst of complicated situations to maneuver. This year will be much simpler, and for that I’ll be extremely grateful.