Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

2008 – What a Year!


So.  It’s New Year’s Eve.  The last day of 2008.  Looking back, I never would have guessed the changes that this year would bring.  And changes it brought – 2008 really sticks out in my mind an both an eventful year and one that has changed me.  At times it felt like the worst year ever, but each and every one of those bad things had a silver lining that outshone the original bad.

I’ll admit it, the first six months of 2008 felt like a battle – something big and challenging marked each of those months but there were also a lot of big joys as well.  The last six moths were calmer and gave me some time to regroup and think about the effects of the first six.  And now, here I am at the end of the year, in a place that I never, ever, in my wildest dreams would have imagined for myself on this day last year.  And I feel good about it.  Actually, not good – great.  This year I’ve learned so much about myself and who and how I want to be; I’ve been reminded about what really matters and what doesn’t; I’ve been surrounded by so many wonderful people; and I’m in a place where I have the freedom to choose what’s next – and that’s pretty exciting.

Now, because this post doesn’t have any pictures (and we can’t have that) let’s do a month by month…

January brought me a second Project 365, lots of new camera equipment, our first break-in, and I was on the news.
January 2008

February brought a lot of good – my birthday!, Super Tuesday, Guitar Hero!!, Alice!!!!, and SPA (so fun!). But in February I also lost my grandfather, the last of my grandparents.
February 2008

March brought me to Chicago to remember my grandfather and see family.  It also brought hints of spring and a winter that just wouldn’t quit.  And it brought one of the biggest life-changing evens of the year, Sebb’s diabetes diagnosis.  Pre-feline diabetes we were footloose and fancy free cat owners – people who could sleep late, go out after work, and leave for a weekend with only someone to stop by and look in on Sebb.  Post-feline diabetes diagnosis we became people who had to be awake and home every day at 7:00 am and 7:00 pm to feed and give insulin to the cat.  At first both the diagnosis and the schedule seemed too overwhelming – I swear that I spent the first few weeks thinking that Sebb was going to die at any second and worrying about being home at 7:00 and what if I slept late…  After that though, it just became a routine like any other.
March 2008

April, oh April. April started out great and ended not so great.  April brought flowers, fun times with friends, CT Sheep and Wool, a FO, and then kicked me in the face with our second break-in.  That second break-in was a doozy.  The first one I was able to shrug off as a casualty of urban living.  Stuff got stolen (some of it irreplaceable) but no one got hurt.  I could process it.  The second time hit me hard.  It was much more violent (they crowbared open the door) and messy, and it horrified me that the same people who robbed us in January came back to take what they missed the first time around.  It felt personal and targeted.  The silver lining?  It happened on April 28th and we were able to move on May 1st.  Into a much nicer place.  So many people helped us deal with the situation and some of them even helped us move our stuff from one place to another – Amanda, Gist’s parents, Katy (who spend the last two days of her vacation kicking our catatonic asses, packing our stuff and moving it), Yoli, Yovani…  So many people were there for us both emotionally and physically and I am so grateful for that – it really redeemed a horrible situation.
April 2008

May is a bit of a blank, to be honest.  I stopped my 365 (and this blog) for 25 days because I needed to curl into myself, process what had happened and decide if I was too “out there” regarding my life.  Oh, and unpack.  During my time away from the internets, I received a lot of kind wishes and gifts from people (people I’ve never actually met but feel like I know) – they were a salve.  I also realized that I missed being part of online communities, especially Flickr.  So I jumped back in right where I left off.
May 2008

June started crazy and then stepped back to usher in the mellow-er second half of 2008. The second half where a lot of good things happened.  The first day of June was a lovely one – Gist, Nance and I went to stART in the Park. The next two weeks were all work, all the time.  I had a professional triumph with “A Taste of the Acre”.  Then there were a lot of happy events all in a row – our CSA started, Julie & Kate’s wedding, Rock Band, fried pickles, Jeremy’s graduation.  Oh, and we started down the path to being a two-car household…
June 2008

July was all about one thing – our super fun, totally awesome vacation!  Okay, there were other things too – spending some time with my main gays, Rafa, Stitch-n-Pitch, our our super fun, totally awesome vacation, the Lowell Folk Festival.  July was a delight!
July 2008

August was another nice month.  I might even say uneventful (but uneventful in the best possible way.  There was a first trip to the beach, a WII FIT!, some Olympic knitting, and a bunch of fun day trips.
August 2008

September was another uneventful month.  It started with a relaxing Labor Day weekend and was filled with lots of fun with friends.
September 2008

October is my favorite month.  This October ended the streak of uneventful months and was filled with awesome.  October brought me a car of my very own and my first trip to a scary Hallowe’en theme park.  It brought me to Western Mass to visit old friends and it brought me to Rhinebeck with newer friends.  It brought me Qiviuk.  It also brought me to the pool and yoga class.  Foliage was plentiful and the Tamburitzans made an appearance.  We also learned that thanks to his “healthy lifestyle,” Sebb no longer needs those twice-daily insulin shots.
October 2008

November was another busy one.  Amanda and I went to the So You Think You Can Dance tour and squealed like tweens.  I voted!  Obama won!  We spent a very fun weekend in NYC (but I didn’t take a single picture).  I had my first cavity filled.  I got sucked into that Twilight thing.  I had a lovely Knits-giving and Thanksgiving.  The Christmas Parade happened.  Jeremy came up and helped us decorate our tree.
November 2008

And that brings us to December.  December brought the last life changing event of 2008 (I hope, although there are still 12 hours left) – I joined Facebook.  Just kidding, although I did join Facebook.  On December 5th I was laid off from the job that I had for three years.  It was a bit shocking when it happened but then I realized that 1. it’s happening to everybody 2.  it gives me a whole lot of freedom to decide what’s next 3. it’s opened up all sorts of opportunities and, last but not least 4. it’s given me a lot of free time and made December a pretty relaxed month.  I’ve been able to swim, enjoy all of the winter storms we’ve had, bake, make Christmas presents, celebrate Nance’s birthday with her, spend a lovely Christmas in CT, catalog my stash, read, play an obscene amount of Wii Fit, meet my friends to knit…
December 2008

So that’s it, 2008. Here I am on the last day of the year, watching the snow fall (I do love snow, I told Gist’s dad that it made me “happy with joy” this morning when he called) with a purring cat sitting on my forearms as I type this, waiting for Gist to get home, and looking back on the last year.  It’s been full of ups and downs but the ups have been higher than the downs have been low and I’m healthy and warm and safe and so are my loved ones which makes me pretty darn lucky.  Gist and I always celebrate our Christmas on New Year’s Day which means that I have presents to look forward to tomorrow morning.  All things considered, life’s pretty good and I’m looking forward to 2009 and the adventures it’ll bring.  Happy new year everyone!


Author: Marianne

Hi my name is Marianne Gries, welcome to Art is the Handmaid of Human Good. I use this space to write about and share pictures of things that interest me. That includes my life in Lowell, my adventures in car-lite living, the food I cook and eat, my dogs, home improvement projects, vacations, knitting, and interesting things and places I see and visit. Thanks for stopping by!

5 thoughts on “2008 – What a Year!

  1. i loved this post – an excellent recap! happy new year!

  2. Sounds like you had a life-essence year in 08. Best of luck in 09!

  3. Happy New Year! I’m on Facebook, too. I’ll have to look you up.

  4. Pingback: Year in Review « Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

  5. Pingback: So much to be thankful for (or, 2010 in review…) « Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

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