2011 was many things.
Unfortunately what I remember most about it is the loss of kitties. Giles was my baby boy for 4 years and I was distraught when we lost him. I truely treat my cats like my children and I was wreaked. Some good things came from his loss, we took in Toothless and Puss, I started volunteering regularly at the rescue. Then we lost Puss, we took in Po. We're now thinking of being cat fosterers for those who need attention. Starting with Toothless' sister Satan. Even the loss of Puss was not all bad, she has a good few months before a death which was quick and painless and likely due to an underlying condition. Despite the good that came of it I don't want to think about what decision I would make if I was ever given the option for it to have not happened. On top of loosing Giles and Puss we also lost Whiskas and Faithful, two of my childhood cats. 2011 was not the year of cat survival. Although it probably was the year that I blossomed into a true crazy cat lady.
Looking back I will also remember 2011 as the year of the road trips and breaks. Inspired by a friend and due to necessity we had to do several long car trips around the country. We had Finland, which was very excellent, a road trip around England seeing ancient sites, a Yuletide roadtrip, Dovedale camp, Oakleaf camp. a festive road trip to see those we love. Not only did we clock up the miles and see great things but I also learnt that I have many people around the country that I can call on. Many friends who will share with me, their home, their food, their knowledge, their companionship and their possessions. Many generous people. 2011 was a year of realising what I have and how lucky I am.
Something very very very good also came of 2011. I learnt to knit, and a little crochet. I learnt to try new things in the kitchen, forage for food and make things I wouldn't have thought of. I baked my first banana bread. It was a year of creativity. Of discovering I can be creative. I am not musical. I am not artistic. I am not poetic. I never thought I would be able to create beautiful things. Now I know I can. Knitting has also been very therapeutic for me. I am encourage to sit on my butt and rest, because I can still be productive. I can focus on something repetitive, something that is immensely calming for me and one of the ways I used to use self harm. 2011 was the year I learnt to craft.
A few other things happened in 2011. I continued my phd, amid self doubts. I had a summer depression, which was unusual. I started prozac, which has been surprisingly helpful. I started monitoring my moods, very informative. I went horse riding again, painful but fun. I finally discovered the reasons for my headaches, sinus troubles. My father decided he'd like to sign my birth certificate and get to know me, shocking and confusing. I rebuilt bridges with a cousin I haven't spoken to in years, somewhat cleansing. I stopped being Acacia's wonderful Aunty Danielle, sobering. I made some damn fine wines, tasty. We grew and harvested our own foods, exciting and rewarding. We made this house more of our home, hard work but well worth it. I'm sure I'll remember other things but those are the main ones.
I guess looking back at it 2011 was not an awful year. Anyone who has read this journal knows that I have had far far worse. It will always be overshadowed by the loss of Giles, but hopefully, reading here I will be able to remember the good it gave me. And if I can't even do that then maybe I can cherish the new skills I have learnt, and the kitties who have entered my life.
Good bye and thank you 2011. You weren't good, you weren't bad. You were just life, shades of grey.