Thoughtful End to an Awful Year

It takes a lot of discipline to be self-employed. Some tend to be stricter than any regular boss would be with his employees. Others tend to constantly live in fear of ending up as a bag lady if a few days pass without anyone calling with a new assignment. Me, I always try not to stress too much – thank you  so much for driving that home, Dr. K. Right after I submit a big project, my brain is usually fried, and I need some tangible work to come down. This usually results in cleaning sprees, this time around: my desk, look:IMG_0574.JPG

Can you believe how neat it looks? Obviously this didn’t last long. My roommates tend to leave stuff on there because it provides an invitingly free flat surface (drawings, iPhone chargers, tax statement papers, mail, hairbrushes and -clips …) ugh. Anyway, cleaning, tidying, scheduling long overdue doctor’s appointments – that’s my post-project coping mechanism, if I have the time, and this year, I actually do. Also, I’m able to think of Christmas before the actual holidays, as well as my husband’s birthday right after. I’ve composed a greeting card I’ll send out to my favorite clients next week, and I’ve been busy knitting my way through a pile of accumulated sock yarn.

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The last one may in fact end up becoming a scarf for my daughter who complained that I had this

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while she did not. She has a point. But before I actually get around to that, I have to make more socks.

One pair will go to my amazing godson R. here in Berlin, who is now 16 and the baby sax player in a jazz band of twenty-somethings – I saw them live on stage a week ago, and was pleasantly surprised at how good they were! It’s definitely discombobulating to see kids whom you’ve known since they were in diapers go and Do Great Things. I’m only now beginning to understand what Dr Seuss was talking about in ‚Oh, the Places You’ll Go…‘. The rainbow socks are for my goddaughter in Frankfurt and her younger sister, and the corn yellow ones will go to my sweet friend and compadre of 25 years, A. There are not many people in the world who look great in that color, but she does. I bought that yarn when I was making her the Funky Blanket, and I didn’t really use a lot of it, so I had plenty of leftover yarn for socks.

Whenever do I find the time to do all that? Well, it’s not like I ever really go anywhere without a crafts project in my bag. I do have to wait in doctor’s offices just like everybody else, just as I do when I sit and observe certain young ballerinas change from their tutus into their jeans (I’m always astounded how time-consuming this process can be!), and I also watch a few shows with my husband and son – a great time for knitting projects you need muscle memory rather than brain capacity for. Additionally, I’m notorious for knitting at parties, and of course there’s the cherished afternoons when I get to hang out with my friend N. while our kiddos have their piano lessons, which take place at either one of our houses … so that’s when.

One of the doctors gave me quite a scare last week – in fact, there were four days of major panic because it seemed that the pregnancy diabetes from 9 years ago had caught up with me, and it was only Thursday that I learned that all was in fact great, and I’m as healthy as they come. What a relief! I don’t even have high blood pressure, and I don’t have to change a thing about my nutritional habits. Of course, no sooner had I gotten my own clean bill of health that one of my kitties needed to get checked out, and two trips to the vet and 200 bucks later we knew she had a full-blown bladder infection, poor thing. Duh. No wonder she was pissed off (literally!), there’s few things as unpleasant! I can totally relate.

I was freaking out at the mere thought of having to do the strict nutritional regimen again (next to no carbs, next to no fruit, tons of meat if I want it (I do not) and of course a lot of veg (but not too many cooked carrots or squash please, as they contain too much sugar)… But I actually wouldn’t mind the diet as much as I would resent having to be thinking about calories and doing the constant finger-pricking blood tests, and, ultimately, I guess complying with my body’s needs rather than the other way round, the way I’m used to.

I suppose that’s what the physical side of aging is all about. Accepting things, not being able to do as you please, coping with unpleasantness. No wonder people have a hard time with that, I will be one pissed off old lady whenever I do get sick. I’ve been aware that I’ll very probably be dealing with diabetes later in life ever since I had my daughter (docs call that a disposition for XYZ). But for now, apparently, I’m in the clear, and I’ve been celebrating with the annual Christmas Cookie Extravaganza:

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… which the famous Lemony Shortbread from my last post is obviously an integral part of:
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I would have baked all this stuff anyway (mostly for the fam), but it’s nice to know that – for now – I can have a cookie or two if I feel like it without its being a severe health hazard.

It seems that I’m looking at a quiet end to this remarkably shitty year, which is probably a good thing because it gives me a breather and a chance to process all the insane things that have been happening over the last 12 months, rather than being buried in work until the very last moments of the year. We won’t be going anywhere, and I’m looking forward to hanging out with the family, cooking, listening to music, meeting friends and napping whenever possible. We still have to get a tree and design our annual calendar. But unlike the years before, it’s looking like there will actually be time for that.

Looking at the world out there, I am so intensely grateful to be living where I am. Right-wing idiots aside, our little corner of the world is one of the most hippie-ish, diversity-friendly, least homophobic and most fun places I know. The number of health-food stores still equals the regular grocery stores, and there’s always quirky things to be discovered whenever I leave the house:
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Put that in your pipe and smoke it, mainstream clothes chains :-)).

On that note, let’s wrap up this year already to the best of our abilities, and try and do better in 2017.