2007 Year in Review

I wrote a 2006 Year in Review so here is 2007′s.

This year began fairly normally. My biggest focus was on mentoring. The first year mentoring program is one-on-one. But when the students are sophomores through seniors, it’s all small group. I had an incredibly great group of students in my group, and the mentors were as well. The groups disband at the end of the school year though. I miss my previous group, but the new group that started this fall has been awesome as well. And I really enjoyed volunteering at the freshman launch course, because several of the students I’ve worked with were Steps Up (a.k.a. student volunteers) there. It was an opportunity to see that they’d made something of themselves: more confident, more together, and able to set goals and have powerful relationships.

My big goal for the school year (everyone sets goals in the mentoring program) was to write a business plan for my bookstore. I was really up and down in my motivation though. In January I became incredibly unmotivated. But my business coach was pretty good in that regard and I pushed through it. I ran into a brick wall though on how to do a sales forecast without spending a ton of money on surveys. I never quite figured that out before things changed.

Work-wise, I didn’t do a whole lot. In 2006, I went from a high-powered job at Expedia to a low-powered job at Barnes & Noble shelving books. In 2007, I went from low-powered to unemployed. Barnes & Noble was a lot of fun, but when things changed, I couldn’t keep a regular schedule anymore. So the job went in June. But it was sure fun while it lasted.

Romantically the year started out hopefully. A long-time friend who I long have been attracted to reconsidered her rejection. However, she got scared off. Luckily we’re still friends.

I finally visited my brother Dan in San Francisco and spent a week with him and my nephew Victor. Victor is an awesome kid. Some kids have an innately smiley face. Victor though always looks worried. Dan and Brenda brought him up in November for Thanksgiving. He’s a smart kid, and he likes olives. He’s still willing to share though.

Late February brought the first signs of what would be the defining experience of my year though. Actually, the first signs were earlier, but because I wasn’t using the phone much, I missed them. My mom started having problems with her mouth in December. I didn’t talk with her from shortly after Christmas until late February or so, so I missed it. I talked with her on the phone around then though, and I thought she sounded like a drunk. She was slurring her words very badly. I was worried, but she told me it wasn’t any big deal and she’d tell me when the doctors had it figured out.

In April I got the word. Preliminary diagnosis was A.L.S. which was confirmed at the end of the month. That really threw me into a tailspin. I put my plans for a book store on hold, canceled dates, and holed up.

Watching my mom’s condition deteriorate has been the most emotionally painful experience I’ve had ever. In February it was slurred speech. Today she cannot talk except through a computer, and she doesn’t eat except through a tube. Her thumbs have lost strength, and the rest of her hands are following. She can’t hold her head up because she can’t control her neck muscles. Every new change makes me cry.

On the other hand, unlike when Matt died, I have plenty of forewarning. I didn’t get to see much of him since he was a kid because I’d been living in a different state. He in Washington me in Idaho. Me in Washington, him in California. And then he was gone. But as painful as it is to watch, I can spend lots of time with my mom. I started driving up to Lynden every one or two weeks. She and I went to Edward Scissorhands at the 5th Ave, and we both hated it. I got to help her raise money for the A.L.S.A. in September. And many many heartfelt thanks to all my friends who donated.

One other thing I want to mention is changes in my relationship with my family. Briefly, though. I want this year in review to be unvarnished, but not a source of drama. On one hand, I’ve become closer to my brother Joe. But things have become strained with my other brother Dan. Though there are hopeful signs.

In November, I started making plans to move north so I could help my mom. I rented a place in Ferndale, about 20 minutes from my parents house. Two days a week I’m in Seattle. Five I’m in Ferndale. So far that’s worked out quite well, though I have to say my Seattle place already doesn’t feel like home. Home is where the internet is.

I went on a few dates with Tamara this year before she headed off to be a sailor again. I spend a fair amount of time with my ex April in the beginning of the year as well. But I had a day of sudden reclusiveness and bailed on Folk Life with her (as well as other folks too), and she stopped hanging out with me after that. I also had my biggest fight with Jason in years. I stuck my nose where it didn’t belong, and he didn’t talk with me for about six weeks. We’re good now though. With Jason, I know that in the long run things will always work out. We’ve been friends for long enough, that even when we get mad at each other, we can forgive each other. Eventually. This time it was my time to fuck up. I did stop going to Losers’ Lunch regularly around that time though. It had nothing to do with Jason. It had become a social scene and less of friends catching each other up.

Those have been some down things things this year. Strangely though, other than the occasional crying spells, I’m really upbeat. My close friends have rallied, and I’m incredibly grateful. Thank you specifically to Jason, Kim, Erin and Deirdre. But nearly everyone I know has done something to help. The new year looks full of possibility. I’m looking forward to New Year’s Eve and the year to come. I feel braver than I have in years.

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