Worth noting, I kept trying to type “2000 In Review” so I think that tells you what year I’d rather review.
Also hard to believe that the year I turned 14 is now 22 years behind us. Woof.
I’m not sure I’ll actually post this anywhere, but it’s been a while since I typed out a Year in Review blog post and I’d like to start doing it again. Even if it’s only for myself.
2022 was a Year of the Tiger, which means it’s a repeat of my birth year.
(Yes, that means I’m a multiple of 12, and if you can do math you know how old I am now. No, there’s no prize.)
Something that seems to hold true about repeating your Zodiac year is that it’s interesting.
As in, the ancient curse “May you live in interesting times.”
Following the pattern laid down by the last year of the Tiger, the first 8 or so months of 2022 were…pretty crap. Then things began to pick up again as fall came around, and now I’m finishing out the year mostly feeling grateful, and so happy it’s almost over.
In my last Zodiac repeat, 2010, my ex cheated on me and dumped me, and then later assaulted me while my mom was in the hospital for her cancer surgery; our dog Major died; I lost my job before it really took off (managing a restaurant that never got off the ground), and then at the end of summer my Oma died.
But in 2010 I also realized I had a drinking problem and quit cold turkey, thanks to a change in medication. I stayed off booze for a solid 2 years, and now I have no drinking problem* and drink only occasionally (as evidenced by the sporadic schedule of Fifty Shades of Drinking).
*Trying not to get into a broader discussion about this, but: this won’t be true for everyone who has a problem. It is for me. As with everything, your mileage may vary.
And, on Labour Day Weekend of 2010, I met my husband. The last chunk of the year was mainly positive, and life went on.
So, twelve years later,** and a pattern of 8 months of shit followed by 4 months of things looking up repeats.
Let’s dive in.
**I don’t know if this pattern is true for 1998. I can’t remember that year.
Personal & Family
The hardest year of my life.
In 2020 I went up to Powell River to stay with my mom and take a new job. My husband and I had agreed it was the best next move for us — both for the job, which would pay more than what I had been earning, and for being close to my mom, whose health was starting to do wonky things and was worrying me.
Our plan had been for me to go down and visit on a regular basis. Of course, The Circumstances kiboshed a lot of that, and 2020 marked the start of either a series of smaller rough patches or basically one massive rough patch in our marriage, depending on how you look at it.
Come the end of 2021, we had weathered the rough patch(es) and were stronger than ever. There were a lot of unknowns in our lives, but mainly I was still in Powell River and my husband was still in the Lower Mainland, working his ass off to try and support a now-jobless me.
I was still trying to salvage something of my life in Powell River, and despite being jobless at this point just picking up and going back down to the Lower Mainland wasn’t truly an option: we now had a dog, Mr. Sirius Li, and a suite in the Lower Mainland that didn’t allow pets.
Besides, my lack of job hadn’t meant a sudden disappearance of my mom needing me: while her blood pressure problems seem to have been fixed by a trip to the chiropractor (they’re magic, honestly), she’d managed to break her ankle in 2020. There had been complications from that — a blood clot and cellulitis — and even now there are lingering repercussions.
So we continued with the plan, of me coming down for visits and mostly staying in PR, while we tried to figure out our next moves.
It was in March I was scheduled to go down for what was to be a week-long visit. Right before this, I injured my right rotator cuff, and was in unspeakable pain. Despite this, I made the drive — a day early. Something was telling me I had to leave right THEN, and I have never ignored my intuition.
Good thing. That night a varicose vein in my husband’s foot blew while he was taking a shower. Our bathroom looked like a Pollock painting, and I got a lesson in applying pressure.
By the time the paramedics arrived the bleeding had stopped, but obviously something had to be done for this problem. We got an appointment with Mr. Katje’s vein specialist, who agreed to do a vein ablation — occluding the vein — to stop the problem.
First, we had to order special compression stockings for Mr. Katje to wear after the procedure, as well as a vein kit. (Neither covered by our “universal” healthcare, by the way, because this procedure is classed as “cosmetic” by our provincial healthcare.)
The compression stockings had to be specially made, so they took several weeks to arrive & we couldn’t get the appointment for the procedure until after they were there.
Finally he got his procedure done, at the beginning of June. It was an in-office procedure and it went well. On followup that weekend I noticed he was short of breath, but we talked about it and decided it was likely allergies as the air around us was full of fluffy white clouds of death (pollen). I was suffering too.
Tales of the Almost-Widow
His shortness of breath got worse. By Tuesday that week we knew something was wrong. We still thought allergies, but clearly at the level that needed medical intervention. Mr. Katje came home early from work and we drove to the hospital.
It wasn’t allergies. It was a pulmonary embolism–bilateral. The words by the doctors were “massive” and “you came in just in time; if you’d waited one more day…”
Mr. Katje and I have discussed what we think happened, and we’ve figured it’s this:
- he already had micro-clots in his lungs from his bout with the-illness-that-shall-not-be-named in December 2019
- the procedure on his leg sent a hidden deep vein thrombosis up to his lungs
- bada bing, bada boom, pulmonary embolism
The reason we think #1 is because his breathing has been bad for about 2 years. We’ve all been worried about it, but didn’t know what we could do. If we went to the doctor, they’d just tell him to lose weight. So his mom and me and my mom have been watching him nervously, hoping he’s okay, and wondering how we could help him get better if he’s not.
Turns out, he wasn’t okay, and the fix? Blood thinners and oxygen.
Once they got him on O2 and started heparin, his breathing improved remarkably. He was out of the hospital before a week passed, and off the O2 a few days before discharge. For the next week plus we had to continue doing daily drives to the hospital so he could continue to get injections of heparin into his stomach, on top of the warfarin they’d put him soon into his stay.
Finally, his INR got up above a certain level, and we then spent all summer and into the fall figuring out the exact dosage of Warfarin to keep it there, which is a higher dosage than would be assumed for his height and weight. His body seems to want to clot. A lot.
But it also responds to treatment. In September, he got follow-up scans. His lungs are clear. Meaning they’re clear of the big clots and of the smaller ones that were in the rest of the lungs. He was cleared to go back to work, and he’s been back since October. He’s doing well. Takes his meds every day, checks his blood work once a month.
Re-learning to Breathe
As for me, I’m doing better too. Hearing his scans were clear and that he was okayed to go back to work released some tension within me, and allowed me to finally go back to Powell River — after six months on the Lower Mainland — so I could do my work. And take care of my dog, who had been watched over by and watching over his Oma, my mom.
Before then? I was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t sleep properly. I kept having nightmares about losing him. Sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night and just watch him, making sure he was still breathing.
Almost losing him was the worst experience of my life.
So, yes, I’m happy to show 2022 the door in a few days.
Loss and Reconciliation
Other things of note for this year, some of which started in 2021:
In December 2021 we lost Tyee, our wolf-shepherd, who had come into our lives at the end of 2010, when he was 18 months old. He passed at the age of 12 on Boxing Day, 2021, and life has been very hard without him.
However, Sirius has been a bright light, a guiding star for us (see what I did there?) and I’m so thankful he’s in our lives. He’s helped mom and me weather the Tyee-shaped void in our lives and reminded us about things like joy, play, and wonder.
As well, Tyee’s spirit is sticking around, very strongly. I felt him by my side during my husband’s illness, and knew he was there to watch over me while my gods watched over my husband. I still feel him around; he splits his time among his packmates and guards them and their territory from his spot in the Otherworld.
In September 2021, I began to reconcile with my father. This is a big topic that probably deserves its own post, and it will get one at some point. But it’s been good, overall, and I’m so grateful I still have a chance to do so.
This Christmas, my parents began the process of reconciliation with each other, which is the greatest Christmas present I could ask for.
Professional & Financial
The first chunk of the year was financially catastrophic for us, with Mr. Katje out of work and on disability insurance (which was needed but still not enough) and me putting everything professional on hold for care-taking.
By the end of the year we managed to right the ship a bit, and I’m certainly feeling more optimistic about things going forward. Things are still incredibly tight, however, and will be for a while yet.
As mentioned, I lost the job I came up to Powell River to get. That happened in November 2021. I’m not going to talk in detail about that, for various reasons, but one thing I’ll say is the usual safety nets failed me, so I’ve been totally reliant on my family since losing my position.
(I’m not going to talk about why the safety nets failed, for the same reason I’m not going into detail on the rest of it.)
Smooth Seas Never Made a Skilled Sailor
2022 started with us trying to figure out what I’d be doing for money in the family. Mr. Katje was working, and my mom was trying to get some of her working life back (also ruined by The Circumstances). One thing Mom and I kept coming back to was the idea of my little shop.
She already has a bookshop, Wolffy’s Book Den. It’s part of her house, so there’s no commercial rent. The main costs are electricity, internet, and keeping the place stocked.
The last is the easiest of those things, actually. It’s not hard to source books for a small bookshop that focuses on previously-loved titles (but only those in pristine condition).
My idea for a shop was really to start an adjunct to the Den, in a little shed in the side garden. I wanted to specialize in witchcraft supplies and books, because I felt that was a niche that Powell River needed filled.
I was right.
We went ahead with the plan, despite, well, everything, and I’m glad we did. We managed to get a little building set up in the side garden and my store, Conspiracy Bazaar, had its grand opening on Samhain weekend.
It’s been pretty popular. I don’t know its long-term feasibility, but for now it’s bringing in a bit of income. Plus, I can sit in there and write my books — that’s not something I can do at any job outside the house.
I’d say the gamble is paying off.
Who Needs a Working Shoulder to Write?
As far as writing goes, I’ve had a good year. Somehow I managed to write over 250,000 words this year, which was my goal. (For reference, Bellica is just over 250K.)
In March, I did the Cookie Challenge course with Tammi Labrecque and wrote a novella in that time. It’s intended as a cookie (reader magnet) for my email list and assuming I get the edits done, I’ll be sending it out to them in January.
In November, I tackled a new story and won Nano, writing over 50K words in a month. I also decided to release the raw, unedited chapters to my Patrons/supporters at Patreon and Ko-fi. I’ve taken a little hiatus from writing the story for now, but I’ll be getting back to it very soon.
In September, I took HB90 and it changed my life. I went through the program again in December and used it to plan Quarter 1 of 2023.
I have big goals for next year, including writing 300,000 words. I did 250K this year. I can do 300K next year — and in fact, if I complete the projects I want to complete, I’ll hit it easily.
So despite everything, things have gone mostly well in this area. I’m grateful for a lot, including the opportunity to take HB90 and let it transform me.
My spiritual life has deepened this year. I’ve realized that running a metaphysical shop is not only being a retailer, but it is also a form of priestessing. I am there to help the community first and foremost, and many people come in needing my help.
While working in the store, I am in touch with my gods and spirit allies, and I can sense them and their messages for the people who come in.
Starting in February I’ll be offering tarot readings to the community, too. So I’ve started a goal of doing daily readings for myself to hone my skills in that area.
As well, during my husband’s illness, I was in very close contact with my spirit allies. My main 3 gods were there with me every step of the way, and as mentioned before, Tyee was close to me, watching over me.
It’s taken a while, but I’m finally able to contact the spirit world again. I’m no longer buried alive, trapped in a spiritual Faraday cage — not even when down here in the suite. I can still contact them.
My power’s coming back, slowly but surely. My connection is deepening. And my bravery is returning.
So. That’s the year, more or less. I’m sure I missed things. I’m sure I talked too much.
I’m sure I said what I needed to say.
Happy New Year. May we wave a cheery goodbye to 2022 and welcome 2023 with open arms — and open eyes.