I must start off by expressing my gratitude to my faithful family, friends and followers; this blog has had a mere 14 entries this year – including a completely abandoned Ultimate Blog Challenge on beading, which I just left hanging… for months! I do want to pick it up again… when time permits.

2022 feels a lot like that blog challenge. The best of intentions, and maybe not the best follow-through. But some amazing things happened this year, which I will be blogging about in 2023… in short (if not in order):

  • I decided to go back to school! It’s a long story, and I’m still not sure I can explain all of it, but I’m studying and learning and procrastinating and fighting accessibility battles – like most disabled students, I’m sure. There’s lots to unpack there, and I’m looking forward to exploring it further on this blog in 2023!
  • My partner and I adopted another cat! The reasons behind this are complicated, and worthy of their own story. Her name is Madonna – we call her Maddie. She and Simone (Monkey) are best buddies, even if Monkey has turned into the most fair and strict “mama cat” ever. Wolfie and Maddie are working things out between themselves, and while they aren’t quite there yet we no longer have to worry about them getting into a fight they won’t stop on their own. Maddie is VERY sweet and adorable and my regular cuddle buddy – she’s my 10-pound weighted blanket and does whatever she can to make sure I get enough sleep, even if I get it in the middle of the afternoon.
  • I ran, and completed, my third marathon! There’s no nice way to put it – my training sucked! Between some things over which I had control (my own self-directed runs) and things I did not (injuries to myself and my regular running partners) I did not run nearly enough kilometers in preparation. But after more than 6 hours (for the record, I never ever ever want to run a 6+ hour marathon again!), I crossed the finish line, and was greeted by Jenny, guide dog extraordinaire!
  • My beading room has been completely transformed this year. The walls have been painted an amazing shade that, depending on the lighting, you can’t quite put your finger on. It’s a tranquil place that I want to be, and create, and with the temporary addition of partial flooring, I no longer have to worry about getting slivers stuck in my feet – yes, this has happened! I just have to convince Maddie that my strands of beads are not toys…

No New Year’s Eve would be complete in my home without a fire in the backyard, burning away all of the stress of this year. It’s been a busy year, with many new changes around my house, and the fire makes it feel like I’m clearing space for the new year ahead.

A fire on New Year's eve, 2022

So, what Next?

Lots! And lots and lots!

When I traveled to run my most recent marathon in Sacramento earlier this month, I started to see some very clear signs that Jenny is ready to retire. Nothing major — like she needed to retire immediately – but signs that were fairly clear. She wasn’t making confident decisions like she has during her entire prior working life. I considered that I wasn’t giving her good directions, or that she was having a rest day after a long day of travel, but I knew she was ready to retire a couple of weeks later when we went to West Edmonton Mall – a place she has loved to work for years, even though I despise it – and again she acted like she wasn’t able to make decisive guiding decisions; there were too many ambiguous choices, and it was almost like she was afraid of making a mistake. She will be spending the first two weeks of 2023 guiding me around mostly familiar areas, and then will retire the day I fly to start training with Guide Dog 2.0 in mid-January.

That’s right! After a very very VERY long time of waiting, I got a phone call that a match has been found for me! It is – to quote someone I know when I first told them – really exciting and really scary and really a lot. I’ve cried a lot at the thought of Jenny retiring, even as she has shown me clearly that she is ready. She’ll probably take this easier than I will! I’m excited for a new match and all the lessons they will teach me. I am nervous to travel to train with this new guide, something Jenny and I did not do in 2013 when we trained in our home environment. There’s a whole bunch of feelings and thoughts I need to process, and this seems to all be happening so fast that I’m not sure what that will look like yet. But I do plan on blogging this training journey; I make no promises on frequency…. remember what happened last time?

I will run my fourth and fifth marathons in 2023! I’ve booked my tickets for Marathon #4 in Vancouver, and will be watching for flights to marathon #5 – again in Sacramento. To help with my training, I bought myself a second-hand treadmill that is (approximately) the same age as my partner. It’s been a process to learn how to run on it, and I feel like I’m SUPER slow, but consistency is key, and I’m gunning for two fast marathons in 2023. On that front, anyone want to guide for a portion (half) either race?

School! I am currently taking two introductory classes, one of which concludes in the end of March (if I don’t finish earlier) and one that ends in the end of April (which accessibility issues have contributed to my feeling of falling behind). But I am nothing if not persistent, and I WILL complete both courses with the best grades my persistence and mental health will allow. By the beginning of May (if not sooner), I’ll be starting courses that will contribute to my certificate program – and I can’t wait!

This blog! It’s been rather neglected for far too long, and I realize that I miss writing – like, a lot! But I don’t want to write just to write more posts; I’d like a bit more direction. So, I may take some time – after I blog about my guide dog experience – to figure out where I want this blog to go in 2023. But my intent is to write regularly – if not frequently – so keep checking your inboxes or RSS feed or however you cool kids get new updates!

How was your 2022, and what do you hope for in 2023? Drop me a line in the comments below!