January 2022 in Review

It has been a busy and often odd month in the Gignacery. Jason and I have begun to experience what it will be like for us to become empty-nesters in a few months. Ambrose, after two fall semesters of community college, separated by a semester off where he went to work instead, decided to enter the Air Force. He and his friend Tyler are both doing this, and Ambrose finished up all his application, paperwork, and testing this month. It included spending two nights in a hotel near the joint base here, for extensive tests, interviews, etc, and he swore his initial oath. Sadly, we didn’t get to see that oath, the way we did with Morrigan, because of covid. (No family allowed in.) He’s on a two-month deferral entry, so he (most likely) won’t be going for awhile, but after almost two years post-high-school, Ambrose will soon be leaving the nest. Laurence, meanwhile, has been at drama practice to 9pm (or later) almost every day for the latter half of January. His performance was meant to begin last night (ice storm is interfering), and I think there’s only one more play left for the spring? Meanwhile, he’s starting the process to get a student visa for university in Canada in the fall.

Reading and Watching
It’s been a book-heavy month for the first time in ages! Also, an audio-heavy month. I read seven books this month, and enjoyed all of them, since I abandoned one and culled many others. This is why, for me, not finishing books that I’m not enjoying is worth it – I get some months when everything is good! My favorite for the month is actually the entire Cytoverse novella series, but since that’s three novellas and I prefer to only pick one, I’ve chosen ReDawn, which I think is the one I liked best overall.

Book-heavy generally means not-screen-heavy, and that was mostly true this month. I did finally watch the Nine Perfect Strangers series, based on the Liane Moriarty book, and it was awful. Not just the adaptation, which left a lot of info out despite being eight episodes long, but the ending put out an extremely cringy message (“Are you suffering true grief? Just take drugs!”). I should’ve known better than to watch it. In better news, Jason and I watched Don’t Look Up, which was excellent! Horrific and hilarious all at once, and the night we watched it, both of us ended up having nightmares about it all night, heh.

I’ve actually made quite a bit of headway on my goals already this year. I’ve read/culled 11 of 24 books off my 2022 priorities list, found a dietitian that I think will work for me, rebuilt our pantry, edged in the remaining side of the front yard, and begun a medicine to help decrease inflammation from RA. (Technically, Jason did the pantry and yard. I only did the planning portion.) I didn’t get as many miles walked in January as I wanted for my 500-mile year goal – at least 42, preferably 50 – because the RA was really, really bad for the first half of the month. But I did get in 35 miles, which isn’t too bad. I’m also in the process of modifying my yoga goal to accommodate my new physical reality, as I created the goal before I knew I had a joint-deterioration autoimmune disorder.

As I mentioned in my goals section, there were a few house projects we got done this month. Our pantry is pretty small and shares a tiny closet-sized room with the washer/dryer. It was made smaller by the fact that it had a large cabinet taking up the bottom of one side, with a granite countertop on it. We have no idea why this was there, as no other countertop in the house is granite. Someone must’ve thought this was a good idea. In any case, it made life difficult, because we didn’t really use the cabinets, the countertop became a dumping ground, and it was difficult to fit all our pantry and laundry supplies plus the cats’ litter-boxes! So we ripped out all the counters and built shelving on three sides of the room, which gave us much, much more space and allowed us to remove a large sideboard (where we’d stored half our food) from our dining room.

(Oy, I really need to start working on the next phase of this yard as it’s so disheveled right now!)

Additionally, we finally got around to edging in the remaining side of our front yard to match the other side. Plus, Jason built some really cool shelving in his bedroom to give the cats an area to play in without sacrificing the small square footage of the room.

Health and Fitness
I’ve posted about this more extensively already this month, so I’m going to keep this light. The sciatica and RA flare have been rough, and I’m adjusting to the new medicine, which brings along some odd side effects (like stabbing pains through joints that were just fine before). I had a lot of medical tests and results this month, and am lined up to see another round of specialists. Thankfully, in the latter half of the month, I was able to walk without crippling back pain, and I finally started leaving my house again. Sometimes it was just to walk around the block; sometimes I actually managed to hike a little, though I still had to listen to my body at do less at times than I wanted. I ended up going on six hikes altogether, including a glorious one at Inks Lake that I’ll post about separately.

Favorite Photos
I’ve tried to be very deliberate in my photos this month, which has made it difficult to whittle them down to a small handful of favorites!

Clockwise from top left: me at Inks Lake; Ghost in the sunlight; cardinal on the bird-feeder; Alia at her birthday party; lavender dying in the cold front; the red leaf

Clockwise from top left: Ghost and Atticus snuggle on my office chair; tiny pink flower on a very difficult hike; Alia and Sarah after an awesome feat of rock climbing; a checkered skipper on our copper canyon daisy; “they say to hide” – a minimalist look at fatphobia; sunset over a parking lot

Highlights of January
The first time I went for a walk and didn’t have my back screaming in pain/having spasms was probably the biggest intangible highlight of the month. I’ve spent so long thinking of myself as an active, fitness-oriented person (all the way back to childhood) that it’s hard to lose mobility. I’m not all the way back to 100% yet, but I’m moving that direction, and that makes me so happy! Beyond that, here are some highlights of the month:

  • first day journaling with friends
  • vision board party, and completing my board
  • yoga with cats!
  • birdwatching in my back garden
  • getting my hair professionally cut and colored for the first time ever!
  • celebrating Alia’s birthday with friends
  • sunset hike with Jason on his birthday
  • new-to-us bookshelf
  • Wordle (ha!)
  • new bed frame, replacing the one that got broken in the move to TX in Aug 2017 that I’ve been limping along, and this one with under-bed drawers!
  • Ambrose began calling Mitch McConnell “Bitchy Mitchy” and I am dead. Ha!
  • I got a new lens for my camera that is more of an all-purpose lens (like my original kit lens, except MUCH better quality and performance).
  • my amaryllis is blooming!
  • Jason got some Apple gift cards from work, so we decided to get (cheap SE model) Apple Watches. My Garmin hadn’t been working well for about nine months, so it was a good time to switch, plus the Watch has a wider range of what it can do. (My Garmin was primarily a running watch that I got while I was running, which I haven’t been able to do in ages…)
  • book club hike!
  • pretty much everything about my day out to Inks Lake State Park with friends Sarah and Alia!

Coming up in February
Nothing special. I’m going to continue to work with my doctors to improve my health, and hopefully there won’t be too many setbacks! Oh! And supposedly the next season of Murdoch Mysteries will start airing this month, and as silly as that is, I’m very excited about that!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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