Easy Year for Anyone?

drippy(7bAL)November 3, 2009

I am just wondering if ANYONE has had an easy year this year. My prayer list is longer than ever - seems like every time I turn around, another friend is facing a challenging situation, and these are long term issues, or "one thing after another". I am beginning to wonder about the cosmic setup for 2009.

What's been your experience?

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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

The older I get the more both older and younger relatives and friends have issues.

The family's younger crowd is 22-28 and older generation of family/friends is 70s-80s. I feel sandwiched in between with their health issues and life events coming from either end of the age spectrum.

All that AND a bad gardening year. At least I didn't have to move a couple times as you did!

When I get down or feel "off" I look at the birds and squirrels outside (and my plants) and see them continuing on their merry way as nature has called them to be whatever comes or where they are.

Think it's the same for us expept we're sensitive to changes and conscious of things not going according to our plans...even worse, our visions.

Always wish I could be more "go with the flow" the way
ken_adrian advises...LOL.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 11:19AM
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It has been a terrible year! We have been surrounded by death and illness. It has been hard at times to fight depression. Add to it a wet cold Summer....or better yet the Summer that never came, and it has been down right lousy. Seems other's have been in the situation, at least we are not alone. Misery loves company.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 4:33PM
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This has been the most horrible 11 months and 11 days and counting of my life. Every single day is a struggle just to be "normal" what ever that means.
But every day I try.
I give this year a 0. well maybe a half a point because I found the GW

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 4:44PM
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Hard year here all around, but we survived.

My FIL had a stroke early in the year--did his therapy and was quite functional, he had a second stroke and that ended his abilities. We had to go through the various stages of hospitalization, rehab and then into long-term care and now he has a bed sore that worked its way into the pelvic bone and he'll be on IV antibiotics for at least six weeks.

WinterSown has had a wild ride too. So much crap from copyright and freebie theft--the USDA stepped in with support, their chief wordsmith rewrote my copyright and disclaimer statement making it a lot more definitive. The problems with the freebies led to me using some great educational testing software from University of Victoria to create a set of online puzzles to help people learn about WS and the importance of seed saving. I set it up so that anyone who wants seeds has to go through the learning puzzles first--the result? No more hit and run SASE abuse from freebie sites, more people now know what WSing is all about, and the site hits have gone way up.
Early in January, I created an easier means for folks to donate funds to WSEO--they can include a donation with the SASE and I increase the seeds I send back as a thank you. That's worked out fine and next year (I hope) WinterSown Educational will be totally self-supporting if the donations continue as they have. And nicely, with distribution of the new tomato saving method, I've gotten back a lot of tomato seeds. WS's tomato SASE is an entirely open-to-the public tomato seed bank usually with about 120 varieties always available.

So, all in all, a roller coaster ride but a good year--just two months to go and it looks fine at this time.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 5:03PM
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I am envisioning us all drinking our New Year's Eve champagne in boots, to give 2009 "the boot".

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 5:26PM
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I don't drink, but I think I'll join you on New Year's Eve!!!

My brother had a brain tumour removed only to find out he had inoperable lung cancer. There is a bright lining right now... The chemo is working and has reduced the mass at the entrance of his lungs to 1/2 the original size. They've had to stop the chemo temporarily so he can get his H1N1 vaccine, so I'm praying things stay on course.

My father, in his mid-80s, is having a hard time. His health is deteriorating all around, but what hurts is that he was a doctor and he knows what is happening to him.

These two situations will be ongoing in 2010 and for that reason I fear that next year may be worse for me, yet at present I thank the powers that be that I can hear their voices every day.

In terms of gardening, there were no Monarchs and very few other butterflies. The wind tried to destroy the gardens a couple of times with tropical force, but the plants were resilient and even though they toppled, the stems would begin to grow back up to the skies. Some plants were amazing - the deers left the phlox alone and I was blessed with the most beautiful blooms and scents!!

My main disappointment with the gardens was the rainy weekends and the fact that I took on a new job in late 2008. This really restricted my gardening and things I would have liked to do were not done. This made me realize that time may be of the essence in the future so I'm optimistically and happily planning in that direction. In other words, things are going to be simplified from now on.

I had a great visit from Piti, but her illness afterwards worried me. It sounds like things are going better Piti, so I send you a smile. :O)

The economy took it's toll and we declared bankruptcy in the summer. We were able to keep the house and life has moved forward without plastic. We now breath instead of holding our breath. We have also learned things like when the stove broke and we started cooking our meals with the toaster oven and the power bill went down like crazy... LOL!! Oh, yes, we are saving for a new stove, but from now on will be using that little toaster oven forever. :O)

My husband suffers from depression, and when we went into bankruptcy, I thought it would be a trigger. Instead, it has strengthened our relationship beyond expectations.

I learned a lot this past year. Maybe not about gardening, but about myself and life and patience and turning things around and listening. Most of the learning came mid-summer and onward but I hope it stays with me.

So life goes on. Tomorrow is another day and there is an end to this one as there will be an end to this year.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 6:21PM
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lgslgs(z6 SE ohio)

It was a good year for us. After three years of drought we finally had rain. And we had it the year that I planted a ton of perennials.

Our land and pastures are recovering from the terrible drought and the goats and cow are happy.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 6:47PM
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I hear you on the learning stuff, Tiffy - like after the car accident I had, all the bellyaching I was doing about no house, no garden, no piano, blah, blah seemed incredibly insignificant.

Part of what prompted me to start this post was just yesterday I tripped on the raised edge of a sidewalk block and did a face plant on the cement. Here we go again! Once I determined that the worst of it was a two inch gash in my forehead (why does every little cut on your face bleed so much?) and DH came flying home from work to take me to ER to get patched up (no stitches, thankfully, just the bondo stuff), we just kept cracking up laughing. The street was relatively deserted at the time, but if anyone had had a videocam, it would have certainly looked like a slapstick comedy routine.

Since we're supposed to be learning something from all our experiences (okay, I already knew I couldn't dance!) I sometimes wonder if I'm really dense!

You guys have had the kind of year that many of my friends and loved ones have - hoo boy! It doesn't need to be champagne on New Year's Eve, any drink of choice - good herbal tea? - will do, as long as the boots go with it.

Having lost my brother at the beginning of this year, my heart goes out to you with yours - I am sure you are cherishing every minute you can with him - and I will hold him in my prayers of hope for healing, as well.

Trudi, I absolutely hate all that red tape stuff - it's like, "I didn't create this problem - how did it become my problem?" And then it takes hours/days/weeks and all the stress of not knowing whether you're making headway to get it worked out.

And as we all depend on gardening for keeping the blues away, I think the bad summer (non-summer in much of the north) in about 2/3 of the country made it a poor gardening year for many. In a way, that's kind of what's so awesome about it; seeing larger forces at work. Even if they're not going the way we want them to.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 7:01PM
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Yay, Lynda! :) It is great to see positive energy concentrated there! A lot of the southeast had more rain than in past years, too, but my friends in the north really got nailed with too much rain and a much colder than average summer.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 7:05PM
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Hey Drippy,

I think you learned you're tough. Been there done that. My opinion is that the process of learning you are tough involves a horrible set of events--you get through it--and there is a tomorrow. Drippy, you got a thick skull, which sometimes is a diss, but this time it saved your noggin from worse injury.

Be well and you and everyone else Hang in There.

Here is a link that might be useful: When you're backed into a corner

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 7:57PM
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dawiff(z7 WA)

Oh dear, I am so sorry that so many of you have had such a terrible year. I thought maybe it would cheer you up if I posted about some good news for me this year. Lots of good news actually.

We bought and moved into a new house, and it is better than our old house. We love it here in the PNW.

Three of my nieces were pregnant this year, one with twins. The first baby arrived in early September, and the twins arrived a month early, but healthy, in early October. The third niece is still waiting, but her little one should be arriving in a couple of weeks. It's hard to be away from family and unable to see all the newborns, but I'm happy for all of them.

Last month DS got married. We flew back East for the wedding and had a nice visit, and they had a lovely wedding! So happy about that.

I can't even say I had a bad gardening year. I didn't really have a garden, just some pots in a rented house. I'm sooooo looking forward to this winter, I have so many plans for the new garden!

Well, I'm sending some positive thoughts and positive energy out to all of you who had such a bad 2009. Maybe my good vibes will rub off on you!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 8:03PM
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lois(PA Zone 6)

It's been a year of ups and downs for me, too. Although DH lost his job 2 years ago and has not been able to find another one, by the grace of God, we've been able to keep afloat. DH does all the shopping, cleaning, lawn mowing, laundry, and anything else that needs to be done, which frees up my very limited time outside of work for the garden.

My elderly father has recently been moved to the altzheimers unit, which was very depressing, but the staff there are treating him very well and he is probably going to be eating better than he was when just my mom was feeding him.

I tried growing tomatoes for the first time, dreaming of bushels of tomatoes from my dozen plants. Leave it to me to pick the worst possible year to start out with tomatoes. I ended up with about 15 tomatoes total and then the plants died. On the other hand, it was a great year for the roses.. Hardly any japanese beetles or thrips, lots of rain, and an extended frost-free autumn.

Drippy, I did almost the exact thing a few years ago, tripped on the sidewalk and landed right on my face. Poor DH had to argue me into going to the emergency room, only to have a very large nurse glare at him the whole time because she thought he caused my injuries. (I ended up with 7 stitches, but the scar is mostly hidden by my eyebrow). On the other hand, during our first year of marriage, DH leaned over to kiss me while I was asleep, but I woke up (kinda), saw something looming near my face, flung up my arm... and gave him a black eye. He went to work the next day, everyone asked him where'd the shiner come from and he said his wife gave it to him. Most of the females said "You probably deserved it." Poor guy, he can't win!

For new years' it won't be wine.. But maybe I'll drink a little kalua as the neighbors bang their pots and pans on their porches to mark the birth of a new year. :-)

Lois in PA

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 8:49PM
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Dawiff, it IS nice to hear some good news. Contrary to popular opinion, misery DOESN'T love company. Weddings, births, and baby seedlings are what it's all about. I have always heard the PNW climate is great for growing things - like the UK.

Lois, your story was too funny! DH accompanied me to ER yesterday - I don't know whether it was because he's so tall or because he's so soft-spoken, but no one gave any hints that they disbelieved my story.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 11:57PM
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All in all a pretty good year for us. After 4 years of various surgeries that interfered with my gardening, I was finally able to get outside and work the way I like. Of course, I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but it felt great to be able to actually do more than just piddle around out there. Then there was my 50th high school reunion, a military reunion and a family reunion in September and October. Fantastic to see a lot of old friends and family again. Like I said, all in all, a very satisfactory year.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 2:34AM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

Drippy, you really hit on something when you said:

"And as we all depend on gardening for keeping the blues away, I think the bad summer (non-summer in much of the north) in about 2/3 of the country made it a poor gardening year for many. In a way, that's kind of what's so awesome about it; seeing larger forces at work. Even if they're not going the way we want them to."

After reading such serious things going on in the lives of people on the forum I feel humbled.

A late friend who passed at age 37 from cystic fibrosous always said: "Everyone's got a story..." and I bless her every day I remember her wise words and courage.

Better days the rest of this year AND in 2010 which means may we all have the wisdom and courage to meet whatever comes our way.

You all inspire me in the entire garden of life.

More good thoughts for others are now spread a lot farther than they were just a day ago.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 2:47AM
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My friend called the other day. He's getting ready to sell the house he was born in, 60 years ago. He said to me, well, I get up and I go thru the day. And I said yes sometimes that's all we can do.
Sometimes that's a victory, you know?

I also have some friends dealing with life-challenging illnesses. And I try to appreciate them every day.

Me - I'm dealing with financial problems which precede the 'depression/recession'. But so far I've got a roof overhead, food to eat, a car, and I'm healthy.

Like many of you my garden is my respite, my salvation, my tranquility. I love to watch the California poppies as they fold their petals up.
How do they know how to do that?!
I can't actually see the petals move, but as I watch, they are in one position and then in another. It fascinates me.
I guess it is meditative for me.

Speaking of which, I am going to a meditation class this Thursday [hoping I can remember!]. I used to do meditation decades ago, then life got hard and complex and I thot, I can't possibly meditate, I'm too stressed.

But I'm going to try again.

Thanks 'drippy' for bringing up this thread and for reminding me of the conversation forum.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 6:29AM
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btw - I just recalled this - sometimes one thinks there is no kindness left in the world.
Yesterday I went to an auto parts store to replace the bulb in my dome light. I asked the man if he would put it in for me. He said..we're really not supposed to, but I will.

So I had to wait for him to finish with other customers which was fine, then he came out to my car and put the bulb in. Then he said have a fine day, and started to walk away, and I said, Wait! I haven't paid you yet. And he said oh don't worry about that.

Made me feel good. It's only about $5.00, maybe he just didn't want to bother ringing me up, but I like to think he wanted to make a gesture of generosity.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 6:35AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Bless all of you, and everyone else who hasn't posted but could. In times like these I think the most important thing we can do is to let each other know we care and are willing to help, even if all we can offer is moral support. I'm a hospice physician, so I spend my days with families in the midst of great turmoil. Contrary to what most people assume, it is a miraculously joyful job. Adversity teaches us how strong we really are and kicks our priorities into line. If I could give any advice, it would be to "live in the moment." Don't worry about the future and don't waste emotion regretting the past. We all make mistakes and no one knows what the future holds. Just spend today loving one another, forgiving one another, and going the extra mile for anyone who crosses our path. I wish I could reach out and hug everyone. I'm off to work now, but I will spend today more thoughtfully. Thanks Drippy.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 7:03AM
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albertar(z7 LINY)

Hi all
Gardening wise this year....was terrible. Family thank goodness are doing well, the great grandchild is due in May, I'm worried because of the ages of the parents, but that's another story for another day, :)

Hubby and I have not had a vacation since 1994, we are planning a week cruise in May 2010, so May will be a busy month. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to that cruise! All in all 2009 hasn't been all that bad for us, my motto is to take one day at a time.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 8:15AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

I do feel for all of you who have had crummy years. Ever notice how when one terrible thing happens, other bad things come along with it?

All in all not a bad year for me. The company that my husband works for filed Chapter 11, and everyone in the company had one week/month unpaid furlough. It looks like those furloughs will last well into next year, too. Not where we want to be financially but we're OK.

My Mom is 85 and her condition isn't so hot. She is more crippled every day with arthritis (osteo and rheumatoid) and severe spinal stenosis. She can still walk some, not far, with a walker. She lives in a retirement center but I have to help her a lot. (My only sibling is a brother in Florida who never even visits...). I just hope that when her time comes she goes fast; she has suffered enough for 20 years.

I guess for me, and my personal health, I try to put everything into perspective. I had a brain tumor in 1991 and in 2006 3 major abdominal surgeries (liver resection, abdominal hyst, and ureteral reimplant) within 3 months. It left me with nerve damage in my left leg. But now when it bothers me, I say "All things are relative! It could be another brain tumor or liver tumor!"

Here's to a good 2010 for everyone.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 5:05PM
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Am sending as much cyberhug energy ((((8)))) as I can...

Docmom, you guys are saints - I will never, never forget the kind, loving touch hospice brought to my father's last days. And I do agree with all of you who have said that being present to the present is what it's all about.

Trudi, if I get much tougher, they're going to have to throw some meat tenderizer on me, LOL!

Alberta, my sister & I are taking our Mom on a cruise for her 80th in March, and like you, I am REALLY looking forward to it!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 5:30PM
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Wow! I am humbled. My only comment, and it sounds so trite, is that this was the worst year for my garden. Summer didn't happen in Southern Ontario. We ran the air for one day only, just to take the humidity out of the house..(it wasn't that hot.)
My Zanzibar castor (12' last year) grew to a whopping 4 feet.'Nuff said.
Somehow or other, I'm going to have to learn how to enjoy winter again, like I did when I was a kid. I still remember the excitement of seeing the first few snowflakes. I yearn to get that feeling back.
Wintersowing has been a wonderful panacea against the winter blues, but there's still this underlying dread of the dark and the cold.
I'm a firm believer that we can "choose" to be happy, and to tell the truth, when we live in the most privileged countries in the world (North America), it's hard not to feel guilty about complaining for one instant about our lot in life.
I think I'm going to strive for that good old adage I learned in girl guides..try to do one good deed a day. It's helped me through depressed cycles before. I'm sure it will again.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 9:06PM
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"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain."

Hi folks, I have been away from GW since 2005 after Katrina and I am so glad to be back. 2009 has been easier than 2008 in some ways and harder in others. GW and Wintersowing helped me through a very difficult 2005 and I am so glad to see a lot of familiar names still here. My handle was TRUSTSYL that I could not figure out how to keep when I tried to log back in in October...anyway, same email address but new handle.

The worst thing that happened was that my 29 year old cousin was killed in Afghanistan Sept. 12 after his tank hit an IED. This was his 3rd tour. He left a wife, 3 children, parents, lots of family and friends who will miss him dearly - yet are so proud of him. Ssgt. Nekl B. Allen in case you want to Google him. The Arlington funeral was unbelievable - fit for a head of state.

The best thing has been my oldest daughter's first year of marriage to the love of her life, and watching them experience all the "firsts" with all the vim and vigor youth has to offer. They both lost their jobs after the wedding, but were fortunate to find new ones and stayed in Washington, DC, that they love. I keep hinting for a grandbaby, but they just bought a house so it may be a while. Their new house has a yard that must have belonged to a Gardenwebber. Picture in your mind a young man behind his first lawn mower with a huge smile. They are definitely blessed. He is giving her a magnolia tree for her first anniversary gift next week (paper). She is a Mississippi gal.

My 87 year old mother has had her ups and downs but no hospital visits in 2009. So that has been wonderful. She can't stay alone anymore but she is back in Florida with my sister. I would rather have her here with me, but she can't take the cold. She keeps up with my gardening through email and weekly pictures.
My seven doggies have been healthy and happy all year. No major incidents except for the $1,000.00 fine for having barking dogs. Lovely neighbors. The doggies make my empty nest tolerable.

I had the best gardening year ever thanks to the clearance sales at Lowe's. I came home with about a truckload every week - for around $20.00. We have a new store and I guess they were going through an adjustment period? I ended up with plants I have always wanted - and some I have never heard of. Perfect strangers have stopped by to compliment me on the "most improved yard" in town. It led me back to Garden Web so that's a good thing. A mastergardener who works there also encouraged me to take the mastergardener class that will be offered in January. I hope I can add it to my schedule.

Has it been an easy year? Well, I would have to say yes in comparison to the previous four years. I will be toasting with a nice big jug of syrupy sweet tea on New Year's Eve. I'm so excited about getting back to wintersowing...come on Winter Solstice and lots of sprouting jugs in 2010!

aka Slinky_2009 (formerly TRUSTSYL)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 5:31AM
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mechele211(TN 6b)

Everyone repeat after me, "this year has been UNBELIEVABLE". Anyone who is familiar with speaker and author Tom Hopkins will understand that. For the rest of you, Tom Hopkins is a motivational speaker/sales trainer. He says you can use the word "unbelievable" any time someone asks you how things are going. It works whether things are really, really good or really, really terrible but people will assume you are doing great and it's a way help you stay upbeat no matter what is going on. I can honestly say my year has been unbelievable. But for everything that has gone wrong, something or someone has come along at just the right time to make everything work out. So I can't complain at all. Can't wait to see what's next.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 12:23PM
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dereks(6 Utah)

I would rate this year a 2. In January I suddenly "came down" with anxiety and depression. Even now I struggle to feel normal. I have no idea where this came from. Now I'm on an antidepressant and I take a Xanax every night just to get to sleep. I have to say that summer was great a far as weather goes and the garden looked fantastic.

My goal for 2010 is to get off of antidepressants. I don't know if it will happen but I want to try.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 11:26PM
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been there done that with the antidepressants. me and my kid.

If it doesnt work, tell the doctor to try something else. You're not intended to be on it forever, its supposed to rebalance you and then its done.

The sign that I was ready to get off of it was that It made me so sleepy I was napping about 8 hours a day. Which is confusing because thats not only depression symptom but a symptom that the meds have worked.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 9:47AM
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