Thursday, January 22, 2015

2014 in review - the year life hit me with a tsunami

I like to look back over the year at the end and see what I accomplished.  This helps me plan the next year and see where I am in meeting my goals and evaluating if I want to keep those goals.  Normally this looks a lot like a list of what I did and then some talk about how I feel about it.  But last year was especially challenging so some of the talk will come first, then the list of accomplishments (which will be numbered).  Health challenges dominated the year so that comes first.

Some background:  I had back surgery in August of 2013, followed by my daughter's wedding in September and a bout of pneumonia in October/November.  With bronchitis in December.  So, I started 2014 feeling totally depleted but hopeful that my health problems related to my back would improve significantly.

I did about 3-4 months of regular acupuncture/NAET treatments which significantly relieved my feeling of depletion and gave me back several foods that I had missed.  Scallops and chicken top the list.

I started using a fitbit to measure my steps per day.  I got it for Christmas, and in January I was at about 4000 steps.  I got up to 7-8000 fairly easily, had to work harder to make it  to the 10000 mark but did that by April.  Then health problems started interfering again.

Back pain/issues started again in May/June causing me to reduce my studio time, walk less, and basically slow down everything.  Things got worse in July with multiple bouts of flu and more pain.

I withdrew from my shared studio in August as pain levels got worse and the commute became very difficult.  The physical strain of lifting and moving my studio stuff back to my house led to severe back/leg pain which had me working less than half time from September on.  And that's about when I stopped inventorying my work regularly.

My leg/back pain got worse leading to doctor visits, PT and finally, in early December, a visit with my back surgeon again.  We discussed the options and I was scheduled for a spinal fusion in early January.  I am now 2 weeks past the surgery and very optimistic that the problem is as solved as possible.

In and around the pain and the treatments, I accomplished the following in 2014:

1.  Finished 6 new pieces.

2.  Sold at least 3 pieces from previous years' work.  Haven't done my taxes yet so not sure of the exact number.

3.  Experimented with rubbings made from a stump at Larsen Lake, my favorite local walking spot.  I liked the results so much that I got 2 small stump pieces from a neighbor to use in future rubbings.

4.  Did copyediting on a novel for a friend as part of my husband learning how to publish ebooks.

5.  Played with doing shibori dyeing in the wet studio at home.  Mostly doing scarves which I sell at 2 local shops.

6.  Sold over a dozen scarves.

7.  Starting experimenting with doing fabric origami and more sculptural techniques in my pieces.

8.  Started planning classes or workshops to do locally or online depending on what my health allows.

9.  Cleared out part of my son's stuff in the garage, doing the last bits of having the last kid leave the nest.

10.  Made 6 large pillow covers for my daughter.

11.  Started on instagram as lizcopeland-artist.

12.  Took a class at Kirkland Arts Center in writing/illustrating children's books as a possible creative path if health problems mandate.

13.  Discovered several wonderful children's book authors and that I really love Bad Kitty.

14.  Sorted out studio supplies and let go of several bags of supplies in my ongoing attempt to focus my energy and time.

15.  Had a monthly massage which helped keep me going through the pain.  Bless you, Marlene!  As part of making this list, I realized I've been seeing my massage therapist for over 10 years now.

16.  Went on the annual Seamsters Retreat at Seabeck without my sewing machine.  The first time I haven't sewn while there.  Instead, I did sketching for the kidlit class and fabric origami experiments.
17.  Read at least 6 books about cartooning and drawing for kidlit books.

18.  Watched multiple art DVDs.  From Jane Dunnewold, Design & Print your own fabric to Eric Carle's bio and studio practice, all were useful and informative and helped me think about what I really need to be doing and what accomodations are possible if needed.

19.  Read dozens and dozens of books as I sat on heating pads.  I've discovered several new urban fantasy authors.

20.  Learned anew how fabulous my husband is in his unflagging emotional and physical support.

21.  Took two reiki classes in advanced techniques.  Continued giving myself reiki while meditating.

22.  Meditated regularly even if not quite daily.  It really does help.

I'm sure there were more achievements but I also lost my worklog when my ipad decided to delete all my notes and I hadn't yet set up icloud backup.  *sigh*  That's been fixed.

Here's to 2015 seeing my explorations and fermentation of ideas come to fruition.  And may we all have a healthy and happy year!