Blessed Solstice and Happy Yule!
Family, friends, and devoted readers:
I’m taking the lazy way out this year. Since I didn’t even do the lazy way last year, I’m counting this as a success. My annual letter is being printed by digital code, not in ink and paper. Lazy is also more economical and environmentally friendly.
At any rate, 2014 has been an interesting year. As with any large family the ups and downs and rollercoaster of it all has been non-stop.
During this year, Greg left his position at Starbucks and is now working at Zillow and the move was a good one. He still keeps in touch with his Starbucks cohorts, but the opportunities at Zillow could not be passed up. He currently is the lead on his digital security team and has opportunities for advancement.
They treated us to a wonderful holiday party where we got to dress up as residents of Oz. It was a truly magical night. In his free time he’s become quite the homebrewer, keeping us stocked in beer and hard cider. As always, he humors my own projects and helps pricelessly with construction of coops, gardens, wood sheds, etc. Our Thrasher Studios Homestead would not be where it is today without him. He’s a good farmer’s husband. 😉
My freelance life under the auspices of Creative Word Lab, continues to gain traction and I’ve been able to shift directions from corporate/business communication products and services to more book doctoring and fiction editing, which is my first love and passion. I do this, along with personal writing projects, while running the micro-farm, raising children, and serving my community. I have definitive personal writing goals for 2015, and I hope to share with you some publishing success. I have some short stories that are scheduled to appear in 2015 and watch here for where and when as those times come closer. I’m not where I want to be as far as publishing goes, but considering I do this under the shadow of raising children (one with severe special needs), running a homestead, and serving my community, I think I’m doing purdy darn good. In October, I quietly started some new self-care endeavors and am really enjoying a new yoga practice and the art of self-care.
Tank is in high school now and struggling a bit with adjusting to the new demands on his time. Regardless, he’s in all advanced classes and is doing particularly well in his Spanish class. He loves learning a new language. He had a successful football season with his high school team. He’s looking forward to baseball season, his first athletic love. He’s grown so tall now, and with size 15 shoes, we’re certain he’s not done yet.
Rose started a program this year called “Running Start” which allows her to complete her high school credits while getting college credit simultaneously. She commutes with Greg each morning to Seattle and attends Seattle Central College. Her goal is to graduate high school with an AA in hand and transfer to the University of Washington. Like her brother, Tank, the demands on her time, coupled with two jobs, one here in Twin Peaks and one mid way between school and home, have provided her some challenges, but it’s all life-skill training and she is doing wonderful, I contend. She got a special visit for her 16th birthday this year from my sister, her Aunt ‘Chelle, and she longs for more visits with her special aunt. In her spare time (which isn’t much) she still is active in the drama community and is quite the little activist working towards equal rights and social justice every turn she can. She’s an amazing young woman.
Bean, 18, the oldest at home, is my special-needs child. For those who are new to my site here, at age 5 we started to be told that our son was “not ok,” and there was something developmentally going on. After too-long of a struggle and doctor after doctor, medicine after medicine, therapy after therapy, they finally determined that he was on the Autism spectrum. Since the diagnosis (not until age 14 which included co-morbidity disorders), getting him services, and education has been a long road. This summer we campaigned to get him a place of his own here on our own homestead, and that has been helpful in stabilizing him. Given that he was sadly ambushed attacked and assaulted this summer, that Safe Place for Bean campaign was serendipitous. The “DeLuxe” Trailer apartment is a sanctuary for him, allowing for the conditioned experience that is needed to teach Autistic kids, often (e.g. put them in the math class before they get taught math). His recovery from the attack, physically, was quick, but emotionally, and mentally it’s been a struggle. But, things are looking up. He has now been accepted into an education program that will help him take care of his high school diploma and segue him into college, hopefully. He wants to go into agriculture (having helped me on the micro-farm, he’s learned to love growing food, etc.). Additionally, his application for disability was approved after a four-year long battle. It only took the testimony of six medical professionals, three social agencies, his long-time therapist, and my own avadavat. Given the grueling process, I have NO idea how anyone could ever “cheat” that system, when it’s so difficult for deserving individuals to receive such benefits. There’s still an uphill battle towards further education and independent living, but he’s working hard alongside us to assist him.
My two stepchildren, Roxanna and Ivan, are young adults and seem to be doing so, so well. They both are in loving relationships and live life to the fullest. I’m so proud of both of them, and love them both so dearly. I’m blessed to have them and their partners, Chad and Ariel, respectively, in my life.
At any rate, our household continues to work hard towards our goals – we set out last December to raise chickens and not only got the chickens but also a brace of ducks. We are never out of eggs. It’s a wonderful endeavor that we get to share with our friends, as well. If you’re a regular reader of my blog here, you know all about our Grow Food, Not Lawns adventure. In 2015 we’re hoping to add a hive of honeybees and maybe a goat. Additionally, Greg and I are hoping to finish the repairs to our motorcycles and do a U.S. 2 motorcycle camping trip this summer.
Thanks for reading and our household wishes all of you a happy holiday season and a blessed 2015.
Casz & Crew