How do I cover five months as succinctly as possible? Bullet style, like Rox.
• After all the fuss faded away, I was invited to join two clinical trials for triple-negative breast cancer. Since I was pretty much guaranteed side effects that are permanent already from prior treatment, I declined. I'm doing okay. Still out of shape but getting better. My hair is almost 3" long.
• I went to Cleveland in August and saw Blobby and my friend Mike, who kindly hosted me. So cool to see them again! I was there to pick up my niece who had finished her internship there. She stayed with us in Indiana for a month. She is such fun to have around and she is welcome here any time. She graduates from Smith this spring.
• While I was in Cleveland, my son's car was stolen in Indiana by new "friends" who took off with it when he was in the store. Ben got it back a couple of weeks later, and the idiot who stole it is in jail.
• In December Abe learned he was being set loose to be an independent contractor. He still had a job in sales, but no paid expenses, no car, no computer, NO HEALTH CARE. This will cost us about $30K a year. So I went to my boss, and her boss, and HR and explained: I have to have more hours (full time), more money, and benefits. No choice. To their great credit, they're coming through. I'm full time with benefits for me and the kids (Abe's got his own—it's cheaper), and we are negotiating another substantial increase in pay. Truth be told, I've been getting church mouse pay for far too long, and I made a good case. And they know the circumstances at home. I can't tell you how great it is to work in such a supportive place. Everyone should have this sort of atmosphere in which to work.
• I went back to Florida in February for an annual church educators' convention, where once again we learned that our church and ministry continue to lead in innovation and best practices. It's great to be affirmed, but I want to learn something new and bring home fresh ideas. At the urging of one of the convention planners, I entered my workshop proposal once again. There is a chance that they will accept it again, and I can present it next February in San José.
• After the convention in Orlando, my sister picked me up and we drove down to Fort Lahdeedah to see Tony and his husband Chris. We had an absolute blast, as I suspected we might. My sister is really fun and everyone loves her. I run the risk of becoming "her sister" once again when people meet her. It's happened more than once, but I don't really care. Tony and Chris joined us for dinner and the next day held a soiree so that we could meet more of their friends. Some I knew, most I did not, but all of them were fascinating people. We laughed the afternoon away. It was the highlight of my time in Florida.
• I'm staying active in PFLAG and I'm now on the board of our local chapter. A new project of PFLAG National is called Straight For Equality and one of its divisions is "In Faith Communities." Apparently I must have written them a bit about my story, because an edited version of it is in print in their main publication "Be Not Afraid." If you get one of these booklets, check out page 15. For some reason they shaved off a few years of my age, but I'll take it. Our local chapter is among the group that started the You Have A Purpose Project in reaction to an Indiana teacher who stated on camera that gay children have no purpose. We are filming a video to put online. I'll tell you when it's up. Meanwhile, check out the Facebook page for the project.
This post has no real purpose except to tell you I'm fine and still here. Dare I hope for "normal" times? Hope springs eternal. I'm glad to be back and grateful you are here too.