2014 (Or: What the hell just happened?!)

I tend to live my life in years that start on January 1st as opposed to the ones that start on my birthday. Which I think is overrated, and I guess I can (mostly) get away with it because my birthday is so close to the end of the year.

I also believe reflection is important if one is interested in being successful at moving forward. Those that don’t learn from the past and all that. So with that in mind, I present: A Year in Xunnie’s Life (or: The Cris Show; A Year in Review).

I live in the North East US so we started out the year with a pretty harsh winter. Hubs had recently retired from the military and we decided to take one major life change at a time (boy, did we NOT know what was coming) and rented a house while we adjusted to life outside the military and tried to decide if we were going to buy a house. I wasn’t crazy about the house we were currently living in, but it did the job. The big thing in January was the covert planning we did and surprised my youngest with her Grandma showing up and smuggling her off to Disney World for 5 days.


While the kid was in Florida with her Gram, I got to go to The Kennedy Center and see a play. All good stuff in the middle of a pretty harsh winter, and then I got a week with my Mom!

February rolled in and the Super Bowl is one of the two football games I watch every year, so we had fun with it. Made some noms, hollered at the tv, and generally had an awesome day. (Still a tough winter….lots of snow this year, like an unusual amount for Maryland.) My son left on his first deployment in February and with that we learned about “Sailor Mail” aka email from the boat while they were underway.

March opened up with my son’s birthday, turning 20, and officially leaving “teenager” behind. I thought it was pretty incredible that he had crossed over the international dateline and the Equator by the time was 20! We rolled through March into April, dealt with changing the damn clocks, and got excited as season 4 of The Walking Dead wrapped up and we had to wait allllllll the way until October for season 5. (Yes, I am a hopeless geek and Walking Dead fan!)

April started with a quick trip down the stairs (3rd damn time in less than 18 months. grrr! but that lead to events in June) followed by our first Chief’s Birthday Ball with hubs attending as a retired Chief. We also got to Skype with my son while he was deployed for the first time. I rounded out the month by getting a new tattoo with lyrics from one of my favorite songs.

May was a tougher month and a lot happened. If I think about it, I can see how it set the stage of the next 4 months or so. I got to chat with my son at his second port call on deployment on Mother’s Day. Somewhere in May I had my first MRI which would later come back as “abnormal” and on May 25th we signed the contract to have our house built!


Unfortunately our happy news had very sad news on the heels on it and our 14 year old Border Collie, Dera, passed away on May 31.


She took a piece of my heart with her when she went and I miss her every day. I was heartbroken, but I had to wait two weeks for my son to pull into his next port call to Skype with him and tell him of her passing. Nobody wants to learn of the passing of a loved one, furry or not, through a Facebook post. So no one else knew we had lost her until we could make sure everyone in the family knew.

June began with a trip to the design studio to plan all of the fixtures for our new house. Plans were made, permits acquired, and suddenly we were up to our eyeballs in building a house! We rolled through swim lessons and day camps for the kid as June gave way to July. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I had a second MRI confirming the diagnosis of a brain tumor.

Inside of 30 days we signed a contract to have a house built, lost our beloved DeraDog, and I got diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Oh, and hubs had a kidney stone and then went to Hawaii on business for 2 weeks. It was a crazy Summer. Oh, and we bought the oldest her first car. And we broke ground on our site in the first week of July.

We made it through July with more classes and day camps for the kid. There were some pretty good movies along the way (because we are unapologetic geeks), and I added a couple of specialists in there somewhere.

August meant that my mom was flying out to stay with my youngest while I went through radiation treatment for my brain tumor, my son returned from deployment, and the framing for our house started. And one of my heroes died. And we went to a really awesome concert! It feels like Summer flew by.

Somewhere in the middle of all the insanity, we threw in some awesome family time, celebrated my oldest’s birthday, and made our annual pilgrimage to the Renaissance Festival. And I learned the hard way that I was still just a little too weak to spend the day in garb walking all over the Faire grounds.


Summer rolled into the not-quite-Fall-post-Labor-Day and we made weekly trips over to our site and checked out the progress on our house. The kidlet and I started our 6th year of homeschooling, and we added hermit crabs into our (long) list of pets.

On October 2nd, hubs and I celebrated 15 years of marriage. For better or for worse, through sickness and health, through asshattery and across several continents we haven’t managed to kill each other yet. October included our country and the world watching history unfold in many ways. And I started a fundraiser for brain tumor research. We celebrated Halloween and continued watching our house come together.


November meant it was time for follow up with the mad scientists that are trying to destroy my tumor with lasers. Or something. The good news was there was no damage and the tumor hadn’t grown. The bad news was that it had not shrunk. So me and my inoperable, incurable tumor will be watched for the rest of my life it seems.

Our house was finally done and our (hopefully) final move began.


It’s been a crazy, busy, awesome, heartbreaking, unpredictable year. But as I reflect and remind myself of what I need to move forward into the next year with the experiences and adventures I’m sure will be part of it all, I always seem to return to this list….


….and I try to remember what’s important.

Have you any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?

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