Monday, January 22, 2018

2017: the year that was

2017 was a huge year for me. Mostly good too. It had it's moments, but you know, that is life. But it also held some of the most amazing moments I have had in my life. Seeing Paul McCartney was definitely THE highlight of the year. But I also joined my beloved choir, saw Patti Smith twice, holidayed in Sydney and Hawaii, met Jimmy Barnes, and knocked it out of the park at work.

Work was quite amazing this year, finally a fully formed and functioning team. We really have worked hard and I am so proud of the fabulous people I work with. I was part of a few great projects, still working on the interior design of our many libraries and we are starting to look a little bit sexy! I finished my project with Carol Duncan while she went off to wow us politically. But not before one of our most wonderful interviews, Doug, our 100 year old local. Not a dry eye in the room on that day, from laughing and crying and crying laughing. I started work with a small team on a new library management system, which is quite enormous and will really heat up the first half of this year. And I was selected to work on change management while we undergo on our restructure this year.

And then there were Dinosaurs. Oh my goodness, I have never worked so hard in my entire working life and whilst there were odd times of frustrations (that is project work) is was easily one of the most exciting and fabulous things I have ever worked on during my almost 30 years in Libraries. So we had this spare space next to the library that we used for the odd event etc, but I always wanted it to be a gallery to showcase local art. This never happened until a great new manager with an arts background stepped in. She saw the space, thought it would make a great exhibition space and within a couple of months it was. A huge collaborative effort, and what a pleasure to work with all these fabulous people. My team stepped up to assist or pick up while I was absent doing gallery stuff or at meetings etc. So thrilled with them! I wrangled volunteers, which was a huge learning curve, and worked on events to match the exhibits. Dinosaurs has been successful beyond our wildest expectations with roughly 5000 people visiting the space as I write and we still have a month to go. Library stats have also gone up, and it has been so much fun.

As most of you will know, one of the downsides of my library work is the heat and lack of air-conditioning in the large glass west facing building! However, after years of campaigning, we finally have had some small air-conditioning units installed. Whilst not a proper fix (this is also in the works), they have made a difference which is great.

Maybe it was because I was so busy, but the black dog didn't raise his head too much this year. He was there - he always is, sigh - and I had some moments of lows, but for the most part he was absent and that is freaking fabulous! Anxiety on the other hand, was higher than I can remember. Unsure why, probably, as an introvert, I had a lot of extrovert things going on, which can raise the anxiety. Only 2 major health issues this year, first new meds which brought some other health issues back in control but unfortunately cause weight gain. Come on Doctors, you can do better surely! So I am just doing my best, but it's a bit of a shit fight. And then I was diagnosed with Anemia, which wasn't so bad, it just left me extremely tired. I would fall asleep at the drop of a hat. I went to a specialist to find out why, despite my gut telling me it's probably just me (which is fairly normal for some people). I underwent a huge array of tests, operations, procedures etc and found out I was really healthy internally lol, but no reason for my anemia. So I am back on tablets (which are a little challenging in terms of side effects) and hopefully will be back on track by Easter. It took a few months last year to get back on track but the specialist took me off the tabs to do all the tests...sigh. So I wasted a lot of time and money to find out I am healthy - anemia withstanding - so I am looking at that positively...sort of! 

Now on to the fun stuff, I am a firm believer of living life large, despite being an introvert. So I just try to balance it out with PJs days on the couch with a book, and all the comforts of Club Cathy. Having said that, I did have a far busier social year than usual, possibly where my anxiety hyped up from.

As always, I had fun times out and about with my gal pals, oh these gals, what I would do without them I do not know. You all know who you are and you all make such a difference to my life. We lunch, chat, talk on the phone, text, message, facebook, tweet, and insta each other. We head to the movies, see great art, music, theatre, and just hang out. Without you all I am nothing! And a few of them had horrific years, and for once I was there to hopefully help them rather than the other way around. And how it hurt me to see them hurting.

We had lots of family fun, as always. My niece, 10, and nephew, 15, are the loves of the life. They are so joyous and funny to be around, and real decent humans too, a credit to their parents. Of course, meeting them all in Hawaii was loads of fun, and a lovely way to ring in the new year.

And my love life was as topsy turvy as ever, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I am sure it feels like I share a lot of my life online, but I do try to keep personal stuff personal. I'm still dating and there are some lovely boys out there that just make me smile. Of course, for every lovely boy there are at least 6 fuckwits, but that's the nature of the beast and I am getting far better at spotting them and tossing them to side. I know a lot of people are vested in my romantic happiness, but honestly I am so busy I don't have much time for anything too serious right now. I am a-ok and what's meant to be is meant to be! Being a single gal has loads of benefits! And the dating is fun!

As always there was plenty of fun things to partake of here in The Hunter and elsewhere.

Kate Bush Day was a delight again, despite my red stockings nearly dropping to my feet!

I met a few authors, Caroline Baum and Jimmy Barnes, Heather Rose and Chris Krause. I attended the always wonderful Newcastle AND Sydney Writer's Festival and heard the most amazing authors talk, Richard Roxburgh, Roxane Gay, Paul Beatty, Michael Leunig, to name a few.

Our Twitter group had a few Karaoke nights, where I managed to suitably embarrass myself. And then I joined a choir, something I have been wanting to do for ages, but finding a suitable one was easier said than done. I have a whole lot of lovely new friends, and I am finding my Soprano voice again after years have passed since my Opera singing days. It is the most joyous thing, and so good for my soul. And within the group we join in the One Song Sing at The Edwards, where 100s gather to sing a song they learn in an hour - stupendous!!!

I saw lots of great art, attended loads of concerts, I went to the movies, theatre and markets. I explored suburbs in my home area and honed my photography. I bought a new Uke. You can read all about my highlights or best ofs here.

I had a lovely mini holiday in Sydney earlier in the year, caught up with family there, some great art, and of course saw Patti Smith perform her Horses (and then some) album live.

And was back later in the year to see my musical hero, Paul McCartney. I am still thinking about how perfect that evening was.

Of course, ending and commencing the year in Hawaii, was something else! What a lovely place to visit, how laid back it was, the food and people divine, I have never felt so relaxed in my life and a perfect way to commence 2018!

Life is pretty darn good you know. looking back I cannot really remember the lows, just the highs, and that's a really good place to be.

Stay tuned for my hopes and aspirations for 2018!

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