Welcome to 2013. Or, "year++;" in programmer speak.
2012 was a big year, and it went by so fast. This time last year, my grandpa passed away. He's had a whole year of harassing grandma from beyond the grave. Grandma has had a whole year of torturing the nursing home staff without him. Pretty rough deal for the nursing home staff, if you ask me. For, as old and decrepit as grandpa was, he made you laugh and kept you sharp. We all knew he was going to leave us, but it's still hard that he's gone. The Utes had a horrible season, so if he had not passed, that probably would've killed him.
In March, nephew number three was born (number two for Bryan and Kelly). In contrast to most babies, he was pretty cute from the get go. Carries after his uncle, I guess. At his blessing, Jodi/Scott/Max visited us on their cross country move from Hawaii to DC. It was bittersweet for all of us. I will miss having free board in a tropical paradise, but airfare to DC is a helluva lot cheaper.
In June I headed to Europe for the first time. I spent three weeks in Norway for work and then 10 days in Switzerland on vacation. It was epic. Fjords and alps and fancy cheeses and reindeer stew. Look it up on Facebook. I posted a lot of pictures to make people jealous.
I ended up being out of the country for more than a month. In that time, Staci (the littlest sister) took up residence in the basement while she studied for the bar. Thankfully, she did not go all "A Beautiful Mind" on us, and I returned to a house in pristine condition and a manicured garden full of fruits and vegetables that we didn't really want to eat.
Only one problem with Europe, though. I had hurt my back somehow. It might have been the accidental off-roading in Norway, or perhaps 14 hours in a plane, but I completely herniated the lowermost disk in my back. And it hurt(s) like hell. It has pretty much dominated the second half of the year. I've been on a reduce work schedule, with bi or tri-weekly physical therapy appointments, as well as the insertion of really long needles into my lower back/upper ass region. The injections were my gift to myself for my 33rd birthday. I'm so generous.
In a move of sheer lunacy, I went on another transcontinental work trip at the end of October. The timing was serendipitous since I really couldn't come up with a good Halloween costume. Turkey was also a real experience. In contrast to Norway and Switzerland, it's not really a place I'd want to live, but I do want to go back for some actual vacation. Truth be told, I shouldn't have gone, but I was jonesing to get away again. I guess I developed a bit of wanderlust.
But, coming back, I had pretty much completely undid all the progress on my lower back. So, I decided to take it easy for the foreseeable future. In November, the family descended on my house for Thanksgiving. And, I have to say, I make a hell of a turkey. (Brining, people, is key.) I truly enjoyed have a houseful of people for a while, and all the cooking and household chores seemed to work wonders on my back, too.
Then, December came, and tragedy struck our extended family. My cousin's 12 year old step-son, CJ, was killed in a car accident on December 13th. I celebrated Christmas in Idaho Falls like always, with nephews and itinerate dogs, but then the family reconvened much like we had a year earlier for Grandpa. My house was full again for a few days, and it was sad sometimes. It was at that point I, I realized that 2012, like most years, was really the year of the family. Between Grandpa dying, Ethan being born, Jodi/Scott/Max moving back to DC from Hawaii, and Thanksgiving-fest at my house, I probably spent more time with my family than I had since I was still in high school. Having Staci move back in and help out with my back was probably the best thing to happen to me, since, I don't know, the invention of the NSAID.
2012 was a rough year for world and much of the country: Libya, Syria, Egypt, mass shootings, un-ending presidential primaries, fiscal cliffs, debt ceilings, and an unending presidential election that left 50% of us unhappy and the other 50% smug and condescending (yeah, I'm the latter group...sorry.) I'm sorry for getting all Grey's Anatomy voice-over on you, but my family made 2012 a good year, regardless of everything else.