2011 was a Hell of a year. From start to finish, I can think of no one year when so many awful things came one after another. This was the year of Just Keep Going.
January: A close friend suffers psychological trauma while staying with her only child, who later disowns her. Side effects and new regulations make taking the pain prescriptions I use intolerable. Cairo begins uprising. Unexpected deaths of acquaintances shocked us. It was a very long month in general; dark, snowy, wet and cold.
February: I decide to quit the opiates altogether and do it Cold Turkey. There follows 3 weeks I barely remember (except for the hallucinations and accidents), a broken collarbone, and a fresh appreciation for Zep and ELP. My oldest living brother Tommy becomes more ill every day. An apartment opens up at Melrose Terrace and I'm beside myself with the prospect of moving. Friends having rough times all around me, if not financial, familial. Still, there's hope that things will get better. But the winter seems endless.
March: Unbearably, still snowing, still winter. Fukushima. My brother Tommy dies. There is no way I or my now last-living brother can get to the funeral. Terrible guilt. My friends descend into dark depressions. I pack to move. The detox continues and I spend half my days in the bathroom. Arab Spring begins in earnest after a street vendor kills himself in protest. So does Mud Season, right at the end of the month.
April: I move into Melrose with a lotta help from my friends. My brother Beery's wife begins hallucinating at home; my brother is beside himself. I'm still in a detoxing state but it's not quite so bad. The apartment house I just moved out of burns down, making 50+ people homeless and belonging-less and taking our community radio station out. Then Strider and Ems the Wonderdog come to stay for my birthday, a happy respite and a really good time. Spring breaks with plenty of rain.
May: Osama bin Laden is killed. My SIL has "wet brain" and is hospitalized just in time to save her life. My new neighbor is driving me nuts. The rain now seems endless. I get sick. I get randy. Germany announces dropping nuke power. The first predicted End of the World/ "rapture" date of 2011 comes and goes.
June: My nephew has major surgery and comes out fine. Grotke and I enter (and our entries are lost) in the Great NE Sandwich Contest. Clarence Clemmons dies. Greenery is in full bloom but it starts raining nearly every day...
July: A great 4th of July Post-Parade Party. Murdoch scandals are exposed. The last Potter movie finds old versions of Harry, Ron and Hermione (Stevil, Paul and me) going to the Latchis, which has just been hit by a truck and lost its original marquee. I try to take up drumming again. A very wet, hot summer makes misery. Kick marries a guy she hasn't seen in 28 years. The Murdoch hearings are revolting to hear and ol' Rupie gets a pie in the face. John Boner shows his heartlessness. The Occupy Wall St. movement is announced. And then the Norway massacre and bombing breaks the entire world's heart.
August: Melissa of Frankie's is shot dead by her boyfriend. It's insanely hot and humid. England's cities riot following a young man being shot dead by police. People die in the riots. Many neighborhoods are looted and burn. A former co-worker of mine shoots and kills a manager at the store we worked in. He snaps under the pressure of many changes and demands, and kills "the king's henchman". Billy Bragg comes but I can't go. It gets chilly. I get a summer bug. It rains and rains. And then Irene comes to town and we're evacuated. In the HS gym on a cot, Muffinpants comes to collect me.
September: I'm homeless after Irene causes floods all along the Whetstone and our buildings are closed indefinitely. Belongings get sent anywhere we can get storage and I go stay at Aunt Nancy's ashram. A young local man goes missing on the day of the storm. The 10th anniversary of September 11th passes and we're still at "war". I work on The Ladies of the Lake website. We're given several false hopes to move back home. Occupy Wall Street begins. My friend is still delusional and goes in and out of psychosis. After much aggro with FEMA I'm finally registered. An author working on a book about Bratt's terrible year comes to interview me. The News of the World phone hacking scandal fills day after day of news. Troy Davis is executed amid a lot of doubt and protest. I love Aunt Nancy's ashram but I'm making the place crowded, so Strider takes me in and off I go to her beautiful house in Maine.
October: After I begin working on the Gimp's Guide I have a huge emotional meltdown and can't write. Soon after, my right hand can't hold a pen or pencil anyway so I begin blogging and activising to go home. Strider takes good care of me, bringing chocolate home. We have a remarkable understanding of each other. On yet another "you may be coming home next week" I order a bed, which ends up stored in a pod apart from everything else I have stored in 5 different places. The media gets involved in what's going on at our housing development. I spend a lot of time online or cooking. And falling in love with Strider's animules. One of her cats lays claim to me and gets mean to the other. While the businesses and many of the private homes that were flooded are cleaned and reopened, we and our homes stay in limbo. The Occupy movement spreads all over the world. The second predicted End of the World/"rapture" comes and goes. General strikes and riots break out in Greece and the Arab Spring is now the Arab Fall. Moammar Gaddafi is killed after 40 years of dictatorship in Libya. Tunisia has its first election. Protests break out in China. Police seriously injure a protesting vet in Oakland's Occupy site. My brother finally retires. A BHA property for the old and disabled has a fire, killing an old woman I once knew. The northeast gets a big early snow at Halloween.
November: Another Oakland protester is put in the hospital by the cops. Occupy is everywhere, and the London crowd is firmly entrenched at St. Paul's Cathedral. The DRB meeting okays my building to reopen but no date is set to move back in. Strider drives me back to Bratt to stay with the Muffinpants family and that same evening I get the news to move back in the next morning. In a last-minute scramble, many of the old faithful faces help me get back into The Shire. The fate of the other buildings stay undertermined. Thanksgiving is thoroughly felt and we have a lovely day.
December: Occupy sites are dismantled by The Man. Struggles still continue around the world, with protests in Russia making headlines. The remaining closed buildings here are okayed by the DRB to be rehabbed but appeals may still happen. It's a contentious issue in our town. Strider brings Hildebeest to move in with me and I become the Beestservant. Daryl and I get back to the Heat Fund Recipes. Many of my circle strive for the Christmas Spirit, which seems harder to have than usual. Greg Lake announces a 2012 tour, the publishing of his autobiography, and does a live chat online. I resolve to see him and have his autograph tattooed on me. The winter holidays are a mixed bag. Except for me- I am gifted extravagantly. Time Magazine names Person of the Year is The Protester. Strider surprises me by buying our tickets to see Greg in April. I decide to lie low for the rest of the year and prepare for the Alka Seltzer Party I'm throwing on New Year's Day.
That, in a nutshell, was the year that was. I've omitted some things for brevity's sake. But it's all in the blogposts in grueling day-by-day recapping.
Now we face 2012. May we be hopeful, brave and kind, and make it a good year to remember.
The Trip Gets Longer and Stranger
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