Gosh, this year seems to have flown past. There were parts of this year where I thought I’d never get through it all but, as I sit here scoffing Christmas cupcakes at my desk, I can honestly admit that its been a pretty good year. It started with a fairly scary start, as my wee furry boy had a lump that was decidedly suspicious. On New Years Eve, Jamiedog had a lumpectomy. I didn’t want to leave my wee boy at home by himself, so I had sent my apologies to the gang, and had accepted that I’d be having a lovely quiet evening cuddling my faithful hound. In an incredible act of generosity, Mr Frog (who wasn’t Mr Frog at the time) organised for a few people to come around and join me – so that neither I, nor Jamie, would be on our own to welcome in 2014. It was a lovely, easy evening, spent laughing and chilling out on the back deck, making sure my big dog was taken care of. It all turned out all right, with his little lump totally removed with little chance of a return.
So then, January started with elective surgery on my sinus. I went under the knife to have three different procedures done on the inside of my face. The next week was then spent in a daze of pain-killer dizziness, leaning over the bathroom sink swishing out my sinus. There was blood, there was gore, there was a whole busload of pain. Throughout the drug haze, my friends and loved ones rallied around me – bringing me dinners, and kindness. One small action that almost moved me to tears was upon waking one morning, Mr Frog had worked out how to use my coffee machine – and had gone to the effort of making me a coffee. Such a small gesture, but from a man that doesn’t drink coffee – nor has any interest in ever starting, it was heartfelt.
The upshot of the surgery was that nothing has really changed – although this year I seem to have avoided having so many sinus based infections. All but one, that is. This year, I had the worst dose of Flu I’ve ever experienced. Within 24 hours of feeling the first signs of it, I was bedridden. I had barely enough energy to walk from my bedroom to the bathroom. The Doctor swabbed me, sent my blood away, and it came back as a direct hit – for Influenza A. Swine Flu! *dramatic reverb!* I ended up having to take well over a week off work, and just when I thought I was good – I relapsed. If it wasn’t for early diagnosis, and Tamiflu, it may have been a whole lot more serious. Oft times I’ll lament that I was born into the wrong generation, especially when I listen to music of the 70’s, but after being the recipient of modern medical technology – I’m very glad I live here and now in Australia. What’s more, I’m so very glad that I live in Brisbane, despite the savage storms that we get from time to time. I’ll go into more agonising detail shortly.
Travel was a bit lite this year – Mr Frog and I managed to catch a nice week away in Queenstown for a spot of skiing, but because we were there so early in the season there wasn’t a great deal of snow about. As it turned out, that suited us just fine, as we got to go on Lord of the Rings tours, and participate in Canyon Swinging, Ice Skating, Frisbee Golfing and Jet Boating. My Frisbee golf skills leave a wide margin for improvement, +/- 90degrees in fact – and I demonstrated why I never made the Big Leagues for any skills that require eye-hand coordination. Mr Frog laughed along with me, and didn’t give me too much shit when my Frisbee landed in the pond. What I lack in eye-hand skills, I made up for in balance skills. I surprised myself by hopping onto the ice and starting to skate backwards with considerable comfort. Who’da guessed, after watching my abysmal performance with a frisbee!?!
While I enjoyed the week away, I realised that I live for travel and enjoy experiences more than tangible assets. So, perhaps that’s a New Years resolution then?
With that said, this year I did buy myself a fancy vehicle and for the first time in my life, I bought a brand spanking new car. My little Girty, my trusty little Corolla, was caught in the Super Cell that hit Brisbane in November. I was caught trying to dash home, and sat there stuck in traffic with nowhere to move. The car was pelted with hail, the windscreen shattered, and the door was hit so hard it popped open. I was so frightened I even grabbed the parcel shelf off the back, and huddled underneath it. I’m still waiting to hear back from the Insurance company, but the upshot is that my poor Girty is a write-off. The dings were so pronounced that the paint had chipped in several spots. So, while it was sad to see the little car get towed away, it was rather exciting to get the keys to my brand new Little Red Racer.
I’m yet to decorate it with my 501st Legion stickers, but that’s all under control.
It was a difficult year, in many ways, for the 501st Legion this year. Very early in the year, we lost a long-time friend and dedicated trooper. Sniper passed away suddenly, and unexpectedly and his death devastated the group. I took a lot of comfort from the fact that so many of our little group of misfit geeks showed up to pay their respects – all decked out in Redback Garrison shirts. I shed many tears, standing there amongst a bunch of random strangers brought together through the love of Star Wars, dressing up, and giving back to the community. The funeralwas overflowing with Troopers, from near and far. As I stood there, reflecting, it’s not a bad way to be remembered, really. I’m sure Sniper would have been chuffed.
I did have to laugh, however, when an innocent act of generosity and memorial, several troopers left challenge coins on his coffin. I could almost hear Sniper’s outrage at not being able to respond to this direct Coin Challenge! “You bastards! I’m not buying you bastards a drink! Get stuffed!”
Although we lost a close friend, we all got a very healthy dose of perspective. Life is way too short to be wasting it with trivial bullshit and petty politics. While we had a lot of sadness in the Garrison, we did have a lot of happiness as well. Two new Jawas were welcomed into the clan – Archer and Kate were welcomed as the two newest Jawa Troopers, so lets be expecting their official 501st applications in another 18 years! It’ll then be on for young and old – a competition for Rookie of the Year!
Its been a quiet year for me overall with the 501st Legion. While I’ve been a part of the big events, such as Dreamworld, Supanova, B105 Christmas Party, and Comic Con, I’ve missed a lot of the smaller events that usually mark my trooping calendar. I missed the MS Moonlight Walk, I missed Hospital Troops, and I also missed out on joining the small band of hardcore maniacs that take on the 10km Bridge to Brisbane. I did manage to participate in the McGrath Day – and played a full 20-20 game of cricket in my Stormtrooper costume. We raised a bunch of money for a good cause, and better still – I got a wicket!
I’m hoping that 2015 will see a return to my trooping habits. Despite missing some of these events, I still had a great deal of fun at the 2014 Awards Night, and was astounded to be given an award for Command Staff Long Service. While I do the things I do because I can, not because I seek recognition or reward, I was very touched that somebody had gone to the effort of engraving a trophy to commemorate it.
I did go to two weddings this year, but this time as a +1. It was really lovely to meet some of Mr Frogs close friends, and lend a hand with the preparations and the big day. Big Congratulations to Pete and Krystal, and Carl and Michelle. It was lovely to share your special day. I genuinely hope I get to share some more time with you in the coming years.
The Richmond Tigers got into the finals again this year, despite an utter shitfight start to the year. I virtually abandoned the team, after the first half – as their performance was lacking in any show of talent or courage. They did, however, pull the virtual rabbit out of the hat, making their way from last in the league, to the Top 8. They were knocked out in the first round of finals, as expected, but such is life. With some luck, 2015 will be better!
This year, I tried a few things for the first time – I jumped off a canyon, I patted a tiger, I played cricket in a Storm Trooper costume, I shot a bunch of different guns, I had a general anaesthetic, I bought a brand new car, I went to High Tea, I deadlifted 132kgs, I made handmade rockyroad, my soccer team, Old Mates United, also won Division 10 Premiership as well!
Old Mates are a fun little group of folk who get together once a week to kick around a football, and attempt to win a game. Every so often,we do win, but frequently we are the “also rans”. We were all elated, then, when we made the semi-finals. Extatic, even, when we won our Semi and made it to the final! And boy, wasn’t the final eventful! It was a really tough game, and everybody was fairly serious about being the best they could be. We were competitive, but only up to a point. We were, after all, contesting Division 10 Sunday Mixed Soccer, not the World Cup. There was rather a nasty girl on the other team, who behaved like a petulant brat – even going so far as to storm off and refuse to shake our hands.
On another successful note, I’ve really been hitting my stride at work. Despite all the concerns and worries that I had last year, 2014 has really shown me that I’m capable of achieving whatever it is I set out to achieve. I’ve had a few trips here and there with work – 6 trips to PNG and one trip to Melbourne, Fraser Island and Perth – and thankful that I’ve got to spend more time at home for a change. With that said, I’m hoping for a few more exotic trips next year, and expand my corporate experience.
This year was also pretty lean for concerts and theatre. I only managed to catch one show – but what a show! I really loved The Lion King production – it was vibrant, and the costumes and sets were quite amazing. I have several concerts, and theatre tickets booked already for 2015 – so the year ahead looks filled with fun! It’s even better, because I have somebody to share it all with.
You may have picked up on the casual namedropping I’ve done so far throughout my Year in Review. I could gush in quite an undignified manner about Mr Frog – how I think he’s handsome, witty, charming and fun to be around, but you see, he’s only going to read this – and then he’ll be simply unbearable! I’ll have to remind him of the first time he ate a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and exclaimed how chewy they were (He’d forgotten to take the wrapping off).
We met part way through 2013, and struck up a friendship. What evolved then was just as unexpected as it was charming and authentic. We had to work out how we were going to tell our friends, but as it turns out, most of them already knew. With the gradual shift in our relationship, neither of us really know when we first started dating – so it’s really quite tricky to work out “How Long” its been, or when to celebrate an anniversary – as such. At some stage, I’m sure we’ll just put a stick in the ground, and call it a year – but for now I’ve lost count of the number of people who have made comment about how happy and how “Jacqui” I seem lately. Needless to say, I’m quite excited to welcome him to Casa Del Frog.
Jamie loves him too, the little traitor, and often runs straight past his mum to go and get scratches from Mr Frog instead. Huff!
In the end, despite hardships, losses and heartache, 2014 has been a good year. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved, and I am very hopeful for 2015.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas, and a successful 2015!