A fork in the road

Just outside the tunnel, a fork in this Amalfi Coast road, with good views either way.  Italy, May 2008

Outside the tunnel, a fork in the road, with good views either way.
Driving the Amalfi Coast, Italy, May 2008

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”Yogi Berra

This post was first published seven years ago today, and it is a special post because it was my 365th consecutive daily post, marking my one year anniversary of the blog. In the post linked within the comments below (originally titled “You’re Invited!” and later updated to “Thank You!”) I invited readers to celebrate that first anniversary by leaving comments telling me about themselves, which would them into a prize drawing. The actual drawing, captured in a subsequent post that will be re-blogged tomorrow, took place after all the comments came in.

Including the comments from this post and the You’re Invited/Thank You post linked below, there are nearly 250 comments including my answers. Reading through those original comments was a real trip down memory lane. Sadly, many who commented are no longer present in my life, due to death, estrangement or simply drifting away to other things. But some of you are still with me, and will remember this. If you are in that number, I’d especially love to hear from you in today’s comments! What a long, strange trip it’s been, full of fun and sadness, woe and wonder. 

So here we all are, the 365th daily post of the most eventful and difficult year Jeff and I have ever endured.  It’s time to celebrate survival, coping, and all the blessings woven into the pain and sorrow of the past year.  Thanks for being among the blessings!

While the future is still very uncertain for us, it feels considerably more promising than it did a year ago.  I started this blog before Jeff’s second cancer diagnosis and full extent of the metastasis was known, but before the end of November 2012, it felt as if our world had come crashing in.  Now the shock has worn off, Jeff has survived more than we would have wanted to know 2013 held in store, and we both feel more hopeful that the months ahead will bring us continuing improvements in our long-term outlook.

Matt, too, has had a rough year, with three hospitalizations in the past 13 months, and the stress of dealing with Jeff’s diagnosis and all the ways it has disrupted our “normal” lives. Matt faces his 5th open heart surgery early in 2014, and we still have not found a job or training program that’s a good fit for him.  While we prepare emotionally for what will definitely be a difficult year, we continue to hope and pray for happy endings to all these unresolved situations.

With all that lies in store, I’ve given a lot of thought to what I should do with this blog now that I’ve finished a year of daily posts.  From a purely logistical standpoint, it’s difficult and time-consuming to come up with new posts every day, and while I have thoroughly enjoyed and needed the distraction, the coming months are likely to be very busy ones as we anticipate at least two more surgeries for Jeff and one for Matt.  I’m so far behind on many of my responsibilities and interests that I wonder whether I can continue at the same pace.

But I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed hearing from each and every person who has left comments or “likes” at this blog.  I’ve discovered so many wonderful people here.  I’ve been introduced to the blogosphere, a world where I’ve found support, creativity and encouragement beyond what I had ever imagined.  So I’m not going to make any quick decisions.

And here is where you can help me out.  Because I have shamelessly bribed everyone into leaving comments today, here’s your chance to tell me what you think I should do.  While I’m sure to get differing viewpoints, I will consider every suggestion even if I don’t ultimately take the advice.

For the next week, I have scheduled a daily re-post from the first week of entries from one year ago, as the relatively few of you who were with me that far back are unlikely to remember them.  Hopefully those who have been here for only a few days, weeks or months will enjoy seeing them for the first time.

Since I find it hard to keep my mouth shut or my keyboard still, I’ve added a few comments to each re-post, and I will enjoy responding to your comments each day as well.  I would miss you too much if I didn’t hear from you, and I want your input as I consider how often I should plan to blog in the future.  I’ll also plan to spend that week getting the prizes and party favors on their way via the U. S. mail!  So for me, the birthday celebration will stretch out into a week-long event.  Maybe longer, depending on how many party favors I have to send out!

After that, I’m not sure.  I do know I want to change things up a bit, to give myself freedom to include a wider variety of photos, videos and content.  I’d like to introduce some of the people I’ve met online, and to share some of the inspiring, fun and helpful things I’ve enjoyed via blogs, Pinterest and other social media.  I can’t stand to leave the vast riches of the internet totally untapped. So I plan to occasionally re-blog or feature others’ work, assuming I can secure permission.  Some days I may feature just a photo or quote, or something funny or inspiring, and some days I will post according to the usual format I’ve already used 365 times.

What do you think?  What topics, photos, quotes, or other fun stuff do you enjoy most? What would you most like to see here in the coming year?  Would you prefer that I post only 3-4 times weekly, once weekly (or even less), or would you prefer a daily post, even if it was just a brief quote and photo that didn’t necessarily include commentary or even go together?  What about book or movie reviews, craft ideas, handy hints (a.k.a life hacks) or other less abstract content?  There’s plenty to talk about, that’s for sure!

If you prefer your comments to be anonymous, let me know and I’ll honor that request; just let me know what (if anything) you are willing to have appear online.  Because I moderate all comments, and know many who are too shy to comment in a public forum such as this, I am willing and able to keep an entire comment private if you prefer.  You can still enter the contest even if you don’t want your comment posted.

Remember, everyone who posts a comment today will be entered into the drawing for prizes described in “You’re Invited!” (click on the link above – and be sure to read over it if you don’t remember the rules).  If you don’t really have any opinions to share with me about where this blog should go, just tell us a bit about yourself: what country or state you live in, how you found us, interesting stuff about your human or animal friends and family, links to any online sites or blogs you may want us to visit, or really anything else you’d like to share.  As ever, the only requirement is that your comments should be encouraging or at least neutral; this blog is, and will remain, a safe and hate-free zone.

Thanks again and again, to everyone here, for helping us weather a very difficult and eventful year.  Whatever lies ahead, you can be sure we do plan to take that fork in the road!

6 Comments

  1. Judy from Pennsylvania

    Hi Julia, I was surprised to read my own comment in that post from 7 years ago! I know I’ve been here for a while but I didn’t realize it had been that long.

    Yes, the past 7 years have been full of changes and none of us could have predicted what they would be like. Wow. Our resiliency has been stretched and then stretched again. You said it perfectly, “What a long, strange trip it’s been, full of fun and sadness, woe and wonder.”

    And still we stand.

    Blessings to you and Matt. Stay safe.

    • Hi Judy! Yes, you have been here almost since the beginning. Easy to lose track of all those years, isn’t it? But here we all are, and blessed to be here. So happy we met through this blog! ❤

  2. Sheila

    Good morning Julia ☕️ I feel like Bill and I have been on a very different road these 6 months of cancer treatment and recent 2 months of Proton Therapy in Knoxville TN. He is now cancer free and what a blessing that is. He rang the bell on October 27th and we are now back at 428, our little cottage by the sea. Although my comments have been few, I have continued to think of you often and keep you close in my heart. Where are you spending time now? Hope Matt is doing well! Love to you both 💜🍁✝️

    • Hi Sheila, we certainly have some catching up to do! I’m happy to hear that you are back at 428 and that Bill’s treatment was successful. I continue to divide my time between York and NoVa, but the York home is getting ever emptier as I work diligently (on both the material and emotional level) on getting ready to sell it. But my beloved gardens and lawn there keep calling to me to stay. Right now the camellias (in three varieties with different color blooms) and the encore azaleas are blooming, and the dogwood leaves are a gorgeous red color as they turn every autumn. My potted hibiscus and mandevilla are putting out glorious blooms too. I’m taking lots of mental photos and a few digital ones. Matt is doing fairly well, seems happier than ever now that there is NO day program that he has to attend. He spends his days with Nishchal (his former driver and now his PCA, still more like a brother to him– you may remember him from Jeff’s funeral) and they come to my home frequently during the day. Matt still spends every weekend here. We are to meet with his job coach tomorrow to discuss possible other opportunities since the library where he worked has remained closed. His heart is still in a holding pattern, stable but in need of more surgery soon. Probably next year or possible later. It will depend on how the COVID plays out, and whether he continues to remain stable over the weeks and months to come. Thanks for keeping in touch! Sending lots of love to my favorite seaside abode in one of my favorite states! ❤

  3. Diana

    Hi Julia,
    It is Diana…from Arizona. I am still here! Someday when I am in VA or you are in AZ, we can meet in person and hopefully, greet each other with a hug and see each others smiles!
    Thank you for still being here!

    • Hi Diana! I hope that you got my (very belated) email that I sent last month– or was it back in September? Yikes, the time is flying by! Yes, we must keep a get together on our “someday soon” list — here, there, or hopefully both! Thank YOU for still being here!! 😀 ❤

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