So a lot has happened. We moved out of Anchorage to just outside of Wasilla in the Matanuska-Susitna valley. We are very close to Pat’s parents, and are very near 95 percent of our friends, which is nice. We moved into a fourplex, which is in theory a step back from our rented house on a 1/4 acre in the middle of the city. In practice, it’s much better. Beautiful mountain view, no real noise restriction due to the layout of the fourplex, great layout for the property, fairly rural, no one cares if the dog is off-leash. It’s pretty great. The new place is also not 60 years old and falling apart. In fact it’s barely two years old, and it’s spacious and light and warm and clean, and well ventilated. I see us being here until we’re ready to buy a property of our own.

Our older, snuggly, snot-spewing cat Batman has passed on. He began to puke up everything and lost all of that chunky weight he had in a matter of a fortnight. No known cause. It was more of a relief than a sadness, and we’re all glad that everyone involved doesn’t have to suffer any longer.

On an unseasonably warm day at the beginning of December, Penny found a kitten by one of the dumpsters near our house. He was teensy, but his teeth said he was older than he looked. He was dry and unhurt, and when no one claimed him, we decided to keep him as our cat-in-training. We’ve been calling him Little Bit, but now that he’s a kiteleven rather than a kitten he’s finally graduated to his real name of Cedar.

Trophy Cat Tweed was terrified of Cedar for about a week, then settled down to mother him, then uncle him, then bugger him. The mounting displays have not passed, but they both seem to be getting on very well, even while Cedar has entered the annoying adolescent stage.

I canned my first tomatoes at the end of the summer. Then I was scared that they were poison and did not touch them for months. Then I broke down and opened a jar and was rewarded with the best damn canned tomatoes I’ve ever had. And nobody died! I’m looking forward to using the other jars during the rest of the winter and spring, as well as more canning endeavors as the time goes by. I’m also interested in making saurkraut and sprouting, so we’ll see when that happens.

Things have been tight around here because I haven’t had a job since I left my stressful bank job. I’ve worked a few temp assignments to keep us afloat, but it’s high time I was working reliably again. I could probably get more money by working in Anchorage, but the expense of the commute and the extra time are not worth the money to me. Even my husband is trying to shift departments so he can get a job out here.

Prompted by my mother-in-law’s gift of a card to a local quilt shop, I’ve signed up for a class and bought materials for a quilt, as well as having broken into some of my old fabrics to recall how to use a rotary cutter and to try out my mostly new sewing machine. I’m having a blast.

I still need to get my spinning wheel fixed. But I think I put the stress of last spring behind me, and I’m in a place where I’m looking forward to playing with wool and yarn again.

I’m feeling very much better than I did last year, and I’m hoping to continue this trend for some time.

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