florinda3rs Instagram bestnine2019 the year that wasnt here

In which I pick myself up, dust myself off…

…and glance back at the year that wasn’t here.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I know we’re almost two months in, but I hope it’s not too late to wish you a Happy New Year …whether you call it the first year of the new decade or the last year of the old one. (I guess maybe it depends on whether your count runs from 1 to 10 or 0 to 9?)

I’ve been wanting to come back to this space for a while. I’m seeing time opening up for it, and my brain is starting to kick into gear with things to say and do here. And the first thing I want to do is talk a little about what’s kept me away.

The year that wasn’t here: a brief look back at 2019

2019 was a challenging year for me and mine—it took a lot, and I wasn’t sorry to see it go. In all honesty, it’s been a challenging three years or so, for reasons big and small. Some of that is the rambunctious, unsettled time we’re living in, which impacts us no matter how much we try to control our personal environments (and manage our personal anxieties). And some of it’s been personal—family and work, losses and adjustments.

We started 2019 with me undergoing surgery to repair a macular hole in my left eye. We ended the year with our dog Winchester undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left hind leg. (Not a great year on the left side of Casa Vasquez, I must say.) My recovery impacted my work life for a couple of months while my vision adjusted. Winchester’s recovery (now officially complete!) kept him away from doggie daycare for a couple of months. It didn’t impact his work, however.

The challenges of eldrecare were a constant between those bookends of the year. Back in August 2018, we helped my mother-in-law move to an assisted-living facility near us. She already had a dementia diagnosis, and new challenges followed the move. She was hospitalized a few times (injuries, infections, and assessments), followed by stays in rehab facilities. We saw a rapid decline in physical and mental capabilities through the spring and summer of 2019. My husband Paul and his brother made the decision to place her on hospice early last fall, and she died peacefully on October 25.

I’ll have a follow-up post in a few days about some of the less “eventful” events of 2019. If all goes well, they won’t be my only posts of 2020. I’m not calling this a comeback, but I really hope it is!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,318 other subscribers


  1. 2019 seems like one that is good to have behind you. I hope your surgery was successful and I am sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. I look forward to your reading your blog as you ease your way back in; it’s nice to have another person out there who reminds me that I am not alone in feeling the craziness (and sadness and frustration, etc) of the last 3 years.

    1. Thank you :-). (I was up your way for the surgery, actually–I had it done up in Santa Barbara,) I think a lot of us are hoping there will be some changes for the better in 2020!!

  2. The things you have to face as you get older stink! I’m sorry you’ve had such tough years. I’ve heard the recovery from the surgery to repair a macular hole is rough.

    1. You heard right–keeping a face-down position for nearly two weeks to keep a gas bubble in place in your eye is NOT FUN. But it did what it had to do. And you’re right–approaching the far side of midlife is not fun either :-).

  3. Ohmygosh what a year!!! I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother-in-law.

    Please, tell us how in the world DO you maintain a face down position??? I am the biggest, scaredy-ist baby when it comes to eye stuff. I’m terrified of ever having to have something done to my eyes.

    I hope 2020 is a billion times kinder to you!!!

    1. I got a “face cradle”–like you’d use for a massage chair–and mostly kept my face in that, with my iPad underneath it so I could watch streaming video. I was allowed a 15-minute break every hour, but it was pretty tedious and uncomfortable. But sleeping was actually even less comfortable. The procedure itself was relatively pain-free, but the first couple of weeks after were a pain indeed.

  4. Glad to see you back after such a challenging year! Here’s hoping 2020 is a much better year for you

  5. Here’s hoping 2020 is great for you! (not starting out great for me, but that means it can only get better from here, right?)

    1. It’s as fixed as it’s going to be. The hole couldn’t be closed completely so there’s some permanent vision loss, but it’s holding stable since the procedure, at least. And the vision I do have actually seems better than it was before, so go figure!

      (And I really couldn’t write about it at the time due to the whole not-seeing thing, so… :))

  6. I was wondering where you’ve been, but certainly understand your being away and am glad to see you back here, even if it is only from time to time. Hope this year is less trying for you and Paul and all your family.