It's New Year's Day and lovely outside, icy and cold with a bright blue sky and a white winter sun. All at once I'm back in Toronto and back at work and not at home with my lovely family, just like that. I got out of bed just before 2pm which I feel is an okay way to ring in the new year after putting in a long day at work helping other people celebrate and then unwinding at a dear friend's until 5:30. January first has been a good day. I am writing at Starbucks to make myself feel more accomplished for the afternoon, though I don't know if productivity needs to be an essential accomplishment of my day. Here are some great things that happened in December:
I spent the first weekend of the month with these lovely people, Brian and Trisha Donkers. We started out having yummy french toast and mimosas and chatting away, and when we were still sitting there with our breakfast plates at 3pm, I was invited to stay for dinner and help with Christmas baking, and I tried not to sound too over the moon excited about cookies when I accepted the invitation. These two are hard core baking fanatics and cranked out 6 different types of desserts in a very short period of time. It is good to have such welcoming and warm friends in the city.
Brian and I performed in a Songwriter's circle at the beginning of the month with Rachael Kennedy and Glen Hornblast that was put on by Vox Toronto, and I think this was my favourite show of 2012. We sat in a row on stage (shown above) and played one song at a time and sharing stories about what inspired us to write. There was a special energy and electricity that happened on stage and a real support and respect.
I got my hair done. Twice. I know this is kind of a weird thing to highlight but bear with me: I am not a person to ruffle feathers and I hate feeling like I'm inconveniencing anyone in any way, so when I got my hair done and I went home and realized it was red/orange/blonde, my first reaction was to just suck it up and deal with having a weird tint to my hair. Heaven forbid I ask for it to be re-done! But I had a little internal check in, and realized that in the grand scheme of life, it's not bad - hell, it's even really important- to ask for what you want. All you can do is ask and the worst that can happen is someone says no to you! So I called and asked if my hair stylist could fix it, and of course she could, so I went back and got foiled up and frosted more beachy-ashy blonde (these are the descriptive words I use to describe my hair colour, for real, in real life, to real people, it's true). Lessons come in simple moments throughout our lives.
Obviously I went home to the west coast for the holidays. It was a different trip than I've had yet going home; instead of staying in suburbia BC where I grew up, we were mostly in Washington state the whole time. I feel really lucky and blessed to have a really sweet and hilarious family that I feel close to and loved by. My trip had a lot of quiet time and a lot of good, long chats and a LOT of driving all over from Seattle to White Rock.
I got a lot more visiting time during this trip with my grandma Rita (my mom's mom) than I usually do; when I was home in the summer we were crazy busy with Austin and Becca's wedding and Rita was too unwell at the time to attend, so I only got a short afternoon visit with her. We surprised her with moving all her belongings into a new retirement apartment last week, and because I was staying in Washington instead of BC, I was around her way more. She is a firecracker of a woman and she has spunk and pluck, and I think she gets more mischievous when I'm around- maybe I bring it out of her. She was sitting across from me at our Christmas dinner and she kept looking a the centrepiece which was a shallow bowl with sparkly Christmas balls, and she kept saying how she wanted to take one. Not thinking she would possibly follow through with it, I didn't think much of it until we were walking out of the restaurant and she said, "I just took a little one," revealing a mini ornament resting at the top of her bag! I told her, "I'm not going to tell anyone now, but I am NOT impressed," except secretly I was.
Christmas morning is always so special and steeped in so many traditions, and I wanted to show off the most thoughtful gift ever that my dad and brother-in-law put together for me: they made a compilation of this blog and printed it into a book for me! Isn't that the sweetest? I just thought it was so thoughtful and such a good token of this new adventure of writing that I'm pursuing and is such a special gift idea. Dad's already planning the next instalment for next year, making a second volume for pretty much every person in the family.
Another bonus about staying in Washington was that my best friends' family's house was just down the road, meaning lots of extra time with the infamous Atkins' girls (and also Sarah's new baby Hudson, who is the sweetest, squishiest, funniest baby in the whole world). These girls are my oldest, dearest friends, they are hilarious and full of colour and life and they just fill me to the rafters with laughter and joy and optimism. (You can see our pictures from our Janz/Atkins Christmas from last year here.)
December was filled with fuelling my little heart with a lot of soul searching and some hard decisions, but I am surrounded by a really beautiful city of people all over this earth and I am entering 2013 with so much hope and enthusiasm and the most gusto I've felt in years. I truly feel blessed beyond all measure. This year was filled with more shows than I've done in the last few years combined, it brought newfound inspiration and motivation to write, the rediscovery of songwriting, the milestone of finally getting a really (really really really!) beautiful guitar, the launch of the word project, and lots of wheels getting in motion for travelling AND school in the coming year.
Thanks too for following along and leaving your comments and "likes" here and there, for checking in and visiting me here on this little blog. This tiny blurb of a space brings a lot of joy to my world and I hope it brings joy to you too!