Friday, December 26, 2014

Year in Review:2014

I can't believe I've not done this before;  it's been an amazing year and I'm going to go over each month and what happened...
January: I was living in an awesome sublet on Main Street. It was the start of a new year, and some things needed to change.  I received an email from my summer employers saying that they wanted me to lose some weight before my contract began in the spring. Although I was shocked and angry, that email did spark an urge for change in me, and I began to watch what I ate and how I exercised.  It was also a month to take stock of my finances and realize that things couldn't continue as they were.  It's an ongoing struggle, but I've become a little bit better about money since then. I also reconnected with my ex and we strengthened our friendship, and my new friend from Victoria-Holly- came and stayed with me while she took a course in Vancouver.
February: I said goodbye to the lovely sublet and moved in with my brother and sister-in-law just off Fraser Street.  Thanks to my summer employers, I got funding to take several courses, including Victorian martial arts, playwriting and first aid.  The first aid course was intense, and in the end I failed it, but I learned a lot. My resolve was strong and I continued to exercise and lose weight.
March: I got an amazing contract with Studio 58, composing music for a play.  I was able to see how far I'd come in terms of both competence and confidence during this job, and it was delightful. I explored my new neighborhood, crocheted tons of crafty things, and fell in love with my brother's new kitten.
April: once again I got ready to leave Vancouver while the city did its best to seduce me into staying. I continued to play music with Old Yeller, a group of friends and ex-boyfriends(!) who became a second family to me. My ex and I deepened our friendship and connection to each other, which laid some of the ghosts of guilt and sadness I'd been carrying around since we split in 2010. And I visited       my new friend Holly in Victoria, falling in love all over again with that city, and delighting in a new friendship.
May: back to Barkerville, and back into winter after Vancouver's spring. Old friends and new co-
workers. As always, the first month of work up there was isolated and busy, and it was only as the month drew to a close that we started to make tentative friendships outside of work. There were some changes to the town: new people running things and new employees.  We opened our school show and kept rehearsing for the main season. I fell in love with the double bass all over again.
June: I got to house-sit for some friends in their beautiful converted church. The rhythm of my summer job washed over me again and I settled back into the groove. We opened our main season shows and started to socialize with neighbors and fellow interpreters. The four of us who lived together became tighter and tighter as tensions at work drew us together. Spring and then summer arrived in the north. I rekindled my feelings for someone, only to realize once again that they were not returned.
July: the weather turned hot and sunny, and I had friends to enjoy it with! Margaret and I went running. Tanya and I discovered paddle boarding. It was a month of outdoor adventures and hard
work, and work could be a pretty intense place at times. Luckily we were all becoming experts in
letting off steam during our downtime.
August: this month was a highlight for me, beginning with ArtsWells (Dancing! Live music! New friends!), and ending with my 40th birthday, a delightful night which included a bonfire, cake, many friends, and hash brownies.  The four of us who lived together made friends with a wonderful gang of  people who became a delight to hang out with.  We rented a cabin on Bowron Lake and many of those friends dropped by and spent a wonderful day off with us, swimming and sunnbathing. Meanwhile, tensions at work increased until someone was let go. We had a new cast mate who became a fast friend, and work became fun again. Unfortunately this came too late for our employers, and one of them became very ill, necessitating changes to the show.
September: I moved into another house for the month, and my new friend Eve came too. It was a month of saying goodbye as people finished their contracts... But although it was a melancholy time there were moments of great joy: incredible hikes, trips to the big city (Prince George!), gatherings and adventures and the easing-off of work. Only one show a day as opposed to two. Sunny, crisp Autumn days watching the leaves turn almost overnight. Crazy late-season swimming. When my contract ended I stayed a few extra days but that was a mixed blessing as the last of my friends left town.
October: I paid a quick visit to Kelowna to visit my dad. Fit and healthy after an incredibly active summer, I returned to Vancouver and began work at the pumpkin patch. I also entered the world of online dating... Three dates in I met this motorcycle-driving dude at a coffeeshop. The moment he walked in I thought "wow", and the rest is history. Two months later we're still going strong and we're absolutely crazy about each other. I never expected this, and it's been a gift, every day.
November: I kissed my new guy goodbye and flew off to Oahu with my friend Tanya. Eight days of sun, surf and sharing a bed! And we're still speaking to each other!  As November ended I made the difficult decision not to return to Barkerville for my summer job. I still don't know what the new year will bring in terms of work, but I want to restart my career down here and see if I have what it takes to live in the big city year-round again. Several people I knew in Barkerville passed away, a sad shock.
December: I played accordion in an Italian christmas play and started rehearsals for a musical based on the video game Portal. A whole new world for me. My new guy continued to teach me how to love riding a motorbike, and how to be a girlfriend again after not being one for a long time.

When I think back over this year, what strikes me is how happy I was, even though there were financial difficulties and big changes and periods of loneliness throughout.  It was a happiness that began back in the fall of 2013 and just kept going. I had some wonderful gigs. I wrote some good songs. I travelled to some beautiful places and learned all over again the importance of exercise and a healthy diet. I met a lot of new friends and held on to them, even though we were separated by distance. I reconnected with a wonderful person from my high school days. I forged a tender and forgiving friendship with my most important ex. And in the last few months of the year I was surprised by something-by someone- wonderful. Someone who swoons when I sing, who made me a funny and saucy hand-drawn Christmas card, who wraps his arms around me and gives me rides on his motorbike and tells me true stories late into the night (and early into the morning too!).
Old and new, young and old, my friends give me strength, joy and support as I keep stumbling down this crazy road of life. They keep me excited about the future, even as I see the dangers and sadnesses that lie ahead: parents aging, money troubles, health issues, uncertainties and worries. I think that 2015 could be incredible. But even if it's not, I know I'll have the best people to hold my hand and get me through it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


The city is cold and rainy. I buy an adorable pair of grey fleecy fingerless gloves with a mitten attachment that pulls over the fingers. Mittens! I haven't had them since my age was in single digits and it feels awesome. 

Old Yeller played a gig this week: seven friends crowded onto and around the tiny corner stage while our friends and family laughed and ate and cheered. The best pre-Christmas present a girl could get. Well, that and my guy taking pictures of us like the paparazzi; meeting my friends, giving me a grin and a wink when he catches my eye. I tease him: You'll get tired of coming to my gigs. And he gets that stubborn look in his eye and says Nope

Friday, December 12, 2014


Must be something about this time of year: I remember it happened last year and here we are again: I find myself frustrated by Facebook and social media in general right now, and I don't know if I want to contribute to it by writing more, more, always more.

We are all clamouring: Listen to me! Look at ME! Whether it's heroics, or what we had for dinner, or the funny thing our kid said, or self-promotion for an upcoming gig-
Why are we doing it? If a tree falls in the forest, if we did a good thing or thought of a funny thing and then DIDN'T put it on Facebook or on a blog... maybe people wouldn't know. And maybe that's okay.

But it's there, a great web of lies and half-truths and publicity, and why not harness it? I'm as guilty as the next person. Look at this blog.

I made a big decision recently. I decided to stay in town this year and not go north for the summer. So I'm riding the internet waves, putting out feelers and putting myself out there and selling myself so I can make a living (hopefully) without my usual main source of income next year. I set up a profile on LinkedIn. My guy says he'll make me a website. More me me me.

I love it and I hate it. It's a powerful tool and I know it and as a writer I love to put my thoughts out there and have instant feedback; the "likes" coming thick and fast to a status update or photo I've posted; the comments or the messages flooding in.
But I walk to the mall to buy some groceries and I realize: I can't go half a block without wrestling my phone out of my pocket to see why it vibrated this time. I literally can't leave the house without my phone in case someone messages me or my guy texts, or an important email comes in.

I do small things to change this: I uninstall Facebook and Candy Crush (ugh, don't get me started) from my smartphone so it can live in my pocket more, and less in my hand.

It's almost Christmas. I LOVE Christmas! For 3 reasons: Lights. Food. MUSIC.
I'm rehearsing a Christmas show and another show and a gig; my days are suddenly filled with prep work, while my nights are full of rehearsals. I make a date with a girlfriend to go and see a street that's famous for its Christmas lights. I buy a little tree and put mini lights on it. I hang ornaments (too large for my tiny potted dwarf tree) from my venetian blinds and while I do this I listen to the cheesiest Christmas music imaginable. (But it has to be either classic crooners or the classical stuff. I'm talkin' Dean Martin or Kings College, Cambridge. None of this contemporary Pentatonix/Michael Buble/Idina Menzel shit.)

My guy texts me. We are both swamped with work, we haven't seen each other in 4 days but it feels longer. We are both chained to our computers and our cel phones and it's too much, but he sends me this one text: We just listened to your song again. On the stereo. Gosh you're good. 
I melt a little.

The wind is howling outside tonight. I just powered through a productive music rehearsal and now I'm nursing a glass of wine and the cats have hissed and fought and galloped through their version of the witching hour and now they're sleeping again.  I turn off the tv, finish typing this, and in another universe I set my phone and my laptop on fire, fanning the flames until they're both nothing more than a foul-smelling plastic-y ooze on the living-room rug.

But in this universe I close the lid on my computer, plug my phone into the wall, and try to remember to raise my eyes from the screen(s) more often and drink in everything that's around me.