I have a bit of trouble with this whole "New Years" thing, because really? January has never felt like a fresh start to me.
In January, I'm usually realizing that I have an entire winter ahead of me. I'm accepting that I can't afford to take a proper vacation, because Christmas was expensive, and my BH has classes anyway. For whatever reason, I'm usually sleep-deprived and feeling unattractive - layering up is warm and practical, but not always pretty. Long johns are no summer dress. I'm usually cursing the emergence of slush and bemoaning the damage road salt has inflicted on my boots. I'm generally hibernating, spinning my cocoon, making tea.
All these things combined make January a bad time for me to start over, mentally and emotionally. It's also a bad time for me to try and get in shape, that go-to resolution, because I'm eating heavy winter foods and avoiding the outdoors (besides my walk to work and back, without which I would be a lump on a log).
That being said, I have no problem reflecting on 2009, which will always be a memorable year for me.
This year, my number one standout event was performing on The Vinyl Cafe. It was so memorable, so beyond what I thought I was capable of, that I've got the whole thing permanently etched into my brain. Meeting Hawksley Workman and having an actual chat with him was part of that. Baking him cookies that didn't rise and writing him a love letter on bulldog stationary added to it. I guess that show made me feel like I had a reason to keep up with music. It no longer felt futile. Somehow, my songs reached enough people that I got to take it to the next level. That will always stay with me. It was quite a feeling. By the way, you folks out in blog land really helped me out with that show, whether you know it or not. I always knew you were rooting for me, and it made all the difference when my nerves threatened to eat me alive. Those of you who I have met, and those of you who I have yet to meet - THANK YOU.
Some other memorable stuff from 2009 include:
- Getting involved with the Venus Envy bursary fund, and the subsequent queer dance parties and burlesque shows that followed.
- Learning more about my community and making new friends.
- Meeting a bunch of you at the Blog Out Loud event - that was a lot of fun!
- Drinking too much at my office party and being wildly inappropriate (I'm not saying you should follow my example, I'm just saying it's going to stick out in my mind for a while. Like, a long while).
- Watching my BH's kid brother start high school. He was such a little guy when I met him. I can't believe he's taller than me.
- Visiting my sister in Peterborough. The antique store with the stacks of vintage Penthouse may have helped out the entertainment factor a bit.
- Countless meals with my family, and getting to know my Bubbi a lot more.
- My BH and I visiting Toronto, actually staying in a hotel, and actually managing to visit a few friends.
- Gigging in Toronto with Brian and Shawna. Gigging everywhere, actually. It was a good year for shows.
- Morty and my BH, who are always such adorable highlights to my day.
I can tell 2010 is going to be a wild year. My BH will graduate. I will (hopefully) start recording a new album, grant or not. I have a secret project that I'll tell you about when I am further along with it. My BH and I might actually get ourselves to Japan.
That's a lot to look forward to. L'Chaim!
I have a bit of trouble with this whole "New Years" thing, because really? January has never felt like a fresh start to me.
For all the craziness that has taken over as of late, I haven't had a nervous breakdown. Yet.
We'll see how that goes as the momentum builds and then I faceplant! Ahem.
In the meantime, I'm getting very excited about New Years, and greatly enjoying my Christmas gifts. Especially the bulldog shirt.
I played a house concert this past weekend.... I know I didn't mention it here, but it was really low key and built for a tiny crowd. We got just the right number of people out and I even played some very new (and very old) songs. Stuff like that is welcomed at a house concert. Not always the case at a bar.
Anyway, the show was lovely. We (Shawna, Brian and myself) had mulled wine and chatted with the folks who showed up. High School Boyfriend even came bearing home-baked gifts and alcoholic beverages. Yay for me! Yay for HSB!
In other news, the renovations from hell continue unabated at my apartment. Well, technically in the apartment above us, but it's so damn loud you wouldn't know the difference.
The other day, a guy was in here patching up some drywall after they ACCIDENTALLY BLEW A HOLE IN OUR WALL. We had the following conversation:
Him: So I guess the renovations have been pretty annoying for you, hey?
Me: Yeah, they are pretty shitty.
Him: I suppose the sound gets really bad.
Me: The sound is bad, but I'm also pretty peeved that the roofers and contractors seem to think we can't see them peeing out the back of the building.
Him: Uh, what?
Me: Yeah, I can see them all though the bedroom window, peeing away. My apartment isn't a toilet, you know. I can't believe how many wangs I've seen in the past month. It's getting kind of tiresome.
Him: ..... UM.
Me: (muttering) Fucking wangfest.
But in all seriousness, I have seen a lot of wangs this month. And yes, I'm complaining about it.
Morty discovered that he loves to tear up wrapping paper. Unfortunately we thought it was so cute that we didn't stop him, and he spent the following three days attacking every present he found so he could get to the paper.
I went to see my folks on Christmas Day. They had a lovely tree.
My fam is rad, no? Now you see why I'm so weird. These are my kin.
We made very blue pancakes. They had some very leaky blueberries in them.
My Bubbi was there. She's the cutest! She also bought my BH a real fruitcake, because she knows he's the only person in the world who eats that stuff. Thoughtful gal.
My mom took pictures of my dad. My dad made a lot of faces.
I discovered my mom's fridge poetry. Dirty! So that's where I get it from...
It hit me this morning like a ton of bricks. I want to get back in the studio. Like, now.
There are a few reasons why I'm not recording at the moment. One, because I have only a few good new songs. Also, I really can't afford it.
I suppose the logical thing to do is apply for those grants and wait to see if I get any money. BUT. Then I have to wait until the deadline passes in January, then wait around for a few more months to get a response, and if I don't get the money, that's a winter wasted.
The alternative, I think, is to save up a little bit of money and chat with my engineer about how much time I can buy. Then I'll go in and lay down some very quick tracks. At least then I'll have something to work on while I figure the rest of the money out.
Anyway. That's the tentative plan.
In other news, other than having bought all the gifts, I have zero else prepared. No wrapping, no decorations, no baking, nada. Damn this crazy month! My lofty plans will have to come down a notch, but that's cool. At least we took the time to stock up on booze.
Today was one of those funny days. I didn't do much, but it feels like I did a lot. Does that make sense? Probably not.
My BH and I went to Raw Sugar for a mini date. He snapped this picture of the back of my head, which is handy, because now you can see the pink. I think it might actually fade to a light pink before my next appointment, which is cool with me - then it will match some of my wardrobe.
You know. Because I'm terribly concerned with wardrobe matching.
I snapped this picture, which does not include any pink hair. Those are my favourite pears on a table, next to a plate that once held some tasty banana cake.
Remember when I joined a church choir? Tomorrow is our big show. My BH might come after all, and if he does, I'll try to get him to take a picture of my choir robes. I look like a fat angel in them. Not because I'm fat (or an angel), but because the robes are terribly unflattering and white.
Work is really wearing me down these days. It's insanely busy, and will continue to be busy for most of the winter. So I was extremely grateful when Milan said I could use his apartment to write songs in while he's numbing his ass on a bus to BC. Thanks Milan! I hope you regain the feeling in your ass soon.
I went to a work retreat the other day. I think I've vented about these things before... Specifically how the word "retreat" is used to lure you into a false sense of fun. Really, it's just a day spent absorbing office lingo and trying to bond with your co-workers. Total pain in the ass, if you ask me.
I already know I'm not cut out for long-term office work. Any of you who know me personally probably find it surprising I've lasted as long as I have. Come to think of it, you don't even need to know me personally to have figured that out.
I long for more hands-on, creative and flexible work than what I'm doing. But what I'm doing pays the bills. It lets me do music without being flat broke.
At this retreat, we were asked to write up some suggestions to improve some project and help us achieve some abstract goal. I drew a fire-breathing dragon on my little card, and wrote "Sorry, but I've got nothing interesting to say about this."
Later, one of the managers made a speech about horizontal management. My brain interpreted this as a euphemism for sex, and I giggled to myself for half an hour.
You see why I'm not made for this stuff?
As far as I understand it, work retreats are supposed to make you feel part of a team. They are supposed to make you feel like you are doing something useful... Working towards a common goal.... Being productive.
Without fail, however, they make me feel like stabbing myself in the eye just to get out of there. They remind me why I will one day quit. Go back to school, make music my main focus, become a full-time nudist.... Anything but this.
In other news, I got my awesome stylist to dye a section of my hair hot pink. You should see the looks I'm getting at the office. :)
The construction continues unabated at our apartment. The new landlord said they should be done the majority of the work by the end of the month. I really hope he's right, because I'm going to bust a cap in someone's ass if this goes on through January. This morning, giant chunks of my roof were falling outside the window while I was showering.
So remember back when I joined that church choir? Our big concert is this Sunday. I think my BH might be working, so I don't know if any of my friends will actually witness my transformation into a choir girl. I'll be wearing robes and everything. I'm also going to be standing next to a friend of mine who is about a foot taller than me. Maybe I'll dig out some heels so I don't look like such a shrimp.
Did you hear? The strike is over! Congrats to my bloggy friends who have been freezing their butts off to get better working conditions. You deserve a good stiff drink.
More soon when things aren't so nutty....
I bought a Canada Goose coat this fall so that my wintery walks would be more bearable. It is by far the best coat I have ever owned, and I don't think I'll ever switch brands again (thanks for convincing me, Heather!).
I'm still not nuts about that thin line of actual fur around the hood, but considering that I walked 40 minutes through a blizzard and barely noticed the howling winds, I guess I'll just deal.
On my walk, I saw one guy without a hat and one guy with sneakers on. Are they making a fashion statement, or are they just dumb? I'd love to know. When you can't see a few inches past your nose with all the snow, it's time to dress for the weather. This is Ottawa! We get nutty weather! Converse will not protect you.
As I feared, December is slipping by faster than I would like. I've put off decorating the apartment because my new landlord is always coming in to do renovations, but shit, the month will be over soon. If my decorations get some plaster dust on them, so be it.
While it's nice to see the building getting fixed up, I'm getting pretty sick of all the noise. They tore off the roof the other day, and they tore up the flooring of the upstairs apartment yesterday. Today they are doing something disruptive to our hallway. They may have to rebuild a dividing wall because apparently, "It's not really a wall. Somebody tossed up a piece of wood and some drywall and called it safe." Fucking lame. Morty is a nervous mess because of all the thumping and my BH is trying to study for exams. The timing really blows.
I'm trying to be patient, but there's a big part of my brain that wants to go out and get a mortgage quote or two. I'm starting to talk to myself in soothing tones so I don't do anything irrational. Renting still makes sense, providing the renos don't go on indefinitely.
My gig schedule is pretty clear now with fall being over. I'm going to take the opportunity to book some songwriting time, and maybe a few key gigs. I don't think I'll be as busy as I was over the past few months, and that's cool with me. Gigging in the winter without a car is kinda tricky. But songwriting? That I can do.
Poor Morty. Between the reno noise and the sound of my guitar, he's going to be one miserable bulldog.
It has been a while since I've been able to post. Apologies. So much has been going on.
On the small scale, my BH got this cute little table and chairs from our neighbour. It fits the space a lot better than the giant set we were using before. ADORABLE.
On the chubby scale, here's my awesome dog waking up from a nap. In a bandanna! ADORABLE.
Yesterday was weird.
I had an unexpected day off work, which was great, except that I couldn't really decide what to do with myself. I puttered around for a bit before I decided to walk my lazy ass down to Preston and get all my knives sharpened.
There's something about walking though Centretown with a giant bag full of knives, let me tell you.
Now I have knives so sharp I'm scared to use them. I was washing them in the sink after I brought them home and sliced my heavy duty sponge in two. Eventually I'll graduate from sponges to actual food. The reason I got them sharpened in the first place was to avoid the mess I become when I'm cutting onions.
So. It's December. Consider my mind blown.
Obviously I knew it was coming. I have a calender. I know that December follows November. But I know how quickly December slides by, so I'm already wondering if I'm going to blink and find myself in January.
Here are some of the things I'll be doing to make December as great as possible:
- make mincemeat pies
- make chocolate candy cane bark for my co-workers
- have a million dinners with my friends
- order my final two or three Christmas gifts
- buy more Hannukah gelt
- bring out my Christmas decorations and do up the apartment
- listen to a lot of loud choral music
- hang out with my puppy and my BH as much as I can
- send out some holiday cards with pictures, especially to family in India
- sing in the choir!
- make some lists (funny, I wrote this down before I noticed the irony)
How about you? What are you going to do to make sure your month is fun fun fun?