32 gifts

Early winter kicks me in the shins every year. I can’t help feeling glum as the merriness of Christmas fades and I look ahead to three cold, hard, vacationless months. Plus, I’m pretty sad and anxious for the world right now.

I temporarily banished the doldrums this morning, with what’s become a January tradition: listing some of the highlights of the year gone by — one bullet for every year of my life.

In 2016 I…

A view from the side of the road in Slovenia

A view from the side of the road in Slovenia

  • Performed in a band
  • Skated the ice trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park
  • Celebrated my amazing grandfather, Dinis Rebelo
  • Had pancakes at the Wye Marsh Sweetwater Harvest Festival
  • Replaced the ugly mudroom ceiling with handsome beadboard
  • Hugged Odie on his one-year anniversary with us
  • Had my first Thai massage
  • Travelled to the top of 30 Rock to watch the sunset
  • Checked out a California beach
Violet, Joël and Avery at Ocean Beach in San Diego, CA

Violet, Joël and Avery at Ocean Beach in San Diego, CA

  • Learned to throw an axe
  • Got awesome false eyelashes
  • Bought my first king-sized bed
  • Came second in the five family nerd tournament
  • Joined Weight Watchers and lost 15 pounds
  • Attended my 10th Festival du Loup
  • Hosted an epic garage sale on my birthday
  • Started the world’s longest bathroom renovation
  • Went to the ballet
  • Spent time with my avo
Hanging with avo usually looks like this - except add food

Hanging with avo usually looks like this – except add food

  • Attended my first night time santa claus parade
  • Danced with mom, Yève and Elise on international women’s day
  • Got to level 23 in Pokémon Go
  • Powered through a few injuries and illnesses (concussion, poison ivy, an epic battle with a nettle tree)
  • Partied with the Lefaives at JoAnne and Dan’s 40th anniversary party
  • Bought a new mommy mobile – Linda the Forester
  • Greeted many friends’ adorable new babies
  • Drank margaritas the size of my head in Mexico
Some of the gang that travelled to Mexico with us. So cool!

Some of the gang that travelled to Mexico with us. So cool!

  • Started focusing on our little family — quitting several volunteer roles
  • Helped good friends move into their first home

Somehow I forgot to post my list from 2015, but here are those from 2014 and 2013.

As usual, counting my blessings makes me feel a heck of a lot better. 2016 may have been a shit year for the human race, but it was a great one for me. Thanks to everyone who played a part.

xo

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30 gifts

Last January, in my usual post-holiday melancholy, I wrote a list of 29 gifts offered by the year 2013 – one for each birthday gone by. It was like sunshine on my face after days of cold and dark.

Sunshine on our faces.

Sunshine on our faces.

This January felt entirely different. After happily bouncing around Europe for a few weeks, I came home rested and excited about my engagement.

Now I’m settling into the usual winter doldrums. Brushing my car off every morning is killing my soul. My face hurts when I walk my (lovely and adorable) dog at 6:30 a.m. I’m dying of a vitamin D deficiency. Yadda yadda yadda.

This is us trying to embrace winter.

This is us trying to embrace winter.

So here it is, my cure for the murky, miserable winter blues.

In 2014 I…

  1. Played my first round of real Penetang bingo.
  2. Took on a new volunteer role with le Festival du Loup.
  3. Travelled to England to see dad and Nora get hitched.
  4. Survived the worst winter ever – barely.
  5. Bought a snowblower. We’ve christened it blowy.
  6. Tried and loved stand up paddleboarding.
  7. Hosted a few good shindigs.
  8. Met real witches in Salem on Halloween.
  9. Drywalled the kitchen ceiling and painted the attic.
  10. Sang and played in public – a bunch!
  11. Celebrated New Year’s Eve in Paris.
  12. Explored every high tea joint in Toronto, eating tiny sandwiches at every one.
  13. Started going to the gym again – kind of.
  14. Toasted my sister and her perfect partner at their wedding. 
  15. Became flexitarian.
  16. Checked out the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival.
  17. Made the local papers a few times.
  18. Baked cookies with cousins.
  19. Kindled my passion for municipal politics by volunteering.
  20. Deepened my love of boardgames. For our wedding, we might register for Ubongo, Munchkin and Dominion.
  21. Celebrated a whole year of blogging.
  22. Was offered a fantastic permanent job.
  23. Kind of figured out the gardening thing – kind of.
  24. Got into the Elmvale groove.
  25. Went on another wine-fuelled trip with the Humber gals.
  26. Played my first round of golf and didn’t totally suck.
  27. Joined our local francophone community choir.
  28. Celebrated nine years with the world’s handsomest Franco-Ontarian.
  29. Dropped my 15-year Wal-Mart boycott and took vavo shopping.
  30. Got to know every inch of Tiny Marsh.
Maybe winter isn't so bad after all!

Maybe winter isn’t so bad after all!

Much love to all the beautiful people who made 2014 great. May you all enjoy 2015 as much as I think I will.