Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ring out the old, ring in the new

The end of the year is always a time for reflection, a time for considering what has been and our hopes for what the new year will bring. The end of this year is particularly poignant for me for a number of reasons. 2009 was one of the best, and certainly most eventful, years of my life, highlighted of course by our wedding and the beginning of the shared adventure that is married life. 2010 brings a lot of changes, some of them scary. Just this morning I said good bye to one of my closest friends at work, a woman who has been a mentor and guide for me for my whole career. She is off to a well deserved retirement, but we will miss her dreadfully and the department will have a huge hole in it that it will be hard for anyone else to fill. Early in the new year Serdic will finish up at his job and become a full time student again. An exciting path for him, to be sure, and one I wholeheartedly support him starting on, but it's a big change for us, and a scary one.

This is also a particularly interesting year to look back, as it is the end of the first decade of the millenium. It is hard to believe that ten years ago tonight we were in the throes of Y2K panic (and what a bust that turned out to be!). The last ten years of my life have taken some interesting twists and turns, and if you had told that 23 year old me then where I would be in ten years, I wouldn't have believed you. I was on the verge of graduating from Queen's (being the class of '00 was kind of fun, I will admit), with no idea where I was going or what I would be doing when I got there. I had no idea I would become a librarian, and certainly not that I would end up in Ottawa working for the most prestigious library in the country. I didn't know I would be in Ottawa at all. I definitely didn't know that ten years after leaving my hometown I would meet and marry a boy from that hometown, and find more happiness with him than I knew was possible. There were so many good things in store, not only for me but for members of my family (living in other countries, Olympic medals, trips and jobs and awards and weddings and all kinds of things) and I'm glad I didn't know they were all coming, but have been able to enjoy the ride and each surprise and celebration as it comes. The last decade has brought some amazing people into my life, not just Serdic and his family, but so many dear friends who have become so special to me.

There was loss and sadness, too. The greatest of these was of course the loss of my beloved Grandad and Grandma, and their absence is felt every day. Pets have died, friends have drifted away or moved. Things have changed and time marches on. Just yesterday I received the news that the father of a friend had died, and I will be part of the group singing at the funeral on Saturday. This is a friend who came and sang for Serdic and me at our wedding two months ago. Life and death, love and loss, happiness and grief ... at the end of the year it is appropriate to reflect on these things, and be thankful for all that we have received, and hopeful for what is to come.

I hope for more adventures for all my friends and family in 2010, and only good things and happiness for us all. Happy New Year, everyone.

Friday, December 18, 2009

2009 wrap up

Last year I did this a couple of weeks before the end of the year, and then Serdic surprised me by proposing on New Year's Eve, changing a lot of my answers to these questions! I'm assuming that this year I'm safe from that kind of surprise. :-)

1) What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before? got married, bought a car, visited Spain and Malta
2) Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't really make New Year's resolutions, other than I always resolve to be a better person, lose weight, etc. Sort of ongoing things.
3) Did anyone close to you give birth? No
4) Did anyone close to you die? No, thankfully.
5) What countries did you visit? England, France, Spain, Italy, Malta, the United States
6) What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? nothing was lacking ... more money, maybe
7) What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? October 24, 2009 -- the day I married my best friend and love of my life
8) What was your biggest achievement of the year? Planning a kick ass wedding without killing myself or anyone else
9) What was your biggest failure? not losing any weight
10) Did you suffer illness or injury? nothing except the common cold
11) What was the best thing you bought? my car!
12) Whose behavior merited celebration? The many people who did so much to help us make our wedding so beautiful and special
13) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? various public figures
14) Where did most of your money go? wedding and honeymoon, car payments
15) What did you get really, really, really excited about? the wedding
17) Compared to this time last year, are you:
- happier or sadder? happier
- thinner or fatter? about the same
- richer or poorer? about the same
18) What do you wish you'd done more of? weight loss
19) What do you wish you'd done less of? complaining
20) How did you spend Christmas? with the family and Serdic's family
21) Did you fall in love in 2009? over and over again ... always with the same guy!
22) How many one-night stands? none
23) What was your favorite TV program? I didn't really watch a lot of tv this year
24) Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Can't think of anyone
25) What was the best book you read? to tell the truth, I can't think of anything. I didn't have a lot of time for reading this year, and I revisisted some old favourites but didn't make any new discoveries
26) What was your greatest musical discovery? I Gotta Feeling, by the Black Eyed Peas
27) What did you want and get? To be loved
28) What did you want and not get? to be independently and fabulously wealthy
29) What was your favorite film of this year? Up
30) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? worked, went out for dinner with Serdic, was showered with love and affection by family and friends; I was 33
31) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Can't think of anything -- it was an incredibly satisfying year
32) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? I'm lucky to make it out the door in the morning with my clothes on right side out and matching socks ... does that count as a fashion concept?
33) What kept you sane? family, friends, love, music, faith ... all the good stuff
34) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Colin Firth, as always
35) What political issue stirred you the most? can't think of anything
36) Who did you miss? my grandma, my grandad, my sister
37) Who was the best new person you met? a great new family of inlaws who are warm and welcoming and fun
38) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009: good things come to those who wait
39) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Come my love, I'll tell you a tale
Of a boy and girl and their love story
And how he loved her oh so much
And all the charms she did possess
My love is like a storybook story
But it's as real as the feelings I feel
My love is like a storybook story
But it's as real as the feelings I feel
It's as real as the feelings I feel

Monday, December 7, 2009

Musical musings

The morning of my wedding, as we were getting ready at our parents' house, PetDoc and Noise decided on a "theme song" for the day, and put the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" on a loop on the laptop. They and Jay sang and danced around the living room, and we must have listened to the song a dozen times over the course of the morning. Later, at the reception, Noise requested the song from the DJ and I got to dance to the song not only with my sister and brother-in-law and dear friend, but with the love of my life and all of our nearest and dearest, on the happiest day of my life. As Serdic and I toured Europe on our honeymoon we heard the song everywhere we went, up to and including in the taxi on our way home from the airport when we finally got back to Ottawa. I have since found out that this is because that song is, like, the #1 song of the year (I hardly ever listen to the radio or contemporary music, so my knowledge in this area is sadly lacking), but for me it will always be "my" song, and the minute I hear the opening phrase I think of that day, and those people, who are so, so dear to me. I know PetDoc and Noise didn't set out to give me the song as a gift, but in a way that's exactly what they did, and it was one of the best gifts I received that day, because the memories and associations it evokes will always be there, and it will always make me think of them, and that day, and the happiness and excitement and anticipation and love and celebration and all those great and beautiful things that were part of that day. It's amazing how a song can do that, isn't it? There's a lot of music that I associate with our wedding now, music that I always knew I wanted to be part of the day -- the song I came down the aisle to, our first dance, etc. -- but I never expected this one!

On another musical note (no pun intended!), I attended the annual Come Sing Messiah! on Friday night. I went last year for the first time, and swore to myself then that I would never miss it again. What an incredible evening of music. The more familiar I get with Messiah, the more I become convinced that there has never been and never will be a work written to equal it. I've sung major sections of it several times now, and I never fail to be moved by the power and beauty of the story it tells, and the glorious, glorious music. I have not been looking forward to Christmas this year, finding it more of a burden than something to be excited about, which is really upsetting to me as Christmas has always been my favourite time of year. This year I think it's just the post-wedding let down and trying to get life back on an even keel, plus we've been dealing with a number of changes since we got back to real life, and I don't handle change well (who does?). But after singing Messiah Friday night I am feeling much more in the spirit of the season, and reminded of what is important and the reason for the season, to break out an overused and worn out phrase.

Of all the things in the world that give life beauty and grace, I think the one I am most grateful for is music.