Wednesday, January 02, 2008

This Will Be Our Year.

One of the things I love about the end of the calender year is all the "year in review" specials on TV and radio. (I miss Fromage!) The train wrecks, the triumphs, the deaths, the who-cares-another-celebrity-had-a-genetically-superior-spawn births.

This was a big year for me, but 365 days ago, I wouldn't have guessed it. It was a year ago today my grandmother died, and later in January '07, my good friend Anna's father died. I didn't think this was an especially auspicious way to kick off the year.

BUT, I had my cool albeit low-paying job at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. It was a great place to work, and I harbour pipe dreams of returning there some day. I moaned when I had to paint walls for days on end ("For this I bled my eyes out for my MA?"), but as a reward I got to show schoolkids around and learn 'em some art 'n' history. The big highlight, though, were the times I had to work in the vault. That's where the permanent collection is stored, so I got to explore the bins and absorb all the great Canadian art the Gallery owns. And by absorb, I don't mean touch, of course, unless absolutely necessary, and then only with cotton gloves. [insert nervous laughter here]

Then, as my work term came to a close, I got word that I was accepted into Fleming College's Sustainable Building Design and Construction program. For years, I'd read about straw bale housing and alternative building methods, and I'd been to one workshop, but I didn't feel like it was enough. I was excited and scared by the prospect of taking a building course.

The nightmares started soon after I sent in my tuition cheque, and imagining a life with fewer fingers became a distracting daydream. It was the circular saws. Those damn circular saws.

By July, and four months into a five month course, I was the power saw mistress of the construction site, and I'd learned more than I ever could have imagined. Like grad school, it only taught me how little I know. I know now I can design with sustainable methods, and, to a certain extent, build, but I need help. I'm ok with that.

My classmates were a singular bunch of very different people who were drawn together with my like-minded goals: learn how to help people live their lives better and more mindfully.

Plus, I got a bitchin' scar on my forearm from a straw bale building tool used to make the scratch coat in earthen plasters. Not dissimilar to this one:
Yeah, I'm hard.

The upshot is, I know more than I did, and I think that should always be a goal.

After living in beautiful cottage country Ontario, I couldn't stand the idea of moving back to PEI to be once again under- or unemployed, so I decided to make the move to Toronto. An old friend came out of the woodwork to hook me up with a sweet job teaching at a private high school. I was so stoked to have a job lined up before I even moved to the city.

My new and good friend T took me into his house and I got to know his family while I stayed with them for a month while my own living situation was ironed out. Then the fam hooked me up with a friend of theirs for two weeks until my house was ready.

My house in Toronto! I live with 4 other East Coasters and we are a sleepy bunch because we'd much rather stay up late chatting than go to bed. Perhaps my resolution this year is to get 8 hours of sleep every night. We'll see how long that lasts.

Now, for the new year, I hope to travel, I hope to read, I hope to get a new job, and I hope to get laser eye surgery (possibly as soon as late January!). I also hope to strengthen my knees or take a dance class or something. No capoeira. Oh, and I'd like to finish that bleedin' screenplay I've been toiling on/ignoring for 2 years.

Find below the ubiquitous movie year in review.

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