Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I made a choice to stay in this evening and be with myself. 2013 has been probably the most difficult and scary year thus far. There have been some amazingly magic moments tucked within, but the anxiety and fear would loom large.

I've had years involving deep heartbreak, the kind I wouldn't wish on my enemies, but…this, this was different. It wasn't about heartbreak which, regardless how brutal, we get through…in some fashion, even if a part stays with us. 

No, this year was about financial questions and wondering how I'd pay my bills and the low esteem that comes with rejection after rejection from sending out a multitude of resumes. Averaging 10 to 15 resumes sent each week, I received a handful of responses….to then be the "almost but not quite" girl. I didn't have a partner who could pay the bills while I looked for work. There were times when I'd have no idea how I'd pay rent. It's just me. RI has a rough job market. It affected me on a core level. It definitely affected my painting practice, which I'm struggling to regain. And yet...I knew I needed to trust myself...and all would work out, yet still made for many sleepless nights.

But now, I have a job. I've been returning, albeit slowly, to a more rigorous discipline of exercise and more importantly, to my painting. And, I wonder what 2014 will bring. I try to leave a few unopened presents for the new year. Anticipation. A little mystery. And patience. 

So tonight, I am thoroughly enjoying being surrounded by my deep red curtains and twinkly holiday lights. I chose to bake my mom's Toutiere (Canadian meat pie) and enjoyed it with pickled beets and red wine, then followed by some very nice chocolate that was gifted to me. 

It's a time of reflection and soothing myself after being battered around these last 12 months.

Happy and magical New Year to all of you!

The sheep ornament was purchased to remind me of the times I attempted to "baaahh" like a sheep and would fail miserably. And also the glee I'd feel when I saw sheep in fields.

The round ornament was my first ornament purchased in RI....last year.  It's one of Providence's iconic buildings on the canal at the mouth of the bay.  Like all my ornaments, they remind me of something.  And the fish?  I love the water.  Like fish. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

From my trip to Boston the Saturday before xmas.  Look at those orange feet!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tonight, while going to get mail.  Photo taken at the yoga place next to my mailbox place.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Yesterday was a day trip to Boston.  After a delightful walk to the train station, I leisurely took my time buying my ticket, grabbing coffee and going to the restroom. Then I checked the board to find my track number only to discover it was supposed to have left a minute earlier. A guy raced past me and I tear off after him. We managed to hop the train with 30 seconds to spare, laughing and hi-fiving each other before grabbing our seats.

Friday, December 20, 2013

From my window.

Snow a few nights ago.  It was so lovely.  Today, it's warm and all melted.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Over 30 years ago I introduced my mom to a wonderful holiday animation called "The Snowman".  We both love it for the simplicity of story, the animation and…especially for this song "Walking In The Air".  We watched it again last year, my first xmas at home since 1998 when I moved to Seattle.  Here is a video of the song.

And because I've got big like for my little tree…here is another photo. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A photo I took on Friday the 13th, all the while forgetting it was Friday the 13th.   I cut through a parking lot to get to work and saw the birds in the tree.  I had to loop around again to photograph them and was gifted with a few birds in flight.

Monday, December 16, 2013

This is my first real little tree during my first holiday in my first apartment since I've returned to New England from Seattle.  

Last year, in December, I was renting a room.  It was a wonderful apartment but not my own space.  This year, it's my own home.   I intentionally try to make my living room the most relaxing room.  This space is coming along but there is more I want to do to it once I become permanent at my new job.

Over the weekend I picked up a little tree and spent Saturday evening setting it up.  My neighbor from downstairs came up and she helped me decorate.  We spent a great evening sharing stories, getting to know each other, having dinner delivered, watched a movie, put up the tree and enjoyed some brandy.  A nice time.

I love my little tree.  The wooden star at the top was made in the mid 80s by my first girlfriend.  This tree holds a disco ball, a flamingo, a Gumby, a girl softball player, musical instruments, a turtle, a whale, a bird, little fishes, a Seattle ferry boat, a pig with wings, a firecracker…and so much more.  

I choose my ornaments to remind me of the people that either are still in my life or have touched my life.   My tree is filled with stories.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

First snow.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Tonight was the tree lighting in downtown Providence at the outdoor skating rink next to City Hall.  The Brown University marching band performed.  On skates.  Here they are whizzing past…even the tubas.

Monday, December 02, 2013

This is the 7th year for the little hot pink feather tree and it's a trooper.  Still hanging in there.

Now it is finally really a painter's holiday tree.  I didn't have a spare table to put it on. Looking around the room I realized I could use my Jullian easel as a stand. But because of the easel bars in the front, to create a level surface I had to place two boxed large tubes of titanium white oil paint on either side.  From there I was able to lay my drawing board on top which then was perfect to hold the tree.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

(a proud moment for me)

Many years ago, a friend made a pie for one of my gatherings.  To this day I had never forgotten it because I thought it was brilliant:
Pear, Ginger, Black Pepper pie.

I haven't baked since 2001 or 2002 but had a strong hankering to make not only any pie…but the pie that had embedded itself in my memory.  After contacting my friend Jack, I received vague instructions, and nervously with cautious optimism, I peeled pears and pulled ingredients together.

"Tarte aux poires, gingembre et poivre noir!" exclaimed my mom as I pulled this out of the oven on Thanksgiving morning. I was excited because it looked lovely and the kitchen smelled sublime…filling the room with ginger. The recipe was "to taste" with no measurements...a little bit of a challenge for this girl who hasn't baked in eons.  

The texture, nice firm chunks of pear, pleased me…but it didn't gel.  I was a little light on the flour. But the taste was glorious.  I intentionally put hardly any sugar (barely a teaspoon) because I am not a fan of very sweet desserts, much preferring to actually taste the flavors.

And it made good breakfast food the next morning.  Like a Pop-Tart.  But better.

Here it is, right out of the oven.