Monthly archive for December 2009

Your official guide to ringing in the new year in style

It’s almost the end of 2009, which means it’s officially time to look back, evaluate, suggest changes, and then hope for the best in the next year, which seems to us from the vantage point of mid-December to be a marvelously and deliciously blank slate.  I was talking with my friend Anna recently about how business was in 2009, and we both reflected a little bit on the recession and what we did to try to counteract its effects, and we both kind of felt like we could have done more.  More what, I’m not exactly sure (at least not on my end) but more something, you know?  It’s kind of counter-productive to reflect on something that was largely outside of your control and feel like if you had just done something differently, it might have actually worked to bring the situation inside your control, and things would be different, but it’s tempting to do so, even if just because we all love to wallow in failure every once in a while, just as we love to spring again to our feet, declaring this time things will be different.  (more…)

In which I (briefly) talk about physics for the first and last time

I learned last week (from an episode of Flash Forward, so take this with a grain of salt) that a lot of physicists believe in a theory that says that there are multiple universes out there, and that the life that would have resulted from every path we never chose is actually still out there somewhere being lived by another version of ourselves.  This idea, that every possible outcome of every possible decision I ever made is alive and well in another universe, has stuck with me and I keep turning it over in my brain, imagining decisions both large and small and thinking about what those realities would look like.  Somewhere there’s a Lauren whose best friend didn’t move away in grade eight, a Lauren who is married to a red-haired guy named John, a Lauren who is still working at Manulife, a Lauren who actually buckled down years ago and wrote a book and lost 20 pounds and started getting up much earlier in the morning.

I wonder, are those Laurens happier than this one?  Sadder?  Taller, maybe?  And more adept at flipping a grilled cheese sandwich without causing the bread to go all cattywompus on her?  (One can hope.)  I guess that is one of the truly good things about the way our lives our structured:  we rarely, if ever, have to be faced with the reality of all of the possible consequences of the decisions we’ve made, what it would look like if we swore things would be different and then followed through on it.  Life’s not like a Choose Your Own Adventure book – you can’t cheat like I always did, flip ahead and pick the best of the two options – and we just get to see the one reality, the one we’re living, but for all we know, it is the best one, the healthiest and happiest and most worthy, of the thousands that are out there.

How lovely are thy branches

So.  I fell asleep at 10:30 on Friday night and didn’t wake up again until 7:30 on Saturday morning, which is pretty much unheard of around these parts, and come Saturday I was filled with the vim, vigour, and holiday cheer of a mother whose newborn just slept through the night for the first time.  At least, that’s how I expect that feels, having had no direct exposure to that particular experience myself, but I will consider it sufficient to say that I was so well-rested that it bordered on the sublime.  (more…)

Oh Christmas tree

When I was a kid, we always had a Real Christmas Tree, one that we chopped down as a family during a yearly event that I remember very fondly but was likely nonetheless filled with a lot of whining, because that is just what happens when I get cold.  During the first three years of our marriage, Mike and I had a Fake Christmas Tree, mostly because Mike thought it was easier (which it was) and also equally as festive (which it definitely was not).   However, nigh upon three Christmases ago, I was able to convince him that we needed the feel of snow under our feet and the thrill of the hunt and also subsequently the aroma of evergreen permeating our house, so we put on our boots and our mittens and our (okay, my) sock rabbit hat and headed off to Benjamin Tree Farm, where we drank free cider and ate free cookies and chopped down our tree.  I suppose technically Mike chopped down the tree, while I stood close by to offer encouraging comments like “Looks good, sweetie!” and “Are you almost done?  My feet are cold …” but nonetheless I consider it a team effort, and a successful one at that.  (more…)


This weekend, there was German sausage and listening to Pam sing with the rest of the Grand Philharmonic Choir at the Christkindl Market and then more Christmas carols on the way to Aurora, and mushroom risotto and blackforest cake and the chaos of three dogs in small, medium, and large and my yearly attempt at hiding my brother’s almost 30-year-old potato print painting in the bathroom (to counteract his insistence that it be displayed proudly in a prominent spot in the house), and driving home and eating goat cheese & prosciutto pizza and being horrified by Food Inc. and getting, for once, a good night’s sleep.

Today, wrapping up a few work projects and drinking a latte with a little nutmeg and rubbing a fuzzy cat belly and doing up some Christmas cards and even enjoying the light dusting of snow, something I never thought I’d enjoy, even from the coziness of my office, and furthermore certainly never thought I’d ever admit to enjoying.  (I am careful with the weather, you see, and stingy with my compliments between November and April, because I don’t think we should encourage it.)

And, you know, it was all very satisfactory, perfectly acceptable just as it was, no surprises, no excitement, just a list of small events from which I really wouldn’t feel comfortable asking for any more.