Sunday, December 30, 2018

Swift Kick In The Year End, Part II

PART II: THE INSIDE WORLD, aka the one that hopefully people care about.

2018, personally, has been a banner year. It's had its ups and downs, to be sure, but much of it was jam packed with life, laughter and love.

Both Eva and I left horrid jobs (hers much worse than mine) on the same day in June. She is quite happy in her new job and I was in mine until it poofed on me earlier this month. I start a new job on January 7th and we'll see how this one goes. But I really have to thank the short time I was there, I made some friends, was paid to take a bunch of LinkedIn courses that seem to look all spiffy there on my resume, and gained enough confidence that when that job did poof, I grabbed a new one in short order.
I don't think I can understate that. It may seem trivial to most of you. But I spent a life moldering away in retail. Retail, the accidental career, the only profession in which clients can stare at you in your work uniform and ask "do you work here?"
Despite the soft skills that retail grants you in abundance, it's seen as a dead end more often than not, and I had thoroughly internalized that. A friend of mine named Ashlea recommended arvato to me, and I jumped for it. And made it.
Six months later, I unmade it, but that was not my fault. This time, it was definitely a business decision, and it didn't actually come from the company for which I was working. That made it easier to take; the knowledge that I had leapt into the job from another just this year lent me the conviction I could do it again.

As eventful as the year was professionally, it was even more so personally, and this can't be understated either.

I am a lucky man. And a loved one.

As I write this, my wife Eva is asleep on the couch on the other side of the room, cuddling Dolly, who has insinuated herself in true Dolly fashion between Mommy and the back of that couch. Eva's  partner Mark is ensconced in his chair, playing his Township game. There are dishes to do and there's laundry to do and fuck it, the week between Christmas and New Year's is all about exploring new realms of laziness. I'm getting this blog done before I do anything of consequence. 

It feels like home.

I spent Christmas Eve to the 27th with Kathy and Jade. We watched Scrooged and A Christmas Story, as well as the first three episodes of The Terror (highly recommend this show: it was criminally overlooked in awards season). We went to her sister's little family get-together on Christmas Day and I was made to feel welcome there; her parents even gave me a totally unexpected gift. Back at Kathy's, exchanging puns with Jade and her boyfriend Darien... felt like home.

This past week has been a microcosm of the year, really, in love and life, punctuated by little trips and excursions (Eva and I to see Bill Engvall at Casino Rama and the baby Leafs defeat the baby Penguins 7-4 at the Coca-Cola Coliseum;  Kathy and I  on rollicking road trips to Meaford and Niagara Falls). We're hoping that 2019 brings more of the same. Eva and I really do want to get to Ottawa one of these years and Kathy and I are hoping to do Agawa Canyon. Pretty sure Eva and Mark want to get away for a bit, too. Whether these come to fruition or not is a matter of money, but the intent is certainly there.

It hasn't been all fun and games, believe me. Eva is entering the thick of menopause, which, for those of you who haven't experienced it, is something like PMS except the P stands for "permanent". Add in the daily abuse she was taking in her previous job and it was a little like living with a stash of old, sweaty nitro. Kathy, meanwhile, has had to adjust to a CPAP machine know Murphy's Law? Turns out Murphy was an optimist. Maybe I can coax her into telling you that story sometime next year.

But the occasional tumult serves only to remind me I love people unconditionally. Untested love means little, after all.

A highlight of the year was the sermon I gave at Grand River Unitarian. It was very well received. I keep saying I need to get back there regularly, to really commit to attendance and contribution, and while that's true, this new job will almost certainly involve Sunday shifts. I looked into rebooting my life in pursuit of a career in ministry and the obstacles in my way are insurmountable without a whole lot of money and time. But church, much like children, confers benefits even peripherally.

As always, much thanks to my friends for a great year.  I love every last one of you.

On to pop culture.

Last night's drubbing at the hands of the New York Islanders notwithstanding, the Toronto Maple Leafs are really quite good this year, no joke. Mitch Marner is in fifth place in the scoring race; Morgan Reilly leads all defensemen in scoring and Frederik Andersen is second in the league in goalie wins. Big hopes for the playoffs.

MOVIE OF THE YEAR, bearing in mind I haven't seen many: A QUIET PLACE.  Why can't Hollywood make more original movies like this? One of the scariest flicks I've seen in a long, long time, it has stuck with me. Honourable mention: A STAR IS BORN.

TV SHOW OF THE YEAR: already mentioned THE TERROR. This is a retelling of the Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest Passage, but it's directed by Ridley Scott, so the unimaginable cold is not the only thing stalking the crew. Fantastic acting by a who's-who of British character actors, and a gripping story well told.


Kacey Musgraves - Butterflies
Ninja Sex Party - Danny Don't You Know
Janelle MonĂ¡e - I Got The Juice
Lady Gaga - I'll Never Love Again

(I wish I could include the whole of Hamilton: An American Musical here: I only discovered it for myself this year, and I'm currently a wee bit obsessed with it.)

That was the year that was. I wish my readers and their families -- given and chosen -- all the best in the year that's yet to be.

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