If 2016 was about chaos, and 2017 about the resulting fallout, then 2018 was more or less about the return to normalcy — whatever that means — and stability. No divorce proceedings. No moving house. No family members undergoing chemo. No new work challenges. OK, kidding, there were definitely those, but the expansion of my role was less dramatic than in the year before.
Now, 18 months into living in my loft, it feels like home. We’ve sunk more roots too: Lindsay more or less moved in last year; after a 4-month stint back in Montreal earlier this year, she moved to Toronto for good in June. We renovated the kitchen and bathroom. And we adopted a cat: Kramer. He’s a rescued feral cat, so he’s not exactly snuggly (read: we can’t touch him and he mostly just hisses at us) but we love him and we think he’s starting to like us too.
In between all the work we did find time to actually enjoy the loft, watching movies (36, up slightly from 34 last year) and TV shows (finishing 12 seasons this year), listening to music (11 new albums purchased this year, down from 13 last year), and reading books (7 this year, way up from 3 last year). I consumed more than media though; the weight gain continued unabated.
Outside of the loft but around Toronto, we did lots this year, like a couple of Raptors games, Torquil Campbell’s one-man play True Crime, a talk Lindsay gave at 401 Richmond, a Frightened Rabbit concert, Waxahatchee & Hurray For The Riff Raff at The Opera House, a Fran Lebovitz talk, a St. Vincent concert, a Godspeed You! Black Emperor concert, a cheese & beer tasting at Rorschach (where I met Nils from the Rural Alberta Advantage), a Beach House concert, a couple of TIFF films, Gertude & Alice at Buddies In Bad Times theatre, and a poetry reading (where I met a member of The Constantines).
We hung out with friends a bunch too, like Bina, Andrea, Sue, Tess & Kealin, Shannon, Mike & Heather, Joe & Sheila, Andrea again, Brock + Margaret, Amy, Shannon again, a bunch of people at Lob, Mike & Heather again, a 90s-themed party, and a bunch of others I probably didn’t blog about. We also had quick family visits from Tim (twice) and Mom.
I/we hit a few new restaurants around town too, like The Civic, The Hot Stove Club, Gare de L’Est, Yeah Yeahs, Birreira Volo (finally!), Bar Hop Danforth, Cider House, Le Select, Frankie’s Italian, Rorschach, Maple Leaf Tavern, East 36, Lena, Harbour 60, Katana on Bay, M’Eat, and Brassaii.
I/we only got out of Toronto to see the rest of Ontario a few times this year: dinner at Brian & Mandy’s place in NotL with Brock & Margaret, a quick down-and-back Niagara winery swing in August, and Ottawa for work (but with a quick side visit to CBGB’s place) in December.
I/we hit two other parts of Canada with regularity this year: Montreal (visiting four times for fun and two times for work) and Nova Scotia (once for a birthday/going away party and memorial for my aunt Anne, who passed away; once for a wedding; once for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary; and once over the Christmas holidays).
As is often the case, many of our highlights came while abroad. After a couple of quick work trips to Miami and Orlando (frankly, I’d spent my life trying to avoid Florida, and here I was visiting twice in two weeks) we book-ended several days of fun around a spring work trip to Dublin, and spent a slightly-truncated week in Amsterdam and Sweden in the fall. In between those two I had another work trip in San Francisco, where I managed to squeeze in a bit of fun. (Read: beer & steak.)
So that’s 2018 in a nutshell: the velocity hasn’t slowed, but there are fewer speed wobbles. For that, and for a hundred other things — a healthy family, a brilliant partner who loves me, a job I might have custom-designed for myself, a beautiful home in a safe and growing city, friends forgiving of my schedule and inattention — I remain incredibly grateful.