Sunday, 21 December 2014

Bring on the light!

Thanks to my #1 blog lover, AGLL, for bugging me continually about updating this thing.  I think I was having such a wonderful summer and fall that spending time on the computer ran counter to my desire to be out in the sun and clean air.  Summer was delightful, I was outside all the time, but fall was particularly spectacular in Saskatoon.  Seriously, I was still walking to work in a just a sweater, skirt, and tights during the third week of October.  Amazing.  Not so amazing right now, with all the fog and darkness.  But today is Solstice so the light will be returning...bring it on.

But now for the blog update.  Grab a cuppa (Typhoo?), this is going to be a long one.  :)

Where to start?  I'll give you a quick recap of the fall in Fine Arts at the library.  We've given the department a kick in the ass and did a bunch of programs, including public art talks, our book club, and an evening presentation about animation.  I'm involved in a music discussion group, which has been dubbed Wednesday Night Music Club.  It's like a book club but we listen to an album (yes, a whole shuffle, no skipping tracks), then have a chat about it after.  I was super nervous for the first session, but nine people out and we had a good evening.  Our subsequent sessions have averaged about five people and we've listened to anything from classic rock to country to the brand new album by Beck.  It's interesting to hear how different people interpret and talk about music.  It's been so much fun and we're looking forward to continuing on through the winter.  Another REALLY EXCITING thing we're doing is a music CD advisory service for SPL patrons, called SPL Music Quest.  Patrons fill out a form, online or paper, telling us what they like to listen to, all time favourite musicians/groups/composers, how adventurous they are when listening to music, etc., and we use that information to pick one CD a month for each participant.  Although readers' advisory is a well-known library service, music advisory hasn't taken off.  Getting everything organized and rolled out was stressful, but Fine Arts is home to some really great team players and we worked out kinks together.  We have about 28 participants so far and we're enjoying picking music for each person.  A couple of us have described it as giving a gift to someone everytime we send out a CD.  Feedback has been positive so far, and I'm hoping to speak about this service at a library conference next spring.

There was also live music performed in our art gallery this fall.  We had bass player Richard Carnegie come do a gig in October for Saskatchewan Library Week, then in November clarinet and percussion duo Carmine Jewel performed new music and traditional holiday carols on a cold, snowy afternoon.  Both performances were well-received and I would love to get more of this happening in the future. I'm in the process of hunting for grant money to make things happen.

After all that craziness, I headed home to Ontario for my first vacation in over a year.  I've never lived far from friends and family, so the whole idea of scheduling visits with a bunch of people was a bit overwhelming.  It was so great to see everyone, though.  I hit Toronto, London, and Strathroy on my nine day tour, and enjoyed catching up face-to-face with my folks.  My brother and his family, including new niece Alexandra, were visiting at the same time, so my parent's house was packed.  This view from the back step of the house always makes me happy...

My niece Lily made the nativity scene her own, by adding Play Doh accessories and an extra angel (on top of a shepherd or something...).  This picture sums up our five days together as a family: a bit chaotic but fun...


I also got to spend some quality time with my little boyfriend, Ryan.  Too bad he's not thirty years older, we really hit it off.  Here we are, watching Rescue Bots...

I was happy to get back to Saskatoon and the fur babies, but I could have used another few days off work just to chill out (extreme introvert needs her down time).  As it was I jumped right back into work.

I'm making more of an effort to take care of myself this winter.  I spent a lot of time last winter asleep or in a bit of a funk, so I decided to avoid that this year.  B12 and iron supplements everyday, and I fired up the SAD lamp again.  Exercising outside in the winter here is just not an option for me (bless all those year-round cyclists and runners), which could have led to a whole lot of doing nothing for months at a time.  Instead I got a six month membership for the Y and I'm okay with it.  Running on a treadmill is a bit strange, but the impact isn't as jarring so it's actually better than road running in a way.  I also use the bikes and rowing machines; boring, but it's better than nothing.  If I'm sweating and my heart is pounding, I feel better no matter where I am.  The winter blues are being kept at bay, although I still want to eat bread all the time.

Cameron has developed a lump on the side of his head, back near his jaw.  I was hoping the antibiotics the vet gave him would get rid of it, but it's still there.  Poor buy.  A biopsy might be coming up in the new year to see exactly what that thing is all about.  I go through periods of worry about what the problem is, knowing he's almost 17 and in the late stages of his life.  He doesn't appear to be in any pain or discomfort, however.  For now, we're enjoying daily cuddles on our favourite blankie...

Cleo is her normal self.  Bitchy one minute, affecionate the next.  I bought her a Furminator pet brush and took a ton of fur off of her the first three days I had it.  Lucky for me, she enjoys being groomed: lots of purring.  It's the best money I've spent on a pet accessory.  I'd share a photo of all that fur, but it looked pretty gross lying on the floor in a big pile, so I'll leave it.  Trust me when I say her ladyship Cleo looks much better.  FURMINATOR!!!  (Try saying it loud in a low voice.  It's fun.)

On behalf of myself and the beasts, have a super fantastic holiday season!  Today's Solstice combined with a new moon is pretty special, so I hope you're doing something cool to celebrate.  Light and love to all!