2010: One of Those Form Letters

Hey, it's the end of the year, time to send your friends and relations one of those letters detailing the accomplishments of your family. Since we're not very accomplished this won't take long.

This year Delphine turned seven (and had an awesome party) and accordingly, finished Grade 1 and started Grade 2. She loves school; it all comes fairly easily to her, and she loves having lots of things to do. She's had the same best friend since the start of Grade 1, which is cool except that the teacher is concerned that she only has one good friend. (She has a couple of other friends outside school, fortunately.) One of the things teachers concern themselves with these days is their students' social situation (which is great, I'm all for it). Ms Netley has been trying to fix Delphine up with another friend, but unfortunately there aren't any other girls in the class who are a good match for Delphine in terms of maturity and interests. It's no disaster, though, her one good friend is indeed a good friend: they are well matched and kind and helpful to each other.

Delphine's extra-curricular activities are piano and art. She's taking the usual weekly piano lessons and progressing nicely. Better still, though, she spends a good amount of time just playing at the piano: lately she's been devising scales and exercises, and picking out the notes to Christmas carols. The other day she transcribed the melody of Ode to Joy for fun. Lessons and practice are all very well, but any kindergarten teacher will tell you you learn more from play than you do from lessons. My brother played with music while I just did what I was asked to do, and he's a far better musician than I am.

Anyway, as I said, Delphine's other thing is art. She's been taking a great art class in the neighbourhood and having a lot of fun with it. She carries a sketchbook and pencil around and draws pictures when she has some spare time.

Delphine continued with gymnastics classes in January, but her future in gymnastics is severely curtailed by her refusal to ever go upside down for any reason. There's a lot of upside-down in gymnastics, as it turns out, and I imagine she won't be doing any more gymnastics.

In the little time that's left to her Delphine likes to read and sleep, and also teach lessons in various topics to her sister, friends, or PlayMobil people.

Cordelia's year was no less exciting. She turned 5 in September, and finished Junior Kindergarten and started Senior Kindergarten this year. She doesn't mind school, but would rather be home. She continues to be a bit of a Mummy's girl. I'm sure that will end sooner or later, but it's pretty nice to be her number one for now. Cordelia isn't as fantastically academically illustrious as her sister, but her teacher isn't the least concerned. She's doing just fine.

Outside school, Cordelia also took art classes at the same place as Delphine. She also took a couple of Music Together sessions with me. Outside of all that, she likes to hang out with her friends Otis, Zoey, and Scarlett, or with Delphine's friends. She likes to play with sets of things, like PlayMobil people or figurines, or rocks: she gives them roles and talks them through scenes. She gets quite lost in those games, as well as in crafts. If she gets engaged in something she will concentrate quietly on it for an hour or more. She's a child of contrasts: loud or silent, happy or despondent, bouncy or still.

This year I turned 35. Unfortunately that doesn't conveniently slot me into some grade or level or place in life, so I am still flailing. I think I'm getting better at it, though. I keep myself busy: I've been volunteering a lot, mostly at the school. I'm still the Eco-committee Chair, which mainly means I need to show up for meetings with the EcoSchool Auditor and make it look like the parents care about the environment. And maybe they do, but they certainly don't talk about it much. I also ran the Arts and Crafts room for the school's Winter Fair, which was fun(ish) but I won't do it again, because it means I have to hang around the Arts and Crafts room all afternoon and can't actually have any fun. Still, I've done it for two years, so I think I'm off the hook for a while.

My favourite volunteer job at school is working with the Junior Choir. I think I'm going to call myself a Rehearsal Assistant when I put it on my resume; I help the kids with their parts, I lead a warm-up or two, and I try and keep the kids focussed during rehearsal.

This summer I tried to help out a little bit with the campaign for a candidate for city council. Unfortunately all they really wanted was people to canvass, and I hate canvassing. I should probably have sucked it up and done it anyway, but I'm a bit of a whiny baby. I offered to do anything else — paperwork, phoning, writing, whatever — but they didn't go for it. I was about to be hurt and upset by that but my mum pointed out the existing team was probably used to working with each other and didn't want to put in the effort to figure out how to fit me in. Well, what Mum said was, "They're just being cliquey", but it amounts to the same thing. Anyway, the guy won, so all's well that ends well.

I also started some "real" (that is, for money) work: I formatted a three-volume book for publication, and helped midwife it though the printing process. I'm now working on formatting another book, and hope to do some copyediting and writing jobs next year.

My favourite extra-curricular activity was choir, of course. In February we performed John Stainer's Crucifixion, which I love unreservedly even though it's deeply cheesy. We accompanied it with a variety of Victorian sacred anthems, a sub-sub-genre of music I had never encountered before but absolutely love. Sadly we didn't record that concert, so I'm going to have to buy a few CDs to get recordings of all the pieces we did: some Parry, some Gardiner, and of course "The Lost Chord" by Arthur Sullivan which I adore. Our May concert featured two Mozart Masses in C: Minor and Major. And this December was our bi-annual Messiah, which might have been our best yet.

As usual, we didn't travel much. The girls and I went to Saskatchewan for two weeks this summer for our usual round of fishing, farm visits and general lazing around. Blake went to Mountain View, CA, and to Vancouver for work. Maybe I will join him for a business trip next year. I would really love to get out of town and go somewhere new.

Blake travelled to Winnipeg with his family later in the year to visit his sick uncle. Hershey was a jovial and loving man — truly avuncular — and one of the most loyal readers of this blog. He will be missed.

Some of our most exciting news didn't happen under this roof: the girls' first cousin was born this summer. Charlie arrived on July 30. He's still at the boring (and according to Delphine, smelly) baby stage right now but he's ridiculously cute and charming and I have big plans for lots of auntie-nephew fun. I may not have my own son but I can borrow someone else's! Fortunately Morgan is happy to share.

I could write so much more: about swimming lessons, about the Toronto Children's Chorus audition — but then this post will take a year to read. All in all, 2010 was a satisfyingly unexceptional year: no big changes, no renos, no disasters. We didn't get any further out of debt, but we didn't get any further in, either. I call that a tolerable win.