Another New Year begins, and this one starts off in style, writer’s style. After dropping my Mum off at church - always good for godless heathens to have grey-haired grannies praying for us - I bundled up the laptop in his winter best and headed off to my beloved Timothy's cafe. They were closed but luckily the Second Cup across the road was open, smiling people purveying all manner of coffee and conversation.
Yes, I can write at home but there is something soothing and exhilarating about having "your spot" that makes heading out to do it so appealing. There is never the distraction of dishes from the New Year's party a few hours earlier, the child whining is not one I have to deal with, and sometimes a snippet of chat catches the ear, inspiring a few lines or paragraphs. It isn't eavesdropping if people are talking loud enough for others to hear.
A lot of the conversations today were, fittingly enough, about resolve and reflection, which got me in a pensive mood so here are some of my most memorable events from 2009.
Most surprising of all is that I have managed to come out of the year with both a husband and a diploma, a very nicely framed diploma at that. It looked bleak in early 2009 but I found a ray of sunshine amid the damp and dreary halls of Angus Glen arena. Most friends think the reason I loved taking my son to hockey camp was a daily dose of strong, dark and sweet. Well, mes amis, you're right but sometimes that was provided by Sandy, not Peter.
At a time when I needed to see women succeeding and thriving in male dominated professions, Sandy walked into my life. It's not as easy to get together anymore but I will always appreciate her important contribution in making me hold on tightly to the rope and get some calluses when letting go would have been an easier route.
Gratitude also goes out to my dear friends at tmlfans.ca because without their encouragement, I probably would have kept putting off my return to school. It was actually Rob DM who told me to get on facebook, and then sent me a link to this new school that was opening up, suggesting I should give it serious consideration.
I did exactly that and signed up for the inaugural class, a decision never to be regretted. Thank you Rob, I'll give you a plug wherever professionally acceptable!
Thanks also go out to Rick C. for suggesting I get in touch with Adam Proteau of The Hockey News. When I jokingly told Adam he could get me as a "free" intern for his birthday he advised sending my resume to his editor. I did and in September 2008 was able to strike "work at The Hockey News" off my bucket list. As a little girl I would read the magazine, dreaming about someday, somehow getting my name in the credits, back in the days when there were no female hockey writers that I knew of. What an absolute thrill the first time I saw my name in there, and even bigger when I got my first byline on Feb. 09, 2009 - fittingly enough my child's birthday.
My respect and admiration for media skyrocketed, and that's from someone who loved ink-stained (toner cartridge-stained?) wretches so much she dedicated her mid-life to becoming one. In August I started a full-time internship at THN and can attest that magazine publishing is an art form, from the actual art department to the sales staff to the marketing crew to the unsung heroics in accounting to the coffee shop workers to the lady in the little corner store who tells me when my favourite soft drink is sold out. Rest assured that even though your names might not be in the mag, your fingerprints are all over it.
There were some low-points, the biggest one being the loss of a dear friend, one whose role in my life I did not fully recognize until he was gone. His passing inspired me to write again, not just about hockey but about life so whatever happens with this career, part of it is for you Pete. You gave me a kick in the proverbial head when I needed it most.
As much as I love all the men in my life, special credit goes to my female friends for all their support, especially "the hockey mums" who are my refuge from the rink. For all the interviews for school projects, for rides to games, forever.
If not for them, I would not know about the great stories that come from when a girl from Southern Italy falls in love with a Punjabi Sikh in Germany. I wouldn't know about the Somali Muslim who hooked up with the Newfie. I wouldn't know what I'd missed, but luckily I need not miss any of those wonderful girls nights out.
There are friends who might not be mentioned by name but your contributions are held in my heart, never to worry about being lost in a computer crash.
Thanks for being in my life and may yours be filled with love, light and happiness in 2010.