Thursday, January 1, 2015

Reflections on 2014

Well, 2015 is finally here. It feels like it was a long time coming, no? That's not to say that 2014 was a bad year for me - there were difficulties and hardships, for sure - but I've been anxious for a new year, new beginnings, new chapters for some time now. Here is a review of my 2014.

January was difficult. My uncle, who had been fighting brain cancer for several years, passed away early in January. My uncle played a huge part in my growing up years. Only a few minutes' drive away, the road between our houses was a well-worn path. Few of my memories of him don't involve laughter - we're talking about teary-eyed, can't breathe, belly laughs. A man of many hats, a man I wrote a paper about in High School, a man I looked up to. We miss him. I miss him.

February was interesting. I had started the pastry course in August, but things got really interesting after the Christmas break, in February especially. The dynamics of the group had completely changed. We went on a class trip. The trip itself was a bit of a bust, but the day was one of the best I've had. February also brought the first birthday celebration of my cousin's little girl, Sofia. I made a polymer clay cake topper for her - a waterless snow globe.

March was dreamy. Looking back at my journal entries, March is when I really started to put words to my pastry dreams and make "plans." It was also our first opportunity for an independent project at school - a layered dessert.

April and May were nothing terribly special or exciting. We have two birthdays in April, so there was some celebrating, and seeing the beginnings of spring. Somewhere in there we had the chocolate module at school, which was incredibly frustrating. I had my first commissioned baking project in May - the Bowker's 60th wedding anniversary cake. It was a challenge, but I enjoyed it - especially all the encouragement!

June was traveling. We went to Ontario (only for a weekend) to celebrate my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary.

July was creative. My mom and I organized a Fun Day at the Brookbury Community Centre that took much time and resources to put together. I also spent a lot of time starting craft projects for the Cookshire Fair. I also started the Facebook page Tasty Pastries by Anne-Marie as a small effort to get my name out a bit and get some baking business.

August was busy. I was back at school after having the summer off. I celebrated my 27th birthday (not exciting), we took quite a few entries to the Cookshire Fair (I even won a few prizes! ;)) I had two wisdom teeth removed - ouch! I started geocaching. The nephews came to stay with us the last week and a half of their vacation, and we did lots of adventuring together.

September was really good, if not expensive. I made the unfortunate mistake of paying my credit card bill a day late (first time ever), which resulted in a $45 overdraft fee to the bank, and another $40 charge to the credit card company. This was also the month that I finished my wedding cake at school - it felt like a really big accomplishment. I wasn't happy with it at first, but I'm quite proud of it now. This was also the month that my oldest childhood friend gave birth to her second child - a precious little girl called Scarlet! I also started working as the janitor at my church, which provides a teensy bit of income.

October was fast-paced. Things got intense at school as we neared the end. I had to start seriously searching for my stage placement (which I found fairly quickly, once I actually started). We worked on our sculpted sugar pieces - my pièce de résistance, the project I am most proud of. After the fiasco of the month before, I managed to not make even one purchase with my credit card.

November was stressful. There were a lot of exams to wrap everything up at school. We also started and finished our final module, Plated Desserts, which was a real challenge for me. I made soufflé for the first time! Finishing up at school, getting ready for stage, not knowing how that would go...

December was crazy and tiring. The first three weeks of December I did my stage at BCS. There was a lot of preparations for Christmas events, and I was fighting off a cold the entire time, so by the end I was exhausted. I made and decorated an order of 7 dozen cookies for a friend. Once school was finished and "Christmas vacation" began, there was a lot of Christmas gift making (baked goods, clay ornaments for my nephews, etc), and visiting/celebrating with family and friends. I got into a purging mood after Christmas (often the case), which hasn't quite come to an end yet.

It's been a good year...

And now, here we are. January. A new year. I have absolutely no idea what it will bring. I have high hopes and big dreams, maybe some of them will come to fruition in 2015, or maybe the first steps will be taken to pave the way for the years to come. Who knows? :)

I no longer make resolutions. I have some personal goals (old habits die hard), but I think it's safest not to say them out loud, because then people know when you break them. ;) So I hope you all had a wonderful time saying goodbye to 2014 and ringing in the New Year. May 2015 bring you success, love, joy, courage, and hope.

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