My Favourite Things of the Year

The times, they are a changing. I’ve been delaying this post because I didn’t feel I had much to contribute, having spent most of the year trying to relive moments from a simpler time and immersing myself into visual work rather than the written word. There’s always the need to record for posterity, though. And thus, this is what defined my year.


Song: I’ve gone through my Apple Music playlists for 2018 and realize that most of my aural pleasures for the past year have been pure nostalgia. Contemporary music just hasn’t managed to seize my attention the way icons of the past have. And so, I list the music of Prince as being my favourite of the year. I’ve been rediscovering his catalogue and missing the era when rock stars were truly rock stars.

My current favourite is “Little Red Corvette”, which still sounds fresh today.


Book: “Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamont left the greatest impression on me. I normally leave books I’ve read in my neighbourhood Little Free Library but this is one I needed to keep for reference in the future. The advice and wisdom it imparts feels like an old friend.


Podcast: I feel ashamed it has only been over the past decade that I’ve made the effort to learn about Indigenous cultures and the true impact of colonialism in my homeland of Canada. The education I am receiving now is changing my understanding and viewpoint on a lot of issues that still resonate today and I feel certain studies—such as the one presented in my favourite podcast of the year, Canadaland’s Thunder Bay—should be mandatory for everyone living within our borders. It is a gripping, sobering mirror on a microcosm of society built upon systemic racism.


Inspiration: I am in awe of the amazing work digital artists are creating including Waneella who creates quiet, desolate 8-bit scenes of modern life in Japan.

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Food: A roadtrip to the American south-west ignited a love affair with Mexican cuisine that I’ve been experimenting with over the past few months, learning the degree of chilli my palette can take and how nearly everything tastes better with lime. #TacoTuesday has become a regular thing at my place.

Soft and hard shell steak tacos marinated overnight in raspberry chipotle sauce with grilled onion, red pepper, chillis, lettuce, lime-infused sour cream and shredded habanero cracked pepper cheese made by moi.

Soft and hard shell steak tacos marinated overnight in raspberry chipotle sauce with grilled onion, red pepper, chillis, lettuce, lime-infused sour cream and shredded habanero cracked pepper cheese made by moi.


Internet “thing”: my favourite reaction gif is also steeped in nostalgia (and I really should have heeded its warning to not check why “Mario Kart” was trending in early Fall).


Most used emoji: 😂


Most sound advice I received: “Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, and don't put up with people that are reckless with yours.”


Most memorable moment: Relaxing in my harbour-facing room at Hotel Icon in Hong Kong and being completely mesmerized by the evening architectural light show.

The Simple Life

Winter is coming.

Which means I am getting all up in my feelings, nostalgic about the passage of time and currents of change, and trying to capture it all for posterity through the words in this journal. There’s something about the first snowfall, as the flakes fall softly to the ground and blanket the landscape in silence, that leaves one ripe for introspection. It’s almost as though nature is encouraging a pause.

I’ve been in deep thought about my future of late. Especially about how what motivates me now is to re-live moments of my past.

Visiting my mother is the one tether to a familiar reality that I covet to embrace again.

Every time I visit my mother, I am not only catching up on the happenings of my hometown but also seeking solace in the relatively unchanged world of my childhood.

One of the highlights of my most recent visit—beyond being showered with puppy kisses from my much-missed Monty—was simply sitting with my mom every morning, sipping orange pekoe, and playing along to the Price is Right. Pretty much everyone in my generation gets hit with waves of nostalgia as soon as “Come On Down!” is uttered; watching it was a ritual as a kid, especially when at home sick from school. After all these years, most of the games have remained the same. Plinko is the perennial crowd pleaser, but I was always partial to Cliffhangers which I’m happy to report is still in rotation because the theme song is such an ear worm. Throughout our bonding exercise, my mother and I got worked up, cheering for contestants who walked away with cars and trips around the world, and feigning disappointment with those that didn’t know the correct price of a basic toaster.

Banal moments like this may seem like the filler that connects the more pivotal, recorded events of our life, but I’m learning to take more pleasure, more presence, in them. It’s not just watching a game show with my mom; it’s the perfume of love, history and comfort that permeates the room without wont of spoken word. The essence of life is coded in these moments of simplicity.


Now all those simple things are simply too complicated for my life
How'd I get so faithful to my freedom?
A selfish kind of life
When all I ever wanted was the simple things
A simple kind of life

My Rosebud

While cleaning my condo one day, I discovered something that I’ve carried with me since I was about four-years-old. Tucked away in a cupboard filled with odds-and-ends that I don’t have use for at the moment but can’t bear to part with, such as an unopened Holga camera and a Fitbit that taunts my guilty conscious, sat one of the first books that my parents bought me. With the title “Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals”, the content is pretty self-explanatory but it turned out to be so much more than just words on paper to my kinder self.

From the time I saw it on the bookshelf of Woolco, I was mesmerized. What were these majestic creatures on the cover? Were they monsters? Were they some form of dragon (and, if so, where was the princess that would inevitably need to be saved from them)? I wanted to learn more. My mind was blown when my father explained that they actually once inhabited the very same planet we lived on. As a child, it was almost too much to process (and apparently still is for a number of religious zealots). He explained how they lived and evolved, and theorized on their demise. From that point on, I became obsessed. The toys in my room were increasingly taken over by stuffed triceratops and scale-model T-Rexes. My father noted this and took me on a dig at Dinosaur Provincial Park and to visit the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology, both in Western Canada, which I try to still visit once a year.

Other than my name written on the inside front cover, the book is in really great condition considering how old it is and how much I would have referenced it growing up. Opening its pages today takes me back to sitting on the floor of my childhood bedroom, light pink walls and grey mottled carpet, as I soaked in every detail of the illustrations. The intricacies of the beast’s scaly skin, the ombre colour of the cretaceous landscapes … the book welcomed me into new worlds of which I would regularly visit in my mind and began my journey of being an unabashed bookworm. The price sticker for the book is still present. Just four dollars and ninety-five cents. A minuscule investment into a child’s imagination that has spawned decades of learning, wonder and enjoyment.

I don’t think I will ever get rid of this book. I don’t think I could. I have a bond with it that might seem silly, but it is my “Rosebud”. A thether to a simpler time and to a young girl that I never want to lose touch with.

“Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals”, one of the first books I ever owned (©Deborah Clague).

“Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals”, one of the first books I ever owned (©Deborah Clague).

As a child, I wrote my name in all of my books (©Deborah Clague)

As a child, I wrote my name in all of my books (©Deborah Clague)

The illustrations captivated me as a child (©Deborah Clague)

The illustrations captivated me as a child (©Deborah Clague)

Up until the age of thirteen, I wanted to be a palaeontologist because of my early curiosity about dinosaurs inspired by this book (©Deborah Clague)

Up until the age of thirteen, I wanted to be a palaeontologist because of my early curiosity about dinosaurs inspired by this book (©Deborah Clague)

Check out those arms (©Deborah Clague)

Check out those arms (©Deborah Clague)

❤️

Birthday memories of an amazing man whom I will always hold dearly in my heart. My dad will be forever loved and missed.

My dad in New York City, one of his favourite places (2012 ©Deborah Clague). 

My dad in New York City, one of his favourite places (2012 ©Deborah Clague).