Wishing you Health & Happiness this Holiday Season.

Wow. What a year!

I started this “letter” last year, and it was a really nice way to reflect on the year, so I’ve decided to keep it up. Feel free to skim and just look at the pictures/videos, no pressure from me! But, if you do want to continue to be on my email list for the holiday letter in the future, please opt in using the form!

 

2020 in Review

It started off right! We rang in the New Year/Decade with two of our favourite people, Paul & Stacey. It was pretty low key fun with food, games, music and dancing. They’re our Sackville social bubble, so it’s likely we’ll do something similar this year.

In February I got pumped up to perform! I sang and played ukulele at my very first open mic, and I auditioned for and was cast in two plays: a new one-act by a local playwright, and our community theatre’s production of Nöel Coward’s Present Laughter.

Unfortunately, both plays were called off due to COVID before we even started to rehearse. And Thunder + Lightning, the local pub/music venue that held the open mic was an early small-business victim of the pandemic ?

By mid-March, everything changed.

I remember we played D&D at Paul & Stacey’s house on March 14th, and there was already enough of a pandemic buzz for us to think twice about it (and then decide to go anyway).

We’ve been playing our weekly D&D sessions completely online since then, which actually works quite well and allows us to include friends who live in Halifax and Edmonton!

My birthday was the following week (March 19) and Aldon and I hopped in the car and drove out to Cape Jouriman for a winter walk and to fly my delightful NB-made kite, a gift from a client.

Life Goes On

I’m still in business designing web sites and offering miscellaneous web and marketing assistance to folks in the Maritimes. I was already enjoying working from home, so that didn’t change with the pandemic. I wouldn’t say that I had a lot of work this year, but I had enough.

Aldon continued working at Cannabis NB in Moncton until the pandemic hit in March, when it was in his best interest to come back to work at the Sackville location, where he stayed until September. He has returned to working in Moncton for the past four months, but they’re returning him to Sackville in January. The two locations have a completely different pace, so I think it’s been good that he’s been able to experience both, but we’re really looking forward to him being able to ditch the commute and walk to work again.

Work-Life Balance

I relied heavily on healthy habits to keep myself going through the dark days this year. I started 2020 with Yoga with Adriene’s “30 Days of Yoga” and ended up continuing all year. A new 30 days begins in January, interested in joining us? Other sanity-saving daily practices include journaling, meditation, French lessons on Duolingo, knitting, sudoku and going for walks. And, of course, music.

After getting a taste of being on stage with a microphone, I felt ready to progress beyond the ukulele. I finally picked up the little guitar we brought back from Edmonton and started to teach myself to play. With plenty of pandemic time on my hands I progressed quickly. After a few months, I must have impressed Aldon, because he decided he wanted to play drums with me. We splurged on an electronic drum kit and set up our band room in the basement. My dad has permanently “loaned” me the electric guitar he never plays (a Fender Telecaster!) and an amp, and BAM! We’re a duo! We’ve even jammed with dad a few times and it is so much fun. We’ve been working on building ourselves a decent set list, and we’ll see about maybe recording something this year. Stay tuned?

Small Joys

Of course, there were no live events to attend in person this year, but we became even bigger fans of Danny Michel, who performed “Live from Lockdown” over Zoom from his home studio. He’s also done a memorable outdoor show from his backyard fire pit, a Halloween special, and invited us into his kitchen for a couple of cooking/music shows!

Even though the plays I auditioned for were cancelled, I still managed to pull off a bit of acting this year, online via zoom for our local professional company, Live Bait Theatre. First was the “Social Distancing (new works) Short Play Festival” where I was cast in two plays. These were put together from script to screen in under 2 weeks: quite a feat! And in the fall, I participated in a production for the local schools about dealing with Climate Change anxiety.

The “Atlantic Bubble” was established just after the first of July, and we celebrated at my parents’ place that weekend. We tried to get out to the beach as often as possible, but like any summer, this one seemed to go by too quickly. We did feel really lucky that we were able to cross the border and do some maritime sightseeing in the midst of a global pandemic. But summer is just not the same without our annual visit from Ava. Missing her was probably the biggest downside of this entire year.

Local Travel

We took a few day trips: Tatamagouche, Fundy National Park, Kouchibouguac, and we spent the August long weekend in Halifax with Paul & Stacey.

My favourite trip of the year was to Cape Breton for a couple of nights just after Thanksgiving. We hiked the Skyline Trail (which I would normally skip because it’s usually so crowded), drove up to Meat Cove at the very top of the island, visited the Bell museum and stayed in a yurt with a private hot tub outside under the stars! The fall colours were amazing, it poured rain but was really warm, and the whole trip was pretty magical.

Wrap-Up

And now we find ourselves at the end of the year without a lot of Christmas cheer. I’m disappointed that the Atlantic bubble was popped in November, and that we’re not able to spend the holiday with my mom & dad, who are just 40 minutes away, but on the other side of the border. But we’ll be fine (and dandy!) and I hope you are too. We will celebrate together whenever we are able to get together. We’ll hug and laugh and share a meal and maybe play some music together. We are so fortunate to be healthy, safe and loved.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to You and Yours

We hope this message finds you well. If you are able to reach out, we’d love to hear from you, how you’re doing, what you’ve been up to. You can leave a comment below, or send me an email marsha@amanova.ca

Sending so much love from both of us to you and yours,

Marsha Amanova & Aldon Brewer ❤️

Comments

9 Comments

  1. Hi guys I love watching the video and reading adout your adventures this year.
    I am finishing up my isolation today and looking forward to visiting your Mom and Dad but will also be looking forward to seeing you guys as well soon I hope.
    So have a very merry Christmas and a fantastic 2021.
    Love Uncle Clyde

    Reply
  2. How wonderful to hear from you! You are truly missed around here at the U of A and I refer to you often “if only Marsha was here!” I am so glad you are finding joy in this chapter of your life. I hope life continues to deal you all the face cards you need to be happy! If you are ever in Edmonton please make sure I get to see you.

    Best wishes for an absolutely fabulous 2021!

    Randa

    Reply
  3. Hey Marsha! D&D. Lots and lots of D&D. Lots and lots and lots. email sent.

    Reply
  4. High Martian Alden,

    I sure miss you too and your lovely hugs. I’m looking forward to getting back home this summer and hearing a jam session. I loved reading your letter and hearing your adventures together. And we’ll always have our memories of our trip for maple syrup. Our next meeting it’s just up around the corner.

    Love you both Auntie Lynn

    Reply
  5. Oh, I miss seeing you folks in person but that’s been going on longer than the rona rampage. I hope your holidays are appropriately cheesy.

    Reply
  6. Dec. 24, 2020, 12:30 pm
    We enjoyed your song & news letter you have a lovely voice. Hopefully we will see more of you & Aldon in 2021.
    Merry Christmas & happiest New Year to you & Aldon.
    Love Uncle Clarence & Aunt Marilyn

    Reply
  7. That’s beautiful. We are all trying to adapt and adjust. That’s the only way to get through this time and , life in general! Take care over there. Merry Christmas ?

    Reply
  8. Oh Marsha Marsha I miss and love you and am sooooo happy your life path is so full of passion and love!

    Reply
  9. Thanks for sharing your Fine and Dandy song and especially your positive attitude . You made me smile and laugh. Where have you been hiding that beautiful voice. Another of your talents. God bless you both, stay safe and continue to enjoy your life together.

    Reply

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