Monday, 31 December 2018

December in a nutshell

Greetings! In December I was at home to enjoy the local cultural events and the holiday season with my family and friends. We had mostly cloudy days with temperatures hovering around freezing point. Our first light dusting of snow appeared on the ground on December 30 morning. On New Year's Eve, the light rain washed all the snow away.

Without further ado, here's my December in a nutshell (in alpha order):


In December, I saw many festive holiday displays in the city centre. All the banks, shops, and department stores put on their best holiday decorations. Whether it was a real tree or an artificial tree, they were all spectacular centrepieces.

Christmas tree in Eaton Centre

I viewed three art exhibits at the Power Plant, all with free admission: (1) La Canicula exhibit by Vivian Suter with Elisabeth Wild, (2) Beth Stuart's Length, Breadth, Thickness and Duration exhibit, and (3) Karla Black's solo exhibit. I was interested in Vivian Suter's exhibit and her story since she's from Guatemala, the country that I'll be visiting in January.

Vivian Suter's La Canicula exhibit

Beth Stuart's Dipper Chasuble

Elisabeth Wild's collage

Karla Black's installation


In December I published nine blog posts, bringing the total this year to 91 posts. My heart and mind was full of gratitude when I wrote my Highlights of 2018. It's been an amazing, enriching, and fulfilling year.

The 2018 Wellness Wednesday blog link up that I started this year concluded on December 12. I'm planning to continue the Wellness series on the second Wednesday of each month in 2019. The link up is open to all wellness-related posts. Feel free to join me on the first Wellness post on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.


I finished four thriller novels The Dime by Kathleen Kent, The Late Show by Michael Connelly, Before the Poison and When the Music's Over by Perter Robinson. The first two authors were new to me.

I'm currently reading On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King, and The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland. When I reviewed the list of Stephen King's books, I realized that some of the movies I enjoyed, such as The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, were based on his stories.

Books borrowed from the library


I chose to attend three concerts in December, just enough to get me into the holiday mode without overdoing it. It was a delight to listen to the following fantastic concerts which were all free to the public:
  1. The Piano Festival at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music: Thirteen pianists played their solo pieces with incredible skills and grace. It was two hours long with one short intermission.
  2. The 'Tis the Season to Swing concert at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts: Steven Taetz Quartet performed thirteen songs, including six Christmas-themed songs, in one hour.
  3. The annual Christmas Concert at Toronto City Hall: Toronto Beaches Children's & Youth Chorus, Toronto Mass Choir, Pan Fantasy Steel band, and Tower Brass played holiday songs in about ninety minutes. The Mayor of Toronto, Mr. John Tory, came to express his holiday greetings as seen in the photo below.
Toronto Christmas Concert 2018


For our family and friends who live far away, we exchanged our season's greetings by email and phone calls. Canada Post had a labour disruption that ended with a big backlog of mail and parcels so I sent out only a couple of greeting cards this year.

Before Christmas, I met two friends for coffee, one friend for a workout at the gym, and had lunch with another two of my girlfriends. After Christmas, my family clan had our holiday dinner on December 26. This year there were twenty-five of us in attendance. It was a lively and heart-warming party with a lot of food, board games, and fun conversations.


I completed seven yoga classes, thirteen workouts in the gym, five swimming sessions, and ran five times. I also walked 45 minutes or more and meditated 15 minutes daily. We had no snow until December 30 so the grounds were dry and it was easy to get around. On December 28, the high temperature was 10C (50F), which is unusual at this time of the year for us.

An empty beach in December


I took my French and Spanish online lessons daily using Duolingo. I'm also reading online travel guides to learn more about Guatemala which is my upcoming travel destination.


I watched two movies with my neighbours Crazy Rich Asians, Fahrenheit 11/9, and two animated shorts Weekends and Bilby. There was a re-run of Mission Impossible Fall Out that I decided not to go as I've seen it twice in November.


We're ringing in the new year at home with comfort and relaxation. We had roasted chicken with wild rice and vegetables for dinner, ice cream and sweets for desserts. Now we're waiting for the fireworks, then greet the new year, and go to bed.

At year end, there's the usual tasks of closing current year's files and opening new year's files. I drafted my new goals for 2019, created a new goal tracking sheet, and a new budget sheet. My 2019 calendar now has a number of known appointments and confirmed events.


December was a lovely month, with just the right amount of fitness, leisure, and social activities for me. I'm looking forward to having some fun this winter and enjoying 2019.

I want to thank all my blogger friends and readers for your comments, continued support, and connections in 2018. Wishing you a Healthy and Happy New Year!


  1. What a wonderful December you have had, Natalie. Thank you for sharing this with us.
    I didn't realize that the Toronto area did not have any snow until New Year's. That's really late. We also have not had any snow yet (at least not on our section of Vancouver Island). Checking our two-weeks weather forecast, there is also no snow predicted for us in the near future. But, I will be in Winnipeg soon. I'm bracing myself for the COLD!!

    1. Happy New Year, Donna! I read about the cold spell in Manitoba. I hope it will be much warmer when you are there. Our high temp today is 6C which is again unusual for us.

  2. Another busy month for you. I'm intending on joining you in the Wellness Wednesdays this year. I think I'm going to call mine Excess Baggage... Ducking over now to look at your highlights post.

    1. Happy New Year, Jo! I'd love to have you join me in the Wellness link up. First Wellness post to appear on January 9.

  3. I'm in awe of all that you get to do and see! Very exciting to be going to Guatemala. Happy New Year Natalie!

    1. Thank you, Gail. Happy New Year to you, too. I look forward to reading about your walk 1000 miles challenge and holidays.

  4. Sounds like you had a good month! There's no sign of snow here in the UK ... yet, but that can change very quickly and then the whole country grinds to a halt! I feel like I should be joining in with your Wellness Wednesdays, I jumped on the scales this morning and then jumped right off again when I discovered that I have 'found' those pounds that I lost last year. Fitness classes resume next week, so there is no excuse!

    1. Thank you, Deb, for stopping by. Yes, please join in on the Wellness fun link-up on January 9.

  5. Thanks for sharing your December with us. I'm learning Spanish with Duolingo too! I used it for Italian before our trip to Italy and loved it. So easy.

    1. Thank you, Laurie, for your visit and comment. I use the free version of Duolingo. It's good to know basic Spanish before my trip to Guatemala.

  6. Hi Natalie, it looks like you did a wonderful job balancing holiday festivities with down and alone-time. I need to do better with the last two next year!

    I use Duolingo as well for Spanish, but I sincerely admire you for learning two languages at once. One is definitely all my brain can handle!

    I look forward to a wonderful 2019 for both of us. 😊

    1. Hi Tamara - I tried to pace myself in December and it seemed to work. I enjoyed the holiday season without feeling exhausted.

      I knew some French before learning Spanish and am doing both to stretch my brain. Some days I make no mistake and other days I mix up the two, lol.

      I look forward to a wonderful 2019 for both of us, too. Happy New Year!

  7. Happy New Year, Natalie and I'm so looking forward to another year reading of your adventures. I love the Christmas tree in your first photo and your month as usual was so interesting to read about. Looking forward to hearing about the prompts for Wellness Wednesday. Have a fabulous 2019 xx

    1. Happy New Year, Sue! I look forward to continuing our blogging connections and friendship this year. The first Wellness Wed. on January 9 is open to any wellness-related post so feel free to be creative.