Another Christmas come and gone. That didn’t take long at all. Another year hurtling past me and the excitement continues. I hope everyone had a fulfilling holiday with family or friends close at hand.

The Udon Christmas party was fun. It was amazing having almost all the crew there in one place at the same time. Even though I knew that the company had around 30 artists, I was still surprised at seeing and interacting with so many all under one banner. We held the party at a huge Buffet place in Scarborough and after the food passed out gifts randomly based on who’s name was drawn from a box. I ended up with a “Duff Beer” Simpsons baseball cap. I won’t wear it much, but it’ll sit somewhere prominent in the studio space anyways.

Heading to Edmonton for Christmas was a good little break. It was a good way to change the scenery for a bit, see Gala’s family and unplug. My allergies nagged me for a bit out there, but allergy medication came to the rescue and all in all, it went quite well. With so many people packed into the house and the chaos that Christmas can bring, there were definite moments where I wanted to just vanish and be a hermit, but I think that comes with any social overload.

Christmas with Gala’s family at the farm is so different than with my family in Toronto. The orderly course of events that my family has gives way to a strange anything-goes at Gala’s. It has its advantages and disadvantages, of course. It’s not a restrictive and can be extremely comfortable, but occasionally you have no idea when anyone is going to be making a meal or even what people are doing for entertainment. We had fun; Gala’s sister Arwen gave us a solid stone Gargoyle that will have to be shipped to Toronto and on Christmas Eve we shot fireworks off into the pitch blackness of the night sky.

Gala and I went to see Return of the King last night. I won’t spoil it for any of you, but I will say this: it’s possibly the best movie I’ve ever seen. It’s a ride that will make your jaw drop and your heart swell, seriously. I thought the other two films were good and this one is so far above and beyond them that I couldn’t believe it. The audience was stunned into silence, no word of a lie. You could hear the odd sniffle of tears, that was about it.

Walking out of the theatre, Gala and I hugged and had a moment as rain sprinkled down on us. In the three years that the Lord of the Rings movies have come out, we’ve seen each one in a different city where we were living. Calgary, Halifax and now Toronto. What a crazy ride. The only constant in our lives over the past 3 years seems to be the two of us together and watching those movies each holiday season. That probably sounds overly dramatic, but I don’t really care because it makes sense to me. It was the right time and a good moment to see what the two of us have been through together. The relationship and our love has been yanked across the country, ripped out by its roots and replanted twice, torn holes in our heads and hearts but it’s still there. That has to mean something… I just want to figure it all out so that it lasts.

Moving back to Toronto in April, joining Udon in June, teaching again in a couple weeks… 2003 has been a great evolution and a big surprise. I don’t think 2004 will have as many changes and upheavals, but I’m okay with that. The road I’m currently on feels right so far, so I’d rather just accelerate instead of look for an off-ramp.

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