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This is 40.

On the first of November, I left Quebec early in the morning. I wanted to get all the way to North Carolina in time to hang out with my friend on her birthday. She was turning 40, and so was I, in a week. We’ve been friends since we were teenagers. (Well, we weren’t friends when we first met- I actually thought she was sort of annoying. In fact, I believe the phrase I used was “irritatingly happy”, but don’t worry we’re past that now) We interned at the same summer camp, I lived with her parents for awhile after college, we were bridesmaids in each others weddings, we had our babies around the same time, I did a reading at her mom’s funeral, I was there when her dad passed away…you get the picture. We’re framily.

Earlier this year she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. She’s been undergoing treatment all year, most recently a transplant, and so obviously her immune system is shot and we weren’t able to take a trip or anything to properly celebrate our 40th birthdays, but I figured a visit was the next best thing.

Me and Katie in front of the paintings I did for her when we found out she had cancer, they’re titled “On My Way”

ps yeah, she does have a gofundme, and if you’re the donating type, maybe consider helping her family out?

After that, my trip took a business turn.

I recorded a podcast with a couple friends of mine, and dropped off a few paintings for an exhibition I was in in Raleigh. Met up with an old friend from my Edmonton days who is now living in the Raleigh area, spent the evening catching up over art and ramen and just sort of sharing this same sense of like WHAT in the hell, how are our kids teenagers already.

Then, as a birthday gift to myself, I attended a 2-day painting workshop at the Durham Arts Center. Intuitive Painting with Heather Gerni. I’d heard nothing but good things about this workshop going into it, and I was not disappointed. Made some art that I’m still mulling over.

Spent a couple lovely lunchtimes exploring downtown Durham. Stumbled across a used book store while I was looking for lunch, and wow am I glad I did. This book grabbed my eye, and man is it a good read. A novel about art, love, death, and time? Count me in.

On Monday it was time to head back up to Boston, for an Art Battle. I had some family and friends come out for it, and it was so great to get to introduce that part of my life to them.

The battle was great fun, as per usual, and (big thanks to the aforementioned friends and family) I made it to the final round for the first time ever! Not only that, but both my paintings sold! (okay yeah, one of them was sold to my dad, BUT STILL)

Then a visit home to my parents’ for my typical shuffle through their old photo albums/boxes/piles looking for inspiration, a little painting time, some baby holding, a birthday dinner with the fam and another of my best friends, and it was back home to Quebec.

Just a solid, solid way to ring in my 40 years on this earth. Spending time with people you love, sharing art… what more can you ask for?

Huge thanks to the hubs for all the behind the scenes work needed to enable a trip such as this.

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