Apartment updates

I always have a long list of things I want to do or change in my apartment. Whether it's painting or getting drapes made, hanging new pictures or the ever-present wishlist of investment furniture. Each year, it hangs over me like an impossible dream, sometimes fueling fantasies and other times frustrations.

This year, I'm keeping it simple. I'd like some new lamps and bed linens (to go with the new headboard that should be arriving any day now - eep!) And on the weekend, I ordered this moon print. I've long loved it, like a good moonchild. This post from Thomas O'Brien sealed the deal. I can't wait to pick out a frame for it.

If I invest in one thing this year it will be a perfect leather armchair, something that will get perfectly worn and patinaed with age. Just like me. And, when something really good happens, I'm going to finally spring for that Frances Palmer vase I've so long coveted.

Products: Lamp | Moon | Chair | Vase | Linens

Sunday best: At home

What a strange winter we're having in Toronto.

It's hard to commit to the day, I find, when the elements are so shifty. Yesterday I found myself sitting at my desk and I couldn't keep my eyes off the sky. One minute hurling snow at my window, the next pink-tinged and cloud-chasing as Hopkins' Pied Beauty.

Today, regardless of the elements, I'm hunkering down indoors. I have a a difficult job to battle my way through. And although it won't take long, I know it will take fits and starts to get going. I'll probably tidy my whole apartment before I can settle into it.

Once I finish my work and hit the send button, I'll be able to relax a little. I'll sit sideways in my favourite chair, my legs dangling over the arm, a book on my lap and a cup of tea, steam curling, near me.

Things have been tough this month and yesterday I really felt the full force of all that's happened bearing down on me. I've been fighting admitting how tough, how disappointing it's been. And the week ahead is already looming, promising to compound all that's gone before. But Sunday, Sunday is a day to push that to the back, if only for a short moment.

Products: The Collected Stories by Grace Paley | Vanessa Bruno Ribbed Boatneck Pullover from La Garconne | Jane glasses from Salt Optics | Aiden Leather Chair from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams | Wild berry tea from Løv Organic | Dipped cup from Coterie | Scout chino from J.Crew | Lanvin Leather ballet flats from Net-a-Porter


Often I reach Friday and it’s like the last clawing mile of a long run, but today I feel energetic and excited about this weekend.

I’m going to buckle down to some long put-off chores and I know I’ll feel good checking each one off the list. It’s the last weekend of January too and that feels like a milestone. It’s been a good start to 2012, I think, though it threw me for a loop a few times. Ultimately, I think I was coasting into the New Year and I needed that jarring. I feel even more resolved now than I did at the start of the month.

I had so many “ahh lovely” moments on the blogosphere this week. Anabela started a new series called Repository and it’s all kinds of lovely. I’ve always been tempted to do something more visual with my Friday round-ups, but I want to come up with something different. It’s hard when people like Anabela, Miss Moss and Kate do such a kick-ass job with theirs. I’ll put my thinking cap on!

I also very much liked Katy’s interview with artist Kathy Galligan and these beautiful photographs by Ines Nepomuceno, via Kinfolk. Hila’s post about publishing woes hit a nerve (you could also replace “publishing” with “journalism” and the post would stand). And back on pretty, these tone-on-tone wedding dress shots struck me as particularly beautiful. And this apartment over on Roseline’s made me want to buy abundant pink roses and gilded picture frames.

Some house-keeping: There’s now threaded commenting on blogger (hip hip!) making it easier for me to respond to readers, which I like to do! I still haven’t fully resolved the invisible comment issue and blogger help boards were a rabbit warren of unconfirmed fixes. I think it’s firmly an unresolved issue on their side. If this happens to you please know I’m not rejecting your comments (unless you’re a spammer or self-promoter) but simply not seeing them. Finally, I started using Instagram and if you’re on there you might like to follow me at seenandsaid.

That's me for this week... have a lovely weekend!

Burst of blue

January isn't one of those simple months. I felt myself teetering more than once, losing confidence, letting things I don't believe in upset me. Each time, I managed to pull myself back, to stretch deep in yoga, to reach out to friends, to sleep it off. And so the blues have stayed at bay. But this burst of blues is the good kind... we can keep all of these ones.

Image credits: Max Rollitt discovered via Katy Elliott | Lanvin from Browns | Lanvin from Net-a-Porter | Judy Ross Textiles | Saipua

A poem for Wednesday

My reader is bobbing with various notions of love. And I've always been a strange one when it came to these things, not quite at home with easy, uncomplicated feelings. Today's poem probably betrays too much of how I feel. It's by Sam, of course, and is here in English and French.

what would I do without this world faceless incurious
where to be lasts but an instant where every instant
spills in the void the ignorance of having been
without this wave where in the end
body and shadow together are engulfed
what would I do without this silence where the murmurs die
the pantings the frenzies towards succour towards love
without this sky that soars
above its ballast dust

what would I do what I did yesterday and the day before
peering out of my deadlight looking for another
wandering like me eddying far from all the living
in a convulsive space
among the voices voiceless
that throng my hiddenness


que ferais-je sans ce monde sans visage sans questions
où être ne dure qu'un instant où chaque instant
verse dans le vide dans l'oubli d'avoir été
sans cette onde où à la fin
corps et ombre ensemble s'engloutissent
que ferais-je sans ce silence gouffre des murmures
haletant furieux vers le secours vers l'amour
sans ce ciel qui s'élève
sur la poussieère de ses lests

que ferais-je je ferais comme hier comme aujourd'hui
regardant par mon hublot si je ne suis pas seul
à errer et à virer loin de toute vie
dans un espace pantin
sans voix parmi les voix
enfermées avec moi

Thomas O'Brien

Thomas O'Brien is my favourite home designer, not least because he seems as much a collector as a designer. And his spaces remind me more of haphazard professor's offices and gentrified old country houses and less of the self-consciously "undecorated" schemes we've been spoon-fed of late.

While I was browsing Aero Studio's Facebook page, I found the above picture. See the leather chair there? That leather chair really wants to live with Janey.

And I've always (always) loved the desk chair in the above photo. Only last night I found this post. It's an Irish chair! I might have known that sooner if I owned this book that I've had wishlisted on Amazon for yonks or if I had paused to wonder why its lines were so familiar and comfortable to me.

I've been changing some things around at home. I'm not the kind to top-down plan a scheme. But I always find a look at O'Brien's interiors sends me in the right direction. His mix of traditional and modern, masculine and neutral, bookish and airy always appeals.

Image credits: First photo via Aero Studio on Facebook. Second photo by Laura Resen, via Aero.

Book Report: First Loves and Other Sorrows

I picked up First Love and Other Sorrows second-hand after spotting it in a holiday post over on Lottie & Doof. I'm usually loathe to take book recommendations, but somehow I knew this was one to trust. Was it ever.

Brodkey's writing is excessively spare, which I'm always drawn to. But what hooked me the most is how well he writes women. I usually look to Irish writers for this (William Trevor in particular, but also Colm Tóibín). It was a surprise to find women laid bare here, in Brodkey's spartan prose.

I think often of the movie Closer. To be honest, I'm not sure I like it, but I think of it often and am intrigued by it. Its characters articulate exactly what they feel when they feel it. Every swaying emotion is told as it's felt. And there's an unflinchingness to it, which also makes it feel wholly artificial to watch; that's simply not how people talk to each other, even our inner dialogue is seldom that blunt.

Brodkey's stories tell of the complexity of love, the bluntness and even primitiveness of subjective thoughts and feelings, our wild vacillations in self-esteem and esteem for those we love. But his delivery; so disciplined, never florid, in contrast to the tumultuous feelings he's telling, called to mind that movie. And I sometimes found myself wishing his characters could muster the same directness.

I don't understand at all how this book is out of print. Excepting the last two stories, which I thought the volume would have been better without, this book left me winded. I'm astonished that I didn't cross paths with it sooner, but I do believe in a certain magical synchronicity of timing with books at certain times of your life.

Every time I return to reading short stories after a spell with novels or non-fiction, I rediscover my complete love of short fiction. These compact stories are like perfectly in-focus photographs. There's no blurry depth of field, every detail is given clarity and meaningfulness, the scene is exposed just as it is and you notice details that are easily overlooked and disregarded in everyday life.

Photo of Joseph Brodkey by Eileen Travell

Sunday best: Matinee movie

Snow on the ground is the perfect excuse to retreat to the dark of a theatre in the middle of the day.

I'm going to see the new Cronenberg film today, although I'm sure Ms Knightley will do her best to ruin it. Still, I hope that the ultimate manly man combo of Viggo-Fassbender is enough to compensate. The movie will no doubt be followed by lunch and gallivanting. I'm ahead of myself with my spontaneous 3-day weekend, so I can leave the day just that unplanned.

Yesterday, I slept later than usual and lounged at home, reading for a long time before heading out. It was the first time I've worn my Bean boots this year, as we've had so little snow. And I found myself giddy to pull them on. They'll always be my favourite snow boots.

I stayed at the coffee shop long enough to drink two big mugs and found myself in a strange sort of daze. Maybe I was a bit hungover from too many Bellinis the night before. But I was just happy to sit there. Although it was cold, the sun was low and direct so it felt warm to sit close to the front of the coffee shop and watch the street outside. And dogs in snowshoes always make me smile, especially when they're particularly jaunty about it.

I feel 2012 is hitting a straightaway now, after the steep climb to the new year and the jagged turns of those first few weeks. I bought some potted mini daffs and hyacinths to force indoors and am feeling a more even-keeled optimism setting in. And last night, I dreamed about lilacs.

Products: Organic by John Patrick Tee from La Garconne | Open mesh top from Micaela Greg | J Brand Denim 231 jeans from Net-a-Porter | Botto Giuseppe Cashmere Tweed Tube Scarf from Barneys | Movie tickets, via | Anna Sheffield Ingot Ring from Love, Adorned | Long Locked purse from Mulberry | Bean Boots from L.L.Bean | Cable knit socks from Toast |


If last week was a week of Wednesdays, this week was threatening to be a week of Mondays, and I just couldn't have that. So I booked today off with no reason or agenda.

I'm going to do lots of writing and puttering about. Finish the book I'm reading. Cry because the book I'm reading is so good and I don't want it to end. Write some e-mails. Drink some coffee and cook dinner for company later on.

I came across this blog - something concerning everything occurring - yesterday and am charmed by it. Do take a look! I also love the look of these candles Chelsea blogged about. I would love a whiff of Bron Yr Aur.

Both my passports are being renewed right now and just knowing I can't travel is giving me ants in my pants. So, I probably shouldn't be thinking about candles that conjure Welsh country laneways. Instead, I should focus on those winter nesty feelings I'm also experiencing and do some things around my home.

And before I go, here's a random hit of unabashed pretty. Beautiful dressing tables light up my eyes like I'm a little girl nervously reaching for her Mum's pearls. I can smell her lipstick as she readies for a night out.

Happy weekend, friends!

P.S. A regular reader has alerted me that her comments have not been appearing on my blog. She leaves comments using the name/url option. I never "reject" comments unless they're spam, self-promotion etc. and love hearing from readers, so this is a little upsetting. If anybody has left comments and been concerned they didn't appear, please rest assured it is not an intentional thing on my part. And if you have experienced this, please let me know jane[at]janeflanagan[dot]ca as I'm anxious to troubleshoot and resolve! Thanks.

Softly, softly

Being a bookish sort of Flanagan, I don't always wear my love for soft and pretty on my sleeve. But it's true, my stoic, studied ways have been known to give way to softer sentiments. And I think that's evidenced lately by the touches of pink creeping in to my Sunday bests (here and there, not everywhere).

Yesterday, the little arrow ring I ordered from Odette arrived and I love it completely. I also recently indulged in some lingerie from Fortnight—perfection. I'm digging around in my own taste for softer things; I like sweet, but not twee, romance, but not froth. I'm getting used to feeling disarmed, without feeling vulnerable.

Softly, softly.

Products: Middlemarch by George Eliot | Fortnight Lingerie | Quill & Fox Valentine | DL&Co Candle in Edelweiss | Odette NY ring | John Derian decoupage | Fieldguided tote | Confetti Systems pinata

A poem for Wednesday

I usually tell you something about the poem I pick, or why I picked it. But I'm tired today and know I will fuss too long looking for the right words. So, instead, I'll just give you this. By Mark Strand.

Black Sea
One clear night while the others slept, I climbed
the stairs to the roof of the house and under a sky
strewn with stars I gazed at the sea, at the spread of it,
the rolling crests of it raked by the wind, becoming
like bits of lace tossed in the air. I stood in the long
whispering night, waiting for something, a sign, the approach
of a distant light, and I imagined you coming closer,
the dark waves of your hair mingling with the sea,
and the dark became desire, and desire the arriving light.
The nearness, the momentary warmth of you as I stood
on that lonely height watching the slow swells of the sea
break on the shore and turn briefly into glass and disappear...
Why did I believe you would come out of nowhere? Why with all
that the world offers would you come only because I was here?

Katherine Hooker

Well, that didn't last long; mild weather is back again! Nevertheless, a perfect excuse to admire Katherine Hooker's lovely country apparel. The horse-riding Wicklow woman I have too long repressed loves these with intensity. And the Toronto version of me would make do with that leather armchair.


I'm still shivering from the walk into work this morning. I'd really rather be in bed today. Love these bedding sets from Teixidors, a label spotted at Hollace Cluny on the weekend.

Sunday best: Welcome back, winter

After a ridiculously mild few weeks, winter is back in Toronto. Finally, we can stop whining about how unseasonably warm it is and start complaining about the cold. All is right with the world once again!

My weekend has been a fun one, celebrating Laura's birthday, treating myself to just about the best pain au chocolate I've ever tasted. Today will be quieter. I'll bundle up and head out for a brisk walk, do Sunday chores, go to yoga and finish a story I've been working on...

The weather changes the atmosphere of the city. People linger for longer, puffing and clapping hands when they step inside, letting everybody know just how cold it is. Ritualized little conversations recur. Everybody says they're glad it's really winter now, but simultaneously damns the cold. I like it all lots and happily go through the motions with checkout girls and people in the coffee shop.

Still, the cold leaves me feeling raw and needing comfort. It's funny how we craved that feeling just last week. How important it seems to Canadians to be pushed to these extremes. And how quickly I've become used to that; I know seasons would be top of the list of things I'd miss if I moved back to Ireland. Today, when it's my turn to puff and shudder, blow into my hands, I'll try to remember that.

Products: The Row Sabeen jersey T-shirt from Net-a-Porter | Tresta Cardigan from Toast | MiH Jeans Paris jeans from Net-a-Porter | Ugg Belcloud from Gravity Pope | Ines Grey scarf from A Peace Treaty | Sterling silver donut ring from Hilary Druxman


Hooray for Friday! It felt like a week of Wednesdays - a huge hump I just couldn't get over.

January's early hope sets you up for feelings of listlessness and lack of momentum. You pull the pendulum right back at the start of the year, expecting it to swing dramatically, sweeping away everything in front of it. But somehow it defies gravity and just hangs there. And all that sweeping change you got yourself ready for seems to stall.

Of course, there were nice things this week too. Blogging over at Hila's was a complete pleasure - such thoughtful and insightful comments to flatter and cheer me. And I loved the post she wrote directly after mine. Hila and I often seem aligned, though we come at things very differently and it's always a pleasure to meet her in the middle and compare routes.

I also loved Anabela's purse. I did my own purse revelation some time ago (it hasn't changed much!) Anabela's style is always so compelling and completely her, I'm always drawn to it, though I dare not try to reach out and touch it. I'm just happy to sortof revel in it from the sidelines.

It's my dear friend Laura's birthday this weekend (everybody say "Happy Birthday, Laura!") and we have some fun adventures planned. (That's Laura modelling her handknits in the above photo). But as I write, I'm mostly looking forward to a bath and tonight's sleep, hoping it's deep and dream-free.

Have a great weekend!


The extra mild weather these last few weeks has bounced me right into looking at spring clothing. The new collection from Toronto's own Comrags is full of happy-making pieces. I'm very picky about necklines and too few dresses seem to hit that sweetspot of the perfect scoop.

I also recently bought that Toast dress I left behind when I was in England and love it so very much. I think this Spring/Summer will be all about dresses. Hooray!

And thank you for all your sweet comments and e-mails yesterday. They helped a lot.


The very unstyled view from my coffee table these evenings... Your moonchild blogger is having a tough week, running low on sleep and high on feeling. When I've got the blues I often think of Joni wishing for her clean white linens and fancy French cologne... And this flower arrangement is bringing me similar solace at the end of every day.


It's a simple story of physics, the reason icebergs float the way they do: Nine-tenths beneath the surface of the water. But it's an irresistible metaphor for beings like us who love to anthropomorphize nature.

Maybe we're all imperialists in that way, wanting to conquer the world with names and metaphors, to ostensibly define everything we see and then tame all that is in our path. Or maybe we simply can't understand something without projecting thoughts and feelings onto it. Or it could be that naming, relating helps us stop being scared by things that can hurt us.

Of course nature is really indifferent to what we do and why we do it. And even that statement anthropomorphizes it. Because it is not even indifferent. And maybe that's what we find so hard to wrap our heads around—its lack of care for us, for itself, for anything at all. Dynamic and vital and beautiful it might be, but feeling or loving, reflective or cruel, nature is not.

But, still, we persist in seeing nature as a child to protect, sometimes, a vicious adversary at others. And where nature in art was once a reflection of God or The Divine, in our own, post-expressionistic, psychological times we're more apt to see it as a reflection of ourselves, of consciousness. That nine-tenths beneath the water is, of course, seen as our subconscious. (As if the tenth above water isn't plenty to contend with and troubling enough of its own accord.)

But Elizabeth Bishop wrote about icebergs (albeit imaginary ones) in a way that neither excessively sublimates or anthropomorphizes them. And I'd like you to think for a moment how hard that is to do. To write about nature without making it into something it's not, to admire it without reference to yourself. And think how hard that is to do for the maker of pictures too. To look and capture without projecting feelings, agendas, politics or romance.

The Imaginary Iceberg
We'd rather have the iceberg than the ship,
although it meant the end of travel.
Although it stood stock-still like cloudy rock
and all the sea were moving marble.
We'd rather have the iceberg than the ship;
we'd rather own this breathing plain of snow
though the ship's sails were laid upon the sea
as the snow lies undissolved upon the water.
O solemn, floating field,
are you aware an iceberg takes repose
with you, and when it wakes may pasture on your snows?

This is a scene a sailor'd give his eyes for.
The ship's ignored. The iceberg rises
and sinks again; its glassy pinnacles
correct elliptics in the sky.
This is a scene where he who treads the boards
is artlessly rhetorical. The curtain
is light enough to rise on finest ropes
that airy twists of snow provide.
The wits of these white peaks
spar with the sun. Its weight the iceberg dares
upon a shifting stage and stands and stares.

The iceberg cuts its facets from within.
Like jewelry from a grave
it saves itself perpetually and adorns
only itself, perhaps the snows
which so surprise us lying on the sea.
Good-bye, we say, good-bye, the ship steers off
where waves give in to one another's waves
and clouds run in a warmer sky.
Icebergs behoove the soul
(both being self-made from elements least visible)
to see them so: fleshed, fair, erected indivisible.

And of course, there's nothing wrong with relating to nature or to wanting to name things. But I wonder how it effects our actions and our permanent sense of ourselves as beings-in-the-world if that world is always relating back to us. And I wonder what art looks like, what words are used when it tries to make no such connection, but simply lets be. Maybe that's just the art of silent looking, of accepting the unutterable.

(Note: In many ways, this post is in large part a response to / inspired by certain sections of Gopnik's Winter, which you can from all these mentions, is a book I completely recommend).

Image credits:
1. Sealers Crushed by Icebergs by William Bradford (1866), via
2. The Last Iceberg Series II/Floating Icebergs in Drift Ice II, Ross Sea (2006) by Camille Seaman, via
3. The Iceberg by Frederic Edwin Church (1891), via
4. The Last Iceberg/Stranded Iceberg I, Cape Bird (2006) by Camille Seaman, via
5. Iceberg at Night by Jeremy Miranda from Etsy


A complete flight of fantasy... These dresses from Valentino are pure, indulgent daydream. I love the soft and sweet make-up too. I never have bride/princessy fantasies and style-wise am as casual as they come. But an occasion to wear (nay, just to try on!) a dress this spectacular would be utterly divine.


Today, I'm over on Hila's blog, Le projet d'amour, where I've written a little (okay, long) post about rereading A Moveable Feast, what I love about Hemingway and some thoughts on nostalgia as a negative and polarizing force (and one which our current aesthetic seems to feed on).

I do hope you'll visit with me and, if you don't already do so, follow Hila's always wonderful, intelligent and engaging blog. And thanks Hila for having me!

Image: Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, via

Sunday best: Last read, new read

Yesterday, I finished reading Gopnik's Massey Lectures on Winter at the coffee shop. It's not unusual for me to cry when I finish a book. Sometimes, I'm acutely aware of the author's effort and feel enormously moved by the whole endeavour that's unfolded before me. And other times it's the characters, the story closing that fills me with a sense of tragic catharsis.

I couldn't figure out why Gopnik's lectures hit me so hard. And then I realized: They made me feel about Canada the way I felt about Canada when I wanted to emigrate so badly, when I returned to my homeland and felt lost and pined for the space and the cold of Canada.

And I remember when I got back to Dublin after my Masters. It was Christmas and Grafton St was thronged with people and it was typically mild weather, in the teens celsius. And I had the most intense panic attack. Two years in the foothills of the Rockies and I'd forgotten how to be around that many people. And I missed the intense cold of Calgary, where you didn't need Christmas lights to tell you when winter had arrived.

I'll never forget that time in Dublin. How familiar it all was and how lost I felt in it. And so I'd close my eyes and think of winter in Canada. I was unashamedly romantic about it. I thought about drifts of snow and icicles, those little crystals that form before your eyes when it gets really, really cold, the feeling of your hair freezing and the sound of stamping feet after a walk in the snow.

But maybe the days of bankable seasons are decreasing everywhere. Yesterday it was 8 degrees in Toronto; positively spring-like. And of course now that winter is real again, I enjoy those milder, respite days. But there's something to those uncomfortable extremes too... I miss them this year. And when I'm without them, I remember how much I missed deep Canadian winters when I was cut off from them.

Today, I'll start a new book, The Marriage Plot most likely (though don't rule a change of heart out). And I'll do Sunday-like things, write e-mails to friends and cook dinner. I'll take more long walks, thankful for ice-free paths. But before I go to bed, I'll check the weather and hope it says snow...

Happy Sunday!

Products: Dupatta Ameira from Matta | 7 for all mankind jeans from Net-a-Porter | Thakoon Sheer Yoke Blouse from La Garconne | Frye Paige boots from Gravity Pope | Lip gloss from Nars | Mulberry necklace from Titlee | Maison Martin Margiela Line 11 Bag from La Garconne | The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides


The first full week back is hard, isn’t it? I wasn’t quite ready for those old familiar feelings about alarm clocks and meetings.

Still, my week was good. I did loads of yoga and other exercise, mostly wanting to warm up after coming in from a bitterly cold spell in Toronto. And I ate healthy green things and drank gallons of water, enjoyed washing my face more than any human ought to (I love my new skincare products!)

I’m feeling nesty too and found myself browsing for bedside lamps, thinking of the pictures I need to get framed and where I might hang them and generally fussing, rearranging and cleaning. Too much time indoors, I guess, making me a little stir crazy. But I like fussing too, so it’s all grand.

I think I might pick a brand new recipe to cook this weekend, something warming and spicy, perhaps. And I’ll finish one book and start another. I’ve got a stack on my coffee table and would mostly just like to just read non-stop until spring. It seems like such a simple wish… Alas, my life is not so!

I have a wide assortment of things starred in my reader right now, including Katy’s rustic winter tart and Hila’s beautiful New Year poem/post. This post about Beckett’s doodles and notebooks and Leslie Williamson’s post about Eva Zeisel (RIP) – one of my favourite inspiring women.

Happy weekend!

Image, my own. More here.

Meringue dessert bar

Apologies to those of you on new year diets, but the 10th birthday issue of Donna Hay is simply chock-full of delectable beauty. I'm saving this idea of a meringue dessert bar for my next birthday. Isn't it genius? (And if I blogged about things like weddings, I would also suggest this would be gorgeous at a small wedding.)

Image: Donna Hay magazine, Issue 59. Photography by Anson Smart. Styling by Steve Pearce and Lucy Weight.

Andersen & Lauth

I'm really drawn to a combination of completely casual and pretty, pretty - I think my last Sunday best is a good example of that. My cravings for ultra-pretty are easily sated looking at the new collection from Andersen & Lauth. I consistently like their collections; they seem to find a sweetspot that I often have trouble articulating for myself.

A poem for Monday

The last day of the holiday.

Langour and dread, coffee and laundry, a defiantly glittery manicure, because I can't let it all go yet. My apartment is a scrubbed ghost of what it became over Christmas. And that reversal brings renewal. And that renewal defies the grey outdoors, the snow outside like nothing as bright and magical as the snow conjured inside on windowsills and trees these last weeks. And it's only without that deceptive revelry the renewal can begin. But the trick is to hold on to the joy, the unbridled hope, as the days revert to their routines.

This is by Margaret Avison, via.

New Year's Poem
The Christmas twigs crispen and needles rattle
Along the window-ledge.
             I remember   A solitary pearl
Shed from the necklace spilled at last week’s party
Lies in the suety, snow-luminous plainness
Of morning, on the window-ledge beside them.
And all the furniture that circled stately
And hospitable when these rooms were brimmed
With perfumes, furs, and black-and-silver
Crisscross of seasonal conversation, lapses
Into its previous largeness.
             I remember   I remember
Anne’s rose-sweet gravity, and the stiff grave
Where cold so little can contain;
I mark the queer delightful skull and crossbones
Starlings and sparrows left, taking the crust,
And the long loop of winter wind
Smoothing its arc from dark Arcturus down
To the bricked corner of the drifted courtyard,
And the still window-ledge.
Gentle and just pleasure
It is, being human, to have won from space
This unchill, habitable interior
Which mirrors quietly the light
Of the snow, and the new year.

Sunday best: 2012

After all the hoopla, to wake up this morning and simply find it a Sunday; that number change stripped of all its ceremony and my little head a little sore from the ringing in of it.

Still, enough of the magic still remains that I'll feel different today. Once I shower and go get a new 2012 Metropass, I'll ride downtown and get a coffee. I'll savour that coffee a little more and let my hands run over books in shops.

All the ceremony boils down to these small first gestures and that's just grand... Quiet tokens, dusted with hope, a slight change in attention, to mark a hopeful start. A gentle determination, an extra inch stretched in yoga. And a sweet moment in my inbox to make me smile.

Hello, 2012.

Products: Too Much Happiness: Stories by Alice Munro | Girl by Band of Outsiders Neck Tie Blouse from La Garconne | 7 for all mankind jeans from Net-a-Porter | Eden cardigan from J.Crew | Blush foldover from Clare Vivier | Larger Than Life Lip Gloss from Nars | Rachel Comey Derringer Oxford from Totokaelo