Almost seven years ago I packed my belongings and put them into storage while working abroad. At that time it no longer made sense to keep a home in Vancouver as I wasn’t going to be there for a year and a half. I had no idea then that my stuff would be in storage for so long.

Having decided to make Montreal home (for now…), it was time to have all that stuff taken out of storage and delivered. Time for me to look through the boxes and remind myself what was in there. For the most part I knew what was there – it’s just that when you haven’t seen something for a while, well, it’s exciting to see it again. After all, I gave away or threw away a lot, and packed only the items I really wanted to keep.

In no particular order…here are the items I found myself most excited to see again.

Ohhhh my vacuum!

I’m not sure if it is funny or sad that I was (and am) so happy to have my vacuum cleaner again. My home has hardwood floors, as you can see. I know plenty of people prefer a broom and a swiffer or mop, but not me. To me a broom just moves dust and dirt around. I much prefer watching the vacuum suck it all up. Knowing that this was on its way I didn’t want to buy another, so I made do with a broom until it got here. Now I can vacuum to my heart’s content!

What feels like a few lifetimes ago, I worked for the Buschlen Mowatt Gallery in Vancouver. My years there saw me work most closely with a handful of artists from France, and one from Montreal. I knew these pieces were safely tucked away and one of the reasons I wanted to paint all the walls before the shipment arrived was so that I could unpack and put these up immediately. During my time at the Gallery I was fortunate enough to travel to Paris and other parts of France to visit the five artists we represented. Bernard Cathelin was one of those artists, and a generous soul. It was impossible to leave a meeting or visit without him insisting on gifting a piece, or two. I have a few framed and up on the walls, and these two are among my favourites – a little burst of colour in the kitchen, and a little café corner, which reminds me of the many wonderful times and meals shared with Bernard and his wife Régine.

Then there’s Chaki. He was really the only Canadian artist I worked with regularly, as most of my time was focussed on international artists. Lucky for me, Chaki’s studio is about a 10-minute walk from my apartment here. I always visit him when I am in Montreal, and now it’s so easy….well, when COVID-19 doesn’t throw a wrench into things…. I can’t visit him these days, but I stay in touch. Chaki recently had a show open at the Musée des Beaux Arts here in Montreal. Unfortunately it had to be a virtual opening, however the plus side of that is you can all have a look. This is important work and near and dear to someone that is near and dear to me. I won’t say any more here, as I could never do it justice.

Then there’s that one piece that I took out of a box and thought…what? Why is that here? It’s not mine….Yikes! I took and photo and sent it to my friend Sherri and asked her if she was missing her piece. Long story about how it got mixed up with mine. All I will say here is that it was a big surprise, and made me laugh. Now all I have to do is get it back to Sherri in Vancouver.

Fond memories of buying the three photos on the left with my brother J while in Merida, Mexico. An amazing city! I literally walked around a corner and almost bumped into a woman who looked exactly like the one in the top photo. Gorgeous. And the photo on the right was taken by an extremely talented photographer, whom I was lucky enough to work with on a few occasions, Rick Collins. This image is from a trip he made to Pakistan. I LOVE it.
Aaahhh, my Corrine Hunt pieces!

I met Corrine Hunt while working for Vancouver 2010. She created the artwork that was used as the design on the Olympic and Paralympic medals. We also ended up gifting the athletes a printed piece – that way if you were an Olympian competing at Vancouver 2010, you received the print in your room at Olympic Village. Then if all went well on the day of your competition, you received a medal with a crop from the print. Each medal was a different crop. Oh man the lengths we went to (just ask the designer who had to create all those crops…)! All worth it though, for sure! I finally got these two prints framed and now they are on the wall, along with another Corrine piece called Flow, that she created for my super-talented film writer and producer friend Carla, to help fund the making of her short film Bona Fide. Clearly I now need to take Flow to the frame shop to have the glass replaced with anti-reflection glass so we can actually see this piece!

And there are more pieces – more art – each with its own story. What a gift.

I am also really happy to see my kitchen stuff again. I didn’t keep a lot – good pots and pans, some wine glasses, my cutlery – you get the idea.

I’m not sure what it is about these dessert cups….but for whatever reason they just bring a smile to my face.

My Starbucks mugs – I have more, but they are at my brother’s in Germany… One day I will be able to go back for a visit, and pick them up.

Every now and then I like a little champagne (Veuve Clicquot s’il vous plait!), sipped in the old, traditional glasses.

As the quote on the package of bath salts says, sometimes you just need to take the plunge! A friend gave me these and yes, I’ve used the bath salts. I hold onto the packaging because it is beautiful, and a good reminder to be someone who takes the plunge instead of wades…

This one both warms my heart and makes me giggle. Oh to be 19 and living in London! What a year that was. I turned 20 while there, and found out that those whacky Brits like to celebrate Guy Fawkes (who tried to blow up parliament) with fireworks on November 5th. Worked well for me as it meant there were fireworks on my birthday, marking the end of my teens with a bang! As I write this, I think I should go back to London for my birthday again – maybe the next milestone one. I mean, why not take advantage of the fireworks!

After posting this photo on social media a friend called and told me how much he loved my “Duran Duran” photo. Funny, and fitting, as I taught myself how to put on eye makeup by looking at photos of their keyboardist Nick Rhodes. True story people, true story.

And that is pretty much it for the items I “rediscovered” while opening my boxes. Thanks for the trip down memory lane (or lanes….).

It seems that COVID-19 has made us pause, look, listen and reflect a little as our “normal” daily life has been interrupted, upset, stalled, sent into spiralling — some or all of that and more. Looking through my stuff intensified the reflection – both on what was, and on what might be going forward.

Most of all, it’s been another great reminder of how privileged and lucky I have been to have a kick-ass family, amazing friends, the opportunity to work in really creative industries, and to travel for both fun and work. I am humbled and grateful. #charmedlife for sure.