time, driving, stopgo, confused

In

I finally just had internet installed after four days without it. So here's an old blog post for you.

SUNDAY
I predict a summer that isn't very long,
And before you know it, we're singing Christmas songs
Then we get another April, May, and June
I think I'm ready for something new
I feel overwhelmed this morning, but not in the same was as I did yesterday. Yesterday, in my mind, was a special day for several reasons, despite the challenges we faced.
I want to be totally honest about our yesterday, because I think it's valuable for other people to understand that they are not the only ones who struggle.
I was so tired after a week of packing that my mental roadblocks were unravelling. For about a year, I've been having a lot of memories of childhood, and some of my university years, coming back. Some I think I had repressed on purpose, others I think were pushed back over and over by the relentless stream of work that university provided for me. There were griefs I hadn't properly grieved, and joys I had forgotten. Since my time at Make Your Mark, the business mindset event, I made so many changes to my mental architecture that a few things came loose, and even though that resulted in me finally beating the eating disorder beast, which I'll talk more about later, it also came with side effects, like any medication.
That side effect is that I'm getting triggered by all kinds of stimulus, visual, auditory, flavours, and feelings, and when something triggers me, I never know what kind of memory will come back. Right now, they're coming at a rate of about one a day, but this week they were coming fast and thick.
Being surrounded by boxes, seeing a certain kind of pipe in a basement, having Paul rely on me when I felt spent, even lying in bed cuddling with Paul when I was tired, I never know what will come back.
Yesterday morning, after being up way too early and being the lead car in a caravan to the walkthrough of our new house, I kind of lost it. I had tried to deal with 2-3 triggers within the span of an hour while driving and going through the walkthrough taking photos, and the first thing that happened to me in our new home after the walkthrough was me locking myself in the room painted all over with fishes and sobbing and wailing (for at least 15 minutes) and praying, for things so far in my past I thought I'd buried them already. Paul came in to pray and comfort me and talk about what I was experiencing and he really helped me back into a real space.
Some people prayed for me, and I made it through the day in a pretty good space. Just as mornings are not my thing, evenings aren't Paul's. We left the house at 11pm for my newly discovered 24 hour Subway that's 10 minutes from our new place, and it was time for Paul to lose it and cry from the stress and for me to help him.
I am not one of those people out there that doesn't understand mental health, in fact I have a much better grip on it than your average bear. In the past few years, we've learned coping strategies, grounding tools, and spiritual concepts that have allowed me to thrive and overcome, not least of which the trip to Calgary just over a month ago, which has had a massive impact on the way I see my life and the kind of decisions I make day to day.
Subway is the place I used to go after a long, hard day, and have a good binge. For those of you that wonder what differentiates a binge from emotional eating, because it is different, there are a few clinical items I can pinpoint from my own experience. First, the speed of eating - I eat fast day to day, but when I binge it's like cramming it down the hatch at warp speed. Second, it's like a blackout. Often after you binge you can't remember doing it, it's like you went into some kind of trance when you ate and came out of it to a wrapper and crumbs. Third, it has nothing to do with flavour or quality of the food, in fact for many with the disorder they have a preference for mild foods. In my case that wasn't how it presented, mainly because the disorder was severe, but I'm actually a foodie under all of it, so I wanted to try and taste something good.
Last night, after what could generously be described as the most stressful day of my life in several years, we went to Subway. I was starving since I hadn't eaten in almost 9 hours. I ordered a footlong sub with lots of flavour and many delicious vegetables. And then, according to the discussion I had recently with my new dietician, I chewed it twice as much as usual, I tasted almost every bite of it and focused on how wonderful a meal it was. I ate chips - once the centre of one of my most horrible binging behaviours, and I ate them one by one, savouring the combination of the sweet, cold iced tea and the salt-and-vingar crunch.
It was the first day that I can remember in my entire life that I had a day this stressful and didn't binge.
There will come a morning you won't open up your eyes
But it's what you do until that day arrives
Stand Out (Clover)

Roots and Grafts

What if I want to be the one who
Doesn't look like anybody
What if I want to be the one who
goes her own way
Would you still believe in someone like me?

In the past month I've been travelling through several cities for work and friendship, I've shot a session I was looking forward to for almost three years, I've babysat adorable children, and I've packed more boxes than I care to remember. I've learned about DISC personality profiling and yet again been in the minority, and Paul has confirmed as I've long suspected that I actually am very unique and there's not much to compare my life to others. I am finally finding that the group of people I belong to the most are entrepreneurs, and that's a great discovery. I am on my way to feeling peace on that subject. This month I've been there for a friend in their darkest and hardest moments, and I've forged new relationships from chance meetings at networking events. I've snapped my fingers in deep agreement with beat poetry, and questioned how we in microsocieties deal with the "unacceptable" ideas of the world. I've appreciated the fine falling of new snow in spring, I've been offended, I've cried from the emotional pain of the past and how it affects my today, and I've loved deeply, wondering in awe of how love grows between two people as time allows.

A sleepy dog lies beside me this morning, confused by the uproar of boxes, the general pace of change, the deep unrooting of moving. His questioning eyes mirror my questing heart.

I feel this vast uprooting of moving in my soul, and even though I can't say I'll miss much about living here, I need to give myself credit for the difficulty of uprooting from any ground. I am a pilgrim on a journey from the southwest to the northeast of a big city. The things that were inconvenient are becoming more convenient, the things that were close are becoming a 45 minute drive away. For some I become easier to see, for others, harder. I am waiting for the promised land of a beautiful kitchen, an office with a picture window and room for a dog, and bedrooms for the children we await - our adoptive children who are already alive, going to school, playing and building a personality day by day. I think of them often these days, and await their arrival in my home with joy. This home that we move to in two days is the place we will build a bigger family, by grafts like a fruit tree. Did you know that you can graft one tree to another and see fruit thrive? I feel like adoption is like that. I can't wait to graft new branches on to our family tree. I look forward to providing a home full of laughter, good food, board games, nerdy television, and hugs, and wise counsel when life requires it - and silent support when wise counsel falls on deaf ears, as it is wont to do in puberty...

The wait, in some ways, is over. It's a huge milestone, and the fact that I feel that in my gut, the fact that I haven't had a true binge for over a month now since my life-changing business mindset class in Calgary is a sign to me of a lot of areas of healing. I am uncovering hurts and unsupportive hampster wheels that turned in the back of my head and selling them for scrap metal and freeing those hampsters to the wide world. It's dangerous out there, but what creature doesn't seek freedom, even at the cost of the predators and fierce weather patterns? I would rather be free than safe. Freedom is costly.

As we come to the end of Lent, I have been meditating on one of my favourite songs for Easter, Jon Foreman's Revenge, from the perspective of the the thief on the cross - and of all of us at our worst.

So I stopped for a moment to look at the Son
Dying today
Thats when the irony hit me
That this was revenge
That love had descended and stolen our pain away
We consumed heaven's Son
I drew first blood, I drew first blood
My hate was undone
I drew first blood, I drew first blood
Revenge, revenge


I am reminded as I listen of what's so amazing about grace - that it isn't about fairness. The world demands fairness, but at it's heart another of my favourite lyrics says it best: the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair. It is this glorious unfairness that Easter celebrates, and as Good Friday approaches I continue to meditate on the goodness of a God who experienced everything we have, even the worst kind of death a human being could conceive of, and who has given us a way to transform suffering to beauty, to use it for becoming holy. It's a good meditation, and I continue to ponder it in my quiet moments between the chaos of moving and work. I am moving towards something so much greater. Thank you for joining me on the journey.

So after all that outpouring of poetry, I will briefly cover things that actually happened, more for my own record-keeping than anything. I went to Regina to visit a friend whom I hadn't seen for ages, and playing with her dogs and generally sitting about and chatting - as well as eating delicious food from great restaraunts - was a highlight of the trip. I presented about owning my own business to a bunch of pre-teen Girl Guides, and learned some fun campfire songs. I finally got around to shooting that amazing powder session I've been looking forward to for ages, so that was a creative success. We babysat for our new landlords, and their kids are awesome. I drew custom robots for them, which was fun, and twirled them around the room. A very sweaty Paul playing airplane with children responded to cries of "Again! Again!" with looking at me in exhaustion and saying, "I am so out of shape!" which was adorable. There are a ton of amazing things that happened this month, both in personal and business life, but I am in dire need of a breakfast sandwich, some sharpies, and plastic dinnerware before the big push for moving gets underway when my mother-in-law breezes in today, so it's time for me to sign off for now. See you on the flip side from different digs.
  • Current Location: Sloane Court
  • Current Music: Revenge - Jon Foreman
does anyone know

Road Trip to Get a Road Tripping Machine

The birds they sang at break of day
"Start again," I hear them say
It’s so hard to just walk away (sigh)
The birds they sang, all a choir
"Start again" a little higher
It’s a spark in a sea of grey

Paul and I had a lovely little road trip yesterday, first to Wetiskiwin to the south of Edmonton, where we met an affable native fellow and a small red hatchback that we decided wasn’t for us after the window popped out when we tried to roll it down, and then to Alberta Beach to the east of Edmonton, where we placed a final bet on a silver-and-scuffs 2000 Toyota Corolla.

I ended up missing book club, unfortunately, due to the fact that we began our trip in the early afternoon instead of the morning, but since we reached the big weekend objective of being a two car family again I’m cool with that. As much as I've enjoyed trying out Uber these last few weeks, it's added a few stress points to have to juggle vehicles and appointments for sure.

I have been unfailingly productive for several weeks, but today I was so tired I ended up going back to bed for a 5 hour nap this afternoon and I’m still a bit out of it now, but more with it than I was earlier for sure - in fact, as it gets to midnight I’m waking up and becoming more productive again.

I've got a big week lined up. Tomorrow I have a few errands to run, packing for a dual-city trip, finishing my very first Last Resort class that’s being released this Tuesday, editing some photography and more. The biggest thing is informing pretty much everyone I know about what's happening with Last Resort. I may not have time to blog while I'm away in Regina with my friend, so I'll probably see blog again in a week or so!
jump for joy, elephant trampoline

Burning The Candle Normally

If every man became a king,
We could do more than just dream
Well I feel, I feel, the change is here
We owe this to ourselves

Some days I get up early, some days I stay up late, but every day I find myself moving more quickly, feeling like life is happening right now. My feet move faster around the house than usual.

Some days I am up until 4am working, some days I am getting up at 6am to work. I'm burning the candle one end on one day and the other end on another, but never at both ends on the same day...

Keeping up the energy after my incredible business weekend has been a full time job, along with all the other work I'm accomplishing. Plus I've been making time to enjoy life, too. I went to my second ever poetry slam and enjoyed some really hard-hitting beat poetry. I'm hoping to read there some time.

In my personal life, I'm working a lot on taxes, and the house is in show condition for the people who are coming to take a look at the place to take it when we leave at the end of the month. We've got someone coming to take a look at it tonight, though I am in a meeting and Paul will be the one handling that one. These days I'm aiming to pack 1-3 boxes a day whenever I'm home, which isn't always.

Paul's car has finally bit the bullet, unfortunately after we just made about $400 worth of repairs to it - of course, they were the right decision at the time, as was buying a car that cheap. We think the transmission has probably gone (it's revving through the roof in park now and not much better in drive with the brakes on.) We've decided it's time to get something else going, since this is making some waves in my otherwise straightforward life and I am pretty mobile with meetings and such these days.

So this weekend will likely include a little bit of car shopping. Blessing of blessings, we actually could spend a grand outright on a car with some life left in it without toppling the world if we're really careful. I'm going to do my best to make as much money as possible over the next few months to enable it all. Plus getting in taxes soon so we can get a bit of a refund hopefully.

I've been feeling really grateful for some of the things my parents taught me growing up - like that I can talk to all human beings, regardless of age or status. I remember I was quite old when I realized that race was a really big thing that separated people, because it wasn't something my parents often observed as a separation. I thought only a very few people saw race as an impediment, and I am glad to see more people of my generation deciding not to let it be one. I've had several friends get engaged recently to people born across the world from them... I love diversity. Seeing interracial couples, or people coming together across any great divide, it all makes me smile so wide...

Paul says he's been feeling particularly loved lately - even though I'm this busy, I'm making sure that his needs are provided for because his needs are still the most important thing in my life. In turn, I feel comfortable and full of love towards him. As I said to him the other day after he ceremoniously put my ring on my finger when I'd forgotten it on my desk, "I'd marry you all over again." I meant it, too. Our fifth anniversary is coming up!

Professionally, I am swamped - but in a good way. I had a really fun session yesterday where we wandered around on the ice and took some icy wasteland explorer/eskimo photos, which was a lot of fun.  I had a wedding meeting today which was promising - and then while I was writing this post, they emailed to book with me, and I was supposed to have a meeting this afternoon that got cancelled due to illness - which is okay, I have enough work to do…

I've got a lot going on for Last Resort - I've been working on a couple of classes due for release soon, one called Massive Priority Shift which is all about how to plan your next two weeks, and another for Gmail email management.

Tonight I meet with Jasser to talk about the new initiative we're starting for the CPC Tradeshow, so that's exciting.

Next week I'll be in Edmonton and then in Calgary and then in Regina for most of the week, where I'm visiting a friend and spending a bit of time in nose-to-grindstone work for Last Resort.

It seems like things fly on and off my plate with great speed - and I'm feeling bright eyed and taking big bites out of life. My focus is really sharp.

bring your moves, cpc

Twyla 3.0

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in

Whenever something this big happens in my life, I always find it a little intimidating to blog about. I wasn't expecting to come back a new person after a business seminar I went to in Calgary last week. I mean, I was expecting a little bit of energy, some new ideas, maybe increased focus... not the incredible life-changing event it was. It was like last Wednesday was the closing page in a chapter of what I already thought was a pretty good life, and everything that happened since then was the start of a whole new book.

Normally I'd write about these things with daily headings, but I don't feel like that will communicate it. It diminishes the vastness of the change. I think I'll just try to spew and see if I can capture a fraction of the things that have been changing for me over the past ten days. But first, the one day I really do need to write about is Monday, because Monday was my therapy anniversary. It signifies that I've been getting help for three years, and I'm turning a new page now - not that I'll stop getting therapy, God forbid, but that every time I go I will be enabled to make leaps and bounds towards the person I am becoming.

Deep in my bones, straight from inside
I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age


Back in November I attended a single evening business event in Calgary, and signed up for a 3 day event called Business Mastery: Power in You run by a very successful entrepreneur by the name of Colin Sprake. If you are one of my business owner friends, you'll be hearing more from me about it, because it was hands down the most useful event I've ever attended, personally and professionally, in making positive changes that enable my life and business. I have a ton of respect for Colin and what he does and I'm a huge fan even though prior to this I'd never heard of him before.

And the other day I should mention? Wednesday, because the Wednesday this week was the day me and my friend Brad took off for Calgary, and it was also the first day of Lent. Brad and I have developed a close friendship through this process of narrowing in on our personal and business goals and sharing a place to stay while we were in Calgary. I was blessed to find us an AirBnB location with two beds.

Since you weren't there and couldn't follow the process with me, and since it's best I don't share a lot of their proprietary secrets publically on my blog, I'll give you a rundown about what I was like when I got home. I danced to celebrate successes in our lives, and invited Paul to dance too. I have kept up an energy level that I don't remember ever having before in my life and felt consistently encouraged by my progress. My self-worth is at an all time high. I feel equipped to run a successful business that smashes it out of the park both financially and in caring for people - this group is very focused on running business with heart, treating people like people, not numbers on your bottom line.

Everyone needs compassion, a love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me
This last week or so I have been as relentless with my joy and pleasure as I was with my stress and misery. Today at my date day with Paul at Montanas, I drew a tree representing who I am and who I am becoming, and I felt fresh and full of life drawing it. Spring is coming to the ground and nature, but it came to my soul last week.

It's also come with a lot of commitments. One of the things we talked about a lot at the business conference is who we are becoming and who we want to be, and I created a triplicate set of statements to reflect who I am becoming:

I am moving towards a place of seeking out, collecting, and celebrating with pleasure and energy the beauty, joy, and mystery of every moment of life. I am on the way to holding sacred my integrity and commitments to God, Church, Law, myself and those close to me, and those whose lives I touch. I am journeying towards being fully convinced of my own inestimable worth, personally, financially, and with a long-lasting legacy to be admired.

Ever since I got those statements down and started looking at them daily, they've really helped me to start becoming that person.

There are a number of amazing miracles that happened while I was away. I've come back with little to no inclination to binge - I mean, my palette is even changing. Lemonade, Iced Tea, and double-double tea are all things I used to love and crave, and now they're way too sweet for me and I have to tone down on the sugar. I'm eating much more normal amounts of food and feel clear and focused while I'm eating. I've overeaten since I got to Make Your Mark last week, but still, even a week later, I haven't binged. It's incredible. I don't think I've gone this long without it in years. I'm really pleased to be able to say that I think I am much farther along the recovery road than I thought.

And try as you may, there isn't a way
To explain the kind of change
That would make an Eskimo renounce fur
That would make a vegetarian barbecue hamster
Unless you can trace this about-face
To a certain sign

After Mass today as I reflected on Lent, I remembered the moment I prayed in a spirit of joy, "God, this Lent doesn't seem terribly penitent." He answered me almost immediately, "You're only a few days in." Well that's good to know, because this month is going to be a massive challenge to my newfound focus.

It's fitting then that in my heart what I gave up for Lent was laziness. I decided even before my miraculous week of change that I was going to commit to change. It started with a cart. I was finishing up after fetching some groceries and I'd had to push a cart for ages through slush to get it to the cart covering space in the parking lot. I was about to leave it there, sticking out into the road, when I felt a real check in my conscience. I realized that I couldn't go loving my enemies and providing for the destitute and still leave my cart in the middle of the road, that there was a big laziness inconsistency in my life I needed to kick. So I collected all the carts in the road, and put them in nicely for the dude who has to handle the carts. And then I kept doing it. Putting away things at the grocery store where they belonged. Putting garbage in the garbage immediately instead of leaving wrappers lying around the kitchen for later. It's resonating with me, these little changes, with who I am becoming, and it's the framework that second paragraph of my Becoming statements it built on. I touch the life of the man who collects the carts, you see.

Not giving in to laziness with the amount of work I have to do right now will be a tough go. We're moving in 25 days and we have half a dozen boxes packed in total, and we'll have to start showing the place soon - I'll have a bit of work to do. Thankfully I won some cleaning services and I arranged for a trade-for-services with someone else for some more, so I think that will really help out with things. Paul's Mom is coming to help with the move, and some of our friends will help this time, too, now that we have more friends available.

Plus I'm working extremely hard on Last Resort right now, getting courses ready for release, not to mention the three client albums I have to design... It's a big set of to dos, but a good one. I am moving forward with the energy to take it all on, despite the challenges.

It's been a crazy few weeks for other people around me as well, with news good and bad rolling in at light speed. I am learning to stay in the eye of the storm - safe, but moving forward at the right speed to keep in the eye instead of cowering in one place while the carnage rages. Because change is inevitable. All you have to do is make sure it's growth and improvement whenever you have a choice - which is more often than you think.
bring your moves, cpc

Graphomania

Talk, talk is cheap
Give me a word you can keep


WORDS

I wrote so many words last week. I'd wager I would be about halfway through a novel or so, if they were all sequential. Thousands of words. I wrote an outline for a course the other day that was about 500 words just for the outline. I have written course material, notes on presentations, letters, announcements, rental advertisements, elevator pitches, recipes, to do lists, invoice memos, information packages, forms, and emails, just to give you an idea of scope. Words are the one thing I don't often run out of, and when I am speechless, others tend to comment on the rarity.

MUSIC

After several years of feeling more ambivalent about my music the majority of the time, the last six months or so my interest has been waxing again. Not that my need for rhythym and music ever truly left me, I was just preoccupied with other things, it was more of a background noise. I've been looking for new sounds, for interesting lyrics, and finding them in all kinds of places.

MOVEMENT

My last appointment with my massage therapist, who is fast becoming a good friend, we talked about how my personal stifling also applied to the bouncing, moving, and davening motions that feel so natural to me. When I'm excited about something, I bounce. It comes as easily to me as laughter, rising to the tips of my toes and bouncing. I'm not sure if it's nature or nurture, but I am sure that it's very much a part of who I am. I'm working at being true to the person I really am, being real about the moments when I should be bouncing to show my joy, or to create it when the feeling is missing and I should have more.

ANALYTICAL THINKING
There's this grand feeling of success I get when I help someone install a new system that makes their lives easier, or teach someone a concept that helps them. Puzzling out a new set of ideas, creating a system. These things are as natural to me as breathing, and as I find in them my new calling, I breathe easier.

BUSINESS
On Wednesday night I head out for a three day business workshop in Calgary that I hope to milk every drop out of as I move forward with Last Resort.


These five things - words, music, movement, analytical thinking, and business - they make up the majority of my life these days. Beside them curls a sleepy dog on an orange pillow on top of a purple blanket on top of a blue futon in a basement suite in the southwest of a really big city - and the dog is unaware that his life will be turned all topsy-turvy again by a move to the northeast corner of the really big city.

jump for joy, elephant trampoline

Taking The Day by the Tasks

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace
Today is a big accomplishment day. Sadly it started around 2am when I woke up after only 5 hours of sleep, but sometimes you take what you can get.

  • I finally sent out a ten page, content-heavy document to the Sponsors for CPC

  • I finished writing some intense advertising copy

  • I wrote the Kijiji ad for our current basement suite, which made me appreciate how it's not been a bad place to live at all

  • I wrote a detailed outline for the first course I plan to release for Last Resort

  • I put through a load of laundry

  • I packed up the books that need to go to the library

  • Our freshly bathed dog desperately needed a hair removal brushing, so I cornered him into it. He was not pleased, but I sure was. Then I used a lint roller on the couch.

  • I have an appointment with my assistant to work on new stuff

  • and I am determinedly tackling almost everything on my HabitRPG list.

Unfortunately I'm supposed to be resting, but when I have the kind of energy and drive it takes to get these things done, I can push the rest forward a few hours as long as I still rest.

Yesterday wasn't bad for accomplishments, either, but more on the personal side - I got some of the photos of the house taken for putting the rental we're in back on the market and I was at therapy for the first time in ages discussing some of the big events that have been happening lately and how they're affecting my mood. It was kind of eye opening, stacking all the changes in the past few months and the coming ones together and realizing there's possibly even more change afoot than there was when I first got married. The biggest thing is that the vast majority of these changes are really good news, which in itself is also a change. Arghhh.

So basically, ch-ch-ch-changes... and now I'm starting to get tired, so I'm thinking of joining the lounging dog in his couch spot for awhile, then maybe reading a book and having a snack. It's the simple things that can help you get back on track...
  • Current Music: David Bowie - Changes
bring your moves, cpc

Bring Your Moves to the Floor

They will see us waving from such great heights,
"Come down now," they'll say
But everything looks perfect from far away,
"Come down now," but we'll stay...

Today I basically spent my entire day working on Canada Photo Convention stuff. The great thing about that is that at around lunchtime, I headed into the kitchen and started to feel kind of guilty because I was really enjoying my day and should be working. The exact sort of feeling I've spent years trying to eradicate from my life.

The thing was, I WAS working. I had been already since a phonecall woke me up at about 8:45, which was hours before my alarm was supposed to go off.

In celebration, I ate all the leftover pizza from the freezer. Well, I would have anyway. But I specifically ate it in celebration. I made a good decision when I decided to stay with CPC, to do what my passion leads me to.

In celebration of the concept I've lovingly titled Bring Your Moves to the Floor, I want to give a shout out to my very good friends Mark and Moira, whose passionate, creative zeal for the unusual has led them to recreate something intensely amazing - the ZebraCar.

Before I ever met Mark and Moira, I saw the ZebraCar, and being young and foolish, I probably squealed. Nah, not true. I sqeal every time I even think about the ZebraCar. You know why? Because there's nothing like creativity run amok to make this world a better place. Spectacle. Irreverence where irreverence is due. Fun where you just have to have fun because life is too beautiful not to be filled with a desire to run rampant over invisible rules and attack the terrible disease that is Adultitis.

I treasure my friends who do not suffer from acute cases of adultitis. And Mark and Moira are among the least affected by it. As Paul so eloquently said the other day after we talked to them, "They make me feel like my weird is normal."

In case you've never been to my old hometown of Saskatoon, I'll introduce you to the ZebraCar. Or rather, the ZebraCar 2.0 and the 1.0 as I first saw it, as well as a little taste of the inside.

Their reason for creating this animal: "We're not about to be lost in the sea of white cars out there, and we're not afraid of standing out in the crowd (or the herd). We hope our crazy art-car fashion-sense inspires other people to be creative with their vehicles, especially if, like us, they are a one-car, drive-it-till-it-dies, non-status-symbol family. Smiles are free and we love to give them via our goofy four-wheeled friend.

zebracar

This is the kind of thing I mean when I think of that concept they talk about in rap music: bringing your moves to the floor. In this case, the floor is the road, and the field of expertise is a fantastical art car. But the theory and the idea is the same. Bringing your moves to the floor is about not hiding from your passion, about striving for the best in a world that settles for the mediocre. It's about taking the road less travelled, to use an older frame of reference. The challenge of going to the end of your creativity, whether or not it alienates, to be real about who you are instead of hiding behind many masks for different occasions. It's about allowing only the healthy fears - like knives and fires as opposed to jungle gyms and bill payments - to be a part of your decisionmaking process for who you become as a person.

I can't settle for less than this kind of loud. I want to bring my moves to the floor - in business, in faith, in morality, in art, in love. I don't want to live this life with just a little bit of anything. I'm the kind of person who has got to stand out, to find my vision and see it done. As I teeter on the edge of 29 this year, I remember that age has nothing to do with creative potential - if anything, the older you get the better your creativity, if you've been feeding it all your life. If you don't know Mark and Moira, you might not know that they're the same age as my parents, who also delve deeply into arts and crafts that give joy to others.

So this is an ode to the ZebraCar. The epitome of what it means to be okay with standing out, being uncivilized, and achieving your potential as a creative being.

  • Current Location: Edmonton
  • Current Mood: cheerful cheerful
  • Current Music: The Postal Service - Such Great Heights
love umbrella

Changes to Plans

If I ever get around to living,
It's gonna be just like I dreamed
I'm gonna take the love I'm given
And set it free

Yesterday we had our tea, but unfortunately only two friends made it out, a couple whose wedding I shot last year that's become friends with us. They're some of the first people we know who have been directly affected by the oil price crashing, their jobs as environmental scientists aren't keeping them too busy right now... It was nice to talk to them again, and it was particularly nice that we spend time cleaning up in the house - we're now ready to take some photos of the place for advertising it and starting to get ready to move at the end of March. 48 days.

After our tea, we ate supper and then chatted on Skype with Mark and Moira. We've been trying to make Skype a more frequent part of our lives as a way to keep in contact with friends and family.

Announcing to friends about our plans to start the adoption process in May has this odd feeling to it, especially since most of our friends are announcing pregnancies these days. I've been telling people that we're going to apply in May, and then sometime in Fall or Winter 2015-2016 we'll probably have the children of our future family come home to live with us. At this point, that's about 9-12 months away that we might be looking at bringing children into our home - so it feels more real when we talk about it now, less like the future and more like the now.

Today was truly a day of rest, both Paul and I barely did anything and napped most of the day. A lot of work has really sprung up for me, so I've ammended my plan to have Sabbatical time in February and pushed it back to spring. I have packing to do and work for the CPC and Last Resort... It's really not a great time to take a bunch of time off. But I am going to do everything at a more relaxed pace than I usually might.
rawr, dinosaur love

On the Up and Up

The tension is here
between who you are and who you could be
between how it is and how it should be

So many things have been happening at such a speed that I haven't been able to keep up with posting blog posts. Truthfully I've been adding one-line reminders to my draft of this post almost every day, and they are many and varied. It's unfortunate that it will take me a long time to communicate them all, and due to the fact that many of these things were over a week ago already, I'm sure I can't do them justice. Nevertheless...

I am finding that as my life improves, I am swaying from my usual struggle with clinical depression into the territory of it's spectrum opposite, the manic. My mind races at night, and I am really struggling with sleeping. In a particualarly appropriate example, I was extremely tired the other day and woke up just after midnight when I had gone to bed at 9:30pm - a completely reasonable hour for a change. By the time I had been awake for two minutes, I had sat up in bed and was mentally composing a value statement for CPC, one of the tasks I had set for later this week. I ended up getting up for a few hours, trying to get back to sleep, and eventually getting up and just running on 3 hours. And when I say running, I mean running, when I am in that state I am a fearless predator of my tasks and I tear them to shreds quite efficiently. Upon realizing this was happening, I made therapy and doctor appointments for myself and began making a list of the things that help. Things like saying rote prayers as a meditation, going to the gym, and hugging the sleeping puppy.

I don't know if you've ever tried cuddling with a sleepy dog but when you do it's practically impossible not to get sleepy yourself.

When I can't receive Your love,
Afraid I'll never be enough,
Remind me who I am
If I'm Your beloved, can You help me believe it?

If I had to pick one, the manic state is definitely more useful, but I actually would prefer normal highs and lows in my life, thanks. Especially considering I've now figured out what's happening with me. I have only ever had very short periods of manic through, these last few months as life has improved and new developments that make life better are a weekly if not daily occurence, I am finding my stability challenged in a direction I am not usually going in.

All that to say that the realization itself was of immense value, and I was able to communicate it to Paul with some tact and ask for his clinical help, since mental health is now one of his areas of expertise. It's a bit of a sore area for him because of some issues in his past, so I wanted to be gentle about it and I think I succeeded. You may have no idea how hard it is to be gentle when feeling manic. I set us up with a sleeping dog between us and two steaming hot cups of tea and slowed down my brain as much as I could to listen and be present. It's a skill I'm less familiar with and I'm learning as I go.


The first thing I wanted to talk about here was a new community in Edmonton. I had the privelege of attending the very first meeting of The Chopping Block, which is a local Shark Tank/Dragon's Den idea where local accredited investors provide ideas and possibly capital to startups. We discovered METAL, an adult laser tag (more like indoor paintball without the colours or bruising and with a lot more strategy) which takes its heritage from police and army training. We are very excited to get a group together to set and disarm their awesome fake bomb... We also met a lady who had developed a new kind of foot jewelery and someone from Taiwan who was trying to develop a magnetic product to keep stable temperatures in transport trucks. All three were interesting to both Paul and I and I had a chance to connect with others and both give and recieve advice. It was definitely a great day, but that was just the beginning of a string of amazing moments.

I had an incredibly good day last Thursday, which is where my big fat story effectively begins.

First off, I tried a new hairstyle on the advice of my stylist and despite being half asleep when I did it, it turned out looking fabulous. I only hope I can recreate it - I've tried now twice and neither was as good... So I started off the day with a good hair day - nay, a perfect hair day. Those are rare.

I met with a lady who manages the office side of a law firm about working with them as Last Resort, and the presentation and meeting went off better than I could have ever expected. At the end of it, I felt confident and happy. I headed off to Burrito Libre for lunch, and bought the student's lunch who was next to me in line. When I posted it to Facebook and tagged the business, they asked if they could give me a gift certificate! So that made my day even more amazing.

I had some problems with one of my lenses, so I had sent it in for service. When I picked up my gear at Vistek, all five of the usual store employees greeted me, remembered me, and I felt like a real VIP there.

When I lose my way and I forget my name,
Remind me who I am.
In the mirror all I see is who I don't wanna be,
Remind me who I am.
In the loneliest places, when I can't remember what grace is
Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You, that I belong to You

That evening, we had an appointment with the Mother-of-the-bride of one of my brides last summer, who happens to be a very experienced short term foster parent. Talking with an experienced foster parent about adoption was one of the most strengthening moments I've had. Setting aside all the great and practical advice she gave for a moment, it came as an absolute surprise to have such a warm person who is literally a professional parent tell us that she felt we were going to make great parents, that we had complimentary skills and would be able to offer a stable home. Having her on our side is making us both feel much more prepared for all this. Paul and I spoke late into the night after we met her. Paul talked about the call to holiness, and what it means to parent someone in faith and love. I talked about the immense confidence boost, and how much I was looking forward to all of this. We'll be sending in our application in May after we move - the earliest we are allowed to what with the stress and hubbub of moving.

Friday was just as crazy. I couldn't sleep again, so I stayed up reading Value Based Pricing, a book which contains many notable ideas about how to show your clients your value. I had been working on a new idea for CPC, and it truly blossomed.  I slept on the idea for a couple of hours, and then was able to work on it right before my meeting with Jasser. I should note that in this process, Jasser has become a rather close friend. We share quite deeply with one another now about our lives and struggles, and also about business, which is our true passion.

Upon arrival I ordered myself a Mojito (one of my favourite party drinks, and a tribute to Jasser's beloved dog of the same name) and then proceeded to get a steak dinner, and I told Jasser, "I took the liberty of having you buy me a steak dinner and a drink, because you'll want to buy me both after you hear what I have to say today." He laughed really, really hard and started getting excited. I had done a lot of thinking about my place in the conference, and as they say on Dragon's Den/Shark Tank, whether I was "in or out?" I told him I was in for the long haul if he was okay with my ideas and place going forward, that I saw a huge potential for revenue in the conference and believed in everything it stood for and had to offer. I then pitched my vision for the sponsor side, and I swear to you it made him tear up. Boy, that felt good. The best part was that I came ready to convince him of just how big a powerhouse he'd created, and he came primed with some realizations he'd had before he arrived. He loved my ideas, he was okay with the pitfalls, and he wants to go ahead with my new vision for what the tradeshow floor is going to look like. So after years of contributing as a volunteer and last year as Jasser gave me the token black shirt as a co-organizer, I felt really blessed to be a part of this and moving forward with it.

From the ruins, from the ashes, beauty will rise
From the wreckage, from the darkness, glory will shine

After that excellent afternoon - it was pretty much four hours going over Jasser's new workshop tour, my recent success in Last Resort, and CPC - I headed out to supper with my new and awesome friend Erin. Let me just say how blessed I have been to connect with such a lovely individual, someone who sees the world through much the same lens as I do, gives out hugs and high fives liberally, and loves the same restaurant haunts that I do. I met Erin at TEDxEdmonton and we connected after talking about one of the speakers who presented about the crossroads between science and religion. She's a lovely soul, and after meeting some of her friends and her boyfriend I am convinced that we have a long and fantastic friendship ahead of us. Not to mention that our new home is much closer to where she is living now - actually I'm closer to more than half of my Edmonton friends with this move.

In this conversation, we spoke at length about my theory on why we as feminists can defend the stance of women from a point of humanism - what's best for us all. We talked about the struggle of those with mental illnesses, especially those like pedophilia which have extreme stigma attached. We spoke about not having it all figured out, about my desire to start up a care group in Edmonton to fill a hole we both feel after our previous communities collapsed. We talked about our past and what it means to who we are today. It was an amazing time of connection - and Paul arrived partway through after a hard day of work to share in our sharing. I shared one of my life theme songs with Erin and she said it was hers, too:

Honesty is a hard attribute to find
When we all want to seem like
We've got it all figured out
Well let me be the first to say that I don't have a clue
I don't have all the answers
Ain't gonna pretend like I do

Speaking of not knowing much or anything about a subject, the following morning after yet another sleepless night (seeing a pattern here?) I woke up after about an hour and a half of sleep and had to go shoot at an Archery club. I knew they'd prepped a lot of things and that it would be really tough to reschedule everything, so I pumped the music, focused as hard as I could and made it out there - and I'm very proud of how the photos turned out! Not only that, but I ended up chatting about the history and culture of archery, how recent movies have affected their turnout - particularly of women since Hunger Games came out. Everyone was very kind and inviting and I had great conversations with three of the many nerd dudes. Definitely makes me want to make it a place to hang out on Saturday mornings. I'm planning to take the Paul to one of their drop in sessions.

That afternoon was the momentous signing of the new lease with our new landlords at our new house. I took a few photos this time, so I have a much better idea of how it looks. These photos are not going to see the light of day because they have the normal flotsam of family life in them, and out of respect for their lovely family, I'm keeping them to myself with the exception of the kitchen shots, which I will share privately with some family and close friends. That kitchen is going to make me the happiest woman. Moving there will cut Paul's daily commute by 10-15 minutes each way - which is the equivalent of over a hundred and fifty hours a year to get some perspective on that change. It moves us closer to most of our friends, and into a main floor.

I bragged about it at book club that evening - book club has become a source of a never-ending stream of interesting books, which is exactly the sort of thing it should be. The last time I was in a book club I was a young teen, and that club, called SPLAT, has left an indelible mark on my memory - now I'm finding that my current book club reminds me of it often, and that kind of nostalgia is a very good thing.

I am stuntin' and flossin' and
Savin' my money
Speaking of amazing kitchens, yesterday after my two meetings of the day I went to Value Village to drop off a bag of donations and pick up a dog blanket, and I ended up with several amazing finds, the greatest of which was a set of six Ikea kitchen chairs priced at $13 each. From donating I had a coupon for 30% off my entire purchase, which made the chairs $9 each, so for less than $10 a chair, we ended up with a full kitchen set. We haven't had proper kitchen chairs since Paul's condo set that we sold when we got married. As I said to Paul, the mark of a good kitchen chair is that you can sit in it and forget you're sitting in a chair - and these chairs passed that test with flying colors, not to mention being rather nice looking:

kitchen-chair-ikea

Not to mention I found two pairs of very nice jeans that fit perfectly, including being long enough and not sitting too low in the back which most jean-makers clearly believe is a fringe benefit of the rarest kind, a food vaccum sealer just like the one my parents used to have, a 1950's citrus juicer which is clearly indestructible unlike it's modern plastic counterparts and will also work perfectly well for garlic and is easily cleaned, and a few other things, like a small book bag, a new makeup bag for myself, and an extremely cute set of Kermit and Miss Piggy pillows (with secret pockets) which are going to live in our guest room and take the place of the frilly pillowshams classy people use. All in all, it was an enormously successful thrift shopping trip where I saved $43.37 off of thrift shop prices, and more like $300 off retail if I'm being conservative.

No matter how rich I may one day become, I suspect that the thrill of finding a great deal at a thrift shop won't leave me.

Finally, I think that I've forgotten to post here some of our biggest and best news, which is that as of last week, Paul has officially been hired on full time at his job, where he was working a temporary mat leave that was set to expire in June. The news came at the perfect time, we'll be able to present a full time permanent job when we apply for adoption.

And speaking of kids - the vast majority of my best friends are now expecting, including two of my wedding party and my good friend Michael and his wife. It's a very exciting time as so many of the people I know are growing their families.