lovefingers, happyfingers, couple

Training for the Win

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

We've made a lot of personal progress in the last few weeks. It's almost hard to believe that we only moved in 20 days ago. Just today I had my very first client meeting in my pretty little office nook and started working hard at getting our little storage spaces packed in nice and full so we have more room to enjoy the house.

I've been working at training Murphy with hand signals, and it's a good thing I've been training him, because on Sunday, we are going to take him to Edmonton's Pets in the Park where we can let him try agility, flyball, and lure coursing. I'm very excited for him, but he's sleeping on my chaise lounge and has no idea what magic awaits him in mere days.

The biggest news, however, is that in between all the shooting, editing, meetings, and other aspects of busy season, I've started working with a personal trainer. It's a mite on the expensive side, but business has been reasonably good lately, and so I've bought the monthly pass and 14 sessions with the trainer, two of which I have already done. I'm going to head to the gym this evening and teach Paul some of what I've learned, so he can start on the health journey with me.

I chose a trainer that does completely personalized workouts - and he's been amazing. So far he hasn't had to switch out any of the weights, reps, or exercises he's picked, and it's been right on the edge of my ability every time. Plus, they're counting my progress through body fat percentage and inches rather than mainly through pounds lost, which is perfect for someone with an ED. So I've been very pleased with my progress so far, and I have high hopes for the future. To which end, for the very first time in my life, I took a before picture. It's a huge milestone for me, something I didn't do at any other time for fear of failure. For the first time, I am reasonably confident of success, and it's an incredible feeling.

Ever since we got here, money hasn't been quite as tight as it was in wintertime, so I've been very happy to buy a ton of perimeter-shopped groceries, including a lot of pre-assembled salads, veggies, and fruit salads, which means that I've been eating fresh food every day. We switched from a small fruit bowl to a giant fruit-and-veggie platter in the kitchen, so I snack and graze all day on tomatoes, nectarines, avocados, and more. It's been a great way to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle.

Like I've been telling Paul, the best thing about moving is that the first few habits I make on moving to a new place are some of the easiest for me to maintain - so eating healthy, working out, and enjoying

Since I've made a big workout commitment, I bought myself a load of workout clothing - lots of which was on sale - and a nice new swimsuit that fits me very well. The other interesting thing is that I've bought myself a tall vase for my office, which I am filling with the mandatory wristbands I have to get every time I go work out at the facility by our place. So far there's four of them and I plan to add a fifth this evening. It's a nice way of keeping track of the progress.

The next biggest piece of news is that I've finally put together the poetry anthology I've been daydreaming about for years. It has just over 30 of my best poems from the last decade or so, and I'm selling digital and physical copies to anyone who's interested. (Gran, don't bother buying one, I'm bringing one home next weekend for you!)

This week my brother and sister-in-law are in town with our ridiculously cute niece, and last night we went out for a delicious Fatburger supper with them, after which we went swimming and hot tubbing at their tiny little hotel pool, and I taught my favourite kids game from swimming - the tree-chopping game. First, you make them sit on the side like a little seed, then you water them with splashes, then they grow into a big tree and you chop them down and let them jump in so you can catch them! It was her new favourite thing.

Needless to say after working out, swimming, housecleaning and sorting, and tons of work, I am pretty exhausted and looking forward to a great weekend. Tomorrow we have breakfast with the family before they head out, and then the guy we know who found Paul a super-cheap car is bringing it into the city for us, so we'll be able to stop car sharing. Thank God for that, it was really inconvenient. We've found a pretty good deal on our car insurance, too!

I have been shooting a session or something every few days - including the awesome TEDxEdmonton, a family session for a family with five awesome kids, an Engagement session in the middle of mosquitoville that ended in the couple buying me supper, and more. Between all these things, I've managed to watch some TV, read part of two books, spend time with the Murphy and the Paul, shop for things we need around the house, and do everything else I've talked about here. It's been a pretty good life, and it's only getting better.

Next things on my list include finally painting my pretty white cabinet sometime in early July, and continuing work on my big business idea that I plan to start releasing email newsletters for in mid-July to prepare for a late October-early November launch process. Also, reading the large stack of library books I ordered before I have to send them back, particularly the book I'm reading for my friend's book club...

A while ago I dropped and stepped on my bluetooth headset on a rainy day, which was a tragic loss, but I have picked up a new one and I am very pleased with my ability to talk for a long time, actually be able to hear and be heard regularly, and charge it with the standard micro USB port!

Lots of good things to share today! I'm a happy camper.

  • Current Location: Edmonton
  • Current Mood: cheerful cheerful
  • Current Music: Buble - Feeling Good
flying paper

Permanent Edmonton

On an evening such as this
It's hard to tell if I exist
If I pack a car and leave this town
Who'll notice that I'm not around?


I apologize for the radio silence during this very crazy few weeks - people have been reaching out and asking me if we're settling in, and the truth is that we are about halfway there - the essential parts - the bed, the couch and futon, a few of the kitchen things… Yesterday after being here for a whole week I finally made what almost passes for homemade supper - smokies, microwave steamed veggies, and oven fries, and we ate it from chairs at our little glass outdoor table - though we were inside at the time.

This has been a strange move for me, because I essentially washed my hands of it long ago, telling Paul he'd have to handle most of it, which he did admirably. I announced that I didn't intend to pack a single box. I packed about six - all of which were either art or stuff in my office I didn't want to lose track of. Given the scale of moving I'd say I did quite well with my attempt at wholesale delegation. It helps that I just passed my one year anniversary of having a staff person.

My cousin with a trailer business - who is a strong giant of a man who lifts things himself that Paul and I can barely lift together - tetris-packed our life into his truck and trailer, and nothing broke, the worst that happened was that a few plastic containers got a bit bent, but nothing major. It was a really impressive packing job! Paul's Mom had been helping a ton with the move, and her awesome boyfriend helped with some of the repairs to the place. All of Paul's family, in fact, did a ton to help us with moving, and we really appreciate them all so much.

I got to be a passenger on a cross-country move, which I have never had the chance to do yet - speaking of delegating. My cousin and I talked about hopes and dreams, business and good and bad clients, the process of getting older, and had a good time singing to some worship tunes for a couple of hours. It was lovely to spend so much time with him.

We got into Edmonton, and my cousin and I took a walk to the little lake and sat lakeside and continued our conversation for a bit before he went off to bed and Paul came with the car and a few of our more fragile things. Paul and I slept for the last time on the futon mattress on the floor while James had the spare room upstairs, and in the morning my new personal assistant (now I have 2 staff people) came to help us move, which was a really good thing, because I was starting to really cave from exhaustion, and all I had for energy was enough to put the futon together and try to keep all the boxes going to the right places, vaguely.

We've spent a lot of our time moving boxes and furniture around to suit the new place since then. Paul commented that a lot of our thoughts about where things should go - the vast majority, in fact - have matched up, and the entire moving process had almost no arguing, which is remarkable given the stress levels around here. On Wednesday, my assistant Mel and her hubby came by and she put together my desk while he helped us unpack the games into our ottoman, after which we played Apples to Apples and ordered some pizza. They were our first company in our new place, and after the worries we had years ago that we would never develop any friends or contacts here I am pretty certain that we are past that now.

And I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone

After my desk went up, I spent some time creating a wonderful office space for myself. There's a lovely little diorama in the corner, my friend Leah's present of a red phone booth full of my favourite music, a little plush flower, my office Kermit, a ceramic music box shaped like an old couple looking at a wedding album which I found recently and spoke to me given what I do for a living, and a Minolta camera that's probably the first camera I ever took a picture on. I've been working on creating a more compact space - my hard drives now reside on the floor inside the corner of the desk, with a table with my printer on it over top of them, but under the main part of the desk. My Kilpsch portable speakers are now the main speakers for the computer, as well as providing a charging spot for my iPod. I have a little charging station behind my monitor, risers on my desk top to ensure that there's tons of room for everything I need, and various other innovations to make my workspace work for me. I'm really proud of it. Behind the computer is my red chaise lounge, which I love to bits, and under the chaise lounge is one of Murphy's dog beds, where he lies as I type, tail resting on top of his head, curled in a ball. There's a little table I picked up at the Restore, and a small bookshelf of our favourite books. It's my oasis, and I am very proud of it.

My beautiful white cabinet, which I dumpster dived here in Edmonton a long while ago, was taken apart and put back together with screws instead of nails for tough moving conditions, and desperately needs a coat of paint, which is actually one of my plans for today. I went to Bouclair Home for the first time and picked up a few perfect items for the house for amazing prices - two very nice doorframe tension curtain rods for $10 each, a curtain rod for that white cabinet, and a lovely bath mat with matching hand towels. I've actually been able to do quite a bit of targeted bargain shopping. Kinda feeling like the Proverbs Wife here, with so many great bargains.

That's pretty much everything I have to say about the moving process. We are settling in here. I finally put up my diploma, a full four years after first receiving it. As a great irony, I actually put it in a $1.25 frame. The frame contained a fake certificate of achievement, which I wrote out to Paul, "for being awesome" and he really loves it - he's thinking about putting it up in his cubicle at work.

And the waves crashing around me
The sand slips out to see
And the wind that blows reminds me
Of what has been
And what can never be

A couple of nifty things happened before we moved that I'd like to record here. I had the privilege of shooting at the first annual HostEdmonton,  a conference dedicated to good food and meant for foodies and restaurant owners alike to build up the Edmonton food scene - it was pretty awesome. I met a few big Food Network names who I knew barely anything about but had heard of before, and I hobnobbed with some really cool people. There was also a truly excellent concert by The Sheepdogs, a band from Saskatoon, whose drummer is someone I used to know when we were kids. Shooting concert photos from the front of the stage is really, really fun.

The day after the three-day run of that gig, where after signing in to Fort Edmonton Park, I took a short ride on a streetcar to the annual Storytelling Festival, which I quite enjoyed. It was very relaxing!

This past week for me has gone by quickly. There was unpacking, buying household things, researching marketing tools for a new project I'm working on, and updating my website to reflect some new branding including a tagline change - which is pretty major since I've had the original tagline, "Imagery to be Admired" from the very beginning. I posted a post about that change on my work blog. I had a phone call from a friend today which was really nice, and I have added three new houseplants to the houseplant collection on my wide windowsills.

Truthfully, aside from my stuff actually being here, it doesn't feel much different to be in Edmonton because of the massive amount of time I spent here for the past few years even when I lived elsewhere. My friend Jasser who runs the Canada Photo Convention said they never had anyone from Saskatchewan attend, and I protested, and his response was, "You're not really from Saskatchewan. You're a vagrant!" I laughed at that, because it's been kind of true these last few years. There's a great sense of peace knowing I don't have to drive cross-country to get to my 9am Newborn session tomorrow.

The biggest thing is that in this very stressful time, I'd built in time to relax and take it easy - or in my case, to pursue the projects I really want to be working on right now, even though I've started the first overlap month of the season (by which I mean I'm editing last month's shoots and shooting new ones) and the truth is, my stress levels are about as low as they can get in a situation like this. Even my therapist is proud of me.

Which is why it's a perfect time to build the course I'm working on for creative people - just photographers, for now - who need to learn how to live life again after becoming work addicts. There's a lot you can do to make that happen, and I've become really good at it in the past few years. So far everyone I've talked to about it is really excited. So I have plans to launch the course officially starting in November, with some resources and ideas being released earlier over the course of a couple of weeks at the end of October as the Fall rush starts to wind down. So I'm battening down the hatches for what will be a full and also very wonderful summer, as I practice what I preach, spending lots of time with the dog and Paul, enjoying time with friends, and creating something really great to help make a difference.

Here's to the green grass, the blue sky, time with friends and family, and more.

Speaking of time with friends and family, we'll be coming into Saskatoon for four days the July long weekend, which I am really looking forward to.
Kite-Eating Tree

The Whole Tooth

Here, my dear,
this is where
we shake the nightmare free
I didn't realize I had an outright dentist phobia until Paul finally convinced me to go to his dentist instead of mine. I kept saying that I should go to the dentist at some point. I knew exactly how long it had been since I went because my last time was the cleaning I had before my wedding - so basically four years ago. Paul made the appointment for me because I didn't want to, and on the way there I kept fighting to stay the course and actually land in the dentist's office. When they gave me the forms at the front, I had to pay attention to my feet to keep them from running away. When the actually sat me in the chair, I clung to it to anchor myself and I felt stomach sick. They had a little back massager in the chair that kneaded my back left, and right, left and right, and I focused in on that feeling to keep myself grounded. I was honest with them about how I felt and they were compassionate.

I told them it wasn't the noise or the grinding, as long as there was no need for freezing, just the position and the helpless feeling. It's no accident that in the movies when people are strapped to a table with a blinding light over top of them something bad is about to happen... Laying back in that chair I felt the same helplessness I felt when they took out my wisdom teeth. That time when the freezing didn't work. That time when they were supposed to put me out because I was scared, when they bullied me into doing it in the first place when I didn't want to and then bullied me again into doing it anyway that day when it turned out there was no medication to put me out. Because it would have been inconvenient for the dentist to reschedule. That's the big detail I took out of it all.

I should have walked out right there, and if I had been in my right mind, maybe I would have. But as if the whole dental issue wasn't enough, it all happened a day or so after the major emotional trauma of me realizing I had an eating disorder, and I was too raw and wounded and small to speak up for myself. Which makes the whole business rankle me even more. He knew he was pressuring me, and he knew I was terrified. He did nothing to try to soothe my fear, he just told me that I was inconvenient for him. He was angry that I got in his way. Say nothing of health care even, but that's a bad business.

I ended up in that chair in some of the most intense pain of my life, alone, afraid, small, and fragile. And anyone who knows me knows just how unusual it is for me to feel that way. Typically I'm a pretty strong individual.

I've never had a phobia of anything until this one, and I think I'm well on my way to recovery by exposure, but it gave me a new perspective on fear, experiencing a phobia this strong. And a new perspective on dentists. I will certainly never be going back to the dentist I had when I was younger. I would never recommend them to anyone. I will find someone who doesn't view me as a stumbling block on the road to his next appointment, as a coward, or a failure. I want my health care professionals to care about me. And I'm strong enough now to stand up for it.
flying paper

Carpe Diem with a little help from my friends

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
One moment
Would you capture it?
Or just let it slip?

In the nearly six weeks since I last found the time to blog, a great many things have happened - more than usual, even.

First off, I finally replaced my iPod, which has allowed me to enjoy a great deal of music - but even better, I finally splurged on a kit and time to install an AuxMod into my Mazda, which has allowed me to pump the tunes in the car on my many, many trips back and forth to Edmonton from Saskatoon. Finally. The FM transmitter had a ton of extra issues in this car - the auto-starter hated it, for instance and the wipers made it crackle every time they moved when it rained. It was madness considering how much I listen, and burning CDs every few weeks was getting old fast. My only regret is not doing it sooner! So there will be lots of lyrics in this post to reflect the listening I've been doing.

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
I'm radioactive, radioactive

The time I've spent since I headed out to this year's Canada Photo Convention, and indeed even the weeks before it has been some of the most full and most rewarding of my life.

As usual, I can't speak highly enough about the life-changing family that the CPC is to me. So many of my friends from the CPC, as I do, call it a family, and it's the truth. I have the blessing of being a part of a great many families, some I chose and some chose me - and the best, like CPC, are both. At the social evening I gave my camera to Tim King, a good friend of mine whose hijinks have gone viral on several occasions, and he spent some time creating an epic series of rather interesting photographs taken in and around the hotel with some models, which I suspect will be introduced to others very soon online, and probably in some extra-special way, knowing Tim. The quality of the pictures on my "stolen" camera is a lot better than the last time that happened back in high school when someone "stole" my camera at a youth event of some kind and took butt pictures of almost everyone I knew. I never did figure out who did and I can't remember anything else about the event at all, that but it's a funny memory that's stuck with me.

I flew in and out totally smoothly, and between the camera incident and the late night pizza walk in downtown Vancouver, as well as a great guitarist at a pub and a fantastic dance floor at the after-party, the CPC experience was complete. Oh, and I suppose I should mention the incredible presentations by some of the best people in the industry, right? They were awesome too and I got a lot out of it. I was particularly excited to spend more time with my friends from Jonetsu, as well as getting to meet Hailey Bartholomew of Grateful365 fame - I even got to have lunch with her - and another fantastic Aussie, Matt Ebenezer. Meeting the mastermind behind Bongopix was a pretty fantastic experience too - we found that we shared a lot of points of view on life when I invited him to my suite to talk after neither of us really wanted to go to bed yet on Night 1 of the conference after drinks at Joey's. I discovered a basically untouched 1950's diner near the hotel which I heartily intend to return to for milkshakes and jukeboxing, and I had lunch at a Mexican place with one of Paul's cousins when I got into town, too, after a discussion of why not to date people who are aggressive drivers. I had an amazing yearly conversation with my friend Ben who I took photography with in University and who now has his own business in architecture and design - in the middle of his degree. He's got an eye for growth, and I wish him well - just waiting to find out what's in store for his business at our annual coffee next year! We had a great conversation as always. I really enjoy Vancouver and was sorry to not spend any more time there this year. Next year I'm actually hoping to take a leisurely ride up on the train from Edmonton if it works out and spend a good week in advance of the conference enjoying the mountains on the train ride, the shopping, and the ambiance - hopefully with a Paul beside me this time. I spent quite a bit of time with Jasser, too, and we became much closer friends with a good, raw conversation about life.

With my involvement in CPC reaching an all new high and many of my favourite "family members" in attendance, as well as some new sponsors and speakers that really helped to make an incredible experience, I have to say that this year topped last year, and came close to the beautiful moments I had at the very first CPC when I started to figure out what I needed to do and who I needed to be to really make it.

I'm nurturing a new idea that grew out of the Convention that I feel is one of my most fruitful projects yet - both as business and as art. It's all coming together now, a couple of weeks of crystallization after CPC have made all the difference, and the last two six hour car rides both had a couple of hour-long-moments where, like a time lapse video of frost forming on a windowpane I saw once years ago, the crystals of my ideas became something beautiful and unique and plain to me as

the frost on a window in the soft morning light,
when the cold air hits your feet first
flowing over the ground from the open back door
each footfall disturbing the icy air on the cracked linoleum as I creep forward
one hand resting on the lukewarm rumbling dryer in that back porch
the other on that worn metal doorknob
cold excepting my hopefulness
as the knowledge of approaching spring is spread
through an unmistakable scent in the air
carried though the dust and mildew
are the seeds that will spring to life
flowering, later to become the brown sprigs I see now through
the frost on the window in the soft morning light.

What an intense memory I have of such an innocuous moment of childhood, particularly as it happened nearly every day. I was about at eye level of that back door handle and twice as high as our dog when this happened, while the Christmas tree in the backyard was just over fence-height. Not sure when that was, but I could probably figure it out with pictures some day, and it's a very happy memory for me. There's something about the intense crystal clarity of it in my memory that matches these moments I'm having with this new idea.

I am in the very preliminary stages of bringing this idea to life, and I truly hope it will be everything it could be. More on that later once I've started going public with it, but the whole process of birthing this idea has been incredible. It feels like God has me on this set of rapids and I'm just riding the waves. Everything about this whole process has just come together, one puzzle piece at a time. And it's not the only thing.

I mentioned a while back that I was taking a food delivery job with Skip the Dishes and it turned out to be fairly pleasant as grunt jobs go! The pay was alright for the flexibility it offered, and if things in Edmonton go a bit downhill I can always work with them when they expand there. It was definitely my best secondary job experience since working for Enerflex that one time as a temp. The staff really liked me, and said as much, and it was a good experience for me too. Always good to have some fallbacks, even when everything is looking up! It filled a lot of time and most importantly it got me slowly but surely more physically fit in the early spring before my crazy May that I didn't even know was going to happen. But I did make enough extra cash to get that iPod and install the AuxMod without breaking the bank, which was a really good thing.

We had a great time in Edmonton visiting family and enjoying the anniversary party of Paul's Aunt Shelley and Uncle Dave, which I got to take some nice photos at for them, which they really appreciated. We owe them a great deal for their trust and support, and they're amazing family, so I'm glad I get to give them something valuable! I also found something wonderful - black New Balance running shoes that have become my standard shoes just in time for all the events I've been shooting. There's a lot of corporate work coming up these next few days and I'm excited to see it happening. It's good for the pocketbook and can be really interesting!

I shot at a place that specializes in dirt rollers and packers and such things, and I got to have supper with the owner's family in the evening of my second night there. I got to ask an Italian guy named Tony if his name was really as common as TV shows make it out to be, and he said it was and there were tons of guys in his family named Antonio, and they all went by Tony. Meeting them made me long to go to Italy. Someday.

I don't want to spend all my life just a-waitin' for you
Now I don't want you back for the weekend
Not back for a day, no no no
I said baby, I just want you back and I want you to stay

The second time in a row, we found a place to live in Edmonton through a Kijiji ad recommending us as good tenants.

The second time in a row, the first interview Paul took landed him a job.

These things are individual acts of God.

I'm the raging sea, I'm the bending trees
An unstoppable force with wake of debris
I'm the wind and rain, the loss and the pain
Without You, I'm a natural disaster

Our new basement suite - and I mean brand new with nobody ever having lived down there since the new renos, is a rather nice little spot with a slightly strange layout and light purple walls, with a small bathroom and kitchenette and space for a bedroom and a little spot I'm planning to create an office in. It's temporary - we're renting it 6 months at a time and intend to stay for a year or more - but it's the right place for us for now and I'm looking forward to calling it home. The best part is that it's a very Murphy-positive space - in fact, the matron of the house attempted to give Murphy the largest piece of human food he'd ever seen in his life - a chunk of cheese. It shocked him so much he kept sniffing at it and then looking up at her as if trying to say, "You can't be serious!?"

In the end, they offered it to us for exactly our budget - $1300 with utilities in - and it's going to be our place until we can afford a house downpayment and move permanently into a nice little place. They're extremely excited to have us and they are very hospitable people. I showed up basically unannounced to take another quick look around when I was in town this week and got to meet the guys' sister and her hubby. They apparently have a dog about Murphy's age and size called Baby who would probably love a playmate.

There's a manmade lake and walking paths with an entrance just a minute's walk from our new place, which makes me very happy. I always loved time spent near the water, it makes me feel calm and ready to face the world no matter what's happening. I plan to spend quite a bit of time there this summer, no matter how busy I get.

A cousin of mine who owns a hauling company is going to help us move, which is a lovely relief after so many moves where I had to drive a U-haul, sometimes in terrible weather.

A lot of people really want to help, which makes me feel less crazed about it all. I'm actually a remarkably chill person this month considering the whirlwind around me. I'm feeling pretty in control and very excited about the future.

I'll finally get to stop sleeping on my friends' couch. Not that I didn't have a lot of fun with them whenever I was in town - in fact, I think it gave us a chance to become better friends and I have no regrets on spending so much time with them. That part, at least, will continue well into the future! This weekend I went "booking" with my friend Ashley - we went to a used bookstore and essentially shopped for each other's favourites. It was pretty cool.

Paul's job landed in our laps just as we were taking the leap of faith to move out without him having one nailed down. I was feeling fairly unstressed about it all because my month of May has now become a month of record-setting income, despite some of my shoots having been pre-paid or free shoots from contests. Then he got a phone interview and it went really well. That may have been in part due to the fake phone interview I did with Paul the night before, which was good for me for interviewing skills and good for Paul too! I think it helped him rehearse some answers that he got asked the next day.

The same day as the fake interview call, Paul and I went to Sobey's to buy some fruit to make a special Mother's Day fruit bouquet for my parents, which I made that evening, and after I delivered it the next day I heard it was eaten and appreciated.

Speaking of my parents and memories of my childhood, the darling cockatiel bird I grew up with, Nikki, was lost to extreme old age over Easter. I spent some time tweeting with him one of my last times at home, so I felt like I got to say goodbye this time, unlike when Carlos the Chihuahua passed. I have grand memories of Nikki's flight escapades - his wings weren't clipped so he used to fly about the house - and I have good memories of having my hair preened and walking about with the bird sitting on my pointer finger and cocking his head at me. Nikki was always my favourite bird at home, and I will miss his keen interest in my presence and valiant attempts to mimic my most complicated whistles. Rest in piece, you tough old bird. You were very loved.

I hate all your show
Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living

I've felt a great deal of spiritual goodness over this Easter. As usual, God had different plans for me than I had for myself this Lent, and it was a good experience of renewal. It was a tough time for several of the people I care about, so I spent some of the time supporting others, which I felt balanced enough to do without unbalancing myself, and for that I am grateful.

I've also found myself solidifying some beliefs that have been on the tip of my tongue for quite some time.

For example, there's a great many things I've seen recently that confirm a very important category of my views on human rights. Viewing people as left-wing or right-wing, by any attribute of their humanity is detrimental to viewing them as human, as loveable, as real. It hurts all of humanity and slows progress towards basic human rights when we categorize people that way, and I believe it's really unbiblical to say the least. There is no categorization in the Body of Christ.

At the end of March I said we were waiting on everything. Now it's all solved.

Waiting on that tax return - it came and basically solved everything.
Waiting on callbacks for Paul's job - we only had one, but it was enough.
Waiting on my first shift delivery driving - and now I've already had my last.
Waiting on the weather to turn things green for photography - it came, but a lot later than we expected!
Waiting on people to buy my Kijiji items - most of them are gone now.
Waiting for a final moving date - May 31st and June 1st, conveniently on a weekend.
Waiting to adopt children into our family - we'll be applying to adopt soon.
Waiting for Easter, while still in Lent - and Easter is here and nearly past already.

Now I'm just waiting to be in the city I already think of as home. Soon. Very soon.

I'm going to miss this couch, though. I really liked having a big comfy couch... =)
YAY kermit flail

The Bestest Best Day Ever So Far

It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away


Yesterday was one of my best days ever, and since I really try to put all the important things down here, sometimes that means chronicling an entire day, when it was this amazing.


It started early in the morning, with me packing up the car for the drive to Edmonton. I pumped the tunes, went through the drive through and had a McDonald's sausage-and-egger breakfast (a guilty pleasure of mine) on the road, and drove in the perfect blue sky on the perfectly dry, safe, and basically empty highway. Partway there, I started listening to my newest favourite fantasy book series with a fantastic heroine mercenary, which held my rapt attention for some hours, until I decided I wanted to give my Gran a call. Previously I'd had tons of problems with my bluetooth headset falling out, but I realized that my special earbuds from my Bose headphones actually fit into it, so now I can throw them on there when I travel long distances, and replace them on my headphones afterwards. I had a lovely 2 hour chat with her once I passed the halfway point of the drive, which made my trip decidedly shorter, as conversations are wont to do. I ended that conversation feeling warm and fuzzy - and getting excited for what was next in my day.

Mad science.

You see, for months now I've been planning a session with an amazing couple that I'm working with for their wedding - an epic session that took that long to plan and execute. I'll link later to the products of that session, but I have to tell you that of all the collaborative creative projects I've ever worked on with couples, this one ranks right up there. I was the creative director, watching an idea that had slowly germinated come to life in glorious full colour and 3D, and I said at least once, "I can't believe this is actually happening." The best part was how much work the couple put into everything, too. It was a total success.

I came off of that 4 hour, multi-location fantasy session on an incredible high - and very hungry because I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, as I was running that kind of almost-late-on-time schedule that doesn't leave stopover time. I threw on my bluetooth and called Paul to tell him how amazing my day was.

I grabbed a sandwich at the drive-through, which I shouldn't have bothered to do, because I was headed to the Awesome Foundation's Pitch Party. For those of you not familiar, the Awesome Foundation is a world-wide phenomenon where 10 people get together in a city, each giving $100 of their own money into a $1000 pot to fund a great idea - they narrow down submissions to the five best, and then give one of those submissions the $1000 - no strings attached - trusting that they will use it to enable the project they pitched. I pitched there a while back, and though I didn't win, it was an amazing experience. I've been to a few events since. All 5 of the projects were amazing, and I was able to forge relationships with two exceedingly cool couples who would be interested in having coffee sometimes, gave some advice to some of the presenters that both they and I thought were inspired and would help them achieve their project goals, and I ran out of business cards - after I'd given my last one out to the last person I wanted to give one to. I wanted to be involved in all the amazing projects - a school's creative living wall hydroponics project, beekeeping awareness in Edmonton, filling store windows in particular shopping locales with junk-sculptures by local artists, teaching guitar to inner-city kids, and a Carnival market!

Finally, I headed out to my friends and former clients house, where a cousin and friend of theirs had just arrived, and we talked and played Cards Against Humanity and made "what she said" jokes and laughed until our sides hurt all the way to 2:30am. While they were playing a video game for a bit, I checked my email, to see that I had four wedding inquires in one day, a new record, as well as an inquiry from someone wanting to hire me for a three day conference, someone filling a need for the CPC conference that I'd requested, and more awesome important emails that made me happy!

Pretty much the worst thing I can say about my day yesterday is that my Earl Grey from McDonalds wasn't hot enough to steep properly and was therefore mediocre. I spent much of the day slightly faint but not really feeling hungry, but I barely noticed. Absolutely every other detail about my day went flawlessly.
HG2G, Don't Panic

Waiting for Something New

It's just another sunrise on a another day
Just another rainbow, well they're all the same
Let me guess, a sunset followed by the moon
I think I'm ready for something new

It's one of those times of life where I've got a wistful acoustic song playing on repeat to keep my stomach from tying in knots. One of those days where things get real enough that even though you're so busy you don't have time to breathe, you have to swirl the breath around your lungs to get the life out of it, and maybe that's where that butterfly feeling comes from… The rising panic makes me feel like I have no air, that can only be defeated by breathing steadfastly until your lungs are full.

A friend of mine just lost her young brother suddenly and unexpectedly, and I can't attend the funeral because of a big session that's been months of planning in the making in Edmonton this weekend. Several friends have had miscarriages in the past month, and one of Paul's cousins and his wife who are dear to us have had a beautiful baby boy with a rare syndrome that means he won't be with us for long. We'll never get to hold him, at least not in this life - but we're following all the news about his little life.

It's just another love song about another girl
Just another movie where they save the world
And every roller coaster does a loop-de-loop
I guess I'm ready for something new

The financial strain of these past few months is really getting to me. We're at the stage where I'm getting pictures of all the things that we don't use and then liquidating everything I can on Kijiji to make it to the next financial injection.

My most pressing concern is for a very flexible job I just accepted driving food delivery for a great startup in Saskatoon. I had cash for a float that I had to put in the bank for bills, and now I'm supposed to start in two days and I have no idea where that money is coming from… But it will come from somewhere. It always does. Today I turned a bunch of toonies and loonies into $40 for the first big amount of money I turned in to them, so there's always hope.

I don't know how much money that job will make me, but at least there's the opportunity to make something if it works out, and what I have to do is drive from place to place with the tunes turned on and food in the passenger seat. I can do that, I think. The best thing is the extremely flexible scheduling that I can actually live with, a proper casual position, with built in downtime that allows me to run my business even while I'm working for them.

And I'm not saying life is boring, just predictable sometimes
When you know the end of every other line is gonna rhyme
After every 8 you're always going to find a 9
And Februrary 2nd will be cold outside

Today Paul got a phone call from his boss saying that the person they were looking at to replace him when he got a new job is going to start taking over his caseload on May 15th. That's the first big concrete date we've had in this whole process, and unfortunately it's not the start date of a new job, but the end date of an old one. Fortunately, however, there's a dozen jobs open for OTs in Edmonton right now, and we've applied to them all, and I'm helping Paul work on some networking to try and find one as soon as possible. There's only so many OTs in Edmonton and only so many jobs, but in either case, we're going to be moving for the end of May or the end of June, which is coming up REALLY fast. No point in staying around here though, when all my work is in Edmonton and that's where we're going anyway. There's got to be something Paul can get a job in - personal caregiver or such - in the meantime if we can't get one in his field. In the meantime, both of us started today with a really sick feeling in our stomachs that hasn't really left. Pardon my french, but as they say, shit's getting real, people.

I've been coping with all the stress as well as I can, which isn't terribly well sometimes, but better than it would have been a couple of years ago at least. But I could be doing a lot better if I were trying harder, and it's about time I started doing a better job of helping myself cope. Sometimes, that means bubble baths and hot cider and candles.

I predict a summer that isn't very long
Then before you know it, you're singing Christmas songs
Then we get another April, May and June
I think I'm ready for something new

In positive news, I feel like I've reached a new sense of peace in my relationship with Paul, where I am more patient with him and have found contentment in myself in all the areas in which I feel things in my life are lacking. Lent has been good for me this year.

I've had a ton of work to do for the Canada Photo Convention this week, but at least it's a pleasurable time. I'm working on finishing up the Time Lapse project for the games store… Should be done this week.

None of this stuff feels much like time off, though. So much for a Sabbatical this year.

Everything has always come through for us eventually, and right now, there's a five figure cheque coming from the government straight to our bank account sometime soon that will alleviate a great deal of financial stress. So it's all just a waiting game right now.

Waiting on that tax return.
Waiting on callbacks for Paul's job.
Waiting on my first shift delivery driving.
Waiting on the weather to turn things green for photography.
Waiting on people to buy my Kijiji items.
Waiting for a final moving date.
Waiting to adopt children into our family.
Waiting for Easter, while still in Lent.

And I'm not saying life is boring
'Cause it's beautiful sometimes
Like the feeling when you're falling
It's like walking on the sky
There will come a morning you won't open up your eyes
But it's what you do until that day arrives

You might have noticed me talking about adoption. I've already spoken to nearly all my friends about it at this point, but Paul and I intend to apply for adoption as soon as we are settled into Edmonton with Paul having a full time, permanent job. We've been over all the information about public adoptions in Alberta, and we're hoping to adopt one child or two siblings in the next couple of years. I'd love to talk to anyone about our reasons, our fears, and our excitement. But the biggest thing I am pleased to say is that for me at least, I am a hundred times happier about the prospect of adopting a child than having my own.

I always did love Anne of Green Gables. And I finally do feel as ready as I'll ever be.

You want to touch a mountain
Or taste a waterfall
You only have to see one, then you've seen them all.
I'm gonna bet tomorrow that the sky is blue
I guess I'm ready
I think I'm ready
I hope I'm ready for something new
flying paper

Lenten Observance

I believe in the kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one, well, yes I'm still running

You broke the bonds and you
Loosed the chains, carried the cross
Of my shame, Of my shame
You know I believe it

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I am over two weeks into Sabbatical now, and I feel as though nothing has really been accomplished, however this is certainly not the case. I think I am going to extend this year's sabbatical dates, since I have a great deal to do personally this year, and business is slow. I have decided that I'd like to document the process I'm going through right now, personally and especially in terms of downsizing.

I am going through a critical period regarding things. I have no patience for things that do not follow the key I have realized is very important when sorting items. If I want to keep it around it has to follow the scale. It's got to be either very beautiful, very useful, or very sentimental - and preferably all three - for me to want it around. Now, Murphy, our whippet, he's beautiful and sentimental, and I argue based on science telling us that furry friends keep us healthier and less stressed that he's even useful, too. So I'm going to keep him around.

I am also slowly acquiring the perfect storage cases for things. The other night after a lovely supper with my Gran and Aunt, I took Gran for a brief sojourn into Value Village, where I purchased a little red pleather makeup case for $2 which is the perfect size and strength to house my nail polish collection, as well as the remover, cotton pads, emery boards, and my best set of nail clippers. This case is a third the size of the former basket, where dozens of random toiletries were housed. It's also ultra portable, so I can take it with me to friend's houses for pampering purposes. It's a small victory over the many tiny chaoses that exist in my home. Another ten or twenty such victories and I will begin to see a great many changes manifesting in a more visible way.

I took some photographs of jewellery which I'm hoping to trade with friends - the first of the small items I'll be dispensing with - many of them to friends.

I've been working on a time-lapse photography project - currently on the third and final stage, after taking a time lapse of Murphy following the sun along the couch, a much cooler time-lapse of my friend and fellow artist drawing caricatures, and after a super long day of shooting, soon I'll be editing the time lapse I started doing it all for - the board game cafe in Edmonton whose patron I've become, along with countless others.

I'm a little ways in to a glass etching project as well for my kitchen, which I hope to continue working on in the next few days. I'm in a bit of a limbo this week, and I'm trying to kickstart my remaining time, since there is much to do.

Lent begins tomorrow. This year, instead of specifically giving anything up or adding anything to my life, I am doing something I do much better than either of those things and giving a theme to my Lenten journey - and that theme is Edification. To clarify, edification involves that which is uplifting, improving, and bettering. Those things are at the heart of my sabbatical ideals as well, so it is appropriate that I should consider those things while I continue.

Today for example, I did a lot of sitting about. And despite concluding a very long-term project of collecting all the paperwork and values required for taxes and sending them in, I kept feeling like I hadn't done anything of value. Then I put my butt in gear and learned how to make what passes for fried rice, which was, well, nearly as easy as it sounds actually. I happened to have the right ingredients on hand to make myself a nice meal of the leftover rice from yesterday's butter chicken - which is now going on my growing list of meal planning sides, which over the course of the next year is going to turn into actual meal planning. I also took photographs and posted over six things I wanted to sell to Kijiji. In the end, I'm starting to tip the balance of feeling okay about my day, and sometimes I realize that's the best I can ask for, especially these days when I've been really struggling, and struggling to admit that I'm struggling.

I'm hanging by a moment on some things, financially, spiritually. All I can do is pray and trust that it will all iron out. Thankfully I have no reason to suspect that it won't.
flying paper

Train, Train, Train; Train of Fools

So I'm looking out the window
And I'm drifting off to sleep
With my face pressed up against the pane
With the rhythm of my heart
And the ringing in my ears

It's the rhythm of the southbound train

Well, in my case, the East or Westbound train... Our first ViaRail trip was a very interesting experience - parts of it were fantastic, other parts were less than glorious.

We left in the morning with me worrying that we might miss the train. This fear was entirely unwarranted. We got there and we were casually told the train was going to be about an hour and a half late. So we went to the Wal-Mart and McDonalds nearby and had a breakfast and bought snacks. If I'd known what we were in for, I'd have bought a lot more food. At this point I was still nervous about missing the train. This was ridiculous, in hindsight. The train was four hours late coming in. Paul and I played a new card game in the station. I was really excited to play a lot of new games... but by the end of the trip, Paul said he was kind of sick of new games and wanted to play something old instead.

This is where I should probably have a picture, but in characteristic form for all my trips of late, I didn't really take any pictures on the trip. I think there's one of Paul in a ridiculous hat at The Haberdashery. Thankfully, there's a world full of people taking completely unnecessary photographs of their trips, so I'm simply going to link to other people's photographs on Flickr to enhance my narrative. Here's one of the station in Saskatoon. I told Paul at one point that for a train station, which I expected to be at least a little bit cool, it was a bit third-world country for my taste, especially with the broken seat we sat upon. It was unremarkable at best for a place one stays for hours. The ViaRail phone reps and the station staff person were both squirrelly about when the train was going to come. It's remarkable that nobody really seems to know, and by that I mean it's difficult to tell whether they are outright misleading and lying to you or whether the scale of incompetence is indeed so grand that in this age of GPS and satellite connection, nobody has any idea where the train is. I honestly don't know which was the case. I suspect that passenger train travel across Canada will not be around forever, at least in this form.

After it seemed that the train would never come, it came, and we were loaded onto it. We sat in seats that compared to your standard economy class aeroplane had leg room with positively cavernous proportions, room for one's hips, no seatbelts, and the freedom to move to other cars with tables and chairs, which suited me just fine as I had brought over a dozen two-player games with us. Every set of seats had two plugins for computers or phones. We had only taken our phones along, but had power for the whole trip. In about an hour we received an invitation to hear a musician on board the train who was there as a part of ViaRail's Artist on Board program, and I came out to listen to him. His name was Connor Roff, an acoustic guitar player and songwriter, and I was very excited when he began playing a couple of songs in a style I've only recently become familiar with where the guitar is played on the lap with percussive techniques, called (among other things) Lap style. I love acoustic, but I really love lap style, especially with a slide like in the video I linked to. He also played My Girl and something by a couple of bands I'm familiar with in passing like Radiohead and Fleetwood Mac, so I enjoyed the variety!


But what of everlasting serenity
Something hard to comprehend let alone believe
Are you green with envy or are you raging with fear
Isn't the pursuit of happiness an ironic contradiction, a contradiction to bear

Two of Connor Roff's songs, Summer Daze and Competitive Nature, really spoke to me, however I should note that though I like the first just fine in album version, in the latter case I far prefer the stripped down acoustic version I heard to the album version I linked to here. In either case, if you enjoy the songs, buy his album and support his career, he's a humble artist with great talent. (If you're reading this Connor, thank you!) You know, maybe one day I'll get to be a proper hipster and say I knew him before he got really big. =)

Ah, who am I kidding. Speaking of hipsters, train dwellers in economy class were fairly easy to categorize. I was severely tempted to make a pie chart at the time. So today, I did. This is my pseudo-scientific internet-made pie chart based on observation of The Canadian.


viarailpassengers
I'm not entirely sure if we belong among the hipsters or the Other category - honestly, there was overlap in several categories for several passengers. We're somewhere in between too, I reckon. In either case, we had some lovely conversations with a playwright, a cool old guy with a scraggly beard and an Occupy button whose hobby was protesting, and a lady from Tennessee who was shocked at just how much prairie Canada had. It was interesting.

Felt the ghost of the sun on my back
And the warmth it gave
I'm holding on in quiet desperation


It was a real pleasure to feel the rhythm of the track and hear the music, and to sit back in comfortable seats with a book or a movie on my phone, and I loved playing games with Paul.

The train just kept getting later, however, so I told my friend Leah that we'd take a cab when we got in. It turned out to be 3am, nearly 4am when we got in. The station was under construction all over, so add a lot of random stuff to this lobby, but the station at Winnipeg was really quite lovely. The old benches were cool.

There was a taxi waiting at the entrance, and our ride was uneventful. We climbed the enormous snowbank to get to their house. If you are from Saskatchewan or Alberta and reading this and you think we get a lot of snow, you are sadly mistaken. Compared to Winnipeg we get a few light and fluffy drifts.

In the morning, or rather the afternoon after a long sleep, we got to see Leah and her hubby's lovely little rental home, which we fell in love with. Paul had a case of book collection envy that I assure you was entirely appropriate. Our hosts had to work, so we didn't leave the house until evening, when my cousin picked us up and took us out for supper at a delicious mexican restaurant called Don Pedros. We talked a great deal and came out friends as well as cousins, which made me very happy. I'd been meaning to visit this cousin for several years. She drove us around for a bit after supper showing us a few of the sights of the city. I didn't know Winnipeg was cool, or I'd have been to see it earlier... I guess now I'll have to go back.

That evening we had tea and chatting with our hosts and I shared a heart-to-heart with my friend about life, and the next day we went out. We had planned on go karting at Speedworld, but to my embarrassment I couldn't fit in the karts - not that anyone with anything more than a small paunch could have. Not an auspicious start to the day, but I handled it well!

We stopped briefly at the grocery store to fetch some lunch ingredients and then sat down at home to a build-your-own-sandwich time, which was lovely. After that we went to Toad Hall Toys, a toy store of large proportions and epic contents. Both of us couples found gifts for the little people in our lives, and a bit for ourselves as well. Leah's gentleman was very amused at my prize - ammunition for a chicken gun I'd bought years before. I was quite seriously very excited about this. We also visited a haberdashery, where we tried on various hats.

The remainder of our trip was spent in chatting, reading, and games. Matthew and I reminisced about our days as IVCF leaders. We played Bang and ate nachos and watched pet-themed YouTube videos. I built a rather macabre marble structure in Minecraft Creative mode on their computer with a lava floor glassed over and a burning roof, which was rather stunning at night in the game. Leah showed me her very impressive full medieval castle complete with tapestries and servants quarters. I couldn't sleep one night, so I finished the book my friend Corrina had leant me, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which I greatly enjoyed and was pleased to find that the sequel was just released.

I'm not sure how much more there is to say about the trip, really. It was a pleasure to spend so much time relaxing with my Paul. I'd take the train again, in spite of its shortcomings, provided I had no set schedule within 24 hours either way. It was a good vacation.

I'm headed home
Yeah, but I'm not so sure
That home is a place

You can still get to by train
Nothing is ruined.

No More Counting Dollars, We'll Be Counting Stars

Lately, I've been, I've been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I've been, I've been praying hard,
Said, no more counting dollars
We'll be counting stars

A while back Paul and I were talking about some of the amazing advice his super fantastic boss has given him over the past year, and this one phrase really stood out. It is absolutely foundational to the kind of decisions I've been making lately, because the one thing I definitely was not in the past is someone who was kind to myself. I was pretty awful to myself in the future for the past few years and every time I come up on anything I did to future me before around 2010 - with the definite exception of choosing a spouse, that is - I was a total jerk to current me. Everything from how I took care of my body, my finances, my organization of file systems and friends, my spirituality and family and more, was not a pretty thing. There are times when current me is pretty pissed off at past me for these sorts of indiscretions. And continually I keep bumping into missives from past me, cheerfully excreting more things to do on present me. I've actually been handling most of them, a remarkable number in some ways, but it hasn't always been fun. It's kind of a drag.

"Be kind to future you."

Then I actually started considering future me sometimes, and it has made enormous differences. I started therapy, changed the content of what I ate to be much healthier most of the time, and considerably improved my personal well-being.

An article I read today talked about the scientific research about how self-compassion is more important than self-worth. I'm trying to learn how to practice that. Forgiving my old self, accepting my current self, and making changes at the glacial pace that sticks and doesn't send me off the edge.

For example, a couple weeks ago I was pretty upset because I thought I had overwritten and lost all my files from storage related to six sessions and three weddings but it seemed really fishy. Turns out I'd just "temporarily" put them onto another drive, which had been disconnected in a drawer for several months. The kicker was that I hadn't made a note of it anywhere. I spent nearly an entire day looking for those files in a place they had never been, and it was only when I had given up on them that I found them, entirely by the grace of God, on that other drive. It would have taken me 15 seconds to make a note of those files. Today I make notes like that all the time, and more often whenever not making them kicks me in the butt like that. I was not being kind to future me.

These days I think often about the welfare of future me. I spend a lot more time ensuring that future me has notes on recipes from the last time I used them. I make sure future me has snapshots of the brand of dog treats Murphy likes best. I make sure future me has a clearly dated, organized file system on the computer, and scans of all her important papers in storage. I try to give future me a break whenever I can. And I try to forgive past me the many indiscretions making my present life unpleasant.

Everything that drowns me
Makes me want to fly

I continue to struggle to maintain a fairly normal daytime and nighttime routine after nearly a month of nocturnes in December. I'm trying to get used to going to bed when I'm tired, which when you say it like that sounds pretty easy, but sadly isn't that easy. My mental health is admittedly fragile this winter, but still I'm trying to start habits, like being certain to play with Murphy every single day, which improve my quality of life. In the heart of winter, that's not easy, but truly the biggest struggle is giving myself grace, and trusting God with my life. The best I can do is work on it.

While all of this has been happening, I've been trying my best to ensure that I spend time with friends and family.

Tonight I went down to Prince Albert (about an hour and a half drive each way) to go to a high school-aged dance where my friend Corrina, a caricature artist, was working so I could do a time-lapse photography set of her working. The time-lapse project went great, and I stood around bouncing to dance music, as I am wont to do. Afterwards we visited a Tim Hortons and started a talk about life stuff, and I revealed some of the deeper issues I've been having. I've been really struggling these past few months, and struggling to share about it. Heck, even admit it. We talked about some similar issues and shared with each other about struggles. It was good to talk about things.

Now that I'm a couple of days into my official Sabbatical, I'm going to post this year's Sabbatical Focus Points.

Physical: Find and create a habit of activities I enjoy, or mod some to be more enjoyable. Have Care-Days for myself where I pamper myself with hot baths, tea and a book, and such.
Mental: Discipline. As well as looking over therapy action points and considering progress.
Spiritual: Explore the connections between spiritual lack and ED issues, develop some spiritual habits
Social: Spend time playing with and training Murphy. Improve quality of time with Paul. Spend time with family and friends.
Home: The Great Purge. Foray into Meal planning.
Recreation: Glass Etching Project. Board Games. Guitar. Possibly some dance.

Originally I had Going Personally Paperless on this list. I have to give myself and Paul a huge high five about that, because we did it already! I'm actually super disappointed I never took a picture, because we had seven full industrial sized recycling bags full of paper that went out, one large box to be scanned and then recycled, and two very small boxes of things to be scanned and kept, which my personal assistant is doing. We've got three empty filing cabinets and three empty bankers file boxes. It's very liberating.

In preparation for starting a meal planning regimen, I've been looking to my restaurant experiences, and I've learned to make a handful of soup recipes, several of which turned out better than I had hoped. In the past month I've made Cream of Celery soup and Butternut Squash soup, both of which were better than I had imagined and will appear in our lineup again for sure, as well as French Onion Soup, Cream of Tomato Basil, and Vegetarian Chili which were all fine. I think I might be forgetting one, actually, but point being I made a LOT of soups. So many, that Paul, a devoted soup aficionado, at one point said he was sick of soup, but that it would pass by the next day. =) We've also been baking quite a bit - cookies, biscuits and scones. I'm realizing I'm actually a really good cook, and that it's a skill that is really good for life.

So in contrast to my previous Sabbatical, I'm really quite ready. I'm done all my editing, and I only have a small amount of work left to do for my other work related things. I've got nearly everything ready for taxes and I'm just waiting for one or two things.

So in contrast to my feeling bad about things, I'm actually doing quite well, just slower than I'd like the change to be. I just need to remember to spend time with friends to be encouraged to continue on a good path, and time with God to keep my spiritual needs topped up, and I should be okay.

Spring is coming.

The winter can make us wonder if spring was ever true
But every winter breaks upon the Easter lily's bloom
Could it be everything sad is coming untrue?
Could you believe everything sad is coming untrue?
Broken hearts are being unbroken
Bitter words are being unspoken
The curse undone, the veil is parted
The garden gate will be left unguarded
Could it be everything sad is coming untrue?
  • Current Mood: hopeful hopeful
  • Current Music: Counting Stars
flying paper

Nocturnality

If I lose myself tonight
It'll be by your side

A lot of things have been accomplished since I went nocturnal.

The thing which has most definitively not been accomplished is getting back to daytime. Remarkably, relatively little has happened that would dissuade me from my opposite clocking, but the need for seeing other people is coming back, and along with it a need to see the sun for more than an hour a day.

So I thought I'd go for staying up all day today and spending time with Paul on half-a-brain, and hoped that would end better than the last time I tried it, when I gave up and just went to bed at 9am. Regardless, the later I stay up, the closer I'll get to rounding the corner back to daytime the easy way - staying up later and later. In the end it turns out I had a nap for a couple of hours at noon and proceeded with my day after Paul's phone rang twice and the dog came to pester me because he was in the other room napping on the couch… I'm very happily not going outside into the gusting -20 degree windchill. I spent most of today puttering on the internet and collecting new recipes from the internet (watch out for an amazing beef barley soup coming to my kitchen this week) and letting Paul have a long nap. When he awoke, I had a lovely meal ready for us and after we ate, we spent some time working on my big going paperless project that's been several years in the making. We've sorted nearly an entire filing cabinet as of today, and I have started on huge boxes of papers to scan that I'll be giving to my assistant later this month - so things are going well!

I need your love, I need your time
When everything's wrong you make it right
I feel so high, I come alive
I need to be free with you tonight
I need your love

The biggest thing about being nocturnal is that with the no-distraction environment, I'm finally doing a ton of work (over 40 hours for sure so far) on the concept and execution of all the tools related to products - like a catalog and visualizing materials. Long overdue. I just set up a photo shoot space to work with some of my products for promotional photos and I might try selling some promotional product photos this month too since I could use a little income during the slow season, but after I finally get around to that I'll be able to give clients a much easier road to buying products with me. They'll still have the option to purchase elsewhere, but I'll be increasing my market share for sure! It's been something I've needed a proper solution to for ages, and now thanks to having a reliable staff person who goes through all the work I give her like Pac-man on fast-forward, I am rapidly moving towards a state of true equilibrium with work.

Whenever we're together, Paul and I have been watching videos about tiny homes like they're going out of style. We exclaim, we bounce up and down at good ideas, and we're starting to grow a small seed of true excitement for loving and living in our very own home - and making it an amazingly useful space. We have plans to check out the showroom of a company that makes extremely versatile furniture - like a table that converts from a side table to a dinner table for 12 which we think is truly fantastic - we were super pleased when we found out there are many Canadian showrooms for their company. I've developed a bit of a Pinterest habit, too, as I surf Lifehacker and other sites for amazing ideas.

I've got a grand project in mind for my sabbatical. I want to get some glass etching cream and glass containers from Dollarama for a lot of our powdered kitchen supplies - like boullion, which I've been using more and more in my effort to cook from scratch. In my dream, an etched chicken and cow will tell me which of my containers has the respective boullion in it... and the others will have titles and symbols on them. This is a practical use for my love of papercutting - just get a roll of vinyl and some etching cream and voila, you have beautiful glass etchings for personal use and for gifts.

We've been using a handy-dandy HDMI converting cable from the laptop to watch TV on our actual TV, which we are also considering dispensing with entirely come the new home. I've spent about a lifetime watching Castle episodes, which has been grand fun.

I'm also thinking that if I keep working at anywhere near this pace, I might have an even longer sabbatical this year, which would be really handy considering the plans to move soon.