Nothing is ruined.

iMac Funeral

Here lies Twyla's iMac. November 18, 2009 to April 26, 2016.

You'll rest in pieces, likely.

I've known this was coming for a long time, I just had hoped I could eke out a few more months. I've been obsessively working on external drives whenever I don't forget, but today I missed a deadline with a client because it wouldn't start for hours. It's too much of a risk to do anything important on it anymore. I'm hoping it will run well enough to be a TV in our living room.
But it's time. It won't run correctly for more than a day now, and most of the time it won't start, so it's time to thank it for its service and let it go. If we can get it running somewhat reliably again it will be to watch TV on it in the living room, not do any work, it's not reliable enough. It's odd how connected we feel to our tools, you know? This computer was upgraded dozens of times. I worked and played with it. It was a part of my daily life since before I got married.

The next time it works for a bit, I'm going to create a basic user with nothing that runs on it but Chrome and see if it will work as a TV/Podcast computer if I don't tax it. That would be nice for our living room!
It feels like the death of the last workhorse on the farm and all that's left is an old pony. (MacBook circa 2010 is still kicking, now it's going to see much heavier use.)

In the end, I knew it was coming, and the day came. Let's hope for a chance at an upgrade in the coming months!
YAY kermit flail

A New Pharmaceutical Hope

I give You my apathy
I'm giving You all of me
I want Your symphony
Singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs I'm giving it back

Most of you know I have a pretty severe genetic skin condition where my immune system is causing severe eczema on my skin all over my body. I have awesome news - a big pharma is in final stages of developing a massively effective drug for my exact issue, and the dermatologist I saw this morning is friends with the folks who do clinical trials in Edmonton, so he said he wants me in the first clinical trial for it within 1-3 months. In the first 3 phases, it cured the issue for over 75% of people. Not only that, but there's a drug with no alarming side effects to replace the super nasty immunosuppressant drug I was taking for it before (the same stuff they use for organ transplants), so either way I'm going to be better off. I am so excited, I came out of the appointment that I just waited 6 months for crying for joy.

So many years waiting. Best of all, I know that when Paul and I have kids, if I happen to pass the genes to them, which is a 50/50 chance, they'll be taken care of, too and won't have to suffer like I did. The drugs are safe for kids.

It's so overwhelming! So good to have good news.
  • Current Location: Cloud 9
  • Current Mood: ecstatic ecstatic
  • Current Music: Switchfoot - Only Hope
a hero can save us

A Very Long Journey

Home is behind
The world ahead.
And there are many paths to tread.
Through shadow,
To the edge of night
Until the stars are all alight
Mist and shadow
Cloud and shade
All shall fade
All shall fade

WARNING: Mental health and ED content.
On this day in 2009, while living at home recuperating from having my wisdom teeth removed (and a visceral pre-dating breakup with my good friend) my Mom came in and asked if I wanted to join her at the grocery store. My reaction to her talking about food was so strong, and the fact that I had been recently triggered by some posts about anorexia online helped connected some dots, and I went on the Mayo Clinic website and confirmed that I had an extremely severe eating disorder. I called my doctor and found out the medical establishment only helps people under 18 when they're starving to death. The other 80-90% of people with EDs are largely untreated or ignored.
Seven years later after therapy and mindset work, the eating disordered voice is gone, I understand nutrition and meal planning, and I am just about ready to start weight training with a course from a friend in Calgary. (It's often not safe to try to lose weight with an eating disordered mind, contrary to everyone's advice.) A lot has changed about who I am in that time, but while the healing is still ongoing, I now tell people the ED is gone - and my specialist therapist agrees with me on this.
But the crux of the matter is that if you know someone my size - over 300 pounds - chances are excellent they had the same eating disorder. It's called Binge Eating Disorder, and it's exactly like bulimia except without the purging behaviour. (I could never make myself throw up.)
Some of my good friends have asked me what it's like. It's a little like split personality disorder, in that a voice in your head that sounds very much like you but is abusive and hateful towards you is very vocal, day in and day out. It's a bit like what you already know about EDs - a good 30% or more of my mind in any given day was preoccupied with food or weight. It's hard to be with other people because social = food, and I'd try to hide how much I was eating when I was out - and when I was alone, bored, tired, or stressed it was worse. It started right when I hit puberty.
If you've never been grossly overweight, you've never experienced the stigma that society attaches either. I've had clients that I know for a fact didn't book me as their wedding photographer because I was obese. People who do not experience mental illness believe you've made bad choices. Choices are only informed by the mind, and when your brain is broken (along with your spirit) poor choices are not only inevitable but extremely difficult to fix.
Saskatchewan's dark age health care is apalling, and it wasn't until I moved to Edmonton that I got any real help from the medical world. I actually had a great doctor in Saskatoon who was horrified she couldn't get me any help even after spending quite a bit of time researching for me (because I was the most severe case she'd ever seen and my life was in danger.)
I finally got help from a really excellent dietician, found a specialist therapist who deals with EDs and understood my situation the moment I walked in, and more.
The mindset work I did both with my therapist and with the business education in Calgary, strangely, is what helped me find freedom. I've already helped a handful of other people who had BED, and I'm always willing to talk to you if you or a friend or family member is struggling with it.
Today I clicked on Facebook memories. I made this status shortly after I found out. I remember what it felt like. Mountains I'd never climb. But I'm here today to tell you that while many mental health issues are deemed incurable, I have to say, that depends. It depends on how fiercely you fight. It depends on whether there are people in your life you can trust to help you. It depends on a lot of time spent sewing up holes in your soul.
But it's not impossible, and I'm living proof. I went off my SSRI medication last Fall and I have been a happy and functioning person for a completely normal ratio of the time since. If you don't know what normal is, find a good therapist.
And please don't embrace your depression, ED, or quite a few other mental health conditions as permanent and stop working to fix them. Your will is powerful, even when the mind is broken. You can overcome most things with medication, therapy, and just working harder at yourself than everyone else.
Thanks to everyone who's been on this journey with me, and encouragement to everyone I know on their own journeys. There's better things ahead than any we leave behind.

  • Current Location: Edmonton
  • Current Mood: Longing
  • Current Music: Lord of the Rings
a hero can save us

Human Decency

I'm taking a break from a long hiatus to speak out on a thought I've had.

As a longtime photographer, there has been an article going around criticizing a journalist who was on the scene at the Brussels bombing and saying the now-famous photo she took of one of her fellow victims was "indecent" because you can see the woman's bra. Seriously?
If all you can think about when you see a photo of someone in distress is their level of dress, you have an extreme lack of compassion and clarity. And if you think that any person who has spent their life so far devoted to trying to share with others through journalism should shove the instinct to record and only ever "help" others in their situation, you probably just have the helping gift and haven't yet realized that everyone else has unique gifts. Some are helpers, some are recorders, some work with laws and some with memorials.
It's always easy, weeks after an event, to have a well thought out version of how you think another person could have ideally acted. In the moment, we all become who we are, and the shooter of this image is a journalist.
This upsets me in particular because to me, the woman on the left is what struck me about this photograph. She looks almost exactly like a close girlfriend of mine, who was one of the bridesmaids at my wedding. The thought of my dear friend being involved humanized the whole tragedy, helped me remember that life is short.
In addition, for the family of the woman on the right, seeing this photo was their assurance that this precious life had been spared. They looked at this photo and saw humanity at its best and worst, not a woman whose bra and fat flab was showing.

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/03/25/ketevan-kardava-photograp_n_9545274.html
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I have friends

Hey Ladies

Think you can handle my love
Are you for real

Okay, so I have a lot of work to do today and this next week in general. I'm burning the candle everywhere. Well, technically I'm actually burning the licorice candle in the bathroom, and the smell is grand. I had a nice little personal mini-spa this morning with some of my favourite Lush stuff. Two days ago I got a great deal on a very nice blue top at Value Village, and I actually really love shopping, especially at the thrift shop. (Cue music.)

I just had a great recommendation for a hairstylist here in Edmonton, which is a huge relief, because while I love the stylist experience in Saskatoon where I grew up, commuting 6 hours for a haircut is too impractical for my practical little heart. Also, my time in Saskatoon at Christmas this year is more limited than I would prefer, so it's vital for me to use as much of it for family and friends as I possibly can, and a 4-6 hour perm is honestly a waste of my Saskatoon time.

I've been looking into those super cute Jamberry nail wraps lately but I don't know anyone personally who's an Edmonton rep... I am hoping to order myself some soon, but I'd really prefer to get a trial set... Maybe someone has some they don't like I can experiment with at home. Mmm. Home. Yesterday I made my famous Greek Lemon Rice soup, and it turned out better than it ever has before. Combine that with starting to clean my shambly office and working at optimizing the house storage system and you'd better believe that I'm excited about being a housewife.

Next week, I am dressing up in Regency era English apparel, watching the entire A&E version of Pride and Predjuice and eating dainty foods with tea and raspberry cordial with a girlfriend.

There's a thread running through everything I just said. I'm actually pretty girly.

And that is what I'm going to post about today. Being a girl. I've only recently connected with just how feminine I am. It's something my husband saw in me before I had fully seen it in myself. I remember cringing as he pointed out the great many ways that I am a girly-girl. Why cringing? Because I had some weird concepts in my head.

One of the things about being the descendant of women who were severely abused is that you pick up some odd and terrible notions about what it means to be a woman.

Lies I learned about being a woman during my childhood: Being a woman means that you're a worthless bitch. You're not worthy of notice. Being a woman means that what you have to say doesn't matter, that you're not in control. It means that you have nothing to offer anyone and shouldn't rock the boat.

When I was young, and even into University, the vast majority of my friends were boys. Partly this is because I was boy crazy, which I think gets worse when you despise everything about womankind, and partly this is because I just felt like I didn't get women. Sometimes I still feel that way, but doesn't everyone?

But I have turned a corner, you guys. Actually, there's fewer and fewer men that I am close to these days. It's not a slight to them at all, but I'm growing into who I really am as a woman, and after a young life that left me thinking that I needed a full bridesmen row at my wedding, having a lot of girlfriends now is really wonderful.

I have a lot in common with these new ladies in my life. We're loud and proud and strong. We're logical and emotional. We're pretty smart, but don't think that intelligence is everything or look down on others because of it. We value family. We enjoy a house full of happiness and laughter. We want to do better than our parents did - but not through the myth of progress in money and housing and such, but instead through teaching our sons and daughters to be incredible individuals and dealing with any hangups we might be giving them early - learning from them as they learn from us. We are creative and have the spark of life in our eyes.

I love these ladies. In fact, just today I added a new friend to my quiver-full of them, someone I hit it off with right quickly because she was all of these things and more - a complex, lovely new person with oodles of beauty to explore.

And as I look back at the last six years of my life since that moment that I cringed about being girly, I can smile so wide. In part, because I love my face and embrace it's warmth and cuteness, and in part because I've made it. After struggling for years to learn to love women, being a woman, and the women I love, I'm finally here.

It's an incredible feeling, knocking something like that off the list. So I had to share it.

  • Current Mood: satisfied satisfied
  • Current Music: Spice Girls. Adele. Taylor Swift.
bring your moves, cpc

Re-Post from Facebook - CPC

Some of you on my friends list may not know a lot about my involvement with CPC, Canada Photo Convention over the past few years. I started out as an attendee, immediately became the first volunteer and ran the tradeshow, and then slowly became the second-in-command of the conference and head of the The Floor @ CPC. For the last two days, it was our first conference in Toronto and 5th in total.

I just spent about four hours steeped in CPC social media after a half-day nap and I am overwhelmed with joy. I am so proud of what we are doing here. I am so proud to follow in my high school Mr. Brown’s footsteps in creating a safe, honest space at CPC.

I am also unbelievably excited, as a classically educated artist, to be part of an art collective. (Most art historians would agree that art collectives are key to social change. This feels intimate, but the ripple effect is huge.) I am so proud, as someone with a fine art degree, to be a voice in that collective. What an honour.

CPC is not so much conference as family.

Every conference we host is like a wedding - a marriage of the minds where you learn more about people than you wanted to know, the parties are legendary, and the dancing goes late into the night. The Vancouver con and Toronto con are not just season bookends but family reunions, holidays where we grow in knowledge and in caring about each other.

Jasser and I have been having a lot of meetings in my kitchen while our dogs sleep in various patches of sunlight, and we’ve got more coming. So much more.

CPC. The Alpha Wolf Award. That thing I can’t tell you about. That other thing I can’t tell you about.

I am so pumped to running covert ops for all the CPC folks on site and all year round.

Dave Chueng asked how do I do it? By the end, I’m running on love. Because I truly, deeply care for all of you.

Thanks for giving me a place to belong.

doubleslash

// - Tolerance is Unnatural

There is something that I consider to be one of the last acceptable predjudices in our Western world, the things you are encouraged to not tolerate. If you speak about it negatively, you will be exalted, and if you support it, you will be told that you ought to feel ashamed of your support.

The last acceptable predjudice is belief in the irrelevance of what people love to call, with noses in the air, "organized religion." I would wager that as a Catholic I belong to the very most organized of the organized religions, whose hierarchy, proclamations, church government, and beliefs are without a doubt organized as perfectly as possible. It is popular in western culture to consider those who form part of organized religion to be deviants. This is a supreme irony considering that secularism and spiritualism are the vast minority of the world's inhabitants now and all that have gone before. It is in fact unnatural, given all of human history, for a human being to depart from worship. Which is why they don't. They merely choose other things to worship. Sex. Money. Reason.

The fear of religious belief and the idea that it must be "reformed" has become widespread. It is linked to a great myth, well perpetuated in a capitalistic sphere, of progress. There is a pervasive belief in our culture that as we progress forward in creating better technologies that our beliefs and ideas are also progressively improving. This is simply not the case. Simultaneously, great movements towards acceptance and great movements towards bigotry exist. Epithets are thrown about towards those who think differently than the currently acceptable viewpoint. Nothing has changed since ancient times.

As a Catholic, my viewpoint, and that of my tribe, has not significantly change in its essence for twenty centuries and regardless has nevertheless retained wide acceptance. Our canon, unchanged, our message fundamentally unchanged, and the rules have not and never will be relaxed because they are based on universal law and the best that humanity has to offer. While Catholicism shrinks in the new world, it grows in other countries, it is certainly not a dead or dying idea. It is convenient for an enemy to imagine that their enemy is dying. It is convenient to try to interpret the sayings of the Pope as though he had become more "lenient" or "accepting" or "modern" to make you feel as though his words support your point of view - and that because your idea of what he said supports you, you "like" him. The Pope is not there to be liked. He is the leader of a massive movement, the most influential and progressive group of thinkers in human history. Many of us died for this, and we're still dying for it in many places in the world. Including close to home. The reports of the latest college shooting in the U.S. tell us that the shooter asked his victims what their religion was before executing them. Did he come by this belief that the religious deserved death in the darkest corners of the internet? No. It has been widespread throughout endless ages. He is only doing the same thing to our ideas that most of the people I know do daily on the internet: shooting them down.

The most amusing thing about it is that the greatest intolerenace of our day is directed towards us because of our supposed intolerance. The world grows to despise the law - to complain about speed limits and rules and regulations put in place for the purpose of making their lives safer and keeping them from death. They have a great intolerance of law, of tradition, of what they suppose to be evidences of a lack of freedom. The word freedom, accompanied by it's close cousin "rights" is thrown about as though each and every person should have free will to do whatever they choose, no matter the consequences. Of course, this too is true. We have full free will to choose to think and act in whatever way we wish and reap the consequences, both individually and as the human race. I believe, as does every orthdox Catholic, that we were granted that divine right to freedom and then given a better choice.

Acting on this freedom without compass is not freedom, it's foolishness. In truth,
we have made no significant progress towards tolerance because tolerance is not a goal, it is a negative and disgusting state of mind that should never be lauded by anyone.

To tolerate something is, absolutely and definitively, to hate it. I refuse to tolerate anything. I will care. I will denounce. I will support or I will not support. But I will not, under any circumstances, allow myself to be such a coward, to stoop so low as to tolerate. What a disgusting thing to aspire towards. I happen to live in a country who is worst of all at this. Canadians are famous for their great toleration of things. Toleration is, at its heart, an inactive and brooding hatred of the beliefs and practices of others. No country, no individual should strive for such a thing.

But while I am intolerant of tolerance, I am unsurprised, even accepting of this prejudice. In fact, it is fundamental part of my organized religion to expect it, to recognize that it will never end. To stand without wavering in the face of it, even to death. To know that those who participate are blind and to fervently hope and pray for them to see clearly.


//

NOTE: In 2007, when I was in college, I began a project. And then as I became an adult, I became subject to a greater than usual amount of fear of reprisal. Simultanouesly, I continued to hold matyrdom in high regard, but as something unreachable. I have become disgruntled with myself and my fear of speaking out, and so I choose to do so again. After all, if one believes in the freedom of speech on all topics, they must both allow and participate in it. I have despised being politically correct for many years, but have done little lately to act on the compulsion I so often feel to speak out on matters that I feel are important. Once one finds their voice, it is unnatural to part with it.

(1) - [The Beginning, the Story of Doubleslash] (2) - [The Dream] (3) - [Non-Existence] (4) - [Heterodox] (5) - [Forgotten] (6) - [Know Your Enemy] (7) - [Junkies] (8) - [Descent into Blindness] (9) - [Speaker for the Dead] (10) - [The System is Down] (11) - [Inequality] (12) – [Heterodox Revisited] (13) - [The Unsustainable] (14) - [All the Zeros in Zimbabwe] (15) - [Bullets] (16) - [Balancing Act 1 (Merely Players)] {hidden//exposed} (17) - [The Physical] (18) - [Censoring Joy] (19) - [The Hallowed Eve] (20) - [ Tolereance is Unnatural]

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Cow Town

Many places I have been
Many sorrows I have seen
But I don't regret nor will I forget
All who took that road with me

I am in Calgary at least once or twice a month these days. I'm guessing about 25 trips in the year by this coming Februrary - 99% of which are for business training with Make Your Mark. I typically tack on more work - consulting with MYM trade for service clients mainly. I typically also have to stay nights on occasion and after a few times staying at various places, I've settled into a routine of staying with my new friend Allison. At first I was staying at her place on her roommate's futon, but then I started to hang out more with Allison and her boyfriend, who just moved in together with his two brothers as roomies. Hanging out with them is like a constant comedy show and my gut usually hurts from all the laughter. My hands usually hurt from all the high fives I get when I reference awesome things from the late 90s too, like consumate Vs. (If you get it you get it, if you don't, TROGDOR.) We have a ton of fun.

A very good friend of mine also recently moved to Calgary, then one of Paul's cousins brought their wife and young son over from Vancouver, which brings the Calgary connections up to an all time high. Eight of the hubby's cousins on one side including significant others and babes in arms, two sets of Aunts and Uncles and five young cousins on the hubby's other side. Two close friends of mine, and several developing connections. It's becoming a big hub in my life.

You people better know I love you because I have to take the Deerfoot all the time. Ugh. I am becoming a bit more familiar with the south end of Calgary now, but the traffic is atrocious... always.

Unfortunately since almost all my time is business I barely see the family-folk. I'm hoping to remedy that closer to the new year, however. Mostly it has just never been a good time. I have a little Facebook group I use to warn friends when I am on the way to Saskatoon, and it's probably about time I had another for Calgary, too. The miles, man. The miles. I'm so glad that my car is trustworthy.

Yesterday was another such Calgary day trip, which afforded me time to enjoy music, podcasts, part of a book, and more as well as our usual BEST business meeting and two consulting times. (I often make phone calls on the road, but today I needed some me time.) After that I went on a brief shopping trip at the very swanky Chinook Centre mall and picked up a couple of specialized things. Red Deer now has a Peter's Drive In. Probably not good for my calorie count because their licorice milkshakes are the nectar of the gods.

On an annoyance note, I wish I'd known how bad the OS update on my phone would be. I've so far had no end of trouble with it and this time my screen went completely unresponsive. Kind of a big deal. A hard reset fixed it at the Apple Store. But a full day of poking at a phone that wouldn't listen to me was a bit exasperating.

In other news, this whole year has been a rash of announcements and engagements and births and new relationships and new jobs and moving for everyone I know. I think I would probably label 2015 the "year of change." I had a 3 hour chat with my friend Kori yesterday after she recently got engaged and bought a house they had formerly been renting in rural SK where she teaches. It was awesome catching up and telling stories and I can't wait to shoot her wedding next September.

Home is behind, the world ahead
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadow to the edge of night
Until the stars are all alight
Mist and shadow, cloud and shade
All shall fade, All shall fade
Robot of Meloncholy

Losing Adoption

There's something else I've been all but silent about.

I don't talk about it much. You might have noticed, if you'd been reading or listening to me.

But losing the dream of adopting children has been difficult.

It went a little something like this. We moved into a home with two bedrooms for kids, and then, the first time we called in to make an appointment, the pre-screening went sour. The rules changed in Alberta for public adoption right around that time - you had to certify that you were okay with the kids having FASD. It was one of the initial things we'd decided we weren't okay with. We felt we could deal with kids who had been abused and families that came up for adoption, and that was the risk we were willing to take. We talked it through and made peace with the descision, even though it meant giving up the whole dream for now. We can't afford private adoption, and because of abortion there are so few children available here to love. So while someday in the mythical future, I'd still love to adopt, it's not happening for some time.

I grieved, heavily, and the grief was compounded by the fact that I was also grieving for the loss of my crutch, the eating disorder. I grieved empty, with no standby to deal with it. It's also contributed to my silence about personal things over the past year or so. 2015 was a hard year and I don't think you could pay me enough to relive it.

Some people have assumed that we were unable to naturally have children, but that's a complicated question. We had other issues with that part of our life that we're only just now starting to deal with. We were broken and we're only just now starting to heal. So we could say that we've started trying to have a baby, and it's not wrong. We have a driving desire to have children, family. But the road could be a lot longer than we planned. And we already planned a long road after we figured out that things weren't going that well. I'm not going to talk much about it on a public blog, but I'm happy to share our journey with anyone who asks about it. We've had some great breakthroughs this year. I'm hoping we can continue to build.

To think, when we got married we wanted to have kids in year two. I didn't know it was going to be more like half a decade later we'd be starting to try and figure it out.

bring your moves, cpc

Semi-Charmed Kinda Life

I'm waking up,
I feel it in my bones
Every night I set my alarm ambitiously. Every morning, I reset it to a new time several hours later in a fit of pure practicality.  Now you shouldn't take this for laziness, though that is the truth for many. It’s honestly the fault of my ambition. When I watch too much TV, it’s because I’m trying to escape from that ambition, and when I work 14 hour days binging one workload or another, that’s the ambition, too. It’s one of the deepest defining factors of who I am, which I’m only really starting to understand now, though if you were to ask most of my closest friends, they’d shrug and say they knew that already. I have always maintained that others always know you better than you know yourself. When I reset my alarm, it’s because I’m setting it to what was realistic anyway.
It’s not that I don’t ever remember being without ambition, only that the lack of it is only ever accompanied by the plunking of a resonant depression, the holding down of the sustain pedal on discordant notes that fade away to nothing eventually, leaving a great gap. A chasm to be crossed. Typically the ambition helps me cross that gap. That and some dissolving, mint-flavoured pills that I take far too inconsistently.
I'm too hot
Make a dragon wanna retire, man, I'm too hot
Say my name, you know who I am, I'm too hot
Am I bad 'bout that money
Break it down
The ambitious alarm setting is a routine, and when it comes down to it, though I rail against the difficulty of routine in my daily life, I have a great many established routines, as everyone does. Like in everyone’s life, some of those routines are more defined by what I don’t do, and some by what I continue to do. I have unfailing consistency in a tribe of bad habits, and I do intend to spend the next decade or so eradicating them one by one. Usually, because of that ambition, that means it will take less time than I thought. But sometimes they’re on the far list of commitments, which, while frustrating progress, is also realistic.
Then, every once and a while, things shake up the routine. The biggest routine shaker that’s come to us lately is that, a couple of months back, Paul was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. We were working with a therapist on a separate issue, and he referred us both to a sleep clinic. I eventually refused my referral, based on the fact that I know why I’m tired - it’s the constant battle between day and night. I want to work at night, but this ridiculous world has the idea that people should work between certain hours regardless of the sun’s pathway and the moon’s arc. So I fight to have a schedule and it never seems to hold long.
Paul, on the other hand, had been developing a slowly worsening snore like a freight train and an inability to feel awake over the past couple of years. By the end, he’d been sleeping all weekend every weekend. So while his diagnosis shocked him, I was merely relieved to stamp “SOLVED” on the casefile and move on with fixing the issue. Unfortunately a CPAP machine is another expense we didn’t have on the budget...
So now every night he sleeps with a full face mask on, blowing air at him. It’s actually been more difficult to sleep than I thought for me. There’s a little vent that blows directed air, and it’s often pointed right at my face at night. Sometimes the mask shifts and creates a vacuum of loud airflow.  Who would have thought that switching from decibel-rocking snores to a gentle stream of air would cause such a kerfuffle.
The machine was like buying a car. And we just had to do that again, too. So we’ve been pretty cleaned out financially. It’s the first time in all this time that I was actually getting creditor calls on a regular basis. And I thought I was poor before. Ha. “Adulting” has been a bit of a misery this year.
As I walk through my house this morning, I barely remember our bad rental experience last winter. Perhaps it’s that there’s not much of value to remember. We were both plunged into depression - heck, even Murphy was probably a bit depressed. At the time, it was more about coping than growing.
The summer was a transition from growing to moving forward, for me.
First, I’ve made peace with how much I love television. It’s not likely something I’ll give up completely while there are shows that interest me, and there’s a variety of those. Thanks to a friend’s book club I’ve been reading quite a bit more lately. I love stories and it’s not likely that will ever change. The content of the stories may, perhaps. But the stories are a defining part of things. My own story continues to develop.
After my defining personal experience in February with Make Your Mark, I’ve continued to learn more about business and cement my belief that I am, in every cell and fiber, an entrepreneur. Looking back it was inevitable, really, with my personality type and gifts and leanings that my ambition would lead to both struggles and great successes.
And I see fire
Blood in the breeze
And I hope that you remember me
There are now three businesses, comprising of five unique brands, that I am directly involved with. Four out of the five are related to photography, and one was born from them - my magnum opus. But I am young yet, and though I have the idea straight in my mind, the way to make money from it was slower. Paul and I had a lovely Saturday where we both lay in bed together, and I ran through all the business decisions I was trying to make. Last Resort is my baby, the one I love the most, but it is a baby and isn’t working age yet. I plan to slowly grow it and focus more on my photography pursuits again.
I’ve been trying to fall back in love with photography. I fell out of love with it almost two years ago, and in my absence Admire Studios has suffered. It just didn’t feel like me anymore. But every so often a shoot comes along again to show me that I still love it.
I don’t know if it’s true of other entrepreneurs or peculiar to me, but when love songs come on the radio, I am more often than not singing odes to my business.
But at least we'll both be beautiful and stay forever young
This I know, yeah, this I know
She told me, "Don't worry about it"
All the misery was necessary when we're deep in love
That’s been the song for Admire Studios this year…and yes, that’s a song originally written comparing drug addiction to a relationship. I think business, for entrepreneurs, can be an addiction, too.
I’m going to be continuing as Admire Studios, but rebranding and changing my offerings a little to reflect who I am now a bit better to come alongside the CPC experience. I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I am happier with who I am as a photographer today than I have been in almost two years. I just needed to reformat the whole gig to match who I really am now.
Don’t believe me just watch
My involvement with the Canada Photo Convention began as a volunteer exercise, a way to give back to something I believed in. The more I gave to it, the more I owed, and it became something that, once a year for a few months, I spent quite a bit of time on. Ever since last year, however, things came to a head. I was feeling overwhelmed and hopeful. I considered whether it was time to leave CPC or invest in it, and when the wheel spun, it landed on Invest. So I did, and now I am more invested than I have ever been and taking on what amounts to a partnership in a company I’ve helped build that has a lot of potential. Jasser and I are in talks for what the future holds for the two of us working together - I had never considered having a business parter and Jasser had a string of poor experiences with it, but somehow we’ve been working through it.
But there's a fire burning in my bones
I still believe, yeah, I still believe
These days, as the Canada Photo Convention in Toronto is only a few days away, Jasser and I have met for hundreds of hours over the past few weeks, hashing out the future of the company, developing the motherlode of spreadsheets for income and expense tracking, talking about how to communicate who we are and what we do effectively. We’ve made some amazing strides and discoveries, and I’m proud that together we’re both going to receive income through CPC on a regular basis, and hopefully getting stronger all the time. It’s work I’m proud to be involved in. And involved I truly am. These days it’s about 2-3 days a week of work, but thankfully with things the way they are now, I’m moving out of a volunteer role and into getting paid for my time.
I’m proud to be speaking and sharing at CPC this time, too.
What if I wanna be the one who doesn't belong here?
What if I wanna be the one who won't fit in?
Would you find a new way to make room for me?
We’ve had a lot of company at our home over the past few months, and quite a few interesting goings on.
We had Michael and Suzi bring their lovely new baby over for a few days visit in August, and then friends came over in late September and graciously took me on a Comicon Edmonton Expo ride with them, where Corrina decided that I’d make a good White Rabbit to her Queen of Hearts. I created a very ladylike costume and cosplayed as a female version the White Rabbit and learned about the true ladies sport of parasol duelling, which is like a coquettish version of rock, paper, scissors played with parasols that was popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. It has experienced a resurgence in Alberta recently.  There was also a live homage to MST3K, and a ton of great stars and costumes. Michael Dorn (Worf on Star Trek) walked right in front of me at one point - hard to miss because the dude is enormous. It was all a lovely nerd experience.
I shot my first ever proposal in late August as well. In August I ran a couple of free workshops for Last Resort, which were well received but were time consuming and didn’t make me enough income to justify continuing. The whole journey of Last Resort thus far has been trying things that didn’t work well…such is business.
In July we went on a couples retreat which was very, very good for our marriage. I shot two weddings, invested a lot of time in working on the Alpha Wolf Awards, which Jasser and I created from scratch this year. I can still see a flowchart of user experience next to the pull-out filing cabinet… my office hasn’t had a full makeover since we got here, and I’d really like to get on that soon.
May and June were pretty nuts with Make Your Mark events including the Vancouver Business Excellence event. June, in particular, was filled with shooting stagette boudoir parties, which was a ton of fun, though exhausting doing the equivalent of 4 sessions in a few hours.
The Canada Photo Convention at the end of April was a slam-dunk - we really nailed it this time. The vibe was great, the sales went off despite the worries, and everyone had a lot of fun and learned a lot of things. Paul and I spent some time checking out things in Vancouver. In particular, we test drove a Tesla, which we have talked about A LOT since then. We also met with some of Paul’s cousins and saw Andrea and Steve's new baby RIker. Then we toured around Granville Island with Janta, who took a million forms of transit just to see us for a few hours. We spent some time watching a glassblower work, and I bought a couple of designer candles that I’m in love with - one is ginger-lime scented, and the other smells like liquorice - both scents are complex and delicious smelling and I try to bathe the house in their smell every few days. (Growing up my Aunt was severely allergic to scented things, so I never really had much for scents, but my tastes run to expensive and high quality scents usually, though pumpkin/cinnamon style scents are often in my favourite list, too.)
This summer Paul and I started reading to each other again - he’s reading The Secret Garden to me, and I am reading more Anne of Green Gables to him - we’re at Anne of Windy Poplars now.  I started becoming even more of a green thumb since we love this house so much. My kitchen windowsill is FULL of plants, and I continue to propagate and develop more houseplants - I recently started a Craftsy class on arranging and caring for succulents, which was helpful, because both my jade plant and my other succulent were starting to look very ugly - this lady’s solution is to cut off the nice parts, use them in an arrangement, and chuck the rest. That I can do! I play with my plants nearly every day. We had a TON of tomato plants in our yard this year of various kinds and we’ve been eating them like candy every day. We grew a VERY happy rosemary plant and two very happy green onion plants that I’ve brought indoors now - there’s also some lovely pink roses growing in the back. All in all, my thumb gets greener every month now. I’m getting a bit better at keeping a more organized house now - no matter how crazy the piles of stuff in the front porch get, we manage to clean it up at least once every 4-6 weeks or so, and the kitchen does get set to rights every week or so, and sometimes stays that way for some time.
Well, until we cook, bake or host a party anyway!
Paul really, really likes his job. We worked really hard for this, and we’ve commented a few times how ironic it is that after we finally got him settled in a job he likes, now I’m unsettled in mine. But I am becoming more settled now.
The last time I posted was in early April, so that about accounts for the gap.
Why haven’t I been blogging? Several reasons. Most days my life is work and nobody wants to hear about Paul’s successes cleaning the house and raking the lawn on the weekend or my hitting a home run in editing tons of sessions or coming up with the next big things we’re doing for CPC.
Not only that, but I am constantly editing marketing copy or working on business architecture/branding. It’s something I’m good at and I’m proud of it, but it means that my creative side, when it comes to writing, is bankrupt most days.
Today I’ll be spending almost all day either putting copy into a pretty-looking document or writing new copy for that document for CPC. But I also wanted to post about my life. So I did.