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.