shakespeare

Moooooving Right Along

Will I dig the same things that turn me on as a kid?

Will I look back and say that I wish I hadn’t done what I did?

Will I joke around and still dig those sounds

When I grow up to be a man

I have had that Beach Boys song stuck in my head for probably about 60 hours or more now. It's just starting to get a teensy bit old now. Guess it's time to replace it with something else. If I can. It feels relevant, so that makes it harder to escape.

It is terribly late at night already to start writing a blog post which I already know is going to be much, much longer than usual, and yet it's high time to write - it was ages ago already. The last time I wrote in this journal was almost six weeks ago, right after I went to Saskatoon for the weekend. I've shot half a dozen weddings since then - a mark of the passage of time in summer for me, among hundreds of other things - I actually have another one at 3pm tomorrow too. I'll try and cover some of the things that have happened since that post.

Wow, where to start? I really need to blog here more. Part of the problem is that I have a therapy blog now where all my self-improvement stuff goes. I don't really have anybody with access because I want it to be a totally safe space for me to work all sorts of personal stuff out - and I mean really meaningful stuff like, you know, eating breakfast more often and being less self-depreciating. Not really stuff that needs to be aired here. 

Because I have really put the brakes on accepting new sessions and I am actively trying to relax on a daily basis, work is feeling more manageable now. I am less prone to being totally panicky about it, which is very good for me. After some discussion with Paul, I have decided to take a full month off from work from mid-February to mid-March. It's a long overdue sabbatical. I have a lot of random living I want to catch up with and some deep self-therapy I need to pursue without the distractions of work - and relationships I need to kickstart. Thankfully, this is going to be possible - and even more so than I had initially thought due to new developments.

We started getting the Organic Box, a weekly delivery of fresh fruits and veggies from organic farms, which is a tad steep on the expense, but with the fresh, non-processed foods delivered to one's door it's hard to complain. Particularly when it includes pounds of cherries. Can't complain with your mouth full anyway. So many delicious things. And I had a veggie I'd never eaten before - a kohlrabi. It's the one that looks a bit like Sputnik, green, big leafiness on the top like a beet. I liked it! I also had yellow zucchini for what may have been the first time. In general, we've been eating so much fresh stuff lately, and I feel much better. Plus I have been WAY more active this summer than I probably have ever before.

In mid-July, Paul and I went to the Edmonton Freewill Shakespeare festival showing of Julius Caesar, which Paul and I had an animated discussion about at intermission and afterwards. The actors did a great job, but I felt the production and the interpretation were off - like they were trying to do "Shakespeare for Dummies" and making all the subtle things about the play blaring loud. For instance, instead of playing Antony as a crafty orator, they made him a really transparent slimeball, and made the crowd look like imbeciles to have accepted his speech, which just felt all wrong. And the whole tenor of everything just felt off… So we enjoyed talking about some of the more brilliant lines and subtle things that play is supposed to be about, and therefore had a great experience - but as it was last year, this was certainly worth going to. I kind of wish people stopped trying to update Shakespeare's plays with lame goth clothes and weird posturing. They are so much better when performed more in line with the original vision, with the bawdy humour, wordplay, witticisms, and observations about human nature taking centre stage rather than smoke machines and costuming distracting from the brilliance of the words.

We were in Saskatoon again, briefly, for a Steampunk themed LARP invented by my friend Ricki - which I had the pleasure of participating in with Paul as different and equally cool characters, and then as a zombie. I know that I should probably have a little more exposition about that… Ricki had been planning a steampunk LARP for ages, and having done three amazing LARPs previously (a Shakespeare LARP where I played one of the witches of Macbeth and sat around mumbling all the time which was awesome, one set in a Fantasy world that Ricki and I created together and I got to be one of the stars called Deleran, and an Arthurian legend where I had the pleasure of being the court jester.) In this one I played an aging courtesan, after having done a great deal of research on the courtesans of the day. I had the pleasure of designing and printing the paper money for the event with a great etching of Queen Victoria and some photos of blimps and steamships. If anyone wants to see who wasn't there I can send you pictures - or show you one of the bills I kept. It was a totally awesome time - and something was loose that turned a few people into infectious-disease-style zombies, which meant I got to wear some awesome face paint near the end of the night and groan and bite people. Fun times!

As I said in my previous post, after having been part of my family's household for over half my life, the family chihuahua Carlos died while I was far away, leaving me with a sizeable hole in my heart for a few days. I am pleased that the last time I was home before he passed on we had cuddled quite a bit. I will miss many things. I had so many stories about him come up - and he was one of my first photographic subjects - but I digress - my family got a new puppy from the breeder, but he's a long-haired black puppy they've named Manuel. He's ridiculously cute and really took to me, he let me hold him and slept in my arms for ages while we were there in July. This event aggravated the desire I've had now for many moons to get a dog of my own, and so I delved back into some research about dog breeds and asked Paul if he'd be willing to move when our lease is up at the end of October if we could get a dog as our current building is both child and dog free and we have plans for both now. He was amenable to this, and so the search began. Paul's pretty adamantly against small dogs, particularly yappy ones, so we agreed on medium-sized as a qualification for us having a dog. After having been a fan of Italian greyhounds and other sighthounds for a long while, I did some really serious digging to find out more about a similar breed - whippets - and decided they were the perfect dog for us. I had considered them even before Paul and I were together, but a lot of things sealed the deal for us. After sending introductory emails to several of the few breeders in Canada, I've been exchanging long, funny, conversational emails with a whippet breeder in Prince George, BC who has a dog that's recently believed to have become pregnant - there's some promising signs, for sure. If all goes well and one of the puppies suits us, by December we will finally have a dog! I am more excited about this than I have been about anything since Paul and I started dating, I think I can safely say. Not that nothing exciting has happened since. TONS of things have actually - many quite recently. But I'll get to that.

It was while I was in Saskatoon that weekend that the tides really started turning in my heart and mind for going back. Spending time with some really amazing friends made a big impact in an otherwise somewhat lonely summer.

I'm the raging sea

I'm the bending trees

An unstoppable force with wake of debris

I'm the wind and rain

I'm the loss and the pain

Without You, I'm a natural disaster

I'd been spending a lot of headspace on the question of where we were going to live ever since the big domain name purchase of 2011, over a year ago now. That decision really paid off but it was agonizing. The money, the commitment, the investment in myself even though I often feel like I'm not doing so well. Despite the fact that it quadrupled my yearly earnings within 18 months, it was so hard to see when we made the decision. 

And then there's been the investment in myself - over six months of therapy now, over a dozen appointments that have really changed me, and definitely for the better. I am a stronger, better, more secure person now and I've made great headway in beating down the spectre of this eating disorder that I feel eats me alive when I'm not doing anything to control it. I reached a critical point last year where I read one book that told me a cure was possible, but only with regular therapy. So I finally bit the bullet and got help, and boy, I wish I'd made that decision sooner. There's some stuff that was so screwed up in my head, it really took someone's help to get me to a place where I could really make an accelerated, noticeable change in myself. And Paul has been raving about how much better I am doing. It really shows. The self-awareness is so helpful. Getting the help here has been totally amazing.

Success is a strange beast. I've finally had to admit to myself, after the inquiry rate for my business has remained at approximately 1-a-day for months and my earnings quadrupled, that I'm probably successful. I confess that the tipping point was the conversation with my therapist that went pretty much exactly like this:

Him: So you're doing very well in business? You're very successful!

Me: I guess so?

Him: "But?"

Me: "I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop."

Him: "Is there any evidence whatsoever that you are not successful?"

Me: "…….No."

Him: "So you're successful then?"

Me: "…….Okay?"

After all the bad news financially it's been really hard sometimes to accept that things are going well and seem to be staying that way. I try really hard to assimilate that knowledge, but as far as I can tell most photographers are like me in that low self esteem and the inability to accept success as a permanent state is a pretty easy trap to stay in. I actually read this really cool article on Lifehacker the other day that said that the only people who ever feel like frauds, like they're faking it and at some point people will realize that, are successful and motivated people. It's incredibly common for superstars and rich people to feel like eventually someone is going to realize they're not that amazing. This news is really comforting actually.

Promise me you'll always be 

Happy by my side

I promise to sing to you 

When all the music dies

I had a rough few weeks for a while in July. So much work and so little to feed my heart. I'd been feeling like we'd never have enough money, and lots of things kept going badly. I was finally nearly caught up in my work and then I had a week where I had so little energy I could barely get out of a chair. I'm still not sure if it was a bug or a mini-depression or some suppressed emotional stuff I was mulling in the back of my head that caused it, but it set me back yet again.

I've been behind for months on account of a lot of unexpected problems. The car accident, a couple of weeks of feeling really sick, and constant work without enough rest had rendered me pretty sad and hopeless feeling despite so much success. But there was a light at the end, which if I could have seen might have made it all better.

You know, it's funny, I had finally caved on the last major personal tie that was holding me to Saskatoon. I know it's kind of weird maybe, but it was getting my hair cut here in Edmonton. I finally got a haircut at this little salon on the corner about a block away from us called Love that I'd been considering for months. I had just been getting my hair cut when we'd go back to Saskatoon because the hairdressers in Saskatoon we know are family friends and I've been getting my hair cut there since, as the saying goes, I was knee-high to a grasshopper. So when I finally walked into another salon it felt REALLY strange, and I was afraid. But I got a great haircut from this cute pixie girl - cut it super short again, since my long hair was rapidly making me crazy - the wind would blow it in my eyes and my mouth when I was working, and it just won't stay in any kind of pinned up do or anything and I'd just end up looking like I'd been in a tornado, which isn't professional or nice personally - I honestly think I won't grow my hair back out again until I have slightly older kids - or if I do it will be in the wintertime and in summer it's coming off for work.

And just as I'd started coming to terms with staying in Edmonton for awhile, things started changing like the cogs turning on a clock that's going way too fast. Paul started applying for jobs in both Saskatoon and Edmonton - but there wasn't as much available in Edmonton as we had hoped. Paul was starting to feel pretty panicked about getting a job, as busyness had kept him from applying for very many, and the ones he had applied for either didn't seem like a great fit or he never got any callbacks. I remember him talking about a random job posting that had popped up in Saskatoon, but it wasn't super high on my radar as we'd been talking about an upcoming job opening at the same place as his final placement.

As I write these things I am again identifying with a line from correspondence with a friend: "We could very possibly move heaven and earth to try to make it 'work' and then see it fall to pieces soon after making difficult sacrifices, and get bitter and more hurt and jaded." For them, the subject was a relationship, but for me the subject is Edmonton. After months of very serious thought, we'd decided to move back to Saskatoon. There's been things in the news within the past year about a severe shortage of Occupational Therapists, which certainly meant that it would be easier to find a job there, but that's not the number one reason, though it seemed like an open door.

And if we could float away

Fly up to the surface and just start again

And lift off before trouble just erodes us in the rain

I have been considering my life from a few different angles thanks to therapy. I realized that trying to figure out which city was a better place to live was actually missing the whole point - and kind of useless, there's benefits and downsides to both cities. What's best for Paul and I is the idea we need to look at. I feel that I have really proved myself professionally, and that even if I leave Edmonton I can maintain the business here with some travel and strategic planning. My photography has gotten better and better, to the point where clients are literally begging to be fit into my schedule even though I say I'm full. If people continue to react in this way, travelling here to work will be easier than I'd initially thought, and the likelihood of Saskatoon being a viable place to work is also higher. 

Either way, with moving, I don't have to give up Edmonton, the city I love, the city of my dreams. This place has been at the epicentre of personal and professional change for the better and no matter what happens there will always be a special place in my heart for the first place I really felt was truly my home. To be here, I just have to drive through the country every few weeks - and I like doing that. It's a built in time to relax, listen to my tunes. I should probably note that there's some new developments that make Saskatoon look more promising too that are like deja vu from last year - which probably means a bit of a business expansion, and maybe considering hiring some contractors and maybe a bit of admin staff someday in the future. It's all good news, really.

But for Paul and I, with our often poor mental health and severe loneliness issues, I really felt that Edmonton wasn't going to work out long term. After two years we don't have a single close relationship to show for all the hours I put into trying - just a few incidentals and a lot of business partnerships on my end. Nobody I'd call a real friend who has made the effort to get to know us in return, nobody we could call if our car broke down, or even to help us move. Sadly the only people I could call are clients, and maybe a business contact or two who have taken an interest in me. And despite really trying, and seeing the evidence of really trying to create relationships with people we've liked, it's not getting better. I can't stomach the idea of looking back six, ten years from now at the personal life we could have had at home in Saskatoon and being spiritually dried up and lonely here. I have a friend who moved back home after a really awful experience of being in a city pretty long term and failing to develop enough meaningful relationships to really make a go of it, and I identified with their suffering there more than I wanted to admit.

I was afraid that going back to Saskatoon meant giving up my career. I was so afraid of it I couldn't see straight. Couldn't see how much I've grown, how much I needed the support network and the social interactions. I've been so afraid - it wasn't like me.

When it comes down to the biggest why, though, it's because I can achieve my biggest dreams here, but Paul can't. His biggest dream was to start a family, and then to always to spend time with family and friends. We have neither in Edmonton anymore. When Paul's sister and brother in law moved away it exposed just how undeniably alone we were. And Paul was starting to talk about making new dreams, and when I thought about what it would mean for me to make new dreams, a tearing out of my heart, a gaping hole in my life, I couldn't do it. I couldn't ask him to give something up when I might not have to give much up at all (Except for children, which I know will be worth it, and that was always the plan anyway.) Not even for a year to try it out. It was all ridiculous, a decision totally based on fear. When I look back at my thoughts about it, I was so afraid.

But what tipped the scales for me was definitely Paul. What an awful thing to do to someone, ask them to abandon their dreams for new ones - people don't usually come out of that well. Bitterness is just too big a risk to take in a relationship as happy as ours. We moved a world away from our old life to get him a job that allowed him to associate with people, now we need to move back to the people he loved to begin with. I can't watch the one I love most wither because we can't make close friends in a new town. 

Things have been so hard for these two years, and when I look back at why, it's all about the support network, the people who weren't here to tell us that everything was going to be okay. We were left to stew in our worries and fears without outside opinions - and whenever we did manage to get them, they made us better people. We need this personally, and though I was willing to give up a chunk of my career to make it happen, as soon as we made the decision, things happened that made me realize I might not have to.

As far as my own needs and desires, I need a break. I've been working as hard as I could at every moment since high school without barely any breaks longer than a week or rarely two, and even in those I worked - that's almost ten years. I have burnt myself out more than I ever could have imagined and I am deeply, deeply tired. I need to stop and become far more a homemaker and wife and mother. When I began this business, I had something to prove, and I have proven it. When I began, I was trying to escape and be independent, but I have escaped and found that independence is unnecessary and not something I really wanted. When I started, I was trying to be self-sufficient, but I have seen the foolishness of that while becoming totally dependent on another person for love and even, unhealthily but necessarily these two years, companionship. My reasons for being a driven businessperson had evaporated to the single one - money. And there are ways for me to make money, to keep Edmonton in my heart and in my life, and to be successful personally as well as professionally in Saskatoon. Especially now that another opportunity has cropped up in Saskatoon - two actually, in the same day.

In the Before Paul era (I sometimes refer to as B.P.) I used to always bemoan the fact, and if you've been following my blog for any length of time you've probably heard me do it, that my personal life was crap and my professional life was great. After six months of therapy, I have realized that it was because I wasn't trying to work on myself, but I was trying to work on my work all the time. This needs to be a new era. I need to continue to make myself more important, love myself, and not indulge in a fantasy of "humility" that has been a huge lie leading to my own destruction. It has to be about my own self-improvement first to make me a good friend, wife, and someday soon, mom. And career second, and not obliterated, not an all or nothing thing like I kept thinking it was going to be.

The biggest thing is that I have been worried sick for ages about trying to make a decision about where to live, and for the very first time I feel that I have peace in my heart. But I didn't want to tell my friends in Saskatoon right away just in case something out of the blue happened and we had to stick around Edmonton for a bit.  The secret was weighing on me, and I needed to hear the cries of happiness - people in Saskatoon miss us so much they'd throw us a huge party. If most of the people I know in Edmonton heard we were moving, they'd probably ask, "What about your business?" A very different reaction.

Then It seemed like after those many small crystallizing moments, suddenly the doors started flying open in all directions. Paul finished up his placement and got a phone call a day or so later from the manager at a private practice. It was kind of an interesting call for me, because the guy was on the road and the call kept cutting out, so every few minutes Paul would tell me what went on in the call. Paul had been really suspicious about some of the claims about the job details, and some of the vagaries. 

After the third leg of the call he said it sounded promising, but he wanted to know the details. Late that evening, Paul's phone whistled (there's a whistling sound as his notification, it's really cute and always makes me smile) and Paul told me that a job offer was in his email. We sat on the couch together as he pulled it up on his laptop. I remember reading the email that said they really wanted him - on the phone he had told Paul they only hire exceptional people - and then we opened the document. Our jaws dropped at the number on the first option of three - a salaried employee position, and then we scrolled down to find out that there was an offer of a company car.

At that moment I knew that this was it. One of the big problems with a lot of the jobs we were looking at was that we'd have had to get a second car, and here was the answer. Then we started doing a whole lot of math to find out if a second option would be better for us, a billable hours style option. After some more jaw dropping moments at the possibilities - I seriously almost feel like the amount of money is infinite, after so much lack it sure feels that way - we were pretty sold. Not only that, but the job includes benefits for both of us that are pretty good and a cell phone, a credit for computer use, and purchase of office materials. This is because it's a work from home job. In my wildest dreams, I never would have thought that Paul would take a work from home position, and he was really hesitant about that because he really likes working in an office, but since a lot of the job is out working with clients anyway and there's so many benefits and flexibility with a position like this, it's pretty amazing. I think that we'll really adjust to it. This company is a competitor to one of the places Paul worked on placement, with almost identical work, so he already knows what he'll be doing.

Paul accepted it. He really likes the boss already, too, which is great. He was talking about how easy it was to communicate with him and the other people who work with the business.

That day was amazing. Then just a few days ago was one of the most amazing days I have had in years - and the days around it were pretty close. I kept thinking that it felt like all the good things that were supposed to have happened to us in the last two years picked the same week to manifest into our lives. A big opportunity for me opened up in Saskatoon, which despite costing a bit up front will pretty much secure my career there as well. So as I had planned, I'll continue working in both cities and elsewhere, which I've already been doing - it's just that my focus will be switching up a bit. 

Since Paul is going to be doing the work from home thing with me as well now, we've decided that two offices and a dog and plans for a baby in the coming year or two means we need to leave our condo in the hands of the lovely long-term renter we have and find a main-floor or small house to rent in Saskatoon where we can get a good start out before we are able to get a house of our own. Which isn't as far in the future as we had feared. With a much improved standard of living and even once kids come along, we have calculated that we can pay off all our debts (aside from the condo mortgage, which our renters are currently helping to pay) in only 6-7 years with this job.

But by far the best thing is the sense of peace I have about it. Everything will work out, I know this in my heart. And the amazing reactions I've been pleased to hear from my family, Paul's family, my friends - especially the close ones - has been filling up my poor, emaciated heart with good things. I am so overwhelmed that I just don't know what to do most times. I've been bursting into little dances around the house. And right now, after writing all this, I am in tears thinking about just how well God provided for us even after I wasn't sure he was still around at all. I am so blessed. 

I will certainly miss Edmonton when we move, but I'll be here every 4-6 weeks for work for several years at least as I transition. Maybe one day I can do less work here and come for fun more often - I've grown to love all the festivals and unique places Edmonton has to offer, and there's some I haven't even had a chance to explore yet. But I will. Edmonton is a home now, one of my three homes - the other two being Saskatoon and Emma Lake. It's okay to have multiple homes, I've decided. I like life that way.

Life is so full of promise right now.

The rear view mirror shows the times we're abandoning

Let's leave this life behind, forgetting all they say

The time we have, is time well borrowed

Stay out all night; forget tomorrow

We've been seeing all sorts of summer festivals this year, too. We went to the big folk festival with cool food - including lots of things made from mangoes, which suits us just fine! There were some great brazillian dancers and a cool mini viking longship which was about ten feet long, so not too mini, but compared to a real longship I'd guess it's… a shortship. 

Tonight we spent our first night at the Edmonton Fringe Festival - this year they're calling it "Villiage of the Fringed" which probably refers to some zombie pop culture reference I'm not familiar with, but it doesn't really matter what it's called. We've planned for several performances after last year's great experience. Today was absolutely awesome as we saw some amazing performers! I got my yearly henna from a lady who said she spent eight years in Dubai and learned how to do henna there - she did an amazing henna tattoo on my arm. We had some special brew root beer, several different glasses of lemonade, and TWO bags of mini donuts. And we're going back for some shows. There's a one-woman play about the wives of Henry VIII, a Sherlock Holmes play, a play in the style of a silent movie… We'll see what we end up seeing.

Tonight we saw some AMAZING street performance shows. The LOL Brothers with their hilarious antics, the Aerial Angels with fire breathing, slightly off colour (but entertaining to me) humour and silk aerobatics, The Street Circus (the same couple as last year we loved…) We drank special-brew root beer and lemonade and ate mini donuts… I just had an amazing time with a Paul. And we walked a TON. Since the accident walking that far and carrying anything has hurt, but I'm powering through it.

Speaking of summer things, Paul and I went to an airshow in Wetaskiwin (only about a 45 minute drive from Edmonton) which was my first ever air show on-site. There were some really cool things and I got some good photos! I used to always watch the planes from our backyard growing up since living in the north end of the city very near the airport the planes would fly over us, often in formation even. I have a lot of sky-watching memories from growing up, when I think about it. I remember sitting on the deck on summer days discussing the shapes of the clouds and which animal or item they most resembled. I remember late nights sitting in the dark on the deck with the family room light filtering through the french doors as we looked at the stars - and sometimes as we watched the aurora light up the sky in amazing teal shades. I remember watching smallish, wispy tornados form in the distance as the wind blew around us. I remember very fondly one day watching a deluge of rain sitting on the floor of our front porch with the door open in an amazing thunderstorm where the bolts of lightning lit the sky and the peals of thunder shook the walls while the smell of rain filled the house and tiny specks of water landed on my face. Those are some of my favourite memories of growing up. 

As my life gets calmer, I've been remembering dozens of happy memories from growing up like those ones - and many others. I have all sorts of good memories of watching Masterpiece Theatre and TLC with my family - and being introduced to Britcoms like Keeping Up AppearancesAre You Being Served, and Mr. Bean. My love of British TV and humour has grown steadily over the years - perhaps it's in my bones, as I have some Brit blood in me. I remember amazing times at Folkfest eating our traditional schnitzel and sauerkraut at the German pavilion and beet borscht at the Ukranian and all manner of other experiences. I remember playing word games in the dark on my Grandma's bed in the living room (while her bedroom was being painted) and playing card and board games of all sorts. Gran has always loved games, and it's something we've always shared. I remember doing the lily-tour of the garden. That's just a sampler of some good memories that have come to mind.

Forever can never be long enough for me

To feel like I've had long enough with you

Now that the weight is lifted 

Love has slowly shifted my way

Marry me, today and every day

Speaking of amazing times with my Paul like the Fringe, married life has been treating us well lately. We've been very cuddly and happy and content over the past few months despite some life problems, but now that things have changed when it comes to life it feels like all the weight is off of us. Paul is so thoughtful, and he is an amazing help-mate. I couldn't ask for a better husband. I am so blessed in him.

About that. Paul bought me a special, custom-made stuffed Alot for our anniversary! I love it alot! ;) It arrived late - not too long ago actually - and so I was very confused by the giant box that came in the mail… But then I opened it to a huge stuffed alot (big enough for a small child to ride) and I have been enjoying having him around. So far he's been the overseer of a big project for our upcoming bridal shows (a big bamboo frame stand for photos) and a cuddly toy to hug. It will be good to have him here when Paul goes off to work and I stay in Edmonton to pack for moving. Yes, that's right, there's a bit of a downside. Paul is moving back in the second week of September and I'm not moving back until late October. It sucks, but everything will be okay I think. Just another short blip of being apart before we're together so much we may get a tad sick of each other.

Today was a great day even other than the Fringe, actually. I ordered a custom cargo bag from Timbuk2 which arrived today, and I really like it! It is a lovely shade of teal with purple inside, and has the perfect structure. I think it will probably become my main bag, replacing purses entirely for me. It's also just in time to be one of my carry-on bags for Cuba. We are going to Cuba almost exactly a week from now, which is too surreal to even grasp. 

Yesterday we also finalized a new deal with the cable company that includes TV (for about $15 a month more than we would have paid for just internet, which is sweet) and the same day I found a perfectly nice (though large and heavy) TV in the dumpster-diving area downstairs. I'm pretty sure the value of the things I've dumpster dived in the past three years is climbing to a pretty respectable month's wages or so - I also picked up a very nice halogen lamp not too long ago. When we move maybe I'll take photos of all my DD finds.

Anyway, now I can watch TV in my spare time when Paul's gone for those couple months and we've talked about my Christmas present being a Wii before. 

I may or may not be able to post before Cuba, but either way I'll try to post in early September. 

Wow, long post but what a great post!! I'm so, so pleased that everything has fallen into place and all the massive weights have been lifted off your shoulders. I'm still curious, though- what was the career breakthrough in Saskatoon??

Luvs!!