rawr, dinosaur love

More Mileage than the Average Bear

I feel like my sabbatical has been such a long journey. Every year I try to do a Year in Review. I know the sabbatical was only six weeks, but it feels like a lot happened.

Part of the issue in communicating about the sabbatical is that the last several years have been really tough, and the sabbatical was time to think about ways to change my life, which I talked about two posts ago. Part of it is that so much of what has changed for me was in the realm of ideology or it just isn't easy to communicate.

There were several events that I didn't post about here or didn't say much about that deserve the spotlight.

The Price is Right Live Show

When I was a kid I used to wake up to yelling. People yelling prices, that is! I inherited a love of game shows from my Grandma, and for many years as a kid I woke to watch The Price Is Right with her in the mornings. I developed a love for Plinko and the Mountaineer and spinning the big wheel. So it was with great nostalgia that I told my Grandma about the Live show coming to Saskatoon, and we bought some of the very last available tickets. After that I didn't plan quite well enough how to go about our day - I didn't leave us enough time to eat or have all my times right and I made my poor Gran climb flights of stairs… But I really did enjoy the experience despite all that, and I have a cool little price-tag shaped name tag to show for it, though I didn't get to "come on down." And sadly, not very many of the contestants won anything - but someone did get 1.00 on the wheel, and that was a pretty big highlight! This happened about two weeks ago and I'd been meaning to blog it ever since! It was cool to spend some time with my parents remembering good times.

Job Stuff

Paul and I had talked a bit about me driving him around so he could double bill, but his company was kind enough to offer me a job with them as his driver - it's only for 2-3 days a month, but it's kind of cool that I get paid to drive, since I already liked it. There are quite a few ways in which I am like my uncle, and my driving skills, though not as good as his I'm sure, are definitely better than the average bear. So this happened just a little while ago and I drove for him twice, and I might get to do so again soon as it's looking like a busy week for him again.

Issues in the World

I saw my first reserve that I knew was a reserve, which was kind of underwhelming in a sense. There were friendly, shaggy dogs. There was "The Store." There were houses on land that didn't strike me as much different from the rest of the prairie. There were laughing, smiling, (and helpful) aboriginal folks. The houses I saw were about what you'd expect in the older, lower-middle class or poorer parts of a city. It just goes to show that I, and most WASPS or pseudo-WASPs like me, really don't know enough to make any judgements about anything, which doesn't stop most people from judging all the same. It reminds me of 2008 when I got to know a few aboriginal and Metis folks working out at Emma Lake. Some were lovely people who I admired and looked up to. Only one was a tarnished example of the sort of folk one hears generalizations about. In the end, for me, it always comes down to three things I know to be true. Do to others as you would have them do to you. I always hate when people make generalizing judgements against any group I'm a part of. And the biggest life truth that someone should have at every picket-party, "It's not that simple. It never is." As usual my beliefs on the subject are varied and don't fit into any mould I am aware of, and not all of them are politically correct.

New Pope

Gosh this new Pope is a cool guy. I am proud to have him as a representative of true Christ-likeness to the world. I have been reading Pope Emeritus Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth series and enjoying his views, but in many ways he was a "background Pope." Pope Francis seems to be personifying Jesus in all the best ways. =) At any rate, Paul and I took advantage of the PBS live cam to watch his first address and I even saw his inauguration live at a ridiculously late hour.

Computer and Office Upgrades

The right combination of sale watching and a well chosen rewards program gift card netted me a class glass desk for nearly a third it's usual sale price, and with that set up in my office I am much more at home. A cute felt dollar store flower plushie that usually resides in my Photo Booth prop kit sits in the corner on a table where it beckons me in with a silly smile, around the corner from the door my Ikea shelf from a couple of years ago houses my hard drives and other digitally inclined items like printer paper and labels and sits within easy reach of my gorgeous new glass corner desk. Finally, three gilt frames I picked up for free at a garage sale Paul and I were participating in in Edmonton a while back house some of my best photographs on the back wall - older ones now, two of which I will eventually replace, but all a point of pride for me. I finally feel at home in my office, and the workspace is much more ergonomically healthy, says a Paul in-the-know about such things. Paul and I performed computer surgery to upgrade my RAM and add a second hard drive to the computer, a solid state drive to speed up the processing power of a computer that does a lot of image rendering. It was a good investment, and I can tell that things are faster already in my day-to-day use of the system. It will get a true test over the next few days as I power through some editing. All in all, I feel ready for this year. I just hope it throws a lot of business at me! =)

Selling Our Condo

The winds of change are blowing and they're not always the nicest, but sometimes a mildly favourable one crops up… We're selling Paul's condo at a loss from what it was originally purchased for but at a life gain that should halve our debts. We're pretty hopeful that this, in combination with a lot of careful changes made to our finances (especially in some easily fixed areas), should enable us to save enormous amounts of money in payments each year hereafter and get us totally back on our feet. We've got our fingers crossed for a fast sale, and we like our realtor. Here goes a lot of painting and caulking and such this week. Lets hope it pays well!

My Paul is the Bestest Paul in the whole wide world!
Because he reads this blog, and he is. It's been wonderful to be there for him and with him more during this time of sabbatical. =)

Road trip to Regina

Other than generally spending a lot more time with friends than I had for a bit, I went on a day trip to Regina to visit some friends and relatives - my best friend Leah in particular. The lovely lady and I spent almost six hours talking about all sorts of important life things, which was bliss. Looking forward to doing it again. I also had pizza with Paul's Aunt and Uncle and got to know them a little, and stopped by his Grandparents' place for a chat - and finally that evening I planned a trip to Vancouver with my friend Cathleen…

Upcoming Trip #1 - Vancouver for the Canada Photo Convention

…Which I'll be flying off to in a mere 2 weeks, which is scary, particularly as it will be one of the most severely budget-restricted trips I've ever tried, with the exception of that self-directed Halifax trip I took February break once. I will be staying on a houseboat with her for most of our time there and her Dad will be touring us about. She says he's not big on eating out and he's very excited that we're coming, so I should be able to keep my budget to a minimum for most of the trip and I can hope that someone likes me enough to buy me drinks at the conference while I'm there! Here's hoping it all works out for me and those two people considering me for their weddings make up their minds soon. =) I'm really starting to get excited about the trip, but poor Paul will miss me fiercely. And probably his laptop, too, if he lets me take it! I am going to try to take the dog to the dog park lots in these next few weeks to get used to all the walking I'll be doing in Vancouver...

Upcoming Trip #2 - Toronto

Not long after that is going to be our Toronto trip - the big trip we're taking together this year so I can go to and shoot my best friend Michael's wedding. But that's more than a month ahead so I'll say more about it later!

And #3: Plans for July include a quiet trip to Drumheller to see the Passion Play and the Dino museum and stay at a B&B for a couple of days. And that doesn't include the oft-made trips to Edmonton, where I'll be this Saturday and the Saturday after the Vancouver trip, too.

And now, after sleep and a nice breakfast with a friend tomorrow morning, it's back to the grindstone. The sabbatical is over. But the effects will last a very long time.