HG2G, Don't Panic

Wake Me Up When October Ends

Summer has come and past

The innocent can never last

Wake me up when September ends

Typically this song has been a good indicator of busy season coming to a close. This year it's not even getting started. It's looking like October is going to be my busiest month of the year - which is rather strange, considering July was pretty dull and it's usually the opposite. As the days get shorter and colder, I am making plans to visit warmer locales - yes, that was plural. More on that later. It has been utter madness since mid-August and it shows no sign of letting up. I definitely do not have time to be writing this, but then again, so much has happened worth recording.

Paul and I headed out to Regina for his Grandpa's 80th birthday party. It was cool to see some of his Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins I had barely ever met before except for a wedding in Canmore a while back - and a few I hadn't met yet at all. I felt, as I had before, that I really enjoyed that side of Paul's family, and that I could be somewhat proud of my last name. I particularly enjoyed a great conversation with one of Paul's Uncles that we were staying with in Regina, it was a nice opportunity to get to know him and his wife a little more since I find them to be kindred spirits, in that honest and spontaneous Anne of Green Gables sort of way.

A few days later, I had the chance to talk with a friend about some changes in her life - very positive changes. We were both talking about how we felt, maybe for the first time, like we might just have it together. We've both made some peace with our restlessness, with fate, with the thousand questions of young adulthood. Compared to where we were in 2007 when we met, it's a pretty crazy road that's led us through all sorts of happiness and unhappiness, but the journey is getting better these days and we both see that, in hindsight, our panic about the future may have been too based on experience and not so much based on how focused we were about what we wanted out of life, and where that could take us with God's help.

In another few days I had the incredible opportunity to attend another tweet up with my friend Jadon, and I had one fantastic conversation with another artist about the worth of art, and why we as artists should make a more united stand about the financial side of that pretty picture, and also why it truly is valuable and we have a leg to stand on about that. We also talked about the plague of self doubt that keeps us, as artists from doing that, and how overcoming it is one of the steps to real success, even if overcoming it doesn't mean that it goes away entirely.

It's been a hard day's night
And I've been working like a dog

There's a blur of things in between all of these things, and honestly, I am going by my calendar here. There are moments when Paul holds me and talks about how grateful he is for me and how much he loves me - moments like this every day - and I'd be a fool to not place them among the greatest of the moments I experience. I am valued beyond all precious things. I joked with Paul the other day that the three most valuable things in his life were, me, the Murphy-dog I was currently imprisoning in a hug, and the computer on my lap. He rolled his eyes and said the computer wasn't on the list. I am beginning to see, with time, that he's right about these things, and the value of the things I own - with the possible exception of my camera gear which, as a tool, enables me to see the love and joy of others - is not among the most valuable of things I own. Of course, if I had nothing but my own eyes, I could do this as well. Not as effectively, perhaps, but still. I have been feeling very poetic lately. When I wake up, I often feel totally awake, totally myself, which was previously rare for me, but now is common with the busyness that has overtaken me and the early mornings to which I have often been a stranger. The peeking pre-dawn glow of this morning was pleasant to behold through the bathroom window, with a power pole full of birds in the frame of view, as it is most mornings when I am up for bus driving. Normally I'd be writing a post like this late at night, but getting up before my alarm and having some quiet time to myself in the mornings is my new mode, and I like it better. It feels more at peace than the harried evenings I used to have, trying to catch up with life somehow and failing more often than not.

This last week I took time off the bus job to go to Edmonton. I shot several sessions, a wedding, had meetings for work and lunches and dinners and in one case, a movie for myself with friends in Edmonton. I'm becoming friends in earnest with the organizer of the CPC, which makes me happy and makes our meetings both fun and a powerhouse of ideas. I love frolicking in fields of ideas. It makes my heart feel light. Like Christmastime. Which is coming sooner than I can imagine! Of course, I enjoy Halloween too, and that's coming even sooner - the creativity of it is what I love.

My experience in Edmonton was an overwhelmingly positive one, except for a brief bad experience at Vistek when a female staff member didn't know the difference between a DX and FX lens - there's a BIG difference. One won't work on my camera properly, for instance… I was pretty disappointed in the service that I had come to expect to be phenomenal and I'm actually going to complain - and it takes a LOT for me to complain about something. I try to make my complaints constructive for businesses, of course. In this case, it's, please train so-and-so properly about basics like how lenses work on which cameras… Kind of important for a photo sales consultant. Regardless, I did walk out with another piece of equipment which I've needed for some time.

But aside from that one blip on the radar, my trip to Edmonton was absolutely phenomenal. I had a lovely session with a family who was totally my type, a great lunch with a couple and their baby talking about buying a home in Edmonton, stay-at-home parenting, and our common faith, a couple of mindblowingly awesome fall sale shopping trips - a hat, two pairs of shoes, two fancy ankle-length dresses, halloween gifts for the kids, and more stuff for my carnival birthday party later, I am down only a little money and smiling ear to ear. On Wednesday I shot an incredible wedding, where the family treated me like family and the couple treated me like gold, and it was such a privilege to witness their love. I enjoyed Wolverine with Ashley, a previous wedding client whose couch I have been sleeping on, and had a great time.

On Thursday evening I enjoyed another Pitch Party with the Awesome Foundation, where I met a few really cool people including a singer and a guy who blogs about "gems" in the community.

On Friday I went to a workshop that I was really excited to attend, and it was one of those life-changing moments when I realized, deep down, that I belong to this movement, doing what I am doing - helping people tell their own stories. And that brings me to my second opportunity to visit the good ol' U S of A this month. It looks like, in addition to Vegas this coming week, I will also be heading out to the other "loss" so to speak, Los Angeles. There's an incredible artist convention there - and convention is a poor word, perhaps gathering would be more accurate, called Adventure Always. And with the purchase of some materials at the workshop, the actual fee to get in was waived… meaning it would cost me about $1000, and a little less bus income this month, to go. On one hand it seems like a no-brainer, on the other it's very scary. But I think worthwhile. So I plan to go. The session I shot the next day, using the methods from the Beloved movement, was incredible. So many moments of real passion and joy and deep emotion. I really enjoyed it.

In the end, two of the sessions on Sunday had to be rescheduled, and I headed home a day early to surprise Paul and give myself a day of rest. Paul was really surprised, because he had gotten the wrong message from my calendar and thought I was coming home on Tuesday - so Saturday late night was a lot earlier than he originally thought.

Today I did something I've been thinking of doing - I declared October to be Crazy Hat Month on my bus. Driving school bus has its perks! This was greeted with great enthusiasm - one boy said, "I'll get to wear my fedora every day!" I am excited to use all my awesome hats from photo booths and such to great effect. Almost every day I get a compliment on something I am wearing or my hair, which makes me feel good. I am treated pretty well by my kids, though when I asked if they'd treated the spare drivers well there was a chorus of No's. Not too encouraging…

At Mass yesterday evening, I felt like God was really hammering me over the head with some stuff Paul and I had talked about earlier in the day about what our future holds. In time I'll say more about it, but I want to talk about it with friends and family first.

I'm looking forward to seeing my parents for supper and a nice outdoor fire on Thursday. I can't say I'm looking forward to much else about this week of insanity, particularly beginning with the wedding edit I have to do today. Maybe it won't be so bad… but we'll see.

So much is happening, I am going to try and keep blogging it even though I'm so busy. I'm going to try and do it in the quiet of the morning, like I did today, in that twilight time that is fully mine.