flying paper

Carpe Diem with a little help from my friends

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
One moment
Would you capture it?
Or just let it slip?

In the nearly six weeks since I last found the time to blog, a great many things have happened - more than usual, even.

First off, I finally replaced my iPod, which has allowed me to enjoy a great deal of music - but even better, I finally splurged on a kit and time to install an AuxMod into my Mazda, which has allowed me to pump the tunes in the car on my many, many trips back and forth to Edmonton from Saskatoon. Finally. The FM transmitter had a ton of extra issues in this car - the auto-starter hated it, for instance and the wipers made it crackle every time they moved when it rained. It was madness considering how much I listen, and burning CDs every few weeks was getting old fast. My only regret is not doing it sooner! So there will be lots of lyrics in this post to reflect the listening I've been doing.

I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
I'm radioactive, radioactive

The time I've spent since I headed out to this year's Canada Photo Convention, and indeed even the weeks before it has been some of the most full and most rewarding of my life.

As usual, I can't speak highly enough about the life-changing family that the CPC is to me. So many of my friends from the CPC, as I do, call it a family, and it's the truth. I have the blessing of being a part of a great many families, some I chose and some chose me - and the best, like CPC, are both. At the social evening I gave my camera to Tim King, a good friend of mine whose hijinks have gone viral on several occasions, and he spent some time creating an epic series of rather interesting photographs taken in and around the hotel with some models, which I suspect will be introduced to others very soon online, and probably in some extra-special way, knowing Tim. The quality of the pictures on my "stolen" camera is a lot better than the last time that happened back in high school when someone "stole" my camera at a youth event of some kind and took butt pictures of almost everyone I knew. I never did figure out who did and I can't remember anything else about the event at all, that but it's a funny memory that's stuck with me.

I flew in and out totally smoothly, and between the camera incident and the late night pizza walk in downtown Vancouver, as well as a great guitarist at a pub and a fantastic dance floor at the after-party, the CPC experience was complete. Oh, and I suppose I should mention the incredible presentations by some of the best people in the industry, right? They were awesome too and I got a lot out of it. I was particularly excited to spend more time with my friends from Jonetsu, as well as getting to meet Hailey Bartholomew of Grateful365 fame - I even got to have lunch with her - and another fantastic Aussie, Matt Ebenezer. Meeting the mastermind behind Bongopix was a pretty fantastic experience too - we found that we shared a lot of points of view on life when I invited him to my suite to talk after neither of us really wanted to go to bed yet on Night 1 of the conference after drinks at Joey's. I discovered a basically untouched 1950's diner near the hotel which I heartily intend to return to for milkshakes and jukeboxing, and I had lunch at a Mexican place with one of Paul's cousins when I got into town, too, after a discussion of why not to date people who are aggressive drivers. I had an amazing yearly conversation with my friend Ben who I took photography with in University and who now has his own business in architecture and design - in the middle of his degree. He's got an eye for growth, and I wish him well - just waiting to find out what's in store for his business at our annual coffee next year! We had a great conversation as always. I really enjoy Vancouver and was sorry to not spend any more time there this year. Next year I'm actually hoping to take a leisurely ride up on the train from Edmonton if it works out and spend a good week in advance of the conference enjoying the mountains on the train ride, the shopping, and the ambiance - hopefully with a Paul beside me this time. I spent quite a bit of time with Jasser, too, and we became much closer friends with a good, raw conversation about life.

With my involvement in CPC reaching an all new high and many of my favourite "family members" in attendance, as well as some new sponsors and speakers that really helped to make an incredible experience, I have to say that this year topped last year, and came close to the beautiful moments I had at the very first CPC when I started to figure out what I needed to do and who I needed to be to really make it.

I'm nurturing a new idea that grew out of the Convention that I feel is one of my most fruitful projects yet - both as business and as art. It's all coming together now, a couple of weeks of crystallization after CPC have made all the difference, and the last two six hour car rides both had a couple of hour-long-moments where, like a time lapse video of frost forming on a windowpane I saw once years ago, the crystals of my ideas became something beautiful and unique and plain to me as

the frost on a window in the soft morning light,
when the cold air hits your feet first
flowing over the ground from the open back door
each footfall disturbing the icy air on the cracked linoleum as I creep forward
one hand resting on the lukewarm rumbling dryer in that back porch
the other on that worn metal doorknob
cold excepting my hopefulness
as the knowledge of approaching spring is spread
through an unmistakable scent in the air
carried though the dust and mildew
are the seeds that will spring to life
flowering, later to become the brown sprigs I see now through
the frost on the window in the soft morning light.

What an intense memory I have of such an innocuous moment of childhood, particularly as it happened nearly every day. I was about at eye level of that back door handle and twice as high as our dog when this happened, while the Christmas tree in the backyard was just over fence-height. Not sure when that was, but I could probably figure it out with pictures some day, and it's a very happy memory for me. There's something about the intense crystal clarity of it in my memory that matches these moments I'm having with this new idea.

I am in the very preliminary stages of bringing this idea to life, and I truly hope it will be everything it could be. More on that later once I've started going public with it, but the whole process of birthing this idea has been incredible. It feels like God has me on this set of rapids and I'm just riding the waves. Everything about this whole process has just come together, one puzzle piece at a time. And it's not the only thing.

I mentioned a while back that I was taking a food delivery job with Skip the Dishes and it turned out to be fairly pleasant as grunt jobs go! The pay was alright for the flexibility it offered, and if things in Edmonton go a bit downhill I can always work with them when they expand there. It was definitely my best secondary job experience since working for Enerflex that one time as a temp. The staff really liked me, and said as much, and it was a good experience for me too. Always good to have some fallbacks, even when everything is looking up! It filled a lot of time and most importantly it got me slowly but surely more physically fit in the early spring before my crazy May that I didn't even know was going to happen. But I did make enough extra cash to get that iPod and install the AuxMod without breaking the bank, which was a really good thing.

We had a great time in Edmonton visiting family and enjoying the anniversary party of Paul's Aunt Shelley and Uncle Dave, which I got to take some nice photos at for them, which they really appreciated. We owe them a great deal for their trust and support, and they're amazing family, so I'm glad I get to give them something valuable! I also found something wonderful - black New Balance running shoes that have become my standard shoes just in time for all the events I've been shooting. There's a lot of corporate work coming up these next few days and I'm excited to see it happening. It's good for the pocketbook and can be really interesting!

I shot at a place that specializes in dirt rollers and packers and such things, and I got to have supper with the owner's family in the evening of my second night there. I got to ask an Italian guy named Tony if his name was really as common as TV shows make it out to be, and he said it was and there were tons of guys in his family named Antonio, and they all went by Tony. Meeting them made me long to go to Italy. Someday.

I don't want to spend all my life just a-waitin' for you
Now I don't want you back for the weekend
Not back for a day, no no no
I said baby, I just want you back and I want you to stay

The second time in a row, we found a place to live in Edmonton through a Kijiji ad recommending us as good tenants.

The second time in a row, the first interview Paul took landed him a job.

These things are individual acts of God.

I'm the raging sea, I'm the bending trees
An unstoppable force with wake of debris
I'm the wind and rain, the loss and the pain
Without You, I'm a natural disaster

Our new basement suite - and I mean brand new with nobody ever having lived down there since the new renos, is a rather nice little spot with a slightly strange layout and light purple walls, with a small bathroom and kitchenette and space for a bedroom and a little spot I'm planning to create an office in. It's temporary - we're renting it 6 months at a time and intend to stay for a year or more - but it's the right place for us for now and I'm looking forward to calling it home. The best part is that it's a very Murphy-positive space - in fact, the matron of the house attempted to give Murphy the largest piece of human food he'd ever seen in his life - a chunk of cheese. It shocked him so much he kept sniffing at it and then looking up at her as if trying to say, "You can't be serious!?"

In the end, they offered it to us for exactly our budget - $1300 with utilities in - and it's going to be our place until we can afford a house downpayment and move permanently into a nice little place. They're extremely excited to have us and they are very hospitable people. I showed up basically unannounced to take another quick look around when I was in town this week and got to meet the guys' sister and her hubby. They apparently have a dog about Murphy's age and size called Baby who would probably love a playmate.

There's a manmade lake and walking paths with an entrance just a minute's walk from our new place, which makes me very happy. I always loved time spent near the water, it makes me feel calm and ready to face the world no matter what's happening. I plan to spend quite a bit of time there this summer, no matter how busy I get.

A cousin of mine who owns a hauling company is going to help us move, which is a lovely relief after so many moves where I had to drive a U-haul, sometimes in terrible weather.

A lot of people really want to help, which makes me feel less crazed about it all. I'm actually a remarkably chill person this month considering the whirlwind around me. I'm feeling pretty in control and very excited about the future.

I'll finally get to stop sleeping on my friends' couch. Not that I didn't have a lot of fun with them whenever I was in town - in fact, I think it gave us a chance to become better friends and I have no regrets on spending so much time with them. That part, at least, will continue well into the future! This weekend I went "booking" with my friend Ashley - we went to a used bookstore and essentially shopped for each other's favourites. It was pretty cool.

Paul's job landed in our laps just as we were taking the leap of faith to move out without him having one nailed down. I was feeling fairly unstressed about it all because my month of May has now become a month of record-setting income, despite some of my shoots having been pre-paid or free shoots from contests. Then he got a phone interview and it went really well. That may have been in part due to the fake phone interview I did with Paul the night before, which was good for me for interviewing skills and good for Paul too! I think it helped him rehearse some answers that he got asked the next day.

The same day as the fake interview call, Paul and I went to Sobey's to buy some fruit to make a special Mother's Day fruit bouquet for my parents, which I made that evening, and after I delivered it the next day I heard it was eaten and appreciated.

Speaking of my parents and memories of my childhood, the darling cockatiel bird I grew up with, Nikki, was lost to extreme old age over Easter. I spent some time tweeting with him one of my last times at home, so I felt like I got to say goodbye this time, unlike when Carlos the Chihuahua passed. I have grand memories of Nikki's flight escapades - his wings weren't clipped so he used to fly about the house - and I have good memories of having my hair preened and walking about with the bird sitting on my pointer finger and cocking his head at me. Nikki was always my favourite bird at home, and I will miss his keen interest in my presence and valiant attempts to mimic my most complicated whistles. Rest in piece, you tough old bird. You were very loved.

I hate all your show
Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living

I've felt a great deal of spiritual goodness over this Easter. As usual, God had different plans for me than I had for myself this Lent, and it was a good experience of renewal. It was a tough time for several of the people I care about, so I spent some of the time supporting others, which I felt balanced enough to do without unbalancing myself, and for that I am grateful.

I've also found myself solidifying some beliefs that have been on the tip of my tongue for quite some time.

For example, there's a great many things I've seen recently that confirm a very important category of my views on human rights. Viewing people as left-wing or right-wing, by any attribute of their humanity is detrimental to viewing them as human, as loveable, as real. It hurts all of humanity and slows progress towards basic human rights when we categorize people that way, and I believe it's really unbiblical to say the least. There is no categorization in the Body of Christ.

At the end of March I said we were waiting on everything. Now it's all solved.

Waiting on that tax return - it came and basically solved everything.
Waiting on callbacks for Paul's job - we only had one, but it was enough.
Waiting on my first shift delivery driving - and now I've already had my last.
Waiting on the weather to turn things green for photography - it came, but a lot later than we expected!
Waiting on people to buy my Kijiji items - most of them are gone now.
Waiting for a final moving date - May 31st and June 1st, conveniently on a weekend.
Waiting to adopt children into our family - we'll be applying to adopt soon.
Waiting for Easter, while still in Lent - and Easter is here and nearly past already.

Now I'm just waiting to be in the city I already think of as home. Soon. Very soon.

I'm going to miss this couch, though. I really liked having a big comfy couch... =)