flying paper

Permanent Edmonton

On an evening such as this
It's hard to tell if I exist
If I pack a car and leave this town
Who'll notice that I'm not around?

I apologize for the radio silence during this very crazy few weeks - people have been reaching out and asking me if we're settling in, and the truth is that we are about halfway there - the essential parts - the bed, the couch and futon, a few of the kitchen things… Yesterday after being here for a whole week I finally made what almost passes for homemade supper - smokies, microwave steamed veggies, and oven fries, and we ate it from chairs at our little glass outdoor table - though we were inside at the time.

This has been a strange move for me, because I essentially washed my hands of it long ago, telling Paul he'd have to handle most of it, which he did admirably. I announced that I didn't intend to pack a single box. I packed about six - all of which were either art or stuff in my office I didn't want to lose track of. Given the scale of moving I'd say I did quite well with my attempt at wholesale delegation. It helps that I just passed my one year anniversary of having a staff person.

My cousin with a trailer business - who is a strong giant of a man who lifts things himself that Paul and I can barely lift together - tetris-packed our life into his truck and trailer, and nothing broke, the worst that happened was that a few plastic containers got a bit bent, but nothing major. It was a really impressive packing job! Paul's Mom had been helping a ton with the move, and her awesome boyfriend helped with some of the repairs to the place. All of Paul's family, in fact, did a ton to help us with moving, and we really appreciate them all so much.

I got to be a passenger on a cross-country move, which I have never had the chance to do yet - speaking of delegating. My cousin and I talked about hopes and dreams, business and good and bad clients, the process of getting older, and had a good time singing to some worship tunes for a couple of hours. It was lovely to spend so much time with him.

We got into Edmonton, and my cousin and I took a walk to the little lake and sat lakeside and continued our conversation for a bit before he went off to bed and Paul came with the car and a few of our more fragile things. Paul and I slept for the last time on the futon mattress on the floor while James had the spare room upstairs, and in the morning my new personal assistant (now I have 2 staff people) came to help us move, which was a really good thing, because I was starting to really cave from exhaustion, and all I had for energy was enough to put the futon together and try to keep all the boxes going to the right places, vaguely.

We've spent a lot of our time moving boxes and furniture around to suit the new place since then. Paul commented that a lot of our thoughts about where things should go - the vast majority, in fact - have matched up, and the entire moving process had almost no arguing, which is remarkable given the stress levels around here. On Wednesday, my assistant Mel and her hubby came by and she put together my desk while he helped us unpack the games into our ottoman, after which we played Apples to Apples and ordered some pizza. They were our first company in our new place, and after the worries we had years ago that we would never develop any friends or contacts here I am pretty certain that we are past that now.

And I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone

After my desk went up, I spent some time creating a wonderful office space for myself. There's a lovely little diorama in the corner, my friend Leah's present of a red phone booth full of my favourite music, a little plush flower, my office Kermit, a ceramic music box shaped like an old couple looking at a wedding album which I found recently and spoke to me given what I do for a living, and a Minolta camera that's probably the first camera I ever took a picture on. I've been working on creating a more compact space - my hard drives now reside on the floor inside the corner of the desk, with a table with my printer on it over top of them, but under the main part of the desk. My Kilpsch portable speakers are now the main speakers for the computer, as well as providing a charging spot for my iPod. I have a little charging station behind my monitor, risers on my desk top to ensure that there's tons of room for everything I need, and various other innovations to make my workspace work for me. I'm really proud of it. Behind the computer is my red chaise lounge, which I love to bits, and under the chaise lounge is one of Murphy's dog beds, where he lies as I type, tail resting on top of his head, curled in a ball. There's a little table I picked up at the Restore, and a small bookshelf of our favourite books. It's my oasis, and I am very proud of it.

My beautiful white cabinet, which I dumpster dived here in Edmonton a long while ago, was taken apart and put back together with screws instead of nails for tough moving conditions, and desperately needs a coat of paint, which is actually one of my plans for today. I went to Bouclair Home for the first time and picked up a few perfect items for the house for amazing prices - two very nice doorframe tension curtain rods for $10 each, a curtain rod for that white cabinet, and a lovely bath mat with matching hand towels. I've actually been able to do quite a bit of targeted bargain shopping. Kinda feeling like the Proverbs Wife here, with so many great bargains.

That's pretty much everything I have to say about the moving process. We are settling in here. I finally put up my diploma, a full four years after first receiving it. As a great irony, I actually put it in a $1.25 frame. The frame contained a fake certificate of achievement, which I wrote out to Paul, "for being awesome" and he really loves it - he's thinking about putting it up in his cubicle at work.

And the waves crashing around me
The sand slips out to see
And the wind that blows reminds me
Of what has been
And what can never be

A couple of nifty things happened before we moved that I'd like to record here. I had the privilege of shooting at the first annual HostEdmonton,  a conference dedicated to good food and meant for foodies and restaurant owners alike to build up the Edmonton food scene - it was pretty awesome. I met a few big Food Network names who I knew barely anything about but had heard of before, and I hobnobbed with some really cool people. There was also a truly excellent concert by The Sheepdogs, a band from Saskatoon, whose drummer is someone I used to know when we were kids. Shooting concert photos from the front of the stage is really, really fun.

The day after the three-day run of that gig, where after signing in to Fort Edmonton Park, I took a short ride on a streetcar to the annual Storytelling Festival, which I quite enjoyed. It was very relaxing!

This past week for me has gone by quickly. There was unpacking, buying household things, researching marketing tools for a new project I'm working on, and updating my website to reflect some new branding including a tagline change - which is pretty major since I've had the original tagline, "Imagery to be Admired" from the very beginning. I posted a post about that change on my work blog. I had a phone call from a friend today which was really nice, and I have added three new houseplants to the houseplant collection on my wide windowsills.

Truthfully, aside from my stuff actually being here, it doesn't feel much different to be in Edmonton because of the massive amount of time I spent here for the past few years even when I lived elsewhere. My friend Jasser who runs the Canada Photo Convention said they never had anyone from Saskatchewan attend, and I protested, and his response was, "You're not really from Saskatchewan. You're a vagrant!" I laughed at that, because it's been kind of true these last few years. There's a great sense of peace knowing I don't have to drive cross-country to get to my 9am Newborn session tomorrow.

The biggest thing is that in this very stressful time, I'd built in time to relax and take it easy - or in my case, to pursue the projects I really want to be working on right now, even though I've started the first overlap month of the season (by which I mean I'm editing last month's shoots and shooting new ones) and the truth is, my stress levels are about as low as they can get in a situation like this. Even my therapist is proud of me.

Which is why it's a perfect time to build the course I'm working on for creative people - just photographers, for now - who need to learn how to live life again after becoming work addicts. There's a lot you can do to make that happen, and I've become really good at it in the past few years. So far everyone I've talked to about it is really excited. So I have plans to launch the course officially starting in November, with some resources and ideas being released earlier over the course of a couple of weeks at the end of October as the Fall rush starts to wind down. So I'm battening down the hatches for what will be a full and also very wonderful summer, as I practice what I preach, spending lots of time with the dog and Paul, enjoying time with friends, and creating something really great to help make a difference.

Here's to the green grass, the blue sky, time with friends and family, and more.

Speaking of time with friends and family, we'll be coming into Saskatoon for four days the July long weekend, which I am really looking forward to.