Thursday, January 29, 2009

Coming back from Costa Rica makes me feel co-co-co cold :(

I know - cheesy blog post title but I can't help it.  I can't help being cheesy or complaining about being back after I had the opportunity to be in a wonderfully warm climate.  The only benefit of coming home, and it's a biggie, is Mike was here.  Despite my grumbling I'm secretly happy to be back even though it's cold and annoyingly slushie.  However, to be clear, if he was with me I would have been even more insufferable on that plane.

For those of you who don't know I went on a photography retreat.  A few months ago we bought a fancy camera.  Up until last week I looked like a pro but used it as a point and shoot.  Well, well not anymore. It's now clear that I'm not a pro.  After a weeklong retreat I take very few pictures because I spend all of my time thinking about composition, frantically trying to figure out the purpose of the picture, how I can make the subject looks it best and why the f'en light meter won't balance!  Needless to say the pictures I took in Costa Rica are not perfect but I tried so hard I had a few wins.  A professional photographer might disagree but who cares.  For the next few weeks or even months I'm going to try and post a picture each day.

These pictures are fun.  I ran into a lovely couple on the beach and asked if I could take a picture.  It turns out they were both from Toronto as well.  The trick Catherine emphasized with portraits is not stopping after the first shot.  That people stop posing and actually relax into the shot when they think you are finished.  This couple were great sports, very friendly and ridiculously attractive.  The guy saw Andrea and I at the beach a few hours later and referred to us as the 'Toronto Camera Club'.  

PS:  If anyone knows these people I'd be happy to give them these pictures.  I feel like I've met them before but I can't pinpoint where.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Renaissance Soul - I got it!

Yesterday, I was walking around Indigo with my friend Jen when she spotted a book entitled 'The Renaissance Soul'.  The tagline reads 'life designs for people with too many passions to pick just one'.  She held the book up and said I needed to buy it.  

I came home and promptly started reading the book.  Well, that's not true.  I fought with myself for a few minutes because I should be reading my photography book.  Like I said that only lasted for a few minutes.  Within the first few pages Margaret, the author who has a window to my soul, has us answer 20 questions.  You're a renaissance soul if you answer yes to 11.  I answered yes to 19.  The only one I didn't answer favorably was around hating your current job.  I've hit a gold mine at my work, thank god.  My job can mostly be whatever I want it to be.  I do have a small percentage of work I 'have' to do but my boss allows me to explore new ideas and gave me an intern last year to help me make it happen.  

So, if you, are interested in everything and sometimes feel a bit harried by the amount you're juggling or you have an undiagnosed severe case of ADD this book is for you.  Here's a list of the hobbies I have actively explored/participated in just this month -

- running (new)
- spinning
- yoga
- photography
- recycled box sets of cards (new)
- sewing quilts
- cooking
- baking
- tiffin box jacket production
- knitting

See what I mean?  That's weird, flaky, etc - don't worry I know.  Or should I say I once thought.  Now, the Big M, compares me to Ben Franklin.  He had lots of weird and diverse interests that he explored successfully without starting from scratch.  AND, there was a whole era dedicated to people just like me who were encouraged to explore a bunch of different things.  You know the Renaissance Era.

I frequently joke with Mike that I'm going to retire early and pursue my hobbies.  He doesn't think it's funny.  Especially since I misread my pension projection forms on purpose and say I'm going to retire early.  Or I order new cheques and say I'm rich just like Balkie from Perfect Strangers.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Speaking from a place of truth - what does that mean?

A few months ago I was walking to a doctor's appointment chatting with my friend Kris. Getting time to catch up with her is a real treat because we don't see one another regularly. I spent this time complaining about a certain, sometimes, tactless person I spent a lot of energy thinking about. When I got off the phone it struck me that I didn't even ask Krista how she was? I spent the entire time complaining about a situation I could not change - AND even if I could, frankly, have no right to. I realized that I was diverting energy from changing or nurturing things in my own life on someone else's. In that moment I vowed to speak, act, react from a place of truth. What that means, for me, is taking control of me and my actions. I still have awkward situations where I have to deal with confrontational issues but I take it to the person, we discuss and deal with it. I recently had to tell someone they were not doing their job and the person didn't take it well. It was uncomfortable but I spoke from a place of truth. When I talk about this idea with people they are a bit confused. So I thought I would show you what acting from a place of truth looks like. This is my nephew, Jacob, opening a Jack in the Box Christmas present. The picture is blurry but you can still make out his uninhibited joy.

This is another example. It's a poster a little kid put up a few months ago before the dead of winter hit. I wish the picture was more clear but it's a poster that reads - "Save The World" - Please do your part and don't litter. This poster has been rained on, snowed on and blown by the wind. It was stuck up a few months ago and hasn't aged a day. Hopefully I'll be able to weather life's little storms when I'm coming from a place of honesty and goodness.

I hope this post gets you thinking a bit. It'll take a few pounds you might be hauling around on your shoulders.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

focal length sucks a bit...

I'm off to Costa Rica for my photography retreat in less than a week.  With the date fast approaching I decided to take my trusty tutors advice,  the photography for dummies book, and take pictures.  I haven't been taking many lately because my pea sized attention span became obsessed with knitting.  As my punishment but for practicing  I went for a walk to take pictures and only stopped when I lost feeling in my fingers. 

On this outing I was trying to figure out focal length.  I"m happy to say, I may not be able to teach a class on it, but I do know how it works.  Mike and I were trying to figure it out but I didn't get it till I played around.

So, I can tick off how to turn my camera on, depth of field, aperture, focal length and how to avoid 'noise' in my pictures.  Noise is a photographer term I am not cool enough to use but did because it's my blog.  These pictures could be a lot better if I played with the ISO though.  My internal check list will be WAY better when Catherine's talent and knowledge just seeps into my brain.

I've been trying to figure out what to do with all of these pictures.  I'm leaning towards making card box sets.  Don't worry the cards will not be produced until my picture taking improves by a million fold.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2008 roundup and New Years Resolution

I've left you hanging regarding my parents blanket. I finished the pattern and really like how it turned out. When I saw them open it I realized that the blanket was not big enough so I took it back and vowed to finish it before they left. They left yesterday and it's not finished. I got a bit bored and abandoned the blanket in favor of cookies, cake and big family dinners. We're seeing my parents again in February for their 30th wedding anniversary so I'll start on it next week.

Ok, on to a more fun topic. 2008 roundup. Needless to say 2008 was a fun year. Actually, in the process of doing this exercise I found myself feeling really thankful and humbled by the great opportunities I have.

Here's a quick recap:
- got married to a wonderful, supportive, funny and cute partner
- went to India
- saw some of my besties get married and have babies - see Caleb below
- learned how to knit on the round
- quit smoking - come to think of it it's almost been a year
- got a promotion
- filled my brain with tons of fun books
- finally bought a fancy pants camera
- got married - it's a big deal so I'll mention it again

What's up for 2009 you ask? Well, well, well at first blush I have some fun logs in the fire.

Here goes:
- start running - possibly run a half marathon with my bestie in May
- register for the NYC marathon - I'm not a serious runner but if I get picked it's meant to be and I'm doing it
- stand in another besties wedding
- help my Dad prep his garden
- attend a few other fun weddings
- successfully make Mike a hat - I spent 8 hours during the holiday's making one that I had to rip apart - it was that bad
- go on a fun girlie trip to Costa Rica
- visit Kanwal and Roz in San Francisco
- go on a honeymoon somewhere fun and exotic with the best hubby a girl could ask for
- learn how to make my own clothes
- make a quilt just for me
- make everyone good presents this year instead of buying stuff - don't worry you won't get a pair of boxer's I made in home-ec
- change email providers - suggestions welcome
- being more realistic about my time - starting with not hitting snooze a zillion times

That's all for now. The picture at the top is of my Dad eating with a tooth pick on New Years Eve at a Japanese restaurant. He brought the tooth pick with him because he doesn't know how to eat with chop sticks. The frightening part is that he's done this before.