Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nepalese Bicycle

"If you find that thing you love, it doesn't necessarily matter whether you do it well or not -- you just need to do it."
-- Stanley Tucci

I think it is safe to say I love writing.  And I love photography.  I once wrote on my Flickr profile, “Photography is my passion.  I don't just take pictures because I want to -- no, I take pictures because I need to.  If not, the creative side of me remains stifled and I feel as though I cannot breathe.”

I can't imagine my life without writing or capturing images.  They are snippets of life in a way only I have seen it.  Take for example the image of the bike.  I captured this image while on vacation in Walt Disney World at Animal Kingdom.

After taking in an African safari, the three of us meandered into the Asian section of the park along the main path together.  I would occasionally fall behind, only because something small and unique had caught my eye.  I tried my best to quickly capture the precious image with my camera.   I would then need to hurry along before losing my family in the multitude of people.

You may have also seen this same red bike during your walk.  It was propped up along a black wrought-iron fence.  The one on the right-hand side of the path as we walked toward Mt. Everest.  A green vine delicately snaked it's way through the fence reaching out to the bike.  You didn't see it?   That's okay.   Neither did most people.

But, you see, I did notice it.   It wasn't the rusted chain or the chipped paint on the bike (although those things usually catch my eye too).   In fact, it was the tassles on the fruit-filled basket that caught my eye. But they are so tiny, you think to yourself.  How would you ever notice something so small?  I don't know.  Maybe because they were so seemingly insignificant to the crowd mulling about me.   I wanted to point it out, but knew if I did, it wouldn't be fully appreciated.  So I kept the precious find to myself.
It is those tiny details in life that I treasure and cling to.  Maybe a few others that day did notice those small tassels.  Maybe even one or two people captured a similar image to take home on their camera.  But to me, I needed to capture that very tiny detail.  A little something that filled my heart with joy.   It was like stumbling upon a fantastic secret only shared by two friends.   You know, the kind you pinkie-swear you will never share with anyone else?

I love the above quote by Stanley Tucci.  It comes from a man who understands the need to emerse himself fully into something creative.  People who don't have a creative bone in their body may tell you what you're doing is a waste of time or that you'll never make any money doing it.  Some may even say you are spending too much time doing something so senseless or that you are not spending enough time with your family.  It will probably cut your heart in two. In fact, it may leave you feeling defeated and worthless.  You may even entertain the thought of giving up completely, because really, what's the point?

The point is creative people need to be creative.   That's all.   You may never become a famous painter.   You might never sign a book deal that will gain you global recognition.  But you still need to be creative.   You still need to pick up your pen or paintbrush and take a few strokes.  You understand the rush of exhiliaration that comes in that moment when you hold your breath and gently press the shutter button.    It allows you to briefly escape “real life”.   You cannot suppress it.  It is your life-source and that which helps you to breathe.   It's what calms you.   It is what makes you want to get up in the morning and what you look forward to the next day.   It's who you are.
Look again at the tassels on the basket.   Here's my pinkie finger.  Let's swear to always keep this tiny lovely gem to ourselves forever and ever.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

let the fairy tale begin . . .

We leave for our trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando tomorrow morning. I'm hoping to come back with some lovely pictures from our trip. We will be gone for 10 days . . . I think I've packed everything. But if I've missed something, there's always credit :D Have a wonderful two weeks everyone. I will be in touch again at the end of the month.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Am I Afraid of Committal?

So here I am.  Back again.  After two exhausting rounds of anti-biotics.  A few weeks ago I had a terrible sinus infection.  This week I have missed work because of bronchitis. 

I was sitting at home this evening watching one of my favourite movies, Julie & Julia.  I like the character, Julie Powell.  She reminds me of myself.  A writer who truly believes you are not really a writer unless you're published.  Although, technically, I suppose I am published.  I wrote an article for a magazine a few years ago.  I keep a copy of the magazine by my bedside, buried under 20 other books and magazines.  Pathetic, I know.

Anyhoo, I was watching the movie tonight and had the urge to sit down and write to you.  It's been too long and my writing urges have not been met.

Why am I afraid of committal?  Now, don't get me wrong, I do commit to many things.  For example, I have been married to the same incredible man for almost 19 years now.  So, it's not that I can't commit to everything.  Rather, I suppose I am afraid of rejection.

I mean, why haven't I submitted the short stories I have written and have stored away on sheets of paper, coil notebooks, and in my computer files.  Why haven't I submitted my photography to various magazines and other publications.  I am ultimately afraid of being rejected.  Of being told I'm not good enough.  Why should I care so much?

Look at all the writers who submitted hundreds of manuscripts before some editor thought their words were interesting enough to share with the world.  Many photographers submit hundreds of images before one is selected to be "the one".

One of these days, I will be that writer or photographer.  Until then I work on my craft and write to you. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Man Cold Season Is Upon Us!

Hello loverly peoples,

Ladies, does your man suffer through the cold season like a trooper?  Or is he like this . . .

. . . damn, I hate Man Cold season!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sand Castle Guardians

Today was the most amazing day I have had in a long time.

Listening to this...

It was definitely food for the soul.  What a great way to end the summer!  I went on the most amazing boat cruise for a couple hours.  I have talked about how much I love being near water in a previous blog, but I can't emphasize just how therapeutic it is for me.  The weather could not have been more perfect and I couldn't stop capturing images with my trusty camera.

I tweaked the contrast and saturation on this one -- I love how it turned out.  I could have sat and watched these guys all day if I had the opportunity.  There is something comical about seagulls.  Especially when food is involved.  They each have their own unique personalities, colours, markings, and walk.  Some are fat while some are slender even though they eat everything in sight.

How does one even leave this setting?  Well, my ride was leaving, so really, that was the only reason I tore myself away from this beautiful location.

Wouldn't you want to stay too?

Monday, September 6, 2010


Life, originally uploaded by Knit Girl...(in & out).
Can you believe it has been twelve weeks since I began my list of 1,001 Things I Did This Summer? It began as a meager project to help pass my time while living without TV for the summer months. It certainly did not grow into a list of 1,001 things, but I learned a lot.

The first thing I learned was I could actually survive without watching TV during every spare moment I had. My family and I did so many things with our free time: played games, did puzzles, went to the fair, played golf as a family, read books . . . and so much more.

Granted, toward the end my efforts to record every possible moment fell apart. I honestly became bored with the project. The fun and spontaneity left me around week eight. I found myself reluctant to record new events and experiences. I prayed for the next four weeks to pass quickly. Not because I was looking forward to getting our satellite service turned back on (which we have decided not to do). Rather I must admit I was frustrated that I didn't complete more than 200 things. I certainly wasn't expecting to reach 1,001 items, but 200 seemed almost fruitless. Once I began working full-time, keeping track of the few items I was able to complete each day seemed . . . pointless. After all, wasn't the whole exercise to use the summer to really live life?

What I failed to realize when I began the project was this would be the first summer I had worked full-time in more than a decade. I didn't realize by the time you work 8 to 5 you still need to come home, cook dinner, and clean up the dishes. By this time, it was almost 7 o'clock and I must admit I was pretty exhausted from such a full day. So I had a couple of hours to try to cram in as much “stuff” as possible. By week eight I was done. All desire to try new things had left me. I must admit most nights I was ready to crawl into bed around 8 o'clock and sleep until I had to get up in the morning and do it all over again. But I tried to persevere.

The second thing I learned is that being a parent and working full-time is very difficult. I honestly don't know how people do it. I am so thankful that for 10 years I was able to be a stay-at-home mom. That in itself is a difficult job. But what I was able to do in a 16-hour period of my day, I now only had about two hours of time. Chores were neglected and excuses were made. I would be frustrated that I had to complete all this “household stuff” when I knew I also had the task of trying to complete a seemingly impossible list of things that were new and interesting. It was no longer fun . . . it had become work.

I have been working full-time now for just over a month. I still feel completely overwhelmed and disorganized. Now that school has started, there is a whole new element thrown into the mix – homework and extra-curricular activities. I have been questioning myself lately whether I am up for the task. Because the full-time work is not going to disappear. Nor will school activities, exercise, music, writing and other creative activities. And throw on top of it all a very busy church life . . .

. . . my head is reeling!

The final, and I think most important, thing I learned is that if we hadn't discontinued our satellite service for the summer months I would still be doing the same thing. Coming home from work, eating dinner, sitting in front of the TV for several hours, snacking, doing nothing physical whatsoever, and feeling crappy by the time I rolled into bed. I would be angry and depressed that “life is passing me by and I have nothing to show for it”. I would be feeling sorry for myself that “I never do anything interesting”.

But instead, I have read books I've been meaning to read for months . . . years. I have listened to and appreciated new music. I golfed more this summer than in my whole life. I began a life-saving exercise program. I attended two glorious weddings and several 50th wedding anniversaries. I have seen a bride and groom dance their first dance as husband and wife. I have seen a husband tenderly embrace his wife of 50 years as they danced after almost losing her to a heart attack. I have celebrated life and I have mourned death.

I have lived.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

1,001 Things I Did This Summer -- Part 9

Okay…let’s try this again.  I am going to try to capture everything I have been up to over the last several weeks.  It’s not a perfect or complete list, but it is a list nonetheless.

189.          Read High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips.  She is an amazing person with an equally amazing story.  It is a must read for everyone.  It made me count my blessings that I was raised in such a stable environment.
190.          Had a shopping date with my daughter.  I love Girl’s Day!
191.          Got our new iMac – it is absolutely delicious!
192.          Read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.  I realized I ordered the junior version from the library – didn’t care . . . read it anyway.
193.          Started reading The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.  Such an amazing story – can’t put it down (except when I have to go to work, of course).
194.          Still working on knitting a shawl for my cousin’s wedding.  I realized today, sadly, it will not be completed for this weekend.  Grrrrrrrr.
195.          Celebrated my husband’s 40th birthday and my MIL’s birthday (do I mention her age?  Better not . . .).  A great time visiting with old friends and catching up with family.  To my niece, Chloe – you are an amazing young woman with a vibrant personality.  Your sense of humour is extraordinary and your vocabulary is prodigious.  I wish we could have spent more time with you!!!  You must come visit us in our local FarmVille. (…p.s. i LOVE your hair!)
196.          Watched horse races.  Those animals are absolutely amazing!  It was incredible watching them.  We placed a few small wagers.  Some races we won . . . some were not so lucky.  Let’s just say we are not retiring any time soon.
197.          Went to my parents’ cabin for the weekend.  It is the one place where I truly feel at home.  I spent my summers there while growing up.  I marveled at the trees we once planted which now reach higher than the cabin itself.  I’m still kicking myself I forgot my camera.  However, I did a lot of knitting, reading, and playing games.
198.          Watched a couple of movies:  The Bounty Hunter starring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler {swoon} and last night I watched Date Night starring Steve Carrel and Tina Fey.  Great date movies although I was alone for the last one . . . .
199.          Got my daughter off for first day back to school . . . can you believe she’s starting Grade 6?  I was watching her get ready and wondered, “So when did you grow up over the summer?”  How is it that she just looked like a kid last week, and now she’s looking more like a teen?!?!
200.          Ate ice cream . . . more than once!

I hope you all have a lovely week.  I will probably not be writing again until next week.  I have a busy week ahead and we leave Friday for a family wedding (God’s richest blessings to Meaghan and Mike). 

Thanks for checking in everyone!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Classic, originally uploaded by Knit Girl...(in & out).
I am not sure where the breakdown occurred. I'm not even sure how to pick the pieces up. I have dropped the blogging ball on my 1,001 Things I Did This Summer. Life has gotten so busy since I have began working F/T that I am still trying to keep my head above the water.

I am still here my lovely readers. I have just been a bit distant lately, even though you are always on my mind. I suppose I feel I have let you down. I see you check-in only to find nothing new has been written. I love writing on my little insignificant blog and, for some reason, many of you keep returning (to which I am eternally grateful!!!).

I try to imagine you as old friends who are checking in to see how I've been lately. Isn't it wonderful when you have friends who are in the exact same boat you are? Life seems to become so complicated with work, friends, keeping up on the housework (although I am currently surrounded by tufts of dog hair drifting around the hardwood flooring), extra curricular activities for you and the kids, church, getting your hair name it. When did life become so unnecessarily complicated? You come home at the end of the day and your body indicates you are too stressed out. Your neck and back muscles cramp up so much that you physically have to turn your whole upper body to see who is talking to you. You can't seem to take deep cleansing breaths. You have become irritable with the whole world. And to top things off, some animal has gotten into your garbage and has pulled it from one end of the alley to the other. But a true friend understands because she is going through the exact same thing.

I look for simplicity in my life and, right now, I am really not seeing it too clearly. I have seemed to come to a crossroads in my life. I can keep heading straight which may continue to lead to stress and unnecessary busyness. I don't want to go back from where I came -- that's a whole train wreck that needs to be walked away from.

So I can go right or left. Either way, I don't know what I will find. That can be scary for a lot of people. For others, the unknown is embraced and relishing the thoughts of new experiences can be a real rush.

I am sitting with the engine idling wondering whether to signal left or right...

What would you do if you were me?

"I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I've Been Gobsmacked

Hello everyone,

There will be no instalment this week of 1,001 Things I Did This Summer... {gasp}.  It has been a pretty busy week and to be honest, I didn't keep track of one thing.  It was a bit freeing, really.  It felt good not running to my notebook to jot down the latest thing I did.  If I could be forthright with you all, I really didn't do too much out of the ordinary.  I worked, I read, I knit.  I also cooked the occasional fabulous dish, but that is neither here nor there.

Speaking of cooking and all things culinary, I have discovered the joys of Gordon Ramsay.  I have never really found him to be anything but offensive.  I think I watched exactly half an episode of Hell's Kitchen.  I find his language offensive and his actions border on abusive with the contestants.

However, last night that all changed.  Masterchef has certainly caught my attention.  I found an episode last night on and I can't wait for tonight's episode to be uploaded.  I have seen a different side of Chef Ramsay...and me likey!

That's all for tonight -- I need to be up early in the a.m.  I have started a running program called Couch to 5K and I must admit the runner's high can be rather addictive.  Plus my pants are practically falling off...gotta love that!

Have a great evening everyone -- stay cool!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

1,001 Things I Did This Summer -- Part 8

Hi folks,

Sorry I am a day late on this.  Yesterday was a holiday Monday here in Canada so we took advantage of the time off.  Also, you will note the list this week is not very long.  I worked full-time plus an extra seven hours so any free time was spent either sleeping, reading, or knitting.

I have been following Weight Watchers and had a great week.  I lost weight and increased activity -- gotta love that! we go...

182.  Watched Avatar.  I actually had to lay my knitting down to watch the movie which is what I was not expecting.  I had hoped to get at least half of the next repeat section completed while "watching" the movie.  It turned out to be an excellent movie -- looked fantastic on the big screen TV.   Very imaginative.
183.  Watched the Austin Powers trilogy (again).  I absolutely love Mike Myers...and he's Canadian to boot!
184.  Our town had a weekend-long festival.  We took in many events including the throne races (racing with a toilet, or "throne", mounted on a platform with bicycle wheels and two racers), beer gardens (although the only beer I drink is root beer), music, a parade, fireworks (but I didn't bring my camera), pet show (our dog Sam didn't win...but we'll keep him anyway), and a demolition derby (which technically I didn't attend -- hubby and daughter did -- but I definitely could hear it).
185.  Monday was a holiday here in Canada -- we went shopping.
186.  Started reading (second time) Kate Jacobs' The Friday Night Knitting Club.  I love this it, love it, love it.
187.  Bought a fan -- it's stinkin' hot in our house.
188.  Started training for a 5K run (I have always wanted to run a marathon...this will be a great place to start).

Alright, ladies and gentlemen.  That's all she wrote -- hoping this coming week will be a bit more exciting.  Hard when you work full-time...didn't realize just how much free-time I had on my hands before my work hours changed.  Have a great week!