Friday, November 27, 2009

while catching up on my friend's blogs (long overdue) I came across this beautiful gem from Lisa (you can see her link on the right hand side cause I'm too lazy to make her name a link in here right now).

My lover asks me:
"What is the difference between me and the sky?"

The difference, my love,
Is that when you laugh,
I forget about the sky.

Nizar Qabbani

your hands are cold...

I'm at my sister's house. Babysitting her kids while she visits friends in Vancouver for a few days. Patrick is downstairs watching some poorly produced Hannah Montana-esque movie with them while I clean up breakfast dishes upstairs. Its snowing outside, big, beautiful, floating flakes. The kind that makes you remember that Christmas is less than a month away. I'm sitting at a clean table in a clean kitchen that still smells of breakfast (in the good way), drinking eggnog and listening to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack while I watch the snow. It came late this year. This is the first real snowfall that has felt like winter. It has been such a strange fall in so many ways. Lately I've been feeling like I don't know where to the way that things have kind of all been melding together for the past number of months. Even when I finished up something or started something new, it all just felt like it ran together. I don't like that feeling. I love the way things transition and wind down and open up to exploration. I could never live in a place that doesn't have seasons because so much of myself is bound up in the constant cycle of change and movement in nature. That hasn't happened this year, for many reasons in my life, and the long, unpredictable autumn hasn't helped.
But today, watching the snow fall and breathing and listening I feel like something is moving again. Something is beginning again.

Monday, November 2, 2009

told you through the glass...

Its 2:48 in the afternoon. I'm sitting in my office at UofA listening to Album Leaf and watching the sun reflecting golden against the windows in the offices across from mine. I'm holding a book in my hands. An old book. A book that has survived the people who created them, bought them, passed them on to following generations. A book that has seen centuries and wars and disease and natural disaster. A book that has traveled continents and thousands of bookshelves to arrive in my hands right now. Its my job here to document this collection of books in images. I get to scan all the interesting parts of them and I get to photograph them in such a way that gives a sense of the book as a physical object. I like this job a lot. Sometimes it gets monotonous and boring yes, but for the most part, when I look at the images in these books and the knowledge written in them and read the author's name and see them through my camera, trying to get an angle that will make someone half a world away feel as though they are holding it in their hands, I am far from bored. Part of it is the books themselves. They're all manner of texture and shape and colour and they're beautiful to hold and look at and read. But what's more interesting to me is thinking about the people these books represent. The authors who wrote them, the noblemen who paid for their production, the printers whose hands were covered in the ink that pressed against their pages. And then I think about the people who bought them originally, whether they read them, whether they were simply collectors or people who spent a quarter of a month's wages to learn from it, for their children to learn from it. I think about who may have learned to read when they were holding this book or who had this read to them while they lay sick or dying. I think about all the people who have held this book before me in the past 200 years and I am overwhelmed. There's something very personal about history to me. I have a hard time explaining it, except to come back to Dorothy Livesay's poem "Eve" again and again. There's a line in it that I just can't separate from "In fifty seconds, fifty summers sweep and shake me". That's how I feel when I hold this book.

Monday, October 26, 2009

don't you feed me lies about some idealistic future....

Today (well, the past 24 hours) has been a day of both technology and brain failure. Last night while I was cutting an orange I sliced the tip of my thumb off. This isn't nearly as bad as it sounds. It's all wrapped up and should be fine, but it was followed by a sink full of blood and a lot of swearing. Also, in trying to keep it elevated so it doesn't throb so much, I constantly look like I'm giving a thumbs up. great. This morning I got my hair cut and right after took the train to UofA to being my new job. Unfortunately, I forgot the powercord to my computer at Patrick's and also took his keys accidentally. So I had to take the train all the way back downtown to switch. There are a LOT of stairs between his apartment and my office. A LOT, trust me. Anyway, i got down to the train station only to jump on the train that takes me to MY house, NOT patrick's. I got off at the next station feeling sheepish at becoming confused on edmonton's straight line LRT system. I got the cord, dropped off the keys, walked back down HUB Mall into the Humanities building got into my office and remembered my disc drive is broken so I couldn't install the scanner software I needed. Patrick found it on the internet and so I went to download it from there but discovered that my computer can't connect to internet without my UofA which I will be getting next week. So I packed up again, walked down the long HUB mall AGAIN and the seemingly 20 flights of stairs and over the 5 blocks to Remedy. Where all the outlets were full. Zee (the owner) saw the desperation in my eyes, got me a beer and an extension cord from the kitchen so I could plug in and download. Now I am finishing my Dos Equis and breathing and remembering that I've been able to enjoy the 10 degree weather in all my running around and that this will perhaps be the last nice day before winter. breathing. breathing. ... and hating technology.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

with all your livin' on landmines....

Its 7:30am. I'm the only one up. The house is quiet and its still dark outside. The only light on is the one I'm sitting under at my kitchen table. I'm watching the branches of the tree outside sway in the cold wind and I'm praying it won't rain/snow for the wedding I'm shooting today.

But above all, I'm thinking about Hafiz. I'm thinking about that poem that talks about loving people. Well, lots of Hafiz' poems do that, but I'm thinking about this one:

admit something;

everyone you see, you say to them,
'love me'

of course you do not do this out loud;
someone would call the cops

still though, think about this,
this great pull in us
to connect.

why not become the one
who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,

with that sweet moon

what every other eye in this world
is dying to

I sometimes forget, but I need to remember to read poetry more often.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

have you seen my ghost, staring at the ground...

I know, I know, I said I'd write more about those things I mentioned in passing in my last blog, but instead, something else is on my mind. I've been thinking a lot about overwhelming things. Well, not overwhelming necessarily, but just really really big things. There's been this quote from the book Gilead (which i haven't read in a long while) just stuck in my head. One day a month ago or so, while I was picking debris out of soul sucking subdivision skeletons, it just came to me. I wasn't trying to remember it or even thinking about anything related to it but it kind of imposed itself upon me. Since then, it keeps trying to make itself heard... both at moments when I need to think on it and at moments when I am simply making tea or folding laundry or waiting in traffic. It goes like this:

"Strange are the ways of adversity . . . My point here is that you never do know the actual nature even of your own experience."

Since it has been a constant refrain in my mind, I've been thinking on it a lot. I've been thinking about what that means for me, what it means for the people I know, the time I live in. What it means for the past and the future and when I think about any of these things, I feel very very very small. Not small as in fact, just the opposite (but I'll get to that in a bit).

For those of you who don't know, I'm in a bit of a situation in this moment in time which has been a huge stress and frustration and pain to me. And there seems to be no explanation as to why I am here having to deal with all this. (yes, that's as specific as I'm going to get on my blog right now)
Anyway, this quote has been repeating in my mind and has started entwining itself with my process of dealing with all this. Over and over again, I come to the conclusion that there are so many things, so many movements, so many issues at stake that I cannot possibly begin to understand the answer to the question of "why?" I don't know if that makes sense. Let me try again.

I really like novels/movies/etc that have many different storylines/lives that eventually overlap in some way. For example, the movie Crash. It was pretty popular a few years back and maybe most of you have seen it. Anyway, all these different lives and stories seem to exist separately to the individuals within them, but the audience can see the smallest overlap of lives has important and unfathomable results. It's like that. I feel like its impossible to face unexplained adversity of any kind without feeling part of a greater movement. Of something that has a much greater scope.

I feel I am doing a horrible job of expressing this. But I will add one more attempt which may just be the last nail in this blog post's coffin...

I've been playing a lot of cards lately and I've been thinking its kind of like that. Kind of like laying a seemingly insignificant card for no real reason 8 hands ago and now seeing the implications of that on the turn at hand...but if you are the 7 of spades being laid, you never get to see or understand that you were laid then to ensure that the 5 could take home that last point later.

"My point here is that you never do know the actual nature even of your own experience."

Okay. I'm gonna quit now.

Besides I have to go mark papers. Happy late Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And hearts beat better in a bed when they're missed...

I have been thinking about a lot of things today. I can't write about them all, and I feel like they are deeper than I can make sense of right now, so I will just be listing them here as reminders for me to think about on their own more later to write about them better then.

- Carla Jessenia Dominguez Lopez of Varsovia
- No one is interested in something you didn't do
- "I'm just unlocking the door because patrick will be here in a few minutes"
- winter sky blue
- geese
- garbage

Sunday, September 20, 2009

coffee black and egg white...

Yesterday I was at market with Patrick and found a type of apple cider I haven't had in years. When I was a kid my dad used to buy it is huge quantities because I liked it so much. They're just these little plastic brown jugs of syrup that you mix with hot water, but they're so so good. I bought a jug of apple cinnamon syrup. This morning, I made myself one and as I sit here at my table looking out at the definitely autumn day, the smell of the cider beside my computer brings me all the way back to sitting in my parents living room in winter watching tv and being really careful not to spill as I leaned over the coffee table, balancing on my knees to take a sip. Today is a different kind of day. Its not quite autumn yet, but the leaves are starting to go yellow on some trees and though its been 30 degrees all week, its only supposed to reach 15 today. The wind is strong and chilly and the hammock is almost continually straight sideways like a giant rainbow sail. Everything seems to be moving with the wind...the christmas lights hanging from the porch, the thermometer on the steps, the yellow birdhouse that isn't all the way nailed to the tree and sways in the mix of green and yellow leaves. Everything in my view is moving except for the stone buddah Jamie left on the porch that is looking out at the road giving a peace sign.
I'm gonna miss summer. If I had to pick a favourite season, summer would be it...but my favourite time of year is the couple of weeks between seasons...any seasons. Maybe the move from summer to autumn is my favourite though. The energy is so different than any other time of year. When fall turns to winter, it brings silence and stillness and retrospection. When winter turns to spring, there's a freshness about everything but it is kind of a transition of patience. Everything seems to be a waiting game. When spring moves into summer it feels like everything goes in slow motion. Afternoons of laying in hot sun, evenings that stretch into the night and light that lingers on the horizon long after you've expected it to disappear. But when summer transitions into autumn, there's a kind of electricity, and urgency, and energy that you can feel in the wind, in the cold morning air and in the sunsets that slide away in a hurry. I like Autumn, even though it ends in winter.

I'm gonna end this post here though because I went out to feel the bite of the wind and sun and when I came in, the smell of bacon and eggs had filled the house. Patrick is at the stove and its almost time for breakfast!

I'll leave you with this...

Song for Autumn - Mary Oliver

In the deep fall
don't you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the nedless
freshets of wind? And don't you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy
warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come - six, a dozen - to sleep
inside their bodies? And down't you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

all these places feel like home...

Each morning when I get up the sky is darker and darker. I always forget how quickly the season change comes up here. On Tuesday the leaves of the tree in my yard were still full and had turned bright bright red. By the time I came home from work that night it was almost bare. Now when I'm driving down to the shop in the morning I watch as the streetlights flick off in a row going south and the sun is just coming over the horizon as reach the top of the overpass where I can see the whole south east of the city. Yesterday was 33 degrees and today was 17 and rainy. Autumn is on the way.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

you wanna, you wanna, you wanna, you wanna.....

I bought really cheap wine last week just on a whim. I opened it last night and it was really really good. Surprisingly good. I'm always surprised when something cheap like that is so enjoyable. I sometimes get too caught up in the idea that for something to be good, it has to be expensive. Which is strange because most of my favourite things are inexpensive, if not free. I am making a brief list of those things here:

- $9 wine
- cool wet grass on a really hot day
- ivy
- walking past a house when its cold and they're doing laundry and it's steaming out of the vent and it smells so cosy
- sunlight behind leaves
- hearing a song at just the right moment when you didn't know you were craving it
- raspberries that are picked and eaten right away and still hot from the sun
- seeing a parent really truly enjoying themselves playing with their kid
- early morning light
- tanned shoulders
- the smell of a peach
- Cobbs pastry in the morning
- plaid flannel button ups

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

can't you hear me when i go...

I'm sitting in Patrick's living room. The only light on is in the kitchen and I am drinking wine and listening to him sing along to the low music coming from his computer.

Tonight, for the first time in a long time, I feel my life humming with potential. Tonight, for the first time in a long time, I am envisioning my future with anticipation and excitement and courage. There are so may thing so much larger than I am.

“The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.” - Anais Nin

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'll carry you up on my back, send for me now to tend to you now...

feeling in a Leonard Cohen mood today...


The reason I write
is to make something
as beautiful as you are

When I'm with you
I want to be the kind of hero
I wanted to be
when I was seven years old
a perfect man

who kills



The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

crying at the doorways of those armies of salvation...

I am bad at writing on here in the summer. I work long hours in the heat and then there are so many things to do when I get home like Taste of Edmonton or camping in Jasper or seeing Cirque Shanghai and Capital Ex. And that's just this week. But right now I am laying in my hammock in the backyard and looking up at the tree above me. Its been real hot today. 28 degrees actually. There's a birdhouse on the tree and the mom bird is sitting in the doorway watching me as she flaps her wings like crazy inside to cool down the babies. Its pretty cool actually.
I went camping in Jasper this past weekend for the first time. I know I know, I've lived in edmonton almost 7 years now and had never made a visit to Jasper. It was beautiful. I got off work early and so Patrick and I rolled into the park as the sun was making everything golden. The lakes and rivers, the trees and mountains, the sky and even the goats were amazing. On Saturday, we went hiking. Well, we went climbing...okay, it was more like scrambling, but for someone like me who has never really um, hiked, well, anything, it was a challenge. Patrick, who works in front of a computer every day, loved it and ran ahead over shale and tree roots and ridiculous inclines. I, who work physical labour every day, struggled to the top of every rise and spent a good few minutes trying to catch my breath at each one (note to self to ask doctor about asthma next time I have an appointment). All in all, I made it well above the tree line and ended up stopping only about 30 minutes short of most everyone else I was with, so I'm proud of me. I'm kind of glad I stopped there while the others continued because it gave me a good amount of time alone at "the top" of this incredible mountain. I did a lot of thinking. I spend almost all my waking hours with people. I wake up, drive to work, drive in the truck and work all day with my crew, come home, go to Patrick's or he comes here and there are friends and roommates and crowds of strangers at the festivals I go to and so I am very rarely alone. I do love being with people. Especially now that Patrick is living in town, but there's something about unsolicited solitude (I think Bethany once or twice has made reference to this...or even maybe coined it?). But as I sat there, hunched behind a rock to stay out of the wind, looking over the valley that I could see well past Hinton, I did a lot of thinking. Mostly I thought about fear. I'm not someone who is easily scared, but lately I've found I've allowed myself to live out of fear too often. I thought about the friends I have who I have a connection with that is often beyond explanation. I thought about the kind of lives I see them having. I thought about how they see my life. I thought that those people are the most important to remember when you start making decisions based on fear, limiting yourself, being too cautious, because they, more than anyone else have a reliable vision of your potential. I don't really know how to explain this, but the friends I have deepest, least explainable connection with, I feel are most reliable and trustworthy when it comes to having a perspective about your unknown future. That wasn't a good way of explaining it. I don't think I can. I can only feel it. My computer is low on batteries though so I must stop here. Maybe I'll pick up this thread again once I've had some time to think of it off a mountain top.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

the colour of our planet from far far away...

I haven't written here in a while. No real excuse this week. It has been raining quite a bit and so I've had a decent amount of time off - also known as time without pay, unfortunately. I've been doing a lot of photo processing and some laundry and cleaning of various areas of my life.
I've been doing a little reading as well. Not as much as I'd like, but a little. I've started "The Diviners" by Margaret Lawrence again. So far, so good. I like the feel of that book.
I've also been paging through my quote book recently and came across this one from the book Gilead:

"Acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honour them is to do great harm."

I love that.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

like a chariot at the trumpet call when we're all unsaved....

I've started a few blog posts in the past week. Never really got further than a sentence or even a couple words. Each time I open the post, I scratch what I had done and try again. This time though, I decided to open a whole new post and just share with you the only words left hanging in the past one I've been trying to construct/reconstruct:
"There was a point last week where I was holding a half full garbage bag of weeds with my teeth..."


That being said, I see a pretty big discrepancy between the life I lead at work and the life I lead when I'm off the clock. There is some cross over. I have a struggling but beautiful garden which I water every day while I practice hack...which isn't much different than what I do during the day hours. But for the most part, I lead a bit of a different life away from work. Should you have met me yesterday afternoon, you would have seen me stretched out on the grass at the Edmonton International Jazz Festival, clean (well, relatively at least), wearing casual flowy (even bordering on feminine) clothes, leaning up against Patrick and drinking a beer. The only tip off to my day job would be my tan legs ending abruptly in very very white feet which are hidden in steel toes all day long.
You wouldn't have guessed that I spend my mornings and afternoons pulling weeds and garbage out of mulch beds and ditches and water features and construction sites. You wouldn't have guessed that I have the ability to heave a 50 pound garbage bag of dog shit into my one ton dump truck and cart it to the city dump. You wouldn't know that I can securely strap two john deere Ztrack mowers onto a 12 foot trailer in less than 2 minutes and should one of those 4 straps come a little loose, that I can jump out at a stop light on Anthony Henday drive and tighten them all back up before it turns green.'d never guess I can carry a bag of weeds with my teeth while fielding a phone call from the subdivision supervisor and directing my crew onto the next task. So many life skills. ha.

I have been reading a lot of poetry lately. I can't read poetry in my head. It's always, most definitely an out loud thing for me. The words slow down when I speak them. They don't just fly through my head while my eyes run along the page to catch up. Instead they linger in front of me, I can see them, dissect them, turn them over until I can feel the pulsing of their meaning. Patrick moved here this week. Moved. Permanently. I am so happy and have so much more to say about that but I can't translate it from smiles into words yet. Anyway, seems how Patrick is here now and part of everyday life, he's been getting to/having to listen to some of the poetry that has been surrounding me lately. I've become completely taken with Lisel Mueller recently and so have been seeking out her work. Today I like this one:

Why We Tell Stories

Because we used to have leaves
and on damp days
our muscles feel a tug,
painful now, from when roots
pulled us into the ground

and because our children believe
they can fly, an instinct retained
from when the bones in our arms
were shaped like zithers and broke
neatly under their feathers

and because before we had lungs
we knew how far it was to the bottom
as we floated open-eyed
like painted scarves through the scenery
of dreams, and because we awakened

and learned to speak

We sat by the fire in our caves,
and because we were poor, we made up a tale
about a treasure mountain
that would open only for us

and because we were always defeated,
we invented impossible riddles
only we could solve,
monsters only we could kill,
women who could love no one else
and because we had survived
sisters and brothers, daughters and sons,
we discovered bones that rose
from the dark earth and sang
as white birds in the trees

Because the story of our life
becomes our life

Because each of us tells
the same story
but tells it differently

and none of us tells it
the same way twice

Because grandmothers looking like spiders
want to enchant the children
and grandfathers need to convince us
what happened happened because of them

and though we listen only
haphazardly, with one ear,
we will begin our story
with the word and

Thursday, June 11, 2009

you are the blood flowing through my fingertips...

I'm laying the the back yard in the hammock. Its warmer out here than it is inside. Summer finally arrived today. 29 baking hot degrees. I loved it. I worked for Habitat for Humanity today. It's hard for me to explain just how much I loved it. I had to wear jeans and a t-shirt in the blistering heat and so ended up sweating buckets, but it was beautiful. I like building things. When I woke up this morning, I heard the paving guy outside doing the finishing work on the sidewalk by my newly paved road. He was singing. At 6 am. All to himself, while he pulled posts from the ground. At that moment, I knew it would be a great day.

The birds above me in the tree are squawking loudly at me. I don't think they like me swinging right under their nest. But I feed them, so sometimes you just have to put up with it. Sorry birds.

Buck 65 is playing on my iTunes and I am in a pretty perfect space. My garden has been hurting in this painful drought but I plan to spend most of tomorrow laying in the backyard in my swim suit, practicing hack, reading and jumping through the sprinkler as it waters the garden. I remember Bethany spending large amounts of time weeding the garden this time last year. That's not something we have to worry about right now as nothing...and I mean NOTHING is growing except for the odd dandelion.

It's sometimes hard to remember that my life is what I choose it to be. With so many circumstances out of my control lately, I feel like I've been swept along without any ability to know really (and yes, I'm fully aware of what this sounds like) who I am. There have been glimmers though of me reminding myself not of who I am, but who I want to be. Each moment, each circumstance, each decision and response has the potential to bring me closer to that person I intend on being. There's no space for me to say "well, I'll do it this way this time, but ..."
I've been trying to act in a way that doesn't follow what I feel like doing now, but how I think the person I want to be would act. I've been discouraged by the amount of times I find the discrepancy between the two, but also encouraged by the discovery that I do indeed have the strength and courage to follow through on these decisions. It gives me faith in myself and hope for what comes next.

As I say that, I'm reminded of a poem by Galway Kinnell called "Prayer"

Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what
I want. Only that. But that.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

sleep on the floor, dream about me....

Tonight I should be sorting laundry. Or processing wedding photos. Or calling my grandma. Or making a lunch for tomorrow. But the sun was so beautiful, I couldn't do any of these yet. I've been sitting on my back porch reading poetry and sipping wine and reading poetry. I've done a lot of poetry reading lately and it has been good. Very good. Hard to explain good. Tonight was a Hafiz night. I have two to share:

Resist your temptation to lie
By speaking of separation from God,

We might have to medicate

In the ocean
A lot goes on beneath your eyes.

They have clinics there too
For the insane
Who persist in saying things like:

"I am independent from the

God is not always around

Pressing against
My body."

The pawn
Always sits stunned,
Chained, unable to move
Beneath God's magnificent power.
It is essential for the heart's coronation
For the pawn to realize
There is nothing but divine movement
In this


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

now if my sky should fall...

Two weeks have past since my last post. As I write this Patrick is back in the air flying home to Ontario. It's been a much better past two weeks. It's been busy, as I've had to work most of the time and Patrick's been out apartment hunting (and scored a really nice one!) but it's still been good. As I drove away from the airport tonight, the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen was right out in front of me. I didn't have my camera so I will try my best to explain them. First of all, it was a double rainbow. And a really crisp one at that. No fuzzy line of mist between colours or anything. Both rainbows were clear and perfectly bright from one horizon to the other. The first rainbow though, was a double decker...what I mean is, as soon as the violet band was finished a red one began and another rainbow was right underneath it. No spaces. And then of course, there was another one above those two. Seriously, it was incredible beautiful. Tomorrow marks the beginning of a month of straight work. The grass here is finally growing and I'll be busy cutting and landscaping 6 days a week. And hopefully by the time Patrick moves out here for good at the end of June, things will be a little more under control so I can help him get set up.

In other news, I recently re-read "The Colour Purple" by Alice Walker. I love that book and this time I came out with more quotes I need to remember.

It? I ast.
Yeah, It. God aint a he or a she, but a It.
But what do it look like? I ast.
Don't look like nothing, she say. It ain't a picture show. It ain't something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself.

God love everything you love - and a mess of stuff you don't. But more than anything else, God love admiration.
You saying God vain? I ast.
Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the colour purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
What it do when it pissed off? I ast.
Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.


Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?

Friday, May 8, 2009

before we turn to stone...

I've been kind of silent on the blog front here for a while. I've had an eventful past few weeks...not necessarily in the good kind of way. Its been rough actually. Really rough. I went home for a week for a break. It was nice.
And now I'm back in Edmonton. Working landscaping. Its nice to be outside again all day, but it's terribly lonely this year.
After work, it's finally the time of year when the sun streams into my kitchen windows for most the evening and I can simply sit and sip wine and enjoy it, but Patrick is half a country away and so that makes home feel kind of lonely too.
I do have Jayda around and though she's become pretty sweet towards me, she mostly just brings me dead mice to deal with and covers my sweaters with cat hair.
I am continually flying back and forth between stable and solid and confident and then in the next breath, feeling as though I am, my life is, completely unravelling. Recently someone asked me what has made me thrive lately. I had no answer. I'm mostly just focused on breathing, trying to only deal with the moment I'm in without being overwhelmed by it, let alone being overwhelmed by the future moments it is connected to.

I have been watching the clouds lately though. All these spring rainstorms we've been having this week have made for some beautiful skies. I like to put my iPod to something epic sounding and just look up and watch the sky and breathe. I got to the shop early on wednesday morning, about 6:40 am, and sat on the side of the gravel road, put on this song and watched the sky...some of it looked like this:

Friday, April 17, 2009

it's the risk that i'm takin'...

I came home from work a little early tonight because I am working it alone all day tomorrow. The past few days have been crazy sunny and was different. The sky has been pretty cold, flat grey all day. Not that flat white grey of winter, but that flat blue-black grey where every moment feels on the verge of rain. Its stayed that way all day without a drop falling. Tonight I'm sitting at my dining room table, supper on the stove, screen door open, windows open music loud...and there's a serious breeze coming through the main floor. I rarely experience indoor wind. Its a strange idea, but as I sit here watching the pots on the stove and sipping my wine, I like the way the air is cool and humid and I my hair keeps rising and falling against my neck as the wind moves it.

For the first time last night, I noticed the tree was completely full of buds. I laid in the hammock and stared up at it and thought about how the branches look so bare and have looked so black and empty for so long. Its hard to remember the tree so full of leaves that it covers the corner of our roof and reaches way out over the fence. I honestly can't really remember it. Well, that's not true. I can remember it but in a way that is distant. The kind of way that you remember your childhood. The kind of way that you remember the light as the sun dipped down along the horizon on your favourite holiday. The kind of way that makes it impossible to imagine it could happen again. But there's the tree, just outside my window, full of buds ready to burst.

The whole idea of being a part of something that I cannot even imagine at this moment in time has been following me around lately. Yesterday I was going through quotes I love from authors I should really reread in the near future. This one is from CS Lewis:
"If we let him – for we can prevent him if we choose – he will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine."

I also happened to open up an old journal I had laying around as well and came across this verse from Habakkuk 1:5 "Look at the nation and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

you've gone a million miles, how far did ya get....

I've been through the full gamut of weather in the past 24 hours.

2:15pm Monday: I was napping on a sunny hillside in Stirling Ontario.

3:30am Tuesday: packing up and leaving Stirling in darkness to make my early flight out of Toronto

8:00am Tuesday: flying back across the country over fields of yellow and green and brown, watching spring from the air

9:05am Tuesday: a collective groan through the sold out plane when we broke through the low cloud cover to descend into a snow/sleet covered edmonton

10:21am Tuesday: making it to work just barely late with wet socks and shoes from navigating my way through a slushy alley way while being blinded by sleet coming down sideways at me

1:25pm Tuesday: sitting at work watching the snow slow down and the wind pick up, whipping around the tops of the evergreens in the river valley

3:15pm Tuesday: venture out of the shop for lunch to find it much warmer than when i arrived

4:21pm Tuesday: wind slows down while the clouds break from dull, flat winter white into puffy chunks that glimmer white/gold at the edges and hang heavy black grey in the middles.

5:00pm Tuesday: between the wind and the sun, all that slush and snow melts and dries to reveal a no longer brown edmonton.

6:15pm Tuesday: the brown/yellow grass I left in my backyard on wednesday is suddenly all green and shines almost neon as the sun sets against it.

This country is really beautiful. I need to see more of it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

where the windows are breathing in the light...

I'm writing this while I sit in my bedroom windowsill... legs dangling out on the roof, feet soaking up the last of the warmth from the shingles, leaning against the window frame watching the sun sink lower and listening to the Cinematic Orchestra.


I love the smell of earth thawing. Almost every spring, I can recall the first moment that I walk outside and for the first time that year year, smell the earth thaw. My very first memory of this moment was when I was about 8 or 9 maybe and on a break from school and we were in the middle of a good Chinook look it up here. My mom and I went through the pasture and ditches along our farm in sweaters and rubber boots and stomped through the thin layer of ice covering all the puddles. I think it was one of my favourite days ever. I remember though, there was this moment. In the ditch at the end of driveway on our way back to the house. My mom had climbed up onto the driveway and I was standing in front of the last puddle left to crack. When I lifted up my boot to step on the ice, I smelled it. That scent that is impossible to describe...that earth thaw.

Last year, I was unemployed and though locked in for another year of landscaping, had yet to begin. It was early in the afternoon and I was walking behind the Saville Sports Center...actually more like slipping over the ice in the field behind the Saville. I was on no particular mission, no real agenda, just filling up time and soaking in the sun on a beautiful almost spring day. As I slid down a hill of yet to be melted snow at the back of the parking lot, I smelled it. That moment, that second where everything whips around you while you stand still and just feel....connected to everything, to the change in nature to the wind on your face and the dirt under your feet and the sun in your hair.

It's no secret that I love summer. The heat and the long days and the physical labour that I tend to associate with it makes me wish it would never end. But there is also something about the transition seasons...I don't really consider Spring and Autumn to be full seasons because I've never lived in a place where they seem to last for more than a week or two. But there is an energy about them. An energy in spring that, for me, is caught up in that smell of thaw. As with everything in nature, I associate everything with wind.

This afternoon, I was biking through some rather large puddles on the farm and getting absolutely soaked. There was enough wind that I was starting to get a little chilled and so turned my bike around for home and in that moment, that second when I turned my tires back to the house, I could smell it. And not just smell it, but feel it and taste thawing. And I know with the spring weather we've been having that it has been thawing for a week or so now, but I'm talking about that definitive moment, that breach in reality where everything is at once only existing as energy and light and you are not a single observer of it but lost within it...a million pieces fragmented into the wind and sun and soil.


That Home

Where the doors are moaning all day long,
Where the stairs are leaning dusk 'till dawn,

Where the windows are breathing in the light,
Where the rooms are a collection of our lives,

This is a place where I don't feel alone
This is a place that I call my home...

- The Cinematic Orchestra

listen to it here

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

of all things visible and invisible...

I've been thinking lately about "naming" and how the ability to NAME something has so much power behind it. This isn't really a new idea for me as most of my women's and colonial literature training has touched on this topic many many times, but lately its been coming back to me. A few weeks ago Karen, Bethany and I were talking about marriage in light of Melisa's upcoming wedding. The three of us got into an interesting discussion of the purpose of marriage outside of a traditional or religious viewpoint. I immediately, instinctually came up with the fact that, for me, the major importance is the ability to name the relationship you have with that person. And yes, I understand how people who buckle under or feel uncomfortable with the expectations and connotation that go along with the traditional and religious views of marriage have a hard time reconciling themselves to agree to be in a relationship that borrows the language of these institutions and traditions, but when it comes down to it, we live in a cultural context in which it is essential to be able to name that important relationship in a way that others can understand and relate to. Does that make sense? Maybe, maybe not. It does to me.
Anyway, marriage is not the only area that this idea of naming has been popping up in. I've been thinking a lot about how 'naming' is such a powerful action; how it can be both empowering and oppressive, liberating and restrictive. I think I need to do some more work in English Lit on this idea because I've been trying to publish this post for the past three days and just keep coming up with fragments of ideas that need to be followed through and worked out.

However, I do want to leave you with this excerpt from a book I finished recently. It wasn't an amazing, blow you away book to be honest. I've read better from Paulo, but I liked this paragraph and this idea...

Many many years before on a night like this, Jacob has not allowed God to leave without blessing him. It was then that the Lord had asked:"What is thy name?"
The essential point was this: to have a name. When Jacob had answered, God had baptized him Israel. Each one has a name from birth but must learn to baptize his life with the word he has chosen to give meaning to that life.

- from Paulo Coelho's "Fifth Mountain"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

they don't love you like I love you...

I've decided to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. I like what they stand for and I like doing work with my hands. So the two seem to have potential to be beautiful together. Plus there are hints of spring in the air and I am daydreaming about being out in the fresh air getting dirty and tanned and strong and scraped up. I'm a pretty big wimp for the cold, but as soon as it hits that 0 degree mark, I'm itching to be outside. I think Habitat for Humanity will be a good thing for me. I realized that I am involved in very few volunteer things lately. I used to spend a LOT of time doing work that could only be classified as "volunteer" but in the past year, not a whole lot comes to mind. Now, I know a lot of people who do good work that I could get involved in...half of the staff at The Mustard Seed are good friends or at least acquaintances of mine, King's is always running projects that need volunteers on a local or even international level, our Lendrum community league is constantly looking for volunteers for their events, and the list could go on. I chose Habitat for Humanity though for a few different reasons. First of all, I don't really know anyone involved in it and getting out of your social circle is sometimes a very healthy and important thing to do. Secondly, the housing crisis is severe and the need for stable, good quality, affordable housing is desperate. Working landscaping in ritzy new subdivisions all day long for a few summers hits that home pretty powerfully. Thirdly, I really like building and fixing things. Especially things that are made out of wood or drywall. I really enjoy the act of construction. I need more building in my life.

I feel as though this will ramble on into monotony if I don't stop it here because I'm really more interested in the sunny blue skies outside my windows than writing this at the moment. Happy Weekend everyone.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust...

I try not to read/watch/listen to much news. I know, that makes me sound ignorant. I used to pay a lot of attention to current events and I do like knowing what is going on in the city/country/world I am living in. For the past few years though, I've tried to insulate myself a little. I'm not what many people would classify as an overly sensitive person, but the news really gets to me. Today I watched a few top stories on CTV and CBC and I hate how it all makes me feel. Germany: a young man goes on a shooting rampage and kills 16 (mostly high school students)...including himself. Beijing: the ongoing trial of a 19 year old man who stabbed a 22 year old canadian model to death last year. Darfur, Sudan: a montreal based nurse and an italian doctor working with Doctors without Borders get kidnapped from the compound they were authorized to be working in. Alabama: in a small town of 2000 people a local man writes a "hit list" and kills 10 people before killing himself. Brisbane: a Hong Kong tanker loses tons of oil which devastates 60km of beach. Afghanistan: more canadian soldiers die after being hit by a roadside bomb. Red Deer: a man posing as a police officer abducts and assaults a 16 year old girl. Bangladesh: 72 officers murdered by their men in a mutiny over wage.
And that's just a sample of the overtly horrifying events. This comes nowhere near touching on the political, economic and religious decisions and declarations being made which will act as the root causes of future violence in our communities, to our environment, to the world as a whole.
All of these stories make me afraid. Afraid that I will be caught in gang violence when I walk across the street to have lunch with Patrick. Afraid that I will be abducted while getting into my car in the dark, quiet parking lot after work. Afraid I will be hit by a tired truck driver on highway two on my way home to visit family. Afraid an engine in the plane I'm riding in will malfunction and cause a fatal crash. When I watch/read the news, I am terrified of the world I live in. The problem is, the life I try to and intend to lead requires a significant amount of empowerment, requires a significant amount of faith in humanity, requires a significant amount of courage. And so I walk that careful line of awareness and acknowledgement of all that is frightening in this world, at this moment in time, without being overwhelmed by it.

The Cinematic Orchestra and Sigur Ros help.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the kids on the corner playing ghetto games...

I find living in alberta to be kind of ridiculous at times. Like this week's weather - yesterday we experienced a record low for march of -42.7... tomorrow we'll be back up to +1. Honestly. A 50 degree difference in temperature in two days. Its a wonder our bodies can stand up to such things. I tried to find some interesting facts about what happens to other living things and inanimate objects in a 50 degree temperature change, but alas, I'm not an excellent Googler.

Something else of note...I was asked by a customer today if I was over the age of 30. Apparently I look JUST like this customer's niece who was over 30. This guy wasn't that old..maybe early 50's...and after I politely responded that, "nope, I am under 30" he said "well, I guess everyone has their twin." At that moment I wanted to say "you know, now that you say it, you look just like my 92 year old neighbour". Though I am not one to get sensitive about my age, asking a 24 year old if they're over 30 is slightly offensive. And who poses that question? Even if you were inclined to, isn't the more flattering way to say "are you UNDER 30"? Really.

Other than that, today has been uneventful so far as I watch the clock tick towards closing time.

ps. Something to watch if you're a little bored...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

send for you now to tend to me now...

I don't usually write a lot of personal information in my blog...well, in some ways. I write a lot of really deeply personal ideas and thoughts and plans that run through my mind, but I don't divulge very many specifics about my day-to-day personal life. Caylie (click on her name to the right to check out her blog because I'm too lazy right now to attach the link right here in my post). Anyway, my friend Caylie tends to have the opposite approach and I am often quite entertained by her writing so I thought maybe I'd take a page from her book today. This is also a post for Karen who told me earlier this week she checks my blog everyday and I do not write nearly enough for that kind of dedication. Plus, I feel kind of disconnected from her at the moment in terms of day to day life...for the past 2.5 years karen and i have gone in cycles of 4 or 5 months of seeing and working and socializing with each other every day and then 7-8 months of visiting here and there or being altogether in separate countries. This marks month 7 of catching up when we can. That being said, I'm writing this day-to-day personal life post for many reasons.

I went to Luke Doucet last night with Beth and Joel and Tash on a last minute ticket invite from Beth. It was fantastic. I like Luke. I'd only ever seen him at Folk Fest before and though, I'd have to say I do prefer listening to him with the August sun on my face, laying in the grass with a cold beer in my hands, I really enjoyed myself last night.
After that, I went home and organized my laundry...sorted through a good portion of my wardrobe which of course was laying in piles on my floor and signed the photos I am donating to Jordyn's art auction for one of CRWRC's AIDS relief projects - all while watching my latest addiction: Prison Break.
Then I iChat video chatted with Patrick who was still up at 1:30 in the morning working on ... well, if I really understood what it is he does, I could be able to tell you but I think it has something to do with a website for the up and coming rapper, "Cloud". I have a cold so I've been taking neocitron before bed and it has knocked me out pretty good the past few nights so I don't really remember falling asleep, but when I woke up the world had been transformed by a crazy amount of snow.... (oh, I'm feeling the urge to deviate from this structure...)

These past two winters I've spent out of school have been strange. Last winter I was unemployed, spending all my savings on a photo show at Remedy and living most of my days at home drinking tea and watching the snow fall in my back yard. Though it was a beautiful time of be able to have that time to think and write and read and photograph and walk and wander, I often felt like I was sort of just paused. I want to say it felt like I was in transition, but it really didn't. It felt like I was in limbo. And even though I spent the summer busy with work, it still felt like I was on hold.

Iceland felt like the moment before everything lets go. Like the meniscus on a full glass catching drips from a leaky faucet. You know, where it just reaches the top and holds that tiny little curve above the lip before that next drop makes it slide down the edges. There was so much beauty and awe and so many insane, incredibly unique experiences going on, but it was still on pause...holding out for that next moment, for that next thing that would change that delicate balance that was keeping everything as it was. And though I felt it coming, I never let myself imagine what shape it would take or when or how my life would look when it happened. I think we live a lot of these events in our lifetime...some more significant than others, but each still irreversibly disrupting the careful balance of our lives to that point. I've lived some myself and watched my friends and family live them as well: moving away from home, career decisions, university, marriage, children, travel, death...etc. Actually, I want to change that list. Those are all events...but I don't think it's the events themselves that create the change as much as the emotions and experience that go along with them....fear, independence, responsibility, love, knowledge, wisdom, grief, joy, etc. All these things, when experienced deeply, can transform a worldview, change a person, alter the course of a life. They're the kind of things that you can never go back from, you can never forget and you can never return to being the person you were before.

For me, that last drop fell the night I flew in from Reykjavik, stepped off that plane in Toronto and found Patrick waiting at the gate.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kiss you goodbye and walk right through that doorway...

I tried to write a new post all day. Instead, I've just come up with a list of things I want to do, but don't know how or when. It is as follows:

- spend a year learning carpentry
- travel to Borneo
- spend a weekend photographing the Alberta Oil Sands in Ft. Mac
- write for Air Canada's En Route magazine
- present another photography show...but a more focused, more cohesive set
- get my MA in English Lit
- build an ice sculpture (I once saw this guy on Sesame Street fill balloons with water and freeze them into perfect ice spheres...its stuck with me)
- see Ayers Rock
- attend an outdoor Sigur Ros (and/or Xavier Rudd) concert
- photograph the Queen Charlotte Islands
- write a children's book
- oh so many other things, but work is done and I'm headed home to dream some more...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

jai ho...

I turn 24 tomorrow. This morning I'm sitting at my kitchen table eating cheesecake for breakfast and looking at my shooting target from saturday. After a spree of warm weather, its been snowing constantly for the past 24 hours. Everything covered in a pristine, smooth white blanket. The fields out my back window look endless and I can barely make out the silhouette of the line of trees at the end of the road before it disappears into the flat white horizon. I don't love winter a whole lot, to be honest, but I do love the way the world draws in close when it snows. Everything slows down, the only thing that exists is what you can see and feel and hear: the tops of streetlights dissolving into the sky, the crunch of shoes sinking through fresh powder, snowflakes falling from my eyelashes down my cheeks. I thought I'd have already done some things by the age of 24 that I have yet to accomplish, but today everything is simply distilled down into that line of trees on the horizon - the extent of my world.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

send my roots rain...

It's been a while. I know. And I haven't been taking many tree photos. I know.

I've been away. Visiting in Toronto. The CN tower, Steamwhistle Brewery, The Green Room, 98 Chandos.

And then I've been working. Literally from the hour I got off the plane. 10-6 at the print shop, everything else outside of sleep is allotted to marking first year English Lit papers over the next week or two. In the midst of relatively painful grammar and writing, I pulled out a line from Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem, "Thou Art Indeed". I like Hopkins, even though he's someone I forget about more often than not. There is one of his poems that has stuck with me since I first read it though. It's called "Windhover" and its worth a look if you get a chance. But that is not the poem that captured me tonight. The last line of "Thou Art Indeed" caught my eye for some reason. It's rather simple. In my opinion, Hopkins has written far more beautiful things. But for some reason, it grabbed on to me.

"Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain"

I have a lot of speculation about what that could mean to me and why that in particular stuck in my mind...but I think I'll leave myself to mull over that privately for now.

back to marking.........

Monday, February 9, 2009

memory will rust and erode into lists...

Its been snowing all day. Almost imperceptibly. There's enough coming down that downtown across the river is completely whited out, but out the windows in front of me, it looks like only a smooth white mist.

Rather than becoming the girl who takes photos of trees, I've now turned into that girl who takes photos of power poles. I can't/refuse to explain it but I'm just loving them long as they have a bunch of sepia grit all over them.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the sound the universe makes coming in my window...

After my last post, I got to thinking about all the things I like taking photos of that are in danger of being cliche: trees, sky, space, sunlight. It reminded me of a book I received as a gift last Christmas. It's something I read as a child and had forgotten about until Karen gave it to me because she said it reminded her of me. I've gone through a lot of books in my lifetime already, but I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. And though I was a little hesitant to share it all here, I thought I'd just add this link for you to go buy it yourself once you've read it and been astounded by its beauty because the illustrations are pretty incredible as well!

If You're Not from the Prairie
by David Bouchard

If you're not from the prairie, you don't know the sun, you can't know the sun.
Diamonds that bounce off crisp winter snow
Warm waters in dugouts and lakes that we know
The sun is our friend from when we were young
A child of the prairie is part of the sun
If you're not from the prairie you don't know the sun.

If you're not from the prairie you don't know the wind, you can't know the wind.
Our cold winds of winter cut right to the core
Hot summer wind devils can blow down the door
As children we know when we play any game
The wind will be there yet we play just the same
If you're not from the prairie you don't know the wind.

If you're not from the prairie you don't know the sky, you can't know the sky
The bold prairie sky is clear bright and blue
Though sometimes cloud messages give us a clue
Monstrous grey mushrooms can hint of a storm
Or painted pink feathers say good bye to the warm
If you're not from the prairie you don't know the sky.

If you're not from the prairie you don't know what's flat, you've never seen flat
When travellers pass through across our great plain
They all view our home they all say the same
"It's simple and flat!" They've not learned to see
The particular beauty that's now part of me
If you're not from the prairie you don't know what's flat.

If you're not from the prairie you've not heard the grass you've never heard grass
In strong summer winds, the grains and grass bend
And sway to a dance that seems never to end
It whispers its secrets - they tell of this land
And the rhytym of life played by nature's own hand
If you're not from the prairie, you've never heard grass.

So you're not from the prairie and yet you know snow you think you know snow?
Blizzards bring danger as legends have told
In deep drifts we roughhouse, ignoring the cold
At times we look out at great seas of white
So bright is the sun that we squeeze our eyes tight
If you're not from the prairie you don't know snow.

If you're not from the prairie you don't know our trees you can't know our trees
The trees that we know have taken so long
To live through our seasons to grow tall and strong
They're loved and they're treasured we watched as they grew
We knew they were special - the prairie has few
If you're not from the prairie you don't know our trees.

Still you're not from the prairie and yet you know say you've been cold?
Do you know what to do to relieve so much pain
Of burning from deep down that drives you insane?
Your ears and your hands right into your toes
A child who's been cold on the prairie will know
Of all of those memories we share when we're old
None are more clear then that hard bitter cold
You'll not find among us a soul who can say
"I've conquered the wind on a cold winter's day"
If you're not from the prairie you don't know the cold you've never been cold.

If you're not from the prairie you don't know me you just can't know ME.
You see, my hair's mostly wind, my eyes filled with grit,
My skin's red or brown and my lips chapped and split
I've lain on the prairie and heard grasses sigh
Ive stared at the cast open bowl of the sky
I've seen all those castles and faces in clouds
My home is the prairie and I cry out loud

If you're not from the prairie you can't know my soul
You don't know our blizzards, you've not fought our cold
You can't know my mind, nor even my heart
Unless deep within you, there's somehow a part
A part of these things that I've said that I know
The wind, sky and earth, the storms and the snow
Best say you have - and then we'll be one
For we will have shared that same blazing sun.

put a little something in our lemonade and take it with us...

There is a tree on the southeast corner of the high level bridge. Well, not on the bridge per se, but on the corner of 109th St and Saskatchewan Drive (which is basically the southeast corner of the high level bridge). Ninety percent of the trees around it are evergreens. The other ten percent are some sort of deciduous trees that look bare and dead right now. But this tree is a Russian Olive tree. They're probably my favourite tree. Or at least in the top three. This morning, as I sat in deCapo watching the sun shine through its branches, I decided I need to take more photos of trees. In the past year, I've been constantly in fear of becoming that girl who takes photos of trees, so I have held myself back in that regard. And I think I've lost out on some great images because of it. So today, I'm deciding to take a photo of a tree that I really like once every two weeks. I'm bringing my camera to my early breakfast date tomorrow and setting up across the street for a little while until the light hits through those branches at just the right moment. Because I like trees. And I like photographing them. And I really like Russian Olive trees. And I'm not ashamed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

i will fix you...

Its warm enough today that it is raining. The cement balconies on the building across the street are streaked dark with rain, and though there is not yet enough to make significant puddles, the pavements seems to be moving, alive with the impact of a hundred raindrops at a time. All I want to do right now is go outside and walk in it. Rain is kind of a rare thing for me. Growing up in the middle of southern alberta, I think I have experienced less rain in my lifetime than most Canadians. I miss that about landscaping. Those early weeks of May where you think the rain will never stop and let you work, when its so cold your fingers sting and turn red. The 10 minute showers in June that last just long enough to cool you off and make everything a darker, richer version of itself. Watching the July thunderstorms move in, sometimes just lingering at the horizon for hours, sometimes crashing down around you so quickly you can't make it to the truck before it soaks you straight through to the skin.

About this time every year I get to the point when I remember that I am not an indoors kind of person.

The photo above was taken in Galway. It didn't rain much in Ireland while we were there, but there was a day or two where it came down pretty good in Galway. I like the sheen on the streets and the darkness of the stone roads, sidewalks, buildings. Galway was also the very first place I ever owned/purchased an umbrella. Only 1 euro.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

people call us renegades cause we like livin' crazy...

Its 9:08 am on Wednesday morning. I'm laying in bed still and ever minute that I stay here, is a minute off of my time to get ready and make it to work. I had great plans to get up and go to yoga this morning, but to be honest, I'm a little scared of going alone to mysore for the first time. Karen says she'll think about going with me tomorrow morning, so I'm rationalizing that I will go then. Instead, this morning, I've talked with patrick for 30 minutes, listened to music for another hour and watched the sun streak in across my world map and slowly slowly make the whole room that glowing kind of light.
Yesterday, work was difficult...not in a hard to do kind of way, but more in a hard to take way. Everyone I work with was listening to Obama's speech and deriding him for just dishing out more American propaganda, how he's going to just be a major disappointment and all this change he's calling for is just a new song and dance without any action. I was discouraged. Well, first I was a bit embarrassed because I was feeling really uplifted by Obama's speech and really did feel like we are all on the edge of a new era. And then to have him cut down by everyone around me made me feel a little silly at first, but then I got to thinking...anyone who can make the people around him, supporting him, feel that way...feel like they are empowered and encouraged and able to create movement and change in their world, well, they're worth following. They're worth backing up. No one can accomplish everything they want to, that they set out to, especially the head of a country when their very roll is tied up in the process and structure of politics. So, we cannot judge the most effective leaders based on what changes they themselves have made, but rather, how many other people they have inspired and empowered to take responsibility and change into their own hands, their own families, their own communities. It is ignorant to place the expectations of this new era solely on the shoulders of one new, energetic, charismatic President...of course we will be disappointed if we do that. This new "Era of Responsibility" is not about one man, but a community of action and movement, and so I will not allow myself to be brought down by the pessimists who will only WAIT to see what happens next. I will be inspired and empowered and will WORK to make what happens next.

man, I'm going to be late for work, but I am definitely feeling much better about the day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

she's got Bette Davis eyes...

I've had a lot of things go wrong for me this week. I thought about making a blog to list them all, but instead I thought it might be more positive to list those things that have made my week not an entire write off.

- Geneva saying "it's the future here. i've got the star trek transporter all up in this place" on Ryan's facebook status and the long conversation about alcohol and time/space transportation that followed

- waking up to a phonecall from Patrick

- Tomato lentil soup and Sufjan Stevens on a sunny afternoon at Sugarbowl

- going for drinks with Linda after work

- pad thai with jamie, jodi and beth

- selling a 30x40" canvas of my work

- obscene amounts of fish with karen and beth

- booking a flight to Toronto for kick ass cheap

- planned phonedates with: louise, amy, hailey and sarah

- yoga on saturday

- above 0 temperatures

- sunshine and large front windows at work

- after eights

Sunday, January 4, 2009


This is one of those images that you just can't set up. I was shooting my friend Darcel's wedding in a public park and her roommate Jesse and his girlfriend Rickie spent the whole ceremony sitting on their bikes in the back. Rickie had this awesome "LIFE" bag and once when I circled around the back of the group, I saw this...and I just caught my breath and took the shot feeling like there would probably never be another moment like this for me to capture again. I like this piece a lot. It's printed and framed up at Vivid Print in Edmonton ( if you are strolling by the area and wanting to get a closer look.


Jamie commented on my first #10 post that it was one of her favourite days...ever. I feel like 2008 has had quite a few of those days for me, what with Jamie and I's trip to Iceland and running around Ireland with my sister. But there were a few of those days that happened in Edmonton as well. This was one of those days: Cait and Brad had been up to see my show with her parents, and after they left in the morning I called Jamie to meet for breakfast. I had a few hours to kill so I wandered down the back alleys of Whyte ave and explored the places I'd never stopped to really look at. I made it to Cafe Mosaic a little early so I sat outside on the ground reading a new book I had bought until Jamie came. It was the last weekend in March and the weather was nice so after breakfast, Jamie and I climbed on top of the High Level Bridge ( and just took a look around. After we decided to come down, we sat down at Sugarbowl, filthy dirty, laughing the whole way, and had a beer. When I think about it, most of my "one of my favourite days ever" in 2008 have been spent with Jamie. And I really like this photo of her too.


I keep forgetting about this one, but I like it a lot. It was also taken early in 2008. At night. In my empty house in edmonton. At a moment when I was struck with creative genius and was similarly completely and utterly unemployed. I had been listening a lot to Great Lake Swimmers, especially "Rocky Spine" ( and had this in mind when I set up the shot. Once again, it has this inexplicable quality about it that just draws me in and makes me love it.


This one really belongs in the top 3. Don't ask me why I made it #4. I love it. While we were in Akureyri, Iceland my 18-70mm (kind of an all-purpose lens) focusing mechanism broke. It kind of sucked because I wasn't so used to shooting with manual focus and every once in a while would forget about it and just take the shot without focusing. Well, every now and then, one of these non-focused shots would come out with a certain mood that really grabbed me, so I would start to do it intentionally. On our way out of the Westfjords we were on this gorgeous stretch of highway that just rolled out in front of us. Having just read Jack Kerouac's "On The Road", and with all the things going 'round in my mind, I was absolutely struck by the way the sun fell exactly off the clouds and into my lens in that moment. I love this photo.



I took this photo early in the year of 2008. It's at my farm in southern Alberta. I love it. The fog and the cold and the different tones of the trees and the grass in the background, the crispness of the wheels and the wood...there's just something special about it to me.


Though I really loved County Kerry in Ireland, the city that really stole my heart was Galway. The small feel of it, the little shops and cafes on narrow cobblestone streets the quiet river going through. I went to NUI Galway ( while I was there to take a look at an option for a masters degree that looks pretty amazing. This was taken on one of the only days it rained while we were in Ireland. I still am not satisfied with this particular version of this image, but have yet to find time to dig it out of my archives and redo it. But this week I will because I am burning all the Ireland photos to cds for you Pamela! I haven't forgotten, I'm just not quite'll have them when I'm back. I promise!


This is where it gets interesting.

I like taking portraits. And when it came down to it, I couldn't choose just one of these as my favourite for the top ten, so #7 is more of a category than a single award.


This is A. She's Karen's sister and the oldest of the Fernhout gang I spent a lot of my time with. I don't know what to say about this photo other than I really really love it. Its one of my all time favourite portraits.


This is Neil. I work landscaping with him in the summer. He has two sweet daughters and a wife who are his world. After having been in the army for 18 years, he found himself in the private sector. I'm kind of glad he is because I got to meet him and work with him and get to know him, but it's tough to watch this whole mission in Afghanistan wear on him as the soldiers killed in action and reported on the news are his friends. People he knew, worked with, laughed with and cared about.


This is me. I take a lot of self portraits...mainly because I'm always available to myself and never get sick and tired of the shoot before the photographer does. I like this one because of the wind and the light in my eye and my new Guinness hat from Galway.


This is Patrick. I like this one because its a nice portrait and I like him an awful lot and because this was taken in Edmonton. He flew out from Toronto with a return ticket set for two weeks later. A flight he never made as he decided to stay with me for a month and then experience Christmas with my family. At the moment I'm writing this from his parent's livingroom, experiencing the holidays with them as well. So far, 2009 is shaping up to be a good year with lots of things to look forward to on the horizon.

You can check out Patrick's work here:


At the beginning of October, Jamie and I skipped out of Iceland for a while and went to Ireland for 10 days with my sister Pamela who flew out from Calgary to meet up with us. Ireland was really really beautiful and I loved the way the sun would come down in Dublin peeking through the brick buildings, stretching along the cobblestone streets. This was taken one of the first nights we were in Dublin walking from our hostel on Talbot over to Lower O'Connell so we could cross the river Liffey and explore the Temple Bar area's supper options. ( The pole you see at the end there is the Dublin Spire ( What I liked best about the spire - and which I did not photograph - was the monument of Jim Larkin near its base. Its a beautiful statue of him with his hands thrown into the air and his words inscribed underneath it "The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise." I suggest you go to Dublin to see it for yourself, but if that's not in your plans, you can see it here (

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Reykjavik, Iceland. Last night of the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival. It was a kind of traumatic night for me, but that's another story. This concert was in the Iceland National Museum. Dikta was the band getting ready to go on stage here, the smoke machines had been pumping for the past 30 minutes and the guitarist just got everything set up and was walking under the "Iceland Airwaves '08" projection when I shot this.

*you can find out everything about Iceland Airwaves here:

best of 2008 #10...


I've been pretty quite online during the holiday season so I am taking advantage of this slightly lazy morning to write up a quick post. Mainly I was looking at katya's ( stream this morning and thinking that I should do a sort of similar "best of" 2008 kind of run. So without further ado, here it goes: my top 10 photos of 2008 (according to me)


Vik, Iceland Day 2 of our insanely incredible roadtrip around the island. Vik is my new favourite spot on earth. That's Jamie standing on those wild cliffs overlooking the town -you'll see jamie popping up in this post quite a few more times!

*click on the photo to see it bigger*