Saturday, May 24, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Day 144 - Life)

Life is old photographs served best with a side of snickers and groans.  Life is freezing time in your mind and soaking the present into your pores.  Life is unleashing the imagination onto the blank canvass of future.

Life is staying up til 2 in the morning laughing like school children and playing "what if".  Life is staying up til 2 in the morning watering sheets with your tears.

Life is carefully-ironed black suits and white dresses twirling into a fusion of grey on the dance floor.  Life is torn socks, ripped jeans and well-loved sweaters.

Life is relationship and honesty - with ourselves, with God, with each other.  Life is about never giving up on the things that truly matter and letting go of the things that don't.

Life is opening your heart and opening your home.  Life is trusting.  Life is being broken and being healed - and all the heart's winding paths interlaced between.

Life is passion, conviction, and grace.  Life is beauty, pain, ugliness, joy.

Life is messy - in our hearts, in our kitchens, and in our relationships.

Life is chaotic and unpredictable.  Life is art.  Life is untamed beauty not held captive by rules or "should be's".

Life is paved roads, un-explored trails, broken fences, and battle fields.  Life is an adventure.  Life is uncertain and does not operate according to our time schedules.

Life cannot be tamed, only lived.  To tame it is to kill it with a quiet suffocation, like a slowly fading photograph left too long in the sun.

Photography 365 Project: (Day 143 - Date Night)

Friday night was date night.  We had some other plans that got cancelled early that morning, so we quickly regrouped and planned a fun evening together.  The new X-Men movie was coming out that night, so we went online to redeem some Scene Points.  We booked our tickets at 8am and got some of the last seats remaining for the night at the 9:30pm showing.  (We're so cool - seeing a movie the day it comes out).  

After work we killed some time continuing to catch up on Game of Thrones and enjoyed some pre-movie popcorn.  Then as it got later, I grabbed my camera (to get my daily photo), and we headed out.

I decided for the first time in about 9 months to try NOT wearing my ugly pink and black running shoes and at least feel a little bit cute going out.  I figured a drive to the theatre and sitting all night wouldn't flare up my injuries too badly, and I was right.

Checking the mail a few hours earlier produced some sweet A&W coupons which decided dinner for us:

And then we settled into our VIP seats (LOVE Scene Points) and enjoyed the show.  Of course, this meant we weren't asleep until the wee hours of the morning today, but it was worth it :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 141 - 142)

The past couple days have not been my favourite.  Around noon on Wednesday I started to feel a headache coming on.  I just ignored it and continued work throughout the day.  By that evening it was worse, and I was sweaty and nauseous, too.  By that night I could barely do anything without being constantly aware of the pain.  I went to sleep fully expecting it to be gone the next morning.

Wrong.  My alarm went off at 5:45am and my pounding head and I got out of bed.  I sat on a stool in the bathroom brushing my teeth, doing my hair, and all the while the pain started to travel around into my ear drum.  By just after 6:00am I called in sick and crawled back into bed.  Where I stayed.  All.  Day.  Bored out of my mind and constantly in pain.  Even in my dreams I had a headache.  No fun.

I learned something through all this, though.  I don't know if I have what it takes to be a stay-at-home mom one day if I go out-of-my-mind crazy within half a day of being home alone.  I don't think kids count as "company" for their first few years ;)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Day 140)

I am a self-admitted internet addict.  It's how my life goes round.  It's how I stay connected with so many friends across the globe.  It's how I chat with my husband throughout the day as neither of us can talk on the phone, but we're both always in front of a computer.  It's how I manage a piano studio of 16 students who all have lives, and commitments, and questions, and who constantly move around while I hold down a full-time job during the day.  It's how I network for our photography business.  It's how I post what I make.  It's how I share.  It's my outlet for creativity.

Until.... Until my computer had to go IN for repairs.  As in, it was gone for a solid two days.  And on top of that, I had a student move a lesson on Tuesday giving me an hour of free time.  Free time.  No computer.  No computer....  Free time....


Do you know what happened?  I cleaned my deck for the first time in two years ;)  (And shocker - it's actually not green!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 131 - 139)

Sunday, May 11, was our first day home after our trip.  We had done most of our chores the previous night, so we enjoyed some relaxing time before getting back into "real life".  We pulled out the hide-a-bed in the office and binge watched a new Netflix show.  We didn't even go grocery shopping, but found a chicken and some garlic bread in the freezer instead.  We threw it in the crock pot early on so it was ready by the evening.  It was a truly lazy day after such a long time on the road:

Monday morning hit with a rude awakening.  Also, I was surprised to have sunlight coming in through the window so early.  When we had left almost a month prior, I was still getting up in the relative dark.  I spent the majority of the day dealing with the 116 emails in my work inbox, and I was actually fully caught up by the end of the day thanks to help from my co-worker.  I went home and taught my four evening students until just before 8pm and was fully back in the swing of things after today.

Tuesday I discovered something else that had changed while we were away.  Sunlight AFTER I finish piano teaching.  When we left it was always just setting with my last student.  I took advantage of this to actually go OUTSIDE my apartment that evening when I finished my last student and grab a few snaps.  (This is a big deal.  I almost never leave my house except to commute places since I start and finish in the dark most months out of the year.  And if I don't, it's usually raining.  Yay, Summer!).

Wednesdays have changed a bit for me.  I no longer teach in an adjacent city every other Wednesday and then run to Life Group.  I teach in that city EVERY Wednesday due to a change in my hours at work for a 6-month project that make it so I no longer have time to squeeze all 5 students in that night back-to-back.  I now do 3 one week and 2 the next.  However, Life Group has also finished for the Summer, so I feel like I actually have more free time even though I have an extra couple trips out there each month now.  If Nick comes to pick me up, I'm still home by 7:30.  And when he's late to get me, I get to enjoy a bit of sun :).  We also bought groceries this night for the first time in like 6 weeks?  7 weeks?  Most expensive grocery run of our entire married life so far!

Thursday evening I just taught one student after work,  so I enjoyed some time watching a chick-flick on the computer while Nick pulled a bit of a later night catching up on some edits that piled up while we were away.  I also enjoyed having real food in the house again and not scavenging through the freezer like we had actually been doing for the past four days since returning!

Friday night I didn't have any make-up lessons to teach, so I have a wonderful dinner date with my mentor and caught her up on the trip.  We went out for Vietnamese and then headed over to her place for home-made lattes.  She dropped me off at home around 9pm, but Nick wasn't due back from his guys' gaming night until closer to midnight.  So I relaxed, and took some photos of the wonderful "free" flowers I got mid-week.  I'm emphasizing the word free because the amount we spent on groceries to warrant the free flower gift still makes me cringe, haha.  $400 might be normal for some people, but we're just TWO people.  Anyways, we probably won't go again for about a month, so I suppose it all balances out :)

Saturday was another glorious do-nothing day.  I love do-nothing days.  They are my favourite.  We watched a lot of Game of Thrones as we found out that someone had created a censored version online with all the nudity and explicit sex scenes either removed or blacked out.  Some of the edits are obvious (like when half the screen is blacked out and you can only see one person in the frame), but a lot of them Nick and I can barely tell.  This is a show we started watching when it first came out, and loved, but realized that there was simply too much porn in it for us to be comfortable with.  So we're really excited that we can finally catch up.  We got through almost an entire two seasons this weekend!  As a result, I realized at about 11pm Saturday night that I didn't take a single photo during the day, so ran out and grabbed my trusty flowers again ;)

Sunday after church Nick and I went on a date.  He took me to my first Mongolian BBQ and we grabbed some Gelato afterwards with a dairy-free option for me :).  In fact, it was such a perfect day, I did a small mini-blog about it HERE.

Monday was a holiday, but it didn't really feel like one because I had so much to do.  I did get to sleep in until 10am, but being up til past 3am sort of offset any benefit from that!  I got up and headed out the door by 10:45 to teach a couple of my evening students who I moved up.  (I always give my stat-day students the option to adjust their lesson times on holidays).  I was back just after lunch and spent a couple hours proofing our trip's photo album as there was a 60% off sale that ended today and our book was going to be over $200 to print, so I really wanted to take advantage of that.  I'm sooooo excited to see it as the order is now in!

After that I spent some time helping Nick set up some Paraphrase Productions templates and also had to do up a contract and invoice for a wedding client I booked for later in the Summer.  I didn't quite finish this before my friend arrived to practice a piano duet with me that we're performing at my recital next month.  (If my students play, it's only fair I do, too).  She stayed for about an hour before my third student of the day showed up for his lesson around dinner time.  I finished my lesson with him, and then went back to finishing my wedding invoicing.  I had just under an hour before my last student of the day showed up, so we ran out to do some errands.  One of these errands included using up our Groupons for ice-cream cakes that expired in a week  ($28 per cake purchased for $16 per cake!).  It's a month late for Nick's birthday and a month early for mine, but whatever :).

I taught my last student from 7:15 - 7:45, while Nick completed the errands, and then finished some more invoicing as I realized my computer is going in the shop for a couple days and I had some piano stuff that needed to be sent out by mid-week.  Afterwards we BBQ'd some salmon and veggies and settled down around 8pm to have dinner and continue to catch up on Game of Thrones.  (We're only 7 episodes behind now - we're fast ;)  ).  Then we sang Happy Birthday to ourselves, and blew out the candles.  I was mean and blew them all out, so I relit them and we did it again so Nick could blow out his own, haha.  And yes, my cake is going to last a very long time or I'm going to suffer because there's not a lactose-free version of ice-cream cakes!

Mine is raspberry cheesecake and Nick's is Swedish chocolate with Skor.  Mmmmm.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Perfect Sunday

Today was a great day.

After church we went out for my first Mongolian BBQ, followed by a trip to our favourite Gelato shop, that has tons of dairy-free options for me.  After it started to rain, we jumped in the car and headed back home to snuggle on the couch and catch up on our myriad of television shows we love.  I made it only through a couple episodes before starting to fall asleep.  Nick picked me up and carried me to bed where I had a wonderful two-hour nap.  

When I got up around dinner, Nick had made us some burgers and our friend arrived who was going to the theatre with us.  We used our scene points to watch the new Godzilla movie.  I like to imagine that those particular scene points came from paying off our speeding tickets from our recent road trip, though I don't know that they actually came through onto the card that fast.  Let's just pretend anyway ;)

Now we're home for an evening of relaxing and tomorrow is a holiday!  Except that I work between 10:45 and 12:15 and then 4:00 and 5:45 and then again from 7:15 to 7:45.  Yes.... my plan to move all my piano students to the morning backfired and I ended up with them all scattered to the wind instead! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Welcome to Our Home :)

I am REALLY appreciating being home after our trip.  I think it's a home we will live in for a good number of years yet, but I know it won't be our forever home.  Unless, of course, we can't have kids or the strata fees get stupid.  Thus, I want to remember it the same way I love looking back at photos of our cute 417 sq. ft. apartment that we crammed into while we saved for this.  So I finally "documented" it.  Also, I owe at least one person on here a "photo tour", so here it is.  As a true home-body, my favourite place!

Entering the door way into the hall:

A glance back down the same hall.  We should probably put some of those winter coats away in the closet now.  My dad installed that coat-rack, though, so NOTHING will tear it down!  See that little branch off to the right with the rectangle, candle holder?

That leads into a very short hall where the entrance to the bathroom is almost immediately on your left (beside the candle holders).  One day we will get a cabinet above the toilet.  It's only been 4.5 years, though, so we've got time ;)

Also in that small hall is one of the only two closets (if you don't count the pantry we built) where we keep pretty much everything.

At the very end of the small hall is the master bedroom.

The dresser is up against the "en suite" door to the bathroom, which is just silly since it's literally around the corner.  It was too much work to wall it up, so we just locked it and left it as is.  We painted the door on the bathroom side to match the walls.  This is the second closet.  You can see all the closets in our place in this one pic:

Okay, back to the front entrance, but instead of taking that little hall to the left, we'll go straight through into the dark kitchen in the back there:

Our tiny little kitchen, with a big empty "room" behind the doors (under the clock), in which my parents built floor-to-ceiling shelves as an Easter present one year:

In the kitchen looking out into the living room.  Larger "window" and pot-lights courtesy of my dad:

A view through the kitchen window opening into the living room from another day when the sun was actually shining:

And then looking in from the long hall entrance (also taken on the same sunny day).  The back, dark door is the last room in the house.  It's technically a "den" as it didn't come with a closet built in, but we use it as a second bedroom / office / waiting room for my piano students.  Our small deck is out the sliding door behind the little sofa.

From the entry-way into the den:

And lastly, here's the den with our little Ikea closet since we were hurting for storage space.

The white buckets are filled with toys for students' little siblings and the couch is for waiting parents.

The pictures above the desk aren't aligned any more since we added the side piece.  Nick's sister is painting us something for there eventually anyway.

And other than our deck which I just realized I forgot to shoot, that's it!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Great Adventure - Video!

Okay all, here's the video I promised you!  Our adventure from beginning to end, abbreviated of course :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 100 - 130)

First off - a note that the promised video of The Great Adventure is more than half done and still coming soon :)

So I realize that in all the world travelling we've been doing, I've not been posting my dailies each week.  A lot of these are redundant if you've been following along with The Great Adventure blogs I've been posting.  However, for consistency and not missing a chunk out of the middle, here are the chosen dailies for the last month:

Grabbing lunch for coworkers on a rainy afternoon.  They wanted Nando's, but I went next door for Subway myself:

Hanging out with my awesome friend, Tara, who took me to Costco after work on this Friday (since I don't have a membership card) and helped me stock up on snacks right before our big road trip.  Then she fed us a wonderful dinner afterwards :)

Deciding to upgrade our car right before we left rather than a year from now.  We spend the majority of this Saturday at the dealership haggling for the best price, and left by sunset with this 2012 Matrix with only 53,000km on it.  (Since I'm writing this POST road trip, there's more like 66,000 on it now!):

On Sunday we headed down to Surrey to do some birthday shopping for Nick.  We're at the point now where I just take him to one of his favourite stores and have him pick out what he likes.  It's easier that way ;)

Practicing some dramatic light for a class that I was in and also cleaning out the fridge before we left:

Last night in our own bed!

And then all of these pics are from The Great Adventure Blogs with more than sufficient backstory on them all, so I'll just post them here by themselves for now.

And now, today, back home, I have to find something "interesting" to shoot.  This is going to be hard after such a great adventure!  And there's still 235 days left in the challenge!