30.5.08

greenery

Lately it looks as if the color green has been my inspiration in making decisions around the house. In searching for a new color to brighten up my workspace, Ian and I took a field trip to the store, to look at some swatches for ideas. Choosing wall colors can be a little bit intimidating with so many options to choose from, but in the end I left with a fair amount of options to test out. After sifting through the stack that I brought home to place on the walls and "hmm" at, I picked a lovely little color that I kept coming back to called Napa Valley. It's earthy and pretty, so it makes me excited to see what the finished product will look like.

I suppose I could have taken a picture of the swatch to share, but instead I'm going to wait until we get the room all painted up to show and tell. Oh the suspense. And without even considering it, I had a craving for mint chocolate chip ice cream the other day, which contributes even more to my little green obsession. Delish!

up up up

I am now 6 weeks into my running class, which I started for the sake of challenging myself, and I'm really starting to feel the burn. It's a good burn though, the kind that makes me snicker at the fact that I've survived yet another day of physical challenge.

Each week the class takes us progressively up in time, where we are now at the 5 minute marker. To think that I can run 5 minutes without stopping, in multiple sets, with walk breaks in between, I am beyond pleased. I've made sure to make a routine out of going for a run after work, where now, any day off makes me feel slightly out of sorts. It's tiring I'll admit, but so worth it at the end of the day. I've learned to zone out that voice of doubt and in the process my positivity is getting an exercise as well.

This weekend, we'll be heading up into the 6 minute marker, which has me a little nervous but overall quite anxious to see how it goes. With quivering legs and stretching lungs, it can only go up from here.

29.5.08

June 5


June 5th, the Work/Life exhibition will be ready for viewing at UPPERCASE Gallery. As well, there will be a public celebration of the new book (cover seen above.) Eep! If you're in the area, drop in and take a peek at the talented artists from across Canada who have contributed to the project.

A special thanks to Janine for inviting me to be a part of it!

(above image: by Darren Booth)

28.5.08

spring

It made me happy to see that we have little purple and yellow pansies beneath our tree in the front yard. Even among the decorative bits of rabbit "sprinkles", they're cute.

25.5.08

family lesson 2

I thought this point in time would be appropriate to explain my previous post from not too long ago, regarding my fear of the sea. Also I figured it would be good timing to use some summery photos to deflect our attention from the rain that we've had for the last 900 days.

I believe my last words regarding my hidden phobia involved something along the lines of: Watching Jaws at a young age, swimming at night and a creative older sister. Please note that the continuation of this story also involves a very gullible younger sister; which happens to be myself.

My sister definitely had her methods in toughening up my soft shell when we were little. I was beyond sensitive as a child to the point that any voice raised at me meant feelings were not only hurt, they were "broken." It was pretty bad. Tawni on the other hand was quite the opposite and in order to bring me up to her level of toughness, she had to scare the living wits out of me. If this procedure worked, I don't know, but it certainly hasn't been forgotten.

This is where I introduce our creation of the term 'Pool Sharks.' As kids, my sister, cousins and I had vivid imaginations, where our running joke at the time was that grandma had sharks that were hidden in the pool's filter system, which were to be let out only if we were bad. We knew of course that it was simply fun and games to joke about, but that was about to change in my neck of the woods.You can probably guess where this story is heading.

While swimming at night, as a before bedtime treat from grandma, an idea hatched in my lovely sister's mind. "Be careful Keni," she said to me in a tone that was believable enough to get me to listen before I decided to jump off of the diving board. Questioning her advice, her only reply was to smile at me and shrug her shoulders. With nose between fingers I held my breath and jumped in.

Because I didn't quite trust the situation, after I jumped, I swam towards the side much the same as when that rush of adrenaline scares you swiftly up the stairs. When I felt a small tug at my leg, I kicked aside and waited for Tawni to return to the surface. Predictable, as I had expected her to be, I decided she wasn't going to get me this time, oh no. Fifteen seconds and the water grew still.

Silence.

Gradual increase to panic.

Bubbles to my left,

Bubbles to my right.

then a swift YaNK!

and I was pulled beneath the water.

After having been dragged to the bottom of the pool by little fingers scratching at my ribs and knees bumping into my sides, I inhaled the entire pool as my seven year old life flashed before my eyes. Once I managed to pull myself out of the water and catch my breath, I waited for the following laughter that was to come my way for being so easy to fool. Instead the surface grew still once again. Really? What is this? Where is my sister? Is this not a cruel joke? Was it.?.. it couldn't be. With a sudden blast of bubbles and a gasp for air, Tawni was out of the pool, clutching her sides beside me. I waited for her to call the bluff and laugh in my face, but instead she looked at me with wide eyes and asked (I'll never forget it) "did it get you too?"

I rest my case.

24.5.08

muir woods

The Muir Woods is a definite must-see if you're planning on checking out San Francisco. I'd say that this was one of my most favourite places, hands-down, because of the incredible beauty there is to take in when you're there. The sound of silence, the smell of fresh air and just the immensity of nature itself is refreshing to experience. The pictures don't even illustrate the size of the trees, but I'm glad that I got some decent shots. Now comes the tough decision of which ones to hang on our (naked) walls.

22.5.08

a date with tim

Because poor (slightly spoiled) Tim was deprived of the 24 hours of attention he gets on a regular basis, while we were away, I suppose it would be a good idea to smother him with love while we're stuck indoors for the next few days. It's been rain-rain-rainy, so it's one of those stay in bed kind of days. I'm so on it! There's nothing better than a warm lemon tea, a snuggly kitty and a good movie, after a gloomy day like today. I just hope my date likes Goonies.

20.5.08

everyday (or so) polaroids

Here are my polaroids from our SF trip, which I promised I would take, for my everyday polaroids inspiration. We were only in SF for 4ish days so I guess it was more like a 2 or 3 polaroids a day kind of project. It took us a couple of days to find film, so we'll just blame that on my reason for having broken the rules.

I'll also admit that taking a polaroid camera on an Alcatraz tour was very entertaining.

18.5.08

jellies


These are some shots of the many creatures we saw at the Aquatic Museum in San Francisco, last week. I will admit that some parts of the exhibit made me feel a bit nervous, because I have what is called ichthyophobia; the fear of fish. It's a strange relationship that I have with the ocean because I have always been drawn to aquatic life since I was a kid, and yet it scares me in so many ways. I love to go on boats and listen to the sounds of the ocean. I love to watch fish and sealife like the anemones and jellies we saw flitting about in the water, yet I am petrified at the thought of even setting foot in the waters where life lives below. The intense fear of not knowing what is below me has a long story behind it, which I will share with you some other time. I will say that it involves something to do with: Watching Jaws at a very young age, swimming at night, and a very creative older sister.

17.5.08

tourist 101

In looking back at our collection of photos and stories from this past week in SF, I wish I was more of an aggressive photographer when it comes to approaching people to ask for a photo, based off of visual interest. The people of San Francisco were an interesting culture to say the least, homeless included, so it's too bad I didn't have the guts to point my camera their way and offer some change for their time in return. One man walked the streets with a cat on his shoulder, another walked with a cane in a Charlie Chaplin get-up, which I at first thought was supposed to be Hitler until I noticed the polka dotted suspenders he had on. People danced with or without music, sang to their own tunes, spoke to the skies and the walls, yelled at unknown beings and shook their cups of change in each and every direction. One man sat with an ink drawing he had done on a tattered piece of paper which I so wish I had stopped to look at longer, and another attempted to sell poetry written on strips of cardboard. I suppose I was more afraid of offending anyone, so I pushed on instead of taking the time to simply ask. Shyness is another factor, a work in progress when it comes to being my own photographer.

Even with the scenery, I had a bit of a struggle with getting myself to stop to take pictures of the things that caught my eye, as we strolled down the strip. Letting go of that paranoia of people passing, wondering "why would she take a photo of a wall?" was tough at first, but before long I was actually looking harder for those photographic opportunities and am so glad that discovering this new found love has helped me to become more visual and acute to detail. I was constantly looking around at things to snap pictures of and found it a great challenge to leave our daily adventures with more photos than planned. It was gratifying and so pleasing to the confidence, since reluctance stops me from doing so many things that I'd like to. To my surprise, by the end of our trip, I was taking pictures of anything that caught my interest. I'm not a photographing genius, but the learning and playing process is certainly fun to tamper with. Creating artistic pieces of imagery with the click of a button was a lot more difficult than it sounded. Creating a mood, a memory, a statement, a simple image to appeal to the eye. It's a tedious process to learn and remain determined with, but so rewarding at the same time. I know it might be a disappointment for the family to learn that we hardly took any pictures of each other while we were away, but we're not exactly the conventional types. Instead I took my camera and rolled with it, learned some new things about exploring my surroundings and being more open to approaching new things without hesitation. In the process, my respect towards photographers has grown tremendously.

16.5.08

ding ding ding

So we're back from our 5 day getaway in San Francisco, and what a blur. When asked what I thought about it, I honestly don't know what to say. There were definite elements that I fit in with easily and others that made my fingernails disappear. To describe it, in my own words, I would say that San Francisco is intimidating, kitschy, inspiring, humbling and fascinating all within itself. It took a while for me to warm up to it, to be honest, but in the end I left there quite satisfied with having given it a chance.
The first thing I noticed upon arrival is that everything and anything can, will, and must be advertised in San Francisco. The aggression of their consumer culture quite quickly had me asking myself "why are we even here?" It was a pretty harsh first impression. Material items have just never been of much interest to me, I suppose. Sure, we all have our selfish wish lists and must-haves, but I rarely ever act on those instincts when it comes to myself. It actually drives Ian quite crazy to see me say "oooh" at something, possibly walk around the store with it in my hand until we're through, to then place it back on the shelf and walk away as if nothing was said at all. I rely too much on functionality and purpose, so it takes a lot for me to even treat myself at times. My items of purchase upon leaving SF; three books. Believe me, I tried to experiment with self indulgence but it just didn't work.
The beauty beyond the kitsch of SF, which had me smiling before long, were the old neon signs, ads, buildings and decor from the good ol' days. They seem to be quite proud of their originality and authenticity in San Francisco, which is what I believe gives the city its unique character. Organic and vintage art has always piqued my interest, so there were plenty of moments where I was studying the signs/ads to see what it was that caught my eye in the first place. SF was such a great reminder that the arts are so highly appreciated and respected within our society. Learning and studying while on vacation? Totally unintentional.
Inspiration came in many forms once we started to explore the galleries and museums in the area and outside of the strip. I've never been to such an artistically oriented city before so this element of SF gradually made me realize what Ian was talking about when he said "you're going to love it there" after his first visit last year. It showed me that being an artist isn't as intimidating as it needs to be, nor is it something that is under appreciated as one may think it is. The reminder was beyond helpful and wow does that boy know me well.
Of course I can't go without mentioning our trip to the Muir Woods, on our second day in. It was my first glimpse of SF without the craziness of downtown, so it was a literal breath of fresh air when we got to the open space without the massive crowds and congestion. These trees were so incredible, it's hard to describe just how big they are in person. Our insignificance in the face of mother nature is quite amazing when you put yourself into better perspective. This form of intimidation makes me smile.
In contrast to the beauty of the outdoors, we finished off the week at the Alcatraz night tour. At first I didn't understand the interest in touring a jail, but once I did some broadening of my French, narrow mind, I was quite fascinated by the history and creepiness of the place. And although it still sounds strange to me to want to tour a jail, I saw this part of SF as yet another one of their strengths in respecting the old pieces that have so much more significance than the glittery, branded stuff. As long as they don't install a McDonald's or an Alcatraz Starbucks, I'd recommend this tour to anyone who pays SF a visit.
And so, as we both admitted this morning while eating french toast at Lori's Diner, that we were ready to come home, we packed our bags and headed on our way. It was a lightning fast week that at the same time felt like a lifetime to get through, if that's possible to imagine. As we recover our achy legs, backpack backs and remember the bits and pieces from the week, I will gladly say that this was a vacation much deserved and so much appreciated. I think I brought home more with me than I ever expected to.

Thanks San Francisco!

11.5.08

28

Monday's child is fair of face... I was born on a Monday. This year my 28th birthday falls on Monday, May 12. How fancy.

I'll admit that modesty and chronic shyness keeps me from enjoying the spotlight in which a birthday can offer, so to dodge the bullet, we decided to switch things up by going on a little trip as a treat for both of us. In a sense I guess this switches my birthday to a birthweek, but with our focus on other things, I can enjoy the time and spoil myself without feeling badly. I haven't left home in two years! Can you even believe that? Sick. To kick off the countdown, Ian baked me a special treat of my most favorite cupcakes; vanilla with sprinkles. They turned out fabulously and I'm trying my best to devour as many as possible before we leave for our trip. We will keep you posted on the days to come; Muir Woods, Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Sausalito, San Francisco here comes 28.

gifts from mom

This is my Mom, my other sister, my friend. She grew up alongside my sister and I, quite literally, as we struggled to make it in the world on our own. With three women in one house; a cheery, ray of sunshine (mom), an outspoken, stubborn, fire-tempered first child (Tawni) and an over-sensitive, introverted second child (myself), we certainly had our days. It was rough, but as a team, we were strong beyond our realization.Coming from a broken family and unfortunate experiences with rejection, abandonment and abuse, the three of us had to fight to be the best that we could. There were many days where it felt as if the world had been taken out from under our feet, but Mom gave us the best gift she knew how; laughter. She taught us that happiness was always at our access, it just has to be found. A good laugh, a chuckle, even a smirk worked wonders when she got it out of us. As much as we may have tried to stay stern and serious in our teenage years, this gift was better than any material item we could have ever received.

Mom gave us many gifts like this, that are of such great value. If it wasn't for her, my sister and I wouldn't have had the childhood that we did when it came to our time spent at our grandparents' house. It was hard for Mom not to get to be there as much as she would have liked, but it was the best thing she could have done while she worked hard to support us on her own. From those days, we were also fortunate enough to have been provided with a second mother in our lives, our Grandma. She too believed in the cures of inner happiness, and once told me I was the light of her life for making her laugh. I now understand the importance of what she was referring to.
When Grandma passed away, Mom told me to focus on the good times, as an attempt to wipe the tears away. At first this idea seemed senseless to me, since the thought of the good times only made me miss my Grandma even more. But as time progressed and the days got easier, the three of us (Mom, Tawni and I) would sit together in the living room with a blanket, a good movie, a bowl of cookie dough, and share memories of the days passed. And although we can be so different in our own ways, the memories and the laughter keep us so close together. This is the best medicine my mother could have ever given to me, with the added sugar.

Thanks Mom. Love you.

6.5.08

self building

It is always humbling, I find, when things start to settle into a groove that works. I've spent nearly half of my life trying to figure out what it is I want to do, how, when and how to be successful at it, and have given up well before I get the chance to begin. Every day is different, where confidence can make a gradual and unexpected transition into pure anxiety and reluctance, based off of fear of failure and/or rejection. That's too much stress to place on one's shoulders on a day-to-day basis, so instead of brushing it off like I do with most things, I've decided to venture outside of the hermit's shell.
Self doubt, and in some cases pity, is a wretched process to continue over and over when all one wants is to move forward. We can become the biggest mysteries to ourselves when it comes to figuring out what makes us tick/talk and implode, but you can only begin to figure those things out when you pay attention to them. I've learned that on my own, I can crumble quite easily. So to strengthen my inner self, I've been taking extra steps to help that problem. Quite literally.

I signed up for a running class on the 26th of last month, which surprised both Ian and myself when I entered it without complaint or (too much) hesitance. Sure I was scared, but I wouldn't know until I took the plunge. I've managed to get through the first 10 days without too much trouble, other than a couple of pains in places I didn't know existed. The biggest exercise of the whole thing though, is maintaining positivity and focus on what is achieved and not what isn't. I've never been much of a runner before, nor have I had to work so hard on something solely for myself. Training my brain to move forward and anticipate the challenges to come, rather than fear them and hide in my room is a huge transition for me, placing myself first on the priority list.
As the distance, time and resistance starts to gradually become more difficult, I am making sure to focus on one day at a time and choose how I'm going to then face it. It's quite intimidating to stay determined, but (aside from achy legs and total exhaustion) I'm rather pleased with myself so far. It's like one of the many pieces of my puzzle has been put in its place. I like that.

4.5.08

family lesson 1

While (finally) putting all of my photos away into albums, I came across this photo of me (right) and my cousin Shauna. At first, our adorable, black, buckled shoes caught my attention, but once that amusement faded, I soon began to wonder "why are we wearing paper mickey ears?"

I can't quite say it was out of the ordinary to see occurrences, such as this, in my family. The imaginations that exist in it are diverse and astounding in their own ways. The one responsible for this photo, my Auntie Di, was a great inspiration when it came to teaching me, my sister and cousins about how to have fun with our surroundings. She colored with us and made board games on rainy days, when we were stuck inside. She conducted toothpick boat races in the puddles on the street, in front of Grandma's house in the spring. She took us to see Sleeping Beauty at the theater, for the first time, where she later handed us spaghetti stick wands to practice our magic at being good fairies. It was always such a joy to get to play and be ourselves without question. I am so thankful for those days.

When I figure out what I want to do to make my workspace more personal and inspiring to work in, I'm going to hang this photo somewhere to remind myself of the importance of creativity. In all honesty, I don't know if I'd be the same without that lesson. And even though most people may have the same reaction that I had at the first glance, about the ears, I would continue on with that question and ask "why not?"

2.5.08

icat


So we were only just a little bored this afternoon. You can tell, in the last shot, how impressed Tim was by my amusement.

1.5.08

bear recipe

After looking at all of the stray limbs of crocheted projects I have in my bedside drawer where I do my nightly must shut down brain before bed by crocheting routine, I decided to put the pieces I've started to good use by giving them a home and purpose. Or at least it's in the works, along with many other things, of course.
In a little stationery box I got from work, I'm putting together sets of 'bear recipes' if you will. You'll be able assemble your very own bear, with the provided limbs, eyes, buttons, and bows and most important; the instructions. This part is where I'm having the most trouble, since I have the tendency to over explain and confuse even myself. The book that I learned to crochet from was quite simplified, so I will use that as guidance as I edit my notes and figure out how to stay on course. As my grade school teachers would state on my exams/essays: "strays off topic." Some things never change.