The Pacific

My favorite flower is plumeria. I first saw them in Hawaii and quickly built an association with the magic of those islands with the flower. But recently, in Mexico, I also saw them. Connected by climate, and the Pacific Ocean,  these flowers always catch my eye and ease my mind. I thought this special feeling was only possible in Hawaii, but when I saw the flowers and felt that peace in Mexico, it occurred to me that it might not be the place, but it might be the Pacific (being on vacation doesn’t hurt). But then it occurred to me that I get a very similar in Vancouver when I’ve been out on the sea wall, so it must be the Pacific.

I don’t know what magic is in those waters, but perhaps it’s because they have no memory (Shawshank), perhaps is the incredible power of the water… or the great many mysteries they hold. Who knows.

The Lexus Line

Before Bug was born, the first vehicle that I purchased was a ’06 Highlander Hybrid. I loved that machine. I was always against buying an SUV because I saw them as oversized planet killers. But I told Neelam that if I were ever to get one, it would have to be a hybrid. And sure enough, that is what I got. At the time, the hybrids were all built on the Lexus production lines in Japan, and in talking to the dealer, the one that I got was one of the first few in Canada (26 I believe he said). Sadly though, I had to give up my Toyota and downsize for economic reasons. But as I’ve mentioned a few times, things seem to be getting better.

As the lease was about to expire on my Mazda 5 – a capable little run around in it’s own right – I started looking for a replacement, and the first place that my eyes looked was to the Toyota hybrid line. But as it happens, Toyota dealers don’t like easy customers. Lexus dealers on the other hand? Well they work their tail off, and they win the customers. So what you see here is not actually the Lexus that I would up getting. I wound up with a dealer demo, base model for about 15k less than the current year. Yes, with some added bonuses on top, I am paying less for a nearly new Lexus than a new Toyota… and I’m getting better service to boot.

The Highlander and the Mazda 5 were both named Stitch, but this new baby – a shiny white ES 300h, is Baymax.

Wow 6 years

Just like today, at least this morning, it was pretty cold 6 years ago. With one small difference. I was still waiting to be a dad. Bug was resting after trying to be born all night, and it’s not until quarter to 5 in the evening that she’s actually arrive. But what a time this last six years have been. Some of the hardest, but most rewarding times I’ve ever had. I was terrified when Bug showed up. A girl? Huh? I don’t have sisters, I didn’t grow up with any girls… what was I getting myself into? Well it turns out, it is loads of hugs, a tonne of giggles, and some quizzicle looks followed by an emphatic Daaadeeeee… Oh yeah, and Lego, lots of Lego… Star Wars, Disney, fashion, and stuffies.

Frozen February

Well birthday month is on us again. Between family and friends, there is quite a bit of celebrating to be had. But it’s also the month that the temperatures head back into the freezer. This year doesn’t seem to be that much different. One thing that is different is that this year, I’m changing my camera system. I haven’t dropped Canon completely, but I’m moving to mirrorless, on the Fuji X platform. I’m really looking forward to learning the new system, but more over, taking control of the process in a new way. Speaking of control, and this being one of those karma things that I am ever keen about. My current main body, my trust 7D, was purchased with funds from my severance back in 2010. I got it with the goal of getting my photography hobby to “puff out a bit”. Well it certainly did. Over the next 4 and some years, I collected all manner of extras and learned all manner of things about photography and myself. But with the exception of three lenses, a broken flash, and the 7D, all my old Canon gear is now gone to pay for the new Fuji. My trusty 30D that captured my nephew, the amazing Sigma glass, all gone. To be resurrected as a Fuji XT-1 body with a 18-135mm f3.5-5.6, and 35mm f1.4 lens combo. Hopefully this helps me grow again.

 

And so it goes

So another year has come and this year is the first in many where I’m not seeing any really dark clouds or major barriers on the horizon. This year actually seems calm. So by saying that I may have likely jinxed myself.

In getting here lots has changed. The biggest one is sitting on my lap as I type this complaining… Yes, Peanut I know you are hungry! Don’t eat your father! I can’t remember if 2010 felt this way before the layoff, but I think with all the news in the air at the time, everyone knew something was going to happen, and regardless, there would be blood as it were. This time, even with oil in the tank, I’m not worried as much because I’m with a much better organization and with a skill set that is being sought out by employers.

We are also in a home now that we know we will be in for many years and building ties into our neighbourhood that we haven’t before. The poinsettia that is pictured is a present from the Judges next door. This gives strength, even as things like illness try to take it away. Nobody in the house is ill, but our extended family and friends have battled, and sometimes won, against cancer and other ailments. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything has never rung more true.

Finally, this is the 10th anniversary year. So in many ways, we get to do things over again with some better ideas as to what not to do in life, but this time, we get to take the kids along.

And so it goes. Time moves one, things change, but now those changes are looking up.

Doors

The image that you may see with this post is a typical long hallway in a hotel/motel in small town Alberta. All manner of doors going off to either side of a seemingly never ending hallway. After my last post a couple of days ago, some things have changed. Some appreciation has appeared inside and outside. So that is reaffirming. So it seems, as ever, all that was needed was a touch of patience.

I don’t know how long this current hallway is, and I don’t know what the doors are going to lead to, but I might as well start down the hall. My room is down there somewhere.

The wall

I’m no stranger to running into walls – the figurative kind, not the real ones. Things don’t always go the way that you want them to go, and sometimes it’s because it was never meant to be, other times it’s because there are forces beyond one’s control at work. It seems that “at work” is were the most recent of these forces came into being. After busting my back for years to develop a position, to advance into, it seems to have gone to someone else. This is the second strike after being ignored for all the work I had put in for a previous project. Some people dig their own graves by not working to their potential… it seems that I have the opposite problem. I work and build walls that prevent me from moving in the direction that I intended.

If I had moved in the manner that I intended, I think it would have made for a very festive Christmas time, but as it is now, it’s a bit dulled when I think of anything outside the home. Because at home, I have all that I need. Sure it would be nice to be appreciated at work, but that rarely happens. But I am pretty sure that I’m appreciated at home, within those four walls that I’ve built for the four of us.

Home and all the pictures are the same…

It’s now December and after almost two months of being on the road, things are setting down. Well, perhaps. I’ve applied for a new position at work, which if I get will cause some disruption, but in a good way. I will likely be working more, but it will be at home. While I enjoy being out and about across the province meeting people and teaching, this time around it was harder. The lonely days were lonelier and the “hate” was there even more. Just like in the lyrics of Let Her Go, you only hate the road when you’re missing home. That rang very true for me over these last couple of months. I’ve never been so happy to be home.

This morning I also realized something. Even though I’m a photographer, and my kids will have all manner of images, Peanut’s images will likely be a little less creative. The reason for this is, life doesn’t slow for a while and with everything else happening, there may not be the novel instances for Peanut as Bug had for her first years. I don’t know if this will be the case, but looking at the last dozen or so images I have of Peanut. They are all the same pose, and while you can see changes… they aren’t as much fun. I’ll have to work on that.

Winter is coming…

This post is getting tapped out just before I get going to get home from Lethbridge. Having grown up in this part of the province, it’s always a sentimental trip. This time was a little different. With one more little person in the family, it got me thinking about what the world may have been like when I was that size as I passed through Brooks, Taber, and obviously Lethbridge.

But this was for work, and without the little ones. I’m thinking that one day I’ll really have to bring the kids through all the old stomping grounds. Even though for some of those places, it was more tapping and pitter patting than stomping.

In the mean time, we are getting ready for another first Christmas. I’ve got icicle lights to put up this weekend.

To T.O.

I’m hammering this out while I’m listening to a panel presentation. It’s a bit of a let down/slow down from an amazing presentation by Daniel Pink.

I’m in Toronto for the CSTD 2014 conference. It’s a great learning experience, and it’s one that I hope to be able to continue to do. I attended for the first time last year and I was able to roll up many small take aways into great things at work. This time last year, I followed up this conference with a destination photo shoot. That’s not happening this year, but I did write a post last year acknowledging all the work that my family has had to to help me achieve my goals. That hasn’t changed.

After the conference last year, I thought I would try to write more on my blog. But that didn’t happen. So this year, with the same conference, I’m trying again. Hopefully this change sticks,