October 2015

I don't take pictures every day but I do take pictures most days.

I haven't done a monthly round up for a long time. Now that there is some distance between me and them I see why they are so important.

1. They motivate me to take more pictures.
2. They require me to organize the photos I've taken at least once a month. If I don't, my folder of images becomes a monster I don't have time to tame.
3. I love to see how the month translates into a few favourite images. An unintentional theme always emerges. And I love going back to look at them again and again.


30 Repetitions from Hell

I have been known to find the rabbit hole that is the internet. I have spiralled for hours. I've learned a lot of things and been inspired by even more. I have also wasted a lot of time on nothing. And to call it nothing is probably giving it a compliment. I'm pretty sure that some of the garbage that sucked me in probably stole a few IQ points.

I have also been noticing that I'm a little out of shape. By the end of this entry, we might all agree to call me a lot out of shape. My body is a little rounder. My lungs are a little shallower. The hills (and Lunenburg is a pretty hilly place) are a lot bigger than they used to be.

The fact that the first point and the second point are happening in tandem is purely coincidental. At least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself.

While journeying down the rabbit hole one day I saw an article titled The 15-Minute Workout Everyone is Talking About. I'm not sure who everyone is since this was the first time I'd heard of it but but still everyone is a lot of people and who am I to question so I promptly clicked that link. It certainly looked easy enough. The thing that really caught my eye was the phrase Rest for One Minute. Workouts that include resting are just my thing and this one called for you to do it 5 times. Rest five times in 15 minutes? A third of the workout is resting? Yes, please. Well, actually maybe. Let me sleep on it. Or at least finish my journey through the rabbit hole.

A few days later the same article popped into my sidebar. Everyone was turning out to be a lot more people than I thought so I took another look. It still seemed easy enough. The workout still involved 5 minutes of absolutely nothing. All the double-clicking in the world wasn't going to firm up my body and racing through the rabbit hole faster than normal was doing nothing for my lung capacity. Time to give it a try. I employed my internet trolling skills to figure out what burpees were. Burpees and dips. I didn't want to rush into this exercise thing without all the facts.

Let me start by saying that resting for one minute is a joke for this out-of-shape body. Three minute rest periods would have been a little more my speed. I may have taken a three minute break in there somewhere. I'm leaving it open to suggestion but I'm not comfirming anything.

I stood in my living room where nobody could see me and felt just as exposed as I did wearing my shorts in the freezing cold gym in ninth grade. The only thing missing were the giggles and snears from the two girls who sat at the end of my row. I still felt just as out of place.

I figured that each of these tasks would require the same amount of athletic output so I let the first task set the pace. Thirty squats. Easy enough, right? Wrong. Twenty. Huffing, puffing and starting to sweat I managed to squeeze out twenty. But it was my first day in at least 20 years. Twenty's not bad. I just stuck with twenty. Twenty for everything instead of thirty. That sounded fair. A one minute rest. Well deserved. I set the timer. That was a fast sixty seconds but no matter. I moved onto the second task. Push-ups. I remembered push-ups being hard for me. Good thing I moved the bar down to twenty. One. One full push-up. That was just too embarassing to be real. They must have meant half push-ups. The ones you do from your knees. Nine more. Nine halves plus a full push-up. That's ten. One minute rest earned. I reflected on the sad state of affairs that I call my body and decided another ten were in order. After the full minute rest, of course. I did it. Ten more push-ups. Yes, I was huffing, puffing and sweating for real now but I did twenty push-ups... almost in a row. I took another minute. On to burpees. Or action push-ups. Either way, I knew it wasn't going to be good. I could squat down but it was far more graceful to extend my legs one at a time in a way that was more reminiscent of slow-motion movie making. I think calling what I was doing graceful is an indication of my ability to sugar-coat the truth. I was able to jump my legs back to the squat. Most of the time. Half of the time. Some of the time. I'm not sure. The oxygen level in my brain was severely depleted by this point. Oh and the jump at the end. We can't forget about the jump. The finale. The thing that makes the burpee so satisfying. If the jump was supposed to make a sound it was proably supposed to be WOOOHOOOO! All caps. With an exclamation point of satisfaction. My jumps sounded more like meh. All lower case, unbolded. Absolutely no exclamation point. I would have even set it in a smaller point size if I could. That's how jumpy my jumps were. Set the timer. I can't set the timer for less than one minute so I know it was a full minute. I let it beep a while just to make sure. Crunches. I did twenty. It wasn't too hard. Well, not impossible. I must have been doing it wrong. Set that timer. Dips. I did them on the edge of a chair set against the wall. I put my arms in place and had my legs closer to the chair than farther. The man in my research video assured me this was the easier way. I didn't test the theory but I couldn't imagine it being much harder... fourteen, fifteeeen, sixteeeeeen, seventeeeeeeeeeeen. Yup. That's enough. Seventeen. Done! Huffing, puffing, sweating, resting! Set that timer for five. You earned it.

Final Score

Squats: 66%
Push Ups: 3%
Burpees: 15%
Crunches: 66% but if you factor in the fact that I did them wrong 0%
Dips: 57%

Breaks: 140% just look at me go.


All at Once

It feels like it will never happen. It feels like the snow will never leave. It will never warm up. The garden will never grow. But almost overnight, it happens. It happens so quickly it feels like it happens all at once. The day I took these pictures, the irises had already gone. The lupin, too. The crocuses and daffodils were a distant memory but still, it felt like it all happened at once.

P.S. That cherry was the only one on the tree and it was deeeelicious. We're hoping for a bumper crop next year.


Prom Dresses

High school English class was a haven for kids who liked to scribble. Fueled by the boredom and armed with nothing but loose-leaf paper and a pencil I scribbled out the prom dress of my dreams over the course of the semester. I would draw a little, daydream a little and then doodle some more. I kept that drawing for a really long time but I don’t have it anymore. I really wish I did. The sketch on the left is just a quick representation of that beloved original. I can remember that I drew it with a mechanical pencil so the lines were incredibly thin. The sketch itself was positioned lower on the page. I can’t remember what was above it. Maybe a title or maybe some long lost English notes. That’s not the only part that I’m foggy on. I can’t remember what the top looked like. I can’t remember if it had sleeves. I have a feeling that there were. They might have even been puffed sleeves with a lace detail. I just left them out. But the parts that I do remember, I remember really well. I was firm about the pointed waist. That was a must. I was firm about the colour. It was going to be a beautiful dark green teal. And those triangle shapes going down the skirt were going to be lace. White lace. Why white? I have no idea. This dress never went any further than a sketch. My sewing skills at the time would have never been able to pull it off. Looking at this sketch, wincing about those sleeves and recollecting my colour choices, I’m thinking it was probably for the best.

This is Emily’s last year of high school. The year of the prom and she asked me if I would make her dress. I think she worked up her sketch, the one on the right, mostly at home and not in English class. At least that’s what a mother likes to think. Her design is blowing mine to smithereens. The lines are so elegant and balanced. And the colours she picked are so perfectly her that I cannot wait to see her in this dress. She has also assembled some photos to help me understand what she means.

She wants the top to have sleeves and a sweetheart neckline. The only thing she didn’t like from this example is the pleating of the fabric.

She wants to have a cummerbund style waist but is waffling between the criss-cross effect like this one, or one that simply goes straight around.

And she wants a lot of chiffon at the bottom but without a gathered waist. We’ll see what I can come up with.

With the sketch, the photo references and the knowledge that the dress would have at least four layers with the smallest skirt circumference measuring 100 inches we waited for the big sale and then hit the fabric store. We bought a lot of fabric. Probably 20 metres or more. Without an actual pattern I was just guessing. I over guessed. But look at those colours. They’re so beautiful they can distract us from all of the excess fabric that will soon be delegated to the scrap pile.


The Tote Bag

The purse is decidedly not my thing. Ever since that trip to the mall with my very first purse it hasn't been my thing. I was eight. I think I was eight. It was my first time out with a purse. Of course I forgot it. The kind woman in the shoe store where I had left it chased me down in the middle of the mall. The embarrassment was so great that I decided a purse was just too much responsibility for me. The sentiment stuck and I have never been able to carry a purse without feeling like a fraud. Only responsible adults are allowed to carry a purse. Not people parading around pretending to be responsible adults and so I don't carry a purse. I made a tote bag and I carry that around instead. And yes, the irony isn't lost on me. It's really just a big purse.