Saturday, November 24, 2007

Who Am I?

Gluwater (one of my travel companions on the preshoot this fall) sent me this photo that he took: me shooting sunrise at Waterton. This photo really draws me in to it, despite it's elegant simplicity, because it takes me to a moment where I was just me.
So what do I mean by that? Well, I guess I am many things to many people: wife, mother, daughter, employee, soccer mom, volunteer. Not to mention things I have been (PMS Bitch from Hell was how some former employees referred to me).
But in this photo I am just me - alone, with only my own thoughts and expectations to deal with. Able to set my own timelines, leave when I want, linger if I like. Meet my own deadlines, push my own limits, rise to the challenge, crash and fail, dependant only on me and the choices I make, affecting only me.
Clearly there is great importance in being all of those other things, and in fact, those other things make me who I am. They keep me grounded and balanced, bring me joy and heartbreak, allow me to be successful on other peoples terms, to be measured by social measuring sticks.
Life is about balancing the inner and outer self.

This was driven home for me yesterday when I stopped to help a motorist who was having car troubles. Many things had gone wrong for this person both with respect to the car trouble, and as it turns out, to life overall. She was struggling financially, emotionally and with her health. For whatever reason, she had lost that balance. She gave me reason to be thankful for what I have, where I've been and where I am going.

And, I think she also pointed out the importance of not escaping to that isolated place in the photo - to know it is there and can be had, but to realize that who I am is really a sum of the interactions of each individual piece - wife, mother, daughter, employee, photographer - each of them add to the whole.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What's Your Value Add?

I've been working on a few things lately - a project at work that has me thinking about 'value added' price models and other business things. I've also been helping out with Alex's team fundraising. This isn't my first foray into fundaraising. It isn't my first volunteering either. In fact, i first volunteered in Junior High, at the Canadian Handicapped Games (okay, I actually don't remember the true name of the event), and have continued to volunteer my entire life. When we first moved to Brookview, it seemed a good way to meet neighbors. As we owned our own business, volunteering also gave us a means of having peers and even friends. I have been worker bee through to President of a wide variety of different organizations. I do this because I enjoy the people I meet and the feeling of pride at giving back. One thing that has become very clear over the years is that there are always people willing to debate and argue points but very few willing to put their money (time) where their mouth is. As well, it is impossible to achieve consensus, and thus seeking opinions often leads to more work than value. I have the experience to know how to get things done, the willingness to take on the task and a pretty no nonesense approach to these things now. I don't really need the headaches that volunteering brings - the arguements and the disagreement, the lack of appreciation. So why do it? Well, I think it all comes down to the question 'what is your value add?': what is it that you (I) contribute to this world?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Farewell to the smartie room

Katie's room was the first room painted when we bought this house. She was about 10, IIRC, and picked bright blue and bright purple - 2 walls each. It was a great color combination, and it really was the color of blue and purple smarties.
I've just finished putting the first coat of primer on her walls. She has picked a new, more refined color scheme. I am pleased though, that she has no fear of color. She will have 3 walls in a nice soft creamy peachy color, and a wall in quite a bright orange. She is basing her color scheme on the duvet cover that she picked at IKEA - it is orange and red. So orange will be her wall color and red her accents and perhaps her couch color. This will all coordinate nicely with her IKEA wardrobe with mirror doors, and IKEA headboard/shelving unit. It will transform her room from a kids room to a young ladies room.

And really, that's the point of this post. My babies are growing up.They are all teenagers now, are all as tall or taller than me now, are independant and more or less responsible young people. This brings us closer to the independance of empty nesters, although we still have 41/2 more years here at a minimum. It is a bittersweet kind of feeling - pride at getting them this far along, worry about the remaining years when the dangers are clearly greater than they have been before, and missing those adorable moments from years gone by.