This would be fantastic if...

...I didn't already have a full-time job. The photography thing, that is. Wow. I am having a blast with it but it's a lot of work!

In the past two weeks I've had three shoots - two portrait shoots and one event photoshoot which lasted 4 hours on Saturday afternoon. By the end of it, I had a callous on my thumb and nearly 1000 shots to go through. The final cut for the clients was about 400, but let's just say...the editing took care of what was left of Saturday and my entire day on Sunday. I love the process and time flies by while I'm in the middle of it, but when I finally stood up just in time to see the late afternoon light, I realized just how much time it really takes.

Regardless, I was able to turn the photos around and deliver them to my clients today, which they were thrilled about.

I don't really know what my plans are for this business. While I'm very attracted to the idea of doing this full-time, I'm not sure how to get comfortable with the idea of sporadic income. I love my dependable monthly paycheque and to just *not know* what kind of income I would be bringing home? Scary thought. For me, anyways. I am charging a bit for photoshoots now, but still treating this mainly as a portfolio building exercise, so that if I do decide at some point that this is what I want to do, I'll have the experience I need to get it up and running quickly.

Anyhoo...I've made my first investment into this little side business. Besides the gigantic investment of time, which I hadn't really previously given much thought to. My relationship with my Dell Inspiron 1420 laptop are numbered because...I bought an iMac. It was totally an impulse purchase. A few Saturdays ago, K and I wandered into the local Apple retailer and I walked out 15 minutes later with a receipt in my hand. The idea of purchasing a desktop for my photography had been in my head for awhile, but I hadn't thought a lot about what make/model I wanted, other than the fact that I wanted a screen at least 20" wide. I have never had a Mac, and had never seriously considered getting one, but I played around with the iMac model in the store for less than 10 minutes before deciding that it was The One. I know I have a learning curve ahead of me with the whole PC to Mac thing, but I'm up for it. And I'm SO excited to pick it up! It was ordered the day I bought it, so I'm expecting a call in the next day or so to bring home my new baby.

Stay tuned. I will be holding on to my laptop until I've mastered the Mac, for emergency purposes.

In other news, we are gearing up for our trip on Saturday! The countdown is on. At 5:01 p.m. I will officially be in vacation mode. Actually, who am I kidding? Friday is going to be a write-off.

Remember me?

Every once in awhile, I'll get a totally subtle nudge (not) from a certain someone (Heather), on a certain social networking site (Fbook) which casually (not) reminds me that I do, in fact, still even have this blog. Sad, sad, sad. Not the Heather nudge. The need that I have to be reminded of this blog, which I was once so loyal to.

I don't have any of the classic excuses, either. I'm working hard, but I'm home by 7 and spend my evenings doing whatever I want. I don't have kids. Kids seem to be a great excuse for not doing things, but since I don't have any, I can't play this card. I can't even blame my absence on a dog, or a long illness or anything, really.

The real kicker is that so far, 2010 has been one of the most blog-worthy years of my life and most, if not all, of the blog-worthy events have gone unblogged, and some even un-discussed with even my closest of friends. It's not an intentional's just that life has gotten in the way, it seems, and on my constantly expanding "to do" list, the blog has moved from "to do" to a "to don't" for no reason at all.


What HAS been going on on the Rock?

Well, in no particular order...

  • We sold our house. I am no longer a landlord and I no longer have any need to spend a precious vacation day selecting a furnace for a home I don't live in. The house, needing approximately $25K in upgrades like...immediately...was a constant sore spot for us. As of April 30th, we unloaded these issues. We are absolutely over the moon. As lovely as it was to be "in the market", I am thrilled to be back out of it again. Opening my Canadian online banking to see a balance of $0 on the mortgage is, in a word, fantabulous. Later, debt.
  • I started my own business. It is going amazingly well and I'm actually having to turn down photoshoots because, well, I have a real job. And a guy who I occasionally like to spend time with. But it's an excuse to build my portfolio quickly and gain experience and who knows...maybe sometime down the line, this could actually be my full-time job. God, I would love that. I'm having a blast with it. I'm booked solid until our vacation in June, and have bookings throughout the rest of June and into July. YES. As for the is not just a shout-out to the lovely Beacon Hill Park, a stone's throw from the home I used to live. It's also the name of the neighborhood in Ottawa where Kurt grew up, AND the name of the neighborhood on the Rock where we ended up when we first moved here. Isn't that weird? It's like it's haunting me. In a good way.
  • We're going to Ottawa, in less than two weeks. 10 days of visiting, relaxing and hitting up our favourite spots...I seriously can not wait. I love Ottawa!
  • I got another promotion. I don't talk about my real job on this blog for obvious reasons but the short story life is good. My secretary is still pretty much the most hilarious person alive, the best part being that she doesn't mean to be funny at all. She starts every sentence with "Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirlll..." and there is normally a lot of finger-snapping involved when she's making a point. I love her. Last week, she told me that her nickname used to be "Rumpshaker". Awesome.
  • Tourist season has officially begun. I'm not really sure why anyone would believe the reports that tourism is down because every time I try to wedge myself into my favorite coffee shop, it is literally swarming with tourists...Americans, mostly, and specifically of the New Jersey variety, with a smattering of le Quebecois mixed in for a bit of variety. It makes for an interesting combination. They seem to be enjoying themselves, which I love to see, but the weather has been less than stellar so far this year, so they probably aren't leaving with the tans they were hoping for. Oh well. That is what spray tans are for.
  • I've finally figured out how to get to Victoria this year...thanks to the timely announcement of the wedding of one of my favorite cousins. Nothing is booked, but the plans are in place for August!
  • Another favorite cousin - and friend - and I are going to be experiencing the sweltering heat of NYC for a weekend in July, for no reason at all other than we're both turning 3o this year and thought it would be fun to meet up and do something a bit different. And really, there aren't many things that I think are more awesome and different than NYC. Four days of wandering, eating, wandering some more and outdoor MIA big deal. Oh, and the hotel we're staying in? Madonna used to live there. Hello...awesome.

So, there has been some stuff going on. There is other stuff too, but it's 11:05 p.m. on a Sunday night and I am exhausted and going to bed.

Night, y'all. That means you, Heather.

Ummmm...where did April go? I logged onto my bank account this morning and realized that I'd been paid, which meant that the 20th of the month had passed. What? When? Must have been while I was at work. It feels like I've been there a lot lately. This time of year is kind of crunch time for us, and I'm feeling the crunch, big time. To the tune of at least 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, for the past month or so. Blech. I'm not complaining, but I'm pretty tired.

In other news, 8 days from now I will no longer be a homeowner. I think I'll do a sentimental flashback post when the big day comes, because I distinctly remember blogging when we bought the house. It wasn't something we'd been planning on, but the opportunity came up to sell the house and we jumped on it. To be perfectly was a headache and a major stressor for us both. Besides the annual paperwork, worrying about whether the furnace would fail, or how we were going to arrange to have the windows replaced, was getting to us. We're just simply too far away to deal with it without help on that end and even though our tenants are fabulous, it was always still in the back of our minds. Bye bye, house. Bye bye, mortgage!

That's probably our biggest news right now.

Besides work being insane, life is pretty good. The weather is getting fabulous, which is exciting. Happy hours have started up, and it's light out until almost 8:00. We planted a tiny garden on the weekend - just tomatoes, salad greens and some herbs. I haven't had a garden since the tomatoes we planted in pots in our backyard the summer before we moved to the Rock. According to the little information sticks in the seedlings, we will have salad in about 50 days. Awesome.

The next trip off the Rock is in June when we're headed to Ottawa for 10 days or so. We don't have a lot planned. Without the house to deal with, our social calendars are much more open than they would have been, had we been shopping for, say, a furnace. We plan to spend time catching up with friends, sleeping in, and hitting up all of our favorite Ottawa spots. I miss Ottawa a lot. More than Victoria sometimes. It's funny...but there are just a LOT of happy memories for us there, and it's such a great city. Can't wait to get there!

I have a few other exciting things happening right now, but not ready to say too much yet, so stay tuned!

Concrete Jungle.

{a view of the Plaza, from Central Park}

I have said it before and I'll say it again: NYC is awesome.

As we did in 2008, Kurt and I met up with our good friends EAP and Mugsy for a fabulous time over the Easter long weekend. Only two weeks after our mini-trip to CayMAN, this made us a bit more jet-setting than usual but we've been talking about going back ever since 2008 and the deals from the Rock to NYC are pretty incredible. It is actually cheaper for us both to fly to New York and spend three nights in a 4 star Midtown hotel than it is to buy two return tickets to Ottawa. While going home is always appealing, something about the Chrysler Building was calling my name, so we decided to jump on the deal and spend 4 days enjoying the sights and sounds of the City.

Mission: accomplished. Once again, we had an AMAZING time. Captured in a few of the many shots I took over the weekend:

{New Yorkers, enjoying a sunny Saturday in Central Park}

{blossoming trees, everywhere we looked}

{looking up...waaaaaay up}

{the most amazing sandwich ever, courtesy of the Amish Market (45th & 2nd)}

Yeah...I fell in love again. You could spend months there and never run out of things to do or see. I just can't get enough.

4 days is definitely not enough (though better than 3). was packed with quality time with two of our favorite people, including a fabulous and memorable meal at a great little Brazilian restaurant (with great little Brazilian drinks...), another fabulous memorable meal at Monte's Trattoria in the Village, and an evening wander through SoHo, wearing summer clothes, enjoying PinkBerry frozen yogurt while people watching.

Love, love, love.

Yet another repeat performance is in the works for 2011...


A few weeks back, we had ourselves a lovely little vacation to Cayman. Affectionately known as CayMAN, because that is how it is pronounced on the island, by the locals, in their lovely Caymanian lilt. After the two weeks I spent there last year, I was looking forward to showing Kurt a different rock and now that we have friends who live there, a cheap vacation was in the cards. As far as timing goes, the weekend kind of picked us. We were thinking March, and then we found out that good friends of ours from Victoria, the lovely Heather Anne and her husband James, were going for her March (and landmark) birthday...and that settled it. We booked and flew out of here on Thursday the 9th, cruised through the glorious(ly awful) Miami International Airport and arrived in the CayMAN heat in the early afternoon.

After living essentially like mushrooms, in the wind, rain and gloom that has hung over our little rock for the past few months, my natural SPF factor was approximately 2 and my Vitamin D count was close to nil. The sun felt fabulous, to say the least.

We stayed for a long weekend, and left Monday morning with sunburns, mild hangovers, and an overall feeling of satisfaction. Between the delicious meals (CayMAN has awesome restaurants), the great visits with our friends, and the full day cruise and BBQ on our new friends' amazing dive boat, it was a pretty fun-packed weekend. Of course, it wasn't all perfect. A few too many drinks on Saturday resulted in at least FIVE SOLID HOURS in the pool, which my skin is still hating me for, just a bit.

Those drinks also, apparently, morphed me from my normally polite and even somewhat reserved self, to some sort of mannerly-challenged person who drunkenly asks people how old they are, repeatedly, for hours. When I found out about this the next day, I was horrified. I don't even know exactly how old some of my closest friends are, because I just. don't. ask. Because that is how classy people (ahem) operate. But give me a margarita or two and I will mine through your personal stats ASAP. And then I'll wait a few minutes and ask you again. Loudly.

I have no recollection of this, incidentally. This means that I still don't know how old they are.

Besides that, it was all good. We had a blast. I think a 2011 repeat performance is in the works!

It's all fun and games...

...until you rear-end an imbecile who slammed on their brakes WITHOUT brake lights, end up sprawled all over the road, discover that your scooter has died and, to top it all off, tear ligaments in your foot. THAT is definitely one way to start a Thursday and guess what? It's how I started mine. Now I'm home, with an air cast and a freakin' cane, and I'm hobbling around that way for the next two weeks.

I know the rear-ending thing is on me, though the guy riding next to me also hit her because she stopped so quickly and neither of us were expecting it because there was NOTHING in front of her. No car, no person, no chicken...nothing. She just stopped, in the middle of rush hour, allowed two people to slam into her, and then drove off. It was like bang...bang...bye bye. What? The other guy was OK and helped me up off the road and helped me to get my bike back into an upright position, but I knew something was very wrong with my foot. I managed to get my bike further up the street by a block or so before it died, and then I called my knight in shining helmet (Kurt) to come and help me out.

The end of the story is that I'm home on the couch after 3 hours at the hospital and the very good news is that nothing is broken. The bad news is a) the 2 weeks of air cast, b) taking the air cast to Cayman, and c) my poor little bike, parked downtown, dead as a doornail.

I'm a careful driver, and I was paying full attention to what was going on...I didn't even hit the car very hard, because I had reacted quickly enough to hit my brakes too (and could not conceivably have been going more than 10 km/hr anyways...I just could not have anticipated her stopping like that.


Cheering from Afar.

I have no problem admitting that I don't fully understand the full rule book of hockey and can likely count on one hand the number of hockey games I have watched live, in their entirety. I am also fine with admitting that until approximately a week ago, I didn't know (or care, really) who Sidney Crosby is. And while I had high hopes that Canada would win the gold on our own turf, I was skeptical after the ass-kicking we endured last week.


Wasn't that just the best game ever?

We took our red mitts over to a friends house and enjoyed the game with 3 fellow Canadians, 4 Americans and a British friend who proclaimed herself the Switzerland of the occasion, for obvious reasons. We drank Portugese beer, ate hummus and listened to the wind rushing through the palms outside as we watched the NBC broadcast (our only option) of the game. We figured out fairly quickly that there is a 5 minute delay on the NBC broadcast, because the pub up the street with satellite TV would suddenly go crazy with cheering so loud that we could hear it inside the house, and then we'd be in agony until our broadcast caught up and we could figure out who scored.

It was a tense situation with our crowd being split down the middle and the game being...well, intense. I felt like I was going to vomit through most of it. Sometimes I covered my eyes because I couldn't watch. It was just SO EXCITING. Every minute. And especially those overtime minutes.

Watching our flag raised and hearing our anthem sung by the crowd made me tear up, just a bit. I'm sure I wasn't the only one. Actually, I looked around the room and realized that I wasn't. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to have been there.

To my home and native land, yesterday left me with a glowing heart, for sure.