Some thoughts…

As if it hasn’t been said enough “Time flies while you’re having fun”, or something like that. And time has flown.

I believe it’s a function of aging, that time flies. I read somewhere that the perception of time passing faster as we age is due to the lack of originality in our lives. And by originality I mean that there are seldom any new experiences in our lives as time goes on. As a rule we continue to do the same things month over month and year after year and so our perception of time flattens, it compresses and it becomes more difficult to differentiate one year over another. Time becomes all the same and in doing so it ‘flies’.

So, this theory being correct it would only stand to reason that one way to slow time down would be to do different things, to have new experiences, to make each week, month, and year different. Not a new theory but important nonetheless.

Now I don’t profess to have all the answers but it’s clear I have opinions, lots of them. Perhaps too many.

Life has been generally good to me over the last number of months. Being that it’s so long since I’ve updated this site I may repeat myself in what I say here so I will apologize in advance.

My health, both emotional and physical, has been good. Aside from the usual colds and one episode with the flu I am doing well. I have gone back on the meds  with my Doctor’s blessing and only at a half dose (10 mg Citalopram). I feel much better. Prior to that (about Dec.) I was once again back-sliding and feeling depressed. I had little motivation, was easily angered and frustrated, my emotions were all over the place and I just plain felt emotionally shitty.

I’ve tried to explain it away saying it was the weather or some other such excuse but the facts and history just don’t support that. I just have to accept it and resolve myself to the possibility that I may have to use meds to support my habit, that of feeling well.

The positive in the whole thing is that after my Doctor’s visit he suggested I start off with a lower dosage than before. This was a newer Doctor mind you, an international Doctor in training in my clinic, but he was/is very interested in my health and his suggestion had merit. As such I gave it a shot and haven’t really looked back.

This was done in concert with a new counselor as well. I began seeing her just before my first appointment with the Doctor and as time has gone on I’ve appreciated her more and more.

Her name is Elly. I decided to try her instead of going back for a 3rd time with Gloria. Elly is going for her Masters in Counselling and is doing her practicum in that clinic. So far I like her a lot, she is open and approachable, has fresh ideas and a perception that is refreshing.

She is a proponent of Art Therapy and has offered me the option of trying it. Art therapy sounded/sounds strange and while I am generally resistant to change I thought I owed it to myself to try something different. It was different for sure and some aspects of it were not comfortable for me. As an example she asked me to draw something, anything, on a paper covered table. All manner of pencils, felt pens, crayons, and paint were available to me, in all colours, so the options of media were essentially unlimited. It was all up to me as to what I chose to draw, and how to draw it. Once complete she asked how I ‘felt’ about the drawing, both in topic and substance.

The next session she again asked me if I wished to draw and this time she suggested I draw a Mandala. She gave me a 10″ circle of paper to draw on and again I could choose any media. In this context I must clarify that what she was asking me to draw was not a Mandala by it’s true definition. There was no religious significance to the drawing, more what she was asking was for me to draw a free form design on the circle of paper. Again, once the drawing was complete we chatted about the how and why of the sketch, and how I felt.

Part II

Because I seem to be long winded, and due to the fact my welcome wore out at Bagel’s and Brew (not really) I’ve had to complete this post the next day. I started writing Monday morning and here we are Tuesday, same coffee shop but different table, completing the saga.

At any rate my drawing experience was/is very interesting with it reinforcing some things I probably already knew about myself. In my first sketches, particularly the Mandala format I strived to be organized, symmetrical, accurate and somewhat precise. When I created a new drawing being more carefree, unorganized, non-symmetrical, in a word MESSY, I felt more free, more relaxed. In short it felt good.

That feeling was one that I was, and am, trying to replicate. I asked Elly if perhaps that was a state that I could develop through writing or photography. If I could bring my artistic and feeling side (less structured and rigid) more to the forefront by focussing on my artistic side, more right brained activities. She wasn’t sure but suggested I try by using my photography in an ‘out of the box’ fashion, taking photos in ways and of things that I normally might not. In fact she suggested this just before we went to Hawaii. I’ve tried and would have to say it’s not as easy to accomplish as I thought it might.

Some of the appropriate photos, and any drawings I completed while there were brought to my next session where we discussed my goal and any progress I made. Again, this was more difficult than I first thought.

So to be blunt one of the purposes of going to counselling was to get the stick out of my ass. This wasn’t necessarily the original reason, nor the only reason, but in talking with here I’ve come to realize that it was one of my personality traits that I desired to change. In effect I want to loosen up and have more fun, be more relaxed about things on a day to day basis.

This has been a long and likely boring post however it has also been done as an effort to begin writing again. I have been journalling fairly consistently but that method has become repetitive it was time to mix it up. Elly has suggested if I do journal that rather than the wordiness of it that I should use only descriptor words about how I feel at the time, no structured sentences. I would still like to sketch and may incorporate that as well.

So, ‘nuf said, Too much perhaps. See you on the flip side.

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life

It seemed to me if any day in my life might be interesting it would be a day with lots of activity. Easter fit that bill.

Starting on the Good Friday our company began arriving, with first on the scene being my daughter and her family. Soon after our niece, nephew, sisters and brothers in law, and various attached children came into attendance.

The Easter festivities began in earnest on Saturday with a family dinner but the photos here are from Sunday, when we had an Easter egg hunt with a wiener roast to follow.

Well, needless to say I think everyone had fun. At least I did, or what I can remember anyway.

I’m Spent, Like the Last Dollar in my Pocket

I’m spent, physically and perhaps emotionally, and only because the day was gorgeous and I wanted to spend every moment I could outside.

It’s not like it’s totally unusual. Long days out and about in the yard are pretty common once the days lengthen and the sun warms the ground. I feed off that warmth, soaking it up like a sponge, like those little flower buds we yearn to see.

We have company coming on Good Friday, family and not the least of which is my grandson (daughter too of course). I’m sure I’ll have a picture or two to share after the weekend completes, even earlier if I can find a quiet moment and I have the energy and oomph to take on a new post. Time will tell.

I did find enough time yesterday to get out with my camera, for a few shots at least. It was on a return trip from running errands, but the timing is not important, the fact I took the time to take the shots is. I had wanted to get back to a rushing creek location I had photographed a week prior. On that trip, the earlier visit, I had played with shutter speed to try and get that ‘look’ to the water where it’s almost like foam, where the longer exposure allows the movement of the rushing water to blur and become somewhat surreal. I didn’t quite accomplish it on my first visit. It was my first attempt and I only went as low as 1/10 of a second. See below.

Hanna Creek, rushing water, blurring
Hanna Creek

Now I know that this type of picture is not new, it’s probably been done a million times, but for me it was a first. I had never tried this type of shot before.

So on my second trip to the same creek (slightly different composition) I lowered the exposure to 1 second. Unfortunately, or not, the original shot of the photo below came out overexposed. I did not, or my camera did not, allow me to use a longer shutter speed at my lowest ISO (100). Obviously something I need to research. In post development I had to tweak the brightness and contrast to get what you see below. It has a somewhat surreal look itself. The water does look a bit more blurred too, which is what I was going for.

Hanna Creek, Trail,
Hanna Creek

Now when I took this next shot, after the one above, I again didn’t realize my exposure was off (neglecting to look at the shots after taking) and I dropped the shutter to 2 seconds. This one is totally over exposed, but I liked the look of it anyway, kinda ghostly.

What do you think??

ghostly, Hanna Creek, over exposure
Ghostly Hanna Creek

Totally washed out, but neat too.

Comments?

Recalibation Required

winter, snow, gray, trees

I’m in a quandary, but then you that know me will say “so what else is new?” I believe a re-calibration is required, ‘How’ is the question, the  ‘why’ not so much.

I won’t belabor the point so I’ll cut to the chase.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this blog lately, in fact I talked about it a little in a previous post called Moving Forward, and a number of others. I guess the bottom line, where the rubber hits the road, is that I no longer believe I am suffering from depression. Whether I’m kidding myself who’s to say. This is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Perhaps I am deluding myself, maybe this is somewhat symptomatic of the illness where one feels healed  and so takes on their previous life without medication only to find they are not as ‘well’ as they thought. I suspect a relapse may be a result, quick or otherwise.

Or, maybe, people such as myself think they are fine but their partner or those close to them indicate that the diagnosis is still valid, they are still exhibiting outward signs of the mental illness. I asked, this doesn’t seem to be the case with me.

In fact I asked me wife that very question this morning.

“Have you seen any changes in me lately, some indications that my moods or personality has changed?’

She pondered the question for a moment and then replied,

“No, I don’t thinks so. If I’ve seen any changes is you it’s been only since you’ve retired.”

Well, that supports my perception of the situation as well.

What brought that question up was a deep conversation I had with a friend a few nights ago. He, Dan, has been diagnosed with depression for more than 4 years, and has been on at least 2 different medications. After taking pills for the first year or so he determined he felt better, and as such he wanted to distance himself from the meds. To stop taking them seemed to be the logical solution. Whether he tapered off or went cold turkey I’m not sure, fact is he quit. (Interesting topic for a conversation isn’t it, not sports, not women, but depression meds. Such is my life)

Shortly after that his wife asked him specifically if he was still taking his meds. He was surprised, and answered No, he had stopped some time before. She replied that she thought so, there were changes in him that led her to think that.

Hmm, I thought, I wonder if similar changes have been seen in me? Thus the question to my wife, and in this case No, she hasn’t seen a noticeable change or regression in me.

Back to the topic at hand, is a re-calibration required? I was going to say ‘should I rethink my blog’ but that horse is already out of the barn. So what kind of changes, if any, should I undertake, or do I leave things well enough alone?

Should I even continue to blog, period? Should I continue to write but choose another topic(s), and alter the Theme, Name and/or tagline? How about starting a new blog, with a different frame of reference or mindset behind it?

Maybe a photography blog, perhaps just a blog where I can write and continue with thoughts that hold little interest to the general populace. You know, kinda like it is now LOL.

But enough of the self-important, self-indulgent prattle, I think a change is in order and it’s only a matter of  How, or what.

These are the questions I am struggling with. Is a re-calibration required, and assuming Yes, then in what direction?

I’d be pleased to hear any input from followers.

I’m Struggling, Grasping for a String

forward, future, distance

Today is another challenge, I want to write, to post something meaningful.  My mind is blank, the ideas aren’t coming, I’m struggling.  I’m looking for a string, a concept to grasp and write about.

I just finished reading a post by another blogger, a specialist in blogging and creating blog and web traffic.  His name is Daniel Scocco and his topic was “A Quick Strategy to Increase Your Traffic.  You can read the post here.  It was very informative and suggested a number of ways we could increase the number of page views, the traffic, on our blogs.  Good ideas all.

It’s an interesting post, one which would undoubtedly help any of us, certainly me.  The caveat in my case seems to be finding the time.  I realize if the task is important enough you WILL find the time, you’ll MAKE the time.  I suspect at this time in my life it just isn’t that important.  I also believe there will be a time when it will.  There are certainly aspects of his suggestions I WILL employ, good ideas.

I started to write this blog to supplement my paper journal, to create a diary if you will of my ’emotional state’, a record of my mood and journey (to use an over-used word in my mind) out of depression.  If for no one but myself it has been a beneficial exercise.  Along the way I have attracted a few followers and created some interest, and that has been …… mentally supportive.  I search for the right word but it doesn’t come, needless to say it feels good.  I don’t feel as burdened by the yoke of depression as I once did.

I’ve seen this site morph into a venue where I frequently bitched, still do on occasion, to one where I’ve developed additional interests.  Maybe re-developed is a better term.  I’m thinking specifically of photography, the art of taking pictures and seeing beauty in the people and things around us..  Blogging is not only a means to not only talk about myself but to strut my stuff (light-hearted humor attempted!)

rail, tracks, railway, perspective
Tracks to the future

Whatever the reason the outcome is the same as it is for so many of use.  Blogging gives an opportunity to speak and be heard.  A means to dialogue with those of similar interests.  Somewhere we can feel connected.  A path or road on our journey through life.

Mine sometimes feels like this photo, I’m taking a path but I can’t see my destination, I can’t see much beyond the next 1/4 mile what life holds.  It’s an interesting trip though.  I’m glad to be on it.

The Beauty Surrounds Us

Fall colours

One thing photography has given me, or re-given I guess, is the awareness of the light and how it plays out on our surroundings.  I’m more aware of the beauty around me now that I’ve taken the camera up again.  It amazes me what we can take for granted.

It provides me a challenge though, in that while driving I frequently want to stop and pull out my camera.  I want to capture the colours, or the shapes, or the people doing what they do.  It has to be enough though that I can appreciate it for what it is at that time, because generally the time isn’t right for me to stop.  Perhaps that’s a bad attitude.

I do stop frequently and try to capture what is occurring in the moment but that is not often practical, not always prudent.  I may be on my way somewhere or have a not-so-patient passenger, know what I mean?

If I’m out by myself and have the time I’ve been known to turn around or even back up on the street in order to get that “the light’s just right shot” but at the same time I need to be careful.  In my zeal to see the beauty I may miss the obvious, I may not see the car stopping suddenly in front, or the pedestrian walking along the road.

So how do I balance this?  How do others do it?  Give me some tips, please.

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Tip Toeing Through Elysium Gardens

DSC_0311

Our time in Kelowna, this time around, is done.  We hung out with the kids, I took a couple walks, we bonded with our grandson, and certainly the highlight (for my wife anyway) was the Cirque Quidam show on Saturday night.  It was a great show but my back rebelled part of the way through and sitting in the folding chairs didn’t do it any favours.

It was part of a birthday gift for my wife.  We went for dinner, had a drink and then walked through a Japanese garden that’s downtown and near the stadium where the show was.  I found it (hope she did too) a very pleasant and relaxing evening.  Certainly Cirque was jaw dropping.

Even though I had trouble sitting through it the show was good entertainment and if you are at all interested in acrobatics, some audience interaction and amazing, some might say freakish, human contortions you would like this.  We sat on the floor about 9 rows back but in hindsight a seat somewhere in the bleachers would have been just as good.  On the floor you miss some things by being eye level with the stage.

DSC_0320We left to come home yesterday but before we departed town we stopped at Elysium Gardens, a local nursery and mixed garden venue.  My main purpose was to have a look at the Japanese garden there, something that is a new/old interest of mine.  I would really like to create a Zen garden, or other type of Japanese garden in our yard.  Something to bring peace and calm to our lives.  Honestly I don’t know how I’m going to do or take part in all the things I’m interested in.  My retirement has to be early in order to have time for all this stuff.

The gardens are certainly beautiful and while I was a bit disappointed in the Japanese garden portion of the grounds it was still a peaceful and relaxing break to the day.  The Japanese garden was just a bit smaller than I had hoped for.  All the gardens were certainly beautiful though, another place to visit again.

The trip to the gardens also gave me an opportunity to play with my new camera, a Nikon D5100 I picked up a couple weeks ago.  It’s another old/new interest, one that will enable me to take waaaay more pictures of our grandson Madden without having to use my iPhone.  I was really into photography 30 years ago and feel a strong urge to reconnect with the hobby.

DSC_0311I shot off about 50 or 60 photos at the garden and now have to decide the best way to file and manage both these groups of shots and the 200 or so I took of Madden before that.  Certainly any suggestions would be appreciated.  I’m thinking I should just register a domain, find a hosting site and be done with it.  Truly any ideas would be helpful.

After we arrived home we tried to determine our next course of action.  We would both really like to go out camping again but with house and home commitments, appointments for my Dad, and other necessary tasks I don’t know that camping is in the cards.

My wife will be back to work for a day or so this week and while she could commute from the local campsite it just seems like too much.  Perhaps we should just stay home.  I know we have some beautiful gardens here, perhaps I can tip-toe through my own tulips.

Tis Bittersweet, This First day of Retirement

Photo 2012-07-01 11 30 02 AM

Hmmm, what to write.  Whether ’tis nobler…..wait, that line’s been taken.

I’ve been pondering much of my day what to post or if to post, this day being the first day of the rest of my life so to speak.  It’s the first official day of my retirement, early retirement if it matters.  I tried to come up with something profound to write, something with some teeth in it, but alas it was not to be.  So I just wrote this.

Continue reading Tis Bittersweet, This First day of Retirement

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

award, blogger

Just the other day I was nominated by Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, WOW!  It’s taken a bit to sink in, and I’m honored and hope I can live up to the honor.  I’m speechless, almost.  Thank you muchly!

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass the award to seven nominees.

Seven things about myself:

1. I’m a new Grandpa, my youngest daughter (and her hubby) gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.  I”m stoked.
2. I’m retiring in a month or so, again…I’m stoked.
3. My yard is beckoning me, I’m looking forward to getting out into it, to bring it back to it’s prior glory.
4. I love to camp, can’t wait for spring and summer. I’m stoked, still.
5. I am still confused as all get out as to who I really am.  my process of self discovery is ongoing.
6 I am enjoying writing and photography, both kinda artsy things I never really thought I’d be into. (Years ago I was really into photography, I enjoy doing it again). I don’t fancy myself as someone who has any “artistic” skills yet I feel totally gratified doing it.
7. I enjoy quiet and solitude. I know I should have more social interaction but it’s a bit out of my comfort zone.
8. I know it’s supposed to be 7 things about ourselves but once I started I wanted to let it roll.

Seven Nominees: (this is tougher, there’s so many)

1  Project 365 (http://gaia365.wordpress.com/) Love the photography, visual inspiration
2. The (Mis)Adventures of a dreamer, traveller, professional dater (adventuremecrazy.com) On Thinking Positive
3. Positive Boomer (positiveboomer.wordpress.com) On Healthy Living (for us aged lol)
4. Tearing Down Walls (tearingdownwallz.wordpress.com) On Taking a Chance
5. Inspirations and Memories (inspirationsandmemories.wordpress.com) I love good quotes, and beautiful pics
6. An Intense Life (christinefonseca.wordpress.com) What can I say, kids (even us old kids) emotional health is so important
7. Bring in Light (bringinlight.wordpress.com)  Spirituality, Meditation and Reflection

Here’s some previous winners.  Halfway Between did this and I think it was a good idea.