Gratuitous picture post!

Because photography and animals are some of my favorite things.

Both me and my camera share a deep fondness for animals. It’s probably one of the reasons we get along so well.

Hello Winter.

Mother Nature got her winter on, big time, over the last few days. It’s starting to feel like a normal winter instead of a messed up spring. So, I thought I would clarify some Canadian weather terminology.This is the temperature I woke up to this morning. Luckily there’s no wind chill. I recently learned that when the weather people say “wind chill warning” it means that wind chill temperatures are hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure. That’s basically fancy terminology for “go the heck back inside or you’ll get frostbite everywhere”. Welcome to Canada; home of mounted police, hockey and temperatures that can eventually kill you. Despite this, winter is still awesome.

This happened on Wednesday and made me glee and make snow angels and pelt the neighbour kids with snowballs because they’re the only ones who can appreciate it like I do (despite the fact that there was five of them and one of me, and I lost horribly). That’s what makes me love winter so much. That childish feeling you get when snow starts to fall and it makes you think of hot chocolate and warmth and stuffing snow down your friends pants. Winter makes me remember that it’s perfectly okay to be a big kid sometimes. Even if it makes my mother roll her eyes.

I’m going outside now to make another snow angel simply because I can. Have fun, where ever your winter is.

And it goes on, and on, my friend.

I’ve managed to get the winter blues this year and it’s a first for me. I think Joline’s death is (obviously) the main reason for that and the fact that we’ve barely had any snow this year. I love winter and I love snow. My parents used to joke that I was the only true Canadian in the family. This year I’m having a lot of trouble keeping my optimistic personality in place without it cracking.

I dislike negativity and people who always focus on the bad things that happen to them. There’s a woman I work with who can’t stand to see other people happier than she is, and she’ll go out of her way to drag them back down to her level. I’ve never let her get to me before, but recently she’s just been driving me up the wall. I’m more than sure that I’ll be fine, but I don’t like the idea of someone else thinking they can control how I feel. She’s so negative it’s incredible. She enjoys seeing other people’s pain and it’s slightly disturbing.

There are a lot of things that help me focus on keeping my positive nature, and I’ve decided to share a few of them.

MUSIC. Loud music. Anything from happy show tunes to kick ass battle sequence instrumentals. If it increases your joy by even a tiny bit – listen to it. Frequently. I walk to and from work everyday so I have twenty minutes to get myself into a positive and motivated mood. If you drive to work, crank that shit up in your car and drum along on your dashboard.

READING. Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction; whatever your favorite genre – read it into the ground. During the days following Joline’s death I’ve managed to finish reading three books and I’m halfway through a fourth. I shouldn’t really promote escapism when trying to deal with the unpleasantness of life, but I’m pretty sure there are worse coping methods out there. An example would be alcoholism or shooting heroin or both. So if you escape into books to get away from life, that’s a-okay in my book. I do it too. (John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood and Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards!, would be good places to start.)

MY CATS. They are ridiculous and funny and they will make me laugh until I, almost, pee three times out of five. If you have pets, let them love you, or watch them do stupid things because they don’t know any better, or let them fight each other for space in your lap because, being needed makes you feel better even though they’re using you as furniture. Having a constant companion (or three in my case) can bring you joy just by scratching an adorable set of ears.

So there you have it. Some tricks for surviving the winter blues, and negative coworkers. Deep breaths probably help too, but I’ve found humming “This Is The Song That Never Ends” under your breath works better.

A warm pair of mittens.

Alright. It’s time to discuss location. This is my province. It’s generally wonderful and it’s shaped like a rabbit which made it super easy to identify when I was seven and learning about my country. I might not have known the difference between Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan but I sure as heck could tell you where New Brunswick was on a map. I remember my teacher being unimpressed with my enthusiasm about us being “the rabbit one”.

I’m proud of my province. I was born and raised here and I still haven’t left, despite my best efforts. I’m fluently bilingual and can transition between English and French without any trouble at all. Something that I wouldn’t be able to do if I hadn’t grown up here.

I’m telling you where I am (sort of) so you’ll know exactly where I mean when I show you what’s been happening outside my window.

Mother Nature has been having more hot-flashes this winter than normal. During the month of January, New Brunswick is usually covered in two feet of snow and it won’t melt away because of our -47 degree celsius wind chills. This January has been virtually snow-less and warm, so I was extremely excited to see the snow start to fall. I took those photos earlier this evening.

Outside now looks like this:

It’s only about half a foot, but it’s so nice to see Mother Nature finally get her Winter on. I’m one of the strange people who absolutely love the cold and snow, so please don’t hold this Winter-appreciation post against me. I’m considered weird, even among my fellow Canadians. They don’t like it either.

Start me up!

Lets talk about things that have a tendency to keep my motor running, so to speak. Writing and photography.

One of the things I enjoy about writing is the feeling of being unleashed. Like, being set loose after a long time in confinement. The need to write and create. The feeling of the keys beneath my fingertips typing out every little thing that pops into my head. Every word, every descriptive paragraph and every scene. In a way, writing makes me feel alive. It gives me a reason to get through the day, so I can come home and type out two measly paragraphs. That might not seem like such an accomplishment, but after a long and exhausting day at work, I’m lucky to even make it past my couch to get to the computer chair. It’s an effort that I’m willing to make when I’m not partially unconscious.

Photography makes me feel the same way. When you’re looking at the world through a camera lens, I find that you’re really able to see the things you generally overlook. For example – looking up. I find that too many times when I’m out walking or exploring I never take the chance to look up. I find, since that realisation , I do it often now, even when I’m not taking photographs. Sometimes a perspective change is all you need to see something beautiful.

For me, photography is about having fun. Yes, there are times when I take it very seriously, but there are also times when I just have fun with it. Everyone should just have fun and be a bit of a goof with their photography. For example: I once spent forty-five minutes chasing a butterfly at Fundy National Park simply because I could.

Randomly chasing a butterfly is also, probably, among the list of reasons why my mother thinks I can’t go anywhere unsupervised. I’ve been living on my own for ages now, but when I tell her about things like chasing butterflies, she’ll give me a look that says I’m suddenly five years old again and she wants to properly educate me on why chasing butterflies is not socially acceptable for adults. It’s probably why most of the crazy things I do, she doesn’t know about. I think that everyone should get that look at least once in their life. Socially acceptable for adults? Pshhaw! Be a five-year old!