Bucket List Created at 16 YO... 46/100 Completed

Turning 30 in less than 2 weeks gives a person a chance to think of what it means to enter a new decade and leave one behind. When we were sixteen, our eleventh grade teacher had us pull out a pen and jot down 100 things that we hopped to accomplish in our lifetime. Every few years I look over the things that made it on to this list and I am always surprised to see which items I have inadvertently accomplished and which remain. Its weird how there are very few of these things I have purposefully set out to scratch off and yet how many of them through chance or a twist of fate are done. It is also interesting to see which things at 16 were a priority....kissing an old crush, planning a high school reunion, read the books my parents were reading at the time. Its also a little sad to realize there are certain things that most likely won't ever come to life like running an 800m in less than 2:20 (my PB at 16). There are things on here that are hilarious and embarrassing like the fact that I STILL don't have my driver's license, and others that are so lofty and crazy that I would be seriously impressed if I ever got around to them. Running from Manitoba to BC is one such crazy goal, or going on a month vow of silence. Still there are items that I was surprised that I could scratch off at all but life has an interesting way of weaving chance and opportunity together, take a look and see how many of these you have done!

 

1. Sky Dive (not yet)

2. Learn to play Violin (Lessons at Conservatory of Music 2004)

3. Sell A Painting (Art show with Burgess, summer 2011- 2 paintings sold)

4. Finish a full Marathon ( June 2004 & ran 25.6 miles of one in 2005)

5. Spend 3 months touring Europe (Summer 2008 with Shoni)

6. Give a speech to a large group of People (Valedictorian 2004, Junos 2015)

7. Take a Yoga Class ( hahah many 2004-2016)

8. Learn Flute Theroy & how to read music (Not Yet)

9. Fall in love & have a real relationship ( David Landreth)

10. Read the Alchemist ( have now read it 7 times including book club)

11. Write my own book and publish it (Not Yet)

12. Save someone’s life (Not Yet)

13. Be a Bartender (Buccacinos 2004, Piccadilly Pub London, 2008)

14. Learn a third Language (Not Yet)

15. Learn how to Kayak ( Leeya, English Bay 2006, Lori thailand 2014)

16. Go whitewater rafting (Leeya Thailand 3014, Lori Peru 2015)

17. Ski at whistler (Not Yet)

18. Kiss someone famous (John Stamos, Lori 2012)

19. Become a Psychologist (Not yet….)

20. Make each family member cry from joy ( thats tough to determine…not yet?)

21. Learn how to make stained glass (Not Yet)

22. Buy and renovate an old home (Not yet)

23. Volunteer in Africa (Ghana, Cross cultural solutions, 2009)

24. Keep in touch with shoni (yup) Michelle (yup), Lori (yup) Monica (yup), Lindsay (yup), Leeya (yup), Carina (sorta), Emmanuel (not really), Aaron (not really)

25. Body surf at a concert (Yup 2007, Gogol Bordello, Vancouver)

26. Bungee Jump (Not Yet)

27. See Cirque du Soleil (Vegas 2012, Linds’ bachelorette, gift from lines)

28.See a Broadway show (Visiting Ashley in NYC, 2012 Chicago)

29. Change someone’s life in a big way for the better (Hard to measure that, sixteen year old Roberta)

30. Sew an outfit (not yet)

31. See Every Province and Territory in Canda ( Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, BC….)

32. Adopt a child (Not yet)

33. Be in a play ( Summer 2003, Montreal — I had a single line)

34. Make a full family tree (Not Yet)

35. Learn to Tango (Not Yet)

36. Go on a month Vow of Silence (Not Yet)

37.  Learn to carve wood or stone (Not Yet)

38. Read all of shakespeare’s plays (Not Yet— lofty)

39. See one of Dali’s paintings in real life ( Wpg Art Gallery 2006)

40. Real the Long Walk ( Not Yet)

41. Go to every Continent ( Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America — Remaining are Australia, and Antartica)

42. Swim in every Ocean ( Pacific, Atlantic, Indian — Yet to do Southern and Arctic )

43. Witness a Birth (Ghana 2008)

44. Read the Bible, Torah and Kuran (Not yet — again lofty!)

45. Own a snake (Not yet…or ever?)

46. Paint a Mural ( 2010 Mural Mentorship program through the West End Biz with Michelle)

47. Be in a Movie (Not Yet)

48. Have Children (Not Yet)

49. Sew a Meaningful Quilt (Not Yet)

50. Run from Manitoba to BC (Not Yet…Lofty AF)

51. Teach English Overseas (Ghana 2008)

52. Take a Huge Chance ( Tough to determine… Going Freelance maybe)

53. Go to the Real Mardi Gras (Not Yet)

54. Plan or Go to a High School Reunion (Not Yet — and why?)

55. Learn to Like Football (Dated a Bomber, but still not into the Game)

56. Take Photography Lessons (Not Yet)

57. Make my own recipe for cookies ( Christmas 2004 apparently)

58. Memorize the Constellations (Not Yet)

59. Ride over 1000 KM on a bike ( 2013, Vancouver to San Fran with David Landreth)

60. Meet the Prime Minister, Royalty or a current President (Not Yet)

61. Kiss Kyle Burkett ( hahaha Dec 2003, what a 16 year old)

62. Graduate High School with an average above 90% ( Yup 92%)

63. Run 800M in less than 2:20 ( I don’t think I ever did…and likely won’t at this point!)

64. Become an experienced horseback rider (…Not yet?)

65. Finish the Book Sophie’s World (started it in 2005)

66. Lose 20 Lbs (Hard to quantify that one…not yet?)

67. Get married, after I turn 26 ( Scheduled for July 2, 2016 to the love of my life!)

68. Climb a Mountain (Well many, but tallest is Huayna Picchu is about 2,720 metres (8,920 ft) above sea level with Lori in 2015)

69. Visit Inglis when I am older (….how old is older? I’ve been many times)

70. Watch all the star wars movies (Tara, Sam, Michelle, 2011)

71. Invent something (Not Yet)

72. Win a Pie Eating Competition (Not Yet)

73. Learn How to waterski on one foot (Not yet)

74. Smile at at least one stranger a day (Tough to quantify…)

75. Get over my fear of spiders (Not Yet)

76. Do the Splits Both ways (Not Yet)

77. Learn Sign Language (Not Yet….Anna?)

78. Fly a Plane (Not Yet)

79. Build an Igloo and sleep in it (Not Yet)

80. Write or Compose a song (Not Yet)

81. Get my License (Hilarious that I’ve done these other things and STILL not this)

82. Swim in a pool of jello (Not yet)

83. Play with the Symphony ( Not Yet — Again lofty AF)

84. Eat a live bug (Not Yet, on purpose anyway)

85. Witness a Miracle (….tough to quantify)

86. Go to a Gay Bar (ahahah as if this was a life goal — many many times)

87. Swim in a waterfall ( 2005 with Monica, 2008 in Ghana and italy with Shoni, 2014 in Thailand with Lori and Leeya)

88. Name an Island (How big does this Island have to be to count?)

89. To to a horse race ( 2010 for Mr. B’s retirement)

90. Be in the Guiness Book of World Records (Better grow out these finger nails!)

91. Make a Web Page (hahahahaha oh man, so many "webpages”)

92. Get abs ( got em, they are just currently covered)

93. Sculpt a Clay bust of myself (Not Yet? )

94. Try not to sleep for 5 days and 5 nights (Not yet…maybe once we’ve got kids?)

95. Play the Piccolo (Not Yet)

96. Build someone a house (Not yet)

97. Give 1000$ to a charity (Not Yet)

98. Plant a garden (Not Yet)

99. Inspire someone to write a song about me (Dave)

100. Go to the ice hotel. (Not Yet)

Bucketlist  

Bucketlist

 

Month of Inspiration! 01.04.16

I realized I am doing an epically poor job of keeping up with this blog, and decided that this month I would put 10 minutes of energy into it a day and start an inspiration log! The idea was sparked by these incredibly cute yogurt jars at safeway this morning. Glass jars, beautiful font and a little illustration, plus this flavour is done up in my favourite colour. The design was so gorgeous that I bought them, and how delicious they turned out to be! Although I truly believe that great design does make things taste, sound, smell and feel better than they would presented poorly — design is the host to a users experience of a place of object. Anyway, this yogurt just goes to prove that culture(s) can be found everywhere...even in the dairy aisle "ba-dum-tshh". But seriously how cute is this? Stay tuned, I wonder what we will discover tomorrow...

IMG_0353.JPG

Steve Bell

Sometimes, when you jump in with only faith and a blindfold, life leaves your head spinning, trying to re-trace the steps that led you to a certain place – because it certainly wasn’t planned. Often, it isn’t events, but other people who are the authors, who help to write the plots of our lives. In a pretty major way Steve Bell was a catalyst for huge change in my life. 

After booking my flights to the JUNOs last night and reading about the itinerary for the Red Carpet; I had a profoundly humbling moment. I am going to the JUNOs. Not as a guest but a nominee. What??? With my partner flying around the globe, being invited to play private parties for the elite, and having interviews with Rolling Stone or People Magazine, I feel like slowly and subtly I have become somewhat desensitized to grand romantic gestures from the world. But last night it sort of hit me in a raw spot. I have been so lucky. Being nominated for this award is such an incredible honour, I feel like it acts to silence many of the doubts that wash up on the shores of my subconscious, which is always hinting that maybe I am not good enough.

Although this JUNO nomination is a happy detour on the adventure, the really life changing event happened in Starbucks a year and a half before. A stranger named Steve Bell asked me to help him with his upcoming album “Pilgrimage”. Over coffee that day I had no idea that this project would change the trajectory of my own life. Having heard of Steve Bell only in passing, I had no idea about the following he had accumulated over his 25 year career, or the amount of respect that his name commands, but even more important than those things, I had no idea what a great guy he is. I don’t think it really occurred to me to be intimidated by the magnitude of this project until I walked into the Centennial Concert Hall, where he had invited us to his sold out holiday concert with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. 

While Steve joked with the audience, the string section of the Orchestra came to life like snowflakes in a street-lamp at night. I was completely moved. This was magical. I spent most of the concert with goosebumps, brought on by that rare quality some experiences are flavored with – completely modest grandeur. The real kind of grandeur, that is born from love instead of pretentiousness. Where a few weeks prior I had naively agreed to tackle this project, I was suddenly feeling hugely intimidated. How to do justice to this beautiful thing I had just witnessed? As a designer, the task is to visually represent the story your client is trying to tell. That grandeur I witnessed at the Concert Hall? It is a beautiful experience to be a part of, but to try and reign it in and represent it– I must say that is rather intimidating.

Through the year, piece by piece it came together, eventually taking on an identity of its own. Working alongside Mike Latschislaw and Amy, Faye, Dave and Steve at Signpost; the many many parts of the project were stitched together with tons of hard work, patience creativity and lots of proof reading (thanks Amy). But another thing that was simultaneously coming together was that I was gaining confidence in my own skills. Half way through the project I had the confidence to make a major life change and quit my day job in favour of freelancing full time. 

Leaving your day job that is not only financially stable, but also fulfilling and enjoyable, to walk into the unknown can be utterly terrifying. Making the decision to work as a freelance designer was just that: terrifying. For as much freedom that freelance allows, unpredictability and risk are equal parts of the equation. You are completely accountable, from finding new work, to managing your time, to taking complete ownership over any mis-haps. It is a lot of responsibility, but I feel that through working with Steve on this project he gave me the gift of confidence. He took a huge risk on me... Entrusting his compilation of 25 years of masterful music to someone with no reputation at all. Although a JUNO nomination is validating, the true gift was Steve taking this chance and trusting in me to run with this. His faith in me gave me faith in myself, and that is way more valuable than a walk down the red carpet. 

If you haven’t heard much of Steve Bell’s music, I suggest you check it out! 

 

Photo By Mike Latschislaw

 

 

November Ennui

Novemeber;

 

The grey month, a waiting room. The slow-motion fireworks conducted by the Oak and Elm, have all fallen to embers, brown, trampled and wet on the ground. This time of year seems to breed ennui, that melancholic listless feeling, where you are hoping for snow, just for a change of scenery. It seems to be this time of year, that I always find myself browsing travel sites and reading about exotic locations closer to the equator. Last night wrapped up in a woolen blanket, with my slippered feet propped up on the radiator I decided that instead of longing for yet another trip somewhere warm and exciting, I would re-visit some of the beautiful places I have already been. If I am grateful for one thing in my life it is that I have had a life very rich in experiences. As a result of my many impulsive decisions to book a ticket and go on an adventure, I now have quite the photo album of beautiful places to look back on and savor. Maybe one day photography will include a multi-sensual experience, where you can feel the humidity of Hawaii, or taste the dust roads as you walk in Ghana. Maybe an image can one day somehow re-create the elation of soaring down a mountain in Oregone on your bicycle. For now though you just have to imagine those things. Imagine the exhaustion and thrill of climbing a mountain in Thailand, or the awe of exploring a temple in Bali. Instead of wishing, today I am going to be thankful. I decided I would share this album with everyone else who may also have fallen victim to the ennui of November.


Winter: an incubator for the arts

So last week I was asked to do a little talk at PechaKucha on the 23rd, which is a platform for designers and other creatives to share ideas and inspire one another. Although the entire thing lasts less than seven minutes (20 slides for 20 seconds each) the idea of standing up with a room full of people all with their attention on me, makes me rather nervous. I was bouncing around ideas all last week, but with the onset of winter, I feel like I have finally arrived at a topic that will work perfectly. Why Winnipeg Winters enrich the arts. I have had the opportunity to work with all kinds of creative people over the years, and I think it may have something to do with the blank canvass of winter. Below is a little intro to the idea, if anyone has anything else to add, please get in touch! Also come to the Park Theatre on October 23rd!

 

T HE PARTY WAS just embers at this point. Five or seven of us sitting amidst empty beer bottles and popped balloons, licking chip crumbs out of the bottom of party bowls. Three am, but warm still because the sidewalks driveways and rooftops absorb hours of august sunshine all day long. Summer in Winnipeg is languid and loitering, never in a rush and never regretful. 

It was on such an august night, that I fully appreciated winter. If you are from Winnipeg you will understand what I mean when I say this…winter is much more of a beautiful idea in August than in January. 

We were sitting around the patio table that night on Wolseley, I was surrounded by musicians from all different genres: Jazz, bluegrass, country folk and pop. The conversation wove in and out of topics like smoke tends to. Eventually the subject came around to Winnipeg being a natural artists hub. How some of the best musicians in the world came from this town. I piped in that I had read in the Globe and Mail once that Andrew Lloyd Webber was quoted saying “Winnipeg is the cultural incubator of the world”, as he went on to put together one of his musicals here. And what is it about our unsuspecting little community? What makes Winnipeg this “creative incubator”? Is it because we are geographically isolated enough to sort of implode into ourselves? Is it an energy thing, having to do with the notion that two rivers meet here, bringing two sources of opposing energies- a meeting place. A place of creation? 

At the table was a musician who said it best ” I was born in Iran, and have been all over the world in these past twenty years, since I left. I will tell you something that I know for sure: for all the beautiful music I have heard around the globe, the very first time I have ever heard real silence was in this city.” 

You know how once in a blue moon someone says something that halts a conversation, where you just know that you have stumbled into answering a question you hadn’t even realized you were asking? That is what happened here. Everyone leaned in from their lawn chairs and put out their cigarettes, all attention was on Amir. “You know, the first time I heard this silence was while I was walking on the Assinaboine. It is a strange sensation to know you are walking on water you know. I remember being right in the center of the city, in the middle of the night, standing there on the water and thinking ‘ the only sound I know at this moment is the sound of my own footsteps.’ I knew that to stop walking I would be absorbed deep into this silence. When I did, when I stopped there that night, I will tell you this: silence is a powerful thing.” 

This simple statement drew together all these fragmented thoughts I had. Silence, was the answer music was asking for. White space was the answer the brush stroke begs for. For words to flow into stories there must first be a blank page. To know the beauty light makes in a photo you have to know the corners of darkness. For a dance to move you, it must be contrasted with stillness. And as I thought of these things it dawned on me, this is what makes Winnipeg unique. It is our winters. These long periods of frigid days that turn into darkness before dinner-time. Where everything is muffled and stilled by the duvet of whiteness. 

Without silence music would be noise, without white space art would be chaos, without darkness a photograph would not develop. Because every Winnipegger knows winter, we know how to respect a blank page, before taking a pen to it, we know just how beautiful kinetic movement can be, because we have also known stillness. 

So if you are feeling that self-loathing Winnipeg feeling this winter, go stand in a field or on the river, and listen for that powerful silence, and watch whiteness as far as you can see.

Balance

Through the last 28 years, on this planet the most important thing I have learned so far, is exactly what my mother has been saying all along: a balanced life is a happy one. Having the luxury to design my own days, I have put together a little list of things to remember. A balance between health, fun, socializing, working, being thankful, challenging myself and making plans. I have been really trying to stick to this list through the month of September, and so far it has really been working! I think the thing to remember is doing these things in small chunks...for instance running 5k every morning is a lot less time consuming and much more difficult to talk yourself out of when it only takes 30 minutes out of your day... Here is the list so far

Screen Printing!

This fall I am taking a screen printing class on Tuesday evenings at Martha Street Studio. My best friend Shoni, had recently asked why Dave's band The Bros. Landreth didn't have any t-shirts in kids sizes. I surprised her by making my first project into a gift for her and her daughter Nola. Matching band shirts! I went to visit her house in south Osborne where we had beers under her canopy of hops while Nola took a nap. Once she was up we headed over to the park to play in the leaves! A beauty of a day!