To mow or not to mow

One of the joys (and by joys, I mean obligations) of home ownership is maintenance, particularly of the lawn variety. Before today, I had done close to nothing. A few weeks ago, I spent a good few hours attempting to rid my front lawn of dandelions, only to give up when I realized I had tackled about 3% of all the dandelions. My neighbour was nice enough to fill those holes I had created in the lawn (from the weed puller) with sod, and they even mowed my front lawn for me!

My backyard, however, was a whole other story. Virtually untouched since I moved in, it was in desperate need of a cut. I’m not exaggerating…

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This is what my backyard looked like. Without a mower in Kingston, and little desire to purchase one after paying for my AQ course, I left it to its own devices. When I wandered in today with the mower my parents had given me, I kid you not when I say some strands were up to my knees. After two mows and a whole lot of sweating, I was able to step back and admire the result.

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Dare I say it now looks like a proper lawn. It makes me happy (and I’m sure Kelvin is thrilled too). Now to maintain it throughout the summer months…

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Day One of Detox

For the next 21 days, Kara and I will be embarking on a detox adventure. In an effort to keep each other accountable to it, and also to just have some fun, we are going to be blogging daily about our experience at our detox diary. I spent $70 on groceries today on things to get me through the next three weeks, and I question the taste factor on a fairly large portion of those items. Here’s a better attitude to get me going!

Creativity?

Lately, I have been struggling between two seemingly contrasting views of creativity. The first, championed by Sir Ken Robinson, is that creativity is “the process of having original ideas that have value”. The second, as quoted by the late Steve Jobs, is that “Creativity is just connecting things”. So which is? Is creativity original or is it just a new way of presenting things that already exist?

After pondering this dilemma, I am happy to settle with the conclusion that it is in fact a mixture of these things. We are all shaped and molded by what we see around us. Our experiences tint our perceptions and they channel our attention towards and against particular things. The ideas that we come up with may very well be a combination of a range of things that we’ve encountered before. In my own life, I know that many of the cards and drawings I do are often inspired by things that I’ve seen (on pinterest, in nature, created by others). At the same time, many of the thoughts that I have are also (arguably) original and have value.  

Now this brings me to another question – who says that an original idea that you have might not be the same as an original idea that someone else has? From two different journeys, two people may very well come to a similar conclusion. Does it devalue either of these individuals’ contributions? No. Both have exercised their creativity and have come up with an original idea.

One of the most beautiful things stemming from creativity is what happens when people collaborate. Using their ideas, their experiences, and the connections that they’ve made, people are able to find innovative solutions, to learn new things, and to push the boundaries of the here and now. This is what we need more of – for people to speak up, unafraid to share their ideas…because you never know where that one idea may lead.

Media channel overload

Should I post it? Tweet it? Path it? Tumble it? Pin it? Maybe even keep it to myself?

With new apps and social media channels being created each day, sometimes I find myself wondering where all my thoughts and the information I come across should go. I don’t like the idea of identical information being posted in multiple locations (though sometimes it does happen), so ideally everything will have its place. For the most part, these avenues all have something unique about them, thus making particular types of information appropriate for them (and not others). There are days and periods where I have no desire to keep up my online presence, thus I am still poor at updating these outlets consistently, but as I continue to say: “I will make an effort.” In an attempt to organize my online thoughts and comments, below I delineate where everything goes in my life:

Blogging
My personal blog is a mix between a detailed status update, a soapbox, and a gallery. Whenever I make new cards or creative things I will post them here. Whenever I have an issue or thought that I want to mull over, I will write about it. If something big happens in my life, (generally) I will blog about it. The space and ease of customization of a blog allows me to display a breadth and depth of content (in one place) that would be more difficult to organize elsewhere on the web. This is where I can really flesh out thoughts that I have. I do not often include links to other sites in my posts, but that’s just me.

I also have some content-specific blogs in addition to my personal blog. These vary in their purpose and style, but I usually will link these to my main blog.

Facebook
Oh Facebook, how you have fallen almost into disuse in my life. Aside from the occasional post or message, and group/event information (that I am required to comment on), I really don’t use Facebook for much else. I do not do status updates, I do not post my own pictures into albums, and I have for a while stopped actively adding people to my friends list. I have most of my friends’ birthdays saved to my phone, so past this year, I most likely won’t be using Facebook for birthday reminders either. The breaking point might have been when I realized Facebook was getting dominated by apps – that was a major turn off. Why does it need to be linked to everything? Whenever I can, I now prefer to sign up for things via email rather than linking it to my twitter or Facebook.

Path
Path contains a mixture of personal text/photos, and is accessible only by a few people on my network. This is the place I capture everyday happenings, and one of the only places I will tag friends. I can go for stints where I don’t path anything, followed by a particularly eventful day where I will path multiple times.

Pinterest
One of my favourite outlets, pinterest is where I have a visual collection of all the things that I like. When I am reading through blogs I follow, most of the photographic inspiration I come across will find its way to pinterest. What I enjoy about this is that it’s quick and easy. It’s very low commitment – I can pin something and write a short caption for it, or I can even like something that I see without affiliating myself to it through the “stronger” actions of pinning or re-pinning. It’s organized, and I can even upload my own pins to a board (which is what I do for things I’ve done myself). I return to pinterest often to see what other people have pinned.

Twitter
I have an interesting relationship with twitter. When I first started, I wanted to keep things entirely professional. I would add only organizations or people I had “networked” with (I do not like the word network as I tend to affiliate it with thinking of people simply for your personal gain). But over time, I found myself connecting with real people, sharing thoughts, and even tweeting things that I think have no value in conversation (case in point – last night I tweeted: “Hope I don’t dream about zombie apocalypses like I did last night…”). Twitter is usually the first place I will go to share an interesting article that I come across. I will also use it to share a blog post I’ve written that I think is appropriate for a wider audience (such as this post). However, when I find myself veering towards a more personal, everyday conversation, I still like to keep it going through DM rather than through public tweets. I am not well-versed in my use of hash tags or any twitter etiquette, and I definitely am not an avid tweeter, but this is one form of social media that I do see myself using for quite some time to come.

And now the age old question – why do we need to put all this information out there anyways? Are we finally releasing the inner exhibitionists that dwell within each of us? I think not. However, I do think that being plugged in breeds a desire to be more plugged in. The more you see other people contributing, the more you want to contribute (why do you think so many people start blogs, only to stop after a few months when they realize it takes some amount of effort to maintain?). I am wary of spreading myself too thin when it comes to social media, and honestly, I do not have the drive to maintain a strong, witty, and involved online presence. However, to those of you who choose to do so, and who add comments of value to the Internet, thank you. You make life on the periphery so much more exciting :)

Something Continuous

As is the case with many projects, you may find yourself starting things often, maintaining them sometimes, and completing them almost never. Despite this seemingly inevitable destiny, I refuse to give in to the beckoning of idleness. So here we are, at the start of my 23rd year of existence, with a new daily endeavour that I have embarked on. Prior to my birthday, I did a trial run of daily post-it pictures. However, I found that by day 7, sleep consistently trumped the post-it. Thus, I figured writing a few sentences would be more manageable than drawing a whole scene. Thus, letters to the (extra)ordinary was born. I am hopeful that with my wordpress app in hand, I will be able to keep this up. Here’s to a new challenge!

When the years start to blend together

Remember how when you were nine years old, it was the biggest deal when you made it to double digits? And do you recall the sensation of counting down the days to your 19th birthday?

Well, as it seems, the older you get, the larger the interval between these milestones, and yet the spaces between them seem to be more and more similar. Your days and weeks run together as routine sets in, and you find that time flies by (isn’t is still February?…) . Something I’ve experienced this year is that when you are working, your concept of time is very different from when you went to school. As a supply teacher, I still have summer to look forward to and to anchor my year, but what about workers who do not have the extended summers that we have?

How do you keep your everyday fresh and exciting, and how do we remind ourselves that each day is a gift from God that we need to live to the fullest?