Showing posts with label Weddingstar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weddingstar. Show all posts

Dec 9, 2013

A Christmas Shoot With Weddingstar

As the in-house photographer and videographer for Weddingstar Inc. I've shot thousands of images for the company over the years that have appeared on their website, in their magazine/catalog, and on their social media platforms. That said, it's been a while since I've last shared a photo set that I enjoyed this much. 

During the last week of November, Jaycene and I went out to Desert Blume Golf Club to do a faux head table shoot with a winter/Christmas theme.  

Jaycene deserves all of the credit for coming up with the concept and doing all of the preliminary work to pull the shoot together. She organized the products, and crafted some beautiful displays for the table. When it came time to setup on-location, we bounced a lot of ideas around and experimented with the layouts so I could get the best shots. I then edited all of our final images, and put together these collages. 

In the end, it was a real team effort. Jaycene and I both came away from the shoot feeling pretty good about what we'd accomplished. I think the finished result speaks volumes, and hopefully makes you feel a bit festive too. At the very least, it has me looking forward to our next big on-location shoot.

Nov 18, 2013

Busy Days & My Insane Year

It's been a while since my last update, but in short it's probably been the busiest year of my professional life. Between the handful of contract video and photograph projects that I took on this fall (and am now in the process of editing), the full-time work with Weddingstar, an end of year video project with Stream Media, and a few last minute art projects/contracts on the back of my Around the Hat series - I've essentially been in a blur since late August. 

My latest video with Medalta and their artists in residence is in its final stages, and I just finished a new web promo for another client last week, but after a meeting at city hall on Friday it seems I'll have even more on my plate leading up to Christmas. I often have to remind people that I'm also working full-time with Weddingstar through all of this, doing their in-house media and working with digital publishers for their new magazine. I really haven't had any downtime since I got back from my road trip around the Pacific Northwest this summer. It's actually worked out well because my photo series of that trip has carried much of my blog's content through this time and will wrap up in mid-December.

All things considered, this is a good kind of busy. It's a privilege to make my living doing work that matters to me. I think I've found a nice balance between corporate gigs and creative opportunities, and have found some unique ways of showcasing my work and getting my name out there. Perhaps most of all, I'm thankful for the variety. Between photography and video this year, I've had some amazing projects on both sides.

Everything kind of exploded for me in 2013. From my presence in social media to the photo sets I shared and the videos I worked on, there have been plenty of weeks where I haven't been able to keep up with the correspondence. Last month Editing Luke had its highest number of visitors in its 6.5 year lifespan - just shy of 12,000 people visited and viewed nearly 17,000 pages. That's crazy! Especially for a non-sponsored site like mine where I just share what I've been working on.

In addition to all of my big projects, it's been the unexpected ones that have been especially exciting. I'll save some of those announcements until I have a bit more info, but there are some really cool things in the works. I should have updates in the next few weeks.

Who knows what the new year holds, but I know I'll have to be more selective about what I take on. I can't continue to work 12 hour days, although I am incredibly proud of what I've accomplished and been able to be a part of this year - lots of promotional work, my images on covers, stationery, postcards, artwork, magazines, tourism materials, websites, a phone book, and even as a sponsored exhibition. It's all been great, but at this point I'm counting the days until Christmas. Frankly, I'm looking forward to some well deserved time off.

Jul 24, 2013

Photography for Medalta's Gift Shop

If my own photo sets around Medalta didn't give away how much I like the place, hopefully these images of their products do. I was hired to shoot these images for their gift shop back in the spring before I became side-tracked by the 3D printer video I also did for Medalta. Expanding on what I've done countless times for the Weddingstar website and magazine, I set out to capture the items in Medalta's museum gift shop for the launch of their new online store. 

From basic shots on white, to comparison shots of sizes and sets, to in-use shots with props and food, the entire shoot was a lot of fun to pull together. I can't wait to see these images in use, but for now here's a sampling of some of what I captured. Stay tuned for the launch of Medalta's gift shop when it goes live here - and shameless plug - I'm always on the lookout for new projects, so feel free to inquire here.

Nov 24, 2012

Late November State of Mind

This year is rolling out in a matter of weeks and it's once again become clear (like it does every year at this time) that I have a lot on my plate that I want to finish.  It's actually kind of amazing that the first few months of 2012 seemed to drag on for me and then suddenly things snowballed the further in I got.  With so much on the go, I thought it would be nice to share some updates. 

At the moment I'm shooting lots of photography for Weddingstar, working on a new edit for Stream, continuing to develop my Around the Hat photo series, and working on the overdue release of Searching Salvation.  After a handful of trips to Local in the last few weeks I feel like I've had a lot of discussions about all of these things, but then realized that I hadn't really written a what-I've-been-up-to post in a while.  Here's the rundown:

Weddingstar has been doing a lot of revamping this year as the company has continued to expand.  As the in house photographer for the website, this has meant a lot of last minute shoots for the magazine, photographing extra images for new products, updating old images, and a few how-to videos thrown in for good measure.  It's been busy, and admittedly more repetitive than in years past.  

Stream Media has really slowed down in this second half of the year as it was expected to, however another edit has popped up this month.  It's nothing gripping, but I still like having video projects on the side.

Speaking of on the side projects, Around the Hat has been a really exciting undertaking for me this year.  The response has been great so far and I am still searching out locations and interiors from around the city that I'd like to feature.  There have been a lot of seeds planted with the potential for big things in the new year, but one of the best things to come from the series so far is the relationship I've established with Medalta. They've been great at getting me access to closed sites throughout the local clay district and have helped promote my sets as I've shared them.  If this is a sign of things to come then I think I'm on the right track.  I'm seriously exploring opportunities with government grants as a way of exhibiting and sharing the complete series.

And then there's Searching Salvation, the short about the death of my friend Dave and our trip to Salvation Mountain in California.  I've been dragging my feet on this one for the last year because I've been struggling to sum it up and have it feel exactly the way I want it to.  I haven't abandoned the project though, it's just been a long editing and fine tuning process.  When it's ready I don't want to have any regrets about it, and because I see so much potential in what it can be I don't want to feel arbitrarily pressured.  All I can say is that it's coming along and I'm getting closer.   

Throw in Christmas prep, and it's going to be a busy next few weeks.  I think a few more pints are going to be in order to help get me through it.

Jun 19, 2012

Life After Film School

Last week I received this message:

Hello, I am a 2nd year film student at the University of Regina. I actually came across your blog by accident, and I'm sure glad that I did! Not only do you propose lots of good insight and ideas into filmmaking and it's various ups and downs, but you do it from a place that I can relate to. I've been having a lot of the same doubts about film school that you've described here, and it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who's felt this way. And it's also great to see someone get out of this program (degree or not) and actually GET a job, which is something that has me quite worried these days. If you have any spare time on your hands, would you mind telling me a little bit about why you decided to drop out of the program, and how you made your way into the industry on your own? I'm very interested to hear the journey of someone who's been in the same boat. You have a great blog, and I'm very eager to hear from you.

As I've done in the past, I received permission from this student to respond publicly to their message. As always, I want to thank everyone who sends me questions and feedback. It not only makes this website feel worthwhile, but it also gives me an excuse to explore what I've learnt as well.

I've written at length about film school in the past, and even recently. This blog was a result of me trying to understand the direction I was heading, to facilitate a transition out of university, and to give me a bit of clout when it came to actually pointing to things that I'd done creatively. As a film student, nothing stressed me out more than the fear of not finding meaningful work when I was done.

For the record, I did enjoy a lot of my time in university and I do think there's a lot of value in a film school education. The practicality of it requires you to fill in some of the blanks however.

To answer your question about why I dropped out, I had overstayed my welcome to the point that it wasn't a choice anymore. I completed all of my core production classes through to 4th year, but had spent six years at the U of R doing so. By the time I left I only had a semester of electives, one language class, and one film theory class keeping me from my degree. I was broke though, and after completing the courses I'd come to university for, I became apathetic about school and spent months simply spinning my wheels. I was forced to realize at that point that the only thing I valued about film school anymore was being able to say that I went.

Thankfully, there was a bright side that came from all of this. My frustration with classes actually motivated me to make more personal projects and finally explore my passion for editing on my own terms. I submitted my work to film festivals, I took part in video contests, and started this website. In the beginning it was just self indulgence (and frankly a lot of it still is), but I can see now how these projects laid the groundwork for the opportunities that followed.

I moved home to Medicine Hat in 2008 with my tail between my legs. I had acquired some nice festival credits and had a little bit of money left from a Sasktel video competition that I'd taken part in, but the best thing I had going for me was that I was hungry for anything that seemed even mildly related to video or photography.

It was on a fluke after hearing about Stream Media that things changed. I soon realized that they'd sponsored the local student film festival that I had been a part of, and actually won a few awards from, a couple years before. I then discovered that I had a loose contact through Julie, one of the owners, who I'd spoken with briefly one of the years that I'd had something in the film festival. With nothing to lose, I wrote her an email explaining exactly what I'd been up to.

This shot in the dark changed everything for me. I was called in to talk, I gave them a reel of some of my shorts, and Julie's insistence got me a job. I was hardly financially independent at that point, but the opportunity I'd been given was amazing. The experience I got with Stream Media became building blocks. Suddenly I was shooting for various corporate projects, editing promos, and most importantly, working with a small team that could show me the ropes.

The film festival had become my foot in the door, and because I'd taken chances with my work as a student, it made an impression when I came knocking several years later. That experience still impacts me now when I think about the value of sharing your work. You never know who could be watching or where the next opportunity might come from.

As the economy cooled towards the end of 2008, I began working contract with Stream and found work in early 2009 with a retail website that had an interest in using video. I started as a copywriter with the potential of moving into video with them. My excitement and their willingness to grow lead to them taking a chance with me. I ended up building their in house media department, and began shooting enough photography and video to the point that I had created a new job for myself as their Web Media Editor.

To date I'm still balancing both jobs, and feel like I've been given an incredible opportunity to build my reputation on what I genuinely enjoy doing. The truth is that there is little to be gained in a creative profession without taking risks. Some of the smartest things I've done (looking back) is latched myself to people who appreciated what I was doing. I've also made a point of not just talking about how I love photography and video, but showing people that I do. Words are cheap, but it's difficult to ignore proof.

Once out of film school you're going to have to make sacrifices to move forward. This means making less money for a job that pays in experience, or putting in extra hours just to prove that you can do something new, or taking someones whim and being the person to interpret a logical first step for making it happen. Neither of my jobs existed when I went looking for them, which just goes to show that sometimes your fear can be an amazing motivator. 

Use your uncertainty to explore just what it is you want to do or where you want to be, and start taking as many steps in that direction as you possibly can. Redefine your film school expectations and realize that degree or not, you're still at square one when you get out there. You can take comfort in the fact that what I initially viewed as a failure in terms of leaving university when I did, actually timed me perfectly with the companies who were ready to take chances at that time too. There are a ton of hidden opportunities, and sometimes it really is as simple as getting in touch with the places you'd like to work with whether they're hiring or not.

I'm 28 now, but I've hardly got it all figured out for myself. I know it's important to stay hungry. Make things that inspire you and use them to inspire others. You'll start to pick up crumbs that will lead to bigger opportunities just based on the number of new people you're reaching. And one other thing, people like people who can tell a good story. You'd be amazed how far that can get you. 

So, to sum up a few of my own thoughts here are a few things to consider.  Share your work in as many ways as you can think of.  Like I said, you never know who could be watching.  Work hard to make meaningful connections with other people who are interested in some of the same career ambitions as you, they can become meaningful allies later on.  Take creative risks on a regular basis to challenge yourself, to grow, and to discover new things.  And don't forget, enjoy yourself.  The stress and fear are healthy, but don't forget how much fun the work can be and how defining the journey becomes.  If you really want to make the most of life after film school, stay hungry.  

Apr 24, 2012

Streamlining and the Video Business

As of late I've been cleaning house (so to speak).  I've been reorganizing my blog, creating photo sets on a new flickr account, rebuilding my reel, and casually working out ways of adding more punch to my portfolio site.  All of this personal rebuffing may seem a bit indulgent, but I feel like it's already helping me expand in new ways.

Recently my Around the Hat photo series has helped me get a bit of local traction. When I kicked off the series with a set around Medalta Potteries, they were kind enough to give me a shout out on their facebook page.  More in line with what I had been hoping the series might do, it actually gained me a new contact with prospects for future video/photography work.  Work hasn't been in short supply these days either.  

Last week I had to turn down a New York production company who contacted me to shoot some behind the scenes footage and photography of an event for Glenfiddich Whiskey in Calgary.  It was a two day shoot and I just couldn't make it work with my schedule. Although, just getting the offer was pretty flattering considering that it came directly through my portfolio.

I feel like I'm at an interesting point in my career.  I'm on the hunt for new challenges, and ways to reinvent or diversify my approach to the kinds of videos I'm already doing. While making more money is always nice, I think what I'm really striving for is even more freedom in my schedule and maintaining the variety in the projects that I undertake.  Making some of these things a reality is going to require that I cast a bigger net, and I think that's what I've started to do.    

Mar 21, 2012

Winter's Last Hurrah

On Monday (March 19, 2012) literally the day before the first day of spring, winter decided to do a bit of last minute showing off.  To put all of this in perspective you have to understand what an unbelievably mild winter we've been having here in Southern Alberta.  I was able to have the sunroof open on certain days in February, and throughout March it's actually been nice enough for shorts for several days at a time. Somewhere along the way I guess we were going to have to pay for all of that good luck.

On Sunday there was no snow, and although the blizzard was in the forecast, come Monday morning it was simply raining on my way to work.  Our office is located just outside of town along the Trans Canada highway, which makes for a nice enough work environment, but then things like this happen.  By noon the snow had arrived in full force and we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a blizzard.

With temperatures hovering just below zero, the snow falling was heavy, wet, and it stuck to everything.  My office window was quickly glazed in ice, and for a few hours it hid how bad it was getting outside.  By around 3pm I glanced outside to snap a few quick pictures and realized that there was over a foot and a half of snow piling up around some of the cars.  I started to dread the thought that we might actually get snowed in. And what's that? Oh, the plows won't come out here until the evening. Sh*t.

Any panic and frustration I felt about getting my car out of our lot only worsened when I realized what was happening in town.  The highways were all being closed, power outages were reported, and dozens of accidents had already occurred.  From then on I wanted nothing more than to get home that night and I joined the rest of the guys in the web department shoveling, digging, and pushing as many people from our parking lot as we could.  In a making-the-best-of-a-bad-situation kind of way, it was actually fun being out in the snow - especially because people were actually starting to get out of the lot.  

By the time I was ready to go I was relying entirely on the chains that my Dad insisted I hold on to the last time I got my Jag stuck in the snow.  Once again, they were a life-saver.  Had it not been for everyone else's vehicles making tracks before me I'm not sure I would've cleared the lot.  I trudged all the way to the highway with those chains on before removing them, and by the time I got back into town, the roads (although still awful) seemed better by comparison.

It's still amazing to me how much snow fell so quickly that afternoon.  For it to go from clear to a real possibility of being stranded out in the country, like a bunch of school kids in Irvine were, you have to be thankful that in the end it was mostly just a temporary inconvenience.  Now, in truly predictable Alberta weather fashion, the snow is disappearing relatively quickly as temperatures are predicted to return to the teens. As far as I'm concerned, winter can take a break now.      

My office window.

This isn't overexposed, it literally was white out conditions.

The snow piling up.

Mar 10, 2012

Late Nights in the Studio

It's not entirely uncommon for me to work during the evenings at Weddingstar when everyone else has gone home.  With Stream Media in the mix, my schedule often requires a certain amount of flexibility between both jobs and sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day.  Truth be told, I don't mind the peace and quiet when I'm trying to film something or shoot a bunch of pictures and the late nights in the studio are actually a welcome change of pace.

I suppose what really solidified this behavior was my routine for getting projects done in film school.  Living in residence on campus it was easy to hang out in the film department after hours when using the schools equipment.  Even later into my final years in uni when I had all of my own equipment, I found editing was best done in the middle of the night because it was so much easier to focus without all of the distractions going on during the day.  I've always found it a luxury to approach projects with a solid block of time too, and evenings generally provide that.

I'm proud of the niche I've carved out for myself here too.  The entire studio is a result of the company growing and me stepping in at the right time to help shape the photography and video that we use on our website.  It's easy to draw a line between what I was doing in school and a lot of the projects I produce individually now. Maybe it's not so surprising that I'm still addicted to the late nights than either
. Old habits die hard. 

Dec 22, 2011

Modern Inspired Photo Shoot

This year was full of on-location photo shoots for Weddingstar, but things kicked off with vintage, sparkle, and modern themed shoots at the office.  Each time the scope of the shoot became a bit more varied with more products and props.  Truth be told, the videos were all secondary to the photographs which were to be used for ads in the UK, to enhance product pages, and for highlights on our blog.  

The modern themed shoot was a bit more generic than those prior scenes, but instead of doing a traditional table setting we did a desert table and seating table.  Here's another sneak peek of some of the products used in the shoot.  

Dec 15, 2011

Pigeons on the Windowsill

Surprisingly, this hasn't been all that uncommon over the last few weeks, but this morning was something else.  For about two hours there was a continuous rotation of pigeons landing on my windowsill to roost.  Some hunkered down for five or ten minutes, some immediately pushed the others out of the way to get a better spot, but I guess my office window was literally the hot spot today.

I was back and forth between the studio this morning and every time I came back I'd snap another picture.  It was actually an amazing photo op because the pigeons weren't scared of me at all.  I was able to get right up to the glass and take some incredible detail shots of the various birds while they went about their business.  In the end it was a pretty entertaining show.     

Dec 2, 2011

Weddingstar at the Opera

Earlier this year I was up in Calgary for Weddingstar to shoot another round of behind the scenes photography and video to help promote the release of the 2012 magazine.  One of the big photo shoots this year was taking place at the Calgary Opera House where the space was transformed into elements for a mock ceremony and reception.

Last year the big photo shoot was garden themed and we shot at the popular Rouge Restaurant in Inglewood.  That was a lot of fun, but this shoot was even more lively as there were a number of models and stand ins to help create the scenes.  

I've really enjoyed all of the on location shooting that I've been able to do this year with Weddingstar.  Even if it's just for small edits or more elaborate photography projects, it's exciting to see how our approach is broadening.  It's been a big year, especially now that our newly redesigned website is about to debut this month with the new magazine.  You can also check out the blog post I did about this shoot on the Weddingstar blog.

Nov 28, 2011

Twas the Month Before Christmas

If glancing at the calendar wasn't enough of a reminder, the mounting list of projects and last minute goals that I set out to complete by the end of this year has left me feeling the pressure.  That's not to say that I'm not on track to complete them, it's just about a realization of how busy I'll actually be.  

First, and perhaps most pressing, is the list of work projects that I want to wrap up by years end.  This includes  photography for the Weddingstar website, a few promo videos, a year end video for Stream Media, and lingering elements from several projects that keep bleeding into others.  At this time last year I had the same goal but an editing project for Stream kept coming back and it seemed to nix the fresh start I was hoping for when I was still busy with it in January.

As an added line of defense I'm taking the end of December off and have made it clear that I don't want any work on my plate during this time.  Fingers crossed it goes to plan.

Additionally, one of my other big goals for the end of this year is to have my new portfolio site in full swing.  Things are looking good on this front.  The site itself is designed and I've started the meticulous process of filtering and linking content that I want to feature.  At this point it's requiring more updates and refreshes on Editing Luke posts, but it's fun to back track and feel like I'm constructing a solid presentation.     

Over the weekend I also managed to design and order my brand new business cards from and can't wait to have them by mid-December.  It's been exciting to think about how I can continue to brand myself and connect with more people in the new year and I know this portfolio project will help.

There are other things I'd love to do too, like work on my short film Searching Salvation. There are people I want to visit, there are new posts I want to make, there are a couple of books I want to finish, and even a few PS3 games that I'd love to waste a day playing.  It's been a rough year in a lot of very different ways, but I feel like if I make the most of this last month I'll been in a good place come 2012.  It'll also make Christmas that much more enjoyable and relaxing.

Here goes.  


Oct 18, 2011

Impromptu Portaits

The power went out at work this morning, so I spent the time snapping pictures while playing with the light reflecting off of the glass in my office.  Turns out I'm no better than a cat fascinated by a laser pointer.

Oct 14, 2011

Mending a Glass Half Full

A few things seem like they're finally starting to pan out.  I've got my car back from the shop, work has been good, and I'm getting away for a bit this weekend.  There's a lot going on still, but it's the good kind of busy that makes you feel like you're actually accomplishing things.

I've been editing a lot lately, but it's also a lot of stuff that I want to work on.  I'm doing a reel for Stream Media's new website, a teaser for the launch of Weddingstar's 2012 magazine, and I've been toying with ideas for my new Salvation Mountain project that I announced earlier this week.  I think I'm feeling more productive and generally more positive now that I'm finding new things to work towards.

To say it's been a strange and stressful year doesn't quite cover it, but everything has also been moving so quickly that I feel like I'm entering another chapter of 2011 now.  I was sitting at my computer last night listening to music and reviewing footage and it hit me - my life could be so much worse than it actually is and here I've been stressing myself out about things that I can't really control.  

I guess we can't help but do that sometimes, and when things are already bad it's often easier to blame someone else because of it.  I've been challenged to confront my own limitations this year.  How much can I really work?  What's actually important to me? Where do I want to go from here? I haven't come up with easy answers for any of these, but I at least feel like I'm paddling my own boat more than letting the current push it around.  That's a start.

I'm really just trying to say that things are getting better.  The positives have not been as abundantly obvious as they've been in the past, but it doesn't mean that they're not there either.  This has been a rebuilding year, but you know what?  I'm cool with that.

Aug 29, 2011

When Life Hits the Fan

Over the last two weeks it feels like it's been one thing after the after.  Even with a week off for holidays, I found myself just as busy and just as stressed out by the flurry of activity that I found myself in.  I like being busy, but as things start piling on top of each other and as the good begins to blur with the bad, well, let's just say that it doesn't take long before you feel like curling up in a ball on the floor.

My story starts on August 12, a Friday.  I was busy rushing to finish up some last minute photography projects before I welcomed a long awaited week off for holidays.  While I wrapped things up at the office, the real work began that evening as I tried to complete the final video for what had been a six week project involving various edits for the College.  Things didn't quite work out.

At 11pm I placed a call asking for an extension on the deadline as I had to be up first thing on Saturday morning to drive 500km for a wedding in Regina.  The project was temporarily shelved and I was off to Saskatchewan. 

The wedding was for my friends Daunean and Ian.  I had lived with Daunean in residence and the wedding proved to be the perfect excuse to bring all of us College West brats back together again.  While I find an excuse to see the film school gang at least once every year, the residence group is spread all over the place so are meetings are too few and far between.  It made the event that much more bittersweet and enjoyable.

I awoke the next morning, hungover and exhausted.  There had been plans for a bonfire that evening, but after checking my emails and finding the new revisions for the College edit I had waiting back home I knew it wasn't in the cards.  It was the briefest trip I'd ever taken to Regina.  A whirlwind 24 hour visit with most of my time spent behind the wheel.

I was back in Medicine Hat on Sunday afternoon only to have my Jaguar start acting up.  As it turns out the drive was just as tiring for my car as a bit of tinkering confirmed that the throttle position sensor had officially conked out.  This was one of my worst fears as my early research when buying a Jaguar addressed this very problem.  The throttle position sensor isn't sold separately, but instead is sold as part of the entire throttle body assembly.  A part that costs over $2000 new.  Shit.  

To feel rushed through a wedding with editing work weighing on my mind is one thing, but then to be sidetracked by issues with my car is another.  I'm pretty handy and have done a lot of maintenance myself, but that Sunday there simply wasn't any time for me to do anything expect figure out what was wrong.  It was starting to feel like I wasn't going to be able to cross anything off my list as I had planned.  It was a late Sunday night spent editing.

Monday I had the College edits away and had some time to prepare for my friend Tyler to come and visit on Tuesday.  I was asked by my uncle to check on his house later in the week and so went to pick up keys at his place.  My aunt had been up in the cancer center in Calgary with what we found out later that week was a Pancreatic Neuroendrocrine Tumor.  The cancer speculations that began at the end of June had taken everyone by surprise, and as I was swept up in my busiest time of year with edits, I struggled with how something so heavy had come out of nowhere.   My aunt is back home for the time being as they explore possible treatments.

My cousin Leslie has been writing about the experience on her site.

By the time Tuesday came along I was thinking I could finally kill some time with my car before relaxing that evening with my old film school friend.  That wasn't the case.  Final revisions for the College edits came in and I was rushing to make changes for a now overdue project.  I was still rendering when Tyler arrived, but the hangout was welcome.

My phone began beeping on command first thing Wednesday morning as there was a problem. I wasn't even surprised at this point.  There were incompatibility issues with the College edits and their software.  More hours were spent rendering as I bounced between work and playing host, but later that afternoon the project was completed, delivered, and finally off of my plate.  

That evening I found out that my good friends Dave and Wendy had finally had their baby boy, Darwin.  Last year at this time Dave and I were finalizing details for our road trip to California, in which Dave spent much of the journey text messaging a new girl he'd met named, Wendy.  What a difference a year makes, huh? Wendy shared her birth story on her blog

The remaining days of my holiday were spent catching up with Tyler, finally getting a chance to visit with my friend Andrea after weeks of delayed hangouts, searching out a salvaged throttle body on eBay (which should be here any day now), and generally just trying to hang on to my sanity.

This swirl of activity has left me generally frustrated, stressed, and in a weird funk.  Since my week off things have started to even out somewhat, but I still feel consumed by all of the big things happening to those around me.  Work, weddings, babies, sickness, reunions, major repairs - it's a lot to process in a week.  It's like walking down the card aisle at Hallmark and feeling like you currently have a situation for each category.

I feel selfish for needing support when those around me are going through big life changing moments.  Perhaps that's what's hurting the most. I'm running on empty from six weeks of working two jobs at the peak of their busy seasons, and I've been reminded that the real challenge has been to have a life.  I just want a few days off, I want my car to work, I want to be able to save a bit of money without something else going wrong, and most of all, I want to be able to fully appreciate the big moments of those around me without feeling that my mind is somewhere else.

John Lennon had it right when he said 'Life is just what happens to you when you're busy making other plans'.  It is getting a bit messy though, so could somebody please turn down that fan just a little bit?