The beauty of photography

I was an avid reader when I was young; in fact, I read whenever I was not in school. My Dad and I had a bedtime ritual (three visits) ending with my father taking away my book for the night. When I wasn’t reading, I was making up stories.

And early on I realized that it was easier to make up stories with some inspiration. I turned to anything my eyes would fixate, and my imagination would take it from there. Some of my stories were long, and sometimes what had grabbed my attention couldn’t be found a second time. A butterfly in flight, a dandelion losing its seeds to the wind, the waves, a baby smiling, a bird grabbing a seed from your hand.

I appreciate being in nature

The revelation happened when I linked together finding something visual that appealed to me, repelled me, motivated me, infuriated me, softened me and the capability of capturing this visual.

The turning flashbulb!

I bought my first photo film and flashcubes with my allowance of 2 weeks. I also saved up enough to get the film processed. I don’t recall what I photographed, but I recall the exact moment I went with my mother to a stand-alone little booth in the middle of some parking lot where one person took in films to be developed, and photos to hand out to customers. I was hooked!

With my first paycheck from my first fulltime job, I bought myself a 35mm totally manual Pentax K-1000. The first picture I took using Fuji Slide film was one of the chandeliers at the National Art Center in Ottawa.

I’ve never looked back. Photography grounds me.

Photography allows me to get lost in the subject I am visually framing. I pay close attention to details. Macro photography is my favourite type of photography. I have spent hundreds of hours getting lost in macro photography. I love my garden which is a constant source of endless amounts of potential subjects.

Photographing fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers makes me appreciate the cycles of nature. Photographing animals makes me connect with them and learn about them.

Photographing people makes me very happy. I try to find the essence of someone and capture it somehow. I like to connect first with my eyes and then with my camera. Can I tell you that I would give gold to get photographs my early childhood, of my father, my mother, my siblings, my childhood house and my of grandmother?

Photography makes me slow down and really look at things in great details. Photography makes me appreciate life. Photography brings me closer to my human subjects (well some non-human ones too!). Photography makes me feel. Photography increases my curiosity about my subjects. Photography paints my life, my thoughts, my likes and dislikes. Photography gives me a unique way to enjoy travelling. Taking photographs helps me dream, influences my writing, makes me recollect and just simply makes my heart sing.

So if you see me around, know my camera is close at hand. Perhaps you will let me capture your essence?

50 Years Without My Father

January 21, 1970. It was a typical Wednesday and we got up to get ready for school. I have vague memories of what happened earlier that morning, but I do have clear memories of my mother telling us to go see my sister Monique who was waiting for my 5-year-old brother and me to join her in her bed.

We snuggled in, and as best as she could, having just a short while before learned of the news, she explained to us that our father had passed away. I was 9 years old.

Where most of the following days were sketchy at best in this 59-year-old mind, I do have strong vivid detailed snippets of specific moments. I remember writing a letter (which I have to this day) and asking the priest who stopped by the house why angels didn’t have any bodies.

I was very much involved with our church, not only as part of the children’s choir but also as one of the first few girls to help serve mass. I loved going to church and I always saw it as a house of quietness. I was a student at a school run by nuns and was proud to have had my first communion a few years my father’s passing.

Reading back the letter I wrote, and I have no issues sharing it with the world, I realized I had a very strong belief in heaven. At least, I had learned my catholicism lessons well. What is very interesting, is that I could not actually write the word “died or dead” unless it was in parenthesis. I’m sure many therapists and psychologists would have a term for such behaviour.

At 9 years of age, I did not speak a word of English, therefore the letter is in French. I will, however, attempt to parts I feel relevant to how I saw my father’s passing.

“Oh my father, he was well on earth, he raised us like Jesus was raised by Joseph and Mary. I loved him with all my heart and he was the joy of our family. He was handsome, lovable and never did he argue with mom. I feel he trained us well to love each other and do always do what must be done. It was on the 21 of January that he (died). But he is always with us. I know well that his SOUL is with GOD. I think of him every night, he speaks to me in my heart. He tells me that when I need something I need to ask it of him. At night I dream: He is with us always and watches us from high above the sky. Because dad loves us always even if he is (dead).”

I believe, even at the young age of 9 that my spiritual upbringing helped me through the initial years after his passig.

50 years without my father – it seems unreal to think it has been so very long. However, I can say that there are few days when I don’t think of him. I missed him just as much during my big life events, my wedding, the birth of our daughters, seeing my girls grow up as during the small, little moments of everyday life.

I wonder how my life would have been had he lived past his 45th year. Would he have been the disciplinary one, would he have left me to spend three summers in Spain in my late teens, would he have encouraged my choice of career, would he have, would he have, would he have…

Tomorrow I will focus on the beautiful memories I do recall, and of those, I will remember to be grateful that I had at least those 9 years with him. So many people live without ever having known their parents, I had enough days to understand that he was a loving wonderful dad. I hold a strong belief that somehow, one day, we will be together again.

Je t’aime toujours, Popa!

Never too late to learn

Brain

It’s the summer of 1966, a few days after school had closed for the summer. I sat outside by the back fence at a little makeshift table made from an upside-down cardboard box. I had my pencils lined up perfectly, a small ruler and some pieces of paper on my make-believe desk.

I was ready to imagine I was in school. Yes, only a few days after my summer holidays had started I found myself playing school. I loved school, I loved reading and I loved learning.

Throughout my career as a consultant, I took as many classes as the organization would allow. I always used up my learning budget, and often would ask for more. Sometimes it worked and I expanded my learning wish list, other times it didn’t. I, however, always asked.

When I first learned about distance learning I admit that I saw thousands of doors opening up for me. My work required that I continuously travel and this made it impossible for me to commit to an in-person learning program, but oh, when the location was no longer a challenge, I signed up.

Early versions of this now sophisticated mainstream way of learning offered a lot of opportunities for those who were passionate about learning because the challenges were plenty.

Over time distance ed, remote learning, distance learning, online, internet-based method of learning has evolved in leaps and bounds. To me, distance ed is a door opening to a vast paradise of knowledge!

I’ve enjoyed taking classes in anthropology, philosophy, business management, writing, and Italian. A few months ago, I took an introductory Program Management course, and within 4 weeks the bug bit me and bit me hard. I started dreaming about attending university with the Millenials and taking all sorts of courses.

Then, upon introspect and reviewing my wish list, it occurred to me that I need to walk the talk, in that I always am the first to tell people “Carpe Diem”, ‘Seize the Day!” or “this moment may never come again”. Time goes by so quickly, exponentially in fact. I’m about to turn 60 and I’m excited for the next decades ahead.

I have registered to complete an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) specializing in Big Data and Business Intelligence. My love of data has been reignited at my current assignment; during my days of working for a large consulting firm, I learned to truly appreciate what bits and pieces of information can reveal and how interesting the theories can be.

It’s an aggressive project, this MBA, given I have 18 months, with a possible extension of 6 months, during the time I will continue to work 4 days a week and will have close to us our future grandson! But I thrive on challenges. Let’s see if this first year of my 60s is as exciting as I imagine it will be!

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.” — Eartha Kitt

Bravo Meghan and Prince Harry

This blog has been resting for quite a while and today I felt the need to resurrect this channel for my imagination, my dreams, my thoughts (well some thoughts), and my opinions. I hold no one else but myself accountable for my words.

So what inspired me to dust off the cobwebs on these pages? The news that Prince Harry and Meghan have decided to take a different direction with their lives; a life mostly detached from the British Monarchy.

I cannot even imagine how many thousands of hours of discussions this must have brought on. I also imagine there must have quite some serious differences of opinion. I see, however, a beautiful horizon for the couple, who will no doubt be the sources of an endless amount of negativism. Hopefully, the encouragement of those who support the bold move will help them navigate through the challenges.

I was raised in a French Canadian family, and my mother was a true Royalist! I remember that in our kitchen, we had three pictures on one of the cupboards, and the order was important.

Centred was a picture of the Pope. Below was a picture of the Queen on the left, and a picture of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the Prime Minister at the time, on the right. Later in life, she took what she called her epic trip and went to England with my younger brother.

I have a reverence to history, to the Popes and the Queens. There are places for tradition, and these figures do represent much to many. Ironically, of late I’ve binged watched The Crown and Two Popes. Both show the behind the scenes of a life that is constantly on parade, and the loneliness of a scheduled and organized existence.

I think this is why I admire Prince Harry and Meghan so very much. How hard must this be for them to pull away from a life of tradition, of pomp, of schedules and events, of rules and what-not-to-dos… They have opted for something different, something more… normal.

It will be interesting to see just how the decision they have taken pans out. However it becomes for them, it must be something so wanted by both to be willing to face the newness of a decision that few have taken. Maybe the Prince of Wales, Edward paved a bit of the way for them.

Time will tell. Times, they are changing!