Personal Interest

The Importance of Running

My first pair of shoes

As I woke, I peeked out the bedroom window to get a sense of the day ahead. I often do that so I know whether it is sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy… whatever. I also saw my neighbour returning home from an early morning workout. That was the spark I needed to get back into my running shoes.

I had breakfast and got the kids off to daycare just as I always do, but I also let my mind relax so it could plan out my first run of 2013. After returning home from my pre-work chores, I quickly jumped into my running gear, darted out the door… and ran.

It felt so good to be back on the road again, to feel the sun on my face, to feel my heart race, and listen to the metronomic (I think I just made that word up) cadence of my feet gripping the pavement with each bound.

I felt free, and for a brief period I felt completely unplugged from the rest of the world and living solely within myself. No computers, no tablets, no cell phones… just ME!

I love running because it allows me to slow things down, to reflect, to think. Running is my time to completely zen out and gather my thoughts. I think nearly every great idea or decision I’ve made in life has come while running.

The rest of the day was a complete joy. I was happy, I was upbeat. I am often those things, but it felt less forced yesterday and I attribute that to my morning run.

I can’t stress enough how important exercise is for the mind. I think people often treat exercise as just another chore to complete, but I think that if we can find the one form of exercise that truly lets us relax, and lets our minds become free, then we can be much happier. I believe that exercise can help us see things more clearly, deal with challenges more easily, and live a more productive life.

What is it that helps you recharge and regroup from your busy schedules? I’d love to find out what you do by leaving a comment below.


Childhood Memories: 3 Objects In My Childhood Bedroom

As an only child, I was spoiled growing up. We were not well off by any stretch of the imagination, not even close. Thinking back, we were probably living a shade above the poverty line, if that. But, for some reason, I had everything. I not only had my own bedroom, but I also had my own “toy room”. the toy room had shelving from floor to ceiling on all four walls, and I’m not proud to say it, but I was able to easily fill each and every shelf. And though toys were a huge part of what consumed my time as a youngster, the three things listed below invoke stronger (and fonder) memories than any of my old toys. These three things weren’t toys at all…

1. Return of the Jedi bed sheets
There wad nothing bigger for someone growing up in the 80s than the Star Wars movies. I loved those sheets. I wish I kept them so I could pass them along to my sons, but they probably wouldn’t be much more than the consistency of a wet Kleenex by now. I studied each character on those sheets. My bed probably didn’t see anything else on them, which makes me question how often I let my mom wash them… um, gross.

2. A horse-shaped bedside lamp
Growing up, I was uncontrollably afraid of the dark. I’m not sure why, but maybe it was because of the creaky floors and doors in the house, maybe it was the unknown of the black night that you only see in a rural setting, or maybe there really were monsters trying to get at me. For peace of mind though, I’d like to think that a monster could have gotten at me 🙂 Having that lamp on at night kept me in a safety bubble and allowed me to sleep soundly… when I eventually fell asleep. It cut through the blackness with power and authority. It also had such a beautifully detailed horse statue as the base. That horse was my protector.

3. A massive closet
The closet provided me with a gateway to an alternate universe. I could step through the door, and be anywhere or anyone. I think closets are one of the best play spaces a child can have. Today, my older son pretends his closet is an ice cream truck from which he serves us ice cream almost every night.

What were the special items in your childhood bedroom? Did you have a favorite toy, piece of furniture? Or clothing? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

The idea for this post came from a book I picked up recently called 642 Things to Write About, by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. It’s full of wild and random topics. If you’re ever stuck for something to write about, I strongly recommend picking up a copy for yourself and thumbing through it. Many of the titles will make you laugh out loud.

My Journey Into Photography

I like photography, no, I love photography! My father was… is… was a photographer. Is it possible to ever stop being a photographer? Who knows, I’m not a real photographer. I visited an Ansel Adams exhibit a couple years ago and was completely blown away. Perhaps this was the birth of my new found passion.

I have always loved photographs but never knew how to properly take one. It had always seemed like a simple concept to me. See something you like, aim your camera, take the picture… done! Not so. What about lighting? What about composition? How do you keep your kids from appearing as a blur in your photos? How do you take a picture in low light without having the harsh flash take over the scene? Well, I wasn’t able to answer any of these questions until I stumbled upon an amazing photography blog series called 31 Days to a Better Photo.

In this series, Darcy walks her readers through the basics of photography with the aim of having them feel comfortable shooting in manual mode at the end of the thirty one day tutorial. She begins by explaining the technical basics, understanding the relationships between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, and ends with discussions about post production (I think. I haven’t actually read the whole series yet).

Now, as a father of two young boys, 3 ½ and 1 ½, and a husband to a super amazing wife, I have some motivation for taking better pictures. Last summer I purchased my first real camera, a Sony NEX f3 with 18-55mm kit lens. It’s extremely compact, easy to use, and takes great pictures. I have everything I need – the subjects, the equipment, and the tal… um ya. This is where Darcy’s blog comes in.

I am going to follow her amazing wisdom and document my progress here. I’ll briefly discuss the various assignments Darcy gives us, share my successes and failures via photos, and give my thoughts on the process. I know it takes much longer than thirty one days to become a true photographer, but I think that this is a solid first step to truly enjoying photography, and hopefully taking better pictures along the way.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I will.


Father & son in Kensington Market, Toronto 2012