Sunday, November 14, 2010

Week 22: Treasure/Trash

Treasure (left: Mary)

Lucy is my mom’s creation, a gift for her first daughter.

I think my mom had her ready for me as soon as I was born, or shortly thereafter, and she’s been with me ever since.

She’s been on the receiving end of a lot of cuddles, hugs, and tears throughout the years and today she still rests on my bed waiting for me whenever I come home.

The gifts my mom has given to me, both tangible and not, are some of the most treasured things in my life.

Trash (right: Sarah)

What deems something ‘trash’? That old saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ certainly rings true to me. When I was walking by these phone booths the other night, I wondered how many people actually use them anymore, what with cell phones, wireless internet, email etc…

When something is useless or approaching obsolete, does it then become trash? And then how long until it is considered a vintage find, is upcycled, or broken down for parts and turned into something else?

Of course there are undeniable stinking piles of garbage, but have you ever rescued something from certain landfilth? Have you ever turned trash into treasure?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Week 21: Tame/Wild

Tame (Mary)

Chase. The Big Guy.

He’s 100+ pounds.

He’s a licker.

He scrunches his nose and cries out when he’s excited.

He is often confused by life.

He doesn’t bark to be let in or out. He’s quiet, most of the time, unless you’re a visitor, in which case he’ll bark his head off just for you.

In greeting Chase, he will expect you to place your arm in his mouth. It’s a comfort thing. He will not bite your arm. Instead, he’ll just leave your arm in his mouth, covering it with drool while he cries out in happiness.

He is incapable of proceeding through a half-opened door. It scares him.

He’s a cuddler.

He’s gentle and docile.

He’s a mooch and will go so far as to place his head on the kitchen table when dinner is being eaten in hopes that someone will feel sorry for him and slip him a little something.

He loves the outdoors.

He reeks 90% of the time.

He loves eating his own shit… and crab apples. But, he’s not picky. He’ll eat Bub’s shit if it’s available.

He has the loudest burps of any dog I’ve ever known. They shake the house and surprise all of our visitors.

He lets babies ride him like a horse.

He loves the water and his morning walk.

Chase is clearly a unique individual and this is precisely why we love him so much!

Are there any tame creatures living in your house?

Wild (Sarah)

child thang...

you make my heart sang...

you make evvvvverythang groovay...

i think i love ya.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Week 20: Smooth/Rough

Smooth/Rough (Sarah)

I've been chewing on these words for a while now, not able to swallow them, or spit them out.

When I first started thinking about this week's pairing, I was snapping pics of tree bark and pavements and silky fabrics. I was seeking out objects to visually describe rough and smooth. But, all I can reflect on when it comes to writing are the textures of life.

I am going through a particularly tumultuous time in my own life. I feel like I am leaning, tip-toed on the edge of a rocky gorge, unsure of myself, and most unsure of others. I don't know whether I should just plunge into the unknowing, belly-flop onto the questions and plow my way through, or, if I should ease my way down and try to avoid the roughest waters.
I'm afraid of drowning, afraid of not being able to catch my breath.

And yet, there are gasps of stillness.
There is smoothness, warmth and wading pools.
There is watching Jinu throw stones into the river, holding his soft hands, and kissing his creamy lil' cheeks.

So for now, I am hanging on tightly to the gentle moments.
I am thankful for life in all of its fluidity, always moving, ever-changing.
I am thankful for the ability to make my own choices, and for the realization that most often the choices I make lead to a certain path, and either rough or smooth, a destination.

Where is life taking you?
Where are you taking your life?

(As you can see, we rearranged the pictures differently this week and, we want to know what you think is better? The two images stacked on top of each other (like above) or the original side-by-side design where the comparison is easier to make?--We'd love to hear your opinions! Please share!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week 19: Dirty/Clean

Where to begin?

Hi, everyone. We apologize for disappearing for a month with no explanation. Sarah and I have both totally been neglecting the Internet these days. You can't blame us though. We've been wrapped up and enjoying our families, friends, and each other. You can imagine how nice it feels for us to be back home and we're enjoying every moment of it.

Now that we are both pretty much settled, we're hoping to rekindle our relationship with the Internet and our blog. We are going to try and catch up with the posts we've missed over the last month and then get back on track with posting once a week.

This week it's all me (Mary) and the next post will be all Sarah (you'll be able to check that out in the next couple of days).

So, we're back and we hope you are too.
We'd love to hear from you so leave us a comment below so we know who's reading! We've missed hearing from all of you over the last month.

Dirty and Clean (Mary)


While India is certainly full of beauty, there is absolutely no denying or arguing against the fact that India is one dirty place. With over a billion people and many environmental issues plaguing the country, India is in some serious trouble when it comes to the environment.

Black smokes pumps out of vehicles and fills the streets, leaving people literally blackened. I read that air pollution in many Indian cities has measured more than double the maximum safe level recommended by the WHO. The streets are a bad place to be, but are exactly where everybody is, selling their goods, eating, and living. Garbage is chucked nonchalantly onto the streets, animals are rummaging around eating the garbage and there seems to be a general lack of care for the cleanliness of the streets.

But the pollution on the streets does not compare to the waters. Pollution in India’s waters, especially the rivers, is possibly the biggest threat to public health. In Varanasi (or ‘Varanasty’ as our friend Javeed lovingly refers to it), where the Ganges River flows, the ‘dirty’ is ever present.

The Ganges, the holiest place for Hindus, is filthy. The Ganges is, ‘Mother’, to Hindus. She delivers happiness, salvation and is an intrinsic part of many devotees’ lives. They come to the river to pray, bathe, and even to die. This water is also sipped by some, which is incredible given the state the river is in.

Parts of the river are actually septic meaning that no dissolved oxygen exists. There are approximately 32 points of raw sewage in Varanasi alone, flowing directly into where people come to take their holy dips. I read that water that is safe to bathe in should have less than 500 faecal coliform bacteria (yes, we’re talking about shit particles now) per litre, but in the Ganges there are 1.5 million.

Clean up the Ganges, that’s what I say.

(And while this may seem like a bash India rant, it’s not. India’s a fantastic place to travel, it’s just not the cleanest)


Having spent the last leg of our trip in India dodging cow and dog shit on the roads, passing endless piles of smellllllllly trash and generally feeling pretty disgusting, it sure was nice to come home to a clean house, a clean bed and my neat freak of a father.

Calling my dad a ‘neat freak’ may actually be an understatement. He is an all-out machine when it comes to cleanliness and order. His motto is and if only you could hear him say this with his no bullshit face, ‘you see a mess, you clean it up!’. We live by this motto at our house.

The lawn is cut in perfect diagonal lines, the sinks are cleaned out after (almost) every use, beds are always made, cups and food are not left out and about, and the dishes after all meals and snacks are washed (by hand) immediately. Every cupboard, shelf and desk top is organized. Most often my dad can be found dusting, sweeping, and picking up dog hair and keeping the house spotless. We won’t talk about his cars at this point because really, that’s a WHOLE other story.

So tell us, are you a neat-freak or do you live on the wild side and let the mess accumulate a little?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Week 18: Organic/Inorganic

Organic (left: Sarah)

I was a dancer once, and it was one of the best dreams I have ever had. I remember waking up and being so bitterly disappointed that I couldn't actually move my body like that, feel music like that, leap or spin just like that. I felt weightless and sure of every single movement without the anticipation of the next move.

It's amazing, there are so many types of dance. It lives and evolves through people and culture and time.

For me, dance is organic ~ a living, breathing art form.

Inorganic (right: Mary)

Udaipur is said to be Rajasthan’s most romantic city. And, while I loved the surrounding mountains, the dried up lake where grass grew and cattle grazed, and the people, I was completely blown away by the beauty of the architecture. The way the city sparkled at night and shimmered during the day. I spent hours gazing out into the city, full of palaces, temples, and gorgeous old architecture.

What inorganic things do you love?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Week 17: Fire/Water

Fire (left: Sarah)

C'mon baby, light my fire...

Two things come to mind when I think fire.

One is passion, and the other is sitting around a campfire.

I would consider myself a pretty passionate person in every sense of the word. I care about things, people, ideas, and I have opinions, strong ones - oh yes, I do. I want to achieve things... achieve life, with a PASSION.

And then there is this, lounging around a campfire on a cool summer's eve. That has to be one of the most relaxing things for me, especially when I am surrounded by good friends, laughter and conversation.

I will be home to Canada in 3 weeks today, and I am sooo looking forward to getting together with my family and friends and enjoying each other's company around a smoky fire pit. HOME, HERE I COME, and that, I feel pretty fiery about! YIPEE!

Water (right: Mary)

Bring on the rain!

I took this picture a month ago in Vietnam and I was inspired to use it this week because everywhere we go in India is dried up, hot and the people and the land are desperate for the rain.

‘We are waiting’, they say, as they gesture to the skies and as the sweat drips from their faces. I, too, am waiting.

Water is everything. Without it, we along with the rest of life on the planet would vanish. It’s precious, just like our hands and feet, but far more fundamental.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Week 16: Hands/Feet

Hands/Feet (Mary)

Every set of hands and feet tell a story.

Our feet tell of where we are, where we’ve been, how we got there and where we’re headed. Our hands tell of the things we’ve held, created, mementos of the journey that lead us to the here and now.

In both McLeod Ganj (hands) and in Naranag (feet), I was moved by the people I met and the stories they shared. I was moved by how tragic they appeared to me; but also by how the woman who was incapable of providing for herself, wore a smile each time we met. And, by how the little boy with holey shoes and no socks seemed not to notice as he worked away, happily mimicking his father at the ripe old age of six.

Hands and feet are precious. I’m on a mission to make the most of mine.

Where would you like your hands and feet to take you?

Hands/Feet (Sarah)

Sometimes I like to run the tips of my fingers repeatedly over certain textures, like corduroy pants or shaggy carpets. I like to cut my fingernails really short, and I delight in being covered with paint, often using the back of my hand as a palette. I'm not very keen on hand holding ~ I'd rather be free. I like tracing letters and drawing imaginary pictures on skin. I've been told I give a mean massage, that I have "healing" hands. I do NOT like touching paper when my hands are cold, and, the term 'knuckle sandwich' reminds me of one of the funniest nights of my life.

Since having a baby I have become masterful and picking things up with my toes and flinging them up into my hands, or in whatever direction suits me. I like painting my toenails, burrowing my way into cool sand, and being barefoot. My feet have run, walked and traveled thousands upon thousands of miles. They have both guided me to the tip top and kept me firmly planted.

I love my hands and feet, they are the roots and branches of my body.

What have yours done for you?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Week 15: Life/Death

Life (left: Mary)

We were perched high up in the Himalayan Mountains, sitting around a fire in a small hut used by shepherds as heavy rain, snow and hail fell outside. We were drinking tea and discussing life.

‘Life is for learning’, Ayub, our new Kashmiri friend, said. I smiled and instantly agreed. He shared a Kashmiri phrase that explains that when you come to the mountains, your fists are closed, but when you leave, they are open. He extended his arms and as he sat there with his palms facing the sky, I thought about how true and beautiful that was.

To greet life every day with outstretched arms, to seize moments, both good and bad, is to live. For me, this is life.

What moments are you taking hold of these days? What does ‘life’ mean to you?

Death (right: Sarah)

Death is the most curious certainty, isn't it?

We travel through life grasping at vitality, wrapping our slowly withering petals around greener vines. Time thieves us of our supple beauty, bones creak, vision fades, and minds are lost...

In some cases there is no slow process - life ends in all of its brilliance, still full, and yet emptied of promise.

We know we will go, but when and how? And what will happen when we get there? We can all speculate, but we can never really know.

What do you believe? What happens when you cease to exist here on earth?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Week 14: Noise/Silence

Noise (left: Sarah)

Korea is called "Land of the Morning Calm", which kills me, cause it is by no means land of the calm any time of the day. Pshh. It should be called "Land of the Morning Grandmother out Bashing her Giant Metal Rings for Some Completely Unknown and Probably Ridiculous Reason" OR "Land of the Morning Somebody Come and Shoot This Wretched Cat Cause She's Been in Heat for, like, EVER!" OR "Land of the Morning Hork the Entire Contents of Your Body Out and Rid Yourself of Disease." OR "Land of the This Building has Been Under Construction for 27 Years and it is Likely to Continue for the Rest of Your Days so you'd better Invest in Some Earplugs." Orrrr, "Land of the Morning Every Single Citizen Plays Piano or Violin and Can and Will Practice Whenever They Feel Like it."

Get the picture?

This place is NOISY.

Tonight was Korea's first game in the World Cup and national pride sends people screaming and honking into the streets and hurling their voices off of every single balcony! It's pretty exciting, and Hey! They won! FIGHTING!

Silence (right: Mary)

‘There are times when silence has the loudest voice’ Lerow Brownlow

Silence is a powerful thing and these days, I revel in it. Whether it is a quiet day reflecting by the sea, lying in a hammock, or walking through ancient ruins, I’m constantly discovering old stories and dreaming up new ones.

Figures in walls tell stories of ancient empires come and gone, their kings and those who served them, the wars they fought, the beliefs they held and the artists who laboured to make them. All of this without any words being spoken or heard.

Sometimes, silent stories are the most intriguing; it’s all in what you or I make of them. The above image could mean something completely different to you than it does to me, and both of our ideas could be different from what the artist intended.

Making stories from silence is a powerful thing. Therein, lie so many possibilities.

Where are the silent moments in your life taking you? Anywhere exciting?

About the Project

As a way to stay connected through our travels and beyond, A Perspective Project was initiated by the desire to master our cameras, and to be creative and more observant of the world around us.


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