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    Signs Point To...

    Summer is coming to a close.  Temperatures are dropping.  The long days are stopping. 
    For the self-employed Creative, it's time for ideas of income to be popping.

    Now, I'm a CUSP baby.  I was born at such a time, around 3am September 23rd, that I teeter on  the tightrope between Virgo and Libra. An unbalanced virgin. That’s me 😉

    Today’s horoscope in the Toronto Sun (yes, once in a while I like to read words printed on paper - though it is becoming a dying practice sadly) was interesting to me as I pondered what I wanted my Fall of 2017 to look like.  

    As my life feels at times tangled between two worlds, so did the advice of the Virgo and Libra stars. 

    What I read had a lot about WORK and LOSS and BUSINESS and VULNERABILITY and even EMOTIONS.  Even a somewhat dire warning about being TOO "open" about how I FEEL. Apparently, today at least, I’m to be careful around any business decisions.

    The more interesting advice here, to me, (and I’ve heard SO many variations on this theme): "Keep business & personal matters separate."

    Huh.

    This is an issue that I’ve tussled with most of my adult life.  To me, at some point in my younger days while pondering the workings of this somewhat crazy Universe, I realized it is ALL personal.  We can not separate who we are from what we do, no matter how we try to mentally, morally or legally justify separation of our humanity from 'things that need to get done'.  

    Has this understanding, perhaps, limited my route to fiscal riches beyond my (obviously limited ;) imagination?  Perhaps.   Has this understanding, and my sometimes strong commitment to live from it, let me sleep better at night with myself?  Mostly yes… except when I’m worrying about 'money' of course 😜.

    In my heart of hearts, I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay at the end of the day.  There are other ways to survive and thrive on planet Earth than wielding a huge bank account (though, obviously, it is much more tricky to do so in 2017 North America, and getting trickier).   I know my bank account of Creativity, Compassion, and Curiosity is full to overflowing.  Some will tell me that isn’t enough.  They may be right.  I don’t know. 

    I do know this though: it is ALL personal.  We are all connected. A business exchange is just one of the ways the Universe keeps us turning towards each other and encouraging us to relate and sort through the puzzle of human relationship.

    I think I’ll go with a line from each of my guiding stars:  "Consider (my) current position…" and "Keep (my) life simple, be direct, and don’t let (my) emotions take over."  I can do that much. 
    I’ll love to chat more on this - but rent is due in a week or so.   I’m personally committed to making sure my relationship with my landlord continues to be an excellent relationship.  So until next time, my fine blog-reading Peeps - I wish you well and wish you good things in your always personal life.

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    Workin' Hard (or Hardly Workin'?) 

    Summer.  Time for sun, savouring sudsy beverages and surely some shenanigans with a wee bit of time off from the Busy Grind of Life.

    Ah, I wish! 

    For me, being a Sole Proprietor here at BrilliantEye.ca, I’ve noticed over the last two or three decades of surviving on my Creative Mind and Its Output that summer just plain Does What It Wants To. 

    The type of clients I tend to work with are smart. They realize that the phrase "make hay while the sun shines" is not just a cute Country Bumpkin statement.  For us Canadians summer usually means "not winter".  And we tend to take most of our holidays during the summer months.  The action tends to change from Making Money to Spending Money, and usually on Fun In The Sun type experiences (which, hopefully, includes a good dose of ice cream! 😏)

    So, during July and most of August I do not tend to get a wee bit of time off… I get a Good Chunk of it.  Now, there are lots of little gigs to do and personal projects that come into being. But overall, it is a slow time of activity for me. And, really, I’m okay with that.

    I’m not a young buck anymore.  At least physically. ;)   I’ve had friends pass from this planet in recent years and they’ve reminded me, as they left, how precious "down time" is.  How quickly one’s plans for Up Ahead Somewhere can get flushed down the Cosmic Toilet of Finality.

    Thusly, I embrace this opportunity to work a bit less on "biznezz" and to allow my creative heart to take a breather. In the long run, this recharge time will serve me when the September "Gotta Get It Don Now!" season starts.

    Hoping that your summer, however it has been arriving, is serving your creative heart!  

    Cheers!
    Reinier

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    Travelling A Long And Winding Road

    (or "The Longest Blog Entry I Will Probably Ever Make")

    Recently I decided I needed some away time from my sometimes complicated life (at least to me ;) here in Durham Region. I targeted the Maritimes for my destination with my specific target being to arrive in Halifax, New Brunswick, on Canada Day (July  1st).  

    Now, I’ve driven from Toronto area to Vancouver a couple times.  A long long journey.  Ontario itself takes over 20 hours of straight driving time to get to the Manitoba border.  The prairies of Saskatchewan seem like they will never end and the sight of a tree can bring tears of joy. 

    But I’d never been east of Montreal.  Hmmmmm….

    Looking eastward from my current home town of Whitby Ontario, Halifax is actually about two driving hours CLOSER to Toronto area than the farther western border of Ontario. And, nice though the 20+ hours of winding roads and lakes and trees and rocks and more trees and more lakes and more rocks can be for some people, I found the trip out to the coast of Nova Scotia a whole different bag of chips… or should I say different bowl of poutine 😉.

    Getting out of Ontario, heading east, only takes about  4 hours of steady straight driving along the mind-numbingly busy 401 highway. This gets you pretty close to Montreal and to the end of speaking English as a primary language. I will be blunt here: Ma capacité à parler français est une merde.  Now, my ability to use this line - first out of my mouth - with the local Francophones let them know that I respected their language, had a sense of humour too, but that hopefully they could help me out with the communication cycle. 

    Quebec is pretty much as large as Ontario. Travelling along the St. Lawrence river for yet another 7 hours or so would get me to one of my prime stops: Tadoussac.  At the mouth of the Saguenay River it is a beautiful little town with great views and some nice places to get a variety of good food.  But I’d already been on the road for over 4 hours so I decided for a stop in Quebec city.

    One rumour I need to dispel for some folks in English speaking Canada: the people of Quebec are wonderful.  Yes, english is limited, but most of them speak better english than I do french. And their love of life, their "l’amour de la vie", was very present in the people I did meet along the way. 

    After quick tour of the "OLD" Quebec, which I’ll need to explore more in the future for sure, it was time for a relatively short hop up the St. Lawrence to Tadoussac. 

    A short 15 minute ferry ride across the mouth of the beautiful Saguenay River and I arrived in a wonderful little seaside port.   Nice patios with fine local beverages, good food and friendly people from all around the world. Apparently whale viewing is a prime industry here, and sure enough I saw a few during my stay… spouting off about something or other out in the large natural harbour.

    Now it was time for the long haul to Moncton.  First step was a 90 minute ferry ride across the now VERY wide St. Lawrence river. That was pretty amazing. This is one of the largest rivers in the world, with all the waters of Canada’s Great Lakes system flowing through it. 

    Once on the far side I was into a different world - green rolling hills and farmland and big skies. After about 3 hours travel I was finally at the end of Quebec and the start of New Brunswick.  

    I had heard about the drive through N.B. and how it MIGHT get a bit boring.  First off, New Brunswick is beautiful.  And big.  And it has a LOT of evergreen trees. That go on for about 4 hours!  And very very few "rest stations" along the way.   One needs to keep the gas tank topped up and one’s own "reservoir" somewhat empty. ;)  

    Moncton itself was a quick pit stop along the way, though I did head downtown that eve and found a great patio gastro-pub called the Tide & Boar.  (You’ll get the joke if you google "Tidal Bores")  Wow!  Great food and few local brew!

    Then, next morning, on to my main target of Halifax and its immanent Canada Day celebrations. 

    Halifax is a great city, as far as I could tell in a couple days (and also based on everyone I’ve talked to that has been there). It definitely has that "coastal" feeling that I relate to from my 10 years in the Vancouver area. And good community spirit, it would seem based on the more than 20,000 people who showed up in Halifax Commons to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation.  It was very interesting being "alone" amongst so many good spirited and friendly folk. True, it would have been so much better to have my partner with me, but as that was not to be for this particular trip, I was happy to feel the positive vibe of the celebrants. 

    Next day, a trip out to the ever popular Peggy’s Cove.  Which, despite warnings of it being Over Rated, I enjoyed greatly.  Again, it tugged my heart strings which I’ve still got a few attached to British Columbia’s magic coast. It was a foggy day, and that added to the mood greatly - the rolling moors and boulder-strewn fields had a mysterious deep and old feeling to them.  I felt very Canadian standing on those rocks by the Atlantic ocean indeed. 

    Time for some Halifax That evening I had a hell of a good time dancing until after midnight down in the Halifax Harbour area.  A buddy of mine told me, before I left, if I should get a chance to see a band called Signal Hill I needed to check them out. And he also told me that the best place to see them, if possible, was at a patio-pub called The Lower Deck. So I felt über-blessed when both band and venue aligned for me.  The pub had blocked off the local courtyard area and set up a temporary outside stage and two to three hundred folk got off their asses and boogied to the great music these musicians provided non-stop for the next few hours. 

    Next day, after a wonderful coffee at my new "fave" from-away coffee shop, Dilly Dally’s, it was time to get in the car and point her Westward.

    The trip homeward (and this is good news for you who tire of all my words and more words here 😏) was more of a concentrated effort.  It was time to get back to Durham Region and my life there.  Yet one more wonderful pause along the way before I left the Maritimes for now.   A great stopover in the little town of Woodstock NB.   After 6+ hours of driving the pine-tree lined highways of New Brunswick, the lovely patio vista of The River (downtown Woodstock) was very welcomed… 

    Early next morning, I set out on the big leg of my return trip home… traveling along the St. Lawrence river for many hours… beautiful rolling hills and small European styled towns nestled in the misty green hills of Quebec. My last fix of AQP (Actual Quebec Poutine) was consumed and I returned to Ontario and my loved ones here. 

    A great trip for my Soul and my Heart’s Eye (as I call my "inner camera" from time to time).  So looking forward to returning to the Maritimes and Eastern Quebec again - hopefully with a co-pilot to share in the wonderful scenery and culture - as well, truth be told, in the driving duties!