There's something about a piece of art or an image that can strike you immediately. The subjective reaction to an ethereal landscape or refined product shot can offer an emotional feeling within an instant. I often get this feeling. However, for me it is not always the way in which a photo is shot or the clever use of lighting, it can be simply the way in which an image is displayed that makes my heart flutter.

Love is a widely used word in our societies. It's a word used for many different situations and various scenarios. It can easily be misinterpreted and misread, it can be used inappropriately and be overused. The word has endless possibilites and yet we find it so hard to define. Regardless of opinion or the dictionary definition, there is one type of love that I feel cannot be questioned.

At this time of the year we are continually reminded about love. Valentine's is an annual reminder that it's important to display and share in your love for your partner, your children, your family and friends. Of course February 14th is not the only day that love needs to be shown, and searching for love is an individual's choice not something that is controlled by the 45th day of the year. But whatever we believe, love is all around us in February.

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The world is full of contradictions and paradoxes that make the world a complicated but beautiful place. Smoke from the bellows of a power plant next to an ancient lake that continues as far as the eye can see; a quiet mountain tipped with snow as a noisy airplane flies over it, there are many sights that don't often make sense. Sometimes these sights can induce disgust, others pleasure. The latter is the case for Pistil Flowers in downtown Toronto, a somewhat oasis in a concrete jungle. 

Not so long ago, the type of food we ate was based on seasons. Winters were based around root vegetables and hearty carbohydrates, summers were about berries and other juicy fruits. However, now that exporting and the free markets are changing our stores and buying habits, we can find almost any product year round in our local grocery store. Food is such an important part of our existence, and quality should never be jeopardized. The fact that we take it for granted is something that needs to change, and educating our children about the importance of supporting local and ethically produced food is something we can do immediately.

There's a point in the drive down to Niagara-on-the-Lake that seems to perfectly transition the urban to the rural. As the highway melts into the acres of vines and farmland, it is clear that the experience has begun. It's this subtle seam that embroiders the beginnings of a romantic weekend. A trip down to NOTL is always a welcome one, the cohesion of the history, the wine, the food and the ambience can transcend any stressful week at work.

Anyone who has built, designed or created anything in their lives will understand the beauty and the quandary of retrospect. Looking back on a completed job can leave you noticing the things that didn't work out, or the choices that were contentious. Often there are things that I wish had turned out differently, or designs that had to be changed which I wish could have worked out. I never reflect on a finished project with regret, but I from time to time I do regret other aspects of the process.

I'm not one for making resolutions, I can't stand the disappointment when they eventually fizzle out. However, with this step into a new orbit of the sun I want to have a fresh outlook on life. 2016 was busy, work was crazy and the year flashed by with but a few chances to enjoy the small moments.

Everyone makes mistakes. However big or small, we have all been guilty of making a wrong decision or reacting to a situation in an incorrect manner. This is human nature. This is also true for our children; they make bad decisions and err on a regular basis. After all, they are learning the complicated social etiquette which changes for each and every scenario and eventuality. The concepts we have derived as a race over thousands of years is a convoluted web of split second judgment calls which we from time to time may get wrong. So let's admit it, we all make mistakes; it's how we deal with those mistakes that is more important.

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