I’m having a very quiet celebration tonight. I’m back in the scanning groove again. Knocking off more rolls of film every day on my journey to scan all 38,000 of my photographs. I’ve been back in Italy in 1993 the past few days. Ironic because my friend Jill, who you all saw in the beautiful polka dot circle dress I put up her a few weeks ago, is doing a little shopping for a gift for a friend of hers and she thought one of my images from Italy might fit the bill. She says she’s been trying to come up with something interesting to give and keeps coming back to one of my photos. I’m quite flattered.

I think I have something on the order of 1000 to 1500 images of Italy, maybe more. I haven’t finished scanning them all yet. But the nice thing is, my new copy of Apple’s Aperture just arrived and it’s been really helpful in my quest to really get a handle on all of these images, organize them and update my web galleries on a more regular basis. Yes, the new website is coming along nicely and should be up before the end of the year. It’s going to be a busy month.

Today I got an email back from my friend, photographer and director Lois Greenfield who just returned from a hugely successful series of sold out shows in Paris this month at the Theatre de la Ville. She’s been touring with this amazing show of hers called Held with the Australian Dance Theater. Stop reading this right now and go look at the Held promo video for the show, it’s really amazing. And if you ever are within 500 miles of it, treat yourself. She’s amazing. Quite an inspiration to me. We’ve gotten to collaborate on several projects over the years and I can’t say enough about her.

And although all of that is wonderful news that’s not the reason for my celebration. I’m usually a little hesitant to get into too many details of my personal life here. I mean that’s why it’s called personal, right? I like to paint with broad strokes and keep people guessing. But in this case I’ll make an exception because it’s a bit of a milestone for me.

I’ve battled my weight my whole life. Some people’s issues show up in the guise of drugs or alcohol. And while I’m no stranger to either of those, they never consumed me, even when I felt weak and alone. No I’m afraid unlike hidden track marks under a long sleeve shirt or a pint bottle hidden in a desk drawer, my self-destructive method of choice has always been food.

Recently though, with the help of some very supportive friends, I’ve begun to climb out of that hole. You see I really like what’s going on in my life right now and I want to be around a lot longer to accomplish everything I see on my horizon. I have a lot of people to thank, but the one who really poked at me and kept poking at me pretty mercilessly was my dear friend Jillian Ann. During one of her visits she marched me over to Borders and picked a couple of books off the shelf and ordered me to buy them. One was called Fit for Life.

Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another, but after putting that book on my shelf and letting it get dusty for a year, I picked it up a few months ago. It was a day I was really sad and for some reason, instead of eating something bad for me, I read the book. It really made sense. To make a long story probably too short to give it justice, I learned how different foods interact with your body once they’re in your stomach. Some things don’t get along and drain your body of precious energy while it tries to figure out what to do with that unholy assortment of food you call a meal.

So it’s fruit in the morning for me. A salad, sometimes with chicken or fish, sometimes not, for lunch. And steamed vegetables for dinner. Now some days it doesn’t happen quite like that, but for the most part it does and as Jillian says, “progress, not perfection.”

Oh and there’s the walking. A minimum of two miles a day but I try to do four or five as often as I can. Quite honestly I don’t only do it for the exercise although it’s been incredibly good for me. It’s really a nice time to just breathe and think and have some time to myself where I’m not knee deep in a project.

So yes. Eating properly and walking. So why the celebration?

Well my pants are falling off of me. I’ve had to cut new holes in my belts. I decided it was time to buy some new clothes tonight. But the funny thing about buying new clothes when you’ve lost weight, is your not really sure what size you are any more. I measured my pants against the new belt loop holes.

Wow. Seven inches off my waist.

So I went to my closet and looked at a few dusty items that for some reason made the move with me, but I haven’t worn in years. I put on a really nice blazer that I brought to Paris, but couldn’t button when I was there three months ago – and I could button it. Barely, but I wasn’t even close in Paris. Okay, so I was feeling saucy now. I have a great top coat that I really used to love. One of my favorite photographs of myself was taken in that years ago by a great photographer and friend named Clayton Miller, but I haven’t been able to wear it since the mid 90s.

I’ll be dammed. I could button that as well!

Wow. Speechless.

So there is a lot to celebrate these days. I have a long way to go. I’m still a pretty big guy. Still not shopping off the rack at most stores, but I’m getting closer every day. It was nice to have this little boost of self-discovery during the holiday season. Amazing really. My motivation is renewed and I feel very fortunate to be extending my life with every inch lost. And notice I’m saying inch instead of pound. I do get on the scale once every couple of months or so, but it’s not really about the pounds. It’s about the clothes. Keeping track of pounds has made me positively crazy in the past. It’s not healthy to judge myself every day on a scale. No, a surprise trip to the back of the closet seems to be more sensible to me. And it makes the celebrations a little sweeter.

The photo above is one of the “undiscovered” Italy images that I’ve been scanning this week. It’s from Florence with a sculling team heading for the Ponte Vecchio (The Old Bridge) one very overcast day. There was almost no light and I really had to push my film to get an image. It resulted in a very grainy but pleasing photograph.

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