Friday, December 31, 2010

Book 9

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Atonement simply defined means satisfaction or reparation for a wrong. This book is about a sister seeking such atonement and never finding it.

I've always wanted to read this, having seen the movie, and it has been on my list of books for several months, but this past semester it was tucked into a shelf where it was forgotten until just a few days ago. The verdict: I really enjoyed it. Being able to feel what all the characters feel was a treat as I haven't read many books that let you into multiple-antagonists' heads.

Also, truly it is a creative story, that a single lie can change the plans laid before an individual and that regret is as strong an emotion as love. I recommend it for those of you who do read my blog, if you haven't read it already. And, of course, if you do in fact read my blog at all!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oh, deer.

Last night my sister and I, linked arm-in-arm, walked home from downtown. As we turned the corner onto our street - our boots crunching against the snow - we saw a deer. We walked closer and then poof! Nine deer! A doe and her fawn who very clearly showed its unfamiliarity with a white winter, several other does and two bucks. They walked quietly past us, unafraid of Jenn and I as we stood to watch them not more than 10 feet away. They were absolutely beautiful and completely in their element, eating berries from the trees and exploring the dark yards of Fernie when everyone else is asleep. It was quite magical, though perhaps only appreciated by those who too have an appreciation for quiet, and family.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Santa Clause is real.

Quiet roads, frosty windows, Christmas carols and red lights reflected on silver tinsel on the tree. I love Christmas and all that encompasses it. I love the quiet of home, where Christmas eve on main street means running into six old friends from high school and snow is packed hard onto the road.

I love the chill of the air, though I dislike how the dryness of it chaps my lips. I love Christmas morning, waking up under the blankets than have trapped all of my body heat, and knowing it's Christmas!

I love surprises you never expected, like a macro lens for my Nikon. I love sitting around with my Mom, Dad, sister and boyfriend and watching their reactions as they open their own gifts, and playing cranium which leads to dancing in the kitchen which leads to hysterical laughter.

Coming home makes me feel as though I should never leave it, because it's so comforting and so certain. But at the same time, it's okay to leave it because whenever I come back, it's the same. It is certain; certain that I'll run into old friends and have time to sit and read a book, or cuddle with my Dad on the couch just like I did when I was five.

Home is great and I'm glad I have one to come to.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

one is the loneliest number.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TV Dinner

I'm sitting in a nice restaurant called the Banana Leaf in Vancouver, eating my green-bean stir fry with rice tonight and I look to the family that has just sat down adjacent. A mother, a father, a daughter, a son... but wait. There's something else. Between the two children is an iPad and playing on the iPad is the Incredibles.

When I was young, no such thing existed. If my parents were nice enough to take my sister and I for dinner (usually to the town's Chinese restaurant) we sat quietly, drew animals with wax crayons, and ate our dinner. If we were too hyper to sit quietly, mom and Dad would play games with us or we'd be required to bring our favourite book and read.

Twice in the past month have I been sitting at a restaurant and then, low and behold, a child comes in with his/her family and begins playing on whatever sort of new technological device she/he has with them. It angers me. Partly because I wonder if it's the parents who have consciously decided it's just easier to plunk a movie down in front of their children then it is to converse with them?

In all seriousness, to those people who are parents out there, PLEASE do not become like this. Challenge your children, teach them that dinner time is family time and not time to watch another Disney flick. It's quite despicable, in my very honest opinion.

Monday, November 29, 2010

blue shoes.

Can't shake the cavernous creep
With these insecurities.
They pull, seize inconsistently,
Run deep. They do, within my veins.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Learning can be fun, especially if you get to wear hip waders and balance on slippery rocks while doing it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"But she's a Jewess!"

I'm taking a European history (1900-1939) course. Recently, we've been focusing on Hitler's rise to power in Germany. I could go into extreme detail, but I won't. I will however, tell you a small story that to me shows that Hitler and his Anti-Semitic views, along with many who supported and were a part of the Nazi party, was nothing more than a desire to hate. It was a load of crap.

Marta Appel was a German Jewish woman living in Germany in the 1930s with her family when Hitler's dictatorship was slowly, but very strongly, influencing the German people. The Nazi party began integrating into education a new curriculum, a curriculum that would teach young German children about the Jewish race. But Jewish children were still required to attend school and would have to sit for hours and listen to the persecution of their people.

Appel's daughter was at school one day when an official from the Race Policy Office came to speak with the students about "high and low races." Below is an excerpt from her memoir:

"I asked the teacher if I could go home," my daughter was saying, but she told me she had orders not to dismiss anyone. You may imagine it was an awful talk. He said that there are two groups of races, a high group and a low one. The high and upper race that was destined to rule the world was the Teutonic, the German race, while one of the lowest races was the Jewish race. "And then, Mommy, he looked around and asked one of the girls to come to him." "First we did not know," my girl continued, "what he intended, and we were very afraid when he picked out Eva. then he began, and he was pointing at Eva, 'Look here, the small head of this girl, her long forehead, her very blue eyes, and blond hair,' and he was lifting one of her long blond braids. 'And look,' he said, 'at her tall and slender figure. These are the unequivocal marks of a pure and unmixed Teutonic race.' Mommy, you should have heard how at this moment all the girls burst into laughter. Even Eva could not help laughing. Then from all sides of the hall there was shouting, 'She is a Jewess!' You should have seen the officer's face! I guess he as lucky that the principal got up so quickly and with a sign to the pupils, stopped the laughing and shouting."

This story warms my heart a little bit, as it shows the Germans couldn't even distinguish themselves what the real difference between them and a Jew was. And yet, more than 6 million were murdered in a span of six years.

a childhood friend.

Cotton stuffed but not too much fluff:

There's something to be said about a 23-year-old woman who still sleeps with a stuffy.

But we can't help the things we find comfort in and mine I find in Flopsy.

(Let's be honest here, I'm no poet. But I can't help but feel like my favourite stuffed animal need receive a little credit on my blog!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

word problems

Words I have trouble with:

subtle - not suttle

accept vs. except

definitely - not definately

pour - not poor

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The park of Stanley

Spent the afternoon biking around Stanley Park. It was wet and cold but very much enjoyable. It's quite odd, actually; it's so green and lush that you almost forget you live in the city.

There are tons of old-growth trees that stand over 100 feet tall. 

Siwash Rock behind Mr. Ben Ross. This rock is a sea stack made of basalt (from an old lava flow) and is more resistant to weathering than other types of rock.

The friendly neighbourhood raccoon who lives in Stanley Park. He came to say hello, and even smiled for the camera.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pickled Carrots

Sometimes all one needs is a jar of pickled carrots in the mail to make a better day. And I received such a jar yesterday. In a a box of Kisko Kids Freezies, wrapped in bubble wrap, my friend Chelsey sent me this jar of carrots, a little note included.

I like to think that we remain in contact with certain people for a reason - they were a friend in high school, someone who you always, always enjoyed being around. Thanks to that someone, there is a jar of pickled carrots sitting in my cupboard.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A personal essay

I wrote this as a part of my Magazine Writing class for school. It's a personal essay and for me, the only way I could do it was if I wrote about something that was important to me. Thus, I wrote about my cousin Fran, who has Down syndrome. 
It's a bit more lengthly than the average blog post, but please if you have the time, read it. It's very dear to my heart, if I may say that without sounding too cliche.


    My uncle's face is flushed, Dad wipes the tears from his eyes, Mom's cackle echoes from the kitchen and I'm doubled over with laughter. My aunt lets out a guffaw and the entire room ignites with hysterics. Two-year-old Frances is the rascal; it's her contagious laughter and silliness tickling at our stomaches.
    The tears drip down my cheeks and I look at Fran. I'm only 11, but I know she's different. her eyes are a bit far apart, the bridge of her nose is a little flat and there's a gap between her big and index toes that is bigger than the gap between my own. She's round and her skin is dusted pink, her blond hair rigidly framing her face.
    My mom says Fran is a "Downs baby," and my aunt has tried to explain it, but the words mean very little at the time.
* * *
    Years later I'm sitting in my Grade 12 biology class, with the scent of formaldehyde in the air and jars of fetal pigs resting on the shelves, learning about human reproduction - about chromosome 21. I read that upon conception a fetus inherits 23 chromosomes from both its mother and father for a total of 46. However, an extra chromosome 21 results in a child having Down Syndrome (DS). The text explains in a slew of medical language some DS features: slow development, congenial heart defects, problems with hearing and vision. I read and re-read the content, dumbfounded; how could it be that the only thing separating Fran from me is an extra 21?
    It seemed like such a miniscule difference, and it was, for five months following Fran's birth. We didn't know she had it.
* * *
    It's mid-afternoon March 1996 and  Paula's contractions - three weeks premature - are creeping closer together. Daryl is driving the pickup truck 100 km/h down the straight road to Edmonton. Paula lies in the truck cab, her head resting on Daryl's lap and her feet in the air bolstered up against the truck door.
    "Do you want to stop here?" Daryl asks as they drive through town after town. But Paula is determined to have this baby the way she planned - natural, and not in a hospital. They drive five hours, Paula breathing hee's and ho's before finally reaching their midwife.
    My aunt never had any ultralsounds during her pregnancy. If she had, the doctors would have been able to detect that Fran had a disability. After Fran was born, they travelled and visited family. My aunt's sister commented that Fran felt a bit "floppy" when she held her (children with DS have a low muscle tone), but there was never any mention of Down syndrome. None of us recognized it in Fran.
    My aunt and uncle visited their family doctor after their travels and it was only then that they knew. In the 1960s doctors often suggested that parents who have a child with DS give that child up for adoption, or send them to an institution. But when the doctor told them that Fran had DS, they looked at her cooing on the doctor's examination table. She smiled back at them.
    They couldn't give her up.
* * *
    Eleven years later I'm sitting on the back deck at my aunt's and we've just eaten dinner with the family. The hairs on my arm are bristled but I can still feel the sun's remaining rays warming my skin. My parents are inside; I can hear their faint conversation through the screen.
    Fran walks out and plops down beside me, sighing. Her brother and sister crunch through the leaves that have fallen from the trees.
    "Guess what?" she asks suddenly, braces crowding her tiny mouth.
    "What, Fran?"
    "I got my period. That means I'm a woman. But my mom says that I can only talk to girls about it, not boys." She is so excited about the prospect of growing up that her words run together. I put my arm around her tiny back and tell her that it's all a part of growing up, that she can talk to me about it any time she likes. We sit barefoot, our feet resting on the weather-beaten wood and hers touching the side of mine, cold. The sun has fallen behind the mountains but I still feel warm.
* * *
    That warmth I often feel with Fran froze with a snowstorm one morning when, a few months later in January, I took Fran skiing. My aunt and Uncle wanted to spent the morning with their two younger kids on the higher ski runs and had enrolled Fran in ski-school. I signed on to be her helper, watching over her as she participated with the other snowflakes on skis. 
    The sky is dark, as if someone had forgot to change a dying light bulb that was now flickering to black. The snow, usually light and fluffy, is damp and soaks straight into my jacket, as though it were a sponge. Some kids wear plastic ponchos over their suits. But Fran, dressed in a retro purple and pink snowsuit, is ready to challenge the cheerless weather. For the duration of the morning I follow behind her as she snowplows down the mountainside.
    "Slow down, Fran," I yell to her as she whips around a ski trail without yielding. She ignores me, pushing faster down the kill, a cackle escaping her mouth as if to say, nana nana boo boo, you can't catch me.
    But her euphoric outlook freezes with the snow when, less than an hour later, she no longer wants to participate. She isn't going to wear her ski-school bib. She won't follow the ski instructor like the other kids. She hates her goggles and throws them to the ground and she howls on the busy run as skiers and snowboarders race by, staring. My cheeks, which had been rosy-pink from the cold air and snow, now flushed hot like embers in a fire.
    Most children throw temper tantrums, stomp on the ground and slam bedroom doors. But this sort of behaviour isn't a tantrum. It's stubbornness, a refusal to do anything that might make the situation better, and it's a common reaction that children with DS have. Calm - only four letters, but sometimes hard to spell with Fran.
    I drive home that afternoon, tear off my sopping-wet clothes and hang them in the furnace room. I surge upstairs and when my mom asks how my day was with Fran, I tell her I don't want to talk about it.
* * *
    I'm walking up the front steps to knock on my aunt and uncle's door. It's the beginning of September and the leaves on the trees in the front yard are just beginning to change colour. I've stopped in with my boyfriend to visit them before I continue on to my last year of university.
    "Hi guys, welcome to my home," Fran says. "See my grand piano?" Then, for a brief moment, she lets go of her knowledge of adolescence, of maturity, and plunges into me, wrapping her arms around my waist. She pushes her thick prescription glasses onto her face when they fall down the bridge of her nose and takes my hand, pulling me inside. She's developed curves and wears a bra; she's 14. She isn't a "Downs baby" anymore.
    Fran is eager to show me her room. She opens the wood door and I walk into a palace of pink. A floral canopy hangs over her bed; there's a portrait of a unicorn framed on the wall, and a stuffed plush horse lies on the comforter. Her room and her mind house multitudes of make-believe. She tells me that she loves Sleeping Beauty and right now she's dating Prince Phillip. She knows it's not real, but that doesn't matter.
    "I'm a princess in my heart right now," she says.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Got a handful of lightening, a hat full of rain.

Inside and out, the copper mine,
where packrats rest.

Home. It's... delightful. Got to spend five days in Fernie before driving to Vancouver, and Fernie is the best place to call home. It's so beautiful, and every time I come back to it I ask myself if I really have to leave.

End of August, and we did some adventuring. Mainly, I spent time with my family because that's all I wanted to do. Dad took us to an old copper mine above Burton Lake, and we ventured in with our homemade torches to check out the spooky tunnel.

I find it remarkable that in the 20s and 30s men used to hike up here, and pack out copper ore down the mountain side. Our notion of what it means to 'work' has truly transformed.

My sister also took us to the high school to practice our pottery skills (or lack of). I've come to terms with the fact that she is highly talented in numerous ways, including art, and I like that she had the patience to teach us a bit about using the pottery wheel. Dad didn't do too bad either. I love my Dad. He's so adorable and as I get older I want to be around him more and more.

A bunch of berry pickers. And pancakes.. mmm!
Then we went raspberry picking with our friends Derek and Sarah at Coal Creek. Crawling up into the bank in search of raspberries and we came up lucky - no encounters with hungry bears and lots of berries. So much, in fact, that when we got home Mom fed us a good feed of pancakes and bacon, and the berries ended up on top with some sweet maple syrup.

I can't help but want to go back home all the time. I grew up here. How lucky am I? Mom and Dad, if you sell the house, sell it to me. I'd be happy to just stay home.

the best part - the waterfall. Hidden treasures.
- Norah Jones.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Trans-Canada Part 4: Alberta-bore.

I've been through and through Alberta again and again, and at this point in our trip we were so close to Fernie that making any stops in this 'poopy-province' wasn't even an option.

True though it is that Alberta has its perks, when your destination is Fernie those perks are irrelevant.

Ben and I did stop in the pass at Lundbreck Falls (above) and explored here before we took some classic photos of the 'spook tree.' The spook tree - as my sister and I used to refer to it - is a burmis tree that has proven a good representation of the Crowsnest Pass. It was the first time in the 19-some years of passing it that I actually stopped to take a photo.

We also made a quick stop at the 7-11 for some classic potato wedges, and then took a exhaustingly chilly dip in the Crowsnest Lake. It was freezing. But we had never swam in it before, and upon leaping out of the water we jumped back in the trunk and cranked the heat.

Alberta was fast, but we made it fun.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Part 3: Saskatchewan, my favourite.

Saskatchewan, from what I've heard of other driver's experiences, is nothing more than a flat land of wheat fields, or a province where - as my dad says - you can see your dog running away for days. But in spending little more than a day and a half exploring it, I have to give it the favourite province award.

First, Ben and I drove across the border on a Thursday, Aug. 26 and made our way to Carrot River. My mom grew up around here, and understanding her upbringing and the circumstances to which she lived made going through here truly special. We arrived at my Auntie Lois and Uncle Dick's house at around 8:30 and were greeted with exactly what I had expected: big hugs from my Auntie. Ben went to shake her hand and she brushed it off, also hugging him.

That night all the nearby family came for a visit, to see me and to meet Ben. My cousins Joanne, Paul, and Jaimie (with her husband Peter and their two girls), and my cousin Trish and her husband Dean (and their boys). To no surprise there was endless amounts of food, and though Ben and I were completely exhausted, we stayed up to eat, drink and visit, something I've truly missed... family.

There's something to be said about being able to drop in for the night, to eat, shower, and sleep in a comfortable bed, and then depart in the morning without feeling as though you've taken advantage of someone. So a big thank you to my Auntie and Uncle for allowing us to do so.

Before leaving Carrot River, we stopped in to visit Uncle Kerby , who proceeded to say my mother worried about us like "an old hen," and then we went to Trish and Dean's farm. It was like walking into a petting zoo, where Keiran and Trey brought all sorts of rabbits, cats, horses and goats to show us. I had a permanent grin on my face the entire time. This is what it's like to live in Saskatchewan.

Ben and Dean on Dean's combine.
Following the reunion, we went south towards Swift Current, where we ended up in what felt like the 'true west', where it was certain there would be tumbleweeds and cowboys and indians battling in the distance. I took a nap and awoke to Ben pulling me out of the truck and standing in a field of I'm not sure what (if you know, please tell me). We took these amazing pictures, and the wind swept through the field as if you were standing on the ocean, like waves.

In a field of something, somewhere in the flatlands of Saskatchewan.
Then, we drove down a dusty, sand road in search of a campsite, and ended up in the desert. Literally.

We pitched our tent under a big tree just as the sun was setting, and we began our decent, I got three cacti stuck in my foot. First, who knew there were cacti in Saskatchewan? Second, a cactus in the foot is (and I do not exaggerate) the worst pain ever. So much so I stood on the hillside, waiting for the coyotes to come eat me, while Ben ran to the truck to grab a pair of work gloves and a pair of shoes for me. Luckily he pulled them out before the coyotes actually came.

We fell asleep in the desert, and I heard several howls throughout the night. But it was beautiful. The morning was beautiful, the entire area was quiet, and deer jumped through the bushes as we camped. It was my favourite camping spot of all throughout the trip.

The entire purpose of taking this trip slow was for this: the Great Sand Hills of Sask. We spent two hours walking on these sand dunes, probably 15 to 20 feet high, and they were incredible. The sand ripples from the wind, as Ben described it: "A bug highway," where tracks from all sorts of beetles, worms, critters, left footprints in the sand. We leapt off the dunes, Ben crash-landed in the sand.

Go to Saskatchewan. And don't just drive through. EXPLORE!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trans-Canada 2

Part 2: Guess Who? Manitoba!

Animals of all sorts in Manitoba, an elk in Onanole and
a swan in Swan River.

I don't think many truly realize how unbelievable Canada is. I can't say this enough. Manitoba, said to be a prairie province and a flat and flowery grassland is so much more than that. With giant statue-like animals, clear, crisp lakes, white poplar forests and abandoned churches, the province was more than we bargained for.

On day three of our trip we ended up in Winnipeg, and my lovely friend Andrea had us stay in her bed while she voluntarily slept on her couch. We went for dinner with her and our friend Lisa Joy and saw the insides of the provincial capital.

To be honest, Winnipeg was intimidating. The downtown core (where we stayed) felt dark at night, and more than once in a 2-block radius we were asked for spare change. Perhaps it was because for 2 nights previous we'd camped in the quiet and suddenly we'd been thrown back into civilization. But seeing old friends made it worth the while.

Friends don't let friends sleep on the street! Andrea and I.

Day four, we're up fast and driving into northern Manitoba on our way to Carrot River, Sask. There are fields upon fields of sunflowers, and my eagerness to capture each province through photos nags at Ben to pull over at numerous locations. We drive up the Yellowhead Highway and then onto HWY. 10 towards Barrows (my dad got his first teaching job in Barrows).

We stop for a swim in Clear Lake at Riding Mountain National Park, where the water is literally so clear you can see the bottom no matter how far out you swim. I saved a ladybug from drowning here, and then I hit a bird with the truck.

If there was anything I've noticed most prominently about the drive thus far, it is the abandoned churches, homes, towns. Likely at one time flourishing with life, today they are overgrown, the whitewash paint pealing from the siding and the door handles rusted from years of ill use. This church we ventured to was beautiful, the inside still colourful, and you feel a certain calming when exploring it. But at night I can only imagine it chilling and eerie.

Behind the church was this amazing forest! With white poplar trees, Ben crawled deep back into the woods like a woodsman and took some amazing photos.

Lastly, before crossing the border into Saskabush (Saskatchewan), we stopped at Barrows, where my dad taught 35 years ago, and went up to Red Deer Lake. My dad used to hunt moose along this lake, so visiting this spot was especially meaningful to me. I drove past his old teacherage house and we even stopped to see his old boss - who was unfortunately in hospital. But I did meet this man's son, who is my dad's Godson.

I liked Manitoba. And I can't wait to go back and explore it.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Our trip across Canada from Ottawa to Fernie, and in the next few days Vancouver, has been amazing. I'm not sure that words can describe the absolute beauty of this country. I'm splitting the trip into provinces, sort of a five-part series, and will post the best shots and write about the best memories of the trip.

      Along the way we encountered several abandoned
      buildings, including an old residential school a farmhouse.
 Part 1: Not-so-terrible Ontario

It took us two nights and three days to get across Ontario, in total driving more than 2,000 kilometres. Granted we had a really slow start, I'm glad we didn't rush through the province but instead took our time and stopped at interesting places along the way.

We left Ottawa Monday morning and drove straight on until Massey, ON. (roughly 7 hours) camping at Chutes Provinicial Park for the night. We set up our tent in the dark, with mosquitoes, and then scarfed down potatoes and ham on the fire before passing out.

Stopping along Lake Superior, where there are pot holes (left),
where rocks have ground down to form deep holes in the bedrock. 
The next morning we checked out the Chutes waterfall before driving to just outside Sault Ste. Marie (another 8 hours). We drove along Lake Superior making several stops, skipping stones and running on sandy beaches, and even stopping at Chippewa Falls (anyone who's an avid Titanic fan knows the relevance of this place). We saw the most amazing sunset and then ventured down dirt roads near midnight trying to find a suitable place to tent near Marathon, ON. We had to pay $35 the day before to camp, and didn't want to again.

We ended up on a dirt road next to a railway track. It was freezing, but the moon was the brightest I've ever seen it, and when you're exhausted it doesn't matter where you sleep.

The third day in Ontario, we drove from Marathon to Winnipeg, Mb. We only had a few stops but they were remarkable. We stopped at the Terry Fox memorial outside Thunder Bay, and it was truly so emotional. There's a large statue and the story of Terry is written on the stone. He ran 27 miles a day and made it to 12 kilometres outside Thunder Bay. 

And lastly, we made a stop at Kakabeka Falls, where my mom and dad had stopped back in 1984 after they were married. The falls were like stepping stones, and an old legend says that an Ojibwa princess led her captures over the falls in attempt to save her tribe. 

We swam in Kenora and then just a few minutes later crossed into Manitoba on Aug. 25. Ontario is beautiful, is covered in lakes and if you haven't ever seen it, I suggest you do. 

Ben and I at Katherine Cove on Lake Superior.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Like a sunset to me.

Cross-Canada is beautiful. This is just a sneak preview of things to come.

Spill Canvas

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oh! Canada trip!

Two peas in a pod.
4,032 km, 2 days and 6 hours.

Wow! Where did the summer go? That's what I'd like to know. I feel as though I just finished packing up to move to Ottawa, and suddenly I'm packing again to move back out west. Excited? Yes. But more overwhelmed.

So, tomorrow is the big launch to our drive across Canada. Ben and I leave Ottawa in the morning and are hoping to make it half-way across Ontario before the sun goes down at night. But I'm not sure it's possible. Ontario is more than 1,500 km from Ottawa to the Manitoba border. It's practically half the drive to Fernie.

In total, we will drive 4,032 km and a total of 2 days and six hours--or 54 hours, until we get to Fernie. And though it's going to be a looooong drive, I'm ecstatic. Because it's an adventure.

Canada is immaculately enormous, with so many places to see and so many places that have yet to be explored. There are old abandoned farm houses, lakes, waterfalls, and I can't wait to get my camera out there and take some shots.

We start the drive along Lake Superior, which is going to be filled with sunsets and lake stops and beaches galore. The lake is enormous and we can't drive through it, so we have to drive the long way around. We'll stay two nights in Ontario, one in Thunder Bay (where the Terry Fox memorial is).

Oh, and we are stopping in Manitoba to visit our good friend Andrea, and in Saskatchewan to visit some of my mom's side of the family (whom I haven't seen in years).

We are also going to camp at the Great Sand Hills of Sask., these enormous sand dunes that are migrating north by the wind.

I'm tres excited for this trip. No doubt we will be exhausted upon our arrival to Fernie. But I can't wait to do it with Ben.

(photos are from Ben's cousin's wedding, in a free photo booth.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

sister, sister

I have the most fun with her, my little wing-woman.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lovely as a tree: photo of the week.

A tree is in itself a being.
It needs the light of sun,
the cool of water, and a dusting of love to grow-
Whether it be a squirrel or a bug or a bird.
Then it gives shade, shelter and solitude,
clinging to earth and life with complex roots.
A tree gives life and, in return, receives it.

the water

Kayaked this weekend. It was thrilling. I got my roll back, flipped in the rapids, and bailed out, without consequence. It's fun to try things, even if they scare you.

The water, the water, didn't realize it's dangerous size.
The mountain, the mountain, came to recognize
its steep and rocky sides, more than realized. - Feist

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No Cars Go

We know a place where no planes go, we know a place where no ships go. Hey! No cars go. - Arcade Fire

There's something nostalgic about a weekend away, specifically with very good friends, to a very quiet place, where no cars go. It's a sort of escape, from the everyday life of work, internet, cell phones and car horns, and it was where I spent my weekend -- at my friend's cottage on Weslemkoon Lake.

My feet were filthy: sap stuck to the bottom of my heels, walking barefoot over pine needles and sharp rocks jabbing into the bottom of my soft-skinned soles. There are no calluses when walking in shoes all day through the city.

And washing your face, using soap become things of the past. The lake is suddenly your bathing grounds and a morning swim or a midnight [skinny] dip are what keeps you refreshed. Though it feels good not to be clean.

So the things that occurred this weekend were, though not in any particular order:

1. A drive through the bush with a disfunctional GPS and a map book. Winding through the dirt roads, "Do we go left?" "I think this is the road we're on." It's fun to get a little lost, because you see things you wouldn't normally run into, and you might even end up driving through a swamp with puddles.

2. Choosing a theme song. No Cars Go by Arcade Fire. Because, we were literally going where no cars go. Not only was the drive entirely remote, but the cottage is only accessible by boat. And once you're there, seclusion surrounds you.

3. Lots and lots of food. Hamburgers, sausages, barbecue chicken, salad, corn on the cob with melting butter and more than a sprinkle of salt.

4. Canoeing when the sun comes up. The lake is like glass in the early morning and with so much unexplored land, how could you not precariously balance in a canoe (hoping the previous nights' drinking doesn't tip you over) and paddle?

5. Staying up until late hours and sitting on the dock, watching for shooting stars and actually seeing one right on the horizon.

Weekends can be sooooooooooo good. So good, because it's a time where you don't have to think about anything except for whether you've put enough sunscreen on or how long until the next meal. Weekends with friends, great music and excellent food at a cottage where no cars go, however, is absolutely the best.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dwayne: photo of the week

I really enjoyed talking with Dwayne, a sheep breeder, who has spent the last 69 years of his life devoted to making a good ol' sheep. So I think this deserves photo of the week.
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