Notre Dame – May 2018

Healthy Mindset – Day 25

Posting regularly on my blog again has meant reacquainting myself with photographs I haven’t look at in awhile, including the pictures I took of Notre Dame two years ago. As I mentioned the other day, climbing the narrow, winding stairs of the North Tower, was just a fun challengeq was the qsz was a z a as qzaqaqa11 azsa1–was a, and a way to see the Paris skyline. No one could have predicted the fire that happened a year ago today.

Notre Dame was a major backdrop to the trip. From taking the Batobus on the Seine, to walking across the bridges Pont au Double or Pont de l’Archevêché (where I bought a watercolour painting from a street artist) I always took photographs when it was in view.

…closer to home…

Healthy Mindset – Day 24

With few exceptions in the last month, I’ve gone on a daily walk before making supper. It’s been a nice way to mark the transition from day to evening so it has become something I really look forward to. If you’re trying to find some separation in your days, give it a try.

This was one of my finds the other day. I’m not sure how long this mural has been there, but it’s only a few blocks from home, down a street I hardly walked “before”. Now I make a point of walking down this block just so I can see it. It’s been nice to find a few surprises in my own neighbourhood.

mural by Roberto López López, 13th & McIntyre, Regina, SK

If you’re walking around your neighbourhood more than you did before, are you noticing things you’ve never really noticed before?

…some of the places I’ve been…

Healthy Mindset – Days 20-23

It will be quite awhile before we are able to travel widely again, and while I have lots of thoughts about what it could be like, for now, I thought it could be a nice challenge to pick one picture from each of the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit over the last few years. I tried to choose ones I haven’t posted before.

Island Lake Lodge, Fernie, British Columbia, September 2019

First time I ever photographed the stars! Island Lake is a beautiful spot for star-gazing.

Monreale, Sicily, April 2019

Travel can be expensive, so to avoid overspending once I’m at the destination, my rule is that I can by a couple of accessories (necklaces, bracelets or scarves), artwork that can fit in my suitcase, and then a few souvenirs for family and friends. Most of the shopping I did in Sicily was here!

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy, April 2019

Perhaps from living in the wide open space of Saskatchewan, I’m always looking at the sky, even in a beautiful city like Florence!

Enchanted Forest, near Revelstoke, British Columbia, August 2018

You know how you sometimes have memories of places you visited when you were a little kid, and when you revisit them as an adult, they don’t quite measure up to your memories? I was happy that this place still existed, and it was still a magical stop off the Transcanada Highway.

top of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, May 2018

It was hard to choose just one Paris picture, but it’s almost exactly a year since the fire at Notre Dame. At the time, climbing the 387 steps up the very narrow spiral staircase of the North Tower seemed like a fun challenge. Now the photographs I took that afternoon are even more meaningful.

Astotin Lake, Elk Island National Park, August 2017

This is hands down one of the best places to watch a sunset! I’ve camped here three times in the last six or seven years and there have been beautiful sunsets every time.

Couldn’t resist the Corona picture when I came across it (sorry). I love being on the water, and the pic on the left is from a sunset sail on Banderas Bay.

view from AirBnB, corner of Dauphine & Esplanade, New Orleans, March 2016

I say this repeatedly, but the city I dream most of visiting again is New Orleans. This was the last picture I took before flying home the next morning. Any time of day or night, sitting on the patio, and seeing and hearing the neighbourhood come alive, was one of my favourite parts of the trip. There was the guy who rode by on his bicycle every morning singing, “good morning everybody, it’s time to great the day” to musicians carrying various instruments on their backs (and once seeing someone push a piano across the street) to hearing snippets of conversations as people walked by, it all added a richness to the experience that wouldn’t be experienced by staying in a hotel. New Orleans is one of the most vibrant cities I’ve ever been and it makes me sad to read about what is happening there now.

There will most certainly be changes to the way we travel as we move forward into the “new normal”. Even when wider travel is safe, I’ll likely feel more comfortable travelling close to home, but I am looking forward to the time when I can plan another trip. That time will come, but for now I can dream about places I’ve been and places I’ve yet to go.

Once it’s okay to travel widely again, where would you like to go?

Top Photo – Love (red outside violet inside), Robert Indiana – Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum of Modern Art

Face Towards the Sun

Healthy Mindset – Day 19

It was nice to see the sun today after a couple of miserable days here. It’s still a bit chilly, but somehow everything seems better when the sun is shining…

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and the shadows will fall behind you.”

Walt Whitman

All the pictures were taken around Regina, SK, except for the turtles from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.

A Year Ago Today

Healthy Mindset – Day 18

Last year, at this time, I was on a two week trip to Italy with a week in Florence and a week in Palermo, Sicily. It seems like such a long time ago now, but a year ago today, we took a day trip to Segesta where the Temple is thought to have been built between 430 and 420 BC. The Theatre has amazing views to the sea, and the hillsides around Segesta are just beautiful. I didn’t realize how much the clouds changed throughout the few hours we spent there until I starting to put together this collection of photos.

A Memorable Day in the Great Bear Rainforest

Healthy Mindset – Day 17

This photo is from one of my most memorable days ever. It was on a bear watching trip to the Great Bear Rainforest off the coast of northern British Columbia in June 2013. There were seven of us crammed in a zodiac drifting silently along hoping to spot this bear which we’d had a glimpse of a few hours earlier. Photography has taught me a lot of lessons and that day was all about patience. For five hours we floated along in complete silence so that we were as unobtrusive as possible. I can still remember how I felt then. At first, it was kind of awkward. We all fidgeted until most of us were in comfortable positions; there was some whispering, but even that was discouraged. Then, I was distracted by someone who couldn’t seem to get comfortable, and I felt annoyed by that. I started thinking about how long we were going to be out there and how much coffee I’d had at lunch. And then a sort of settling in happened, and the whole experience became that much richer. I stopped thinking and started listening to the birds which seemed to be singing louder and enjoying the scenery which seemed that much more lush as we slowly moved along. Turning off my brain, turned up all my other senses.

You only need sit still long enough in some attractive spot in the woods that all its inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you by turns.  

Henry David Thoreau

I had a similar feeling the other day when I was out for my daily walk. When this all started, going for a walk had been a way to work off pent up anxiety about reading too much news and social media posts. Now that I’m looking for those signs of hope and optimism (the hearts in windows and the wonders of sidewalk chalk art), I’m not really thinking about anything else. I notice houses, yards and trees I’ve never really looked at before but have walked by many, many times. I see pets in windows, mostly dogs happy to see someone walk by.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it’s going to be like when we all get to “emerge” again. I worry that spending too much time inside, shutting out the world (even though I know why and wholeheartedly support its necessity) is not good for us humans. Being outside and walking by the signs of hope and optimism, block after block, makes me believe that in the big scheme of things, we’re going to be okay.

Today’s writing exercise is to describe one of your most memorable days.

Some scenes from a memorable day on the water to end today’s post.

Sidewalk Messages Vol. 2

Healthy Mindset – Day 16

Who doesn’t like a compliment?

As the weather gets warmer here, I’m looking forward to documenting even more sidewalk art and seeing more positive, hopeful messages like this. Looking for sidewalk chalk art in the neighbourhood has seriously brightened my days. Like, c’mon, look at little Charlie’s (I’m assuming he’s little!) sidewalk masterpiece for his uncle Willy. Bacon!

More often than not, I find something to be delighted by, and in times like this, that means a lot. In fact, I would say it’s essential to have these moments to balance out everything else that is happening around us and weighing on our minds.

Today’s exercise is to do something that delights you. (I’ve just discovered my new favourite word!).

listening to the waves (videos attached)

Healthy Mindset – Day 14 & 15

My happy place is watching the sunset at Kaanapali Beach on Maui and listening to the waves…what’s your happy place?

“Close your eyes and imagine you are lying down on an empty, warm, sandy beach. Hear the ocean waves crashing, sea gulls singing. Feel the golden sun rays dancing in your hair. Take a deep breath and inhale the salty sea breeze. Exhale your worries.”

 Sandi Duverneuil

The videos are from a trip to Maui, March 2015. Out of 14 day trip, I think I watched the sunset at Kaanapali Beach 12 times.

Sidewalk Messages

Healthy Mindset – Day 13

On an otherwise very blah day, this made my day….I don’t know Auntie Chan or Leo, but I love that she can look out her living room window and see this message!

We are not in a full “lockdown” here, so going for a walk is still allowed. It’s essential for our physical and mental well-being so I hope it continues to be allowed. Be safe, practice all the protocols, don’t go to the places that everyone flocks to, and choose a time when you don’t see as many people out. When you cross the street to avoid someone, smile or say hi. Yes, it takes a bit more planning, but if you can go out for a walk, I highly encourage it.

Friendly physical distancing makes a huge difference:

No writing or creative exercise today – just a wish that everyone gets some fresh air this weekend.

getting my hands dirty

Healthy Mindset – Day 12

It was 12 degrees (celsius) on the weekend, and in the sun, it felt more like 25 degrees. That got me dreaming of gardening. Once the warm weather hits, I predict gardening is going to replace bread baking as the new “it” activity. I usually plant flowers, tomatoes and herbs like basil and parsley. This year, I’m going to add a few vegetables to the mix. In fact, I ordered the seeds a few weeks ago, when I had an idea that I’m going to become an urban farmer of sorts! That’s definitely not going to happen, but getting outside, digging my hands in the soil, and seeing everything grow sure seems like it will be a good antidote to our current situation.

I’ve been stalking the Facebook pages of local greenhouses to see if they will still be open and was happy to see that the three I checked out plan to offer curbside pick-up or delivery. Perfect. But, it’s only April 2! That means it’s still about six weeks to wait (and some around here would say that’s still too early to plant!). Oh well, it’s something thing to look forward to.

Today’s creative exercise is to plan your garden!

And for some inspiration, here are some pics from Butchart Gardens, in Victoria, BC, June 2014

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