At this time last year, I was anticipating my trip to the Great Bear Rainforest in northern BC.  I had lots of conflicting thoughts – did I make the right decision in choosing this trip to celebrate a momentous birthday?  I wanted to do something outside my comfort zone, but at the same time, why didn’t I just choose to lay on a beach somewhere?  I’ve never slept on a boat, heck I’d never been on a boat for more than a few hours at a time, why did I think I’d like to spend a week on a small boat with five people I’ve never met before?  There was gear to be bought, had to get a tetanus shot, and plan how to deal with my diabetes. More than once I thought should I really do this?  But by then the trip was paid for, flights were booked to Prince Rupert, and the excitement of doing something different and going somewhere off the beaten path outweighed the fear and doubt.  I had a churning, upset stomach the morning we got on the float plane to meet the boat in a tiny aboriginal fishing village called Hartley Bay (of course, being on the float plane and hitting pockets of air, did nothing to quell the butterflies in my stomach!) But, once we met our hosts, got settled on the boat, and were off on our adventure starting down the Douglas Channel it really was amazing and it really was everything I’d hoped it would be.

Scenes like this, the calm water, and the reflections of the forests of trees and snow-capped mountains, were well worth the doubt and the anxiety before the trip!

entering anchorage in the Great Bear Rainforest

March is a weird month

March is that weird month when the sidewalks are treacherously icy on the morning walk to work and on the walk home you have to avoid all the puddles and slush. You don’t dare stand or walk on the edge of the sidewalk unless you take pleasure in getting soaked by passing cars.  It’s not really a pretty month because the snow is dirty, the trees are brown, potholes are revealed and you never really know how deep the puddle is you are stepping in until it’s too late and your shoes are soaked and you get a booter (not sure if that’s just a Canadian slang word or if it’s used in other parts of the world!).  But the days are longer, the sun is warmer, the snow is melting, you can toss your big winter coat aside, and everything just feels a little lighter.

a warm early March sunset...
a warm early March sunset…

This quote pretty much sums it up…

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”  -Charles Dickens

Things I do to distract myself while doing the dishes

I don’t like doing dishes.  Tonight, while I was standing in the kitchen doing dishes, I happened to turn around and saw a pretty nice sunset developing outside my living room window.  So, I dried my hands, grabbed my cameras (I’m trying out a new one), opened my balcony door (it was about -16 at the time) and started snapping pictures.  Once my feet got too cold, I closed the door and noticed there was nice light and cool shadows on my bookshelf, so I took a few more pictures.  I went back to doing the dishes, but the light was changing quickly, so I dried my hands again, opened the door, and snapped a few more.  I repeated this ritual a couple of more times, until finally the sun set, my sock-less feet were turning blue and the water in the sink was cold.

Soon it will be warm enough to stand on my balcony in bare feet, right? (Update on Friday….with the windchill, it is going to feel like -50 later this evening.  Bare feet will have to wait!)

February 27 sunsetFebruary 27 sunset 3 Feburary 27 sunset 2February 27 sunset 4February 27 sunset 5

Oh Canada

I’m a big fan of the Olympics and a bit sad that they are pretty much over. I could wait to post this after the Canada-Sweden men’s hockey gold medal game, but regardless if Canada wins or not, I’ve enjoyed watching all the Canadian athletes. My favourite moments were Regina’s own snowboarder, Mark McMorris, winning a bronze medal in Slopestyle. He is amazingly talented and really well spoken – the sky’s the limit for him. Bobsledders, Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, won gold again, after winning in Vancouver. These women are fierce! And, of course, the women’s gold medal hockey game between the US and Canada was an instant classic! Amazing!

The Olympics, politics and controversies aside, engage me every time, because they reveal all that is beautiful, daring, real, and yes, sometimes devastating, about the human experience. It’s pretty inspiring stuff. 

Here’s a quote from my favourite poet, e.e. cummings which captures what I mean:

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder and spontaneous delight, or any experience which reveals the human spirit.

And, yes, like, millions of other Canadians, I’ll be up early on Sunday morning to watch the gold medal hockey game. Go Canada!

Battleford, SK

A few photos I took on my Christmas vacation….

Battleford Fire Brigade Battleford, Sk 2 Fred Light MuseumBattleford, Sk Bridge in Battleford

Now on to one of my favourite months – January! Really, I do like January. Calling it one of my favourite months might be pushing it a bit, but I don’t hate it! (This is a relatively new thing, I used to hate it).

Yes, it’s cold (frigidly so). Yes, the days are short (but they are getting longer). Yes, there’s the after Christmas lull to deal with (and it’s worse if you keep putting off taking the Christmas tree down, I actually took mine down on New Year’s Day which is the earliest I’ve ever done that).  But this is also the month for a fresh start and to think about what you want the next year to be like.  It’s a great month for hunkering down and watching movies, listening to music, and reading. And drinking lots of coffee (three cups today…let’s see if I sleep tonight!).  If you can get past the cold, January really isn’t too bad… March is the month I hate!

Taking A Chance

This is one of my favourite pictures I’ve taken this year… (but it almost didn’t happen)…

Great Bear Rainforest reflection

My birthday this year was a significant one.  I wanted to mark the occasion by doing something I’d never done before and by going somewhere I’d never been before. But, once I booked the trip with Ocean Adventures to spend a week in the Great Bear Rainforest and the deposit was made, I almost instantly regretted it!

It’s funny how sometimes we want to do things, but we are also fearful of the unknown, and that can hold us back.  Since I’m a Type 1 diabetic I was fearful that I might have some kind of diabetic emergency and would have to be airlifted out (many of the places we went on the boat were remote and inaccessible because of the timing of the tides in the inlets).  But I’ve been diabetic for ten years and all the traveling I’ve done has been in the last ten years, and I’ve never had a diabetic emergency because I’m careful about monitoring my blood sugar. I had to be realistic that yes something could happen, but I know how to take all the precautions so that something doesn’t happen, so why not trust myself?  (And, since I’m quite klutzy, the thing I should have been worried about was stepping into a hole while walking through a meadow of wildflowers wearing ill-fitting rubber boots and almost breaking my ankle…yes, it almost happened).

Then, there was the fact that I’ve never spent any significant time on the water.  Sure, I’ve been on boats and ferries, but never for hours and hours, let alone, days at a time.  Why did I think I would enjoy being on a boat for seven days?!  And did I mention that there would be five other people on the boat that I didn’t know and we would be in close quarters for those seven days? What if we didn’t like each other?  What if those seven days were spent hating the people I was sharing the experience with?  But, really, we would share a love of nature and photography, at the very least, so even if we had nothing else in common, at least we shared that.  (And, of course, it ended up that we all enjoyed each others company, and even had a few tears when we were saying goodbye on the dock at the end of the trip).

So, sometimes your desire for a new experience trumps fear.  Sometimes you have to suspend your own disbelief and take a chance. It might work out or it might not, but at least you’ve had the experience.

It starts with an idea and that idea grows and then you take action to make it happen. Sometimes you just have to trust yourself and take a chance. The worst that could happen usually doesn’t come to be.

That’s the most significant thing I learned this year. That seems appropriate for a significant year.

sick day

I have a cold.  It’s your regular, run of the mill cold – itchy watery eyes, runny nose, aches, pains and fever and no energy. I’m feeling pretty miserable right now.  To make matters worse I can’t sleep because new windows are getting installed on the floor below me so there has been some sawing and lots of hammering, all the usual construction noises.  Great.  (I’m actually typing this with my eyes closed right now because my eyes are watering!).  Fun times at my place today! I picked up my camera and took a few pictures of the things that I have tried to distract myself with to deal with my miserableness (because I think the cold itself just has to run its course).

I brought two of my fuchsias inside to see how they would do indoors. One of the flowers fell off and I just thought it looked pretty with a black backdrop. (Took this one with my iphone)

I’m drinking lots of herbal tea

These are the two books I have on the go at the moment, but my eyes are too sore to read for any length of time.

Really great movie (in my top five).

This is my favourite movie. I own it, but watched it on Netflix.

I’m not a big shoe person, but I did need new shoes to wear at work this fall. I ordered these from Beyond the Rack at a super good price in August and they finally arrived today. Yay!

I’ve held onto the Riders/Eskimos ticket stub for five years. It’s the most memorable game I’ve ever been at. A huge thunderstorm knocked out the power at the stadium for over an hour, and the teams left the fields, while fans waited it out under the stands (some diehards stayed in their seats). When play finally resumed, probably only 17000 fans remained (out of about 30000), we were behind before the stoppage, but we ended up winning. We also won the Grey Cup that year. It was awesome.
The Jim Cuddy concert in January was one of the best concerts I’ve been to. It was the perfect place to be on a frigidly cold prairie night.

If I could sleep, I would probably be having weird dreams! I always have weird dreams when I have a cold.