Sunday, July 24, 2016

Weekly West Coast 2016 - Random Awesome Things

Results of a shipwreck washed up on the beach? Treasure? Possibly.  You'll have to find it yourself to know for sure.
Kudos to the creator of this cache!

  Like the real deer that frequent this park, these near-deer are in a different location each time I visit.
It's awesome that someone takes the time to help them in their travels.

I loved how the colour of the sphere-thing was repeated in the poppies in the foreground and in the roof-top in the distance.  Even more than that, I loved that someone took the time to create a still-life in a little-used alley.

Art in a tree! I admire the determination of the artist who hauled that rock up that tree.  Well done!

More art in more trees!  We saw a few owls like this in the trees around Port Renfrew. I wonder what they signify? Thank you owl artist for giving us something to ponder and enjoy.

This still-life arrangement is behind someone's backyard fence.  Not something they'd get to enjoy regularly, so I'm assuming they've created it for passersby like me.  What a lovely idea!

The awesomeness here is readily apparent.  I love how neat the printing is, and I love how it differs from the "wash me" graffiti you usually see etched on a dusty car.

Have a great week all! Sending you warm thoughts wherever you are!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Weekly West Coast 2016 - Small Surprises

Sometimes when the "big picture" is overwhelming, it's helpful to pause and savour the little surprises that come into my life. 

I was surprised to find a series of oversized faux-insects decorating a fence in my neighbourhood

I was even more surprised to find this oversized and very much real beetle hanging from my screen when I opened the curtains one morning.

The surprise of eggs in what I thought was an abandoned nest.
Surprise strawberries in our neglected garden.

A friend knocked on our door and surprised us with cherries from her garden.
(Thanks L!)
Have a great week all! Sending you warm thoughts wherever you are!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Weekly West Coast 2016 - Wild Renfrew Seaside Cottages

Here are the last of the photos from our west coast of the west coast adventure. All were all taken at Wild Renfrew Seaside Cottages  We were looking for a place to eat, read, sleep and walk, followed by more eating, reading, sleeping and walking. Our wharfside studio cottage provided all that along with lots of cool things to look at, and take pictures of, right outside our door. 

Every time we looked at the water we spotted a seal. It's like they were waiting for someone to take their picture. There were several kingfishers and a family of rambunctious otters as well, but they were much more camera-shy.

The pub was very conveniently located.  The food was exactly what you'd expect from a pub, but be warned, the portions are quite generous.  Perfect after a long hike. 

The wharfside cottages are truly on the side of the wharf.  Having foot and vehicle traffic that close took a bit of getting used to, but once we got over our introverted ways, being able to greet passersby added to the charm of our stay.  

Lovely views...

...even when the clouds and the rain rolled in. 

Hubby enjoying our wharfside patio, complete with propane fire pit. 

The property is nicely landscaped. Upkeep is obviously a HUGE job.

Thanks to Hubby for providing several of these photos and for planning such a great anniversary adventure. 

Have a great week all! Sending you warm thoughts wherever you are!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Weekly West Coast 2016 - Avatar Grove Edition

More photos from our west coast of the west coast adventure.  These ones are courtesy of Hubby. We were barely into Avatar Grove when I realized it was too gloomy for my iPhone's capabilities.  I also realized that I was going to need my hands for balance. And for swatting at oversized, yet strangely non-biting, mosquitoes.  The iPhone went back in my pack and stayed there for the duration of the hike.  I was particularly relieved that it was safely stowed when, on leaving the forest, I noticed a spider dangling from the brim of my hat.  Serious arm-flailing ensued. I think I scared the couple arriving as much as the spider scared me.  

Still, arachnophobic panic aside, the forest was beautiful and awe-inspiring.  I could easily imagine the Na'vi living on the other side of the mist.

Have a great week all! Sending you warm thoughts wherever you are! (And to those of you living in lands experiencing overwhelming summer, I send cool, misty thoughts!)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Weekly West Coast 2016 - Botanical Beach to Botany Bay Edition

Hubby and I have just returned from a trip to the west coast of the west coast. We spent a few days exploring Port Renfrew and the surrounding area. The photos below are from our Botany Bay to Botanical Beach hike.  The morning was rainy, misty and overcast, but beautiful nonetheless. 

Have a great week all! Sending you warm thoughts wherever you are!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weekly West Coast 2016 - June 13 to June 19

On December 7, 1989, I was driving to one of my last classes of the year. I was stressed and anxious about upcoming exams, and I was looking forward to the holidays starting immediately following those exams. 

I had just pulled onto the expressway when the news came on the radio. The only headline that day? Fourteen women attending a university in Montreal had be shot and killed the day before. Fourteen women so close to my age, possibly feeling many of the things I was feeling, women who, like me, were working toward their goals. Women with hopes and dreams. These women were no more.  That headline shook me to depths I didn't know I had.  I cried all the way to class.

On March 13, 1996, those depths were rattled again when I heard that a gunman had shot and killed 16 children and one teacher at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland. Having recently left teaching, I could all too easily imagine the horror for all involved.  I felt sick for days.

On April 20, 1999, 12 students and one teacher were shot and killed at Columbine High School in Colorado.  There was that feeling again.  That shocked, hollow, disbelieving ache that was becoming all too familiar. 

They say familiarity breeds contempt, though in my case it bred apathy.  The stories of shootings just kept coming.  
With each story I was less shaken. Eventually I got to the point where I felt nothing other than a vague sense of here-we-go-again. I honestly thought that I couldn't be rattled any more. I thought that the place inside me that could be shaken had been worn away years ago.

I was wrong. 

The recent shootings in Orlando have reminded me that I can still be shaken. Maybe because this one hits home in ways that I won't go into here.  Some stories are not mine to share.

As a result, I've been very caught up in my thoughts this week, and I have been pretty much blind to the beauty around me. This flag, flying in front of the Town Hall near my workplace, was one of the few things that was able to capture my attention.  

I hope to be back with more photos next week.  Sending you warm thoughts wherever you are!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Weekly West Coast 2016 - Comfort Zone

I've mentioned that taking photos for this project helps to get me out of the house on days when I might otherwise stay on the sofa.  It also gets me out of my head. Instead of mulling and worrying and pondering and completely missing out on the world around me, I'm learning to pay attention. I'm noticing things I might have missed if I had been focused on my thoughts.

Recently I've been finding that taking pictures is forcing me out of my comfort zone.  I'm also discovering that my comfort zone, much to my surprise, has become uncomfortably small.  It's been interesting to notice what's worrying me when I'm taking a photo.

The pictures below aren't the best, but they're all ones that caused internal discomfort on some level.  I'm pleased that I took them anyway, though in most cases I'm not particularly pleased with the results.  

Oooh. This is a good one.  It's not a good picture, but the taking of it set off all kinds of alarm bells  The local first-responders were lined up on both sides of the road collecting donations for Fort McMurray.  I stopped, made a donation, and asked if it would be OK to take pictures to share. Absolutely terrifying on so many levels.  When my phone's battery died after three pictures I was thrilled to have a reason to make my escape.

That this one caused discomfort surprised me.  I had never seen a flowering palm tree before, and I wanted to get pictures.  The tree was in that vague strip of land between the sidewalk and the road.  Who owns that land? That the tree might have been on someone's property had me worried that I should be asking permission to take photos. Thankfully the verge-police did not come and arrest me.

Oh, the moral dilemma of taking pictures of people without their permission. Even though I knew that my iPhone's camera wouldn't allow us to identify these people, I was still worried about the ethicalness of taking and sharing this photo.

This one was taken in my own front yard.  I had to lean way in to get close enough capture the water droplets on the leaves.  The whole time I was doing so I worried about what the neighbours would think if they saw me.  Not only was it a weird thing to do, but no one needs to see my butt from that angle.

This picture didn't turn out anywhere near like I thought I might, and I probably would have realized it at the time if I hadn't been so concerned about what passersby by would think of the strange woman taking pictures of a ditch...

...or of a puddle.

The whole time I was taking pictures of this thing I worried that someone would question me as to why I was taking so many pictures of it. 

I had to step off the well-marked pathway and into the landscaping to get this picture.  Such a scofflaw! The path is there for a reason.  Not to mention that I looked like a crazy lurker-woman skulking in the shrubbery.  

This was taken from my car before 6 am. I was wearing a ball cap and gloves.  Could I have looked any more suspicious?   I kept expecting security to come  take me away.  I'm sure my anxiously glancing all around added to the illusion that I was casing the joint. 

I was mesmerised by these gravity-defying stacks of rocks in front of my workplace.  Still, the whole time I was taking pictures I was worried that anyone seeing me would think I had created them and accuse me of interfering with the landscaping. 

Sometimes I wonder if I'd be less self-conscious when taking pictures if I was using a camera instead of my iPhone. My Dad, who is a very skilled photographer, rarely gets questioned about his intentions when he's out taking pictures.  With all his gear he looks like a photographer. There's no subtlety about it.  People know he's taking pictures because he's a photographer.  I worry that I look like a criminal, or a crazy lady, or a nincompoop. Still, if I had all his equipment I'd worry that people would expect me to know what to do with it.  What if a real photographer saw me and realized I don't know an f-stop from ISO? I think I'll save my money and stick with my iPhone.