(mostly) daily photoblog

Archive for May, 2011

“…change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn…

…and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.”  – Steinbeck

I’ve always liked Steinbeck’s writing.  From The Pearl to Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath to Sweet Thursday, his novels have always made me smile.  He had a way of phrasing things that made the most tragic, heart-wrenching moments seem beautiful.  Beautiful misery.  Gorgeous sorrow.

At the same time, he also had a way of making you empathize with a character who was about to murder his friend, or nearly destroying a family through the pursuit of something nearly unattainable.

Go.  Go now.  Read some Steinbeck.  You’ll feel better.

Where has my youthful excitement gone?

My daughter and son, while on a short walk tonight, picked dandelion poofs and made wishes and blew on them.  It was fun to watch them re-enact something that my wife and I did when we were young.  While I was watching them blow on dandelions, a thought occurred to me to which I did not give voice.

I thought, “Please don’t blow those seeds toward my front lawn.”

And there it was.  Right there.  My youthful, fun self died.  I actually thought about my lawn instead of fun.  Argh…I’m old.

Tea is a great gift

I hosted a BBQ last night and one of my guests brought a gift along for little ol’ me.  When I got up this morning, I was tempted to make a cup of tea with one of the many teas at my disposal, include “jumpy monkey” and “dragon pearls”, all from David’s Teas , but the box and tea container and diffuser all looked so nice I couldn’t bring myself to break up the beautiful display.

I’m sure I’ll open it soon, but for now I’ll enjoy the way it looks and smells.  Weird, I know.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Water

After pulling up photos from Quebec for yesterday’s photo, I was inspired to look through the rest of the photos from that week.  I found this one, of the Pierre Laporte Bridge, and then read that this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge was water.  So, again, WordPress’ challenge and Photo Friday have worked together to bring up two photos from my library that coincide with on another.

It’s almost like they’ve planned this.

Photo Friday: Sundown (and it’s being posted at sundown…how convenient)

This is an old photo…well, it was taken last year in September in Quebec City, so it’s not that old.

It was a beautiful night, after a long day of touring, corralling students and napping on a tour bus.  Good times.

At least the harbor cruise was nice and peaceful.  I ended up giving lessons on how to frame a shot, the rule of thirds and what aperture and shutter speed meant, but I had a good time anyway.

Hello, pretty flower. Are you growing in my front yard?

Wow.  I didn’t realize until now that engaging a dialog with an azalea would make me seem so creepy.  No?  It doesn’t seem that weird?  Okay, try it this way…

Hewwo, pwetty fwowa…awe you gwowin’ in my fwont yawd?

Because that’s how I heard it in my head as I wrote it.  Yep…I thought so.  Creepy.

The end of all must be nigh…

I feel as dead as the trees in the photo.  I’ve got dry eyes, sore muscles, tired brain and little will to go on.  Don’t get me wrong – this is not a public cry for help.  It’s just late in the year, the students are losing focus, the teachers more so, and I’m ready for a break.

Summer’s coming, but there’s three and a half weeks to go.  Hallelujah!

Way to go, boys! (What? Two posts in one night?)

Now that my blood pressure has returned to normal and the game is over, the Campbell Cup has been bestowed on the Canucks, let me take this time to thank the boys in blue and green for their hard work and awesome game.

You made us all proud tonight and we couldn’t be happier.

Only four more wins!

Can’t talk…watching hockey…overtime…

So…I’m not the most overt hockey fan, but I played on the outdoor rink that my school had when I was a kid in Saskatchewan.  I watched the triple and quadruple overtime games when I was a kid.  I cheered for the Habs when I was young in a province that didn’t have an NHL team, then cheered for the Canucks when I moved West.  Now we’re starting overtime, so I’m going to shut up and watch.

We’ll talk more tomorrow.

Update:  Double overtime…ARGH!

Update 2:  Yeaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh…wahoooooooooo…yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh…We won!  We won!  We won!

Hangin’ out at the Y

…or does it look more like a “T”?

I shot this after I got home from seeing “Thor”.

I could spend some time trying to connect this photo to some event, but I’m so tired.  I got five of seven fence posts in the ground today (with the help of my wife, mother and neighbor).  We had to drill a bunch of holes in the ground, level the posts, fill with concrete and backfill the soil around that.  We have two more posts to go and then the fence panels go on.

What I do know is that this neighborhood, street lights included, have really become home in the last year.  It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in this house and neighborhood for almost a year.

Next Exit: 600m

The No 3 Road exit is the exit to Cultus Lake.  It’s also the exit off the highway to my back-road route home.  In the summer, this exit is well-used by lower mainland traffic trying to escape the busy-ness and congestion of their home cities.  Of course, the irony is lost on a great many that as they make their way to an escape from their own highly populated cities they are contributing to a massive congestion of vehicles on the road and people at the lake.

Humans are silly.

Tiny: an interpretation of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Let’s get one thing straight, right at the outset:  I would never try to kill myself in any kind of stupid way.  It’s just that I’ve always been fascinated with semi-trucks, ever since I was a kid.  The first one I got to stand next to made me feel so tiny, so when I see one now, it takes me back to my childhood feeling of smallness.  That said, I’m now over six feet tall and around two hundred fifty pounds, so feeling small doesn’t happen very often.

As I wrote yesterday, I’ve been taking back and side roads to avoid the highway and its traffic.   A couple of days ago, this truck and I were keeping the same pace, so I took out my camera and aimed, blindly (so to speak), out the window and snapped a few photos.  I had no idea what any of them would look like.  The five year old inside my head loves this photo.  It captures everything I love about big trucks and why I felt so small in their presence.

Too many travelers.

I avoided the highway today.  Too many travelers in the way for me, the petty commuter.

It was the beginning of the long weekend here, the Victoria Day long weekend.  It’s named for Queen Victoria, by the way, but I’m not much of a royalist so I can’t tell you much more about it.

As for what it means around here?  It means that thousands, tens of thousands, of people all decide to be outdoorsy all on the same weekend.  It marks the opening of the campground season and boating season and, well, traffic season.  The weather was beautiful, the sun was out, the cars were on the road.  And so begins the smoggy, hazy, traffic-filled summer.  Yay!

Architectural Beauty

This beauty once belonged to the Canadian Military.  Now, it houses a presentation center for a housing development.  I’m particularly enamored of the symmetry and the old trees.  Whoever did this bit of landscaping did a great job.

When I see this type of old school architecture and landscaping, it makes me wish I had more money to put into my own landscaping.

Contemplative? Pensive? Thoughtful? Exasperated?

I really don’t know what she’s thinking.

We, my daughter and I, went for a walk tonight.  While walking, we heard bagpipes so we followed the sound.  The further we walked, the louder the pipes got.  We found the pipers were practicing on Canadian military grounds and we’re not allowed to trespass on their land, so we had to walk considerably farther to get near them.  Part of the old Army base (the base has been greatly reduced in the last ten years) has been turned into a presentation center for a local housing development, so my daughter and I sat and listened as the bagpipes (complete with kilts) played near us.  I managed to capture a few shots of her, but I liked this one best.

I really don’t know what she’s thinking; maybe this is a “choose your own emotion” photo.

This is a delicious but bad photo

There are many things that are bad about this photo.  The colors aren’t great.  There needs to be some serious dodging on the sausage so you can actually see it.  The angle is not very good.  The horizon, because of the angle at which I shot this photo, is not quite right on the top, but it’s okay at the bottom.

On the other hand, grilled veggies and Mennonite farmer sausage is the best comfort food of the oncoming summer.  Yum.

Trouth moubles; or, how did I survive the day?

I can’t explain it tonight.  I barely survived the day.  I’m sneezing.  I’m tripping over words.  I feel like I haven’t slept in a month, yet I know I’ve been sleeping well enough.  Well, not enough.

Twice today I started to speak words that were coming out incorrectly.  I feared, for a minute or two, that I was having a stroke.  The feeling passed in and out throughout the day.  I think the year-end is finally settling in on my brain and the remaining four and a half weeks might be interesting.

I need to go mark some stuff, so wish me luck.  And sleep.  Wish me sleep.

Oh, and here’s some flowers and stuff.  Whatever.  Sleepy…

“A characteristic of the normal child…

…is he doesn’t act that way very often.” (Anon.)

I don’t know what got into my daughter in this photo, but she actually gave me a nice smile.  Usually I get crossed eyes and her tongue hanging out.

Ben seems, however, to be planning the imminent pranking of someone by some thing, but only he knows who and what.

I think I would worry if things were “normal”.  It seems to me that there are too many people in my life who desire for things to be normal.  I think they mean sedate.  I think they mean calm.  Peaceful.  Conflict-free.  Quiet.  I think that sounds like a coma.  Frankly, I’ll take the energy and conflict and noise of “normal” kids.

My World: Photo Friday Challenge

These two are my world.  It’s hard to believe that they’ve been part of my life for ten years and seven years.  When I thought they were so small and wished they would grow faster, I had no idea that I would find myself hoping against hope that they would slow down and grow more slowly.

I also had no idea that I could love anything as much as I love them.  I feared, once, that having two children was going to diminish my love for each – like love was something I had to split in two.  Somehow, I have found stores of love I could not have fathomed, nor understood.

I couldn’t imagine my life without them and they are my world.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Red

Roses are red (but sometimes not – sometimes they’re yellow, white, pink, salmon, and more)

Violets are blue (huh?  I thought violet was more purple than blue.  Look, I’m slightly color blind and even I know that violets are not blue)

Sugar is sweet (uh…duhr…)

And so are you.

So what have we learned here?  If I’m the speaker of the poem, my knowledge of roses is incomplete; I can’t tell my colors apart; I am good at pointing out the obvious; I hope that you won’t notice the insipid and erroneous nature of everything I’ve said so far and won’t you please love me.

Yeesh…that poem sucks.

A single rose can be my garden…

…a single friend, my world. (Buscaglia)

There is little that I don’t love about roses.  The smell is a frontal assault on the temporal lobe, disorienting the emotional centers by conjuring up images of love and desire.  To feel a rose is to feel the most fragile leather one could ever hold – a fragility and strength at once.  Visually, they are beautiful in their complexity.  There is little that is simple about a rose.  Perhaps that is why roses and love have become synonymous.

Love is a frontal assault on the senses, confusing the brain and conjuring up emotions and memories.  It is fragile and strong, beautiful and complex.

Finding faces is fun (also, alliteration)

There is a face here, the small missing brick at the bottom forming a little “o” as though the granary was surprised to notice he shaved off the right side of his mustache.  He looks shocked and a little sad that the stache he had worked on is now only two-thirds a stache.

Poor granary.  Doesn’t he know he’s inanimate?  Doesn’t he know he can’t emote?

Lonely shoes are lonely…I wonder who will claim them

Perhaps somewhere there is someone thinking, “Where are my shoes?  I know I can’t have lost another pair.  Argh…”

Or, perhaps, someone spontaneously combusted, leaving only their shoes behind.

Or, perhaps, the rapture happened for this guy and all that’s left of his earthly form is his shoes.

Or, perhaps, there was a falling out between the man and the shoes and the man left them here to teach them a lesson.

Or, perhaps…

What do you think happened?

Canucks Win! Canucks Win! Canucks Win! (On to the third round)

For the first time in my adult life since 1994 I’ve watched every one of the Canucks games in a second round series.  I have been impressed with the Canucks’ ability to blow my blood pressure completely out of normal range, even when I’m medicated.  Even when they’re winning, I’m freaked out that they might lose.  I like the insurance that a two goal lead provides, and whenever they have one, a goal is scored against them and I’m back to feeling my heart pound against my sternum, threatening to break free and run for good.

There have been two superheroes in this series and one of them has been making me smile throughout the regular season and against the Blackhawks.  Batman Ryan Kesler and Superman Mason Raymond.

The Superman for the Canucks in this round was Mason Raymond.  I’m not saying he’s invincible, but he flies in from nowhere and then disappears – faster than a speeding bullet.  Watching him come across the red line nonchalantly and then turn on afterburners from who knows where only to steal the puck and put it on net, leaping small defensemen ina single bound (and then, not so Supermanly, careen into the boards, a Predator defender, or a linesman) is fun and makes me think that he’s been getting tips from Clark Kent.  I guess if I was hard-pressed he’s more like the Flash than Supes, but I don’t have a Flash action figure, so what was I supposed to do.

The Batman to his Supes is Ryan Kesler.  This guy does the dirty work that no one else wants to and takes the physicality of a game like hockey to an artistic level.  He grinds away at the patience of defenders and goalies and fans by refusing to give up the front of his opponents’ nets.  He takes a puck to the face and only misses a shift.  He’s the (un)caped Canuck Crusader.  He’s the Dark Knight of Robson Street.  He’s…well, he’s impressive all the time for doing what most everyone else cannot.

So you know how I feel.  How about you?  Oh, and Nashville fans – you have one heck of a team and it was fun to watch this series.  Congratulations.


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