Portrait Day at the Trestle

_mg_3117-large

Yesterday, a few of us drove out to Kinsol Trestle for an afternoon of portraits. There weren’t as many colourful leaves as we’d hoped for, but by the river was a pocket of colour – enough to make things interesting. A few hours of both silly and serious portraits passed quickly.

_mg_3353-large

I even let someone else hold my camera (thanks to Carly for this photo, and Eric for the one below). I also successfully balanced on a rock without falling in the water. Proof:

_mg_3457-large

Eric rested on a bigger rock. (Portraits and climbing up hills are tiring, dontcha know?)

_mg_3400-large

We even managed a shot of both of us together! (Hard to do on our own usually).

_mg_3376-large

I had so much fun taking photos of everyone (though next time we will have a better meet-up plan. Oops.) We found a few good spots, and rotated out so we all have options. Even Fenrir got in on the action.

_mg_3116-large

_mg_3179-large

_mg_3126-large

I think some of my favourite images are the outtakes, but I’ll leave those for others to post ;) (I hope they do!) I can’t wait till next time.

_mg_3131-large

 

Do it anyway

For many years now, I’ve had a block around writing. I would sit down and try to access the part of my brain that had flourished at the tail end of high school – the endless imagination that could create worlds in an instant. Instead there was a wall; high and thick and gray. It was immensely frustrating. The words that used to flow (not easily, but the trickle that wouldn’t die and sometimes poured out like a storm) were gone.

I’m not sure there was a single reason things stopped. A combination of well-meant pressure and a flood of depression were certainly part of the reason. In the end it doesn’t matter. The words stopped and instead I took up the camera. I found a way to describe without words. I could click the shutter and capture those thoughts and memories. I can look at an image and remember – cold air that fills your lungs and brings colour to your cheeks. The warm sunrise hitting the trees. The sound of gravel underfoot.
Elk Lake Morning

Images were how I spoke. They took the place of awkward sentences and blank walls and fear.

This summer, I decided I’ve had enough. I came across an interview with an actor who spoke of realizing he was making a decision based on fear, and realized he needed to do it anyway. Being afraid isn’t an excuse to say no. It’s a reason to say yes. (I have grudgingly come to accept that I am a Gryffindor at heart. Dammit.) So (with my heart in my mouth, ready to escape) I sat down and started searching. I found a free online course excerpt to jump start my brain and wrote. Oh hell it is so bad and those words won’t be seen by anyone else, but making that decision and opening those floodgates reminded my how much I fucking miss it. I’ve set a daily word goal for myself, a tiny 200 words. (As though I will scare the words away if I aim too high.) After a week I could talk about writing without feeling like I’m chasing away a wild animal. I posted some publicly, for the first time in a decade (no, you can’t read it. Pen names are my safety net.)

I realize this might not seem like a huge deal to people outside my head (the fictional folk inside are throwing a damn party). I am a fierce worrier and fearfully courageous dumbass. But the best thing I learned in my 20’s (the wordless decade) was to feel afraid but do it anyway. Don’t let it stop you. Own the nerves, feel your heart race, and jump.

Nephews are the best

_MG_2898 (Large)

_MG_2899 (Large)

_MG_2900 (Large)

_MG_2904-2 (Large)

My nephew is only nine weeks old, but he’s got the whole range of emotions down. The way his face totally changes colour when he’s unhappy is impressive.

Today’s theme:

Can’t stop|Won’t stop. . . #learning #education #selfimprovement #write #create #teachyoself

A photo posted by Mel McNiece (@meljammin) on

So. Many. Tomatoes.

It’s early August, and I’m already fearing the tomato harvest. I have a feeling everything will ripen at once and I will be scrambling to freeze and preserve as fast as I can. Not that I really want to complain – the reason I dedicated half my garden to tomatoes this year is how delicious they are when picked perfectly ripe. I only hope I can keep up in eating them. Yum.

The floof couple

_MG_2808 (Large)

Because sometimes you need to take a ridiculous photo with a cat.

Also I don’t know what’s going on with my hair today.

China Beach: Take 2 (Or, the sun does exist)

 

_MG_2716 (Large)

_MG_2701 (Large)

This past weekend, a few of us headed out to China Beach again to celebrate birthdays with camping. I wasn’t sure it would happen but we actually had sunshine this time! Saturday began with a light rain, which thankfully started just after Eric and I set up the tent and shelter. The site had high points perfectly sized for the tents (both ours and our friends’), so we didn’t wake up in the middle of a lake. The afternoon’s light drizzle was ideal for games of crazy eights and crib with beer or tea in hand.

_MG_2584 (Large)

_MG_2591 (Large)

_MG_2571 (Large)

_MG_2579 (Large)

Sunday morning brought sunshine (woohoo!) so we made our way down the 1km (ish) trail to Second Beach to stretch our legs. The trail is quite steep in places, but the only real danger was Fenrir and his damned logs. He is not satisfied with mere sticks, noooo. Only the finest logs for him! If anything, he forces you to be aware of your surroundings so he doesn’t sneak up behind out and take you out at the knees.

_MG_2601-HDR (Large)

_MG_2607 (Large)

I think the short hike is totally worth the view at the bottom, don’t you?

_MG_2615 (Large)

_MG_2625 (Large)

_MG_2631 (Large)

_MG_2683 (Large)

Because I can never resist sand drawings…

_MG_2656 (Large)

In the late afternoon, more friends showed up to spend some time with the birthday people. One hike was enough for me, so when they all went down to the beach again, I stayed up at the site and treated myself to some knit & read time. [Knit: plain cotton wash cloth. Read: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle.] The evening brought more crib games (dammit Adam) and the use-up-the-firewood bonfire meant we were all perfectly warm.

_MG_2686 (Large)

_MG_2714 (Large)

_MG_2687 (Large)

I was so damn close to winning (I was red). Futzing crib games. Grr. 

By the time morning came, I think we were all very much looking forward to a shower. (I know I was!) I think the worst part about rainy camping is packing up wet gear – along with having to drape tarps and tents all over the house for a few days so everything dries out. Which reminds me, it’s time to put some gear away.

Till next time, xo

Jamageddon: The Peachening

_MG_2485 (Large)

Saturday on our long drive home we passed through Osoyoos. I was hoping for some early peaches at one of the many roadside fruit stands and I was in luck! We purchased a 10 lb box there, but grabbed another in Cawston because we couldn’t help ourselves. (We also stopped at a craft cidery there, but I’ll talk about that later this week.) The rest of the drive home smelled amazing.

This meant, of course, that Sunday was jam day. Eric and I cleared off our extra “counter”, moved the microwave and toaster and set to work. All three recipes are from Food in Jars (both her blog and the cookbook). First we made Honey-Sweetened Peach Vanilla Jam, then Peach Salsa and Peach Jam from the cookbook. There was a lot of dipping into the pot for taste tests, yum! Most of these will be hoarded away for us, but a precious few will be handed out to friends. (If they’re lucky ;) )

Syringa Provincial Park

_MG_2379 (Large)

_MG_2383 (Large)

_MG_2386 (Large)

_MG_2405-2 (Large)

_MG_2415 (Large)

_MG_2418-2 (Large)

_MG_2425 (Large)

_MG_2430 (Large)

_MG_2437 (Large)

As part of our week-long trip inland, Eric and I visited Castlegar. We visited Syringa Provincial Park on Canada Day to get out of the house for a bit. The day was mainly overcast but very warm, hovering around 30c. I forgot to take swim clothes, so I stuck to land. There were enough interesting plants for me to look at though, and Eric skipped every skippable rock on the beach. It was a lovely way to spend a few hours.

 

Kamloops Views

Snapshots while visiting.

Great view from Sahali in Kamloops right now. #kamloops #bc #hellobc #sunset #yka

A photo posted by Mel McNiece (@meljammin) on