Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Last Dish OR 59/365



Not enough time between work and respite to go home; too much time to go straight from A to B. ...Hmm... I will not be able to do this when it hits -40...

57/365 by gina.blank

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Sunny Autumn Weekend AND 56/365

This was the temperature in Edmonton today:

(About 85F)

This is still considered uncharacteristic for Alberta in September, despite being the fourth year in a row that we have been graced with summer temperatures in autumn (ironically, we never hit 30C this summer...).

It's almost the best of both worlds. The amazing colours of fall, with the fantastic temperatures of summer. Now, if the sun wasn't already going to bed at 8pm...

You can bet I've been trying to take advantage of the warmth and sunshine while it's been around! These last few warm weekends have seen me working at the garden to get it ready for its winter sleep, traipsing through various parts of the city on photo walks with the Edmonton Photography Meet-Up group, soaking up the rays on walks with friends, and taking many a picture.

Yesterday I was down in Edmonton's River Valley doing a photo shoot for a family I am acquainted with. Admittedly, it was one of the tougher shoots I've done. I am appreciative of the warm sun and vibrant colours that softened the blow to my ego.

I took the afternoon for myself today. I pulled the camping chair out of the garage to the yard. The cats stretched out in patches of shade while I lounged in full sun. I enjoyed good ol' PB&J as I got started on my newest library book.

In the summer when I am reading outside, I generally take a glass of water with me and 3-4 small freezies. I consume all of them to keep cool while I am reading. Summer or not, today seemed like a freezie day to me.

I have to say, it feels much easier to start the descent into winter when autumn presents itself this way.

56/365 by gina.blank


Had a few minutes before friends arrived for an autumn photo shoot. That sun feels so good.

55/365 by gina.blank

Friday, September 23, 2011


My contribution to brunch with friends tomorrow morning. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

54/365 by gina.blank


53/365 by gina.blank

"We're adults.
When did that happen? And how do we 
make it stop?"

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I felt I was looking particularly grown-up this morning.*

52/365 by gina.blank

 * Two things I learned today. 1. I STILL don't like taking my picture first thing in the morning. 2. After the fact, I feel I liked the way I looked better in the mirror than in the resulting pictures. Can anyone else relate to that feeling?


A late-summer swing and good company.


50/365 by gina.blank
Okay, so here's the story. Knowing that I was going for blood-work (regularly prescribed by my doctor after my annual check-up), I SO wanted to take a close-up picture of my elbow as blood was being drawn (morbid? Maybe. Creative? Definitely!) However, I was half-way to work when I realized I left my camera at home, and I wouldn't be going home again before my appointment.

THEN, I was like, no worries, I have my cell phone camera! and was going to make due with that. When I got to the clinic, however, it seemed that the nurses had had a really busy day. They commented on it frequently in conversation with each other, and they were rather curt with everyone who was moving in and out of the facility. So by the time I was called to the little chair around the corner, I didn't think it would be wise to proclaim "hold on a minute, I need to take a picture of this."

Alas, the picture I have instead.

...I still kinda want to take a picture of my blood being drawn...

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Tackled some more end-of-season garden tasks today. Pruning, mulching, and yanking out anything that was clearly done growing and producing. This was only about half the pile; the weeds had their own. I managed to get one more small bowl of Nanking cherries while tangled in the bushes as I pruned; that was a pleasant surprise. The only things left in the garden now are the carrots, zucchini, and dill. ...Didn't I just plant all this???

49/365 by gina.blank


...Now where did he go?

48/365 by gina.blank

Friday, September 16, 2011


47/365 by gina.blank


46/365 by gina.blankHe points to the door.
"Yes, door. Goodnight."
Close the door all the way

but not quite.

Just enough light
to read by.

He will know if you
move away.

And when the tossing
and turning cease
and the breathing becomes

you know you can
creep back downstairs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A late supper this evening.

45/365 by gina.blank

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Key Things to Consider OR 44/365

When your car key starts to look like the one on the left, stop using it. Switch to right.*

Key Things to Consider OR 44/365 by gina.blank

Or you may find yourself in a car that won't start at the end of the work day, which means you will then be at the mercy of an amazing colleague who will drive you clear across the city to get your spare key from home and then drive you back to the office to test said key. But because of all the fiddling you've done in the first place, it still won't work, so while your brain starts freaking out that the ignition is shot, you will call your [also] amazing personal mechanic, who will drop all his home renos to come put "magic powder" (read: graphite lubricant) in the key slot, unjam the steering wheel, and finally start your car.

You will be relieved that your ignition is absolutely fine, but somewhat frustrated at the whole ordeal, for which you missed a sunny walk with friends (the sunny parking lot is just not the same).

When you finally get home for you, you will bake chocolate goods for the coworker who drove you across the city and back. And say a prayer of blessing for connections to skilled individuals. And hope to avoid such issues ever again.

* I couldn't believe it, either.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sometimes Photoshop is Just Fun OR 43/365

A picture of me, editing a picture of me, editing a picture of me...*

Sometimes Photoshop is Just Fun OR 43/365 by gina.blank

* I've been spending a good chunk of time post-processing a recent photo shoot; my brain needed a brief diversion from the standard crop-and-rotate.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ridin' in the van, sharin' the tunes. Good times, good times. No, wait--the best times. :)

42/365 by gina.blank

Saturday, September 10, 2011


It's been about 30C (85F) for the last several days in Edmonton. Uncharacteristic for the city (heck, most of the country) this time of year. This is the fourth year in a row that we have been blessed with summer temperatures in September. Climate Shift, thy name is Alberta???

Still, despite the summer feel, it is clear that fall is arriving. Neighbourhoods and River Valley trails are spotted with yellow trees, the sun is waking up later and going to bed earlier, and as hot as it's been getting in the day time, it's dipping down to about 10C or less (50F) at night.

I decided to mow the lawn this afternoon. With the increase in temperatures and decrease in rain these last few weeks, it's been a while since I'd tended to it, but it was finally starting to look a bit untidy, so I figured my lawn deserved a hair cut. :) Except that mowing the lawn then turned into a whole clean-up-the-garden event. My mom joined me outside, pointing to different areas of the yard and commenting, "in the fall, you'll want to... this" and "in the fall, you'll want to... that." As I'm taking note of these garden tips, I'm thinking about how it pretty much is fall, and how it's not going to get any warmer, really, than it has been this week, so maybe I should start tackling some of the tasks now, while it's still nice enough that I want to be outside.

So we loosened the dirt at the side of the house and yanked up a bunch of weeds. Pulled out the mass of weeds growing between the driveway and the fence, as well. Took apart the small garden bed near the BBQ that I want to re-build differently next spring. Plucked a couple cucumbers from the garden and watered what's left of the vegetables.

Next weekend I will do more pulling and plucking, as well as some pruning.

It's hard to believe the season of growth and colour and life is moving towards dormancy once again, and in a couple short months, I will be shoveling the driveway instead of mowing the lawn. :\

That being said, as long as it is warm and sunny, I will get my hands a little dirty while I can.

41/365 by gina.blank


Blue raspberry frozen yogurt + Smartie bits + strawberries + raspberries = Twisted Yogurt perfection :)

40/365 by gina.blank

Thursday, September 8, 2011


About that time of year when I go make sure I'm still healthy. :)

39/365 by gina.blank

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


This walk brought to you by good friends and 31C in September!

38/365 by gina.blank


My brain is fuzzy today. Who schedules themselves a 12-hour-day of activity after a long weekend, honestly? ...Oh, wait...

37/365 by gina.blank


After the camping...

36/365 by gina.blank

Summits AND 35/365

I continue to learn from my mistakes. The photo I really-really-really wanted for today's photo-of-the-day was a group shot of my friends and I at the first summit of the Balding Hills trail at Maligne Lake. Unfortunately, in changing lenses, I failed to remember that the last time I had used the lens, I had used manual focus instead of auto focus. Suffice it to say, every single take of the group shot is unrepairably out of focus. SIGH.

But let us pause and talk of summits. Balding Hills had three. The guidebook, which described the hike--as a whole--as "trifling", said that the first summit appeared after 35-50 minutes. After 65 minutes, we agreed that it was "the longest 35 minutes ever." And while I have hiked much harder and longer trails, I'm not sure I would refer to this hike as "trifling". I would refer to it as a decent day hike. The trail to the first summit was a shallow-ish grade, but completely up. No downhill breaks, and few flat spots (granted, those few were much appreciated and taken advantage of). Every now and then, a break in the trees afforded a good view. It was not awful, by any means. Nevertheless, we arrived at the first summit happy to take a break in the sun, drink water, eat, and take in the view.

Sometimes, even with glimpses of beauty and loveliness along the way, we just need a break from the uphill trek.

As we downed our trail mix, we discussed with the idea of turning around at that point, or continuing onto the second summit "to see what we could see." The guidebook promised even better views from the higher vantage point at the next stop. We chose to go for it.

This leg of the hike was much shorter, but also much steeper. The side of the hill was mostly shale, rendering our steps slow, short, and very purposefully placed. Mostly because I stopped to take pictures, my friends all reached the top before me.

Sometimes, it's okay to just stop briefly to take in the whole of what is before you.

The view at the top WAS better. The first summit still had us surrounded by a lot of trees. Not so much on the second summit. As a result, we were greeted at the top by full sun and a much more panoramic view. It was great.

Balding Hills at Maligne Lake

Admittedly, we didn't stay long. Dropping temperatures, wind, and other pressing activities rendered us back down the trail. We were able to take a different trail for part of the way down, offering still more diversity, even as we were descending back to where we had started.

Summits OR 35/365 by gina.blank

We cannot stay the top indefinitely.

But it was a good view while we were there. None of us regretted not having time to check out the third and final summit. Knowing the potential of the path not chosen did not diminish the goodness of the path we were on.

It was enough just to be where we were.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I finally learned how to skip rocks this weekend!

34/365 by gina.blank


The September long weekend marks my first (and only) camping trip of the season; ready for adventure!

33/365 by gina.blank

Thursday, September 1, 2011

At the Wheel OR 32/365

Today in Alberta, the new Distracted Driving Law went into effect. There are now legal consequences for such activities as (but not limited to):
  • using hand-held cell phones
  • texting or e-mailing (even at a red light or behind a train)
  • using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming portable audio players (e.g., MP3 players)
  • entering information on GPS units
  • reading printed materials in the vehicle
  • writing, printing or sketching, and
  • personal grooming
while operating your vehicle.

Admittedly, I have engaged in some of those distracted behaviours myself. I once tried to argue that it was only when I was driving alone. When I have passengers, I would never want to risk hurting them in an accident. The person I was talking to responded, "just everyone else on the road." ...Point taken. Really, I'm glad this new legislation is in place. Sure, it's not a perfect solution--just as photo radar clearly doesn't stop people from speeding permanently. Still, I feel it's a step in the right direction.

I read through the FAQ on the Ministry of Transportation website last week, and some of the questions they posted surprised me. Particularly, "How does this legislation balance the need for safety with the realities of multi-tasking that occur in day-to-day driving?" ...Sorry, what?

...the realities of multi-tasking that occur in day-to-day driving... As if that's the way driving is, rather than the way driving has become. No driver needs to multi-task in the car. We do it because we've become a fast-paced, technology-dependent, time-crunched society.*

You've probably heard of the "Slow Movement", which encourages people to take all aspects of life at a healthier (and often slower) pace. It is about reducing the rush-rush mentality, and creating room to live more purposefully and meaningfully. Faster and more are not always better.

I love how people think this is some new idea. It's not. It might just be that the some of the ways our ancestors did life before urbanization and the inundation of technology might actually have been a good way to do things. Go figure. As an introvert who hates moving from one activity to the next without down time, and as someone who can't handle that rushed feeling being thrown at her, my thought when I first heard about the Slow Movement was, it's about freaking time this lifestyle became trendy.

As much as I already embrace things like down time, cooking my own meals, planting a garden, engaging children in natural play, reading a book instead of immersing myself in multimedia... I still fall prey to my iPod, my cell phone, and most certainly the computer. I also fall prey to the need to always be doing something; not rushing--I hate that feeling--more just not being bored or inactive. Heaven forbid I actually sit alone with my thoughts and maybe with God for five minutes. Must. Fill. Empty. Space. ....Right.

And then so many of my activities are dictated by my needing a car to get there. I am in my car a lot.

Appreciating the value of the Slow Movement doesn't mean I plan on giving up my car or anything. Generally speaking, I love to drive. And our transit system kinda sucks. But I think I can be more proactive in how I spend my drive time.
  • I don't need to call that person right away; I will be wherever I'm going soon enough (and if I do need to call that person right away, I can pull over). 
  • I can put on lip gloss before I start moving.
  • I can sit patiently at a red light for the whole minute or less that it's red (rather than squeezing out three more words of a text message).
  • I can eat lunch at the office. It is not in my job description to scarf down lunch while I'm driving; I put that on myself.
This new legislation is kinda like a fresh reminder. What are my priorities when I'm driving? What makes me feel like I have to multi-task in the car? What am I doing behind the wheel?

32/365 by gina.blank

* It still blows my mind that there are people who try to do things like brush their teeth while driving. How do you even do that? I can't even brush my teeth and text at the same time, let alone brush my teeth and drive. ...And yes, I have found myself in a place where I was brushing my teeth and texting--but that's a different story.