Amarillo everywhere

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Millions of little blooms hang down the edges of the sea cliffs all over this city right now and the colors are so blatantly optimistic and invigorating that after long, soul-tired walks I cannot help but feel a little better about things. It is interesting though that all of these blooms are rife with thorns. Nothing comes for free or without consequences.

Quietly readying to say adieu

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I am steeling myself for the inevitable goodbye and allowing myself to be consumed by the nostalgia that comes with it all.

In 23 days I will be on a ferry heading away from Vancouver Island, and I will have all my worldly possessions with me, plus more memories than a hundred terabyte hard drives could hold.

The future right now is tenuous at best. It is terrifying at worst. Plans are tentative out of sheer necessity. I will hopefully be returning here in August to defend my thesis and graduate with my Master’s degree and then off into the real world to find a real job and make real money to pay off those very real student loans. What happens after that isn’t really clear, nor where all of this will happen. It’s all part of the adventure though, isn’t it?

In the meantime, I will relish my time here with photographs, fresh baked goods from my favorite places, and breathe in this ocean air while I can, and I will try and share it with you all.

Garden Wanders

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The Gardens were way more affordable than the Butchart Gardens, and even though there wasn’t much blooming yet, I feel like during the later spring/summertime it would be a marvelous way to experience some gorgeous gardens on a budget! The way that the Gardens are landscaped gives you multiple paths to wander, lots of different areas to explore (a Japanese garden, a winter garden, an herbs garden, etc.), and many benches/sunny spots to sit and take in all the beauty that is naturalia. They have lovely little posts in the soil that tell you what species you are looking at, and I have to say that even the smell of the earth was amazing. Morgan and I both agreed that we wanted to come back when more things are active- but we did have the whole gardens to ourselves!

If you want to learn more about the Gardens at HCP check out their website!

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Thesis beast and Primavera.

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Just some photos I have accumulated that don’t fit any particular theme of any one post. Some photos of some snowdrop flowers I found in all their tenacious, early spring glory. Cheerful homes I walk by on my walks to combat the intense anxiety that threatens to swallow me whole. Bits and bobs of books in the library, including the best label that reminds people that defacing books is, in fact, a crime.

In the midst of it all

This week was a good sort of interesting.

I drove to Missoula, Montana, for a conference/seminar/training opportunity, and got to meet Audrey Nelson, PhD. She’s a powerhouse of a woman, and teaches communication and gender to all sorts of high-ranking companies. I loved learning from her and I admired how well she spoke and got her points across while listening to our questions and working with everybody.

This weekend I checked out far too many books from the library, drank a lot of caffeine in various cafes, and had good conversations with people I’m lucky to consider my friends. I went out and had a blast with Ella, and wore my calf-length camel colored wool jacket that makes me feel like I belong in a film noir.

Today I am doing my taxes and procrastinating but excited to get a bit of money back.

I hope your spring has thus far been beautiful, April is a month full of hope for many, and I am no exception. Every week I am closer to leaving and being done with my horrible work situation, and one step closer to better things! Silver linings, silver linings.

You shall not pass!

Went on a lovely hike with Kristin this morning, but it ended at an odd point because apparently we were on private land (or so a sign said…) and turned around so as not to raise a ruckus/be shot at (yeah that’s a thing in the Wild West of Montana).

Life has been…choatic, to say the last. It’s been a whirlwind of me staying out far too late, loathing my horrendous job more than ever, getting excited to move to Victoria in August, and other little things that seem to always add up.

I’m so sorry I haven’t been posting regularly, I swear this is something I am going to improve upon! I’ve been still getting used to my DSLR and I’m trying to get it to do what I want…we’re working on it.

Anyway, I need to shower and get my life together this Sunday, which most likely involves me really just taking a nap. OOPS. Have a great rest of your weekends everybody!

 

 

You and me and the frog makes three




Dilapidated, slanted barns and old homesteads marked our distance. We went past Norris, past Harrison, and to Pony. The beautiful brick school house sat neatly on the hill, and as we went a small ways up a little muddy hill road, a graveyard stood there. Broken and and tilted gravestones sat grey and tan, some limestone, some sandstone, some granite.

We drove on through deep puddles and past large granite hills. The trees were green and dusted with snow. The creek below was swollen and clear, looking incredibly cold. Enormous boulders sat creating deep pools. Chris wondered aloud if they held fish, although most of the pools and eddies looked too shallow to hold any sort of sizable aquatic creature.

After driving right through the stream and parking in a small clearing, we found the trail buried under a little snow. I wore Chris’s flannel-lined Carhartt’s and some winter boots guaranteed to keep my feet warm to -20 Fahrenheit- standard issue Montana gear. Although it was mid-May we knew we’d most likely need it. We hiked through the damp snow and some mud, admiring the beautiful trees and lamenting the fact that once again we forgot the bear spray (a recurring theme in our adventures.)

Potosi Hot Springs was our destination. A warm, silty spring about 15 feet in each direction, it sits on a small hill after about a mile of easy hiking. After we encountered no bears, only a weasel and multiple pesky prairie dogs, we found the pool completely empty! Enthralled by our good luck we quickly undressed and got into the pool, which was a pleasant bathtub temperature. We found a lovely little grotto-like corner and squeezed into it. There were delicate spider webs and we saw a beautiful spider test the lines. Dew drops hung from every clover and leaf that surrounded the pool.

That’s when I spotted the frog.

A frog! A frog! My mind rushed excitedly, nostalgia washing over me, remembering how I caught frogs in upstate New York and in various rivers whenever we went camping and how the last time I saw a frog like this was on a hellish Father-Daughter backpacking trip through Yellowstone and the worst mosquitoes they’d seen in 40 years.

I didn’t catch it with my hands but rather with my lens- it seemed decent, because we were sharing this small warm pool with the frog, and I didn’t want to be rude. Actually, it was because I couldn’t catch him! He was very calm and I put my hands behind and around him gently and touched him- then he leaped into the silty water where I wouldn’t be able to find him. He made several more lovely cameos during our visit! I later found out that he was a Columbia Spotted Frog, a type of frog I’d never seen before! How neat!

Immediately after the frog-neighbor made an appearance  a mother and two blond children joined us with their very nervous dog. The dog mowed down grass more efficiently than any herbivore ungulate I’d seen and barked anxiously at nothing whatsoever. A couple joined us for about 20 minutes then left. Chris and I stayed in our warm section- we knew we had the best spot in the pool.

Chad, a Coors-drinking hotspringing veteran, showed up later. By then we had prune hands and were thoroughly relaxed. Chad told funny stories and we all admired our luck at being here in this little pool of warm water on such a nice day.

After almost five hours of intense soaking in the silty, mineral-rich water, we got out and headed back. The whole way I had the luxury of thinking how lucky we were to do this, and as Chris drove us back down the muddy and hole-filled dirt road I felt extremely balanced and happy.

Also, as a side note: the mineral water did something crazy to my  hair to the point that it ended up curling in perfect spirals instead of descending into it’s normal frizzy mess. I wish I could re-do the effects.

From ze phone: More Los Angeles

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Chris drove me to Butte to fly out of the tiniest, weirdest airport we’d ever seen. He actually went inside to check and see if it was a real airport before I went inside- “Yup, it’s real!”

We ate at Pork Chop John’s. It’s Butte, so I naturally wasn’t expecting anything nice, but when we got there Chris was highly questioning of the place. It was like a sad, weird, old MacDonald’s, but with better food that was cheap and good milkshakes! I think we ended up eating pretty well for a good price. Then we drove around the old part of town at night. It was beautiful and hilly and the city lights spanned farther than I thought.

The roads were icy enough that we went back to the hotel. The reviews online made it seem like a rat infested sinkhole that nobody would want to be near but all I wanted was a bed and a hot shower, which they had.

Free breakfast the next morning was pitiful at best, until we discovered the waffle maker. With a waffle each in our stomachs I made sure I was packed and we headed off to…the airport?

It was the size of a school gymnasium. After making sure it was real Chris bid me goodbye. I waved at him, grateful he had driven me all the way here, feeling bad he’d have to drive back alone. I had everything in one carry-on pack- four cameras, 15 rolls of film, and enough clothes to last a week. Security took 5 minutes, and I was ready to fly.

I slept through both of my flights, and landed in a definitely hotter Ontario, California. I was dressed head to toe in black, definitely looking out of place. Chelsea and Comrade Kate pulled in a zippy Dodge Stratus they called Lolita, both wearing sun dresses and heart shaped glasses. I wanted to change out of my pants and shirt immediately!

After doing so and putting my pack in their room, we walked to The Village to a wondrous place called Back Abbey, where we had beer and burgers and fries that seriously made me want to cry over their awesomeness. I love food and this burger was spectacular, unlike anything I’ve ever had. On our walk there, I saw succulents everywhere! And flowers! And GREEN THINGS!

I was in heaven.

The next day Chelsea and I walked to the train station. I ate a delicious croissant on the train and we sipped coffee. The train was quiet, clean, and efficient. We passed orange trees and parking lots and lots of buildings. At Union Station Chelsea showed me the interior- I was amazed at how beautiful it was! None of my photographs did it justice. We walked outside to meet towering palm trees that seemed impossibly tall and thin. I could hear Spanish everywhere. It was hot, enough so that I knew we would be wanting shade.

We went to MOCA to eat- we didn’t have enough time to go through it’s collection. Lunch was expensive (CITY FOOD) but delicious- I had a lemonade that quenched my thirst. We walked on, only to be brutally burned by the Disney concert hall with it’s horribly curved metal. I silently damned the architect to a level of hell suitable as the rays hit us. I imagined my skin being burned- of course it wasn’t but I was still displeased that such architectural style had been allowed- it was a public menace!

Chelsea took me all over town. We went to FIDM, the Biltmore Hotel, and Bottega Louis. We went to the Last Bookstore and I got lost in words and art pieces upstairs. We walked a lot that day, but every moment was awesome.

At the end of the day we got back on the train and quietly sat. Afterwards there was phenomenal sushi!

The next day Comrade Kate, Chelsea, and I got into Lolita. Chelsea drove us into Los Angeles, deftly turning the wheel and maneuvering through tight traffic. The LACMA awaited! We spent 5 hours in and out of every hall, our eyes eating up paintings and sculptures galore.

What a good weekend!

 

Currently eating, procrastinating, and waiting for spring to make up its mind.

I’ve been eating sporadic delicious things, trying new drinks (whiskey ginger, old fashioned, gin blossom, etc.- yay variety!) and crossing my fingers that spring might actually stay.

Chelsea came to town for a weekend of drinks at Plonk, Jeopardy at 3 am, and in the morning, peach crisp and angora sweaters. Julia has continued to be my model for many photo projects. School is getting stressful. To cope I’ve been ravenously watching Wes Anderson films- they calm me down for whatever reason.

I’ve been reading and trying to write and hitting a wall in getting myself together. I’ll be working in my hometown again this summer, which will be very relaxing. I’m good at my job at the front desk and it’s not too difficult.

So, I leave you all to sleep for 8 hours. Anybody who knows me knows that if I don’t get at least 8 (10 is optimal) I’m a monstrous creature to behold.

What spring elsewhere looks like.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s raining outside my window. I didn’t sleep the night before- wine, Moonrise Kingdom, chess, backgammon, and a walk in the dark ended up being valuable ways to spend time.

Lugano, my city (citta in Italiano) welcomes spring with such fanfare, by now the flowers have been planted in the Parco Civico (the Swiss bring in pre-bloomed flowers to maximize visual pleasure- who wants to watch buds?), the swans are hungrily attacking whatever people toss at them, and the gelato stands might even be up. (Oh, man- I could really use some good nocciolo gelato!)

One morning in spring Hannah and I took the FLP train to the nearby town of Ponte Tresa, me using only Swiss change I had accrued in a bag. That was a good day.

Now to collapse dramatically in my lovely bed.