Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013: A Year in Review

Things I celebrated:

-Being awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal
-Indy turning 5
-Pete's birthday (Any birthday while you are battling cancer is a big deal.)
-Our 23rd wedding anniversary (Happily every after!)

Things I survived:

-Two NMO relapses. Treatment was pretty rough.
-Indy & Pete being attacked by a Pit bull and both badly injured. We were all traumatized.
-Pete had surgery to repair his injury which meant 3 months of recovery just as he was recovering from having his kidney removed for cancer. The day he went for surgery, the company he'd worked for for 23 years folded. It never rains, but it pours!
-Breaking my wrist for the 4th time, XC skiing. Took me 2 weeks to realize it was actually broken and not just a bad sprain. I spent 8 1/2 months in either a cast or a splint.
- The 1 yr. anniversary of Pete's cancer diagnosis
-In October, I spent 15 days sick in bed.  Caught what I refer to as "the plague" and couldn't shake it because I am on immunosupressants.
-Surgery on my wrist & arm almost 6 weeks ago. This has by far been the hardest thing I've had to go through medically (even worse than chemo) for a number of reasons. It can't heal fast enough.

Things I volunteered for:

-Universal Access-Ability Advisory Committee
-UBC Med Student Interviews
-MS Society's Peer Support Program
-Canadian MS Society blogger/mentor (I wrote 10 posts this year.)
-Skiing is Believing program photographer
-A friend's political campaign
-Volunteered at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference
-First ever 5 km walk/run for NMO Guest speaker at opening ceremonies
-Health Mentors Program interviews
-The Terry Fox Run
-Health Mentor Program, 2012-2013 & 2013-2014 cohorts
-UBC Patient Panel guest speaker (NMO)
-UBC NMO Day guest speaker
-Organizing Committee for the BC Provincial Wheelchair Curling Championships
-UBC Faculty of Medicine Health Mentors' Advisory Committee
-Assisted with MS fundraiser at two Billy Talent Concerts

Things I did that were fun and/or cool:

-Shared my story on MV-1 Canada's Life Without Compromise website & e-book
-Filmed for 5 days for a tv show which still has not aired-it keeps getting delayed.
-Was invited as an honoured guest for the Ferry Ballet on Canada Day with False Creek Ferries (Your loss Rick Mercer!)
-Saw Melissa Etheridge in concert at the PNE
-Went to Cranberryfest
-Attended my friend Andrea's thesis defence at UBC. She is now a Doctor of Philosophy!

Things that happened in my artistic life:

-Got addicted to Gelli plate printing thanks to my friend Penn
-Was published in Uppercase Magazine (Subscriber profile)
-Had some work accepted for publication in a book due out in spring 2015
-Attended the Vancouver screening of Indie Kindred with my friend Carol (I think I would have had more fun had I not been 2 days post-op and loaded up on pain killers.)
-Had Skiing is Believing photos published in Ski Cross Country Magazine
-Hit the milestone of receiving my 100th Etsy order!

Things I won:

-A year's subscription to Uppercase Magazine
-Tickets for a horse drawn tour of Stanley Park (Which we did on Pete's birthday in October.)
-Tickets to see Shane Koyczan, spoken word poet at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
-A beautiful necklace from the Vintage Pearl & all kinds of paper goodies from Curly Girl. They also sent me $25 gift certificates for both companies, which I have yet to use.
-Tickets to the Knowledge Networks premier of Home. I submitted a self portrait and wrote about it to win.
-Tickets to the BC Sports Hall of Fame
-A Sochi 2014 Olympic pin
-A box of Purdy's Turona chocolates (Which should be in the mail tomorrow!)
-Ipad mini & keyboard-this was a gift from my husband's boss and his wife, but it felt like winning!

My word for the year was FOCUS. Clearly, this was a year where that was important, with so many things going on. One of the things I really wanted to focus on accomplishing this year was to do more public speaking about NMO. I was really happy to have the opportunity to be a guest speaker at three different events and I hope to continue to do this in 2014. 

Speaking of 2014, we've been through alot in the last year and a half and I think I am more than ready to have a really good year. I'm hoping 2014 is a kinder, gentler year. 

Monday, December 09, 2013

Things Worth Celebrating

Back in March, I went to Whistler with the Para Nordic Cross Country Skiing is Believing program to do some photography. My friend Andrea had asked me to come do some photography for them to provide to their funders. There was also the possibly some of the photos being published in a BC XC ski magazine. I was more than happy to support this amazing program. (Which, if you missed it, I posted about here.) 

I now have copies of the magazine! This is it:

It's distributed BC wide.

Two of my photographs appear with an article that talks about the program. One is at the top with the header (two sit skiers racing) and the other is the second down on the right. (A group of sit skiers practicing what to do if they should tip over.)

Here's my photo credit! I am really chuffed about this because it's the first time my photos have been published outside of artistic publications. I am still not quite comfortable labelling myself as a photographer-I am not technical about it at all. I shoot and edit with what feels right to my artistic eye, but I can't for the life of me tell you what a f-stop is, nor do I care. All I know is that I enjoy shooting and editing and I really loved the opportunity to have this experience.

Speaking of Andrea, last Tuesday, I went out to UBC with my friend Courtney to support Andrea as she defended her thesis, which was her work on AthletesFirst. Andrea did an fantastic job staying cool under pressure. I think the Doctors who were hearing her defence were very impressed with her as well because in the end, she was granted her Doctor of Philosophy degree! We are all *SO* proud of her!

This was the final slide of Andrea's presentation. Recognize anyone? It was sweet of her to include this photo. (I guest blogged for AthletesFirst at one point, which is why I was included in the presentation.) Another lovely thing about attending Andrea's defence was that I finally got to meet Josh Vander Vies and Meyrick Jones. Both great guys-Josh is super smart and Meyrick is really funny.

Soon Andrea will be off to the UK to do some post-doctorate work. Congratulations Dr. Andrea!!

Friday, November 08, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened To Me...

A few weeks ago, I entered a photo contest. The idea was to post a photo that made you think of home and to write a short piece about "Home is...".
So I submitted this photo:

...and didn't even give it a second thought. A few days later, however, I had an email from the Knowledge Network who was hosting the contest. They said they had a question about the image I submitted, as there was talk that was a copyrighted image. They said it didn't look like a photo that was taken by me, that it had come from somewhere online and could I confirm where the photo was taken? They were concerned that I had just gone to "images" in Google and downloaded it. Yikes!!

To say I was stunned, was an understatement. I have never had someone imply that work I've submitted wasn't mine. So I emailed them back and assured them that the work was indeed mine-the photo is a selfie I shot up at one of the lakes where I often walk Indy, so it doesn't get any more personal than that. In fact, I sent them the link to the blog post where I first shared it.

I also sent them photos of the progression of editing the image and another selfie, this time shot out at UBC with me wearing the same shoes, socks & jeans:

They believed me, thank goodness. I can't imagine someone submitting a stolen photo to a photo contest. That would just be foolish-it's so easy to check something like that out. I told my best friend about the whole thing and she thought it was kind of awesome. I suppose it is, when you think about it-apparently I create real commercial quality images...I think I'll take that as a compliment.

Anyway, the upshot of it all was that last week, I got an email saying I'd been chosen as one of the winners! My prize was two tickets to an advanced screening of Take Me Home which features 36 BC artists, athletes and personalities sharing what home means to them and a reception afterwards.

Last night my husband and I went to the advanced screening and had a great time. The MC, as it turns out, is a fellow Winnipegger. As I was listening to him talk about where he calls home (the North End of Winnipeg) I was smiling and nodding-home is that intimate knowledge of where you come from and the common experiences of that place. I not only heard his words about my hometown, I connected with and deeply understood them.

 The series of films for Take Me Home were so beautifully shot. As an artist, I really appreciated the care taken in crafting of each piece. They were all, in their own ways, visually stunning. The people who they chose to feature were incredibly interesting. There were poets, (like my all-time favourite, Shane Koyczan) Paralympians (Josh Dueck and Donovan Tildesley) authors, astrophysicists, hockey players, Olympians, landscape architects, singers/songwriters and more. What I really loved was seeing just who calls British Columbia home. It's so inspiring to know you are surrounded by a community of creatives and dream chasers.

Afterwards, there was a reception, which we attended very briefly. On our way out, we crossed paths with Donovan Tildesley and had a really nice chat with him. We traded business cards and he was amused by my Moo card-he could tell right away, it was different!

If you get the Knowledge Network, I highly recommend watching the 3 part series that premiers November 14th at 7:30 p.m. (PST) 

I'll be tuning in. I hope you will too!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This Week's All About Colour

We had a beautiful weekend for our 23rd anniversary. It was warm (17C) and sunny. My husband and I, along with Indy hopped the False Creek Ferry to Granville Island. It was the perfect day for a leisurely cruise and lunch in the courtyard.

The trees are spectacular this time of year. Everywhere you look, it's a colour feast for the eyes. I can't tell you how happy this makes me. Autumn is so incredibly beautiful in this part of Canada.

Over the weekend, I picked up some new stencils and some new shades of paint, so I made some prints on my gelli plate. It's always fun to experiment with colours.

This week and next are going to be busy and then things will slow down for a bit as I have surgery on my wrist and arm on Nov. 19th. NOT looking forward to having bones sawed (I am actually a bit freaked out at the prospect) but it's been almost 8 months since I broke my wrist for the 4th time and it's not healing on it's own, so surgery's a necessary evil. I am hoping everything goes smoothly and at the very least, it will relieve the pain. I am tired of being either in a cast or splint after all these months. I'd like full use (such as it is) of my right hand back!

I saw this last week and I wanted to share it with you-I found it uplifting. I hope you do too! 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Under the Weather

Yes, I am still alive. (Barely!) I came down with a very nasty throat infection 12 days ago and have been in bed ever since. Fortunately I have antibiotics now, so hopefully I'll be feeling better and have my voice back soon.

In between doctor's appointments, I managed to take Indy for a walk in the park yesterday. Walking around the lake was a challenge because I am feeling pretty wiped out, but Indy needed the exercise and I needed the fresh air after being stuck at the hospital all morning. The leaves were just beautiful. Maple leaves are always my favourite (for obvious reasons) and I love oak leaves too. There aren't as many oak trees in BC as there are in Manitoba, so when I see oak leaves, it's a sweet reminder of home.

Just before I came down with the plague, I had a fresh bust of inspiration to work on finishing issue #4 of Manual Dexterity, which has been in the works for some time. All the art is completed, (the image above is a wee peek!) now I just need to work on the written content. My goal is to have it completed before I have surgery on my wrist. Since I'm still waiting to hear when that's actually going to happen, chances are good I'm going to manage to get it finished! Zines are alot of work, but I really enjoy making them.

Gearing up for Thanksgiving this weekend. It's probably going to be pretty low key as I am not 100%, but there will be turkey, one way or another and I am determined to enjoy CranberryFest tomorrow!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Good Things

Copyright Lelainia Lloyd 2013

1. Friends who recommend good iPhone photo apps. After admiring Roben Marie's Instagram pics, I finally had to ask her what apps she's been using. AremaC does pretty things like I did to this simple photo I took at the PNE a few weeks ago. Love it!

2. Online art classes. After finding an unexpected windfall in my email yesterday morning, I decided to treat myself to Roben Marie's You've Got Mail Art class. I've been wanting to take it and decided now was as good a time as any, especially with the prospect of hand surgery looming. I doubt I'm going to be able to do much once that happens, so I'd better get my art fix NOW. I'm diving in today!

3. This video, by a local artist Bodhi Jones, shot at the corner of Granville and Broadway in Vancouver as one single, continuous shot.  If I remember correctly, he said in a recent interview he stood out there for 14 hours straight. It's amazing- see for yourself. (Be forewarned there's the occasional f-bomb in this song if you're easily offended.)

3. The gift of blue plums. We have friends who have a tree and last night my husband came home with a bag full of them. They are one of my most favourite things. YUM!

4. Volunteering. I decided to volunteer for the annual Terry Fox which is being held at Blue Mountain Park at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15th. (This Sunday.) For those of you who don't know who Terry Fox is, the short story is he's a beloved Canadian hero. The long story is here. My husband knew Terry and his siblings-they went to school together. I am volunteering in my husband's honour. He was diagnosed with kidney cancer a year ago on September long weekend. My husband will be walking as a survivor on Sunday. If you are local please come join us-you can run, walk or wheel or just come to honour Terry's memory and legacy. Terry's sister Judith will be speaking. Need more details? You can find them here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What's Been Going On

Last Saturday night my husband and I went to the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) which is the big annual fair. They always have a summer concert series and last night, the fabulous Melissa Etheridge was playing. I've loved her for a long, long time and years when my husband and I were first married, we got tickets to see her at the Orpheum. He didn't know who she was, but he was so impressed by her, he fell in love with her too.

The beauty of the concert space at the PNE is that the view is so spectacular. You can see the north shore mountains, as well as several of the big attractions at the fair all lit up. Add to that a world class artist who knows how to throw a party and it's magic.

At one point in the concert, Melissa brought out a gorgeous electric guitar in vintage aqua, the same colour as my studio. I have no idea why, but this made me insanely happy and I sat there with this big stupid grin on my face the whole time she was playing it. I WANTED that guitar. The crazy thing is, I don't play but I seriously wanted that guitar. If I had that aqua guitar, I would learn to play, even with numb hands.

At one point in the evening, she talked about being cancer free for 9 years and not just being a survivor, but a thriver and then she sang "I Run for Life", her breast cancer awareness song. Saturday night she added lyrics to include male cancer survivors too. Listening, I was trying hard not to cry. It's become so personal for me, especially right at this moment when we're almost at the 1 year anniversary of my husband's diagnosis of kidney cancer. My heart's a little tender about that right now. This year has been one of the hardest of our lives on so many levels. It's our deepest hope that at some point we'll be able to say he's 9 years cancer free too.

It was a fabulous concert and it cheered my up greatly. The only downside was the yahoos sitting around us. There were three separate couples who decided to have loud arguments while Melissa was playing. Who does that?!? They were so obnoxious I was having trouble hearing the music. (And if you know anything about Melissa Etheridge, it's that she rocks the h*ll out of her concerts, so that tells you how disruptive they were being.) One couple was actually arguing about how many strings were on the guitar she was playing, if you can believe it. I'd have liked to El Kabong them with it just to shut them up!

I know things have been kind of quiet here lately. I've been struggling with my health again. I've spent alot of time in bed and it feels like my left leg is going to stop working any second now. My immune system just refuses to stand down, so they've upped my immuno supressants again and we'll see how it goes. At this point, I am just tired of the whole thing. Nothing seems to work.

Yesterday I finally met with the hand surgeon about my broken wrist. After a very painful exam which left me dizzy and about to toss my cookies, he did two diagnostic injections of steroids and freezing into the two parts of my wrist that are the problem. Let's just say when a needle hits bone over and over, it's torture. The pain from that is excruciating and it's going to be days till it settles down. In the meantime, am gobbling pain pills and icing it as much as possible. I was extremely grateful my best friend was there to hold my good hand while all this was done and to make sure I got home safely. She was a huge help and comfort to me. 

I see the surgeon again in six weeks and then we decide which of two surgeries is going to happen. One involves removing a bone and the other involves shortening a bone. I'm pretty freaked out about the whole thing, especially the bone shortening prospect. That's got to be painful. Clearly something has to be done and I am hoping it will be taken care of before 2013 is over. This is dragged on for almost 6 month now as it is and I'd really like to have my right hand functional and pain free again.

When I got home from the hospital yesterday, there was a message from my husband saying he'd been injured on the job and he was at the ER. He tripped over a metal bar that the carpenters left sitting on the deck at his job site and fell between some columns, landing on the shoulder on the same side he had his arm surgery on a few months ago. He is okay, thankfully-nothing broken or torn-he's just understandably sore. Yesterday was about all the trauma I could handle in a single day.

On a positive note, I was asked to be a guest speaker at the 2nd annual NMO Information Day. I will be presenting on the Interprofessional Health Mentors Program that I've been involved with. I am so pleased to have this opportunity and look forward to sharing with other NMO patients how our stories matter to the medical community. My friend Nancy will also be presenting on the first ever (anywhere in the world!) NMO walk/run that she organized this past May.

If you are local and are interested in attending NMO Information Day, you can register here. If you're coming, be sure to find me and say hello!

Also in the good news department, my friend Andrea informed me the other day that it looks like two of the photographs I took for the Para XC Ski Program, Skiing is Believing are going to be published in a magazine! It won't be official till we see it in print, (with magazines, things are always subject to change) but we're pretty confident this is going to happen. Andrea's going to make sure I get some copies, so I'll share them with you when I have them in hand. I'm really excited about the prospect of having my photography appear in a sports magazine-that will be a first for me! If you're interested in seeing all the photos from that day, the entire set is here on my Flickr. It was such an amazing day and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Last, but not least, today is A&W's Crusin' For A Cause Annual MS fundraiser. If you're Canadian, please try and stop by any A&W location and purchase a teen burger-$1 from every burger goes to MS. If hamburgers are not your thing, but you still want to help, all locations are happy to receive donations to the Canadian MS Society. You can also use the hashtag #crusinforacause on Twitter on any of your tweets today and $1 for each tweet will also be donated. It's a very simple way to help fund the important research and support programs the MS Society provides to both people living with MS and also those of us rare birds living with NMO. (The CDN MS Society has very generously taken Canadians with NMO under their wing and are offering us the same services as those with MS.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Scenes From the Weekend

On Sunday, we got up early to take Indy to check out a new (to us) park along the Fraser River. He loves anywhere where he has the opportunity to swim. 
This particular park is across the water from YVR (Vancouver International Airport) so we got to watch lots of planes coming in, which I enjoyed. I even spotted a seal swimming along.

I kind of love this silhouette shot of Indy playing in the waves.

The nosy nose that knows.

Plus a quick selfie, just for good measure. It feels good to be shooting with my Rebel again. I've been neglecting it of late, in favour of getting familiar with my iPhone camera and a bunch of photography apps. It's good fun, but really, my DSLR is my first love. There's just no comparison.

In case you're wondering, the apps I am enjoying are:

 They are all good, but Typic Pro is my personal favourite of the bunch!
If you have some photography apps you love, please comment & let me know what they are!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Canada Day Long Weekend 2013

So this past weekend marked the 146th birthday of our great nation. We celebrated Canada Day on July 1st. Usually this holiday is pretty low key in our house-we tend to just do some hiking and BBQing and that's about it. It ended up busier than I had originally anticipated. 

Sunday evening, my pal Jenn and I went to see Shayne Koyczan at the Vogue. As I mentioned before, I won tickets from the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. I have to tell you, this was an amazing experience. Jenn and I arrived early to pick up the tickets at the box office and then we lined up. While we were standing in line, this woman came up to us and asked if we'd be willing to do an on camera interview of our thoughts about Shane Koyczan. They were filming with plans to put the interviews together as a video at some point. We thought it would be fun and since we both adore him, we said we were in. It was pretty funny and I can't wait to see what they do with the footage. Funny that I seem to be doing alot of TV lately.

Eventually, we were let into the theatre. The seating was rush seating and since were at the front of the line, we easily got seats in row two, up front and center. Shane ended up performing for THREE HOURS. He is not only a gifted poet, but also incredibly funny. I laughed so much my face hurt. His band was incredible and I was so happy there were so many strings-cello, base, guitar and violin, along with keyboard, trombone and trumpet. The beauty of combining spoken word with music is that the music beautifully underscores the words and adds another layer to the emotion that is being expressed. It's an experience like no other.

The Vancouver International Jazz Festival has never had spoken word poetry as part of their line up. It's really cool that they decided to take a chance to include it.  Seeing Shane Koyczan, whom I consider to be one of Canada's national treasures was the perfect way to celebrate the Canada Day long weekend.
While Jenn and I were having dinner before the show, I got a message from the good people at False Creek Ferries. (The company that runs the ferry service we often ride from Science World to Granville  Island. It's one of our favourite things to do.) Awhile back they invited Rick Mercer to join them on Canada Day for their traditional ferry ballet. (Think Musical Ride, only on water, using ferries instead of horses.) I told them half jokingly that if Rick Mercer didn't want to do it, I did. Well, Rick Mercer never got back to them, so they very sweetly extended the invitation for me to join them. Of course I said yes! 

I got home pretty late from the Vogue-1am and didn't get to sleep till 2am, but still managed to get up for 5am so I could get downtown in time. The morning was so beautiful. This photo is the reflection of Science World in False Creek. The water was like glass. It was so peaceful.

I waited at the dock at Olympic Village and at about 7:30am, a fleet of 6 ferries came to get me. Nothing like a fleet of boats turning up to make a girl feel special! I hopped aboard and we were off. The manager of the company (in the left hand photo) was calling the manoeuvres via radio.

The ferries did figure eights, various lines and circle sequences in several locations along False Creek. People were watching from shore or out on their boats, clapping, waving flags and shouting "Happy Canada Day!"

We made our way up to Granville Island over the course of about an hour and a half. There was a cooling breeze and I was shooting photos, laughing and waving to people the whole time. Rick Mercer has no idea how much fun he missed!!

When we arrived at Granville Island, Jenn was waiting there for me! We hung out till I caught the ferry back to Olympic Village. A HUGE thank you to False Creek Ferries for making my Canada Day so special. You guys are THE BEST!! 

This week is going to be quiet, which is a good thing-the past 2 months have been an absolute whirlwind!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Catching Up!

(Graffiti I spied yesterday!)

Hello! It's been awhile since I last posted. I've been uber busy! May was a whirlwind and somehow that managed to spill over into June. I have had next to no time in the studio so far this month. Instead I've been running back and forth to doctor's appointments interspersed with socializing and a day or two of much needed down time.

Last night was the first Popluck flash mob picnic of the summer. (Or last one in the spring, depending on how you want to look at it.) We had a great time and saw a few familiar faces from last year. It was held in the square beside the Law Courts in New Westminster. The food was delicious and we got to meet some new people, which is always fun. Now we're just waiting for Al Fresco to launch theirs.

I received an invite from the UBC Health Mentors program to help interview potential Health Mentors over the summer. They are recruiting for 2013-2014, so if you live in the Lower Mainland and either live with chronic illness and/or disability or are a caregiver to someone who does and are interested in volunteering with the program, give me a shout and I'll put you in touch. I can't say enough good things about the program, it's value and the students and faculty involved. It's having such a positive impact.

I am about to embark on a *secret project* in the next week. It's something pretty big, but I can't say any more than that. It's really cool and a great adventure which I will share with you when I am free to do so. (It will be awhile, so you'll have to be patient!) Let's just say it's one of those life list things. *wink*

Next weekend in the wrap up for the volunteers for the FCM conference. The city is renting out a theatre and treating us to an afternoon at the movies. I'm looking forward to catching up with friends. The following Sunday, I have tickets (which I won from Vancouver Jazz Festival!) for Shane Koyczan. I just *adore* him! He's playing with Short Story Long at the Vogue. I've invited my friend Jenn to come with me. I can't wait!

I am grateful to have so many good things going on right now, to try and distract me from the fact that I am having to have treatment again. *sigh* Steroids, as my friend Nancy puts it are Satan's tic tacs. They are extremely hard on the body, but a necessary evil. I am doing a high dose pulse with pills (as a concession to my complete unwillingness to give up my plans to NMO right now) but if my neuro isn't happy with the results after 10 days, I will have to go in and do 3 (or possibly more) days of IV steroids. I'm battered, but unbowed and forging ahead through sheer force of will right now.

I have an art date in Early July with my pal Carol and we're going to spend an afternoon Gelli Printing, so there WILL be art on this blog again eventually! I've been stocking up on paint because I know once we start, we're not going to be able to stop! Oh and I should also mention that the fabulous Mary Ann Moss has a new class launching soon, called Sewn. The talented Roben-Marie Smith also has a new workshop, You've Got Mail...Art! which looks amazing. Both look like a lovely way to while away the summer!

Okay, must run! It's Father's Day and my darling husband is waiting for me to make him a special brekki. We're taking him out for lunch later at Granville Island. I'm hoping to shoot some nice photos of him with our son.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

All & Sundry

Time for a catch up post! I am still having a blast experimenting with my Gelli plate. I made this print the other day. I still haven't had time to shop for more paint colours to round out my pallet, but I'm hoping to fit that in soon.

The weather here has been spectacular. Over the weekend we hit highs of 30C. We took Indy to Davison's Pool, a hidden away swim hole in the Alouette River my husband grew up swimming in. Indy loves it. We had our first picnic of the year afterwards and I played around with the camera in my iPhone. I was aiming for sun flare and I got it! Still looking for great photography apps, so if you have a favourite you think I should get, please comment and let me know!

I took this shot after Indy got out of the river. Something about the intensity in his eyes make me think he looks kind of wolfish when he stares like this. People who don't know him are very cautious of him because he's big, black and lean like a panther. Thing is, he really is the sweetest boy. To know him is to love him.

He was completely tuckered out when we got home. He crashed on the futon in our spare room. It always cracks me up how he has to lie with his head on a pillow. When he lies on our bed, for some reason, my pillow is the pillow of choice. Dogs really are creatures of comfort.

Like my sexy new splint? For just $115 this too could be yours! Seriously, while I am not thrilled about having to wear it, it is making the wrist fracture easier to live with. I finally managed to get a referral to a hand specialist and it looks like I am going to need an MRI and a referral for a plastic surgeon to take out a tiny floating bone in my wrist (the pisiform) that is causing me grief. It's impinging my ulnar nerve and making my ring and pinkie finger numb, cold and when the swelling is really bad, change colour. It's not carpel tunnel, but sort of similar. It's very uncomfortable and has become a chronic problem. I've fracture my wrist every year for the last 4 years and as much as I've tried to ignore it and just carry on, it's time to do something about it. No telling how long this will take, but at least it's in motion.

In the good news department, I've had two really cool opportunities come up. The details are still being worked out, but I'll share as soon as I can! Lots of great things in the works!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Catching Up

Always on My Mind

I am very lucky: my son gave me an iPhone as an early Mother's Day gift. I wasn't in the market for one, really, but my old phone, a 6 year old LG Chocolate Spin (which I loved and was the top of the line in touch phones when I bought it) had pretty much given up the ghost. It was no longer holding a charge and my son knew this, so he decided it was time I got an upgrade. I love it though it's going to take some getting used to the phone part-I liken it to talking on a calculator. It's just a bit odd.

I am having fun figuring out how to use the camera along with various photography apps and at long last, I've joined the rest of the world on Instagram. I've been trying to make a link button for the sidebar of my blog, but the hotlink for it refuses to work so I've put that on hold for a bit while I mull over why it's not linking properly. Eventually I'll figure it out. In the meantime, I'm under Tatterededge if you want to link up there. I've got a grand total of two photos posted so far, but there will be more soon!

In other news, I am super excited to share that I will be one of the featured subscribers in the next issue of Uppercase. (#18!) If you're not familiar, there are usually 3 subscribers featured in each issue with a little interview of about half a dozen questions. Editor Janine Vongool put a call out and I thought "Why not?" So there you have it! 

I am also happy to report that the first ever Canadian NMO 5 km walk/run is up to 250 registered participants! This is really wonderful and I am so pleased for Nancy Reimer, who is organizing the event. It's so wonderful to know so many people care and are willing to show up and support those of us living with NMO. 

I am also thrilled  to share that MV-1 Canada has kindly and generously stepped up as a corporate sponsor. THANK YOU MV-1!!! They are a lovely bunch of people, committed to making a difference in the lives of people who live with disabilities and we really appreciate their support. In case you missed it, they've put together an inspiring e-book, Life Without Compromise which you can download for free here. I am very proud to be a part of it. MV-1 Canada can be found on both Twitter and Facebook, so please show them some love.

There is still time to register for the walk/run. More info about the event can be found here and you can sign up here. If you are unable to attend and would like to make a pledge, you can do so here. Pledges in any dollar amount are greatly appreciated! On the day of the walk, I will be volunteering and speaking briefly during the welcoming. Please come by and say hello!

Other than that, I am busy writing articles and volunteering. I'm volunteering for the first time politically. Someone I know quite well is running in our provincial election and I thought it would be an interesting experience.

I am also busy prepping for the Interprofessional Health Mentors Symposium out at UBC on Monday. My students and I are going to be presenting what we've learned as a group so far. I am looking forward to seeing what the other groups have been up to as well. Members of the public are invited to attend so if you'd like to see what we've been up to, here are the details: 

Date: Monday, April 29th, 2013
Time: 6:30-7:30 pm 
Location: In the West Atrium, 
Life Science Centre, 
2350 Health Sciences Mall,
 UBC Campus 

The 2012-2013 pilot project includes 51 health mentors and 200 students from nine different health professional programs (audiology, dentistry, dietetics, medicine, nursing, occupation therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology). At the symposium, the groups summerize and share their learning with other UBC students, faculty and community. The event includes poster board displays by each of the 51 groups and the opportunity for guests to talk with students and mentors about their experiences in the program. Guests can also learn more about this new initiative and how they might get involved.

Friday, April 19, 2013

More Fun With Gelli Plate Prints

So I've been playing around with some of the Gelli Plate prints I made last week. I scanned one and then layered a couple photos I took of some wooden print blocks on top. I think I like the one in white best-it has a lace-like quality to it. I'm going to keep playing around and see what other photos from my collection would work well with the papers.

The good people of Gelli Arts contacted me asking if they could share my prints on their FB page and their Pinterest boards. That was really nice of them! They are having a giveaway on their blog, so go check it out!

Here are a few more prints from the 80 I did last week:

Left: Circle stencil using left over black paint on the Gelli Plate and laying blues and yellows over top. 

Right: A negative print using the same stencil and grading the colours from left to right.

Left: Using a foam stamp with circles. This one looks like pain on a plaster wall.

Right: Using the alphabet sticker sheet, printed side by side.

Left: A number stencil, put on backwards. Colours graded from left to right.

Right: Over printing using a loosely woven grid-like cloth.

Left: Using a hand cut swirl foam stamp.

Right: The loosely woven grid-like cloth again. It makes great texture!

I picked up a circle stencil the other day. I have an obsession with circles. (No really-I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them.) I'm going to have to hunt up the other stencils I have kicking around. I know I have some interesting ones. Then I need to get my hands on a Gelli Plate. Seriously!

In my travels yesterday, I discovered my dollar store had a whole pile of washi tape. It's not exactly like MT tape-it has a slightly plastic feel to it, but the prints are so lovely and at $1 a roll, how could I resist?! They also had some rolls of neon washi from another company at $2 a roll. I think I'm going to have to go back and get some. 

I now have 99 rolls in my collection. It was never my intention to amass so many, but you start with one roll and then you see a colour you like, so you buy that one. Then there's a pretty pattern you can't resist, so you buy that one. Then you need a certain colour for a project, so you hunt down that one. Then you discover a certain design in several colours and you can't decide which one you like best, but they're inexpensive, so you buy all of them...SEE? THIS is how it happens! Consider yourselves warned! I've never been one to hoard art supplies-I usually only buy what I need and use it right away (I like to keep things fresh) but this seems to be the exception to the rule. The good news is that I am using them!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Skiing Is Believing: Redefining What's Possible

Saturday, I spent the entire day at Whistler Olympic Park, which was home to the Olympic and Paralympic Cross Country Skiing and Biathalon events. My friend Andrea asked me to come and be the photographer for the Skiing is Believing program and I jumped at the chance. I adore Whistler and I was more than happy to support the important work she and Paralympian Courtney Knight are doing.

The Skiing Is Believing program introduces people with disability to cross country skiing. Paralympians, their coaches and team of dedicated volunteers teach people with a variety of physical and sensory disabilities, (wheelchair users, amputees, people who are blind or visually impaired, people with cerebral palsy) as well as their friends and family to ski. 

Here's a quick peek:

(That was Andrea talking about the program!)

I spent the morning capturing various aspects of the program. It was a bit of a challenge because the weather was absolutely not cooperating-we had a combination of rain, rain mixed with slushy snow and then outright snow. I'd planned ahead though and brought an umbrella, as well as a Ziploc bag, some duct tape and scissors so I could McGyver a way to keep my camera dry. It was a good thing I did because by the end of the day, pretty much everything I owned was soaked. It pays to be prepared!


No one seemed to mind the less than ideal weather conditions-they geared up and got out there. What I really enjoyed was the opportunity to observe and learn. The coaches and volunteer guides were incredible. In no time they had their skiers geared up and ready to go. Everyone was assigned a volunteer so they had one-on-one support and instruction for the day. It was wonderful to see someone go from being tentative as they were learning, to gaining confidence as the day wore on. The transformation was amazing to witness.

Late in the morning, I went inside to warm up and see what I had shot so far. While I was sitting there, a skier and guide came in. The guide got her skier situated and then left to grab some lunch. We were the only two people in the room, so we chatted with one another, sharing our stories. It turns out I was familiar with her story because it had been in the news. We had a long conversation about processing and coping with difficult things and how we move forward in our lives. It was one of those moments when I realized the universe had conspired to put us in each other's path for a reason. That conversation was meant to happen. Her courage in the face of terrible adversity is remarkable. I am continually in awe of the resiliency of the human spirit.

After lunch, while everyone who'd spent the morning in lessons went off to ski the trails, I geared up and Andrea gave me my own lesson. I cross country skied as a kid, but that was some time ago and long before damage to my spinal cord made me to lose my proprioception. (The ability to know where your body is in space, which is absolutely necessary for balance.) I was very scared, but I was also determined to ski. I never allow fear to keep me from doing anything.

Andrea was super supportive and patient while I got used to moving on the skis. Even though we were working in what appeared to be a fairly flat area, there were still times when the skis would pick up speed on slight inclines and I would struggle to stay on my feet. Andrea told me to crouch down and put my hands on my knees to maintain balance. Most of the time that worked, but I fell a few times. I slipped and fell backwards once and whacked the back of my head, but I was okay though I think I might have scared Andrea. We got my feet out of the bindings and in less than a minute, I was up and laughing and went right back at it. It never occurred to me to give up.

I figured out that as long as I could keep my center of gravity over the tops of my boots, I wouldn't fall down. I found skiing uphill much easier than downhill. When I was going uphill, my balance was in the exact right place and I felt like I had control over my skis. It was much harder going downhill, but I attempted skiing down an incline (across and down a bridge) just to have the experience. (I'll try anything once!)

I got about 3/4's of the way down the bridge before I
 wiped out. *laughs* I knew falling would be part of the deal and I was okay with that. It's part of the learning process. The best way to describe what being on skis felt like for me is to liken it to when you see someone in the circus balancing on a piece of 2x4 , which is balanced on top of a ball. It took every ounce of my concentration to stay on my feet.

At one point, we were skiing in front of the Olympic rings and Andrea asked me if I realized I was skiing where the Olympic and Paralympic XC skiers had all crossed the finish line. I hadn't till she said it and I loved her for pointing that out to me. She knows how much I adore the Games. She took the photo of me standing in front of the rings at the top of this post. I felt the way I look in that picture-happy and grateful for the experience and personally triumphant that with Andrea's help, I DID IT.

 Skiing Is Believing beautifully illustrated for me how important Para sport programs are. It gives those who live with disability the opportunity to reclaim their physicality, to redefine what they believe is possible for themselves, to connect with others and if they so desire, to train to become competitive.

My experience on Saturday reaffirmed for me that anything is possible and that when life offers you an opportunity, you have to grab it with both hands. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Last night I spent some time cannibalizing some old magazines for letters for a new project I am working on to submit to Uppercase Magazine. I think I cut about a gazillion letters by the time I was done. Then I spent about half an hour sorting them into piles, which is no mean feat when you're working with hands you can't feel. I couldn't resist taking some photos-they made such pleasing little piles. I am now in the process of creating a message. I think I'm going to colour copy the original before I send it off. I may end up framing it, I like it so much.

I also spent part of yesterday creating a gift for a friend whose birthday is tomorrow. Of course it's not going to arrive in time (it's being sent to eastern Canada) but she knows it's on its way. I was very pleased with how it came out and I hope she likes it. I will show you what it is once she's received it-I don't want to spoil the surprise.

I need to tie up a few projects I am in the middle of. I find when I feel stuck, the best thing to do is move on to something else for a bit and revisit it later. It helps me shift perspective and usually I get unstuck. Fortunately the things I am stuck on right now don't have deadlines, so there's plenty of time to circle back.

11 days till Whistler for Skiing is Believing! I am so excited! I need to tune my camera up-clean the lenses, adjust the settings, etc. before I go. I am so grateful for this opportunity to help my friend Andrea and this great program through photography, to have the chance to cross country ski in one of the most beautiful places on earth and to meet some new people. I know it's going to be an amazing experience.

As someone wise once put it, 
"If you work really hard and are kind, amazing things will happen." 

This is a universal truth. You get what you give.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Inspiration For the Journey

I came across this quote by Randall Munroe. It spoke to me, because in essence, it's the secret to how I live my life. (And I am all the more richer for it.)

I hope it speaks to you too.