Books Lately

The last few years reading has been pretty scarce. I have read a few books here and there but nothing I really liked. There was a few I tried to get into and just couldn’t do it. There was a book club I tried for a while but that seems to have stopped. The books weren’t the best either but at least it got me reading. I read Gone Girl and hated it. Maybe it’s just me, I am contemplating watching the movie just to see if I was missing something, if the awesome just happened to not dawn on me. A chance at redemption for a book so wildly popular.

The book I am reading right now though is awesome. I was reading news articles and came across one about Reese Witherspoon’s latest projects. One was based on a book, I watched the trailer and was hooked. I went home, got on my Kobo and ordered it from the library. They had 11 copies so I got it right away. Love it when that happens.

Wild is about the authors hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. A lot of the book focuses on the decisions, mistakes and events that led up to the decision to hike the PCT. I really hate books that complain where characters make stupid mistakes, it just makes me want to slam my head into the wall, this is not one of those books. The author made very serious mistakes following the death of her mother. These mistakes are never glossed over, she admits them, understands why she made those decisions and how they affected her life. Yet there is no wining, complaining, or pity seeking. This is her life and she’s owning it. I am only part way into the book and while I don’t agree with some of the directions her life has gone, I don’t hate her, I understand her. Was her decision to hike the PCT smartly executed, nope, but it’s perfect. It’s the culmination of 4 years of pain and decisions brought about by pain.

The writing is fantastic. The transitions between past and present flow effortlessly. The descriptions are believable without going over the top. I also don’t feel like the author is trying to make you like her. She’s just putting her story out there as it is, letting it stand for itself. That is admirable, humans are flawed and embracing that is rare. I feel like everyone tries to make the truth more glamorous than it is, that even their life story isn’t good enough. So far I am not getting that vibe from this book. It certainly isn’t another “A Million Little Pieces” if you catch my drift.

It’s so much better than the fluff I read before. I am truly enjoying this book and looking forward to the movie.

I’ll have to do a review when I am finished and then when I get to see the movie.

75th Birthday Party

This weekend we celebrated my grandmas 75th birthday on Sunday.

On Saturday I made the birthday cakes. I made a gluten free angle food cake with a blueberry glaze, devil food cake with raspberry jelly and chocolate icing, and a peach passion fruit vanilla cake with cream cheese icing. My dad and other family members made lasagna and garlic bread.


Since we had so much of my family in one place I was asked to take a few family photos.IMG_7414IMG_7448Happy Birthday Grandma!!!

Milky Way

This weekend Chris and I went all the way up to Manning Park to see the stars. It was a clear night and the moon was new, the perfect recipe for clear night skies. We got some help setting up the camera and in the end I think I got some good ones.


After taking photos at the lookout we wanted to take a few with trees so we drove higher up the mountain looking for spots. We found one so we took a few more photos including one hoping for star trails.

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IMG_7104-3The last photo took 11 minutes to take! Probably could have gone longer but it was after 1am so we decided to head on home. By 3:03am we were home and in bed.

Yellowstone – The greatest and oldest

For our two year wedding anniversary in June we drove down to Yellowstone National Park. It took 15ish hours to drive down and we stopped at Trader Joes in Spokane Washington to get our food for the week. When in the USA you gotta go to Trader Joes.IMG_5132

We made it into West Yellowstone early in the morning to a torrential downpour. Nothing we British Columbians aren’t used to but still, late, mice and elk on the road, not the best welcoming. We got our keys and got settled in our Kamping Kabin. I don’t think I have any photos of our accommodations, hmmmm. Well it was nice, kept the rain off, bugs out and with the heater on me warm.IMG_4667 IMG_4750 IMG_4772

We saw Bison right away which was high on my wish list. We saw all the gisers, steam vents, pools, ect. Even watched old faithful erupt twice. We took lots of pictures. We learned pretty quickly that Yellowstone in June is a finicky thing. In the sun and in the car its warm. Then you get out and its windy and cool. So we made sure to bring layers on our other outings.IMG_4942IMG_5129IMG_6282IMG_6305IMG_6351

Two mornings we got up at 3am and drove to Lamar Valley to search for wolves. The first adventure we half arsed and didn’t see any wolves. The second time we were determined, left the car and stoop with all the other wolf enthusiasts and low and behold saw one. Best thing ever.

We saw the Grand Tetons. . . If any American reads this they probably gonna hate me right now, but Icefields Parkway in Alberta is SO MUCH BETTER!!! Sorry, it is. Four hours of driving to see one mountain and a barn. The barn was great but the Mountains just aren’t as impressive as the Canadian Rockies. The story about the parks formation is kinda cool but I found that out after, online. Look up Moulton Barn, cool history.IMG_6193

We saw Pelicans, a Grizzly bear, Porcupine, Pronghorn, Mountain Sheep, Elk, Bison, Sandhill Cranes, Black Bear, American Flickers, Sparrows, Ducks, other stuff.IMG_5057IMG_5030IMG_6516IMG_6862IMG_6788IMG_6632

It was great.


It seems like forever since I posted, probably because it has been. There are so many things I need to share and so many photos to upload. Procrastination: the more you do it and the longer time passes the easier it gets.

My goal is to catch up sometime this week. Till then some spring photos from the heron reserve and of my dwarf lilac bush.

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This weekend we went up to Prince George for a friends wedding. While they were having photos taken after the ceremony Chris and I drove out to a local park to walk and take photos. We found a train bridge so I took a few photos. It was a good weekend but lots of driving. Still traveling to the Burnaby office everyday so getting quite used to being in the car.
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Salish Pond

Good afternoon. It’s almost the long weekend and I am really ready for a break. I have been working out of town for the last 3 weeks and have really fell behind in my picture taking. One thing I do want to share and preserve forever on the inter webs is an event that happened last weekend.

On Friday we were walking to the grocery store to pick up some things for Chris’s lunch when we decided to go thru the park, earlier in the week he had told me about the Canadian geese and their goslings that were in the park. I really wanted to see them and eventually take photos. Earlier in the week when Chris first saw the geese he saw someone try and grab one of the goslings. It’s sad that some people hate these birds. Sure they hiss and make a mess but they are creatures and have every right to be there. Proving that I married the right person Chris wanted to go deal with the man for trying to hurt the gosling but luckily he didn’t have to since it got away unharmed.

So we walked into the park and looked for the family of geese. We spotted them on the other side of the pond but I could hear peeping coming from nearby. I looked over the pond again and off to the side not to far from us was a duckling in amongst the lily pads. It was all alone and calling out to its momma which was nowhere to be seen. It was heart breaking. Chris assured me that it was fine and that mom would be back for it shortly. It was getting dark fast so we went and got our groceries and took a different way home since you could hear him crying all the way across the street from the park.

Before we went to bed Chris looked up the nearest wildlife rescue organization just in case the duckling was alone in the morning.

The next morning after Chris got ready for training I went out to the pond to take photos and check on the duckling. When I got to the pond everything was quiet and the geese family was out eating grass, I walked over and took a few photos. They walked within a few feet of me and daddy goose didn’t even hiss at me. Then I spotted something in the lily pads, the little duckling was still there and all alone. He was trying to join the other ducks but they just swam away from him or chased him away. I called the wildlife rescue Chris found the night before. They confirmed my fears, duckie was abandoned and in need of rescue. The catch was that they couldn’t come get him, but if I caught him and brought him to them they would take him in. So I headed off to my parents to get a net. I already had food and a box but figured a fishing net was my best bet.

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When I picked up the net my dad told me that you can get arrested for capturing wildlife. I wasn’t to concerned, anyone trying to arrest me would see I am trying to help right? Even so I was all alone and the pond was big, so I called Animal Control. They couldn’t help me but did say they wouldn’t arrest me either. They sent me onto Conservation and a rescue group and wished me luck. The rescue turned out to be OWL a place ~100km from me specializing in raptors. They too couldn’t help but once again assured me I wouldn’t get arrested. Next was conservation which doesn’t deal with birds but the lady on the phone was really pulling for me to catch the little duckling.

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So alone I returned back to the pond with my net. It quickly became apparent this wasn’t going to be easy. It was rainy and cold. My net was only 3 feet long and the duckling stayed away from the edges. I lured the adults in with food (another thing the rescue people advised me to do) but he seemed to be able to read my mind and would swim off if I even thought of moving in for a capture. I met other people at the pond some cheered me on and wished me luck others obviously thought I was crazy. No one helped. The most help I got was from two men who may or may not have lived in or around the park. They told me a sad story. There had been a female with 5 ducklings living in the pond. A few days ago they noticed the ducklings in a corner peeping, they went over and found momma floating upside down lifeless. Now days later there was only one duckling left. Heartbroken for the little duckling I kept trying but after 3 hours I was soaked, and loosing hope. I made a facebook plea and my BFF came out for moral support. While we talked I got the little duck to eat some seed, he also seemed to have found a pair of ducks that didn’t totally hate him. With that we went for lunch and dry shoes.

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After lunch a photography friend of mine, who also happens to volunteer at OWL, came and helped. We tried a few more times and no luck. She didn’t see much chance in us catching him, his survival instinct was strong so maybe he’d make it. At the very least he knew well enough not to go near the edges of the pond.

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Chris called me to see how I was doing. I was ready to give up but he was determined to come help me once he got off work. He came up with a bunch of red neck ways to catch the duckling. He was even willing to go in the pond. The nasty sess-pool, duck poopy pond. Seriously it’s gross. Urban ponds are gross. Honestly if I ever had doubts that we were meant to be it was proven right then (not that I doubt but marriage affirming stuff right there).

I went home and showered, curled up in bed and waited for Chris to get home. When he did we packed up the car with gear and headed to the pond. We got out and for the first time all day the sun was shining. Good sign right? Nope. We couldn’t find him, anywhere. We did find a giant koi in the area he had been frequenting. We looked in all the little ponds, on the paths, bushes, where the ducks were sunning themselves. He was gone.

So we went back to the car and did what anyone would do in our situation, we went and had dinner. At dinner I was resigned to the fact that we were to late. He had died of hypothermia, starvation, the koi got him, or a bird. Even the other ducks could have killed him without momma to protect him. Chris was more optimistic saying he was rescued by someone else, got out of the pond, or was still there and we’d get him after dinner.

We went back after dinner and although there were other ducks I knew instantly the pond was empty. No duckie.

So I spent over 4 hours failing to save a duckling. A duckling who along with its siblings had been in trouble for days. In the end they are all gone, the entire little family. It’s sad, but I try and think that at least maybe he served a purpose. That hopefully he didn’t die alone of hypothermia but maybe was a meal for a hungry koi, hawk, raccoon, something that will help another creature make it another day. That would be ok with me, I just didn’t want him to die alone. I am glad I married someone as crazy as me who thinks spending time saving a duckling is worthwhile, who tries to paint a brighter picture than is the probable reality.

I have been sick the last 5 days and missed 2 days of work. Probably due to the stress of commuting 2.5 hours every day and trying to save a duck in the rain on my days off. The duck was worth it, now to finish my project so I can stop commuting and take more photos!


The white throated sparrow

Chris and I went out to the Heron Reserve on Sunday looking for the White Throat Sparrow. We met Trudi and waited for a good while with no luck. The birds seemed to have left so we decided to take a walk, husbands can only stand looking at birds for so long before they get restless. As soon as we left the WTS came out. When we got back we took up waiting positions again with Trudi. Trudi eventually had to leave and Becke stopped by, and we moved spots. From our new spot in the blind I caught a glimpse of a beaver. Rushing to move the camera ensued and I got this lack luster photo.

After the beaver splashed the ducks and swam away we turned around to see an odd sparrow a few feet away from us. It’s him! I rushed to get my camera on the tripod and took a few photos. Yellow stripes, white throat, not quite right. (Turns out this was a tan stripped variety)

Shortly after and a few squirrel photos later a similar but different bird appeared. This was the one I recognized from online.

Normally I would crop the photos and get rid of a bit of the non-bird scenery but alas I have been sent out of town on business and am without my normal photo editing tools. But before I left I got to check a few things off my photo to-do-list.

- Take out the new lens. (Happy Birthday to me!)
– Get a photo of swans.
– Get a photo of the White throated sparrow.
– Get a burn house photo.

I did all these things this weekend but only brought the white throated sparrow photos with me on my business trip. That along with computer issues has made posting photos nearly impossible.

Manning Park Resort

Last weekend Chris’s friends wanted to go snowboarding. Since my back is still really sore and weak I can’t snowboard so I went for a bit of a walk while Chris and the guys went snowboarding.

I took along the camera of coarse so that I could take a few photos. I forgot the neutral density gradation filter so it was hard to get the details I wanted without being over exposed. Snow is so bright!

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Waterfalls and secondary

Chris had a weekend off so we went cross border shopping / photo taking two of my favorite things. As we neared the border the lane we were in the guard was getting everyone to pop their hood. Uh Oh! I suddenly remembered that about a week prior my hood release handle fell off. I also failed to tell Chris so I would be unable to open my hood for the border guard. Yeah. . . I warned Chris and he wasn’t impressed. Then we got sent to secondary. Luckily I found the release so the border guard inside sent Chris out to fix it so he could inspect my car. We were cleared pretty quickly but it was embarrassing to get checked for something so stupid. I mean telling the border guard that I can’t open my hood is a great way to get searched.

After the border incident we headed of to a park one of Chris’s co-workers told him about. It was pretty neat and I got some (in my opinion) good pictures. Enjoy!

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