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Suffused

Hi Folks:

More than halfway through October and we have yet to do a Photo of the Month post for September… oh, well. A part of the reason for that is because we’re currently on vacation in northern BC. We’ll have more to share about our adventures as we go along, but just to give you an example, yesterday we took a walk along the Butze Rapids Recreational Trail outside of Prince Rupert. It’s a 5½ km trail, and most people would likely complete the loop in 1½-2 hours, but being photographers we managed it in just shy of 5 hours. As we walked along, racing the snails as we went, we were endlessly captivated by what we saw and captured with our cameras. However, as often happens for us, the longer we were there the more the forest seeped into us, suffusing itself into our Being and making us a part…

Tree House

Tree House (photo by Marcia)

Suffused

I have been suffused.

 

It began with the rain, rounding off my hard edges, wicking away doubts and fears and forming a fertile ground.

For the roots that began to seek the cracks, crevices and hidden places, gradually separating my bones and joints…

And planting a tree in my heart; a great cedar that outraced the wind to the sky then settled, staid…

An elder, passing wisdom to the young and listening to the travel songs of the birds, gathered over millenia…

Then leaning, tired, finally coming to rest and drawing a blanket of earth over my skin to sleep…

Only to be awakened by the calls of the young, nursing themselves with the tenderness of accumulated time…

 

Complete once more.

Nurse Log, Butze Rapids Trail, Prince Rupert, BC

Nurse Log

Hugs,
M&M

Eating Our Way Through Kelowna - Masala Fusion

Hi Folks:

Last weekend we left our island hideaway for the Okanagan valley to celebrate Mike’s mother’s birthday. As part of our stay we stopped for dinner at Masala Fusion. It’s a small restaurant on the NE corner of Harvey and Cooper, across the street from Orchard Park Mall and beside A&W (although we recommend the former rather than the latter for food!)

Masala Fusion

Masala Fusion Restaurant, Kelowna, BC

When we walked through the front door we immediately felt welcomed. It was like being wrapped in a favourite warm, fuzzy blanket… 🙂 We took a table for two at the back, but when we delivered our order to our server she pulled over an extra table for us. We expected to have leftovers, but (somehow) we managed to eat everything! It was just that good. We had a bit of deciding to navigate Marcia’s food allergies, but we did just fine.

We started with Chicken Tikka for an appetizer. From the menu: “Chicken breast marinated in ginger and garlic paste, hung yoghurt and spices, then slow roasted in clay oven.” The flavours of chicken and garlic and cilantro and more enveloped the mouth without overpowering. 

For the main course we chose Tandoori Salmon, Vegetable Korma, Garlic Naan and a side of Cucumber Raita. As mentioned, we thought that was probably way too much, and we couldn’t believe we ate the whole thing! When we ordered the main course items our server asked us if we wanted mild, medium or hot. Since Marcia is a little more sensitive to spices, she decided on medium and it worked out perfectly. There was enough spice to provide flavour without being overwhelming. Unfortunately, we didn’t have room for dessert (next time!) Mike had an iced tea, and Marcia had a soda water with a slice of lemon.

If you’re visiting Kelowna this is well worth a visit. We told our server the food was almost worth moving back to Kelowna (but we can do without the 37°C summers!)

Hugs,
M&M

Photo of the Month – August

Hi Folks:

August was a pretty quiet month for us, photographically at least. However, we did have a couple of interesting images to make. Marcia’s first:

ST EVAL

ST EVAL

One day while we were down at the Inner Harbour, we spotted this yacht in port. She looks to be a converted fishing trawler, beautifully done up! We took three of Marcia’s images and combined them into one triptych.

Happy Faces

Happy Faces!!

About a week later when Mike went to the grocery store he encountered this group, all with the most beautiful, happy faces! It was too good to pass by without making an image!

Okay, that’s it. Now go out and make some photographs!!

Hugs,
M&M

Be Prepared

Hi Folks:

In January, 1908 Lord Robert Baden-Powell published the first installment of the handbook Scouting for Boys, successfully launching the Boy Scout movement in England. The Boy Scout movement began in the US in the following year and has since spread around the world. The Scout Motto (as any Scout can tell you) is Be Prepared. Lord Baden-Powell intended that every Scout should be prepared, both mentally and physically for any eventuality.

More than a century later, we have done much with these two words. We prepare ourselves for disaster, in our personal lives, in our cities and towns and in our countries. We stand ready to defend against invaders, ready to deal with the aftermath of natural disasters, and ready to do battle with those who might accost us in our personal and professional lives. Given the current torrent of natural disasters both in the US and abroad there seems little question that we were right to do so and the only question is what more we could or should have done.

That addresses one side of the idea; we’d like to explore the other for a moment. In our ant and grasshopper world we’ve invested countless hours, untold amounts of money and effort preparing for and dealing with the negative influences in our lives. While that is arguably a good idea, let me ask you this? Do you invest an equal amount of time and effort preparing for joy? Are you prepared for kindness? For love? For community? Or do you accept such things as haphazard, not to be relied upon, pleasant if present, but that expectation of same too often leads to disappointment? Are you prepared to be happy, or are you so worried that you won’t be or can’t be happy that you prepare yourself for the (eventual) alternative instead?

There are many answers to this, of course, and everyone of us must face it differently. Whether you believe your future is underlain by God, chance, fate, destiny or choice there remains at least one thing that you can choose. You can choose how to face the challenges in your life and how you engage those precious moments of connection. Choose love, often enough, and it becomes habit. As such, love begins to inform your perspective and as it does it affects not only what you see around you but how you see your world.

Just a little something to think about. It’s always a beautiful day. It’s only our perspective of it that changes, and perspective is everything. 🙂

Be Prepared for Joy

Be Prepared for Joy

Hugs,
M&M

Hugging Puff...

Hi Folks:

Last Sunday was our 17th hugging session of the year, but it was remarkable in 2 other ways, too! First, we met our first Hugging Ambassadors from 2 more countries (Costa Rica and Nicaragua), bringing our total for this year to 32 countries and our combined total to 62 countries in the 8 years we’ve been doing this! Second, we had our first hugs from Puff, the Bearded Dragon (he may be a magic dragon but he doesn’t discuss such things with those he’s just met). Although you might think so, this was not our first bearded dragon hug; we got to meet and hug Puff’s compatriot, Sid, back in 2014.

Hugging Puff, the Bearded Dragon

Hugging Puff, the Bearded Dragon

As for that nimbus surrounding Marcia, well, that’s just her natural inner glow (although she doesn’t always let it be seen. ssshhh…)

Remember to hug someone you love today. Or a stranger. Or, preferably, both!

Hugs,
M&M

Sharing Kindness

Hi Folks:

Last weekend we went out for our 16th hugging session of 2017, which already doubles any other year we’ve done them (and it’s only August!!) During our last 2 sessions we also got to meet our first Hugging Ambassadors from 2 more countries (Nigeria and Turkey), bringing the number of countries we’ve hugged to 30 for this year and 60 countries in total (that we know of). It never ceases to amaze and delight us.

Sharing Kindness

Sharing Kindness

Two of the most popular questions we get from people are, “How many people have you hugged today?” (A: We have no idea. Every hug is unique and special to us) and “Why are you doing this?” There are both long and short answers to that question. The short answer is ‘kindness’. And that got us thinking about the reasons we do what we do. Continue reading “Sharing Kindness

Photo of the Month - July

Hi Folks:

In honour of the 30th Annual Moss St. Paint-In, we’re celebrating art in our photos of the month for July!

Marcia’s image is first. We came across this scene and, as writers ourselves, recognized it as everything the modern travel writer needs! It’s perfect!

Everything the Modern Travel Writer Needs

For Mike’s image we have his favourite artwork from the day. Frame courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; we’ll let you guess who the pretty woman with the parasol is. 😉

Moss St. Paint In

Okay, that’s it for now. Go out and make some photographs!!

Hugs,
M&M

Free Hugs and Free Shoes!!

Hi Folks:

Free Hugs

Free Hugs!

Last weekend was our 13th Hugging session of 2017; a number that is amazing both because it’s far and away the most sessions we’ve done in any year (and it’s only mid-summer!) and because 13 is Mike’s lucky number! (nobody else wanted it 🙂 )

Continue reading “Free Hugs and Free Shoes!!

Eating Our Way Through Victoria...

Hi Folks:

It’s been a while since we did a food post, so it must be time for another one! We had two delicious meals out in July and we thought we’d share a bit of information with you…

John's Place

John’s Place

John’s Place

We’ve eaten at John’s Place before, but only for dinner. As we’ve mentioned, breakfast is Marcia’s favourite meal out, so on a sunny Sunday morning we wandered down to Pandora Avenue for some brunch. Now, normally that time of the week would have a line-up down the street for many of Victoria’s fine restaurants, but coincidentally we timed our arrival with the beginning of Victoria’s 2017 Pride Parade. As such the restaurant was still packed, but with most folks out watching the parade we only had to wait a few minutes to be seated.

What we love most about John’s Place is the laid back atmosphere. It’s very much like being in someone’s country kitchen (albeit with a bunch of friendly strangers). John’s place is open, loud, and it is not pretentious. The staff are great and John’s Place prides itself on serving free run eggs, butter (not margarine) and the freshest ingredients they can source. This shows in both the delicious scents and the taste! They serve LavAzza coffee, so Marcia opted for the bottomless cup of drip coffee and Mike had a double Café Americano. For breakfast Marcia had the Free Run Traditional breakfast – eggs over, bacon and fresh fruit on the side. Mike opted for something a little different – the Valdy’s Frittata. It’s a 4-egg, open-faced omelette, served up with chorizo sausage, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, onions and feta cheese. Both were excellent!! Victoria has a number of great breakfast places, and John’s Place is certainly one of them! (Psssttt… their staff give great hugs)

Table 21

Table 21

Table 21

Table 21 is located on the first floor of the DoubleTree Hotel, at the corner of Douglas and Burdett Streets. There is a bar/lounge seating, but they also have a large dining area. Table 21 mostly does tapas (small plates), and for a general recommendation one orders 1-2 plates per person.

We opted for four dishes and that worked out very well for us. First we ordered the Grilled Romaine Salad, which was an entire romaine heart divided in two and served with a house dressing, candied bacon and shaved Grana Padano cheese. For a vegetable dish we ordered the Ponzu Chili Zucchini Noodle, which was a blend of grated zucchini, peppers, chili sauce and garlic. To round it out we had Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus and Crispy Duck Wings. The duck wings were Marcia’s particular favourite – prepared Asian style with cashews, spring onion, cilantro and green papaya slaw. That was certainly ample for us! We passed on dessert, but Mike did finish the meal with an espresso. One thing to note: Show proof that you are a resident of Victoria and get 21% off your bill!

Victoria has so many great restaurants; these are two more to consider for your next meal out. 🙂

Hugs,
M&M

Photo of the Month - June

Hi Folks:

We had a fairly busy month photographically in June, including some time at the Oak Bay Tea Party and several walks along Dallas Road. It can be a challenge selecting one image from each batch for the month, but we’re happy with our choices. Marcia first:

St. John's Wort

Marcia’s image is a bit different from our regular work in that it was not only made with her phone, but processed using phone software as well. Prisma was used to create the slight graphic effect, and then that image was overlaid on the original image using Snapseed. Phones don’t have the memory or processing capacity of a computer, but used well they can still provide good results!

St. John’s Wort grows with wild abandon here in Victoria (although it’s not as invasive as some other species), and while we love its bright yellow flowers, it also reminds us of a short clip from the wonderful book ‘My Brother’s Farm‘ by Doug Jones. In the book he mentioned that his brother had tried to grow St. John’s Wort on the farm, but it wouldn’t take. His thought was, “I don’t know why…maybe it’s depressed.” 😉

Dallas Road clouds

We get some great clouds here in Victoria, both in the inner harbour and along the Dallas Road walkway, paralleling the Juan de Fuca Strait. This is a composite image made of four exposures, combined and pushed around some in Lightroom.

Okay, that’s it. Now go out and make some photographs!!

Hugs,
M&M