Friday, November 25, 2011

Rose Coloured Glasses

I have no hilarious tales concerning roses. I don't think I even have profound ones or mildly entertaining ones. I can tell you that for some reason, I find them difficult to photograph. Roses are perfection, and somehow that never quite seems to translate onto 'film' when I try and shoot them. I want to practice shooting roses, but somehow it would seem kinda selfish if I walked out of the grocery store with armloads of roses for myself. Now, before you get all high and mighty feminist on me, I have zero issue with a person buying flowers for themselves. When Safeway had BOGO tulips on one spring, you can bet your britches I had a dozen bouquets scattered about the house. I only had two vases at the time and had to stuff the tulips wherever they could fit, including the teapot, creamer, and sugar dish. No, we're penny pinching a little 'round here (it being the holidaze and all) and it's the season for giving, not for indulging on out-of-season flowers. Plus, my son is in the taste-test phase of his adventuring (which has included some fairly strange assaults on our Schnauzer), and I'm pretty sure any living thing that we bring into the house would end up in his mouth.

You'd think I'd have a funny story concerning roses since we do, after all, live in the wild rose province. People intentionally plant them here. In the Maritimes, they grow wild along the highway. We used to have them growing along the side of the house, but we didn't buy them. Nope. My folks went out with a shovel one afternoon and came back with a few bushes. Same went for the raspberry patch they had going in the back yard-- another highway transplant, so to speak. Come to think of it, I think a great many of the shrubs and whatnot in my parents' quite amazing garden had come from along the highway somewhere... the plants, and some of the more shapely rocks, which we got from a construction site that was on the way home from one of my summer jobs. My husband and I have talked about doing the same thing to the tangle of rose bushes planted outside the optometrist's office (midnight shovel raid!), but I reckon someone might notice, and I'm not up for tempting cowboy justice.

The shots you're seeing here today were taken from two locations. If you wander around to the back of the Parliament building in Victoria, you'll discover an English rose garden. If you get there early enough in the morning (after the sprinkler system has done its thing), you'll even get the requisite dew on the rose petals-- saves you from having to bring your own squirt bottle. The others were taken after the first snow here. There is a house down the street that has forsaken grass in favour of a jungle of roses. They aren't all that into pruning, so some of the bushes still have whole heads of roses still clinging for dear life, these dry, shriveled things among the red rose hips and the yellowish thorns-- thorns, by the way, of fairytale-esque proportions. I thought you might enjoy the juxtaposition of the lush, summery Victoria roses against the withered back-alley winter roses.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bring on the Totems

C'mon. You know you want one. Bring home a totem print for Thanksgiving. And one of the pumpkins, too.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Know Any Good Jokes?

I thought I might regale you with some humour or some puns about totem poles. So I Googled, literally, jokes about totem poles. The result? It's kinda like when I was in junior high and did an internet search for a home economics class. Nutrition.Typed in milk. In the case of the former, I ended up with a plethora of sites devoted to jokes about Polish people (Poles... Do they even like to be called Poles? Is that PC?)... and one site of people attempting to make up totem pole related jokes. (Colossal failure. In case you need a few brain cells to die, please view said attempts here, none of which belong to me. Please note the emphasis on ANY, as if the poster were desperate for totem pole humour. OH MY GAWD. Aren't there ANY jokes??? But I digress.) In the case of the latter search, why oh why would a search on milk (with the safe search squarely on, in 1993, in a junior high school) result in an inundation of porn? I ultimately did my project on caffeine, the benefits thereof, a lesson I would carry with me to university.

So instead I'll tell you about our trip to Victoria, home to a number of spectacular totems. And Poles, I'm sure, but I haven't looked into that yet, whether there is in fact a Polish community in Victoria and/or if such a community would warrant the adjective spectacular.

Our first trip to Vancouver Island, we had just a few hours to spend in Victoria before our flight left. We didn't go far, so I decided to spend the last few megabytes I had left on my memory card shooting the totem poles near the museum. My husband's voice suddenly hits octaves I didn't realise possible as he squeaks excitedly, "Animal! Animal!"

Okay, so my imagination is going crazy here. First of all, I can't see what he's seeing, mostly because yelping "Animal! Animal!" leaves an immense slideshow of possible animals running through my brain. You yelp, for example, "Platypus! Platypus!" and my mind envisions the platypus and the eyes start looking for him, making the platypus more readily identifiable. I'm no neurologist, but I do believe it helps to know what you are looking for. The only thing I could conclude in those panicked seconds is that it must be an animal my husband has never seen before and therefore cannot identify by proper name.

So, the thing is, to my  knowledge, there ain't much my husband hasn't seen. I am bit of a zoo junkie and make my husband take me to the zoo in pretty much every major city and country bumpkin small town we visit. (Remind me to tell you about my experience at Ueno Zoo sometime), and hubby o' mine is on the up and up on dog breeds, too. He's no animal slouch. So what the heck animal is he seeing that he doesn't know the name for?


<insert list of strange and potentially dangerous animals into imagination here>

I began to wonder if I was going to photograph said mystery beast and therefore inadvertently document the last moments of my life, and would the pictures be shown at my funeral?

The end to this story is not nearly as interesting as the beginning. Evidently, my husband has never seen a North American raccoon before. Ja. Fer real. Raccoons. A pair of the critters. It makes sense if you've ever seen a Japanese raccoon, called a tanouki (Mario Brothers fans, remember the tanouki suit? Yeah. Raccoon suit.) and you'll totally get why the coons on the lawn were totally alien to him. But still. We had to add The Raccoons to the list of TV shows my husband has to watch in order to not freak out his wife unnecessarily better understand Canadian culture.

It was a good experience, though, because the next time he hollered "Animal! Animal!" at the corn maze a year later (in that case, for prairie dogs popping up and down like those gophers you whack in a carnival game), I knew I wasn't in immediate peril or going to die.

In the meantime, now that you've made it to the anti-climactic ending of my totem anecdote, I hope you've enjoyed the images. Some of them were in fact taken in Duncan, on Vancouver Island, where, if you must know, a wasp crawled down my decolletage during the shoot. (For our concerned readership, my spheksophobic cousin was obliging enough to coax the wasp out and my bosoms escaped unscathed.) I find that some of the shots really work well as a set, and if you're interested, they'll be available for sale shortly. In fact, a huge variety of totem shots are going to be available. And you don't have to tote'm to your house. We'll mail 'em.