Time flies around us, not us through it: sometimes, I find it quite difficult to ground myself in my own environment or space. My mind is constantly wandering, I am always daydreaming, and the state of being distracted is very familiar to me. Social media makes the “passing by” of snapshots, moments, and events in my life even more complicated (albeit, interesting) for the very reason that I often find my mind elsewhere than in my current physical setting. Social media allows me to return to moments that I might not have been fully present for. On the thread of self-care, from my previous blog post, I remain uncertain about social media platforms as modes of adequate self-care. Nevertheless, the reflection/description process I go through when I combine image and caption through “posting” on Instagram, for example, makes me feel good and sustained. It just does.
I love to take pictures, and I especially love to share them. I always find myself looking at who has interacted with my posts, and I feel really contented when the people I love and respect relate to my posts in positive ways. What is more, when the experiences that make up these posts involve my loved ones, their interactions with them is even more meaningful to me.
One of my favourite parts of the changing of seasons is the adjustment of pace and activity that follows. I made a trip home to Calgary, Alberta, Canada last week to visit Dad (Darren), Mum (Leanne), and Kaitlyn—the DLK; I was busy with Mum’s birthday plans; yet, I had some time and space to compile a pretty comprehensive list of just some of my favourite things to do in the fall months with the people I love!
Already this year, I have managed to capture some photos, ideas, other materials, and memories in my head to return to, to “post” for others to see. To be especially "meta," this blog serves as another platform for this sort of posting process.
I hope this serves as a helpful catalogue of ideas, a locale for inspiration, or a calming piece to read. I always include a lot of photos when I write because I find the multimodality of text and image to be both comforting and compelling.
Indoor Farmers' Markets
In Canada, it gets cold. While I love going to outdoor markets on Saturdays in the summer, when it gets a little (or, like, a lot) colder, I am extremely thankful for those markets that are housed indoors year-round!
In the city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where I currently live, there is an indoor farmers' market about five minutes away from my apartment. A couple weeks ago, I took an impromptu trip with my best friend Sally to the market to buy some flowers and fruit, and to eat ramen together. Sally is working on her second Master’s degree and is quite obviously busy, so the trip served both as a break for her and a moment of pleasure for us. I managed to get my hands on these pretty orange flowers—the perfect fall décor:
If you are ever in Hamilton, I would definitely recommend that you check the market out. In my opinion, what makes this particular farmers' market so wonderful is the overabundance of small cafés and restaurants lodged within it. Sally and I actually chose to attend the market on the day we did because it was a quieter Tuesday, and we were quite literally just hungry for some ramen.
If you have never been to a farmers' market before, here are some quick and dirty tips:
- Bring cash with you—public ATM fees are always unnecessary, especially if you are able to plan ahead.
- Walk around the entire market before purchasing anything. There are a lot of “repeat” booths, and the prices and quality vary.
- Samples, samples, samples, and more samples. Try them, eat them, enjoy!
- If you have time, take it. Do not feel like the hustle and bustle of a public market means that you must alter your speed. Do what you want, and enjoy yourself.
- If you have access, bring a camera! There is always so much to see and do—spending some time afterwards going through photos allows one to re-experience the space/day in a different way. This is important. People don't talk about this process enough.
Hikes and Day Trips
In Alberta, it gets cold fast. My partner and I visited the province just last week, from September 25 to October 2, 2018, and we were in for an unsurprising surprise when it snowed nearly a foot before our plane ride back to Ontario. Regardless of my own personal weather confusion whenever I return to Alberta, the province has beautiful sights and hikes to offer regardless of the month. And while hiking is not necessarily my favourite thing to do at any time of the year, taking photographs is.
We spent our only Thursday in Alberta visiting Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. These are probably two of the most well-known spots in the province for tourists. Of course, since my partner can still be called a tourist to Alberta, visiting these two spots was the perfect day-trip for us. The weather was not excellent for taking classic Banff lake photos—with those iconic crystal blue waters and that clear mountain visibility—but after some wonderful advice from D and L, I left my expectations at the door and had a wonderful time.
The snowy, gloomy weather we had for our day trip to Banff actually meant that there were a lot less people out there with us. A quieter experience of Banff National Park is extremely rare nowadays, so I am counting my lucky stars that I got to show the one I love some of my favourite places as I remember them from childhood (… back when Banff was just a little less well-known).
Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes
With the spooky season already here (!!), visiting corn mazes or pumpkin patches is a must-do. These activities have been absolute favourites of mine since I moved out of my parents’ place and have become personal annual traditions for me. I spent a lot of my young adult life living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and the corn mazes in the Greater Vancouver area are simply spectacular. They change yearly and often boast scavenger hunts, haunted evening walks, and potato cannons. (Yes, you read that correctly: potato cannons.) The Chilliwack Corn Maze is easily one of the best spots for fall activities out there.
Since I moved to Ontario last year, I have struggled to find outdoor spaces that I really enjoy. Apparently, Alberta and British Columbia are difficult to match. Yet, the tables, herein, have turned, since my partner is from Ontario and can show me around some of the most beautiful spots here.
He happens to live in the Grey Highlands area of the province, which is an absolutely breathtaking spot anytime of the year. This part of the world is well-known for its maple leaf, and let me tell you, the Grey Highlands have some of the most spectacular fall views I have ever seen in my life.
We recently set out to visit Sweet Pea’s annual Pumpkin Fest, picking up three cute and round pumpkins from the back of a secret trailer that the owner, Christian, let us pick from, since it was a quieter day. These are the pumpkins they save for schools, and the trailer was quite a hilarious sight.
Cooking for Loved Ones... Potluck Style
If someone that knows me well was asked the question, “does Tasha cook?” I’m not sure they would have a definitive answer to give. It’s not that I don’t like cooking; it’s just that I’m generally pretty apathetic about food. I don’t obsess over great food, and I don’t mind food that is just meh. Regardless, if I am invited to a gathering, of sorts, where food is involved, I will always, always, always bring a dish. Now, this dish can be anything as modest as a Caesar salad or as fancy/frustrating as bacon-wrapped scallops. Lately however, I have been really into making and bringing over one of my Grandma Doris’s most delicious (and simple) recipes, her famous Corn Flake casserole! I don't think I've ever met anyone who has not enjoyed this dish:
Gma's Corn Flake Casserole
This recipe takes only 1.5 hrs to make (1hr of which it's in the oven!).
- 4 cups frozen hash browns
- 1 can of mushroom soup
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 1 tbsp finely chopped onion
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup cornflakes crumbs (place cornflakes in ziploc and smash)
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 375;
- Combine soup, sour cream, onion, melted butter, salt and pepper, and cheddar cheese;
- Stir in hash browns;
- Place in 11/2 qt casserole dish;
- Mix together cornflakes crumbs, second batch of melted butter, parmesan cheese;
- sprinkle evenly on top;
- Bake 1 hr @ 375
Movies, Movies, Movies
To spare everyone the work of having to read my thoughts on the two films below, I will simply recommend them and provide a brief review.
For Kids: A Wrinkle in Time
The casting and politics of this movie are A-grade; however, the movie’s plot was already so superb and complex (it being an intricate film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s novel of the same name) that the overabundance of special effects and makeup work was perhaps a little much.
For Adults: A Star is Born
This is probably one of the better movies I have seen come out recently that centers on a heteronormative romance plot. With just breathtaking and heart wrenching performances (I am actually crying right now thinking about them) by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (who also directed), this film is memorable and will win many awards, and rightly so. The plot is powerful in its tenderness and the message of the film is one to take home and hold close. Hold yourself close; hold the ones you love for a moment.
I just started playing Final Fantasy XV and despite its all-male combat squad (which is a disappointment following FF XIII’s intricate portrayal of the character Lighting), the game is breathtaking, the combat is complex and a lot different from other games in the franchise, and the in-game lore is very, very neat.
Kids will love watching this game being played, since the main character Noctis Lucis Caleum can utilize some pretty strong elemental magic spells that look expansive and stunning on-screen. And well, um, Carbuncle!!!!!!
Disclaimer: opinions are my own.
My name is Tasha Guenther. I currently live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada while I finish my PhD in Cultural Studies with a concentration in digital cultures at McMaster University. I enjoy writing short stories and non-fiction pieces for grade school children.
Alongside my learning, studying, and thinking about digital platforms and critical theory, I really appreciate long conversations with close friends, reading poetry, and taking photos of my cat. Learn more about me here or connect with me on my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.