Tuesday, September 14, 2010

how i spent my summer vacation

First of all, I know I haven't blogged here in a while, but I hope that anyone who reads this one has kept up with my biggest summer travel on my blog for that project: Mel's Cross-Canadian Road Trip.

My trip across Canada was incredible, and I plan to spend the better part of the next year trying to figure out how to put it into words as I write my book. Good wishes/donations of coffee and chocolate accepted anytime.

It amazes me that so much of such a beautiful country is unknown to Americans. We don't study our neighbour's history and most Americans barely even know the major Canadian cities. It's a wonderful place, and it's so close. Not every Canadian vacation has to be as big of undertaking as my trip, so I hope that my compatriots will feel inspired to explore the land north of the border if they come in contact with my blog/eventual book.

I got back from the trip in mid-July and scrambled for two weeks, diving back into work, playing catch-up with the trip blog (still not caught up!), and preparing for another trip. I spent the last week of July and the first week of August on what's becoming my usual skating season kickoff: Minto Summer Skate in Ottawa, then the Ice Dance Championships in Lake Placid. Minto was hectic, as usual, and I injured my hip/back there, which made Lake Placid a bit more complicated than usual, but I had a great time and, as always, saw some great ice dancing at both events.

From Lake Placid, I went home again, and have spent most of the past month trying to catch up, of course. I take on huge projects, so I'm destined to always have something going on, but I kind of like my life that way.

Highlights from the past few weeks include my first rodeo in my hometown in central Illinois, some splendid mini-visits with my cousins, Lauren & Tommy's wedding in Holland, MI, and a trip to Ontario that I'm halfway through right now. I presented on Sunday at the PMA Canada Expo, which was such a cool experience. Phil Culhane, the photographer I often shoot with in Ottawa, was slated to speak on shooting figure skating, but when his day job called and he had to back out, I was lucky enough to fill in for him. It was the first time I'd ever presented at a professional conference, and I was a bit intimidated at first, but as I talked, I got more comfortable and in the end, I had a really good time. I took a few questions at the end, and then about 6 people stayed after to ask more questions. One guy even wanted to take my picture. I figured why not, since we were all photographers! I was surprised at the positive responses that I got and at how many people were interested in what I had to say. Overall, it just felt really satisfying to have some positive recognition in an area that I've been working so hard in for 3 years. I don't shoot skating for positive feedback, and I clearly don't do it for the money (good thing, since I don't make any!), but it's nice to have a chance to feel really proud of all the work that I've put into it.

I'm currently between Canadian events—next up is shooting Autumn Skate in Ottawa with the aforementioned Phil. I'm looking forward to the strong junior dance roster and also getting an early season peek at JTen and KReyn.

I'm hoping to get back on a more regular schedule with blogging, so stay tuned and feel free to poke me if I forget to post again in the near future.