The Bob Ross Project

I recently began a journey that will hopefully result in growing an aspect of myself and community we never imagined possible.

What Did You Do?

I began methodically painting Bob Ross paintings. Every few days or so I paint a Bob Ross while following one of his Netflix episodes and I offer an open door policy to any of those that wish to join me.

My facebook album the #BobRossProject states:

I do not know why this began or where it is going, but I do know it has begun and where it will take me can only be good places.

I have always been a lover of painting but only in the past few years I really started spending more time committing to the art. It started in Fort McMurray and it seems every year I double the effort.

It came from a time of loneliness and reflection and it grew into something so much more. I became inspired by my community and became involved in art project I never dreamed of.

Now in this new phase I’ve begun to share my love of painting with those around me and hope to inspire and teach my community the power of healing and growth

that painting can bring.

WHY the Bob Ross Project ?

Only 6 sessions into the project I have already felt a change. People are reaching out to me to bridge the gap between the unknown and known. People that never believed they could create and be artists are suddenly inspired to try something that is universally familiar and yet new. I have always believed that one of the most important aspects of life is to challenge growth. In oneself and in those around you, for it is a cyclical thing and if you can inspire someone to do something they will in turn, re inspire you, and life will then be meaningful.

Thanks to Bob Ross I have been able to provide a platform that gives those around me the confidence to be an artist. We all grew up knowing Bob Ross and his “happy little trees,” and he brings comfort into all our hearts. All I do is provide the necessarily materials, the love and kind words and viola! People are growing all around me!

This was one of the great motivators to begin the Bob Ross Project. To get people to learn something new.

Why Else?

The other element of this project was to motivate myself to paint more regularly and to explore new methods while growing my own artistic style.

I have been dabbling in painting for the past 5-6 years now and I’m only beginning to understand what types of painter I want to be. Though I know I have a long way to go, I am finding this approach to prioritizing my art is very conducive to accelerating my progress.

Now What?

Well I’m only beginning this crazy new thing and there are still lots of Bob Ross Paint Nights in the days to come in “Melba’s Studio,” so ask yourself are you ready to “make some happy little trees?'”

Oh and Fun Thing Bob and I have in Common.

(Though I don’t have a little squirrel like Bob Ross, I have a little chinchilla named Cactus that serves as my painting mascot.)!

Just Try Harder. 

Several years ago my friend Roger Fage spoke three words to me that changed a huge part of my life. 

“Just Try Harder.” 

I had met Roger in Halifax around 2010 and  then during a random climbing trip to Kamourska, Quebec our paths crossed again.


We spoke of all the things and none of the things, but the one thing that stuck with me was this particularly conversation. 

He told me for a long time he was stuck. He was unable to progress in his climbing and seemed to feel like he had plateaued. Then one day, one of his friends told him the secret to success. “Just try harder.” And from then on he was surpassing his current climbing ability. 


I don’t know what it was about this moment because I’ve heard those words so many times before. However, perhaps was just the right time, the right place and the look on his face as he turned away from me and stared at the climb above us. 

Just. Try. Harder.

Ever since then it has been one of my top 5 mantras in achieving things. Whenever I feel stuck in something and feel as though I have plateaued in my own ability and skill, I take a moment to reassess what I am doing wrong. 


I look at the factors and the variables and I start making excuses. 

Then. I catch myself and it dawns of me. The words of an amazing, even keeled human…

Just try harder.

Then I take a deep breath and do you know what I do next ? I try harder. 

Since my recent ACL tear, I have felt like I have fallen backwards in so many aspects of my life. My strength, my flexibility, my will power. 


Prior to my injury I was just barely maintaining my fitness and then suddenly, goals that were already barely within arms reach had become insurmountable. I look at my before photos and now I’ve gained weight, gotten soft, lost endurance. 

I stopped writing blog posts. I stopped stretching. I stopped trying. 

I stopped trying. 

This is the moment I assess all the factors and variables again. Cloud my mind with why I can’t and why I won’t. Fill my heart with excuses.  This is also the moment that I stop doing that and get my soul together and once again realize the answer to all my recent setbacks is to,

Just Try Harder. 

Coming soon. The new and improved Melba Fucking Seto. 

When Life Pops Your Knee… Make Lemonade.


I’ve never been good with remembering idioms but as long as you’re picking up what I’m putting down then it doesn’t really matter.

Three weeks ago my knee went “pop” when I landed a tiny jump from setting a volleyball. I remember contacting the ball, hearing the pop, thinking “omg my knee is dislocated,” and then curling into a fetal position clutching my right knee trying to force myself to breath but not being able to. 

I remember hearing voices far away “are you okay?” “What happened?” “Can you move?” It seemed liked an enternity before my head stopped spinning and for me to realize I was holding my breath. 

My team mate Mel assessed my knee and being experienced in orthopedics she quickly informed me it wasn’t looking good. 


I booked an appointment the next day to the Acute Knee Injury Clinic and then went straight to my family physician to prescribe me radiographs and an ultrasound.  Initially it seemed it may have been a minor tear and my heart was happy.

A week later at my Acute Knee assessment I was informed that it was confirmed as a full anterior cruciate ligament tear. 

“What?” 

I don’t think I heard her correctly. She said the MCL and LCL looked great and then she said something about something. 

“How do you know? Do I need an MRI?” 

“No you don’t need an MRI because we knows it’s fully severed.”

I don’t know why but I’m pretty sure my eyes started tearing up. All the hopes and dreams of the summer … climbing…. paddling … surfing, seemed to collapse around my little heart and squeeze.

I gritted my teeth, shifted my jaw and tried to absorb this new intel. 

I asked what was next. What the expected healing process was and how long. 

Apparently many people including athletes can continue life without an ACL as long as they wear a brace whenever they are engaging in sports. Some people choose to have the surgery and it could take 3-9months for surgery and up to year to fully heal. 

You can imagine what was going on in my brain. Math. I was mathing out the next 2 years of my life.  3 months to heal from this initial tear. Then surgery. Then  healing all over again. 

Over the years I’ve trained myself to better deal with obstacles thrown in my face. I give myself time to absorb and process the information, grieve and then onwards and upwards.


The first week and a half I spent elevating, icingy knee and taking anti inflammatories. I ordered a K2 Comfortlite custom knee brace immediately, which arrived a few days later.


The second week I began to increase mobility with the assistance of a hiking pole and resumed playing discgolf. I went back to work. No word of a lie I think disc golf helped expedite the rehabilitation of my knee. Low impact activities to promote mobility. It’s easy to want to stay in bed and feel sorry for yourself but the stiffness that follows is what is truly debilatating.

Now in the third week, I’ve begun to climb easy routes, hike short easy to moderate terrain and continue disc golfing. My followup appointment to see my progress and initiate a consultation for surgery will be happening in the next couple days. 


I’m more motivated now to actively develop my leg muscles and push hard to strengthen my legs before my upcoming surgery, and also so I can climb and paddle this year. If all goes well I’ll have surgery booked for the late fall of 2017 and I’ll spend all my off time making chalk bags and painting

All in all for those going through the same thing, I want you to know yes, it sucks but if you want it bad enough you can get back to where you were before and maybe even become stronger than ever. 32 is going to be the most epic ACLrecovery year ever. 

Follow me on Instagram @Melba_Seto and Facebook @MelbasToast.com to see what someone without an ACL can accomplish. 

The Road To 12a – Part 2.

January 11, 2016 Blue Fin became my first “real” 12a Red Point (I’ve often climbed routes that have been downgraded from 12a to 11d, so this was a big step to become a part of the 12a club.)  Red Pointing is when you’ve been working on a climbing route (sometimes multiple attempts) and eventually climbing it is while you lead the rope from the bottom to the top of a climb without taking a fall or a break on the rope. 

This is the year my planets have finally aligned to allow me to pursue my goal of sending 12a’s consistently. I started The Road to 12a – Part 1 a couple years ago and it’s been a slow journey. 

Like any sport or skill there’s always benchmarks and plateaus that we reach as individuals. Whether it be playing the guitar or beating your best personal time in running or cycling. We all have at least one phase in our specialty that hits us in the face and says “you shall not pass.”

When it comes to climbing I haven’t quite reached that plate yet, but mainly because I haven’t been able to climb consistently over the past 4 years. I started actively climbing almost 7 years ago in 2010 and for the first two years I climbed nearly 200 climbs each year. Then the last four years, due to life, work, money, and excuses… I’ve probably climbed maybe 30 each year. It’s been hard, mentally and physically to always be starting from the ground up each time I went out.

2014 however, started with a bang and I  put in probably about 40 days, though not as impressive as the first two years, it’s a step up. Starting out in Potrero Chico in December of 2015 also was a tremendous boost to my mental game.

Personally I don’t count myself as a 12a climber until I’ve Red Pointed at least three 12a’s, and even then I probably wouldn’t tell people I’m a 12a climber for fear of being undeserving.

#2 12a Red Point

June 13, 2016. Humming Bird Arete was the second one under my belt. It took about 5 attempts, the first one being the previous summer and the last ones within last spring. I’ve always found that as long as I can do each of the moves, I will be able to Red Point it. Thus far. People often say I have a good mental stamina. I think this only applies to climbing for me though!

Adam and I had been alternating attempts and though we were able to do all the moves in the problem, it was just mustering the will to push through.  Our friend and outdoor videographer Calixte LeBlanc, was with us that day filming, which provided me even more of an incentive to get the Red Point.

I was feeling good and if I could just hit the moves just right it should go no problem.

I normally take maybe 2-3 burns on a project before I’m totally deflated and I was working up to the last go before closing up my hands for the day.

I remember thinking “if it goes – it goes, if not it’ll go next time.”  I tied in, velcroed up and took a deep breath.

For me, there’s always a point in a climb when I can feel my heart race because I know it’s going well, so well that it takes everything to remind yourself to take a breath and not get too excited.  It’s often at that point where you piece the crux moves seamlessly or when your feet cut loose but you somehow manage to hang on or when your hands start to lose strength and slowly open, but somehow you push through the burn and keep moving.

On Hummingbird Arete the moment was at the top out. The last few moves pulling up and over with slopey holds for hands and foot holds that seem to disappear. I always seem to hold my breath for fear of jinxing myself right before clip the anchors, which at that point I never fail to give a “Whoo!”. Yes I’m a Whoo Girl.

The Next Step.

The Next Step is now that I’m finally in Calgary full time, with an annual gym pass at The Hanger, I can train.  No more off the couch climbing trips. From here on in there’s no excuses for not being to reach my goals. I hold myself completely responsible for whatever outcome I may achieve this season.

I’ve been climbing 30 – 60 min at the gym, 3 times a week. Diving once a week and trying to increase flexibility in my shoulders and improve my core 3x a week. I’m going to try increase my cardio to 1-2 runs a week and maybe… just maybe… eat less Sausage Egg Mcmuffins… maybe.

Well now that this is posted, I’m going to have to keep myself accountable. See you on the sharp end.

Facing Fears Is Harder As an Adult 


There are many of us that spend our time always wishing we could do the things our adventurous, outdoorsy friends seem to do so easily. There’s always that person in your circle of friends that’s traveling or jumping into some crazy new activity or artistic endeavor. There’s a secret to how they do that, and I’m going to share it with you.

Last year I bought a used set of cross country skis. There’s two styles classic skiing (where you typically see skiers slide forward by pushing their skies parallel to the snow) and skate skiing (they kind where you see biathletes push off to the sides to propel themselves, similar to how one would skate on ice – hence the term “skate skis”).

I wanted skate skis because long, long time ago I competed in biathlon, for one season, when I was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.


I’ve often thought back to those days, the first time we put on those skinny little skis we fell left and right trying to balance ourselves.  It took a few training sessions before we could even ski on them. I ended up competing in a short race somewhere in Edmonton and somehow placed high enough that I made it to the provincial competition.

We were the laughing stock of all the other competing squadrons. The little misfit squadron with second hand clothes and skis and none of us matching. I remember everyone else was wearing these spandex racing suits and here I was in my neon pink Sun Ice jacket with tights. 

Provincials were at the Canmore Nordic Centre and I threw up before the race. Nerves. I don’t remember much, except being passed a lot and having to take penalty laps because I couldn’t see through my glasses when shooting at the targets. 

I ended up getting mild hypothermia because apparently tights aren’t the same as racing spandex. 

We raced as individuals and as a team. It was called the Patrol race. Where the team comprised of three members that had to be within a certain distance apart at all times. It was a long time ago but all I remember is that Carie- Ann and I and the third girl came in third. It was definitely one of the most memorable times of my life. 

Then the individual places were announced… Cari-Anne came in 10th, I came in 13th and the other girl 15th in the entire province. Turns out little misfit 699 Jasper Place Squadron was holding out! 

Fast forward to now, I guess I’m hitting the mid life crisis kind of stage. Wanting to relive the old glory days. 

It’s been a year since I bought those skis and besides piddling around with them a couple times I really haven’t used them. 

It’s because I’ve been scared. Intimidated. There’s a huge part of me that knows my body is no longer conditioned for it and I’ll probably not be able to go very far.  
I guess I’ve felt like “what’s the point?” “Why would I drive 45min to a trail to only ski for 30min?”

Why? Because you have to. 

This is the hardest part of being an adult, we develop these insecurities about our abilities and we no longer can be swayed by others that we can do it. We’re set in our ways and afraid to fail. So why try? 

In children we promise them success and support when they try their hardest. We give them love and hugs and they trust us. Somewhere along the way of becoming an adult we often think it’s too much work to try and we tell ourselves that we’re happy staying where we are as we are. We no longer trust others when they say we can do it and often dismiss their encouragements as false promises.


That is why facing challenges and fears are so much harder as an adult. Ultimately you are responsible for motivating yourself to grow. 
Pining for things will never bring you joy. The outcome of your happiness is directly related to your effort. 

Take a page from my little experience today. There was no one there to pack my hot tea and lunch. No one there to drive my ass to the Nordic Centre.No one there to buy my trail pass and no one there to clip in my boots and says “let’s go.” 

There’s was only me. I know it’s not easy getting off our asses and doing things but we have to. If we want to become that person that inspires us to be better, stronger, healthier we have motivate ourselves and push ourselves. 

In the end I finally got myself onto the trail into my skis and though I was as graceful as a baby giraffe, I’m happy that I did it. 

Into the Deep End. 

You know when they say you can tell a lot about a person by the state of their room or desk? Well I’ve realized that diving is the true unveilor of a persons character.

Continue reading

Teach Your Cat To Like Water.


Dragon is my 16 week old Russian Blue kitty and my goal is to train him to be able to face adversity and love the outdoors as much as I do.
 In these past few weeks Dragon has inspired people from all over to do things that we all once wrote off as impossible or too difficult.  If Dragon can do it so can you. 


Since I spend most of my time climbing and paddling I want Dragon to be able to join me in those activities safely and with pleasure.  I’ve been doing a number of things to try overcome his natural dislike for water. 

If you’re reading this for the first time it’s essential that you learn the Pet & Praise method and check out the first phase of water training described in the post Lesson 3: Water Exposure

Ideally by now you’ve been Petting & Praising the crap out of your cat for the past few weeks. I did this constantly for Dragon, pretty much for anything he did that wasn’t bad, I would tell him he was a “good boy”and rub all of his scent gland areas or whatever his favourite areas are. 
This method also really helps for when you are unhappy with his behavior because then he feels really, really, really, bad. From what I’ve researched and based on Dragons behavior, cats respond really well to positive feedback and attention and when they see you are upset with them, they don’t like disappointing you. 

He’s Outgrown the Sink Trick. 

Okay so now I have a happy kitty that wants to love me all the time and thinks he’s just the bees knees. Dragon is confident and ready to please. 


He loves his wet food and in the previous water training post I explained how I was using the sink to introduce him to associating happy feelings with water. Now he’s grown past that. He’s discovered that he can access his food dish without touching the water moat.

I came up with the next level of water training. 


The BathTub. 

Whenever it was wet food time I would fill the bathtub with a little bit of water and put his food dish in the middle. (Just enough to get his paws wet.) 

Sometime I keep the faucet trickling to simulate moving water, like that of creeks and streams. 

The first week he would walk circles on the bathroom floor “meow,” and look up at me. He would not enter the tub on his own. I would have to place him in the tub and his back would be arched as he tried to wolf his food down as fast as he could. 
The second week he would jump into the back end of the tub and try to drink the water. I think he was hoping he would be able to drain all the water and access his food dish. I still had to place him into the water by his food dish. 

By the third week whenever he heard the bathtub faucet turn on he would race to the bathtub jump in and already be waiting for his food. 


Now he’s ready for the ultimate test. A couple days ago I went to the Canmore Nordic Centre to play some disc golf and my disc flew into the stream. Dragon was on his leash clipped to my waist and he followed me through the creek like it was nothing. 


I mean I only have one test subject to validate my training technique, but I can tell you for certain. My cat doesn’t mind water. 

Good luck! Let me know how it goes for you cat and check out regular updates on Dragon’s training on instagram @HowToTrainMyDragon or for videos follow us on Facebook @MelbasToast.com 

The Road to 12a – Part 1.

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Villia Maria, Colombia

The last couple years I’ve been saying “This is it. This is the year I start climbing 12a.”

Yet one thing after another kept getting in the way of my climbing goals. Work, time, travel, excuses and excuses. It really mainly came down to not being able to balance work, life and finances to allow for enough climbing time.

2015 was a completed write off due to the Woods Canada Dream Job gig. Which was amazing of course, but I spent maybe 15 days total, climbing that year.

Continue reading

Sweater Vest for Cats: The Dragon Vest Tutorial


Every since I was a kid I loved working with my hands. At age 6 I taught myself how to knit looking at diagrams from a knitting book my aunt gave me. At the time I didn’t understand all the terminology and shorthand but pictures were easily understood.  Continue reading

Toilet Training My Kitten: Week 4


Training Dragon to be an adventure cat has been super rewarding so far. A lot of it is due to his breed of Russian Blues and the being loved and cared for by his breeder.

Now it’s up to me to continue his training and teach him to be the ultimate adventure cat.
Since Adam and I lead active lives climbing, paddling, skiing, snowboarding and all other random things, we require our cat to be held up to the same standard.  Continue reading