September 2009

A few tidbits that have dribbled out of my inbox lately, worth a mention but not quite an entire post…

Remember when I blogged about the MoonJars? I just received their newsletter, and now you can enter to win a set of 25 standard MoonJars for your child’s classroom. Follow this link for details. (The contest is aimed at classrooms or community groups for Grades K-3. Entries should be submitted on behalf of classes/groups through their teachers or parents.)

I won my first-ever auction on eBay this weekend! I’ve bought stuff before, and I’ve bid and lost things, but I’ve never actually won an auction. I’m so stoked! The item was shipped from Mississauga yesterday, and I’ve been using Canada Post’s tracking feature to watch it migrate across the province. Did you know you can get e-mail tracking updates? How cool is that? I’m ridiculously excited to watch its progress across the province. It arrived in Ottawa at 6:36 this morning — with any luck, it will be waiting for me at home tonight. Yippee! (You’ll have to wait to see what I got, but it has to do with the 365. Fun!)

There’s a kids’ consignment sale happening on Sunday, October 18 called My Kid’s Funky Closet . According to the e-mail I received, ” It has been happening for 4 years now at The Glebe Community Center in Ottawa. The Ottawa Police provide their child finger printing service and Little Rays Reptiles put on a show. They collect for the food bank and snowsuit fund as well. They have consignors who make money selling their gently used children’s items and maternity wear and people at the show have an opportunity to dress their children at a fraction of the cost of buying new. There are toys, games, bikes, strollers, baby equipment, clothing, maternity wear and vendor booths to visit as well.”

Those of you with daughters might be interested in this one.

Plan Canada just released the 2009 edition of their ground breaking series of reports Because I Am A Girl (BIAAG). These reports highlight the plight of girls around the world and the unique role they play in the fight against global poverty.

Plan Canada in support of the 2009 BIAAG report is filming a documentary across Canada and will be in Ottawa from October 2nd to the 5th filming at locations across the city. This documentary is aimed at capturing the experiences of teens, tweens and their inspirations. These experiences will be captured and replayed as a documentary to be released in Spring 2010.

If you think your teen or tween might be interested in participating in the documentary, the latest filming schedule will have them at the Rideau Centre downtown on Saturday, October 3 from 12 pm to 2 pm.

If people are unable to attend the events they can still support the campaign by visiting www.becauseiamagirl.ca and find more ways to get involved. You can also follow the documentary crew as they blog about traveling across Canada and talking to girls who are helping to achieve positive social change around the world.

And finally, I’ve been chatting with one of the producers for All in a Day on CBC Radio. They’re thinking of doing a sort of parenting panel debate on when is the right time to let kids walk to school by themselves. We’ve had a lot of similar discussions here, so I said I’d ask y’all to see if anyone is interested. Even though I’m still shepherding Tristan back and forth at age seven, I think I’m pretty close to letting him walk by himself — assuming he’s ready for it.

I’m a little conflicted on the subject, but want to subscribe to the “free range kids” kind of ideals and believe that it is just as safe now as it was when I was a kid for kids to be roaming the neighbourhood. If you want to debate the issue, and especially if you’d argue a more conservative approach, let me know and I’ll pass your information along to Sarah at the CBC.


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Five things that are making me cranky

by DaniGirl on September 28, 2009 · 16 comments

in 5 things

It’s Monday and I’m feeling peevish. Consider yourself warned. When I’m finally and properly annointed Queen of the Universe, here’s the first five things I’m going to fix.

1. Twitter and Internet Explorer 6.

For the last couple of weeks, Twitter has been on a campaign to kill IE6. In fact, it’s not just Twitter, it’s Internet-wide, but Twitter is being particularly annoying about it. I didn’t mind the constant message box at the top of my screen saying “There’s a better way to surf” but now they’ve moved the icon pictures over top of the text, so that the leftmost 20 per cent or so of the text is blocked. Dear Twitter, I *know* Firefox is better than IE, but my IT department disagrees. Please let me read my tweets in peace. I promise, we’ll upgrade sometime in the next decade. We’re on it!

2. Trying to leave a comment on Blogger.com blogs

Once upon a time I had a blogspot blog, but in 2007 I made the leap to WordPress and haven’t looked back since. Is it me or are blogspot/blogger.com blogs actually trying to make it as difficult as possible to comment? Blogger.com users, is there some way you can simplify your comment process? It’s so annoying that even if you’re one of my favourite bloggers, I’m not likely to bother leaving a comment if you’re on a blogger.com blog. It never remembers my info, I have to go through a ridiculous number of screens with captchas that only show up about half the time, and it’s an entirely far too convoluted process. And that’s for the ones where I don’t have to invoke my OpenID or worse, revert to my old Blogger.com ID because the blog is not open to non-google-account comments. Really? Life’s too short.

3. The new “coffee shelf” system at Tim Hortons

This one has been around a while, but seems to be spreading like H1N1. Now at Tim Hortons, instead of the clerk simply handing you your coffee at the cash register, you have to move two feet down the counter and pick up your coffee on the little coffee shelf. While I get that the intention is to keep the line moving along, if I’m still standing there fishing coins out of the bottom of my purse would it kill you to hand me my coffee where I’m standing? Do either of us really benefit from you walking down the counter to place it up on the shelf and me walking down the counter to retrieve it, and then me walking back to the cash where you’re already serving the next customer and double-checking “This is the one with three milks, right?” because you only have to walk all the way back to your office ONCE with somebody else’s double-double to make sure it never happens again.

4. Homework for five- and seven-year olds during the arsenic hours

Okay, so I’ve already whined about being on my own with all three boys three nights a week this semester, trying to cram in dinner and lunch-making and baby-herding and all the other joys that have to happen daily between when I get home from work and when Beloved gets home from work. I was just getting the hang of it all when suddenly it’s all out of control again, because we’ve added nightly homework to the mix. Because keeping Lucas off Tristan’s homework and keeping Tristan focused on his task and keeping Simon engaged in his task and keeping Lucas off Simon’s homework all while making dinner and empyting school bags and getting things organized for the next day? Every single night? Is going to make my head explode. Likely this week. It’s not even the homework I mind so much, as the fact that it’s interactive, parent-participatory homework. Sure, I’m all over staying involved in my kids’ education, but not to the tune of 20 minutes a night during the most horrific part of the day. Save me!

5. Loblaws

I really think they’re just existing to piss me off lately. I’ve been a loyal Loblaws shopper for years, but I really think it’s time to find another grocery store. I’m so sick of having my favourite products suddenly disappear, never to be seen again. And then, three or four weeks ago, they completely rearranged the inside of the Barrhaven store and I swear to god, I have not been able to find anything since. For someone who blazes through the grocery store as quickly as possible, using the store layout as a mnenomic device in lieu of a shopping list, usually with a cranky 19-month-old passenger throwing things out of the cart as fast as I’m putting them in, rearranging the store is about the most cruel thing you could possibly do. And then, I just read this weekend that the delicious SunTech tomatoes that are grown in Manotick, at most 10 km or so from my house, are now trucked to Loblaws via Ajax, outside of Toronto. Yes, they are shipped 350 kms to the west, to the main distribution centre for Loblaws, only to be trucked 350 kms BACK to Ottawa. And Loblaws still has the temerity to blithely label them “Grown Close to Home!” Gah!

That’s what’s twisting my knickers these days. What’s making you cranky today?


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I‘ve got all kinds of neat stuff going on over at my Etsy shop for Mothership Photography! I finalized my first sale this week — cool, eh? To celebrate, I’ve got new products and a couple of special deals.

First, in addition to fine art prints, I’ve also created greeting cards for sale now, made from some of my favourite flower images from this summer. Right now, I’m offering sets of four 5×7 matte cards and sets of six 3.5×5 mini cards, all blank inside,
and a set of five thank you cards made from one of my favourite baby-toes images. Check ’em out — I’ll wait here until you get back!

setof4cardsminicards

As a part of my grand opening special, I’m offering free shipping worldwide for my first 25 sales.

And, last but certainly not least, as many of you know October is breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer seems to be haunting many corners of my life these days: two sweet friends have recently conquered it, one colleague is fighting it, a few friends of mine have lost their mothers to it, and one of my best friends may lose his sister to it. Cancer terrifies me; I lost my Granda to colon cancer when I was nine. So while it’s not much, from now until the end of October, I’ll be donating 50 per cent of my profits from all of my Etsy sales to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Let me know what you think — you guys have given me some great feedback so far, and I appreciate it! Stay tuned, there’s more to come!


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A year is a really. long. time. And 365 pictures? A LOT of pictures. There’s only so much wandering around, camera gripped expectantly in one hand, that a girl can do in search of the perfect photo opportunity. Sometimes, you have to get a little silly.

There’s a group on Flickr called Theme of the Week (TOTW) that I’ve been following for months now, but only recently started playing along. The people who post there are really quite clever and creative — but have WAY more time on their hands than I seem to! The theme this week was “Literary Genius” and I couldn’t resist playing along.

You know I’m a Stephen King fan from way back, and I think the first line to the first novel of his Dark Tower series is perhaps one of the best opening lines of all time: “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

246:365 The Gunslinger

(You like the cracked desert texture on that? The background is actually a beige plush blanket, but I layered the image with a photo of a cracked and rusted yellow pipe I drove past and stopped to photograph the day before. I didn’t end up using the pipe picture, but it sure adds a bit of desert character, doesn’t it? Have I mentioned how much I love photoshop? And Stephen King? And, erm, George Lucas?)

And then there’s this one, inspired by Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

There is a theory which states that if anybody ever discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

Yesterday, I had TOTW and Douglas Adams in mind when a woman walked past me pushing her dog in a stroller.

247:365 ...something even more bizarre and inexplicable

I swear, I stopped dead in my tracks four steps past her, debated it for a nano-second, and turned around and asked the woman if I could take a photograph. It’s a stroller. for. dogs. If that’s not bizarre and inexplicable, I don’t know what is!

The silliness has been with me for quite some days now. The TOTW last week was “Lyrically Inspired.” I’ve walked past this stump near my house maybe three million times and have never been inspired by it — and then in a flash last Friday on the way home from work, it leapt out and smacked me with both a stinky pun AND a TOTW idea. I called it (*snicker, chortle*) “I’m stumped!” I crack me up!

241:365 I'm stumped!

And the lyrical inspiration? Why, Rush’s “The Trees”, of course!

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the maples
(And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream ‘Oppression!’
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
‘The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light’
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw

(I was ridiculously pleased with myself for this stunning combination of spot-on theme adaptation, excellent musical taste and wretched punniness, and was quite disappointed when Beloved only rolled his eyes at my obvious self-delight and the photo garned a measly two comments on Flickr. Sheesh, tough crowd!)

Moving right along, there were some less silly things that I photographed this week as well. Well, this one has an inherent silliness about him, but that’s along with a whole bunch of other good stuff and not the entire reason I photographed him! I love the sparkle of mischief and personality in his eyes — pure Tristan.

242:365 Tristan

Much as I love the boys’ adorable faces, I like their other parts, too! (This one had to be judiciously edited to remove a curve of rather adorable bathtime bum cheek to make it safe for Internet consumption but take my word for it, the version I kept for myself is even *more* adorable than this one!)

245:365 Bathtime toes

(Simon long ago coined the term “fancy” to mean the way your fingers and toes get all pruney in the bath. When your digits get fancy, it means it’s time to get out of the tub!)

And although, or perhaps because, it is now officially autumn, Mother Nature still has many colourful gifts to share.

243:365 Seed pod

I figure with all the google traffic I get searching for various sorts of “postcards”, I’d put this up to give the searchers their money’s worth:

244b:365 Postcard Parliament

This one wins the prize as the most vexatious photo of the week. I really liked it, and apparently so did lots of other people. It has tonnes of comments, and plenty of people have “favourited” it — but it stubbornly refuses to jump into Explore even though other pictures of mine with half the number of comments and faves are in Explore right now. Very strange.

244:365 Maple leaf

Oh well, it’s still a pretty picture, and that’s the whole point, right?


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It was meet-the-teacher night at the boys’ school last week. Since Simon has the same two teachers he had last year (and that Tristan had as well) I’m pretty comfortable with that relationship. I was looking forward to meeting Tristan’s new teacher though.

I sat in Tristan’s desk in the back row and looked around, full of awe and wonder that he’s in Grade Two but I clearly remember Grade Two. The kids left stuff out on their desks for us to look through, and there were heaps of administrivia, much of it relating to First Communion later this year. They have two class Webkinzes and lots of affection from the teacher and 20 minutes of homework a night, which seems a little steep to me, but it looks like it’s going to be a good year.

One of the handouts on the desk was a booklet was called “Diary of a Second Grader.” It was filled with photocopied worksheets they had completed like, “My favourite recess activity is…” and “The thing I am good at is….” I was enjoying reading it, knowing most of the answers before I finished reading the question but happy to have this sweet insight into the mind of my occasionally stoic seven-year-old.

One page said across the top: “My mom says there are three things that I need to remember when I go out into the world.” These were Tristan’s answers:

  1. Do not stand on the fernitur (sic)
  2. Be polite at somebody else’s house
  3. I will always love you.

Isn’t that the best? One of the three primary messages that my son carries out into the world is that I will always love him. I am a good mother!

Excuse me while I go take my shiny bauble of parental affirmation and frame it on the wall, for reference the other 99 per cent of the time when I feel like I’m making things up as I go along and really have no clue as to what I’m doing.

“I will always love you.” Sigh….


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No strollers allowed

21 September 2009 Mothering without a licence

Following our apple-picking adventure on Saturday, we popped into nearby Merrickville for some browsing. The place is riddled with fun and funky boutiques, many filled with the wares of local artisans, with not a chain store to be found. I love the ecclectic character of the place, and that you’ll never know what you’ll find […]

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Apple picking 2009

20 September 2009 Ah, me boys

Apple picking is one of my favourite fall traditions. We’d never been before 2005, but now I can’t imagine going a year without a trip to the orchard. This year, we headed back to our first favourite, Kilmarnock Orchard. It’s the better part of an hour’s drive from Ottawa, but the drive is beautiful on […]

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EI successfully claimed by both parents for twins

18 September 2009 Canadianisms

From CBC Ottawa, news that an Ottawa couple successfully argued that both parents are entitled employment insurance (EI) parental benefits for their twins. Each parent claims the benefits for one child. The decision applies only to this couple, but sets an amazing precedent. Way cool!

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Project 365: dying flowers and magic places

18 September 2009 Photo of the Day

Well, either it was a particularly beautiful week in the universe, or I’m actually getting good at this 365 thing, because I liked the pictures from this week a lot. A couple of days, I had a hard time choosing from very disparate shots (let alone the 16 shots I took of each composition!) to […]

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