Lucas

I had heard about Pianos in the Park, but didn’t realize until this week that they had installed a piano right around the corner from us at our favourite place. The Ottawa version of Pianos in the Park (apparently it’s an international movement) is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing pianos to local parks. They’ve got them downtown, in Carp, Barrhaven, Riverside South, and about a dozen other location, including one right here in Manotick. This is in the gazebo at AY Jackson park.

Piano in the Park at the Manotick Mill

As soon as Tristan heard about it, he wanted to check it out. He’s been teaching himself to play piano from YouTube videos using Synthesia (not unlike Rock Band or Guitar Hero) on our electronic keyboard, but he doesn’t get a chance to play on a real piano very often.

Safe to say, he quite enjoyed it!

Piano in the Park at the Manotick Mill

Piano in the Park at the Manotick Mill

And so did Lucas, though he was more inclined to discordant banging than any actual harmonies.

Piano in the Park at the Manotick Mill

I was intrigued, so I did a little digging to find out more about the project. Founder Nicholas Pope launched Ottawa’s Pianos in the Park in 2014, modeling it on Play Me, I’m Yours, a project started in Britain that now has more than 1,300 pianos in 45 cities around the world. In an interview with the Ottawa Citizen, Pope said all the local pianos will be painted with Ottawa-specific themes, and that they take anywhere from 40 to 80 hours to finish. So the Manotick piano is in place but not yet painted – although I did notice it smells of fresh varnish.

Amazing, right? I love this so much that I joined the Pianos in the Park group on Facebook, and found out about THIS amazing project being cooked up as a tribute to Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, a traveling piano set to go on tour across Canada this October.

Piano in the Park at the Manotick Mill

Have you been to any of the other pianos in Ottawa parks? I’m thinking it would make a fun adventure to tour them all before they’re packed away until next spring.


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Only time for a quick photo today. This is from Basin Head – of course.

“Joy is to fun what the deep sea is to a puddle. It’s a feeling inside that can hardly be contained.” ~ Terry Pratchett

“Joy is to fun what the deep sea is to a puddle. It’s a feeling inside that can hardly be contained.”  ~ Terry Pratchett

I love this quote and how well it goes with this photo. It’s from Hat Full of Sky, a wonderful Terry Pratchett novel featuring the debut of the Nac Mac Feegles. You should read it! And, you should dance joyfully in the sea, whenever you can.


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Lucas and the dandelion bouquet

by DaniGirl on May 28, 2016 · 0 comments

in Lucas

Lucas and I are walking home from school on a brilliant, warm late spring afternoon that feels more like mid-summer. As we come up the hill to our house, I notice the elderly lady from down the street and think that in the nearly six years we’ve lived on the street, this is the first time I’ve ever seen her by herself.

She’s quite elderly, probably over eighty. I often see her walking carefully on her husband’s arm as they make their way patiently to the stop sign at the end of the street and back again. I watch her as we approach from behind, and she is slowly walking the length of our lawn, picking yellow dandelions. I feel a mild tremor of concern, seeing her by herself. I know she is frail, and I wonder where her husband is.

I don’t want to startle her as we come up behind her, so I speak softly as we approach. “Did you find any good ones?” I ask with a smile, nodding toward the straggly handful of dandelions she is holding.

“Oh, you probably think I’m crazy,” she replies with a sheepish shrug, and I can see that she’s older even than I expected, her blue eyes slightly red and rheumy.

“Of course not!” I assure her with a smile. “We pick dandelions all the time, right Luke?”

I cast a quick glance up the street, hoping to see her husband standing at the end of their driveway, but I don’t see him. She seems to be okay, though, and after a moment of pleasant small talk I’d just decided to turn up our driveway and leave her to make her way home when Lucas pipes up.

“Here you go!” he says with a smile, and my heart sings with pride. He’s handing her a big bouquet of quickly-picked dandelions from our yard. Tears come immediately to my eyes. My sweet, sweet baby boy. He holds the dandelions out unselfconsciously, and she takes them carefully, like the treasure they are.

dandelion seed head


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Nothing says summer like road trip, family, nine hour car ride, and then watching the sun set into the Great Lakes on a warm evening.

Barefoot on the beach

Hello, summer, how I have missed you!


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We have driven past this monument in the Half Moon Bay section of Barrhaven many times, and I’ve always been curious about it. Last night after swimming lessons, Lucas and I decided to head over to check it out up close.

There’s a placard that explains that what I thought might have been a starfish is actually a falling star, and the monument is one to whimsey and astronomy – two of my favourite things! So I told Lucas: “Go catch that falling star!”

Catch a falling star

Today’s lesson is that if you have the chance to chase a falling star with a lively eight-year-old at sunset on a pretty late spring evening, you should absolutely do it!


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Photo of the day: Sunshine smile

by DaniGirl on March 19, 2016 · 0 comments

in Lucas, Photo of the Day

I wanted to capture that delightful gap-toothed smile before it was gone.

Lucas smiling

I hope the sparkle in his smile is always there.


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Photos of the day: An amazing birthday party at the Ottawa Humane Society

8 February 2016 Lucas

We’ve had a LOT of birthday party experience over the years, from bowling to trampolines to movies to art to Lego. Our new favourite party by far, though, is one hosted at the Ottawa Humane Society. We all love animals, but Lucas has shown a real affinity for them. When he did a school project […]

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A love letter to Lucas, Age 8

7 February 2016 Lucas

My sweet funny Lucas, you are eight years old today! Lucas, you are kind, thoughtful, clever and silly. You are warm and affectionate and love to laugh. And you are charmingly oblivious to the sort of social conventions that require you to actually say hello back when somebody speaks to you, although I’m no longer […]

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Photo of the day: Contentment

4 February 2016 Lucas

It was early in the morning. I was reading my newspaper and drinking coffee, and I looked up and found them like this: She’s happy to cuddle, he’s happy to play, I’m happy to get an adorable photo. Everybody wins.

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Photo of the day: Lucas and the chickadee

25 January 2016 Lucas

Here’s the latest fad in winter fashion: chickadee seed hats. All the cool kids are wearing them! Feeding the chickadees in winter is always more fun. They’re hungry and more willing to come a little closer to even the twitchiest human to get some bird seed. (Don’t you love Lucas’ adorable red tuque? It’s cute […]

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