July 2009

Now that all the excitement of passing the half-way point has settled, the reality becomes obvious: oh my sweet lord, I have more than 180 pictures left to take? (And, since I take about a dozen pictures for every one I post, we’re actually looking at another thousand or two pictures until the end of the year!)

Last Friday was one of those days. I was disappointed in some of the pictures I’d taken for BOLO the night before, and frustrated with the camera. I didn’t put it to my face all day, and by dinner time I had no idea what to photograph. I rooted through Lucas’s toy box until I found something mildly colourful and thought I might be able to catch the beads of this rattle moving. Meh. I took about 20 pictures, trying to get one I half-way liked, and this was as good as it got. Thank goodness for digital! I’d’ve been sick about spending for a roll of film and processing and ending up with this, back in the day!

186:365 Rainshaker

The next day, still lacking inspiration I defaulted back to my comfort zone: the coneflowers in my garden. The first one is the official photo of the day, but I liked the other two enough to post as well. (And deleted about 30 more!)

187:365 Coneflower sunshine

Coneflower family portrait

187b:365 Coneflower minimalism

(I’m partial to how that last one turned out. I turned the frame off, because I think it looks cooler just floating in the background. I was down underneath the flowers, shooting toward a lightly overcast sky, and metered for the flower in the background. The highlights in the sky were blown out, but it turned into a nice flat white — that was done in camera, I have no idea how to achieve the effect in photoshop! The first two, I played with in photoshop a lot more. The top one was desaturated a bit, and on the middle one I torqued the noise for that grainy effect. Photoshop is FUN!)

I had my camera with me when we went for our weekly two-family Sunday breakfast and snapped this picture of a shad fly (also known as a may fly, I’m told) on my friend UberGeek’s finger. (UberGeek’s been around since the beginning of blog, but been largely silent lately, until this week!) Flickr’s magic donkey must like shad flies, because this one made it into Explore.

188:365 Shadfly, don't bother me...

(Funny that that one made it into explore, because I almost made this second picture from Sunday the pic of the day. I’m either biased against bugs (ick!) or a little bit too into my coneflowers these days!)

188b:365 Oh no, not another coneflower!

Monday, we went to the Central Experimental Farm for the first time this year with a couple of friends, and I enjoyed watching Lucas’s reactions to the animals. He was partial to the chickens (he even said “chicken” quite clearly) and the cows, and by the end of the day every four-legged creature was a “moo”.

189:365 At the farm

After seven years of Farm visits, it’s hard to find an original shot to take! I liked this one, though – I’m partial to the expression on the centred cow’s face! I zoomed in during the exposure to get the dizzying effect. I may just enter this one into the Farm’s annual photo contest, if I don’t get something better later this season.

188b:365 Cow zoom

And this one is item number 271 of things I thought would be much easier to photograph. I’ve seen some stunning pictures of spiderwebs with morning dew on them, and have been hunting all summer for a good one. I finally found this one right in our driveway, and though it wasn’t a misty morning, I made my own moisture with a water bottle. Didn’t help though. Who knew spiderwebs would be so darn hard to photograph?!? (And don’t be expecting to see a whole lot of bugs in my photostream now, either. Two in one week? Unheard of! And ick!)

190:365 Webby

I’d stopped by my parents’ house to take a picture of their used sofa and recliner to post for sale on Used Ottawa and Kijiji, and my mom showed me this cute garden ornament she’d just put out. I loved the colours and textures and snapped a picture, but certainly didn’t intend it to be the picture of the day. Then the day got away from me, and at the end of the day I simply had nothing else in the camera. Good thing it caught my eye, or you’d’ve been treated to a nice soft-light portrait of my parents’ used sofa here! (And it sold in literally about 15 minutes, entirely because of my mad photographic sofa-portrait skillz, of course!)

191:365 Garden owls

We were at the waterpark, and the pattern in the bricks caught my eye. This would likely have been a better shot if the footprints were more distinct and led directly to the feet, but oh well.

192:365 Footprints

What can I say, I just love those little feetsies.


Why yes, as a matter of fact it IS another post in the ongoing saga of my vexatious breasts!

Yesterday, my mom and I went bra shopping. I’m three days shy of forty, so I don’t *need* my mother to come shopping with me, but retail therapy has long been equated with quality bonding time with us, and we just don’t get enough time to do it together any more.

I’ve been wearing my nursing bras even though Lucas has been weaned for a couple of months now out of sheer laziness because I’ve lost enough weight that my old bras don’t fit anymore. You might remember, too, that I toyed about this time last year with breast reduction surgery. While I haven’t completely written off that idea, I have put it on hold for now. Losing 30 lbs overall (and perhaps weaning the baby) has reduced both my band and my cup size by enough that I’m no longer as uncomfortable as I was at this time last year.

I’ve been looking forward to getting a grown-up bra for a long time now. Back in early 2007, not too long after my last miscarriage, Kerry and I wandered in to the fancy high-end bra shop near our office building one lunch hour on a whim and I had my first encounter with a bra that cost more than a hundred dollars. I scoffed. A hundred bucks? Why the hell would I pay more than $100 for a bra? And then I tried one on and instantly lost 15 lbs. Ohhhhhh, that’s why! And so I promised myself that as soon as I’d finished losing the extra bit of pregnancy and grief weight, I’d buy myself a fancy bra. A girl deserves at least one grown-up bra, don’t you think? But before I could buy that bra, I was pregnant with Lucas.

More than two years later, Bra Chic has moved from Sussex Drive to Westboro, and my mother and I walk into its friendly brightness one late weekday morning. The owner, Marianne, greets us even as our eyes are adjusting from the glare outside, before I have even had a chance to take in the rows of lacy finery hanging on the walls. “What can I do for you?” she asks, and I blurt out something about weight loss and weaned babies, and the first thing she says is “Congratulations!” which disarms me even more. She asks me my name and hustles me in to a change room in the back, and I realize that this is not going to be like my usual experience of locking myself into a change room at The Bay with sixteen styles in five sizes, aiming for and yet often unable to achieve the lofty goal of merely functional and acceptable.

She asks me what I want out of my bra, and the question completely perplexes me, enough so that there is a long pause before I start to stutter out my band and cup size, and she says no, she wants to know what I expect out of my bra. Oh, now I understand. “I want it to do its job and stay out of my way.” A faintly knowing smile plays across her lips.

As a big-breasted girl, I learned at an early age that bras were functional, not fun. Not for me the flowery little A-cup bits of flounce from La Senza, buy four get three free. Bras are about function and form, about keeping the girls under lock and key and as far out of the way as possible. Bras have bones, or latches to let the nursing baby in. Bras are a necessity, and shopping for bras is an exercise in demoralizing misery, to be endured only when absolutely necessary.

My tank top is soon discarded, and she measures my band size, asking me to exhale fully and inhale deeply. I expect her to measure my cup size next, but she’s obviously been at this a while and doesn’t even bother. She steps away and comes back with a beautiful silky cherry red bra and I have to bite back a snicker. I can see she has registered the look of commingled amusement and trepidation on my face, and she says “It’s a lovely colour, isn’t it?” I tell her that my existing bra collection covers the full spectrum from white to cream to beige, but once I had a black one to which I was quite partial. She laughs, all the while fitting hooks into eyes and tugging straps and jiggling things into place. I can only stand with my arms akimbo and wait for her to finish her ministrations. I have never been fussed over in quite this manner, but it is not in the least bit unpleasant.

She steps back, and I look in the mirror. Whoa! Lookit them all way up there! I’m surprised my breasts aren’t getting vertigo at that elevation! My nipples, usually hanging around somewhere near the bend in my elbow, have climbed up to a perch near the top of my bicep. I pull on a t-shirt, and parade outside for my mother’s inspection. She admires my lofty silhouette, and raises an approving eyebrow when I flash the cherry red strap at her. I promenade around the shop a bit, and my jiggly bits are jiggle-free. I even feel taller. I am in love with this bra.

I try a few others, one a nice chocolate brown with pink trim and an extra detachable bit that I don’t entirely understand, intended as a bit of arabesque that ties behind my neck when I’m wearing something with a plunging neckline. Since I fancy neither plunging necklines nor bras with bits I can’t account for, I pass on that one. I learn the difference between a full cup and a balcony bra as various styles come and go. They don’t all fit, but the shop owner is a whirlwind of fastening and unfastening, clothing me in different styles and sizes while I stand rather like a dressmakers’ dummy, completely submissive to her expertise.

I am more than happy, almost giddy with relief, to hand over what for nearly 30 years has been a consistently onerous and unpleasant experience to her capable hands. I begin to wonder — to wish — about other unpleasant tasks in my life that might be farmed out to more obviously capable hands. To simply have the responsibility of bra shopping taken out of my hands is more than worth the (as yet undisclosed) price of the bra.

I finally remember to ask about the cost, and manage to swallow the cringe of dismay when she tells me the cherry red beauty will set me back a little more than $150. I look in the mirror and know that I am more than worth it. To see my girls — my only girls, as it turns out in this lifetime — sitting so jauntily high on my chest makes me want to weep with gratitude. If only I’d known ten years ago!

I fuss briefly over whether such a “playful” bra is appropriate for every day use, and the shop owner clucks knowingly. “This isn’t a particularly playful bra. Shall I show you a playful bra?” I nod rather timidly, fearful of what she might bring out. Playful, it turns out, is less silky cherry red and more black and white patterned lace with metal bits whose purpose I can’t quite fathom but am too embarrassed to ask about. Suddenly, subtle cherry red seems entirely appropriate for my largely plain cotton knit wardrobe.

In the end, I buy two bras. Well, I buy one and my mother insists on buying one as a birthday present. I take home the cherry red beauty with the full cup, a bra I knew in my heart I had to own the minute I saw it on me, and a demure beige balcony cup half in soft, supple lace. (No wonder my old bras never fit properly. I’d been wearing 36 DD to 38D when I should have been in a 32F.) I learn how to lean forward into the bra as I put it on, how to slide two fingers inside the cup to lift and separate my breasts, how to tug and shake the bit of bra just above my sternum until my breasts settle magically into the perfect spot. I am delighted with my perky new silhouette. My mother opines that I look like I’m 18 again, and I reply that I don’t think they were this perky at 18, either.

$150 for a bra? You betcha, baby. I figure 50 cents a day for a year of looking like I paid thousands for a breast lift is a more than worthwhile investment. And I’m worth it!


Today is “Parent’s Day” at the boys’ swimming lessons. I hate Parent’s Day, I really do.

I think I’m a fairly participatory parent, as far as swim lessons go. I don’t bring a book or wait in the lobby. Nope, once a week, I’ll perch on an inevitably damp bench and sit in 900% humidity, paying careful attention for the sporadic occasions when one of them looks over so I can throw them my most enthusiastic thumbs-up and encouraging smile.

But why, oh why, do I have to get wet? Why can’t I just sit on my damp bench and sweat in peace? I’m happy to listen to whatever the teacher has to say, to reinforce the lessons whenever possible and offer ample opportunities for practicing the week’s lesson at whatever pool we’re lucky enough to inhabit during the week. But really, do I have to get into the pool?

I remember Tristan’s first set of independent swimming lessons… I’d (gasp!) forgotten it was Parent’s Day on lesson five, and was so mortified to be without a bathing suit when we arrived that I almost jumped in in my jeans. (I was such a pleaser back then.)(I’ve so gotten over that now.)(Mostly.)

No such luck this time around. The boys are beside themselves, torqued beyond the usual sky-high level of excitement, because today is Parent’s Day. (Simon already says Tuesday is his favourite day of the week, because it’s swimming lessons day. He said having me come in the pool is almost as exciting as Christmas. No chance I’m staying dry tonight.)

As if one Parent’s Day weren’t enough of a challenge, I’ve got concurrent Parent’s Days… I get to divide my half hour between Tristan’s and Simon’s classes, in two different pools (luckily, in the same complex at least.) Beloved gets to stay home and put the baby to bed.

Tristan’s class is working on jumping off the 10m platform. I think I might accidentally spend most of the half hour with Simon’s class, practicing my back float.


Project 365: What! A! Week!

by DaniGirl on July 25, 2009 · 4 comments

in Photo of the Day

Well, I hope not every week is this exciting. I don’t think I could stand it! Could you stand another post about Project 365 this week? (It’s been so crazy, I almost forgot to post my weekly round-up, and that’s often my favourite post of the week.)

The week started off on a good note when this picture was the eighth of my collection to make it into Flickr’s Explore. I call it “Mama and Baby Coneflower” and it’s even prettier printed out on paper.

179:365 Mama and Baby Coneflower

Saturday, which seems like about a million years ago now, was the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk. This was my favourite picture of the day, and one of the two I submitted to the official competition.

180:365 Café

(This is the other one I submitted to the official competition. Like the Café picture, it makes me smile when I look at it.)

Music bus

Despite the endless rain and abject lack of sunshine so far in this so-called summer, this little raspberry in my mother’s yard fought its way to ripeness.

181:365 First raspberry

One of these days, I’m going to capture a good bubble picture. In the interim, here’s a bubble wand picture. (I suppose it would help if he had the bubble end up, right?)(This makes me smile because for my first child, I would have prevented him from making the mess on his shirt.)

182:365 Little boy in blue

I’d been counting down to the half-way point of the project for some time, but I put no real thought into a fun way to represent “half”. I was going to do an entire half-breakfast (half a waffle, half an orange, maybe even on half a plate and half a glass of juice) but the day was so busy I didn’t get a chance. At the end of the day, I played with half an egg, half an apple, and half a glass of milk. In the end, I finally settled on this one (with a much more than half-full belly!):

183:365 Half-way done!

You’ve seen this one before, of course. This is Adrian Harewood and the folks at CBC, snapped less than surreptitiously during my appearance on All in a Day. As I titled the photograph, it’s much more exciting than half a cookie!

184:365 Well, this is much more exciting than half a cookie...

Appropriately, I ended the week on another high note. I’d had a version of this picture in my head for most of this week, but I had to snap it first thing in the morning because there was rain forecast for most of the day. (I’d meant to be wearing my shades, but it was so overcast I’d forgotten them.) And sometimes, ten seconds is simply not enough time — if you look closely, I think you can still see my hair settling as I dropped on to the windshield just as the timer went off!

185:365 My new Mazda 5!

All I can say is thank goodness I was on vacation this week. I hope the rest of my vacation is a little less exciting…


Thanks a million to Lynn of TurtleHead for organizing a fantastic night out last night at Blog Out Loud Ottawa, otherwise known as BOLO. (Or #BOLO, if you’re on Twitter.) I don’t know what I enjoyed more: seeing old friends, putting real live people together with their online personae, or finding a whole bunch of new Ottawa bloggers to read. Okay, so I need more blogs to read like I need a short in my keyboard, but based on the readings last night, there’s a whack of blogs I need to be subscribing to TODAY so I don’t miss any more of the bloggy goodness.

I took a tonne of photos (no surprise there) but it was the first time I took my fancy-ass flash out of the box, and my photos really don’t compare to the excellent stuff captured by Milan and displayed on the Raw Sugar facebook page.

Oh, and the post I read was one that I thought was a pretty good example of the kind of stories I like to tell here. You might remember it from about this time last year. It’s called Tristan Takes a Dive, and I was supremely pleased to hear people laughing in all the right places when I read it. The only thing more validating than comments is real live laughter!

Once I figure out the best way to do it, I’ll upload the best of my pictures of the night somewhere…


It’s been two weeks since the whole “oh my god the van is on fire” nightmare, and I’ve finally managed to restore pretty much everything to a state of equilibrium. I’m not seeing the crash in technicolour every time I close my eyes anymore (that went on a lot longer than I expected, actually) and the bruises and burns from the air bags have faded to muted tones of ocher. Last but not least, we are a two-car family once again!
[click to continue…]


Here’s my CBC interview on project 365!

22 July 2009 My 15 minutes

This was so fun!! Thanks a million to host Adrian Harewood and producer Rosemary Quipp for giving me the opportunity to come on to All in a Day this afternoon. I had a blast! I’m sure there is a more elegant way for me to do this, but you should be able click on the […]

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Welcome All in a Day listeners!

22 July 2009 My 15 minutes

If this is your first time here, hello! Pull up a chair and grab a coffee. Curious about project 365? It’s quite simple, really. Take a picture each day for a year. I post mine to Flickr and to this blog, but I have a friend who is doing her 365 on her own, just […]

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Project 365: Half-way there!!

22 July 2009 5 things

Wow, can you believe I’ve made it to Day 183 of my Project 365? One photo every day for half a year! (Oh my sweet lord, you mean I’m only half way done? I have to come up with ANOTHER 182 photos in the next six months? Yikes!) Seriously, I am quite proud of myself. […]

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Tune in to my radio début!

21 July 2009 My 15 minutes

How cool is this? A couple of months ago, a producer from CBC radio sent me an e-mail and asked if I’d be interested in coming in to chat about my 365 project. At first, we talked about doing a show around my 100 day mark, but what with it coinciding with Barack Obama’s 100th […]

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