December 2009

2009: A Bloggy Year in Review

by DaniGirl on December 31, 2009 · 6 comments

in Memes

I know, I know, everybody and his brother is doing the year in review thing. But I’ve done this in each of 2006, 2007 and 2008, and frankly, I got nothing else for today! Here it is again, a meme of review in the form of the first line of the first post of each month in 2009.

  1. The problem with extended absences from the blog is all the posts I want to write that get tangled up in my head, so when I actually do get a couple of minutes to string together, I’m bloggily constipated.

  2. My dearest darling Simon, You are five years old today.

  3. I filched this meme from a couple of friends’ Facebook pages.

  4. I’ve said before I’m a fan of Mabel’s Labels, and they just keep setting the bar higher with new and interesting products.

  5. I’m glad I didn’t quit my photo-a-day project last week, and I’m kinda sorry I whined at you with all my artistic angst.

  6. I’ve been working with the Mom Central network for more than a year now on various blog tours and promotions — from locks to board games to chocolate – and one of my only complaints would be the number of events and tours that were less convenient for or not available to Canadians.

  7. Ten years ago today, in a tiny church in London’s Pioneer Village in front of 45 of our best friends and family on the hottest day of the summer, I said these words.

  8. How bad can 40 be, when it starts out with a blissful day at the beach with some of my favourite people?

  9. Every now and then, a pitch stands out from the noise that is my in-box.

  10. Are y’all feeling a little freaked out by H1N1, the so-called “swine flu”?

  11. This is an exciting year for Santa parades in and around Ottawa.

  12. I‘m always glad when November turns to December.

Hmmm, birthdays, photos, giveaways, and memes. I hope the whole year wasn’t as, um, flaky as these posts seem to indicate! Note to self, start each month with substance and flake out from there.

Happy New Year to all of you who have taken a moment to stop by and read, and especially to those of you who toss in the occasional comment or observation. Almost five years in and I’m still humbled by your presence here. I wish all of you a new year filled with joy, laughter, and wishes fulfilled!


Well, hello there. You’re still here? Yay! Sorry about the extended absence. I’ve been distracted by something shiny and new that I got for Christmas. I’m so spoiled — Beloved bought me an iPod Touch! I hadn’t even asked for it, and have to admit when I opened it my first thought was, “Wow, this is great — but what am I going to do with it?” I already have my battered iPod Nano, the one that survived in the glove-box of the flaming van, and it does me fine as a music player and for the occasional game of solitaire. (Truth be told, I have been coveting an iPhone, but just couldn’t justify the monthly cost of the data plan.)

But you know what? I love it! LOVE it. I called it the MotherPod, and I’ve loaded 50 of my favourite pictures and my entire music library and filled less than 1/4 of it. In about two clicks I’d connected my e-mail account and found my way online. I wasn’t going to put any games on it, because I knew that the moment it looked like a gaming device would be the moment that I surrendered myself to sharing it with the boys, and frankly I don’t want to share. It’s MINE!

I surfed around looking for recommendations for Apps (should I capitalize “Apps”, do you think?) and found this most excellent post on Greeblemonkey, with an annotated list of all the Apps she has on her iPhone. I downloaded a couple of freebie Apps, like Google Earth and CBC Radio. (Jian Ghomeshi on demand? Be still my heart!) Did you know that there’s an App to find the nearest Tim Hortons? Now that’s useful technology. And a word game called Moxie, which is kind of meh, but I wasn’t going to start paying for games and it was free.

And then, with a few serendipitous clicks, I began reliving my digital youth. I found — are you ready for it? — Sim City, and suddenly it was 1990 all over again. Sim City? Oh, the hours I dedicated to that game, on my very first computer with the 40 MB hard drive. (Ha, some of the photos I upload to Flickr are more than 40 MB!) My only regret is that the version for the Touch doesn’t say “reticulating splines” as it loads. I never did figure out what splines were or why they needed to be reticulated.

Not too long after that, I found Tetris and I haven’t stepped away from the device since. Tetris? Oh, how I do love Tetris. It’s even MORE addictive than Tim Horton’s coffee. I haven’t yet downloaded Rockband, but I am *this* close!

So if blogging is sparse over the next little while, you’ll know that at least I’m not doing anything productive like, say, cleaning the house. I’ll be reliving my digital youth, playing Tetris and Sim City, and roaming the ‘hood looking for wi-fi hot spots.

Got a favourite App? I’ve still got 3/4 of an iPod to fill. What else have I been missing?


It’s a Christmas miracle! (Okay, maybe not so much a miracle, as a really nice Christmas treat.) Slogging through much of the last couple of weeks of the 365 project, I’d realized that I was enduring it rather than enjoying it. But my 12 Hours of Christmas photo project reawakened the joy of picture-taking for me, and I am once again enthralled with the hunt for the photo of the day. Good thing, too, because there’s only a little more than three weeks left in my year!

Maybe I’m feeling rejuvenated because I’ve starting taking pictures of some of my favourite subjects again this week. Old barns, for example. (And old barns in TtV are like faves on top of faves!)

332:365 Old barn in winter

And you know I am fascinated by hands and feet. This is my father-in-law’s hard-worked hand being held up for a tentative high-five from Lucas. As is often the case, not quite the image I was going for but I like it nonetheless.

333:365 High-five

Sometimes, the photo of the day presents itself and begs to be photographed. Although, when the boys came in and excitedly told me they’d made a snowman (their first on their own!) I have to say I expected something a little, erm, taller. Don’t you love the look of self-satisfaction on their faces, though?

334:365 The Snowman

Tristan didn’t actually lose his tooth playing hockey, but when my father-in-law mentioned a similar picture taken by a relative, I knew exactly how I wanted to make this one up. A quintessentially Canadian image, I think!

335:365 I am Canadian

“Mom, could you get me another spoon? This one doesn’t seem to be working very well.”

336:365 Spoon malfunction

By the 23rd of December, I realized that the entire Christmas season had almost passed by, and I had taken hardly any of the warm, brightly-coloured images that I’d been anticipating throughout my 365 project. (I think that’s part of the reason why I was inspired to do the 12 hours of Christmas project, and I’m so happy I did!) Also, I think by the time I took this on the Eve of Christmas Eve, I’d reached that Christmas tipping point where the stress was pretty much gone and I was simply excited about Christmas.

I was delighted when the Karma group on Flickr, with more than 13,000 members, chose this as the Photo of the Day for December 24. What a nice honour!

337:365 Balls!

And finally, although I liked all of the images from my Christmas hourly photo project, I think this one best captures the day.

430 pm

As I type, the ice is building up outside from freezing rain. I can’t wait to get out and play with my camera. Taking pictures is suddenly a treat instead of a chore again. Hooray!


Merry Christmas to all!

by DaniGirl on December 25, 2009 · 5 comments

in Happy holidays

Wishing you and your families a joyful Christmas filled with love, laughter, and a good dose of silliness.

Merry Christmas 2009

With much love,
DaniGirl, Beloved, Tristan, Simon and Lucas


The Christmas Eve Photo Project

by DaniGirl on December 24, 2009 · 9 comments

in Happy holidays, Photography

Inspired by Andrea, a photo-essay of hourly pictures of the most excitement-laden day of the year: Christmas Eve.

First stop, breakfast with cousin Noah at 8:30 am:

830 am

(Can you believe they were up at FOUR am? Yeesh!)

9:30 am: The gingerbread house is decorated, and accessorized with Belgian chocolate Santa, courtesy of my Loblaws advent calendar.


10:30 am: Mother Nature provided a fresh dusting of snow overnight to help Santa’s sleigh land on the rooftop!


11:30 am: Santa’s cutest reindeer!


12:30 pm: a bit of last-minute wrapping to do.

1230 pm

1:30 pm: The big boys are at a movie with Beloved, and Lucas is sleeping. Time for a coffee break!

130 pm

2:30 pm: Back from the movie, and making Christmas ornaments for the family.

230 pm

3:30 pm: Wrapping up the last of the home-made peanut brittle and shortbread to give away tonight.

330 pm

4:30 pm: Just about a half an hour until the family arrives for dinner and presents. The calm before the chaos!

430 pm

5:30 pm: Granny and Lucas having a little moment just before the presents begin.

530 pm

6:30 pm: Santa Papa Lou.

630 pm

7:30 pm: Admiring the annual family calendar.

730 pm

8:30 pm: Lucas was so not interesting in sharing his new Sesame Street toddler-sized sleeper couch with his cousin Brooke. He was priceless in his annoyance, and she was persistent in her desire to share his space.

830 pm

That’s it — I can’t believe I made it through all 12 hours. And a Merry Christmas was had by all!


I have to tell you, I love the (relatively) new category I’ve added of “5 things.” On days like this when I’ve got a handful of half-baked ideas that just won’t come together, or when I feel like chatting with you but can’t get organized enough to assemble a coherent post, I can always crunch them into a ‘five things’ post.

So here we go, five things that are making me happy about this Christmas season.

  1. If it ain’t done by now, it ain’t getting done. I call this my official Christmas tipping point, when the joy of the season and the excitement of anticipation finally eclipse the stress of of planning, organizing, wrapping, baking, and shopping. Time to release my inner child. Yay!
  2. After more than a decade of asking for it, and trying to catch it on TV, I’ve finally got not just one but TWO copies of my all-time favourite Christmas movie, A Christmas Story. I PVR’d it last night on CBC, and my brother burned me a copy of his DVD yesterday. I tried a few years ago to share this with the boys but they weren’t old enough to appreciate it. I’m saving it for a special Christmas Day family viewing. Yay!
  3. It’s super-quiet here in the office (I still *so* love this job, btw), and the crisis that had me and several of my colleagues in a panic for most of the past 24 hours seems to be on its way to being resolved. My dad is on the way for a tour of our broadcast studio and operations, and after this afternoon I’m on vacation until January 4. Yay!
  4. My brother and his family are in town. The kids really love their cousins, and it’s wonderful to have family together at Christmas. They may have to leave a little earlier than anticipated, based on the storm that may or may not happen this Friday and Saturday, but I’m still happy just to have the gang together. Yay!
  5. I really do love Christmas. This year was the most stressful yet as far as preparations go. I had a hard time initially coming up with the perfect gift for everyone, and plans kept shifting on me. But now it’s all good and the boys are excited as the presents begin to pile up under the tree and we’re down to just one or two more items on the advent calendar and it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Yay!

Share the joy, what’s making you happy this holiday season?


In defence of Donder – redux

22 December 2009 It IS all about me

The other day, I was on the phone at work and giving my last name to someone. They missed it and I repeated myself, “Donders, like the reindeer.” After I hung up, because the cubicle farm provides not a scintilla of privacy, a colleague asked me, “What was that you said about the reindeer?” And […]

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An ode to runners-up

21 December 2009 My 15 minutes

The Buffalo Bills made it to the Super Bowl and lost four straight years in the early 1990s. The Red Sox made it all the way to the World Series in 1946, 1967, 1975 and 1986 and lost each time. Jack Nicklaus finished second 19 times in major tournaments, and Susan Lucci was nominated for […]

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Project 365: Baby it’s cold outside!

18 December 2009 Photo of the Day

Looking back over my year in pictures, I’m surprised to see how many of my favourite images were shot outside. There really is no substitute for natural light, I suppose. And even though the temperatures have really bottomed out in the last week, most of my pictures were in fact taken outside. The only time […]

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You’ll FLIP over my latest giveaway!

17 December 2009 Reviews, promotions and giveaways

Remember back a few months ago, I told you about our new Flip MinoHD? Thanks to Mom Central, I can now give away another Flip MinoHD to one of you in the “You’ll Flip for the Holidays” giveaway. Mom Central is asking to whom would you give a Flip and why. I’d say this is […]

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