July 2012

All summer long, I have been meaning to write a series of posts about the history of the Rideau Canal and how it is tied up with the history of Manotick. Each day I work I drive 20 km back and forth beside our gorgeous Canal, and I often think about how integral it is to everything that Ottawa is today. And what better reason to get out and celebrate the Canal than the Rideau Canal Festival, coming up this weekend? Did I mention it was free? From the press release:

From August 3rd to 6th , the Rideau Canal Festival, will be taking place at two different sites, the Bytown Museum/ Ottawa Locks and the Dow’s Lake Site. This festival, which was voted one of Ontario’s TOP 100 Festivals in 2011, is entertaining, educational and best of all free.

For its 5th anniversary and the 180th birthday of the Rideau Canal, the festival has even more activities for you and your family than ever before! Over 100 000 visitors will partake in the Festival’s free programming, live entertainment, tons of culture, heritage, and contemporary activities that appeal to all ages.

FREE Festival Activities include:

· Outdoor shows on stage; live bands & DJs, Celtic music, and Céili on the Canal

· Buskers, jugglers, stilt walkers, fire weavers & face painters etc.

· Connecting Children with World Heritage; children’s crafts and activities

· Stone carvers & canoe carver exhibition

· The UNESCO World Heritage photo exhibit

· Rideau Canal heritage walking tours

· Kayak tours, canoe and paddle boat rentals, hula-hoop workshops

· Pirate adventures

· Parade of lights, Dows Lake Pavillion Fireworks, and Rideau Canal Festival Flotilla

· Acrobatic dance shows

· Colonel By Day celebrations,

· And More!

Parliamentary post card

For more information and details on the events, you can check out the Rideau Canal Festival website. Sounds like a great way to learn a little bit of history and have some fun on a perfect summer long week end!


I took so many pictures while on our road trip last week that they spilled over in to this week as well. And with the transition to the new computer and other technical foibles, there hasn’t been as much time for pictures as there ordinarily would be on a vacation week.

I started the week on a wonderful photographic high note. Christa and I used to work together just after Tristan was born, but it’s been a long time since we lost touch. I was delighted when she got in touch earlier this summer to book a portrait session with her kids and her visiting sister’s four month old baby. (July is certainly developing a bit of a cousin theme, isn’t it?) It was one of those photo sessions that was easy and playful and fun. How adorable are these cousins?

Porch portraits - cousins!

Speaking of cousins, here’s the last day of our visit in London last week, which looks a lot like most of the days we were in London. Sean, be prepared to have us spending a LOT more time at your new place in future summers!

fun in the pool-5

And finally, the last (I think) of the road trip/wide angle series. When I’d rented the wide-angle lens, I had two specific types of shot in mind. One was beach, and the other was the rolling farm land north of London. (If I wasn’t a fisherman’s wife in a former life, I was certainly a farmer’s wife, because I am torn as to which landscape I love more. My ideal patch of land is a rolling farm abutting the ocean!)

These, I found out, are oats.

Farm country, wide angle

Sneaking this one in, too, because I waffled endlessly over which of these two would make it as shot of day. I love the iconic hay bale and tractor. I swear, I see these hay bales in the countryside and want to stop and photograph them every single time!

Farm country, wide angle

Speaking of things that make me happy: sunflowers!

Sunflower season = happy!

There’s a guy who hangs around the Market sometimes with a half a dozen parrots. He makes a couple of bucks by sitting the parrots on people’s shoulder and then selling them the picture. He happened to be out front of the Chateau the other day when I was walking by and I liked the contrast of these wild birds sitting on a feeder in an urban environment.

A pair of parrots

My friend Valerie came for a visit this week and we walked with the kids to Watson’s Mill and the used bookstore. These antique scales in the mill caught my eye, and I like this quote from Henri Matisse to go with it: “What I dream of is an art of balance.”

"What I dream of is an art of balance." ~ Henri Matisse

And speaking of art – it’s hard NOT to take this picture because this is what Lucas does for literally hours each day. I’ll post some of his drawings one of these days, they’re really quite astonishing for a four year old who hasn’t even started school yet. Lately he’s been copying video game boxes, complete with the words. He doesn’t know what the letters are yet, but he copies them legibly and even decoratively. It’s truly amazing – I can’t wait to see what his teachers think of him!


Today I have a porch session with a little guy I first met last summer when I did family portraits with him, his parents and his grandparents in the park. What a great honour to have people come back for new and updated pictures after a year!

{ 1 comment }

A lament for comments

by DaniGirl on July 27, 2012 · 11 comments

in Meta-blogging

Sigh. I just tried to post a comment on a large and popular blog-gone-commercial. I had a long and thoughtful comment typed out, and then I tried to post it. The site wanted me to sign in with a user-ID and password I probably acquired back in 2006 or so, the last time I was motivated to comment on this particular site. Um, long gone from my scabby little memory.

My other options were signing in through a myriad of social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, etc. But in order to do that, I’ll need to authorize an app to access my other social media accounts. I’ve always been kind of leery about this. Or I have to sign up for an account through the proprietary commenting service. Another set of user-IDs and passwords, and another source for spam. Ugh, seriously?

I hunted in vain for the simple, old-fashioned “name, e-mail address and your web site” options but alas, they are no longer available. So unless I want to allow an unknown and potentially unreliable site to have permission to access my social media accounts, my opinion doesn’t count and nobody wants to hear from me. I simply paged away without being able to post my comment.

It makes me sad.

I’ve been blogging a l-o-n-g time, I know. I’m a dinosaur. But I kinda really miss the old days, when you bent over backwards to get comments and when comments were the lifeblood of your blog. I remember how I agonized over capchas and hated that there was that last hoop to jump through. I’ve thought about installing some of the new fangled comment systems that allow you to “like” specific comments, or reply in threads to individual comments. But I always fear they’d make commenting more difficult, and I never want to do that.

The commercialization of blogs doesn’t bother me. The fact that everyone who has a keyboard now has a blog doesn’t bother me. But this one bothers me. Comments are gold and should be treasured; you shouldn’t have to work so hard to post one.

What do you think? Should I stop whinging and just post through my FB or Twitter accounts?


Today I’m blogging at my home away from home on the Fisher-Price Canada blog. I’m talking about learning through play and learning outside of school. Come on over and join the conversation!

Disclosure: I am part of the Fisher-Price Play Panel and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog (and anywhere else I write, for that matter!) are my own.


It started innocuously enough. The radio dial started spending more time on the pop music station KISS-FM and less time on BOB-FM with its hits of the 80s and 90s. I’d find myself humming Call Me Maybe and Wide Awake all hours of the day and night. I blame (or credit) the boys for that one – I haven’t been this familiar with current pop music since before the millennium.

Then I switched coffee teams. I used to be able to order a coffee with milk, but now I have to concentrate to get the foreign words out in the proper order: I’ll have a grande blonde roast in a venti cup, thank you barista.

Finally, perhaps most dramatically, I switched computer teams. This week, after months – nay, years! – of considering it, we sailed forth on the great ship Macintosh. My MacBookPro arrived yesterday, and it was only by an impressive act of self-restraint that we did not also purchase a desktop iMac computer to go with it. That in fact may be another blog post entirely.

It hit me yesterday, as I sat on the porch wondering where my ‘back’ key went, that there’s an underlying pattern linking all these strange new lifestyles together. If I were a male, I’d be driving a red convertible and combing over my tonsure. On the eve of my 43rd (!!) birthday next week, I’m having a geeky midlife crisis!

Don’t be surprised if you see me in Starbucks, Mac propped open on my lap, wearing skinny jeans, a hoodie and Buddy Holly glasses with a piercing in my lip. It won’t be pretty, but at least I will be cool at last.


Oh my goodness, I have taken SO MANY pictures this week. It kind of amazes me that I am still so passionate about photography, and that even after turning it into a viable business, it still remains something I love to do. Not only do I love chasing a good photo, but I am so delighted to be able to capture moments like family visits. Both my brother and Beloved’s sister live out of town, and it’s great to be able to preserve memories of our all-too-rare times together.

This was a mobile shot of the first day of our road trip. We left Ottawa just after 7 am and arrived in Windsor in time for dinner. It was crazy stinking hot, but the kids were terrific and the drive was surprisingly easy. Next time we’re leaving at 5 am!!

Road trip!

It was only in seeing my nephew’s stepson and Lucas together that I realize Lucas is no longer a chubby toddler himself. When exactly did that happen?

road trip-7

After a (too) quick visit with family in Windsor, we traveled with them to spend a day at Greenview Aviaries just outside of Chatham, which is conveniently about half way between Windsor and London. My brother and his family came down from London and met us there as well. This is the first time since Beloved and I got married that we were able to spend time with both sides of the family like this, and I am so happy it worked out. Even a rather spectacular thunder storm and nearly losing Lucas (my heart still races when I remember those terrifying 3 minutes when I couldn’t find him) didn’t dampen the fun. This is my niece and Lucas.

greenview aviaries 7

(Not an official photo of the day, but I couldn’t not include a photo of my brother making out with a camel. I’m sure you understand.)

Greenview Aviaries visit

That night we stayed with my brother’s family in London. God forbid we not spend more hours in the car, for the next day we headed off to Lake Huron for a few hours. One of the things I miss most about my childhood in London is the easy access to the beaches on Lake Huron. I think I was a fisherman in a previous life, because just being near the water makes my soul sing.

Sunset on Lake Huron-6

Sunset on Lake Huron - #fromwhereistand

Sunset on Lake Huron-5

With the exception of the mobile shot of Lucas above, all of these photos were taken with the 10-20mm wide angle lens I rented for the week. OMG how much do I love it? Not exactly for portraiture, but great for sweeping vistas and landscape shots. I specifically chose to rent it for this trip, knowing that a beach visit was likely, and also thinking about the farm land that surrounds London. One morning at dawn when I was up before everyone else, I crept out and drove around the concession roads north of town, which have not changed a bit since I was a child. This is the kind of shot I had in mind when I rented the lens.

farm tree

All good things must come to an end. This is four of five cousins and one very pesky puppy enjoying our last morning together, before the six-hour drive back home to Ottawa.


Willie? Did not really miss us while we were gone.

Wide Willie-2

And then, sadly, the wide angle lens also had to go home. We made a day trip out of our trek to return it, stopping by Sugar Mountain on the way.

Kids in a candy store

What a week!! And that was just the FIRST week of our summer vacation – there’s still several more to come!


Five favourite summer traditions

21 July 2012 5 things

Ahhhh, summer vacation at last! We spent the first week of our family summer vacation driving madly across the province and back. We visited with siblings and cousins on both sides of the family and made a few new friends as well. There may or may not be a blog post about all that (oy, […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Crowdsourcing input for a new computer

19 July 2012 Consumer culture

So, my three year old laptop is circling the drain and I’m thinking about upgrading. I’m crowdsourcing random opinions. I thought the debate was laptop versus desktop. From what I understand, most pro photographers would be horrified to find out I do all my photo editing on a laptop. Desktops are cheaper and better for […]

10 comments Read the full article →

This week in pictures: Wide, wandering, wonderful

19 July 2012 Photo of the Day

Oops! I was supposed to post this last week before we went on our summer road trip down to southern Ontario. Oh well, better late than never? Wow, it seems like I took this two years ago instead of two weeks ago! I met with a fun family in the Arboretum for family pictures on […]

1 comment Read the full article →

Porch portraits with the C family

11 July 2012 Mothership Photography

I loved working with this family of five a few weeks back. The kids were shy at first, but it only took a few minutes for them to warm up and start showing off their gorgeous, sparkling smiles. Really, does it get any cuter than this? This is a family that laughs a lot. It’s […]

0 comments Read the full article →