April 2016

It has been a good long while since we’ve had a cat picture around here, hasn’t it?

Tristan and Willie

Both the cat and the man-child are growing up. Lucky for me, while the cat remains averse to cuddling, the man-child is still open to the idea of a hug every now and then.


Photo of the day: soft flowers

by DaniGirl on April 24, 2016 · 0 comments

in Photo of the Day

I have been editing black and white portraits all day from a workshop I took yesterday. More to come on that, but in the meanwhile, I needed to change directions for a bit so I edited this photo I took earlier in the week.

In the garden - scilla

I love it when the scilla come up. They’re always just ahead of the daffs and the dandelions and the other harbingers of spring, and each year they wander a little further afield in the yard.


Photos of the day: Rainbow hair!

by DaniGirl on April 13, 2016 · 6 comments

in It IS all about me

I have never coloured my hair before, partly because I’ve always pretty much liked my hair colour, and partly because I couldn’t really think of a colour I would like – except maybe more red. And, the idea of having to worry about roots and maintenance just made me not want to bother. However, when my friend Lara got rainbow unicorn galaxy hair, I knew I had to have it. I mean, one colour – pfft. I want ALL THE COLOURS!

I did a bit of research and stumbled upon “oil slick hair” which was exactly the effect I wanted. Subtle hits of the same shiny greens and blues and pinks that you see on the edge of an oil slick on the driveway. What could be more glamourous than that?! And then I found out about ballyage, which basically means that only a piece of the hair shaft is coloured, so it mixes with your own colour and you can easily grow it out.

So, all the colours and none of the work? HELL YES!

We started by bleaching streaks out of my natural colour. Whimper. Also effective at blocking government mind-control drones.

2016-04-12 11.54.22

After about half an hour, the amazing Suzanne at Studio Me washed the bleach out and set to the hard job of reselecting the bleached bits and carefully painting the colours on them. We were originally going to go with five colours, but Suzanne thought that might be a bit too much. (Hello, foreshadowing!) So, we dialled it back to “only” pink, yellow, purple and teal.


As she worked, I couldn’t help but notice that she seemed to be selecting WAY more of my hair for colour than I had expected. I’d showed her a reference photo with subtle tendrils of colour peeking out of brunette hair, but as she worked I had the sneaking suspicion that this was going to be way more than a subtle tendril or two here and there. But, in for a penny, in for a pound, and YOLO, and carpe diem, and OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?

All the girls in the store went nuts over the colour as she pulled off the foils and started washing my hair out. By that point, I was afraid to look.

She sat me down in a chair to cut my hair and pulled off the towel in a big reveal. “Oh phew, I thought, “that’s not bad.” It was my natural chestnut brunette with hints of colour. Then she started blow drying it and I watched as the colours got brighter, and brighter, and brighter.


By the time she was done styling it, I was laughing and crying at the same time. “That is INSANE!” I kept saying. The colours were SO over the top. Crazy chunks of turquoise beside neon pink. She finished drying it, and I loved it. LOVED IT!


It is by far the craziest thing I’ve ever done with my hair. Apparently, your 40s are the years you embrace all the things you were too timid to do when you were younger.

I gotta admit, I left the shop both loving it and thinking that maybe I’d go home and shampoo my hair three or four times, just to nudge it down a wee bit on the day-glo colour scale. But by the time I got home, I was totally in love with it, mad colours and all.

Got my hairs all colourful!

The boys thought it was awesome, too. Lucas’s reaction when he saw me after school was perfectly delightful – he was so excited! And if you ever want validation for choosing rainbow hair, just show up for after school pick-up and listen to the Grade 2 girls go crazy over it! “Oh wow, look at her hair!” “That’s Lucas’s mom. Your hair’s so pretty, Lucas’s Mom!” “Wow, look at the COLOURS!” It took 35 years, but I am finally cool among the elementary school set.

This morning I’m suffering from a bit of a hair hangover. I admit to being VERY alarmed when I simply rinsed it in the shower and unleashed a veritable torrent of dye into the tub, but I’m told that’s normal and there is still PLENTY of colour left. I have a crazy day of back to back to back meetings today, so it will be interesting to see everyone’s reaction. Conveniently, today is the International #DayofPink to support diversity and stand up against homophobia, transphobia and all forms of bullying, so I’ll say that’s what motivated me and I just got a little carried away!

So – what do you think??? πŸ˜‰


I was poking through my archives looking for information about Blog Out Loud Ottawa (did you know BOLO 2016 is this weekend?) and came across this post, which I read at the very first BOLO in 2009. It made me laugh, so I thought I’d share. This is pretty much my whole parenting life in one anecdote!

It seemed like a straightforward question. On the enrollment form I completed on the first day of Tristan’s first day-long day camp: “Can your child swim 25 meters unassisted: yes, no, I don’t know.”

25 meters? How long is 25 meters anyway? That seems kind of far. So I checked “no”.

Then I thought of Tristan bounding off the diving board and dogpaddling happily the length of our friends’ pool, and his success in swimming lessons, and scratched out my “no” and checked the “yes” box.

Then I paused, and reread the question. And I had visions of Tristan foundering in the deep end of some lake-sized pool, alone and far from safety, going under for the third time. And I quickly scratched out my check in the “yes” box and circled the previously scratched out “no” box and drew a little happy face beside it.

Then I paused again. Suddenly, I was picturing Tristan sitting dejectedly on the pool deck in a life preserver as the rest of his camp mates splashed happily in the pool. I pictured him at 35, in his therapist’s office, describing how a childhood spent in a protective bubble ruined his life. So I drew a squiggley line through my circle around the “no” box and scratched it so definitively out that I bled through the paper. And I put a big X on the happy face, too.

I hovered my pen briefly over the “I don’t know” box. I tried to imagine in which universe a skinny, pimply-faced teenager with no investment in the future social and mental well-being of my oldest son was somehow in a better position to make this decision than I seemed to be capable of, and didn’t check that box either.

In the end, I redrew the little box above the “yes” and ticked it off. For good measure, I pointed a few arrows at it and wrote the word “yes!” at the end of the question, and underlined it. I think maybe I was trying to sell the answer to myself.

At the end of the day, I grilled Tristan with the usual questions about his day, and he answered with the usual dreamy inexactitude I have come to expect. He told me about his art class (it was an arts camp) and the monster he was creating in a distracted sort of way. I asked about the pool.

“Oh yeah!” he said, snapping awake into the story, eyes bright with the memory of it. “It was great! I jumped off the highest diving board!”

I paused to digest that. “You mean the one closest to the ground, right? The low board? Not the one that you have to climb up a ladder to get to?” Surely to god my six year old who only learned how to jump off the diving board in the last year was not jumping off the 3m (10 foot) board.

“No, Mommy, the big board! I climbed up the ladder, and the first time I was scared, but then it was a lot of fun so I did it a bunch of times! And it was great! I can’t wait to go back tomorrow and do it again!” At least, I assume that’s what he said. I think I died of fright somewhere around the first exclamation point.

Six year old Tristan on a much more appropriately-sized diving board!

Six year old Tristan on a much more appropriately-sized diving board!


When I heard that a neighbour had a mama dog that was about to give birth to a litter of puppies, I reached out and said I’d love to trade my mad portrait photographer skillz for the opportunity to take photos of the newborn pups. On Easter weekend, we watched with awe and delight as Facebook status updates revealed a healthy litter of TEN Cane Corso puppies. TEN! Can you imagine?

Even when you’re prepared for maximum cuteness, there’s no way you can anticipate how adorable ten mewling 12 day old puppies can be. Take a look!




I was pretty sure at one point that I wasn’t going to get “Grey” out of Simon’s arms.


I’ve taken pictures of every age from newborn to centenarian. I’ve taken headshots, family portraits, weddings, baptisms, mitzvahs, celebrations and extended groups. Had you asked, I would have said the most challenging (and, my most favourite) age to wrangle is the toddler years — but they had nothing on these puppies. I have to admit, I suffered a lot of delusions about how easy it would be to line these guys up for a portrait. I mean, they’re barely mobile, and I had four helpers. You can see how well that worked out!


Adorable, yes, but exhausting! And because that wasn’t challenging enough, we decided each pup needed to be the star of his or her own portrait.


TEN puppies! Can you imagine how crazy that’s going to be once they get their feet underneath them? And in case you were wondering, yes, they did all have that delightful and unmistakable new-puppy smell. I checked each one!

Hmmm, maybe it’s time for me to expand the business to include pet portraits as well? Or maybe we just need a puppy or three of our own. For the photography, of course. Strictly for the photos.

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You might remember just about a year ago, I was commissioned to work with Ottawa Corporate Yoga on a really neat project. Glenda Rodriguez was inspired to create a set of cards to help families incorporate yoga into bedtime routines, to help kids get to sleep and stay asleep. I took the photos that were eventually printed on the cards.

Glenda got in touch again recently for a new project. She’s working with Ausome Ottawa on a new set of cards with a specific focus on helping kids with Autism. Here are a few of the photos from our session with Mia and Leo performing the asanas.

Photo cards for Ausome Ottawa yoga

Photo cards for Ausome Ottawa yoga

Photo cards for Ausome Ottawa yoga

Photo cards for Ausome Ottawa yoga

Adorable, right? And such an “ausome” idea. Here’s the best part, though: I finally got to see how the bedtime yoga cards from last year’s photo session turned out!

Bedtime yoga cards

I’m so pleased – they look AMAZING! If you’re interested in learning more, or in seeing a few cards up close, you can check out the Bedtime Yoga page on Ottawa Corporate Yoga’s site.


Photo of the day: April is the cruelest month

7 April 2016 Photo of the Day

Snow in April is probably more common than not, but I’d still be happy to be done with it once and for the season at least. Pretty sure my wee irises are having the same thought: The good news is that it’s currently raining, but the bad news is that there is still a few […]

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Potato bacon leek soup: My first from-scratch recipe

4 April 2016 Eating and thinking and thinking about eating

We ended up with leeks in our CSA share last autumn. This is not a food I’d ordinarily eat, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them. Beloved has long had an affection for potato leek soup, and we conveniently also had potatoes in our share, so I surfed around the internet to […]

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Photo(s) of the day: Flower studies

2 April 2016 Photo of the Day

Look what I found in a sunny spot in my garden this week? First flowers of the season. Yay! I was so happy to find them that I indulged in a little photo play. You can’t really tell from the photos, but these are about the size of my pinky finger – tiny little dwarf […]

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