My Favourite Songs of Yesterday & Today

Returning soon to a blog near you. New Year ... new music. Happy 2011.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Yet another year gone by and once again I question "where did the time go?"  So much not done.  So much missed.  So many thoughts and feelings come, gone and lingering.  While this year was better than the last, there is much room for improvement in so many ways.  Most ways, really.   I look forward to the end of 2010 for many reasons and hope that 2011 brings much more enrichment and pleasure to the lives of K and  myself.  If life is a circle, I am hoping to be at the top sometime soon again.

Thanks to an error in dates with our New Years crew (he thought they had a wedding on New Years Eve.  Oops.  It is New Years Day) we are not doing the annual loud and crazy laughter night in Glen's garage full of yummy food, silly card games and great friends.  We made secondary plans with another set of friends for a low key, quiet evening at their place alas those plans seemed to fall through when the couple got another offer so it is just K and I.  I was a little bummed at first but am actually quite thankful for it now.  Just him and I.  The way life intended, I think.  We are going to do some reno pricing this morning followed by a movie.  The afternoon will be spent with a short nap since I have been up since 1:30am and it is now 7am with a late night ahead.  Our evening will consist of a trip to Upper Canada Village where we will have supper and enjoy the spectacular light displays before heading home for a quiet evening.  Our New Year will be rung in quietly.  Likely with him asleep on the couch, in front of the television and me creating in my scrapbooking room.  A little sad sounding, I know but really a perfect evening and the best way to ring 2011 given my word choice for the year.  That being said ...

... another thought that crosses my mind this time of year is Ali Edwards 'One Little Word.'  This will be the third year that I am doing it started it and am really, truly going to try not to lose track of it this time.  My first year was 'baby' and well ... we know how that ended.  More heartbreak.  2010 saw me embracing the word 'change' in the beginning months and then losing sight for most of the rest of the year before finding my way again in September.  The chanage has been slow but it has been there and I look forward to working towards change in 2011.  Fortunately 'change' ties in with my 2011 word but, as always, I will wait until January 1st to share it.

In the meantime, please enjoy the holiday and embrace the friends and family you are celebrating with regardless of how big the party or how quaint the gathering.  Here's to great memories and a wonderful journey for 2011.  Happy New Year.  xxooxxoo

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Holidays.

Hello!  Hello!

It's been a while but I am still around.  Lurking quietly, keeping the distance.  Much going on in life and trying to work through things with our heads above water.  So far so good but it has definitely been tough.  At the end of the day, K and I still have eachother and that is what matters most.  I have been working out an average of 3x/week at Carleton U.  I try to swim anywhere from 2-3kms a swim but sometimes have great difficulty because I try to walk in between and often overdo it.  6.7 kms is the longest I have done.  Swimming the next day was definitely a challenge.  haha.

On a Creative note, I have spent some time at Marlene's house making some jewellery for my Secret Santa at work as well as a few Christmas gifts for some random people I have to buy for.  One more day and I should be all done.  Who knew beading takes so much time.  Oh yes.  Right.  It's the design that takes forever.  Seems I keep picking the complicated ones.  Oopsies. 

As far as scrapping goes, nothing is happening right now.  I need to make some cards for the students at school because I am playing Santa Claus.  With french immersion, the kids are split between two classes.  .5 of the day, they are with Mrs. Dawson.  Then half to to Mme. McGinnis for french while others go to Mrs. Beaupre for english.  Seems all three teachers decided to have their students write to Santa and sent it to the Canada Post North Pole.  Nervous about form letters (are they form letters?  I have never seen one from there), I offered to be Santa and write them back.  Of course, they cards have to be homemade because, with all those elves, Santa would never, ever buy cards from the store.  *sigh*  how do I get myself into this stuff? 

Holidays are fast approaching AND I CAN'T WAIT.  For once, my school board has finally gotten it right.  Normally we finish work the Friday before Christmas and go back two weeks after that.   We are usually back around the 4th or 5th or, like it would have been this year, the 3rd. (that year was the worst).  When planning the school year calendar, the lightbulb seemed to have come on and someone said "why don't we work until the Thursday before Christmas ... the 23rd ... and have two weeks off from there, going back on January 10th?  HELLO!  How awesome is that?  I am so excited.  Hopefully some home renovations that first week and maybe a new scrapbooking room (yes!  I am still holding on to that pipe dream lol) and a trip to Hamilton in the new year.  Regardless of what I do, I just hope those two weeks pass by really slooowwwwlllyyyy.

In the meantime, I wish all of you who are reading this all the best for the holiday season.  May it brings love, laughter and happiness to you, your family and friends.  Happy Holidays.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

What a better way to spend Halloween
than with your best friend
 at an
 80's Halloween Party.
(if you don't have kids, of course)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

There is a God in the Post Office

This is one of those emails that circulate and circulate and circulate. I really have no clue as to how long this one has been going around but I got it probably 6 or more months ago and just came across it again.  I hope this is a true story because it is what the world should be.  Enjoy.

PS - the stuffed peppers weren't too bad.  Loved the concept, not the recipe.  Will make again but tweaked, for sure.


This is one of the kindest things I've ever experienced. I have no way to know who sent it, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.

Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could, so she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog, even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her. You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith.

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith, and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, "To Meredith" an unfamiliar hand writing. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, "When a Pet Dies". Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day, and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.

Love, God 



Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

This is something that I have wanted to try for at least a year now.  I am T minus 5 minutes from making Stuffed Peppers for supper.  I'll let you know how they turn out ....

Friday, September 3, 2010

** Shhhppppppffffft **

That's the sound that of the first pickle jar being opened 10 minutes ago.  I couldn't resist and I had to go against my nature .... I tried a room temperature dill pickle.  I hate warm pickles.  I was going just for the flavour and had only intended on eating a bite of a small one until I heard it.  That delectable and delightful  crrrunch of my teeth biting into the delicious pickled cucumber.  The dill flavour is strong and the garlic is definitely present .... perfection!  My sister-in-law and I nailed it.  I can't wait til they are cold and I will eat them as a tasty treat tonight.  Maybe ... just maaaaybeeeee ... I'll even share with you one day.  ;o)

Enjoy your long weekend. Summer will officially be over.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Who sleeps this much??

Apparently, I do!!!

K and I went to see HairNation play at Greenfield's on Saturday night.  We got home around 3:30, I was in bed around 4:30.  I literally slept all day Sunday, less 5 mins here and there for bathroom breaks.  Come Monday morning, I was still exhausted and wiped out and there was no physical way I could stay awake.  
My eyes were heavy and my head was whoozey.  I slept until about 6 pm tonight, less bathroom breaks here and there when I finally forced myself to get up.  Although not as bad, my eyes are heavy and my head is whoozey ... but my body wont let me sleep anymore even though my head seems to want to.  Worst three things of all about it ... I slept away one of my last days of holidays .... I missed supper with my Mom, brother and sister ... and I didnt get to do what I have been craving for a week now - - work out.  Very sad, am I.  Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.

Enjoy your last days of summer.  The trees are already changing colour.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A tasty K9 treat?

So it's allergy season and my nose blowing is in full swing.  Just out of curiousity ... does everyone have a dog who is koo-koo for kleenex or is it just me?  The mere sound of a piece of kleenex being pulled from it's box is enough for him to raise his head, from a light slumber, and watch me.  If I pick one up, he just stares at me and watches and waits, hoping for the moment when I accidentally drop it so he can swoop in for a tasty treat.  Oh, and watch out if I dare let a few gather on the side table until I go to a room with a garbage.  He will skulk over and *boom* just like that grab it and hurry away.   What a strange, strange bird, my sweet Neely is.  I just wonder if he is alone in this obsession...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chompin' at the Bit, I am.

After becoming pregnant last year, everything stopped.  All of the dieting (i was always hungry) and the working out (high risk pregnancy, wasn't allowed) went to the way side for work followed by evenings and weekends on bed rest.  When yet another pregnancy ended, I met with depression for the first time.  What an awful experience.  Again, more eating and zero working out.  When work started, so did school which left no time for working out and, if I am being honest, I still had no interest in starting again.  Interest, yes.  Motivation, no.  Well, it's a year later and where am I now ... CHOMING AT THE BIT to get back in to a pool again.  Even though I had been thinking about it, I believe that my day at Calypso filled my body and mind with a desire and pull that I haven't felt since I was in the height of working out last year.  My goodness how I love being in the water!

This past weekend, I put my mind to it and have created a fall schedule that works for me.  I have made a list of all that I need to buy (swim cap [5hrs/wk in the pool turned my hair to straw last time. disgusting.], waterproof mp3 player, etc) and planned how I am going to go to work, school and hit the pool 3x per week and guess what?  I'm excited.  I can not wait.  If it wasnt for the fact that K is on holidays this week, I would already have a few workouts under my belt.  I need to be active again.

Know what else I rediscovered in these past two weeks.  Drinking water.  I had forgotten how much I love it.  Super icey.  Super cold.  Along with my bad habits came my obsession for Caffiene-Free Diet Pepsi.  That, along with Crystal Light Iced Tea, was about all I was drinking .... and I do drink alot to begin with.  I suppose I could have been drinking worse but it feels good to get back to basics and enjoy water again ... with lots of ice, of course. 

Back to basics ... I like the sound of that.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Boy oh Boy, I must *heart* them.

I went to Calypso Waterpark today.  What I should actually say is "I finally caved and went to Calypso today."  My nieces, who have season passes and are staying with us for a few weeks (or indefinitely.  depends on whether I return them or not), have been telling me over and over again how much they want me to go with them when they go - which is often given I live no more than 15 minutes away.  As always I say that I am just too insecure and self conscience.  I remind them that I work in the community and the likelihood of me running into current and past students is very high ... and I will be in a bathing suit.  In public.  Where people can see me.

It was 3:30, overcast and later in the day so I decided why not.  Let's make them happy.  And it did.  Given my fears and overweighted-ness, I chose not to do any of the slides however, I did spend a great deal of time in Jungle Run while they went on other rides and we had a blast in the wave pool.  It actually drove me insane not going on the slides.  They looked like soooo much fun and, if you know me (I mean really know me), you will understand what this decision was like for me and how loathesome I felt in the body with these limitations.  I am truly more in my element when I am in water than when I am on ground.  (or so I think)  I adore swimming and being in the water and wet and playing and just hanging around.  I am certain that I was a fish of some sort in my past life given my history with swimming pools in this one. 

What today has taught me is that next year I will be getting a season pass of my own.  Even if its just to sit and relax with a book with occassional visits to the wave and lazy pools, or to get off my ass now and get myself in a comfortable place so that I can ride the hell out of the slides next year, I will be there quite frequently.   I cant think of a better way to spend my summers off.  Neices, friends and water!

I learned a valuable lesson on Saturday ...

i DO NOT want to be a wedding photographer EVER.  ever, ever, EVER.  I hated it every moment of it.  Sure, it was fine those couple of times for friends but Saturday ... how nerve wracking.  I finally fell asleep just after 7:30am (which is late even for this night owl.  I am usually pushing 4-4:30 these weeks) and had to be up for 10.  I pushed it off until 11.  I got to the venue 20 minutes early.  The tent was still being decorated inside.  The aisle and the archway were still in progress.  Bridesmaids and family members scrambled to get the cake set up, the tent secured and the tables set.  The groom was rushing around, unready.  He finally went in to get shower and dress around 3:45 - - - we were supposed to have pictures at 3:30.  He arrived around 4:15ish ... 15 minutes before the ceremony was to begin.  The pre-wedding photos with the bride and bridesmaids never happened.  After the ceremony, I had approximately an hour and a half to take photos of the bride and her bridesmaids, the complete wedding party, the bride and her family, the groom and his family, the bride and groom and then the bride alone.  Keep in mind that, of this approximate hour and a half, friends and family were approaching them to wish congratulations (naturally), the bride had to find time to pee (of course) and last minute discussions were taking place with regards to the reception.  The mood was pleasant and happy but I was a bundle of nerves and felt so very rushed.  At the end of the day, I am happy neither with the quality nor quantity of my work.  My camera isnt working it's best, I am learning and I think it's time for maintenance work.  Even in the auto mode, the pictures werent the best they should have been.  I guess after 10,000 clicks that happens.  Never thought of it before. 

So ... now I sort.  Now I reflect.  Now I know that me doing weddings will not happen.  Studio and on location work only.  Families, babies, toddlers and pregnant bellies only please!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Can you believe it's tomorrow?

Or today, technically, since it's past midnight. 

It's the day I fly solo for a wedding.  I am scared beyong all belief.  So afraid that things will go wrong.  That they won't be happy.  It was different when I was doing it as a 'favour' but, now that money is being exchanged, the pressure is hard core and much more intense than it was with the other two.  I don't think I am ready.  What have I done?

In the meantime, I am taking a break from making a cheat sheet of poses from the past weddings I did.  I have a list of the poses that the bride and groom want that are out of the norm.  You know, that aunt who is something special or the old college roommate that you havent seen in 5 years?  I am new at this.  They know I am new at this.  This should be okay ..... right?  I just want to be thorough and quick so I can capture as many poses as possible.  I am even toying with bringing my youngest niece (13) as my assistant just to carry things around for me.  I need to stop second guessing myself.  I need to be full of confidence.  I can do this!!!

Recapping this past week, it has been a busy one.  In the course of about a week and a half, I took Tanya's daughter out for some photos.  I did a maternity shoot.  My sister and I went to different locations trying different things ... and are heading out again in a couple of weeks for a few more location shots.  I was also present at a wedding in which I was invited by Anzans Photography to shoot and observe.  What an experience.  It took place at the Westin Hotel where my day began in a penthouse suite.  Seriously, it had a living room, a massive bedroom, a conference room the length of my house and 4 bathrooms.  The view of the Parliment Buildings was nothing short of perfect.  Unfortunately, due to transportation issues, there was no room for me to join the bridal party at the location shoot but I got to play around in the grand ballroom, taking pictures of decor.  It was also an opportinuty for me to play around with a speedlight.  It was way harder than it looks.  I am completely oblivious to how it truly works but I did manage to get a few shots despite my lack of abilities.  It would have been most helpful if they had the lights turned up but that didn't happen until after they were done prepping.  Well .. so much for that.  Another "so much for that?"  My battery died and my spare was at home.  Can you believe that???  I was sooooo mad!!  I have never, ever left without my spare battery charged and, of all days, this was the one.  I had it in my hand.  Put it down by the front door to pack a few things, then walked away without picking it up.  I missed so many photographic opportinities but, on the plus side, it did leave me free and clear to help Oya.  I got to hold the reflectors, fluff the bridal dress for her, smooth the lumps in the bed, remove placemats and chairs and hold the remote flash when she needed it.  Watching her in action was amazing.  Seeing how to transition from one pose to another.  Hearing those key words to use to get the bride to look exactly where you want them to but not too far that you lose the colour in their eyes.  And the results ... wowsa!  This is one talented woman.  She captured the bride's beauty flawlessly.  There was even one shot, where the bride was laid out on the conference table and in between two massive chandeliers, that I swear looked like a couture pose you would see in a magazine.  Unfortunately, none of the images can be shared on the internet because of religious reasons and at the bride's wishes.  So sad.  I only got to see a few through Oya's camera display and can only imagine how beautiful they are on the computer and in print.

The wedding itself was an experience.  I knew going in that it wasn't a traditional Western wedding but I still wasn't prepared for what the day brought.  The bride and groom are Somalian and let me tell you, they do it in style.  I learned that night that a traditional Somali wedding actually happens in 3 parts.  Week 1 is the wedding ceremony.  Week 2 is the reception (this was my week) and week 3 is something else.  All equally lavish and festive.  On this particular night, imagine my surprise when I walked into the reception about 97% of the guests were women.  There were about a dozen men there.  This is their custom.  Sometimes the men and women celebrate in different locations.  The music was loud.  The dancing was non-stop - literally.  I would say that well over 50% of the tables were on the dance floor at all times, dancing to both traditional Somali music as well as some good ole dance tunes that had me shimmying in my seat.  (or I was just glad to finally understand something that was being said ... LOL)  The hospitality was a treat.  I was welcomed by many groups, invited to join them at tables and forced to eat, eat and eat.  And the food was good, good and good.  I stayed right til the end that night and got home at 3am.  I think I smiled the entire drive.  I can not thank Oya enough for inviting me and allowing me the opportunity to experience this day.  Just meeting Oya herself ... well ... let's just say it was an honour.  This is a woman who knows what she is doing and captures it flawlessly and, to top it all off, she is one of the nicest people I have ever met.  So warm and friendly.  She made me very at ease when I was feeling most overwhelmed.  I was actually quite sad when my time with her ended.  Hopefully our paths will cross again one day.

Alright ... another long post --> procrastination over.  Back to planning for tomorrow/today. 

ETA:  it is now 6:33 am and I haven't slept a wink since yesterday morning.  Can someone please have Mr. Sandman check his GPS the next time they bump into him?  He keeps forgetting to visit me.  ugh!

Happy Weekend to all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Old Name ... Mellisa

New Name ... Pickle Sista!

Yesterday, after driving my Nana, Mom and her husband to the airport, I headed over to my sister-in-law for our pickle making date. We almost thought it wasn't going to happen but, just as we hit the last vendor at the Parkdale Market, we found them.  The perfect, grade A cucumbers all ready to be jarred.  The only vendors that sold cucumbers by the bushel, I might add.  We purchased the cucumbers (a bushel and a half), fresh dill and fresh garlic and headed back to her place.  Now, we've both assisted my mother-in-law, at different times,  in the process but never made them on our own.  While we didn't go in blind to the process, we certianly went in nervously.  

The venture began and continued and continued and continued.  It seems that a bushel and a half makes alot of pickles.  After a quick stop for lunch, Dana and I were well on our way wtih pruned fingers from scrubbing (her) and intensely smelling garlic fingers (me).  Then, a vinegar steam facial and 11 hours later, we had 68 jars of pickles.  Sixty-eight.  That's a whole lotta pickles. 

Now all we do is sit and wait about a week to see how yummy they taste.  I am crossing my fingers that they compare to my mother-in-laws because seriously ... no one can dill a cucumber like her.  Not even Bicks themselves!


Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Really Happening ...

I am a business owner.  I never, ever thought I would own my own business.  It should have felt real to me when I registered with the government but it didn't.  Designing logo options 1, 2 and 3 done ... but it didn't  It should have felt real to me when I met with my clients (thats right, I have clients teehee) for a pre-wedding consultation, but it didn't.  What finally felt real to me was designing my business cards last night.  I got the back done. Began the front.  Wanted to cry when it came time to create flourishes ... but lets not even go there because I have to attempt to figure it out again today.  Skipped over to entering the information and then .... then it felt real.  I am a business owner.  Excitement turned into panic turned into doubt turned into a smile.  Even if I don't succeed, i tried and that's what matters most.

In the meantime, my website is no longer a random results page ... it is officially 'under construction'.  Things will become more concrete with it next week when my web people come back from holidays.  Business cards will be ordered next week too.  I have a practice maternity session on Sunday and am completely excited.  I will finally have something to put on my facebook group that doesn't belong to my nieces.

My life isn't how I want it to be but, all in all, things are definitely good!

Happy Monday.  Here's to an enjoyable week

Monday, July 12, 2010

wow *WOW* wow

Really.  Seriously.  **WOW**  I can not stop grinning from ear to ear with that opportunity the that has just been presented to me but first, I must digress ...

On May 29th, K and I attended the wedding of a person who we know because K's cousin's husband is the grooms brother (you follow?).  Through his cousin's wedding process, we met and bonded with the Bradley/groom's family including his brother - the May 29th groom.  They have such beautiful souls.  While at the wedding I was in awe of the photographer.  She was everywhere and it was click after click after click.  My kinda gal.  I am definately an over clicker.   Poses, candids, guests, decor .. everything I try to do when I am at an event or even just with my nieces or sight seeing.  The following week I joined her Facebook group and looked at every gallery on her website.  The week after that I saw Scott and Jess' wedding photos .  Love.  I wrote her a quick note to tell how how much I loved her work (and watching her work) and guess what .... she invited me to be a second shooter at a wedding.  Eeeks.  It's her way of giving back to aspiring photographers ... and I am so happy that she is giving to me.  Well she contacted me tonight to finalize everything and, on Satuday July 31st, I will be joining Oya Anzan of Anzans Photography as her second shooter at a wedding to be held at the Westin Hotel.  *gulp*  The Westin.  I mean *wow.*  Talk about ambiance and romance and stairs and backdrops and ... and ... and... 

The timing of this is perfect because yesterday I got confirmation that I have been hired as a photographer for a wedding on August 7th so it will give me learning and practice time.  It's going to be a small backyard wedding in the country and a wonderful opportunity too.  Plus the opportunities I am making for myself with my friend and her baby belly then newborn, my sister, my nieces and Tanya's girls.  This is how I love to learn.  I was expecting a good summer but it is turning out to be grrrrrreat!

Yup.  Pretty much stuck on *WOW* right now.  So much to do and try and understand and learn and process.  Upon my return to work in September, I had planned on upgrading my camera to something more professional than my loveable XTi.  In the meantime, it's off to Henry's to rent something more professional and of the D variety as well as a lens better suited for weddings.  I currently have three lenses but not one that I feel comfortable shooting with in low light and at a wedding of this caliber.  (if anyone has a money tree, I would be happy to plant a cutting in my yard. -insert eye roll by all who have the same wish-)

Thanks for reading and sharing in my excitement ... or pretending to, at least.  I know this stuff isn't for everyone but I am good with the false pretenses in this case.  TEEHEEHEE.

Enjoy this fabulous week!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Done, done & done.

  • Business registered - - - check
  • Domain name registered - - - check
  • Email set up - - - check
  • Blog started - - - check
  • Facebook page - - - check
  • First job pending - - - double check
And so begins my journey towards being a business woman.  I have finally taken the plunge and made it official.  Studio H Photography is in full affect.  Only thing left to do is create a new logo (would you believe that there are several other Studio H's in business and three that I found boast a variation on the same logo I created for myself.  So much for that 'original' thought), develop a website and start selling myself (the easy part ... uh huh).  I have some fun things lined up photo wise.  The next few weeks will see me trying different tidbits and ideas starting with my sister, a maternity session and then the hijacking of a certain someone's kiddies.  August will see me trying my hand at newborn photography (cant wait!) and maybe a few other things too.  I will know more in a couple of days.

I am excited and nervous and crossing my fingers for success.  How cool would it be to have not one but TWO jobs that I love?  I could get use to this...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Perfect Start to Summer Vacay ...

first it was the last day of school for the kiddies then it was off to the Triple Bill - Twilight, New Moon and
*** ECLIPSE ***
Can you say "humina humina humina."  I am in love with the characters all over again.  It's the best one yet.

On a canvas note, thank you for your kind words both here and/or on Facebook.  It has made me feel better about it after the Hubs declared "heh.  not your best work"   Thanks, Babe!

Finally, I just want to wish our wonderful country a very happy birthday.  While I take where we live for granted, I know how lucky I am and happy I feel to be a Canadian.

Happy Hump Day.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Completed Canvas

Finally posting a canvas that I finished over a month ago ... and took me about as long to do.  Flowers were a labour of love, that is for sure.  It took about 14 hours to create the flowers, less the Prima stem, of course. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


My Mom asked me to take some photos for her new cottage in Merrickville.  The last photo is my favourite Merrickville store ever.  It oozes cottage warmth.  All photos are unedited.

On the school front, I finished my class last night.  I had so much planned for the portrait part of my project but my sister had to cancel at the last minute.  Couldn't be avoided.  Thankfully my niece came to the rescue on Sunday night.  The photos aren't anything spectacular but it allowed me to complete my assignment.  I had also wanted to do alot of Photoshop stuff but a 2 day migraine kept me off the computer.  Migraines ... not so fun.  I have never had one that was that long before.  It was exhausting. 

In the meantime, I am going to start putting myself out there for business.  One low fee which includes a cd with edited photos.  I am just not sure where to start or how to make people know that I am available.  I started a Facebook group but that is very limiting.   I haven't figured out pricing although I think I am on to something.  My goal is to keep it affordable both as a beginner and after I have gained experience.  So much to do but I need to stop being timid and self-conscious.  Until then, I have a few things coming up just for practice.  Hopefully all goes well.  This summer will find me taking courses, scouting locations and taking lots and lots of photos. 

Happy Tuesday.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Goodbye *Eclipse* Ticket ....

My friends and I returned our Eclipse tickets to the Empire 7 in Orleans.  I mean hey ... why see one movie at midnight when you can go to Silvercity Gloucester and watch ALL THREE in a triple bill.  This mean that I will be seeing, beginning at 7pm on the 29th, *Twilight* followed by *New Moon* followed by *Eclipse*.

love, Love, LOve, LOVe, LOVE

Friday, June 11, 2010

On a Positive Note

 after my super depressing blog post yesterday - for which I am super, super sorry about - I thought I should share some happy news that I received earlier this week:

For those who read my blog but don't know, I am an aspiring photographer by night but spend my days doing a job that I absolutely love (less the pay cheque part ... way too low). I am an Educational Assistant in an elementary school. For the 4 school years prior to this one (I have 12 years total), I worked with a boy who was mildly autistic with no real behaviour concerns. This year however, I am working in a grade 2 class with an autistic boy who definitely falls in the realm of behaviour. I love this.

First let me digress for a moment to explain ... there are two varying degrees to working with students who have special needs. On one end of the spectrum you have those who require total care. Some are non-verbal, non-ambulatory, require feeding tubes, diaper changes and serious medical care while others kick, scream, pull hair, bite, spit and have nasty tantrums. While I love all these students, my comfort zone has me in a place where I would rather have a chair thrown at my head than change a diaper. Special Needs or not, I prefer working with behavioural students. Now back to my story....

My young fella, whom we will call John Doe (or JD for short), was new to our school this year. We had heard about him from one of our teachers who went to the case conference at his previous school and she came back thinking "omigod. what on earth are we in for?" There were reports of kicking, spitting, biting, pinching, screeching (not screaming ... screeching) and more. It was very overwhelming. In September, JD came to the school to meet us. What a cutie. Because the family with whom he lives has three children that have graced our hallways previous to him, I knew what I could comfortably ask the to help me get to know JD but alas ... they were still learning too.

The first month of school came and went without a hitch. We had NO clue what this other school was talking about. He was wonderful. That being said ... we also know very well what a honeymoon period is and waiting for the day when it was over. It came. OUCH! I don't think my ears have rang so loudly or have my shins hurt so much from being kicked repeatedly (yes .. i let him kick me over and over a couple of times but i promise ... there was a method to my madness and it worked!!). He had complete and total control as we tried to figure out programs that would work with him and let us take it back. God bless the CHEO lady. She came on a consultation and, in just those few hours, changed the course of JDs days. The second she made a suggestion, I used, tweaked it, altered it and made it my own. It's like my brain shifted gears and I started thinking and creating and working in a whole new way.  It paid off.  Not only is my JD a cutie patootie (he really is ... it isnt a biased thing, I promise.).  He is a pretty darned good student too.  Naturally, there are good days and bad but they are so far and few between now.

A couple of months ago, some of my colleages and I participated in a a structured learning workshop.  It was us and about 9 other schools.  At the end we had to do a presentation.  Because the idea of talking made us all uneasy, we made a slide show presentation. Everyone loved it.  The experts were *wowed* with us and the students we work with.  (there is myself and JD and another EA and her Jane Doe.)  Literally. I had some programming tools that I created and they announced to everyone how awesome they were.  For the first time in my 12 years as an EA, I knew I was doing a good job.  I mean really and truly.  It has been a good thing for me.

I found out on Monday that the CHEO people, along with members from our school board, will be coming to the school to video tape myself, my colleage and our two JD's in action to use them as training videos for other professionals who work with students on the Spectrum.  What an honour.  I am pertrified of this but still .. what an honour.  I am very, very proud of us.  The whole team.  We did good. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Reality

Katie was inspired by reading Stephanie Howell's blog.  A blog that I don't follow and had never read until today.  I went to Dorrie's blog after reading Katie's blog.  Another blog I seldom visit.  Maybe every few months or so.  She too was inspired by Stephanie Howwell's blog.  A blog that discussed the realities of life.  More specifically, the realities if YOUR life.  It touches on our role as scrapbookers (more those directly involved in the industry) and do we feel that it is our responsibility to scrap only about the happy places we've been and the postive experiences we have had.  This got me thinking.  I do only scrap about the good.  Yes, I have had a few of layouts where I touch upon some trying times in my life but it is literally just that.  A few.  It's not that I avoid it, it just never really occurs to me but, when I really think about it, isn't that what this craft is supposed to be about?  Capturing your art, your legacy, so your children - your grandchildren - have memories of their lives and the legacy you leave behind?  Why not post about the REAL events in life?  After reading these blogs and seeing the conflicting layout that Dorrie did, I am going to make a conscious effort to capture the real me ... not the sugar coated me.  To get me started, I am going to list some of my realities like the others did.  I challenge you to do the same?

My { REALITY } is ...

  1. I am fat.  I am fat and I hate it.  I am fat, I hate it and I have absolutely NO comprehension as I why I can not wrap my  head around the need to lose weight and execute it.  Especially when it impacts such a huge area - I just don't get it.  I often wonder if food can be considered a mental illness.

  2. I love scrapbooking.  I miss scrapbooking.  I have no ambition to scrapbook.  This frustrates me. 

  3. I will never be the Mommy to a living child.  Hannah will be my only link to motherhood and our two hours together singing, laughing, bathing, dressing and loving my sweet baby girl is all I have.  I am defeated and devastated.

  4. My soul is broken.  I have lost who I am.  Events of these past few years, as well as my miscarriages, have left me in a lurch.  I am doubtful and suspicious in ways that I never was.  I am insecure and question if I am being overbearing, too needy and just a pain in the ass to the few friends I have.  I have no identity.

  5. My marriage is struggling.  Has been struggling.  Not make or break struggling but definitely making us fight hard for eachother.  Our roles are being redefined.  I am neither comfortable with this nor to I like (or appreciate) the new role that has been placed upon me.

  6. I no longer talk to my in-laws (less one sister).  After finally speaking my mind to my mother-in-law and making her accountable for her actions (and she for mine), they don't want anything to do with me which "is okay because we never liked her anyway."  Despite the way I have been treated for the past 19 years, this saddens me to no end.  It hurts that they don't like me.  It hurts when I tried so hard to be accepted.  To be respected.  If I had done something wrong, I wouldn't feel this way.  I would own my behaviour and understand why it was this way but I have been blacklisted from the moment I walked through the front door with their son.  Yes, there have been laughs and memories but it is hard to see that beyond the indifference I now feel.  Because they are a family of taking sides, this includes my brother-in-law and sister-in-law too.  The only link I have to my fruit salad (nieces and nephews) is the fact that my nephew is a student at my work.  Because of him, I know I have a new niece on the way.  Because of him, I know that her name will be Addison.  I will never know her personally.  Being an aunt the only version of Mommyhood that could be mine.  My heart breaks for my husband who is put in this position by them. 

  7. My mind is wrapped around becoming a photograher and starting my own business in addition to keeping my job at the school.  I want to do both.  I my heart and my mind, I feel like I am going to fail. 

  8. Since my last miscarriage, I have become very lazy.  I just want to waif around and watch tv or dvd's or surf the internet for random nothings.  I have no desire to do anything, anywhere, with anyone ... even though I do enjoy myself once I am there.  Thankfully.

  9. My sweet dog, Tucker is growing older.  You wouldn't know it by looking at him or watching him in action but he is.  I know his years are numbered though he has many more, I am sure and hopeful for.  I am terrified of what another loss ... this loss ... is going to do to me.  I think about it daily when we snuggle and take moments together.  My dogs are the children I can not have.

  10. I am crying.  Right now.  At school.  As I type this.  I do not like (many aspects of) my life and what it has become.  I am grateful for my family and friends but all in all, I am not whole.  I (think) I do a good job hiding it from the world and those around me but I am really falling apart inside.  I do not like admitting this but alas ... it is {my reality}
ETA --> this is not a pity party or my reaching out for attention/sympathy. It is just simply what it is ... my reality.  :o)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fun with Water

These past few weeks things have either been very busy .... or very lazy. There has been no happy medium. When I'm not running the roads doing this, that or the other, I am at home watching different shows streamed on the internet or season 1 of True Blood (gawd I hope it gets better. I started it and am committed to it now but ish ... not a good show). Yesterday however, I decided to stop being so sluggish (which is how I am actually feeling) and pull out my camera. I had quite the interesting set up in the bathroom involving chairs on either end of my counters, boxes on top of that, strapping connecting them, water bags dangling over a bowl and two lamps for added lighting. Not to mention the tripod to hold my camera, a stool to sit on and books under a tripod leg to keep it at the right angle. K was a little perplexed when he came home and saw it, to say the least. "Why?" you ask? So I could get the shots below, of course....

I do have some in red but red just didn't capture as well as the green did.  Of course, after several hours of doing this (it's definitely not as easy as it looks), my mojo was gone and away things went.  Set aside actually.  I am going to grab a few things to play with and try again.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I spent Friday and Saturday at The Scrapbox with Stéphanie.  Had some laughs with the ladies and got to spend some time with her dear friend, LouLou.  She is nothing short of a sweetheart with a heart of gold.  It was our first opportunity to really talk and it was a pleasure.  Of course, I created whilst we chatted however, I can not say or post what I did because they are intended as a gift for a super special someone who reads my blog.  I do owe you a photo of a canvas I finished about a month ago though - maybe tomorrow ...

Today I had the day off work.  I headed out to Merrickville to take pictures as a request for my Mom.  She and her husband just bought a cottage there (yay!) and they want to hang photos of the town throughout the cottage so ... off I went.  303 photos later, I packed it up and headed to Ottawa for class.  I have to sift through them but will post some in a few days.  Hmmm ... I may have multiple posts in the next week.  What are you going to do with yourselves?   ;o}

Until we 'meet' again, I wish you a wonderful week.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Signed, sealed and printed. Just bought my tickets. Can you say

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Digital Photography Basics

I have spent the last couple of weeks attending classes to learn more about photography.  Twice a week I travel to Algonquin with hopes of having a positively wonderful experience learning about a form of art that I have come to love very much.  Photography truly does make my heart happy.  It pulls me in.  It calls my name.  It screams "be creative and capture life's moments."  It makes me want to freeze frame that special time in someone's life so that they can look back and feel the emotion of the day several years later.  I want to take photos that make the people looking into the lense feeling as fulfilled as the person behind the lense.

As the class begins to move past the dry, technical necessities of learning about ones camera, we are now beginning to learn about techniques like 'depth of field' and 'motion.'  We are being encouraged to leave the auto mode and shoot in Av as much as possible ... something I am fortunate enough to have been doing from (almost) the beginning, thanks to many outings with Marlene - who is a phenominal photographer.  While I have many shots that have captured Depth of Field, they were not all done so by technique alone.  Some were just lucky shots.  It's time to stop partially relying on luck and focus on making it happen when I want it to.

We started getting our assignments this week.  We don't have a bunch of little projects but one big one due at the beginning of the last class (June 23rd).  My mind is racing and spinning and full of ideas.  I am going to have so much fun reaching these goals and trying different things to create a final product that I am happy with all while boosting my confidence.

I do have an ultimate goal.  I know where I want to go with all the knowledge I will obtain as I pass through each course.  Sometimes I feel really silly for thinking that this is something I can do.  I mean, who does this at 36?  Most photographers are established by now.  But then I remind myself that it's never too late to learn and that reassures me.  Now all I need to do is convince myself that someone would actually want to pay me to take photos of them - especially with the form of photography that I would like to create a small side business with.  (can you imaging having two jobs you love?  *sigh*)  Ahhh confidence .... wish me luck.

On the creative front, I finally finished the canvas I started a while back.  K doesn't like it.  "It's not your best work," he says.  Hmmph.  Well then ...   For the amount of time I spent making those flowers, I am hanging it somewhere! 

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

** happy **

It's been a few good days - starting with Sunday, of course, when I saw Tim Holtz.  Sorry.  Did I not say that loud enough?  TIM HOLTZ!!!!  Nothing short of *wow.*  It all started when I was waiting to go into the back of the store.  I had my iPhone out and was talking to Tanya about an app (or something) and then, all of a sudden, this guy starts chiming in about these must have apps.  holy hell, batman.  IT WAS HIM.  I did it though.  I played it calm, cool and collected.  He was just an average Joe who puts his pants on one leg at a time.  Inside though, I as screaming and twitching and mentally catching my breath.  I mean ... IT WAS HIM!  *sigh*

His classes were awesome.  He is an amazing teacher.  Always happy.  Never annoyed.  Eternally patient.  I have always loved T!m products (and Tim himself) but now I love (and him) them even more - in part because I have lost alot of that intimidation factor.  I am itching to get in their and do some grungey goodness getting my hards dirty.  What a great feeling of satisfaction.  Not to mention that large amounts of alcohol ink and acrylic nails are still allowing me to enjoy that dirty process right at this very moment.  I do have some pictures to share but they are still on my camera so I will post at a later date.  In the meantime, I will continue to bask in my creative world until I can create again.  I am truly inspired.

Monday found me heading off to my first photography class at Algonquin College.  Basic Digital Photography.  I am complete excited and in love and know I am in the right place.  What a great feeling.  Of course, the evening was full of that dry and technical but necessary stuff.  Aperture, shutter speed, what the icons on the dials mean, etc.  Alot of it I knew a little about but now have a bit of a deeper understanding about it although still not 100%.  I learned how photographers get those wonderful Canada Day shots and now I am impatiently counting the days for July 1st.  I may not even be able to wait.  I think I am going to have to run out and buy my own fireoworks to try this new technique.  We touched very lightly on our assignment.  There is only one throughout these next 7 weeks but it seems like it is a doozy - alot of components handed in through multiple photos.  I have a million ideas in my head ... now I just have to hope that I can capture it through the lense.  My mind was going so crazy last night that I couldn't sleep and I am very eager for tomorrow night's class.  Even as I type this I am full of giddy-ness waiting to see what tomorrow has to offer.
On a software note, I got some fabulous news.  When K and I talked about this, we both knew that there was a bunch of I was either going to have to upgrade (or buy) if I was going to do photography as a side job.  One of those things being software.  I cringed at the thought of spending an upwards of $1000.00 for new Photoshop goodies however, we were enlightened yesterday with some very exciting news.  Because we are photography students, we will get to purchase Photoshop CS 5 Suite(have you seen it?  I saw it a few weeks ago via Jeni Boisvert's blog and let me just say WOW) for a fraction of the price.  Very cool.

So, as you can hopefully feel by reading this, it has been a very excited couple of days.  Things are about to get mega busy at work.  Between field trips, Jump Rope for Heart (I run it), Floor Hockey Tournament (I run the canteen),  our CPS track and field meet.  (i do this too) and our County meet (me again) and whatever else pops up, this photography thing may be a great way to regroup and enjoy myself.

Enjoy the day.  I know I will.

Friday, April 30, 2010

*Twilight* meets *Dick in a Box*


Don't know what I am talking about?  Only my most favourite SNL skit ever featuring my one and only Justin Timberlake.   *sigh*

Monday, April 26, 2010

Seaway District High School needs YOUR help...

... to win their very own HYBRID school bus.

The following e-mail was sent out today to all Upper Canada District School Board staff.  It is for a great cause and they really did do a great job.

Good morning-

Great news from Seaway: A few weeks ago, a group of our grade 12s entered an online contest ("Canada's Greenest School") and- of over 400 submissions- their video was selected as one of the top ten entries in Canada. This now puts Seaway in the running to win our very own hybrid school bus. Pretty exciting. It now comes down to online voting, so we're really hoping we can get your support! We're the only high school in Ontario to make it to the top ten- and, geographically, our closest competition is an elementary school in Burlington- so hopefully the support of the entire UCDSB will give us a shot at being #1 and winning this hybrid bus. As of yesterday, we're 2nd in Youtube views with 920, so we are continuing to try to get as many people as possible to see the video and vote for Seaway! Please take a few minutes with your class to log on to and support the only local school in the competition. Voting for the finalists opened April 22nd and ends May 5th. You can vote once per person per day.

On behalf of the Seaway Green Team, thanks for your help. Let's see if we can win this thing!

You can see the You tube video and vote here  or, to just watch the You-tube video, click here and see The Seaway Green Team in action.

On behalf of these students, thanks for taking 3 minutes that can make a difference to them.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bonne Fete, Stéphanie

Je te souhaite anniversaire qui est
aussi merveillex que toi. 
Je t'aime.

Stéph et Mell - NavCan 2006  ~  layout by Stéphanie

Monday, April 19, 2010

Can this be any sweeter??

I got one of those e-mails from a friend this morning.  A chain e-mail that has travelled the globe with photos that were taken in 2008.  Regardless of when they were taken, they absolutely melted my heart.  I couldnt resist sharing them here.  So cute.  This is the blurb that accomanied the email:

This Dachshund is fostering this little guy for another mom who couldn't take care of him. He had his eyes closed, but by now they are open. He is just a little bigger than her other pups. She loves this little guy as much as the other puppies and she is nursing him back to health.

He is the cleanest pig-uppy ever because she loves him all the time. HIS NAME IS PINK.

Enjoy your day...