June 30, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 30

The final assignment for the June Photo Challenge is “family”.

I suppose how one defines their family can be as inclusive or as exclusive as they wish. My own family is pretty small and doesn’t seem to be getting any bigger. Such is the case when you’re an only child and have only one of your own, I suppose. Stripped down to its very core (and including only the people that live in the little white house with the red door), my family is really just me and Jake (aka the mascot.) We're a team, the kid and I.

Taking one step outward, I would include my fella* and my mom, and then after that, my “steps” – Susan, Nicole and Curt.

*I know R would probably balk at such a presumptuous statement, but hey, when it comes to numbers, our little family needs all the help we can get. If nothing else, it’s good to have someone who can act as a tie-breaker or an alternate for our beach volleyball team.

June 29, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 29

It's kinda funny that today's subject is "trees", seeing as how at least 3 of my other challenge photos have been of trees. (Off the top of my head - Summertime, Citrus and Landscape.)

I suppose I could have called this one in, but since it's the second last day of the project, I figured I would actually make an effort. So, in 31 degree heat and 107% humidity, my fella and I hopped on our bikes and went for an apres-work ride out to Assiniboine Park.

These trees are normally high and dry on the banks of the Assiniboine, but the river seems to have a mind of its own these days. Two days from July and "spring flooding" is still going strong.

I took this picture from the footbridge that connects Portage Avenue to the park. Moments later, we saw a few families of Canada geese and a big, dead pelican. I started to sing "The Circle of Life" (as I am want to do in these situations), but R was already on his bike and headed for the safety (and air conditioning) of home.

Farewell, grade 8!

We interrupt our June Photo Challenge to bring you a special shout-out to the mascot, who has just completed the eighth grade.

Last night he and his classmates busted a move or two at their grad dinner and dance, held at Scandals Area Night Club. No slow-dancing was reported (as if he'd tell me anyway), but it sounds like they all had a great time (despite the sketchy pasta).

Here's a picture of the boy in all of his graduation finery. Doesn't he look dapper (and so serious)?

Get the look:
Plaid Hat - The Bay ($25)
Plaid Ben Sherman Tie - Winners ($25)
Tone-on_tone Black Vest - Stockhomme ($39)
Teal/White Short-sleeved Shirt - Sears ($6)
Black Pants - Walmart ($12)
Attitude - priceless

June 28, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 28

Today's challenge is "transportation". Out of the big three - planes, trains and automobiles - I will always pick trains. There’s just something so sensible and endearing about them.

This train was loaded-up and headed west from downtown. I can only imagine what sorts of treasures at was carrying…

June 27, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 27

When I saw today’s challenge – “your weakness” – I began making a mental list of all of my weaknesses, starting with peanut butter. Peanut butter led to chocolate; chocolate to Nutella; Nutella to gelati; gelati to pizza; pizza to wine… well, you get the picture. I started to get confused as to which of my weaknesses were actual weaknesses and which were vices… and, for that matter, which were just things that I was awfully fond of.

And they weren’t all food either; there’s a certain redheaded boy who I can’t resist spoiling, and a blue-eyed fella who can make me drop everything and hop in my car at the mere mention of a picnic or a foot rub (his, not mine). I also have a bit (ha!) of a weakness when it comes to magazines, yoga pants, stationery, the iTunes, flotsom and jetsam… again you get the picture.

Needless to say, narrowing it down to my true, true weakness was a challenge. Heading home from the gym last night, it all became clear. As soon as I spotted this sign, I knew. My true weakness, my kryptonite, if you will, is a good sale.

(For the record, I was able to resist this one, but it was tough. Not only was it a sale - it was a sale on hair products. I know!)

June 26, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 26

My favourite colour? Red, baby. Red.

The red, red berry jam at Stella's is the #1 reason why I will never turn down an invitation to go there for brunch. I don't even care what I have for the rest of my meal; as long as I can have my multi-grain toast with jam for "dessert", I'm happy.

June 25, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 25

Remember I told you about my fella and his knack for growing things? I wasn't kidding. This is his orange tree, the subject of today's challenge "citrus".

This happy little tree spends most of the year indoors, oblivious to the fact that it is 4000 kms from Florida, and as soon as the risk of frost is completely gone, it is sent out to the deck where it flourishes in the sunshine and produces cute little fruits like these. We've yet to actually eat one, but they never fail to amaze me. I mean, seriously... oranges. In Winnipeg!

June 24, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 24

The Beatles had it wrong when they said that "All You Need is Love".

You also need patience, kindness, respect for peoples' differences, a sense of humour, resiliency, determination, creativity, honesty, loyalty, and... cake.

Today's challenge was "love" and couldn't think of a better symbol for how we express our love for each other. We celebrate everything with cake - birthdays, graduations, new babies, retirements, and (of course) weddings. Without it, in all its incarnations from cupcake to the tallest tiered cake, love just wouldn't be quite as sweet.

June 23, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 23

At first glance, this black & white snapshot of the Exchange District (and Downtown) could almost be mistaken for an old photograph. That is, until you notice the Radisson Hotel and brand-new Manitoba Hydro building…and the station wagon parked in front of Artspace.

Being a fan of old buildings, I absolutely love working in the Exchange and I especially love working in the historic Crocus building. In the old days, it was one of the Ashdown Hardware buildings, but is now home to an eclectic array of organizations and businesses, including the offices of MCG.

We occupy the top two floors of the building and are lucky to lay claim to the much-coveted rooftop patio. This photo was taken from there this morning, right before I started my workday.

June 22, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 22

I assumed that today’s challenge would be an easy one. I had hoped that today’s challenge would be an easy one. Winnipeg, the pretty little prairie town that it is, has a seemingly unlimited number of lovely scenes; one would think that taking a nice landscape photo in the middle of June would be a snap (pardon the pun).

Well, taking into account the fact that I have a full day ahead of me, with little or no opportunity to go out in search of a lovely scene to photograph, AND the fact that the weather is absolutely miserable, it’s a wonder that I didn’t just throw in the towel on this “easy” assignment.

Not one to be defeated by a little rain, or a pesky little time-constraint, I took a detour on my way to work and ended up at Halter Park, right at the end of Wolseley.

This park marks the halfway point of my running route, however as you can see from the photo, the swollen river has overtaken the path and made it completely impassable. Needless to say, a run through here would require a swimming component…and I’m not quite ready to add the aquathalon to my already epic roster of activities.

June 21, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 21

When the mascot got an A on his oral report about the Roman Emperor Vespasian, I wanted to get him a little something to recognize his awesome job. Completely by coincidence, I received an email that day from a local shop owner about some Roman coins that he was selling. Needless to say, I knew that I had to grab one for my little orator.

I don’t know what this particular coin was worth in 79 AD, but I paid only $3 for it. At roughly the same size as my thumbnail, it made the perfect subject for today’s challenge photo (micro/up-close).

June 20, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 20

Day 20 – Water

They say salt water cures anything, whether it’s sweat, tears or the sea. In my case, given my distance from the sea, it is usually a good sweaty workout that helps me get some perspective and work through whatever it is that’s weighing on me, both literally and figuratively.

It is difficult (though not impossible) to cry on a spinning bike. And, if you do, you can always blame it on the sweat in your eyes.

June 19, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 19

One of my favourite things about Winnipeg is its trees and especially the trees of River Heights in the summertime.

Our lush tree canopy is definitely one of the things that makes the city so special. You would think that it would be something that could easily be taken for granted, but for some reason it doesn't.

Perhaps it's because we only get scenes like this for a few precious months out of the year and we relish every moment of it. I know it's what gets me through some of the greyest days of winter. That and a lot of wine.

June 18, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 18

Today's challenge was eyes. This morning, while I was sitting on the couch trying to decide whose eyes I should take a photo of, the answer was (literally) staring right back at me. Of course, I waited until nightfall to capture them at their beautifully creepy best.

These furry little friends are part of a slowly growing collection of odd and wonderful creatures that the mascot and I have bought, made and won over the past couple of years. They live in my Nana's old chair and keep watch over the house when we're not home.

June 17, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 17

The term Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke, meaning "blur" or "haze”. Interesting to note, though not surprising, the Japanese also use the term boke to describe a sense of mental haze or senility.

That’s exactly how I approached today’s challenge: in a state of mental haze. Specifically, how the heck was I going to pull this one off? (Day 17 and I am already running out of subjects and ideas. Oy.)

Lucky for me, an impromptu lunchtime trip to my fella’s house to let the dog out gave me an opportunity to snap a few pictures in the garden. While Roxy did her business, I went about mine.

Turns out, flowers aren’t just good for bouquets, they’re good for bokehs, too.

June 16, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 16

Is it jam yet? No! How ‘bout now?

All day I have been trying to figure out some way to make a plain glass jar, one of the most commonplace of household objects, seem a little more exciting. Our challenge for today is “mason/jelly jar”, and what do we think of first when we think of a jar? Jam!

Do I have jam? No!

Did I remember to stop off at the market after work and buy a $7 jar of homemade jam? No!

So, you can only imagine how excited I was to get home and discover three perfectly red, ripe strawberries in my garden? I'm not quite ready to make jam yet, but as you can see, I am well on my way...

June 15, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 15

Action! Stanley Cup 2011, Game 7, Boston vs Vancouver.

Overheard on Twitter: Someone should send Tim Thomas out to stop the riot; he stopped everything else tonight.

June 14, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 14

Today's challenge is "someone you love". This one's a no-brainer: I heart my pocket protector wearing, D&D playing, vintage synth collecting, Devo loving, blog writing, embracer of all things geekified… nerd.

A little history: my fella and I should’ve met 25 years ago, but didn’t. We followed the proverbial “parallel lines” for years, sharing some of the same friends, attending the same events, shopping in the same stores, but never meeting.

Until three years ago, that is, and we’ve been together ever since. (I was smitten right from the moment that we met, but my definitive “he had me at…” was when I came home from a day-trip to Grand Forks and discovered a bunch of googly-eyed rocks placed around my garden.)

Three things I love about him: his bluer-than-blue eyes, the way he smells (swimming pool and jujubes), and how he can make a 3-mile run feel like, well, a 3-mile run…but more fun than running alone.

Three things that drive me nuts about him: he makes better pancakes than me, is bendier than me, and has a disgustingly green thumb (seriously, who grows oranges in Winnipeg??)

Aside from maybe catching a movie this weekend and (hopefully) making it out of town for a week this summer, we’re looking forward to our third anniversary, which will be celebrated in either July or August, depending on who you ask…and which occasion you are referring to. (July 17, aka “Boy-Meets-Girl Day”, is my personal favourite.)

June 13, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 13

When I saw that today’s challenge was “ reminds you of childhood”, I immediately thought that it should be a place, rather than a thing. Of course, knowing me, that place would have to involve food.

There are actually a few places that always take me back to my childhood: the Dairy Queen on St Annes at Varennes, the Dairy Queen on Mayor Magrath in Lethbridge, and the BDI on Jubillee. (Are we beginning to sense a trend here?)

While I was at the BDI snapping pics for the challenge yesterday, I realized that it was not the ice cream stand itself, or even its iconic treats (Sleeping Beauty, anyone?), that I am so attached to; it is the bridge that leads to it that I feel such an affinity for. It is, literally, the "B" in BDI.

Whether you have to cross the river from the Kingston Row side or you enter from Jubillee, the slow walk across the bridge to look at the river while you devour your Goog is de rigueur. Simply getting your sundae to go would be only half the experience. It would be like, say, driving all the way to Niagara Falls and then not getting out of the car*.

*True story.

June 12, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 12

Remember when I said that there were two photo challenge shots that almost didn’t happen? Well, this is number two. Although, unlike the animal photo that I managed to take in the 11th hour, so to speak, I guess you could say that this one technically didn’t happen at all.

Sun flares are actually pretty easy to achieve; they are the result of the sun’s rays directly hitting the lens of the camera. You really only need two things to make it happen – a camera and the sun. For half of the day, I had the sun and no camera. For the other half of the day, I had a camera and no sun. You see where I am going here?

At around 8pm, I gave up entirely and took matters into my own hands. A little (ha!) artistic license (and some cooperation from the mascot) was needed, but I finally got my shot. Sorta.

Son Flair

June 11, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 11

I was glad that today’s challenge – silhouette – coincided with the Re:Play event at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. I knew exactly what I wanted to do for my photo even before we arrived.

The concept was simple; I just had to get the mascot to stand in front of one of Mr Ghosty’s video screens so that I could get a nice, back-lit shot of the boy in profile. Easy, peasy!

The picture turned out exactly as I had envisioned, and even lent itself to a little image-manipulation in Photoshop. With this effect, it’s a modern take on the old-fashioned cameo.

June 10, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 10

This was one of two shots that almost didn't happen for me this weekend. Who knew that it would be so hard to find an animal?

My choices were this: go to the zoo, head into the woods, or approach a stranger and ask to photograph their pet. The first and second options were discarded due to the effort and time required, and #3 was just a little too creepy, even for me.

So, that left the mascot and I to drive around after dinner looking for a statue or something that at least resembled an animal. Luckily, we made it to the land of the “Broadway Bears” (aka the park behind the Legislative Grounds) before the sun set and were able to take a few shots of the great painted beasts.

June 9, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 9

I was tempted to call this photograph something like poire et cerise avent une fenetre, or the fecund fruit, or simply still life – untitled, but I was afraid of coming off as inadvertently pretentious.

Given that the challenge today was “fresh fruit”, I am going to stick with what I know best and call it something just a little cheeky.

Nice pear!

June 8, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 8

Day eight’s blog challenge subject was a bit of a nail-biter. Things like “breakfast” and “shoes”, I can control. When it comes to sunsets, I can only hope for the best.

When I woke up this morning, the skies were grey, drizzly and, to be frank, downright miserable. If things didn’t clear up by evening, I was going to be forced to cheat and take a picture of a picture of a sunset, or get clever and take a picture of my son setting the table. (Get it?)

Thankfully, the sun eventually did come out around mid-afternoon and things started looking up (pun intended). I wasn’t out of the woods yet, though, because actually capturing a sunset is a whole other story. Would there be spectacular colour? Would I be in exactly the right place at the right time? Would a flock of birds suddenly rise from the trees and silhouette themselves against the brilliant glow of the sky as I stood poised to capture the moment?

In short, no, none of that happened. But I did manage to take this picture from my front steps after dinner. It’s not the most exciting sunset I have ever witnessed, but it was definitely better than the sink full of dishes that awaited me inside.

June 7, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 7

When the mascot was little, I somehow got myself bitten (ok, mauled) by the scrapbooking bug. At the height of my obsession, I was not only working at a scrapbooking store, but I was actually organizing family outings based on what kind of stickers and paper I had to use up. Apple stickers called for a trip to the orchard; a merry-go-round die cut had us scrambling to find a carnival; a $7 shaker-box filled with glitter meant that I had finally lost my mind.

Needless to say, everything that we did was a photo-op and the mascot got pretty used to having a camera pointed at his little, freckled face. This is why I am so surprised that he has recently become such a reluctant subject. Take this morning, for example. For some reason, the boy was less than enthused at the notion of posing in our front yard at 8am. Or, maybe he was non-plussed about having to pose for a photo taken by a woman standing on a chair in the front yard. Apparently "blog challenge" and "high angle shot" mean nothing to a 13 year old boy on his way to school.

Either way, I got my shot...and, as a bonus, another excuse to buy stickers. I'm thinking little red maple leaves or tiny bike helmets or...

June 6, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 6

Today’s challenge is “books”. Easy enough, considering how much I love to read, right?

Camera in hand, I ventured over to the used bookstore across the street from my office to photograph the teetering stacks of books that occupy every aisle and surface of the store. After less than 2 minutes, however, all of that chaos (and the crazy shopkeeper) was starting to make me twitchy.

I needed to get out of there – fast – so I snapped a couple of quick shots before stopping in front of an especially tall stack of old, dusty hardcovers.

I don’t know what made me peek inside this book in particular, but I’m glad I did. I took my camera out for one last frame, and it turned out to be a keeper.

Who knew that I would find one of my favourite quotes about books inside a book?

June 5, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 5

Last night, Lisagh reminded me that the photo challenge for day 5 would be "Today's Breakfast". Good thing, too, because it gave me time to prepare a picture-perfect muesli before going to bed.

It's a good thing that today's challenge didn't happen on a weekday, or I would be posting a picture of my mid-morning breakfast of melon and microwaved oatmeal, served up at my desk. That's my *usual*; Monday to Friday (and sometimes Saturday), 52 weeks out of the year. What can I say? I'm a creature of habit.

Weekends, though, are a different story. Or, rather, Sundays are a different story. Depending on my mood, there's an excellent chance that eggs might make their way onto my plate, in the form of an omelette or a poched-egg-on-something.

Lately, though, muesli is my Sunday breakfast obsession. With less than 5 minutes of prep on Saturday night, this combination of oats, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, spices and almond milk literally makes itself while I sleep.

In the morning, all I have to do is add some chopped apple (and a pretty garnish), tumble some berries into a bowl and brew a pot of coffee. Then, I curl up on the couch, turn on the TV and see how long I can make it last (the moment and the muesli) before the chaos of the day takes over.

June 4, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 4

This morning was cool and cloudy. In fact, it was cloudy for most of the day...right up until the moment that I went outside to take a picture of some clouds for today's photo challenge.

Camera in hand, I went outside, looked up and saw this:

Now, far be it for me to complain about blue skies, but c'mon people! Throw me a cumulous or something.

June 3, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 3

Hands. The first thing that I thought of when I read today's challenge was, "Uh, no. No way am I taking a picture of my hands."

My hands do many wonderful things, but being pretty seems to have alluded them. Don't get me wrong; they're not gross or freakishly large (cough*SarahJessicaParker*cough), but let's just say that nobody will be signing me up to be a hand-model anytime soon.

So, to save the world from seeing my dry cuticles and the scar on my knuckle, I set out on my lunch-hour to find some hands that I could stealthily photograph. Surely, the Exchange would be full of couples holding hands, children dancing gayly around a May Pole and old ladies knitting scarves for the poor...right? Wrong.

Here's what I had to choose from: a homeless guy cleaning his nails with a pocket knife (fingers AND toes), and about 564 office-workers shoveling poutine out of little cardboard boxes outside the latest fast-food sensation in the Square. Thank Jeebus for the two buskers that came along to entertain the crowds on what seemed like the first truly warm day of the year.

Of course, being all stealthy comes at a cost; the photo is rather lackluster. But, in my own defense, so was their performance. No...I kid. Truth was, I had to get back to work and the small of gravy wafting from the Poutinerie was starting to make me weak.

June 2, 2011

June Photo Challenge - Day 2

It makes sense that since day one’s photo was of my face, that day two’s snapshot should be of my feet. Or, rather, of my shoes.

Today’s challenge, in case you haven’t guessed, is “my favourite shoes”. The ones pictured below just happened to be the ones that I am wearing today, but are these my favourites?

You betcha they are.

Granted, they are not the sexiest shoes in my collection, but when I came across them at Winners, I literally said, “Shut up.” Bass Mary-Jane oxfords? With wing tips? And a herringbone lining?

Shut up, indeed.

Thankfully, they fit like a glove. Otherwise, I would have removed a toe. Two toes, even. Or I might’ve just plunked down my 60 bucks and used them as bookends or something.

Interesting to note: when I was taking the picture of my shoes, I noticed that the right one was full of grass. I was puzzled for a minute, but then I remembered that I was wearing them when I cut the lawn the other day. Am I nuts?

You betcha I am.

But, at least I have cute (albeit rather sensible) shoes.

June Photo Challenge - Day 1

What did I say yesterday about my self-portrait? I think it was something along the lines of “it’s going to be a janky, grainy, low-light, arm’s-length snapshot from my half-charged Blackberry”.

Well, do I know myself, or what? This is possibly the jankiest self-portrait in the history of janky self-portraits. It was almost completely unviewable in its virgin state, so, ironically, in the interest of clarity I have upped the graininess and contrast. Now, It's not just janky, it's artistically janky.

But, that said, I don’t look all that horrible and I was in a very relaxed, post-dinner/pre-dishes, sitcom-watching stupor. One could almost say that this is me in my happy place. And, really, besides Tyra Banks, whose happy place includes flattering lighting?

Note: the camera is now charged and I promise to do better. I have 30 29 days to get this right!

June 1, 2011

Challenge this!

I don't quite know what happened to my Girl Geeks, but there hasn't been a challenge in the blog challenge for quite some time. That, I'm sure, is the reason for my poor blog being rather...um, challenged...as of late.

So, at the insistence of a very insistent friend, I am taking on the June Photo Challenge. If nothing else, it will force me to get the camera back up and snapping and, more importantly, give this poor beast another kick in the pants.

I think I’m going to have to get creative with today’s challenge – the self-portrait. I’m at about 5% power on my Blackberry and 0% on all of my many (ha!) cameras. My plan is to charge little Elphy as soon as I get home, but you all know how good I am at getting stuff done (ahem, 365 project)! If all goes to plan, I should have a lovely arm’s-length or bathroom-mirror shot to post in the morning.

If not, I will be available over the lunch-hour for a good, stern talking to.