maytwelveontwelve

This month, the #photographinghappiness challenge is “faceless portraits”.

This was not a stretch for me. I love looking at portraits that are not traditional, expected or easy to read. I find them to be interesting and often able to tell a story much more effectively than a straight on, full face portrait. Take a peek through my photo albums ( yes, I still print almost everything ) and it is often not what you would expect. Backs of heads, tops of heads, blurred bodies, lots of feet ( what can I say? I can’t really explain that easily )…but hopefully always a story.

I was  not able to shoot twelve faceless portraits this month. I don’t even think that was the expectation. However,  I went back over the last few months and was able to find a definite pattern of images, one that has been present for a long time in my shooting. I think part of it developed early on, when we were forced ( happily ) as photography and art history students to not miss the details. Part of my appreciation of these images also emerged during my first 365 Project. You can only look at your face so many times before you need to look elsewhere for inspiration ( probably the same reason why there are so many Snapchat stickers and Instagram *from where I stand* collections. Or so I hope. ).

I have to say that, ironically,  when I do need a headshot for one of my kids for school, that I am often left scrambling, fully realizing that despite having hundreds of photos that hopefully share so much…that sometimes you actually need a head and a smile and a reliable gaze.

I wanted to delve deeper into the theories behind being faceless and presenting faceless to the world, as I imagine there are many…but that will have to wait for another time. For now? A collection of a few recent favourite faceless images from the last year.

 

 

apriltwelveontwelve

So soon!

The #photographinghappiness group certainly keeps me on my toes.

This month’s theme was to tell a story. I loved this theme. I pretty much shoot to tell a story every time I pick up my camera. Sometimes you get the tale in one shot, sometimes in twelve and sometimes not at all. I could have told this story in six photos ( and they would have been a different six than the ones that appear here ) but the challenge is twelve images and so be it, I am sharing a dozen. I could have shared all of them ( and probably did on Facebook already;)).

I did not shoot consciously with this theme in mind, and in some ways I wish I had. I would have taken more photos of the sugar pie and the maple beer. That is a pretty fair criticism of everything I photograph. Never enough pie and beer.

Ever.

Not even at three pieces of pie.

And so here is the story of Auntie Heidi’s birthday party. And how the Bloomfield family has never met a maple tree or a competition they did not rise to.

Okay, the maple part is absolutely the Auclair part of the family ( maple ) tree shining through:).

 

twelveontwelvemarch

What a whirlwind of a month that was. And now it is gone.

And here I am, April Fool’s Day, posting the photos I took ( kind of ) for #photographinghappiness on March 12th. Because I have issues with being late, I ended up once again ignoring the theme due to the fact that the internet I had that day would not cooperate with loading my *insert finger parentheses here* real photos and I went ahead and participated with my mobile images.

Which are really no less *insert finger parentheses here* real than any photos taken on my other camera. But I digress.

Apparently I do not have that many issues with being late, since its has taken me two weeks to get around to updating this space. But here I am.

I actually only remembered because I am cruising Montreal Fashion Blogs for who knows what reason. I actually have reasons but they are dumb so I will leave that there.

PHOTOS!

Once again, lucky girl that I am, I was away on sunnier shores for the twelfth of the month again. Let’s be honest, if I could be away for EVERY twelfth of every month, I would be. So, sunshine and bad internet ruled the day and here was my little piece of happiness in twelve.

Maybe I will just start writing about Sanibel. My fave photos are all from there. Getty is loving everything I submit from there. I am happy there. And I intend to be there more and more and more. Hmmmm.

If you are so inclined, please feel free to search out Sesame Ellis’ #photographinghappiness project on IG and Facebook. Just use the hashtag. You know what to do.

sanibel-sanibel-beach-love-heart-shells-captiva-windyaf_33359660946_ohe-survived-a-crazy-night-at-the-crab-races-at-tweenwatersinn-on-captiva-island-we-escaped-with-our-pride-intact--barely--and-a-few-tshirts-and-good-money-raised-for-veterans-and-the-unibeach-walk-sanibel_33400063765_oa-lex-named-his-t-rex-pterodactyl-barry-that-is-all-apparentlyallroadsendatdisney_33244634322_osea-cows-manatees-eating-lettuce-my-day-is-complete-epcot-disney_32586029683_owe-are-nothing-if-not-predictable-arcade-cabanabayresort-happiestkid-exceptfortheothertwoatdisney_33359694196_orandom-florida-gas-station-not-the-really-scary-one-that-one-was-avoided-this-time-roadtrip-wherestherodeo-florida-notarcadia_33400073665_oplaying-with-the-shells-sanibel_33272378941_ofrom-a-few-days-ago-watching-miss-h-work-hours-on-something-that-was-inevitably-going-to-be-washed-away-she-is-dedicated-like-that_33360854956_otraditions-sanibel-traditions-islandinn-familydinners-thinlittlewafer_33272387861_omissing-these-two-already-sanibel-theyarebackinthecold_32587183673_oend-of-the-day-yesterday-ready-for-today-to-begin-thanks-to-yoloboardadventures-for-the-sup-and-kayak-fun-the-ocean-is-definitely-a-different-creature-than-the-lake-in-ste-agathe-sanibel

 

 

twelveontwelvefebruary

Well look at me. Here I am again. I have to be honest. All twelve images this month could have been birds and beach. Since we last met, there has been nothing but winter, concussed kiddo, winter, sick kiddo, winter, beach ( thank frickin goodness ) and yes, more winter happening here. Ironically, there will be no photos of winter in my twelve this month. Perhaps tomorrow I will break down and try and find some wintry beauty to capture as we are receiving quite a bit of it this evening. But I still won’t like it. You can not find heart shaped anything in a snowbank no matter how hard you try.

033a6560-2_32828767966_o033a6641_32716407852_o033a8789_32746628641_o033a8814_32746621421_o033a8838-2_32489044450_o033a8987_32746257681_o033a9046_32716715812_o033a9000_32027325444_o033a9004-2_32027338134_o033a9076-2_32869860455_o033a9208_32828765736_o32716459202_9ec85aae37_o-2_32746749871_o

Just a monthly reminder that you too can join the #photographinghappiness group on Instagram and Facebook. Follow that hashtag;).

Perspective was the theme for February but I suck at self reflection and have a generally skewed sense of perspective, so I hope that covers me for the theme.

 

1.twelveontwelve

A long time ago, I used to post photos daily,  in a wonderful universe, surrounded by friends doing the same. It was a community that I adored.

But of course things change and sometimes beautiful things have their time and are outgrown.

And then, sometimes, you think that maybe, just maybe, it is time again to take a few moments and embrace them as your own.

A photographer I found all those years ago and have always followed quietly, recently shared an idea and it appealed to me in it’s simplicity and ease. Take time for the little moments. Regularly. And share.

And so I am.

Alex. Eight. Beach.

Alex. Eight. Beach.

Alex. Eight. Universal.

Alex. Eight. Universal.

Alex. Eight. Christmas Ball. Tradition.

Alex. Eight. Christmas Ball. Tradition.

Alex. Eight. Spellcasting.

Alex. Eight. Spellcasting.

Alex. Eight. Listening.

Alex. Eight. Listening.

Alex. Eight. Cousins.

Alex. Eight. Cousins.

Alex. Elliot. Eight. Nine. Waiting. Wands.

Alex. Elliot. Eight. Nine. Waiting. Wands.

Overhead.

Overhead.

Discovery.

Discovery.

Eat.

Eat.

Walk.

Walk.

Stand.

Stand.

Originally I had these ordered all differently, but it has been a long time since I posted and I mixed them all up…and then liked them better. So they stand, like my little bird friend.

 

You can find the creator of the 12on12 project here:

Sesame Ellis & Co. Photographing Happiness

#photographinghappiness on Instagram

There is a Facebook group as well. Let me know and I can get you there.

 

 

Bathroom Reno Update (Iphone Version)

Look, all Instagram pretty!

Look, all Instagram pretty!

A few months ago I posted about a renovation we were going to undertake…and how I feared it.

Well, the time is here. The leak that propelled us into the sphere of renovations would not stop, despite all our best attempts. The fact that the shower would only pour water into the downstairs hallway when I showered will forever be a sore spot for me.

We are in the middle of the job right this very minute, camped out in the boy’s bathroom, while our bathroom is being rejuvenated…renovated…reconfigured even. The dust and mess is not bad, our contractor and his team are great and thank goodness for the guiding design hands of the gang at Lux Decor because without them? This would be one fugly bathroom redo.

Things I have learned is that you never know what you are going to find when you open the walls up. In this case, at least we were assured that the renovation was justified as we discovered a ton of water damage, soggy wood and soaked concrete. Our shower was finished and heading to the point of mold and disaster.

moldymoldymoldy

moldymoldymoldy

Also? When the walls are opened up, you do not want to close them. Let the sun shine in on our new shower space…and new glass and new doors. Yikes. Sunshine is expensive.

IMG_6676

We are totally going to just put it back the way we found it…

Oh wait...didn't there used to be a wall there?

Oh wait…didn’t there used to be a wall there?

We are still committed to the plan to update the existing cabinetry and keep our bath, toilet and vanity…but I have to be honest…the urge to change everything is strong.

Oh, well that is a half truth. Because if I had to actually make a design decision? It would never happen. Shopping for all the fun stuff? Is not fun for me. I suck at it. I went for a shower head and ended up like a dear in headlights. THE CHOICE. How do people decide? I had to leave the store. I could not handle it. I think shopping for a vehicle is easier than shopping for a new shower system. Who knew there was so…much…choice??? The best decision I made was letting someone else make the decisions using my somewhat paltry input (herringbone floors! Apparently that is all that I was able to share in my 200 Houzz master bathroom idea book) and elevating it with their innate design genius.

This one?

This one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

Or this one? ( Spoiler…it ended up being none of these )

Today some of the walls are being closed up, the shower floor has been poured, shower niche has been niched and a drain style chosen ( who knew drains had style???). We are getting closer! We have been lucky…our experience so far has been way more Bryan Baumler than Mike Holmes but it certainly is no Fixer Upper! This is a dirty job, with surprises around every corner…or rather under a ton of plywood and hiding in drain pipes. Ick. Ick. Ick.

Sometimes you have to deal with the ugly before you get the pretty, just like in real life I guess;)

IMG_6700

I will be prettier in a week, I swear…

 

The irony of this whole thing is that I was going to document every bit of this reno in high res, wide angle, hell maybe even HDR  interior photographer style. Well, that is not happening. When you are in it? You use your phone, you shoot at night and you do not see the creative beauty in the dust. Only dust.

 

 

This Way to the Magic View

033A2854

I feel really badly that I did not share a post about last year’s Ouareau’s Women’s Weekend before I left for this year’s Women’s Weekend.

It was just selfish of me. Maybe I just did not want to share my pumpkin spice cake, homemade and dripping with fresh icing. Or perhaps I feared having to share my nostalgically rustic yet oh so new cabin with anyone other than my sister.

033A2884

Or maybe it was the fact that I wanted to up my chances in winning next year’s weekend at the BINGO party. It didn’t happen, I remain a three time loser.

033A2917

Okay…I just did not want to share Laukie ( therapy dog and puller of wagons extraordinaire ) with anyone.

033A3014-2

I apologize. I am sorry you missed out on it all.

But, there is a bright side. There is another weekend coming up this weekend. If you move fast, there could be a spot for you in Haida or The Barn or UBG or even Cliffside!

Cliffside. Really.

Cliffside. Really.

And next year? Ouareau is celebrating 10 years of it’s Women’s Weekend! We have already been promised oodles of fun.

033A2961

I am wondering what more they can add? This year there was massage (thankyouthankyouthankyou Amber!), facials, archery, hiking, kayaking, swimming ( it was NOT too cold ), rug hooking, raw food demonstrations ( and eating ), fondant flowers on cupcakes ( and more eating ), time shared with Barbie and Laukie, her beautiful therapy dog discussing their experiences, Tanya from Village Cafe sharing her experience as a woman entrepreneur with life/ family balance, photography, ceramics and yoga, just to help you unwind from all the excitement.

And the dock. Really, what more do you need?

033A2942

Oh, and there was lots and lots and lots of eating. Meat eaters, vegetarians, lactose free, caffeine lovers, caffeine free types, mushroom connoisseurs…there was food galore for everyone.

I realize that in writing about camp this year, I have not even mentioned the fact that I owe my coming to this weekend to the fact that my daughter is the original Ouareau camper in the family. I have said for years that I feel that the freedom to be herself at camp, surrounded by unique minded, outspoken, capable women has played a huge part in developing my daughter’s beautiful independence.

I can only hope that something similar is rubbing off on me. Next year I am jumping in the lake.

033A2957

( For the record, I am totally not sponsored by Ouareau for any of this. Although I would pretty much kill for a Ouareau tuque if any higher ups are listening…)

My public school exit letter

Dear Public School System,

We are parting ways this summer. I entrusted my youngest to you and you have let him down. I happily listened to the promises of extended second language teaching, manageable class sizes and quality teachers. We were smug in the fact that we were lucky enough to live in the right zone for this school and were not in need of a coveted transfer from out of zone. We even had at our door busing ( the irony of this will be seen further on )!

How great – private school perks at a public school price I thought to myself.

Well, how foolish was I.

It is funny. The two times in my life as a parent that I remember feeling the most ill prepared, frazzled and out of my depth surround the education of my boys. While the situations are somewhat similar ( they are brothers after all ), the first led to a quick change of path within a receptive school system.

This time we were not so lucky.

I still wonder why, when in October, when I asked for insight into why my son was not thriving, we were not listened to.

And then again in December. December, when we started with our own investigation into why this little boy was…just being missed.

And then why in February, as the result of my phone call, finally it was agreed that he was not where he should be. But he is lovely, not a problem at all in class. By then we were well into the private process of assessment. Finally he was receiving some extra support at school…but to the detriment of his self esteem. See? He knew he was being pulled out because he was not as smart as his friends.

I know, I know…that is not the case, he is very very smart…but when you are 6 and being reminded daily that you are not getting the answers right, and that it hurts to write and that you didn’t understand what the question said…well, it is much easier to just slouch down in your chair, rub your eyes and tell your teacher that you are tired. That you can’t do it. That you won’t do it. And then he is just a little less lovely to his teacher, still nice but…

And then the long waited for IEP meeting. Is he getting enough sleep at home? Are you reading to him every night? And we know he changed teachers in the last 6 weeks of school but kids adapt. And he is an August 30th baby and a BOY. So…you know. It is just a case of maturity. He needs to step up. He will adapt. We don’t have many kids with his intelligence in resource. We will let next year’s teacher assess him without giving her too much information. We will reassess him in October.

October?

October?

No, no you won’t. Why? Because if we wait until next October, we will lose my son in your school. He will never be trouble in the class, he will never stand outside the classroom banging on the door, screaming at the teacher, he will never stab another kid with a pencil. He will just quietly fade away until he thinks he really can’t do what his friends are doing until the point he really can’t. It will be a quiet loss, but a very real one.

So, we as parents are left as the ones screaming at the teacher’s door. But we didn’t. We played by the rules and it took eight months to get a meeting that really led nowhere. Well, it led us out the door of the school.

Which is a shame because my kid has lovely friends in the school, and so did I. I was class mom. We were involved. We cared about the school. It was our community.

And when the school let us down in the worst way, the day the school lost him and sent him home to sit by himself on the stairs of an empty house, alone, sobbing for an hour and a half, we did not completely lose our minds.

Even then we did not leave the school. Although we did ditch that originally coveted bus service. We worked with you, biting back our anger and disappointment,  so this would not happen again to another child in our school community.

But dear school…you lost our son in another way. You helped him lose his interest in learning and now we are left trying to recover that spark he had at the beginning of the year, the one that had him curious and excited every day. This is why we must leave.

We simply can not afford another year in your public school. The price for my child is too high.

Decorating Paralysis

That is what I am suffering from right now.

I am sure Mark will be thrilled that I am finally explaining why we have had a huge hole in our main floor hallway ceiling for months ( okay…if you count the first hole we had fixed after the first leak…then we may be looking at over a year of hallway hole-i-ness ).

The hole has nothing to do with a lack of handiness around the house.

The hole has nothing to do with a lack of qualified professionals available to do the job.

The hole is not something we think adds to the rustic modern aesthetic I would like to aspire to.

No. The hole is evidence of my absolute inability to commit to fixing the problem because it involves decisions and choices and commitment.

While I spend hours photographing and mooning over beautiful rooms, capturing the details and workmanship and essence of what makes a room livable…I am terrified of one room. One master bathroom. Mine. Terrified.

The first part of my resistance started with the fact that this is a perfectly good bathroom. It is well designed with quality materials. It has lovely light. It has a shower that sold us when we saw it for the first time ( yeah, back when I swore never to live on the West Island. It is all this bathroom’s fault I am here). BUT. The shower is leaking. Big time. Although apparently only when I shower.

The water, seeping into the underneath of the tiles, drips down through the ceiling onto the hallway floor below, leaving puddles for unsuspecting family members to slip in. The poor dogs even bore some blame before we realized what was happening.

So, we need to tear apart our perfectly good-on-the-surface shower. Well, we needed to do this 9 months ago. But this is where the paralysis comes in. How do you choose? Floor tiles, wall tiles, shower floor tiles, shower wall tiles, fixtures, grout colour, porcelain, natural stone…so many decisions. Shower surround. Built in niche. Do we need a new countertop? New sinks? New vanity?

What if nothing matches!!!???

I do have a guiding light. The woman who created this bathroom.

18311452139_bd55a8adf9_k lux decor bathroom montreal quebec luxdecor @angelaauclair

Bathroom designed by Lux Decor, Pointe Claire, Quebec

And this bathroom.

033A3524 luxdecor lux decor pointeclaire quebec montreal design @angelaauclair interiors

Bathroom designed by Lux Decor, Pointe Claire, Quebec

And THIS bathroom.

033A4923 luxdecor @angelaauclair interiors bathroom design montreal pointeclaire

Bathroom designed by Lux Decor, Pointe Claire, Quebec

I broke down and begged for guidance ( okay, I asked quietly because I do not want to abuse her talents in the name of friendship ) and she told me to grab a pen and start writing down a plan of design attack. It was genius. Now I just have to do it.

So, here are my befores.

033A5497-2

7322429790_a8ab387793_k

See? A lovely bathroom. That is now warping my downstair floors from a leak we can not fix. Sigh.

We are keeping the tub, and maybe the vanities, and the light fixtures (they are PINK!). The rest is up for discussion. Now to just do it. Let’s see if I have an update before another year passes. At that point it may be “bathroom designed by over the edge husband”.

It may not be such a good look. I better get on it.