surfers sandiego california

Springy Ding a Ding

It is here, it is finally here!

Sunshine and blossoms and green everywhere!

Wait.

Or not.

This is Canada. So maybe Spring is taking it’s sweet time getting here. Again. And maybe it is more rain and muck and brown than the lovely hallmark colours of yellow and purple we so desperately need.

What to do. What to do. On instagram, I have been posting daily photos of sunshine and oceans and that wonderful shade of blue that happens in salty sea air. And so I have decided that I will do that here as well.

At least until we are waking up to warm breezes once again.

san diego surfers

surfers in the water in san diego, california

Sigh. That is better.

the long, slow road to traveling in my forties…

Some people love travel and adventure from minute one. It has taken me a little longer to get here.

As a kid I got to visit PEI, take long, winding road trips through the Eastern Townships, invariably ending up on some American highway, and spent lazy summers in Vermont, in the dusty attic of our friend’s guesthouse. Those memories smell of wrinkled comic books, old woolen blankets and usually have an Elvis song playing in the background.

As far flung as I got in  childhood was a trip to Disneyland…so enjoyed that it cemented the idea of California forever more being the epi-centre of everything cool for me.

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But travel? The kind where you  learn something other than where the beach is travel? I missed out on that. I vacationed. I didn’t travel. I did not even like airplanes.

Until I was over forty.

Over the last few years, I have been developing a lovely relationship with Kimberly Seldon’s Dabble Magazine. Dabble, marries a love of travel, food and design in a digital magazine, ready to be devoured anywhere you may be. And for the first time in my adult life…I began to travel. By myself.

My first trip abroad ( oh, how lovely that sounds ) with Dabble was a foray across France, from south to north, from sunshine to fog.

While part two of this trip is still underwraps, waiting patiently for the sun, much like the flowers in one infamous garden I luxuriated in, on a small iconic bridge ( hint…hint…), I shared the first part of this experience with Dabble’s tres sympa Victoria, exploring Toulouse, from sunrise to sunset.

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Jamaica was next ( although in magazine issue world, it was published first ), shared with Toronto designer, the king of colourful shoes and ever the chicster,  Nicholas Rosaci.

From Negril to Oracabessa, we traveled the coast fueled by Red Stripe, roadside BBQ, fantastic Jamaican company and with a healthy dose of luxury ( Goldeneye, I will never forget you ). We also had a good education in the past and future of Jamaica, thanks to our fantastic guides from Paradise Travel and the Jamaica Tourist Board.

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And then just a few months ago, I joined Jameson Fink, wine guy and a fine guy, in exploring the neighbourhoods and beaches of San Diego, California. This issue came out in February and allowed me to discover a part of California I had only briefly touched upon previously. Which of course only added fire to my already well fuelled love of all things Californian…

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I come back so much richer after every trip, brimming with experiences and photographs. When I edit the images, never knowing which ones will end up published, I always feel sad for the photos left behind. I feel like there are little bits of the story left untold. Little details like how it felt walking through Montmartre, by myself, in the rain, with a baguette and cheese ( no lie, all I ate in Paris ) in my camera bag. How I managed to get lost ( but are you ever really lost in Paris? And even if you were…would that be a bad thing?) but then finally found the view I was hoping for, soaked to the skin but happy. Crazy happy. Like I needed a soundtrack to my moment happy.

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Aside from the regular sharing I do for the links to my published images, I am going to start sharing some of my until now unseen favourite places and moments and experiences. Travel is such a personal thing and I hope that some of my photos encourage…nay…propel you to get to traveling yourself. Because on a cold winter day, there really is no better escape than the memories of somewhere else.

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Even if it was just a cold rainy afternoon in Montmartre.

I said I would never…

which of course means, I did.

But how could I say no?

After all, I took the photos of the first prom they went to ( his ).4607561724_5c8b0e80c7_b-2

And then the following year, the photos of their second ( hers).

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So, when they came to me with the news that they were getting married…how could I say no?

Engagement photographer? Me? Really? I was not sure I could do this. Food? Sure. Interiors? Of course. Kids running away from the camera? Absolutely. But an engagement session? Yikes. Those photographers are imaginative and cute and crafty. And romantic. I am not romantic.

Just peek on Pinterest she said, I have ideas I like posted there. Awesome!

Wait.

Pinterest terrifies me.

Now, I got a bit of a reprieve because the couple in question wanted a winter shoot. With the way that our winter had been going, I figured we would likely have to wait for spring for an appropriate window.

However, a beautiful day dawned in February and the couple bundled up and trundled out to my place. Snowflakes were falling, and the temp was not ( well, not as much as it had been ), so we took to the rink and the lake, skates, blankets and hot chocolate in hand.

And you know what? It was not so terrifying after all;).

Congratulations to my favourite couple in love. I wish you nothing but excitement in the build up to your wedding, knowing that you are surrounded by family and friends and are creating good memories every step of the way.

Now I just have six months to worry about shooting the wedding;).

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Interiors

I love homes. Some of my earliest remembered thoughts about the concept of “home” came from books. As a child, the opening pages of Lousia May Alcott’s “Little Women” planted an idea in my head about how a home should feel.

“It was a comfortable old room, though the carpet was faded and the furniture very plain; for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmosphere of home peace pervaded it”

This simple description lives in my imagination as a room, not very large, lit by natural light, overstuffed with large, soft sofas, books and love. There is a soft haze that permeates the image in my head, with little particles of dust that explode and float all around you when you take a seat. This is not so far from how the homes of my grandparents felt. One filled with voices and people and antiques and paintings and baking. The other filled with the smells of the orchard and maple syrup and the mysteries that only small, crooked upstairs rooms filled with blankets and old pictures of relatives can offer. So I bring all of this to adulthood with me. I am always hoping that the home we are creating now holds the same kind of authenticity of family that the homes I knew so well as a child did.

I am not sure that I will ever know if I have been successful. At least not until my grandchildren come and scramble and explore and find corners to read quietly in, surrounded by bright bits of dust in the sun. I still hope to have an attic room one day, secret and dark and lit by a single window, where I can leave a chest of photos to be discovered by my children. Or my children’s children.

Until then, I take immense pleasure in getting to explore the homes of others. As a photographer, I have had the good luck of finding a friend who has a passion for creating spaces and for whom the meaning of home runs deep and dear. I find it fascinating to see how these houses are transformed into homes for others, everyone so unique and different in details and energy.

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I am not even sure why I am thinking about this today. I have been away and maybe I am just taking a minute to recognize how much happiness there is in being home. It is quiet here today and that does not happen often.

One of my kids has just left home for the first time. I only hope that for all the adventures he will now have, that he misses him home a teeny bit as much as home misses him. I am just adding this little section to my blog to share images that strike me as home. From new projects to photos from my history that I am organizing, this is just a space for those caught details that bring that simple feeling of comfort back to me.

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On Ferguson – The System Isn’t Broken, It Was Built This Way

This is worth a read. I am thinking hard about someone I respect, a black woman, my age with children, who has basically stated that white people who want to support their black friends and family need to do the heavy lifting to bring about the change, to make the difference, that everyone claims to want. This writer, a white woman, sharing a shaping moment in her childhood, captures why so many white people do not see how the system is so messed up…because for us, the system is working. There are some excellent links at the end of this post. It is worth the read. And then keep reading. And then talk. And keep talking. And make the change.

The Belle Jar

I have an uncle who was a cop.

His kids, my cousins, were around my age and when we visited our family in Québec every summer I practically lived at their house. As soon as we got to my grandmother’s house, all rumpled and grumpy from our eight hour drive, I would start dialling my cousins’ number on her beige rotary phone. I spent the whole damn school year waiting for summer, and my time with my cousins, to come; we wrote each other letters all through the dreary winter, hatching plans for new summer exploits. Life with my cousins – swimming in their pool, family barbecues, playing hide-and-seek in my grandmother’s mammoth hedge at twilight – was lightyears better than my boring life in Ontario.

Pretty much every summer my uncle would, at some point, take us to visit the police station. He would pretend that we were criminals and…

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pie

apple pie. a first.

apple pie. a first.

in my entire life, i have never made a pie.
not even one apple pie.
pretty pathetic considering i grew up on an orchard.
last night, while i lazily drank wine, played with a puppy named poppy and chatted, my friend’s mom produced three beautiful pies.
she ( and her lovely daughter ) made it look easy.
so today, i made a pie. after i sent my husband to buy a rolling pin ( from the dollar store, no less ) because of course i did not own one.
and in the spirit of my childhood, i used macs and damn…
it worked.
it is delicious.
we just finished it now, and it was still warm and radiating love ( because, you know…made with love ).
looks like that old dog, new trick thing still rings true.

angry housewives eating bonbons

or feeding chickens. and sheep. and pigs…oh, the pigs.

so, i am in this new book club. well, i may have actually started this new book club with a group of women i adore, who i plucked from totally different spheres of my life. and they meshed, very well.

so for our third book ( the first being too awful to mention and the second being a maya angelou classic, in honour of her passing ) we read angry housewives eating bonbons because it made sense. okay, not all of us are angry housewives, actually very few of us are, and a bunch of us work and some could even claim not to be wives at all…but we are all women who love the sense of community this kind of gathering offers. and this book celebrates that ( even if you can not keep the characters in order and find that it wraps up too nicely and should be a made for tv movie ).

so along with actually having to read a book a month, the meeting requires good food and wine. this month we traveled to the gentlewomanly farm of my friend jen. a small farm, where chickens run free, the lambs are cuddled and the pigs are raised with love, gentle words, sunshine and mudbaths ( although they are no longer named as that makes their inevitable end a little bit too difficult to bear ).

it was educational ( really, how well do you understand where your food comes from?), romantic ( the horses! ) and delicious, because of course the food was wonderful.

but really? i just wanted to share the pictures of the pigs, because who knew that pigs could be this cute?

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thanks jen, it was lovely

                                                                                                                            thanks jen, it was lovely

and with that, the month is finished

and another year participating the *the august break* has come to an end.

this year’s photos were taken entirely on my phone, which reflects well on the kind of month it was. there were “real” photos taken of course, in this month, but…well…many of those still have not seen the light of day yet. summer is busy. and messy. and not meant for precision and perfection. at least at my house. i will miss these little moments one day, won’t i?

august 2014. in 31 days.

august 2014. in 31 days.