Simple kindness

Mornings, for the last little while, have been the lowest part of my day.  Many nights either start with me going to bed too late, get interrupted in the middle by a small person needing to pee in the dark, or begin far too early, because that is when little tummies grumble.  To top it off, no matter what I seem to do, my days have been starting with a headache for the last few weeks.  I am groggy to start off, and may even be a little bit grumbly.

Yesterday was one of those days that should have snapped me out of it quickly.  A crisp but sunny morning with a heavy frost, something I had been waiting for. I love the way that frost alters objects, and wanted to take some pictures with my macro. The lils were in the final stages of school prep when I managed to sneak out for a few shots.  My quick review was somewhat disappointing, so I decided to take my camera on the walk to school with the lils and hope for better shots.

Stopping on the way to school was out of the question.  I have one slow walker who likes to stop and collect treasures and one fast walker who is typically a block or so ahead.  If I were to start stopping to take pictures, chaos would ensue.  Instead I mentally marked things that I could photograph on the way home and herded the lils to school.

The trip home was somewhat disappointing.  I was underdressed and cold, so I rushed and missed half of the things that I had marked for shooting or the shots I took didn’t work out how I had envisioned them when I was walking from the other direction.  My macro lens, which has been acting up for a while, has gotten worse since I used it last and fails to focus at times, which is frustrating. I was about to give up and figure out something else for my wordless Wednesday post when I happened on a little garden that had some neat plant/frost combos.  I knelt down, just off the main street and started clicking away.  As I was immersed in my own little world, I had a vague sensation of a car driving by really slowly, backing up, and moving forward slowly.

I was trying to figure out what the car was doing as I got up and headed the last bit home.  When I pulled even with the car, the driver leaned over and said “Are you feeling well? Are you OK?” I explained what I had been doing and we both laughed and carried on.  I felt differently though.  All it took was that simple act of kindness, her taking the time from her trip to notice and stop to ask for my outlook on my day to change. I had energy that was lacking before, I lost the grumbles that I woke up with, and was reminded that the little kindnesses really do matter.  That’s the kind of reset I love.





Wordless Wednesday – frosty morn

Little root


Jagged edges





Day lily



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Is outrage all you’ve got?

Since I have been back in Canada, I find that I am way more in touch with friends and acquaintances who live here, and with current events that affect North America. This is likely because I am living in the correct time zone, and I have ample access to coverage of events as they happen.  As such, I get to see how people react to these events in real time, and I have to say that I have noticed a trend that bothers me a great deal. I see people reacting to events, to simple news stories, or to decisions that should not even be news with extreme outrage, disproportionate to the event in question.

There are several events from the week that passed that highlight this for me.  There was a story in our local newspaper about a single mom who went to the food bank, despite the fact that many felt that she was living beyond her means, and not in fact poor; the decision by the City of New York to at first hold, and then cancel/postpone the NYC Marathon; the announcement that Shopper’s Drug Mart made with regards to their decision to suspend the playing of Christmas music in their stores for a few more weeks; and a story that a friend of mine told me, where she had a close call when driving, acknowledged that she came close to hitting the other car and apologized.  In each of these cases, many of the reactions that I witnessed were instant outrage.

The responders voiced, typed, or gestured their opinion with little thought to the impact on those reading or experiencing it.  In the case of my friend, the other driver followed her down the road and continued to yell and gesture at her in extreme anger.  THEY endangered far more people than her close call had, and the bottom line is that no one was hurt, and there was no damage to any property. In all of the other examples, the anger and aggression was directed at all parties – those who made the decisions, those who supported, and those who were against it.  In many cases, those who were most vocal were seemingly the farthest removed from the issue.

In some ways, it is the type of behaviour that I would attribute to the regular trolls that are seen in the most online forums, who seem to need to share their negative views on absolutely everything that they see and read; they aren’t.  These are also people that I know, in person and online, whose reactions seem out of character with the people who are sharing them.  I wonder why, all of a sudden, I see this.  Have they always been like this? Am I just now more sensitive?

I find it odd to say this, as one who has been (rightly) accused of overreacting to things on more than one occasion, but I just don’t understand where all this vitriol and anger is coming from, and how it is really productive in the grand scheme of things.  I’d much rather see a reasoned argument as why something is “wrong” in a person’s eyes, or a civil discussion about the merits of different points of view than read a hate laced rant about the absurdity of the decisions made.



The 100

It’s no secret that I love to take pictures.  I have been taking them since I was a wee girl, and hope to still be taking them, like my grandfather is, when I am well into my nineties.  As such, I tend to have a number of friends who are photographers (birds of a feather and all that), and I read a number of photo-related blogs and publications.  Some of them are serious and some of them fluff so they give me a good cross section of what is happening in the photographic world.

I was pretty excited when, in June, I saw a post on PhotoJoJo that was talking about a neat project being run out of the UK.  The premise was that 100 people around the world would be sent disposable cameras, and they would have a week to take pictures of whatever they wanted before sending them back for processing and publication.  The angle that intrigued me the most was that the photographers would be selected on one main criterion – their age.  The organizer of this project wanted to see the world through the eyes of all ages, so 100 cameras were sent to people aged 1 – 100; one camera per year.  I loved the idea and immediately applied for myself and Woo (Willy and Goose’s ages were already assigned to photographers).

Life went on, and I forgot about the applications after a few days.  I’d seen a few messages that the project was inundated with applicants after the PhotoJoJo plug, so I figured that there was little chance that either of us would be selected.  I was shocked to receive an email in mid-July letting me know that Woo had been selected!  Apparently having an interesting story, like being a Canadian boy living in India for a year, helped to tip the balance in his favour.  I guess it wasn’t quite as interesting to be a 38 year-old Canadian living in India for a year!!

Woo was just as excited when I told him about it, and wanted to start right then and there! That proved to be difficult, since we didn’t even have a camera yet.  I had some back and forth with the curator, and decided that the best course of action was to have me pick up the camera in Bangalore.  We didn’t want to risk it never getting to us, or have it damaged by some of the extreme temperatures that it likely would have faced on it’s journey through the Indian Postal System.  Of course I failed to have a contingency for when I would be unable to find said camera in Bangalore, and sent one last ditch plea on a local message board as to where to find one. A good friend, who happened to be in the States at that time, saw it and offered to ‘import’ two for me.  We were good to go!

Woo shot his pictures in Mysore and Bangalore.  He LOVED the idea of taking these pics, so much that we had to restrain him from shooting off the entire roll in one outing!  He did have a hard time working the view finder, and accepting that he could not just see the picture after he took it.  My explanation about how that was “old school” didn’t really cut it with him, but he pushed through.  He saved his last three pictures for the last day of his week, so that he could take the camera to ‘show and tell’, where he proudly told his classmates all about the project.

With the camera completed, we faced the challenge of getting the camera safely back to the UK.  Thankfully a friend was travelling there from India, so she popped it in the mail once she got there.  The photos were posted online this past week, and Woo and I sat together to review them and have him narrate some comments to accompany each picture.  He loved reviewing each one, and has been through them several times, reliving the experience.

We have loved being part of this project, both as a contributor and an observer to the process. There are some great images being posted most days on the website, with many more to come in the next few weeks.  For a variety of reasons, there are still three slots available – ages 77, 94, and 96.  If you know anyone who fits the bill (turns that age on their 2012 birthday), you should encourage then to apply! There is a REALLY good chance that they will be selected, as the project wraps up at the end of the year. Woo’s pictures, if you are interested in having a look, can be found here: http://the100.thinkplaymake.co/the100/5/. Can you guess what his favourite is?!?!



Wordless Wednesday – All Hallows Eve





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