MMM: Mostly Montreal Monday

Shots and thoughts from my soon-to-be home of Montreal.

Let me just get this out of my system:

 GraffitiGraffiti Graffitigraffitigraffitigraffitigraffitigraffitigraffitigraffiti

Montreal street art is my new Madison bird-watching and I don’t even live there yet.  I cannot focus on anything else when ambling through Montreal’s city streets and alleyways.  It’s just so cool.  Fearful of becoming a one-trick pony, I did something this week that I haven’t done in years – I went outside at night.  I wanted to practice shooting in the dark as well as seek new inspiration.  One of those things happened:

graffiti graffiti graffiti graffiti graffiti

I did manage to point my camera in a different direction before calling it a night.


Get nice.

Here are a few more street scenes that do not involve aerosol paint.  Everything was shot with my Canon 7D and in the Plateau of Montreal, the neighborhood which hosts our new apartment, preschool and at least the next two years of our lives.


Farrah on the rooftop terrace of our new apartment.


The Most Photogenic Bathtub In The World.


Not Today


Alley Cat




Mdme Fancy


Open Container

I hope you enjoyed my latest from Montreal, thank you for letting me share.  If you are a new follower to BPS, welcome and thank you.  I feel my cloak of invisibility fading.  Until next time …


Your Montreal Explorers (Photo by Arlo)

Listen to Your Mother: “The Kid Factor”

I have been waiting impatiently to share Cate Guggino’s reading of “The Kid Factor”.  When I first heard it during rehearsal my whole body nodded in agreement and when she finished I pounded the table and yelled “THAT RIGHT THERE IS A GODDAMNED MANIFESTO!” forgetting I was not alone and she was in fact not speaking directly to me.

If you fall anywhere on the infertility spectrum, you owe it to yourself to listen to Cate’s painfully gleaned insight.  That her voice and tempo are as clear as her path is no coincidence; this is what confidence sounds like.

Thank you so much Cate!  Enjoy “The Kid Factor”.

Check out more videos of amazing stories at the Listen To Your Mother channel!

Becoming Montreal: The Scene of Our Last Wedding


From Madison to Montreal, how did this happen?

In 2005 Kris and I left San Francisco for the more concrete pastures of New York.  We got engaged in Central Park during the Blizzard of ’06 and decided to get married right away.

We had no roots in New York (as a couple, anyway) so it didn’t feel meaningful to wed there – plus, you know – CHA CHING.  All our friends were in San Francisco but it felt awkward and somber even to return to the old to start something new.  Kris’s family lives in New Jersey so we needed to strongly consider someplace east.  Someplace east …

I don’t know which of us thought of Montreal but it was an inspired idea.  It was close enough for our family to travel, interesting enough to lure our west coast friends, it had meaning to us as a couple from our previous visit, and practically speaking, the exchange rate was in our favor.  We took a quick scouting trip and the rest was history.

We were married at Hotel St. Paul in Old Montreal on August 27, 2006.  All photos are by Monique Dykstra of Studio Iris.  Monique did a wonderful job for us especially given the unexpected construction outside the hotel and the torrential downpour throughout the day’s event.

Wedding WeddingWedding

Because of the rain she shepherded us off to an indoor mall for pre-wedding photos.  All the stores were closed (we were married on a Sunday) so the location was entirely ours.


Everything was held on an upstairs floor at the hotel; the ceremony in a conference room, wine and apps in a large foyer and then dinner and dancing in the reception area.


Wedding Wedding


Much merriment was then applied!

Wedding Wedding WeddingWedding Wedding Wedding Wedding Wedding

We didn’t forget our San Francisco and New York roots however, offering a small homage in the form of cake toppers – on a “cheese” cake because Kris prefers cheese to dessert and dessert was already part of our St. Paul menu.  Marriage!


What amazing friends and family we have who would travel so far to celebrate our union.  Meg had to get a passport!  Matt and Karla came all the way from San Francisco with 2 yr-old Luca and 5 month-old Isa which was appreciated then, but now that I’m a parent the gesture simply blows me away.  My in-laws made the ten-hour drive!  People came and it was awesome.

Montreal was the jewel in our wedding bands and forever solidified our love for that city.  I just assumed it would remain a long distance affair.  Six years later another wedding would call us back and we’d answer with our 18-month-old in tow, on Canada Day no less.

More on Becoming Montreal soon …

My Husband Went to Work And All I Got Was This Lousy Polar Vortex

Lisa Bagchi:

I wore a long-sleeved shirt to bed last night and I liked it.

We’re having a polar vortex this week – truly! – “…this is a textbook case of polar vortex influence on mid-latitude weather…” (Washington Post).

Takes me back to February when “polar vortex” REALLY meant something. Like pain and tedium and insanity.

Here’s to a gorgeous and totally livable 60 degrees!!

Originally posted on Black Panty Salvation:

Boy, that was a long “break”.  I missed school.  Did you miss school?  Polar Vortex, you don’t need to come around and remind me how awesome Arlo’s teachers are or how Madison’s Preschool of the Arts is a gift (for ALL of us) so SHUT IT.  Go away and never return.


Here are some snapshots from this record-breaking break.  I shot frequently and with great abandon lest I became too mired down in the difficult moments of the mundane.  I hope you enjoy.

We went old school.

Polar VortexPolar Vortex

We went new school.

Polar Vortex

But cubbies and slides were the places to be

Polar VortexPolar VortexPolar VortexPolar VortexPolar Vortex

Polar Vortex

Polar Vortex

as was time spent with friends.

Polar VortexPolar VortexPolar VortexPolar Vortex

A gross misrepresentation of that time spent:

Polar Vortex

This is more accurate:

Polar Vortex


Polar Vortex

Seriously. We were home for a long time.

Polar Vortex

Polar Vortex

The Subaru did what we were all thinking and saved us from ourselves,

Polar Vortex

so instead I could build this just before returning…

View original 61 more words

MMM: Twice Bitten

Mostly Madison Mondays – a howdoyoudo from and around my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin

This week Farrah Star and I took to the UW Arboretum and Edna Taylor Conservation Park.  The Arboretum is a classic; Edna Taylor new ground.

“Widely recognized as the site of historic research in ecological restoration, the Arboretum includes the oldest and most varied collection of restored ecological communities in the world, including tallgrass prairies, savannas, several forest types and wetlands. It also houses flowering trees, shrubs and a world-famous lilac collection.” – UWArboretum

There’s nothing not to like about this place other than the din of Highway 12 on its border.  It’s wonderful to tromp around the meadows and prairies and definitely not think about all the snakes that must be inches from your ankles.  I always bring my 300mm zoom to catch birds on these trips but I shot more macros than anything.  I can’t seem to leave home without my zoom though.  Bird!  Bird!  Bird!  Soon enough I’ll be in Montreal and I suspect the need for a zoom will be infrequent – unless I have risque and awesome neighbors.

Arboretum Aboretum Arboretum Arboretum Arboretum Arboretum Arboretum

“Edna Taylor Conservation Park consists of 58.25 acres of wetlands, ponds, forest and prairie. The park includes over 1.3 miles of trails, Native American linear and effigy mounds, and a boardwalk through part of the marshland.” – Facebook

This park butts up right against Aldo Leopold so there’s a lot of ground to explore and a diverse ensemble to observe.

Click on this picture and you’ll see that this dragonfly swallowed a fly.  I don’t know why.

EdnaEdna Edna Edna EdnaEdnaEdnaEdna Edna

Both of these places are so inviting and I felt I could linger on the dock at one of Edna’s marshes all day, but nature has her way of scooting you along and in these parts it comes in the way of mosquitos.  We went through half a bottle of that “natural” spray – you know the kind with lemongrass and rosemary oil?  Who exactly is their target customer, because it isn’t anyone in Wisconsin.

Edna Edna Edna Edna

Blood loss aside, it was quite pleasant to tour these two places and I urge you to cover up and get out there as well.

Until next time Dear Readers, in joyful spirit,

Edna Edna Edna Edna

One-Half of Your Madison Explorers

The Best and Biggest Things I Saw All Week

Best Thing

My neighbors have three hanging flower baskets on their porch and each basket has a tiny nest inside. *squeal*

Best Thing

We may not live on it but we know how to get there.

Best Thing

Deep thoughts at the post office.

Best Thing

Arlo and I got pedis last weekend while the woman sitting next to us kept mumbling “oil can”.

Finally, I meant to include these photos from our Northwoods trip earlier but other best things got the best of me.  There are a lot of Big Things in the Northwoods and Arlo was game to run out of the car, dodge the mosquitos and pose for a snap.  Yay tourism and yay Arlo!!!

Have a great weekend Dear Readers!


This week’s Where’s My Backpack?’s “Twist” theme as seen through my archives:

Twisted Bush II

From “Twisted Bush”


From “My Coffee Table Has Legs”



From “Beaded Curtain and Permanent Tracks”


Luxemburg, 2006

Repose 4

Munroe, 2006

Habitat 114

Habitat for Humanity Build, New Orleans, 2006

Koons Exhibit, NYC

Koons Exhibit, NYC, 2008

And finally, after four failed IVF cycles, getting and staying pregnant on our own.  TWIST!






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