Mostly Montreal Monday
Kris likes to take Farrah Star to the Botanical Garden’s butterfly exhibit and Farrah loves to go because she gets her hand stamped. “ME STAMP!” “ME ZIBIT!” (exhibit!) For the rest of the week she gives us hourly updates on status of her ink – the more faded, the more dramatic: “OooooohhhhhhOHHH! ME StaaaaAAAAMPpppp!”.
This is a glorious and peaceful exhibit, especially for kids, as the creatures flit about at eye-level and congregate on low-lying flowers. This is not an exhibit however that I enjoy photographing. There are hundreds of people out there with better skills and better equipment taking better pictures of these butterflies. For me such an exercise lacks personal context and therefore tempers inspiration. I took pictures anyway though – practice, practice, practice – and instead challenged myself not to edit them. Here are my restrained results:
[Canon 7D, 50mm]
Not bad but here is the most interesting photo I took all day:
This butterfly landed on my knee and Farrah Star became distressed, “MOMMA! NO MOMMA. NO.” shaking her head emphatically and pointing her finger. Her grumble is written all over her pouty lips in this picture. No one else took that shot because that shot didn’t mean anything to anyone else.
It’s my stamp.
Cheers to you Montreal and your lovely Botanical Gardens; a true haven for butterflies and all creatures great and small.
Replacing today’s usual “Best Things” post with this week’s street photographs instead. This is what got me started in case you missed it last week:
These are not the best things I saw this week but they aren’t bad, really. Take a look:
Have fun this weekend, and don’t forget your camera!
I was diving down Pinterest’s WTF Facts rabbit hole recently – you know these “facts” right?
and I came across one that said cats need their water bowl separated from their food bowl. Then I read this off my other
news source time-waster, reddit:
This caught my attention because my cats – all the cats I’ve ever owned – don’t drink from their water bowl. This winter Grey and Black have been licking the frozen condensation off our windows and lapping up the sludge that passes through my potted plants. I assumed this was just one of the many affectations felines possess and to be honest (finger pointing), no vet professional has ever counseled me otherwise.
I paid close attention to this WTF fact because one of my cats started peeing in my kids’ beanbag chairs; the chairs that cup their tiny bodies and cushion their tender curiosity.
Now those chairs are giant bowls of piss.
Wayward peeing always makes me think of two things: proper hydration and murder. I sort of love my cats though, so I moved their water bowl instead of drowning them in it. Do you know what happened? They started drinking from their water bowl. There’s no saving the bean bag chairs; I couldn’t get the stench out no matter how many showers I took with them. SPA DAY! But I think the wayward peeing will now end. If it doesn’t, never mind that second sentence. You read nothing. You know nothing.
December 2013, titled “Top Ten Reasons I Hate My Cats Plus One to Let Them Live“. I guess I’m down to “Top Seven” now.
1. Black deposits the kids’ mittens, socks and hats all over the house. Over and over, every day. I despise this act as I am a tidy person.
2. Black is pulling my neatly folded clothes off my bedroom shelves and depositing them too all over the house. When I’m finally able to get dressed for the day at 2pm, I have a mess to clean up first.
3. One or both of the cats pees on any pile of clothes left on the floor. As a tidy person (see #1), I do not have piles of clothes on my floors but I do sort laundry and I have put my son’s nap linens by the door to take out the car – all of which has been peed on. Fuckers.
4. It doesn’t have to be on the floor. One (or both! Probably both. Assholes.) of my cats peed inside a storage basket in the closet. That basket contained all of Kris and my’s winter hats and gloves. I spent two naps times hand washing them and every day since scratching my head then smelling my fingernails.
Why are they peeing outside of their litter? It must be dirty.
5. The only water acceptable to drink is inside Arlo’s fish tank. Since Arlo sleeps with his door closed, the scratching and prying starts every day around 6am. They have yet to wake him but if they ever do I will not be held responsible for what happens next. Why can’t they drink out of toilets like normal pets? Or perhaps out of the bowl next to their food?
6. They are loud. And I mean LOUD. Black is particularly obnoxious in her persistent howling and wailing. I have a baby who rarely sleeps. You marry that with two shrieking cats and someone’s got to pay.
7. They pry open the cabinet door that holds all the toilet paper and like my clothes, it all gets pulled off the shelf. This is annoying in of itself but if I don’t take care of it immediately, Farrah happens.
8. Gray sleeps on Farrah’s changing pad and every time I use it I have to forcibly remove her cat ass and then brush off all the fur/litter crumbs she’s left as territory markers.
Would you look at her? Maharacat.
9. They do that thing where they follow you around endlessly, howling (see #6) until you top off their bowl of food.
10. They do that thing where they follow you around endlessly seeking love and affection even though you rescued two adult siblings so they could have each other while you managed a new baby.
Now, The One Reason To Let Them Live:
My kid likes them.
Damn, why haven’t you and I talked about this yet?
The singer — who is already mom to a 6-year-old son, Dashiell — is pregnant with a baby girl after being implanted with her own frozen embryo (sperm was provided by a donor). “I found Dashiell really needs a sibling,” Hawkins tells PEOPLE of her decision to have another child. “My son has one parent who’s 50. I want him to have a family of young people too!”
Before becoming pregnant, Hawkins faced fears because of her age and the fact that she is newly single.
“I went through waking up crying and saying, ‘Am I too old? Will I suddenly at 51 have my knees give out?’” she admits. “Now I don’t have any of those fears because I feel healthy and strong. I’m also setting up a good net of support, and that’s the key to anybody having a child.”
Hawkins says her age was not a concern for doctors because she had frozen embryos at the age of 31, was in good physical health and had a healthy first child.
“For me, the main decision was emotional,” she says. “I’ve been wanting to have a child since Dashiell was 1, but I was working too much and there was a lot going on in my relationship.”
The “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” singer, who identifies as omnisexual, says now she is more than ready to raise a baby alone.
“I interviewed a lot of divorced women and they said, ‘It’s so much easier to do it alone. You don’t have the pressure or the criticism or judgment of someone else.’ Of course then you ask, ‘Will I miss the emotional support?’ Well, to tell you the truth, I’m getting that more from my friends than I ever got in a relationship.”
– Gabrielle Olya
More siblings, larger tribe, bigger village
Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy emotions
That’s my take-away but I’m biased. What do you think about Sophie B.?
This is a maple cake baked inside a maple syrup tin.
This corner reminded me of my friend Laura who practices and leads Holy Yoga in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “Know God, Know Peace” I think is how she’d caption it:
Meanwhile around the other corner …
Honestly, Montreal. Never a dull moment.
Total twitter clickbait but if I hadn’t then I would’ve never seen THE MOST BRILLIANT AD PLACEMENT OF ALL TIME:
Oh Pillsbury, I hope someone got promoted that day.
Happy Weekend Dear Readers and thanks for those of you who took the leap and hit the Follow button. If you had your doubts before, I hope “Fuck Wankers” has now set your mind at ease.
On A Diet
Facebook suggested I join a group called “Montreal Street Photographers” and I did because nobody knows me like you, Facebook, with your sweet, sweet algorithms. I’ve been a member and contributor now for a few weeks and I’m getting a feel for it.
This is not Street Photography:
This is Urban Landscape.
This is not Street Photography:
This is Street Style.
Gerry, the group administrator writes,”It’s not about the gear or some complicated philosophy. It’s about documenting humans in public places in the City we love.” The images shared by these artists are filled with longing and insight, powerful lines and evocative lighting. Here are some of my own attempts:
Some of my shots have gotten positive reviews from the group and that motivates me. One of my images generated a little controversy and discussion and that made me feel like a peer.
(Image from my Nine Golden Rings post.)
Ultimately, joining this group has started to fill the hole in my heart that used to contain birds, birds, birds. It’s hard to articulate how much I miss those bird-chasing Wisconsin days and even harder to calculate how much time I spent doing it. But I live in Montreal now and you can only shoot so many pigeons. Or photograph them. I need a new reason to get outside and thanks to this group, I have one.
Suddenly, I’m a Street Photographer.
This week’s photo challenge from Where’s My Backpack made me scratch my head so I thought I’d better join. Here is my interpretation of grace, pulled from the archives:
We took a three-day trip to Jay Peak, Vermont last week. Our first day at the water park, within the first five minutes, a lifeguard approached me and said I had to put a shirt on Farrah Star. My two-year-old daughter couldn’t be “topless” in their facility.
Today Arlo, Farrah and I were talking about going to a friend’s pool party and Arlo said to Farrah, “Better remember your shirt!”
I told him no, she didn’t need one, that was a rule only at the water park. Confusion spread across his face and I had to explain how breasts have to be covered up in some public places. Looking at me and then looking at her, dots connecting, he replied, “But Farrah doesn’t have milks. She’s not a momma!”
And that is how I had to explain to my five-year-old that his two-year-old sister’s chest is something to be covered. Something obscene. That there’s something wrong with Farrah even though she is perfect in his eyes. But fuck that. I refuse to plant those seeds so I just steered the topic toward following rules, a concept more true to his heart and age.
Had we not already paid the fee it’s possible we would have left the water park; Kris was even more indignant than I. Had we any other plans, had we not already had done the drive, unpacked and most importantly, had the kids not already seen this water wonderland, we would have refused complicity in our two-year-old’s obscenity. Instead I went to the gift shop and bought an overpriced, undersized tee-shirt and enjoyed the rest of our time together.
In trying to navigate my way around this conversation today it occurred to me that every rule should first be explained to a five-year-old. If he doesn’t understand it, then maybe it has no merit.
Jay Peak, your beautiful and convenient location will likely bring us back, but we’ll be carrying a hint of chlorine in our hearts.
Welcome to the week’s end wrap-up. First, some things I liked from the homefront:
and now from the web:
Keep it clean out there Dear Readers. Lives depend upon it. Happy Weekend!
I found a couple of large styrofoam inserts on the curb one day. I thought I could chop them up and use them to restuff the kids’ wilted beanbag chairs so I did what any sane person would do: I put them in the food processor.
My efforts yielded approximately half-a-cup of fill and two hours of clean-up.
Winter’s going to be over soon, right?