Nothing New

Well...nothing really new has happened since the last time I posted. It's just been ridiculously busy and I really miss going for photo walk-a-bouts. However, the last couple of weekends, my youngest, Sarah, has been taking ballet lessons and I decided to go check her out and take some photos. It's always great to see how kids take to learning something new. There's a couple of kids in the class that are really involved in the class and it's so interesting to see how hard they try - innocence, it's so nice to see it and "feel" it.


Spring Has Finally Sprung

It's so good to feel the warm sun on the face again!!!! In all honesty, I can't really complain too much cause we had a rather mild winter and the last time Toronto had no snow in March was something like 50 years ago - pretty good if you ask me....especially for my back! :)

On Good Friday, the family went biking through the trails leading downtown. I was really surprised at how well the girls did - although the next day, they were complaining of pain coursing through their legs. Regardless though, the weather was warm and there were tons of people out and about enjoying it - soooo nice!!

The other piece of news is the bimmer has been sold - now it's just a matter of getting delivery on the new car - can't wait!!!

Let the spring come flying in and may my golf game improve with every swipe of the club!

New Camera for the Wife....Sort of

No pictures this week but I did want to note that I ended up buying the Panasonic LX-3 for my wife...sort of. In all honesty, she would never have the patience to learn all the functions the camera offers. She's happy as a pig in s@$T shooting away in Auto mode so, in reality, I kinda bought it for myself too. I haven't really had tie to test it out completely but from the quick test shots I've taken so far, this is a very impressive camera indeed, especially considering it's a point and shoot. Surprisingly, it's even pretty good for hand-held macro shots - amazing what technology can do!

So all this brings me to one question - (and maybe it's just me) but why does it seem like every guy simply gets giddy when they can get their hands on the "latest and greatest"? I remember reading on Rockwell's site that you can get your significant other to actually encourage you to buy the "best" by simply pulling on the heart strings and claiming it will allow you to take better shots of the kids.

I'll have to remember that the next time I'm in a camera store staring over that Leica - hehe!!

The Toronto I've Never Seen

It's hard to believe, especially considering how long I've lived in Toronto, but the one tourist attraction that I've never been to is the CN Tower. More specifically, I've never gone up to the observation deck to look at Toronto from high above. Well, I can now cross it off my "to-do: list. Last weekend, we finally went up to have a look-see. I have to admit that the view from the observation deck is pretty amazing. The elevator ride was pretty exciting and because the floor of the elevator had a couple of panes of glass for you to look down as you ascended, I think the girls got a little freaked out as they saw the ground seemingly fall away.

The one thing I found disappointing was the size of the glass floor installed on the observation deck. I thought it was an entire glass floor but, in fact, only 55 square feet of the floor contained glass panels and with all the tourists up there, we never really got the time to stand there and "feel" the height - so to speak. In any event, it was still an interesting thing to do - at least once in a lifetime. :)

Remembering

Well, I just spent most fo the week putting together a photobook of our trip to Florida. Going through everyone's photos was an absolute chore at times but it was also really nice to be able see some of our friends' pictures.

For some reason, the book on the photobook website looked very pixelated. The same thing happened with my cousin's engagement book but the printed version was not like what I saw on the computer - strange.

Anyways, can't wait for the next vacation and just for fun, here's a picture of one of my friends who went with us on the trip - title: "The Space Condom" :)))


Nostalgic

 My Buddy's brother

My Buddy's brother

Wanting to shoot more film, I recently bought an Epson V600 scanner (which I love, btw) and after telling a friend about this purchase, I ended up spending a lot of this weekend scanning over 40 year-old negatives for him. Although it sucked up a lot of time, I didn't really mind cause it gave me a chance to play with the scanner.

However, what I didn't expect from this little exercise is the way it made me feel and it can be summed up in one word - nostalgic.

Going through his old pictures, I couldn't help but feel happy and sad. As one would expect (I guess), his pictures reminded me of my childhood.

As an only child of a family of moderate means, while I never found myself wanting, it also seemed that what I desired never materialized. Looking back today, I really can't say that things where ultra tough, but I can say that not having the proverbial "silver spoon" was probably the best thing. I developed a strength and desire that wouldn't exist today if I have come into this world with that spoon in my mouth. The other thing is that becasue of our moderate means, imagination and dreaming played a big part of my growing up and I think that today, that "dreamer" characteristic keeps me going through tough times and gives me a mental toughness that I have been grateful for on many occasions. I hope that I am instilling the same characteristics in my children.

While thinking about my childhood was pleasant, those old pictures reminded me that our time on this earth goes by too quickly. Our everyday is busier than ever and we often neglect the little things in life. Seeing these pictures really reminded me that we all have to stop, see and experience cause who knows when we can't do that anymore.

I hate the thought of death and even though I probably hate this cliche more...I really have to remember to "live" as hard as I work, otherwise, what the point of working so hard....

10 Years

My daughter, Kaitlin, turned 10 years old a couple of days ago. How the hell did 10 years go by so quickly???

Kaitlin IS Daddy's girl...without a doubt! And I think I could write pages upon pages about how she makes me fell, but that would just be the typical fatherly gush.

Thinking about the last 10 years, three moments stick out for me:

1.) The first is during the first two weeks after we brought her home. Of course, at that stage, all she did was eat, sleep and s#$T - but what I can "feel" today is her lying on my chest as we took naps together. It's odd, those naps were just that...naps, but the connection that was developing, even at that stage, is indescribable - literally. Souls connecting - that's the only way I know how to describe it.

2.) The second was at her spring concert when she was just 4 years old. She was one fo the performers and she did this Greek dance where she was swinging a hanky above her head and at the same time gyrating her hips. You could hear the entire room go "wooooooahhhhh" cause the way she was dancing it was almost like watching an adult. It was so good and she was so good. I overheard one of the other parents say "I can't believe how good she is." Another parent, seeing that I was filming her performance asked if she was min. I, of course, said yes and he jokingly said "good luck". I was filled with pride....

3.) The third is much more recent. One day at school, her class was given a pop quiz and although she's a pretty good student, on this occasion, she didn't do too well and the teacher gave her a bad mark. As she explained what happened with the quiz, it was obvious she was beating herself to a pulp for doing poorly. I hate that she was so disappointed in herself, but, strange as this may sound, I was really proud of how much she wanted to succeed and do well. From the "outside", you can't tell, but his kid is extremely sensitive...she feels everything deeply and I really admire that. She's a responsible kid with a good heart and love and pride really aren't strong enough words to describe how I feel about her. She's been an absolute joy in my life and I truly look forward to watching her grow up...however, my heart aches just thinking that one day she'll go out on her own and start her own family - it's a dad thing, so I'm sure all you other dad's out there will understand!

It's completely unrealistic, but my hope is that she will never ever stop being Daddy's girl!

The First....And Last Time

On Christmas Day of 2008, after opening presents, my daughter turned on the TV and the first thing we saw was a Christmas Day Parade being held at DisneyWorld Florida. As we watched the parade, I said to the kids that one day soon we would have to go to DisneyWorld over the holidays. The parade and all the surrounding activities seems like so much fun, I thought, "we just have to check it out."

Well, we did exactly that over the holidays this year. We couldn't be there on the 25th, but in the late morning of the 26th, we boarded a flight to Florida with two other families. Well this was the first and last time we will do this again. Whoever said that we are currently in a recession has never been to DisneyWorld over the holidays. It was a sea of people everywhere...all the time. We were constantly rushing from one ride or show and the worst part was the rushing was so we could simply line up, sometimes for as long as 90 minutes. (And we didn't even bother to line up where it was indicated there would be an even longer wait.)

Overall, the trip was just ok and it was truly a blur...we would go to one of the parks early in the morning and in the blink of an eye, the day was over. The only thing that sticks in my mind was rushing through the crowd to the next line up, all the while trying hard to either not lose of the kids or getting stepped on.

For me, although I enjoy vacations where there's lots to do and see, it's important there is actually time to appreciate what I see and do. Unfortunately, this was not one of those vacations. Oh well, at least the weather we had in Florida, while not great, was still better than the cold winter we get in Toronto!!

Another Christmas

Well, another Christmas has come and gone! It was, once again, a great time, but the most memorable thing for me this Christmas is when the girls received video emails from Jolly Ole St. Nick himself. As with any story, this one requires a little explanation.

Sarah has never questioned the existence of Santa Claus, but Kaitlin, who will soon turn 10, has started to wonder, especially since a couple of her friends from school have told her that they don't believe in Santa. Then things were made worse when the store we normally go to to take Santa pictures had a different person playing Santa. This was devastating because for as long as we've been going to this one place for pictures, it has invariably been the same person - in our family, this was the ONLY place to see the REAL Santa. The disappointment on Kaitlin's face was palpable and although we explained that Santa can't be everywhere all the time, one could clearly see the confusion and doubt....after all, "how is it remotely possible that the REAL Santa wasn't there?".

Fortunately, everything was taken care of when Nancy found that through Sympatico, we could send video emails to the girls directly from Kris Kringle himself. We uploaded a couple of pictures of the girls, gave a little bit of background information and a few clicks later, voila....Santa was on the screen wishing you a Merry Christmas and apparently knowing your deepest Christmas wishes.

I don't think I'll ever forget the looks on the kids' faces. All the doubts were gone and there was only bright "shine" in their eyes....how could it be otherwise as Belief was restored and reinforced by their jolly benefactor directly. As I sat there watching them, I realized just how important Belief truly is...it is the foundation of HOPE and hope truly does keep us going.

In my kids lies all my hopes and one of those hopes is that they never lose that childish, naive willingess to BELIEVE...I still do and I hope you do too!

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010.

Life Truly Is A Circle

This weekend, I and my family went to my grandmother's old age home to visit. Every year, around Christmas, the home puts on a Christmas show, attended primarily by the residents and their families.

It's funny how my kids, 9 and 7, will be putting on a Christmas show next week at schood and my grandmother, in her 80s, is also putting on a similar show. My kids have short attention spans, take naps through events and need constant care - same goes for the residents of my grandmother's old age home...full circle is an understatement.

It's hard to go to my grandmother's old age home....

No Time For Myself

These last several weeks, I've had very little time to photograph for myself. One weekend I was shooting engagement pictures for one of my cousins and another weekend it was a photo shoot for another cousin's brand new baby. But despite not having time for myself, I found it incredibly fun...spending time with family is always great and nothing beats the closeness of loved ones.