Sunday, January 29, 2012

What Is That Town?

I've had a few people ask what town is captured in the last photograph of my Randomography: Flight post.

As I wasn't sure myself, I googled London, Ontario, clicked on "Maps", and started a slow search north, checking maps against the photograph. And now I know what town it is.

Drum roll, please...

The town is Clinton, Ontario.

Project 365: Week 4

Twenty eight days in! Wow! This project is a whole lot harder than I first anticipated. However, carrying a camera with me everywhere has helped me capture shots I would not normally have taken (see previous blog posts for some of them).

You can also see the pics here or here.

Teacher's Back!

It's eight o'clock Friday morning. I unlock and open the classroom door, step through and turn on the lights.  Immediately I notice something different.  Inwardly smiling, I walk over to my desk, deposit my gear and get ready for the day.  Turn on the SMARTboard and laptop, write the date in English and Ojibway on the chalkboard, and put up the "Inspiration Board" (chart paper that we as a class jot down ideas for writing).  Then I jot down the morning bell expectations on the chalkboard:

  1. Attendance
  2. Please put ALL desks back the way they were before I left or face the wrath of Mr. K.
  3. Quiet Reading

At the 8:55 AM bell the students come in, glance at the board, and proceed to the dictionaries to look up the word "wrath".  Without complaint, all the desks are quietly and promptly moved to the original seating plan.  They continued on with taking their own attendance and quietly read until the morning office announcements were completed.  Then, with a "Good morning, grade seven and eight!  It's good to be back...", we promptly went into the math lesson for the day.

It was good to be back, even on a Friday.

Monthly Photo Challenge: Light & Shadow

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

For Fi

The little video screen on the plane kept scrolling through a map showing where we were and the altitude at which we were flying, ads for exotic locations and, oddly enough, silly jokes. So this is for my oldest Sprout who always rolls her eyes at my bad puns and goofy jokes.

What kind of tree has fingers?

Check the comments for the answer!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


This weekend I fly back to my hometown to be with my family to bury my grandmother.  I have two regrets.  The first is that I wasn't able to say goodbye before she passed on.  It has been almost two years since I have last seen her and I wish I had been a better grandson and stayed in touch.  The second is that I have a pitiful amount of photographs of my grandmother to help my family remember her by.  Over the past five years as my love for digital photography has grown, starting with a point-and-shoot and graduating to an amateur DSLR, I've been designated as the family photographer.  So, when we travel south to visit family, I take loads of pics.  And yet, I have few pics of my grandmother.  How sad is that?  Well, add that to my photography goals.  Take photos of everyone in my and my spouse's family whenever I can, and take the best ones possible. 

But first, spend quality time with my extended family.

Cold Snap

2012 01 19 SimonAfter three days of indoor recess my students were a just a little (lot) cabin feverish today.  I was ecstatic happy to send them on their way at 3:30 PM. Brr, it's cold outside!  Up until the end of last week we were spoiled with mild winter temperatures (though not spoiled with as much snow as we would like).   We had almost forgotten what winter was really like up here in the near north.

Aside: Near north, ha!  When we lived in TO the Algonquin Park area was known as the "near North".  They don't know what near north really is.  "Ha!", I say again. 

Three days of indoor recess make for very cranky staff and students.  On indoor recess days, there are no breaks.  It was an exhausting day, topped by little sleep (Sprouts are sick and up at night) and cranking out five days of emergency lesson plans.

The best part of the day was coming home.  I opened the door and asked my spouse (who was home today with sick Sprouts) to please turn on the kettle.  She replied, "Your tea is already steeping."  Bliss.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Project 365: Week 2

Week two of my 365 project is finished.  A goal for this project is to have yours truly in some of the photos (I think there are more pics of me in these first two weeks than all of last year).

You can also see the pics here or here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

While in the Kitchen...

...Jo asks Em: "What is the opposite of white?"

Em: "Black.  Were you learning about opposites in school today?"

Jo: "Yeah."

Me: "What is the opposite of Jo?"

Jo, without hesitation: "Fi."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

If You...

If you are planning a guided reading lesson about polar bears early in the morning, you take a break and listen to your morning internet radio station.

Because you listen to this station, you will hear the radio host talk about a TO book store video that has gone viral.

You enjoy stop motion videos, so you Google the book store and video.

The search engine provides you with the video, so you watch it.

It makes you smile, so you check out the other videos by the videographer.

Your son comes downstairs, climbs up on your lap and demands, "Play that one Papa!", so you click on a polar bear video.

Five polar bear videos and many giggles later, you are reminded of viewing a few years ago the polar bears at the Toronto Zoo.

And chances are, if you look at pictures of polar bears, you will be reminded of what you were originally doing, so you return to planning a guided reading lesson about polar bears.

(With apologies to Laura Joffe Numeroff).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Project 365

Or more accurately, Project 366, as 2012 is a leap year.  I have felt that I've been in a photography rut this past year and was thinking about taking a break from taking pics for awhile.  But then a blog post from Weekly Photo Tips piqued my interest back in December.  The post made me take pause.  And then while Flipboarding on the iPad I came across an article from Photojojo.  A photo a day for a year?  The pause became reflective time (it helped that it was the holidays).  Hmmm....

So, I've taken up the challenge of a 365 project (rather than take a break, which would upset some grandparents, I think!).  The pics aren't meant to be spectacular (though I hope some will be over time).  The photos will be more a journal than a portfolio.  I will be forced to carry my camera with me everywhere and be less self-concious about it. And a pic a day is harder than one might think. I almost forgot to take a picture the fourth day in and had to scramble to come up with something. However, my creative juices flow well when I am under pressure, or so my spouse tells me.

I waited a week before blogging about the project just in case I couldn't sustain it.  But, seven days in, I'm still at it, so here are the first seven (I'll blog once a week on the project):

You can also see the pics here.

My spouse reminded me that Flash does not work on iPads (at least without other apps), so iPad users, go here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Early to Bed, Early to Rise...

2012 01 02 Alarm Clock 001The Sprouts are already sound asleep, tucked in early tonight for some well-deserved rest after a busy holiday.  My spouse and I are finishing up various tasks to be ready for work and school tomorrow.  Nights of staying up late(r) are over; the days of early rising will begin again in the morning (at least until March break).  Winter solstice came and went a couple of weeks ago.  I look forward now to the mornings when the sun gets up early, too, so I feel like I haven't been awake all night. 

Time to close all apps and programs, log off, shut down and slide to power off for the night and recharge for a new day.

Bonne nuit!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I Resolve To...

Yes, I know, this topic is popular at the beginning of every new year.  However, I needed to write down my own "resolutions", so why not on my blog.  That way my family and friends can also nag encourage me, too. 

New Year's resolutions can be well-intentioned but are often too vague to have any lasting impact.  Concrete goals with simple steps, on the other hand, are more manageable and allow for accountability (check list!).  There is a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when checking off the goals on your list. 

I don't have a long list this year, but I resolve to...

...Read scripture everyday, personally and with the family.  In past years I've tried to read the whole Bible in one year (NLT One Year Bible), but found it to be too much.  This year I am going to start with just the New Testament.  Hopefully that will be much more manageable.  The family began a new devotional today that ties in with the Adventure Bible we gave Fi recently.  The first devotional aptly talked about trusting in God and His wisdom, which set a positive tone for this new year.

...Improve my photography by investing in some good glass.  I have always wanted to get a Nikon D700 as I love natural light photography and often wish I could bump up the ISO a bit.  However, it is about to be discountinued as Nikon will be releasing an update soon (D800).  Unfortunately, the upgrade will be megapixel heavy (36MP?!), which is way beyond what I need and beyond my computing power (16MP or less, Nikon!).  Sigh.  So, new glass instead.  Maybe the 85MM 1.4G (or the rumoured 1.8G) or the 70-200MM lens.

...Experiment more with photography.  Specifically, I want to try my hand at star trails this year.  I recently read a great article about how to go about taking star trail photos in Practical Photography.  We live in a great location for this (unlike when in TO), so why not?  I also need to put more effort into the monthly photo challenges my friends and I are involved in.  Maybe even start a 365 project...Hmmm.

...Play with the Sprouts more often.  Too much work this past year got in the way of building better relationships with my kids.  I need to get down on the floor with my kids and immerse myself in their world.  I also need to continue to enjoy their sense of wonder of God's creation.

...Take my wife on more dates.  Difficult to do where we live and with what we do, but some alone time away from the Sprouts (though we love them dearly!) would be a good thing.

...Make shorter lists.  So much for my short list this year.  I haven't even talked about my teaching goals, or running goals, or even my iPad app "Tiny Tower" goals (not really, just wanted to see if you were paying attention).

What resolutions or goals do you have for this year?