Attack of the Shutter Bugs

I went on a road trip today.

I bought a camera.

And I created a monster….

Second Born Son joined me for a trip to the International Centre where Spring Exposure 2012 was being held. He’s always loved movies and idea of movie making, so I thought he’d get a kick out of a photography showcase. Close enough, right?

From the minute he walked in the door, he was enthralled. He never complained when I spent ages at the Nikon exhibit. He didn’t murmur when I drooled over lenses. He loved the live models set up with top of the line light kits, in front of gorgeous backdrops and props. Everyone walks around wearing their gear and shooting.

“Doesn’t this just make you want to go home and start shooting, Mom?” he asked urgently. I agreed, it did.

After picking up a subscription to a photo mag, I started looking seriously at the camera body I had been researching and coveting for some time. I love my D90 and have no plans to part with it, but I’ve long wanted a back up and with the capabilities of some of the new models, I can do more the things I’m unable to accomplish with my little workhorse.

There was a show special for the camera I wanted. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hand over that kind of coin, when sale rep walked past us at the counter. In his hand was the camera I wanted. He said it was “used” and advised me of the price – substantially below what the show special was. He then challenged me to find a mark on this camera…

I couldn’t.

Apparently some morons people who have far more resources than I do, buy new models, hold them for six months or so, then turn them in for the NEXT new model. Sales Rep said he knows some of these cameras (and I would not doubt my is one of them) have never taken an image. Don’t ask me the logic, but if it means paying roughly half price for a perfect good camera, SIGN ME UP! This camera didn’t have the strap attached or the LCD cover off. Just a charged battery.

As Sales Rep rings the purchase, he stops.

“Oops, I screwed up on the price,” he said.

Greeeaaat, here’s the other shoe dropping.

“It’s ($75 less).”

Plus the $25 off coupon for any purchase over $300, I pretty much turned to SBS and yelled “START THE CAR, STAR THE CAR!” a la Ikea, cuz we were freaking STEALING this camera!

An hour later, I was STILL saying, “I’m so excited! I can’t believe how much I got it for! I’m so excited.”

SBS was definitely bit by the Shutter Bug. When I stopped my ranting, he piped up with his thoughts for photos he would take with the point and shoot at home.

Sure enough, we were no sooner in the driveway , and he was gone.



He wants the flower to be out of focus in the foreground and the background to be sharp, he said. Hmmm, ok. Interesting choice, but I’m liking it!


Then he grabs a chair and hauls it around the property. Let’s remember here that he only has one arm that’s functioning. Yes, we have some minor post-production, as per the Artist!


I really like the composition of this one, and the treatment he suggested!


I love the choices he’s making already. He asked if I would post these on the blog because he thinks they might be good enough. He thinks he wants to be a photographer.


I think he already is!

Blind, Deaf and Dumb Justice

I realize I don’t usually post this often, but I had to comment on this. 

What if you were told you had to give up 10 years of your life? There really isn’t a “great” decade to give up, but I can tell you the 10 years I know I couldn’t live without – 16-26.

During this time, I completed my college education, met my husband, married him, got my first job, first car and first house, along with my first child. I made friendships that have lasted to this day, and said goodbye to people who passed away. These were all significant events that led to me becoming the person I am today.

Now, imagine those years were taken from you for no. good. reason.

That would mean you are Brian Banks.


Brian’s story broke yesterday and today. It is chilling.

In 2002 he was a 16 year-old high school student who had a promising career in football. He had a full scholarship to USC and had no reason to believe he wouldn’t be playing in the NFL. He was going to live The Dream.

But 15-year-old Wanita Gibson had other plans. She told authorities that Brian kidnapped and raped her. He was brought up on charges and thanks to a brutal “Justice” system, and the joke that is “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”. On poor legal advice, (he was told he’d get 18 months instead of 40 years a finding of guilt) he pleaded No Contest, which meant he could take a plea deal. His lawyer felt the court would throw the book at a big, black teenaged male. Except it wasn’t 18 months…..

The kicker is – there was no evidence. This was strictly a He Said – She Said. Why did she level the allegation? All that has been revealed is that it was something he said, that she didn’t like. Certainly not anything worthy of what he received.

So he went to a State Penitentiary. Adolescence over. Dreams evaporated. Life on hold.

Until now. He is 26.

Wanita reached out to her “attacker” through facebook. It’s remarkable that she had the nerve to do this after her deceit, but the depths of her reprehensible behaviour were not limited to this. Amazingly, Brian accepted her friendship request. She then told him that she had lied about the attack, and hoped they could move past it. “Let bygones be bygones.”





It would seem that the “victim” in this crime had fared well. Follow Brian’s conviction and incarceration, Miss Thing decided to sue the high school where the “incident’ took place for lack of security (methinks cameras would have been helpful to prove Brian’s innocence – do YOU see the irony?) and was awarded $1.5 million.

Yup – that my friends, is rock bottom. Money taken out of an already taxed education system to reinforce the lie that ruined a man’s life.

While Brian Banks’ case was immediately taken on by California Innocence Project. Regardless, Brian was branded a convict, and a sex offender. He missed his prom, his chance to be a college star and what most likely would have been a promising career in the National Football League. I don’t want to think about the experiences he did have, thanks to the education he received in jail.

The first injustice is what has happened to Brian Banks. The second is to women all over the world who actually have suffered through kidnapping and sexual assault. It takes a great deal of strength to stand up to someone who has violated you and this woman has added insult to injury.

So what should happen to Wanita Gibson?

In a perfect world, an eye for an eye would apply. She could sit in a jail for the better part of 10 years. She could miss out on the life experiences and day to day existence she has enjoyed while Brian Banks was holed up in a cell. She sure as hell needs to pay back the $1.5 million she obtained fraudulently.

But we don’t live in a perfect world.

As a mother, I’m horrified that my son, only two years younger than Brian was when convicted, could have his entire future hijacked by a vengeful girl. As a woman, I’m embarrassed to think that others of my gender are capable of such hateful and destructive behaviour. We cannot be so naive to think that this scenario would never happen. Gender blackmail is an ugly concept that is employed far too frequently.

Brian Banks says he has no ill will toward Wanita Gibson. He seeks no revenge. He is a better person than I, and a saint compared to her. He has said he would like to attempt a career in professional football, but the odds are against him.

I would hope one team would take a chance on him, and give him the chance. After all, doesn’t he deserve it?


You LIKE him! You REALLY LIKE him!

For all the days as mother that I want to choke the ever lovin’ life out of my boys, I feel I’m blessed with a couple of pretty decent kids.

But I’m completely biased. How can I be otherwise?

Today I was in the middle of a phone conversation about a problem I hoped to resolved. Then First Born Son’s name came up. The person I was speaking to made a point of being very complimentary about him and how he was such a great kid.

Wow, I thought, thanks!

Then the person continued. For a good couple of minutes. The comments he made about my child not only made me feel amazing about my son as a person, but he was also very flattering to me as a parent. I found myself; a) emotional, and b) damn near speechless – and you can count on one hand and only use the thumb for the number of times that has ever happened to me before.

It gave me something to think about for the rest of the day. When it comes to the greatest achievements in life; when it comes to what we will value and hold dear; I can’t think of anything else that means more to me that to do a really good job raising my children. It goes without saying that an equal portion of credit goes to The Big Guy who is an outstanding role model, but it is rewarding to think that the little things that matter to me and that I feel will be important to them as healthy balanced individuals, are the very things that this person was identifying in FBS.

I may never write the Great Canadian Novel. I may not capture a photo that will enlighten our generation and be published in National Geographic. But if I can raise two boys to be men, real men, then I will feel I my life will be worthwhile. It sounds corny to people who don’t have children. I don’t mean to be sappy, and those who know me personally, know I’m not.

I REALLY wanted to be a mom. That desire is what kept me sane during all night feedings, flu, and now, broken bones. Being responsible for another human being is overwhelming. There are days when it is worth it and there are times when you question your sanity. There are no days off.

It’s nice to have days that are so worth it. Especially when you don’t expect it.

Proud of you FBS!



The Shroud of Mystery

As I mentioned before, The Bowery Girl is the latest version of The Bowery – a column I wrote for a community newspaper a lifetime ago.

Back then, as today, I wrote about pretty much anything I chose to. I think the editor was simply glad to have one less thing to assign me.

Regardless – I have always found humour in the damnedest places. Which is where one of my Mother’s favourite column came from. Since she learned I was “live” with my writing, she’s asked when I would share this one. I actually dove into the tote I stored my newsprint life in, but couldn’t find it.  So….for my Mom, I’m rewriting it….sheesh….

My Granny was my Dad’s mother. She was a tiny, tough, Englishwoman. Around her you WOULD drink tea (hence my life-long aversion to the beverage to this day), and you would be scolded for eating HER chocolate covered graham cracker cookies. Why she would bring these around two young girls and NOT think we would inhale them is beyond me. I’m sure she was distressed that my sister and I were not orderly and well-behaved as young ladies should be. We had the run of a farm with neighbours far enough away that they’d never hear your sister scream when you pounded the crap out of her……..ahem.  Around Granny you did NOT shout and you certainly did not use profanity. There’s a whole other entry on the time she heard my father in the barn over the intercom during a particularly stressful morning of chores…

When I was a teenager, Granny died. It was a blessing since she was suffering from a dementia and the last few years were difficult, especially for my father. Now organizing a funeral for a parent is stressful, but this funeral was becoming BRUTAL. Aside from the regular bureaucracy one has to go through when a hospital and nursing home are involved, there were the stipulations laid out by my Granny. We had to get her in the ground ASAP!

Let me explain….

When my Granny was a younger woman, her mother (my great-granny) would tell her daughters that when she died, she wanted to be buried in nothing but a shroud, “Just like our Lord Jesus.” What ever possessed her to decide this was never fully explained, but it was simply understood that these are her wishes. When Granny’s mother died, her sisters refused to bury the elderly woman naked, in a shroud, pointing out it was not “proper”.  So their mother was buried in a “proper” dress and “proper” pearls. Likely with appropriate shoes that had a modest heel. This outraged my Granny.

Therefore, she took on the concept. SHE would be buried naked in a shroud, “Just like our Lord Jesus.” This would honour her religious convictions, as well as her mother’s legacy.


Can I point out here that my Granny was ANGLICAN? In anything I have come to understand about religion, there aren’t too many Christian-based beliefs that required wrapping one’s dearly departed in a sheet to honour God. Judaism requires a quick burial, but I am aware of that rule being stretched to 48 and even 72 hours after death. But I only took Religion/Cult/Occult in college as an elective, so I don’t pretend to be an expert…


When the time came to plan the funeral, my Dad was working as quickly as he could to ensure it was a quick turnaround. My aunt was trying to get back into the country, therefore the little “details” of the funeral were left to my Mother. And she was having some issues. We all knew that Granny wanted to be buried in a shroud “Just like our Lord Jesus”, but was having a really hard time envisioning this tiny frail woman being in the ground with nothing more on her than a bed sheet.

This is when “logic” kicked in.

Mom decides to dress Granny in one of the cozy track suits she wore in the nursing home. She picked the pink one, well, because, well, it’s a visual thing right? She can LOOK like she has nothing on. Then she comes into my room.

“I need a pair of socks,” she said.

“Oh, ok.” I said.

“Make sure it’s a pair you don’t plan on getting back,” she adds.

I give her a couple of pairs, which are deemed unsuitable. Finally I give her a pair of “pom-pom” socks. She picks a pair that are white with pink pom-poms. Even through my Granny is yet to be in the ground, I’m fairly certain she’s spinning.

So with the socks in hand, my mother collects the other items and they are delivered to the funeral home. Oh to be a fly on the wall when the undertaker saw what he’d have to put his latest client in. Thankfully, the casket is closed. Granny is in the ground JUST under the time frame allotted and we are all taking license with the “shroud” concept.

I have since told my mother that her mother-in-law would come back to haunt her for failing to deliver on the final request, and even suggested that she, herself, take on the idea. She’s not interested in being buried “Just like our Lord Jesus.” Guess that takes me off the hook!

We’ve all heard stories young women taken tragically and buried in their wedding dresses, or perhaps a teen who was a cheerleader being laid to rest in her uniform. Men can be buried in military or sport uniforms, or other apparel that has special significance to them.

So I can only imagine what someone might think, years later, if they ever had to open my grandmother’s coffin.

“Look Joe, this one was a GYMNAST!”

A Year Ago

A year ago, I couldn’t go to the back of my parents’ property to see the Trilliums.

That’s because a year ago, my father was going into the hospital. We missed a lot last year; the trees coming out in leaf, the magical ponds that appear only in the spring,

…we missed the little things that deserve our attention. We missed a lot.

But we were more afraid of missing the things that could have been. We were afraid of what might not be. We were lucky, blessed, if you will. A year ago things looked very bleak, or so we thought.

Six months ago, however, we found out what bleak was. But that was then and this is now. Six months can make a world of difference.

Today, I went for a tractor ride with my father. He worked. The fact that he could do so, well, there are no words.

We looked at the flowers, the magical ponds and admired that no matter what happens in nature, spring always has a way of giving us hope.