Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick-or-Treat OR 92/365

I make a convincing criminal, right? ...Right? ...?

Trick-or-Treat OR 92/365 by gina.blank

Sunday, October 30, 2011


One day, in the not too distant future, it will be cold and snowy, and I will crave hot, homemade soup for my meal. And such cravings will be filled. :)

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* Today marks 1/4 of the way through the project!

Saturday, October 29, 2011



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Ready to start some Grey's with my yummy nacho platter; shared meals are the best ones. :)

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Some quiet, prayerful reflection and cozy warmth at the end of a busy day. This is typical bed time.

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Groceries at 5pm or on a weekend, ri-donk-ulous; groceries on a Wednesday evening, not so bad.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


My chiropractor; she's always got my back. ;)

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I'd say today was a waste of film, but that would be technologically inaccurate.

Today was a waste of photographic effort.

Returning home from respite, I noticed a soft green glow in the sky; northern lights. Despite being the end of a long work day, I decided to be spontaneous. After scarfing down some supper, I would get my gear and my warm clothes on, and venture outside of the city to see if I could capture some northern lights in my camera.

I should have just foregone the whole thing when I opened my trunk to realize that I'd left my camera bag (with camera) at work. No, I can still do this, I thought. Traffic wouldn't be too bad so late in the evening; I would just get the camera from the office and head north from there, looping back towards my end of the city as I went.

Hoody, jacket, windbreaker pants, comfy shoes, tripod, flash light, head lamp. Gas for the car and hot tea for me. Go.

Half an hour of driving. Followed by just over forty-five minutes of mostly sitting in my car and reading while I let the shutter trip open on my camera for five-to-ten minutes per shot. I was mildly mesmerized by the gentle ripple of the lights in the sky, but not so mesmerized by any of the five shots that came out of my stakeout. (No, I'm not posting any of them. Given the nature of the subject, I'd say the photos are nothing more than average. And I feel that aurora borealis photos fall into the category of "go big or go home." Like lightning.)

Trying to capture an image of myself in the process was not all that satisfying, either.

This was the best shot I had patience for by the time I got to it (clearly "go big or go home" does not apply to self-portraits). I have to admit, though, there is an artistic quality to the way this came out. A girl and her tea, soft light and a book (you can't see it, but that's what I'm looking at), waiting on her camera at the end of a long day.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011


Ugh. By far my least favourite household chore.*

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* Not even the thought of capturing the image made it more motivating. More of a "this job needs to be done; I still need a photo for today; this is something I do regularly; might as well take a picture."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

House & Home OR 83/365

A year ago this weekend, I moved into my house. Of all the 'anniversaries' that could exist in one's world, it surprises me how much this one stands out for me. But it blows my mind a little bit that I have lived in this house for one year already (and yet, only for one year!).

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The last year I have ridden several different learning curves, including the new experiences that come with owning a house. Several blog posts this year have focused on my home and garden. Clearly, an exciting and important topic for me. Even so, those reflect only a small percentage of the daily discoveries I encountered around my home this past year.

I love my house.
  • I love the way the sun streams through the kitchen window and right into my bedroom on summer and Saturday mornings.
  • I love the warm colours of each room.
  • I love that I can do a three-point turn in my driveway.
  • I love the space in my garage.
  • I love not having to plug the car in in the winter because I have garage.
  • I love the copious amounts of sunlight the back yard receives.
  • I love that I am situated on such a neighbourly street.
  • I love how the bathroom is slightly warmer than the rest of the house when the furnace is on. This makes getting ready for work in the dark of autumn and winter that much more tolerable.
  • I love the fruit-bearing plants I didn't know I had!
  • I love that if I plug the vacuum into the outlet under the kitchen table, I can reach every room of the house without having to re-plug the cord in elsewhere!
  • I love the feel of my living room (not sure if it would be considered feng-shui, but it's the nicest room in my house!).
  • I love having a gas stove!
  • I love having enough room for everything.
  • I love that plants seem to enjoy it here, too (i.e. they grow).
  • I love that it's mine.
I generally got excited when people asked me about my house. With each change in the seasons, it was like having a whole new house. Now that I am starting the cycle over again, so to speak, I will have a comparison point. "Last year I never had to..." or "this will be easier this year because..." I think I will still get excited when people ask about my house. Which is good. It means we get along well together. :)


A fundraiser on GRIT's behalf was held tonight at The Muttart Conservatory. I have been to the Muttart several times, but definitely never at night! After the presentation was done, and the auction items were called, and the wine was finished, we took in the colour and beauty of some of the displays.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Job Matters

I realize that the title of my blog post could come off sounding arrogant--as if to say, "my job matters, and yours doesn't." Not the intention at all. I really just want to emphasize that my job matters, period.

I work with children with disabilities. Really, my role is quite a bit more complex and varied than that, but that's the simplest way to outline it.

And my job matters.

I help give kids without verbal speech a way to communicate effectively.
     That matters.
I help parents learn how to advocate for their child's needs.
     That matters.
I make learning fun.
     That matters.
I watch children, whose parents are told they would never walk, take their first steps.
     That matters.
I teach children how to play.
     That matters.
I teach others how to modify activities so their child/student can be successful.
     That matters.
I make sure children are fully included with their peers in school.
     That really matters.

Our new premier has already given due attention to education cuts that have were made in this province previously. I hope this decision is contagious among other provincial decision-makers, and that funding for children with special needs--which has been frozen the last few years--will thaw. After all, inclusion means supporting all students.

In the mean time, The GRIT Program does everything in its power to meet the needs of the children and families it serves. It takes a village to raise a child. We are so thankful for the community partnerships we have formed that help keep GRIT providing quality service to families. That matters.

"...we don't know a child's full potential,
so we will assume it's limitless."
-- Barb Reid


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...I don't think this quite qualifies me as a Victoria Secret Model.

It did, however, qualify me for $10 off what I have been told is the most comfortable bra ever.


Today's math lesson: two-times-table.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Gettin' me some PD; day two of two.

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Monday, October 17, 2011


My Monday lunch break; lovely!

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Sunday, October 16, 2011


Hemming me some new curtains for my bedroom. Sorry, grungy white. You have been replaced by chocolate brown.

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After attending a clothing exchange in the fall of 2009 with my friend JP, she decided to host one for our own group of girl friends last spring. It was such a hit that she hosted another, autumn edition. :)

A larger number of girls attended this time 'round, so the quantity of clothing was a little overwhelming to start. But with a glass of wine and some chocolate in hand, however, each of us spied treasures we wanted, and were able to take home some great finds!

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Friday, October 14, 2011


Got to take photos of a Nepali wedding today (apparently the photographer gets marked with dyed rice, too!); definitely a unique experience!

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Reading Into It OR 74/365

I captured myself reading again today. And then realized that I am starting to acquire several pictures of this activity. 20%--just 1/5--of the way through my year-long photo project, and I am already getting redundant.

It's true. I can be seen reading here, in the cool evening after a hot summer day (sadly, that book didn't end nearly as fantastically as the great writing led me to believe it would). I was also reading here (even though reading wasn't the activity I was capturing, per se). I always read here (I paused that book temporarily for another that came to the top of my holds list at the library--I should get back to it). Oh, and look, reading again here (that book was okay, but yet another with great descriptive writing and a relatively weak plot).

Of course, some of the reading I do is required (although generally, still interesting). But most of these photos have captured leisurely reading activity. As was the case tonight.

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This image finds me working my way through The Little Prince. A quick read, to be sure. It's a children's story, after all. That being said, it was one of those books that--when recommended to me as a child--I tested a chapter or two of and then blatantly ignored for lack of interest. It will disappoint true literary enthusiasts that The Hobbit--and by association, the LOTR series--met the same fate (I actually made it about half way through The Hobbit before surrendering), as did the Narnia series (we were made to read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the second grade as a class, and I clearly remember having more fun drawing lines with my finger nails in the classroom carpet). While I have not returned to those two novels/series, and don't plan to, I found The Little Prince on the bookshelf in my spare room the other day, and thought I'd give it a go.

Clearly, I am too much like the grown-ups the narrator describes to appreciate The Little Prince and his journey properly.

Here's what I did get out of The Little Prince:
  • Children and grown-ups see things differently, and appreciate things differently.
  • Consider closely what you deem to be a "matter of consequence"; your perspective may be distorted.
  • When you form a relationship with someone (i.e. when you tame or are tamed by something), they become separate from all the others like it. Unique to you while "just another" to everyone else.
Here's what I don't get:
  • Why the little prince wanted to leave his little planet in the first place.
  • What the sheep has to do with anything.
  • Why the little prince let himself be tamed by an insecure, manipulative little flower. That's why he went back, isn't it? To the flower? A flower that can't even handle being wrong, such that the little prince is constantly watching what he says and how he acts around the her? Without any expectation that the flower might change her ways or that the prince might buck up enough to start holding his flower accountable to a bit of reality? How is that a healthy relationship?
Perhaps--as a grown-up--I'm reading too much into it.

Perhaps I will give it another go down the road. But I doubt it. The wholesome concepts I did pull from the book were pretty much ruined by the flower.

I don't particularly like the flower.

Have we established that?

Little prince, you disappointed me.


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Project: Ikea Meets Reggio is complete!

After generous coatings of paint in softer, earthy colours, the Play Doh table was reassembled and brought back to the office. It flows so much better with the overall decor of the playroom that it took my partner a minute to realize I'd brought it back!

So that's one down... :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


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Do I look kind of exhausted? Cuz I am. I am sensing TV vegging and an early bedtime in my future.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Applying the second coat to my weekend project in the warm October sunshine.

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Could someone please pass the salad?

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Mixing a Thanksgiving drink--a ginger-pumpkin cocktail. Some liked more pumpkin; some liked less ginger; I liked more honey. In the end, not half bad!

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When in Reggio OR 68/365

Because The GRIT Program (where I work) is a family-centred educational program, we work in family's homes, as well as neighbourhood preschools and kindergartens. We don't have a classroom of our own. We do, however, have a playroom, and run a small playgroup a few times each month for the kids in our program.

As we always try to adhere to current research and best practice for child development and education, we are presently trying to adopt many aspects of the Reggio Emilia Approach in our playroom. One of the most salient changes we are making is to the decor and 'ambience' of the environment.

On a tight budget, my partner and I have been brainstorming the little things we can change in the classroom--for little or no cost--to make it more conducive to learning through play and discovery. Knowing some of the benefits of plants, we placed a few in the classroom last month--each originally a cutting from a plant or two in our homes. They are thriving quite nicely. I also managed to obtain some fish for free, and they have drawn interest from some of the kids over the last few weeks. We have also gathered some natural materials (namely, sticks and pebbles) for the children to play with and explore in the different centre areas.

We also know that when we display the children's art work, it will 'pop' more if the playroom isn't busy with the primary colours (vibrant red, yellow, green and blue) so traditional of preschool and kindergarten classrooms and equipment. While there is nothing wrong with these vibrant colours, per se (after all, they're generally the first colours children learn developmentally), they're certainly not easy on the eyes. And sometimes there can be too much colour in one's learning space. So this weekend, I undertook Project: Ikea Meets Reggio.

For several years, the Play Doh Table has been a bright green and yellow Ikea table. My partner and I felt no guilt in covering it over with a few coats of paint (sorry, Ikea!). We were given some paint by a colleague in a natural taupe and chocolate brown. Perfect. With the long weekend at hand, I knew I would have ample time to prime and paint new life into the table.

So it was that on a Friday evening, I found myself dismantling the legs from the top (thank you, Ikea!), and applying two coats of primer over the bright, glossy colours. It looks better already.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011


That's right; it's Thursday. :)

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Food for thought and food for the palate. Such is my Wednesday evening twice a month. :)

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Just a little light reading...*

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* I'll take Bonhoeffer's texts over Yoder's any day.


Today was really busy.*

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* These are typical kitchen activities for me. Interesting (but not entirely surprising) how none actually involve food.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


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Learning some basic Indian dance techniques from the experts :) (Enjoy the music video, too; it's a catchy song!)

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Waiting for the plane that will take me to love.


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