Category: life

Camera course – week 1

You guys, I’m pretty excited to tell you I’ve completed week 1 of Mastering Your DSLR, an on-line camera course through A Beautiful Mess. I say camera course rather than photography course because it’s really to help beginners like me figure out how to use their cameras properly….like taking it off of automatic!
blossomsI have to say I was a bit nervous but am so glad I took the plunge. In this first week I’ve learned how to manually set the shutter speed and seen through practice how that impacts photos. Each week consists of a lesson, mini lesson and ends with a creative assignment. There are lots of materials including pdf downloads, videos, a class forum and photo gallery for support.
flagsI’m a total advocate of life-long learning and am so happy to be picking up a new skill that I hope will lead to another lasting hobby. The learning curve is pretty big but I’m pretty sure I’ll get there – one week at a time.
fountainHere are my four favourite shots this week. The lesson centred around shutter speeds (slow), capturing movement (the flags) and water (a fountain and pond). The blossom shot is a wildcard! As an interesting aside, taking photos at a fountain was one of the creative assignment suggestions – turns out there are 6 within walking distance of my home. I never realized that until now. See?….learning new stuff is fun!
pond waterFor now the focus is on getting comfortable with the camera, not on creativity. That’ll come, right?! What about you – is anyone picking up a new hobby or trying something new? Spring seems like a great time for fresh starts!

Vintage carry-on bag – thrift find

You know how they say you find love when you stop looking for it? Well, that happened to me this week. In the form of a vintage carry-on bag at the local thrift shop, in beautiful deep red. I was smitten at first sight!
Vintage find at www.nestinthewest.comThe back story is this – I bought myself a camera for Christmas and am finally getting over my intimidation and learning to use it. Cameras lead to other stuff, like additional lenses, maybe a tripod and definitely a notebook in my case. I have a little canvas camera tote that holds just the minimum essentials. So I did some on-line window (or is that screen) shopping for a bag big enough for all the gear but still a bit stylish. Like the purse-style bags. Oh, they’re so nice and come in gorgeous colors with padded pockets and everything a girl could hope for. However, the price tags stopped me in my tracks. Most are in the $200 range, ouch. I put that dream aside for now.
Vintage find at www.nestinthewest.comWhile out for a walk in my neighbourhood, I stopped to mail a parcel, get a latte and wandered into the thrift shop….since I was right there. That’s when I spotted this vintage vinyl carry-on bag and did a little internal squeal. It’s in near new condition with side pockets, a zippered inside pocket, solid bottom and lots of room for gear. Then I found what became the absolute selling feature – snaps on each strap which make them adjustable to 3 different lengths, including on the shoulder.
Vintage find at www.nestinthewest.comI cleaned it up with mild dish soap and a toothbrush and love it. I’ll add some interior padding so I can safely use this as my beginner camera bag. Then it might get additional lives if I decide to become an Air Canada flight attendant or someone who goes bowling. Until then I’ll enjoy my “new” $3 camera bag!

Confessions of a hockey aunty

Hockey auntyA huge life change occurred this past weekend and I foolishly didn’t see it coming. On Sunday afternoon I was driving to an ice rink, as I often do, to watch my younger nephew Colton play hockey. My train of thought drifted to all the changes coming in his life as he prepares to finish high school, start college and end his hockey career. ¬†Wow, I am driving to his last game.

Wait, wha…?. His last game? MY last game as a hockey aunt? How is that possible?

My hockey nephewsHockey has been a big part of my life since my nephews came on the scene. Sure I was brought up around the game – I do live in Canada – and my older brother played for awhile but I never really liked it until the little ones got into it. Garrett and Colton started skating at 3 and playing hockey at 5. Now they’re a couple of weeks away from being 20 and 18! Suddenly after 16 great years, my stint as hockey aunty is up. Dang!

GarrettIt’s been an amazing gift watching these guys play, gain confidence and learn teamwork. I’ve seen them develop so many life skills through their sport and have nearly burst with pride over and over again. They share a similar style, both play left defence and have a wicked slap shot from the blue line. I love how Garrett wore #11 and Colton is #22. But what I’d really like to share is my list of confessions developed over the past 16 years and hundreds(?) of games as a hockey aunty:

  1. I don’t actually know the rules. I have a solid grasp of off-side and icing but the rest elude me. Sometimes you can put your stick up in the air, sometimes not. Fighting can get you a 2 minute penalty or 4 or 5? It’s confusing!
  2. I own a team jacket. It seemed like such a show of support at the time. Then the boys changed clubs and it became totally inappropriate. I think I wore it twice.
  3. Hockey encourages drinking, especially when your kids are in their teens and on fast-paced rep teams. When Garrett got to the stage where hitting was part of the games, I started holding my breath and having heart palpitations. I looked over at my brother, their Dad, and asked how he was remaining so calm. Bailey’s in the coffee mug. I glanced at my also calm sister-in-law. Amaretto in the tea. I got onto Frangelico for my game day coffee. We all vowed to go to rehab as soon as the season was over.
  4. It is a much better gig to be the hockey aunt than the hockey parent. Obviously I was not financially responsible for the registration, gear or travel expenses. I never did a concession shift and no early morning practices for me. Also, it’s far more acceptable, even endearing for the aunty to cheer her lungs out and leap up out of her seat at every goal than for the parent. I took this one to its limit with no shame whatsoever.
  5. Being a hockey spectator is a truly reasonable justification for any and all warm purchases. These include, but are not limited to: down jackets, cute scarves, hats, mittens, blankets, boots, socks, travel mugs and my personal fave, cashmere sweaters. You have to be warm.
  6. I only broke down and admitted I needed distance glasses when I could no longer see the puck and the numbers on player jerseys. Number 6, or was that 8? I had to cave.
  7. Lastly, I am going to miss it more than I can say. Thank you Colton and Garrett for making me the proudest hockey aunty on the planet! I have loved every minute of watching you play and become the athletes you are today. You amaze me!

ColtonNow does anyone have a young child I could perhaps foster and become a surrogate hockey aunt all over again? I already have the jacket!