Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Cheetos were meant to be orange

Distracted at the window
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm ashamed to admit I've been snacking more than usual of late. Tension does that to me.

I'm trying to offset the dietary pothole by walking whenever I can, but in a world where the mere act of going outside is now fraught with danger and fear, my smartwatch regrets to inform me that I've become a couch potato.

During one of my full-combat grocery runs earlier this week, I loaded up on snack foods because, let's face it, they bring us comfort. And the thought of the fam smiling at my haul when I got home weighed heavily on my mind as I carefully assembled a pile of goodies that would have made a nutritionist squirm.

There's that word again, family. If they smile, it's a good day. End of story.

Among my unhealthy haul was a bag of Cheetos. Specifically, white cheddar. I chose them over the more traditional orange ones because I hate making a mess. A few bites in, I decided this would be my first and last attempt to challenge junk food history.

Because when you're looking for comfort, new-and-improved means little if it fails to remind you of what made it comforting in the first place. Childhood Carmi ate the orange ones. He made a mess in the process, and many a white t-shirt never fully recovered because of his cheesy addiction.

This...just wasn't the same. The kids smiled when I got home, but they ate the Snickers bars instead. Smart kids.

The dog? She was too busy barking at the squirrel on the other side of the patio doors to notice. Some things never change.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #food #foodporn #stilllife #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything


I keep seeing signs

Where children lead the way
London, ON
April 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm seeing more signs pop up in our #LdnONT neighborhood, spontaneous examples of community spirit that never fail to prompt a smile.

It's hard to put into words how much I look forward to seeing them as I make my rounds with our dog. It may seem like a small gesture, or even a useless one, but I can guarantee you it is neither.

Nor will it be quickly forgotten when we eventually put all this - whatever "all this" is - behind us. Like so many facets of the current crisis, signs in sidewalk chalk, or taped to front doors and windows, and streetlamps, are fast becoming signatures of our time, indelible markers that will forever seal what it felt like to be right in the middle of it.

Like so many other aspects of our strangely turned-around day-to-day life, this is one loop that won't be closed anytime soon. The artists are largely invisible. We're all boxed into our homes. Or deftly avoiding each other when we're out. So there are no thank yous. No impromptu discussions with chalk-wielding neighbor-kids and their parents about how appreciative we are to be blessed by these small-but-not-so-small gestures.

Instead, there's a moment of warm realization of the goodness of others as we quickly do what we need to do outside before scurrying back to the safety of our homes. A reminder that kids and the rest of us alike are lucky at all to have ample supplies of chalk, great parents who show us the best way to use it, and safe homes to return to.

I'll keep looking for these signs, I'll keep sharing them, and I hope you will, as well. Because it's the small things that will help see us through. And I'd like to think some pretty powerful seeds of kindness are already being planted in the minds of children who are trying to make sense of what must seem, to them, to make no sense at all.

#london #ontario #canada #chalk #circle #signs #messages #socialdistancing #physicaldistancing #random #suburban #street #photography #coronavirus #covid19 #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, April 06, 2020

The case of the missing donut

Glazed over
London, ON
April 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram
#3YearsOn, the mystery of who ate the sixth donut persists.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #donut #food #foodie #foodporn #instafood #foodphography #foodstagram #stilllife #throwback #blackberry #priv #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Sunday, April 05, 2020

The case of the TV-addicted puppy

What's on?
London, ON
April 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Reason #1,822 why she's annoying: She hogs the remote.

We love her regardless, and can't imagine what this sliver of history would feel like without her.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Because somewhere, it's somebody's birthday

Always celebrate
London, ON
April 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Yes, this is a birthday cake. No, nobody in our home was having a birthday. But we celebrated anyway.

Like so many others, we've been looking for little ways to find joy. Shared movie nights, board games at the kitchen table, puppy parkour, reading our favorite memes, counting birds out the window, whatever.

I've become our designated shopper. My wife builds comprehensive grocery lists, which I then take on full-combat missions to the store. Death stares to anyone who gets too close? Of course.

Sometimes she includes a treat or two on the list. Again, that little-ways-to-find-joy thing. Or maybe it's the counting-our-blessings thing. Or maybe it's a little bit of both.

Either way, this time the ask was for a simple white cake with white icing.

As you can imagine, the pickings were slim. So when I saw this one, I knew the smile back home would be a smidge wider than it would have been otherwise.

The cake was just okay, but the moment it came through the front door was priceless.

Whatever crosses your front door these days, keep finding those priceless moments, keep counting your blessings, and keep celebrating, even if it doesn't qualify for calendar status.

Rules, after all, were made to be broken. Some of them, that is. You'll still get the death stare if you get too close.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #birthday #cake #celebrate #food #foodie #foodporn #instafood #foodphography #foodstagram #stilllife #covid19 #coronavirus #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, April 04, 2020

The endless wait

Empty bench on an empty road
London, ON
April 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Friday, 11:15 p.m.

Not too long ago, this bench was covered by a glassed-in bus shelter. Then one day, it wasn't.

No matter, because no one waits here anymore. The busses still run. They're empty, but they run, driven by those unsung heroes who keep society from collapsing into abject dysfunction despite it all.

I wave at them as they drive past because it feels like the only thing I can do in the moment. It's a powerless gesture, but it's something. A little something. And little somethings still matter. Indeed, they always did. Somewhere along the way we just decided to forget.

This is a lousy photo, constrained largely by the bouncy puppy at the other end of the leash, and the ridiculously low light. In another time, I'd come back dogless, armed with my DSLR and tripod. I'd wait for the moment; make it a proper shoot.

But this isn't another time. So this is what we end up with. An empty bench where no one waits because no one goes anywhere. Where we wait, elsewhere, for any sign that the trajectory of this dark nightmare is showing any signs, however small, of a shift toward the light.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #urban #suburban #street #night #monochrome #photography #stilllife #coronavirus #covid19 #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, April 03, 2020

Someone's got a really big mouth

Tired? Bored? Hard to tell.
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I clearly need to do a better job keeping her entertained. Suggestions welcome.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Looking for life in high places

Emerging under a bright blue sky
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It can often be hard to see the forest for the trees.

At least that's what we've been told. And I'm writing this because I no longer believe it.

We see forests when we deliberately look for them. Same goes for individual trees. Or branches. Or, as I'm trying to illustrate by this really lousy photo, tiny buds.

Which explains why I'm sharing this, now. We're surrounded by so much darkness. Yet just above our heads, the trees are still going about their business as they have since, ah, forever. And the buds are starting to appear.

That's it. Nothing more profound than that. Life has an inspiring habit of being far more defiant than we'd imagine. Amid chaos and each headline becoming more frightening than the last, life finds a way to embed, to emerge, to thrive.

Just make sure you're finding the time to deliberately look for it.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #forest #trees #tree #blue #sky #random #urban #suburban #street #photography #socialdistancing #covid19 #coronavirus #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, April 02, 2020

When chalk circles disappear

Inspired messaging
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The rains washed most of #LdnONT's sidewalk chalk signs away, but the sun is out again this morning, so perhaps they'll sprout again soon.

Until then, here's one I grabbed before the heavens opened up. Of all the ones I saw that day, it's the one I fervently hope we hold onto most tightly as we begin to eventually put this chapter in history behind us.

Wouldn't that be an amazing legacy?

#london #ontario #canada #chalk #circle #signs #messages #socialdistancing #physicaldistancing #random #suburban #street #photography #coronavirus #covid19 #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Dog of thirds

Look me straight in the eyes
London, ON
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
You may have noticed something funny going on in my Instagram feed of late.

No, I'm not smuggling bootleg electronics across international borders. Nor have I suddenly taken up a bad habit, like smoking lawn clippings. Or drinking moonshine out of the back of a '74 Dodge pickup. Or registered for a competitive full-contact origami league. I'm not planning on changing my name anytime soon, either, or becoming a goth dark lord.

It has to do with our dog. You may know her: An almost-3-year-old Miniature Schnauzer named Calli. She whines constantly, barks loudly enough to wake the dead, and listens to us about as well as eight-year-old Carmi once listened to his teachers.

I got it into my head that it would be fun to give her some regular love in my feed. Because these are tough times, and we've all got to find creative ways to make them not so tough. Happiness amid darkness and all that, and what's happier than a dog?

So for the past couple of weeks or so, every third photo has been of her. Why every third one? Because Insta uses a three-photo-per-row layout, and my bizarro brain thought it would be fun to have a vertical line of dog pics running through my feed.

So I'll start with her, but for extra variety maybe I'll throw in pics of other dogs, as well. Or other animals. Because we love all living creatures.

I know, lame.

Either way, I'll use the #ActOfDog hashtag, and invite you to do the same if you know of any dog or animal whose photo or story or both would make others smile.

Aaaaaand....go!

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

The signs under our feet

Keep away, please
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Is this a sign of the times or a hint at our new normal?

I stood over this sticker that had been stuck to the floor in the vegetable aisle of our nearly empty local grocery yesterday for an inordinately long time, pondering this very question.

I was musing about how quickly the visuals of our day-to-day lives had changed: Separation stickers on floors, sneeze guards on cashier checkout stands, the inevitable dance of distance as two dog-walkers approach each other at an intersection.

It seems somewhat disrespectful to even think about it - here I am, pondering the meaning of stickers while hundreds of thousands of people are fighting for their lives, and for the lives of others. But it's difficult to ignore how profoundly this event has already altered the planet and shifted how we live.

Long after the story fades from the top of the news cycle, I suspect we'll be living with the permanently altered landscape of a society that's far more aware of the dangers of invisible pathogens - and the limits of what we thought was once invulnerable medical technology.

We hear politicians speak about timelines for returning to something approaching normal, yet I wonder what "normal" even is, and whether or not that's even something we should be holding out there for ourselves, like a giant carrot at the end of a very long stick.

Normal didn't exist before reports started emerging of this mysterious new illness, and it doesn't exist now. The world has changed, there's no going back, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just the way life plays out, and change is simply how we live.

Sometimes, it looks like this, is all.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #stilllife #grocery #store #retail #farmboy #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Toyota Tao of Pooh

Comfort in a parking lot far from home
Laval, QC
August 2016
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm not a bumper sticker person, so I don't understand why anyone would muck up the paint on their car so they can serve up free advertising for multi-billion-dollar global conglomerates.

But on occasion, I'll come across a vehicle that makes me smile. And given my weakness for all things Winnie the Pooh, it was destiny that I'd eventually cross paths with this particular Toyota Yaris.

Whoever owned the car must have been a hardcore A. A. Milne fan, because a stuffed Pooh was sitting proudly in the middle of the back seat. Mad respect.

I share it now because it brought happiness to me when I first saw it on a warm afternoon just north of Montreal 3-and-a-half years ago. And it brings me happiness now that the world feels a lot colder.

Indeed, it may yet be a figuratively blustery day in the 100 Acre Wood, but as long as you're surrounded - really, virtually, or some combination thereof - by those who bring you joy, you'll have everything you need to get through the storm.

Thanks Pooh. And thanks to the stranger who made this moment happen.

#chomedey #laval #montreal #quebec #canada #throwback #winniethepooh #red #toyota #yaris #random #street #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #blackberry #passport #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Dog wrap

Pictures again?
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Y'all seem to be enjoying the dog pics. I'm not sure Calli is on-board, but I'm not giving her much choice here. More on the way, k?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, March 30, 2020

Empty roads late at night

Don't stand here
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Wonderland Road North, Sunday, 10:44 p.m.

The streets are, to no one's surprise, empty. Most folks - outside of the essential heroes keeping us healthy, fed, and serviced - have anywhere to go, so what would normally be a heavily trafficked arterial road is now an overly wide stretch of empty asphalt. It's more than a little sad to see.

But what looks like sadness to some presents as opportunity to others. And I think to myself, "Myself, when is it going to be this abandoned again?"

Which explains how I came to be wandering around the lanes late at night taking photos of this surreal scene that could have been lifted straight out of Will Smith's I Am Legend. Not exactly the smartest move, but I'll call it a reasonable risk worth taking. Because I feel an overwhelming need to remember what this extraordinary period in human history both looks and feels like, and sometimes that storytelling involves doing things a little differently.

That word: Storytelling. Make sure you tell your story through all of this, in any way that makes sense to you. When all else is stripped away, this is what we're left with.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #socialdistancing #random #urban #suburban #street #wonderland #road #night #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, March 29, 2020

No humping

Swept away
London, ON
March 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Be careful when you take pictures of rail yards.

Why?

Because train cops are a thing (who knew?) Moreover, some of them track social media. And sometimes they call your employer and accuse you of trespassing.

For the record, I was being a good boy here. I stood on a public sidewalk, and used my longish lens to reach into the railyard and capture this gloomy scene on a foggy morning.

Once I explained this to my new train cop friend, he agreed I didn't deserve to be tossed into the choo-choo pokey. And I had a new story to add to my growing list.

If only all adventures could be this trivial. If only this represented our biggest worry when heading out to share stories from the world around us.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #train #rail #throwback #weather #wx #fog #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Dog burrito time

The best place for a nap
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
When the world feels a bit like a disturbed snow globe, it never hurts to wrap your puppy up like a burrito and gently rock her to sleep.

Calli the Wonderschnauzer is usually a bit more, um, high-strung than she is here. But Dahlia, like all our kids, has a certain soft touch with this otherwise bouncy dog. And Calli happily goes into chill mode whenever her big human sister wants to spend some quality time together.

It's a reminder that everything around us has something of a silver lining. We may not have the freedom of movement and gathering that we normally enjoy. We may think the overwhelming sense of uncertainty and loss of control represent the sum total of our current situation

We may want to rethink that narrative.

There's a flip side to all of this, and it revolves around time; specifically the ample amounts of it that we've been gifted. To just be. With the people - and sometimes animals - who make us whole.

I hope, as we stare out from our isolated windows and wonder what comes next, we're able to recognize the blessing among the fear.

It's there. Trust the burrito-wrapped dog and our very perceptive daughter.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #parenthood #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Little man amid the waves

Tentative
Delray Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
On a late December afternoon, I stood on the #DelrayBeach sand and did nothing more than watch our son walk into the surf.

The weather refused to cooperate, and eventually the rains forced everyone to scatter.

By any definition, not the best beach day.

But here's the thing: Definitions don't always tell the full story.

First, it was a cool-ish, windy day to begin with, so the place wasn't as crowded as it would usually be at this time of year. That's a bonus for me, because I hated crowds long before COVID-19 made it socially acceptable.

Second, the winds were epic, which resulted in delightfully strong waves. Understandably dangerous for swimming, but a sensory treat for anyone whose idea of fun is to stand there and drink it in. Like me.

Third, the approaching rains made for an entertaining sky, including the eventual appearance of a rainbow on the horizon (photo for another day, I promise.)

In other words, it wasn't the experience most folks would associate with the so-called Perfect Beach Day ideal. But we can't live life waiting for ideals to present themselves. I'd rather make do with whatever we get, whenever we get it.

This is what we got. And by its own definition, it was a uniquely wonderful day that we won't soon forget.

Given where the planet finds itself today, memories like this one take on even more importance. Hold onto them tightly.

#delray #beach #florida #fla #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #waves #atlantic #ocean #water #texture #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Lighting up those boxes in the sky

Order from light
London, ON
March 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
When the setting sun decides to dance across the facade of a nearby apartment building, we have a choice.

Look up. Or look away.

I'll always look up. Because I'd hate to miss a good show.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #architecture #architecturephotography #design #texture #shadow #sun #downtown #building #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, March 27, 2020

She sleeps

Ignorance is bliss
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Little dog. Big bed. Even bigger dreams.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everythıng

Seeing signs, everywhere

Just look down
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm seeing signs like this - inspirational, poignant, kind - pop up all over my #LdnONT neighborhood, and I'm going to guess it's happening near you, as well.

I'll share more of them in my feed here, and I hope you'll do the same.

In the meantime, I'm going to try to follow this specific sign's advice. Because we all need more reasons to smile, even if those reasons aren't always immediately apparent.

#london #ontario #canada #chalk #circle #message #socialdistancing #random #suburban #street #photography #coronavirus #covid19 #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Tread carefully

Painted by the sun
London, ON
February 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We're blessed to work in a building that offers up architectural wonder around every corner. All we have to do is keep our eyes open - and our spirits willing.

Since we're all working from home, the sights will have to wait for a while. As will the in-person moments of warmth that no videoconferencing platform can ever hope to replicate. Technology can only do so much.

Yet as I poke through my recent photo archives, I keep coming across snippets here and there, quickly captured scenes of a building that's become much more than a mere office to many of us.

Maybe I subconsciously knew something was up. Perhaps I suspected, deep down, that we wouldn't be able to take walkarounds like this for granted.

Whatever compelled me to shoot this scene of the main staircase, looking back in time at a simple moment during a simple workday reminds me we're still ridiculously lucky to be who we are, where we are, with what we have.

Soon enough we'll get back to this staircase, and our colleagues, and our lives. It grieves me how many among us can't say the same.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #345ridout #infotechrg #itrg #historic #architecture #architecturephotography #design #texture #shadow #sun #downtown #office #building #stilllife #monochrome #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

A random toilet by the roadside

Not sure what to make of this
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
[Insert cheeky sign-of-the-times comment here.]

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheachnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everythıng

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A frightening crowd of people

Before anyone knew better
London, ON
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This photo makes me cringe.

I took it January 26th - which may as well have been a lifetime ago. My wife surprised me with two tickets to the London Knights game, so off we went to Budweiser Gardens with around 9,000 of our closest friends to take in some admittedly awesome minor-league hockey.

If you've never been, add it to your list of things to do when this entire mess is over. The tickets are cheap, the hockey is remarkably high-caliber, and the feeling is one of community. This is what the game should be all about.

As I often do when I'm out and about, I brought the camera, and I stole a few frames in between watching the good guys win.

Looking through my typically 20-20 lens of hindsight, I’m struck by how the sight of crowds now makes me feel. Knowing what we know now, I wonder how we’ll ever go back to being comfortable among knots of people again. Disclosure: I never liked crowds to begin with.

That’s a thought for another today, though. For now, it’s enough to remember a simpler night in a simpler time, when our biggest worry was who would put more pucks in a net before time ran out.

What we wouldn’t give to go back.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #knights #hockey #sports #night #datenight #budweisergardens #downtown #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything