Friday, August 07, 2020

Moon crashes into CN Tower

So close, and yet so far
Toronto, ON
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Toronto's CN Tower is an iconic part of the skyline of Canada's largest city. Indeed, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, it is the very signature of this place.

And like all signature buildings, we'll never run out of new ways to appreciate them.

To wit, this scene that I managed to grab in the middle of my morning commute to the Toronto office from my home in London. As I stepped out of Union Station on my way to the subway, the sight of the moon almost intersecting with the tower caught my eye, and I knew I had to extricate myself from the seething herd.

I was amused at how the visual suggested they were incredibly close together, but reality dictated otherwise. 240,000 or so miles, all compressed into a tiny sliver of sky.

For the rest of my journey to the office, I tossed around the duality of that simple moment: Things aren't always as they seem. And we're never as close as we think we are.

#toronto #london #ontario #canada #cn #tower #cntower #architecture #architecturephotography #building #design #moon #blue #sky #downtown #building #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #zoom #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Where you bean?

Natural goodness
London, ON
February 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Eat your greens.

Or shoot them first, then eat them.

Because we all need a little more color.

Because even the tiniest amount of spice makes all the difference.

Because freezing moments in the kitchen - or anywhere else - makes people smile.

Because food is the great human connector, and everyone's got a great meal story. Or ten.

Maybe someday I'll tell you some of mine.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #green #beans #vegetables #veggies #food #foodie #foodporn #instafood #foodphotography #foodstagram #stilllife #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On Empathy

Our latest #IfYouReadOneThingToday suggestion is a searing read from the dean of American journalism.

Since he retired from the anchor chair of the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather has carved out a niche as one of the sharpest-penned observers of the American condition. An entire half of our super-polarized population probably will never read him, but they ignore his perspective at their peril.

Sadly, I fear those most in need of understanding what empathy truly is are the ones least likely to read, and understand, this article.

By Dan Rather
Buzzfeed

#longreads

Seven years on...

Where magic happens
London, ON
August 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


7 years ago today, I had a stroke.

I've written about this jarring experience just about every year since it happened, so there isn't a whole lot left to say about it that I haven't already shared.

In a blink, a few tiny misplaced clots of blood turned my life in a new direction. Lesson learned: The smallest things can have the biggest impact.

I often get asked what it's like. Well, I am now the proud owner of a terrible sense of balance, and I'm dizzy. All. The. Time. When I walk, I often have to fight the feeling that I'm about to melt back into the pavement. I've learned how to deal with it in the day-to-day, almost as a background thing. In other words, I suck it up.

Compared to other stroke survivors, I'm freakishly lucky. I suffered no cognitive or physical impairment, and I still get to do all the stuff I love to do. That's blessed in any language.

I freak out whenever I get a headache, and worry if it's a sign of something worse.

I linger over small things way more intently than is probably healthy. Small joys aren't so small, so I hold onto them especially tightly, sometimes to the annoyance of folks who know me.

I've become very picky about the people I hang out with. Because I'd hate to think I chose to spend precious time with the wrongs when I should have been surrounded by the rights. It isn't mean-spirited: Just pragmatic.

I worry about falling asleep and not waking up. Not so much for me, but for everyone else. Which brings us to my biggest worry:

Something I did has reshaped my wife and kids, and will shadow them indefinitely.

Debbie often waves her hand over me while I sleep to ensure I'm still breathing. Our kids were exposed way too early to the terrifying reality that parents are mortal. That wasn't supposed to happen until they were much older. But "supposed to" isn't ever promised us by the universe, no matter how much we wish it could be.

I blame myself for taking that ride, for choosing that particular route that ended in a construction zone, for not knowing you could tear an artery with a simple shoulder check. If I had played it differently, none of this would have happened. These past seven years are all on me. My fault.

But on balance, I got seven bonus years. I was given the chance to look, hard, at my life and try to be a better person. I should just can the guilt and be thankful.

And so I shall.

--
About this photo: I was on my bike north of the city when I accidentally tore my left carotid artery and touched off my medical adventure. University Hospital is where some of the best doctors and nurses on the planet gave me back my life. It seemed appropriate to ride back there for a photo. I owe them a lot more than mere pixels, though.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #stroke #awareness #university #hospital #cycling #life #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Related entries:
- So, about that stroke - August 2014
- More stroke stuff... - August 2014
- Coming up on Canada AM - Lookahead to February 2015 interview
- Winding down the day that was - February 2015 - incl link to Canada AM/Heart/Stroke Month segment
- Life at the crossroads - April 2015
- Two years on... - August 2015
- Three bonus years - August 2016
- Four years later - August 2017
- Five years on - August 2018

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Little girl on a Shanghai street

Always hold my hand, Mom
Shanghai, China
May 2012
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It's been eight years since I shot this fleeting scene on a crowded, hot, humid Shanghai street.

The little girl seen here is hopefully a lot bigger, and hopefully pursuing whatever it is that she hopes to pursue.

I often wonder about the strangers I happen to capture in a photo. I think about where they've ended up, and I quietly hope they're doing OK.

#shanghai #china #throwback #may2012 #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #random #urban #street #photography #child #parenthood #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, August 03, 2020

Life is a blur

Oops
Knoxville, TN
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Behold the accidental photo.

My archives are littered with them, and I don't have the heart to get rid of them because each one tells a story of where we were when it was taken, what we were doing, and even how it might have felt.

This time out, we were in the parking lot of a lovely new hotel in Knoxville, TN. Obviously, this was a "before" photo, before the world changed.

We were on our way back from Florida, starting the second day of a planned two-day drive. The kids were happy. The car bubbled with good-natured grumbling about long drives, lousy weather, and the fact that we were pointed in the wrong direction. Because everyone knows when you're vacationing, you'd rather be headed toward the beach and not away from it.

Road trips, like pretty much everything else in my life, come with their own rituals. Before we set off, I plug the phone in and take pictures of the odometer and GPS screens. The geotagged pictures then become indelible memories of a trip that might otherwise be lost to time.

Somewhere along the way, I accidentally snapped this blurry mess of HVAC controls, hazard button, and a few other things I can't recognize. Once upon a time, I probably would have deleted it outright as I reviewed the photo logs, but I hesitated on this one.

Because more than any other photo I took at 9:19 a.m.-ish on January 4th, 2020, this one puts me right into the driver's seat, and replays the moment in my mind's eye in perfect fidelity.

Powerful stuff from a picture that probably deserves to be round-filed. But I'm glad I didn't. And I'm guessing you probably have some doozers in your own archives - along with infinitely rich stories to accompany them.

If you're so inclined, I'm certain I'm not the only one who would love to learn more about your own accidental photo experiences.

#knoxville #tennessee #tn #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #i75 #tru #hilton #hotel #blurry #stilllife #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Watching SpaceX nail the landing

Space puppy!
London, ON
August 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


She wanted to witness history, so who was I to deny her?

We threw NASA-TV up on the big screen and watched every nail-biting moment of the Crew Dragon ship Endeavour's return from orbit after yesterday's departure from the #ISS. It was, in a word, awesome.

Welcome home, Bob and Doug. Profound thanks to you, and the entire #SpaceX and #NASA family, for reminding us what achievement, humility, and leadership look like.

Next up, Crew-1. We'll be watching. Because hope knows no borders, even for a dog.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dm2 #crewdragon #endeavour #splashdown #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

An oasis in the dark

You'll find warmth here
Elginfield, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This restaurant is a beacon in the darkness for so many, an oasis of welcoming warmth for travellers criss-crossing the agricultural hinterlands of southern Ontario.

It's been here forever, and I can't imagine this corner, tucked as it is between farms and intersecting regional highways, without it.

I suspect I'm not the only one who sees this place as something more than somewhere we eat.

#elginfield #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #northstar #restaurant #random #night #country #rural #roadside #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #nightphotography #nightmode #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, August 01, 2020

It's a spaghetti squash extravaganza

Bet you can't eat just one
London, ON
August 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We ran low on groceries - who knew that kids eat? - so off to the store we went. While we were there, I couldn't resist the urge to shoot some fruitography*.

We didn't pick up any spaghetti squash on this trip, but the sheer loveliness of the display was impossible to ignore.

Whether you're in a grocery store or anywhere else, I hope you, too, look for these tiny little below-the-radar scenes. They're everywhere. All we have to do is find them.

*Fruitography is my completely made-up concept whereby I take a camera into the fruit/vegetable section and go wild. Optically, that is. I've been doing it for years, and it makes an otherwise routine food run infinitely more fun.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #grocery #store #loblaws #fruitography #shopping #retail #random #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything


Countryside at night

Crossroads
Elginfield, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Scene from a roadside in Elginfield, Ontario.

Because every once in a while, it soothes the soul to drive into the country and take in the view.

It isn't always spectacular, but that's actually why this place captivates so.

The view, in every direction, is dominated by simple shapes, colors, and textures, all sculpted by forces unconstrained by overbuilt urban infrastructure.

Or maybe it isn't as simple as the eye first perceives. I'll leave that for my next visit. Or maybe the one after that. I'll just have to keep coming back to try to figure it out.

Maybe I'll never figure it out at all - and that's perfectly okay, too.

#elginfield #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #night #sky #country #rural #roadside #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, July 31, 2020

Someone painted the sky again

Reach for it
London, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We live in a great, big, beautiful world, capped off by a sky that quite literally and perpetually redraws itself, in real-time.

Granted, if we spent all our time staring up at it, we'd never get anything done back on the ground. But there's no reason we can't steal away moments here and there to appreciate the things that take our breath away. Right over our heads.

I hope when you do, the sky puts on an even lovelier show than it did for me the other evening.

Because we all need an excuse to get outside. Because we all deserve to have our breath taken away.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sky #sunset #blue #sky #clouds #light #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

COVID Alert goes live. Finally.

If you live in Ontario, the pilot for the national contact tracing app, known as COVID Alert, goes live today and is available for download for all Apple and Android devices.

I’ve just downloaded it, and suggest you do the same. It’s what Canadians - community-minded folks who want to do the right thing - do.


Additional Government of Canada Links:



Little Man finishes his teens

Adulting at the altar of democracy
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


And just like that, he’s 20.

In my mind’s eye, Noah was just born, our Little Man completing our perfect trio of kids, the final piece in the delightful puzzle that is our family.

But time has a funny way of moving faster than we might think, and before we knew it he had blossomed into a razor-sharp, creative, funny, and kind human being. My wife once called him “The Complete Package,” a phrase that very much fits him.

He is the natural center of whatever room he’s in, and a wonderful friend to a lifelong circle of many. He’s the kind of kid any parent could hope for, the kind of adult any parent wishes that kid would grow into.

We can’t wait to see what he has planned next. We love you, Noah Mayer Gideon Levy. May you continue to go from strength to strength.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #parenthood #birthday #boy #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Perseverance leaves for Mars

Ready to go
Merritt Island, FL
July 2020
This screen grab originally shared on Instagram


Some days are more historic than others, and today is one of those days.

I woke up early to watch a nuclear-powered rover - @MARSPersevere - leave Earth for the final time and point itself toward Mars. We've done this before: Pathfinder/Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity. But it never gets old, and each mission goes that much further than those that came before it.

I've written before about why space exploration matters perhaps more back home than it does out there. And this is probably more true now than at any time in history. When the planet runs into turbulence, we look for inspiring achievements to remind us of the best in humanity. That we're more than what we scroll past in our Facebook feeds, and better than what we see on the evening news.

So we watch the best of the best in the scientific community do their thing and send robotic emissaries to other worlds. And we hope their devotion to advancing the state of the human race somehow rubs off on the rest of us.

#Mars2020 #CountdownToMars #Mars #NASA #Perseverance

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Ball of sleep

What dreams may come
London, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I don’t know what she dreams about, but I’ve got to believe that whatever’s bouncing around between those schnu ears of hers, it’s being powered by bright, happy, comforting thoughts.

And when she wakes up, her favourite bone - okay, chewable, bone-shaped toy - will be waiting for her.

So she can make new memories, and new happies for future dreams.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Say goodnight, sky

Touch the sky

There's something resonant about the fading light of a late summer evening, the gradient of blue that sticks with you long after the final flickers have gone dark..

Which makes me glad I looked up this time. Because no one wants to miss the show.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sky #sunset #twilight #silhouette #night #trees #light #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Logo on a space shuttle's wing

Back home for good
Merritt Island, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Meatball or worm?

I ask only because we're two days away from NASA's planned launch of the Perseverance rover - @NASAPersevere - to Mars, and talking about all things spacey, even a decades-old debate over the space agency's preferred logo, is the perfect antidote to a challenging time.

So it may seem like a trivial question. But in reality it is anything but.

Safe exploration today, gang, wherever your adventures may take you.

#kennedy #space #center #ksc #kennedyspacecenter #florida #fla #spaceshuttle #shuttle #atlantis #ov104 #rocket #science #meatball #logo #aviation #avgeek #spaceflight #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, July 27, 2020

Stung!

‪Bee: 1. Carmi: 0.

Of course it’s a Monday.‬

Just shine

The look of efficiency
London, ON
June 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Be the light. We say it often, but rarely do we stop to think about its meaning. So let's start the workweek with a bit of a primer. Here's what I'm thinking:

Be kind to others. Not polite-kind, but truly kind, where you smile when you think of and interact with them. And when you smile, really smile. From your soul. None of this game-show-host silliness.

Skip a beat. Words and tones matter far more than we believe. And unlike a keyboard, once it's been said there is no delete key.

Be empathetic. We never know what's really going on in someone's head, home, life. Recognizing that everyone comes from somewhere, and is shaped by those experiences, can help us shape how we choose to interface with them.

Be the model. Don't just say it: Do it.

Be partnered. Life is not a zero sum game where someone has to lose in order for someone else to win. Our definition of competitiveness needs a rethink.

Be human. No one is perfect. It's perfectly okay to share your moments of weakness and vulnerability. And if you don't feel comfortable doing so, consider changing who you choose to share them with.

Cherish time - both yours and others. Remember that everyone is just as challenged as you to squeeze more out of what we've been given. Work together to maximize our collective moments.

I'm sure I've missed out on a bunch. Got any additional suggestions?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #light #bulb #led #power #light #lines #geometry #stilllife #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Pick a direction

Where Sunset meets Talbot
St. Thomas, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


On the road as in life, we'll all eventually arrive at a crossroads.

Humans being human, some of us may agonize over which way to turn. We'll twist ourselves into knots as we fret about making the wrong decision, going the wrong way, getting lost.

But here's the thing: On the road as in life, most of us are lucky enough to have been given the gift of time. Not unlimited amounts of it, or so much so that we can afford to waste it. But enough such that we're in it for the long(ish) haul.

Think marathon more than sprint. Now think none of this was ever a race at all. We get there when we get there. Even the concept of "there" is up for ongoing debate.

So if you take a wrong turn here and there, consider it a new chapter within an ever-unfolding journey.

There will be other crossroads ahead, other places along the road where you get to decide which way to go, other opportunities to discover things along the way you couldn't have begun to imagine when you first set out.

Besides, who wants to live life without ever once wondering what happens when we turn toward the unknown?

#stthomas #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #elevated #park #railway #train #bridge #landscape #green #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

The color of shoes

Choose your Kicks
London, ON
December 2016
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This may be the toughest decision you face today: Red or black?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #store #shopping #retail #red #black #white #converse #allstars #classic #style #light #shadow #stilllife #photography #throwback #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Grey is a color, too

Linear growth
London, ON
February 2012
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Not every day is going to have color in it.

But even monochrome days have their virtues.

And blacks, whites, and limitless shades of grey are colors all the same. We just need to change the lens we use to perceive them.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #monochrome #throwback #urban #street #landscape #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything