Wednesday, July 25, 2012

slowing down time

Every once in a while, I discover something that inspires or triggers creativity...something that brings out the inner "Spielberg" or "Martha" in me.

Last year it was iMovie.  After creating a little video for my husband's birthday, I found that I love stringing together pictures and video set to music, bringing out the former film director/producer in me.

I remember during film school, we had to edit by carefully cutting each film strip to create a scene.  Stringing images together with the sound strip (which in itself, was an arduous task as you would have to lip read to ensure that everything was in sync).  iMovie has changed that (for me anyhow), and assembling videos takes 1/3 of the time.

Well, this summer I discovered a new iphone app that has stirred that fun creative side in me again.  It's a really easy app called SloPro. Consider it as a special effects app.  After taking video (it's best to use it for action type footage), you can manipulate it to slow down key highlights of the scene...essentially it's a slow motion app.

We started to test this app with a simple action like jumping in the backyard.  

Then the kids had a great idea of doing it at the pool, using the slow motion effect on their cannonball dives in mid-air and immersing into the water.  

Here's TheB's dive...

And here's TheG's dive...

What I loved about this was the twinkle in the eye of the kids when I showed them this.  And the only took about 5 minutes to do each of these videos!  Oh the possibilities..."We can do this in the winter when we ski/snowboard!  We can 'slow mo' some bike tricks when we're on the trails!  We can film Grandma and Grandpa blowing out candles at their birthday!"  

I think we should film their Dad golfing...and help him analyze his swing ;)

Anyway, 16 videos and 2 days later...we're were still playing and tinkering with this new app (free on can pay for the pro version which gives you more flexibility in terms of posting the video).  

Loads of fun...and a great way to slow down time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

red sky at night

What is the secret to a long and successful marriage?

For my in-laws 50th anniversary, my husband was the Master of Ceremonies for their anniversary dinner, and spoke of what made his parents marriage last for so long.  While he was working on his speech, it made me do some thinking about what the real secret is.  

As I was watching my in laws greet their guests, everything so carefully orchestrated and in its place, I noticed that there was this kind of dance between them.  It was almost like they've done this routine a million times before.  Each knew which step they were supposed to take, trusted their partner with their laid out plans, and for the most part, they stuck with them.  If their plans for some reason deviates, they've prepared enough to be flexible and adapt (well, one of them at least), so they have a "new plan" in place.

Being raised in the country, both of them learned to understand natures' cues...nature's way of telling you the plans for the day, as dictated by the weather.  I've heard many sayings from them..."April showers bring May flowers". "Rain before seven, sun by eleven". "Red sky at night, sailor's delight, but red sky in the morning, sailor's warning".

I think that's how they've lived in their marriage...letting nature take its course, really listening and observing not just to each other, but to what's around them and always preparing themselves for storms or bumper crops...always prepared.  There was always a routine.  They always paid their bills on time.  Meals were had at set times throughout the day.  Bedtime remained relatively the same every night.  And nothing was taken for granted. 

Although I like to throw caution in the wind occasionally, and try something new and exciting, there is something to be said about routine.  Something a favourite family recipe, there are no surprises...just the trust of knowing exactly what kind of warmth and comfort that will greet you when you savour your first bite.

The same thing, I guess, can be said about marriage.  That although there will be storms, bumper crops (of either children or wealth), or deviations on the journey, sometimes routine is comforting.  Knowing that no matter what battles there are out in the real world, when you come home, you know the warmth waiting for you.

One night before the anniversary dinner, the sky was as red as can be.  And there was no question, what kind of day was planned for us the next day.  We knew it would be sunny and bright...and filled with delight.  

And it was.

Our  Family Favourite 
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). 
  • Mash bananas.
  • Add oil, egg and vanilla.  Stir.
  • Add sugar, baking soda and salt, until mixed.
  • Add the flour and mix well.
  • Fold in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  • Pour mixture into a greased 4x8 inch loaf pan. 
  • Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hour. 
  • Let cool on rack.

Slice, serve and enjoy.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

northern dreams

It's that time of year again...where we start heading north to enjoy nature...camping trips and visits to the in-laws cottage. 

It's also that time when I start renovating and my head at least.  I begin looking at available real estate listings of waterfront properties (very few and far between in our price range), and start decorating. My imagination usually runs wild... "If I just paint that white, or add a bunkie there..." as I fantasize of the kids playing in the water, and sun and sand inspired parties with family and friends.

The most fun part of dreaming about recreational homes, is looking at ones that are out there right now and imagining how to personalize it.  Something that represents a sophisticated point in time where you can enjoy nature and life.  A place where you can enjoy the elements of all seasons...water and snow.  I see so many designs that speak to me...appealing to my classic and sophisticated aesthetic, but comfortable and "rugged" enough to take all the skis, boots, dirt bikes, canoes and equipment that is required in a recreational home.

I stumbled upon this beautiful place.  It has a mini golf course for putting practice (for the avid golfers in the house). It also has a fresh beach feel to it...a place where you can imagine leaving flip flops and beach towels by the door. Enjoying the sand.

The wide planked floors are solid, strong, beautiful against the stone beams, and the beamed ceilings.

In the kitchen, you can see an island where you can casually entertain...the bar stools remind me of an old english pub where friends meet and everyone knows your name.  

Just beside the kitchen, you can see the dining room...a little beach inspired, with a clean aesthetic and sophisticated elements for more formal occasions.  But the rustic table suggests that formal entertaining doesn't necessarily mean stuffy...guests can be refined and sophisticated while still feeling comfortable in sandals.

Antiqued wood, seagrass elements and colour schemes suggest warmth...a place for active winter guests.

 And beautiful bright, light filled rooms with views of the water and summer breezes.

The interior designer/architect firm, Jauregui Architects designed this beautiful place.  They've appropriately called this place "Hill Country Modern".  It's a little country.  A little modern.  

It's really...simply beautiful.

{ Photo source for all pictures (except the 1st picture of the water dock):  Jauregui Architects}

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

strength and independence

Today is a day I'm thinking of a friend who's son is moving to another country to live with his father.  It's a heartbreaking situation, and she is working towards keeping it together for her young daughter who is still living with her.

There are other sad stories I've heard lately...just this past weekend, a teenaged girl was killed in a car accident as she and her group of friends were on their way home from their weekend getaway...a post-graduation celebration.

And a good friend of my in-laws was just diagnosed with colon cancer.  

I think of how quickly life can turn in a different direction in an instant, and how small we humans really are in the grande scheme of things.  Today, there will be an announcement of the "God particle", which is thought to have answers to understanding mass and order to the universe.

Although that is an amazing scientific discovery, I think this week, all three families above will be seeking different answers.  All three situations above are vastly different, but there is an underlying notion that the loved ones left behind are trying to seeking answers of strength.  That they are now wondering what independence will entail.  How to fight to keep your loved ones with you, or cope with worry or sadness when they are no longer there.

So, it is fitting that this week, with Canada Day on July 1 and Independence Day (in the US) on July 4, that we think of all those who are struggling with independence.  Those who seek jobs so their family can be financially independent.  Those who seek medical solutions so they can be physically independent.  Or those who just need help them find strength and spiritual independence.

There is light at the end of the tunnel...and I hope they find the path to peace and happiness.