Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Heart Faces

I haven't entered a picture in I Heart Faces all summer long and thought I'd jump back in.

This week the focus on photojournalism. I looked back through my pictures and found a few that could be used to tell a story and then I stumbled upon this one. While faces may not be the main focus of the composition the way they are reflected in the Vietnam memorial tells the story.
I took this on one of my last weekends living in DC. It was a weekend with lots of tourists and while the city was packed with tons of people and tons of noise the memorial (which was also full of people) had a certain serenity about it. That serenity is reflected in the glossy memorial, people staring in awe of all those who died in the war, and absorbing the feelings of the memorial.

To check out more stories in pictures head on over to I Heart Faces

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Oh, Canada!

For my 21st birthday I asked mom for a trip to Canada, and due to circumstances beyond our control last summer, I finally redeemed the trip! We headed north to Montreal and had an amazing 5 days. It took us about 6 hours to get there and were really lucky and traffic was non existent.
Heading north!
The view most of the way, mountains, lots and lots of mountains.
You know you're in northern New York when you see a Moose Wind-vane at the rest stop...
Leaving the US for the first time in 4 years!
After 6 hours we finally see our destination!!

After checking into the hotel we found an AMAZING Indian Buffet, a mere block from our hotel (thank you gods of Hotels.com). We then wandered around the downtown near McGill U and just enjoyed the cool air and environment.

By the end of the evening I realized I know no French and how interestingly similar and different Canada/Montreal is from the US, all and all a nice start to vacation.

The day of Olympians!

Our first full day in Montreal we headed out to Parc Olimpique, the site of the 1976 Summer Games! It was slightly overcast, but beautiful none the less.
The Olympic rings!!
I am a champion (-:
We headed to the Tower - it is part of the park and you can ride up in this cable car to the top and have stunning views of the city, when it's not so overcast.
Despite the clouds we still had some great views. It was cool to get a birds eye view of the city on the first day we were in the city.
Next we headed to the Jardin Botanique. It was spectacular! I thought the NY Botanical Gardens were amazing, this just blew them out of the water!
They have an amazing Chinese garden, a Japenese garden, a forest dedicated to the First Nations, a garden of the senses for those who are visually impaired, a rose garden, and SO much more!
The Chinese garden has a light show each fall, they already had many of the lights up and they looked magical. Avi and Ben were lucky enough to see them lit up last year on their trip, makes me sorta jealous!
Of course I satiated my love for photographing flowers.
The Japanese garden had a Bonsai exhibit. This is a Bonsai maple forest. It looks like a movie set, it's unreal, except that it's real...
Okay, love love love the lighting on this picture!

The rest of this day we went to the Jean-Talon Farmer's market, an amazing year round market, with so many fresh fruits and veggies and more. I enjoyed some gelato and fancy French coffee.

For dinner we went to a Promenade, Rue Prince Arthur Est, we walked around and explored our options for a bit and chose a lovely Greek restaurant. We were able to eat outside and people watch, it was a lovely first day of vacation!!

Of Domes, Ports, and Museums.

Thursday, the sun was shining and the sky was blue!! We headed to Ile Ste Helene, the site of the Expo '67 World's Fair. Today it's a park, the site for a big amusement park, and the Biosphere. The Biosphere was the US's exposition during the World's Fair. Today it's a museum that focuses on preserving natural resources and the environment.
Mom and the Biosphere.
Amazing, during the World's Fair the fair's monorail passed through the sphere and there were various observation decks reached by escalator, very futuristic and very US.
They also had observation decks that you could go up on and see the surrounding area from. Pretty spectacular once again.

After we took a ferry back to Montreal, by way of another island. We got to go partially around Ile Ste Helene and got a nice view of La Ronde the amusement park at the tip of the island.
When we arrived at the Port it was getting a little rainy so we decided to explore the Science Museum. It had some really interesting exhibits. There was one on the science of glass which was really interesting. I took this picture in the A-Z exhibit which was a hands on way of teaching kids about balance, and perception, and weight, and all those scientific facts. This was the kalidescope section. Noting like a bunch of mirrors to prompt an impromptu photo shoot (-:

After the science museum we went to the Museum of Archeology and History. It has an amazing excavation under the museum that shows actual pipes and walls of Montreal from the 1800s and before! Sadly, no photography, but the memories are amazing. They also had an exhibit on Easter Island, and that was really cool to learn about.

Then we wandered around Old Montreal for a bit.
We discovered this little shop, it's the French Canadian Build-a-Bear!
This was an amazing promenade in the Old Town filled with shops and restaurants. We eventually discovered a lovely Thai place to enjoy.
But before we could chow down on Thai food we had to make one little stop! A Maple Syrup shop!!! I got to taste three types of maple syrup and I settled on a bottle of a lovely light maple syrup. It's harvested when the sap is very young so it has a light color, a mild but still sweet taste, and yeah just wow!
We decided to walk off dinner (as if we hadn't walked enough at this point). On the way back to the hotel we stumbled upon China Town! That was another fun area of the city to walk through!

Top of the Mont

Day three in Montreal and we were ready for more!
We began our day by heading to the Basilica Notre Dame. It is one of the oldest churches of its kind in North America and is absolutely stunning!
Really, why can't shuls be this awe inspiring??
This is one the largest pipe organs in the world, it is over 70,000 pipes, um wow.
This is the marriage chapel, romantic, no?

After the chuch we headed to the Contemporary Museum of Art. It was just that very contemporary. Lots of space and few pieces of art, but it was still cool to see.

After that we began to head up to Mont Royal, the site where Jean Cartier discovered what became Montreal!
To get to the top of the mountain we had to climb stairs, lots and lots of stairs.
There were even more after this!
This little fellow became my trail buddy, cute no?
And finally at the top!! Amazing view! It was so clear that you could faintly see the US border.
Enjoying the view on a stunning afternoon.
Okay, major props to Mom on this one. Going up hills/lots of stairs can be very hard for her due to her heart condition and she made it to the top and was still standing!
Enjoying our vacation together!!

After we spent some time up on the top of the mountain we went back down (yay for downhill) and made our way back to the AMAZING Indian Restaurant from our first day. We deserved that buffet after our trek earlier. Once back at the hotel we sunk into the couches and didn't move for a while! AHH vacation!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dairy Turkey

I heard this story from the sports director at camp.

Somehow the subject of school birthdays came up. He remembered being in first or second grade and a classmate had a Thanksgiving birthday. The kid celebrated his birthday in class with an ice cream cake shaped like a turkey. Zach then remembers bursting into tears. When his teacher asked him why he was so upset, he told her that he was not allowed to eat the "turkey" because he only ate kosher meat!

He then told us that in retrospect he could also have an "issue" with mixing milk and meat!

Oh, the life of Jewish children!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Things My Campers Say 3

It's the last week of camp, I'm really going to miss these little fellas.

A few days ago we were changing in our room (a rare occurrence) and one of my campers, E, decided he did not like the shirt his mom had packed in his bag that day. He was getting upset and Alex tried to calm him down:
Alex: E, what's wrong?
E: I don't like this shirt.
Alex: Well, why don't you wear the shirt in your emergency clothes bag.
E: Emergency clothes?
Alex: Yea, the clothes your mom brought in case of an emergency.
E: Do I need to call 911 to wear them?

Some of our campers are a bit slow in the changing after swim department. J, who works at his own pace was eager to get done quickly so he could help get afternoon snack. So eager in fact that we all witnessed this happening. He quickly takes off his bathing suit, puts on one sock and one shoe, than the other sock and shoe. He stands up, packs his bag up, and shouts "I'm done first!!!" We sorta stifled our laughs and pointed out he forgot three key items. He then smacked his head and went "Oh, I'm so silly!"

This isn't funny per say, but I want to remember it. A few weeks ago the "purple" bracelets (sorta kinda can swim) were put in the middle section of the pool (2.5 feet to 3.5 feet). D was very nervous to be in that section and was clinking to me for dear life. He was so freaked out at one point, even where he could touch the bottom that he started to scream "I DON'T WANT TO DIE." He went through this several times until we realized he wasn't crying, but laughing hysterically.

Another one I want to remember is that this same little guy, D, had to get a palette expander. The first day we had it he was eating pickles at our BBQ lunch. The poor kid, he got the pickle stuck on top of the expander. After three attempts at fishing it out the nurse took a tweezer and pulled it out. D, so in love with pickles he took it from her, and managed to eat it! Talk about determination!

S.W loves karate. His favorite part? The "magic" cereal they receive at the end of the 1/2 hour. When we asked him how it was magical he responds, "oh, it's really just fruit loops, but Sensei says it's magic so I play along!"

A few days ago I mentioned how much I love karate, even though the counselors don't go into karate, ie we love the 1/2 hour break! T hearing me say this goes, "how can you love karate? You don't get to watch me!"

J's birthday is right after camp ends and he is beyond excited! He was jumping up and down about turning 5 today and he and S had a cute little exchange.
J: I'm going to be 5!!!
S: I'm older than you, I'm already 5!
J: I know! BUT, when I turn 5 we'll be the SAME AGE!!! (there is no way to show how excited he was about this!)

Every time we leave a special I get the boys to do a big "THANK YOU" to the specialist. A few days ago their thank you was weak.
Me: Oh, boys that thank you was weak.
C: What's weak?
Me: It's when something is not strong, this was weak because your thank you was not very loud.
C: Oh! That's not weak, its not strong!

I know there are more, I wish I could remember them all!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I've got this feeling....

So, before I delve into this let me back the truck up.

In March and April I was getting really bad acne once a month (catch my drift...). After a conversation with my doctor I switched birth control to a pack with more hormones. It seemed like a good idea, the acne cleared up and things seemed fine.

But over the last few months I felt sorta meh, just not myself. I attributed it to being really active, or under stimulated, or being tired. Then I felt like I was beginning to gain some weight (I was, very sore subject) and I felt bloated, you know the whole shebang.

Well, finally last week it all became clear (cue "I can see clealy now") I realized everything I was feeling (emotions and weight) began in late April early May - and what changed then? My birth control.

Say it with me... OHHHHHH

So it worked out that I was actually able to stop my pills then - so now it has been over a week with no pills and let me say it loud and proud....


I feel happy, and energized, and just back to myself. Mom is away now and on the phone earlier she could tell a difference in my voice. I cannot say how good it feels!

Now that I feel like myself again, I hope the bloating goes down quickly and working with my new personal trainer helps the weight come off really quickly!

Here's to feeling good!

Sunday, August 1, 2010