Monthly Archives: May 2013

A city slicker with a country heart

Raw beauty

Raw beauty

Growing up in a small and rural First Nations reserve in Northern Ontario, I always knew I wasn’t going to live there forever. I don’t know how I knew this, but from as young as I can remember I always had dreams of leaving my community and living in a big and bustling city. Today I guess I can say my dream came true. I live downtown in a pretty large urban centre. It’s not as busy or exciting as say New York City, but it’s still an interesting place. I live in what is a gritty but cool neighbourhood that is full of independent art galleries and hipster hot spots.

Evening stroll

Evening stroll

You would think that with my photography addiction that I would be snapping pics of urban street scenes, graffiti art and street photography, of which there is plenty to see. Toronto is the perfect place for that. However, I tend to go out of my way to find quiet corners away from all the noise and concrete that I live in.

Breathing Space

Breathing Space

I favour raw nature spots over perfectly manicured city parks and gardens. I appreciate the convenience of having the city right at my doorstep, but I long to be by the lake to get some breathing space. I prefer walking in paths overgrown with wild grass rather than cobblestone trails and sidewalks. I enjoy the variety of things to see and do downtown, but I’m happiest when I am sitting on the rocky shore viewing the city from afar.

The value of contrast

The value of contrast

It’s funny how all these years I thought of myself as someone who was born to live in a city, a real city slicker. Looking through my collection of photos from the last year or so, it’s clear that I am still a country girl at heart. I always have been and always will be.

Gritty urban sunset

Gritty urban sunset

All my photos are taken with my iphone 5 in Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto, Canada.

Follow me on Instagram: @bearheartwoman and on EyeEm: @callmeshebear


Instagram mingling

This past weekend I attended my first Instagram Meetup here in Toronto. It’s not my first time meeting online acquaintances out in the “real world” but still I was feeling a little nervous. Well, maybe not nervous but I guess I was feeling kind of awkward about it. So that’s why I brought my daughter along with me so I wouldn’t feel so awkward all alone.

Caught 'gramming

Caught ‘gramming

It turns out that there was nothing at all to feel awkward about. We met up at the Historic Distillery District here in Toronto, whose old brick buildings and cobblestone paths scream to be photographed. There are interesting things to see all over, from old whiskey barrels, to antique trucks and machinery. Even better, it was so great to put faces to names of Instagrammer’s that I have been following for a long time. I also met some new IG friends which is fabulous.

Barrels full of spirits (get it? Old empty liquor barrels...haha)

Barrels full of spirits (get it? Old empty liquor barrels…haha)

I had such a great time mingling and “talking shop” about different photography and editing apps and so on. It was also really nice to hang out with other people who enjoy iPhone photography and having a creative outlet in our 9 to 5 lives.

We walked around all afternoon in this interesting and very photogenic location, but I was lucky to get two shots to share. Kind of funny to go home from an Instagram meetup with hardly any photos taken. I was too busy mingling!

Follow me on Instagram: @bearheartwoman

Some thoughts about being a Mother

To be really honest, most days I feel like a terrible mother. I drop my kids off late to school more often than I would like to admit. Our laundry gets cleaned but rarely gets put away in the proper drawers. Digging in the basket for a pair of matching socks in the morning is as routine as brushing teeth in my house.

And speaking of teeth, my kids may go to school with mismatched socks but they have excellent dental health so that’s one thing I will pat myself on the back for.

My kids are also pretty amazing. My daughter, at the age of ten, is tall and beautiful and very smart. She has this incredibly dry sense of humour for a girl of her age which she inherits from her dad. My son, the class clown, is big and strong and great at problem solving. He also says and does the funniest things and despite his size, he is soft and gentle.

When Mother’s Day rolls around, I always think that it should be me doing something to show them how much I love them. They have taught me so much about life and about myself and they put up with the mismatched socks, messy living room and rushed mornings. I’m not the mom who is always there to pick them up from school, bring them to swimming practice or watch them compete in the track and field competition. I’m the mom who goes to work all day and then drags them down to the lake in the evening to take pictures. They happily oblige me when I get one of them to stand very still in front of me so I can rest my iPhone on their head to take a picture – human tripods lol

Today I am reminded of how grateful I am to have these two amazing little persons in my life. I’m definitely not perfect (they know that for a fact), but they still love me forever and unconditionally, mismatched socks and all.

The colour of my emotions

The colour of my emotions

Photo taken by me with an iPhone 5. Edited in Lightroom 4.

Follow me on Instagram: @bearheartwoman or on EyeEm: @callmeSheBear

Spring is blossoming

I don’t have much to say today.

We saw Iron Man 3 on Friday night. It was full of action and big explosions and Robert Downey Jr. is pretty cool.

Yesterday we went to a lovely picnic birthday party.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the playoffs, finally.

I have Monday off work so I get a three-day weekend.

Today we are going to the market.

The Sakura cherry blossoms in High Park are in full bloom. Everyone is happy, and so am I.

Cherry Blossoms Cherry Blossoms in tree trunk 2 Cherry Blossoms and pond Cherry Blossom Macro Cherry Blossoms path

Being simple is complicated

It is a beautiful day today. The sun is shining, the sky is blue with a nice mix of light clouds. I bet there will be a great sunset tonight for photos. But, I’m not feeling so enthusiastic about that right now.

Ashbridges Bay, Toronto

Today I am frustrated and discouraged. My husband and I have this crazy dream to move to Costa Rica and live a more simple life, which I have mentioned here before and have only been talking about it FOREVER. Another alternative to that would be to move to a smaller city, bigger house, and spend more time together as a family. I would be very happy with either of those outcomes. However, it seems life is conspiring to keep us where we are and I am getting frustrated, antsy and incredibly restless.

I won’t get into details, but there have been a few things that have come up in recent weeks that make leaving the city more challenging. It mostly has to do with my husbands work, my children’s schooling and my own conflicting feelings of leaving my career when we do move. There are some other factors that are out of our control which means we just have to wait and see what happens. I know this is all very vague, but that’s all I can say.

Looking west from Humber Bay Park

Years ago, when I first moved to Toronto, I was taking the train up north to go visit my family for Christmas. I was single at that time, new to the city and my intentions were to stay here for a few years, get some work experience and move someplace else – West Coast was on my radar. I sat next to a very nice lady on the train and we talked for almost the entire five-hour train ride. She told me that when she was my age (early 20’s at the time) she too had plans to only stay in the city for a few years. Those few years turned into thirty years and she told me that as time went on, it got harder for her to change her lifestyle and leave, so she didn’t. She seemed happy enough however I will never forget the tinge of regret I heard in her voice. Recalling that conversation makes me fret.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Toronto. It’s a great city, but I need a change in lifestyle and I doubt that staying here will be the best place for that. Just when I think we are making some progress and getting closer to making that happen, some new challenge comes up and puts us back to square one. There are so many factors to juggle, decisions to be made and of course the needs of our kids to consider. My head is a jumbled mess of thoughts and worries about doing what is best for my family.

Heh. I can’t help but laugh at myself and the irony of all this. It seems the joke is on me.  Our road to the simple life is turning out to be way more complicated than I ever expected.

Lighthouse in Humber Bay Park


All photos are my own taken and edited with various apps on my iPhone5. Follow me on Instagram: @bearheartwoman and on EyeEm: @callmeshebear