a peek inside the fishbowl

25 Jun, 2008


Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Today is the last day of school. I am feeling rather two-sided about it. One half of me is thrilled, and the other half is having a small panic attack and crying in a corner, but I am trying really hard to DENY THE PANIC. I am swamped with work. The dryer is busted. We’re having hot dogs for dinner because I don’t have time to plan anything. What’s worse: the house looks like it’s been inhabited by squatters, squatters who don’t seem to care that we can’t find the cordless phone, the hairbrush(es) or that I’m stepping on their report cards.

But don’t worry. I have a plan. I’ll share it with you when I have a better handle on it all.

As a family we talk a lot about what the kids want to be when they grow up. Most of the time, Sarah wants to be a scientist. Or an astronaut. Or a candy tester.

Emma is set on owning a hobby farm or working with horses. It’s a given. She starts sentences with things like, “When I have my farm I’m going to …” or “Sarah, I’ll get chickens for my farm because I know you like eggs…” Which is great and all, but it all makes me think about what I want to be when I grow up.

I love the freelance writing gigs I’ve had lately. But but but, if I could do absolutely anything, you know what I’d do? I would like to run my own art gallery. (Ha. Mark, are you surprised?) If I had unlimited disposable income I would buy and renovate some funky industrial building around here and turn half of it into a photo studio for myself, and give the other half over to aspiring local artists.

Or maybe, when I grow up, I’ll find myself back into some kind of fun television/doc production.

The latter is perhaps a shade more realistic. But photography? That’s where my heart is.

The question is, what do I need to do in order to get where I want to go?

10 Responses to "Transitions"

1 | Mark

June 25th, 2008 at 9:06 am



2 | porter

June 25th, 2008 at 1:29 pm


Wow. Really? I don’t have time right now to ramble on…a) it’s absolutely gorgeous out there and b) I need to fold the last load of laundry and get it put away!!! This is too deep for me today. Be back.

3 | porter

June 25th, 2008 at 1:29 pm


just saw Mark’s comment. funny. true.

4 | Kristina

June 25th, 2008 at 1:37 pm


You already have it …a passion, a dream and talent. The rest will work itself out. But first, start by selling your photography.

5 | andrea

June 25th, 2008 at 3:32 pm


Mark is the Man With the Realistic One Word Answer.

Thinking aloud here.
I’ve already done a lot with my photos. I’ve been published here and there. I’ve even had a couple of magazine covers – small magazines – but still, that’s pretty good, right?

Photography is what really lights my fire. Expressing myself through pictures has been a passion of mine for a long time.

The thing that is dragging me down is the army of mommy bloggers that also call themselves photographers and start up websites to schlep their skillz. Not that there are many in Ottawa, but how does one stand out in an army? And how can a photographer (a) find meaningful work (b) avoid wedding photography?

I need me a plan. And a niche. And I also need to better educate myself on some technical things. And time to think.

6 | BeachMama

June 25th, 2008 at 7:46 pm


Funny Andrea but your heart and mine are quite in a similar place. I have wanted to be a photographer since I was in grade 7, that is a long, long time ago… I never pursued it due to financial reasons way back when. Now, even though I don’t have much more money, I am driven back to my original love. I have been ramping up my skills and getting out there with my camera hoping that someday I will be able to call myself a Photographer. I only wish I had a writing gig on the side to help me pay for all of this ;).

7 | Jon

June 25th, 2008 at 7:46 pm


I’ve been following a series of posting on this very topic. Go to http://www.designformankind.com/search/label/roadmaps. to read up on what bloggers (Marisa, Holly, and Design for Mankind) have to say.

8 | words words

June 26th, 2008 at 9:11 am


Is THIS not your niche? Seriously!

You have a small army of readers who not only like but TRUST what you have to say. That’s valuable to marketing types selling anything from family day trips to toothpaste.

Why not put up a link soliciting companies who would like a review? You’d get the free stuff you yearn for, and money too (am I naive?). I’d still read your blog, so long as you disclosed when you were reviewing something.

9 | andrea

June 26th, 2008 at 10:01 am


BeachMama: the writing gigs help. :)

Jon: I did a quick skim of the roadmaps. Interesting stuff! I will have to spend some more time there.

WW: I know. I know. My little army is nothing to sneeze at. And don’t get me wrong, I do get some good stuff (I am always the disclosure), but in my head I’ve drawn a line. Like the toothpaste? It’s a waste of good blogging time. Besides, if I put up a link actually ASKING for stuff I would feel, um, kinda dirty. You know what I mean?

Re: photography.
I’ve been turning it over in my head.
It’s really what I love to do, but who’s to say that if I did it for a living I would continue to love it?


10 | Kristina

June 26th, 2008 at 4:11 pm


I know of a couple of photographers who are very reputable (read: expensive and exclusive) who only take dog photos. Perhaps you could combine your two passions (photography and kids) and give Jostens a run for their money. Studio shots are way over-rated and I’m sure the kids/parents who look back on yearly photos would rather photo-journalism shots that capture their true essence far more than the standard hand-under-chin pose.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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