I live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia – according to ME. I have a job I love (most of the time), 3 beautiful girls, who are old enough now to be independent…but still need their Mummy. #1 is nearly 21, lives with BF, #2 is nearly 18, saving hard for a gap year in the UK and # 3 is 14, loves One Direction and the Hunger Games. Hubby and I have been married 21 years and I don’t know what I would do with out him.

I spend far too much time on the computer – often pretending to work, so when all my words with friend’s games are played and the gossip and news of the world read, I will BLOG.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Weekend with RaRa

What a weekend

Saturday saw me driving my Mum and her Bestie to Toowoomba to start a 17 day bus adventure to Cape York….remind me not to spend 2 hours with my Mum as a passenger. I think she thought I was a learner driver as she was telling me when to indicate, when to change lanes and was consistently checking my speed on the highway, (I don’t think she understands the concept of cruise control)

I invited myself to stay with one of the JPEG’s – RaRa was one of the first graduates from Andrew Goodall’s Photography Essentials workshops and a very active member of our Flickr group. She takes every opportunity to come to the Sunny Coast for photography get togethers so I knew she wouldn’t mind.

She dragged me along – OK – she asked me to come to a Postie Party…Huh! Postie is party plan clothes, RaRa has recently be come a consultant. As I was a tag along and knew nobody I was the willing model, bad move for my credit card. It is easy to say no to clothes hanging on a rack – harder when they are tried on and look awesome. I was good;  only bought a leather jacket (on discount) and a tunic.

We planned a sunset photo session after the party – but Mother Nature had other plans RAIN……After a wonderful dinner of Mexican we played in RaRa’s studio (her lounge with backdrops and lighting) It was my first time with external lights/flash and if I do say so myself the result is pretty good.

Rachel and the attack cat Frank, beautiful cat who doesn't like his photo being taken, one shot in 20 that he was not struggling to be free.
We have two photography challenges for this month – last months winners challenge is Repetition and Andrew’s Challenge, Cozy. I have a plan for the repetition so we played with the cozy idea. RaRa and Frank made beautiful models and the studio lighting enhanced the photo. After  trying to convince 2 x 14 year old boys to pose for us, with limited success  we sat and talked for hours.

Maple tree in the middle of the lake

It was so cold, we were the only ones at the park until about 10am
A much better day on Sunday, the sun actually came out! We visited the Japanese gardens looking for repetition, although I have a plan I am always keen for new ideas – my plans do not always work. Beautiful gardens with not many people brave enough to come out on the cold morning (my hands were like ice). Some nice photos…but not the money shot!

On the list of 104 photos is a stone church, Toowoomba has 2. We visited St Patrick’s Cathedral and together we braved going inside as well – both admitting after neither of us would have gone in alone.  RaRa got her repetition shot at the church, I am very pleased with my results….Have I mentioned how much I love my new camera.
I loved this church, we were a bit surprised that there were no services mid Sunday morning 

Unfortunately I had to leave Toowoomba at 11am as much as I wanted to stay, but the Chilean students and host families had a BBQ planned at Mooloolaba, I was only 3 hours late… some of the crazy girls even went for a swim. Mucho loco (ha ha I can do Spanish) I arrived in time to get a few photos, including one with a very amused bride. After a busy weekend we finished Sunday night with fish and chips and an early night!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Chilean Exchange Students

#3 came home form school one day and asked "can I go to Chile with the school?"..."only if I can come too" was my reply. 

Sounds good, September  2013 I am going to Chile with the school and #3, this year our school will  host to 20 Chilean students, from Liceo Lenka Franuliz School in Santiago Chile. 
With a school of over 1200 students you would think it would be easy to find 20 families that would be happy to have an international student. NA AH, notices went home, the news letter went to all families and still there was not enough families. 3 weeks before the students were due to arrive a call went out for another family... I checked with HWMBO and he agreed we would take 2 girls.

Now, where to put them, we have a spare room that is also the study, my sewing room, the study and full of work and my half finished projects....I was very surprised that the cleaning process only took a few hours. I was ruthless, sooooo much got thrown out. #2 kept me on track. I managed to get 4 shelves and hanging space in one cupboard empty. We borrowed an extra bed moved bookcases and filing cabinets, cleaned the carpet, fixed the window latch and we were ready for the girls.

Of course the plane was late, not the flight from Chile...the connection from Sydney to Brisbane. #3 and I waited at the school for nearly 2 hours Sunday night. The students arrived at midnight, everyone is tired and a bit grumpy, it is raining and I have parked in the wrong car park.... this was actually a good thing. On our way to the car there was a kangaroo near the canteen at the school and then 4 more as we drove away. If we had been parked with the rest of the parents my girls would not have seen these roos. A perfect first experience.

Monday morning everyone is expected at the school at 9am......a lot easier than I thought it would be, everyone got up, got ready and faced the day. I went shopping. HWMBO's sister was visiting sunny QLD with her daughter and niece from Canada. #1 and +1 were coming for dinner to see the aunt and cousin. 11 people for dinner... the only table big enough is outside but it is too cold, more rearranging of furniture, out door table now squeezed inside and set for 11. The poor girls from Chile are so tired and now there is more people. We got lucky, the niece from Canada speaks perfect Spanish. She made the girls feel at home and translated the important things I needed them to know.

  • If you don't like something say so
  • If you want a drink get it
  • If you want something to eat help yourself
  • This is your home for 4 weeks - please treat it like it is your own
The first night was a success and everyone one went to bed happy. 

The girls Skype with their families and gave a web cam tour of the house and yard. I talked to mothers who did not speak English and I do not speak Spanish, smiles and nods and lots of thank yous.

5 days into the stay and it has not stopped raining with shopping and the beach planed for the weekend, lets hope the sun comes out and Queensland shows its beauty.

A and V from Chile with #3 and #2, first day at School in Australia

A & V

Cousin and Aunty from Victoria

Canadian Niece (who speaks perfect Spanish) Cousin and Aunty

Monday, 9 July 2012

Why do so many people like to dress up?

This weekend took me to the annual Abby Museum Medieval Festival, Caboolture. This festival is very popular, with people coming from all over Australia and if you believe the hype they come from all over the world....

Everything is supposed to represent how it was in Medieval times, the clothes the food, the tents, everything EXCEPT how they take your money....while they ask for gold coin as payment most of them are very happy to take YE OLDE CREDIT CARDS......

The food is amazing…yes I know that you can get the same food at most festivals…BUT I am sure it tastes so much better when the vans are covered in hessian and bunting. Diet be dammed I wanted to try everything, lucky I was there with #1, #3 and her +1 so between us we tried a lot the first day, day two HWMBO came with me so we tried the more. (I even bought cold venison pies to cook for dinner….yummy)

Dressing up….I get the re-enactment, this is an awesome part of the experience, I get that the stall holders and merchandise sellers need to follow the guide lines set out for the festival. I can even understand visitors dressing in medieval garb….but what I don’t understand - why people would come dressed as Captain America, teddy bears and characters from Assassin's Creed (I only know this coz +1 told me). Do people like to dress up so much that they use any excuse?

HWMBO likes me to dress up, but usually in private, so I was a bit surprised when he looked at prices and wanted to buy me a fur collared cloak.  Something like this will need to be worn in public..or to a Medieval Festival….(actually I think I would wear it when ever I could).

It was a fun weekend with sword fights, jousting, gypsies and birds of prey. We walked for hours and on both days when I finally had a chance to sit down and watch a show, the heavens opened and released freezing cold rain, as the crowd opened traditional medieval umbrellas, it was too much for me so home to my warm house with all the mod cons to heat up the venison pie and have a glass of wine.

I took a lot of photos and these are some of my favorites

This guy - I have named Fluffy... his name was Norm (doesn't that suit him?)
I stalked him for ages trying to get him to stand still - in the end I pushed in - the funnest thing happened after I took this shot...another lady wanted 'fluffy's' photo and asked him to stay put. HWMBO photo bombed her....he never does stuff like that and not to strangers!

The Turkish Second in Command - The Ottoman was giving a talk on weaponry... I didn't think it was right to interrupt when he had a sword in his hand... I love the peacock feather in this dudes hat

This little guy was watching the knight training school, it was like he was too young to play and had to watch from the sidelines

The Trebutchet...this is a 1/4 size of a medieval trevutchet used to win a war against so Barron...I listened to the story be only heard bits. I was more interested in watching it in action....much to my disapointment they were not allowed to shot the flaming balls (although he told me they had during the night) 

HWMBO was keen to see how the blacksmiths were set up, he has been slowly adding to his blacksmith supplies and collecting the charcol from the fire each night.

Beautiful Barn Owl, I got to hold and pat this beautiful girl, she was part of the bird of prey show.

Ladyhawke....Isabeau (HWMBO loves Michelle Pfiffer)

The Wedgetail eagle was very popular...such a beautiful bird, I felt sorry for him until I was told it was a rescued bird that will never fly. I could see the love the bird had for the 'Falconer' by the way he would bury his head in his shirt and wrap his wings around like a feathery hug.

This dude was a crack up...he was just a visitor the the festival and when I asked for his photo he said only  if he could take mine....sure but I am going first! I loved the blue eyes on the pelt.

Beautiful Gypsy Horse, the braiding in the mane was perfect. (This is a romany horse, first time at the festival)

Green lady in the crowd. She was watching the opening parade in the row in frount of me, she looked so beautiful I couldn't resist the opertunity

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Me and my camera

Nearly 2 years ago the business needed a new computer (actually the business needed a new computer about 3 years ago), early one Sunday morning HWMBO and I went to Harvey Norman to get a PC,. As luck would have it HN were offering free gifts when you brought with flexirent. A HD video camera, a DS game thingy or a DSLR….OMG I have always, always wanted a good camera and here was the chance to get one for free…...we only needed to spend a few more dollars on the flexirent plan, it didn’t take much to convince HWMBO that we needed a new printer as well.
Canon 1000D - first camera, very basic. Very good beginers camera.

The camera was a Canon 1000D and I thought it was the best…only trouble how to use it. I read the manual (yes this is possible to do) but that only confused me, so I turned the camera to the button that said automatic and that was it. Soon came the question asked every year, “What do you want for Christmas?” this year I was prepared – “I want to learn how to use the camera properly”.  I stalked a few photography courses on the Sunshine Coast, signing on for emails and updates finally settling on one run in Maleny.
What a weekend, I learnt so much, my tiny brain struggled to grasp it all, shutter speeds, aperture, DFO, small number means wider open, high number faster speed, ghosts OMG how was I going to remember any of it….Easy - DO IT!

I have since met some great people who like me were total beginners before Andrew’s course, we have coffee and go on photo outings, it was not long before I realised my ‘free’ camera was very basic and could not achieve all I wanted. I needed more from my camera, so after a lot of research and a nice payment from work I bought a Canon 5D Mark 11, the best way to describe the difference in cameras is like driving a Mazda  then upgrading to a Ferrari (not that I have ever driven a Ferrari – it is like I imagine it to be)
Canon 5D Mark 11 - Ok the Mark 111 is available at the moment and I tossed up for weeks as to which one to get, the need for lenses won the arguement. Not worth spending an extra $1500 for a camera and not having a lens for it.

I have give the 1000D to daughter # 3 hoping I will always have a photography buddy, **not sure how long this will last, she is a teenager after all** We have had one outing together, I am yet to see her results, mine are pretty amazing (if I do say so myself).

Today I am going to share some photos taken with the 1000D and a few with the 5D Mark11.



This scruffy guy was stalking fishermen at Bullcock Beach Caloundra, he looks like a gargoyle!
HWMBO and I celebrated out 21 wedding anniversary at Kenilworth, foggy mornings and beautiful days, it was a perfect weekend - pre blog... This was taken with the 1000D

Bribie Island sunset over the Glasshouse Mountains, my first outing with the new camera - #3 came out to play with me

June Challenge for out Flickr group - a moving object taken at 1/6  second. One of my friends had an amazing train shot with the movement and a model looking on....but she uses a Nikon....and took the photo at  6 seconds.  I didn't enter this one in the challenge....now she wants to wallop me.

What do you do with 6 x 14 year old girls on a rainy sleepover? You give them fire!
This is burning steel (wire) wool stuffed in to a kitchen whisk and spun around. The girls loved it, I got some good photos....sleepover a sucess!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The start...start low, you can only go higher

I read somewhere that a magazine article should never take longer to read than the average person takes on the toilet!

So how long does the average person take on the toilet?

You see I am not average, I have chrons disease...Google it if you don't know what it is, it is yucky and is all about the intestinal tract - ergo the bowels. I am lucky at the moment, I have no symptoms at the moment - except for my toilet habits which I am told are not normal. But they are normal for me.

So how long should a blog be… about the same length as the average crap?

I promise this will not be a toilet blog or a blog about my health issues; it will be my ramblings and some of my photos.

I am writing for myself, a friend once told me I should write (she is a writer) she said I was funny and had a way with words, what she doesn’t understand that often what I think gets lost between the brain and the fingers. I tried a short story or two, I spend so much time going back to edit what I wrote I lost the plot (literally) then got bored.

So my rule to myself is once I hit PUBLISH I will not go back and edit my words.