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.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas is over

Well Christmas is done and dusted for another year, we now have New Years Eve and all of it revelry to look forward to. *** the revelry will belong to others as I have an early morning on New Years Day, very early #3 needs to meet fellow scout members at 5 am to go to Australian Jamboree 2013 for 10 days***
This year for Christmas we broke with the tradition and went to Daughter #1's flat for lunch, she even broke away from our traditional food of turkey, ham and salad to cook us an Asian BBQ, she went all out and cooked, prawns, chicken and pork, all with different marinades and sauces. Asian style salads and cocktails. It was a great meal with none of the over eating usually associated by Christmas lunch. 

With money being a bit short this year not a huge amount was spent on each other, HWMBO will be getting his gift of a saw (a special type of saw) when it comes on special in January. #1 & #2 both understood they would only get something small after all they have celebrated milestone birthdays last month. #3 got her AJ2013 as her primary gift. They were all pleases with the tokens they got to open on Christmas morning....in fact they were all very pleased with their gifts.

Me I asked for a work station....we have a spare room - currently storing junk and HWMBO's work. I have located some timber that will be perfect for a bench - I am even prepared to share my space with his work. This will happen in the new year.

I was very surprised by HWMBO, I had seen a camera charm a few months ago and pointed out that I would like something similar only bigger (the one I saw was about 15 mm) he made me one 40 mm. It is a little different to the one I saw - you know the whole plagiarism thing. I soooo love this I have worn it every day and can't wait to show all my photographer friends.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Secret Santa

This year we decided as a family to do a Secret Santa gift, rather than buy a gift for everyone (thankfully this was decided before I realized how much money I would be spending with the 18th and 21st birthdays).

The rules to the family SS = simple and yet confusing

#1 Maximum spend $20
#2 gift had to be suitable for everyone (take in to account 2 children under 18)
#3 the gift had to fit into a box - all boxes were the same size and wrapped with the same paper
#4 you could not keep your own gift
#5 you could swap.

A family lunch at mine the weekend before Christmas, this was a good day lunch was a downsized Christmas feast, with turkey, ham and plenty of salad. (we usually have pork, chicken and prawns as well) desert was less than usual, I didn't make the standard pavlova - I found a great recipe for Mango Misu 

Seriously YUMMMO

The SS gifts work really well, with everyone wanting to swap for mine.

A DIY sundae kit, I saw something similar on Pinterest (mine was nowhere near as well done, but the family didn't know that

Getting in to the spirit of Christmas is very hard when you are broke with bills needing to be paid, so when I saw a post on Facebook inviting me to join a social network Secret Santa, I joined in. This was a huge amount of fun and I now have a few more 'friends'.

This is a link to the 'rules' 


I was linked to the organizer....OMG this created quite a bit of stress and panic, I had to impress the 'boss'. When I calmed down and thought about it I realized I was lucky, I had been following her blog for a few months and was already getting a feel for what she was like. 
Stupidly I didn't take a picture of the gifts, only after they were wrapped, I had my sister make a couple of coat hanger covers, I then brought a coffee cup with a blue wren on it - my favorite bird and a Christmas book mark and note book. 

I also had a not so secret Santa in Minnesota, she asked if anyone from Australia wanted to exchange gifts, I jumped at the chance and I am glad I did, she sent me some lovely local gifts. She stalked me well, so well she even sent me a tea bag holder with a hummingbird on it, I love hummingbirds and would love to have the opportunity to see one.

My other gift came from the south of Brisbane, she sent me a gorgeous camera strap cover among other things (this was my favorite) She either made a really good guess or has a DSLR and gets annoyed with the sweaty strap as I do. 

This has been a hugely fun experience, for a small outlay I have made new friends and received unexpected gifts.

Looking forward to next years exchange.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Fun Weekend

Although the weekend seems like a long time ago (it is Wednesday and I have had a busy few days at work) I had the best time last weekend. After a few hours work on Saturday I meet with some of my favorite photographers for lunch and a natter.

We checked in to an amazing hotel overlooking the Story Bridge, the room was booked for 6 people, there was a double bed, 2 singles, a fold out sofa and a trundle bed. We were tossing for beds and debating which 2 of us would share the double bed, I kept quite during the talk discussion, listening to the comments of ' I don't mind', 'I snore', 'I wiggle'.  It was finally decided who would share so I gave my reason for not wanting to share....I cuddle, I have been married for over 20 years, I have only ever spent a few nights away from HWMBO, the last time I shared a bed with someone not him (my mum) I snuggled all night. I got the the sofa bed!

We meet with more of the Jpeg photographers for coffee and planning of the night shoot. With no real plan in mind we followed the river walk for shots of the bridges of Brisbane - of course the sun set was a fail, it often is when I am with a group of people...my photo of the William Jolly Bridge was very bland - just plain boring.

After the sun went down the photos got better, Brisbane really is a pretty city
This is my post card photo....the view on all the postcards for Brisbane.

As night fell we walked to Southbank all of us looking for a 'different perspective' our photo challenge for the month, my different perspective...is more of a reflection - still a different view of the Brisbane Wheel.

I had to get a photo of the Lord Mayors Christmas Tree, it is so pretty. I tried to use the cut out for bokeh - I thought there was too much light, but later discovered I was doing it wrong. 

After hours of walking, we made our way back to the hotel, with grand plans of doing a light painted group photo in the botanical gardens...sore feet and a few glasses of champagne blew this plan out of the water. I took a few photos of the balcony - laughing at the girls who were scared of heights, something that has never bothered me - I knew I was safe (the rail was above waist high and I didn't put any of my weight on it - I know all about metal fatigue, thanks to HWMBO)

Playing with a cutout on my lens to create bokeh happy with the result, will try again - I have a plan

view from the room with 2 single beds

It is funny how when you get a group of girls together for a sleep over there is always late night games and giggling no matter how old we are - we had a ninja ghost stealing toes and taking sleeping photos for Facebook. (Which was removed as soon as it was discovered)

Early morning breakfast and walk around the markets before a trip to Woody Point, not ideal time for photos in the middle of the day, however the site has potential for late afternoon or early morning. I played a lot in photoshop with this result, which I love btw.

The end of year break up for the Jpegs finished my weekend, lots of food, people and photos at Bribie Island. Last year it was raining and I didn't get my camera out of the car even though there where Tawny Frog Mouths spotted in a tree near by. Not only did I find the tree the birds were nesting in I found two Tawnies awake and happy to have their photos taken. I was very excited and kept my find too myself until I got some photos.

Again the sunset was a fail....Andrew (the Mentor) kindly told me it is not my fault that it is my fault that the sunsets fail when I am around....which leads me to wonder how often people chase the sunset/sunrise when the conditions look perfect but mother nature takes away the magic. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Favorite photo

This months challenge is supposed to be an easy one....choose your favorite photo for 2012. Not as easy as it sounds. I picked a few I am happy with, then asked the family which one they thought was best. Of course they all liked different ones. In the end it was between two I took at this years Ekka. I chose this one.

I have had a crappy week or so, not much time at all for social networking, most days I am lucky if I get on Facebook. It is a busy time of year at work with University Graduations. I have Christmas break ups and people who want to catch up before Christmas and there was the birthday parties and celebrations. I have also had to contend with the hangovers from these parties and gatherings. I often plan not to drink, but when I am not driving one drink turns to 2 and 3 and 4.....

I have had a week of breakages as well, I dropped my iPad...I thought I was lucky and no damage was done, until I wanted to charge it, nothing, nada, zip. Apple couldn't have given me better service, it was out of warranty - yeah I know that, what happens now...they send it away and Apple says that it can't be repaired, so replace it with another one. Ok I am good with this, how much? $235.00. AND we will cut out the middle man and do it while you wait. This was the best result I could have hoped for. ***I was sure I would have to buy a new one*** 

Next to go was the microwave, the lights work, the turn table turns, but no heating. I am so used to having a microwave I forgot that I needed to cook my veges in a pan making dinner late for the last 3 nights. Small things, like defrosting a bread roll for lunch drove me insane. In the junk mail there was advertising for a 20% off for VIP Members at our local Good Guys today, after 5 days of no instant heat. Life in the kitchen has returned to normal.

The fan stopped working on the same day as the microwave....and this was a 32oC day, fortunately the weather gods have been kind and given us a few days of cooler temps and rain. (I picked up a new fan today at the sale)

My computer at work caught a random virus (not my fault) and everything needed to be reloaded, as this was done remotely a lot of my programs for work were not loaded, so for 3 days I could only do half my work. Then there was the catch up....

My baby girl Lilly hurt her leg, so she has been to the vet today. We are hoping it is muscular and will be better for some anti inflammatory medication will fix it. The other options are just too horrible to think about at the moment.

Today was the day to restore order to my house, I have a new microwave, fan and the puppy will get better after her trip to the vet. 

I have a big weekend with lots of photography and friends planned. So lots of photos soon.