March 31, 2010

The Spirit in Us All

I think somewhere, deep inside everyone, is a little spark. It is a little spark that lights up all on its own. The spark is inconsistent. It is unpredictable. But what it brings to life is wonderful, amazing and beautiful.

That little spark lit up in my daughter Ashlie today at the school athletics carnival. She's no runner, but she went in every race. She had also tried out for the other events at school and made it into the high jump finals for junior girls. I recalled the swimming miracle, where she turned from non-swimmer to squad training in less than 6 months. But I never expected something like that to happen again!

High jump is such an obscure event, for school athletics. I remember my school carnivals - one jump, I'm out, oh well, sit down. Today, Ashlie kept clearing the bar. The height was put up, she cleared it. Other girls had their three attempts, Ashlie cleared it. She had to repeat two heights but made them on each 2nd attempt. I remember one of the mums saying it didn't matter, as Ashlie would do no worse than fourth - they started with nine or ten girls.

Then suddenly it was down to Ashlie and April. I was stunned! The height was around the 90 or so centimetre mark I think, and Ashlie used her three attempts but it was too much. April added another height change but finished at that.

Oh how we marvel over our surprise little champion. She gets so much enjoyment from just participating, and that's all I ask of her, but her delighted little face, such pure joy in her eyes, it is moments like that that I live to see!

Georgia on the other hand doesn't have the same simplistic joy with competing. She's hard to define. Bad loser (very sensitive) yet she often behaves as though she is competitive.
Watching her today in her races just made me smile. Rather than racing to win, she spent the whole race looking over at her friend, who looked back at her, and they giggled, tying for last. If you ask them, they would tell you they ran their hardest but smile guiltily if you mention the talking along the way. Georgia only cried twice today. Once when someone was mean to her. And once because she didn't think she should talk to a girl who was in a different house team.
Most importantly though is that Georgia did have fun and she doesn't mention either of those emotional outbursts when talking about her day. I can't wait to see what she does next year when competition becomes a little more serious for her age group!

March 22, 2010

the absence of old lines

Today is my birthday. I haven't thought much about it, not directly, because my friend got married on Saturday and I was her bridesmaid. While we discussed my birthday (as she and her now-husband met on my birthday weekend three years ago) we were so busy with wedding plans it didn't really occur to me that it had arrived.

I don't feel any older. Sometimes I do feel old though.

My six year old says 'You're not old mummy, you have no old lines' and I love her for that!

The perfect birthday present was hugs from my girls. Even if I had to tell them what day it was today.

I got a camping chair. My very own! It's not really a big deal, but when there is a barbecue, or a trip to my uncle's block, I can take my own chair instead of asking around. It's a very comfortable chair!

My girls also bought me a picture frame, though Ashlie was with me when it was bought by my mother on behalf of the girls (Georgia chose it)...and the cake! Oh the cake! I love sponge cake, jam and cream, and I love peanut m&ms. And the colour pink.

Yep, you've probably already guessed! Georgia picked the topping...

I picked the photo for the frame. I was 23 years old then, I think.

March 19, 2010

Answers you absolutely need to know

I stole this from Carly!

One more sleep until Katrina gets married, by the way!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:00 am, when mum woke me up - that's not what I wanted her to do!

2. How do you like your steak? Almost well done

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Avatar - but that's another rant when I have a spare hour

4. What is your favorite TV show? Anything Stargate, and I can add Sanctuary & Warehouse 13 to the list

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I haven't been to enough places to really say, but I love Geelong

6. What did you have for breakfast? Mango yogurt

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Indian or Italian

8. What foods do you dislike? rockmelon, like Carly, and mint (though I like eclipse breath mints?)

9. Favorite Place to eat? At home with my girls!

10. Favorite dressing? I make my own seafood sauce (mayo, worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce)

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? '99 Falcon (or Futura, not sure!)

12. What are your favorite clothes? Denim jeans/shorts & comfy shirt

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Ireland or Egypt

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? I can't ever decide. Every situation differs

15. Where would you want to retire? I'd be happy to reach retirement, haven't thought past that yet

16. Favorite time of day? Those waking moments, when I realise both of my girls are in bed with me

17. Where were you born? Lismore, NSW

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? I don't have a favourite as such, but I don't mind the AFL grandfinal

19. Bird watcher? mmmm...not since we had birds when I was little

20. Are you a morning person or a night person? I guess I am a night person, when I get my second wind, as they say

21. Do you have any pets?  We have Maximo, the rescue dog!

22. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? I had a manicure this morning, and this afternoon I broke a nail?

23. What did you want to be when you were little? A writer, and still do

24. Are you a cat or dog person? Dog

25. What was your last drink? Coffee

26. Always wear your seat belt? Yes!!

27. Been in a car accident? I've been in five accidents, one as a pedestrian

28. Any pet peeves? Yup, Twilight fans & people telling me that Avatar was a great movie

29. Favorite Pizza Toppings? It changes, but my all-time favourite pizza is the Eagle Boys Satay Chicken with Apricot swirl

30. Favorite Flower? Pink ones

31. Favorite ice cream? cookies & cream is good

32. Favorite fast food restaurant? no idea!

33. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Learners once, P's once

34. From whom did you get your last email? some silly facebook one

35. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? There is no way I could pick just one, because I love buying for my kids but I want lots of camera gear too!

36. Do anything spontaneous lately? Cleaned the kids rooms when I had planned to make them do it

37. Like your job? I don't have a job, unless we count being a mum, and yes, i love that

38. Broccoli? That's not a question but yes, broccoli is yum

39. What was your favorite vacation? All of them

40. Last person you went out to dinner with? I don't remember the last time I went out to dinner

41. What are you listening to right now? Mumford and Sons

42. What is your favorite color? pink!

43. How many tattoos do you have? None, not that I haven't thought about getting one!

44. How many are you tagging for this quiz? Nobody, lol!

45. What time is it? It is 3.38pm, I am waiting for my girls to come home

46. Coffee ?? Yes, at least once a day. But again, that isn't really a question...

Okay, so you've learnt some pointless things about me now!

March 16, 2010

Live happily....

ever after? Maybe.

Live happily in the moment? Definitely.

"There are no language barriers when you are smiling." ~ Allen Klein Read

No language barriers, whether that be foreign languages or language between family members. We all know that at some point in our lives we feel as though our family are from another planet!!

I loved taking photos of K and her family. I loved that D was shy, that the kids were fine with me having the camera in their faces and that I could ask just about anything of them.

My favourite part was possibly getting the kids to suggesting they think about grannies on scooters...something that amuses them endlessly apparently! I may possibly have suggested imagining their dad in a granny dress on a scooter but those memories are vague...

Thank you again to K for volunteering her time and her family!

And happy birthday for Wednesday!!


March 15, 2010

Book review

I mentioned in a previous blog that I had almost overwhelmed myself with books. It turns out that I needn't be so concerned.

'The Children's Book' by A.S. Byatt...I am 46 pages in and have given up. I can see a story in there somewhere, but it is lost amongst a whole lot of seemingly pointless flashbacks. I chose it because it was mentioned somewhere (forgive me for forgetting where) as a great fantasy novel. So far all I see is political nonsense from the 1800s...and a candlestick.

I have tried to keep reading, but if books don't grab me within a chapter or two, I find it very hard to keep reading. I was especially thrown - remember, I have read 46 pages - to find with no apparent reason, no lead up or suggestions, that the 15 year old character decides to masturbate in a strangers house into the hankey he was given.
I'll accept that it is the practice of 15 year old boys, sure, but completely out of place unless I missed something.

Disappointing really. The first thing to throw me off though was the mere size of the book. It is rather thick, 615 pages, and the type is SO SMALL!

I've got an awful feeling it is the junior fiction section too but I doubt there are many young readers who would get any further than I did unless they were looking for more *giggle* sex scenes.

So I picked up another of the books I had chosen. 'Blaze of Glory' by Michael Pryor. I've read 8 pages of this one and it too has me raising my eyebrows in disbelief.
I remember for my practice HSC English exam writing a story about a girl who had fears of crossing the road because she had been hit by a car earlier in her life. The story focused on her current situation, and her memories of the event. She only alluded to the cause of her fear. Of course, it was all clear in my head because the story was mine...indeed, the experience was mine also. But the reader/marker had no idea of what I was thinking when I wrote it so missed what I was trying to convey.
This is how I feel about Pryor's story. He's opened with the current experiences of his character who alludes to his past which is confusing for me as the reader. Perhaps as I read further it will be explained, but unfortunately I don't foresee me gaining enjoyment from the story. What I have deduced so far sounds silly because of the way it is presented.

Actually, it reminds me of the Septimus Heap saga. I am currently listening to 'Queste' which is book 4 I think...It is one of the dumbest (for want of a better word) series I have ever 'read'. The stories are a mess, the characters all over the place and underdeveloped and the whole lot of them seem so blase about the events occurring around them. Two children disappear into the past and only the siblings of one of them care to try and rescue them. The adults - who have the power - completely ignore the fact that the two have mysteriously disappeared.
The Princess in the story is overlooked as being in a position of power despite being the only living royal so it seems that no one is actually ruling their land - which in turn seems only to consist of the castle, the wizards tower and the slum-like building arrangements that surround the castle. Oh yes, and Aunt Zelda's place which can be reached by sailing down the river for a while and through some marshland. Or by going through the magic cupboard in the Queen's room. Who is dead. So it belongs to the princess. Who didn't know it was there. Until she found it.

It seems that I am just searching for SOMETHING fantasy to sink my teeth into and will try anything. Next it is The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan.

By the way...Septimus Heap is SO bad, I can't stop listening to it because I want to know how it all ends.

I make a terrible critic. The best example I have of how terrible I am...I see anything Twilight and want to burn it. I say this because if anyone thought of recommending Twilight, it's best you know how I feel first.

March 08, 2010

As a business....

I have just started a facebook fanpage to promote myself as a photographer. It is probably a little presumptuous, thinking I will get many fans, but with it I am hoping to attract local clients.
My price is reasonable, at least for now! I have realised that what I thought would be pricey is actually dirt cheap...My photos however are not the $2 shop variety, I put effort and care into what I do, to give my clients the best I can.

Feel free to become a fan of my facebook page here!

March 07, 2010

Do you believe in fairies?

I do, and I know that Olivia does! I am not sure about her little brother Jon, I think he was just there for the fun!
The photo shoot with these two gorgeous kids was the most challenging yet. They weren't naughty, far from it! Just naturally inquisitive and constantly moving. They had much better things to do than sit still for some strange woman with a camera!

Olivia was on the hunt for fairies in the forest, and Jon tagged along. We stopped occasionally when Olivia's ears almost visibly pricked and she whispered 'Shhh I heard a noise!'. She tried so hard to find fairies, in the end she got very sad.

Mum is gorgeous too though, and if the kids take after her, I hope she has a good plan to chase of suitors! Olivia's friends will giggle themselves silly over her gorgeous brother, and Jon's friends...boys will be boys...I reckon Olivia will have slapped a few before she's finished school!

I'll photograph these three anytime!!







March 06, 2010

Ding dong!

Nobody home!

I feel like writing tonight, so I am warming up with a blog post.
So many ideas running around in my head, I have no idea what will spew forth when I pick up the pen. I'm hoping I might be inspired to work towards finishing an old project rather than starting a new one.

Today wasn't the best day. I felt awful, blocked nose and a bit congested. Headache too of course, and muscle and bone aches. Partly a cold, partly the FM. A couple of panadol knocked the edges off but not enough for me to find energy to do anything today.
I watched Couples Retreat with my mum, wandered outside a couple of times to feign helping my brother with his car, and played a lot of freecell on my phone. I did read some of my book though.

The book is called The Belgariad, Pawn of Prophecy, by David Eddings. It is the first I have read by Eddings, but won't be the last. However before I find more of his, I have to get through the other four books I borrowed...Book of Dreams by Traci Harding, Blaze of Glory by Michael Pryor, The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan and The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt. If you happen to look these up you'll notice they are all fantasy fiction. I struggle to read any other genre, and prefer the Young Adult section...although this selection is a little YA, a little A.
I did recently read Odalisque, by Fiona McIntosh which was brilliant. It is not young adult fiction, therefore I was faced with some very adult themes that shocked me. I am not used to explicit violence in novels, nor sexual themes...not of that nature! But really, a book called 'Odalisque', what was I expecting?!

Odalisque is the first novel of the Percheron Saga, and Emissary is the second. However I have encountered a slight problem in obtaining a copy of Emissary from the local library. It is out on loan...the due date....December 2009. There isn't much chance of me getting it!

All this reading is only possible because I am now officially unemployed. I have been turned down for the first job I applied for (which I will investigate on Monday, but I suspect I just have the wrong qualification) and I have sent out enquiries about TAFE courses that I could undertake in order to enhance my chances of employment. I would have liked to have been able to get a job purely based on my degree and charm, but unfortunately the degree isn't really recognised yet and I haven't had the chance to charm anyone...

I've never had to do this before. My first job was working as a kitchen hand, and I got it because mum asked the boss how I would apply, and called me into the store...I was wearing a tracksuit, possibly after netball or purely a daggy day, filled in a form and got a job. I worked there for just over 2 years. I then worked briefly at another pizza shop until I found out I was pregnant (and developed an aversion to 'real' pizza and could no longer work around ham). Since then, I've not worked at all!! I've never had to write a resume, or cover letter, or address criteria. I have no idea what I am doing!!!

Well that's it from me for now. Tomorrow I hand over a disc of photos from my last shoot which I will hopefully be able to post and blog about afterwards! *Must remember to get permission*

March 03, 2010

Custom photography

What I do, has a name.

Thanks to this site I have learnt a little more about what I do as a photographer. I like taking all kinds of photos, but find the natural, less posed and unsual shots more appealing than the sit still and smile kind. Unless the sit still and smile kind has something extra thrown in. Or at least not taken in a studio because I look back now at the portaits of my girls and think how horrible I was to dress them up as an eggplant...When will they ever look back and think that that was who they were as a child?

What I want from my photography is to help people share memories of themselves and their family, as they were at that time. As themselves. To capture their personality, their emotions, and the environment that forms a part of the place they call home.

I imagine one day looking back at studio portraits and not knowing which shopping centre or studio the photo was taken in, then looking at some of my own photos and know for certain - that one was at Grandma's house, that one was at the weir (you were grumpy that day!) and that one was at the Botanic Gardens.

There is nothing wrong with studio portraits if you're after a nice photo of the children or whole family together. They remind us of how we looked and show us how we've changed, but I agree with the sentiment expressed on the aforementioned website that "Custom photography is based on being unique to you".

I can offer my 'clients' a choice of locations to suit them, time of day, time of year. I ask them if there is anything in particular they want from their shoot, and if so, I get those shots amongst the first so they aren't bored or tired of having photos taken. After that, especially with the children, it is easiest to observe and shoot as I see fit, capturing moments of play in between poses. With adults we can muck around and try all kinds of poses and simply have fun. All of this results in hundreds of photos...

It isn't everyone's cup of tea, and I do worry when I show clients the more artistic shots that I love that they may hate them...not that anyone has said anything so far!!




March 02, 2010


You never really know someone unless you spend a lot of time with them.
You can't begin to know someone without taking that first step and talking to them.

I know K better now than I did two weeks ago, yet our children went to preschool together and are in the same class at school!
I've always liked her (and not just because she'll probably read this blog!) and I've always thought her son is adorable and glad my daughter likes him too.

It was therefore a wonderful opportunity to get to know her better by taking photos of her to celebrate her upcoming birthday. I'll tell you that she is turning 21. It's always nicer to say dad has been 21 for about 21 years.

I guess I would say that K has her comfort zone, like anyone else, and she was pulled out of that for our shoot. Not that I wasn't, because I feel mighty self conscious lugging around all my camera gear, hoping not to be told off for being somewhere I shouldn't be!
But despite her insecurities (being spotted in the main street of a small town having her photo taken), she really shone, and I got some great shots. It was my first time taking official photos of an adult. I keep joking that she would at least do as she was told...unfortunately I didn't really know what to tell her, so we improvised. I think the one thing I said the most was 'Yep, like that!'

K was amazed out how many photos we took. There was over 500 in total. We knew we had at least 2 or 3 good ones, so it came as a great surprise to find many more shots that I could use.

In a simple 2 hours, and 500 photos, I learned more about K and her family than I had learnt over the past two years. This tells me that I do not pay attention nearly as much as I should.

So I thank my photography for this realisation, I thank K for making the shoot so casual, feeling equally as awkward as I did and taking the time to chat throughout.

The best part is that K liked her pics which means I can post a couple today!