26 April, 2010

Macro Monday: Shells

Macro Monday
The Australian Museum is showing the Wildlife Photographer of the Year winning entries.  The photography is stunning and if the exhibit comes to your town I recommend a visit.  Sadly for Sydneysiders it finishes today.  Sorry about the late notice ... if you run now you might still make it.

The exhibit includes a photo studio where you can mess around with your camera and take some macro shots of shells, bugs and some long dead stuffed birds.  I managed to elbow the kids out for the way to take a couple shots.

Shell Tip
A good photographer would have taken the time to find out the type of shell.
I didn't bother.
Shell Side

Don't forget to visit Macro Monday at
Lisa's Chaos
to see more macro and close up photography.

25 April, 2010

Sunday In My City: ANZAC Day

It's appropriate today is grey and rainy.  It creates a solemn and reflective mood for Anzac Day. Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand.

The name Anzac originally comes from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.  The name has now broadly refers to all those who died and served in military operations.

War Memorial - Sutherland
A small suburban war memorial 

A cross indicates Killed in Action

Rain collects on the floral tributes.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Australian Flag
Australian Flag hangs heavily in the rain.

Visit Unknown Mami for more Sunday in My City

24 April, 2010


ANZAC Day 2010

Both my Grandfathers fought in World War II. Happily they both survived the war and lived full lives. It's been many years since they passed away and life seems to move on so quickly. ANZAC day is this time when I find myself thinking about their experiences during the war. To my shame, I know very little about their service history. I know that one served in New Guinea and Borneo but the war was never discussed by my family.

Charles HoareLester Moore

Other members of my family also fought for my country or took on war time roles but ANZAC day always makes me think of my Grandfathers. I wonder if I would have the strength to go to war if my country needed me. I feel deep gratitude for their contribution.

19 April, 2010

Macro Monday: Rain Drops

Macro Monday

Rain Drops on Frangipanis doesn't have the same musical ring as Rain Drops on Roses but I've managed to murder all my rose bushes, so frangipanis will have to do.

Catching the morning sun after a shower of rain.

Lots of good stuff to be seen at Lisa's Chaos
Go there now.  It's worth the visit.

Scenic Sunday: Milford Sound NZ

I'm having some mobility issues after my fall this week so this weeks Scenic Sunday comes from the archives.  This photo of Mitre Peak and Milford Sound was taken a on a trip to New Zealand's South Island.    It had been raining heavily all day and I had about 5 minutes between storms to grab this shot.

Mitre Peak

Visit Scenic Sunday for a spectacular view of the world

17 April, 2010


Warning: Self Indulgent Post
It's been a tough few weeks.  Two elderly relatives are no longer able to look after themselves and dealing with this has pushed me waaaayyy outside my comfort zone.  This had been coming for some time but they couldn't be convinced that they needed to think about the future.   They were determined to stay living independently in their home and wouldn't consider other options (would I be different?  Probably not).  Sadly it took a health crisis to change this view.  I can't provide the level of care they need so I have been trying to find a path through the maze of the Aged Care Health system.

For the uninitiated, the Aged Care System is a scary place.  English is not the primary language and for the last few weeks I have been trying to put all the pieces together.  Yesterday was a breakthrough day.  An incredibility helpful lady from the Aged Care Assessment Team put everything in place for me.  I now know what the next steps are.  They're not easy steps to take and it will take time to achieve the solution needed, but it's a huge relief to know what needs to be done.

Through all of this I have been feeling sorry for myself. I didn't realise how traumatic this would be and I wasn't ready to deal with this situation. I tried to escape for a night out last night out with friends, but it wasn't to be.  Add to this I'm still in pain after my spectacular (and funny) fall earlier this week (previous blog) and I am wallowing in self pity.

This morning things are in perspective.  I subscribe to the NY Times blog Lens.  This is a photojournalism blog that feature photographs from current events around the world. The photography is always stunning but today featured the rescue effort in China after the earthquake: Picture of the Day: Rescue Efforts in China

This was my reality check. Things don't seem so bad now and I can deal with whatever I need to do. I'm good.
 While you are there, have a look at the stunning photos of the landscape around the volcanic eruption in Iceland :

13 April, 2010

With a 9.75 Degree of Difficulty...

... the next contestant in the "Bite the Gravel World Championship" is ...
Vicki* Crowd goes wild! *

I'm really good at falling over.  I can manage to turn the simple task of walking down a path into an acrobatic masterpiece that would make Cirque du Soleil green with envy.  A couple of somersaults and a half pike mid stride? Easy. I always bounce back quickly, dust myself off and keep walking (hoping that nobody noticed).  Not today. Today I stayed down.

I can trace my crappy day back to 5:20am this morning when the alarm went off.  The only things louder than the alarm at that time of the morning are the screams in my head saying "Are you out of your mind??  Go back to sleep, fool woman".  Resisting sanity, I dragged myself out of my nice warm bed.  In a moment of weakness I had agreed to play golf at 6:45am and I can't reneg on an agreement no matter how badly I wanted to.

At 6:45am it was a little chilly this morning and I was regretting not wearing long pants.  Not as much as I regretted it shortly after.

First hole:
    - Stunning drive down the fairway.
    - A few mediocre shots onto the green.
    - Spectacular 10m putt into the hole.
a good start for me and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Second hole:
    - First tee shot goes deep into bushes on the right.
    - Second (provisional) tee shot goes deep into bushes on the left.

At this point I had a choice - do I look for the ball on the left or the right?  I chose the right.  I chose poorly.

On the right side is a steep uneven gravel path full of pot holes and exposed rocks.  I tripped on one of the rocks.  Any other day this would be a small recoverable stumble.  Not today.  I got the death wobbles.  With arms (and legs) flailing I looked like pelican trying to land.  Gravity took control and I ended with a roll in the gravel.  I lay in the dirt doing a damage assessment:  Lots of things hurt and there was bloody bits.

I had a flash of a mental picture of how comical my fall must have looked, and I got the giggles.  While others were frantically rushing around calling for a medical evacuation (green keeper in a ute) and trying to make me comfortable, I was pissing myself laughing. 

I'm now sitting at home on my deck with an ice pack on my ankle and spots of Mercurochrome all over me and I'm looking for sympathy.  So far I have received the following sympathetic comments:
   "I laughed (just a little)."
   "You were due.  You haven't had a clumsy attack for a while"
and the most helpful:  "Will a bottle of red wine reduce the pain?" (damn straight it will)

I did manage to get the last laugh:  One of the cats was feeling a bit playful and thought attacking my ice pack would be a fun thing to do.  With my foot elevated, she attacked from below, ruptured the bag of ice and drenched herself in melted ice water. The gods of stupidity must have thought I needed another laugh.

Two belly laughs before lunch - not such a crappy day after all.

12 April, 2010

Macro Monday: Don't look if you hate spiders

This spider was hanging right next to my ear for about ten minutes before I noticed.  I was able to stop shaking long enough to grab some photos, then I screamed like a little girl as I ran back to the car. 

I'm not good with spiders.

This is only just a macro shot ... the spider was huge.

I can't look at these any more.  Even the photos freak me out.

You will find much nicer macro photos at Lisa's Chaos.

11 April, 2010

Sunday in my City: Suburban Warriors

Visit any suburban sports field in Sydney on a Sunday and you're sure to find some action.  I now have deep respect for sports photographers.  In my first attempt at sports photography many, many photos were taken and most were deleted.

The winner of this Rugby League match was the team in green and white, which is my local team (yay team!)
Four against one and he is still going.

If I look fierce you might miss the tackle.

Who cares about the main game when you can have your own battle on the sideline?

I overheard the kids discussing how they thought they were good enough to tackle the adults in the main game. 
Travel the world by clicking on Unknown Mami.

05 April, 2010

Sporty Facts

ick … If I see another Easter Egg I'm going to puke. Every year is the same: I go completely over the top with Easter Eggs. This year is a bit of a worry as I've peaked too early and I haven't made much of an impact in the excess of chocolate. Just thinking about it is making me feel ill. Lucky for me I have a distraction. Sid at Confessions of A Middle-Aged Coffee Addict has tagged me to share seven facts about myself. Sid is a bit of a cricket fan, so my seven facts have a sporting theme. I'm going to describe seven sports that I have attempted with varying degrees of success.

My sister and I were sent to tennis lessons when we were young. I thought this was because my mother wanted us to meet other kids and have some fun. I was wrong. My mother was a very good tennis player and she needed someone at the other end of the tennis court who she could destroy with her killer serves. Mum lacked a maternal instinct when it came to tennis and was quite happy to grind me into the clay.
Outcome: I have a pathetic, wimpy serve and I haven't played tennis in years.

Most kids pick up swimming quickly. Not me. I have a remarkable lack of coordination so I could either breath or take a swimming stroke, but I couldn't do both at the same time. The swimming lessons continued for years (five, maybe seven years?). Eventually I put all the pieces together without drowning, but it wasn't pretty. At high school it was compulsory to compete in the swimming carnival. I entered the 50m backstroke as I was less likely to drown if I was facing upwards and, to everybody's amazement, I won. In a small country school of 250 kids nobody except myself could swim backstroke and I made the school representative team.
Outcome: I still swim for exercise but at times I get the breathing/stroke bit mixed up and end up having a little drown.

Hockey was my sport. Put a stick in my hands and I was happy. For years I was an average fullback who was happy just turning up and having a hit. I was still uncoordinated and had developed a reputation for always falling over. Every thing changed one day when, in complete frustration at continually being beaten, I pulled on the goalkeepers kit. I had found my calling: as a goalkeeper it's ok to fall over in front of the ball. Hockey got a lot more serious after that and I had to go to training.
Outcome: My knees are stuffed, I have very little lateral movement but I still sometimes fantasize about playing in a veterans comp. Luckily the thought of training stops me from doing anything so stupid.

I played one game of netball at school. It was decided that I shouldn't continue after I asked the coach if it was ok if I punched the girl who was blocking me by doing star jumps. (At least I asked.)
Outcome: never again.

I'm ashamed to admit it but I throw like a girl. I was always put on third base because I could do the least amount of damage there. I gave up softball after I mis-timed a slide into home base. I started sliding too far from the base and I removed the skin from my ankle to mid-thigh. The worst part occurred when I was sent bleeding to the school nurse she insisted I have a tetanus shot which hurt like a bitch.
Outcome: scars and a dislike of needles.

Happily I wasn't the only one who sucked at volleyball. It was the sport we played after the hockey season had finished and nobody took it very seriously. The entire team was dreadful. We were all short and at full stretch we were lucky to reach the top of the net. Nobody had any idea how to play and it was only ever by accident we were able to return the ball to the other side of the court.
Outcome: group humiliation.

Golf is my latest sport. I would be a very good golfer if I could keep the goddam ball on the fairway. And if I could putt. And if I could chip onto the green. Besides those small things, I'm pretty good at golf. One day I'm going to have a good game and show everybody how brilliant I am. One day.
Outcome: I should have some more lessons.

Don't be fooled into thinking I'm fit and active.  I'm a complete slob who is much happier watching sport than participating.  The best part of playing sport is having a drink after the game.

I should pass this on to seven other bloggers, but I'm going to break the rule and send in to three:

Lucy at Diminishing Lucy
Melissa at Sugar Coat it
Jacinta at Live Life Now because she is back from holidays and needs to blog a little.

Macro Monday: Periwinkles

Happy Monday.  I've been crawling around on wet sand looking for interesting little critters.  At low tide snails and periwinkles can be found sheltering in rock crevices.  The pointy ones hurt when you tread on them with bare feet.

Oh, how I long to move out of the ghetto and into a space of my own.

See what other macro critters have been found at Lisa's Chaos

04 April, 2010

Scenic Sunday: Bundeena

Today started rainy and overcast.  I didn't hold much hope in getting any photos but a drive to Bundeena (Southern Sydney) got me out of the house.  The sun broke through in the afternoon and I managed a few photos.

It must be tough having to wake up to a view of Bundeena Bay every day.

I love my zoom lens 'cause there was no way I was going to get my feet wet.

Ok, I snuck in a close up shot but I loved the colour on this Banksia.

Have a great Easter Scenic Sunday.

03 April, 2010

Movie Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I wasn't planning to see this movie. I loved the book and I didn't want the movie to ruin it for me. However last night was one of those strange nights that didn't go to plan.  It's a reoccurring theme in my life.  I bought tickets to a football match and, while on the way to the game, I dropped in to check on some family who had been unwell. While there I noticed a match preview on television at the stadium I was heading to but it was a different game. I checked my ticket to see I had bought tickets for the wrong night. My tickets were for tonight. D'oh! A quick change of direction and I'm off to the cinema instead.  Lucky I'm versatile.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a thriller set in Sweden. Journalist Mikael Blomqvist (played by Michael Nyqvist) and social misfit Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace, who was perfect for this role) are commissioned by a wealthy businessman, Henric Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube), to investigate a murder. Vanger's niece vanished forty years ago and he is convinced she was murdered by one of his family members who had gathered for a business meeting on the day of the disappearance.

Blomqvist and Solander discover a world more chilling than the icy Swedish setting as they uncover the events which occurred many years ago. Interwoven through this story is Lisbeth's confrontational battle with the lawyer who controls her finances.

There are moments of explicit violence in this film and a couple times I hid under the seat (I'm such a coward). The film is in Swedish and I had some trouble keeping up with the sub-titles in the opening scenes. To my delight, the movie was faithful to the book and it had a non-Hollywood freshness about it.

If I had to compare this film to a food it would be Pickled Herring – a bit different and for the adventurer.

And the good news is: I'm off to the football tonight. I already have my ticket. 

Go the Tahs!