Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 30th

I learned a new feature on my camera today!

That's what happens when you spend an evening with two very knowledgeable amateur pro photographers, who also happen to own the same brand of camera!

I learned how to increase and decrease the brightness on my flash.
I am embarrassed to admit, when taking shots indoors, I was capturing more light inside by increasing the ISO.  Now anyone who knows their salt about photography is most likely cringing horribly about now *laugh*.  Yes, the noise was like a flock of tropical parrots screeching overhead... but at least I could see my subjects *grin*.

So, when having a play, I managed to create these different lighting effects, all with ISO 100.  100!!  That's so low!  It's so low, my camera doesn't even say '100'.  It says L0.3.  Which is an exponential thing... L0.3 is half of 200.  The next one down from that is L.07 which is ISO 50 (then L1.0, which is ISO 25).

Okay, so we've just done some more research into ISO numbers and the above is all wrong.  ISO 100 is actually L1.0.  ISO L0.3 is ISO 160 (and 0.7 is ISO 125).

So the shots taken here, were on L0.3 (just for record correctness).  We've just learned that ISO 200 is the base ISO setting for my camera.

Something else I learned last night - I LOVE MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY!  I remember my very first roll of film on my first camera (at the age of 9yrs), was trying to capture raindrops on roses (how very Sound of Music of me *laugh*).  I have also been guilty of taking 50 shots of a fly on my leg, or a slater in the grass, trying to capture some details.  And of course, getting thoroughly peeved that my camera won't get close enough.  

So I learned you can get special attachments for your camera, to hook up your lens round the other way, to capture shots of awesome detail.  And that's about the extent of my knowledge *laugh*.  But I'm excited to learn more!

I do love surrounding myself with people that know more than me, about fields I'm interested in *sigh*.  And oh, so grateful for their patience and generosity in sharing.
Thanks Rick!  Thanks Ben!

Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29th

Heavy heart... busy hands equals distracted mind... mostly.

I've been longing to use this organic merino (hand dyed) yarn for months.
And today, after many, many generous attempts from folks to help me 'get it', I got my head around the bloody magic circle.  Which enabled me to get this effect:

This was such a pleasure to make.  And so fast.  Started and completed in a day, while also doing two loads of washing, preparing meals, attending to the whims of a four year old, oh, and oggling over a royal wedding.  Now to wait til morning and see if it fits her wee head!  Wish me luck.

Oh yes, the pattern :o)


It fits! :o)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28th

Grateful for moments of recall.

Well, actually, that's a stupid thing to be grateful for.  But I'm lost as to what to be grateful for today.
Sure, there's plenty of small things.  Grateful to be alive.  Grateful to be free.  Grateful for huge pleasures, like running water and sushi at a moment's notice.  But everything, EVERYTHING seems insignificant in light of what happened today.

When your four year old child is dabbing the tears, streaming uncontrollably down your face, while you can barely utter the reason why.

When her small arms encircle your body, because instinctively, she knows that's the only thing she can offer her mother in this time of raw grief.

 When you try to explain why a babe, who has only just come down from the stars, is on his way back up again, four days later.

When you try to explain to your child that tears feel good, that tears are helpful, that they create a river that flows back up to the stars, just in case that babe needs help finding his way back up, because he doesn't have his mama with him, to help guide him.

The image above is of my two sisters and me, and our dear friend J (far left).  I was the eldest at fifteen.  She was the youngest at twelve.  She was best friends with my youngest sister Chell, from about the age of about seven and was a big part of our lives from that point until this.  Tonight, her four day old son died.

Tonight was also the night they got to hold him for the first time.
The first night he wasn't attached to tubes and wires.  The first night he wasn't wrapped in a hypothermic suit.  Tonight was the first night they could gaze down at their beautiful, amazing, perfect son, stroke his skin, feel his toes curl around their fingers, see his fingers enclose around theirs, kiss his warm cheek, will his eyes to open, silently beg for him to make a sound, just one sound.  A sound they would never hear.

Their first born child.
A much longed for, awaited and uneventful pregnancy.
A conception achieved after overcoming not one, but two terminally diagnosed cancers within her body within the last two years.
 A grandchild her own mother would never meet, after having lost her challenge with cancer more than ten years before.

My heart aches for this woman in so many ways.  So much grief, over such a short stretch of lifetime.
I feel so fucking useless.  So far away.  So inadequate.
My hands yearn to be busy for her, for me.  To be useful.  To create something.
But what's appropriate?  What sends the message of love, without trivialising.  Everything just seems so insignificant.  Everything just falls so short.

They will leave hospital in a few days and return to a home still hosting a birth scene, which was left behind to attend hospital.  They will walk past a room filled with items bought specially for him, drawers filled with clothes bearing his name, a wall proudly displaying his name.  He will attend work and field questions and pats on the back of excitement about his brand new babe.  She will watch women whose pregnancies she shared, birth babes the same age as her son.  Watch them grow from babes into children and yearn for her own.

And no one can take this pain away from them.  No one.
No one can say anything to ease this agony they both must feel.  No one.
An experience to be endured.  Day by day by day.
J, M, I am so, so sorry.
So sorry.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27th

Ze blanket is finito!
Oh, thank goddess.
I really, am, over it.

Well, when I say done, the stitching it done.  I still need to weave in the ends and I think I will block it.  It's a little disheveled and curvy.  I think blocking would make it sit a lot better and I actually want to practice it, having never done it before.

Today, I am grateful for my efforts in perseverance and patience.  The two P's that require soooo much effort in my world.  Yay me. *Exhale*

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26th

A change in perspective and the benefits it brings.

Our wee escape into the city has given us an wonderful opportunity to practice with new teachers.
Sunday, our teacher was Susan and today our teacher was Johannes.  Both offered pointers on perfecting technique and perfecting breathing.  Both Ben and I benefited hugely from the improvements each of these teachers shared.  

I thoroughly enjoyed Johannes's class this morning.  It was the most full I have ever experienced.  Approximately 67 people filled the room and we had about 10cm between mats.  Crazy!  I don't know if it was the collective energy in the room, all moving at the same time, all surging in energy at full capacity to push into the postures - or his voice, smooth, low, deep, fluid.  But I held my postures longer and stronger than I have in a while.  And I even managed to get both hands up in padangusthasana!

 (Usually I can only get one hand up.)

In other news, I have finished the sewing together of the crocheted blanket.  The only thing remaining to do now, is the border.  Time to learn a new technique!  And I'm only mildly nervous about that.

Ben noticed today, that I have been more adventurous than usual, when it comes to trying new things.  Taking a risk on the comedy show, trying a restaurant with a different style of food, trying new foods, even trying new wines!  Quite unlike me actually.  Perhaps I'm starting to practice what I preach, in that I am 'feeling the fear and doing it anyway'.  I think for the most part, I'm not good with disappointment and this is my main inhibiting influence.  Perhaps I'm finally understanding that disappointment is not the end of the world, after all?

April 25th

A day of relaxation, of wandering, of not much at all...

Grateful for opportunities to revel in aimless wanderings and wonderings.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 24th

Grateful for seamless flow.

That was very much the energy of our day today.  Everything just flowed.
We woke naturally with enough time (two hour minimum, prior to practice) to break our fast with our yoga morning staple of a half bowl of rice.  Perfection.
Once our practice was complete, we had a window prior to the start of our show, to fill our bellies and catch some vitamin D as we walked back to town from Fitzroy.  And I also managed to squeeze in a bath to nourish my aching muscles.  Perfection.

Dr Zhivago was brilliant.
I love musicals.  Have yet to see one I didn't enjoy.  And I love how Ben enjoys them too.  LOVE!  Mutual interests and shared passions are wonderfully convenient *smile*.
The show was funny, emotional, powerful.  An opportunity to both laugh and cry.
Clear out the emotional cobwebs.  And we managed to add two more to our flashing cup collection.  Lucy will LOVE!  Perfection.

With the show finishing, we had another generous pocket of time to change then dine in the hotel restaurant before rendezvousing at the Burlesque Bar.

There was a time, when I loved this kind of show.  Any kind of show with excitement, performance and sauce.  Apparently that time has passed and this has surprised me quite significantly.  It was a very subdued crowd.  We watched three performances and the women were superb in their acts, despite the lukewarm reception they were receiving from their audience.  I found myself whooping them on, expressing my appreciation for their efforts, while at the same time attempting to stimulate the crowd, enable the inhibited amongst those that surrounded me.  Because in all honesty, their silent witness of the undress that was happening before us, felt elitist, oppressive and salacious.  And it made me more than just a little uncomfortable.

This was not like shows I have seen in the past.  Where audience reception is filled with adoration, fun, laughter, excitement.  This was pack voyeurism and it felt horrible.  We left part way through.

I'm not sure what's caused this change of perception.  Perhaps it was the way the audience removed themselves from the performance, seemingly objectifying her.  Would I have felt the same way, had there been more involvement, more appreciation of her show, engendering more equality?  Although, really, how can there be equality when one party is fully clothed and the other is not?  I don't believe there can ever be true equality where there is vulnerability in one party.  

Perhaps I'm now seeing the industry where women remove their clothing for the entertainment of others, as one that in no way shows women in a place of strength or power, of equality or respect. 
Whatever the case, it no longer feels good, so I'll no longer choose to do it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 23rd

Day one of our city escape.

A morning of yoga and packing, then we were on the train, into the city!
We were walking up Swanston Street, on our way to the hotel and I looked up and saw a gorgeous building.  I commented to Ben, then when I looked closer - I realised it was the hotel we were booked into for the next five days!  WIN!

And it is truly spesh.  Very classy, very elegant, very posh.  Just perfect.
I have to admit to being a bit of a hotel snob.  I have worked in a couple of five star international hotels, as have many of my friends and my sister.  So time in posh hotels featured heavily throughout my 20s.  And when I'm in the mood for it, I very much like to be surrounded by fine furnishings, quality linen and attentive staff (particularly the latter, as I have been that attentive staff member and it's really not all the bloody hard to smile and say 'absolutely').

Love thoughtful, little touches.  A big focus for this hotel is wellness.  I love.

An early evening wander around the city had us out in Fitzroy for a Burlesque show, only to find it sold out for the evening.  I decided a bubble bath was in order, so after half an hour in Lush, we wandered out with about 6 or so different bath bombs and bubbly soaps.  Oh and some Henna.  I plan to dye my hair.  

I used to do this (dye my hair).  A lot.  But stopped during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  And more recently, I haven't because I don't want to cover over my silvers (I luff them).  But I'm told henna highlights them, rather than silences them and I quite like that idea!  It's messy stuff this henna, so I think I'll save the white towels and do it at home.... unless I can't wait... I remain subject to change *grin*.

As we were about to cross the road to head for coffee, we saw the Capitol Theatre and I suggested a movie.  We climbed the stairs only to discover the comedy fest had commandeered the venue.  After a quick consult on whose performance was about to start (in the next 10 minutes!),  tickets were purchased *grin*.  And he was hilarious!  The tears, oh the tears!  I'm not generally a risk taker when it comes to comedy (it can just go so baaaadly!), but we were feeling lucky tonight.  And I'm so pleased we took the gamble.

We finished our evening out with cocktails and coffee.
An utterly blissful, relaxing, gorgeous day.

Friday, April 22, 2011

April 22nd

Daily Gratitude Appreciation
Clean up our gorgeous beach!!

We are so, so grateful to live so close to this beautiful space.  We often find ourselves collecting sea debris that has washed ashore, and depositing it into the bin on our way home.  But there's a bit of ick factor when you're sans gloves, so we never really collect much.  But today, we were down there in windproof jackets, rubber gloves on, large rubbish bag in hand, prepared to sweep.  And gosh - did we have a bounty!  There is always so much more washed up after a storm.

 The stretch we covered, before we covered it.          The stretch we covered, after we had covered it.

Once our bags were filled, it was time for light play!




(Looks to me like she's summoning the gods and goddesses!) 

Homeward bound with our booty destined for a less dangerous resting place.

Oooh - I forgot to share pics of the hunt today!

And, just cos I can.  I made hot star buns in the Thermomix today.  First attempt ever.  And they were a million times better than the banana and date loaf I have failed at three times now!

Happy Oestre and Easter Celebrations folks!