Thursday, December 31, 2009

I've got New Year's Pressies for you!

Head over to Kristin Anderson Photography Blog for your chance to win a cool book!

But you've only got 12 hours to be in with a chance! I've got a couple of copies of Dane Sanders Fast Track Photographer to give away FREE and I'm doing it before midnight tonight so hurry and enter -> Yes! I want to win :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day on the ocean

We didn't really have a big Chrissie planned since none of our family was with us - Dave opened some presents early, the Girls & I went to the beach for a big play and then we headed out to a couple of our secret spots in Exmouth Gulf for some diving, fishing & hard relaxing!

It's a hard way to spend the day - gorgeous blue skies & ocean, a deserted island, perfect temperatures, a bbq lunch on the heck out of what the Midwest had!

I did my first dive since way way back in August. It was a pretty short one since the secret site we were on was very tiny and the day was more about spending time together than spending time underwater. I only shot about 15 frames and most of those were just potshots for giggles so no fabulous stuff, just a few happy snappies to share - of course it wouldn't be a Christmas post without Christmas trees (worms)

Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ho Ho Ho - Merry Christmas to Everyone

A quick kitty & puppy holiday greeting to celebrate Christmas & the holidays. We hope that you all are having a most joyous festive season.

We tried to do a group shot but in the end decided that everyone looked happier with individual portraits! (Honestly, I think the kitties can't wait for next Halloween - mom and I have decided that Drag Kitteh costumes are high on the list of possiblities!)

The Merriest of Christmases to you all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A little birdie told me

"Nice car you got here, Lady"

This is what was waiting for me as I tried to go to work this morning

And he would not get out of the car, moving from the door to the front window - evidently waiting for me to get in and drive him somewhere!

And now for a bit of random: have some fun playing in the snow by clicking here! Thanks to my friend Amber for sending me the game!

Monday, December 21, 2009

R.I.P. Patches aka Kitteh

I got some sad news yesterday.  The beautiful black & white kitten that popped into the dive shop in September had to be euthanized a couple of weeks ago.  He had four fused vertebrae that were causing him daily pain (and a heart murmur, and blind in one eye...poor little tuckka had multiple problems) and there was nothing that could be done to improve his quality of life. It was a heart-wrenching decision for his family.

Goodbye, Little One. No kitten was ever given as much love and cuddles from two families. You brought pure joy to all of our lives and it was a blessing to have you.

If you missed the story or just want a walk down memory lane
Agonizing over our choices
Decision Kitteh 2009
So much happiness!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Boof gets some Holiday Happy

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  I'm guessing Boof is only using a choice few to comment on his new reindeer hat...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Back in Exmouth

I'm back in Exmouth after a wonderful trip back to the US to spend time with family.  I've been a bad blogger while away and will be catching up over the next week or so, I hope!

This morning I woke up at 2am and couldn't get back to sleep so I hit my office and cleared off a ton of dive shop emails & paperwork before 5. Then I took the Girls out for a nice romp on the beach. I was actually a bit cold for the first half of our walk, but I tried to keep in mind a) the sub-zero temperatures I just left and b) the stinkin' hot temperature that it will be in a few hours!

We found lots of cool stuff in the tide pools today. These green worms were everywhere - there must have been hundreds of them. Lots of teensy crabs out and about and stuck to anemones poking out of the sand. The sunrise was kinda blah today, but it's still a pretty nice way to start the day.

Dora found some sort of bone and happily munched away. She wouldn't let me get a proper photo of her with it and kept turning her head away from me - I think she figured I'd take it away if I actually saw it!

Christmas is almost here and I'm pimpin' here for a minute. Please head over to my Exmouth Photography blog and leave some comments. You'll help make the season a little brighter for someone else - it's super easy and it feels so good!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

OK, maybe not a perfect plan

I admit it, I am a procrastinator. It works for me. However, if I ever move to Alaska or Canada or somewhere like that, I may reconsider.
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

More winter wonder

Like, "I wonder why I prefer the beach"

We've been in a blizzard warning since yesterday and as you would expect the weather is super sucky. Things started off pretty nicely - beautiful, big, fluffy flakes of snow decorating everything and creating those vistas that people who don't live in this weather for four months a year believe is what "winter" is.

Then reality hit. High winds gusting up to 50+mph, snow falling, snow blowing, "high" temperatures of -5 and wind chills down to -39 (F or C, take your pick it's the same). Super big fun.
Coming out of the driveway this morning

Snow drifts everywhere - they might look pretty but they're cold to walk through and then you're damp and icky for the rest of the day. And it all has to be shoveled out - even when it's still -20 & windy outside.

Two words: Connected garage.

And then there's the fun of driving near the lake where sudden areas of no visibility can pop up. This silly soul ended up buried in a snow drift that was about six feet tall and covering one whole lane on our road; you can see in the upper left & lower right images that the other lane is perfectly clear. Bummer, Dude.

Some things can not be deterred by a mere blizzard...getting a morning pop & hitting Walmart for a few more Xmas decorations are on that list

Plows, snow blowers, ATVs & pickups with snow blades have all been busy. At our house Dad brings out the Bobcat to cope with the white stuff - unfortunately we have the bigger machine home and there proved to be just a smidge too much snow under the wheels, raising the cab height just enough to take out the top of the garage door. And then there was the big rock hidden under a drift that took out the right rear tire...

Winter in Iowa = SUPER BIG FUN!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's Iowa

Those who have lived here know; those who haven't, have heard the stories.  It's all true.  Four seasons in a day is normal.  So far this trip we've had sunshine, rain, sleet, ice, snow, warm weather, sub-freezing weather, wind, no wind, crystal clear and fog so dense you couldn't see the end of the hood of your car- sometimes all in 24 hours!

Thanksgiving was clear, but cold & kinda windy. The wind kicked the lake up over the seawall, leaving icicles dangling from the trees & everything else lining the shore. Dave braved the cold during a lull in the breeze and took the baby Canon down to capture some of the neatest sculptures - I stayed in the warm, dry house & snapped a few of him from the windows.

Later I couldn't resist taking a new lens down and having a little photography play myself - this time Dave stayed in the house & snapped me in my super cuddly pink fleecy boots. I love the sun chair covered in ice - just thinking about laying out next to the lake sends shivers down my spine!

The ice had cocooned leaves, twigs & blades of grass. I am easily amused, I know, but I thought it was very cool looking (no pun intended!)

The next evening nature put on a show as only Big Spirit Lake can. I still believe the sunsets here are the most amazing anywhere.
Looking south


Into the basement windows

For those who are interested in such things, I shot these in RAW then bumped the black to +4 in Lightroom (except the basement window where I added +3 fill light, too). I didn't mess with the colours. Isn't the purple house just too funky?!

Then, of course, we had yesterday's lovely covering of snow. And it's still falling, though very gently. Roads are icy and polished to a slick black glass in places but the sun is shining. Zip-pe-di-do-dah around corners, on the lee side of groves and other funhouse road areas. It's a whole 20F (-7C) and that will be our high today - yippeee! I see it's about 37C in Exmouth again today, but I wouldn't trade places (since I'll only be here in the tundra for a short time!)

Heck, I'm so tough I stood outside in the swirling snow for, oh, I don't know, 90 seconds while posing for this shot!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Winter Wonderland

My car sitting outside my dad's office this morning while I am warm & toasty next to the heater.

My Exmouth friends tell me it's 44C there today.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A very Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving the best way: with too much food and loving family around the table.  It was a small one for us this year, just Dave & me, my Dad & stepmom and my Grandma.  Patt, my stepmom, did all of the cooking and preparation and everything was scrumptious...the turkey was so tasty it was hard to wait until evening so we could nosh on the leftovers!

The weather was much nicer than Wednesday when we had strong winds, below freezing temperatures and snow & rain. Thanksgiving was bright sunshiney, blue skies and no wind; still cold, but it's amazing how much better I cope with ridiculous temperatures if the sun is out!

As you can see, I'm not doing great on the whole posting thing...I keep having good ideas for a blog post but then don't find the time to get to it! Bear with me, hopefully I'll have something interesting soon...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Off to the USA - the journey begins

In the interest of honesty, we actually left Australia on the 10th, but with one thing and another I haven't gotten around to posting - so just pretend that these next few posts are happenin' in real time LOL

Dave and I packed up at the last minute as Dora really doesn't like it when she suspects we are going to leave her. She's got the poor, pathetic me thing down pretty well

This is the first trip Dave and I have taken together since Tilly joined our family and she erroneously believed there was a chance she was coming with us and so remained happy and goofy through the whole packing and loading the car process. Dora knew better but Til didn't pick up any clues from her

We had a stupid long layover in Perth thanks to Skywest canceling their early flight on the day our international leg was scheduled for. We had to get into Perth the day before and pretty much just waste 24 hours. We stayed at the Perth Ambassador Hotel on Adelaide Tce

It was just OK and we were able to get a "good" rate via my friend Amber.

Perth hotels are way overpriced and this one is no exception. Our "good" rate made it less galling, but there's no way this property is worth what they charge. Tiny room, eensy tv with marginal reception, uninviting bed that was good enough for one night but I wouldn't want to sleep on it more nights. They did have extra pillows in the room, so points for that, and their bath towels were big. We were meant to have internet access in the room but neither Dave or I could get it to work on either of our laptops and the front desk was completely disinterested and unhelpful in resolving the issue. Our flight wasn't until late afternoon and we asked if we could have a late check-out - they offered us 1130 instead of 1030. Whoopeee.

We spent our Perth day doing not much of anything really. We did a little shopping for a few bits we needed to make travel more comfortable, ate a surprisingly good lunch at the Carillon Food Court off Hay St, looked at the Christmas decorations that were already up, had a pint at the Moon & Sixpence and generally wandered around until it was time to head to the airport.

I know you're looking at the first and last picture and thinking "what?" - well the first one is the very cool bark of some tree that for some reason I believed I needed to take some photos of and the last one is of a sign in the food court. I'm pretty sure "Mexican" and "pasta" shouldn't be together, really. It just struck me...remember, we were kinda bored and struggling to find the humor in wasting one of our holiday days!

The Grosvenor Hotel was very close to our hotel so we had dinner and a pint there the day we landed. They are remodeling and it's really shaping up nicely - it's going to be a lovely place to grab a drink when it's done. Hopefully they will also revamp their waitstaff - dismal service. Although several servers kept walking around the tables, not once did any of them stop to ask clients if more drinks were wanted or remove empties from tables. You'd think that wait staff at a bar would be good about trying to move another pint before patrons left, but that didn't seem to be a priority.

We both had the Harvey Beef for dinner and both pieces were not good - tough, overcooked, tasteless. We did let our waiter know and when I went to the bar to get another pint, one of the owners comped the pint since the meal was so disappointing. He was very friendly and seemed to appreciate knowing that the meat was subpar. I don't know that I'd eat dinner there again, but I would stop in for a drink.

In fact, we did stop in for a quick pint before getting on the second plane of our to Auckland we go!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Didn't post yesterday as I spent most of the day trying to beat whatever nasty I've picked up. I felt ok-ish early in the morning so the Girls and I headed to the beach for a pre-sunrise walk and it felt really good.

The humpback whales were going crazy - jumping, slapping, cavorting just off the reef. It was low tide so the dogs and I were way way out and the whales were so close it was amazing! This is the most active (and LOUD) and the closest that we've had them on any of our walks. Very cool.

There were also kangaroos galore along the beach...until they saw Tilly rampaging along! One group (herd? flock? school?) of six held their ground until we were only about 50m away and then BANG all of them were off, up over the sand dunes and away into the bush. Tilly tried to follow, but she's a little uncoordinated and suffers from some navigational issues so by the time she got to the top of the dunes, the roos were long gone. I'm glad as I really don't need her chasing down big roos, frankly.

Dora kinda gave a half-hearted canter for about 8 steps and then trotted back to my side. She knows her limitations.

I was pretty weak & tired when we got back to the car but my spirits were high again and I was feeling like I could manage the day.

On the drive away from the beach we came across two bustards (Ardeotis australis) - bush turkeys - wandering around just off the side of the road. I only had the baby Canon with me but still snapped away while rolling slowly in the car (give me a break, I'm sick, remember!)
under the tree

After a shower I was feeling pretty good so I hit work stuff, delivered some prints, ran some errands, got some groceries, put on some laundry...and started to feel really run down by about 11am. I had a little rest, ate some scrumptious watermelon and generally took it pretty easy for the rest of the day.

I wasn't feeling great by bedtime, but I wasn't feeling as sucky either. Until about 3am when I woke up and was totally unable to go back to sleep. I hate it when that happens. So I worked for a couple of hours until the sun started to come up and then Dora, Tilly & I loaded up for another beach walk.
Camera? What camera? Over there? Where? What?

The whales weren't as boisterous today but there were still a few making a big production of breathing with loud snorts and big plumes of exhalations.

I'm in the shop tidying up some accounts and tons of email again. Town seems very quiet so hopefully more people will trickle in for the weekend.

Dave is still in Perth and has at least one more doctor's appointment today - just to get the results of another blood test, I think. He's been told he should be fine, but they want to check again in early December. He can travel which is a super good thing since we leave for our US holiday next week!

I've been trying to be good about blogging a selection of stuff - photo, non-photo, news, random blathering - over at my Exmouth photography blog, so make sure to check it out and leave a note!

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's another tequila sunrise

Sans tequila. Though maybe it would have been better with some.

Woke up this morning feeling pretty OK so threw on some clothes, loaded La Doggalas into the Boobalaru and off we went to the beach for the first non-windy morning in ages. On the drive out I started to feel a little queasy, but I opened my window wider and the cool morning air sorted me right out.

Until about 15 minutes into our walk when I knew things were suddenly not as bright and happy as they were 14 minutes into our walk. Sick big time. Shockingly, the Girls are of little help as you're laying in the sand being all sorts of ill. They bound around, kick sand, try to give you kisses, attempt to push you over so they can sit on you and generally make the whole process even less fun that it normally is.

Needless to say we cut our walk short and headed back to the car - boy, 15 minutes is a whole longer on the return trip.

Here's a happy ending to today's post just to show that my day did have potential to be nice

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'm mellllltting

It's hot. Damn hot. The fans are on high, the air conditioner is on max and none of them are putting a dent in the heavy heat today.

Normally I wouldn't groan because I prefer the heat to the cold. But today is day three of me having some bug (thank the Baby Jesus it's not what Dave has!) and I feel terrible. The heat is not helping things.

I'm nearing the end of my fourth 1.5L bottle of water and that's not putting much of a dent in things either. I can feel myself dehydrating as I sit here typing.

Oh for my bed, some more drugs (what's with that six hour thing anyway I'd like to know) and serious air-conditioning.

But I won't complain - I could live where it sleets.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dave's off to Perth...again

He left this morning for yet more screwing around with our healthcare system. He's hoping to drive back on Wednesday at this stage, but we'll have to see how it all goes with juggling last minute appointments and what not. Stay tuned. Neither of us are impressed with this spur of the moment trip, but at least the doglets will get their food supply topped up so we don't have to fool with having that shipped up. Trying to see the silver lining here, really.

The past few days have kept on with the crazy. Dave has been in the dive shop most of the time and I've been frantically trying to clear all of the editing and processing from my backlog. I am thrilled to say that everything bar processing a few orders is done and dusted and those few orders remaining will be sent off to the printer before noon tomorrow. Yippppeee!!

I've had enough time to toss up a few bits & bobs, including some random personal just for fun stuff, on my Exmouth photography blog and hopefully I'll have images from the last two weddings up there early next week. You'll have to go there to see my feelings on mushrooms and you know you don't want to miss that! Please remember to leave a little note over there as each and every time you do it raises a little more money to help make Christmases jollier for someone who needs a little HO-HO-HO this season!

We took the Girls to the beach to have a big romp & check out another dead whale. Dora and Tilly settle right in on their car mat before we even leave the driveway.

But as soon as we are wheels up, Tilly's right there - eagerly drooling over the front seat, anxiously waiting to see what's coming up

This new dead whale looks pretty small and I don't have any idea how long it's been there or how it died. I just know that it's become something of a locals outing

Yes, those are camping chairs staked out on the rocks LOL I can't imagine sitting up there as it's decidedly whiffy when the wind blows a certain direction! The decomposing whale has brought in a ton of small fishes and those have brought in some bigger predators. Most of those standing around while we were there were watching three tiger sharks patrolling. None of them were very big - max about 7 feet probably - but friends of ours swear there was a 15+ foot guy there at one stage.

This kid was throwing pebbles into the holes despite his mom shrilly insisting he stop. I know the whale is dead and all, but behaviour like that just feels so disrespectful to me.

After hanging out watching the sharks for a few minutes we cruised along the beach well away from the action and other humans so we could get on with the walk. Dave found a big stick and that held their attention for about 20 seconds.

Dora ended the game by taking the stick out and dropping it in the water then leaving. Tilly was torn between finding the stick again and trailing after her Sister. Dora was supremely pleased with herself.

The weather here has been blowy again in the mornings and that sucks. It then gets HOT mid-afternoon and the Gulf glasses off. Hopefully tomorrow and Monday will be gorgeous as we have good boatloads of divers and everyone is itching to get a few good dives under their belts. I will be in the dive shop.