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30 May 2013

Paid my way

It's been so quiet here.  And that makes me worried.  But in the last 30 minutes before closing up, which I'm about to do, a lovely couple came into Dunstone Design, and they bought 3 Waterfall Stools. 

In times gone by I'd have picked up the phone instantly, made a phone call and burst out with 'hurrah, I sold something!!!!'.  I don't do that anymore.  I guess this will have to do instead. Yes, I still feel ridiculously pleased when I sell something.  

I did send Evan a text message, because he's tired and stressed and hopefully it will make him feel better. 


I slept badly last night.  Lots of bad dreams.  I hate nights like that.  I have a photoshoot to do for Evan today.  A drinks trolley, and another sort of hall table.  I'm getting tired of doing it without proper lights, and really need to press the button on buying some stands and hood thingies for my flashes (a soft box is I'm sure the technical term).  I'm operating a bit blind, in sizes and brands.  So I"ll have to give it some thought.  I'm hoping a friend might help with some advice too.  But I'm a bit tired of trying to produce good work when I know I'm not set up correctly yet.

And now that I'm looking at the site, I have to admit that I'm confused....Is it a bad thing to admit that there are some gaps in my repertoire? I don't think so. I think photography at its finest is like working with horses. There are always new things to learn and new joys to discover. 

I hope that the Lovely David from Apple will also phone at a good time, and we can migrate what files I need to have, and get my applications reinstalled as well.  It's not the smooth and seamless process I was hoping for.  And of course now, in the move, I can't find the DVD for MYOB either.

Heath is also still desperately awaiting the arrival of his "Captain Rex" Lego mini figure.  We finally got an email back from the guy, he says sometime before next Friday...  This has of course brought on a string of questions from Heath..  'when does the post arrive, how long will it take, will it arrive today, will it arrive before I go to school??'....  In fact, I had to call out to him and ask 'are you ok' as he lay on the heater vent.  And he just moaned 'Captain Rex........'  Poor little bugger.  I agree Heath..  Waiting sux..  There's NOTHING to recommend it!

29 May 2013

And Oh Joy.......... It worked........

Oh Joy!!!!!!  I finally feel like I've made some progress this evening, and touch wood, the referring up the line to the Engineering section of Apple won't be necessary.  I was already at 'sitting on the kitchen floor with a cup of tea' stage over my computer, and let's face it, who needs to go there.  But having a problem that was going to drag on even longer was filling me full of dread.

I am tentatively saying (hopefully) that Mail doesn't hate me anymore.  And so I am v cautiously calling a truce and saying "I'm sorry Mail, I didn't ever really hate you, but you were being utterly, utterly bloody for a while there".  

The 2nd erase of the hard drive, and 2nd reinstall of the operating system looks to have worked.  I didn't accept the prompts for iCloud yet, or put in my Apple ID, in case this is where the problem lies.  At last Mail started, and didn't crash straight away.  I've added both of my email accounts.  I've also closed Mail down, and opened it back up (having to put my hands over my eyes and peek through my fingers, much like looking with a wince at your bank account), and it's all going ok.  My emails have loaded (the ones still on the servers anyway), and I've successfully sent an email.  

Actually I sent two emails.  Because I got excited because the first one worked and sent.  So I sent Brian another 'oh hurrah, my computer is finally speaking to me' email just because I was feeling triumphant....  Just a little bit of trivia.


Something made me want to hunt back through my boxes of old newspaper clippings and photographs that I painstakingly cut out and kept over the years.  They go back all the way to Kingston, Dulcify and Manikato, with a break in the mid to late 1980s, and then there are a lot of clippings from about 1993 onwards.  These days I'm trying to be more ruthless (successfully???).  Because I'm on the subject of Mr Cummings' 60 year anniversary, I paused when I found this essay from Les Carlyon, on the day that Saintly's retirement was made public after he'd broken down again.  I'd been inconsolable the day Saintly's original tendon injury was announced.  This was Les at his finest:

"Before dawn at Eagle Farm, Brisbane, last Thursday, in the hour that's always blackest, the horse from heaven fell back to earth and we were left wondering what might have been.  Bart Cummings isn't wondering too much.  He thinks he knows the answer".
It's a funny process going back through the clippings, recalling the horses and their deeds.  There are so many names I'd forgotten about, and it's always interesting to see an image taken by someone whom I've only known as a picture editor on the desk, and so there were a couple of names that caught my eye with a smile. 

The progress in digital technology over film quality, and the progress of the cameras and lenses we use is also just so apparent when you look back.  The images (I realise we are looking at newsprint quality, and the pages have aged, and printing processes are much better too) of Jeune and Vintage Crop in the wet show what a struggle it used to be to produce a sharp and memorable image in the pouring rain.  We are fortunate to be working with the gear that we work with today.

The big brick wall..

Today started off ok.  But it doesn't feel like it's ending so well, and I'm feeling ever so slightly a misery this afternoon.  I've made a cup of tea, but am at least drinking it at my desk. 

First and foremost the computer is worrying me greatly.  It's just refusing to be fixed.  I'm again waiting for Apple to phone back.  I've put in another couple of calls, and I feel like I'm getting nowhere fast. During the last conversation he was all concerned that Mail was still crashing after wiping the hard drive and not doing another migration.  By the way, I still hate you back Mail.  Although I'm wondering whether I should begin apologising and tell it that I actually do really really like it, in the hope that being stupidly nice to it will make it stop being horrible???  But I end up with these little windows of time in which to do something about the problem, and I'm mid-window now, and my window is ticking away because Heath has soccer training, and the Lovely David hasn't phoned me back yet!!!!  The truly ace Craig at DesignWyse phoned this morning, and was nice about the problems, but I can feel that he needs it resolved as quickly as I do. 

In addition to this, I was deep etching the complicated 3 chair photograph. And I thought I had it all done right.  Yet this is what it looks like..    I can't see anywhere that I've made this stray path, but when I do the "Make Selection" command, it appears, a little offshoot of what I thought was clever deep etching.  And I can't make it appear, in order to delete it.  And no, I don't know how to fix it, apart from deleting all the clever marking out of the path, and starting again, or cloning it out in the etched version, which took me ages to do, because I am currently slow at this.  I probably can't even explain it properly!

Heath is pacing the house, because we are looking for a lost Clone Trooper helmet (it's a Lego thing, I shrug my shoulders helplessly), which I dutifully picked up and put on the table I thought instead of vacuuming it up like I was entitled to do because it was left on the floor.  But now of course we can't find it, making me suspicious that it's become a play thing for the Bad Ass during the day.  This is in addition to chewing on cardboard boxes.  I know, I know, he's probably bored...

On a brighter note I did finally get some overdue prints that I got done for some really lovely friends into the mail, the lovely Gaynor at the Herald Sun sent me through my PDFs this afternoon, and I've seen the proof/draft of the Arrowfield Stallion Brochure and it looks amazing. And my house is momentarily cleaner because I did some housework and other housekeeping tasks this morning before work.  Although between the 2 kids and the Bad Ass Cat, it's a constant struggle to keep it looking ok. 


David from Apple did phone back finally.  The computer is now finally reinstalling the Operating System (for the 2nd time).  It's still showing about 3 hours to go.  I am hoping desperately that it gets resolved, and that it doesn't need to be referred to Engineering......

My unsuccessful deep etching job.  So frustrating..

James Bartholomew Cummings. Still training after 60 years

Today's Daily Telegraph has a story in it, celebrating the 60th anniversary of James Bartholomew (Bart) Cummings' training career.  Sixty (60) years ago today he was granted his trainers' licence.  That's a pretty special achievement.  Most of us grew up with Mr Cummings being part of the Australian racing culture.  We don't see him much on track now.  He's now 85 years old.    There's a lot to like about Bart.  In day's gone by I'd have rushed out to buy a copy of today's newspaper.  I won't, because I'm trying to not collect so many things lately.  But once upon a time I would have.  It's bittersweet, really, for me, when it comes to Mr Cummings and his horses because both of his 2 greatest horses have been tainted with heartbreak.  Saintly with the tendon injury that finished his career.  So You Think, when sold overseas to Coolmore.  

Mr Cummings nominated Saintly's Melbourne Cup win in 1996 as his most special achievement.  I think that's lovely.  It was a pretty special day.  My image of Saintly winning the Cup that year was immortalised on an Australia Post stamp, commemorating the Melbourne Cup.  That image wasn't the first choice.  Australia Post had originally selected an image I took of Makybe Diva winning her 3rd Melbourne Cup, but weren't given permission to reproduce it.  That they chose Bart's favourite horse was completely the right thing to do.  It was another special day on the Australian Turf.  I know that readers, and indeed Mr Cummings, will forgive me for putting the photographs of his horses before the photographs of the great man himself.  After all, if there were no horses, there would be no Mr Cummings, and I wouldn't have taken these images in the first place.

Saintly.  1996 Cox Plate.  Photographed this next to one of my best friends, Natasha Wood.

The Kiss.  Saintly, Mr Cummings, Darren Beadman.
Saintly.  1996 Melbourne Cup.  This image and his memory is immortalised on the postage stamp.

Home from the ill fated trip to Japan for the CF Orr
The 1997 CF Orr Stakes.  Saintly's last race.
Trying to rehabilitate Saintly's injured tendon.  Leilani Lodge.  Randwick.
The dream was over.  Saintly at Princess Farm.

So You Think at Saintly Place. 2009.
So You Think
2009 Cox Plate
So You Think.  Rounding the home turn in front for the 2010 Cox Plate. 
So You Think.  Trackwork the day before the 2010 Melbourne Cup..  I felt anxious about this morning.  I hadn't done anything in the dark for so many years, and felt all at sea to begin with.
So You Think at trackwork.  Les Carlyon's favourite image.

Saintly.  Still a fixture at Saintly Place come Spring.
Bittersweet.  It still breaks my heart to look back.  The truck arrives to collect So You Think from Saintly Place.  5 November 2010.
Leaving Saintly Place.  Hearts were broken that day.
1996 Melbourne Cup - Saintly

28 May 2013

New music. New light through old windows...

I'm at Tom's house after swimming. We've had a simple dinner. He has a fan dangled audio bluetoothy music system. It's pretty cool. He started playing some Peter Gabriel. I LOVE Peter Gabriel. This is a special edition album set with an orchestra called New Blood. It's amazing. And downloading on my iPhone as I type. And he's copying another one called "Rare Treats". It's just so good. The best version of Games Without Frontiers i have ever heard. It's new light..... Through old windows... It will give Dan and I some great new songs to listen to when we are next chasing ponies. 

Nelly..  An idyllic day and weekend.  20 December 2012.  Once Upon a Time.....
And ever so gently she checks my cameras are all still ok

Learning to decipher the mystery that can be Photoshop

I'm trying to become more versatile at Photoshop.  It has to be said that this package doesn't come naturally to me.  Which is a bit of a nonsense because I've been using it for awhile, but using it without using any of the fancy tricks it can do.  I used to sit and watch somebody really good at it with genuine envy.  And ok, I am even envious of those who are just better at it than me, without being really fabulous at it.  I'd watch while someone would show me little tricks, pointing out an area of an image, and saying that this part could use 'a little tickle', for example to lighten it up, or darken it.  And they knew all the tricks to make it look envious.  I'd try to follow what commands they were doing, but the problem with watching someone who's good at it is that you get a bit lost and I can't follow which tools they are using, and which buttons like Option and Command or Control to use to get the other features to happen.

Right now I'm trying to teach myself how to deep etch an image.  I don't currently have anyone's cleverness to sit and watch, and feel envious about, or just to feel pleased for them that they are so clever at it.  I'm trying to do it myself, and figure it out myself.  It has to be said it's more fun doing it the other way.  I've just watched, for the 2nd time, a little tutorial on deep etching, which is a technique I'm currently trying to master.  I'm trying to deep etch an image of a chair I took last week.  I thought I'd done it, and I had the whole chair outlined.  I'm not fast, so it took me a good half an hour to do this.  And it makes my eyes hurt and strain just a little bit.  I got all pleased with myself when I saw in the "Path" diagram and little cut out shape of the chair I'd just deep etched.  Then I tried to correct a couple of the more wobbly anchor points.  And somehow I ended up losing the entire thing I'd done, my clever little cut out vanished, and I think I've just lost half an hour's work.  Probably because I didn't save the Path?????  I don't know.  So I'll put the kettle on, make myself another cup of tea, try to suppress the expletive  and try not to tell myself that this is learning and not me being dim.  And I'll have another go. 

As a little side issue, I'm a bit stiff from riding yesterday, but not too bad.  Most of the soreness is in my neck and shoulders and that's to be expected, because my neck is dodgy.  I've been reflecting on how good an instructor Grant is.  How he could tell when I was trying to over think it and growing tense as a result.  He just made me busier.  And showjumping involves lots of changes of directions, lots of different transitions, and I like that.  Walk, now trot, now quick canter, now trot, then walk, then off into the canter again.  Get the right lead in the canter, look up, make the turn, get the horse straight, legs on, and yes, legs on over the jump!  I liked that he said "super" a lot, as I started finding some rhythm, and actually riding my horse, and not being a passenger.  I liked the feeling of cantering strongly around the arena, first on a circle, then large, going from the '3 point' seat where my bum is in the saddle to my '2 point' seat where I stand in the irons, and then riding strongly into the jump (saying 'wheeeeeeeeeeeee' to myself as we flew over it), and then changing direction and going on again. It was fun, and it's made me start thinking more seriously about the type of horse I will buy next.  What a lovely thought that will be.  It has to be said that I feel an almost childlike excitement at the thought of a new horse.  One day we will get that horse float too..  One day...

27 May 2013

I will ride horses

I remember watching a tennis match years ago, when a young Anna Kornikova had just won a match.  She was of course gorgeous looking, but perhaps lacked a killer instinct to go with the natural ability.  I remember her speech afterwards.  She said that she thought she had showed people today that she could play tennis, and then she said "and I WILL play tennis".  

My equivalent has been riding horses.  And for much of the past 15 odd years, that's been something I've struggled to keep up, particularly once the kids came along.  There were other factors involved, but horses, and riding, are just so important to me.  

I went ahead with my jumping lesson this morning.  The knee was absolutely fine.  And the lesson was great.  I rode a different horse, Snips, and it has to be said that this was a REAL horse, and I absolutely LOVED him.  Again, the difference between Freelance's canter and this horse's canter was profound, and reinforced the advice that my next horse, the gait I will be looking most closely at is the canter.  Because you can improve a trot through the right work, but improving the canter in a horse that naturally doesn't have a great canter is a far more difficult thing.  And riding a horse with a great canter is amazing.  Freelance always felt too much of a passing resemblance to a camel when she cantered.  She's always had a gorgeous, rhythmical and flowing trot.  The canter...  Well, it left a lot to be desired!

Grant pushed me harder this lesson, and I was going over about 5 different jumps.  Yes, I still wanted to say 'wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' when I went over them!  And I'm still out of practice, and I'm still far better on the right rein than I am on the left rein, but by the end of the lesson I was riding the left rein far better.  This horse was lovely and I've come away a very happy person. 

When I cooled Snips off, there was a woman, probably in her mid to late 20s, trying valiantly to ride another school horse.  She was trying hard, but inexperienced.  She wasn't helped by being quite overweight.  It has to be said that horse riding is like many physical activities, in that it doesn't easily lend itself to the overweight.  And it is harder for the rider, and for the horse, and it doesn't look nearly as elegant.  But I loved the way that this woman was just trying so hard.  And the instructor was encouraging.  I like to think that riding horses is something that she's wanted to do, and she's doing something for herself to help herself feel better.

But to quote Anna...   I can ride horses.   And I WILL ride horses...  There's no photos to post from today.  Sadly photographs of me riding are few and far between.  I hope one day that situation will change. These are the last ones, and they were taken at the end of July 2011 when I rode Fenella's horse Pirate.  Fenella hadn't had him long when I hoped on him.  He had no steering, you had to keep him on the circle by opening the inside rein right up.  She's done a lot with him since, and I'm going to hopefully jump on him one weekend soon...

And as a little bit of trivia, my little plant is STILL alive.....  And flourishing it would seem.


I have my jumping lesson tomorrow morning at 10am. I am also sporting a bruised and sore knee. There is a line of thought that suggests riding may be uncomfortable and iffy. But I feel I really need to go. I need to be back on a horse as it is good for me. There are periods where I rely on my horse "therapy" more heavily than normal. The last couple of weeks has made it feel necessary. So I shall be stubborn and go tomorrow.

26 May 2013

Trying to fix things up

It's a natural tendency when you decide that you need to fix the things that aren't working in your life that you want to fix them all up, at once.  Well, that's how my mind wants to tackle things.  Unfortunately this can make the obstacles feel insurmountable, and can lead me to want to put things off.  However, once I snap, and decide something has to be done, I want to fix it, and fix it straight away.  And having to wait for the outcome to take place or be resolved is difficult.  I'm renowned for being low on patience.  I hate waiting.  

I currently have a number of important things 'on the burner', but some of them will take a little while to work through. And I'm finding this hard.  Take my bookwork for example.  I'm no accounting genius, and I'm trying to do it myself because accountants are expensive.  I can intepret what I think I need to do, but if I'm doing it incorrectly I'm making a lot of work for myself to fix it all up again!  My friend Fenella is good at bookwork and at MYOB, but she's frantically busy.  I have another friend who's offered to help, so I can feel an email coming up, just so that I can check I'm doing it right.  Hopefully without also appearing to be hopelessly dim!

I am trying to tackle the issue, concurrently, of completing my tax returns, and working out where my business is sitting, sorting out my computer problems, and finally fixing the shambles that my hard drives have fallen in to, and finishing the work I need to get out.   Not to mention the usual domestic duties that always need doing.  The help that the Lovely David at Apple has helped with the hard drives, because he showed me how to partition the disk, so I did that with the 2 disks that I'm now using as my large backup storages.  My brother Tom and I are investigating some proper backup/storage solutions, and I can't even remember what they are called, but it looks the way to go.  Unfortunately for me, because much of the technology is double dutch to me I'm operating a bit blind, but Tom's good at this sort of stuff and is guiding me.  Data storage is the clear downside to shooting RAW.  These are large files.  And there's more and more of them.  My photoshoots are getting larger, and take up more space.  I used to shoot about 1TB per season.  The 2012-2013 season is up around the 4TB mark though.  This will come down, once I can get the time to do the deleting and culling of the shots I don't want to keep.  

I have a big copy going on in the background now, from a hard drive that's been giving me a very shouty "I'm failing, please copy the files to a new destination!!!!!!!!!!!" message.  Touch wood it will work ok and it will be a big weight off my shoulders once it's finished.  I'd talked about tackling this problem about 6 months ago but that all fell right off the rails.  The copy says it will take most of the day, and I hope that it won't fall over.  It's currently progressing terribly slowly, but is still ticking over.

As always I worry whether I have I interpreted things correctly?  Am I doing the right thing?  Did I interpret a pretty clear message correctly, and will this makes things better or worse?  I shouldn't be having a jumping lesson tomorrow morning because of the bookwork that needs handing in tomorrow.  But I need it.  Perhaps I'm having a little "I miss Nelly" phase, but I need a little "pick me up" so tomorrow I'll put myself in front of the bookwork.  

Perhaps this is why this morning I am feeling gloomy. It's foggy this morning, and we went down to almost -5 last night.  It's almost midday, and the temperature isn't above 5 degrees yet.


I've written a few times about the many relationships that have grown with the juggernaut that was Black Caviar. Obviously not all are destined to survive. Personally I like to hope for the best with my own friendships. Both past and present. That's all I can hope for. I suppose what it all comes down to is deciding what and who we want in our lives and then how we go about making it so. We either want them in our lives. Or we don't. It's as simple as that.

And so it was lovely to get a text message just now from that clever friend who can help me with the mystery that is my bookwork!!

25 May 2013

Depreciation and Assets

Depreciation...   Assets...   Motor Vehicles....  goodness, but these make my head hurt.  The using of them is far more fun than trying to work out the accounting side of it.  And to think, that when I was fresh faced and 18 years of age and trying to work out which university course to enrol in I chose a Commerce Degree!!!!!  What was a thinking!!!!  I think I had no idea that a commerce degree involved accounting.  I didn't ever go, just as well, I'd have been bored stupid and never gotten through it.  I deferred my place and went working instead, and then eventually went back to University as a 25 year old and studied Political Science in a Bachelor of Arts...  See, my Dad did a science and a law degree (probably 2 law degrees actually..), and he probably thought commerce would be a good and sensible degree to do.  I'm sure that's true.  But NOT for this little black duck!!!!!!!  And of course the commerce degree would have been a complete horseless desert....  My life is happily not a horseless desert now.  There are times when other parts of it feels more than a little bit desert like, but not because of the horses.

Sort of counting on unbeaten mare Atlantic Jewel being able to make a successful comeback this spring.