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31 March 2014

Oil. Tyres. Water??

I'm heading off to Muskerry East. Wherever that is. I checked Dan's oil and water. I didn't do his tyres. Surely they are still ok after his tyre repair and check over last week??  Having said that I put 2 liters of oil in Dan last weekend. He was completely empty again though this morning. Just as well I didn't apply to same logic to his tyres?  How can he possibly have used 2 litres of oil in a week I ask you????  

Oil. Tyres. Water??

I'm heading off to Muskerry East. Wherever that is. I checked Dan's oil and water. I didn't do his tyres. Surely they are still ok after his tyre repair and check over last week??  Having said that I put 2 liters of oil in Dan last weekend. He was completely empty again though this morning. Just as well I didn't apply to same logic to his tyres?  How can he possibly have used 2 litres of oil in a week I ask you????  

30 March 2014

Unofficially Official

I think I've been designated the Unofficially Official Photographer?  I had brought my camera bag along today to the Jumper Presentation Day but had been being discreet because I had assumed there would be an official person contracted to do team photos.  These firms seem to make a killing and there was a fair deal made of the Team Photos for soccer teams in Canberra.

I'd brought some prints I quickly ran off from the training session last week for the kids to keep.  Before very long I had Club personnel seeking me out, and before I knew it I was taking the team photos. Of course I'm happy to do this!!  The generous help of the many parents who are helping Heath and the truly ace kids that are part of this community have been overwhelming.  This is an amazing part of the world.  I like to hope that we will fit in here and that others will like it too.  This is the least I can contribute to the team and the kids.  That of course is in addition to my truly ace skills behind the canteen counter! I've had the roster handed to me.  I always liked canteen. 

I really should be heading to bed soon.  It's late and I have a very long day tomorrow with a stallion photoshoot somewhere near Bendigo.  Have I worked out how to get there?  Very very vaguely...  No doubt I will continue to check my phone tomorrow.  And hope that it doesn't go flat.


I've had a few conversations lately with people about how difficult it is to be left 'hanging' when it becomes impossible to get any sort of answer on something that's important.   I find this scenario difficult.  Being a fairly black and white sort of person I usually don't like beating around the bush.  It goes without saying that when I make a decision this is the end of it and there's no stopping me.  However I can be as bad as the next indecisive person when it comes to making certain decisions.  Even the ones that I know are absolutely in my best interest.  Perhaps that is because I can be guilty of letting my heart over rule my head at times?  

I try to allow time for people to put things in their 'it's too hard for me to process' tray, but it's terribly hard when they stay trapped inside that truly wicked and frustrating place for too long.  What's the end result of this?  Well for me personally it means that I feel like I'm hanging on the end of a rapidly fraying rope on a windy day. And that makes me feel far more prone to becoming shouty than I would otherwise be.  The other thing I tend to do is to automatically assume I've done something wrong and that perhaps they are feeling shouty at me.  It's not a nice a feeling.

Speaking of which, I had a phone call from one of my editors on Monday.  Darmo is cool.  I like him.  We're waiting on a big decision to be made for me and my work.  I hate the waiting and I hate the not knowing.  Ok, you've got me there.... I hate the thought of receiving the answer I really really DON'T want to hear because I'm like most people, I want to receive the answer that I like the best!!!  What's wrong with that??  But I am no different to many.  I have my own decisions to make and I have to sometimes put into place fairly complicated arrangements in order for me to fulfill these obligations.  And in the absence of proper information this becomes very difficult for me to do this...

I think if you get to the latter, then the next photo surely applies!  One likes to hope with matters that are important to you that you don't reach the next one,  no matter how funny it is!  Little Swear Jar warning about the next image too.  Abject, pleading, humble apologies if my sense of humour offends...
Swear Jar...  I know, I know..  But come on, this is funny, right???  Abject, pleading, humble apologies if my sense of humour offends...

29 March 2014

Paying the Price

I've had a thoroughly nice day today.  However despite this I suddenly find myself feeling incredibly down about things.  Is it missing out on the day's racing at Rosehill?  I should have been there, that's for sure.  I groaned internally when I saw the result of the George Ryder Stakes.  

In catching up with the day's racing action through the various online sources of the Herald Sun, Facebook and Twitter I came across an article written by Wayne Bennett.  I always liked Wayne.  I don't particularly like Rugby League but found myself in the days that it was on television always drawn to the teams he coached because I thought he was such a great person.  

Wayne Bennett, for whatever strange reason, reminds me a little bit of Clint Eastwood.  Heath's old kindergarten teacher once gave me a great and funny bit of advice.  He said whenever I was faced with a difficult situation or decision to ask myself "What would Clint do??"  

Just a little bit of trivia.....

"That’s the price you pay in relationships.  The greater the relationship, the greater the pain"   Wayne Bennett


I've found my way into Mornington. I've only come in a couple of times before. Mostly with Lyn. I had to find the Nepean Highway to locate Officeworks.  Not too tricky. Into the carpark with only 2 UTurns. That's ok. More stationary. And another hard drive. The kids have lucked into a play date. It's nice how they are gradually fitting in and making friend. 

The "What's Next" question seems to make my head swirl from time to time.  Is it the great uncertainty?  I'm probably not as bad as some at coping with not knowing what is ahead of me in some areas of my life. In other areas though I am rubbish at it, although the phone conversation I had with one of my friends last night, who's had to jet off overseas for work, helped as it always does.  He's frequently pretty ruthless in his advice.  I've learnt from experience that he's right about a lot of things.  He told me that I needed to remember how to have fun.  He's right.  I guess I've been so preoccupied with the kids, the interstate move, finalising some important affairs, and pushing forward with my photographic work, that I probably have forgotten how to do this.  Arche is clearly part of going able to do this. But not all of it. 

My attention has to turn to next week.  I have to get us ready for our Sydney trip.  We fly out on the same evening that the school terms finishes and we will be in Sydney for 2 weeks.  I have a lot on during that period and keeping busy is good.  

Maxie, The Bad Ass, is coming with us.  The Traveling Kitty is about to be airborn. There is no way I trust him to stay here on his own, plus I don't have the sort of neighbours here that I did in Canberra.  The Qantas website makes me scowl in frustration when I can't get the online booking form for pets to load. 

In a funny twist I found myself thinking about the old house in Canberra, which I used to call the little Dog Box.  It had many faults.  But I do miss it's front steps.  I miss Noelene and Paddy.  And I miss being able to sit outside in the gentle sunshine and think and write. Would you believe they put a brand new kitchen in?  And didn't increase the rent. I sighed and reminded myself we didn't want to stay there anyway. 

I have no races this weekend. It's an odd feeling. Instead I'll take some photos for my sister's dance school's public performance at the Merri Creek something. My favourite Sheryl Crow song, "Strong Enough", comes on and I once again feel a surge of pleasure at how easy it is to pop up the Freeway. We are so close to everything!!

28 March 2014

No Shoot Today

Wednesday of this week was our little 2 month anniversary being a Melbourne Family. Ok, I say slightly defensively!!  I count days!  I remember dates!!  It's true that little landmarks and special events are important to me.

I didn't end up having a photoshoot this morning.  What I originally had tentatively booked in at Emirates Park didn't eventuate because they were a little short staffed and the weather wasn't going to be ideal.

The shoot today was really just going to involve tidying up loose ends from our initial shoot last week and these are things we can always come back to.  I wasn't actually upset by this.  It meant I was able to work The Big Horse five days in a row.   Perhaps I should have gone straight home after school drop off and done some bookwork, image work and house work. But being inside the four walls of my house, at my computer, is not always the best thing for me when there are things on my mind. Particularly problems I can't solve all at once. 

The impatient side of me wants to have it all fixed and the way I want it now.  But I realise that I have to take a breath, understand that I can't fix it all at once, and accept that tiny little steps are enough at times. Provided of course those steps are headed in the right direction.  I'm not nearly as happy if tiny steps suddenly turns into charging off in completely the wrong direction with me shouting "I want to get off!!!!" at the other end of the rope.

So this morning I went and saw the horse. It's nice to stand quietly with him, to fiddle about in no particular hurry while I brush and saddle him. If I'm not on a deadline each time he turns his head to put his face in my arms I can pause, and hold him for a moment. I like the feeling when he leans into me.  I suppose it is like having 3 hours to spend with a person who's important to you instead of 1.  On those occasions all of the rush goes out of the visit, and I can just quietly enjoy being in their company.  Horse Minutes.  They have a clock all of their own. Maybe Horse Minutes are similar to Nice People Minutes.  They pass far too quickly.  I hate looking at the time when I am with Nice People (or with The Big Horse).  A glance at the clock usually makes me think indignantly 'surely that's not the real time!'

The rest of the afternoon I spent tidying up.  The Real Estate agent was supposed to be coming over but didn't show up, which was frustrating for the kids because it meant they didn't get to go to the Skate Park and Playground.

I've also spent a little bit of time on the phone.  What's pleasing is the level of work coming in and the comments on the quality of the work.  Word is creeping out through the breeding industry that I am now based in Victoria.  I expect to be very busy come spring and that's a great thing. 

Yesterday afternoon I had my first little fiddle behind the camera at AFL training. Clearly I've got a bit of sharpening up to do!  I don't feel I 'read' the game all that well.  I know that there are photographers out there who can effortlessly read and follow this game and produce reliably ace shots. I know a few of these photographers personally and I always like looking at their work. AFL is fast!! Even at a junior level.  I'm not finding following that tricky little ball with a big lens all that easy. I'll get better at it!!

Heath did so much better in his training and goodness me, what an amazing bunch of people and kids.  Everytime he kicked it or passed it (is that called handballing??) they shouted 'well done Heath'.  'Great kick Heath!!!'.  Ron, the team manager, pulled him aside to begin with for a little one on one kicking and hand balling.  And he's getting the idea of the drills.  What a terrific little kid his buddy Cody is.  He has the shock of wavy blond hair, is bright as a button and likes Heath.  He spent most of the training session training with Heath as a pair.  Encouraging him, teaching him, talking to him.  He's so swift on his feet and he outpaces Heath.  But I loved the way Heath coped physically so much better.  Heath wore his new football boots and was happier in it.  And I have to get him some football clothes to wear for training.  We're getting there though. 

Jessica has had a playdate today involving playing with makeup.  Unfortunately they misunderstood where I'd left the makeup I chose for them that was expendable and alas and woe ended up in my bathroom picking their own items.  I hardly ever use any of it so I calmed the instant tears saying it really didn't matter.  

Has it been a good week?  I think, despite the internal wobbles I am prone to having, that on the whole that it has been a very good week. 

26 March 2014

The Old Boys

There are times when I think I've not achieved very much with my day.  And I can sit at my desk feeling restless and unsettled, almost like I'm waiting for something to happen.  Today feels a little bit like that.  However one important photo shoot took place today.  Ok, so it was a favour for a best friend.  The oldest horse at Lyn's place is dear old Con.  He's 30 this year.  That's old for a horse.  My 2nd horse Tickles made it to 30 but died shortly after this.  We'd decided we needed some special photographs of Con and as such it was important to Monty as well.  Monty falls under the category "The Oldies" when we refer to mixing up the feeds, however he's only a couple of years older than my darling Freelance.  

So today I took photos of Lyn and her horses.  She's had Con for 25 years.  I'm always joking to Lyn that horses shake their heads in dismay when they come to live with her.  It's truly appalling and the facilities are terrible...  Ok, so I'm joking here, because there is no better place for a horse to end up than on Lyn's gorgeous property.  We are loving having the barn, the stables, the wash bay (with warm water!), lights and the wonderful arena.  Doing little shoots like this is something I do gladly for Lyn, who is not only the very best equine artist in Australia and in fact the world, but one of the best friends I've ever had in my life.

If you are ever interested in seeing her work, click on this link: - she works quite a lot off my images and I'm sure she gives me too much credit.  When it comes to painting horses Lyn is the benchmark.  There's no other way of describing her.

Lyn lost a horse a couple of years ago, a horse she adored.  He was her special boy.  He was a big warmblood gelding called Finn.  He cut his leg very badly going through a fence and she took him to be operated on.  He then fell coming out of the anesthetic and broke his fetlock I think.  I will never forget the text message that Lyn sent me at 3am.  She was shattered and heartbroken.  

We often talk about Finn and how hard it is to get over heartbreak.  She said she loved the horse.  That when he was alive, she would go to tend to him and when she saw him her heart would just melt and skip a bit.  Even now the loss of the horse breaks her heart.  

I think that real love, whether it be over a person or animal, is like that.  There might not be any logic to it and it is frequently indescribable and unfathomable. 
"Do you miss him??  Every Day......"
Con.  30 years old this year.

Monty.  22 years old or something close to that?  Bit of a Bad Ass is this horse.

25 March 2014

Watching Nathan

The racing world is currently holding it's breath as jockey Nathan Berry fights off what was first though to be viral encephalitis.  He's since been diagnosed with Norse syndrome (new-onset refractory status epilepticus, which relates to epilepsy).  The latest article is in this evening's Herald Sun:

Nathan had just won the Magic Millions 2yo Classic on Unencumbered.  He'd also just gotten married to Whitney Schofield.  Does it reinforce that message that we shouldn't take anyone's life for granted and expect that they will be there when you get around to it?  I guess that it does.. 


We are at tennis. I've had a nice day today. I watch Jessica play, deep in thought, and my mind ticks over. The Big Horse worked much better this morning. The canter is still a wrestle but it is improving. 

Heath has just emptied the contents of his school short pockets onto Dan's dashboard. . Are you impressed at the extent of his Lego smuggling?  I laughed and shook my head, and told him firmly that lost pieces will not my responsibility (and that I won't be buying new ones!).  He tells me the large pockets belonging to the cargo style school shorts are the reason he likes them so much. It explains why he completely refuses to wear the other pair in a different style which I bought him as a backup.

Dan's tyre is leaking.  It looked low today and when I checked it this afternoon it was down to 18.  Bugger it...  He's clearly picked up a nail up at the stables.  Alas and woe.  It will need fixing asap because Dan and I have 4 stallions to photograph this (and possibly next week if I can't get them done in one day given the travel time).  The farm is at Muskerry Creek.  I've never heard of it.  It's apparently somewhere near Bendigo.  I've never been to Bendigo.  So many firsts..  My mind swirls when I ponder the future which is still confusing because it's all so unknown.  Flying by the seat of my pants?  You bet your life I am.

24 March 2014

Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth???

Hah!  Don't be fooled...  The Big Horse was a toad this morning.  He started off well, but when we progressed to the canter he decided that was it and that he wasn't going to have a bar of it.  I probably perserved on the left rein slightly longer than I should have after finally cantered on the left leg, because I had the audacity to ask for it a second time..  At this point all the hair came off.  It wasn't pretty and it took a while but we finally got the canter left again.  I gave him a brief pat and then turned him onto the right rein thinking this will be easier for him..  Did he pop easily into the canter??  Oh no....  he spat the dummy.  Running through the transition.  Taking the wrong leg. Refusing to canter if he did finally do it.  He got one with the whip around his backside for his efforts.  He hopped up and down crossly.  Then decided he would take the right canter lead but then shouted to me "I've got no steering, look at me, look at me" while careering off in the opposite direction to the circle.  Like I said it wasn't pretty, but I had no choice other than to say "oh yes you do, now do as you're told...".

We were both tired in the end.  He finished off with some lovely trot work, although not to be outdone he put in the most fantastic shy when we were changing rein across the diagonal..  At nothing!!!  Toad..  Warty toad..  Fortunately he was actually working properly into the bridle by this stage so instead of spearing me off I was able to bring the horse back underneath me before it was too late.  He earned himself another 15 minutes for this.  Toad....

I'm getting pretty impressive on the ATV and the harrow to grade the arena afterwards.  As Lyn keeps telling me, I'm a farm girl now...  

The Big Horse..  aka Arche...  Or this morning The Warty Toad
From our lesson 2 weeks ago with my instructor Di Barnes on board the Big Horse.  She's stronger in the seat than I am, so he couldn't shift her in the canter.  I'll get to this point in the not too distant future I hope.
Hair on...  Not a sign of the warty toad..  It can shift in the blink of an eye though..  Silly boy..

23 March 2014


It's a good thing to be trying to fix or change the things that either aren't working or could be better in your life. Right??  For a start I'd decided last week that my cooking had sunk to a parlous state of affairs.  I told myself this was surely mostly due to lack of inspiration and confidence rather than a complete lack of ability.  I used to be able to make a reasonable spaghetti sauce for example.  My attempt last weekend was ok.  Not brilliant, but ok.  This evening's effort was I thought pretty ok!  I put more tomatoes and tomato paste in, and I remembered the carrots.  Having said that, as I just ran through my little mental list of what I put in I realised I did NOT put the mushrooms in.  Now I admit that I think that mushrooms are The Devil's Work and under normal circumstances I will not eat them..  Ever...  However in some strange twist of fate they do seem to add flavour to spaghetti sauce.  Where's the logic in this???  I can't find any.   Possibly now though I've just proved to myself that they really are The Devil's Work and my sauce does actually taste better without them, because it was pretty good this evening!

One of my readers suggested a slow cooker.  I did actually buy one of these last winter.  I think I used it once or twice and gave up feeling a little dejected after I managed to cook Pot Roast Soup with an expensive piece of beef.  It did actually taste ok, but the kids both refused to eat it and I had the texture and consistency all wrong so it went back in the box in disgrace and hasn't dared to show it's face again.  It's like gravy.   I've gone back to using Gravox because my other gravy was rubbish.  Heath asks me suspiciously when I ask would he like gravy 'is it your gravy or Gravox gravy??'.  If it's the latter he'll eat it.  I can't say I blame him. 

Yesterday Dan's engine sounded worse than ever and he was noisy, rattly.  When we set off from the park just before dusk yesterday he again sounded dreadful.  His oil light flashed on briefly, causing me to bite my lip anxiously.  The service station was literally just up the road, so I whispered abject apologies to Dan the whole slow way up the main road and we limped in.  His temperature stayed fine and the sinister looking red oil bottle picture only flashed up momentarily another couple of times.  He's way overdue for a service and limping.  Many apologies and 2 litres of oil later we set off home.  Today he sounded significantly healthier but I remained worried about him nonetheless and hope I didn't hurt him.

As our little outing today we traveled to JB HiFi in Frankston this afternoon.  We've still only been to a couple of parts of Frankston and only for specific 'errands' like this.  Dan's speakers have reached the "I can't stand them" stage.  Actually they're much worse than this.  They start off all crackly but legible.  Then they gradually worsen and the sounds starts flickering on and off, almost like strobe lighting for your ears.  Disaster...  

Since this deterioration happened I've been using a little Bluetooth mobile speaker but it's not loud enough.  Ok, ok, so I like driving with my window down and I like the music sort of kind of loud.  And if I have my window down it's noisier and Dan is noisy anyway.  And I'm always saying optimistically each time someone phones me when I'm in the car and I scramble for stupid headphones "my next car will have Bluetooth", usually to a person who is already smugly using a bluetooth system at the other time.  So at JB I bought a new portable Bluetooth speaker to use in the car.  This one also has a built in microphone and a phone answering button so I'm hoping it works pretty well to take phone calls on.  Not that I can use my iPhone too much out and about at present seeing as Dan's charger porty thingy isn't working.  I can't see whether something broke off in there, if it's a fuse, or whether it is just shagged.  Oh and I suppose I must do something about the headlight that is also not working as well.  Sigh..  

I'm also trying to decide which iPad model to buy.  My kids have my old one, and I find it (an iPad2) heavy and cumbersome.  I'd really like a new one but some decisions I seem to take ages to make.  I nearly decided on the iPad Air, then when I realised they didn't have the Apple Smart Case in bright red (only the Smart Cover) I was back to not being able to decide!  Hopeless!  But I've decided that the red one is definitely the cover for me!  Jessica tried to talk me into a black iPad...   'Nooooooooooooooooo' I said, it has to be a white one!!!!  I didn't buy one in the end.   It wasn't a decision that I had to make today, or even tomorrow for that matter.

On our way home I stopped another playground so the kids could have a play.  While I watched them I had a lovely phone conversation with my friend.  He was tired because he went to the football last night.  He was all depressed because his team got walloped (the Demons..  Is that Melbourne????).  Amongst the many subjects we chatted about were the photos I'd taken of his mare and foal.  I like talking to him, and there are a few topics on which I can talk to him about that aren't so easy with other friends.  He can give me the other side to the story.  Does hearing this side help me?  I'm not sure.  But hearing the other side side is usually a good thing because it prevents me from jumping to unnecessary conclusions.  

Finally, at the recommendation of some friends, tonight I registered Heath for AusKick.  This will, I'm told, help him with his football skills, primarily his kicking, catching and handballing.  It will be on a Friday evening and I think this will be great.  He didn't look at me appalled and horrified when I told him either!  Hurrah! The form asked which team he baracks for and how often we watch a game.  I didn't want to say 'none' and 'never'.  So I asked Heath, and he said he liked the Hawks.  Excellent!  I then put down that we watch a game once a week.  I'm trying to get into the AFL spirit.  We are a Melbourne family now after all. 

It grows late and I suddenly remember that I didn't finish the other photographs I was supposed to finish today.  Bugger it...  I will have to do them once I finish working Arche tomorrow morning.  

Late, late, late...  Muzaalem...

Impressive, right????


I've spent the morning catching up on photos and the racing news.  I managed to watch a little bit of Racing Review on TVN before agreeing to the TV being taken over by Jessica with the Wii and so then have tried to keep up with developments online. 

I'm very taken by the advertisements and the artwork that The Championships are producing.  Take a look at the images in the sidebars gracing the news window.  Recognise any of those images, and those beautiful boys?  I do....  I think the team at The Championships are doing a lovely job and I'm enjoying working with them.  They are clearly being influenced by Arrowfield Stud and John Messara from a style point of view because the marketing approach taken by JM's team is the absolute benchmark.  I'm delighted to see that this influence is beginning to stretch into other sections of the industry and to see Racing NSW embrace a project like this with such quality work.

Today I've also been  wrestling with the issue of pricing some work in order for me to be able to provide a quote.  I find this sort of pricing difficult.  I'm trying to work out how much will be fair to me while also being attractive and good value for the client, who I value.  How much is too little?  How much is too much?  What to include?  What to leave out?  I'm not sure who I can trust to talk it over with either.  It's tricky, very tricky...

Spirit of Boom canters to the barriers.
Spirit of Boom (outside) and Fontelina (orange and blue stripes) battle out the finish of the G1 William Reid.  Neither horse could have possibly matched strides with The Famous Pony, or, I suspect, The Love Horse..

My camera angle definitely made it look like Fontelina was a clear winner.  Not so said the photo finish.


Michael Rodd doesn't often get this animated.  Intriguing, given he was on a 6 year old horse.

Text'N Hurley wins the Sunline Stakes (Hard Spun - Angels)