Off the grid

We spent some time off the grid this weekend – staying at a friend’s place, where they live without mains power, hot water, phone lines, or much plumbing (say hello to the long drop dunny). It was nice and relaxing as a guest – after all, I wasn’t the one who had to boil hot water to wash with. I was spending my time playing with the baby. This is the sort of practical and helpful thing that guests ought to do, I think. I also did some lens-swapping – it’s always nice to spend time with another Nikon owner.

“I have discovered that if I whistle and pretend to waltz with the baby, I can hold her attention for at least 4 minutes. Finally, an audience that appreciates my entertaining skills.”

The property is perched on top of a mountain, looking down into a deep valley on three sides. In the mornings, we basked in the sunshine and the almost constant breeze, watching the magpies and goannas enjoying the summer heat and the clouds and mist filling the valley around us.

We also watched the baby, who has almost mastered crawling – she would push herself into Downward Dog position, squeaking with effort, tongue out, and wobble there while we all shouted helpfully, “Move your arms, baby! Your arms!” It hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

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Baby drool

The husband has been away again, playing golf this time, and the cats and I have been at home attempting to be productive. Well, I have been attempting to be productive – the cats have been sleeping, napping, and shedding hair all over the furniture. (And were my attempts successful? Well, to a certain extent. The washing is done. I think that counts).

I went out this morning to take some photos of work friend’s baby, who had just woken up and was in a happy smiling mood (thankfully, as the last time I saw her she wept tragically the entire time). She squeaked away, and spent a while chewing gummily on my knuckle, while I worried about whether it was actually clean enough to be chewed on. But she seemed to enjoy it. My knuckle has the baby seal of approval.

Hannah & the cats

Hannah, our friends’ two and a half year old daughter, was visiting with her parents last weekend, and enjoyed playing with the cats. I’m not sure that they really enjoyed playing with her – she liked to chase them, rather than patting or scratching.

It’s interesting to see the difference in six months, when we last saw her – she’s much more vocal of course, and much more self contained. Her inner life and imagination is much more apparent (to me, at any rate) – in this photo, she and the cats are afloat on a giant boat, and she is using the rope to steer.

A wedding

My brother was married in October (which still sounds strange – my little brother, married), and I took some photos.

His wife-to-be looked beautiful.

I made the cake, with a fair bit of help putting together the tiers and the flowers. It turned out quite well, and after the happy couple left for their honeymoon we had quite a few very pleasant morning teas.

It was a gorgeous day, and lovely to see them both so tremendously happy. I particularly enjoyed spending some time with my extended family, my beloved tribe of aunts, uncles, cousins and babies. I adore them all, particularly the babies.

Before the ceremony

I took this photo as she was waiting in the doorway for everyone to get into the cars and head to the church, looking down at all the fuss and confusion.

I photographed this wedding for some friends last weekend, which I actually found quite difficult – poor lighting reveals the limitations of my equipment and knowledge. I think in those situations I need to learn to get entirely manual, and not rely on the priority modes – otherwise I’m never going to really learn how to properly expose things.

Eagleby Wetlands

After Mum discovered the Eagleby Wetlands while browsing through the Refedex, we headed out there for a spot of birdwatching.

And while I got a bit frustrated with my zoom lens and its very noisy focussing gear (and gazed with envy at the truly enormous lenses that the more professional birdos were lugging around) I did manage to get a couple of bird shots.

Like this Scarlet Honeyeater. Isn’t he pretty? Apparently we have these on our property, but I’m yet to see them. Hopefully the new planting that Mum and Allen helped us do, with lots of grevilleas and banksias, will bring these little birds down closer to the house.

Up the bridge & down the other side

Getting sick two weeks before the Bridge to Brisbane spoiled the Training Plan of Awesomeness (which involved, you know, practicing my running) and the Nonexistent Training Plan was instituted instead, which mostly involved sitting around and coughing.  So I didn’t get a chance to break in my new running shoes, but in flash of brilliance, decided to wear them for the 10k Bridge run anyway.  And I should break in at this point and say that I mostly walked it – partly because of the two week break in training, partly because of my lovely new shoes.

I decided at the 5k mark that the new shoes were probably a mistake, given that my feet were increasingly agonising and there was a horrible squishing feeling at my heels.  I stuck it out, and then peeled off my shoes when I got home to discover I didn’t have heels anymore, but the most enormous blisters in the world instead.  They look quite disgusting.  I have been wearing backless shoes, cleverly disguised by long pants.

While I was off destroying my heels, my husband drilled a screw into his finger while cleaning up the garage.  He showed me the blood spatters and his bandaged finger, and asked me whether I thought it would get infected.  Given that he’s drilled into it and then staunched the blood flow with a filthy oil rag from the garage floor, I think infection is probably a certainty.  Hopefully the liberal amounts of betadine I poured onto it will prevent it from falling off any time soon.

Given that I was up at 4am for the run, I fell into bed at a ridiculously early hour and in the morning had two plaintive messages from my father because I had completely forgotten about father’s day.  Oops.  So, brief summary of the weekend – failed at running, also failed at daughterly love and affection, garage covered in husband’s blood.  It’s going to be a good week.

Max & Kat

My brother and his girlfriend are getting married next year, and agreed (after a small bout of pleading on my behalf) that I could be the photographer on the big day. Given that it’s a rather long time away and I’m eager to get started, I am taking a few portraits of them every chance I get as practice.