Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Farmington NM to Monument Valley Utah

We left Farming ton at a reasonable hour after a look around and headed for Monument Valley.  The journey took us through the town of Shiprock. The landscape is dominated by the rocky formation that is Shiprock. I took more photos than were entirely necessary but it has a majestic and haunting quality to it.

 As we drove along we knew it was windy but then we "hit" the area of the dust storm.

Didn't fancy the ride this biker was getting.

We stopped along the way for a variety of photo opportunities and here are two of my fellow photographers.

The views of Monument Valley along the way!

We are staying at The View Hotel and here is part of our view from our balcony. 

One final view from the day.....

A photo of "moi" thanks to Julia!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Santa Fe to Farmington New Mexico

We started out from Santa Fe and traveled some of the journey we did in September on our journey through "Georgia O'Keeffe Country".

The rocky out crops and the snow made for lots of photo opportunities... even if they were drive by ones.

The snow still covering the ground surprised and delighted us. We were sitting in the car wearing short sleeved shirts an indicator of the warmth outside not of the heating in the car.

 We drove along the back roads for a while and then onto the main highway as it was a bi of a distance (202 miles) between our starting point and "home" for the night.

I hadn't expected to see the number of oil rigs, small oil rigs admittedly, but oil rigs all the same.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want!

What a tease Tami is... she sets a challenge using the song title and of course it is playing in the heads of all of the blog challenge folk.
 Here is what she said
What I'd like to know.. is what do YOU want? Not just scrappy things but anything. I love window shopping, I also think that seeing what people want gives you a glimpse of their world and who they are? Did you know in my house full of boys, *I* am the biggest gadget junkie?
So what's on your wishlist of late? Link us up! Share pics, name 5 things that you'd like to get today.
(yes you can pretend you're elite and have unlimited funds if you want ;) )

So 5 things on my wish list.....
  1. an ipad! gotta sign up for that wonderful item!
  2. a perfect lightweight reliable suitcase- still haven't fond one
  3. an upgrade to first class today as we head back to NYC
  4. an ipad oh I said that! then an iphone
  5.  latest digital slr- love mine but it'd be great to have a new one!
Ah the taxi is waiting better head for that slow plane journey to NYC cos it's Thursday here in sunny Melbourne.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A pearl?

In keeping with the March challenge I checked out what Michelle had in store for the bloggers and she said...
For today Sunday the 21st (or any time you get to it) share a "pearl of wisdom" with us on your blog. It can be a quote you find, something a parent or grandparent used to say... you name it. Share as much or as little about it and what it means to you as you want. Post when you have your "pearl" posted! I'll go get mine up now!

I could go on and on with this one given the Happiness Project has given me plenty of pearls of wisdom and Maddy used to have some particularly fine ones that enter my conversation on a regular basis... so to choose an appropriate pearl for this time.

It was a pearl that Maddy would drop on the odd occasion "I must have been out of my tree!" More of a summary of life's events than advice but it certainly sums up how I have been feeling in part over the past weeks. Why?

I must have been out of my tree to think that I could:
Fly to Australia, then back to NYC  and then on to a ten day  tour of  Monument Valley via Santa Fe and Vegas and still work/learn here in Australia for the past two weeks and then have my head together for the work in NYC in April!

Actually I am managing but .... perhaps I am half way up a gum tree rather than out of it.

Then reflecting on the challenge of threshing around a "pearl of wisdom" my mind fell into exploring  "the only life you can lead is your own"  which sort arises out of Stephen Covey's work and thinking when he (and others) said the "only person you can change is yourself". That then has me thinking about the little book "If life is a game then these are the rules" The only rule I can remember is that "you only get one body". All these kinda interlink.... and so reflecting back on being out of my tree I figure I m leading my own life!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Music as inspiration

Actually what Paula had in mind was album covers when she said...
Welcome to week 3 of my inspiration series! I'm posting inspiration pieces every Thursday in March as my contribution to the Get It Scrapped Get Blogging challenge. This week I'm moving on to music, specifically cd covers, or whatever they call them these days LOL! The beauty of the cd or record cover is that it's a square and translates very nicely into a scrapbook page.

This had me thinking and my immediate thought was "What!" but then I started to look through the piles of LPs yep you know those things before CDs? And we have mountain of them here in Footscray ... I decided I could use them as an inspiration but not only for layouts... this will also be quite revealing about my eclectic taste in music- you may even question the use of the word taste!

Here goes...

I thought the collection of photos in my view there are 5 photos laid out here, the title with a subtitle and even a bit of journaling at the bottom!....  and look at that.... LP's are the same size as well as shape of a 12x12 scrapbooking page. Paula you are so clever!

I wasn't planning on using the inspiration from this as a page but more as a photographic layout... all I need to find is a brightly coloured seat! Oh and someone wearing black to sit on it and a nice manicured set of nails!

And finally...
I like the brightness of the blue and yellow  but also like the "platform" with possibly 4-5 photos arranged on it then the best part is the title "Ego is not a dirty word". Showing my age here and that I am Australian as others from other times and places would have no idea what I am talking about. 

 I was tempted to try to download something but then that would be stealing. So here are some of the lyrics from the Skyhooks song....

If I did not have an ego I would not be here tonight
If I did not have an ego I might not think that I was right
If you did not have an ego you might not care the way you dressed
If you did not have an ego you'd just be like the rest

Ego is not a dirty word
Ego is not a dirty word
Ego is not a dirty word
Don't you believe what you've seen or heard

If Jesus had an ego he'd still be alive today
And if Nixon had no ego he might not be in decay
If you did not have an ego you might not care too much who won
If I did not have an ego I might just use a gun

Ego is not a dirty word
Ego is not a dirty word
Ego is not a dirty word
Don't you believe what you've seen or heard

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Going green on St Patrick's Day

I actually missed the boat with this one but I'm still getting caught up on my blog and the challenges. I like the challenges as they make one think differently about both blogging and the day itself.

Michelle's challenge was ...
On March 17th post a layout that has you "going green". You can interpret this in several ways, you can recycle product and go the echo green route or find some great green product to showcase. Pick your poison and I will be watching

There is no way I'd have a scrapbooking layout done either in time or  on this subject yet what with being in Footscray and working!! eek I just haven't had the wherewithal or inclination to get a layout done but did take a photo that is part of the "going green' theme.

For years now we have had our process of composting our kitchen scraps. The little brown bin sits on the kitchen bench and any vegetable or degradable matter is just tossed in there and when it is full enough to warrant the trip to the black  compost bin in the garden then out it goes. Not a particularly pleasant scent sometimes but it is great use of the by products of cooking. The compost bin shifts around the garden depending on where Michele has placed it. Notice I say Michele as it is her area of expertise (the gardening not the compost). This particular time it's under he wattle tree that is in front of the bungalow.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two for Tuesday

The challenge for the day came from Tami ...
Any ideas on the first marketing person who coined the term two for Tuesday? Me either but it's definitely catchy! So today instead of the 5 W's I'll ask just two things.
What's (was) for dinner tonight?
What are your evening plans?

How easy was this for me! Michele and I went to Bridie's (our niece) for dinner so I didn't have to choose or decide what to cook. We had a lovely meal of chicken and veges all cooked by the lovely woman herself.

Our evening was spent chatting and laughing and catching up on news.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Snapshot Saturday

Still in the process of getting up to date but here is Katrina's challenge

We spend a lot of time on our blogs sharing photos of others - our families, friends, pets. When not sharing photos of the people we love, we share photos of the things we love - dinner, our garden, places we go.
For this week's Snapshot Saturday share a photo of yourself.
Perhaps a reflection.

I was with Jane's sentiment which was "Ye gods Katrina what are you doing to us". Then I checked out Jill Dater's effort/entry and thought "Aaah... I can go back into the annals of time and use the one I took in Chicago pre-grey hair!

Actually I had grey hair it was just hidden by the dye! It wasn't that I was worried it's just that it was very very bright light with all that sunshine and reflection hence the slight squinty sneer.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Family and friends Friday

Jane's challenge really struck a chord with me. The challenge went like this...

Today we are going to think about the past. I made a comment on one of Linda's layouts in the gallery, where she talked about remembering the smell of baking in her Mother's kitchen, about how her writing had brought back memories of fresh baking bread in the kitchen of my own childhood. There are other smells that I recall, every so often I will walk past somewhere and suddenly get a wiff of some perfume or odour and suddenly I will be transported back to another time and another place and recall a situation or a person vividly - like they are right there in the room with me or I am reliving the event over again.
So is there a smell, a fragrance or perfume that brings back vivid memories for you? Is there an odour that triggers a memory for you when you come across it? Not all odours are pleasant ones; perhaps a particular odour brings back a memory of an unhappy incident. Whichever the case, your challenge today is to blog about smells.

For me the really quick and strong memory comes from wood smoke. Especially if it is also a damp morning with wood smoke in the air. I am immediately transported to Bacchus Marsh , Victoria and walking down the long stretch of road to the shops carrying Auntie Flora's shopping basket on an errand to buy whatever is needed for that day's lunch and dinner. The path seems long for a 9 year old it is downhill (slightly) all the way which means it is uphill (steeper) all the way back. Most houses seemed to have open fires and on damp mornings, in particular, that smell of wood smoke lingered.  Must try and get photos of the area or even just find ones that evoke that feeling and place... then scrap it of course.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Five W's

Catching up on these blog entries has been tricky but I am determined!

Tami challenged us with  
Your five W's for 2010
Who is one person you want to see this year, or spend more time with?
What is one thing you would like to do?
Where is one place you'd like to go?
Why is this year going to be different than others?
When the year is over what is the one thing you want to be able to say you did?
For the chatty girls.. answer this bonus question:
How are you making time for you this year?

And so to each question:
1. Who is one person you want to see this year, or spend more time with? This is tricky but I have been having more difficulty catching up with my friend Fran. Other friends I manage to see quite a bit of or talk to them but she has been one who I seem to not get quality time with.

2. What is one thing you would like to do? I really want to do a digital photography course just to get the best out of my camera.

3. Where is one place you'd like to go? China- I haven't traveled there yet and would love to see htat ancient land.

4. Why is this year going to be different than others? A real change in my work has begun this year and I am going to keep up to date with this blog as best I can. Oh and I am going to be happier because I am serious about the Happiness Project.

5. When the year is over what is the one thing you want to be able to say you did? I want ot be able to say I celebrated all that there was to celebrate! That is I enjoyed the Now!
The  bonus question:
6. How are you making time for you this year? A great question Tami and I am pretty self absorbed so am making great time for me... I am ot taking things qite so seriously and I am getting into my scrapbooking with my Manhattan scrapbookers and setting aside time and space in NYC to do it to.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Going backward on Tuesday

Better late than never!

Sharyn's challenge for Tuesday was ...  looking back - my (Sharyn's) challenge for today, as part of our Get Blogging series, is for you to look back and share your 'this day last year, and the year before that, and the....'  And if you don't have the exact day, pick the week - or the month. No stress...just enjoy the tour, and share with us.

Given that my photos are mainly on my computer in NYC and I am currently in Footscray but I do have my trusty laptop so chose the date February 22 as it appears that I was commonly out of town then with my laptop and uploaded photos from my touring so here goes...
This one may be familiar given it was in Key West on February 22, 2010. But unlike many years prveious last year I was back in NYC and....
 on February 22 2009 I had a day with Julia at 235 W48TH  having our own little scrapbooking crop using the dining room table.

The year before however...

on February 22 2008 Sue and Margie and Julia and I traveled to Memphis and had a bit of a day trip where we traveled from Tennessee into Arkansas to lay on Arkansas grass among other things.

And finally on February 22 2007 we were again in Memphis and stayed at the Peabody hotel but this time with Susan and John.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday makeover #2

Amy has been sticking with the same theme of makover for the challenge. She challenged in this way...

Ok this week I'm challenging you to makeover some part of your scrap space and share! Now HOLD ON...this is not an invitation to go out and redecorate you homes and then direct you angry husbands my way (this means you Instead take on a small project that aims to add a little bit of flair to your space. Perhaps you could add some fun digital lables to your jars of brads and these ones by Katie Pertiet Or many of you already have huge organization projects under way with your photos as part of Tami's Get Scrapped us what your up to! Looking for more ideas to do a little creative organizing...stop by my blog! Can't wait to see what you all come up with! 

Given I was in the air.... literally flying from NYC to Melbourne Australia when this challenge was due it was a tad difficult to meet it... however never let it be said that I'll not attempt a challenge and twist it a little. 

Michele has done a sterling job of renovating our house while I have been in NYC- my major contribution other than saying yes that's a great thing to do has been providing some funds to do it, she has managed to get the house re-stumped, the floors stripped and polished, the walls and cracks replastered, the heaters bought and installed, the air conditioner bought and installed and all that needs doing is to choose paint and have the place repainted.

In amongst all this she has.... "made over" our scrap space so although Amy challenged a makeover of the scrap space and I have achieved it, it's just that I didn't do it! I did suggest that we use this cupboard for all our stuff though... hope that counts Amy.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

In like a roaring lion

The blog challenge tofor today certainly matches where things are for me at the moment.

Michelle at Get It Scrapped posted ...
We are at the end of our first week of March! How has your March come in like a lion? Or has it slipped in quietly this year? Mine is definitely roaring and I took a few short seconds to write how it has started on my blog. You can check mine out first before you do your own or better yet think on your own spin to the topic.

As for Michelle March has definitely been roaring along. The past week has been focused on work but on changing my work.  Sitting beside me as I write this are my suitcase and carry on baggage for my flight to Australia. This time I am flying home for work, although there will be some time to catch up with family and friends, the main focus of the time in Melbourne will be training/accreditation for reviews.

The upshot of this is that I have had to rejig my work here in NYC and my life here in NYC. The schools I work with have been fabulous about my break away from them as the training means I'll be able to support them in different and better ways as well doing work in Melbourne during the US summer break.

I return to the US in late March and so have had to reorganize the social aspects of life here- like theatre tickets and other events. So roaring in to March is how I have felt all week. Although this week has seemed interminable with the end never apearing to be in sight. However now I can sit back and relax on the 26 hour journey to Melbourne.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

9000 words what a challenge

Gosh Katrina set an amazing challenge which I was unable to match!

She said... A picture is worth a thousand words. How about 9 for nine thousand words?
Photos on your blog provide visual zing to your stories! Today, why not gather photos from your last week or so, put them together in a layout and share them with your blog world. I love the way photos group in 9's! No photos from the last week? Wander around your house and snap 9 to share with us!

I didn't have the photos to use so decided on snapping shots of the orchids in our apartment. That was the easy part

I was totally unable to get them in grid formation as I don't have the capacity, skill or where withall to do as Katrina did but it seems a nice collection of photos. It was all lined up in three rows when I formatted the post but it just fell out of order.

First gift from Mary and Leonie in memory of Maddy; second Sue's birthday present from me; third  the one we inherited from Susan
Fourth Maddy close up; fifth the bud on the sixth one which is about to burst into bud and was the one that Jude saved from the dumper room 6 years ago
Seventh roots of the dumper orchid; eigth Susan in bloom and ninth Sue's birthday in bloom

Hopefully the orchids will survive our three week absence from the city.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friendship Friday

Today it is Jane's turn to inspire us for the blogging challenge. Her challenge is this...
Today I'd like you to tell us about your oldest friend (not the oldest in years but the friend you have had the longest !!). Do you still have friends from school that you keep in touch with regularly? neighbourhood children you played with in your street? - have you lost touch with all your childhood friends over the years or are they still a part of your life?

With this in mind I went searching for photos as that always adds to these entries. I was thinking that unlike Jane I don't have any friends from my primary/elementary school days nor from High School and  then I remembered our get together of the neighbourhood "kids".

In August last year when I was back in Australia Maggie and Sandra and Michele organized a get together of the street of our childhood's kids. At a previous get together  Cheryl drew and we all added to a map of where the kids lived in our corner of the universe- four or five short streets that interconnected and met ....  from our perspective. Alan got it reproduced for us and here is our napkin map complete with dogs and special places.


The lunch at Maggie'st was a great day and both Michele and I blogged about it at the time. 

Cheryl lived next door and she is 6 months younger than me and was my friend and Sandra her sister was my sister Michele's friend. I have no idea when we started playing together but it must have been in the cradle as both our families built the houses next door at around the same time. When I say built I mean that our fathers did the building- my dad was a teacher and her dad was a ??? definitely not builders but that is our  houses were built in the early 1950's in suburban Melbourne.

From left to right- Maggie (serving) Alan (partial view!) Cheryl, Michele and Sandra

Cheryl and I would play together and visit each other's houses. So much so that Cheryls dad built a ladder on the fence so we could climb over more easily and not have to go "the long way round" via the front gates.

We didn't go to school together- she went to the local  primary school and I went to a school in Mentone, a bus ride away. The she went to a secondary school a bus ride away and I went to the local high school. Weekends were when we were together often. But grew apart when we took on training and work. It is only in recent times that we have seen each other again and talked about the great play times we had as kids.

It is interesting that friendship was the theme for today because I used the friends I have today to help me cope with some frustrations- they were there when I needed to dump my frustrations- merely an email away. Ain't technology grand! Perhaps I should write about how technology has become my greatest friend or perhaps merely the conduit through which friendships are developed and maintained.

Friday night also have a friendship focus when the gang meets up for a debrief of the week in a bar or restaurant. (A fine Australian teacher tradition!) This week it was margaritas at Grand Central and our friend Umberto the bar tender had our mix of margaritas in our hands even before we had the time 
to take off our coats.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Advertising a source of inspiration

That's what the challenge is for today from Get it Scrapped. First the challenge (for your benefit in particular Barb) is free to all and on the forum page of GIS in the Challenge forum. Today's challenge has been issued by Paula
How about you? Have you ever used ads as inspiration for your layouts? Look though magazines and even junk mail you have lying around and see if you can find an ad would be a good inspiration piece. Post it on your blog as a reminder to yourself to use it! I'll be back next Thursday with a new source of inspiration and with my take on this first inspiration piece.

Funny she should set this challenge on today in particular as I saw an advertising poster for Come Fly Away- a new Broadway show- as I walked to work this morning and I thought it would make a great Art Journaling page- the layout of it and the concept. I didn't take a photo this morning (darn) but intend to and then perhaps do both an Art Journal and a scrapbooking page.

However I did photograph another advertising poster because it it inspirational and it fits so well within the thinking of our Happiness Project. 

 I do admire Michael J Fox for his optimism and continued use of his influence in the media using it for good. The ad has just given me a number of uplifting moments as I watched the video clips available on the website. I really struggled to decide which one and have only chosen this one because it was the one I just watched.

Hope you enjoy looking too!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday on a challenge

Debbie Challenged us to

 And now - the challenge is to include a news report or document in your blog post. I've included a press release and a screen shot of twitter from our recent windstorm.

And so my contribution is an article from the Melbourne Age

Obama to address Federal Parliament

March 4, 2010 - 12:09PM
US President Barack Obama will address a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament on March 23, the government said today.
The speech will come on what is expected to be the second day of the President's three-day trip, his first official visit to Australia.
The Parliament will be reconvened for the speech, which will be delivered to a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The government also announced that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would address a joint sitting next Wednesday.
"The visit of President Barack Obama will of course generate a great deal of interest from the Australian public and indeed we will be honoured by his presence in Canberra that day," Anthony Albanese, the manager of government business in the House, told journalists in Canberra this morning.
President Obama's visit comes during what was meant to be a non-sitting week, but the government will reconvene the houses on March 22 for an ordinary sitting day.
"The cost of recalling Parliament - I don't think there would be any Australian who would think that it was inappropriate for the Parliament to hear from the President of the United States," Mr Albanese said.
"The United States is our most important friend and ally. President Obama will be a very welcome guest in our country."
Other details of Mr Obama's visit, including the timing of his speech to parliament, have not been revealed in part for security reasons.
Asked about whether he expected a repeat of the behaviour of Greens senators, who in 2003 interrupted speeches by then US president George Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao, Mr Albanese said: "That's up to the Greens to determine how they behave."
"It is appropriate in my view that will any visiting dignitary visits this nation that the Australian parliamentarians both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate treat that visiting dignitary with respect."
The last visit by a sitting US president was Mr Bush's 2007 visit for the APEC summit in Sydney.
For Dr Yudhoyono's visit, the Parliament will suspend at noon next Wednesday ahead of a 2pm address. The Parliament will resume normal business at 4pm, with no Question Time that day.
The details of Mr Obama's trip were released as reports surface in the US that his drive to get health-care legislation passed in the next few weeks is bumping up against his planned visit to Australia and Indonesia, raising concerns among members of the US Democrats about the trip’s timing.
Mr Obama’s top aides have discussed whether to postpone the overseas travel in case the timing for a vote on the President’s signature legislative priority slips, according to a person familiar with the discussions. For now, the trip is on.
Mr Obama is tentatively set to leave Washington March 18 and be overseas for a week. Congress is scheduled to begin a two- week Easter holiday recess on March 29.
White House staff have discussed the schedule with Congressional Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and ‘‘we are on schedule to finish health-insurance reform in the House on time, so there’s been no change in our trip plans,’’ Mr Obama’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said.

A bit of hometown reporting and links to my new home.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday's challenge!

Sharyn's challenge....
Today we should share our neighbors. Past or present, near or far - how has your neighbor impacted your life?

Truly a challenge here as my neighbours in this apartment are a couple of young guys whose life style I really struggle to make sense of... it is good that at the moment we have no inkling as to whether they are there or not except occasionally a rather heavy closing of their door.
The have been times when they play loud music- we don't hear the music just feel the vibration of the bass in Sue's room. We occasionally meet waiting for the elevator but other than that can you call that a neighbour?

I need to think this one through a bit more and perhaps post about it another time.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Make-over Monday the blogging challenge is on...

Given that in this month the Happiness Project has a focus on blogging... at least that was Gretchen's thing in the book so it seemed appropriate to take up the challenge from Get It Scrapped of blogging and perhaps winning a prize howver the prize for me would be to have each day of March on my blog so here goes!

The instructions for make over Monday came from Amy
Aren't makeovers a blast! Well I'm glad you think so, because you can look forward to five Get It Blogged Challenges from me, all geared towards making over different aspects of your scrapping! What are we making over first you ask...? Our Photos! Your challenge, if you choose to accept it ;) to makeover a photo...ANY PHOTO!...and post it on your blog. You may decide you want to makeover your profile picture, or maybe you want to post a lo with a "made over photo," or maybe you have some ideas you'd like to share about "Making Over Photos." Still stuck...visit my blog for 10 quick ways to makeover your photos! 

Here are my photos 

The original taken on Sunday as I worked at getting my week organized... 
This one cropped and used the retouch tool to blur the background ... that was fun!

Used the sepia and the retouch tool... my new friend!


The vignette tool worked this time where is that retouch tool?!

How about this blend of the retouch , cropping and enhancement making the shirt blacker and getting rid of a couple of blemishes.... me blemished? nah!!