Friday, December 30, 2011

FSO - the end

The end of another year. What is your best memory from this year? Or how you celebrate the end of a year.

I know, I know, the approach of another year is the perfect time to reflect back on what took place during the past year, and to do a bit of a stock-take. Trouble is my memory isn’t as keen as it should be and tends to latch on to something and refuse to move on to other things.

Luckily for me there has been a major event that no grandparent could forget. 

 

It would be better for me if New Year didn’t so closely follow Christmas because I get stuck in the glow of Christmas. And this year was one of those special ones when there is a new family member to add to the joy.


Celebrations? I guess I will celebrate the end of the year as I have lived it – quietly. Which is exactly how I like it. I find that living a quiet, simple life means I enjoy the occasional special events more than I would if it were just another outing.

The Rugby World Cup was a highlight, not just because it was enjoyable following the tournament from the comfort of my lounge chair (and attending one game) but because my younger son (and an English niece) was in the country to celebrate his 40th birthday. Nothing lifts my spirits like my family having fun together.


I’ve never truly understood the point of New Year's resolutions. So this year, I'm throwing out the whole idea of resolutions. I'm not saying there aren't plenty of things I need to change. I'm just not going to waste a lot of energy thinking about them and trying to make a plan on how to change things. While I'm still enjoying all the beautiful memories made at Christmas, I'm going to choose instead to enter the new year being thankful for what I have.

I have just one resolution, to return again to the west coast of the Far North where this year, during the mid winter break my friend Chris and I enjoyed, I felt a real sense of euphoria.


So that's it for another year.  It's had it's highs for some of my family and it's lows for others but it's over, there are new beginnings ahead. 

The rest of the Friday Shoot Out Team will be posting their "The End" shots here.

I wish everyone a great new beginning for 2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's all over all too quickly.  Our first Christmas in a long, long time with a little baby boy in the family.


And a tinge of sadness that the big boy will soon be off to a far away land.  When will he be here for Christmas again?  I have to keep shaking myself and telling myself to stop it, he will always be in our hearts.  One things for sure wherever he goes he will have memories of how adored he is by his sister and neices.



Thank you, my beautiful grandchildren, for making this Christmas so special for us all.  You are all so lovely and unspoilt.  A special big thank you to Shayde who, despite hating wearing a dress, did so to keep others happy.  And you looked stunning! 

Thank you, Heather for the fab Christmas Eve feast you prepared for us.  I am so lucky to have you as my daughter-in-law.

Thank you, Justine for what I hope becomes a family Christmas tradition - the girls decorating the cup cakes.


And for organising the traditional family games.  I wonder how old the grands (and others) will be before they stop enjoying the Scavenger Hunt?


 And a big thank you to little Georgia for reminding me what Christmas is all about, for the fun we had leading up to Christmas, it was my privelege to help you create gifts for your loved ones.

Because isn't that what it's all about?  Not about the shopping, the Christmas lights, the food - it's about how much we love. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

FSO - Lights

Lights - night lights, daylight, sunlight, accent lights, light fixtures.





Now could someone please turn out that light, I need my sleep ... it's nearly Christmas.


No Christmas lights, I find them a little too artificial for my simple tastes.  I'm happy just to admire everyone elses.

I'll try to get here to catch up on the team's light shots when I've finished the housework and The Big Day preparations. 

I wish my family and friends a wonderful and happy Christmas.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Artistic license

After spending hours hard at work creating another Christmas gift for her loved ones, the family's youngest artist is entitled to her own choice of footwear when walking along the farm track up to the cowshed.


And what do you paint for a city dwelling family member?  Why, a city scene, of course.


To be honest, I prefer her view of Auckland's iconic Sky Tower. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We're ready

One of my favourite bloggers, Dawn Treader, yesterday remarked that "Nature is not quite in balance this December" in Sweden where she lives.

Strange, I was thinking exactly the opposite yesterday as I drove home from work.  I couldn't help but think, "We are ready."  By we I meant, the countryside and I. Yesterday as I headed into town I thought the weather was clearing after all the recent rain.  Wrong!  10 minutes later I was driving through drizzling rain and coming home it was the same.   The rained cleared momentarily at the corner but started up again before I had travelled 20 metres.


A few metres into our road I noticed the young pohutakawas (the New Zealand Christmas trees) at the school were in bloom.  It was too wet to get out of the car and take photos so I chopped off it's tip through the car window. 

 

It took me ages to travel the 12 kms from the corner to home.  Even in the drizzle, the countryside looked so lush and green, so in balance, so ready for Christmas.

The cattle look contented, and in the spirit of Christmas were ignoring the sheep in their midst.


In the sheep paddocks the woolies look happy with the world.  Rain never worries them much anyway.


A bit further along the road the ducks were gathered.  Yep, it was lovely weather for them.


Beside the road all sorts of weeds and flowers are in bloom.



Even the thistles look happy.  OK, I may be a bit over imaginative, getting carried away with Christmas cheer, but they definitely do look healthy.


When I reached home the dairy herd were grazing in the drizzle.


The agapanthas were blooming up my son's driveway.


And on the deck my daugher-in-law has a lovely Christmassy bloom - hope it is still flowering in five days!


All photos, except for the last, were taken out the car window.  You can see how the rain is light and off and on.  The sort of rain farmers love.

Love it or not, I hope it clears for Christmas day.  My family are an energetic lot, and need to burn off excess energy with outdoor activities.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jami is a rock star

I think of Jami as our pocket rocket.  But after I googled that expression I learnt it has a different meaning in other countries according to the Urban dictionary.  Here in the colonies it means a small person who has boundless energy.  

And that is Jami.  Jami has so many talents and she gives everything she tries everything she's got.  She's what I call a 100% kid. 


It's just as well she has lots of energy, she's just had a big week performing with the school band at the end of year prizegiving, dance group rehearsals and four dance concerts.

At her school prizegiving she received the school's award for overall excellence in the Arts.  Well done, Jami - and well deserved!  I think this link should work:
http://youtu.be/QbJqvA2gJGs

Last night she was awarded the Auckland Academy of Dance Hip Hop Incentive Award for the dancer with the best attitude and work ethic, providing other dancers with the incentive to try harder and achieve.

Three weeks ago she was in Sydney with her dance group competing in the World Supremacy Battlegrounds, which is the biggest international hip hop dance competition and most prestigious urban dance event in the Southern Hemisphere.   Before that it was the National Champs. Before that..... well, you get the picture!

I lose track of her many accomplishments.  I remember she won her speech competition at school and did well in the cross country race despite not being a natural runner.  But, as I said, she's a 100% kid.

And in a week she will be here for Christmas! Love you, Jam jar!

Friday, December 16, 2011

FSO - Layers

A thickness of some homogeneous substance such as a stratum or a coating on a surface.  Uh huh! 





 
And now I'm sharing with you one of my all time favourite photos of myself - what I call my Bag Lady look - freezing in a Canadian fall.  Yes, it wasn't even winter and it was difficult to find enough layers to keep me warm!  Hardly My Town, but me all the same. 

 

I better get this posted before I chicken out and remove that one!  I look forward to seeing what layers the rest of the team has found here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I must apologise to Suzy at Photos are Fun.  She gave me an award a week ago and I haven't even thanked her for it.  My thanks, Suzy.  I think my mind was elsewhere at the time and I forgot about it until today.  No, no, I've got that all wrong.  I discovered Suzy at Photos are Fun but the award came from her other blog Someday Somewhere. So there are two of the things I must share about myself.  I'm absent minded and I get things muddled sometimes.   I tell myself it's not my advancing years, I've always been like that but, to be honest, I think it's getting worse. 

     
For the other things just repeat five time I love Christmas.  I suspect that's where my mind was at the time I should have been saying thanks to Suzy.  Every year is the best ever and this is another Best Ever Year.  I've had such fun making gifts for my wonderful grandchildren and making decorations and gifts with my youngest grand-daughter, Georgia.  

And I must pass on the award to 15 other blogs.  15?!  It's nearly Christmas, I don't have time.  Oh, that could be another thing, I can be very ungracious.  But I have a better idea.  Rather than do that I'll just invite you all to go here, where you will find more than 15 fab photography blogs from all over the show.  I hope each and every contributor to Friday My Town Shoot Out considers themselves the recipient of the award and feels free to accept it.  

I could add I've just revealed something else about myself, if there is a short cut I will take it.  Unless, of course, I'm out adventuring and then I'll always take the long way round.  But how many I love Christmas repeats would that take me down to?  I think that would only be three and that's not enough!

Now I must go and mow the lawn - and that's another thing - a job I don't particularly enjoy.  I swear every time I do it that this might be the last time I can manage it.  But each time I manage it one more time so I'm not dead yet. 

Seven things isn't really all that hard but I might reveal more than I feel comfortable with everyone knowing!

Friday, December 9, 2011

FSO - Wheels

Yay!  I get this one.  Wheels I know.  We see them everywhere, don't we? 

Old wheels:



New wheels:


Red, white and blue wheels:


I even have one in my garden:

 

This was a fun topic, trying to find wheels that were "different".  I imagine there will be lots and lots of interesting wheels here  where the rest of the team post their shots.

Friday, December 2, 2011

FSO - Imbalance

Imbalance - lack of proportion or relation between corresponding things.  Shots with strong points of interest on one side of an image and ‘emptiness’ in another area. Misproportioned. 

I don't think I get this.  But I'm giving it a go.




This is my second attempt.  I posted my first earlier today and thanks to a helpful comment from Adrian, I've cropped the second shot and deleted the others.  I know I'll be having a good look here to learn more about imbalance.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's the best age for Christmas?

To me any age is a good age for Christmas.  I loved it as a child, one of a large family with little money for gifts.  I loved it when my children were young and it was a bit of struggle (and often not possible) to give them what they dreamed of for Christmas.  

And I love it still.  

This year all my grand-daughters will receive hand made gifts. If I were more imaginative, I'm sure I could come with things to make for my two grandsons, too, but I come up blank.  Every year I do the made by me theme I worry that the grand-children, who receive so many wonderful gifts, will think their old grandmother is a bit of a let down.  But, so far, they have been appreciative, so I am trying not to worry about how this year's gifts will be received.  I worry that the three 13 year olds will have outgrown what I make for them.  

But I know the eight year old will appreciate her gift.  She has made decorations for my Christmas tree and while doing so tells me it is more important to make something yourself than just "go into a shop and spend money".

 

Some might think my Christmas tree is a bit of a disgrace.  It's small and artificial. But to me it is perfect, decorated with love.

It has a few little silver balls that I've had for years and a few decorations my youngest daughter made a few years ago but the rest of the decorations have been made by Georgia.


 
And we had to add the moose for the "Canadian connection".


We will be working on an angel this afternoon.  And goodness knows what other ideas she won't come up with.  Doesn't matter, really, because they will be made with love.