October Photography Challenge - Day 30: Self-portrait

Day 30: Self-portrait: I made it all the way through - we started with a self-portrait & ended with a self-portrait, how fitting. Unfortunately I was much more 'well' at the beginning of the month; I've come down with a rotten head cold and feel disgusting at the moment. But the important thing is... it's done!

I've learnt a lot this month. I took my camera off 'auto' mode more & enjoyed fiddling around with the settings. I thought outside the box, and took pictures of things I wouldn't normally take pictures of. And most importantly, I've blogged all the way through - it was a great way to get my mojo back. I'm certainly no pro photog, but I've had fun.

Unfortunately, you're stuck with my sick head for today's picture, but that's me right now: pj's, tissues & a sad face. Thanks for visiting this month & your lovely comments - it's been great sharing them with you this October!
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October Photography Challenge - Day 29: Black and White

Day 29: Black and White: Today I was on granny-duty; taking my nan out for the day to keep her company and show her our house-build that's in progress. While picking her up from her apartment, I decided that snapshots from some of her quaint collections would be perfect for the black and white, slightly vintage prompt.

I love all of her random bits & bobs. She has an entire wall dedicated to 'smily' things - that's my nan for you!
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October Photography Challenge - Day 28: Flowers

Day 28: Flowers: Since we're a flower-free household, I had to venture outdoors into our apartment's communal courtyard. It's early spring days yet & there are a lot of buds on the trees, but very few flowers blooming yet.

My favourites are these tiny white star flowers, though I'll admit I have no idea what they're called. Pretty, yes?
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October Photography Challenge - Day 27: From a Distance

Day 27: From a Distance: I took my camera into work with me today to capture my classroom... from a distance. I took one from my desk facing the kiddies work area, one of some wall artwork, and one from the back wall, showing the whiteboards and my work space. I'm so lucky: my classroom is a pretty good size for grade 1/2 students.

Considering we only moved into this classroom at the end of Term 2, I think that the kiddies & I have done a good job of decorating! We change our wall displays all the time, and I love showing off the awesome work they've done.
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October Photography Challenge - Day 26: Close-Up

Day 26: Close-Up: This has been a pretty busy week, so I was challenged to find something lying around the house {that I hadn't already photographed!} for today's close-up. I ended up using a vase of synthetic sunflowers that I keep in our bedroom - Oscar likes to chew on the greenery, so I have to lock them away. No plants in this household.

They're slightly blurred, but I'm learning to be okay with that - I've taken to playing with manual focus rather than always using the automatic option, so it's all good practice. It's not the best shot, but it's cheerful at least.
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October Photography Challenge - Day 25: Something Pink

Day 25: Something Pink: I've had this one ready for some time now, because I buggered up the orange & pink days at the beginning of the month. That works just fine for me, since tonight was busy spent watching reality television finales & trying to drive home in crazy rain amongst stupid, stupid drivers.
Anyway, let's move on to something pink - which just happens to be my go-to shade for my nails. I have s many varieties of baby pinks, sheer pinks, glittery pinks: you name it, I've got it, or I've worn it before. Ob-sessed.

Jase thinks my pink nail polish quirk is weird, more so because I don't actually own much pink. It's the right shade that I can wear to work without feeling too over the top, and it goes with everything. Natural nails, for the win.
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October Photography Challenge - Day 24: Animal

Day 24: Animal: You knew what I'd be shooting for today's prompt, right? Poor Oscar, with cameras shoved in his grill all the time; no wonder he always looks like a stunned mullet. He's much more mellow in real life.

I'd show you some of the out-takes in all of their blurry hilariousness, but you'd be here for ages. {There were loads.}
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October Photography Challenge - Day 23: Sunflare

Day 23: Sunflare: I worried I wouldn't be able to manage this today, as it was hot and glarey outside. As the day progressed, I kept popping out to our balcony to see what I could work with. Thankfully I have our pergola as a prop.

I'm quite pleased with this final shot, as I feel it really shows the sunflare well. That sun shape is almost perfect!
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October Photography Challenge - Day 21 & 22: Faceless Portrait & Hands

Oh, I have been a busy little bee lately. Work is insane {insane!}, my parents are moving house, I'm trying to keep my stuff together and not explode in frustration/nervous anticipation. It's not pretty.

Day 21: Faceless Self Portrait: Some days it is nice to not make yourself up at all. I'm pretty easygoing at the best of times, but the days where I'm home alone and can throw my hair back into a messy bun? They are the best.
Day 22: Hands: I've always wished for daintier hands. Back when I was a teenager, I would always have trouble finding rings to fit on my fingers - they're pretty large. This one time, I visited a jeweller to ask him about resizing a ring for me, and as he measured my finger he laughed, and said I had the biggest hands he'd ever seen on a woman. Um, scarred for life much? Thanks so very much for that, asshole.

I was nervous about my ring size pre-proposal, but thankfully my rings fit perfectly after an epic resizing debacle.
For more information & to check out the other participants, click on the image below, or follow the Flickr stream.

October Photography Challenge - Day 20: Bokeh

Day 20: Bokeh: Oh, did I struggle with this one. I spent ages googling, watching YouTube videos, and playing with my settings {which I now know SO much more about, thanks to this challenge} and pleading for help via Twitter. This is where I throw a huge shoutout to Jenna and Bec for their help; ladies, you are wonderful.

Anyway, at Jenna's suggestion, I headed outdoors to find some leaves & make use of the sun behind them to attempt to create the Bokeh effect. I had a prop on hand {one of my wedding 'stache straws'} and spent a while snapping away. I ditched it for a few shots, too. I hoped I had managed one, came inside to look out of the glare... and I DID IT!

I put my DSLR (Nikon 3100 base model lens) on 'A' aperture mode, turned the aperture to the lowest I could get, which was f/4 & made my ISO 800. Then it was just a matter of playing with the manual focus!

Interested in seeing the 'stache attempt? It's not as clear as I would like, but you can definitely still see the blur.
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Anonyblogger

A friend of mine is borrowing my space for the day - please make her feel welcome & give her some love. -Aly
--
Dear Internet,

Three years ago this month I met a guy.
(You're cringing now, aren't you?  I mean, isn't that how all sad stories start?  Girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, girl ends up heartbroken and shattered at the end.  I promise I'm working on making this a good ending, though.)
Anyway, three years ago, I met a guy.  He had just started up at the school at which I'm a teacher, and our department chair introduced us during a fire drill one day.  I didn't think much of the initial meeting -- though I do remember he had on a great tie -- until a few months later when he transferred to my department to fill a long-term substitute position.
We started chatting at lunch, bonding over a shared love for our city's sports teams and… well, I don't remember.  But I do remember that we shared our first date in April at a sports bar downtown, laughing as he beat me in tabletop checkers again and again.  We were almost inseparable from that point on, though our first kiss didn't take place until nearly three weeks later, both of us giddy on red wine and bad movies and infatuation.
There were good times.  Lazy summer weekdays spent by the pool or beach.  Apple picking and pumpkin carving and Halloween parties.  Thanksgiving and snow days and our first Christmas together.  I was so happy to have found someone that I ignored the warning signs at first.  The rudeness to my friends.  The disregard for my parents and family.  The way he pouted when I made plans for a long weekend without him.  I ignored the shame I felt when I saw how my friends felt about him, the way they reacted to his cold personality which was nothing like how he treated me in private.  I ignored the way in which he said hateful things only to take them back after I'd dissolved into tears and apologies.  I ignored the manipulation and the meanness and the spite.  I ignored how anxious and terrible he made me feel.
After a year and a half I couldn't ignore it anymore.  So I ended it.  It hurt.  It hurt so badly that, though I tried, we ended up giving it another shot only a few months later.  We had a long talk about our expectations and our wants and how things were going to be different.  Different, we said!
Things weren't different.  They were worse.  We lasted three more months.  We had a holiday season from hell and didn't speak for two weeks.  I walked away feeling sad and defeated, wondering how it was that anyone could ever possibly love me.  
--
To make a long story a little shorter, we began messing around after I ended a brief rebound relationship.  Without the pressures of family and friends and colleagues, we had a great time.  It was like our first summer together: baseball games on the radio and bagel brunches on Sundays and holding hands in our sleep.
"This isn't a relationship," we'd say.  "We can't work out, but we'll be with each other until we find someone we do work out with!  When we meet other people this will be over and we'll be glad we had so much fun."
--
It stopped being fun a few weeks ago, when he argued with me over making dinner plans with a friend and not inviting him.  The verbal abuse began again, always followed up by sweetness and charm.  I began to feel the pattern repeating itself.
I started to wonder what else is out there.  I thought about dating.  About how I want nothing more than to start a life and family with someone.  Someone who loves me.  Someone who supports me.  Someone who would never lecture me about the way I cook chicken or the naps I like to take on Thursday afternoons.
Someone who deserves me for the wonderful person I am.  The wonderful person I will be.
--
I ended it tonight.
At first I thought it went well.  I thought we'd both been honest and I was even a little sad to let the good part of him go.
We said goodbye, and then the text messages started.
"I'm glad I never used the ring I bought you.  I was a week away from ruining my life and asking you to marry me two Christmases ago."
"I hope one date is worth it.  I hope your panic over not being married is worth me."
"Don't ever talk to me or look at me again.  I can't stand the thought of you."
And then the thing that felt like a punch to the gut--
"How lucky.  All of those nice photos of you are saved to my phone.  I hope no one finds them!"
--
Let's ignore for now that I was stupid enough to send racy photos to him in the first place.  Let's instead focus on the good in this. 
(There is good.  I promise.)
He was trying to get a rise out of me by saying those things.  He wanted me to lash out.  He wanted to drag me back in to the mess of our dysfunction.  I know this.
But the best part about those things up there?  Those things that were said to me in a haze of anger and resentment?  Are things that will never be said to me again.  Because I know what I'm worth now.  I know that I'm worth more than that.  I deserve better.  I am better.
And now I'm going to prove it to myself.
Wish me luck.  I hope I don't need it.

October Photography Challenge - Day 19: Something Orange

Day 19: Something Orange: Could this prompt be any more appropriate for me? I have just visited a RE {reproductive endocrinologist} for the first time & have been hooked up with a barrage of medications to try and tackle our fertility dramas... and look at the obscenely orange paper bag they came in from the chemist! Huzzah.

I'm looking forward to the next step of this journey: if you want to know more, check out my Operation: Baby blog.
For more information & to check out the other participants, click on the image below, or follow the Flickr stream.

October Photography Challenge - Day 18: Your Shoes

Day 18: Your Shoes: Confession time - I used to have an obsession with buying shoes. I may not buy as many pairs as I used to, but I do still love to look. My staples tend to be comfy flats, low wedges 'aka teaching shoes', thongs (the shoe kind!) & comfy slouch boots - but I do own a handful of impossible-to-wear pretties too. I've noticed that my love of the colour grey {which stemmed from our wedding colours} has begun to take over in the shoe department...

So which one do I choose, when I love them all equally as much? It had to be these.. it's the bow detail - I can't resist!
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October Photography Challenge - Day 16 & 17: Long Exposure & Tech

You'll have to excuse me missing yesterday's post - we had a busy weekend helping my parents' move into their new home, so my days were spent moving boxes, gardening, and sanding down wood. I'm completely knackered now.

Day 16: Long Exposure: I was really nervous about this, as I'm only just venturing into the different manual modes my camera has to offer. I attempted night shots a few days ago to practice, and they turned out terribly - so I focused on a few different things on Saturday instead. First up was Bailey, our hyperactive pup, who is constantly running at a million miles an hour - but I couldn't get the blur. I then tried two other subjects; my brother, the drummer, and his new habit of toy helicopters. I think that they turned out okay in the end, though I'd still love to work on this one to get some cool night shots in the future. At least it's having a go at something new, right?
As much as I loved how the helicopters turned out, I think the drummer shots fit the 'long exposure' theme better, since it's definition is to 'sharply capture the stationary elements of images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring the moving elements.' His drumsticks are just a blur, while the drum kit & his upper body are as stationery as could be.
Day 17: Technology: This was an easy one - I have one piece of technology that comes with me wherever I go, my iPhone. It's not new, it's not shiny, it's not going to be upgraded anytime soon - and it's survived the dangerous perils of life in my handbag, as well as that one time last week when I spilled a bottle of nailpolish remover all over it.
Despite being worse for wear, it still functions & will hopefully last me through another year or so. Fingers crossed!
For more information & to check out the other participants, click on the image below, or follow the Flickr stream.

October Photography Challenge - Day 15: Silhouette

Day 15: Silhouette: I took these shots by sitting below J while he was standing directly under the sun in the middle of the morning. The structure you can see behind him is the roof of our balcony - which isn't really a roof at all. It's timber slats - but they're not covered like an awning. Instead, they're just clear. All they really do is act as a perch for the birds to sit on and taunt Oscar-cat in the springtime. They do look nice though, I suppose.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, considering I've never actually taken a silhouette shot on purpose before.
For more information & to check out the other participants, click on the image below, or follow the Flickr stream.

October Photography Challenge - Day 14: Eyes

Day 14: Eyes: I'm yet to master the art of taking pictures of moving animals. I was ready to give up on Oscar and go photograph myself instead, but I stuck with it. His eyes are seriously beautiful though, so it was worth the wait.

How much do I love his wee nose stripe? He's the sweetest thing, and so adorable. {Substitute child, oh yes he is.}
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October Photography Challenge - Day 13: Yourself with 13 Things

Day 13: Yourself with 13 Things: I got home late today after a hectic day of school, then home build stuff. The first thing I did when I came home was quite literally collapse on the floor and dump the entire contents of my handbag on the floor, ready for today's shot. {Only, this isn't the entirety of my bag - I lug loads more than this around with me on a daily basis, trust me.} Not pictured for some reason is my iPhone, which I completely ruined today when I spilled a bottle of nail polish remover on it. We're too broke to replace it, so it's a dodgy iPhone for me!

So what's actually pictured here? 1. iPod classic. 2. Peppermint tea. 3. Pink ribbon pin for charity. 4. Pen. 5. My sunglasses. 6. Carmex chapstick. 7. Lip gloss. 8. A box of nerds. 9. Point & shoot camera. 10. My work keychain. 11. Wallet. 12. Tiny notebook. 13. Book. Pretty much all of these things are ones I generally don't leave home without.

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Letters To Nobody

Dear You,
You never fail to amaze me - especially when you put up with my psycho mood swings & irrational stabby moods. I'm looking forward to enjoying the mostly freezer-burned anniversary cake with you later, even though it'll taste like crap - because that's just how we roll. You're the best husband I've ever had.
Love,
Me
------
Dear You,
I'm happy that you have the perfect little life, but I also want to cram socks into your mouth every single time I hear you going on, and on, and on about it. Not everyone is as fortunate as you.
Wishing you'd get the hint,
Me
------
Dear You,
I hardly know you, but I think you're unbelievably selfish. You've outwardly mentioned how much you don't want to be working, how you're not enjoying teaching, how you don't want to be at school: but then you're coming back to work 1 day next year just to 'hold your position'. Word is, you've requested your 1-day of work to be on a Friday, so you won't have to do any planning or reporting, leaving the entirety of the programming and assessing to whoever is "lucky" enough to be stuck job sharing with you next year. What a piece of work. It's people like you who spoil the permanent teaching system for the rest of us hopefuls out there. Also, that time you were a casual teacher on my class, you messed up my wall display and caused three parents to complain about you. So there.
Not-so-kind Regards from that temporary teacher who is still waiting around for a full-time job,
Me
------
Dear You,
I feel awkward talking about wedding stuff with you sometimes. It's not because I'm not excited for you, because I am. I have a feeling you're not going to ask me to be in your wedding party, and that's ok, I don't expect you to - but it's still awkward. Hopefully we can work through this, since we still have a while to go.
Still love ya,
Me
------
Dear You,
You're awesome. You really are. And I'm trying really hard not to take things personally because I'm sure you don't mean it... but lately I've been feeling a bit like a leper around you. The things that are getting me down the most right now are completely uninteresting to you, and I don't really know what to do about it. I understand that you might not care about the issue at hand, but I hope that you still care that it's ME going through these things. I just really need a shoulder right now, and I'm scared that I'll lose you somewhere along the way. And so you don't think it's always about me-me-me, just know I'm always here to chat when you need to talk about you - any time. Promise.
Sending warm fuzzies,
Me
------
Dear You,
I love you, but you're making me crazy.
Best,
Me
------
Dear You,
No, I'm not pregnant. No, I don't want to talk about it with you. No, I'm not sharing any details about my sex life with you. No, I don't want to hear about how you had all four of your children by the time you were 30. Yes, let's change the subject now before I cry.
Please stop talking to me about babies,
Me
------
Dear You,
You are one of the hardest workers I know, and I hope that you realise just how amazing you are. I know things are tough for you right now and that you're going through a lot, but I appreciate every little thing you do for me. 
Hoping you get some R&R soon,
Me
------
Dear You, and You, and You,

We need to organise another meeting again soon, because I miss you way too much. Now, if you could please start responding to my emails about a time and a place, that would be great - because it's a bit hard to lock anything in place when you're the only one suggesting things.

Hope to see you soon,
Me

October Photography Challenge - Day 12: Sunset

Day 12: Sunset: I've been camped out on our balcony again this afternoon, ready to attempt snapping a decent sunset picture. Unfortunately our balcony doesn't face the best way to capture one, and the area where we're renting is not the most picturesque (we live across from a railway line!) so these shots were really the best I could do for a school night. I didn't manage to catch the actual horizon, which I was a bit disappointed with.

I love a good sunset - though I'll admit, I don't see them as often as I would like to. This was the best I could manage.

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