calissa: (Default)
As part of his anniversary present to me, Sahaquiel took me out to the zoo yesterday for a special tour to meet a cheetah.

Photos! )

CW: raw meat )

Cheetah, also eating lunch. His name was Dura and he seemed content to eat his lunch and largely ignore us. There were two keepers with us. One was the cheetah's handler. The other took all the photos (and, as you can see, she was really quite good. I guess she gets enough practice). They gave us very specific instructions: stay behind his front shoulder; don't touch his head; kneel or bend over in a position where you can get up quickly; if he gets up, get up; pat him with long strokes and don't ruffle his fur.

Cheetah after lunch )

Since it had been a couple of years since we'd last visited the zoo, we took the opportunity to wander around after meeting Dura.

More animals )

Reptiles )

Once we were done touring the zoo, we headed into town so I could make use of a gift card I'd received for Christmas. Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat came out on Tuesday and I wanted to make sure I snagged a copy.

20160203_165301_Richtone(HDR)

With my loot secure, it was out to dinner then home. I ended the day a little dehydrated, slightly sunburnt and full of aches. It was perfect.
calissa: (Gift)
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it.

I've made it through two family Christmases and will be leaving for the third (and final) one shortly.

I hope the occasion has been as peaceful and joyous as possible for you all.
calissa: (Dogs)
20141105 Chippa 8

It is Chippa's fourth birthday today. Or, more accurately, the fourth anniversary of his adoption. We had a family lunch to celebrate and I have been counting my blessings all day.

Just another photo )
calissa: (One Peace)
20140612 Sunset
Sunset from May

As many of you know, September is rather a rough month for me. Remembering the good things always makes it easier (as [personal profile] kaberett frequently reminds me through example). So here is some of the awesome stuff that has been going on.

MY PROFESSIONAL BLOG IS LIVE!!. I'm super excited about this and love the way it is looking. It will eventually start being mirrored here, once I get that sorted out.

Speaking of which, [personal profile] lynnoconnacht has been a wonderful. She has shared some advice on getting the technical side organised. I really do have the most awesome friends.

Spring is well and truly underway here and I have been loving it. With the Vernal Equinox about a week and a half away, the days are noticeably lengthening and my body has been responding by waking up earlier. While I'm not entirely pleased to be losing sleep, it has meant that I've been up in time to witness some truly glorious sunrises.

The flowers are in full bloom. I spent a very lovely morning last weekend having tea with Sahaquiel's mum and then pottering around her extensive garden taking macro shots of the flowers. I'm thinking I might have to make a separate post just for that.

The trees also have leaves budding. I've been keeping a close eye on the introduced species--the ash trees along my walk, the mop-tops and the Japanese maple in the backyard. Even my ginkgo tree is starting to show the first subtle signs that it is more than just a stick in a pot.

I am utterly delighted that we have some Superb Fairy wrens living somewhere in the area. I hear them often and occasionally manage to catch a glimpse of the bright blue of the male in amongst the trees and bushes. It never fails to bring a smile to my face (and a wish that I had a decent camera for bird photography).

I've been spending a bit of time with my family recently. My nephew is nearing his first birthday and is rapidly growing from baby to little boy. He is such a cheerful kid, free with his smiles and giggles. He totally has me wrapped around his little finger. The other day for the very first time he reached out to me to pick him up, even though my sister already had hold of him. It was a true delight to see him playing with my grey-bearded dad, chasing each other at a crawl back and forth across the floor.

Perhaps best of all, September hasn't been quite as hectic as I was expecting. Next week will be especially busy, but that will have died down by the weekend (unless something else comes up in the meantime). And tomorrow is entirely free! I'll probably use the time to catch up on work, but perhaps I might be able to sneak in some time for reading. In the hammock, if the weather stays nice (it really has been very lovely recently). With a cup of tea.
calissa: (Default)
20140721 Tidbinbilla 32 HDR

Early last week, a few days before I got sick, my sister, dad and I went on another photography trip to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. This time we headed to the Wetland Sanctuary. It is the part of the reserve that I am most familiar with and have written about before. We were blessed with gorgeous weather and I was especially pleased with this batch of photos.

Sculptures )

The first thing we did on arriving was head to the platypus pond (photos of which are in the entry I linked to in the opening paragraph). It is rare to catch a glimpse of the creatures, so we were delighted to see one was active. I got a few good looks with my binoculars but zie proved to be camera shy and even my sister's best shot didn't amount to much. (While you're there, I highly recommend you check out the rest of her photos from our various trips to Tidbinbilla.)

We also made some other friends who were rather less shy (as you can see below), perhaps hoping for some lunch. They were rather disappointed.

Black Swans (Cygnus atratus) )

Fungi and foliage )

I'm looking forward to going back again, once I'm well enough. The flowers should be coming out soon, if they haven't started already.
calissa: (Default)
20140529 Pig's face 1 HDR
(Carpobrotus rossii, commonly known as pig face)

I'm feeling a little swamped at the moment, so apologies if you find me a little sketchier than usual. I've got a cold I just can't quite shake and my pain levels have been up today (could be a weather change on the way?). However, on the whole, things have been going well and I have been surprisingly productive.

Editing has been the biggest thing on my plate--I've got a couple of jobs I'm wrapping up and a few business tasks that are going to keep me busy for a little while.

Last week I took another trip with my family out to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, so I have more photos to post when I get the chance. I was especially pleased with this batch. The gorgeous weather may have played a part.

The neo-Pagan holiday of Imbolc falls on Friday in the southern hemisphere. I have been making preparations to celebrate on Saturday with a small group of friends. However, I will also be taking Friday off to celebrate on my own. How, I haven't quite decided. It might involve some serious writing or cleaning (or both). I also hope to get some photos of the wattle that's in bloom a couple of blocks away. Fingers crossed that the weather is nice!
calissa: Macro photo of a clover leaf covered in frost (Winter)
Over the last month I have had the good fortunate to take a couple of photography excursions with my family out to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. I am so lucky to have this amazing place right on my doorstep and every time I go out there I discover something new about it.

Anyway, photos!

Massive pic spam ahead )

I'm really looking forward to going back again soon.
calissa: Macro photo of a clover leaf covered in frost (Winter)
20140707 Frost Macro 4 HDR

[personal profile] kaberett's 10 Good Things post reminded me that it has been way too long since I did something similar myself. I don't want to only update this journal when I have something to grumble about. So, some things.

For a while now, I've been wanting to replace my seasonal icons with photographs I've taken. Winter was the very last one because it is hard to find something quintessentially wintery while still capturing the feel of the place I live. Well, at the beginning of the week there was a thick frost in the morning. The light was perfect enough to convince me to get dressed and brave the cold for some macro photos. I was pretty pleased with how they turned out.

There was more photography on Tuesday. I went on an excursion with my sister and dad to one of the national parks. We had a picnic lunch, then walked the lyrebird trail. We were lucky to hear a couple of male lyrebirds perform their mating call, mimicking the calls of a dozen other bird species. No sight of the birds themselves, but just that much was amazing. I hope to post some photos later--after I've snaffled some of my sister's awesome shots to share with you.

Writing is coming along slowly but steadily. I'm still not managing much in terms of word count, but I have noticed that it is slowly increasing. And the fact I'm sitting down consistently is starting to have a cumulative effect. I am a very long way off finishing the story, but I am happy with the progress I am making.

My grandma is currently in town for her 90th birthday. She came to visit yesterday and it was lovely to spend a little bit of time together. There will be a family lunch tomorrow, which I am looking forward to.

Also: doggie cuddles (one up side of winter), gorgeously sunny days, rose-scented tea, time in the garden.

And this amazing mash-up by Vienna Teng.

calissa: (Default)
I'm off to visit my dad this afternoon. Just before Easter, he retired from Geoscience Australia. He spent his entire working career there, starting as a draftsman back when cartographers still used ink and paper. They'd moved on to computers by the time I was old enough to remember anything.

However, in the last few years of his career, the organisation had shifted him into quite a different role--that of photographer. Dad loved this with a passion and so he was rather grieved once he realised it made better financial sense for him to retire sooner rather than later. Not long before he left, he got the opportunity to photograph the most expensive example in GA's collection.

Geology geekage (with photos) ahead )

Dad had been quite concerned that he'd be bored in retirement, but he has adjusted much better than he expected. Indeed, I hardly ever manage to catch him at home these days. He was in Brisbane a week or two ago and I am looking forward to seeing his photos this afternoon.
calissa: (Default)
What are you doing/thinking/wondering/making/reading/etc. that you don't normally post about? It has been a while since I have done one of these and I thought it would be a good way to post about non-holiday stuff

Doing: Mostly just easing back into routine. Yesterday I went swimming for what was the first time in probably a month and surprised myself by being able to swim a full kilometre. Tonight I'm heading off the the monthly meeting of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild where we'll be having a guest talk on firearms. Could be useful for some of that post-apocalyptic stuff.

Watching: I'm making my way through an anime called No Game, No Life. It's about a brother and sister who are prodigiously talented gamers--to the point of being an urban legend. One day, they are transported to a world where all disputes are solved by playing games of all kinds. It's a fascinating setting and the story has a great premise. However, I find the extreme co-dependence of the main characters a bit disturbing and the fan service, while not as overwhelming as in other shows, is tiresome and unnecessary.

Thinking: I've been invited to sit on a guest panel on editing anthologies for the monthly meeting of the Canberra Society of Editors at the end of the month. It is a challenge to consciously articulate a process that has mostly been instinctive for me. I think it will be an interesting event. This won't be the first time I've sat on a panel about editing anthologies, but it will be the first time where the audience is primarily composed of other editors rather than writers. That should have a big impact on the feel of things, since writers are mostly concerned with what they should be doing to get published (or so has been my experience).

Reading: I'm currently reading (among other things) The Vinter's Luck in hopes of finally getting to [personal profile] lynnoconnacht and Memory Scarlett's review of the same. It is a fascinating story but I find I can only read a little bit of it at a time. Fortunately, it is nicely structured for small chunks.

Wondering: The last time I wrote one of these periodic ponderings I was contemplating starting up a poetry practice. That didn't happen. Now I am contemplating starting up a blog connected to my editing website. I wonder whether this is also something that is never actually going to eventuate.

Writing: Currently wrestling with Heartwood. The story just doesn't seem to want to let itself be written. I am determined to press on, regardless.

Drinking: My ritual morning cup of tea is currently oolong, despite oolong being my least favourite tea to drink (not that I hate it, mind). The tea was brought back from Japan for me by my lovely uncle and aunt. It sounds like they will be visiting us again at Christmas.
calissa: (Autumn)
Winter is definitely beginning to make its presence felt. Local wisdom has the first frosts starting around 25 April, and while they weren't early this year they were a bit more severe than usual for late autumn. Mostly, the days have been crystal clear--gorgeous in the sunshine, but getting nippy early and freezing if the wind happens to be up. All the frost-sensitive pot plants have been pulled indoors (aloe vera, jade plant, gerbera and lemongrass) and the vegetable garden largely demolished and left fallow.

I had forgotten how much I hate the cold. And yet I still find things I love about the season. Hay fever is less of an issue to start with. The swimming pool water feels warmer (less difference between the air and water temperatures, I'm guessing). Tea is so much better in cold weather and the dogs more cuddly. There is also something glorious about snuggling under a pile of blankets. I also find frost really beautiful, though I haven't yet managed to convince myself to brave the cold for photos.

Instead, I am heading for warmer climes. On Saturday morning I shall be flying to the tropical north. I am very much looking forward to the change of scenery and hope to take plenty of photos. No promises, though--Sahaquiel will be along with me and I sometimes get a bit funny about taking photos when I've got company (unless company has a camera in hand as well).

Swamped

Apr. 12th, 2014 04:51 pm
calissa: (Default)
20140403 Mushrooms 1

I've been feeling a bit swamped of late. None of it is at all serious. I just have a ton of posts I want to write and am falling behind with blog reading and commenting once again (apologies all). I had a massage on Wednesday which left me too sore to do much and on Thursday I spent some time with my family. All of which was very lovely but has left me feeling a bit scattered and needing to get back to routine. To compound matters, Daylight Savings ended last weekend and my body still hasn't quite adjusted to waking up and eating meals an hour later.

There is joy to be found, however. My nephew continues to charm and delight with his big blue eyes, cute dimples and ready smile. He has all the women in the family--my self included--wrapped around his little finger. It won't be long until he is crawling and then look out world!

Writing has been continuing reasonably well when I have been managing to sit down. [livejournal.com profile] saiena convinced me to try writing drabbles as a warm-up to a writing session and I have been find that to have worked so far. I'll probably post them once I have collected a few more.

We took Chippa to the vet today to check out a lump he had developed on his back. It is looking like a delayed vaccine reaction rather than cancer or anything alarming. He'll go back in a week to make sure but it does come as something of a relief.

Then this afternoon I headed out to have coffee with a friend who was struggling with feedback on his novel. It feels like ages since I last had a good face-to-face chat with someone about the craft of writing and I rather enjoyed it.

Now, off to do some more work!
calissa: (Default)
As my last post probably indicated, things have been rather difficult on the work front recently. This weekend has gone some way towards remedying that, partly thanks to the fact that it was a long weekend locally. I spent most of it camped out on the couch, reading in my pyjamas. I also spent a few hours with a great group of local writers who were holding a mini writing retreat over the weekend at a house close by.

In fact, over the last few weeks there have been many good things helping to counterbalance the nastiness. Since so many of you lovelies have been struggling as well, I thought I would share some of these good things in the hopes that they will counterbalance more nastiness--and as a bit of a thank you to those that responded to my Little Things post (which I am still making my way through).

Let's start with the shinies. Ooo... shinies! )

Other awesome things that have kept me going:
  • My nephew (now four months old) is a wiggling bundle of energy. He can't yet walk or even crawl but spends a lot of time trying to jump around (especially when held). So my sister bought him a jumping harness which attaches to door frames and supports his weight enough that he can jump around. He absolutely adores this. My sister sent me a couple of videos and the cuteness makes my heart explode.
  • My sister was also awesome enough to bring me giant, homemade chocolate-chip cookies.
  • My grandmother was in town for a few days and I got to visit for a little while. It was nice to see her get another chance to nurse her great-grandson.
  • I also got to cuddle my nephew at my dad's birthday dinner just the other night. (Yes, my family is awesome. I don't know what I would have done without them).
  • Is there anything more joyful than a dog on a walk? ([personal profile] lizcommotion might argue that it's actually a dog playing fetch)
  • And, of course, doggie cuddles are pretty wonderful.
  • The leaves are changing colour with Autumn's arrival.
  • Which means lots of Russian Caravan tea in the mornings. Yum.
  • I've had some very interesting conversations on gender equality in anime (with specific reference to Log Horizon).
  • In fact, my internet friends as a whole have been fantastic about keeping me going. So THANK YOU!

Arboretum

Jan. 9th, 2014 01:06 pm
calissa: A stalk with drying grass seeds sits in the foreground with a golden hill and blue mountains in the background. (Summer)
Yesterday was a pretty awesome day for two reasons: I ordered me some new shinies and I had a lovely trip out to the Arboretum.

Camera talk )

Arboretum )

It really was a very lovely day.
calissa: A stalk with drying grass seeds sits in the foreground with a golden hill and blue mountains in the background. (Summer)
The first day of 2014 is already drawing to a close and I'm a little bit glad. Yesterday Sahaquiel came down with the same cold that I caught and we didn't get much sleep last night. A number of neighbours in the area were letting off illegal fireworks which sent our dog Hannah into a terrible panic. She is fearless about many things but thunder and fireworks are her Achilles heel.

It was a slow start to the morning. We exchanged presents and eventually decided that we were feeling well enough to go out to Tidbinbilla National Park, as we had planned. So we dropped the dogs off with Sahaquiel's parents and headed out to the park. It didn't take us long--we're closer to the park than we are to the city centre.

Once we arrived at the visitor centre, Sahaquiel surprised me by buying an annual pass. "We should come out more often," he said. I couldn't but agree.

This year I made an effort to overcome my self-consciousness and tried to take more photos. Beware picspam )

We didn't stay as long as we would have liked but we had made the foolish decision not to pack lunch. However, we both agreed that we would head back again soon.
calissa: (Gift)
Merry belated Christmas to all those who celebrate it. The last few days have been a whirlwind of friends and family. I recognise that I am very fortunate that this was the case. At the same time, it has been very draining and I have been a bit short on energy. Today was a relatively quiet day and I have been very grateful for it.

A glimpse of Christmas )

All in all, it was a lovely day. Just a bit long.
calissa: (Default)
I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and out of sorts over the last week and a half. Editing has picked up and I haven't had as much time for my November Project efforts as I'd like. I'm hanging in there, but I feel like I've not been giving it my best.

Day 18: photo )

Day 19 involved an attempt at repurposing an old birthday card as a "thinking of you" note for a friend who has been going through a tough time (in fact, that has been true of a number of friends recently *sends hugs*). I'm still not quite finished with that yet--there was a small hiccup and I haven't finished gathering the materials I need to complete it.

Day 20 was How Are You haiku over on [personal profile] jjhunter's journal.

Thunderstorms rolled on on Day 21, sending my pain levels soaring. I retreated to the couch and spent the day reading. It has so far been the only day I have missed on my November Project.

Day 22: photo )

Day 23: photos )

By Day 24 I was feeling particularly discouraged with my November Project efforts. Realising I had fallen into a pattern of thinking that I had to do either photography or poetry, I unearthed the list of ideas I had made at the beginning of the month. I spent the evening working on a Zentangle, helped along by a demo video on YouTube. It wasn't anything fancy, but it helped relax me and break me out of the rut I was in.

I spent some time on Day 25 working on the story bible for Wolfwinter. I have a little bit left to go and then it will be on to sorting out the mess that is the plot.

Day 26: photo )
calissa: Photo of Swarovski crystal & gold figurine of inkpot and quill sitting on a page that says 'create every day' (Writing)
As many of you may know, my nephew was born today. I wrote most of this while waiting to visit.

A special thank you to [profile] alee_girl for introducing me to etheree poems.

Day Fourteen: poem )

Home

Jul. 5th, 2013 04:04 pm
calissa: (Hinata hugs)
I have just returned from a week-long trip to visit my grandma. I had a very lovely time and got lots of reading done. Nevertheless, I am very grateful to be home again and find myself appreciating lots of little things. Like my dogs' incredible excitement to have me home and their insistent demand for cuddles. Like the cup of tea I'd been craving after sitting in the car for hours. Like the use of my computer after relying on my iPhone for the week. Like the ability to turn the heater on whenever I want. Like the presence of hills.

My sweetheart is out for dinner with friends tonight, though very thoughtfully made sure there were some leftovers for me. I can't wait to give him a big hug once he finally gets home.
calissa: (Default)
rose photo )

It's been a while since I made a proper entry. Things got even busier all of a sudden and I just can't keep up. There's quite a bit to write about once I manage to sit down and catch my breath long enough to write something decent. This is mostly just to let you know I'm still alive.

Part of my being overwhelmed is due to my terrible book addiction. I managed to well and truly break my book acquisition rules last Sunday. [personal profile] sweet_sparrow was kind enough to send me copies of The Honey Month by Amal El-Mohtar and Machine by Jennifer Pelland. But the real damage was done by my sister, who informed me that Anne Bishop had released a new book. When I told her it was a series I hadn't read yet (the Ephemera series, for those interested), she promptly loaned me all three books. Since I'm somewhat of an Anne Bishop fan, I didn't resist.

The result has been that I've had my head stuck in a book ever since, with brief exceptions while I was at work and visiting with friends. I finished the last one about half an hour ago and have come up for air. I think I'll give it a couple of days before I pick another book to start on so that I can catch up on everything that has piled up while I wasn't looking.

One brief note about the photo above. I briefly pondered in a previous entry on the notion of developing a stronger relationship to the landscapes around me (a notion that, in an interesting coincidence, resonates well with Anne Bishop's Ephemera series) by taking photos. So I've started taking photos and thought I'd share one here any time I make an entry.

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