Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Red, Red I See Red ...

They say a change is as good as a holiday so I decide I'd had enough of white hair. So I went - RED!

Later I will still have a few streaks of other colours like purple or blue or white but at the moment it's just cherry

I bid farewell to my four-legged visitors - my kids couldn't believe how much weight their baby put on.  Jasmine, the Shitzu/toy poodle cross was underweight - by a lot!  The vet was concerned about her weight when the kids took her for a check up after Xmas.

No problem now!

The vet would be very happy with her.  Think it must have been all the rice and pasta I fed them.  Fozzie always love pasta, rice, veggies and fruit so I fed my two guests the same way.  They loved it and now she is fighting weight

Fozzie is very happy they've gone.  Now he has the run of the back AND the side yards again.  In the side yard I have an old mattress.  It sits on the outdoor table and Fozzie (and the two cats) love to sit on in.

Fozz is always on it whenever I leave to go anywhere.  Its comfy for him plus the whole side yard is covered so he is protected from the sun, the wind and the rain.

Still haven't decided on the DSLR camera.  The more I read, the more confused I am.  By the time I finally decide on one I bet they'll be another half dozen out that are better and I'll have to start from scratch!

Been thinking about having a few days break.  Was considering going down the coast somewhere.  Figured I could paint and photograph the water as well as take a trip through Kangaroo Valley, maybe Minnamurra Falls and get some work done there.

Just need to decide where would be the best place to stay for a couple of nights that would be in easy reach of all areas.

I did think about going up the coast but to go to the rainforest you have to travel further up whereas the Valley and Minnamurra are not that far inland.

As well there's Hampton bridge, that would be a great subject to paint.

 I stayed in Kiama a number of years ago but I was with relations so couldn't wander around as I would by myself or stop and paint. So now it's just a matter of deciding where and when.

Friday, 16 January 2015

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

ITIN, Painting Time ....

Spoke too soon re my ITIN - just got a letter from the US IRS - they want my original identification documents!!


They just returned them to me last week - now they want them back! OMG - I cannot believe how much hassle this is to get one bloody number!

They returned them to me last week saying they were now processing my W-7 form. Then today I get a letter from them saying they can't process my W-7 form because I didn't send any original documents! ...... aaarrrggggghhhhh!

Been painting.

Have sent back the first edits on a book that comes out the end of the month. On top of that I have submitted the 2nd in the series.

Waiting on my beta reader to give me the verdict on the 3rd book in the Vampire Hunter series - if I get the okay then I will tidy it up and submit it.

So in the meantime I've been painting. The kids have left - just have the four legged visitor's still so to get me back into calmness I decided to paint.

I'd got this great picture from Sue Grzazeck - one of the members of the FB photography group I belong to - to use as a reference so decided to tackle it.

 The original photo had some lovely colours in it. The sky had yellows, purples and blues which I really liked.

Thinking I might tackle some of the other photos I've amassed over the past twelve months.  Some are mine and some are from people who kindly gave me permission to use their pics.

I really like the movement in this seascape - love how the water is framed by the rocks.

I'm thinking once my four legged guests leave, I might have to take a drive either up or down the coast and get some more reference shots.

If anyone has any suggestions of places for me to photograph just drop me an email. (Somewhere within an hour or two's drive from Western Sydney ... lol ... much as I would like to I can't afford a world painting tour).

In the meantime I have some amazing photos from my FB buddies from all around the world for inspiration!

Friday, 9 January 2015

Invoices, Heat, Cameras and ITINs .....

Oh I love my solar electricity (and my solar hot water) .... especially when I get an invoice like this one!

When you think that I have used my ducted air conditioning a lot so far this summer makes it even more pleasing!

It's been so hot!

During this quarter bill we've had days over 43c (110f) with a few night that stayed around 30c (86f). For the past few weeks, it's been around the mid to high thirties but it is so humid. Plus it's only dropping to the low 20s overnight (70s in f).
At the moment there is no relief in sight until Thursday of next week when we are expecting a southerly change - just hope it's a good one. The worst is we still have February to get through and that's usually our hottest month!

My four legged family love when I turn that air con on - Fozz and Cali join me in either the studio or the lounge room while Spotty stretches out full length on my bed directly under the outlet.

Thank goodness I live alone - one cat on a queen sized bed, plus me then add Fozz who likes to sprawl across the bottom of it - there just wouldn't be any room for a boyfriend  (although maybe I could squeeze one in if I did happen to meet one ..  ).... lol.

Been toying with buying a new DSLR - mine is a Canon EOS 40d. I bought it in 2007.  I've looked at the Nikons but I figured if I just buy a Canon camera body, I can used the two lenses I already have and buy myself a macro lens for the new body.

So far I am considering the  7D, 70D or the 700D.  Basically I'm confused as all hell ... lol.  I don't want to spend more than $1200 on the body so that means the 6D is out.

If anyone out there has any of the ones above I'd love to hear your views on them.  I'm not interested on the video part of the cameras but it seems that most DSLR's have that feature now.

Got a letter from the US IRS department.  They returned my original documents that I'd used to identify myself so I could get an ITIN. There was no number included in the letter but they wrote that they were processing my W-7 form so I have my fingers crossed that they accepted my identification stuff.

It's such a long winded process just to get a tax number!

Wish you could just go to the US embassy here and prove who you are but they don't allow it.  The US tax agent I had to send my stuff to send me an invoice for $110 ... all she did was tell me what I needed then I sent everything to her along with sufficient postage for the US and she forwarded it on.  Nice way to earn a hundred bucks ... lol.

Like I wrote last year - if you want an ITIN and using form W-7 don't expect it to be a quick process.  I started this in July of last year and I STILL don't have one.

The funny thing is if I was self publishing and using Amazon I could send my aussie tax number to the IRS and they would immediately give me an ITIN!

Crazy, crazy, crazy!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Almost Back to Normal ...

Well the visitors have gone and now the two boys and I are trying to get back to normal, we enjoyed out visitors. But not Cali ...

... she spent the last 3 weeks in hiding - she doesn't handle visitors at all and spent most of the time hidden in my wardrobe.  Yesterday she finally ventured out.

She'd finally realised all was quiet so came timidly out from her hiding place then spent the day in her favourite position - alongside my computer.  I don't think she stopped purring ... just happy to be back to normal.

She even gave the boys a kiss - unusual for her because she and Spotty usually fight or else ignore each other.

The two four legged guests are still here for another couple of weeks; Fozz is not impressed at all.  I have to admit that the two of them aren't that fond of him either.

It was really hot so I fenced off part of the family room so they could come in and feel a little cooler.  Gizmo, the pug, was happy to wander around but Jasmine wanted to rip the fence down and eat Fozz. She is a Shihtzu/toy poodle cross, about 7 mths old and weighs about 1.5kg if that!

Fozz weighs in around 28kgs. So it is really funny considering she is so tiny and compare to her, he is a giant.  He looked at me as if to say - WTF!!

They spent the time barking at each other through the barrier I had put up.  I was hoping that by the end of their stay they would all be friends but I have a feeling that just isn't going to happen.

During December I gave my photo group a miss - it was impossible to try to take photos and post them on a regular basis but now that it's quiet I have started January's themes.

I liked today's - Faceless Portrait - I took a frame and attached a paintbrush and pen. Figured it would represent the fact I am both an artists and an author.

I thought by blurring most of the image except for my hands and the frame it would put more focus on the fact I use the tools in my hands and they represent me.

There are a couple of themes for the month that I'm not too sure what I will photograph -juxtaposition and humanity.  Still they aren't due for a while so I can put on my thinking cap.

Gone back to purple and blue for a while.  Have an appointment with the wonderful Jane who does my hair toward the end of the month and will decide what colour is on the horizon ... lol.

Sent in the first lot of edits for my latest book and now trying to decide whether to paint or write.  Probably end up doing a little of each.  Just have to decide what I'd like to paint.

Have a beautiful picture of snow gums that one of my pic group sent me, a wonderful seascape and another of a pile of old wood.  Then there's all the other ones I've collect over the past few months.  Oh well, time will see which I decide on.
I recently discovered Willi's cacao - I'm in heaven!

It is really rich so just a little every now and again goes a long way but the single origin flavour is amazing.  It is terribly expensive for such a tiny piece of chocolate but because of its taste I have no qualms about paying for it.

I love these two flavours - simply delicious!

Look at my great Christmas present!

I can't wait to figure it all out - once I do I will take some pics of the moon and stars.

Set it up late one afternoon on the weekend - all went well as I was lining things up. Felt something tickling my neck as darkness fell. Didn't pay too much attention until it kept happening.

Damn spiders!

Two orb spiders had decided to spin their nightly web between the guttering, the telescope and me!

Thank goodness I'm not scared of spiders.  I quickly gathered up the 'scope and headed back inside.  Now I'm going to have to find their homes through the day and move them to new abodes so I can star gaze in peace ... lol

I hope you all have a great year - 2015 - wow how fast do the years race away!  I'm not one for making new year resolutions and this year is no different but I will say - I intend to enjoy every minute of everyday even if it is just to admire one of my spider friends ... lol

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Zoo and Guests ....

Spent the day at Taronga Park Zoo with my children and grand children, lots of fun. The kids had a great time.  The weather was perfect - warm but not as hot as it could be for this time of the year.

The Zoo had an exhibit - Dinosaurs in the Wild - with animatronic dinosaurs through the park.

The kids loved it, especially the Dilophoraurus which spat water at them all, the Styracosaurus which had a nest of eight babies and the T-Rex mother with her big baby.

It was lovely to see the gorillas - mum was relaxing with her baby.  If you look carefully at the pic you'll see her holding it's tiny hand.

It's an amazing setting, right on Sydney harbour with spectacular views of the harbour and the city.  The giraffe's had a first row seat watching the world go by.

The spider monkeys were chilling out and the littlies thought they were funny.

The grandkids were amazed watching the pelicans eat, they couldn't believe how big their beaks were and how much food they managed to get into them.

Cleaning up the accumulated junk that you seem to collect over the years.  My side deck had become a haven for it.  Finally managed to get most of it in a rubbish skip. Just going to spend the morning cleaning the last of it away so all that will be left out there is the BBQ and the big table and chairs.

I'm minding my younger son's two dogs while they are away for 2 weeks.  The dogs are going to be spending their time on the side deck.

Fozz is not impressed at having other dogs visit so younger son had to build a temporary wall/fence to separate the rest of the yard from the side.

Not sure what Spotty will make of the guests - he likes dogs but these are small - a pug and a tiny shihpoo.  He prefers to play with big dogs like Fozz and a couple that live a few doors down.

Hope everyone has a great new year's eve - I intend to relax with a book - and I hope 2015 brings you all you could wish for. I hope it is filled with love and happiness for you all.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Thunderstorms, Xmas, Fozz ....

If you live in the Sydney metro area -  how have you been handling this crazy weather!

Terrible thunderstorms every afternoon, lost power on Tuesday from around 3 in the afternoon till after midnight. Then on Thursday it was gone from 4 till 10.30pm.

Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon we had 6 severe thunderstorm warnings!

Can't remembering having six thunderstorms roll in over such a short period of time and ones strong enough to have a Severe Thunderstorm Warning issued by the BOM (Bureau of Met).

It's sunny at the moment - 10am on Monday but ... thunderstorms are again predicted for this afternoon!
Think I have finally finished my Xmas shopping and it's now all wrapped and packed into boxes to take to the recipients.  We're having lunch at a restaurant on Xmas day with my family then back to younger son's house for presents.

I'm a bit of a scrooge as far as Xmas goes.  I don't like it. Lost my mother 18 yrs ago at Christmas and it took the fun out of it.  Haven't even bothered with decorations for ages.

But this year my kids are coming down from Queensland so I've told my grandsons they can put up the tree when they get here - just hope it's survived being in the garage roof for years. Otherwise I might have to do a quick dash to Kmart to buy one.

Fozzie's been feeling the heat the last few months so we got him shaved down for summer.  He was so excited when the groomer finished. He was running all over the place, jumping up and down with this big grin on his face.

How about his cute beaded collar?

The groomer gave it to him - now he's Mr. Metrosexual .... lol.

I've noticed he is sleeping better and not as distressed so he might look strange but he is much happier.  Won't take that long to start growing back, knowing how long and thick his fur is.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

A Five Star Review!

Just had to share this with my friends .... My latest book has been out for two days and it's already made the top 30 Best Seller List - sitting at number #5!

On top of that, I just got an amazing 5 Star review on Goodreads from SiK Reviews!

Here's what it said -

's review 

5 of 5 stars
Read in November, 2014
Ok, let me say this book had me crying at different places for different reasons. Happiness.....fear.....sadness...... Just an emotional roller coaster for me. Harry has gone through a lot in her life. She decided to close herself off from any relationships except her two best friends, who happen to be a gay couple. When Harry decides to do a remodel of her home/studio, she hires Bryan and Marco's company. After a comical first meeting, there was an equally comical and scary second meeting.

To watch Harry push past her fear, and let not just one but two men love her is just phenomenal. I love "watching" people fall in love. When her past comes in and threatens to tear the triad apart, it is Bryan and Marco that save her. Add in a miracle and really awsome Italian parents, and this story is the best book by Suzy I have read yet. And, the other are really great too! Keep it up Suz!!!!

It's always nerve wracking when you bring out a new book - will people like it? Will they think its crap?  When you see it burst onto the best seller list, you get a warm fuzzy feeling of excitment.  Then when someone posts a review - a 5 star one - you know you've done something right.

When you write a book, you bond with the characters. Their emotions become yours. So when you read that someone 'cried, laughed, felt happy, felt sad, felt fear' you know that somehow it just worked. 

Those emotions your characters had translated onto the page for your readers to feel.

Well, I am one very happy author who had a big grin on her face!

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