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Collection 366 – Week 6

The biggest change this week is that my phone gave up the ghost, so I had to dust off the DSLR and take that on some adventures to stay on track.

A few days ago, I purchased an iPhone 6s Plus (which is so much bigger than I expected!), but the built-in camera is an enormous improvement from my hand-me-down iPhone 5. Look out for a significant improvement in image quality next week. I’m really caught up in how much I love it right now.

Here’s the wrap up of Week 6:

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01.02.2016: Much like this abandoned life jacket, I’m feeling a little adrift. I’ve not finished my planning for 2016, and am feeling the effects of being untethered from my goals, my purpose. Feeling as though I spend far too much time doing things for others instead of for myself. Time to climb back aboard and steer myself in the right direction.

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02.02.2016: Round and round and round the lake. Admiring architecture, listening to things that spark my interest and just getting outdoors.

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03.02.2016: One of my favorite spots in the whole of the Bay Area is Grizzly Peak in Berkeley. It doesn’t take too long to wind up the hill through the back of UC Berkeley before you encounter magnificent views like this one. 

I love to time the trip to arrive up there about an hour before sunset so I can watch the transition from seeing the city in the golden afternoon light, to witnessing the heavy, orange sun fall into the Pacific through the Golden Gate. 

Then I’ll stay for an hour after sunset, watching the indigo blanket be pulled up over us, with the stars starting to poke through. I usually try to set up long time-lapses before I inevitably get cold, bounce around, and wind up kicking the tripod. 

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04.02.2016: These trees that grow around the lake are fascinating. It reminds me of films I used to watch when I was a kid with talking trees, like the Wizard of Oz. Nevertheless, I give these trees a wide berth, lest they ankle tap me and drag me into the undergrowth and I’m never heard from again.

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05.02.2016: These days, it has felt vey much like summer in these parts. While everyone is kicking back and preparing for Super Bowl weekend, I’m winding up another week at work and wondering what this weekend will hold. 

I’ve not made much art recently, instead taking in a curated list of movies. Hoping to rectify that sooner rather than later. I actually think it has something to do with moving the furniture around. I just don’t feel comfortable in my corner yet.

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06.02.2016: Today, I ventured into the city to see the mass of people that had descended upon us for the Super Bowl. There were so many people trying to leave the island, I had to wait for two ferries before I was able to get on one bound for Super Bowl City. The sun was out and even with a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, I still got burnt.

The scene when I hopped off was madness. The regular Farmers Market outside the Ferry Building was happening and the crowds that gathered at the Puppy Bowl were at least 15 deep.

I headed for my happy place up on Telegraph Hill to escape the crowd, and encountered CBS newsreaders Ken Bastida and Elizabeth Cook leaving the studios for the temporary one at Super Bowl. I caught myself waving hello before I realized that he wouldn’t know me. They may be in our living room each night, but they don’t even know the color of our couch.

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07.02.2016: Super Bowl Sunday was explained so me years ago as the World Cup, Olympics Games, and every other event all rolled into one. And it’s a sight to behold. 

I opted to go to the store to buy snacks just before kick off because the golf went into a play off and the snack buyers were glued to the TV and goddamn it, I was going to need snacks to get me through the next few hours. 

I stood in line, watching the body language of the men in the line, fiddling with their watches and glancing about with wide-eyed desperation. Aside from winning my bet (orange Gatorade the color of choice thrown on the winning coach), it was the best part of my day.


Collection 366 – Week 5

And so, I forgot to post these earlier in the week, but better late than never, right?

This past week (and the current one) is just mostly just… ugh. I am thinking that it’s partly SAD kicking in for the tail end of winter, but also because I feel as though I’m flailing about. Sometimes things suck and that’s okay. So I’m trying to keep it together, finish my 2016 workbooks, and celebrate the moon in Aquarius on the 8th (thanks to my new calendar from the Cosmic Collective.

I have some news that’s beyond exciting (and certainly does not involve babies!). But I am am working out how to write about this — because it HUGE. It’s something that has been a dream of mine for so long that is finally happening. Stay tuned.


25.01.2016: I love the old building I work in. It’s from a time in history where wood was stained dark, gold leaf applied to decorative elements, and flourishes were carved by hand. 

I walk up and down these steps each day, and yet today was the first day I noticed that these words are hand painted. The tentative rise of the A poking a little higher than it should is the best. 

Thousands of grubby hands, maybe even millions, have pushed through the heavy doors in search of an exit. I can only imagine how many times I have placed my hand in the same spot and used my body weight and momentum to propel me into the stairwell.

Nothing beats the handmade, particularly when it’s almost 90 years old. They certainly don’t build them like they used to, nor do they pay any attention to details such as this. A sign of the times…


26.01.2016: Scenes from a press conference today. I enjoyed having time to look up and around me, but did not get much time to myself. 

I missed my walk today and have been working all evening, so am feeling pretty blah. Hopefully I’ll get out and stretch these legs tomorrow. And tomorrow’s almost here.


27.01.2016: I LOVE archives. I love researching and reading and learning new things. Today’s adventures took me into the depths of the aviation museum at #SFO. I was working and not elbow-deep in research today, but it was enough to spark an idea.

The Museum is free and has some amazing ephemera on display from the halcyon days of air travel, and its ceiling is decorated with small aircraft. Some of the flight attendant uniforms have to be seen to be believed. 

If you’ve an hour to spare at the airport, it’s well worth a visit. 


28.01.2016: Is there anything better than working in your PJs? I worked remotely today so I could edit a short film that is due, so I enjoyed spending the AM in my PJs. One thing I find when I work at home is that I end up working hours longer longer than compared with when I’m at the office. 

At lunch, I took a walk and saw that there was something different to look at down by the bay. A giant crane seems to be repairing the ferry terminal. I wonder what it’ll look like when it’s done.


29.01.2016: Went to stretch my legs, then within a minute of walking outside, the rain descended upon me. It clouded up my glasses and assured me I wouldn’t be able so make it all the way around the lake with a dry phone. So I had to turn back. 

Sometimes our best intentions are thwarted by Mother Nature but it is the rainy season, after all. We’re in the final stages of finishing up a short film for the gala tomorrow and just needed all I needed was that walk, you know? Perspective.


30.01.2016: Since being introduced to oils, I’ve not spent much time experimenting with other mediums. But after meeting @pamelabaron and seeing the amazing house portraits she makes, I was interested to see how watercolours behave. It’s certainly an art form, and I’ve not quite found my happy level of usability as yet.

But I am enjoying the opportunity to paint the air traffic control towers at the airports I’ve visited around the world. In retrospect, I’ve been pretty ambitious in starting that series with the ‘new’ tower in Sydney…


31.01.2016: The wind blew a bloody gale, and the waves on the Bay were more violent than usual. Walking was an effort, and I felt sluggish and unable to muster the enthusiasm for the big walk I’d planned in my head. So I turned around at the usual point and headed inland, away from the unrelenting winds into the relative safety of the canals.

I find Sundays hard. I’m always thinking about having to return to work, to get the washing done, and have everything ready for the long week ahead. I get the Sunday night gremlins real bad — and can never relax and just enjoy the day off.


Collection 366 – Week 4

So I spent ages trying to find out where I’d missed a photo this week, until I realized that I actually posted eight last week. Holiday Mondays are fantastic, but they sort of throw a spanner into the work. Ah, nevermind. Onwards!

Week 4 was rather rainy, but not the pretty stuff you can capture sliding down the windows. So I tried to show the glimpses of sunshine instead of the rain. When it rains, I either like to be tucked in bed in my PJs or out riding my bike, and most of the time this week I was enjoying neither of those things.

Here’s some snippets of week 4:


19.01.2016: Another rainy day in the Bay Area. It was a quiet day, but sometimes you need them to catch up on all the other stuff that is coming your way.

But I worry about slow days. I worry that I’m wasting time, that I’m not doing enough. I have so many things I want to do, but I get frustrated about not having the time and resources) to make it the next step yet. I’m incredibly impatient, but I just have to keep moving forward. And find the little moments every single day that best show it.


20.01.2016: The sun emerged today, and found me triple booked for the afternoon. I squeezed in the two major things, then managed to return home before the sun went down. I love how each day brings a little more sunshine.

We’re on a Richard Linklater kick at the moment, and have committed to watching a hand picked collection of his films this week. Tonight was ‘Before Sunrise’, so this was a fitting sequence. I’m feeling quite wistful about the recent past where a situation like that would be possible…


21.01.2016: Wattle, for me, is my favourite shade of yellow. You can take your cadmium yellows and bismuth yellows, because wattle is the one and only.

And I’m pretty lucky that I live in an environment that isn’t lacking in some of the colourful flora of home. I can hug a giant gum tree around the corner, see water conscious lawns filled with Australian natives, and wattle, wattle everywhere.


22.01.2016: Still life. This week has been scattered and I was being pulled in all different directions, and my desk reflected that. I like my desk to be about 93% more tidy than that, but it rarely happens. 

But sometimes, my eye catches my Post-It notes, reminding me that it’s okay to say no (and to say it definitively), and to not accept other people’s baggage. Rebecca takes zero bullshit.


23.01.2016: Cycled down to the Marina today, pedaling through a few rain showers on the way. I love being outdoors in the rain -there’s something about it that forces you to exist in the moment. You can’t let your mind wander too far, because you have to focus on not ending up on your rear. 

But this light, though! I’ve been enjoying seeking it out. And with all this rain the hills are looking so green.


24.01.2016: Abandoned toys. Walked past the canal and this scene was before me. A strange sight.
Was it a kid who left these things here in a huff after the parts failed on his new remote controlled boat?
Or some drunk dudes who came out to race it the night before, in the warm glow of the full moon? Maybe we’ll never know…


Collection 366 – Week 3

The past week has been mostly  grey days with long periods of rain, interspersed with some bright sunshine before the next wave comes through. It was rather unremarkable and already the winter lethargy has set in.

I am seeing plenty of people on my Instagram feed from back home hitting the beaches after work, basking in the razor sharp sun, their hair stiff from the salty water. Of course, there’s a part of me that really wants to be there. But this is not a new phenomenon. It always happens to me as the summer crescendos back home in the lead up to Australia Day. January is a hard month, but it could be worse. Right?

Here’s what happened in week 3:


11.01.2016: Today at lunch, I walked in the opposite direction. It’s a different view than I usually get, and I enjoyed watching the boats and the cranes packing a cargo ship, and the hint of the SF skyscrapers in the distance. I wanted to keep on walking, but, alas, the day job was calling. Quite literally.


12.01.2016: Found this little guy chilling by the lake. He’d gone down there to watch a few people paint en plein air, but seemed to be more interested in the lunchtime runners and their dogs.


13.01.2016: I really enjoy watching the sun set against a local building in the afternoon. A lovely way to wrap up the end of a work day. It’s been a funny old week. Mercury is definitely in retrograde. 

I don’t think that my life is terribly interesting, and the whole aim of posting one image per day has made me incredibly conscious of what I am doing and how I am showing it in its best light. That’s not why I started this collection. 

My aim was to remember the little snippets of my life – as boring and mundane as they mostly are – because I don’t remember much about 2015. Trying to dig myself out of the #statusanxiety hole I’ve built for myself and get on with it! 


14.01.2016: Last year, I decorated a room at the Family Justice Center. It was a beige coloured room with no windows and poor airflow, but I wanted to make it homely and vibrant, yet also practical and hard wearing. I love popping into see how it’s faring. So far, so good.

But still, my favourite part of the room is my art. I made a triptych that hangs above the computer stations, a geometric cluster above the table, and one large piece that resides over the couch. And even now, the one over the couch is my favourite. I love colour and being close to water, and this marries the two in a way that I am still pleased with — which is rare when your inner critic is her usual vocal self.


15.01.2016: This one section of the lake reminds me of home. Each time I pass it, it leads me to imagine I’m walking around Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. The shallows of the lake could be the deep, blue waters of Port Jackson, if you squinted and really employed your imagination.

I can’t ignore where I’m from and the impact it has had (and continues to have) on my life, but it’s always interesting to see I’m subconsciously looking to see comparisons or relate it back to what I know. Memory and looking back are big themes in my life, and sometimes it’s just nice to indulge the replays in your head whilst you’re taking shade in a place that reminds you of home. 


16.01.2016: I have one word to say to you — migraine. This is my view, the cavernous range of my doona. All I can do is treat myself kindly and say I’ll see you on the flip side. 


17.01.2016: The long period of winter rain has blown into the Bay Area. I consulted the internet to pick the perfect time between waves of rain to take a walk — and though it was grey, It was an opportunity to watch the planes come in the opposite way. And I love watching the planes come in the other way. 

Plane spotting is just one of my numerous hobbies and a big part of our daily life. And some of my favourite people on Instagram are those who give me a different perspective of aviation: SFO-based air traffic controller @sam1sf, OAK-based@oak_mod, Australian pilot @tcrossau, and Changi-based pilot @nexxster. You should follow them and tell them I sent you 😉.


18.01.2016: Today was Martin Luther King Day. I had the day off work and enjoyed time out in the open, and planning out what my year will look like. But not everyone had the day off here. It was still go at the music studio, so I spent my evening there.

I’m working on ‘Ashokan Farewell’ right now. Having already sat through the 18-1/2 hours (or thereabouts) of Ken Burns”Civil War’, I am well versed in what it’s supposed to sound like. So that’s a plus.


Collection 366 – Week 2

This week is notable in the fact that there’s been rain in the Bay Area (!), and I’ve delved a little deeper in mosts of my captions for the #Collection366 project. I like where it’s heading.

Just before the New Year, I purchased a five year journal. I can never remember what I do (and the days just fly by, often unaccounted for). This will hopefully help me remember the days, one sentence at a time. I guess this #Collection366 is an extension of that.

Here’s Week 2:

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04.01.2016: Finally found the time to read the book that was written just for me – ‘A Week at the Airport’ by Alain de Botton. He spent a week living at Heathrow and had access to pretty much everywhere. And then he wrote something most accessible and resonant. Knew I’d love it, and he didn’t disappoint.


05.01.2016: Easing back into the day job with my new mug from  @sophiej_n. I packed my lunch (and plenty of tasty snacks!) and it was a highlight. New art supplies were delivered last night, so I stayed up late to play with my new watercolours.

If anyone was to ask me why I live in the U.S, I’d have one word to say to them: Amazon Prime.

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06.01.2016: This was life today. We need the rain, but I prefer to be lying in bed in my new PJs, sipping tea, and reading a good book when it does. Perfectly reasonable. Cleared up enough for a walk at lunch, and seeing the planes landing at #SFO switch to runway 19L. Seeing the Lufthansa A380 make the turn above me was special. Better in the flesh than a grainy, zoomed in photo from the old iPhone 5. 😏

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07.01.2016: Beautiful clouds over Oakland today. We have had a bunch of rain recently – more this week than for the past four Januarys combined- and everything is becoming green and waterlogged. I appreciated the break in cover again at lunch to walk the lake with friends, and it was lovely to be out in the sunshine again. Exercise and good conversation. I appreciated feeling the sting of the warm sun on my skin after so many days.

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08.01.2016: In mid-2014 I decided to do something I’d always dreamed of — learn how to play the cello. Nine weeks in and I broke my wrist. It took about eight months (including surgery and relocating countries [again]) before I could resume lessons. I found a new teacher and have been making progress in 2015, which is encouraging.

Now I can’t say I’m any good, but I’m still throwing my hands at it and still (mostly) enjoying it. Learning an instrument as an adult is difficult and involves so much more practice than you could imagine to get things to stick. But, I’m trying. And it makes me happy to pursue my dreams.

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09.01.2016: Helped out little Cousin Jack film the script we wrote with him recently. Today, I played ‘the classmate’ in the mocu-doc and had to whip out my Merican accent again just for the gig.

After being in front of the camera a number of times recently for various projects, I’m learning to be more comfortable and not be so critical of myself and my performance. I’m doing someone a favour, and I’m always doing my best, so that’s where I leave it.

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10.01.2016: Today was Sunday. On my walk, I saw the neighbors had put out their Christmas tree to be recycled. Am curious to know what it will be when it is reincarnated. it would be ironic is if was wrapping paper. [boom tish!]

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Collection 366 – Week 1

…and so 2016 just happened. It felt as though I blinked and 2015 was over.

So I’ve had a few days off to replenish myself before I have to get back into the usual routine, and I have indulged my inherent night owl tendencies, mostly hitting the pillow about 3am. It’s been a wonderful landscape of sleeping, meeting friends, drinking tea, painting, planning my intentions and goals for the future, reading, listening to music and just ‘netflix and chill’. And I have really enjoyed it. Hoping to build in more moments like these in 2016, please!

2016 — the year of intentions

One of my intentions for this year is to post a photo each day to Instagram. Snippets of life, a life that seems to be passing by so quickly. So I am hoping by choosing a sliver of each day, I will have a collection at the end of the year that will memorialise long forgotten moments.

I decided upon a calendar week, starting with the 1st of January, thus meaning that for the basis of this project, 2016 has 53 weeks. And I’m okay with that.

Even though Week 1 was only three days long, here it is:

IMG_0664a01.01.2016: Inspiration hit me at 11pm. Focusing on shadows before I install the other bits and pieces. I was working off a photograph taken at my favourite spot by Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport. The iconic tower and plane were still to come. One recurring theme for me is that I always work better at night.


02.01.2016: Exploring the streets of the Mission with @danisheriff. I’ve seen her grow up over the past 22-or-so years, and I enjoy her company. I’m proud of what she has already achieved in life, and the fact that she is always so resilient and positive and never takes herself too seriously. I’m excited to see what’s next for her. Plus, for me, it’s always a trip to share time with someone in my adopted city when you’re used to seeing them in a different context on the other side of the world.

IMG_5934a03.01.2016: On my daily walk, I found a doorway into another world. It’s on the inside of a raised plant bed, and even has a window and welcome mat. Someone dreamed it up, purchased (or made?) the tiles, and chose where to place it. And I enjoyed finding it, immensely!

Are you doing anything differently this year?