B is for ‘bissextile’

Go on, guess. What does ‘bissextile’ mean?

And what on Earth is this ‘B is for’ business?

Well, this marks Day 2 of my attempt at the ‘A to Z challenge’ – where bloggers write daily, using consecutive letters of the alphabet, for the month of April (with Sundays off for good behaviour). My theme in 2016 was ‘God’s metaphors’. This year, due to a new job and an insanely crazy-busy last three months, I’ve gone with ‘word for the day’. Easy enough. Yesterday’s word was one I have a pet hate for: A was for ‘always’. And today, perhaps a new word for some of you: bissextile.

So. Did you open up a new tab and google it yet?

My Dad’s the one in the family for discovering new words and researching their etymology (I’m just as likely to look up ‘entomology’, which is really rather different…) and yet I don’t know if he’s aware of this particular word. I’ll have to ask him when he returns from New Zealand in a couple of weeks. Funny, really, because the kids and I are house-sitting for him at the moment, courtesy ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie which is currently wreaking havoc on the Eastern Australian coast. Thus Hubby is at home, powerless and with no running water (from the taps, that is) while I’m checking out ‘B’ words in his dictionary and blogging at his desk.

Hence ‘B is for bissextile’.

And no, even though it has those three letters in the middle of it which would cause any self-respecting school internet blocking program to flag it – no, it’s NOT about sex.

Actually, ‘bissextile’ is an adjective, which refers to the extra day in a leap year.

How cool is that!

(Oh, and by the way, the ‘sex’ bit is from ‘sextus’, or ‘sixth’, because it was the sixth day before the calends of March. And away we go down another tangent…)

So – have fun working *that* particular word into your next conversation! What a pity I didn’t use this theme last year, which *did* just so happen to include a bissextile day…!

See you tomorrow for ‘C’, dear Reader! And until then, stay safe and be blessed!

— KRidwyn

Six years on

It’s the beginning of a New Year. An auspicious time to make new resolutions and new commitments; to gently blow the burgeoning flame of new hopes until they become habits… well, that’s the general idea, anyway.

This time of year also reminds me of the time I started blogging.

December 25, 2010.

It was for a blogging challenge started by @FiFYI -#blog12daysxmas – and I’d thought, “Well, why not?!”

And that was that.

Day 1. I’d decided to be literal and write a post a day on the Christmas carol ‘The 12 days of Christmas’.

Day 2. Two turtle doves and questions of ‘devotion’…

Day 3. And I’m stumped as to why we have mundane hens on the list. French ones, at that.

Day 4. My humble thoughts on the differences between blackbirds and crows, and how many blackbirds might comfortably fit into a pie…

Day 5. And I bet you thought that the ‘five gold rings’ meant jewellery, didn’t you!

Day 6. Six geese a-laying. That’s a lot of eggs between now and the end of the song. And a lot of ankle-biting, too!

Day 7. Swimming swans are given by the True Love to the singer… and several hundred years later, the family and I escape floodwaters and arrive home to relish the feeling of dry clothes and mud-free sheets 😀

Day 8. The singer is given eight maids a-milking, and I ruminate on what it is that defines a person.

Day 9. Nine ladies dancing – and a quick tally of what the singer now has at her house. It’s getting crowded in there!

Day 10, and I’m in awe of the sheer organisational ability of this ‘True Love’. Honestly, it’s incredible!

Day 11. In which bagpipes enter the cacophony, and I speculate on what the ‘True Love’ may actually have been devoted to… and

Day 12. The inevitable conclusion to the challenge; and one in which I find my opinions of the carol quite at variance to what I thought I would be thinking!

I always find it fun, going back and re-reading stuff I’d written years before. Remembering what it was like: Hubby and I stranded in our caravan at 1770 with three very young ones, no bread, little milk, and no spare petrol, in the middle of the craziest floods so far this century. Remembering how my opinions of the song changed dramatically, but my desire to blog, and my love for writing, deepened.

Well, that was a look back. Now it’s January 2nd, 2017, and it’s time to look ahead. Here’s hoping that the coming week is a brilliant one, for you and me both, dear reader!

Yours,

KRidwyn

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #17

I live in an area which you could call ‘flood-prone’. My part of the street, although close to a large creek, is quite high above sea level, so our house is always fine. Others however, not so far away from us, are more low-lying, and so bear the brunt of too much water.

Downpours cut roads at least once a year, sometimes more often, and unfortunately, fatalities occur due to cars being washed away by the pressure of the water. Media reports love to show brave emergency service personnel wading waist-high through fast-flowing water, risking life and limb to rescue people. They look so strong, so capable – and yet, make the tiniest of mistakes, and they too will be swept away.

It’s incredible to think that something so innocuous as water, can take lives. Especially considering we usually associate it with its life-giving qualities. But too much of it, and it becomes a disaster.

Song of Solomon 8:7 speaks of God’s love for us.

“Many waters cannot quench your love;                                         rivers cannot sweep it away”

I picture God’s love as strong and steadfast… like an Emergency Service worker, but one who can never make a mistake. One who would never succumb to rising floodwaters.

QThe verse also says “many waters cannot quench your love”. And that’s where the ‘Q’ comes from in today’s #AtoZchallenge: unQuenchable. That’s God’s love for us.

And in my opinion, that’s amazing.

Did you know that there’s NOTHING we can do, that will make God love us any less than He does right now? That’s right – nothing! No matter how badly we stuff up, how many mistakes we make, how many times we ignore Him or disregard Him, His love for us is unquenchable.

How cool is that!

I’m mystified by that. And humbled.

How about you?

 

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

hard to get moving

It’s been hard to get moving this morning.

I *have* been – it was an unexpected wake-up call at 5.30 instead of the usual 6 that did it, and I’ve done all that I normally would have done for this time on a Monday morning – but it’s been hard.

I’ve been down. Melancholy.

I think it’s the five deaths during last Friday night’s floods. The aftermath and the cleanup that’s going to be happening now that a new week has begun. The settling back into disrupted routine for most…and the knowledge that, for some, that routine has been destroyed forever.

I am so incredibly grateful that my husband and three young cherubs made it home safe last week. Life is a treasure, and I think that often I have not treasured it enough. It’s fragile. And fleeting.

We should make the most of it.

So that’s my intention. Starting now. To treasure life, and those that my Lord has put into my life. To remember those five people who lost their lives, and their families who are mourning right now, but not to be debilitated by my own grief, about what might easily have happened to my own family.

I would normally finish with ‘have a great day, dear reader’. I just want to point out that this is what I truly wish, for each and every one of you who is – or ever might be – reading this sentence right now. My hope for you is that your day (or night, whenever you are reading this) is a good one. One which you can look back on, and smile, and think, “I’m happy with how that day went.” I truly appreciate your taking your precious time and using it to read my words. I hope that they have blessed you in some way.

So – have a great day, dear reader. 🙂

— KRidwyn

Weather event

helpless – a poem

I sit
In silence.

There should be noise.
There should be people.

“Weather event,” they say.
“Too dangerous,” they say.

 

I hug my knees tight against my chest. I dare not swallow, straining instead to hear the sounds I seek. My throat is tight. Every part of my body is tense. I am a taut coil of stillness.

And silence.

Ready to explode.

But waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting.

 

News reports gleefully show photos. Videos.

Wind. And rain.

And water, water, water, water, water.

Reporters with fake concern spout statistics.

More questions than answers fill my computer screen, my news feeds; friends and followers all seeking information when there’s none to give. More questions. Few answers. I turn off the TV.  The batteries die in my devices, one by one.
Worry consumes me.

Parents, like me,
sit
and wait
Watching
Listening to the silence
Worrying

Worrying

Worrying
And worrying
And worrying.

There should be noise here. There should be people.

But I sit
In silence

And worry.

How long, Lord? How long?

 

Aftermath – a poem

The surf roars this morning.

It’s showing off. Reminding the world of the power of nature.

The power to disrupt lives.

To take lives.

The kids arrived home from school gone 10 o’clock last night. Every road had been cut. But they were safe.

Not every child could say that.

 

Parents

sitting vigils over empty houses

had cried with relief

Loved ones home, safe.

But not every parent made it home safe last night.

 

Morning sun brings answers

There is dryness. Warmth. Work to do, repairs to make.

But not everyone will see the sun today. Not everyone will help with the work.

 

And the distant surf is roaring this morning. Boasting of the power of nature

to disrupt lives.

To take lives.

I can hear it.

Amidst the noise, the surf.

Roaring.

Exhaustion plus.

Source: flickr.com via Jessica on Pinterest

Ever had one of those weekends when you finally get there and just ‘stop’?! Where your week has been just SOOOOOO busy that you haven’t had time to just sit? And you haven’t really noticed if you’ve eaten, or slept? Well, that’s been my week this week.

Starting last Saturday, I woke up sick. As in, the non-stop dry cough kind. Sunday, this became a back-ache so bad I could hardly move, and spent the day flat on my back. This is extremely unusual for me, a person who is often told that she ‘never stops’. I was actually really quite worried, because I knew how huge the coming week was, and I just didn’t know how I’d survive it all if I couldn’t even walk! But God is good, and I was able to stand by Sunday night, and walk again by Monday morning. Thankfully! But the upshot of a day in bed was that I read ‘People of Heaven’ by Beverly Harper, which was rather reminiscent of Bryce Courtenay’s writings about Peekay and Tandia. An interesting story, but I’m not sure whether the author should have included so much history ‘tacked on’ in places, without being directly relevant to the plot. Nevertheless, a good way to spend a day in which you can hardly move.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were a blur of work, podiatry appointments, childcare, swimming lessons, driving, and non-stop rain. On Wednesday afternoon, I pulled Miss 7 out of school early, planning to buy school shoes at Athlete’s Foot, Morayfield… only to discover that their store had closed, and the closest was at Caloundra. So the kids played with my iPhone camera while we waited in line at BUPA, to get some of the huge amounts of money back from the Podiatry appointment. And be yet more disappointed, because our Health Cover didn’t do much covering. And yet again, it was a day of poor health choices food-wise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday was Australia Day. A day of not ‘having’ to go anywhere. When asked that morning, I had told Hubby that I wanted to spend the day hanging pictures, now that I had finally bought myself a Wall Stud Finder. Instead, seeing as the rain had stopped, we took the kids to a crowded Kings Beach Pool, ate a fish-and-chips lunch, then took a lovely long drive. Mr 2 immediately fell asleep, and the girls played with home-made ‘helicopters’ made out of sandals and sunnies. Quite cute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rain returned that night, so on Friday morning I changed my plans and spent the day at home. It was splendiferous. Hubby and Miss 7 eventually made it to school, but not before being caught in the parking lot that was the Bruce Highway southbound, at Caboolture. And I caught up on work. Housework. Laundry. Dishes. Hanging those pictures. Filing. Blogging for Bloxham Marketing. Oh – and playing with iBooks Author, now that I’d upgraded to the Lion OS and lamented my touchpad now going backwards.

So. That was my week. Huge. And now I get to stop. Hooray!!!!!

Tigger vs Rabbit

Today marks the end of my week-long posting series. (It was actually meant to finish yesterday, but I kinda piked out last Thursday due to the Queensland floods.) But anyway, this is the seventh ‘Important Word in my life’, inspired both by the the American Dialect Society’s ‘Word of the Year’ and by @fionawb‘s #blog12daysxmas posts. So, to sum up:

Word 1 was ‘integrity’, Word 2 was ‘restless’, and Word 3, ‘blessed’. I realised that ‘history’ should probably be Word number 4, never having previously comprehended the depth of my emotional attachment to the city of my childhood until it was destroyed in the floods. Word 5 ‘organised’ offset the ‘openly emotional’ of Word 6. And today? The final day? I think it would be remiss of me to not include ‘responsibility’. As in, something which I feel weighs heavily on my shoulders.

I think I’ve always been a responsible person. Maybe it comes of being a middle child. Maybe because I was the girl between two boys. But I can’t ever remember a time when I haven’t felt as though ‘goofing off’ was morally irresponsible. Weird, looking back! Once, I led a devotion at Caloundra Christian College, comparing A.A.Milne‘s characters of Tigger and Rabbit. Tigger, the playful one who bounces through life, oblivious to the damage he causes to others, and Rabbit, the grumpy ‘it must be done properly, in an orderly manner’ one. My point was that as teachers, we shouldn’t force our Rabbit ways on our Tigger students if (as happened in the example I gave) the end result is the same. I was speaking from a wealth of experience. I am far more of a Rabbit than a Tigger. It’s funny, cos Tigger is my favourite of the whole cast of characters! (Maybe it’s true – that opposites attract?) Anyway. I’d say that ‘responsibility’ is an apt choice for my seventh and final word important to me. That reflects the person I think myself to be.

Looking over the list, it seems pretty bleugh. But that may just be my perception. As I mentioned previously, for each character trait I tend to see the negative outweigh the positive. But that’s okay. The list is finished now. So let’s move on to something more fun. More interesting. And I’ll try to present six of them. Momentous events in my life. (That way, I’ll cover that ‘cult’ story I mentioned the other day.)

So… til tomorrow, dear readers – stay safe and well!

The Brissie Kid

I’m the reason my parents moved to Australia. My older brother had been born in a hospital in New Guinea, four years earlier, and I guess they didn’t want a repeat experience. So when they discovered that I was on the way, they relocated to Australia – to Eight Mile Plains in Brisbane, to be precise. Dad found employment as a lecturer in Literacy and Language Development at Mt Gravatt Teachers College, (later to become Griffith University,) and I arrived on the seventh of June, 1974. Six months before the floods devastated the city.

I spent the first nineteen years of my life in that house on Padstow Road, just up the hill from Logan Road, and opposite Multicap Meadows. It got busy during that time, so much so that the B-doubles letting off their airbrakes as they drove past my window lulled me to sleep during my final years there, while I finished Senior at Redeemer Lutheran College in Rochedale and started my B.Ed at Griffith.

I was fortunate to have a bus stop not 100 metres away. With the help of a year-long, go anywhere at any time’ student bus pass, I did the ‘teenage rebellion’ thing and used it lots, spending the majority of my time passing through Garden City on my way into town, to meet friends and hang out, catch a movie, window shop. When at Uni I would bus to my part-time job/s in town, spend time reading novels while sunbaking at South Bank, or (later still) try winning money at the casino. In fact, I was so comfortable travelling by bus, I didn’t get my license until I was 20 – and that, a motorbike license. I then found an even greater sense of freedom on my blue Suzuki GSX250, travelling to UQ at St Lucia to study French in the evenings, during my 4th year of Uni – and the back way, past the Rocklea Markets, became quite a speedway at the almost-10pm mark!

And now to my apology. My prior two posts were… well… more non-events than events. Due to my incredulity at the floods devastating Brisbane again. Quoting my younger brother, who emailed me from London this morning, “I knew those streets. Now they’re gone.” Perhaps this post will go part-way toward an explanation. And that brings me to what I had not realised about myself, but have now…

My important word for today: history. My past, to be specific. I guess what ‘they say’, IS actually true. Your past DOES make you the person you are. So as I stop, and remember, and grieve for what may never be again, I shall also remember  that if my history IS that important to me, then today, right now, and every moment to come, will also be a part of my ‘history’ one day. So I should make the most of it. How about you?

Til tomorrow, dear readers…

Seven swimming swans (make sure they’re swimming now, mind!)

Well, today spells the last of the bird gifts. Some interpretations of the meaning behind the song state that each gift represented something special for each month. Meaning that the swans would have been a gift for the seventh month. July. (Although I’ve also heard that October used to be year’s end, just a few hundred years ago, so maybe the seventh month for the ‘true love’ and his ‘singer’ wasn’t the same as the seventh month for us? I wonder…)

Anyway, why swans? Unlike the partridge, the hens, the ‘rings’ (pheasants) and the geese, they’re probably not edible – well, they’re not known for it, are they?! So maybe, like the turtle doves, they were included for aesthetic reasons, instead. (Their swimming abilities, methinks?! Hehe!) And I never quite decided why those Colly birds were included on Day 4, did I? Oh well… Swans, for me, remind me of that Fairy Tale “The Ugly Duckling”. I loved that story. The duckling had so much to be bitter about, but wasn’t. Something to aspire to!

Interestingly enough, that was one of the DVD’s I played for my kids in our long drive home, late last night. (Yes, we’re no longer flooded in – yay! As of yesterday, 4am, we were still on the “island” of 1770 / Agnes Waters, but by 6 had sneakily crossed over to Miriam Vale, by midday were doing a reccy of Gin Gin, and by 4pm had made it through Gin Gin and headed home. Twas a very late night, but SO worth the huge drive just to get to dry clothes and mud-free sheets!)

But back to the song. It looks like tomorrow’s on to the people. Maybe the ‘singer’ told the ‘true love’ that she’d had enough of birds?! But that, I guess, is a ponder for another time.

See you tomorrow, folks!