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Remember that ‘snake toy’ made by the people who brought us the Rubik’s cube? Well, Mr10 found his old one when cleaning his bedroom a few weeks ago.

Intrigued by the shapes he was creating, Miss11 grabbed my old black-and-white (1980s vintage) one and had a go herself. As the only leftie in our house, it always gives me great pleasure to watch her figuring out the ‘backwards’ way to do things!

Have a discovery-full week yourself, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Being true to yourself

I read an autobiography the other week: FREEDOM FROM FRED by Anna Magdalene Handley. Anna goes to my church; I’ve known her for some time now. She’s an amazing woman, with an incredible life story… but the line that hit me most was this:

 

Deep inside is our truest expression: the more we pretend the more we die.

 

I love, love, LOVE this idea. So much so, I shared it with my 100+ students this morning at school.

Why? Because they’re teenagers, most susceptible (and not succeeding in dealing with) peer pressure.

I have kids who, in my office and in a one-to-one conversation, will be in tears with how they ‘want to change, want to do the right thing, want to focus on their schoolwork and be the kid their Mum/Dad wants them to be’ – and it’s genuine.

Then they walk out, and within five minutes, they’re back with their friends, invisible mask firmly in place, and are being the exact same person that they don’t want to be anymore.

Interestingly, when I was telling them this story this morning, there was silence. You could hear a pin drop. They knew I was talking to them, as individuals, they could identify themselves in my story, and they were being convicted in the talking.

Then I mentioned how, back a millennia or so ago, when I realised that *I* could drop my invisible mask and just be myself, that my friends just accepted me for who I was anyway. And just being myself was SO much easier! I didn’t have to use up all my energy trying to be someone else, trying to remember what I was meant to be like at home, as opposed to at school, or in whatever situations I found myself in. I could just be me.

And how freeing was that!

Being true to yourself.  Hard sometimes – but worth it.

 

Have a great week, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

Uniquely Australian

I’m fortunate enough to live on a fairly large block of land, away from suburbia. Pockets of natural bushland dot the region – one of which is right at my front gate.

There was a small area of bushland near the house of my childhood too – and favourite memories include the multiple times I looked for, and sometimes even spotted, the koala among the high foliage of a eucalypt tree.

You always knew they were there because of their distinct smell, uniquely eucalypt and mammal.

Since moving to our current home in July 2006, there have been only two occasions where a koala has taken up residence in one of the eucalyptus trees near our front gate. From memory, they stayed for a few weeks, and then disappeared again – I didn’t much notice.

But a few days ago, leaving for the gym early in the morning, when the wind was still and the pre-dawn around me heightened my senses, I smelled koala again. It wasn’t an overpowering fragrance, but enough to know one was there.

Such instantaneous joy! And wonder, that a smell can evoke such delight! I smiled for hours.

I love that a koala has taken up residence in one of the eucalypt trees outside my front gate.

Now to just catch a glimpse of him (or her) resting up in the branches during the warmth of the day!

Wish me luck 🙂

– KRidwyn

T is for ‘tepefy’

‘Tepefy’ is a verb, which means ‘to make or become tepid or lukewarm’.

And it’s a transitive verb, which means it can’t exist by itself but needs a noun to complete the action, just like ‘kick’ (the ball), ‘paint’ (the portrait) or ‘clean’ (the kitchen – ha!). So you’d ‘tepefy’ the bathwater on a frozen winter’s morning.

And its related noun is ‘tepefaction’. Which makes sense, when you think about it.

We need this word in more regular use in everyday life, don’t we.

Yes? Because the word ‘warm’, which seems to have replaced it, both as the transitive verb and as its related noun, seems too simple. Too quick, too easy.

Yes?

Any takers? Anyone out there agree with me? Yes? Anyone? Going… going…

gone.

Ergo, the disappearance of so many words…

Here’s to your day, dear Reader.

— KRidwyn

S is for ‘scamper’

I love this word. I smile every time I see it. In my mind’s eye, I picture a child of 5 or 6, enthusiasm exuding from every pore, beaming widely as they run about exploring, delighting in their discoveries and keen to squeeze as much as possible into every single moment.

I remember that age… I think. I remember the excitement, the feeling of life extending forever, the knowledge of my own invincibility, convinced I could go anywhere, be anyone, do anything.

Where did that feeling go?

And why?

I’m reminded of that verse in the gospels, where Jesus said, “Unless you become like a little child, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Honestly, I can’t actually remember the last time *I* felt that excited. That eager to squeeze the joy out of every single moment.

I should probably try that again…

Here’s to a ‘scamper’-ing day today! And have a ‘scamper’-ing one for yourself too, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

[PS That Bible verse was Matthew 18:3, by the way…]

M is for ‘monteith’ (the bowl, not the name)

‘Retrieving a cup from the scalloped rim of the monteith, he served himself some of its cool water. He could feel the eyes of the lady of the house boring into his back, but he refused to turn and meet her glance until he had quaffed his fill.’

Ah, the monteith. A large bowl, commonly made of silver, often with a rim for suspending drinking glasses in the cool water within the bowl; also used as a punchbowl.

This one, above, I found on Pinterest (I realised I needed to search ‘monteith BOWL’ after a ‘monteith’ search brought up photos of Cory Monteith, of Glee fame) – and it apparently is a Victorian period reproduction of a C1685 Charles II period Monteith bowl – this English sterling silver monteith or punch bowl is by James Dixon & Son, Sheffield, c1905.

Isn’t it beautiful!

Have a great day, dear Reader 🙂

— KRidwyn

D is for ‘determination’

When I was a teenager, my mother regularly talked about ‘Grit and Determination’. They could get a person anywhere, she said. Perhaps her constant reminders were indicative of my ‘lazy, good-for-nothing’ character at the time, but be that as it may, they certainly made a lasting impression on me.

And my mother would know. Born somewhere in the latter half of nine siblings, she was the only child to win a scholarship at her village’s Primary School, allowing her to attend the English speaking secondary school in her country’s capital. That’s where she started to learn English. And she learned it well enough, studied hard enough, that by her matriculation, she was the only student in her country to win a scholarship to attend University – in New Zealand!

I’m glad she went. That’s where she met my Dad – and the rest, as they say, is history…

albeit, interesting history. After having three children, Mum raised us then went back to full-time work, as a teacher, while we were in primary school. After a few years, she decided to study Japanese, and became a LOTE teacher. At one of her schools, she had a overwhelming number of visually impaired students: so my Mum decided to learn braille. And yes, not just English braille. Japanese braille, to teach to Australian students.

Fast forward another twenty-something years. She’s retired, however her determination to not be confined by past achievements still defines her. Not only has she mastered Japanese, Chinese and Hindi, she’s well on her way to mastering Latin – and receiving an iPad for Christmas last year has inspired her yet further, with the language apps she now has easy access to.

‘Grit and determination’ can get a person anywhere. She’s living proof.

Me? I find her an inspiration. Now that I’ve given up trying to keep up. My determination tends to be time specific. As in, it’s 7.20pm and I’ve been up since just before 4am, but only now am I finding the time to sit in front of my computer and write this blogpost. I *had* hoped to have these ‘A to Z challenge’ posts published at 9am each day. Obviously that didn’t happen today – but in spite of yawning profusely for the past hour and a half, I was *determined* to not let my head hit the pillow before I wrote this post. I know, I know. Piddling, in comparison to my Mum. But that’s my story on determination today. What’s yours?

And have a great day, dear reader!

KRidwyn

30 must-read books – #11

I just love dragons, don’t you?

And Anne McCaffrey’s dragons most of all.

#bj11

So today, day 11 of #blogjune, where I’m ‘chronicling’ (lol) my 30 must-read books throughout the month, this blogpost is dedicated to that most intoxicating of beast: the dragon.

Powerful. Enormous. In McCaffrey’s novels, linked irrevocably at birth to their rider, in a relationship that transcends love and devotion. And ‘cousin’ to those itty-bitty fire-lizards which I wished I could also have as a ‘pet’ – if only to protect me from Thread, Pern’s indefatigable enemy.

My first copy of Dragonflight was read so much, it unfortunately didn’t survive the process. Then, about a decade ago, Hubby bought me an Angus and Robertson gift card for Christmas, so I treated myself to spine-matching copies of the entire Pern series. And now not only are they a fantastic read, they also look so purty on my bookshelf! (Note to self: suggest to Hubby that Christmas is coming and I really liked that gift…)

Anyway, suffice it to say: my bookshelf doesn’t lie. I like these books. A lot. Immensely. Tremendously and extraordinarily and abundantly.

Have you read any? What do *you* think of them?

And have a great day, dear reader!

–Kridwyn

 

 

30 must-read books – #7

Today’s my birthday. I’m 42. And I’m finishing these first seven ‘literary’ books with these two I discovered in the Garden City public library, three decades ago. I fell head over heels in love with the writing; with the story; with the characters. To me, the exquisite expression of the ideas in these novels, was perfection!

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Then they were returned, and life got busy. But the stories remained with me.

Fast forward a couple of decades. An older-me wants to read the stories again. But the passage of time has rendered me ignorant of the titles and author. And typing ‘dragon story’ into a google search would be fruitless. I give up.

Fast forward again, to mid-2015. Even-older-me has finished writing JUSTINE BROWNING #1 and is preparing to query agents, and reading similar novels to perhaps use as comparison titles. A PLAGUE OF UNICORNS by Jane Yolen strikes me as exquisite writing – so much so that when I see a copy of her novel A SENDING OF DRAGONS for sale, I purchase it to enjoy more of her writing.

I only make it through two and half pages before recognition hits.

This is Book Three in the series I read and fell in love with as a child! I hadn’t read it at the time, as it wasn’t published back then, but I’d found what I was seeking – the author, and the titles of the first two books!

And you know the best part of this story? My Miss11 has just bought me these two books as her birthday present to me. I’m so blessed!

Have a fantastic day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

 

 

30 must-read books – #6

#bj6I first encountered Ellis Peters as a teenager; with the highly entertaining character Brother Cadfael my introduction not only to the world of monks, but also to the historical crime genre.

Pictured is Book 6 in the series of 20, and my favourite as it introduces Cadfael’s son, who quickly became the most swoon-worthy of swoon-worthiness; the epitome of ‘tall, dark and handsome’ in my teenager mindset.

But as much as I love these stories, I cannot in good faith include them in this list of 30 must-reads. But that’s only because they are eclipsed by her Heaven Tree trilogy, written under her own name, Edith Pargeter.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 2.27.16 pm Some would say that these three (The Heaven Tree, The Green Branch and The Scarlet Seed) are not as refined as the Cadfael series, being her earlier work, before her writing style matured. I utterly disagree.

I love, love, love this trilogy. And count myself blessed to have discovered such gorgeous, literary writing, at such a young age.

So – any Ellis Peters / Edith Pargeter fans out there? And which series do *you* prefer?

Have a fantastic day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn