Categories
Reading Review teaching Work

9/52 On reading

Books I’ve read recently:

H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. I figured it was time; that I should read it at least once in my life. And it *was* good. I can see why it was such an influential novel in its time… but it was the introduction by Orson Scott Card (in the version I was reading) which impressed me more in its insight and readability. He’s an impressive writer, Orson Scott Card!

The Joy Luck Club: I picked this one up because again, it was one of those “I should really read this at least once in my life” moments. Halfway down the first page, I realised I’d already read it, probably a decade or two ago now! And I’d enjoyed it… but seeing as time is fleeting, reading takes it up, and I’d already read it before: I finished the first chapter then skipped to the final chapter for a quick re-read before putting it down. It’s the mark of a brilliant writer, I think, that Amy Tan can make me cry in just those first and last chapters! Although maybe, being half-Asian myself, the story resonates with me more…?


Hangman’s Curse by Frank Peretti. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would! The Christian overtones weren’t as ‘in your face’ as other Christian novels I’ve read, and as for the depiction of bullying in high schools: I don’t know if much (at all!) has changed in the intervening years since it was published in 2001.

And now: The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum. Considering his Bourne series has been one of my favourites since my teens, this is proving to be quite an easy read. Again: what a writer, huh?


And that’s it from me this week. Now I need to go and get through those class sets of draft marking which are waiting patiently for me!

Have a great week, dear Reader 🙂
⁃ KRidwyn

Categories
family anecdotes

8/52 On sadness…

Hubby and I have had dogs for many years now. Late last year, we lost our beautiful Aksel, our 14 year old German Shepherd. Like most shepherds, it was his back hips.

Last Sunday, we lost Rocky, our 14 year old Australian Cattle dog. He had cancer 🙁

Meaning we have one dog left, our kelpie puppy Kiya.

It’s been a hard week on all of us…

See you next week, dear Reader. I hope it’s a good one for you!

  • KRidwyn

 

 

Categories
Life Review

7/52 On transparency

Today’s the 18th of February. In less than a month, we’ll be heading to the poll booths to get ourselves the next four years’ worth of local politicians.

So the other week, I thought I’d look into who’s running. In my region, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, both our Mayor and our Deputy Mayor (who was also my divisional councillor, just for interest) have decided to not run again… meaning I’ll have two newbies in these roles.

I headed off to Google to find out who’s been nominated. My first hit seemed to be the go: three mayoral candidates with a bit of a blurb on each. Impressive… until I realised that according to sunshinecoastnews.com, there’s six candidates for mayor, not three!  Jason O’Pray; Wayne Parcell; Ashley Robinson, Michael Burgess, Rosanna Natoli, and Min Swan (apparently listed in the order they appear on the Electoral Commission of Queensland website). I guess the original article made sense when I re-looked at the title “meet the latest candidates”… I’m guessing they’d already had an initial article with the other three hopefuls.

And in my own division, there’s three choices: Kristy Taylor-Rose; Jenny Broderick; and Stan Nowrocki.

Trying to find informaion on each of these nine people though, proved problematic. Surely there’d be a news article where each candidate was linked to their own page, which detailed (or even just outlined!) who they were and what they stood for? But nope.

So I tried Facebook. Nothing. Even a request to the Sunshine Coast Council’s offical Facebook page only produced this:

Hmm. So off to the ECQ website. Several clicks later, I can see that no, the list order must have changed since the 13th of February, when sunshinecoastnews.com published its article. No matter. There’s still 6 mayoral candidates, and 3 candidates for divisional councillor. Links to their websites though? Nope.

So I’ve decided that I’ll do it. I have my own website, yes? And an interest in getting this information out so people can actually be informed about who it is they might vote for? Well, here it is. For my division, as least. And they’re in alphabetical order (I’m a librarian, remember!)

Sunshine Coast Division One Councillor candidates:

Jenny Broderick

Stan Nowrocki (LinkedIn was the closest site I could find)

Kristy Taylor-Rose (again, no dedicated website; this one’s a news article and this is LinkedIn)

 

Sunshine Coast Mayoral Candidates:

Michael Burgess

Rosanna Natoli

Jason O’Pray

Wayne Parcell (this site takes a while to load…)

Ashley Robinson

Min Swan

Something I noticed about the mayoral candidates: numbers of them say they’re interested in transparency. So I’m guessing that when they inherit the Facebook page, the policy of ‘giving residents the information they’d like’ will change? Hmmm.

Enjoy, dear Reader! And feel free to share / comment etc as you see fit…

  • KRidwyn

 

Categories
Christianity

6/52 on celebrating a life

I spent quite a bit of yesterday afternoon with tears in my eyes. Together with what felt like hundreds of people, we celebrated the life of this amazing man, Richard William Whittington.

I met Richard and his beautiful wife Colleen on their return to Australia from South Africa, in 2002. We attended the same church – Chesed – on Friday evenings in Nambour, and he quickly struck me as an amazing man of God, one who ‘walked’ the talk.

It was a beautiful service, full of touching memories. And so uplifting! The thought that Richard is not dead, but alive and with our Father, whom he served so faithfully while here on earth. A true ‘celebration’ of a life well lived.

And to celebrate this life with old friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in person, in well over 18 years! What a blessing they all are to me. Sure, we’ve kept in touch via Facebook, virtually witnessing life events and the like, but to see them again and feel the warmth of their hugs was to be transported back in time again.

What a special afternoon; one which I have stored up in my heart. I am so blessed to have known Richard – and blessed still further by my God for his putting such amazing people in my life! I treasure them dearly.

I wish for you a week of remembering, and catching up with, such precious people in your own life, dear Reader.

  • KRidwyn
Categories
momentous events Random thoughts

5/52 On clutter…

This Facebook meme made me laugh the other day, so I shared it so my friends and family could laugh too. “Wouldn’t it be funny / cool / amazing to cross things off my own To Do list!” I thought to myself. “Very cheeky… but how freeing!”

And then I scrolled on, and life continued.

My thoughts kept returning to that idea though. Of how cool it would be to have that freedom.

And then yesterday, making space on a bookshelf by working out what books I’d probably never read again and deciding to donate them, it hit me.

Why not? Why shouldn’t I do that?

Most items on my To Do list are just ones that I wrote there anyway! So will the world end if I remove them without doing them? Or am I, in fact, just decluttering my life of self-imposed obligations, expectations and deadlines?

I’m a fan of the TV series Space Invaders.

In it, de-cluttering guru Peter Walsh calls ‘cluttter’ anything which gets between what my life looks like now, and what I want my life to look like (a bad paraphrase, but that’s how full my mind is right now).

Now those books I’d collected, with the idea of reading them or re-reading them at some point – the hard, physical objects collecting dust on my shelf – were clutter.

But who’s to say that clutter is just physical? Can’t mental items – thoughts, expectations and obligations which sit there, collecting dust on the shelves of my brain – be just as much ‘clutter’ as physical clutter?

So: “Crossing things off my to do list. I didn’t do them. I just don’t want them on my list any more…” I’m giving myself permission to do this. Those self-imposed expectations of ‘I want to do THIS by THIS DATE’? I’m deciding that – for me at least – it’s okay to let these things go. Maybe if they’re not helping me, they’re hurting me? I’m certainly feeling more free, just even thinking about it!

May you have a ‘freeing’ week yourself, dear Reader 🙂

[And if you’d like someone else’s permission to free yourself of self-imposed obligations and expectations, here it is: have mine!]

See you Sunday 🙂

  • KRidwyn

 

Categories
Life Random thoughts teaching

4/52 On happiness

I’ve decided that I need to slow down; be aware of where I am and what I am doing.

You see, the other week I was told I’d be teaching a Year 7 Art class this semester. To be exact, it was to co-teach with the Art teacher… but my first reaction was to panic.

So I’ve reflected quite a bit since then, coming to grips with ‘why do I feel this way’…and I’ve realised that it’s my ‘busy-busy-busy’ mindset that I’ve developed over 49 years that’s caused it. The way. I figure: if I “cram as much as possible into life” then certain things are more valuable, time-wise, than others. In other words, I’m “too busy” to sit and draw. Or sit and paint. Or sit, even. (Even when watching TV with Hubby, I’m back to crotcheting, seeing as I now no longer have books to cover.)

I’m not sure I particularly like this about myself. If I’m rushing through life, am I even enjoying it? Hubby said once that I made roadrunner look slow. Which was funny… but in hindsight, also an indictment?

So I’ve started trying, intentionally, to be observant of my ‘moments’. Which brings me to my beetle, and my puppy.

You see, I had my beautiful bug serviced the week just gone. And it was discovered that the back pair of tyres was 7 years old. The front pair, however, was 22!

So on Tuesday just gone, I drove it back up to Cooroy to drop it off, and then collected it Thursday evening with 5 brand new tyres. And on the drive home, my 12 month old kelpie, Kiya, sat beside me.

And life was good. Driving my beautiful bug, kelpie by my side, happy and healthy and at the beginning of a long weekend (happy Australia Day, for those of you who celebrate it!) was such a pleasure! And all the more so, realising that I was ‘awake’ in that moment and knowing it for the joy that it was.

Sigh. May I be cognizant of many more… and I wish the same for you too, dear Reader!

Have a wonderful week 🙂

Categories
family anecdotes teaching Work

3/52 Final day before the chaos

Yes, that’s right. The 2024 school year starts back tomorrow. It’s been a wonderful holiday… not the least of it due to family gaming time.

Decades ago now, Hubby was an addicted gamer, to the extent that I was a ‘computer widow’. Since I couldn’t beat him, I joined him, and once multiplayer games became a thing (yes, I did mention ‘decades’, didn’t I) we had some pretty amazing sessions, some of which bordered on the truly epic.

Fast forward to sometime in 2021, I introduced our son to Caesar II and the Age of Empires franchise. Fast forward again to the 2023 / 2024 summer holidays: we had our own Mum-Dad-two-teenagers slaughterfest on AoEIV (Anniversary Edition) where it was me getting slaughtered, Hubby barely hanging on, and our daughter (who’d only just started playing two days earlier) just narrowly being beaten by our reigning champion son. Hours and hours and hours of fun was had! And humbling experiences too, I must admit, for me, as well as Hubby…

Seeing my little computer villagers building castles got me inspired to also spend some time re-reading one of my favourite trilogies: The Heaven Tree series, written by Edith Pargeter (who also wrote as Ellis Peters, of the Bather Cadfael series). The protagonist is a master mason who dedicates his life (literally… he gets killed as soon as its done) to building of a castle on the English border with Wales. It’s a magnificent story, and the writing style is sublime 🙂

And then, to bring it all ‘into the real world’ as it were, this showed up in my Facebook feed:

What a simply stunning piece of architecture! Isn’t it inspiring that someone had the courage to design such magnificence – let alone the bravery of the people who built it (and maybe even, who lived there!)

Anyway, I just wanted to share these thoughts with you, some reflection time, just prior to heading into the chaos of this school year.

Happy first week back of school, dear Reader!

  • KRidwyn
Categories
Random thoughts Reading Writing

2/52 Home again and being introspective

I both love and loathe writing. Like the nursery-rhyme girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: when [it] is good, it is very, very good; but when [it] is bad, it is horrid.

I was pretty excited last March though, to be so near the end of my Justine Browning journey I was ‘querying’ agents, and ‘in the trenches’. Then a hiccup regarding word counts hit – at the same time as I received a huge pile of English drafts to read and return to my high-school English classes. Enter my first overwhelming encounter with my darlings’ use of ChatGPT, and the world of AI writing.

And I lost it. All motivation. All hope of ever ‘making it’ as a published author. Because seriously, what even will the publishing industry LOOK like in ten years, with AI now here, and here to stay?

Admittedly, life also got a heap busier with my Mum deciding to separate from my Dad, but there you have it – the series of inciting incidents which brought my 2023 writing journey to a screaming halt.

But this year, I’m determined to look on the bright side. Intentionally. And I couldn’t help but laugh when “Goodwill Librarian” posted this, this week:

 

And that was all it took to shake me from my self-imposed writing paralysis. Because I could see clearly how words are important! I should know – these past school holidays I’ve read more books than I’ve read in simply AGES! Other people’s words – their viewpoint on this incredible thing we call life – has been important to me. And who’s to say that my words might indeed be important to others?

Hence this return to my poor neglected blog. To eke out some words and fling them into the ether, with nought but the hope that someone, someday, may stumble across them and read. Maybe even comment!

And even if none do, the externalisation of my thoughts into text is good for me. Straighten out my own understanding of my personal world view, as it were. And ‘there’s a spider in your bra’ is certainly so disparate a response to ‘undress me with your words’ to what I could ever conceive, that it’s good for me to realise and understand this!

I hope you smiled like I did at that meme. And have a great week, dear Reader!

  • KRidwyn
Categories
Blogging challenges family anecdotes Writing

1/52 Memories, from Melbourne, with hope

And so it begins; my first blogpost of the New Year. And I’m in Melbourne, which apparently used to be called Batmania prior to being renamed back in 1837.

(And no, although it’s amusing to think of a black-winged crime fighter controlling the convicts in this area of Down Under, apparently it was named after John Batman, a leading member of the Port Philip Association and the person who negotiated a treaty with the Aboriginal elders to purchase 600,000 acres… so nothing to do with DC Comics, Inc.)

But discovering this fact the other day got me thinking about the past, and how so much of history gets forgotten, both intentionally and accidentally.

I met a lovely lady last night – my cousin’s mother-in-law. It was her 76th birthday party and our conversation had moved onto the topic of tattoos. I related the story of one of my family member’s, who’d faithfully kept a diary – until the day his girlfriend at the time found it, read it, and used it against him. Unsurprisingly, he’d decided to stop journaling, and ink his memorable events onto his skin instead. I’ve always wondered if this second method resulted in lost memories. And this saddens me.

2023 was one of those years which I’m glad has ended. And although I could blithely say “I could happily forget whole chunks of it” I know that, should I *actually* do so? Sure I’d be more free-from-pain than I am right now, but I’d also no longer be me. Our memories are what makes us who are we – and there’s lessons I learned through those painful 2023 experiences that I’m glad I won’t have to re-learn.

So here I am, starting 2024 more despondent than I can ever remember being, but intentionally trying to look for snatches of hope for a brighter year. (They *do* say when you’re down, the only way is up, right?) And hope, after all, is all we need, yes? Aren’t there a plethora of films out there whose entire premise is that hope is stronger than hate, or fear, loneliness or depression?

So that’s how I’m looking at 2024. One day at a time, one hour at a time. Trying to see the good, rather than focusing on the less-than-good of the recent past. Moving on, moving upwards. And recording it in words here on this blog, which I’m grateful to be able to do. Not everyone feels they have the luxury to record their thoughts in text, after all.

So. Here’s to a hope-full week ahead for us all, dear Reader, and I’ll see you next week 🙂
⁃ KRidwyn

PS Just cos I can: the doubledecker bus I rode from Tullarine aitport to Melbourne CBD. The last time I rode on a doubledecker was in 1980 in London!

Categories
Christianity Writing

a Christmas thought…

Christmas

the time of gifts

of family gatherings

of special food and drink

of decorated rooms and trees with lights

of little children asking Santa Claus for gifts,

of songs like Jingle Bells in well-stocked stores, of much excitement as children unpack

the full stockings they had hung up empty in hope on Christmas Eve now finding many small delights within

a whistle, cracker, orange, chocolate, or balloon before they find their gifts under the tree,

tear off the coloured paper wrap with hasty glee and happily try out the new toys they received.

 

What is the reason for our Christmas season? Why do we have a special holiday?

Why focus on spending time with family?

And why give presents and send cards to friends?

 

Do we even give such things a thought,

as we celebrate together and keep to our traditions, having parties and a massive Christmas feast?

 

Does the season bring to mind what happened when Christmas was inaugurated

some two thousand years ago?

And do we realise that the birth of Jesus is so important in human history

that we divide our time into BC and AD?

 

How unique is Jesus Christ?

Has any other man at birth

had angels in their thousands herald him in song?

Or had a special star that wise men saw which spurred them on to travel from afar

to come and worship him and bring their costly gifts fit for a king?

How could this child of poor parentage be such a threat to Herod who was king, that God told Joseph they must flee,

escape to Egypt, where Jesus was for years a refugee?

 

Did Gabriel indeed appear to Mary to announce

that, though she was a virgin, yet by God’s power upon her, she would conceive?

Did she really hear him say that the son that she would bear would be very great, and be called the Son of God,

who would reign on David’s throne forever

over an everlasting kingdom as the Prince of Peace?

 

What is the reason for our Christmas season?

Why celebrate with family, and why so many gifts?

Could it be that our holiday reflects that holy day when God gave in love to all men everywhere

the very greatest present of all time, a gift that they may choose

to receive or to refuse, His son, our Saviour,

Jesus.

*********

poem courtesy Jeanette Grimmer, December 2023