#blogjune Blogging challenges momentous events More about me Reading Writing

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!

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.06.11 pm

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.13.55 pm







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



momentous events random scribblings Scribblings Writing

Writing Flash Fiction

Task: Write a story.

Limitations: Use 100 words (or fewer). Include the words: may, play, whee, brie, and quick. Submit within 48 hours.

My take on the task:

Daddy, quick – watch me slide! Whee!
Sally, four. All giggles, sloppy ice-cream kisses.

Daddy, please may I have Jaimee over to play?
My daughter, nine. Nudges and whispered secrets.

Daddy, I love you. Father’s Day, thirteen. No more under-the-table cubby-houses…

My own car? Thank you, Daddy! Squeals; hugs of gratitude.

An aisle; a walk; a bride on my arm. Tears, threatening, choked back. My heart too big for my chest.

These memories should be treasured forever.

But they’re ones I’ll never have.

The tiny limp body in my arms? My Sally?

I curse the day brie was created.


Response by Flash Fiction contest judge and Queen of the Known Universe: Shortlisted!!! WOOT!!!!!


Happy writing, everyone 🙂

Blogging challenges Technology

Attempt: a daily blogging challenge!

I mentioned a few weeks back that I missed blogging with my online friends during #blog12daysxmas because I’d lost access to my blog.

Well, I’m still feeling a lack of blogging mojo, so I’ve decided to join in a daily blogging challenge. It’s one that’s been running for quite a few years now, with hundreds of participants worldwide: the April A to Z challenge.

The blogging happens each day of April except Sundays, and on each letter of the alphabet, starting at A and finishing on Z.

People write on whatever topic they like: some of the categories of blogs include animals; culinary; craft; gaming; memoir; photography; politics; science; and sports, to name but a few.

There’s also a theme, to be released by the organisers in the near future. I’m not sure what I’ll be writing on yet.

Whatever I end up with, I’m thinking it’ll be thematic. They’ll also be shortish posts, I’m thinking around the 150 word mark each. (edit post publishing: this post you’re reading is 140 words).

So that’s *my* April blogging sorted.

What do you think? If you’re a blogger, want to join me?

— KRidwyn

Life Random thoughts Technology

The importance of access

Dear readers,

My long-suffering blog subscribers will have been surprised I’m sure, to have received an email informing them I’d written a new post here on Hmmm… That’s because the last email notification was seven months – count them! SEVEN!!! – ago.

Yes, some of that was because I was just too busy with offline interruptions to write. But not so, the past few months. No, indeed. The problem was far worse. I’m reminded of the line by that incredibly annoying character Richard Thornburg, on the plane in Die Hard 2: “the truth, ladies and gentlemen, is far more terrifying…”

13334048894_001d3e53d1_mI lost access.

It’s a long and convoluted story involving countless emails, more-than-countless phone calls, hours spent checking the availability to re-purchase domain names, meetings with several IT guys in all shapes and sizes, and many more white hairs choosing to appear on my head – which, of course, I’ve decided to resolutely ignore. I shan’t bore you with any more details.

Suffice it to say… I’m back!!! And praise God! I missed blogging more than I realised that I would. I especially missed it during the Christmas / New Year season, as it was my blogging anniversary (blogiversary?!) and the first time since I started Hmmm… that I missed blogging with @FiFYI in the #blog12daysxmas challenge.

Mea culpa. I’ll know next time.

It’s only when something is broken that we realise how much we’ve taken it for granted. Sad, but true. So my plan is to learn from this experience. ‘Regular maintenance of the things I’d rather not bother with’ is my new policy. And I’ve even future-scheduled this ‘maintenance’ time and set appropriate reminders on my phone, so if I get busy with offline distractions, or if I forget or get lazy, then it’ll remind me. And I can’t get angry with my beautiful phone that Hubby gave me for Christmas, which still feels so new, can I? No 🙂 So yes, back ups are always a help, aren’t they!

Make sure, dear readers, that you maintain access to your stuff. Keep usernames and passwords and back up copies. Let loved ones know your secret stash spot for said usernames and passwords. And do it now.

So anyway, that’s my story. And I must admit, I’m pretty proud of myself that I’ll – hopefully – learn from the experience.

What about you? Have you ever lost access to something – that you only discovered was important once it was broken?

CC image courtesy Yuri Samoilov on Flickr

#blogjune Life momentous events teaching Work


A few months ago, I shaved my head for #ShaveForACure. I raised quite a bit of money… but more than that, I raised awareness of blood-related cancers in the hundreds of kids I teach on a weekly basis.

Today, for the first time since I had my head shaved in front of them all, I’m hat-less.

Here goes!

Have a great day, dear reader!



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,
and wait
Listening to the silence


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.



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.



Just a little sad…

My autistic son is now 6. And he’s the same precious blessing he’s been every day of his life. Since the age of 3, he’s had almost-weekly speech therapy, meaning that now, a few years on, he’s finally talking above an almost inaudible mumble; he’s quite happy to initiate conversations with people that he knows – he still won’t with strangers, but that’s fine with me! – and he’s also starting to work slowly through words, to get the pronunciation of these words correct.

This morning, talking about school today, he finally changed from saying “Morning Teeth” and “Morning Teef”. He said “Morning Tea” for the first time. It’s lovely to know that he’s growing up. That there’s now one less thing in this life that people will tease him about.

But knowing that he’ll never say it again? That’s also just a little bit sad.

Just thought I’d share that with you today, dear reader. Have a lovely day.

— KRidwyn

random scribblings Scribblings teaching

Wednesday’s words

So I thought I might try something new – just do some random scribbling every Wednesday. Playing with words. Playing with the feelings that words create. And not worrying if they form sentences, or rhyme, or make a whole lot of sense. Just cos!!! So here goes…



I knew it the instant I’d done it, that I’d overdone it this time. Strained my voice just that *little* too much. I could physically *feel* my throat start its aching. And it’s the type of ache in the throat where you just know. Know exactly what’s coming next. Know because you’ve been there before.

Ache. Soreness. Discomfort. The beginnings of pain.

Loss. The temptation to whisper, knowing that whispering will just make matters worse.

Knowing that it will prolong the recovery time.

Knowing, and feeling helpless.



I like to think that I have a large, intense personality, barely contained within my small physical frame. The surprising amount of volume that I can muster, from said physical frame, forms a huge part of this personality. the kind of volume that has been developed with decades of singing, decades of teaching.

My volume, and my ability to use it when needed, gives me confidence. Strength.

The ability to communicate, to have input into the lives of those around me just by opening my mouth, gives me… well… power.

Without it, I feel less.

Inadequate. Stripped.



Moral of story: STOP!!!!!

Next time, preferably, *before* you get to that ‘whoops’ moment, Ceridwyn!!!





Emotional alert. As in, for me. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
So I tweeted last night that yesterday had been a teary day. And it was. Perhaps blogging about my reaction to the thought of my boy never learning to read opened the floodgates or something, but once it started, boy!!! It’s been hard to stop! I broke down in Mr 3’s Speech Therapy session; I bawled after my afternoon Skype to Hervey Bay; I snivelled through the rest of the evening; and although I went to bed *fairly* early (soon after 10) I was up again at 2 this morning, getting editorials finished and ad mockups created and responding to emails and so on and so forth. So yes, today was also a teary one- but at least I’m recognizing that lack of decent sleep has something to do with it, today!
So anyway, I think I’ve figured out the reason for my tears. I’m grieving.

I’m grieving for the life I had hoped that Mr 3 would have. I guess as parents we all have dreams for our kids… I had just never realised that what I had dreamt for him was unrealistic. That his life will be different to what I had imagined. So I’m mourning that loss. Reason number one.
I’m saddened that it is just me who mourns this. Because *he* will never know any different; he will never realize “what he’s missing” – if, indeed, the life I had envisaged ended up being ‘better’ than the one that he *will* have.
Reason number two.
Reason number three: embarrassment. How arrogant of me! As a Christian, I believe that God’s plans are perfect, for each of our lives, so the life He has planned for my little man is far better than anything I could ever come up with! So how arrogant is that, to have been thinking that the life he will have is somehow ‘less’ than what I had hoped / planned for!
Reason number four: embarrassed tears were engulfed by tears of shame. The reality of ‘this is how it is’ saddens me. Because the truth has hit (again) that no, he will *not* be going to Pre-Prep next year. And quite likely, he will *not* be going to Prep the following year. Which means more time at home with me… a good thing… and yet… I know that this means he’ll be more reliant on me for longer than I had anticipated. And again, I’m grieving. And this is where, truth be told, I am gutted. I’m gutted to realize that this is not the situation I want. I love my boy to bits, but I don’t actually *want* him to be dependent on me for so much, for so long! I’m a selfish creature; I can’t see how I will cope! I’m already exhausted from managing just the ECDP and the Speech Therapist into my crowded life; I know I should probably be adding in a weekly OT session, and be looking at Psych. appointments too… but I can’t see how it all can fit in to our lives. Seriously! And that shatters me, to think that I’d rather have him ‘be a “normal” child’ so that life would be easier on me. I tell you what – the self-reflections of my studies are *nothing* compared to what’s been in my head the past two days…