Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Sunday Selections #385

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
 
The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen. 
 
Like River I usually run with a theme. Winter has finally arrived, and we have started getting frost again.


One morning last week I trotted out with the camera just after dawn and captured frost flowers in their chilly beauty.  










And a slightly warmer dawn a little earlier in the week.  My street has been seeing quite a few 'mad woman with camera dances' recently.



 

With luck it will get a little colder yet and I can freeze bubbles again.

As an experiment I have enlarged the font - please let me know whether it is too big.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

WEP June Challenge - Unravelled Yarn

The WEP (Write, Edit, Publish) Challenge so generously hosted by Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee is back.  Olga Godim and Nilanjana Bose have joined the team, providing welcome support to the doughty duo and adding to the wealth of ideas and talent.  Yolanda is not well and is taking time out.  She will be sorely missed and we all wish her a speedy and complete recovery.

This June the WEP challenge is to create around the very broad theme of Unraveled Yarn.  We are asked to create something from the prompt - and can do so through fiction, non-fiction, photography...   



 

If you visit here and click on any names with a DL next to them you will be taken to some wonderful pieces.   As always I expect to marvel at the other participant's creations yet again.


This theme has been haunting me for a while.  My piece is an exorcism, a catharsis, or something between the two.


Unravelled.



Joan was a scientist. A mathematician. A statistician.


She was an innovative cook, a gifted gardener and an embroiderer (of fabric and words). 

She was a woman of determination and courage.  Widowed in a new country with three small children (one of them very ill) she ensured that they had everything they needed and much of what they wanted.  Poverty demanded that clothes were made not bought, a necessity she turned into an art form.


She ran an unofficial women's refuge from home.  Families in crisis came to lunch and stayed for weeks.  She taught migrants English in her lunch hour.


Bobbin lace intrigued her.  So she taught herself.  Taught herself so well that she was invited to make the lace collars and cuffs for the Parliamentary Speaker when the new Parliament House in her adopted home opened.

This bobbin lace phoenix was one she designed and made for me over thirty years ago.


She was a heavy smoker who loved coffee, wine and conversation.  She had a nose like a parrot and a mop of curly hair she described as a flying doormat.  The neighbour's small son called her Mrs Bosoms.  She laughed.


She was complicated, inspirational and the woman I aspired to become.  I was the only child of her second marriage.  A marriage she refused to contract until she was certain it was right for my brothers.  At a time when it 'wasn't done' I was born out of wedlock and attended my parent's wedding celebration.  I am told I had hiccups for days.


When my father died, that inspirational woman died too.  In the weeks after his death she numbed her pain with alcohol.  Those weeks blurrily slipped into months and years.  Her medicinal doses of wine started earlier each day.  She was often very drunk before nine, and rarely completely sober.


Always an independent woman she still claimed the title.  And rang me dozens of times each day with demands for assistance and stories of persecution and woe.  There was a grain of truth to her tales, but that grain was often small, inconsequential and well hidden.


Her world shrank to exclude any source of happiness or joy.  She no longer read, cooked, gardened, or sewed.  She shunned friends and alienated those who refused to take the hint.  She also did her excellent best to set family members against each other. 

She spent her days sitting on the lounge room floor with a coffee cup, overflowing ash trays and a cask of wine beside her.


In a rare co-operative moment she agreed that she probably shouldn't drive.  I quickly sold her car, which didn't cramp her style.  The local grocer delivered her wine, her cigarettes and miniscule amounts of food.  She was characteristically resourceful in finding ways to avoid leaving home.  Did you know that you could send dentures to the dentist for repair by taxi?  Neither did I.


There were hospital stays.  Lots of hospital stays.  Alcoholic poisoning, malnutrition,  falls...  Professional input and support.  Nothing changed.


She was sad, lonely and despairing.

I was sad, angry and despairing.


Then she had a massive stroke.  She spent over nine months in hospital.  Forgive me, but I was glad.  She was safe.  She wasn't drinking.  She was eating. 


In hospital she continued her skilled manipulation of people.  One day I told her that I was very, very tired and wouldn't be in the next day.  Shortly after nine the next morning the phone rang.  It was the hospital. 'Your mother is in tears because you said you were never coming back.  You need to come in.'  I went, and was greeted with 'I thought you weren't coming in today'.


She was adamant that she wanted to go home, and although she needed 24 hour a day care, the hospital administrators helped her achieve that goal.  Significant household modifications had to be made and nursing care organised .  I was responsible for arranging both.


She had been home for nearly two hours when she had her first fall.  The next day the carer rang me again.  Mama had rung up her local supermarket and ordered delivery of both wine and cigarettes, despite being without either for nearly ten months.  The pattern continued.  The carers would ring me several times each day.  My presence at her home (two buses away) was often essential.

Ten days after she returned home the carer rang me to say that she was very far from well and refusing medical treatment.  When I got there it was obvious that she was desperately ill so I called the ambulance.  Furious she told the paramedics that I was being selfish and just wanted her out of her own home.  The hospital rang me in the small hours to say she was dying.  She died shortly after I got there without gaining consciousness.  And in our last speaking interaction we were both angry.  Which I mourn. 


When my  mother took the plunge into alcoholism she became a stranger to the truth.  A while after her death I discovered that this trait wasn't alcohol related.


For example we had always been told that her brother, a doctor, had died of an untreated melanoma.  It was implied  that he died relatively young, unmarried and childless.  Years after my mother's death a brother's exploration of the family tree revealed that our uncle had died, of a heart attack, a few years after my mother.  He had four children.  He had been a doctor.


My father was the warp to my mother's weft.  Without him her life fell into disarray.  I could not fill the gaps. 


Learning that my family history was built on a tissue of lies caused my world to lurch.  I will never know why she felt the need to fabricate a different past.  I do not and cannot know what her reasons are.  I cannot alter them. 


A shift in focus is finally helping me dispel the grief, the guilt, the anger and the confusion.  The ugly years were there, but I am now also remembering and celebrating the woman she was rather than the tragedy she became. 

Word Count 999 words.
Comment rather than critique.

 



Sunday, 17 June 2018

Sunday Selections #384

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
 
The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen. 
 
Like River I usually run with a theme.  We have had rather a lot of grey days recently.  Wasted grey days.  We desperately need rain but our heavy clouds have produced tiny sprinkles rather than the downpour we need.  And, as an aside I wonder whether repairing our roof so that heavy rain no longer pours into our kitchen is responsible for that.







Even the greyest of days have had splashes of colour though.






I hope I am never too old and jaded to watch clouds.




The birds have brought colour too.


Eastern Rosellas - who arrive early to beat the rush.

Corella

Rainbow Lorikeet (aka Piggy-Grunter)


And wandering out the back door I noticed that the cymbidium orchids are in bud.  LOTS of flower spikes.  It will be months before they flower but I smiled broadly to see the promise.




Sunday, 10 June 2018

Sunday Selections #383

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
 
The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen. 
 
Like River I usually run with a theme. I said last week I would take you back to the National Museum and show you some of the 'So That You Migh Know Each Other:  Faith and Culture in Islam' exhibit.


 Islam is a contentious topic here in Australia, as it is in much of the world at the moment.  Sadly I believe that the majority are being tarred by the actions of fanatics.  And I am not a fan of fanatics of any flavour.

The title of the exhibition was apparently inspired by a verse in the Holy Qur'an and is an invitation to visitors to reach out in a spirit of curiosity, tolerance and peace.

Less talk, more photos.





A rug, and some detail from it.  Isn't it beautiful?  I was particularly drawn to the textiles in the exhibition.




I don't think camel riding is designed for comfort, beautiful as this saddle cloth is.





 Sorry about the blur.  I find taking photos through glass very challenging.







Travelling any distance in a boat like that one would be fraught with danger wouldn't it?  But they did.  






My ignorant self had never considered that the camels which are quite widespread in parts of our Northern Territory had come here with cameleers (a truly weird word).  Muslim cameleers.  We have had a Muslim component to our population for a very long time. 

And, in unrelated news, the roofers finally deigned to put in an appearance and finish their work last Friday.  Jazz is now safe from intruders until the next project starts in a couple of weeks.  And we have been assurred that work will be completed in a day.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Tall, Dark and Undead

Today I am featuring the lovely Sandra Cox's latest work. Sandra is a talented person, hard working and incredibly generous.  She is also a prolific writer and isn't constrained to any genre or topic. 



Blurb:

Gutsy, kick-ass Suzanne James has no intention of complicating her life by falling in love…especially with a vampire. But it’s hard to stay objective when a drop-dead gorgeous male rescues her from three assailants in a dark alley. All but unconscious, she could swear her hero has glowing red eyes and two sharp, pointed teeth.

Adrian Caine has spent the past hundred years, in vampire parlance, a vegetarian. When he rescues a beautiful blonde in a dark alley, it takes all of his formidable control not to backslide. Attraction turns to desire. Even though it’s not in Suzanne’s best interest, he can’t stay away.



Excerpt:

Executive suites are a well-kept secret at hospitals. If you’re the average schmuck, you’ve probably never even heard of a hospital suite. I was an average schmuck myself. My paycheck planted me firmly in the middle-class schmuck category. And if I had to say upper or lower middle class, it certainly wouldnt have been upper, but I digress.

Kess hurried back with a cup of coffee that sloshed over the sides as he trotted toward me.

“Bless you, Kess.” I snatched it from his outstretched hands and took my first swallow. “Ah, caffeine.” I closed my eyes and had a private moment. Besides indescribable sex, which to be honest I couldnt say I’d had that much of, the other two things that moved me to ecstasy were coffee and chocolate.

As if he could read my mind, Kess dug in his gray silk suit pocket and pulled out a bag of candy.

Kess, I could kiss you.” I put down the coffee with my good hand, grabbed the bag and ripped it open with my teeth, held it over my mouth and poured them in.

“I would have done that for you, Suzie.”

Nobody but Kess got away with calling me Suzie. Since my mouth was full, I could only nod.

He took the bag from my hand and handed me the coffee. I swallowed with difficulty then took a slug of hot caffeine.

Once  again  his  skinny  derriere  hovered in  the  air  before  he  plopped  down.  I finished the coffee and held out my hand for more candy-coated chocolate pieces.

First tell me what happened.”

I stuck out my lower lip and managed to make it tremble.

Kess was tough when it came to meeting quotas and staying on budget but he was a softy for people, especially me.

“Here, here.” He poured the remaining pieces—all five of them—into my outstretched hand. I swallowed the candy and looked at my empty coffee cup then decided not to push my luck. Kess had done enough for me already.

So what happened? The leather chair sighed as he leaned forward.

It was very strange, Kess.” I was just getting ready to explain how strange when Annie, one of the kitchen assistants, rushed in with my tray.

At the interruption, Kess began to mutter in Latin. I grinned. Hed apparently forgotten that hed taught me how to curse in that particular language after wed consumed several margaritas at happy hour last month.

Anny plunked down the tray, gave me a sour look and hurried away. Everyone knew I got preferential treatment. I lifted the lid and beamed. Steak, baked potato, a slice of pizza loaded with everything and a piece of coconut cake.”

And a carafe of coffee,” Kess added helpfully.

“I dont suppose youll take this sling off my arm? I asked without much hope.

He looked around furtively. Just long enough to eat.”

Thanks, Kess! You’re the best.”

I picked up my fork with my right hand and winced, the shoulder tender. But I’d survive. I started with the cake and worked my way backward. For hospital food it was pretty darn good. When my stomach groaned in protest, I stopped.

“I cant eat another bite.” A good deep breath and my distended belly would pop. I leaned back against the pillows and closed my eyes

There isn’t another bite.” Kess shook his head. Your metabolism is unbelievable. How you stay a size two defies imagination.

I’m a size six.”

“Whatever. Let’s get your sling back on before Nurse McCarthy comes in. Shell skin me alive.”

Trust me. No nurse, or doctor for that matter, is going to skin a hospital administrator, at least not while they’re on the payroll.” I leaned forward as he gently slid the sling over my shoulder and around my arm. I wouldnt have admitted it for worlds but it did relieve some of the throbbing from the fork work.

Since another cup had come with the tray, Kess helped himself to the carafe, took a sip of coffee and leaned forward in his chair. “Now tell me what happened.”



About Sandra Cox

Instead of her own mug shot Sandra chose to send us a photo of the beautiful Frank.  Butter wouldn't melt in that cat's mouth...







A vegetarian and animal lover, Sandra lives with her husband, their dog and several cats in sunny North Carolina.

Besides paranormal, Sandra also writes historical and time-travel romance, young adult fantasy and non-fiction.