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Beyond the Lone Islands

http://dawntreader-island2.blogspot.com

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Before/After

Joining the photo blog Soaring Through The World In Pictures has sent me off on new adventures this summer, not only inspiring me to take more photos but also to explore the possibilities of photo editing a bit further. The theme this week has been Before/After (Edited Shots), and I've been experimenting a little with the software Paint Shop Pro, which I already had on my computer, but never really used much before, beyond one or two basic quick-fix functions. Now being able to share the results with my fellow "bloglings"* (both here at my own blog and at the joint photo blog) is a great motivation booster to learn and practice more.

*(I picked up the word "blogling" from Scriptor Senex the other week; he in turn he had adopted it from somewhere else, but whoever invented it, I love the word!)

Above, an AFTER picture of a bumblebee, slightly colour adjusted, sharpened and framed. Below, the original BEFORE picture.


For more BEFORE/AFTER pictures, look in at




Monday, 27 July 2009

More (Or Less) About Mail


Today an article in the newspaper informed us of further cutdowns in postal service. It seems the correspondence between me and my friend G (see this post from last week) is not enough reason to keep all the mailboxes after all. Well, so far there is no talk of closing the boxes through which we receive letters. But we might soon have to go for longer walks to be able to post them. In this district (town and surrounding area), they'll be taking down 60. And the ones that remain, will be emptied earlier in the day.
They are not making it easy for us old pen-and-paper-fanatics! Most likely, they won't even bother to send a letter to inform us which ones will be taken down, but let us discover that by ourselves. (Or look it up on the internet.)

Maybe we'll have to go back to using pigeons eventually?

Quotation of the Week (31/09) - Heidi


Last week I listened to the classic Heidi by Johanna Spyri which I downloaded from Free Classic Audio Books (cf. this post of mine from June).

A disadvantage when you listen to a book is that it is harder to bookmark a good quote. However, Heidi is also available as e-text at Project Gutenberg. So I went there to look up the following passage, which made me smile when I first listened to it, because it seemed to fit right into my own procrastination pattern lately.

Not that I run very quickly in and out of the house these days. And there's definitely no leaping and jumping! Actually, I'm also quite happy to live in town and on flat ground. (While living in town made little Heidi miserable, and homesick for the mountains.) But if you read my post last week about recharging or procrastinating, maybe you get my drift anyway... What I like about this quotation from Heidi is how it conveys that state of mind where you have certain things you ought to do, and that have to be done - and other things that you much prefer doing.

Heidi began her daily work as usual, but she did not get on with it very fast. It was so lovely out of doors today, and every minute something happened to interrupt her in her work. Now it was a bright beam of sun shining cheerfully through the open window, and seeming to say, "Come out, Heidi, come out!" Heidi felt she could not stay indoors, and she ran out in answer to the call. The sunlight lay sparkling on everything around the hut and on all the mountains and far away along the valley, and the grass slope looked so golden and inviting that she was obliged to sit down for a few minutes and look about her. Then she suddenly remembered that her stool was left standing in the middle of the floor and that the table had not been rubbed, and she jumped up and ran inside again. But it was not long before the fir trees began their old song; Heidi felt it in all her limbs, and again the desire to run outside was irresistible, and she was off to play and leap to the tune of the waving branches.

Johanna Spyri, Heidi, Ch XIV (A Visitor)



Saturday, 25 July 2009

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge # 73


For the rules of the game, and for more stories, go to Raven's Nest.

The Slumber Party Mystery
Chapter 20 - Procrastination


The words this week (10+5):
riverboat, procrastinaton, drank, demons, invisible, candle, enough, film stars, summer job, computer, general demeanor, surprisingly, masked man, reach, standards


Skittles resisted another impulse to reach out for one of the tempting nectarines. He reminded himself again that as a detective, he had to keep certain standards. Not eating while interviewing people was one of them.

"Dr Challenge," he said, focusing on the man on the other side of the table. "Please tell me when and why you came here today."

Adam hesitated a moment. He was still fighting invisible demons within himself about what to say.

"I came to see the Brigadier General," he said. "He's a patient of mine."

"Excuse me," said Skittles bluntly, "but to me you look dressed for a party rather than a housecall." He looked disapprovingly at Adam's lavender colored shirt.

Adam in turn did not like the detective's general demeanor. The man reminded him of one of those old film stars – what was his name – he'd played a riverboat captain once… Adam found himself wondering if the lieutenant drank. The riverboat captain did... But enough with the procrastination. He would have to tell the truth. Or part of it, anyway.

"Well, as a matter of fact I was invited to a party," he said, taking the invitation card out of his pocket and pushing it across the table to Skittles, who took it and read out aloud:

"Welcome to be my guest at a slumber party this Friday evening."

Skittles stared at the card, and then at Adam. "Slumber party?" he said, incredulously. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"I don't know," said Adam, truthfully. "As you can see, it is not signed, but it's one of the General's cards. It has his address printed on it. So I came to find out."

" An old man inviting his doctor to a slumber party!" said Skittles. "That doesn't make any sense! Slumber parties, that's for giggling school girls!"

"Well," said Adam, "as a doctor I can't just ignore a strange message like that from a patient. True, it might be just a prank. It might also be really serious. The General is not at all well, you know. He has hinted at times…" Adam fell silent and tried his best to play the role of the masked man who is really just waiting to have his mask ripped off. Skittles fell for it.

"Oh," he said, as it dawned upon him what Adam was suggesting. "You mean… You thought the General might intend to take his own life?"

"Well," said Adam. "You never know."

"But…" said Skittles, thinking hard. Something did not quite make sense. "But you diagnosed he'd had a sun stroke!"

"Yes," said Adam. "That's what it seemed like when I examined him after we got him out of the pool. I'm telling you now what I thought when I got the card."

Skittles looked again at the doctor's lavender shirt, and his thoughts went simultaneously to the young girl sitting at her computer upstairs. Just a little while ago she had surprisingly admitted to him that Adam Challenge was "the love of her life"…

"You didn't think of the possibility that someone else from this house might have sent the card?" he asked. "Someone thinking more along the line of a late candle lit dinner, perhaps…?"

Adam blushed and looked very uncomfortable. "Well, yes and no," he said. "It wasn't my first thought. It did occur to me that Diana might be home for some kind of summer job. But that was only after…" Adam broke off in the middle of the sentence and fell silent.

"After…?" prompted Skittles.

"Do you think I might have one of those nectarines?" said Adam. "I'm terribly thirsty!"

Friday, 24 July 2009

Letters




Dan at Wood And Pixels had a charming picture of mailboxes the other day (click on the link to see it!), and expressed a certain pessimism about their future - fearing "the mail giving way to the same fate as phone booths"... However, he got so many comments from people still sending letters the old-fashioned way, that it does not seem time to take down the mailbox just yet!

Postal service has gone through some changes in the last few years, though - at least in Sweden. Here it's no use asking for directions to a post office any more, because there aren't any. For errands concerning money, you have to go to a bank. If you need to send a package (or pick up one sent to you), you will find this service connected to certain shops and supermarkets. It's not uncommon to find that the "post office" has moved to another shop since last time you needed it! (Happened to me not long ago.) But we do still get letters sent home. I even still get mine through a slot in the door; but in some apartment buildings they have boxes for all on the ground floor instead. I think there is still a discussion going on whether that should be made compulsory by law or not. I suppose it not considered fair that some mailmen must still run up and down stairs while others don't have to...

Anyway, here's the comment I wrote at Dan's blog:

"I have one very close friend [G] with whom I've been exhanging letters and postcards almost weekly for 23 years. Hers are still almost always handwritten, and often with photos, cuttings from magazines, stickers etc pasted onto them. Myself I have difficulties writing by hand, so mine are usually printed from the computer, but sometimes with a handwritten PS or drawings in the margin etc to make it more personal. I also have a few other old friends with whom I still exchange letters by snail mail, although not quite as often. Among them four or five people in other countries that I never met but have corresponded with for 20-25 years."

The picture above shows some of the letters I received this year from my friend G; some from Sweden and some from Spain. She has the charming habit of pasting pictures on the envelopes as well! :)

Over the last two days since I wrote that comment on Dan's blog, I have received three letters to prove the point. One handwritten letter from a Swedish friend other than G. One from a penpal in the US, computer-written but printed on decorated and scented stationary. And another handwritten letter + condolance card from friends of my parents in England, whom I wrote to a few weeks ago to give them the sad news that my mother had passed away.

I also had a postcard from G on Monday. And two cellphone text messages yesterday - she got worried when I had not answered the first one within an hour! So yes, the times they are a-changing... But I do hope there is still a future for letters and postcards and stamps as well!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Why I Did Not Go To The Zoo


I was considering it. This is where I changed my mind.
See the white flags in the background?
That's where the entrance is.
(Half an hour after opening time.)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Recharging Or Procrastinating?


Last week's statue-hunt was a lot of fun. Putting a camera between you and the world is a rather effective way of allowing yourself to focus only on certain details, and shut out the rest. I also spent time in front of the computer, trying to arrange, rearrange and edit pictures. Most of the functions in the photo editing programs are still "Greek" to me, though. (That is, I recognize a word here or there, but I can't use enough of them together to make any sense of it!)

This week, the theme at Soaring... is "silly critters". Unfortunately, live animals are a lot harder to chase than statues...

So "reality" is beginning to creep up on me again. There still remains a lot to do and deal with, related to the death of my mother. Estate inventory and what not. Since I filed the tax returns for both of my parents a few months ago, it might not be too complicated, once I get round to it. I've just been feeling very tired and in need of "recharging my battieries" before dealing with more phone calls and paperwork and meetings. (I do intend to get professional help sorting out the details.)

So last week I took a deliberate sort of a break (without really going away). This week I intended to "get back to business"; only to find that I'm becoming quite an expert at procrastination...

When I have something important to do, first of all I need to have things tidy around me, or else I can't concentrate. So that's usually my starting point. But often, while tidying up - shuffling papers around etc - you find something else that for some reason or other you feel you had perhaps also better do something about before you start with that other thing that you originally intended to do... And then when you've finished with that, you suddenly find you inner batteries discharged again, and you have to go and lie down for a rest, or take a walk, or have a meal, before you do anything else. And of course, all of these are tiring activites in their own way. (Yes, even lying down for a rest! Because sometimes you fall asleep and stay that way a good deal longer than you had in mind...)

Monday morning, I did make a good start at shuffling papers, but my thoughts were really still on photography. Among the stacks of papers were some envelopes with photo prints that I intend to put into albums. Putting these in order made me remember that there were some prints missing, that I had "borrowed" from these envelopes for other purposes, and that needed to be replaced. So then - "while I remember" - I started to experiment with printing photos from my new printer. Which of course was a lot more fun than tax return forms. Before I knew it, it was time for lunch, and a rest, and a walk...

I also got a letter from a friend recently, in which she told me she had rearranged photos on her notice board, to rid herself of some negative energy - i.e. had removed pictures of certain people, the sight of whom only reminded her of trouble right now. This in turn reminded me that I had not even put my board up since I moved (last year!); partly because I couldn't find a good place for it, partly because a lot of the photos were so old that they represented "the past" rather than my present circle of friends. (Babies on those photos now having reached their teens, and teenagers having grown up into adults, etc. For some reason, after a certain age, people stop taking family pictures to send to their friends at Christmas; and so remain forever young.)

Inspired by my friend's letter, and the excellent photo print quality of my new machine, I put other things aside again to search my computer for more recent photos of friends and family. Then having found some, and printed them out, I had to go into town to find an alternative to my old photo board, and maybe some frames. And thinking of frames, why not bring that drawing that a friend in Germany sent me for Christmas, and have that framed, too...

Instead of a notice board, I found a sort of metallic strip to which one can attach photos with magnets. Looks kind of cool, and doesn't take up much wall space. But of course it still took some time to find the right place for it. And rearrange other stuff around it. And put up the photos. And move those around to find the best positions...
And then blog about the whole thing...

Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Shuffling papers... Oh well. Tomorrow is another day...

Monday, 20 July 2009

Quotation Of The Week (30/09)


One of the striking differences between a cat and a lie is that the cat has only nine lives. - Mark Twain (1835-1910)
The picture is a statue of a lynx, so it's neither cat nor alive.
But it's doing a pretty good job of pretending.



Saturday, 18 July 2009

Finding The Right Perspective


























This is another one of those sculptures that may work as a magic door, if you dare look through it instead of just circling around it. (Compare this post from yesterday.)

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge # 72

For the rules of the game, and for more stories, go to Raven's Nest.
The words this week (10+5):
corn pone, delegation, nectarines, happiness, 12 going on 13, prancing horses, magenta, butterflies, fragmentary, arthritis
lavender cowboy, over the moon, preparation, zebra, area rug
Links to previous chapters of my ongoing story can be found in the margin.

The Slumber Party Mystery
Chapter 19 - In the Drawingroom

When Skittles came downstairs into the hall again, he was met by a little delegation: Bumblebee, Adam and William were all standing there together, waiting for him.

Bumblebee was again holding out a tray with a glass of water and an aspirin tablet, and Skittles received the peace offering, grateful that the butler had not forgotten him.

"Lieutenant, how much longer do you intend to keep us here?" asked Adam. "I have patients to see, you know," he added, trying to sound important.

William, who had been going to say that he was needed back at the shop before closing time, looked at Adam in surprise. "Patients? On a Friday evening?"

Adam hummed. "Well, yes. I sort of promised I'd make a housecall. An old lady with arthritis…"

"I see," said Skittles. "And the name of this lady…?"

Adam tried to look shocked. "I can't reveal details about my patients."

"Well then," said Skittles, "since arthritis is hardly a life-threatening emergency, the lady will have to wait a while longer, while we have a little talk."

Turning to Bumblebee, he said: "Is there another room down here that we could use instead of the library, do you think? I found the atmosphere in there a bit stuffy."

If Bumblebee took offence that Skittles was not feeling over the moon about the library as interview room, he did not show it. "Maybe you'd prefer the drawing room then, sir," he suggested politely, pointing towards another door. This room was brighter than the library, with a smooth area rug in mild colors on the floor. The walls were covered with pictures, but most of them were light drawings and cheerful water colours. Skittles stopped to examine a pencil drawing of prancing horses. It was signed "Diana, 12 going on 13". Next to that one hung a drawing of a zebra, just signed "D". There was also a watercolour of magenta coloured butterflies with the same signature. Apparently, young Diana was quite an accomplished artist, Skittles thought to himself. The odd thing that struck him was that compared to the fragmentary images he had got from Diana's childhood so far, these pictures seemed breathe happiness and freedom rather than feelings of being shut up and stifled by conventions.

The butler withdrew, and Adam and Skittles sat down opposite each other at a table in the middle of the room. On the table stood a bowl of nectarines, looking juicy and delicious. Skittles felt his mouth watering, but this was not the right time to relax and eat fruit. He must concentrate on the interview. That lavender cowboy across the table – Skittles did not quite know himself where he got the expression from, maybe it was just the lavender shirt and blue jeans that the doctor was wearing. Hardly an outfit for professional housecalls come to think of it? Anyway, while Skittles had been talking to Diana, the doctor would have had plenty of time for preparations if indeed he had some reason or other not to tell the exact truth. And he, Skittles, was after all the detective, and had to be careful not to fall into the trap of accepting any corn pone opinions served to him on a plate.

Friday, 17 July 2009

A Doorway From Nowhere Into Nowhere

I fell in love with this sculpture, walking round and round it, taking lots of shots from different angles. It reminded me of "doors to other worlds" in fantasy literature and Celtic mythology.

Of all the pictures I took, I chose the one above for the Soaring Through The World photo blog, because of the double effect with the birdhouse on the tree - which also has a door, through which not everybody can enter!

The title, A Doorway From Nowhere Into Nowhere, is a quote from Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis:
"At the end of the glade Aslan had caused to be set up two stakes of wood, higher than a man's head and about three feet apart. A third, and lighter, piece of wood was bound across them at the top, uniting them, so that the whole thing looked like a doorway from nowhere into nowhere."

Some of the people whom Aslan gives a choice to pass through the door say: "We don't see any other world through those sticks."
But those who do trust Aslan go; and they do find another world waiting...

Below you find more pictures of the same sculpture, from different angles - and what you can see through it! I have also been experimenting using different frames in Jasc Paint Shop Pro.
















Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Weather Makes A Difference


This is one statue that people love to give nicknames. "The drain-pipe" is one of them, which may seem especially suitable on a rainy day. (It is not hollow, though.) A friend of mine calls it "that ugly yellow thing". Whatever we think of it, it is frequently used as a meeting place, since no one is likely to miss it.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Dragonflies In Courtship


This morning the rain had stopped, and still feeling inspired from joining the photo blog, I went out in search of more statues. Funny how you look at things differently through the eye of the camera. (Some things you may not even notice until afterwards, when you see the picture.) Most of the statues in one's home town are always there (although we happen to have some extra on loan just now for temporary exhibition) but you don't usually put on tourist behaviour and walk all round them and take pictures from different angles.

On my way home, I got an additional treat of a different kind, and much harder to catch with the camera. In the park, close to the water, I came upon two dragonflies in courtship. Quite literally very attached to one another, both in the air and when temporarily landing on the ground or on a leaf in the tree. I don't have a very powerful zoom on my camera, but I did manage to get close enough on a few occasions to use the makro close-up. Aterwards I also used the cropping function in the camera before I transferred these pictures to the computer.

Notice the shadows on the leaves!







In The Rain


This is one of the pictures I took in the rain yesterday. The name of this statue is "Ute", which means "out" or "outside"; but it also sounds like it could be the name of a person (although I don't think I've ever heard it used as such). She has become rather popular since her first appearance on the street a few years ago. I say she, because for some reason, most people see her as a girl. There are probably a lot more people than I who have sometimes seen her and at first thought "why is that child standing there all by itself" - until we realize or remember that it's just a statue.

Monday, 13 July 2009

See what I see...

Soar Button



I joined this photo blog today (click on the button above to visit!), and feeling inspired by this week's theme, statues and sculptures, I grabbed my camera and went out to hunt down some. It had been raining earlier in the day, but the rain had stopped when I went out. Or so I thought. It turned out it had only been taking a short break... I had brought my raincoat and umbrella, though, so I stayed out for a while anyway. The rain soon got so heavy that it became almost hilarious. People who saw me struggling with the camera under the umbrella probably took me for a fanatic tourist having travelled across the world to see these sculptures... I'll be sharing some of the photos during the week to come, both here and on the photo blog.

Why?


Why even try palm trees when we have perfectly good birches that are used to the weather?!
(Picture taken today in heavy rain.)

Quotation of the Week (29/09)



I'm beginning to think that the proper definition of “Man” is
“an animal that writes letters.” – Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

I copied this quotation from the Quotation of the Day gadget in my margin (8 July 2009). The picture is from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Ch VI), illustration by John Tenniel.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Survival


Where I lived before, I had this clematis growing on my balcony, since three years back or so. When I moved last summer, it did not seem possible to successfully move the whole plant. I took a chance and just saved some cuttings from it, without even knowing if it was possible to propagate this kind of plant from cuttings. But it was! The cuttings took root and survived the winter indoors in one of my windows. I put it outside in May. It is of a kind that usually goes into bloom early in the spring, so I didn't really expect any flowers this summer. But now, one year after my move, in July, the clematis is flowering again on my new balcony!






Saturday, 11 July 2009

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge # 71

For the rules of the game, and for more stories, go to Raven's Nest.

The words this week were:
Ten Word Challenge: sober, spoilage, knight, laugh and the world laughs with you, peak, blueberries, owl, drugstore, lampshade, keyboard
Mini challenge: economy, Michael Jackson, ladder, clue, structure
Together, they make a
Mega Challenge.


The Slumber Party Mystery
Chapter 18 - Upstairs

Lt Skittles decided to end the interview with Diana for now. Before he went to find Adam Challenge, however, he felt in need of a short break. He also had a sudden urge to see a bit more of the house. Not that there was much point in looking for clues as he didn't even know whether there was any real mystery to be solved. He just had a feeling that perhaps a tour of the house might provide hime with some sense of structure. Since he couldn't think of a better excuse, he asked Diana for directions to the bathroom.

"Follow me upstairs, then!" she said, and led the way. Skittles was glad to get out of the dark library with all its strange objects; but he soon found the rest of the house to be just as museumlike. In the hall right next to the library there was a knight in shining armour standing guard – or rather, Skittles corrected himself, a shining armour presumably without any knight inside. On a small table beside it stood a big ceramic owl crowned with a hideous lampshade with a pattern of blueberries. At the peak of the stairs there was a gallery with a collection of paintings, but Skittles did not get a chance to get a closer look at them. Diana pointed to a door on the right, saying "There's the guest bathroom, just opposite my room."

The bathroom had a suprisingly sober atmosphere of economy with all white tiles and no extraordinary decorations at all. The only object that did not quite seem to belong there was a ladder leaning against one wall.

He could not resist opening the little cabinet over the washbasin, but to his disappointment, this turned out to contain nothing but an unused toothbrush in a clean glass. "I'll probably have to go to the drugstore to get my own aspirins," he thought sulkily.

Leaving the bathroom, he found that Diana had left the door to her room open. She was sitting at her computer, her hands resting on the keyboard. On the wall he could see a poster of Michael Jackson and the text "Laugh and the worlds laughs with you". Under the desk a big box marked "spoilage paper".

"Good luck with the rest of the interviews, lieutenant," she said, without looking up. This left Skittles with no alternative but to go straight downstairs again, feeling that he had been wasting time, while being laughed at behind his back.

---

Author's PS: Raven says she thinks "this was a really tough set of words" this week, and I'm inclined to agree... Looking back now at what I came up with, and especially comparing it to another blog post from this week – In The Margin – I had to laugh at myself, because I realized that I'd been transferring my own frustrations onto Skittles… When I'm not getting anywhere, neither is he!

Friday, 10 July 2009

The Miracle of Printing


Gutenberg reviewing a press proof. Source: Wikipedia.
One quite important event took place "in the margin of my life" this week - I finally got a new printer, which is also a scanner, which is also a copier, which can even be used while the computer is turned off. What a long way we have come since the days of Gutenberg's first printing press!

Actually, one does not have to go that far back in history to stand in awe of modern technology. In the mid 70's, when I started working as a secretary, it was still pretty advanced to have an electric typewriter in the office. For copies you used carbon paper; or if you wanted more copies you could write on stencils, which were then put through a huge manual stencil copier, a messy process which usually left you with ink stained fingers.

One of the first offices I worked in was at a small paper mill. There we also had telex machine. When this started ticking, the whole staff used to gather around it, excited to see if it might be an order coming in. Sending was a more complicated process - you first had to use a special kind of typewriter to punch holes in a narrow strip of paper, then put the strip of paper through the machine (where it sometimes got stuck or ripped off and you had to start over...). But when sometimes after just a few minutes you got a written reply back from another country, it felt like a miracle.


Telex/teleprinter

32 years later, here I am, finding it quite normal and necessary to have two computers, wireless network, broadband internet connection, and a combined printer-scanner-copier, for private use in my own home... Who would have thought it?!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

In The Margin


Couldn't find any writing inspiration today, so I just ended up fiddling about with the margin layout. Decided to only list books I've actually commented on or at least quoted from in the blog.

Writing this down, it strikes me that just fiddling about in the margin is kind of typical of my whole life right now. I get stuck on details instead of getting round to dealing with more important stuff. It's probably part of the grieving process; and also, I think, rather typical behaviour when you feel generally exhausted or just don't know how to deal with something: Grab hold of something smaller and more manageble instead, to get back some kind of feeling of control...!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Quotation of the Week (28/09)


That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive - all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.
From The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Societyby Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows


This book, which I bought on Friday and also quoted from in this post (3 July 2009), turned out to be the kind that was hard to put down until I had finished it, which I did today. A book full of love and warmth but also sadness; and I learned things I never knew about the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II. The whole book is written in the form of letters exchanged between several people. This gives a personal tone, and at the same time the book tells a progressive story, in which you gradually get to know the characters as well as events in their past. I think it is a book I will want to return to, and - in accordance with the quotation above - also perhaps check out some of the references to other books and authors mentioned in it...

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge # 70

For the rules of the game, and for more stories, go to Raven's Nest.

Raven has kept this going for 70 weeks now - I'm impressed!
I didn't join until week 57 so I'm still a beginner.

Here is my contribution for this week, mixing all 15 words into one chapter.




The Slumber Party Mystery
Chapter 17 - Diana's holding pattern


Ten Word Challenge: Florida, spit, child bride, operatic, busy, holding pattern, sunflowers, ginger jars, office, superintendent
Mini challenge: music to my ears, plot, powerful, braggart, super model

When Bumblebee had left the room, Diana lifted the lid of a big ginger jar decorated with a pattern of sunflowers, dropped the letter in it, and put the lid back on. Before Skittles had time to ask why, she turned back to him again and looked him straight in the eyes.

"Look here, superintendent," she began.

"Lieutenant," said Skittles. His own rank, at least, he still felt pretty sure of.

"Sorry. I guess I read too many British crime novels. Look here, lieutentant, I'm sure you're a very busy man and must be wanting to get back to your office, and I'm getting the impression you don't really understand a thing I'm saying. I assure you I had no intention of hurting my grandfather in any way, nor anybody else for that matter. I was only kind of trying out a holding pattern, you might say, for the plot in my book. By the way, the working title is "Music to my ears" and it's set partly in England, partly in Florida."

Standing there in her lime green dress, not only did she look like a goddess, but like a mysterious combination of innocent child bride and braggart super model all in one, thought Skittles. Humble and powerful at the same time, and somehow operatic. You could never predict when she'd break out into another aria. He still wished he could get her to spit out something a bit more informative, though.

"All I did," continued Diana, "was to put the sausages on the grill. I asked grandpa to keep an eye on them for me, and to watch Bumblebee's reaction when he came out with the drinks. The sausages weren't on the menu, you see. If things went really perfect, I was also hoping that they'd pop out of their skin at just the right moment. In my book, there are explosives involved, but of course I couldn't take my real life experiment that far. Analyze the remains if you will, you'll find nothing extraordinary about the sausages! But of course it was still stupid of me not to think of the fire hazard, on a day like this, and with grandpa not able to rise from his chair on his own. But he had his alarm, you know, and I didn't expect him to faint, and I was really expecting B to come out much sooner. And then when I got upstairs to my room, I saw from my window that Adam had arrived, too – that is, I saw his car parked in front of the house. But then he left again, I watched him drive off rather in a hurry. But then he came back. Has he given you any explanation for that yet?"

Friday, 3 July 2009

The Closest Book / Bookworm Award

I picked this up from Pan's Island and The Stair Landing. Taking my cue from them, I'm not passing it on to anyone in particular but leave it open for anyone to pick up if you feel you want to.

RULES:
Open the closest book to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five sentences following.



The book closest to me right now is one I bought today and just started reading. I actually didn't get to page 56 yet but looking ahead I found it to be a very good quote because it happens to explain the title. What an extraordinary coincidence!

The book is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. And here is the quote from page 56, starting with the fifth sentence.

Other Islanders asked to join us, and our evenings together became bright, lively times - we could almost forget, now and then, the darkness outside. We still meet every fortnight. Will Thisbee was responsible for the inclusion of Potato Peel Pie in our society's name. Germans or no, he wasn't going to go to any meetings unless there were eats! So refreshments became part of our program. Since there was scant butter, less flour, and no sugar to spare on Guernsey then, Will concocted a potato peel pie: mashed potatoes for filling, strained beets for sweetness, and potato peelings for crust.





Wednesday, 1 July 2009

One Year Anniversary


One year ago, I got the keys to the apartment where I now live. I didn't move in until three weeks later, but it was "mine" from 1 July, and I was here on that day to have my first look at it empty. Right now I find it hard to believe it was just one year ago; so much has happened since then. I had just about got settled in when my parents' health started to seriously deteriorate last autumn. I'm still feeling grateful every day that I at least found this place and got my own move out of the way before all that.

Right now it's too hot wherever one is (compare yesterday's post), but this place is both better situated and better planned for my needs, than my old apartment.

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