Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wednesday's Words on a Friday

On Wednesdays, Delores, from Under The Porch Light, has a meme which she calls

“Words for Wednesday”.

She puts up a selection of six words, (sometimes twelve) which we then use in a short story, or a poem.

I’m hopeless at poetry so I always do a story.

It’s a fun challenge…why not join in?

This week's words are:

1. marksman
2. stellar
3. blindsided
4. indelible
5. crazed
6. imbecile

or we could use this phrase: spinner of tales, teller of dreams.

I've chosen to use both this week.

Here is my story:

 Reina McDaniels had dreamed far above her station since she was eight years old. That was the year her Mam had taken her along to the big house to begin helping in the kitchen and wash house. She'd warned Reina to behave, and to be polite if the Mister or Mistress Baldwin should say anything to her.

Reina did as she was asked and completed her work quickly and satisfactorily, but inwardly, she rebelled fiercely. She would not be just another kitchen maid, just another serving wench!
She fought inwardly against her family, against their way of life.
She, Reina McDaniels, was better than that! 
She would learn to read and write, learn to do her sums. 
She would get an education. 
Reina McDaniels would be a person of worth!

Reina had a half hour to herself everyday after the lunch dishes had been washed and put away and she used that time to play in the back garden near where young Master Adam walked and played with the young Mistress Catherine for their daily exercise. Being close in age, the three soon became fast friends and Reina dropped hints every day about wanting to learn to read. 

Soon enough, Adam and Catherine spoke of this to their mother. In the evening of that day, the matter of a young child wanting to learn to read was discussed with Mister Baldwin, who decided it really couldn't do any harm, surely? 

At the end of the week, Reina was summoned into the day parlour, to speak with Mistress Baldwin.
Her Mam was mortified. "what you been up to Reina? what trouble you been causing? I hope you don't lose your position here..." 

Reina knew her Mam counted on that sixpence Reina earned every month, but she also knew she hadn't done anything wrong. 
She cleaned her face and hands, combed her hair and presented herself to Mistress Baldwin with a short curtsy. 
With relief, Reina saw that Mistress Baldwin was smiling at her and with great joy heard that she, Reina, was to attend the schoolroom with Adam and Catherine starting next Monday. For four hours a day, five days a week, Reina would be educated. 

Her Mam was pleased, but pleaded with her to continue doing her work here in the kitchen when time permitted and not to get big-headed. 
Reina agreed, but resolved to learn quickly so she could get a better job, she certainly didn't want to be washing pots and pans all her life. 
Just look at Mam's hands, all red and cracked, Mam spent several minutes every night smoothing in a little of the beef tallow used to make candles, in an effort to ease the dryness and reduce the cracking. 
That was not for her, Reina decided. She would get a better job, with more money. Then her Mam wouldn't have to wash dishes anymore. 

In the schoolroom the next Monday, Reina wore a clean white apron over her dress and  was introduced to Mr Pearson who would be teaching her to read and write. 

Master Adam, at nine, could already read and write, even Mistress Catherine who was only seven, could write her name and read the easy books on the shelf. 
With near crazed determination, Reina paid close attention and soon was reading as well as Catherine and writing her own name as well as copying words from the books she was learning to read. 
She was resolute in wanting to never be indelibly marked as an imbecile just because of a lack of education. She was smart, she knew she was. 

The months and years passed and Reina's stellar rise through the academic grades became the talk of the house, even cook was impressed and her Mam spoke of her successes in the marketplace every Monday. 

When young Master Adam was fourteen years old and Catherine twelve, Adam was sent away to continue his schooling. Mistress Catherine would now stop her lessons and learn from her mother the art of properly managing a household. Catherine would now also learn music and embroidery and begin sewing items for her hope chest. In four more years, Catherine would be presented to society and hopefully make a good match in marriage.

This meant the end of Reina's education too, but she had learned enough to be able to apply elsewhere as a teacher herself. 
She found a position in the small town, in a house with two small girls aged six and seven. Reina being only two weeks shy of fourteen herself, the small children, Mary and Colleen, quickly grew to like the fun she brought to lessons and missed her on weekends when Reina went home to see her Mam. 

With the extra money Reina brought home, her Mam was able to go to the big house only three days a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Her life was easier, Mam was less tired and her hands much less red and cracked now. 

Reina herself enjoyed her weekends now that she was older and had more freedom. After visiting her Mam, Reina would visit with friends she had made in town and on Saturday evenings she would go with them to the firelight dances at the gypsy camp down by the river. 
There was often a visiting story teller too; a spinner of tales, a teller of dreams. The younger gypsy children would sit entranced around his feet and listen until they fell asleep and were carried away to bed by their mothers.

Reina loved to dance around the fire to the sounds of the drum and violins, sometimes there would be a mandolin too. 

And there was always David. Reina had smiled to herself whenever she thought of David. Almost seventeen,with glossy black curls, and laughing black eyes, David made her feel warm inside. Just holding his hand as they twirled around the fire together made her happy.
One night, while the dancing continued, Reina and David stole away to the long grass just around the bend. That night, Reina learned a new type of bliss and from then on she and David were together often.

One sunny summer day, realisation came to Reina, and her dreams of a more prosperous future were shattered. 
David had been a marksman, his aim had been true. 
Blindsided now by fate, Reina was pregnant. 
Not quite fifteen years old and a baby was on the way. 

Reina's hopes of one day being a well respected teacher, perhaps even teaching the children and grandchildren of the two she now taught, were over. 
As soon as Mistress Cresswell discovered her delicate condition, Reina would be banished from that house. She would be considered unsuitable as a mentor for two small girls. 

Reina's heart was heavy in her chest as she told David the news, they went together to tell Reina's Mam that there would soon be a gypsy wedding and a baby.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

All you parents out there, remember when your kids were little and you thwarted them somehow for something?
They would be red faced, angry, crying, yelling "I hate you!"
Did you ever yell back "I hate you too!"?
I did.
I prefaced it with "right now", which softened the blow a bit I suppose, but I don't think it did the kids any harm to know that Mum could be angry enough sometimes to "hate" them.
On the plus side, even when angry, I loved them and they knew it. They loved me too, but probably didn't realise it when yelling "I hate you."

I remember being about six years old and "hating" my mum for some childish reason and saying I wanted to leave home. And I meant it. I was going. I dragged out my school case to put things in and was stopped in my tracks by mum offering to pack it for me.
She wanted me to go??
Well, too bad! I wasn't going anywhere! Why should I make her happy by leaving?
I'd hang around and she'd be miserable. So there!
Of course it was all forgotten the next morning.

Years later my own daughter, age five, was hating me for some reason I can't remember and wanting to leave home and go to live with Grandma. I talked to her and said okay, if she wants to go, she can, but she has to wait until she is sixteen. Because it is illegal for children to travel on trains and buses by themselves until they are sixteen. T-"What's illegal?" Me- It just isn't allowed. If a policeman finds you, he will bring you straight home to me.
So T agreed to stay with us, but was adamant that on her sixteenth birthday, she'd be leaving.
She didn't.


I recently saw a jewellery advertisement on TV which featured a diamond encrusted tennis bracelet.
Forget the encrusted diamonds, which were quite beautiful, and tell me, why is this called a "tennis" bracelet?  What does a bracelet, diamond encrusted or not, have to do with tennis? Surely one doesn't wear such a bracelet, or any bracelet, when playing tennis? And why are there only tennis bracelets? Why not tennis earrings, tennis necklaces?


Here's a passage from the book I've just finished reading. "The Last Detective" by Robert Crais.

"Time was what filled your moments, so if your moments were empty, time had no meaning.
Emptiness did not flow or pass, it simply was.
Letting himself be empty was like putting himself in neutral."

A little enigmatic on its own, but in the context of the story it made perfect sense.


And now, a quote by me. Yes, me. I made it up.

"That muddy pool of despair is fine for a spot of puddle jumping, but not for any longer than it takes you to get over it."

Wallow if you must but then climb on out and shake it off.

"Easy for you to say",  I hear you all shouting, "you don't suffer from depression."

And you're right. I don't. 
I know people who do, I've lived with people who do.
And even with seeing it happen, following the moods through the cycles, trying to help, I still don't understand it.
I never will.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Whimsical Wedneday # 134

Welcome back to Whimsical Wednesday!

The day for your googled giggle that gets you over the hump that is Wednesday and sliding down into the weekend.

Well, sorry folks. Today's funny isn't googled, it's another cartoon strip that I had on my wall.

it will have to be this one, since I can't find the one I wanted to put here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Musical Monday # 18

Musical Monday 

I was introduced to Musical Monday by Delores who copied the meme from another site.

I think it’s a fun way to show off some of the music we like and brighten up our Mondays at the same time. 

I’ll be finding my clips on you tube, so will simply credit that site since there are often so many versions of everything and I wouldn’t want to accidentally credit the wrong artist.

Today’s clip is:  Paul McCartney and Wings. 
What? They're a great group. 

Mull of Kintyre. 
I loved it then, I love it now.

and the lyrics, for those who like to sing along.

I do like Pipes and Drums bands. Quite a lot.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

tagged by Mimsie for a Blog Tour

I was honored recently by Mimsie who tagged me to take part in this Blog Tour. 

We introduce ourselves, answer some questions and tag three other bloggers to also take part.

I generally don't like talking too much about myself, so don't take part in these things as a rule, but here I am.

1. Introduce yourself 

We can include photos if we wish, but I can't find the ones I am looking for. 

I am a German born Australian, born in Hamburg in 1952, which makes me a Hamburger, although at very nearly 62, probably a stale Hamburger. 

I know nothing of Germany, having arrived in Australia in 1953 and in all that time, I have never left.

I have been married and divorced twice with the first marriage gifting me with four wonderful children, two of whom have further gifted me with grandchildren.  

My first husband was in the Army and we spent several years moving up and down the east coast of Australia, living in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney again, then Melbourne again, before coming home to Adelaide.
Even as a child, we moved a lot, beginning in the Bonegilla Migrant Camp in Victoria, going to Melbourne, then Adelaide, then Port Pirie. In Port Pirie we lived in six different homes during the ten years I lived there. After Port Pirie, I moved to Murray Bridge where I met my husband-to-be.  Now, in Adelaide, I have lived in ten different homes. I don't plan on  moving ever again.

At some point before Adelaide, we briefly lived in Port Clinton, South Australia (I'm told I was three at the time)and from there on a clear day Port Wakefield on the other side of the gulf can be seen. I was convinced I was seeing the other side of the ocean, where Grandma lived (Germany) and one day when the tide was out I took my 18 month old brother by the hand and told him we would walk across the sand to see Grandma. I'm not sure how we were found, but we were rescued by Dad before the tide came in. 

A few years later, in Adelaide now, it was my idea again to help my brother over the back fence and tell him we were going to help Mr ? paint his house. I'd seen the buckets of paint and watched him scrape and sand the boards, so I knew what was going on. I don't know how we got the paint open, but we did and we painted wherever we could reach. 

Bright green. 
The part I remember most from that day was the bath we had after being caught. There was a lot of kerosene involved to get the paint off our skin and out of our hair, then a bath, followed by another bath and being sent straight to bed. 

Not too long after that we moved to Port Pirie where I was in trouble again. 

All the little girls at school had a fringe in their hair (bangs) and I wanted one too. 
Mum didn't like them and preferred my hair long enough to tie to the side with a bow. 
I hated that bow, I always had and I still don't like them now. 
So I cut my own fringe. 
Made a right mess of it too, hacking crookedly and accidentally cutting too much side and back hair. Mum took me off to the hairdresser and I came out with hair short enough to be mistaken for a boy. 
Well, at least I no longer had to wear the hated bow. 

I learned what little I know about gardening from my Mum who always had a veggie patch wherever she lived and I remember planting carrot seeds that had been mixed with radish seeds. Mum explained the radishes would grow first and fast and when they were pulled out there would be enough room for the carrots to grow properly. I don't know what we did with all those radishes, I certainly never ate one.

Fast forward many years to 2008 when I bought my first laptop after my desk computer got completely fried by a virus.
One day, I read a small article in the Advertiser about "blogs", something I had never heard of before, and the addresses of several blogs were listed. I typed one in and discovered Kath who writes at Blurb From The Burbs. I was hooked. I LOVED Kath and met her in real life a year or so later, just before she moved away from Adelaide, going to Melbourne.  She now lives and works in Geneva with her husband and daughter.

I eventually found my way to other blogs  by clicking on the name of one of her commenters quite by accident and two years later, May 20th, 2010,  I began Drifting Through Life.  I'm still drifting....

Q. What am I working on?

A.  Not a book, that's for sure.  This blog tour is directed at writers, I can tell by the type of questions we have here. I do write, but not much, I'm a reader mostly. 

So what am I working on?
Right now, I'm working on my garden. The small patch of community garden right beside my flat, which I have claimed for myself.

Q. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

A.  My gardening doesn't differ at all from anyone else's I believe, we all rip out what we don't want and replace it with what we do want. So, same-same.       

                                                                                                                                               My writing, the little bit I do, probably differs because it isn't serious work, not a book I'm working towards finishing, not magazine or newspaper articles that have deadlines, it is small pieces written in answer to a word challenge every week, and always just off the top of my head, written quickly with no research whatsoever, apart from looking up some of the words in my Thesaurus to see how they can be used with a different meaning. I write down the words, let the subconscious percolate, then type out a story. Sometimes the subconscious isn't involved at all. I see the words and the story writes itself.                    It isn't work at all. 

Q. Why do I write/create what I do?

A.  Why?  It's fun. I enjoy it. If I didn't, I wouldn't do it.  And I like the reactions I get from commenters and from my neighbours about my garden-in-progress. 

Q. How does my writing process work? 

A.  See that long passage just up there? That's it, that's how my writing process works.

Now I'm supposed to tag three other bloggers. 

This is the hardest part. Who to choose that hasn't already done this? 

I'm not going to choose. 

I will leave this up to you, dear readers. 

If you would like to be part of this Blog Tour, please feel free to take this and pass it on.

Sunday Selections # 182

Welcome back to Sunday Selections!

This once-a- week-meme was originally begun by Kim of Frog Ponds Rock, as a way to showcase some of the many photos we all take, but don't get around to showing on our blogs.

The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to me, River, somewhere in your post
3. leave me a comment so that I know you've joined in and can come over and see what you've posted.
4. hop on over to TheElephant’s Child to see more of her wonderful photos.

Kath and Andrew often join in.
There are a couple of other participants too:
Jackie K at Working Through It
Gillie at The View from Here

I usually go with a theme for my Sunday Selections and this week I'm continuing with some photos of my section of the gardens surrounding these flats I live in.

You all remember the stand of thorny grasses down beside my flat?

 this is it. Spiky leaves, long thorns, overgrown and not at all pretty.
You might also remember I wanted to rip them all out?

well, I tried and cleared a small space in which I planted three small ground cover grevilleas.

But the entire job was going to be far too much for me, so I eventually hired someone to rip them out.

Ta-Da!!  Beautiful! with a nice load of mulch laid down.

Unfortunately, this meant my three small ground covers were now visible to all and sundry, one of whom helped him/herself to two of them. Rotten scoundrel!!

All alone, :(

I had saved a couple of dollars a week as often as I could since moving in here, in anticipation of buying replacement plants, I'm good with long-term goals like that, so off I went and bought a whole bunch of stuff. 
Then when the little ones got stolen, I worried about the good stuff I'd bought. 
Should I plant them? What if they get stolen too? 
Dilemma indeed.

I decided to plant the jades from the pots on the porch steps. 

They were looking good and had been there two years, no one had taken any.

In they went. They look smaller now they're in the ground.
I decided if they were still there a week later, I'd take a chance and plant the new stuff. 
But not all of it. Just a few, maybe half, and see if any get stolen. 
Digging the holes will be the hardest part. That whole area is full of tree roots and the under soil is clay.
I bought really pretty things and I don't like the idea someone will just help themselves.

Here is what I bought:

Kangaroo Paws, a selection in four different colours and assorted sizes.
This particular one will grow to 60cm high by 50cm diameter and I have three of them.

this variety is called Bush Dance. I bought three of these also.

a couple of small grevilleas, "Peach Blush"

two small banksias, "Birthday Candles" they will grow to 45cm high by 50-60cm diameter.

Two Coprosmas, "Pacific Sunset", these will grow 1.5 metres high by 1metre diameter. 
I like the tiny shiny leaves on these. 

Here's a close up of the labels so you can see what the tiny flowers will look like.

Grevillea. These little beauties will be 40cm high  by 60cm diameter. I hope they flower as profusely as the picture.

grevillea groundcover, this will grow 30cm high by 1.5 metres diameter, I only bought one of these.

Kangaroo Paw, "Bush Volcano". This one will be 80cm high by 1metre diameter

The Coprosma. I have two of these and will plant them close enough together so there will be a small hedge by the letterboxes.

Kangaroo Paw, "Bush Gold", these will be 1m high by 60cm diameter. I have two.

and the Kangaroo Paw, "Bush Dance", which will grow to 60cm high by 45cm diameter. Did I mention I have three of these?

When I had these delivered I put them alongside the flats, but when the groundcovers got pinched, I moved all the new pots into the back porch. 

 Half are still there and half are now planted. 

And photographed.