Blooming stormy today

A group I was included in (*thank you xxx*) posted something to the tune of, we can’t always see where the road leads, but we can trust that God has something better in store for us.

I can’t agree with this.  Experience does not corroborate this.

Instead, I’d put it this way.

We sure can’t always see where the road leads.

That doesn’t mean something good is in store.  Not at all.  It only means that the Universe is sending us stuff our soul needs for growth.

Accepting this can bring peace.  It does not take care of the pain, but it can bring peace.  Some peace.  A little piece of peace.

Remember this post?

Life is not a competition.

I remember writing this post in anger, because someone who is dear to me started getting jealous of us having moved into the Haunted House.  Really?  Over a house?  I remember seeing this landscape, this barren landscape of heavy boulders, and us making our path through the boulders without really knowing if we were making any progress and whether the boulders would ever stop.  Financial rocks are not to be spat at, they are boulders.  To battle through a financially rocky landscape with small and growing children is no joke.  I only hope our children learned toughness and resilience from that; because these are indeed life lessons one can gain from financial challenges.

But what are they learning from losing their father?

Do they realize that half the time I am going to pieces it is because of them, my poor kids, having been robbed of their Daddy?  How does one fix that?  There is no fixing that!  How can I make it easier for them to carry?  I sense him close, folding his huge golden wings around me, saying “shht, be calm, I am here!”, the way he always used to comfort me whenever anything in our life went haywire.  But – can they sense him too?

I don’t even know what soul lesson one is supposed to learn from one’s loved one dying.

So – acceptance that there is indeed some sort of growth involved even if we have no clue what it’s supposed to be – that’s the only bit of peace to be gained here.

And the fact that he was allowed to die like a hero, standing and fighting.  It could have been worse for him, too.

I will speak out here.



The Golden List Challenge

In our training system in the multilevel we’ve been participating in for two decades now, there are books on positive thinking and all sorts of other topics.  There are CDs too, that are a lot more specific to our network.

On one of these CDs (I think it may have been by Zig Ziglar), the motivational speaker mentions a Golden List.

This is a ritual to do every morning as you get out of bed.  (You do get out of bed in the morning, right?  My kids being full teenagers now, on off-days they only get up after lunch-time.  Hurricane Ophelia on Monday and yesterday was the perfect excuse.  I seriously hope that Storm Brian will not immobilize our Ireland the same way Ophelia did, even though I cracked myself about the storm jokes before the wind set in.)  (We stopped laughing when we watched ancient trees fall over like so many matchsticks.  :’-( )


The Golden List

This is a list of 20 items you make every morning, that you are most thankful for.

The challenge is to keep it up for a full month.  (Actually, for a life-time.)  But, seeing that we are fickle creatures, let’s set some milestones.

Let’s set the challenge for 1 week.  From today (Wednesday) to next Wednesday.

  • It has to be every day (don’t miss a day).
  • It has to be 20 items.  This gets easier with practice.
  • Let me know in the comments if you’re participating; we can boost each other.
  • If you like you can blog your list and link into the comments so I can check it out.  But going public with the list is not necessary.  It is after all an exercise in personal gratitude, for the purpose of increasing your emotional well-being.

So, good luck!











… for our American friends.

This is a link that blew into my inbox, with an incredible short-story competition about “Basic Income”.  (In Europe the topic is discussed under “unconditional income” and I battle to see the difference between it and “dole”.  But granted, I guess not in every country is the dole high enough to cover basics.)

I was getting seriously excited about the $12 000 prize (yes, you read that right!  $12 Grand!) until I found the little line:  “if you live in the USA”.

So, my USA friends, here is an opportunity for a REALLY big short-story prize.

Shortstory Contest: “Basic Income”

xxx enjoy!


Dialectical English in writing

In the short-story collection “Mercury Silver” you can find a number of dialects from 8 different authors.

P’kaboo is a bit of a rebel publisher – we have the attitude that this is fine and in fact is a part of the author’s voice.  In some cases, the author imitates a number of different dialects.

A vs an – and other sticklerisms

I have just been splashing around on “Grammarly” and similar sites.  Small details of the English language, such as when to use “an” vs “a” as article.  I always thought that I was fairly well conversant in those; but I discover to my horror that some editing sites are strict about using the outdated “an hotel” instead of the common “a hotel”.

Now, the way I understood it, you listen to the sound of the noun that follows.  If it has a vowel sound, the article to use is “an”.  If it sounds consonantial, you use “a”.  I don’t know anyone other than the French who says ” ‘otel” instead of “hotel”.  In fact, in French it needs to be “ôtel”  (note the accent circonflexe on the o), and they don’t say “an”, they say “l’ ” (which would be “le” if the h in “hôtel” were not silent, and obviously it stems from the French habit of avoiding the choppy sound of two vowels from two separate words next to each other).

Fortunately, one commentator saved the day by linking to a neat applet – Google Ngram.

This program allows you to run comparisons between words, and even phrases.


Ngram shows how commonly used a phrase is, and was in the past.  I love the little button that says, “search lots of books”.  Whoever programmed it, was having fun.

Essentially, a language is alive.  (Why should English be the exception?)  So if an editor (or an editing program) throws your work out because one of your characters says “yesh, marshter”, all I can say is, *shakes head, can’t really think of anything deep enough to give expression to her disgust at such stupidity*.


It’s tough going without Hubbs.  Over the years I have got so used to his constant encouragements, his feedback, his interaction – we did everything together.  Standing alone, I feel weighed down by it all.  Damn, why couldn’t he survive?  Why couldn’t they have decided not to shoot down the musician?

Anyway.  Signing off now.  Lots of comments are invited.

Who’s taking the NaNo challenge with me this year?  I feel I must, to kickstart myself back into writing.






Blog wars explained – not a Friday Story Post


I’m not ready to start writing fiction yet.

Instead, here is a very interesting link on why we hang onto our irrational beliefs.


Interesting points, I thought.  An evolutionary advantage to not questioning irrational beliefs?  And:  Thank you Molineux, for the extra definitions.  If something cannot be disproved (like, for instance, Last Thursdayism and Solipsism), it becomes moot and for all practical intents and purposes, equivalent to nonexistent / untrue.

Let’s look at the (brave) belief that microorganisms do not cause disease.

(That would, on the microscopic level, be equivalent to saying, lions don’t catch and eat antelope, robbers don’t break into and rob banks, humans don’t till fields, plant them and harvest them.  Just saying.  The virus that hijacks and breaks a cell doesn’t regard itself as a criminal just because it has found a highly effective, clever way of eating and reproducing.  Not any more than we feel like criminals when we open a can of tuna.)

The belief is falsifiable. This means, I as microbiologist can go by and collect a sample of cholera from a sick person, isolate only the little crawlies, and give them into someone else’s drinking water, and see if the same disease manifests and if I can isolate the same species from that new person, too.  Yes, that is disgusting, but still it is the gold standard of proving a disease-microbe link in medicine.

Which means that, while the belief that microbes do not cause disease is wrong, it is still a rational theory.

Irrational is to cling to that theory after it is falsified.

Note:  I did not say “all disease is caused by microbes”.  We know it is not!  That however is only an argumentative ploy to detract from the validity of my argument, namely, that microbes cause disease.  And again, I didn’t say “all microbes cause disease”.  Only, that certain diseases are provably caused by microbes and certain microbes provably cause disease.

Interesting is how Molineux describes how the brain works to not only cover up contradicting evidence, but to reinforce irrational beliefs when presented with contradicting evidence.

So there you have it, 90% of blog wars explained!


(Apologies:  Sentimental post)


Lady Tree.  Who can remember her?

She is a Frangipani.  (I cannot imagine that now, after they have put up the tall palisade, they would still want to take her down.  I do believe that battle is won.)

Frangipani have a very special meaning to me, they have played a persistent role in my life.  The first flowers my little babies picked up with their chubby little hands and brought their mommy, were Frangipani blossoms.  The tree in which my kids clambered around tirelessly, was Lady Tree – a pink Frangipani.  The same kind of tree grew under my window when I was growing up.  Frangipani blossoms were used to decorate the place (and my hair) where my soulmate and I got married.

There was a short story I read, a little romance, a year or two before my own wedding, where the protagonist, an intrepid girl who camps and hikes and simply won’t settle down, meets the love of her life under the Frangipani trees of a camping ground.  She talked about the “king wave” surfers were always waiting for, and how that man was the “king wave” in her life. (Clearly she’d had other relationships before him.)  I remember thinking, “yes, that figures for me too. He’s my king wave.”

On an aside:  I used to have dreams of the sea, of the waves coming in, and then there was the freak wave (but somehow nobody got hurt in the freak wave ever); when I told Hubbs about the dreams, he said that water related to emotions and the freak wave was about what I loved most.  Interesting how that linked in with the “king wave”, because he never read that story.

So here I am, my mind a bit turbulent from all the paperwork going in such frustrating circles, and deciding to do a bit of embroidery just to do something I don’t have to think about (can’t focus on writing yet, my brain is not yet cooperating with story mode, and practising my gig repertoire at this point is just – sad.  I miss my gypsy guitarist).  Now, those who know me will laugh out loud.  Gipsika, doing any kind of needlework?

Here are my very amateurish results…  and then I realized what kind of flowers I’d stitched.


So that makes me very sentimental tonight…


Humans and our stories

What is it that sets us apart from other animals?  What is uniquely human?

Leaving aside metaphorical speculations such as animals not having souls (anima = Latin for “soul”), and misconceptions such as, that only humans have tears for sadness and laughter for fun (there are other animals that laugh, and even some that cry tears when emotionally saddened), I think the one thing that is possibly most typically human, is stories.

I didn’t say, uniquely human.  Bees do an entire dance to tell each other where they found the nectar.

But, face it, we love stories.

Whether it is the gossip about the black sheep in the family, or stories about our childhood (“Do you remember?”), or stories of our ancestors or long bygone civilizations, or even stories that could be… fiction, wild flights, imagination…

I also believe we learn through stories.  My niece and nephew and I were sitting playing that game, “Story Cubes” (btw, awesome game especially for the younger ages), and it is amazing to listen to the spooky stories my little niece (6) concatenates with the help of the cubes, and watch how she plans her plot lines and everything.

Playing a game like that teaches them a whole lot of things at once.  One is, to give each other  a fair turn and not mess around with each other’s turn.  One is, to actually listen and give each other a chance to speak.  It gives a child an immense feeling of self-confidence and validation to know that they are being heard and listened to.  Of course, the creativity of the game is another thing they learn.  Creating a story brings a whole lot of mental contortions with it.

I was also reading that fairy tale to them, one of my authors’ not-yet-published volumes that my own children have heard several times now (and loved every time).  That story has a story about it which I will tell one day too.

If you think about how much of our world is established around story.  We have history; we have family history.  We love remembering “adventure” holidays we had, and when we get together in a greater social circle, what do we do?  We tell each other stories.  Television, blogs and games are all about stories.  And it doesn’t have to be a film – on the contrary, a film gets discussed afterwards and made into another story we tell each other.

Tying into the previous post – why don’t we simply stay on holiday – it all comes down to the story of our lives.

Our past becomes our resources.











Why do we ever come back from holidays?

Waiting for paperwork has its merits (though you need a microscope to discover those).  One of them is being forced to “be still” and think about where life is going.

One of the amusing thoughts that came up was this: Why not, instead of locking down in one particular spot, get a motor home or caravan and move from town to town, seeing it all?

The main character in the Solar Wind series is Federi, a “Free Gypsy” from the Unicate-riddled Romania.  The “Free” ones are different from the Rroma in the following way:  The Rroma have settled (forcibly) in compounding (that’s a plasticky building substance) “homes”, and been supplied with sub-minimum income factory jobs by the Unicate, whereas the “Free” ones hide out in the extensive forests and wildlands, living off the land by trapping wildlife and harvesting forest fruit, and keep out of sight.  They are practically invisible, to the point that people have begun to think of them as mythological.

The concept of “gypsying” around is a well-explored romantic theme, and by the very nature of “Solar Wind” being a ship I’ve mined it.  Deeply.  The ship is a home, and even when Federi and Paean go independent, they can’t stick in one spot.

So if that lifestyle is so romantic, why doesn’t everyone do it?

I can tell you why I wouldn’t, at this point.  (The dream of taking a sabbatical and exploring all the coastlines of South Africa in a caravan with Hubbs remains a dream now forever.  I may still move around a little, but – wait for it:)

  1.  We have to eat.
  2. Education.  This could of course happen by homeschooling and correspondence, but that limits the options of my children.  You can homeschool your way all the way into medical school or veterinary school, but it is so much easier to follow the paved road and simply make sure you achieve high marks in school.  You may not know as much as a homeschooler, but proving you are worthy to study the course becomes easier.
  3. Creatively building something up.

And that is perhaps the crux.  Why didn’t Hubbs and I emigrate years back?  Sell up, leave everything and come over?  Because we had a mission there.  We were committed to building up our studio (and it was a good studio!), providing high-quality music tuition and (en route) a bit of free attitude / life counselling to young people and their parents.

Why do families root down in one spot and farm the land, generation after generation?

Because humans create resources.  Humans add value, to land, to others’ lives, to culture and civilization, to everything.  And this is only possible if they stick down in one spot and start planting, building and nurturing.

It is one thing to be able to move around at will, and another to have to.  Just like it is one thing to have a place of permanent abode, but not to be allowed to move from there makes it a prison.  Conclusion:  A forced lifestyle (whether itinerant or settled) doesn’t suit people.  And that is the definition of freedom of choice.

So this is why people come back from holidays:

Because they have actual lives to come back to.  This is why people stay in one spot:  Because they are maintaining friendships, a clan, a network, an initiative, a business, whatever.

And if given the choice:  Would you give it all up and stay on holiday?

Would you be able to create an on-the-go income that will sustainably feed you and your children?

I think with today’s internetted world, it is becoming easier to do just that, but – would you want to?

Quo vadis?


Today I’m not overly impressed with my Smashwords downloads, so here’s the link again for those of you who haven’t yet clicked around the Solar Wind series and the short stories.



Solar Flares and other flares

People, please remember what “UFO” originally stands for:

“Unidentified Flying Object.”

I wasn’t there.  This is an interesting vid.  What could it be? A comet?  A magnetic effect? CGI?

At any rate, there have apparently been staggering solar flares in the past few days.  A big one on the 3rd and a huge one on the 6th.

(Photo:  Credit to Jani Ylinampa)


(Sheesh, look at its shape!  Makes you wonder about “Angels we have seen on high”.)

But never mind Skandinavia.  These solar flares apparently very specifically hit Cobh.  Other places, even just a few kilometers inland, are much protected from the massive gamma-radiation that is released in bursts from the sun. I don’t really understand how, it could be geomagnetic.  There is no geomagnetic protection from solar radiation in the harbour.

Well, fry me.  What do I know about this world?  After all it only popped into being last Thursday.

The Bookshop:

The site is back online, but I’m far from finished with it.  Its format doesn’t suit the purposes anymore, right now it’s just a shop window.  If you’re interested in a book, please can I recommend you click its Amazon link to get your copy.  Otherwise, post in the comments here and I’ll connect you to Colonialist, who is holding the fort in South Africa.

I’ll be back a bit later…  got to cause some breakfast now.

How are we coping – and Solar Flares

How are we coping?  So-so…  paperwork is taking longer than predicted (that’s really stupid because it’s predictable).  Kids are in school and enjoying it.  I’m sore about not home-schooling my youngest anymore – Wildest One, who begged me to home-school because 2 years back, school became unbearable for her.  But she seems to be adjusting well, liking her classmates and coping easily (and enthusiastically) with the work.

How are we coping really?  Not well.  Missing him.  This will forever hang around somehow.  I deeply hope that for the children, joy for life will return.  Me, I’m doing what is necessary to keep moving forward… but… have given up on several things now.  I shall have to see how things want to go.

My studio is simply not reviving.  They were phenomenal people, in Pretoria.  I was a respected teacher with a reputation of success, buoyed up by Hubbs’ constant encouragement.  Here, I’m an unknown and they’re not convinced they should take a chance on me or even bother to learn violin.  Is Cork uniquely unmusical in the Irish context?

There have been amazing solar flares in the past few days, upping the radiation exposure.  I’ll blog about that tomorrow, too tired now.

signing off