Wednesday, January 11, 2012

the last waltz...

video
(may take awhile to load)
...this is my 100 year old Dad dancing at his birthday bash yesterday - 10th January.. The residential care where he lives threw him a party to mark his BIG, BIG birthday... The organizers went to a lot of trouble to make it a memorable one for him... One of the surprises they had  was to have a couple come in from a local dance school to do a demonstration. Dad had taught, competed and danced in exhibition ballroom dancing in his very early days so this was really special for him...At the end of their demonstration the young woman approached Dad if he would join in her in the last dance - a waltz... After an initial hesitation he managed a few steps... For a nanosecond it was as if his younger self 'stepped in' and his old body remembered its younger days...It was quite stirring watching him as he moved with her across the floor...And as you can hear in the background there was lots of encouraging clapping and cheering...  A wonderful afternoon was had by all but I think a very overwhelmed and tired 100 year man wouldn't have been too long out of bed last evening...

Here is a shot of my Dad and Mum dancing... Mum would have been about 18 or 19 and Dad would have been about 22 or 23... I don't believe they were married at this stage...

This was a glamour publicity shot... Little did these two young people know what was ahead of them as they stared off  into the distance....

Until later, take care

Sharon  x x

Saturday, January 07, 2012

...and welcome to you too..

My apologies to anyone who may be still swinging past this blog - I have been very neglectful... 2011 was a year which I am glad to see disappearing into the distance - but in saying that - it is one I won't forget in a hurry... But now it is time to move on and get on with the business of life in 2012...

One thing that I managed to maintain throughout the chaos of 2011 was my reading - I was pleasantly surprised to see that I have read 35 books in total... Not a huge amount for some people but quite a few for me. I tend to have two books on the go most of the time... My bus book which is self explanatory and a bedside book, again self explanatory... Usually one is a kid's or young adult novel and the other is what ever else takes my fancy... At the moment I have so many new books calling my name it is a wonder I am not deafened by the noise...

This year I will try to do a bit more of a review on the ones that stand out... You will notice in my side bar under READ 2011 there is an asterisk against the ones that really made an impact on me one way or another... But again only my personal opinion...

One of my very favorites and one not mentioned in my sidebar was a kid's picture book called Flotsam by David Wiesner. I discovered Flotsam while I was shelving some books in the book shop where I work. I was immediately captivated by the illustrations and the largely no text format... It was one of those books that the more you look at it the more you see... Of course I just had to add it to my pile... I keep it in my sewing room and look at it often... Flotsam continually offers me inspiration so much so I hope to utilize it as as starting point when I come to make one of my crazy quilt blocks for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2012 - the block - needless to say - will have an underwater theme.  If you happen to come across Flotsam do your self a favor and take the time to have a look at it- you won't be disappointed... Meanwhile, watch the youtube sweetener...


Until later, take care

Sharon x x

Welcome 2012

Life, I believe is like a river - it takes you on a journey... There are bends, twists and rapids that keep us alert and vigilant from sloth and complacency...It has calm and peaceful moments which offers us the stillness in which to rest, reflect and dream ... 
Life, like a river - has  forever changing scenery - are we constantly straining forward to see what's ahead not stopping to appreciate what is before us... Life, like a river gives us opportunities to explore, discover and grow both in strength and mind... 


Where ever your 'river' takes you in 2012 may it be a journey, that it be abundant and prosperous and joyful...


Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

er, um...over the page...

... I can make no apologies other than this whole work thing has sapped any sort of creative, blogging energy from me... But on the up side if there was to be one I have been reading more than I have in a little while - not that I am counting...

Since Santus I have read a wide array of titles but perhaps the one that has left the deepest impression has been 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins... It is categorized as YA - Young Adult fiction and I would agree - as an adult reader this book has left me thinking about the world and how we view it.

Hunger Games is a three book series... Hunger Games being the first, Catching Fire the second and Mockingjay the third and final book.

Plot synopsis of The Hunger Games courtesy of Wikipedia

The Hunger Games takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of North America, in a nation known as Panem. Panem consists of a wealthy Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts. District 12, where the book begins, is located in the coal-rich region Appalachia
As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol, every year one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected at random and forced to participate in the Hunger Games, a televised event in which the participants, or "tributes", must fight to the death in a dangerous outdoor arena until only one remains. The story follows fatherless 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 who volunteers for the 74th Games in place of her younger sister, Primrose. Also participating from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, a boy whom Katniss knows from school and who once saved her life by giving her bread when her family was starving.
Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol, where they meet the other tributes and are publicly displayed to the Capitol audience. During this time, Peeta reveals on-air his long-time unrequited love for Katniss. Katniss believes this to be a ploy to gain audience support for the Games, which can be crucial for survival, as audience members are permitted to send gifts to favored tributes during the Games. The Games begin with eleven of the 24 tributes dying in the first day, while Katniss relies on her well-practiced hunting and outdoor skills to survive. As the games continue, the tribute death toll increases, but both Katniss and Peeta are able to evade death.
Supposedly due to Katniss and Peeta's beloved image in the minds of the audience as "star-crossed lovers", a rule change is announced midway through the games, stating that two tributes from the same district can win the Hunger Games as a pair. Upon hearing this, Katniss searches for Peeta and finds him wounded. She nurses him back to health and acts the part of a young girl falling in love to gain more favor with the audience and, consequently, gifts from her sponsors. When the couple are finally the last two tributes, the Gamemakers suddenly reverse the rule change and try to force them into a dramatic finale where one must kill the other to win. Instead, they both threaten suicide by means of
poisonous berries in hope that the Gamemakers would rather have two winners than none. It works, and both Katniss and Peeta are declared winners of the 74th Hunger Games.
Though she survives the ordeal in the arena and is treated to a hero's welcome in the Capitol, Katniss is warned that she has now become a political target after having defied her society's authoritarian leaders so publicly. Afterwards, Peeta is heartbroken to learn that their relationship was at least partially a calculated ploy to garner sympathy from the audience, although Katniss remains unsure of her own feelings.


What did I think of it?? As I said previously it left a deep impression on my pysche. After reading it I did some internet research and found this again on Wikipedia

"Collins says that the idea for The Hunger Games came from channel surfing on the T.V. On one channel she observed people competing on a reality show and on another she saw footage of the Iraq War. The two blended together and the idea of children fighting each other to the death was formed..."

I think that the plot is brutal and yet convincing - I thought about all the reality programs that are currently aired where we the viewers sit in the comfort of our living rooms watching contestants battle it out for 'the end prize'...

The Hunger Games takes all of this a step further - these contestants are children chosen by a ballot (echoes of 1960 conscription here in Australia) to participate in a game which will see them battling it out to the death. This game is televised country wide. The Capital which is the ruling power - use the Hunger Games as a means to suppress their people making them realise that they, the Capital are the controlling force which governs their lives even taking away their children at will...

This series is very popular with YA I wouldn't like to see anyone under about fourteen read it - or though I am told that most of them play harsher computer games or watch more violent films and TV - I rest my case...

I haven't gone on to read the next two as yet - I felt like I needed a breather before I went onto the next one. I doubt very much whether I will see the proposed film when it comes out. That doesn't say I didn't like the Hunger Games or not appreciate the point Suzanne Collins was making... I thought it was well written and if perhaps it makes one person think about a larger picture then I would say she, Suzanne has done her job well... The only thing that niggles me a tad , aren't we again the 'watchers' of a violent arena and perhaps endorsing violence as entertainment - there is a very fine line drawn here...

But in saying that I think it would make an interesting text for schools and even adult book clubs would benefit from it. Would I recommend it - yes I would but I would caution the reader to the content first...

But why don't you make your own minds up and give it a read...

What am I reading now??? One book which caught my eye at the library was 'a brief history of Montmaray' written by Michelle Cooper. Again this one is written for the YA market. Again, as in the Hunger Games the main character is a sixteen year old Sophie - instead of a distant future this one opens in 1936.

Plot synopsis of 'a brief history of Montmaray' courtesy of Michelle Cooper

"I need to write down what has just happened. I need to set down the truth. If I write lies or if I write nothing at all, this journal is worthless. I must do this, in case anything happens.
All right. This is what happened tonight, every single terrible thing that I can remember . . ."


Sophie FitzOsborne lives in a crumbling castle in the tiny island kingdom of Montmaray, along with her tomboy younger sister Henry, her beautiful, intellectual cousin Veronica, and Veronica's father, the completely mad King John. When Sophie receives a leather-bound journal for her sixteenth birthday, she decides to write about her day-to-day life on the island. But it is 1936 and the world is in turmoil. Does the arrival of two strangers threaten everything that Sophie holds dear?

The other book that finally won me over to start was 'Discovery of Witches' by Deborah Harkness. This is my go to bed book and I am loving it. I wasn't sure what I thought about it when I started it but I am loving every page of it... Here, I will give you a link to go read the plot synopsis yourself...

Keep watching my sidebar for more titles as I go over the page...

Until later

S x

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sanctus ~ Simon Toyne

I finished Sanctus by Simon Toyne in the wee small hours of this morning. My heart was pounding and my mouth was dry as I turned the last 50 or so pages and I felt like I had to 'brake hard' it was such a 'fast ride'. Sanctus held my attention from the very first page to the end of this roller coaster adventure. Simon's writing style is charactistic of a film maker with short sharp chapters continually changing 'scenes' to keep the reader on the edge. While I know it is a work of fiction - it did make me reflect - what if religion as we know it could have been that easy to manipulate.. What if there was another version? A version which would change the world as we know it... If you like action packed suspense with intrigue this will be the book for you. This is the first book of a trilogy - the other two will be released 2012 and 2013 respectively I can see it would very easily translate onto the big screen. Sanctus will be available in store in April...
~

Book Description - courtesy HarperCollins publishing

"REVELATION OR DEVASTATION?

The certainties of the modern world are about to be blown apart by a three thousand year-old conspiracy nurtured by blood and lies ...

A man throws himself to his death from the oldest inhabited place on the face of the earth, a mountainous citadel in the historic Turkish city of Ruin. This is no ordinary suicide but a symbolic act. And thanks to the media, it is witnessed by the entire world.

But few understand it. For charity worker Kathryn Mann and a handful of others in the know, it is what they have been waiting for. The cowled and secretive fanatics that live in the Citadel suspect it could mean the end of everything they have built -- and they will kill, torture and break every law to stop that.


For Liv Adamsen, New York crime reporter, it begins the next stage of a journey into the heart of her own identity.

And at that journey′s end lies a discovery that will change EVERYTHING ...
SANCTUS is an apocalyptic conspiracy thriller like no other -- it re-sets the bar for excitement and fascination, and marks the debut of a major talent in Simon Toyne."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

animals! Animals! animals!

..yep, that's right!!!! E and two others are having an exhibition...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Louis's big day out...












Tonight E and I took Louis across to the park for a walk... A couple of others out for a walk couldn't take their eyes off us as we followed Louis around on his lead....Walking a cat is the opposite of walking a dog - you are the one that tends to 'follow' rather than 'lead'. I thought he may have been afraid as he is an indoor cat however he just loved it and we are now going to try with Matilda. She is not as placid as Louis but we hope that she works it out that the lead means 'outside'... This I believe would lower her stress level and ours. At the moment she is on supervised walks in our very tiny backyard - not at all satisfying for any of us...