Thursday, 10 January 2019

Scribble Picnic - Holiday Party

Hello fellow Scribblers!

Sorry I've been MIA...if you read earlier posts, you will know why.  The past couple of months have been an emotional roller-coaster ride for me so I haven't been online much at all. I didn't find any time to sketch and I didn't feel the desire to sketch either...until today.  I had planned to have January off to rejuvenate a little but I couldn't let another Scribble Picnic go by.

So the prompt for this week is HOLIDAY PARTY.

With Christmas and New Year behind us, I immediately thought of our Australia Day holiday coming up on January 28th. A day when many Aussie households celebrate with Australiana-themed parties. I've been to a few Australia Day parties organised by various family members over the years and they are a lot of fun.

So, little Charlie the Koala, is all excited and decked out for the party he is off to.  He is wearing an Aussie park ranger uniform, Aussie hat with corks dangling to keep the flies away, a boomerang for the boomerang-throwing competition being held at the party and, of course, his eucalyptus gum leaf snack. OH, almost forgot — his Aussie thongs — which Americans refer to as 'flip-flops', I think.

It's only the initial pencil sketch for now but I will finish him later. As usual, I will most likely make some changes as I go along...could be minor or major changes.

Check out what my fellow scribblers have done for this week HERE.
Feel free to come along to our fortnightly picnic — find out how to join us HERE.

See you all at the party!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books

Hello fellow bookworms!

I hope that 2019 has started off well for you all. Mine has been busy so my usually fast reading pace slowed down a little but I am back on track now.

This week, let's start with....

Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper

A fictional story about, Melody, an eleven year old girl with cerebral palsy. Melody cannot speak or walk. She has a photographic memory and is very clever although, due to her disability, she is unable to communicate with others so her brilliance goes unnoticed.  She wants desperately to communicate and feels like she is going out of her mind trying to get the attention she wants. UNTIL Melody's neighbour comes up with a simple but nifty way to give Melody a voice! Melody is beyond excited and her story escalates from there especially when she attends school and they integrate the special needs kids in with a few of the regular classes.

I believe this book is mainly aimed at young adults but I enjoyed it a lot. There are parts that made me cry for Melody but mostly I was happy for her.  I gave this one 5 stars.

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Next up, Postcards from a Stranger by Imogen Clark

Cara is a wedding dress designer and lives with her father who has Alzheimer's Disease. Her mother died when she was young. She has a brother with a young family who lives some distance from her. Unfortunately he isn't much help as far as the father is concerned. Cara hires a nurse to help out as she is very busy with her at-home business. One day, Cara discovers a box of old postcards in the attic which causes her to suspect that her father has lied to her since childhood. Who sent the postcards and why would her father have kept them? Cara sets out to solve the mystery. Will the answers make or break her?

I loved this book so much that I ordered another by the same author. The book is told in dual timelines but I found it easy enough to follow. I gave this one 4 stars although I was torn between 4 and 5.

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Beneath an Indian Sky by Renita D'Silva

This story revolves around three women - Sita, a native of India who has ambitious goals; Mary, who lives in India (then under British rule) with her English parents; and Priya whose father suggests a trip back to India after she is mortified when she finds out that her husband has been cheating on her. 

This book spans more than 70 years starting in 1928.  The first part of the book mainly focuses on Sita and Mary who become steadfast childhood friends, along with Amin, a local Indian boy who is simply content to become a boatman.  In later years, one of the women will betray the other in a heart-wrenching way.  Priya is mentioned throughout the book but in a different timeline and she is connected to Sita and Mary. Will the truth ever prevail? 

I LOVED the author's description of India — the scenery, the smells, the sounds, etc. You can almost feel like you are there. I ran a gamut of emotions with this one. A wonderful book! I liked it so much I bought the previous six books written by the same author. Each is a standalone novel and not part of a series. I gave it 4 stars, although again, I was torn between 4 and 5 stars.

That wraps up the reviews for this week.

See you next Tuesday with more reviews.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year!


I know I've been slack as it's been almost a month since I last posted but I just had to hop on the computer and post for the start of the New Year.

I wish you all a very happy, creative, and blessed 2019! 

I have felt exhausted for most of the day after Brad and I followed through with our New Year's tradition of staying up all night to greet the dawn of the new year. We played Yahtzee and watched movies. I couldn't really dance this year due to my back and hip but we had a good time nonetheless. I tried to catch a nap earlier this morning but I've always had trouble sleeping through the day-time so it didn't work. An early night tonight is definitely on the cards.

What did you do for New Year's Eve?

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Thank you for the concern and well wishes for my 83 year old Mum after a fall in her back yard landed her in hospital in November. She is now back home with a Transitional Care Team visiting every second day to assist and help her with daily needs and physiotherapy etc. Mum is improving albeit very slowly. Osteoporosis and spinal fractures are no fun at all.

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I start 2019 with a certain amount of trepidation after learning that my elderly fur-kid, Cody, has a terminal illness (Cushing's Disease). I don't know how much longer he will be with us but I'm making every day count. Our other elderly boy is almost totally blind now and he has health issues of his own. Our vet said I would need to make some tough decisions in the near future. I trust that Cody and Jack will let me know when it's time to say goodbye. I am dreading it as they are my precious babies. I've already shed lots of tears.

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I'm looking forward to getting back into a more regular routine come February. I have big plans although a possible major surgery may be on the cards for me to repair the torn tendon in my right hip. If it goes ahead, my big plans may take a hit as my orthopaedic surgeon said it is a ten month recovery — the first three months being the hardest — but we'll see what happens. I am trying to stay positive and will discuss more on my plans in a later post.

I'm now off to have a Chamomile tea and then it's off to bed for me.

I will leave you with a pic I took this morning of the first sunrise for 2019.  I love that the crescent moon is featured too.

Nighty-night...

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books and a medical emergency

I've kinda been missing in action the past couple of weeks.  I'll skip all the gritty details but we had a bit of an emergency with my 83 year old Mum who has ended up in hospital with two fractures to her spine - L4 and L5. Mum has Osteoporosis so not the greatest thing to have happen.  If all goes well, Mum may be back home by the 8th with a Transitional Care team visiting daily to assist her with all the basic needs while she recuperates.

Mum will need to be very, very careful though as, with osteoporosis, fractures can take a longer time to heal. One of the fractures is actually an older one and still not fully healed. We believe that one happened when Mum was trying to move a bed frame in her spare room, lost balance, and ended up with the frame on top of her. The latest fracture we believe happened when she was out doing yard work, lost balance, and fell backwards against the wall of her garden shed.

The first day we realised Mum was in very bad pain, I brought her home to our place to stay overnight as we thought it was muscular and she just needed to rest. My back injury flared up quite badly trying to assist Mum getting up and down from the bed/chair during her stay. My 35 year old son, Bradley, tried to assist and he ended up with a bad back that required strong painkillers, a visit to the Doctor, and a Physiotherapist. Mum is quite petite but it was more the awkward positioning that strained our backs. Mum was off to hospital by ambulance the next morning. Brad had a nasty fall around nine years ago and his back seems to be a soft spot for him. If it doesn't rain, it pours, right?!

While Mum is in hospital, I am minding this little bundle of cuteness.
Her name is Teenie and she is Mum's little doggie. Teenie is a Pomeranian and she is being such a good little girl while here with us.

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So, onto the book reviews -

First up, Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Roseanna has been a powerful attorney all her adult life but, when her law partner and best friend dies of a heart attack, she snaps. Uncharacteristically, Roseanna drives her car upstate until it pretty much runs out of fuel. From there, she finds herself living in a run-down shack, on 76 acres in the foothills of the Adirondacks, with no plans to go back to law. A mother and young daughter are squatters there and Roseanna allows them to stay, albeit reluctantly. There is a lot more to this story as other characters come on the scene making for an interesting read. Her son and her other law partner look for her and, when they find her, they both think Roseanna is nuts for giving up the life she had before. Roseanna's newfound lifestyle soon comes under threat. What will Roseanna do? Can she convince her son that she wants to stay put? Will she lose the property she desperately wants to keep?

I instantly connected with Roseanna's sudden desire to lead a simple, minimalist lifestyle. I love the way the story unfolds in such a lovely setting despite the hurdles that arise.  This is the second book I have read by Catherine Ryan Hyde and I'm sure it won't be the last. I loved it and gave it a 5 star rating!

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Next up - Without a Country by Ayse Kulin. Translator - Kenneth Dakan

This Historical Fiction novel begins with Gerhard and Elsa Schliemann, and their two children, fleeing Germany as Hitler's reign of terror takes hold. Along with many other German Jews in similar predicaments, they end up in Turkey.  Gerhard's qualifications as a medical professor are greatly needed by the hospitals and universities at a time when Turkey is undergoing expansion and major changes. The story of this family spans four generations and covers a lot of ground. Things go well for a while but there are troubled times ahead as several military coups cause a lot of unrest and anti-Semitism rears it's ugly head. Will they have to flee Turkey? Their children are now grown and with lives of their own. Are they in danger?

I was torn between giving this book three or four stars. I went with four because I did enjoy the book and I'm a bit of a history buff and learned a lot about Turkey's past. I considered the three stars because it seemed quite rushed to me.  It felt like the author was cramming three generations mostly into the second half of the book whereas I would have liked her to delve a little more into those later generations. Still a good book, nonetheless.

That wraps up the reviews for this week. 

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books

Hello fellow bookworms!

I'm happy to report that my daily reading continues at a fairly fast pace.

As I don't get out on big adventures myself, I am obsessed with living them vicariously through others. One of my many interests are canal boats...I've never been on one but I love the idea of living in one and travelling the canal systems. I even follow a few canal boaters on YouTube. I watch documentaries on rock climbers, mountain climbers, extreme snow-boarders, and people who are on personal adventures in foreign lands.

So it stands to reason that I enjoy books like that too which brings me to the first review for today....

The Journey In Between by Keith Foskett

Keith, aka Fozzie, takes us with him as he walks the El Camino De Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. It is an ancient path that leads through French and Spanish countryside. Hundreds of people travel this path each year and it is said to be a soul enlightening journey.  The people who do the walk are referred to as Pilgrims and they are given a special certificate at the end. Keith's walk/hike will cover 1600 miles.

If you're into real life, adventure stories that include the good, the bad, and the ugly, it is worth the read. I enjoyed it and gave it 4 stars. I already have another book by Keith in my Kindle library where he hikes The Pacific Crest Trail.

I also have two other books by artists I follow online. Each walked the El Camino De Santiago — at different times — and I may do reviews on those at a later date.  On Netflix, there is a documentary titled Footprints, the Path of Your Life which covers the journey of a group of strangers coming together to walk the Camino. I quite enjoyed that.

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Next up are a few books by an author who is new to me - Darcy Coates. She writes horror and suspense novels and I really like her writing style. Not too heavy and keeps you in suspense.

I just finished Hunted which starts out with the disappearance of a young female hiker in Ashlough Forest.  Fed up waiting on the police to do something about the disappearance, her brother and three friends set off in search for her. As they get further along the trail that they believe she took, it becomes very clear that something very sinister is at play in the forest. Will they make it out alive? 
I gave this one 5 stars. I didn't want to put it down.

The Folcroft Ghosts starts out with siblings, Tara and Kyle, having to go and stay with their estranged grandparents after their mother is involved in a serious accident. Their grandparents seem lovely enough but strange and unexplained things start to happen and Tara and Kyle find themselves in serious danger. Can their grandparents be trusted?
I gave this one 4 stars.

The House Next Door is told from a first person perspective.
Jo lives next door to a haunted house — Marwick House. She has seen quite a few people move in but they never stay long...some leave in a frantic panic in the middle of the night. Then Anna moves into the house and she and Jo strike up a friendship. Jo feels the need to watch over and protect Anna from the unfriendly ghosts that reside there. Can Jo save Anna or is her own life in danger too?
I gave this one 4 stars.

I will definitely be reading more books by Darcy Coates!

And that wraps up the reviews for this week.

Do you have a favourite author or genre? Please feel free to share in the comments.
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