Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Beauty Chorus: Guest Post Equals Published Author

Hey there. I know I've been MIA again and missed a TTT, but I'm working on it. I've got a travel post on the back burner for next week, a little trip through Waikiki.

Meanwhile. Happy Easter! Happy Spring! Happy New Beginnings.

I've got a treat for you all. One of the first bloggers I met out here, Kate - from What Kate Did Next - has her debut novel out and has generously guest posted for me in my absence. Kate is amazing. Enjoy....

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Hello everyone – and thank you to Pseudo for hosting me today. In her honour, I’d like us to consider teachers. Sometimes I think school teachers must have the patience of saints. Maybe you are the same, but I find two children quite enough of a handful. Leading up to the publication of my first book I’ve been thinking a lot about the amazing people who held my hand as I learnt, and opened my eyes to the beauty of words.

Really great teachers change children's lives – I know a few of mine did.
While scores of other teachers have been forgotten, I often think of the remarkable men and women who inspired me, who taught me that words, that art matters just as much as quadratic equations and the Periodic table.

There was Mr S, who swept through the flagstone corridors of my senior school, black gown flapping. He was formidable, rigorous – but when he smiled he looked like Alfred E Neumann’s grandfather. He rolled the words of Chaucer and Auden round his mouth with relish like gobstoppers, and he wasn’t averse to flinging a blackboard eraser at the head of anyone who wasn’t paying attention. He also gave me the nickname that stuck the whole way through school – Claude.

And what about Mrs G, our English teacher at prep school? It was rumoured she knocked off steamy bestsellers for Mills & Boon when she wasn’t teaching wide-eyed schoolgirls about D H Lawrence, Byron and Shelly.

Who were your great teachers? Looking back and knowing now just how wonderful but tough it is coping with your own children half the time, I think I admire them more than I ever did.

During a tutorial, I remember Mr S wistfully saying one day as he gazed out of the old stone window across the frozen quadrangle: ‘Claude, sometimes when I look at the essays I wrote in Cambridge, it amazes me that I was ever capable of such dazzling work.’ Maybe that is what great teachers do – they take that fire, that dazzling enthusiasm and pass it on like a torch to the next generations. Some of the kids will let the torch sputter and die, but some of them will take it and run like the wind.

Kate Lord Brown’s d├ębut ‘The Beauty Chorus’ is being published by Corvus Atlantic 1/4/11

Available at Amazon


Romance, glamour and adventure in the skies: an enthralling debut inspired by female pilots in World War Two. 166 women signed up to fly Spitfires and bombers from factories to airfields across the country. It was an adventure that would cost many their lives.

New Year’s Eve 1940: Evie Chase, the beautiful debutante daughter of an RAF commander, listens wistfully to the swing music drifting out from the ballroom. With bombs falling nightly in London, she is determined to make a difference to the war effort. Evie joins the ATA – the civilian pilots who ferry fighter planes to bases across war-torn Britain. Two other women wait nervously to join up with her – Stella Grainger, a forlorn young mother from Singapore, and Megan Jones, an idealistic teenager who has never left her Welsh village before. Billeted together in a tiny cottage, Stella, Megan and Evie learn to live and work together as they find romance, confront loss and forge friendships that last a lifetime.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Green Travels

Today's tip is short and sweet. Oahu has a great transit system via The Bus. If you come on a budget and don't have a rental car, don't be afraid to hop on.

I sold my car when we moved to town and have been riding the bus. I have a lot of scribbles in a notebook that have as yet to be written into posts.

Got a travel post? A tip of where to go near your home or state? A photo post? You can link on up, and the post does not have to be written today....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Contest Winners and Chameleon Weirdness

Random number generator selected numbers 7 and 2, in that order, as the winners of the last post's contest..

Congratulations to Mama Badger and Kristan. I'll be emailing you for your addresses.

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Meanwhile, weird little story.

In our entry hall, we have some fake bamboo (in our yard we have a huge garden of the real stuff).

Yesterday, Hubs says all frantically, "Holy shit, there's a chameleon in the bamboo."

And there was. Don't look for it in that shot up above, didn't get the shot.

Lying along a stalk like he thought it was the real stuff.

We had no idea how it got there.

We were late to an event with a time frame, so we left it there. I wanted to come back and get a photo of it.

When we returned home, I had forgotten about the little guy.

In this shot, notice BC's water and food bowls and how they sit next to the bamboo....


We get home and Hubs is all in another upset.

Did I mention he can't handle lizards? Geckos. Chameleons. I am in charge of catching them and taking them outside. He thinks nothing of the giant cockroaches over here and will smash one silly. Which totally grosses me out.

In our marriage he is the cockroach killer and I am the lizard catcher.

But I digress.

Hubs is freaking out because the chameleon had somehow landed in BC's water bowl.

OK. Just picture a lizard lying across this.

I was really bummed and felt a bit responsible for the horrible drowning. Hubs could not bring himself to lift the water bowl with the dead chameleon floating on top.

When I did, the little fucker started swimming and clawing up the sides.

I have to say it was a bit startling.

However, I carried the bowl outside and poured the water slowly onto the real bamboo and the chameleon jumped on out and found himself a stalk.

I swear he looked right at me and I think I heard a faint thank-you muchly.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Travel Tip Thursday is back...

When I said I was gimping and limping back into blogging, I wasn't fooling around. Back in the day, Travel Tip Thursday went up Wednesday night. That's because even though I started this post at 4 AM here in Hawaii (and it looks like it will go up about 5 - what with the uploading of photos) you folks on the Mainland are way ahead of me in time.

But I get home from work late, often to a hectic home, sometimes to unbloggable, and there you go.

Anyways. There's a small kind contest going on. Those of you linking travel posts can win a cookbook or cocktail recipe book.

I have posted this hike before, but it has been awhile. I have my new camera, new photos, and this hike is such a metaphor for my life these days. The steep stair climb. The moments of reflection and deep breaths.

Welcome to the Koko Crater stairs.......

Link on up!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Book Contest

As I gimp my way back into a blogging schedule, I am going to stick my neck out and say Traveling Thursdays will return this week.

I am a bit apprehensive. My week could go south and the next thing I know all my best intentions are for naught.

So, to commit, I decided to do a little give away.

Someone passed two books on to me lately. They are brand new.

Sam Choy's seafood cookbook. Sam Choy is a famous chef with several restaurants over here.

This lovely tropical cocktail recipe book.

Would you like one?

Just come back on Thursday with a Travel Post to link up. Traveling Tip Thursday started with the idea "what's the daycation spots near where you live...." But we've had true travel posts, daycation posts, how to feel like you are on vacation when you are at home posts.

Link up your post on Thursday and leave a comment which book you'd like to win. I'll run the contenders through the random number thingy and there you go.

See you Thursday.

PS Yes to the comments asking if you can you link a travel post from earlier in the week, month, year... I mean, if I can go two months without blogging at all, I am clearly not inclined to set rules that would inhibit the fun of virtual travel.