Sunday, 30 December 2018

Stories, almost everywhere


The past few days we spent with family in the Kruger National Park. Here are a few pictures telling some of the stories of this trip.



A selfie of the two of us standing on the Tropic of Capricorn. The grinning windblown fool is me. 😁
fuel station, Haenertsburg, mountain fresh fuel sign


Mountain fresh fuel (on our way back home) - don't rightly know where they brew this stuff. 😉








Shingwedzi camp in Kruger. Francois is watching two squirrels chase each other up and down the trees.
car display outside temperature at 14h40
 

If the gates of hell had a temperature, we would gladly have believed it. It was not fun at all! 😓
  If only people thought a bit before putting up signs. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. (Nobody is an actual place in the Limpopo province)

Sunday, 23 December 2018

My non-successes of 2018, and the lessons I learned (I hope)

Photo by Luke Porter on Unsplash
This year has been eventful that is for sure, and as these things go, not everything works out as planned. Although I am disappointed in myself on not achieving the exercise and the weight-loss goals I set for myself, it has not been without some success on both counts.
I did exercise more than what I have done in recent years, but my goal remains to have my GP tell me that my blood pressure medication is no longer required. There has been a significant improvement already, but I am still expected to take the meds. Continuous improvement is now the target for 2019.
Losing weight was not one of my primary goals, but I still had some lost kilos in mind. Again that didn't happen as planned, and that too will be on the continuous improvement path for 2019.
So what did I learn from these two non-successes?
I wish I could tell you that I found the answer and it will be an easy path from now on. I can, however, not say that. Being overweight (health is my first concern, not how much I weigh) is a difficult thing to manage when some factors are working against me. These factors are not outside of my control, so the lack of goal achievement cannot be blamed on anyone except yours truly.
So here is what I learned:
1. Having a work environment that is not good for one's mental well-being is not conducive for other aspects of one's wellbeing either. It took me a while to realise this, and mostly because the effects were more subconscious than I thought. This is mostly a problem that manifests itself in my eating habits, and not good habits either!
2. Not all exercise is right for you. For many months I religiously followed a program with a personal training company, but eventually, I stopped going. I have a back problem and living with more pain with the exercise sessions than without it, made no sense to me. Yes, exercise is good for me, and there were some benefits, but I don't like living with pain if I can avoid it.
What I am doing for my new plan of continuous improvement on these aspects:
1. I have resigned from the job in that unhealthy environment and decided to go back to self-employment. It is hard work, I know, but even now I am, and as a result, my mental well-being is already improving. This week I am stuck at home because we are having work done at our house, and I find the constraint on my ability to come and go as I please frustrating. The frustration is temporary, and even with the limitation on my movements, I find that I can still do more and be more creative than what I have been in months. I think it is too soon to say what effect it will have on my eating habits, but now I am more hopeful that things are working better already.
2. It is the time of year that makes changes difficult because Francois will also be home and we have family obligations that make my decisions on how I want to spend my time more challenging. I am working on finding a way to incorporate exercise into my daily routine that will not put so much strain on my back. Tai chi does the trick for my back problem, so now I need to get the routine going once more...after the holidays I think it would present a better chance for success. But I am not waiting until then, but it will remain a struggle until the New Year.
The next year will bring its own challenges for me, but I have faith that these will be stimulating, exciting, and above all things that will work toward my primary goal in life: become the best version of me.
So now all that remains, before I sign off for 2018, is to wish you an indescribably blessed and peaceful Christmas, and a New Year filled with fulfilled dreams, and immeasurable successes.
Until 2019, be kind to yourself!
💜Linzé

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Ends, beginnings, and some crazy mixed in-between!

You know when you tell people that life is crazy busy and then deep inside you wished it was because you were busy doing something significant, and then wasn't? Well, I am going to tell you that my life was crazy busy the weeks since I last talked to you. Here is how things went and then you can decide if I was just making excuses, or doing something worthwhile:
  • I challenged NaNoWriMo - and won again. You might think that I usually do, and you would be right. Except at 8 days in, I heard about a course I wanted to do, and it started on the 25th of November. Suddenly my NaNoWriMo had shortened to 50k in 24 days! It wasn't easy, but I managed.


  • Come the 25th, the course - Modern Stoicism - kicked-off and now I had new things to learn, different meditations to do, and a daily self-assessment to do on top of that! It is now the start of week 3, and I think that NaNoWriMo was easier. I do hope, however, that as an aspirant Stoic, the choice had been a good one and I will benefit from the course's teachings.
  • While I usually post on Sundays, I missed last weekend because my gorgeous husband of almost 25 years, thought it best to surprise me with a weekend away for my birthday. The 'official' celebration of my birthday is 1 December, but this year I feel like it has been my birthday for months! Francois has been spoiling me with all kinds of lovely things, and last weekend being the cherry on the cake. I hate surprises, and he knows that, so I wasn't quite ready to be happy about it. Until it happened. It was really something special to celebrate my 50th birthday in Dullstroom and with two friends too. Only three days ago did I find out this 'surprise weekend' had been in the making for almost 6 months - Francois showed me the Whatsapp group that plotted my surprise. Thanks, love, it was an absolute weekend to remember!

Francois and me (photo taken by Phenice Rothman)
  • And no, it doesn't end there. I handed in my resignation this past Tuesday. On the day I had lunch with a few colleagues and other friends, for another celebration of my birthday. (One only gets to be 50 once after all!) If you had been following the news, you would know that several State Owned Enterprises in this country have severe financial difficulties for various reasons, including corruption. I work for one of those companies and have been for a bit over 10 years. Your first thought might be that it is the state of the company that made me hand in my notice, but to be honest, it was merely the last straw. I was self-employed before joining the company, and it had always been my plan to go back to working for myself. While it hadn't been my plan to wait 10 years (time does fly, doesn't it?), I do believe that God had a better plan for me, and in August I knew it was time to get ready to make the change. If I hadn't been such a coward (fear is a horrible thing, but I have to tell you it is still there despite my faith in my new future), I wouldn't have waited four months. But now it is the future that matters, not the past.
For my lovely readers: yes, I will continue to write. In fact, my next book is due out in January, so watch this space.
For my colleagues, past and present: I am back in the engineering game and looking forward to working with you once again.
Crazy life? I am looking forward to all what the future holds for me!
Until next time!
💜 Linzé

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Book Feature: DARKER DAYS by Kenneth W Cain

Darker Days by Kenneth W Cain, speculative fiction, horror fiction
Pre-order link: http://mybook.to/darkerdays

Synopsis:
Now that you’ve warmed by the embers, submerse in darker days.
The author of the short story collections These Old TalesFresh Cut Talesand Embers presents Darker Days: A Collection of Dark FictionIn his youth Cain developed a sense of wonderment owed in part to TV shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Now Cain seeks the same dark overtones in his writing.
There’s a little something for every reader within this collection. These 26 short speculative stories arise from a void, escaping shadows that ebb and weave through minds like worms, planting the larvae that live just under the skin, thriving upon fear. These are Cain’s darker days.
In this collection, Cain features stories from the Old West, of past lives and future days, the living and the dead, new and unique monsters as well as fresh takes on those of lore. Once more he tackles themes of loss and grief and the afterlife, always exploring the greater unknown. In “The Sanguine Wars,” Cain takes us to a future where soldiers are made to endure the horrors of war. He explores the complexities of global warming and what lengths men and women alike sink to in “The Reassignment Project.” And, as often is the case, he ends on a lighter note, with “Lenny’s New Eyes” and “A Very Different Sort of Apocalypse.”
When the darkness comes, embrace it. Let it wrap you up in cold. Don’t worry, it’s not your time…yet.

INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING STORIES:

  • “A Ring For His Own”
  • “Heirloom”
  • “Rust Colored Rain”
  • “Prey”
  • “Passing Time”
  • “What Mama Needs”
  • “My Brother Bit Your Honor Roll Student”
  • “Outcasts: The Sick and Dying 1 – Henry Wentworth”
  • “The Sanguine Wars”
  • “The Hunted”
  • “Her Living Corals”
  • “Puppet Strings”
  • “The Trying of Master William”
  • “By The Crescent Moon”
  • “Mantid”
  • “The Underside of Time and Space”
  • “Outcasts: The Sick and Dying 2 – Gemma Nyle”
  • “The Griffon”
  • “Adaptable”
  • “When They Come”
  • “The Reassignment Project”
  • “Presage”
  • “One Hopeless Night by a Clan Fire”
  • “Lenny’s New Eyes”
  • “Outcasts: The Sick and Dying 3 – Anna Kilpatrick”
  • “A Very Different Sort of Apocalypse”
Blurbs:

“Wildly varied and always surprising, Darker Days is a fantastic collection of dark wonders. Cain is a gifted storyteller and a writer to watch.”  Jonathan Janz

“I’ve said before that the way to assess the health of a genre is to look at the number of excellent young writers it attracts. There is a new wave of excellent writers showing up in Horror. Kenneth W. Cain is one of these very good writers. His prose is precise, his plotting and pace move seamlessly and quickly, and his stories are compelling. Darker Days is a good example of some of his best work—highly recommended.” — Gene O’Neill, The White Plague Chronicles

“A feast for the senses no matter your tastes! Kenneth W. Cain does it again with Darker Days: A Collection of Dark Fiction.” — Rena Mason, Bram Stoker Award® winning author of The Evolutionist and East End Girls

Darker Days, the latest collection of short stories by Kenneth W. Cain, delivers on its title’s promise. From the very first story readers are dragged into seemingly ordinary situations that serve as cover for dark secrets. Ranging from subtle horror to downright terror, from science fiction to weird fantasy, Cain demonstrates a breadth of styles that keeps you off balance as you move from one story to the next. There is something for everyone in this collection—as long as you don’t want to sleep at night!” — JG Faherty, author of The CureCarnival of Fear, and The Burning Time

Kenneth W. Cain is the author of four novels, four short story collections, four novellas, and several children’s books among his body of work. He is the editor for Crystal Lake Publishing’s Tales From The Lake Volume 5 and When the Clock Strikes 13. The winner of the 2017 Silver Hammer Award, Cain is an Active member of the horror Writers Association, as well as a volunteer for the membership committee and chair of the Pennsylvania chapter.  Cain resides in Chester County, Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.



BOOK RELEASE: SOLANGE an ebook by Linzé

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