Where solace has reached us.

I’ve been graced with solace from time to time and am eager to know my readers’ stories too.  I’m going to use this as a drawing opportunity for members of Ethereal (please note your participation below) but my intention is to share this discussion with everybody.  If this topic resonates with you, link a write-up in response to my post, or elaborate in the comment box here.

Can you think of a time when literature, film, or any event you encountered by chance;  brought you solace when you needed it?  Enlightened your life?

Twice, a book I’d never heard of lifted me up from despair on the two occasions our family cat passed away.  To us, this is the most major circumstance of our lives;  no commonplace situation.  Along with our parents and feeling like they are our children, our kitties are dear, equal members of our family.  Exactly twelve years ago the first died at a good old age.  This was nonetheless difficult because Thumbelina was born in our home and by my side from ages 9 to 30!  Our family knows animals understand everything we say and are feeling, reasoning individuals.  But I had longed all of my life for a way to prove it to others.  I searched for pictures of cats with Jesus or any books about meeting them in Heaven.  I made a discovery that was more immediate than that.

Mother-Daughter 1985

Sandy grooming her daughter, Thumbelina in 1985.

Somewhere between the subject of spirituality and intuition, a silly title came up that would make nearly anyone scoff.  I’ve thought the author should rename it:  “Your Psychic Pet“!  I looked past the whimsical cover, ordered it, and found the deepest beliefs of my soul spelled out:  animals do understand, answer us, and the subject of “animal communication” was nothing new!  I’ll leave you to consider my review on that book and will simply say that for the first time since her Earth-shattering departure;  my heart had a reason to soar.

In four days, a traumatic date this time faces us on July 31st.  In 2014 this child was happy and young.  Our dear Love unexpectedly left the physical world, with no sign of anything amiss until shortly before he died.  Four years old, as happy as always.  It seems to have been a heart defect at birth.  After no longer wondering if we could have saved him with a vet, even after understanding this was the outcome no matter how fast we’d reacted;  we deal with the grief that someone so happy, strong, and important to us was gone so soon.

Lovey on March 8, 2014.

Our son Lovey, on March 8, 2014.

My spouse & I browsed garage sales, striving for anything to smile about.  There was nothing we needed so I considered one lady’s only two books.  If they had mystical content and weren’t romances or sappy general fiction;  perhaps I would enjoy them.  I dismissed one but the other, “The Wishing Jar“, looked promising.  However I couldn’t concentrate on its description because this was a pushy sales-type, who wouldn’t stop chattering!  It looked close enough so I paid $2.00 but was irritated after we were in the car.  The synopsis indicated a ‘Kodak moment’, “coming of age story” after all!  So annoyed was I, every time I saw this book, I thought I’d best read it and be done with it.

Late in the book it becomes a little metaphysical but one part made it count preciously, made all of it worthwhile.  A Great-Grandmother wrote in a journal about losing her 1 1/2 year-old sons.  She said it killed her, to find herself that amount of time later;  a duration that was about to become longer than the sum of time that her sons lived.  How wrong and horrible that felt.  Well dear readers, that spoke to me in the most personal way it possibly could, with exactitude, because that is one thing I dread.  Time going by without someone I love most dearly, surpassing the time when we were physically alive together.  I tear up now thinking of this.  However, knowing even a fictional book understood, gave me solace.

Love on March 3, 2014.

Our boys McCartney & Love, on March 3, 2014.

A popular Canadian series by Gail Bowen, surprised me with highly personalized insight recently.  In “Deadly Appearances“, the protagonist spoke of a husband’s random death.  She explained that they kept out of trouble, were careful…  that this “felt like a metaphysical sneer against cause and effect, from the universe“.  If someone is young, well cared for, if you are respectable and God knows how much you cherish your loved-one;  they should live a good long time.

The stories sympathized with the shock and unfairness of reasonable security being broken.  The animal book addressed the pang over decades of separation, when one species finishes long before it’ll be your turn to see them again on equal ground.  All three books lifted me off of the ground in my life.  I’d like to hear about relief or joy that presented itself to you, readers!  My examples are being lifted from sorrow and if you merely drop by to support the major day July 31 is for me, I’m certainly grateful.  However please chime in on the root topic in any manner you relate.

Is there an uncanny story about choosing the person you married, an invaluable friend for life, the inspiration for your career;  a hobby or talent you wouldn’t have considered without the book, film, person, or event that sparked it?

In all sincerety, Carolyn.

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“A RIEDEL Clue” One – Solved.


*******  Which mystery legend, débuting in 1910, was born in India?  *******
A person no longer living, considered British.  Birth name is not the one we know.  If you were thinking Indian or Hindu:  steer in another direction.  This is a popular, English language author.

Only one person guessed but I hope most of our group tuned in and that I entertained you.  I prepared this riddle last year, thinking an English person’s birth in India was a rarity.  I have gotten a leg up in my world history, I must say!  I additionally discovered the birthplace, surely a highly specific slam dunk, is an author’s Mecca!  This brings us to our region in question.

This photograph that has been paired with our posts.  I wonder;  was it chosen -in all of India- because it is pretty, or is it a clue?  The lines of text were likely considered the sole provider of clues.  But if the mysteries we read were linear and obvious, we wouldn’t like them, would we?  LOL!  Our winner used the two rounds of word clues alone but there was another way.  Book heroines do utilize the chief focal point (a ‘body on the floor’).  However….  they also look elsewhere.  If you hover or click on this mountain photograph:  you see its location!

Mussoorie Library Established 1843

It turns out a”writer” or “author” is a staple there.  But if you search “MYSTERY AUTHORS BORN IN MUSSOORIE?  The answer to our riddle is first on the screen.  Our subject is seventh in a second page with a little eyeballing too;  a ‘golden age’ page.  See if you work it out as we go along, before reading the conclusion.

Patricia Wentworth 1878

She is Dora Amy Elles, born November 10, 1878 in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India.  In 1901 she married George Dillon, an Irishman serving in the Indian Army and in 1906, returned to England as a widow.  She wrote novels under a penname and her first in 1910, was an instant success;  winning ‘best first novel’.

My next clue if there were another round was:  “Many of this author’s titles contain a colour.  In her series, her heroine’s name may be considered a colour and a metal“.  For how many of you would that have done it?  Is the answer leaping to mind with that?

Patricia Wentworth Parasol

Dora Amy Elles married George Turnbull, also an officer and dictated her books to him.  The heroine of her last thirty-two was Miss Silver!  Retired governess turned professional sleuth.  This series of mysteries proved to be an instant success, enduring until the present day.  Who is it?


Grey Mask

The smiling lady looks too sweet to generate a cover like this, doesn’t she?  I propose a fun conclusion:  those who find the solutions, share how they did it.  I love knowing.  I hope you found the angle I demonstrated, helpful.

The solver of our riddle is Neeru, whose blog isA Hot Cup Of Pleasure!  I teased that she felt compelled to work hard and not miss an answer that pertained to her country.  Well done!

I invite anyone not keen on riddles or prizes, to create one.  I start broadly and plan two more clues honing in.  More creativity is better than one.  :)  Let’s hear reactions from our group and everyone who has been our audience!  I can’t tell how many you were, besides the two who commented.  To all, thank you for playing.

P.S.  Happy eleventh birthday to you, our dear little kitty, Spirit!

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“A RIEDEL Clue” – One & Logo


Riddle 1 has been solved!  To add your names to the bowl, there is no choice but to e-mail your guesses and hit upon the right one.  If you have numerous suspicions, please don’t hesitate to send a list.  You lose nothing.  There are no further rounds.  Someone has found it can be done with the information we have.  :)  AlyshaeB(at)hotmail(dot)com.

India Flag Stamp

*******  Which mystery legend, débuting in 1910, was born in India?
(An author;  not a fictional character).

A person who is no longer living, considered British.
Birth name is not the one we know.  That is a pseudonym.  This helps your fact-checking.
If you were thinking Indian or Hindu:  steer in another direction.
This is a popular, English language author.

India Flag

There is a valuable clue in this post, I did not plan.  It is not part of the text.  To rephrase any more would be unfair to the sleuth hoping to walk away with a prize, without any draw!  Mwahaha….

Sunday, July 19 is our cat, Spirit’s eleventh birthday!  They are our children.  I hope you join us in wishing him well.  :)  I will announce the winner of what we always hope is a draw (except our sleuth waiting in the wings), on Spirit’s special day!


This is a good time to refresh you on a year-long puzzle:  our “My Kind Of Mystery” 2015 logo!  E-mail anytime you figure out which book this is and author, from now until June 30.  It gives you an extra name in the bowl at our year-end prize draw.  In case you missed it:  our 2014 logo, partially used for “A RIEDEL Clue” at the top of this page, belongs to “At Bertram’s Hotel“, Agatha Christie.

P.S.  How do you like this year’s logo?  I love the whimsy and suspense, blended into a mysterious setting, leaping with vivid colour.  I haven’t read this novel but it sounds very much up my alley.  When a used copy became available, I made certain it had this cover that appeals to me so much.  As someone not into graphic arts, I was also pleased with how our text came out.

My Kind Of Mystery 2015

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“A RIEDEL Clue” – One B!


My Kind Of Mystery” sleuths, here we are in round two!  If I gave a book title or major prompt, it would be an internet search instead of a riddle.  Rather than wait for clues to make us certain;  these are intended to be worked out.  :-)  Most thought my final riddle last year was hard;  about an author who was struck down as a pedestrian.  I tested it on Google.

If you reworded it simply to search “author hit by a car”;  articles with Stephen King’s name came up immediately.  E-mail any guesses that come to mind:  AlyshaeB(at)hotmail(dot)com. Being incorrect has no effect on our game and I say right away whether or not you’re close.

India Flag Stamp

*******  Which mystery legend, débuting in 1910, was born in India?  *******

The next pieces I’ll add is that this person, who is no longer living, was considered British.  This stamp  commemorated India’s independence from England, in 1947.  We were all wiggling free.  ;)

Their birth name is not the one this author used.  The one we know is a pseudonym.  That helps fact-checking at least, when you are on the right track.

Lastly, If you were thinking an Indian or Hindu author:  steer in another direction.  This is a popular, mainstream, English language author.

India Flag

This might not seem like a great deal of detail but I suspect it will bring you to the right wavelength.  There is one clue on our post that is a valuable giveaway!  One I hadn’t planned, which isn’t within the text.

Any ideas?  Does this clarify something you were pondering?  If not, I promise the third clue in 48 hours, will be plainer.  It is my guests who decide if puzzles are easy or tricky.  It’s been hot around Manitoba, so the next game might as well be a breeze!  ;)  As easy as possible without being a one-click internet search.

Sunday, July 19th is my cat, Spirit’s eleventh birthday!  I think of our kitties as my children, so join us in wishing him well.  :)

If round three is necessary, I will leave a more telling clue on that special day.  Perhaps by then, the rest of our group will see our riddle is running.  Yes Neer, in our first game your country is highlighted!  It is beautiful.  The way schools are way up on mountainsides in unbelievable.

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“A RIEDEL Clue” – One!


Good evening, “My Kind Of Mystery” members!  You joined me in February, waited patiently from all over the world for festivities to begin, and they have arrived. It’s time for our first game of “A RIEDEL Clue!

If you have guesses based on the following clue, please e-mail them:  AlyshaeB(at)hotmail(dot)com. They are unlimited, so try as often as ideas occur to you.

When one mystery member solves the riddle, there won’t be any other clues.  I would announce that the only option is to make guesses with the information at hand.  Otherwise one right answer is allowed to win!  I will give this round 72 hours.

India Flag Stamp

If no one solves this riddle in 72 hours, I will start another round with an additional clue.  To show me how many of my guests are playing, please ask for a hint in the comment box, if a clue is insufficient for you to hazard a guess.

India Flag

~ *******  Which mystery legend, débuting in 1910, was born in India?  ******* ~

I will receive your answers on this round until Friday, July 17th.  The prize is a choice among second hand books, postcards, and other sundries from a list I will e-mail.  Good luck!  :)

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How “A RIEDEL Clue” works.

At midnight, we will play our first instalment of “A RIEDEL Clue!  Instead of filling tomorrow’s post with explanations, here’s a note about the logistics for you to peruse today.

*  THIS IS AN UNUSUAL EVENT BECAUSE IT ONLY WORKS FOR THE “My Kind Of Mystery” READING GROUP.  However:  anyone can write a post and join at the main page.  Everyone else, chat with us in the comment boxes:  starting now!  Watch the festivities, write anything except guesses.  Those are e-mailed, because participants are competing with each other!


A RIEDEL Clue” entries are earned.  One person could win without a draw.  I like to randomize as little as possible, which is why we have end of year prize points.  Everyone who signs-up for my groups gets their name in a bowl for a prize but I believe extra efforts deserve to be recognized.

It also gives supplementary books somewhere to go.  Some of us are already reading at the highest level:  “Invisible Floor”.  Rather than it being useless to level up, or surpass ALL of the categories;  you obtain more prize draw entries.  Make sense?

Full Mystery Levels

So!  If you’re new – and it makes me happy that many of you are – what I do is give an obscure clue at first.  People have gotten ‘a hole in one’ before.  A riddle is supposed to be worked out a little bit ~ not something you find on the internet in one search.  If the first vague clue is all someone needs and nobody else makes a correct guess:  they win.

If any clue stumps you, ask for a hint in the comments.  This shows me people are playing.  If you’re mutely awaiting the next round, I don’t know that.  It’s great to see that my guests are participating.  If someone has the right answer, I’ll warn you guesses have to be made without any further clues.  I stop the rounds when someone knows it.  That’s why you are competing with each other, in a game involving a little skill…  or good internet searching!

Furthermore:  please don’t be afraid to guess.  Guesses are unlimited.  You don’t want a single entrant to take the pot, even though it’s allowed!  {GRIN}  Also I will tell the folks who e-mail whether they are right or wrong and how close.  One could say it creates a bit of an advantage.

Be bold and guess.  I’m an easygoing hostess.  If the answer weren’t reached after a few rounds, I would draw from among all who tried.  It’s well worth speaking up and trying.  Let’s drill this for anything to do with this blog:  EFFORT IS REWARDED.

Sound good?  See you at midnight for the game!  Any other details you need will come with the clue.  You may e-mail or post any clarification you need.  I normally give 48 hours per round but might extend it, until I see how many are playing and not away on summer vacation.

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How are your reading journeys?

Hi!  In my previous post, I invite my fellow bloggers to introduce themselves:  where you live, how you are since spring and summer.  I shared news and mentioned two birds who were a surprise where we live.  I am eager to hear from my peers.  Travel?  Gardening?  Bird-watching?  Concerts?  Garage-sale hopping?  I love all of that and will write about those in the weeks to come.

A forest walk in 1998, the Whiteshell region.

Forest leisure in 1998:  Whiteshell, Manitoba region.


*  My challengers should know there is a review page accompanying each of my 3 groups.  Some folks signed-up and do write reviews but haven’t added any URLs.  Don’t miss those pages.  However reviewing isn’t required.  If you solely like to read, please revisit the blog to list titles periodically;  in any comment boxes belonging the groups.

A few who joined have not added themselves to the sign-up buttons at the main pages.  Please be sure I know you’re with us.  :)  Lastly, I like my blog subscribers to be voluntary.  I am tickled pick by each of you who is following along with me!  I completely understand we can only monitor a few.
The first activities for all of my groups will be unveiled tomorrow!

Guests not subscribed needn’t miss special events.  We can only HAVE special events if there are participants each time.  Please send me a note to indicate you’d like me to e-mail links, when prize activities come out.  [ AlyshaeB(at)hotmail(dot)com ].  If you aren’t keen on activities and prefer sticking to your reading commitment, that’s worth telling me too.  I won’t wonder if those folks are missing posts.  Any questions, any time are welcome by e-mail, at Goodreads, and via blog comment.





What have you noticed about your literary journeys this year?

I am reading more than ever before;  even with a slow start.  I belong to several ‘reading challenge’ groups and nearly all of them close December 31.  In January, I feel burned-out by a rush to achieve goals.  This new year;  I went days before beginning to read at all.  When I did, instead of browsing groups of any themes;  I preferred to choose any book I felt like reading.  I have a good stockpile here at home and this time, my mood has full reign.  I solely matched them with my own three.  Over the next weeks, when I plug them into the bunch I did join, it will be satisfying to be consulting a list of books that are already finished!

I did accommodate the Canadian group, which concludes each year on June 30th.  This theme has given me a boost to reading more authors from our country than ever before.
When you think of Canadian literature, which impressions leaps to mind?

I used to think it was largely highbrow, or memoirs of hardship.  I didn’t think it would whet my taste for mystery but to my happy surprise, many of my favourite authors are now (or were) from here:  Lyn Hamilton, Victoria Abbott / Mary Jane Maffini, Howard Engel, Charlotte MacLeod, Gail Bowen, Eric WrightMordecai Richler’s “Jacob Two-Two” series and anything by Farley Mowat are also worth mentioning.  I was proud that my reading covered every province (10) and territory (3)!  Lately, I’ve learned a lot about provinces with which I am least familiar:  Nunavut, Newfoundland, and a few books were set in Québec.  I’ve been to Montréal twice.

Canadian Vista

Also a wonderful surprise is that our classics, stories that might not have resonated with me in school, I find fantastic today.  I see why Manitoba’s own Gabrielle Roy and Margaret Laurence are considered very, very good.  Goodness gracious, they spin words and vocabulary in soaring, enchanting ways that few have the skill to conceive of.  It’s a treat to know that ‘school books’ I have long imagined to be dry or dreary, are enjoyable journeys.
Who are the celebrities in your regions?

I am pleased this year to be fitting in a lot of books I long considered reading.  Also from my home province is Guy Gavriel Kay.  He is a famous fantasy author who has assisted John Tolkien’s estate.  I’ve tried poetry, which still is not my forté and it has been fun to delve into far more non-fiction than I’ve ever read.  Fun things like “Crazy Canadian Trivia”, animal heroes, ghosts, and sombre things like “Canadian Disasters”, by René Schmidt.  It is an easy but eye-opening education in old and recent incidents.  What impressed me and sticks with me is that it isn’t all mining accidents and shipwrecks, which usually create a respectful distance from history.

It includes Winnipeg’s 1997 flood (I witnessed that) and water contamination in Walkterton, Ontario that sent a lazy plant manager to jail.  By the news we have seen over the years, I imagine many American peers could connect themselves with humanly-responsible, or memorable weather events.

Now that we’ve started, I look forward to many conversations with folks who stop by my blog.  My feedback on any titles of interest to you, can be found in a summary page and one specific to Canada.  The reviews submitted by my 2015 reading challenge participants will be gathered in their own menu soon.  Please keep your eyes peeled for that, at the top of my blog!

Reviews – MINE

Reviews – CANADIAN


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Open to everyone, always.

Happy summer to everyone reading my blog and my challengers!  I’d love for all of you to update me about yourselves, or introduce yourselves if you haven’t before.  I recently issued a prayer for Saskatchewan and other provinces enduring forest fires.  It’s been three days that we’ve seen our sky in Manitoba, after a smoky week all the way over here.  I shared but it got missed, that my Mom accepted a successful heart bypass surgery.  Her health should strengthen from hereon in!  Your families, spring, and summer:  how are they?

Summertime is when many travel but it’ll be awhile for us, after buying a house and having a beloved family of cats.  Two, we used to drop off with my parents or brother and sister-in-law.  Now we’re an hour away in the country, with lovely gardens and flowers nicely beginning to grow.  Along with caring about animals, flowers, gardening, and the travel my fiancé & I did:  I have a great deal in common with those subscribed to this blog.  Photography – both film and digital, a little videography, and music are important to me too.

Red-winged blackbirds and rose-breasted grosbeaks are a seasonal staple.  What’s unheard of in Manitoba are “Indigo Buntings”.  This beautiful blue guy joined us for two days, in May!

Red-winged blackbirds, rose-breasted grosbeaks are seasonal. What’s unheard of in Manitoba are “Indigo Buntings”. This beautiful blue guy joined us for two days, in May!

Each time I create an activity for the guests of my three reading groups, or any discussion:  I really want to acquaint all of you!  I can only run one blog and because all of these subjects relate to me, I couldn’t separate subjects.  Therefore RIEDEL Fascination is for my articles on any topic and a playground for my groups too.  I think it’s as simple as clarifying that all posts, game-related or not, invite everybody’s input.  Even if it’s an activity that I initiate with a particular group in mind, I really do want to see what all of you come up with!  It isn’t solely because my groups are small.  I have a lot of creative peers I wouldn’t want to scare away from participating, merely because I’ve made it into a contest for certain groups.

I’ll add a note to special events, saying a draw will be for members of particular themes.  They might add with their comment:  “I’m in group X” and others might note “Just having fun”.  Some people are likelier to share when they aren’t in a competition.  We’ll see if that coaxes people into humouring my zany ideas!  This reassures my treasured subscribers that you aren’t on the sidelines when postings are book-related.  I notice each time I write about something else, I gather followers;  just being myself.  Here come the games!  We will take pictures, you will emulate book covers, we’ll solve riddles, and simply chat.  Thank you all for your readership, dearly!  Now that you know anything I post is for you:  jump in!  Yours sincerely, Carolyn.

*  Cardinals belong farther south than Manitoba, too but I’ve wanted to see one all of my life.  I didn’t photograph or videotape her but a lady cardinal appeared, on day last month!  I really felt blessed.

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Pray For Forest Fire Evacuees.

Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and Northwest Territories have been enduring forest fires for weeks!  We send prayer, healing, and protection to our citizens!  May we never face a fire.  Each time it rains, I give thanks for the blanket of moisture.

Once, a new neighbour panicked about a rumour.  I prayed there would be no disaster.  It worked.  A grass fire was several towns away, not approaching us.  Before we knew that, our electricity blinked out.  I packed all night.  Since that day:  pet carriers for our kitties and treasured mementoes sit where they could be removed quickly.  A “What would you do” practice was not in vain.

Some dismiss how much belongings matter;  the same who quip “They’re in a better place” after someone died, instead of comforting the grief.  In a panic, brains race on autopilot.  The time to think is in advance:  where are your important things?  Make them handy and tell your household where that spot is.  Do you make CDs of photos?  Are photo albums and negatives in a plastic container, instead of cardboard?  The same for music records:  plastic tubs keep moisture out and are easier to carry.

Prince Albert National Park, SK
Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan

May those places receive rain quickly!  I hear the territories are something to see.  British Columbia has a heritage of dense forests and massive trees.  Alberta is gorgeous and holds dear memories.  Saskatchewan is our neighbour to the west and our prairie twin.  We are Canadians who are born here.  With smaller cities, far from oceanic attractions, we are thus less-visited ~ less popular.  We have a unique perspective that bonds us to our homes.

La Ronge Provincial Park, SKLa Ronge Provincial Park, Saskatchewan

Smoke from forest fires can be seen in the United States.  Even though we are nearer Ontario, Saskatchewan’s disaster has made our sky grey!  The threat is real and we feel for them daily.  Sunrise was a peculiar hue and smoke discoloured the moon!  Dear God, how bad it must be.

If the distance to south-eastern Manitoba made sense, we would willingly baby-sit evacuated kitties at our small house.  Do you have friends closer to those regions?  * Here are ways to help, like sending supplies.  We can all pray that the people and animals are safe.
Canadian sisters and brothers:  know that we care.

Trinity Church 1860, La Ronge, SK
Holy Trinity Church was built between 1854 and 1860.
It is the oldest remaining building in Saskatchewan.


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Gentle Spectrums 2014 Finale.

Happy Canada Day for July 1st!  How is everyone enjoying summer?  It is garden and flower-planting season for those of us who live in ‘hardiness zone 3′ regions but I’m going to get into a posting groove.  There are articles I’d like to write for blog readers and it’s time to play games with reading challenge participants.  I have watched all the links added to the review pages and reply to all comments but I invite everyone, challengers and subscribers, to interact.  :)  When I post, I like to do it right, so it takes me some time.  By now there is a lot to say.  Today, an easy date to remember, is the birthday of our very long-lived cat.  She got to be physically present with us for two decades and every July 2, we speak of her still, by saying:  Happy Birthday, Thumbelina!  Our Siamese turned a very happy fifteen years-old in June.  Well done, McCartney!

Shortly after, my Mom checked herself into the hospital due to chest pain.  This was the third time.  She dreaded the thought of bypass surgery, as anybody would:  when arteries to the heart are rebuilt to replace any that are blocked.  Open-heart surgery is only less serious than operations on the brain.  However she very bravely accepted the recommendation and all of a sudden, was granted a team to do it the next day.  It can be a five-month wait but a sharp cardiologist urged a specialist to fit Mom in right away.  It was a success and Mom is recovering at home.  She prefers that despite the nurses’ good care.  She kept giving away her hospital food to us, while sending my fiancé into the rain for things they didn’t serve, like bananas!

This is why posting was slow, along with summer weather having me outside more.  We have two flower projects to finish in the short period Manitoba gets.  Everything else is growing beautifully.  I’ll share pictures soon!  A February 28 end date for 2014 challenges was awkward, the premiering year of my trio.  We ironed that out for 2015.  It was to my pleasure that returning and new participants débuted our second run on February 1.  This is the last summary for 2014.  A winner for ETHEREAL was chosen seamlessly.  I hope she lets me know soon that her gift set arrived.  MY KIND OF MYSTERY was tricky, with a person who stopped blogging partway through the year.  It also happened that our GENTLE SPECTRUMS 2014 prize recipient required a redraw!

I chose a friend in Scotland but I believe she’s moving house.  I still look forward to touching base with her.  I can trade books with her – and all of you – any time.  The name we drew this time is someone who has returned for 2015 and who has never hesitated to keep adding book titles well past the minimum 10.  She was excited to be chosen for our GENTLE SPECTRUMS grand finale, so much that she wrote a post with the words:  “Winner winner, chicken dinner”!  That is what I call enthusiasm and that is my favourite trait about our member:  SUE in Utah, USA!  Even though it took me time to write it up for reasons like those shared herein:  congratulations!

This clears me to write about our present activities.  There is an optional Goodreads group.  I created it because it is an easy forum for sharing pictures.  MY KIND OF MYSTERY has riddles, ETHEREAL has spiritual or Earthy topics;  GENTLE SPECTRUMS seems a natural mix for photography.  I have slow speed internet and photos would make blog pages hard to open.  However since each of my groups is small, it quickly became a place for news and conversations of all three.  Some friends and peers aren’t signed-up for any and are there to chat, especially about books.

You don’t need to be a part of GENTLE SPECTRUMS to lounge in that Goodreads group.  There’s a MY KIND OF MYSTERY discusison thread, I’ll do one for ETHEREAL of any of those members are there, and I’ve used it for unrelated buddy-reading.  The same goes for whatever I post that is group-related.  I always hope unassociated blog subscribers will share their two cents on any subjects.  Whatever I publicly post that is of interest, always invites any reader’s comments.  And blog subscribers, please know that some of my prize activities and draws will be open to all.  :)
Yours sincerely, Carolyn.

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My Kind Of Mystery 2014 Conclusion.

Hello readers!  May you have a happy summer!  I imagine there has been polite peeking for a post about how my other two RIEDEL challenges turned out our first year.  I’m a “better late than never girl”.  Here they are!  A post for “Ethereal” was made despite a February 28 closing date that I determined was awkward.  Even though no one took advantage of the extra month to fill in reviews, I thought we should let the 2014 groups clear out;  certainly before posting about the new sessions.  I did a recap in October, addressing details that might be unclear and invited guests to share how they were doing.

February closed with more members than we have this year but many guests rejoined this year and there are new faces that are a great pleasure too.  I didn’t advertise heavily for 2015 because I felt it more important to welcome keen people who would participate in events and share comments or reviews, than strive for quantity.  Ethereal and Gentle Spectrums have grown, which were smaller, so my whole trio is quite even in 2015.

The second reason I’m late reporting the outcome of My Kind Of Mystery is because there was confusion about the 2014 winner!  After my fiancé, Ron helps me draw a name, I like a reply and acceptance before making an announcement.  I found her blog gone but because she had commented, I was able to e-mail her.  I decided it was fair to award her because the rules say finishing a few books and showing some sort of participation – review entries or comments – was enough.  I chose Laura Pond, in Illinois, USA!  She is so surprised and happy about it, I’m glad about the choice.  I asked her to give us a plug through media she uses, such as Twitter or facebook and hope she says ‘hello’ in this post.  :-)  Congratulations, Laura!  She asked me to select a paperback or plant seed / postcard assortment and surprise her.

When I started, I really played with the concept of mystery.  I hid a secret portal on the 2014 sign-up page.  Members began to finish their commitment levels and exit before I hinted about it.  The extra touch was largely missed.  Have a look at it:  the little question mark, which reveals a higher level.  One did notice it and meet it:  Christine in Australia!  Good eye!  You aren’t missing any secret portals on the 2015 pages.  I could add one any time.  I’ll hint if I do.

Most finished their goals.  Everyone who tried any of the prize activities, so few last year, had my grateful appreciation.  I collected the reviews that were inputted, into a guest menu at the top of this blog.  Enjoy browsing it!  Last year’s A RIEDEL Clues are at the URLs below.  If you have ideas for riddles this year, an e-mail is always welcomed.  More people’s ideas are better than one.  :-)


My Kind Of Mystery 2014

Last, is to tell you from whence this book cover comes.  Margaret from England guessed it and so did Neeru,A Hot Cup Of Pleasure” from India;  even though she is new, not in the 2014 group!  It made me smile to see early eagerness to have fun with us.  This logo, for my first year of My Kind Of Mystery, comes from:  “AT BERTRAM’S HOTEL“, 1965, by AGATHA CHRISTIE!  Guessing the identity of our logos is worth an extra name in the bowl for the end of year prize.  Thank you:  all guests and everyone who read and commented on our posts along the way!

Bertram's Hotel Cover

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Meaning Of Music At The Core

I love such a wide variety of music, it is easy to find something in common with people.  I have always believed it amounts to much more than entertainment.  It is a fuse and amplifier of emotions.  Not solely ours but the very environment embracing us:  other mammals, other animals, and plants.  I consider home-sticking to a narrow music selection unwise, akin to limiting our emotions.  If we are feeling bold, energetic, elated, or soaring there is music that raises us to the highest heights our soul can fathom.  Celebratory music, loving music, music that spurs us on, or which sparks memories of something joyous.

There are songs we avoid, in a frame of mind we don’t wish to amplify, or because they clash jarringly with our mood;  like peppy melodies if we’re angry or low.  However the right airs and verses too, snap us out of unpleasant energy and shift us to a better place.  Occasionally, we don’t mind matching darker sentiments in music so we are understood in those moments and vent them out.  An “F-U song” to deal with an ex-flame, in lyrics or thrumming rhythm, can be therapeutic.  My own friend said her favourite musician saved her from the darkest period of illness.

These are reasons we personally resonate with songs, albums, or musicians at an intensity others don’t.  Memories of when music changed, acknowledged feelings, or marked a day truly attach to songs.  They absorb those moments and replay the emotions for us when we hear them.  This is the psychology, medecine, and magic at the core.  Upon the surface, apart from personal associations and vibrations of mood:  there are genres we love ahead of other styles and talent we admire.

Some of us are fans of individuals who time and again, inspire what we love about life.  We consider it a gift every time they compose a new album or go on tour.  When scientists claim mathematics are “the universal language”, I disagree.  I am a linguist but comprehend mathematics scarcely.  The tone music carries, however, is understood and reacted to…  by all.  The genres identify who we are, at heart if not in age.  The lyrics show where we are, in era or country.  United, the complete song is a portrait of every artist who composes it.

If You Love Me (Let Me Know)

If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” by Olivia Newton-John, 1974, reminds me powerfully of my paternal Grandparents!  I was a baby when it came out but it was popular for years and in some store, they picked up the 45 single.  They had the huge stereo furniture of their day:  those long armoires with space low down inside them and a wide lid that raises open, like a jewellery box.  The sound boomed from speakers in the wood and you could store records inside it.

I perused it and was astonished to find Olivia Newton-John.  Here were *Grandparents*, fond of western music…  and *they* had the 45 of a modern hit?  I admired this unexpected side of them and delighted in a song selection suited to me.  For a long while, I played that 45 every time we visited their home.  Thirty years later, when I hear it, I don’t fail to think of them right away.  I had the blessing of seeing Australia’s Olivia perform at last, in 2007.

Olivia Newton-John Evening

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