Teaser Tuesdays: The Third Gate

The Third GateLast week I began The Third Gate, a novel by Lincoln Child. The protagonist of the story is Jeremy Logan, a man who is able to explain the unexplainable. His services are requested at an archaeological site at which the team are searching for the tomb of the Pharaoh Narmer. The Egyptian Pharaoh had put a curse on his tomb and the team has been having some unexplained occurrences. Logan is called in to explain why – and to break the Pharoah’s curse.

My curiosity has been aroused as to why the strange events are happening – and is increased even more when Logan senses a malignant being:

“Suddenly, he stopped dead in his tracks, abruptly as if he’d encountered an invisible wall. Without warning, he’d become aware of a presence, hanging over the generator and its immediate surroundings: a foul, malignant, evil thing, ancient and implacable.” (p. 125, Anchor Books, 2012)

I am turning the pages, desiring to find out the end of the story. The story content is unusual and interesting. I am certainly enjoying this book while riding on the bus.

What are you reading this week?

(This post was inspired by Miz B’s Teaser Tuesdays)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

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Layered Burger

Yesterday we celebrated my hubby’s birthday. For a treat, we decided to go out for lunch and eat a burger at South Street Burger Co. These are not just any burgers, but are made from hormone-free and additive-free patties. The cost per burger is more; but we were hoping that the filling would make for a tastier and healthier meal.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
New York Fries. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Once we had received our order, we brought it to the table. The fries, of course, had to be dusted with seasoned salt. My choice of burger was Mushroom and Swiss. Looking at it, the meal certainly looked different to what is offered at MacDonald’s – even the bread looked of a better quality.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Mushroom and Swiss Burger. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

My husband bit into his burger, showing the layers of his sandwich. He claimed the taste of his choice was as good as is described in the menu.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Layers of a burger. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The burgers were tasty – and very filling. Next time we will do without the fries and try instead the onion rings.

Do you enjoy eating the layers of a burger?

(This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The Circle of Life

free write friday kellie elmore

(This post was inspired by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday prompt)

The month of October was the anniversary of my father’s death and, as a result, I have been thinking of him. Snippets of memory have come through my mind: conversations we have had, things he used to do, outrageous statements he used to make. Sometimes it is quite difficult for me to grasp the fact that I will never see him again.

Thinking of my dad makes me think of others that I have loved and are no longer of this earth. Thinking of them brings a little sadness into my heart. The memories, however, sometimes make me smile. It feels good to think of them and to know that they are still alive in my thoughts.

Death is an integral part of our life and it is something that we cannot escape. Some try to by refusing to acknowledge the death of loved ones, by not attending funerals, by trying their best to look young. The Fountain of Youth is searched for all the world over: creams are lathered on faces, diets are followed, strenuous exercise routines practised, the surgeon’s knife welcomed.

And yet, the Circle of Life cannot be avoided. There comes a time when leaves fall off a tree, when the butterfly loses its flight, when the flower shrivels, and when a human being exhales the last breath. And when a life is over; somewhere else life is shown with the cry of a newborn infant. The miracle of a new life is admired and celebrated. It is a life that will become a part of the world that embraces it.

I think back to the death of my grandfather: a time of sadness and mourning. And yet that sadness was tempered with joy at the birth of my niece a few days before. We paid respects to our grandfather and yet it seemed fitting that the newborn infant let out a cry of life during the incense-scented mass. 

I look at my own babies now as they move towards adolescence and notice that, even though they are in a different environment to the one I grew up in, they are experiencing many of the same issues I did (the problems with friends and classmates, the homework, the searching for self). I look at myself and see much of what my parents experienced reflected in my life (the responsibility of raising children, the humdrum of housework, the need to guide our children in their decisions). There are differences; and yet there are similarities.

I find comfort in The Circle of Life. If this circle is broken then life will no longer be. 

What are your thoughts on The Circle of Life?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Wicked

Boscastle_S02539

I remember growing up and knowing only one meaning of the word “wicked”. The word made me think of witches with an evil laugh; of dark skies and cackling women flying around on broomsticks. I would also think of the wicked serpent in the Garden of Eden who tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God and take a bite from the apple of Knowledge. Reading the English classics, I would come upon the phrase “wicked boy” and know that the author was describing a naughty child.

Wicked by Jilly CooperA few years ago I read the novel Wicked by Jilly Cooper, a novel that centres around teens and their antics. The naughtiness narrated could not be put into the category of evil – though it could be described as being sinful. The teens labelled activities, an appearance, or a status as wicked (in the same way as the teens I come into contact with these days use the word “cool”). A positive definition that is used in the following song:

What has been your understanding of the term “wicked”?

(This post was inspired by the WordPress daily prompt given in conjunction with NaBloPoMo)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Going Back

(Some time ago Paula, the author of the blog Lost in Translation, published a stunning photo in one of her posts. I told her in the comments that I could imagine a story coming out of it. Her response? She would love to read one. This story is for you Paula. And published for your Thursday Special as I have come to enjoy free writing from photos.)

Photo credit: Lost in Translation.wordpress.com
Photo credit: Lost in Translation.wordpress.com

As I approach the house from the bottom of the hill, a flood of memories overwhelm me. Memories of my childhood. My father. Always so tall and gruff, directing our lives even though he was so often absent from it. The restrictions. The pain. The overwhelming sense of failure. I pull off the road and switch off the car. Staring up at the formidable-looking walls, I breath in deeply. I had left this place as soon as I could. And with no intention of ever coming back. I had felt no guilt at leaving behind my mother, a woman who had lost herself in the shadow of the man she had married. My desire for a life free of restrictions, free of the pressure of the belt on my shoulders, had so motivated me that I had walked down that road willing to shut a door firmly on my past.

Yet now I was back twelve years later. When I had left this place, I had struggled; I had felt hunger and deprivation. And yet I had gloried in a life in which I made my own choices. A life in which I  was free from the giant who had stifled my every move. I feel my chest tightening in response to the thoughts of my childhood. He was on his deathbed and had called to me. Why had I answered his call? I still had not figured out the answer to my question.

Taking a deep breath I turn on the car and drive slowly up the hill. The dark clouds forming in the sky reflect my own turbulent thoughts. I had to remember that I was my own person now and that I was successful in my own right. I had to guard against falling into the traps of the past. Pulling up in front of my childhood home, I notice the front door opening. I see before me the woman of my past. She is dressed the same as she always was, and yet there is a difference. Her head is no longer bowed and, as she walks towards me, I notice that she takes her steps with determination. Gone is the mouse scared of the lion. In its place I see someone who more confident of what her place is.

“Mom.” Thin arms enfold me and I feel the wetness of her cheek. For the first time I realise the pain she must have gone through with my leaving.

“I am so glad you came. It is important you see him before he dies.”

She leads me through the door into the hallways of my past. The air smells musty and the gloom mirrors the complete silence in the house. My footsteps lead me to the door of my father’s bedroom. Steeling myself, I walk in. Adjusting to the gloom, my eyes focus on the man in the bed. No longer is he a giant with a strong hand quick to punish. I see before me, instead, frailty and helplessness. The stroke had robbed him of his fierceness, his independence. Now he relied on the whims of his wife to help him eat and even wash. As his helpless eyes looked at me, I understood my mother’s words. I felt his power over me loosen its hold and slowly ebb away. Now I knew why I had come back.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The Colour of Me (2)

(A few weeks ago I did a post on colour: the colour I enjoy seeing in my life. I mentioned in the comments that I had so many photos to choose from that it was difficult to narrow the choice down. Christy at Poetic Parfait suggested I do another post to show the ones I had set aside. I decided to take her up on her suggestion.)

The colour of flowers always attracts my eye – no matter what colour they are, or where they have been planted.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Tulips in Spring. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The flowers may be swaying in the wind from a garden bed, or moving in the wind with the leaves of a tree.

Lilac tree blossoms. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Lilac tree blossoms. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Walking along the side walks, I often see planters filled with colour.

Spring Hope. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Spring Hope. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

At times the planters are on ground – and at other times they are placed above my head.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012
A planter during the festive season. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

I enjoy as well the colour found in the African art I see displayed in my country of birth.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
An art mural at the Pretoria zoo. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The art can be found on wall murals and also on the small curios that tourists buy to take home as a memory of their trip.

Arrangement at a curio shop. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012
Arrangement at a curio shop. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

When walking the streets in a third world country, you often find sidewalks alive with the colours of hawkers’ wares.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012
A sidewalk hawker in Port Louis, Mauritius. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

At times these wares are wrapped up colourfully and given as gifts to friends and family.

Wrapped with love. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Wrapped with love. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The tastiest colours are definitely the ones we see on our plates. When a plate is filled with a variety of colour, you can be sure that your meal contains a range of nutrients.

Our lunch. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
One of our lunches. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Often the colours found in the main meal are reflected in the colours found on our dessert plate:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A Dessert  Plate. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Or even in the candy that one may reach for as a treat:

Halloween Candy. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Halloween Candy. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The more I look around me, the more I see colour. I am sure to do another post representing the colour of me.

What colours have you seen around you this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

A Tuesday Teaser from Michael Connelly

Last week I picked up the most recent novel by Michael Connelly. Though I had never read one of his books, his name did ring a bell. (I suspect I had read a teaser from one of his novels on a blog post linked to Teaser Tuesdays.) The thriller, The Black Box, appealed to me as I was in the mood for some fast-paced writing. The story did not disappoint as it was action-packed from end to finish.

The teaser I have chosen makes reference to the murder victim in the case Bosch, the protagonist, is working on in the story.

“Maybe it was the accompaniment of Art Pepper’s soulful saxophone, but as he painstakingly translated and read the stories and looked at the pictures, Bosch felt that he somehow grew closer to Anneke Jesperson. Across twenty years she reached forward with her work and tugged at him, and this made his resolve stronger. Twenty years earlier he had apologized to her. This time he promised her. He would find out who took everything away from her.” (p. 206, Hachette Book Group, 2012)

If you enjoy reading well written detective stories, then this tale is for you.

What are you reading this week?

(This post was inspired by Miz. B’s Teaser Tuesdays)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Poopourri

I was watching a music video yesterday when I came across this advert. Not only was the subject matter unusual, but the language and expressions used caused me a few giggles.

I enjoyed this one so much I had to share it with my family; and with all my blogger friends. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

Feel free to share adverts you have come across that caused a little giggle. 

Competition

When we attended a TWD competition, we saw the rows of trophies that the contestants were competing for.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Shining trophies. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

They had been placed against the wall in the corner of the gymnasium. They glittered and shone in the light, attracting the attention of those who dreamed of winning one.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Rows of TKD trophies. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The form of the man on top of the trophy was inspiring. Though I did wonder why there were none with girls on.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Trophies for first and second place. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I asked the distributor of the trophies and he told me that they are beginning to make them. They had brought in a few for this particular competition; but they had finished very quickly.

I was surprised by the size of the trophies for this competition. Children carried their trophies home with pride – I know that my girls did 🙂

Have you received trophies for competing?

(This post was inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt given in conjunction with NaBloPoMo)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

A Daily Reminder

Each day I pass these trophies that have been placed in our living room. They remind me that my girls are growing not only in age, their Taekwondo skills, but also in their self esteem. I am hoping that these trophies are a daily reminder to them that they can do whatever it is that they set their minds to.

The trophies for first place. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
The trophies for first place. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

At times I wish that they could be a daily reminder to them to practice 🙂

What are your daily reminders of special events in your life?

(This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge by WordPress)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013