Jolly rumble

This is a favorite song for the season. May Day is upon us and while others may think about labor unions, for me it is a time to think on summer. Long lazy days on the deck with a cool drink, the company of good friends, my sweetheart beside me. Love the version of the song I posted below too.

…Hal-an-Tow, jolly rumbelow
We were up long before the day-o
To welcome in the summertime
To welcome in the May-o
For summer is coming in
And winter’s gone away…


Tomorrow is the first of May and we will be, indeed, awake long before the day to welcome in the summer. We will turn off the lights and the electronics and light the house with candles.

Last year at this time, the cherry blossoms in the back yard were faintly visible as the sky was backlit with the city lights below the cloud cover. Raven and I sat and held hands as we talked about our days. Conversation wandered gently from observation of the sky to expressing our love and gratitude for each other, enjoying the light of the candles, and being on the cusp of summer. Good times.

I am looking forward to celebrating again this year, though I think french toast with maple syrup and nutmeg eggs would be a good starter. Later on tomorrow  we will picnic in the park and watch some children weave a May pole with brightly colored ribbons. May Day for us is a day to be frivolous, mischievous and to share silliness with friends. It is part of the seasonal wheel that is the cusp of spring/summer.

(Quote above is from the song Hal An Tow.)

Child of Time - Ria Loader

A new book and a new blog

Child of Time - Ria LoaderFebruary 2015 saw the publication of my second story, this time a novella in three parts – Child of Time. It follows the exploits and adventures of the young Mira as she grows into her magic and finds trouble wherever she goes.  

The novella came from some questions from readers of Library of Time who wanted to know more of the back story for our main character. This sequence starts at the beginning when she is five years old, and continues with tales of her life as she is nine and thirteen. There’s even a sneak peek at the next novella, where she has become a mage apprentice who is at odds with her family’s expectations. Other characters like the tricky Jin Rael are introduced for the first time.

If you enjoy stories of magic and wonder, or your children do, then Child of Time is a good young adult read as well. Having braved both ebook and print, it is perhaps time to start thinking about audio books. Child of Time is a good read-out-loud story, so perhaps I will start here. I wonder if there will be interest in the author reading her own work? We will see, or rather hear. I started a new blog last month as a place to focus on thoughts about writing. You can find it at

It makes me so happy to learn more about the world of my characters and to learn to be a better writer. The process of writing is so much about being in the now; the world drops away and the words flow effortlessly to create something that is as new to me as it will be to the reader.

Love is in the air

Raven by Ria

Raven by Ria

Later on this afternoon we are attending a wedding of some great people, Angela and Sean. We started our day, however, reaffirming our love for each other. We snuggled in bed for a late start to the day, made breakfast together, and then talked for a couple of hours about life, the universe and everything. Along the way, we solved a challenge in book two of a series of novels I am writing, and even read amiably while drinking tea and petting the kitties.

And now? I have just baked fresh scones for us to share when Raven comes back from getting a few groceries at the store. Simple stuff of life. Yet rich, comforting, and alive. I am feeling gratitude for the great love we share. It will be good to see friends affirm their own journey into bliss.

Train to Portland for WDS

This weekend I set out on a terrific adventure to WDS, the World Domination Summit, in Portland. Here I am living in Seattle, with a bunch of options to get to the event. I can catch a plane, which is quick, but means standing around in airports. I could drive, but wouldn’t be able to read a book or write along the way. A train seemed like the best choice. It took only 4 hours, and is one of the best ways to see the water on the way down to Portland. The tracks are, in some places, only fifteen to twenty feet from the shore. I traveled business class to ensure I could plug in my laptop (a Surface Pro). There is a piece of fiction I’ve been working on, and the characters were calling for my attention.

On the train

On the train

Views on the way

Views on the way

Arriving at King Street Station, I stood in a modest line, only 5 people, to wait for the conductor. I had my e-ticket in hand. He let me know to go to the ticket office for seat assignment. Another short line, only two this time, later, I had a single seat and a coupon for a three dollar discount at the bistro car. All aboard carriage one, and quickly settled down to enjoy the experience. One of the most relaxing things about trains is the rocking rhythm, together with the speed. We had a few stops along the way to wait for freight trains, but none of them too long. We arrived at Union Station in Portland right on time. A quick ride later had me at the Hotel Modera, close to where the WDS events would be held. Close, I found in Portland, was a relative term. It was about nine blocks, and flat shoes were a good thing to have packed.

Hotel Modera view

Hotel Modera view

The summit was a melange of interesting people, great presentations on the main stage, and meetups that were put together by participants. Those were one of my favorite parts of the event, the people. I met folks from different countries, had a wonderful lunch of fresh seasonal foods, visited the farmer’s market. Best breakfast ever. Fresh biscuits with brown mushroom gravy and a fried egg. Delicious. And there was a bunch of walking. Portland is a city for pedestrians. There’s a lovely green belt on SW Park Street, that ribbons down, cooler than the surrounding streets, to Director Park. That was essential this weekend as the weather turned up the heat to the 90’s. Still, we kept hydrated, met loads of excited entrepreneurs, artists, writers and performers, all making the most of the weather and the chance to swap stories. I went to parties, acquired a temporary tattoo, and ate pie at Petunia’s Pies. On Saturday evening I celebrated the full moon with cocktails at the Nines, meeting some women with wonderful creative projects, and got to brainstorm book ideas with some great folks caring for animals.

Potatoes with beet salad

Potatoes with beet salad

The food in Portland is amazing. Fresh. Seasonal. Well prepared and delicious. Can’t wait to make another train trip with my sweetie to enjoy it again.

I am already planning to go to WDS next year, and am grateful to Lawrence and Sameer for recommending the experience. Also much gratitude to Chris and all the ambassadors for making it a memorable occasion. Thanks guys!

WDS has already been a success for me. I just finished the last 5,000 words of my novel and put it in the hands of my alpha reader today for feedback. Props to the summit for getting me unblocked. Don’t know how 5,000 words happened along with everything else, but am all fired up to continue on to the next book in the series. Now on to the next thing cousins. One step at a time.

Hope everyone else had a great time. I did. Will be reaching out to folks I met and chatted with over the next few days. There is at least one collaboration I’m excited about, and likely more.

lilacs in the garden


The scent of lilacs is heady and euphoric for me. I wandered out into the garden this morning to stretch, breathe and enjoy the color of the bushes. Last week I was standing under the cherry blossoms, and the week before that it was the magnolias, but today, today is for lilacs. For some reason they remind me of my grandmother. Perhaps it is the color, and that rinse that used to be popular for little old ladies. She lived to be 98 years of age, so perhaps lilacs are also a signal, for me, of tenacity.

This morning as I breathed in the color and the scent, I felt particularly grounded. A good way to start and to breathe in the day.

Moment by moment

One of the things 2013 taught me was to live moment by moment, day by day. Early in the year, my beloved of 23 years had heart failure. Each day, we would say “one more day”, but not in a grim way. We would look for something fun, comforting, playful, or funny to focus on. Sometimes, that was cuddling on the couch, or playing with the kitties. One of our lads is just out of kitten days, at 1.5 years old. He likes to play fetch, just like a puppy. He brings me a toy, waiting for me to throw it in the air for him to try to catch. When he catches it, he bats it around for a bit, and brings it right back, jumping up to place it in my hand, or next to me on the couch. This provides us with quite a lot of fun, and can go on for half an hour or so. It always brings a smile, and some lighthearted fun.

We had ups and downs throughout the year, along with moments of success, and those of frustration. However, love kept us going. Even when the doctors got challenging, and one even needed to be fired, we kept coming back to that set point of living for the moment, enjoying simple things like good meals, companionship, and the stars found in each others’ eyes.

Recovering from heart failure


A few months ago, the love of my life experienced heart failure. He was in the ER and the intensive care for a week. Three months later, he’s doing better every day, and making progress, as a friend put it, like a herd of galloping snails. Lovely image that. A bunch of people wished him, as people do, to get well soon, or be well fast. However, the snail metaphor was really the best for the circumstances. It takes a long time to recover from a heart event, and it’s important to set expectations accordingly.

Along the way we’ve found out a bunch of things about diet, especially about the dangers of hidden salt. We have learned to take each small step on the road to recovery as a victory. He is alive. He is feeling better than he has for some time. The quality of life is not measured by how much we can do, but by how much we enjoy the moment.  We are measuring salt and liquid intake, and we are being mindful about food in a new way. Raven is not having any caffeine or tobacco any more. He is measuring many things of the day, including blood pressure, medication, pulse, energy of the moment. I am so proud of him for embracing the changes that have turned our world upside down.

I took a break from blogging for a while to figure out life stuff. We are feeling grateful for the things that are good, regardless of the challenges that are inevitable with health issues. There is love in our lives; we have great friends and extended intentional family; my sister came to visit and help for a month, and we’re coming to terms with the shape of the possible. Will be blogging more with what we find out along the journey.

Burning down the house

21 years ago, in January, our house caught fire in the early hours of the morning. We listened to the dream that woke us, and everyone in the house got out alive, and safe, including the cats. We had time to get downstairs, call 911 before the phone line burned through, and 10 minutes later, where we had been sleeping was ashes. Journals and keepsakes, clothing and possessions gone in an instant.

Sometimes it takes something as radical as this, what we like to call a clue-by-four, to waken us to gratitude for living. I remember my sister on the phone, concerned that everyone was okay. When she heard they were, she brightened and got excited for me. “Now you get to SHOP!” she said. And so I did. There was such an outpouring of support from friends who organized to sift through the rubble with archeological and forensic skills. Treasures were found to carry forward, some of which I keep today as tokens of hope.

My overall realization, thinking back on it is “Shit happens. It’s what you do afterwards that defines you.”

Thankful Thursday

I cannot remember who suggested it first, back when our tribe connected on another social network, but the idea of Thankful Thursdays has stuck with me. The idea is that once a week, on a Thursday, we’d think about the things we’re grateful for in our lives. And then we’d post that for everyone to see. We didn’t do it every week, and it was likely once every month or so for each of us. It was a voluntary acknowledgement of what we were celebrating that week, something like this:

Thankful Thursday

The top 15 things I am grateful for this week

  1. being more in love with my spice/spouse every day
  2. friends who live around the world, and keep in touch by various means
  3. family who support each other, and who are demonstrative, affectionate, eccentric and opinionated
  4. that my sense of curiosity and wonder appears to be intact
  5. our wonderful kitties, Tempus Fugit and Morpheus
  6. a terrific house, with interesting objects and art everywhere I look
  7. flexibility – having a body and brain that are bendy
  8. the thousands of books that share our home
  9. my tribes, communities, extended family and kin
  10. having a great job where I can play with different ideas every week
  11. always having a plan b –  being prepared
  12. embracing happiness and writing about it
  13. making art, making love
  14. abandoning certainty
  15. knowing I am loved and cherished

Try your own list. Make it some random number of things like 3, 5, 7, 10 or some number that is personally meaningful. Go on. You know you want to.


Copyright 2012 R Loader all rights reserved

Nothing but blue skies

It can be tricky to remember, in Seattle, that blue skies will return. Even in the middle of June and summer, we can have more grey days and rain than most places. We have even coined a weather term “sun breaks” to capture the moments when the sun comes out to play. We rush outside, take a break, and relax in the sunshine. This all got me to thinking about how much joy there is in the simple pleasure of enjoying the summer sunshine. Perhaps we can extend memories of summer further into the year, with the notion that somewhere in the world, there are blue skies and sunshine, right now. The metaphor of happiness and the image of sunshine are linked symbols in large parts of modern culture. Add an image of a child playing, banners or kites flying, and we have the visual representations that blend the concepts of pleasure, summer and happiness.

So where am I going with this? I guess this particular musing is about celebrating the possible, enjoying the blue skies when we have them, and reaching for images of summer and blue skies, or whatever metaphor coincides with happiness for you, when they are not immediately present in the moment. It’s also a bit about the connectedness of things, about life being a spectrum of experiences.

Most of the time, I am aware of the opposite side of the planet, and that they enjoy an opposite season; that’s part of growing up in Australia, falling in love, and coming to live in Seattle. When it is summer in Seattle, winter coats are the order of business in Sydney, and vice versa. It isn’t hard to think of this as a real world example of the doctrine of opposites, or as an example of polarity. It is almost like there’s a big yin/yang symbol swirling its way through the center of the earth, connecting us to the opposite side of the globe. Neither side of the balance is entirely one thing or the other; one side of the pivot is not better than the other; the poles are just the far ends of a spectrum. I think happiness can be thought of that way as well. The spectrum of happiness could be said to move all the way from the pleasure of a good yawn, through to the quiet hum of breathing, and at the far end is the dazzling glow of our favorite things.

As I’m looking out at blue skies now, am taking myself out with a blanket to enjoy it.

Copyright 2012 R Loader all rights reserved