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The personal blog of Rilla Jaggia, children's writer. I have the audacity to attempt to write for children without having any of my own. What I do have is one of those dreary multi-cultural backgrounds. I grew up in India and recently moved back to the United States after five years in Sydney, Australia. The resulting crisis of ide
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26. 42 -- The Secret Garden Trip

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Rilla: Excuse me....
rilla: Go Away.
Rilla: Hello! Hi! I'm Rilla...your alter...
rilla: I SAID, Go Away!

Rilla: All right. Be that way. I was going to show you...
rilla: Show me what?
Rilla: Never mind. You told me to go away...so I'm going away.

...
...
Rilla: So much for that. She didn't even look up. All day long it's nothing but editing, writing, editing, writing...she's the most boring company on earth.


But I'm not. I left her at home, and went to see the Huntington Library Botanical Gardens in Pasadena CA, FINALLY.

Shhhh...don't tell her. She's been wanting to go, like, FOREVER.

So...here are a few pictures I took. Even if she's too busy to look, you want to see them, right?





Window onto the Chinese Garden

Lions welcome friend and family to the Japanese Zen Garden


Lotus bud in the Chinese Garden


Ah, the serene beauty of a Japanese Garden.


Peace, tranquility = Writing Retreat. Like rilla is listening, sigh.


One of my favorites, Bonsai Magic.


Okay, I lied, THREE of my favorites.



The sign beside this elegant graffiti says "No carving or writing on bamboo." I rather think it's beautiful.


And a lovely time was had by all!


Rilla: Oh no! She's stirring...coming this way...yikes...can't hide anyth...
rilla: You did WHAT? The Hungtington...WITHOUT me?
Rilla: Well, I...TRIED, OK?
rilla: Sigh! Those pictures are beautiful.
Rilla: ...
rilla: Maybe it IS time I stopped to enjoy the flowers...


rilla: ...or the serenity of a lotus pond.


Rilla: Yeah! Maybe you should too.

0 Comments on 42 -- The Secret Garden Trip as of 8/22/2009 6:01:00 PM
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27. 42 -- The Secret Garden Trip

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- IntroductionRilla: Excuse me....rilla: Go Away.Rilla: Hello! Hi! I'm Rilla...your alter...rilla: I SAID, Go Away!Rilla: All right. Be that way. I was going to show you...rilla: Show me what?Rilla: Never mind. You told

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28. 41 -- Conference Come and Gone

Another SCBWI summer conference is over, sigh. The good news is that as always I came away with so much -- enthusiasm, energy, motivation, excitement and...

QUOTES:

Sherman Alexie-- Kids all of all classes and backgrounds feel the same way--Trapped. They send out the same message--My choices are being made for me.



David Wiesner attempts to put the familiar into a different context.

Kadir Nelson -- A good book is one that speaks, to a personal truth that is also a universal truth, with honesty, telling the story in an exceptional way.

Eve Bunting -- Ask of your books Is this worth saying?

Karen Cushman -- I write because I could not dance. Give power to thoughts. By putting words in the right order you can nudge the world a little.



Krista Marino -- Never mistake voice for dialogue. You must frame the story through the protagonist's experience.



Holly Black -- Fantasy actualizes metaphor What distinguishes fantasy from horror is the sense of awe that accompanies the fear.

Frank Portman -- Who needs happiness, I'd rather have you!"

Dinah Stevenson -- Craft is what makes the writer's ideas both digestible and delicious. The four C's are: Creativity (Leave the city of your comfort and center the wilderness of your intuition--Alan Alda) Craft, Community, and Chocolate :)

Kathleen Duey -- If Captain Underpants can protect a child from listening to her parents fight--it is literature.

FRIENDS!




Stephanie and Me at the Blue Moon Ball


Stephanie Roommate, Stephanie Roth Sisson, Award-winning illustrator extraordinaire and ex-roommate, Fred Sisson, Stephanie's new roommate.



Elizabeth Byrd and Julia Collard


Debbie Ridpath Ohi and Me.



The Unique Lisa Yee and Dan Santat...Oh and Peep in a Taco.




5 Comments on 41 -- Conference Come and Gone, last added: 8/14/2009
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29. 41 -- Conference Come and Gone

Another SCBWI summer conference is over, sigh. The good news is that as always I came away with so much -- enthusiasm, energy, motivation, excitement and...

QUOTES:

Sherman Alexie-- Kids all of all classes and backgrounds feel the same way--Trapped. They send out the same message--My choices are being made for me.



David Wiesner attempts to put the familiar into a different context.

Kadir Nelson -- A good book is one that speaks, to a personal truth that is also a universal truth, with honesty, telling the story in an exceptional way.

Eve Bunting -- Ask of your books Is this worth saying?

Karen Cushman -- I write because I could not dance. Give power to thoughts. By putting words in the right order you can nudge the world a little.



Krista Marino -- Never mistake voice for dialogue. You must frame the story through the protagonist's experience.



Holly Black -- Fantasy actualizes metaphor What distinguishes fantasy from horror is the sense of awe that accompanies the fear.

Frank Portman -- Who needs happiness, I'd rather have you!"

Dinah Stevenson -- Craft is what makes the writer's ideas both digestible and delicious. The four C's are: Creativity (Leave the city of your comfort and center the wilderness of your intuition--Alan Alda) Craft, Community, and Chocolate :)

Kathleen Duey -- If Captain Underpants can protect a child from listening to her parents fight--it is literature.

FRIENDS!




Stephanie and Me at the Blue Moon Ball


Stephanie Roommate, Stephanie Roth Sisson, Award-winning illustrator extraordinaire and ex-roommate, Fred Sisson, Stephanie's new roommate.



Elizabeth Byrd and Julia Collard


Debbie Ridpath Ohi and Me.



The Unique Lisa Yee and Dan Santat...Oh and Peep in a Taco.




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30. 40 -- Grim Dreams of Success

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

rilla: Weird. Last night I dreamed we invited Neil Gaiman to dinner.
Rilla: Neil who?
No...really. Who is Neil, and why would we want him over for dinner?
rilla: You don't know who Neil Gaiman is? He wrote The Graveyard Book.
Rilla: So it was a nightmare you were having? What is he, some kind of Grim Reaper?
rilla: No! He's the winner of the Newbery Medal.
Rilla: I see. If you can't win a medal yourself, you dream about those who do?

rilla: Moving on. So. I'm rummaging around in the pantry frantically looking for something to cook for dinner.
Rilla: Bet you didn't find anything in there.
rilla: Well, yeah. I mean, no. That's where the nightmare part comes in.
Rilla: Nightmare? That's not a dream. That's just every day. Go check...right now. Nothing in there but birdseed, until you stop dreaming about awards and sell a book so we can put some real food on the table.
rilla: Could be worse. At least birdseed is balanced and nutritious.
Rilla: That's nuts.
rilla: No, it's seeds. There's a difference.
Rilla: Oh, what's the point. We'll all be part of some graveyard book if you keep this up.
rilla: Actually, there is some good news.

Rilla: Oh? Don't keep me waiting.
rilla: Well, I was asked to write an endorsement for this great book that's coming out in August.
Rilla: Endorsement? I thought you were going to say you were asked to write a book.
rilla: Yes! You Can Learn How To Write Children's Books, Get Them Published, and Build a $uccessful Writing Career by Nancy Sanders.

Rilla: I'm glad somebody knows how to do that.
rilla: Well that's the point! The book teaches everyone how to do it! Everyone who wants to write for a career, that is. It's got hands-on tips to set goals, organize objectives, target publishers, and land contracts before you write the book.
Rilla: Sounds like a dream. I'm all for any ticket out of birdseed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
rilla: I feel as if it's given me focus and a plan.
Rilla: Focus? Focus? What the dickens do you focus on all those hours spent in front of the computer?
rilla: OK. I'm focused but I'm not organized. I spend 95% of my time writing and only 5% tyring to sell what I write, or write what will sell.
Rilla: Now she tells me!
rilla: This book talks about organizing each day, week, and month on the basis of career goals you set for the year. Basically, Nancy provides solid, practical advice on how to get published, make an income, and write for fulfilment.
Rilla: I sure hope you focused on the making an income bits.

rilla: You know what you need? A big dose of RELAX.
Rilla: Great. Maybe I should just curl up in a chair and read a book.
rilla: What a wonderful idea.
Rilla: Any suggestions?
rilla: Yes! The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
Rilla: OK. Just as long as you take the advice from that other book seriously.
rilla: Oh, yes. I've already started implementing some of the suggestions. I've created a new work schedule, starting 6:30 tomorrow!
Rilla: 6:30? I know you like to burn the midnight oil and all, but seriously, 6:30? Isn't that a bit late? Even for you?
rilla: 6:30 AM, bird-brain.
Rilla: You want me to wake up at 6:30 AM? And eat birdseed for breakfast? Groan. Skip the book. Just send me to the Graveyard, now.


Rilla: Shh. Don't tell rilla. I've decided to help her out with this writing career bit. I just designed a new website for her and her alone! Go check it out and tell me what you think of it -- www.rillajaggia.com. But, not a word to her...promise?




4 Comments on 40 -- Grim Dreams of Success, last added: 5/11/2009
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31. 40 -- Grim Dreams of Success

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

rilla: Weird. Last night I dreamed we invited Neil Gaiman to dinner.
Rilla: Neil who?
No...really. Who is Neil, and why would we want him over for dinner?
rilla: You don't know who Neil Gaiman is? He wrote The Graveyard Book.
Rilla: So it was a nightmare you were having? What is he, some kind of Grim Reaper?
rilla: No! He's the winner of the Newbery Medal.
Rilla: I see. If you can't win a medal yourself, you dream about those who do?

rilla: Moving on. So. I'm rummaging around in the pantry frantically looking for something to cook for dinner.
Rilla: Bet you didn't find anything in there.
rilla: Well, yeah. I mean, no. That's where the nightmare part comes in.
Rilla: Nightmare? That's not a dream. That's just every day. Go check...right now. Nothing in there but birdseed, until you stop dreaming about awards and sell a book so we can put some real food on the table.
rilla: Could be worse. At least birdseed is balanced and nutritious.
Rilla: That's nuts.
rilla: No, it's seeds. There's a difference.
Rilla: Oh, what's the point. We'll all be part of some graveyard book if you keep this up.
rilla: Actually, there is some good news.

Rilla: Oh? Don't keep me waiting.
rilla: Well, I was asked to write an endorsement for this great book that's coming out in August.
Rilla: Endorsement? I thought you were going to say you were asked to write a book.
rilla: Yes! You Can Learn How To Write Children's Books, Get Them Published, and Build a $uccessful Writing Career by Nancy Sanders.

Rilla: I'm glad somebody knows how to do that.
rilla: Well that's the point! The book teaches everyone how to do it! Everyone who wants to write for a career, that is. It's got hands-on tips to set goals, organize objectives, target publishers, and land contracts before you write the book.
Rilla: Sounds like a dream. I'm all for any ticket out of birdseed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
rilla: I feel as if it's given me focus and a plan.
Rilla: Focus? Focus? What the dickens do you focus on all those hours spent in front of the computer?
rilla: OK. I'm focused but I'm not organized. I spend 95% of my time writing and only 5% tyring to sell what I write, or write what will sell.
Rilla: Now she tells me!
rilla: This book talks about organizing each day, week, and month on the basis of career goals you set for the year. Basically, Nancy provides solid, practical advice on how to get published, make an income, and write for fulfilment.
Rilla: I sure hope you focused on the making an income bits.

rilla: You know what you need? A big dose of RELAX.
Rilla: Great. Maybe I should just curl up in a chair and read a book.
rilla: What a wonderful idea.
Rilla: Any suggestions?
rilla: Yes! The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
Rilla: OK. Just as long as you take the advice from that other book seriously.
rilla: Oh, yes. I've already started implementing some of the suggestions. I've created a new work schedule, starting 6:30 tomorrow!
Rilla: 6:30? I know you like to burn the midnight oil and all, but seriously, 6:30? Isn't that a bit late? Even for you?
rilla: 6:30 AM, as in the MORNING, bird-brain.
Rilla: You want me to wake up at 6:30 AM? And eat birdseed for breakfast? Groan.
rilla: Technically, the early bird gets the worm...not the birdseed.
Rilla: Yuck! Skip the book. Just send me to the Graveyard, now.


Rilla: Shh. Don't tell rilla. I've decided to help her out with this writing career bit. I just designed a new website for her and her alone! Go check it out and tell me what you think of it -- www.rillajaggia.com. But, not a word to her...promise?




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32. 39 -- I Know It Isn't Over

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Don't forget to vote on your favorite book cover seen at the end of this post, when you comment. Thanks!

Rilla: What are you doing?
rilla: Writing a book review.
Rilla: But...you can barely see.
rilla: I know.
Rilla: Not doing too well on the breathing front either.
rilla: Think I can't tell?
Rilla: You sick or something?
rilla: No...I'm trying to write a book review...do you mind?
Rilla: It might be easier if you waited until you've recovered from whatever...

rilla: Not something you recover from in a long while.
Rilla: OK, now you're scaring me. What do you have? What is it you don't recover from in a long while?
rilla: A good book.
Rilla: What?
rilla: A powerfully written book that doesn't tiptoe around emotions but deals with them head on in an honest, real way.
Rilla: What the hell are you on about?
rilla: The book I just finished!
Rilla: OK. OK, I'm slightly relieved your problem is not terminal...but...how about at least telling me WHICH book?
rilla: Oh. Didn't I mention that?
Rilla: Good Grief. There's a transcript here of the dialogue we've just had...take a look at it if you don't believe me...now WHICH BOOK IS IT?
rilla: Oh. I guess you're right. OK. Stop rolling the eyes. I'm still trying to get my breath back.
Rilla: Sound of foot tapping on floor.
rilla: Don't be ridiculous, the floor's carpeted. I can't hear a thing.
Rilla: Sound of fingers drumming on desk.
rilla: OK, OK. Here it is. It's called I Know It's Over and it's by C.K. Kelly Martin.



Rilla: Finally. Some progress. Well.
rilla: Well what?
Rilla: WHAT'S IT ABOUT? I thought this was supposed to be a book review.
rilla: Maybe I should wait until my head stops spinning.

Rilla: That bad, huh?
rilla: Yeah. That bad...no...I mean...good. I think. I mean what do you do when you curl up with a book in your favorite chair to be all cozy and comfortable and then all of a sudden, you're glued to the chair, only the chair isn't there any more, neither is the room, the only thing there is a glass of wine burning its way down as you read about a sixteen year old boy, who...
Rilla: Yeah, who...what? Don't stop, now that we're finally getting somewhere.
rilla: Wait a minute. OK. Yeah, his name's Nick and he lives, I don't know, in some frozen corner of Canada and...
Rilla: and...?
rilla: And right at the beginning of the book, he's broken up with his girlfriend...no...actually...she's broken up with him.
Rilla: And...? What's so special about that?

rilla: Well, it's Christmas Eve and he's off to spend it with his Dad, see his Dad and Mom have recently had a divorce and he's just recovering from that.
Rilla: Uh-huh.
rilla: And his ex-girlfriend stops by all friendly like...just to tell him.
Rilla: Tell him? Tell him what?
rilla: That she's pregnant.
Rilla: Oh.
rilla: Yeah, and he's this really good-looking ultra jock ice-hockey champion type and he acts all like...
Rilla: Let me guess...a jock jerk.
rilla: Well, that's what you think at first.
Rilla: But he's not.
rilla: No. He takes you back in time to how he meets her and you start to realize...
Rilla: It's just an act?
rilla: No, it's not an act. What you get to see is Nick from the inside. Nick, reeling, Nick, dealing...Nick feeling all this pain and confusion and you go on this roller coaster ride, because you are no longer you, you are Nick and you are feeling and dealing and seeing through Nick's eyes. And you're sixteen and...
Rilla: And...?
rilla: And I can't breathe. Just go read the book for yourself...OK?


Don't just take my word for it, I Know It's Over received starred reviews in both Kirkus Reviews as well as Publisher's Weekly.
To read more reviews, click here.

To find I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin, Click Here.

Brand New Paperback Edition Cover coming soon to a store near you! There's a reason why there is a new cover to the book. What do you think? Which cover do you prefer? In your comment below, vote on this new one for the paperback coming out, or...



...this one from the original hardcover and include your reasons for your choice. Thanks! This should be interesting.



To read the author's blog, Click here.



0 Comments on 39 -- I Know It Isn't Over as of 1/1/1900
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33. 39 -- I Know It Isn't Over

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Don't forget to vote on your favorite book cover seen at the end of this post, when you comment. Thanks!

Rilla: What are you doing?
rilla: Writing a book review.
Rilla: But...you can barely see.
rilla: I know.
Rilla: Not doing too well on the breathing front either.
rilla: Think I can't tell?
Rilla: You sick or something?
rilla: No...I'm trying to write a book review...do you mind?
Rilla: It might be easier if you waited until you've recovered from whatever...

rilla: Not something you recover from in a long while.
Rilla: OK, now you're scaring me. What do you have? What is it you don't recover from in a long while?
rilla: A good book.
Rilla: What?
rilla: A powerfully written book that doesn't tiptoe around emotions but deals with them head on in an honest, real way.
Rilla: What the hell are you on about?
rilla: The book I just finished!
Rilla: OK. OK, I'm slightly relieved your problem is not terminal...but...how about at least telling me WHICH book?
rilla: Oh. Didn't I mention that?
Rilla: Good Grief. There's a transcript here of the dialogue we've just had...take a look at it if you don't believe me...now WHICH BOOK IS IT?
rilla: Oh. I guess you're right. OK. Stop rolling the eyes. I'm still trying to get my breath back.
Rilla: Sound of foot tapping on floor.
rilla: Don't be ridiculous, the floor's carpeted. I can't hear a thing.
Rilla: Sound of fingers drumming on desk.
rilla: OK, OK. Here it is. It's called I Know It's Over and it's by C.K. Kelly Martin.



Rilla: Finally. Some progress. Well.
rilla: Well what?
Rilla: WHAT'S IT ABOUT? I thought this was supposed to be a book review.
rilla: Maybe I should wait until my head stops spinning.

Rilla: That bad, huh?
rilla: Yeah. That bad...no...I mean...good. I think. I mean what do you do when you curl up with a book in your favorite chair to be all cozy and comfortable and then all of a sudden, you're glued to the chair, only the chair isn't there any more, neither is the room, the only thing there is a glass of wine burning its way down as you read about a sixteen year old boy, who...
Rilla: Yeah, who...what? Don't stop, now that we're finally getting somewhere.
rilla: Wait a minute. OK. Yeah, his name's Nick and he lives, I don't know, in some frozen corner of Canada and...
Rilla: and...?
rilla: And right at the beginning of the book, he's broken up with his girlfriend...no...actually...she's broken up with him.
Rilla: And...? What's so special about that?

rilla: Well, it's Christmas Eve and he's off to spend it with his Dad, see his Dad and Mom have recently had a divorce and he's just recovering from that.
Rilla: Uh-huh.
rilla: And his ex-girlfriend stops by all friendly like...just to tell him.
Rilla: Tell him? Tell him what?
rilla: That she's pregnant.
Rilla: Oh.
rilla: Yeah, and he's this really good-looking ultra jock ice-hockey champion type and he acts all like...
Rilla: Let me guess...a jock jerk.
rilla: Well, that's what you think at first.
Rilla: But he's not.
rilla: No. He takes you back in time to how he meets her and you start to realize...
Rilla: It's just an act?
rilla: No, it's not an act. What you get to see is Nick from the inside. Nick, reeling, Nick, dealing...Nick feeling all this pain and confusion and you go on this roller coaster ride, because you are no longer you, you are Nick and you are feeling and dealing and seeing through Nick's eyes. And you're sixteen and...
Rilla: And...?
rilla: And I can't breathe. Just go read the book for yourself...OK?


Don't just take my word for it, I Know It's Over received starred reviews in both Kirkus Reviews as well as Publisher's Weekly.
To read more reviews, click here.

To find I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin, Click Here.

Brand New Paperback Edition Cover coming soon to a store near you! There's a reason why there is a new cover to the book. What do you think? Which cover do you prefer? In your comment below, vote on this new one for the paperback coming out, or...



...this one from the original hardcover and include your reasons for your choice. Thanks! This should be interesting.



To read the author's blog, Click here.



0 Comments on 39 -- I Know It Isn't Over as of 1/1/1900
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34. 38 -- Starving for Sydneyside Summer

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Rilla: Yes!
rilla: Sorry?
Rilla: I'm so glad you asked.
rilla: About what?
Rilla: If I had a fabulous time in Sydney. I did!
rilla: I didn't ask.
Rilla: Oh.
rilla: I didn't even know you'd been to Sydney.
Rilla: What?

rilla: When did you go to Sydney?
Rilla: In December! You don't remember? Nothing at all? How about the incredible food?




Rilla: Or, going on our favorite hike in the Blue Mountains...




Rilla:...down the Charles Darwin walk...



Rilla:...to Wentworth Falls?




Rilla: No? Then how about the incredible food?



Rilla: And the cold blustery day we revisited the Three Sisters...



Rilla: ...and Fitzroy Falls?



Rilla: Still drawing a blank? Then what about drinks with friends...



Rilla: ...the fabulous port?



Rilla: Seeing our old apartment in Pyrmont?



Rilla: Hmm...OK. Let's see. Huh! You really don't remember the incredible food?



Rilla: Or seeing the Opera House and wishing we had time to take a ride on the Manly ferry again?



Rilla: Visiting friends and their beautiful homes and gardens...



Rilla: ...and families?




Rilla: ...even when they fought over our shoes?




Rilla: ...not even the incredible home-made food?





Rilla: Nothing? You're hopeless.
rilla: That was a lot of food!
Rilla: Yeah! My diet went for a six.
rilla: You're on a diet?
Rilla: We were discussing Sydney.
rilla: And your diet.
Rilla: No. We were talking about food and friends...
rilla: YES! I do remember having dinner with someone special.
Rilla: So it's not alzheimer's yet...
rilla: It was great. We had dinner down by the toaster. She is the...the...hmm...the...
Rilla: It is alzheimers, after all.
rilla: I have it. She is the West Sydney Children's Officer.
Rilla: What were you doing having dinner with the police?
rilla: No, no, no. She is the Western Sydney Young People's Officer.
Rilla: Armed forces?
rilla: NO! Why can't I get this right? Judith, help me out here.



Rilla: Judith?
rilla: Yes, that's me with Judith and Harriet. We spent the whole evening discussing...that's it...Judith is the Western Sydney Young People's Literature Officer.

Rilla: Literature Officer? As in censorship...?
rilla: Good Grief, NO! She...she...what do you do, Judith? Hey! Maybe, Judith can tell us what she does if we interview her on this blog.
Rilla: Sounds like a plan to me. Nothing like keeping a blog and getting someone else do the wor-writing! Maybe we can have dinner with her too.
rilla: You still on that diet?
Rilla: What diet? Why would you insist...?
rilla: You seem to be inordinately stuck on the notion of food.
Rilla: I'm fine. I really am.

rilla: You sure you've had enough to eat?
Rilla: Of course, I have!
rilla: Yeah? Then why's this keyboard dripping wet?






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35. 38 -- Starving for Sydneyside Summer

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Rilla: Yes!
rilla: Sorry?
Rilla: I'm so glad you asked.
rilla: About what?
Rilla: If I had a fabulous time in Sydney. I did!
rilla: I didn't ask.
Rilla: Oh.
rilla: I didn't even know you'd been to Sydney.
Rilla: What?

rilla: When did you go to Sydney?
Rilla: In December! You don't remember? Nothing at all? How about the incredible food?




Rilla: Or, going on our favorite hike in the Blue Mountains...




Rilla:...down the Charles Darwin walk...



Rilla:...to Wentworth Falls?




Rilla: No? Then how about the incredible food?



Rilla: And the cold blustery day we revisited the Three Sisters...



Rilla: ...and Fitzroy Falls?



Rilla: Still drawing a blank? Then what about drinks with friends...



Rilla: ...the fabulous port?



Rilla: Seeing our old apartment in Pyrmont?



Rilla: Hmm...OK. Let's see. Huh! You really don't remember the incredible food?



Rilla: Or seeing the Opera House and wishing we had time to take a ride on the Manly ferry again?



Rilla: Visiting friends and their beautiful homes and gardens...



Rilla: ...and families?




Rilla: ...even when they fought over our shoes?




Rilla: ...not even the incredible home-made food?





Rilla: Nothing? You're hopeless.
rilla: That was a lot of food!
Rilla: Yeah! My diet went for a six.
rilla: You're on a diet?
Rilla: We were discussing Sydney.
rilla: And your diet.
Rilla: No. We were talking about food and friends...
rilla: YES! I do remember having dinner with someone special.
Rilla: So it's not alzheimer's yet...
rilla: It was great. We had dinner down by the toaster. She is the...the...hmm...the...
Rilla: It is alzheimers, after all.
rilla: I have it. She is the West Sydney Children's Officer.
Rilla: What were you doing having dinner with the police?
rilla: No, no, no. She is the Western Sydney Young People's Officer.
Rilla: Armed forces?
rilla: NO! Why can't I get this right? Judith, help me out here.



Rilla: Judith?
rilla: Yes, that's me with Judith and Harriet. We spent the whole evening discussing...that's it...Judith is the Western Sydney Young People's Literature Officer.

Rilla: Literature Officer? As in censorship...?
rilla: Good Grief, NO! She...she...what do you do, Judith? Hey! Maybe, Judith can tell us what she does if we interview her on this blog.
Rilla: Sounds like a plan to me. Nothing like keeping a blog and getting someone else do the wor-writing! Maybe we can have dinner with her too.
rilla: You still on that diet?
Rilla: What diet? Why would you insist...?
rilla: You seem to be inordinately stuck on the notion of food.
Rilla: I'm fine. I really am.

rilla: You sure you've had enough to eat?
Rilla: Of course, I have!
rilla: Yeah? Then why's this keyboard dripping wet?






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36. 37 -- Blog Block Sale

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Rilla: Do it.
rilla: ...
Rilla: DO it!
rilla: ...
Rilla: Just write one word!
rilla: Word.
Rilla: THERE! You did it!
rilla: Now what?
Rilla: Now you're over your blogger's block. You have officially created a new post.

rilla: Just like that? With one word? Word? That's boring.
Rilla: no, No, NO! Now you keep going.
rilla: With what? I just gave away my one word.
Rilla: Haven't you done anything interesting recently?
rilla: OK. Yes. I have.
Rilla: And?
rilla: Yes, I said. I have done something interesting.
Rilla: Some day I'm going to...WHAT have you done that's interesting?
rilla: Oh! Yes. I was just appointed to be the editor of Kite Tales. I'm very excited.
Rilla: Kite Tales?
rilla: You don't know Kite Tales? It's the regional newsletter covering Southern California. It's for the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI SoCal) events occurring here.
Rilla: GREAT! Money at last! About time this writing gambit of yours helped pay the bills. I did have my doubts...
rilla: Ahem.
Rilla: Pardon?
rilla: Nothing...just a frog in my throat.
Rilla: So. When does it arrive?
rilla: The first issue I'm working on is for the the 1st of April.
Rilla: No, no. Who cares about the first issue.
rilla: Who cares about...?

Rilla: The PAY CHECK! When does that arrive?
rilla: Oh, that.
Rilla: Well?
rilla: It doesn't.
Rilla: Pardon?
rilla: You say that a lot, don't you?
Rilla: What about that pay check?

rilla: The position doesn't pay.
Rilla: WHAT? Don't tell me you're about to use the 'v' word!
rilla: I'm a volunteer.
Rilla: Aaarrrgh! The 'v' word. Do you know what the bills do when they hear that word...they stand up and dance...they stick out their tongues and....
rilla: Hey! You did it!
Rilla: Did it?
rilla: You got rid of my blogger's block!
Rilla: THAT'S IT! This blog is up for sale.







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37. 37 -- Blog Block Sale

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Rilla: Do it.
rilla: ...
Rilla: DO it!
rilla: ...
Rilla: Just write one word!
rilla: Word.
Rilla: THERE! You did it!
rilla: Now what?
Rilla: Now you're over your blogger's block. You have officially created a new post.

rilla: Just like that? With one word? Word? That's boring.
Rilla: no, No, NO! Now you keep going.
rilla: With what? I just gave away my one word.
Rilla: Haven't you done anything interesting recently?
rilla: OK. Yes. I have.
Rilla: And?
rilla: Yes, I said. I have done something interesting.
Rilla: Some day I'm going to...WHAT have you done that's interesting?
rilla: Oh! Yes. I was just appointed to be the editor of Kite Tales. I'm very excited.
Rilla: Kite Tales?
rilla: You don't know Kite Tales? It's the regional newsletter covering Southern California. It's for the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI SoCal) events occurring here.
Rilla: GREAT! Money at last! About time this writing gambit of yours helped pay the bills. I did have my doubts...
rilla: Ahem.
Rilla: Pardon?
rilla: Nothing...just a frog in my throat.
Rilla: So. When does it arrive?
rilla: The first issue I'm working on is for the the 1st of April.
Rilla: No, no. Who cares about the first issue.
rilla: Who cares about...?

Rilla: The PAY CHECK! When does that arrive?
rilla: Oh, that.
Rilla: Well?
rilla: It doesn't.
Rilla: Pardon?
rilla: You say that a lot, don't you?
Rilla: What about that pay check?

rilla: The position doesn't pay.
Rilla: WHAT? Don't tell me you're about to use the 'v' word!
rilla: I'm a volunteer.
Rilla: Aaarrrgh! The 'v' word. Do you know what the bills do when they hear that word...they stand up and dance...they stick out their tongues and....
rilla: Hey! You did it!
Rilla: Did it?
rilla: You got rid of my blogger's block!
Rilla: THAT'S IT! This blog is up for sale.







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38. 36 -- Wake Up Call

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

rilla: Wake up!
Rilla: Huh?
rilla: Wake up, I said!
Rilla: Huh? What, where?
rilla: WAKE UP, RIGHT NOW, YOU NINNY!
Rilla: OK, all right. I’m up, keep the beard on.
rilla: Who do you think you are, Rip Van Winkle?
Rilla: Rip…what do you mean? What’s up?
rilla: Look at this--do you see the date on your last blog post? It was written pre-Christmas of last year! You’ve been asleep on the job, Rippy!
Rilla: Rippy! How dare you. How about you? You’ve had no compunctions in the past about sneaking in and writing a post or two on your own. Where’ve you been?
rilla: Oh! Umm…uh…busy, that’s it, I’ve been busy. Yes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Rilla: Story is right. That’s all you’re good for—stories. Still trying to make a go out of writing them?
rilla: Umm…yeah! What else is there?
Rilla: Having any luck? Or are we to eat cat food for the rest of our lives.
rilla: Well, since Christmas, I did sell a story to Highlights for Children.
Rilla: Yay, yippee, doo doo. That means we can buy groceries for a week!
rilla: I have an agent interested in my YA contemporary novel….
Rilla: Interested? What’s that a euphemism for?
rilla: Interested enough to be willing to send me detailed editorial comments to help with my revision….
Rilla: Wait a minute, all these years I’ve been sitting around waiting for you to get published and fork in the Rowlingesque fortune and you’re only writing such garbage it still needs to be edited?
rilla: Everything needs to be edited! That’s supposed to be the GOOD news. That someone’s willing to work on an edit with me, you ninny! And who ever heard of a ‘Rowlingesque fortune’ coming in just because I happen to write for children? Wake up already and smell that damn coffee.
Rilla: What coffee? We can't afford coffee anymore.
rilla: Urrgh! There’s no getting through to you. What’ve you been upto?
Rilla: You mean other than paying bills?
rilla: Unh hunh. You’re so big with that camera of yours. Don’t you have any pictures to share?
Rilla: Haven’t been taking pictures lately.
rilla: Why not? That gadget is normally attached to your right palm.
Rilla: Haven’t felt like it. Haven’t felt like doing anything lately. As a matter of fact, I’ve been sleeping a lot. Get to dream nice dreams at least. Until you came clumping along and shattering them for me. Leave me alone. I want to go back to my sweet dreams. What will it take to make you go away.
rilla: I’ll go away if you show me some pictures.
Rilla: Anything?
rilla: Anything.
Rilla: Is it a deal?
rilla: Deal!
Rilla: OK, here goes then…





rilla: Very cute, but I get the idea you’re trying to tell me something.
Rilla: Yes. Go Away!
rilla: Is this some kind of passive aggressive hidden meaning type of behavior?

Rilla: Snnorrre….




rilla: You’re going back to sleep again? For real?




rilla: All right. I get the message. Well, if you can’t beat ‘em…join…snorrrrrre….




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39. 36 -- Wake Up Call

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

rilla: Wake up!
Rilla: Huh?
rilla: Wake up, I said!
Rilla: Huh? What, where?
rilla: WAKE UP, RIGHT NOW, YOU NINNY!
Rilla: OK, all right. I’m up, keep the beard on.
rilla: Who do you think you are, Rip Van Winkle?
Rilla: Rip…what do you mean? What’s up?
rilla: Look at this--do you see the date on your last blog post? It was written pre-Christmas of last year! You’ve been asleep on the job, Rippy!
Rilla: Rippy! How dare you. How about you? You’ve had no compunctions in the past about sneaking in and writing a post or two on your own. Where’ve you been?
rilla: Oh! Umm…uh…busy, that’s it, I’ve been busy. Yes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Rilla: Story is right. That’s all you’re good for—stories. Still trying to make a go out of writing them?
rilla: Umm…yeah! What else is there?
Rilla: Having any luck? Or are we to eat cat food for the rest of our lives.
rilla: Well, since Christmas, I did sell a story to Highlights for Children.
Rilla: Yay, yippee, doo doo. That means we can buy groceries for a week!
rilla: I have an agent interested in my YA contemporary novel….
Rilla: Interested? What’s that a euphemism for?
rilla: Interested enough to be willing to send me detailed editorial comments to help with my revision….
Rilla: Wait a minute, all these years I’ve been sitting around waiting for you to get published and fork in the Rowlingesque fortune and you’re only writing such garbage it still needs to be edited?
rilla: Everything needs to be edited! That’s supposed to be the GOOD news. That someone’s willing to work on an edit with me, you ninny! And who ever heard of a ‘Rowlingesque fortune’ coming in just because I happen to write for children? Wake up already and smell that damn coffee.
Rilla: What coffee? We can't afford coffee anymore.
rilla: Urrgh! There’s no getting through to you. What’ve you been upto?
Rilla: You mean other than paying bills?
rilla: Unh hunh. You’re so big with that camera of yours. Don’t you have any pictures to share?
Rilla: Haven’t been taking pictures lately.
rilla: Why not? That gadget is normally attached to your right palm.
Rilla: Haven’t felt like it. Haven’t felt like doing anything lately. As a matter of fact, I’ve been sleeping a lot. Get to dream nice dreams at least. Until you came clumping along and shattering them for me. Leave me alone. I want to go back to my sweet dreams. What will it take to make you go away.
rilla: I’ll go away if you show me some pictures.
Rilla: Anything?
rilla: Anything.
Rilla: Is it a deal?
rilla: Deal!
Rilla: OK, here goes then…





rilla: Very cute, but I get the idea you’re trying to tell me something.
Rilla: Yes. Go Away!
rilla: Is this some kind of passive aggressive hidden meaning type of behavior?

Rilla: Snnorrre….




rilla: You’re going back to sleep again? For real?




rilla: All right. I get the message. Well, if you can’t beat ‘em…join…snorrrrrre….




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40. 35 -- Smile, You're On Candid Camera!

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction


Rilla: Humph! No people in my pictures! That’s what rilla says. Does she even look at my pictures? LOOK at all these people I photographed while we were in India. There are so many everyday images I captured, so many expressions... like the shy smile of the dishwasher halfway up the mountain to the fort...


rilla: Rilla doesn't know I'm here... look at her getting all huffy at me when she thinks I'm not around. Shy smile indeed... such cheek to sneak in here and write this blog without me.
Rilla: ...and the skill of the women balancing humongous pots of water on their heads. What a feat. Can you imagine if that skanky rilla had to carry all the water she used everyday on top of her head... hah!


rilla: Me? What about her? Doesn't even want two different handles for hot and cold on the faucet... no... it's got to be a mixer... that's how lazy she is.
Rilla: And look at this old lady! Will I be able to carry such a burden when I'm her age and cross the street. Heck no, I can't even cross the street in India now!


rilla: Chicken!
Rilla: The perplexed look on this elegantly dressed gentleman... hey, she's taking a picture of me, should I smile or look wise? Seems like he did both, to end up with that perfect Mona Lisa smile!


Rilla: Oooh... this poor lad just got caught without his helmet! Oops. The cop's taken away his license! How's he going to wangle his way out of that one? Should have known better dude! Cost you a couple of hundred at least!



Rilla: Ooh la la! Now that's style. Look at 'em high heels go.


Rilla: I love the street vendors. This kid's selling pens and soooo proud of it!


Rilla: You want color... I'll give you color!



Rilla: And get a load of this guy. He's selling... mm... he's got... mm... tiki dolls?


Rilla: Cute little ducky,


...wait a minute, she's selling the same thing... only she's a little more pushy, and has cool teeth decorations.



Rilla: Hmm... now I'm hungry. Bring on the food. Yummy, crunchy cucumber, sour-sweet barrow fruits and those little dark red ones, never did know what they were called...


Rilla: This is the kind of spread I'm looking for. Corn cobs roasted over smoldering charcoal, rubbed with lime juice, salt and chilli powder. Yummy. Dad and my favorite roadside snack. Memories.


And speaking of Dad, here's his fruit vendor,still going strong after all these years.


Rilla: Flowers for your hair anyone? Fragrant jasmine, elegant tuberose?


rilla: Sheesh, now she's trying to be poetic all of a sudden. Poor child... sigh...
Rilla: Oh and how can I forget the bull charmer! Special for the festival dussera.


Rilla: That sneaky camel. He shows up everywhere.


Rilla: The cook's granddaughter. Isn't she a cutie?


Rilla: Time for the bath and who's helping mom, it's uncle!


Rilla: This portrait is one of my masterpieces. It is from my blue period...


rilla: Blue period... what airs. Oops... oh no... here it comes... wait for it...
Rilla: WHA…? Where did this come from? Who… rilla? rILLAHHHH! How dare you touch my camera… how dare you take pictures with my precious…
rilla: You said you were putting up pictures of people, I thought I'd help...


Rilla: That's not a person... that's a, a...
rilla: The angel from the top of our Christmas tree. Isn't she gorgeous? I love...
Rilla: You haven't answered my question! How dare you touch my camera?
rilla: Your camera? When did it become your camera?
Rilla: Since it came in the mail on my birthday.
rilla: It's my birthday too you know.
Rilla: But the card was addressed only to me. It said Happy Birthday Rilla. No mention of you...
rilla: So I guess you're not interested in what the tree looks like, hey? The ornaments?
Rilla: Ornament? That's a...
rilla: Flying pig! Isn't she adorable?


rilla: And these are the ones you picked up in India.



Rilla: Good grief. Have time for such fripperies as Christmas decorations, have you?
rilla: Time must be made for such fripperies or one would go insane.
Rilla: Doesn't seem to have helped you any... Hey, look at him. He's cute. That's exactly how I feel right now with all the Christmas cookies I've eaten.


rilla: That's how you look too!
Rilla: Oh, the fireplace. Neat!

Rilla: Wait a minute. THERE'S NO STOCKING UP FOR ME!
rilla: Calm down. You can have mine. It's the red one on the right. Big deal. It's empty anyway.
Rilla: Empty?
rilla: Well, let me know the minute you discover who gives Santa his gifts and I'll hire her.
Rilla: Oh. Hey, I'll stuff your stocking, if you stuff mine!
rilla: It's a deal! I love surprises!
Rilla: So. You done decorating?
rilla: No. See, I was putting bows up the staircase. But the rest of them have gone missing. I can't find them anywhere.



Rilla: Ha ha ha.
I know who took your Christmas bows.
Smile,
bow burglars--
YOU'RE ON CANDID CAMERA!














0 Comments on 35 -- Smile, You're On Candid Camera! as of 1/1/1900
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41. 35 -- Smile, You're On Candid Camera!

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction


Rilla: Humph! No people in my pictures! That’s what rilla says. Does she even look at my pictures? LOOK at all these people I photographed while we were in India. There are so many everyday images I captured, so many expressions... like the shy smile of the dishwasher halfway up the mountain to the fort...


rilla: Rilla doesn't know I'm here... look at her getting all huffy at me when she thinks I'm not around. Shy smile indeed... such cheek to sneak in here and write this blog without me.
Rilla: ...and the skill of the women balancing humongous pots of water on their heads. What a feat. Can you imagine if that skanky rilla had to carry all the water she used everyday on top of her head... hah!


rilla: Me? What about her? Doesn't even want two different handles for hot and cold on the faucet... no... it's got to be a mixer... that's how lazy she is.
Rilla: And look at this old lady! Will I be able to carry such a burden when I'm her age and cross the street. Heck no, I can't even cross the street in India now!


rilla: Chicken!
Rilla: The perplexed look on this elegantly dressed gentleman... hey, she's taking a picture of me, should I smile or look wise? Seems like he did both, to end up with that perfect Mona Lisa smile!


Rilla: Oooh... this poor lad just got caught without his helmet! Oops. The cop's taken away his license! How's he going to wangle his way out of that one? Should have known better dude! Cost you a couple of hundred at least!



Rilla: Ooh la la! Now that's style. Look at 'em high heels go.


Rilla: I love the street vendors. This kid's selling pens and soooo proud of it!


Rilla: You want color... I'll give you color!



Rilla: And get a load of this guy. He's selling... mm... he's got... mm... tiki dolls?


Rilla: Cute little ducky,


...wait a minute, she's selling the same thing... only she's a little more pushy, and has cool teeth decorations.



Rilla: Hmm... now I'm hungry. Bring on the food. Yummy, crunchy cucumber, sour-sweet barrow fruits and those little dark red ones, never did know what they were called...


Rilla: This is the kind of spread I'm looking for. Corn cobs roasted over smoldering charcoal, rubbed with lime juice, salt and chilli powder. Yummy. Dad and my favorite roadside snack. Memories.


And speaking of Dad, here's his fruit vendor,still going strong after all these years.


Rilla: Flowers for your hair anyone? Fragrant jasmine, elegant tuberose?


rilla: Sheesh, now she's trying to be poetic all of a sudden. Poor child... sigh...
Rilla: Oh and how can I forget the bull charmer! Special for the festival dussera.


Rilla: That sneaky camel. He shows up everywhere.


Rilla: The cook's granddaughter. Isn't she a cutie?


Rilla: Time for the bath and who's helping mom, it's uncle!


Rilla: This portrait is one of my masterpieces. It is from my blue period...


rilla: Blue period... what airs. Oops... oh no... here it comes... wait for it...
Rilla: WHA…? Where did this come from? Who… rilla? rILLAHHHH! How dare you touch my camera… how dare you take pictures with my precious…
rilla: You said you were putting up pictures of people, I thought I'd help...


Rilla: That's not a person... that's a, a...
rilla: The angel from the top of our Christmas tree. Isn't she gorgeous? I love...
Rilla: You haven't answered my question! How dare you touch my camera?
rilla: Your camera? When did it become your camera?
Rilla: Since it came in the mail on my birthday.
rilla: It's my birthday too you know.
Rilla: But the card was addressed only to me. It said Happy Birthday Rilla. No mention of you...
rilla: So I guess you're not interested in what the tree looks like, hey? The ornaments?
Rilla: Ornament? That's a...
rilla: Flying pig! Isn't she adorable?


rilla: And these are the ones you picked up in India.



Rilla: Good grief. Have time for such fripperies as Christmas decorations, have you?
rilla: Time must be made for such fripperies or one would go insane.
Rilla: Doesn't seem to have helped you any... Hey, look at him. He's cute. That's exactly how I feel right now with all the Christmas cookies I've eaten.


rilla: That's how you look too!
Rilla: Oh, the fireplace. Neat!

Rilla: Wait a minute. THERE'S NO STOCKING UP FOR ME!
rilla: Calm down. You can have mine. It's the red one on the right. Big deal. It's empty anyway.
Rilla: Empty?
rilla: Well, let me know the minute you discover who gives Santa his gifts and I'll hire her.
Rilla: Oh. Hey, I'll stuff your stocking, if you stuff mine!
rilla: It's a deal! I love surprises!
Rilla: So. You done decorating?
rilla: No. See, I was putting bows up the staircase. But the rest of them have gone missing. I can't find them anywhere.



Rilla: Ha ha ha.
I know who took your Christmas bows.
Smile,
bow burglars--
YOU'RE ON CANDID CAMERA!














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42. 34 -- Family Matters

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction


Rilla: The grass is green, the leaves are red, the mountains are white, the sky is blue, another brilliant fall day in southern California. Oh how I…
rilla: Not much of a poet are you?
Rilla: Poet? One can enjoy the scenery even when it’s not in verse you know.
rilla: How dull. What is the point of language and word craft if not to make the telling as interesting as the scene?
Rilla: I let my pictures do the talking. You know, a picture paints a thousand words…
rilla: yadda, yadda, yadda.
Rilla: What? You don’t like my photographs?
rilla: No, no, not time to get all hot under the collar. Everyone loves your photographs, you know that. But…
Rilla: But?
rilla: But where are all the people? I mean green hills and brass betel-nut-cutters are all very fine and dandy, but there’s not much on the family is there? Don’t you spend any time at all with family? Wasn’t there anything going on?
Rilla: So that’s your gripe. A people person are you?
rilla: NO! But…
Rilla: All right well, sis-in-law has a new house…beautiful!



and there's a kitchen drawer designed specially for each and every type of utensil!



rilla: Very nice. Though I do miss her house on the IIT campus.

Rilla: Mm... the Indian Institute of Technology Campus in Bombay. That was idyllic. But... people, even sisters, do retire you know. And nieces and nephews grow up. Niece is going to college. She danced for us at home. She's soon going on to learn to be a choreographer.






rilla: About time. She has been studying the Indian Classical dance form of Kathak, forever. She is so talented.
Rilla: Nephew has a new motorbike…

rilla: Snazzy! Very cool.
Rilla: Brother-in-law has a new job

on a fabulous campus



with beautiful scenery.

rilla: Oo la la! He must be very happy.
Rilla: Tell me about it!

rilla: Looks like there was more good food… mmm…



Rilla: Yes. We have a great deal to give thanks for.

rilla: Thankful, yes.
Rilla: In more ways than one.

rilla: Thankful Thursday. Hey! I baked the pumpkin pie. Why isn't there a picture of the pies???
Rilla: When was the last time we all had Thanksgiving together as a family after we left home for good?

rilla: Never. Mom sure looks happy.

Rilla: Yes. All that work to bring her over… it was worth it wasn’t it? So much to give thanks for.
rilla: Packing and moving? — Two months;
Sorting and selling? — Mounds of dust, Buckets of sweat, Handkerchiefs drenched in tears, Hours in bed recovering;
Thanksgiving at home with the whole family for the first time in twenty six years? — PRICELESS!




Contributors to the Wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner:




It was a HARD Day's Work!



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43. 34 -- Family Matters

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction


Rilla: The grass is green, the leaves are red, the mountains are white, the sky is blue, another brilliant fall day in southern California. Oh how I…
rilla: Not much of a poet are you?
Rilla: Poet? One can enjoy the scenery even when it’s not in verse you know.
rilla: How dull. What is the point of language and word craft if not to make the telling as interesting as the scene?
Rilla: I let my pictures do the talking. You know, a picture paints a thousand words…
rilla: yadda, yadda, yadda.
Rilla: What? You don’t like my photographs?
rilla: No, no, not time to get all hot under the collar. Everyone loves your photographs, you know that. But…
Rilla: But?
rilla: But where are all the people? I mean green hills and brass betel-nut-cutters are all very fine and dandy, but there’s not much on the family is there? Don’t you spend any time at all with family? Wasn’t there anything going on?
Rilla: So that’s your gripe. A people person are you?
rilla: NO! But…
Rilla: All right well, sis-in-law has a new house…beautiful!



and there's a kitchen drawer designed specially for each and every type of utensil!



rilla: Very nice. Though I do miss her house on the IIT campus.

Rilla: Mm... the Indian Institute of Technology Campus in Bombay. That was idyllic. But... people, even sisters, do retire you know. And nieces and nephews grow up. Niece is going to college. She danced for us at home. She's soon going on to learn to be a choreographer.






rilla: About time. She has been studying the Indian Classical dance form of Kathak, forever. She is so talented.
Rilla: Nephew has a new motorbike…

rilla: Snazzy! Very cool.
Rilla: Brother-in-law has a new job

on a fabulous campus



with beautiful scenery.

rilla: Oo la la! He must be very happy.
Rilla: Tell me about it!

rilla: Looks like there was more good food… mmm…



Rilla: Yes. We have a great deal to give thanks for.

rilla: Thankful, yes.
Rilla: In more ways than one.

rilla: Thankful Thursday. Hey! I baked the pumpkin pie. Why isn't there a picture of the pies???
Rilla: When was the last time we all had Thanksgiving together as a family after we left home for good?

rilla: Never. Mom sure looks happy.

Rilla: Yes. All that work to bring her over… it was worth it wasn’t it? So much to give thanks for.
rilla: Packing and moving? — Two months;
Sorting and selling? — Mounds of dust, Buckets of sweat, Handkerchiefs drenched in tears, Hours in bed recovering;
Thanksgiving at home with the whole family for the first time in twenty six years? — PRICELESS!




Contributors to the Wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner:




It was a HARD Day's Work!



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44. 31 -- Notes from our Correspondents in India

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction











Rilla: Yuck! It’s sticky…
rilla: Mm…so pleasant…
Rilla: Ick…sweaty…
rilla: Such a lovely breeze and the ceiling fan’s on…
Rilla: Pouring rain…again!
rilla: Falling water…so soothing …I love the sound of rain…don’t you love the pitter-patter…
Rilla: Everything’s wet and musty and mouldy…
rilla: Everything’s green and clean and fresh…



Rilla: Nothing dries, my towel’s damp, my jeans are moist…the smell…
rilla: …of fresh rain on warm soil…lovely…
Rilla: NOTHING I HATE MORE THAN…
rilla: NOTHING I LOVE MORE THAN…
rilla, Rilla: THE MONSOON IN INDIA!
Rilla: So what are we doing here?
rilla: I don’t know…you organized this trip…what are we doing here?
Rilla: I don’t know about you, but I’m here to help Mom sell the house and move to California with us…
rilla: California! After fifty years in India! So that’s what all that paperwork was about…













Rilla: Some of it, yes…and she’s making the rounds of specialists…eye surgeon for cataract removal,


















dentist for root canals and dentures,









hearing-aids…
rilla: Wow! She’s agreed to a lot!
Rilla: We’re calling it the ‘extreme makeover!’
rilla: You’ve been busy!
Rilla: TELL ME ABOUT IT!
rilla: Lot’s of stress, huh?
Rilla: TELL ME ABOUT IT!
rilla: Got your back all bent out of shape with worry, huh?
Rilla: TELL ME ABOUT IT!
rilla: Brain twisted into a knot too from the looks of it…
Rilla: TELL…
rilla: Earth calling…earth to Rilla… zap out of zombie mode …NOW!
Rilla: Huh? What just happened?
rilla: Hey…looks like you’ve been busy…the camera’s full of pictures…
Rilla: Oh, that…that’s nothing…
rilla: SeethaPhul and cheekoos…my favorite fruit!














Rilla: Too sweet for me…
rilla: I’m so glad I’m here…who knows it may be the last time…kind of sad you know, this is my hometown…got to lap it all up…
Rilla: Don’t be ridiculous, this isn’t the town we left…it was so different then…this town doesn’t remotely resemble my hometown…
rilla: Good grief…lighten up, will you…it’s not just Mom having an extreme makeover…
Rilla: Well there’s a reason I left, you know…
rilla: What exactly is putting you in such a sour mood…
Rilla: Guests…they’re always dropping by…never call first…always the random visitor…








or two…











no thought that just maybe you’re so JETLAGGED you might want take a nap…

rilla: I love that! You’re never lonely…people free enough to drop by and pay a visit and they never come empty handed…always something yummy…
Rilla: …and the traffic…
rilla: The traffic is bad nowadays…
Rilla: Chaos….
rilla: It’s such dance……poetry in motion, a river flowing…every bit of the road utilized … every little space occupied… such diversity… rickshaws…













Rilla: …lorries spewing black fumes…


















rilla: …scooters with entire families…


















Rilla: …pedestrians taking their lives in their hands just crossing the street…

















rilla: …interesting murals…
























and you have to admit that traffic rules are obeyed much more now than ever in the past…

















Rilla: …changes everywhere…




















rilla: …love is in the air…

















Rilla: You’re such a romantic… you make me puke…
rilla: You’re such a cynic…you make me laugh… if you didn’t love being here… why on earth would you be taking so many lovely pictures…?



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45. 32 -- A Feast For Heroes

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction


Rilla: Can you believe it… it’s December already?!
rilla: DECEMBER? WHAT HAPPENED TO SEPTEMBER… AND OCTOBER, AND NOVEMBER?
Rilla: Boy, where’ve you been?
rilla: When did it become December? What’ve you been doing all this time? I thought we were in India, bringing Mom back to California…packing and sorting and junking and moving…
Rilla: Yawwwwn…ancient history… been there… done that. Who are you? Rip Van Winkle?
rilla: Feels like it. But why are you doing the yawning? OK, fill me in on the three months I missed.
Rilla: Let’s see… where to start? How about… hmm…
rilla: Good grief… there’s more than a thousand photographs in the camera…
Rilla: Guess I got a little trigger happy seeing as I’m not sure when we’ll go back to our hometown now that Mom’s here with us…
rilla: Hey, this one’s cool, what’s this?
Rilla: Oh, that’s women by the side of the road rolling out papadum to dry on mats… that was not in Hyderabad… that was in Pune.










rilla: We went to Pune too? You can STOP rolling your eyes…
Rilla: I don’t get it… half the time I just don’t know where you…
rilla: Hey! This is a good one…














Rilla: Oh, that… that’s just a billboard… the cricket player, you know…
rilla: Ha ha ha… you didn’t take this picture for a cricket player!
Rilla: You weren’t meant to see that one…
rilla: All this time I’ve been telling you you’re not that unique… takes a cricket player to make you believe, hey?
Rilla: If you don’t put a lid on it soon…
rilla: What? You’ll strangle me?
Rilla: No… I’ll send you back to sleep…
rilla: Ooh! Where was this?
Rilla: That was the view from Simhagarh, one of Shivaji’s forts, close to Pune.












rilla: You mean the fort that his famous general Tanaji took by attacking from the unguarded side. Sheesh… I would have liked to have seen that…



















Rilla: Too bad you were asleep. That’s one of the few stories I stayed awake for in history class. The fort was invincible, with steep rock cliffs on one side.





















So Tanaji, knowing that the defenders would not expect an attack from that side, threw up ghorpuds…
rilla: Yes, huge monitor lizards with ropes tied to them and they attached to the rock so strongly that warriors could climb up the cliffs with the ropes and let down more for the rest of the army. They were trained to do that. Isn't that cool? Now that's what I want to be when I grow up.
Rilla: What?
rilla: Why a lizard trainer, of course. Goodness, what's with all the eye rolling today?
Rilla: Seems like that's what I've become...
rilla: HEY! YOU CALLING ME A LIZARD?
Rilla: If the name... oh, forget it. Whatever. I thought we were looking at the pictures of Simhagarh.
rilla: Well, you still haven't answered my question.
Rilla: Which one?
rilla: Did you see any ghorpuds?
Rilla: Oh, that one. Nah… only saw the little guys…













rilla: Did you get a guide to show you around the fort?
Rilla: Nah…turned him away. Even though he offered to sing a song.
Got the low down from family, instead.

















rilla: A song? Wonder what he would have sung. Do you think it was a song about Shivaji? Shivaji! What a hero. I love all the stories about him.
Rilla: ‘Mountain rat,’ the Moghuls called him. How they hated his guts in rallying all the Maratha kingdoms to oppose the Moghul forces. Poor Tanaji, though. He died taking Simhagarh. 'We won the fort, but lost the lion,' mourned Shivaji. And thereafter, the fort was named Simhagarh or Lion Fort.
rilla: So that’s Tanaji's memorial?



















Rilla: He was celebrating the wedding of his son when Shivaji called on him to take the fort…
rilla: Looks like we’re doing a bit of celebrating ourselves?













Rilla: Mm… a real feast.


















rilla: Who’s that?
Rilla: Our lunch bearer.












All supplies come up the mountain from the villages down below…every day!











rilla: Hey! There she is again.



















Rilla: Yes. She was persistent. Made sure we ate at her stall.
rilla: So what did we eat?













Rilla: Bhakri.
rilla: Huh?
Rilla: Village bread made from millet…
rilla: …that’s so soft you can’t roll it with a pin
Rilla: …you have to pat it out with your hands...
























rilla: yum!
Rilla: But there were appetizers… onion rings, Indian style.

















rilla: Much appreciated, I see.



















Rilla: And little fried eggplants and…
rilla: … what’s that?



















Rilla: Yogurt! Set in the little clay dishes. Between us we ate almost thirty of them they were SO good!
rilla: So that’s what those funny black dishes on the window sill are.
Rilla: I liked them so much I brought a couple home.
rilla: So you had a good time, hey?
Rilla: Mm.
rilla: And you’d go back?





















Rilla: Mm.

























rilla: And here you had me believing it was all hard work and no play all that time…
Rilla: Go ahead…strangle me… at least I wasn’t sleeping for three months.
rilla: I worked too.
Rilla: Yeah? Prove it.
rilla: Here it is… my first publication… in the LA Times! ‘Blue Space Pajamas!’ You should read it…
Rilla: Sorry… too busy.
rilla: OK… then I will have to strangle you.
Rilla: I’ll just delete all these photos first…
rilla: No you won’t. I want to see more.
Rilla: I guess you’ll have to hold off on getting rid of me then.
rilla: For now…after you’ve shown me all the pics, it’s another story…
Rilla: Oh yeah? Who’ll take care of Mom?
rilla: Yawn… I feel sleepy again.



Shivaji - Wikipedia
Another account of a visit to Simhagarh
Book Review on Shivaji



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46. 33 -- A Trip to the Museum

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Rilla: BET you’ll never guess what those are.








rilla: They’re ancient hair-dryers…
Rilla: Wha…? How did you know?
rilla: Umm… it says so in the picture…



Rilla: Oh. It does. Aren’t they cool? I guess they combed through their hair with those tongs, to dry it … maybe they even heated them first.
rilla: Where did you get the picture?
Rilla: The Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum in Pune.





rilla: You went to a museum?
Rilla: A one-man collection of Indian folk-arts and crafts collected over sixty years! There are more than twenty-thousand artifacts, including the largest collection of lamps in India!
rilla: Raja Kelkar… so, he was a king?
Rilla: No, no. He named his collection for his son, Raja, who died very young.
rilla: Oh. Sad. Hey, this is cool.
Rilla: Bet you’ll never guess what that is!



rilla: It’s a… vegetable cutter!
Rilla: Urghh…
rilla: Same as these.


You were a little too careful including explanation cards in the photos to play guessing games, dimbulb… ha ha ha! I know what this is too!


Rilla: Yes. It's a vajri, a foot scrubber. What you giggling for?
rilla: Nothing... just with all those bells, the whole house would know when you're doing a bit of foot cleansing... hey hey...
Rilla:Ok, enough of that. I know you know what this is…



rilla: Yup! It's a betel nut cutter for paan.
Rilla: He was very fond of them. He has a huge array in his collection. Tells you what an important household item that was. Some of them are so beautiful…
rilla: Mm.. I love paan, the sweet kind that is, with the betel nut all chopped up to tiny chewable bits... the bright green leaf, the cool refreshing...
Rilla: ...yes... the bright red color it turns your mouth, the sudden urge to seek out a spitoon or use the closest street corner...
rilla: Oh, no... I've never eaten the paan with lime in it, the one that makes you spit like a chewin' tobacco veteran... but these betel nut cutters are lovely...






rilla: … hmm... and these others are downright…ahem.







Rilla: Well, paan chewing was considered sexy because of how it stains your lips red... it's said that Radha...
rilla: Moving on... moving on... Ooh! Cool-shaped water pots.



Rilla: Yes, but get a load of this... the collector loved weapons too.



rilla: Beautiful, but deadly!
Rilla: Deadly's right. Here, take a closer look.



rilla: Hang on a second. Are those what I think they are?
Rilla: Sure are, baby!



rilla: TIGER CLAWS! Like in Shivaji's story, the deep and treacherous tale of how he killed Afzal Khan of Bijapur. Lucky for him he had the claws and armor hidden under his clothes when he went for 'peaceful negotiations' with the dagger wielding Khan.
Rilla: Bet his armor wasn't made of fish scales like this one here.



rilla: Fish scales! Never heard of that before.
Rilla: OK. How about something more pleasant. Here, I took these pictures of miniature toys for your friend Laini, to give her ideas for her toy house.





rilla: CUTE! You even have the dolls to go with it!



Rilla: Ahem. Those aren't dolls! At least, not ones you play with. That's a miniature of Lord Krishna washing the feet of his older brother, Balarama.

rilla: Cool detail. I LOVE the hairdos! But, wait a minute, WHAT is that!
Rilla: Oh. The collector was totally in love with musical instruments. There were all kinds, including a sitar with its sound box made from an ostrich egg! And of course, this swan-shaped one here...



... and this fishy thing...



...here's another wierd one...



... and my favorite... this dragon-looking harp.



OK, OK, I BET you'll never guess what this is...



rilla: Mm... let's see now... it's all pointy, and loads of detail, and very elegant, and... did I say loads of detail, oh and really quite beautiful and...
Rilla: STOP STALLING AND GET ON WITH THE GUESSING.
rilla: All right. I guess you got me there. I have no idea!
Rilla: Finally! Ha ha! It's a LOCK! Can't you see the huge key sticking out there at the right.
rilla: A Lock!
Rilla: And, how about these things...?



rilla: Can't begin to imagine.
Rilla: Got you, got you! They're spoon holders.
rilla: Spoon holders?
Rilla: Yes. They're called Appakodus. They were hung from the ceiling or the wall and cooking ladels were stuck into the holes to keep them out of reach of children.
rilla: Huh!
Rilla: And now... for the lamps! Get a load of these...





..and finally, the coolest one of all...





rilla: That's a lamp! Wow! Well I can see you sure bent over backwards to put these pictures together... snicker... snicker...snurf...




The Official Museum Website
Info on the Practice of chewing Paan
Go the museum site above and click on Tambool to get more interesting stories about Paan
Shivaji's Battle with Bijapur
More about Krishna in Indian Mythology

For Lynnerd:
How You Use a Vajri or Foot Scrubber:



Lamps, not candle-holders.
Oil is filled into the well of the lamp and cotton wicks are dipped into the well. The wicks stick out in each of the little protrusions from the well and are lit with a slow-burning flame.






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47. 33 -- A Trip to the Museum

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Rilla: BET you’ll never guess what those are.








rilla: They’re ancient hair-dryers…
Rilla: Wha…? How did you know?
rilla: Umm… it says so in the picture…



Rilla: Oh. It does. Aren’t they cool? I guess they combed through their hair with those tongs, to dry it … maybe they even heated them first.
rilla: Where did you get the picture?
Rilla: The Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum in Pune.





rilla: You went to a museum?
Rilla: A one-man collection of Indian folk-arts and crafts collected over sixty years! There are more than twenty-thousand artifacts, including the largest collection of lamps in India!
rilla: Raja Kelkar… so, he was a king?
Rilla: No, no. He named his collection for his son, Raja, who died very young.
rilla: Oh. Sad. Hey, this is cool.
Rilla: Bet you’ll never guess what that is!



rilla: It’s a… vegetable cutter!
Rilla: Urghh…
rilla: Same as these.


You were a little too careful including explanation cards in the photos to play guessing games, dimbulb… ha ha ha! I know what this is too!


Rilla: Yes. It's a vajri, a foot scrubber. What you giggling for?
rilla: Nothing... just with all those bells, the whole house would know when you're doing a bit of foot cleansing... hey hey...
Rilla:Ok, enough of that. I know you know what this is…



rilla: Yup! It's a betel nut cutter for paan.
Rilla: He was very fond of them. He has a huge array in his collection. Tells you what an important household item that was. Some of them are so beautiful…
rilla: Mm.. I love paan, the sweet kind that is, with the betel nut all chopped up to tiny chewable bits... the bright green leaf, the cool refreshing...
Rilla: ...yes... the bright red color it turns your mouth, the sudden urge to seek out a spitoon or use the closest street corner...
rilla: Oh, no... I've never eaten the paan with lime in it, the one that makes you spit like a chewin' tobacco veteran... but these betel nut cutters are lovely...






rilla: … hmm... and these others are downright…ahem.







Rilla: Well, paan chewing was considered sexy because of how it stains your lips red... it's said that Radha...
rilla: Moving on... moving on... Ooh! Cool-shaped water pots.



Rilla: Yes, but get a load of this... the collector loved weapons too.



rilla: Beautiful, but deadly!
Rilla: Deadly's right. Here, take a closer look.



rilla: Hang on a second. Are those what I think they are?
Rilla: Sure are, baby!



rilla: TIGER CLAWS! Like in Shivaji's story, the deep and treacherous tale of how he killed Afzal Khan of Bijapur. Lucky for him he had the claws and armor hidden under his clothes when he went for 'peaceful negotiations' with the dagger wielding Khan.
Rilla: Bet his armor wasn't made of fish scales like this one here.



rilla: Fish scales! Never heard of that before.
Rilla: OK. How about something more pleasant. Here, I took these pictures of miniature toys for your friend Laini, to give her ideas for her toy house.





rilla: CUTE! You even have the dolls to go with it!



Rilla: Ahem. Those aren't dolls! At least, not ones you play with. That's a miniature of Lord Krishna washing the feet of his older brother, Balarama.

rilla: Cool detail. I LOVE the hairdos! But, wait a minute, WHAT is that!
Rilla: Oh. The collector was totally in love with musical instruments. There were all kinds, including a sitar with its sound box made from an ostrich egg! And of course, this swan-shaped one here...



... and this fishy thing...



...here's another wierd one...



... and my favorite... this dragon-looking harp.



OK, OK, I BET you'll never guess what this is...



rilla: Mm... let's see now... it's all pointy, and loads of detail, and very elegant, and... did I say loads of detail, oh and really quite beautiful and...
Rilla: STOP STALLING AND GET ON WITH THE GUESSING.
rilla: All right. I guess you got me there. I have no idea!
Rilla: Finally! Ha ha! It's a LOCK! Can't you see the huge key sticking out there at the right.
rilla: A Lock!
Rilla: And, how about these things...?



rilla: Can't begin to imagine.
Rilla: Got you, got you! They're spoon holders.
rilla: Spoon holders?
Rilla: Yes. They're called Appakodus. They were hung from the ceiling or the wall and cooking ladels were stuck into the holes to keep them out of reach of children.
rilla: Huh!
Rilla: And now... for the lamps! Get a load of these...





..and finally, the coolest one of all...





rilla: That's a lamp! Wow! Well I can see you sure bent over backwards to put these pictures together... snicker... snicker...snurf...




The Official Museum Website
Info on the Practice of chewing Paan
Go the museum site above and click on Tambool to get more interesting stories about Paan
Shivaji's Battle with Bijapur
More about Krishna in Indian Mythology

For Lynnerd:
How You Use a Vajri or Foot Scrubber:



Lamps, not candle-holders.
Oil is filled into the well of the lamp and cotton wicks are dipped into the well. The wicks stick out in each of the little protrusions from the well and are lit with a slow-burning flame.






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48. 32 -- A Feast For Heroes

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction


Rilla: Can you believe it… it’s December already?!
rilla: DECEMBER? WHAT HAPPENED TO SEPTEMBER… AND OCTOBER, AND NOVEMBER?
Rilla: Boy, where’ve you been?
rilla: When did it become December? What’ve you been doing all this time? I thought we were in India, bringing Mom back to California…packing and sorting and junking and moving…
Rilla: Yawwwwn…ancient history… been there… done that. Who are you? Rip Van Winkle?
rilla: Feels like it. But why are you doing the yawning? OK, fill me in on the three months I missed.
Rilla: Let’s see… where to start? How about… hmm…
rilla: Good grief… there’s more than a thousand photographs in the camera…
Rilla: Guess I got a little trigger happy seeing as I’m not sure when we’ll go back to our hometown now that Mom’s here with us…
rilla: Hey, this one’s cool, what’s this?
Rilla: Oh, that’s women by the side of the road rolling out papadum to dry on mats… that was not in Hyderabad… that was in Pune.










rilla: We went to Pune too? You can STOP rolling your eyes…
Rilla: I don’t get it… half the time I just don’t know where you…
rilla: Hey! This is a good one…














Rilla: Oh, that… that’s just a billboard… the cricket player, you know…
rilla: Ha ha ha… you didn’t take this picture for a cricket player!
Rilla: You weren’t meant to see that one…
rilla: All this time I’ve been telling you you’re not that unique… takes a cricket player to make you believe, hey?
Rilla: If you don’t put a lid on it soon…
rilla: What? You’ll strangle me?
Rilla: No… I’ll send you back to sleep…
rilla: Ooh! Where was this?
Rilla: That was the view from Simhagarh, one of Shivaji’s forts, close to Pune.












rilla: You mean the fort that his famous general Tanaji took by attacking from the unguarded side. Sheesh… I would have liked to have seen that…



















Rilla: Too bad you were asleep. That’s one of the few stories I stayed awake for in history class. The fort was invincible, with steep rock cliffs on one side.





















So Tanaji, knowing that the defenders would not expect an attack from that side, threw up ghorpuds…
rilla: Yes, huge monitor lizards with ropes tied to them and they attached to the rock so strongly that warriors could climb up the cliffs with the ropes and let down more for the rest of the army. They were trained to do that. Isn't that cool? Now that's what I want to be when I grow up.
Rilla: What?
rilla: Why a lizard trainer, of course. Goodness, what's with all the eye rolling today?
Rilla: Seems like that's what I've become...
rilla: HEY! YOU CALLING ME A LIZARD?
Rilla: If the name... oh, forget it. Whatever. I thought we were looking at the pictures of Simhagarh.
rilla: Well, you still haven't answered my question.
Rilla: Which one?
rilla: Did you see any ghorpuds?
Rilla: Oh, that one. Nah… only saw the little guys…













rilla: Did you get a guide to show you around the fort?
Rilla: Nah…turned him away. Even though he offered to sing a song.
Got the low down from family, instead.

















rilla: A song? Wonder what he would have sung. Do you think it was a song about Shivaji? Shivaji! What a hero. I love all the stories about him.
Rilla: ‘Mountain rat,’ the Moghuls called him. How they hated his guts in rallying all the Maratha kingdoms to oppose the Moghul forces. Poor Tanaji, though. He died taking Simhagarh. 'We won the fort, but lost the lion,' mourned Shivaji. And thereafter, the fort was named Simhagarh or Lion Fort.
rilla: So that’s Tanaji's memorial?



















Rilla: He was celebrating the wedding of his son when Shivaji called on him to take the fort…
rilla: Looks like we’re doing a bit of celebrating ourselves?













Rilla: Mm… a real feast.


















rilla: Who’s that?
Rilla: Our lunch bearer.












All supplies come up the mountain from the villages down below…every day!











rilla: Hey! There she is again.



















Rilla: Yes. She was persistent. Made sure we ate at her stall.
rilla: So what did we eat?













Rilla: Bhakri.
rilla: Huh?
Rilla: Village bread made from millet…
rilla: …that’s so soft you can’t roll it with a pin
Rilla: …you have to pat it out with your hands...
























rilla: yum!
Rilla: But there were appetizers… onion rings, Indian style.

















rilla: Much appreciated, I see.



















Rilla: And little fried eggplants and…
rilla: … what’s that?



















Rilla: Yogurt! Set in the little clay dishes. Between us we ate almost thirty of them they were SO good!
rilla: So that’s what those funny black dishes on the window sill are.
Rilla: I liked them so much I brought a couple home.
rilla: So you had a good time, hey?
Rilla: Mm.
rilla: And you’d go back?





















Rilla: Mm.

























rilla: And here you had me believing it was all hard work and no play all that time…
Rilla: Go ahead…strangle me… at least I wasn’t sleeping for three months.
rilla: I worked too.
Rilla: Yeah? Prove it.
rilla: Here it is… my first publication… in the LA Times! ‘Blue Space Pajamas!’ You should read it…
Rilla: Sorry… too busy.
rilla: OK… then I will have to strangle you.
Rilla: I’ll just delete all these photos first…
rilla: No you won’t. I want to see more.
Rilla: I guess you’ll have to hold off on getting rid of me then.
rilla: For now…after you’ve shown me all the pics, it’s another story…
Rilla: Oh yeah? Who’ll take care of Mom?
rilla: Yawn… I feel sleepy again.



Shivaji - Wikipedia
Another account of a visit to Simhagarh
Book Review on Shivaji



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49. 31 -- Notes from our Correspondents in India

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction











Rilla: Yuck! It’s sticky…
rilla: Mm…so pleasant…
Rilla: Ick…sweaty…
rilla: Such a lovely breeze and the ceiling fan’s on…
Rilla: Pouring rain…again!
rilla: Falling water…so soothing …I love the sound of rain…don’t you love the pitter-patter…
Rilla: Everything’s wet and musty and mouldy…
rilla: Everything’s green and clean and fresh…



Rilla: Nothing dries, my towel’s damp, my jeans are moist…the smell…
rilla: …of fresh rain on warm soil…lovely…
Rilla: NOTHING I HATE MORE THAN…
rilla: NOTHING I LOVE MORE THAN…
rilla, Rilla: THE MONSOON IN INDIA!
Rilla: So what are we doing here?
rilla: I don’t know…you organized this trip…what are we doing here?
Rilla: I don’t know about you, but I’m here to help Mom sell the house and move to California with us…
rilla: California! After fifty years in India! So that’s what all that paperwork was about…













Rilla: Some of it, yes…and she’s making the rounds of specialists…eye surgeon for cataract removal,


















dentist for root canals and dentures,









hearing-aids…
rilla: Wow! She’s agreed to a lot!
Rilla: We’re calling it the ‘extreme makeover!’
rilla: You’ve been busy!
Rilla: TELL ME ABOUT IT!
rilla: Lot’s of stress, huh?
Rilla: TELL ME ABOUT IT!
rilla: Got your back all bent out of shape with worry, huh?
Rilla: TELL ME ABOUT IT!
rilla: Brain twisted into a knot too from the looks of it…
Rilla: TELL…
rilla: Earth calling…earth to Rilla… zap out of zombie mode …NOW!
Rilla: Huh? What just happened?
rilla: Hey…looks like you’ve been busy…the camera’s full of pictures…
Rilla: Oh, that…that’s nothing…
rilla: SeethaPhul and cheekoos…my favorite fruit!














Rilla: Too sweet for me…
rilla: I’m so glad I’m here…who knows it may be the last time…kind of sad you know, this is my hometown…got to lap it all up…
Rilla: Don’t be ridiculous, this isn’t the town we left…it was so different then…this town doesn’t remotely resemble my hometown…
rilla: Good grief…lighten up, will you…it’s not just Mom having an extreme makeover…
Rilla: Well there’s a reason I left, you know…
rilla: What exactly is putting you in such a sour mood…
Rilla: Guests…they’re always dropping by…never call first…always the random visitor…








or two…











no thought that just maybe you’re so JETLAGGED you might want take a nap…

rilla: I love that! You’re never lonely…people free enough to drop by and pay a visit and they never come empty handed…always something yummy…
Rilla: …and the traffic…
rilla: The traffic is bad nowadays…
Rilla: Chaos….
rilla: It’s such dance……poetry in motion, a river flowing…every bit of the road utilized … every little space occupied… such diversity… rickshaws…













Rilla: …lorries spewing black fumes…


















rilla: …scooters with entire families…


















Rilla: …pedestrians taking their lives in their hands just crossing the street…

















rilla: …interesting murals…
























and you have to admit that traffic rules are obeyed much more now than ever in the past…

















Rilla: …changes everywhere…




















rilla: …love is in the air…

















Rilla: You’re such a romantic… you make me puke…
rilla: You’re such a cynic…you make me laugh… if you didn’t love being here… why on earth would you be taking so many lovely pictures…?



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50. C5 -- Cat Nipped














Fog-Gi: Wonder where they went. They were gone three whole nights. That’s never happened before…


Sha-Do: Don’t know, don’t care…just tell them NEVER to do it again.


Fog-Gi: I don’t know…I quite had fun.


Sha-Do: Yeah…that’s just ‘coz you were sweet on that pretty cat-sitter.


Fog-Gi: Me sweet…what about you…? Rubbing up against her legs…oh look at me…I have the most gorgeous eyes… did you notice… they’re yellow… yeah… mrrow…


Sha-Do: Me…? You’re the one who jumped right into her arms when she wanted to pick you up…OUCH!...What’d you do that for…?


Fog-Gi: Yeow…meow…take that you little yellow-eyed…


Sha-Do: Mrrrow…you won’t get away with that you soft-furry faced…pink-nosed… MEOW!


Fog-Gi: Hey…look what I found.


Sha-Do: What?


Fog-Gi: Photographs…must be where they went…


Sha-Do: Hey…no fair…they went to the beach without me…?


















Fog-Gi: …and on a coastal walk…


















Sha-Do: …and down to tide pools…yum…I’m sure there’s some good easy fishy catches there…














Fog-Gi: Like you’ve ever caught a fish…!




Sha-Do: What do you care…?










Fog-Gi: Oooh…cactus…


Sha-Do: Who you calling cactus…you want cactus…I’ll give you cactus…mrrow…!


Fog-Gi: OUCH…MEOW…I was talking about the photographs, you nimrod… cactus in the pictures…




















Sha-Do: Oh…I see…hey…look at those tiny trees…I heard her say something about an elfin forest…


















Fog-Gi: Now you’re hearing things too… goodness…will you look at that… didn’t exactly starve themselves… now did they?



Sha-Do: You didn’t exactly starve yourself either…eating all my treats too…pig face…


Fog-Gi: That was only because you ate mine first, dog doo doo…


Sha-Do: Dog doo doo?


Fog-Gi: Whatever…


Sha-Do: I know!


Fog-Gi: You know nothing.


Sha-Do: OK. Be that way…I won’t tell you what I know.


Fog-Gi: What…what do you know?


Sha-Do: I know nothing…


Fog-Gi: Immature…swat


Sha-Do: Juvenile…slap


Fog-Gi: OK, all right stop chewing on my tail.


Sha-Do: Only if you get your claw out of my eye…



Fog-Gi: Only if you tell me what you know…


Sha-Do: I know how to keep them from leaving ever again…


Fog-Gi: Oh…tell me then…


Sha-Do: Hisst…pssst…meow….


Fog-Gi: Oh…cool…never thought of that! If we do that, they’ll have no reason to travel ever again…you’re a genius!





Rilla: OMG…OMG…OMG…!
rilla: What? Will you calm down? You’re hysterical…
Rilla: LOOK WHAT YOUR STUPID CATS HAVE DONE…!
rilla: OMG…OMG…OMG…!
Rilla: Yeah!
rilla: The camera!
Rilla: They’ve chewed the strap…
rilla: …and all the soft rubber parts…
Rilla: …it’s useless…
rilla: …won’t work anymore…
Rilla: IT WAS NEW! GOT IT AS A GIFT…CAN’T AFFORD TO BUY SUCH A NICE CAMERA…
rilla: Yeah… birthday gift…sigh…!
Rilla: That’s not all they’ve done.
rilla: No? There’s more?
Rilla: They’ve chewed through the digital pictures I took as well…!
rilla: Chewed through digital pictures…now you’ve really lost it…how can cats chew up digital pictures…that’s nuts…
Rilla: You don’t believe me?
rilla: You’re hallucinating…!

Rilla: Oh…yeah….then what’s this?????????????







Sorry Kitty Cats... but I'm on another trip... this time, half-way around the world... but don't worry... I will send you photos...


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