A wee conundrum …

By Sue Trollip

I am not flaky. Yet security questions to ensure the safety of my online accounts drive me batty.

friend clip art. Friends Clipart #216828 byFor example: type in the name of your childhood friend. While I don’t want to be melodramatic, my childhood meandered through nursery school (kindergarten), junior school and on to high school, arguably it lasted longer, but let’s stop here anyway. So which besties name do you want?

What is my favourite book/author? That, my friends, is downright laughable. There’s a top ten list, but even that is fluid.

What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen? Worst for it’s blood and gore content? Worst for it’s idiocy? I need you to be more specific. Off the top of my head I’d say “Perfume”, but I only stayed for the first five minutes. Would that count? Or the one I saw at the Durban Film Festival. A British movie. Oooh that one I LOVE MOVIES!!!!!!!!!!!!was awful, but I can’t remember it’s name. I don’t think it made it onto the circuit. What am I supposed to do here? What if I see another awful movie this weekend? Will I remember which one I put down next time I have to remember this security question? Hell no! By this point, in the long list of questions, I’m thinking of movies and not whatever website I’m trying to sign onto.

I had a little rant at the office on Friday because we were logging onto a new website and had seven security questions to answer. Seven, really? More than half of them were opinion. Facts people, I can remember facts. What is my mother’s maiden name? What is my father’s second name?

So I conducted a wee google search (not on company time) and discovered the next problem. Facts can be hacked by hackers far easier than opinions. Then I found a website telling me how hackers got into yahoo and found out the answers to all our security questions along with phone numbers and our emails. It’s not worth thinking too hard about otherwise we’d never do another thing online. Where’s the fun in that?

But I found out the answer to the security conundrum. Lie.

In her article Time to Kill Security Questions – or Answer them with Lies Lily Hay Newman says lying may be the correct answer.

In an age of frequent data breaches, your mother’s maiden name should probably be 4tz9Ru#p and your childhood best friend b2p^fqw.


Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

By Sue Trollip

I ‘read’ this via audio book and kept wishing I had a pen & paper to jot down the lovely morels of wisdom.

Easily my favourite quote from Big Magic:

“Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”

In this book Gilbert deals with fear, the muse, creativity and ideas, amongst other topics.

“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”

Gilbert has this theory about how ideas come to us and wait. If we don’t run with them, they float away and land on someone else.

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

She considers ideas to be their own entities. They don’t belong to us no matter how we try to cling to them. Once an idea has gone, it’s gone. But, she advises, be patient, because another one will be along shortly.

Be polite to your ideas, she advises. It would be awful if word got out amongst the ideas that you were a grumpy diva author.

She also addresses fear:

“perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat,”

Or (another favourite),

“Basically, your fear is like a mall cop who thinks he’s a Navy SEAL.”

In true Gilbert fashion the book has anecdotes, insights and many wise words. It’s on my list to read again in about six months. By then the good things I remembered in round one will have had time to simmer and I’ll be ready for the ones I missed whilst dodging snowballs and articulated vehicles on the I80.

A little kindness, please.

By Sue Trollip

It’s weird how the world works, the ebbs and flows. And sometimes I forget. It takes me by surprise.

I got into a skid on the ice. I did a 360 degree spin then stopped in a berm, facing up the hill. I lost my nerve. Sewing machine leg. Shivering jaw. I sat. Further up a truck slid halfway across the road.

Then a woman came past. Stopped to ask if I was okay. Told me there was another car at the bottom, in a berm. Then she zoomed off. Jammed on brakes to miss the truck at the top. Came sliding back down the hill … into me. We were okay.

Her husband came, to rescue her. Told me he’d be back.

He returned. Took a photograph of the damage. And left. Left me there. I was gob-smacked. Flabbergasted. Mind-boggled. This is not the type of person I am used to. Not the quality of people I have in my life. My world is of men and women who help. Who rescue. Who are kind. Kind!

I sat. Sewing machine leg back and waited.

A policeman came.

‘Hang tight’, he said. ‘Sand is on the way’.

Then he looked again.

‘If you backup 5 yards and floor it’, he said, ‘you’ll get up’.

I stared. Embarrassed. Afraid.

He nodded and reversed. Via his mic, he said, ‘Backup’.

And I heard the snow creatures on the windy road titter.

Then he said, ‘NOW! And don’t let up on the gas’.

And I went. Fishtailing up the hill. White knuckles. Deep furrow between my brows.

‘You’re a natural’, he said over the mic and I grinned as the adrenalin surged. At the top I breathed. Waved. Kept going in the fluffy traction of snow.

It is a good world. But sometimes kindness is not behind the first door. Be Patient.












Ooh La La Land

By Sue Trollip

I went to see La La Land at my favourite movie theatre down by the river. As luck would have it I got the times wrong and had an hour to spare downtown. So, I walked alongside the pounding river, tripping over sandbags from nearby businesses who were preparing for the impending flood. The drizzle made me smile as I walked around the square because a farmer’s daughter will always love the rain.

Doubling back to the cozy jungle café for a sandwich, I gazed at the damp pedestrians, listened to the rain, yearned for the sunshine. Then I got down to the serious business of movie watching.

Emma Stone, versatile and resonating and Ryan Gosling, a man who plays a lovesick sap and a cold hard killer with equal aplomb, sang, danced and fell in love. Then the movie got real. Heartache, life, careers, dreams, aspirations, regrets, decisions. I loved it!

Planning ahead

By Sue Trollip

It’s the new year. It’s almost one month in and all sorts of decisions are being made. Around me, within me. Already I’m learning when to be tenacious, when to choose my battles. When to throw my plans in the trash and start over. But to have plans … always have plans.


Awesome Audio

By Sue Trollip

I’m still wild about Audio Books. I can’t believe the finesse, the talent of the readers. Someone compared them to a radio play, and I think they may be onto something. I’ve just finished To  Kill a Mockingbird read by Sissy Spacek. Wow.

The best reading I’ve heard so far is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I belive there’s a movie, but I think these readers invoked the best images I could wish for right here in my head.

You can download the audio book here, for free.

Where did you go Bernadette, is also for free here. It’s a great story about Bernadette who takes a metaphorical step off the planet when it starts to spin too fast.

I love that you can lessen the dullness of chores with a good book, you can do two things at once, like make supper and ‘read’. I’ve found a large supply and I’m revelling in it.

The simplicity of it all is also mindblowing. An app on your phone, an auxiliary chord into your car stereo, or a speaker and you’re good to go.

Simply superb. I raise my glass to technology.



The empty salad bowl

by Sue Trollip

I had great aspirations when I moved to a warmer climate with a deck in the sunshine large enough for plants. Veggies, I thought, lots and lots of fresh veggies. So I went shopping for large pots, soil, and plants.

After a little consideration, and a couple of flowers, I chose a tomato, sweet pepper and baby marrow (zucchini) then I threw in some beetroot, because they are just too yummy.

I went straight home and got planting.


So far, I’ve eaten 3 tomatoes.


My farming aspirations have been dashed. Winter is just around the corner and my crop is non-existent. The leaves are magnificent as the peppers and marrows vie for sunshine but there are no blossoms, no sign of a crop.

2.jpgNow I have the long winter to research my errors, to find a new, better way of farming for my salad bowl. This time next year, I hope to have a full salad blog , to show off the fruits of my research.