Sunflower for Tina, Whacky Words, The Rifters & Afri-Scape


Tina was such an energetic, bubbly person with an amazing sense of humour… it's really hard to believe that she is no longer with us…

I also had the privilege of exchanging e-mails with Tina. This is how it started. At the end of December 2013, I popped over to read her story that had been published in an e-zine. It was delightful, and sucked me in from the beginning….  a roller coaster ride, with emotions shoved this way and that… and a thousand tiny details of memories woven throughout. I left a comment asking when readers could expect the next part. Tina responded via e-mail, and… well, put it this way, anybody who's had the privilege of exchanging e-mails with Tina will know exactly what that's all about. smiley

Here's a link to her story entitled: Sippy Cups, Earbuds, and Something That Surely Isn't Wine By Tina Downey. Check it out when you get a chance.

 Rest in peace, dear Tina! You'll remain in my heart – forever!

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It's time for WHACKY WORDS! Remember, this is supposed to be FUN!

Thank you to everybody who played along for the previous word. The real meaning of the word Amazia is – a condition where one or both of the mammary glands is absent. This may occur either congenitally or iatrogenically. Amazia can be treated with breast implants.

The definition that captured my imagination (as I pictured a combination of her definition with the real meaning) was posted by – JULIE K PICK who described it as the land of Ageless Amazon Warrior Women who tower above their adoring fans. Congrats Julie! I'll mail you shortly…

Today's word is:


This is the intergalactic war cry used by trainee Cosbolt pilots in order to test their mental strength. These squads (pilots and navigators), are rquired to shout a loud extended BAGA-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-S-S-S-S-S-S-SE just at the end of simulator training sessions. This is normally initiated by the instructor who is in charge of that squad (note: this information was part of the initial draft of the book CassaStar, but was cut during the final edits…)


That's my definition. (The word does have a meaning, but you are invited to play along by providing your own original meaning. No cheating and looking up the word. I'll post the meaning next week). So do you wanna play along? Leave your definition in the comment section below.

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Mary Pax has a new book!                                               

The Rifters Blurb

The Gold Rush trickles to a fool’s quest and a string of stagecoach heists. In 1888, Earl Blacke decides to make a new start and become a better man. He escapes into the mountains, heading north. In the wilds of Oregon, a rift inside an ancient volcano opens and sends him into the future, into the present day. It also shaves forty years off his age, forty years to live over again and atone for what he’s done.

Starting over is hard to do. In current day New York, Daelin Long’s dream job at a publishing house goes the way of the dinosaurs her sister chases. With no money and nowhere else to go, Daelin accepts the librarian position in her sister’s dinky town in the middle of Oregon. Nestled inside ancient volcanic peaks, the town of Settler holds onto many secrets. Residents roam the streets with weirdly fashioned devices, and odd lights pulse in the night skies. People whisper of a phantom outlaw and start dying, murdered and missing their heads. On top of it all, Daelin’s sister is missing, and Daelin doesn’t know who to trust.

Earl knows more than he’s saying. He shares a notorious history with the phantom, one he’ll see remains buried. Keeping Daelin’s sister’s secrets is his only chance at redemption, and the only way to keep this world safe.

The Rifters is available at an introductory price. The second book in the series, The Initiate, will be available October 20, 2014. It’s up for preorder for a special price at iTunes, Amazon, and B&N. Check HERE for links. Giveaways and events are ongoing through October 31, 2014. Check HERE for details.

Links: Amazon / AmazonUK / B&N / Smashwords /Googleplay / iTunes / Other Outlets



In keeping with the sunflower theme, here are some pics from the Sunflower Festival that was hosted at the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch from Saturday 31st August to Sunday 1st September 2014. (…and the answer is no, I didn't attend the festival…) Further info about the event:

The Cause – The Sunflower Fund
A portion of the proceeds of this event are donated to The Sunflower Fund to help raise much needed funds for their efforts.

The Sunflower Fund (Friends of the South African Bone Marrow Registry) was formed in 1999 and is a non-profit organisation based in Cape Town, with a vision to give all South Africans diagnosed with leukaemia and other life-threatening blood disorders the chance of life, irrespective of their race and financial circumstances.

Below are pictures of the gigantic sunflower that was crafted by Artescape, a company which specialises in creating multi-dimensional psychedelic art installations and visual landscapes for dancefloors and events. This massive structure hung over the heads of partygoers in true psychedelic glory and communicated what the festival was all about: rebirth and nature.



So that's it for today. A special thank you to Lorraine (my grade 9 learner) for the beautiful drawing she did at the last minute (I couldn't get hold of a sunflower in time…)
So now I'm off to check out the sunflower hop. Are you going to play along with my whacky words? Isn't that gigantic sunflower absolutely gorgeous? Have you ever attended an outdoor music festival?
See you next week Monday!


  1. Hilary on September 8, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Michelle – I quite agree – Lorraine has done you proud .. Tina would be impressed – her maths would be out.  Love the sunflower festival … and I've never been to an outdoor music festival … but good to read about their Cause.  


    Bagasse – now I'd have to say his fighting name is Bagassorix and he runs with Asterix and his many warriors .. He's definitely Belgian-French .. and with so many orixes in their band – he's called Bagasse … 


    Cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:18 am

      Love your creative definition, Hilary! And it sounds like this word belongs in a historical-fantasy story… you have some great ideas for characters, plus throw in the Belgian-French origin and ——– who knows where this idea might take you?!

  2. Al Diaz on September 8, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I was just starting email communication with Tina, but I know exactly what you mean. She was amazing lady. Dragon Hugs!

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:20 am

      Thank you Father D! On Monday, visiting all the blogs in the hop and reading the wonderful tributes left me quite emotional! Ubuntu Hugs to you!

  3. Vidya Sury on September 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Love Lorraine's drawing, Michelle! Thank you for sharing it!

    Tina was a lovely person and will be missed. It feels unreal to think that someone so cheerful is no longer around. I hope she's smiling from up there!

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:22 am

      Vidya, she was the life and soul of the Treehouse Parties… such energy – and an amazing sense of humour too! I'm sure she's smiling down on us….  🙂

  4. Michelle Stanley on September 8, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    I can't draw that well, so am impressed with this artwork that seems to blend so well with your nice tribute for a terrific person.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:23 am

      Thank you Michelle. Lorraine is an amazing illustrator!

  5. Morgan Shamy on September 8, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I LOVE the picture, Michelle!!! And I love reading your words about Tina… perfect and true. *hugs* <3 

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:23 am

      Thank you Morgan! ***hugs right back at you***    <3

  6. Melissa Maygrove on September 8, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    The picture is perfect!

    Bagasse: (n.; ba-GASE) A long clever handled case for carrying one's baggettes.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:27 am

      The bagasse would probably be a winner amongst the French… oh, and restauranteers too. Sounds like there's a niche for it, Melissa!  🙂

  7. Alex J. Cavanaugh on September 8, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I like your definition!

    Tina would love that image of the sunflower and flamingo. Email exchanges with her were always entertaining.

    And that is a huge sunflower…

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:27 am

      Thank you Captain!  Tina will live on in our hearts…   🙂

  8. Sammy D on September 8, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Oh how clever to sneak Tina's pink flamingo into your beautiful drawing – sunflowers AND flamingos – they kind of capture her, don't thet?!?  We've all talked so much about Tina's special emails. I am so glad I appreciated them enough at the time to keep them!



    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:29 am

      Her blog header features the flamingo, so I thought it would be nice to include it in the drawing…. thanks Sammy!

  9. Patricia Lynne on September 8, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    The drawing is wonderful. Great tribute to Tina.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:29 am

      Thank you Patricia! (I hope Snapshots is doing well…)

  10. David Walston on September 8, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Love the picture! Tina would have loved it also. She was a special person.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:30 am

      Thank you for the visit, David. She touched many lives.

  11. Chrys Fey on September 8, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    That is a lovely drawing! And so good, too! Thank you for sharing with us your memories of Tina. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:31 am

      Thank you Chrys. Lorraine, my grade 9 learner, is a master when it comes to drawing.  🙂

  12. Elise Fallson on September 8, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    The pink flamingo hanging out with that sunflower is a perfect picture for Tina! Love what the Sunflower Fund is trying to do, I hope they are able to raise much needed money and awareness for people affected. 


    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:33 am

      The flamingo and sunflower go well together… don't they?  The Sunflower Fund is a dynamic organisation. They do great work!

  13. L. Diane Wolfe on September 8, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    I hear that word and all I can think of is Gollum.

    The photos are beautiful.

    Your drawing is cute. Really glad we didn't have to plant a flamingo in our yards though.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:36 am

      We could have 'planted creative flamingos' in our gardens?  (I'm green-finger-impaired…  once killed a cactus, so I would have gone for that option…)   🙂

  14. Rhonda Albom on September 8, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I am new here. I love the flamingo and sunflowers. Beautiful tribute to Tina. 

    As for your game, it sounds like fun, and stcking a bit to the future:

    Bag-ass-e: It's the latest slang term used by teens to describe a very low hanging backpack. They add the e at the end because languange has deteriorated to require some reference to technology and, let's face it, e-bag-ass just doesn't sound so nice.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:41 am

      Welcome to my place, Rhonda!

      I love your definition. Clever spelling switcheroo… and fits in with tech terminology! You are so right, e-bag-ass just doesn't do it…   🙂

  15. C. Lee McKenzie on September 8, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    What a perfect combo: flamingo and sunflower!

    Bagasse is a hard word to define because of its convoluted etyomology, but not one to give up easily I'll give it a go and at least share with you the earliest known meaning. At one point in time, c. 1450 there was a shortage of bags–grocery, garbage etc., so the Asse family started a small business manufacturing them. Their company name was Bagasse and that became synonymous with any bag-like container. 


    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:42 am

      Queen Of Glibness, you hit the ball out of the park – again!  🙂

  16. Heather M. Gardner on September 8, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Such a cool drawing for Tina.

    Very nice post.

    I do like your definition and I'm sure Alex does, too!

    Thank you,


  17. L.G. Keltner on September 9, 2014 at 12:03 am

    That sunflower is gorgeous!  Thank you for sharing it with us!

  18. Trisha on September 9, 2014 at 12:13 am

    I love your picture for Tina 🙂 Great job!

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:44 am

      Thank you Trisha! (My grade 9 learner did the 'great job'. I just posted it)   🙂

  19. Susan Gourley on September 9, 2014 at 1:11 am

    I had heard that the origin of that term came about because of the rumor that Amazonian women warriors would cut off one of their breasts so it wouldn't interfer with drawing their bows. God bless and keep Tina

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:46 am

      Sue, that definition blends with the previous word… smart answer! Tina will be missed… 🙂

  20. Michael Di Gesu on September 9, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Here's to Tina…. she wouldn've loved that drawing!

    WOW… That SUNFLOWER SCAPE is AMAZING. I would love to see that in person!

    CONGRATS to Mary! ALL the best with her new book!


    Okay…. Now for the BAAAAAAGGGGGGAAAAASE… Well certainly BADDD AAASSS comes to one's mind first, but that is not my answer. LOL.. It would take a lot of WIND to scream this out. LOL.

    Let's start with a backpack theme and call define a BAGASSE the bag one wears on there arse to tote things around if for they have back problems.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:49 am

      Michael, I KNEW you'd like that psychedelic Artescape Sunflower!

      I think that chiropractors would make a fortune out of selling those bagasse bags from their consulting rooms…  🙂

  21. WriterlySam on September 9, 2014 at 4:48 am

    Tina will always be the honorary captain of our tree house, where her witty words and spirit will be celebrated!


  22. Corinne Rodrigues on September 9, 2014 at 7:00 am

    You've got a real talented youngster, Michelle! 

    I didn't know Tina personally, but from all I've read of her it was my loss. Thank you for sharing a link to her story – am off to read it now. ♥

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:51 am

      You will learn more about Tina from that delightful story… enjoy! Thanks Corinne!  🙂

  23. Murees Dupé on September 9, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Awesome picture. That is a great looking sunflower. 

  24. Susan Scott on September 9, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Lovely tribute to sunflower Tina .. and the artscape in Cape Town is fitting. And your own drawing with the flamingo!

  25. SittieCates on September 9, 2014 at 7:58 am

    The gigantic sunflower and the one drawn for Tina are really beautiful. I'm sure she looked down and had a nice smile on her face when she saw this, Michelle. 

    On a different note, you're one of my nominees and awardees for "The Versatile Blogger" Award that I received for my second blog. Here's the post for that one: <a href="">Versatile Blogger Award: Delighted to Receive it!</a>. Congrats! 🙂


    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:56 am

      Thank you for the nomination, Sittie!  🙂

  26. Mina B. on September 9, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    That picture is adorable.  Tina was indeed bubbly.  Such a loss, but Heaven's gain for sure.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:57 am

      Yes, a bubbly and effervescent spirit… may her soul rest in peace. Thank you, Mina.

  27. Shelly on September 9, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Hi, Michelle!

    Tina always gave me chocolate-covered almonds, wine and cheese, and creme bulee hugs.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:58 am

      Shelly, you lucky lady, she gave you the whole enchilada!  🙂

  28. Southpaw on September 9, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Lorraine did an awesome job, that is beautiful!

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 6:59 am

      Thank you Holly! I will let her know.   🙂

  29. Carol Kilgore on September 9, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    The drawing is awesome! And so is that Afri-Scape sculpture. I'm wishing Mary all the best with The Rifters.

    BAGASSE – What sheep get if they eat too much grass 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 7:01 am

      I'm trying to determine the visual effect of this 'ailment'… or is it medical?  🙂

  30. Stephanie Faris on September 10, 2014 at 1:29 am

    Tina sounds like an amazing person. I love those sunflower pictures. So trippy!

  31. Jocelyn Rish on September 10, 2014 at 2:25 am

    I only knew Tina from stopping by each other's blogs during the last few A to Z challenges, but she seemed like such a wonderful person. And even though I didn't know her well, it felt like a punch to the gut to hear about her passing. This Sunflower blog hop is such a beautiful tribute to her. 

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 7:03 am

      I know that her passing will be a great loss to the AtoZ team… she was a wonderful human being!   🙂 Thank you, Jocelyn.

  32. Medeia Sharif on September 10, 2014 at 4:19 am

    I love the sunflower for Tina and the psychedelic art.


    Bagasse sounds like pasta.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 10, 2014 at 7:04 am

      Thank you, Medeia.

      And now I'm wishing for pasta… a good cream-based penne, perhaps? Delicious thought…

  33. tammy theriault on September 10, 2014 at 5:55 am

    love the pic you made. she is quite the outgoing person and writer… 🙂

  34. Julie K Pick on September 10, 2014 at 8:22 am

    I'm so excited that I won at Whacky Words, Michelle! This is such a clever game, and I never win at anything! Thank you so much! I also love your sunflower with the flamingo. This was such a lovely tribute to Tina! I feel like I'm getting to know her through everyone's posts. Congrats to Mary on her new release! A bagasse is another name for a fanny pack! Sorry I got here so late, as this has been a crazy week. Thanks again, Michelle!

    • Michelle Wallace on September 14, 2014 at 8:19 am

      A fanny pack? That is priceless! You are too funny, Julie!  🙂

      Hope that you've settled down a little – returned to some semblance of normality? (whatever that is…?!)

  35. Gisele LeBlanc on September 10, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Wow, that sunflower installation/artwork is both gorgeous and impressive! I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. And, I didn't know Tina, but she sounds like she was a very amazing woman who inspired a lot of people. 

    • Michelle Wallace on September 14, 2014 at 8:20 am

      It's gorgeous, isn't it? I have yet to see it firsthand…. 🙂 Tina was really amazing. She touched many lives directly and indirectly… 

  36. Cherie Reich on September 10, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Congrats to Mary!

    I love the picture with the flamingo and sunflower. It's so bright and cheerful.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 14, 2014 at 8:21 am

      Bright and cheerful sums up Tina's personality (and lots of other words too…)  🙂

  37. Tyrean on September 10, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Wow! That's a beautiful drawing!

    Congrats to Mary! (I picked up her book already)

    And I love the whacky words! Hmm. Bagasse – a bagpipe filled with air and ready to play. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on September 14, 2014 at 8:22 am

      I'd love to hear a tune on your air-pipe, Tyrean! Thanks for popping in!   🙂

  38. Pam on September 11, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I couldn't agree more. Emails with Tina were like a party; full of cake and cheese.

    • Michelle Wallace on September 14, 2014 at 8:24 am

      Perfect description, Pam. Tina would have made the perfect 'e-mail-party hostess'!   🙂

  39. Jemi Fraser on September 12, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Lorraine's sunflower is just gorgeous!! Talented young lady!

    Love that giant sunflower too – bet Tina would have loved it 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on September 14, 2014 at 8:24 am

      Lorraine is super-talented – and such a sweetie-pie!   🙂

  40. Anna Nordeman of Adornments for Dreams on September 12, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Friday September 12th, 2014

    Lovely painting of a sunflower and a flamingo! Your discription of Tina rings true. I never got to meet her, but love her for our written exchanges and for her stories.

    Best wishes,


    • Michelle Wallace on September 14, 2014 at 8:26 am

      Tina exchanged e-mails with loads of people. That's becoming quite obvious now. I can just imagine her inbox… overflowing…

      Thanks for the visit, Anna! I hope you are well!  🙂

  41. Crystal Collier on September 13, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Lovely thoughts about Tina. I need to hop over and read her story. Thank you for linking it!

  42. Michelle Wallace on September 14, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Thank you for visiting, Crystal!   🙂

  43. Shannon Lawrence on September 17, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    I love that you shared a link to her piece! The artwork for the Sunflower Fund was cool, too.

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