Short story

It is amazing how, with the hum drum of forced house arrest for us here, and the limited amount of things to actually do, that regularity of blogging has not been a strong suit of mine. Although, as I watch the blogging world, I see that many have fallen prey to this. And not just on here. There are those who are tenacious in their production of ‘things’, whether it be on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or WordPress posts. But I have definitely seen a decline in regularity among the majority.

Today, instead of a ‘blog post’ of my usual kind, I decided to share a short story that I entered into a writing competition a few years ago. I actually entered three, as entries were not limited to one per person. The instructions were that you could write in any genre, but your story had to end in a twist – and no more than 500 words.
It’s most certainly not a masterpiece in creative writing… but should keep you somewhat entertained for the little while that it takes you to read it. I don’t remember what I called this piece, so feel free to throw a title into the comments, just for fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope you are all keeping well. โค

”Glass shattered.
The limb of a branch had been thrown viciously against the window in the upstairs bedroom. The howling wind that trailed immediately after sounded like that of a large man, booming with laughter in great satisfaction. Sounds of the wild weather outside would ordinarily have caused fear to rise up in her throat, but tonight all she could feel was the agony of grief.

Disease had ravaged every inch of her weary body. They had warned her that the advanced stages of the disease would leave little to sustain her will to live. Physically, she could no longer feel. Every nerve in her body had been deadened; if not by the disease, then by the variety of medical treatments that could not cure her of her affliction. There was no cure.ย  Treatments were aimed at prolonging her undignified existence. Her brain screamed in anguish as she silently wished the opposite were true. She wanted to feel physically, and instead have her emotions crushed.

An icy wind entered through the broken window, licking at her skin, seemingly waiting in anticipation for her shivers. She felt nothing. As if angry at not being able to get a reaction from the object of its affections, it gusted and swept through the room, knocking a photo frame that had been perched on a table to the floor. Her hands shook as she began to reach for it, the photograph inside now bearing small lacerations from the shards of glass that had once been whole.

Then she heard it. The floorboard creaked in the hallway outside the bedroom door. The doorknob turned, and a shaft of light steadily crept in as the door slowly opened. ย The man standing in the doorway was muscular, somewhat scruffy, from what she could see of his appearance. He was no one she recognised. He stepped forward, and the light bounced fleetingly off the large blade of the knife in his right hand. For one brief moment, she felt relieved that her grief had finally been replaced. Terror gripped her. She opened her mouth and screamed. No sound was heard and she stood there, gaping like a fish on dry land trying to catch just one last breath.

She watched as the expression on his face changed from satisfaction to disgust. She realised that her small, weak frame posed no challenge to this man, and that he would not be able to relish in the pleasure he usually felt when taking someone elseโ€™s life. He approached the mahogany bed in the centre of the room carefully, and she watched him with dread. He stood there for a few minutes, reached out his hand to touch something, then turned on his heel and left. She didnโ€™t watch him go, but was instead transfixed by the sight on the bed. Her body lay pale and lifeless, blending in with the stark white of the linen sheets. He hadnโ€™t killed her, because she was already dead. The disease had won.”

Kid memory

I was watching a movie last night and there was a line in it that suddenly made me laugh out loud. It wasn’t funny by any means, and the movie was pretty serious too – but it sparked something in my memory for some odd reason. And I laughed a little too long at that memory – because perhaps that was what I needed.

It isn’t even reallyย that funny, when I think about it now. But I thought I’d share it anyway, because it’s quite sweet… and we could all use some sweetness and a smile ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I was 9 or 10, my mother owned a day care centre in collaboration with her church. It was open for about three years – until the church decided to do something else with the building in which it was housed.
I would visit there in the afternoons after school – and I loved the little kids. Their age ranges were 2 to 6, and so some of them were not that much younger than me.

But I have always been an old soul, and thinking back now, I feel like I was so much older than them. My brothers were 9 and 11 years older than me, and I sometimes think I grew up as a mini adult. I don’t know.

But I know I was very fond of those little kids, and loved reading to them, and drawing with them, and caring for them.

Duane was one of my favourites – we’re now Facebook friends, ha ha ha!
Back then, he was four years old, and he was the cutest little thing with the chubbiest cheeks I had ever seen. He put those chubby cheeks to good use. Duane loved after lunch nap time. He was always the first one asleep, and the last one to wake up… often needing to be woken. He loved nap time so much that he’d store the last two mouthfuls of food in his cheeks, just so that he could be excused from the table to do his quick bathroom visit and then go to his little mattress and pillow. I think he chewed and swallowed while in the bathroom. But one day, he was so tired, that he seemed to have forgotten. They’d had grapes at the end of the meal, and he kept one in either cheek. He fell asleep like that though! Thankfully, he didn’t choke. Instead, almost as soon as he was asleep, his mouth opened and they popped out onto his pillow. They were discovered as the assistant teacher made her rounds to cover the children with blankets and my mother was called. After that, little Duane’s cheeks were checked before he left the table!

But that’s not the story I wanted to share ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ross was three (almost four at the time of the story I want to share) years old, and small for his age. He had big brown eyes, and sandy brown hair that was growing out past his ears, and he also sported a very straight, very thick, floppy fringe (bangs). He was very well behaved and a lot quieter and gentler than the other boys. And he had a lisp, which made him even cuter.
One day, as the assistant teacher, Pam, was tidying the bookshelf, little Rossi (that’s what we called him – no relation to Valentino ๐Ÿ˜› ) came sidling up to her. He watched, and then helped with the lower shelf. When all the books were neatly put back in place in that shelf, Rossi stood up, put his hands on his hips and let out an enormous sigh. Pam turned to face him, and smiling down at him she said,
“And now, Rossi? What’s your case?”ย  (the line from the movie)

Rossi’s brown eyes widened and he suddenly look very confused. In his soft little voice he replied,
”But Aunty Pammie, youย know my cathe. It’th the one with the red and white thtripeth!”

And his school suitcase was, indeed, the one with the red and white stripes. Pam started laughing, and gathered him up in a hug. Then she sat him down and explained what she had meant, and he laughed too, stating, ”I’m a thilly banana and I’m not even yellow!”

So it’s just a quick share…. but I felt it worthy ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s hoping you at least smiled ๐Ÿ˜‰

Be safe everyone!

 

Reading IS doing!

Someone very dear to me reminded me yesterday that ‘nature abhors a vacuum, and something will fill it and it’s not always the best stuff’.

And I know this.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes weย know something and yet still become its prey?ย 

The vacuum was there, created by frustration, I’m guessing. And then along came the proverbial cherry to top it all off. When I have these cherry experiences, they usually reduce me to tears…

But then the healing begins.

And I come back stronger – because I choose to force myself to empty out the bad stuff and fill the vacuum with the good. It really can go either way though – but it’s about choice.
When you have come through the things I have, there is no way that you want to choose the latter. I have learned through some very difficult and painful experiences that I truly WANT the good…always. That growth is not always easy… but it’s necessary to become the best version of me that I can be. And perhaps all of this is part of that journey?

So… moving on…

The UK truly is one of my favourite places in the world. Of course, the fact that my daddy lives there probably plays a big part in that ๐Ÿ˜‰
But I also had the opportunity to visit the UK for a few months, and Dad did it proud as far as being my tour guide was concerned. We didn’t see many shopping centres… instead, I sat on steps in his little town and fed the swans – I seldom see swans here. I took in the most amazing scenery, and had long walks in forests. I finally got to see real castles… and walk in their ruins ๐Ÿ™‚ย  And we visited almost every charity shop we could find… for books!

Today (or rather later today) is World Book Night.

Apparently it started in the UK (told you it’s a great place ๐Ÿ˜› ) and Ireland in 2011 – World Book Day existed for children, and so World Book Night was created as a ‘day’ for adults to read more books.
In 2012 and 2013, the holiday was celebrated in the United States. Over 50,000 people gave books to others on this day.

They talk about celebrating it by giving books away to others, or reading a book late into the night to relax. That we should share our favourite books with one another, in an effort to encourage reading.

As an adult, I completely understand when someone tells me that they just don’t seem to find the time to read. Life gets busy, and there is always something else that needs doing.
My problem is that no matter how much still needs to be done, I will still squeeze in an hour to read. But, you see, I am something of a book worm ๐Ÿ˜‰

I was ‘quite offended’ (not really offended as such, just a little bit amazed at the thought) when someone asked me the other day what I was doing. So I replied with, ‘Reading ๐Ÿ™‚ ‘
And the response was, ‘So you’re not actually doing anything.’ This person felt the same way about me with my writing.
But this person is not a person who reads or writes – for them, ‘doing’ is physically doing/working with their hands. In their eyes, reading and writing makes me a very lazy person.
We’re still friends ๐Ÿ˜‰
Because this world is made up of a variety of people with so many different strengths and talents and abilities… and that’s what makes the world work. This person repairs motorcycles locally, and without him, our local bikers would be in a fix and paying way too much for ‘out of town’ services. He has value. So do I.
But the things people value about us are different ๐Ÿ˜‰

So if you enjoy reading, and struggle to find the time, then today is a good day to put everything else aside and curl up with your book. You have an excuse ๐Ÿ˜‰

And if you’ve read anything really good lately, feel free to share it in the comments. It may not be my preferred genre, but someone else may decide it’s for them ๐Ÿ˜‰
And knowing me, I will probably give it a read anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

This week I read Have You Seen Her, by Karen Rose.

have
Photo credit : bookdepository.com

”Special Agent Steven Thatcher has sworn to find the serial killer preying on this small town.ย  As the investigation pulls him one way, his family pulls him in another.ย A widower haunted by loss, he now worries about his son Brad slipping away.ย 

I was actually very surprised by this book! It was ‘full’ of everything. The fear and intrigue of the serial killer as we go on the hunt; the emotion and pain of a family being torn apart (there were parts there that made me cry!); and adult desires that carry you into a romance.
When I say full – it’s like it was three different stories that could have each been books on their own… but were edited to make the ‘story’ shorter… without losing your emotional connection to every aspect. Interwoven to make for a heck of a read.

This type of book isn’t everyone’s cup of tea… but it ‘had something’ and I’m really glad I read it. When I finished it, I was filled with a lot of admiration for this author, because for me it truly was skillfully brought together. A little predictable in parts? Sure. But I’m a book lover and not a very good book critic ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy World Book Night, adults ๐Ÿ˜‰

Because We Are Wrong โ€” The Chatter Blog โ€” Peter’s pondering

I logged onto WordPress this morning, feeling a bit out of sorts.

Our strict lock down seems to be getting to me. It’s a little strange that it would affect me like it is, because I am quite the homebody on any given day.
Who knew that the trips in the car for school and extra curricular activities for my daughter, and the odd popping in at the shops I frequent for our needs, were actually so meaningful to my everyday life.

(In case you missed it previously, our lock down is a lot stricter than any other country. Not only have our purchases been limited – so you can’t even buy puzzles, or wool, or DIY things to keep you busy etc. but you’re also not allowed to go for a walk. This includes not being able to take your dog for a walk. I’m not even allowed to walk ten metres out of my house within our gated community. Even if you promise to keep the required social distancing to prevent the virus from spreading. Of course, not all are obeying these rules – some get caught, and are issued with hefty fines. Others? They just seem to get away with it, and the virus is still spreading despite the strict rules, and those of us who are adhering and pretty much finding ourselves under house arrest.)

And so me feeling out of sorts is understandable, I suppose. And I stumbled upon the post I have shared.

My life has been a continuous battle of undoing – undoing the words of the past. The journey has often been difficult, and my self worth has always been the most difficult part to conquer for more than a few hours at a time.
I think the frustration of the way things currently are has led to a little too much self reflection of the negative kind – doubt, fear, inadequacy.

I’ve started taking things personally. Like maybe I talk too much? Maybe I just AM too much. And yet some might argue that I don’t talk enough.
I’m feeling guilty for not being the type of person others may need or want me to be, instead of relishing in my uniqueness and the beauty of my soul – as damaged and vulnerable as it may be. I’m feeling inadequate and unworthy.

My teen daughter and adult son are growing increasingly annoyed with each other, and frustrated with the constraints put on them too. I’ve tried to be the voice of reason, and I’ve tried to be fair, with them both. I’m doing my best to ‘mother’ – being sensitive to their plights, and loving towards them, but still maintaining a disciplinary tone when it comes to situations that need it. I’m used to them pushing boundaries – who doesn’t? But this time, things just feel different.

Lock down is making me feel locked out.ย 

All very depressing, I know. But it’s the truth of the time and place I find myself in right now.

And then I read the blog post below. I don’t think it was a coincidence that it happened to appear first on my reader.
I have become a lot better over the past few years at accepting good things about myself – at acknowledging that I have worth, and that I am good enough. Being prone to thinking otherwise has lessened. It’s been a terrible struggle to reach the point of acceptance and to be able to acknowledge my self worth in a good way.

The last couple of days have been ‘bad days’.

And as I read the blog post below I was reminded of this :

It’s okay for me to have off days. It’s okay for me to have doubts and fears. The circumstances are seriously tough and if it wasn’t affecting me at all, then I may have started wondering about myself even more!
I’m not complaining about having time – time is something that I have had little of, and I am relishing the abundance of it that I now have.

But it’s okay to be feeling overwhelmed and a little sad.
While gratitude plays a big part in a happier attitude, and I have been careful to continuously remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for (as well as throwing in reminders for my children) … under these circumstances I am allowed to see the sadness and frustration too. Because if I lie, or choose not to acknowledge it’s existence, then how on earth will I go about dealing with it, and changing it.

BUT… I need to remind myself that dwelling on those negatives and allowing them to have such control over my peace of mind and well being is wrong. That I can stop this argument in my head, and the culmination of negative emotions that are threatening to steal my joy.

That I can still allow myself to accept myself.

And that I need to hold on to my belief that ‘this too shall pass’.

Taking it one hour at a time, one day at a time. Still smiling… and feeling determined about the better things that are yet to come. Reminding myself that just because Iย feel bad, doesn’t mean it IS bad. That there is always hope – and yes, I am still a prisoner of it ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m searching for ways to see me through this. I haven’t found them yet.. but I am searching… and slowly but surely, something will drag me from this funk ๐Ÿ˜‰ . But I DO know that I have been through some really tough stuff in my life… and I WILL get through this!

 

Some wise words from Colleen. Pop over to her blog to find many more! ยฉ via Because We Are Wrong โ€” The Chatterย Blog

via Because We Are Wrong โ€” The Chatter Blog โ€” Peter’s pondering

Essential Services Workers

Altruism is the word used for when a person or animals behaviour is unselfish, and they devote themselves to the welfare of others. It’s caring for, being empathetic towards, and showing compassion when you can gain nothing from doing so.ย 

According to wikipedia : Altruismย is theย principleย andย moral practiceย of concern forย happinessย of otherย human beingsย or animals, resulting in aย quality of lifeย bothย materialย andย spiritual.

Research has shown that us as humans have very strong tendencies to go either way – selfish, or altruistic – sometimes we manage to attain a healthy motion between the two. And so it’s very much a case of ‘having an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other’ – the concept of deciding which voice we will choose to listen to in any given situation.

The purpose of this post is actually not because of the virus that is attacking our world at the moment – and yet it is.

Because today, quite randomly, is ‘Volunteer Recognition Day‘.

Here in South Africa at the moment, even if you can provide essential services as a volunteer, your options are minimal. The lock down here is stricter than anywhere else in the world. And to be quite honest, when I hear some of the ‘rules’ being spewed that are to be imposed on us, my brain becomes quite baffled at the logic behind it all.

But I shan’t complain… not really. It would just be of great help if everyone was actually being forced to follow… and not just a minority of us. Or perhaps I should be thinking more along the lines of ifย everyone would just jolly well OBEY the darn rules, as ridiculously and stupidly tough as a lot of them are!

Anyway….

I had a conversation yesterday with a paramedic, who reached out to me just to talk. It was a difficult conversation, because sometimes there just aren’t words to offer in response to what is being said.
The gist of it was that he is naturally ‘being forced’ to work during this outbreak, and he doesn’t want to. What you need to know is that he is truly a caring and compassionate man, who does a lot of volunteer work in his free time. Sometimes, I wonder if he ever sleeps? It made my heart sad. Because he has been so unselfish for so many years, and this virus has pushed him to a breaking point.

I know that those who are in ‘essential services’ have chosen their particular career. I know that this is part of their life choice with regards to their futures.
But I also know that they are sacrificing a lot more than those of us who are locked up in our homes… and just because they ‘chose’ to be doctors and nurses and emergency services, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the greatest amount of respect and compassion that we can give them.

So for today, I am counting them as ‘volunteers’ too.

And thanking them, from the bottom of my butt (because it’s bigger than my heart, physically) ๐Ÿ˜›

Every person on the forefront of the war with this virus : I salute you. I appreciate you. I pray for you. I wish I could help you. I am grateful for you.ย ย 

Liebster Award

screenshot_20200414-215638-e1587054864276

I was nominated ๐Ÿ˜‰ Big thanks to johnranjit for the nomination. He has a blog called Managing Yourself, some great soul food in there to go and have a look at. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Rules To The Liebster Blogger Award:

1.Thank the blogger who nominated you and give a link to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you. (I only got 10 – promise I didn’t leave one out ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
3.Share 11 facts about yourself
4. Nominate between 5-11 other bloggers
5. Ask your nominees 11 questions
6. Notify your nominees once youโ€™ve uploaded your post.

The Q and A for me is as follows :

Q1 When and how did you start blogging?
Goodness! I think my first ever blog post was back in 2006, but it wasn’t on the WordPress community. Blogging was almost an unknown in my country back then – very few people blogged those days. A computer whizz who knew I loved to write, and knew my bubbly personality, introduced me to the world of blogging. And so it began ๐Ÿ˜‰

Q2 What is your favorite quote?
I generally don’t like being asked to mention favourites…. simply because I have so many of everything. ๐Ÿ˜›
And each day is different, and sometimes it changes during the day, depending on circumstances and little reminders. For this morning though, the following quote pretty much describes how I felt.. so I’ll share it ๐Ÿ˜‰
“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and good things will be yours.”โ€” Swedish Proverb

Q3 Beaches or mountains?
There’s just no question here, and it’s something that never changes ๐Ÿ˜›
MOUNTAINS for sure ๐Ÿ˜‰

Q4 If you had an extra hour in the day, what will you be doing?
This is such a tough one, because there are just too many things to mention.
So I’ll pick one and go with it ๐Ÿ˜‰
Daydreaming ๐Ÿ˜‰ I mean, who doesn’t need an extra hour for that, right?

Q5 What is your all-time advice to my blog page?
To be honest, I don’t have any. You are you, and your blog is uniquely you. I enjoy reading what you put out there, and wouldn’t change a thing.

Q6 Would you rather read a book or watch a movie?
Definitely read a book.

Q7 How do you deal with stress?
I breathe. Yes, it sounds silly. But I actually physically and mentally stop myself, and just keep repeating, ‘breathe. in and out. there you go. just breathe.’ And admittedly sometimes I cry – I find that it is a welcome relief and is beneficial to releasing the negative emotions.

Q8 What appeals to you most, soul or appearance of a person?
Definitely the soul! Admittedly, there needs to be an attraction to the physical appearance in a romantic relationship… but for me the physical attraction is often related to the soul. It’s a little strange, I know. Personally though, I have experienced it a good few times. I’ll see an incredibly good looking man, but discover he’s self absorbed, and superficial – and honestly, he loses his appeal for me. I just don’t ‘see’ his outward good looks anymore. Strange, but true.

Q9 What message would you like to give to your future self?
Just eat the darn cake ๐Ÿ˜‰

Q10 What are you most thankful for in your life?

Life. In it’s entirety. With it’s ups and downs, and all arounds. I am just thankful that I have it, and everything that goes with it. Even the things that hurt and the lessons that suck. I grow. So they have purpose. I have purpose. Life has purpose.
It’s not always easy… but it’s worth it.
And the opportunities are endless.
So I guess the thing I am most thankful for in my life, is that I HAVE life ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m also supposed to share 11 facts about me. That’s even more difficult than answering questions ๐Ÿ˜› Mostly because as you all know I am quite open here, so there’s not much mystery left to share ๐Ÿ˜›ย  I’ll try anyway….

  1. I think I am addicted to caffeine – I am at a stage where Iย have to have two cups after waking for my brain to fully functional ๐Ÿ˜›
  2. I am a water baby – not a swimmer. I drink copious amounts of water. Too much, actually. Although it doesn’t seem to affect me, other than seemingly having a constantly full bladder, ha ha ha! (I drink about 3.5l a day – and that’s not including the coffee or tea consumed during the day.)
  3. As much as I love my coffee, there is a time in the day where my body seems to crave my cup of green tea with mint – no milk, no sugar.
  4. I don’t take sugar in my coffee either.
  5. I don’t play on my phone if I wake in the middle of the night/early hours of the morning. I may only touch it in order to see the time. I don’t check messages or scroll through social media. Even if I am struggling to go back to sleep. Ha ha ha!
  6. I don’t eat sushi. And yes, I have tried it. All of it. Even wasabi. But sushi just doesn’t seem to be built into my taste buds.
  7. As chatty and vivacious as my personality is, I am still able to just ‘be’. There are plenty of times where quietย is actually just quiet. I once had a friend over, and we were both sitting in my lounge with our knitting, and just kind of lapsed into silence. For an hour. But weย are women, so we got to talking again ๐Ÿ˜›
  8. I still love to dance – even though I am not very good ๐Ÿ˜›
  9. Although I don’t seem to give music enough credit, I cannot imagine my life without it.
  10. I took a kids quiz on a magazine website yesterday, ha ha ha ha! Because who wouldn’t want to know which Beatrix Potter character they were???
    I’m Squirrel Nutkin, in case you’re wondering ๐Ÿ˜›
  11. I am totally and utterly terrified of a dentist!

 

I’m not going to nominate anyone as such. Because you’re all awesome. So if you’re reading this, consider yourself nominated ๐Ÿ˜‰

BUT, I’d also like to share links to some pretty great blogs (this is off the top of my head, and please don’t be offended if I don’t mention you by name), and give them the award… but there is NO pressure to do a blog post about it if you don’t want to. ๐Ÿ˜‰
If you DO choose to participate, please answer my ten questions that I was asked, and for your eleventh, I’d like to know : ”What would you say is your strong point?”

Letters to Pogue is an extremely thought provoking blog, with a lot of humour thrown in. You should definitely pay him a visit ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s not limited by language or terminology (his words, not mine) and it shows. I love how when I read, I can continue to think ‘outside the box’. I am often encouraged and inspired ๐Ÿ™‚

Evan is not only a talented writer, helping us grow our minds – he is also a talented hobby-photographer. The pictures he shares with each blog post are just as good as his writing ๐Ÿ˜‰ You should visit him too ๐Ÿ™‚

Holly writes the most beautifully thought out posts that are of such great encouragement to me. Her blog also often contains great tips on ‘whole’ living – natural alternatives and the like. She has a truly beautiful soul and it shows in her writing.

Robin writes some pretty awesome poetry – and he has a great sense of humour. A lot of his stuff is related to mental health, and anxiety – but you definitely won’t be left feeling like you’re struggling with either one. Because even on days when he openly struggles? There’s sunshine in the clouds ๐Ÿ˜‰ I enjoy his Tornado of Chaos ๐Ÿ˜‰

Will’s Wisdom offers inspiration and motivation for life. There’s always a story. And a question. That gives you cause to pause and think. I kind of like that, you know ๐Ÿ˜‰

Vincent is a family man… a WordPress family man. He sees us all as family, and is just great about letting us know that we have value ๐Ÿ˜‰ His posts often bring a smile to my face – he truly is making a positive impact on lives.

So now you all have lots of reading to do. And I have a morning exercise routine (a quick one ๐Ÿ˜› 10 minute cardio – it’s a start, don’t knock it ๐Ÿ˜› ) to get through, because, well, I promised myself I would ๐Ÿ˜›

Stay safe โค

 

Arts and Crafts

The other day I shared my hobby of painting.

I am sort of an Arts and Crafts kind of girl. Sometimes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In my early twenties, a girl friend who shares my love for creating stuff, gifted me an afternoon craft class. It was a voucher for both of us to attend, and we got wine and snacks! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I remember it as being loads of fun – but somewhat frustrating too – and it wasn’t the wine ๐Ÿ˜›

It was a class in ‘serviette glass decoupage’.

Now back in those days, I was nowhere near as patient as I am now. And it showed in that class (hence the frustrating part of it).

We arrived twenty minutes early, and were greeted with a variety of wines to choose from. The studio the class was being held at had a beautiful garden, and I remember sitting on the grass with our wine, next to a small rock fountain, just sunning ourselves. No words passed between us, we just were. It was bliss.

We were ushered inside a while later by the hostess – an elderly woman with long gray hair, dressed in a brightly coloured kaftan, sporting a glass of wine twice the size of ours! (A couple of months ago, I watched the series Grace and Frankie.When I saw Frankie, I was instantly reminded of the teacher we had that day ๐Ÿ˜‰ Frankie is the lady on the right, pictured below)

gf

Photo credit : tvline.com
gf2
Photo credit : deadline.com

I’m struggling to remember what our hostesses name was, so for the purposes of my story, I shall refer to her as Frankie ๐Ÿ˜‰

My friend, Tish, and I took our seats, and I was excited to see the box of supplies in front of me. Frankie took her place at the front of the room and rather dramatically announced,
”Ladies, today we are going to test our patience!”
I wasn’t the only one who wore a horrified expression, promise.
She laughed, and added, ”We’re going to create something beautiful that you can be proud of.”
We all relaxed – but we should have known that she was an honest woman (she gave us wine, after all) and wasn’t actually kidding about the first part despite her laughing after she said it.

As we unpacked our items, I got more excited, while she talked us through a brief explanation.
”First we will tear the mulberry paper into small pieces, and you will use the normal paintbrush to ‘glue’ the pieces to your jar with the glaze I have provided. (It’s a water based glaze type varnish, thin and colourless, and after this class I preferred working with it to working with the traditional modge podge that is usually used in decoupage.)
When you have finished, while your jar is drying – it will take about fifteen minutes to dry, you may come and select a serviette from the box. Then you will cut out your picture and gently apply it with the softer paintbrush to your bottle, using fine strokes to pretty much paint it on.”

It didn’t sound too difficult.

There was a lot of chatter as we got busy with our jars (we’re women, after all ๐Ÿ˜› ), and Frankie made her rounds to check on us and top up our wine. Such a good woman ๐Ÿ˜‰

What she had failed to tell us was exactly what our serviette time would entail.

I don’t remember who waited for who, but when Tish and I were both done, we went to the serviette box together. Tish selected a serviette with bright flowers, I went with something softer – pale seashells.

Seeing us returning to our work stations with our serviettes, Frankie came over, with prestik?!?!?! What followed was a true test of patience. And I blame my youth back then for my lack thereof ๐Ÿ˜›

The serviettes had three layers, which made them ‘firm’. We were to only work with one very delicate and easy-to-tear layer. The prestik was to assist in separating the layers. Once we had the final thin layer, we could pick up our scissors, andย very gently begin to cut out our chosen sections.
Now, I need to tell you, for some reason I struggle a little with ‘gentle’. I am not a bull in a china shop by any means, but I am also not a very soft and gentle worker with my hands. I’ve improved… but back then it was an almost disaster.

I went through three serviettes before I had my few shells! The more intricate the cutting pattern (Tish learnt the hard way with her petals) the easier it is to tear the serviette while cutting. By the time we were done, I am pretty sure our sighs of relief could be heard in other countries. We high-fived each other, because, well, the bad part was over.

And then Frankie reappeared, her sample in hand. She showed us how to very carefully apply the serviette with the soft brush. As with most things when people do them who know what they are doing, she made it look easy.

I can assure you, it’s not. A single delicate layer of serviette that becomes wet tears really easily at the slightest amount of ‘too much pressure’. And so we were back to square one, fetching another serviette and holding scissors.

It took FIVE HOURS to make one jar! Some ladies gave up, and Frankie did theirs for them in the end, showing them how as she went along – for future use. I wonder if they ever tried again?

Tish and I were part of the determined group. And weย finally succeeded!

So this was my very first jar, made with serviette decoupage…

Shell Bottle

I have since, after many years of practice, managed to hone my skill so that it’s a lot less frustrating… and I don’t tear as many serviettes anymore either ๐Ÿ˜‰ It helps that I am older now, I think – so my ‘patience skill’ has been honed too ๐Ÿ˜›

In fact, I actually now enjoy working with the serviettes, and even use them for decoupage on wooden items. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I made butterfly coasters for a friend for her birthday, I made a flower fairy tissue box for someone else. And I’ve done a few bottles as gifts, with some form of something in the neck to add to the decor – a fake flower, or greenery etc.

So without further ado, I’ll share more pictures with you ๐Ÿ˜‰

Butterfly CoastersCello BottleExamplesFairies tissue box coverSunflower bottle

Here’s hoping you’re all keeping safe, and keeping well.

And if your patience isn’t already being tested, you might want to try some serviette decoupage to get it started ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

The need to do

Funny-Inspirational-Motivation-Image

Photo credit : askideas.com

I remember reading once that so long as you have inspiration, you will be naturally motivated and push forward to achieve whatever it is that you’re focusing on.

This weekend, remembering what I had read, I was confused.

Because here’s the thing : I am never lacking in inspiration as such, for some odd reason.
And although I experienced and was inspired by so much the last few days, and still feel inspired and excited about a variety of things…

My get up and go seems to have got up and went.ย 

A conversation yesterday with my not-blood sister in the USA brought a little clarity – no, my get up and go is not with her either. In actual fact, she’s feeling a little bit the same way and asked my to please send her motivation back to her own country when it shows up at my door ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think that the subconscious impact of this virus, and lock down, is playing a part in the feelings I am having – because although I am fine, and I feel fine, and I remain inspired and am doing all I can to help others during this difficult time….

Something is ‘off’.

And it’s not just the rotten apple I found when I emptied my daughter’s sports bag. Ha ha ha!

I’m still me. Still finding humor and maintaining a general well being. I’m nowhere near panic mode, and am still very much a prisoner of something beautiful : hope.

But in the back of my mind, and evident in the projected ‘lack of motivation’, this whole situation is definitely taking its toll.ย 

My country is taking this virusย very seriously, and have implemented very harsh restrictions. I cannot buy wool, or paint, or anything to use for home maintenance. No hobby type things, no puzzles. Because it’s not considered an essential item. Apparently neither is alcohol or cigarettes, because that’s been banned too. People are bored, and can’t help but whine – because, well, they can’tย wine.ย And the nastiness towards each other in our local little community groups on social media is sad.
That said, it leaves me EXTREMELY grateful that my kettle, fridge, washing machine, and computer are all in working order – because if they break, we can’t replace them, even if we have the money. Apparently these are non essential items too?!?!?!

And forever grateful that I have internet access at this time.

Such confusing times!ย 

And in the conversation mentioned yesterday, while both of us were seeking something to get us to ‘get going and accomplish something’, (because we both actually have work/ a vision/ a business/things to do) there was this reminder :

It’s up to me. I need to just do it. Whatever it is. Just do it. Because no one else is going to. And no one else can do it like I can.ย 

Because I have something to offer. I have potential. Much may have been done before that is similar, or the same – but not with my heart, my views, my soul, my effort.ย 

There is a plan and purpose for my life – and it’s not just to have an inspired mind.

Reflection is good for the soul, and sometimes having a day or two to ‘just be’, and not ‘do’ anything is good too.ย 

But when it reaches a point where you begin to feel discouraged and dissatisfied, then it’s time to DO!

And so I am writing this blog post ๐Ÿ˜‰ And then I am going to print out some pages of a resource that I have been promising myself I would work on for the past week.

Small things… small tasks… but it’s the little things that truly do count, because I am starting to feel a little better already ๐Ÿ˜‰

Please stay safe, dear readers.

What are one of your hobbies?

My maternal Granny was an artist. Apart from also being an amazing piano player, knitting and crocheting beautiful blankets and jerseys for us grandchildren, baking the best cheese scones I have ever tasted, a Scrabble Queen, and a poet – she wrote some amazing poetry!
She was an extremely talented individual. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Her paintings were often shown at local art exhibitions, and she even managed to sell quite a few. She was brilliant with both watercolours, and oils.

I often think that my small abilities/talents in all these areas (nowhere near as great as hers were!) have a lot to do with her. Because Granny was the one who taught me to knit. When I expressed such love for her scones, she taught me to make them – but mine have never tasted as good as hers did ๐Ÿ˜‰ She included me in her and Grampie’s games of Scrabble – I eventually beat my much older brothers. When she was typing on her old typewriter, I would be sitting reading her poems – and sometimes she would take a break and explain to me the things I didn’t quite understand.
The smell of oil paints was a favourite for me as a child….because I would be sitting at a table not far from her, with a small easel of my own, having been allowed to play with her older watercolours.

I spent a lot of time as a child at my grandparents home. And I know I am speaking about Granny here… but I spent more time with Grampie ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰ But the point of telling you about Granny today, is to share a hobby of mine with you.

I am nowhere near as good as Granny, but I love to paint and create ๐Ÿ˜‰ I do a lot of homemade gifts for friends and family… and sometimes even take requests from them to make gifts that they want to pass along to someone else. So I thought that today I would show you some of my stuff, just for fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

Please share with me one hobby that you have ๐Ÿ˜‰

One of my favourite items that I painted is my Cracked Pot. I bought him as a plain old ceramic, and handpainted him. He reminds me of the saying, ”We are all broken – that’s how the light gets in.” I smile every time I look at him ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

For Christmas, I painted these plain wooden boxes and filled them with treats, and a bottle of wine, as gifts for friends ๐Ÿ˜‰ (handpainted writing – not so great, but it was cherished ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

box hamper 1box hamper 2box hamper 2bbox hamper2

box hamper1

And there’s my frog in my garden… (it’s Autumn here now, and everything is a lot drier than it should be because we have water restrictions too… but he really shines in Spring and Summer when I plant a bunch of purple petunias around him ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

frog

So I’m no great painter.. but it’s something I enjoy ๐Ÿ˜‰
Please remember to share one of your hobbies with me ๐Ÿ™‚

Be safe, and be well โค

Great moments

This morning, I have been seeking inspiration. Something to share with all of you. And I came across a story that I have read a few times before, and it made me cry, as it always does. The message is one of such great importance and is a reminder of how many great moments we could be experiencing that we sometimes let pass us by because we’re tired, or busy, or rushing… I just thought I’d share it today.

A reminder to me that not only does a small measure of kindness go a long way and sometimes have great meaning to others, but that sometimes it can impact us in a very great way too – and become one of our ‘great moments’ that we so often seek.

The last ride…

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes, I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift, I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.

‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.’Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’ ‘Oh, you’re such a good boy’, she said.When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’ ‘It’s not the shortest way’,’ I answered quickly. ‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.’ I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left’, she continued in a soft voice. ‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.’What route would you like me to take?’ I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. ‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse. ‘Nothing’, I said ‘You have to make a living’, she answered. ‘There are other passengers’, I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. ‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy’, she said. ‘Thank you.’ I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Author: New York City taxi driver”