Monthly Archives: July 2018

Guilty…Friday Fictioneers.

Leaving court, the victim’s elderly mother was propped up by her two strapping sons. Justice served, the violent ex-husband was guilty as hell.

Yet, was I the only one who questioned the verdict? The only one struck by their own guilt?

The writing was on the wall. So, why didn’t we act?

More than once, I’d seen the tell-tale, heavy makeup. Yet, I never tried to wipe it away. Call a spade a spade. Rather, I observed the code of silence, and touched up my own face.

Peeling off this mask won’t be easy, but I’m changing course.

I will survive.

…..

In parenting circles, you often hear the proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. However, what you hear less often, if at all, is that it takes the village to keep its citizens safe. Moreover, that we as individuals have a responsibility to look out for each other. To step in, especially when a mate is in trouble. However, where the waters start to get more murky, is when it comes to domestic violence. Interfering in someone else’s relationship is seen as a no-go zone. However, it can reach a point where someone’s life might be at risk and we need to step in. Yet, what are we supposed to do? We’re a friend, a brother, sister, parent…not an expert. The one thing I do know, is that we somehow need to find a way, and a quiet place, to ask the next question. Present yourself as a safe place…a harbour in the storm. That at least leaves the door open for someone to turn to us about a whole swag of issues before it’s too late. Don’t just ask if they’re okay. Follow your gut and never give up.

By the way, I’d just like to add that men can also be victims of domestic violence.

It’s not altogether surprising that I addressed this issue tonight. The body of a young woman was found beside the freeway today, when my Mum was driving up to see us. It drove home yet again why we can’t turn a blind eye.

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz 😀 (Thanks, Ted)

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

 

Fish & Chips at Terrigal Beach, Australia.

Yesterday, I stopped off at Terrigal Beach on my way home from an appointment. Terrigal is only about a 30 minute drive away and an hour North of Sydney. Yet, it’s been over a year since I was there last.While we live right near a beach ourselves, Terrigal has its own attractions and I can’t believe we don’t get there more often. Indeed, yesterday was something of a wake up call. An urgent reminder to carpe diem – seize the day.

No doubt, you also know how it is. That it doesn’t matter how close you are to paradise, it somehow passes you by. Not necessarily through any active thought on your part, but more likely through busyness and procrastination, although there’s also plenty of scope for  full-scale avoidance.

Indeed, at the moment, even sticking my head out the back door only an arm’s length away, has slumped into Mission Impossible. Not that I’m depressed, anxious or phobic in anyway. For some reason, I just don’t quite seem able to make it. That is, despite holding Carpe Diem – Seize the day as my personal mantra.

Unfortunately, the reality is often anything but. Indeed, it’s more along the lines of… “Let go of the day. Let it flow away like spilled milk without even raising an eyebrow. There’s an endless supply of sand flowing through the hour glass. Better luck tomorrow. Or, maybe even next week. Or, even the week after that. Don’t rush.”

Sea Squabble

So, I am proud of myself for not only indulging in Fish & Chips from the self-professed “best fish & chips in NSW” (well, there must’ve been some award), but also taking myself for a walk. Getting EXERCISE!!! Indeed, along with all my other doings, I actually managed to clock up a respectable 3,629 steps or 2.4km. Way better than Monday’s 132 steps (must’ve left the phone at home) Or, today’s unimpressive 70 (Yes, I know it’s almost 1.30pm, but I’m still trying to get the motor started).

 

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Looking across to the Fisherman’s Co-op where we used to buy leather jackets when I was a kid.

Anyway, let’s just ignore the bigger picture for a tad, and just focus on yesterday. For anyone who even vaguely knows me, you won’t be surprised that I had my camera with me.  That, also explains why I walked the extra mile. You see, when I’m looking through the lens, I have no idea how far I’ve walked, where I am or even if I’m currently in grave danger. All I see is the shot. Indeed, even if it isn’t a biggy, I’m still seeing and thinking in 6 x 4 and the rest of the world does not exist.

Terrigal beach pano

Terrigal Beach, looking North.

Terrigal was first settled by Europeans in 1826. John Gray, who was the first European settler to the area, called his property Tarrygal, after the indigenous Aboriginal place name, signifying ‘place of little birds’.

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Terrigal Beach in the 1970s looking South towards the Skillion.

As a child, our family used to rent a place in Terrigal or nearby Wamberal during the Christmas Summer holidays, when it was a much humbler version of the tourist resort you see today. Indeed, in so many ways, I wish they’d left it alone but there are always those determined to convert a place with such natural beauty into a monument to man.

As I said, I’m pleased that I managed to take this time out to bask in our local environment and although I’m feeling rather inert today, I am feeling the need to get the motor fired up again. The sun is shining. The dogs would be begging for a walk if they weren’t so busy sunning themselves while I’m tapping away indoors like a moron. What’s wrong with me? Why aren’t I out there? Especially, when I am so adept at avoiding the To-Do List which, at least in theory, is what’s keeping me here? Indeed, I am so close to being outside, that I could almost fall out of my chair into the sunshine.

Zac in the sun

Zack’s no idiot. He’s not inside on a sunny day. He’s out on his Pooh Bear blanket sunny side up.

Well, to be fair, I have actually been making calls and waiting for replies while I’ve been tapping away here. As most of you will agree, getting even the most simplest thing done, takes multiple steps each with its inevitable snags. Indeed, I’m perfectly justified  for feeling psychologically and physically stonkered (to use one of my Dad’s pet words).

Anyway, before the day completely goes up in smoke, it’s time I disappeared outside and found the sun.

Have you done something similar lately and made the most of where you live?

Best wishes,

Rowena

Weekend Coffee Share…23rd July, 2018.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

This week, I’ve been a bit of a bower bird and we’re enjoying the warm fire at the Central Coast Bar and Grill where we indulged in a scrumptious Sticky Date Pudding. Indeed, we loved it so much, that I had to make one for dessert last night and added some pecan nut praline for good measure. Dinner was supermarket lasagna just in case you think I’m about to enter Masterchef myself.

Amelia Coast Quest

Last week, was jam packed with rehearsals and performances. Our daughter competed in Coast Quest with her dancing and went extremely well. Well, perhaps “extremely” is being a somewhat over the top. However, if you’d seen her beaming smile when she came second in her ballet solo and third in her contemporary (with a higher mark of 89), you’d understand. We don’t receive many awards, so these were pure gold.You can read about the the full experience here.

 

 

The kids were also performing in the  Scout & Guide Gang Show with four performances at Laycock Street Theatre. The show was fantastic, and this was more our son’s turn to shine. He even made an appearance as NASA astronaut Michael Collins from the Apollo 11 (moon landing) mission. He delivered his lines well and smiled throughout the entire show. He looked like he was having a ball. Our daughter’s involvement was cut back due to clashing commitments with dancing but just managed to stay in the show. It looks like it will be her last. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time last week in the audience. It is a role I cherish, and I turn it into a much more active role by encouraging the performers. I also love watching the performances, and really feel quite privileged. I’m definitely not there under sufferance.

Last week, I also took part in Friday Fictioneers. I actually had two attempts this week, after some feedback, and my second effort An Unpredictable End was much better received.

The kids have been on school holidays for the last two weeks, and school goes back tomorrow. So, I’m thinking along the lines of getting organised for the term ahead while writing on the blog. That works, doesn’t it? Humph…

Anyway, it’s actually a beautiful sunny day outside. Well, not quite as warm as I’d first thought. It’s about 18°C so still not what we’d consider “balmy”. It’s still rug-up weather as far as I’m concerned.

Hope you’ve had a great week and I look forward to hearing from you!

This has been another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Eclectic Ali.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Gang Show 2018

The Family Taxi is getting quite accustomed to chauffeuring our budding performers to rehearsals and performances. However, just because there was “another one”, that doesn’t lessen our excitement and enthusiasm, even if the petrol tank was getting thirsty.

After seeing our daughter place in a local dance competition through the week, last night we saw both kids perform in the Scouts & Guides: Central Coast Gang Show. Quite aside from being the proud parents and laughing at our son’s crazy assortment of pants and costumes including an orange sheet for a Flintstones’ scene, we had such so much fun. The theatre was intimate, and we were only three rows back from the stage. While we weren’t quite singing out load, I was definitely singing-a-long  in my head to the likes of Inspector Gadget, Flash Gordon theme, Pokemon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Scooby Doo. Indeed, with all those great songs, I’m surprised I wasn’t dancing in the aisle. You see, I can be the ultimate in embarrassing mums. The highlight for my son came, when he played the third NASA Astronaut, Michael Collins, in a skit.

 

While you might think of knots and camping when it comes to Scouts and Guides, the Gang Show has been around since 1931 when Ralph Reader, a Rover Scout trying to make his mark in theatre in the USA and London, was asked to write a Scout-based variety show to raise money for a swimming pool for the Downe Scout Camp (now a Scout Association National Activity Centre). Rehearsals began under Reader’s direction on 25 May 1932. Initially the show did not have a title, but during a rehearsal break, he asked a cast member if everyone was ready, and the response was “Aye, aye Skip, the gang’s all here”. The first production, The Gang’s All Here, ran between 30 October and 1 November 1932 at the Scala Theatre in central London.[1]The show was not a sell-out, but enough was raised to fund the swimming pool and the show was well received. Baden-Powell, the founder of scouting, persuaded Reader to produce another show in 1933. This was The Gang Comes Back and ran for a week.Reader continued to write and produce the London Gang Show. In 1934 the show became The Gang Show and Crest of a Wave was performed for the first time, becoming over the years the anthem. In 1937 the London show became the first amateur production to have a Royal Command Performance (an honour repeated in 1957 and 1964). A feature film called The Gang Show, starring Ralph Reader and The Gang, premièred at the Lyceum Theatre, London in April the same year, and in New York in December 1938. Now, it appears right around the world- Gang Show Wikipaedia The Central Coast Gang Show has been running for 32 years.

What I love about the Gang Show, is that it gets a whole load of young people up on stage, who might never have considered getting involved in the performing arts. These kids are singing, dancing and committed to six months of pretty solid rehearsals. That’s not a mild-mannered undertaking. These are young people who are learning to express themselves in meaningful, productive ways and are building up essential qualities like perseverance, having a go and being part of a team. I also believe the stage shouldn’t be confined to the likes of Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. We also need that amateur layer as well. Not as a charity case with positions occupied for those who couldn’t make it. Rather, because it offers us something else. A form of entertainment which isn’t Hollywood and that hopefully reflects, at least in some way, out local culture.

So, after all the excitement of watching my kids and all the rest dancing and singing under lights and going through a plethora of costume changes, the curtain fell and the Gang Show was over for another year. I have to admit there was a bit of disappointment. That sense of loss once the show is over. It was a great night.

Have you ever attended a Gang Show performance? Or, even been in one yourself? Where and when was it? What did it mean to you? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

Our Little Dancer’s Triumph.

If I was someone else, I’d simply post a flashy photograph and tell you that our daughter placed at a local dance competition. Announce that she’s as happy as a lark, and we’re as proud as punch. However, to the best of my knowledge, dance isn’t an executive summary, and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on the full performance. I promise that we won’t quite be going back to when she entered into the world, but now that she’s about to get her first pointe shoes, she seems like such a baby when I bought her very first pair of ballet shoes.

….

Amelia's dancing shadow

Such energy and emotion being expressed dancing at the beach.

Once upon a time, I took our three almost four year old daughter to a local ballet class. *-The door shut, and I wasn’t invited to follow her into this secret world of ballet business.Of course, I longed to peek through a metaphorical keyhole. However, we were the parents, not the teacher. It was our job to enjoy the performance, and not get tangled up in the technicalities. After all, no one one gets to join the caterpillar inside the chrysalis and Superman never invited anyone inside his phone booth.  Rather, we had the luxury of witnessing pure magic as our butterfly fluttered across stage, without any consideration of the caterpillar at all.

 

Fast-forward eight years, and all of these stepping stones culminated in two dazzling solos where our daughter commanded the stage of our local school hall for a dance competition. At least, as far as her proud Mum was concerned, she could’ve been dancing anywhere in the world.

Of course, entering in such competitions is stressful, and I’m not even referring to the performer. As Chauffeur in Chief of the Tutu Taxi, it’s my job to get her there early. More than that, I need all the skills of an accomplished event manager with none of the supportive infrastructure. Juggling hair, makeup and costumes dropping or forgetting something is almost inevitable and who wants to be the weakest link? Lists upon lists which never quite seem to get written down, circulate round and round inside my head, although I swear a page or two actually goes missing now and then.

Then, as the child takes to the stage, even if they’re absolutely incredible…perhaps it’s just me, but horrors of her falling off the edge of the stage haunt me like demons. I want to wrap her up in her blanket again, and keep her safe. After all, just how high can the butterfly soar before she crashes? As proud as we are of our dancers, I’m sure there’s not a parent in the room who isn’t perched on the edge of their chair longing for the music to stop, and the performance to end without catastrophe. We can enjoy it later when we rewind it in the safety of our dreams.

Well, to be honest, I might’ve catastrophized things just a little.

Or, a lot.

Amelia YIPA PhotoRather, I absolutely loved her performance. First, there was her ballet solo where she almost floated across the stage with the lightness of a cloud. I’ve seen this solo a few times now. So, while I still remember the stunned amazement and absolute pleasure the first time I saw it, I was really looking forward to seeing her contemporary solo for the first time.  This would be the grand unveiling. I had no idea what it was going to be like, and had only seen the costume. Suddenly, there she was up on stage and after a hiccup with the music, she was off. I’d never seen anything quite like it. This was her solo choreographed especially for her and her dance was something like a moving portrait which her teacher had uncovered an aspect of her inner self and set it to music. She danced like I’ve never seen her dance before. I was spellbound.

She placed second in her ballet solo and third in her contemporary, even though it actually received a higher mark. She also received a Highly Commended for her ballet improvization.

Of course, you can say prizes and awards don’t matter. That it’s the experience that counts. Yet, you try telling that to her ginormous beaming smile. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her look so happy. While I haven’t actually grilled her what winning those trophies meant to her, I didn’t have to. She absolutely loves dancing and is working really hard to improve, and is possibly even considering a career in dance. So, these placings acknowledge that. They make that world of dreams edge a little closer and become more concrete. They don’t say give up your day job, and throw out your school books. Yet, they’re a huge encouragement. Encouragement isn’t something to be sneered at either. It’s a life-changer.

Lastly, I’just like to emphasize that our experience of dancing so far has been nothing like the appalling behaviour you see on Dance Moms on so many, many levels. While I would’ve thought dance mums would be into all the glamour etc, my experience has been quite different. Indeed, speaking for myself, I’m usually so focused on getting my daughter sorted out, that I have no time or money left to get my own hair cut and the rest is a rush job as well. Our daughter also has a brother who is keenly pursuing sailing. So, there’s not much time or energy for fiddling with my fingernails. All the parents at our dance school support each other and the teachers and the students are an enormous encouragement for each other. We are very blessed. I know other dancers don’t have this experience.

Have you danced yourself? Or, perhaps you have a little dancer in your life? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

An Unpredictable End…Friday Fictioneers.

The end was unscripted. He simply sent her a text, as cold and unfeeling as a Winter wind. Yet, her grief was brutal. A stab to the heart. A kick to the guts. She could even feel his huge mechanic’s hands tighten around her throat, along with that final gasp.

Kate was not above revenge. A crime of passion. Destroying him cell by cell with her own rat cunning. She even thought of phoning Roger.

Yet, a skerrick of reason remained. That, while she couldn’t make it better, she could always make things worse.

Now, she could only face the storm, but with renewed strength, knowing it too would pass.

……

This was my second go at this week’s prompt and it stretched so far beyond the initial photo prompt that I decided to use a different image. It looks at how we respond when someone does something terrible and unforgivable to us. Do we lose ourselves and our core values in pursuit of revenge? Or, self-destruct unable to recover from the pain?

I remember a bit of a joke from my single days: “If you can’t have the one you love, love the one you’re with. If you can’t love the one you’re with, turn out the light.”

When it really boils down to it, we really have no choice but to plough onwards through the storms of life, but there are things we can possibly do to prevent the storms from building up. Moreover, we can also be better prepared, and in peak condition when they hit. That way, we’re better positioned to be a victor, than a victim and to rise from the ashes of what ever it is that hits us.

Here is the original photo prompt thanks to :

July 18 dawn-in-montreal

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

This was another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields

Best wishes,

Rowena

Sunset in Montreal…Friday Fictioneers.

The end came, stabbing her in the heart. Grabbing her by the throat, until she flopped lifeless on the floor. No discussion. No argument. Not even a raised voice. All he left was a text:”It’s over”. Blew their marriage up like a bomb. No regrets.

Death would’ve been hard, but there would’ve been a post mortum. Something concrete. Anguish, tears and questioning. Yet, without a body, there was just an anguished, endless void, and no one to yell at.

Kate wasn’t above murder, revenge, a crime of passion. Yet, she preferred the road less travelled.

Roger was the perfect weapon…

…..

100 words.

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields. Thanks PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Unfortunately, this effort didn’t hit the mark and I’m still trying to work out how to salvage it. In the meantime, I had another go at it: An Unpredictable End

Best wishes and thanks for all your constructive feedback.

Rowena