Tag Archives: Halloween

Día de los Muertos…Friday Fictioneers.

 

Tony was in Mexico for a conference. Yet,he somehow wound up in the backseat of a VW heading out to San Andrés Mixquic, southeast of Mexico City to celebrate the Day of the Dead. The streets were packed, but he soon spotted the most exquisitely beautiful woman he’d ever seen. She was almost floating up to the altar and left behind a handful of marigolds along with a black and white photograph. They exchanged smiles and she whispered:”todas somos calaveras”. Cupid’s arrow struck fast. Yet, as he reached out to touch her hand, she was nothing but air. A ghost.

…..

100 words

Phew. This week’s prompt was rather challenging and I’m not sure if the decor in this cafe was connected to Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations which are held annually on the 2nd November. However, that was the approach I took. Being from Sydney, Australia, Mexico is a long way from home and quite a bit of research was required to pull this off. I only heard about the Day of the dead for the first time a few years ago.

Naturally, I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who has actually been there.

Catrina August 21

José Guadalupe Posada, Calavera de la Catrina (Skull of the Female Dandy), from the portfolio 36 Grabados: José Guadalupe Posada, published by Arsacio Vanegas, Mexico City, c. 1910, printed 1943, photo-relief etching with engraving, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the friends of Freda Radoff.

In the National Geographic article listed below, I found a reference to Mexican political cartoonist and lithographer José Guadalupe Posada who created an etching to accompany a literary calavera. Posada dressed his personification of death in fancy French garb and called it Calavera Garbancera, intending it as social commentary on Mexican society’s emulation of European sophistication. “Todos somos calaveras,” a quote commonly attributed to Posada, means “we are all skeletons.” Underneath all our manmade trappings, we are all the same. I really liked that sentiment and hence incorporated it into my story.

Meanwhile, you might enjoy this further reading:

National Geographic – Day of the Dead

The Cultural Trip – Celebrating the Day of the Dead in San Andrés Mixquic

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields. Every week we write 100 words to a photo prompt. This week’s PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Best wishes,

Rowena

Weekend Coffee Share November 5, 2016.

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share.

The weather has well and truly witched gears and we’re definitely heading into Summer. While a max of 25º C is not considered hot by our standards, it was hot enough and the sun was out in force.

So, when it comes to beverages, I recommend something cool now you’re popping in to join me Down Under.

Unfortunately, the change of seasons also means a changing of the guard at home. The Winter gear is going up into the roof while the Summer gear’s come down. Right now, it looks like the house is falling down with crates and piles of clothes everywhere. Having kids, this changing of the guard also means checking sizing and ditching piles of clothes. This all requires thought and discernment…as much as I might feel like sticking the lot in a bag for their cousins, I need to go through the lot piece by piece. It’s painful!!

Added to the usual pain of sorting things out, I’m also trying to reduce the amount of stuff we have in the house. If you know me and have been to our place, you’ll probably think I’m lying through my teeth. You saw me bring another couple of bags of stuff home from the op shop last week. However, in my defense, they were largely presents. I love it when I find “new with tags” at the op shop, especially in the lead up to Christmas. Not only do I get great value for money, it spares me the pain of dealing with the Christmas hoards. Christmas shopping is brutal.

Anyway, obviously I’m not very good at being ruthless but I’m trying. So far, I’ve managed to fill two large garbage bags but don’t let this fool you. I’m definitely NOT a declutterer but I do need to keep an eye on the ever-rising tide or I’ll cross the line. We all know what that line is called.  It doesn’t need to be named and shamed.

How was your week? I hope things went well.

Our week was weird.

Monday night we went trick-or-treating around the block. Halloween in Australia is almost a non-event but we saw a few groups of costumed kids roaming around after school and a few knocked on the door but you’d definitely say it was a bit of a fizzer. The scariest thing we came across on our travels was actually a plover. That’s right…a bird. If you’ve never encountered a plover, these birds are seriously scary. Not only are they very agro, they also have poisonous spurs in their wing tips  and heaven help you if you approach them while they’re nesting. They’re savage. The plovers we came across had two chicks so we didn’t need to run into any skeletons or ghosts. The plovers were enough.

theme-announcement-16-may1

Anyway, that just about sums things up

Thursday morning, my daughter had a rehearsal for School Spectacular in Sydney. The Schools Spectacular is an Australian variety show featuring more than 3,000 students from across New South Wales and was performed annually at the Sydney Entertainment Centre before in moved and has now moved the the former Olympic site at Homebush Bay this year. Highlights of the Schools Spectacular are broadcast each year by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.Miss will be performing in the combined choir and we joke that being a tiny speck among the multitude is what gives school “specktacular” it’s name.

Although our daughter is only a speck in the production (this year, I’m going to make sure I take my binoculars and I might have a chance of spotting her), that doesn’t mean she misses out on all the rehearsals. At the moment, she’s rehearsing once a week in Sydney but in the week of the concert, there are two days of rehearsals followed by two days of performances. That’s a lot for a 10 year old. However, she adores singing and I think all the kids and their teachers get through on hype and Adrenalin. It really must be an incredible experience performing in such a huge choir and feeling all those voices echoing all around you. Moreover, there are solo and small group performances and the talent is incredible. So many Australian success stories had their start at “school spec”. It’s a stellar performance.

Anyway, Miss had her first Sydney performance on Thursday morning and needed to be on the train platform at 7.12 AM. Usually, Geoff drops her off for these early morning starts and I think that’s his usual train. However, he had an early start which left yours truly responsible for getting her there on time. While this is not impossible, I am not at my best early in the morning. Moreover, I know that Murphy’s Law has my number on speed dial. If something can go wrong, it will.

This is why I set the alarm on two different clocks and it was just as well. As we all know, alarm clocks can be tricky things. There are blackouts, battery fails and then there’s me. I’m enough to muck up any alarm but I did get Geoff to meticulously double check both clocks before he went to sleep. All was good on the alarm front.

Yet, somehow my alarm clock gained an hour during the night. So, when it went off at its 6.00AM, all the rest of the clocks were reading 5.00AM. While the explanation might seem obvious and that it was okay to go back to sleep for another hour, I wasn’t quite so sure. I felt like I’d ended up in a surrealist  dream somewhere in between time and I didn’t know whether I was Arthur or Martha. Meanwhile, both kids and the dogs had woken up. All back to bed. Put the alarm forward an hour and prayed we’d get up on time. Fortunately, the rest of the morning went smoothly and after dropping both kids off, I went back to bed.

Thursday night, I had my second of lyrical dance class. I really look forward to my dance classes every week but my back went out on Thursday and I was feeling crooked, twisted and stiff…not to mention in pain. Naturally, when you’re struggling to move at all, it’s only wise to consider whether you should be pushing your body or letting it rest. Since my of our dance class involves stretching, I thought it could help and decided to give it a whirl.

Well, you just try do a contract, high release and goodness knows what other steps when you feel like you’re either going to snap or get stuck like a statue in between positions as every single part of your body seizes up. Not that I was catastrophophising, but dance is new to me and I had no idea how far I could push my body without payback.

Of course, there were no dramas. My back is still tender but the dancing helped along with walking the dogs along the beach yesterday and I’m starting to limber up a bit. Phew!

To update you on the progress of the Sunflowers I am growing which are descended from seeds salvaged from the MH17 crash site in the Ukraine, I planted the first lot of seedlings in the veggie patch this week. I  must admit that I’ve been feeling rather like their mother. So I’ve found it surprisingly hard to plant them outside in the garden. After all, I’ve really been looking after them well, bringing them inside every night and watering them ever so gently with the spray bottle. They’ve been my babies and just like I wonder how my kids are going when they’re camping outside with Scouts (particularly as the weather is usually bad and there’s good cause to be concerned. Well, at least if you’re their Mum!), the seedlings seemed very vulnerable being out there in the dark. So, far so good. I planted 12 seeds. 6 sprouted and 5 are still growing well. These aren’t exactly fabulous odds but when you consider that one sunflower produces thousands of seeds and initially I’m only needing a sustainable crop. That said, I would prefer to have enough seeds to give some away and help keep the memory alive of all those who were tragically killed. I also feel the sunflowers have a secondary message, reminding all who hear their story about the importance of love, compassion and helping a stranger.

Unfortunately, writing has had to take a back seat with needing to organise my daughter’s actiuvities…school spectacular, dance concert, tutoring to prepare her for entry tests next year. I am just a parent, not an event organiser and I really struggle with all of this. I have multiple diaries running when I have so much on…the week to a page, moves into the day to a page with everything mapped out. Alarms, buzzers and being mindful of time spent online, all necessary evils. Fortunately, I love the performing arts and am happy to do it and wouldn’t be without these end of year concerts. I just wish I could click my fingers and it would all magically happen without all the steps along the way. I’m sure I’m going to forget something. Luckily, her teachers look out for me and flag me down when something’s missing…Roweeee’s personal reminder system. Well, not quite!

Well, the cool change has now arrived and thank goodness the house has cooled down before I go to bed.

How have you been? What have you been up to? I look forward to hearing from you!

This post has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share over at https://parttimemonsterblog.com/https://parttimemonsterblog.com/https://parttimemonsterblog.com/

xx Rowena

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share: Halloween Edition

If we were having coffee, or even a cup of tea this weekend, you might want to bring some earplugs and a chill pill. Two kids dosed up on Halloween sweets, can be rather disturbing. A Halloween all of it’s own.

How are things going at your place? I hope you’ve had a great week and I’m looking forward to popping over for a chat.

Yesterday, I went trick-or-treating with the kids and a few of their friends. This is the one day each year where we roam up and down the street meeting the neighbours and it’s pretty fun. Shame we can’t do that more often.

Here’s our post about Halloween in Australia:https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/an-australian-halloween/

Zombie Eyeballs

Zombie Eyeballs

While enjoying the fun side of Halloween, I’ve also been conscious that real life has enough horrors of it’s own and you don’t need to make up ghosts, ghouls and other nasties to know there’s evil in our world. We have had a dreadful murder case involving a young Mum and her daughter unfolding over the last couple of weeks: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/when-horror-is-real/ This reminded me yet again that:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

Girl in a suitcase

Girl in a suitcase

So coffee at my place can get a bit philosophical. I might be in my 40s but I still believe in changing the world.

Speaking of which, I has fun doing the 3 Day Quote Challenge this week. My quotes were:

Day 1: The Apache Blessing

“May the sun bring you new energy by day,

may the moon softly restore you by night,

may the rain wash away your worries,

may the breeze blow new strength into your being,

may you walk gently through the world and know

it’s beauty all the days of your life.”

Day 2: Learning to Fly

“Come to the edge,” he said.
They said, “We are afraid.”
Come to the edge,” he said.
They came.
He pushed them…and they flew.”

― Guillaume Apollinaire

Day 3: A.A. Milne- Christopher Robin.

“Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”.

On a more positive note, I’m pleased to report that our dog Bilbo is recovering from his flea allergy and his skin has pretty much cleared up over the last week. That was such a relief as I was very concerned. It’s going to take awhile for his tail to grow back but he’s otherwise well…but very, very hungry. The vet did warn me that he’d be hungry and if you have ever seen a Bordfer Collie on a mission, you could just imagine how I’ve been stalked all week and he’s been staring at me like a famine victim. I’m lucky he hasn’t eaten me!

Personally, my long-standing cough seems to be on the mend and my ongoing efforts to reduce the prednisone I take to treat my auto-immune disease has taken another step forward. As of Friday, I’m down to 8mg. This is about as low as I’ve been without having a flare so I’m hoping the new support medication will cope with the drop. My doctors are pretty confident and I’m feeling hopeful. Fingers crossed!

Our Family at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra in 2014.

Our Family at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra in 2014.

Tomorrow, our son leaves for his Year 6 Canberra Excursion. This excursion is a rite of passage for our Primary School kids and they get the opportunity to visit Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial and our national Science Museum, Questacon and many more. My husband has expressed concern about how the teachers are going to put up with a whole busload of kids dosed up on Halloween lollies and we’re tried to keep Mister lolly free today. All those colours are not good news!

Parliament House, Canberra...Photo Wikipaedia.

Parliament House, Canberra…Photo Wikipaedia.

Anyway, that about sums up our week. Hope you and yours have had a great week.

Now, how about you go and visit Diana at Part-Time Monster http://parttimemonster.com/ 

You’ll probably also enjoy a guest post by Corina on The Day of the Dead or  Dia de los Muertos http://parttimemonster.com/2015/10/29/corina-on-dia-de-los-muertos/

Here is the linky for the Weekend Coffee Share: http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=577537

Love & Blessings,

Rowena

When Horror is Real.

Yesterday, we celebrated Halloween. The kids dressed up. Met up with friends and we trick-or-treated along our street meeting the neighbours. It was a lot of fun and I was really touched by the generosity of some and the trouble people went to just to make the neighborhood kids smile.

At the same time, I’m not a huge fan of Halloween both due to our beliefs but also because I know we have way too much horror in real life without making things up. Yet, at the same time, I know we watch TV shows which grafically portray these horrors and the other day a friend and I went to see a real tear-jerker: I Miss You Already starring Toni Colette and Drew Barrymore. As she was bawling her eyes out, I leaned over and said: “This is what we do for fun!”

Why didn’t we choose to see a comedy?

Of course, you don’t need to look far for any real life horror. Just switch on the News.I’m  one of those people who can’t just watch the news without absorbing it and somehow living and almost breathing some of these tragic events though my heightened sense of empathy,

But there are some cases we should never ignore. Even though they’re too gruesome and make us sick to the core, we should never turn our backs.

In what sounded like a scene out of a Steven King novel, on the 15 July 2015 a little girl was found dead in a suitcase beside the highway near the tiny South Australian town of Wynaka (regional population 167 people). She was believed to be around 2-3 years old with fair hair.Unlike Madeleine McCann, who is recognised right around the world as a much loved missing child, this little girl hadn’t even been reported missing. It was truly shocking!!

How could a little girl disappear and not be missed?

Unable to make an identification, Police turned to the public for help. Detailed photographs of a handmade, patchwork quilt were shown on the news and Police worked with patchworkers trying to find even the smallest hint of a clue. Mothers rang in recognising her clothes, trying to help date the murder.The community of Wynarka also took this little girl into their hearts and grieved her senseless death.The public really rallied to try to do anything they could to help.Evil had ended her short, precious life but the Police and community took her into our hearts and were determined to at the very least find out who she was. Give this little girl back her name, identity, family and hope against hope…catch the bastards.

As we heard about this case on the news, I’m sure we were asking the same question: How could any little child be murdered in Australia and not be missed?

As a parent, you worry when a child that age wanders more than arm’s length away. You’re absolutely frantic and you’d shout the place down. A missing child stops a nation. Stops the world. How could this little girl pass right under the radar without even a blip? Was this our Australia? The whole case was so disturbing and broke all sort of concepts of family, love, community. How could this happen?

Two weeks ago, after tip offs to Crime Stoppers, our little girl finally had a name, a family and a young Mum who had also been murdered. Mum’s unidentified body had been found in Belangelo State Forest, where the victims of Australia’s notorious Backpacker Killer, Ivan Milat had also been found. Mother and daughter had been found in separate States but at least things were starting to make sense.

Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and her daughter, Khandalyce, had been travelling around Australia when they were murdered. Like the backpackers murdered by Ivan Milat, they were travelling, seeing our beautiful country and not being caught up in the rat race for a bit. Innocence, optimism, freedom, happiness…all these images come to mind. I have travelled a bit around Australia as a single woman myself and thought nothing of it. It was safe and incredibly liberating!

But there is even evil in paradise.

It soon became evident that Karlie and “Khandles” weren’t unloved. Hadn’t gone right off the grid. They had been murdered.  Moreover,  the killers stole Karlie’s identity and even contacted her family saying they were fine…adding an extra layer of heinous barbarism to something already too awful for words. Indeed, they used her phone for 3 years after her death and stole her identity to claim welfare benefits.

The more they delve into what happened, the more ugly it gets and I can’t understand how humans can be so heartless, cruel and barbaric.This horror is also something their family can’t simply switch off either. It’s forever.

Yet, as much as I hate people talking about needing to move forward even when people have experienced such unfathomable grief, I did want to mention a life raft.

That many victims of horror, actually turn their grief into good. Change for the community. That doesn’t lessen their loss.  However, it does put them more in the driver’s seat, instead of under the truck. Here, they’re much better placed to process what’s happened and what they can do. It seems to be quite a natural desire to help prevent others from doing through their pain and they go on to make an incredible contribution for good. That good might not undo evil but hopefully it can ultimately triumph over it. Show that such acts are unacceptable and that goodness will fight back!

Our Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, became a fierce and unstoppable campaigner against Domestic Violence after her son’s father murdered him with a cricket bat. She has managed to break down barriers, red tape and people’s attitudes towards Domestic Violence in a way experts could not. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t grieve but she has salvaged good from horror and is helping countless others.

Meanwhile, I send my love to the family and friends of Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and her daughter, Khandalyce and to the Police who have worked tirelessly on an incredibly heartbreaking case with such love and compassion. I also feel for the people of Wynaka where she was found and took Khandalyce into their hearts.Your love knows no bounds.

I leave you with one of my favourite quotes:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

May we each try to do our own little bit to lessen the real horrors of humanity and make our world a safer, happier place for all.

Love and Blessings,

Rowena

Source

http://www.news.com.au/national/crime/unidentified-girl-in-suitcase-begs-the-question-how-many-other-girls-have-we-lost/story-fns0kb1g-1227493896617

An Australian Halloween

The more I chat to bloggers around the world, the more I’ve come to realise how topsy turvey living in Australia can be and that Halloween is just another example.

While Halloween marks the beginning of a Northern Winter, Down Under, Summer is well and truly underway and life’s a beach.

So, the more I think about celebrating Halloween in Australia, the weirder it becomes and it really doesn’t make any sense at all.

Traditionally, Halloween marked the end of Summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. This was a time of year that often associated with human death. In the Celtic Calendar, 1st November marked the beginning of the New Year. On 31st October, the night before the new year, the Celts celebrated Samhain, when the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead supposedly became blurred and it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

For our family, these practices are quite foreign to our beliefs and are as much out of kilter as the time of year.

However, we go trick-or-treating in our street and the kids have been to a few Halloween parties over the years. However, Halloween is relatively low-key in Australia and unless you have kids or want to attract the local vultures, Halloween passes you by.

This year, for the first time ever, the kids each carved out a little pumpkin and this afternoon we’ll be going trick-or-treating with a few friends in broad daylight. While that’s great for personal safety, it sort of spoils the atmosphere. After all, other than evil nasties, who’s afraid of the light? The sun won’t be setting until 7.21PM.

Personally, I see Halloween more of an opportunity to meet our neighbours as we walk up and down the street and I would quite happily throw all the lollies out. But…these days I’m a grown up, not the little person almost astro-travelling on colours and excess sugar!

We might live in Australia and the seasons might be out of whack but my kids still want the lollies and they taste just as good.

I am also mindful at Halloween that we don’t need to make up spooky stories. That there is more than enough horror in real life. Please read my next post, which is absolutely heart-breaking but unless we learn from horrific tragedy, we are leaving the window open for evil to return. Ignorance is no excuse for evil to flourish.

That said, I’d still like to hear what have you been doing for Halloween. Please leave links to your posts in the comments.

xx Rowena

Source

http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween