Tag Archives: passion

Heart On A Plate – Friday Fictioneers

Frank had his routine. Saturday morning, it was always golf, followed by bacon and eggs. Betty would’ve liked to switch things round a bit. Go to a cafe. But no! Nobody changed, challenged or questioned Frank’s sacred routine. It wasn’t written down, but imprinted in his DNA.

At precisely 11.12 AM Frank walked in the door, pulled out the Financial Review and poured his Twining’s English Breakfast Tea.

“There’s a hole in my bread.”

Clearly, Frank had failed the Rorschach Test.

“It’s my heart,” Joan replied. “It’s empty”.

Frank’s eyes almost popped out of his head. Joan had been to Agent Provocateur.

……..

This has been another contribution for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields. PHOTO PROMPT © Kelvin M. Knight.

The Rorschach test is a psychological test in which subjects’ perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex algorithms, or both. Some psychologists use this test to examine a person’s personality characteristics and emotional functioning.

Agent Provocateur is a very expensive brand of lingerie.

xx Rowena

 

 

Silent Strings…Friday Fictioneers.

The ecstasy was intense. She knew exactly how to play his strings and  the notes wafted out their bedroom window, mingling with the moonlight. A fusion of souls, together they painted stars across the universe…pure magic.

But then his eyes opened.

She was gone but his arms were wrapped around her cello’s wooden curves…a grief on the brink of madness.

He shoved the imposter back in the corner… a ghostly statue he would no longer embrace, but couldn’t throw away.

How could she be gone, now when he needed her most?

Yet, there was no reply.

Only silence.

………………………………………………………..

This has been part of Friday Fictioneers

xx Rowena

PHOTO PROMPT © Björn Rudberg

No Regrets?

 

Mango dripping from our lips,

drowning in its sweet juicy syrup,

our souls kissed.

We were one.

 

Skins peeled off,

diving into the restless surf,

we plunged deep…sooo deep!

I have always known you.

 

Steam was rising.

Kept rising,

disappearing,

evaporating into the night.

I thought you knew.

 

But you never said a word.

Neither did I.

Just two friends

forever fumbling

around in the dark.

 

No regrets?

 

Rowena   5/3/2016.

I swear if it wasn’t for countless moments like this throughout history, so much literature, art and music simply wouldn’t exist. Just think of Keats and La Belle Dame Sans Merci

They say so often that youth is wasted on the young and now when I look back, I see so much self-doubt, crippling anxiety, paralysis. I especially remember being absolutely crippled on the dance floor. Sure, I wasn’t the most coordinated person but dance is about liberating your soul and expressing and sharing your spirit…not conforming to some inhibited social expectation.  Thankfully, I finally found my groove and left that inhibited shell behind and found my wings. Isn’t that such a beautiful thing?!!

This poem is pure fiction. Our son has to write 4 Haikus about the seasons and we were going through talking about each season, trying to pluck out its essence. Not just in the more conventional sense with Autumn leaves, snow and budding Spring. We live on the fringes of Sydney where all those images and symbols don’t apply. Seasonal changes here are much more subtle. Our clothes changes and the contours of the beach change but nothing dramatic…aside from pretty intense thunder storms but I think they can happen any time of year.

Anyway, feasting on mangoes is such a part of my Australian Summers. Not only eating the fruit itself but even licking my fingers and savouring the sweet juice. Hmm…heaven!

I’m sure mangoes and Summer passion go hand in hand and yet inhibition strikes at its core.

No doubt, we’ve all been there.

Any regrets?

xx Rowena

 

 

 

The Beginning: Five Photos Five Stories

My journey of a million photos began with a humble Kodak Instamatic camera.

Before Dr Phil redefined all of life’s great milestones as “defining moments”, my mother escorted me and my box full of coins into the local photography shop to buy my very first camera.

A far cry from my current Nikon SLR, my pride and joy was a Kodak Instamatic 56X. These were manufactured from 1972-1977 . It was Simple Simon to operate and all I had to do was press the silver button on top and manually wind the film on. That’s right speaking of film, it used a 126 film cartridge you shoved up its backside. Oh yes! The flash was a disposable plug-in flash cube so it was something reserved for special occasions.

“To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things.”

Ansel Adams

Of course, any thought of being able to see your photos in the back of your camera before you paid to have them printed weren’t even considered. Rather, the cartridge was dropped off at the local pharmacy where it was sent off to Kodak for processing while you waited…at least overnight.. I still remember tearing open those packets of precious snaps with such excitement and love.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

Henry David Thoreau

Although my precious photos might have been blurry and I’d inadvertantly chopped off subjects’ heads, stuck fingers over the lens and ended up with way to many photos of Baby Alive, the dog and my brother who was fond of showing off, they were still precious…my photos!

“Photography helps people to see.”

Berenice Abbot

While I’m no Ansell Adams, photography is a passion and so often my way of viewing and capturing both the world around me and the poetry within.

I was nominated by Geoff Le Pard fromTanGental for the Five Photos Five Stories blog Share: http://geofflepard.com/2015/06/10/five-photos-five-stories-day-two/

I was nominated to take part in this photo challenge by Ali Issac, who takes the most beautiful images and always has a story to tell about them. I would like to nominate Rowena at BeyondtheFlow, to take up this photo challenge baton.

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

I have decided to nominate Kath Unsworth from Miniscule Moments whose illustrations and photos are breathtaking and really worth a look: http://kathunsworth.com/

Do you have any special photographic beginnings you would like to share?

xx Rowena

Obsessed by My Second-Hand Quest

There’s a very fine line between success and obsessed. Quite often, I miss that line completely and accelerate right over the edge and straight onto the rollercoaster ride from hell. You’d think I’d learn but the lure of the thrill gets me every time. I too weak-willed and simply can’t say “no”!

In what must trigger off some deep, primal hunter-gathering instinct, I haunt opportunity shops like a determined hunter stalking its prey. l swear sometimes I’ve even felt an itch or “the call of the wild” to drop in and my instincts were spot on. There was something with my name written all over it.

“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity”

“Hippocrates

This obsessive stalking of opportunity shops waxes and wanes like the moon and like a gambler, I really have to stay right away or I’ll succumb. It’s not that we usually don’t need what I’ve bought. Indeed, today I’ve managed to score a heap of quality, striking t-shirts for the kids at $4.00 each. I also found myself a LBD (little black dress) with white polka dots and it fits me like a glove. Thanks to Summer gear being half price, it was an absolute steal.

Divine Inspiration. The Bible just fell open at this page.

Divine Inspiration. The Bible just fell open at this page.

However, a lurking danger with stalking op shops is that passion can shift to obsession and ultimately, dare I mention the word…(drum roll)…ADDICTION!!

Ouch!!! Double ouch!!! That really hurt!!

Although I’ve never heard of a support group called: “Op Shoppers Anonymous”, I probably should be on  the look out. Even though you’ve got to spend money to save money, there does come a point, as I said or had it said to me, when the bad outweighs the good and the whole shebang seriously starts to unravel.

Some of the eclectic fabrics on offer.

Some of the eclectic fabrics on offer.

After all, although it might look quite innocent on the surface, op shopping is very much like gambling. You go in there maybe even just to fill in time while you’re waiting for a script. The next thing you know, you’ve spotted some fabulous antique baby’s jacket imported from Italy and you snap it up because you can, even though your baby is almost a teenager. This trip, I’ve bought a hand-painted Aboriginal vase, a Greek demi-tasse cup and saucer, a gorgeous wooden writer’s box, which probably came from Turkey or Morocco and seems completely unique…at least, that’s when I did a Google search. I even found a foldout driver’s map of Mt Kosciusko National Park dating back to the days of miles, before metric came in. We go skiing there and my daughter is currently doing an assignment for school on it, so it was a great find…especially as the dear old Lady at the Red Cross Shop threw it in. You see, I’m a regular.

Great find for a family of avid skiers! Vintage Map of the Snowy Mountains.

Great find for a family of avid skiers! Vintage Map of the Snowy Mountains.

Humph, “regular” could be another euphemism for “addict” but I’ll overlook that.

I love the randomness of everything I find at the op shop and the eclectic smattering of treasures from all sorts of places, eras and designs. Feeling about 5 years old again, I could sneak my way through all the clothes racks and feel all those different fabric brush against my skin, while a kaleidoscope of colour dazzles my senses. I find the sheer array of fabrics alone intoxicating and so much more interesting than a contemporary boutique with it’s particular, usually very narrow, sense of style. I don’t want some supposed fashionista telling me what I can and can not wear. I’ll wear whatever I @#$% like. It’s my body…my life!!!

Sharon and I introduce Wandering Wally to op shopping. Wally has flown all the way from the UK to raise awareness of myositis, the muscle disease I live with.

Sharon and I introduce Wandering Wally to op shopping. Wally has flown all the way from the UK to raise awareness of myositis, the muscle disease I live with.

However, not only do I go to the op shops for the treasures, I also go in there for a chat and some are better in this regard that others. My absolute fave is the Lifeline Shop at Avalon, Managed by my friend, Sharon. This is one of of your more “boutique” op shops, which specialises in designer labels and exotica from all around the world. Sharon meticulously yet passionately runs the shop like an upmarket boutique with the clothes and the window displays arranged with love and finesse. What with  Weight Watchers telling people to get rid of their fat clothes and the home improvement shows promoting decluttering, it’s a treasure hunter’s dream. As they feel good getting rid of it all, I’m only too happy to assist!!

After all, for some strange reason, it seems like people only want plain, white walls with one measly ornament on the shelf. Personally, I can’t understand it. How absolutely boring!! How could you possibly live in a home that’s as sterile as a hospital all white-washed and lacking in character? As far as I’m concerned, such minimalism also looks like they can’t afford to decorate the place!

After all, what ever happened to a bit of flamboyance and exuberant self-expression?

Of course, nobody has ever accused me of being a minimalist. Occasionally the word “hoarder” gets muttered but I’m really more of a collector. I just need to be careful There’s a fine line between passion, obsession and addiction.

However, there’s just one little weaknesses I haven’t fessed up to yet.

Books!

Op Shop Treasures

Op Shop Treasures

When it comes to books, I have well and truly exceeded the limit. Okay, you mean-spirited, Kindle freaks. I know that I’ve already got far more books than one person could ever read in a life time. However, you can’t always predict what will take your fancy and when they’re so cheap, how could I possibly resist?!!

I don’t quite know what I’m searching for in all these books. The meaning of life? I don’t know. These days, I’m actually not sure that I’ll find the meaning of life in a book.  After all, life is to be lived and not simply read about. You have to get out there! You need to find your own meaning. Write your own book.

Meanwhile, my rationale for managing all my “finds” is that I just need a bigger house.

That said, I am planning a big reorganisation when I get home from holidays.

I  am !! Truly, I am!!

Do you have any obsessions you might want to confess to? I’m all ears and extremely non-judgemental!!

O is or Obsession and Opportunity Shop… my latest installment for the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

By the way, here’s a good complement to this post as Conversations Around the Tree discusses the difference between “needs” and “wants”. Tree teaches people with intellectual disabilities and even reminded me of a few home truths!! Well worth checking out: https://treerabold.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/n-needs/

xx Rowena

Mars Bar Slice…It’s Out of This World!

If you are out to impress this Christmas but have no idea how to cook, Mars Bar Slice is just the thing for you. The Mars Bar Slice knows how to win friends and influence people better than Dale Carnegie. It knows how to draw you in with its good looking charm better than Hugh Jackman. It just stares up at you with sensuous adoration and says: “Take me I’m yours.’’ Now, Hugh Jackman has never said that to me, so who am I to resist?!!

Hugh Jackson makes a pretty good Santa. Photo: Geekphotos.

Hugh Jackman makes a pretty good Santa. Photo: Geeks Shot Photos.

However, somehow like so many love affairs, particularly the type which burn with such a passionate flame, the road to true love is often rocky. Moreover, even if you manage to reach your destination, your affair is usually agonisingly short-lived, ending in heartbreak.
Well, that’s what happened during my affair with Mars Bar Slice. Instead of making it for us and the family and keeping all that gooey, caramelly chocolate all to ourselves, the kids dobbed me into their respective classes and this entire batch of Mars Bar Slice was heading off to school for their end of year Christmas parties. After sharing that unquenchable fire, the Mars Bar Slice was deserting me without so much as a parting glance over the shoulder. Not even a text! The scoundrel!! What a cad!!!
I’m sure you’ll agree with my angst: “Why couldn’t my kids be the ones who take the potato chips?”

Melting the mars bars, golden syrup and butter. Safety note: our front hotplate doesn't work.

Melting the mars bars, golden syrup and butter. Safety note: our front hotplate doesn’t work.

This could be one of the downsides to my “teach the kids how to cook project”. My expertise as a cook has significantly improved and they’re now used to gourmet. They don’t always like it but they’re having a rough time eating plain ordinary sandwiches these days. Well, they’ve never really eaten their school lunches but they’re now asking lots of questions about our meals, the ingredients and are becoming quite discerning.
My daughter had actually put me down for Caramel Slice. It might be her favourite but it’s relatively expensive to make and has three layers and is what you would describe as an effort. It lasts our family a week and I just couldn’t cope with the thought of all those kids devouring my precious caramel slice in seconds without any appreciation whatsoever. Caramel Slice needs to be savoured…especially a good, home-made version.
I couldn’t part with Caramel Slice yet at the same time I was having trouble resisting the Mars Bars themselves. There we were… the kids and I… chopping up 6 entire Mars Bars into tiny, little pieces without sneaking even the teeniest crumb. You could just imagine the temptation… our frustration!!!! The frustration continued, however, as we tipped those scrummy little bits of Mars Bar into a hot saucepan and melted them down like chocolate gold. AHHHHH!!! If Mars Bar Slice wasn’t so good, it would have been a crime! After all, Mars Bars are made to be eaten. Eaten right now, without any of that delayed gratification crap.
What was I thinking? Surely, we could have sneaked just a few little bits? Was I crazy? There are no laws against sampling the merchandise. Surely, the alchemy which is baking could spare a few little bits of Mars Bar without ruining the chemistry? That’s probably true but there were three of us cooking and surely we all couldn’t take a bit…and a bit…and a bit more? After all, once we’d had a bite, there was no way we could stop. Call us weak-willed but Mars Bars are made to be eaten. All this “tasting” would have left nothing but plain rice bubbles in the finished product.

Our daughter doing some mixing.

Our daughter doing some mixing.

So here I am being incredibly self-disciplined and making the ultimate sacrifice. Well, I’m not dying for my kids so once again I exaggerate. Use a bit too much hyperbole but if you knew me well, you’d know that I just don’t part with chocolate. I eat it.
But the good thing about the Mars Bar Slice is that it’s fairly quick and simple to make. Moreover, as the kids helped me make it, it became a team effort and I detected such a sense of pride. They were really looking forward to sharing the Mars Bar Slice with their friends. It was our special creation. We’d made it ourselves. You can’t beat that…especially with a packet of chips!

Mister spreading the melted chocolate topping over the base.

Mister spreading the melted chocolate topping over the base.

It was hard slicing up the Mars Bar Slice and packaging it up for school but hey a few pieces couldn’t fit in the box and I did trim off the edges “for presentation”. Strange how these “scraps” somehow made it down the hatch with my cup of tea. Yum!
I thoroughly recommend Mars Bar Slice. It would make a scrumptious addition to your Christmas menu and a delectable morsel to go with a cup of tea later in the afternoon once lunch is wearing off. Far more delicious than Aunt Mary’s fruit cake!
Enjoy!
xx Rowena
PS If you’re looking for love this Christmas, a little Mars Bar Slice will go along way. Better than after shave or that little black dress! You won’t even need mistletoe!

XX Rowena
Mars Bar Slice…The Recipe.
Ingredients

75g Butter
1.5 tablespoons golden syrup
6 x 53g Mars Bars
4.5 cups (90g) rice bubbles
400g cooking milk chocolate
40g copha

Directions
1. Grease and line the base and side of a 33cm x 23 cm slice pan with baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang.
2. Combine the butter, golden syrup and three-quarters of the mars bars in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until mars bars and butter melt and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Do not leave unattended as it could burn easily.

Miss adds the melted Mars Bar mix to the rice bubbles.

Miss adds the melted Mars Bar mix to the rice bubbles.

3. Place the rice bubbles and remaining mars bar in a large bowl. Add the mars bar mixture and stir until well combined.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and use the back of a spoon or a spatula to smooth the surface.

5. Set aside for 1 hour to cool completely.
6. Place the chocolate and copha in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave for 1 minute and then blasts for 10 seconds until melted.
7. Pour chocolate over the top of the slice and spread evenly using a spatula. Set aside for 30 minutes to set. Cut into squares to serve.

Enjoy!!

The finished product before slicing.

The finished product before slicing.

PS: You wouldn’t believe it. My daughter arrived home with half  her stash of Mars Bar Slice leftover from the class party. That has to count as a real answer to prayer. Funny, I would’ve thought God would have been too busy getting things ready for Jesus’s birthday to be reading my blog draft today. He’d have to be an almighty multi-tasker!

PPS: IN case you’re wondering what the big deal is about Hugh Jackman, before he made it in Hollywood he used to be our local “it” guy. I never met him but a friend of mine used to catch the school bus with him and one of my friends used to travel down the local train line going “Hugh Spotting”. We were all going to single sex schools and were a bit deranged. Yes, he was definitely a local legend before he even hit Hollywood.

Catching the Tim Tam Bus

I have never considered pursuing a life of crime before but everyone has their price. That thing that pushes them that bit too far and sends them over the mythical edge. That thing that drives even the likes of Carol Brady on a wild, criminal rampage and everyone knows she is the epitome of model behavior!!!

It’s called temptation.

“But you’re so nice!!” I hear you ponder. “How could YOU ever consider a life of crime? What’s got into you overnight?!!”

Before you invite me round for a nice, long cup of tea and an extended heart-to-heart, you’d better hear me out. I’m sure that 0nce you’ve heard my dastardly criminal plans, you’ll probably want to throw in your day jobs and join me. We can hit the highway together!

Anyway, I’m not actually contemplating a life of crime. It’s more of a one-off crime of passion and you know how it is with crimes of passion. They usually let you off with a slap on the wrist and a few hours of community service… even when you represent yourself in court!

Besides, you’ll never find a jury, at least not in Australia, which would send me to jail for hijacking the Tim Tam Bus. The jury, to put it simply, would “understand”. Some temptations are just way too strong to resist! You see, there isn’t much your typical Aussie battler won’t do to get hold of a Tim Tam…make that a packet. One Tim Tam is never enough!

This is an exceptionally rare packet of Tim Tams. The tray isn't empty!!

This is an exceptionally rare packet of Tim Tams. The tray isn’t empty!!

The thing about this particular crime is that I know someone who knows someone who knows someone on the bus. I’m not really sure how this helps but it certainly sounds like an inside job. That’s supposed to make things a bit easier but I’ve never even met this bloke so I’m not sure how’s that supposed to help?!!

As much as I love Tim Tams, I have to confess that I’m not much of a criminal mastermind. Although  I’m a writer with a half-decent imagination, I write motivational stuff and dog stories for kids. I also write poetry but that’s not going to be much help either.

I could possibly play my violin by the side of the road. They might actually throw a few Tim Tams in my case as they drove passed.  That would be nice but why be content with just a few Tim Tams when I could really pig out?!!

At this point I’m wondering just how many Tim Tams are actually on the bus? How many kilos of glorious, irresistible, yummy, scrumptious, amazing Tim Tams? Oh! Just the thought of it is making me salivate!

However…

Even though I know hijacking the Tim Tam Bus would be the perfect crime of passion and I would probably get myself off and even make millions selling my audacious tale of Tim Tam addiction on the talk show circuit, I have no idea how to actually hijack a bus especially when I’m “so nice”.

You see, it’s not always a case of where there’s a will there’s a way

Calvin Coolidge’s great quote about persistence doesn’t always hold true either: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Besides, most of the time they leave out the next line of Coolidge’s quote:

“ No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”

Whoops!

Anyway, back to my dastardly plot.

Bilbo doesn't look very motivated after all!

Bilbo doesn’t look very motivated after all!

I could, of course, recruit the dog. He’d do anything for food and doesn’t understand that “chocolate is bad for dogs”. Perhaps, Bilbo could pretend to be a sort of black and white fluffy version of Red Dog and hitch a ride (see here for Red Dog http://www.scribd.com/doc/78108595/Red-Dog-Womans-Weekly) Something tells me Red Dog would have approved of such a mission. He was a bit of a character, after all!

However, sometimes I forget Bilbo is really a dog and not a person and he’d probably eat all the Tim Tams and die of chocolate poisoning before I’d even had a bite.

There are, of course, more traditional ways of ambushing buses but I’m not 21 anymore and as the song goes: “I’d do anything for love but I won’t do that!”

So I guess I’m back to the drawing board. Any ideas?

xx Rowena

PS I just told the kids about the Tim Tam Bus and Miss asked if she could eat it. Hmm. She’s definitely my daughter!

One of the worst crimes you could commit in Australia...taking the last Tim Tam.

One of the worst crimes you could commit in Australia…taking the last Tim Tam.