Tag Archives: ski

When it Takes the Village…Friday Fictioneers.

There was no reason why he couldn’t ski off the edge of Mt Kosciusko. Fly across the valley with the crow. Not even for the smallest nanosecond, did he actually consider his human form. That while his spirit soared, that he was made of flesh and blood and belonged to the Earth.

“Joshua! Joshua!” The crow was calling his name.

“Joshua!” His mother’s scream echoed across the valley. Only the power of prayer could save him now.

The stranger could almost sense his skis mysteriously turning under foot, then spotted the troubled young man and understood. His time had come.

……..

100 Words

This story is dedicated to families who love and cherish children with special needs and the constant vigilance required to keep them safe. An 11 year old autistic boy was run over and killed by a train in Sydney last week after escaping from a care facility.

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields. PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

Miscellaneous Mutterings

Since I’ve been doing the Blogging A-Z April Challenge, I’ve developed some kind of additional neurosis…some kind of mutation, which has been completely overlooked by the DSM Manual, otherwise known as “the psychologists’ Bible”.

M is for Monkey

M is for Monkey

Every morning, no sooner than I’ve inhaled my kick-starting coffee, it all begins. I start jibber-jabbering away to myself and all sorts of words start cycling and recycling through my clunky head as I try to pick my word to go with the day’s letter. You see, I am now halfway through the Blogging A-Z April Challenge and with each passing day, the jibber-jabbering is only getting worse…the proverbial broken record.

Being a new recruit to the challenge, I didn’t realise until it all got underway that people generally write to a theme and turn it into quite a project. That’s right. This challenge goes way beyond simply reciting the alphabet and writing about “A is for apple”. My theme has ended up being “A few of my favourite things” and I’ve also been following the challenge on other blogs where I’ve been blown away by the amount of research involved and have learned so much!!

M is for Monster

M is for Monster

While I have written a list of topics for each letter, some days I’ve revisited it and changed my mind.

For some reason, trying to pick something for M today has had me muttering more than usual.

Mummy

Mummy

In a sense, M has to be Mummy, which I guess could also be M for Me. However, the trouble with writing about my journey as a Mum or about myself as “Mummy” is to come up with an angle that isn’t sickly sweet and sugar-coated or isn’t some never-ending whinge to end all whinges, leaving you all wondering why I ever had kids and thinking I don’t deserve them.

Next.

I did consider M for Manual, as in receiving a parenting manual when you give birth so you know what to do. After all, here in Australia, you have to sit a tough written test to get your Learner’s Permit before you can even start learning to drive a car Yet, when it comes to becoming a parent and leaving the hospital with your bundle of joy, there is no test. No licence required. You’re just left on your “pat malone” with what often turns out to be, quite a complex little bundle.

However, once I explored the manual concept further, I actually decided that I really didn’t want a manual or any kind of prescription telling me how to parent my kids. After all, being a bit of a free-thinking, creative type whose journey pretty much goes off road well beyond the road less traveled, I don’t want to create a pair of robots and I really don’t want to become a robot myself. I do try to have a routine during term time but come school holidays, I really do like to mix it up a bit, go away and explore something new but also just hang out. We all need to recharge a bit for another school term.

So, before I’d even written a word, I’d eliminated Mummy, motherhood, parenting manual and if you knew me in real time, you’d know that minimalist isn’t me. No, it’s definitely not me at all although I do appreciate those that fastidiously declutter their homes. They drop all sorts of fascinating treasures off at the op shop, which I snap and re-house. After all, treasure should never be homeless. We just need to get a bigger home or open a museum.

G'day Mate: a typical Aussie male greeting often used to disguise the fact they can't even remember their best friend's name.

G’day Mate: a typical Aussie male greeting often used to disguise the fact they can’t even remember their best friend’s name.

I had originally been intending to write about miracles, which ties into what became something of a life mission to “turn my mountain around”. You see, I have an auto-immune disease called dermatomyositis as well as a neurological condition, hydrocephalus, which both give me some mobility challenges. In 2012, our family went on our first trip to the snow and although the rest of the family was going skiing, I didn’t think I could do it. Instead, I bought a pair of snow boots and intended to photograph the snow instead. However, on arrival, we spotted the Paraolympic ski team, who were out zooming down the slopes on sit skis.  This sowed a seed of doubt and I started to wonder whether I, too, could ski. We had a chat with them and they introduced me to the Disabled Winter Sports Association. We couldn’t get organised in time for that trip but I set myself a goal for the following year to ski down the mountain and in effect, turn my mountain around. In what really was quite a miracle, although it also took a fairly large dose of courage and encouragement from the family and my ski instructor, I made it down the mountain and turned my mountain around going down instead of up the mountain.

M is for mountain From Alphabet by Paul Thurlby Published by Templar Publishing

M is for mountain From Alphabet by Paul Thurlby
Published by Templar Publishing

I was so excited and on such a high, that I forgot all about the laws of physics and that what goes up, must come down.

Before we’d even left the skifields, I developed the first signs of a chest infection, which despite preventative measures, turned into a life-threatening bout of pneumonia and my auto-immune disease flared up and was attacking my lungs. Before I knew it, my life was flashing before my eyes and instead of being on top of the world, I was having chemo and fighting for my life.

Of course, this totally flipped my mountain back around and in the process it turned dark, stormy and very foreboding.

This wasn’t how my story, the motivational book I was working towards, was supposed to end up. This wasn’t the plot I’d worked out. No, it was anything but. I put the book writing plans on hold. Indeed, I was so sick that I didn’t have a choice.

You can read about my ski challenge here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/turning-my-mountain-around/

However, if you know anything about Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey, you’ll know that any journey has it’s complications or challenges but that doesn’t mean that’s where the journey ends. No, instead, we’re supposed to tackle those complications and work them  out and ultimately reach that perfect happy ending. We just need to make sure we don’t give up half way before things start turning around and starting to work out. Moreover, once we reach that happy state we need to end that journey before another journey begins, taking us to a completely new destination with a whole new set of complications, challenges and rewards.

While at first thought, it might seem desirable to get rid of all the mountains in our way to make the road smooth, without these mountains, we would never be stretched and grow to take on tougher challenges. We’d never find out what we are made of. This would be a serious loss because, through my own journey, I’ve truly come to appreciate that each of us is truly capable of doing and being way more than we ever thought possible.

Indeed, each of us is a living, breathing human miracle.

We just need to believe.

It seems that I should have had a bit more faith in my miscellaneous mutterings. It’s been quite an interesting journey and I actually found a destination after all.

Indeed, it could even be motivational.

xx Rowena

PS Geoff was doing a few miscellaneous mutterings of his own today after driving the kids all the way to their Scout Camp and finding out our daughter;’s daypack had been left behind. Unfortunately, she’d put most of her essentials inside and so a very loving Dad is driving all the way back to Nelson Bay to drop it off again tomorrow. Mutter…mutter…mutter!

PPS: Bilbo, our Border Collie, has added his howls to the mutterings tonight. Somehow, he managed to fall in the swimming pool. I had a friend over for dinner and we heard a splash follow by a few more splashes and the poor boy was desperately trying to pull himself out. I am so relieved I was within ear shot. Poor Bilbo. He doesn’t even like to get his paws wet so this was really quite an ordeal!!

Beware of the Big Ski Toe!

“…the wind began to moan and groan:

away off in the distance she seemed to hear

a voice crying –

“Who’s got my hairy toe?

Who’s got my hairy toe”

So there I was out on the magic carpet on Day 2. Initially, we were going to ski across to the quad chair and head over to Happy Valley. However, my lesson was at 3.00 and so I’d done an hour of practice that morning and my legs were tired and almost out of action. That meant that we stayed on the carpet to improve my technique instead.

While this might seem less challenging than taking on the mountain, it was hard work. We were almost moving in slow motion to improve my technique and my muscles were working hard. Ursina addressed this directly. By working on my technique and how I positioned my weight and my body, the aim was to ski more efficiently. In particular, the plan was to snowplough less and to use my turns to slow me down which put much less pressure on my legs. Of course, I felt quite awkward trying to get my body and my brain to work together when they were both feeling equally awkward and jerky. I really had to switch my brain into high gear and it was jolting in protest all the way.

Not unsurprisingly, I’ve never been an athlete and aside from my violin lessons (yes, playing the violin is physical as much as musical), I haven’t given much thought to which body part you stick where to maximise performance. I’m not that into physics or how things work either. I just like to press a button and everything goes! It just goes!!

While I had been a bit apprehensive about having a different instructor, the lesson went really well and I was comfortable straight away. Indeed, I had 3 different instructors during the week and this turned out really well. They were all adaptive ski instructors, which means they are specially trained to teach people with disabilities and serious illness. Yet, what I found particularly beneficial was that each of my instructors had their own perspective or box of tricks and this really helped to consolidate my technique and I improved so much. Of course, it was also very beneficial to have private lessons so we could work intimately on my technique one-on-one. This meant that we were focusing on exactly what I needed to change to improve. That’s the benefit of having a private lesson and thanks to the special rates for DWA members, the lessons were half price. I also found that while each instructor had their own approach, they briefed each other really well so my lessons fitted seamlessly together, building up my performance brick by brick. I was really impressed at how it all came together and so was Tom when he came back. I wasn’t an expert but I was in the flow.

Confession time. I'm heading up for a hot chocolate not to ski.

Confession time. I’m heading up for a hot chocolate not to ski.

Getting back to my big toe, when was the last time you seriously thought about what your big toe was doing? I mean, don’t you just shove a sock on it and hide it in a shoe?!! Okay, so I admit that I occasionally cut my toe nails and might scream and hop about when I drop something bang right on top of it but otherwise my big toe is the very much neglected thing at the end of my foot.

That all changed in this ski lesson where I had to focus all my energy on putting my weight on my big toe.

Well, I’m sure my lesson involved more than my big toe but that was the focus. I know she explained the theory at the time but now that I’m back home in front of my lap top, the explanations aren’t coming back to me. That’s probably because I filed it somewhere under “physics” and I’m much better with things filed under “p” for “photography” and “poetry” instead. There’s actually a lot of physics involved in skiing. However, I’ll cheat and consult my in-house physics expert. I promise to keep the physics lesson short and sweet. That way neither of us will turn into geeks.

Actually, Geoff was otherwise occupied watching the last lap of his car race so I resorted to Google.

Just as well I did Google those big ski toes. Turns out that you only put your weight on your big toe to turn. If I hadn’t checked that out, you could have been skiing turning round and round in eternal circles getting dizzy. Obviously, I am not a certified or otherwise ski instructor. I’m still an awkward, fumbling beginner. Now, I remember that I had to straighten myself up in between turns and have my skis parallel. I think that’s how it went. As I said, physics isn’t my thing and I have a memory like a goldfish but I still remember that verse from primary school:

“Who’s got my hairy toe?

Who’s got my hairy toe”

For some strange reason, every time my instructor mentioned my big toe, I heard those words echo in my head.

No doubt you’ve heard this poem/story at school or beside camp fire. As much as this haunting verse used to scare the begeebies out of me, I absolutely loved it…especially the ending where the narrator shouts out: “You’ve got it!!!” and you totally leap out of your skin and then laugh your head off. For some strange reason, there’s something about scary stories that makes kids laugh. Weird!

Anyway, enough of big toes, hairy toes and scary monsters.

I still had to get myself off the magic carpet and down a mountain.That’s been my challenge all along.

Not only getting back up that big, bad scary mountain but also skiing all the way down.

The Australian Alps

The Australian Alps

That’s right. Turning my mountain around for a second time. I was getting close. So very close and yet…

My goodness!

I could feel one hell of a headache coming on!!

The ski journey continues…

xx Rowena