Judge, Jury & Executioner

Part of my “growing up” rule book was don’t judge other people. Honestly, I think, when I was younger I wasn’t very good at abiding by that rule – I made assumptions, some good, some negative and some so left of centre that they were just plain stupid (good old hindsight). There are enough “official” quotes and sayings about the subject as well but my personal summation of the whole philosophical slice of the pie is everybody has a story.

Does that sound terribly noble and cliche’d? Probably but more and more I’m having to consciously redirect my thought process and remember those four words. Today I learn’t that the lady at the local stationers, who always looks like a shoddily made sack of potatoes, is not a slob but is in a really crap relationship with a nasty piece of work. On the other side of the coin I also discovered that the woman I work with genuinely has an ugly dark heart and my prior theory of benefit of the doubt may have been sadly misdirected.

Listen more, talk less – everybody has a story.

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A sensory symphony

Sound,taste,sight and smell are, for me, a constant reminder of times gone past. Memories are instantly triggered – some good, some bad but all with their accompanying emotional ties.

My DH and I have been together for more than two decades but I can remember our first “date” like it was yesterday. There is an annual House & Garden show in our area previewing all that is new and innovative on the domestic front and that’s where we went – unusual I suppose, but every time I see those billboards go up I remember the butterflies in my stomach & the immense fun that we had. I had a flat in the city when we met and he used to write me little notes and slip them under my door if he was passing by – I still have them in my purse,the paper is flimsy after all this time and the writing is faded but they still make me smile.

Vanilla has always been my favorite fragrance, whether in candles, body products or the utterly delectable room sprays which give you an instant lift with just one spritz. I think my vanilla love affair started when I was a little girl making fudge with my mum. Back in the day we used to make it the old fashioned way, hours and hours of stirring on the stove top while the vanilla scent permeated the house. The rhythm of the process was quite enchanting and we would laugh and share stories and end up with the best sugary treats. My mum also taught me about banana on toast. You may laugh, but toast up a piece of nutty wholewheat and cover it with sweet fruity banana slices and you will know deliciousness on your plate.

My dad would probably want to claim ownership for my love of music. He comes from a musical family and when they were young and living in a small railway town out in the bundus you made your own entertainment. Saturday night was an eclectic mish mash of music (provided by my dad & his siblings), a barn dance of sorts with the rest of the district and a mountain of food courtesy off the moms. The radio was always on at home when I was young & it used to be housed in a really ugly box contraption along with the record player. To be allowed to go through my parents record collection & put something on the turntable was quite the thing and I suspect this was where I learnt to sing along to the Beatles, Elvis and Trini Lopez. I have zero music skills but a lifetime of musical memories.

“The fragrance of white tea is the feeling of existing in the mists that float over waters; the scent of peony is the scent of the absence of negativity: a lack of confusion, doubt, and darkness; to smell a rose is to teach your soul to skip; a nut and a wood together is a walk over fallen Autumn leaves; the touch of jasmine is a night’s dream under the nomad’s moon.” – C. JoyBell C.

The rules of friendship

Are you your genuine self with your friends? Do you show every personal trait and preference in all their stark honesty or do you tend to wind it down a little and go with the flow?

The reason I pose the question relates to my best friend (do you get to have a best friend in your 40’s or is that more a juvenile thing – ok so very close friend) – she’s warm, caring, generous and a wonderful mom. We’ve known each other eight years and basically hit it off from day one. We have our differences (which is fun) and tend to thrash out anything that grinds, especially music related as her taste is dire 😉

There is one topic though that I stay away from, same sex couples. She is surprisingly biased which never ceases to amaze me for all the wrong reasons. Is there a single word that respectfully encompasses same sex couples? I’m stumped so for now will abbreviate it to s.s.c. Both my husband and I have s.s.c. friends and yet I find myself avoiding the topic when she and I chat and we do chat, a lot. Most times I just let the niggle go but some days I think should I tell her how I feel and to stop being such a blinkered bat and that (in my opinion) sexual orientation doesn’t influence the caliber of the person? Or should I weigh up her many good facets and just skip the “controversial” stuff?

My head tells me one thing and my heart tells me something else. It’s a head kind of day so I’m taking the cop out route, walking the more travelled path and avoiding the debate. I’ll deal with the drama on another day.

The greatest gift you can give yourself

Chatting with some friends the other day, the dreaded subject of the festive season and gift giving to the in-laws raised its scaly head. After much hilarity and a number of suggestions that would make most people blush the discussion took a more philosophical leaning towards spoiling yourself. Over and above beauty treatments, shopping trips and a personal chef (which are all utterly spectacular don’t get me wrong), my contribution was ..

Solitude, also known as time to be by yourself and with yourself

Seriously, in my humble opinion, it’s a priceless commodity – time to think and examine and investigate your own life. I think people tend to hide and shy away from their true feelings and thoughts when they are with other people (even a beloved spouse) but when you’re on your own there’s nowhere to run. You have to face all the stuff head on. It’s surprising just how much peace stillness engenders and how truly doable it all is. My personal “think about it” process – compartmentalise, pack away and stick on a label.

I don’t have a predetermined schedule for looking inwards – if living was that straight forward it wouldn’t be necessary but as often as possible I become one (the oneness of it all sounds ridiculous I know but you get the idea).

“Language has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.” Paul Tillich

A scrap of paper

Every so now and again I change out my work bag. I have two that take it in turns, one a chocolate brown leather and the other a Vuitton look alike. They’re both fairly spacious and despite my best efforts the odd scrap of paper does occasionally take up residence in a dark recess.

Yesterdays ragged remnant, scribbled on the back of what appears to have been a grocery list, delivered this ……

Do you think, he said, you might want to love me? Well it was more of a rumble exactly, his voice deep and warm. She reached out and took his hand, pressing a soft kiss on his knuckles. Meaty hands he called them but their strength gave her comfort. The white cuff of his uniform was in stark contrast to his golden hand coloured by hours spent outdoors. She had fought her feelings from that first day when he met her at the country fair. She didn’t have time for relationships and men. She was going to be a politician on Capitol Hill. He’d put his arm around her shoulders and grinned, his green eyes sparkling with knowing. You can be the next president he said, but we are going to be together. A deep sigh brought her hurting back to the present and she slid off the bench, dropping to her knees in front of him. Jessie, she said and he lifted his head,

It was (I think) going to be a short story romance of a headstrong, rebellious girl and her long-time love interspersed with a dose of conflict and separation. A mosaic of snippets of other lives – someday there may even be an ending.

“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.” Anais Nin

Blogging, Writing, Saying and Doing – is there a right way or a wrong way?

My scribblings are usually of little literary worth -this i freely admit. The thing is, I like words and I like to write and read. Language has a taste and a texture that I find irresistible so the question beggars asking, why has my blog been more photographic than wordy of late and so very infrequent. Well, it’s a question that I wanted to answer anyway, unlikely to solve the world’s economic woes but you get my drift. After lengthy thinking in the shower I have come to the conclusion that I have wanted my blog to be perfect. Whether it’s been musings about me, or a snippet of prose or a photograph I’ve been putting on my hyper critical glasses before pushing that publish button and more often than not pressing delete. (PS despite my best intentions i have had to come back and add a bit here – the photography influx is because Nature is perfect and doesn’t needs words to explain – ha, how’s that for a deeply philosophical thought).

So here’s the thing, perfect is a fallacy for the occasional blogger. Clearly if you do it for a living everything needs to be regular and sparkly and interesting and have a hook to attract more readers. However, in my less than humble opinion, if you’re a scribbler for emotional release then a little bit of mundane is quite acceptable -obviously it was important to you if you felt the need to write about it in the first place.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a huge admirer of daily/weekly bloggers (which I’m sure I’ve said somewhere before on this blog and fairly recently as well but whatever) whether they be fictional or non fictional and have been enriched by fascinating people that I’ve read “online” but it’s just not for me. I have a highly stressful full time job (no excuse I know ) and for me my writing has to be a pleasurable freedom and not something else to add to the to-do list. That said, I now have a butternut that needs peeling and a pie to go in the oven for dinner.
Here’s to the mundane and the ordinary, I’m told that’s what makes the world go round -well that’s my version anyway.

Note to self – you may not change one word of the above, only dodgy punctuation warrants amending.

About me, when the going gets tough

Health, stress and its affects have been front and centre of late. Call it circumstance, fate or whatever – multiple people that we know are ill to varying degrees. I suppose being away for a few days has also sparked another spell of thinking. How do you or is there a right way to deal with stress?

I’m very vocal (not always to the stress causer mind you) and if my office walls could talk I’d probably need to take out a gagging order! Lets put it this way I’m a firm believer in better out than in.

Music is my figurative punching bag. Hard rock, classical or something that makes you cry – there’s a tune to pretty up and every mood (that said rap and hip-hop have yet to reveal their purpose to me).

In a utopian world, you’d be able to tell your stresser that they are the root cause of your stiff neck and twitching left eye but until then ………………

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music” Aldous Huxley