Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Dirty – Week 2

dirty2 we all know who has been sitting in this chair…
not very inspiring

Once upon a time, when we were just two, things didn’t seem to get quite as filthy as they do now. Perhaps that is to be expected as we had much less stuff. Our wasted days were spent at work and misspent nights partying long and hard: cleaning consisted of emptying overflowing ashtrays and tossing a liquor store’s worth of drained bottles in the bin. A quick pass with the vacuum and a pillow fluff here and there and things were restored ship-shape. Rinse and repeat.

Then we were three: early to bed, early to rise non-smoking section, what exactly is that stain types where Richard Scarry replaced the Sunday New York Times. One fine day we were four: inured to the litany of laundry and Lego underfoot, a small whirlwind proved that chaos theory comes in the form of misplaced Barbie accessories and frilly barrettes.

Now that we are sometimes five and a half, the logistics of domestic maintenance requires the steely nerve of a drill sergeant and a complete corps of army engineers to effect any reasonable change. Sadly, yours truly is in command of neither but we have out of sheer stubbornness, learned how to say no so that others may learn how. 

The half in the complex equation above must be credited with a very large paw in creating a flotsam and jetsam of fur, twigs, and sticky bits that floats then clings to almost everything. We try and keep a clear line of sight above knee-level, for below there be monsters.

We cannot remember what a tidy house looks like. No matter how much we ask “What if the Queen comes to visit, what would she think?” – our pleas fall on deaf ears. Apparently no one irons anymore, nor do they dust. We suspect that they just move. “What does dirty look like to you?” – mud or mould, dingy or dim, greasy, creasy or caked on, rated X, fair or foul – We would love to see your vision…

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Fiction in 50: The Darker Side of…

the darker side of

It wasn’t enough that she had tried all manner of sweet: no amount of nice seemed to do the trick. Teeth clenched at every turn, the darker side of a genetic legacy ached to claw its way out. You might want to listen to that voice telling you to run…

The Bookshelf Gargoyle curates a Fiction in 50 mini-narrative challenge – this month’s prompt is The Darker Side of….! Come out of the shadows, see the light and get cracking on writing a piece of short, short fiction: send it in and then go have a peek at the other entries – GargoyleBruce writes wonderful reviews on all sorts of kid lit (big and small) with a cheeky tone guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Wander through the stacks, you are sure to find something you’ll like.

Click on the icon in the sidebar for previous entries…

The Big 5 – Who do you resemble?

article-0-19AA650200000578-331_306x371

at least it’s not the postman’s….

Everyone knows the old joke about if you want to know how your significant other is going to age (say 30 or 40 years down the line) take a look at their parents. Scary. From both sides. We often pore over pictures of our ancestors and can see how certain traits carry over in the gene pool: skipping a generation once in a while, with siblings sometimes resembling each other more than their parents, Uncle Ed’s mouth popping up here, Ma Tante’s pale complexion there…. A little bit of something from everyone all mixed up in one package.

Even if it’s not readily apparent that we do have the same DNA as our family, we can rest assured that the truth will out in other ways. Mannerisms, voice, small annoying idiosyncrasies, even knee-jerk reactions to external triggers are all packed into the genetic baggage that so many of us try to lose along the way.  On our journey, we choose partners and animals for a variety of reasons (just google people who look like their pets) and sooner or later we start to have more in common with them than we might desire…

The Big 5 Challenge has concluded that jowls may possibly be in our future. Such is life and if we don’t like it, at least we live in a time when we can do something about it.   Who do you resemble?” – mom or pop, lion or lemur, celebrity or saint…

We would love to know who is on your list.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary such as the above on one of the five Ws (WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN or WHY and sometimes HOW) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a reply in the comment box, in a new post with a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Challenge yourself to dig deep for an answer.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

SO – Create your Big 5 Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “The Big 5 Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Big 5” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on The Big 5 Challenge page.
  5. Remember to Follow to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Culture

culture

wanting to know more

All that remains of the Thanksgiving turkey is sandwich-sized morsels and once again we are left wondering about what really happened when our ancestors got off the boat to build a new city in a new land.  Church and civic records don’t give much clue and most of the tales we hear about who married who and how they dispersed are just that: small bits and pieces that have great hunks worn away like the missing pediment on the facade of an old building. For whatever reason, the bloodline has been less than forthcoming in maintaining a rich oral tradition and so we attempt renovation, to shore up the foundation and paint a fresh identity upon the past.

Sadly, we are stuck having run out of the proverbial resources and energy to keep the project solvent: We are wedged between the genealogical rock we can’t dust off enough to see the beauty of its detail and the very hard place where an upcoming generation is unconcerned, uncaring and uninterested. Unwilling to make an effort to find out what connects them to their heritage, they seem more than eager to jump ship for greener pastures. Perhaps that could be defined as a pioneering spirit but more likely it is just running away from it all.

As much as we might cringe at chest-thumping nationalism, religious zeal or an adhesion to out-dated traditions just because that is always the way it has been done, there is something to be said for wanting to include, and being included. People with strong ties that have united them as family, as members of a community, as part of something greater than self are to be admired, for it means they are looking outward when they try to establish some sense of continuity. It isn’t only about now; it is about what happened before and understanding that helps make a small mark on history for future generations to be able to hold close in times of need and reflection.

“What does your culture look like?” – costumes and customs, meals and milestones, a country or county, monument or monolith, a pantheon of people or singular person – We would love to see your vision…

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

The Big 5 – “Where” are you from? – Week 2

where are you from

When Across the Bored was little, the world was a very big place where letters came in envelopes delivered to the door and telephones only transmitted the sound of our voices. News was listened to on the radio, watched (once a day) at 6 in the evening or read about in the paper and much that happened outside of our immediate communities was digested pretty much after the fact.  If anyone we knew was lucky enough to travel we gave them a hug, tearfully wished them godspeed and au revoir, consoled ourselves with something sweet and then patiently waited for a postcard and their return.

Today, we spend a lot of our time in transit, our work and leisure takes us back and forth between neighbourhoods, cities, countries and continents. We tend to multitask at every available opportunity on all sorts of devices, convinced that the need to know what everyone is doing and how they are at any given moment is crucial. Maybe… or maybe not. Although we may feel some relief to find out that yes our loved ones did arrive safely at their destination, when batteries drain, lines of communication fail and links go “offline” our anxiety increases exponentially.

With the world seeming a much smaller place, and the ability to pinpoint where we all are right now at the touch of our fingertips, the question of where we began becomes moot. This fortnight the Big 5 Challenge has been reminded that we don’t always need to, or want to go back, that there is some truth to the phrase “You Can’t go Home Again“.

Where are you from?” – City or farm, present or past, pedigrees and bloodlines, in the future or lost in time, adopted country or birthplace, Venus or Mars… We would love to know where you feel connected to.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this challenge can be found here: Need more info, want to browse past themes or get the badge for your blog? See HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

father and son

Father and son
Mother and babe
lost ancestors
hope for the future
solitary yet infinite

F

Become united in the entries of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Family.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Bold

bold

a glorious gift of colour

A meal at our house where we all manage to sit down together can range from the awe-inspiring to the downright incredible – it is not the quantity or quality of food but rather the tone and variety of conversation that bursts forth as if it has been bottled under pressure and kept hidden in a cool, dark cellar until it was worth savouring.  On a good night our witty banter is a fine champagne, measured and inspiring with just the right amount of kick to keep things titillating yet civilized but on others…. discussion erupts with all the force of a can of soda pop shaken and sprayed over an unsuspecting audience by some guffawing, miscreant five-year old.

Not to say that we don’t act appropriately when the occasion calls for it but the personalities that make up this particular family unit are large, they take up copious amounts of space and if one can get a word in edgewise then the game is truly afoot. The range of subject matter and the rapid-fire pace of exchange can bewilder unassuming guests who thought they were in for a nice quiet meal. Miss Z and the Professor know instinctively that anyone they choose to break bread with better be able to hold their own and with flair, no less….

The best of shared times are like the flowers that grace our table – vividly dynamic, impressively coloured and delightfully engaging so The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge lays out it out that we are  – Bold.

“What shape does bold take for you?” –  A flash of chrome, the walls of home, an umbrella bright or neon light, a favourite font, fishing cat or fearless brat, challenging or conspicuous, brave or brassy …

We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Heritage – Week 2

heritage 2

A flight across time and distance

Those of us with a penchant for garage, boot and estate sales are more than well aware that the bits and pieces once held dear collected over a lifetime often wind up in the hands of strangers.  It is always odd to see things coldly lined up on display, away from the groups of objects they were once a part of and, in a sense, out of context. What kind of voyage have these pieces had over the course of the years and what tales of love and strife, harmony and discord, laughter and tears would they tell us if they could?

These collectables have a monetary value based on age, rarity, curiosity, desirability and provenance but rarely is the sentimental worth taken into account. There can be no price attached to memory.  It is only when we ascribe a history to those things that have made up the backgrounds of our lives, why they were important, how they came to us, were created, found, bartered or haggled for, that they become truly interesting to those we would pass them down to, and like this fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge theme, a part of our – Heritage. 

Last week, Across the Bored asked “How does heritage look to you?” –  A stately building on the street, long-lost cousins that you meet, a silver tea pot or favourite recipe, a packet of heirloom seeds or string of coloured beads… We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Special – Week 2

special

no dinner for you

Once upon a time we could eat (almost) anything. Of late, there are certain food groups that we love that don’t quite love us back as much but given the right conditions, we will gladly suffer.  Relationships with family are much the same: we invest, act with good intentions, try to impart wisdom or motivate but sometimes our efforts go unnoticed, ignored, unheeded and we either grin and bear it or lose it completely. Such is life with the under-twenties. Imagine our delight when things took a pleasant turn during a rather ordinary outing with Miss Z: over an espresso and noisette gelato, we both realized that, despite the occasions we would like to throttle each other, we actually enjoy each other’s company

These times, the little breaths of calm in between the hurry of daily life, the few moments spent indulging in quiet talk, catching up or just plain silliness are the ones we will remember fondly and like the tasty treat that is gelato, this fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge theme is – Special. 

Last week, Across the Bored wondered “What is special for you?” –  The photo of that sandy beach, the sweet faces of those you teach, an amulet or well-worn hat, silver spoon or ancient cat, the strains on a guitar or a night under the stars… We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Home

You are here – somewhere…

Alot of us have spent much of our lives travelling around – it is irrelevant whether near or far but the journey there and back informs much of the way we see our world, in particular our idea of that one spot where we feel an ultimate sense of belonging.

Sometimes we do not find that special place until much later, having set down temporary roots wherever work or love or adventure takes us, others never leave the place where they were born for there is no need to.

Across the Bored would posit that this extraordinary destination is truly where the heart is, and so the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge topic becomes – Home.  

“What does home look like to you?” – apartment or house, where you are now or where your ancestors were from, what it is, used to be or what you wish it were – it is yours, after all…

We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or post by you or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble.
  3. The Challenge will be open for 6 days after it is posted upon which I will post another challenge.
  4. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on Across the Bored’s blog.
  4. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy – Part 1

Perfect every time

Thank G*d for small blessings.  We have been cranky, overworked, put upon and somewhat under the weather as far as inspiration goes this last week but luckily, this week’s Photo Challenge: Happy arrives just in time for our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend celebration. It is, like most things and ultimately, all about a state of mind – be it brief or prolonged, which we can measure against our own often high standards or those of the people that surround us. This Sunday, everyone is very happy with a groaning board of tasty treats and a plump, organic bird prepared with a few additions according to Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas Turkey recipe (which, by the way, is never fail mouth-wateringly moist and even better in a convection oven). So family sated, desserted and all gone home by a decent hour, I am happy it is over. A VPR radio broadcast last year offered solutions for dealing with holiday stress, especially for those who suffer from self-inflicted performance anxiety and are their own worst critics: Relax, for in the end, our best efforts are often better than that and only we really know the difference…..

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

Well, this pretty much sums it up…

All the best intentions were laid waste for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine when the camera to be used stated in incontrovertible and eerily prescient terms “Warning! Battery is exhausted.” Another device could have been used but time, like usual, being of the essence necessitated a reformulation of an answer to  “What is mine?”

A list was tallied and the results were surprising:

  • Jewellery (good and otherwise) – not since Miss Z has reached an age where she can be trusted not to lose or break any of it
  • Shoes – the dog would argue otherwise
  • Clothing – much of it is only temporarily in the closet
  • Art that is hanging around – anything collected usually belonged to someone else and will eventually be handed down to another
  • Books – we are librarians at best
  • Photos, slides, film and assorted media – has turned into a family affair with more than one person disputing ownership of a work that resulted from multiple cameras all in the same place at the same time
  • All that stuff in the warehouse – at least 75% of it is definitely not mine
  • All that stuff in the studio – we won’t go there today
  • Money – in one hand out the other
  • the Dog – he is his own master as he seems to do as he pleases
  • the Ancestors – claimed by a large crew some known some not

So what is really mine? Memories, all those those crazy ideas, lazy day dreamings and creative brainwaves, world-changing inventions formulated but never realized, brilliant musings and flashes of genius; everything I ever learned or heard or read about rolling around in my skull. Knowledge.

Missing unconditional Love

Growing up, the only mammals apart from the two-footed variety that populated our house were cats and rodents so when the question of “getting a dog” was broached by my own children, I would respond with an ambiguous “We’ll see”.  This answer seemed to be sufficient until 4 years ago when…. I succumbed to gentle but continuous pressure and the liquid, brown eyes of a furry mop up for adoption.  This year marks the first that we have been separated for any great length of time and though I didn’t think I would, I miss my troublemaker terribly – next year he will get a vacation, too!