Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Cities

the a and p

Sherbrooke Street: no edit, no filter, no cropping – just like real life

I can’t number the times I’ve walked this stretch, watching it change with the seasons and the years, taking on the vibrancy of the good times and the pall of the bad, rush hour busy or Sunday morning sweet and quiet. It always calls to me of my own embedded past, reminds of a very fluid present and whispers that it will still be here even if I am not.

I owed someone a photo of my city and while this one may not be the first thing a tourist would think of, it does say much for what the island has come to represent. Mark Twain, who visited in 1881seeking a copyright for his literary works, is often quoted as saying that it was the first time he was ever in “a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window”.

Very much a City of Spires, today despite what detractors might say, it has grown to be more representative of the multitude of languages, religions and ethnicities than ever in its colonial incarnations. The banner on the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul (or the A&P as some of us nick-named it) above says it all: College, Church, School, Faith, Nursery, Friendship, Worship, Tradition. No matter who you are, you can come to Montreal and make something of yourself, find a place for your family. It won’t be easy but it will be interesting.

The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge puts forward that this is what makes it home to many, opens our eyes to the wide world, and keeps us discovering just what it is that makes us stay. Even just for a little while…

“What is your corner of the world like?”  Feel free to leave your two cents about one or many of your favourite Cities in the comments…

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. 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: Blooms

blooms

lucky are the bees

We swore blind that we wouldn’t do any more gardening the frosty day the realtor hammered the for-sale sign into a snowbank on our lawn. Those of you who have been following the saga of where we wind up next will know that we are none too happy going forward knowing that we have prettied up our rental landscape and won’t be able to enjoy it for too much longer. All those plants nurtured over time, the Asian lilies, the unexpected daisies, the delicate mauve blossoms on the hostas – all these we will dig up in the fall or spring before they begin to flower again in earnest and whisk off to some more deserving garden.

In the meantime, Nature is playing the temptress and flashing her charms at us from every available venue, calling out for us to weed so that passersby may also enjoy the view and asking us to prop her up with a bit of twine so she doesn’t droop in all the wrong places. Our neighbour is concerned that we are not engaging quite as enthusiastically with the small plot where the veggies usually grow and has leaned over the fence with pots of “just a little something” to plant to ensure that we have something really fresh to add to our salad a month down the line. The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge is reminded every time we put out the recycling that hollyhocks, like tomatoes, can indeed be transplanted and grow to incredible heights whether we like it or not. The rain and the sporadic sprinkler system, the bugs and the bees are all doing their part (even if we are not) to make sure we are surprised by the most magnificent – Blooms.

“Tell us about your blooms?” – are they flowers or fruit, a vegetable patch, clover in the field or a roof of thatch, babies and puppies, a store full of hats, a sky full of parasols or basket of cats.

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: It’s up to you, again…

well, that went quickly…

Hard to believe that another year has whizzed right by and we find ourselves in the middle of another summer: a summer that crawls in after a too-short spring, gains momentum and then leaps from one week to the next like some housebound feline that has found the catnip growing wild in the garden. At any moment we expect it to just roll over exhausted and suddenly it will be autumn.

We are, sadly, stuck in town for a while longer, our usual jaunt to the West Coast for some badly needed battery recharging delayed for the moment. It is the first time in over a decade that we haven’t found ourselves lazing on the beach under a broiling July sun so we have been busy pounding the pavement like a good tourist in our own city, taking photos of street art, buildings sans snow and other tourists. The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge needs to put its feet up for the afternoon so a retrospective is just the thing, scroll through the archives by clicking on this link or on one of the topics below and pick something, anything  – It’s up to You.

Heat    Surprise    Silly    Expectations    Lost    Abstract     Grateful     Bliss     T-shirts     Shoes    Loyalty    Painting    Cook    Wishes    Paths    Writing    Birthday    Wonder    Harvest     Size    Words     Routine    Calm    Curious    It’s up to You    Toys    Clean    Bold     Random    Heritage    Special    Happy    Gifts    Graffiti    Brilliant    Funny    Habit    Resolution    Relax    Sweet    Illumination   Decoration   Morning   Style    Home   Pressure   Temptation    Manipulation    Compromise    Procrastination

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: Heat

heat

paled by bright sun

Sultry summer has definitely softened Across the Bored’s usually manic drive to be productive. After being housebound for the infamous longest winter ever there is nothing better than parking it in a chair outside, breathing air that isn’t cold enough to freeze lungs on impact and staring at the sky. Though not the spa, it certainly does one a world of good and serves to recharge those batteries drained by keeping our motor running during the icier months. 

Our routine has been hijacked by good weather and oddly, we don’t mind. Rather we are going to take as much advantage of it as possible because this bounteous gift of Nature may quickly be followed by forty days of rain. The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge has been made lazy by the – Heat – but it is the one time of year when things can arguably be put aside for more basic pleasures. “How do you see heat?” – The sun on your face, a favourite beach place, curry in a pot, flames fanning hot, a tight situation or artistic creation..

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.

 

Fiction in 50: The Upper Hand

upper hand

I can see them out there scampering around, laughing – yes, I can – furry beggars digging things up, making a mess of the marigolds and never taking the blame… I’d like to wring their little necks – one good shake and that would be it but She always has the upper hand…

The Bookshelf Gargoyle curates a Fiction in 50 mini-narrative challenge – this month’s prompt is The Upper Hand! Don’t let the summer heat get to you: pour a long, tall cold one and write 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…

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Surprise

surprise

almost uprooted:
good thing we believe in the procrastination method of weeding…

Across the Bored can’t remember which year it was that Miss Z insisted daisies would be the perfect potted plant swaying in the breeze beside our door but we do distinctly remember pulling out the dried brown husks of their summer daintiness once upon a frosty day in late October and pitching them into the front flower bed. They had been surprisingly high maintenance despite their hardiness, much like Miss Z, requiring much hydration, daily rotation, some artful pruning and a watchful eye to make sure they didn’t go off in all directions.

We can’t say they were spectacular nor did they deliver as many blooms as we had hoped to make little rustic bouquets from and that was pretty much the end of that. Until this very late spring when we espied some new previously unidentified growth next to the rather large seeding dandelion plant and the oriental lilies pushing their way through the soil. Our first thought was to pull it all out by the roots but then we got distracted by something more pressing and walked off. A week later the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge was hauling the recycling bin out to the curb when – Surprise – the weeds had bloomed overnight into quite the pretty little floral display… 

“How does surprise look to you?” – Awkward or elated, with a bang or for the bin, elegant or understated, sweet and delicious, with a side of sin…  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: Silly

silly

really? i’m assuming that couch is for the hordes of people waiting for a table…

It was sheer disbelief that caught us unable to capture the preceding half of the photo above. There, set up on a patch of astroturf along one of the busiest thoroughfares, was a cluster of suitably summery umbrellas with too-small tables and uncomfortable chairs underneath: even more bizarre was that there were people actually eating in this spot. The proximity of a bike lane lending a little distance to regularly passing delivery trucks (bio-diesel or not) and the strategically placed potted palms adding ambience were perhaps a factor in making this the latest fashionable lunch spot but we just didn’t (and still don’t) get it. Has the Health Inspector paid a visit to ensure those water pitchers have covers to guard against passing pigeons? Do we really need some freshly ground pepper to go with an exhaust-cured wagyu burger?  Uummm, no….  Evidently someone has convinced the administration of our uber-trendy town that everyone loves dinner and a show so what better place to be seen noshing on an overpriced Caesar salad than on the sidewalk not even arm’s length from on-coming traffic?  

We thought this was a one-off but a scant five minutes later cruising down a side street there were not one, but two, similar yet different incarnations of this culinary establishment abomination: the roadside barge reducing the normally congested one-way two-lane traffic hell down to barely one. We could have grabbed that smoked-meat to go from our seat on the bus. Restaurateurs in these parts must have all been struck with cabin fever after a too long winter and banded together one night for some hard drinking and deliberation. Let’s take it outside they said, eat on the street, a platform with some tables, an awning and we’re all set! Never mind the waiters having to dodge pedestrians rushing back to the office – it’s summer, hurry up, get outside, it may not last! What’s not to love?

The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge this fortnight would like to investigate all that is – Silly – good or bad, absurd or inane, downright funny or incredibly unbelievable. Shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for there is a whole lot going on out there that could easily fall into this category… 

“What is silly?” – A cartoon character or politician’s gaff, a two year old’s antics, a joke or a laugh, a funky fad or fashion craze, an old-timer’s tale or those newfangled ways…  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: Expectations

expectations2

INTJ or INTP? Doesn’t matter, if i can so can everyone else…

Have you ever taken a personality test? The inscrutable Dr. Fu and the Ghost get great mileage out of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and its myriad applications from character reference guide for strategy games to deducing whether friends’ relationships will survive the test of time. The quick, online quizzes that lead to gaining an idea about our psychological types are by no means 100% accurate as they can be skewed by mood and the difference in answering what we think we do and what we actually do. They are fun conversation starters though and can often lead to an ah-hah moment or two on why our hair stands on end when the person in front of us at the checkout is fiddling idiotically with small change.

Our various foibles and idiosyncrasies wind up having a huge bearing on the way we interact with the rest of the world. Sadly, there is no manual for codes of conduct, no one-size-fits-all t-shirt proclaiming in easy to read text our handling instructions or even a warning label. Runs with scissors. Does not play well with others. For your own safety, do not feed the fears. A visual prompt would certainly take the guesswork out of many situations we become embroiled in and perhaps give those who just don’t get it a clue about the rules of the game. Not going to happen: that would take the fun out of it all. This fortnight, the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge has come to the conclusion that, in the greater scheme of being a semi-functional member of society, our characters are the unwitting architects of our – Expectations – and the source of our contentment or dissatisfaction. Whether we can master the beast and get to some sort of happy medium can be a challenge in itself. 

“What do expectations represent for you?” – A quick response or satisfying result, respect for an effort made or just a gentle thank-you, the bloom of a spring bulb, bark of a dog at the postman, the sun to come up in the morn or the stars to shine at night…  We would love to see your vision.

This week’s topic was a suggestion from The Madwoman of Ghost Harbor – Got an idea or theme that you would like to see in words or pictures? Leave us a note in the comment box!

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: Lost

lost

Since you would save none of me, I bury some of you – john Donne

Across the Bored once heard someone ask rather bluntly “how many times do you have to be punched in the head before you step to the side?” They weren’t speaking about boxing or any of the number of forms of abuse men heap upon each other but rather about how we react in regards to ourselves. There is no doubt that free will plays a huge part in the way we construct our plans for the future and how we will get there but like the glossy vacation brochure tempting us with the illusion of sunnier climes, we are often happily deluded into buying the deluxe package when we should be figuring out how to pay for our next transit pass. That we are agents of our own misery is the stuff of life and much great fiction; whether the steps we take towards individual purpose are feeble or epic is often besides the point. Sometimes by seeking to do the right thing, the good thing, we inadvertently veer off onto the shoulder and end up like the horrid saying goes, finishing last.

Keeping a balance while staying on track has always been man’s problem, especially for those who like to launch themselves into things headlong because the vision of what could be is so clear. Avoiding the huge chaotic pendulum of change that swings back and forth threatening to derail us isn’t easy. Nobody ever said it would be. Our resoluteness and pride, our determination and desire, can all conspire just as much as our good will and faith to bring us to very dark and dismal places indeed. No matter how well we lay the map upon the table or paint lovely watercolours of the places we could go, the path may not be that apparent to everyone else and even if it is, our travel companions don’t always want to taken on the 5-star guided tour. This fortnight, the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge hopes that no matter how – Lost – we get, that there is always a way to our destination.

“Have you ever been lost?” – In a great book or symphony, in love or grief, in the magic of a sunset or the gaze of a newborn, in traffic or far from home…

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: Abstract

abstract

Rorschach’s field day

Across the Bored likes nothing better than to walk around in art museums contemplating the collections. What pleasure to work our way from the ancient to the modern in a few hours, lingering over the Renaissance, idling near the Impressionists, pondering the Cubists… but there are, depending on the curator’s choice of selections, some rooms we pass through at a brisk clip. Those walls where big, expensive panels glare at us in Webster’s best definition of art “expressing ideas and emotions by using elements such as colors and lines without attempting to create a realistic picture” and leave us, essentially, wondering why?

We do recognize most forms of artistic endeavour but there is a trend on many of the sites we visit online, both photographic and otherwise, that elicits the same reaction. One might assume by the number of purple leopards and fragmented flowers in the more purely conceptually dedicated galleries that there were a few who were asleep in Art Appreciation 101. A lot of people don’t get it, don’t care or just refuse to colour that boldly outside the lines. Does there have to be some reference point, some readily identifiable thing that puts it all into perspective and generates that “aha” moment where our brains are more comfortable being led to a conclusion? Or is it just easier?

We much prefer drifting along the stream of consciousness. With no man at the oars as it were, we are often spectators to the unusual, the unasked for, the unexpected.  The waters can be idyllically calm or we hit the rapids with such force that it knocks the wind out of us – there are times when we feel like a man overboard but there is always the consolation that we can swim to shore with the best of them. This fortnight the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge guesses that an enjoyment of most things – Abstract – depends on where one has been before and perhaps even how far one is willing to go.

“What is abstract for you” – A concept or theory, an artwork or query, a math problem, a description, philosophy or music, the very universe  …

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: Grateful

 

 

NEM Painterly 17Could be Worse.

2 Saturdays ago, Across the Bored was feeling very sorry for herself indeed having endured the emergency room and an unnecessarily long wait for a taxi to get ourselves back to the safety of bed and an icepack. We mustn’t have looked in too much distress though for the driver, when he finally arrived and was asked to hurry (because we were “in pain”) remarked “Did you have a stroke?”

Our first thought was “Do we look that old?” and the second was yes, it is true, it could have been worse. He was, of course, trying to lighten the mood and focus my attention on other matters for what, really, could ruin a perfectly good weekend morning for him than having some awful woman moaning or worse, throwing up, in the back of his cab…

We get used to being healthy. Or in pain. And it’s only when we’re not that we realize how much we should count our blessings. We were lucky enough to be able to take a week off from our usual pursuits without much ado. As much as that in itself was a little bit of system shock it brought home the happy thought that there are people out there thinking of us, and more importantly, willing to wait for our return.

In the hours spent offline alot happened no doubt. One hand thumb scrolling is a perilous pastime at best and we didn’t get around to visiting as much or as often as we would have liked to. We did get our work featured in the galleries above though (insert bloated ego here) which does give us the added incentive to keep on keeping on. Like this fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge, we are truly – Grateful – that we are appreciated and that all our work in whatever form it takes is having an impact on those who view it. All we can do is say thanks….

“Are you grateful” – For socialized medicine, healing rotator cuffs, a like on your post or tribulations tough, family, friends, the children next door, muddy paws of loved dogs that muck up the floor …

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: Bliss

bliss

Bite me

There comes a time when one has to start regulating diets, actually climbing on that exercise bike instead of using it as a clothes hanger and get down to some serious lifestyle adjustment to ensure a healthy segue into the next stage of existence. Across the Bored has been a very, very good girl for a few seasons and is starting to enjoy the rewards of the aforesaid but every once in a while… 

It was exactly one of those days where just a bite of heaven was needed to tide things over when the idea sprang to mind that it had been a very long time indeed since we had had any kind of indulgence. Little prodding was needed to get Miss Z to explore a newish patisserie and with the only proviso that she come home with something nice, the mission was set.  A long half-hour later, the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge opened a red ribbon-tied, nondescript white box and discovered – Bliss – pure, unadulterated, non-processed just like the old days, ready to be devoured puff pastry delight. Truly a gastronomic manifestation of the divine, we both feel much better now.

“Describe your own form of bliss” – In a box or under the sun, in a soft smile or sweet song, in a bath full of bubbles or a night on the town…

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: T-shirts

BreX tshirt

wearing history

Long before the term fashionista was coined, Across the Bored reserved some articles of clothing for very specific occasions. That crew-neck number with the short, short sleeves and neon palm trees splashed across the front? Definitely non-public work-out wear. The grease-stained grey baby with the ragged hem? Saturday washing the car outfit number one. The one-size fits all Betty Boop blowing kisses sent by Mom? Bedtime for baby… Nowadays, with a decidedly different emphasis on comfort in the career department and a shifted view on what’s stylishly acceptable, that white supersoft, silk-thin pima v-neck is just the ticket. Add really good jewellery and a fab pair of shoes and this kind of simple top becomes an elegant option that no one will question.

The earliest record of this cotton coverup dates back to just after the Spanish-American War; what originally started out as part of the regulation uniform for the US Navy in 1913 has now become a billion dollar business. The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge guesses that (apart from undergarments and perhaps jeans) – T-Shirts – are probably the most popular piece of clothing now worn by man.

“Do you have any favourite t-shirts?” – White or bright, graphic or plain, with a strong statement or silly message, baby Ts or oversized gangsta…

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: Shoes

shoesblame the grandmothers

When we were very young one grandmother was known for squeezing her tootsies into too tight pumps – size 6 was just not dainty enough in her estimation. In her cupboard among black patent stilettos and dyed to match satin was a pair of clear plastic peep-toe sandals encrusted with rhinestones on the vamp and running up the lucite heel – an exotic object of desire that, to our 4 year old eyes, were fit for a princess. We would slip our tiny toes into the fronts and balance carefully, yearning for the day that they would fit like a glove and carry us across the dance floor in a dream. They taught us the importance of weight distribution (a skill that would come in handy many years later while running for the bus) and in some ways sowed the seeds of a life-long predilection for the embellished.

Our other grandmother had not been blessed with small feet. Her size 11s were the source for many a sailboat joke and fit much better on our forearms or as transportation for our Barbies – deep in our hearts we knew that we would never fit in any of them. There was an upside however in that she had a whole galaxy of choice on the sale racks; all the best brands were marked down to bargain-basement prices for lack of clientele and she would smile ever so slightly as she tried on pair after pair with great success. Lesson number 2: Never pay retail – expensive footwear is much more comfortable at 70% off.

The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge has more than a passing interest in what we protect our appendages with. From cavemen to astronauts, we put them on last and (usually) take them off first –  Shoes – love them or leave them, most people (and even some pets) wear them.

“What do your shoes say about you?” – Are they practical and sturdy, coquette with a heel,the pair that won’t be thrown out or a baby’s first, memories of your own or being put into someone else’s, wellies, waders, golfers with spikes, mountaineers, runners, ugly ones no one likes…

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: Loyalty

borax

at least something is still reliable

Our notion of what is truly important is being challenged these days – whether it is the dynamics of a constantly changing interaction with relatives, co-workers and acquaintances, picking out the true from the trite in the onslaught from the media and rampant materialism, right down to the manner in which we deal with the world and the way that the world treats us. No one said it would be easy and the tenets that we have chosen to live by expand and contract as we learn more about ourselves and our place in this time.

Everyday we favour one thing over another, sometimes bad decision-making in retrospect, but nonetheless an often intuitive, instinctual or habitual choice that reflects on who we have become. From breakfast cereal to detergent, religion to life partners, country to cause, when we are not actively seeking out what we hope is the best option then we usually reach for that which has always been there. The rewards can be great or sadly disappointing, the trick is to get the lag-time down to a minimum so that we don’t flail around wasting what little time we can sanely allot to the many things that fill up our days.

The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge suspects that it all boils down to a perhaps selfish sense of –  Loyalty  to what extent we are willing to go and how much we feel we need in return. It becomes problematic when one outweighs the other.

“What does loyalty mean to you?” – A pledge of allegiance, personal devotion, a philosophical concept or biblical notion, a dog to his master, the bond between friends…

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: Painting

painting

no drying time

Art – you either love it or hate it, want to hang it on your wall or throw it in the dustbin, mortgage your house because you absolutely have to have it or wonder why someone would pay a nickel for it. It’s all a matter of taste… Our first round of post secondary studies at art school were spent with the idea that the milieu itself would drive us to create works of such beauty and resonance that the critics would fall swooning at our feet. The reality was somewhat colder – yes, we did produce a few good pieces but truth was, at that time, most of the really good artists we saw were young and starving, or old and starving, and the thought of spending the next 20 years following in their footsteps paled to the opportunities presenting themselves in the wonderful world of advertising. So off we went and putting our visions on canvas became a hobby rather than a career.

The years passed and so did our focus.  Today those projects which would have taken days, if not weeks, of toiling away can be accomplished in far less than an afternoon, sometimes instantaneously. We have the luxury of technology at our fingertips and switch with ease from one editing application to another, a few swipes and saves here, erase there, rework, restore, recombine and voila, we are very pleased indeed. Our masterpieces may never hang in the Met but we should at least get bonus points for creating them in less time than it takes to properly wash a good set of brushes…

From fingers to spatulas, the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge knows that everyone everywhere has, at one point or another, tried –  Painting. 

“What does painting represent for you?” – Graffiti on a wall, framed flowers in the hall, a masterpiece old or abstract bold, the sides of a house, finish on a car, commercial or couture …

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: Cook

cook

a kitchen nymph

As odd as it may seem, awhile back we had a conversation about the joys fruitcake with a fellow blogger. As a kid, we didn’t see its merits: only the candied cherries were worth picking out of the slices on the sideboard, the rest of it seemed uninspiring. Today, people fall into one of two camps with this traditional holiday fare – most hate it, probably due to the regifting of those tasteless convenience store cardboard bricks fobbed off as “delectable” once-a-year treats or memories of dry slices served up at Granny’s knee – and those of us who truly enjoy a thin slice of vintage, brandy-soaked nostalgia made with our own hands.

Across the Bored became a convert a few years back when a friend bestowed upon us about 5 pounds of very exotic dried fruit. Our first thought was that there was no way we would every be able to eat our way through it and the next idea was why not try to make a real Victorian fruitcake, one that would sit for a few months in a dark place soaking up some really good brandy, just to take the edge off. Consultation of The American Heritage Cookbook provided exactly the recipe we were hoping for and resulted in the absolutely best, sinfully tastiest potential doorstop ever.  The recipe follows with our additions in italics….

BLACK FRUITCAKE

This recipe is of English origin and is known variously as Dark Fruitcake, English Fruitcake, Black Fruitcake and Merry Christmas Cake.

1/4 pound candied citron
1/8 pound candied lemon peel
1/8 pound candied orange peel
1/2 pound candied cherries
1 pound candied pineapple
1 pound golden raisins
1/2 pound seeded raisins (we used sultanas)
1/4 pound currants
1/4 pound blanched shelled almonds
1/4 pound shelled walnuts or pecans
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
5 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup dark rum, cognac, sherry or Madeira (we used 1 1/4 cups Chemineaud brandy)

We also fudged on the 1 pound ingredients and added in dried prunes, papaya, pear, apple, blueberries, cherries, figs, dates, and cranberries…

The fruit and nuts should be prepared a day ahead as follows: sliver the citron, lemon and orange peel into very thin strips; cut the cherries in half and the pineapple in thin wedges. Set aside. Pick over the raisins and currants to eliminate stray stems or seeds and add to fruit. Coarsely chop the other dried fruit and add to mixture covering. Add rum, cognac, sherry or Madeira and soak overnight (we had so much fruit that 1/2 cup just wasn’t enough and soaked the whole in Brandy for 3 days just to be sure!) Chop the almonds and the walnuts or pecans coarsely. Set them aside, too. The day (of cooking) prepare the pan. Grease a 10-inch tube pan, four 1 pound coffee cans, or 2 bread pans, measuring 9 x5x3 inches (we used 3 vintage round spring-form pans with a side lock). Line with brown paper (there is a very good reason for this…)
To make the cake: Mix 1/2 cup of the sifted flour with all of the fruit and nuts in a large bowl. Sift remaining flour with spices and baking soda (you can add more of the spices to taste). Cream butter until soft, then work in granulated sugar and brown sugar, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the eggs, milk, almond extract, and, finally, the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly. Pour over the fruit and nuts and work together, with your hands, until the batter is well mixed. Lift the batter into the pan or pans and press it down firmly to make a compact cake when cooked. Bake in a preheated 275 degree oven. A tube pan that uses all of the batter will take 3 1/4 hours; the bread pans, which will hold half the batter, 2 1/4 hours; the coffee cans, which each hold one-fourth of the batter, 2 hours; (the round pans which we used were probably around 2 1/2 hours with lots of checking – being an intuitive cook is why we don’t write a food blog…) Remove cakes from the oven, let stand half an hour, then turn out onto cake racks. Peel off the brown paper very carefully. the four small, round cakes make attractive Christmas presents.

To age the Fruitcakes: Allow at least four weeks (we left ours for at least that many months, poking with a toothpick and watering liberally with brandy once a month, and they are still tasty over a year later). Wrap each cake in several layers of cheesecloth well soaked in rum, cognac, sherry or Madeira. Place in an airtight container, such as a large crock or kettle, and cover tightly (we wrapped ours further in 2 layers of tin foil and placed in metal cake tins). If the cheesecloth dries out, moisten it with a little of the wine or spirits. Do not overdo it. The cakes should be firm, not soft, at the end of the aging period. This will make them easy to slice in neat, compact slices. If you wish to frost fruitcakes after they have been properly aged, cover the top first with Almond Paste, then with Milk Frosting (this can be tricky as my mother and grandmother found out 2 days before our wedding and had to resort to blow-drying the almond paste onto the cake… but that is for another post). To decorate, make a garland of candied cherries, slivered angelica, and blanched whole almonds around the edge of the cake.

And that’s it.

Would We do it again? Probably. It is intensely time-consuming, expensive and requires a good knowledge beforehand of baking and some nursing throughout the aging period but it is also deliciously worth it, once in a very special while. Perhaps when this one is finished or for a wedding… So the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge for this fortnight is –  Cook – because we all have to eat, one way or another.

“How do you cook?” – On a griddle, on a grill, on a Bbq in winter still, like a short-order guy, fritters, fish or fry, vegan or carnivore, a little less or a little more…

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.

 

Fiction in 50: Reflections

reflections

Hmmphh, Calipha they say… those brilliant ideas, where does he think they come from –  Divine Inspiration? They don’t waft in like the desert breeze – it is my soft voice in his ear while he sleeps that changes the course of time. If I wore a turban instead of a shawl…

The Bookshelf Gargoyle curates a Fiction in 50 mini-narrative challenge – the current theme is Reflections! Throw it back, ruminate upon it or look into it  – but do sit down and write a piece of short, short fiction, send it in and go and 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…