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.

 

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Wishes

chip n daleSometimes something silly is the only cure

Across the Bored doesn’t subscribe to cable – this is a statement that often elicits reactions of shock and awe to those who couldn’t live without their daily dose of reality TV, sports network or gardening channel. It’s not that we have any ideological issues (well, maybe…) with commercial broadcasting but it was a conscious decision to boycott the usurious rates of the providers and hopefully foster some independent thought in our then-toddlers. Fast-forward 20 years and we realize that time does go really fast when one is otherwise occupied and we actually haven’t missed all that much that we didn’t find out by other means. Anything we could possibly be interested in now seems to be available digitally. Some of it, like the classic Christmas fare that just gets better every year is even, gasp, on VHS tapes made painstakingly before the advent of the internet…

It just wouldn’t be the holiday season without a dose of Chip ‘n’ Dale annoying Donald and Pluto, Burl Ives’ voice from the past placating a sad Rudolph or everyone’s favourite alter-ego, the Grinch. This harmless nostalgic yearning comes at a time of year when we are the most likely to get stressed and should be indulged – so we don’t get that one last thingamabob for Auntie or bake an extra batch of cookies just in case: will anyone notice but ourselves? And wouldn’t we be better served in the long run by telling those around us to do the same, come and cuddle on the couch, just laugh and forget about everything else for a few hours?  

These are the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge – Wishes – for the next few weeks, to slow down, reconnect, re-evaluate and relax.

This holiday season maybe we should all take a step to the side and let the hustle and bustle rush past us – “What are your wishes for the coming year?” – Peace on earth, good will to men, more fun, more sun, more hours in the day like way back when, less noise, no batteries in toys, clear sailing or a new adventure …

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: Paths

paths

far from the cradle of our ancestors

❄︎

The Ghost has rediscovered his Irish roots, much to both our pleasure, through a series of university courses, lectures and seminars.  It is all shaping up nicely to provide him with some sort of tangible evidence for why we sometimes act the way we do, choose to take a particular tack or get misty-eyed over certain strains of celtic viola.  Not that our boat landed recently – that side of the family has been in this country since before Confederation, making their way from the shores of Lake Ontario, through the dense forests and up into the wilds to carve a home from the rocky terrain. The lineage we trace, both paternal and maternal, meanders across the map: the reasons for self-imposed exodus lost like the details of their lives.

Ours was never a family to cast their lot enthusiastically with any one nationality, it was as if they willingly became anonymous in their homogeneity, their affiliations resting with the language they spoke rather than the places they came from. But some things are just in the blood – and they resurface, making themselves present in ways we never thought possible.  As we follow this backwards journey into a historicity rarely touched upon by those who would have done well to tell us more, the pieces slowly start to fall into place.

Sometimes, the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge surmises, strange – Paths – lead us where we least expect to go.

Everyone today seems to be going somewhere in a hurry – “Where do the paths lead in your world?” – Round in circles, up steep hills, through the countryside or urban jungle, away from family, back into a lover’s arms, down the road to perdition or happily forward into the future …

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: Writing

writingthe long slow death of penmanship

Those who have been following will know of Across the Bored’s continuing saga of the great thirty year triage project. Last weekend found us sifting through a banker’s box filled with birthday and christmas cards, letters from childhood pen pals long lost and the occasional unsent missive.  It was heartbreaking – not as the poignant reminder of those who had sent us these paper mementoes gone on to a better place, faces disappeared in the stretch of time between childhood and adolescence to their own worlds or friends just dropped off the face of the map but because of the sad realization that no one really writes anymore.

Our post box is filled with bills and flyers urging us to consume. The only time something comes in a lovely envelope is for an occasion and even then older family members have to be reminded to send something along so their grandchildren won’t be peeved. Our circle of acquaintances that are able to put pen to paper, don’t. They text, tweet or Facebook. We can’t remember the last time we got a letter on crisp vellum recounting the events of the year, the weddings, births, deaths, milestones of a life lived. We are not blameless either – we get on the phone to bring those closest to us up to date or pop off a funny card when the mood strikes, but it isn’t really the same. We miss getting mail….

Perhaps our blogs have replaced this gentle art – they have become our virtual diaries, daily journals, the place where we expose our secret thoughts and that which we sometimes wouldn’t dare to expose to the light of day otherwise. The code that brings our words to life and sends them off to those who love, appreciate and yes, even wait for, them is both a blessing and a curse. This week, the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge puts it in – Writing.

“What form does writing take for you?” – Feather and quill, a typewriter still, texts and tweets, parking tickets in the street, a child’s first scrawl or graffiti on the wall …

We would love to see your vision…. write something today!

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: Birthday

birthday

happy birthday baby
❄︎

When Across the Bored began this challenge it was on a bit of a whim and as much for our own pleasure, the thought of forcing ourselves to come up with a response to a random subject in both words and images at an appointed time, as it was to inspire our faithful readers. Imagine our surprise when we realized it has been a little over a year since we first started to give our two cents on pretty much everything and anything that crossed our mind – some weeks were easier and some less so, depending on which way the wind was blowing…

 

The passage of time itself has been a bit like that as well –  rough, placid, rock ‘n roll, some hours and days so filled with change that we thought things would never be the same and indeed, they haven’t. But on the whole, we can’t complain – like our mantra, “it could be worse” and without divine inspiration and the support and encouragement of our virtual brethren, it might very well have been. Who would have thought that we could last this long? This week, the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge, like our own Miss Z, is celebrating a milestone – Birthday.

“How do you envision birthday?” – With cake and candles, far from home, by the light of a fire with an ancient tome, kiddie balloons or grown-up winks, doggie treats or a nice cold  drink …

We would love to see your vision…. and have a slice of something sweet to help us celebrate!

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: Wonder

wonder

The elephant only appeared 4 days later

There are some days when Across the Bored, like many of you, feels about 105 years old and others when our inner toddler takes over and makes everything easy, silly, laid back and wonderful.  A friend of ours said “growing old sucks” and our first thought was that it didn’t actually have to be that way – that there were choices we could make as we gained wisdom (to be politically correct) that would make the process a little easier and perhaps fade if not erase the battle scars of our misspent youth.

Young or old, modern life is complicated. Although some may argue otherwise, even if we don’t seem to accomplish much,  it does seem as though we are busier than our ancestors. Released from the constraints of nightfall, technology and the miracle of electricity almost dare us to shut down and just go to bed. Our mothers shake their heads, incredulous that we are tuned in to people and places that 50 years ago would only have appeared in National Geographic or Life magazine and that we are turned on (to and by) the vast virtual machine that once was only a mathematician’s puzzling dream. That many drop out is inevitable.

When we get just that little bit too stressed out, start losing it on a regular basis, grinding our teeth in the night or wondering just what is the point of it all anyway, that is the time to stop, take a step to the side and remember what it was like to see as a child. A post-it scrawled in tiny script on the Ghost’s computer sums it up just like this week’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: “Regain the – Wonder.

“What shape does wonder come to you in?” – Swirling leaves and sunlit skies, the grasp of a hand or babies’ sighs, lions that play as cats or cats who would be lions, fireworks, roller coasters, neon signs …

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: Harvest

harvest

couldn’t have asked for anything more

This non-season always finds Across the Bored in a transitional frame of mind – we balk at putting on socks and practical shoes (or even hose and stilettoes for that matter) for it would mean summer is truly over and we have given ourselves over to autumn, brief precursor of long winter. Here in the Great White North, Thanksgiving comes unnaturally early leaving those of us who have not yet fully acclimatized scrambling for fall fare to put on the table when we would much rather just throw something on the BBQ and soak up the last of the sun’s feeble rays. Trips to the countryside to see the foliage look doubtful if the leaves piling up in our backyard are any indicator, so we must content ourselves with what the local farmers have brought to market to satisfy those seasonal urges.

Although blessed by the bounty the land brings us when you live in a climate like ours, no, we are not thankful that the freedom of hot August days are long gone. Now we have to hunker down, put up, store away, make sure that there is enough of everything to span those months when the possibility of no electricity or heat surrounded by six feet of snow are much more of a reality than any television show. Everyone around us seems off-balance, suddenly reminded that there is much to do before December’s clarion call of familial duty and forced cheerfulness – so throw in one long weekend, a turkey, too many carbohydrates and a few vices of choice and you have a recipe for interesting times.

Did our ancestors feel the same way? Did our French forebears complain about having to go out and shoot one more grouse because ma tante had decided that she was going to grace them with her presence after all? Did our First Nations brethren grumble that it really wasn’t the best time of year for Still Water and his brood to stay for a few days? Did our English and Irish pioneers rue the day they left green pastures and a good cup of tea as they looked out into the wilderness? Perhaps, and like this week’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge, they also may have been comforted by their new world’s rich – Harvest – one that, in essence, has not changed a whole lot over the course of a few centuries.

“How do you see harvest at this time of year?” – Pumpkins sweet and squash to eat, family near,the holiday blear, pilgrims and the past or things that don’t last, falling leaves or the hopes we retrieve …

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: Size

size

over 20 ounces of delicious goodness

C

When Across the Bored et alia downsized a few years ago we didn’t think that reducing our physical living quarters was a problem – in fact it wasn’t, for we were lucky enough to be able to warehouse all the stuff of life that had been collected and wasn’t immediately useful or absolutely necessary. That should have been a red flag to just deal with it right away…

Today, when our extended family is swelling and we all seem to take up more than our fair share of square footage, our concerns run to how to juggle (or at worst rearrange) what is gobbling up airspace and ideally get rid of some of it so that we can all breathe a little easier. No easy feat. The thoughts and ideas of large personalities seem to fill the very atmosphere leaving little room for much else.

Every day we are reminded of the proportions and volume of things – from the ways it affects us physically in our health and diets, to how the questionable amount of possessions we encumber ourselves with can sometimes weigh heavily, to the length and breadth of the places we visit, the scope and scale of the projects we work on and the magnitude of the concepts we share.

The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge posits that, contrary to what we have all been told – Size – actually does matter.

Everything is relative – “What does size mean in your world?” – Big cats or little hats, too tight rants or too loose pants, babies in arms with teeny toes, the aristocratic line of a Roman nose, change enough to fill the sky or small wonders that make you sigh …

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: Words

blue tagxedo

just can’t help it

Just when we think that we are Masters of our own Universes, Chaos reminds us that such a thing is not truly possible. This time last week we were feeling militant about how we were going to proceed on a variety of fronts and now, 7 surprisingly fast days later, some campaigns were successful and some, well, not so much.

On a bit of a slow-down as far as blog-related endeavours were concerned, more out of suffering from a creative drought than anything else, our meanderings did lead us to an interesting post over at Flickr Comments – Make your tagxedo – in which he provides a link to a nifty site where one can create custom tag clouds. Certainly a good way to pass a few minutes (or hours depending on how obsessive one is) and design a block of text that truly reflects either a specific blog post, archive or just a group of meaningful words, it makes text fun. Why not pay a visit to Tagxedo and whip something up for this week’s challenge?A few of our own experiments yielded radically different results, much like what happens whenever we sit down at the keyboard…

Playing with the tagxedo was the first step in reminding ourselves why we are actually here in the first place – to share a vision through images and the language they engender and vice versa, to see what and how our friends and acquaintances are writing about, how they are documenting their bit of the world for all to see and in the end, communicate. A visit to our friend Cee to check out her gorgeous photography was the capper to getting Tuesday’s posts back onto some sort of regular schedule. She also participates in and runs many challenges and mentioned that WordPress has a new feature – Blog Event Listings – for those of us who just can’t get enough of a good thing. How could we resist?

The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge was lured back in and had no choice but to put it all into – Words.

The floodgates are now open – “How do words manifest for you?” –  Are they printed on the page, all the rage, do they make a song or string you along, in a magazine, newspaper, novel or monitor, on the wall or as a sign, manuals long or fonts fine …

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: Out

acrosst the bored is out

with apologies to charles shulz

±

There is something to be said for taking a sabbatical – this may seem odd seeing that we are only two weeks in to the academic year but the idea of taking time off from those endeavours that are habitual and recurrent, the tasks that we do from some misplaced sense that they actually need to be done and that they make some difference to our daily existence, can be a good thing. This extended recess for adults can apply to anything from housework, making meals and doing laundry, chauffeur service, brushing the dog, getting dressed, answering the phone when we know it is not for us or those million things that we automatically do in the course of our jobs that we have just gotten used to and that are often taken for granted or overlooked.  The grown-ups in our direct sphere of influence can pretty much fend for themselves, in fact it might do them a world of good, so Across the Bored is (this week anyways) working to rule, not so much on strike as withholding time and effort that would be better spent on putting our own sh*t in order. 


The virtual world is no exception nor are other pursuits no matter what form they take.  When we start to ask ourselves why we are doing things, it is time to take a breath, step back and creatively refresh and regroup. 

Taking a cue from others who have done the same, for all intents and purposes, the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge is now – Out.

 

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Routine – Week 2

routine 2is it hoarding if it’s organized?

Half of our horde has been back in the academic grind for a week now with great success.  The courses are inspiring, the professors better than expected and the schedule, well, not everything can be perfect but it is only until December when the collegial masses get a 6 WEEK break. Nice to be young. Across the Bored took the opportunity of one less body in the house to put all the paperwork lying around from the summer in order, file the bills, catch up on correspondence and get back to the arduous process of going through 20 years of accumulated boxed ephemera that has been sitting in the warehouse.  Multitasking was going relatively well until the computer stated in no uncertain terms “Unable to save – Memory scratch disk full”. What? How is that possible? Didn’t we just go through this 2 months ago?

Odd that these files seem to take up an inordinate amount of space and much like all of that stuff in the physical storage facility, must be gotten rid of.  Story of our life that we save so much that only we are ultimately interested in and then heart-wrenchingly have to dispose of like stale left-overs or unwanted houseguests. Would that there was an easy, Zen way to deal with this phenomenon and not have to wrestle with the body-numbing paralysis that sets in whenever we turn that piece of paper or fiddly bit over and over in our hands wondering “Are we going to need this 3 months after we throw it out”?   Or worse still, the dreaded terrors of not being able to find that one thing you really really needed because in a fit of disposal anxiety you didn’t do one last triage on that box you dropped off at the Goodwill….

Do we ever learn from those things that we seem to do over and over again or does it just transform into something different but similar as time goes by? Like this fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge, we might need to change our – Routine.

Last week we asked “How does routine appear to you?” –  The drive to town every morn, that pair of shoes always worn, wake-up calls or favourite malls, superb meals or special deals, meditation, daily prayer, yoga mats or just a love of all that …

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 – Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Routine

routine

back in the saddle

At the end of June, the summer always stretches before us long and languid. The first weeks of July chafe with the heat of expectancy, vacations and moving days, summer camps and road trips all tumbling into each other as fast as can be and by the middle of August we spend the last few mild evenings either happily reflecting on vacation time well spent or wondering whether we might have gotten more on the to-do list accomplished while good weather permitted.


Back from the West coast, our garden is lush but weed-ridden and, if dust is any indication, household items have not moved an inch from where we left them. No matter – the soft light of September beckons, the air smells different, less green while awaiting the harvest and we have a new set of projects, ideas and motivations to carry forward into the winter. We try to ease back into the habitual slowly, soaking up the sun on the patio and lingering along the not-yet frantic city streets but underneath it all, and oddly enough this season, we don’t mind that it is over.


The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge puts forth that, as much as wishes for the golden spontaneity of summer are great, on a year-long time frame things would probably fall apart without our – Routine.

“How does routine appear to you?” –  The drive to town every morn, that pair of shoes always worn, wake-up calls or favourite malls, superb meals or special deals, meditation, daily prayer, yoga mats or just a love of all that …

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: Calm – Week 2

2 calm

zen and the art of the tourist

Glorious sunshine after a cold, grey dawn brought out the masses along the waterfront yesterday and we decided to join them in a decidedly un-local move.  Having come to this summer destination for as long as we can remember, we have become inured to the throngs spilling off the cruiseships and the ever-changing spectacle of festivals and street shows designed to please.  There were a few faces that had been around for a while who put on a great show for families with small children and posed good-naturedly for photos with random people they would never see again and so we waited until the crowd had moved on, threw some coins into the sturdy white bucket and asked if we could take a photo. Not only were we rewarded with a smile and a bit of conversation but a couple of hugs thrown in for good measure. Just what the doctor ordered to lift our spirits.

The life of the busker has been co-opted by local government to become an intrinsic part of the summer tourist trade. Licenses for prime harbour real-estate and the bustling shopping strip now require an initial outlay of hard-earned cash; paperwork and schedules replace once easy decisions to just get up, out to make visitors to the city smile and perhaps scrape together a few bucks in an afternoon. All inclusive vacations have made it hard for those who earn a living with their talent on the streets. Once-a-year travellers don’t always understand the art of outdoor entertainment, they see it and the artists who perform as just another part of the scenery, a living, breathing bit of pleasant backdrop and rarely as people with families, dreams and often, a mission in life. Just like us.

When faced with unbending rules and regulations and those events in our daily existence that give us pause, we must, like this fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge and Plasterman, attempt to stay  – Calm.

Last week we asked “What does calm look like to you?” –  A placid lake or crystal snowflake, curled up cats, meditation mats, denim blues or an afternoon snooze…

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 – Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Calm

calm

into the mystic

There are certain locales on earth that have a special something, be it the freshness of the air, the glorious colour of the fields or the crisp coolness of the forest. Sometimes, they can be found in the lovely rooms of a tranquil hotel, the galleries of a museum, on a piece of driftwood by the sea or even on one’s favourite chair in the garden. These destinations appeal to an inner sensibility that longs for quiet away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

 

Summer seems to be the perfect time to find that little bit of respite – whether it is a conventional vacation filled with kids and dogs, relatives and friends or in the serenity of a solitary retreat, ten days or one, it is in these times and places that all the data that invades our very being gets subconsciously sorted and stowed to be retrieved when our days get back to their routine. The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge asserts that everyone needs to find that moment to take a breath, to restore the balance that nourishes, to be  – Calm.

 

“What does calm look like to you?” –  A placid lake or crystal snowflake, curled up cats, meditation mats, denim blues or an afternoon snooze…

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: Curious – Week 2

the view

imagine making the crossing on horseback

Many would argue that air travel has become more complicated, less glamorous and infinitely more tiresome than in the past. The glory days of getting dressed up in Sunday best to take a plane trip are gone let alone full service, real cutlery with a decent in-flight meal and unlimited baggage allowances. Now we have to weigh our luggage even before we leave home, check ourselves in electronically and bring our own provisions. Nevertheless, there is something magical in being able to wake up in one time zone and go to sleep in another.

This fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge has literally flown across the continent today and in doing so have simultaneously gained and lost three hours. No matter how many times we do it, the transition from one state of being to another, no matter how familiar, is always  – Curious.

Last week we asked “How does curious look to you?” –  A silly hat or wiffle bat, Granny on her roller skates, things in bottles, painted plates, one weird shoe without a mate, urchins in the ocean deep, twisted kitties fast asleep…

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 – Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Curious

curious

out of the primordial soup

Across the Bored has decided at the last minute to shirk off those domestic obligations which can certainly wait until the weather is inclement and head west.  Vacation is too large and loaded a word to use in this case, but we have certainly made the arrangements to return to our summer spot of the last few decades with the aim of recharging our psychic batteries for the upcoming long and dreaded winter.

It seems that no matter where we go, whether around the corner or across the oceans, to places unknown or familiar, we always are struck by those things that are different, out of context, those bits of life that excite our imaginations and make us want to just show them to someone else. The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge would venture that the found object pictured above is like much of what we see  – Curious.

“How does curious look to you?” –  A silly hat or wiffle bat, Granny on her roller skates, things in bottles, painted plates, one weird shoe without a mate, urchins in the ocean deep, twisted kitties fast asleep…

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… Week 2

strawberries

straight from the garden, dirt and all

The unbearable heat of the last few days means that there are few hours during the day when one can really appreciate the greener pleasures of the back yard.  Out early to check whether the birds have beaten us to the strawberry patch, the tomatoes and squash look limp, the zucchini flowers have been snapped off and carted away by furry urban poachers for a 4 am snack and the weeds….. well, the weeds do very well no matter what. With temperatures soaring to the low 40s by mid afternoon, we have spent a good part of the day inside in constructive pursuits with a glance out the front window every once in a while to check for Mad dogs and Englishmen.

On one of these breaks we were awestruck by an unusual scene unfolding on the front lawn. The squirrels had come down out of the trees and were stretched out full-length cooling their bellies in the shaded grass. The utilities companies have been hacking off large parts of the local trees lately, supposedly in an effort to clear the power lines from possible breakage – in doing so they have not only mangled the greenery but removed much of what was keeping the little rodents’ homes at a bearable temperature. I am not an overly huge fan of what most cityfolk refer to as “rats with good PR” but they were very cute and seemed in need of a good cool-off.

Across the Bored’s nurturing instincts kicked in and when the little blighters had moved on we put out a bowl of water. A squirrel rest-stop as it were, if the neighborhood dogs don’t get to it first…  Like this fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge, it is all about doing something to effect positive change in our small corner of the universe – It’s up to You.

Have a look at the previous topics covered in the challenge – “Is there a theme that appeals to you?”

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, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info – Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: It’s up to you…

about 18 cents worth

While most people see the winter solstice as the end of the year, with January ringing in a new and glorious reprieve from old bad habits, in our house it is June that is counted as year-end. The end of school, the end of those fall through spring routines, the time to wrap up business before the hazy days of summer cast their spell and make even the simplest tasks an Atlantean chore. July means the days are in flux and we try for a time where there are no set plans to see what comes to us instead. A whole chunk of life now recedes like flotsam carried by waves at the shore – recent events have inspired change, necessitating some adjustment in the way we all think and react. They have instigated various bouts of reflection, some poignant, some maudlin, some downright silly.

With that in mind, and as Across the Bored is easing its way slowly back into the blogosphere with a rather annoying case of monitor neck (related only in degree of pain to tennis elbow and carpal tunnel), something fast and easy (for us) was decidedly in order for this week’s offering. The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge feels it is time for a retrospective, scroll through the archives by clicking on this link, the image widget in the sidebar or on one of the topics below and pick something, anything  – It’s up to You.

“Which theme appeals 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: Toys

toys

to each his own

Before Miss Z convinced us to add a canine member to our already rollicking family dynamic we used to wonder about many of the peculiarities of dog “owners”.  Many of the homes we visited had designated doggy areas, special bowls and watering devices, little beds that resembled something Louis XIV would be comfortable lounging on and any number of collars and leashes.  Across the Bored’s childhood had seen pets mainly of the feline or rodent variety with the occasional stray pup arriving unannounced for a brief overnighter or two before being reunited with its rightful owner. Our animal distractions had never seemed to need a huge amount of possessions – the cats, not ones to suffer being dressed up as dollies, were happy with the occasional bit of dangling string or outside mousing and the rodents were, well, rodents – pretty much content to chew things down to mulch or run friday night races through cardboard tubes lined up on the dining room table. The whole doggy thing, therefore, came across as a little “much”….

Miss Z’s adoption of one fuzzy puppy changed all that.  Our barbet came with his own blanket, a few necessary accessories and an odd grenade-shaped object that the previous owner would fill with peanut butter to keep him occupied during the hours when she could not be at home.  When he found out that he had a whole houseful of human entertainment, he never touched it again. We did acquire balls and throw things, went through a variety of leashes until we found ones that didn’t chafe him or us, tried out a series of collars that got chewed through, learned that there are some bowls that really aren’t dog-friendly and got educated about dog car safety-harnesses because, as the man in the store so patiently explained, a flying dog will break your neck if you slam on the brakes….

It was just a matter of time before we broke down and bought that plush roadkill with the 19 squeakers. The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge knows that everyone enjoys some form of amusement, so with that in mind we have done the once unthinkable and indulged our dog with – Toys.

“What form do toys take for you?” –  That fuzzy bear, a game of solitaire, pick-up sticks or camera clicks, beads and baubles, stereos sweet, nail polish for toes on pretty feet, shiny cars, long telescopes to see the stars or best of all – a cardboard box and simple ball…

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: Clean

cleansometimes a little help is a good thing

Cause and effect. These are two words that usually spur Across the Bored into taking action on matters long-procrastinated upon. Not that we don’t usually have a plan, but this one hinged upon ideal climactic conditions, a reasonable amount of free time and the motivation to hurl ourselves into the infernal chasm of (belated) spring-cleaning and material divestiture. All while tidying up, doing laundry and checking emails…

Effect: suspicious cracking grout and lifting floor tile near the bathtub and shower.

Cause: clear (to us anyways) evidence of a leak, a drip, moisture finding its way somewhere that was not down the drain.  The handyman did not concur – he put the blame on our rather heavy tub not having a supporting frame – it rests atop the plywood sub-floor – something akin to an elephant sitting in the middle of a trampoline. Sooner or later, something is going to give.

This week’s sudden cold snap finally spurred us to begin the long-overdue task of garage triage. One must understand that this “room”, which is directly under the master bath and surely the reason for the cold floors in same, has never actually been used as a place for parking a car in minus 40 degree weather. Rather it had been converted into our “studio” with a nifty raised floor and held all the stuff that we didn’t use on a daily basis or didn’t fit neatly into the rest of the house. It worked well for a while, but like most things we got busy with projects that didn’t require being cloistered in a room with no view and our little studio quickly became the repository for that “which shall not be seen” and “that which multiplies tenfold when left unattended”.  Until yesterday, that is, when good intentions forced us to start somewhere – somewhere being to the stuff which shouldn’t have been lying precariously atop boxes already stacked six high not according to manufacturer’s explicit instructions.

Effect: That somewhere was damp.

Not full out rainstorm wet or someone spilled something wet but oddly just enough that something was amiss wet. Directly under the bathtub wet.

Cause: a small, water damaged crack in the conduit built around the drainage pipes that run along the ceiling of the garage (don’t ask, I didn’t build this one…). Although dry now, it must have leaked recently and begged the question when would the disaster of elephantine proportions occur?

Someone will, of course, have to come and fix it (hopefully sooner rather than later) and for that to happen efficiently all that stuff would have to go somewhere. Like a horrible game of domestic dominoes, everything that had gone in in a careless fashion was now coming out under a more critical eye – out to a new home, out to a charity, out to that garage sale the foundation is having, out of the garage studio abyss. But sadly, for the moment, out into the common room. And the dining room. And the computer room…

Now, the The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge has no choice but to wrestle cause and effect into a manageable stranglehold and make it  – Clean.

“How does clean appear to you?” –  The lines of a Countach or curve of her back, fresh laundry on the line or graphics of a sign, raindrops, old-fashioned string mops, even spinning tops, is it sudsy or soapy, stringent or strange, glossy and glassy, fancy or plain…

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.