Sunday, 31 July 2011

The bleach

Mia pushed the shopping cart in front of her as she walked past the sloppily stacked items on the shelves. The cart was already full of groceries for the coming week. Meat, vegetables, fruit and dairy products were neatly placed in the cart, separately organised. She stopped in front of the shelf with bleaches and started reading the labels. This was always her last stop in the store, her favourite one. She spent twenty minutes comparing the products and in the end she decided for the one she had always bought. She was satisfied with herself; knowing that she uses the best cleaning products calmed her.

Mia’s house was always spotless and she worked very hard to keep it that way. With two kids and a husband who doesn’t really care if the house is clean that’s a hard task. But nevertheless their house was always clean, Mia made sure of that.
When she got home kids were playing outside and Carl was mowing the lawn. Mia took the groceries to the kitchen and put the kettle on. She turned the radio on and sang while putting away the things she had brought from the store.
Everything had its place in her kitchen and she hated how Carl never put milk in its place inside the refrigerator. She never understood how some people can’t seem to remember where things should be.   
When Mia was done she didn’t sit down and drink her tea. Instead she drank it while cooking dinner.

After dinner Carl went to the living room and kids went upstairs to their room. Mia remained alone in the kitchen. She started cleaning the mess her loved ones made; she picked up the dinner plates and glasses and put them into the dishwasher, stored the leftovers inside the refrigerator and then she put on her yellow rubber gloves and took the bleach from the cabinet under the sink. She loved cleaning; cleaning was the only thing that she could control. Carl was always doing whatever he wanted, the days when he tried to please her and when he did something she liked were long gone. And the kids were too big to be told what to do, they only did what they wanted to.  Cleaning was the only thing she had left.

Friday, 22 July 2011

100 words: My favourite scent

A lot of people love summer storms and I have to admit that I’m one of them, but not because of the heavy rain or because of lightning. 

I love how air surrounds my body like heavy bricks and how wet and hot it is.

I love watching steam coming out of the streets; the moment when cold rain meets heated asphalt is magical. 

And what I love the most is the scent coming out of the wet and heated asphalt after a heavy storm. I love this unique smell and this is my favourite scent in the whole world.

Photo taken from here.

Monday, 18 July 2011

100 words: Summer

It’s hot, it’s very hot but I don’t mind it; I love summer and I enjoy wearing light dresses and flip-flops.

I’m sitting on the terrace with a book in my hands but I'm not reading it. I’m watching the green garden and the colourful flowers bathing in the sun. A red and orange butterfly is flying over the flowers until it finds the most beautiful one and lands on it for a minute.

I love the smell of summer, the sweet smell carried around by the soft breeze.

I love everything about summer and summer nights are my favourite.  

Photo taken from here.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Guest post 7: Jezebel by Robbie Grey

We’ve come to the end of this series of guest posts about studying. I’m very grateful to all of my friends who shared their stories about studying with us. I am also very grateful to all of you who are still reading my blog despite the fact that I wasn’t around here much lately.
My last guest is a very talented writer and I’m very honoured to have him here. He’s one of those writers who doesn’t get as much attention as he deserves. Robbie writes Tales From Beyond the End of the World and I would be very happy if you would read some of his beautiful and touching stories starting with this one:

-"You've Come a Long Way, Baby..."-

We first met as adolescents in a souk, at southeastern edge of the greater metroplex, attempting to earn a wage without our parents' help or hindrance. I was nineteen, nearly twenty, collecting and counting money for purchases. She was not too far from having first turned sixteen, packaging those very purchases I collected and counted money for. Just two badlands kids trying to start making our way in the wide world, even though we lived along one of its ends.

My first impression of her was she was rather shy. After all, she didn't talk. At all. There was once or twice I was full of enough adolescent arrogance to ask her if she was mute, to which she would shake her head and giggle. There were a lot of things I would say that she'd laugh at, which got me to think I was either that funny or she was that gullible, or perhaps that uncomfortable. After nineteen years of friendship, she had yet to tell me which.

The first two years of our friendship, she maybe uttered a paragraph's worth a words. She would tell you it's because I never shut up, but that's a bunch a who shot john. Even she's been around when my misanthropy has caused me to retreat deep within myself, hissing and growling at anyone bold, or stupid, enough to come near. Yet, I can own up, when held in comparison, I am the more vocal, the more social of the two of us.

She was the first of my friends to find out I was going to drop of university to get married. That I was going to be a father. A little over a year later, she hung out with me in diner into the small hours as I told her my soon to be x-wife was leaving me and we were filing for divorce.

Early into our friendship, I found out the reason she was so shy was far deeper and darker than simple introversion or the paradoxical misanthropy I was possessed of. One night, Jezebel explained to me she was sociophobic, and a little claustrophobic. Being uncomfortable in strange social situations and crowds like I could be, like I still sometimes get, is one thing. Her's was a horse of a completely different colour. For her, walking out her front door could be the very stuff of waking nightmares.

So, a paradoxical misanthrope took it on himself to try and help a sociophobe face her deepest, darkest fears, and interact with the world. I know, it sounds like a joke. And, by the way, that is the punchline.

To Jezebel, I was a social butterfly. Her teacher in the ways of interaction and the human affliction. To me, she was amongst the best of confidants and one of my favourite monkey watching partners.

Although, there were times we would rage against each other. Times I would have had better luck pulling teeth from a blood-hungry shark than getting her to go somewhere. To try something. To acknowledge when some guy might have been trying to chat her up. She would tell me how she had this image within her skull, a phantasm she called the person she wanted to be.

"You want to see that?" I snarled during one of our more heated arguments, and I all but shoved her into the water closet mirror. "She's looking right back fucking at you! Own up!"

Jezebel avoided me for a week and a half after that, but I may have deserved it...

The education was not all one way. She too would teach me lessons. Of course, in my experiences, travels, and adventures, the gurus, guides, saints, and seers I have encountered have not been the ones bedecked in the robes of the holy or found within the walls of temples and monasteries. They have been the most unlikely characters found in the most unlikely places. That sociophbic girl I met in a souk nineteen years ago now I would say has been one of my best teachers.

Jezebel was the one who reminded me the bardo after my divorce, and my relationship with the fucking psycho x, a few years later, that I did not need to be in a relationship. I spent five years being solitary learning to appreciate wanting to be with someone, instead of convincing myself I somehow required it. The irony of that lesson was I was three years into being without when we met Belushi and I convinced Jezebel it might be okay to ask him out on a date. At one point we didn't really get along, him and I, after all, one of my best friends, my favourites monkey watching partner, was leaving me for a boy.

I had to learn to let go. The person she wanted to be, the person she already was, did not always need her strange, tall, lanky friend. It was a profound lesson.

When I was working with a little more earnestness to publish my book, I feared I might just be something I have found myself sometimes despising; a writer. An artist. But then again, I harbor a pathological hatred of labels and the limitation of which they impose. When I mentioned this to Jezebel, she chuckled and said I could not escape my nature, and, like it or don't, I was possessed of a gift. I waxed melodramatic as I told her I had no gift. If anything, having words fluttering about within my skull like angry hornets, stinging my maggot's nest of a mind, was a curse. I had to purge them or go mad.

She chuckled again and called me on being melodramatic and said;

"However you put it doesn't matter. How you deal with it does."

And some days I do better than others. Like when I don't take myself too seriously. When I take myself too seriously, I risk spirals into self-destruction. I do what I do. Not everyone who plays music has jack-off fantasies of becoming John Lennon, Gene Simmons, and Lady Gaga all warped into one abomination. They play because they play. Because it satisfies them on a level and in a way that has yet to be described in cold and clinical reptilian ways. The words are like that for me, and there is simply no other way to put it.

But it was Jezebel who taught me that lesson warped up in girlish giggles, which, nineteen years from sixteen, she still possess. I'd call her cute for it, but she'd tell me to go fuck myself. Although I still might...just because.

Belushi is one of those who play music just because. The band he's in does classic rock covers at summer auto shows. He kicks around playing in a band that does originals, but if he doesn't, it's okay, because he still gets to play.

I had occasion to see him play the last time I saw Jezebel. It was the first time we'd physically seen one another in almost two years, so it was quite the occasion. We've all been friends for so long I'm the only one who really remembers in detail how Belushi and I spent a year and a half plotting one another's horrible murders only to have a catharsis over late-night coffee.

I harassed Jezebel for looking like a groupie in her denim mini-skirt and Mike Ness t-shirt. She shrugged it off. I was introduced to the circle of friends she runs with these days and we drank beer. That evening, I watched her dance and hoop and holler for her husband's band as they performed. Things I'd never have imagined her being able to do even five years ago, although I always hoped she would.

"Well, Mademoiselle sociophobe, I think you've come a long way. Like light years," I told her at one point. "I'm very proud of you."

"Thank you," Jezebel said, giving me a hug. "I owe you a lot."

"Bah! Mon ami, you don't owe me a damn thing. We're more than even."

Monday, 11 July 2011

Guest post 6: I never Thought I could do it by Rita

I’m finally done with my exams, yaay for me. I don’t have the results for statistics and economics yet and I think I won’t pass so I don’t want to get those results anytime soon. I’m so very tired after weeks of studying that I need a couple of days for myself and myself only. Luckily I still have two more guest posts for publishing.
My amazing friend Rita (check out her blog here) wrote todays guest post and I was a bit surprised by it. I never thought Rita would say she can’t do something. But even if she says so she still does it and rocks!

Quite some time ago, Starlight asked me to write a guest post about studying.  Oh boy.  What could I possibly contribute to that theme?  I knew she spent much of her time studying for finals, exams working on reports, and I have a lot of respect for those who do that...but me?  Naww...she couldn't want to hear about my studying stories.  Or...

There have been 2 times in my life where studying has freaked me out.  The one time you would think I would be freaked out would be when I got my drivers license.  I studied and studied and failed the first time.  But only cause I got totally nervous.  But the one time was when I was doing my event planning certification.  I had been planning events for about 15 years.  Medium scale events.  And I knew what I was doing.  But I figured it would be a good idea for me to have some sort of paper behind my experience too.  So I took an online certification course through a college up north.  At first I was totally freaked out by it.  Well I’ll be honest.  I was always freaked out by it.  The stuff I knew, you don't learn that in a book.  You learn that by doing an event.  Or on the street as they say.  But I kept plugging away.  A little bit at a time.  It was an 8 month course, and I kept acing all the tests.  I will never ever forget my very first 100% mark.  (Not in my life, just in this course).  I was so proud of myself.

Why was it freaking me out?  Because I was thinking that i couldn't do it.  I’d sit and study and think to myself "I can't do this..." meanwhile I'd be doing it.  Oh the mind games we play on ourselves.  I think that would have to be the definition of insanity.

The second time was when I signed up for the Public Relations diploma program at the University.  I was so panicked about it, I think I made myself sick.  I was in bed for a week.  And I found out 2 days after the course started that I was in since someone had dropped out.  There were 47 other people in this online course and there was group work too.  How on earth do you do group work with people you don't know, whom you  have ever met and expect to do great work?  Well, we bloody well aced the report!  It was awesome.  I was so proud of myself again!!  In the course over all, my final grade was 85%.  Not bad for someone who had been out of school for 20 years (give or take).  So yay me!!

I applaud those who are in school for long term.  Those who go after their PhD's and their Masters and things of that nature.  How on earth do you do it?  Because I honestly, even now don't think that I could.

I am supposed to be registering for another course in the program soon and I can't do it.  I haven't done it.  I will do it, but as yet, I've not yet done it.  Call me crazy...but haven't I already learned it all?

I'm kidding of course.  And I love to learn.  I just don't love the studying party of learning.  Is that bad?

I know that our friend Starlight has been super busy with school and trying to manage her life and still join us here in blog land every now and again, and personally I think she does a great job.

Maybe it is easier when your partner also leads the same life.  I wouldn't be familiar with that...

Needless to say, having written this, I'm pretty excited about starting another course.. believe it or not. I'll even come back and tell you what I've decided to take.

I am especially interested in the Media Relations or the Writing course.  Holy crap.  Maybe I'll throw my hat over the wall and take both.  Yikes.

A big thanks to Starlight for asking me to write something about this topic.  I wasn't entirely inspired at first, but once I started writing, it got easier.

Sending you some good studying mojo.

May you continue to prosper!


To get what you've never had, you must be who you've never been.

Monday, 4 July 2011

I have a vision - Inspiration Monday guest post

It’s Inspiration Monday and a very inspiring story is waiting for you. It’s not your typical story about inspiration but I’m sure you’ll all love it just as much as I do.
There are so many wonderful and inspiring women here on blogsphere and I’m really happy and honoured to be hosting some of them here on my blog. Today’s guest is Jewels who writes at Naughty nothings and Jewels turning 30. She is a very kind and helpful lady and I’m really grateful that she wrote this amazing story on such a short notice. Thank you again Jewels!

When I was first asked to write an Inspiration Monday post I panicked a little, after being totally honored of course. Inspiration can mean so many things for me depending on my mood, what I want inspiration for, and where I am emotionally. My inspirations for writing are many but the most influential are music, quotes, and relationships. My inspiration in life and who I want to be as a person are my father, my grandmother, and my late great grandmother. I am not going to write about any of those things though because I feel like it is a story that most people already know…because you have your own. I am going to talk about something that is new and exciting in my life and my inspiration for change.

I am on a journey for the first time in my life to workout and change my life. I want to be healthier and the weight loss and shrinking inches is a wonderful side effect. I have sufficiently bored everyone over at my blog with my tales of Zumba and of trying to lead a healthier life. I hate bringing it up over and over but this is a new and exciting time in my life. I am not fit, I have never really been fit, and my activity level was the equivalent of getting from my seat at the bar to the bathroom and from my bed to the refrigerator. Sound disgusting to you? Seems seriously unhealthy doesn’t it? Well it was. I was.

So what inspires me to hit the gym 3 times a week for amazingly awesome Zumba classes, or hop on the treadmill in my room after a long day when I’d rather be in bed watching TV? What keeps me eating healthier, cutting down on carbs, cutting out all drinks but water, increasingly my fruit and vegetable consumption, cutting out all sweets (wasn’t much of a sweet person anyway), and being better about portion control? Simple, for the first time in my life I don’t want to be out of breath and sweating uncontrollably on a dance floor. I want to be able to jog…hell I want to be able to run. Do you know how long it has been since I have run any significant distance without having to stop and grab my side? I honestly can’t remember.

There I am...from a flattering angle of course.

My inspiration is this vision of myself I have in my mind. I close my eyes and think of myself and I’m nowhere near as large in my minds eye as I actually am in real life. That scares me. I have this idea that I’m not that bad but I can’t deny anymore that I am. I am inspired by the life that I have a chance to lead. I’m moved to work harder to avoid the high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes that plague my family. I am inspired because for the first time I am not dieting, I’m not on a pill or a fad. I am making changes that I can live with for the rest of my life. This is huge for me!

My friend's wedding in September of 2010. *I'm far left*
In comparison to the other women I felt huge in the wedding party and in these pictures.
This was a wake up call for me to get my act together before my sister's wedding.

The other thing helping me along is that I am determined to lead a healthier and more active life but I’m not focused on the pounds. I didn’t weigh myself before and I’m not weighing myself now. I can physically see the loss of inches, see it in my clothes, feel it in my lack of being winded going up and down stairs multiple times. For the first time in my entire life I will have a birthday where I haven’t gained weight. In all of my 30 years I have steadily put on more and more weight, slowly but surely. I am happier than I ever though I would be, secure in the knowledge that this year that will not be the case, this year I will have lost. 

I have dubbed my weight loss efforts “Operation Drop Dead Sexy Bridesmaid” because my sister is getting married in September and I want desperately to not ruin her wedding photos by being a giant pewter (the color we are wearing) blob. That isn’t a pity inducing sentence. I am gorgeous. I know I am beautiful, inside and out, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know improvements can be made! Her wedding may have given me a push but I know, without a doubt, that I am doing this for myself. So right now the most important inspiration in my life comes from within myself and the hope that I have for my future.