Showing posts with label Friday Reflections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friday Reflections. Show all posts

Sunday, 5 August 2018

The Question Of Why #FridayReflections


As a girl I would sit in the back seat of the car watching the world whizz by. I'd catch my reflection in the window and gaze at it intently. As I stared at myself suddenly I would be struck with a strange feeling I couldn't articulate. LOOK at that girl with green eyes and red hair. She's me. I'm her. How funny. How fabulous. How interesting. How very curious.  I wondered why I was ME.


Me as a girl. I was cute. 


WHY was I Vanessa, sitting in my parents car, weaving along suburban streets in Sydney? There's millions of people in the world.  Why aren't I one of them? I'm me. Not someone else. Inside this body. Experiencing this life.

The question came and went swiftly. It was too complex for my young psyche. After all, I was the kind of kid who never questioned the fanciful plots of Enid Blyton novels. Sometimes the thought was so odd I would begin to giggle. I couldn't really process or define what I was thinking and feeling.

I still can't exactly.

Mark Twain says this:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”Mark Twain

I am reminded of how when my mother was weary from my brother and I's constant "why's" she'd sigh and say: "Because Y's a crooked letter and Z's no better!"

It's as good an answer as any.

The thing is, I still don't know why I'm me. I'm glad I am (mostly), but I don't know if there was one specific purpose I was put on earth for.

It sometimes seems that trying to pinpoint certain whys in life isn't always beneficial. At least it isn't for me. I've never figured out exactly what it is I want to do or be when I grow up. And yes, I know. I AM grown up. That's my point. My life is more than half over (unless I live to be well over a hundred), and I still don't have the answers to a million whys. Or one important why.



I could say that I was born to be a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm grateful to be those things. Definitely. But I'm also just me. I'm not even the best at being those things, I just bumble along and hope for the best.

Maybe that other most important day of my life is yet to come. Maybe I will understand why one of these days. More likely I will just keep on stumbling along trying to be a better me than I was yesterday. Sometimes succeeding, sometimes not.

And when I catch my reflection and see the middle aged woman who has replaced the little girl I will smile instead of sighing in dismay. I don't always have to know why. I just need to get on with it and be grateful.

What about you?

 Do you find it helpful to question why? 

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Then And Now #FridayReflections


It often occurs to me that I essentially haven't matured much beyond the age of about twelve. Sure, I've gotten older. I've added a husband and some ankle biters.

Except they're not ankle biters anymore. Details. Hold it. Does anyone actually say ankle biters anymore? Oh right, I just did. So there's that.

Back to the maturity thing. In a lot of ways I've remained childlike. In the sense that I still love all the same things I did when I was twelve.

As a child I was known for make believin'. All alone I created fantasies. As I grew people called it self deceiving, but my heart helped me hold the memories...

Okay, that last paragraph is actually the words to a Carpenters song (Those Good Old Dreams). But that's my point. (I think I have one).




At age of twelve I loved:

  • Carpenters music.
  • Anne Of Green Gables.
  • Reading and books in general.
  • Dogs. 
  • Daggy movies and TV shows like The Golden Girls. 
  • Chocolate and cakie things. 
  • Barbie dolls. 

I still love all of them, except the Barbie dolls. I did manage to move on from those. 

Additionally, I was:

  • Shy.
  • Quiet.
  • Introverted.
  • A homebody. 
  • A daydreamer.

Some might say I've also suffered from a chronic case of the terrible affliction known as Resting Bitch Face since childhood. Especially considering my reluctance to smile in photos. Nice.

All of the above still applies at age 47. Sigh. Well, I guess I can summon up a smile for a snap these days. Sort of. Kind of. Maybe. Mostly. Okay, sometimes. Shut up.

It can be disconcerting to realise that you've never really grown up. But then again, adulthood is overrated.






And what is so wrong with all of those things anyway? It's not like I enjoyed setting things on fire as a child and haven't grown out of it! That would definitely be a problem. 

After all, even Resting Bitch Face has its advantages.




Winning!

What about you?

What were you like as a child?

Are you still the same now?

Linking up for Friday Reflections.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

10 Things That Make Me Happy #FridayReflections


Hello again!  It's time for another groovy list type post! YAY! Well, I'm certainly excited. Because I'm listing ten things that make me happy. And that makes me...happy!

Because let's face it, there are many times in this gig called life when you feel flat, despondent, dejected, forlorn and just plain old blah. Shut up. Blah is totally a word.

Well, it's definitely a feeling anyway. I guess that's why I call it the blahs. Elton John can call it the blues. I can't stop him. But I'm sticking with the blahs. YOU can't stop ME. So ner.

It's important to have strategies in place to lift those blahs and hopefully feel better.

Here's ten things that make me happy whenever I have the blahs. I am challenging myself to not mention cakies whatsoever. Sure, they make me happy. Temporarily. Until I come down from my sugar high. And realise how frightfully fat I am. Sigh.

Plus I need to remind myself that there are plenty of other things out there that can help. And just back the hell away from the comfort eating. Seriously, Nesski.

Side note: my current Facebook profile picture is a photo of cakes with a 'So in love' frame. Told you. I need help.

Back to my list.

TEN THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY




  1. Exercise. Unfortunately the feeling better bit comes after the actual exercise itself. So rude. However, it's always worth it. With this in mind, I made myself move this morning by doing some brisk aerobics. Then I ate a cupcake. DOH. See? Seriously. Need. Help. 
  2. Writing/blogging. It's quite therapeutic. With the added benefit that when I'm tapping or scribbling away I can't shovel food into my gob. That's something.
  3. Getting out of the house. Even a trip to the library counts. I hope. Because I rarely go anywhere else. Oops. Note to self: get out more. 
  4. Patting my dog. This is usually done in conjunction with singing ridiculous made-up-as-I-go ditties to her. Such as this: "Cookie, the amazing dog! Cookie, the amazing dog! Cookie, the amazing dog! She's an amazing dog!" Meanwhile, Cookie looks at me like a I'm a lunatic. But so long as the lunatic keeps patting her she'll tolerate it.
  5. Cuddles/playing Uno with Mr 9. Despite his issues with losing, we still have fun. Always. 
  6. Watching something funny. My current favourite is DVDS of The Golden Girls. Admittedly some of the jokes haven't worn well, but overall I still love it. And I can always laugh at the 1980s fashion. That hasn't worn well either. Tee hee.
  7. Sing. Badly. See above. Lately (besides made up ditties to my dog) it's the soundtrack of Hello Dolly on rotation in my head. Who cares how bad you sound if makes you feel better? Well, perhaps my family. But I put up with their noise, so we're even.
  8. Reading. Books and reading have always been my happy place. Hence my many trips to the library. It's fortunate that such a simple thing can give me contentment. I'm happier with a bargain book from an op shop than extravagant designer shoes or handbags. Winning! 😁
  9. Dressing up a bit and putting some lipstick on. I'm fairly low maintenance these days in regards to grooming. But sometimes it's fun to pretend you're one of the Golden Girls and get your shoulder pads/earrings and a bit of lippy on. I now have the required silver hair without even trying. Just call me Dorothy/Rose/Blanche/Sophia. 
  10. All of the above things work really well for a passing case of the blahs, but sometimes things get a bit more grim and I require professional help. Talking to a good counselor or psychologist really helps. Even though it's HARD. Well, it is for me. I don't talk. But sometimes I have to force myself. Just like exercise. 

Bonus things that make me happy: Notebooks and pens, listening to music, cups of tea, or a glass of wine. It's the simple things, really. Don't you think?

Anyway, that concludes my list.

Now I'm off to watch The Golden Girls. Which begins by singing the theme song. Badly. 

"Thank you for being a frieeend..."




Linking up for Friday Reflections. 

Do you call it the blahs or blues?

What makes you happy?

Monday, 18 June 2018

An Experiment


Good morning, dear people! Or afternoon. Or evening. Depending upon where you are in the world. Of course there's less than zero chance that folks all over the globe are reading this, but it doesn't hurt to remain delusional optimistic.

Anyway, I trust you are feeling fabulous wherever you may be. I just thought I'd check in here for the heck of it, despite having nothing monumental to report, and bugger all snaps to share. That's me for you. Always generous, and thinking of others.

Besides, according to some dude called Ralph Waldo Emerson "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." Look, it's on the internet so it must be legit.




Therefore, I may as well treat this here blog post as an experiment. I'm sure I can pull something out of nothing. That's pretty much what I always do anyway.

But today I am taking it to a whole new level. Because I have decided. Why must we always DO ALL THE THINGS? Sure, it feels good to smash that to-do list, but what if we mixed it up for a change?

Did something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Something wild and crazy. Cutting edge and avant-garde. Something so daring and innovative it's never been heard of before and likely never will again?

You with me? Good. Let's try this groundbreaking experiment: instead of the ever present, ubiquitous to-do list, let's be bold and write a to DON'T list instead!!!

Yeah, okay, you got me. I did talk the idea up a bit more than is strictly necessary. A dash of melodrama never hurt anyone. Unless it's like actual melodrama. That's stressful. Screw that.

No, I mean pretendy type melodrama. Such fun! As Miranda would say. It works even better if you imagine rousing music in the background. Something evocative and suitably atmospheric. Perhaps the Harry Potter theme? Otherwise insert your preferred movie theme of choice. Done? Good.

On with the show.

TO-DON'T LIST

  • Don't give up. Unless it's smoking. You should really give that up. Says the woman who can't even give up chocolate . 
  • Don't forget to be grateful for the little things in life. Like m&ms. They're little. Did I mention I can't give up chocolate?
  • Don't think you have to fix all the things and be perfect. 
  • Don't mull over what's already happened in the past. 
  • Don't worry about what may or may not happen in the future. 
  • Don't be a piker (pyker?). Not exactly sure what that is, nor how to spell it, but still. Don't be one. 
  • Don't watch dumb reality shows. This one is for me, really. You can watch them if you want to. I can't stop you. 
  • Don't stop believin'. Okay, that's an Olivia Newton-John/Journey song, but whatever works. 
  • Don't forget to pat your dog. Unless you don't have one. In which case I don't even know what to say to you. You PSYCHOPATH.
  • Don't be a will-o-mo-wisp. On second thought, a will-o-mo-wisp sounds quite lovely. And if it was good enough for Maria, it's good enough for me. 
  • Don't rain on my parade. Okay, that's a Barbra Streisand song, but Babs is awesome so I'm going with it. 
  • Don't take life too seriously. No one gets out alive.
  • Don't forget to eat your five a day. Unfortunately it's not five cakies. Again, that one was for me. Sigh. 
  • Don't forget what your arms and legs are for: movement! Another one for me. Ahem.
  • Don't cry out loud. Just keep it inside. And learn how to hide your feelings. Actually, no. That's terrible advice. What was Melissa Manchester thinking?
  • Don't write to-don't lists then proceed to DO everything on them anyway. 
  • Ditto don't write to-do lists then DON'T do anything on them either. I like contradicting myself. Shut up. 
  • Don't worry about what other people think of you. As Dr Phil says: you wouldn't worry about what others thought of you if you knew how seldom they did. Besides, they're probably dickheads anyway. That last bit is from Dr Ness. 
  • Don't stay up too late. Unless you can sleep-in in the morning. Why not?
  • Don't get up too early. Mornings are stupid. See above. 
  • Don't take advice from random bloggers on the internet, who have no qualifications whatsoever to to give such pearls of wisdom, including me. Especially me. 
  • Don't begin frying an egg then walk away, get distracted, and forget about it until the smoke alarm goes off. Oops. 
  • Don't spend too much time on social media. Bahahaha! I'm so funny. 
  • Don't forget that social media is people's highlight reels. Things aren't always what they seem. 
  • Don't be cruel to a heart that's true. Okay, that's an Elvis song, but still. It's not bad advice from The King. 
  • Don't expect your folded piles of washing to put themselves away. They don't. So rude. 
  • Don't spend winter being a sloth creature on valium because summer will be back before you know it and you'll regret it. Just me?
  • Don't worry, be happy! Okay, that's some dude I can't remember's song. But it works to end this list. And now you'll have that lovely little earworm for a while. You're welcome!

Linking up for:



What would you write on your to-don't list?

Friday, 22 December 2017

Dear Santa...



Dear Santa,



How are you? Season's greetings and all that. How is Mrs Claus and all the elves? I expect things are quite hectic as you're doing all your last minute preparations. 


Loading up the sleigh. Making sure the reindeers are well-rested for the big night. Checking your lists: one titled Naughty, and the other Nice. It must be a magical winter wonderland over there in the North Pole. I can only imagine, as it's summer here in the land of Oz.

However, I wonder if could be so cheeky as to interrupt your busy schedule to ask a few questions? They've been on my mind for a long time. Years, in fact. They're really rather important. I am a master at asking all the important questions, I think you will find. 


Okay, here goes. I will just fling them at you randomly and in no particular order. I've been over thinking about them for so long and I just need to get them off my chest:


  • Where did you find FLYING reindeers? 
  • Why are you always judging people? If they're naughty or nice? I mean, who are you to decide what's naughty? 
  • And furthermore, aren't you actually somewhat of a... err... STALKER? Watching people when they're sleeping or otherwise is just plain creepy, Santa. 
  • How do you fit enough presents for ALL THE CHILDREN IN THE WHOLE WORLD on one little sleigh?
  • Likewise, how are you able to traverse the entire planet in a single night? I'm sorry Santa, it just doesn't make sense. 
  • How do you get into houses or apartments that don't have chimneys? 
  • And, if they do have a chimney, how do you slide nimbly down them, given your advanced age and ample girth? Sorry to be a bit personal there, Santa. 
  • I need to know why I never received that much coveted Barbie Dream House when I was a child? I was nice! Mostly. Oh shut up, Santa. Yes, I know I got the Barbie Camper Van, but that's not the point! 
  • Furthermore, how can you POSSIBLY be in every single shopping centre at exactly the same time? Have you figured out how to clone yourself? 
  • And what about the poor little elves? Isn't it slave labour making them toil away in your workshop? Who's not nice now, Santa?
  • Last but not least Santa, riddle me this: why is it that parents do all the work, and then you come along in your red suit and hat all jolly like and TAKE ALL THE CREDIT! RUDE. 

Well Santa, I'm waiting. I want answers. And I want them NOW!

*Silence*

AHA! I thought so! You can't answer these questions, can you? It's almost as if...

YOU DON'T EVEN EXIST. 

There, I said it.

I've suspected this for some time. Especially after my tragic revelation about the phoney old dinner fairy. Sigh. And not just any sigh. A deep, long sigh containing all the sorrow of the ages. 

The thing is Santa, maybe you're not real. And you can't ever answer my questions. But you know what? Who cares!

I know, I know! I did a few lines ago. Details!

The truth is, we all need a little magic in our lives. To believe in fairy tales. Well, at least sometimes... To revisit our childhood innocence. We need some Christmas cheer. We all need this more than ever right now.

So on with the show, Santa! Load up that sleigh. It's nearly Christmas Eve! I'll have carrots ready for the reindeers. And I'll leave you out some wine and chocolate instead of milk and cookies, because I know that's what you'd really prefer. 😉

See you soon, Santa! 

Sincerely, 

Ness.

Do you still believe in Santa? 


Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blur-celebration-christmas-cookies-260498/

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Kiss And Tell: The Decision


Hello again, gorgeous people! I'm back with a quick and dirty* bit of flash fiction for Friday Reflections using the prompt: Kiss And Tell. 

Drum roll please...

Here it is:

 KISS AND TELL: THE DECISION 






Rochelle's fingers hovered over the keyboard. Her shoulders were rigid with tension and repressed fury. Should she tell her? She wouldn't usually kiss and tell. But this wasn't a usual situation. Not for her anyway. The woman's serene features gazed at her from her Facebook profile. With the tap of her fingers Rochelle could change everything. All she had to do was tell her the truth about her husband. Rochelle was still reeling from the revelation that Nathan was married. Why should he get away with it? Her decision was made. Her fingers flew across the keyboard. It was done. She had the feeling she couldn't tell Nathan's wife anything she didn't know already. But she was done with online dating. She'd deleted her Tinder profile. 


THE END

 *Okay, not so much dirty, but very quick.   


What do you think?

What you kiss and tell in this situation?                                        
    
Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/

Monday, 4 December 2017

Eccentric


Hello again! It's me, the one and only Ness behind this here Nessville thingymajig. 

Well, what can I tell you?  

I'm chiming in at the last minute for Friday Reflections. The prompt was: Eccentric.

And I'm pretty sure I am. Eccentric, that is. 

Also; boring. Boringly eccentric. Or eccentrically boring. Or something. 

Here's why: 


I write a pointless blog about myself that no one reads. Meh,  I prefer to think of it as inventing my own little world. Whatever. 

I decided to shave my hair off and keep it in a 'silver pixie' style right after having it grow back after chemo all curly and Leo Sayer like, and then it finally looked normal and I did that. The silver pixie thing. 



Me with my pixie hair and a toblerone cocktail. 


I can't seem to form sentences (see above), but that doesn't stop me from pretending I'm a writer/blogger.

I went on a road trip and one of the most exciting things I did while away was hit the op shops because I'm wild and crazy like that. WHOOOOOOO! 

I have eccentric offspring. May as well pass on the weirdness. Related: When we were away Mr 9 desperately wanted a skull ring and a pink flamingo money box. That's my boy.

I don't really talk.

I wear granny clothes, to go with my silver pixie.

My current fixations are true crime and Jane Austen novels.

I like to leave my tea bags IN. Might as well live dangerously. 

Most things that delight others bore the bejesus out of me. I'm thinking sport here. And vice versa. The things that delight me bore everyone else. I'm thinking Carpenters music here. 

I keep a 'bullet journal' that is, in fact, more like a bullshit journal. 

I have tonnes of paper and notebooks about the place, but they don't even have to be all pretty and special. I can't even throw the boys old school books out if they have spare/blank pages left in them. But at the same time, I'm bewildered about the endless plethora of 'printables' available on blogs and what the point of them is. I dunno. I'm weird. 

I get about feeling decidedly strange and yet never speak of it. Strange, as in this weird dizzy, spacey, shifting feeling in my head thing that's hard to explain, hence my never doing so. Sigh. 

I get jealous when I see people on social media out and about enjoying life. But it's not typical jealousy in the same way someone else might be jealous. It's jealously of other people's apparent lack of anxiety (and dizziness and anxiety about dizziness...). This is something that permeates every single thing that I do almost every day, so I crack the sads now and again and do that poor little me sooky la la thing. 

But at the same time, I can take pleasure in simple things. I don't necessarily need to be out and about and on the go all the time. Just last Saturday night I was sitting in my living room with all my mismatched, secondhand furniture, feeling quite contented with my Christmas trees twinkling at me, my cuppa tea, and my hard cover Jane Austen three-in-one I bought for two bucks fifty at the Sal's (op shop). Pride & Prejudice/Mansfield Park/Persuasion for any Austenphiles playing along. 





Yeah, so that's me. Eccentric. 

And just to continue the eccentricity I am also linking this up for Life This Week and Open Slather because I won't get around to writing something else because I have to have a blood test in the morning and go shopping and it's nearly Christmas and I'm rambling and I seem to have forgotten what punctuation is and.... 

That's enough from me. 

What about you?

What makes you eccentric? 


Friday, 10 November 2017

Spaghetti And Meatballs: The Sequel



Greetings Earthlings,

Another Friday has rolled around. They tend to do this. Predictably, right after Thursday and just before Saturday. Funny about that.


 Anyway, this means it's time to join in, yet again, with the fun that is called,  Friday Reflections. 

You may recall that I wrote a sweet little story last week, and ended with a teaser for a part two. Well, here is that promised finale. If you don't recall, you can read Part One here. 

I've also cleverly managed to weave in this week's prompt, which is: Heart's Content. Yep, I'm a genius. Or something.

Here is Part Two: 




SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS: THE SEQUEL







Have you ever had one of those weekends? You know the kind. You're really looking forward to it. You have it all planned. And what you're planning is, a whole lotta NOTHING. Yes, you can plan to do nothing. In fact, I take great pride in doing so.

Then, absolutely everything goes pear shaped. It's ridiculous. Until you realise, you actually quite like pears. Pears can be delicious. Look, I'm going somewhere with the pear analogy, stay with me.

First, my car was ruined. Then I was locked out of the house. In a robe. In the rain.

Which led to me eating spaghetti and meatballs with a handsome stranger. 

Mr Strong and Silent Enigmatic turned out to be surprisingly easy to chat with. I found myself loosening up. I was witty, charming and self-deprecating. He laughed in the right places, was courteous, kind and interesting. Oh, and he was also single, I discovered.

And then I ruined it. Evidently, I was much more exhausted from my hectic week than I'd realised. Next thing you know, after only one glass of wine, I was snoring on the couch. Classy. I was having a dream about an Italian dude with smouldering eyes. He was leaning in towards me and...

"Carolyn!" That accent.

 I was jolted awake to see those very eyes.

"Your sister is here with your spare key."

Oh, SHIT!

I stumbled outside, still half-asleep. There was Diana waving the key. Dressed head to toe as a dominatrix.

"You know what your problem is, sis? You need to get out more. Get a life. Make friends. Go on dates. HAVE SEX!"

Marco seemed to have adopted a permanently bemused expression. He hovered behind us, watching the exchange. I snatched the key.

"Couldn't you have changed?" I hissed.

"No." She smiled, completely unfazed. "But YOU definitely should. What in the living hell are you wearing?"

"It's a long story... I..."

But Diana was bored already. Vanilla and dull were so not her style. That was clear. To the entire neighbourhood.

"OK, gotta go!" She interrupted me." Can't stay and chat. I have someone waiting to whipped." She clattered to the driver's side of her car, adding in a stage whisper "By the way, he's HAWT. Go for it!"

I stood there flushed and flummoxed as she drove away.

"Your sister is... very interesting." Marco observed.

I laughed a little uneasily, not sure what to say. Then I shrugged. To hell with it.

"Her job is certainly unconventional, but she has a good heart." I figured if my sister had no shame about her lifestyle, then neither should I. Though we had one pact. Our mother must NEVER KNOW.

Not for the first time, I was thankful she had moved to Queensland after our dad passed away. The endless phone calls, texts and emails about our single states were draining, but at least we had a buffer zone.

"Well, thanks for everything." Now that I had a key and an escape route I was curiously reluctant to leave. Especially having no idea when I'd see him again.

"No problem," he replied. There was a pause while I waited, for what I don't know. Did I really think he was going to ask me out? That he would be so taken with me he'd want to see me again.

Maybe Mum and Di were right after all, I did need to get out more.

"Okay, well seeya." I sighed.

He nodded politely and headed back inside as the rain began to patter again.

The next day, my car was towed away. I washed and dried Wendy's clothes and waited until a respectable hour. I had to return them. It wouldn't hurt to fix my hair for once. And what about some lipstick? I mean, I hardly ever wore it, but why not? And what should I wear?

Wait a minute, you're just returning some clothes. Get over yourself. In the end I settled on jeans and a nice top. But I fixed my hair. A girl has to have some standards. Okay, a middle aged woman. So sue me.

"Carolyn!" Wendy greeted me like a long lost friend. "Come in. Excuse the mess! Vince has taken the girls to the park for a bit now that it's stopped raining. Thank God! They were like caged animals. Sorry about your car! Coffee?"

All of this while she kept moving and bustling to the kitchen. I glanced around. The mess didn't seem to much more than a lot of toys on the living room floor. I remembered those days with my three quite vividly. I'd been a young mum. Consequently, I had a 20 year old daughter, and the boys were 16 and 15, being only 18 months apart.  I was glad those toddler years were over.

"I just came to return your clothes and say thank you." I was glancing around for other reasons.

"You're so welcome!" Wendy handed me a coffee. "I'm glad my brother-in-law was here. We thought about leaving the girls with my mother but she was unwell and Marco wanted to baby-sit, so it all worked out beautifully. Sit down!" she motioned to the couch that was littered with toys. "If you can find somewhere to sit!"

I shoved some things over and sat. I sipped my coffee. Clearly Marco wasn't here. I should have taken more notice of his car.  Wendy chatted while I imagined  an alternative world, where, instead of the pile of ironing awaiting me, Marco and I were alone, eating spaghetti and meatballs and drinking wine to our heart's content.

Just like a scene out of The Bachelor or Bacherlorette. I blame my daughter. She forced me to watch such vapid programmes. Oh okay, she didn't have to try too hard. We both watched and made droll remarks, as if we were regulars on Gogglebox. It was fun. Note to self: do something about that getting out more thing.

Meanwhile, back to my imaginings. Beach side setting. I would be wearing a gown. This was a fantasy, so I'd be at least five kilos lighter. No, make that ten. My legs would be shaved. My hair and make-up perfect. And as for Marco. He was already perfect. A sexy cross between George Clooney and Mark Ruffalo. He'd be looking suave in a suit. He would...

"Carolyn?"

"Huh?" I was jolted out of my daydream. 

"I was just asking what you do," Wendy said. "Marco was asking so many questions about you, it made me realise how little we know about each other even though we're right next door!"

He did? YESSS. 

"I'm an office manager for a small legal firm," I replied. My job was so boring compared to my sister. And I preferred it that way. I wondered if Marco had mentioned her. I sipped my coffee. I was bursting to ask about him, but I didn't want to appear too obvious. He'd asked about me! That had to be a good sign, right?

By the time I left, we were firm friends in real life as well as Facebook . Only a matter of time until I crossed paths with Marco again.  Maybe I should speed up the process by inviting them all over for a dinner party?

I decided this was a brilliant plan. Except for one small thing. I don't cook. Unless you call shoving things in the oven cooking.

So I called my amazing caterer friend Gavin, who agreed to do it for mates rates. He's a great friend, and the only reason we aren't anything more is because he is very gay. Also, according to Gavin I have embarrassing taste in clothes and music. And I'm too messy... And the list goes on. Fair enough. We could never live together, but I adored Gavin. 
.
I scheduled the dinner party for a weekend the kids weren't there. Wendy had her mum babysitting the twins. It was all systems GO. 

Gavin arrived.

"Hello. I've been dumped. I don't want to talk about it. Don't worry. I'll get cooking." he swooped through to the kitchen. Oh dear. This wasn't good. Gavin was usually the dumper, not the dumpee. 


 I left him bustling away and went upstairs to get ready. This was fun! Why didn't I do this more often? Probably something to do with the days of maniacal cleaning that were necessary beforehand. Note to self: price a cleaner. 

The wine was chilled, music on - 80s vintage, much to Gavin's disgust - and I was in a fabulous mood when the doorbell rang.

"I brought some wine," Wendy handed me a bottle. More wine. Yay!

The were loud curses from the kitchen. Everyone politely pretended we hadn't heard them. 


Wendy began gushing about my place as I led them through to the open plan kitchen slash dining slash family room. 

Gavin's chopping now appeared to be frenetic. Hesitantly I introduced him to everyone.

"How are you? I was dumped today. I'm fine." he deadpanned. "Dinner will be served in half an hour." His eyes flitted to Marco. He raised an eyebrow at me. 


The first course was finally served when the front door opened and slammed. McKenzie stomped in. 

"He dumped me!"

"You too!" Gavin said. "Men are bastards." 


"Darling!" What happened?" I jumped up. "Everyone, this is my daughter, McKenzie." 

 "Some bullshit about needing space." 

"Maybe it's for the best." It wasn't the time for me to admit I hadn't particularly liked her boyfriend. They'd probably make up, and then where would I be? 

"HA!" Gavin scoffed.

McKenzie burst into tears. "He's broken my heart! I'll never get over it." 


"Maybe we can talk about this later..." 

"FUCK!" Gavin bolted to the oven just in time. Our main course had narrowly escaped ruin. 

"I couldn't eat anything right now," blubbered McKenzie. "But I'll take some wine." She poured a generous glass. 

Marco and Vincent exchanged glances while I  stood there awkwardly. I had pictured a civilised and sophisticated dinner party. Trust my overly dramatic daughter to disrupt things.

Gavin served the main courses amid more lamenting over the general hopelessness of all men, straight or gay.

"Present company excepted, of course!"

The doorbell trilled. What next?

"Excuse me." I hurried down the hall.

"Surprise!"

"MUM!" I was stunned. What was she DOING here?

"You're always saying you'll visit and don't, so I thought I'd surprise you. Well, aren't you going to invite me in?"

I had a choice? I seriously considered slamming the door, but she bustled in and immediately began telling me how to live my life. 


"You've put on weight! What are you eating? Do you have guests? I heard what happened from your sister and I agree with her. Sweetheart, you just need to HAVE SEX!" The last two words reverberated around the room as an unexpected silence descended. 

"Nan!" McKenzie jumped up to hug her grandmother. "You really DO, Mum." she said. 

"Haha," I managed a weak laugh "enough about that."

I introduced my mother. Marco had that same bemused expression he seemed to adopt around me. When I caught his eye, I thought I saw his lips twitch. I needed more wine. Oh well, what could go wrong now? 


It was supposed to be a rhetorical question. But the doorbell rang. This was ridiculous!

"Diana!" Or should I say, Mistress Delphine. 


"I need your shower. Mine's bung. You owe me one!" 

"Okay, but before you go in there you should know..."

It was too late. She'd barged in, without waiting for a reply. OH. MY. GOD. 

"MUM!"

"What...? Who...?" There was a gasp of recognition. "DIANA?!"


With that, my mother fainted. 

That was how my dignified, elegant dinner party ended. My guests made a hasty exit.

"You obviously have a lot on your plate." Wendy said. 


The next few weeks were a blur. I was busy with work and the boys. My mother had imploded. She was all  set to move back to Sydney, convinced that her daughters were degenerates.

It took every ounce of my energy to get her back on a plane. Diana was predictably unrepentant. McKenzie had gotten back together with the unsuitable boyfriend. Even Gavin had moved on, judging from his Facebook posts. 

And I was still very single.

Marco was in Italy. He'd gone back to visit family. Wendy wasn't sure when he'd be back. My beach side visions had vanished. What was a girl to do? Well, for one thing, I was finally going to have that quiet weekend. A bubble bath. A bottle of wine. You know the drill. 

I relaxed into the tub and the doorbell rang. I threw on my trusty old robe. It was probably McKenzie. She often forgot her key. I flung open the door. 

There were those eyes. The ones that could go straight from smouldering to bemused. Either way, they were hypnotic. 

"Marco!"

"Hello Carolyn. I'm looking after the girls again and I have A LOT of spaghetti and meatballs. Would you like to help me eat them?"

"Love to!" 


I stepped outside to go with him, under the spell of those eyes. Then we both began laughing. I'd locked myself out wearing my robe. 



THE END.




 So there you have it. A tad corny, but whatever. It was fun to write. And I will continue to write to my heart's content. (See what I did there?) Even if it's corny. 


What do you like to do to your heart's content? 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Serendipity Is Spaghetti And Meatballs: A Story.


Hello, dear reader! I hope you are enjoying another wonderful weekend. Once again it's time to make an appearance here and join in with the gang over at Friday Reflections. Here's some more stuff I made up, using the prompt: Serendipity. Use the word in your post. 

I went with fiction again, because it turns out that my life isn't really interesting enough to sustain a blog. NO?! Really??? I know! Hard to believe, right?! Anyway, here it is: 




SERENDIPITY IS SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS: A STORY



Image credit: https://www.foodiesfeed.com/



I was going to do the unthinkable. I had a very important date. With myself! I had the chocolate,the trashy novel, the wine, the bubbles. A long soak in the tub was beckoning. Afterwards, I was going binge watch whatever the hell I liked, without interruption. Screw, Netflix and 'chill'. I preferred Netflix and solitude. 

"Not like you have a partner, anyway," said that mocking voice in my head. It often sounded like my mother, for some inexplicable reason. "Shut up," I murmured, frowning. I had no time for such negativity.

Everything had fallen into place. My ex had the boys this weekend. My daughter had gone away with her boyfriend. There would be no bevy of teenagers inhabiting my home. Just me. Bliss. 

Serendipity. Sweet, sweet serendipity. 

What's that saying? Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Thank you very much, John Lennon. At least, I think it was John Lennon who said that. Note to self: Google that later when you attempt to read the entire the Internet before bed. Bath first, though! As  soon as I sunk into to the tub, sighing in sheer delight, I heard the thud. Except it was more like an earth-shattering crash.

I jumped out of the bath wearing nothing but bubbles. Well, it would be kind of weird if I bathed clothed. Grabbing a towel, I scurried to the window. A small truck barrelled down the street. It had hit my car and driven and off! 

One of the myriad problems that came from living with three teenagers in a modest sized home, was we had A LOT of stuff. Consequently my garage was always full. I had parked on the street. Okay, so there's also a long boring story about narrow driveways. I sincerely dislike reversing out of them. Suffice to say, my ex-husband always blessed himself whenever I reversed. But that's because he's a jerk. I'm a good driver. I am! I've never had any accidents. Alright, there have been one or two scrapes, but I always leave a note! Besides, this certainly wasn't my fault.

Furious, I flung on a robe and dashed out the front without thinking. I was right. The car was completely totalled on the front drivers side.

I screamed a litany of curse words at no one in particular. Then I cursed myself for quitting my running regime. At my pace, the truck would be suburbs away before I'd even reached the end of my street.

"God dammit!" I huffed and marched back to the house to call my insurance company. Then I realised my mistake. I'd locked myself out of the house. With no phone. Wearing a bathrobe. What is the opposite of serendipity?

Neighbours were peering through blinds, but apparently no one wanted to help the crazy lady in the bathrobe. Was it possible to break in to my own house? Wait a minute! I wondered whether my back door was open. I couldn't remember if I'd unlocked it. I raced around to find it shut tight. Predictably, there was my phone mocking me on the kitchen counter. I banged my head on the sliding glass door in exasperation. Now what?

"Let me tell you," answered the Universe, and the heavens opened. It started raining. No, make that pouring. I huddled under my meagre back awning shivering. The warmth from the bubble bath and my fury had vanished. I felt, cold, hungry, and utterly foolish. The way I saw it, I had two choices. Stand here and freeze to death, or swallow my pride and go and knock on my neighbour's door.

The couple next door,Wendy and Vince, and I, had a distant but friendly kind of relationship. We waved cheery hellos and goodbyes as we dashed off to work and various other things and often chatted over the fence, but we weren't exactly neighbours who exchanged keys. 

I'd only been living there for a few years, since the divorce, and had teenage children. Wendy and Vince had four year old twins, so our kids didn't hang out either. Note to self: be more friendly towards your neighbours in the future. Would it kill you to get to know them? Invite them in for coffee? Suss out that they're not serial killers? Then give them a spare key.

There was only one problem. I was going to be drenched just getting to their front door. Oh, screw it! I squared my shoulders and marched over there. Saturated, I hugged my sopping bathrobe around my frozen frame and rang the doorbell. No answer. I rung again. I was pretty sure I could hear muffled noises inside. Then someone stomped to the door.

"Who IS it?!" a voice barked. Male. Didn't seem like the laid back tones of Vince who had always seemed like a fairly chilled sort of person. The door swung open. A face was scowling at me.

And what a face. I was momentarily struck dumb. Serendipity.

The scowl turned to bewilderment as he noted my attire. "S...s...s..sorry to bother you," I stammered "but someone hit my car and I locked myself out of the house."

He was staring. He had enigmatic eyes. Smouldering eyes. You've been reading too many of those trashy novels, Carolyn! I berated myself. Cool it.

"Oh, I live next door," I added.

Before Mr Enigmatic could reply, the twins thundered down the stairs.

"Uncle Marco! You need to read us a story!" Two pyjama clad figures appeared at his legs. Their eyes were like saucers as they took in my bedraggled appearance.

"Aren't you the lady next door?" Amelia asked.

"It's okay, Uncle Marco. You can let her in!" Alana chirruped.

Mr Enigmatic unlocked the screen door and motioned for me to enter. I was mortified. I hastily explained my attire.

"You can wear Mummy's clothes," stated Amelia. Her chocolate brown eyes were dancing. They were both simply adorable.

"She's not here. She's on a date with Dad!" Alana giggled. She seemed to find the idea of her parents dating hilarious. I was glad someone did. I hadn't had a date since... Never mind.

It seemed Mr Enigmatic, aka Uncle Marco, was the strong silent type. He pulled out his phone and tapped in a number. He was talking briefly to Wendy with the most exquisite Italian accent. I tried not to melt.

"She says it's okay," he told me "you can borrow her clothes."

He bustled the girls upstairs back to bed, pointing me to Wendy's room. It felt intrusive to go through her things, but I quickly realised a couple of things. One: Wendy (and presumably Vince too) were very meticulous. And two: Wendy was also considerably smaller than me.

It didn't take long to find some track pants and a sweater that fit rather snugly over all of my, shall we say, love handles? "Don't you mean ROLLS?" It was my mother's voice again. Christ, I could never get away from the woman. Even when she'd moved thousands of miles away to far north Queensland.

Another note to self: have a clear out at home. And for goodness sake, lay off the carbs! My stomach grumbled in protest.

 "Right on cue," I mumbled to the mirror. I realised I hadn't had dinner. I'd been planning to order whatever takeout took my fancy right after my soak. For some reason, I really fancied Italian right now. Ahem. Get a grip, I admonished myself, and trudged back downstairs. There was nothing I could do about my tangled hair. 

Marco was in the kitchen grimacing at the mess. There was a mountain of used pots and pans. Abandoned Peppa Pig bowls with half eaten spaghetti and meatballs littered the table This didn't seem like Vince and Wendy's handiwork. 

"I make them food, they don't eat," Marco explained. "Sit. You eat!" 

"Oh! I don't want you to go to any trouble."

"It's no trouble. I have too much. You can keep me company." He gave me a sheepish smile. I almost swooned.

Maybe this was serendipity after all. 



What happens next....? 

Stay tuned for Part Two. Coming next week. 
Yep, I've decided I'll pick up this story again next week. So let's leave the characters feasting on spaghetti and meatballs and you're all invited back next weekend! 


Do you have a story about serendipity? 

And while we're at it, what actually IS the opposite of serendipity?


Sunday, 29 October 2017

The Way You Make Me Feel

Hello! Here I am with a rather late last minute link-up offering for Friday Reflections. The prompt was this: put your Ipod on shuffle/turn the radio on. Write a post using the song as your prompt. 

The song I heard was Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel. So I made up this story and called it... The Way You Make Me Feel. Just for the good old obligatory Captain Obvious. Done.

Here it is: 


THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL





I was standing at the sink when Ben came in and turned the radio on. The infectious beat of Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel filled the room.

"Turn it off!" I snapped. 

"What's wrong with you?" Ben frowned. 

 I still couldn't hear that song so many years later. It had been one of her favourites. Ben poured himself coffee and made toast. I took slow breaths and tried to stop shaking. The flashbacks were happening again. I'd never told Ben what had happened. 

We were getting married soon. It was time. I couldn't keep this from him. Stephanie should have been here, helping me prepare for our upcoming wedding. She would have been my bridesmaid and closest confidante.

She would have helped me plan a hen's night and choose the dress. Just like I would have helped her. Although Steph had always scoffed at the idea of settling down. She'd wanted to travel. Now she would never get to do any of it. Because of me. 

I don't know how long I stood there before I realised I was crying. My knees gave way and I sunk to the ground. 

"What's wrong?" Ben was alarmed.

"I have to tell you something," I mumbled. 


Ben's eyes clouded, his expression wary. "Okay."

"I killed some one." 


"I'm sorry," Ben laughed. He clearly  thought I was joking. 


"I killed someone." This time was louder.

"I don't understand." Ben had crouched beside me. He sunk onto the floor. I told him everything. 

I told him about that rainy day so many years ago. I was only seventeen and a cocky P-plate driver. We'd gotten into the car to go on a road trip to the coast. We were so full of joy. Carefree, young. Having our first taste of freedom. We'd been laughing and listening to music. It started to rain but that certainly didn't dampen our spirits. 

Then the song came on. 

"Turn it up!" Stephanie urged. I obliged. We both joined in to the chorus like over eager drunken karaoke participants at a pub. To this day I still don't know what happened. I wasn't speeding. I hadn't been drinking. I just lost control of the car. One minute were singing along in jubilation, and the next we weren't. I woke up in hospital. Stephanie didn't. It was a miracle I was alive. That miracle hadn't extended to my friend. I'd killed her. 


I would never forget the pinched haunted faces of her parents at her funeral. I knew what they were thinking. I thought it too. Why her and not our daughter? In the months and years that followed, my life unravelled. I quit driving. It was impossible. I couldn't imagine ever driving again. It was only because of my parents unwavering support that I eventually finished university and began working. I'd met Ben through mutual friends, and life suddenly seemed sweet again. Until I heard I heard a damn Michael Jackson song and it all came rushing back. 

"Babe, it wasn't your fault," Ben regarded me with those magnificent blue eyes that had made me fall in love with him. "It was an accident." I sobbed in his arms. 

Some weeks later I knew what I had to do. I was shaking as I rang the doorbell. Ben squeezed my hand.


"Claire!" Stephanie's eyes gaped at me. 

"Hello, Mrs Carlson." 


She ushered us in and I introduced Ben. Mr Carlson shuffled in from the backyard and shook Ben's hand warmly. The picture in the living room momentarily halted me. Stephanie and I were smiling from inside the frame wearing our formal gowns.  Mrs Carlson caught me looking at it and we exchanged glances before she excused herself to make coffee. 


We finally sat down with steaming mugs for sustenance. "I suppose you're wondering why I'm here," I began. 

"I'm just glad you came," Mrs Carlson replied. "We never see any of Steph's friends. It's...like she didn't exist..." she trailed off.

"The thing is," Mr Carlson continued "we didn't handle things very well at the time."

"Neither did I," I admitted "I'm so sorry..."


Before I could go on Mrs Carlson shook our head. "We realise now that it wasn't your fault."

We all had tears in our eyes and the atmosphere was charged.

"I've always wanted to ask you something." Mrs Carlson broke the silence. "Do you remember her last words?"


I nodded through my tears. "We were singing The Way You Make Me Feel. It was on the radio."

Mrs Carlson managed a winsome smile. "She always loved that song." 


"Yes, she did."

Once we started talking about Steph, we couldn't stop. I felt her presence. My funny, amazing, beautiful friend with her red gold hair and crooked nose. We remembered her love of 80s music, animals, the beach. Her offbeat sense of humour, her kindness. It felt so good to talk about my friend again. Before we left, I handed Mrs Carlson an invitation to mine and Ben's wedding. "I'll understand if you don't want to come," I said.


"We wouldn't miss it," she insisted. "Thank you." 

We walked to the car and Ben looked at me. "Proud of you," he said and handed me the car keys. "You can do it." 

I got in and turned the key in the ignition with shaking hands. Slowly, we drove away. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Bated Breath


Greetings and salutations, lovely readers! How are you all? I keep pretending that there are so many of you. Why not? It's a lovely little game called Being Delusional that I like to play. No harm done. 

So just for shits and giggles I wrote a little made up story for Friday Reflections inspired by the prompt: Bated breath.  Of course I didn't get around to posting, linking and sharing it until Saturday evening, but, as I like to say, details! Besides, that's just how I rock a Saturday night! So anyway, here it is...



BATED BREATH


Adrenaline pulsated through me as I approached the counter. Every nerve ending was tingling. It happened every time. It was equal parts thrilling and gut wrenching. Yet, I couldn't stop. 

"How are you today?" the teller flashed a flight attendant smile. Her eyes were warm behind her designer frames. I glanced at her name tag. 

Louise. 


"Good thanks," I replied, matching her smile. I couldn't be sure if it reached my eyes. Mentally I summed her up. Her ash blonde bob and manicured nails spoke of regular trips to a salon. Her trim physique suggested an expensive gym membership.  Louise was thoroughly middle class. She probably had an immaculate brick home in a leafy suburb. A husband. Kids. Just like me. 

Except I was different. I had to be.

"How can I help you?" Louise asked.


I slid the cheque across the counter.  "I need to deposit this," I handed her my key card. My hands were steady. I had become skilled at pretending that depositing generous cheques was common place for me. 


"No problem," she swiped my card and efficiently tapped away. 

I waited with bated breath. My exterior remained placid, inscrutable as my heart beat a crescendo in my chest. Any moment she might say something. Louise's pleasant features would suddenly look puzzled. An eternity seemed to pass as I willed my heart to slow. 


How many similar cheques had I deposited in the past few months? I'd lost count. Each time was the same. The trepidation. Exhilaration. Bated breath. 

"Done!" Louise beamed. It was too easy. "Have a great weekend," she added, handing me back my card. 

"You too," I exhaled, then strode out past the security guard. Maybe I wasn't safe yet. He might tap me on the shoulder. I would be cornered. Found out for the absolute fraud that I was. I lived in perpetual fear of being discovered. When I wasn't, elation replaced fear. 

The guilt always evaporated when I walked out into the busy shopping mall. I felt alive. Energised. Euphoric. I was living a double life and I loved it. Time to go shopping. 

Travis would have picked Ella and Max up by now. He'd be at home, patiently helping with homework and preparing the evening meal. He'd taken on the reluctant role of house husband since he'd been made redundant a year ago. 

Meanwhile, their bills were piling up. Travis couldn't find another job despite applying for many. He sank into depression. I'd had no choice. I was the breadwinner now. 

I lingered near one of my favourite boutiques, lost in my thoughts There was only one way to stop these intrusive worries. Shopping. My card was never declined these days. That hadn't been the case some months ago. 

"We'll have to sell the house," Travis had told me. He was flat and defeated. 

"NO!" I couldn't bear it. It was our dream home, minutes from the beach. We'd been living the good life and I wasn't ready to give it up. 

"We just can't afford the mortgage repayments," Travis argued.

"I'll be getting a promotion soon," I said "we can make it work."

In the end he gave in, too bogged down in his depression. He already felt like a failure for losing his job. Now his wife was taking care of him. He'd always been so driven. We both were. There was no way we could just give up on our lavish existence. It would be humiliating. I was too proud.


Sure, we could sell the house, but then what? We'd had have to live somewhere. Imagine having to leave their prestigious suburb to move to bum fuck boganville. I'd worked too hard to get out of there. I couldn't go back. I'd have to take Max and Ella out of their expensive schools and send them to the school I'd gone to. There was no way I'd ever do that. So I made my decision.

Though in some ways it seemed like it was made for me. My role at the major insurance company where I worked involved drawing and cancelling cheques. On that fateful day I was there early. 




There was a tap on my office door. "Coffee!" my assistant Veronica trilled.

"Thanks," I took it, smiling. Veronica was a decade younger than me and I'd taken her under my wing. She seemed to have something of 'girl crush' on me. I knew she aspired to be where I was eventually. 


"I'll leave you to it," she said, closing the door. Then I saw it. A returned cheque. The customer was no longer at the address.

Ms Sarah James.


I couldn't believe it. I knew I was meant to cancel it. Instead, I put it in my top drawer and locked it. I tried to forget, but it was burned into my brain. When I left the office, darkness was descending. In more ways than one.

"See you tomorrow, Sarah," Veronica said. She eyed my Prada suit with open envy as I sashayed to the lifts. 


At home there were more bills. Final demands. The next day I banked the cheque. It was fate that my name was the same. Didn't everything happen for a reason? 

As the weeks went on, it became an addiction. I would draw another. Just one more, I told myself. To get myself out of this predicament, give me more time. One more became two more, and eventually I lost count. 

"It's exquisite, isn't it?" The sales assistant startled me out of my ruminating. "Would you like to try it on?" 

Before I knew it, she'd ushered me to the change rooms. The dress hung perfectly over my lean frame. Stress and long hours had made me too edgy to eat much these days, though I managed several coffees and wines each day.  The liquid and embezzlement diet certainly paid off, I mused.

"I'll take it," I told the sales assistant. I could always leave the tags on and return it, I told myself. Besides, it was an exclusive label, so it was practically an investment. I could already picture the likes and envy on Insta.

 And anyway, I deserved this. I had to carry the entire financial load while Travis was at home with the kids. I would need more wine. I made a quick detour to the bottle shop. 

I walked into work the next day with a sense of foreboding. I shook it off. I saw my reflection in the elevator mirror. I looked sensational. I was winning at this thing called life.

"Good morning!" I greeted colleagues who refused to meet my eyes. Outside my office, Veronica was absent. She was always there early. My stomach dropped. I glanced at the gold lettering on my office door.

SARAH JAMES 

Financial Manager

Then I saw them. My boss was approaching me with a subdued Veronica at his side.

I froze. Bated breath. It was all over. 


"You will do jail time," I was told. When I rang Travis he was livid. He was taking the kids and going to stay with  his parents. My whole world was crumbling around me. 


The last thing I remembered as I cleared my desk was Veronica's cold stare. 


THE END.

What do you think about silly old Sarah?

Do bills give you bated breath?