Writing 101 Day 19- Or what it means to turn forty

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                             Happy Birthday To Me!!

Forty? I have been alive for Forty years. Some people put a big emphasis on how old you are. I am not one of those people. Some believe that at Forty you are half way there. Half way where? Is it a pit stop in this race we call life. Am I meant to slide in, thinking

phew I’m half way there as I pour a glass of water over my head to cool down, take a deep breath and keep on running. Half way to the end. Death.

Some believe that 40 is a milestone indicating that you are a lot closer to the end than you think. The hay days are over, time to slow down, check out your super options, make

those final mortgage payments and start researching the less strenuous sports in your neighborhood. Bowls sounds good as you pack up the tennis racket and running shoes.

Image result for running shoes

For others it’s a sign to do something outrageous. Your last chance to be young. Take The CEO who buys a shiny sports car and starts banging his pretty young secretary. He looks at himself smirking at his own reflection, “yes old boy, you may be forty but you can still pull the babes” insert pat on ones own back. Meanwhile said babe is hoping for that long-awaited pay rise, oh and maybe a better car park. She hates having to walk so far in those heals everyday.

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Others start to panic, Oh No!! as they lament their lost youth, the wasted years, the money they didn’t save, the relationships they didn’t have, its to late, they are forty now, it’s all over. They drown themselves in their sorrow, then continue on as they always have only to do it all again at their fiftieth birthday.

Some forty-year olds think that OK they haven’t exactly looked after themselves but unlike their panicky peers they believe they still have time. Whilst their best mate is packing up his sporting goods they are signing up at the local gym. Scanning the internet for healthy eating ideas and reading books on Tai Chi, relaxation and yoga anyone?

Lots of single forty-year olds decide it’s definitely time to find a spouse. Been on any dating sites lately? Well I have and they are flooded with forty something year olds. Quick find a partner whilst you still can. I know a woman who hit Forty realized that she had not got around to having a baby and started having tons of sex hoping for a sperm to catch in the nick of time.

All of the above are commonly referred to as “The Mid Life Crisis” sound familiar. Yip, it’s that Mid again. Mid meaning the middle of our life, once again we are reminded that we are half way there. Half way where? Oh that’s right the end.

I however have a different view. I have always believed that the years we spend walking on this planet, the actual time period has no bearing on how ‘old’ u are. A young 20-year-old man, who I know and love dearly, happens to be one of the wisest people I know. Every word a pearl of wisdom.(love u son) A 40 something year old woman who dresses like a 14-year-old and plays with Furbys, bless her cotton socks (love u trailblazer)

I had my first son a week after I turned 17. Now i look back and think wow a baby having babies, far to young. Luckily for me and even luckier for baby I took to it like a duck to water, and there are just as many pros as there are cons to being a teenage mum {more of that to come in another rant]

My baby and me
My baby and me

I attended my year 12 pre formal drinks with my one year old son, I sat and smiled and sipped champagne as my friends discussed hair and makeup. i left before the limousine arrived feeling a whole lot older than my seventeen years. When I was twenty-two I found myself single with not one but two little guys who totally depended on me. My high school friends stopped calling, I was to busy thinking about money, teething, kindy gym, toilet training, money, time out chairs and controlled crying, to busy to offer a sympathetic ear to my beautiful twenty-two year old friend trying to decide what dress goes better with her new suede jacket Blue? or Green?

Now I am forty and I am trying to work out what I want to be when I grow up. The kids have left home and I feel like I have my whole life ahead of me. An amazing amount of metime to be who ever or whatever i want. I can also be found on occasion in dark noisy night clubs dancing with the other twenty year olds. And I am uming and arring about my new jacket Green? or  Blue?

Writing 101, Day Eleven: Size Matters

Ah 12.

1974, age 12,  6303 miles, 865 kilometers

How ironic that this should be the Daily Task’s chosen age.

Four houses, two Continents.

So lets start at the beginning.

A wide, sweeping,  tree-lined street. The Southern side, a private club. The city’s prestige golf course with sweeping greens, customary duck pond and variety of eucalyptus.  The houses across the road neatly lined up in a row.

Number 43.  I always thought that our house was quite small, by South African standards, at the end of the year however I was to realise how large it actually was.

Heavenly scented wine red Pappa Mayland roses line the faded green picket fence. The green brick house consisted of three large double bedrooms, dining room, massive lounge, study, and a big airy kitchen. Entry was via a glassed solarium with built in planter boxes lining the edges. Both the dining and lounge rooms had glass sliding doors leading outside to the pergola covered paved entertainment areas. Rolling green lawns led down to neat flower beds and three large trees guarded the high rear fence. On your right, the pool. A swimmers dream. In ground, deep, rectangular, and big enough for us to row our blow up canoes in. The other memorable feature in this house was the main bathroom. Plush, dark chocolate brown carpet covered the floors. Yes, in the Bathroom. One wall was completely covered in mirrored tiles and there where two steps up to the bath. Unforgettable.

Then the news arrived. Immigration granted. Visas approved. We where going on a 865 kilometer journey. Where? Australia! Where? Australia, here at the bottom of the globe.

First a two month stay, in a high rise flat at the beach. The twelve floor of twenty two overlooking the ocean. With wild winds howling up the staircases and crying around the lifts. Rows and rows of washing lines where the roof top gardens should have been. A pokey kitchenette and sitting room, two bedrooms and no bath. Our new home the size of our old lounge room.

Then flying for 22 hours, a restless night in Perth’s airport motel, flying for 4 hours and finally our new home. Adelaide. South Australia. The driest city in the driest state in the driest country in the driest continent of the world. Another beach side flat.

This flat was four streets from Glenelg. A popular beach side suburb where locals shopped and dined, sun-baked and swam side by side with tourists from all around the world.  On the second floor, our new home was much bigger than our last but still only two bedrooms and no bath. This new home the size of our old lounge room and dining room combined.

Our story ends with house number 4. Our final destination.

The Mount lofty ranges. A steep dolomite driveway with a screen of trees and shrubs. The tips of the red roof is all that can be spied from the street. A tidy, comfortable cottage. A hills hideaway. My own room again and a bath.  It had been five months since we had packed up all our belongings and it was like 5 Christmases and birthdays rolled into one as we rediscovering all the things we owned and loved. Then we embarked on a new journey. Forgetting South Africa and re creating a home. Our own Australian home.

Ah 12, If I had been born a male it would have been forever known as The Year My Voice Broke. It was not just the houses that changed that year, everything changed and that my friends is a story for another day, another post.

 writen for another 101 challenge

Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve.

Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.

Writing 101, Day Ten: Dinner With Gran,my 85 year old hero

My Scottish Grandmother is a diverse & vibrant lady.

Iris is amazing, she stills champions the bowels team, walks her little dog everyday, volunteers weekly at the local public hospital and Iris is 85 years young.

One of my favorite Gran stories goes like this:

Its World War 2, Gran is 17 years old and working with her girlfriends tending the wounded men. Along comes the dashing Dutch man, Jacob.

Iris & Jacob fall madly in love. Jacob proposes, then makes plans to go to a small village in the Scottish Highlands and ask James Miller for his lovely daughters hand in holy matrimony.

Only problem, Iris lied about her age when they first met and now has to inform the love of her life that her dear dad is not going to give permission for his underage daughter to wed.

I can only imagine the heart wrenching days and nights that Gran went through trying to pluck up the courage to confess knowing that there was a chance her prevarication could destroy her hopes of marrying Jay. Naturally Jacob was far to deeply in love and quite besotted with his bonnie Scottish Lassie to let age or a little white lie deter him.

But I digress for it is not love I am here to discuss it is Gran’s restaurant.

Memorable for many reasons

Maybe it was the crispy fried potatoes, cooked to perfection, or the steak Dianne. Maybe the garden salad with the Thousand Island Dressing or the creamy vanilla ice-cream topped with warm home-made chocolate sauce. The tall flickering candles in  a pair of  silver holders or the red checkered tablecloth. napkins. Yes all of the above could create the “best childhood meal’.

However it was Granny Iris.

Dressed in a full length apron, Gran would meet us at the front door and usher us to our seats. Using the HB pencil from behind her ear she would note down our orders on a little notebook found in her apron pocket. Calling us Sir and Madam, asking how we would like our steak cooked and whether we would want 6 potatoes or 10.

My younger brother would be stifling giggles behind starch linen napkins as I would place the orders with a big smile on my face. Gran never varied from her role, playing the perfect waitress with a delightful twinkle in her big brown eyes, serving up a delicious meal and only removing her apron once the table was cleared and my bother and I had blown out the candles.

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Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Writing 101, Day Nine: Changing Moccasins — Point of View

Men don’t cry. Ever. That’s the truth. That’s how I was raised. Yet here I am sobbing like a baby. Howling like a weeping woman and I do not have the luxury of blaming my hormones. I take  a deep breath of the crisp autumn air and then another. Oak leaves falling all around me. Wiped my nose on my sleeve because I didn’t carry a hankey, why?? because men don’t cry. I have to pull myself together. I have to pretend to Mum that this is a joyous occasion. I am not sending her away to die. I am sending her away to live. If that’s the truth, why I am crying?

Honestly David is being ridiculous. Mum is happily knitting, she doesn’t even know we are here and my brother is sobbing like a baby. Who said men are the stronger sex. What a joke. My whole entire life its been the woman off the family who have carried the family. I fumbled in my handbag, found my lighter, lit my smoke and checked the time. One hour & 27 minutes until school finishes. I had expected to have Mums washing blowing in the breeze before I had to pick up the kids but at the rate we are going I am going to have to send them to After School Care. I don’t understand his reluctance. We knew this time was coming, it’s for her own safety, it’s not like we are sending her away to die. This is the year 2014, a nursing home is the only option

What a lovely autumn day. The park looks so pretty. The leaves, orange and yellow and red, hmm lovely.  I’ll just finish my knitting and then I can go collect the kids from school. David is going to look lovely in this bright red sweater. I might pop in to the shop on the corner, buy some pork chops, that lovely lad, Tony? Andy? Tommy, oh blast what is his name.  Large man, lovely butcher, always gives me the best cuts even in the midst of a blasted war. All this trouble in Europe. My Harold, sent all that way to fight. Australians rising to King Georges aid. Oh my that poor man under the oak is crying, crying like a baby. Must have had a fight with his lady friend. Poor dear. What a hard woman she must be, he is sobbing and not a tear on her face, in face she looks rather annoyed. Well I think I will pack up my knitting and make my way to the train station. Harold will be home from work soon and he does love it when I meet the train.

A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

A Character-Building Experience

The first thing I noticed about him was the gun. Casually resting on his broad lap.

“Do we have to have that right there” I said

“What this?’ He gave the gun a reassuring pat

“Its OK, I’m not going to use it’ his smile lit up his face

“Well get rid of it” I snapped

Another smile as he put the gun away.

He was tall, very tall, and very well-built.

It was obvious he looked after his body as his muscles rippled under the tight white T-shirt. Blue jeans sat snugly on his hips and I couldn’t help but glance more than once at his sexy physique.

There was a presence about him. It wasn’t just his booming voice or his contagious chuckle that drew people to him. There was something else. Something more.

A wide sweet mouth, with a ready smile

Big strong hands, a gentle giant

Crystal blue eyes, like a blue sky on a blue day, epitomizes windows to his soul.

Eyes that never wavered, never left mine.

We talked, deeply, honestly, candidly. We talked from the heart

About life, love, justice about God, death and the meaning of the “White Light’

Sometimes we talked calmly, other times we raised our voices and spoke over each other, interrupting, debating, “will you let me finish?” “no”

We talked about jail, Robin Hood, lawyers & the legal system

About our children, how much easier they where when helpless babes in our arms

We talked about being wanted,  about the police and fleeing to Western Australia

About the Nullarbor, Esperence and  Desert sky filled with stars

For the first time in a long time I felt like someone actually understood me.

For the first time in a long time, someone was listening to my words

The next morning we said our goodbyes

He wrapped me up in a big bear hug, as I rested my head his heart beating strong in my ear I said “don’t lose your head and you wont lose your head”

“I wont, I promise”

Four days later he was dead

RIP Rodney Clavell

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Writing 101 Day 5- Be Brief

 

The wind blows it into my palm

I am captured

This is your last chance to save us.  You complete me. Save us.

I glance around

The man in the dark coat

Polished black

shoes, briefcase

Dense glasses

Hiding eyes

Hiding pain?

I glance around

Long blue dress

Floating, swaying

Lifting in the wind

Long red hair

Hiding eyes

Hiding pain?

The wind blows

my hand opens

I am released

101 challenge today “You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter. Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible”

Writing 101 Day 4- OMNIPRESENT part 1

Omnipresent, She had always loved that word.
Loved it long before the dictionary meaning had been read. Loved it the first time she heard it. Loved it long before she understood it and she only understood it once she experienced it herself.

The white light had not surprised her for Erika had been brought up in a good Christian Home with years of Sunday School and later Sunday Services. She only hesitated for a moment, glancing one last time at her loved ones.

Her young sons, Richard, staring straight a head with a single tear sliding down his pink cheek and the weight of the world on his seven-year old shoulders. Eugene, openly sobbing as he rested his head in his hands. Baby Donald, not understanding what all the fuss was about, more intent in pushing his matchbox fire engine up and down the prayer books & bible. Her dear husband strong and handsome the sunshine lightning the silver streaks in his greying hair, supported on each side by her identical twin Sisters. Erika cast her eyes over the packed church noting friends,family, work colleagues, even the parents of her children’s school friends.

She only hesitated for a moment before stepping in to the beam of white light. A ray of warmth, radiating peace, grace & harmony wrapped up in a cover of unconditional love.

Writing 101, Day Four: The Serial Killer-Part One