Thursday 31 January 2013

The year of yes

I joined the Finish Revolution, and thanks to Kidspot and Finish, I was invited to do a Masterclass with Coda's Adam D'Sylva. I love Coda - we spent a very leisurely afternoon eating a sensational meal there on one visit to Melbourne. However, when the email came through, my first reaction was to decline. You see, I don't cook. At all. The kids get sausages or things I can microwave, I can boil an egg or fry a fish, as long as it's forgiving like salmon but I can't whip up anything I would serve adult friends. I can't do that fancy chopping, I can't even cut a mango properly. The stone throws me everytime.
The big thing, though, is I have no interest in cooking. I find it dull. Along with ironing, it's an necessarily evil, but if I won lotto, I'd get a personal chef just to take over. I don't even watch Masterchef or any of the myriad of cooking shows, I hate just hearing about it.

So my immediate reaction was to decline.

However, as the Torshlusspanik list to some extent involves putting me into my discomfort zone, I've RSVP'd yes. I am working on the theory there will be a helper to help me, and then I can eat what we (the helper predominately) make, because I do like to eat. So that will make it worthwhile (always has to be some sort of payoff), and you never know, it may be easy enough for me to repeat and then I can start inviting people over for dinner to show off my new found skill. Each set of friends will only be invited once, as that will be the only meal I can make, but still, you have to start somewhere.

So while you are reading this, I am no doubt enduring an exercise in humiliation, while the other masterclassers hit their stride.

Torshlusspanik List:
1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (check)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet
5. Off road buggy driving
6. Play Assassins Creed
7. Jetpacking (check)
8. The Color Run (in training)
9. Invent something
10. Cooking masterclass - (too ambitious to say learn to cook a guest worthy meal, I doubt even the magical D'Sylva is skilled enough for that!)

This year, I'm trying to stop my automatic reaction to say NO and turn it into the year of YES, regardless of potential failure and embarrassment. If nothing else, it should make good reading...

Linking up With Some Grace for FYBF - see who else has here
First of the Month Fiction is up and running - pop over for a read and add yours here

Monday 28 January 2013

First of the Month Fiction - February

Again I am getting in a little early, as I'm a little under pressure this week and still not on top of the linky thing.  Straight into it this time.

For those that haven't heard, there are two categories - Exactly 100 words or less than 30 words. (see here for rules and examples). Post your stories in the comments section then link your blog in the linky thing so we can all subscribe or read more!

My friend, Sue Howard, author of Leaning Towards Pisa offered up this one in the 30 words:
A Seasonal Offering

His tongue moves urgently in her mouth.  It tastes of sour wine, brandy and mince pies.

No! she gasps.

He pins her to the table:  But I've been waiting all year ...

Mine is 100 this time:

"No," he said. "I didn't."
The interviewer glanced towards the mirror.
The question was repeated.
"I've already told you! Why do you keep asking me?"
The door opened, a new officer came in, whispered something, then left as quickly as he appeared.
"Shall we go back to the beginning?"
Tears of frustration welled in his eyes but he said nothing.
The light on the camera flashed in a mesmorizing fashion.
Eventually he said "I came home and she was gone. I don't know where she is!"
But he did know. He'd buried her body where it would never be found.

Add yours to the comments below and link back to your blog so we can see your style in it's true form...until next month...

Honey, I need a drink...

I was at a party the other week, talking to a very lovely and friendly stranger. Twice during the course of the night - I spoke to her at the start and again at the end of the night, she asked her husband to get her drink. There wasn't a bar where you queued and paid, it was backyard BYO, and she was drinking wine so there was no beer bottle in need of an opener. The first time she was even standing right next to the table where the wine was?! Is this a thing? I found it really odd, that she didn't just get it herself.

Do you do this? I totally understand that it could be my behaviour that is odd, and the whole world of women might do this, except me, so feel free to explain why you do this, if you do.

Joining up with Essentially Jess for IBOT, read more here.
Also a reminder that First of the Month fiction is looming, so give it a go! Rules are here.

Thursday 24 January 2013

Happy Australia Day - Do you celebrate?

I've been to parties and Big events (with a capital B) on the harbour to celebrate, and I think a few Big Day Out's were held on Australia Day, but truth be told, I don't really celebrate. I go with the flow on an extra day off.

Not for political reasons (sorry), not for any particular reason at all. That said, usually someone invites us to something they're hosting, or a concert they're attending and we join in, but I would be equally happy going to the movies or lazing round the house.

Now for someone who is easily excitable and throws a party for anything really (every year I have a party for the drawing of the Dakar Sweep - this is a car race in South America and I bully 45 of my friends into giving me money so I can run a sweep on it, so that I have people to talk to about it), I do find this odd. I'm very patriotic. I rang a bell at 3pm (or whenever it was) in celebration of the Federation of this great nation. I love this country and being Australian, but I don't really do anything specific to celebrate it.

This year, we have one of our many group getaways, and someone has organised a charity game of cricket, so we will be doing that (captive audience!) Link here to details to play cricket for kids with cancer, if interested in hosting your own.

What will you be doing to celebrate Australia Day? If you don't do anything, can you explain why? (Maybe your reason is my reason, and I just don't know it).

Linking up With Some Grace for FYBF. See what else people are talking about here. And drive safely, and Happy Australia Day to you all!

Monday 21 January 2013

There is nothing sadder than acting your age

I saw that quote on a note book and it made me smile. I have a friend who's daughter is my age (I actually have a lot of friends whose children are my age, but that's another story), and she once said she prefered to hang out with 'people my age' because we have more in common, and that friends her own age were becoming very dull, just wanting to complain about ailments or things they don't like in the world, and never wanting to do anything. They just seemed old and boring.  I remember being quite taken aback by her words, but from time to time, when sitting in a room of people, bored with the conversation, those words spring back into my head and make me smile. Ironically, I go and see more concerts with these friends who are now seniors than with any of my other friends. The woman often introduces me to new singers from around the globe, as she seems to know everyone's new music, a very handy friend to have.

Last night we went to see David Byrne and St Vincent. Byrne is still as quirky as ever, and while he's no longer a young man, you can see he clearly loves what he does, and has fun doing the show. There is a moment when he lays down on the ground for a song, popping up to sing lines, then laying back down. The quote jumped into my head. There is nothing sadder than acting your age. He's 60ish but still dancing around in his odd fashion and creating a visually entertaining performance. Not in a 'trying to still be cool' way, or in a desperate 'I'm still young and hip' way, but clearly comfortable in his skin, in a 'here I am, this is what I like to do' fashion.

I delight in reminding myself that aging doesn't have to be the way we tend to think of it, the way I sometimes panic about. The body might decline but the spirit doesn't have to.  Mind you, maybe it comes with a warning, as Byrne is most famous for singing "Watch out, you might get what you're after".

Linking up with #MLSTL

Sunday 13 January 2013

Peace Pilgrim down. Repeat, Peace Pilgrim down.

I'm going to ruin a good story for you, but indulge me. I'd had a lovely holiday, and tried to have a break from electronics (except ironically, my love for the Dakar meant I'd spent more time on twitter and facebook than ever before, getting updates from competitors and then joining in idle chatter along the way). I'd taken a note book to do some writing and it was still as pristine as when I'd packed it. I'd got it out and left it on the coffee table, as a nudge, but no avail.

I seemed to have lost all interest and inspiration.  I was beginning to wonder what I was doing and why was I even wasting my time. And then I heard this story.

We listened to podcasts on the way home, and one included This American Life. In this episode, there was the truly fascinating story of the Peace Pilgrim, not the original one, a latter day follower. The original Peace Pilgrim was a woman who walked in the name of peace for 28 years with nothing but the clothes on her back, relying on the kindness of strangers. Daryl Watson, a successful script writer with a crises of faith, decided to do the same. Download the fabulous & engrossing podcast (and please do, as Watson's telling really makes the story) or read on and I'll ruin a great story with my quick retelling for my own purposes. Three days after setting out, and sending a lovely email to all he knew explaining his actions, came the short missive "Peace Pilgrim down. Repeat, Peace Pilgrim down." The story is fascinating, highlighting among other things, the difference between an old white lady in the kinder society of the 50's and 60's and a young black man in the 21st century culture. The offers for help far between, the eye opening attitude of the priest and the deteriorating weather all lead to the final decision to give up the pilgrimage, having already given away all he owned and the contents of his bank account. He sees a billboard that says "it's OK to make mistakes as long as they're new ones."

Watson exudes a warmth that makes you root for him, and not want him to fail. He makes you understand where he was coming from, and why you would try such an exercise. You don't judge him at any point, it's just a great story.

How does this relate to me? I'm not doing anything nearly as lofty, but I am sitting in judgement on my shoulder, looking at stats and rejection letters (well, not many, as I've not sent anything off since October). Hearing those words, it's okay to make mistakes, as long as they're new ones, really comforted me. I want to be the kind of person who doesn't question why I do something, I just want to throw myself wholeheartedly into something because I want to, or feel I need to, for whatever reason that may be.  I need to remember I am trying something new for me, and so what if I fail? I can stop at any point, but it needs to be when I've exhausted the interest - my interest. And that's when you'll see the final post "Peace Pilgrim down. Repeat, Peace Pilgrim down."

Please note, more on this can be found on the podcast link above or on Daryl Watson's blog