Life in the Jungle – Chapter Five – Frank the Rapid-Fire Response Frog

A friend requested a story to fit her book of illustrations. The illustrations will follow in due course. It is a story with seven chapters (seven illustrations, that is) and the story starts here. In the meantime, I have sketched my impression of Frank (see below).

Frank the Rapid-Fire Reponse Frog

Frank the Rapid-Fire Response Frog

Frank, like all good frogs, was very good at responding quickly to things.

He saw things. He heard things. He felt things. He smelt things. He tasted things. All this before anyone else in the jungle saw, heard, felt, smelt or tasted anything. Frank was so quick that he almost knew things before they were things! Frank was amazing!

Frank liked to hop about – sometimes. He was a frog after all. A lot of the time, though, you’d find him sitting still on his favourite lily pad. Very quietly. Occasionally making a croaking noise. Just looking around. Blinking every now and then. Quiet. Peaceful. Still…

Then SNAP!

Before you knew it, he’d caught a fly! Before you even knew a fly was flying nearby, Frank knew.

SNAP!

There’s another one! Frank loved catching flies. None of the other animals in the jungle really liked flies. Which was just as well because Frank LOVED them! Frank was very good at catching flies and very fast! So even if any of his friends, say Gordon or Bernard or Barry, decided that they might like to try eating a fly – just once – well, they would never get a chance to. Frank would have caught it first.

It’s not that Frank was a selfish frog. He was willing to share the flies. He even tried his hand at baking and one day baked a batch of cookies. The animals in the jungle were very excited, thinking that the cookies looked like very yummy chocolate-chip cookies.

But, as they got closer to the pile of cookies arranged artfully on a nearby lily pad and garnished beautifully with a lotus flower, they smelt a funny smell. Actually, the smell wasn’t funny at all. It was awful! It turned out that the cookies didn’t have chocolate chips in them…those little black chunks in the cookies weren’t even raisins…well, you can probably guess what they were.

Still, it meant that Frank got to eat all the cookies himself. Which was just as well because Frank needed lots of energy being a rapid-fire response frog.

He certainly needed lots of energy on that particular day in the jungle.

There he was, sitting on his lily pad when, in the distance, he thought he heard…

SNAP! THUMP!

Then he heard the beating of wings as Lucy and Lynette the Lamenting Lyre Birds took flight. He knew that when they started to sing, something wasn’t right. He wasn’t really listening to all the words they sung (they were going on a bit!) but he heard the words he needed to hear.

‘Monkey’

‘Down’

MONKEY! DOWN! Maurice the Fun-Loving Monkey must have fallen off his swing, onto the ground!

Frank leaped into the action! Because that’s what Frog’s do! He needed to leap into action! Someone needed to!

Within seconds he got a sense of the crisis at hand. Maurice the Fun-Loving Monkey was lying silently on the ground. Bernard and Barry the Data-Collecting Bears had assessed the past and present risks and were starting on the future contingencies. Gordon the Complicated Giraffe was simply crying silently as he stood by the tree looking down at Maurice.

Somebody needed to DO SOMETHING! And that somebody was Frank!

Frank politely waited for Lynette and Lucy to stop singing (they were still going on a bit!). Then he took charge and made things happen!

‘Bernard and Barry! Do you have contact details for Doris the Consistently Caring Duck?’

They answered in unison, ‘Why yes, we do!’

‘Good! Get a message to Lucy and Lynette and ask them to fly over to Doris on the other side of the pond! Tell them to deliver the message in one sentence, without embellishment and with no poetry whatsoever!’

‘Gordon!’

‘Gordon!’

‘Gordon! Stop crying and listen!’

Gordon sniffed, for his nose was running. ‘Yes?’

‘Gordon! Dry your neck (for his neck was slick with tears) and bend down here and let’s get Maurice safely up on top of your head.’

‘Why?’ (for Gordon was often asking ‘why?’ about life, the universe and everything)

‘Gordon, now is not the time to ask why. The simple fact is that you have very long legs and will reach Doris faster than the rest of us. Take Maurice to Doris and all will be well.’

Gordon was happy with that. He had been given a purpose, a vision, a plan. He had also been reassured that things could all be well again. He had hope!

So Gordon took a deep breath (which was very deep because he neck was very long), wiped the tears off his head and neck, bent down, lifted Maurice up on his head, and walked with vision and purpose to see Doris.

All would be well!

Frank’s work was done! Doris would be prepared for Maurice’s arrival and she’d look after his long-term recovery.

Frank could now hop back onto his lily pad and wait for the next exciting crisis situation. In the meantime…

SNAP!

He was feeling quite hungry after all that work.

 

Tune in for the next chapter when Doris will do what she does best, caring with great patience and skill. Please feel free to leave questions, suggested changes, critique about the feasibility of the story, or other editorial comments below. This is a work in progress.

 

 

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Autumn – With Marcella #70 (of 466)

This afternoon I celebrated Autumn.

I didn’t deliberately set out to celebrate this beautiful season, but the celebration happened nevertheless.

I walked to my favourite fruit and vegetable store – the one I go to when I need only one of various different vegetables to create a meal. This often happens when I’ve been away and return home not knowing what to cook and feeling a little daunted by the prospect of going to do a ‘full shop’ at the supermarket.

To get to this favourite shop, I must walk down a couple of beautiful, tree-lined avenues which, at this time of the year, just happen to be blanketed in golden, fallen, autumn leaves.

I made a crunchy sound as I walked. The leaves, that was, not my hip joints.

Upon arrival at the shop, I purchased the necessary vegetables then spied my favourite kind of apples on display. I bought some.

One my way back, inspired by the sight and sound of the autumn leaves, I plucked an apple from my shopping bag and…

Crunch! I ate it.

I arrived home to start the not-at-all-arduous task of making Marcella’s ‘Lentil Soup with Pasta, Bacon and Garlic’.

 

Soft-focus effect from steam-covered camera lense

Soft-focus effect from steam-covered camera lens

 

Crunchy leaves, crisp apples, steaming soup.

Happy Autumn to me! To you also – if I’ve got your season right.

Tonight: #70 ‘Lentil Soup with Pasta, Bacon and Garlic’ with me at my table and autumn outside.

 

 

Life in the Jungle – Chapter Four – Lucy and Lynette the Lamenting Lyre Birds

A friend requested a story to fit her book of illustrations. The illustrations will follow in due course. It is a story with seven chapters (seven illustrations, that is) and the story starts here. In the meantime, I have sketched my impression of Lucy and Lynette (see below).

Lucy and Lynette the Lamenting Lyre Birds

Lucy and Lynette the Lamenting Lyre Birds

Lucy and Lynette, like all good lyre birds, had a gift for picking up on the sounds and sorrows around them and turning them into song.

Maurice the Fun-Loving Monkey was not having fun at this moment. His swinging adventures had some to a crashing end.

Bernard and Barry, his data-collecting friends were holding Maurice’s hands – one hand each – in their warm, comforting, reliable paws. Their risk assessment of Maurice’s swing had been correct, but when faced with another’s sorrow and suffering, things did not always add up in neat comforting formulas.

Gordon the Complicated Giraffe was trying so hard to make sense of it all. He knew that things fell from trees – leaves, for instance – but his friend had fallen and this was sad indeed. Gordon was feeling overwhelmed with the sadness of it all. The sorrow of things falling in a fallen world.

Maurice, Bernard, Barry and Gordon needed a song. They needed their painful groans, failing data and overwhelming sorrows to be given words and turned into song.

Their lamenting hearts took flight upon the soaring wings of Lucy and Lynette.

Then the Lyre Birds sang:

Sometimes we’re up and sometimes we’re down.

The fun-loving monkey lies there on the ground.

Bring him back! Lift him up! Fetch his paper party crown!

Our fun-loving friend lies moaning on the ground.

 

We can live in the moment, with our favourite things;

Those brown paper packages, tied neatly with string.

We can dream of the future, then watch all our plans

Unravel before us, string dangling from our hands.

 

He’s our song. He’s our joy. He’s our paper party crown.

Our light has gone out and lies extinguished on the ground.

The sky has turned dark, the pond has turned brown.

All our laughter and joy lies silent on the ground.

 

 The giraffe made connections. He dreamed lots of dreams.

But the dreams sometimes shattered or weren’t what they seemed.

The bears collected data and sang their counting song,

But their adding sometimes failed or the data was all wrong.

 

How long, our dear friend, must you lie without sound?

How long before your laughter and joy will resound?

Please may there be a good remedy found,

So our fun-loving friend can arise from the ground.

 

Remember your Maker while you lie silent there.

You’re held in his hands and safe under his care.

The plans of that Maker had all seemed to fail.

A crown made of thorns. A body full of nails.

 

Lift Him up! See Him there! Our friend in our place.

No smile, only pain, on our Maker’s lovely face.

He came back! He’s alive! Our life has been found!

He no longer lies silent and dead in the ground.

 

He’s our life. He’s our joy. He’s our crown. He’s our song.

He’s our hope for the future when the present seems wrong.

He lifts us on wings to fly like a bird,

To sing songs of praise that will ever be heard.

 

Once Lucy and Lynette and finished their song, everyone’s hearts felt lifted a little.

Maurice, however, was in need of some medical attention. Some crisis management was required.

Thankfully, Frank the Rapid-Fire-Response Frog was on a lily pad in the nearby pond, poised, ready to leap into action!

Tune in for the next chapter when Frank’s crisis response skills will be put to the test. Please feel free to leave questions, suggested changes, critique about the feasibility of the story, or other editorial comments below. This is a work in progress.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/imaginary-friend/

Life in the Jungle – Chapter Three – Bernard and Barry the Data-Collecting Bears

A friend requested a story to fit her book of illustrations. The illustrations will follow in due course. It is a story with seven chapters (seven illustrations, that is) and the story starts here. In the meantime, I have sketched my impression of Bernard and Barry (see below).

Bernard and Barry the Detail-Loving Bears

Bernard and Barry the Detail-Loving Bears

Bernard and Barry loved details and they loved collecting data.

They loved to count. One, two, three, four, five. They loved to add and subtract. They especially loved multiplying because, well, it made more numbers and numbers were such a source of delight.

They didn’t just love numbers. They loved collecting data. Bernard and Barry could tell you how many trees there were in the Jungle and how many different types there were. They could tell you this information because they had the amazing ability to collect information and then actually remember it!

Bernard and Barry were often misunderstood.

First, people would look at them and just see fuzzy, fluffy bears. They’d assume that Bernard and Barry had fuzzy, fluffy heads when, in actual fact (and Bernard and Barry loved actual facts!), they had the smartest, sharpest brains in the whole of the jungle.

Second, once people came to appreciate the smartness and sharpness of Bernard and Barry’s brains, they would assume that Bernard and Barry were not at all warm and fuzzy to be around, when in actual fact (and Bernard and Barry could would soon display concrete proof of this fact) they were two of the kindest, warmest animals in the whole of the jungle.

Bernard and Barry were the best kind of friends to have. Sometimes they seemed a bit fussy but it was because they wanted everything to be perfect. They wanted everyone to be safe. They wanted everything to be just right.

Bernard and Barry were looking up into the tree and everything was most certainly not perfect or right. Maurice the fun-loving Monkey was, in actual fact, very unsafe!

Maurice the Monkey was too busy swinging and laughing to notice Bernard and Barry on the ground below him. He was swinging too fast to see their worried faces. He was laughing too loudly to hear their words of warning.

‘Maurice! Come down, right now!’

And Maurice did…come down…in one great big crash!

As Maurice lay on the ground, tangled in the rope from the swing, moaning a little, Bernard and Barry very quickly calculated that now was not the time to tell Maurice why his swing hadn’t worked.

If Maurice had, some time ago, asked his dear, detail-loving, data-collecting friends, they would have been able to retrieve from their very smart and sharp brains the information they had once read on ‘How to Make a Tree Swing That Will Last a Lifetime’.

Bernard and Barry could have taught Maurice all about the different types of wood from the different types of trees but instead of using ‘weather resistant, rot-resistant, non-splintering wood’, Maurice had chosen to use the ‘thin, easy-splitting pine shelving’ from his grandmother’s garden shed. Bernard and Barry could have warned Maurice about the pitfalls of using ‘natural-fibre manila rope’ as they remembered reading that it would ‘rot in time and break when least expected.’

It did rot and it did break.

But to Bernard and Barry it was not at all unexpected.

Bernard and Barry drew on their stores of knowledge gathered in the ‘Counselling 101’ course they had once signed up for and they refrained from saying anything to Maurice at that particular moment.

Instead they knelt down beside him on the ground and they were silent. Bernard held Maurice’s left hand and Barry held his right hand.

Then they waited for Lucy and Lynette the Lamenting Lyre Birds to start their comforting song of sorrow and regret.

Tune in for the next chapter when Lucy and Lynette will sing the words we all long to hear when things haven’t quite turned out the way we planned. Please feel free to leave questions, suggested changes, critique about the feasibility of the story, or other editorial comments below. This is a work in progress.

 

Inspiring and Lovely

At my table, this morning, I sat wedged between two awkward conversations at the tables either side of me. It was a very small cafe and so the conversations were not only very awkward but also very close.

On one side, I had three girls discussing their various food intolerances. That would have been fine. I could have tolerated that. Except that then one made mention of how she was ‘really sick’ when she introduced a certain food back into her diet after a break. Her fascinated table companion then asked what she meant by ‘really sick’. Well, I won’t interrupt your quiet sojourn at your table to fill you in on the details…

I was just beginning to zone out of that conversation and start to focus on catching up on my required course reading ‘How People Change’, when a mother and son arrived to sit at the table next to me. The awkwardness reached a whole new level.

It was all your worst nightmares about generation gaps, teenage self-esteem, needy mothers, frustrated but loving sons, conflict management, awkward silences, Mars and Venus – all wrapped up into one!

I don’t normally have the urge to interrupt people’s conversations at neighbouring tables. Actually, I do. I did manage to resist, but there were so many things I wanted to say. So many books I wanted to recommend. So many questions and conversation starters I wanted to contribute in order to overcome the awkwardness.

Then I remembered that I wasn’t Doctor Phil and that, actually, they hadn’t asked me to pull my table 10 centimetres over and join them for Eggs Benedict.

So I went back to trying to read my book.

It didn’t take me long to reflect that the awkwardness I felt sitting between two tables of awkwardness was because their struggles with mistakes and intolerances and the desire to reach out and connect with the world, were my struggles too.

It felt pretty hopeless sitting there between the tables. I refrained from ordering a second coffee, but I did finish the chapter I was reading my book. The chapter reminded me with startling clarity that the only hope for change – at my table and their’s – was Jesus Christ, one who gives new life. He comes to take up residence in our hearts and gives us the power to become the people he made us to be. He gives us the help to change. We don’t have the strength to do it ourselves – not for much longer than the gap between the delivery of a latte and a toastie, anyway.

We needed his help at all three of our tables!

We also need the encouragement of others. Perhaps I should have lent across and joined in the conversation? Probably not. But it did make me reflect on how we long for feedback and advice and encouragement and connection to help us through this life that can be very awkward at times.

Over the past few months, I’ve been nominated for two blogging awards. As far as I can tell these are not official ‘awards’ but rather friendly ways of connecting bloggers with one another and recommending sites that you’ve enjoyed.  For me, it’s not so much the award nomination, as it is knowing that someone has read what I’ve written and found it helpful in some way.

I’m meant to nominate fifteen other blogs for the awards – but I’m afraid I’m still finding my way around this world of blogging. I can say with all honesty that the two women who nominated me have been two of the most inspiring writers I’ve read as I’ve been on this little journey of discovery. I’ve also been introduced to bloggers that they enjoy. Take from the sticks to the bricks and back again as an example. So I’m delighted to mention them here.

Thank you to Chaos Girl for nominating me months ago for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I have missed reading your posts recently. They often hit home right when I needed them. Hope to hear from you soon!

Thank you to The Reluctant Baptist for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award. I have enjoyed your different perspectives on life and faith and, as you know, your words have been quite poignant for me at times.

Though it can feel lonely at times, this blogging business, it has been an unexpected pleasure to read the thoughts of strangers who are both like-minded and different to me. I shall continue to enjoy that.

The reflections of these new blogging friends, and the reflecting I do with Jesus at the centre of my life renewing and changing me, shall travel with me alone, with friends, or wedged between two tables of awkwardness.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/circuitous-paths/

 

Life in the Jungle – Chapter Two – Maurice the Fun-Loving Monkey

A friend requested a story to fit her book of illustrations. The illustrations will follow in due course. It is a story with seven chapters (seven illustrations, that is). In the meantime, I have sketched my impression of Maurice (see below).

This chapter was written while babysitting for some friends. I got to sit, curled up on the lounge, by the fire, while the kids slept. No children’s book was plagiarised in the making of this chapter…not that I know of, anyway.

Maurice the Fun-Loving Monkey

Maurice the Fun-Loving Monkey

Maurice was a fun-loving monkey.

While Gordon the Complicated Giraffe was thinking and thinking, Maurice was playing and playing.

Maurice liked playing a lot. He loved talking too, but he mostly liked talking about playing. He didn’t much like playing on his own, so he would talk about playing to others until they agreed to join in playing with him.

Maurice was fun to play with. Most of the time.

Sometimes Maurice liked to explore new games and see if they were as fun as the old games. They usually were. Sometimes they were even better! Maurice loved it when that happened! Sometimes he invented new games all by himself. Though he always invented games where others could join him. Maurice didn’t like playing by himself.

One day, as Gordon was standing by a particularly large tree, thinking about trees and how amazing it was that the leaves fell off and grew back just at the right time, his thinking was suddenly interrupted by a loud squeal and then lots of laughing.

It was Maurice the Monkey! He had just had the first swing on his brand new swing. He made the swing all by himself. He was pretty excited about it. So excited that he felt he just had to tell someone about it. That someone just happened to be Gordon, because Gordon just happened to be standing beside that particular tree.

Gordon had been too busy thinking about trees to notice Maurice’s noisy building of the swing in that tree and now it was too late to get away.

‘Gordon! I say, Gordon! You’ve got to take a look at this swing! Look! I can swing baa-aa-ck and fo-oo-rth! It’s am-aaaaa-zing! I know, you’re thinking, “That’s what swings do, Maurice”, but I’m telling you, this swing is better than any swing that has ever been swung on before. It’s so fast and it’s so high up in this tree. Gordon! Gordon! You’ve got to have a go!’

Gordon was not so much a fun-loving giraffe. He liked fun, most of the time. But the fun had to be safe fun. Maurice’s swing did not look very safe. It was made from some very thin rope and a very thin piece of wood to sit on. The rope really was very thin! Gordon was thinking ‘I’m not sure that Maurice has really thought this through…’

Besides, Gordon was too tall to have a go on the swing. He always had been too tall for swings. His legs were too long and his feet would scuff along the ground. He never did think swings were that fun.

Maurice thought his swing was very fun! He was telling everyone about it! Anyone who’d listen.

There were two bears on the ground below the swing, looking up into the tree. They were listening. They were also thinking very sound, very sensible, very scientific thoughts. While Maurice was swinging and talking and squealing and laughing, the two bears were doing a risk assessment of Maurice’s swing.

Gordon had thought that the swing didn’t seem very safe.

The two bears, Bernard and Barry, knew for a fact that this swing was not at all safe. Their risk assessment would soon prove to be correct.

Tune in for the next chapter when Bernard and Barry will give their scientific reasoning for why Maurice’s swing was not safe. Please feel free to leave questions, suggested changes, critique about the feasibility of the story, or other editorial comments below. This is a work in progress.

Life in the Jungle – Chapter One – Gordon the Complicated Giraffe

A friend requested a story to fit her book of illustrations. The illustrations will follow in due course. It is a story with seven chapters (seven illustrations, that is). In the meantime, I have sketched my impression of Gordon (see below).

This chapter was written while dining in the elegant, warmly-welcoming Lock’s Brasserie. I dined there through the generosity of my parents who wished me a restful and happy holiday.

My artistic 'impression' of Gordon

My artistic ‘impression’ of Gordon

Gordon was a complicated giraffe.

He used to like to think he was, but recently his friends had been telling him he was ‘complicated’, saying it in a manner which suggested this wasn’t such a good thing.

Being complicated meant that Gordon did a lot of thinking. He thought a lot. He thought and thought and then – he thought some more. Sometimes he thought so much that his head began to hurt, just a little bit.

He didn’t just think about one thing and then move onto thinking about another thing. As he thought about one thing, another thing would pop into this head and he’d think about those two things together. He’d notice patterns and connections between those two things. Then sometimes he’d think of a third thing! The patterns and connections would make him feel happy, amazed and confused all at the same time.

Gordon had a friend who was very clever. He knew a lot about trees. He actually knew a lot about everything but especially liked to talk about trees. Gordon’s friend could tell, just by looking at a tree, what type of tree it was. He even knew the names of the trees. He could look at an oak tree and say ‘Gordon, my friend, that there is an quercus robur.’ Gordon simply thought it was ‘lovely’.

Gordon didn’t really notice trees that much. He knew that a tree was a tree and not, say, a lamppost. He knew that trees had leaves that were good to eat. There was one tree that had leaves that tasted a little bitter and he knew to avoid that tree. Otherwise  he didn’t know much about trees at all.

He thought about trees though. He thought about them a lot. One of his favourite things to do was to start thinking about trees, then think about their leaves and how, at certain times of the year, in some parts of the world, the leaves would change colour and then fall off the trees.

His friend, who was very clever, could tell you all about why the leaves changed colour and what made them fall off and what caused the new leaves to grow in Spring. He had already told Gordon all about it, but Gordon couldn’t remember what his friend had said. It was all very detailed and scientific.

Gordon didn’t know very much about trees but he did like to think about them.

He loved thinking about those special trees in other parts of the world – how, during the summer, they would have lots of green leaves when the weather was warm and the sun was shining. Gordon thought it was wonderful that just when you might want some shade to rest from the sun’s heat, there were leaves to give you shade!

Then, when the air got colder and the sun didn’t shine as much and when you wanted to feel as much of the sun’s warmth as you possibly could – well, then, the leaves would have fallen from the trees! There was no shade any more – but you didn’t want shade anymore!

It was amazing!

Sometimes, Gordon would even start thinking about who it was that might have thought of all the trees in the first place. Whoever made the trees – and the special leaves that fell off and grew back with perfect timing – must have been very clever! Even more clever than Gordon’s friend. He must have been very kind too.

Gordon did get tired sometimes from thinking too much.

Though he never got tired of thinking about the trees and the leaves and the sun and the shade and the clever, kind maker of the trees.

He never got tired of that!

He did, however, just occasionally, get a little tired of hearing the endless chatter of his neighbour, Maurice the Monkey.

Tune in for the next chapter when Maurice the Monkey and his slightly troublesome relationship with Gordon the Giraffe will be further explored. Please feel free to leave questions, suggested changes, critique about the feasibility of the story, or other editorial comments below. This is a work in progress.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/finite-creatures/

 

 

The Solace of Simplicity – With Marcella #69 (of 466)

I am presently in need of simplicity.

Thus, I have been having dinners of leftovers from the freezer, making much use of the humble egg on toast and loving the return to porridge for breakfast each morning.

I haven’t made much headway with the Marcella project in the past week or so. So, after tiring of food eaten out (a little too rich) and food eaten from the freezer (a little too microwaved), I thought I’d give Marcella’s much-praised ‘Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter’ a whirl.

Simplicity itself! Open a tin of tomatoes and plop them into a saucepan. Peel and halve an onion and plop that in. Slice off a chunk of butter and plop that in. Simmer gently for 45 mins. Boil some pasta. Remove onion halves. Pour sauce over pasta.

It was delicious! So perfectly tasty and simple.

Last Monday I had made use of my first ever batch of Chicken Stock and made the Malouf’s ‘Golden Chicken Soup with Coriander, Garlic and Parsley’. I had three friends join me and we enjoyed every spoonful of it. Chicken soup truly is good for one’s body and soul.

My soup was not so ‘golden’ and for the life of me I couldn’t locate where the coriander came into it – until the next day I realised that there was a call for a blob of ‘Taklia’ at the end….I’d missed that. Taklia is a paste with coriander and garlic. Still, it was yummy as it was.

Golden Chicken Soup with Coriander, Garlic and Parsley

Golden Chicken Soup with Coriander, Garlic and Parsley

 

I’ll try revisiting ‘Saha’ before this month is out and the Cookbook Guru moves on to another book.

Tonight, though, I will be having the leftover pasta and sauce from last night – microwaved and all!

Last Monday: #69 ‘Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter’ with just me at my coffee table.

 

 

Is it a ‘Stigmatism’ or an ‘Astigmatism’?

She looked deep into my tired, dry and twitching eyes and told me something for nothing.

It was a free eye test.

She told me I had beautiful, healthy eyes but that those eyes needed to take me on a holiday.

I reassured her that I and my eyes had holiday plans in our sights.

She told me I had an astigmatism. I’d been told of this condition at my last visit to an optician.

But this woman had further insight:

‘An astigmatism means you’d be more of a portrait artist than a landscape painter.’

‘Why, yes! When I used to paint, I did prefer to paint portraits. I’m more interested in people than landscapes.’

Then, with long-distance vision she saw deep into my soul and pronounced:

‘So then, you and your eyes will be going on a city break…not a holiday on a tropical island.’

I had come for a free eye test and got more than I’d bargained for.

My beautiful, healthy but dry eyes moistened a little at the ironic insight of this optician.

She’d seen deep into my soul, or so it seemed.

But then they say that hindsight is 20/20.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/dictionary-shmictionary/

 

A Friend in Need – Indeed!

In my younger years, I could never quite grasp the proverbial affirmation that ‘a friend in need was a friend indeed.’

I wondered how a friend that had needs could be much of a friend to me – certainly not to the extent that warranted an ‘indeed’

Or was it that a friend that is there for me when I was in need was a friend indeed?

Or was it that a friend who was to help me in my time of need would have to be a friend in deed?

Anyway, all this to say that in the last couple of days I have had some friends in my need and they have been friends indeed and in deed!

Friends sent a new magnetic fridge poetry set to replace the one I had lost in an episode with no poetic justice to speak of.

There's only one 'friend' and no 'indeed' in the set.

There’s only one ‘friend’ and no ‘indeed’ in the set.

They sent the poetic magnets via friends who offered ears (to listen) and a beautiful meal (to eat).

A friend dropped by earlier today with cheery pink flowers from her garden.

My housemate (admittedly without prior consent, but later willingly) supplied the requisite tin of tomatoes and tablespoon of tomato paste to add to this soup:

Poetry and Soup 003

Spicy Tomato Soup

 

Inspired by the Cookbook Guru to explore the cookbook of the month, ‘Saha’, I made the ‘Spicy Tomato Soup’ for dinner last night and had leftovers just now for my lunch.

I actually remembered to take a photo of it (long-time readers of this blog will know that I’m trying to make an effort here) and I thought that I was being all ‘foodie-arty’ by adding a garnish of parsley….but then realised that I must have been subconsciously inspired by the blog post with photo that I had seen this morning. Take a look and judge for yourself.

Tonight I have a friend coming over for a simple dinner of chicken soup. I made the stock last night, from the recipe in ‘Saha’. It was made from the frozen (and defrosted) carcasses and bones from past ‘Marcellan’ meals.

I’ve never made chicken stock or chicken soup before.

I’ve heard it’s good for you in times of need 🙂