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Rated: 18+ · Book · Personal · #2017254
My random thoughts and reactions to my everyday life. The voices like a forum.
I do not know quite what happened or when , but my hubby and I now qualify for seniors' discounts at some venues. This creates a quandary; in order to save money, but not face, we have to admit to our age. HMMMM..... We definitely do not consider ourselves to be old. In this day and age ,when people as a whole are living longer and healthier lives why are 'young seniors', those in their fifties, like moi, considered 'old'?? It's so true that age is just a perception! "Maturity" is very objective/subjective, and I object! Whew, a few years have skittered by since I composed this biography block. Those "fifties" are in the rear view mirror and they are distant, fond memories. Oh, I do not plan to stop writing any time soon.
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September 3, 2020 at 11:46am
September 3, 2020 at 11:46am
PROMPT September 3rd

Describe a time when your work was criticized. How did you react?

         Ack, criticism! It does exist. Everyone has an opinion and too many are only too happy to share it. There are experts on any subject who walk amongst us. Some actually make the air quotes with their hooked fingers and claim it's "helpful criticism." How often do we hear, "it's for your own good." Some try to soften their critique with a shrug and "it's only my opinion, but."
         At times, my word choices are questioned. "Did you mean to use that word?" "Why can't you just say said?" Or my personal favourite, "this is too wordy." "I can't pin you down. You write with American words, but then you throw in British words and I'm confused."
         I brush it off. I only reply to specific points. Yes, I intended to use that particular word and I am well aware of its meaning(s). Why simply use 'said' when there are so many choices other than that tired word. Others have stronger connotations and can describe a character, their motivations, their mood, and more. Yes, I admit wordy can be an issue, but with a short story and its word limit I am well aware of my limitations. Each word has to count in more ways than one. I often think of speech patterns when I write and not everything is included as dialogue. Not every speaker gets straight to the point, or minimizes their expressions. Why does it matter what my nationality may be? I recognize different spellings and usages when I read. I accept them. Americans have decided that the letter 'u' is redundant in a few words and that is their issue.
         All this being explained, I don't receive much criticism. I take what I do get with a grain of salt. Not everyone intends to be critical or mean. Perhaps they find it difficult to pin point what they do not like. Maybe they lack the ability to explain themselves. Some are writing and reading in English and that is a second, or third language for them. Ah, the nuances of tricky English! Most of us limit our reviews and critiques. If we wish for them to be noticed, our message cannot be too lengthy.
         One comment, and is it a subtle jab, a true criticism, that I've puzzled about is this. "That's funny. Did you intend to be funny?" Is this sarcasm? Am I missing something? Yes, 'most' of my humour is intentional and I am grateful that it did tickle a funny bone. I worry more about the humour impaired, but, yep, I realize funny is not everyone's cup of tea.
         Nothing about writing is static. Words can be rearranged. Grammar can be manipulated. Anything I commit to my writing can be altered over and over. At some point, I simply let it go. If I do not than nothing is achieved. Other ideas rumble about demanding to be acknowledged.
September 2, 2020 at 12:38pm
September 2, 2020 at 12:38pm
PROMPT September 2nd

Be inspired by this quote: "Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning." - Mahatma Gandhi

         Sigh. This amazing quote deserves something profound from me. I should write far more than I believe it, or that it sends the same message as the story about the little train learning to chug-chug "I think I can, I think I can." Who spouted "all things are possible"? This is where I stopped and consulted the all-knowing Google. This is a great excusetime to regather my thoughts and think.
         Okay... According to the all-powerful and wise search engine, the above phrase is popular and requoted, or rephrased if you will over and over. Some choose to begin with "anything is possible." Okay, semantics. A Constance Zimmer had this to say. "That's why I think life is so incredible, right? Anything is possible. You can be one way one day, and then you can have one experience that could be tiny-itty-bitty or big, and it can shift your whole focus and your whole life."
         Isn't this why writers write? We attempt to rearrange words into meaningful stories. One random day we may experience a Eureka moment. We never give up. We can and do alter settings, characters or what have you to create a vessel for our messages. Sometimes, employing a different verb or its alternate tense changes things. Using the perfect adjectives/descriptors to paint a scene or set a mood is key, but all of them can be discarded in an instant. No matter what we create it can always be better. We are willing to strive and edit. We are always vigilant, listening and watching the world around us. We believe we can wield words and the more we manipulate them the more that certainty grows.
         I believe many of us, that is to say adults, have lost our natural instinct to attempt things over and over without question. Yes, life can be harsh and demanding. Yes, we try and fail. Yes, we can be momentarily weak and doubtful. We experience our good days and our bad. Often we learn to choose our battles and let extraneous 'things' slide. Basically, we struggle to maintain some sense of balance.
         Remember what it was like to be an infant, or a toddler? Everything was new to us, but we rolled with it. We had this strong need to be mobile and move about under our own steam and whims. We struggled to pull ourselves up into a standing position. We fell. We repeated the process, over and over. Eventually, we ventured forth on our virgin feet. We wobbled, we swerved, we swayed, but we never gave up. Sure, we stumbled and lost our footing. Too many times we tumbled and landed, hard, on the ground. We picked ourselves up. We never considered defeat. We were not quitters. We pushed ourselves to succeed. We continued one step at a time.
         Today, I am by no means an expert walker. I still struggle with it, but at least I am somewhat mobile. I believe in the tried and true method of practice makes perfect. If I think I can, the legs will too. They may bawk and grumble, but they are included in every sortie.
         I am not an expert writer or a magician with words, but I dabble. Each time I string a few of them together, I am attempting to create a cohesiveness, a clarity. Have I acquired the capacity? Perhaps, but I intend to continue.
September 1, 2020 at 1:23pm
September 1, 2020 at 1:23pm
PROMPT September 1st

Happy 20th Birthday, WDC! *Shock2*

I know this is cheesy, but I have to do it... In your entry today, write about what you love about Writing.Com. How have you grown as a writer? How are you (as a writer) different from how you were when you first joined this site? Thank the members who helped you get where you are today.

         Happy Birthday WDC! *StarfishR* Wow, twenty years old? You've left those awkward teenagetears years in your rear view mirror. When I turned twenty, I'd been married for a year, but I digress. Other 'things' clambered for my attention back then and so I did not write...anything. Well, that's not entirely accurate. I wrote and endorsed the odd cheque from a joint back account. Who even uses that form of payment any more? On occasion, I mailed out a letter, or snail mail as we now know it. Okay, okay, to be more specific I did not compose poems or stories at that time in my life.
         To be twenty is to burst with possibilities. Not yet jaded or weary. Not yet sagging and lagging. Enthusiasm and energy abound.
         WDC has this in spades. This site oozes acceptance and encouragement. A plethora of activities and contests promote writing. Pressure to join in does not exist. Any pace is acknowledged. Fellow scribblers, peers, are free to read and critique whatever they wish. Many giving members host a variety of venues that showcase specific styles of writing.
         In my six years wandering this site, I have visited and enjoyed several creative outlets. Making that first tentative step into blogging has fueled my creativity. Responding to daily prompts delays procrastination. I make an appearance and I participate. It's not as cutthroat as sink or swim, but I do discover words and thoughts to buoy me and keep me afloat.
         I recently tagged along with a group of intrepid bloggers in a virtual ,whirlwind , thirty-day tour of the world. It is fun to pretend to be exploring and experiencing different cultures and landscapes. I lived the life of a travel writer, a tourist, a thrill seeker, a back packer, a camper, and a no-expenses spared jet setter. As if I'd actually been present, I now have many memories to draw on and use to inspire future creative tales. Thank you for your incredible organization skills and your wonderful spirit Witchy woman . I love the lack of jet lag.
         Here's to at least twenty more years of sharing and inclusivity WDC.
August 30, 2020 at 2:35pm
August 30, 2020 at 2:35pm
Day 30 Montreal, Quebec, Canada
         This is the closest I've been to home in thirty days, one province over. There is no time for relaxing, not just yet. This final day of the virtual tour awaits. Bonjour Montreal!
         Oui, The Four Seasons Hotel looks comfortable and inviting, but I am in a rush to explore. Time is awastin'. When I return later I will check out the pool and the third floor lounge/bar. My feet will want to be propped up then.
         How could I resist a Barbie Expo? That iconic doll and I share a birth year and I must say she appears to be aging....not at all.Not so much as a wrinkle, or grey hair mars her appearance. Her ever present smile does seem to be plastic, but, hey, I shouldn't be catty.
          Wow, Barbie and her entourage rate a first class glitzy display at Les Cours Mont Royal, an upscale shopping mall. She is decked out in designer duds, traditional national dress, vintage rags, Star Trek costumes, and movie ensembles. This is the first time she has portrayed The Flintstones, I Dream of Jeannie, Mary Poppins and more. That girl knows how to turn heads. No matter what she chooses to wear, Barbie is elegant. The haute couture look is not my style.
         Saying au revoir to Barbie I embark upon a walking tour of Vieux Montreal. I stroll and gawk for two hours.
         Nothing prepared me for the next adventure. I should have had an inkling when I was loaned a bright yellow raincoat. The last time I donned a plastic poncho I was tossed about a ship rolling under Niagara Falls. This time, I willingly stumbled onto a jet boat with the name Saute Moutons. Oh oh, that is French for leap frog... Wow, gasp, sputter!!
         I swallowed mouthfuls of water as the jet boat dived into waves, spun 360 degrees, screeched into tight turns and sped through the Lachine Rapids. I screamed. I hollered. I woo-hooed. What adrenaline pumping fun! It was like a wet and wild rollercoaster.
         Back on dry land, I dripped as I waited for my legs to adjust to moving under their own steam. The water felt invigorating.
         I rounded out my day at a posh restaurant, Tandem. I'd made a quick foray to a liquor store to purchase wine for this meal. Imagine a BYOW policy. All of us bloggers toasted Witchy woman . Bravo and merci! We ignored the stares of the other patrons. We are squawkers and proud of it. Around the world in a whirlwind thirty days and no jet lag whatsoever. Now I have beaucoup de virtual souvenirs to unpack and virtual pics to share. Au revoir my fellow travelers.
August 29, 2020 at 6:51pm
August 29, 2020 at 6:51pm
Day 29 Charlotte, North Carolina
         Whew! The miles, or in my case, the kilometres are adding up.Sniff, sniff. This virtual trip is drawing to a close.
         Witchy woman Didn't we terrorize Europe with Segways? Did we not learn anything? Sigh, okay, I've got it in me to attempt the fine art of Segway manipulation one more time. The bruises have healed and the screams of terrified pedestrians have faded. So, once again I nodded in deep concentration as a guide went over the basics. Apparently, it is supposed to be simple, steer and hang on. Yes...
         I was thrilled that I met, no surpassed, the criteria for Segway customers. I never wear a hat, so check for me. I am most definitely over 100 pounds, but I do not exceed 260 pounds. Great, I am heavy enough, but not overly heavy. I must be 12 or older to operate this fine piece of tourist machinery, check. Was there a line in the indemnity waiver that asked if I was of sound mind? No matter, I mounted my Segway, closed my eyes in silent prayer and proceeded to roll along. Just in time, I remembered to open my eyes and steer. Oh, I heard the snickers, but my hands could not rudely reply because they were busy with a white-knuckled grip.I felt like one of those toy Weeble Wobbles.
         Did I notice the Queen City sights pointed out by the enthusiastic guide? Maybe, some...I recall a blur of traffic lights, honking vehicles, and scattering pedestrians. A constant roar accompanied me, too. That might have been my elevated heart rate and blood rushing to my extremities anticipating a higher stress load. My balance is a rarely used skill.
         Despite my transport preoccupation, I did enjoy the Airing Out the Dirty Laundry exhibit at the Mint Museum. I found it clever and poignant. Women are invited to share their life stories by hanging them on a clothesline.
         I loved the Charlotte Comedy Bus Tour on the open air, red, funny bus. I could just sit, listen, and laugh. The constant patter and adult-only humour from the guide brought the city history to life. I like the motto, " laugh and learn with us." The improv was great.
         The stop for burgers and shakes refreshed me. Who doesn't like a 'spirited shake?' I never did taste the Chunky Elvis. I'm just guessing, but did it contain p.b. and bananas?
         What a perfect ending to a whirlwind day, a beyond the grave haunted tour. Stalking the streets in the evening with a lantern is entertaining. Don't all cities have a creepy, morbid history? My segway sortie haunted me.Oh, the near misses...
August 28, 2020 at 12:28pm
August 28, 2020 at 12:28pm
Day 28 Belize
          Belize is a delight. Balmy breezes, beaches, sparkling turquoise water, broad smiles greeted me. Since this is a virtual tour and I cannot offend or startle anyone, I revel in letting it all go to strut about in a bikini and flip flops. In my mind, I blended in and besides I felt comfortable. It's a laid back beach culture here.
         No time to explore or lounge at the Island Magic Beach Resort Caye Caulker. What I glimpsed before I rushed off looked inviting.
         OMG!! Who developed the concept of tubing through caves? Brilliant! I didn't resent lugging my inflatable neon orange tube through a lush, green rain forest. I anticipated the fun and unique experience. I did laugh a little when all of us were ordered to don helmets with miners' lights attached to them before we began our gentle float in amazing green water. Their practical application became apparent when I slipped into a dark, cool cave. The beams danced on the water and illuminated stark rock. A few times the different tubes nudged each other in a game of tag.
         This adventure morphed into zip lining 120 feet up in the humid air. I soared above and through a lush, emerald canopy and I swooshed over flowing, sparkling water. It felt as if I were flying in brief spurts of adrenalin.
          I opted to enjoy a flight over the natural phenomenon, the Great Blue Hole. Incredibly, it does resemble a dark blue, round hole, or eye in the green/turquoise ocean. The blues and greens seen from this perspective are gorgeous.
         I am grateful that most of our jaunt this evening happened along soft, forgiving sand. Even without imbibing, I am a tripping, stumbling klutz. Add the intention, the main focus of a pub crawl, and my co-ordination is non-existent. Oh, the rum went down smoothly, but it was disguised by sweet fruit combinations. I made new friends, inebriated fun seekers. After a few refreshments, we were all attempting to speak pirate and balance broad-brimmed hats on our numb heads. A few brave, hearty souls wore the black eye patches. Wait, I seem to recall Witchy woman sporting one of those eye patches and her other eye squinting. Thank goodness no one suggested we try walking on a peg leg!
August 27, 2020 at 1:50pm
August 27, 2020 at 1:50pm
Day 27 Brasilia, Brazil
          Today takes me on an architectural tour of Brasilia. This city has much to offer.
         My first reaction to Catedral Metropolitana was one of awe. I stared. I gawked. I gaped. This building is a thing of beauty and originality. It resembles a white coronet or crown rising from the earth and at first glance it doesn't appear to be large at all. Looks are indeed deceiving. The entrance is underground and this is where much of the vast cathedral hides. Some say this is like entering a UFO.
         Blue and green soaring glass walls give a kaleidoscope effect. Angel figurines are suspended from the impressive ceiling. The separate bell tower is certainly unique in its design, too. It almost looks like a candelabra with the bells placed where candles would sit.
         Oscar Niemeyer designed the cathedral and the next edifice on my tour, Itamaraty Palace. (As a side note...if I read the commemorative plaques correctly, Niemeyer lived to the grand age of 104?) This building is the headquarters for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and it showcases Brazilian artwork. Outside there is a reflecting pool filled with plants. Inside lush green gardens abound. Also known as Palace of the Arches, Niemeyer's creation features a stunning, floating staircase that rivals sculpture in its beauty. There is so much to view and appreciate here.
         The third bit of architecture I toured is the Templo da Boa Vontade, or The Temple of Good Will. This structure resembles a pyramid and these triangular walls hide an interior building. Inside artwork and beautiful gardens create a feeling of serenity. A labyrinth-patterned floor is difficult to ignore. One room is devoted to all things Egyptian.
         I must confess that I do not follow, or perhaps notice architecture much in my home country, Canada. Sure, there are buildings that I've seen and liked , but are they examples of great style? Quebec City has the Frontenac Hotel which resembles a palace. Niagara Falls, Ontario boasts an upside down, inverted house with the structure seeming to balance on the roof. In Toronto, we have the CN Tower and the Skydome.
         Here in Ontario, there are a few "large" fixtures. In Sudbury, we have the giant nickel. In Beardmore, we have the thirty-foot tall snowman who switches out his accessories for the seasons. In the summer, he sports a pair of sunglasses. To the north of where I reside is a giant fish.
August 26, 2020 at 2:30pm
August 26, 2020 at 2:30pm
Day 26 Brasilia, Brazil
         Whew! That is the longest flight I've ever endured, twenty hours in the air. I felt like I'd moved in to stay. A highlight included the staff singing Happy Birthday to Witchy woman while proffering a hard roll pierced with a tiny flaming candle. Smiles were served all around.
          Once again we are relaxing, lounging, lazing at a great hotel, The Royal Tulip Brasilia Alvorada. Hey, that name sounded kinda familiar, so I slouched in a poolside chair and pondered. Eureka! We stayed at another hotel, the Golden Tulip in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. That happened on Day 16, ten days ago, (already!). Here we are on another continent. We are getting around...
          This particular establishment is an enormous red horseshoe cradling a courtyard of waving palm trees and an impressive pool. I did not have to be invited twice to sprawl next to the pool in the welcoming sun. For a change of place, I later relaxed on the rooftop terrace. I embraced this easy-going, lazy pace. We have scurried about in our quest to be virtual travelers. A girl needs to stop and catch her breath. I lamented the lack of a hot air balloon excursion today. I believe I've grown accustomed to this glorious mode of transport. There's nothing to compare to that floating, soaring sensation.
         One of my 'mostest' favourite parts of traveling is the food sampling. Delicious, scrumptious food exists everywhere. My fellow bloggers and I dined at Taypa Sabores del Peru, and oh, the moment we entered the smells teased me. Taypa is Peruvian for plenty and that's the kind of promise a restaurant should make. Although printed in Portuguese, I recognized "boa comida" on the menu. This means good food. I did not hesitate to order a ceviche which is similar to sushi. Fresh raw seafood is cured in fresh citrus juices complimented by onions, coriander, and chili peppers. Divine!
         Of course, I chowed down on barbecued meat and it did not fail to deliver great taste. I also ordered a feijoada, a hearty stew of black beans, sausages and pork with corn dumplings. Mmm!
         All of us shared a pitcher of clericot de fruta. Wow, it is refreshing and delivers a buzz. Well, it did contain white brandy {pisco), white wine and a mixture of oranges(laranja), strawberries{morango), kiwi and mangos. Several toasts were made to the birthday gal Witchy woman We learned from the waiters to say, "parabens!"
         We could not pass up a few tantalizing desserts. My favourite is "quindim" because it's a custard topped toasted-cocoanut dream confection. None of us offered any resistance to "brigadeiros", fantastic chocolate truffles. We were truly "taypa" stuffed! Obrigado!
August 25, 2020 at 7:04pm
August 25, 2020 at 7:04pm
Day 25 Marrakech, Morocco
         At the crack of dawn I rose from my bed, no, wait, at dawn I fell from my bed and cracked my head.
         What am I saying? Sigh. At dawn, I flew high in the sky. A red Marrakech Dream balloon lifted me up and away. The earth dropped far below and I greeted a new day.
         My worries were left stranded on the ground. My hopes soared and billowed with a whooshing sound.
         I dared not breathe or blink. Bursting sun caused shadows to sink.
         Red sand glistened, palm trees waved, how many photos did I save?
         Apres flight I dined on fresh fruit, naan and tea. An authentic meal for a Berber belly.
         In outdoor Marrakech markets I next rambled and browsed. A warren of bustling, teeming souks did abound.
         Aromatic spices tickled my nose. My eyes feasted upon rainbow hued clothes.
         Woven baskets, leather bags were offered as wares, but the gorgeous rich rugs vied for my stares.
          Thanks Witchy woman , another win, a fascinating , fun expedition!
August 24, 2020 at 2:11pm
August 24, 2020 at 2:11pm
Okay, now I find myself wandering on the west coast of Africa in and around Nouakchott, Mauritania a deep water Atlantic port on the Sahara Desert. Talk about a contrast, an ocean and a desert. This is the place of the winds. I for one would not appreciate a sandstorm. I notice the heat as I explore.
         I embark upon a private tour with my fellow bloggers and we are escorted to the site of a humongous masque. Not being of the Muslim persuasion I am not permitted to enter, so the interior remains a mystery. This structure is probably visible from the air and prominent on a satellite image.
         I happily meander and browse at the Galerie Zeinart where my eyes feast upon all manner of creative endeavours from local artists and artisans. There's a wealth of paintings, carvings, pottery, jewellery and clothing. Everything blazes with vibrant colour. It emanates joy. How big is my virtual souvenir bag? There are no customs worries, right?
          Well, today I visited a site that is definitely a first for me, The Bay of Nouadhibou Ship Graveyard. Yes, immense, towering hulks of rusting, listing and creaking ships have been abandoned here to die. Instead of being stripped in a legal and environmentally responsible manner, these sea-faring vessels are left to decay. Apparently, their owners find this cheaper and far more expedient than dismantling. It's a shame. Rusting metal is alien to sparkling green water and crashing waves. This is a beauty and the beast sight.
         Despite man's blatant disregard for the environment, the fish and marine life have embraced these rotting hulks as new habitats. Locals have also spawned a salvage industry. Small blessings...
         Hmm, I never anticipated rough-stone libraries in the Sahara Desert either, what a surprise. In Chinguetti, once a thriving trading post, people accumulated ancient manuscripts and saved them. Many are fragile parchment rolled within bamboo tubes. Those that do infrequently handle them wear gloves and precede cautiously. The dry desert air has aided in their preservation, but sand is also a corrosive. Many date back to medieval times and are Quranic documents. Obviously, a borrower's program does not exist. I cannot imagine a book so aged and fragile it might disintegrate in my hands.
         Everyone relaxed at Al Fantasia Restaurant and shook sand from their clothing. We were extremely parched and after chugging copious amounts of refreshing water, we indulged in pots of tea. Locals had promised us a mint variety and it proved tasty as advertised. I've never dined at an establishment that provided soft, comfy pillows such as those here. I might have been too comfortable. If they were proffered to induce relaxation, they succeeded!
         Oh, the smells that wafted past my nose and teased saliva from my agape mouth...The chicken tagine melted in my mouth with a spicy tang. I am now a fan of Moroccan cooking. Alas, this stellar eating establishment did not offer carry-out service forcing me to waddle away under my own power.

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