My writing friend Damyanti wrote of Writing Blues:  http://damyantiwrites.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/of-writing-blues-and-lalwant-singh/ (my linking skills leave a lot to be desired).   This was extremely timely as I seem to have got myself into a writing funk at the moment:  I’ve posted 3 times in 3 weeks since the A-Z challenge – I don’t even know how I posted every day then; I’ve barely written anything in my notebook; and I now have two dreams floating around in my head that I must put onto paper.  Then there is the looming deadline for a writing competition that, if I don’t enter into, I will kick myself for being so lazy AND I haven’t read a book for two weeks.  Isn’t that terrible?  Reading is important.  Reading is wonderful and I haven’t done it.

Why the lethargy?  I’m not sure really, but, I am tired and a bit busy at the moment and when I’m tired I feel that anything I write would not be remotely interesting to anyone else.  Consequently I have lots of blog drafts that even I got bored with and have left unfinished.

I don’t read because I think I should be writing instead (and yes, I know that reading is an essential part of writing) and I like to be able to concentrate on my book.  So I try to have a nap but then I find I can’t sleep because I’m thinking I should be writing, reading or getting on top of those other things that are keeping me busy at the moment.

If only I could get to bed earlier.  To get to bed earlier however, I have to be organised and I am not organised.  At all.

Whining much?  You betcha.

And so it is that I am venting to you dear readers in the hope that I shame myself into being more productive.  Stay tuned to see if it works.

If nothing else, it’s galvanised me into writing this post really quickly before I have to pick up the screaming child from her cot where she is refusing to sleep.

There’s always something blocking your way isn’t there?  How do you get around it?


Dancing Revisited

I had so much fun at my dance class last week, that I thought I would go again.  Actually, I was sure I was going again.  Nothing was going to stop me from being there.  I love dancing.  I loved the class and it was going to be great.  The dance teacher was away for a couple of weeks and a new guy was standing in with his different class, but it was still dance so it was going to be fun.  It would be steps, but I could handle steps.  In fact, I would probably ace it.  I was feeling great about it.  Yeehaa!

I thought I should probably get there a bit early and do some stretches before class.  I have a bad back and I’m at that age that if I don’t stretch I’ll pay for it later.  Normally, I’d worry about how I would look doing all that wanky stuff at the gym (as if that wasn’t the perfect place for it), but given that I was feeling great about myself, I figured I deserved to be there and wasn’t I going to be great in class?

As I was walking into the gym I saw a girl from the class last week.  We had had one of those a-ha! moments in class where we recognised that each of us we had danced in a previous life and had given each other the “nod”.  So we nodded again to each other, exchanged small chit chat over locker doors and last minute deodorant sprays ready to sweat it out on the dance floor.

I was pumped.  The music started, there was a bit of step and touch, step and touch and then we were off.  The class is called Sh’Bam which features “simple but seriously hot dance moves”.  In reality it was 80’s aerobics minus the leotards aimed towards a class of women who used to attend aerobics classes in the 80s give or take a few younger women (my nodding acquaintence included).   But it was FUN.  Oh, great fun.  You know you’re getting old when you can go to a dance class on your own and still have fun.

Anyways, I stood behind the younger version of me (although a little less disciplined, because I was, like, you know still better than her) and danced my cholesterol challenged heart out for the best part of an hour.  I could do hip-hop, I was Christina, I was Katy and I had a crack at being a single lady, but that track was at the end and I was a bit tired by then.

Occasionally I caught sight of myself in the mirror and realised I looked like my Mum dancing at a family wedding, but I realised the mirror was not a true reflection of me and instead I used  my mind’s eye to project what I really looked like.  Oh, in my head I was very happy.

I realise that being only one of a few Caucasians in a sea of Asian faces is going to make me stand out – after 5 years, it’s something that I’m quite used to.  However, Asians are not as used to Caucasian faces turning bright red after vigorous exercise.  My face in particular turns very, very red and stays that way for a long time after the music has ended and consequently, I think my Asian counterparts think my heart is about to explode.

Of course, I don’t remember any of this while I’m having a great time shaking my ass and looking in my mind’s eye.  To me, I am ready to be picked out of the crowd and asked to be the next dance instructor because I’m like, you know, so good at this stuff.

I finish the class exhausted but exhilerated.  Sure I couldn’t finish the last number because my sciatica was threatening to cripple me if I stayed in that one position for a second longer, but hell, it was only my second week and I was killing it man!  My ability could speak for itself.

I started to walk out of that class feeling like a million bucks.  I slapped that instructor’s hand in a high five like half a dozen young nubile things before me and leaned forward to hear what he had to say to me.  To me!  He was talking to me!  He leaned forward right into my face and said:  “You did really well” as if speaking to a senior who had just negotiated three steps without falling, “keep it up.”

The Fucker.

The Power of Dance

Now that I don’t have a task to do every day, I’m a bit nervous about blogging again. However, enough time has passed since the A-Z challenge and I can’t be a chicken anymore. So, I’m just going to bite the bullet and write something…..

I went to a dance class today and it was GREAT! I haven’t been dancing for a long long time but the moment the class started I was super excited. So much so that I started laughing out loud and kept laughing until I felt like I was going to throw up. It’s hard to laugh and dance at the same time when you are super unfit. I must have looked like I’d just escaped from the loony bin.

I used to dance years ago. I did Irish dancing for 20 years and although I was never that great at it, I loved it. My friends and I would go to as many lessons as we could fit into the week and during competition season it wasn’t unusual to be dancing 15 hours a week. It made us happy and it was an achievement to learn the steps, put it altogether and then compete with each other to see who did it best.

In my early twenties I went to Ireland for almost a year, learnt how to drink beer and eat potatoes and I kind of stopped dancing and any kind of exercise altogether. After that, even though I became a teacher, I didn’t do half as much dancing as I used to and it wasn’t long before I became unfit and unmotivated.

Fast forward a decade and a half, two kids and a different country later, today I finally got over myself, stopped being afraid, and went to a dance class. Oh, it was so much fun. I remembered that dancing is the most fun thing in the world for me. You know that one thing that makes you laugh out loud, or jump up and down (but not in a Tom Cruise kind of way), or just fills you up with a sense of such deep satisfaction that you feel so very very happy? Well that’s me today!

What about you? What’s the thing in your life that gives you the purest sense of fun?

Gab’s A-Z Two Cents

I loved this challenge.  I seriously had great fun doing it and am looking forward to next year already.  Not having done a blog before, and literally using this challenge to kick start it (I’d only done one post previously), my page is very vanilla, with no fancy trimmings, links (I don’t even know how to do them), colour, etc.

Maybe because of this I don’t have any followers, or maybe it’s because my writing really is shit and I should take the hint.  I did not prepare any of my posts (except for the letter P), but rather typed them on the fly.  I usually blog after 8pm at night, so time is limited in that respect.   I’m happy that I got up the courage to post my stories even if the response (at this stage – I’m forever hopeful), hasn’t been huge.

However, I’ve had a decent number of views over the course of this challenge and of the comments I have received on my blog have all been genuine and very encouraging and I thank those people for leaving them.

A couple of times I struggled with content and towards the end, my enthusiasm did wane, but having come so close, I knew I just had to finish. One regret is that I didn’t get to read enough blogs during the challenge, much less comment on them.  I hope to  rectify that in the coming weeks.

Thanks again for the challenge and for the encouragement both from new people I’ve met online and my existing friends.  I’m grateful to you.

A-Z Challenge – the end

Well folks, this is the end of the alphabet road.  I’ve actually completed the challenge (albeit a day late here and there), but I did it, and I have to say I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for doing so.  I started this blog with the challenge and had no idea where or how I would go.  In the end, I found it great fun and it has only cemented in my mind, that I should keep writing if only for my family’s sake – it makes me a nicer person to be around you see!

This has been a very satisfying challenge and I thank the organisers for making it happen.


Hosted by :

Arlee Bird’s Tossing It Out
Jeffrey Beesler’s World of the Scribe
Alex J. Cavanaugh Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jen Daiker’s Unedited 
Candace Ganger’s The Misadventures in Candyland
Karen J Gowen at Coming Down the Mountain
Talli Roland
Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs

Z. Zinc

“Mum, what’s this?”

“What’s what?”

“What’s this tube?  It says zinc.  What’s zinc?”

Kylie looked over to her ten year old daughter and smiled.  They had been cleaning out her mother’s cupboards and it appeared the child had found her grandmother’s old beach bag.  Kylie reached out and took the tube from her daughter’s hand.  She twisted the cap, feeling the grains of sand beneath her fingers.  Lifting the tube to her nose, Kylie closed her eyes and sniffed the white cream.

“Zinc, my dear, is what we kids used to have to put on our noses when we went to the beach.  It was horrible stuff.”

“If it’s horrible, why are you smiling?”

“Because it reminds me of my childhood summers here in Australia which are nothing like the summers I now have with you and Dad in England.

You see, I remember waking up in the early mornings and looking out my bedroom window straight into a clear blue sky.  The sun already high in the sky warming up my window.  I never slept with the blind down in summer – the clear sky was just too magical at night to block it out and I loved waking up to the sunlight streaming into my bedroom in the mornings.

I would slide open my bedroom window all the way, smelling freshly mowed grass and hearing cicadas singing in the trees.  If the cicadas sang early, it was going to be a hot day, a beach day.

Beach days meant ham sandwiches and hot chips for lunch, packet biscuits and fizzy drinks.  It meant sweating in a hot car with no air conditioning, driving up and down the streets looking for somewhere to park.  It meant, frayed tempers and whines of “get off me, you’re too hot!” from your brother or sister in the back seat. It meant your dad finally giving up on finding a space close to the beach and double parking the car.  It was up to you then, and your mum and siblings to unpack the beach umbrella, the esky, food, towels, lilos and the Sunday papers as quickly as possible and then stand in the blinding hot sun and wait until Dad walked back from woop woop.  The longer you waited, the longer the walk back to the car at the end of the day.

Beach days meant being so hot and you couldn’t wait to get into the water.  It meant minding your manners because by the time you found a patch of sand to sit on, your mum and dad were so hot and pissed off so that if you looked at them the wrong way you got told you couldn’t go in the water for ten more minutes.

By this stage you would do anything, anything to get into that cool salty water so that you, your brothers and sister would jiggle up and down on the hot sand laying out towels, holding up one end of the umbrella while your dad swore at the other, put the esky in the shade and then finally stood still on your towels waiting expectantly until your parents said you could go into the water.  BUT -not before you put sunscreen on and zinc on your face.

Ugh, it was the final insult.  The sunscreen we could do, the zinc?  No-one wanted to touch it.  It was thick and pasty and it felt like half your face was being wiped off when your mum tried to spread it on.  Sand would stick to it, leaving you feeling gritty all day.  But zinc was not just a barrier from the sun, it was a barrier from the water too.  If you didn’t put it on, you didn’t get to go for a swim.  An Australian parent never held more power than in those few minutes on the beach.”

Kylie stopped talking and closed her eyes.  Her daughter looked at her for a minute and then asked, “So, do you want to keep it?”

Kylie smiled.  “No love.  I’m good without it.”