Archive for June, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

June 26, 2012 2 comments

I recently wrote a short story called “Clemency” in which the main character got himself in a bit of trouble, to put it mildly. Then I traveled abroad and saw this young man on the street. Have you ever seen your imagination come to life, on a city street, in the middle of the day? The impression will never leave me. Under the guise of street photography, I snapped his picture. Instead of posting the original picture, I have created a modified version.

Who Needs a Spa Visit?

I recently read an online newspaper article by a mother who was given a complimentary visit for two to an exclusive spa and decided to share the experience with her four-year-old daughter. The mother, whom I will call ‘Susan’, described the experience from her first impressions as they were greeted at the reception desk to her thoughts after leaving the spa. The article gave readers an intimate peek into a mother-daughter bonding experience. Susan, who preferred wearing sweats over dresses, allowed her young daughter (‘Tara’ for the sake of this post) to explain the ins and outs of pampering in her simplistic, childlike way. As Susan described the manicures, pedicures and expensive spring water, I felt as if I were lounging in the next chair as she and Tara giggled over Tara’s flea-sized painted nails adorned with miniscule designs. Although Susan’s manicure suffered chips even before she reached home, the precious time she spent with her daughter was priceless.

Such human interest stories offer relief from the violence, corruption and misery that newspapers also report. It was a cute piece. I should have stopped there. The scrubbing and buffing Susan endured during the treatment were nothing compared to the brutal online comments that followed the article. Here is just a sample:

• ‘Panty Wearing Fairy’ said the article was badly written and all over the place and criticized the life of the rich and famous, despite that this person’s nom de plume suggests a spa visit might be right up her alley.

• Another response came from someone who thought the article was dull to read and wondered if it may have been better as an entry in the daughter’s journal. Apparently, this person was under some duress to read the article. Perhaps she received a low mark on the subsequent test.

• ‘Baby Daddy’ wants to know why a four-year-old needs to go to a spa (Does she have stress?).

Dear, Baby Daddy, unless Maslow erroneously left it off his list, no one needs to go to a spa. Frankly, I am just as happy to sit outside on my patio on a beautiful day with a glass of water from my refrigerator with a good book or my laptop and some music. Much less expensive and I don’t need an appointment. But some of my best friends are spa-goers. Yes, the little girl is very young, but in a world that is spinning by so quickly, what little girl doesn’t deserve some mother-daughter time? While some issues warrant careful scrutiny and healthy debate, others do not. It is okay to say, “Aw, that’s cute/boring/interesting” and move on.

It’s insanely easy to criticize others. Our society thrives on it, applauds it and airs reality shows to celebrate it. However, the one who perseveres, who dedicates her life to the job at hand (make no mistake, parenting is a rough job), and fights with courage is the one who counts.

Theodore Roosevelt put it this way:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Anyone can sit back and criticize but it takes real courage to stay in the arena and fight for that worthy cause.

Source: Quotations. “Theodore Roosevelt quotes”. Quotations Online 1 May. 2012. 24 Jun. 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge – Today

June 1, 2012 9 comments

I’m off from work today, still celebrating my recent birthday, while all other British territories will enjoy their holidays on Monday and Tuesday, in honor (or should I say ‘honour’?) of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I’m going to be griping about not having the holiday here for as long as I can. I imagine my photo on Monday will reflect a grumpy frame of mind that we are missing all of the celebrations. Not cool!

But for today–bright and beautiful as it is–I threw open the French doors to the back porch and had a look.

Sad to say, my ‘garden’ today resembles a cemetery more than a garden. There are supposed to be tomatoes and eggplant in the garden at least. The pot should be blooming with beautiful pink flowers to cheer up this corner. Well, you can see how that has turned out. I fear it is a hopeless situation until I can control my arch-rival, my nemesis, the bane of my gardening existence–frogs!

The frogs get into the moist soil and uproot everything in their way. When the moisture is gone, they hop off, leaving mass destruction in their wake. The little green border fence does not deter them. The only one who is frustrated by my efforts is me.

However, today is bright and beautiful, the sun creating a tic-tac-toe of sorts on the concrete next to the avocado tree.

This is my view from the French doors today.