Moon Beam

 

 

 

‘Burp. Vmpph. Glugg. Boqqqq. Frixxx.’

The eructations went on for half the night. Zlink’s wife could take it no more.  She sloshed out of their cave, and went to gather some posidonia. She’d make him a tisane, and hopefully, he’d fart his gas instead of belching it.

It was the night of the perigee-syzygy moon – when the moon was the closest to Earth, and the brightest, for the last 60 years. Zlink had done The Selkie Thing, and had gone celebrating, with his cronies. He had returned to the Cave slightly green at the gills… this was to be expected, seeing that he did indeed have gills, and his scales were iridescent green.

The wife knew that he had, usual, overdone it. He had not taken kindly to her new job, but after his, accident (long story!); he had already become used to the idea of staying home while she brought in the wampum.

Never in a nixert years would he have imagined the wife would go into modelling. It had been happenstance. A woman’s magazine had been caught by the breeze and deposited on the surface of the sea, where it floated enticingly.

Glaffa had to wait until it had become saturated enough to sink gracefully to the bottom – it would not have done for her to reach out a feeler and snatch it, because the hunters who called themselves Scientists and Conservationists would have been out in force.

Glaffa devoured the written words before she wolfed down the publication itself.  All of it, that is, except for the centrefold – which she saved to re-read a dozen times before deciding whether or not to take the bait (in a manner of speaking).

“Envious eyes curse a building and its inhabitants. No one is immune to the Evil Eye.” This drivel went on for  several paragraphs, and mentioned such ‘remedies’ as salt thrown over the left shoulder, pimento-like charms, herbs, upright palms of hands, blessed water and more.

The upshot of the advertorial was that the firm of architects taking out the advert wanted a model for the one corbel holding up the corner of the northern balcony, and for the one gargoyle that would be allowed on the façade of the building to house the new Houses of Parliament.

The carvings, of course, were intended to be apotropaic, hence the verbiage.  Glaffa had won a couple of modelling contests when she was still a child – before childbearing and gravity and time took their combined toll on her.

At the ripe old age of fifty brinhs, she rarely bothered to de-scale her armpits anymore – go figure imagine posing for any artiste. Yet she found the whole set-up intriguing.  She resolved to do The Selkie Thing and see what gave.

Glaffa was the eldest wannabe at the auditions.  And she got the job, because what they wanted were size, shape, and weight – and an abysmal lack of poise. 

Whereas glamour photographers usually yell at models to “smile, flirt, twist, wink”, Glaffa was told to snarl, put out her tongue, make the corna, the fica, and the digitus impudicus, and cross her eyes… and all these gesticulations were photographed and filed.  She drew the line, however, at showing her boobs. She lied about wearing a padded bra, and for good measure, she said that she did not want her descendants to consider here a mere  Sheela-na-gigg.  The sculptor said he’d meet her halfway, and as a compromise she’d have to waive a fraction of the fee.  

The idea was to have Glaffa’s poses transmogrified into three creatures, one atop the other, for the corbel and the matching gargoyle. The topmost one was a bare-breasted woman with her hands flat on her head so as to create a flattish surface, and the middle one was a feline creature peeping out of her navel. The woman stood on a multi-coiled snake with the face of a platypus.  For the gargoyle, water came out of its beak. The effigies were supposed to be so repulsive that passers-by would look away in disgust.

For ten sittings, Glaffa got as much pelf as Zlink would earn in an earth year. The Exchange did take a commission, but the whole caboodle was well worth it.

Where was I, though?

Oh. Zlink. When the Clinic opened, he and Glaffa made their way there.

After a frin-test and a biopsy, doctor removed his pince nez and bit his upper lip.

“Lay off the beer and pizza.  You have Coeliac Condition.”

 

 

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Meta Sigriet Ma Jibqax…

Lehen is-Sewwa 1 ta’ Frar 2015

Gossip

 

 

Henry ried jiżżewwiġha biex ikollu t-tfal. Dorothy riedet tiżżewġu biex tgħix ħajja ta’ sinjura. Darba qaltli li beżgħet li jekk ikollha t-tfal “titlef kollox” inkluż il-figura sabiħa li kellha. Qaltli biex inżomm kollox sigriet. U jien hekk għamilt.

Dan l-aħħar iltqajt magħha, u bqajt issummata. Fejn kienet l-artista li kont naf? Niftehmu, xorta kienet qisha artista, imma flok Diva, kienet qisha s-Saħħara l-Ħażina tal-Wizard of Oz; għajnejha ħomor, xagħar b’ferq abjad ta’ pulzier, riħa ta’ għaraq qares, nifs jinten…

Morna nieħdu kafe. Qaltli li stajt ma nżommux iżjed is-sigriet. Anzi, insistiet li ngħidu biex jitgħallem ħaddieħor. Qaltli li kellha ħabiba tal-qalb li magħha kienet tafda kollox. Qaltilha li biex ma tinqabadx tqila, kienet tieħu l-kontraċettivi. U l-oħra qaltiha li sewwa kienet tagħmel għax it-tfal tagħha inkwiet biss kienu ġabulha. Għiduli naqra, x’inkwiet jistgħu jġibu tfal ta’ inqas minn għaxar snin, għajr xi ġlieda ’l hawn u ’l hinn u li ma jkunux iridu jistudjaw?

Darba minnhom Henry wasal id-dar tard wara x-xogħol, u Dorothy staqsietu, bla ebda ħsieb ta’ xejn, fejn kien mar. “Mhux aħjar tara fejn tmur int?” ħatafha. Hi ħasbitu qed jiċċajta. Imma kien qed jitkellem bis-serjetà kollha. “Għalhekk ma ridtx tmur taħdem, ja mara ħażina…”

Wara ġlieda papali, li fiha akkużaha li kienet qed taqlibhielu, u insinwazzjonijiet dwar li għalhekk qatt ma riedet tfal, biex tkun tista’ tiġġerra ’l hawn u ’l hinn, taha daqqa ta’ ħarta u qasmilha xoffitha. Din kienet l-ewwel darba li kien refa’ idu fuqha.

Dorothy intilfet. Filli dak il-fsied kollu u filli jgħajjarha mara tat-triq. U la ried jiekol u la ried jibqa’ fl-istess sular li kienet hi… Biex jorqod, issakkar fl-istudju tiegħu, fejn kellu sufan. Qabel ma sabbat il-bieb, qalilha li jieħdu żgur l-annullament għax kienet ħbietlu li ma ridetx tfal.

Hi kienet taf li qatt ma tat wiċċ lil ħaddieħor. Bilfors li xi ħadd kien gideb fuqha, u mlieh bil-velenu. Bil-kwiet, ippakkjat ftit ħwejjeġ f’basket, u telqet ’il barra bla ma taf fejn kienet se tagħti rasha. Ċemplet lill-ħabiba tagħha, u rrakuntatilha x’ġara. Din qaltilha li sewwa kienet għamlet li telqet mid-dar, għax la kien sawwatha (użat dik il-kelma tabilħaqq) darba, kien se jkompli jagħmel hekk.

Imma… ma setgħetx iżżommha għandha, “għax taf int, bit-tfal…”. U għal Dorothy dik l-enfasi fuq il-kelma tfal kienet kixfet lill-oħra. Qisha xegħlet bozza tal-elf f’daqqa. Mela hi kienet hi li kixfitha ma’ Henry. Ċemplitlu? Iltaqgħet miegħu wara x-xogħol? Bagħtitlu xi ittra?

L-oħra staqsietha x’kienet se tagħmel issa. Dorothy ħassitha mifnija. B’vuċi maħnuqa, staqsiet lil ħabibitha (għalkemm kienet taf it-tweġiba, imma bħal riedet konferma) jekk kinetx qalet is-sigriet tagħha lil Henry. “U ma tarax!” weġbitha l-ħabiba b’nofs daħqa. “Mela jien xi peċluqa għajjura, jew?”

L-istorja spiċċat b’li Dorothy marret tgħix ftit għand ħuha, u Henry baqa’ jsostni li daħqet bih. Hi, allavolja kienet taħlef li dejjem kienet retta, ma ridetx terġa’ tmur id-dar meta kienet taf li hu ma kienx jafdaha. U fejn qatt ma ħadmet f’ħajjitha, issa bdiet tmur taħsel għand in-nies, u moħħha donnu ħfief ukoll.

Saħqet li jien għandi ngħaddi żewġ messaġġi importanti; li ż-żwieġ mhux logħba, u li l-koppja għandhom iqiegħdu l-karti kollha fuq il-mejda. U siġriet tal-qrar, fil-qrar biss għandu jingħad.

Iżda l-iżjed ħaġa li nsistiet fuqha kienet li kulħadd jixtarr sewwa il-kliem tal-Mulej: “Kunu mela għaqlin bħas-sriep u safjin bħall-ħamiem. Oqogħdu attenti mill-bnedmin!” allavolja hawn meħudin barra mill-kuntest tagħhom.

If I’ve Told You Once…

 

 

Don’t do that. Stop that. Enough. Stop. Put that book away or you’ll throw up. How naughty you are. Push back your hair. That’s not nice. Stop fidgeting. Hold your bag properly. Stop playing with your hair. Close your mouth when you chew. Stop picking your nose. Drink some water. Stop moving your legs. Stop making faces. That’s enough…

This litany went on and on, during a bus ride from Birkirkara to Bugibba. Alas, it was not a teacher with her summer school brood on an outing – it was a mother with just one child, obviously on their way to the beach. The parent gave the expression Maltese Gemgem a new lease of life. I wonder how much the girl enjoyed the visit to the beach, and whether she was wise enough to float her troubles away once she jumped into the sea.

Nagging and grumbling appear to be very popular – to the extent that some people would grumble if there were not anyone around to nag, and nag the speakers on the radio if there is no one at whom to grumble.

Some friends of mine – modern by other standards – still believe in the “broken record” method of communication. They even cite scripture about it, in that it is certain that a person will comply with your wishes if only to stop your staccato whinging, rather than because they really want to.

Some would think that social sites like facebook have given mothers the world over a new type of ammunition – “this photo gets posted on my wall and yours if you don’t clean your room within the next hour”. Unfortunately, only a few children will cave in to this type of blackmail. Others will call their mothers’ bluff (she doesn’t want people to think she is a bad parent because she lets my room get to this state…) and others simply don’t care of the world find out they use the chairs for a wardrobe.

Nagging, most of the time, is a waste of energy – both for the nagger, and also for the person being nagged. The former will feel frustrated; the latter will feel resentful.

There are times when nagging actually has the effect opposite to the desired one. If a child has to learn discipline, it is useless for a parent to nag him to fulfil his duties, because once the nagging is not present, for any reason, he will revert to type.

Parents nag children to do their homework; they will never learn what the consequences of not doing it are, until it is too late to learn how to do it even if and when they do not feel like it, because it is their duty. Had they been left to their own devices, they would have suffered the penalty of turning up at school without homework – and then, this would have led them to decide whether an extra hour of facebook was worth three hours of detention. This kind of lesson will get through even to children who pretend not to hear their parents’ nagging.

We nag because we have valid grievances. Yet it does not follow that the people whom we harry will be grateful; they will become defensive, angry and irritated. Nagging is disrespectful and negative and therefore, automatically unhealthy for the mind, heart, soul and body. It sours relationships.

Badgering our children to do what (we think) is right is not a clause in the job description for mothers – but discussion and compromise are.

It is irritating to hear a child sniffle; yet ordering him to stop will not stop his need to do so. It will, however, make him feel pestered, demeaned, and incapable of looking after himself. Wordlessly handing him a handkerchief would probably have encouraged him to use it. So would a polite request, and a non sequitur about how nice it was when the child did something nice for someone else without being asked, to divert him from the issue.

I know for a fact that some people like to nag to draw attention to themselves, or to their children, when there is an audience. In private, they may not even speak to the child unless absolutely necessary. Others nag because they feel safer when they consider themselves superior to others, or simply because as parents, they can throw their weight around and show who’s boss.

Nagging does not stop when our children know they will lose privileges if they do not toe our line. It stops when we decide we must stop harping persistently on the same points, and begin being positive instead.

Let’s all make a back-to-school resolution to stop nagging for a week, and see what happens.

The Maltese Ħobża

Hobza

 

Anyone who thinks that nectar, ambrosia, and manna are the foods of the gods is way off the mark.

Nothing beats a ġenba torn off the side of a warm ħobża before one even leaves the bakery premises. This explains the trail of crumbs from the counter (or a plank resting on two soft drinks cases) and the door. In my day, when the bread was too hot to handle, Tal-Ħobża always had a supply of bits of cardboard torn off the mound of collapsed boxes collected expressly for this purpose. And the aroma inside the bakery would cling to the clothes.

It is a Semitic tradition to break bread with someone as a sign of welcome, and friendship. And no wonder. Our bread is nothing like the anaemic, oblong, spongy loaves bought for convenience rather than taste and texture. Indeed, Maltese bread is the best thing since before sliced bread.

How could you honestly hope to mop up the gooey garlicky mess at the bottom of the fenek fry-pan? Could you use anything else but tal-Malti to slather with butter and eat with ġbejniet tal-bżar? Would any other type of bread taste as good, spread with kunserva, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled liberally with freshly-crushed black pepper and Mediterranean sea-salt?

Incidentally, if you can get an unbaked loaf of bread from the baker, you will find that it makes the ideal pizza.

The friable crust and soft crumb (this is the bieba as opposed to crumbs, which are the frak) make for an ideal marriage of textures and tastes… with one proviso: contrary to the sanitised breads that keep relatively fresh for up to three days, Maltese bread is best eaten on the day it is baked. And anyone who has bought sliced Maltese bread, packaged inside a knotted plastic bag, knows that this is not the way to eat it, either.

Most areas are blessed with twice-daily bread deliveries, mostly from the Maltese equivalent of Bethlehem (“the house of bread”) – Qormi, which was also known as Casal Forno. This enables us to purchase ħobż that are never more than half a day old (it takes eight hours in total to produce a loaf of bread). You may, of course, opt for the unleavened ftira – especially if you are off to the beach, as this holds my preferred filling – tomatoes or tomato paste, capers and olives, anchovies and onion rings – so much better.

Unless you intend to make speciality breads, the above means that buying a bread-making machine would probably be a waste of money. Bakers always leave a clump of dough from the day before, in order to start off the fermentation of the next day; machines always stipulate yeast as an ingredient – and the taste is never quite the same.

Bakers will tell you that the end result depends upon many variables – the type of flour, and water used, the proportion of the ingredients, the temperature at which it is cooked, as well as the type of oven. The dictum goes that the bigger the hole, the better the quality.

The dough is always different depending on the quantities of ingredients, the type of water used, the type of flour, the temperature to which it is subjected and so on.

As in the case of puddings and pies, however, each household has its own ‘recipe’ for what goes inside a ħobż biż-żejt… tinned tuna, pickles, garlic, marinated vegetables, leeks, thinly-sliced cucumbers, grated carrots, capsicums…

Maltese bread, soaked in a mixture of milk and water, and squeezed out, forms the basis for pudina. To this, you add whatever you have in your larder in the way of vine fruit, dried and candied fruits, cocoa, and rum (or anisette or brandy or vermouth). Some people add sugar, desiccated coconut, butter, and an egg or two.

The mixture is placed in a buttered, floured dish and cooked at a low heat until it forms a crust, and a knife stuck into it comes out clean.

Whichever way you decide to use it, small wonder that the smell, texture and sheer debauchery of the Maltese hobza, over any other local food offering, is what breaks the heart of all émigrés every time.

I am me

I am sea-urchins and anchovies, honey, capers, prickly pears and olives, from the Mediterranean’s best-kept secret.
I am the Grand Harbour view flat, cosy, homely, comfortable, an islander who feels as much at home in the water as outside it.

I am the tiger lily freckles and the honeysuckle tendrils, and orange blossom water used as scent because it smells faintly of 4711.

I am the coat of arms with the lion rampant holding the fleur-de-lys;
the stubborn and the witty, the tall and the big-footed.

I am the parsimonious yet generous,
proud yet humble, solitary yet friendly.
I lisp. I am intelligent and clumsy.
I am bookish.

I am the Catholic Pessimist and Jewish Cynic and Agnostic Believer.

I am a cauldron of Phoenician, Carthaginian, Norman and French genes.

I am me.

How Do I Write? Let Me Count the Ways…

http://www.poeticamagazine.com/apps/blog/show/3955254-how-do-i-write-let-me-count-the-ways

Posted on June 7, 2010 at 2:29 AM

I write in the dark, comfortably supine, using pencils on unlined paper and my stomach for a desk. I write on spiral notebooks during the countless bus-rides I take because I do not drive. I write at the kitchen table, with ink-filled pens on beautiful stationery. I write at my personal computer  – and that is where FreeCell and e-mails do their best to distract me..

My version of a paperless office is both my night-time dreaming, and the writing I do in my head when my eyes glaze over where it would be bad form to whip out a ballpoint. Sometimes these words do not get to the physical point, but as far as I am concerned, they’re written anyhow..

I breathe because I write. I scrawl ideas on the margins of newspapers and the backs of envelopes and receipts..

I write because I breathe. A letter, a poem, a haiku, or an opinion piece may be written on impulse, but I have to knuckle down for deadlines. Yet I have no “routine” as such; I would never be able to write one thousand words before breakfast..

People fascinate me. Family, friends, and even perfect strangers often thinly disguise themselves and gate-crash my fiction. For non-fiction I have to keep half an eye on the libel laws. With Malta being such an insular place, this is especially pertinent..

Credibility is something I treasure. I always get my information from the source. I do not like censorship; yet I do not like people showing that it exists by depicting gratuitous vulgarity, or sex, or violence that are bound to be censored, either..

Sometimes, a column or a poem write themselves. I have never stumbled over the hackneyed writers’ block; perhaps that’s because I tend to procrastinate since I know I work best under pressure. So, if you want me to write for you, never say “no hurry”. I have always made deadlines (albeit sometimes with seconds to spare) come hell or high water, births and deaths, illness and travel..

I’m a stickler for using the correct terminology; and since the phrase “editors reserve the right to edit for length or clarity” covers a multitude of their sins, this has given rise to many heated discussions. I have no beef with writers who insist upon being paid for every word they pen; but I am not averse to donating articles (or poems or puzzles) to publications of worthy causes, without being credited – since this would defeat the “donation” principle..

My writing is eclectic; so I slant my work according to the demographics of the readership of each publication or site. I do insert a couple of “difficult” words in children’s stories in such a way that, even if they are not looked up (as I hope they will be) the tale will not lose anything. I try to get my values across in anything I write, be it a television critique column or an interview with a celebrity. I like puns, alliteration, and idioms. But unless the feature is deliberately meant to be over-the-top, I consciously ration myself not to risk losing the thrust of my piece. I have several dictionaries (some of them esoteric) and thesauruses, which I prefer to online versions.

Therapy; a weapon; serious fun; a dais. Writing, to me, is all these, and more..

The Perfect Teacher; Mission: Possible?

Most of us have at some point expressed succinct – and none too complimentary – opinions about our offspring’s educators. The most complimentary of these would no doubt have included an oblique reference to a “teachers’ mentality”, the attitude that embraces all that is supercilious, nit-picking, pretentious, and cynical. Before anyone takes me to task, yet again, for having the aforesaid opinion – I will clarify that I have been on both sides of the fence, sometimes straddling it, too.

That is why I took up the challenge to enter a writing contest that asked contestants to pick a television character and say why he would have made an ideal teacher.

My essay won me the digitally re-mastered Series Six of the classic Mission: Impossible television series… twenty-two episodes starring Peter Graves, Greg Morris, Peter Lupus and Lynda Day George. Elaborate psychology was more in evidence than the latter-day hi-tech.

All in all, it goes to show that there is more to the scruffiest ‘tek of them all than the praises in the Billy Howard record King Of The Cops. “I read lately that his dementia is so terrible that he doesn’t even remember he was Columbo. So I’d catch Peter Falk not as himself, but as the detective with the dirty Mac, as he appeared in the series, and put him on the dais to be my teacher.

I have attended several Lateral Thinking courses to be able to appreciate the way he seizes on the least, tiniest clue, and extrapolate about where it fits into the great scheme of things.

He did not really care whodunit; all he wanted to do was catch him – or her. This is what is known in the writing trade as the “inverted detective story” And that is another reason I’d want him as a teacher – no boring explanations… just the nuts and bolts of a topic, and the devil take the hindmost. It backfires on me to say I am tenacious – for people usually perceive me as pestiferous.

However, Columbo is a man after my own heart in that, because he worries the suspects till they are on edge. This means that as a teacher he will unravel the intricacies of a topic without being overly didactic… he does it in an enthralling series of logical steps.

Aficionados of the story will know that sometimes, Columbo himself does not appear until the first half hour of the episode is done – meanwhile, we would have been watching the crime, and how the perpetrator tries to cover his deeds.

This means that as a teacher, Columbo will never want centre stage, even in the denouement; he will give the person enough rope to hang himself… and the final frame is usually of a disgruntled criminal who would have thought he had committed the perfect crime.

As a teacher, Columbo would translate this into allowing us some leeway in how we undertook to study…. but when push comes to shove, and examinations are approaching, he would make sure we buckle down to work. This is also why, in many of the episodes, the criminal feels safe enough to throw hints and clues in Columbo’s way, in order to exonerate himself… but ends up implicating himself further.

So, since Columbo the teacher would allow us (relative!) freedom, we would be, conversely, encouraged to study. Yes, indeed, Columbo would, make a great teacher.”

Bubble, bubble…

“It’s all done with smoke and mirrors, you know. It’s like what Death says – that eating curry is like biting a red hot ice cube…”
“Don’t you begin with the literary references now. I’ve had it up to here already. I wish I’d never signed up for extra classes.”
“The problem with you, kiddo, is that you take too much for granted. You thought it would be a cinch to earn writing credits rather than attending classes full-time… and oh, how good it feels to say ‘I told you so’!”
Hadrian scratched his scalp. His psoriasis was driving him crazy – he assumed it was the stress of having to write 1,000 words a day on random topics meted out by even more random dons whose mission in life was to make their students miserable.
That morning, Stinky (he was the poster boy for B.O.) had nonchalantly tossed an ‘Oh, by the way, ladies and gentlemen, your topic for tomorrow is The Smell of Mirrors,’ on his way out of the lecture room.
“You can’t write 1,000 words on…”
“What you mean is that nobody ever bothered to find out what mirrors smell like,” his mother interjected. “I’m sure Stinky was oh-so-casually informing you all that he knows what his nickname is. And maybe he wishes you all tried to smell the said mirrors, so that he could thump you in the back of your collective head in one fell swoop, while you did so.”
“Ma, I did smell the mirror. It smells of …glasses that have been wiped with a smelly dishcloth… and… fear…”
“There you go. You have enough notions there to write a thesis, go figure a mere 1,000 words.”
“If I peel the spuds and hose down the driveway…?”
“No. The essay is yours to write. But remember that echoes reflect sound.”
“Say what?”
“You heard me first time, kiddo. You really must pull your socks up. Read between my lines. ”
Hadrian had thought his offer to do the chores while his ma compiled his essay would be greeted with gratitude. After all, his mother was a writer – she could drum up a book in a week if she found a charitable cause to which to donate the proceeds, albeit secretly. Se was constantly on the best-seller lists, and her cast of characters was mentioned in everyday speech by ordinary people… yes, she was that famous.
Indeed, Hadrian had inherited her knack for words. His secondary school teachers could not quote believe he did his own homework… so they actually tested him at school, to see if the quality of his work would be consistent with that which he brought from home… and it was.
Yet, he was bone lazy. He wrote essays for his classmates, according to their level of proficiency, just so that he could copy their French and Mathematics homework exercises, on the school bus…
“I would compare and contrast mirrors and smell… but I don’t want to… A mirror does have a smell, however vague… and a smell mirrors something else deep within the primordial memories of a person…”
Yes, once the verbal gymnastics had begun, he could not help himself. Hadrian’s fingers took on a life of their own as they flew across the keyboard. “The mirror is the fundamental entity that mirrors the soul, more deeply than the eyes are said to do. Its smell evokes deep within us the elemental feelings of the womb, taking is back to the time when consciousness was not yet achieved – or, even, achievable…”
This, and more, he composed, as sweat trickled down his forehead and dribbled down his chin.
“The world outside seems to mirror our innermost thoughts – and the smell of the world intrudes on our psyche to make us react in ways we never thought we would, could, or should…”
He remembered reading somewhere that mirrors are actually super-cooled liquids rather than solids, or at least, amorphous solids… something like pitch… and expanded upon this bit of thermodynamic fiction into a couple of sentences, and mentioned the reeking dishcloth.
Hadrian was hungry, and sleepy, and had a crick in his neck. He was 400 words short of his word-count… when he suddenly remembered the television trope about how evil twins or other malefactors come out of mirrors. That was good for another 167 words, because he added that the smell of sulphur usually preceded the apparitions.
Hadrian sniffed the air. He sensed, more than saw, movement in the dressing table mirror…

Dot-to-Dot

http://prayables.com/prayer-blogs/prayables-team-blog/897-dot-to-dot

 

 

The miniscule snail, settle snugly between the tightly-packed folds of a humungous cabbage I’d got at the Farmers’ Market, didn’t know what had almost hit him. I had just sliced it in two before scooping out the centre for coleslaw and using the outer leaves as a shell for stuffing and baking, after boiling it.

I gouged out the gobbet of leaves around him, and transferred him to the garden. Throughout this operation, the creature’s antennae alternately undulated and retracted; no doubt he was wondering why his crispy universe was being disrupted.

How could he have comprehended that his refuge had been only millimetres away from oblivion by knife-blade?

But snails, like tortoises, are renowned for being slow and steady – so he might have taken it all in his stride, so to speak.

Sometimes, it is the little things that hold my attention, and the infinitesimal details that leave me fascinated. Pretentiousness leaves me cold.

The flash of a firefly in the night is more interesting than a bonfire; the raspy trickle of sand through my fingers is more appealing than miles of open beach; the droplet of dew hanging on the tip of a leaf is more impressive than bucket-loads of rain; the swirl of colour in a glass as a teabag releases its flavour is more inspiring than the monochrome infusion.

This is the obverse of the coin, what William Blake succinctly described as… To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.

Sometimes, we strive to impress others by brazen actions or grandiose schemes. Expensive gifts, designer clothes, and ostentatious jewellery are props we might use to make us feel better about ourselves because we couldn’t be bothered to delve deep into our inner beings to see our true worth.

There is the reverse of the coin – where something that would be inconsequential to most people takes on gargantuan proportions and needlessly spoils “everything” for the person who experiences it.

The afternoon siesta that’s cut short by a buzzing fly; the tiny stain on the white tablecloth that spoils a celebratory meal; the broken gel nail that stops us from going to our school reunion…

Little things mean a lot – both ways. Let’s make the agreeable ones count and ignore, or at least transform, the unpleasant ones.

 

Minute Minutes

I focus on my blessings
With an attitude of gratitude.
Content I have food to share;
Grateful my friend called me;
Happy to have a roof over my head, even though it leaks.
For I am alive.
I am secure in the knowledge
That I love, and that I am loved.
And that I have the gift of understanding, and the knack of empathy.
I am grateful. I am blessed.

Tanja Cilia

Please, meta jkollok ċans…

August 2, 2015
X’aktarx li meta wieħed ikun se jitolbok xi ħaġa, ma jibdiex is-sentenza bil-frażi “jekk joġgħbok” imma jitfa’ l-kelma bl-Ingliż. Din min jifimha? U ma jużax “jekk” imma “meta”.  Naraw ukoll kif min irid jimmanipulak, għandu mnejn juża ħafna kumplimenti fiergħa biex iġibek fejn irid. “Qed ngħid lilek għax int l-esperta”! Dan jiġri iżjed u iżjed jekk int ikollok il-fama li tgħin lil min hu fil-bżonn u tagħmel xi tip ta’ volontarjat.

8. tanjaImbagħad hawn min jistħi, jew ma jafx jgħid le. Dawn mhux dejjem ikunu nies kwieti imma hu żgur li kulħadd japprofitta ruħu minnhom.

Għal uħud il-kelma iva hi vizzju mhux drawwa. Jibżgħu li jekk jgħidu le se jonqsu lil dak li wara kollox ikun qed jużahom. Jemmnu sinċerament li jekk ma jaqdux lil dak li jkun, il-ħajja ta’ ħaddieħor se tkun waħda ta’ dwejjaq. U dan ikun tort tagħhom!

Il-qaddej jinsa lilu nnifsu u għalkemm jaf li xi ħaga jkun se jagħmilha kontra qalbu, xorta jagħmilha.

Dorothy tat il-kelma tagħha li tgħin fis-Summer Club tal-parroċċa imma f’daqqa waħda qalet li ġietha l-opportunità li tuża flat Buġibba u mhux se toqgħod tinżel darbtejn fil-ġimgħa, hux? Tibżax hemm Catherine.

Marika kienet tgħallem il-Franċiż. Mhux lilha jridu jgħidu jekk iridu privat għal Matsec? Dik ma żżommx flus.

Lina tgħix waħedha. X’ikollha x’tagħmel? Żgur li tista’ żżomm it-tfal tal-ġara, nofs siegħa biss wara l-iskola, sakemm tiġi ommhom mix-xogħol.

U kulħadd jassumi li Catherine, Marika u Lina mhux se jgħidu le. U tabilħaqq hekk ikun.

Int kuntenta li sibt ruħek fil-pożizzjoni ta’ Catherine, Marika u Lina? Tħossok importanti jew l-għajnuna li tagħti timlielek il-ġurnata? M’hawnx għalik. Iżda jekk tħoss li wasal iż-żmien li ma tkunx daqshekk disponibbli, xieraq tibda tgħid le. Imqar kultant.

Se jkun hemm min jieħu għalih. Se jkun hemm min igerger. Se jkun hemm min jirrabja. Bħallikieku għandhom xi dritt li jinqdew bik! Dan ifisser li jippruvaw jipperswaduk biex kollox jibqa’ kif ikun. Forsi għax għażżenin u forsi wkoll għax iridu jiffrankaw il-flus.

Kemm ħassart appuntamenti importanti dan ix-xahar?

Mhux qed ngħid tad-dwiefer jew tax-xagħar għalkemm hawn min għalih dawn huma importanti wkoll. Kellek xi appuntament l-isptar u ma mortx għax kont qed taqdi lil xi ħadd? Kont sejra xi pellegrinaġġ u, minħabba dak li tqisu dover tiegħek, ma mortx? Possibbli m’hemm ħadd ħliefek li jista’ jkun il-qaddej?

Billi għedt iva darba ma jfissirx li ffirmajt xi kuntratt. U jekk biss għedt li se tgħin, għandek dritt li titkellem meta ma tkunx tista’ jew ma jkunx konvinjenti għalik.

Ħafna żegħil u Ingliżati m’għandhomx jimpressjonawk. Tinsiex li m’għandekx għalfejn tagħti raġunijiet għax ma tistax tgħin.