Cee’s Fun Foto: Includes Letter Q

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A canal boat named Quail for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week πŸ™‚

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Daily Prompt: Elegance

I’m not a bad cook by any standards, but somehow my version of any given food dish never looks neat and tidy once put on the plate. None of this minimal bite-sized fiddly delicate artistic presentation for me. If I had to find a food-description genre to fit my cooking it would probably be ‘rustic’.

My food offerings inevitably overflow all around the edges, voluptous portions that are heartily satisfying in taste and texture. I particularly love thick creamy sauces and rich gravies poured generously over juicy cuts of meat and chunky vegetables served on solid, robust plates. Edible it may be, but elegant it is not πŸ™‚

Daily Prompt: Elegance

Twenty Questions…

Hmmm… so my lovely blog-friend Fandango has posted twenty questions to be answered, just for fun – so here goes, entirely off the top of my head! πŸ™‚

Window or aisle?

If I know my travelling companion, window, otherwise aisle every time just incase I get trapped or squashed into a too-small tight space – I’m claustrophobic 😦

White bread or whole wheat?

Whole wheat mostly, but occasionally the lure of soft white crusty bread with lashings of real butter pulls me in… mmmmmm…

Car or pickup?

I live in the UK where people tend to drive cars unless they particularly need a pickup truck for work purposes. But as it happens, living in London I have neither, so rely solely on public transport for now

iPhone or Android?

Android all the way so far

Foreign or domestic?

Is that a real question? What does it mean? Foreign or Domestic what? Technically I have a foreign husband as he’s American by birth, so does that count as a preference for foreign? (My previous long-ago-divorced domestic-based bloke was definitely a dud…)

Hip hop or pop?

Both, and pretty much everything else too – I just like music

Watch TV or read a book?

Both, but never at the same time

Summer or winter?

I was born in the winter, so I guess my wintery preference is kind of imprinted in my December genes. But living in such a temperate climate, neither is usually particularly extreme in my half century (and a bit) of experience

Daytime or nighttime?

Daytime for doing stuff, night time for resting – and in general I’m more of a home bird than a party animal, so that would have made quite a good either/ or question too, wouldn’t it?

Hot or cold?

Lukewarm – um, I honestly don’t know.Β  Coffee hot, cola cold, me somewhere in between. I’m back to struggling with menopausal hot flushes for now, so temperature’s a bit of a red rag to the bull at the moment

New or old?

Actually this is a difficult one – I’m no longer very new myself, so old feels more appropriate. But we live in an old Victorian property, so in that particular scenario new feels like it wins hands down

Fiction or non-fiction?

Each has its place in my life – non-fiction is best for learning, but fiction is great for relaxing

Poetry or prose?

I like both equally, but differently

Democrat or Republican?

British so neither, but my political values align way more with the Democratic party than the Republicans

Windows or Mac?

Windows

Mountains or ocean?

Living in the UK I don’t really have to choose – one of the benefits of a smallish island, it’s never too far from either so I can live in between and still have the enjoyment of both if I choose

Whole or skimmed?

Skimmed – it has higher levels of calcium so good for my menopausal bones to help prevent osteoporosis

Coffee or tea?

Here in the UK I prefer tea mostly, but I do love a good cup of strong milky coffee. But when in the US I always drink coffee, because I don’t really like what passes for tea on the other side of the ocean. PS in America I like to drink my coffee with half-and-half, which we don’t get here – it’s yum!

Football or baseball?

Rugby every time

Soda or pop?

Aren’t they just different words for the same thing? πŸ™‚

An Extravaganza of Heartache

I’ve had a very uneasy relationship with the forced fake frivolity of Christmas celebrations for most of my adult life.

This year will be my 55th Christmas on this earth and I think it’s probably time I sorted it all out for myself psychologically once and for all. Basically the generally recognised concept of a traditional family Christmas represents for me an extravaganza of heartache, not happiness. The main issue seems to be that in my head I long ago internalised a highly idealised, fixed-focus view of how Christmas should be that is truly troublesome for me; a view I dispute and disagree with fundamentally and that has never been my personal desired reality anyway.

My extrovert mum loves (and has always loved) all the surface trappings and trimmings of a traditional family Christmas – the bigger the better. She puts up several different-sized Christmas trees over the entire house, creates Christmas dioramas, adds copious amounts of Christmas decorations all over, and really goes to town with a flurry of festive present-planning and seasonal socialising. Her vision has always been that everyone joins in harmoniously and ‘does their bit’ to help her create and fulfil her ideal dream of a wonderfully happy family life – the more the merrier in all things Christmassy.

However anyone who doesn’t share her overly-enthusiastic view – and ‘anyone’ here historically means her introvert depressive daughter, in other words, me – rather than being left alone in peace to do their own thing is accused of deliberately ‘spoiling Christmas for everyone else’. Yet another nit-picking nail added to my life-long ‘not good enough’ coffin. So it has aways felt to me that my birth family’s one-size-fits-all, over-the-top approach to Christmas celebrations was created as an added challenge to force people-pleasing me yet again to consider others’ desires while ignoring my own personal preferences.

Over the years, as my own children grew up and created their own scattered versions of Christmas after their father and I divorced, it gradually became far easier for me simply to say ‘I don’t do Christmas’ and to withdraw from it all wholesale than to stand up and say to my parents ‘I won’t continue to be party to the painful pretence ofΒ perfection that requires the aggressive application of emotional blackmail and behavioural manipulation channeled in my direction in order to create an illusion of familial festive fun for the rest of you at the cost of my personal sense of worth’. Because after all, why spoil things for everyone else…

But surely by now and at my age there should be ample room in my head for many different, equally legitimate ways to spend Christmas? Why in my mind’s eye does it still have to be an extrovert extravaganza or nothing? Why isn’t the offer of peace and goodwill to all men a two-way street in my brain, why should I continue to feel I should always be the one expected to sacrifice my peace and offer my goodwill all the time to make others feel better? What’s wrong with me as a depressive introvert preferring to spend Christmas quietly, intimately, differently, and not necessarily alone – but still being allowed to celebrate Christmas in my own way? And the answer, of course, is ‘nothing’.

I’ve been working so hard this year to try to finally lay that old ‘not good enough’ coffin to rest, and part of that ongoing exercise is to re-evaulate my difficult and decidedly dysfunctional relationship with all things Christmas. So this year I’m going to try to resist the resistance and actively embrace the concept of Christmas with compassion and consideration for my own happiness, and see where my newborn confidence takes me… ❀

A Smattering of Snow…

We don’t usually get much snow here in London so on the rare occasions it does snow, however minimally, I try to capture it as best I can. We woke up this morning to a fine layer of soft slushy stuff that soon started to melt underfoot, so even though it was dull and dreich and still snowing slightly I took my camera out for a walk to see what I could find.

This young couple walked past just at the right moment to place themselves in the centre of my frame…

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And this poor partially-built snowman was missing his head, sitting abandoned and unfinished towards the edge of the frame…

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It’s not deep snow by anyone’s standards; a mere smattering, barely enough to warrant being called a covering. I grew upΒ  in the North of Scotland where six-foot snow-drifts weren’t unheard of, but this is London, and for London, this is about the snowiest it gets! Apparently it’s due to freeze tonight, too, so it will probably be a lot brighter weather-wise, not to mention colder and crisper tomorrow, so maybe I’ll try again…

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Nevertheless I do think the grey dullness of these particular shots creates a beautifully moody monochrome effect, even though all these images were taken in vivid colour πŸ™‚

Wanstead Flats, Leystonstone, East London

Oblique

Oooh what fun, Linda has given us partial word ‘liqu’ to use for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, and today’s Daily Prompt word is ‘degree’ so I thought – hmmm… how can I link them together in one post?

Degrees made me think of angles, of being acute or obtuse or right angles, and then I thought of things neither being parallel or at right angles to each other but oblique – and suddenly I’ve linked both words, so will stop while the going’s good… πŸ™‚