Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twiddling my thumbs

I am still at Real Work. While the rest of the world is not, seemingly. Well, according to the fact that, give or take a car or two, we were the only ones driving to work this morning, and there is an eerie silence in the building. Unless everyone is playing an enormous game of Hide-and-Seek, to which I haven't been invited, there's nobody here.

Thus far, I have:
  1. Harvested my crops on Farmville and planted really quick growing crops in their place, so I can harvest again this afternoon. I know, I know, the whole Farmville thing is ridiculous and silly... blah blah. Humbug. I'm addicted. Possibly because I have the brain of an 11-year old boy.
  2. Written a couple of Christmas cards.
  3. Googled the origins of the phrase "Happy as Larry".
  4. Frittered about on Facebook, stalking people I haven't been in contact with for months/years.
  5. Googled what being a Godmother entails - I AM one - to the gorgeous cherub, Ava. After my Google search, though, am realising I am possibly not fit to be one, but I figure I'm going to be the best one anyway.
  6. Drunk two cups of coffee and two cups of hot water.
  7. Played Scrabble on Facebook.
  8. Googled recipes for melon-based starters for Christmas lunch.
  9. Got irritated with my bra strap which keeps creeping out of my t-shirts armhole and tickling my arm.
  10. Worked out, to the second, how long it is until I go on holiday tomorrow... for over THREE WEEKS!
  11. Sung my entire repertoire of Christmas songs. Twice.
Thank god for Google and Stalkbook, without whom I may have twiddled my thumbs right off my hands, and I can't imagine it's easy to be thumbless in the world we live in. I think I'll ponder that for a bit.

Is it obvious I'm (just a tad) bored?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Tragedy, Part 3

So I began the convoluted and disjointed tale of my tragedy a couple of months ago (Part 1 and Part 2 are here, and there). And then I stopped. Not because it was causing me great pain or drama, but because I ran out of steam to tell it. And I didn't get very far, and I am now making myself get back to it. Thus far, we crashed in the middle of nowhere on a hot summer's day and I had done a sterling job of breaking my neck and squelching my spinal cord. People stopped, angels flew over (or were they vultures?), the sun looked at us despairingly from her perch in the vast Karoo sky, and I landed up in ICU at a hospital in Bigger Town.

We transferred from Small Town to Bigger Town in a rickety ambulance. The Small Town hospital had an air of dusty despondency about it, unlike the big private hospital in Bigger Town (about 3 hours away) at which I found myself. Wheeling down the corridor on arrival I was surprised to notice tinsel and shiny red and gold balls attached to the ceiling of the passage... Christmas.

I was met there by my mother's university friend (and Godmother to my sister) who lived in the university town. My mother had phoned her with the news and she rushed to meet me and be with me until my mother arrived (she had to fly down). I remember feeling relieved to see her familiar face.

I'm trying really hard here to remember my thoughts and feelings but I think I've left it too long. I feel like I'm going to make them up, as if I'm thinking now, how all that whirl of chaos and drama would make me feel if it were happening to me now but I'm a different person, surely? Perhaps not.

At this juncture, though, it was just whirlwind. I was X-rayed from head to foot because I couldn't feel anything. I knew full well that I couldn't because every doctor/nurse/tea lady who came into my room seemed to have a pointy instrument with which they prodded me, starting at my feet and moving up, asking at 5-secondly intervals: "Can you feel that?" Right up until my upper chest... then I could feel it, bloody hell. And they kept telling me to move my foot/leg/hip. I couldn't.

I was put in ICU with two other people - a man who complained incessantly of being uncomfortable and a woman who, in hindsight, I think must've been psychotic. I was on morphine, it all seemed fine, if a bit noisy. I love morphine, just so you know.

My mother arrived. She flew, while my father drove below her in the direction of us, he would sleep over in a small dusty town and change direction when he heard I was to be airlifted out of there, heading toward the City Beneath the Mountain, to which I was transferred.

I don't remember much from that first night, a combination of shock and drugs, I'm sure. I just remember waking repeatedly to the discomfort of the man in the next bed, the wailing of the psychotic woman, and the beeping and disturbingly-human-like sounds of the ECG and ventilator machines. Somebody there must've been on a ventilator.

Next day I was airlifted to The City Beneath the Mountain, where my sister waited anxiously.

I need to stop there. Like I said, disjointed, I apologise.

Better disjointed and flowing, than buried deep within, right?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Silken sheets

From an e-mail I wrote this morning:

I find myself this morning feeling sensitive, but in a good way. You know that feeling when sometimes it feels like your heart is bigger, and it may also be exposed? Like emotions seem more electrical and fiercer and almost tangible? When your lungs feel tight as if they're wrapped in silken sheets of raw emotion. It's a good tightness. That's how I'm feeling today.

That feeling makes me want to write stuff down. And then I feel like I should send it to you because I want you to know where I am.

And then Real Work stepped in and whisked my mind away, and I remembered it's Christmas tree decorating tonight, and I got an invitation to a long ago dear, dear friend's wedding in London next year, completely unexpectedly. And my best Friend K and her new daughter Ava are here from Sydney, and then I got a comment on the last post that made me feel so very good (a bit like a Sub A kid who got a gold star) and I realised how lucky I am to have woken up this morning with all my emotions standing to attention!

And, while I fear my gushy writing is, well, just gushy, I felt the need to gush a bit. I apologise.

Those silken sheets of raw emotion... rubbing me up the right way... Who could ask for more?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Food, glorious food

We went to watch Julie & Julia yesterday. It was fabulous. It’s a movie worth seeing. Not on an empty stomach though. It will make you starving. Hell, it'll do that even if you have a full tummy at the beginning. You have been warned. We left the cinema hurriedly at the end, before I started gnawing on the carpeted walls…

It’s the side-by-side story of Julia Child, the cook from the '50's, and Julie Powell, a blogger in New York in 2002, who decided to work her way through Julia Child’s cookbook (the entire thing!) in a year, and blog about it. Both stories are, basically, true. It’s a fabulous food-filled film (did you see that alliteration?), but also a great inspiration for blogging. And finding a ‘project’.

I love foodie movies. And I love the cool darkness of the cinema, the smell of popcorn, the anticipation of a story. There is just something so delicious about the escapism of it all, and I always feel slightly dazed and confused when I come out, back into reality, into the bustling mall, daylight flooding the scene, people all over. People without the story that is so freshly in my head, in theirs…. I think there should be a secret tunnel out of the movies that takes you straight home, to avoid that onslaught of sensory… urm… thingies. Good heavens, I’m going off on a tangent and my English is a bit dodgy.

Basically, it was a fabulous Sunday afternoon movie filled with epicurean delights watched with somebody I want to watch many more movies with.

In other news – it is my annual Christmas tree decorating party tomorrow… I invite everybody I know, and their mini versions, and we decorate the tree and braai and people come and go, as they please (or as their mini versions dictate), and, over the course of the evening, the lights get strung up on the outside of the house, and the tree gets decorated, and it’s just sparkley and twinkley, and lovely.

Who can’t be happy with tinsel, sparkley lights and the good things that are in one’s life right now? (Yes, yes, the full story is forming, and coming…)

Friday, December 11, 2009

The bee's knees

"Shiny, you're the bee's knees."

I was informed of this at approximately 2am this morning, as we lay in the dark. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. Okay, honestly, who's not a sucker for compliments? It led, however, to an in-depth discussion on what a bee's knees really look like (remember, it was early hours, sleepy conversation). We discussed, we giggled, we concluded: very tiny, furry, yellow-and-black-striped, and smelling of honey.

I had to googleit, though, to see where on earth the phrase came from and, would you believe, nobody really knows? Some say it's a corruption of 'business', others a shortening of 'be-all and end-all' (which makes little sense to me), but mostly, it seems, it was just a phrase that originated in the 1920's, meaning 'the height of excellence'. They developed quite a few other phrases around that time, including pearls like 'the eel's ankle' and 'the elephant's instep'... heaven knows what they meant, and, obviously, they didn't stick.

I think, however, that I may throw them into conversation this weekend, just for the fun of it, the question is, though, where on earth do you fit 'the eel's ankle' into everyday conversation?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Not Shiny, no sirree

I am not Shiny today. At all. More like Whiney. I think I have suddenly developed a pre-silly season personality disorder leaving me tearful, needy and insecure. I could just put this down to PMS but, for some reason I'm still to work out, it is just not acceptable to blame my tearful whininess on said PMS.

Until after it's gone. Then it's okay to look back and say: "Silly Shiny. Being Whiney was just hormonal, not due to some deadly psychological affliction. Look it's all better now." No sirree, I can't admit that now.

Also, if my colleague at Real Work comes and stands behind me once more and breathes down my neck while chewing a carrot loudly, is it acceptable for me to rip his toe and fingernails out, one by one?

Monday, December 7, 2009

A yuletide letter to the big guy

It's getting to that time of year. You know the one - with tinsel, and twinkley lights and stuff. There's something that's been bothering me for years and, this year, I think I need to finally send this letter:

Dear Father Christmas,

I know you’re really rather busy at this time of year checking out who’s been naughty and the like, but if you could spare a moment for me, I have a gripe, and a question. They’re just little ones as gripes and questions go, so shouldn’t take up too much of your time.

Before I start whinging, though, I saw a picture of you in one of those ‘celebrity-spotter’ rags (the ones we all vehemently deny reading), eating a Christmas mince pie that looked horrible (you may even have been advertising them). My mother makes great ones, so just send me your address and I’ll get her to make you some (or you could just pick them up when you drop off my presents. I have been good this year, you know I have. Well, mostly anyway.)

My gripe: I am most upset by the fact that you have not visited me since my older sister told me that silly story of you being ‘made-up’, when I was 8-years old. My mother sent her to her room at the time and I felt very bad about telling on her, but I was eight, she was twelve, you can understand why I threw that tantrum.

It’s now been 26 years, and I can’t believe that I’ve been naughty enough every, single, year since then to be left off your ‘good’ list. Just for interest’s sake, did my tattle-tailing on my sister that year do it? So that’s my gripe, and my question is this: Could you please send me a list of what counts as ‘naughty’ in your eyes? Then I can, at least, try my best to get back on your delivery list.

Thanks so much, and let me know if you’d like some of those mince pies – they’re my gran’s recipe and everyone loves them. My sister can eat ten in a sitting.

Love to Mrs Father Christmas and the elves. Oh, and the reindeer,
Shiny x

P.S. One more thing - do you and Mrs Father Christmas still kiss under the mistletoe? I was just wondering...

Oh, I hope he answers. Surely I'm correct in losing patience after all these years?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friday night exuberance

On Friday night the City Beneath the Mountain put on her best dress, donned her false eyelashes (and flapped them, beautifully) and placed her red, sequinned dancing shoes on her delicate feet. And then she danced, and danced to an African beat (which, I fear is beyond me to explain, it's a beat that fills you) with the superstars she'd invited at the smart place down by the foreshore, and with the rest of us in not-so-smart Long Street. And, apparently, around the world millions watched us. And, I'm sure, were impressed.

You see, it was the World Cup Soccer draw, something I was completely unaware of until this week when the hype began - jets flew over in pretty patterns, practicing, and there were whispers of 'famous' people arriving - our Charlise, with her American accent and The Beckhams, with their designer hairstyles. We don't really do paparazzi down here on the tip of Africa, although I'm noticing a disturbing tendency toward it.

That aside, the spirit in the city bowl was palpable, and nothing gets me all aflutter more than a whole, heaving bunch of people waving South African flags, sharing tables in the street, drinking ice cold beer, cheering on our team - even though we know they're not really in the running to win, they're still our boys - you know, it's the exuberance of it all.

For how can anyone stand amidst exuberance like that and not be filled with pride?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

So much to tell

I have been quiet, it's true. As I alluded to in a couple of previous posts - I have been busy falling in love. When this happens, I find that time runs away, like a Jack Russel puppy after a small red plastic bone (I've had one a-visiting The Big Black Dog, thus the analogy). And my whole falling in love story is something I want to write about, and shout from the rooftops, and be all sickeningly Mills & Boon-ey about, but I've held back. I'm holding back.

It's that bloody privacy thing again. It's at times like this that I think of opening up a whole new, completely anonymous blog. While I have maintained relative anonymity on this one, there are those people who do know me, who read it intermittently (or did. Maybe they've sauntered off again)... Honestly though, it's the fear of my mother reading it. Because I have not told her about my romance, although I think she suspects it. And, well, it's complicated, but I need to tell her first, before you all.

I think.

Then I start to really want to blurt it all out because blogland is filled with people with such good advice. Oh, blegh.

In less obscure news (sorry, I know secret-keeping in blogland is just frustrating really... please, bear with me... I can feel an outpouring is imminent), I went to visit the beautiful baby nephews over the weekend. They're 4 months old and smiley and gurgley and just delicious. This is what they look like now (pics above... can't get them down here for some reason). One sleeping, one awake, both yummy.
I will be better at posting, I have stories to tell. Yes, I'm convincing myself. And I'm reminding myself that this whole blogging thing was (is) an exercise in placing my honest, straight-forward thoughts on paper (screen), no editing, no fancy-edging.
If I think I can, then I can, surely?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nibbling along

There I was, sat at a table at the Thai place down the road, outside on the stoep (verandah to my UK readers. Well, reader - Mud), the new moon (and, no, nothing to do with those blooming teenage vampire hearthrobs who seem to be taking over the world) just visible above the rooftop across the road, balmy air, looking around a table at which there were seven people. Six of us live within walking distance, and the seventh was The Pond, who is here from Faraway. She used to live with me, and still has a place in The House in the Middle of the Street so, basically, we were all from The Hood.

It got me thinking how lucky I am, to live in the area I live in, with the other people who live there. It's a small suburb, within a bigger suburb which prides itself on it's 'village' persona. We have a little street of restaurants, we have a Village Association, and we have rules about not building high rise buildings. People (generally) greet each other in the streets and their dogs, and then them, make friends in the parks (we have three). It's just all rather lovely really.

My mind wrapped itself warmly in those thoughts as I stared at the silver sliver moon and the easy conversation between the people at the table became background noise until my reverie was interrupted, not unpleasantly, by the lovely Thai lady who owns the place saying:

"Would you like any starters to nibble along before your mains?"

Who can say no to starters to nibble along?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A letter to the good-looking man

I am very fortunate to be driven to work every morning. Traffic can be a bit of a bitch and turn our what-would-normally-be-a-15-minute trip into... well, sometimes... a 40-minute trip, possibly more, depending on the weather etc. People in the City Beneath the Mountain forget, instantly, how to drive, the second even one drop of rain falls out of the sky. But that's another story, and has no bearing on my thoughts today, whatsoever. Especially since it seems Summer has (finally) arrived, and it is gorgeous outside!

Point is, I have plenty of time to look at the mountain and the people in cars around me, which I find fascinating. I am, however, always amazed by the fact that people driving in their cars seem to not be aware that everyone around them can SEE them. This morning, it caused me to formulate this letter:

Dear Rather Good-Looking Man in Blue Car,

Firstly, I liked your choice of tie this morning - you obviously have good taste as it matched your shirt perfectly. Your shirt, however, could've done with a little more ironing. My Mother is an excellent shirt ironer (or so my Father has always pronounced... thinking about it now, though, perhaps it was just to keep her doing it... Hmm... But back to my point) and is now retired so, perhaps could be persuaded to show you how to do it properly. Just a thought.

That's not the reason for my writing, though. I just wanted to tell you, because you obviously haven't realised, that your windows of your car are see-through. Like you can see out... we can see in. You need to be aware of this, really.

Picking your nose, while vaguely tolerable in a 3-year old (and even then, only vaguely), is completely unacceptable in a man your age. I have one word for you: tissues, love, tissues. Don’t spoil such a lovely view of a good-looking boy for those of us whiling away our time in the traffic by sticking your finger up your nose, please.

I’ve got a really sweet pack of tissues that fit nicely in my handbag, that’d fit perfectly in that cubby-hole thingamy in the car, where you put your change. I’ll even buy you a pack if it’d help. Let me know where to send them. Oh, and also if you want me to organise your shirt-ironing-lesson. My Mother will probably give you tea and cake and she makes a killer lemon cake!

Shiny xx

Am I wrong in thinking that nose-picking should remain in the realm of toddlers?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Being brazen at The Dentist

I went to The Dentist last week. I haven't been for an 'annual check-up' in, well, about five years. I do not like The Dentist. I was the nerdy girl at school with railway tracks, adorned with coloured elastic bands, which necessitated painful monthly visits to the orthodontist. They did, however, allow a morning off school a month, and a chance to wander around the campus town where my boarding school resided. Each time the housemistress questioned why we couldn't get afternoon appointments, we shrugged our shoulders teenager-edly and skipped away. I digress. Point is, I feel like I had my fill of dental appointments in my teenage years and, therefore, avoid them now.

So I went, with long teeth (snigger). And I sat nervously in the waiting room, with it's specific antiseptic/dentist smell and the sound of high-pitched drills and screaming (yes, I'm prone to over-exaggeration) coming from down the long passage to hell, I mean the consulting room. The twenty minutes I waited (why can they never be on time), felt like three days, as nervous anticipation gripped my stomach, causing me to feel ill and making me think I should leave, quickly, while still alive. Beads of sweat dripped from my forehead, landing on the sterile, tiled floor, while an exceedingly irritating screen showed the same six trivia questions in repeat, next to a 50-times life-size poster of a dental implant (WTF?). I'm not good with nervous anticipation. And I knew he would ask me about flossing.

And then the pretty (why are they always petite) dental assistant came clip-clopping through on her high heels, bright white smile lighting up her face as she cruelly called my name and I followed her to the chair of torture, behind which a rather nice-looking young dentist was standing in his turquoise dentist suit, face mask casually wrapped around his neck. His nice-lookingness didn't fool me though, I saw the evil dentist glint in his eye. The left one.

"Lie back and relax, " he said, pulling his mask over his mouth and wielding that extremely sharp scrapy thing which he'd surreptitiously extracted out of the box of torture next to him. "Open up." I did. I'm obedient. But my heart beat so loudly it (fortunately) drowned out the next door drilling sounds. He did the usual dentist thing and asked me all sorts of questions while digging around in my wide-open mouth, me splutteringly mumbling answers through his hands/instrument of torture.

Each time he opened his mouth to speak, I anticipated his next words to be: "Oh dear, I'm sorry, we'll have to pull these two out, and do root canal on the five over there." They didn't come, though. He kept making rather pleasant 'mmm' sounds. I was pretty sure he was lulling me into a false sense of calm. Cruel man.

"That all looks fine. Let's just do some X-rays to check." I couldn't believe my ears. All fine? Hmm, yes, X-rays... here it comes... pictures of the enormous cavities hiding in my teeth, filled with vicious germs, like in the toothpaste ads. Then he pulled this tiny little plastic thing out, which he put in my mouth in various positions, taking X-rays which showed my teeth, immediately, on the screen next to us. It was amazing. Like I said, it's been a while since I was in a dentist's chair so I was awe-struck by this new technology.

"All good. Your teeth are perfect." I almost fell out of the uppy-downy-lie-back-if-you-wanna-dentist chair. Relief flooded through me, causing me (almost) to kiss the dear man's cheeks.

"Do you floss?" he asked.

I was brazen. "No." He looked at me in horror. "I have perfect teeth, you just told me. Sans floss." The man could not reply. I smiled broadly, thanked him for his time and rushed away, safe in the knowledge that I can probably put the next visit to the Torture Chamber off for another, well, five years or so.

There's nothing better than being able to be brazen with The Dentist, is there?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Novel writing takes a back seat

So, I'm a naughty girl. I so very much wanted to be cool, like the ever-so-brave and incredibly talented sisters Tamara and Miranda and write a 50 000 word novel in November. That amounts to 1666.67* words. Per day. I even signed up. And started. I got to 509 words in my first sitting (1 157.67 words short, for the day). It was complete trash, but fun to write. Then it was the next day, and I realised I was 2 824.34 words behind. I'm now 7 824.35 words behind (including today). It was starting to stress me out.

You see, in September, I wrote on my blog every day, and then in October, I wrote 100 words every day on another little project thing, so I (way over-zealously) thought that this was the perfect next step. What I failed to realise, was that I have just moved back into the newly renovated House in the Middle of the Street. Which still has no kitchen taps. We have a sink, but no taps. It's a long story. And boxes. What looks like thousands of them. Filled with Stuff. Stuff that needs to be unpacked, have the concrete dust wiped off it, and returned to its rightful places.

Then there's Real Work, which is chaotic, and fills my days fairly fully (except when I sneak off to blog) from 7am until 5pm. And the Other Work, which also seems to forget that I'm freelance, and not available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to bow to their every whim. ("Could we have 350 words of copy, for a competition, by, say, yesterday afternoon?" "Um.... no.") It's just that time of year with work-type stuff. I really shouldn't sound so ungrateful. At least I'm being paid.

And then, there's the small matter of the fact that I am very busily falling in love. This takes up a lot of time and, on much contemplation this morning, I decided needed more attention than any 50 000 word novel deserves from me. At this point. You see, I'm feeling I should rather revel in this starry-eyed, fluttery-hearted, Mills & Boon-esque gushiness that I'm experiencing right now. It only seems fair.

And I'm pretty darn sure that my 50 000 word novel can just revel in said feelings, and possibly develop a bit more in my head, and be ready for next November. Or, at least, I hope so.

Novels don't have expiry dates, do they?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Flying, tiling and happiness

I take it back. My whinge about the self actualisation and positive thought mantra-saying. My house is, indeed converted - the bricks are made of chocolate cake, the roof is covered in wafers, the door handles in the kitchen are Jelly Tots, and the chocolate spring flows into a meandering stream through my garden. And I'm flying.

It's a good place to be. I know I'm being all cryptic again, but it's just that I'm not quite there yet. You know the 'there' I'm talking about? The one where you're able to blurt it all out and make it all public. I'm getting there, at the speed of light, really, what with my new wings and all.

The good news is that we will all be moving back into the House in the Middle of The Street on Saturday. The floors are in, the walls are painted, I just need to choose tiles for the kitchen (walls - at the sink and stove). You'd think this'd be a walk in the park. It's not. Finding red tiles? Like trying to get hold of the original hotpants worn by Axl Rose in the '80's.

You amble happily into tile place (after tile place, after tile place, getting less happily ambly exponentially, as the number of tile places increases) and ask to see their red tiles. Smiley Salesperson enthusiastically says: "Sure, we have a whole range!" (Why do sales people have to talk in exclamation marks?) Said Smiley Salesperson then rushes off and returns minutes later with a range of orange tiles. They're all bloody orange.

Anyway that's a long, gripey story which I will deal with (some more) over the weekend. In the meantime, I must fly around the office a bit, looking busy.

I wonder if my colleagues can see my wings?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Catching up

I have lost my desire to write. Well, not really the desire, just the drive. I just can't think of anything interesting to say. Which is a bit silly really, because there is so much extremely cool stuff going on in my life, but I just can't get myself to write about it. I have just made myself come into this "New Post" block and am forcing my hand to make letters into sentences (of a sort) in the hope it'll turn into something worth reading. Thus far... I don't think I'm winning. Drivel, that's what this is.

Let me catch up with some news. The House in the Middle of the Street is almost ready to be moved back into. It has been a veritable building site and I have had to try very hard not to kick and scream at the builder's boot marks through my lavender, and my dead mint (presumably choked on concrete dust or paint fumes, poor thing) and had the very stressful job of choosing new paint colours (I mean, seriously, how the hell are you supposed to pick a colour for an enormous room from a square 4cm x 3cm?)... But the walls are all done, except the kitchen, and the wooden floors are almost done, and rumour has it that we may be able to move back in this weekend.

My parents left last Monday for Botswana/Big Smoke/Bali allowing us free reign in their house. It instantly made me want to throw a party, of course, having regressed to a 16-year old. Unfortunately work has been ridiculously busy and so I haven't pulled myself together to organise it! Also, they have DSTV, and I have, basically, become a DSTV-whore. There, I said it. Now you all know the real reason for my lack of writing.

Who says TV swallows you whole?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


It came from nowhere. The wind was blowing so hard that the tree outside my window, all fifty-plus years of it's five-storey height looked like it may blow away like one little stalk of a dandylion. I'm convinced the Weatherman fucks with me, and changes the weather, according to my head space. That seems a bit presumptious but, perhaps, it's just my little world's weather. I wouldn't want to mess with anybody else's.

In the midst of a swirling, whirling, tweeting bird, sparkling star-filled time with so much promise of fabulous new things and amazing people (person), it appeared, just like that. The skulking shadow came out into the light. I see it and feel like every single piece of me is made of salt water. Like I could easily just turn into a pool of tears, gushing along the gutter, into the rain drain, and down to the sea.

Perhaps, finally, it is time?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another letter: weariness-inspired

I have a problem. Just a small one, really, but it is a problem. I just ate the most delicious lunch. That, however, is not the problem. The problem is that I am now overcome with weariness. It's like there are little weights attached to each of the eyelashes on my top eyelid. This makes it very difficult to be in the office. And then there's the fact that my (rather large) mouth keeps gaping open to suck in large quantites of air (I think they call it a 'yawn'). My problem has prompted another letter. It may not get me anywhere, but writing it might help me stay awake.

Dear Superintendant of Large Building in which I work,

While I do realise that our prior communcations may not have been the most pleasant, I hope you will spare me a moment. Thank you, by the way, for eventually replacing the door handle into our office, finally allowing us to get rid of the makeshift-screwdriver-door-opening-contraption. I do apologise for the honey on both your office door handle, and car, for that whole week-and-a-half, but after my fifth request was ignored, I had no choice but to resort to more serious measures. Water under the bridge though, I hope? It certainly is for me. They say honey is very good for the skin, too, so I hope you had beautiful soft hands after that whole palava...

Back to my reason for writing. I have a small request to make, which I think might be in the best interests of, well, everybody. I'm sure that you, like the rest of us, enjoy your lunch hour to the full and indulge in the delights served up to us in the canteen (the stew today was good, didn't you think? Admittedly, my mother makes a better one). Thing is, after such delights, one tends to get a little weary. My suggestion is this: I think you should install a bed in each office. Just for a short afternoon nap. Nothing fancy, just a plain wooden base, nice mattress (back health is so very important). I'd be happy to shop around and send you prices because I'm sure you don't have time to do that, what with going to lunches and meetings and looking importantly busy or busily important.

I suggest we bring our own linen because, I don't know about you, but, personally, I'd rather not share bed linen with my office mates. We could put name tags on them, like at boarding school, and send them down to the laundry, when necessary.

Let me know what you think. There's no rush, but it'd be great to hear back from you today, then I could get started on shopping around, and choosing linen.

Shiny x

P.S. Shall I bring you some of my Mum's stew for lunch tomorrow? It really is very good. And it doesn't contain any honey - I do remember how vociferous you were about honey.

I wonder if he'll think it's a good idea?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kreativ Blogger

I got given an award by the delicious Tamara, of Fleeing Muses. I've never been given a blog award before, so I feel a bit like a Sub A girl, with a gold star on my forehead, and want to puff my chest out and call my mother to tell her. Thank you Tamara. I kind of like this one, really, because it's made me write, and, as you've probably noticed, I've been a bit slack with that, of late. I'm ignoring point 2 because I don't really understand what it means, and I quite like my uncluttered page. Unlike my house filled with hoarded goods from a million years ago, it's nice to keep the lines clean here.

The award is the Kreativ Blogger award and the rules are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Seven things people might find interesting about me:

1. My house is full-to-overflowing with 'things' - most of which have names. I am pretty damn sure inanimate objects have feelings. Reading that, I realise I might be showing some sure signs of slight (note, I said slight) madness. I'd like to think I'm just vaguely kooky. It's genetic.
2. In the same vein - I can NEVER leave one pea (or corn, or piece of carrot) on a plate. It has to be two, or none. In case they get lonely.
3. I won the smallest trophy ever made, at school in 1991, for hurdles. It was the only sport I ever did and I was ever-so-proud of the mini-trophy (even though I had to give it back a week later so it could go back in the trophy cupboard for the next year).
4. My great grandfather was a professor of music and collected African instruments. I am sad I didn't have the chance to know him.
5. I believe that when we die, our souls separate into little silver pieces that float into everybody we ever came in contact with - the people we loved, the people who smiled at us on the street, everybody. That's why your character grows, as you grow older.
6. I think I might be falling in love, for the first time in years. I said I think. I'm not committing to anything yet.
7. When I close my eyes, I swear I can see stories playing on the inside of my eyelids. Like a drive-in.

And now I'm supposed to nominate seven people, but I think most of mine have been taken. I'll try though:

Family Affairs, because she makes me either laugh or cry, in virtually every post.
Frank, because he grows flowers, and I've missed his posts of late.
Clive, because he's witty, and clever, and real.
Muplustwo, because she, too, makes me laugh and cry.

Sorry - the others I'd like to nominate, have it already. I wonder if I can get away with just claiming kookiness, and blaming it on my genes?

Knots snap

I have been slack at writing. Things are happening in my life. Good things. They're taking up my head space and making me grin while I swirl and whirl. Sometimes I stop and get scared and think I should run back into the cover, behind my barriers.

I spent the weekend in a cottage in a valley outside The City Beneath the Mountain, which was surrounded by mountains (I guess the valley bit gives that away), coloured in above with the bluest of blue, children's-drawing-clouds scudding by, and below, emerald green interspersed with purple fields of lavender. Idyllic. In the silence of the valley I hear the sound of another one of the millions of tiny knots that make up my barriers snap and fly off into the fresh air breeze, and I know this is a good thing and I must not run.

No, sirree, I must not run.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Can I nibble on my finger?

I'm still staying with my mummy and daddy while the floors are fixed. It has been quite fun actually. There is nothing wrong with freshly squeezed orange juice each morning, and a home-cooked packed lunch every day. I did, however, have to phone home to complain yesterday. Reason being that we looked in the fridge yesterday morning before work to find nothing. Well, ok, not nothing, but no neatly packed tupperware shouting: "I'm Shiny's lunch! Take me! Eat me!"

On receiving my complaint call, my mother explained, that, due to the fact that I had gone out the night before to The BFF's birthday, she didn't think to pack me lunch. WTF? I was horrified. Almost wordless, except that I find wordlessness, well, impossible. I had to have a word with my father about it when I got home from work. He, too, was shocked.

This morning, as I drank my freshly squeezed orange juice (yum), I noticed a new bottle of hand cream on the counter. And you know what that's like. New bottles of cream just shout out to be tested. Which I did. My hands now smell like marshmallows, it's wierd. I keep having this unsupressable (is that even a word?) desire to chew off my baby finger.

I'm sure that'd be okay, wouldn't it?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The lion, the crocodile, and the wardrobe

I went to dinner at D and B on Friday, them who are the parents of the delicious Maya, who turned three, two weeks ago. I sat in the kitchen, at the kitchen table with Maya while D made salads and Maya 'mixed' the salad dressing. This entailed me holding the bowl, D adding each ingredient one-by-one, Maya stirring after each addition and then dipping her finger into the dressing and proudly proffering said finger for me to taste.

I can now tell you what changes salad dressing goes through on addition of each ingredient. I won't go into detail, other than to say it's best to wait until they're all in, and then taste. After we'd finished 'cooking' and tasted the dressing about twenty-three times, this conversation ensued:

Maya: There's a lion in Zeida's bed. (They're Jewish, Zeida = Grandpa - B's dad is living with them at the moment)
Shiny: There is? Do you think you should warn Zeida?
Maya: No, it's okay, the crocodile's fixed it.
Shiny: Oh, right, phew. How did he fix it?
Maya: He put him in a box. And then strapped the box up.
Shiny: Thank goodness for the strapping.
Maya: Yes, and then he put the box in the cupboard. And then he strapped the cupboard.
Shiny: Wow, what a clever crocodile. But, Maya, where's the crocodile now? I'm a bit scared.
Maya: Don't worry, the crocodile's gone back to the pool.
Shiny: Oh, of course, yes.

She then went off to bed in her sweet pink pyjamas that are getting too small, and we had dinner. I swear though, when I looked down the passage to the glass back door that leads out to the pool, I saw two glinting red crocodilian eyes.

Maybe it was just the Shabbat wine?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Back Home

Ah yes, you see? That's what happens. I do myself proud, writing every day, and then, wham, slack off because I've done it. Thing is, though, that I have been ridiculously chaotic. I now live with my parents again. Where my bedroom was, is a large, gaping, hole. It's time, right now, if anybody wants to take me up on The Offer. The Nothing is being removed, the entire household has moved in with my parents who, luckily, live just down the road. It's chaos. But I got freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast, and I have a packed lunch in the fridge. Of homemade food. I have also, thus far, managed to hold back on regressing into a 13-year old.

It was close though. When my mother 'snuck' into my room after I'd gone to sleep, with a torch, to rootle around in her linen cupboard looking for a certain blanket, I had to really hold my tongue and remind myself that they're doing us a favour letting us live in their house. Honestly, though, my tone probably wasn't the most friendly when I asked her what she was doing.

The Big Black Dog was instantly settled and thinks she's living in heaven, because there's a pool in the garden, and she likes water, alot. The Siamese Princess, however, spent the day cowering in my jerseys but got a good night's sleep last night. I know this because I heard her snoring. It's full moon, I was, of course, awake. The Big-Boned Babycat is settling in at The BFF (or so I hope), and I have managed to keep my calls down to only three (and an SMS) since dropping her, oh, 16 hours ago.

So that was Day 1 out of The House in The Middle of The Street under the belt, and my parents are planning a two-week trip (probably to India) so I will then be able to run wild in their house. And the builders promise me it'll be over in four (maybe five) weeks...

I wonder if I'll manage not to regress?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September adieu

Did you see what I did there? Did you? I wrote every, single, day of September. At the beginning of the month I made a deal with myself to do that. I haven't been writing as much as I want to, so thought it'd be a good plan. Thus my incessant drivel this month! Now I feel all smug and patty-on-my-back. I also finished a 12-week writing course that I started about 18 months ago so am feeling very productive (yes, yes... 12-weeks/18 months... so my timing's just a bit out. I finished though!)


So, as the spring wind howls outside my fifth floor window here in the windy part of The City Beneath the Mountain, I grin more widely at the things happening around me and in me. I don't care if the wind blows pollen onto my teeth. I shan't stop grinning.

Why should I?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The signs

I'm wondering whether I should be taking notice. The strangest things have been happening to me. But, in order for this story to make sense, I need to backtrack a little and give a quick overview of my religious beliefs. Quick, religious - those two don't really belong in a sentence together. I'll try though. I am definitely not a believer in organised religion. My jury is out on whether there's a nice, friendly, bearded old man floating around in the clouds above (be he in a Catholic robe, Jewish kippah or Muslim jubba). I do believe in the fact that there is something bigger than us and, certainly, a whole lot of spiritual stuff.

I also believe that church provides people with a sense of community. My mother, for instance, is a regular church goer, and it makes her happy. It's a whole other social circle (she is very sociable) and she doesn't spread damnation and fury to those of us (the rest of the family) who choose not to go. She did bribe me as a teenager, though, to go - allowing me to drive there. That's another story, though. I do also believe that religion is the root of a lot of the troubles of the world but realise that's the fundamentalists etc and, again, that's a whole other story. Mostly, I think we have brains to think, and that's what we should do. I'm sure that gives some idea of where I stand.

Now to the actual story. On Thursday last week, there I was, sat at my kitchen table, wading through the piles of Spar pamphlets, Estate Agent letters begging to evaluate my house, and frightening looking window envelopes when suddenly, lo and behold, a hand-addressed envelope (for me!) fell from the pile. My heart filled with glee as I ripped it open, only to have a small booklet fall out of it. No letter, just the book. Called The Book of John. One of those things that normally get thrust at you on pavements, namelessly, by people wearing I Love Jesus t-shirts. But this was addressed to me (handwritten).

I thought it a bit strange but carried on, regardless.

Then on Sunday, I was packing my CDs and tapes (yes! I soul-wrenchingly went through the tapes that I've been lugging about and dedicatedly collecting dust on for years and threw out most of them, keeping only a few, prized mixed tapes... sigh) in preparation for the Big Move in The Great Floor Saga. There, amongst the tapes, in a back corner of the shelf was a well-used little booklet, taped together with sticky tape (that well-worn) of Muslim wisdom, half written in Arabic, half written in English. I kid you not. I have NO idea where it came from, or how long it's been there. As I said, the tapes have, well, just been collecting dust for the past, oh, six years or so.

Again, I thought it a bit strange but carried on, regardless.

Yesterday I heard my phone do it's little chime thing to indicate a message. It was an unknown number. The message said:

Please Call Man of God

Seriously. Is someone trying to tell me something?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ringlets and curls

As a child, I had a friend called Liezl, who had the most beautiful ringlets. When I think about it now, her mother must've spent hours on them! It does sound a little Charles Dicken-ish too - ringlets. I'm not one-hundred-and-forty-something years old, though... It was the 80's, as in 1980's, not 1880's. There's no accounting for 80's fashion choices and, really, they were very beautiful. I used to sit behind her on the carpet for storytime and play with her hair, seeing how far up her ringlets I could put my finger without touching the edges.

I met someone the other day with equally as beautiful curls and I longed to reach over and do the same thing, luckily catching myself before I did, realising that really would be invading her personal space. It made me think, though, with a nostalgic air (seems to be a common thread running through my thoughts at the moment).

When exactly does the switch happen that turns us into grown-ups (blegh), making it unacceptable to admire someone's curls, tactilely?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I just watched a video of The Black Eyed Peas singing their Today's Gonna be a Good Day song, I think for the opening of Oprah's new season. It was brilliant, and made me feel all gooey inside for humans, for being one, for living with other ones, for joy shared in music, and dancing, and, well being human.

Basically, it's them on a huge stage, with thousands of people in front of them. Their entire crowd is completely still, except for one girl in the middle, at the front. Slowly, as the song goes on, the movement of the crowd moves back, first a bunch of about twenty, then a hundred, and eventually the entire crowd moving to the music, together. One of those amazing group things that make you smile in every corner of your body - like I could even feel my kidneys grinning.

I wonder what my heart looks like with a grin?

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I did it. I finally did it. It's been the dinner table topic at every dinner party I've been to in the past month, and so I reluctantly went and did it, with slightly long teeth, I have to admit. I decided it was necessary, though, in order not to feel like I had a mouth full of teeth every time the subject came up. Rather long teeth, than a mouth full of them. Also, I like to support anything that has South Africa stamped all over it. And a friend of mine from varsity was in it (yes, yes, I know famous people!). I saw District 9.

And, as everyone had (repeatedly) told me, it was, indeed, impressive. It was raw, and real, and gritty. I cried. I just told one of my friends that. It was met with much mirth. I'm not afraid to admit it, I'm a real girl. I felt so terribly sorry for the aliens, and Wikus. It's a science fiction story, I know, but they have feelings too, aliens.

I was also quite disturbed by the level of violence and the graphicness of it. As I said, I'm a bit of a girl, especially when it comes to movies - I avoid gratuitously violent movies. It's not my thing. It worries me that I live in a world where it is so many people's 'thing'.

Perhaps I'm just oversensitive?

Friday, September 25, 2009

The promise of something new

Amidst the warmth of old friends and the gentle smell of the first sweet peas, we ate and drank and laughed until our sides hurt. It was perfect. One of those fabulous afternoons spent around the kitchen table in the orange kitchen with The Big Black Dog lolling at the feet of each person in turn, sluttily lying on her back to have her tummy tickled, and The Siamese Princess hopping from lap to lap. In the blink of an eyelid, the afternoon passed and the sun sank behind the mountain.

There's just something so lovely about an extended lunch with old friends. And what could be better than the promise of a new friend?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hooray to heritage

It's a holiday here on the tip of Africa - Heritage Day - a day on which we celebrate our heritage. And we have lots of it, so I must away to celebrate all of it!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friendship crushes

I was frootling around on IMDB (as one does) and came across this quote from Dave Matthews, which I thought was awfully clever, and oh-so-true:

"A guy and a girl can be just friends, but at one point or another, they will fall for each other... maybe temporarily, maybe at the wrong time, maybe too late, or maybe forever."

Now I love Dave Matthews for his beautiful music, and his lyrics and everything else and then he comes up with clever things to say too. Do you think it's true though? I do. My only addition to it (let's call it fine print) is that I think it applies to all relationships or friendships, be they girl-boy, girl-girl or boy-boy.

You see, I was thinking about it (Warning: I have taken pseudoephedrine to dry up the ridiculous amounts of snot being made by my innards (too much information?) so the brain is ticking over quite fast) and realised that, when you meet somebody new (and I'm just talking friends here, although, I suppose, at the beginning you never know where it'll go) there is always that electric feeling. You know the one? When you're excited to make plans that include them, or go out of your way to make the plans. When the beep of your phone is thrilling, especially when it shows their name.

I guess it's like having a crush - getting to know things about somebody about whom you knew absolutely nothing before. Maybe it's just me though. I am fascinated by people. I suppose it's also just the thrill of not knowing where the 'getting to know you' will lead. Is it just me that believes in the Initial Crush Phase of Friendship?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Equinox Myth

It's The Equinox today. This means it is 'officially' spring. I decided (of course) that it warranted some Google research. Which brought up a whole lot of interesting facts. Well, I found them interesting, but then I'm a bit of a Geography nerd. I shan't bore you with them all, I'll just help dispel one myth, which I didn't, until today, know was a myth: the fact that it's the day when day and night are exactly equal. I thought that was the whole point! It's called the EQUInox for heaven's sake!

Not so. Here I quote:

It is important to note that day and night during the September equinox is not exactly equal length. During the time of the September and March equinoxes many regions around the equator have a daylight length of about 12 hours and six-and-a-half minutes. Moreover, the day is slightly longer in places that are further away from the equator and the sun takes longer to rise and set in these locations.

Well, knock me down with a feather! It's not twelve hours after all but twelve hours and six-and-a-half minutes. Who'd have thought?

Monday, September 21, 2009


I am feeling ever-so-much better. The headache just dissolved into thin air last night, thankfully. I always get nervous when I get a headache because I never usually get them. They fill my head not only with pain, but severe anxiety about what the cause is and I worry so about all those little veins and grey things in there, hurting... But it's gone now and I am left feeling a lot better, if a little energy-less still. I am at Real Work though.

My sweet peas are flowering. Spring is really here now and it lifts my spirits way, way up. I love it. It was light when I got up. And the birds were twittering and my daisy bush is blooming and all those other storybook spring things are happening...

So, one of the gazillion DVDs I watched over the weekend had a brief spurt of Leonard Cohen's 'So long Marianne' in it. In an incredible display of time travel I was hurtled back to June, 1993. It was an icy day and I had just written my Maths 1 exam in the freezer that pretended to be an exam hall at university. Seriously, I'm sure the place could have doubled as a morgue. It was icy. That is, except in November, when we wrote our end-of-year exams, at which point the place turned into a furnace. Uniform was pretty much kikois and bikini tops and bottles of water, which we alternately sipped and poured over our heads to prevent overheating. One had to be careful not to splash on the exam page though - smudged ink and all that.

I digress. I'd finished my exam, my fingers were frozen and I left the building thinking I would pop in at my then-boyfriend's res. His res was not unlike a rabbit hutch, halfway up the hill with rooms the size of a coffin basically. He was my first boyfriend at university, and didn't last very long, but I was fascinated by him because he was dark and a bit broody and wrote beautiful poems. I knocked on his door with my freezing hands, hoping one of my fingers wouldn't fall off from frostbite, and heard him call for me to come in, which I did.

He was snuggled under his duvet, reading, and when he saw me he smiled and opened his duvet up, allowing me to snuggle my freezing body in next to him. On his record player (!) next to the bed (and I mean right next to the bed, remember these rooms were coffin-sized) Leonard Cohen's voice sang that beautiful, beautiful song and I had that feeling. I can't describe it, because I don't think there's a word for it. Comfortjoyperfectmomentism.

For a split second, as that song played in the movie, I closed my eyes, and it was vivid, I was there, I could smell his room, him, feel my cold fingers, his warmth, hear the music and I had it. A second of comfortjoyperfectmomentism. Who would've thought you could still milk the old smatterings of comfortjoyperfectmomentisms, so many years later?

Should I send comfortjoyperfectmomentism into the Oxford Dictionary?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

No tail, sore head

I'm still in bed. I have no curly tail, I checked. I have a sore head now. Wierd, vague symptoms. I think I'll pull through though, really (as you know, I tend toward being a drama queen - I'm sure this is just some nasty little virus). It feels a bit like I'm horribly hungover but without the fabulous night before... Hmph.

I must just say one thing though, which could be put down to my fever, but it would be a bit of a push, because it's really not a fever of the delirious proportions, it's only a little fever. It's going to sound really freaky, but I'm not all that freaked out by it, just vaguely perturbed. I keep feeling like death is hanging about. Not mine, necessarily. I'm not sure what it is, and it sounds wierd, I know. I don't usually have feelings like this and it's horrid. It's like a shadow in the corner, breathing quietly. It's not nasty, just present. Okay, I realise that does sound really freaky. I'm just being honest though.

Perhaps I've just had too much time to think, in bed?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

In bed

I have stayed in bed today with The Siamese Princess, DVDs, my book and a vague fever that's making me feel shitty. I have a story to tell about a vivid memory flash involving an old boyfriend and Leonard Cohen. I have no energy to type though.

As Mud asked, I wonder if I've got a curly tail?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Icky spoils plans

I feel icky. Not quite icky enough to have left Real Work early yesterday, but icky enough to have put myself to bed as soon as I came home. And if it wasn't for the 9:30 meeting I have, well, at 9:30, I would've stayed in my beddy-by. My throat is sore-ish and scratchy-ish and my neck muscles feel sore and my head wants to lie down.

I'm going to self-medicate as soon as I've met my meeting for Other Work, and hope that there's not some ridiculous deadline for it (like 5pm for instance). Then I'm going to go back to bed with my book, some DVDs, and The Siamese Princess.

I'm going to hope that it all miraculously goes away before my plan to meet Hec later, a beautiful boy who's known me since I was born (his mother and my mother went to Varsity together, as did we... same Varsity, 30 years later). His mum is my sister's godmother, my mum is his brother's godmother, I've known them all my life (they are 3 brothers). He's the closest thing I have to a brother and I haven't seen him for ages so was looking forward to tonight. Probably best I cancel though... things can get messy when we're together.

It's probably not clever to get messy when you're feeling icky, is it?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

'I carried a watermelon'

I wonder how many blogposts/newspaper articles/conversations have included this line in the past three days? I watched Dirty Dancing last night (I am proud to say I own a copy) in honour of Patrick Swayze.

I watched it for the first time on my 13th birthday. It was my birthday treat, and the first time I'd seen my parents since going to boarding school. They came through with one of my closest childhood friends and took me out of the hostel to watch it, and go out for dinner. I was desperately homesick so spent most of the time thinking up plots to hide in the boot of the car so I wouldn't have to go back to the hostel.

That was until the movie started and I was enthralled by the fabulousness of it all. I blushingly watched the 'torrid' scenes (remember, we were 13, and it was the '80's - it was torrid for then, when watching with your parents) and was transported with Baby and Johnny - I could virtually smell the rain outside when she went up to his house... sigh!

And that was the first of many, many, viewings. I love that it was on my 13th birthday. I love that we spent our entire first year of high school watching it, listening to the soundtrack, dreaming of going to a 'summer resort' in the mountains with a gorgeous dance teacher who we'd fall in love with while learning dance moves in the dappled sunshine of a lake. Someone who'd pull us out of our chairs and say: "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." I love that it was so innocent. And I especially love that watching it, still now, I can tap into that innocence, and appreciate the joy of being 13 and still believing that carrying a watermelon up to the staff quarters could be the beginning of something beautiful.

And my god, but he really was gorgeous in that movie - Patrick - bless him. If the storybook version of angels exist, he'll be so very beautiful with wings. May he rest peacefully.

Where's my watermelon?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A cost-saving idea

I had a good idea in the early hours this morning (well possibly not good. Let's call it an idea rather). Still on the gazillion rand floor job to remove The Nothing... I thought up an ad to place in the classifieds which could help me cover the cost:

Has someone been consistently mean to you? Do you need to get rid of them? I have the perfect solution. For the minor sum of RGazillion they can disappear beneath my floor, in a trifle of cement. Please no chancers. Also, no nice people or kind people or children. Contact Shiny.

Would that be very bad (as opposed to just bad)?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Nothing

I have a Floor Problem. It's been going on for a year and a half (maybe more) and I've studiously ignored it. There's damp in the wood. And a horrible blackness is taking over (like The Nothing, in The Neverending Story). When two of the boards in the passage popped up last month creating, in effect, a longtitudinal speed bump in its centre, I decided it was time to Take Notice.

So I've had a stream of Floor Guys, Builders, Damp Specialists, Insurance Assessors, Leak Detectors (and an inquisitive neighbour or two, one of whom pulled a penknife from his pocket and scraped at my floorboards, without asking or anything - WTF?) and their various entourages traipsing through The House in the Middle of The Street, tutting and tsking, lifting and looking and then sending me reports and (whopping) quotes.

The Results:
  • The wood is destroyed by damp and must be pulled up, in its entirety
  • There is a whole lot of water beneath the wood (duh!)
  • There is no known leak which can account for the underfloor lake
  • Insurance will therefore not pay (bastards)
  • Once the wood is pulled up, the area beneath will be filled with rubble, allowed to settle, then concrete, then waterproofing, then concrete, and then left to dry (not unlike an inedible trifle I thought, looking dreamy-eyed thinking of it while The Builder explained in great detail)
  • Then more waterproofing and, finally, wood on top
  • This will take approximately 5 weeks (in The City Beneath the Mountain, it is wise to double any building time estimates) during which time I have to move out - aarrgghh
  • All this will cost around about a gazillion South African ronts

So, as of the beginning of October, I (and my menagerie) will be moving in with my folks and any other kind folk that'll have us for random amounts of time, to break up the time a bit because, as much as I adore my folks (and am eternally grateful to have a comfortable spot to move to), one reaches an age when living with them is not ideal (for either party). Sweet Babycat is being farmed out to The BFF (I hope she's ok, he doesn't have a garden like mine), and the rest of us are homeward bound.

The logistics, as you can imagine, are a nightmare. I keep feeling swamped, and am having great fun spending time with my boyfriend, Insomnia in the pre-dawn hours, going over plans and plots etc. It must just be done.

And the House in the Middle of The Street will be so pretty (and dry, and probably more healthy without The Nothing being breathed in by all of us), once it's all done, won't it?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Pet Saga

My post yesterday reminded me of K and my Pet Saga, at university. We had decided after one year of res living (after spending high school at boarding school) that we were destined for digs and that we would move each year because, well we could. The warden of our res waved us goodbye, grinning a little too broadly, but we were grinning even more, so we didn't care.

Our first digs was a sprawling old house on the corner of two of the main roads of town (and had the dubious honour of having the only set of robots (traffic lights) and being conveniently close to the bottle store). We shared with one other girl and two boys, one of whom sported a mohawk, many tattoos and the gentlest heart I've ever come across. K and I decided we needed a pet, and heard of a pair of Siamese cats looking for a home. They belonged to the camp hairdresser down the road who'd broken up with his boyfriend, and the cats were casualties of the relationship. We welcomed them in and adored their aristocracy. They stayed a few days and dissappeared, one by one, back to the hairdresser. You can't tell cats where to live.

We persisted, though, and trundled off to the SPCA where we found the sweetest, tiniest, white kitten who we christened Oscar (after the Wilde type). He was gorgeous, we adored him, he gave us ringworm, which we happily (and unknowingly) passed on to all our friends and then he, too, disappeared. We decided we were unfit parents, and left it there. However, the rose-tinted glasses of youth prevailed...

Our choice of digs for third year was a sweet little Victorian which we shared with two other girls. On arrival, my parents were horrified. We had neglected to tell them that said digs was in the, let's just say, less salubrious area of the town (we were separated from the township - horror! horror! - by just a large, and beautiful, graveyard). We soothed their nerves and pointed at burglar bars and promised to get a dog. They were vaguely mollified.

Needless to say, two burglaries in the first week strengthened our desire for said dog. One of our housemates, V, brought Rudy, an enormous, reitired and slobberry St Bernard from friends. He ate us out of house and home and was so sweet-natured that the only possible way he could've protected us would've been by drowning any intruder in slobber. He went back to the friends with much thanks.

Next was Tammy, a rottweiler from the SPCA. She had been returned, they said, a couple of times, but each time we asked why, the SPCA-lady looked sheepish and got 'really busy' fiddling with papers. She was an excessively good guard dog. We took her home and tried to love her but on the third night of her growling viciously at all of us when we got home, baring her teeth to us like a dog in a horror movie, we decided we'd better take her back before she actually wounded one of us, or our friends. On returning her (and feeling really awful at our repeated failures as pet parents) we were told that actually she'd been returned last time for biting her owner's 2-year old and killing their maltese poodle!

Then Lupo, a beautiful golden shepherd who was sweet, barked at potential intruders, and loved us. He disappeared on day 3 or so and we frantically combed the streets looking for him, finding him happily playing, behind a gate, in a garden down the road. We knocked on their door and asked for our dog back. Turns out that actually, he was their dog, who had disappeared two weeks previously. They'd searched for him frantically but to no avail and then, suddenly he'd just returned, like The Prodigal Son. Serendipitous indeed because, although the town was small, it was not that small, so finding himself down the road was very lucky! For them. Not so much for us.

My birthday arrived, and K decided it was time for a new angle. I got home from varsity to find my present - in a bowl, on the lounge table - Humphrey, the most beautiful goldfish ever. I loved him. He was happy, he stayed, he swam around and around, waving his frilly fins at us on each turn. A couple of weeks later I decided he needed some company. Enter Elizabeth, an ever-so-fetching girlfriend for Humphrey. It was love at first sight and they canoodled and kissed and frolicked in their little bowl. It was not to be though. First Elizabeth went, then Humph. We think it was an STD (being modern youth). And that's when we gave up.

Enter Leonard, the plastic dinosaur. He stayed, we loved him. I still need to apologise to D, L's (my first love) younger brother for stealing him. He still lives with me, in the House in the Middle of The Street. And, just for the record, I have become a successful Pet Parent since - The Siamese Princess is 13, and I've had her since she was a kitten, The Big Black Dog has happily been with me for 3 years, and sweet, fat, Babycat for over 5 years.

Was it just youth, I wonder?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday musing

After yesterdays' incredibly beautiful, clear, sunny day where everything we drove past or sat next to looked like a picture postcard, this morning is grey and rainy. It's gentle and quiet and as beautiful as yesterday, but in a more melancholic way. I feel like my emotions are bubbling through my pores, all of them - it's like my nerve-endings are all exposed. Must be the weather.

The gentle quietness, however, will last only until my lovely friends D and B and their lovelier daughter, M, (and M's new brother/sister, quietly growing to itself in D's tummy) arrive. Then the House in the Middle of the Street will change into an energy-filled playroom. My house is filled with stuff. Stuff like a large plastic dinosaur (previously mentioned in The Tragedy, Part 2). His name is Leonard, and he has been places, many places. He began as K (she who had Ava on Friday) and my pet at varsity, after various failed attempts at having real pets (another story for another day). There's a concrete mermaid outside, the bathroom is filled with plastic insects and lizards and a large plastic shark and pink plastic flamingo have set up home in there too. So, yes, M, all almost-3-years of her, likes it here, and the gentle silence will be disrupted by delighted squeals. Just how it should be on a Sunday.

Ooo, is that the doorbell?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sadness, but realisation

A girl that I knew from varsity died this week. I didn't know her well, but her then boyfriend (now husband) shared a digs with a good friend of mine, and her sister lived in a digs two doors down the road from my digs in third year. All unnecessary detail in the greater scheme of things. She was one of those people that glowed, and oozed happiness. She always smiled. Though I didn't know her well, she always seemed like someone you would love. She was thirty three and breast cancer got her.

There is a Facebook page to celebrate her life with lots of photos. She is radiant in every, single, one (and there are 100's). The whole Facebook in memoriam idea, I'm not too sure of, but seeing this, perhaps my thoughts change. A place to share love, memories, a cyber-version of a wake, when we find ourselves unable to meet in the same place due to the fact that we're scattered throughout the world? Perhaps not such a bad idea.

My overwhelming sense of sadness for her husband - a sweet, gentle guy who I remember seeing with her at varsity. They were one of those couples that just fitted and obviously, looking at the photos, still fitted perfectly, now, 13 years later. I hope he can find some sense of being okay. I cannot imagine how, but I do hope he does.

The thing is, it got me thinking about how little time we really have. It's so easy to get swallowed up by the monotony of The Grindstone, paying bills, cleaning the kitchen floor... When, really, we need to stop, look up, smile, live. Fuck the kitchen floor. And with that, I'm going off with my friend C, to see the whales in Kalk Bay, eat fresh fish at the harbour, and admire the most beautiful day we've got here in The City Beneath the Mountain.

Who could ask for more?

Friday, September 11, 2009

A welcome and a renewal of Human Spiritedness

Welcome to the world little Ava, who arrived this morning at 1:30am (much more reasonably 9:30am her time). A healthy 3.45kgs. As I said to K when I spoke to her delighted self this morning, lucky she was a caesar (she was breach), you would'nt want to squeeze that out of your nether regions! Apparently she is absolutely beautiful and everything went off just fine. I wish little Ava a good trip through this world, filled with oceans of happiness and love and wonderful people and places.

I have been adminny this morning. It's Friday so my day at home for my Other Job. I got off a 10am deadline piece and then went to collect my new credit card at the bank and sell a vacuum cleaner (no, my Other Job is not Vacuum Cleaner Saleswoman, it's an old one - I'm spring-cleaning the garage). I sat in the car outside the shop we were selling it to, watching the passing stream of humanity (it's in a road that leads to the station) and was filled with an overwhelming sense of, well, humankindness. I always try to keep my faith in humankind, but sometimes lose it. Today, though, it was renewed.

You see, its not the most salubrious area (being near the station never is, is it?) and there were all sorts of people that your average "Upper Class Suburban South African" would probably be nervous to hang about. Sitting in my patch of sun in the car though, I smiled at everyone who walked past and happened to catch my eye, and they all smiled back.

It's a really good place to be, right here, right now, isn't it?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shimmering gold welcomes

The City Beneath the Mountain has dressed herself up this morning in her Sunday Best. I know, it's Thursday, but I'm with her in that I don't think one's Sunday Best should be kept purely for Sundays. She has bathed herself in gold and is shimmering and gorgeous.

My best friend, K, who lives too far away, down under in Sydney is having her baby tomorrow. Well tomorrow morning in their time, but in the very early hours of the morning, also tomorrow, our time. How confusing this time zone thing is. I try not to think too hard about it because it makes my brain fizzle, jam and get stuck. We share the same sun and moon but not the same hours and it's all too complicated...

Anyway, she's having her baby. I spoke to her husband, H, this morning and am always struck by the feeling of speaking to somebody just before a life-changing event. It just feels wierd to think that the next time I speak to them, the baby'll be here. Mostly I'm sending vast quantities of love over the ocean to them. And I'm assuming that this is why The City Beneath the Mountain has pulled out her finery today - in anticipation of welcoming this precious little being into the world.

Why didn't I put on my Sunday Best? I shall tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A funny SMS

My mother has just discovered the joys of texting. I received this from her yesterday:

Do u want 2 go 2 (Neighbourhood Restaurant) 2nite? Xx

Yes, from my mother, filled with 2's and u's. I was horrified. I felt like I'd received a message from some illiterate, pimply youth who'd taken over my mother's phone. In fact, I called her, to make sure. My (very literate - she spent hours correcting our grammer as children) informed me that she has become SMS-savvy and that, indeed, the message was from her. I laughed. A lot. She then regaled the joys of it, and how, if she didn't use it, it'd take her hours to text.

Another of my pet hates - shortened SMS language. I do sound like a bit of a hater this week, don't I? First the Perky Ponytails, now this. It's just that I get so sad when language is massacred. Words are so beautiful, they deserve to be written out in full. And don't get me started on 'emoticons'... are we becoming so dumbed-down that we can't even work out the emotions behind a message sent to us, without the message-sender sending a silly little face to tell us how to feel? Phhtt.

It is funny when it's your mother though, admittedly, and provided much amusement at dinner at (Neighbourhood Restaurant) last night because, of course, I answered:

Yes pleez ;)

Am I a phone snob in my thoughts on SMS-language?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Perky ponytails prompt another letter

Perky ponytails. They're one of my pet hates. You know the kind? The ones that are combed back, every hair in place, tied in a neat elastic, and stick out the back of women's heads at a perfect angle. Then they bounce jauntily as Ponytail Girl walks.

This may be due to the fact that, in my childhood days, when I had long hair, my ponytail was never, ever, neat. In fact, I was never neat, generally. Okay, truth is, I'm still not. I don't have a ponytail because:
  1. I hate perky ponytails
  2. I cut my hair off to prevent any chance of a perky ponytail
  3. I would never manage a perky ponytail, even if I had long hair
  4. I don't want a perky ponytail
  5. I hate perky ponytails

This prompted another letter:

Dear Perky Ponytail Girl,

While I'm sure you are a very nice girl, your ponytail is not. I'm terribly sorry to be so blunt, but it's in my nature, and no amount of trying can ever change one's nature, or so I understand. I guess this is open to debate, but not now. We have a more pressing issue: your perky ponytail.

I'm afraid it just makes me want to do one of two things - sneak up behind you with a large pair of scissors and cut it off, or muss it all up wildly. To be honest, it also brings up visions of bubblegum and such, but I realise that would be unnecessarily cruel, so I'll stick to the mussing/cutting options.

I'd just like to ask you, very graciously, to stop doing it. Just simply putting it at slightly the wrong angle, or using a hairband which is unravelling (I have many, if you don't) or not walking so jauntily, thus preventing the annoying bouncing, would make me feel so much better. I realise this is probably my long-standing feelings of inadequacy left over from primary school teasings regarding my less-than-perky ponytails, but still, I'd be most grateful if you'd help me to leave those memories buried, where they belong, in the recesses of my mind.

Please feel free to contact me if you'd like one of my unravelling hairbands, or my help with a pair of scissors (or bubblegum, if you're up for some drama). All you need to do is call me, or e-mail me, or even just shout for me, I'll come right over.

Love, Shiny x

Could I say perky ponytails any more in one, short post?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Full moon dreaming/waking

The moon has been fat and full here in the City Below the Mountain. I guess it has been everywhere, but I'm here, so I've only noticed it here, especially with my sleep patterns and vivid dreaming. Full moon does that to me. Fills my sleep hours with vivid stories, or keeps me awake, filling my head with vivid waking stories. Either way, there are stories. And they are vivid.

Take last Thursday night's dream... I was walking across a park when my phone rang. Answering it I didn't recognise the person on the other side initially and then realised it was one of The Boys I Loved (TBIL) from many, many years ago. I filled with joy at hearing his voice but then realised that there was a guy coming up behind me. I said to TBIL: "I think I'm about to be hijacked." (Hijacked? Dreams are wierd).

The guy did indeed pull out a gun and make me lie on the grass and took my phone. I wasn't scared but I buried my face in the grass, smelling the soil and not looking at the horrible man, sad my conversation had been cut short. I woke up and had to readjust my reality and shake my head about a bit to realise it was a dream. They're that vivid.

And then on Saturday, after coming home from a fabulous friend's fabulous housewarming, lying awake, I heard an owl. Not a dream one, a real one. In my garden. An owl! Magical.

And now it's Monday morning, it's very grey and rainy, but I feel like I've got a skip in my step, which is great. I wonder if it's the owl working its magic?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Children and other such creatures

I have had a weekend filled with child things. Strangely, not actual children but discussions about children, lots of interactions with people with children, my parents are up in The Big Smoke and babysat the baby boys last night, allowing my sister and N to go out to a movie, and then, mainly, I have been thinking of Z, The Pond's girlfriend who had to have a hysterectomy last Thursday.

She is just 30, and has struggled with cysts and pain and nastiness to do with those 'womanly bits' for way too long, so this became the best option. Children, luckily, have not been top of her list of priorities, but I imagine that this is still a bloody huge thing to deal with. Even for those who do not have a huge desire to bear children, one doesn't want to be given no option. It's never nice to have someone shut a door in your face.

I guess it's an issue close to my heart - my youthful plans had included many children, a plan which was knocked flying by The Tragedy. It's not impossible, mind, but is something I would not attempt - I would be so very afraid that something would go wrong and I wouldn't know. Basically, it's just not practical. The thing is, that I guess it's also not just The Tragedy that changed things, it's me too. The more of my friends I see having children, the more I realise how hard it is. My selfish side grins quietly inwards as I get to go home, leaving a friend dealing with a puking 6-month old and a tantrumming 3-year old.

But at the same time, my heart breaks at the thought that I'll never have that. Even the tantrums. It's that bit after when, with tear-streaked faces, they climb into mom's arms and snuggle in. Kinda makes the tantrums okay I'd think.

Mud, a girl who's (brilliant) blog I read (isn't this bloggy world fabulous?) wrote a similar post a while ago and put it so much better than I'll ever be able to. I hope she doesn't mind me linking to it.

And then I remember I have beautiful nephews and my friends have gorgeous children who I get to hug and kiss and make up stories for about fairies and dragons in the garden and hear laugh, just because the world is a happy, lovely place when you're three and I realise that, really, I am blessed. I hope Z feels the same, and is not too sad (beside being horribly sore, right now).

And my heart clenches, and carries on. I guess that's the way of the world, right?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Finding a Husband 101

Rule number one: When on the lookout for a husband, do not, under any circumstances, enter any bar which has "Sport" anywhere in its name, or on a board near it for the matter. Especially not when your country is playing a Very Important International Rugby Match. Doing this could put you off the search, possibly permanently.

In fact, if you can help it, don't even walk past such places.

Friday, September 4, 2009

An old friend returns

My friend H is here for the weekend. She has returned from 12 years in London and is staying with her folks for a month before moving to live in the City Beneath the Mountain, hopefully near me. This is brilliant. H is one of my oldest friends, from university. One of those friends who comes into my house, uses my towels, eats what's in the fridge, and it feels like home when she's here. It's just for the weekend now but will be for forever at the end of the month. I am filled with happiness.

This weekend, however, we need to find her a house to live in, preferably some good work contacts, some leads for places to buy nice furniture and a husband. Simple. We thought we could both do the last bit (one each, of course - I'd imagine sharing a husband could destroy even the most solid friendship) so I don't feel neglected on the To Do List, seeing as I have a house, two jobs, and furniture already.

Is it terrible, though, to discard the To Do List in favour of drinking wine, giggling like schoolgirls, and general misbehaviour?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Unbalanced, but smooth

I went to the beautician yesterday, for a facial. When I turned 30, I decided I deserved to be treated to such luxuries on a (relatively) regular basis, just for making it through 30 years on this earth. I come from a family where such frivolities are not the norm. I have vivid memories of my mother’s ‘Home Wax Kit’ jar of wax in a pot of boiling water on the stove, gently melting in anticipation of the home wax. It smelt nice. In my youth-tinted haze, of course, I never thought I’d need such things. Yes, haze.

Anyway, every time I go, I feel like I’m a Small Town Country Bumpkin pretending to be a City Slicker (Sex and the City-style). In fact, that’s exactly what I am. I’m like a little kid clattering around in her mother’s high heels (she did have one pair that my sister and I fought over, often landing up limping around with one each). I try to hide it though. It’s another world, the beautician’s, I’m telling you.

Firstly, there’s the music – it’s always that soothing pan-pipey stuff. I’m sure when those poor beauticians get out of there after a day’s working with it on repeat, they must put Nine Inch Nails on, very loudly! It’s nice for the hour of the facial, I guess. I was lying there thinking I may bring my own CD next time though, I wonder if that’s okay in beautician etiquette world…

Secondly, there’s the warmth – you lie on a bed with an electric blanket on, towels covering you, and the temperature is, I’d think, about body temperature. Very nice, because you have to strip down in order not to get all the lotions and potions on your clothes. It’s not unlike being in the womb, I’d imagine. And the pan pipe music, I’d think, goes with that idea too – a bit like listening to the intestinal sounds of your mother (again, I’m guessing).

Thirdly – the horrible bits – after the steaming, where they wax, pluck and squeeze. Ouch. I want to kick and punch at this point and need to keep reminding myself that I ASKED for this. Then I want to kick and punch myself for being an idiot to ask for this pain. They always follow it with the massaging bit which is lovely, and makes me want to kiss and hug the beautician, and take her home.

Fourthly – the lotions and potions – lovely smelling, slapped on, massaged in, wiped off, on repeat, about five of them (I’m too scared, in a country bumpkin way, to ask what they’re all for). Yesterday, though, there was a new one:

Beautician: Are you claustrophobic?

Shiny: No
(visions of the already small, highly heated room’s walls closing in…) Um, why?

Beautician: We have a new ultra-hydrating
(they like these kinds of words) mask

Shiny: Oh, ok
(thinking I’m sure I need ultra-hydration, sounds important)

She slapped on the thickest gunk imaginable, over my eyes, over my mouth (I’m a chatter, I was silenced!) and then proceeded to massage my head while the mask dried. This would’ve silenced me anyway. Then she pulled it off and there I was, in opposite – a white mask of my face. Weird.

So now I’m ultra-hydrated, plucked and prodded, and feeling all grown-up and smooth-skinned. Only one thing – I wonder if anyone else is noticing that she plucked my left eyebrow shorter than my right? Aargh.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A pea problem

I am horrified. Extremely distressed. Something terrible has happened. There is a pea shortage. Where the frozen peas should be in The Fridge in my lovely orange kitchen - big, gaping hole. Where the frozen peas should reside in the big freezer at the supermarket? An even bigger, even more gaping hole.

This has resulted in my having to have my bangers and mash with... wait for it... salad. Salad? WTF? Bangers and mash and salad? Nonsensical. I just had this conversation with my friend, I, who lives in The Big Smoke:

Shiny: I have a terrible, terrible problem

I: What's that?

Shiny: It seems The City below the Mountain has run out of frozen peas. I had to have bangers and mash and.... salad!

I: deadly hush (He didn't say deadly hush, there just was one)

Shiny: I don't think you're understanding the gravity of this situation

I: What about fresh peas from woolies?

Shiny: Fresh peas? Good grief. Next thing you'll tell me peas grow on plants, in gardens.

Fresh peas. Snigger. Everybody knows peas come, frozen in bags, from the supermarket. Don't they? Except when there's a shortage. Oh, woe is me, what will I do?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I watched an episode of a soap last week. I do this every now and again, well, because, they're just so funny. It's nice sometimes to know that things are all well in the world of soaps - people are still marrying their husband's brothers/cousins/fathers, getting amnesia, becoming paralysed and miraculously recovering, all while dressed as if they're off to a wedding, with hair and make-up to match - you know, average, everyday stuff.

This one, however, was a pearler (when last did you hear that word?) There’s this dude, with an eye patch (remember this, it’s an important detail, the patch). And amnesia. And he’s got some dreaded disease which has necessitated him being kept in quarantine (the nurses come in in space suits, seriously). He’s in this quarantine room, which just happens to have a big glass window through which all the other soapie characters can gape (and speak, through a nifty intercom), not unlike a snake cage at the zoo. Anyway, he’s in there with his wife of old (who he can’t remember). I’m not exactly sure how long-term his amnesia has been, but long enough for him to fall in love with someone other than his wife (who’s unconscious, due to the mystery-very-contagious-bug). She (the lover, not the wife), keeps coming to the glass cage and making whimpering sounds at him, putting her hand up against the glass so he can ‘touch’ her.

Meantime, he seems to be recovering his memory and, along with some other whingey characters whose exact relationship to them all I’m unsure of, have decided that only his love for his wife (and, possibly, the antidote from Canada, which is being fetched by another smoochy couple who are really too old to be smoochy… her eyebrows are just below her hairline from so much plastic surgery and he speaks like, well, he’s in a soap) will save her. Incidentally, there is a huge storm through which smoochy couple must fly, so they may not make it.

And then there’s his daughter, who he seems to be remembering too, who is convincing him that, indeed, the only thing that will save unconscious-mom/wife, is his undying love. They had this amazingly dramatic conversation which ended with his putting his hand up against the glass, and him saying, and I kid you not:

“Look into my eye, sweetheart, I will not let you down!”

Fuck me, who writes this stuff?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Experiments and Spring springing

I had a fabulous weekend. Spring is in the air, and I am always surprised when it arrives and my mood lifts and I remember that I'm not actually the grumpy bitch I am all winter - I do actually have a personality.

On Friday I had strawberry daquiris with The BFF. It was an especially good afternoon I thought. I haven't seen him for ages because he's been useless, basically, and tends to get caught up in his own misery, to the point that he forgets to look around and see all the good stuff he has, right here and now. We had a good catch-up, though, and I hope he remembers the resounding theme of it all - that he does actually deserve to be happy.

During the course of our cocktail session he brought up the programme Mythbusters, and was telling me about one they did to show that if you drop a Mentos in a coke bottle, it explodes. Of course I spent the rest of the time gently coaxing him (i.e. vociferously persuading him) that we must try this theory out. He kept telling me he had no desire to blow off one of his arms just to satisfy my lust for dangerous experiments.

Needless to say, we stopped in at the 7-eleven (I needed bread!) on our way home, and using my winning smile and never-ending charm, I persuaded The BFF to buy Coke and a roll of Mentos - it was a sign, the Mentos were in the passage on the way to the till! In a quiet cul-de-sac, our adrenaline pumping in anticipation, with me nice and far away from the test site (I don't want to lose an arm) The BFF bravely placed the bottle of Coke in the middle of the road, dropped a Mentos in and rushed back to me. I'd like to say he rushed back to protect me, but his standing behind me would negate that idea completely.

We waited with bated breath. The Coke fizzed, bubbling over disconsolately onto the tar, and stopped. We looked. And waited same more. Nada. A Coke bottle surrounded by a small puddle of Coke. Some experiment that was. The adrenaline popped, causing uncontrollable giggling, despite the disappointment of it all. Subsequent reasearch has brought to light that one needs to put the lid back on to cause a build up of pressure. It's probably lucky that we were not bright enough to realise this (really rather obvious) point as I might instead be writing about how to remove Coke bottle shrapnel from your shins...

The rest of the weekend was filled with lovely people and lovely things including Lindt hot chocolate, a drink straight from a natural spring, a long drive, two princesses-who-became-sleeping-beauties-who-became-nudists all in the space of Sunday lunch and the overwhelming feeling of the promise of new things with Spring.

Who doesn't feel like skipping about singing with the first whiff of Spring?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A mammogram and an experiment

I went for my routine mammogram this morning. While my parents blessed me with some great genes, the one that isn’t so great is the breast cancer gene. My mother had it in her early forties, I was about 10 years old at the time, and remember my father explaining to us that she was in hospital having an op that would save her life. The stress was palpable, even to a 10 year old. I had no idea then, though, what an awful time she had. Thank god she’s been clear since. My paternal grandmother had it too. Therefore my being very vigilant.

Mammograms, though, are not for the faint-hearted. I don’t, under any circumstances, want to put anyone off, but really, one would think that in this day and age of being able to speak to (and see) someone 14 000 miles away, across an ocean, some time zones, and a couple of weather systems, we would have developed something that allowed us to see our breast tissue without having to pull them as if they’re plasticine (for those of you who don’t know, they’re not!) and flatten them like pancakes between two hard pieces of plastic. For us who are, ahem, not-so-well-endowed, this is an especially trying process.

The funniest thing, though, was the Waiting Room, which was not unlike somebody’s lounge. Admittedly, somebody with fairly poor decorating style, but still – large couches, coffee tables with magazines etc. No YOU magazines though. What kind of doctor’s rooms doesn’t have YOU magazine? Tsk. I digress, the funny thing – there was a large TV sitting very loudly in the corner, set on the movie channel which had reached the end of an epic 9/11 movie and was playing tragic music. Very loudly. In a doctor’s rooms. I am here to tell you that pre-mammogram, tragic music is not ideal.

In other news, I’m conducting an experiment (possibly as a result of too-early waking – my mind wanders at 4:30am). If you were a chocolate cupcake, and could be eaten by anyone in the world, who would it be?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Tragedy, Part 2

So where was I? I started Part 1 and then found myself clamming up again, but I am going to open up my little clammy shell with my little clammy-shell-opener-thingy. It's not an easy thing to do I'm afraid, it's a bloody tight little clammy shell, but I think it's a good thing to do, hopefully cathartic, and hopefully not too tedious for any of you reading this. It's a disjointed story, the story of The Tragedy, mostly because I've never managed to write it down or sort it into any order. Maybe because it has no order.

This bit is about the hospital, I think. I plan on it being about the hospital but you never know where it'll go. Being in hospital is just not fun. Being in hospital for three solid months is like hell on earth. I was transferred from Small Town hospital to Big Town hospital, where I spent a night, then airlifted to The City Beneath the Mountain hospital where I spent three nights and then to another hospital, which was to be my abode for the next four months, according to the doctor. I made it three months, I was determined (and if I'd stayed any longer I may well have jumped out of the fifth floor window, if I could've... the irony.)

Ok, no, the details, I need to get out the details. This may not, yet be about hospitals. I need to go back to the car, being in the car, waiting for the ambulance. Somebody gave me a sip of coke, through a straw. It was hot, remember, and we were in the middle of the Karoo, waiting as the sun got higher and higher. The woman who gave me the coke spoke to me, gently, telling me about her Tragedy - how she'd broken her neck years before, but not completely, and recovered perfectly. I wondered at the time why she was telling me that story, not for a second thinking my neck could also be broken, just there, at the back of my head.

The car had been filled to the brim with my and D's earthly belongings - four years of university life snuggly packed in the back . In the accident our lives had flown out, scattered about on the dusty red sand between the thorn trees that had also flung their arms into the car, embracing me and planting their thorns all over me (we discovered later). Two Karoo farmers on their way to play cricket in the Tiny Town a bit further down the road stopped too and I heard them trying to gather our scattered belongings, including a large plastic dinosaur, Leonard, who I'd purloined from my First Love's younger brother. They told me they'd 'put him out to pasture' on that lovely red sand (Leonard the dinosaur, not First Loves little brother).

There are so many characters in this story, people I'd not thought of, and this is still within the first two hours. This story really may take a long time. I'm glad I'm starting, I think. Those people, the nameless ones who stopped, I hope that Karma has blessed them with all sorts of good things. They were all so nice. A good reminder of the value of stopping, and helping. I'd love to be able to write them a letter, send them bunch of lillies, if I knew who they were.

The farmer whose farm we had so rudely, and without invitation, landed on, apparently took all of our wordly belongings and kept them safe until somebody (who was it, I wonder?) collected them for us. I had a mirror in there, it didn't break.

And then M, the guy from our university who I didn't know well. I think D knew him quite well. Anyway, it's beside the point. He was there, and he stayed with us, and came with us to the hospital and was, I guess, our own little angel, keeping us together as we unknowingly fell apart, because, really, I guess, I was already starting to unravel at that point, I just didn't realise. Or was I? I was still so sure of everything. Oy, this is all-over-the-place.

The ambulance arrived eventually, from Tiny Town with a fabulous paramedic man, who also, if I remember correctly, was meant to be in the cricket match (I wonder if they still had the match). I got bundled onto a hard wooden board with a neck brace and put into the back of the ambulance. Up until that point I had been obsessively superstitious about 'crossing my fingers and touching my toes hoping to never go in one of those' everytime I'd seen an ambulance... I've stopped that now.

I have to stop this now, too. This disjointed tale. I wonder if it makes any sense at all?