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?