Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blogging and honesty

I have been trying, really hard, to be a better blogger. Like in, one that blogs regularly. My initial plan for April was every day, then I decided perhaps every working day after the first (unsuccessful) week. Then I decided maybe I could make up the 'gaps' by blogging twice in a day a couple of days. Then I gave up. May is a new month, let's see what ideas I come up with for then. My brain just seems to be a barren wasteland when it comes to writing.

In the interest's of becoming a better blogger, I decided to venture out of my usual realm of fabulous bloggers who I read regularly, and find some others to see what other people do.

I spent an entire day reading a woman's blog that I stumbled across and becoming more and more amazed by humans. It was filled with (fascinating) tales of primary-school-type best friend poiltics (e.g. she ran off with my ex-boyfriend so now I'm not talking to her anymore), alcopop and shooter-fuelled nights out in clubs, vomiting in bathrooms and a whole cast of men passing through the blogger's bed. I was horrified to realise as I got deeper and deeper into the back stories that it actually belonged to a woman who is the mother of not only a tweenie/young teenaged daughter, but a 17-year old son too.

Far be it for me to judge, I don't have children and can't even imagine how hard it is to rear them, especially single-handedly, but I must admit to thinking that perhaps it's not a wonder that 16-year old son has 'behavioural problems'. Beside all that, though, her blatant honesty was refreshing and, while her naivete was astounding after reading her history, her soul glowed through it all - clear and beautiful and heart-wrenchingly broken, so many times. Tough cookie.

My point? Not sure I have one, other than a refreshed desire to write more, and honestly, and openly, and push those privacy issues into a corner (or, preferably, out the door completely).

In the good news, I'm off to the Big Smoke this weekend to go to a wedding of two of the nicest people I know - two boys. It's my first gay boy wedding and I'm terribly excited. As I've discussed before, I believe that love doesn't see gender or colour or religion etc (a post of its own - coming soon), and there is nothing lovelier than seeing two people who have found each other and want to stay together. And I get to see my gorgeous baby nephews, who are crawling and teething, and being generally fabulous. Yippee!

Let's see what May brings, shall we?

Monday, April 26, 2010

My first love returns by dream

On Saturday night I dreamt of my first love. Probably because Stalkbook had alerted me to the fact that it was his birthday. You've got to love how Stalkbook has allowed us to become that good kind of friend who never forgets birthdays (something I am loathe to admit that I was - the forgetting type. With even more loathing I have to admit that even with Stalkbook telling me, over there in the corner, that it's Aunt Mabel's birthday, sometimes I still forget to phone. Oops.)

Anyway, my first love was of the stuff that Sweet Valley High novels are made of (am I dating myself?), but with a little bit of scandal thrown in. First, the SVH bits: he was the younger brother of a good varsity friend of mine. The first time I saw him, he came to visit with his brother and I literally had to stop myself drooling, as metaphorical stars flittered from above his head, bright light shining through his blonde locks from behind him. It turned out to be the neon light in the passage, but still.

A couple of months (and the end of year vacation) later found us serendipitously stranded in the nearby seaside village for the night, thanks to my fabulously unfaithful emerald green 1975 Ford Escort. We kissed for the first time in the sand on a moonlit beach, waves crashing, young naive hearts beating. It was lovely, and was the beginning of a beautiful thing that lasted almost two years.

I became one of his wonderful family (who lived in our varsity town). They embraced me, immediately - unconditionally. I am still friends with them all. I was surprised by their unconditional embracing, though, because (here comes the scandal)... I was the Older Woman. While I was ever so grown-uppedly in my second year of university, first love was but a schoolboy (admittedly in his final year.)

When I think of it now, the hero-worship he must've had from the pimply teenage boys in his class when I'd drop him back at school in my emerald green 1975 Ford Escort after taking him back to my digs for 'lunch' - his hair dishevelled, his tell-tale grin. He was just SO cute in his school uniform!

We grew up together really (well, a bit) in that time and our passion and intensity was that of only first love - bright, colourful, naively complicated, tempestuously calm. He was my first for many, many things, and it was wonderful. We were inseperable for that time.

In my dream, he had on a top that had been through the wash and was just too small for him, and I was pushing my hands and arms in under it to stretch it and make it fit. There's no understanding the sub-concious, is there?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Big Bad Thing pays a visit

So there I was this morning, happily soaking up the glow of the Autumn Sun streaming through my office window, thinking what a lucky Shiny I am, having such a beautiful big sky view over the flatland to the mountains on the other side, all glittering and lovely, when I heard a vague scratching sound. A bit like paper rustling.

Through my golden-sunray-induced-reverie I heard it. A shuffling of papers in the vicinity of my colleague’s desk. Not something that would ordinarily bring me out of any kind of reverie, let alone a golden-sunray-induced one! Except that said colleague is on leave. I blinked, twice, and thought about turning around, the sun trying to keep me under its spell. The noise got louder. I got nervous.

I adopted the “If I don’t look around the Big Bad Thing will go away” stance, and continued to soak up the sun and started fiddling with my computer in the hope that the noise I made would drown out the scratching. I tried singing, loudly, but even a rousing rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Town (why should such a great tune be reserved purely for one month a year?) couldn’t make it disappear.

It got louder, and closer (our desks join) and I decided I should muster up some courage to turn and face the Big Bad Thing. Slowly I turned my neck, just a little at first, not wanting to startle it, whatever it was.

Horrors! I was suddenly face-to-face with The Most Enormous Cockroach Known to Man (TMECKtM). Seriously, his 2000-lensed cockroach eyes were at my level. He was, admittedly, standing on the desk, as opposed to on the floor, but still, this guy was enormous. Rat-sized really (then again, the rats in this very old, many-roomed, used-to-be-hospital are cat-sized). TMECKtM looked at me, and I looked at it. Only momentarily, though. Then the reality kicked in. I was staring into the 2000 eyes of TMECKtM… fuuuuccckkkk.

I emitted a girly scream worthy of a Hollywood teen thriller and backed away before it could reach out and get its humungous spiky little cockroach hand stuck in my very-nice-thank-you jersey. I have to admit that I then very unfeministly called the nearest boy to come and ‘deal with it’.

Which he did, using a huge book.

I feel slightly bad about it. Perhaps TMECKtM was just coming over to say hello and share a cup of tea, like Miranda’s hippo?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My mother's magic handbag

My mother had a magic handbag when we were children. In fact, she had a number of them through the years. I presume that there was some Secret Handbag Shop where she'd buy them. I imagine it was one of those places in an alley, with a non-descript door on which you'd knock, perhaps three times, and a little slot would open through which you'd whisper a secret password (something like "Antwerp") and then it'd open, just wide enough to let her slip through, leaving the alley empty, and looking innocent.

Well that's how I think it happens, I may have got one or two details wrong (maybe the password is "Serendipity" or "Diddley-do".) She says she just gets them from normal shops. I know this is untrue, though, and she's actually been sworn to secrecy, and just can't tell the real story for fear of repercussions from The People who run the Secret Handbag Shop. However she obtained them, they were certainly magic. And still are.

You see, they have a never ending supply of tissues, generally a bit crumpled, but clean, that smell like her face powder (an extremely lovely, motherly-soothing smell). I have seen literally hundreds of them come out of there - to mop up spills, to blow snotty noses and - teenage cringe - to wipe small spots of dirt off our faces, with spit!

The main thing is that I never, ever, saw her put any of those tissues into the handbag. I told you it was magic, didn't I?

Monday, April 19, 2010

The ash cloud

On the way to Real Work this morning, my love made this comment about the ash flying around up there above Iceland and the rest of Europe:

“Mother Nature just makes a small fart, and the world grinds to a halt. It’s a good lesson for humanity.”

I really couldn’t put it better.

A wonderful weekend

It was a square table, with eight places. Each one filled with a fabulous soul. Between songs we could hear the sea in this little town on a turquoise bay, away from the city, where the stars shine and the sliver moon smiled a skew smile at me. Conversation flowed, freely and happily. Talk of things past, things to come.

The children slept in the bedroom. I remembered how that felt as a child, put to sleep in the dinner party host’s bed – to wake, momentarily, and hear the adult voices, I’d strain my ears to discern my parents’ voices amongst the jollity and, when I heard them, I’d be soothed and fall back asleep, wine glasses clinking, people talking and laughing in the background of my dreams. When did we become the grown-ups?

It was a wonderful weekend, celebrating H’s birthday in a beautiful place where the bright blue sky melted into the turquoise sea, picture postcard-like. We ate, we soaked up the rapidly fading summer sun, we played Trivial Pursuit (I won!) and I marvelled, again, at how lucky I am, to be able to sit at such a table, filled with food, and surrounded by old friends who know my every nuance, and new loves, who make us smile. Because H has a new love who is making her smile, a lot, that wide grinned kind.

I watched as they dipped their toes in the sea, as 3-year old M ran with her mother to the water's edge and I remembered watching a similiar scene, 15 years ago, on a different beach, in a different time, when we were young(er). She looked just the same, despite having had two children. I could smell the salt air and closed my eyes for a minute, and I was there.

And then to come home, driving through the country side with a never-ending sky dotted about with child’s drawing clouds. Home to all the comfort and a night filled with funny faces and laughing… All thoughts of work wiped away with giggles.

And I got to thinking about how it is to have so many to love and to be loved by so many. I couldn’t be luckier, could I?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Circus ghosts

My barefaced honesty of yesterday bit me on my bum basically. I had not meant to expose that, but it just came out and then I'd hit that little orange 'Publish Post' block and there it was, raw and exposed. And I cried. And then I felt a little better. And then I looked around me and tried to be thankful for all the things I do have. And I have a lot. And we'll leave it there for now and I'll write about other stuff and leave that raw exposededness alone for a bit because I'm feeling, well, kind of over-exposed.

I drive past a circus school each morning on my way to Real Work. It's just across the road from The River, which often swirls in mist on Winter's mornings. The mist crosses the road and twirls its way around the circus school too. It has trapezes and foofie slides and swings, all with nets underneath them to catch any acrobats that might miss their grip. Last week a red-and-white-striped tent appeared. One morning I saw the huge poles, with the canvas lying curled on the ground between them, a stripy, sleeping cat.

The next morning it was up, magnificent in it's candy stripes, a place of childhood dreams. I could smell the straw scattered on the floor as we drove past and almost seen the guy outside selling candy floss. It stayed up for a couple of days and then disappeared again, leaving only the giant poles, a string from one flapping in the wind.

The thing is, though, that I've never seen a single person there. I imagine it is a place for circus ghosts, who play at night, swinging from trapeze to trapeze, sometimes falling to the net below and giggling with glee. Then, when they are breathless from foofie-sliding and mid-air somersaulting, they sit together in that striped tent and eat candy floss and tell fabulous tales of circus people and travelling.

There are probably even a clown or two amongst them all, big shoes, red noses and all.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I have wondered this before, and wondered it again this morning as the mist swirled and twirled about me, playing hide-and-go-seek with the trees along the river. Does The Weatherman change the weather according to my state of mind? While I realise it is a preposterous thought that the entire City Beneath the Mountain's weather is dependent on li'l ol' Shiny's mood, but it's just, well, very coincidental.

I have a lot on my mind, and it's twirling and swirling and storming and pouring and blowing about, this way and that, directionless. One minute I feel okay, the next I feel like it's all too much and I'm fucking it up and I'm getting fucked up. Excuse my sailor-like language, but I can find nothing better to describe this. My mother would be horrified.

I keep reassuring myself that this is just life, and that I can do this. I can get over the hurdles (even if I have to do that at a crawl, using my teeth and nails), that the good bits of life WAY outnumber the crap bits. And they do, I know they do. Just sometimes, it all seems so difficult.

And it's at those times that I really question stuff and my frustration feels insurmountable. All I want to do is walk along a deserted beach, salty wind and the frothy crashing of waves my only companions. A dip into the effervescence, a little body-surfing, allowing the bubbles to kiss every part of my skin and the ocean vapours to infuse my lungs, washing away those swirling mind mists, clearing the air. Being the real me.

But I can't. And it breaks my heart.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another letter

Sitting in the traffic on the way to Real Work today I was astounded to see a new level of ridiculous outside the Very Posh Boy's School I drive past each morning. It inspired another letter:

Dear Driver of Big Sparkley 4X4,

While I’m sure you love your new 4X4, and you wish to show off its 4X4 abilities by mounting the pavement when dropping off your little prince at school, parking it half on the pavement and the the other half in the bicycle lane seems, well, a bit selfish. You see, if you think about it, just a little, you will realise that those people who ride bicycles (i.e. the non-gas-guzzlers with an environmental conscience) will need to swerve out INTO TRAFFIC to get past your car, thus putting their lives in danger.

If you turned your head just slightly to the left of your large car, you would notice a huge open area where the other little princes’ parents park their sparkley 4X4’s when dropping them off at school, out of the bicycle lane, thus not endangering anyone’s lives completely unnecessarily.

While we’re having this little chat, perhaps I could just mention, too, that such a big car seems unnecessary for city driving. It is patently obvious that the closest it has got to anything to do with a dirt track is perhaps some dust in your garage. You do know that there is a little issue with carbon emissions and the environment and stuff, don’t you? If not, perhaps you could ask your little prince. I’m pretty sure they’re taught about it at that school.

Just a couple of points to ponder this afternoon when you fetch the little tyke from school. I’m sure you don’t want to cause any unnecessary harm (to both cyclists, and the environment).

Shiny x

I wonder if I should pop it under the windscreen wiper?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Winter is upon us

Oh dear, oh dear! Winter is here! It's the first rainy, windy, grey day. I realised yesterday that this could, well, be the reason for my rising melancholy. I do not like the cold. At all. Yes, I love a day spent next to my crackling fire, listening to the rain on the tin roof in the company of lovely people but, unfortunately, in reality, that is not how most of my Winter is spent (although I try to make those occassions fairly regular).

Mostly it's spent getting up in the cold dark, muddling through the rain to work and slinking back home to try and warm up in my made-for-Africa (i.e. NOT warm) house. Don't get me wrong, I love my House in the Middle of the Street but no, the bottom line is that it is draughty and cold. Unless you're sitting right next to the fireplace. Here in Africa we don't do central heating. We just ignore the fact that, for four months a year (sometimes more) it's bloody freezing.

I think it's like they say childbirth is - during labour you scream and swear you'll never again and then you forget the pain as soon as you see the baby. Then you do it again. All Winter we talk about installing solar heating, blocking the gaps under the front (and back) door that allow the freezing gales in (and sometimes the rain too, if it's heavy) and vow to buy more energy-saving heaters (I do try to be environmentally-friendly). But, as soon as Spring curls her pretty fingers around us... whoosh... out of my tiny brain it goes.

In other, fascinating, news, the milk I have at the moment seems to make a skin on top of my tea the minute I let it stand. Most disturbing. I told you it was fascinating, didn't I?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sinning and a confession

I slept, solidly, for 9 hours last night. But I have a confession. It's terribly embarassing, but I feel I must get it out, in the interest of my newly found blurting honesty. Did you see what I did? I made a crossed-out word. I have been reading other people's blogs and being very covetous of their ability to do that. Knowing that covetousness is a sin, I decided I should find out how. I love Google. No more sinful coveting for Shiny, no sirree.

While on these techno-thingies, does anyone know if you can change your blog name without changing the link to it, as in messing up people's links to it? I would hate to lose my three huge number of followers, but really feel that 'Almostthirtythree' should perhaps be changed three years down the line. Seeing as lying lieing being untruthful is a sin too. Dearie me, crossing-outed words are, obviously, the flavour of the day now.

Back to my confession... Wait for it...

I drool. Especially when I'm very tired and sleep solidly. I, too, thought it was something only teething children did but I am living, breathing, drooling proof, that this is not true. Adults do it too. By the way, the fabulous twin nephews are teething. And drooling, like their Aunt. At present they have one tooth between them. They are also becoming pros at crawling. Backwards. Bless. When I sleep, I drool. (Reading that paragraph back I thought I should just make that clear - I only do it while sleeping!)

Too much information?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A nasty one

Yes, I am writing two posts today. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. I feel words bursting out of me (a rare occurrence in the past few months, so I should take advantage). I am feeling like my body is completely made up of a very thin layer of skin and inside is just waves and waves of salty water, with my organs washing around in there. One little prick, or taunt, and I may just flood.

Admittedly, I have had a number of things happen at Real Work that have made me question humanity. My faith in humanity is normally so strong, but sometimes it just gets royally fucked. I couldn’t bring myself to write about it until now, when, thanks to a comment from clever Tamara on my last, but one, post, made me realise that I should use this blog more as an outlet.

The first call I had yesterday when I got to work was about a woman who had been brutally and viciously raped. Because she was gay. My heart broke and my head reeled with the injustice and cruelty of it. I struggle even to write that, I want it to not have happened. But it did.

I have no words to explain my inconsolable sadness that people have to be put through things like this. It is indescribably horrific and I cannot imagine how, if ever, she will have any faith in humanity again.

Oh dear, I just pricked myself, I must stop before I flood the office. I seem to keep doing things without realising it at the moment, don’t I?

The nature of relationships

I wonder about relationships. I watch other people’s, I look at mine, and I wonder at the nature of them. Obviously, they evolve. I have had some relationships that evolved well, some that didn’t, I’ve been lucky not to ever have any that have exploded into nasty situations. I’ve seen that happen to lots of other people. I guess it depends on your nature, too. I don’t do conflict.

The point that I was pondering, though, is the evolution from that fizzy, fabulous initial phase. The one where SMS’s fly back and forth, and the air feels electric, all the time. The evolution to something more comfortable, less frenetic. It’s a lovely space.

I’m arguing with myself, though, and wondering where the line is between just loving someone entirely and being clingy? Are there rules about how much contact you make? Is it okay to still want to be wrapped up in each other, six months down the line? .

And by wrapped up in each other, by no means do I mean wrapped up to the point of exclusion of anybody else. I am also lucky not to have ever been one of those people who drops their friends whenever I get into a relationship (I learnt with my First Great Love the dangers of such foolishness). I have fabulous friends, why would I ever want to drop them?

Can one continue with the excited-to-call/message/e-mail part of relationships or, at some point, does one have to get into that grown up, humdrum relationship? You know the one.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An unexpected realisation

It was a strange Easter weekend. I did lots and, at the same time, did little. Had a couple of dinner and lunch dates, which were lovely, and then spent some me time, alone, at home, doing, well, um, nothing (except watching Season 1 and 2 of Green Wing. In their entirety).

I was feeling a little out-of-sorts you see, and anti-social, and wasn't sure why. Sunday night I got very little sleep, due to a combination of things, and my inherent worriededness. I realised, on reflection, that, while I generally count myself as happy-go-lucky, I am forever thinking I don't deserve the happiness I get. And then, as a result, I seem to think it's going to be taken away from me. It's terrifying.

Good grief, I had NO idea what I was going to write about today, and have never admitted to anybody that I have this crippling terror. Just goes to show what comes from just blurting out 'stuff' as opposed to thinking before writing.

Is this a result of my own personal tragedy, or was this there before? I honestly can't tell. But I can tell you that it’s very definitely there now. And I’m not entirely sure how to make it go away, now that I’ve acknowledged it’s presence. It’s sitting there in one of the (many) back corridors of my mind. It’s a dark, gloopy place, filled with fear and tears.

I wonder if there’s some kind of vacuum cleaner for such places?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

This morning I spoke to my love out there in the barren land of big birds, then I ate Hot Cross Buns, then I met friends for a lovely breakfast in a big mall and met their new baby who is beautiful and soft and cuddly and smiley and then I spoke to The Pond in Faraway who is having a rough time and now I'm going to watch a DVD or read my book.

And through all these things, I am missing my love. Overwhelmingly.

Astral travel. Why's it taking them so bloody long to get it right?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Another letter to The Pope

Last year, around about this time, I wrote a letter to The Pope (see here). I have heard nothing back, which makes me just a little cross. I thought maybe he needed a little reminder, so have written a follow up. Here it is:

Dear The Pope,

I wrote to you last year about the naming of Good Friday but you haven’t, yet, replied. Now, of course I realise that you’re a very busy man, but I can’t help thinking that this is something that should move up on your list of priorities. I’m assuming that these things do take a while to get ‘passed’ or whatever you call it, in your Very Serious Meeting Sessions, so am going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume you’re busy with it.

In the meantime, that bakery is making those yummy Hot Cross Buns this year again, so let me know if you’d like some – they may even help you and your cronies make up your minds quicker about the re-naming… I find they help me think.

Which reminds me of a joke you could tell the guys, to lighten the spirit in your Very Serious Meeting Sessions. It's an apt one for this time of the year:

What do you get if you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole?

A hot, cross, bunny.

Shiny x

Wonder if he’ll reply this time?