Sunday, February 28, 2010

Full moon dreaming

I dreamt vividly last night (it being full moon and all) about an old boyfriend of mine (strangely, the same one as in that link, I just reread that post), from when I was still fresh-faced and fancy-free. I saw him from the back, amongst a crowd of people, but knew immediately from his walk, that it was him. He turned and our eyes met, and it was if the rest of the world dissolved, leaving just us.

He came over and we spoke and spoke. I can't remember what about, but it was familiar, and lovely. And then the bubble was burst by some of his friends, from the same era (people I have notbthought about in years), who bounded up, and joined in. It must've been a fascinating conversation. Pity I can't remember it.

I woke up in a haze of nostalgia and there were hundreds of 'What ifs?" flying about my room, like those silly Christmas beetles that bash themselves against the wall, over and over. I opened the curtains to let the cool breeze in before the swelter of the day began (forecast is 35 degrees today), in the hope the "What ifs?" would flutter out on the breeze.

Some of them did.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Blurt, Part 2

I'm afraid this is going to be very drawn out... I am experimenting with writing stories... from beginning to end.

You’ve got to love Stalkbook, I mean Facebook. Of course, as in any modern day romance, the next step was to become Facebook friends. I can’t remember now who made the first move, but it was made, and we became Firm Facebook Friends (there is such a thing, surely?) with the clickety-click of a mouse. Easy. Allowing sneaky visits into people's profiles. I swear, Facebook's by-line should be: 'Facebook: making voyeurism socially acceptable'.

A week or two later, on popping into Facebook for a browse (read: voyeur session, and some Scrabble moves - I'm addicted), there it was... a message. Light-hearted, bringing up the theatre idea again, and possibly another picnic. And written well. Ten Shiny points. I have a thing about words, and writing. Send me a message that has ‘2’ for ‘to’ or ‘da’ for ‘the’ and you will find yourself struck off my Christmas card list. Well, you would be, if I had one.

I was pleased. Until I discovered the play we had discussed and were both keen to see was not on in The City Beneath the Mountain, but only in The Big Smoke. Damn. It was too soon, however, to suggest a weekend away, of course, snigger. For the next two weeks, there was some banter back and forth on Stalkbook, and vague suggestions of meeting up, but no concrete plan was made.

Then a ‘meet for drinks after work’-type plan was made with Pop (of the birthday in the park). A bunch of us were meeting, but I couldn’t quite keep the little twinge of excitement out of my tummy that The Person was coming along too. Remember, at this point, we’d only met once and it was just a maybe-we’ll-be-friends thing.

It was a fun night.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The blurt begins

Okay, okay, the time has come. The Story needs to be written. I think it may take a couple of posts, probably over a fairly long time, so bear (bare?) with me, okay? Also, I fear that writing it so far past the events may cause me to romanticise it. A bit. It is terribly lovely anyway, and really rather romantic.

Here goes:

The story begins, as all good stories do, a long, long time ago, in an enchanted forest in the grounds of a beautiful castle. Okay, maybe not that long. It was last August. The 16th, to be precise. I’m not normally that good with dates, but this happened to be one of my best friend’s (Pop) birthday, so it’s an easy one to remember.

And, well, it was more like a park. A lovely park, but not an enchanted forest as such. It felt enchanted that day, and does even more so now, at this present-day stage of the story. And, bugger it, I lied about the castle too. There are various lovely Victorian houses around the park, and some tennis courts, but no castle. The park is, however, watched over by the spectacular mountain of The City Beneath the Mountain fame.

It was a warm Sunday and we were all gathered to celebrate Pop’s birthday. The kind of August day that hints at Spring. The park was full of picnickers like us, and Pop had told me that a friend of hers that she had been speaking about for ages was coming along. She thought we’d get on like a house on fire.

So there we were sat, picnic spread like you’ve never seen, champagne with strawberries, sunshine, chatter, and I looked up at a particular moment and saw a person coming towards us. It may, well, have been the champagne, but I felt a warmth, one that was magnified on introduction.

It was a jolly party with lots of chatter between everyone and I, as predicted by Pop, got on very well with the person, making plans to meet up for a theatre expedition at a later date. Easy conversation, no innuendo, good company.

The sun moved off, away over the other little hill (the one resembling a lion, next to the one that signals) and off into the sea. It got cold, and we all headed off to our warm homes, having been reminded that Spring was not quite here yet.

It would be a couple of weeks until our next contact.

Babies, children and weekend bliss

The baby boy is beautiful. His sister is a fair-skinned, strawberry blonde 3-year old bundle of energy. He is tiny, olive-skinned and has a mop of dark hair. She thinks he's a bit noisy. He thinks sleeping and eating are just the perfect way to spend the day. I must admit that I agree with him completely.

I had a very full weekend. The City Beneath the Mountain was sweltering, it was as if The Weatherman was baking biscuits and had left the oven door open. Upper 30 degrees were the order of the day. Now I am very much not a shopping mall person (to put it mildly... I abhor them) but on Saturday morning when we went wedding outfit shopping, I loved it. They have air-conditioning. Say no more.

We shopped, I had house guests - a family with three children aged 7, 5 and 4. The house was filled with squeals of delight and joy. My house is, well, let's just say a bit of a children's paradise because I have lots of 'stuff'. And plenty of it is kid-friendly. I own four dinosaurs for heaven's sake, need I explain more?

I watched rugby. I don't usually do that. It turned out to be quite fun actually. We went to the pub down the road and I drank my new favourite drink (which is, incidentally, fabulous in a heatwave) - icy cold beer shandy made with ginger ale. Yum. The rugby-watching was made extra fun for H and I, as there was a table next to us with one guy and two girls who were vying for his attention. It was like watching birds fluff out their feathers and they used every trick in the book. It was hysterical as the one pushed her boobs out in his direction, and the other looked at him through fluttering eyelashes beneath her fringe. One even did the 'oh-could-you-please-open-my-Appeltiser-for-me-I'm-too fragile' trick. Bimbo. Unfortunately we didn't stay long enough to see who won, but they provided us with hours of entertainment.

After a late night not-so-nice hiccup, Sunday was spent breakfasting, three children on a sugar high after having hot chocolate and chocolate cake for breakfast, stopping in each park on our way home to swing, get dizzy on the roundabout and lose their tummies on the slide and then they chattered off back to their farm and we relaxed the afternoon away in a haze of bliss.

There is a big decision pending, and my love story is bristling and bubbling and wanting to be set free. It is imminent, I can feel it. I need blogsphere advices and discussion to help me, and to get that I guess I’m going to need to blurt it all out.

Watch this space?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

An exciting thing

Each day this week I have opened up this little New Post screen and left it open all day, coming back to it every now and then, watching the little cursor flash accusingly at me, the page white and blank. Like my mind. Well, I guess my mind's not quite as white but, oh boy, is it blank. I just couldn't think of anything interesting to write. Which is silly, because there's plenty happening. I have now chained myself to my desk and am forcing myself to write. It is easier today, though, as something VERY exciting is imminent.

I had dinner on Tuesday. This, fact, admittedly, does not sound that interesting. It is, though, because I had dinner with my beloved varsity friends - H (she who has moved back from London) and D. Again, not an unusual occurrence, this happens often. The difference is that this dinner was insistently (by me and H) eaten two blocks down the road from D's house, and a couple more blocks down the road from the hospital. H referred to the dinner as The Last Supper.

The thing is this - D is 9 months pregnant with her second baby, and will be ensconced in nappies and bottles for a while, and unavailable for extended dinners.

We, of course, were panicking that possibly she'd go into labour on Tuesday evening, thus the proximity of restaurant choice. In fact, we discussed leaving her in the car whilst we ate dinner, just in case. Surprisingly, she objected to this idea.

We had a fabulous dinner filled with the usual chatter, H and I had a glass of wine or two, and D looked longingly at them while sipping on water, and then we dropped her safely at home, kissed the beautiful bump goodbye and told it we look forward to meeting it tomorrow.

You see, she's going in today, as I type in fact, to have the wee thing.

I told you it was exciting, didn't I?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Riddle answered

Hmm, so I am, indeed, alone in my Pudding Dog thing. I phoned my mother this morning to find out if, perhaps, I had just made that name up, but, no, it is something from my childhood, we always called them that. Dalmations - they look like they're covered in raisins, like Spotted Dick Pudding. Speaking of which, who on earth thought of naming a pudding with such an absurd name? Perhaps that's just my inner 10-year old boy speaking, though.

I googled it, to check, and we are not alone in this, although the reference seems to be to fruit pudding rather. Interestingly, on googling, my blog post on the Pudding Dog came up. I didn’t realise these blogs went into google searches…

Anyway, I’m back from a wonderful weekend involving champagne tasting, beautiful winelands, and the feeling of being a child pretending to be a grown-up in a very smart hotel. We brought all the mini bottles of bubble bath and tiny soaps back. I fear I will never be comfortable in those over-the-top five star-type places. Although, admittedly, the ENORMOUS bed that swallowed us for the night was extremely pleasant!

And then we breakfasted amongst the red-clad couples, the waiters with cardboard hearts pinned to their chests, sweet sentiment abounded. The whole Valentine's thing has never really held much esteem in my eyes. If it's real, it's everday. And, pleasingly, this is.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Pudding Dog

* Warning, this may be a bit of an inane story, but I'm at Real Work on a Friday, which is Against The Rules, so I feel justified in my inanity.

I saw the most beautiful Pudding Dog yesterday. I have always loved Pudding Dogs, from when I was a little Shiny. It was taking it's owner for a jog. It really looked like it had done its research and was quite sure of the health benefits of jogging (which I, personally, think is a load of hoo-ey... all that jarring on your body can't possibly be good for you), and had instructed its owner to put on her best jogging kit and off they'd gone.

Pudding Dog had chosen a very specific route to take, one that ensured maximum exposure to the public, because Pudding Dog was, very obviously, quite aware of how beautiful it was. I was pleased that it had chosen that route because I got to see it, and it really was the most beautiful Pudding Dog. It looked almost like a Disney version, or a (very artistic) child's drawing.

I gushed about it to a friend of mine, who looked at me entirely blankly, almost as if I'd lost the plot. This happens relatively often to me as, quite regularly, I think I have lost the plot. This was not one of those occassions, though, so I was a bit flabbergasted, it was a simple story, no lost plottedness to it at all.

Shiny: "Why are you looking at me like that?"

Friend: "A Pudding Dog? What the fuck is a Pudding Dog?" [Said with distinct look of disdain]

Shiny: "You don't know Pudding Dogs?" [Said incredulously, in return for look of disdain]

Friend, [looking at others at the table]: "Am I alone in this? Any of you know what she's on about?"

Various mumbles and grumbles and, I swear, I heard a vague "not a cooking clue" amongst them.

Good grief. Am I really alone in knowing what Pudding Dogs are?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pop the cork

Phew. That nasty mist is rising. It’s a terrible thing, it is. Thank you for all the kind words. This bloggy world thing is quite incredible in that way. Pretty amazing really. So, yes, I’m feeling a lot more like myself, thank god. A combination of sleep, love and, I guess, just time, has pushed the monster back into his hole. Long may he stay there.

I have to go over the weekend to do some research for my Other Job, sigh. Over a weekend. It shouldn’t be allowed, weekend work things. Remember the urgent meeting I had to go to last time on a Friday afternoon? This is, well, if it’s possible… worse.

You see, I’m going to have to drag myself and Unwilling Companion (for who wouldn’t be unwilling to do this?) all the way out to an incredibly beautiful, secluded valley in the winelands. Vineyard after vineyard, beautiful old houses surrounded by majestic oaks, frolicking lambkins (maybe too far? I’ll stop there). I know, I know… what a schlep. It gets worse, though.

Once we get there, into that hellish place, we’ll have to be hosted by a rather well known champagne-maker, who will show us around the place, and then force us to taste the five different kinds that they make there. Ugh, doesn’t it sound awful? That’s not the end. We might even be forced to taste some homemade nougat with it.

And then?

Unwilling Companion and I will have to spend the night in a really beautiful old hotel in that breathtaking valley to allow us to quaff on said champagne without worrying about driving. And we will be forced to eat a three course dinner as part of the deal. And… wait for it… breakfast the next morning. Sheesh, the cheek of it.

You can see why I hate my forced outings for the Other Job, can’t you?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sad. Still.

My feet are cemented to the ground. I turn myself inward, into my head. And run.

I hold on so tightly to you, I'm sure your arm goes numb. If I don't, I fear I'll float away. A helium balloon tied to a child's wrist. But the bow is too loose. I need to cling.

Good grief, enough already. My sadness flits by every so often but normally doesn't stick about for so long. This one is lurking about in the corner, looking at me with its' glinting eyes. Back off, you bastard, you're making me too watery, I might wash down a drain and into the sea. Away.

Apologies for this morbid morosity. Normal service will resume shortly. The grey, twisting mists of sadness even cause me to make up vocabulary it seems. Is morosity even a word?

Saturday, February 6, 2010


It's insipiddly grey. Not even. It's invisible, but grey, as it creeps slowly toward me, pushing its' foul breath into my space... a warning about which I can do nothing. I can feel it coming, my heart fills with tears and becomes squelchy and small as I try to flee from it and slam doors in its' face, but I am rooted to the spot. No matter how hard I try, my legs are leaden, my feet concrete, it will get me, again.

I fill a day with the inane tasks of life, feign jollity on the phone, take another sip of beer and smile too much, wrap myself in a false sense of okay. But back home, it's dark outside, and it's dark in here too, and my heart clenches more, as I try to stop my mind from going there, into those murky recesses, but the door has swung open, I heard it's ominous Hollywood-horror-style squeak, and I know nothing will take this away. I'm in it. And stuck. It's too late this time to turn my back on it. It's tendrils are around my neck.

Do you think, perhaps, I'm a little melancholy today?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Birthdays and history

It is 20 years today since the ANC were unbanned in a monumentously historic announcement by then-president, FW de Klerk. It was my 15th birthday. I remember being incredibly proud that it happened on my birthday, and have to admit, that I still feel a little shudder of pride about it. Even better was when, 9 days later, on my mother's birthday, Mandela was released. In my up-your-own-arse teenage mind, I was directly involved in these wonderful moments.

Which, of course, leads us to the fact that I am 35 today. Middle aged. I'm not actually all that perturbed by age. It seems a silly thing to be hung up on because, really, what are you going to do about it? Stop time? A friend of my mother's has never told anyone her age. Bizarre. I plan to grow old gracefully (well, ok, I'm not exactly the most graceful creature* but you know what I mean) and be brazenly honest about my age.

Unfortunately, regardless of my Birthday Girl status, I have to be at Real Work, but I am not being particularly productive and am answering lovely birthday calls instead. I just got one from Aisha, my personal banker. Hmm... Funny thing is: I didn't even know I had a personal banker. I was going to say: "Thank you, but it might be better for you to spend more time improving the service at your bank, and less time phoning people to say Happy Birthday", but then I thought that'd be ungracious. Then I felt a little bad about not knowing when HER birthday is, to return the favour. Luckily another friend phoned, so my guilt flitted away like confetti on the breeze. Shows you what a solid character I am - focused is the word I like to use.

So, happy birthday to me. Who could ask for more than to wake up on one's birthday, loved, and be able to look forward to a lovely meal, al fresco, with delicious friends and delightful food, later?

*Understatement of the year

Monday, February 1, 2010

Middle ages approach

I am turning 35. Tomorrow. Which makes the name of my blog even sillier than before. I knew that'd happen when I started it. I think I even wrote a post about how silly it was. Naturally, though, as I am wanton to do, I ignored my sensical side and went with the nonsensical side. Even though I'm turning 35, as I just said, nonsensical Shiny seems to win most arguments still. I am beginning to accept that I may never grow up and become sensical.

So, in this vain, I had a little birthday party on Friday, in the garage, with music, and a mirror ball. There was champagne and lovely friends and fairy lights in the trees and I got spoilt with beautiful presents and the only difference between my youthful garage birthday parties and this new era of middle-aged garage birthday parties (because the garage parties are traditional at this point... I get complaints when I miss a year) was that everyone left by 12. Like in Cinderella.

Tonight I will dine out (look, I'm using phrases like 'dine out' now that I'm almost middle-aged) with my parents and their best friends who have known me, well, since I was 0, and my love, and then tomorrow night I shall go out with a little group of friends, to the same place I celebrated my birthday last year because it was just so fabulous. In that post I couldn't say what the newses were, but the first was that K was pregnant, with my now-Goddaughter, the beautiful Ava, and the second was that my sister was having not one, but two babies. Who now look like this (Allie, especially for you):

I may be an over-zealous, biased Aunt, but aren't they just too sweet?