Thursday, January 27, 2011

Midnight swirling

It was one of those nights when thoughts swirl malevolently around my bedroom twisting me up in my bed clothes, breathing hotly on my already burning skin due to the sticky summer night. It’s nights like those that bring things to the fore. Things I don't want to see.

Suddenly those dim, shady figures in the background, the ones that I can push away in the light of day and noise of life, come rushing forward, showing me their faces. Up close, in my face, their stale breath twisting up into my nostrils. They no longer whisper, but scream, directly into my ears, their beady eyes stare directly into mine. There’s no turning away. It hurts my ears.

This is the time to face those truths, here, in the dark, sticky night. Alone. There’s no running, I am rooted to the spot. To fall asleep means falling down that hole, into that vivid dream world, the one that can be, at once, freeing and imprisoning. To stay awake means to face those screaming, beady-eyed, swirling creatures.

The chains are so heavy. The lock is huge. The key is lost.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The 40th surprise

I had to shush, it's not like I had a choice. I was keeping a secret and I knew that if I wrote a blog post I would (inadvertently, mind) let something slip out and then it wouldn't be a secret anymore and the surprise would be spoilt and I'd feel horrible and bad and possibly even give myself a stomach ulcer. I'll stop, I'm taking it too far, aren't I?

It was my lovely sister's 40th birthday and her fabulous wife, N, organised a surprise party to celebrate, up there in The Big Smoke, and I went up, also as a surprise. I love surprises very much. I struggle to keep secrets because I get oh-so-excited about it all and want to talk about it, but I was good this time.

I speak to my sister daily, sometimes twice a day, but usually daily. On Saturday, the day I flew up, she called me four times, I kid you not. Firstly, at 5am, I got a picture sent to me. They were going in a hot air balloon. Admittedly, a very exciting thing, but, in her mind (not knowing I was getting ready to head to the airport) I had no reason to be awake at that time on a Saturday. I called her to exclaim my wonderment, and my (fake) horror at her early communications.

Then, as I was getting on the plane. To discuss the excitement of the hot air balloon (fair enough.) I lied. I hate lying, but it was necessary. I said it was a scorcher of a day and we were in the queue for the 9am movie, I'd phone her later. Phone off, 2 hour flight. Very pleasurable Gautrain experience then met by an old varsity friend, T, with whom we were staying. I phoned my sister back in the car, thinking that'd be it for the day.

Back to T's house where her husband and very boisterous 4-year old son live too. Another call from my sister, mid-afternoon, necessitating gagging both husband and 4-year old, in case of voice recognition. And, boy, was she in a chatty mood. Poor husband and son were positively blue in the face.

And that wasn't it. One more, just before we were to leave to the party, of course. She informed me they were going out for dinner, I told her she should really stay home and watch the cricket, which she suggested to N, just to mess with poor N's mind. I am a mean sister-in-law.

It was fabulous, she was completely surprised and it was a lovely, Argentinian party with yummy food and yummier people and I was very glad that I'd managed to keep my mouth shut. And I got to see the delicious babies on Sunday.

This is what the babies look like now, Griffin in green, Liam in red with his pyjama pants on his head (I am a cruel aunt too). Okay, they're the ones up there, at the top. I can't figure out how to put them down here, even though I tried my darndest.
You see? Good excuse for silence. It's a bullshit one really, I just haven't felt like writing, I could've written about all manner of things but, as I found out on Saturday, through four sisterly phonecalls, I'm quite a proficient liar.
Edit: I wrote this last week Wednesday and was then struck down by a dreaded lurgy that has made me cough and splutter and take to my bed. It is retreating now, I fought it bravely, in my suit of armour, fighting hand-to-hand, using every inch of my strength. It's pretty obvious I'm feeling better isn't it? It was, seriously, just a cold. That made me feel yukky.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The big blackboard

The beginning of the year is always such a time of introspection and thought for me. It’s silly, really, because the 1st of January is just another day, after the 31st of December. I always feel like a new year is an enormous blank slate, like those little blackboards kids used to use in school. But a huge one – a humungous, smooth, empty black space, with hundreds of boxes of coloured chalk below it, waiting to be drawn with in twirls and curves and plain print and cursive. Just millions of options, expectantly waiting.

This year I am going to make an effort to feel that way every day or, at least, every month. I’m going to try and fill my blackboard with colours and writings each month and then, at the end of it, start some more. I want to try and not be weighed down by what’s gone before.

Sounds so deep doesn’t it? I’ll tell you a secret… I just thought of it as I was writing this post. I often think up my blog posts in the early hours of the morning. Even more often, they flitter straight from my head and out of my bedroom window, to be scattered on the breeze… little images and sentences let free into the dewy morning air.

Not this one, though, this one flowed out and, luckily, landed on a page, right here in the Ivory Tower at Real Work. And I think I’ll keep it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I am wild

I am wild I tell you, wild. Watch me roar. Or, rather, I suppose, hear me roar. Wait, urm… read me roar.


“Why?” I hear you ask. I’ll explain.

Yesterday was Monday. A school night. At the very beginning of the week. My first day back at Real Work, though, which goes some way to explaining my wildness. Rowr. So, yes, Monday. And I tasted Patron for the first time. It was delicious.

For those of you who don’t know, Patron is tequila, but not just Any-Old-Tequila, it’s the one The Kardashians drink… you know, Kloe and Kourtney (sp?) and Kim. Those ridiculously wealthy sisters who spend their lives being watched by the world on TV while they make out, break up, fight with each other and love each other and… well… drink champagne and Patron.

I am fascinated by them, despite the complete air-headedness of it all. I’m a voyeur, what can I say? So, when I saw Patron on the menu, I had to try it to be like The Kardashians. More proof of my 13-year old temperament. I shouldn’t be admitting to it really. I mentioned it was yesterday, Monday, didn’t I? Wild.


It was delicious, coffee-flavoured. However, in order for my body to prove to me that, while I may have the brain of a 13-year old, I do not have the body, I was awake half the night. Tequila keeps me awake. It also (after a glass of wine to precede it, with dinner) persuades me that eating ice-cream doused in espresso before bed is a good idea.

It’s not.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Back in the Ivory Tower

I am back at Real Work, up high in my Ivory Tower. I have much to say, but I don’t know where to start. It’s been a whirly-gig couple of days with some big thoughts washing about in my head, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, making me dizzy and tired.

I swing from those pits of despair where it all just seems too much and I can’t be bothered to joy, like a bipolar patient who has thrown their medication down the toilet. I am eternally grateful that I’m not bipolar. I’m not, am I? Snigger. No, life is just a bit rough sometimes.

I miss the baby boys, my nephews. I was awake this morning at 5am. This was not unusual during my holiday either. They wake early, those who are only 17-months old. From the time they wake it is a journey filled with fascination, peek-a-boo, emotions that change with the slightest breeze – a bit like their aunt? And those giggles I mentioned before. And squeals. Literally. Squeals of delight.

I was amazed, once again, by my sister and her partner, N. So much controversy involved in having two mothers but, yet, there it is, in your face… a parental unit that really works. I’m not saying heterosexual parental units don’t work. Some do. Just as some homosexual ones do too. These two make an incredible team and those boys are content and happy and growing and learning and loved. Oh, they bicker, they get tetchy (both parents and mini’s) but, at the end of each day, when the boys go down to sleep, they sit together on the couch and are still as much in love. Something to aspire to.

But now they’re all back in The Big Smoke and I am up in the Ivory Tower and I’m trying my hardest to grin and bear/bare it. More thoughts later, perhaps?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Distracted from admin by my new game

I have much admin to do. You know the kind - phoning banks and telephone people and the like, listening to the irritating electronic voice telling you to enter your sixty-five digit account number (followed by the hash key), then some crappy Kenny G saxophone music that makes you want to scream, then the electronic voice again asking you to enter your eighty-six digit ID number (followed by the hash key), more squwaky (sp?) Kenny G saxophone, electronic voice asking you type in what you had for breakfast etc. Eventually you get to a Real Person. Inevitably in the wrong department, who has no clue who you are, despite your pressing all the right numbers (and hashes.)

I said much admin, didn't I? As you can tell from the above ranty paragraph, I did do one call. Then I got distracted by a new game I made up (as you do on a sweltering day sitting in the kitchen with a fan staring you down.) I popped over to Mud's blog which is always brilliant and wished her a happy 2011 and then clicked on one of her blog links and wished them a happy 2011 (and commented) and then clicked on a link of theirs...

I've been from Timor/Singapore, to a Cyber Mummy in London, to Devonshire, to a retired County Council worker in some other English countryside, then to a firefighter in Vermont and now I'm somewhere in the State's with a dental hygienist who is very funny.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm no stranger to the blog trawling game, no sirree. I love it, almost as much as I love donkeys (did I mention nobody gave me one for Christmas? Again.) It's just that normally I'm a bit of a voyeur and don't really comment. This time I am commenting and being very strict with myself about linking from one to the next and not. Getting. Distracted.

Pity about the admin, isn't it?

A kinder 2011



Well, yes, but, where did 2010 go? I have a sneaky suspicion that the calender guy has been dropping a day off here and there, and may even have dropped the entire month of June. I don't remember there being one. No point in moaning or groaning about it, though, what's done is done, and all that and now look... we have a shiny, sparkley, new year to play with.

Here on the tip of Africa it is sweltering - mid-30's we're getting today. Honestly, it's drainingly hot during the day, but there's something magical about hot Summer evenings. I always expect herds of fireflies to come flitting around the corner, lighting up the hibiscus flowers in my front garden, singing songs. You know those ones... Firefly Folk Songs.

With the brand-spanking new, out-of-the-box, year comes the anticipation of better things. Resolutions are made, new leaves are turned over, we all suddenly expect ourselves to be first class citizens with no faults - beautifully slim, no hair out of place, morals intact, all vices dropped like a hot Irish Coffee caffeine-free, sugarless, herbal tea, punctual, calm and collected. What a load of hoo-ee.

I'm not knocking the quest for healthier living, not at all, I'm trying it myself. Middle age has brought her spread along and I need to stop spreading before I fall over the sides, but my main goal this year is to try to be kinder to myself. I can be a hard task master and it exhausts me and that dissappoints me in myself and you can see what a vicious circle that is! So, in being kinder to myself mentally, I hope to be kinder to myself physically too - less vices, more of that herbal tea stuff...

For now, though, I need to pour water over my head and sit in front of the fan. Big Black Dog has sprawled herself over the cool kitchen tiles and has her left paw and left foot against the cool, red kitchen wall, her right ones hanging languidly in the air, her tummy up catching the air from the fan, leaving her looking mighty slutty.

It shows good upbringing, don't you think?