Monday, December 29, 2008


We have these neighbours we like to call The Cunts.

Yes, I know, it's not very nice. But it's a very apt description of them, or at least how we feel about them, so The Cunts they are. Mr and Mrs.

We've lived across from them for over 5 years now. They're only a bit older than us, childless, workaholics from what we can make out. Not that we care or anything. The point is that in 5 long years the only contact we've had with them besides a scant handful of mumbled 'hello's' when they absolutely couldn't ignore the fact that one of us was standing right in front of them, was the time Mrs Cunt reversed into my car. An incident she responded to by leaving me a (typed!) note with the details of her insurers for me to contact to sort out the damage. Er... noYou call your insurers and you sort it out, where-after I will get my car repaired at, get this: the least possible inconvenience to myself. See?

They're blatantly far too busy and important to notice anyone else in the world, let alone give a shit, and they're actually just not very nice people. We've tried to get over it (ok, I say 'we' but truthfully Husband shrugged it off years ago - as I think men are often better at doing - I have tried to get over it).

But today, today I was once more enraged.

I had the misfortune of pulling out of my driveway at the same time as they left theirs. It was raining (ja, we're having a bit of un-summer which is quite a nice relief), and their domestic worker - cleaner - was leaving at the same time.

Firstly, they didn't greet me - but there's no surprise there. The real shocker was that they didn't acknowledge the other woman's presence either, didn't notice her walking off down the road sans umbrella in the rain and then, then, drove straight past her - in the same direction in which she was walking - as she tried to tie a plastic bag over her hair to keep it dry.

I understand that it's probably bad karma to judge other people's karma, but The Cunts - their karma is murky man.

And then, the final outrage; they drove behind me all the way out of Obs and on to the highway, where Mr C proceeded to cut me off by jumping the solid white line to enter the lane heading to town. This I took wildly personally for about 5 seconds until I realised that their real problem is actually just that their heads are so far up their own arses that they didn't even realise it was me, their neighbour, they were offending. And that they didn't care.

I stewed on this a little today (as you can probably tell), but it was only as I was putting Frieda to bed that I realised the irony that I should have this little neighbourly complaint at a time when it seems that Israel and Palestine might very seriously be taking their ongoing neighbourly feud to the max.

That gave me pause for thought, made me realise that I regard myself as irreconcilable with The Cunts. I think they're people who tackle the world in a manner which is so far removed from mine that they may as well be living on another planet. Their habits offend me, I regard their world view as skewed and wrong, and I do, to be completely honest, regard myself as morally superior to them. And if this little scenario is but a smackrel of complexity that is the Near East - then I fear for where that situation will lead. 

[And on a much lighter note  -Husband single-handedly replaced out pool pump and filter in only a few hours this evening, thereby kicking any remnants of unmanliness over the jam-making incident firmly in the ass, and making it possible for us to go away for a few days from tomorrow. See you in 2009 lovely blogosphere!]

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I'm completely honoured to be included on a list of a select few to be awarded not one, but TWO blogger awards by the wonderful Julochka!

She's been such an inspiration in these last few months of blogging that this really means a lot to me. 

Almost all my thoughts about blogging and what I'm getting out of it have been wonderfully eloquently expressed on Moments of Perfect Clarity, most notably here and here, and her thoughts, rants, lists and wry observations have kept me going back there every day.

Thanks Julie!

(According to The Rules - and I'm never one to flout those as you know - cough - I'm supposed to pass these awards on to other deserving blogs. This I will do in due time. Cross my heart.)


I think that's the word which springs to mind?
ps**much honour and glory bestowed upon me today ~ a proper response and explanation tomorrow**

Friday, December 26, 2008

the most beautiful thing in south africa

You know the whole Vision Board concept? Positive realisation and all that? Oprah's a big fan.

Well, I was always a little sceptical - its a bit of a bad habit of mine - and only recently started cutting pics of things I really, really, really want out of mags etc and putting them up in my study. More to just wonder at their beauty then from any real hope that the universe would miraculously make them appear in my life. And also so that in the mad rush after I win the Lotto I'll be able to just look up and say 'oh ja, I'll take one of those and one of those' etc etc, 'cos I mean who thinks straight in those circumstances right?

But get this y'all, I think it might just have worked...! 

The item in question was voted The Most Beautiful Thing in South Africa in the category of Craft at this year's Design Indaba Expo, SA's premier design event. And I lusted after it. I loved it so much I cut a pic of it from a magazine and stuck it up above my desk, and it made me happy every time I looked at but I didn't really for a minute think I'd ever own it.

And then I saw some mini-versions of it in a store near us, and then ... I don't think I need to tell you what Father Christmas brought me....?

They're called VoĆ«ls op 'n Tak (birds on a branch) and they're made by a local artist, Daan Samuels, who lives on the West Coast. His inspiration are the tiny little sand-pipers who scuttle across most of SA's beaches, and he uses found drift-wood to perch them on. The original is huge, with well over 50 birds, but this little mini version suits me just fine. I'm so happy!

And the gorgeous vase in the background? It's a Liesel Trautman and was also a Christmas present. I am indeed a very lucky girl. Blush.

Two more things just quickly; 

1. Husband made his first ever batch of jam today. Blueberry, lemon, orange & ginger. We were given a kilo of rapidly ripening blueberries by my sister-in-law yesterday and decided this was the best thing to do with them.

He did have a moment's concern that he was being unmanly when his heart swelled with enormous pride (as it totally should) at the row of jars full of luscious blue jam, but I assured him that a Real Man does manly things like fixing his own motorbike etc and makes jam, and he got over it quite fast. I think the excitement at the thought of tomorrow morning's breakfast toast has obliterated any last worries on that front!

And, 2:

I hope we haven't kick-started arachnophobia or anything, but check how fearless Frieda was when introduced to this at my parent's house! Yup, it really is one of those. My mother saw it crossing the paving at the bottom of their garden and thought it was a small crab come up from the lake. They're not sure how it got here (shouldn't occur this close to the coast), but it sure is nasty!

Hope you all had a very lovely, spider-free Christmas. And if there's anything specific you want under the tree next year, my advice is to get started on those vision boards.... 

Monday, December 22, 2008

100 things I dislike intensely

Some time ago I was inspired by hula seventy's list of 100 things in the world I love. So inspired in fact that I totally ripped it off. Since then I've often thought I should revisit that list, I'm sure I was being lazy and I can definitely think of a few other things which should've made it onto my top 100. Maybe one day...

But almost immediately after posting my list of 100 things I love, I started compiling this one in my head. 100 things I dislike intensely ('cos hate is such a strong word). To my credit it hasn't been easy, and it's taken me this long to add to it, a couple of items at a time, but I think I'm there. And maybe I've done some exorcising in the process?

100 things I dislike intensely (in no particular order):

1. toads

2. bigots

3. liquorice

4. mosquitos

5. dog shit

6. price stickers which won't come off completely

7. useless appliances (read: electric egg boilers)

8. people who waste water

9. tom cruise

10. daytime chat shows (read: ricki lake et al)

11. WWF Smackdown

12. exhaust fumes

13. tiny, tiny little 'dogs'

14. rugby

15. flavoured coke

16. badly designed websites

17. cosmopolitan magazine

18. cleaning toilets

19. dead things

20. pmt

21. public toilets

22. toilet paper which rolls the wrong way

23. ratepayer's associations

24. violence

25. tax returns

26. boerepop music

27. running out of time

28. er... running

29. fundamentalists

30. crocs!

31. paper cuts

32. g-strings

33. polony

34. indecisiveness

35. ashtrays

36. non-waterproof mascara

37. call centres

38. any tea except ceylon, or english

39. email petitions

40. quad bikes (SO much - die! die! die!)

41. well-done steak

42. excema

43. blow-drying my hair

44. faxes

45. people with long lists of dislikes

46. tuscan fantasy in parktown

47. rice burners

48. bmw drivers. barring one...

49. people who 'huff' impatiently in queues

50. net curtains

51. root canal (duh)

52. hayfever

53. shower curtains

54. marzipan

55. mullets

56. abused 'quotation' marks

57. insurance claims

58. queue-jumpers

59. white jeans

60. powdered milk

61. polycotton Sheets

62. air ‘fresheners’

63. afro-sceptics

64. tech support

65. being a non-smoker

66. christmas shopping after 1 Dec

67. yellow sports cars

68. hairy backs!

69. hot air hand-dryers

70. shitty nappies

71. hand washing

72. drama queens

73. sports films

74. films about dedicated teachers making a huge difference in inner city schools (yawn)

75. films based on true stories (often extra yawn)

76. throwing up

77. burglar bars

78. sweating

79. nipple piercings

80. tripe

81. hot feet

82. persian cats

83. licking stamps

84. removing, washing & replacing slipcovers

85. people with no sense of humour

86. thursdays ~ I find them really arb

87. duplicity

88. paulo coelho

89. jodi picoult

90. public gyms

91. people who say they 'heart' something. What is that?? (And I'm being a total snob here because I totally accept the mainstream use of 'lol' - I think it's descriptive in a way which didn't exist before, and thereby fills a gap in modern expression - but 'heart' instead of 'love'? No.)

92. paisley

93. people I was never friendly with in high-school trying to befriend me on Facebook

94. kitsch curios

95. family politics

96. not having space for another serving of dessert

97. matching outfits

98. people with no sense of karma

99. cellphone spam

100. big blue-assed flies

Saturday, December 20, 2008

48 hours (or actually 24...)

I've just decided I can't get into Friday. I think it may have left scars.

No, I'll start fresh and new about today.

It started with a small glass jar being plucked from a drawer and, completely innocently, hurled to the kitchen floor. Approx. 3200 pieces of glass.

It involved 3 cat pukes, one of which was projectile. Oh wait, the projectile one may have been on Friday... shudder...

It included the demise of our extremely old and dodgy pool pump, leaving us at the mercy of the ever-vigilant summer algae... And obviously now is the moment to go salt-water, which is obviously more expensive but The Right Thing to Do, and obviously it's the beginning of the Christmas break so from whence will come this necessary pool-man?

Pump No More.

Today was trying, actually. The melt-down quota was high, from all 3 of us truth be told. Exhaustion from the year past kicked us in the ass a little.

Frieda is 18 months old today, and we pondered that a little and came to the conclusion, once more, that we frikkin' ROCK.

As does she.

I've finished her Christmas stocking and am looking forward to stuffing it on Wednesday. FREE CRAFT TIP: if ever attempting something similar to this, sew the goddamn annoying bells on last.

I'm starting to think about an advent calendar for next year, I think she'll be old enough to enjoy one then. I love this one, or a version thereof, but would have to start it in Jan 09! And I like the idea of using bags to stow the daily treats (can't find link, bad blogger). We'll see...
And lastly, I spent some time at a new blog I'm enjoying a lot. She calms me.
December - sometimes you are hard-core.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

misc musings part 2: the afternoon edition

It's really just been one of those days, incredibly busy and incredibly lethargic all rolled up into one bundle of arbness. Sounds like a fairly typical CT summer day actually....

I had a marvellous 20 min in the pool - why didn't I think of that earlier? The very best thing about our pool? It's completely private so no swimsuit required. I don't actually even own a decent swimsuit at the mo, simply don't need one.

So although one can hear the neighbour sneeze just over the wall (those eviscerating sounding sneezes) and the mumbling of builders not too far away, one can splash around butt-naked to one's heart content. Lovely.

We didn't make it to Scrapbooker's Wet Dream or whatever the place is called, but opted instead for a car wash, a meltdown in the stationers 'cos someone's mean and nasty Mummy wouldn't let them unpack all the brightly coloured lunch-boxes on display, and 45 minutes - yes, 45 - in the Post Office to get a second lot of packages off before 4pm.

I think I mentioned I'm helping a friend out with her online business while she's gadding about in foreign climes? It's strictly a business arrangement, us being international business ladies and all, but it also feels a bit like baby-sitting one's best friend's baby and therefore I nurture it. South Africans are rapidly catching onto shopping online, but there are still many people who don't have internet at home (I mean,wtf? What do they do with their evenings? No one actually watches our shit TV do they? And surely they're not actually talking to their spouses right? Nah?), and it seems that bunch have all been very busy this week burning up their company's bandwidths before going on summer vac.

So ja, 45 minutes in the Post Office. For the second time today. This time + toddler....

5 things Frieda did in the Post Office:

1. Popped bubble wrap and toddled up and down the queue of 20+ hot, irate PO clients making everyone pop one bubble (only ONE mind you - she was very clear on the rules).

2. Ate salami and then dropped some on the floor and after her mother revealed the presence of a dustbin to throw dropped piece away (stupid! stupid! stupid!), tried to throw away contents of mother's handbag one by one.

3. Smooched a wooden peg doll and tried to rally those nearest to us in the queue to do the same.

4. Got hold of mother's wallet and wanted to give all her money to the nice lady in front of us who was the only one who had indeed smooched salami besmeared peg doll (fair enough I say - if I wasn't so broke...)

5. Waited 'til I finally got to the counter and then spent the whole transaction trying to grab my pen while the rest of the queue huffed and sighed behind us. 

All in, she was an angel! Seriously, 45 minutes in the Post Office in 30 degree heat? We could've done way worse...

miscellaneous musings with a sprinkling of swear words

  • fuck it's hot
  • goddam pasta salad is yummy. The only thing to eat in heat like this. And watermelon... Wow, watermelon would be good right now. Spiked with vodka.... chilled in a mountain stream... (moving item to To Do list forthwith)
  • I just love the spelling of 'miscellaneous'
  • proudly staring at the Christmas stocking I made Frieda last night - 98% finished
  • wondering if I can really be arsed to drag kiddie halfway across town in this heat to visit Cape Town's Ultimate Scrapbookng Shop? Pros: car has aircon, could probably find last bits I need to complete stocking. Cons: potential damage to credit card, definite damage to reputation if spotted.... 
  • wondering if The Adenoid is allowed in the pool. No, no, I guess you're right, it probably isn't...
  • cursing the name of a certain individual who is doing a good friend wrong.... (seriously, what is up with some men not being able to step-up and take responsibility for their lives?? ffs, strap on a pair already!)
  • also cursing the tech gods who've decided I'm not allowed to have one of those fax to email jobbies - it's supposed to be one of those one-click-wonders - yeah right!
  • STOP THE BOAT! Duh, The Adenoid is still napping.... I'm off to the pool!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the return of The Adenoid and how we tried to ignore it...

My baby's Giant Adenoid has been at work again, bending the whole family to its every whim, making life a little wearisome, not least of all for the littlelittlegirl who's having to carry it - poor thing.

On Friday we decided, with her paediatrician, to have it removed early in the new year. Make that as early as possible - do ENT's work on 1 Jan?? Friday's trip to the doc was in response to over a week of not eating, more meltdowns than usual, and the development of a nasty cough. Dr P sent us home with the news that she had actual pus in her middle ear and a possible chest infection, 2 courses of antibiotics, 3 other meds besides and a mild case of parental guilt for not having taken her to see him earlier (I say mild 'cos as hard-hearted as it may sound I just don't buy into parental guilt in general, and good thing I don't or I could've really beaten myself up about gadding about on international business trips while my baby suffered....).

Anyhoo, it's been a looooooong long weekend (today being a Public Holiday, Husband took yesterday off too ~ not sure if he's been regretting it in light of how unpleasant it's been around here at times, but I've sure been glad of the company and the co-parenting!), but we've not wallowed in the misery and Frieda's generally been her sunny self, in-between bouts of raging sick toddler from hell... 

And so it seemed as good a time as any to get some Christmas decorations up. I started working on these angel strings some time ago, cutting out the stencils from this gorgeous paper I bought dirt-cheap (R5 a roll!!), and sticking them on lengths of ribbon.

They're now hung on either side of our fireplace, and look very pretty with the Art Deco tiles I think....

And in lieu of a Christmas tree, I've put up and decorated my beloved Tin Town tin cut-out tree, this year with these chilli fairy lights which have 8 settings - from crazed epilepsy inducing flashiness to a slow cycle of fading in and out - depending on how the  festive spirit moves you.
Goddam I love this tree so much. It was a wonderfully generous gift from a most special friend and I think I can honestly say it's one of  my most prized possessions!
But we didn't stay home-bound the whole weekend - the weather was far too good for that - we did manage a trip to the seaside, for an awesome picnic on the beach with old friends, in which I ate my seasonal full of these... the most luscious, most tasty and delicious salt-water crayfish. Yowzer, these beasties are the bombski.
And it definitely adds to the flavour that while they're outrageously expensive in restaurants all over the world, we just pluck them from the ocean and eat them 'til we're stuffed. Take that Adenoid, ye shall not ruin all our fun!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

and just 'cos I don't squander enough time online already...

I've started contributing to another blog. Husband groaned. Whereupon I pointed out how I was once seriously considering become a member of one of his many (boring) forums just to stay in touch with him.... Get some, I say!
But he has to concede that this is real fun - making up definitions for the bizarre verification 'words' you come across on the internet.
Finally, a practical application for my English degree! I'm sure Prof Higgins would be so proud....
Started by the witty Julochka, inspired by the hilarious Amanda, check out the silliness here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

swaziland: lotsa pics, lotsa rambling...

After a very lovely dinner with friends in Joburg and a few more glasses of wine than was necessarily clever and a pre-dawn departure via airport shuttle and a terrible latte at OR Tambo Int and the very disappointing discovery that all the duty-free shops were still closed at that time, I wasn't in the strongest frame of mind to be confronted with this:

Um... that's not really the 30 seater propeller plane I'm getting onto right? Not really...?

But it seems it was, and after a remarkably smooth flight in which I got my head straight and made lots of notes and drank lots of water, I felt remarkably refreshed and rearing (raring?) to go by the time we landed in Swaziland.

The MSF offices are in a house in one of the out-lying suburbs of Mbabane. A gorgeous setting to work from.

See that pine tree in the fore-ground? A couple of weeks ago it was struck by lightening. Literally. And not just the top of the tree - like this:

Ka-pow!!! The wood shrapnel broke all the windows of the closest office, and the occupant (who'd been bombed before in an MSF office somewhere else in the world and said it was exactly the same) narrowly missed serious injury. And scored a great excuse for late responses to a bunch of emails (mine included), the strike blew all their telephone lines for days.
The view from the office....

And an illustration (on the main high-way) of how much work needs to be done in the HIV/AIDS field in terms of education and awareness and fighting stigmatisation...
The country was gorgeously green and lush, very unlike last time I was there which was in winter (it's a summer rainfall region). The bluest blue skies, little puffy white clouds and air so delicious and warm and soft you feel like you're breathing in some kind of youth elixir.

It was strange being back after 14 years, when I was here last I'd just finished high-school, just gotten my driver's licence and was in the heady thrill of leaving home for the first time.
Back then my cousin and I rumbled around these roads in an old farm truck, keeping our eyes peeled for stray goats (and kinda for chickens, but those goats could do a whole lot more damage!) and often singing Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of our lungs. Not sure why, does being young and free seem like a good enough reason?
A far cry from this visit, in which I whizzed around visiting venues and meeting people in the Swazi Health Ministry and generally being very busy and important. As us International Expert Consultants are wont to do you understand...

I illicitly smuggled 2 delicious Swazi mangoes back into SA, and last night left the packaging on the kitchen table to trick Husband into thinking I'd brought back a parcel... 
I inadvertently tried to bring in a banana too (it was leftover in my backpack) and had an embarrassing incident at OR Tambo when the sweetest looking beagle hound was getting really friendly and I was rubbing his jowls and making stupid whosealickledoggiewoggie noises, until a beefy security lady appeared and demanded to know what I had in my bag that her highly trained sniffer doggiewoggie was smelling, hence his interest in me.
Obviously I immediately felt as if I was smuggling heroin.... stuttering and stammering about bananas and having low blood sugar and needing a snack. I'm sure she realised straight away from my general geekiness that I clearly wasn't an international drug smuggler!
And lastly, the perils of not unpacking one's suitcase immediately upon arrival home, is always this... a little ginger cat who dreams of travelling to distant climes...

And the little pink wheel in the corner of the pic? It belongs to the wildly successful gift Frieda received from her Ouma the day I left, a little dolly pram complete with insipid blonde dolly. Seems it was a more than adequate replacement for her beloved mama, and is definitely topping the charts for Number 1 gift of 2008!

green with ... boredom

The inside cover of the latest edition of one of my favourite magazines features a two page ad for Plascon paint. The left side is dominated by the following:
is the new mainstream. Once a global
issue taken on by the few,
it has now come home.
No way.
Really? The new mainstream? When, pray tell, did that happen? What ground-breaking news!
To anyone who’s been in a coma for the last 5-10 years!
Frankly I find this kind of shit so insulting on many levels.
A) please don’t pretend that you’re cleverer than me,
B) please try and display a little more creativity than trotting out the same tired ‘green is the new black’ line, and
C) please try and remember there’s a global environmental crisis on the scale of a Spielberg disaster movie playing out in our backyard and manipulating that to sell products such as PAINT is just not a clever marketing move.
Especially when reading on (which I can’t help doing ‘cos I love a little anti-marketing self righteousness as much as the next guy)...
Recycling, saving energy, choosing
organic, preserving the planet, it’s
all about embracing nature and
discovering innovative ways to live.

Yada yada yada.... and then the kicker:
Our Plascon Palette of 2009 is filled
with colours that mimic nature and 
bring its life-giving energy to the
Oh. My. God.
I was at least expecting to read, at the end of this depressing marketing wank, that Plascon paints have become more eco-friendly. That they were ‘discovering innovative new ways’ to make paint, that they were all about ‘embracing nature’.
But no, seems it’s the same old paint, just in hues to make us feel all chummy and green. Like smug little eco-warriors in the comfort of our own (exquisitely painted) homes.
Paint to do for us what dreadlocks did for those first brave souls chaining themselves to trees in the Amazon and the like.
Goddamn sometimes I get depressed at the state of the world. As if looming environmental doom wasn’t enough to worry about...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

untitled ('cos I was too tired to think of one)

Sitting at Matsapha, Swaziland’s teeny weeny international airport, waiting for my teeny weeny 30 seater plane to start the 6h trip home. All flights out of Swaziland are, alas, routed through Joburg, so I’ve a stop-over there to look forward to. At least OR Tambo Airport has a Vida! Yay! I may even deserve a pasteis de nata by the time I get there....

It’s been a very busy and productive few days, at least as busy and productive as one can be in a small African country... which, I’ve learnt, is all relative, and the last 3 days here have brought this home to me once again.

Swaziland is FULL of ex-pats. And in the office of an international organisation like MSF they far outnumber the Swazi’s. On my first night I had dinner out with an Ethiopian doctor, a French activist, a Swiss-Italian pharmacist and a Finnish-American finance officer, and these are just some of the MSF staff here. (Incidentally, the restaurant where we ate belongs to a French man and his Mauritian wife and he claims 11 generations of ex-pats in his family, with cousins and relatives as wide-spread as China, the Ukraine and Alaska!)

All the MSF ex-pats in Swaziland are very genuinely here to serve and assist the local health ministry. They work tirelessly to give support to government health programmes. They instigate their own projects, but only ever with the consultation and approval of the ministry. And they seem to always be respectful of the existing systems and authorities, trying to not step on toes. Or egos!

But they’re here with a mission, spending donor money and resources, and they feel the pressure always to justify their presence and produce tangible results of the work they do. And so, understandably, they grumble amongst themselves about slow-moving bureaucracy, about having to pander to government egos, about having to earn their credentials over and over again, and mostly about how the business of getting life-saving drugs and care to the sick and infirm is delayed by the to-ing and fro-ing of political decisions and approvals.

All of which I completely understand and sympathise with.

But to my surprise, I found myself taking another view too, the African view. And a few times I found myself, not justifying, but trying to explain that ‘Africa time’ is a concept that’s not going to change, that we have, to an extent, an inherent suspicion of people coming from across oceans to tell us how things should be done, and that while I know this doesn’t seem to make sense when those people are offering nothing but assistance, it’s not unreasonable of us to make sure that we’re not being bullied, not compromising our own freedoms.

But I also completely see the danger in foreign aid organisations not insisting that they get that involved with the workings of local projects before supporting them. As complex as this approach may be, it’s infinitely preferable to some of the interventions Africa has seen before.

Aid without accountability will never reap real, long term results. Apparently the UN has quite a shocking reputation for ‘gifting’ medical supplies to organisations and governments in need, supplies which often languish in warehouses and expire before they get distributed (and then the cynic in me wonders how close to expiration the products were in the first place, we’ve had plenty of dodgy stuff dumped on us over the years... yes, NESTLE, I’m talking about YOU), because the necessary infrastructure hasn’t been supplied at the same time.

So maybe this approach of talks about talks, more talks, tentatively pushed agendas, frustrations and hopefully, eventual cooperation, is the lesser of the two evils, is the more long-term beneficial approach.

And just like all these ex-pats having to communicate in a neutral language, English, having to talk a little slower and a little plainer just to maintain normal dinnertime conversation, let alone large-scale treatment negotiations, maybe along the way we also listen a bit more carefully, and learn more about each other.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

packing my briefcase

Or I would be, if I had one. Luckily I'm not that kind of girl.

Off to Joburg tomorrow, to spend the night with dear friends - yay! - and do some business, then on a 06h50 flight to Swaziland on Monday morning. And yes, apparently as it's an international flight, I have to be at the airport 2h beforehand. Plus a minimum 45min drive to Jhb International and I'll let you do the math - it ain't pretty.

Monday - Wednesday in SZ prepping for the job, meeting the team, scoping out some venues and meeting some bigwigs in the Swazi Health Ministry. Hopefully staying in a very nice B'nB with a big bath, the availability of broadband doubtful, and I'm not getting my hopes up about riveting TV, but it'll be quite something to have some quiet time to myself. However there's always a chance the MSF office there are a rowdy lot and we'll be out clubbing 'til dawn....I wonder if the Why Not? is still there? And I wonder if they still won't let you in without a man in case you're soliciting? 

What I can't believe is how much prep work has had to go into this 4 day trip! Never-mind familiarising myself with the ins and outs of the organisation and the (sketchy) brief I've received from them, never-mind the 2 other smaller jobs I've done some work on this week, never-mind the shopping and ironing and planning to get together a decent working wardrobe (it's been a while ok), or even booking flights and airport shuttles etc - I've been very very busy sorting out logistics for a certain young madam of my acquaintance.

Frieda will be in the infinitely capable hands of Husband and my Mum, plus one day with her beloved nanny, but still, as her primary care-giver for the last oh, nearly 18 months (shock gasp), I've had a million little details swimming through my brain the last week or so. A million what-ifs? and how-will-they's? and... ok, so it's not a million, but a very high number, all of which boil down to one thing: the slow-dawning of the realisation that she's of an age where she doesn't need ME to be the person who provides her with everything. She can be just as capably cared for by others who love her, just as happy and well-nourished and warm/cool in those hands.

It's wonderfully liberating, a little like stopping breast-feeding all over again, but it's paired with the lovely thought that all she really needs from me, is to be her Mum. Which I'll always be well as Internationally Respected Consultant!

It's going to be a fun few days. But I will miss the little widget something terrible!

Last thing, this weekend's been the annual Obs Fest - a weekend of music, stalls, performance and general whackiness in Observatory. The Fest has a reputation for being somewhat grimy, and we're fairly jaded about it by now, but we took a walk through this afternoon and were pleasantly surprised by the much higher than usual standard of organisation. The whackiness remains however (and thank goodness for that), as illustrated by this - the Love Goddess, stark naked, being paraded through the festival to promote peace and love. And have a zillion (and this time I'm not exaggerating) photos taken of her gold-painted breasts!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

what the fug??

One of my ultimate favourite online reads ever, has to be the wonderful Go Fug Yourself girls. Jessica & Heather will guarandamntee you an out-loud, nose-snorting, nasty little gnh gnh gnh every time. I mean, what's the only thing more fun than laughing at people? Laughing at badly-dressed celebrity people of course!

Now these two may not be celebrities (although they may disagree), but I think you can see why I had to take these pics. Warning: nasty bitchiness up-ahead!

First I saw the, er... larger of the two. I sat in my car waiting for the light to change and wondered what an earth the poor woman was thinking? Bad choice of hair colour, bad see-through white skirt, bad, bad too tight kitten heels, bad spare tyre between high waist of skirt and bad belt....

I decided I had to take a pic, and then through the view-finder I thought I was seeing double. But no, there were two of them. Two over-dyed, over-tanned, over-done er, ladies. And they were dressed exactly the same.

Twins? Promo 'girls'? Or simply two disillusioned aged cheerleaders?

Or, should I pack away le bitch, and celebrate these two high-spirited gals for having the chutzpah to wear what they want, the way they want and the rest of the world be damned!
You're only as old as you feel they say. Sexiness is a state of mind they say.
But matching? Matching I can't forgive I'm afraid.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

teddy heaven

Flying Teddy Bear by Joigauti from Flickr - I searched for 'Teddy Heaven'

Last week I said goodbye to my childhood teddy, and yes, I'll confess, had a little cry.

This teddy (named Teddy, duh) originally belonged to my Mum, given to her by a beloved uncle when she was just a itty bitty thing. Post war years he (Teddy) was quite an extravagance, and he wasn't a small guy either - in the pic I'm about 3 months old so you can see the size of him.

Teddy endured the attentions of my Mum, her younger brother, myself and my two younger brothers and had long ago lost his glossy coat and, in circumstances which I can't remember, all the stuffing in one of his arms. For a number of years he wore a tiny baby mitten on the damaged appendage...

He wasn't a particularly cuddly bear (they made them quite rigid and tough in 1945), but I loved his firm stoacism and his comforting heavy presence on my bed. I shed many a tear onto his coarse fur, and have one particular memory of punching him when I was angry at something/one else and then being overcome with regret and sobbing all over him. Poor little bear.

Teddy has lived in a box for many years now, too fragile & dusty to be played with, and when I discovered last week that he'd befriended a colony of fish-moths (can't really blame him, the poor guy didn't have very many options), I made the tough decision that it was time for him to shuffle off to teddy heaven.

On rubbish day I lovingly carried his box out to our wheelie bin, and gently laid it on the top of the rubbish inside, hoping the rubbish truck would come soon. A while later I looked out the window and was distressed to see one of our regular rubbish bergies rifling through the bin. I knew he'd be after cardboard and was horrified to think I might see him wrench Teddy out of his box and chuck him back into the bin on top of the rubbish (for the full horror of this please remember I've a nappy-wearing child in the house, I don't think I need to elaborate....), but I couldn't look away.

And so imagine how touched I was to see this guy open the box, and then just stare down at my beloved bear for a moment, fold the box closed again and place him ever so gently back into the bin. And that's when I had a little cry.

Bye bye Teddy, thanks for all the love and companionship you funny old bear.