Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I ...

 ... have been very preoccupied and absent from this here blog ...

 ... had a good laugh at this yesterday, McNulty reading Pride & Prejudice, have you ever? (thanks SuperFi!) ...

 ... say thanks Ext, for the shout-out, she's becoming a real Souf Efriken, what with driving atrociously and complaining about her maid ...

 ... feel sorry for our leaky pup, who is confined to the tiled areas of the house whilst still on heat, and hasn't been getting as many walks as she deserves (due to my reluctance to fight off packs of horny mongrels in the park) ...

 ... am starting to feel overwhelmed by the piles of clutter in my home. Sometimes, late at night, I feel like they're watching me, and rubbing their little cluttery hands together with proprietal glee ...

 ... am too tired at the end of each day to deal with them and have started thinking it may be simpler just to charge them rent ...

 ... would desperately love to own this book, as much for myself as for Frieda (scroll along the link, well worth the read) ...

 ... optimistically put my wheelie bin out on the pavement every morning, and then bring it in, still full, every night. Power to the People and all that but dear god let this municipal strike end soon and the rubbish men get back to work!

 ... have been thoroughly enjoying Postcrossing. Introduced by B (thank you!), I've only sent and received a few cards, but it's been fun (and can I just say I'm kinda glad it's not just Americans I'm meeting ... )

 ... felt like James Bond this week when I went, with a friend, to fetch her car off the train from Joburg. We got to drive along the platform (the actual platform) of Cape Town station, narrowly wedged between a train and the station pillars, pedestrians with wheelie suitcases throwing themselves out of our path. Any minute I could've veered sharp left onto the tracks and raced after some evil villan. Alas, there was no need ...

 ... saw the 'Ghost Squad' in action today when a traffic officer on an unmarked motorbike pulled a taxi [or, 'lethal van packed full of people' - Ext again] over for 'rat-running' down my suburban road. Frieda and I cheered from the gate. Well, cheered quietly that is, those taxi drivers are mean ... (mental note to self: seriously no chatting on the phone while driving. Seriously.)

 ... am so proud of my little brother, who left today to present his PhD paper at an ESA conference in Albuquerque. He has such a very big brain. To hide how intimidated I am I just keep quoting Bugs Bunny and giggling ...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

a chilled weekend

The cottage where we spent a simply divine weekend. It's a big old farmhouse with a kitchen, complete with massive Aga (and all the mod cons too), on one end, and a big lounge room with a fireplace and about 12 sofa's on the other. Inbetween, down a long passage, 6 bedrooms, all with wall heaters (ne-cess-ary!) and 3 bathrooms. The perfect size for the inordinately large group of people we were!
4 babies! Did I mention those?

We awoke on Saturday morning to a world covered in frost ~ exquisite.

(disclaimer: underclad loon in the background is not my husband!)

Did I mention there were lots of babies?

Despite the frosty start the days warmed up beautifully so we loaded all the babies (and related paraphenalia), the 5 dogs and a couple of tons of yummy food into the cars and headed out to this majestic spot to lounge around for the afternoon. These rocks are famed in the area, their smooth curves testament to their age - moulded by wind and time - their gorgeous colours the result of sediments and lichens.

It was one of those weekends which feels far longer than its mere 48 hours. Frieda was thoroughly entertained by her new 3 yr old friend and the horde of babies (oh, did I mention those?) to oogle and pat, and our pup, Lego, had hand's down the best time of anyone. She ran and ran for 2 days, playing with the other doggies, her nose afire with all the new smells, progressively getting dirtier and dirtier, until she literally ran herself out and crashed on Sunday afternoon for nigh on 20 hours, awaking to find she'd started her first heat. Our little pup's now a grown up bitch! 

But the very best thing about the weekend? I had lots of little snippets of delicious and most unexpected me-time. Lots of moments of  no child/dog/husband. An extra long shower here, a sit on a log with a cup of coffee there, a little read of my book, a moment in which to bake some chocolate brownies undisturbed. The other girls were all very occupied with their babies, the dads with the dogs and the little girls, and I seemed to just slip off the radar a bit. And that, is priceless.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

an under-rated insult

On Tuesday, in the pouring rain, I gave my brother a tow through our funny 'burb of narrow streets and, inevitably, at one point got into an altercation with a courier delivery guy who tried to squeeze in front of me and intimidate me into moving.
Luckily I was driving our Jeep so took on a kind of 'look into my grid and say that again' attitude, slowly creeping closer and closer to him until he backed off.
A random guy, standing next to my window watching the whole altercation, looked at me, shook his head and said: 'What a cock.'

I've been laughing ever since.

[Off to spend the weekend with 1 pregnant lady, 2 toddlers, 4 babies, 5 dogs and 8 friends in a cottage high up in the frosty Cederberg mountains. Wish me luck.]

Monday, July 13, 2009

the very best of friends (vol.2)

We met at University, through a mutual friend. She had been off doing the London thing, I had been very much in Cape Town, doing the Cape Town thing I guess. She seemed quite exotic and wild, made me feel a little pedestrian and stay-at-home.
We sealed our friendship in an unlikely and fortuitous meeting late one night. A cat had run out in front of her car, she thought she'd hit it, but the kitty had fled, and she was distraught at the thought that it could be hiding somewhere, injured and afraid.
I drove past as she ran, white-faced, across the road. I pulled over and we spent some time 'here, kitty, kitty- ing' in surrounding gardens, 'til I persuaded her that the lucky cat must've escaped unscathed.

She's a tough old thing, my now very, very good friend. She self-assured and independent, ballsy and unafraid to tackle anything which comes her way. She's intimidating, I've had people confess to being not a little scared of her, she's a quintessential Type A, competitive and successful at everything she does. She's beautiful, which can be intimidating in itself, and has an impeccable sense of style.
But that late night meeting allowed me to see her other side, one which she keeps a little more guarded. She's kind, really kind, and considerate and generous, wildly generous. If she's with you she's with you to the end (if she's against you - well, you may as well just quit now) and she has the biggest, soppiest soft spot when it comes to kitties (she and her husband currently have 5!), refugees and friends.

Our friendship is one of those which runs so deep that no pissy little thing like living in different cities (or even different continents), can weaken it. We've stood side by side through the worst of times, we've danced side by side through the best. We've worked side by side 'til we thought we'd drop dead from exhaustion and through it all we've laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
We're in very different places in our lives right now - she's an international business lady, I'm a part-time working stay-at-home Mum - but still we get each other in a way that few other people ever will. Still we need to check in with each other, to make sense of the world, to make each other laugh in the way that only we can.

And now this buddy, this Ultimate friend, this woman who has given me some of the most beautiful things I own, is once more overwhelming me with her generousity. She's taking me to London for 10 days in October! To work, and play, and pretend to be an international business lady too.

Jeez, I must be a great friend!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

bear with me ...

And visit these links.

I just can't do this place justice with words, or the paltry few badly-lit photos I managed to snap in the bad light of a stormy and pissin' with rain evening in Cape Town.

But believe me when I say it was as awesome, and even more (p)awsome than it looks. And dudes, there was a Bear Suit in the cupboard. I kid you not. A. Bear. Suit.

He was surprised. Oh yes, he was.

I love you Cape Town!

[And check out how they did it here, it's their photo above.]

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

a little strange ...

I love that my orthodox Muslim dentist has Wallpaper* magazine in her waiting room. Albeit from July 2004.

But I find it a little strange that this issue should be on such er, prominent display.

And I like the placement of that title 'Petite but perfectly formed'. That could only have been intentional ...

Monday, July 06, 2009

give chance a chance

Many, many years ago a friend of mine was involved with a Rasta. He was a sweet guy (the Rasta), well-intentioned, gentle, but just not into what you'd call, er ... climbing the corporate ladder. Or .. building a career. Or, indeed, working. At all.
While my friend worked herself to exhaustion serving tables and such-like to pay the rent etc, his response to her queries about what (the fuck) he was planning to do about earning some money was simply: Jah will provide. An answer which sent her into fits of hissing rage until one day she had one of those light bulb moments: Jah was providing. Jah had provided her to take care of him.
Maybe her problem was not putting enough faith in Jah.
Anyhoo, she didn't really hang about to test that theory and needless to say they're no longer together. Thank Jah.

The rest of this post isn't really related to that, except maybe I'd like to illustrate what a real slacker looks like before I make the following confession. And also 'cos I think its a cool story.
But the actual point I'm trying to get to is that sometimes I'm a bit of a chancer. I'm a bit of a 'what will be, will be' kind of bird, a bit of an annoying 'oh well something will work out' person. It's not like I'm lying around all day smoking joints and expecting others to take care of the world (but god, sorry, Jah, doesn't that sound attractive sometimes?), but occassionally I refuse to get het up about something until I know it's time to invest that energy, sometimes I'm ok with letting a situation 'play itself out'. One of my favourite phrases too I might add.

Quick, an example, lest it seems that I'm that kind of person.

I was once event-coordinating a major government meeting in Johannesburg. There would be many VIPS in attendance and ego's strutting about and it was imperative that the whole event run like a well-oiled machine. The flights, the airport-transfers, the tech, the catering, the protocol - no detail was to be left to chance. And I was all over it. I had more information about each of the attending delegates than their family doctors; I had ID numbers and seat preferences, I had dietary hang-ups and next-of-kin's details, I had blood types (yes, seriously) and model numbers and, jeez, I practically knew who wore boxers or briefs, g-strings or boy shorts.
And then, a week or two before the event, I got a call from some well-meaning PA to tell me that her boss (one of the main speakers), had developed an allergy to, get this: black pepper, and please could I ensure that all her meals were guaranteed black pepper free. Um, sure.
And also, no.
I just could not face having to deal with that one. I mean, can you just hear the conversation with the caterer's? I'd made sure everything was halaal, I had varied and interesting vegetarian options going, I'd ordered in the required 3 strict kosher meals from an external Jewish caterer, there were lactose and wheat free options on the menu, but no black pepper? FFS.

So I just didn't. Deal with it I mean. I just let it 'play itself out'. I thought you know, on the day I'll serve her a plate of salad with no seasoning and say 'there you go darlin', because really, if you're unfortunate enough to have some dietary requirement that specific, then bring your own frikkin' lunch see.
And get this: two days before the meeting she withdraw her attendance. 'Much regret' yada yada, and I had a smug little giggle and once again confirmed for myself that sometimes its just not worth getting your knickers in a knot until you know its really time to do so.

An attitude which has, I must confess, time and again worked for me. To the point that sometimes I've felt a little bad, just a little mind you, and wondered whether I'm not tempting fate with this laissez faire attitudeAre the gods of chance saving up a big one to wang me with when I least expect it? Maybe. But in the meantime, its an outlook which is still working for me.

And so, a scant week or so before Frieda's nanny goes on her annual leave, and in the face of starting another part-time contract on top of my existing one (and thereby doubling my work hours), and after lazily sending a couple of mails and (barely) looking into a couple of options for temporary childcare, the solution has just fallen, quite beautifully, into my lap. A stand-in nanny, with credible references and just one month free between two contracts, was recommended to me (thanks H!) and will be starting next week.

Jah Chance will provide!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

7 random things & a bunch of pics

It's obviously meme season here in the blogosphere, I got tagged for another one by McGillicutty (confession: I cut 'n pasted her name from her blog 'cos I knew I'd spell it wrong otherwise ... ), in which I must share 7 random things about myself, and a picture (or many). And I love random. So here goes ...

1. My biggest vanity are my feet.

I've been wearing the rings since 1998.
They're heavy silver, made by one of my best friends
and given to me by my beloved Husband
(then the beloved Squeeze ... ).
2. I once followed a really bad BMW driver into KFC and berated him in front of everyone in the queue for driving like a c*nt. Then I turned on my heel and marched out to my vintage Beetle praying to all the gods of Cool that she'd uncharacteristically start for the first time. She did.

3. My proudest recent achievements have been persuading my picky-eater daughter to eat dry All-Bran Flakes by calling them ... wait for it ... Breakfast Chips. Sheer brilliance.
I also, after 7 nights in a row of her eating pesto on spaghetti (and only if we called the pasta noodles), beat her at her own game and duped her into eating risotto by calling it 'little tiny noodles' (to be said in a cutesy-pie voice). She wolfed it down. Go Parents!

4. I judge people by their hands. Not like I have standards of hygiene or anything, just that I kind of know whether I'll like someone or not by their hands. I have definite 'types' of hand which I dislike, or that I make (sub)conscious judgements about. Very occasionally I'm surprised to find that someone I really like has hands on The List. This almost makes me like them more.

5. I could eat curry & roti every. single. day. I've always been a fan but when I was pregnant I developed a serious addiction. I ate a particularly good veg curry with roti just before going to the hospital to have Frieda, I called Husband and asked him to bring one home for me after my waters broke and I knew we were in for a long night. Luckily I married a man who makes a mean curry ...

6. I've recently gained far too much self-righteous satisfaction from blatantly spying on someone on Facebook. Nothing unethical, but privacy settings exist- if someone's too stupid to activate them then don't blame me ...

7. We once took part in the Cape Town Aeolian Bike Ride. You've got to see it to believe it.


I hereby tag the first 3 weeps to read this post. Or something. Thanks McJillyCutie!

Friday, July 03, 2009


Svelte she is not. My latest little creation. But she's stolen my heart, and I think she's quite exceptionally beautiful. As any parent would.

I've been wanting to felt for ages, but never actually did anything about it, and so was thrilled when my Mum's best friend, a Waldorf Craft teacher, suggested a little felting tea party the other day.

I didn't have very high expectations for myself, being the first time I'd felt anyone up (gnh gnh gnh), but I got into it so fast ('cos it's actually that easy), and I'm so pleased with my little fiery-haired lady. No. 33.