Friday, July 31, 2009

In which universe tells me not to bother

So immediately after getting all holier-than-thou on my last post, and wildly galloping around on my high horse, I decide it is time to delve into some very important research:

Aircraft seat width and pitch.

Yes, in a little over a week I'll be off to sunny and warm (I think and hope, since I haven't actually looked into the situation and am going purely on stereotype here) Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America. To visit my best friend from Mexico, Gringa, and her husband.

I'll also be lunching/having coffee with the lovely Kim of Helitrollop, unless she decides to back out. She still might, and well, I can be scary. Especially if one focuses on that weird jumping video on the Blog Camp blog in which I may or may not be threatening to kill someone. I have no recollection of making said threat, but there it is on tape. Scared Kim?

Anyhoo, in order to get to Albuquerque from Johannesburg I need to sit on a plane for 16 hours, on the first leg of the journey.

Let's take a moment to hyperventilate. And utter in a tone of incredulity: "for fokken six fokken teen fokken hours?"

As you all well know, my traveling karma bites, and sucks, and blows, and likes to kick me especially when I'm already delirious from lack of sleep and have not eaten in days, or at least for hours, and when I haven't packed any painkillers or my toothbrush in the hand luggage. Traveling karma also sneaks up on me when my credit cards have expired, I have no money on me, and no working and/or charged phone.

But the one thing that it all boils down to, the one thing that makes traveling on an airplane hell for me is the seat. I have come to realize that in the end I can take a multitude of crying babies, dead-goat smelling people, being ignored by the wine-dispensing flight attendant, and all other kinds of evils related to air travel as long as I can sit comfortably and read my book a little bit, before sleeping for the best part of the journey.

So I decide, this time around, at least I can be prepared and know where I'll be sitting, and in what kind of an aircraft.

Hence the search for aircraft seat width and pitch.

This is where my day and my desire to be prepared take an ugly, ugly turn.

After reading a few pages, I start to panic. I count the days left before my journey. Then I enter a different Google search:

buttocks thighs smaller in 10 days

I get in my workout gear and put on my sneakers, while almost simultaneously hopping on the elliptical machine that has stood completely immobile since it was unpacked from the container upon the arrival of our stuff to South Africa.

I begin to push with my feet.

Nothing happens.

I push a little more, and finally a screeching sound emanates from somewhere in the machine. I push still a little more and slowly get the pedals to move amidst a concerto of metallic sounds coming from the belly and the joints of the machine. The display, however, remains completely dead.

I push a few buttons. Nothing happens.

I knock on the display. Nothing happens.

I get off the machine and kick its side. Nothing happens.

I circle around the machine in search of a more efficient spot to kick, and then I see it. The display takes batteries.

I run downstairs to find batteries. "This is sorta like exercise, right?" I think whilst I rummage through drawers and drawers filled with items I did not realize we own, until finally I unearth some batteries in the kitchen.

I attempt to remove the plastic back of the display to get to the batteries. The plastic doesn't move, but I break a nail.

I attempt to remove the plastic covering the batteries again, this time with a key. The back opens and I manage to hit myself in the cheek with the key. After the initial shock resulting in giggles, I realize that I missed my eye by half an inch. Suddenly I don't feel like laughing so much anymore.

I forcefully remove the batteries from the display and replace them with the new ones. I hop back on the machine without bothering to replace the cover, which turns out to be okay, because I have stuck one of the batteries in the wrong way round and need to hop off and turn it around.

Finally the display comes to life with various beeps.

I hop back on the machine and begin to push with my feet. The display flickers 0.00 and I push harder. Again, the machine creeks into motion.

I begin to set the intensity level when the loudest sound so far startles me. It is coming from the joint of the right pedal.

As the right pedal slips out of its supportive upright shaft I lose my grip and plummet alongside the right pedal. And as gravity does its job, landing painfully on my hands and knees, I hit the ground.

And this, my good folks, is when I finally come to understand that the universe is telling me loud and clear not to bother.

It's only for 16 hours, right?

But I only eat this stuff, dangit!

Have a lovely and injure free weekend! I'll see you on Monday again, if the elliptical machine doesn't put me in the hospital meanwhile.

Take a ride with me.

The train to 'aren't we lucky it's weekend' is leaving. It will be making stops at 'you have a car, why don't you try leaving the house with it', 'because I was sick this week', 'sick my ass, you hypochondriac', and 'I feel too gassy to leave the house'.

Get on board.

Here are a few things to mull over on the way:

In Finland, an hour-long power outage at a popular mall makes the news.

"The Danish youth are spoiled, childish and inflexible," says a sociologist in the Danish press.

Both in the Finnish and South African media the most prominent aspect about Obama smoothing over the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. seems to be that he was doing it over a beer.

"It's impossible to predict the entire summer's weather," confesses a Finnish meteorologist on the front page of a newspaper.

Oh, and lest we forget there's a couple of them wars, famines and one huge honkin' climate change going on.

But we already know about them.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh my Zeus. I forgot. Again.

Like a gazillion bazillion or maybe 4 weeks ago my 'neighbor' (in the grander scheme of things - it's only a 12 hour drive to her house) Molly made up a really cool meme, and tagged me (I know. Bad Extranjera for taking four whole weeks. Sadly, not surprising).

"Ag, man, really?," I said to myself, and then I continued, "No way, hozay," which conveniently lead me to wondering, via an extremely interesting discussion my hearing had with my understanding of language and phonetics concerning the name Jose, what exactly is a meme. But then I realized Molly, the smart woman that she is, explained it right here.

"Yah. How stoopid can you be," I told myself off, and started reading. This is what Molly wrote:

So the idea here is that you list 5 items in each category, a favourite 5 - but not necessarily in order of favouriteness - to show the diversity/similarity/hilarity/polarity/ or extreme same-ness of your personal likes.

And then tag 5 peeps to do the same. And feel free to add or subtract categories as you like.
Down with meme imperialism!

And then I understood. This was no indecent proposal. This was something much, much better. Perhaps even better than chocolate: This was a chance to make you read more about ME, ME, ME, and ME.

I'm game for that. Always.

My 5 favorite words:
  1. crepuscular This word's beautiful meaning is completely shadowed by the ugliness of the parts forming it. Thus it's sticking it to the notion of beauty. Go crepuscular!
  2. Hazara I know this refers to a minority group in Afghanistan, but I like to imagine it's an ancient spell. Also, it's fun to repeat.
  3. Huixquilucan This is a place just outside of Mexico City, and it's pronounced whisky-loo-can. The pronunciation should explain its place on this list. (Hahahahahahahaha)
  4. escapade This brings to mind the sweetness of lollipops, the exciting tipsiness after a couple of glasses of wine, and having enough money to leave town.
  5. Charlemagne This word always takes me back to my favorite novel ever, Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon and to thoughts of naming, and the meaning and significance of names. To thoughts, that are never far from my core.
My 5 favorite articles of clothing:
  1. My Birkenstocks. 
  2. Any pair of jeans that'll fit me.
  3. My multicolored, handmade handbag from Oaxaca, which always covers my back whenever I'm out and can thus be considered clothing. Stop arguing. My blog.
  4. Anything with horizontal stripes. I'm forever done with feeble attempts at 'hiding the fat'.
  5. My scull and bones scarf that I got from my Siamese Sister.
My 5 favorite 'catchphrases':
  1. Right Ho, Jeeves. (P.G. Wodehouse)
  2. Holy ____, Batman! (sorta self-explanatory, right?)
  3. and. that. is. what. we. are. about. to. find. out. (Horatio on CSI Miami. Possibly the worst written and played character on television. ever. Kinda like seeing a car crash - you just can't look away, no matter how much you want to.)
  4. D'oh (Homer on Simpsons. I didn't need to explain this either, did I?)
  5. Oh my God. They killed Kenny (South Park. Possibly the funniest shit out there).
  6. Bonus round with a photo: Beam me up Scotty (Star Trek). 

A subpar steakhouse's pathetic attempt to play on my affinity for Star Trek. As if!

My 5 favorite celebrity crushes:
  1. Patrick Neate. is. a. god. Love his books, especially Twelve bar Blues, and would agree to marry him completely based on his novels, if he asked and the Hubs didn't want to keep me on. This is a real school girl-ish thing I have for this guy.
  2. Robert Redford before I saw him in High Definition. 
  3. Reese Witherspoon. She had me at reading Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury.
  4. Gabriel García Márquez. I would just live in his brain. And it would all be in Spanish, so that would be an awesome double whammy considering the whole 'I should keep up my Spanish' deelio.
  5. Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela. Wouldn't they make a cute couple? And then I wouldn't have to stalk them separately.  
My 5 favorite (random) things:
  1. Eggs. I can't stress this enough. I could survive on eggs alone for years and never get bored. Well, eggs and wine. Can't forget wine.
  2. The Hubs. He's right up there with eggs and wine. 
  3. Jewelry. I like shiny things, and things that sparkle. The Hubs sometimes sparkles, like that vampire on Twilight, although Hubs is not a vampire, he just sleeps a lot and doesn't get out into the sun.
  4. The way words can be strung together.
  5. Laughing my ass off.  
I made up the three first categories and carried over the last two, so I think there's a nice balance of 'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and something that looks like glue, but is not and instead rhymes with term'.

Oh, right. Forgot there was no indecent proposal after all.

Oh well.

I'll be tagging these peeps:
  1. Caroldiane at Context for Connectivity. Caroldiane has been there with me almost from the beginning of my bloggy existence. She is insightful and funny (although I get the feeling that she doesn't think she is), and she just became a grandma. Sometimes she makes me yodel stupid Lion King songs, but mostly she just writes beautifully.
  2. Robin at Diary of a Not So Glamorous Housewife. No matter what the fok she says, she's pretty glamorous, unless she is writing about meal planning on a budget, but that is just personally not my favorite subject (I don't do budget and I don't prepare meals). She can be serious, but she also crochets for her dog and that says something about a person's sense of humor. She is an awesome mommy-blogger.
  3. Monica at Ruminations. What is it with these Indian chicks and writing beautifully (check out Anandi for proof)? Monica says she doesn't want to reveal too much of herself, but I'm tagging her anyway, because whatever she reveals she does with grace. Oh, and she has never heard of the movie Grease, which leads me to think that she might be living in a barrel, in which case her talent for writing is even more incredible, not to mention managing to get internet into the barrel.
  4. Sandy K at Through the Lens. She is a Canon-girl like myself in this Nikon infested world of blogging and takes awesome pics with her baby, and then helps me take better pictures by teaching me some nifty things. Sandy, you can do this meme with pictures.
  5. Histreasure at A fabulous Mother's World. She is a new blogger, but well on her way. And don't let the name of her blog fool you: although she is a mommy-blogger, she has a way of presenting Nigeria, which is where she hails from, in a light other than your 8 o'clock news. She is cool, and I love that she found me.
  6. And as a bonus but no photo: Josefine at A Day in the Life. This woman is fokken hilarious. And she has only just begun. If you're into my little blurbs of pure nothing (aka this blog here) you will certainly fall in love with Josefine's reality television watching behind as well as the rest of her  (neither of which ski, even though she is a Swede), which may or may not at times leave her domicile. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to comfortably talk to someone about grease? (not the movie)

This question may not feature in your everyday life in a prominent manner, but it is one that I have been mulling over for days now, and today I have actually talked about grease. Pleasantly, I hope. And calmly, I think.

Because all of you are without a doubt abreast of everything I have ever written on this blog, you will not need to read this post about an issue that I battle with. Because, deep down, way deep down, I'm quite a good person and even have some of them morals.

Do too.

But then there's the Hubby, who seems to have developed an affinity for pork rashers (not necessarily a bad thing, since it seems I love them too), leading to us having some pork rashers for dinner approximately once a week, leading further to there being grease on everything, its mother, and its handbag too. And let's not forget everything else downstairs: the laundry to be ironed, the cookbooks, the plants on the kitchen window, the toilet seat, the paintings on the walls. You understand what I'm getting at.

Think a thick layer of lard on your coffee cup.

Example 1. Butter: a type of grease.

Enter the maid. The sweet, innocent, new maid as opposed to the maid who I think harbored some weird grudge against all humanity and since there is a lot of me she directed most of it towards me kept giving me the evil eye every time the Hubby dared to cook (and who also, I am pretty sure, was the main unsub in the scenario referred to as the mystery of the disappearing wineglasses).

Unfortunately, as much as I love this sweet, innocent, new maid and am happy not to have been murdered whilst I had my back turned by the previous one, she has a special talent: She can move grease around better than I have seen anyone ever do before. Here or anywhere else in the world. The woman is phenomenal. While I really, really hope her talent was REmoving grease, I have to hand it to her, she moves the fat like no one else.

Hers could be one of them Wikipedia-worthy talents. Or at least Merriam-Webster. Sadly, I think Google already has a corps of fat-movers and is not accepting applications at the current moment. Or was that world-domination takeover-specialists? I forget.

But today was a 'take the maid by the horns' kind of a day (Although I think I'm a much stronger candidate for having horns than she will ever be, just for the sake of the imagery, go with me on this one), and I decided to have a word with her. About grease.

This is what transpired:

Me, wiping the kitchen countertop with my hand: Uhm. You know.... hmm....uh? So...Uh... You know?

The sweet, innocent, new maid: Yes?

Me, showing her my palm: ...uh... grease?

The sweet, innocent, new maid: Ja, the cloth is very bad. And I use the strong spray. I think it does nothing. The cloth is very bad.

Me: Which cloth are you using? And what spray?

The sweet, innocent, new maid, showing me a dishtowel and a can of some spray I'm pretty sure did not come to be in this house via my hands: I use these ones.

Me: Oh, okay. ....Well... uh... Could you maybe, please, use the rags from underneath the sink, some dishwashing stuff and lots of water? Please?

Me, going into that scary place where I think I'm becoming a colonizer and consequently freak out (thus becoming a colonizer): You're great! Good job! Yes? Is that Okay? Would you like some tea?

The sweet, innocent, new maid: I can use water?

Me, getting quite baffled, and still fearing I'm coming off as a big bad white woman: Yes? ...Yes. Please.

The sweet, innocent, new maid: Good. It's easier to clean with water.

Now, who did this poor woman work for before? I would hate to find out. But whoever it was, they're probably buried in grease. Or they never did any cooking.

Sometimes South Africa just surprises me in the weirdest ways.

Oh, and as for the movie Grease - Both the first and the second one top my list of my all time favorite movies, alongside Sixteen Candles with the queen of the 80s, one Molly Ringwald, and all of the National lampoon's vacation flicks, starring Chevy Chase.

I have such high brow taste in movies that it just makes your head hurt, dinnit?

Edit: Just to set it straight. I employ a maid, because I am lazy, impractical, unorganized, rather useless, the Hubs likes his shirts ironed, and we both prefer a greaseless environment and clean sheets, but also because we live in a country where having a maid is the appropriate thing to do if you have the money to hire one (legally) in order to provide someone with a job, and a living wage.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things that I keep doing...

Remember when I said that living in South Africa was like living anywhere else in the world, and that I wasn't one of them big expats?

Yeah, I thought you would.

Well, turns out that once I actually exit this here house and go out into the real world - its streets and grocery stores - there might just be a few things that I do that make South Africans think that I am either a) mentally unbalanced,  b) stupid, c) mentally unbalanced and stupid, d) not to be fokked with, or e) an American tourist on her way to a safari.

Us whizzing past the richy-downtown of Joburg called Sandton.

Befitting the above categories, I give you these glimpses into useless expat existence:
  • I often accidentally use the windshield wipers to signal that I am changing lanes or turning instead of employing the actual turning signal. Levers confuse me, and I think they keep changing functions for kicks.
  • I refuse to wear fleece. This one cannot be explained any further. I just don't accept of fleece. I don't.
  • I insist that there are other kinds of coffee than instant. One maid actually laughed when I told her I didn't have instant, because who would ever do a crazy thing like that. Who?
  • I giggle every single time I see the sign by our gate that reads "DON'T HOOT USE MIRCELL". It makes me laugh. Also, because driving onto the estate there's an 'owl crossing' sign. Honest.
  • Sometimes I wear my Birkenstocks with socks. Since mine are of the thong-persuasion I purchased special socks all the way from Taiwan with a separate 'compartment' for the big toe just to wear with my Birks. Don't judge.
  • I sometimes accidentally sit on the passenger seat of the car when I'm out by myself. This always leads to complicated maneuvers that include 'I am looking for that important paper here by the door and/or the glove compartment', or 'I am waiting for the driver of this here car and if he doesn't show up in the next five minutes (signaled by looking at watch and shaking head) I'll have to get on the driver's seat and drive away', that I doubt really fool anyone watching, but make me feel better.
  • I huff and puff every time someone doesn't arrive on time. Or on the correct date. 
  • I hesitate every time I'm supposed to make a right hand turn with the car and occasionally resort to what I call the 'You thought I was going to drive into oncoming traffic, you totally did, but HA! I didn't' -move that involves sudden braking followed by a U-turn like action and some visible shrugging behind the wheel. The move seems very popular with truck drivers. Or at least they smile at the stupid woman.
  • My jaw still drops and I find myself unable to speak every time I complain about service some place and whoever I'm complaining to poses the question: "Was the person black or white?"
  • I chat up the guys at traffic lights who sell things or hand out fliers, and one blind guy called Mike, who knows I'm coming by the sound of my Daihatsu (Although I think he just knows it's me, because I might be the only person on the estate who doesn't drive a huge honking monstervehicle 4x4, or a snazzy Audi/Merc). Me and Mike often shoot the breeze about God and the weather (he doesn't think Google controls it, and is rather baffled by the concept).
  • I have the following discussion, which I can keep looping as long as I say good instead of fine. I don't know what the magic is, but I've done it more than once:
A South African person: Hello. How are you? 
Me: Good. How are you?
A South African person: Fine. How are you?
Me: Good. How are you?
A South African Person: Fine, How are you? 
  • I wear khaki that isn't at all worn. Like, at all. 
  • I pack my own groceries. Or interfere in the packing of groceries, by using such foul language as: "Put more in that bag. I don't need no ten thousand bags," while I can see the poor packer-woman think: "What is wrong with this lady? Does she understand she can carry her groceries home in the bags? Americans are funny. I'm so glad Obama won. He'll make them see the light." 
  • I wrinkle my nose when someone talks of hunting. No, please don't explain to me about killing the meat that I eat. I know there's a connection, but I still prefer to pretend like there isn't. Thank you. Also, all fish are born without heads, because otherwise they could look at you.
  • I go weeks without opening the door to the back yard, which is crazy because that is part of my 'entertainment area'.
  • I think townships have a certain rugged beauty to them.
  • When I say taxi, I'm not talking about a lethal van packed with people, that whizzes by me at the side of the road, going the wrong way, and then cuts me off, I mean a normal car that you can call to come and get you or flag down by just raising your hand, not one that can only be flagged down at certain spots and by using complicated hand signals telling the driver where you are going. I only know how to signal that I want to go downtown, and well, what am I going to do there?
And there are many more examples. I guess I am an expat alright, or maybe I need more South Africans like Molly in my hood. She is one of them cool ones, and hilarious too. You should check out her native's perspective. She is much smarter than I am.
Go read her

Monday, July 27, 2009

My wonderful weekend and consequent downfall

No Lucille Ball like mishaps this time around, unless you count accidentally driving into Joburg central (one of them bigger no nos in company provided safety regulations) and touring it like it was an exciting touristy site, while we were really trying to make it to Newtown, a nice revamped, much safer area near the downtown.

But I tell you, people were really nice, welcoming, they smiled (apart from the drug dealers, who were probably just wondering whether we were looking to score some [we weren't], or whether we were really stupid 'undercover' cops), helped us with finding a parking spot, and apart from waving at us or shaking our hands, did everything in their power to make us feel welcome.

So take that downtown Joburg, you will no longer qualify as the big scary monster in my nightmares. Didn't even see nothing of the protests going on at the moment. people just smiled at us (note: NOT laughed at us).

However, as something was bound to happen, I seem to have gotten sick. And when I get sick I don't just get a fever and sleep for a few days. No sirree. Even in illness I have to feel special and different.

And you can forget about me going to the doctor. I just might be the worst hypochondriac in existence: I constantly think I'm dying of some horrible disease, but I refuse to go to a doctor, because that might mean... well... that they might just touch me. I'm a Finn, we don't take kindly to that sort of behavior. And based on a year of me walking around with a grape size stone in my gallbladder and a fair week with an infection before emergency surgery at 2AM I'm pretty good at ignoring a pain if it also means avoiding going to the doctor.

You know, the doctor might have wanted to stick one of them popsicle sticks in my mouth and look at my tongue. Shudder. I'll take severe pain any day now over such a horrendous experience.

But this time around I think I need Dr. House to diagnose me, because Google is not doing it's usual part.

My symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • One bright pink eye.
  • Stiffness of second joint of left pinky
  • Pain and stiffness in left middle finger
  • Stiffness of right pinky around the joint that attaches the finger-dealio to the palm.
  • One numb toe on right foot. 
  • Pink spots on my tongue.
I'm seriously weirded out by the fact that my illness seems to be mainly related to 'pink' (Pink and pinky. A coincidence? I think not!), and it does not escape my Sherlock-esque powers of deduction that this is the singer I was once compared to by the Blog Camp folks and that these are the cupcakes I tasted this past weekend:

I also might have tried the other ones, but that is beside the point and doesn't fit in my conjectures right now.

I see a connection forming here. Don't try and reason with me - I'm already off.

Right now, I'm somewhere between P!nk, gout, scurvy and something called a Besniec-Boeck-Schaumann disease.

What do you mean by 'blowing out of proportion'?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Things I learned while living without electricity.

All grueling 8 hours of it.

Please, learn from my mistakes. Since I obviously can't.

  • Always have hot coffee in a thermos, because even a scheduled electrical interruption in South Africa means that you will be notified approximately 2 minutes before the power is cut off, or possibly slightly after. Via email. And even if you should receive notice a whopping 10 minutes prior to the outage you probably cannot cope with the stress of both making the coffee and finding the thermos. So keep one handy, i.e. not in the guest room linen closet behind the camping equipment.
  • Not being able to access the interwebs might make you twitch in a really scary way. Don't worry. These involuntary movements are completely normal withdrawal symptoms. You don't need to call a doctor right then and there. You might, however, benefit from meeting some sort of an addiction specialist later on.
  • Keep the key to the electrical gate somewhere where you can easily locate it should you wish to leave your domicile whilst the power is out. While the light on the remote still works since the remote is powered by a tiny battery, the gate won't respond to any amount of frantic pushing of the remote-button no matter how hard you keep pounding it.
  • Buy some canned food that does not require heating up. When grocery shopping get some cans of  tuna. What kind of a person does not stock at least a can of tuna in her house? Puleeze.
  • Teach yourself to enjoy cold minestrone. Or just remember the tuna. 
  • When electricity goes, so does all heating. Go ahead and put on that coat right away, and don't embarrass yourself by calling the Hubs at work to tell him there's something wrong with the radiator.
  • Hot tea is also out of the question. Unless you feel like starting a fire to boil the water. Which you shouldn't, since you really look better with eyebrows. Stay away from fire.
  • Teach yourself to open the garage door manually. That way 'driving to the mall to get a latte' does not have to become an expedition taking several hours. If you can find the key to the electrical gate, that is.
But most of all
  • use the time wisely and really get into that awesome Umberto Eco book and take those photos in the back yard and in the house you have been planning for weeks now. The light is awesome. Use it!

Even if the photos turn out like this.

It can still be an awesome day, regardless of all of your  neighbors now thinking of you as the crazy lady who likes to drive up and down her driveway. No, that is not a euphemism.

Okay. Yah. Lately, these are getting a little lame, so I'm taking tomorrow off and going analog. Yup.
Have a good weekend everyone and I'll see you on Monday!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Meet da meat.

Back when I first started this blog, when it was still very strongly about how much I love living in South Africa, as opposed to how delightfully quirky I am (stop making that face), or how little I accomplish in the span of 24 hours (I know. We are all so over that), or what the hell is that stain now and how did I get it (I really don't know), I wrote a post about meat. Well, the braai actually, but meat is what it all came down to.

Meat.

And this past Saturday (or was it Sunday? Let's just say the weekend. To be on the safe side. It could not have been a weekday?) weekend, I revisited that feeling of love for this country I felt at the point in my life, seven months ago, when I wrote that first post. And again, what it all came down to was meat.

Meat.

Specifically, lamb


Meet the lamb. In all it's glory (I think there's some pork rashers on there too, but lamb is what counts. Remember the lamb. Don't ever overlook the lamb. Lamb. Lamb.). And by sweet-juice-that-trickles-down-from-a-rack-of-lamb it was good. I may never feel the same way about one of them sweet little furry creatures that go... whatever a lamb says in English.

I'll just be thinking about how good they taste.

Would you believe I was a vegetarian for years?

Me neither. Maybe I should get into the habit of Meatless Mondays before my much more environmentally aware siamese sister Vancouver's Enviro Girl manages to zip herself into picture form, mails herself to South Africa, and makes me think about Meatless Mondays. (Go make her bloggy life exciting, so I can enjoy mah meat. Thank you kindly.)

But until then, this is what it's all about


and maybe some of this


This is the Hubby's idea of a bouquet of flowers for me, I just received tonight, since I've been feeling a little blue lately. He knows me so well, the horrible enabler that he's turned out to be.

I'm happy y'all. Have an awesome day!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I write trash

Someone left a comment quite late last night (South African time) asking me whether I knew that I wrote trash. Actually the person left two comments.

This person seemed quite happy about my writing trash, and didn't seem at all to imply that I should take this term applied to my writing as an insult.

So I didn't.

I took it as a compliment.

I cannot help but take it to mean that without anything substantial happening in my life I can still put words on paper the screen. And dang it, I can tell you that this is one thought that just fills me with hope for actually finishing something that I wrote. Some day.

But I was also left wondering about this whole blog-writing-thing and all that it really entails, as well as what it means to comment. And the wondering went sort of like this:

Me: Oh this one here that she wrote is a really good post. I should comment something witty and different.

Me too: You already did. Only it's not witty, nor is it different. Actually, if I'm completely honest, it doesn't make that much sense. How much did we drink last night?

Me: What are you saying? We didn't drink at all. Remember? We went to bed early, read some Umberto Eco without really paying much attention to the words or their meanings, and finally just kind of nodded off. The light was still on in the morning, and Umberto was comfortably tucked under the covers against our breast.

Me too: We didn't drink any wine? Really? What are we trying to do? Sober up?

Me: Hmph. You know what. We were really discussing some more pressing issues than our wine consumption.

Me too: ???

Me: We were talking about commenting on that there post and how we'd already done it without having any recollection of it, and how that might mean that we actually could have dementia or amnesia or some such thing, in which case it is really awesome that we have this here blog we ourselves write so that we can always go back and read about that suspicious goo in our hair or how much we love Mexico City.

Me too: No we weren't. Were we?

Me: Yes. See? You've already forgotten. Next thing I know I'm gonna find your car keys in your shoe and then you're not going to be able to recognize me when you look in the mirror in the morning.

Me too: So what you're saying is that we already have dementia or amnesia or some such thing?

Me: No. I'm saying you do.

And that, my good people, is how a brain is not supposed to function. This is what is supposed to come out:

I'm left wondering whether people really realize what they are projecting out into the world when they click on that orange publish button, or whether I myself understand how someone might interpret a post I've written or a comment I've made. Is it just a little too easy to 'put it out there' without realizing what  your words might do once you release them into the blogosphere?

Why am I getting a weird voice over feeling here, reminiscent of the ending of an episode of Sex and the City? Disconcerting. I'm not at all that type. It might be that I'm developing some such new and until- now-kept-at-bay-by-Toni-Morrison personality as 'Chick-lit Extranjera', or 'Treat-me-like-shit-Mr-Big Extranjera'. Very disconcerting.

Never mind that.

I would like to think I wear my values on my sleeve, even on this blog, and that people who have actually taken the time to get to know me and read some of my posts know what I stand for. But is it really that apparent, and am I reading much too much into other people's posts regarding their values and personality. Or are they really as funny, as intelligent, as open, as tolerant, as compassionate, and as delightfully off the hook as they seem? As for the people I met at Blog Camp, I think they turned out to be even more so in person, but as for the rest of you...

I'll just have to keep on wondering, unless anyone is interested in Blog Camp - South Africa? Yes, you are allowed to be weird, but only good weird. I'm not putting up anyone who wants to bring a) parts of anyone else or b) their mother.

Here is some actual trash, from my trash can, to spice things up a little bit. You're welcome!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What is that thing you crocheted?

The above question features quite prominently in the comments I've received. And as much as I would like to answer it, I can't. Because I don't really know myself what I crocheted. To call it a blanket would be stretching the truth, and to call it anything else finished would just be outright lying. I might call it 'art', but that is just a euphemism for a project that took an unfortunate, less than creative turn at some point, or a project that I was working on while I was also enjoying my wine and consequently spilled something (possibly wine) on it, or a project that the maid cleaned with a wet cloth and some pledge leaving to it a sticky surface and making it smell of 'poutpourri' (the last one mainly goes for my pathetic attempts at oil painting, not so much the knitting or the crocheting).

Who knows?

I think this whole crocheting thing might be more about the process than the actual finished product. Be it 'art' or not. And I will not say it is about that other thing I linked it to, because I have been getting visits from some people who found my blog through some rather extreme Google searches and I'm not sure that is the kind of audience I can cater to. Or want to cater to, for that matter.

This 'choosing the process' over one day actually finishing something is not a new idea for me. Although, the fact that I just called it 'choosing the process' gives it a slant that I don't really think should be there. In truth, and I might have mentioned this before, I just don't seem to finish many things I start.

But I'm really good at starting things.

She says as she packs away the half-finished crochet 'art'.

Here are some of my other ways of 'choosing the process':

:: I recently deleted the voice of the protagonist in my novel, thus effectually cutting about one fourth of what I had written. I like how it reads now much better, but know even less where it's headed. (Let's be nice and not say "nowhere" under our breaths now. Thanks.)

:: When I started my blog, I immediately afterwards found a volunteer gig that I couldn't say no to and that took up all of my time. I had a near-empty blog for 2 years. And no, unlike what julochka's husband still believes no blog ever updates itself, or if they do they drunk-spell or go all not funny (that's what happens when something subpar gets posted on here, just so we're clear on that). The useless bastards.

:: I finally got around to writing on my blog when I decided this was the time to concentrate on my novel. Now I'm lucky if I open the novel-file once a month. And sometimes I open it just to, you know, so that I don't have to fish it out of that 'last year' folder. I'm also great at procrastinatory mind games.

:: Right as I was writing the previous sentence I picked up a photography mag and now it's 30 minutes later. And I'm getting a new camera. And starting photography.

Actually, I rock starting things.

I already know about how C.E. feels about this, but what are your ways of 'choosing the process' or do y'all just think I should just pull that thumb out (I must be cutting off circulation by now anyhow), wash it, and use it for some typing (I type the blog using my index fingers, but for the book I might be willing to go all out)?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered, not to mention bitchy

Dude! What happened to you?

What? What do you mean?

You look like shit. Your hair looks like someone tried to glue it back on but then you went to sleep before the glue was dry, and the pillow stuck too. And then you tried to pull it off, but didn't quite succeed, and that's what that weird bald spot is about.

I just... It's just wax. And some gel. And some hair spray. What's wrong with that?

Just being honest. Nothing wrong with being honest, is there? And what's with the deathly pallor?

Oh. I... Too much sun is bad for you, right? Also, I'm pretty tanned now.

Going goth, looks like to me. Well, you're gonna want to dye that bald spot black and find some lipstick somewhere. You do have make up, don't you? I mean that pallor can not be natural. Or maybe it's the  shirt that just drains the color right out of your face. Haven't seen a lime green like that since those creepy DIY aerobics videos from the early nineties.

But... I thought this color was back in fashion now? Kinda?

Yeah. Like the scrunchie, slalom-skiing, wearing your high-cut swimsuit on top of a pair of leggings, and NKOTB are back in fashion, which by the way would match that shirt and the bald spot to a T. All you need now is to open your mouth, display those teeth and you're set.

And it'll be like the year 2000 never, ever happened.

And so it's out of my system. 

Good riddance.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dear golfing deities,

I'm writing to you this letter of appeal on account of my misplaced backswing. I realize that such a thing can easily go missing, because sometimes it is hard to remember in the morning where one's things are, but enough is enough. I must ask your omnipotent help in locating said backswing before my already crumbling love for the sport vanishes completely.

When I began golfing I was under the impression that everyone was given a certain amount of time to become good and then one would stay at that position. Sadly, for me time spent on practice seems to bring no improvement. Unfortunately, my golfing career is void of even such chapters as 'lowering one's handicap', 'getting it to the fairway' or 'hitting it over the water', and only includes such achievements as "not killing anyone', 'yelling fore so that people can run for cover', 'hitting the ball into the water' and 'hitting kilos and kilos of sand out of the bunker'.

Now, without my backswing, my situation seems utterly hopeless.

I strongly believe that my backswing wishes to return to me and I'm very worried that it feels lost and scared where ever it is, as it always does when it wanders off. Also, its partner, my follow through misses it sorely, and has developed a nasty habit of lurching forwards or falling backwards without its partner. My swing has become a pale shadow of its former self.

Lastly, without my backswing the sweet taste of that manna in the birdie-bottle will forever be a mystery to me, and that is a real golfing tragedy. One which could be so easily avoided.

I sincerely hope you can find it in your hearts to help me, since given my personality I will not give this up until I'm good at this. Please. I beg you.

Respectfully,
A madwoman with a golf club and no backswing to speak of

This guy just frowns all day long without the backswing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The one with all the answers

So I seem to have skipped this whole answering comments thing all together. I keep putting it off because it overwhelms me, and then, well... this thing happens, where all of a sudden two weeks later the first 10 pages of my mail inbox are all comments.

I freak out a little, feel bad for not answering (because I really do appreciate them), and resist the urge to flee all and every responsibility (my natural response to when life happens too fast), on top of which I engage in some deadly serious and rather elaborate procrastination. I rock procrastination. In case you didn't get that from the title of the blog.

And then, well, it's dinner time, and we all know what happens at dinner time.

And at that point I definitely shouldn't be on the computer.

But sometimes I am anyways, and instead of answering the comments I leave some on other bleeps' blogs about aerobics, heavy metal, and fingernail clippings and tweet about changing diapers on a motorcycle.

So I'll just answer some choice questions here. And that'll be it. I seem to have procrastinated and fled my way straight into partial avoidance.

Not news.

The first question comes from Barbara: Scary, isn't it?

Well Barbara, you hit the nail on the head with that one. What is it, if it isn't scary, eh? I'm not a scared individual per se, but I have been told that I am scary. When I worked for the Girl Scouts, all of them little ones used to be terrified of me. I think some of it might be because of my voice, but mostly it is due to the fact that children just don't get sarcasm. No matter how well executed it is. They think you will sprout horns if they don't quiet down, just because you said so (and then afterwards the parents tell you to shut up about go easy on the biblical references, and Santa's death).

No. Put the phone down (social services are busy). I don't actually have children of my own.

The second question is from Manxrunner : You live in South Africa, what's it like there?

Yes I do Manxrunner. It's nice a lot of the time, and sometimes it's not so nice. But mostly it's pretty nice.  There is this blog about a girl in South Africa you could maybe check out. It's called 'What will I ever do with my life?' I'm told there's quite a lot of stuff on South Africa there.

An Open Heart also has a question: In the middle of your performance angst, you didn't REALLY run out of wine?

Not to worry dear Open Heart. I have this alcoholism thing down to a fine science. I haven't run out of wine in years. Thanks to that small nagging voice in the back of my head that really should be telling me to buy milk, coffee, eggs, and toilet paper, but just keeps going: "Remember the wine. Don't be forgetting the wine. Did you already get the wine. Ooh, there's wine, you need wine."

 Zakk had this to ask: An unpublished author?

Yes. I believe that in order to be published one has to have submitted something. Yes? And in order to submit something one has to have finished writing something. Is it not so? I'm still missing the first phase as well as the second one. And even after that, I'm told it's quite difficult, so I have no qualms about my blog URL, except for maybe the last part, since I seem to have gone from author to blogger, unless the internet goes down, and I'm not frantically crocheting.

And last, but not least the Not So Glamorous Housewife wanted my opinion on something: Why in the world was I excited?

I can't remember. I think it had something to do with your dog.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Expat Existence and then some

I have been in the expat way for 9 years now.

Wow. Surprised myself there a little bit.

Let's take a moment to reflect.

I really do like that episode of South Park with Oprah's minge, and Gary, her A-hole. Hahahahaha. I wonder if Oprah laughed when she saw it? I wonder if Oprah can sing? Didn't she sing with Tina Turner? Lala lala lala tonight. Wait a minute, that's NKOTB... Oh dammit, got distracted again. Play it cool now. I don't think anyone noticed. I didn't laugh out loud did I, or sing? Play serious now....

Thanks.

As much as I feel like living in Africa (by which I mean 3 of the 53 countries - a fair generalization, don't you think?) is exactly like living anywhere else in the world there have been some things I wasn't expecting to be as tough or as difficult as they've been, and then again there have been some things I was expecting to rattle me, but which have turned out to be a walk in the park category things after all.

Oprah's minge. Hahahahahahahaha. That is some funny shit, that is. Hahahahahaha. I should really buy some NKOTB on iTunes. I'll be lovin' you fah eva... Oh. Yeah. Focus... 

Upon leaving Mexico (A departure that still makes me cry. For reals.) I was looking forward to landing in a country where I wouldn't have to spend the first couple of months on brushing up the language. (Spanish verb conjugation can be used as a form of torture, especially if combined with electric shocks.) Because in SA everyone would be speaking English, right? Not quite.

Voy, vas, va, vamos, van. Yup still got it. Maybe I should read more in Spanish though? What is taking so long with downloading that NKOTB CD? I wanna hear Tonight. NOW! Lala lala lala tonight. Yeah, that hits the spot. I wonder if the small one of them speaks any Spanish? Nah, his eyes are too pale blue...

What?!?

Oh.

I don't have the faintest idea why or how or in what universe, but for some reason South Africa seems to feel I look like I should be either addressed in Afrikaans, or failing that in Tsotsitaal, the township slang. English would just be lost on me. Uhhuh. Now, I know most days I am the spitting image of a township shebeen-queen (especially when I do my hair), but Afrikaans? Come on folks. Don't be making me into a Boer. Please.

Boer - bore. No, shouldn't make that joke. Someone might get hurt, and it's a little on the boring side too. Hahahaha. Oprah's minge. That is just too funny. Nothing beats that. Nothing beats Oprah's minge.... Hahahahahaha. Ow, that shit hurts my stomach.

Snort.

I know. That's it. I promise.

I do like the African sky. And luckily there is a lot of it to like, and often.

Post-Mexico I was also looking forward to not immediately being pegged as the outsider, or Zeus forbid, a gringa. Still, I wasn't prepared for what inclusion in the general population, particularly in South Africa could or would mean.

Getting just a tad serious... Lighten up. 

Lala lala lala tonight. I still have my awesome dance moves. maybe I should get N'SYNC's 'God must have spent a little more time on you'. I could do that choreography all day long...

Okay. Not that much of lightening up, please. Stay on task.

And for Zeus's sakes, stop dancing woman. You look ridiculous.    

Regardless of how good it feels to live in a place, where you don't get the feeling that someone is watching you from the corner of their eye to see whether the güerita will do something stupid or better yet, say something stupid, like call the reception guard cochina, a dirty little pig, when she meant to say that she is expecting a dishwasher repair guy for that 'machine in the cocina, the kitchen, there are certain sides to being included that will definitely throw you for a loop. That you wish would not ever come up. Things that are assumed you condone just because of the way you look.

Like the outright racism.

Which makes you sick to your stomach.

Why is the N'SYNC stuff not downloading? What? Why? 

Oh, click on 'Buy'. I'll just do that then. 

Bye Bye Bye is good too. What is this? "you already own Bye Bye Bye." Since when? Who keeps buying me music? Drunk Extranjera, I'll get you for this...

However, there have been some positive surprises as well. If you know the real world me (which most of you don't, but rest assured she's not much different from the blog me. Perhaps a little nicer [I've been told] and a little more dangerous, since she can actually get to you other than with words and with something on wheels), you know that I'm not much of a driver. Or, actually I'm too much of a driver for my own good. And if you thought that my thoughts (oooh, look at all the pretty birds up there... see that kid picking his nose in that car) get in the way of my blogging, just imagine what happens when I'm less than comfortably behind the wheel of metal box. I know. Quite horrifying. 

Still, driving in South Africa, after having gotten used to driving in Mexico City is, like I said, a total walk in the park, a barefoot walk in the park, with a blindfold on, and balloons and butterflies making the park all happy, and absolutely no screaming kids or actually anyone else in the park. 

And I thought I would never be able to drive stick with the gearshift on my left side while driving on the left side of the road. 

No problem. Apparently the left hand might be good for something else than picking the left side of one's nose after all.

What? 

Has the internet died on me. AGAIN. For foks sake, yes it has. Big FOK and a little follow FOK. FOK FOK FOK and fok.

And I'm halfway through downloading Metallica's Enter Sandman. 

Aww.

I know I jinxed it with my happy. Should have just kept my happy to myself. That's what you get.

Argh! 

Universe?

Please.

Friday, July 17, 2009

If it wasn't for this here internet...

I would be like an accomplished academic, or a brainsurgeon, or a high-flying executive, or, well...clean and showered every single day.

Or alternatively I would be that crazy crocheting, slightly alcoholic lady, who never combs her hair and tries to give the neighborhood kids suspicious 10-year-old hard candy, that she might or might not be lacing with her own urine.

I just thought I would lead with the respectable options.

As it turns out, there actually is a world out there. No, I am not kidding. You can even enter it pretty hassle free. Just open the one door in you house that normally always stays locked and vupti-doo, you're out in the sunshine putting away that necessary vitamin D. You can also exit through the garage should you feel so inclined. And that you can do with one press of a button. No handle-turning or nothing.

In this world that I speak about, there are people who do things that have absolutely nothing to do with the interweb. And some of them have never even heard about blogging. Hard to imagine, but there are more of them than you would expect. They play golf, go to the grocery store and to the gym and look each other in the eye.

Interesting experience.

Here are some more findings from my days without the all powerful Google, in the real world. You know, the one with the non-photoshopped sunsets.

:: No matter how hopped up on caffeine and internetless boredom you are it is not posssible to single-handedly move a 3-seater leather couch upstairs. Not even if you summon every single Elle Decoration deity there is and call on the spirit of O - at home. And you might end up pulling something if you desperately keep on trying anyways. Just find an internet cafe and relax already.

:: If your physiotherapist begins your session by saying "I just finished a course on aggressive stretching," it is best to hightail it out of there some quick-quick, even if your in-need-of-replacement hip feels like it catches more and more on fire every step you take. On fire will turn out to be a mild discomfort compared to what can be done to a hip by stretching it aggressively. Internet would never do that to you.

:: There is a good chance that a 'mot' can be used as a weapon if the evil-eye looks are anything to go by. What, I ask you, is so wrong with following your maid around and/or sneaking up on her to finally get to the bottom of the mystery of the disappearing wineglasses?

:: No one in the real world appreciates a good joke about corn.

:: For many South African women a workout at the gym entails showing up in full battle gear: the hair, the make up, and the nails, not sweating at all but patting the top of the boobs which are attempting to escape the confines of clothing with a pink towel anyway, and finally bending over in front of the weight lifters. It's easy to feel out of place, unless bending over is your thing. Hmm...bending over or blogging? Tough choice.

:: All food is better if it does not have to be defrosted after an obscenely long unspecified length of time in the freezer. But grocery stores are not fun.

:: A Mac without the internet is just an empty shell of itself.

:: Crocheting can be therapeutical. And you can end up making a blanket that can be used to camouflage a small farm. (from Big Brother satellite)

like so. (You can't see the farm, can you?)

:: Having 'alone' time is fun until you realize that you don't actually want to have alone time all alone, but miss your bleeps horribly.

And yes, today on the 16th July 2009 at 9:16PM, like a miracle my internet returned to me.

I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Towards a better internet-tomorrow

There are no updates on when my internet will be returned to me. The situation is fast approaching complete chaos and mayhem. These are in no way mutually exclusive and can easily be instigated by one single person. Me.

I'm going all viking here folks.

But before that I'll wax all poetic.

It is now day two since the darkness of unconnectedness descended on me like an angry swarm of...

Hey honey. What are them things that swarm?

Uhm? Bees? Mosquitoes? Squirrels? Oh hey how about having some Mexican food tonight? Fancy some tacos, mamacita?

No, honey! Focus! Swarmy things?

Huh?

Okay. Whatevs. FINE. Think about dinner. What do I care.

It is now day two since the darkness of unconnectedness descended on me like an angry swarm of them things that swarm. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. I'm here by myself as alone as...

Hey, honey. What is like the most lonesomest animal in like the whole bunch?

Sorry? A bunch of what?

Of animals, dumbass. Of animals.

Oh, so now I'm a dumbass, because I'm thinking of dinner and not paying attention to you, while you sit with your nose in my computer, using my work connection, while I could be working.

Playing Mafia Wars on fokken Facebook. That's what you would be doing. ....grumble...fokken...doesn't pay attention...grumble...

It is now day two since the darkness of unconnectedness descended on me like and angry swarm of them things that swarm. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. I'm here by myself as alone as a deer in the headlights.

Hey, honey. What's the 'deer in the headlights' thing again? Alone, right?

The what in the whatlights now?

A DEER in the headLIGHTS. That's what.

Uhm. Pumpkin. I think that actually means that you're like frozen or like paralyzed or something. I think.

Aw. Fok you man. What do you know about writing, anyways. If I wanted to know about sitting on my ass in an office and writing all sorts crap on the computer all day long I'd come to you, but now I'm talking about writing my blog.

Pumpkin, you make it too easy. I won't even make that joke. I won't.

Fok you man.

It is now day two since the darkness of unconnectedness descended on me like an angry swarm of them things that swarm. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. I'm here by myself as alone as a deer in the headlights. The only thing that I can do is to live in hope of a better tomorrow. Of an internet connection that will not be spotty nor die on me constantly. The internet connection of tomorrow.And dinner.

It's tacos.

Still no sign of internet.

What to do folks? What to do?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Don't go gently into that good night

Here I am, on Hubby's computer stealing company internet to do my blogging, while I really should be finding porn sites to surf to create that little bit of excitement that would make the day of any bespeckled IT professional monitoring the current traffic. 

And speaking of porn, guess what I've been doing with all this analog time in my hands?

Indeed.

Crocheting. What else?

How exactly is crocheting linked to porn? you might be asking yourself right now (I still am, and will just come up with some potentially offensive nonsense now). Well, the connection is not instantly transparent, but this is how I see it:

You wade through leather boots, whips, giant diapers, ropes and such and find yourself just south of the fringe. Then, you proceed at a high speed, for about a couple hundred miles away from the center, you take a left at animal costumes, after which you continue down the road towards a little corner referred to as sheep, you skirt around pee and poo, and then take a leap, and voila, you're at crochet. And there's no way back.

Exactly. Potentially offensive nonsense.

Lucky for you my dear readers, links like this come up when you are left alone with your thoughts for a whole day, and the only discussion you have in the span of nine hours goes like this:

Maid: Whar is the mot?

Me: Do I have what?

Maid: Noh, the mot?

Me: More?

Maid: Noh, the mot?

Me: More? What?

Maid: MOT!

Me: WHAT?!?!

Maid: I want to eyen.

Me: What?!?!

Maid: EYEN!

Me: Please clean the patio furniture. Thanks!

And this is only day one without internet. Yup.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A musical lull

Regardless of some threats I received in the comments to my last post (Hullo Judearoo) to do with pitchforks and lanterns (I don't know which one is scarier, a pitchfork or the weapon of mass destruction, also known as a lantern?) in case there ever was a lull in my blogging, I'm here to tell you of just such a potential, veritable lull.

What?

What?

What?

But surely she'll cease to exist if she does not chronicle every shower that she doesn't take with meticulous attention. She'll become a shadow of herself, a person whose only activities are golf, reading and the occasional pee, before she withers away completely and croaks, bites the dust, hangs up her clogs for good, and goes ahead and dies.

What?

So what actually is going on, is that, since we know Mandela personally (please don't take this literally, since I'm probably already under surveillance for tweeting, blogging and commenting about stalking him) and can send him after anyone we choose like a pack of polar bears with the polar-bear munchies, the internet provider has finally agreed to improve our flailing webby connection.

Or they got tired of my incessant wailing.

Either way. There is some 'down time' scheduled for this week, which, if this is actually African time, could mean this month, but hopefully not this year. Although there have been promises of complimentary internet connection in some office building somewhere on this here estate, my experience is that upon arrival to said building with my laptop all ready to blog my little heart out, I'll only encounter locked doors and lots of raised eyebrows and shrugs from the guards, who will then, as soon as I turn my back, start making fun of the 'gullible European'.

They won't laugh in my face though, because, sadly, I'm much bigger than any of them and could possibly take most of them in a number of forms of close range combat. Now that I think of it, I'm conflicted. I don't know whether I should be proud that I'm double the size of a Zulu man, fearful because our estate only seems to employ Zulus that are on the small side (where do the big ones go?), or sad that I'm even contemplating whether I could take someone in close combat, be they Zulu or not. Usually, I'm not at all physically aggressive.

Still, they won't let me in the building, because "Madam, we have no internet."

And sure enough they don't.

I really wish I was more organized and could write a bunch of posts to be published every morning for this week on some dazzlingly excellent topics, such as 'Now the car is fixed, why is she still not leaving the house to go anywhere?', 'Does it count as a shower if you wash your hands all the way to the elbows?', or 'The finer points in clothing your pug so that it simply cannot be sexed.', while I finally finish either Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco or Den Afrikanske Farm by Karen Blixen, instead of hitting 'refresh' like a mad woman. But alas, my organizational skills are pretty much limited to remembering where I left the computer the night before (recently, due to some undisclosed moments of panic and distress, I make a point of remembering where I park it ever night), and the science of making a good cup of organic filter-coffee.

So just in case I, tonight (or last night, depending on when I set this post to publish), end up curling up into a lifeless (read: off-the-grid) ball and dying in the blogosphere sense of the word (which translates to 'will be back by Friday'), I'll leave you with a list of musical issues to ponder, as these issues have been consuming me lately.

Not really, but I'm thinking of them now.

:: Is it okay for me to like Eminem? I know I'm supposed to abhor gangsta rap, but he's not that, is he? I really do, so badly, want to be a proper feminist and would hate for my love for Eminem to stand in the way of embracing my chosen -ism. Please.

:: Where exactly is Butcher Holler? And does it even exist? It sounds awfully gimmick-y.

:: When did I manage to learn the lyrics to Sir Mix A Lot's Baby got Back and how much of my brain are they currently taking up? I don't feel this is a good use of my limited capacity.

:: What does Madonna really sing in La Isla Bonita? And do I even want to know? Or do I just want to hold onto the way I would sing the song in fluent Finglish like I did when I was 10 years old?

:: Same question goes for George Michael's Careless Whisper. How does this chorus strike your fancy: An I neva gonna dance again/ guilty feeling got no rhythm/ oh it's easy to pretend I know yam not a fool/ should've known better than to chain a friend/ wasted chance that I'd been given/ so I'm neva gonna dance again the way I danced withoo-oo? Once again, but with feeling please. 

:: Can I still love Madonna regardless of her muscles desperately trying to escape her skin, and despite her questionable methods of becoming an adoptive parent? Not in that order.

:: Is Hubby off his rocker for loving me after my impromptu performance of Luis Miguel's Si tu te Atreves on Friday night shortly before dinner. I know all of Luis's moves, and can do his awesome finger pointing action to a T.

In this fashion.

Oh and I'm only now finishing the broccoli salad I made on Friday, so some lull in the blogging could also be caused by food poisoning.

I laugh in the face of danger.

Monday, July 13, 2009

There are quite a few things wrong with me

Indeed.

I think, unfortunately, that I'm starting to feel the symptoms of a kind of stage fright, related to having gotten quite a few new readers of late. Welcome to all of you! Don't mind the scared, sweaty woman hiding in the corner. She's just the writer.

Seeing as I started this here blog to a completely empty room, and then sort of got used to writing for Dawn at From Congo, my first follower ever until I made made my friend Lady Kicks, and the Hubby follow me, because I thought that three was better than one, I'm feeling just a tad overwhelmed. Glad, happy and grateful, but also overwhelmed and stressed. I'm just a complex tangle of feelings, I am.

Okay. Actually I'm terrified and drawn to the bottle as a potential drowning place for said stress (never said I was healthy, actually might have declared the opposite), on top of feeling the weight of responsibility for what I write.

None of you are like 12, right?

I don't want to corrupt any young minds, but I also don't want to stop swearing. That would be like checking a part of my personality at the door. And no one wants that, because once you only take on the 'wholesome' part of me there really isn't that much to work with. Sort of like my hair: Once you remove all of the product, there really isn't any hair there, and what little there is just lays flat and doesn't want to stand up, no matter how much you stroke it.

Thought I couldn't include a dirty joke, but there she bobs.

I must say though that I was, and still am, quite proud of the fact that my first ever follower (and also possibly my first ever reader, excluding myself, since I do like to read my own posts, the pathetic mess that I am) was from such a cool/scary/awesome/horrendous/brilliant/frightening place as Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dawn does some awesome work. Go check her out.

A completely unexplained, doctored photo. because I felt like it and it reminds me of warmth. And now it's also explained.

But how did she achieve the Blog of Note glory (Thank you again Blogger! and yes I'll stop raving about it after this), if no one ever read her?

Well, the story doesn't end with Hubby.

(Insert yet another dirty joke. This time one of your choice.)

It continues with my fairyblogmother™ julochka from moments of perfect clarity.

After julochka received her BoN glory (The mention doesn't count, as it isn't my glory, yes?) last April, I happened to click on her blog. I read a few posts. I liked them. And I liked the fact that she was a foreigner in Denmark married to a Dane. Something I had been before. (Still married to the same Dane, just no longer in Denmark. Don't get excited.)

I commented.

She ignored me.

I commented again.

And then, at the hight of her BoN glory ( I promise I'll stop saying it now), she made me her 'Blog Crush'.

Awww.

And that made my follower count climb to 141, and was the start of an awesome friendship (and we haven't pissed each other off yet, which is kind of a record for me, so I'm pretty pleased and proud about it all).

Those 141 bleeps (i.e. blogging peeps), julochka most of all, will always be dear to me. As will you my new readers. I will cherish you.

As long as I figure out something to write about. Something that

a) Has nothing whatsoever to do with fingernail clippings. (Oddly, I have commented on several blogs lately and somehow come to mention this detail every single time.)
b) Doesn't contain some weird list. (Impossible, I tell you! Impossible!), or
c) Contains some action other than

1) Me drinking.
2) Me not showering, or
3) Me blogging.

Good luck with that, lady.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What has the 'Big Bad Abroad' done to Hubby

I know. I know. Sheesh.

I know you know that a header such as the one above pretty much means that I haven't left the confines of this here portable 'puter for some time now. And I'm possibly starting to reek.

As usual. You know me too well.

I admit to not showering since Friday, listening to outrageous, yet sing-along-friendly country, and indulging in the finer things in this existence: coffee, wine, and blogging (and the occasional pizza as those come delivered to the door). I have indeed been busy writing for Project ARWP, Balderdash, and Siamese twins joined by the ocean. However, as fun as sitting in one of three places: at the kitchen counter, on the upstairs couch, or in the downstairs green armchair, with my laptop on my actual lap and a coffee cup/ glass of wine (allow for variation of the time of day) within easy reach, not much worth writing about happens.

Enter: Hubby with grease on his hands.

"What in the hell and its seven chambers of purgatory (or some such thing that sounds very grand, but extremely distressed at the same time)," I think, but what comes out of my mouth is something more like "Wha... nah... walls 'n fok... fingerprints.. ngh?"

"I have taken out the battery," the good man tells me.

"Who.. Huh?" I wittily respond.

It seems that my loving Hubby had after all decided to actually do something about my broken down Daihatsu. By himself. As he apparently wasn't really feeling my well-thought-out and meaningful experiment to see whether the silvery piece of painted cardboard would catch on and fix itself.

I though he would have called someone.

But Hubs is versatile. Turns out.

"I'm going to run it over to the Battery-store and get it tested," he continues all expert-like.

I must admit I wasn't aware of the fact that he even knew how to pop the hood, let alone extricate a battery. I wouldn't have any idea. I had to spend 5 excruciating minutes with a very nice gas station attendant looking for a lever that would open the gas tank the first and only time I decided to put gas in the car. He was very nice about it. I on the other hand yelled at the Hubby later for not telling me about said lever.

And got the 'WTF woman, read the instructions, or better yet, Google it' face. He would never be so rude out loud.

But instructions and me. That's just never, ever going to happen. Proof: Photoshop, me and annoying tutorials I will never, ever watch. Never. Ever. Got that? Never, ever.

So there.

"They'll test the battery cells, but I think I might end up getting you a new battery," he finishes off with bravado.

And I'm left in awe of who I married.

Although this is the same man who a couple of months ago did not know how to change a tire. Is the universe playing with me or has Hubby discovered Google as well?

We are left to wonder.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What not to do

when heading out to the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.

NOT the car I was driving to the airport. Just the only picture of a car I had, which was a little surprising. She is a beaut, though.

It is morning and you are arriving by car. Perhaps you are headed to the airport to pick someone up, perhaps that special someone, your chosen partner in life. Naturally, you are simply super-mega-excited. He was, after all, gone for three whole days. You are just giddy with excitement. That is easy to see.

That's why you stayed up until 2AM, drinking a bottle of Pinot Noir and watching extremely bad television. That's why you hit the snooze button three times in the morning, before finally getting up. And that's why the first thing you do, instead of taking a quick shower, is turning on the computer and sitting on the upstairs couch in a towel to surf the internets. And, most of all, that's why you need to wait for the coffee and even eat a couple of eggs before running (and I use this term extremely loosely) into the garage.

Giddy, giddy with excitement.

But first things first:

:: Don't leave your keys on the dining room table and then try to back out of the garage without opening the garage door with the remote that is attached to the keys waiting patiently on the dining room table. You'll also need those keys for the first gate. They are your house keys, keep them with you.

:: Don't act like a moron who has never driven a car before. You can do it. You're a smart woman and you might not be able to park the monstrosity, but going straight is your forte.

:: Don't stop in the middle of the road, even though you're still within the estate, to clean off that glob of goo (very likely to be snot) from the sunglasses. Just take them off. Later on it'll be easier to clean that goo off of the sunglasses than the black cashmere sweater. Believe me.

:: Don't speed even if your foot falls asleep on the pedal if you're 'only' going 80 (of them kilometers, not miles) on the highway. This will only force you to break like a maniac every time you think you see a police car, because you still haven't gotten around to getting that international driver's license and technically you are not allowed to drive in South Africa. Well, it has only been a year.

:: Don't accidentally change lanes because you're too busy picking your nose to watch the road. You'll just freak yourself out and wonder how you managed to stay on the road. And then you'll just think of accidents and the moronic behavior worsens.

And don't forget the most important thing:

Once you actually get to the airport, once you've followed the signs and gotten off at the right exit, and you can see the entrance and all of the planes even, remember this one thing. This is quite essential. In fact this is the thing, the key, to what not to do when you're picking up that special someone up at the airport.

:: Don't drive through the entire airport and pass several parkades with signs flashing 'OPEN' looking for that elusive parkade 4, that possibly doesn't even exist, only to end up accidentally exiting the airport, and on the road heading to downtown Johannesburg. That will just lead to panic, illegal U-turns at shady industrial areas, and complete blanking out regarding the final parking spot of the vehicle, unless "somewhere at the airport" counts.

This is quite essential. And can make or break an airport run.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm an embarrassment to myself. And proud of it.

I had a post all thought out and ready to be spilled onto the internets when I got back from picking up the hubs at the airport this morning.

And then the internet died.

Yes, the already spotty and slow connection that unfortunately shadows the brilliance that otherwise is my hermit existence (Ja and ag man, leaving the house is just such a hassle most times, what with needing to lace up the Converse and everything. Ja), just up and died. Completely. No heartbeat. No fog in the mirror.

I came apart at the seams and pulled at my hair, and threatened the hubby with divorce unless he wiggled his nose, banged with his hammer, clicked his heels, smote with his magical viking axe (Ha ha. Insert a very, very dirty joke here.), or whatever it is he does whenever I have one of my meltdowns, otherwise known as airing out my inner 6 year old, and made the internet come back to life. Right at that instant.

And then I made lunch. Because all of a sudden compulsively pressing the 'refresh' button got me nowhere else than staring at a screen which bluntly told me "you are not connected to the internet." No madam or nothing. The nerve. And I found myself with actual time. To do something.

While I was making an exquisite gourmet creation known as 'Broccoli salad' requiring all of 6 different ingredients and containing less broccoli than bacon, I started to think how completely and utterly helpless I am with a lot of things and how I really should be embarrassed and perhaps learn a few skills.

But then I thought: "Nah, I'll just share my embarrassment with the peeps reading my blog. Ag ja, that sounds like a fokken good idea. See. If I really wanted to I could learn all this shit. I'm just choosing not to. Ja, smart woman, I am. Oh, I's so capable and clever..." And that's pretty much how it continued until the internet magically reappeared (after the hubby had yelled at the managing director, and lied through his teeth about our place in the South African society [Madiba says hello], and the amount of influence we wield on a daily basis), and I had a list in my head of all of the things a grown person like myself, and a self-proclaimed feminist to boot (although I might have to read the current rules again, I'm not sure I quite qualify) should really be able to do. All by herself.

Here is a small selection of things I should probably be on top of, but I keep ignoring because I'm having way too much fun in the blogosphere:

:: My taxes. A grown-up with practically no income should be able to file her papers all on her own. Especially since they come 'pre-filled' and accompanied by an envelope with postage already paid. However, I resorted to Skyping my dad, exchanging at least 10 emails with him, some throwing around of said 'pre-filled' papers in anger, and a few frustrated tears while kicking at a non-functional printer, before writing down any semblance of numbers. In the end I couldn't even find a mailbox to mail the letter. Instead, I left it in the care of a smiling guy at one of the PostNet companies here in my hood. I'm pretty sure he was employed there, and he promised to post it for me. The company's name does have the word 'post' (not to mention the always comforting 'net') in it. I should be good, right?    

:: My Mac. It would only seem logical that since I chose to get a Mac instead of a PC, I would also learn to use it. Yes, it would seem the logical thing to do. But that's not how things have worked out in real life. Don't get me wrong, I love my Mac and now hate it if I have to use a PC, and can never go back again. Never. And this is perhaps wherein lies the problem. I don't like technical-y things to change. It rattles me. I want all icons in their assigned places (Hear that Hotmail, Facebook, Google, Blogger, Gmail, Twitter, etc!). I'll move continents at the drop of a hat, but you change the place of the 'inbox' button and I'm a stressed (heavily-drinking) mess for days. And then I yell at Hubby. 'Cos he's there.   

:: My car. It's still broken. And it'll stay broken until the Hubby decides to deal with it. The most that I'll do is perhaps every now and then sit behind the wheel, try and start it and constitute that no, the car still hasn't fokken fixed itself. Damn useless piece of metal, and weird 80s inspired seat-covers.

:: My internet. Yes, up to Hubby. Apparently crying by yourself and drinking does nothing to get it working. Not. A. Thing.

:: My finances. I have no idea what's going on there. Before Hubby came along, I barely had a bank account (started by my dad I suspect), I didn't have insurance, I didn't have credit cards, I didn't have 'investments'. And now I suspect I do. I know I have credit cards. because they reside in my wallet, and there must be an account somewhere because the credit cards (for the most part) work. And I do believe I'm even putting money away for my pension (I know, I know, we've been through this before, make your jokes already and be done with it... Yup. Retiring from what?!?! It's getting kinda old). So I might be able to afford an airplane, but I could also be at the brink of financial doom. I'll never know. Since the credit cards don't talk. Yet.

If they one day find me in this state in my house, then you know I had life insurance as well. Which island will the Hubs be buying, I wonder?

Aren't you just a little ashamed to hang out with me now? I probably should be.