Wednesday, September 30, 2009

If you've got it, swing it.

To make a long story short and leave you completely in the dark regarding the myriad of reasons as to why, I was carrying a golf club to my appointment with my physiotherapist yesterday. And something took place.

I thought it my duty to chronicle this incident, lest you be faced with with a fate similar to mine when you, one of these days, find yourself ambling towards that physiotherapist's door, wildly swinging a golf club. Because why would you be carrying it, when it was so obviously designed to be swung. Not held in your fist by your side, but swung.

Got it?

SWUNG.

It's practically a golfing rule.

Really? That's what you call swinging it? Actually you were more like twirling it, like it was a baton. How else would you have managed to hit yourself on the nose with the shaft? Riddle me that?

Whatevs. So I wasn't swinging swinging the club, I was just moving it in a swing-like manner at a fair speed. Happy?

You were twirling. Like a baton. BATON. Like in a parade.

I can show you what else I can do with a golf club if you keep this up. How's that for twirling?

Didn't think so.

So, I was making my way from my car to this professional torturer's practice (although I do believe she personally prefers the moniker The Punisher), when a guard at the parking lot ran after me, yet stopped quite a few feet behind me.

"Ma'am...uh... ma'am?" the fella hollered at me.

I stopped and turned around. I was just a smidgen put off by the fact that I couldn't be Miss, but also simultaneously elated over not having been called Sir, none of which was apparent to the guard, since his eyes were glued to the object I was swinging in my hands.

"Yes?" I enquired.

The guard looked uncomfortable. He was holding one hand up with the palm facing me, as if he would have liked to have high-fived me, if only I would have been willing to surrender the club. Somehow his approach and demeanor toward me also reminded me of one of those people who wrestle alligators for a living, or trap snakes, or train tigers, or something in that vein.

"Are you alright ma'am?" he said, now looking straight into my eyes.

While I briefly weighed the consequences of saying something along the lines of "I will be right after I smash this car," or "no, not until I teach this guy a lesson," I couldn't quite bring myself to do such a thing to this poor boy. Who was obviously scared.

And I'm pretty sure I could make out the armed guard not too far from us, and definitely within shooting range.

"Alright?" prodded the scared man, while he brought both of his hands in the air, as if I was holding him up with my frighteningly powerful 9-iron.

That I was still holding half in the air. Possibly very menacingly.

"Yes, I'm fine. I'm just going to the doctor. See," I explained, and swung a little with the club to drive my point home.

Since I'm sure it was easy for him to see the connection between going to the physiotherapist and swinging the golf club around at a rather busy parking lot.

Much like for you at the moment.

I am a complex woman.


This is not a parking lot.

Nope. Don't get it.

To kick off the midweek in relative confusion, here's some gripe and some appreciation. You decide which is which.

Things that you do, that I don't understand:

House and gardening section:

:: Associate making assorted noises and grunts with giving the impression of being hard at work. No, I don't actually need to hear my coffee cups clinking together and chipping to trust that you're washing them. And you grunting away in the bathroom I will always block out and replace with imaginary birdsong. Always.

:: Think that a roast of anything would ever be okay so soon after the sheer horror of the pork-trauma drama. Have you not learned anything? Was all of my dramatic gagging in vain?

:: Buy a dog (or two) when all you really wanted was one of those tapes with continuous small-dog barking (For what? To scare off someone who already averted armed guards and unspeakable amounts of electricity on top of some serious walls, with a dachshund?) Woof, woof, woof, woof and so on. Now and forever. It seems. Someday, I'm hopeful, it'll be just like white noise to me.

:: Rain on me. Or in the house, which is obviously missing some screws somewhere, or at least insulation. Or possibly a few roof tiles. I'm amazed every single day when I wake up with a roof still meters on top of me, and not suffocating me in my bed. No offense house, but how's about little general maintenance every once in a while? A little less wine and caffeine and some more water and vitamins? Just a suggestion. No need to get hole-ier than thou on me.

The hot beverage and meat section:

:: Diss Starbucks.

:: Seem to feel that smacking your lips after each pork chop is somehow okay, if not a desirable way of showing how much you're enjoying the food, in a five star restaurant. Also, your wife might be carrying a Louis Vuitton, but since the bag is not actually wrapped around my head thus covering my sensitive ears, I can still hear you belch. Loudly.

:: Think that northern Europeans are fine with only being offered tea at a brunch meeting. It's a meeting and it's in the morning for zeussakes! As any team building veteran would say (maybe not exactly, but I'm sure I've heard it quoted as something along these lines...), 'there's no tea in meeting' (the coffee in meeting is silent, but it's definitely there).

The cyber affection section:

:: Not click on this excellent, and very important new blog to see how you can help out. Like, right away.

:: Not write your incredibly beautiful stories more often.

:: Keep 'fixing' your blog to such an extent that it is at the danger of disappearing completely.

The VEGetable section, with a dash of Cyndy:

:: Be able to organize someone's whole house without once trying to 'accidentally' drive all the way home to Canada. "What? My shoe got stuck on the gas. I had no other choice. You know, I could have gone to Mexico and gotten your car stolen there, but I didn't. I was being nice."

:: Have so much stuff such an assortment of exciting things in your house that you need an extended amish family headed by a sock-monkey loving Canadian to sort you out.

The otherworldly phenomena section:

:: Bring up God and Jesus in a perfectly normal discussion like you're just passing on what they said last night when you had them over for some leftover lasagna and a no-nonsense salad.

The outdoor activity section:

:: Look at me sideways every time I spot an antenna camouflaged either as a pine or a palm tree (apparently a South African invention) and yell "Antenna-tree". It's a fun game I and the hubby play on road trips and there really is nothing better to kill time. Unless you count playing I spy on the highway in Free State, which has nothing besides the road, cars on that road, and fields. And there are only so many times you can spy the speedometer and the windshield wipers.

:: Think that fluffy pink slippers are the best choice of footwear for a rainy afternoon. Though they probably do soak up quite a lot of water, seeing as they are essentially sponges covered in towel fabric. A new way to avoid puddles - just suck them up and take them with you with the new and improved Absorba-shoe. Water your plants and still save on your utilities bill. I call patent!

:: Not love golf. My newest divide of people: those who golf and those who should. Come on! Yelling FORE is fun (as is seeing old men and guys with ginormous beer-bellies run around with their hands over their heads, but that's only if your aim is spot on really sucks).

Can you guess what is appreciation and what is gripe? If so, please tell me.


Inexplicable flower. I guess this counts as appreciation, eh?

Have a good rest of the week everyone and do please visit the EduFun SA blog and see how you can contribute. Like right now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Waved through

Once upon a time I rocked an afro.

Or at least something that was as close to an afro as a Finnish girl's hair with the aid of an adventurous Danish hairdresser with no greater knowledge of witchcraft or wizardry, could curl to.

So really, a very tight perm.

But I really insisted on it being an afro, and nothing like what had become the trademark poodle-y curls of this guy. Nothing like that. Regardless of what some people said.

Why exactly are you talking about hair, Ext? Did you go ahead and dye it blue, like you said? Did you cut it off and get confirmation on how uneven your scull still is? Did you decide to grow it out to perm it again? And if so, come on now. Really?

I'm talking about hair, or African hair to be precise, because again today I was reminded of what not having it, and sporting a head of blond (okay, rather greyish white) hair and pale (okay, rather greyish white) skin, mean for my existence on this here globe.

Yesterday, exiting a grocery store the alarm goes. One wouldn't expect packages of sliced French emmental to have alarms on them, but I guess they're perfect pocket size. Or sticking down your pants size. Who knows? All I know is that I have paid for everything (unlike that time I walked out the store with the toilet paper under my arm thinking it was shopping bags), but the alarm goes off nonetheless. In runs the guard, takes one look at me, glances over my shopping bags, turns to me and says: "I'm sorry ma'am."

I continue on my way without him ever taking a peek into my grocery bags.

Today, I arrive at a guarded gate, the visitors' lane. I frantically search in my bag, but apart from those evermore moldy tissues I don't seem to have brought anything relevant, let alone something with the address of my destination on it. I look in the rearview mirror at the cars behind me, waiting to enter. To my shrugging the guard answers with an enquiry on whether I can remember the name of the street, or the name of the person I'm there to see. I can't. I'm starting to get nervous because there are quite a few cars now behind me, all holding workmen waiting to get to work. I offer to back up and pull over to the side while I either go on the internet to find the address, miraculously remember where I'm going (can't even remember my own phone number or pin-code, so fat chance there), or call someone who might know the address.

"Oh no. It's okay ma'am," the guard tells me. And I call my friend. Right there. Sitting in my car, blocking the entrance.

I sincerely wish this would keep happening to me because I exude supreme kindness and happiness or at least some awesome sisterly quality, but we all know that would be something far beyond a gross overstatement. Instead I'm forever waved through because I lack great quantities of pigment. Because I'm somehow quintessentially white.

And that must mean that I could never, ever do a bad thing. Right?

None of the real baddies of the past have ever been white. Correct?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

And you smile

On any gloriously sunny, beautiful and just in all ways lekker early-summer Sunday, you find yourself wandering and wondering, looking around, and listening to the birds and the people around you. Maybe with a tall latte in hand, and while your hair is doing that awesome thing where it just does exactly what you've always wanted it to. And then some.

And you smile.

If you're lucky, haven't peed in anyone's bowl of cereal lately, and know just when and where to look (or you simply happen to be idly staring into the right direction, possibly inside yourself) you might notice some of those little things that tell you that all is not lost with the world. That, in fact, the universe is good, beautiful, kind, funny and often better than an episode of Saturday Night Live, or even 30 Rock. Universe is rocking her thing.

And for once, not mooning you.



You are still high from the amazing Africa Umoja - Spirit of Togetherness show from the night before. Those drums... They followed you into your dreams. As did the drummer.

Oh, the excitingly scary-looking, big, powerful drummer.

Good thing the Hubby let you cut his beard, and quit looking oddly amish and began to look more like the viking he is. The big, strong, almighty husband that he is. Someone who carries a laptop instead of a pitchfork.

You tee off so early in the morning that you only have the birds singing for company and the sun coming up. So early in fact that you have to wake up the poor receptionist who is sleeping in her chair with the last night's make up on her face (and more than a few beers on her breath) to pay for your round.

You remember to roll up your polo-shirt sleeves before teeing off, and are finally slowly but surely easing out of that very suspicious-looking farmer tan you've been suffering from since the Northern hemisphere summer.

No one mentions that smiley-face burn on your butt and how you should really get around to purchasing a belt and/or a longer shirt and thus quit distracting the old guys at the driving range with (now burnt red) ass-cleavage.

You drive by a guy on his way home from church who is proudly carrying his possessions around in a pink bag featuring the silhouette of a black corset. He totally rocks the bag.

You manage to catch up to the girl who dropped a 20 rand note, and make her day. Or at least her lunch. She does have to wear a hairnet to work, and you figure anything to ease that pain must be a good thing indeed.

You have bacon for breakfast dessert.

You admit to yourself that you like having meetings and planning things at those meetings, and are looking forward to the ones coming up. You wonder at people who still want to meet with you after receiving emails either quoting the wisdom of Family Guy or featuring the sentiment, "there's nothing you can do about it. Muahahaha."

Meetings mean you get to wear high heels too and something different from your ever-expanding collection of weird costume jewelry every time.

Quickly now, before the 80s and neon go out of fashion again.

You have medium-rare ostrich fillet with red cabbage for lunch at your favorite restaurant. And with your coffee the waiter brings you cream instead of milk, because that's the way you prefer your coffee.

A stranger holds the door for you.

You hear christmas carols playing at the mall. While you are searching for a new swimsuit for the laying-by-the-pool-with-drinks-in-both-hands season.

You sit in a fitting room for extra five minutes just to catch the entire discussion between a mother and a daughter in the neighboring cubicle. You are amazed at what sounds like a 6-year-old knowing what a muffin-top is and how eloquently such a thing can be explained. And at what sounds like a 35-year-old not having a clue.

You over-shop at a boutique because the sales assistant is so honest, awkward, and for a change anything but fake.

You hug and kiss on every escalator you hit.

You enjoy, soak up the sun, have a great discussion, smile, kiss, hold hands, laugh, and feel content. You come back home, sit down at the computer and feel inspired and drawn out into the real world.

And you smile.

There just might be something better than the internet.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pork-trauma drama

I and the Hubs tend to do all of our grocery shopping together. That way I, the incapable one, can feel like I'm contributing with something else than that 'crinkling my nose' thing I do when I'm given choices on what to have for dinner.

The Hubs usually wanders over to the meat section as soon as we hit the store, while I stand around in the veggie part and circle around looking for my trusted friends, tomatoes and cucumber, a combination of which goes by the name of 'salad' in our little family.

When I finally make it into the meat section as well (by way of checking out the magazine racks - a main staple of a normal diet), the Hubs will show me various clumps of red things packed in plastic that he always seems extremely excited about, and which I glance at rather confused and 'okay' by not crinkling my nose.

Don't get me wrong, I and the Hubs share a love of meat, but mine's more removed from the actual animal than my Viking's, and I find it that I can really only rejoice in meat once it hits my plate. Cooked. And doesn't remind me of what it used to be, prior to becoming my dinner.

About a week ago, I hazily recall Hubby's excitement at Woolworths over a more of a clumpy, rounder clump than usual. I forget (have possibly suppressed) the exact terminology for that specific piece of meat, but I know that it was pork, had string around it, and looked even more disgusting than usual.

But it was my Viking's birthday this week, so I let this clump slide, accompanied by a smile, right into the cashiers hands, and past the scanner. The Hubs was having a hard time turning almost 35, and I wanted to be nice. We left the store with the clumpy, round clump in our kitch-but-due-to-meaty-blood-stains-bordering-on-tacky Danske Bank grocery bag, that I think came with my Mastercard. Danes are classy that way.

And at home I put the clump into the fridge and out of my mind.

Last night, however, while performing our back-and-forth routine of a dinner suggestion from the Hubster followed by a crinkled or an uncrinkled nose from me, the man pulled out the clumpy, round clump from the fridge, looked meaningfully into my eyes and said: "This meat expires today, we should have it for dinner."

I crinkled my nose, but in the oven the clump went. For two hours. We are, after all, trying out this new thing where we plan somewhat what we need from the grocery store and then actually eat what we've bought, instead of going out for sushi/ McDonalds/ pizza/ halloumi and black mushroom starters, and then frantically give away produce on the day they expire.

I hear there's a recession out there, and the Viking is all about planning anyway. He doesn't seem nearly as stressed out about mealtimes now that he's out from under my live-in-the-moment tyranny that oftentimes extends to "Nah. Let's have ice cream for dinner instead?"

Now, never having been a fan of pork in the first place (Bacon is its own animal, native to the Northern as well as the Southern hemisphere and so overpopulated that unless we all eat several strips of it every day the world might come to an unexpected end. Honest. Google told me.), the smell emanating from the oven soon got so overwhelming for me that I took my stack of digital photography magazines I buy and then pretend to read and understand, and hauled my act upstairs.

However, eating dinner was inevitably looming in the horizon.

Leading to pieces of greyish stuff on my plate flanked by a salad made from cherry tomatoes and some cucumber.

I went for a piece of cucumber, but the smell almost got the better of me.

I shut my eyes, and blindly poked at the evermore greying mass on my plate.

I cut a tiny piece and brought it to my mouth. I felt the smell get tangled in my hair and skin. I fought the urge to run screaming from the room.

Following a reassuring smile and a happy nod from the Hubs, I opened my mouth and brought the mass on the tip of my fork past my lips, and placed it on my tongue. There was no turning back.

I closed my lips, and attempted to begin to chew. The piece seemed to grow in my mouth.

I gagged, and my eyes started watering.

I grabbed the glass of water by Hubby's plate and greedily poured it into my mouth to flush down the piece of meat that fought me at every gulp.

It wouldn't go down!

I felt like I was suffocating and tears streamed down my cheeks. I knew I had to get the piece stuck somewhere between my teeth and my tongue out. I had no other choice. I could hardly breathe.

In one swift movement, I spat the now half-masticated clump of pure disgusting back onto my plate, and went for my own glass of water as if I was dying of thirst.

I drank every last drop in it.

With tears in my eyes I held my nostrils shut with my left hand, and pushed away my plate as far as it would go.

I was done for.

As the Hubby finally grabbed my plate and turned to return it to the kitchen, he sighed, fixed me with a grown-up look and said: "You know, you could have just said you didn't like it."

Wise man, that husband of mine.

But sometimes you've got to make a point.


Sometimes you just can't beat water. With a twist of lemon. As a pork-drowning tool.

Have an awesome weekend everyone, and leave pork well alone. Eat bacon instead. Save the world!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

History

Happy national heritage day everyone!

By which of course, I mean happy national braai day. And no, I'm not kidding.

In South Africa meat has its own holiday. And the braai is indeed what the word heritage boils down to for many South Africans. Since of course there are things in the past not so many people want to be reminded of.

And not something someone's forefather or elder was somehow party to, but what they themselves experienced, committed, or witnessed.

It's only been fifteen years since the reign of apartheid terror came completely to an end, so I guess kudos for finding something everyone most people and the media can agree on?

I wonder how the guy I know, who used to be a police officer during apartheid, is celebrating today?

Sometimes, when I actually step out of that front door, look around, and talk to people, I'm blown away by the past of this exquisitely beautiful country. By the sheer horror that went on when I was more concerned about whether or not I would be allowed to go to that dance at school and if so, what on earth would I wear. The past smacks me right across my face when I suddenly find myself in a discussion about "shooting monkeys", and then kicks me more when I'm already down from the sheer power of those words to knock the wind out of me by telling me that I wont ever understand because I'm an outsider, and that apartheid wasn't as bad as the media made it out to be.

Sometimes the past just pinches me so quickly that I'm not even completely sure what has happened. Like when I'm confronted with a racist slur by a sales person who sees me as an ally in the face of black customers and I really just want to think I misunderstood, or like when someone, with a completely straight face, argues that "at least during apartheid the hospitals worked," and me saying "yes, for a miniscule part of the population," over and over doesn't seem to sway anyone.

There is so much good in this lovely country that I want to very much celebrate today, but sometimes, I just find it the hardest task of my day to put out of my mind what the reality here was for many, and almost still is for some people.

History, Could you leave me be for a while. Just for a little while. Just to play a round of golf and eat some lamb and drink some wine. And laugh.

Please.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Weapons of mass antstruction

How to completely mix up all sorts of allegories and analogies and confuse faithful readers?

I'll show you now-now.

Last night it rained for the first time in what has got to be four months by now. And while rain is generally a good thing in these parts at the moment, since everyone is fairly done with breathing in the red dust of the winter already, and I'm still rooting for the tree the Hubby 'planted' in the garden in its attempts to maintain some semblance of life, rain also heralds other events that aren't something one looks forward to.

Like a massive ant migration. (ants are small, but the migration massive)

Through the sloppily isolated window frames, via the ceiling (they really like dropping down on the kitchen counter from there, which makes me think I'm hosting the ant equivalent of the Cirque du Soleil), and finally into my sugar. In droves, into my organic, cost-me-a-bundle-of-the-Hubster's-hard-earned-moolah (which he apparently is paid mainly for yelling at people over the phone and talking in numbers and abbreviations when we really could be playing golf instead), unrefined brown sugar, which, as it turns out, is in fact Ant Cancun.

Cantcun? No?

That's where they all come to hang out after the long, harsh winter. But they shouldn't. They should just stay were they belong.

"What exactly is the problem?" you might be wondering, "Ext doesn't even use sugar."

Well, it's all about placement.

Huh?

The sugar is placed directly next to, you guessed it, my coffee. And now the trendsetters of the 'vacationing' (They're really looking to immigrate permanently, I just know it. Who wouldn't?) colony are growing tired of Cancun and all of the short and sneaker wearing American tourists, and are turning their brown little heads towards something with a more original, more Mexican vibe, thus eyeing my coffee with glints of originality-cum-mass-tourism in their tiny little ant-eyes.

It's only a matter of time before Cancun gets old and an obscure little island off the coast of Quintana Roo called Cafeína becomes the new in place.

And there will be ants in my coffee. In my organic blend of Ethiopian Yirga Cheffe and Tanzanian coffee.


Ants. Stay where you belong! It's my coffee, and I don't want to share with you!

Shopping list for today:

1 bag of decoy coffee.
1 huge-ass can off either Dyant or Doom, depending on which ever promises more destruction and mayhem. Or which ever one it is that smells like Christmas.

I like it better when death smells like Christmas.

Disclaimer:
If one of you dares to suggest to me to just move the coffee, or makes any mention of a possible ant aversion to said substance, this will immediately lead to said person being labeled as pro-ant, anti-person, pro-antialism, and possibly secretly harboring ants in little ant training camps, where the ants are taught to blend in with people before executing their devious ant-schemes.

I'm declaring war here!

Actually, no I'm not. I'm just policing the globe a little bit. I'm entitled to the coffee after all. Since I bought it, and it keeps me going.

I know. I'm confused too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My actual 200th post. So part II really

Hurrah!


Can you tell the difference between a real 200 and 199?

And I'm pretty certain I'm counting right. For once. And If I'm not, I forbid you to correct me.

Let me have my illusions and consider yourselves forbidden. Thank you. So nice of you.

Since the draconian part of the day is thus executed with success, here are some more of my answers to your thought and lengthy-answer provoking (by which I mean more than yes or no) questions:

I think I'll start out with our international section today. Or as I like to call it now you see her, now you don't parade.

Chelsea who writes a funny, but ever so difficult to track down and often vanishing blog It's just the way it goes today asked me how many different countries have you lived in and how many more do you want to try?

To which I'll answer (and this is without the deceptive fingers) 10, and how many more are there that aren't legally dry?

CrazyCris who also gets ants in her pants asked me what (not who, who is a given) do you miss most from the places you've lived in?

I miss the food, the ocean, the coffee, the beach, the desert, the mountains, the wine, the safety, the feeling of danger, the no-prescription-needed medicine, the humidity, the dust, the language, the restaurants, the birch trees, the snow, the palm trees, the traffic, the empty roads, the solitude, the crowds, the cities, the country side...

I miss every single place. But then again. New experiences really rock.

Steven Anthony asked me of all your travel, if you could only pick one place to visit, live and die in, where would it be?

Copenhagen or Mexico City. Depends on whether I've already eaten when you ask me. And since I'm currently indulging in a mountain of cheese I'm left undecided for now.

Cyndy, my... what was your title, Güss, about again (read the comments)? I may or may not have been severely inebriated when we were deciding on that whole bloggy relationship thing... err. Anyhoo, Cyndy writes at 110 Penned and wanted to know where is the one place you stayed the shortest but still called home and where do you want to go next? 

Bristol, England and back to Latin America. Although, Zambia I would also very much like to call home, or Tanzania, or one of the Congos, or Nigeria, or Kenya, or Burkina Faso, or Senegal, or Indonesia... Hubby did always love Indonesia...

If I haven't been and they serve wine, I want to go. Words to live by.

Some of you (Nabula, Fidgeting Gidget, Leenie) were wondering about my name, Extranjera, where it comes from, and what it represents.

Extranjera is Spanish and means foreigner. I think that the name captures my personality and a lot of what makes me the way that I am. Nothing less. It's all very thought out and such.

Or perhaps I'm just making it all up. Could be. Sounds nice and deep, eh?

And now it's time for some assorted questions, before we delve into the perverse and otherwise intriguing ones:

Breenuh asked me if you could freeze your life at any year what would it be and why?

I don't think I've hit that year yet. None of the ones so far have been perfect runs. Right when I think that I'm in the middle of a perfect year someone either dies, I effectually become unfriends with someone, or I have to get emergency surgery. Also, food poisonings feature prominently in many of my 30 years and shrimp on the way up doesn't make for time well suited for freezing.

Ekanthapadhikan wanted to know have you ever believed in Santa? Ever?

To which I can only reply, all Kanye-like: DUDE HE OUR RULER AND WE HIS MINIONS!!!! DONT DISS SANTA!!!!! FEAR THE REINDEER!!!

Kim asked me why Steve?

That was the name of the guy in my dreams. Duh.

Novelista Barista wanted to know how did you get the followers?

Dunno. Your guess is as good as mine.

Jen asked me what else do you want to do with your life?

Love, travel, read, eat well, taste excellent wines, learn, drink some good tequila, hug the Hubby, make people laugh, sing, meet honest and fun people, get that tooth fixed, hold hands, drink awesome lattes, sleep well, kiss, dance like a maniac, smell something nice, take interesting photos, find my golf swing for good, and the list goes on...

Ducky Loves Minnie wants to know which fear drives your thoughts and actions the most?

Easy. Fear of being able to see along the straight line from here to when it all ends. I'm a squiggle kind of girl.

Cyndy was also curious about the Hubs and whether he reads your blog(s)? Knowingly or anonymously?

He does. All of them. Sometimes we don't have to talk for weeks.

My real life friend who really should be blogging, Ph.D. Mommy, asked me what is your favorite word?

Well, I know that the word I use the most is just, which from a Freudian point of view must signify all sort of peculiarities, but I kind of like it. Still, right now, I'm totally in love with the Tswana word ee for yes, I understand, I see. The word is (just spelled that id. Hullo Freud my man.) pronounced ee-ee-ee, drawn out, and almost sung in three different keys. I can spend hours, such as the hour I spent this morning sitting in traffic, trying to get the pronunciation right. I also like to try out my excellent Tswana skillz on unsuspecting people peddling stuff at stop lights.

More fun than you think. Or I'm just easily amused.

Not so glamorous housewife, who is a crocheter par excellence and also writes a not so glamorous blog (at first I thought she was fibbing, and might have actually been Martha incognito, because she was glamorous enough to get hate mail, but then she posted a picture of a porcelain teapot-santa and that closed the book on the issue) wanted me to make a Sophie's choice between wine and meat, but I know she would never really ask me to choose, so I'm completely disregarding that question and jumping onto if you were an animal what would you be?, what was your favorite crochet project of all time? and how do I make my children leave me alone for a couple of minutes while I type this?

And I can only say: not the neighbor's pug because his owners have the worst fashion sense and the poor pooch is visibly suffering (still aiming for an intervention and/or dognap at some point), the time that I made the thing at Blog Camp after I suddenly remembered that I do know how to crochet, and either unhave them, but if that is a too-permanent solution for your taste, just stick them back into the womb to cool off until they hit 13.

Aren't you all glad I don't have offspring?

Iasa who also loves Patsy and Edina of Absolutely Fabulous at Blissfully Unaware Loungesinger wanted to know how much distance is one allowed to go in order to circumvent the police before one is just being silly? and which musical celeb would you have a fantasy about in which 10 foot red licorice whips play a prominent role?

Depends on whether one is for example driving illegally, in which case the further away the better, but other than that I would say 1,4 miles. Beyond that seems a little much. Unless of course you're a criminal.

Are you?

(begin questionable section)

And make that black licorice and no celeb will be necessary. However, if the color of the licorice is non-negotiable then Brad Paisley for his lassoing skills (Does he lasso? Don't know. He wears a cowboy hat though, and that must mean that he can lasso too? Right? Stereotype my patootie.) or the Dixie Chicks for their Bush criticizing ways. Yup. All three.

(end questionable section)

And finally Optimistic Pessimist had some important issues she wanted my opinion on. Such as how do you know you really exist?

Duh, I Googled myself, and I came up.

In Mexico, but nonetheless.

And If there was a war between leprechauns and aliens, who would win?

Dude, the multitude of mercenaries the leprechauns can buy with that gold tilts the scales so much I can't even really bring myself to comment.

Ya.

Done! Can't do no more. Ta.

The rest will become posts in their own right at some point. Promise with my fingers only a little crossed.

Air kisses and I've-just-had-my-boobs-done hugs. Till tomorrow!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

200th post. Part I

i.e. 199th post.


199 posing as 200.

Because I miscalculated. That's how hard anything to do with numbers kicks my posterior.

It actually kicked it all the way into Tuesday. And, really, how cool is that? Math really kicked me all the way into Tuesday.

It's practically poetic.

I'm almost ashamed to admit that I actually did this whole complicated piece of math last week involving the fingers of not only my right hand but some on my left as well, regarding how many posts from 200 I was. My fingers betrayed me. It might or might not be payback from all of that nose picking. They won't admit to anything.

Or maybe I'm just really tired after having played a really awesome round of golf with the Hubs who did equally well. And, because we didn't drive around in no golf cart either, I feel as though I have exercised. You know what I'm talking about. That thing where you sweat from moving your body and not just because your favorite sushi-chef at Cape Town Fish Market overdid it with the wasabi in the Chef's Parcels.

Interesting.

Anyhoo, here is the first installment of my 200th post with answers to everything you've always wanted to know (mostly about me and blogging today, and nothing about politics and/or fashion, since no one aksed):

Judearoo, who writes some superbly eloquent and beautiful things at Differently Wiredly asked me What for you is the best thing about keeping a blog?

Well, I mostly like it because it means that I write something almost every day, then other people come by and read it, and sometimes even comment, and by doing so let me see what I wrote through a completely different (and not nearly as blue as mine most of the time apparently) set of eyes, and make me see beyond my own meaning. Or at least I get a nice pat on the back from someone I'm not married to or related to somehow.

I write to be read and I love it when someone actually takes the time to read what I've written. Let's face it, otherwise I would be scribbling away in all of those notebooks (into which I only make cryptic notes when I'm either drunk, half-asleep, or watching Rock of Love) I have on every single surface in my house, or into one of the files titled either book, or story, or stuff, or things, or shit.

This is not my diary, this is what I will someday do with my life. (Ooh, what a clever allusion, Ext!)

I don't know if you knew this (sarcasm, I know you all do, since not a day goes by that I don't write something about it), but I actually want to be a published author one day.

Uhhuh. Honest. I do.

Of course for my book I will be making stuff up, and not writing about coffee, wine, farting, the neighbor's pug, and picking my nose.

Never fear. It'll be all about fictitious stuff.

Angelina asked me what was the original intent when you posted your first blog, and when did it change?

The unofficial, completely hush-hush explanation, also known as the truth:
Hmm. I'm not sure my original intent has changed that much, since I set off on this whole blogging thing simply because I thought, "Wow, I should start a blog too. I'm cool. I am." and then I left the blog to sit in its own juices and slowly wither away for about two years until, in my complete boredom, I remembered that I have a blog (while trying to start one and get it registered in the system with the exact same username and password I had set up two years prior), and then I wrote something on there because I was too embarrassed to lie on the couch and watch television while the new maid was vacuuming all over the place. I thought maniacally typing would seem like I had something official-like to do.

The official explanation, that also may contain some nuts and seeds of the truth:
I started out my blog to chronicle my adventures in Mexico, but for a couple of years I never got around to actually posting and then we moved to South Africa. All of a sudden I had nothing to do, which led me to thinking that I should write about all of the adventures I was having in Joburg and maybe throw in some stuff about books, since with unprecedented amounts of time in my hands and no car in the garage I was going through a book a day. And then I stopped leaving the house and just started writing about the small shit that happens. Like my appliances talking to me. Yah.

I never said it was pretty.

Or interesting.

Sohini asked me how do you get so many things to write about?

If I count the times I have effectually written about absolutely nothing you will all be horrified. So I wont.

Personally though, I like to think that being able to pull lines and lines of text out of my ass from thin air is my one talent. That, or linking everything to either farts or nose-picking with absolute lack of subtlety and grace.

DeepBlu asked me is writing a blog worth all the time you put into it?

What else will I ever do with my life? (Brilliant Ext, you worked it in their twice. Total magic, dude!)

Now, I really want to finish watching season 4 of Weeds, and I have some little people to mind and to keep on the straight and narrow (I know. I'm just as flabbergasted as you are.), so I'll answer more of your questions on Tuesday

Thank you so much for your questions and your congratulations, and your comments, and the general love. Royal waves all around. Not that I think of myself as royal, I just like the wave, and the Danish Queen.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The lamb on eggs and avo, with a side of coffee and alcohol, please.

I'm sitting here at the kitchen counter on a glorious almost-summer Saturday morning with my Mac watching the Hubs...

Oh. Gross. The guy's doing a salt water gurgle and spitting right into the kitchen sink, and well, that shouldn't happen on a Saturday morning, especially in front of an audience (ME). 

We'll pretend like that never happened. 'kay?

...watching the Hubs make cheese and bacon omelettes for us for breakfast.

My cup of very much caffeinated coffee is steaming next to me and its lovely soothing aroma is making my morning even better, while my mind has already wandered off to the braai this afternoon. A braai resplendent with what I could very likely survive on for the rest of my life if someone gave me the chance I needed to - lamb chops and riblets.

Oh, juicy lamb fat! I wish I could write poetry apart from the dirty and not at all inventive limericks all containing the words rock and lard, or the partly rhyming compositions on my love for Billy Idol/ Axl Rose/ that guy with a really long name from the show Saved by the Bell, that no self-respecting teen-magazine editor would let slip into their publication, not even into the 'Letters from our Readers' column.

If I could, I would write an ode to lamb.

Oh wait. I think I already have. At least three times right here on this blog. Uhhuh. Yup. I have.

Where exactly am I going with this?

Well, a while back my bloggy friend Kim from Albuquerque did a post that got me thinking about my favorite foods (and capital punishment and being a cook at a penitentiary, and...).

She also did one on the healthcare discussion which I totally agreed with. Just to let you know, that, well, I'm pretty smart and politically aware too. I am. It's not all about farts. Nope. Not at all.  

What would I order as my last meal on death row?

Which I'm deathly against. The executing part, not the meal. See, I'm aware.

Ah, Ext. This is a tough one....NOT!

I would have an avocado with salt, a couple of boiled eggs with salt, and lamb riblets and chops (with salt). And I would wash it all down with coffee, and a Galpin Peak Pinot Noir followed by a 1800 añejo tequila chaser if they let me.

And now I'm thinking what the above says about me. And I'm not sure I come off as completely sane. But hey, what's sanity compared to honesty, eh?


Oh look! The tequila just made a new friend.

What do you think? What would you have as your last meal?

Friday, September 18, 2009

With a little help from Schadenfreude

How to snap out of it?

As you'll remember I was feeling inexplicably blue yesterday. Or alternatively I just wouldn't say why I was blue, and was being uncharacteristically coy about it, which is just extremely annoying and I should be ashamed. Yah.

I was blue too. No fun anywhere here. And I even looked in all of my pockets, under the bed, and in the closet where everything that has no firm place, use, or purpose gets stuffed into, and then possibly leaks out of the back causing the fridge, which is placed directly on the other side of that closet, to moan. Sorrowfully indeed.

No? Just a thought.

All I found in my search were shuttlecocks. And those only make you laugh for about 8 minutes at the absolute max. Possibly even less if you're just by yourself.

Shuttlecock.

*Giggle*

Hello 6-year-old Extranjera!

Then, I got stuck with the car in the garage, behind the first set of gates, with happy-not-to-be-working-for-a-change, lounging-in-my-garden-loungers garden service folks in my back yard, as the power went out.

Yes again.

It happens. And I don't learn.

And I only had decaf coffee in the house.

Feel the earth move?

A recipe for a disaster of epic proportions. Me all caffeine deprived trying to concentrate on a book, while the garden service guys watch my every move through the patio doors, as if I'm playing the lead in a soap called Boredom Central that chronicles the adventures of a woman whose main daily activities involve taking a shower and making coffee, and the unraveling of said life as the power goes out.

Okay, so technically I do other things besides take showers and drink coffee (did someone say wine?), but when I'm deprived of caffeine my mind plays tricks on me.

The garden service guys seemed enthralled too, and waved at me every once in a while when I happened to glance out at them.

Finally, after I'm pretty sure one of them pointed at me with his crotch and everything that goes along with it, I decided to take a bow and relocate upstairs.

And I'm glad I did. Not only because crotch-pointing can make a person uncomfortable indeed, but also because Schadenfreude decided to extend its clammy hand out to me and pull me out of my funk.

I ended up watching the neighbor's pug and another dog that seemed to be of no specific breed destroy further an already in-million-pieces sprinkler system and some laundry that had flown off the balcony. Until the maid came out to chase them around, which made the dogs run around wildly through the flower beds and rip apart a towel. But only until the lady of the house came out in her skimpy, I-wonder-what-line-of-work-she-is-in dress and chased the dogs around some more, which made her boobs hop in and out of her dress in a very unfortunate, but rather amusing way. But only until the man of the manor came out in his suit and tie and the dogs were so excited to see him that they hopped on him and his suit, finally leaving the towel and the sprinkler system alone. But alas, at that point it was already too late.

It was like watching my own little telenovela, called The Dogs of our Lives, episode 246: Karma can take dog form.

I don't know what it is about schadenfreude and Finns, but for some reason this specific emotion seems to come pretty easy for us. Especially if the target of the emotion has previously shot arrows in the direction of our back yard and study window with an actual compound bow, while his wife has refused to open the door for us to officially complain of said archery, leaving us no choice but to lurk in the study and finally ambush the a-hole hunter and yell at him from the window.

Five arrows in, you stop giving a shit about the neighbors' property and start relishing in its destruction instead.

Sometimes, Karma really gets it right. If only the dogs would chew away that absolutely hideous mock Greek mini-pillar. Now that would be the cherry on top.

I wonder, if I coat it with lard when they're not looking...


But sometimes it's just so hard not to.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Aks me or I be blue

Regardless of the sun, and the impending summer, and the long-awaited rains looming in the horizon, and my fast-approaching 200th post, I'm feeling a little blue today.

Is this one feeling Blue or purple?

I'm just not feeling today. You know.

So what now, why you blue Everyday Extranjera? You don't even like the color. Not since your mother made you wear it for 18 years in a row, because "it looks good with your skin tone and the blond hair." Ah, that hair, who would have thought that getting away from underneath those mandatory bangs would be such a relief.... But why you blue girl?

Is it the Viking? Did he do something? Come on, you can tell me...

NO! He did nothing wrong. Although I managed to yell at him for putting on too much cologne this morning. And now he's gone to work thinking he smells like he poured a medium-size bottle of musk (Is this liquid? I don't know.) mixed with some old-man-trawling-Cancun-for-a-dance-partner on himself.

It might have been the navy-blue polo he was wearing. Like a red flag to an angry bull. Dunno.

So what? Is it the fact that your jeans for a 'curvy figure' are a little on the tight side around the waist moving you from voluptuous curviness to fat territory more strongly than ever?

Come on Curious Extranjera, you know I don't care about that.

True, they hurt my back where I was abused by the physiotherapist yesterday, but other than that I can still breathe. And that is a silver lining If I ever came across one.

Huh. Well, I guess whatever floats your boat girl. Go for it. But do tell me, if it isn't the blue-jeans cutting off your circulation, what's wrong then?

Well, I guess it's mostly nothing. Small things here, small things there, only decaf left in the house... You know how it goes.

What? Did I do something grocery-related to make you sad?

No, I forgave you for eating those strawberries. Allergies schmallergies. I'll get over the swelling and the rash around my mouth soon enough.

Oh, yeah. Sor-rey. Didn't mean to eat so many. They were just so good. My apologies!

But If you're taking even something that makes your lips impersonate Angelina Jolie's on crack in your stride, what could it be that's making you so blue. You seem to be dealing?

See, even now I'm going to pretend that the 'on crack' part isn't there at all and just run with 'Angelina Jolie's'. So yeah, I'm dealing. Just feeling blue.

Oh, I know now! It's the fact that the third season of Weeds has been sold out in the entire greater Johannesburg area. Right? And that you had to watch the first season of True Blood instead? And find out that vampires hold absolutely no fascination for you anymore. 

Yeah there was that. Don't forget how much that whole vampire-sex-feeding-weirdness creeps me out. Yuck!

Shudder.

Okay, so if I'm not going to get a straight answer from you, let's try this a little differently:

Everyday Extranjera?

Yes, Curious Extranjera?

What would make you happy today?

Well, many things. World peace, Weeds third season magically appearing on my desk, end to famine, honesty, a really nice steak, getting a really nice haircut without having to get my hair cut, end to pettiness... You know, the usual.

But most of all it would make my day if you all asked me more interesting questions for my 200th post. Right here in the comments or by emailing me at extranjerafinlandesa@gmail.com

That would totally be the icing on the cake, and possibly even the bubbles in the champagne.

The cream on the top is already reserved for the cool peeps who asked me some questions yesterday. Thanks guys! And thanks for the congrats y'all!

You are making me happy! And not at all blue.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I do



In my time on this earth I've gotten around to doing quite a few things.

Some of them I liked doing, others not so much.

I guess there is a certain from eating fresh strawberries with cream on a lovely summer day to going to the dentist to find out that he doesn't believe in pain kind of scale to everyone's life, and there are things you enjoy doing and then there's stuff that just has to be done. Like, say, sleeping and Finnish taxes.

I have been extremely fortunate to meet the person I started dreaming about when I was still playing with Barbies, and although at that point I maintained that his name was Steve, him being called something different didn't soil the awesome turns of events that put me in the same place at the same time with him, and made him fall in love with me. I have been blessed with travels that have taken me to places I'd never thought I'd visit, some I didn't want to visit but ended up loving, and some I made my home, and found amazing people in, who I'm proud to call my friends.

Alone, with my 'Steve', and with my friends I have had the chance to experience some awesome things that are out there.

I never thought this would be one of them. But it is.

I have actually written almost 200 posts on this here blog.

200. That's a lot for a woman who gets ants in her pants at the first sign of a routine, consistency, or any sort of coherence.

A lot for a woman whose natural flight instinct is much less like a person's than it is a wild animal's.

A lot for a woman who would really like to write every day all day, but finds it very hard to sit down and actually do it.

A lot.

So now I'm leaving it up to you, my cherished readers, to take the lead and ask me some questions that I can answer in my 200th post. I'm not guaranteeing an answer, at least not a coherent or a sensible one, but I'll try. I won't answer 200 questions, but I might spring for 20 as long as at least some of them can be answered with a simple yes or no.

Anything from how did you get into blogging (Dunno?), did you really read both the new and the old testament (Guess.), to what is your view on pink shoes with a red dress (Yes!). And everything in between.

I swear, I'll try to answer.

(Actually, I think I'm trying to get away with not responding to your sweet comments. Shame on me!)

You have until Sunday.

Post the questions in the comments or send them to me at extranjerafinlandesa@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We almost fed the lion

How hard can it be to get to the zoo?

While the above question seems like either a very easy one, if you live right next to the zoo main gate or happen to be a zoo-keeper and I'm going on about your commute, or a very difficult one, if you live in some podunk town and have never even really heard of such a thing and think that I'm referring to some sort of county fair or hair-removal treatment, or possibly a financial one, if you happen to be Scandinavian and are expected to pay the price of a small, four-wheeled vehicle to go see an elephant drop a load and the polar bear run around all stressed like.

But let me lay it out for you. Here's how my zoo-situation was yesterday morning.

I got up at 6AM (yes, I showered and even did the pretense of a "hairstyle") to be at the rendezvous point at 8AM. I was to meet a bunch of other trophy wives and trophy-wives-cum-mothers expat-women and herd a herd of 120 children between the ages of 8 and 12 around the zoo for four hours and then help feed them and send them on their way.

Nothing to it.

I figured my biggest hurdles would be telling the children apart (they would all be wearing school uniforms), remembering the names of the ones entrusted to me (6 little men) in order to be able to order them around, and not accidentally exiting the zoo with any of them.

Yeah, right.

Turns out, that it would not be that easy. And that I should never check my email when I've had more than a couple of glasses of wine. And that I should really go about getting that international driver's license in case I don't want to endure any more possible shit-in-my-pants moments while driving. And that, really, I should just get a teeny, tiny bit more organized. Just to, hmmm, pass off as remotely reliable. In some universe.

"But what does wine have to do with anything?" you might ponder with a look of wonder on your face, as the Hubby did.

No need to wonder much longer.

So I set out freakishly early on my way, because I know that early in the morning the traffic can be brutal in a country where roads are yet to fully catch on as things that traverse vast expanses spanning the shortest distance from point A to point B. And I'm attempting to go from A to Q, then continue on to F, and while skirting X and Y, move on to C, which will finally, just with a little more effort, lead me to B, which is where I seriously need to be at 8AM.

And I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. In South Africa traffic is not made by too many cars, it is caused by too few roads. Since having lived here a whole whopping year makes me an expert on all things South African (if not even African).

Having set off at 6:50AM, 7:25AM finds me almost at Q and I'm getting a little nervous. If it wasn't for some trees I could still wave at the Hubby leaving for work. I grapple with my purse, which is supposed to be hidden underneath the front seat, but doesn't fit, so it is instead 'hiding' on the passenger seat. I feel it blends in its multicolored-ness. And I look poor on account of that 'hairstyle' anyways. Or was it cheap?

I locate the iPhone.

At this point I glance at the passenger door and remember to lock the doors. I might be arriving horribly late, but at least I'm safe.

I look at my phone, while trying not to crash into the 'taxi' in front of me and while avoiding the other 'taxis' going the wrong way on the shoulder of the road, and wonder how is it that you make a call to someone who hasn't previously called you.

Nope. 'Editing' the number you wish to call is not the answer. Nor is hitting the green 'call' icon repeatedly. That just makes you call the guards at the gate a few times, and once the guy who has given you an estimate on the repairs of your antique armchair. He's still asleep.

Finally I manage to make a call to the correct number in an extremely roundabout way. But the line is busy, and there doesn't seem to be an answer service.

I will be late. But I hope everyone else will be too.

Finally, at point Q the traffic opens up. Possibly since I am flying through arable farm land on what cannot be said is a highway although it comes with the numeric of one plastered on every sign I encounter while flying.

That is, I'm flying until the police car hits on my tail.

Since I've been sitting in traffic for such a long time I already have to pee, and upon the sight of the metro police pick-up truck so close behind me I can actually see the officer in the car in my rearview mirror, I almost do so in my pants.

I hit the brakes, causing the police car to almost drive into me. I know I should have slowed down calmly and not appearing to do so, but the only thing I'm thinking about is that I'm not legally allowed to drive in South Africa. I'm also wondering how much cash I have on me.

Waiver: Especially to you who are underage. I in no way condone Extranjera's behavior. She's lazy and should really get her act together, lest she end in jail or managing a society. Believe her, she should know better.

I'm starting to gear up for some tears. I deem them my best 'defense'.

But as I slow down the police car picks up speed and passes me. The officer smiles at me and waves as I look on in complete dismay.

Soon, I'm flying again. And the Daihatsu that sounds like the metallic parts are held together (or not) by duct tape purrs happily (is straining to keep up the speed) and swerves gladly (swerving is not helping the speed) when I think I spot a hole or something that I think might be alive on the road.

There are a lot of alive plastic bags and bottles out there in the sticks, and they all like to travel on the roads.

Until I came to point C. Which is a stop sign. Supervised by the same exact officer from earlier. I smile and wave at him as I make Mexican and ram my tiny Daihatsu into the line of cars snaking at a snail's pace up the hill to where the rendezvous point is. I can see the point.

The officer waves back and the 'taxis' steer clear of me. It is now 8AM.

I attempt to call my contact once more. The line is busy and I discard my efforts after having slid back, almost into the 'taxi' behind me, as I'm trying to go forward uphill.

It is at this point I realize that the number I'm calling seems familiar.

And then it dawns on me that I am, in fact, trying to reach myself. And I'm apparently busy.

This is the reason why important emails should not be read while intoxicated.

At 8:16AM I arrive at the meeting point and everyone has left. I swear, and then I cry, and then I call the Hubby and cry at him a little bit. At the parking lot of a fancy schmancy restaurant.

And like the superhero the Hubster is, he makes the group that is already halfway off to the zoo come back and fetch the distraught me from a second rendezvous point, or point H, and I'm finally on my way to the Zoo.

And I'm so glad they came back.

Me: Boys, did you know the hippos are the most dangerous animals in Africa?

Boys: Nooh? Really? Lemme see!


Me: Why yes, and they are very nervous too when they are out of water.

Boys: (yelling and spitting at the hippo) Oh yeah?


Me: And that's a... let me go read the board.


The best part of the visit to the zoo? A little hand in mine. And the joy a cupcake can bring.


I think I'm in love.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Did I ever tell you how much I love random lists?

(Not to be confused with anything as organized as an actual 'to do' list. Those are from you-know-where, and deep from there.)

Here are some light realizations to kick off the new week in style.

Did I say style? I meant rife with yeast infection.

However, surprisingly, that will be the shallow depth into which I will go about that specific infliction. So yes, you are very welcome.

Oh, and you can forget all about that 'Too Much Information' crap. I haven't believed in it since blogging about the gynecologist appointment or the potty dance.

Ha.

But, ah yes, the realizations. In proud list form:

:: By introducing the Hubby to Flickr and Picnik you may effectually clear years of 'couple time' off your schedule. The man might find an obsession a hobby.

Girls' night out anyone? Or a Blog Camp South Africa? The Hubs won't mind. He won't even notice. He'll be here.

:: If you manage to cram mentions of both a yeast infection and golfing into one single tweet, there is a good chance you will score both a golfing follower and a yeast infection follower. Rest assured, you can block both.

Personally, though, I wish I had struck upon the name Yeastinfecinfo when choosing my Twitter-name. It's just too cool to block.

Right?

:: Taking two Canon DSLRs out for the day in the botanical gardens will make you (and the Hubby) feel way superior to anyone, ever, anywhere. You especially feel the boost when someone with an inferior Nikon walks by and hasn't even sprung for a decent lens.

After such a day it is advisable, however, to NOT look at the photos captured that day. In case they didn't turn out. Coming down can be rough indeed and you might get splinters on your ass.


Completely hypothetically of course.    

:: If you drink a whole bottle of shiraz before eating some of that lamb, there's not that much that lamb can do for you. At that point only a pizza will satiate that hunger. Good thing you have that pizza place on speed dial.


Why is it that no one has perfected the lamb pizza? Seems like a very viable idea (for someone else to engage in as their life's work). Especially if the pizza came with a complimentary bottle of Shiraz or possibly Pinot Noir.

I know you all are thinking it, but no one is willing to come out and say it.

Well, I am not afraid: Lamb Pizza.

Join me in the lamb-y future already!

:: There's no such thing as too much country. Or too county either.

:: Watching two seasons of Arrested Development in a short span of time might leave you feeling intellectually inferior, inferior as a writer, and ...gasp... feeling like someone out there, just maybe, might be more clever than you.

Noooooooh. Sigh. Sad shrug. Cry.

But again, this is purely hypothetical.

:: It takes a year for two Scandinavians (that's us) to go through a jar of 'Braai Mix' spice blend. Unfortunately Google yields no statistics on the general consumption, so the Scands will never know for sure how hard they kicked South African butt in being all properly South African and shit. But be sure, they did.

[Insert picture of the South African flag here. Not the ceramic one I accidentally glued myself onto on Friday, though. And no, I won't tell you what happened.]

They did. Nothing hypothetical here.

:: You can never get tired of Abba in spanish. Even if you should happen to speak Spanish. Although they do get a tad tedious in Swedish. Especially if you speak the language, and regardless of how many times they say kärleken, which is always fun.

:: That gum that wants you to believe that it gives you that 'brushed teeth' feel lies. Just brush your teeth. It's only two minutes of your time. Unlike a shower that swallows at least three minutes of precious time that could be spent either refreshing Twitter or sitting like nobody's business.

Huh.

Now, guess which of the realizations are complete fabrications.

I knew it! She never even left the house. Damn her!

Or is she trying to trick us? She is a devilish one, that Extranjera. And I heard she's going to the Johannesburg zoo today. I wonder what that's all about. 

She did tell Opie that she would only post when she had something deep and insightful to say. So what is this? Is this all in code?

She's so weird...

Friday, September 11, 2009

She of unusual, appliance-related fame

You can probably remember that we've had some issues with our appliances.

Yup. You recall that little incident with the washing machine. You know, when it went up in flames.

And what became of that incident exactly?

Well, I'm currently the leading funny anecdote in the ever-so-happening washing-machine repairs circle. I am, in all my glory, considered the most oblivious person in the history of washing clothes.

I know, just one more thing for that epic letterhead. An unforeseen bonus.

Only washing clothes, however. The honor of being the most oblivious person in the history of drying clothes will always be reserved for that Italian guy who I met in a hostel in Washington DC in the late 90s. He'd never done laundry before in his life, so after figuring out what would be the logical way of performing such a high tech task, went about trying to dry his clothes by placing one article at a time in the tumble drier and drizzling said article with plenty of detergent.

His mama had taken care of him until then. Poor boy.

Why do I deserve the first honor then? Surely as a capable homemaker (stop laughing all of you, you are hurting my feelings!) I should know better than to drizzle anything where it doesn't belong.

And as fate would have it there had been no unwarranted drizzling. However, apparently, I was able to use (read: ignore loud noise, smoke, and many other scary things the machine was doing, like projectile vomiting and hovering above the bed) a washing machine which had come out of the factory faulty to begin with for 8 whole months.

8 whole months.

Turns out the drum wasn't at all bolted securely to the rest of the machine as the three bolts needed for the task were completely missing, causing the drum to attempt to exit the confines of its shell through the sides, the bottom, the back, the front, and the top of the machine. And that kind of friction apparently leads to fire. Big fire. With flames and all.

Basic physics. Or is it chemistry? What does friction fall under anyway? Sex education? Menopause?

"I can't wait to tell the guys at the office. They'll never believe this. Never seen anything like this in my twenty years of repairing these machines," was the reassuring sentiment I was able extract from the fella sent to assess the damage.

Imagine how good I feel about myself as a homemaker? Oh, right, that's why I fall under 'trophy wife' instead.

But why am I reminiscing about a fire in my kitchen (Actual, not the dirty kind. Or is it just me, who sees a world of suggestion in the above? Okay. Just me then.)?

I am remembering the above episode, because of the fridge. Which has been on its deathbed for months now. It has groaned, screamed, sighed, and nearly died on me on several occasions. At one point, I swear, it looked at me pleadingly with puppy-dog eyes, and begged me to pull the plug, to put it out of its misery, to finally let it go where others have gone before. Into that good night.

But I couldn't bring myself to euthanize it. It was, after all, holding vast amounts of ostrich meat at the time. And that stuff is pricy.

I (okay. So the Hubs has. What of it?) have called in a repair guy.

And, rather miraculously, the fridge has now suddenly mended its ways and not rattled, sighed, screamed or anything since the call.

There better be something wrong with it, because I refuse to garner anymore dubious fame amongst the exciting (and potentially intermingling, oh the horror) crowds of appliance repairs. Unless money is involved, in which case I'm game. I could do precautionary tales at conventions?

Damn you attention deprived fridge. If you're too sick to go to school, then you're too sick to be watching television.

In the replaceable memory of
Washing Machine
December 2008- August 2009

He never had a chance
but he tried his hardest.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Does the summer smell?

Yesterday, when I went to the grocery store, I noticed that the summer was back.

Now what makes you say that? And, really? You left the house? I thought you were chaining yourself to your desk to keep working on the book like Bill suggested?

Well, after having realized that I was wearing flip flops on my feet and not freezing to death in the car, I figured something was up. Could it be that the car-heater had finally gone from blowing noxious fumes into the car to actually heating it up? I know, a far cry, but in my flip-floppy happiness I considered it. Or was it perhaps my poor feet? Gone completely numb from teetering precariously on a much too small barstool by the kitchen counter all day long, because I thought the office was still too cold to be working in?
And there's no way I could ever chain myself to the kitchen counter. As much for the obvious reason of it being, well, a counter, but also because coffee runs are vital. Vital!

That's it? Is this post going to be about you not wanting to wear socks again? Because you've already written plenty about that, and maybe people want to hear about that as as much as they want to hear about your ear? Ever think of that?

Well... this post is not about me not wearing socks. I promise. And ixnay with the ear. I swear (and this time I'm not perjuring myself either).

But you're still going to write about socks? Really? Didn't you learn anything from that sock-fetishist blog linking to you? Cause I sure did.

Uhm, yes. There was that. Please don't keep reminding me. I'm trying very hard to pretend like I never noticed and didn't have to block nobody. So just hush, will you. I'm really actually going to write about this thing that keeps happening in my hood all the time and I'm not quite sure what to think about it. Or to say about it.

Oooh, so you're finally tackling all of the dirt of the suburbia? What is it? Adultery? Drug addiction?  Swinging? Orgies? Prostitution? Illegal aliens? What? Come on now, dish already. And how exactly is it related to socks?

Wow. Been watching much television lately? Say some Desperate Housewives and Weeds?
I'm actually  talking about something that's out in the open. We don't have none of that stuff here. Well, I think we mostly don't.... Couldn't guarantee though... We are like totally in the heart of SA suburbia. And I've seen some stuff to knock your socks right off your feet. If you know what I mean.

Again with the fokken socks. What's wrong with you? 
Are you finally going to write about all of those tired housewives driving around the estate drunk as skunks with their kids in the backseat? Because, that totally deserves a post. Horrible, I say! And something that seems to get dismissed here far too easily.

Err. Well, no. I think that post would get me the South African equivalent of the fatwa. Or at least I'd be shunned by the 'What happens in the suburbia, stays in the suburbia' crowd, which incidentally is also the 'Tuscan mockitechture is grand' crowd. They would boot my ass off of the estate, and this is where I keep my books, wine and the Hubs, so that would just be unfortunate. I'm staying away from that one. Although, it is a huge problem. And it's really only a matter of time until someone dies.

So what then? Why are socks such a big deal to you anyways, and how exactly are they related to you finding out the summer's back? Since obviously the more commonly known methods of 'looking out of the window', and 'going out' weren't doing the trick for ya.

Don't fret. I'll lay it out for you. See, I walked into the grocery store and sort of expected to see what I've been faced with for months now - people, customers and employees alike, in winter coats, knits, with scarves around their necks... You get the picture. Because, apparently, in South Africa anything below 18º celsius or 65º fahrenheit warrants a comfy down coat, winter boots, gloves and a scarf. However, the sight that met me at the door was rather different: It seems that, overnight (read: since I last left the house, which would have been last weekend) all of the folks in my hood forgot how to put on their socks and shoes. That Pick n' Pay was barefoot central, I tell you.

Wow. What an interesting story. You are so deep and insightful. Do you know what sarcasm means, by the way?

Oh stop it. You're just being mean, because I never let you write. You know, I also noticed that that weird guy whose bedroom balcony is visible from the study window is back to thinking that his house is too hot a place for telephone conversations.

Really? He's back fanning his naked upper body on the balcony again?

Yup. Clear as day. He waved at me too, so now I'm avoiding looking out. He talks a lot on the phone.

If he only took off his boxers too. Then he could be your 'ugly naked guy' a la Friends. That'd be so fokken awesome. You could charge people for the trip down the friendly memory lane. No, wait. My idea. I might want to do that. I call trademark!

So you do nothing but watch television all day long? Is that it?

Aww. Come on. Tell me more about the summer. Could you smell it too?

Nope, but the garden service guys hit me up for some cold water instead of tea, and that's when I definitely saw the light.


Summer's back y'all and I'm loving it!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The funny is asleep still

Remember way back when (specifically July) I was made a Blog of Note?

Well, I do.

It happened immediately following a post in which I declared that I would be dropping out of sight for a while to concentrate on some actual writing.

You know. That novel that I've been going on and on about rather more than my actual activity with it has warranted.

And then Google hit me with the BoN. And I went off in the deep end. I dove right in, into the internets, and have barely come up for air since.

Still haven't learned to just stick to one metaphor I see. At least they are both water-related this time. Progress?

A lot of good has come from BoN. Lots of good friends and excellent comments, plenty of things I want to read with my morning cup of coffee, plenty of laughs, and plenty of seeing the world from someone else's perspective for a change. Plenty of realizations, although not all of them pleasant, and plenty of feeling loved and understood. Plenty of being able to show others that I feel for them, and that I understand.

Even if I've written about farts more than anyone ever should.

But I've only really opened the novel file a couple of times since BoN, and if I really get down and dirty honest here I'll have to admit that some of those times I opened the file so that I wouldn't have to fish it out of the folder called 'last month', or Zeus forbid, the one labeled 'last year'.

I have been thinking about it though. I have. And even done some editing, like cutting one voice out entirely and reducing the amount of words with one third. And after surviving the stroke I gave myself by pressing delete, I think I might have improved it.

Incidentally, the voice that I cut out was a voice that was written in the form of first a diary and then a blog. Now what does that say about me, Señor Freud?

I also realized at some point that I didn't actually like any of my characters. Really, they're all a bit messed up and even scary, and where was all that dark coming from? I'm not that dark.

I'm actually quite pleasant. If you weren't getting that from the blog. I am.

But now something wonderful has happened. It makes me feel drained, almost a little too drained to really be writing that much here, but it's wonderful.

No. I am not pregnant. Stop going there. Molly is, but I'm not. Didn't you read that thing about me not having children?

Well I shouldn't. Motherly pleasant I'm not.

A couple of days ago I started writing again. A new beginning. Of something different. That I love, and feel for.

Now join me either in A) a collective gasp followed by a happy "Nooooooh, Really?" I'd prefer it if you did that in a, like, valley girl accent. Like. Or B) you can just jump around from the joy that has been visited upon me. If that rocks your boat rather than the valley girl scenario.

I understand that people are different. I'm perceptive like that.

But please just be happy for me.

So now, while I'm wondering how to negotiate this new thing in my life, and how to integrate it into my existing one on the web, go read some of my personal favorites from my blogging reel, From before BoN. Way before. Like months.

Dude! Are you sure?

Heck yes.

There was that time I fell off the road.
There were quite a few occasions I had an interesting time with my maid. Like the first onethe one that was a little hard to follow, and the one that quit.
There was the apology for rely loving yuor bloog, while intoxicated.
There was that thing about where I come from.
There were some Zambia stories. Like being a bad expat, almost being swept off my feet, and partying in style.
There was my visit to the gynecologist.
And then there was that sweet one for the Hubs.
And some others, but I really should be writing already and I haven't even showered yet. Dang.

You can also always go gawk at my Flickr. There are seriously, like, at least 20 pictures on there. And they're all artsy fartsy. On account of me being versatile and shit.

Or click on the links on my sidebar and go read my friends.

I should only be a day or two.


Finnish hugs all around (i.e. a serious handshake with maximum possible distance between us)!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

An imaginary shower

What would you do?

It's quite early in the morning and you're just about to step into the shower and are hanging around half naked, when you hear the telephone ring.

"Hello," you answer.

No one says anything, but there's clearly someone on the line. This is not atypical so you answer again, just a little bit louder.

The line crackles and a man's voice says: "How are you ma'am?"

The greeting exchange that happens before introductions has long ago ceased to amaze you, so you just go along with it.

"Good. How are you?" you say.

It might just be you, but you think you detect a slight sound that could signify confusion and you remember that you should have of course replied with fine instead of good. You groan a little to yourself. This could take a while now.

"Fine, how are you?" the voice replies.

"Good, and you?" you decide to cut the loop short the next time around.

"Fine... How are you? The man answers once again.

You decide to stop beating around the bush. "Who is this?" you enquire, in what you hope is a pleasant tone, because you don't want the person to think that you weren't being polite back.

"Hullo, ma'am," the voice replies.

You wait for the rest of the sentence. It doesn't seem to be coming. There is audible breathing at the other end.

"Yes?" you prod.

"This is the security.... At the gate, ma'am," the man finally explains.

"Yes?" you prod again.

"The security ma'am," the man repeats, and you begin to think that either the man on the other end is being held at gunpoint and your number was the first on speed dial, or that you have really thrown off this poor man's mojo by daring to reply with good instead of fine.

"Yes? What is it?" you try with a more direct approach.

"Ma'am the municipality," you are explained. Yet you continue to be befuddled. In fact, you are standing naked in your bedroom and the municipality wants to stop by? You start looking around for something to throw on. Where in the hell is that second-skin-of-yours bathrobe anyways?

"Who?" You reply. Perhaps a tad too loudly.

"Ma'am the municipality. The water. You have no water," the voice lays it out.

You look into the bathroom where steam is starting to form because the water heater has kicked in and the water streaming freely from the shower head is hot. You are reminded of the time in Mexico when the doorman called you up one afternoon and asked whether you had a fuga and you misunderstood and thought he meant a fire when he was actually talking about the leak you'd had for several days and were waiting for a plumber to come and fix and the doorman sent the plumber packing because you denied having a fuga.

You decide to play your cards right this time.

"I don't have water?" you throw out.

"Ma'am. The municipality is here to fix." the voice says, and perhaps there is a little note of exasperation.

"Why are they here? What stand are you trying to call?" you decide to get to the bottom of this. It is the municipality after all, and those boys are hard, hard to get to come out when you need them.

"I let them through, ma'am?" the guard ignores your questions and enquires instead.

"No, wait! We have water. Who is there again?" you ask, since you remember the horror stories about someone letting in the wrong people. You are, after all, almost certain that you do have water.

"The mu-ni-ci-pa-li-ty," answers the man. Great. Now he thinks you're challenged. And the guards already feel that based on the times you've near-missed the fingerprinting station, or had to get out of the car to get in, because you were far too far from it. You know they laugh at you behind your back. Just a little.

"Please. I don't know anything about this. Who asked for them to come?" you stall, although you know the guard is clearly just waiting for a yes or no, and won't be asking any more questions from whoever's trying to get in.

"So I don't let them in?" the man replies.

"No," you finally say.

And then you get in the shower and begin to live in fear that you've greatly pissed off the water department of the municipality.

Maybe you really don't have water?