Friday, February 26, 2010


How to handle this?

How to talk about this?

My Grandmother on my mother's side passed away on Monday afternoon. She wasn't very old and she wasn't very sick. She had a heart attack putting away groceries while my Grandfather was getting firewood from the shed. She wasn't breathing when my Grandfather found her and there was nothing the paramedics could do to bring her back. She was gone.

She is gone.

Her last word was 'coffee'. She was going to make some for herself and my Grandpa, which is only fitting, since that's what she spent most of her life doing. There was always hot coffee. Or at least the thought of making some and then drinking some.

Always coffee. For everyone.

Imagine her horror when she found out that my Viking didn't drink coffee. The first few times she simply ignored the exotic ways of this weirdo foreigner and poured some in his cup anyway, but once she found out that instead of the Viking it was I who was secretly downing the manna in his cup in addition to my own, she solemnly ordered him to "At least drink milk, boy". Loudly. And in Finnish.

I think that's when the Viking (after a sugarcoated translation from me) finally understood what it meant for me to say that I loved him "even more than coffee."

In not so many days I'll be in Finland, sitting in my mother's kitchen, drinking copious amounts of Finnish coffee, and talking about my Grandmother. While my mother makes sure there's hot coffee in the pot.

Always coffee. For everyone.

My Grandmother will be missed.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

That Kevin Smith

May I offer you something rotten to go with your morning coffee?

Warning: This here particular diatribe will include stuff about weight, losing it (weight and temper), flying, How much I love Kevin Smith, and other assorted controversial things (Maybe. Depends on what the maid decides to do with the wineglasses she's supposedly washing). So, if you're tired of the whole SWA humiliating innocent Kevin Smith debacle (something along the lines of this moron's view) go away and come back when I return to inadvertently trying to kill the guards at my gate (I would never, but they insist on hopping in front of the car at the weirdest places) or just to my general doing nothing and then some more nothing, and shoes.

Because, today, I have been thinking. Pondrin somthin serious.

In the last couple of days I have been following Kevin Smith's (who really, truly is some kind of a god-like force within comedy, if you disregard certain extremely carnal and perhaps even unnecessary tweets about him boning his wife, and I will disregard them and love him nonetheless) experience with flying on, or at least trying to, Southwest Airlines. How he got booted off of the flight that he had already been seated on (with the armrests down and not 'spilling' onto his fellow passengers) because he had gotten on that flight as a standby and had actually, for reasons relating to his own comfort on the flight and because he's probably fairly wealthy seeing as he's a really successful funnyman (How do I love Clerks and Mallrats? Let me count the ways.), bought two seats for the later flight he had originally selected. Thus apparently officially 'admitting' that he was fat, in fact too fat to fly in one seat.

Now, if you have been following this blog for a while you all know how I feel about flying, how much my derriere detests even the mention of it, how my thighs protest violently every time even the thought of travel pops into my head, and how badly my brain wants to grow to the level where I can invent an easier way of moving from one place to another - a teleportation device if you will, or even a Harry Potter-ish fireplace of travel, just without house elves, thank you very much - without having to subject any part of me to the experience that is check-in, airport security, boarding, other people's 'hand luggage', flight, in-flight 'entertainment', stewardesses (especially the ones I seem to encounter. Hello Air France!), airplane seats, airplane bathrooms, other frikken passengers, customs, and having my luggage mangled and/or efficiently spirited away (always to London, it seems).

I consider having to fly anywhere a punishment of epic proportions. Mainly due to the extreme discomfort of airplanes for anyone who isn't 5'4 and weigh at the most 100 lbs. Because, naturally, airlines want to make as much money as they can, and thus squeeze as many of us as possible into the smallest space possible. Regardless of whether or not we really fit.

Comfort and friendly skies my ass. Torture and bitchiness is much closer to the truth.

I hate the journey. I do.

Also, if you indeed have been following this blog for a while, you would know that I've never been a small specimen of a woman. Expressions such as East-German shot-putter, Amazon, and perhaps even Grand Dame (No, sorry, that was to do with champagne I think, but what the hell, I like it) have come up. But what you don't know, unless you know how to decipher my cryptic hints, is that today I'm perhaps 50 lbs lighter than I was when I last had to make a plane trip longer than 2 hrs.

Still, I'm a fat woman. I'll always, always be a fat woman. Regardless of how I look on the outside. And will never think there is anything wrong with being a fat woman. Or a fat man even (still, I think I'm going to stay a woman. I like my boobies too much to exchange them for just one overly dangly piece of anything). Weight loss has never been a goal for me, nor will it ever be. I strongly disagree with what normally passes as equal to healthy, and what kind of appearance almost automatically gets labeled as unhealthy, slovenly, lazy, undesirable, ugly, or second rate. My recent change has come about as a side effect to some changes (such as saying no to most fruit, traditionally considered an unhealthy decision) that have been quite necessary, and due to a genetic condition I have, in order for me to not need medicine that shouldn't be mixed with alcohol (and I seriously do want to keep drinking the wine, if in smaller amounts than before), for the sake of my poor liver, and to save poor VEG from her siamese-sister contractual obligation to give me a piece of hers when mine finally conks out.

So I feel for Kevin Smith. And I whole-heartedly support him. Awesome of him to use his fame, regardless of how humiliating the situation must have been for him, and bring some much needed attention to this kind of treatment received by all of us overweight peeps often enough world over. In all kinds of situations. More often than one would think.

Because, discrimination based on one's weight is unwarranted for. This kind of discrimination, like is in the case of smokers, could only be tolerated IF overweight actually directly also spelled harm to others, and/or costs to others. Which it doesn't. It's often said that it does, but the truth is that it doesn't. It just doesn't. Sure, there are many extremely unhealthy people who are sure to end up having [insert a costly medical procedure right here] before they are 40 years old who are also overweight, but it just isn't that overweight which makes it so. That overweight is just a symptom. Then there are many extremely healthy people who will live to be a nice 104 (and might in doing so end up costing quite a few bucks to society as well, I might add) who are overweight. There are many extremely unhealthy people who are sure to end up having [insert a costly medical procedure right here] before they are 40 years old who are 'normal' (who tell hell decided what was normal anyway?) weight. And so on.

Case by case.

All people are individuals, and the beauty (and the curse) of statistics is that you can have them display for you exactly what you want. That's why the media loves statistics. They sound official enough to back up a report about a 'fat epidemic' and can easily be made to play into that end. And a fat epidemic just hits so much closer to home than an actual epidemic STILL sweeping the world: the AIDS epidemic.

I don't need to remind anyone how many people die of AIDS in sub-saharan Africa EVERY SINGLE DAY do I? There's no way this number isn't plastered on every single front page all the time.


It isn't?

Well, shit! I guess the 4100 people a day who die of AIDS in sub-saharan Africa are a drop in the ocean compared to the thousands and thousands of people who succumb to the evil, evil epidemic of having a BMI over 25 every single day.  I guess it's the 6 in the 26 that wraps around their hearts and slowly suffocates them. Must be.

Fat does not automatically equal unhealthy. Nor does thin equal healthy.

In my part of Africa fat can also equal wealthy, beautiful, handsome, healthy, and happy. It's all cultural. It really is. And while we have, hopefully (although evidence to the contrary seems to be surfacing around me constantly) stopped categorizing and judging people based on the color of their skin or their gender, weight remains the last frontier of 'accepted discrimination'.

And who is it that is making it so? Well, us. You guys, we suck. Why are we so fokken dumb?

One last thing in the way of warning: Should you feel you disagree with me on this one and feel the need to tell me so in a comment or in an email, I WILL immediately think less of you. I will consider such a response equal to you telling me you loved the Twilight saga and didn't see anything wrong with how it portrays women and girls, or how you identify with the characters in Marian Keyes novels. I WILL think much less of you, your intellect, and your ability for compassion. Much, much less.  

Monday, February 15, 2010

Teleportation device needed asap (pref. w/ radio).

Lately, since I've been leaving the house almost every single day - albeit mainly to buy shoes (Thank you Zeus for Stave Madden), but also to work on all sorts of exciting projects with just a pinch of introducing some honest American English to unsuspecting souls in a (Whoa!) classroom situation (it gets better...) with moi actually in charge (when you say it all together like that the result is quite scary and unpalatable, I know) - I've again been subjected to one of the things I don't particularly miss from my life in Mexico City (Yes I do! I miss it all!), but that very likely accounted for quite a few months out of the couple year span.

Yup. Traffic. Trafico.

I have such fond memories of inching down Reforma, one of the main arteries of Mexico City, for hours on end in my burgundy shoebox of a Chevy with zero air conditioning. Wearing exhaust fumes like a fine perfume. Buying all of my cleaning products at intersections. Chatting to beggars in broken espaƱol. Singing along to the songs on that weird Mariachi radio station without actually knowing the words (cept for Cielito Lindo. Everyone knows Cielito Lindo. Besides it's just a whole lot of ay ay ay ay and then some more ay ay ay). Watching my suction cup Jesus gently sway in the furiously circulating lukewarm air. And believe it or not, sometimes playing sudoku. Honest.

And here I am again, stuck in traffic.

Granted, regardless of still conforming to the universally accepted definition of traffic (as opposed to the Finnish definition which can be loosely understood as: "Shit. There's someone else on the road at the same time as me! Holy Cow! I must watch out now."), the traffic here in Jozi is nowhere near the kind of sea of ebbing and flowing waves of chaos associated with Mexico City. Still, it's something you sit in for longer than you had initially intended or hoped. Until you run out of boogers to fish out of your nose, and that weird, red something between your teeth that looks like tomato peel although you can't remember when you last had anything with tomato in it just does not enthrall you like it did a minute ago.

But traffic's different here. Simply not slow enough to play sudoku, put on makeup, tweeze my eyebrows (I don't really, just putting it out there as a potential), work out what the hell that black stuff underneath my nail is and why can't I wash it off, come up with seven different ways of wearing my faux-hawk with the help of multiple mirrors available in my car, or make up stories of people who have those stupid 'baby on board' suction-cup thingies on the rear window in which (the stories that is) they always have dark family secrets or possibly an extra toe/finger/other magnificent appendage (never claimed to have a normal imagination).

Too fast for anything but radio.

Thus, I'm actually finally coming to my point.

Yes, there fokken was one all along. There really was! (Well, okay. Maybe not a point, but more of a theme. A unifying factor. Yes.)  

And my point is a series of questions to you people:

How loud is it acceptable to sing along to 50 Cent's Baby By Me? Does 'doing that weird vogue movement' with your head make any difference? Is Baby By Me the new Baby Got Back? How frikken awesome is P!nk? Why don't more people sing loudly in their cars? What is it called when you kind of dance along behind the steering wheel? What do you do to kill time in traffic?

I know. I do. I blame the mother-in-law. Maybe you should too.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Postmarked somewhere entirely different that has nothing to do with any circle of hell or even purgatory

Whilst I was wildly careening around Southern Africa, expertly dodging (Ahem! Yes. You have to own your strengths and avoidance of things is what I do best.) my mother-in-law's sneaky attempts at... what? I'm not sure, but she was definitely up to something sneaky and evil-ish, who knows with her? To wean me off her precious eldest so that he can find a nice Danish girl? To magically make me forget about contraception (and actually suddenly gain the ability to reproduce) and populate the earth with tiny ginger-haired half-vikings for her to clothe and give hard candy to? To make me eat a sugary dessert? To feed me to the lions? To ...

What was I saying?

Oh yes. Whilst I was romping around my part of this continent with my spirit safely stowed away in the upstairs shower, and taking crap from a certain someone without once raising a finger and only sometimes an eyebrow and only rolling my eyes and sighing when she couldn't see or hear, something wonderful happened.

Somehow, at some office of the infamous South African postal service someone decided to deliver two (I know. TWO! I can't get over the number, which usually is more like 0, the remains of 1, "Ma'am, there is no delivery for you", 1/3, "Are you accusing us of theft ma'am?" or less than 0) packages to me.

TWO!!! (I know I already said it, but two is almost unheard of. A mythical number postal delivery-wise. Possibly a sign that somewhere up there, an angel finally has his wings. Or a pig flies. Or a baby unicorn frolics. Or Hitler's learning to snowboard, way way below up there and everyone else in the bad man's case, of course.)

It is as if the universe knew who was visiting me. And wanted to stop me just shy of a violent act.

By making me remember how wonderful a place this world of the interwebz can actually be. And how well my bloggy pals really do know me.

I present to you in order of arrival:

A thing of pure beauty and ingenuity that really truly encompasses a good deal of my personality. Something to do with golf and then again, something to do with my blatant inability to golf. A way to become better without actually doing anything really taxing about it. I've always thought voodoo might very well be the answer to most of my problems. Or at least a more exciting way of ignoring them and not dealing with them than your most garden-variety means of procrastination.

A Golf Voodoo Kit

From my beloved siamese sister (who lets me ignore her just as I do my biological family) VEG of the (Mis)Adventures of VEG. Go read her! She is very much like a Canadian me. Except that instead of drinking wine, she recycles.

Followed by a mere day by another thing of pure beauty and ingenuity that really truly encompasses a good deal of my personality. Something to do with coffee. Well, actually the precious infant born to Arabica and Light roast: Starbucks. Which I love only slightly less than the Viking.

A Starbucks Christmas ornament and a card made by the sender herself

From my dear, dear friend and part-Finn Erin of My Camera and The Gentle Giant. Go check out her wonderful photos, learn about her life, or at least go check out something very close to her heart:

Thank you universe for people who love me and remember me. Even when my spirit's in storage.

Love you right back people!

Not you, mother-in-law.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Postmarked 7th circle of hell



They, and you (by which I actually mean ME ME ME ME ME!!!), are better off in their own little corners of the world. Or at least that's my immediate experience. A hypothesis now firmly grounded in the severity of reality and made into an iron-clad fact. This here = my corner, that one over there far, far away = the mil's niche. And we all can live happily ever after, like tradition, and Disney and each and every 80s teen movie, promise. And that Molly Ringwald, she wouldn't lie, would she?

So, please bugger off dear mama and let me have my prince already! The Viking's mine and no matter what you do, there is no way you will ever be able to shove him back up there. You know, up to Denmark, in case some of you were thinking I meant the uterus, which I did initially, but then I just decided to discard that image altogether lest it screw me up for good, so we'll just say Denmark. The sentiment still applies.

Between me and her (feel free to add your own disrespectful tone here) I prefer a distance of a few continents, and at least one whole ocean if at all possible, but I have heard - although this is something I would never personally accept or recommend - that a mere 'few countries to the East' is sometimes sufficient.

Well. Not for me. Still, like they say, bad things happen to good people.

And sometimes she (please amp up the disrespectful tone from before) is to be found right under one's nose. In one's spare bed. Loudly criticizing one's choice of linen, innards of the fridge (so the packet of crazy glue says to keep it in the fridge!), lack of tan, and the water pressure or the magical lack of it during her (you know the drill now) showers. And all that before the discussions about the ' unpalatable food of Africa' were ever even entered into.

But it's time to move on, she's (I know you know what to do...) gone. It's time to be generally glad that no one threw a punch or drew actual blood, intentionally or unintentionally, that doors have locks, that a car can drive you far, far away, that there was a fair amount of laughter, be it fake, distraught, to mask the tears or actual, that lions were being cooperative and not hiding in the bushes, giving everyone a welcome break from the evil eyes being shot left and right (I'm sure the lions never even knew what hit them), that regardless of not-so-veiled threats absolutely no one threw the poor daughter-in-law to them in best Roman style, that Spar sells wine early in the morning on a Tuesday, that a spot of archery and a wild imagination can relieve a pent up need to scream without any actual screaming, that world has coffee and alcohol and coffee-flavored alcohol in it, and that the Viking knows to take my (and only my) side.

And that my father-in law (who doesn't detest me nearly as much as I thought he did) and her (yada yada blah blah) managed to create someone I can call my bestest friend in the whole wide world, whom I love more than life itself, and to whom I'm the center of the universe without still quite figuring out how I manage to pull that off on a daily basis. And that he is the wonderful person that he is.

Thankful, yet homicidal.


Just give me a couple of days to retrieve my spirit from the top secret storage location (okay, the upstairs, master bedroom shower, that has excellent water pressure, I might add) I've had it shoved up into, to keep it safe from harm and any potential vampiristic, i.e. Hey-Zeus-help-me-this-woman's-sucking-every-single-drop-of-life-force-and-other-assorted-positive-things-right-out-of-me activities.

But I WILL be whole again.

And I'm still breathing.