Thursday, March 25, 2010

On Death and dying and Barbies

[WHAT HAVE YOU DONE BLOGGER? I CAN NO LONGER UPLOAD MY OWN PICS! For all of you others - there would have been a cool picture right here, but now there's not. It would have been awesome. Hmph]

One of our friends is a bit of a player. A young, single, intelligent and handsome foreigner in a country seemingly filled with women eager to hook up with such a catch. Or I guess I mean playah if we're being completely accurate. As we always are. Always. Completely accurate. You know me, I would never make insulting generalizations or permeate stereotypes. Nothing of the sort. Nope. Not me.

A Playah he is indeed. Surrounded by an interestingly varying cavalcade of adoring women.

But let's talk about how we - I and El Grande Vikingo also known as the man of my dreams who drives me to shoe stores on a regular basis - fit into the picture. We are not adoring women. We are far from adoring (and even more so from adorable) and although I do admit to being a woman that adoring side of me never really blossomed. Sometimes I'll pretend it's there and not complain about the Viking's weird habit of emptying his pockets of all the weird shit he likes to store daily in in them, right onto the dining room table, immediately upon entering the house. Our house, that is. But it's a shoddy pretense at its best.

We are not entirely women, nor are we adoring - we are simply the Playah's friends. And friends go to places with their friends. Isn't that even on one of the Love is...? posters? Surely.

So we decided for once to not go home after the restaurant bill has been settled, but continue. Move beyond that 'married thing' known as getting home, slipping into something more comfortable and talking about how weird it is that regardless of me very well knowing how badly certain legumes make me fart I'll always be able to find a dish with them in it and without realizing what I've done order it, without fail, followed by brushing our teeth in sickly unison, before turning to the welcoming bed and the next chapter of Gloria Naylor/ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy/ Bulgakov/ Austen/ some smart shit to show that that Marie Claire by my bed is some sort of an aberration. Seriously.

We decided to prove to ourselves and to the gang of playahs we had dined with (there were three of them and one of them was the original playah's brother, but still) that a couple in their comfortable thirties can totally party the night away. Like, totally.

On Saturday night I and the faithful Hubs (who, I now know, would follow me to the ends of the earth and beyond) decided to take a trip to an alternate universe. To that place where skirts are short, hair is big, men with money are sleazy and old and need help with getting out of their fancy sports cars, orange tans abound, and bling means so much more than just '...oooh shiny....'.

So... The 80s?

No. A club in Sandton, Johannesburg, called Taboo. A club whose webpage tells me that I'm "welcome to the Reivention of Forbidden." I guess I would be elated if I knew what the hell 'reivention' meant and if whatever it was about to do to the Forbidden (a thing I quite like as it is) wouldn't make me all wary. Now, why would anyone want to fok with a very comfortable Forbidden, I ask you? Why? I'm not sure about you but for me screwing with the existing forbidden just brings up ideas of downright ghastly as being passed off as forbidden, and then where are we going to be as a society?

Well. At Taboo, I guess.

Where what the awesome Fug Girls of Go Fug Yourself call crotchtacular is the norm, if not the dress code (I'm pretty sure I only got in in my faded Levi's and leather jacket because of the Playah's female contacts. Apparently, all of a sudden, I was on a 'list'), where having a 'wardrobe malfunction' a la Janet Jackson regularly happens just with the removal of an overcoat, where there are no fans because they would pose a danger of making like Dorothy in the tornado to the sizable heads-on-sticks clientele (although, I think I would perhaps even pay to see that kind of display of wind power), where everyone keeps drinking red bull and vodka out of tall glasses instead of something that was meant to be consumed by humans for enjoyment and not to turn them into drunken duracell-bunnies, where there is no proper seating unless you 'book' one of the cordoned off sofas (Really! This display of wannabe snooty made me laugh so hard that I think I peed my faded levi's a little) where I saw no one sitting while we were there, where the concept of a 'song' has been completely discarded in favor of 'noise that you feel vibrate your breastplate in a way that makes you think it must have some interesting consequences for all those mainly plastic boobies constantly nearly spilling out of flimsy tops' (perhaps the vibration keeps that hard casing around the implant from forming is what I'm talking about. Patent Pending, mind you), and where I could recognize none other than tons of Malibu Barbies, Dolly Forever Barbies, Fab Girl Barbies, Ferrari Barbies, Miss Pearl Barbies, plenty of wannabe Barbies and, I kid you not, a large congregation of My Little Ponies.  

Oh, sorry. I meant a large congregation of girls who should have been playing with their My Little Ponies. Not hobbling around a club with no seating on heels much too steep in light of their still developing growth plates, drinking caffeine high in sugar with vodka, and making drunk-eyes (meant to be flirty, I think) to guys, if not three times, then at least twice their age.

Excepting the playah, of course. Who is young and dapper. Naturally. And likes to date real women. He told me so.

Needless to say we made a hasty retreat, preceded by quite a few loudly yelled (Nevermind, no one could hear shit anyhoo because of the horrible noise music and everyone was thus getting along famously. Grandpas out with their granddaughters, it felt like.) "J fokken H Zeus, did you just see that chick? Was that combined butt and chest cleavage?"

We bolted. Almost taking with us the in-house photographer with pleading eyes and a following of gals with a very skewed leg-boob ratio and eyes too smoky for their own good, nearly tripping over the low Ferrari parked directly outside the door, amidst inane chatter from different cliques of Barbies and their friends, and past the line of wannabe Barbies waiting to be let in.

We made like prisoners on the run. We sped away in our getaway car with tires screeching and smoke rising.

"I'm so glad I don't have to be single ever again," declared the Viking to me.

I take that as a suicide pact, and realize that if it wasn't for Taboo, we wouldn't be going together when it's time.

So... Thanks Taboo for making me want to kill myself?

Friday, March 19, 2010

A whole grain toast and some rolled oats

On any given Friday there is always a slew of posts on various blogs that revolve around boozing in one way or another. There is always a flurry of tweets that speak of thanking a greater power for it being the end of the working week and how much that involves boozing, in one way or another.

Never disappoints.

I myself tweeted 'Cooling down the crispy, citrus-y chardonnay for tonight...' earlier today. Because I am. Cooling down the crispy, citrus-y chardonnay for tonight, that is. And fully intend to drink more than one glass of it too. Regardless of Julochka's admission of what her seemingly normal husband had done to a precious bottle of Patron tequila, which sort of initially made me want to treat my Patron like it should be treated instead of indulging in the the crispy, citrus-y chardonnay, just to, you know, give the Patron the kind of respect it deserves. To make up for the insult. Somehow.

Poor baby, my Patron.

Respectful tequila drinking naturally involving 1) only drinking the best of tequilas (get your shitty Jose Cuervo out of my line of sight or I might just bite you, or someone standing too close), 2) only drinking the aged, or aƱejo, variant, 3) enjoying it neat, with a glass of sangrita on the side, 4-100) and never ever using it in a milky concoction. Never, ever.

But where am I going with this? Other than on yet another tequila rant (it has been a while).

Well, mis queridos, I was thinking of making a toast, or several.

Tonight, I'll go with the Friday-flow, and raise my glass (which at the mo is a teacup containing a Pukka green chai blend which I know is wrong on a lot of levels, but which will eventually become a glass of crispy, citrus-y chardonnay, you know, once I get my ass into wino-gear):

to Boot Camp ultimate discomfort and many wedgies with a twist of butt-crack sweat breaking up for the weekend. But it's for my... health?

to meat. Specifically lamb. Given. Almost implicit at this stage. Kind of like raising my glass to coffee.

to coffee.

to Molly's nouveau babe, Stella. Hey STELLAAAAAAAA....... This is for you. (Was I really screaming? Really?)

to good tequila. And drinking it like it should be drunk. With no salt in sight.

to my chicken covered in suspicious pesto (not a euphemism, although it would be an awesome one), and my finally learning to cook something so that not one person barfed after eating it. I have made myself very proud. And my chicken all pestoed nice and oily.

to sort of being back in the blogosphere after taking some time off. Intentionally and unintentionally. And attempting to comment again. Even if the comment was about flesh eating bacteria.

to El Grande Vikingo who works like a maniac these days. I love him so.

to selling some photos, and using the earnings immediately to buy shoes.

to real names. Not mine, of course.

to not giving up on me and my uncommunicative ass.


to you. All of you lovely people.

What would you toast today? Other than drinking tequila properly and shunning people who don't.

My Patron in my garden. Just hanging out, watching the sun go down.

Sweaty kisses for the weekend and some toast(s) for all. MWAH!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


They should support me I know, but currently feel like an accomplice to the enemy.

Continuing in the vein of possible brain malfunctions, I recently signed up for something called a Boot Camp.

I know. The name says it all. What I should have read between the lines, or beneath the words, or wherever you feel that the real meaning seems to hide when it comes to language, was NOT 'Join the fun!' but 'Why do people do this stuff to themselves?'

Stupid, spontaneous me.

I fear this specific experience might end up killing me. And not softly either a la Lauryn Hill, but by a very painful, sudden, and, to be perfectly frank about my questionable skills when it comes to such things as basic coordination, accidentally self-inflicted strangulation on a jumprope, or barring that, by an equally accidental bashing in of my own skull with a weighty dumbbell. So more along the lines of something evoked by Richard Simmons. You know, without the accident variable of course.

Or it might just all come to an end because I have to get up way too early and I'm not able to sit down onto the toilet without help.

So car crash due to lack of sleep and coffee, or a burst bladder then.

But I plow on. I paid for the enjoyment of having to run around a field with a bunch of other women who also feel they probably should have never signed up, while sweat stings my eyes, and the cool morning breeze does nothing to cool my head down, but helps to freeze my toes, soaking wet in my sneakers from the dew on the field, and my leaden arms that I'm forcing to lift the dumbbells at least above shoulder hight. So I must stick with it. Or so says my misconstrued view on the Scandinavian Lutheran Mother-instilled work ethic.

Thank you, Mother.

What this boot camp boils down to is me getting up every morning, every day from Monday to Friday, rain or shine, at 5am in order to be at the fields at 5:30am, to do some variation of circuit training for a whole hour while the sun comes up (or the thunder clouds gather like yesterday) and sweat pours from sweat glands I didn't know existed (I mean, I've heard about those things in the armpits, but dismissed it as just an old wives' tale, silly me), and then getting other people to do stuff for me for the rest of the day because I'm unable to walk/ bend/ kneel/ turn/ wipe my butt, or even breathe properly.

But it's for my... health?

I seem to have forgotten that I don't like sports. Or getting sweaty. Or squats. Or lunges. I seem to have forgotten that I'm a sedentary person who drinks a lot of coffee and wine, and sometimes eats incredible amounts of licorice (preferably some of it covered in chocolate) while watching a whole season of Lost/ Weeds/Northern Exposure in one go. Burgers also strongly feature in this picture.

But no.

What in the name of coffee cups with pictures of other people's children on them has become of me? If I'm no longer the semi-alcoholic hermit content to lounge around in that famous green bathrobe for weeks at a time, then who am I?

I've also started to wear heels. Like, every day. And go places other than where the coffee maker is.

I seem to be having a crisis. Get help! And wine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Does the dye inject stupid in right through the scalp?

This has a nice Homer Simpson vibe to it. And let's face it, who else could qualify as the original airhead better?

My mental age just hit somewhere where it can only be defined as 'very old, bordering on senility and that stage when the fridge seems like the optimal spot for any sort of keys, the husband's deodorant, and Mitzy, the little hand-bag size poodle'. Or perhaps I finally bore witness to that thing called a blond moment, made so famous by Jessica Simpson of the notorious chicken of the sea fame. Or was it Marilyn Monroe (Oh no! Am I having another one? Of those moments. Or was it that Monroe was just having more fun...? Nngh! She does look like she was having oodles of fun in her hayday, but then again she did kill herself, so I don't quite know what that does to the whole having more fun than brunettes or redheads, and...

What was I saying?

Am I still writing an aside in the parentheses?




Oh yes. I was writing about my interesting discussion at the gas station today. In case that wasn't completely obvious from the Marilyn Monroe references. Nothing says gas like Marilyn, right?

"Please fill it up," I say, and the man smiles at me through my open window.

There are the usual questions on the water and oil and something I think sounds like 'carlage' but which I haven't actually told them to check yet, not even to find out what carlage might mean, when I hear the gas pump click.

"Hmm, that's awfully soon," I mumble to myself and frown in what I always believe is an endearing manner, but might just be scaring the bejeezus out of the attendant, as I'm pretty sure I can see his lip quiver just a little when he approaches me again.

"52 rand," the man tells me.

"What? That's not possible! I had less than half a tank left! How much did you put in?" I open with, but decide to make things easier for myself as him telling me 5 liters or 50 is not going to mean anything to me anyway, "wait, scratch that. Did you fill it allllll the way up?"

I make a sign that to me signifies full, but probably means that I would like to hitch a ride to Baragwanath hospital on one of the local taxis. Which I probably should not do. Or that's at least what every single person I've told about my two taxi-rides in Soweto says as they look at me like I'm insane.

"Yes ma'am, allllll the way up" says the attendant and makes a sign that might mean that he too is in need of some sort of transportation.

I start the car and watch the gauge that doesn't move at all.

"See!" I yell and point at the dashboard, "There's something wrong!"

"Madam, that's the temperature gauge."

Now, where to find a new gas station I can start frequenting?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In search of my 'tude mojo

Looks sufficiently medicinal, but is in fact taken at a vineyard.

You might not know this, or may not have guessed it since I've been told more than once that it isn't exactly a thing I radiate and would possibly even sneer at, apparently because of my cynicalprofessional and rational-seeming exterior...

I fokken know. I mean, really? WHAT IN THE NAME OF PLATONICALLY FROLICKING UNICORNS WOULD GIVE ANYONE THIS IDEA?!?! See, right there, I just had to scream because it was sort of warranted. the whole thing's just that utterly confounding to me. Utterly.

...but I am a strong believer in the power of alternative medicine, the role of nutrition, vitamins, and such other like things, when it comes to staying healthy or being cured.

So I pop a lot of pills of the supplement variety. I drink a lot of wheatgrass juice. In the mornings I like to brew liqorice-root and cinnamon infused green tea to be sipped (and to hopefully cancel out some of the negative effects) right alongside my several cups of morning coffee. I eat a lot of broccoli and spinach. I chew on flax seeds. I drink incredible amounts of water. I buy organic.

Somehow, almost without noticing it myself, I seem to have become one of those people. Those annoying people who show up at a dinner and won't eat half of the things on their plate because they either contain sugar, white flour, starch, dairy, or something passing itself as fruit but which is closer to a lump of sugar, just not as refined. Those irritating people who can comfortably talk about the benefits of vitex agnus castus as a dietary supplement for at least a good 20 minutes, and don't even get them started on superfoods. Those boring people who swear by a green concoction of wheatgrass, spinach, cucumber, avocado, and some alfalfa as the best snack ever. Those frightening people whose pee is always neon yellow from excess vitamin C and completely discussible with anyone, odor included.

One of them.

Which I thought was a mainstream movement and I was just a little slow at catching on. Yes? Aren't we all pretty much those people by now? At least mostly. Surely we're all on the 2010-version wagon of 'you are what you eat'? We all understand and respect the awesome power of traditional medicine, but don't sneer at new, or sometimes 'ancient', developments in the form of uses of medicinal plants, acupuncture, patient-specific treatments, yada yada and all that jazz, right?

Turns out, nope.

For quite some time I have been managing my condition that involves a severe hormonal imbalance among other wondrous medical phenomena, without taking one pill of the drug variety. (Okay, so in the last year truly managing, prior to that just refusing to take the drugs and sometimes suffering quite a load of consequences. I admit. I like wine, burgers and coffee. So sue me, oh body of mine.)

When I was diagnosed in Denmark more than five years ago, it was the doctor who pointed me to a site on the internet with more information about a necessary diet, the necessary supplements, the correct kind of exercise, and other such hoopla. The website was pink in color, but it was doctor recommended, so I read it and have now finally followed.

Without a need for any kind of drugs. Well, coffee and wine of course, but they are more in the 'necessity for ultimate survival of the human race' category anyway.

However, here in South Africa, it seems that those people don't quite exist yet, and that medical 'developments' are running a vastly different course, if not a whole different race.

"Either you manage your condition with medicine or you suffer and live with the consequences," the doctor, a prominent gynecologist and an elderly man, says, looks at me and sneers.

"But I haven't actually had any 'consequences' in the year I've been managing it with natural products and diet," I respond. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I do the air quotes. Yup. I do.

"Well, that's all pure nonsense," the doc blurts out, "show me one [fancy word I don't know what means] placebo [other fancy word I don't know what means, the flippen a-hole] study out there."

The doctor laughs and I stare at him.

"Just because there aren't studies out there doesn't mean the products and diet do not work. There aren't any studies out there showing they don't work either," is what I should have said, but instead I just stare. Also, the ultrasound device inside me is throwing off my 'tude mojo some serious.

And the doctor just laughs.

And then he laughs again when I tell him I refuse to go back on the medicine because of the side effects, since according to him there aren't any.


There I go, screaming again. Maybe it's the 'consequences'.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Some serious love

Growing up Finnish, mainly in Finland, guaranteed a few things.

1) Someone, at some point of my fragile youth (I'm thinking the big mean high school sports coach, and yes, I too was fragile at one point in my life. Was too!) made sure I learned how to ski. Cross country. Fast. Even if I was wailing like a lunatic while frog-legging it up a steep hill with my increasingly slippery skis on.

But Finns must all know how to ski. Yes they do. And I still hate skiing like the plague. Only worse.

2) I didn't have to learn how to hug, compliment, or express any kind of affection through any other means than slightly raising my left eyebrow and grunting softly. Or by emptying the dishwasher. Or vacuuming my own room without being yelled at. Or making a full pot of coffee instead of just two cups for myself. Or not telling my best friend she looked like crap even if she totally did (Pigtails never look good. No they don't).

I learned to love the Finnish way. Except for skiing. That I learned to hate. Like hundreds of thousands of other Finns before and after me.

Why am I talking about skiing and affection? Together? WHY? Why would I combine possibly the worst memories I have of Finland and being Finnish with love?

Ah well. I'm not completely there. Or here. Yet. The lights are on, but the lady's still under the covers.

This past week saw me return to Finland at a time I normally avoid. I was supposed to be landing in the warmth of Cairo, but instead, at the airport, which incidentally instead of Cairo was in the freezing north also known as Helsinki, around midnight, I was met with -17 degrees celsius and my tired brother. My grandma suddenly passed away and my family needed me. Which was a first, because we Finns don't tend to need other people, or at least we won't say so.

As it turns out, they really did need me. They needed the one person in the family who has learned to hold hands with anyone else than their significant other (mine taught me that!), to hug, to console with words that are in no way masqueraded as grunts, to go beyond household chores as far as displays of affection go, and to laugh through tears and not be terribly embarrassed by it.

But that was only to get the ball rolling.

For the first time in my life I hugged my Grandpa. And he hugged me back. I held his hand. I consoled him. I talked with him about Grandma, about Africa, about traveling, about getting a good fire going, about my childhood, and about the life from now on.

And then I talked with my mother. I held her hand. I hugged her. I consoled her. And she hugged me back.

And we talked.

Last week, I learned the true depth of the love, I had sometimes doubted even really existed, between my Grandpa and my Grandma. I learned about the way my Grandpa would, whenever my Grandma wasn't there, literally count the hours to her return. I learned about his desperation at her open casket. I learned about the completely missing 'I' in everything he's ever done. I learned about how Finns, and by that I mean FINNS because that's what my war-veteran Grandpa is to the core, can love too, really love to a point where it takes your breath away.

I learned that perhaps I'm not so special after all, with my fancy hand-holding, foreign hugging, and the continuous 'I love you's. I learned that underneath that uncomfortable and repressed seeming eyebrow wiggling and vacuuming instead of talking, there are some serious and deep emotions coming out of Finland too.

Some serious love.

With all that enforced skiing, who would have guessed?