Thursday, 18 December 2008

Withdrawal symtoms suck!

Seriously! Who would have thought that blogging could be so addictive? It hasn't even been a week since my last post and I couldn't go any longer without sharing my inane and unimaginative holiday-brain thoughts with the blogosphere. Sheesh! I need net access at home. First priority for next year!

I got stuck into the veggie garden yesterday. I am sunburnt and look like a lobster, but it was awesome. I will take pics and try to post them again soon.

I just wanted to tell you all that. Because for some inexplicable reason you guys seem to care. Awesome it is indeed.

Well, I don't have much time, but I'm going to do some quick reading (sorry if I am too hasty to leave you a comment) and satisfy my bloggy needs ;-)

Friday, 12 December 2008

Christmas humour




Have a jolly Friday. See you when I see you!



Thursday, 11 December 2008

Warning

For any of you who may be regulars here (yes, this is a bit of a presumptuous post. Deal with it), please note that due to lack of internet access, this may be my second last post for awhile. I promise to try my best to post occasionally during my holiday, but as I finish work tomorrow and will only be back in early Jan, and I don't have internet at home, don't hold your breath. Unless you're a masochist, then please - knock yourself out.

BUT... do return tomorrow. I have some twisted Christmas Friday funnies for you.

Until then... I leave you with a Christmas email classic (just in case you haven't seen it before):

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: October 01, 2003
RE: Christmas Party

I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23, starting at noon in the private function room at the Grill House. There will be a cash bar and plenty of drinks! We'll have a small band playing traditional carols...feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus! A Christmas tree will be lit at 1:00pm. Exchange of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $10.00 to make the giving of gifts easy for everyone's pockets. This gathering is only for employees! Our CEO will make a special announcement at that time!
Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Patty


FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: October 02, 2003
RE: Holiday Party

In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Chanukah is an important holiday, which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to any other employees who are not Christians or those still celebrating Reconciliation Day. There will be no Christmas tree present. No Christmas carols sung. We will have other types of music for your enjoyment.
Happy now?
Happy Holidays to you and your family.
Patty


FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: October 03, 2003
RE: Holiday Party

Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table ... you didn't sign your name. I'm happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, "AA Only"; you wouldn't be anonymous anymore. How am I supposed to handle this?
Somebody?
Forget about the gifts exchange, no gifts exchange are allowed since the union members feel that $10.00 is too much money and executives believe $10.00 is a little chintzy.
NO GIFTS EXCHANGE WILL BE ALLOWED.

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
To: All Employees
DATE: October 04, 2003
RE: Holiday Party

What a diverse group we are! I had no idea that December 20 begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon at this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees' beliefs. Perhaps the Grill House can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party- or else package everything for you to take it home in little foil doggy baggy. Will that work? Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Weight Watchers to sit farthest from
The dessert buffet and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms. Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with Gay men, each will have their own table. Yes, there will be flower arrangement for the Gay men's table. To the person asking permission to cross dress, no cross-dressing allowed though. We will have booster seats for short people. Low-fat food will be available for those on a diet. We cannot control the salt used in the food we suggest for those people with high blood pressure to taste first. There will be fresh fruits as dessert for Diabetics, the restaurant cannot supply "No Sugar" desserts. Sorry!
Did I miss anything?!?!?
Patty


FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All F*!@g Employees
DATE: October 05, 2003
RE: The F*!@g Holiday Party

Vegetarian pricks I've had it with you people!!! We're going to keep this party at the Grill House whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the "grill of death," as you so quaintly put it, and you'll get your f*!@g salad bar, including organic tomatoes. But you know, tomatoes have feelings, too. They scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them scream right NOW! I hope you all have a rotten holiday! Drive drunk and die,

The Bitch from HELL!!!!!!!!


FROM: Joan Bishop, Acting Human Resources Director
DATE: October 06, 2003
RE: Patty Lewis and Holiday Party

I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery and I'll continue to forward your cards to her. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Christmas presents and more plagiarism

This morning I see that another one of my press releases has been published online by the same sneaky journo who took credit for the last one. Once again, she has used her name on stuff I wrote. Sigh... I doubt I will ever be ok with this aspect of PR. Anyway... onto a nicer topic: presents.

I love shopping for gifts. Love, love, LOVE it. I can spend hours trawling the mall or market for something perfect for the person I'm buying for, and usually start my Christmas shopping in September. This year, however, I lacked money due to needing to fund a new house and various other expenses, and am only just starting the shopping now.

Seeing I don't have a 13th cheque like I did last year, the gifts have to be less expensive, but I still want to get TSC something special. Specifically, a table tennis set.

Why? Because that's what he wants, for some odd reason. He could happily play ping pong for hours on end, and while I don't understand his fascination with it (I can play for 45 min tops before I'm bored out of my skull), I'd much rather buy him a table tennis set than a Playstation.

He has been nagging me to get table tennis since we moved to Joburg, and I promised him that when we moved into the new house and had more space, I'd buy him a table.

Problem is, I can't afford it. I have to buy presents for my family, his family, our friends and my work colleagues (not to mention the various secret Santa stints), plus an anniversary present for him (for next Tuesday). We also need so much stuff for the new house (and by need, I do not mean the new carpet I'd love to buy for the floor in the living room or the gorgeous scatter cushions I spotted at Boardmans - I mean stuff like cleaning equipment and other such joy-inspiring purchases). And we need to pay our house-sitter while we're away, and keep some money stashed for petrol and spending for the holidays.

So, TSC is unfortunately not getting a table tennis set for Christmas. The cheapest fold-up one with wheels I can find is R1 500 and I just can't stretch my budget that far on one present.

I was feeling miserable about the fact that he wouldn't be getting what he wanted until I remembered that as well as space for ping pong tables and the like, the man now also has space for his all-time favourite thing to collect: TOOLS.

It's unbelievable - he can get as excited about an orbital sander as most women would get about being given six pairs of Jimmy Choo shoes or a shopping spree in Paris. In fact, if you had to ask him to choose between a lump sum to spend on power tools or an all-expenses-paid cruise along the coast on a five-star ship, he'd probably go for the former.

Men are so weird. So it's off to Builder's Warehouse for me this afternoon. In my stilettos. I always end up with about five store salespeople following me around asking if they can help. It's that obvious that I don't have a clue.

I leave you with this (old but awesome) video clip. Now this is entertaining table tennis:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11O9IrG8zzg

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

New header and more hellish bureaucrats

What do you guys think? Designed by the oh-so-creative Exmi, it is awesome, is it not? Doing a little victory dance at my desk. Btw, it's Exmi's birthday today, so stop by and send some love.

Thanks for all the sympathy on my post yesterday. I actually wrote the attorney a snotty email:

Dear *name*,

As per your email (below), I have opened an electricity account with Eskom in my name for the property, and on Friday went to City of Joburg to do the same with the rates.

I did this specifically because your letter states that I must do so urgently. After sitting there for an hour and a half on a Friday afternoon, I was informed that the rates account is automatically transferred and that I had no reason to be there, so had wasted my time and petrol and still had to drive back home in the peak traffic, all for nothing.

Before I trek to Johannesburg Water today, kindly confirm that I do actually need to be there as I will be highly annoyed to repeat Friday’s performance.

Kind Regards,

Tamara


She replied:

Dear *Mrs Doodles*,

I do apologise for having wasted your time. I do not understand the Council, they instruct us to advise the clients to go and open up accounts and pay deposits and when we do they say it isn’t necessary. I am just following my attorneys instructions to advise the clients.

I have spoken to Petunia at JHB Water on Tel: (011) 870-1500 and she advised that you definitely need to go into JHB Water to open an account and pay a deposit.

Kind regards
*name*


So I went to Joburg Water yesterday. The stupid GPS was having an off day, and despite the fact that I was crawling in traffic, could not keep up with me. Gloria (the GPS, so named by a friend) kept telling me, "turn right" after I'd passed the street and then saying, "recalculating... recalculating..." Eventually, after an hour of listening to Gloria's nonsense, I just found the damn building on my own.

And, of course, it was the wrong building. I had to go to the other Joburg Water building, despite having checked where I should go on the website before setting off in the first place. When I got there, you can guess what happened, right?

me: Hi, I'm here to register a water account for this property.

bureaucrat: Hmmm... *types stuff into the system and ignores me for many minutes* Your complex oversees your water bills, so you don't need to open one or pay a deposit. I can open a sewage account for you, but that's about it.

me: Just shoot me now.

bureaucrat: Ummm... sorry? What?

me: Nothing. Yes, please open a sewage account for me.

And then I sat in traffic home again, which took another hour and a half because there was an accident on the N1 highway. Joy.

But... I cheered myself up by stopping at the shops to pick up gifts for my next two secret Santa things and buying some prawn cocktail from Woolies to enjoy while TSC (who is allergic to shellfish) is away. Yum, yum! Ate it with an avo on my veranda with my cats. Delish.

I must say, I battled to sleep without TSC next to me, but I did enjoy indulging in some seafood and having a few hours to get some unpacking done. That said, I can't wait for him to come home tomorrow.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Weekend catch-up

What a busy weekend it was! Most of it pleasant, though.


The one exception was Friday afternoon. I received a letter from the attorney handling my property transaction on Wed, telling me that I urgently needed to go to the city council to set up rates, electricity and water accounts in my name. So I book Friday afternoon off to do that and TSC and I head to the ugly governmental building in the centre of town (a 30 min drive from us) to go and do the rates and water accounts, seeing we've already done the electricity.


As we arrive, it starts bucketing down with rain. There's no undercover parking in sight, so we make a dash for the entrance and get soaked to the bone. At reception we are told that we are in the wrong building and must go to a building in the next street. Seeing the rain is coming down like cats and dogs, we climb back into the car, drive around the block and park outside the entrance to the correct building. We run inside, now completely wet.


At reception we are told that we are at the wrong entrance. It's the right building, but they won't let us walk through it to get to the department we need to be at, we must run around the outside of the building in the pouring rain and go through the other entrance.


So we do. And we get the correct form, fill it in and stand in line. There are two people at the counters for registration and deposits. There are three people in the queue in front of us. A full hour later, we finally sit down with the man who can help us.


"Why are you here?" he asks, having scanned through our form.
"To register the rates in our name," I say, thinking that he is a useless power-tripping bureaucrat.
"But that happens automatically," he says. "You don't need to be here. You need to be opening your water account."
Seething inwardly, I smile politely and say, "But the attorneys said I needed to be here. Uhh... so where do I open my water account?"
"I don't know why they told you that. You need to go to *address* to open the water account. But it's 15h30, so they'll be closed now."
"Oh, ok. Well... thanks for your help, I guess."


Stupid damn attorney. What a waste of time and petrol!


We then sat in Friday afternoon traffic for an hour and a half to get home. And I have to trek back into town again today to do the water account. And they can't tell me how much the deposit will be. And they don't take debit or credit cards. They only take bank guaranteed cheques or cash. Why must they make everything so difficult? I know, I know... Because they can.


Anyway... Friday night was spent making a last few pieces of jewellery to sell at the Christmas market on Saturday, and I ended up packaging and sorting my wares until 2am. Saturday morning I had to be up early to get to the house and set up my stuff. We didn't have that many people turning up, but I made good money and will now be able to spoil TSC for Christmas. Yay!

Then my folks dropped off some curtains they've donated to us (we're their top charity cause) and after a quick lunch with them, we rushed off to the Bloggirls Christmas event. What fun! It was awesome to meet everyone's partners and kids and to hook up with one or two blog ladies I hadn't met before. We were ridiculously late and it poured with rain, but much fun was had by all and we arrived home to two very hungry kitties at about 10pm.

Sunday after church we spontaneously had a bunch of people around for lunch, which was entertaining amidst all the boxes. I ran around like a headless chicken looking for things like the grater, a vase and my hairdryer to restart the fire when the rain and then hail arrived (this always seems to happen when TSC and I are at a braai). It was lovely to have people in our house for the first time and I can't wait to have a proper house-warming party early next year.


This morning at 2am, TSC left to go to Namibia to renew his blasted driver's licence, and I didn't manage to get back to sleep after that. I would so like to be doing this right now...










But work is beckoning, so I must do some writing. We close at the end of the week for Christmas holidays, so there's lots to be done before then. Have a great week!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Time is like that arcade dance game...

...You know that one where you have to step on the little lights when they light up? They start out slow and then they speed up until there's no way you could stamp on all of them even if you had an extra pair of feet.

It feels like time is like that. When you're a kid, the school holidays feel like they go on forever and ever and eventually you just want to go back so that you can stop being bored. And when you're at varsity, you think you're really busy with exams, lectures, assignments, sports and other activities. And then when you start working a full day, it feels like there's never time to do the things you used to do and like you are the busiest person on earth. And if you move in with someone, you have to take their time into account too. And then if you have kids, you have someone else that you are responsible for 24 hours of the day, seven days a week, and busyness becomes the understatement of the century.

I wonder if the game slows down again as you get older? Because it feels like everyone I talk to just gets busier and busier every year. Or is it just me?

Anyway... enough with the "deep" stuff. Here's a Friday funny for you. Looking forward to seeing those of you who are attending Bloggirls tomorrow. Have a great weekend, all.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Question:

Is it ok that I wrote a press release and some lazy journo copied and pasted it into a publication and put her name down as the author?

That, my friends, just hacks me right off. I know it's merely a press release, but it's not the first time this has happened. Surely it's still my intellectual property? And it's bad journalism!

I don't mind so much if someone posts my press release as it is without naming an author. Yes, it's still lazy, but if that person wants to slack off, and the company I've written about still gets some space, fine.

But, in my opinion, using something I wrote and saying you wrote it is so not ok! Any thoughts on how to handle this? Am I overreacting? Should I ask the lazy little slob to remove her name from my work? She'd probably pull the whole release and I'd get in trouble with Boss Chick for losing our client's space.

Sigh... In other (far more pleasant news), my uncle has recently returned from his trip to Nepal and taken some absolutely AMAZING photos. Check them out here.

K, off to write more press releases for people to plagiarise.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Aha! I just found my camera cable

Which means you all have to suffer through a photo update!

Here's Sapphire, in the crate I was trying to pack. Typical cat ;-)



Marble, also getting in on the action:


Some of our boxes, stacked in our old flat's dining area:


Me, trying to keep things light and fun, among the boxes in my fairy wings in the old apartment:


And, lastly, my beautiful new garden that I am totally and utterly in love with:

Pics of the house itself to follow, once the boxes have been unpacked. We're getting there. You can actually see the floor now.











Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Song lyrics gone wrong

You know that Alanis Morissette song You've Already Won Me Over? The lyrics go," You've already won me over in spite of me, so don't be alarmed if I fall head over heels..."

Well, my brother used to sing along at the top of his lungs with the lyrics, "You've already RUN me over in spite of me, I was alarmed and I fell head over heels..." he was convinced that those where the right words.

And TSC has a habit of making up his own lyrics as he sings along, seeing he can never remember the real ones. And then there was the time my mother made me turn off the radio when Counting Crow's where singing Big Yellow Taxi. They sang, "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot," and my mother thought they were saying," they paved paradise and put up a f***ing lot." What she thought that was, I have no idea.

She also took great offence at the song "Pumping on your Stereo" by Supergrass, which she thought was "humping on your stereo".

But none of those quite match up to the collection of misheard lyrics at www.kissthisguy.com, which include:

  • "Let's pee in the corner. Let's pee on the spotlight," instead of "That's me in the corner, That's me in the spotlight" from R.E.M.'s Losing My Religion
  • "My anus is the centre hole," instead of, "My angel is a centerfold" from Centrefold by the J Geils Band
  • "The algebra has a devil for a sidekick eeeeeee," instead of, "Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me" from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody
  • "Might as well face it; you're a d*ck with a glove," instead of "Might as well face it; you're addicted to love," from Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer. The person says she thought it was a funny song about Michael Jackson
  • "We built this city on the wrong damn road," instead of , "We built this city on rock and roll," from We Built this City by Starship

Got any misheard lyrics you'd like to share?

Monday, 1 December 2008

I feel like I'm 80 today

I'm so stiff from packing, carrying, scrubbing and sweeping that I can't move my right arm above shoulder level. My knee joints ache and by feet are in spasm. If this is what life's going to be like when I get really old, I'm glad I've got a few more decades to get used to the fact. But...

WE ARE IN THE NEW HOUSE!

How flipping awesome! Photos to follow when I find my camera and its cable. Neither are in the fruit bowl, so now I really dunno ;-)

Friday, 28 November 2008

Two more sleeps!

And then I'm in our new house.

I've got butterflies just thinking about it. The next time I blog, it will be as the proud homeowner of my beautiful (but probably still bare) house!

Here's a Friday funny or two for you:


Thursday, 27 November 2008

Things I've learnt about clients

  • They will always turn what should be a simple process into the most convoluted and confusing plan possible.
  • They will not communicate properly with you and then will assume that you can read their minds.
  • They will take forever and ever to answer a question or resolve an issue (or just never respond) and then blame you when a deadline is missed.
  • In fact, they'll blame you for anything and everything that goes wrong, whether it's something work-related or if it's their car that has started sprouting weeds out of the exhaust pipe.
  • They will believe that you have no life aside from serving their every need and will insist on calling you outside of working hours and sometimes on weekends.
  • They will also believe that it is absolutely necessary for you to trek halfway across the world to meet them for 15 minutes to discuss something that could quite easily have been sorted out on the phone.

And then there's the rare one or two clients who will actually stick to boundaries, pay you on time, thank you for your hard work and even treat you like a person. Thank goodness for those clients. Without them I think I'd have jumped off a bridge many moons ago.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

How is it...

...That two people who don't have a proper skincare routine between them can have so many toiletries?!







And this is just the stuff we're keeping. I chucked a whole bag of rubbish. But we're keeping about six tubes of sunblock, various body lotions, a lifetime's supply of anti-mosquito products and a gazillion hotel mini-products for travelling. Then there's the large stash of medication, the first aid kit and many euphemistically-termed "feminine hygiene products" that were also lurking in the bathroom cupboard (not pictured here). We had meds that expired years ago and some that weren't labelled...


Also not pictured are the items that still remain in the bathroom and on my bedside table - perfumes, toothbrushes, body washes, shampoo and conditioner, tissues...

With all of you as my witnesses, I pledge that in the new house my bathroom cupboard will be infinitely more organised. And if you come to visit (I am planning a housewarming for early next year), you must march upstairs to check, k? I'm counting on you, soldier.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

And the winners are...

Sass is the winner of the purple bracelet with matching earrings, and Gill is the winner of the blue chain necklace. Well done, ladies, and thanks for entering.


Please email me at doodlesofajourno@gmail.com with your postal address so that I can get your prize to you.


I have no real news otherwise. I'm in that end of year slump. So I leave you with this:


Monday, 24 November 2008

Has anyone seen the new Bond flick? We saw it on Fri. Very cool, IMO. I reckon Daniel Craig is far better suited to the role than Pierce Brosnan.

The weekend was a good one. Poor TSC had to write varsity entrance exams the whole of Sat, so I got to do some serious packing and sorting. We then watched the rugby, took out a lame DVD and on Sunday, after church, had a yummy lunch at Papachino's with my folks. We spent the evening chilling with a truly awesome family. we know each family member from a different place and time in our lives and it's the first time we've seen all of them together. Good wine, great company and balmy weather made for the best of times.

But now for a much-needed rant... TSC has a Namibian driver's licence. The other day he realises that it's about to expire in a month's time. So he phones the traffic department, speaks to a million-odd people about how to go about converting it to a South african licence and is eventually told that he needs to go to such and such department, which is on the arse end of Joburg and only open on Monday and Tuesday mornings.

Off he goes, ID book and a letter of validation from the Namibian Embassy in hand. These were the only documents he was told to bring. Upon arrival, he is informed that he also needs a copy of our lease. So, being the lovely wife that I am, I dash home, fetch the bloody lease and fax a copy to the department.

Fine, he is told. Come back in a week with R160.00 cash and we'll let you know what needs to happen. So this morning he treks out to the ugly governemnt building once more. As he steps through the door, the woman he spoke with last week says, "oh. It's you. You've been declined."

Why? No reason. Except, apparently, that he should have thought about doing this ages ago. The spiteful cow.

So now he needs to go to the licencing department in Namibia, which is only open on Wednesday, before his licence expires on 15 December, to renew said stupid licence there. With our move happening this weekend and two weeks full of meetings and end of year functions we are committed to after that, you can imagine just how impressed I am at the thought of being left home alone.

The joys of living in Africa.

Friday, 21 November 2008

9 sleeps till D-day!

Yup, only nine more nights in our flat and then it's off to the new house!

TSC and I got seriously stuck into the packing last night and our flat now looks like we are moving, with boxes strewn across the floor and cupboards standing open and empty. Gone are the photos from the walls. They are wrapped in newspaper and packed along with the good wine glasses, my numerous (but somehow still all the wrong shape and size to be useful) vases and most of the contents of the booze cabinet.

The cats are loving the myriad new hiding places we've created for them, and we're getting some serious exercise trying to make it through the living room obstacle-course in one piece. The only room that remains largely untouched is our bathroom, mainly because I'm putting off having to sort out all the crap in the cupboard, which includes oodles of expired meds, half-used cans of deodorant (ones that TSC has bought and then decided he hates the smell of), hotel toiletries that we compulsively hoard for no good reason and a few cat-shredded rolls of loo paper. Fun.



It's funny... I have moved many, many times (I think at last count it was 22 or 23), and every time I forget how much of a pain the last time was. At least this time we're moving into our own house. I have warned TSC that, God-willing, we will be staying put for at least five years as I have no intention of going through this again anytime soon.

Anyway... here's a Friday funny for you. Have a great weekend.

A lesson on how consultants can make a difference in an organisation

Last week, we took some friends to a new restaurant, 'Steve's Place,' and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket.
It seemed a little strange.
When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I observed that he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket.
Then I looked around and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets.
When the waiter came back to serve our soup I inquired,
'Why the spoon?''
'Well, 'he explained, 'the restaurant's owner hired Tata Consulting to revamp all of our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil.
It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour.
If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift.'

As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he replaced it with his spare.
'I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now.'

I was impressed.
I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter's fly.
Looking around, I saw that all of the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies.
So, before he walked off, I asked the waiter, 'Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?'
'Oh, certainly!' Then he lowered his voice.
'Not everyone is so observant.
That consulting firm I mentioned also learned that we can save time in the restroom.
By tying this string to the tip of our you-know-what, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39%.
I asked quietly, 'After you get it out, how do you put it back?'
'Well,' he whispered, 'I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon.

PS: For those who picked up that the Christmas open house where I'm selling my jewellery is on the same day as Bloggirls, please note that they are at different times. So, unlike the case of my birthday picnic, the events will not clash.

I am learning ;-)

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Better pic of the blue necklace prize

Well... maybe it's not that much better. The bronze looks gold. But you get the idea. If you don't know what I'm on about, click here, find out and enter.

What else? I'm selling my jewellery at a Christmas open house on 6 December. There will also be make-up, home-made yumminess and other people's stuff on sale, so if you're in Gauteng and you're keen to pop in, mail me and I'll send you the details - doodlesofajourno@gmail.com.

Yes, today is a day for shamelessly plugging my wares. But it's my only shot at earning some Christmas money, so you'll have to excuse me.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

I have officially started stressing about the move

Less than two weeks to go and I've got stacks of packing left to do. Plus I need to organise the deposits for the water and electricity, change our mailing address and generally get my bum into gear. Eek!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Giveaway

I finally found my camera cable! It was in my fruit bowl. Can you tell I'm in the process of packing to move?

Anyhoo... I decided that seeing I've taken pics of the jewellery I make and sell, I might as well post an image or two and... do a GIVEAWAY!

There are two prizes available:
This one:

And this one (excuse the bad pic):
To win the first (the purple pearly bracelet and a pair of matching earrings), leave a comment on this blog entry. Next Tuesday (25 November) I will put all commenters' names in a hat and draw a winner.

To enter the competition for the second prize (the bronze and blue chain necklace), post a link on your blog to this post to direct your readers to the competition. Tell them to post a comment mentioning that they were referred by you. The person with the most referrals wins.

Postage will be paid by me, so you will need to be prepared to send me your postal address if you do win.
The competition ends at noon on Tuesday 25 November. So if you're a lady who likes shiny objects, or a man who is looking for a shiny object for the lady in his life... please enter ASAP ;-)

Monday, 17 November 2008

Wah! It's the end of the year!

Duh... (I know that's what you're thinking).

But seriously - my boss just put a 2009 diary on my desk and it's hit home. I know I keep saying that I want this year to end and that I need a holiday. That's all true. But at the same time, it's another year of my life gone. And I don't want to be wishing my years away.

What if I got hit by a bus tomorrow and I'd spent today wishing my last day on earth over? Hmmm... makes me think... Now to translate that into some action...

Well, at least if I do get hit by a bus tomorrow I'll have left a semi-phiosophical blog post as my last ;-)

Off to tell TSC how much I love him, put in some hard work and then tonight it's my church's Christmas carols concert. Yay!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Sometimes my life is like a movie...

...Sometimes it's in the "wow - this is such a glamourous moment that it can't be ordinary life" way (very rare those times) and other times it's in the "does this crap really happen in real life" way. This morning was the latter.

Let me back up a little... This week has not been a good one for sleep. Between my cat going missing and TSC having a nasty cough, I really haven't had much shut-eye. So last night I took one of my herbal sleeping pills. Now don't let the word herbal fool you - these babies could knock out an elephant. I crawled into bed at around 11pm and slept blissfully until 02:08, when TSC shook me awake.

"I can't breathe," he wheezed. "I'm going to the hospital. You stay here and sleep."
"Are you mad?" I answered drowsily. "I'm coming with you!"

So we pulled on some clothes and headed to the nearest hospital, which is only five minutes' drive from us. After waiting around for awhile and filling in the necessary paperwork, the nurse took us through to a cubicle. TSC lay on the bed and she did all the usual stuff - took his temperature and his blood pressure, asked him whether he suffers from asthma (he did as a kid), how long he'd been coughing and so on. The doctor came in and listened to his breathing with a stethoscope (sp?) and said he needed to be nebulized and be given a steroid. All was fine until this point, and I was leaning sleepily against the wall, watching proceedings and trying to stay awake.

But as the nurse got out the huge needle (I have a severe phobia of these things), missed TSC's vein the first time and stabbed him a second time, I turned away. I can't watch the needle going into the skin, it freaks me out. The smell of the vapour from the nebulizer was making me feel a little ill, so I stepped out of the cubicle into the corridor to wait for TSC. And all of a sudden I felt really strange - like a bunch of bees inside of me rushed up from my feet to my head all buzzing at once.

And the next thing I remember is waking up on the floor. Everything was blurry and I was surrounded by six or seven hospital staff.

"Are you ok?" TSC's doctor asked.
I blinked a few times, trying to figure out where the hell I was and why I was lying on the floor.
"Just lie still," said someone. "You've had a little fainting episode."
"Oh, ok," I said stupidly. I wanted to vomit.
"You really don't like needles, do you?" said another.
"No, not really." They all laughed gently.

I was picked up by two of them and put on a bed in another cubicle with a blanket over me. The doctor told me to rest and not to get up. But I was suddenly so hot, so I threw the blanket off. The world was spinning. Shutting my eyes seemed to make it a bit better.

After a few minutes the doctor came back in.
"Do you always react to needles like that?" she asked me curiously.
"No, never before," I said. "I haven't slept this week so I took a tranquiliser. I think that, plus the smell of the nebulizer is what hit me."
She didn't seem to question my answer.

Once I felt a bit better, she let me get up. TSC was frantic - he hadn't seen what had happened and had just heard that I'd passed out.

"Are you ok?" I asked him woozily.
"I'm fine. Are YOU ok?" he said.
I didn't feel great, but I nodded. I'd hit my head quite hard and my left elbow even harder. They were both starting to hurt and the nausea and dizziness wouldn't go away.

After what felt like forever, TSC was given some meds. He paid and we left. We got home just after 3.30am and after a quick session of hugging the toilet bowl, I got into bed and slept again.

This morning I feel like the bees are still there, crawling aorund in my head. I feel queasy and dizzy and I still don't have a clue what's wrong. I called my mother (who's a GP) to check out TSC's meds with her (they'd given him an atibiotic and I'm not too keen on taking those unless absolutely necessary) and told her the story. She couldn't believe that the doctor hadn't checked me out properly and taken my blood pressure and blood sugar.

I just feel like such a chump - here I am being all brave and selfless and taking my man to the emergency room, and I'm the one who ends up being carried around by hospital staff! So lame.

Anyway, I can't wait to get today over with and get back into a bed. This has taken forever to type, so I'm going to end it now. Have a great weekend, all.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

This morning's traffic was an interesting experience. It usually is in the rain, but today all the traffic lights in the major road I take to work were off. Nothing strange about that - they've been off for three weeks now. But this morning there were no OUTsurance pointsmen, so traffic was crawling.

I don't think I realised until today how awesome those pointsmen are. OUTsurance is an insurance company in South Africa, and instead of spending money on another big ad campaign, they trained a whole bunch of people to be pointsmen. Now you see them around Jo'burg at all the out-of-order traffic lights, in their luminous OUTsurance shirts, making our lives a bit easier by directing the flow of traffic. That, my friends, is true brand value-add. Everyone loves them and it's really boosted OUTsurance's image with the SA public.
In other news traffic related, there was a MASSIVE road block on my way home yesterday. There were about 10 cop cars pulling people over on both sides of the road, so the traffic was backed up for miles. All those cops made me think of this one time (not at band camp) in Cape Town...
It was my 20th birthday and I was in 1st year at varsity. I had a big birthday bash at Cool Runnings in Observatory that went on quite late. Eventually, everyone went home, but TSC and I weren't tired. He'd arrived in the Cape only a few days before and I wanted to spend a little time with just him. We were in the very early days of our relationship back then. So off we headed to Rhodes Memorial (pic below), which is one of Cape Town's lesser known tourist attractions, in TSC's bakkie (the South African word for a pick-up truck or light delivery vehicle).


We dragged one of his beanbags out of the back and sat on the memorial steps under the stars and chatted for ages. Then it got really cold, so we went and sat in the back of the bakkie (which had a canopy top). It must've been around 3.30am and I couldn't keep my eyes open. I fell asleep on the one beanbag and TSC on the other. Completely innocent - nothing dodgey going on.

We awoke to the sound of tyres on gravel, voices and a torch being shone through the window. It was the police! "Open up! Step out of the vehicle!"

So we did. Me with my bed-head hair and mascara smudges under my eyes. You can imagine what they were thinking - "Kids today!" They obviously thought we'd come to this lonely spot to do the deed. I was mortified. We got a serious dressing down that went something along the lines of:

"Don't you know this is a hijacking hotspot?"

"No, officer."

"This place is closed after 6pm. You shouldn't be in here."

"Sorry, sir. The gate was open. We didn't know."

"Blah blah blah... get the hell out of here."

"Yes, sir." *blush furiously*

Off we went with our tails between our legs - too embarrassed to even look back. We stopped at a filling station to get something to eat and then TSC took me back to the varsity residence to drop me off. But, as we rounded the corner, we saw there was a roadblock. We got pulled over, so we stopped and wound down the window, only to discover... the cops from Roads Memorial! They each gave us a knowing smile, and one asked if we hadn't had enough trouble for one evening. TSC gave a weak laugh, showed them his driver's licence and got me home as quickly as possible before we could meet up with our new friends again.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

I honestly have nothing interesting to write about today, so I'm glad that I've been tagged by Angel to do the unconscious muttering meme, in which I need to respond with the first thing that comes to mind. I love word associations, so...

I say … and you think … ?

In love : TSC (shew! Almost typed his real name in there!)

Be my guest : Disney's Beauty and the Beast (now I've got that song stuck in my skull. Be our guest, be our guest, be our guesssssssssssst!)

Number one : Engen. It's a South African chain of fuel stations and their pay-off line is "With us you are number one". Sad that the first thing I thought of was a petrol station.

Swallowed whole : Jonah, as in the dude that the whale ate.

50 percent : chance of rain. That's how the skies look today.

Made in : China. Like my sunglasses ;-)

Supplement : vitamins that I never ever take.

Right for : us - our new house. Yay!

Endless : drama. Becuase life's like that, y'know ;-)

Ceramic : owls. My grandmother collects them. Just why I have no idea.

I'm not tagging anyone. If you want to do it, please go ahead and then let me know. Standard meme "rules" (hah!) apply.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Daydreaming of my duvet

I didn't get a wink of sleep last night. My dear demented cat, Marble, went missing. He's a house cat and only gets to go out when we're home, so we usually know where he is. He's back now (he arrived at 5am this morning in the pouring rain), but between my lack-of-sleep headache, the miz weather and the flickering flourescent lightbulb, I am twitching like I've been plugged into an electric socket.

My monitor seems to be reaching out to me through the glass and then swirling itself around while flashing a bright white light. Soon it will start singing... "Lucy in the sky with diamonds..."

Hmmm... I guess this is kind of what tripping on LSD feels like. Anyone with experience wish to comment?



Monday, 10 November 2008

Weekend stuff

Don't go watch Body of Lies. Unless you like Middle Eastern political drama / thrillers that think they're smarter than they actually are. But that's just my opinion. I dislike unnecessary scenes of overly graphic violence. And I think this movie was really overrated. DiCaprio is good. Crowe is ok. The real star is Mark Strong, as far as I'm concerned. But enough about that...


On Saturday TSC and I went for a long walk at Northern Farm, which is a huge horse and cattle farm about 20 minutes drive from our place. Aside from the fact that there's a steep entrance fee (for a once-off entry. Multi-passes are cheaper), it's a fantastic place where people go to mountain bike, horse ride and bird watch. It feels like it's a million miles away from the city and it was so good to be outside.


The leaves were a million different shades of green and the Christmas beetles were buzzing a harmony that made it feel like the air particles around us were vibrating with the sound. There was that good, rich earthy smell that you get after the rain (it's been a cool, wet weekend) and a gurgling clear stream. We tramped about for an hour and only saw a lone cyclist ride past us - no-one else. It was soul-refreshing.


Just thinking about it makes the flashing, about-to-die, going-to-give-me-epileptic-fits flourescent lightbulb above my desk even more infuriating.


Have a fantabulous, flickering-flourescent-lighbulb-free week.

PS: I registered to vote. How about the rest of you South Africans?

Friday, 7 November 2008

Is it just me...

...Or is the blogoverse very quiet lately?
Thanks for all the supportive comments on yesterday's post, btw. I love all you blogland friends so much! You rock, guys.
It has indeed been an eventful decade (there's lots I didn't put down there), but on the whole the latter part has been good. There have been rough times, but nowhere near half as rough as many people have experienced.

Yes, I had an eating disorder. So what? It's taught me a lot, as has battling with chemical depression and all that jazz. I am now in a place where I can understand those things and other related illnesses in others much better and be more empathetic. And I can appreciate food and my happy moments like I never could before.

I've been fortunate enough not to have abusive people in my life, to have a wonderful husband, family and friends, and to have a roof over my head and clothes on my back. I am now generally healthy and much more secure in my identity, and I sincerely believe that nothing is wasted in the economy of God - everything happens for a reason.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... there's nothing that special about my story and I'm not looking for sympathy. There are people in this world who are far more deserving - those who have been through tragedies that most of us could never begin to imagine.

If what has happened in my life can somehow speak to you, awesome. I've learnt that the more open about my issues I am, the less power they have over me, and I'm happy to talk about my dark times and answer any questions if it will bring light to someone else. In fact, sometimes you may just have to tell me to shut up. Yesterday's post was very selfish - it's part of my "talk it out" therapy. But it's my blog, k? Kidding.

Please understand that I'm not making light of eating disorders or mental illness. They are conditions that are misunderstood and too many sufferers have to deal with the stigma attached to them. And they are more common than you may think. Of the 80-something girls in my grade at high school, I know of 11 of us who were battling an eating disorder. Those are just the ones I know of (most of whom saw the same pathetic specialist shrink that I did).

If people take one thing away from my experiences I want it to be that it is possible to recover. It's amazing just how resilient people are, and I've watched friends from abusive homes flourish, those with serious mental disorders find happiness and balance and even seen how something as devastating as the loss of a sibling has brought perspective and renewed generosity along with the pain.

Shew... that was a much deeper post than I expected it to be. Those damn alter egos... I guess I'll have to end with something silly - the regular Friday funny. So here it is. Yay for C&H!


Thursday, 6 November 2008

A timeline of Tamara

Po tagged me to do a timeline of my past 10 years, so here goes. It's likely to be an overshare, and probably boring to many of you (my life is really not very thrilling), so I apologise in advance...

1998: I was in grade 8 at a snobby all girls' private school in Durban, getting used to high school and discovering that boys weren't as gross as I'd previously thought.

1999: Grade nine and the first year I went on a Scripture Union Independent Schools (SUIS) camp in the holidays and decided I wanted to be a christian. I met people there that were to be my best friends for the next five years and some of whom I still keep in touch with today.

2000: I went on exchange to a school in Melbourne, Australia. I questioned my new-found faith, got drunk for the first time (on warm cheap white wine out of a box), went to my first formal dance, had my first kiss (in the middle of the dance floor in front of all the teachers. Cringe), had my handbag stolen with my passport, travellers cheques and house keys in it, watched a Grand Prix live and gave my first "we can still be friends" speech. When I got back home, I became bulimic for the first time to lose the weight I'd gained. I fell in love with a boy that I thought I loved unwaveringly for the next three years. Let's call him B-Ball, seeing he's a six foot three basketball player. You must see the absurdity in this, as I'm barely over 1.5m tall.

2001: My parents moved to Pretoria and I went into the boarding house at my school. I loved it and made friends that were like family. I joined a new church and got baptised, but in the shadows my eating disorder spiralled out of control and I was not eating a single meal that I didn't throw up. My school work suffered and I had almost constant blinding headaches and often experienced heart palpitations. I once passed out and hit my head on the bathroom sink, giving myself two black eyes that my friends teased my boyfriend about at our play rehearsals.

When I visited a doctor for a head cold and strep throat, she diagnosed me with chemical depression. I told my folks and they flew me home for the weekend where I admitted my bulimia in tears on the way back to the airport at the end of the weekend. My mother shocked my father and I by telling us she'd suffered from the disease during her varsity years, had tried to commit suicide twice and been admitted to a psychiatric ward for a short time. She had only stopped throwing up when she found out she was pregnant with me. It was one of the hardest conversations of my life - she'd kept that secret for 23 years. We both started seeing therapists and me a dietician too.

2002: I wrote exams, stopped throwing up, refused to see my crappy therapist ever again, struggled to adjust to anti-depressants, lost a very close friend who decided I no longer fit her image, briefly dated a guy seven years older than me, turned 18 and eventually matriculated from high school. The day after the last exam I pierced my nose and dyed my hair with fire-engine red streaks. B-Ball had become my best guy friend and I took him to my matric dance. I went to his the next evening. It was insane - before party, matric dance, after party, breakfast at the beach, sleep for four hours, drive to his home town, start the whole process again. I eventually figured out that I loved him more as a friend than I could ever as a boyfriend and that loving him had become a convenient habit, seeing he was useless with girls and I knew nothing would ever happen between us. So I started dating someone else, Bear (so-called coz he gave me the most gorgeous cuddly bear that I refused to part with for ages afterwards).

2003: I moved to Pretoria and did a gap year at a church along with 80-odd people from diverse backgrounds. I made friends from all over South Africa, as well as the US, New Zealand, Russia and my best friend in the world, Nic from Botswana. Bear and I struggled to keep our long distance relationship going, but he was my lifeline to the real world. Then the church split the 80 of us into groups to head off on a three-week outreach into different parts of Africa. TSC was in my group, as was Noo (who is now one of my close friends and was a bridesmaid at our wedding) and Bees (now TSC's best friend and our best man). I couldn't stand any of them. After three weeks in Zambia, we came back friends and TSC and I grew closer and closer. Eventually, he confessed his feelings for me. I explained that I was in a relationship with Bear and was not available. At the end of the year, he left to go back to the Northern Cape. By that time he was my dearest friend and my heart broke to see him go. I turned my focus to trying to sort stuff out with Bear as we went on holiday with my family.

2004: On New Year's Eve, as I nursed a sick and miserable Bear, TSC called me to say he was coming back to Pretoria and ask if I'd be there. My heart leapt and I knew that this was more than friendship. After our holiday I had realised that things between me and Bear would never work out, and I ended things with him. When TSC arrived in Pretoria, I spent a long, long time explaining that I didn't think it was wise for me to get into a relationship, that I was going to Cape Town and that we should not be more than friends. We got together anyway. And I headed off to varsity, which I loved. I enjoyed studying what I liked and made awesome new friends. I joined a fantastic church and lived in res with my gap year friend, Nic. She supported me and I supported her and we did well. In August, my birthday month, TSC moved to Cape Town. I was terrified he'd stifle me and I'd get bored of him. He didn't and I'm still not bored of him.

2005: Another bad New Year's Eve, I went back to bulimia for the first time in two years. This time, I knew what to do and asked for help. I started the whole process of therapy, happy drugs and dieticians again. This time with TSC by my side. As I withdrew from everyone, even Nic, he put up with my blackest moments and protected me when he could. We had the biggest fights of our relationship, but he hung on. Eventually, I began to heal as my first decent therapist and dietician team taught me healthy ways of coping and my amazing friends kept refusing to drop me. I celebrated my 21st birthday with all my friends and family. It was a milestone.

I decided what I wanted to do and chose to pursue my writing. When TSC went to work one day and discovered the project manager (who chased him away with a gun) had spent the entire budget on gambling and booze, I was actually in a position to support him and return his kindness to me through his roughest months of self-doubt and financial stress.

2006: In a much better space, I threw myself into my varisty work and tutored school kids on the side. I ran a church cell group, began to socialise again and decided that TSC was the man I wanted to marry. We got engaged. We had a hectic car accident where we were hit by a speeding fire engine and the car flipped, but we both came out just fine. I wrote my exams and panned the wedding in between and at the end of the year graduated. On 16 December, we got married in the garden on a beautiful wine farm. It was perfect. Our honeymoon to Mpumalanga was a fairytale too.

2007: Our first New Year as a married couple was spent with friends and was such fun. Then we moved into my tiny bachelor flat (47 square metres) and lived together for the first time. His parents came to Cape Town over that period and we fought like cat and dog as family politics came into play and we struggled to share our space and time. I started a copywriting job at an ad agency and learnt to juggle the cooking and cleaning with a full day's work. Eventually, we moved into a bigger flat. it turned out to be a disaster and would flood frequently. But we got our two little kitties and my heart melted for them.

TSC got offered a job in JHB. We decided to move. I worried that we'd be too close to my family and that we were doing the wrong thing. I hated the first three months - we knew nobody, the lifestyle was so different and I missed the natural beauty of the Cape.

But I got amazing work experience doing what I'd always wanted to do - writing - and my relationship with my family improved immeasurably. We joined a church that I fell totally and completely in love with - a church that is relevant and real and exciting to be part of - and we made the effort to meet people. It paid off. I started this blog and met the most incredible people throught the interwebs. I can't imagine not blogging anymore.

2008: I was offered a job at the company where I now work, which gives me the opportunity to freelance. It's tough, but (as Nic's mom would say) it builds character and takes me a step closer to my dreams. TSC decided to study and we bought a house. We began leading our own life group for church (a home cell) and were asked to be part of the leadership team for the new service our church will be staring in Monte Casino next year. We realised how awesome life is at our joint birhtday picnic when we looked around us and saw that we have a life in Jo'burg.

And that, in a nutshell, is me over the last decade. Right, I'd love you all to do this tag, because I think it's therapeutic and I want to read your answers. But seeing I know that's not going to happen, please just let me know if you do decide to to this one. I am a voyeur and want to know all about you!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Feel my pain...

Congrats to Obama. I'm looking forward to seeing where things go from here.

I had my first-ever migraine yesterday. It was crap. I always thought people were exaggerating. Like, how bad can a headache be? Bad, I tell you. Reeeeeeaalllllly bad. I felt like a bee got inside my head and stung me all over my brain, which then swelled to the size of a lifeboat. I couldn't even see straight. Poor TSC was distraught - he hates it when he can't fix my problems ;-)

Thankfully it seems to have subsided and I just have a dull throbbing left over. Looking at the PC screen probably isn't helping.

At least the migraine wasn't the result of something stupid I did. Usually when I'm in pain it's because I've either tripped over something, stuck my hand on something really hot (like the iron when I was a kid. I wanted to see if it was hot. It was) or fallen down a hole / stairs / hill etc...

Sometimes it's just my pride that gets hurt, like the time I was at a larny dance / ball thing with an ex-boyfriend who was trying to convince me that we should still be together, wearing a beautiful long white lacey skirt with a train. You know what happened, right? Someone pulled his chair out onto my train as I was walking onto the dance floor and I fell flat on my ass with my feet in the air. Very dignified. You can bet I was blushing to my elbows. Well, at least the ex gave up the chase!

Then there was the time... I was at boarding school, in my cubicle. We each had a cubicle with a bed, cupboard and desk in it. The entrance was just covered with a flimsy curtain. So when you walked down the passage between the two rows of cubicles, you could often catch a glimpse of someone through the chink in the curtain. On this occasion, I had just taken a shower and was standing wrapped in my luminous green towel, looking for my hairbrush (which is always, ALWAYS escaping me, even today). I had my radio on and a catchy tune came on just as I found the brush and picked it up. So I did what any girl would do and started singing into my "microphone", shaking my ass and throwing some serious dance moves as I lip-synched along.

Little did I realise that there was an audience of about five girls watching me through the gap in my stupid curtain. If my towel had fallen off at that moment, I'm sure I would have been blushing way past my elbows!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Of deckchairs and space invaders

Yesterday we watched Danny Deckchair. Apparently it's on Dstv at the moment too. We rented from the local DVD store and I'm so glad we did. I LOVE Australian humour (The Dish and Strictly Ballroom are two great examples), but often other people don't seem to enjoy it as much as I do. Like TSC for example. But then he likes Steven Seagal films. 'Nuff said.


Anyway... this movie was great. One of those feel-good, go-hug-the-world-now kind of flicks. And Rhys Ifans (Spike, the mad Welshman from Notting Hill) was just brilliant as Danny, the man who ties a whole whack of hydrogen balloons to his deckchair and takes off for a bit (literally). It put us both in a great mood. Watch it, people. It's awesome. But I take no responsibility if you don't enjoy it. It just means you have no taste ;-) KIDDING!


Argh... Today I'm wearing magnetic earrings. Well, I was until two minutes ago. Have you ever tried them? The little buggers hurt like hell! The pretty part (mine is a picture of a black strawberry on a sliver disc) goes in front of your ear and has a little magnet stuck to the back of it. The other little magnet part goes behind your ear, where it proceeds to press itself into your earlobe with great force, giving you sore red ears that detract from the pretty earrings and making you look like you just got caught by your old headmistress doing something very naughty. Yup... I look like I'm blushing to my ears. Althoug when I'm REALLY embarrassed, I blush right down to my elbows.


Needless to say, I will not be wearing these again anytime soon.


A classic C&H to brighten your Tuesday:

Monday, 3 November 2008

A happy ending to the weekend

It wasn't a great weekend, mainly because (here comes an overshare) as well as the PMS that plagued me, I have another medical condition that seems to act in tandem with said evil PMS. I won't go into details, but basically, for five days of every month, it feels like my body is trying to murder me from the inside in three different ways at once. Not fun. Unless you're a masochist. Clearly I'm not.

On Saturday, TSC and I had planned to go to Dragon City, the sprawling Chinese market in the centre of town, to check out the cheap wares and let me stock up on some beads to make jewellery as Christmas gifts. The place is three storeys high and is crammed full of tiny, overcrowded, hot stalls manned by cross non-English speaking salespeople. It's kind of like this so-called mall is themed "hell" (just without the fire and brimstone. What is brimstone anyway?! I've always wondered). Sidetracking...

There is NO ventilation at Dragon City, so as you climb the stairs to the next floor, you get into the stale, hot, smelly air that's hanging around near the top of the building like a foul cloud of swamp gas. Lovely, hey? We also happened to be there over pay weekend and at lunch time so it was really, REALLY busy and most of the shop owners were cooking lunch on little gas stoves, adding to the heat and smell.

Needless to say, it made me feel a gazillion times worse than I had been feeling, so I spent the rest of the day lying on the couch and being thoroughly miserable (I am very talented at this, you can ask TSC. I've made it into an art form). So in the end I missed Angel and Glug's party, which SUX :-( It looks like it was such fun. And I had the coolest costume planned. Grrr...

Sunday I did some web copy writing work and interviewed someone for a story I'm writing, and then... it was time for the event of the year, the only sport worth watching, the race of the season, the last track on the calendar... The Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix! *drums, trumpets etc*

And it did not disappoint. Now I know that most of you think that F1 is just a bunch of noisy cars going around the track, but it's not. Hear me out...

Aside from being the pinnacle of motoring technology and the most expensive sport in the world, F1 is a test of both man and machine, working together to achieve not only speed but reliability and accuracy. It's a strategy game where everything from the amount of fuel in the car to the type of tyres and the length of a pitstop can make or break a race. And, in the case of yesterday's event, a championship.

Picture the scene as you would a movie: the crowds are cheering for the man in red - it's his home race and they love him. In the shadows stands his arch rival in white and orange. He's tired - it's been a long year of politics and unfair penalities, and although he's seven points in the lead and only needs to finish fifth to win the driver's championship, he remembers the previous year, where he also looked set to win but made a wrong choice and watched his dream disintegrate in front of his eyes. He knows he needs to play it safe now, but that goes against his racer's instinct.

As the teams line up to start the race, the rain comes down in buckets. The race start is postponed to give the crews a chance to put the wet tyres onto the cars so that they don't spin out of control. Eventually the race begins. The red driver speeds ahead and doesn't make a single mistake. He looks like he is controlling the race. He's perfect.

Behind him, in fifth place, his rival is exercising his self-control and driving conservatively, much as he hates it. He just needs to hang onto this place... He just needs to hang onto this place...

Pitstops come and go, pulses quicken and then slow again. As the race draws to its end, the momentum is building. Who will win the championship? Will anyone get in the way?

A few laps before the end of the race, with only minutes to go, the rain sets in again. What to do?! Should the drivers hang on and try to finish on their dry tyres and risk skidding off the wet track and crashing? Or should they pit and change to wet tyres and risk losing valuable time and places?!

Cut to the pit lane. The crews are coming out! There's a buzz of activity and the adrenaline is pumping. The leaders are coming in! 10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1... And they're out again! Who's in front? Have the places changed? What's going on? Wait... one of the top runners is still on dry tyres... and he's going faster than the man in orange and white!

Will he hang onto fifth place? No! NO! He has been overtaken by a navy car! Where did he come from? The championship must be lost. But there's two laps to go... Will something change? One lap to go... The last lap has started... all is surely lost for the man in orange and white, now in sixth place?

The last corner comes up. The man in red is celebrating already as he crosses the finish line. But wait, the dry tyre car is slowing down... the man in navy overtakes him. The man in orange and white too! He's won the championship! He's won! He punches the air in excitement and relief!

The man in red begins to cry. He did everything perfectly. He won the race! How could he have lost the championship? He climbs onto the podium, wiping tears from his cheeks. His home crowd roars - he's still their hero. They love him all the more... Next year. Next year he'll do it, he tells himself.

Honestly. That's how it happened. Like a flipping Hollywood film. It could not have been more dramatic. And now it's over until March next year. Phew... I don't think my heart could have handled any more!

Have a fab week, darlinks!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Celebrations

Today is my first blogoversary. Yup... exactly one year ago I began this blog adventure. It has been supremely awesome thus far.

This was my first ever post.

I don't think I realised that it was Halloween when I wrote that, but it does make the date easier to remember now.

Here's a Halloween pic for you - what happens when pumpkins get pissed. Have a fab weekend.


Thursday, 30 October 2008

Doing the right thing is hard

On Tuesday we had to do something very sad.

As I think I've mentioned, the abusive neighbours had two cats that they seemed to look after, once upon a time. Then they kicked them both out the house. The poor animals were so confused. And the one was really sick. As in it couldn't breathe properly, was covered in scabs, had puss streaming out of its nose and eyes and was a walking bag of bones. The neighbour man told me that it had FIV (the feline version of HIV), which meant that not only would it not get better, but it might infect other cats.

So, as you've probably guessed by now, we took the poor thing to the SPCA and had it put down. It was the right thing to do, but it was really, really hard. I sat in the boot of my hatchback car, with the cat in an old laundry hamper. It struggled to breathe so much that every breath sounded like someone in the last stages of emphysema. And yet, even as it sat there, pitifully spewing mucous out of every orifice (sorry, that was graphic), it tried to cuddle up to my hand to get some love. My heart broke.

I bawled my eyes out the entire way there. Not because the cat was being put down, but because there are people in the world like my neighbours who can beat their child black and blue in the face and let the family pet get the point where it is needlessly enduring ongoing suffering.

Surely when you have children or you take on a pet you sign up for responsibility?

Anyway, by the time we got to the SPCA I had mascara smeared all over my face and could barely get the words out to explain to the SPCA staff what the situation was. All I could hear was that poor cat's laboured breathing. The lady told me that there was nothing we could do; it was too late for him. I knew that, but it was still really hard to know that the cat's last moments were spent in pain that could have been avoided.

Ok... waiting for tears to clear... sorry. I'm starting to think that this post was a bad idea.

But my point... Last night, the horrible man comes to our flat and asks if we've seen the cat. Why? Certainly not because he cares for it. He shouted at our other neighbours for trying to feed it once. He wants to know where it is because it's his. He wants to know where it is for the same reason he doesn't want his kid to be taken away - becuase he has power and control over it.

He disgusts me.

The kid's grandparents have arranged to fly out from the Ukraine to some and get him. I'm not sure what the legal process is, but I can't wait until that child is out of the sphere of his influence.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Meme

TSC did not sleep well last night. Which means that I did not sleep at all last night, between his tossing and turning, kicking me, trying to cuddle with me (it's flipping hot here at the moment so spooning is not an option) and generally being a pain in the bum. Plus, I am not feeling well. My stomach does not appreciate the KFC I fed it yesterday at all.

As such, my creativity today is faring as well as the world economy and I cannot think of anything vaguely witty or interesting to post about. So I'll leave you with another random meme I was tagged to do. Like most others, you have to write random facts about yourself and, seeing I have a never-ending store of randomness, I don't mind if I've done it before. So here goes:

RULES:
1. Link to the person that tagged you
That would be Sass

2. Post the rules on your blog
Done

3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
  • My name means palm tree in Hebrew. Go figure.
  • I don't do designer labels or brands. I'd rather buy five cheap shirts that I can chuck out when I'm bored with them than one designer item that will cost a fortune and that I'll probably stain the first time I wear it. I'm the ultimate bargain shopper.
  • I have a dream of having a room in my house with triple volume ceilings and padded walls with a floor made entirely of a big trampoline. Is that weird? Yup, I'm sure it is. But seriously, how COOL would that be?
  • I like health foods. Not all of them, but I prefer seed bread to the white store-bought bread, which doesn't taste like anything. I can't handle full cream milk - it's too rich for me. And I'd take a chicken salad over a burger any day of the week. I guess I was brought up eating relatively healthily and so that's what I'm used to. TSC is the complete opposite and it was honestly one of the biggest areas we struggled with when we started dating.
  • I prefer even numbers to odd ones. Unless the odd number is a multiple of five. Those are ok too. My radio volume is always set on an even number or a number ending with five and when I need to do something, for example get up from my desk and print photocopies, I wait until the time on my desktop is on an even number or a five. So not 9.43, but 9.45. Can anyone say OCD?

4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs

No. I respectfully disobey this one. If you want to do this, please go ahead and let me know. But I'm not tagging this time.

5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

As above

6. Let your tagged peops know once your entry is UP.

As above

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Explanation and stuff

So I was bleak yesterday.

See, I got an email from an ex-colleague, L, who was very upset with me because she thought I'd stolen her story idea. I'd also be upset if I thought someone had hijacked my article proposition, but the truth is that we both happened to suggest the same person as a source for two very different stories. It's more complicated than that, but I'd rather not get into it because it will just bore you and have me in tears.

Anyway, I admire this ex-colleague and was gutted to discover she was cross and hurt because of me, especially seeing I honestly had no idea she would be offended. It came as a huge, out of the blue shock, especially because she informed me that my ex-boss is also hurt and offended. I felt like the time I came flying off my bike on a steep hill, landed on my back on the road and winded myself. My worst feeling in the world is disappointing someone, especially when it's someone I respect and I haven't even known that I'm hurting him or her.

On top of that, my two-year old nephew has been in hospital for a few days with a hectically high temperature. He was fitting and swallowing his tongue, but doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong, even after lumbar punctures and loads of blood tests. Thankfully he's out now and is doing much better, but his parents have driven him to Bloem to have him checked out by a specialist who also doesn't know what's been going on. The conclusion seems to be that it was a virus, so hopefully it's over and gone now.

And then I realised that the company where I work probably won't give us anything extra for Christmas, which means I won't be able to spoil TSC for our anniversary or go away aside from our holiday with my in-laws. Joy.

Then I discovered that I needed to drive out to one of our clients in Meyerton (about an hour and a half's drive) this morning, which hacked me right off, seeing petrol costs a flippin fortune.

But, after arriving home and crying myself to sleep, I awoke to find TSC at home. He cuddled me and took me out for sushi before our church meeting and made me feel so much better. And then I realised that although this feud with L still hurts like hell, my problems could be infinitely worse and that I am blessed to have such an amazing husband, two crazy cats, a wonderful family, fantastic friends and many other good things in my life.

And then the trip today ended up being a really nice break from the office and a fantastic chance to bond with my new colleague, let's call her Icing (seeing she loves nothing better than to frost a cake).

And then I got this in my inbox, which just made me smile:

I've seen it before, but I'm a twisted freak and this never fails to get a giggle out of me.
See y'all tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have time to catch up on my blog reading from today.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Friday, 24 October 2008

Friday funny and new travel site

The other day I got an email from a lady named Julie who lives in San Francisco. I've never met her or chatted to her before, but she somehow came across my blog and saw that I live in Johannesburg. So she asked me to test out the new travel recommendations site her company is building, http://www.nextstop.com/ along with a range of other people across the globe.

I think it's really cool and have added a couple of my own local recommendations. She says that if people like the site and want to contibute, they should sign up to request an account. They'll then be sent an invitatation to add recommendations.

South Africa is not yet listed as one of the travel destinations on the site as there are not enough recommendations. I plan to change that. Care to join me? She's looking for people from all over the world, though. So wherever you are... go have a look.

And for those of you that aren't interested in the travel site, here's some Friday funnies for you:








Thursday, 23 October 2008

Gift of the gab / gibberish

Wow. Today has been a solidly unproductive day as yet. My motivation, like the Rand (the South African currency for you non-locals), has dipped severely this week.

The thing about working in an office full of chicks is that there is A LOT of talking that happens. Usually we natter about fashion, movies and our men as we make tea or print out invoices or whatever. But today we spent an hour an a half all sitting in Boss Chick's office having a loooong conversation together. Very bonding, I must say.

So what were we talking about? The men who read this will probably guess 'sex, naked pillow fighting, or last night's television shows'. The women will probably guess, 'how pathetic men are, plans for the weekend, or how amazing the ghd is' (I know Caz has got my back on that last one).

But no... we discussed politics, economics and human nature. I'm quite impressed with us. Granted, we're all probably spouting nonsense, but as PR chicks, that's what we're supposed to do, right? Along with wearing killer heels and crisis control.

Speaking of which... time to get back to work. I have press releases to write and a world to save. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention gross exaggeration as part of the job description ;-) Just kidding.

Have a good Thursday, people.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Twisted intertubes...

I hate the internet today. Ours keeps going down and I am tired of retyping what I was writing, so this is all you're getting for today (if the sadistic line even lets me publish this)...

The difference between Nigella Lawson's way and the real woman's way:

1. Nigella's Way
Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice-cream drips .
The Real Woman's Way
Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Goodness sake. You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it anyway.

2. Nigella's Way
To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.
The Real Woman's Way
Buy Smash and keep it in the cupboard for up to a year.

3. Nigella's Way
When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking tin, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won't be any white mess on the outside of the cake.
The Real Woman's Way
Spar sell cakes. They even do decorated versions.

4. Nigella's Way
If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a potato slice.
The Real Woman's Way
If you over salt a dish while you are cooking, that's tough!. Please recite with me the Real Woman's motto: "I made it and you will eat it and I don't care how bad it tastes."

5. Nigella's Way
Wrap celery in aluminium foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks
The Real Woman's Way
It could keep forever. Who eats it?

6. Nigella's Way
Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
The Real Woman's Way
Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and drop it in 8 ounces of vodka : Drink the vodka. You might still have the headache, but you won't care!

7. Nigella's Way
If you have a problem opening jars, try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
The Real Woman's Way
Why do I have a man?

8. Nigella's Way
Freeze leftover wine into ice cubes for future use in casseroles
The Real Woman's Way
left over wine???? Helllloo

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Personal needs analysis

I suggested to Po that she make this post into a meme, and she did. And then she tagged me and I didn't do it. Shock, horror!

But now I am making amends for my evil ways and lack of blogging etiquette and giving some fellow bloggers their own personal needs analysis, compliments of Google. If I've mentioned you, you are tagged to play too. Simple choose five or more bloggers and ask Google what they need then post it.

Elizabeth needs: protection and to be loved

Slyde needs: to be the number one lynch and he needs a drink

Gill needs: your support and help

Angel needs: a ride and to be hired

Shania needs: a purebred to get over that mutt (?!?!) and she needs her fans again

Monday, 20 October 2008

Catch-up

Shooby-doo, it's been awhile. Thursday last week turned into a busy, frantic day as I scrambled to get everything done so that I could have Friday off. And then we were in the bush on Friday, so no posting either.

Back now and wishing I could have had a longer stay. It was a great weekend and I promise to give you some details soon, along with one or two of the squillions of photos I took of the kudus that were hanging out around our cabin.

As it's a Monday morning and I have catching up to do on Friday's emails etc, here are the highlights:
  • Switching my mobile off for two whole days.
  • Learning to play poker (Texas Hold'em) by candlelight when the power went off.
  • Watching an amazing electrical storm sweep over the bone-dry bushveld.
  • Seeing the green shoots already appearing the next morning.
  • Visiting a local holiday resort and swimming in the heated swimming pool.
  • Not having TV in the house for the whole weekend.
  • Having breakfast at the local pub and watching Lewis Hamilton win the Grand Prix for McLaren, putting himself 7 points in the lead for the driver's championship.
  • Getting home yesterday and being able to sleep in our queen-size bed again after three nights in the two single beds pushed together.
  • Great 'couple' time.
  • Enjoying a bottle of ice-cold Rose wine on a blisteringly hot afternoon.

Right... off to do emails now.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Things are happening

Have I told you about our Russian trustee? Let's call her Nina (becuase the only other Russian woman I know is called Nina).

She knows the grandmother of the little boy being abused by our neighbours. The grandmother lives in the Ukraine and phones Nina to check up on her grandchild as the parents won't let her speak to the boy himself.

I have told Nina about what's been happening as I needed to get the parents' telephone numbers from her. She is very distressed about it, and last night, when the boy's grandfather called, she told him the latest developments (i.e. nothing has been done because nobody seems to want to help). He broke down in tears and sobbed, especially when Nina told him she'd spoken to the boy and asked him if he wanted to go home to the Ukraine to his grandparents. He answered quietly, "Yes. Please!"

So the grandfather called the Ukranian embassy in Pretoria, and they are sending someone to come and meet the boy and talk to him tomorrow morning at 9am, to try and get him returned to his grandparents. Nina would like TSC and I to be there as witnesses. I don't think I'll be able to be there, but TSC will.

Let's hope something happens. Frankly, the whole thing scares me. The boy's father has been yelling at Nina and threatening her. I would like to see him behind bars.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Quick post

Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday. It was a typical Monday - lots of activity and stress, not so much result ;-)

Whew... Still feel like I'm in recovery from the weekend. Who knew a church conference could take so much out of you! We were on ushering duty on Friday night and Sunday late service, saw my mother in law on Saturday for lunch between the morning and evening conference sessions and had people over for lunch on Sunday after conference. Busy, busy, busy... i didn't get a chance to go to Taste of Joburg, but I had a great weekend anyway. Even lunch with my MIL was pleasant. Will wonders never cease?

I'm heading off to the bush on Thursday evening for a weekend away with our awesome friends (the ones who have just discovered they're pregnant). Can't wait! It will be like a mini holiday. It just means I need to get this week's work done pronto, so off I go again to try and be diligent!