Friday, 31 July 2009


Do you ever get those sudden memory flashes that aren't really related to a specific memory, but to a time or a place in your life?

I so often smell something, hear a certain sound or even see a shape or colour that transports me somewhere or sometime else. For example, if I hear the sound of the icecream van with its tinkly music driving through the suburbs, I am taken back to when my brother and I (aged about five and nine respectively) would beg my mom for money, jump on our bikes and cycle madly through our neighbourhood, stopping occasionally to try and hear which direction the tinkle was coming from.

Or if I smell ceylon tea, my memory is of sitting with my grandparents on their bed, early in the morning when I was very young on my first away-from-home-on-my-own trip to them. They would make tea at about 6am every morning before they got ready for the day and I would cuddle with them on their creaky old bed, surrounded my huge floral-patterned pillow, carefully sipping my weak, sweet tea out of a proper china teacup, which made me feel very grown up. My gran has been gone for almost 15 years now, but it's still one of my strongest memories of her.

There are other associations I have that I can't explain very well. A certain rich afternoon light always reminds me of my exchange in Melbourne, Australia, when I was in high school, and I'm not sure why that is.

Sometimes the slightest things that I don't even really notice consciously will give me what I call the "holiday feeling". Do you know the one? When you feel all excited with butterflies in your tummy, as though you are in some exotic foreign place on an adventure, but for no real reason?

I'm trying so hard to pin this down and make it make sense to myself (and perhaps you), but it's so difficult to explain. This morning, for instance, I was looking through my LOLcat newsletter (always a good way to start the day) and I saw this photo:

And all of a sudden a memory of our family trip to Bosnia came to me and I felt exactly how I felt on that day, yet I can't explain what it was in the photo that spoke to that memory. Perhaps the building in the background reminded my subconscious of something there? I'm not sure, but it had nothing to do with the cats - the subject of the photo.

*Sigh* I'm very up in the air in my posts at the moment. Sorry. Exploring the inside of my head a bit, I guess. It's sometimes more interesting in there than out in the real world of writing press releases and filling in tax forms.

Have a good weekend, y'all. I plan to ;-)

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Sometimes I wonder why I watch F1

Honestly! I mean, it's fabulously exciting (and don't even think of giving me the "it's just noisy cars going round a track" line if you've ever watched a bloody five-day cricket match, which should be listed as the dictionary definition of boring). But the shenanigans that go on in my sport are enough to make even the Ice Man (Kimi Raikkonen) grimace once in awhile.

It's like a Hollywood film, with an ancient dictator (played to perfection by Max Mosely, although closely contested by Bernie Ecklestein) controlling the reins of the world's most lucrative sport. The hero is played by either the wounded Massa, the champion rookie Hamilton (who has returned to glory), the no-longer-retired Schumacher (yes, he has returned in a red Ferrari cape to "save the day/race" in Massa's place, German Superman style) or the only-just-beginning-to-battle Button / Brawn team... it all depends on your point of view, really.

Then there is the battle of wills between FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) and the FIA (the sport's governing body)... come now, keep up with the abbreviations... and the exit of the BMW-Sauber team, which announced yesterday that it is quitting the sport, much to the dismay of its drivers (Heidfeld admitted it was a total shock to him).

Drama drama drama...

But you know what? That's the way they like it. That's how they all engineer it. Take, for example, the whole "Return of the Schumacher" saga. On Tuesday, the story titled "Manager rules out Schumi F1 return" ran, in which the German's manager Willi Weber told the Daily Mail, "Whoever sits in the car at the next race in Valencia, it will not be Michael Schumacher. I am not 100 per cent sure; I am 200 per cent sure."

He continued to dig himself a hole saying, "The pressure on him would be huge. He would be expected to win, but he has not driven this car. When Michael was racing he would get as close to perfection as possible. In this case, it would not be perfection; it would be a gamble - and that's not Michael's style."

Hardy har har... On Wednesday, not even 24 hours later, the headlines screamed "Schumi returns to F1".

On his official website, ze mighty man wrote, "The most important thing first: thank God, all the news concerning Felipe is positive. I wish him all the best again." He then went on, "I met with [team principal] Stefano Domenicali and [Ferrari chairman] Luca di Montezemolo this afternoon and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take Felipe’s place... Although it is true that the Formula 1 chapter of my life has been closed completely and for a long while, it is also true that out of loyalty to the team I cannot ignore the unfortunate situation."

It's all a grand parade, this F1 thing, isn't it? A spectacle, a circus, a farce in which we, the fans, are managed by the experienced F1 crew of actors and directors. Smoke, mirrors and the smell of burnt rubber on the track.

Did he actually ever believe he wouldn't consider a return, or has that been the very-well-managed-in-terms-of-media-hype plan all along? And does it really matter?

I may as well start watching that WWE wrestling crap.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

2nd post for the day (in which I over-think)

For the first time ever I am doing two posts on one day. The one below this one is just a boring diary-of-Tamara catch-up, which is probably tedious reading but is more for my therapy than your reading pleasure. So there. *pulls tongue*

This post though... is just something I've been thinking about for ages: Is my blogging bad for my writing?

I think it was Boldly Benny who has looked at this subject before, but it's something that's been bugging me. I'm someone who writes for a living and I keep wondering whether my self-indulgent rambling impacts on my "proper" writing (for lack of a better term) by teaching me bad habits.

I mean, essentially I write whatever I like here (although I do sometimes censor myself to keep anyone from getting in trouble or to protect myself and those I love), while my other writing has to be structured for a specific purpose. I can't just waffle about my feelings for a big financial story, for example. Or inject the slang words I blog with into web copy for a technical company (I have recently realised how often I use the word "awesome" as a description and that I tend to start sentences with "so").

On the other hand (and, proving my point, I am essentially "thinking out loud" or writing as I think here), maybe this blog allows me to clear my head and my heart to be focused on my pays-my-salary writing. Maybe writing this online diary of sorts (that usefully acts as an I-can't-lose-these-notes-coz-they're-not-on-paper record of things for me) gives me the outlet I need. I have always said it's my therapy.

I don't think I could consider giving blogging up. I have met such cool people through it and it really does help me to keep my head straight. I just sometimes find myself reading other people's blogs and admiring their writing style and thinking, "I should use my blog to develop my style - I should write properly like they do."

And yet, some of the blogs I read are on my list not for the writing but for the realness, which teaches me something else completely. Something that's not academic or even something I could put in words, but that benefits me enormously. Something about the human spirit - about laughing, sharing, sorrow and connection.

I don't know what I'm on about anymore. Give me your thoughts, please! They may be more coherent.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Assorted catch-up

Sorry for the little break in blogging transmission. I am just snowed under at the moment.

Thanks to those of you who asked about how Friday's meeting and the weekend went. The meeting seemed to go well, although the client is one of those who's not very good at the things that are supposed to happen after the meeting - sending me the necessary info, contact details etc, which is a bit frustrating.

The weekend was packed, but fun. On Friday night we went out to one of my best restaurants in Joburg with some neighbours we met at the AGM of the complex where we live. Ghazal's is a place that started out small and has become incredibly well known for their excellent Northern Indian cuisine and good service. You have to book to get a spot there on any night of the week. The restaurant has expanded a few times and now occupies practically half of the block of shops it's in. I'm sure world domination is next. And I wouldn't mind if it came with their curry ;-)

We so enjoyed getting to know the much-older couples we ate out with, Peter and Sandie (in their 60s) and Paddy and Vicki (in their 50s). We had some good red wine and the excellent food (TSC had the Lamb JaL Frezi and I had the Chicken Makhnie) and talked well into the evening. The six of us decided to make this a regular event, and TSC and I will host a braai (BBQ) for the next dinner so that he can show them "how to braai their meat properly". Hehehe...

Saturday was spent with the lovely Ruby, who got dragged to Pretoria with us, where we unexpectedly ran into two of my favourite people - Angel and Glug. It was nice to see them, even for a few minutes. After that, we took Ruby to the Irene Village Market, where we had brunch (homemade pies for TSC and I and a vetkoek for Rubyshoes) and oohed and ahhed over the lovely things on sale. Later we watched the rugby together with some red wine and TSC let Ruby and I play bloggers catch-up, which was fun.

On Sunday we were up early to get some work done before my folks arrived. TSC worked on his varsity stuff and I uploaded media coverage for the client whose data capturing I do. Fun fun. But then my parents and brother arrived (in their separate cars) and we had a great time together.

I had made a traditional Sunday lunch: roast leg of lamb, roast veggies (with my favourite chilli, lime and coriander salt), rice and gravy. We had blueberry cheesecake icecream for dessert, with fresh fruit salad and hot chocolate pudding. Yum! It all turned out very well.

My dad, TSC and I watched the F! Grand Prix together (great race for our McLaren team, although the weekend was marred by Massa's nasty accident) while my brother messed around with his car's brakes, which weren't working well. My mom had a catnap in the sunshine.

When we decided to take a walk around the complex, my brother said he was leaving to visit his girlfriend (not a walker, my brother). He got in the car and it started making a weird noise. I also pointed out that it was leaking something all over my driveway, which turned out to be brake fluid. Not good.

Deciding that it was not safe to drive the car, my folks took my brother in their car and left his car in our driveway. We rushed off to church to be there by 5.20pm to help one of our welcome teams that was short of people. We had to take the church trailer with us, which is currently being stored in our driveway as we have to transport the sound equipment to a few venues this week.

That meant that we had to stay for both services to pack up the sound stuff afterwards. We only got home at 10.30pm! So much for working on my freelance stuff after church. At least we got to have a quick cuppa between services with Kim and Brett, one of the nicest couples we've met in Joburg.

Monday was just as packed, but TSC and I had to take time out in the afternoon to get home and help my mom load my brother's car onto a rented car trailer to take it back to Pretoria to be fixed. We live in a cul de sace with a tiny turning circle at the end, so getting the massive trailer and bakkie (truck / utility vehicle) turned around was such a pain, nevermind that the trailer was a piece of crap and none of its parts worked properly (for example, the loop that you're supposed to thread the car straps through to secure it on the trailer was broken).

I worked till 11 on Mon night to catch up and then couldn't sleep becuase my mind was in work mode. Tuesday was just as hectic. And I have betwenn 20 and 30 people coming to my house tonight for a bring and braai life group social. Eeep!

I was planning a big ladies' thing for this Sat, but I actually decided not to contact anyone about it. I want Saturday to myself (TSC is away on church mens' camp) to breathe a bit.

Friday, 24 July 2009


Yay! Yay! Yay!

I feel as though this week has dragged its heels like a stubborn five-year old on his way to a bath. But at last, the end has come.

Well, nearly. I still have a big client meeting this afternoon and loads of that intimidating freelance work to do before I can kick back and enjoy a curry with some of our neighbours tonight, but I can feel the relief already.

Although, I am still nervous about the meeting this afternoon. Firstly, I hate Friday afternoon meetings, because the thought of weekend plans makes concentration difficult. "Yes, I totally agree with your decision to relook your website curry... I mean copy. Sorry."

Secondly, this client is awesome, but incredibly intelligent (like genius level) and I feel like he talks over my head 90% of the time. And he talks super fast and in techie jargon, making the keeping up even more of a challenge. I'm always a couple of TLAs (three-letter acronyms) behind him.

Thirdly, he's not actually my client - I was brought in on this job by a colleague to do certain bits of it - so I need to not screw up, or I'll reflect badly on the person who recommended me.


I sometimes get terrified when I realise that this little business TSC and I started rests squarely in my hands at the moment (until his studies finish, at least. And probably beyond). It's my job to make it a success, and it's my responsibility if it all goes balls up.

But right now I'm going to try to forget that, make myself a cuppa and grab a rusk while I daydream of curry and my warm bed.

Have a fabulous Friday, people. I leave you with a funny from my inbox:

We are about to enter the braai (BBQ) season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity.

When a man volunteers to do the braai the following chain of events are put into motion: Routine...
(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert ..
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.
(4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zone where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities can take place without the interference of the woman.

Here comes the important part:


(6) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
(7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he flips the meat.

Important again:

More routine...

(9) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table.
(10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:
(11) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
(12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed 'her night off' and, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


I am in ostrich mode.

I'm feeling overwhelmed by my freelance work (especially by one client, who seems to think I have access to limitless time, funds and even government ministers. Hah! I wish) and so I am doing what I usually do when things get too much - procrastinating. I've been blogging, reading blogs, going through my junk emails folder, chatting with colleagues and generally doing everything I can to not do what I need to do.

Clever, hey? Putting aside the big pile of work until I have even less time to deal with it. Tsssk tsssk, Tamara.

My dad reckons I work better under pressure. I think I have no choice - the pressure is usually my own fault. I just don't know where to start, so I don't start.

I must get over this. Let me take a step towards that goal now and go and nail at least the top things on my to-do list. Fun, fun.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

I miss my iPod*

I know I am sometimes a bit of a technophobe** and that I didn't want an iPod at first, but when the one I was given got swiped (ages ago), I didn't really click what I was losing... Salvation from South African radio DJs and crappy teeny-bopper pop music nonsense that invades my headspace daily (along with the nutty ideas, odd complexes and few delusions that already reside there, it's getting a bit crowded now).

We have such a limited choice of radio stations (in English, my mother tongue, at least) here and I just don't understand why they must all be stocked with annoying DJs. And I'm not just talking about the music (wait, that rant is coming later in this post) - I know they don't get much of a choice in the playlists. But for goodness' sake... is it really necessary to be so irritating?

There are those who make lame toilet-humour jokes that are appropriate for kids under the age of 10 (ok, ok, ok... and me, after a few glasses of wine). Then there are others who turn every single sentence into some sort of dodgey sexual innuendo (like that freaky Brand Power lady who sounds all sultry and excited about washing powder and other such scintillating products). Some are boring (the mere sound of their droning voices puts you to sleep and you should not be tuning in while driving). Others are whiney. And there are a whole bunch who think they are way funnier than they are.

There are one or two who are not bad at all (and they are obviously the ones in the prime driving-time slots), but most of them still play the awful music that all sounds the same to me.

Call me a granny, but I like music with a beat, a tune and decent lyrics. At the moment all I seem to hear (on whatever radio station it is that the girls at the office are permanently listening to throughout the day) is high-pitched nonsense that all sounds the same. And the words! I have come to the conclusion that the best way to make a career in music is to find a phrase or even a word you really like and sing it (or shriek it in some cases) over and over and over again. At least three times.

Example 1:
You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella
(Ella ella, eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella, eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella, eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella, eh eh eh, eh eh eh)

Example 2:

Why does love always feel like a battlefield, a battlefield, a battlefield

Why does love always feel like a battlefield, a battlefield, a battlefield

Better go and get your armor (get your armor), get your armor (get your armor)

I guess you better go and get your armor (get your armor), get your armor (get your armor)

I guess you better go and get your...

Example 3:
It's not fair
And I think you're really mean
I think you're really mean
I think you're really mean
Oh you're supposed to care
But you never make me scream
You never make me scream

Oh it's not fair
And it's really not ok
It's really not ok
It's really not ok
Oh you're supposed to care
But all you do is take
Yeah all you do is take

And who could forget that super-stupid "boom boom boom" song from the Black Eyed Peas?

Give me some good old-fashioned Counting Crows, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Simon & Garfunkel, Cold Play or U2. Hmmm... it seems only half the problem is with the daft music... I don't seem to like female musicians as much as the men. No, that can't be right, becuase there's loads of awful music by dudes on the radio... Pit Bull, Sean Kingston and Kanye West ("Paranoid" is a prime example) to name just a few.

If I had the choice I would work in silence. It's easier to concentrate. But if I was going to pick music to listen to at the office, it certainly wouldn't be the crap we have on at the moment (Something about Release Meeeeeeeee, Release my bod-eeeeeeeee. Ugh).

I reckon my project this week will be to create a mix CD for the office.

*If I say it three times in a row to a beat, I could be the next big pop star!

**Which is better than being a rectal probe

Monday, 20 July 2009


This Is Africa ;-)

No power on Fri.

No water today.

No ADSL for the majority of the day.

I guess it reminds us that we do not control our circumstances, right?

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Dr Moron

On Monday I took TSC to his follow-up appointment with the eye specialist. I don't like this man. Firstly, he always keeps us waiting. And I'm not talking about 15 minutes either. When TSC went in for the op, he waited for four and a half hours. Secondly, the doctor has this patronising way of speaking to people, like he's the only one over the age of five in the room. That is one of my pet peeves in life (probably because I'm small and tend to get it a lot as people think I'm younger than I am).

Also (and this is the biggie), the twit didn't explain properly to TSC how to use the meds he gave him at the last appointment. Instead of the little eye-drop bottles with stick-on labels that contain dosage details and instructions like you'd get at the pharmacy, TSC was given bottles with handwritten orange stickers that just had the name of the drops, not how often / how long to use them for.

I was at the last appointment, and I made notes on how often TSC needed to use the drops (the clear one needs to be kept in the fridge and should be used morning and night; the one in the white and green bottle should also be used twice daily but doesn't need to be refrigerated; the tear gel should be used at least four times a day...etc).

After a week of TSC using all these lovely, expensive meds, I asked how long he had to use them for. He didn't know - neither the nurse he saw after the op who dished them out, nor the moronic doctor had mentioned it. "Well call them!" I said.

But the doctor was on holiday. He was still on holiday when TSC got the paint in his eye. I couldn't believe he hadn't left someone responsible for his patients. TSC explained he had - his associate, who would happily see TSC. And charge him his exorbitant new-patient consultation fee.

We reasoned that if nobody had said anything, the meds were probably meant to be taken until the follow-up consultation.

So, on Monday, we get there and the doctor asks TSC how his eye is doing. TSC says it's still sore, scratchy, light-sensitive and blurry and that the meds aren't helping - they actually seem to make it worse. At which point the doctor says that they probably are making it worse, seeing they are only meant to be used for a week post-op. He also manages to make it sound like we are silly children who didn't listen properly and that this is all our fault. I interject that we weren't told how long they were to be used. "Oh. Sorry," he says nonchalantly, before going on to tell TSC that by using the drops, he's probably made the eye far worse than it could be and that he'll need another prescription of new expensive meds to correct the damage.

He removes the last stitch from TSC's eye (shudder!) and shooes us out of his office. Without the promised prescription. TSC will now need to call and go through to pick it up. What a waste of time!

Not happy with this doctor dude - supposedly one of the top specialists in his field in the province. I have a fantasy of breaking into his house while he's sleeping and sticking an earbud (Q-tip) into his eye and yelling, "How do you like that, hey? Hey?!"


Monday, 13 July 2009

Notes on the weekend

  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was pretty good. Not fantastic, but not awful. There are those who say it's too long, and I do agree that it could easily have been a bit shorter. For those who criticise the believability of it all... I ask you: why did you go and see a movie about robot aliens from outer space in the first place? I went to see this film because I think Michael Bay does fantastic action sequences, even if plot is not his strong point. I also have enormous respect for actors that can be convincing when they're doing scenes with robots that aren't actually there at all (I mean, looking like you're actually scared of something that's supposedly chasing you but doesn't even exist outside of a PC monitor is pretty impressive). The CGI is also some of the best around, so I can forgive the movie for most of its faults (too long, a bit all over the show, a few plot holes and Megan Fox may be gorgeous but is also really annoying when she opens her mouth).

  • The Irene Village Market is one of my favourite places to shop. For me, it's worth the trek through to Pretoria. I picked up some canvases at ridiculously low prices, a gorgeous rusted cup-and-saucer pot for my mini rose plant and loads of really yummy deli stuff (including the best hot chocolate powder ever, some Rose Cream Turkish Delight for my MIL, cabanossi for TSC (can't stand the stuff myself) and proper koffie koekies. Even TSC had a good time, and he hates markets.

  • Our guest room is nearly finished. We have fixed and painted the walls and ceilings, repaired the crumbling windowsills, stripped the windowpanes and repainted those too, replaced the revolting light fixture and the ugly plastic cupboard handles, washed the carpet (which was NOT fun) and given it a complete clean. We're now busy moving the furniture back in, hanging the curtains and positioning the "artworks" I've created for the walls. I'm hoping to finish up this evening and take some pics to post here.

  • Yesterday's Formula One Grand Prix was one of the more exciting races of the season. Mark Webber won his first race in his eight years of driving. I'm very glad for him, especially seeing he spent the winter recovering from a broken leg. I think it's also great fun that the competition between Webber and teammate Vettel is heating up and that Button is getting challenged by a host of drivers. The drivers of the McLaren team (which I have supported for the past nine years) had a mixed day. Kovalainen finished in the last points-paying position, which was pretty good, seeing he didn't have the benefit of all the new parts Lewis Hamilton had on his car for the race. Hamilton had a miserable time with a puncture at the first corner which sent him right to the back of the pack. Both drivers seem to be more competitive though, and are using their KERS-equipped cars (kinetic energy recovery system) nicely.

  • Our church has started a new series called "Supernatural", which looks like it will be interesting. Last night's sermon was on Lucifer. Fascinating stuff! Can't wait for next week's on Angels and Demons (the beings, not the movie).

  • TSC went back to varsity today. Shame, he was not keen, poor man. He was up and out of the house at 6am to miss the traffic. I admire him - I am not a morning person at the best of times, and getting up in dark in the freezing winter mornings is pure torture to me. I'm lucky in that I live 15 minutes away from the office, so I only have to leave the house just after 8am. In summer I do my exercise in the mornings, but in winter I do it after work so that I can postpone the crawling / falling out of bed until 7.20 am. This is me, every day:

Friday, 10 July 2009

Things I take for granted

Having Vusi stay with us for a few days has really highlighted how much I take for granted. His wonder at and enjoyment of things I see as completely normal, like having a microwave or a TV or being able to drive to work instead of walking, makes me take stock of how truly blessed I am and be grateful for what I have.

Going to movies, eating at a restaurant or being able to bath every night are suddenly awesome privileges I enjoy instead of routine parts of life. Having my own computer and a job that covers the bills (even if it's not my first choice in what I'd like to do) are bonuses that millions of people don't ever get to have.

Vusi's gratitude at the smallest things - a jacket and old cellphone that TSC no longer uses and a shirt I bought for a friend that didn't fit - stirs me to want to help those who have less than I do. TSC is helping him to draw up a well-formatted CV to try to get him more work, and such a small thing that takes up maybe an hour of our time may perhaps help this young guy to climb up another step in the food chain.

It's that whole starfish story again - the moral is help those you can... it may change a life more than you can imagine. In South Africa, where there's a beggar on every street corner, it's good to remember that. I don't believe giving R5 to every guy who asks me for money is the answer (I'd be broke in two days), but I do think that instead of letting the problem of poverty overwhelm me, I should do what I can do to help.

Small things like donating my old clothes, buying baby food for a struggling mom or teaching someone basic computer skills CAN make a difference. My mom is on the committee of a children's home and I'm sure there are ways I can pitch in there. Hmmm... ideas...

Vusi may be heading home tomorrow morning, but he's definitely leaving us with lots to think about.

And I leave you with this to think about...

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Me on movies

Yesterday we had no phones / internet at work for most of the day. Not Telkom's fault this time. Now that the overdue account has been settled we're back online. Which is great - most of the stuff I do depends on either phone or internet.

I'm using this as a getting-up-to-speed post on a few movies I've seen lately because I can't keep my opinions to myself. Your opinions are also welcome, of course.

Ice Age 3:
I was not expecting much from this movie. The second sequel is usually not worth watching, in my opinion. But I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. It's not brilliant, by any means, but it is an enjoyable, silly candy-floss film. And it's nice to see one of those every once in awhile. My only real bone with it is that Diego didn't get as many good lines... he's my favourite :-)

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian:
I didn't choose to see this movie. The first one was more than enough for me. But we have a chap called Vusi staying with us for a few days (helping TSC to paint the house) who has never been to the cinema before, so we took him to Montecasino to see this one. He loved it, and watching him laugh made me laugh too. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Daft, but with a few good laughs. I wouldn't recommend it, but I'm glad Vusi enjoyed it. Afterwards he said, "Everything else seems so small now, after that big screen!"

Seven Pounds:
We took this out on DVD over the weekend because people keep telling me "you HAVE to see it!" I don't know why, actually. It wasn't great. Without spoiling things, as soon as I saw the jellyfish and took notice of the all the sick folks, I guessed the supposed "big twist ending", so there were no surprises for me. When a movie is supposed to be a surprise, not having one kind of makes it pointless. It was just long and sad. So we watched Crocodile Dundee II afterwards and the total eighties corny-ness (yes, it's a word. In my world) of it all banished the misery of Seven Pounds.

What movies have you seen lately that are worth watching?

If we had a South African version of Crocodile Dundee, I'm sure this type of scene would appear in it... (In fact, I think there was something in one of Schuster's flicks)...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Dear Ruby,

In the great tradition of your blog, I am celebrating your special day with a letter.

It was lovely to see you for supper at Moyo on Friday, even if you were a bit late ;-) The food and atmosphere were great, as were your friends. But seeing you and catching up was my best bit. Of course!

I hope you are surviving your slaves at work today and that you get spoilt by friends and family. You are such a special person - full of laughter and fun, incredibly generous and always game for anything - and I wish you every good thing for today and the year ahead. And always, in fact.

Thanks for being awesome, Rubyshoes. Instead of singing happy birthday, imagine TSC and I serenading you as such: Moyo, moyo moyo moyo... moyo, moyo moyo...

Hehe... Take care, friendster. *Hugs*


PS: Please let me know when you have a gap in your insane life between studying, working and socialising so I can give you the photos of your birthday supper!

Friday, 3 July 2009


TSC's eye is doing much better. Thank goodness. Although Damaria reckons being married to Darth Vador would be fun, I'd be scared he'd turned around one day, breathing all heavy-like and say "I AM YOUR FATHER" or some such crap ;-)

I managed to get all my freelance deadline-is-today work done yesterday and invoice, as well as putting together a kick-ass birthday gift for my mother in law, so I am in a fairly good mood, despite the fact that I am bored out of my mind at work.

Boss has been in Cape Town and then had meetings this morning, so I am waiting for her to get back to clarify various importnant things before I can get on with anything.

We are going to the lovely Ruby's birthday supper tonight, which should be fun, and then watching rugby with friends tomorrow. What are you up to this weekend?

I want to watch movies, read magazines, paint walls, play in my garden and generally enjoy being in my house. Oh, and try out a new biscuit recipe. This Sunday at church, the last week of our Sex in the City series, we are having ladies-only and men-only services which should be interesting.

On that note, I leave you with a Friday funny:

Daffy Duck on a dirty weekend calls hotel reception and asks for a condom.The receptionist says, shall I put them on your bill?

Daffy replies...
Don't be thucking thupid I'd thufficate!!!!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

A real eyesore

Poor TSC! Although it is his own fault, silly man.

We are repainting the upstairs rooms in our house at the moment (adding a bit of colour to two feature walls and giving a fresh lick of paint to the walls that have marks from the paintings the previous owners had hung). TSC is very handy in this regard as he spent three years at a painting and waterproofing company. But with his eye op, one would think he'd be careful while scraping old paint off the ceilings. Because he wasn't wearing safety goggles, yesterday he managed to get a fleck of paint in the tender eye that was operated on two weeks ago. It scratched the inside of his eyelid and seemed to get stuck there.

He tried washing it out with water, then with tear gel, but nothing worked. I suggested that maybe it would come out during the night, but this morning his eye was even more swollen and red and he said it felt like the paint was still there. So he made me get a torch and try to get the paint fleck out with an earbud (Q-tip). I worried that this would cause more irritation, which it did, but he was insistent.

He was in such pain that I suggested he move his doctor's appointment forward. No can do - the doc is on a two-week holiday. His associate can only see TSC tomorrow and wants to charge him a ridiculous amount.

I spoke to my mom (who is a GP) and she reckons he should go to a hospital with an opthalmology unit and see a doctor in casualty. I phoned him to tell him this and he said it's feeling a bit better, so he'll wait and see if it's ok by this afteroon. Typical! I hate seeing him in pain, but he won't let me or anyone else try to help him. Grrr... Love him so much but wish I could just throw him over my shoulder and take him to the doctor right now!

At present, he looks something like this:

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The post with more about Zanzibar

In which I use some words, as well as some more pictures.

It feels like forever ago that we were in Zanzibar, but this post has been hanging around in draft, so I figured I'd finish it. Also, looking at the pictures makes me happy.

Our flight from Joburg to Zanzibar left at 7.45 on Saturday morning, which meant we were at the airport very early. For the first time, a tangible excitement stirred in my stomach as we made our way to the international departure gate - the same one we'd left through when we visited the USA. Once again, the flight had been full and we'd been split up, TSC in one row and me in another (this always seems to happen to us).

My seat was in the last row in the plane - my worst place to sit. It's stuffy and very noisy becuase you're right by the engines. If you look out the window, that's all you'll see. There was a group of men onboard, all heading to Zanzibar for the same period as us for a bachelor party. Some of the group had been separated and were sitting near the front of the plane. They agreed to swap seats with TSC and I, so we got to sit together after all, and we didn't have to put up with all the loud joking and general stag-party nonsense in the back of the plane.

By the time we landed, the bachelors had more than a few drinks in them and had started singing Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of their lungs - apt, seeing Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar.

Arriving in sunny, warm Zanzibar from freezing Johannesburg was like stepping into a hot bath - my senses seemed to come alive again and the excitement tingled in my fingertips. A sign planted in low-growing groundcover welcomed us - SMILE. U R IN ZANZIBAR!

The drive to the hotel was quiet - just TSC and I in the airconditioned old Toyota mini-bus that hummed along, hooting occasionally to warn intrepid cyclists travellign along the narrow roads with their businesses strapped to their bikes (from reams of fabric to bunches of fruit and even pieces of timber).

After making small talk with our driver, we lapsed into silence, taking in the saturated island colours. Everything seems richer - the greens greener, the bright patterns on the fabric almost luminous... it's like seeing in Technicolor.

There are palmtrees everywhere, interspersed with bananas, breadfruit and even cloves. The air is moist and fragrant.

Here and there you catch glimspes of sandy white beaches and azure seas before the dense tropical forests close in again, dotted with small stone houses and cows tethered to low bushes. Children race from the small local schools, scaring the long-legged chickens scrathing in the dirt on shaded verandas.

Dala-dalas (the local share taxis that consist of small trunks with a roof and seats in the loading area at the back) stop higgledy-piggledy along the roadsides and drivers hoot good-naturedly at each other as they pass by.

Photo: A dala-dala stops to drop off a passenger.

Later, at our beautiful hotel, Neptune Pwani, we are greeted by friendly staff with a nod and a "Jambo" as they pass. We make our way down to the beach and marvel at the fine sand - so different from the coarse sand of South Africa's East Coast beaches.

We bargain with the local "beach boys" who are friendly even if you make it clear you are not interested in their wares. Many speak snippets of English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and even Zulu as well as the national language, Swahili. It all depends which nations frequent the nearest hotels.

On the beach you can find all manners of services... You can organise a tour to snorkel, swim with dolphins, see the local monkeys, visit Stone Town or explore the local spice farm. You can buy handmade curios, some even customised with your name, or have a massage.

On the Monday, I had a beautiful henna artwork painted on my hand by a lady named Cassandra (below).

The henna painted on my hand:

At low tide, you can walk out for almost a kilometer into the ocean at some parts of the island. The water is lukewarm, very salty and incredibly clear.

The wind-made patterns on the sandbar an hour and a half's walk from our hotel.

Local guides will take you on a walking tour out to the reef, for a price. We saw starfish, sea cucumbers, sea anenomes, fish, an old man catching an octopus, four poisonous sea snakes *shudder* and crabs.
One of many bright starfish we saw on our reef walk:

What a holiday!