Sunday, November 20, 2011

Makes You Think, Doesn’t It?

The Alien’s plea for a Blackberry in order to make her life whole has not waned since I wrote about it here.  

She has quite a sense of humour that kid.  When all the children in her class were told to place their phones on the teacher’s desk prior to writing an exam – she placed her calculator on the desk.  She had written” Blackberry” on the calculator.  At least the teacher appreciated her humour and informed the Alien after the exam that she did not have any missed calls or BBM’s.

The Alien still does not have a Facebook account so, when I read this little piece she had written, I took a look at myself.  Was she suggesting something?  Am I a neglectful wife and mother?  “Nah, this seems to be how everyone is these days.” She said.  Phew.  Still – it makes you think, doesn’t it?

Modern Times – guest blog by the Alien

I wonder why your faces don’t change colour from staring at the light coming from your screen all day.

Your daily dose of exercise is poking people?

You are following him, she is following you.  Who is actually the leader in this whole following pack?

Your laptop is an upgrade of your husband/wife.  It goes wherever you go.  You tell it all your feelings and it responds with about 100 comments.

And if your computer shuts down – your life shuts down.  Oh no! Now you have to talk face-to-face!

I’ll give you some pointers about real life.

  •   You don’t poke people when you want their attention nor do you put up your thumb and say “like” when they say something interesting. 
  • When you get bored of the conversation, you can’t shut down.
  • You don’t actually follow people wherever they go because that doesn’t lead to friendship – only restraining orders.
  • Your computer is NOT your life.            

Alrighty then, best I listen to my daughter and sign off, pack my laptop away and GET A LIFE.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

...With Natural Ingredients.

I wrote a post a while ago about how we have to believe a lot of the mumbo jumbo that advertisers claim about their products. (Read here)

Cosmetic companies also make a lot of claims about natural this and organic that.  I, well actually Roxy the Foxy, have proven that one company is not lying.

The Alien won a Palmer’s hamper filled with all their cocoa butter and olive butter products.  Cool.  They all smelt very nice and Alien and I looked forward to trying them out.
An Amoeba on steroids?

Yesterday I found this strange thing lying on the floor.  Is it a potatoe, I thought.  I gave it a hesitant kick.  Nope – too light to be a potatoe.  Maybe a sponge?  We don’t have sponges in the house so unless that Squarepants dude paid us a fatal visit – not possible.  Mmmmm.  Having established that it was not alive and dangerous, I picked it up.  I smelt it (as one does to unknown objects.)

It was a bar of soap that Roxy had been chewing on!  What?  The dog may not be a genius but she is not THAT stupid.  Yes, her breath does smell at times but we surely haven’t given her that much of a complex about it?  Anyway – why not chew on a tube of toothpaste then?

Out of curiosity, I had to prove that this soap’s cocoa butter ingredient was what Roxy was after and it wasn’t just a moment of full moon madness for her.

I put the bar of soap back, right next to the Dove soap, and Voila! Proof that you can believe what some products claim about natural (and edible) ingredients.  Best I hide the shampoo with lemon extract.
"Ooh yummy.  My snack is back"
"I'll take that now, thank you, before you remove it again"

"Now for a bit of Cocoa Butter indulgence.  Move aside, Mom"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Overworked and Underpaid

I have been feeling sorry for Chicken Man of late.  He is under so much stress, running around like a headless chicken to keep his customers and bosses happy.

Like most companies, those higher up in the pecking order are the ones that reap the rewards of his moo-tivated and egg-zacting hard work.

But no matter where on the food chain we are – we all need to stop for a good chirple every now and again...

Friday, October 7, 2011


I reread the post I wrote last year about breast cancer awareness as it is October (again?!).  It is ironic that the inspirational Steve Jobs died yesterday at the age of 56 thanks to cancer.  I had a very unproductive day workwise as I watched videos of his brilliant speeches and read articles on his life. 

Cancer does not discriminate.  Steve Jobs’s exceptional mind and infinite wealth could not save him from the ravages of cancer.   
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me” – Steve Jobs
Please, beautiful people, don’t be complacent if you suspect anything is not as it should be. Cancer kills more people every year than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

"Your time on this earth is limited; don’t live someone else's life, live by your vision." - Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Raising Teenagers is Like Nailing Jelly to a Tree

School holidays are starting tomorrow.  I have stocked up on wine and informed everyone who knows me that I am available for coffee/lunch/anything that will give me a couple of hours break from being a taxi driver with an onboard ATM and fast food outlet.

I have very generously offered the Alien a couple of really awesome activity options available during the holidays.  The ungrateful eye-rolling and “Ag Maaaa” was all the thanks I got.  Fine!

I have found a solution which will hopefully elicit at least an "Oh Cool" response from my darling Alien...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Is there a Doctor in the House?

This was the subject of an e-mail I sent out to all my friends who live in Durban North.  I was gatvol with my doctor and was looking for another “quack” to give my hard-earned Rands to.

Just like with mechanics, plumbers and electricians,  we do not question doctors because they are so very qualified and clever and can sprout words that make absolutely no sense what so ever to us.  I strongly object to being treated like an ignoramus and so I make sure I do my research (thank you, Google) before and after every qualified person appointment.

So, the Alien had a cough.  No big deal I hear you say, except the cough continued for months. Our now ex-GP treated me like I was a neurotic, overprotective, Munchausen by proxy freak. 

A general warning: Don’t mess with any mother with more than 1 brain cell, clever people!  We are genetically programmed to protect our young. We will kill for our offspring even if they are teenagers.
Once ex- GP finally started taking my concerns seriously I was exposed to the overwhelming and scary concept of spending money quicker than you can earn it.  How do these specialists and laboratories decide on their exorbitant prices? Are they based on their Mercedes and Ferrari repayments?

After 3 weeks of emptying my purse, bank balance and life savings, selling a kidney and gaining shares at the Pharmacy besides the frustration of not knowing what was wrong with the Alien - I have a healthy daughter and a newfound respect for radiographers.  Doctors and specialists do not even look at the “pictures” that radiographers take. They base their decisions purely on the reports the radiographers send them (and how much money they need for their next overseas vacation)

To the folk who took such ...errr...revealing photos of my daughter, you are my heroes. You may have the crappiest selection of ancient magazines in your waiting room but you were the voice of tangible, understandable reason through the medical nightmare I have just emerged from.  A bargain at the price. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday Follow

I was seriously excited/honoured/chuffed to be featured in "A Daft Scots Lass" blog yesterday. All the usual suspects were there - The Alien, Chicken Man, The Furry 4 and Ama Glug Glug Wine Club.
Thank you Gillian!

  A Daft Scots Lass

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Time Out

I seem to have been out and about quite a bit lately what with networking functions, client appointments, wine club and book launches. This is a good thing as it gives my failing eyesight a break from staring at my computer screen.

On Friday I attended the much anticipated Sunflower Fund/ Mums Mail Very Vintage High Tea. The ladies really pull out all the stops to dress up for this event. I am not a great theme dresser-upper but the theme afforded me the opportunity to wear my wedding dress again. My bit for recycling done for the year.

As always – great entertainment, good food, seriously impressive lucky draw prizes (no, I did not win) and the best goody bag ever. Well done to Alice Leah and the Mums Mail team.

On Sunday I went to a concert. A concert for teenager types. What was I thinking?! If the Alien ever says I don’t do anything for her, I shall remind her about this concert. A band called Goodluck was opening for the main act which was Locnville – those young lads with freakishly deep voices. It was at the Chris Saunders Park in Umhlanga which Chicken Man did not even know existed. He needs to get out more often, clearly.

After cussing and cursing in a queue for over an hour thanks to poor organisation at the gates – we finally got in to the park. Although a group of some of my favourite friends were there, we selfishly pitched our camper chairs as far away from the stage as possible. I was hoping the volume would be softer there. That didn’t really happen.

But what did happen is that Chicken Man and I had a wonderful afternoon in the sun together, sipping liquid refreshments and munching on the picnic items I had packed, whilst watching the passing parade of today’s youth. The Alien and her friend only appeared when nourishment was required.

It made me realise just how little quality time Chicken Man and I have together. A problem that I am sure a lot of busy, modern day couples face? Most weekends he is taking countless phone calls and stressing out about trucks, deliveries and blah blah and usually ends up going into the office. I am always listening with half an ear as I continue working on my laptop.

No phones and no laptop. No talking about chickens or social media. Just 2 relaxed old folks enjoying surprisingly good music amongst the shorts and shiny locks of the energetic, bright-eyed Goodluck and Locnville fans.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Land Invaders 0 – Jasmine 1 (Finally)

As I sit working, my lounge is filled with the fragrance of my Jasmine creeper. It is the most beautiful, uplifting smell. It reminds me of my years living in Johannesburg where Jasmine grows like a weed.

I am not sure if Jasmine likes growing in Durban much because it has taken over 5 years for it to bloom. Having said that – I know that the blame for its ridiculously slow growth is not just the climate. The daily land invasions are the main culprits.

The land invaders i.e. the troops of vervet monkeys who visit, either first thing in the morning or about 4 in the afternoon, used to love eating the tiny jasmine buds. The poor creeper did not stand a chance against the sheer number of monkeys enjoying a post paw-paw snack.

My garden has about 6 paw-paw trees and a guava tree. Not that I ever eat either the paw-paws or the guavas. I leave the fruit for my cheeky, uninvited guests in the hope that this will discourage them from jumping into the kitchen and helping themselves to bread, bananas and anything else edible they can find at Alma’s Kitchen Restaurant. I do not feed them yet they ignore the bills for the buffet menu they have helped themselves to.

I want to hate them, particularly when they tear apart the garbage bag and throw stuff about looking for tasty titbits. How can I hate these animals with their human-like traits?

Before the arrival of Roxy – the monkeys were bolder and took complete advantage of my hospitable nature. Whilst watching TV one afternoon (Animal Planet of course) I thought Cuddles was lying on the floor next to my chair. I then realised it was a monkey, sitting next to me, engrossed in the Animal Planet programme I was watching.

I looked back and there they all were. The whole troop was parking off on our outdoor furniture, watching TV and waiting for afternoon tea to be served!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Books are Lekker, né?

Have I mentioned that I love reading? No? How remiss of me.

Books have been to blame for many a sleepless night as I force my eyelids open and coerce my eyes to focus so that I can read one more chapter... then just another more....and so it goes until it is 3:00am and I have finished the book. Sound familiar? I bet it does.

As much as I enjoy reading all the great best-selling international novelists like Stieg Larsson, Dan Brown, Jodi Picoult, Dean Koontz etc - I do so love reading South African novels. It’s refreshing to be able to identify with the places, people, humour and idiosyncrasies that are uniquely South African.

South Africa has some great writers and here in Durban North, to compensate for the shocking drivers, we have Books & Books. A delightful book store which regularly host some of our South African authors.

I went there to listen to Jenny Hobbs, author of "Kitchen Boy", whose talk was fascinating as she and guests alike shared details of what South Africans went through during World War 2. Kitchen Boy was an amazing read, made even more special with references to familiar spots within KwaZulu-Natal and Durban.
(Excuse the crappy photos. My Blackberry is lacking in that function)

I just loved the “Ants” books so jumped at the chance to meet Annica Foxcroft. She was promoting the 3rd in her Ants series namely “Ants in the Big Onion.” Her previous 2 books – “There are Ants in my Sugar” and “More Ants!” were books that one could easily read in a couple of days and which had you smiling the whole way through. Annica was an eloquent and amusing speaker whose love for the written word clearly extends to the spoken word.

Although I had already met Di Smith, I wanted to hear all about her new book – “You’re Awesome.” I purchased her book not for myself - but for The Alien. The positive messages in her book are just what a teenager needs to empower themselves to get through the unimaginably difficult world they live in.

I am looking forward to hearing Mandy Weiner whose book, “Killing Kebble”, has attracted a lot of publicity. It is definitely not a book that you can put down and pick up at whim. There are so many characters and story lines that it demands you pay attention. Mmm, I may have to borrow one of the Aliens Ritalin tablets.

Books & Books, Janine O’Conner and your entire team, thank you for promoting South African writers. Please can you invite some of my other favourite SA writers like Fiona Snyckers (Her Trinity books are a treat for all ages) and Ndumiso Ngcobo (Because it is cathartic to laugh about our diverse nation) and Paige Nick (still waiting for her books which I ordered but I love her column in the Sunday Times)

Any more South African writers you can recommend? My fellow Ama Glug- Glugger, Lesmarie, gave me the book “Mushy Peas on Toast” by Laurian Clemence. Looks like just the type of book I want to read. Loud and proud – it’s South African.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Driving Miss Dilly

The comment on my Ubuntu Girl blog begs explanation. Hopping into my car to go and pick up the Alien from school is not a walk in the park. I firmly believe that I take my life into my hands the same as people who bungee jump off bridges using dental floss instead of rope.

I live in Durban North. Unlike the notion that there are tea-rooms/cafés on every street corner in Durban – in Durban North they have schools. There are schools everywhere. 2 to 3 schools to every street. Seriously, if you want to go into a lucrative business, open a chassis company in Durban North. With every school comes hundreds of speed bumps the size of Table Mountain just waiting to stuff up your undercarriage.

Having said that, it blows my mind that I seem to be constantly stuck behind an old person every time I go to pick up the Alien. How is that possible? If Durban North is full of schools – where do these old people come from? What are they doing trawling the streets of Durban North? Is there a policy of old aged homes to school ratio published in some government gazette that I do not know about?

Don’t get me wrong. I love old people. I just don’t believe that they should be driving once Alzheimer’s has set in and they can no remember why they are in a car let alone the fact that they are actually the driver. Clearly senile dementia is popular amongst the Durban North senior citizens

I have a low patience threshold when driving. I have mentioned my propensity to drive like Schumacher hence being stuck behind antiques who have forgotten they are driving cars and not ox wagons, does tend to test my every red-haired nerve fibre.

Once I get to the Alien’s school (more than likely late thanks to the old folk not remembering how to get out of 1st gear) I face a different road rage challenge. Mothers of teenagers – I have news for you. Your precious, precocious brats ARE capable of walking more than 20 steps from the school gate to your car. There is absolutely no reason for you to block the entire road so that Her Highness does not have to walk too far to find you. Bus drivers – the vehicles you drive are very visible thanks to their size. You can park slightly further away from the gate. The Aliens will find you. You are hard to miss.

Yep – the afternoon school run is harrowing. The Alien always looks a tad nervous when she gets into the car as she is tentatively waiting for the cussing out of parents and the geriatric population in general.

When I manoeuvre my car into the garage after each school run I breathe a sigh of relief. I have dodged the bullet yet again. Or, maybe more correctly, fellow parents and the elderly have dodged my bullets. Until the next day....

p.s. – you may notice that my blogsite has had some surgery. A nip and a tuck here and a bit of botox there and voila! – My blog has done a Michael Jackson- like transformation. You like?

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Carte Blanche on a Sunday night has always been a must watch on my TV viewing schedule. Sometimes I am not sure why because it is generally very depressing. Not the light hearted frivolity that one needs to end a weekend.

They do feature happy or inspiring stories from time to time. One such insert was on The Ubuntu Girl – Sonja Kruse. She left her dorp of Eshowe with R100, a camera and a backpack to walk around South Africa. Bloody nuts, right? I agree.

So when I saw that she was going to be the guest speaker at The Inspiring Women Network banquet at the Riverside Hotel nearby – I immediately booked my ticket (besides - the dress code was traditional so I could finally wear my sparkly salwar again) I am not the jump out of aeroplanes or off bridges type of person. I see getting in my car to collect the Alien from school as quite adventurous considering how some people drive. I am therefore interested to hear what makes people do crazy things. Why do they do it? Isn't a balanced life staying at home with a glass of wine in one hand and the telly remote in the other? What gene am I missing that these lunatics seem to have a double dose of?

Well, besides having inherited the red hair gene in abundance, Sonja proved to be the most normal, down to earth person I have ever met. Her infectious giggle and sparkling personality is undoubtedly what earned her an invite into strangers’ homes every night of her year-long walkabout.

My key take-out after listening to the Ubuntu girl? We Saffers are still a distrusting and nervous bunch even with people like Sonja highlighting just how much good there is in this country. I am a positive and optimistic person but underlying fears and prejudices, although for the most part buried and ignored, will always rear their negative head and influence my thoughts and actions.

So, although I won’t be catching a taxi to Orania any time soon - I will make a more concerted effort to keep my mind open and my fears based on fact and not on prejudice. I still believe that collecting the Alien from school is a justified fear by the way.

Links for the UBUNTU Girl:
Facebook Page

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Lies Beneath

I saw a competition on the Umhlanga Life blog just a day or so after meeting the charming Fred Felton. Always game to enter anything – I submitted this story. The rules where that the story had to be 100 words or less. Not as easy as you think or is it just me who likes to waffle on and on?

Nevertheless, this is what I wrote...

She moved cautiously but with purpose. She knew exactly what was lying beneath but her focus was on getting love and attention and she had finally pinned down the person she adored the most. She was prepared to stand on dangerous ground.

There was a stirring and a rumbling that grew louder and fiercer as she approached. She paid it no heed. She needed to feel cherished. Fear was not going to stop her.

The infuriated puppy eventually poked her head out from under the warm duvet and glared at the cat as if to say; “Go away, she’s mine!”

Word Count: 100

This is what I have to deal with every night by the way. Roxy the Foxy sleeps under the duvet and Cuddles knowingly steps on her as she makes her way towards me for strokes and loves. That cat likes to live dangerously! One day Roxy is going to make the effort to get more than just her head out from under the duvet and then there will be hell to play!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Alien is Alienated

“I am a looser”
“You just don’t understand, my life is over”
“I am not going to have any friends”

All these passionate, sometimes hysterical pleas from the Alien have been getting the same standard response from me:
“Ag Shame”

I hear your gasps of horror from here. This mother has an emotionally disturbed, possibly unstable teenager and her response is “Ag Shame”? Relax! I did take the time to listen to the reason why her life was teetering on the brink of extinction.

The child does not have a BlackBerry.

Can you believe it? Even though she has a perfectly good Nokia somethingorother phone, a computer, the choice of 2 TV’s with DSTV and a DVD player, a pleasant roof over her head, a swimming pool, 3 adoring cats, 1 devoted dog plus a cupboard full of clothes – the child’s life is a misery because she does not have a BlackBerry Pin Number.

How sad is that? I am not totally heartless, you know. I was once a teenager and understand about peer pressure and all that psycho babble. It really is pathetic that a beautiful young girl can feel that life is passing her by because she does not have a particular make of phone. Talk about a fickle society.

Apparently all the kids who used to be on MXit have closed their accounts and are BB Messaging each other now. SMS is clearly so last week and actually calling a person and talking to them is what old people like me do. I suppose I could alleviate her misery just a tad if I allowed her to have Facebook but I see what some of these teenagers do and say on Facebook so question if I want to expose her to all that.

So, until her contract is due for an upgrade, I will just have to endure the endless whining and complaining. The advantage is that, because she no longer knows what is going on in the world around her because of her forced isolation thanks to her BlackBerry’lessness (cool new word that), the Alien can spend more time moping around me.
Hang on...did I just say advantage?
Anyone getting rid of their BlackBerry? Anyone?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

“What’s for Dinner?”

The innocent sounding sentence that fills me with dread and gets me hyperventilating even more than; “Just listen to me before you say anything”
It is not because I want to reply “whatever you are making.” I like cooking, really I do. I just despise deciding WHAT to cook every night. I can rustle up a pretty decent plate of food if only someone would tell me exactly what to cook - and Chicken Man has purchased the ingredients of course.

Use a recipe book I hear you say. Problem with recipes is that they list ingredients that I have never heard of and they tell me to do things to food that sounds positively indecent. They also expect you to use more than 2 pots. For 1 meal? That is just excessive. Besides – if you have outsourced your shopping to your husband like I have, you cannot present him with a shopping list that has any variables to the routine. Crickey, I can’t even ask for coriander without him demanding a picture, full description and a rough idea as to what aisle he will find it in.

And then one has to consider what the family members eat and don’t eat. If I could find enough recipes for mince, rice and pasta and serve that every night for a year I would not get a word of complaint from Chicken Man. As long as it is accompanied by a salad, Chicken Man would be quite happy.

The Alien was such a dream eater. I started feeding her everything we ate from about 6 months old and she happily devoured olives, feta, calamari...basically anything except prawns. Since her abduction she suddenly doesn’t laik this and doesn’t laik that. Flippen hell, I am tempted to feed her what I never fed her as a baby. She can darn well eat jars of Purity baby food which all taste the same whether they are beef or chicken, pasta or dessert. I believe a lot of superstars are partaking in this baby food diet so The Alien will be only too happy to oblige. Imitating role models is important to teenagers.

And me? I’ll pretend I am rich and famous and eat what every self respecting South African celebrity eats. Nuke-able Woollies meals for one.

Great, my “What‘s for Dinner” dilemma has been partially sorted. Thank you. Now, what happens when I have guests over for dinner....????

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Marriage is not Crystal Clear

I recently celebrated 15 years of marriage to Chicken Man. 15 years! That means that we celebrated our Crystal Wedding Anniversary. How apt to look back and reflect on just how opaque and fragile marriage is.

At our wedding 15 years ago, our guests were taking bets as to how long our marriage would last. I kid you not! Yes, them of little faith saw the vast differences in us and assumed that the marriage was destined to end in shattered glass.

It hasn’t though. Why you may ask? Ummm... not really sure but sometimes differences can be beneficial in a marriage:

He is crap at braaing (barbequing)
I love to eat meat that is not cremated or raw hence have become an expert braaier.

He loves making salads
I do not like fussing with leaves so whilst I braai – he makes salads.

He is a pushover with the Alien
I stick to my guns and instil the discipline a teenager requires

He feels guilty for doing minimal chores all week long so becomes enthusiastic about the most mundane of household tasks over the weekend.
Because I do it all week long – housework is not a priority over the weekend

He stresses about EVERYTHING
I’m a “every cloud has a silver lining” type of person.

He is thin
I am not

He does garbage
I do not

He will pick up dog poop
I will not

He can rid the house of snakes, birds, geckos and cockroaches
I do not do wildlife indoors.

He is a technophobe
I love computers and technology and even know how to backwash the pool, change a lightbulb and fix the toilet

He loves “slit your throat” country music with a smattering of Pavarotti for light relief
I love jivvy 80’s music

He drives like a Grandpa
I drive like Michael Schumacher

He thinks our dog is the queen of the household
I know that our cats rule the roost

He can’t tell the difference between a weed and a rare orchid
I can identify alien invasive species and everything I plant seems to grow.

He is a hoarder
I get rid of anything and everything when no one is looking

He compares price per Kg and knows what stores have what on special hence does all the shopping
I know where my nearest Woolworths is when we run out of necessities and luxuries

He wakes up at 4:00am because he goes to bed when the sun goes down.
I go to bed whenever so wake up as late as possible

He talks the hind leg off a donkey incessantly. He needs to share EVERYTHING in detail
I talk when I have something to say. I’ll tell you what you need to know, okay.

He takes long baths
I shower in 2 minutes flat

He watches crime and reality channels
I watch cooking and series channels

He likes hanging the washing on the line and taking it off
I like feeding the washing machine – I keep forgetting the washing on the line.

I have never seen him drink a cup of coffee or tea nor eat a sweet, chocolate or cake.
I survive on copious cups of coffee and enjoy the odd piece of milk tart or fudge.

He is dark – I am fair...and so the differences go on.

But we are still together after 15 years of marriage. I reckon those folk speculating at our wedding all lost oodles of money if they honoured their bets. Marriage is a gamble and the odds are against couples these days considering the statistics are that almost every 2 marriages end in divorce

So how have Chicken Man and I made it for so long? Friendship. Above all else, Chicken Man is my best friend. I look forward to his return from work every afternoon and love spending time with him (when he is not irritating me, off course)

Sure, we are not the couple depicted in fairytales but we make our lives together work.

One thing we have in common is that we share the same star sign. So as we 2 mountain goats (Capricorns) scramble over the rocky slopes of life, I know that we will eventually reach the summit. And when we do, we will be side by side. There will be no winner as we are not in a contest. We are partners and will hopefully be so “until death us do part”

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers Day Maudlin

Mothers Day is yet another of those pesky Hallmark holidays like Valentine’s Day, Secretaries Day and Bosses Day designed to sell cards, get rid of excess chocolate stocks and deplete the earth of fresh flowers.

Yes, I am a mom and I do appreciate the fact that the Alien does not backchat or whine at me on that one day of the year. She also makes me a card because she knows that I appreciate a personal card (and some semblance of tidiness in her room) more than any material gift. Her response to a comment I recently made that she should make a card for a teacher who was leaving was met with extreme horror.
“Ma, we just don’t do that sort of thing anymore.”
By “we” she was probably referring to the rest of the Alien population. Such a pity.

As much as I enjoy the perks of Mothers Day like “Ma, would you like some coffee” with absolutely no prompting or nagging, I do tend to get a bit weepy on this day.

I, like all moms, think of my Mother on this day. I lost my Mom when I was 15 and although I do not need a Hallmark Day to think of her, it is difficult to not dwell on her life and my memories of her and feel more than a little resentment. Why did she have to die so young? Surely the Big Man could have let us have a few more years of her down here on earth?

So this message is for all those mothers who have had the privilege of sharing all those “big girl” experiences with their Mom: Your wedding day, your pregnancy, the birth of your children, advice on how to deal with colic/teething/temper tantrums/hormones. Appreciate your Moms, cherish your time with her no matter how much she may irritate you or pass judgement on the way you parent her grandchildren.

Now, if someone can advise me how to make the Alien appreciate everything Chicken Man and I do for her and offer to make coffee for the other 364 days of the year, I promise I’ll make you a big Thank You card with hearts and kisses, glue and glitter and everything...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What is Love?

This, my friends, is what they call a guest post. It is a very special guest post as it is written by The Alien. For those new to my blog - The Alien is my 14 year old daughter. You can read about her here
She may not have actually experienced true love as yet (at least I blerrie well hope not!) but this poem is poignant and an interesting insight into Alien thoughts. I love you, my precious Alien. May your future be filled with Love.

Love is strong,
Love is not wrong.
Love is a light that switches off in fright.
Love can hurt,
When the boy’s a flirt.
You’ve got to stay strong,
stop listening to that love song.

Loves first kiss
Is truly the best.
Love is broken with words unspoken.
Love is not hatred,
Love is sacred.
Love is not set,
Love is not a pest.

It makes you fly
When you don’t even know why.
Love is amazing, graceful and true.
You will know it is love when it hits you

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Thought Shared

So, my last post was in February and I know that because the subject was...well... February. It is therefore clear that I have been remiss in blogging as we are now in mid April. Sue me if you will but no chastising from you will equal the self loathing. Okay, that is a bit harsh but I do get annoyed when I see the time that has past and I have not shared on my favourite vent platform.

I have been asked so often: “Why do you blog? Who actually reads your ramblings and do you care what they think?” Umm, yes – I do care and WHO reads my blogs is less relevant than WHY the odd stray on the internet reads my blogs. That is the joy of blogging. I use it as a vent, a channel to consolidate my sometimes deranged thoughts, a podium better suited to a lady than making use of swearing and cursing.

Through Facebook I shared an interesting article on a study regarding the use of swearing. The responses were fascinating in their diversity. From an anecdote from rural African culture, where people not seeing eye to eye would go on to a hilltop and exchange swear words to diffuse their frustrations with each other, to a discussion on the use of swearing in the sport of golf, to the opinion of a Christian willing to dive right in there to defend her beliefs based on her faith. What was so intriguing was that each person who shared had an opinion on a matter that we do not give a second thought to (until our offspring use a word that is not quite what we expect to hear from our beloved progeny, of course)

Now that is why I blog. Blogging is like an invisible friend with whom I can share anything. It is the equivalent of standing on a hilltop and screaming every arbitrary thought or profanity that would have me committed or rebuked should I express them out loud in polite company. Blogging does not judge or criticise. It does not question my reasons or ask me what my motivation is for making outlandish comment.

It can’t. Because it is not actually real. It is just a thought shared.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Jeepers but it’s Hot, hey?

February in Durban comes around once a year (funny that!) Every year we Durbanites either bitch or bask in the weather that we experience.

Let me explain for those who do not know what it is like in Durban, KZN, South Arica. It is “blerrie” hot and humid! You never feel dry. Taking a cool shower in the morning is a relief after waking up hot and sticky from tossing about all night playing cat and mice with mosquitoes and trying to find a cool spot on your bed. That relief is short lived because you then realise that you may only be fully dry in about a months’ time. Clothes stick to you as you try to get dressed and make-up for ladies becomes a joke as it is probably going to reach your belly button before lunchtime.

The incessant rains of December and January, which fall daily when Durban is packed with tourists, comes to a halt. Any rainfall just adds to the humidity and is seen as a curse not a blessing even though grass is starting to resemble the Highveld in winter.

Geckos, those awful transparent creatures that crawl about ones walls and “drop their load” (aka poop) all over your curtains, are revered for their mosquito catching skills. Bread not eaten within 2 days turns into a science project. Just how many colours of mould are there? Even leather handbags and shoes cannot escape the tyranny of the humidity as they develop a film of white, smelly mould.

True, a lot of Durbanites have swimming pools. So what? A dip in the pool is more like taking a bath. You need to dose the pool with so much chlorine to keep the algae away that it is a bath that removes your first 6 layers of skin and burns your eyes so that you look like a pink eye patient all month. That last layer of precious skin peels off anyway because applying moisturiser is like trying to mix oil and water.

So, for the month of February, ladies pack away their defunct hair straighteners and blow dryers. Deodorant and sunscreen sales skyrocket. Lethargy is a common complaint and the talk around water coolers is repetitive - “Phew, how hot is it today?” Love it or hate it, February in Durban does come to an end and Durbanites once again boast about living in the best little patch of paradise in the world.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

An Elephant Coast Experience

The idea of getting up at 4:45am to pack and get to Gateway by 6:45am did not blow my hair back but believe you me, it was all worth it. I had been invited by Carol of Personal Touch to join a group of event and conference organisors to attend a site inspection trip in Zululand.

On the trip up on a luxury coach, we all got to know each other. There were about 28 of us – strangers faced with spending the next few days together. It became apparent that there was nothing strange about any of these folk. What a great bunch!

The next 3 days went by in a haze of teambuilding, stunning venues, activities, wild animals, delicious food and memorable experiences.

At Ghost Mountain Inn the staff were so warm, knowledgeable and helpful we felt that we were leaving friends behind when we finally departed. A drive up the Ubombo Mountains through the local Zulu community, followed by drinks and snacks overlooking Jozini Dam once we reached the top, was fantastic. The boat trip on the Jozini Dam the next day was ...umm...very wet. It poured with rain. Spotting hippos popping their heads out the dam and wriggling their ears at us made our sodden state worthwhile though.

I am not keen on seeing animals in captivity but at Zulu Croc I could see that the snakes and crocodiles were well looked after and happy. The guides crammed us with fascinating facts. That reminds me, I still need to check if Vine snakes ever hang out in Durban North.

I felt relaxed the minute I arrived at Amorello Bush Golf Lodge. Could have been the yummy cocktail but I think it was the warm, close to nature ambiance that the place exudes. Although we were all pretty bushed after all our gallivanting about and early mornings, a good few of us partied till late, getting to meet some locals who frequent Amorello for its well stocked pub and pizza oven.

Considering the bleary eyes the next day – it was a good thing that it started with a look at Amorello’s eye-opening Ihlozi Private Lodge. I can but dream of spending a weekend there one day when I grow up!

Let me fill you in here that our itinerary had changed because there was a newly graded road causing problems getting to Bayete Zulu. Our trip there had therefore been delayed so we were looking forward to seeing our last site. Probably 500 metres from our destination the mud got the better of our gallant driver who, after numerous attempts to get the coach through the slippery mud, had to concede defeat.

We were picked up by Land Rovers but not after some of us had squished through the mud. The Elephant Interaction that awaited us ensured we forgot about the mud in-between our toes as we touched, fed and talked to the elephants. Rambo, Rachael and their baby Jabulani had us all mesmerised.

The vast, open view from the stunning 4-Star Bayete Zulu was our backdrop for lunch. I was impressed by what Bayete Zulu offers to accommodate families with children considering its 4 –star opulence.

We arrived back in Durban a weary but happy group of friends. To coin a much used phrase during the tour.....Viva! Viva Carol van Niekerk and Shaun Visser and all the individuals who made the tour so special. Viva Zululand and the beautiful Elephant Coast of KZN. Viva to making new friend. Viva!

p.s. If you would like to see photos of the trip – check out Personal Touch’s Facebook Page

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gladys-the Iron Gladiator

Today is one of my favourite days of the year. It is the day that Gladys comes back from her annual leave. Gladys is the Superwoman who comes to our home twice a week to do all the jobs that I hate; cleaning bathrooms, loos, floors and most importantly – ironing.

I just don’t GET ironing. You iron one part of a garment and that creates creases in other parts of the garment. Where the hell are creases supposed to go in men’s Chino trouser legs? And what’s with those pleats at the back of men’s shirts? How far down the shirt are you supposed to iron the crease?

Okay, so I am crap at ironing. All the other house work is very achievable when avoidance is futile. Roxy the fox terrier drops more hairs daily than bombs during both World Wars. Add the hair of 3 cats and you can understand why I consider my vacuum cleaner the best purchase I have ever made in my life (Ummm...actually, maybe I revere the dish washer more. It is a close call.)

Feather dusters are pretty useful too. I suppose Gladys’s eyesight is worse than mine because she does not seem to see that there are more spiders per m² (judging by the cobwebs) in our house than in the Amazon Jungle. That begs the question – what are the tenants that crawl all over our walls doing to earn their stay? Geckos and their droppings are only tolerated because they are supposed to keep the fly/mozzie/spider/small creepy crawly population down. They had better pull up their sticky, transparent socks – or face imminent eviction.

I am sure that most of you will agree that housework is a thankless, tedious, never ending pain in the butt. No sooner have you caught up with all the washing and the basket is inexplicably filled with more dirty clothes (especially if you have an Alien in the house.) Dishes warrant a scientific study as they duplicate and triplicate in front of your eyes before you can get them into the dishwasher.

Gladys may not be the best cobweb exterminator nor does she command the English language enough to understand much that I say to her, but she is a Gladiator with an iron. For that reason, she can probably be classified as my BFF because she makes my life easier. Welcome back Gladys. I missed you.