Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My 2013 Bucket List

Having created a bucket list for 2012 was one of the best things I did. I’ve had a great year filled with fantastic experiences.
On that note, I am creating my 2013 bucket list.
·         Visit Jen in PE and Taryn in Cape Town.
·         Do the Tsitsikamma and Magoebaskloof Canopy Tours. I am also hoping to do the Skyway Trail near Hazyview during the December break.
·         Regular outings with the Gauteng Expats Group.
·         Regular attendance to Skeptics / Rumble in the Pub (or park depending on the mood).
·         Continuing exploring Jozi and surrounds with friends.
·         Attending a swing revival event. Miss Oh! whom I met at a burlesque tea party, says that there are a number of places around that host dancing evenings.
·         Astronomy with Gastronomy. I did this once and it was so much fun.
·         Magaliesburg steam train tour. I did this when I was a kiddywink. With so many friends who have kids, I think it could be fun to do an outing that both parents and spawnlings can enjoy. See I’ve become much more comfortable around my friends’ kids.
·         Going to the holiday house by the Kruger more often.
Other items to be worked on this year, not as pleasurable but with long-term rewards:
·         Gyming 4 times a week and eating healthy in order to loose 20kg. I lost 12 in the first half of this year, so I think 20 in a year should be achievable.
·         Annihilating the credit card debt by June.
·         Paying off the couch by June.
Definite events are going to see Red Hot Chilli Peppers in February and Metallica in March! It’s going to be a busy year, but a good one.
What’s on your Bucket List?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Stranded on a desert island

 A few days ago, my Gmail account on my phone would not synch. The next day I couldn’t even connect. And then Google Talk and Goggle+ stopped working. No connection to server. Yet Facebook, Twitter and the interwebs were working fine and dandy.  Strange and stranger. So I did the only thing I could and did a factory reset. To no avail. No connectivity to Google servers whatsoever. So here I am, stranded without my apps, without my email, stranded on the desert island of no connection to the outside world.
Or am I really?
I was tremendously upset that my phone konked out on me. I’m only due for an upgrade in January. All my handy apps are now gone. No one can figure out what is wrong with my phone. I’m left with temperamental sms, calls and cumbersome browsing.
I felt that the world was ganging up against me for no reason. And then I laughed. I was making a mountain out of a molehill.
Rewind 2½ years ago. At the time all my phone could do was calls, sms and internet browsing. Before that even less. 14 years ago I was excited to get a brick when I started university. And before that I survived just fine with just a landline at home.
And then cellphones made their way into our everyday lives. Do you still remember how excited we were when the sms feature was launched? Then mms, internet connection, cameras, smartphones. All in the space of 14 years.
How quickly we get used to such convenience. How quickly we think we can’t live without our gadgets. How lost we feel without them. We have the world at our fingertips. We feel connected to the pulse of the world because a small piece of plastic and electronics gives us constant notifications of things happening around us (most of which are of no great importance or urgency). Had you asked me a few days ago what I would take with me on a desert island I would have chosen my phone (if there was connectivity on the island).
Having this technical incident has made take a step back and re-evaluate my relationship with my phone. Only being able to send sms and make calls is not a bad thing. It will be good to slow things down a bit. After all, we’ve survived 12 000 years without instant connections.
The only nuisance is that most of my numbers were are stored directly on Gmail, in case my phone broke or got stolen, then I would not lose my numbers. Well, I didn’t anticipate not having Google connectivity. I’m now stuck re-entering all the important numbers in manually. Serves me right not to have a backup.
It will be good to take this smartphone break. I therefore apologise to all those who will try to contact me via WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Google+. I’ll be checking those only once a day via my 3G card.
In January I will be upgrading to the longed for Samsung Galaxy S3. I find Samsung and Android a match made in heaven. I love the convenience BUT I will not let it take over my life. This reality check is far too important to sweep under the carpet and forget.

Friday, November 16, 2012


George Bergeon
1 April 1915 - 15 November 2012

Celebrating Papi’s 95th Birthday!
There once was a little girl, who, every night after brushing her teeth, went to bed. But she didn’t go to sleep right away. She would lie there and wait. Until she heard the quiet footsteps to her door and he would slip into her bedroom like a thief in the night. There in the dark, they would sit side by side on the bed, nibbling away on pieces of dark chocolate. This went on for quite a while until one night they were caught by the little girl’s mother. The mother wasn’t very impressed. After all, grandfather or not, the little girl had already had her after-dinner piece of chocolate AND she had brushed her teeth.
I must have been about 8 years old. I will never forget my mom’s expression. Arms crossed, tapping foot, frown on her face, marred slightly by the fact that she’s trying very hard not to laugh at the two mischievous imps facing her. Me hiding behind Papi, giggling, and him trying to look contrite and failing miserably. We still laugh about it today.
Papi instilled a love of gardening in me (not just my passion for dark chocolate). He was always pottering and grubbing around. At one stage he even had 2 veggie patches. I remember picking ripe strawberries, and eating freshly picked home grown lettuce, scraping tomato seeds onto newspaper to seed the following year, pouring over garden catalogues checking which seeds to buy next. When I told him I had started growing my own veggies he was so proud and happy.
The gardener and his veggie patch.

I have so many amazing memories of him. Us curled up in front of the TV watching Question pour un Champion, going to the beach, visiting the family farm (there is a picture of us and the rabbits), waltzing through the corridors (me on his feet to be able to reach up), or us just in his study, me reading and him doing his crossword puzzles.
On Sundays he would go to the bakery to get deserts for lunch. He always got me a Religieuse (Nun: two choux pastries filled with pastry cream and stacked on top of each other with icing) and made sure I would get the Mother Superior (the biggest and fattest one).
Him and my gran would laugh when I refused to eat bread with my cheese (after all, if you eat bread there is no space left for the cheese). As I grew older, he instilled a love of good wine, and always made sure that there were a few bottles of Muscadel sur lie ready for me.
Peas in a pod
Papi and my dad were thick as thieves. Papi always ensured that the bicycle was ready for when my dad came to visit. Dad would hop on and cycle around the beautiful countryside and come back with lovely charcoal sketches and watercolours, many of which are hanging around the house. It was on such a trip that I accompanied my dad and I had my accident. If my grandfather hadn’t insisted that his surgeon operate on me, I may not have the full use of my left hand. The surgeon had been dragged from his holiday as a result of a huge car pileup. He had just come out of a 10 hour operation when my grandfather saw him and begged that he do the operation. Such a man was Papi, that the surgeon, as exhausted as he was, agreed.
Papi was my grandmother’s second husband. They knew each other from the days when Papi and my mom’s dad were posted in Africa. They were both in the military police and both families kept in touch from then on. The year Papi Francois (my mom’s dad) died of a stroke, Papi’s wife died of bone cancer. A few years after that, Papi courted my grandmother and they settled happily together. They have been together for 37 years. I think both of them were very lucky to have each other in their old age. They loved each other and Papi spoiled my gran and treated her like a queen. Today I’m wearing a ring he bought for her at the Carlton Centre 35 years ago.
Papi with the medals he earned during WWII.
He told my mom when her and my dad went to visit in September, a few days before his stroke, that the times he spent with us were amongst the happiest times of his life. I think he knew something was going to happen and he hung on as long as he could, so he could see my folks one last time.
He collapsed in my mother’s arms while they were doing grocery shopping.
The stroke left him paralysed and unable to communicate. A husk of the great man he was.
I am utterly gutted at his death, but I am glad that he is not suffering any more. That he doesn’t have to survive my gran. Mamie has declined into gentle senility and the only person she recognises is my mom. At least she will not have the grief of losing a man she loved so much.
That was my grandfather. Kind. Generous. Loving. Funny. Courageous. With a zest for life. He touched everybody whose lives he crossed. He was larger than life and my hero. I miss him terribly.
Je t’aime Papi. I raise my glass in your honour and memory!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Catching Up

Seriously, this lack of writing is quite shocking. Could it be Novemberitis? I doubt it. Rather a mix of actually having a social life again and also going through a rough emotional time (my grandfather whom I love dearly is not long for this world but this is for another blog post).
A social life? Me? Yes! Can you believe it? Now if my gym attendance were like my social life, I’d be getting moerse vitality points. Yes, well…
I’ve been going to my weekly salsa classes with much enthusiasm. It’s so much fun and I realise how much I’ve missed dancing. I met a couple of lovely fun ladies (Chiaki, Cheryl and Sandra). We get along really well and I think we will be seeing quite a bit of each other socially. We have already decided to continue with the dancing. It helps that I found out Braza offers free beginner classes on a Monday. That way we can practice our new-found steps and by the time we attend the December salsa party we won’t be stomping all over the dance floor but shimmying convincingly (or heading that way at least). And in January we can progress to intermediate.
Trotted to some art galleries with Talita. I really enjoy having a friend with whom I can go out and about on a whim and who enjoys cultural experiences as much as I do. She’s off to London in a few weeks’ time to go house hunting (amongst other things). And I am jealous. I would love to squeeze into her luggage and visit all those amazing art galleries and spending time with Erica and Hendri again. I’ve been back over a month and I miss them terribly already. Where is a TARDIS when I need one?
Last night I dragged some friends out and we headed off to a Skeptics in the Pub meet. I haven’t laughed so much in a VERY long time. Total strangers (barring Michael whom I haven’t seen in ages and was surprised to see) with whom I instantly got along. I did however get a black mark against my name when I forgot Captain Kirk’s name. Yes, there were quite a few trekkies. Sue me if I prefer Star Wars to StarTrek (though the new StarTrek movie rocked!). There is something really awesome about being able to talk about EVERYTHING and not having to mind your P’s and Q’s all the time in case you offend someone. And laugh till your belly hurts. After a rather emotional day it was exactly what I needed. I’m looking forward to the next instalment.
Now to get back into the writing swing. I am not looking forward to writing my next post, but it’s going to be necessary. I’m going to have to disinfect my keyboard from all the snot and tears that are going to ensue. But it’s part of the healing process.
And getting back to gym. I know I can do this…

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sometimes You Have To Be Just A Little Bit Naughty

“Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.
So they say. Their subsequent fall was inevitable.
They never stood a chance; they were written that way –
Innocent victims of their story.

Like Romeo and Juliet,
'Twas written in the stars before they even met
That love and fate (and a touch of stupidity)
Would rob them of their hope of living happily.

The endings are often a little bit gory.
I wonder why they didn't just change their story.
We're told we have to do what we're told, but surely
Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty.

Just because you find that life's not fair, it
Doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it,
Nothing will change.

Even if you're little you can do a lot, you
Mustn't let a little thing like 'little' stop you.
If you sit around and let them get on top, you
Might as well be saying you think that it's OK,
And that's not right.

Cinderella, in the cellar,
Didn't have to do much as far as I could tell.
Her Godmother was two thirds fairy.
Suddenly her lot was a lot less scary.
But what if you haven't got a fairy to fix it?
Sometimes you have to make a little bit of mischief.

Just because you find that life's not fair, it
Doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it,
Nothing will change.

Even if you're little you can do a lot, you
Mustn't let a little thing like 'little' stop you.
If you sit around and let them get on top, you
Might as well be saying you think that it's OK,
And that's not right.

And if it's not right, you have to put it right.

In the slip of a bolt, there's a tiny revolt.
The seeds of a war in the creak of a floorboard.
A storm can begin with the flap of a wing.
The tiniest mite packs the mightiest sting.
Every day starts with the tick of a clock.
All escapes start with the click of a lock.
If you're stuck in your story and want to get out,
You don't have to cry; you don't have to shout.

'Cause if you're little, you can do a lot, you
Mustn't let a little thing like 'little' stop you.
If you sit around and let them get on top, you
Won't change a thing.

Just because you find that life's not fair, it
Doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it,
You might as well be saying you think that it's OK.
And that's not right.

And if it's not right, you have to put it right.

But nobody else is gonna put it right for me.
Nobody but me is gonna change my story.
Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty. “

So you may wonder what this is all about. It’s actually one of the many awesome songs from Matilda: the Musical, which I was very fortunate to see while I was in London. And I felt that it was a very appropriate song for things that are happening in my life at the moment.

My UK holiday was the perfect break for me. I’ve come back refreshed and mentally rejuvenated. I also did a lot of thinking about my life in general.

One of the topics that seems to come up quite often in my shrink sessions is the fact that I tend to get frustrated (and tired) at the fact that I’m always the one contacting my friends to organise outings. It’s very rare that it is reciprocated. I don’t actually bear my friends a grudge. The majority of them are couples (the single ones are hermits mostly), have families and other priorities. And it’s quite OK. I am, after all, single and have a tiny family.  That is why I tend to put my friends quite high on my priority list. I have accepted that if I want to see them I must make the effort.

One of my realisations has been that I need to expand my horizons and meet new people, create a circle of acquaintances with whom I do activities on a regular basis. Maybe through me getting out and about more and meeting new people will open new doors and who knows, I may actually meet that man who actually values me for who I am and will love me (a girl can dream). But none of this will happen if I sit at home and mope.

“If you sit around and let them get on top, you
Won't change a thing.
Just because you find that life's not fair, it
Doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it,
You might as well be saying you think that it's OK.
And that's not right.
And if it's not right, you have to put it right.”

Of course the challenge is finding a way to meet new people. I’ve realise that my bucket list will help with that problem. Here’s a look again at the list and what I’ve achieved so far since I started it:

1. Canopy Tours.  The Magaliesberg Tour was epic! Now I need to plan for other tours.
2. Hot air balloon ride. It’s quite pricey and I’m waiting for a special offer to afford it. And then Mom and I will go. I found out with great surprise that she’s always wanted to do a balloon ride (and she’s afraid of heights). Go mom!
3. Visit the Irene Country Market. B&B, let’s make a date of this and take the boys along.
4. Visit the Pretoria Botanical Gardens, and other parks in and around Gauteng. I actually went with Kerri, Nick, Calvin and Melissa to the Walter Sisulu Gardens for a Concert in the Park event. That was great fun!
5. Going to the Pretoria Zoo. A friend of Erica and Hendri is actually coming to SA in December, A visitor will be perfect for showing around!
6. Visit Erica and Hendri in the UK in September. This was an utterly amazing holiday! More to come regarding this.
7. Regular attendance to the Bioscope. I’ve been a few times this year already, the most classic being a Noodlebox screening of Drunken Master (with dubbing jumping from English back to the original Chinese very randomly).
8. Taking up ballroom dancing. Believe it or not, I’ve actually taken up salsa classes. There was a Wicount special and I jumped on the opportunity. I went to my first class this week and it was so much fun. Of course there was an overabundance of girls. It’s not surprising as I find that the vast majority of men in this country are allergic to dancing (though much less prominent in black and coloured communities. They don’t have hang-ups about dancing). Men have obviously not figured out that women really like it when a guy can dance. So come on, put the word out! And Kerri may actually join me!
9. Teach myself photography through an online course. I have a pretty good eye, but I need to learn about settings and options.
10. Going to HQ for 60 day matured sirloin steak. The correct word was OMNOMNOMNOM! And with the Supper Club we’ve been to quite a few good places.
11. Explore and discover the hidden gems in Joburg. I have found a partner in crime to join me. Talita and I truly enjoy getting out and about. She’s already introduced me to the Neighbourgoods Market and the Peach Café. Next on our list are The Whippet and Indulgence Café.
12. Visit art galleries and markets. On Sunday Talita and I are going to an exhibition opening at Arts on Main.

Other achievements not on the list include going to concerts/plays. I got to see Nutcracker on Ice, Phantom of the Opera, Matilda (I hope they bring it to SA) and Switchfoot. And I’ll be going to Linkin Park and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. And of course my weight loss and increasing fitness levels. How can I forget that. I’m feeling more confident and I have new found energy levels. A boost to the ego to defeat my tendency to not see myself in a positive light.

And there are a couple of additional things I have decided to do:
13. Volunteer with FreeMe. One of the lady volunteers for them and she’s offered to let me shadow her one Sunday. We humans can be quite selfish and we need to give back at times. It will also be an opportunity to meet new people.
14. Start hiking. I’m thinking of taking it up. Kerri, Nick, Calvin and Melissa enjoy hiking and it would be fun to get out and about every now and again.

Phew! That’s one busy schedule! I’ll keep you posted on how it all pans out. At this rate I’m going to have to create a new list! But that is the point after all. To live my life to its fullest. I don’t want to look back when I’m 80 and realise that I’ve frittered my life away doing nothing, feeling sorry for myself.

Once more with feeling:
“But nobody else is gonna put it right for me.
Nobody but me is gonna change my story.
Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty. “

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rocks Don't Always Make Reality TV

Now, if you've ever met a geologist this will make perfect sense to you. And it just goes to show that not all reality TV shows are thought through properly (which probably explains why the majority of them are crap).

While the media rarely represents geologists to the general population, (excluding sound bites on Discovery Channel volcano specials), there was one recent attempt to integrate geologists into a television program.

According to various blog sources, CBS was looking to produce a new reality TV show for 2008, after correctly predicting that the writers' strike would cut down on their ability to create blue-toned dramatic shows centering around corpses. One of their production managers happened to see a documentary on a volcanologist researching lava in Hawaii, and seeing the danger and excitement inherent in people smashing molten hot 'magma' with rock hammers, pitched the idea of a 'geologist survivor-type' show.

In December of 2007, CBS hired a production crew to pull the show together; the scenario was that nine geologists would be placed in the field, where they would vote each other off based on their willingness to do dangerous geologist type feats common to the field; like researching active volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, and landing in bush planes on glaciers. Geologists that weren't up to the task would be voted off, and the last remaining "Hard-core geologist" would win a prize.

The production was plagued from the beginning. They were successful in finding nine geologists, 6 males and three females, between 25 and 50 years of age, and they quickly set up the first challenge; researching an active volcano in the Philippines. The geologists and camera crew set up camp near the bottom of the volcano. The camera crew filmed the nine geologists bonding. The geologists were supplied with alcohol (a common strategy to loosen up the cast in reality TV), but the camera crew was surprised to notice that even after drinking gallons of the liquid, the geologists did not change their behavior, and continued talking in an obscure jargonized language about 'bombs', 'breccia,' and 'lahars,' none of which made for good reality TV.

This trend continued through the entire first challenge; the geologists were seemingly oblivious to the camera, and the only interpersonal drama occurred when the seismologist and structural geologist got into a yelling match over the best recipe for chili. When the camera-crew and geologists went up to do research on the volcano, instead of sticking together, the geologists scattered into the landscape, and the camera-crew found themselves unable to find more than two at a time.

Also, after listening to the volcanologists eagerly predict just how soon the volcano would blow, the camera-crew became extremely nervous and returned to the camp. The final result was almost no footage, and the editors were unable to make sense of what footage there was because they had no idea what the hell the geologists were talking about. Finally, few of the scientists seemed to understand the concept of 'voting off' another member. After consulting a nearby university, the crew finally explained that the geologists were 'competing for a GSA research grant.'

This didn't go well either, as the geologists pointed out that they didn't have the time to write a research paper. Finally, they were simply told to get rid of someone on some sort of criteria. After a council, the geologists decided that whoever had the worst aim with a rock hammer would be told to leave.

The second event, landing in a bush plane in upper Alaska, was a complete failure. None of the geologists were nervous at the idea, which destroyed the drama the crew was hoping for, and worse yet, no-one in the production crew was willing to accompany the geologists to the site, out of sheer terror. The result was that small cameras were given to two of the geologists to film themselves. When the footage and geologists returned, the editors found tapes filled with footage and commentary about mountains and 'glacial erratics'. Only ten percent of the footage featured humans, and most of that footage was simply the petrologist standing by outcrops for scale.

By the time the production reached Hawaii, most of the camera-crew had quit (because of the steady diet of chili and the dangerous situations), and only five of the geologists were left; not because they had been voted off, but because they had been over-excited by rock formations at various locations and had refused to leave. Moreover, paying for an almost-constant supply of beer and transportation of the geologists' luggage (which mainly consisted of rock samples and unmentionably dilapidated field clothing), had almost exhausted the budget. CBS finally pulled the plug on the project in January of 2008, despite their fear that they might be sued for withdrawing the promise of a prize; however, none of the geologists sued, as they were still under the impression that they needed to publish a research paper to receive the money.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ticking off my Bucket List - UK Trip

It's hard to believe. In less than a week I will be sipping G&T's in London! I'm so utterly excited! I can't wait to see my friends Erica and Hendri, and Neil and Angie (in Cornwall). It’s been too long and electronic communication just does not make up for seeing one another face to face.
I have been planning these holidays for close onto a year now and it’s hard to fathom that it is almost upon me. I am struggling to concentrate on work. It’s really hard. My brain is in full holiday mode already.
So I’ll be away for 3 whole weeks (6-26 September), running around London, Devon, Cornwall and Wales. AWESOME!
E&H are celebrating their Big O Birthday Party with a New Orleans masquerade themed party. I think it will be epic. Schlepping one of my corsets and bustle skirt with me.
I am going to immerse myself in museums, historical venues, paleontological monuments, gorgeous landscapes and even catch a show and possibly do the Jack the Ripper tour.
Expect awesome pictures of my entire holiday. I bought an extra SD card for my camera. Sadly my poor old camera can only handle a 2GB SD card, so I can forsee myself downloading a lot onto my external hard drive.
So don’t expect any posts while I’m away. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Long Time No See

In the past week I have met up with people I have not seen in forever and a decade.
Monday I was on site in Kathu for an audit. Turns out one of the auditors, Cara, is a girl I went to university with! I have not seen her in 10 years. And she has not changed one bit. We reminisced about the time we went to Oppikoppi together and talked about ex-mates and what they are up to today. It seems she’s kept better in touch than I have. LOL! And while we were auditing, we bumped into another girl we were at varsity with, Tanja. And she has changed even less! I swear you have to go to a small ass town in the middle of NOWHERE to meet up old mates.
On Wednesday I met up with Beth for a very nice Curry. I have not seen Beth since her baby Shower in November last year. How shocking is that? She’s now a yummy mummy to two adorable twin boys (Matt and Leo), and they are toddling quite close to their first birthday. It was so nice to catch up with Beth. I have missed her and even though we keep in touch through Facebook, it’s just not the same as sitting down face to face.
I’ve realised that I have not seen a number of friends for quite a while and there is no excuse for not seeing them. I have decided that when I get back from my holidays I will make a point of meeting for coffee / lunch / supper with all those lovely people. No more excuses! I cannot allow good friends to slip away because no effort has been made to keep in touch.
I'm going to have quite the social calendar!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Inconceivable

I plead guilty
The inconceivable has happened.
A few months ago I was going on about how I felt that so many of my friends were pregnant. That I really wasn’t fond of babies and that I didn’t know how I was going to adjust to this new environment.
Well, it’s been a few months since that post and I have met the new arrivals.
Now I can’t say much about newborns (sorry Nads), but, I have to admit, that slightly older babies can be quite cute (as long as I can give them back to their parents. THAT much has not changed). But yes, you heard right. Babies. Can. Be. Cute.
There. I’ve said it. Cute.
Newborns I am still wary of. They don’t look quite “right”. After 2 or so months they start looking like mini-humans and I can start relating to them then. The personality starts poking through and they become more interactive. That’s fine with me. Mini-human versus mini-mini humanoid.
Now please don’t go shoving babies in my face every 5 seconds or I’ll scream at you. But, I am OK around them (when they are all gurgly and stuff. Wailing babies still make me want to bolt for the door).
Interesting fact: Babies in the first few months look more like their fathers than their mothers. This is because it enables the fathers to accept that the baby is theirs and not someone else’s (this came from way back in our early evolutionary days and stayed). Kinda nifty of Mother Nature, don’t you think? When I look at Dave and Wanja’s son Connor he is a mini Dave. Quite amazing!
So to my newly parental friends (and slightly older): I’m OK with your kids. I accept the responsibility of crazy Auntie (but DO NOT blame me for what your kid might learn through me).
As for me having kids of my own? HELL NO! Not yet anyway.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rock bands, rock hard heroes and a public holiday dedicated to women

I’m over ten days late on this post, but better late than never. Clemma made me realise I hadn’t posted in a while and I need to catch up. Thank you Lady!
So 10 days ago South Africa celebrated National Women’s Day. And as a Fanatics member I got a FREE movie ticket on the day. Hehe! I love freebies! Of course freebies offered to women don’t right the fact that so many women today are still being persecuted and treated as lesser citizens. We still have a long way to go in that respect. I’m a feminist in the sense that women should be treated as equal to men; that we should not be persecuted; that we have the right to decide what we can or cannot do with our own bodies and that no religion or state can decide for us (that is the true meaning of being Pro Choice); that governments should ensure women get educated, get healthcare, are not abused, have the same legal rights as men, are protected from patriarchal bullshit and chauvinistic attitudes. Simple human rights really. Helen Moffett wrote a great article about how much we still to do to achieve this.
Anyway,  I trotted off to Hyde Park for a late afternoon tea and cake (hello Lemon Meringue pie) at Tasha's and finally got around to watching Dark Knight Rises. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt it finished the trilogy really well. I admit I figured out who the baddie actually was (no spoilers as there may be peeps out there who have not seen it yet). It kept that lovely darkness of the first two, though I don’t think any villain can compare to Heath Ledger’s Joker. Anne Hathaway was a very sexy and fun Catwoman; not sultry twisted Michelle Pfeiffer and thank goodness not cheesy Halle Berry, but an awesome character in her own right. That girl has some serious talent.
The night before I headed off with a workmate to watch Switchfoot live at Carnival City (if there ever was a hideous Casino, this one beats it hands on). It was a small concert, but quite intimate. At one stage the lead singer actually climbed off stage and walked through the crowd, shaking hands, giving out hugs. Now that’s not something you see very often. The opening act was Gangs of Ballet, a really good band from Durban. I heartily recommend them. I love discovering awesome local bands. I told my mate Clifford that in two years it must be his band, State Society, who will be opening for international rock bands (and I want backstage passes). The challenge is on!
On the subject of bands: I HAVE MY TICKETS FOR LINKIN PARK! WOOHOO! Can’t wait!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Peach Cafe

Saturday I was supposed to see an exhibition with Talita. As fate would have it, her car refused to start. So we decided instead that I would pick her up and we would go out for lunch.
Talita took me to a lovely place called Peach Café in Fourways. It’s a darling quaint venue slap bang in the middle of a peach farm which has survived the encroaching of townhouses. A bit of country in the city.
The café has recently opened and the owners are in the process of improving the place. You get to sit outside (or under a lapa like roof) in a very rustic set up, inclusive of geese honking in the background on their way to the pond.
The owners are two young chefs and you can imagine that the food is rather tasty. The menu is not extensive, but the flavours of the dishes you will get make up for it. I had a lovely ice tea, more like a granita (not too sweet, not too tart), a focaccia with pesto, charred cherry tomatoes, roast mushroom, buffalo mozzarella and rocket and a strawberry tartlet for desert. Talita had the mezze platter (mushroom pate Hello!) and the chocolate fondant with ice cream.  It was delicious! We had such a great time we didn’t notice how time flew by.
It really is a gorgeous little place, ideal for a Saturday or Sunday lunch, for a giggle of girls to get together, for families with kids (lots of place for spawnlings to run around), for a first date even. In early summer you can even go pick peaches and nectarines!
Peach Café is quite busy on a Sunday, so bookings are essentials. I recommend waiting 2 weeks until all the peach trees are in bloom for a truly gorgeous experience.

Peach Café
83 Selbourne Road, Fourways
011 704 3661

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fifty Shades of Indifference

It would seem that the book trilogy of Fifty Shades of Grey has taken the world by storm. By world I mean the world of child-bearing 30+ women who have nothing better to do in their lives than escape to the sad and pathetic world of BDSM “mommy porn” (as the book is being marketed).
The only reason I heard about the book is because I follow MrsStephenFry on Twitter and she retweeted a funny post by 50ShedsofGrey, which also featured in HRHPrincessKate and PrinceWillsUK’s tweets. Anyone who follows these characters would know that anything they retweet is silly and not to be taken seriously (but highly entertaining). As I started following the tweets and laughed myself off my couch, I was at the same time puzzled by the nature of the tweets. Then from outer influences I started hearing about Fifty Shades of Grey. With the help of my trusty research sidekick (thank you Google) I found out a bit more. Unfortunately.
I read up the synopsis and can quite frankly say that Mills & Boon’s “The Spanish Billionaire’s Pregnant Wife” has more of a plot than 50SoG. I know because I read the Mills & Boons on a holiday when I had read all my other books and there was nothing else to read in the holiday house where I was staying. When desperate you will read the back of cereal boxes, admit it.
I could not understand how this trilogy could become so popular (but I guess it’s the same with Twilight, and note that 50SoG started off a Twilight based fan fiction. Need I say more?). Then realisation dawned. I have grown up in a liberal household. The naked body and sex was never a taboo subject. My parents even have the complete works of Gustav Klimt’s erotica. I remember asking my mom how babies were made. She told me, not the birds and the bees, but the real deal. I was cool with her answer. It didn’t shock me, and I was 4 years old! My dad once told a teacher of mine that I was a late baby (10 years into their marriage) but that him and my mom had lots of fun practicing. You can therefore understand why I never had this mind block that is so prevalent in English speaking countries. English speaking countries are still VERY prude. Continental Europe is much more relaxed.
My theory is that if you have grown up with something that is viewed as taboo and scandalous then when you come across it and you partake in it, you feel naughty and wicked doing so and it gives you a frisson. You feel bold and like a risk taker. Hence the books’ popularity.
The demographic of readers is predominantly housewives and mommies. Why? Because they live dreary dull lives that they want to escape from (if BDSM erotica can be considered spicy. It reflects more the fact that you have some serious issues and you need to see a shrink if getting spanked and chained up is the only way you can get your rocks off. Yes I have met people in the “community” and yes they major unresolved issues.). Of course I’m not saying that ALL moms have dull and dreary lives. But those that subscribe to this nonsense sadly do. The fact that many of these women’s’ lives are dull and dreary is quite sad actually. Rather than hiding in this erotic fantasy the ladies should GO AND SHAG THEIR HUSBANDS! I can guarantee the husbands will appreciate it. If they want to use a bit of kink to spice things up, by all means. But no book will “rescue” them from dull dreary lives. One is responsible for one’s own sexual happiness.
So you Ladies who might be reading the book: put it down and get a life. Put the kids to bed, you are not their slave, and get frisky with thine husbands! You’ll be much happier for it. Oh, and follow the twits I mentioned. You’ll have a good giggle.
In honour of 50ShedsofGrey:
Ever since she read THAT book, I’ve had to buy all kinds of ropes, chains and shackles. She still manages to get into the shed though.
“I’m a very naughty girl,” she said, biting her lip, “I need to be punished”. So I invited my mother to stay for the weekend.
“Hurt me,” she begged, raising her skirts s she bent over my workbench. “Very well,” I replied, “You’ve got fat ankles and no dress sense.”
“I am your master. You will obey my rules.” She rolled her eyes and walked out of the shed. That’s definitely it -  I need to get a new cat!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy IVGLDSW Day!

Today is International Very Good Looking, Damn Smart Woman's Day!

Remember these mottos to live by: 
  • Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, totally worn out and screaming 'WOOO HOOOOO what a ride!' 
  • Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.
  • Inside me lives a skinny woman crying to get out. But I can usually shut her up with cakes. 
  • The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy. 
  • I refuse to think of them as chin hair.  I think of them as stray eyebrows.    
  • Old age ain't no place for sissies.
  • Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.
  • If you can't be a good example then you'll just have to be a horrible warning. 
  • I'm not going to vacuum until Dyson makes one you can ride on.
  • Behind every successful man is a surprised woman.
  • Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission. 
  • When life hands you lemons, ask for tequila and salt and call me over!!