Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Imagine that!

I’ve always imagined that I am one of those people who is blessed with a good imagination, maybe even a great one, but I’m beginning to imagine that it mightn’t really be so.

Only today, I was trying to ‘think out of the box’ with ideas for presenting plants to retailers for Christmas. In the first place, I should probably have imagined that it was coming up for Christmas last month already.

As for out the box thinking, all I’ve come up with are curls of ribbon (it worked but cost a bit much), gift wrap (it worked, it cost less, but it’ll get ruined on the truck) and glitter glue. I’m happy with the glitter glue spots on the leaves of some plants, but it’s an idea I’ve seen elsewhere, so I can’t take credit for it.

My colleague says ‘You’re so creative!’ and I say ‘Thanks’ and feel like a fraud. It was fun and I got covered with glitter, but creative? Nah. Not really.

Then too, there’s my upcoming biopsy on the eighth. Everyone’s asking about it, and every time they do, I’m surprised and I say ‘Oh yes, that’s next week sometime, isn’t it?’ and they look all worried because they have better imaginations than I do.

I’m not even 100% sure what they’re going to do exactly. I googled it, but it looked like something I don’t want to know, so I gave up trying to find out and adopted a ‘sufficient unto the day the evil thereof’ attitude. See what I mean? No imagination to speak of. It makes me so ruddy insensitive!

Mind you, I’ve got this image of myself with my legs hooked over my ears while my insides get inspected with something resembling an old-fashioned brass telescope. I’m ever so glad they’ll put me under for that!

I mean... I mean... it might be amusing to hear the doc call out ‘Ovaries on the starboard bow!’ but when he attacks my cervix crying out ‘Have at thee’ or something as close as one can get to that while having a scalpel clutched between one’s teeth (‘Agg at eee’?), I’d be standing by to repel boarders, and that’s no lie.

But I digress. I was saying, and still maintain that I lack imagination. Tch!

Today's pic is purely imaginary. I didn't post one at all. You're pretty darn good aren't you?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Best Way of Defeating. Everything.

I am thrilled! I am inspired! I am chortling! After my visit to the attorneys that are handling my mom’s will, and a visit to a bank in order to make an appointment to draft mine, I comforted myself from the gloom that these thoughts of mortality engender with a visit to the latest cheapie shop.

It was there that I found and bought a game that will doubtless change my life, and that for the price of one dollar. On the surface, It’s just a little plastic game. I’ll take a picture... there! I bought it for the promising claims made on the reverse of the pack. Soon I will conquer the world, and here’s how:

(I quote)

‘Marble is a kind of game that is very mordern. Now. It collects exciment fasciration.’

Oh Wow! I don’t know what exciment faciration is like, but it does sound nice!

‘It can not only train a lover’s skill and intelligence but also is a best way for lover to make friends.’

I’m hanging onto their every word by this time: this is one great game!

‘It is an intelligent game for family to be a happy field.’

Not so sure about that bit, but it does sound cheerful…

‘Spring your miracle. Competite your level!’

Oooooh. That sounds so… so… spiritual in a way. There follows a very poetic and somewhat cryptic description of how the game is played, the best bit being:

‘The one who gets the highest grade is a big winner’

Well now, I’ve been playing with this thing, and I got all five of the balls into the ‘600’ pocket, and do you know what? I feel like a big winner. Woohoo!

The conclusion cinched the deal. This is why I wanted to spend the princely sum of a dollar on this thing:

‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way. The training of will intelligence, skill, will be your best ladder of success, it is your best training way of defeating. Everything’

So now you know. Watch out world!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Milk of Paradise

Coffee is marvelous stuff. I’ll freely admit to addiction. I like it strong enough to have an effect that makes all cry ‘Beware! Beware! The flashing eyes, the floating hair!’

I think that quote was originally Coleridge. He must have been fond of coffee too, although, if I remember correctly, he had a proclivity for something even stronger. Coffee does it for me, though.

I make good coffee. The spoon stands up in the cup and quivers from the caffeine overdose. I add just enough milk to make it a murky, dark-chocolate shade of brown. There could be little Loch-Ness-like monsters in it; it’d be appropriate.

I haven’t ever had my morning wake-up cup in an alert state – that only happens after coffee - but I wouldn’t be surprised if my fingernails lengthened into claws as a take the first sip of the day. ‘Aaaaah!’ Or possibly ‘Arrrggggh’! Maybe even ‘Rowwwrrr!’ As I’ve said, I’m not really in a state to notice which at that time.

As you can imagine, it’s pretty energizing and I arrive at work vibrating and wide-eyed. Good stuff – it makes my boss think I’m madly enthused, even in the morning, so she doesn’t come near me because she isn’t, especially not in the morning.

Of course it could just be that the first cuppa causes me to grow fangs – I should probably look in the mirror to see if it does. I think fangs would suit me, really.

There are so many drinking songs, but not many about coffee. I can think of ‘Black Coffee’ and ‘Forty cups of coffee’ and that’s about it. Neither of them is particularly cheerful. Both, if I remember correctly, having to do with a person waiting up late for their partner.

I think a really good carousing song should be written about coffee. I’ll consider it.

I suppose a dawn picture is appropriate to this post…

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Machiavellian Mother

I sometimes wonder if my mom dying wasn't a nefarious plan to:

a) Ensure that I go for my physical in time to stand a chance of living past 43
b) Make me behave myself owing to the responsibilities of pet parenthood.
c) Give up smoking because I'll be living on time I borrowed from her (she knows me. I probably will)
d) Make me stop listening to heavy metal

If that's the case, I can hardly be annoyed with her for a and b. I rather like the idea of living a bit longer, and as for the pets, they're great fun.

I'm not overly happy about point c, although its something I suppose one really ought to do. Problem is, I really like smoking - have done for over twenty years. Sigh.

As for point d, its the worst of the lot. All I have to do is switch on Sepultura and the cats bolt. It isn't only heavy metal that makes them do that. Classical music seems to have the same effect and my guess is that all the genres in between will do likewise. I need music!

On top of it all, I might have to give up playing the flute altogether because the bolder of the two cats heads off for at least twelve hours the moment I let fly with it and the timid one tucks herself into a corner and won't come out for days on end. Its not that bad, really it isn't! The guitar and keyboard will have to remain unplugged indefinitely by the looks of things.

The dogs are merely bewildered by music, but you get a picture of Marigold who, despite her soppy name, managed to do in a rat on the weekend. Good going, girl!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The good weekend

Ok, so I’m writing this just to brag and make everyone envious, but ‘tis a tale that has to be told.

First of all, imagine camping out here

Now imagine that after preparing dinner at this fantastic fire place

You go sailing about on a double inflatable camping mattress all night long under the moonlight.

Then, when you’re properly tired, you moor the mattress here

and have a nap until dawn on water that is as smooth and clear as glass.

Cost: R80 for the bush camp and R200 for the mattress and a pump to blow it up with - a total of just over 40 dollars. Verily, the best things in life are not expensive.

Friday, November 19, 2010

You learn something new every day

I have a piece of information for you courtesy of Adsense. Soda stream will save the planet. Yes folks, really it will, or at least it will help save the planet, but either way its fantastically environmentally friendly because you re-use all your bottles see?

Well, I don’t know how it is in the US, but in Europe and, to a certain extent, South Africa, most drinks bottles have a deposit on them and if you don’t return them to the shop to collect it, someone else will.

Recycling is becoming lucrative enough for people to have contracts that allow them to pick out recyclables at all the garbage tips, and guess what? Where there is lucre, even filthy lucre, there are takers!

Let’s assume that the US, poor thing, has not yet invented the deposit bottle or recycling – well then folks, you should thank Soda Stream every day for the fact that you have not disappeared under an avalanche of soft drink bottles.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen! The planet, or at least your continent, or if not your continent then the one next to it, is saved, or at least partially saved, thanks to Soda Stream!

You learn something new every day, don’t you?

Today's pic: one I took while saving the planet with recyclable bottles at the watering hole known as 'Zanzibar'.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Something wicked this way comes

I have doubtless referred to the occasional profanity of my personality. I'm not too much of a swearer, but perhaps what I mean is that I find incidents such as the one that follows madly amusing. In this one, I offer a complete stranger a violence. He declines.

I remember that I was ill, so my ex-hubby took me to the pharmacy at the shopping-center. As we reversed out of the parking space, a car came whizzing around the corner just as the ex happened to be checking the opposite direction.

I suppose I must have squeaked ‘Stop’ or something equally intelligent and as far as I knew there’d been no impact. The other car didn’t drive on, though. Its driver got out of the car, so I thought perhaps there had been a light coming together. I wasn’t driving, but it was my car, so I got out too.

‘F! Why don’t you look where you’re F-ing going!’ yelled the man while I checked the bumpers and found that they hadn't so much as touched.

‘Its not up to me to look where we’re going. Talk to him!’ said I, indicating the ex, who had by now unfolded his six-foot-something self from the driver’s seat.

The man glanced at the ex and obviously preferred airing his grievances to five-foot-nothing me, so he returned to berating me. ‘F! F! F!’ I forget the details – it was good rhetoric, though, very articulate and persuasive.

‘Are you slow of understanding?’ asked I, by this time becoming a tad annoyed: ‘Driver’s side, passenger’s side. Talk to the driver’

By this time the.. er .. gentleman had confirmed to his own satisfaction that the ex wasn’t going to do anything about him yelling at me, but might take offence if yelled at directly, so he just ignored my interjection and kept berating me while a queue of vehicles built up behind his stationary car.

‘F! You must look where you're F-ing going!’ he yelled ‘F! F! F-ity F!’ or words to that effect.

It was at this point that I snapped. I drew myself up onto my tippy toes (I really did) and strutted forward like a barnyard rooster on the rampage: ‘Do you want a smack?’ I hissed, and do you know what? He turned on his heel, got back into the car and drove off without another word.

I've never done something like that before or since, but it still makes me giggle when I remember it. I'm ever so fierce, you know!

Today's pic: something prickly

Monday, November 15, 2010

Louis: I have your teddy-bear!

An interesting weekend: about 300km to my late mother’s place to see what still needs packing and clearing. I told my brother he can have whatever he wants: turns out that was everything but the junk. I’m grateful for it. It was bad enough going into the emptiness of the house, emptying it would have been worse.

My brother says that all that stuff had ‘sentimental value’, but oddly I found family photographs and his first teddy bear among the sad heaps of detritus – so the cynic in me says that intrinsic value had more to say in the matter. I am doubtless a bad person with a nasty mind.

Anyway, it shrugworthy. I didn’t want the stuff and I was glad to be absolved of ridding myself of it. Oh, and I’ve got my brother’s teddy bear...(Lets fly with evil laugh: ‘Mwahahahaha!’)

I’m glad I didn’t go alone. There were ghosts, albeit benign ones, at every turn. I kept expecting to hear the dogs in the yard and my mother calling ‘Bring your ball!’ Memories of my last stay – her illness, the little plastic bag of toiletries that was returned to me at the hospital on the night she died. I didn’t cry. One does not cry over baby powder – not even if one spills it.

It was good to leave again. I drove – perhaps a little fast – home to the dogs and the cats and happier thoughts. On Sunday, I listened to Dio and slept.

Today's pic - some more of the Outeniqua mountains - I'm relying on PAMO to tell us how it relates to this post.....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Protest music

Life's full of things one'd rather not do but has to: I wrote a song about it once - bet you bloggers could add a verse or two to it. Anyone who can guess the title is doubtless a genius.

Tunes up guitar. Tinkles keyboard with toes. Warms up nose-flute with a mighty snort. Launches forth with gusto:

Radio voices invade your home
Don't you hate it?
You drop everything just to answer the phone
Don't you hate it?
Somebody knocks when you want to be alone
Don't you hate it?

A little peace, a little quiet, a moment of sweet rest
Seems so easy, what a laugh! Behold: the impossible quest.

You're felling really nasty and you know you must be nice
Don't you hate it?
You want the whole cake but you only get a slice
Don't you hate it?
They think you are the sugar but you know you are the spice
Don't you hate it?

A little peace, a little quiet, a moment of sweet rest
Seems so easy, what a laugh! Behold: the impossible quest.

The hammer hits your finger and you grimace with the pain
Don't you hate it?
The bills come out your postbox and you grimace once again
Don't you hate it?
They treat you like a Toy-Pom and you know you're a Great Dane
Don't you hate it?

A little peace, a little quiet, a moment of sweet rest
Seems so easy, what a laugh! Behold: the impossible quest.

Ends with powerful nose-flute solo and dexterous guitar counterpoint. Ah! The sheer brilliance of me.

Today's pic: me looking disgruntled and wild, but cool.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The futility of optimism is mildly amusing

As you know, I am an occasional molester of musical instruments, and since I’m far too much of an anarchist to like following other people’s music to the note and far too undisciplined, if truth be told, to play music at all, I make up my own stuff.

I’ve had some interesting times lately, and I’m reminded of a rather tongue-in-cheek song I wrote a few years ago. I think it might be about the futility of optimism, but don’t let that put you off: it makes me smile (or possibly grimace). Hope you’ll smile too. Pics of grimaces welcome. I want to start a collection. Here goes:


Is that the way it’s meant to be?

Everything is breaking down around me

Turning into dust

Like science says it must

Like science says it must

But I believe I’m going to make it

I believe I’m going to win

And life’s a glorious garden

I am living in


Brightest fire burning

Burning to the sky

But you will die

Burn yourself to dust

Like science says you must

But I believe I’m going to make it

I believe I’m going to win

And life’s a glorious garden

I am living in


Tell me why I’m crying

Dying all the time

Will life be mine

Or will I turn to dust

Like science says I must

Like science says I must

But I believe I’m going to make it

I believe I’m going to win

And life’s a glorious garden

I am living in

Monday, November 8, 2010

What I did on the weekend (in case anyone wants to know)

On Friday I went to have jelly smeared on my tummy and then licked off by a rather attractive lady. Grant: you’d have wanted pictures, but all I have to show for it are a few expensive snapshots of my inner workings which, by the way, seem to look as they ought (apart from the bit that doesn’t, but I already knew that).

So that was good and I was able to relax on the weekend.

The rock and rollization of my late mother’s possessions ensued. This car

does not rock. Verily, the miniature dog known as ‘Snowbeast’ hath more coolth than this compact car, but a Jolly Roger works wonders, and the Ka is now almost as cool as my rusted pickup.

The thing is, mum had a little pipe attached to the front of the car so that she knew where the front was. I also like knowing where it is, but the pirate flag gives it a better excuse for being there - other than 'I don't know where the front of my car is'.

Hamish got a new ball, and never have you seen such a happy dog or so much saliva.

Herewith also a picture of the old ball.

It's not much more than a week old. I think he’s realized that he’s not going to get more than one new ball a week, and is therefore sucking the ball rather than biting it in the hopes that it will last longer. It’s a good idea except that the ball makes a very sticky-sounding ‘splat’ when he drops it at your feet.

On Saturday morning, I got a real treat: I’ve never seen a real live spoonbill before, but there’s a pair hanging out at the farm dam outside my cottage, and while I was watching them, a brown-hooded kingfisher was doing incredible aerial dances over the water before plunging in.

The cat thought he was better-looking and I should be taking pictures of him instead, so I did that. Introducing Alex: lord of all he surveys.
I got some pictures of Gus cuddling the Snowbeast, but I’m saving them for purposes of blackmail. Oh, and this blue-grey shot over the bay: a bit of heaven.

Hope your weekend was a good 'un too

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Never Give Up - profile of a sucker

I seem to be exhorting people to do this and that of late, so here's a motivational, self-improvement post for y'all. Floats up to pulpit looking saintly. Clears throat. Commences:

At work, we’re having weekly sessions with a motivational speaker. Her series of talks is entitled ‘Profile of a Champion’, but I can’t help thinking that it might just as well be called ‘Profile of a Sucker’.

Do I sound negative? A stick in the mud? A Misery Martha? Let’s look into this.

The worst thing about this speaker is her motto: ‘Never give up’. Sorry, but sometimes quitting takes guts. Sometimes it’s the only way to rescue yourself from being the victim of your own choices – both professionally and personally. Sometimes, quitting is the only positive step worth taking.

She advocates pouring out all your energy – even the reserves you didn’t know you had. Pour it into your work, pour it into your relationships. Give till it hurts!

Sorry, no. I’ve poured all I have and sometimes more than I knew I had into situations, and do you know what? It becomes the new norm: what people expect of you, so you keep on looking for a little more of yourself to give, and a little more until the situation devours you, and there’s nothing left to feed the thankless void - the bottomless pit that can never be filled.

‘A fig for that’ say I! Give as much as you’re willing to give – keep trying as long as trying yields some sort of positive result – and when it doesn’t? Quit. Quit and be proud of quitting! Ring the changes! Take charge! Now there’s powerful motivation!

So to all the quitters out there: respect. I know how hard it was. You drew the line.You rock!

Today's pic: A cat called 'lulucifer' since I'm playing devil's advocate.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cancer: Life and death lessons

This is not a fun post. Read it anyway.

When my mom was so ill, I thought that I should try and take something good form a bad situation. Learning was the only positive thing I could do with it, so I thought about it and decided that having a thorough examination every year was the lesson.

Mom needn't have died as she did. If the problem had been detected earlier, she'd have stood a chance. So I went and had the embarrassing checkup that I've been putting off for the last fifteen years.

I’ve been climbing the walls since the doc said he wanted me to go for a return visit and asked whether I would prefer to use a private or public hospital for further procedures. He wouldn’t elaborate over the phone and I passed a very restless night. All I could think was ‘I don’t want to die! Not now!’

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I’m in the early stages of cervical cancer. Three more years and I’d have been the walking dead. As it is, the doctor assures me that I’ve little to worry about. I feel very relieved.

‘What made you come for an examination after all these years?’ asked the doctor

‘My mother.’

‘Well, you can thank her for that. She’s saved your life.’

I can’t. She’s dead.

Ladies: I know I’m preaching now, but please, please take care of yourselves. I know it’s a nasty little examination, but its not worth dying to avoid it. If you’ve been delaying, get on the phone and make the appointment. Don’t just think: ‘Hmm. I should get around to that, I know’. I’ve been thinking that for fifteen years and another three would have been the end of me.

Today's pic: a flower for you from me with love.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Adsense: How to lose friends and alienate people

Well, perhaps I overstate the matter. I merely find advertising on blogs rather intrusive and, to be honest, a trifle tacky. Does the Mona Lisa punt coca cola? Would she be the same if she did?

So you want to make a few cents from my visit to your page and you don’t mind defacing it with advertising? Why should it bother me? It doesn’t all that much, but I’m inclined to see it as a bit of a prostitution of art type of thing – and I don’t like advertising. Have you noticed?

A blogger I follow was remarking that he got $6.66 from his adsense over a month. Geez! Talk about selling oneself cheap! Talk about selling one’s readers cheap! By all means: place me in the hands of big business, but let it be for at least thirty pieces of silver.

Then of course, the ads can’t help detracting from the content. I read a very touching post by a blogger who wrote of his mother’s death years ago and how he realized for the first time how much his dad loved her and next to it, was a ‘Sodastream’ advert advertising twenty-five flavours.

Incongruous. I couldn’t resist commenting about the soda stream. It begged to be commented on. And he’s got the money from google – all few cents of it – to compensate, so I don’t see why he should be offended – plus I’ve just plugged soda stream, both on his blog and mine. Please remember that there are twenty-five flavours.

Today's pic: something cool.

Note: The above post is my opinion. I'm unlikely to change it, but I accept that its just opinion. Given that I'm the one its writing and I'm the one with the opinion, it is also infallibly correct - even if you don't share it - which is your lookout, and therefore just as correct as mine.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tending The Treacherous Bits

I went to the doctor on Saturday for a full physical. One’s supposed to go for a lady-bits and what-nots check up every year after you’re thirty, but I haven’t been since I was twenty-five. Lady-bits need watching - they can be the death of one - so that was pretty stupid of me.

Mom thought that since she wasn’t using hers any more, she needn’t go for checkups, and all the ills that carried her off started as ovarian cancer. So I gritted my teeth and girded my loins (even though I knew I’d have to ungird them for the examination) and subjected myself to voluntary molestation.

The nurse did all the preparatory form filling in, blood pressure, height, weight, urine test and etcetera. I was feeling pretty uncomfortable about coming in for that check-up, but one comforts oneself with the idea that to medical staff, its nothing peculiar and all perfectly routine.

It was therefore rather alarming to find the nurse talking in hushed tones: ‘When was your last menstruation?’ and so on. She probably did so to spare me embarrassment, but it had the opposite effect since I’d decided that there was nothing to be shy about, and now it seemed, there was.

So I made a point of saying ‘Pap smear’ and ‘Menstruation’ in a perfectly normal tone of voice, just to put her at ease. Thence to the examination room where I did the full Monty with merry abandon and awaited my fate.

Anyway, the doctor gave me a thorough working over – I’ll spare you the details - and I left the money on the pillow (kidding, I’ll put it in his bank of course).

I don’t have any pictures of this event, and if I did, they'd be worth money, so instead you get a picture of a kid (not mine).