March 2006 Archives

Among the things in life I really find unfair (like animal abuse, war, corruption, the existence of certain U.S. Immigration lawyers, inflation, tax, throttled and capped broadband use… actually, let’s save some time and just say, the mere EXISTENCE of Hellkom) are women who dye their hair red and end up looking way better with red hair than some of us who are natural redheads. And those same women who then just happen to also be beautiful, AND clever, AND talented, AND funny… and so genuinely nice, you can’t even hate them for committing all the aforementioned sins.

And if you don’t think that such women exist, well… I know of ONE such specimen (er… speciwomen?). Like me, she is South African – but sadly, that’s where I should stop trying to find parallels between us. But I’m going to try anyway: the red hair, even though hers is just temporary. (But from the gray white strands appearing on my own head, so is mine, apparently.) And we’re both on a certain side of a certain decade… and… yes, well… sadly, that’s it.

Oh, and for further examination and intensive study, she can be found here.

I know those things about her, not only because I’ve been stalking her on her blog since… well, so far back, I don’t even remember. But because – and hold onto your hats for this one – I have MET her! In PERSON!

In other words, believe it or not, neither of us was grasping a mouse or tethered to a keyboard, our complexions illuminated by the soft glow of the computer screen. We were actually speaking to each other. FACE to FACE. In BROAD DAYLIGHT!

Apparently this archaic practice of interacting with other people without the assistance of some sort of computer or telephone was all the rage a long, long time ago. I must say, even though it was strange to communicate without typing and looking at a computer screen, I found the experience oddly PLEASANT. Weird, huh?

She braved Stellenbosch rush-hour traffic (consisting of fleets of BMWs, SUVs, and the odd mule, ostrich, and elephant) and my coffee-making skills (ha ha! I mentioned “skills” and myself in one sentence!), and she came all the way from the neighbouring town just because I was absolutely desperate and begged to meet her she wanted to meet me. Me!?!

She was awarded for her efforts with coffee so strong that it lurched out of her cup and curdled her blood, and a few lopsided cupcakes on the side. (I know nobody will believe me, since my lack of culinary knowledge is legendary, but those lopsided cupcakes were BOUGHT. And when they were bought, they were NOT lopsided. They only became a tad lopsided during the journey home.)

Oh, and she was also cursed rewarded for her efforts with me chatting her ear off. (So just call her Van Gogh. But depending on which side of her head she holds the phone to, she might not hear you. Har har.)

Seriously though, the girl is delightful. If you have never read her blog, you should know that you have been missing out. She exudes the same kind of restful vibe in person as she does through her writing and astonishing photography on her blog. At the same time, she is also funny and way too clever for her own good.

And now I shall exercise (ha ha! I used “exercise” and myself in one sentence!) great restraint and stop gushing.

P.S. She has been sworn to life-long secrecy (with an afterlife-long clause thrown in for good measure, in case she decides to have herself frozen and thawed in a million years’ time, or in case she has herself cloned, or in case she has an evil identical twin), and therefore no one will EVER know that I’m really just a crazy, erratic dirty old man who despises parentheses (really!) and who merely pretends on the web to be this crazy, yet gorgeous Nicole Kidman look-alike girl with legs for miles and an addiction to parentheses…

All that Jazz

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Out of all the things I’ve inherited from my dad, there are at least a few that I’m grateful for. And no, none of the things on my list include my cleft chin, round face or short torso… all those physical traits that look far more attractive on him as a man than on me, his youngest daughter.

Luckily I also inherited less unpleasant things from him, like my love for reading, flying, trivia, dogs, coffee, travel… and jazz.

I may have mentioned in passing on here before that I grew up on a farm in the South African Bushveld.

Back then, we didn’t have a lot of money. Not that I realised it, because we never lacked food or clothing, and I had the dogs to play with and plenty of room on the farm to run wild, so in my childish mind we were definitely not poor.

In fact, in those days, we had one possession that made me believe that we were actually very wealthy: the record player that stood in a corner in the living room.

That record player and AM/FM radio combo was a monstrosity of a thing. Bulky and heavy and dating from who-knows-just-how-many-years before (which could have been anywhere from the early 1970s or further back), it was definitely not the most practical household appliance. (But then again, few appliances in those days were known to be particularly streamline and light-weight. Just the refrigerator alone from my childhood home would easily have swallowed up an entire New York City apartment.)

But bulky or not, in my eyes, that phonograph was pure magic: from the silver, shiny dials to the tiny, delicate needle… I adored it all. I didn’t understand its mechanics -after all, I believed the needle tickled the black discs on the turntable, thus causing the records to laugh out statically, but melodically. Fortunately, though, one does not necessarily have to comprehend something to derive enjoyment or pleasure from it.

In the same way, I did not understand the complex but beautiful music on the records my dad owned and played, but I loved it nonetheless, for it transported me far beyond the dust of our African farm, far beyond my imagination’s limitations to somewhere unknown where my soul longed to go but which my mind could not translate into language or pinpoint to a place on a map.

Eventually, in young adulthood, I was lucky enough to find a few places that satiated and answered the call of my childhood yearning: first in a speak-easy type jazz club in post-Apartheid Johannesburg, where I was in awe of African musicians freeing themselves from the shackles of our country’s shameful past and offering forgiveness and hope through the pulsing, kindly language of their township jazz.

Then, a few years later, I kicked off my shoes on the floor of an intimate, bare-brick, smoke-filled (before it was banned) jazz joint (the type you see in the movies): the famous Blues Alley in Washington D.C. (And yes, it’s entrance is really situated on an alley along the edges of Georgetown, near the waterfront.)
My shoes came off in there, because all of my heroic legends (including Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne) had also walked and performed there, which, in my humble opinion, made it musical Hallowed Ground. To this day, their framed, autographed photos fill the walls, and like guardian angels of jazz, they look over the performances of their contemporary successors like Diana Krall, Wynton Marsalis and Norah Jones as well as others who are privileged enough to be invited to perform there and to also walk in the footsteps of their idols.

Like traveling, every time I fed a bit of that yearning (by hearing Vusi Mahlasela and Hugh Masekela at a South African Freedom Day concert at the Kennedy Centre in D.C.; in a jazz club in San Francisco’s North Beach where the beautiful proprietor with the smoky voice, backed by a very capable trio of musicians, brings old classics to life every Monday night; in my amazing friendship with a Zulu sax and pennywhistle player in D.C. who’s lived and played his music there ever since the beginning of his political exile from South Africa, long before I was even born), it left me greedier than before, and so it has come to be that I am always in search of hearing more.

I wish I could remember the first jazz I ever heard on my dad’s record player, but unfortunately I don’t. Thinking back to my dad’s record collection, it would be safe to guess that it was probably Fitzgerald and Armstrong singing Cole Porter standards. Instrumental jazz records, like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker, only followed later.

My dad did this spot-on Louis Armstrong impersonation. He used to dance around the house and sing “Wonderful World.” I remember also trying to imitate the Armstrong rasp on several occasions and with great enthusiasm, only to end up coughing and gagging and to be left with a lingering fire in my throat from the strain.

The love affair I had with jazz wasn’t always easy to admit to. This penchant I had for a musical genre that was broadly (yet vaguely) classified by many people as “American and or ‘black’ music” was a very unusual passion for an elementary school aged Afrikaans girl to have.

But aside from the minor political scandal it could have provoked, and the fact that it was so uncharacteristic to even FIND jazz records in that tiny, conservative place where I grew up, it was in fashion during those days to – when asked at school what kind of music you liked – ramble off: “Anything but Afrikaans music, country, classical, or jazz.”

I don’t think any of those kids who so faithfully recited that mantra had even HEARD any jazz. But then, I’ve since learned that ignorance about something or someone has never prevented way too many people from forming strong and loud opinions about aforementioned something or someone!

Besides, I didn’t care that my musical passion wasn’t as “in” with the cool kids as the (ironically, American and or ‘black’) bubblegum pop imports that was repeated to death on the radio. I hoarded my passion and continued to listen to my dad’s records until they were too scratched up to play without skipping.

Fortunately, by the time I had all but destroyed my dad’s records, I had become a student at Pretoria’s Performing Arts High School, where many of my gifted friends (read: musical prodigies) were not only like-minded souls, but also provided me with my necessary fix (for free!) with their impromptu jazz jam sessions in the school’s assembly square during recess.

And by the time I had graduated high school, I had enough of my own money (earned by doing various strange jobs) and I could afford to buy inexpensive second-hand jazz albums and cassettes at flea markets.

As soon as I decided I was going to the U.S., I began plotting a pilgrimage to the annual Jazz Festival in New Orleans. I imagined myself walking through the French Quarter along Bourbon Street, live jazz splashing out of all the famous clubs onto the sidewalk, seducing me into paying the cover charge in order to get closer to the magic.

Alas, that dream still remains unfulfilled, for in my almost decade-long sojourn in the States, I never once made it to The Big Easy. Perhaps one day… if (dare I say ‘when’?) American Immigration allows me back into the country.

For now, I’d be more than thrilled to attend the Cape Town Jazz Festival taking place this coming weekend.

Does anyone know if the organisers of the event would hire a girl with no skills in exchange for a free pass to the festival? And whether they’ll throw in accommodation, and a lift, and… well, I’ll skip the food and just settle for a coffee allowance?

You know, like at the car shows, when they use girls to merely stand near the cars?

Oh, right… those girls are all PRETTY.

But really, I can try to make up for the lack of looks by draping myself sexily over the grand piano (a la Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys - albeit a more unattractive, stockier and not-blonde-at-all version of Michelle. Only, they’d have to hoist me up there and find a way to get me down again). Okay, how about draping myself across the speakers..?

Fine, if looks and skills and flexibility are really THAT important, I’d willingly take a demotion and gladly lug equipment behind the scenes, or restring guitars until my fingers bleed, or shine the musicians’ shoes with my tongue, or…

I guess sometimes passion alone just ain’t enough to get you somewhere…


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She was gone and I was left alone, a trembling, hopeless hostage, tethered to the line, the mind-numbing muzak seeping into my ear towards my brain, rendering me slowly unconscious.

“Thank you for holding and holding and holding (you’re quite a sucker, aren’t you?).”

“All our service consultants are currently on their taxpayer-sponsored coffee breaks, after which they will be going to a leisurely lunch followed by a five-day weekend. They will pay for the lunch and the weekend with that erroneous deduction of thousands of Rand they had made from your bank account - a slight oversight that occurred when the decimal sign was curiously misplaced and which will take five years and thousands more of your hard-earned Rand to fix,” says the robotic operator in her best Stepford Wife voice.

When I left South Africa in 1996, I was a broke journalist who had to rely on dates for food (so needless to say, I made Kate Moss seem positively obese).

After the money for my rent payment was scraped together, there simply wasn’t anything left for luxuries like food, or a car, or electricity (and my apartment was situated above a Mobil petrol station, which made striking matches to light candles a potentially life-ending and therefore quite thrilling adventure. The upside to living at that particular address was that my friends and I never needed drugs to get high. We merely had to lean out the windows and inhale). And after not spending money on food, or a car, or electricity, there was also no money left for a home telephone.

So, until this morning, I had NO IDEA what it’s like dealing with Hellkom, the ‘affectionate’ nickname given to Telkom, South Africa’s only phone company.

My initiation into the paradoxical experience of trying to get someone from the phone company on the phone occurred in the United States. But James Earl Jones, who thanked me profusely (and repeatedly) for phoning Bell-Atlantic in his sexy Mufasa voice made the whole experience of holding for five hours straight bearable - even secretly enjoyable.

Now, I’ve HEARD the Hellkom Horror Stories and there are enough of those to fill several hefty tomes. So I can’t really say that I went into this entirely unwittingly.

But you know how it is, unless and until you’ve experienced something really awful for yourself, you’re not really able to wrap your mind around it, therefore you always think: “Oh, it can’t be THAT bad. These few (read: millions of) people must surely be exaggerating!”

So I didn’t even complain or hesitate to pick up the phone when my sister asked me to do her a “little” favour and call the phone company on her behalf to find out why they haven’t yet come to move the phone line that she had asked them to “some time ago.”

“When did you ask them to come and do it?” I asked her as I was dialing the number. (Not because I was suspicious at her vagueness, silly me. Merely because I wanted be well-informed when I spoke to someone at Hellkom.)

“Oh, about six months ago,” she mumbled before sprinting out the door, dodging the directory I had thrown at her.

Too late. She was gone and I was left alone, a trembling, hopeless hostage, tethered to the line, the mind-numbing muzak already seeping into my ear towards my brain, rendering me slowly unconscious.

After fifteen minutes the muzak stopped. And even though it should be deemed unnecessary to say that the muzak was awful (because it’s a scientific law of the Universe that muzak must be awful, didn’t you know?), the sudden silence was unnerving.

Just when I thought that I had been cut off, the eerie Stepford-Wife voice came on.

I held. (I might be a sucker, but I’m a PERSISTENT sucker!)

I read War and Peace. The unabridged version. Twice. In its original Russian.

With the other hand, I still held.

Elephants mated, gestated and the females gave birth to their full-term calves.

I was still on hold.

High school graduates entered medical school. Years later, as those same students were solemnly reciting the Hippocratic Oath, I was STILL holding.

You think you get the point, don’t you? But no, really, I assure you, you don’t.

I typed this blog post with one finger. (Still holding.)

Bush was impeached. (I wanted to say that he finally became an intelligent life form, but I simply don’t have enough imagination to write science fiction.) A Democratic black Jewish woman became President of the United States. (Perhaps I can write fantasy fiction instead?)

At last, there was worldwide peace; global famine and poverty and illiteracy were eradicated (and with it, crime); cures were discovered for all diseases; all orphans and stray animals were adopted into loving homes and free books and unlimited refill coffees became a human right.

And I?


Because alas, whilst corrupt governments crumbled and dictatorships were (peacefully) toppled, one thing remained stubbornly unchanged:

Phone companies never answered their telephones.

The other day, whilst talking to an English-speaking friend, my mom proudly told her about this blob I have which can be found on the internet.

A little later, as my mom and above-mentioned friend were discussing my immediate career prospects (or lack thereof), my mom, in a serious tone, said: "I think it's time for Red to set herself some goal posts."

(P.S. In case my mom happens to read this particular blob post, I have to add that she really REALLY does speak fluent English.)

The Interrogator

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In what she hopes will appear to be a tactic of intimidation but which is really to hide her growing anxiety, the interrogator paces slowly around the room, forming an increasingly tighter circle around the suspect.

The suspect, although seated, exudes a stubbornly silent and apparently unbreakable resolve. Instead of being guarded or hunched over, he is leaning back in his chair, the body language of someone who is at ease, relaxed even. He seems to be far more skilled at this game than his interrogator.

His chin juts out defiantly, and he meets her frequent glances at him with an unbroken, chilly stare, as if he can see through the façade of her bravado straight to where her last nerves are rapidly crumbling.

When she asks the next question, the tremour in her voice betrays her wavering confidence.

“Where were you when…” she abruptly falls silent, then revealing her increasing desperation, she asks, her voice tinged with hysteria: “I know that you did it, okay? What I want to know is why you did it? Why?”

(Later, she would deny any loss of control, claiming that it was merely a different approach, one she had hoped would shock and surprise the suspect into confessing.)

It still does not have the desired effect.

From where he is stretched back in his high chair, her two-and-a-half year old nephew continues to merely regard her with open contempt and an infuriatingly calm muteness.

I have recently returned to South Africa after almost a decade of living abroad, and since I have family here, I decided to try and become part of the colourful, quilted patchwork of valleys, vineyards, mountainous and sweeping oceanic vistas of the Western Cape. So I came to see if this land would adopt me and allow my vagabond soul to anchor here and find rest.

At first, I was the proverbial prodigal daughter who had returned after a long absence, but after being away for so long, I felt a bit out of sync with the rhythms of sun-drenched South Africa and family life.

And so before the novelty of my homecoming had even begun to wear off, loneliness crept up and enveloped me in its snare like a heavy and unsettling cloak.

I wasn't necessarily bothered by the fact that I was single in a world that suddenly seemed to be teeming with couples. With baggage containing the shards of several shattered relationships trailing in my wake, I was willing to travel emotionally light for a while.

Besides, in attempting to repatriate and reconnect, I had more than enough on my plate to redirect my mind away from my forlorn, tattered heart.

But then…

Shortly after my arrival here in the heart of the South African wine country, I made a rather thrilling acquaintance. Maybe I'm confessing this a bit prematurely, but I would like the world to know that I have been completely swept off my feet.

My family has known him for longer than I have, and I'm afraid that they don't quite share in my adoration. In fact, they have made it clear that they find his presence a bit annoying.

Maybe my former rebellious streak has reappeared in full force after abandoning me in my late teens, because much to my family's dismay, I find him to be a breath of fresh air.

They have warned me of his fickleness; told me that he is notorious for turning on a dime, for blowing hot one minute and cold the next.

I say that he gives me gooseflesh when he does. (Somehow they do not find this amusing.)

They're not even impressed by the fact that he is a rather renowned doctor who is helping me to heal my heart. They still think he is an airhead who talks about nothing.

I surprise them and lead them to believe that they've finally managed to sway my opinion when I answer that they're right, but immediately dash their hopes when I add: "Especially when I consider the sweet nothings he whispers in my ear!"

Alas, some things one just can't explain to one's family.

Like how, whenever I hear him outside, I fling open my bedroom windows, allowing him to slip in and stay the night.

And even if I had wanted to tell them, how could I translate into words how he sometimes gently caresses my skin, without sounding like a love scene from a cheap paperback romance novel? How do I prevent sounding as sappy as a smitten schoolgirl when I describe how he languidly combs his fingers through my hair, leaving me flushed and giving me chills and making me feel reckless, wild and free?

I don't think they'll ever know how he has this disarming way of just sweetly sighing when he looks at me.

Or about the mournful, melancholy melodies he sometimes whistles late at night, when he thinks that I am sleeping.

My mother says he is too petulant and temperamental. She worries about the startling violence with which he slams the doors whenever he gets riled up. She also accepts as fact all those lingering rumours of how he has driven scores of people to insanity.

I don't believe the silly gossip, but like my mom, I'm not particularly fond of his flaring outbursts. I know he isn't destructive at heart, so I really wish he wouldn't slam the doors with such deafening force that they are left rattling and trembling in their hinges.

I also despise the childish way he has of jealously demanding attention by grabbing my writing papers and strewing them about when I'm trying to work.

But no one is perfect, and other than his occasional temper, I really don't have any complaints about him. Besides, in my opinion we have enough in common to make this relationship work.

Like me, he isn't at his best in the mornings, rarely stirring before late morning or noon, and definitely only gaining momentum as the day progresses.

There are days when he just takes off like a whirling dervish. At times like those, he seems utterly boundless: partying until dawn and kicking up dust with the best of them.

I think he is merely energetic and passionate, and therefore often misunderstood.

I wish others wouldn't be so blind to his lighter side. Then they'll see that he is a harmless, if relentless, tease with a wicked sense of humour. I wish they knew how mischievous and playful he gets. How he sometimes sneaks up from behind and like a real devilish flirt, tries to lift up my skirt.

I know that not everyone is immune to his charms. I have seen the visible effect he has on others as well. I know that I'm not the only one who loves him, and that my family isn't the only ones to despise him. It's interesting that I've never encountered anyone familiar with him who is indifferent towards him.

As he has been darting in and out of my days, I have found a solace and peace in his free-spirited presence. He has whipped my blood and stirred up my senses. His contagious vigour has left me breathless, yet he has filled my heart and cleared my head and blown new life into me.

No wonder he's been dubbed the Cape Doctor.

Southeaster wind, whisk me away…

Edited to say: Before I could come to my senses, I decided to use this to participate in this week's Weekly Anamnesis (the brain-child of THIS beloved brainiac). The theme for this week is "waiting." So what are YOU waiting for? Play along, why don't you?

The paved, narrow farm road leads up a subtle slope between tidy rows of grape vines. These rows of vines sit at an angle with the road. This, I’ve since learned, is to help guard against erosion.

At the end of the road, a stern-looking gate and matching electric fence stand on permanent, protective guard along the perimeter of the yard, compelling would-be visitors to linger at the intercom first.

Once permission to enter is granted, the remote controlled electric gate slowly rolls aside in a sweeping welcome gesture. Two grinning dogs, a sweet yellow Labrador Retriever and a spunky Jack Russell terrier, make up an enthusiastic, entire-hind-bodies-wagging, welcome committee.

At the edge of the paved driveway and parking area sits the sprawling sand-coloured ranch house. Flanked by two double-garages on either side, it forms a perfect U-shape.

The inside of the house is even larger than the outside makes it seem, because that’s when one realises that the bottom of the “U” is merely the width of the house and adjacent apartment – almost as if the length of the house had to remain a modestly guarded secret.

Despite the ample width of the house, large windows and sliding glass doors provide plenty of natural light indoors.

Because the house is located on the side of a hill (but very close to the top of it), those large windows and doors frame the most spectacular, picturesque views. I shall try my best to describe it, but even at my best, I’m sure I’ll still do an inadequate job. My limited vocabulary could never do it justice.

The view is a daily gift, because it changes frequently, sometimes hourly. Its fixed features include a lush garden with a sparkling swimming pool immediately in front of the house; the vineyards surrounding the house; the university town of Stellenbosch spread out in the valley below, nestled in and surrounded by the colourful, quilted patchwork of other vineyards sprawled out over more hills, giving it the appearance of a slightly unmade, but wholly comfortable, bed.

Behind the town and those vineyards, more valleys and hills gently slope and roll out to the reason for the name of the farm: the high mountains looming beyond. On sunny days, the mountains and their jagged edges are clearly silhouetted against blue skies. On cloudy days – my favourites - such as today, the top half of the mountains are veiled by the low, drifting grey clouds, giving them a ghostly, mysterious appearance.

In the evenings, there is a temporary hush. It’s as if the entire world quiets down, collectively holding its breath for the most stunning scene of all: the daily grand finale, when the sunset faithfully reflects on the mountains, causing them to light up and glow in varying hues from rosy, pastel pink deepening into fiery reds.

When darkness finally descends, the town lights below flicker on, looking like a string of pearls resting in a shimmering heap on a black velvet cushion.

This is the heart of the South African wine country. Area tables heave and groan under the weight of the bounty, and visitors are treated to bottles of world-class reds and whites and sparkling wines, with bunches of the plumpest, sweetest red and white grapes added to the cheese platters as edible garnish.

For the past few weeks, ever since my return from the States, I have been in the privileged position of being one of those visitors benefiting from this warm hospitality.

The farm and house I’ve mentioned belong to my brother-in-law, my sister and my nephew. Upon my recent return from abroad, they have generously taken me under their roof and into this sanctuary of a home they’ve created.

I have not written too much about it yet, but my homecoming back to South Africa, after my uninterrupted, nearly decade-long reversed exile in the States, has not exactly been what one would call triumphant; and this transition period of repatriating and readjusting has been difficult, to say the least.

But had it not been for this familial kindness, this entire process would have been that much harder.

Every day I get to marvel at this view and derive inspiration from it.

I get to pet the two dogs and feel their velvety soft ears under my fingers. That in itself should be prescribed medication! (“Stroke one dog and I assure you that you won’t call me in the morning!”)

I get to play with my nephew and make faces at him. I wasn’t here for his birth. In fact, I only met him for the first time on the day of my homecoming a few weeks ago on Christmas Day, and he is going to be three years old in July.

Before I came home, I was very scared that my nephews wouldn’t like me; that they would never recognise me as family. (My other sister has a two-year old and a one-month old.)

But much to my joy and relief, I found out - as soon as they threw their plump little arms around my neck, thus initiating me into ‘auntydom’ - that blood is thicker than all the waters of the ocean that has separated me from them until now.

Despite all of this, there are moments when my mind still ventures to the gloomier side. At times I miss the States and my life there (which, trust me, wasn’t much of a life at all) and the people I knew there with such forceful violence that I could weep from it. During those times, I tend to agree with Tom Wolfe who wrote that one can never go home again. Or with John Steinbeck, who wrote in “Travels with Charley” (a magnificent little travelogue about travelling across the United States with his dog Charley): “The place of my origin had changed, and having gone away I had not changed with it. In my memory it stood as it once did and its outward appearance confused and angered me.”

It’s true. Despite my having been stuck in limbo half a world away, time did not stand still in this place that I had left behind. Everyone grew older (including me, of course, even though my life in almost all other aspects remained on the same plateau for a long time). Some of the people I had left behind even died while I was away.

Kids who weren’t even born when I left are now already in school. My sisters and friends were unmarried when I left; now they have husbands and wives and children. My parents have crossed over to a new demographic in which they are now officially classified as ‘senior citizens.’

I feel like someone who has been in a coma and who has now woken up to find that it’s a decade later. And I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to do with my regained consciousness.

I’m also still unsure as to why my life has detoured like this: Why did I have to return this way, tail-between-the-legs, sans the Green Card I had waited so many years to receive? Does my purpose and destiny really await me here, in sun-drenched South Africa?

I can only ask you to please bear with me as I fumble my way slowly forward, into this scary unknown, where an answer hopefully awaits to reveal itself to me.

Well, I might not have ever received my Green Card, but something has happened that may have finally made all those long, fruitless years of living abroad worth it.

This humble little bloggie of mine was nominated for a South African Blog Award in the category for Best Overseas Blog!

Granted, it did not receive a nomination in the Most Frequently Updated Blog category (I wonder why on earth not? Oh, right… and also, luckily there isn’t such a category!).

Seriously though, I’m absolutely elated and deeply touched to even be considered alongside blogs so much worthier (and more regularly updated!) than mine. I’m also thrilled to see so many of the folks on my blogroll have been nominated and that there are so many new nominees (yes, I’m not really the competitive sort).

An honour like this is far better than a silly little Green Card that isn’t even green, don’t you think?

Like last year, you (and all your hundreds of readers and friends) can vote for me (once a day - otherwise, if you try to vote more than once a day, your first vote will be null and void and you won't be able to vote again until the next day)until next Friday, March 3) over on this here site.

And like last year, please please PLEASE don’t make me beg!?

Regular updates (don’t laugh, you never know! Miracles are known to happen! Case in point: this nomination of mine) will continue below this “sticky post,” so please continue to check in!

My nephew is a stoner...

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… And he is only two and a half years old!

This probably begs an explanation.

Yesterday, I was innocently minding my own business by petting the dogs, when my normally sweet nephew, who was outside with me, was overcome by the mostly hidden Dark Side of his personality (the side usually reserved for throwing Terrible Two tantrums), compelling him to do something to me which I will have to remember to tell all his girlfriends one day while I show them all his naked baby pictures.

My sister came out of the house to ask me something, and I turned my head away from him and the dogs to look at her. Suddenly something made me lose my balance, and I felt a razor-sharp pain at the side of my head, the kind of pain that makes your eyes water.

My nephew had thrown a sizeable stone at me! I had no idea that such a little guy can have such strength… and such great aim!

So yes, alas, I’ve been stoned. By a toddler. And unfortunately, the closest I’ve come to dope is, well, by being myself.

‘Cause I feel like a big dope with a terrible headache…

is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Terra: YES! Wait... you didn't think that I would be this possessed to post for NO REASON, did ya???... [go]
  • Terra.Shield : OH! ... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: Be a bit like serving drinks at AA?... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: I personally think it is a mindset that has been cultivated over the years, and one, if not stemmed,... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Ms. Crazy Cat Lady Pants!!! Squeeeee! Sooo good to see you! (I thought NO ONE was bothering to read ... [go]
  • Ms. Pants : Kitties don't get enough credit sometimes. (All times, if you ask me, but I'm a Crazy Cat Lady.)... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Hey Tamara! I know, right?? That is a tough act to follow indeed. I adored that dentist. He used to ... [go]
  • Tamara Tipton : Well, I am not sure how any dentist could live up to that standard! LOL! I hope your appointment was... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: I'm really really glad that I'm not the only one, Po! Sometimes I drive myself mad with all the what... [go]
  • Po : Those questions run through my heads for various times in my life too, that is for sure!... [go]
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