May 2006 Archives

Two for my baby

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Exactly two years ago today, after I had heaved and pushed and struggled and spat out several words of little eloquence, she, assisted by her and her, delivered my baby.

It was love at first byte.

Like all new mothers, I was immediately enamoured by my child. I believed she* was the most beautiful in the world, unmatched by her peers. A lot of people agreed with me, and of course, I believed every one of them.

Quite a surprising amount of people took an interest in my newborn's life, but unfortunately that initial enthusiasm and popularity were short-lived.

For the first few months of her life, my babe had a healthy orange glow to her skin.

A few months later – on my birthday, in fact - I awoke to find that she had turned blue overnight! Since she had already been quite lethargic and unusually quiet at that point, no one was particularly alarmed. In fact, I was rather deelighted by her new look and thought it was an exciting change!

Her new hue was not due to what many had mistakenly thought to be a rare virus, and she survived, which is a good thing, since her skin has remained blue ever since. (But just in case - and some people might find this peculiar and slightly macabre - I have already composed a few epitaphs on her behalf.)

And speaking of survival. We've been through a lot together, the two of us.

She has tolerated my trips down memory lane, my rare travels away from her, and the general neglect she suffered when I ignored her, and when I was too lazy or too busy with other things to spend time with her.

Like a champ, she has endured my cooking attempts. She has been a faithful, uncritical witness every time I attempted a new hobby.

Together, we’ve survived an almost devastating blow, and every day, we are getting through the somewhat arduous, definitely strange process of repatriating to a homeland that she has never known before now, except through the stories she has heard from me.

But there have been good times too. A year ago, on her first birthday, we received well wishes from one of our heroes, none other than Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Connie Schultz!

And when she was a few months old, she miraculously won a contest!

I know I didn’t have her in my life for 29 years, but now I don’t know what I would do (and often would have done, over these past two years) without her. You have to believe me when I say that she has changed my life for the better.

Whenever my life in the United States, so far away from home, seemed bleak, she gave me a reason to get up, to write my nonsense and in so doing, to connect with others. It has led to friendships in unexpected places, and even to a few excitingreal lifeencounters.

She has been a conversation starter, a secret, a passion, a load off, a joy, an amusement (well, to myself at least, even if not to others!), a haven, and a friend. But most importantly, she has been the one thing that has remained a faithful constant in my life at a point when so many other people and things and dreams turned out to be false and fickle.

Today she is officially entering her terrible two’s. Luckily, I’ve lived with my two-year old nephew, so I believe that I know a bit of what’s in store for me.

Besides, even before turning this infamous age, she has already displayed some shocking behaviour (like running up shocking phone and internet bills – granted, that happened with my help).

Dare we ask what could happen next**?

Happy birthday, blog. I love having you and I’ll be forever grateful to Emily for having that contest which brought you into my life, and for everyone who, for reasons utterly beyond my grasp, keeps on reading and egging us on with their comments.

* I'm sure there's a rule somewhere in the infinite cyber blogosphere stating that one's blog should be the same sex as you are. Which would therefore make Red a girl. (WHADOYOUMEAN Am I sure?!?)

* Swearing? Tantrums? Even MORE whining?!? Well, she can start cursing like a right sailor, for all I care, as long as she starts absorbing a LOT less spam.

How do I loathe thee*? Let me count the ways.
I loathe thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling bandwidth slight
For the lack of free local calls, such ideal Grace.
I loathe thee to the level of everyday’s
Most desperate need for unlimited surfing, by the monitor’s soft light.
I loathe thee intensely, as we strive for cheap, unthrottled broadband internet – our human Right;
I loathe thee completely, as thou turn further from reasons that would be worthy of Praise.
I loathe thee with the hatred thou use to aggrieve us, and cause our loss of faith.
I loathe thee with a loathing I seem to gain
With my lost Rand and Cents, - I loathe thee with the shallow, panicked breaths,
Sorrows, tears, of all my internet-less life! – and, if ICASA should at last choose a competitor,
I shall but rest better only after thine slow and painful death**.

* Yes, you’ve guessed it. Due to painfully slow dial-up and costly local calls – okay, yes, AND due to my lack of restraint and complete and utter need to be online a LOT – my mom’s phone/internet bill was really REALLY high. And my sister’s and bro-in-law’s as well. So if I get scarce(r than usual), just know that I’ll be offline somewhere, in the REAL world (*shudders at the thought*), where I’ll be doing something to try and pay off these debts I have all because our country has a manipulative, sadistic phone monopoly who hates South Africans and don’t believe that we should be allowed to have free local calls or inexpensive and unlimited broadband access.

** And upon Telkom’s demise, I shall gladly write an elegy.

Eat your hearts out!

I've just returned from the Good Food and Wine Show at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and it was every bit as delicious as you can possibly imagine.

Those of you who are familiar with my cooking skills (or miserable lack thereof) are surely yelling: “Culinary blasphemy, having a show of that calibre wasted on the likes of HER!”

Luckily, being able to cook is NOT a requirement for admission to the show!

My jaw hinges work just as expertly as those of any gourmet chef, see. And I should know. They, along with my taste buds, really earned their keep today!

(Is it possible to gain 30 pounds in a day?)

The day started off in the front row at a cooking demonstration led by Brit Celeb-chef (he cooks AND he is funny! Bonus!) Antony Worrell Thompson. I don't even remember what dish he demonstrated (I vaguely remember tuna being slapped around and unspeakable things happening to a late chicken), but I DO remember one of his quips:

Apparently, as a celebrated chef, he hardly ever gets invited to dinner parties. Shame.

In one of the rare instances that he had been invited, though, he remembers the evening as follows:

At 7:30 pm, arrives and is plied with drinks by host. Hostess, who is responsible for dinner preparation, is nowhere in sight.

8:30 pm. Still no sign of hostess. More drinks poured by increasingly more nervous host.

9:00 pm and he can't wait any longer. So he decides to go and lend a helping hand in the kitchen.

9:02 pm. Arrives in kitchen. Hostess not there! Oh, wait... he walks around the counter, sees hostess flat on the floor, empty wine bottle in hand, weeping.

And then he sees why. On the counter, an open cookbook... written by Gordon Ramsey!

*Drum roll! Rim Shot! Ha ha ha!*

He proceeded to crack several more jokes about 'his foe Ramsey'.

After the show, he graciously held a meet and greet and book signing. My sister, a huge fan and avid cookbook collection (let's put it this way: her sentiments about cookbooks run as passionately deep as mine do for how-to books), lugged all of his cookbooks from her collection to be signed.

In an irresistible moment, when we got to the front of the line, we said in unison: "It's such an HONOUR to meet you, Mr. RAMSEY!"

At which he grinned and gave us the finger.

The rest of the day we remained in a festive fantasy world, with exhibitors sticking their sample trays filled with the most divine delicacies under our noses, simply BEGGING us to have a taste.

(Yes, indeed. I've always fantasised about people begging me to eat. In my dream, though, it was because they thought I was so desperately skinny, and needed the fattening up. So what if I don't really have the protruding hip and cheek bones I sport in my fantasy not all of my fantasy came true in an accurate manner?)

I brought leftovers for everyone, but the dog ate it.

So instead, you'll have to be satisfied with this: (Warning: NOT for the real photographers among you! Please keep in mind that these were taken with a humble cell phone. By me. And if you think my cooking leaves a lot to be desired for..!)

Leipoldt.jpg

My beloved Doctor is revealing a chillier side, blowing an icy winter’s breath onto a world enveloped by fog and sputtering rain.

Apparently, this is a typical Cape winters day. Maybe it’s because I’m all cozy indoors, my fingers curled around a steaming cappuccino, but I find it rather appealing.

With winter finally here, it’s time for a wardrobe reassessment. Imagine my delight on a recent shopping trip when I discovered this.

Holy Grandma Moses!

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About a year ago, while I was still busy illegal alienating and expatriating myself abroad, my mom sent me an e-mail in which she casually mentioned that she had taken up a new hobby.

I was immediately wary, because when my sisters and I were little, some of my mom’s hobbies had included activities that some might have viewed as being a bit odd for a seemingly sweet and innocent young mother of four young girls.

Like target shooting.

Scarier still was the poor buggers targets they shot at, and the fact that my mom won the trophy for best shot in the entire district several years in a row! If the people in the small town where we grew up had been any more clued up about musicals and theatrical references, my mom, with her red hair, surely would have been nicknamed Annie Oakley.

Needless to say, I was almost too afraid to ask what on earth she had decided was stimulating enough to take up in order to liven up her retirement age.

“Painting.” She replied.

“Painting what?” I asked, still suspicious. “Houses? Skyscrapers?” And then, a terrifying and therefore very likely thought occurred to me: “Bridges and overpasses? Oh, no, Mom! Please tell me that you have NOT decided to become a graffiti artist!”

She laughed. “No, you silly girl! Painting, as in art!”

“OH!” My relief must’ve been evident. And since my mom had until then never even drawn a picture in her life, I added, in what I thought was a suitably encouraging tone but probably ended up sounding more like an adult does whenever looking at a toddler’s art works: “That’s very nice, Mom. Send me some of your pictures!”

“Mom’s painting.” My sister e-mailed me a few months later.

“Yes, I’ve heard. That’s so cute.” I replied, half distracted.

And then I promptly forgot about my mom’s artistic endeavours.

Until my return to South Africa on Christmas Day last year.

Jet-lagged and traumatised, I arrived at my sister’s house.

And saw this:

The Big Sixth

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An extremely large, spotted creature (possibly a mammal) with an unruly red mane and absolutely ENORMOUS feet has been noticed again, for the first time in about a month, in the vicinity of the South African university town of Stellenbosch.

Descriptions of the creature are vague, but officials have decided to settle on one eye-witness account of it looking like “a frightening cross between a gorilla, a lion, a leopard, a buffalo, an elephant, a warthog, and a cow. Oh, and it laughs like a hyena.”

Citizens of Stellenbosch have been assured that the creature, although scary-looking, is not really as dangerous as it appears to be.

But in case those unfortunate enough to encounter the creature sense the possibility of an attack – like the creature displaying uncontrollable tremours, convulsions and foam at the mouth – the advice is to stay as calm as possible and to immediately placate the creature with large amounts of coffee, a book, something sweet to eat and some jazz music. According to a behavioural expert, this is a foolproof, fail-safe way to instantly make the creature comfortable and very, very happy.

Despite the creature’s lack of movement (due to its remarkably lazy nature), it has been surprisingly mobile. In recent days, sightings have been reported along South Africa’s beautiful Garden Route, on the outskirts of the Karoo, in and around the town of Mossel Bay, speeding westbound along the N2 Highway as it was being transported in a white van with a pack of dogs, in the Tyger Valley Mall and, currently, on a wine farm.

Until this past December, when a flurry of sightings were reported in Johannesburg, Cape Town and along the Vaal River, almost a decade passed with no sightings at all of the creature being reported anywhere in South Africa. Most researchers admit to being baffled by this strange fact, while other (more arrogant?) researchers ascribe the creature’s disappearance to a lengthy period of hibernation.

“Hibernation’s the logical explanation,” one of the more arrogant researchers was quoted as saying. “It is already a well-known fact that the creature roams at night and sleeps by day for up to twelve hours at a time.”

When a question was raised about migration being the possible reason for it seemingly vanishing, the researcher sneered and said that the creature couldn’t possibly travel far enough for the trip to qualify as migration, because the creature is simply too lazy and needs too much rest, too many frequent feedings, too much coffee and too many books, which means that it could never travel light enough to stray too far.

South African President, Thabo Mbeki, has said that he is thrilled to hear that the spotted creature isn’t extinct. Sounding more like an NBC executive than a head of state, he said: “For a long time, South Africa has only been content to have the Big Five. We are very happy to have the Big Sixth, the elusive spotted creature, to complete our collection of must-see wild-life!”

People who wish to see the creature are advised to be on the look-out around coffee shops, bars, Irish pubs, flea markets, dog pounds, book shops, libraries, jazz clubs, and shops that specialise in women’s shoes in freakishly large sizes. Prime times to glimpse the creature are around dusk and midnight. “Early birds shouldn’t even bother to look. The creature loathes sunrises, because it takes place so early.”

Re(d)suscitated

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Stellenbosch - Last Thursday evening, in what was initially suspected to be a case of first degree blogicide, www.redsaid.net briefly died, plunging both people who knew it into shock and mourning.

www.redsaid.net's remains, which were hidden behind a cold and impersonal 'this website does not exist anymore' error message, was stumbled upon by an unsuspecting late-night surfer.

The surfer, who does not want to be named for fear of being forever associated with this website, is so traumatised, he has not logged on again even once since making the gruesome discovery, even though he has been assured that the victim did NOT, in fact, die a virtual death, as had been initially feared.

After several hours of being inexplicably out of existence - possibly due to exhaustion brought on by fruitlessly waiting to be occasionally updated and discovered by publishers (or even just a few readers, really) - www.redsaid.net was miraculously re(d)suscitated, returning to the world wide web with a loud thump.

Four days after the ordeal, www.redaid.net is alive and well, albeit still as ignored as ever before.

When asked to comment about the near-death experience, www.redsaid.net said: "I was dead? Oh... it didn't really feel much different than any other time. Besides, I don't really remember anything much about being under, except for being at this huge summer's barbecue."

Upon which the reporter asked: "How do you know it was summer?"

"It must've been, because it was really, REALLY hot."



















about
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!)

online


comments
  • 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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