August 2008 Archives

Since returning to South Africa two and a half years ago, I have been spending most of my Saturday nights exclusively with one guy.

WhadoyouMEAN "poor guy"?!?

The lucky (LUCKY, I tell you!) guy is my now 5-year old nephew.

One Saturday night last year, just before he turned four, I went over to my sister's to babysit him.

My brother-in-law and sister had taken to sneaking out of the house, because sitting him down and explaining to him why he couldn't go along to eat at the grown-up, boring restaurant where they serve the EXTREMELY gross food, simply turned into infinite and exhaustive debates. ("But you make me eat the gross food here." "No, but it is SO gross there at the restaurant, only the daddies eat it." Etc.) Which usually ended in tears. (Mostly my sister's. Yes, the mommies always seem to crack first!)

They quietly left while I distracted him with a toy. As soon as he heard the garage door open, he realised what was happening and began screaming his head off.

"WHERE ARE THEY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOING?" He angrily sobbed while flinging his tiny body against my legs.

Tears spilled from his big brown eyes and formed slick, jagged paths down his chubby cheeks. Dressed in his pajamas and clutching his raggedy toy lion, he was a heart-wrenching sight. I bent down and hugged him to my chest. Within seconds, my shoulder was soaked with his tears. "Shhhh, sweetie! It's okay, I'm here with you and I'm not going anywhere!" I tried to soothe him as I stroked the soft, baby curls on his head.

"Yes, I know," he said through his sobs, and just as I was smiling smugly at my super-human ability to comfort him, he wailed: "SO HOW COULD THEY LEAVE US KIDS HERE AT HOME ALL ALOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE?"

Of course, I'd like to think of that incident as a reflection of my youthful appearance and NOT my level of (im?)maturity.

And come tomorrow, I will proudly put the four in thirty-four!

Rag(el) to Riches

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Disclaimer: Cue the melodramatic, wailing violins for this one...

After a fitful, restless night (nothing unusual there, actually) I woke up in a frenzy this morning.

The fact that I was awake way before the crack of noon was already alarming enough, and would normally be sufficient to shock me straight back into a comatose state.

But I remained awake. Not ALERT, mind you. For one, I weirdly thought that it was an hour later than it actually was.

So when I saw this, I rapidly shook my head (a la Loony Tunes character) and rubbed my eyes, blinked, and looked again. Certain that the cruel delusion would be gone and the true winner's name would be there.

Because what I was seeing couldn't be. In fact, I was SO sure that it WOULDN'T be, I had already written up a congratulatory post to any of the other five who I thought would surely win.

But no. It was still my name. The very same name that I have loathed and despised since birth. My hatred for it flared in the States, where everyone who read it from a form or from my passport pronounced it to rhyme with 'Bagel' while looking at me with bewilderment and pity. "Girl," I could almost see them think, "Your parents sure must not have liked you very much!"

Then I patiently explained that really, it's okay for them to say 'Rachel', because that's what it genuinely translates to in English.

Today I'm really grateful to be the owner of this despicable name.

In fact, I'm so happy, I've literally been sobbing for three hours straight.

(Yes, what can I say. I've always been a *tad* on the emotional side.) 

Before I launch into the inevitable thank you's, please allow me to tell you something. To some of you, this isn't exactly news, but please humour me (as always).

These past few years have been HARD on me. When my American Dream died, I thought my life was over. I really did. (Melodramatic, MOI?)

I felt like a failure when I was forced to return to South Africa, tail-between-the-legs, broke, broken-up-with and... well... considerably rounder than I was when I had left here nine years before. Let's just say that it was not exactly the triumphant homecoming I had always envisioned for myself.

It was humbling and humiliating and I thought that I would never recover from it. But my family and friends (both offline and on) have been AMAZING.

On days - and oh, there have been many - when I thought that I couldn't carry on anymore; when the amount in my bank account was so low that the fear would almost choke me; something miraculous would always happen. My sister would invite me to dinner (and I'd end up staying the week... but that's another story!), or my roommate would bring me fruit from their farm...

They have all encouraged me to continue chasing my dream of being a full-time writer. Bless 'em, for they've never told me to go out there and get a 'real job', even if it means that I'm still living like a student at the age of nearly 34, and that I have not been able to buy any of them any birthday or Christmas gifts in YEARS.

This past year I have come especially close to quitting this whole writing thing. It has just been an UNBELIEVABLE struggle. Jobs that didn't pan out. Jobs lost. At times it seemed that someone was trying to send me a message, saying: "Kiddo, you're way off track here. Leave it to the ones who are able/more capable. You're OBVIOUSLY not meant to do this."

These past few months have been particularly bad. My lack of finances have often left me panic-stricken. So I actually made up my mind that this contest would be the deciding factor. I thought: "When (being the operative word) I lose, I will get a day job. Surgically extract myself from the laptop for a while and then, after some time to rethink things, perhaps get back to it and just write for pleasure again."

I didn't even consider an alternative outcome, so I'm rather lost right now... However, any and all book deals would be immediately accepted thoughtfully entertained!

All right, now for the Most Important Part: Thank you, Jonathan Cherry and Heinrich Hattingh, the marketing geniuses behind this entire campaign-with-a-twist. Thank you VERY much for inviting me to be a part of it! It was amazing... Even though coming up with a plot twist involving those damn bubbles nearly caused my head to explode!

Thank you, to all three of my readers, for voting for me. (And you obviously managed to convince a few of your friends to vote for me as well!) Seriously though, so many of you have been egging me on, stubbornly continuing to believe in me, long after I had given up on myself... I especially need to single out campaign manager Aunty, Silver, Dee, Pylorns, Fin and Beerslinger, Kim, and the guys and gals at MyDigitalLife.  

Thank you, Woolworths, for the most money I have ever been paid for any of my writing!! EVER! That new clothing line is TSSSSSSSSS! (SO hot!)

And then, to my other 'Twisted Sisters': Breathtaking Alice, Deliciously decadent Jeanne, Prosaic Bridget, Not-a-Chav-innit Laurian and succinctly hilarious Nikki... it was truly my honour and pleasure to have been included in your company. You are all incredibly talented and those few of you who were not on my feed reader before this were promptly added. I look forward to reading a LOT more of your writing!

Here, in case you missed it, is my story:


Heavens Alive! - By Ragel Nel


Chapter 1.



“It’s here! It came!”


The words tumbled out of me before my best friend even had a chance to properly answer her phone.


Because we’d been telepathically linked ever since meeting each other for the first time in Journalism school more than a decade ago, Thandi immediately knew what I was talking about. “I’ll be right over. Don’t open it until I get there!”


“Of course. I wouldn’t dare.”


Naturally, as soon as I had uttered those words, the temptation to do just that was almost overwhelming.


Yet, I also dreaded it, even though I knew what was inside. Or rather, especially because I knew.


So, instead, I merely ran my fingers along the edges of the sealed envelope, picked it up and felt its weight in my hands. I’ve always had a stationery fetish and I could tell that no expense had been spared. It was exquisite. The paper felt buttery and thick.


In fact, I ruefully reminded myself, nearly as thick as my skull was when I…


Before I could berate myself any further, I shook the thought out of my head and sighed.


I was surprised at the level of sadness contained in that single breath. It was filled with the same amount of melancholy as displayed by the Southeaster wind mournfully howling outside, rattling my apartment windows and sweeping through the streets of Cape Town.


Before I could slip into complete despair, I was saved by the doorbell and its incessant chiming.


I opened the door and marvelled at Thandi as she breezed into the room, clutching a brown paper bag. During her commute, the bag had moulded to its contents in a tell-tale fashion. I was pleased to note that she had brought liquid reinforcements.


Despite the windy weather, Thandi had managed to arrive looking infuriatingly un-windswept. In fact, the only indication of the gale violently whipping about outside was the cool breath of air trailing her into my tiny flat, stirring the curtains.


Not even fifteen years of knowing her has dulled me to my best friend’s beauty. It never ceases to take me by surprise anew.


And yes, if we’d have to be honest, to make me insanely jealous. Her body seems to have gotten stuck in that delightful teenage phase where everyone seems to be all gangly arms, legs and lengthy, lithe torsos. (Thandi ‘s sans the adolescent awkwardness, of course.) That is, everyone except me. My body, you see, is and always has been perfectly rotund.

‘Apple shape’, is what fashion experts call my unfortunate body type. And they usually hiss the phrase with such great disdain, one would swear the apple in question was rotten. Or the condition contagious.


But apart from our vast differences in stomach sizes – the flatness of Thandi’s never betraying that she’s already carried a baby in there, while mine faithfully extends my roundness to the front of me in such a way that I resemble a mother-to-be of multiples – Thandi and I are opposites in other ways as well.


While she is always grace under pressure personified, I fall apart at the merest hint of stress.


Which is exactly why Thandi knew that she absolutely had to be with me when I opened the envelope.


Chapter 2.


I warily eyed the envelope over the rim of my refilled glass of champagne. From inside the glass, the effervescent fluid lightly tickled the tip of my nose, reminding me to take another sip.


I obliged and blinked. I could’ve sworn that the envelope had blurred since the last time – a mere second ago – I had stared at it.


Thandi must’ve been able to penetrate my mind’s eye, because she said: “We’d better open it now, before you won’t be able to see anything anymore.”


She was right of course. Because despite my size (large and round, lest you need reminding), I am surprisingly light on fuel. After years of trials, tribulations and many, many errors, Thandi and I finally figured out that I remain lucid on champagne for about three sips longer than on anything else. Which is why we always drink it when we’re together, whether we have cause for celebration or not.


The arrival of this envelope definitely fell into the latter category for me. The prospect of opening it and being faced with the reality of its contents filled me with dread all over again. I shook my head.


“Girl, come on. How much liquid confidence do you need then?”


I shot her a look. She put her hands up in a defensive gesture. “Okay, okay.”


Suddenly I gave a little giggle.


Thandi raised a questioning eyebrow. “Share, s’il vous plait?”


“Had it been red,” I hiccupped, pointing at the envelope, “It would’ve been…” I collapsed into a giggling heap, nearly toppling my glass and spilling its precious contents. “It would’ve been a SCARLET LETTER.”


I was so busy chortling with mirth at my own joke – which, sadly, is not just a phenomenon reserved for when I’m hopelessly tipsy – that I didn’t even notice Thandi coming closer until she confiscated my glass.


“Noooo! Gimme!”


But Thandi had already slipped into that disciplinarian-mode she usually saves for her four-year old daughter Nosipho – and for me, her almost 34-year old best friend. The drink in my hand had been replaced with my silver letter opener.


“Come on, girl. Just get it over with.”


So I did. Brandishing the opener like a sword, the top edge of the envelope came apart in one swift motion.

And suddenly, my trembling hands held the concrete evidence that my ex-boyfriend had truly moved on with his life.


The wedding invitation was as stylish as the envelope had hinted it would be.


“Are you okay?” Thandi asked softly, understanding instinctively that I wasn’t.


And she was right. “I thought I was ready for this! I mean, I’ve known for so long. But this…” my voice faltered and my eyes blurred again, an impairment that couldn’t be blamed on the champagne this time.


“But this makes it a reality.” As usual, Thandi finished my sentence.


I nodded, the tears falling freely now.


My friend flung her arms around me. “You are perfectly justified to feel this way.”


“I thought I was ready,” I repeated, sobbing uncontrollably. “But I almost hate him all over again.”


“I don’t blame you,” she said, rather vehemently. I almost smiled through the tears.


I knew my loyal friend had not forgiven Andrew for shattering my heart. When I not only forgave him but allowed him back into my life as a friend, she accepted it reluctantly and through gritted teeth.


“I just wished that he could have mourned me a bit longer,” I said.


She nodded, too kind to remind me that he’d never wasted any time mourning me. “Yes, if there is a good reason why NOT to befriend one’s ex, this would be it.” Her eyes widened and she clasped a hand to her mouth. “Sorry, girl… I didn’t mean that to sound as judgemental as it did.”


I gave her arm a reassuring squeeze.


“You don’t have to attend, you know. I’m sure everyone would understa…”


“No, I want to go,” I said decisively and with such sudden fervour, I surprised even myself. “And not only do I want to go, but I want to do something unforgettable while I’m there…”


Thandi looked genuinely alarmed.


“Do I even want to know?” she asked, knowing full well that she was not only going to find out what was on my mind, but she would probably be an accessory to whatever act I wanted to commit.


Chapter 3.


I awoke from my champagne-induced coma to the intoxicatingly delicious scent of freshly brewed coffee. Thandi was holding the steaming mug under my nose.


“Amazing,” she said when I finally managed to pry my unwilling eyelids apart. “It works every single time.”


I groaned. My hangover was so bad, even my hair hurt. I reached for the mug.


“Nah-uh. You know the rule. First this.” She handed me a glass of water and two headache tablets. I grimaced but knew it wouldn’t help to protest. As editor for the online division of a woman’s magazine, bossiness was Thandi’s occupational hazard.


I often wondered if she wouldn’t rather have raised Nosipho in the tree-lined northern suburbs than here in the noisy city bowl, in the apartment building right across the street from mine.


Thandi’s husband, a sweet Argentinean named Juan Carlos, had long since accepted that I would forever be Thandi’s other ‘other half’. She had a spare key to my flat and often popped over in the mornings for a cup of coffee before work. Or to resuscitate me.


She opened my curtains. Weak winter sunlight stole into the room, its rays accusingly picking out twirling dust motes, quite literally shining the light on my lax housekeeping.


Thandi sat on the edge of my bed. “Listen, about last night…”


We both burst out laughing at her choice of words, far more familiar to me than to her, the happily married mother.


“Yes. I was serious,” I said, my sudden frown indicating that I still was. “Thandi, I need to do this.”


She sighed. “Okay, but now that I have you completely sober, just humour me and tell me why?”


I closed my eyes. Memories of my entire relationship with Andrew flashed before me. Spitefully selective, I was suddenly only able to recall the very best parts.


We’d ‘met’ online. It was Thandi’s doing. After successfully marrying herself off to her Latin Lover, she felt bad that I wasn’t coupled up. So she created a dating profile on my behalf (read: without my consent OR knowledge), before taking off to visit the in-laws in Buenos Aires.


By the time my inbox was filled with the incriminating evidence of what she had done, and when I saw which photo she had chosen for my profile – an all too honest depiction of what I look like, highlighting my sad lack of cheekbones – she was way out of slapping distance.


Not surprisingly, most of the men who e-mailed me were complete weirdoes with strange ‘fat girl fantasies’. Yes, one guy actually put it that way. Only, he wrote fat and fantasies with a ‘ph’.


So when a witty e-mail from a seemingly normal guy popped up, I was so relieved, I immediately replied. 


After a few months of e-mailing back and forth and chatting online, he suggested that it was time for a face-to-face meeting.


It plunged me into panic and agony. I knew he had seen my profile picture, but that was only of my round face. I also knew that there are people out there with round faces and really skinny bodies. It is a phenomenon Thandi and I have always referred to as the Lollipop-effect, and it is one that, sadly, excludes me.


“He’s probably hoping that I’m a Lollipop!” I wailed to Thandi.


Whether he had or not, I never found out. But when we did inevitably meet (after I had gained a few kilos from crash dieting beforehand), Andrew told me that I was beautiful in such a way that it actually sounded sincere and not creepy. I had no choice but to believe him.


Our mutual adoration-at-first-sight evolved into a five year relationship. Amazingly, we never fought. Which is why it was such a shock to me when it all came to such an abrupt and awful end…


I realised I was crying when Thandi handed me a tissue.


“I have to do this,” I said slowly. “Because I want to hurt him as badly as he had hurt me.”


Chapter 4.


My plan slowly took shape over several weeks.


At first, Thandi was uncharacteristically nervous about the whole thing.


One rainy day, ensconced in a cosy neighbourhood coffee shop over foamy cappuccinos, we held what I had come to refer to as a ‘tactical meeting’.


“I don’t want to blow…” Thandi said, loudly.


“Shhh!” I hissed and looked around to see if anyone had overheard. “No need. I looked on the Internet and, thank Google, it seems there are actually people who not only provide devices, but they would be willing to set it off too. We needn’t even be nearby.”


Then, as the wedding day loomed closer, a gradual role reversal took place. Thandi became the eager one while I was wracked with self-doubt. I began to have second thoughts.


“No way,” Thandi said, her eyes burning with an almost feverish light which I found worrying. “You can’t bail now. When people find out that we were behind it, we will be the talk of Cape Town!”


“No! I don’t want anyone to know! I’m sure that, if she survives the event, Andy’s mom will have us arrested for ruining her precious son’s society wedding. All I want to do is to send him a message, you know?


“Now I’m thinking I should maybe just write him a note.”


But Thandi was adamant that we execute the plan. “Besides, a note’s almost as bad as a DVD or a photo… it can also be used as hard evidence against you in court!”



*                             *                             *                             *                             *                             *            


The passage of time and tide are inevitable. As the adage says, it waits for no man. And it certainly doesn’t wait for any woman either. Especially not a woman trying her best to lose 10 kilograms before attending her ex-boyfriend’s wedding.  


And thus it happened that the wedding day dawned. Of course, it found me typically ill-prepared and five kilos heavier than when I had begun my crash diet. I had really hoped to poke the happy couple’s eyes out with the sharp cheekbones I had intended to possess. So much for THAT part of the revenge. Thanks to Thandi’s persistence, I now at least had the other plan to fall back on.


I carefully laid out my wedding outfit and immersed myself in my fragrant bubble bath. On the radio, Michael Bublé was crooning his cover of “Always on my mind”. I slid deeper into the bubbles, careful not to get my hair wet, and allowed myself to dissolve into tears over Andy one last time…



*                             *                             *                             *                             *                             *



About an hour later, I walked down to the entrance of my building to meet Thandi. Today she was pulling double duty as my partner in crime and my wedding date.


I was surprised to see her standing in front of a double-parked, battered old van. She was flanked by two extremely dodgy-looking guys. Clad in head to toe black, Thandi was her usual chic self. By breath-taking contrast, the guys resembled a cross between hippies and homeless heroin addicts I once saw in a BBC documentary.


Their hair was long, but thin and so brittle, it would’ve driven my hairdresser to stab himself with his scissors. Their neglected tresses framed gaunt, sunken faces. Thandi was intently listening to one of them.


As I stepped closer, I overheard this snippet of conversation: “So yeah, it will like, you know, start to blow at like, exactly the time when you signal us.”


I nearly fell over. These were the men I had hired! I wasn’t sure exactly what I had expected them to look like, but I certainly had not imagined them like this!


At that moment, Thandi saw me. “Hey, girl! Look who’s here to give us a lift to the wedding?”


She must’ve seen my face fall, because she leaned in to hug me and whispered: “Hey, considering the amount you are paying them, I thought we might as well let them take us. I told Juan Carlos to be on standby too, if we want to make an escape later.”


“Come on!” she said. “It will be an adventure.”


She was right. It certainly was an adventure, but it unfolded in a way that none of us had quite foreseen.


Chapter 5.


It must’ve been all the accumulated stress of the previous weeks, but I was having a bona fide, out of body experience.


I saw myself squeezed tightly next to Thandi on the backseat of the van. The two of us were nearly on each other’s laps, because all around us, sharp looking springs and bits of sponge were poking through the torn leather seat. The van’s shock absorbers were shot, and we rhythmically bobbed and bounced in perfect unison with the springs.


I wish I could say that we were tearing through Cape Town’s streets en route to Andy’s wedding on that Friday, taking the corners on two-wheels and with screeching tyres, but I actually saw us being overtaken by senior citizens shuffling along on the pavement.


So when I yelled: “Stop! Please stop the van!” it was mostly out of politeness.


The van came to a sputtering halt. The three of them stared at me. Our hired help didn’t look particularly curious about the motive behind my sudden request. I didn’t take it personally. In the half an hour since I’d made their acquaintance, I realised that expressions had long since vacated their faces.


Thandi, however, gave me a quizzical look. “Chickening out?”


“Yes and no,” I said and pointed down the block towards the city’s central business district.


Due to that whole telepathy thing she and I have always had going on, my change of plan immediately dawned on her. “Yes!” she yelled. “Brilliant!”



*                             *                             *                             *                             *                             *                            



Despite the winter chill, throngs of people were strolling across the ancient cobble stones and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of Greenmarket Square.


We made our way past the flea market vendors and artisans hawking their colourful wares. Buskers and energetic street performers appeared to be locked in a dramatic battle to see who could charm or manipulate the most tips out of the loaded foreigners lounging at the cafés fringing the square. A white-faced mime was taunting the female flower sellers by aping their every move. They laughingly cursed him out.


Thandi and I assumed our positions and waited. Expectantly, I looked up at the first floor of a nearby office building. I knew that if everything was going according to plan, my hired help would be somewhere, behind one of those windows, getting ready… My heart was pounding louder than the djembe drummers playing a few metres away.


The children were the first to notice it. Their eyes widened and their mouths formed perfect, silent O’s before letting out shrieks and screams. All around us, little hands broke free from protective adult grips as kids took off, running. 


Thandi grabbed my hand. Even though we had helped to orchestrate the event, we were just as awestruck as everyone around us.


As hundreds of transparent soap bubbles exploded into the sky and cascaded down around us, my thoughts inevitably turned to Andy and that first day I had met him in person.


He had summoned me to the beach for a late afternoon picnic. As the sun drowned in the Atlantic, he recreated my favourite childhood memory. I had told him about it casually, during one of our online chats, so when he produced two plastic bubble blowers and bottles of bubble mix, I was so touched and surprised that he had remembered, I instantly fell in love with him.


We’d blown bubbles until we fell to the sand, breathless and light-headed. And then, of course, he had kissed me.


A commotion at the square pulled me back from my memory. A yellow Labrador Retriever was straining at its leash and manically snapping its jaw at the bubbles floating around its head, eliciting giggles from several little girls nearby.


I lifted my arm and opened my hand. A large bubble lazily drifted down and came to rest on my palm. It reflected a tiny rainbow.


Once again, I thought about Andy, and how he was, at that very moment, standing in a church a few neighbourhoods away, marrying the man he had left me for.


I looked at the bubble on my palm and realised that I wasn’t heartbroken or angry anymore. “I wish them happiness,” I whispered and blew at the bubble in my hand. It quivered. For a moment I feared that I had blown too hard, that my breath had burst the fragile film.


But it slid off my hand and drifted away, perfect and whole, the mini rainbow twinkling in the sun.



The End.




Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I've appointed a campaign manager (well, 'appoint' would imply that she 1) is getting paid 2) had a choice in the matter - but let's not get bogged down by too many minor or major technicalities) to help take me through these final, bleak hours of my futile campaign.

So here, almost verbatim-ly (ED: Is that even a WORD? RED: If you MUST know, the -ly add-on is my attempt at doing an Irish lilt) in her words, is my final plea...

“If I win the Can You Twist competition I, Red, will ensure a brighter future for the world’s children. (RED: And dogs. ED: ... RED: Shut up!) Everyone who wants to work will have a job, and everyone that wants to lounge around and do nothing will get to do that as well, while getting paid.

I, Red, pledge to lower taxes, cholesterol, and the common denominator. They said it couldn’t get lower… I say THEY HAVEN’T TRIED HARD ENOUGH.

So vote for me, Red*, in the Can You Twist competition today, because if you don’t someone else might win and fuck** up your life completely.

Paid for by the People Who Loaned Money to Red and Now Need It Back, But Won’t Get It Unless She Wins Foundation."

*My real, and most unfortunate name, is the one that almost looks like 'bagel', but isn't pronounced even remotely the same as bagel. You need to know that for voting purposes. But just to be clear, my name is NOT Alice, Jeanne, Bridget, Laurian or Nikki...

**Apparently that word is Irish for muck. Because she is Irish. With 110% pure Guinness coursing through her veins to prove it.

Can I twist?

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WhadoyouMEAN: "YES!"?

The question was NOT whether I, Red, am twistED. It was whether or not I can create a plot... oh, never mind.

I will say this though, if you're referring to twisting of the dancing kind, the answer is a resounding no.

Okay, so what on earth am I on about now? My story! The one I had told you about over here. It's over there! With a good few more awkwardly placed commas in it than when I had written it, mind, but it's there. (A gross overuse of PARENTHESES is my thing. I'm not that fond of the comma, I assure you.)

What is also there (and even more cringe-worthy than odd punctuation and spelling/grammar errors) is my real name. Which does NOT, I assure you, rhyme with Bagel. Just say "Rah", and then make a sound as if you're about to cough up a hairball... No, never mind. Do not even attempt to pronounce it. You could forever scar the back of your throats with the guttural sound it requires.

Also contained on that site is a most unfortunate photograph of my mug. I really should have spared you all and submitted this mugshot instead...

P.S. My story concludes on Friday and then you'll be able to vote for (or against!) me. Fellow Twister, the lovely Cooksister, has kindly cleared up some confusion about the voting process. Voters can vote only once, but that is PER AUTHOR. So you can actually vote six times. You can vote that you liked all of us, or that you hated all of us. Or that you liked only half of us, or... okay, okay, you get the idea! 

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!)


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  • 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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