Recently in Re(d)latives Category

As promised last night, here's the story: 

It was a mid-winter's night when I was about 14 years old. The Pretoria Show (sort of like the US equivalent of a State Fair combined with a trade show) which ran for a couple of weeks every year, was in full swing.

I got to hang out there almost every night during that time, because my mom was working for a sewing machine company and running their stall at the show. The show hours were brutally long – from early morning until about 10 at night – so I had no choice but to tag along, help out and sometimes also to explore the enormous show grounds on my own. There were several massive exhibition halls, tents, fields (where equestrian shows, pop concerts and other outdoorsy type things were held, with pavilions for spectators) and of course, the large amusement park with the roller coasters, merry-go-rounds and all the other rides.

The sprawling show grounds are located in the western part of the city. Right around that same time, girls my age had been disappearing in that very area of town; vanishing without a trace. Sometime after this particular night, the man who had been identified as the kidnapper shot himself and his lover (who happened to be the aunt of one of the kidnapped girls) while being chased by police. None of the kidnapped girls were ever seen again, nor were any remains ever found to give their distraught families closure.

Back to the Pretoria Show: so on that particular night, I must’ve been wandering around again on my own for ages. Eventually, I saw a poster advertising some sort of magic show. Intrigued (and probably somewhat chilled too from being outside), I decided to enter the theatre and see what it was about.

I don’t remember many details surrounding this particular show, but I do remember that I found it dead funny. The magician/hypnotist’s routine included the usual shtick of randomly pulling rabbits from hats, and then eventually, pulling people from the audience and hypnotising them. He made grown men crow like roosters and dignified ladies act like little girls. The audience (myself included) was screaming with laughter.

When the show ended, I followed the rest of the audience out into the now-almost deserted show grounds. I still remember telling the woman next to me that the show must’ve run overtime, because all the other stalls and halls seemed to have already been closed down for the evening. I was a tiny bit alarmed that my parents would possibly be worried, but was soon distracted from that thought when I heard the sound of a helicopter and saw a blindingly bright search light.

I looked up. It was a yellow South African Police helicopter and it was flying low across the grounds, sweeping the search light back and forth. We shielded our faces as the chopper flew over us, kicking up a gust of wind and a swirl of dust.

Moving towards the gates, we rounded a corner and suddenly I saw a few hundred police officers. And police dogs! The dog lover in me squealed with delight: “Oh, look at all those gorgeous Alsations!” I remember telling the lady who was still walking next to me.

I wondered aloud what on earth was going on, what they were all doing there, when suddenly, from a distance, I glimpsed someone vaguely familiar standing in the middle of this massive crowd of cops and canines. When we moved closer, the figures became increasingly clearer and even more familiar. The recognition finally dawned and I told the woman next to me, with some amazement and not a bit of excitement: “That’s my parents! And oh… wait, is my mom CRYING?”

It turns out that all those cops (almost every single one who was employed by the Pretoria City Police Department at that time) and that helicopter? They had been searching for ME! As I had suspected when we left the theatre, the magic show had indeed run overtime… by about an hour! So knowing that I fit the profile of the kidnapped girls, my frantic parents immediately called for help when I didn’t appear at closing time, as I had dutifully done every single night until then.

Even though I had done nothing wrong and it wasn’t actually my fault, I was in so so SO much trouble, it wasn’t even funny. Not with the cops, understand – they were just happy that the case of one “missing girl” had for once just been a misunderstanding, and that it had a happy outcome. I could’ve handled trouble with the cops, I think. No, it was far worse: I was in seriously hot water with my parents.

They were certainly NOT happy. Especially not my dad. He was FURIOUS. In fact, technically, I believe I am probably still grounded. That’s what “you'll NEVER EVER EVERRR leave your room EVER AGAIN, young lady, except for school and church” means, after all, right?

So, that then concludes the true story of how a whole city’s entire police force was once looking for me. 

*Bows*

Birthday

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Today. Not mine.

My mom's. The woman who gave birth to me.

Love her. So so much.

Happy birthday, Mom.

My nephew and I slip out onto the balcony and into the cool night air. It's already way past his bedtime, but since I do have my sister's permission, this isn’t an illicit outing. 

 

We hear another dull boom in the distance and crane our necks to look across the neighbouring rooftops and through the trees, squinting for a glimpse. No luck.

 

"When I was little," I tell him. "I thought everyone was talking about someone called ‘Guy Fox’." 

 

He giggles, after I explain why this is supposed to be funny. (Which is sadly not a phenomenon only reserved for when I speak to kids. The only time people of all ages EVER react to my lame jokes - and not always favourably - is when I explain the punchline at length.) 

 

“But who was this Guy Fawkes and what did he do to get fireworks?”

 

“He was a British man who, along with a group of 12 other men, tried and failed to blow up Britain’s Houses of Parliament, because they wanted to kill the king, since he didn’t like their religion. But some of the other men got cold feet. Guy Fawkes still wanted to go through with it, but then he was caught and ended up being killed instead. So the bonfires and fireworks that go off every 5 November is to remember that the king was saved. And to kind of make fun of Guy Fawkes. They make bonfires to burn pictures of him. We celebrate it here in South Africa too, because we were a British colony for a long time.”

 

After failing to see any of the fireworks that we can hear going off in the distance, my nephew loses interest and wanders back inside.

 

In a decided role reversal, I plead: “Just a little while longer, please? I’m sure we’ll see something any moment now. And hey, there! I can even smell it!”

 

Without missing a beat, he says: “Naah, that’s just your coffee.”

(Because I always say that I am so useless in the kitchen, I even burn water…) SEE? There I go explaining the punchline again. AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN CRACK A SMILE, DID YOU?

P.S. Close to midnight, and crackers are still exploding all over town – heard, but not seen. I really think it ought to be the other way around, don't you? Silent fireworks will be so much kinder towards poor, petrified pups and cats everywhere. 

It’s a quiet night. The first breath of summer is in the air at last; the windows and balcony door are flung open to let in the coolness. The breeze brushing my face is like balm on my hot skin.

The only light in the room is the soft glow coming from the laptop screen. I’m lying on the couch, my sister is surfing the web.  

Suddenly, the serenity is shattered by a brief, deranged growl. (Just so you know: there is no animal on the premises.)

“What the hell was THAT?” my sister whispers, pale with fright.

“I don’t know; probably the TV in your room,” I say, unconvincingly. Outwardly, I probably appear calm, having not even budged an inch from the couch. Actually, it’s only because I have been completely frozen with fear.

Then we hear it again, and it sounds decidedly closer this time.  

For a moment my sister goes just as motionless as I am. However, seconds later she turns in her chair and lunges at something towards the right hand side of her.

This time, it’s my turn to squeak: “What the HELL..?”

She grabs the offender and starts to laugh.

Seeing that I’m still a tad perplexed, she holds it up to the laptop screen’s glow. It’s her iPad.

As if on cue, it emits another growl. “It’s that stupid game!” my sister laughs.

Turns out my niece had played Talking Fred (the pig that imitates and responds to the player's voice) on the iPad and never turned it off. If you leave Fred on without playing with him, he sulks by, every once in a while, making attention-seeking growling and grunting noises.

Yes, indeed. Two adults were spooked by a game for toddlers…

In our feeble defense, despite the microphone in his hand, Fred IS one scary-looking pig, complete with an “Eat Me” tattoo across his belly, a red Mohawk, a bad-ass, spiky dog collar around his neck, a nose ring, cut-off camouflage trousers and combat boots…

 

 

 

In Memoriam

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The light slants through the windows above. Their arches are tell-tale clues that this was once a church. Now it is an art gallery, but sacred once again. I leave my sisters at the door and walk forward, suddenly frantic to find him among all the others.

I scan along the walls and spot him against the front wall. It is a close-up of his face, but it does not quite look like him, which, in a way, is almost a relief. I can’t place my finger on what exactly it is that the artist did not nail. Is his nose too crooked? The shape of his eyes a little off? Yet, with a few violent brush strokes, she had skilfully managed to capture enough of his essence to create a recognisable likeness of my late brother-in-law. It is an impressive achievement, considering that she never met him in person and only had a photograph to work from. There is no denying that she is extremely gifted.

Later, during the exhibition’s opening address, we learn that these fifty individual portraits of my brother-in-law and others form part of one work. Fifty; because that, according to officials, is the amount of people that are murdered in South Africa on a daily basis. However, some say that 150 murder victims a day is a far more accurate figure.

On February 18, 2011, my vibrant, jovial and strong brother-in-law became part of those statistics when he was shot to death at his farmhouse in the middle of the night while trying to stave off a gang of intruders. My sister and then 7-year old nephew witnessed the entire horror.

A year and a week later, I still cannot grasp – and don’t think I ever will – why this awful thing had to happen to my beautiful, kind sister; my sweet nephew and my darling little niece. I don’t know why a decent, honest, hard-working man, who meant so much to so many people, had to die at just 44 years old. Why he won’t get to see my nephew and niece grow up; grow old with my sister...

He will forever have the dubious honour of being the first farmer to be murdered in this area. Thankfully, his memory has not been eclipsed by his headline-grabbing death. The way in which he lived his too short life was so much bigger that the horrible way in which he died. It speaks volumes about his character that many of his friends – large, burly men – are still unable to refer to him without breaking down and unabashedly sobbing like babies. He was not famous, yet he has had a street named after him in a new development here in town. (To be more precise, it’s a ‘Way’, which is hilariously appropriate, because – as I joked to my sister – he always got his way. Adding “Street”, “Lane”, or “Boulevard” after his name simply would not have had the same ring to it.)

However, he would have loathed all of this attention. He was a man of deeds, not words. We always knew he was generous, but not even my sister was aware of how often he helped others, because he never boasted about it. It was only after his death that we began learning how often and how much he had done for scores of people.

Less than eight weeks before his death, and just a few days before Christmas ’10, he was held up at gunpoint at a friend’s restaurant while making a delivery. Luckily he and all the other victims emerged from the experience physically unarmed. Two days after that, he gave me a ride to his beach house where we were going to celebrate and spend Christmas weekend. In the car, he told me some of what happened. I told him how glad I was that he was okay, and he laughingly patted my arm and said: “So you’ll miss me if I’m no longer around?” I pulled a face at him and said: “Maybe. Just a teeny tiny bit.”

Now I can assure him that all of us miss him desperately, every single day.

Hello my scores of darling imaginary readers! (Yes, I know, there used to be only three of you, but I have decided that,  since you are imaginary, I might as well go all out and pretend that there are billions of you!)

I feel that a formal salutation is in order. I was going to just start and pretend that this chasm of blogging inactivity spanning three months (to the day!) didn't really happen. However, since that is a long stretch of blog silence, even for the likes of me (The World's Official Laziest Blogger, seven years running), I realised that trying to casually brush over it might not quite cut it.

I suppose now you want to hear where I've been, right (demanding beasts that you are)? Well, apart from Taiwan six months ago (which you know about and will continue to hear about soon, I promise), a brief sojourn to the beach for a long weekend during December, and apart from currently being Out of My Home Town... the answer is, rather sadly: nowhere.

So what have I been doing, I hear you ask? (My, but you guys are curious! Quit interrogating me!)

We have moved from my sister's farm (an undertaking which, I'm convinced, was more epic than the Afrikaner's Groot Trek itself). My sister and the kids are now living a block from my tiny, crumbling little hovel in a beautifully restored house which I'm hoping will eventually feel like home for them as well.

The move was horribly traumatic. While we were all still staying on the farm, it was easy to get stuck in denial; to ignore the terrible truth and pretend that last year's tragedy didn't happen; to stubbornly keep believing (hoping?) that my brother-in-law would come strutting back into the house at any second. The day we finally shut that front door behind us and drove away, I sobbed so much that I had to pull over for a while.

It feels strange not living with them anymore, but when I'm in town (which is most of the time), I'm still over at theirs almost every night, having supper and reading to my nephew. But I'll tell you more about how they are doing in another post - honest. (Probably in about two years' time!)

In the mean time, I'm back and you'll hear from me a tiny bit more often from now on. And yes, I do realise that this is a scary prospect indeed...
It all began about two months ago when I received an email from my gorgeous editor. "How would you like to go to Frightfully-Exotic-Destination-Far-Out-Of-The-Country?" (She actually called the place by its proper name, of course. This is just me, up to my usual amateurish writing tricks.)

My reply was probably half-incoherent as usual, but I DO recall that I said something along the lines of: "AREYOUKIDDINGME? Of COURSE I do! I want to go ANYWHERE!" (Yes, I always yell at her on email.)

Unfortunately my hysterical over-enthusiasm and willingness did not make it a done deal. Not by far. We had to actually enter a global competition first. This required us to complete a flurry of virtual application forms, answer almost 200 questions, write some essays, take pictures (UGH! WHY do people need to see what a writer looks like?!?), submitting all of it on time and crossing our fingers until they turned red then blue then black.

Being my usual 'optimistic' self, I decided not to get my hopes up at all. So I tried my best to forget about the contest (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Right, because I don't fixate. At all) and just carry on with my no-life life. Two weeks ago, Ms Gorgeous Editor and I both received emails informing us that we had made it through to the semi-finals. (I wasn't surprised about her success. I've been telling her all along to just pack her bags already.) One step closer to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I still didn't dare to think about it.

Thing is, as always when I forbid myself to do something, my lack of any self-discipline results in me hardly thinking about anything ELSE! I even went as far as joining the contest's Facebook page, Googling the amazing destination, reading travel articles about it and losing myself in the photographs. But then I'd crossly remind myself to yank my hopes back to earth in order to protect myself from sure, heart-shattering disappointment.

But yesterday morning really early, LONG before my usual wake-up time of round about the crack o' noonish, I got up and obsessively calmly checked the website to see who had been selected. The press release stated the usual "everyone was amazing, but sadly we couldn't pick you all" consolation. (Don't they KNOW that stroking your ego before brutally crushing it just makes the horrible news even WORSE?) Then they said that the chosen ones include the likes of Olympic medalists, beauty queens, Harvard grads... and that one guy even received a personal endorsement from his country's head of state, and I knew right then and there with such a crystal clear certainty that I was out. So I climbed back into bed, curled into a ball and told myself that not being picked isn't the end of the world.

I was just drifting back to sleep when a text message notification on my phone woke me up. It was Ms Gorgeous Editor and she told me that she has made it!!!!!

And... she told me... so have I.

SO HAVE I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On August 12, her and I and two other Saffas will be jetted off to Taiwan for two glorious weeks to attend the Republic of China (Taiwan) International Youth (! According to the Taiwanese, I'm still youthful!)  Centennial Homestay celebrations with 246 other people from around the globe. We will be staying with host families and all we have to do in return for being handed this amazing adventure is to tell the world (or, in my case, my three imaginary readers) about our experiences on our blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook, or whatever other social media platforms we have available to us.

I honestly still can't believe it! I keep on staring at the list of names, expecting my (horrible) name to disappear from it when they realise their terrible mistake at including the likes of me. (I'm just kidding, judges! Please don't get any ideas?!?)

One thing is certain: I would NOT have this to look forward to had it not been for the help and encouragement of many people, from former and current employers, fellow bloggers and co-workers writing me the most lovely references, to family, to the few other people I had confided in about entering. My Gorgeous Editor has my eternal gratitude for telling me about it and inviting me to enter in the first place. I know she has told me to stop thanking her already, but wow... how can I ever thank her ENOUGH?

There is Elaine, the fabulous lady from the Taipei Liaison Office in South Africa who bent over backwards for me and graciously answered all my queries during the application process.

Then there is my darling friend Lemony, who patiently sat up with me until the wee hours (while she was ill, no less!) to listen to me stress and vent and moan and cry, making me cup after cup of coffee and just generally calming me down and jotting down my answers to the questionnaires faster than I could even dictate it! I guess you'll be getting that souvenir from Taiwan after all, Lemony!

And of course, none of this would be possible without Alice and the rest of the SayTaiwan Homestay organisers and judges.

Although I am definitely walking on clouds, my joy has been a tad subdued and bittersweet. As some of you know, this year has been particularly awful for my family. Three months later, we're still reeling from my brother-in-law's murder. I'd be lying if I said that I don't feel guilty for having this thrilling opportunity land in my lap at a time when my sister is hurting so deeply.

But bless her, for despite her grief, she is so genuinely, unselfishly happy for me...
On this day (or rather, THAT day, since I should've posted this YESTERDAY) in 2004...

Oh, don't worry, kids. Before your eyes automatically glaze over, rest assured: this isn't going to be a history lesson. I don't have the memory to recall anything historic, be it fact or fiction. Gee, I can't even remember what I did last night! And no, sadly, not because I did or somehow imbibed anything remotely fun or funny or illegal. 

Where was I? (See? Can't even remember what I wrote two seconds ago.) Oh, yes. May 28, 2004. The reason that particular date has managed to latch onto that one teeny tiny corner of my memory that is still relatively free of gaping holes, is because this momentous event happened.

Happy seventh(!) birthday, blog! This milestone is significant, because it is officially the longest "relationship" I've ever had with anyone or anything other than family, some friends and dogs.

Seven years is a loooong time in blog years. (I think it is the same amount as it would be in dog years.) No wonder I feel so prematurely aged! This means I'm now a 'veteran' blogger.

My three imaginary readers wanted to know what the secret is to becoming a lasting blogger. I told them the truth: I have no idea.

They didn't seem pleased with my brutal honesty and ignorance, so I've come up with the following "Steps On How To Kinda Maintain A Blog For Seven Years".

- Pace yourself. Don't blog every day. Or every other day. Or even every other week. Try and put a post up every other month, if you're able. But don't force yourself! No need to overdo it and risk creative burn-out (a condition rumoured to be very real and very dangerous)! When you do feel the urge to blog (symptoms include but aren't limited to itchy fingers, sweaty palms, etc.) like a day or week after you've written a post, immediately turn off your computer and go have a cup of coffee. If you can't resist, then fine, write a blog post, but instead of pressing publish when you are done, save it in draft and never ever post it. In my case, this has not been difficult, because I have a natural talent for not posting and not writing. Also, there is no need for me to frequently foul up this gorgeous blog design with my clumsy sentences and sentences within sentences.

- Don't let your domain name/hosting expire. You can forget about your blog for most of the year, as long as you remember it again when it becomes time to renew your domain name and to pay your hosting fees. One of my imaginary readers was greatly distressed when it (imaginary readers are genderless) visited this blog on Friday only to be met with a "this site has been suspended due to neglectful owner who did not renew domain name" type of message. My Fairy Blog Mother, the one who originally hosted this Win-A-Blog contest which landed me this here site, swooped to the rescue. Lovely Emily not only paid the renewal fee for TWO YEARS, but she wants no payment in return. Nada. Zilch. How incredibly kind is she?!? I love her, even though I ought to smoulder with jealousy, because unlike me, she is a GORGEOUS, smoking hot redhead. Super brainy too. Life is very very unfair. (No link to her, because sadly she hasn't had a blog in years. That's because she is too busy having A Life.)

- Of course, the previous step about domain renewal and hosting becomes void if you have a freebie blog at blogger, or Wordpress, or My Digital Life (www.mydl.co.za) where all those things are included in the "free".

And that's it. Easy, really. In order to call yourself a blogger for a really really long time, like me; a blogger whose blog is so neglected that it isn't even part of the actual World Wide Web, but of the World Wide Cobweb (that dark and dusty and cob-webby corner of the Internet where all obscure sites cluster together and languish in infinite, virtual obscurity), whose blog has no actual readers and only three imaginary readers, whose blog has never bagged her a lucrative book-and-movie-deal combo? Then you should simply not blog all that often.

Image: Oh, and this is my sister's birthday cake from last year. She actually baked it herself. She DID bake my blog a cake for its sixth birthday a few months later. It did not look like this at all, but it was just as tasty. I was going to take a picture of it for the blog, but then I promptly suppressed the urge, and just ate it instead.

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Happy birthday, blog!

Letter

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The 18th of a month has never held any lasting or particular significance for me. No immediate family member or close friend has a birthday on that date. But now, every time the 18th of the month rolls around, it quietly marks another anniversary of the terrible day that you were so violently ripped from us. Will I ever be able to note that particular date without remembering?

A few days ago, on 18 May, we reached the three month mark. Only three months. Already three months! That's an entire season. Yet I still can't believe it. I still can't wrap my mind around the enormity of your loss. I still wake up every day and I am shocked anew when I remember that you're not here anymore. I still have to catch myself when I want to refer to you in the present tense. The shock still takes my breath away.

May has been a major month for anniversaries. On the 3rd, you would have celebrated your 45th birthday. My heartbroken sister baked you a cake (your son insisted that there should be a cake for you, so she really had little choice in the matter), and we sang "Happy Birthday" while trying our best not to choke up as he and his little sister leaned across the table and blew out the candles. I remembered how last year was the first time I had ever been able to give you a proper birthday gift and how horrifically sad I was when I went into the cellar and discovered that you had been saving it for a special occasion.

A few days before your birthday this year, you received an early posthumous birthday gift of sorts. The police caught two - I erroneously called them men before, but while they are male, they are definitely NOT men; more like yellow-bellied bastards - in connection with your murder. The one was actually nabbed for another crime, but then they found the weapon that you were shot to death with among his illegal arsenal. Based on that, and on the DNA evidence linking him and his buddy to your house, the judge denied them bail earlier this week. (We have not been to any of the hearings. My sister has no interest in having to look at any of them. For a nanosecond, I thought about going, but I just couldn't summon the will or the strength either.) A few weeks ago, they caught a third one. His hearing has been postponed until June. The others are still missing. Hiding? Running? Who knows.

On the 11th, it would have been my sister's and your tenth wedding anniversary. That night, I went to visit her as usual, and when I told her what you said and how you reacted last year when I reminded you of this notable date, she laughed through her tears and said: "That's so typical."

I wish you could come back. Life is too strange and depressing and muted without you.


















(I should actually create a category called Extreme Puppy Love for this one. But before you roll your eyes and hiss at me, cat lovers; please retract those claws, because for once this is not about MY adoration for dogs. In fact, I have nothing on the person I’m about to tell you about.)

A distant relative of mine is a rocket scientist. Apart from the obvious brilliance his occupation requires, he also has a kind and gentle soul and a fondness for dogs.

His love for creatures of the canine persuasion is indiscriminate. He is not bogged down by technicalities such as pedigree or size. I found this out for myself a few years ago when he gave me a lift back from the town of By George! to Stellenbosch. His two dogs accompanied us on the trip, because the three of them had been on holiday together.

I remember the one dog in particular. His name was Jakkals (which is Afrikaans for ‘fox’), but Jakkals the dog did not resemble the sly and pointy-nosed species he was named after. Not even remotely. Maybe his name was ironic, or perhaps he had looked much different when he was a puppy. Doubtful, though. Like me, I suspect that Jakkals was also the runt of the litter, because the mature Jakkals that I got to meet had a perfectly rotund body that was precariously balancing on four disproportionately skinny legs. (Kind of like me! Except for the four  skinny legs part... I don't even have ONE skinny leg!)

Upon first glance, his lineage became perfectly clear: Jakkals was a purebred pavement special. It didn’t matter though, because one look into that odd-looking little mutt’s sweet brown eyes and my heart was stolen.

Throughout the four hour drive (which actually took longer due to bad weather), I reached back frequently and petted him and the other dog. When they finally dropped me off at my sister’s that night, I said my goodbyes, thanked him for the lift and went on my way.

A few weeks ago I ran into that very same relative at the grocery store. We had not seen each other in more than a year. “How are you? And how are the doggies?”

His expression immediately changed. “Haven’t you heard? They’ve both died.”

I felt so horrible for him. Those dogs were like children to him! I reached out and squeezed his arm. “I’m SO sorry to hear that!”

“Yes, thanks,” he said. “They were both old, but still… I miss them terribly. Especially Jakkals.”

Suddenly he smiled a bit. “But you know, after Jakkals died, I had to go overseas for a satellite launch.”

Aww, I thought to myself. So the poor, grieving man immediately and bravely plunged back into his work. “Good for you!” I said.

“Yes, I had saved some of his fur and took it along. And while putting the finishing touches on the satellite before the launch, I attached it to the satellite.”

"Wait... you attached the FUR?" I wasn't sure that I had heard him correctly.

He nodded, squinted up at the Stellenbosch sky and solemnly said: “So now, twice every day, a little piece of Jakkals orbits by here, looking down on us!”

I was immediately so overcome… with the giggles. In my mind's eye, I saw the satellite, completely covered in dog fur. Luckily I managed to scrounge together enough decency and self-control to at least hold my laughter until I was in my car.

 Bow-WOW! Jakkals had gone from being an underdog in life, to being a posthumous astrodog! I always knew that the pup had it in (or shall we rather say on?) him to end up among the stars…

And I don’t think too many other dog owners will ever be able to match – let alone top – such a send-off for their dogs!

 



















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!)

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  • 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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