Recently in Seasonal Disorders Category

And on the 25th day, she was ill.

When asked what is wrong, I would ordinarily be all tough and answer dismissively and airily (or as airily as one is able to be when half of one’s airways are obstructed), using the rasp in my voice to lend the toughness just that bit of a rockstar edge: “Oh, it’s just a cold.”

But this? This monster? Isn’t just a cold.

Oh, no. After careful consultation of my trusty and beloved, dog-eared edition of the Time/Life A-Z Medical Encyclopaedia, I have come to the alarming conclusion that I have… the Man Flu.

Why that particular strain, you ask?  And how does this Man Flu differ from your run-of-the-mill cold and flu?

At first glance, all the symptoms are identical: scratchy throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing with such force that you can blow your neighbour's hair back from where you are curled up in a pathetic bundle in bed, feeling lousy, feverish, and achy. But in the trusty tome, it says that when you are feeling particularly SORRY for yourself on top of all of that, and act to your loved ones as if you are on the brink of death? It’s definitely the Man Flu.

Yes, it IS mostly just a male affliction. But in VERY rare instances, such as this, even the strongest women sometimes get weak enough to be overcome with it too. It’s horribly shameful, which is why I would never have admitted to it unless I WASN’T DYING AND FEELING ALL CONFESSIONAL DUE TO THE FACT THAT I'M DYING.


Was that my last breath? It sure felt like it should've been. Can't see anything, 'cause it blew the glasses right off my face. 

Updated to say: No, I also have NO idea why and how the font managed to change colour halfway through this blog post. (Yeah, got my glasses back.) Unless... I have given it my highly contagious and fatal form of Man Flu too!?

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. 

Today, let us for once not look before we leap. Instead, let’s make like frogs and just hop to it! Let us leap at the chance to take a leap of faith. (Although, preferably not by literally flinging ourselves from church steeples, mosque minarets, or cathedral domes). Let’s stop leaping to conclusions! Let’s leap off our high horses and, while we’re at it, off the bandwagon too. Leap for joy! If we do, life might just improve in leaps and bounds.

Leap Day.JPG

Happy leap day, everyone! And happy 9th official birthday to my first grade teacher's daughter! 

My sister and I hoofed it down Cape Town's World Cup Fan Walk on Tuesday night, before the match during which our Dutch forebears ended up slaughtering the poor Uruguayans.

Despite the heritage thing and the colour of this blog, we were rooting for Uruguay all the way. (Hey, I can't claim a Dutch passport, can I? So they can just suck it, for all I care. On Sunday, I'll be supporting Baspaña Baspaña all the way!)

Our journey on that chilly evening was decidedly lengthier than the designated Fan Walk. We ended up parking FAR away, so had to walk quite a distance to join the other fans, but every step of it was thoroughly enjoyable. (Says the girl who breaks into a sweat when she gets out of bed - which is why she mostly remains there.)

The walk through the designated city streets to the stadium was awash with colour. (Especially orange.) It was also crowded. Crazy. LOUD!  And hilarious. I grinned like a goof the entire way. Although, on second thoughts, that may have been a grimace due to the pain. Yes, I wore sensible shoes - as if I own any other kind - but when your feet hardly touch the ground during your regular existence, you are definitely going to feel it once they do. I also made my sister pose in front of anything that even remotely resembled soccer-themed memorabilia - which means that she was striking a pose at least once per minute - so that I could snap blurry pictures of her on my cell phone.

She was NOT a very cooperative model, so she was promptly fired (although she'll deny it of course and continue to insist that she quit), and then I retired my noble effort at taking commemorative pics. After the cocktails we picked up along the way (because it's important to remain sufficiently hydrated while taking exercise, didn't you know?), there was no chance that I would have been able to focus properly again anyway!
During this World Cup on our shores, I have learned that football fever is a highly contagious condition indeed - even affecting and infecting those of us who are usually immune and indifferent to anything even vaguely sports related.

I've also discovered that I would actually like FIFA to keep governing the country. So they're not paying taxes? Well, neither are many members of our current regime! My sister and I both noted how the police were out in full force. Whether on horseback, on foot or in their patrol cars/vans, their presence made us feel so safe, we didn't even mind walking back alone through the near-deserted downtown streets later that night. Something that would be sheer stupidity/madness at any other time - even though it has to be said that, in 'normal' times, Cape Town is still far safer than Jo'burg and Pretoria.

Also notably absent were beggars, street kids and hookers. Which made us wonder: what did FIFA do with (to?) them?

I also learned that seven Uruguayan fans have the capacity to be noisier than 70 000 vuvuzelas being blown at once.

But the most important thing I am taking away from this World Cup?

I'll tell you later. Sorry, it's simply too horrifically traumatic and still too raw to even talk about right now...   

I had been inside all day, absorbed in work, when a message from my former roommate lures me outside. "I know you're busy, don't want to disturb, but I'm outside waiting for M to get back and just wanted to say hi."

After having worked through lunch, I thought it was as good a time (and an excuse) as any to take a quick break.

I opened my door only to be greeted by an almost otherworldly, eerie sight: twirling ash flakes and thin layers of fog-like smoke as far as I could see.

I ran through the courtyard towards the gate that leads out to the street, where my friend was waiting in her car. "What on earth is going on?" I asked her.

She pointed up the street. Above the tree line, the mountain had disappeared behind a billowing cloud. Turns out the mountain closest to our neighbourhood, in a stunning nature reserve called Jonkershoek, caught fire. To make matters worse, the infamous Southeaster wind has been sweeping across the area for the past few days, adding fuel to the fire and making it extremely difficult for firefighters to contain it.

As far as we know, no neighbourhoods are in danger. Many people were out and about, to, like us, gawk at the strange sight. Many seemed to be going about their business as usual. The ash floated down and, like snow flakes, settled in our hair and covered our clothes. The smoke soon ignited our throats and stung our eyes. We covered our noses and mouths with our hands and walked around the corner.

"This is what it must feel like to live near an active volcano!" I sputtered. 

It's so weird, because I've been glancing out my North-facing window all day, seeing the cloudless, clear blue sky and watching the Southeaster's forceful dance with the Oak trees, entirely oblivious to what is going on the other side of the house.

Earlier today, I even saw a headline online about wildfires here in the Western Cape, but typically, I thought it was further away.

Despite the discomfort and possible danger, it does make for a spectacular sight. Right now, the setting sun remains defiantly visible through the smoke, looking like a luminous, orange ball, seemingly suspended in mid-air. It has tinted the smoke shades of pink and purple.

It is almost as if the day is dying in a glorious blaze of its own.

Let's just hope the fires die down soon too. (Although I doubt it, because the wind has gotten a second breath and is blowing with renewed vigour.)

P.S. Great minds think alike! (Yeah, yeah... or fools never differ then...) Apparently a blazing mountain in one's hometown is a hot topic. My sister has blogged about it too. She's even added pics from their vantage point against the hill on the other side of town. Only thing is, according to her, the neighbourhood closest to the mountain (not mine) IS in danger.

Updated: Uh-oh, apparently the fancy Lanzerac Hotel just a few blocks over from us have been evacuated! It's past midnight now, the wind is still raging, and the fire is still lighting up the smoke-choked night sky.  

1.) In 2009, I resolve to remain just as slothful as I was last year and during all the preceding years of my life.

2.) I'm going to comfort eat. This means I'll simply HAVE to eat everything and anything in sight when I'm bored/stressed/depressed/angry/happy. I'm elated to report that, on this 21st day of the year, I'm already wildly successful at these first two resolutions.

3.) I shall continue to proudly live up to my title as The World's Laziest Blogger, and watch as my largely ignored blog continue to languish away in obscurity on the world wide cobweb (this dark, damp, forgotten part of the Internet where insignificant websites come to die without ever being hit on - kind of like some blogger I know, actually!).

4.) This year, I'll continue to procrastinate even the act of procrastination itself. I mean, why do something later if you can do it even LATER than that?

5.) I absolutely will NOT write a book this year. I'll just continue to talk about how I'd love to write one. Because I've heard that talk is cheap, so that is clearly the way to go during these trying economic times.

6.) I still refuse to get a boyfriend. As my mom always says: If we'd wanted trouble, we'd have bought a secondhand Alpha Romeo with an oil leak.

7.) Even though talk is cheap, I won't learn to parle l'Français. It's far easier to continue to speak about how badly I want to learn it than to do all that actual memorising, ne pas? 

I have a feeling that I'm going to stick to these!

... Because I seemed to have caught a serious strain of a bug and it might be contagious.

This bug is so awful, its existence isn't even noted in my beloved Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia. But I can tell you from horrible experience that the very real symptoms include irritability, fatigue, depression, homicidal/suicidal tendencies, and vehement hatred of tinsel and carols. (Except when said carols are disguised as jazz standards sung by Diana Krall. Then it is actually more than tolerable.)

So yes, women, it's basically identical to having an extreme and ongoing case of PMS.

And ongoing it is. This affliction seems to strike annually around the end of November, lasting through the entire December, and peaking on the 25th. It's called the Bah Humbug! and really, it can get people killed.

And I'm not just referring to the sufferers...

Roll on, January! I beg you.

Our fathers who art on Earth

Varied be thy names: Pa, Paw, Papa, Pops,

Da, Dad, Daddy, Daddy-o, Old Man, Sir

Thy day has come

Therefore thy will shall be done at home as at thine office

We’ll cook thee today thine daily burnt toast

And give thee cheap socks and ties

As we give thee each and every Christmas

And thy will kiss us

And lead us to believe that thy love it

But deliver it to the back of thine sock drawers and closets

For, whether deadbeat, hands on, pushover, strict, wealthy, pauper,

CEO or stay-at-home

Thy art our kings

With the power

To change light-bulbs

Making thee forever more than mere men

I must be getting swept up in the spirit of the season, because suddenly? I have a very large craving for...

Winter Solstice

| | Comments (3)

Today is the shortest day of the year in South Africa.

Since it also marks the official start of winter, my thoughts naturally turn to gnawing. Not just the suicidal gnawing of my own wrists due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (of COURSE I suffer from it – I suffer from every ailment under the sun except hypochondria, remember?), but the gnawing of actual food.

One of the things I’m pondering is this: If the saying ‘you are what you eat’ is actually true, and I like to eat bread, does that make me a loafer?

And don’t even dare to answer. Unless your answer was going to be a resounding: “Of COURSE not, Red!”, that question was entirely rhetorical.

If you’ve been one of my imaginary readers for a long time, you would know that I don’t cook. And putting it like that is still a gross understatement. Water? I can totally burn it.

In the good old days, when I lived in an actual HOUSE (as opposed to the tiny room I find myself in these days), that room which in other people’s houses is known as the kitchen, was known as my coffee maker’s private quarters. The stove was just a very large and potentially dangerous, decorative ornament.

Luckily for me, my sister cooks. Well, all of them do (see? It’s entirely their fault that I don’t. By the time my mother got ‘round to having me, the cooking gene had – thankfully – been depleted. As well as the looks, the talent, the charm, the intelligence, the bone structure… but that’s a sob story for another day), but the sister I’m referring to happens to live conveniently close to me.

She is married to an Italian. And in order to keep that part of the ancestry alive and well, she cooks almost exclusively Italian. She has become so good at it, it has spilled over into her personality, which has become increasingly feisty. And it must be from all that stirring of-a da Spaghetti, but she now can’t speak without gesturing wildly and passionately. Some people, like my brother-in-law and me, might even interpret the latter as an occasional slap in our general direction.

On the pantry door of this wholly Italian kitchen, the following has been written: “The trouble with Italian food is that five days later, one is hungry again!”

But since the Longest Night of the Year is about to descend leaving me no choice but to go to bed right now, some day soon (see? I’m so commitment phobic, I don’t even want to make a date) I’ll tell you why eating leftovers at that very sister’s house might just kill you.

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]
top commenters
archive by category

winner of
I won this blog!

winner of best writing

retro dots skin designed with care by

liberty belle skin designed with care by

hosted with love by

script assistance by
MT Blacklist

one reader and counting... by

Locations of visitors to this page
with these rings, I thee join

Blog Baltimore


South Africa's Top Sites
South African Blog Top Sites

I shmaak SA Blogs, sorted with


Geolocalisation des internautes

Copyright belongs to the author (ha ha! She called herself an author!) of this website.