Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Best Love Story of All Time

Forget Rhett and Scarlett, Elizabeth and Mr Darcy or even Romeo and Juliet.
My favourite love story is better - shorter & sweeter.
When I was young it made me feel giddy and filled me with a desire to be in love. I was fascinated at how two such total opposites could be in love and go off to live happily ever after. Okay - the story doesn't say 'and they lived happily every after', but I was certainly left with the impression that they did. Not happily ever after in a starry-eyed-forever kind of way, but in a warm companionship kind of way, being so opposite and all.
It made me feel that there were such great possibilities for love.

It was also made me want to be the owner of a runcible spoon (it sounded so exotic) and dance by the light of the moon...

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are."
Pussy said to the Owl "You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?"
Said the Piggy, "I will"
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Caning vs. Canning, Porn vs. Pawn

I have taken an interest to canning.
No one can be more suprised by this than me.
Me - who when I met Mr Husband proudly announced that I could defrost a fridge and cook sausage. And the sausage part was open to debate.
Fast forward 20 years & some bad meals in between, and I'm looking for ideas on canning and preserving. I have even thought of making jam.
So I did what most people would do - I Googled Canning and Preserving in Britain. I added the 'in Britain' bit because on other searches Google had offered me many American versions and I really can't be bothered with trying to convert the measuring units.
This time the first thing Googled spat out was British Canning Society. Ah, excellent. A whole society dedicated to canning and preserving Britain.
Click on the link... Oh. This is the British Caning Society. Who knew? I don't even know what to think of that, really.
A caning society! Whatever for?
I felt guilty even looking at the sight - like I had accidentally stumbled across a porn sight.
I think you have to join to be able to have a real look around and be part of the forum, but no thanks... I don't know why I feel so disturbed by this. But I do. It doesn't sit well with me. I start thinking of all those poor children that got beaten to sticky pulps in horrid schools.

Okay - lets move on.

Porn vs. Pawn

A conversation that took place between my mother and sister years ago when my brother's girlfriend at the time finally found a job in the small town they were living.

- Sasha has a job.
- Oh, that's fantastic! Where?
- In a pawn shop.
- A porn shop?
- There's nothing wrong with working in a pawn shop. It's a job, after all.
- But what does her father have to say about this?
- I don't know, but I'm sure he's pleased that she has a job.
- But in a porn shop?
- Why are you being so snobbish about a pawn shop? It's not like we've never bought anything there...

I think that's when the penny dropped, because we all know that my mother is not the type to frequent a porn shop, but a very keen visitor at pawn shops.

Oh, how misunderstandings can start.

I'm off to go and look for proper canning and preserving techniques now.
If you have any tips, I would be keen to hear. Thank you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Brother's Diary

steel kitchen cupboards,
plastic egg holders,
quality street cake tins, vinyl kitchen floor

hand rotation bread slicer,
electric carving knife,
jug & glass coldrink sets,
boiling condensed milk for caramel

mulberry jam, flap jacks,
sloppy Joe's,
cottage pie
mac and cheese, jelly
pan fried wors*

hang ten plakkies*,
sieve doors for the flies,
flower patterned crockery,
lunch tins and leaky cooldrink bottles

home made jam & rusks
steel garden furniture & paper thorns
pantries and Consol bottles,
Croxley recipe books and ivory handled cutlery

slow cookers and a braai* pan
gem squash
and compost heaps

This pretty much sums up our childhood.

And with that food theme - it's no suprise that he became a chef.

photograph taken by Pieter Wolhuter
*wors - South African sausage
*hang ten plakkies - hang ten flip flops
*braai - barbeque

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dreams for my Mother

My parents divorced just before my ninth birthday.
I immediately took on the role of Husband Finder for my mother.
There were not many men I felt were suitable. In fact, I stopped the hunt immediately after deciding that my best friend's divorced father was The One.
Of course, this wasn't just decided on a whim - there were positive points as to why I thought he would make a suitable husband.
  • He was the manager of a national sweet & chocolate factory. This meant that we would have sweets and chocolates on a regular basis, which was more than the once a month we were getting at home. It wasn't Cadbury's, but it would do.
  • A pool. Running through the sprinkler on scorching hot summer days would be replaced by jumping into a wonderfully clean, clear pool.
  • He owned a decent car. Not an orange two-door beetle like my mother. His was a normal, beige Audi. It had four doors.
That was about it. More than enough reasons, I felt.

I had it all worked out: My mother would sell the rambling house we lived in and we would all happily move to the northern suburbs to our new house with the pool.

There were other factors that weren't so convenient - that I chose to ignore - like the fact that my mother had never expressed any attraction to the man, that he was a smoker (he gave up later, but that didn't seem to make any difference to my mom), that between the 2 of them there would now be 7 kids living in the house which would mean the house-with-the-pool-in-the-northern-suburbs would not be big enough for all of us.

Of course, none of this came to pass and when I admitted to my mother that every night I prayed for her to find a husband, her response was, "Good heavens, child! Stop that at once!"

So I did.

But, it didn't stop me often fantasising that she would meet some one that was interesting. A reader, a lover of history. I imagined a learned man, caring, with a good sense of humour.

I found him, dear reader, I did!
Okay, he's married and he probably has the entire ladies OAP population after him, but I can still dream...

Monday, August 20, 2012

How Many Blogs Do YOU Have?

I don't even want to tell you how many I have. It's embarrassing.
Of course, it wouldn't be embarrassing if they were all well-read, often-read, interesting, up-and-coming-for-blog-awards type of blogs.
No. Right now they're more like unblogged blogs.
I always have good intentions. Probably identical to the ones the road to hell is paved with.
Any good blogger out there (and believe me there are many - alas I am not one!) will tell you - the key to good blogging (besides having something half decent to blog about) is to BE CONSISTENT.

Therein lies the true challenge for me, because I am nothing if not INconsistent.

Actually I blog every day. In my head. Of course that's no use to anyone, as wish as I may, people still can't read my mind!
And every day I say, "Today I'm going to blog." But I don't. I go to work (although I must confess that's not every day), I come home, I do washing, I shout at the kids, make food, lie on the couch, dream of sleeping, kiss the kids goodnight and come upstairs to my beloved laptop, where I start trying to translate random thoughts and sentences scribbled at the back of receipts into something that someone should find worth reading one day. I keep thinking I must blog, but then I get sidetracked looking for flights for Mr Husband who will be going to Our Island again soon and I wander off looking at prices for tickets to Prague and Alaska and Turkey and Rome... places I dream of visiting.

I'm not making promises. Beloftes maak skuld. Which means promises cause debt.  I certainly do hope to be back soon, and I can assure you (notice I didn't say promise?) I will make a real effort to become more consistent. Let's see what happens.

I was going to add a photo of a beautiful sunset we had last night, but blogger won't let me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back In The Loop

Today I am thrilled!
After months of battling with a dying laptop and believing all had come to an end, I got my new one.
Okay - so it's not as nice as the last one, but I couldn't afford exactly what I wanted (limit from insurance), and the keyboard is not as nice as the last one and it's really not even the brand I wanted, and, and.... While I was going on about the nitty gritty things that I would have liked/not liked, Middle Child piped up, "Yeah, Ma. You're really suffering with that new laptop." I shut my mouth very quickly, realising how very ungrateful I must sound.

But, I am chuffed. Really, really chuffed. And so what if it isn't the specific one I would have liked and all the rest... It works, I don't have to use my iPhone for everything and I can continue with my writing that has had to rely on pen and paper (who would have thought!), brief notes on my phone and rushed scribbles on the back of receipts.

All is well in the world today.

The sun was out, I took a walk with my sister and we enjoyed sweet nectarines in the sun.

Yip, all is well in the world.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bloody Monday

I haven't experienced such a looooong day in a very looooong time.
It's been such a long day that I'm sure 24 hours has already passed, but it's still Monday.
Bloody horrid day it's been,  I tell you.

Horrible people with no bloody ethics. Really - I have to wonder sometimes.
Then - home to kids that were in Horrid Motion and I thought I was going to go mad - and that was only 15 minutes after they had come through the door.

Oldest went to run an errand for me and did it all wrong and I was fed up because he had not been Paying Bloody Attention - even though he repeated every word back to me. I wanted to thump him. I might just have was it not for the fact that it is actually against the law.

Then Mr Husband phoned and said he was going to be late - as in very late - like 11 pm late, while I battle to get these brats (yes - today that is what they are!) into bed and out of my hair! Please Lord make them stop bickering.

So I went to the kitchen and opened the only bottle of alcohol I have - which is mulled wine left over from Christmas, I kid you not. I am drinking it. Unheated. It is going straight to my cheeks. They are Blood Red.
I don't care. Five sips and already I feel better.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hope, Fear & Forgiveness.

There is no harvest for the heart alone.
The seed of love must be Eternally resown.
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

That was what was on the cover of Mr Husband and my wedding programme.
Almost 21 years ago.
As you know, Mr Husband and I went through a Very Tough Time.
In fact, from March 2010 until virtually the end of March 2012, it was actually Hell On Earth.
I blogged about it, I cried about it, I thought about it, and thought about it, and thought about it some more.
And then I decided that there was nothing more to it, than for it to End.

I decided this while Mr Husband was away at Our Island.
I felt firm in my decision, as I could honestly not see my way clear of the tangled heartache we seemed to have shaped.
I had wanted to help him break free from the burden his cruel childhood had created, but realised that instead, I was paying the price for it too. It was tricky. It was overwhelming, it was frightening, it was sad.
I made my decision.

I fetched Mr Husband from the airport and was shocked by how much weight he had lost.
We hugged awkwardly and the near hour drive home was stilted, with me asking superficial questions about all the distant relatives, especially the crazy ones, and him asking after the children.

The next few days passed calmly enough, work and the children keeping us both busy and preoccupied.
Then. It wasn't a 'we need to talk' moment or anything like that. It was an evening in front of the telly watching a programme - I forget which - and Mr Husband started talking.

He spoke from his heart. Tears made their way down his face and onto his chin where there was a bit of stubble.
He spoke of his hope that we could stay a family, that he could work through his issues with my help and that we would be able to continue our journey together, but this time a happier one.
Inside of myself I felt a flutter of hope - like the first time you feel a baby kick inside your belly - a feeling of tingly anticipation, but also traces of fear.
He asked for my forgiveness and I told him how afraid I was to take another chance, as I felt my heart couldn't bear anymore pain.
He answered that he could not promise a happy ending, but could certainly promise that he would do everything in his power to save us, save this family, give us the chance of a happy future.
He would start with therapy and dedicate himself to our relationship with total honesty, but more importantly, with kindness.

It's been nearly 3 months since that conversation. He has kept his word. He has been kind, he has been thoughtful, he has been going for therapy. There has been improvement.
I know this - you can fake what you do and you can fake what you say, but you cannot fake the energy you carry, the expression on your face when you think no one is watching, your body language....
And that is where I have sensed the real truth of his words. In his energy. In his positive, kind, loving energy.
I have hope.
I have a lot of hope.

Friday, June 15, 2012

My (Non) Dieting Routine

It's Monday. You have to start dieting on a Monday.

Don't wait till Monday. Start today - there's no time like the present.

It's Friday. No one starts a diet on a Friday. Especially not me. Pass the cake. And the wine.

Okay - I've had cake, so I won't eat anything else for the day. Dang! It's only midday. Best I go to bed right now.

I'm buying only Weight Watchers meals. I'm not going to eat anything else. Not going to think about it - Just Do It. "Ma, I'm hungry!" Thinnest child in the house gets given Weight Watchers Lasagne. Later I lie on the couch eating the Magnum I bought for the thinnest child.

Ban all treats from the house. Removing temptation seems to be the only way.
Spend the afternoon baking double chocolate cheese cake.
Spend the evening eating it.

Yeah, I'm an all or nothing kinda gal. It's the all part that shows very obviously at the moment.
But, it's Friday.
And anyone in their right mind knows you don't start a diet on a Friday.
Now, where's the wine...?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

If it's not burning down...

I have spent 5 days at home. Straight.
Five days away from My Regular Job (yip - the one I go to so I can get actual money and pay the bills).
About 4 of those days were spent staring at the screen of my laptop, wondering where the bloody Writing Fairy was and why she wasn't bashing me on the head with her Wand of Good Ideas.
I managed 1700 words. And 1000 of those were a letter to a friend in South Africa, so that probably doesn't count.

One of those days was spent having a
 small Jubilee Party, where Pimm's,
Coronation Chicken and Victorian Sponge ruled. Okay - lots of wine, jubilee cup cakes, jubilee trifle and wonderful company too.

Tomorrow I will be back at my Day Job. It's good I have this Day Job, because I fear (and so does my family) that if I didn't have this Day Job, I would never leave the house. I am not keen to leave the house.
And I can't actually tell you why. Well, I could, but I'm not really too sure as to why it is. I think it's a combination of things. Firstly, I have this theory - if it's not burning down, don't leave it.

Then, it's a matter of comfort. I love to live in my pj's. As much as possible. I think I have more pj's than regular clothes. I like it this way. And I am a Big-Boobed-Woman, which means leaving the house requires wearing a bra which is kind of like being confined to a strait jacket of sorts. At home I get to go boob-loose and fancy free.

Being in my home makes me feel safe and secure. The outside world? Not so much.
But, I also know that it's stepping out of our comfort zone that allows us to grow and develop. In fact, I am a bit of a preacher of this.
"Stretch yourself!" is what I tell family and friends that ask for advice. (I kid you not - I actually have people asking me for advice. True story.)
So, I have decided that I will follow my own advice and stretch myself.

This is how I plan to do it. I will make sure that I leave the house at least one day a week - and that does not include going to The Day Job. I will leave the house and go somewhere. Somewhere proper - like the library or a coffee shop or a gallery. Somewhere that requires of me to get out of my pajamas and into my proper clothes.
I will do it. And I will keep you updated.

And if you have any ideas for me as to what I can do to step out of my house, I would love to hear them! Please

Thursday, June 7, 2012

100 RPM

I wrote a story.
Then some people read it.
And they decided it was good enough to be in a book alongside some really incredible authors.
As this is my first time, I feel rather honoured. Proud. And so terribly, terribly excited!

100 RPM was published on the 31st of May (that has gone down as my new lucky day) and you can go over here to read more about it on Caroline Smailes's blog - she was the great mastermind behind this incredible project.
You can go over here to buy it - at the bargain price of 99p. All the money made from this project goes to the charity One in Four - a charity that offers support to people who have experienced sexual abuse.
It was about 8 years ago when I first heard that statistic - that one in four children will experience sexual abuse before the age of 18. I was sitting in the living room - my four children on the carpet in front of me. I was overwhelmed with sadness and a terrible feeling of helplessness and desperation. One in four. It's a shocking statistic.
I would like to say a special thank you to Caroline Smailes for bringing this worthy cause to our attention. She's an incredible lady.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Love of A Diary

I have been keeping a diary since the age of about 10. I have yet to unpack that diary to see the exact date.
What I have in my possession at the moment is the one that was randomly pulled from a box in our storage.
Diary Number 6.
1 June 1983 - 19 July 1983

I would sit for hours, cutting out words, phrases and pictures for my diary from magazines. Later I got my girlfriends to keep diaries too and we would spend afternoons together decorating them with statements our dramatic teenage minds thought were profound or mysterious.

I wrote a lot. A lot of shit too! And I stuck in everything that passed through my hands! Chewing gum wrappers, the receipt from the school stationery I bought, bus tickets, chocolate wrappers... Oh, the chocolate wrappers! And then later, the chewing gum I had in my mouth when I was kissed. Yip, I did that. Revolting, I know.

Cadbury's Star Bar. South Africa 1983
Cadbury's Star Bar. UK 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

When the madness comes

My own's my own madness...the one that comes after I dream of Zane, when I wake up and realise he really is never coming back, he really is dead, I really am not going to see him again, hear his voice again, his footsteps... Nope. As much as I don't want it to be true, it is.
I dreamt about him. I dreamt I was at the hospital next to his bed. He had been in a coma for 2 months. The doctor came to me and said I must sign a form so that they can take Zane off the machines & give him an injection. Then he will die. So I sign the form & when the doctor gives Zane the injection, he doesn't die, he wakes up. And not only does he wake up, he is full of energy, can walk straight away, talk - everything - just like he had never been in a coma at all! Of course, I'm all amazed by this, and slightly concerned, because there is a grave with his name on it. It seems we went ahead and had the funeral even though he was still around, because the doctors were so convinced that he wasn't going to make it, that they thought best get the funeral out of the way.
Okay - so there's me and Zane just freshly out of his 2 month coma, doing our rounds in the hospital - I dunno - like going from room to room and just looking. He is full of energy & smiling a big smile all the time, but funny enough never talks. But he's happy. So very happy.
Then I lose him. I don't know this happens, but I know it was because of something I did. Like I wanted to go to the bottle store or nip out for a fag or something like that & I lose him. So I go looking for him & I get to this room - a bathroom - it has a curtain around the bath, like a shower curtain & when I open the curtain, there's an enormous spider web from floor to ceiling, but it's not your usual spider web, it's a big square with smaller squares inside it. But when I opened the curtain, it got hooked on the web, do there's a part of the web ruined & I knows that this means the whole web is going to fall down & I dont know how I feel about this because there are lots of spiders about on the ceiling- small black ones - & I hate spiders, but the web is so beautiful.
I'm worried and panicky because I can't find Zane, although one of the big black nurses doesn't seem to think this is a problem, because there's already a grave with his name on, so it's not like I have to explain his disappearance or anything. But still I look for him... In the streets too, where I see a small child with her head down a drain pipe, but I don't help her. Instead I look away and tell myself if I don't see it, it doesn't exist.
Like I don't see Zane, so he doesn't exist.
I carry on down the street & back alleys, but I know he's gone & never coming back.

And then I wake up, & the madness is back.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wonderful Weekend

It's been a good weekend.
Friday I did lots of baking while I waited until it was time to fetch my niece from the station.

 We sat chatting till three in the morning, catching up on what's going on with her studies at University and the constant Rise and Fall of My Marriage.
Oh, it was so good to see her again, have her in my house, have her eating my food... I sometimes wonder if she knows how dear she is to me? I do tell her. And I tell her often. So I just hope she knows.
Saturday night was a bit of a dinner party - without the dinner, but with snacks. It was great fun and Middle Child told me this morning that I am a great party host because there was lots of food and everyone had a good time.
Today has been wonderfully quiet. I watched a movie with Eldest while Middle Child was at footie. I watched a movie from beginning to end with no interruptions and it was awesome. And I didn't feel guilty for wasting time or 'doing nothing'. Youngest was at his Best Friend and when I went round to pick him up, Best Friend's mother tells me that Best Friend's biggest dream is to have Youngest as a brother. I say they are. Even though they have different parents. I feel blessed that Youngest has such a special friend. They are good for each other.

This afternoon I spent on the couch, writing. And thinking, and writing and smiling...
View from the couch

The only sound was the washing machine working it's magic and the occassional voice out on the street.
Pretty much how I feel today

Friday, March 9, 2012

Early Days

I took Mr Husband to the airport - to the drop off zone, that is. A first for us, but - in my own defence - do I need a defence here? I can't decide.... anyway -  I needed to get home before it got too dark - I am slightly night blind made worse when it rains and it was starting to rain, and it was a week night and kids needed food and bed and what-not....
Funny how before, I would have stayed until the last minute, hanging on his leg trying to keep him from the departure gate. Things have changed...

So here we are - Day 3 of Mr Husband being away.
Early days, I know, but so far, so good.
I have been to 2 parent's evenings at school, sorted the kids, their lunch money, their arguments, their clothes, their activities.

I watched The Good Wife, The Big When last did I watch TV? Alone? In peace?
It's early days. Let me not get ahead of myself.
I'm baking a cheese cake today.
I'm fetching my niece from the station later, she's spending the night.
I'm having a party tomorrow night.

Cuddle King sleeps with me. He's like a human hot water bottle. And he purrs in his sleep.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Boys and Girlfriends

Oldest has a girlfriend.
All he will tell me about her is 'she's a ginger.' He's coy.
Right now I think this is a relationship made up of messaging back and forth on Blackberry and shy glances in the school passages.
Middle Child shows me a photo of her on facebook. She's gorgeous. Beautiful red hair and big green eyes.
"So, why doesn't Oldest bring her over here?"
"Is he embarrassed of us?"
"Hmm... I don't think so."
"Then why doesn't he bring her here?"
"Well, you wouldn't take a chance, now would you?"

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Round Like A Circle

Mr Husband and I are bickering. We are saying the same things we always say. This is what I call a Circle Argument. Cue dog chasing its tail.
It goes 'round and 'round, this conversation. He says the same things he always says. I have the same responses at the ready as I always have. This is not helpful.
The circle is spinning faster and tighter, my chest tense with the stress of it all.
Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel......
- This has to stop! I tell him.
He opens his mouth.
- No.This really has to stop. We cannot continue this discussion (relevant term) now. Not now. Not until we can find another way to do it.
He wants to say something, but I put up my hand to stop him.
- We need to find another way. This way hurts too much.

Later I am standing at the kitchen window looking out on the world moving below. Across the road are an elderly couple that keep their garden pretty in the summer and tidy in the winter. I'm watching them arrive home from getting their groceries. Or messages as they say in these parts. The old man holds the gate open for his wife and takes a grocery bag from her. He opens the front door too and stands back for her to go in first. I wonder about them. I estimate they are in their late 70's / early 80's. I wonder what they would tell me if I asked about the history of their marriage?

In the early hours of this morning, there is a commotion in the street and again I am at the kitchen window. This time the observation is not pleasant at all. There is a young man in the street. He seems to be drunk - or under the influence of something that is causing him to behave in an appalling manner. He is screaming and shouting at 5 policemen & the small crowd around him, pulling his shirt from his body & shouting obscenities. My heart pulls. This is some one's son.
The police bundle him into the back of the car.
Where are his parents? Why is he here?
I don't want that for my boys. And for some or other reason - as much as I realise there is no guarantee to the emotional success of your children, I do believe that they stand a better chance if they have both parents on their side, together, supporting them, helping them through this bewildering journey of life.
I watch the police car drive away and can see him fighting in the the back seat, his head swinging from one side to the other while one of the officers tries to hold him still.
I want us to raise our children together. I want us to be a family.

All I have is this: Love.
But, I know Love is not enough. Love needs companions. It needs Respect, Faith, Perseverance, Endurance.
Love, cannot work on its own like an undercover secret agent; it has to have support and back up.
Perhaps we can still find this.
At least there is Love. It is the first ingredient. And that we do have.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Being nice is an effort.

I tell Mr Husband I am frustrated, because I don't see real commitment - or real re-commitment from his side. I don't sense it, I don't feel it, I am not satisfied that it's there. I don't feel he is making an effort.

"You have no idea what an effort I am making." He tells me.
"Could you give me an example?" And I'm not being a bitch asking this, I am saying this kindly, because I can accept that maybe I am at times blinded (and deafened) by my Fed-Up-Ness that I could have overlooked the Good Effort he's making.

"Well, you know it doesn't come naturally to me to be nice...So, every time I'm nice to you I'm making a huge effort."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ingredients Lacking

I have this wonderful, truly amazing chocolate recipe. This is what it looks like:

It tastes like pure, unadulterated heaven!
The interesting ingredient in this cake is sour cream.
Today I thought let's make that delicious cake (diet is dead for the week anyway) and got the ingredients together. I didn't have sour cream, but did have normal cream, so used that instead. What I love about this recipe is that you put all the ingredients in one bowl and use a blender. No separating eggs, sifting flour, or any of that kind of stuff. When the ingredients are well mixed, you divide it between 2 sandwich pans and there you go. It's so simple and yet so incredible.

So, there I was - ingredients in the bowl, blender out, mixing away.
It wasn't working. The mixture was getting stuck to the blender arms (what do you call those things? The mixer part...) and when I lifted the blender, bits of chocolate dough flew off, landing on every surface in the kitchen. And the walls, the kettle, me...
I kept thinking - can the fact that I've used normal cream instead of sour cream make such a difference? So I added a bit more cream, then after not seeing a great difference, added a bit of milk. It was awhile before the mixture vaguely resembled what it should and I thought - oh, well, how bad can it be? and started spooning the mixture into the baking pans. It was then that it hit me. I had forgotten the eggs!

So, I scooped out the mixture, back in the mixing bowl, added the eggs, beat it all up (again) and back into the baking pans it went.
The time meant to take to bake this cake is 25 min. The time it did take? 1 hour and 5 minutes.
Was it good?
And then I thought. It's like a relationship - if there is a basic, but very necessary ingredient missing, it won't matter what else you add, what you put in instead or how much of a different ingredient you use, if you don't have one of the basic ingredients you need, it's just not gonna be good, is it?
And sometimes, even when you do eventually add that ingredient, it could be too late. And it will no longer mean what it would have, had you added it right in the beginning, when you needed to.
The cake is still sitting on the table where it has been the whole day. Every one tried a small piece, no one finished their slice and no one asked for more.
I'm not suprised.
On the outside it might look good, but that's about it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


It would be a Down today. Down. Down. Down.

This is how it went... I woke up at the crack of dawn, to be at work at 6.
Youngest was already up, with diarrhea. Poor child hasn't been very well of late.
So, I wake Mr Husband, telling him that Youngest is ill and to see how it goes. At this point I'm thinking it could just be a once off and he might be fine to go to school. But, who knows?
I go off to work and later send Mr Husband a text to find out how Youngest is. I tell him to phone me  if things are not looking well, so I can make arrangements to go home when he needs to go to work.

Seems he leaves home before he gets this text, because I look up and there he is. (We work for the same company.) I'm suprised.
"Oh, Youngest off to school then?"
"No, he's home. But I'm sure he'll be fine until you get home."

(Cue sound of screeching car brakes, because that's what it sounded like in my head. Include smoke. Coming out of my ears.)

You see - there are a number of reasons why I could explode at this point.
1. Youngest can safely be left on his own for a short period of time. But not when he is ill! He now has diarrhea. Last week he was vomiting, so how does Mr Husband think it would feel for this young boy if he should start doing both - at the same time - without Mom or Dad being around???????

2. Why does he think that him being at work is more important than me being at work? Don't get me wrong - I would rather be at home with my child/children than anywhere else right now - sick or not, but that's not my point. Why does Mr Husband just automatically think that he can rush through the doors at work, smiling and waving as he breezes by, leaving me to go and organise time off and making sure there is someone to pick up the loose ends when I go home? Why does it not occur to him that perhaps he could have phoned in first, made his department aware that he would be late while I got things organised in my department before coming home?

3. The school sick line needs to be phoned when your child is off. If you do not do this, at about 9h15, the school will ring you to find out where your child is. So, imagine this: It is 9h15, I am still at work trying to get things organised while Mr Husband breezes through smiling and waving and the school phones our home.
"Hello, is your Mom there?"
"No, she's at work."
"Is your Dad there?
"No, he's at work."

(Cue police sirens, screeching brakes, smoke....)
In a place where 10 year olds can be seen roaming the dark streets at ungodly hours, it is still considered child neglect leaving a young child at home alone. You know - health and safety - kettles, irons, gas on hand. The fact that Youngest is probably not even aware we have an iron, let alone where to find it, plug it in and set the house alight is beside the point.

And then I realise that this - this incident that happened this morning, may seem so small, but it is in fact a symptom of a very large - in fact - the entire problem in this marriage.

So, I am just fed-up. Really, really fed-up, because it feels that there is no consideration given to myself and in this case, Youngest too.
Maybe I need to put the barbed wire back.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Parent Trap

My day off.
My Wonderful Wednesday Writing Day was interrupted by a phone call from the school to say that Eldest Son had punched a child in the face and thrown him to the ground and the child had hit his head rather hard.
I don't know how to handle shit like this, I really don't. My creative parenting juices so don't seem to flow that way.

I don't know what to think. Why the heck would he do that? There are a couple of thoughts going through my mind. He's almost 14, he's hormonal, he's a boy, he started boxing lessons last night... Now - it's the boxing lessons that stick out most in my mind at the moment.
Was he trying out some of the moves he's seen, imitating what he was doing with the boxing bag last night?
And for the record - the boxing lessons were supposed to be for fitness, not actually for boxing!
I don't know what to think right now. But I know this, if the school had phoned me to tell me that my child had been punched in the face and thrown to the ground, I would have been down to the school faster than a flash of lightening. In fact, I have had to deal with this kind of thing before, when Middle Child was being bullied by a rather big boy, who had a rather large mother, who actually chased my kids down the road (another story that was!) And when I felt that it was not being dealt with by the school, I went roaring down there like a smoky, diesel truck!

And now? Now it's my child doing what is totally unacceptable. Apparently he thumped this boy because he took his seat. Really? Is it possible that he can think that he can attack someone because of something like that? I can't think of a good enough reason to attack anyone, but for taking your seat?? Was he trying to show off, is there a history between him and this boy?
I have so many thoughts whirling around in my head. What is the best approach? Which are the right words? What kind of punishment? What do I do that will make the right impact?

What to do, what to do, what to do...?
Help me, somebody!!!!
I want my Mommeeeeeeeeeee.............!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This week. So far.

Did you see I made some changes to my blog? I like this look better. I had to take the barbed wire away, I was beginning to feel like I might jump on it, see - face first. Or maybe neck first - hit the jugular. Yes, yes, happy, happy me. And the picture of the pebbles in the background? I took that pic on holiday in Spain at Mojacar. It was a little bit of a taste of hell, that holiday, but I'll save that story for another day. Mojacar beach is good anyway.

So - I had my eyes tested & was given a pair of glasses. Actually 2 pairs. I was extravagant - nope, not actually, it was a buy-one-get-one-free offer, so I took advantage and got a pair of reading glasses and a pair of Gok Wan sunglasses - prescription kind. The excitement of being able to see again - at least while reading, was overshadowed ever so slightly by the bill of £142 and a few pennies. I am still trying not to think about it. The lady assisting me very happily told me that I had just saved £158! I could not even have said put the Gok Wan's away, because it would have made no difference. Gok or no Gok, £142 it is.

You see - my budget is rather tight at the moment. I am not talking about the Tighten Your Belt kind of tight - till your breathing becomes slightly laboured, no. I'm talking about putting on a pair of pantihose that are too small for you and you realise just how small when they start tearing right at the ankles. Just when you're starting to put them on. Yes - that kind of tight. So, I have no money, but thankfully I can see. Now I know without a shadow of a doubt that that really is a big fat zero at the bottom of my bank balance. Or is it a minus? Sigh.

Anyway - so that was Monday.
Oh, and - this is what else happened on Monday. Mr Middle was sent home from school because he had a headache. I was actually quite worried, because he may be The Eternal Pessimist and The Voice Of Doom, but he never pulls a sicky. Nope - this is a child that actually likes going to school. So, I sit on the bed next to him. "What's up?"
"I think I got a headache because I needed to poo. I went to the toilet, but there was no way I could poo because the toilets are so disgusting and someone had had a dump right on the floor next to the toilet and the doors were all off and I think that made my head even more sore."
"What? That's a health and safety issue!" Explodes Mr Husband.
"But when I got home I had a poo and now I feel much better." But he still sticks to the rule of no Xbox if you're off school.

And here we are on Tuesday.
I overslept this morning, didn't wash my hair and wore no make up to work. Yip. I did that.
Work. Well. You see - this is how it goes - some days I feel they don't pay me enough. Other days I feel they pay me too much for what I do. Today was a they-don't-pay-me-enough day.
Some people. Some colleagues. Some People's Stuff!
Anyway - I have a large glass of wine with me now. Great company I tell you. The French have a knack.
I am relaxing. I am off tomorrow. I am writing, writing, writing.....
And drinking. Just a little bit.

Friday, February 17, 2012

24 Days

I have the whole weekend off and only back to work on Monday.
The original plan for this weekend was that Mr Husband and I would go away.
Just the 2 of us.
But not anymore.
We will spend the weekend at home, doing odds and ends around the house and watching DVDs with the boys. They get to chose the DVDs. That could be disastrous. For me.
Mr Husband goes to Our Island next month. 24 days of seeing the ocean every morning when he wakes up. 24 days of dealing with builders who have different ideas to his.
24 days.
Our Island, flamingo flowers, pitanga, Captain Zarco...
Our Island. A volcano, quiet for millions of years, but the evidence still there in the black sand...
Our Island, where we would retire, where our grandchildren would visit us, their grandfather's skin growing dark in the sun while he toiled the land, their grandmother staring out to the ocean, waiting for words to make their way onto paper, stories to tell....
And now?
I don't know what now.
24 days to think, to ponder, to wonder. To. Sort. Out. My. Head.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My brother, Mr Valentine

This is what I remember about before my brother was born:

South Africa, 1977, was in the midst of a heat wave. We would watch the weather on T.V and then run giggling to my mother, who lay with her swollen belly while an old fan puffed some air at her, to break the news of what sweltering day lay ahead.

This is what I remember of the day my brother was born:

We stayed on a small holding with my paternal grandparents - especially having moved there from town so that my grandmother could help take care of my brother when my mother returned to work.  A calf was born the same day and we decided it should be called Valentino. I remember looking out the bedroom window thinking of my new brother and Valentino.
We stayed with my cousins while my mother was in hospital and were given white margarine on our bread.
It was bloody awful.

This is what I remember after my brother was born:

I was no longer the little darling. This bushy haired monster had come and taken all the attention away from me and I was not happy at all! I tormented and subtly tortured him on a regular basis, sneaking into my mom's room once, sucking his arm until the blood rose to the surface and pinching him so he woke screaming. The cat got the blame.

This is what I know now:

That I am honoured to have a brother like this. A man that I love, respect and look up to. I love him and I love that I can talk to him and that he gets me. I love the way  I can tell him anything and he does not judge me, but still loves me and always gives good, sound advice. I often forget that he is younger than me, by a good few years. He has a sound head on his shoulders, this special man.

When he proposed to his wife, his mother-in-law gave him some reasons as to why she was so pleased that her daughter was marrying him. One was; "I love the way you love your mother and sisters."
He's a very special man. There are of them still in this world. Believe it.

Happy Birthday, to a seriously awesome human being.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hard day's night. Day. Every freaking minute.

Today has been One Of Those Days.
I am now at the point of falling to my knees to thank Mother Nature, The Universe, The Entire Planet and whatever else is out there that might have had an influence on getting my children to bed. Finally. At Long Last.
It's been One Of Those Days: "You always let him do it, but never me!", "Why don't you ever punish him? You only ever punish me?", "He got a pair of jeans, why can't I?, "He gets everything he wants, I never get anything!"
I am tired.
I am tired of trying to explain, negotiate, stand strong when I just want them to stop fighting, stop arguing, stop competing with each other, stop going on and on and on about crap!
And you know what? All those damn child rearing books I've read? I could make a bonfire with them all - that would be more useful than any purpose they have served, I can assure you.
There is no manual! Stop trying to make it up!
Being a parent is the hardest thing you will ever do and I believe that no matter how successful I am at anything in my life, it will be meaningless if I am not successful at being a mother.
And some days I don't care about being a mother, a writer, wife, sister, friend.... anything!
Some days I just want to be me. Damnit.
I think I'll go to bed now.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Check. Checkmate.

Today was a good day for me. No great shakes (a phrase often used by my sister - you know the one that some people even think is my twin?), but it was just a good, Normal Day.
Got the kids off to school, without me killing them or them killing each other, Mr Husband and I spent a bit of time together in Conversation (this is a relevant term), I got to do a bit of shopping in peace and even bake a cake.
I think back to when we first came to Scotland. Mr Husband came kicking and screaming. Okay, I lie - he came tripping over his lip with smoke billowing out of his eyes and ears.
I was a bit taken aback by this quite frankly, I mean, we had spoken about living abroad for years! And here we were and he kept whining about wanting to go back to South Africa. Eventually I got so fed-up, I said, "Fine! Go back them, but I'm staying!"
He also stayed (happily, by the way, as it turned out) and six years later, here we still are.

But, where are we exactly? I mean I know where we are on the Map. Google will tell me exactly where, the Sat Nav will too.
But where are we?
I don't know that we are any place other than we were before, albeit with a few fractures in between.
The dance has not changed. And I am tired of this dance. Actually it feels like check. Not quite checkmate, but definitely check.
Okay - I haven't played chess for ages. Like a decade or two. Two more like it, but I remember this: You're at the end of the game. There are still pieces on the board. Many pieces even, but you're in check. You move your king and the opponent moves their piece. Check. You move your king again. The opponent moves. Check. No matter where you move, or how many times, it's still check. You look around and see all these pieces and it might appear that there is still a game going on, but the game, in fact, is over. No matter how many pieces there still are.

Sometimes it's the same thing.

My favourite part of today:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Is it just me?

Is it just me or do others also battle with the noise level in their house?
My 3 children (all boys) are 13 going on 14, 12 going on 112 and 9 going on 3 years. They make enough noise of 20 hyenas and 10 buffalo combined. I am tired. And I am sick. Really, I have had this damn cold now for about a week, my head feels like it has a percussion concert going on inside and the children and Mister Husband are not helping.
The noise.
It's Oldest being silly, counting his pubic hairs and Middle and Youngest shouting at him to "put that disgusting thing away!",  it's Middle teasing Youngest about what he eats, it's Youngest shouting "Leave me alone!",  it's Husband reprimanding and dishing out punishment, it's all three of them begging and pleading to have said punishment removed, it's Husband shouting for everyone to be quiet. And this all with the T.V on in the background!
The noise!
I feel like I am being assaulted by it all. I want to put my sinus-sore head down and weep with the pain of it all! I can't bear it and I just wish they would all SHUT UP!
I fantasise of having my own place. A small hideaway at a place like Pittenweem or Anstruther. A place that no one knows about except me. A place so quiet you can hear yourself think. Actually I would take a place just about anywhere if I could just have some quiet!
I remember watching Date Night and in this one part the husband asks the wife if she ever fantasised about running away with someone else and she says all she fantasises about is being in a hotel room on her own drinking a diet Coke in peace. I so relate. Although I would skip the diet coke and go straight to the wine. Or something stronger.

Anyway - on the up side - I am reading a great book. Rainbow's End by Lauren St John. It's an African memoir, loaned to me by Eldest's lovely English teacher that I met at parent evening. I am loving the book! I love stories of Africa.
I miss Africa. There was a time I was afraid to say that out loud.
I miss Africa and I miss the African people.
Once Africa is in your blood and your bones, your heart, no matter where you are in the world, will always pine for the red soil, the smell of the air, the majestic sunsets, the chaos...

Being from Africa is the best thing that could have ever, ever happened to me. I cannot see it any other way. All of my fundamental principles that were instilled in me in my home, from my childhood, are still with me. Hakeem Olajuwon

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Parent Teacher Meeting

It was parent teacher meeting tonight for the eldest. We didn't get off to a very good start, with Eldest leaving his appointment list at home. But - wonder of wonders, we were EARLY. I repeat: we were EARLY. At least he remembered that our first stop was Mr Geography and while we waited our turn in the passage, he could text his brother who duly sent back the run down of which teacher we had to see when. Modern technology. Wonderful!

Mr Geography wasn't very friendly, barking that Eldest is immature and needs to pull finger. But it is true. At least the pulling finger bit. He barked that Eldest's CAT scores are very high, but his work does not reflect that. (I have no idea what CAT scores are and had to Google it when I got home. Where I come from we didn't do CAT stuff.) Onto Mrs English, who only had praises for Eldest, showing me his work and saying he is very well mannered. Hmm...seems not the same boy Mr Geography was talking about. Mrs English and I briefly discuss Africa. She is from Zimbabwe. We talk about the colour of African soil, the smell when it starts to rain, the blossoms in the spring and "Have you read Don't Let's go to the Dogs Tonight?" She starts nodding even before I have finished my sentence. Because we know. We understand. In only a way you can, when you are African.

On the way home Eldest tells me he thinks he should take Home Economics. I say he can do that on one condition - he cooks at least 4 nights of the week.
"Okay, maybe I'll do Science instead."

Monday, January 30, 2012

What's In A Name?

Have you ever read Crow Lake by Mary Lawson? I highly recommend it if you haven't.
This is one of the many profound words she put on paper: I remember reading somewhere a theory to the effect that each member of a family has a role - 'the clever one', 'the pretty one', 'the selfish one'. Once you've been established in the role for a while you're stuck with it - no matter what you do people will still see you as whatever-it-was - but in the early stages, according to the theory, you have some choice as to what your role will be.

I've seen this in action. The way you're stuck with a role that you have let go of ages ago, but not others.
In South Africa there's a fabric softener brand called Sta-Soft. Everyone talks about Sta-Soft, whether it's really Sta-Soft or not. So, in actual fact, every fabric softener is Sta-Soft, even though it's not. If you know what I mean.
A lot of psychology goes into the names of products. The name has to be able to do it's job. Although sometimes it doesn't. Well, not for me anyway - like 'Spotted Dick' pudding. Seriously? Spotted Dick? That just sounds to me too much like a penis with acne, so no - no Spotted Dick for me. Ever.

My eldest son tells me the other day that a boy in his class had an accident. Unfortunately it was of the poo variety, so rather embarrassing. The boy's name is Mark. He is now Skid Mark. Ten years from now when he's still explaining why he's called Skid Mark, it will be long after the accident - an accident that probably would only have (publicly) happened once - but - the name will be stuck.

My youngest son is referred to as Cuddle King or The Eternal Optimist. He is both of these things most of the time. I wonder, though, if by calling him these names we reinforce this. My middle child on the other hand is referred to as The Voice of Doom or The Eternal Pessimist. Now, these name are not used to his face, but even so - are we reinforcing something else here just by attaching these names to him?

And as the youngest son has these names, and the middle one his, the eldest one does not. Does this have any influence on him being unable to decide what he wants to be when he grows up? Subject choice time has come for high school and he stares at the options looking a bit dazed and confused.

Mr Husband was from a very early age labeled Negative. Piecing various stories together, I think he was probably an earnest child, a worrier, brought on by his father's loud verbal daily commentary of the expectant financial ruin of the family (which never came) and the state of the country and the approach of Armageddon (which never came)... So that even when he gradually stopped being negative, he was still called that - every time he just remotely expressed concern about something.

Me? I'm called Lovey. Mr Husband calls me nothing else except that. So, it gets a bit tricky when we have a fall out - especially the way things have been of late. I have told him, "Learn to call me by my name!" He seemed appalled at the idea.  To him, I am Lovey. Or My Love.

My Love.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I hate ultimatums. This is how I feel: You know what to do, so just do it.
Even with my kids. I don't want to say, "Tidy your room or else (insert horrible punishment).
I want to say, "You need to tidy your room." The 'so-that-finding-your-shirt-is-not-such-a-bother'  part doesn't occur to me to add. Naive perhaps, I am to think that they would just know that for themselves.

In the workplace, I feel the same. I spend a lot of time wondering why the heck people don't just do what they are employed to do?! Really! I don't want to say, "If you don't do this, I am going to tattle tale to the big boss about you and you're going to get your butt kicked out of here." I hate that - hanging threats over people's heads. It's demeaning and insulting, I think.

But, what do you do, when the person you share your home with, your children with, (we're not counting furniture or transport - no point) your life with, doesn't seem to understand the importance of amending and altering certain behaviour?
I am trying to be fair. I'm not even sure that I am being fair, but I am trying to give him, me, our kids - this family - the best chance possible and because I know him like I do, the unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate) thing is, it has taken an ultimatum (with many conditions) to get him to pay attention.

The thing is with ultimatums - and writing now, I realise what it is that I truly hate about them - is that you have to carry through. I think - and this is my own opinion - I have absolutely no professional background or training on this, so you can't quote this as gospel - that giving someone an ultimatum is what we do when we are afraid of doing what we have to do. Can that be it, I wonder? Sort of - if I give you an ultimatum, you will do what you should be doing anyway and then I won't need to take responsibility for what I need to be doing. Hmmm.... that thought just came to me, by the way. But then again, perhaps an ultimatum is also a way of saying 'we have spoken about this so may times, but you have not taken me seriously and I am serious and this seems to be the only way to make you understand'.

Well, whatever ultimatums are or aren't, this is what it is for now. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Second Chances...

We sit on on the couch. Him on one end, me on the other.
We talk.
He looks bewildered and vulnerable in a way I have not seen him before.
We talk.
I am angry and upset, but state things clearly and calmly.
He asks for a second chance.
I wish my heart would sing when he asks this. I do.
But it doesn't, because I am so tired.
So, so tired.
But here's the thing. I do still love him. And really - I love being a family. That part is actually quite a suprise -  for me really - seeing as I never wanted to ever get married or have kids and here we are 20 years and 4 children later....
You just never know.
Here's the other thing - if you were booking a trip and the travel agent said, "Oh, I know you're investing a lot in this trip, but you're only going to have fun ten percent of the time." Would you go? I certainly wouldn't. So, that is how I feel looking ahead - I can't carry on with this trip seeing the next 20 years being as the last.

Still. I said yes.
I said yes to a second chance.
And here's why:
1. It's only fair.
2. I still love him.
3. You just never know.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Broken Telephone

Today I sent Mister a message that was meant for my sister - the one that some people think is my twin. This is what happened: When I got home from work, he told me that he would not be taking the flat. He said he had contacted the landlord and cancelled the cheque. So, I typed a text to my sister saying that I was going to drink copious amounts of wine and perhaps throw myself from the kitchen window.
And then I sent it. To Mister. Instead of Sister.
Oh, well. I haven't started on the wine yet, but maybe now is a good time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Me and Katy Perry

I know what Katy Perry feels like.
Okay - that's not a fair statement. I have no idea what it feels like to be beautiful, glamorous, have a great voice and sing songs that everyone wants to dance to.
But. I read the other day - while I was in the supermarket - and I want to be clear on this - I DO NOT buy gossip magazines. No, I do not! I might browse them ever so slyly in the shop, but I am not spending any of my precious money on them. And Lord forbid someone should discover them in my house and lose all respect for me. So, I just had a quick browse in the supermarket and I read about Katy's split from Russell Brand. According to her friends (if you can believe anything the tabloids say and we all know that most of it is just a load of pure shit, but still) Katy is crying the one minute - saying how she knows how her and Russell can sort everything out and then the next minute saying it's better for both of them if they split.
Okay - so there - that is the sum total of how much I know of how she feels. I also feel like that. One minute sure that somehow we can make it work, and then the next feeling - It's time to just Let It Go.

So - Mister got the keys to his new place today. It is right across the road. Right on the next block. This is inconvenient and convenient. Inconvenient coz - oh, well - I can see how this might go - too close for comfort and maybe him still expecting cooked meals and what-not. I don't know. I'm jumping the gun a bit instead of going with my initial let's-take-it-one-day-at-a time approach.

Convenient, because that means he is still close to the children and they can come back and forth and he can still do the football run and have them over and so forth. Well, that's what I hope for, anyway.
We'll see.
It feels like I'm heading towards a slippery slope.
I will have to be strong and firm.

So, I went to look at the place and it is all fine except that it is bloody dirty and what is it with these damn landlords that don't have the place cleaned before someone new moves in! Sis, man!  Well, best he get cleaning. I'm a bit peeved at the moment and not feeling as accommodating to his needs as I was earlier because of some things that happened. So right now I feel that he must just clean as fast as he can and be gone.

I have had too much gin. So before I say something that will mortify me tomorrow, let me say goodnight.


Friday, January 13, 2012

One minute, then the next

One minute, I'm dead sure everything is going to be just fine, then the next minute I'm thinking there's no way this is going to work out well and I am going to be fetched by the men in white coats, they will throw me into a padded cell and dispose of the key!

You see this is the thing about time. It doesn't always heal.
I was thinking about this over Christmas when I was making a trifle. I had made jelly, but it seemed I hadn't put the right amount of hot water - cold water. The jelly hadn't set. And that was after 24 hours. I was looking at that very watery-wobbly jelly and this is what I thought: It doesn't matter how much Time I give this jelly. It Is Not Going To Set.
You know - it's like cement. If you don't get it right, the cement will not improve over time.
Sometimes it's like that with things in life too. Not everything 'gets better' with time.

Anyway - despite it being Friday the 13th, it was a good day. Not that I'm suspicious or anything, but sometimes I worry that other's suspicions will somehow end up on me. My youngest (the Eternal Optimist) said to his brothers today: "Today was my luckiest day!" Middle brother (the Eternal Pessimist): "How so?" Youngest: "Nothing unlucky happened to me!"
The Eternal Optimist is also the one who said, "Something doesn't have to be perfect. I just have to like it."

So, this is what was good about today:
1. It was pay day.
2. I had the sweetest, most delicious mango I ever remember having. It came all the way from Brazil. I felt a bit like a traitor eating a Brazilian mango and not a South African one, but -
3. I bought some nectarines (my second favourite fruit - bananas are my all time favourite) that came from South Africa. They just need a day or two to ripen. 

And now I will go and lay my weary head down and hope I get a peaceful nights sleep. Although - I'm sure I'm getting abducted by aliens while I sleep and this is why I am tired all the time. I swear.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Today I made huge progress. Huge, I tell you. No, not the hey look I have a new job and a new lover to match, no. Not that kind of progress. Just the good old fashioned practical progress kind. Like just getting the Christmas tree down and packed away. I know it's past the 12th night and all that jazz and now this should mean that bad luck will befall me and what-not. Well nothing new there then. I even found 3 edible candy canes that my eldest, sugar-addicted, son managed to miss. I'm sure my punctuation is all wrong in that last sentence, but let's clear something up from the start - this is not about punctuation or good spelling, or rounded characters and plot development and what-not. This blog is just for ME. MY diary where I can say what I want and spell as I wish and forget about full-stops and commas and God-knows-what-else and throw in all the !!!!! and ?????? that I want.

I probably only managed such great progress because my niece was here to help. Admittedly she did most of the work and gave me instructions if she caught me staring into space. Put the beads in that box. You missed a Father Christmas. It was a big job. She fell asleep on the couch after and I looked at her snoozing - not even hearing the text messages coming in from her boyfriend on the other side of the world and I felt a pang. I am going to miss her when she goes back to Africa. Okay - South Africa really, but Africa sounds so much more exotic at the minute without thinking of Malema and his cronies and what nonsense they have been up to lately. This is MY diary remember, I can say what I want. I am not here to be anything else except ME. Crikey, I'm ranting on a bit about ME, me, meeee today. Sorry.
And my sister, my darling sister that some people even think is my twin (which is very complimentary to me - people must think I am thinner than I really am, and very insulting to her because people must think she is fatter than she really is) - came after work and I made a marble loaf that I am becoming the master of. This time I added butterscotch pieces and put walnuts on the top and we drank coffee. Real progress here, I tell you - drinking coffee and not alcohol!

And then slowly it all started to slip. I'm not sure exactly when. But I started feeling a bit low and then annoyed with the boys when they started bickering and I became Witch Mother, then I felt miserable for being Witch Mother and then I was short with my sister who some people think is my twin and then I felt bad for being short with her because the last time we fell out I was about 15 or so and it was probably about me stealing her mascara which I did often...
I feel like I'm on a see-saw.
That would mean it's time for a very strong G&T.
Progress, I tell you, progress!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In The Beginning

In the beginning there was this very unrealistic woman...
Yip, that would be me.
I know I'm being unrealistic to think that we should be talking as if we're friends.
What was I thinking? I mean, I was the one that told him he had to leave. What did I hope he would say? No problem, Honey. Would you like the cream couch or the brown one? What about this coffee table? Any DIY I should do quickly before I pack up my tool box?

It's horrible and I'm scared of him being nasty, because boy can he get nasty!
I feel uncertain and worried and anxious and he's not telling me anything -like the flat he went to view last night or what he intends to do...
And when I suggested that maybe he stay one more night as his sister lives so far, he said don't worry about me I'm a big boy and I wanted to give him 'the eye' and say don't worry, Darling, I know you are.. but that would have been highly inappropriate and thankfully my big mouth managed to stay shut.

I know this is not realistic of me. Of course I just want this to go smoothly and easily - like how many separations have been fortunate to go that way, I wonder?

When my parents separated, my father told my mother she could have the house and the kids. Which was ironic really, as the house was already hers and well, the kids... No one would have put their hand up to go with Dad. That part is different over here, though. So, we'll have to see.

And now I have eaten a week's supply of chocolate in 10 minutes, my blood sugar has dropped through my feet and I am needing a nap.
When I awake, I might have to make a gin and tonic. Like a strong one.

Monday, January 9, 2012

By The End Of Today...

By the end of today, I will have more space in my cupboard.
I will also have more space in my bed, at the dinner table, in my life...
Okay, that's not completely true. He never cared much for sitting at the table.

He's taken out some suitcases, dusted them off and now, it seems, has started packing.
Oh, goodness.
I hear coat hangers. I hope he's not taking them all - I don't have that many.
Every time he comes back up the stairs to get more of his stuff, I say a silent prayer,
Please don't speak to me, please don't speak to me, please don't speak to me...

Knowing what needs to be done, knowing what has to be done, doesn't make any of it any easier at all.
Deep breaths.
Eventually it will all be okay.
It really will.

How To Survive A Divorce?

It's early hours of the morning and I can't sleep. At first I panicked, until I remembered that I don't have to sleep if I don't want to. I can be awake. And so I am. Googling 'how to survive a divorce', because I think this is where I am heading.
I deleted a blog where I had an ugly rant about Mr Husband and I feel better now that I've done that. People that air their dirty laundry have always made me squirm - I came close to doing the same. Yuk.
I think of my mother when my parents got divorced. She was a lot younger than I am now and had 4 very young children. My brother was in fact only 2 when the divorce went through.
I don't know that I am made of the stuff my mother is made of. She's a proper dignified lady, she is. She doesn't let anger get the better of her, making her scream and shout and swear.
I'm worried I might go to pieces and behave badly. I need to take deep breaths and KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. Actually I am so sick and tired of hearing that, I could scream.
But right now, I suppose there really isn't anything else to do, except to keep calm and bloody well carry on.