"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Monday, 29 April 2013

letter from a bike thief

I just read this on www.messynessychic.com and thought it too good not to share.

How nice of her but I couple of things hit me straight between the eyes.  How to "gut straight white girl wasted"  OK "gut" is supposed to be"got" but I have never heard the expression "straight white girl wasted". Do straight white girls get differently wasted to lesbian black girls?  I quite like the expression and it is a pity I am no longer a "girl".  I would love to be able to drop into a conversation - "Hells Bells, I was seriously straight white girl wasted last night".  Not really age appropriate anymore.  I know there are so many words for getting drunk -  inebriated, hammered, plastered,.wrecked, smashed, whacked, bombed, tanked, totalled, tipsy, buzzed, blasted, sloshed, annihilated, laced, juiced, slammed, trashed, loaded (want me to go on?) (There are apparently over 365 words for getting drunk).

Anyway back to the letter.  I still write using small letters from time to time (trying to get out of the habit because I know it bothers many), but I was told never to trust someone who mixes their capitals and small letters in their handwriting - eg. "too broke to afford A cab".  The most worrying thing however is that she has just graduated from university and cannot spell "thief".  Deary me.  At least she has a conscience and can remember where she stole the bicycle from.  

Well done you drunk little theif you!!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

how to get lost with a navigator and a garmin...

It has been a good day.  Fay recommended a furniture removal guy to me.  I only phoned him last night (thinking he could help me on Monday), he said he would be at Helen's flat at 8.30 this morning and it would cost R400.  He arrived at 8.20 with 5 guys to help, they emptied out the flat and some of the garage, dropped half the load off at Michael's office, a dresser off at Nic's place in Rondebosch and the balance at our house.  The entire operation took 65 minutes.  Need stuff moved, call me.  First win of the day (thanks Fay).

Next to watch Kelly at WP hockey trials.  She did good.  Tick.

Off to watch Nic play rugby in Ravensmead.  Kathy makes a last minute call to come along and navigate.  I have been there plenty times and have never found it first time (so why did I think today would be different?).  Lost with a navigator and a Garmin.  Eventually navigator manages to find Stroebel Road in Ravensmead, instead of the landing strip at Kakamas (not joking, no idea what she was typing into the little Garmin's American mouth).  We paid our R30 to get in and found a seat on the "railway stand".  A lovely hour watching rugby with the locals (UCT (second team) won, another tick).  We sat in a cloud of hubbly bubbly fumes (cherry flavour) with cute curly haired children running around us and parents, brothers and sisters braaiing chicken pieces, drinking brandy and cokes out of real glasses with ice blocks (not Miss Kitty paper cups or Old Brown Sherry in coke bottles like we do at our home games).  Nic was done and we watched the first bit of the main game but the smell of the chicken, combined with the hubbly bubbly fumes and smoke (now cannabis flavour), a few breaking glasses and the realisation that this happy crowd were not offering or selling their drinks to us (they were also rapidly running out of glasses) and so we had better head home to  make our own party (if we could programme the little American voice to get us out of this place).  As we stood up to leave a chorus of fathers and brothers (and maybe even a grandfather) shouted out to us "Why you ladies leaving the party?".  I was tempted to say "because you did not offer us a drink" but realised that they were a friendly and generous bunch and if they offered, it would have been hard (and rude) to refuse and we still had to find our way home (so lucky I did not answer) and we just said a friendly good luck and goodbye.

We found our way home, popped in to visit Dalene, ate hot cross buns and drank red wine (excellent combination) with my mom and Aunty Alice, had some laughs and now I sit at the computer (because I was falling asleep watching rugby (and then golf)) laughing to myself after watching this clip from an Ellen show.

Had to share and now off to bed (tick).  

Red wine in a tumbler with ice (love her style) but where are the hot cross buns?

From this movie - can't wait!!

Friday, 26 April 2013

starting your day on the right foot

and then the left foot, is a great way to start.  I have been on a small fitness mission over the last two weeks and have been hitting the pavements, park and fields around where I live.  Not exactly very strenous and dramatic (and I probably should not speak about it, but I will).  I started with a "round the block" kind of thing, then increased it to a 45 minute walk, which is now up to an hour every morning (OK most mornings).  I am now lucky to have a fabulous walking partner which is great and so much easier to walk when you babble on in a breathless way.  

We have had the most perfect week of weather in Cape Town and it is hard to believe that it is autumn.  The temperatures have been in the high 20's and there has been no wind.  The mornings are so clear and the sun, although warm, has lost it's burn.

I took my camera along one morning this week.

This could have been an outstanding picture (if I had taken my glasses with me).  The dewdrops were hanging on to the roundabout and had I been able to change the setting, it would have been awesome (but you get the idea).
Oh it must be autumn.  My neighbour's vine from my kitchen window.  Who would have said?

Monday, 22 April 2013

how we see ourselves

I love this campaign.  It is so true that we do not see ourselves as others do UNLESS you are in a beginners art class.

I, along with 8 other friends (some old, some new) recently completed a course of 6 art lessons.  We were all beginners and sat around two tables, one night a week for about three hours at a time.  We had wine and we chatted.  But we were there to draw and our gentle and encouraging teacher controlled us in a surprisingly firm way (as one should do when wine and woman are involved).  Each week we completed our tasks ranging from experimenting with our different pencils, "blind" drawing (not looking at your paper or pencil and slowly drawing the outline of an object), later being allowed to look at your paper and draw the same object, drawing pictures of the grand masters upside down, leaves, green peppers and pomegranates.

At about the half way mark we did portraits.  This proved to be hysterical.  For the first "sitting", Lesley (my oldest friend - not in age but in the years we go back) was my model.  I politely asked her to look down so that I did not have to draw her eyes (too difficult) and so that I could concentrate on her lashes (with my freshly sharpened 6B pencil).  It looked nothing like Lesley except for the lashes (I love drawing lashes) and the hair.  Her return portrait of me at least bore a strong resemblance to me (actually more to my father (who art in heaven) than to myself). She did well.  Another friendship in the group that went back to school days was tested when the first model was given a nose resembling Miss Stockart's nose (a teacher from way back (obviously with a hooked nose)).  The next lesson they made sure that they sitting opposite each other and did not have to test the friendship any further.  The funniest duo though were two ladies who had only just met.  They kept apologising to each other "I'm really sorry Hannah, this looks absolutely nothing like you",  "I am so, so sorry Susan, I promise you that your nose does not look like this" "You are so much prettier than this Susan", "You definitely look younger than this Hannah".

After watching this Dove campaign for the second time - there are longer and shorter versions on YouTube - I wondered how I would have described myself to the artist. "I have my father's double bum-chin, thin lips, a long straight nose, dark rings under my eyes and plenty of fine lines around them."  You did well Lesley - you only gave me the double bum-chin!!

Roll on "Advanced Art Classes".  I can't wait to get drawing nudes.

Eyes are very difficult!!

Not mine - picture here

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

now it's raining....

I like this song, it is raining - enjoy

When I’m weary and tired
When I’m far from home,
I think of you in the rain and I kiss you.

I can’t build you a castle; I can’t buy you a ring; I can’t see you tonight,
So I miss you.
Now it’s raining. Think I’ll go inside.

Somebody stole my suitcase filled with pictures of you.
So I forget what your face looked like when we were just twenty
And it’s raining. I think I’ll go inside.

I felt this way before, walking out your front door.
I’m a sea without a shore and it’s raining. It’s really raining.
I think I’ll go inside.

When I miss the sunshine, all I got are clouds
It’s your bed I see, near the fire.
Baby if you’ve got room, I could come and see you.
Make your favorite tea and when we tire, listen to the rain fall.
Think I’ll go inside.

Somebody stole my suitcase, filled with pictures of you.
So I forget what your face looked like when we were just twenty and it’s raining.
Think I’ll go inside.

I felt this way before, walking out your front door.
I’m a sea without a shore and it’s raining.
It’s really raining.
Think I’ll go inside.
Yeah it’s raining.
Baby, it’s raining.
Think I’ll go inside.

Monday, 15 April 2013

dusting the bookshelves

There’s no telling
what moments will speak to you
which movies will make you cry
which books you will clutch to your chest
trying to pull its words
into your bloodstream. 

Do not apologize
for what makes your heart race

(via http://merelyamadness.tumblr.com)

I am not reading enough at the moment.  We have inherited some books and a bookshelf will be arriving soon from Michael's mom. While sorting through stuff this weekend for the new bookshelf I came across one of my all time best reads and one of only a few books that I have read more than once - The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy.  

There are so many great bits and I know the book so well that I can pick it up and read a paragraph or two and close the book again.  That is what I did yesterday while sitting on the floor with a pile of books around me.

"There was my father, the source of all these lives, the source of all these tears, crying now, crying hard and without shame. The tears were water, salt water, and I could see the ocean behind him, could smell it, could taste my own tears, the sea and hurt within me leaking out into the sunlight and my children crying to see me cry. The story of my family was the story of salt water, of boats and shrimp, of tears and storm.”

Not my usual type of favourite book as it is pretty flowery and poetic but I am not going to apologise for what makes my heart race.

Which books have you re-read?

Pictures Pinterest

Friday, 12 April 2013

catch bull at 4...

I have a house full of flowers - one of the perks of doing lots of entertaining (and a cupboard full of chocolate).  I helped organise and did the decor for a dear lady's 80th in a church hall last Friday.  It was like being in a time warp and hats off to the WA who catered for 100 people at R10 a head (and there was heaps left over).

Some of the flowers still on my window sill
The happy Birthday Girl in her Easter bonnet
The choir ladies sang some lovely songs

 There was even a gentleman or two dispersed between the many woman
 The flowers returned from the "church hall" party, were recycled for the "Meet the Fokkers" party that same night 

"Meet the Fokkers" on Friday night was where I introduced my family and some friends to Michael's Boston brother Derek and his wife Judy who have been in Cape Town to help sort out Michael's mother's flat
A tea party for 100 in the church hall was easy compared to 19 robust guests around the table
(not the best picture, somebody's hands are flapping, the faces are out of focus but don't you love how the light hits my "fancy" glasses?)
Judy and her new best human cow
She has a passion for cows - she collects them and they are all over her kitchen.  Nic made a really good cow in the "Onesie" that Lucie found for him in London.  For those who don't know "Onesies" are the new "in" thing.  Not to sleep in - they are like a babygro (which you would normally sleep in) - but you can go to parties in them (if you are thin and young and desirable - otherwise you could just look like a cow and you may as well just go to bed in it (but if you have to get to the toilet in a hurry, you could be in trouble)).  Amy and Kelly have educated me, so if you want to really be with it, get yourself a "onesie"!!  Cheap at the price from Primart in London.

Monday night was the finale of our art lessons with Annie. A wonderful 6 weeks.  We can't let her go so easily though.  She is a wonderful teacher and the group have loved every lesson
Serious ladies and not aware that I was taking a picture
Dalene and Liz drawing their hands - concentration important
My hand - I blurred this picture on purpose so you could not see the deformities

Yesterday was tourist day for me.  
The Catwalk at Fish Hoek
A lovely day with the Bostonians - Fish Hoek, Simon's Town, Red Hill and Noordhoek
Lunch in Simon's Town
Water's Edge where Derek and Judy have spent lots of time with the Brown family
A few weeks of quality time, sorting through papers and pictures, walks on the beach, many chats around dinner tables, ice coffees, more than a few bottles of wine, chatting and questioning and remembering 
Special times with a very special couple
and very sad to say goodbye tomorrow
we have a 10 year visa!!!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

even in the quietest moments...

At 11.30 last night, I was not ready for sleep and decided to catch up on the pile of weekend newspapers I had not read.  Michael was fast asleep so I switched off the bedroom lights, made myself a cup of tea and proceeded to read in the kitchen.

I read this excerpt from Levels of Life by Julian Barnes in the Sunday Argus Book review section.  It is "a  short book about grief, and grieving.  It doubles up as a love letter to his wife Pat Kavanah, who died in 2008":

"As I move and start to nestle my shin against a calf whose muscles are loosened by sleep, she senses what I am doing, without waking reaches up with her left hand and and pulls the hair off her shoulders on to the top of her head, leaving me her bare nape to nestle in.  Each time she does this I feel a shudder of love at the exactness of this sleeping courtesy.  My eyes prickle with tears, and I have to stop myself from waking her up to remind her of my love."

I cut out the article and put it on my desk to use sometime for a blog.  I then finished my tea, glanced through the sports section, read the Travel Times, sorted the papers for recycling and washed up the wine glasses.  It was nearly 1 o' clock when I tiptoed into the bedroom and slid into bed as quietly as I could.  Before my head could touch the pillow, Michael's right arm automatically rose up from the duvet to make space for my head which always falls asleep on his shoulder.  The "exactness of this sleeping courtesy" did not escape me and I could not stop a few tears from wetting his shoulder, he carried on sleeping deeply and I decided, quite meanly, to poke him with my cold fingers and wake him up to tell him how much I loved him.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

in the olden days - "ITOD"

Sixteen is a great age for a girl to be.  Watching my niece Amy bloom into a social butterfly has got me thinking about how different things were in the mid-70's when I started looking at boys.

"In The Olden Days" you had to wait for a guy to ask you out.  OK you could stalk him around the school, tell your friend to tell her brother that you really liked his friend and hope for the best.  You still had to wait.  I was a champion chaser and enjoyed the chase.  As soon as I was asked out, I refused the date - I was an over-achiever, I followed the older, good looking guys around the school corridors and once they showed interest, I backed off.   The game was over.  In my mind, I had won (silly child).  My sister will argue that I was no over-achiever because I said "yes" to so many dates with guys I should have said a big "NO" to, but was too scared to hurt their feelings.  My mother often had to push me out the door "Jennifer, you said you would go to the barmitzvah with this very nice boy, so off you go!!".  Only once did she allow me to play sick when this very odd, older guy arrived in a sports car, brushing his already blow dried hair as he walked up the driveway (the three of us were watching from behind the curtains).  "I can't do it Mom",  "OK, Jennifer, this time and this time only, get into bed and pretend to be asleep".  I think the sports car was the tipping point for my mother.  "I can't believe you said you would go to movies with that guy, Jenny", Dalene kept saying, over and over again, as I was pretending to be asleep, rubbing it in as only a younger sister could do.  "He was gross, his hair, would you have kissed him?" "Yuk" "You must be desperate".

Now Amy has the world at her feet and BBM, Whatsapp and Facebook at her fingertips (Not forgetting the Rondebosch Boys' High School rugby field).  You can flirt and put yourself out there.  You can build up confidence and get to know the boy and in as many characters as your "app" will allow.  It is all free and it never leaves you.  What about the boy?  Does he ever have to build up the confidence to dial your number (landline), maybe get your Dad on the line, announce himself and ask to please speak to Amy.  If he did, perhaps Amy would also have a problem saying, "Sorry I am busy this Friday night", "Next Friday?" (think, think, think of an excuse quickly) "Sorry I have my uncle's birthday party", "the following Friday??", (think, think, I am blonde, I can't think anymore,) "I don't think I have anything on".  So the date is made - three weeks in advance. Now try getting out of it if you don't have a cellphone.  He would arrive, on time because arrangements were not easy to break "ITOD".  

These days you don't need to talk, you can change your mind, change your plans at the press of a button.  

Great times being sixteen and whether "ITOD" or now, some things have not changed.  Your best friends will stay your best friends (all except the one that stole your boyfriend the night of your Valedictory).  A new week, a new crush, more names on your pencil case (and the first team rugby field).  

"ITOD" you just did it, sometimes it was fine and more times than not it was 'orrible and once, only once in your life would your mother allow you to jump into bed fully dressed, pretend to be asleep and after being hit by a sudden fever!!.

And this one, just for Amy, as she falls in love for the fifth time this week:-

“We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven’t even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it happens eventually.

This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these loveable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really, want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.” 

Chuck Klosterman

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

treasured possessions

We all have them, use them on special occasions, love to hold and look at them but often keep them behind cupboard doors.

It has been a sentimental Easter weekend where a lot of time has been spent sorting through Helen's possessions.  While Michael and his brother Derek have been sorting through documents, papers and filing cabinets, Judy my sister-in-law, Caroline and I have been in the cupboards, drawers and kitchen.  

Helen's flat was neat, tidy and well organised and it is hard to believe how much there is still there even after things have been distributed.  Her photo albums, scrap books and diaries were all in order and up to date (not the diaries). She had written a diary from when was very young right up until her life became too muddled, probably 4 years ago.  Nearly 80 years of your life carefully documented...and then you die.

Some lovely treasured items have been passed on to Michael and myself and I have this morning been busy throwing out some of my "not so treasured possessions" to make space for the new "old" stuff.  We have a still life painting of some cups and saucers, a writing desk, a beautiful bookshelf, some lovely glassware and vases but it was the simple things that were the hardest to leave behind.

So in amongst the more valuable items, the following have now moved to my home because they could not be packed in a box or given to someone who did not appreciate their history

 A brightly colour rose vase, a crystal vase, a beaded sugar bowl "cover", a few wooden spoons and spatulas
 the egg beater which works perfectly, some cookie cutters, stakes for baked potatoes and what every home should have "a hard boiled egg slicer"...
 a recipe book from 1934...
old fashioned mixing bowls which are yellowed and well worn

How many stories could these items tell?
How many dinner guests lips were dabbed by the well worn linen damask napkins?
How many eggs have been separated and beaten in the bowls and how many cookies cut with the cookie cutters?
How many different homes in different countries have these items lived in?

So possessions are really at the end of the day just things, they get left behind and other people   will decide what to do with them.  The candles that were never burned, the scarves that were never worn, the dinner service that was saved for best, the cut glasses that were no longer used are hopefully now going to be burned, worn, eaten off and drunk out of.

But to me it is the everyday items that were used, loved, read and looked at that are the most valuable.  Tins that were used to bake cakes for hungry children; napkins that are worn and slightly stained because they have been used by guests laughing and enjoying themselves around the dinner table; a letter opener that has opened so many letters and cards over the years; a trunk, that probably travelled at some time, but now smells of moth balls and has stored blankets and winter coats for years and an old milk bottle from a dairy in UK that Helen used to fill her kettle with water with whenever she made tea.  

Although I will never know the stories, I will make sure these well loved and worn possessions are used and I will make up my own stories as I go along.  The yellow, worn, damask linen napkins are already on my table ready for a big family dinner on Friday night when Derek and Judy will meet some of my family for the first time.  They should be afraid!!