I (Don’t) Spy

I seldom dream these days.  I think it has something to do with the sleep meds I’m drinking.  On the odd occasion that I have not, I’ve dreamed.  Vividly!  So much so, that the morning after, I’ve woken up feeling like I’ve had a hectic night on the town.  A while ago, I wrote about a Sleepless Mindfield.  Today it’s all cloak ‘n dagger, except for the fact that I had no idea everyone in my dream was a spook – not the boo kind, but the type that is neither confirmed nor denied.  I am bloody exhausted!  And to crown it, my one incisor chipped.  There goes my fantasy of becoming a vampire.  Damn!

I spent the night at Eliza and Nathan’s place as I do every Thursday night.  We somehow got talking about cults, which is the same thing that set off a post earlier this year.

“I watched an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles on Sunday at Harriet’s place.  It was about a cult called The Church of the Unlocked Mind.  I’ve been told that watching TV is not conducive to my recovery, but I didn’t think forty-five minutes would do much harm. Well, I had nightmares the entire night about being held captive- and attempted to be brainwashed by an inescapable sect that I was quite exhausted when I woke up on Monday morning.”

For some reason the three of us sat at the kitchen counter last night, eventually talking in whispers, as if the house was being bugged by a sect trying to recruit us to do their bidding.  Later the subject changed to foreign words and their meanings, which had us all in stiches.  One in particular that stuck with me is schnapsidee.  I’m sure if you close your eyes and think hard enough, you’ll be able to identify at least one such idea from your own life.

Back to cults ‘n spies.  Almost everyone that is close to me featured in my REM-sleep kopfkino.

In my dream, I’m in familiar surroundings, a house, but it’s not mine.  Like a shitty-B-grade-no-budget-made-for-TV-movie, virtually everything happens in the dark, except one point where The Toppie and I are in search of a manuscript of sorts on a mountain top that is protected by Sumo wrestlers.  I’m thinking this last bit was his ikigai.

I’m alone, unpacking dusty boxes, when I come across a photo album – an actual booklet-type one.  In it are photos of almost everyone I know (in real life), but they’re all in disguises:  The Bean a femme fatale of sorts, her mouth bright crimson and she looks deadly posing with what I hope is toy-gun, but my gut tells me it’s the real McCoy.

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The I come across another photo of my friend Allice.  She’s dressed in a technicolour coat, donning a Ziggy Stardust mullet and pointing at something off-picture with glittery gold nails.  She’s laughing, her mouth open wide enough to see her tongue-stud.  Judging from her demeanour, it appears that she’s at a party.  Halloween, perhaps?

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Just as I’m about to place the Kodak memories in my jeans’ pocket, a weathered note falls to the ground from between the photos.  The ink is faded, and the page is torn.  All I can really make out are the words Nothing seems, but it’s not betrayal and protect you.  Cryptic and mysterious.  Right up this wannabe-Nancy-Drew’s alley.

I head off to share my findings with Eliza.  She’s open-minded, and imaginative.  Maybe she will have a theory.  Turns out when I show her the album, her skin flushes.  She takes me downstairs into a dank basement and insists that we talk there, behind a newspaper.  Every conversation I have with her takes place behind a newspaper.  With Carla, clandestine conversations happen in an ornate, old church and every time we speak, it’s behind The Bible.  With neither do I ever find out what’s going on, but they clearly know something.  The only advice Carla gives me is to go back to where it started.

So, back to the boxes. This time I find a loose photograph of Nathan and Eliza in front of an aeroplane.  It looks like a model one, but upon closer inspection, I see the words In Service.  I swear I see Allan in the shadow too.

It takes me a while to unravel the mystery of the dream, but I realize that everyone in my life is in a cult of spies and I’m in the thick of things but not any kind of agent.  Even as I trek up rocky slopes with The Toppie to find the ancient book, I find myself wondering WTAF is going on.

Good thing the alarm went off when it did, because if it hadn’t, I may have found out that I’m related to 007.

Talk about convoluted…

Here’s hoping tonight’s sleep is deep and dreamless again.  I’ve come to prefer it.

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Waxees: A Sensory Experience

My amazing friend, and sister-of-the-heart, Elize has started a business called Waxees. As the name suggests, it is a candle business (to begin with, because she has plans to expand her range of products). But these are not just any candles, they are soy wax hand-poured works of art, based on five mindfulness principles, fragranced with high-quality essential oils to offer the user a full sensory experience.

Waxees are non-toxic; they are biodegradable, contain no synthetic- or chemical additives, diffuse aroma naturally and have a longer burning time than their paraffin-wax counterparts. Added benefits are that the warm wax can be used in massage because of its soothing and moisturizing properties, leaving your skin being feeling luxurious. Each experience is available in various sizes to suit every budget, making Waxees the perfect gift for any occasion.

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The five signature experiences Waxees has on offer is:

  1. Let Go ~ A Renewing & Liberating Experience

A fresh, woody aroma which helps to counteract emotions of guilt and anger, while promoting liberating feelings of contentment, relief and patience.

  1. Pause ~ A Reassuring & Calming Experience

A blend of floral- and mint essential oils, which create a reminder to pause, take a deep breath and reconnect with the composed, collected version of yourself.

  1. Kind Heart ~ An Uplifting & Joyful Experience

An aromatic blend of uplifting essential oils which will revitalize your mind and body, inducing a sense of bliss.

  1. Aware ~ An Invigorating & Energising Experience

A blend of citrus essential oils which energize both body & mind and refresh the air. This experience is popular for massage due to the cheerful mood it creates.

  1. Allow and Accept ~ A Grounding & Peaceful Experience

A combination of warm, woody, earthy essential oils the help dispel tension, while creating a feeling of peace and relaxation.

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So, if you’re looking to spoil someone (or yourself, because you are worth it!) and you’d like to purchase a Waxee Sensory Experience, you can get in touch with Elize directly at sales@waxees.co.za

Winter Solstice

Today signals the shortest day and the longest night in the Southern Hemisphere.  Part of me is grateful, because I detest waking up when it’s still dark and that within in an hour of me getting home from work, it’s dark again.  With climate change though, I will admit that we’ve not had much of a winter.  Sure, there’ve been a few cold-, sometimes wet snaps, but nothing that would qualify as a season.

One thing about the winter that I can say I appreciate, is the sunrises.  This was today’s.

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Hot Wheels for a Hip Misfit… Thanks to Seesig Motors

So, after a break-up or trauma of some sort, most women tend to make a change.  It’s usually a new hairstyle or colour, or a new look.  I’ve done both – the hair y’all have seen and depending on my mood (and the weather), I now don summer scarves with a tailored jacket or rock skinny jeans with heels, as you’ll see later.  I also bought myself a pair of ridiculously awesome Italian boots (a pair of genuine Italian shoes has been on my dream board for a decade or so already!) which arrived today.

I feel good about the person I’m becoming through therapy and recovery and I’m happy with the persona I’m putting forward to the world.  As I said to Charlie earlier this week, apparently life begins at 40; I’m just getting a few months’ head start.  What most women don’t do after a disruption in their life, is buy a car, especially not on a whim.  Or maybe they do?

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On Monday last week, I sent a well-known car-dealer, Seesig Motors, in our dorp a message that I was in the market for a small car with aircon and power steering and readily available parts, and the budget I had in mind, but that we’d obviously need to check if any bank would be open to financing it.  I wouldn’t be offering my current vehicle, a 2011 Ford Figo 1.4 Ambiente (aka Casper) for a trade-in either, because if I did qualify for the funding, I had a plan up my sleeve.  Much to my surprise, I qualified for a car above the budget and the payment is still affordable enough for me to be able to keep both cars!

Gielie Slabbert, the owner (and a friend) shared the good news, telling me that if I was keen, he could offer me a 2011 Renault Sandero 1.4.  I said I’d be happy to pop into the showroom for a test drive, and he said it wouldn’t be necessary because he would bring the car to me at work (which is a good twenty minutes’ drive one way) so I could take it through its paces.  I was sold by the time I drove back in through the gates.

That same afternoon, I popped into the showroom (after regular business hours) where I was assisted by Elsabé van de Coolwyk.  In a matter of fifteen minutes, we’d gone through the purchase agreement and signed all the paperwork.  I got word from her the next day that the car would be ready for delivery on Friday.

I opted to collect on Saturday, because I decided to give The Toppie and The Bean the use of Casper (which I will continue to pay the repayments and insurance on).  Casper is on loan to them and in the event of anything happening to either The Toppie or The Bean, Casper will be returned to me as per a written agreement between The Toppie and I, because I’ve seen too many people I know get screwed over by family, friends or even local employers.

The hardest part of the whole deal was for me to keep the new car (which will be known as Deadpool from hereon out) a secret.  I eventually couldn’t bear the it anymore and I told Charlie, Chanté, Elizabeth and Eleanor, promising them all an excruciatingly painful death if they breathed a word to anyone.

Saturday morning, I was up early; like a kid on Christmas morning.  Elizabeth’s brother, Patrick, gave me a lift to the showroom where I was greeted with a smile by Fanie, who explained where everything was on the car, which is a good thing, because otherwise, if I’d ever had a flat, I wouldn’t have known that the spare tyre is underneath the car.

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I then went to have my nails done at a new salon that opened close to home called Front de Mer Beauté.  I’m happy with the result, and I think the therapist, Angie, did well considering the size of shoes she had to fill.  I miss Elena though, but we’re getting together in the last week of May just as we promised we would do once a month.

Finally, it was time to execute the surprise of the year.  I got into Deadpool and took the drive out to my folks.  I gave them each a package – The Bean hers first (seat covers) and then I gave The Toppie his (much smaller one), the key to Casper.  For a moment, they were both somewhat confused, but once the penny dropped, there were tears of gratitude, surprise, shock, relief (because honestly, the car The Toppie has now is not the most reliable in the world).

The Toppie and The Bean left The Cave in Casper, and when The Toppie is ready, he can decide what to do with his car.

Gielie, Elsabé, Fanie and the team at Seesig Motors: Thank you seems so inadequate for the appreciation I have for everything you did in helping me to be able to help my parents too.  I will refer everyone I know looking for a vehicle to you, because it’s clear that those entering the showroom may arrive as customers, but they leave as friends.  Wishing you growth and success all the way!

 

 

 

Una Grande Serata

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” – Sophia Loren

In our case (that’s Eleanor and I), it was gnocchi…

Contrary to popular belief, I love cooking, and for the most part (barring one night I served a burnt offering to Charlie), I do it well.  The reason I don’t cook often is because I don’t have a proper stove.  I have a mini-kitchen, which is two plates and a small oven, which doesn’t heat evenly at the best of times.

Last night though, I outdid myself.  Nathan was away from home yesterday for work, so I told Eleanor I’d cook for her, if she saw to the boys.  I gave her a choice:  Moroccan or Italian.  She opted for the latter.

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Granted, I didn’t make everything from scratch, and know that traditional Italian pasta sauce is usually tomato-based, but I do love bacon and cream and I had to factor in the time of preparing everything, in an unfamiliar kitchen.  I did make up for everything non-Italian with a bottle of imported Prosecco of which I had a taste.

Prosecco

The menu was as follows:

Starter (Antipasto)

Charcuterie Board:

Salami, Pastrami, Ham, Blackberries, Raspberries, Almonds, Pears, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Cheddar, Bread sticks, Yoghurt & Caramelized Onion Dip, Salmon & Feta Terrine, and Tomato & Olive Bruschetta

Charceturie Board

Main Course (Primo Piatto)

Gnocchi with Butternut and Peas, served in a Bacon & Cheese Sauce from this blog

Gnocchi

Gnocchi Served

Dessert (Dolce)

Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries (which I concede isn’t authentic Italian, but I couldn’t find Tiramisu or Panna Cotta anywhere).Dolce

Coffee (Caffé)

Cappuccino with Chocolate, Cranberry & Almond Biscotti

Cappucino & Biscotti

All in all, I think I fared well.  Eleanor was pleasantly surprised, and we had a lovely evening, just us girls.

We decided that travelling round the world, right at the dinner table will become a regular thing.  Here’s to the next destination!  Any suggestions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platitudes: Toxic Positivity

I wasn’t sure if I’d be blogging on this brisk May Monday, but when this filtered into my Facebook newsfeed this morning, I knew I had some writing fodder.

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A while ago I wrote this post, in which I mentioned the very platitudes that some well-meaning people use because they their intention is to uplift someone who is in a deep, dark pit of despair.

Over the weekend I was faced with a situation where a friend needed an ear.  I’d had a feeling for a while something is amiss, and while I said as much, I didn’t press the issue.  Turns out (s)he has been trying to be strong for a very long time, but things got too much.  I encouraged him/her to just get the feelings out, and while talking doesn’t magically make all the issues disappear into the same place single socks and Tupperware lids end up, sometimes just talking about things gives a little bit of perspective.  I’m wary of offering advice, because my pigs aren’t all in their pen and our situations differ, but (s)he asked me what I would do if I was in his/her situation.  My reply (rather wise, I think) was I’m also not going to try and make you feel better with platitudes because in a situation where one is really hurting, they can illicit a negative reaction, rather than a positive one.  The only advice I do have is to do something daily that is for you and try to keep at it.

I could have given her a whole list of platitudes, which I’ve personally had said to me since my episode:

This too shall pass

Practice an attitude of gratitude

It is what it is

Every cloud has a silver lining

Happiness is an inside job

God never gives us more than we can handle

Everything you want is on the other side of fear

Every one of these old chestnuts has been tossed my way and while there is truth in all of them, I’ve sometimes perceived the person saying them to be insensitive.  I’m not sure if they’ve felt the need to fill the silence, and maybe I’m totally wrong in my thinking, but there is no need to always answer verbally.  Sometimes just a hand squeeze, or a hug is enough; especially in the times we live in, where physical contact seems to be diminishing.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox for now.

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On other news, I have my last PT sessions with Steve this week but in five weeks I’ve had results, so I’m seriously considering another ten if finances will allow.  Tarryn cut and highlighted my hair on Saturday and on top of that, she gave me some jeans that actually fit and show that I do indeed have an ass.  I’m rocking my new hair and my smaller body!  The first pic was taken by Tarryn, the rest by Harriet at her place yesterday after brunch and window-shopping.

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Right, that’s all for now.  Here’s to what promises to be an interesting week, particularly as us South Africans head off to the polls on Wednesday and to Wimpy afterwards for a free coffee.

 

Sleepless Mindfield

Now, I am meant to be sleeping, but despite taking a full sleeping tablet (I usually only do half during the week) and my other medication, I’m still awake. Charming!

My legs feel like lead. Steve pushed me to leg press another 10 Kg more than last week. That I could still handle, but hip lifts… Good Lawdy, them things are in a league of their own! My thighs are going to probably be stiffer than a corpse tomorrow.

Tarryn, my hairdresser (aka The Fairy because she was the most beautiful pregnant fairy ever) was at the salon on Tuesday when I went to Elena for my nails. She asked me quite bluntly, Where’s your ass. I told her it’s there, but because all my clothes are getting a little baggy, it doesn’t look like it. Truth be told, I don’t really have a well-rounded derriere, because my butt cheeks are on my chest. I’m very aware of (as Charlie put it) my great rack or as my Capetonian friend, Allan refers to them, The Girls.

Anyway, my bustline wasn’t originally what I planned on writing about when I started this post. Love was. Or rather the sacrifices one makes for those we love. When faced with a situation where you would have to either cause- or suffer heartbreak to save the one you love, would you really do it? And I’m talking about relationships between two adults here, not a parent for their child because that’s on an entirely different plain.

On the subject of plain, why is plain yoghurt apparently healthier than its flavoured counterparts? Is it because it’s free of colourants? Or is it just because it doesn’t taste pleasant? Like Chaimberlain’s cough medicine – tastes like battery acid, but my Grandmother swore by it. That, and cod liver oil. Blegh!

Personally, I believe almost any ailment can be fixed with warm salt water. Sore throat? Gargle. Sinus? Inhale. Constipated? Drink a glass of warm salt water and you’ll be shitting through the eye of a needle in no time. Guaranteed!

Okay, so this post went from tits to shit in just a few paragraphs, but at least my eyes are starting to feel heavy. Here’s hoping for some REM because if I don’t get any soon, I will not only have lost my mind, I may very well be Losing my Religion too.

Zzzzzzzzzz