After 126 days in lockdown, there is still no real sign of when a sense of normality will return. I know that life as we knew it before COVID-19 will never be the same, but still, having the freedom to do some of the things we used to, would be nice. Anyhow, I’m not going to rant. It just sets me off into a downward spiral.Continue reading
If there was a Pandemic Prevention Olympics, South Africa would be on the podium taking gold medals by the barrel full. We’ve had the longest #Coronavirus lockdown in the world.Continue reading
As the lighthouse high on Cape St. Blaize winks and watches Mossel Bay was the opening line of my primary school’s anthem. Today I finally got to see that view for myself.Continue reading
I am at the point again that when the phone rings and someone asks, “What are your plans?” I just want to hide. Partly because I’m a little emotional, but mostly because of The Big Freeze that seems to have taken hold of the Sleepy Hollow Town I reside in; I’d much rather stay holed up in The Cave under my duvet with a book, or a movie. Elizabeth was having none of it when she called with this very question on Friday last week. She had been roped into helping a friend’s daughter (a young high-school learner doing photography as a subject) with her project on Saturday. She’d also kind of already told her friend I’d be more than willing to help too.
When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was reluctant to get out of bed. It was cold. And I was out of milk. Not a good start to my day. Anyhow, I did the no matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up thing and went to Elizabeth’s house. I’d arranged for a friend, Joy, to do our make-up. Hell, if I was going to have to be in front of the camera, I didn’t want to look like a washed-out ghost from the 1920’s. Joy was quite excited to hear that the shoot was Gatsby-themed, because she has always thought of me as “the perfect Gatsby girl”.
My confidence boosted, and my lashes ab-so-lutely gor-geous, Dahling, Elizabeth and I set off the the venue, Deja Vu Vintage House, where we dressed up in real vintage clothes from the era, right down to pearls, feather boas and cigarette holders. Once I was all flapped out in my purple frock, it was as if I underwent a complete personality change. My inner Gatsby-girl took over and I ended up having so. much. fun.
Elizabeth, the two other ‘models’ and I laughed till our stomachs ached as we waved to random strangers driving past. The student taking the photos also had quite a few giggles at our antics. I’m sure the photos are going to be a-ma-zing!
Elizabeth’s elder sister, Olive, had made a delectable curry and rice to ward off Jack Frost’s spell. I love Indian food, so it was a given that I would stay for dinner. With a full tummy and a happy heart, I went back to The Cave and slept incredibly well.
Sunday I met up with Charlie at his place where we had a bite to eat, and I showed him how to make a killer fridge tart with 4 ingredients. I’m a firm believer in few-ingredient cooking, because I deteest pantry shopping almost as much as I hate doing the dishes.
Afterwards we watched two episodes of Elementary followed by a movie called called The Book of Eli.
One scene (of an attempted rape) triggered a minor anxiety attack in me. I’ve become increasingly aware that my friends and some family don’t understand my condition, and as a result, don’t know what to expect, nor how to react around me. The reading I’ve done on high-functioning depression states that sufferers become ninja-level-experts at hiding things. I surreptitiously (I hope!) popped a chill-pill and curled back on my comfy kick-out chair, snuggled under a blanket. Barring the upsetting scene, the movie is quite brilliant; with Denzel Washington in the lead, and Gary Oldman as supporting actor, how could it not be?
I will admit, I was feeling drained on Monday, and yesterday still, but today I’m feeling on the up-and-up again. I’ve learned not to beat myself up when I’m not feeling sprightly, but to continue with one-baby-step-at-a-time. I’m staying with Eliza and Nathan tonight, and I’m cooking (something I love, but don’t do much of at home, because the stove in The Cave is cursed – every time I cook on it for guests, it cremates the contents of the oven, making them a burnt offering!) On the menu tonight is (you guessed it), a few-ingredient, creamy seafood marinara pasta.
Catch y’all on the flipside! Have a Wonderful Wednesday 🙂
I’m not big on #selfies. Of any kind. I almost always look like a jaundiced bullfrog who had an extra helping of flies from the Lily-Pond-buffet. On the odd occasion, I’ve taken one and though Oh. My. Word. Is that me?! But for the most part it’s Holy Crap! and then some other scary thought.
Of course, I have friends that are the Queens of selfies; particularly of the restroom variety. Two come to mind. I won’t mention names, but the first always shares a selfie from a restroom when she travels, whether it’s to a local retreat, or to The City of Gold or even Beyond Borders. And she always looks so good. She’s modest, so will tell me it’s the exquisite light reflected off the bathroom mirror, but we both know it’s because she’s a gorgeous soul, both in and out. She can wear a paper bag and still look like a million bucks – a million bucks even looks good with hand sanitizer and beige-doors-that-don’t-go-all-the-way-to-the-ceiling-nor-floor in the background.
Then there is another friend, closer-than-blood who I believe on some level is a soul-mate. She almost always knows when to drop me a text or some random picture of me that she’s edited with I ❤ U written on it. Shit, when I typed that, I thought that sounds stalker-like but it’s not. She’s married to an amazing man, but she and I have shared a great deal.
We are both on a constant journey to rid ourselves of the few extra fat cells that cling to our waists, so to motivate each other, images of healthy meals fly through cyberspace faster than plates from the kitchen to the table during a Gordon Ramsay dinner service. When there is progress with Operation-Flatten-Muffin-Top, she will send me a selfie of her, with her tummy exposed, and I think I have got to eat more protein!
When she was a few days from being a Missus, she sent a group of us a picture of her in some obscure roadside gas station toilet, on the throne, with a rather descriptive caption. I found myself think I hope she’s squatting, and that her handbag is not touching the floor
Today has not been a good day, yet like a ray of sunshine I just got a selfie from her, characteristic white public loo tiles in the background, smiling like a Cheshire Cat, captioned “I’m peeing”. My first thought is Really, Sweetpea? but I will admit, I laughed. Loudly! Her randomness brought such a smile to my face.
I guess when you’ve been friends for as long as we have, the weirdest things can bring a guffaw from within. Who would have thought restroom selfies too could bring some joy?
You’ve got each other’s numbers, you live in the same sleepy-hollow little town, yet you never see each other… Sounds familiar to many of you, I’m sure.
Chanté and I have known each other since fourth grade I think – her memory on this is slightly better than mine. I went to her 21st birthday party, and her wedding, but when she told her husband she was having coffee with me, he had no idea who I was. I don’t blame him – despite being quite extroverted around people who really know me, I am a wallflower where crowds are involved. She told him all he needs to know is that when she and her family moved here, I was the first person she sat next to at school.
Shortly after tying the knot, she and her hubby went overseas and while we were connected in Facebook-Land, we lost touch in the real world. When they moved back a few years ago, I saw her for coffee twice, but we didn’t really reconnect. Whether it was timing, or that we were at different phases in our lives, I’m not sure, but something was a little (for lack of a better word) “off”.
I’ll admit, she’s been way better at touching base than I have, sending me the odd motivational/inspirational message, that always seems to come through at the perfect time. On Monday though, I felt the need to see her, if nothing more than just to say a proper thank you in person.
So, we got together at a local franchise restaurant last night, originally intent on a quick coffee. We got talking and the conversation flowed, as if no time had passed – whatever had been “off” before was definitely “on” now!
Two lattés, and hours later, we’d covered a myriad of topics, including how women in general seldom take time for themselves because they’re tending to someone else’s needs – whether parents, husband or kids – before their own. With that in mind, when we eventually left to go home, we undertook to do a coffee-catch-up at least once a month.
I’m glad we got together – it was good, and it was needed.
A long-standing friendship rekindled is a true gem; and by that token, if you’re reading this, Chanté – you’re a diamond, and of course…
I’m still reeling from Frances’s expected-yet-still-unexpected departure to the Other Side. And tomorrow, Malcolm will also be gone for three years. It feels like just yesterday that he too was sick one day and then gone the next. It’s comforting to know though that they’re both in a Better Place, free from pain and the oddities of the world.
My last conversation with Frances was a long one, where we spoke about many things. She said she had a few regrets but was grateful for the opportunity to be able to make amends and ask for forgiveness. I asked her if she could give any person in the world one piece of advice, what it would be; her reply take the risk if it means you’ll be happy – as long as it isn’t at the cost of someone else. I know exactly where this pearl of wisdom stems from, and why she gave it to me. I’m going to miss her a great deal – after such a long time without any communication to the last nine months of intense kinship, it feels like I’ve lost a sibling. I felt the same when Malcolm died. He was my best friend for a long, long time. I know that time heals all wounds, but it will never erase the memories, thankfully.
As an empathetic person, I don’t do well with negative emotions – be they hurt, grief, anger, sadness, anguish, guilt or (insert your own here) – so in an attempt not to wallow in the sorrow of losing my friend, I stayed busy. Frances would have understood; in fact, she would have expected me to.
Work kept my mind occupied during the day, and most evenings I had something to do – getting my bi-weekly manicure, dinner with friends, that kind of thing, but Friday…that was an a-maze-ing experience. Exhausting, but fun.
Every year, one of the main tourist attractions in our area, the Redberry Farm, where co-incidentally, Malcolm worked for a while, has an event called the Moonlight Maze. Their hedge maze is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere! Charlie and I did it during the day last year, in August and honestly, had it not been for him, I probably would not have found my way out. So, bravely (or stupidly, seeing as the line is very fine) Elizabeth, Chantel, Yasmin and I set off on our adventure, donning sneakers, glow-in-the-dark-glasses, and of course, mandatory flashlights in hand, which Yours Truly didn’t remember. Fortunately, I’m a creature of the night, so just used my night-vision.
Now, the object of the maze isn’t to go in at one end and out another – it is to find seven different stations within the maze and obtain a stamp at each one. Sounds easy enough, right? Uh, no! We found the first three stations with relative ease. Being in the maze even during the day is understandably disorientating. Add to that the black of night and crowds of people – amongst them excited kids of all ages and well, you might as well have put me on another planet. We spent almost the first hour of our time in the maze walking around in a circle around the very stations we already had the stamps from. We knew we had to get to the other side of the large structure resembling a giant strawberry, but we kept taking a left, or it could have been a right and ending up right where we had been before. All in all, we walked over 5 Km (a little over 3 miles) within the maze and with the help of one of the staff we crossed over to the side we needed to be to get the remaining stamps we needed. As a token of our completion of the task, we were awarded these badges as a souvenir to take home.
I had another souvenir when I woke up on Saturday morning – seriously stiff legs. I think that next year we should do it again – in memory of Frances whose star I know will light the way for us.
I rant when I’m particularly irritated or feel that there is injustice happening to those I care about – many of you who have been following my blog for a long time will know this. I feel the urge to rant, because I am tired of the same shit repeatedly, but realize that it isn’t going to solve anything; it is only going to steal my joy.
On the subject of joy, I’m going to share its opposite with you for a paragraph or two and then end off on a happy note, because while it’s normal to experience negative emotions, it’s not okay to allow them to take root in our minds – after all, our thoughts become our actions, not so?
Yesterday was an extremely busy day at the office, so when I got the news that a good friend of mine, Frances, had left this world for the next, I felt a pang of shock (although she’d been ill for a long while), but I couldn’t really think about it. We hadn’t seen each other in a very long time, but for the last nine months or so, we’d reconnected online. I often chatted to her about alternative things, and she always gave me her honest take – No holds barred. Even when she was at her worst, she always gave her best. She listened without judgement and never hesitated to tell me the truth, even when it was hard to hear. Now she’s gone, and part of me feels lost. It’s odd really, because we were close for a short time, then so far removed from one another for over two decades and then close again. A kind of ‘concertina friendship’ if you will. She leaves behind an ex-husband, who despite the divorce, I know she loved ‘til her dying breath, and two children, who I’ve not met. I’m devastatingly sad at her departure. I’ve lost close people – even family – before, but with her it’s different. I can’t articulate it, because I don’t know what it is. The world is emptier without her. One thing that is a relief, despite the heartache, is that she is finally pain free.
I said to Charlie yesterday that I think I have only a single photo of Frances and I together, and that if I do, it is in a dusty album in storage somewhere. I hope one day I’ll find it and be able to have a proper reminisce over it. Until then though, I’ll remember her for the amazing person she was: mother, fighter, friend.
Onto a less sad subject, Saskia, who “adopted” me as her big, but thin sister (we met in the gym…) is tying the knot in November and asked Yours Truly a while ago if I would be a bridesmaid. I was like, “is a duck’s arse damp?” followed by unexpected tears, of both joy, and surprise – because she has so many friends, and well, in comparison to them, I’m old. She and her beau too live far away, but they are here for a few days, and she, her best friend of the past eighteen years (and Maid of Honour), another bridesmaid and I are getting together for dinner this evening to talk about the shindig. I’m counting the hours because I just know we’re going to have a great time.
As I type this post, thinking about these two incredibly special ladies, I am reminded that making memories is important. The digital era in which we live affords us the ability to capture those memories at the click of a smartphone button. Sure, it’s amazing, but we need to caution against being lost in that action, as opposed to being lost in the people we’re with – so tonight, while I know the young ‘uns will be doing their millennial selfie thing, I’m not going to even take my phone with me. This evening, I’m going to imprint memories of this jubilant occasion in my mind’s eye.
Here’s to a night of uproarious fun, hysterical laughter, and most of all, the love of friends!