Seven Years & Still Going Strong…

Seven is considered in many cultures to be a lucky number; in some even spiritual. I think that in this instance, it’s both.

Today, seven years ago, my life changed. I landed a job at a company that has afforded me the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally and allowed me to utilize my talents, all in a safe, happy working environment. In the time I’ve been here, I’ve picked up scraps with some colleagues, but that is an occupational hazard everywhere. The difference is that the people I work with are not just like family, they are.

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I was saying to Nikita, whom I sometimes carpool with, that I still remember my first day. I parked my car in the visitor’s bay and my boss came to me and pointed to a bay demarcated for my car.  I didn’t do much that day, because my boss had just returned from a two-week-long overseas visit. I was shown to my office and then taken through the factory to meet everyone.  The rest of the day I settled in.

In the time I’ve been here I’ve got to put my writing- and proofreading skills to good use.  I also received incredible support when I decided to complete the final subject for my tertiary qualification.  I’ve been mentored by incredible leaders, admonished when necessary by one father-figure in particular, teased like a little sister by some colleagues and carried by others when things have not been all sunshine-and-rosy.  See, family.

How many of you reading this can honestly say that going to work isn’t something you abhor, but look forward to? How many of you can say that spending time with your colleagues is not something you do simply because of the pay cheque at the end of the month?

I can, because seven years ago, when I walked through the door, I wasn’t half the person I am today, and for that I’m grateful.

Here’s to the next leg of the journey – and of course, cake to celebrate!

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Great News, for a Change!

Yesterday was a day of good abso-flippen-lutely fab-u-lous news for some amazing friends in my circle!

Charlie told me that he is soon going to be owning his first home, a dream come true!  I’m so incredibly proud of him for chasing his dream and staying focussed.

It was pretty much a done I’ve been to the place with him a few times to just peer in the windows like proper lookey-Lous and once to see the actual inside.  It is a stunning place, with a magnificent view, but most importantly, it checks all his boxes. Yesterday he said, “It’s not a new chapter. It’s like a whole new book” and I found myself wondering what the title would be, or if it would be something to do with a Wonderland of sorts.

While I have never owned a property of my own, I have been prone to bouts of nostalgia walking this journey with Charlie.  The excitement of the smallest of things, like buying hand soap that matches the bath towels, making that first meal or simply unpacking stuff into the cupboards of a place you can call your own.

At times, understandably, doubt would set in with questions that usually started with “What if…” and I would just revert to the logic of – you found something that has ticked all the boxes you wanted, except the jacuzzi and the Lamborghini in the garage, so ergo, it is just a matter of time.

It is an exciting adventure – Charlie’s delight is so evident; there is an inflection in his voice that belies his attempt to be nonchalant about the whole affair.  I’m quite sure if he was a woman he would physically be glowing.

Shortly after receiving Charlie’s news, I got a call from Jack, who I consider a solid friend, although work is what ties us together.  During his last courtesy visit to my office, we got talking about goals.  He mentioned that he would love to climb the corporate ladder within the company that he works for, but that the next step would mean relocation for him and his wife.  His beliefs and mine are pretty much aligned and it was said that if it’s meant to be it will.

Jack’s call was to tell me that the promotion had happened, and that in three weeks he and his wife will be moving to a new city where he will be the National Sales Manager.  The next step on the ladder after that is Sales Director.

Jack’s loyalty to his employer and his open, dynamic approach to thinking outside the box in a challenging market are his keys to success. I’m confident that he is going to be a shining example to the colleagues entrusted to his leadership.

Then last, but by no means least, I saw news on Facebook that my amazing US friend, Mike McClelland’s debut novel, Gay Zoo Day which was published in September last year, has been named a finalist for the IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Award in LGBT literature.

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This in between completing his degree and becoming a father to a beautiful baby boy he and his husband adopted.  I’m so inspired by Mike’s achievement.  It makes me want to dust of my work-in-progress-novel and get it finished.

Admittedly, I haven’t read the book…yet, but it is merely because I haven’t ordered books in ages.  While I am a real-page book-slut, I am beginning to realize that at some stage I may need to join the Kindlers *gasp!

I am humbled to have many wonderful friends that are scattered all over The Globe and if every day can be one in which I get to share happy news (even from afar) with even just one of them, and celebrate their victories and their joys with them, then my life already feels full.  I’m grateful too, to the ones that are close, that want me to be part of their life-puzzles, because after all, as my tagline says, I’m the piece of the puzzle that just doesn’t quite fit.

Charlie, Jack and Mike – you guys made my Tuesday.  I’m ecstatic for the roads that lie ahead for each one of you because you’re all so deserving of everything good that is coming your way!

 

A Few Shades of Misfit

Two weeks ago I bought the “Fifty Shades” Trilogy by EL James which has quite literally, taken the world by storm.

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I could not put them down!   Yes, yes, I’m Mid-Thirty Misfit and I’m an addict. Every free moment I had to read, I did.  It was like the world that existed for me was that of Ana Steele and Christian Grey.  I even read while on the treadmill at the gym, capturing the curiosity of some of the people there.  I’d get home at night, eat my dinner, bath and climb into my toasty bed and read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.

For those of you who haven’t yet read them, but still wish to, stop reading this post now, because there may be spoilers.

While the books have phrases that are constantly repeated, annoyingly so, the story is a solid one.  The first book is more sex than story, but an education nevertheless.  I had to laugh when Christian tells Ana that he’s never had Vanilla Sex before and I found myself thinking, so that’s what sex with a virgin is, only to find out later that it is not – it is sex without any toys or add-ons.  I’ve watched some things on TV (mostly crime fiction, like CSI, Castle  and the like) involving BDSM, and I always thought it to be creepy, but then again, each to his / own, not so?  Certain scenes in the books are rather explicit, but despite that, I found myself intrigued.  I still find it difficult to grasp that there are people in the world who get their kicks out of being trussed up, collared, beaten with canes, tickled with riding crops, or suspended from the ceiling, but from Ana’s point of view, it sounds like something everyone should try, at least once – with someone you trust.  Despite the deviant nature of such an arrangement / relationship, trust is obviously implicit between both parties.  

Certain occurrences in the books have had me blushing all shades of pink.  The other day I was chatting to Steve about the next flavour of shake I should get and he rattled off something in the lines of, “The chocolate is too close to the one you’ve had the past month, you have an aversion to strawberry and vanilla would be too boring.”  He has no idea what the books are about, but I felt my face heat when he’d finished talking.  I’m quite sure he noticed the blush, but gentleman that he is, he didn’t mention it.

But enough about the books for now – because if I carry on thinking about them, I may very well end up re-reading them… Don’t get me wrong, I plan on re-reading them in the future, preferably with a willing man, whom I trust, close by to help alleviate the tension.

On other things – Liza is getting married in September, (on my birthday!!!!), so Elizabeth arranged a hen night for her using Anita’s house as the venue.  We dressed her in bloomers, a bride-to-be-sash and a sexy belly-dancing bra.Image

The evening was a resounding success although Elizabeth keeps second guessing herself.  The food was great, the games were fun and the bride-to-be laughed and shed tears of joy.  As was the case with Anita’s hen party, there was an interesting cake for Liza too…

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One of the games, an old favourite at most hen parties, was to nominate a team member to be a bride and make her a dress out of (really cheap, scratchy, easily-torn, one ply) toilet paper.  I was the toilet paper bride at Anita’s hen night and again at Liza’s.  Don’t I look absolutely gorgeous?

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Her other friends decided to take her out pub-crawling – and to sell condoms (which are free from the State) – resulting in her going home with some extra cash.  She says that although her head felt a bit tender yesterday morning, she had a wonderfully memorable evening.  Her smile is all the gratitude I need.

I have been somewhat introspective lately, which can either be regarded as a good or a bad thing depending on what side of the fence you’re sitting on, but for me, for the most part, it is a good thing.  I am trying to live more in the present, taking each day as it comes, being grateful for the blessings that each day holds.  While yesterday and the yesterdays before it have an impact on who I am today, there is no way of going back to change the things I’m not proud of or unhappy about.  Tomorrow may not come for me, if it’s God’s will, so I try not to think about it.  After all, it will be a today soon enough…

I have a bit of poetry looming in my blood, which I’ll post soon.

A Tribute to my Best Friend, on her Birthday

I have got to write something every day – it is the only way to keep the writing muscles fit.  So today, I asked two colleagues to each give me a random word that popped into their heads.  The first word was “happiness” and the other, more cryptic this time, “labels”.  I haven’t got that much imaginative oomph to write about labels, so happiness it is…

I’ve knownElizabethfor over 11 years already. 

You Want Me to What?

It feels like just yesterday that I was at a friend’s twenty-first when Elizabeth, dressed in a Victorian Wedding Gown (it was a fancy dress party) dragged me out of the arms of a gorgeous man to help her do up her bra, which she was sure had come undone.  At the time I only knew her from seeing her at her place of work.  Oh, and the bra – it wasn’t undone.  Little did I know that it would be this little incident that would lead to a wonderful friendship.  It was an evening of happiness and celebration, and throughout our friendship, these two key elements continue to be our foundation.

As I sit here at my desk typing this, I am smiling and laughing to myself as I remember many happy times I’ve shared with her.

Have More Wine

I fondly remember a Sunday morning when both she and I were without parents for the weekend.  I don’t remember what exactly I did the Saturday evening, but do remember the phone ringing at Sparrow’s Fart the Sunday morning with Elizabeth barking out the instruction, “Get dressed and come to my house,” into my very hung-over head.  Knowing that arguing would be futile, I simply complied – cursing the bastard that had been in the bottles the night before…probably good ol’ José ‘n Jack.

When I finally arrived, hair still damp en a marching band playing some really crap tune in my head, I heard the music coming from inside the house.  Oh Brother, I thought, it is going to be a seriously long day. I rang the doorbell and Elizabeth opened the door.  She didn’t unlock the safety gate; she handed me a glass of liqueur.  I was to drink it immediately, otherwise I wasn’t going to be allowed to go inside.  Oh well, I’m already hung-over, what harm can it do?  The gate was opened and into the Lion’s Den I went.  Or maybe Leopard’s Den would be more apt, considering that Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar on Me, was playing so loudly, the walls were almost shaking.  “Here, have some wine,” she said handing me a glass of Cab Sav, as she danced at the sink, while washing the dishes.  I couldn’t help wonder, W.T.F?! because she is always the voice of reason…the composed one…the adult – after all, she is seven years older than I am.  I remember Def Leppard’s Vault album playing the entire day and us drinking lots of wine.  Every time we said something that effectively we shouldn’t, like my telling her about Paul (see my entry dated 2010/05/17, titled Have You Ever Been in Love) , she would simply say, “have more wine.”  It has become a standing joke amongst us when life deals us crap to simply have more wine.

Pink Elephants

 

Pink Elephants are things that we know we shouldn’t have done, but we did anyway – and enjoyed them too! 

A group of about 6 of us went out one night for drinks at a local beach-side café.  One of Elizabeth’s ex-boyfriend’s mates, Stuart, was here for a couple of days so he joined us.  Now, before I go any further, you need to know that Elizabeth has certain rules about romance – you don’t date your brother’s friends, your friends don’t date your brother and you don’t date your ex-boyfriends’ friends. 

We had a great evening, laughing, chatting and just enjoying the sea air, the company, and the drinks.  It was a happy time.  Or was it happy hour?  I can’t remember…

Anyway, when the time eventually came for us to leave, Stuart was adamant that he would take Elizabeth home.  Not really knowing him at all, and worrying aboutElizabeth, I was a real stick in the mud stating, “she came with me, she goes home with me,” and I went and sat in the car.  I waited and waited and as I looked up, there they were, snogging each other’s socks off.  She got in the car, smiling like a Cheshire Cat on seriously giggle twig.  Stunned, I asked, “What.  The.  Hell.  Was that?”  Her simple reply, “Pink Elephants.”

Realizing from my very puzzled expression that I had no clue what she was talking about she explained, “Pink Elephants are things that we know we shouldn’t have done, but we did anyway – and enjoyed them too!”

As I drove to drop her off at home, she became silent, suddenly wracked with guilt that she had kissed her ex-boyfriend’s friend.  I couldn’t help but laugh – after all, life happens.

And quite honestly, if one wishes to get technical and split hairs, she didn’t break her last rule.  She kissed him…she never dated him.

Sunday Spelunking

 

About an hour’s drive from the town we live in, there are hiking trails out by the old gold mines.  Elizabeth, Liza and I set off early in the morning on an expedition that would leave us all with fond memories, smiles, and sunburn.  We travelled on an old forestry road, stopping often to take photos and enjoy the wonder of God’s creation.  Halfway to our destination,Elizabeth piped up that she was thirsty, so we pulled in at a local pub (shit, we sound like a bunch of alcoholics!) where a very cute barman tended to our needs.  It wasn’t even close to 11 in the morning, yet I was drinking Jack neat on the rocks.  I noticed a small pool at the pub too.  We hit the road and had great fun at the gold mines.  Liza made me a CD for my birthday with a number of photographs on it – some of this day’s photos are on it too.

On our way back home, in a car with no aircon and outside temperatures of over 30 degrees Celcius, I thought it a good idea to stop at the same pub where we’d been during the morning.  What I wanted to say was, “Then I will ask the guy if I can use his pool.”  What came out was, “Then I will ask the guy if I can use his piel.”  For those of you who don’t understand Afrikaans, piel is one of the many terms for penis.  To this day, I still haven’t lived that little faux pas down.

I’m Not Rentable!

 

Elizabeth, Rachel, Liza and I headed off for a girl’s weekend to the quaint little town of Montagu.  It was just about a month after my ex-boyfriend broke up with me, on Facebook!  I organized us accommodation at a group of cottages on the outskirts of town. 

We just unpacked the car and headed off to town to go and get some supplies for the weekend.  As we got out of the car a group of locals, obviously not used to seeing four, young women at the same place, at the same time, stared at us like we had landed from Mars.  Rachel said, “Ons is seker die enige hubare meisies in die dorp.”  Now again, “We are probably the only eligible girls in town,” is what she said.  What I heard was “huurbare meisies” which means “rentable girls.”  I replied, quite upset, “Your arse man, I’m not rentable!”

I thought Elizabeth was going to collapse the way she was laughing.

When we got back to the cottage, Rachel made a fire – thank goodness, because my survival skills are equal to nought and we played board games and enjoyed one another’s company.  When it came time to turn in, Liza wanted to shower first and through the door we heard her cursing that there was no hot water…she never lit the pilot light on the gas geyser, silly girl!  It was worth a good laugh when she exited the bathroom with her lips slightly blue and her teeth chattering.

The following morning we took a tractor drive up the mountain.  Now, to appreciate this, you all need to understand that Elizabeth does not handle heights well.  A bar stool is to high for her…but being the super friends we are, we let her sit on the edge of the carriage, she got a great view of the ground below.  Needless to say, we weren’t very popular, but it was worth a laugh – it was a bitterly cold, damp day, but something I think all four of us will remember. 

 So Elizabeth, it’s been 11 years of friendship…here’s to the next 11, which start today, on your 39th birthday.  You are a great, true, loyal and loving friend.  A true gift from God, and while we have no blood ties, you are a Sister of my Heart.  Happy, happy birthday! 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of http://www.great-birthday-party-ideas.com

 

Emotional Day…

*Note that this post may contain some swearing*

I have only been awake 7 hours and already I have experienced a flood of emotions:

Anger

I seldom watch the news – there is inevitably something depressing to be heard, but I do follow certain columnists on the net, like my good friend Simon Williamson who is a freelance writer currently living in Hong Kong.  This morning when I was reading his latest column on News24.com I found a number of links on the same page pertaining to child abuse and/or rape.  Wanting to include something like this in my novel, I decided (against my better judgement) to read the articles (on an empty stomach).  Pardon my language, but WHAT THE FUCK is going on in this country, particularly in Kwa Zulu Natal?

The police shoot a man in the leg (again, WTF!?) after catching him in the act of raping a 7 year old little girl.  They should have shot the fucking piece of shit dead!  What kind of life is that little girl going to have.  She is going to be traumatized for life.  Therapy can only help so much.

Another story tells of a nanny who raped the 5-year old little boy in her care!  She has finally been sentenced to life imprisonment (which our taxes are paying for!) after she was arrested for this crime a year ago.

And the last one I could handle before I totally lost it was the story of a stepfather who is now on the run (fucking coward!) after being caught red-handed by his wife raping his 10 year old stepdaughter in the bed he and her mother share.

Satisfaction

Dinner last night was fabulous!  Despite it being a week night, my guests only left at a quarter to midnight! Everyone was very impressed with the food 🙂 which I was thrilled about (although I must admit that I nearly cremated the bruschetta!  Thank goodness I had enough French loaf left to make more).  There was quite a bit of chicken and couscous left over, so I have dinner for tonight too 🙂  The Italian kisses went down well, although I somehow managed to give Elizabeth only vanilla ones.  I don’t know how that happened.  Must have been all the wine I drank 😉

Sadness

It was Greg’s memorial service today, and while I only got to meet him briefly some years back, I went to the church service – Elizabeth was quite broken, but putting up a tough exterior.     Another friend of hers and Greg’s came all the way from Phalaborwa, along with a number of his military colleagues for the burial and the service.  Even though I didn’t know him that well, I got a huge lump in my throat when his colleagues did their eulogies.  Greg was only 40 and died of a heart attack.  The minister gave a comforting message, but even so, it is evident that he will be missed by many.  I can’t begin to imagine the heartache and pain his parents are going through.  The circle of life is meant to work that children bury their parents, not so?  Steph has also been dead for 7 months already 😦  Life is truly so short 😦

Regret

Jay has asked me not to blog about him or discussions between us, which I have not, out of respect for his wishes.  But I feel like a right royal doos – he sent me an email last night and I over-reacted to something he said and immediately sent back a bitchy, uncalled-for reply.  I don’t know what the hell came over me.  My conscience was still plaguing me way after midnight that I eventually got out of bed and mailed him an apology.  Fortunately Jay has accepted my apology, but it doesn’t make me feel any less of a doos.

Joy

On a happier note, it’s one of my closest friends, Kelly’s birthday today.  We have been friends since 1993 when we in Standard 6 together.  Even though we live in different parts of the country, we are still close and talk often.

Picture courtesy of http://lizandbeccabake.blogspot.com/

Kelly Darling, here is wishing you a wonderful day and a new life year that only offers the best of the best!  Remember that life is short, so savour every moment.   Remember the good, forget the bad and keep whatever makes your heart smile.  I love you lots!

Tonight I am going to Elizabeth – she asked me to come around; in actual fact she didn’t give me much of a choice:

“Are you coming to visit tonight?  Yes you are.  Okay, see you later…”

I think it is going to be another late night – the only real cure for a sad heart is your friends, wine and hope that tomorrow will hold better things.