A recipe shared…

The other day I added a sparkly, dazzling, disco-like button to my blog…I’ll wait while you look.  Seen it?  Okay – let’s continue.
This button, when clicked, will take you to a blog called “No, Really, you can eat it” (yes, really) where Melanie shares recipes and all sorts of interesting stuff.

She offered to give me a recipe as thanks for sharing her shiny button.  I advised her that a salad recipe would be appreciated as it is so gosh darn hot in Durban at the moment.

Here is the recipe.  Enjoy!
http://noreallyyoucaneatit.blogspot.com/2012/01/i-dont-like-mondays_23.html

…With Natural Ingredients.

I wrote a post a while ago about how we have to believe alot of the mumbo jumbo that advertisers claim about their products. (Read here)
Cosmetic companies also make a lot of claims about naturalthis and organic that.  I, well actuallyRoxy the Foxy, have proven that one company is not lying.
The Alien won a Palmer’s hamper filled with all their cocoabutter and olive butter products. Cool.  They all smelt very niceand Alien and I looked forward to trying them out.
An Amoeba on steroids?
Yesterday I found this strange thing lying on the floor.  Is it a potatoe, I thought.  I gave it a hesitant kick.  Nope – too light to be a potatoe.  Maybe a sponge?  We don’t have sponges in the house so unlessthat Squarepants dude paid us a fatal visit – not possible.  Mmmmm. Having established that it was not alive and dangerous, I picked itup.  I smelt it (as one does to unknownobjects.)
It was a bar of soap that Roxy had been chewing on!  What? The dog may not be a genius but she is not THAT stupid.  Yes, her breath does smell at times but wesurely haven’t given her that much of a complex about it?  Anyway – why not chew on a tube of toothpastethen?
Out of curiosity, I had to prove that this soap’s cocoabutter ingredient was what Roxy was after and it wasn’t just a moment of fullmoon madness for her.

I put the bar of soap back, right next to the Dove soap, andVoila! Proof that you can believe what some products claim about natural (andedible) ingredients.  Best I hide theshampoo with lemon extract.

“Ooh yummy.  My snack is back”
“I’ll take that now, thank you, before you remove it again”
“Now for a bit of Cocoa Butter indulgence.  Move aside, Mom”

Driving Miss Dilly

The comment on my Ubuntu Girl blog begs explanation. Hopping into my car to go and pick up the Alien from school is not a walk in the park. I firmly believe that I take my life into my hands the same as people who bungee jump off bridges using dental floss instead of rope.

I live in Durban North. Unlike the notion that there are tea-rooms/cafés on every street corner in Durban – in Durban North they have schools. There are schools everywhere. 2 to 3 schools to every street. Seriously, if you want to go into a lucrative business, open a chassis company in Durban North. With every school comes hundreds of speed bumps the size of Table Mountain just waiting to stuff up your undercarriage.

Having said that, it blows my mind that I seem to be constantly stuck behind an old person every time I go to pick up the Alien. How is that possible? If Durban North is full of schools – where do these old people come from? What are they doing trawling the streets of Durban North? Is there a policy of old aged homes to school ratio published in some government gazette that I do not know about?

Don’t get me wrong. I love old people. I just don’t believe that they should be driving once Alzheimer’s has set in and they can no remember why they are in a car let alone the fact that they are actually the driver. Clearly senile dementia is popular amongst the Durban North senior citizens

I have a low patience threshold when driving. I have mentioned my propensity to drive like Schumacher hence being stuck behind antiques who have forgotten they are driving cars and not ox wagons, does tend to test my every red-haired nerve fibre.

Once I get to the Alien’s school (more than likely late thanks to the old folk not remembering how to get out of 1st gear) I face a different road rage challenge. Mothers of teenagers – I have news for you. Your precious, precocious brats ARE capable of walking more than 20 steps from the school gate to your car. There is absolutely no reason for you to block the entire road so that Her Highness does not have to walk too far to find you. Bus drivers – the vehicles you drive are very visible thanks to their size. You can park slightly further away from the gate. The Aliens will find you. You are hard to miss.


Yep – the afternoon school run is harrowing. The Alien always looks a tad nervous when she gets into the car as she is tentatively waiting for the cussing out of parents and the geriatric population in general.

When I manoeuvre my car into the garage after each school run I breathe a sigh of relief. I have dodged the bullet yet again. Or, maybe more correctly, fellow parents and the elderly have dodged my bullets. Until the next day….

p.s. – you may notice that my blogsite has had some surgery. A nip and a tuck here and a bit of botox there and voila! – My blog has done a Michael Jackson- like transformation. You like?

The UBUNTU Girl

Carte Blanche on a Sunday night has always been a must watch on my TV viewing schedule. Sometimes I am not sure why because it is generally very depressing. Not the light hearted frivolity that one needs to end a weekend.

They do feature happy or inspiring stories from time to time. One such insert was on The Ubuntu Girl – Sonja Kruse. She left her dorp of Eshowe with R100, a camera and a backpack to walk around South Africa. Bloody nuts, right? I agree.

So when I saw that she was going to be the guest speaker at The Inspiring Women Network banquet at the Riverside Hotel nearby – I immediately booked my ticket (besides – the dress code was traditional so I could finally wear my sparkly salwar again) I am not the jump out of aeroplanes or off bridges type of person. I see getting in my car to collect the Alien from school as quite adventurous considering how some people drive. I am therefore interested to hear what makes people do crazy things. Why do they do it? Isn’t a balanced life staying at home with a glass of wine in one hand and the telly remote in the other? What gene am I missing that these lunatics seem to have a double dose of?

Well, besides having inherited the red hair gene in abundance, Sonja proved to be the most normal, down to earth person I have ever met. Her infectious giggle and sparkling personality is undoubtedly what earned her an invite into strangers’ homes every night of her year-long walkabout.

My key take-out after listening to the Ubuntu girl? We Saffers are still a distrusting and nervous bunch even with people like Sonja highlighting just how much good there is in this country. I am a positive and optimistic person but underlying fears and prejudices, although for the most part buried and ignored, will always rear their negative head and influence my thoughts and actions.

So, although I won’t be catching a taxi to Orania any time soon – I will make a more concerted effort to keep my mind open and my fears based on fact and not on prejudice. I still believe that collecting the Alien from school is a justified fear by the way.

Links for the UBUNTU Girl:
www.theubuntugirl.co.za
ubuntuabundance@gmail.com
Blog
Twitter
Facebook Page

The Alien is Alienated

“I am a looser”
“You just don’t understand, my life is over”
“I am not going to have any friends”

All these passionate, sometimes hysterical pleas from the Alien have been getting the same standard response from me:

“Ag Shame”

I hear your gasps of horror from here. This mother has an emotionally disturbed, possibly unstable teenager and her response is “Ag Shame”? Relax! I did take the time to listen to the reason why her life was teetering on the brink of extinction.

The child does not have a BlackBerry.

Can you believe it? Even though she has a perfectly good Nokia somethingorother phone, a computer, the choice of 2 TV’s with DSTV and a DVD player, a pleasant roof over her head, a swimming pool, 3 adoring cats, 1 devoted dog plus a cupboard full of clothes – the child’s life is a misery because she does not have a BlackBerry Pin Number.

How sad is that? I am not totally heartless, you know. I was once a teenager and understand about peer pressure and all that psycho babble. It really is pathetic that a beautiful young girl can feel that life is passing her by because she does not have a particular make of phone. Talk about a fickle society.

Apparently all the kids who used to be on MXit have closed their accounts and are BB Messaging each other now. SMS is clearly so last week and actually calling a person and talking to them is what old people like me do. I suppose I could alleviate her misery just a tad if I allowed her to have Facebook but I see what some of these teenagers do and say on Facebook so question if I want to expose her to all that.

So, until her contract is due for an upgrade, I will just have to endure the endless whining and complaining. The advantage is that, because she no longer knows what is going on in the world around her because of her forced isolation thanks to her BlackBerry’lessness (cool new word that), the Alien can spend more time moping around me.
Hang on…did I just say advantage?
Anyone getting rid of their BlackBerry? Anyone?

A Thought Shared

So, my last post was in February and I know that because the subject was…well… February. It is therefore clear that I have been remiss in blogging as we are now in mid April. Sue me if you will but no chastising from you will equal the self loathing. Okay, that is a bit harsh but I do get annoyed when I see the time that has past and I have not shared on my favourite vent platform.

I have been asked so often: “Why do you blog? Who actually reads your ramblings and do you care what they think?” Umm, yes – I do care and WHO reads my blogs is less relevant than WHY the odd stray on the internet reads my blogs. That is the joy of blogging. I use it as a vent, a channel to consolidate my sometimes deranged thoughts, a podium better suited to a lady than making use of swearing and cursing.

Through Facebook I shared an interesting article on a study regarding the use of swearing. The responses were fascinating in their diversity. From an anecdote from rural African culture, where people not seeing eye to eye would go on to a hilltop and exchange swear words to diffuse their frustrations with each other, to a discussion on the use of swearing in the sport of golf, to the opinion of a Christian willing to dive right in there to defend her beliefs based on her faith. What was so intriguing was that each person who shared had an opinion on a matter that we do not give a second thought to (until our offspring use a word that is not quite what we expect to hear from our beloved progeny, of course)

Now that is why I blog. Blogging is like an invisible friend with whom I can share anything. It is the equivalent of standing on a hilltop and screaming every arbitrary thought or profanity that would have me committed or rebuked should I express them out loud in polite company. Blogging does not judge or criticise. It does not question my reasons or ask me what my motivation is for making outlandish comment.

It can’t. Because it is not actually real. It is just a thought shared.

Jeepers but it’s Hot, hey?


February in Durban comes around once a year (funny that!) Every year we Durbanites either bitch or bask in the weather that we experience.

Let me explain for those who do not know what it is like in Durban, KZN, South Arica. It is “blerrie” hot and humid! You never feel dry. Taking a cool shower in the morning is a relief after waking up hot and sticky from tossing about all night playing cat and mice with mosquitoes and trying to find a cool spot on your bed. That relief is short lived because you then realise that you may only be fully dry in about a months’ time. Clothes stick to you as you try to get dressed and make-up for ladies becomes a joke as it is probably going to reach your belly button before lunchtime.

The incessant rains of December and January, which fall daily when Durban is packed with tourists, comes to a halt. Any rainfall just adds to the humidity and is seen as a curse not a blessing even though grass is starting to resemble the Highveld in winter.

Geckos, those awful transparent creatures that crawl about ones walls and “drop their load” (aka poop) all over your curtains, are revered for their mosquito catching skills. Bread not eaten within 2 days turns into a science project. Just how many colours of mould are there? Even leather handbags and shoes cannot escape the tyranny of the humidity as they develop a film of white, smelly mould.

True, a lot of Durbanites have swimming pools. So what? A dip in the pool is more like taking a bath. You need to dose the pool with so much chlorine to keep the algae away that it is a bath that removes your first 6 layers of skin and burns your eyes so that you look like a pink eye patient all month. That last layer of precious skin peels off anyway because applying moisturiser is like trying to mix oil and water.

So, for the month of February, ladies pack away their defunct hair straighteners and blow dryers. Deodorant and sunscreen sales skyrocket. Lethargy is a common complaint and the talk around water coolers is repetitive – “Phew, how hot is it today?” Love it or hate it, February in Durban does come to an end and Durbanites once again boast about living in the best little patch of paradise in the world.

Gladys-the Iron Gladiator


Today is one of my favourite days of the year. It is the day that Gladys comes back from her annual leave. Gladys is the Superwoman who comes to our home twice a week to do all the jobs that I hate; cleaning bathrooms, loos, floors and most importantly – ironing.

I just don’t GET ironing. You iron one part of a garment and that creates creases in other parts of the garment. Where the hell are creases supposed to go in men’s Chino trouser legs? And what’s with those pleats at the back of men’s shirts? How far down the shirt are you supposed to iron the crease?

Okay, so I am crap at ironing. All the other house work is very achievable when avoidance is futile. Roxy the fox terrier drops more hairs daily than bombs during both World Wars. Add the hair of 3 cats and you can understand why I consider my vacuum cleaner the best purchase I have ever made in my life (Ummm…actually, maybe I revere the dish washer more. It is a close call.)


Feather dusters are pretty useful too. I suppose Gladys’s eyesight is worse than mine because she does not seem to see that there are more spiders per m² (judging by the cobwebs) in our house than in the Amazon Jungle. That begs the question – what are the tenants that crawl all over our walls doing to earn their stay? Geckos and their droppings are only tolerated because they are supposed to keep the fly/mozzie/spider/small creepy crawly population down. They had better pull up their sticky, transparent socks – or face imminent eviction.

I am sure that most of you will agree that housework is a thankless, tedious, never ending pain in the butt. No sooner have you caught up with all the washing and the basket is inexplicably filled with more dirty clothes (especially if you have an Alien in the house.) Dishes warrant a scientific study as they duplicate and triplicate in front of your eyes before you can get them into the dishwasher.

Gladys may not be the best cobweb exterminator nor does she command the English language enough to understand much that I say to her, but she is a Gladiator with an iron. For that reason, she can probably be classified as my BFF because she makes my life easier. Welcome back Gladys. I missed you.

Retail Therapy?

Have I ever mentioned to you that I HATE shopping? No, I don’t mean just the weekly grind of buying loo rolls, cleaning detergents and a bit of food to sustain the family. I hate all shopping – clothes, shoes, make-up….all shopping.

At the beginning of our marriage, Chicken Man mentioned that I was really bad at shopping. He started waxing on about PI labels and cost per kg/ml/portion. You have got to be kidding me? I look for the tastiest food, the prettiest labels and the products that have exposed themselves to my sub-conscious the most through TV/radio/internet/print adverts. His glib comment however did end up being advantageous to me. I do not do the grocery shopping. That has become Chicken Man’s weekly Hypermarket by the Sea nightmare

I am not adverse to popping into My Spar and getting a few odds and sods. If the odds list goes beyond that which I can take through the baskets only/20 items or less check-outs – I lose all interest and add the items to Chicken Man’s Saturday shopping list. Surely Gladys (my 2 x a week cleaning lady) can clean the house without Pledge and Handy Andy until next week? Why she needs so much of the stuff and what she does with it is still a mystery to me.

I have to admit that I do rather enjoy a jaunt to Woolworths every now and again. Their fruit & veggie section is mouth watering and they have so many yummy, luxurious delights all over the store. A lot of the ingredients on their shelves are completely foreign to me but some, once discovered or recommended, are on the must have list e.g. Woolies Danish Style Feta and their Basil Pesto. Num, num.

I have suggested it but Chicken Man refuses to go clothes or shoe shopping for me. How thoughtless. Does he not realise how traumatic these once or twice a year shopping excursions are for me? Does he not know that shop attendants in clothing and shoes stores are trained to ignore frazzled looking customers by running around trying to find stuff to pack back onto the racks? I actually asked an assistant if they were trained to ignore customers. She looked horrified at the suggestion but I substantiated my claim by saying that I was one of three other customers and I had counted 6 sales ladies and not one of them was helping a customer. “Sorry Mam” was her surly response. You try go shoe shopping when you take a size 9 shoe. The experience makes you feel like a freak of nature and being ignored just makes the whole experience more traumatic.

The Alien is in need of some new clothes. The thought of re-living the last episode of us shopping together fills me with dread and fear. So, I am thinking of setting the Alien and a few of her tjommies loose at a shopping mall without me so that she actually gets to survive until her 14th birthday. The added bonus? Sweet revenge on all the shop assistants that have ever ignored me!

At least I know why they call it Retail Therapy. I need therapy after exiting every retail store I walk in to.