Friday, November 6, 2009

The Long Way Down...

So where was I.....

Oh yes, packing my suitcase once again! Time for this bird to fly south again but thank goodness I relented and packed a jersey because the weather is doing a fabulous impersonation of the middle section of winter!

I must say for long haul trips this one was just that - a very long haul. But the flip side of that coin was that i got to see some different places; places I haven't seen for a while. I flew off my little island early in the morning and headed off to the mainland.

The red roofs of Lisbon....

This is the second time I've spent time in Lisbon and I'm not convinced that the folk there have grasped the concept of being friendly.

But the upside of the time I had there was that I found a fantastic little guesthouse run by foreigners = friendly and welcoming. I really am going to have to learn Portuguese though if for no other reason than to foil those tricky taxi drivers!

Then it was off to the airport again and flying north for a few hours found me landing in Frankfurt - it's been a while since I visited there (not that this was anything more than a transit!)

The great thing about this stage of the journey was that I no longer had to worry about my luggage! The joys of computer codes and tags.....and faith in the system! I had been warned that I would have to change terminals which didn't really worry me as that pretty much goes ahnd in hand with travel these days. Be warned though...changing terminals here means making sure you have sensible shoes and hoping like hell the travelators are working!! It does also help following someone who knows the airport. Suffice to say the new (to me) terminal is quite impressive!

Even more impresive is having empty seats next to one and a really friendly flight crew.

The further south we headed to more it began to feel like home turf. I woke early - just before dawn and the view from high above the clouds was awesome. Below the clouds was the desert and I could see from the amazing lightning show that it was storming down there. In my mind I could smell the rain; the African rain.

And then the sun came up.
Soon thereafter we landed in Namibia.

This is abolutely a visit that is on my bucket list! But for now I bid my fellow travellers farewell and watched them depart into the desert while I awaited my next flight; my final flight.
Travelling next to me was a chap who had never been to Cape Town and in front of me two youngsters experiencing their first flight.

" Ladies & Gentlemen , this is your Captain speaking. For some unknown reason the flight tower have asked us to stay in a holding pattern above Robben Island until further notice"

And there she was...the Mother City and that majestic mountain and the most magnificent day.
I felt proud to be 'home'

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Keeping it Simple this Sunday

I bumped into these words a few weeks ago.
They were used in context within the body of an e mail from an old school friend.
Their simplicity took my breath away as I read them and they've passed through my mind often since then. I thought I would share them.
Of course before one shares words one needs to find out where they come from;
find out who we need to thank.

We have Mizuta Masahide to thank.
He was a samurai who studied under the poet Basho. In 1688 Masahide’s house was burnt down, prompting him to write this now famous haiku.

Barn's burnt down --
I can see the moon.

That’s my offering for today.
Quotable Sunday is brought to you by

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Hour Friday

Otin and RxBambi host this little gem each week, go check them out! So the idea is to list some things that make you happy, and then have a fun weekend!

I’m happy that the luncheon I prepared for guests today had them licking their plates

I’m happy that the builders helped themselves to all the apples and saved me the trouble of trying my hand at wine making. Hey, there’s always next season’s crop!

I’m happy that I have 10 rose cuttings that have new shoots! Ten!! That is a rose garden. Okay so I’m not happy about it….I’m ECSTATIC!

I’m happy that I’ll soon be spending real time with dear friends back in Cape Town.

I’m happy that I’m getting happier by the day

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Things I Want Thursday

"Things I Want Thursday" was started by Sass at Are You Sassified?. I forget how I happened upon her writing but I'm glad I did. I'm sure she knows how long I "lurked" there before finding the courage to comment.
I'm really not sure how all this button grabbing works; I'm sure one day I'll look back and laugh! In the meantime apologies for any inadvertant groping!
Scope is having a contest to get others to join in the Sass fun so here goes.....

  1. I want a cup of coffee RIGHT now
  2. I want that damned pesky dog next door to stop barking
  3. I want to learn to speak Portuguese
  4. I want to reconnect with old friends that I've neglected
  5. I want to pick all the apples I have growing here and have a go at making apple wine
  6. I want to remember to smile at regular intervals through the day
  7. I want all my little rose cuttings to sprout
  8. I want to try my hand at making fresh pasta
  9. I want to be able to live in one place for more than 6 months or 90 days at a time
  10. I want to be kinder to myself

Methinks that's more than enough for one week!

Happy Thursday y'all!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Quotable Sunday

Mothers Day Gift Ideas
So today is Quotable Sunday over at "A Daily Dose of Toni"
and the quest is to post quotable quotes about

This word lies close to my heart.
And not just for the most obvious reasons; but nonetheless close.
And close I shall keep it and treasure it.... cos it's all mine!

"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
Nelson Mandela

"My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them."
Jack Kerouac

said another way...

Keeping passion at bay or surrendering blindly to it -
which of these two attitudes is the least the destructive?

I don't know."
Paulo Coelho

Happy {passionate} Sunday y'all!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


To whom it may concern...

I want you to know that I love you.

I never stopped, not for one demanding moment and it will never end.
Even in your darkest moments you’ve known that you could always rely on my love.

It is what it is.
I am what I am.
I do what I do.
You know this is true. You know me better than anyone. And I mean anyone.

I also know that the Universe brings people together.
Look at how we met! Love at first site isn’t a fairytale.
We’ve experienced its reality; felt it working at first hand, seen the connection. We've known what communicating without words feels like; even when we were miles apart.
Yet now…. must I believe that it doesn’t mean a thing?
It's hard to fathom how two people who once cared for each other so powerfully - who looked out for each other's best interests and shared a common dream of growing old together - can find themselves on opposite sides of what feels like a chasm; when before their journeying through life was like the treasure hunt for perfectly fitting jigsaw pieces.

And when I say perfect I do not mean easy or unchallenging. I mean warts and all!

Yet still you walked away. Was finding the perfectly fitting jigsaw piece for this part of our puzzle just too much of a challenge?
How then, the cynics will ask, how can what you had mean a thing?

I know there are some things a person can’t change.
I know there are some situations where apologies hold no meaning.
For that the Universe gives us the choice to Forgive.

Or not.

I have to live with your choices; my choices.
But know this.....
I never doubted us making it through this huge adventure.
I’ve never stopped thinking about you; never stopped needing to share my day with you. All those little snippets that I instinctively want to tell you about ... only to be pulled up short by the knowledge that all that will greet me is a cold wall of silence and indifference.
Ignoring this knowledge; hoping against hope and trying to get through.

(Beep)...sorry I can't take your call right now...leave your name and number and I'll get back to you as soon as I can...(Beep)

I never once considered letting go of you.
What I must now accept is the fact that I was let go of long ago because you ask me to believe you have done your mourning.
Mourning for something that I believed was still alive; albeit at times kicking.

I really wish you had told me; told me that I was on probation and that the slightest mistake, the next step out of line, would have me being dropped into that bottomless box of yours.

So now what? Do I simply attach a whole collection of “everything happens for a reason” labels to the sealed top and sides of my bottomless box just to make sense of it all?
Well it doesn’t make sense because I don’t believe that love just dies. It can falter and wilt because we forget how to replenish its core. It can become clouded in stubbornness and be blinded by assumptions, mistakes and inappropriate behaviour. But I don’t believe it dies.

Sometimes there is nothing one can say.
Sometimes one should just say nothing.

I have never been that kind of person.
You always knew that; knew it from the moment you set eyes on me.
You know that to be true. You’ve even relied on just that.
Just as I have always relied on you to look me in the eyes and tell me its okay; to hold me tight and make me feel safe. Today, tomorrow, the next day, forever…we knew it would be alright. We had each other. Even though you said kokeid and I said cock-eyed... we got the gist of each other!
I knew that.
Or did I just mistakenly assume that?

It’s not the hurt that is so hard for me right now; the fact that I never left a little “Happy” space for disappointment.
It’s gone deeper than that.
It’s the fact that I DID believe every word you said.

Every opinion you had. Every promise you made.
Every. Word. You. Ever. Said.
I never doubted you; never entertained the possibility of you turning your back on me and walking away; giving up on us without a fight; giving up on me without a word.

Not until now.

I now truly understand what being as small and as insignificant as humanly possible feels like. And how it can actually ache in places I didn’t know I had inside me. I go to bed every night going over every detail and wonder what I could have differently.
Wonder what instinct I can now trust if I was so wrong about you; so wrong about the last six years.
Wonder why the ONLY contact from me that you have responded to in an entire year has only been that from my ugly dark side; the dark side that lashes out.
Wonder if this is all you responded to because it suited your purpose.
Wonder if this is all you will remember me for.

I want to be impossible to forget.
I want you to be able to summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles will soon stand between us.
I want you to be able to see my face, hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.
I want to have the kind of impact on someone whereby they know they’ll never find anyone else who could ever take my place.

Because that’s what you are to me. the Mountains and the Sea

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reflections in the Rear View Mirror

Seventeen hours ago a friend of mine updated his status on Facebook as follows:

" sad, chatsworth Metrolink accident was one year ago tomorrow. It was one year ago today I last talked to my brother Mike"

So that would make it a year ago today that Mike died. I remember it well. The day.

What a difference a year makes.
I have pondered that a lot of late.

A year ago today I was in my house in Muleshoe, Texas

The freezer was filled with meals for one - enough for 3 months.
Meals all cooked with love.
By me.
Bobotie; Chicken Curry. Cottage Pie. Macaroni Cheese. Lasagne. Hand made Ice cream.
As I hit the start button on the dishwasher I knew it was time.
Time to face the fact that I could no longer put off packing my suitcase.
But I would be back. In 3 months. Surely.

A year later the memory of this still makes me cry.
And then I think of my friend losing a brother and my tears dissipate like bathwater down a drain.

I reluctantly said my goodbyes to the Lone Star State. Promised my newly acquired friends that I would be back and set off for Amarillo Airport in my beloved little Jeep; with my beloved Cowboy.
The flight to LA took us via Denver, CO – one of the prettiest airports I’ve transited through of late.

And there have been quite a few.

My brother collected us from LAX and on the way to his home where we were to spend the weekend, he told us about the horrific Metrolink accident and how the housemate of one of his employees had lost a brother.

The grimness of the event was acknowledged and then my focus shifted back to what lay ahead of me.

In physical terms it was to be an insufferable journey – a flight from LA to London and a 12 hour wait there before boarding another long haul flight to Cape Town

In emotional terms my heart was being ripped apart as my Cowboy was to return to Texas to work out the remainder of his contract - a contract for which he had a work visa; a visa which we had applied to extend for another year.

My visa might have a fabulous validity of 10 years but it only allowed me to remain in the US for 6 months at a time.
And of course at no time whatsofuckingever could I even consider employment of any kind! Not even voluntary work!!
breath in breath out…find a pressure point to slow the heart rate
Suffice to say that by the end of my 6 month visitation period I was am an expert on the ins and outs of US Visas.

I tend to digress when the word Visa comes up!

It didn’t help that I nearly missed my flight out of LA – actually it probably did as it precluded me from having time for sharing anything more than a perfunctory hug and goodbye kiss with the Cowboy, and the need to R.U.N to the departure gate quelled any tears.

And so, as I R.A.N through the concourse of terminal 6 little did I know that that departure would signify the beginning of a year long losing battle to get back to my Cowboy.

It has been a journey that some have labeled an adventure, exciting; others have called me a lucky Possum. But as I sit here trying to deflate the balloon of grief frustration anger pressure that is threatening to burst in my chest I ponder about the different journeys life takes us all on.

Parallel journeys.

More significantly though I’ve pondered all those whose paths have crossed my journey.
and with that thought the balloon deflates

Yes, I had forgotten about that tragic train crash.
But until a short while ago I never knew that this friend of mine – a friend whose path only crossed mine in May - had lost his brother.
Or that the crash and the loss were the cause and effect.

I must say it puts things in perspective.

R.I.P Mike

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The NOW...


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Neither a Lenter nor a Borrower be

You know how there's some stuff in life that we all just 'Know'?

Yet we don’t really know why?
It’s like we know that February follows January; that happiness follows heartbreak. I'm sure someone out there knows exactly why that is but for the rest of us it just is.
In a way I guess that’s why board games like Trivial Pursuit and TV shows like the Leakest Wink are so popular. That reminds me: A good friend of mine was once a contestant. How exciting is it to actually know someone on the show!! She did very well; should actually have won!
Come to think of it, it would also have been nice if that other individual who I thought was my friend hadn’t “permanently borrowed” my Trivial Pursuit….Hrrrmph!!

ANYway, the other day whilst out shopping in the city I noticed there were a lot of strangely dressed children; strange as in “fancy dress”.

Being a relative newcomer to life on this little island I just assumed that there was some fiesta being celebrated in the vicinity. On returning to the village I popped into the local spot for a coffee - it’s
de rigueur to go there every day. It’s like “Cheers” – everybody there knows your name along with everybody else’s business. It was there that I found out that we were actually in the midst of “Carnival” ergo the fancy dressed folk I’d seen.
But…hold the phone…isn’t that what happens in Rio?
Yes. But not only there, I discover.

In fact there are two Carnival parades on the island, which are very different from each other. The most important one takes place always on the Saturday of the Carnival weekend. It’s the more sophisticated one with thousands of participants in magnificent and colourful costumes dancing through the streets, spreading an ambiance evoking the Carnival of Rio. This is always followed by the more relaxed and fun ‘peoples’ parade, whereby locals and tourists can dress up in anything they want and show off their creations to the public in a more ‘party’ and less formal atmosphere.
So now I know exactly why folk were in their fancy dress.

I also know exactly why my home made tomato sauce tastes like I was taught to cook by an Italian grandmother! And I aint telling! And she wasn’t Italian!
ANYway, there I was busy preparing a pot of said scrumptious sauce; one ear tuned into SKY news, the other eagerly awaiting the Postman who should be arriving bearing the fruits of an online purchasing expedition – n’other whole story there; n’other day.
But then I hear some news that brings my onion paring to an abrupt halt. According to SKY it seems the Pope has had an epiphany. His bright spark suggestion is that the youth of today should give up Mobile phone texting.
For a bit.
For Lent in fact.
Sweet Mother on a pogo stick!! What next!!
Clearly the world wide economic recession has not touched base in The Vatican.

Does the dude not realize what financial ramifications would be stirred up if texting was put on pause?
Does he not get the power of the thumb on a keypad?

But that got me thinking about Lent.
I’ve always religiously missed the beginning of Lent. The first I know of it is through other people.
Possum - “Have a chocolate?”
Lentil 1 - “No thanks; I’ve given it up for Lent.”

Possum - “Let’s go out and have a glass of wine”
Lentil 2 - “Aw I can’t; I’ve given up alcohol for Lent.”

I’ve always known about Lent; that it’s a Christian festival; a forty-day period before Easter when people give up rich foods.
Rich food Mr Pope; not mobile phone texting!
But why is it that it’s always other people who know exactly when it happens?
Yes I know I could text the Pope and ask him for the date once Christmas festivities are over, of course. And I know I could be less of a heathen and go to Church more regularly, but thats another whole kettle of fish.
What I have learned though is that if I lived in the UK I would definitely be forewarned of the onset of Lent. There, Shrove Tuesday (the day before Lent) is also known as Pancake Day (or Pancake Tuesday to some people) and it is the one day of the year when almost everyone eats a pancake.

That works for me! And I’m not going to even think to ask “why pancakes? Why not choclate cake?”

But get this!
In the Latin countries this Tuesday is the last day of carnival.
Mental light bulb starts to flicker

The French call this Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras

Omigod! M.A.R.D.I. G.R.A.S

Now THAT I never knew. I never knew that Lent and Mardi Gras were so intricately relevant to one another.

So that’s why there are Carnivals all over the world and not just in Rio. And that’s exactly why the children were wearing fancy dress that day, that Tuesday. It wasn’t just the People’s Parade! It was Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day without the pancakes, dammit!

And I would never have found this out had the Pope not suggested giving up texting.
Just don’t get me started on his latest suggestion regarding condom use!
Come to think of it. It might not be such a bad idea introducing non-rich-food items into the abstinence list. Things like swearing or being disparaging, biting ones toe nails or wearing ugly shoes, actually going to gym or recycling the trash. Just think, whilst quaffing a glass of wine or nibbling on a chocolate we could be feeling perfectly penitent and maybe, just maybe at the end of those 40 days the new behaviour pattern might be so deeply entrenched that it would have become a habit! Now there's an epiphany for you!

Caffè Americano for me please; sans sugar, I’m sweet enough.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Days of our Lives

The other day was the perfect day for catching up on my reading; it rained ALL day.
In fact at one stage I was forced to acknowledge that what I thought was going to be a drop or two was actually going to be a deluge. It was this particular stage that had me throwing my persona into an old sweatshirt and my feet into flip flops; thereafter rushing around outside doing an award winning impersonation of a mother hen - or would that be an im-hen-ation?
ANYway my precious newly shooting rose cuttings were on the point of drowning and needed saving!

(memo to self - refrain from uttering "my precious" in that newly found husky voice; short little men wearing funny looking rings might come to take you away)

Okay, so once I'd gotten the little ones under cover and myself into a fluffy towel I popped over to see what mushypeas was serving up - well it was more like Spuds on toast; brilliant!

It did touch a chord.

You see, a coupla weeks ago I was prowling around looking for an old school mate whose path I'm hoping to cross later this year when I set off on a particular road trip. Natch the first port of call when looking for an old school mate is that wonderful social search engine we fondly abbreviate to FB.
Bingo! there she was!
Double Bingo! there was the link- umbilical cord - to the FB page set up in honour of the School we'd both attended. A long time ago.
Cha-ching! Jackpot! Photographs!! Lots of them.
Luckily I was never swift enough off the starting blocks to have qualified for any of those Team Photo shoots but I made sure my friends were all fleet of foot. And there they were; just as I remembered them.
(the chords of John Denver's "Country Roads" are starting to run through my brain like a backing track)
Not only that, FB has that sneaky little option called "view friends".

A true Pandora's Box moment preceded my reaching for my mouse.
But then, just like that, with one click of said mouse, my sound track squealed to a halt with that needle-scratching-on-vinyl sound made famous by Ally McBeal.
Bugger! Why are those little pictures SO well...little?
Reach for spectacles.
Bit better.
Some are immediately recognizable others not. In fact it would really help if the girls had included the "nee" part of their sur-names and the boys had refrained from growing facial hair and/or balding.
Most folk have fairly clear mental pictures and up-to-date memories of their high school buddies. Heck, some still invite each other to dinner parties! I am not ‘most folk’ however; never have been. For one thing I was moved to another country during The Early Years and never had the privilege of becoming a school leaver - well not of that particular school! Hence my memories of this particular stage of my life had remained in a holding pattern; one that precluded me from knowing who had gone where, when, with whom and how.

But here we all are. Again. Scattered all over the world yet touching base. Giving new meaning to being on the same page.
So yes, times have changed. Catching up on reading these days can have one turning the pages or clicking on links. But how pleasing that the most up-to-date methods can have us pondering our early memories; our roots.
To remember. To be remembered.
Glory Days!
Hit pause button for warm fuzzy feelings and cue in soundtrack

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Bold and the Beautiful

A little while ago I was out with the Dusty Muffin and her Mum and we ended up having a very late night. The events that transpired in those late/early hours reminded me of an event that transpired quite a while ago when I was heading home – also a tad later than I had planned to.

I’d been out at the theatre rehearsing for a play that was nearing opening night – hence the lateness. As I turned into my road I had one of those “Oh no, why does this have to happen to me” moments.
Because there in front of me was of a chap battling to push-start a car of dubious make. Naturally I made the immediate assumption it was due to a flat battery and that I was going to be asked if I had jumper leads.
I have a confession to make; I never admit to having jumper leads. Don’t ask me why. Suffice to say they are way up there with hair brushes and toothbrushes – things you have but don’t lend out.
Anyway, back to my dilemma. Do I do the civil thing and offer assistance or do I head for my front door given the lateness of the hour?
I choose the latter.
I am doing well in my “out of character” choice and am heading towards my front door about to insert the key. Just before I pass the point of no return I glance back.
I cannot help myself. I have to see how they are progressing.
A glance was all it took for my conscience to kick in – visions of karmic backlash involving me, a deserted country road and a flat battery are running vividly through my brain!

“Do you need any help? I ask
“No it’s okay lady” car pusher says. Well dressed car pusher I note to self.
“Okay goodnight then” I COULD have said but of course I didn’t.
“Flat battery?” I persevered
“No, I think it’s the starter motor but really, it’s okay lady”

Again I could have left the scene and gone with Plan A but no, I go straight to Plan Q; the one where I proceed to step TOWARDS the rear of the veehickle.
On my marks, get set, go!
Very soon we were hurtling down the road at a speed good enough to ignite the spark plugs, battery and starter motor collectively; if only the “driver” would let the clutch out!
“Okay let it out now!!” I urged
There was no letting it out. What’s more we really needed to take advantage of our speed because ahead of us was a slight uphill!
“Make sure it’s in second gear then let the clutch out” I instructed through gritted teeth
”NOW!” I yelled as I let go and slowed to catch my breath
Nada. Nothing. And lo and behold gravity kicked in and the car slowed to a stop.
I stagger up to the driver’s window to ascertain what the problem could possibly be. While I am repeating my foolproof method with minute detail of what to do with the accelerator and brake after letting out the clutch, a few things assail my now irritated senses all at once:
~ the aroma of alcohol from the drivers seat
~ the now apparent youth of aforementioned well dressed car pusher
~ the fact that it is not winter yet the “driver” has the cuffs of his long sleeve t shirt pulled over his hands as though they are cold
~ the fact that there are no interior lights showing on the dashboard

And then the driver opened the car door, got out and suggested that I do the “driving” while they pushed.
That’s when I had my moment of clarity.

You see there was a time; back in the day, when at 5.30pm on weekdays I would be no place other than sprawled on my couch, eyes glued to the TV, soaking up my daily soapie. And every day, just before the nail biting ending, my neighbour would arrive home and park outside my lounge window. I never saw the neighbour/car because there was an 8’ high 3’ wide hedge between us. How was I aware of his arrival you might ask? Well he, his car, had a dodgy silencer - or maybe I had a dodgy television – probably a combination of both. Whichever it was my picture warbled until such time as he managed to get his car to turn off. Furthermore he had an even dodgier car door that sounded as though it was about to drop off its hinges as he opened it, got out and then slammed it. Every day. Roll credits.

Hence my moment.
There I was standing next to what HAD to be the same aforementioned veehickle because no two car doors could make that same falling-off-hinges sound.
And in my moment I realized not only was grand theft auto in progress, I was aiding and abetting!
So what to do became my dilemma.
Well, the actress in me kicked in. Hands were thrown up in exaggerated irritation and ends of tethers were reached. Car thieves were told that I was now tired and was going home; which I did.
Clearly neighbour was alerted; chase was given, apprehensions were made, police eventually arrived, statements were made.

“Hallo everyone. My name is Possum and I was a soapie addict”