AtoZ: V is for Victoria


I was a bit stumped for V today, until my esteemed colleague pointed out that my name began with V.

In the spirit of such narcissism I tried to find adjectives that matched the letters in my name to my personality.

It was a hard call between crazy and creative, talkative and tenacious.

All in all though I think it sums me up (well the good parts) pretty well.

Of course I Googled and I found You can enter your name and voila, up comes a personality review. I was lucky enough to get a result that was pretty accurate. I think.

  • The name of Victoria gives you a clever, quick, analytical mind, but you suffer with a great deal of self-consciousness, lack of confidence, and much aloneness because of misunderstandings.
  • In other words, my inability to bite my tongue gets me into a lot of trouble I could avoid by just being mute.
  • Your idealistic and sensitive nature gives you a deep appreciation for the finer things of life and a strong desire to be of service to humanity.
  • I like pretty things and I like happy people.
  • There are times when you experience inner turbulence at your inability to say what you mean.
  • Like when the perfect comeback arrives at the tip of your tongue for an argument that took place hours before.
  • It is far easier for you to express your deeper thoughts and feelings through writing than verbally.
  • The delete button is my friend.
  • You find pleasure in literature, in poetry, and in your ideals and will turn to them when you feel you have been misunderstood.
  • When I’m miserable I read Pride and Prejudice, Yeats of Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of reading Gaol.
  • You are deeply moved by the beauties of life, especially nature.
  • I like pretty things.
  • Because your feelings run deep, you must guard against the ups and downs, being very inspired one minute, then moody, reserved, and depressed the next.
  • Bipolar, manic-depressive, needs a padded room.
  • Your reactions to people vary according to how you feel.
  • Some days I can live with stupidity some days I can’t.
  • You tend to be secretive and noncommittal about private matters, yet at times you will talk effusively in order to hide your self-consciousness or to lead others away from personal subjects.
  • I talk too much.
  • You are inspired by encouragement from others, yet suspicious of their intent.
  • You gave me a compliment? What do you want?
  • You crave affection but seldom find anyone who understands your nature.
  • Like a cat, only stroke me when I want to be stroked or I will bite your hand off.
  • Physical weaknesses would show in your heart, lungs, or bronchial organs.
  • Pharyngitis anyone?

Of course you might think I am:









AtoZ: U is for Unbuttoned


The rays of morning sunlight filtered through my dreams.

I stretched a long lazy feline stretch and slowly rolled over careful not to disturb the peacefully slumbering orange cat.

I looked over at the bright led light of the clock and then my heart stopped.

It was 08:30.


Never is all history has a shower, tooth-brushing, getting dressed ritual been completed in such haste.

I arrived at work on time on the dot of nine.

Only at 10:30 did someone think to mention that I had buttoned my shirt up incorrectly.

Honestly, they were lucky I came in underwear and matching shoes.

Clothing mishaps are my absolute worst.

I can’t wear white. Wearing white is a neon sigh to the universe to send birds to poop on me, cups of coffee to spontaneously levitate and spill their contents on me and other fates to terrible to mention.

I, like many women, have been the victim of brutal stabbing attacks by bra underwire.

I’ve arrived at work only to realise in the car park I was wearing my furry slippers and had to go to my mother’s to borrow a pair of more suitable footwear.

I went for an interview with a shirt buttoned up wrong (again) and got the job.

I even was pulled aside by police officers late one evening on an emergency chocolate run to the garage shop while wearing my nightie and bunny slippers.

Not some of my finest moments.

This is why I feel nothing a curious mix of sympathy and joy when a celebrity has a wardrobe mishap. It reminds me that they too are human and that I’m not the only one who occasionally puts a jersey on inside out.

At least mine don’t get plastered on every billboard across the world. The thought of seeing my backside blown up bigger than the Empire State fills me sick horror and a not inconsiderable desire to laugh uproariously.



AtoZ: T is for Taunina


Teddy bears have a special place in my heart. Perhaps because I grew up on a diet of Winnie the Pooh, Rupert the Bear and Paddington.

My cousin Timothy had a bear I coveted as only a child can covet, it was an all encompassing desire to own a threadbare, jointed antique teddy bear. I thought he was the epitome if everything a bear should be – loved by generations of children. I cried desperate tears each time he was wrenched from grasp. Screenshot 2014-04-24 10.24.57

There is something comforting and protective about a teddy bear, an innocence of childhood and bright boot button eyes wise beyond comprehension.

When I stumbled onto these exquisite hand-embroidered teddy bears I was utterly hooked. Taunina bears are, quite simply, the most beautiful bears in the entire world.

Made in Cape Town, these bears are individually created with immense love by a group of phenomenal women from disadvantaged backgrounds.

1891408_654913894572303_1115231133_oEach bear takes the artist about seven days and becomes an embodiment of her creativity, culture and hope for tomorrow.

These bears have become collector’s items all over the world, but not the type of collector’s item that remains in a box on the shelf.

No, each bear is made to be loved and held, and adored by a child until that child passes it on to her child.

It’s not a gift. It’s a legacy. It’s an investment in hope.

Wherever you are in the world, a Taunina bear can find his way to you.

You can find them at:

And on Facebook at:

AtoZ: Friday Fictioneers: T is for The Blind Date


Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction photo prompt.

1 photo. 100 words. (More or less, give or take)

Pop over to

Please visit some of the other intrepid writers who write each week by following the link.

AtoZ: S is for Slander

Head in Hands

To my Facebook Friend

I received a Facebook notification that you posted something to my wall. I clicked on it with interest only to struck dumb.

I have taken a few days to process my reaction and decide whether I should just laugh it off, ignore it or say all the words that are threatening to spill from my soul.

If there were an award for posting the most inappropriate piece of slander about a “friend’s” family on their Facebook wall you would win first prize, the Oscar of Offensive.

In fact, if you want a metaphor, imagine sending Oscar Pistorius’s sister a list of the funniest Oscar jokes to come of his trail. Poor taste much?

I went down a number of paths of reasoning.

  1. Did you go out of your way to be offensive, in which case my reaction can hardly come as a surprise and you succeeded?
  2. Did you honestly think I would find your post amusing, in which case your actions were at best naïve and at worst careless.

Then I realised that your intent really doesn’t matter. I was offended. Deeply.

I was offended that someone I counted as a friend knew me so little as to think I wouldn’t find this offensive in the extreme.

I was offended that you might have thought that having a popular cartoonist perform a character assassination on a member of my family would be a source of celebration or amusement for me.

I was offended when this cartoon surfaced years ago and I am equally offended today.

I can understand Zapiro’s standpoint, he reflects and comments on singular moments and despite the fact that he couldn’t have been more wrong, I can let it go.

But not you, because you know me, you know my family, you know the context, you know what came after and you should know better.

That’s it.


AtoZ: R is for Ready or Not

The long weekend. A time of family, friends and lots and lots of chocolate. At least that’s what I had imagined.

It’s not what happened.

It was one of those times where one small inconsequential decision sets of an avalanche of epic proportions.

I have a high-pressure water sprayer.

It holds me thrall.

When wielding it like a light saber I feel omnipotent.

Also my mother was coming to lunch so I thought I should clean the porch.

Standing back to admire my handiwork, The Husband wandered over and nodded in approval.

“You know that’s all we have to do to paint the wall.”

“Paint the wall?”

“Yes, I hate that colour. Why don’t we go and buy some paint and see.”

And that is how I spent my weekend starting the DIY project of the century.

Apparently, according to the man in the paint shop, you have to paint corner to corner or you can see the streaks when the paint dries. So, the porch stretched to the whole side of the house.

Actually, I have to say that the team at Mica Hardware in Morning Glen far outstrip Builders Warehouse for service, expertise and advice.

The French doors then looked really shabby, so I had to strip and varnish those.

Now the rafters of the porch need a fresh coat of paint too and there are still the other three sides of the house to do.

My body aches in a myriad painful ways after a weekend workout in the Mr. Miyake School of Exercise. Wax on wax off and so on. My roller arm aches like a bench-pressed whatever Arnold used to bench-press.

The wall looks great.

The water sprayer has been surpassed by the paint stripping heat gun.

I have paint in my eyebrows.

And my weekends are booked for the foreseeable future.


AtoZ: Q is for Quadrophonic

“Hi, Vix. How’d your kids like to be a music video?”

“What for?”

“We’re making the Jo’burg verison of Pharrell’s Happy music video.”

And that’s how it started.

So, on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon I assembled the troops and went deep into suburbia.

It was a nice street with Jacaranda trees forming a beautiful arc across the road.

A quiet street with wide pavements and the scent of pomegranates in the air.

A nondescript street with a nondescript gray building at one end.

Not a pretty building. The kind of building you try your best not to have in the shot.

We set up, and by that I mean, I sat on the grassy verge and had a conversation with my son about the merits of Iron Man and Captain America and which of them I’d choose over their father.

The focus of the shot in question was a skateboarding Golden Cocker Spaniel.

Like all shoots it took a while to discuss how this was going to go.

When suddenly a large black security van pulled up. They sat and watched for a few minutes and then descended from the behemoth cradling large semi automatic weapons.

I sent my kids back to the car.

Another black van joined the first.

A flashy BMW came for the party.

Another flashy BMW came to the party.

Soon the crew was surrounded by some rather scary heavyset individuals bristling with firepower and barely restrained testosterone.

Turns out that boring old gray building is a sight of national military importance.

I don’t what threat they though a skateboarding spaniel was, but I wasn’t going to argue.

Soon after that the kids and I jumped into a pile of leaves and threw them at each other for a bit and went home feeling rather uncomfortable with leaves in places leaves should not be.

I didn’t think much about it until yesterday when I got the link on my Facebook.

It was a privilege to have been a part of making this extraordinary homage to my city.

Thank you for letting us be part of it.



AtoZ: P is for Persiflage


Did you there is actually a word for dirty old men?

There is. It’s pornogenerian.

Isn’t that a fabulous word? He’s such a pornogenerian.

And a pornocracy is a government by harlots.

I live in a different of ocracy altogether.

I live in a paedocracy – government by children, both in my home and the mental age of my actual government.

My daughter has palentine (that’s royal authority) over my home.

It can be a real pain in the podex. That’s rear end for you plebeians who don’t know your Ps.

It’s Good Friday and I’ve observed a rather odd occurrence in my community of friends and Facebook acquaintances. Pickled fish.

Currently, all over the place people who I swear have never eaten pickled fish in their lives suddenly making it from scratch.

Is this a South African thing? Like the Scots and haggis?

Even more stomach churning, is that apparently you eat with hot cross buns.

Hot cross buns and pickled fish. Yum.

Apparently it is a Cape Malay tradition something to do with three-hour church services and not cooking over the Easter weekend. Three hours of church and I just might eat my pew book.

I’m not pantophobic. I’m not scared of everything. Just pickled fish. To feed me pickled fish would be a parapraxis of the first degree. I would be appalled.

However, I cannot judge, that would be very parvanimous of me. There are people for whom Brussels sprouts are the height of culinary paradise. All power to them. Actually, I don’t hate all Brussels sprouts. Just those grown in South Africa that are tough and taste like petrol.

Enough of this persiflage.

Here is a recipe for Malay Pickled Fish if you feel like it.





AtoZ: O is for Ogre Under the Bed


Flash Fiction Challenge: A desperate man comes up with a unique way to make some extra cash.

“Hey dude! It’s Grant, where you at?”

“Can’t talk now, I’m in a closet.”

“In the closet? Man, you want to tell me something?”

“Not the closet, a closet.”


“WTF man? You okay?”

“Fine. Call you back.”

My name is Rob. I have an advanced degree in electrical engineering, served two terms in Afganistan and I am a professional monster scarer.

I kind of stumbled into the job. I got laid off and I needed a way to make some cash. At my age job offers aren’t exactly dangling on trees, you know? There are younger guys out there, cheaper too, without alimony payments.

One night I got a call from my kid, she’s seven.

“Dad, it’s me.”

“Sweetheart, what’s the matter?”

”Dad, there’s a scary monster under my bed.”

“What kind of monster?”

“He’s blue and big and has one eye in the middle of his forehead.”

“A Cyclops then.”

“Dad! What do I do?”

“Is your Mom there?”

“She says he doesn’t exist and that I have an overactive imagination. Can you come and scare him?”

What kind of Dad would I be if I said no? I grabbed my baseball bat and headed over. I’ve got to say I got the fright of my life. I peeked under the bed expecting to see a rabid warren of dust bunnies. My ex isn’t exactly a dab hand with the vacuum cleaner. She’s more of a “if I can’t see it, it’s not there” kind of gal.

I ended up going eyeball to eyeball with biggest blue mofo I had ever seen. All that government paid military training really paid off. I nailed him and I nailed him good. I got him right in the eyeball with Fluttershy. The My Little Pony? Never mind.

Then I knew. These things were real.

Of course, my daughter told a friend, who told a friend and so on and the next thing I knew I was getting calls from kids all over the city.

They call me the Ogre Crusher, the Monster Mauler and, my favourite, the Zombie Slayer. I got quite a reputation for this kind of work. No-one messes with the kids under my protection.

I ended up putting an ad in the paper. Got a lot of calls, a few crazies, but some bona fide monster vics too. I even patented my own Monster Early Warning Lazer, MAWL. You can pick one up online on for only $25.

The kids don’t pay me much. A couple of dimes, a dollar or two, but that’s not where the real money is. The real money is in the monsters. The bounty on those suckers is magnificent. I kill one and a crate of cash is delivered to my door. Tax-free. Courtesy of the Tooth Fairy. I shit you not. The goldarn Tooth Fairy.

Even got myself a crew now. Couple of guys like me. See things you can’t. Ex Special Forces most of them, PTSD the shrinks said. PTSD my ass. They see monsters, like me. When you faced the worst humankind can throw at you, maybe you just ain’t surprised when some metaphysical bully begs to get an ass whipping.

Look, I gotta go. Call coming in. Medusa downtown garbage shoot. Wanna come along for the ride? It’ll be a good one. Only one way to take those suckers down, a good beheading. Real scythe stuff.

No? Well, nice chatting. Remember check under the bed before you go to bed. Night now.

AtoZ: N is for Not Now, Dear


Zone Out - Balloons by Scarlia on DeviantArt
Zone Out – Balloons by Scarlia on DeviantArt










I zone. I do. I think it’s a defense mechanism.

I do have a highly developed very short-term memory that dissipates come of the social embarrassment of having to admit that I just drifted away there.

I can remember verbatim about the last 6 or 7 words said.

This means that when The Husband says, “You weren’t listening. What did I just say?”

I can parrot back the last sentence. Perfectly, but with no idea of context or the response required.

The Husband calls it my veils of Salome. He says you can see the veils of perception close one by one across my eyes.

My children know this too, which is why they resort to shouting my given name at about 300 decibels right next to my eardrum.

Some of my colleagues have very expensive headphones and listen away to pounding muzak to drown out everyone else. They get away with not knowing what is going on.

I don’t. I am thinking of buying some headphones just to pretend.

The truth is that the sky could fall on my head and I probably wouldn’t notice.

I am in the zone.

It’s my happy place, my zen state.

Interrupt it at your not insignificant expense.