AtoZ: Z is for Zen

James

To my beloved son on his 12th Birthday

12 years ago you came.

A small sweet thief of our hearts.

You turned our world around and remade it in your own image.

With eyes of wisdom and wonder.

With a laugh that shakes the foundation of the universe.

A son.

A brother.

A young man.

Our world is better for you being in it.

Much more zen.

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I owe so much thanks to all the wonderful people at Jacklin Enterprises who went so far out of their way to assemble this incredible set for James. Mr. Jacklin, Andrea and HP, you guys are absolute super heroes.

AtoZ: Y is for Yesterday

daydream

Yesterday was a public holiday, Freedom Day.

It marks the first free and fair elections in a democratic South Africa.

I could’ve gone to a political rally.

I could’ve gone shopping.

I didn’t.

I lay in the sun surrounded by the sounds of happy children and the sighs of sleeping dogs.

It was a good day to be free.

 

 

AtoZ: X is for XXX

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“Hello, darling”

Lean in.

“Mwah!”

Or is it…

“Mwah Mwah!”

Or is it…

“Mwah! Mwah! Mwah!”

Is it right cheek first or left?

Right, left, right.

Left, right, left.

Air kissing has its own rules and guidelines and I’m damned if I can figure them out.

However, we have to do it, I’d rather it be airbourne than a full on smackeroo.

In the run up to our elections our politicians seem to eschewing the air kiss for the lip locking, tonsil tickling smooch. It makes my blood run cold. My reaction is in part due to my personal space issues, but those aside, it’s not the kind of relationship I want my politicians engaging in.

jerm-agang-da-donorsWatching middle-aged women smashing their lips together in a weak attempt to create intimacy between opposing political factions is only marginally less embarrassing than watching a white woman toyi-toyi.

If you are not familiar with the toyi-toyi, picture Kylie Minogue twerking and the feeling of skin crawling horror you experience would be akin to that of watching a white woman toyi-toyi. Excruciating.

At least this spate of kissing cousins does a little something to relieve the pall of ennui that lies like a heavy layer of smog over these elections.

Oh, we’ll turn out to put our little X in the box, but with little hope that anything will change. This time next year we’ll have the same bunch of inept politicians and their second cousin’s twice removed best friend pocketing our tax money for nothing in return.

At least, now that we’ve already paid for our President’s R250 million swimming pool, we won’t have that burden to carry in his next term. Unless, of course, he decides he wants it gold-plated instead.

 

 

 

AtoZ: W is for Who?

DorothyParker1

 

Jaunty ringtone.

“Mom. Your phone is ringing.”

“No caller ID.”

“Just answer the phone!”

“Hello.”

“Hello, is that Victoria?”

“Yes.”

“Hi, your good friend Judith (not her real name) would like to try our range of incredible cosmetics.”

“Who?”

“Judith.”

“WTF?”

“Judith.”

“I don’t know a Judith.”

Actually, I do. I once upon a time worked in a company with a Judith. We might exchange passable good morning grunts as we passed on our way to get coffee in the morning. Good friends we were not.

Good friends know better than to give out my phone number. The access code to Fort Knox is easier to get than my phone number. Well, I thought it was.

Turns out Judith thinks nothing of giving out every number on the company phone list in order to get a free bottle of perfume.

Anyway, I took the free cosmetics. I took them because I am a sucker for free stuff. They are actually pretty good and they are delivered to my door and I like that.

Regardless, I cannot forgive her for cavalierly giving out my phone number. It is an invasion of an anti-social introvert’s personal space.

Like the Jehovah’s Witnesses who bang on my gate every single Sunday without fail. I respect that they have found their path to God. I have found mine too. It isn’t the same one.

The only thing we have in common is that Sundays are sacrosanct. In other words, do not under any circumstances invade my space on a Sunday.

I tried being nice. I tried explaining my point of view. It was a lovely metaphor, by the way, of a house on a hill with a hundred different paths leading to it.

I tried taking the pamphlet. Then I read it. It was all about how a wife should obey her husband.

So, the next time, I set my husband on them. With Leviticus.

That did the trick. We had a lovely peaceful Sunday for the first time in years. Long may it continue.

AtoZ: V is for Victoria

Victoria1

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 http://www.kabalarians.com. 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:

Vicious

Intolerable

Crazy

Trashy

Over-rated

Rude

Illiterate

Argumentative

AtoZ: U is for Unbuttoned

CharliesAngels03

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.

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

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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: http://taunina.com/

And on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Taunina

AtoZ: Friday Fictioneers: T is for The Blind Date

buskers

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction photo prompt.

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

Pop over to http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/

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

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.