Friday, October 31, 2008

Warning- pointless story

Finally I did it. I waited in a queue from 8am on Wednesday until the Fi took me home at 3. I waited and waited with the entire cross section of South Africa. And then when I thought I would rather go home than wait any longer I got to the front of the line and booked my learners test. Today I wrote it and passed (obviously).

I am feeling so very relieved to not have that stressing me anymore. I am just one more step closer to getting my drivers. whew!

I sat with such interesting people. I had lots of fun gaining inspiration from the crazies around me in the queue...

So, No there is no point to this post. But heck, at least I warned you!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sources of Inspirations...

The other day I stumbled across my little book of inspirations. It is a small purple book that my very good friend gave me for my 18th birthday.

Elle is from the UK and she came to South Africa to do some missions work. She got here when there was a lot of chaos in the organisation she was aligned with and it turned out she had no place to stay after a short time here. She 'randomly' met my mother (God was the mastermind behind that meeting!) and we 'happened' to have a spare granny flat (See, totally God!) and she was able to live with us for a few months.

During this time, I was going through some personal identity issues. I was in matric and was trying to decide on my future, I had troubles at school and I needed to work through a lot of issues with God. Elle knew me while my inner self was in complete turmoil. When I would not find a Godly solution to my problems it was Elle who would take me into her beach buggy and drive me around listening and giving advice.

She is my 'adoptive' big sister. My insides giggled when I found this book. I was reading through it seeing notes I made about Confucius and hopelessness. The last note I made was a quote by Mark Twain. I think that God used this thought as one of the stepping stones to bring me to where I am today.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

It was this line of thinking that has brought me into crazy frenzies of bad decisions. This rebellion led me to nothings. Life lost colour. God has used this to ultimately bring me even closer and firmer to Christ and his love, mercy and grace.

My favourite verse is John 10:10 which reads, "The thief comes to kill and destroy, but I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full." I searched for a full life. I looked everywhere. I found it in Jesus Christ. When the clock turns 10:10am/pm I am reminded of Jesus' promise. Through him I receive life fuller, grander and in more abundance than I can ever receive anywhere else.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Baby bro's aren't really babies once they can beat you up.

The other day was my baby bro's birthday. And it made me get all sad and stuff thinking that, freaking hell, he is 17! I was working when I was 17. I was fighting with my father about... something... And here is my brother taking up the slack and being a man.

My brother is a nutcase. Some of my favourite stories of him revolve around our family pet... Walter. Poor Walter is a mini dachshund. My brother loved this dog.

He must have been 6 years old. My mother called me into the bathroom to see what my brother had done. I knew then this was going to be good. I peered around the corner to see the dog in the toilet shivering. Joshua was flushing the toilet repetitively because he hadn't seen my mom and I yet. My mom asked him what he was doing. "I'm giving the dog a bath!"

Same dog, another day- Josh took Walter for a walk by attaching the leash and throwing the dog over the 6 foot tall fence. When Josh realised he couldn't jump over the fence he tried to pull the poor dog back. Here is the dog hanging by the throat over the side of the fence going up and down. My mother was mortified!

Josh and I have had so many good times. Like the time when he bit my butt while my dad was reading to us. Great times. Especially the day when our play fighting turned into him bleeding and me laughing. His kicking my behind in xbox and PlayStation and my... actually kicking his behind. Or telling on him (oh the glory of being the eldest!)

I love my brother!

Yosh, if you ever read this, know that I am ridiculously proud of you! Even though you can still be a pain in the butt!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why I will not be voting

The US elections are just around the corner. Living in South Africa I hear more about the Zimbabwean crisis than the US elections. But...

The United States and what happens there effects the entire world, especially Africa. I have heard the debates and read the articles. Honestly, I will be voting for Buttercup from the Powerpuff Girls this election. She would be better than either canidate.

There is something fishy about Obama. He makes me very uncomfortable. I know it isn't the wisest way to dismiss a canidate but I truly believe the more smoke the greater the fire. Plus I am a staunch pro-life supporter. However, McCain isn't much grander. He has flip-flopped depending on his mood it seems from democrat to republican. He still supports the war and I want our troops home. I have friends over there. I support our troops by wanting them home and safe. If there was a third party, maybe I would vote for him. This election however I am not voting. I know thats uncool but neither person represents my views, my voice.

Give me better options. I want more.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday, Monday so good to me

It is Monday, the day of to dos. The day were I sit and notice everything that I have to accomplish before next monday.

This week is my get-important-things-done week. I normally live in Pretoria near the university. Since the last few exams are around the corner (ie next week) I have a week off and are spending it at my folks home. I do not have a South African drivers license and it seems as though my American one is not applicable for some odd reason. I have not been able to get my license because the stupid government run Home Affairs took so freaking long to issue me my identity document. Now that I have such document I can not get a booking for my test. Why? The entire system has been either fully booked or not working. Curse you Murphy. Curse you South Africa!

This week I am hoping desperately for a lift to the licensing department where I can hopefully get my learners. Hoping. Because I am about to get married and I can't legally drive. Lame.

I am hoping to study for my exams. Woo. No, I will be studying for my exams. Not hoping here.

I am hoping to find a less expensive but still GORGEOUS wedding gown. Hoping with strong hopes here....

I am hoping to organise the room my parents have given me after I move out of my flat and before I get married.

And there was one other thing.... Oh yes, I am hoping to sort out my inspirations for blogging in November. I would love to reach 30 posts in 30 days!

Have a fantastic Monday everyone! Get all your hope- to - dos and need- to- dos accomplished so that you can breathe free-er!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Caution! Gush Alert!

Today was super-productive-wedding-planning-day! We designed the invitations, the programs and the thank you notes. We finalised the ceremony music, even found one of the Fi's friends to do a guitar instrumental for the symbolic unity candle lighting (which apparently is not a South African tradition. Weird! Instead they watch you sign the marriage contract. Strange.) We finalised the vows, the wording on the invitations and even the venue itself. I am feeling so stoked!

We had an eventful evening of 'Air on G-string' composed by Bach and the motif which, when turned upside-down held a strong resemblance to the female reproductive system, and when turned to the side held slight resemblance to the male reproductive system.

My mother and I argued about the use of RSVP cards and whether or not they need a self addressed stamped envelope in South Africa. We spent hours searching for the 'proper' typeface and spacing.

Throughout all these...details I thought I may have lost the Fi for good. He had told me he wants to be super involved in all the planning. He wanted to help in every way. But I worried.

Fact is, he is a man's man. The guy who takes apart things in order to fix them. He 4x4ed in Mozambique. He repairs huge robotic machines and drives only the manliest cars. He is a freaking Electronic Engineer- and here he is helping my mother and I decide whether or not the brown paper should be used as a focal point. I really did think that he would decide to go watch some Rugby or Cricket or even WWF- something manly and strong. But no. Even if he was cringing-He sat there with me and helped us as much as he could without a complaint *sigh*

I can't begin to say how thankful I am for him. I can't begin to express the blessing he has been to me this last year and few months.

The official countdown of man-and-wife-dom is around 119 days. Or maybe even less because my math is TERRIBLE!

And this is my gushy post. The End. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

People are cutting more than just bread.

There are a few topics in life that I feel very strongly about. Some of these topics are controversial issues that many people feel very strongly about. Religion, abortion, free speech, and purity before marriage are all issues that many people feel very strongly about and yes, I feel very strongly about all those issues. However, today another issue is on my mind.

I have noticed a very concerning spread of a certain poor choice among young people. It was more secretive when I was in school- I knew only a few who struggled with it- however now, maybe because I am older and (uh wiser I guess) I know many more kids who are cutting or burning themselves as a form of emotional release. This issue is close to my heart and not many are aware of the severity of this new trend in society.

Maybe not everyone will find this post as their cup of tea. It is difficult to put a humourous spin on something that I take so seriously. It is important to me to spread awareness of this because the kids I know who injure themselves are not the kids you would expect. I am not saying strip the youth down and search for strange marks on their bodies. I am not asking you to ask 'the tough questions'. Instead, I ask for you to be aware.

Self injury is not a form a suicide. It is not an attention seeking mission most of the time either. According to Wikipedia, "Self-injury
(SI) or self-harm (SH) is deliberate injury inflicted by a person upon their own body without suicidal intent. Some scholars use more technical definitions related to specific aspects of this behaviour. These acts may be aimed at relieving otherwise unbearable emotions, sensations of unreality and numbness. The illness is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) as a symptom of borderline personality disorder and depressive disorders. It is sometimes associated with mental illness, a history of trauma and abuse including emotional abuse, sexual abuse, eating disorders, or mental traits such as low self-esteem or perfectionism, but a statistical analysis is difficult, as many self-injurers conceal their injuries." (The links are to the actual Wikipedia site)

The Pain We Hide is a website created by a self diagnosed 'cutter'. His information may be biased or just plain out wrong. However, they have the most complete compilaation of statistics that I have found. Most web pages are unsure of the actual stats and only post a few. This list seems like a compilation of stats from various other sites that I have seen including and other reputable sites. Unfortunately because it is a personal site without any ethical grounding in plagiarism they do not say where they obtained their statistics. Anyway, they reckon that in the UK,

  • 43% know someone who has self-harmed.
  • 41% of people believe self-injury is selfish and 55% of people believe it's stupid.
  • Approximately 24,000 teenagers were admitted to A&E for self-injury in England and Wales in 1998.
  • 1 in 130 people - 446 000 or nearly half a million people self-injure across Britain.
  • 142 000 hospital admissions are result of self-injury across England and Wales every year

In the world,

  • An estimated 2 million Americans admit to purposely cutting or burning themselves.
  • The average self-injurer begins in her early-mid teens and continues with increasing severity into her late twenties.
  • More than half of self-injurers are victims of abuse or neglected/emotionally abusive childhoods.

The 19 year old who established this site compiled a list of things tendencies that he has or that he has noticed in his friend who cut. They are very interesting. He lists them as:

"The general picture of people who self-injure appears to be people who:

  • are overly sensitive to rejection
  • are chronically angry, especially at themselves
  • strongly dislike themselves
  • tend to suppress their anger
  • have high levels of aggressive emotions
  • tend to act according to their moods
  • tend not to plan for the future
  • are depressed and suicidal/self destructive
  • tend towards irritability
  • tend to be avoidant
  • do not think they have enough control
  • do not think they can cope

Self-injury can occur at any age, and in any sex, race, culture or status. But the most common occurrences are in females aged between 15 and 19. Males can suffer too but the most common age in males is between 20 and 24 years of age. There is no clear national/international statistics about self-injury as most keep it hidden but estimated numbers have been composed."

The Helpline said something I think has to go into the discussion of SI (self injury).

Self-injury is little understood by most people. The idea of deliberately hurting yourself is seemingly incomprehensible. For most of us, cutting or burning our skin would be incredibly painful and difficult to carry out. For cutters, it is not a strange thing to do. In fact, many cutters that I have spoken to, despite being ashamed, did not think it was a volatile or destructive way to handle their situation. Perhaps, some do realise. I honestly do not know. The following is extracted from helpline.

"The alteration or destruction of body tissue may be regarded on its surface (both literally and figuratively) as a morbid behavior on the one hand, and as a self-help behavior on the other (Favazza and Conterio 1988). We all have methods of coping with stress, whether it is emotional, physical or psychological. Coping is a behavior, which an individual utilizes to get through stressful, and difficult times as best they can. And sometimes the methods we use are extreme, perhaps excessive in comparison to the original stress. Self-injury is an example of an extreme method, but a method that, nonetheless, serves its purpose. Mentally ill self-injurers have an increased risk of suicide, although self-injury itself in not a failed attempt at suicide. It is frequently mistaken for a suicidal gesture, but there is a clear distinction between repetitive self- injury and suicide attempts. Self-injury is intended not to kill, but rather to relieve unbearable emotional pain and many survivors regard it, paradoxically, as a form of self-preservation (Herman 1992). The reasoning behind self-injury is diverse and by no means the same for all self- injurers. Self-injurers may give a single reason for their behavior, but, more commonly, their reasons are multiple and sometimes, on the surface, seemingly conflicting. Some of the more common purposes that self-injury serves are explored below.

R RRelief from overwhelming emotions is one of the reasons given most often for self-injury. The immense internal psychic pressure felt from overwhelming emotions can seem uncontrollable, frightening, and dangerous. People who self-injure have often not learned to identify, express, or release their emotions. Most have never developed the ability to feel and express emotions as others do. They may not have been allowed to show or release their true emotions. Yet their feelings still exist, whether they show them or not. They may have adopted self-injury as a strategy for getting relief from these intense feelings (Alderman 1997). The relief gained from these emotions is rapid, but temporary. The effectiveness of self-injury, at the moment, to provide relief and release is one of the reasons why self-injurers find it so difficult to stop.

PHPPhysical expression of emotional pain is one way for the self-injurer to provide evidence/confirmation of their psychological suffering. Self-injurers speak of their wounds and their scars as being a way to see the pain they feel inside. That by causing these injuries they are bringing their pain out to be seen and perhaps healed. Often, individuals who engage in self-injury tend to minimize or doubt their own internal experiences. Physically expressing the emotional pain allows them to have concrete evidence of intangible, amorphous, or indefinable emotions (Alderman 1997). Self-injury speaks loudly of the pain the individual feels long before they have the words to express it.

U UUnreality, numbness and dissociation are experienced by many self-injurers. Dissociation is something that most of us have experienced, through such breaks in consciousness as daydreaming or driving past your exit from the motorway. Even though everyone dissociates to some degree at times, for some it is a defense mechanism, protecting them in the face of intolerable emotional pain. After a time, this too becomes intolerable, and self-injury may become a means for reducing, preventing, or ending a disturbing dissociative state. At times, the emotionally numb state may extend to physical anesthesia, so that severe injuries may be inflicted with a minimum of pain (Moskovitz 1996). Although we all dissociate, most of us do not fear that we will physically and/or psychologically disintegrate. What makes it different for self- injurers is that they feel they are shattering - falling apart. One woman uses the analogy of a magician taking a dollar and tearing it into many pieces. He waves his wand, mumbles some words and 'presto' the dollar is whole again. She says she feels like that dollar, ripped up into may pieces, she cuts and 'presto' she feels whole again.

SE SSelf Punishment and Self Hate may well be the simplest and most easily understood explanation of self-injury. Histories of childhood abuse (physical, sexual, and/or emotional) are represented in a high proportion of individuals who self-injure. Common with childhood abuse is the child erroneously blaming themselves for their abuse. Many children believe that they deserved everything they got, they somehow asked for it, and that they are innately bad. These lessons from childhood often remain and influence their treatment of themselves. They are unduly critical of themselves, leading to feelings of shame and blame, which then leads to self-punishment for their perceived transgression. Many self-injurers have been taught that many thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we take for granted, such as feeling angry and having needs are bad and deserve punishment. When these are aroused in them their self-hate is emphasized and they feel they have to pay. Many describe the letting of their blood, the essence of their life force, as getting rid of some of the badness.

SE SSelf Nurturing may seem to be in conflict with the act of intentionally hurting oneself, but self-injury has a self-nurturing component for some individuals through the self-care they are able to give to themselves afterwards, and through the making on internal wounds external there is also an attempt to heal oneself. Feeling that they are alone and that no one cares is common with self-injurers. A gain from their injuries is the care they give to themselves. One self-injurer described it as 'an excuse to take care of and be gentle with myself'. Self-mutilation may also be therapeutic because of the symbolism associated with the formation of scar tissue; scar tissue indicates that healing has occurred. Thus, with a few strokes of a razor the self-cutter may unleash a symbolic process in which the sickness within is removed and the stage is set for healing as evidenced by a scar. The cutter, in effect, performs a primitive sort of self-surgery, complete with tangible evidence of healing (Favazza 1996)."

Th TThe Helpline site has a lot of great information as to how to deal with people who cut. It is difficult as an outsider to relate to things we don't understand. My hope in this post is that you as a reader would better understand this. I am greatly concerned at the prevalence in the South African youth culture. In some circles, due to the 'emo' trend, it is actually a requirement. If we as the role models of these kids don't show them better, more constructive ways to deal with life then the statistics will only climb.

Tk TThank you for reading this post and joining me in the fight for our youth. If this is a topic that interests you as it does me another organisation to look at is To Write Love on Her Arms. It is a organisation focussed on awareness of SI, depression and other such things with a Biblical perspective. The link to investigate is To Write Love on Her Arms.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Waiting for the Hour to Change...

My BFF is just about to buy her tickets. Yeah baby. She still lives in Oregon, and she's flying down in January. Dom and I have been BFFs since we were 5 years old. There is talk of big changes in her life as well as the big changes in mine. She came down to SA last year and we spent three glorious months, hanging out, getting tattoos and enjoying life. Ak. We had so much fun and I just can't wait for her to come down again. I miss her! As you all know I am no good with the big P. Patience and me are totally opposites. I just want to fast forward until the times I am looking forward to! This is a picture of us at a Lion Park where we got to cuddle with baby lion cubs and try our sexy faces in Safari hats.

It actually reminds me of the Adam Sandler movie Click. Its weird to refer to it, because I actually hated that movie despite it various funny moments. The plot was dumb. But sometimes that is how its like for me. I want a remote to fast forward the days of waiting. Then that famous quote by Lennon strikes me, "Life is what happens while you are making plans." Maybe I'll just live and enjoy. Who ever promised me tomorrow? They say that waiting builds patience. They say but they don't know. I reckon it builds frustration. It builds character. And it builds some incredible moments for memories. So hurry up memories!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

As I watch 60s romance films...

Happy Friday everyone! OK so its actually 23h25 here but in a mere 35 minutes it will indeed be a very happy Friday! Honestly, it might even be by the time I finish this post. I found some 1960s movie on TV called The Angel Wore Red. It's actually very interesting!

So anyhow, I think it is time for a wedding update. I am no longer aiming for Bridezilla. Even though some may say I have already reached such monstrous status purely due to the external stress of exams.

The Fiance and I have *finally* found a venue. We are scheduling a tasting and life will be fantastic! We have decided on our floral arrangements and even our invitations. All we have to do is actually construct them. I found a dress AGES ago, then decided to continue shopping. I received such poor customer service there that I refuse to give them my hard earned money (OK so my PARENT'S hard earned money, but never-the-less, it is the principle) thank you very much. We have most our music for both the ceremony and the reception sorted and we found an awesome DJ (OK so its actually my brother, but he's actually FANTASTIC) I only have to find my progression song. How hard is it to find a song with only guitar with the right mood for a progression song? ugh. Wonderful readers, do you have any suggestions?

Like I said, exams are upon me. I have finished 2 so far, I have submitted my portfolio for my writing class and so that leaves 5 more. The 17th of November is my last exam. Yay! There is an old wives tale that if the flower of a Jacaranda tree falls upon the shoulder of a student it means they will pass their exams. Yesterday, my flatmates and I ran under every single Jacaranda tree in all of Hatfield hoping one beautiful bloom would fall on our shoulder. the closest thing I got was a rock stuck in my bare shoeless foot and a stick that fell into my cleavage. I am thinking I better study hard! :)

I have a question. I know some of my readers are also aspiring writers. I wrote a short story for my writing class and when I got my feedback I was really unimpressed with the comments my prof had. He pretty much told me he liked it. AGKK! That, to me, is the biggest insult. My hope is that people FEEL SOMETHING when they read it. Never would I ever desire that someone would just read something and 'like' it. So I am posting it on my other blog. This is the link to the short story. If you feel something...negative or positive... please post and let me have it! :)

I love it when I am right. It is 23h59 as I type this. So an official happy Friday to you all!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cue obnoxious Akon song...

This week- meaning Monday and Tuesday because that is all of the week that has actually passed so far- has not been a fun one. I don't like not having fun. There is no one real reason for all my unhappiness this week- I just am.

I am lonely. I sit in my flat- alone. I attend lectures- alone. I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner- alone. I am a social person. I need people. This week, due to the invention of finals, I have no people anywhere. lame.

Yesterday I was watching South Park. Yes, I am now a fan of moments in South Park. Anyway, Stan's girlfriend broke up with him to be with Token. Shame, poor guy. Stan's construction paper heart was broken. He became so enchanted with pain, he decided to be goth. (It was hilarious. The episode was called Raisins if you are interested!) He moped and he wrote poetry. He felt generally sorry for himself. Then, poor Butters, his girlfriend dumped him too. The two meet up and Butters tells Stan that even though he is sad, he is experiencing a beautiful sadness. Butters knew that in order to feel so sad he needed to have to ability to feel so happy in order to compare the two. There is some strange truth to that.

And so I'll mope. I'll do my lame-ass Spanish oral exam, and my lame-ass Spanish projects and I may or may not pass (depending on my weirdo lecturer's mood) and I'll be alone. In my loneliness I'll try to see the sunshine. Maybe I'll go dance in the African rainstorms. Sometimes I have to decide to be happy. While I don't feel joy today I cannot allow the darkness to swallow me... Fighting. This month has been about fighting and today I will fight the blackness...and maybe the conjugations of verbs. :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fabulous AND Curvy? Not possible.

I know this is a pretty frequent topic of mine that I ramble about. However,I have to say it.

I am a plus-sized woman (considering 'plus-sized is greater than a 14). I am voluptuous. I have hips, a chest and a waist. And I am beautiful.

While I was surfing the net for tips for 'plus-sized' brides I stumbled across this site that frustrated me. It gave suggestions for dresses that suit full figured women and then at the end it said, 'Try to lose weight. Stop sitting around.' Ouch!

I am not lazy. I am not fat. Being curvy-for the zillionth time- is not unattractive. I do not sit around. I want to feel healthy; I want to feel beautiful. I do not need to be a size 6 to do that. Fight the size zero. Screw this stupidity! I'm going out there and I am going to dazzle!

Fat Day surviver

Today is a 'fat day'. I have some days where I put on everything in my closet... and nothing looks good. Nothing feels particularly good either. Everything is scratchy or tight or ichy or too hot or too cold or...or...or... it is not fun. In fact, it rather sucks.

I will admit with pride at the end of today...I survived the Fat Day of 17 October 2009. So fat day surrender! I shall be victorious!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where did the teenage mind go?

The other night I had a dream. It was a beautiful dream with 3 of my favourite celebrities; Sting, Bono, and the ever sexy Johnny Depp. Apparently most people's celebrity dreams are of a sexual nature mine are not so. Since this was my dream the four of us sat around a table ate Chinese food from Po's Kitchen (this is the BEST chinese in Hatfield. The name of the place will forever be shrouded in mystery because I can never rememeber it. It always be referred to as Po's kitchen becuase some Black guy named something I also can't remember who looks like Po on Kung Fu Panada works as the cashier there. He's really cool and great!) Anyway, so there we sat with our chopsticks and we discussed...wait for it... the influx of globalisation.

Unreal. I love studying, honest. I am one of those people who want to know everything I can about the things that I want to know about. But the influx of globalisation? Ouch. I think I am quickly losing my geek to fabulous ratio.

This week is my crazy lunatic week. It is the beginning of exams, and the last few 'midterms' that no one really planned for. Then I learned of a play that I had to write for Thursday. Curses. This play was really haunting me... 10 pages doesn't seem like a lot, until you realise you have no reason to write a play and thus no topic to write about.

After this dream though, I realised my inspiration-Youth Culture. What is it that sets the current youth apart from what I experienced? What is it that I experienced that they do not?

A large theme in the play is the importance of image in youth culture (Not just in the new millinium but even back in the 50s with James Dean and the Teddy Boys). Hillbilly Duhn put it very nicely here.

Another theme is the arbitrary use of profanity and the apparent image created through it. Even the idea of sexuality and religion were tackled.

I found these topics on the front page of a Cosmo. The views of the mag writers are the views in the play and honestly, as I read the play back I can't help but notice how ridiculous it is.It is this way because the culture which it is mocking IS actually ridiculous.

Sometimes I'd much rather dream dreams about globalisation with Sting, Bono and Johnny than live in this alternate reality called society.

End of year blues? No ways!!

The kitchen tea was oodles of fun. My lovely friends dressed me in kitchen towels, gloves and irons. They made me eat salt. They gave me embarrassing gifts and beautiful items for my home. I was questioned relentlessly about how to remove stains from this and stains from that. (My best answer- pour lemon juice on it. If that doesn't work? Burn it.) Let's just say my housekeeping skills might need some serious developing. Apparently getting crayon wax off a wall only requires the use of toothpaste! (Someone give it a try and let me know if it works! :) )

We sat together eating cupcakes, drinking tea (champagne) :) and discussing life. Creeping into the conversation was, of course, the end of the year. We all move out of our flats in November. We are losing each other. Not everyone is as pessimistic as I - some of my other friends will be seeing each other next year. My flatmates though? One will resume living in our home. The other is moving back with her folks and getting an apprenticeship and I am getting married. Off we go to experience our different lives separately.

These girls have helped me with so much. They have brought me joy in the weeks when I could find none. They checked on me when I was so sick that I could have died. (Really I could have! No one else thought so. But honest. I could have died!) These girls prayed with me. They cried with me. We discussed politics, history, men, sex, world dominance and the future. We've had long conversations about the idea of edible panties, hijacking a chopper, and the politically correct term for male defecation. We know each other's mannerisms and quirks in the way that only flatmates can know each other. This year has taught me so much and they are so intrinsically linked to these lessons that I can't possibly lose their friendship.

So as the end of the year approaches I am filled with more excitement than fear because with each of us on our separate paths we can still carry each other. The lessons we have learned together - the ideas we have formed together- these will forever link us. Plus, gosh darn it they are coming to my first dinner party as a grown up married woman. And like duh! That's going to rock out! :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kitchen Teas

My mother raised me to be pretty self sufficiant. Want a sandwich? Make a sandwich. She also raised me to not always get my own way (hence the one television in the massive household of my growing up days.) She also taught me to never take advantage of those who are generous.

These are all great things. Today these manners are troubling me.

I have a hard time graciously saying thank you. Christmas time, I get a present and I say thanks and plot my next year's gift- at least as equally as awesome as the one I received. Paying them back for their generosity. If someone helps you doing something you help them right?

My flatmates are currently in my flat decorating it for my kitchen tea in an hour and I am not allowed to help. They are great friends and after half organising it realised they wouldn't be able to actually keep it a secret and informed me what will be going down.

I really love these girls. They are amazing. But I just don't know how to gracefully say thank you and enjoy myself. This is really straining my manners to the uttermost limit. I know though, in just a little while I will be ecstatically excited because my friends are incredible and I am supremely blessed to know them.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Curse you Murphy!!

Karma can be a real hater. Trouble is, I don't really believe in the idea of Karma. Unfortunate. Who else to blame my misgivings? Murphy. Murphy and his stupid laws that ensure that whatever can go wrong will!

A few of the Laws that have recently irritated me to the point of this post:

1. Nothing is as easy as it looks... ever. Not the practical exam. Not the drive home. Nothing.

2. Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first. Specifically the exam studying. First the pencils must be found. Then the filing. Then the...

3.The legibility of a copy is inversely proportional to its importance. Specifically the lecture notes that consists of pure examinable material. Curses...

4.After you bought a replacement for something you've lost and searched for everywhere, you'll find the original... The flash stick that I lost, got a new one found then lost the bigger better one!

5. Anything good in life is either illegal, immoral or fattening...

6. Any thing that can go wrong, HAS Already Gone Wrong! You just haven't been notified... And probably spent the day waiting for it to happen. Then it doesn't because it went way too wrong...

7. The humor of Murphy's Law leaves you laughing at the end of the day. If you make it through a Murphy win! And boy, have I been winning this week!!!


Friday, October 10, 2008

To watch or not to watch...

I attract drama. Some people seem to thrive off it, magnetise towards it and dwell in it like a momma bear in her cave. Me, I am one of such people.

This becomes a tad bit easier to understand when I say that my two favourite TV programs are Grey's Anatomy and Army Wives. South Africa is a season behind the States in most programming and right now the beginning of the second season of Army Wives is showing. Let's just say I bawled my eyes puffy and red until 3 am one morning after watching the finale of season 1 and then again at the next weeks beginning of season 2. Every subsequent episode I re-live the moments of terror, agony, and sorrow experienced through the characters on the program that now I well up at the very mention of this program. It's down right pathetic.

Usually, I watch it with my 16 year old brother. He records it during the week then when I journey to my folks home for the weekend I watch it with him in the late hours of the evening and we (yes, even he) cry together. They are really special moments for us when we both feel like inseparable idiots... :)

Tonight, I got back much later than planned and the Fiance was over when we settled in to watch the latest episode. I snuggled against him thinking of the sweetness of the moment and his personal sweetness enduring such a 'girly' show when suddenly I realised that something felt obscenely out of place. A certain shudder came from the Fi. And as I looked up to see if my big strong man also needed consoling I realised... he was laughing. At my show. Laughing. And my brother not to be out laughed began his chant too. And there they sat laughing and I had the tears welling and the program was within its first 10 minutes. Without a recount of the entire events, it can be said that I did not get to enjoy the sweet drama leaking from every moment. Instead I got to fight ketchup being poured on my toes, kisses being stolen, and ticklish explorations of my armpits.

Why do I need to watch Army Wives with these men? When I am with them I get all the drama I need. But the lesson has been learned... When all I need is a good cry and some passionate drama I shouldn't rely on men to pull me through. But when I need a good laugh? Then I'll put my life in their hands. Because really, who doesn't love a nice ketchup-y toe once in a while??

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Offended by Profanity?

Yesterday we were discussing profanity in the media in my Journalism lecture. The question was raised, 'What is offensive about profanity?' Is the word itself offensive? Or maybe are the connontations we associate with the word offensive?

Even if we think about cultural differences...Words like 'kak' or 'kaffir' don't really offend the Americans, but mean the same as 'shit' and 'nigger'. In South Africa 'moer' is the equivalant to 'f-k' and yet you were probably not offended by seeing it typed out.

When you read my blog, do you feel more offended seeing 'Fuck society' or 'F*** Society'? What is the difference? I feel angry when papers block those three letters- Am I so stupid that I don't really know what you are referring to? Do the children who read that not understanding that stars after a letter means a bad word? Are those three letters what makes readers uncomfortable?

My thoughts? no ways. A word is a word is a word. It is the meaning behind those words that make what you are saying offensive. Whether you say, 'screw you' or the more 'profane' version you are conveying the same meaning. Whether you say Damn it, Dang it or something more original, the meaning is the same.

This alludes to the question then, If my word choice don't affect the offensive level and rather what makes me offended the meaning behind the words, then why choose a less expressive tone? Simple. There is no reason at all. Except connontations don't just apply to words. The people who use these profane words are usually associated with the stereotyped. Profanity is sometimes seen as cheap, unintellegent, and down right grotestque. Is this fair to yourself? Is it acceptable to be judged like this in society? If no what are you doing to do about it?

Ok, so weigh in. What do you think? Tell me your views on profanity...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Looking for inspiration

I love Dumblittleman

It is the great inspiration to keep blogging! Go look at it! It offers lists and steps to do anything you want to do to improve your life ie get more sleep, de-clutter etc and is such a fun way to waste time. And for the master procrastinator who is writing finals in a few weeks, it serves a great way to waste time and feel like I am bettering myself! ha! That was until I read the steps to stop procrastinating. Yeah that harshed my mellow! :)

Have a fab monday dear readers! Post something and inspire me on a topic!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dear Anon

Dear Anon,

It is too bad you didn't place more information about yourself in the post. I would love to find out where you live, what you do and what makes you tick.

I don't have a problem defending my views. In fact, I want to thank you for calling me on not defending my statements in Tia's blog.

I will not debate theoretical jargon regarding the pharmaceutical companies. In my experience this does not assist the issue in anyway. Theory is not practicality.

I have lived in South Africa since 2004. I have seen things that most Americans only see on the television. I know more people who have died from AIDS related disease than people who have not. This is an excerpt from Avert - an international AIDS charity. On their page they say,

"It is difficult to overstate the suffering that HIV has caused in South Africa. With statistics showing that almost one in five adults are infected, HIV is widespread in a sense that can be difficult to imagine for those living in less-affected countries. For each person living with HIV, in South Africa and elsewhere, not only does it impact on their lives, but also those of their families, friends and wider communities.

With anti retroviral drug treatment, HIV-positive people can maintain their health and often lead relatively normal lives. Sadly, few people in South Africa have access to this treatment. This means that AIDS deaths are alarmingly common throughout the country. It is thought that almost half of all deaths in South Africa, and a staggering 71% of deaths among those aged between 15 and 49, are caused by AIDS. So many people are dying from AIDS that in some parts of the country, cemeteries are running out of space for the dead.A recent survey found that South Africans spent more time at funerals than they did having their hair cut, shopping or having barbecues. It also found that more than twice as many people had been to a funeral in the past month than had been to a wedding.

As well as the death and suffering that HIV has caused on an individual and community level, South Africa’s AIDS epidemic has also had a substantial impact on the country’s overall social and economic progress:

  • Average life expectancy in South Africa is now 54 years – without AIDS, it is estimated that it would be 64. Over half of 15 year olds are not expected to reach the age of 60.5
  • Between 1990 and 2003 – a period during which HIV prevalence in South Africa increased dramatically – the country fell by 35 places in the Human Development Index, a global directory that ranks countries by how developed they are.
  • Hospitals are struggling to cope with the number of HIV-related patients that they have to care for. In 2006 a leading researcher estimated that HIV-positive patients would soon account for 60-70% of medical expenditure in South African hospitals.
  • Schools have fewer teachers because of the AIDS epidemic. In 2006 it was estimated that 21% of teachers in South Africa were living with HIV."
South Africa is country with a strong economy, 'first-world' infrastructure and is only one of 61 territories in Africa. I know that this is not the only country in Africa struggling with this pandemic. I have been to rural villages in Mozambique and informal settlements in Swaziland. The impact of HIV/AIDS in these countries are heartbreaking to the same degree.

Yes, I realise that there are a plethora of reasons why the AIDS rate is so outrageously high. Poverty, Government inaction and ignorance/social stigma of AIDS victims all contribute to the frightening statistics. However, I cannot ignore that those with the power to help this situation do not assist with the power they are capable of. Those who help with all the fervour they contain just cannot do enough. If the pharmaceutical industry made less profit on AZT cocktails and other powerful industries also did their bit, Africa will not be in the same deadly situation. I realise they try, but their attempts are greatly undermined by their lust for profit and success.

Holzer Art

This is from one of my favourite American conceptual artists, Jenny Holzer. Being a writer at heart I adore the way she used words in her art. No longer is art a picture, but it is something so incredibly broader. Some other Holzer works:

Fabulous! Love it?

And my favourite:
Ok and my other favourite (c'mon these are way too fabulous to just love one or two or three!)
So I have to be honest. I don't actually know the sites where I got these pictures from. I have been compiling her work for a while now and have completely lost the URLs for each pic. But they are awesome. yay!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Political Venting.

Today I went to the oriental plaza. It is a market with items supposedly imported from the orient and is sold to you by Indians. Most of them have never seen the Orient despite their ancestors being from India, but heck, who would notice, right?

Anyway, I am walking down the plaza strip and something catches my eye. It's a green flag with a picture of Thabo Mbeki on it. In case you don't follow SA politics, here is what has bee occurring recently:

Mr. Mbeki is the ex-president of South Africa by like 2 weeks. He was recently unceremoniously ousted from presidency because it was discovered that he was neck high in corruption bullshit. A few hours after the 'resigning' of Mr. Mbeki, a new president was sworn in to serve the remaining time of Mbeki's term. No one who this guy was, nor did they know how to pronounce his name. Kgalema Motlanthe is now the newest, non-elected president of South Africa.

Why was some random sworn in instead of a 'vice president'? The short answer: because this is Africa. South Africans do not vote in a person, they vote in a party. The ANC is the political party in power since Apartheid and the president of the ANC should be the next in line. But this wasn't the case.

Jacob Zuma is the president of the ANC. Unfortunately, he was unable to be sworn in due to his... being in court. Zuma has been in court numerous times. Once for rape and was strangely and almost OJ Simpson-like acquitted. During this particular case he made a statement that will forever and ever cast him in the stupid box. After having unprotected sex with an HIV positive woman, Zuma claimed he would not get the HI virus because he...wait for it... took a shower afterwards. A second time Zuma was charged with fraud and corruption. And was strangely and almost OJ Simpson-like acquitted. Recently he was again charged with corruption except this time in the same 'deal' that Mbeki was ousted for. Yet Zuma was acquitted on a legal technicality.

So enough of the (somewhat biased) politics 411. Back to the green flag... under the Mbeki flag was the exact same flag reading 'Long live Zuma, South Africa's next president'. The shop owner was a Zulu man with obviously strong communist leanings. It just echoes the thousands and thousands who rallied outside Zuma's court cases, violently protesting the apparent misrepresentation of Zuma. The ANC Youth League President even stated publicly, "I will kill for Zuma." In Africa we do not take such statements lightly.

What I do not understand is why so many people of colour choose to continue voting for the same party that continues to screw them over. The economy has plummeted (yes I know that recent economic struggles are due to worldwide issues) since the fall of Apartheid. Less indigenous people have decent paying jobs than during Apartheid. The ANC promised housing for every previously disadvantaged (ie Black) person in South Africa and has barely housed 100 000 Black families. The electricity shortage has not improved in the least as now 10 years after Aparteid there has been little maintenance done on the power stations and little planning on the consumption thus, the only power company is increasing the electricity to up to 60% with 3 hour blackouts weekly. Uncool guys. Very uncool.

Ultimately, the only joys I get out of thinking about politics are, local cartoonist, Zapiro's satirical cartoons found in the Mail and Guardian. This cartoon was published Oct 3 2008. It features the new president Kgalema Motlanthe at the desk and Jacob Zuma (the man under the infamous shower) in the shape of an iguana with the ANC youth League riding his back.
Yes. Politics stink. Bullshit stinks more. And that's all I have to say about that one.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thank you!

So today I firstly want to thank those of you who actually are reading my posts. A special thanks to Artistic View, my first and (currently) only follower and commenter. :) Keep 'em coming! And if you are reading me then why aren't you putting in your say? C'mon! Be contrary or share whats happening to you that somehow relates. Or doesn't. Just post it!

So the fiance just pulled into the driveway. I gotta go open the steel gate granting him access to my folks' home (oh the joys of living in South Africa! ) Toodles!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wedding Blues...and Reds... and Browns...

So here I am procrastinating writing that article, reading that play and finishing that novel. So I'll do more constructive procrastination. I am trying to decide what types of centerpieces I want in the middle of each table on THAT day. Thinking I was a pretty easy-going low maintenance kinda gal, I thought that this whole decision making bit would be a breeze. It turns out that I am not so low maintenance. I am, in fact, not so easy going. And, in conclusion, I am not very good at making decisions.

I knew what I had wanted. I wanted three glass jars with swirled flowers on the inside. Now after searching through tons and tons of images of how other people did it I am not too sure what I want anymore. All these options just seem to bog my once clear and concise vision.

Yes of course I realise I am talking about frivolous things here. Trust me when I say that I realise the significance of my wedding does not lay in centerpieces, cake designs, or even (yes I'll say it) my dress. My beauty will not make the day a success. A three tiered chocolate ganache with white chocolate filigree will not make my day a success. And no, not even swirled flowers in fish bowls will not make it a success despite what these wedding planners and 'aides' say.

Things that will make my day a success are not even things that I can possibly plan. The moment that David and I come before God and announce our love and commitment to each other and to a continuation of serving Him together... That is what makes the day a success. My family and friends joining together to celebrate the idea of love and marriage as it relates to Christ and His church - that is what will make the day a success. I know it is weird to say and oh so contrary to what everyone one else says... My wedding is NOT about me. It might be a very special day, but our marriage is merely a symbol to far greater and sweeter things.

That is my vision for our wedding day. To celebrate not just my love, but their love. And ultimately to celebrate Jesus' love for us.

....And of course to have a fabulous time doing so :)

So no. I don't know what kind of centerpieces I am going to have. I don't know how the cake is going to look and curses, I still haven't finished the song list for the DJ. But at least my vision is concise again and maybe that will help keep things in perspective.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Having kids

Two or so months ago my folks had an awesome business opportunity. My father owns his own company and this business has done EXTREMELY well. I actually can't believe it. There are now 4 almost 6 employees (I currently work there when needed and my fiancee might just be working there in the next few months as well as some random sales guy.) They will be open two years in March. I know. It's impressive. They were offered an all expense paid trip to Germany from their suppliers and, well, hello they totally took it. They left on Tuesday. Since it is holiday time I am back at my folks house from University and my kid sisters are home from school. I'm of course playing mommy while our mother is away.

Meet the sisters...

Allison is 9. She is a goodie-two-shoes who will do anything to make sure you still like/love her. Melody is 7. She on the other hand... oi. She's too much like me. She tells me today while we are walking to the supermarket that her greatest desire at this moment is to cross the street while the little red man is up. Because he can't make her not cross the road. I said, "Mel, there are cars driving when the red man is up. He's trying to protect you." She replies, "Well. I still want to. One day I will. And I'll show him." Glory.

They push, bite and kick each other. They pester me while I am working. Over- all this whole pretend mom thing sucks. Not that I haven't ever done it before, but then I had grown accustom to being at home. Now. Man. If it were up to me, and I didn't l-o-v-e the idea of being a pregnant woman carrying the child of the man I love.... I would never ever ever have a child. I feel as though I have been a second mother to these two- I am 11 and 13 years older than them. And I think I've got a pretty good idea of motherhood. No thank you. Until I see that pregnant lady waddle by. And I look at the Fiance and sigh, "Let's have a baby someday..." And he looks at me and agrees. Sooner than later. But just not too soon. After all, by the time the folks return and I go home this week might have burned some serious physiological skin.