Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I used to love my birthday. Being woken up at an ungodly hour by the sound of someone who's voice is like that of a whale mixed with a kid having nasal problems on a roller coaster, is allowed once a year. Consuming ridiculous amounts of cake without feeling that muffin-top looming is allowed once a year. Acting all surprised when your overweight aunt Mary tries to jump out from behind the bean bag, is allowed once a year and not hilarious at all.
Birthdays are a big deal in my family. Like so many other things.
The invitations: mostly verbal since my people have surpassed snail mail AND the Internet. They're that fast.
Lots of guests: you were only born once, Mom says, so you might as well take advantage of other people's kindness on that day by demanding presents since the one you got from them for Christmas, well, is now a matching set of 15. Thanks for (another) wine bottle stopper, uncle Shawn. We're just opening bottles of wine every time you come around since you insist on seeing each one of your stoppers. And watching you get ridiculously drunk at what stage you then take off your shirt and pretend you're part of the Village People while doing the Macarena. Fusion. Good times.
A sit-down meal: no finger snacks here, friends. My family firmly believe that we're not savages. And the fact that you now have your one hand free to hold your drink with sitting at the table and loading your plate with food at the same time is not an incentive at all.
The cake: you are not the baker of your own cake. Nor are you the chooser of your own cake. Never. That privilege goes to either Mother or Sister. They have a non-erotica policy. I once wanted a Playboy bunny cake, but instead ended up with something that looked like this:
This year it'll just be Chris and I. And the dogs. We'll be having the cake I chose, sipping some champagne while sitting on our veranda watching the sun go down and smile about not having to fish out cupcake wrappers from the toilet.
This year I'm turning such an insignificant age and it feels as though I'm stuck in the middle, in a liminal phase. I don't feel like spending money on being stuck. I'd save that for Chris's birthday since he's turning 30 this year. If and when I turn 30 and I'm still wrinkle-free I might consider letting the fam throw me a surprise party.
But until then:
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Needless to say, after eating one I ended up like this:
My plants died for no reason ... or so I thought. I'd water them everyday and after a week they'd just wither away. Only then my mother informs me to water them twice a week. So I buy a new plant. And water it twice a week. Meticulously. It died again. Only then my sister tells me that you have to water according to the plant and the plant's needs. Some are twice a week, some more. Some need a lot of direct sunlight, some love the shade.
Kind of like relationships.
I've had a few in my time. I've smothered them with water thinking that's what they wanted when in fact the turd was too lame to tell me that he liked little water and lots of shade. Good thing I killed THAT relationship after week 3.
And that was my main problem in relationships: the talking part. Just like plants some men would say nothing but just stare at the light thinking I was telepathic and knew that they were thinking McDonalds while I was thinking more along the lines of fine dining and dancing. But I have learned a few things along the line.
I have learned that saying to yourself this is what I want and this is what I like does not make it true, but only aggravates the feelings of self doubt and loneliness:
Monday, December 27, 2010
Christmas sometimes makes you feel some crazy emotions. You go from one ho-ho-ho-high to an if-auntie-Mary-sings-we-wish-you-a-"Mary"-Christmas-one-more-time-I-will-stuff-her-mary-ass-in-the-chimney-low. Maybe it's the pent-up frustration from getting soap-on-a-rope four years in a row from your mother-in-law or maybe it's cause Christmas just isn't the same this year.
Chris's gran, Liliana, passed away on the 13th of November. She was the closest thing to a grandmother I ever knew since all my grandparents passed away either before I was born or before my 7th birthday. From the day we met we clicked like Turner and Hooch, me being Hooch since I had so much to learn from her.
Gran Liliana wasn't your average grandmother. She didn't knit bulky sweaters with characters on them as she knew not to waste her precious time and not to put us through the whole pretend-we-love-it-and-give-it-to-the-maid-the-next-day-routine. She didn't bake cookies because she was realistic enough to not want us die before her. She DID have an amazing sense of humour; I suppose being 88 you've seen enough to know that it's better to laugh about it than letting everyone see your ugly-cry face.
I remember taking her to the optometrist a few months ago to get her eyes tested. As we were about to leave, the optometrist shook Gran L's hand and said: "See you again in six months."
Gran L replied with her heavy Italian mobster accent: "I bloody hope not!"
She came to South Africa after WWII with Chris's grandfather. He met her in Italy and fell in love instantly with this short, witty and strong willed lady. At first she didn't like Africa all that much since we had none of the style the Italians possessed (not much has changed) and she couldn't understand a word of Afrikaans. She still couldn't speak the language until the day she died; she stayed stubbornly true to her roots.
Being in Italy during the war Gran L had the most amazing stories to tell about how the Germans bombed their home and their villa and how they had to fight for survival. I wish we had more time for me to write them down. It would've been a great Christamas gift.
I miss her light little chuckle that sounded like happy girls playing in a field; I miss her calling me my worst days without her even knowing that I was sitting on the floor feeling pretty sorry for myself; I miss her slow walk and holding her hand; I miss her blue eyes and complaints about her back; I miss her little old person smell and clinging of fine jewellery; and I know I promised her I wouldn't cry when she's gone, but she never told me it would be this hard. I just miss her so much.
Here's to you, Gran Liliana; I hope you keep them on their toes upstairs. Rest in Peace.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Sunday, October 25, 2009
A little boy got on the bus, sat next to a man reading a book, and noticed he had his collar on backwards. The little boy asked why he wore his collar backwards.
The man, who was a priest, said, 'I am a Father.'
The little boy replied, 'My Daddy doesn't wear his collar like that.'
The priest looked up from his book and answered: ''I am the Father of many.'
The boy said: ''My Dad has 4 boys, 4 girls and two grandchildren and he doesn't wear his collar that way!'
My niece, E, is turning 5 this December and I wish every day that she would never grow up, kind of like Peter Pan but without the package to worry about when wearing tights. If you want an honest opinion, ask a four year old. You might not always like what you hear (yes, I know I should never have bought those white pants in the first place, hippo hips), but it's never meant in a vindictive way:
"It's nice hugging you, Ladytruth; you're soft like a marshmallow."
I might be a curvy marshmallow, but at least I get the hugs and you don't anorexic aunt Mary.
E doesn't mind if you play with her hair and whatever she has in her lunch box, you can be sure to at least get half of it. Plus she knows where Mother (who looks after her during the day until my sister picks her up after work) keeps the cookie stash. Bonus. She's like a puppy: always happy to see me, but without the licking. More sanitary.
I know, however, that as soon as she comes home requesting a Hannah Montana backpack which looks just like the other girls' at school, it's over. The corruption has started and it'll be good bye butterfly kisses.
I know this because it happened to my six year old niece, N; my brother's little angel/devil when no one's looking. My mom and I blame the kids at school, but we know that's just silly. We're just sad about our eldest Peter Pan exchanging her green tights for a pink tutu. And Hannah Montana backpack.
We can't keep them sheltered under the blanket of protection and love and affection all the time. They need to experience the world for themselves, they need to explore and learn and yes, there will be times when they'll cry, but we'll be there with the Kleenex factory right behind us. We'll be there when Jean-Michael pushes them off the swing and run away leaving them alone in the sand; we'll be there when they ride their bikes with the pink and blue ribbons without the safety wheels for the first time; we'll be there when they blushingly admit they like the blond boy who draws pretty pictures. We'll be there.
I love my nieces slash godchildren. But sometimes it's nice giving them back to their parents when the day's over.
N (on the right): Man, my party blows.
E (stuffing her face on the left): At least the food's good.
E rocking the Minnie Mouse ears.
This post was inspired after reading about otherworldlyone's beautiful little Hannah