Thursday, March 3, 2011

The honeymoon is definitely over, alright

The reason I have been absent for a while is because I've been busy dodging bullets. Bullets with a special inscription on them: BABIES.

It seems that when you're not yet married the most frequent question that pops up in any conversation is: "So, have you met anyone yet? You're not getting any younger, you know."

Yes, I knew. But then I got lucky and I got engaged to Chris. The single most frequent question then was: "So, when are you guys getting married?"

My answer used to be: "When our children insist on it."

I thought it funny back then. WAY back then.

Now that we've been married for a while, you know exactly what annoying question is asked in EVERY single conversation I have. People from the supermarket ask me that, people at the car wash enquire about it, people at the salon where I get my hair done nose about it. The worst is visiting my brother. His wife had to quit her job when they moved out of town and now her new mission in life is to probe into people's personal lives. She thinks she's a reporter and an inquisitor when actually she's just a nosy, probing ... alien.


Yeah, I know, but I've never been a fan of squeezing. Especially squeezing in having a baby before the clock strikes ... I don't know ... old-eggie-hour and then squeezing a big baby out of my tiny, pretty little ... hole.

There are books about everything these days. How to lose weight, how to gain weight, how to be your best self, how to anything. Unfortunately I missed the one on what happens after the honeymoon. The one that tells you how quickly people can be corrupted by angel faces.

Sure Chris and I talked about what we wanted in the future: a nice house with a garden and a fence for the dogs, a dishwasher as I don't want Gollum-looking hands when I'm older, enough money to live comfortably and one day, some day a baby. But thanks to my over-eager sex-crazed siblings who both now has 2 girls each, it seems that Chris's some day and my some day have taken slightly different time stamps.

I mean, who can resist little girls looking like this:

Me, I can. Cause I know that looks can be deceiving.
Don't be fooled by the smiles or the holding-hands-thing. They can yell like sirens and scratch like angry, hungry rats. But that doesn't seem to bother Chris. He adores the one on the left and can play with her for hours. Usually he pays for it when we get home since her idea of playing involves things that boys like to do: lots of running, kicking balls, jumping over home-made obstacles and see how high she can climb a tree without breaking a limb. He can't walk for 2 days after that. I guess that's the price you pay for marrying a (three year) older man... sigh.
It's difficult cause we're two in this marriage and even though he hasn't said anything or pressured me into having a baby I know it's something that he would like in the nearby future. I just don't think that I'm ready for that kind of responsibility. I can't even keep plants alive, for crying out loud.
The jury is still out on this one, but any advice will really help.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's that time of the year

Yep, it is indeed that time of the year for me. Birthday-time. On Thursday, this year. I was actually born on a Friday so I was the original inspiration for Jason in Friday the 13th. I'm scary like that.

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:

And there will be no surprises this year.

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

What you can learn from relationships by growing plants and vegetables

I've never been good at gardening or growing anything. I tried growing a vegetable patch once. Instead of my vegetables turning out like this guy's, it looked a little more like this:

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:
Brainwashing only gets you so far.

I have learned that trying too hard will not make it last any longer:

Plus it makes you feel bloated, frustrated and fat. Not sexy.

And I've learned that when you start pretending and belittling yourself to make him feel better about his little weener of a personality, it's usually time to bail. Even through the window if necessary.

Seriously, you don't have to pretend you never knew "Milan" wasn't Julius Caesar's last name anymore.

And that's how Chris and I made it. We ran through and jumped over all the obstacles relationships are riddled with, all while holding hands.  And when he went on one knee to ask my hand in marriage (I know, how cliché, but still fabulously romantic!) there was no way I'd give up that chance for happiness.

It'll be a year in April and the honeymoon phase is kinda over, but it's still good. It's better than good. It's great having someone to share your ice cream with while waiting for your order; it's wonderful walking around without any make-up on and not worrying he'll run after you trying to throw a sheet over your face from the horror of seeing your freckles and less than perfect complexion; it's pretty awesome laying in the bath and talking about his day and yours. It might be simple, but it's ... good.

If he'll hold your flowers while your busy with a pose, it's a good sign. Obedience: great start to any marriage :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Here's looking at you, kid

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

The prodigal lady returns

It's true: the bitch is back :)

And before I go any further I have to apologise for the sudden departure. If my mother knew about my rude manners ... wait ... she does. How little has changed.

But a few things HAVE changed. I moved, I gained weight, I quit my old job, I learned all about peace making, lost a few friends along the way and I learned how much I really despise cars without air conditioning.

And I got married. To the love of my life. Freakin' finally. I thought I'd always be the bridesmaid and never the bride; there were so many bridesmaid dresses in my spare bedroom closet that I started wearing them to work at one stage. Let's just call it my eigties desperate fashion mistakes. The eighties are making a comeback any way.

This is a short post just to touch base; I hope I still have some old friends left wanting to read my reflections on, well, me and of course some other things I have experienced this past year as well as things to come. I've started reading posts again of some of the kids who are still on the block and think it's going to take me, well, 500 years to catch up. I can't wait :)

It's good to be back.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Our little sunshines

This joke pretty much sums up what my one godchild slash niece, Elske or just plain Elly, is like:

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!'

The priest, getting impatient, said: 'I am the Father of hundreds,' and went back to reading his book. The little boy sat quietly thinking for a while, then leaned over and said: "Maybe you should wear a condom and put your pants on backwards instead of your collar."

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

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sing, sing a song

Things have been going well on the dating front so far. It's nice having someone hold your hand while you wait in line for your take out order to be called. It's nice having someone run your bath water and then take your dogs for a walk while you relax in a cloud of peaceful bubble bath. My phone is the popular cell in town vibrating more than some other equipment in my drawer. And when Mom looks at me, all she does is smile. Happy day.

But I'm new to all the couple lingo and behaviour. Whenever we go to a BBQ with friends and their girlfriends I now have to help the girls make salads and listen to them complain about being with their boyfriends for seven minutes and not having a ring on the finger yet. Thanks for nothing, Beyoncé ; instead of putting a ring on it why don't you just put a sock in it?

Chris just smiled when I told him about the crazies and said I'm more than welcome to hang with the guys around the fire, drinking beer and talking about football. I could do that. The closest I came to chopping an onion was when I leaned forward to look at Gordon Ramsey's nails while he did it on the television.

And all the questions are just killing me.

"So you guys have a favorite restaurant with a favorite table? And you always get served by your favorite waiter? Isn't it just the best walking into a place and getting recognised by the staff?"

Yes, almost like jail I presume.

"What about your names for each other? I call Steven 'Wonderboy'. Get it? Steven? Stevie Wonder?"

I'm sure 'Wonderboy' wishes he had the power to become deaf and blind. Maybe that would scare you away.

And my favorite:

"What is your song?"

When you don't have an answer to this question, they look at you as though you're at a comic convention and failed to identify Logan as Wolverine. It's like sacrilege.

The problem is that Chris and I have very different taste when it comes to music. When you browse through the Cds in his car you'll find Nirvana, Foo Fighters, RHCP and Pearl Jam. When you shuffle through my iPod you'll be listening to a mixture of Alanis Morissette, The Killers, One Republic, The Frames and Elisa.

Songs aren't just songs to me. Their like friends. The words bring you comfort when you need it most laying on your bed crying as though the world is going to end right that second; sometimes they make you feel happy and crazy and lifts the mood in the room to blazing hot temperatures. They inspire you, they calm you, they speak the words you sometimes cannot find yourself.

When I hear a certain song or two my whole body turns into one big goose bump. Like my first car accident. Fergie's Big girls don't cry was playing when the guy hit me WHAM! on the passenger side skipping the stop sign one Tuesday morning. It's like I told Dan: there wasn't much crying going on. I think the Everybody was kung-fu fighting would've been more appropriate as I haven't seen that much fist pumping since the political riots in the 80's.

Needless to say we still don't have a song. But then again: you're also not suppose to burp or fart or curse in front of each other in the first week of dating so maybe we're doing things differently than the norm. This way life is a little more interesting.