Saturday, October 31, 2009

A book in a month?

I have taken up the challenge. To write a novel in a month. 2000 words a day and hey presto! A 50,000 word novel at the end of it. Granted it may not be a very good one but, hey, worth a try, no? I read my sister’s post yesterday and thought ‘hell yeah, what a good idea.’ And signed up immediately. And then I woke up this morning and thought – WTF?? What have I done!

I am doing this not because I think I have a literary masterpiece in me – I know I don’t – but to channel my brain into doing something useful for a few hours a day. It’s got to be healthier than playing on Facebook, surely? This is the theory anyway, in reality I’ll probably be spending MORE time on facebook coz I’ll be procrastinating like crazy.

And hey, its more pro-active than buying a lottery ticket every week. Coz you never know, maybe I’ll surprise myself!

So it starts on Sunday 1st November and finishes on 30th November. Anyone want to join us?

So I may be a little quieter than usual. I’ll put up lots of pictures tho, and some updates.

See you on the other side.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Queen Bee

I love how different cultures perceive beauty.

The other day a friend said to me, “Ah, Miranda! You have got sooooo fat”
“Thank you” I said, since it was meant as a compliment.
“Are you not breastfeeding? You’re supposed to get thin when you’re breastfeeding”
“Oh I am, but I’m eating lots too!”
“Yes you must be. I almost didn’t recognize you! I thought you were---------- (names a lass who is not so thin).” Looks me up and down with an appraising eye.
“Yes, very very fat! Huge in fact!”
“Thank you! Thank you very much”

Breakfast in Laos

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where we discover that hairdressers are sadists

You've put it off long enough. Off to the hairdresser you go.

You sit in the chair and they robe you up in black capes and special clips so that you feel like you have extra powers and can hang off the side of a building on just a string of saliva. Your alter ego kicks in and suddenly you want to do summersaults in the salon and stick to the ceiling like a gecko.

But all thoughts of super hero-dom are quickly quelled when they very slowly but very surely make you look like a baked potato. There you sit while you voluntarily get someone to put layer after layer of smelly purple (yes purple – what’s with that?) stuff in your hair, covered with tin foil. If you paid a whole design college to try and come up with a way to make you look stupider they wouldn’t manage. This is the ultimate. My baby comes in the room and starts balling, and really who can blame her. And you sit there for what - must be an hour? – smelling of bleach and looking seriously daft and you can’t really DO anything. It’s not like you can go for a wander about outside, go and get some chores done. All you can do is look at magazines full of gorgeous people and wonder how often they have to go through this to look like that. And every time you look up you nearly wet your pants with fright at the creature staring back at you in the mirror. Do they have to put you in front of a mirror? What sort of torture is that? And then the hairdresser comes over and you think ‘phew, we’re done’. She takes a peek under the tin foil and says ‘hmmm, not yet, maybe ten more minutes’ and puts the egg timer on again so you really do feel like a potato in an oven.

Then they take you to have your hair washed. My worst bit. Especially since they always seem to think you’re enjoying it so much. Like that gary Larson cartoon - same world different planets. A classic case of faked orgasm. There you are with your head at a most unnatural angle with a great hunk of porcelain digging into your neck. Your shoulders are by your ears, all knotted up and sore, and you’re trying really hard to pretend that you’re enjoying it, coz it seems that that’s what’s expected of you. And the water is too hot and the lady is reaaally taking her time, massaging away, putting in all these potions and saying ‘is the water too hot?’ And you can’t tell her that it is coz your eyes are watering so bad and your jaw is clenched and all you can think is ‘please just bloody hurry up. Ow ow ow’. And then your baby starts crying outside, she’s with your mother but it seems all she wants is you. Your boobs start spurting milk and the lady, oblivious, is still massaging your head. And she is probably thinking, ‘ah, man I hate this bit. Washing all this smelly hair, so bloody boring. Why can’t I be cutting the hair for god sakes? I’m good enough, but oh no, I have to make the coffee and be here massaging a strangers head. And there she sits, all comfortable in her chair enjoying my really good massage – I obviously have a good touch, look I’ve brought tears to her eyes. I’m having a shitty day, I’m going to make the water just a wee bit too hot’ Then the conditioner goes in and she puts a comb through the knots. My god, I nearly hit the roof (and not in a super hero gecko-on-the-ceiling way this time). I keep thinking ‘oh come on, I’ve been through child birth, how bad can this be? Fucking OW!’ But I sit quietly in a grimace (interpreted as a smile) and let her finish, her tugging away at my tender head, me sitting with leaky eyes and boobs.

You hobble back to the hairdressers chair in your drooping cape, feeling less and less like the super-hero and then, as if that’s not enough, the hairdresser then comes at you grinning manically with another comb and tugs and pulls at your hair some more. Now for the fun quick bit, snip snip snip, your hair tumbles to the floor, piles up and up and up. Ah, that feels better.

But, no, we’re not finished yet! You still have to have your hair blow-dried! Why do they try and keep you in there so long? Seriously, what’s with these people? And the blow-dry takes. ForEVER. More pulling and tugging and grimacing and having to look at yourself in the mirror. And it goes on. And on. And ON. Just when you think they MUST be done, they find another six strands of hair that need to be dried just so.

Then finally! It's time to go. But, oh oh, I almost forgot. They've been quietly tut-tutting about the state of your hair, like subliminal advertising and at the end of it all they persuade you that your life will be greatly improved if you buy this tub of snot and these bottles of miraculous endorphin producing gloop. The price? You're worried about the price? But why would you balk at paying the same as a small but reliable car when YOUR HAPPINESS DEPENDS ON IT? Tut tut, some people!

But then you come out looking and feeling like you just got laid and all is forgiven.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I am waiting for that skittish little cretin, inspiration to come out of hiding. Once again.

In the meantime I've been clearing a whole bunch of photos off my computer - it's positively bursting at the rivets with pictures. So for now, I'll share some with you.

Oh, oh, oh, and as I write this its started to rain!

It's raining!

It's raining!

It's raining!


Thank the gods this wait is over. Boy, things were getting pretty desperate.

The dry-dry soil is gulping it down, little green shoots are jumping up, awake from their slumber and I swear the cows at the bottom of our hill are grinning. And I can hear the water gushing into our underground tank. Yippeeee. Seriously this rain has been a long time coming and is most welcome. Maybe I'll go and dance a little jig.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kreativ Kretins

Does it annoy you when words are spelt wrong deliberately? Like Kwench and kwik?

Ah, but I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. I have been given an award. For being kreativ. By my gorgeous much-more-kreativ-than-me sister. Hurrah! But I don't know how to get the picture up here.

The award is the Kreativ Blogger award and the rules are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award. (Thank you dearest sister of mine)

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.

5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.

6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Kay so seven things.

1. I have been initiated into womanhood in Zambian Kunda tradition
2. Both my parents are artists but I cannot draw or paint
3. I love to see very old people eating ice cream
4. The sight of baby pigs make me squeal with glee
5. I am very very scared of balloons
6. I am really rather good at reading animal tracks in the bush, if I say so myself
7. I can eat a whole tin of condensed milk in one sitting

Now to seven kreativ bloggers. Aish

The fabulous and inkredibly kreativ Janelle
The kwik witted Mud
The klever and intrepid Lori
The kool Family Affairs

The others have received it already and anyway, I can't think of more c-k words so....

Monday, October 12, 2009

These are my genes, people

A couple of weeks ago, in a pique of extravagance we bought a new kettle. This is extravagant because a) a good kettle in this here town costs much the same as bribing the leader of a small developing country (give or take), and b) the said piece of electrical equipment is likely to live a short yet volatile existence before being spiked by a surge of electricity that will send it to the big appliance store in the sky.

But we bought one anyway. It was too shiny and pretty to resist and we are much like magpies when it comes to shiny pretty objects.

It was not to be though.

My mother blames a bad dream involving a snake and a fire, as well as two thirds of her life lived without electricity.

Yes, people, she put the electric kettle on the gas stove. Went away and when she came back was wondering why the flames were so big.

She ain't never gonna live this one down.

(The photos don't do the carnage justice).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The generosity of friends

I have this friend who lives in DC. She is one of the most generous people I know. We were thrown together in a dusty spot in another time in our lives. We worked and lived together for three years in a cul de sac of a place. And became friends. I haven't seen her for a good few years but on the weekend three huge Fedex boxes scuttled to our doorstep, bursting with goodies for our baby.

You know that scene in Friends where Monica opens all the wedding presents when Chandler is away? That was me. I had these three wonderful, smiling, smelling-of-America boxes looking up at me with the-cat-in-Shrek pleading eyes and I thought, "ah, I'll just open the box, no harm done" So I did. And inside were all these delicious colourful parcels - each item individually and beautifully wrapped in bright tissue paper- and a crinkly yellow one in particular, begging, just BEGGING to be opened. And the baby gal was sitting next to me looking intrigued and egging me on so what could I do? There she was, eyeing out all the pretty colours and was so fascinated by all the rustling and the brightness that I just couldn't stop! Nothing like blaming a three month old heh?

And then a frenzy took over and suddenly I was sitting there waist deep in a pile of pink and yellow and orange tissue paper and a score of beautiful dresses and toys and books scattered around me.

The gal looked at all this, laughed at the duck and the caterpillar and promptly fell asleep.

So my friend has singlehandedly tripled our daughter's wardrobe. I laid out all the stuff on our (not small) bed and took some pics. I meant to take some before and after wardrobe pictures too but forgot! From a couple of dry biscuits and dust to shelves piled high with succulent berries and ice cream.

Thank you T.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Day in the Life of.

A little mundane, I know, but I have to write something or I fear my brittle brain will disintegrate and waft out my ears like ash.

So. A random day in the life of me.

3 am. Wake up with happy quiet moonlight glancing shyly through the curtains. Think, 'huh, baby usually shnoffling and rooting around by now looking for my boob" And husband too, on the other side of me. heh. But baby still fast asleep, arms thrown up by her ears and knees out at an angle I could never manage without years of yoga behind me. Listen carefully to hear if she's breathing. Touch her arm. Aha, snoffle shnoffle, root root, 'where's the boob, where's the boob'. Sleepily lift her from her cot next to the bed onto my boob. She drinks, I snooze. We both snooze. Eyes open, grunt. Put her back into the cot. Grunt grunt.


6 am. Radio jumps up cheerfully and starts jabbering away in Swahili. Oh pants, already? Husband starts clattering around getting ready for work. Brings me tea. As ever.

Awake asleep awake asleep. I dream I'm a werewolf.

7 am Awake. Baby wakes up. Best bit of the day. She looks at us, and laughs and laughs, like she knows something we don't. Which she probably does. Change nappy, feed, etc etc. The gal has a long and very animated conversation with a piece of tinfoil that I've strung up above her head, allowing me to shower and have a quick brekkie of millet porridge. Yum.

Check e-mail. A job cancelled. Secretly relieved. Facebook. My cousin says that YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are joining up and it will be called YouTwitFace. Hah! Blog. pah, no more comments. I imagine the few readers I have yawning and sidling away from my blog in an "oh gosh, is that the time" kindov way.

9 am Work myself up for the drive through town. The traffic in this here town is not pretty and deserves a post of its own. I have written one before, but another is due, I think.

Aw geez, you know what? I'm bored already, and I'm only at 9 o'clock.

So shortened version. I went shopping. Was momentarily alarmed by the large tractor being driven by a teddy bear in Shoprite. Bought some stuff. Bread, soap, that kind of thing. The baby got hijacked and handed round by the various members of staff and customers at the shops. The rest of the time I juggled her in one arm and tried to push the trolley in the other. Its a skill I tell you!

Then went to get a mattress. My ma is coming next week. Yippee yippee yippee. One end of town to the other. Nearly get run off the road half a dozen times.

12:30 Drove home. Saw one of the Maji Safi (clean water) trucks sucking up water from one of the streams that amble through town. In some places the streams are clogged with litter, in some places they seem cleanish. Try not to think too hard about the litter bits as this is the truck that delivers water to us up on our barren little hill. They come and fill up the underground tank in our dining room - the rain water ran out long ago.

Untied the mattress from the roof of the car and carried it in. Looked like a tortoise I imagine.

Afternoon. Play with baby. Book mother's ticket. Blog. Write a budget for Seka to travel to a festival in South Africa. Walk over and visit Janelle.

And this evening I'll go and meet my husband at the gym. He'll be on the motorbike and the baby and I in the car. When he's done he'll take the car and the baby and I'll ride the bike. I'll ride fast and free, hit every bump I can find, stand up on the last dirt bit home, dodge the cows and the donkeys. I might even shout WOOOOHOOOO!! Then I'll get home, put the water on for the baby's bath and be a mother again.