Monday, January 31, 2011

Walk This Way

Brett was sitting at a table with a ridiculously huge grin on his face and a beer in front of him.
“Hey Mate!” he exclaimed, as he weaved his way to standing to give me a hug. “Good ta see ya! I’ve been to the Carlsberg Brewery.”
The crooked smile on his face gave proof that the tour had been a good one. I couldn’t help, but laugh. I ordered a beer and sank into the chair across from him to hear what he had been up to since I saw him last a few days ago. The 14-hour bus ride slowly slipped off my shoulders as I watch him giggle and titter. He was pretty soused and very willing to talk. Not sure if it was his silly grin or just being off the bus in general, but I was pretty happy to see him.
“…and then I jumped up on a chair and was just grabbing handfuls of them. The other bloke was waving a net around and catching mitt-fuls of ‘em! It was awesome!” he spluttered.
“Grasshoppers?” I queried. “Why? What were they going to do with them?”
“Why, eat ‘em of course!” Brett laughed.
My face contorted in a grimace and I could not be help but exclaim “ew”
He cackled and slapped his knee. He really was quite drunk and funny to watch.
Brett went on to explain. “They come across the lake this time of year and people go bananas! It is a feast for everyone. They scrape the little buggers off the walls, and floors, and wherever, then toss them into a little oil to fry‘em up.”
“Blah!” I exclaimed, as he shook with laughter again. “How many did you catch?”
“Hundreds of “em mate!” he said. “They were everywhere! It was excellent fun.”
I shook my head and smiled at his enthusiasm.
“Tomorrow, I will take you to the market so you can try some,” he said.
I wasn’t so sure I was interested in trying grasshoppers, but replied “we’ll see” to appease him. We sat in the bar until Brett’s stories became illegible and I had a pleasant glow on. He kept on rambling on about this and that until I had to pack him up and take him back to the hostel. I promised him that I would try grasshoppers when we went to the market the next day, still shaking my head at his animation. The way he talked, they were like manna from heaven, but I would find out for myself.

Oh, and really, they aren’t manna at all. While I did pull off their wings, I was not instructed to pull off their legs, so couldn’t get beyond them “walking” down my throat. Yeah, not my idea of a delicacy I’m afraid. You should try it if you get a chance though. They are a great source of protein! You might like it. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Who ever thought to give me tools?

five doorknobs.
2 that still won’t latch just
so (one if you wiggle and jiggle,
 the  other  no  way  no  how)
Another helped the hammer
 to bite me and the last
That was
to slide in just perfect
(and if you are doing
Your math, I have 1 more to go!)

and that my friend is 55 words that I can still slide in over 
at G-Man's for his Friday Flash 55

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Shield

"Just take it!" I begged. "It will make you feel better."

She turned her head with a scowl. Slightly feverish lids still had the will power to clamp down and resist. 

"I want dis," she stated. A different bottle was clenched tightly in her fist and she shoved it towards me.

Probiotics. T'would seem I have created a  monster. Telling her that the probiotics would help her body, has suddenly turned on me, when the antibiotics are now refused. I sighed and quickly tried to turn on a different tactic that would not disallow either formula.  


I jumped and turned towards the front door. I could barely see a dark shadow hunched there. 


Again, the insistent hammering came. I cautiously approached the front door, forgetting all about medicine battles. I flicked on the light on the porch and a man emerged from the darkness. 

"Let me in!" he hollered. 

His eyes were wide and had a wild glint to them. A thousand TV detective shows flashed through my mind, as I hesitated and backed away a step. The door was my defense and protector for myself and my children.

"Let me IN!" he yelled again. "Please!"

He looked over his shoulder and squeezed himself towards the door even more. I took a step forward to see what he was shrinking from and saw a dog. Only then did I hear it's insistent barking and see it lunging back and forth in my front yard. 

Now I was torn again. One side of me wanted to save this poor man being attacked by a vicious animal, but another side of my brain whispered caution. Why was the dog barking? Had this young man been trying to break into someone's home? Had he been up to some mischief and the dog knew and was protecting his space? 

The young man again turned to me and flashed a panicked look.

"Please, let me in," he begged as he pulled on the company logo of his coat trying to make me understand that truly he was in trouble and needed help. 

Hesitant, but unwilling to allow more carnage than necessary, I cracked the door open. With panting breath, the poor soul edged into the protection of my home. He explained that he had just been leaving a customer's house a few doors down, when he heard barking. Turning, he had seen a large black shape racing towards him in the dark of night. Not usually one to be afraid of dogs, this time was different. This dog was vicious in its menace and was aimed straight at him. Without another thought, he ran. Mine was the first house he came to. His eyes still focused on the big, black dog that barked and spun mere meters from us.  

He looked at me and said, "I'm sorry I scared you, but I was in a panic."

I nodded and watched the dog snarl and dance. "I would be afraid too", I thought.

"My name's Nathan," he stated. 

I could still see him trembling through his thick overcoat. A shape in the distance drew our attention though. A man was moving up the street towards us, calling as he came. The dog paused to look at the approaching man, but was not yet willing to release his quarry. 

"I have a dog at home," he stated,  "but it's not vicious like that! It would not chase anyone like that."

The other man reached the dog and talked quietly to it, trying to calm it down. 

"Sorry about that, " he yelled towards us. "Hope he didn't scare you."

The dog had scared Nathan, and me through association plenty, but the tension was diffused. The dog jumped and twisted, but finally allowed itself to be leashed by its owner. Only then did Nathan visibly relax some. We watched the dog get led away, then Nathan turned and apologized once more. 

"I am headed straight to my car and not getting out," he declared. 

With that, he was gone. I closed the front door and turned back to the room. My daughter still waited for her medicine where I had left her. Neither she, nor her sister seemed fazed at all by the explosive outbreak that had rocked the house. I went back to my nurse's duties, but my mind dwelt on the incident long after the house was silent for the night. I felt my singleness and vulnerability close around me.  Life was heavy in my hands. A prayer went out to my guardian angels, as I drifted off to sleep with the night wrapped close around me for a shield.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Blood drips from aching 
heart that cannot see its pain
written on your face

Monday, January 24, 2011

What's a Single Girl to Do?

I feel him kiss me
with his eyes – a warm caress
Every glance I get
Fingers massage a path of discovery
    tender excitement
All in a smile

A brushed shoulder is electric
Soft phrases slide closer,
   more probing…
A promise of passion
   with metaphors.

Hands stroked.
Offers made,
   and accepted
Leave a glow in my mind
as I go to bed, tonight
Alone and untouched
   on the outside…

Ah, the false promises! Did I really fall for that? Could I not see through his slick ways? I suppose that loneliness makes for a desperate bedfellow, but really?! Thank heavens that I played coy long enough for him to move off to the next backpacker through the door though. I was getting enough attention, despite the fact that now Brett and I were travelling as a happy duo. No romance complicated our journey, just friends enjoying the open road together. The men of Harare seemed to be drawn to me like wildfire though.
“What’s a single girl to do?”, I smiled to myself as I counted out my roses in a makeshift vase. They numbered 9 and that didn’t include the one I lost, the one I gave away, the one that had wilted too soon and the red one without a stem that I had pressed between the pages of my journal. From many hands they had come, and I was tickled by all the interest.
With so much attention in such a short span (after not having had much for a while), I suppose it was understandable that I was flattered by Dean’s advances. Oh he, with the promise of passion for every lady that walked in the door of his father’s hostel! Was he really any worse than Ian though? They both did nothing more than “talk shit”, as the local guys I met liked to say. As long as I kept my head about myself, what did it hurt? Well… did it hurt Ian that I agreed to be his “woman”, when I was leaving the next day? Hmm. Ach, all a game, I fear.
The lure of romance, the excitement of bars, and city life filled my many days in Harare. I shopped and gathered mail from home, enjoying the break in motion. I dropped off my passport, in order to get a visa to cut through Mozambique on my way to Malawi. A delicious feast at an all-you-can-eat Mongolian restaurant pushed Brett over the edge though. He pushed away from the table fat and declared he was done with city life.
With a travel visa for Mozambique stamped in Brett’s passport, he left me to head for Malawi. My visa would not be in for a few days, so I tucked in to enjoy the ride solo, until we met up again three days hence. With a resolve of steal, I kept myself mostly out of harm’s way and by Tuesday I was on the 14-hour long bus ride from Harare to Blantyre, Malawi myself. Romance and Zimbabwe were left behind in the diesel-fumed dreams of youth.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Scrub

In with the new
Out with the old
Goodbye old desk
So long last week’s
Dirty bowls
& crunchy socks
With a
Sunday scrub
& valiant vacuum
the world is clean again
For a day

Despite my slothful start to the day
I did get a few things done today
including a late addition
Sunday 160

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Too cold for man or beast!

and that is my six words
for a too cold 
(that is 5F for my

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I am ...

I am writer.
I am poet.
I am Mother.
failing housewife,
barely passable chef,
inept picture hanger,
compassionate friend,
Now student for a spell.
Hear me drum.
Watch me stretch and groan
on the yoga mat.
But above all
My heart
poured into my words

55 words for the G-Man

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


In these long, dark days of January
the world spins slower
more pointedly
facing us in
of soul-


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Showing a Little Leg

Settling back into the familiar setting of Sable Lodge, I reflected on the last few days.  The warm sun shone on me again, as I lazed poolside thinking about what direction my life would spin in now. Brett and I had finally sold Arnie and made our way back up to Harare. It wasn’t near as comfortable a ride, but the taste of new adventure whetted both our appetites for life on the road again. The road was a different thing entirely now.
How did we make our way back to Harare without our beloved van to chug along in, you wonder? Why, by hitchhiking of course! Dear Brett used me as a pawn to attract attention, pushing me closer to the roadway and encouraging a little leg. Nasty bugger, but it worked. We got a ride in Pietersburg that took us as far as Louis Trichardt. Standing beside the highway, we bumped into another traveler that we had met hitching back in Pietersburg. On this section of the journey, we shared a lift with our new friend Deon. Since they had both been pushing for me to flag down a ride for us, I got the luxury of the front of the bakkie, while they got to ride in the back of the pickup wearing every sweater they owned and tucked into their sleeping bags to keep warm. Seemed only fair. Teehee! Mind you, I did have to play up my “relationship” with Brett to keep Alex, the driver, away from pawing at my knees, and beyond! No matter. We arrived in Harare late that night and Deon was good enough to put us up for the night at his apartment. He even cooked us steak and eggs for breakfast. A treat for us poor lot who had been subsisting on dry noodle soup, and peanut butter for the last while.
 With our first taste of hitchhiking behind us, I was able to relax a bit on my constant worried path of where the future would take me. The sun felt good poolside and I smiled at the possibilities that lay before me. A glance at my watch made me realize that for right now, it was time to go though. After leaving Deon’s apartment that morning, we had settled back into our makeshift Harare home at the Sable Lodge. Deon had made us promise that we would return that afternoon to join him and his roommate for a home cooked meal and some TV viewing. As the television had been a foreign object for a long while now, we couldn’t resist. Making a plan for where we would head next could wait for another day, but the Simpsons were a luxury that just couldn’t wait. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gotta Go!

With 2 birthday parties
on either side of town,
a present to buy
& diner to prep
for friends and family
coming over tonight
the computer is the last place
I should be.

but I cannot help
but throw my 160
out there for Monkey Man's

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Courage and Croissants

Courage and Croissants: Inspiring Joyful Living; By Suzanne Saxe-Roux and Jean Roux
(© 2010 St Rémy Press)

Today I look at a book that touts itself as "inspiring joyful living". This is the first book of 2011 for my book club and we thought we would start the year off on a positive note. While it sounded good from the back page description and had some glowing reviews, I knew I would have to make my own opinions. So I cracked the spine on this "story and life guidebook", as the subtitle suggests, and dug in to see what was on offer.

As you may have already guessed, this book is a memoir. It opens with an explanation of how to use the book. It is divided up into essentially two parts; the first being an account of their lives, the second a guidebook on how to improve your own life. I chose to read the book from front to back, so started in with a poem (of which I have a weakness for) and then was introduced to Suzanne and Jean. They chose to have inspirational quotes quotes start each chapter, and I myself like the touch. Before I even begin to read, I am taken to a positive place where I can find a touchstone of truth that relates to life. It is a gentle nudge to be kind to self and I think many need that nudge on occasion. 

After a brief prologue, where we are given quick contrasting images of Suzanne and Jean's life now and two years prior, the story begins. We are walked through a common tale of young love, where two people meet, fall in love, and make a life together. In their youth, they have great aspirations to do big and wonderful things, and their lives are fairly simple. Life is good.

As time marches on, Suzanne and Jean find success in their chosen paths and glory in all that life offers them, until one day they realize that they forgot something; children. The biological clock ticks loud as their forties begin. Always ready for a new hurdle, they decide to take a stab at raising a family as well, only to find that the prospect of getting pregnant is not as easy as they would like. A miscarriage shakes their world, followed by severe illness and death amongst their family and peers. Struggling to find a foothold amongst these emotional battles, while both working at extremely demanding jobs, starts to take its toll on them both. Desperate to find stability and happiness again, they let go of their dream to have a child, only to find themselves pregnant several months later, with Suzanne at the age of 45. Her age and other factors throw the pregnancy into the category of high-risk though, so stress continues to mount. At the same time, Suzanne's business partner, also her best friend, is rapidly deteriorating  from a battle with cancer. The death of her beloved friend is followed closely by the premature birth of their daughter.

These factors are the beginning signs that life is running away from Suzanne and Jean. With no time to schedule in meals, quality time with their daughter, or themselves, life becomes a rat race that quickly loses its joy. Never fear though, as the bleak picture that is painted in the early chapters of the book only serve as example of how anyone's life can spin out of control. Suzanne's goal in the writing of this book is to inspire you, the reader, to take stock of your own life and recognize what is not working. Her and Jean realize that they are no longer happy on their life paths and take steps to make life better. In a daring move, they sell Suzanne's business and move to France for a year. The plan; to slow down and experience all that life has to offer by way of travel, making time for themselves as individuals and as a family, and pursuing their own personal interests, such as painting and pottery. 

The book continues to highlight the process that Suzanne and Jean go through in order to reconnect with themselves and life as a whole. They explore fresh and local produce, Suzanne challenges herself to learn a language through immersion in France, and they truly take time to stop and smell the roses and baguettes along the way. She notes that obviously it is not possible for everyone to jet off to another country to find themselves, but that everyone has a way to create their own version of what life should look like. This includes taking time to eat a meal with your family at least once a week, if not daily, exploring a hobby that you have always had interest in, but never the courage to pursue, or even getting out of your daily routine, by taking a picnic to a new park where you can enjoy the fresh air and maybe the opportunity to paint a picture en plein air. With quotes and excerpts from her life journey, she encourages us all to find joy in all that life has to offer, and I cannot fault her for that in the least. 

I found Suzanne's exploration of life with fresh eyes, a simple and pleasant read. She is like so many, caught up in the fast-paced world and not recognizing that there is more to life than the bigger house, car or paycheck. Allowing herself to let go of all of her pre-conceived notions of the American Dream is a challenge to her, but what about the average person? I like to think we are in touch with ourselves, but alas that is not always the case I suppose.

The last section of the book offers some simple tips on how to make changes in your own life. I have to admit that I liked this section of the book less, as it came off slightly preachy. Some people appreciate clearly outlined steps though and I value what she is attempting. I prefer her "show; don't tell" method that is illustrated earlier in the book, but that is the writer in me griping I fear. The book does leave you with a positive feel though and I enjoyed the read. We shall see what the other ladies in my book club have to say when next we meet, but as for you, you have to form your own opinion. In the meantime, why not stop, pour yourself a glass of wine, open up a good book or blow the dust off your old paint set. Life is worth living, so why not start now...

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Journals have always been a part of my life. They have been a friend, space for thoughts and poems, testing ground for new ideas, as well as the interminable lists that reign my life as of late. I still have several that I kept from back in high school and have three actively on the go at present. One lives on my beside table, the other journeys with me in the car, keeping me company in coffee shops and while waiting for appointments. The last is more for work, where I hastily jot down ideas that are suggested for new directions of projects by my "Boss Lady". She is a phenomenal whirlwind of ideas and I have to desperately catch the thoughts that spring from her like a fountain. I listen, understand, but without some kind of notes, am hard pressed to have all the fine details later when I need to plug away at something in the comfort of my own home. That journal should be a tome, but unfortunately always seems to be lacking that tiny sprig of information that I need right NOW.

Journals have helped pave the way to my African stories that I share here with you lovely people, as well. I brought home three journals from my trip and they help to feed details into the story that I am breathing to life. Without my journals, I would have lost little details that bring my journey back fresh as day for me, and subsequently you. My scribbles are priceless to me.

Journals have also soaked up many, many tears through the years of my husband's illness and beyond. Grief filled pages as the only outlet that I could turn to where I was safe. Of course, that isn't completely true, but in the depths of my sorrows I felt vastly small and alone. Getting all of the hard and poisonous thoughts out of my head and onto paper helped me to see them, understand them better and in many cases, let them go. Those journals will travel with me, bringing me insight and reminding me of the long road I have travelled in darker days. That road is life and it continues still, but new journals have taken their place.

While I now often find myself at the computer writing poetry and prose, I still value my journals. In the pages of my journals, I can be kind or cruel to me, as the season fits. I am not perfect, and am often my worst critic, but in releasing this to a journal, I sometimes find release to myself. Stepping back onto the yoga mat this morning reminded me that I need to be kind to myself and make time for me. Allowing myself space to breathe, and also write, is key to my survival. I am flesh and blood, and my pen bleeds emotions over the page. I need this. It balances me.

Today's journal entry looked back at grief. Over breakfast my 5 year-old declared that losing a partner was worse than losing a child. She noted that losing a partner meant that the remaining parent had to do everything themselves, like taking out the garbage, making meals (with a little help from the kids once in a while), and everything. Her statement is absolutely right and she knows it from watching me day in and day out, but I gently reminded her that losing a child was equally devastating. I reminded her of my aunt who lost a daughter and how she might be able to rhyme off several reasons why that was worse. A child represents the future and the best of you, but I don't need to go into that further here. Everyone's grief is different, none better or worse than another. I will just say, that the fact that she is processing this aspect of grief makes me sad, and makes me wonder if she feels like a burden tied around my neck. I don't really think so, but the thought crossed my mind. She is such a serious child. She reminds me so much of myself. Trying to fill the role of little mother, when she/I knew that the need was there. Doing the utmost to make me happy and proud (in hopes of staving off those tears that reigned for so long?). Her view of the world through my grief was probably worse than losing her father at the time. She lost him physically, but her remaining parent swirled out of control on a wave of never-ending tears. Any time a tear comes to my eye or slides down my check now, she questions why and what it is for. Both my girls do. That is my reality though.

So, what is the point today? Do you journal? Do you have thoughts in your head that swirl around making you crazy, sad, confused or numb? Don't we all at some point or another? My journal, while sometimes waxing and waning, has been my best friend, companion and lifeline for as long as I can remember. It does not critique your grammar, spelling or punctuation. It takes your thoughts without judgement and allows you them. If you are ever in a difficult spot in your life, give it a try sometime. You don't have to keep it forever or even for the day. A napkin can act as journal space to help you unjumble thoughts, and then be tossed in the refuse after you are done with it. No one is the wiser, but you. Some day, it might even save your life. Try it, you might find you like it. It is all about you...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Writer


I have a new title. "Business Manager"; that's what I am. It sounds so officious. I could write up business cards, if i so desired. I really am tickled. This is another step on the path towards me.

I need to take this seriously, and indeed I am. My new office space is my promise to myself. My little corner of the living room is my way of saying that I "am" a writer. This is a valid path for me right now and I am okay with that. More than OK, I am truly ecstatic to be allowing myself to fill these shoes. I think a piece of me has always imagined that this could be a reality for me, but now I am letting it happen. I sit at my new desk every day. I have been typing and tapping into my laptop for a long time now, but it is finally coming together. It really is.

I still cannot claim much in the published world, but letting myself fill this space is a pretty special venture. For so long, I did not feel like I could truly validate my little attempts at creativity. I felt like I needed to stop and get on  with the business of real life, GET A REAL JOB! The world has given me several positive nods though and now I am at the point where I am willing to give myself that nod as well. 

So how is it that I define myself as a writer? Well, I plug away at my two books fairly often and finished tinkering with my poetry chapbook. Most of you will not see the chapbook, as it is just a compilation of poetry that I made for my book club, but it was a challenging and fun project for me. I think I can consider it testing ground for when my other books are ready for some unknown publisher's eyes, but I cannot wait to have my little creation in my hand just to say that I brought this little thing into existence.

While my plugging away at my unpaid labour is all very valiant, it does not pay the bills at present. That brings me back to my new title of Business Manager. It makes me smile just saying it. And it really is a real title too, although applied in a very friendly way. I manage all the admin details of a Blog Talk Radio show. A friend of mine interviews authors and I have now officially taken over all of the admin work for the show. It isn't glamorous, but it does bring some money in, which in turn allows me to stay home and plug away at my books. There are other social media projects that I handle for the same woman and again, they are not glamorous, but they buy groceries. 

So with the help of friends this evening, some shelves were hung and my new office space is coming on to complete. I popped an English language dictionary on the shelf and balanced it with a plant in the other corner. As is my wont, some rocks or crystals will be added, as well as some other books. I think my little corner is just beautiful though. It is my step in believing in me and the future. The future is in my hands. I write my story and today it is filled with heart.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


empty page sits
no words from a full heart
scribbled pages on floor

Monday, January 10, 2011

To Arnie


1972 VW Kombi Van

January 8th, 1995 - April 13th, 1996

He served us well
and always came through
in times of need

·         left Cape Town Jan 15/95
·         filled up at 31 km
·         discovered gas leak, speedo stopped at 81 km
·         got bolt stuck in tire – R10 fix
·         lost starter motor between Durban and Swaziland (near False Bay)
o   later to discover that it was the ignition that was giving us grief all along
·         gashed hole in exhaust in Mozambique between Vilanculos and Beira (see “The Worst Road in Africa”)
o   muffler sealant applied later in Masvingo with little effect
·         various scratches from several game parks
·         some new rust from ocean-side  journeys (and a distinct lack of washing)
·         door slider started to go around Hwange (an up-front and personal account of the ramifications at “Happy Tourists”)
·         losing power on the way to Hwange; revving high, popping out of first gear
o   equated to tempers running high and popping for the occupants of Arnie as well
·         Survived it all!
·         chugged into Pietersburg
·         sold Arnie April 13th, 1996

That was our Arnie, just a little more faded and worn around the edges

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter in Canada

It’s January.
Snow at 9 AM;
Expected  5-10 cm of white stuff.
Not as much as last month, but still…
I  even shoveled the driveway.

At Costco
I saw a guy in shorts


I don't get it.
We live in Canada.
It is cold here in the winter
Pretty much all the time!
I think I will go see what Monkey Man
is up to on his Sunday 160 today.

Friday, January 7, 2011

for everything, there is a home

Early this fine morning
excitement wakened me
I still had need of coffee,
but planned renos were growing

dashing out the door
my kids dumped hence;
with aunty whence
we to the Ikea store.

We dallied in the bedroom
We doddled down the hall,
but in the office – stall…
For my new desk… there… consume!


Playing along at G-Man's Friday Flash 55.
I bought a new desk & am creating a new office space for me. Very exciting! Now I will have a work space all my own to plunk away at all my loverly posties. yippee!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shared Meals

Lobster tails

Oh, yummy reminders from Christmas! Delicious, and all the better for me not having any part in making them. I was spoiled over the holidays with so many wonderful meals being made for me. The one above was Christmas Eve, complete with Prime Rib, mashed potatoes, some other veggie matter and  bottle of Vino to wash it down with complements of my step-brother. Felt like a queen!

You all can probably guess what the next night's dinner was. Yup, the all-powerful image of Christmas and families coming together over the piping hot bird brought forth from the oven; Turkey! I love me some turkey, with all the fixings. Ohh, dressing and mashed potato, cranberry sauce and brussel sprouts, plus my Mom's famous icky orange stuff (carrot, squash mix -always different, but good!). I love it all, especially the camaraderie of family laughing and sharing around the extended table. Plus my dear, sweet aunt made a point of separating parents and children from each other. So yes, I did not have to sweat about whether my dear R ate a bite or not (The best part? hmm). And no, she ate almost nothing, but I didn't have to witness it directly, so it was all good. 

Of course, not everyone loves turkey...

The Carcass
After sweating all day in the kitchen and smelling the turkey roasting away, my aunt is almost loathe to even sit at table with the blessed offering. She tries every year to convince us to cook anything but turkey. No turkey, no family though. We cannot help, but rub it in afterwards though. Mean, but what the heck!

And New Year's just kept that good food coming. We dined on yummy Ecuadorian food at my sister's in-laws, with a little more turkey thrown in for good measure. Midnight came and champagne helped toast in the year to come with glee and bliss. After dancing the night away until the very wee hours, we finally crashed where we dropped. And not a creature was stirring, not even the kids!

My last decadence was the very next day. As dawn came much too soon, energy levels had not a chance of renewal. We managed a meal or two for the sake of the little ones in the house, once we returned to my sister's. By dinner, Chinese was in order though. Ah, Chinese food; the salvation of lazy cooks everywhere! 

So why am I re-hashing all this? Well, food jags are not a new thing in my house. My littlest one gives me a run for my money most nights around the dinner table. Since the holidays have ended though, I have had a bit of a respite. I don't want to speak too quickly and jinx myself, but I think (please!) that maybe she is getting it. I have tried to make meals that have appealed and stuck to my guns on taking food away after 30 minutes. She in turn has been excited to show me an empty plate, or at least not crushed when the timer beats her  and dessert is denied (bribery you say? Why, yes!). I think I have also chilled out a little, what with having helping hands and smiling faces of other adults to carry the load. Bliss!

I think that I will close by putting out the invite to any of you delightful folks that wander through my pages, to please, please, please stop by for a meal or two anytime. I usually have a bottle of wine kicking around somewhere or other, and we love the company! It makes for a better day for us all...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


quiet sleeps 
the house this night
songs sung,
food flung,
and patience won
by this humble 

I am 
no strife
fills me,
chills me,
not tonight.

Worlds spin
around my orb.
I feel,
but sit still
to let chaos
be someone else's

Don't misunderstand.
I sorrow,
would beg and borrow
that tomorrow
would ease
the wounds
and woes
for all.

so  often
a  bedfellow,
has left the hearth,
left my heart,
left my hurt
and left me 

how to live,
how to thrive,
how to believe
in myself
and life
when it is all
in mine own hands.

I go forth.
face the day
with clear eyes.
the past behind me,
the future
a glimmer
a piece of
a new day.


It is a New Year
and the first Wednesday
that I get to share
with the poets
and friends

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Goodbye Arnie

Pietersburg was a town. It had the same amenities you would find in most small-towns in North American; bank, grocery store, gas station. Nothing special. No terribly interesting tourist sites to explore. No handy game parks to scour for ferocious animals. No real reason to go there except for our present one; to sell the van.
We had hit our last stop with Arnie. We crossed the border back into South Africa and travelled to the closest spot to part ways with our last travelling companion. Pietersburg wasn’t far from the border and was big enough to support the potential sale of our van. It wasn't beautiful, but we hoped  it would fill our needs.
 We found a campground on the edge of town and set up camp for the last time. We picked up a few supplies, but were loathe to buy too much, as we would be carrying everything on our backs from here on out. Brett and I packaged and shipped off any souvenirs or other valuables that we wanted to keep, but did not want to schlep around. We needed our camping gear until the van was sold, but it too would go. My sleeping bag would stay with me, but our tent was a luxury that neither of us wanted to carry. It all had to go.
With our possessions thrown out of the van, we drove Arnie to a little carpark that we had heard about. A South African family that was camping across from us had suggested it as a good place to sell the van. Arnie was too old to try to sell to a dealership. Parking the van at the side of the highway with a sign in the window was presented as our best option. It had good potential to be bought and used to transport hordes of people as a local taxi. It seemed a sad fate, after all the love we had pumped into our dear van, but it was time to part ways. We needed the money and that was what Arnie represented now. He would fetch a better penny now too, as the South African family re-wired the ignition system. It would seem that it was not the starter motor at all that caused us to have to push Arnie for the last two months, rather faulty wiring. Within five minutes, they had fixed our ignition woes and installed a new set of spark plugs. No more push starts! Miraculous! It was like being in a brand new van!

Nevermind,” we told ourselves with sheepish grins. We would now get more money to line our pockets with and memories we could laugh about forever.
A big Thank you! was offered to our new friends. They were a warm hearted lot that you could tell would offer the shirts off their backs. That was, only as long as you were the right colour. We were definitely back in South Africa and the racial tensions were glaringly apparent once again. It was difficult to justify the strong beliefs that were everywhere, but I tried to  just be thankful for the kindnesses of the moment. I could not paint all the people I met with evil brush strokes just because I did not believe in their thought patterns, so I let it go as best I could.

We washed and polished Arnie better than he had ever looked and dropped him off near the highway for his Show and Shine. A box of wine was our reward and final celebration to a remarkable journey. It was also our Easter celebration and we dined like kings on instant noodle soup and tomatoes. The wine and conversation flowed until the thread was lost. At some point, my bladder roused me from a sleep I don’t remember falling into. Crawling out of the tent, I could see the sky beginning to lighten and I knew that it was going to be a long day. I was pretty sure it was not going to be a good one either.
The bright side is that the hangovers that punished us that day served to give us something to do with the idle hours of waiting. Laughter was scant and a painful ordeal, but I didn’t have much mirth as I crawled from shade patch to shade patch with groans or occasionally made the longer trek across the campsite for water. Food might have saved me, but the box of wine that still sloshed a little, offered its accusations by its shockingly empty state. There was plenty good reason for my sour and heaving stomach. No amount of swearing off booze would save that day, but blissfully the sun eventually sank back into the horizon again. I would survive. My prayers and dreams for that night centered on a speedy sale of the van, so that we could leave Pietersburg and its rowdy memories behind.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome Home

Back from holidays
I love visiting with friends & family,
but get me my coffee,
my vacuum
and lets suck the last of the life
out of Christmas
for another year 

That is my 160
to say goodbye to 2010
and the holidays.
I am hoping to get back into
some kind of routine again tomorrow.


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