Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Arid Mind

dry arid plains
this I see
in  me
spilled into 
the forest of folks
that pay dearly for 
2 cents worth of
my time & 
lush frolicking 
meadows of metaphors
spilled ripe across
their desks
while I


Oh Jinksy, I love your arid plains & have been waiting for some words to spill out of me to dance across your painting. Alas, my days rob my brain of fluid motion by evening. This paltry offer I give to you, but I just wanted to say that your pictures are lovely. Thank you for offering them. If you like the image here, go check out the In Tandem site and check out some of Jinksy's other works. She has a great eye for colour! Happy Tuesday all.

Monday, August 29, 2011

None of the Comforts of Home

I stretched my stiff and aching body. I had slept in some pretty rough places during my travels, but last night’s nest on the ground was certainly one of the least comfortable places that I could recall retiring to. My thin orange sleeping bag added little comfort from the rocks, roots and rivets that served as my bed. The view held little to be desired either – a chain link fence topped with barbed wire, the dusty ground with a few sparse patches of grass here and there, and the rare tree for shade. I had managed to secure a spot underneath one of those trees to shelter me from the morning sun’s glare, but I still awoke shortly after dawn. I hadn’t slept much anyway. And while there certainly were none of the comforts of home here, I managed to retain a smile. I was in Victoria Falls. I had made it to Zimbabwe. Despite my lack of creature comforts, it felt like coming home.
Before crawling out of my cocoon to face the day, I reflected on some of the pleasant memories that I held of Victoria Falls. On my first trip here, I fell in love with the adventure sport of white water rafting. With the gang from my first overland trip, we had also explored the beautiful, misty park that surrounded the top of the gorge, watched friends plummet towards the water on bungi cords and tipped a few beverages on a booze cruise. That was followed by my canoe trip along the Upper Zambezi with Miki back in March. We had paddled along the river with not a care in the world, and been pampered with soft beds and mosquito nets after our outdoor showers to wash the toils of the day off our bodies. Once Brett and Oliver joined us, we also partook in a booze cruise of our own that had us all reeling the following day. On my last trip through, I again arrived with an overland company, but this time as part of the crew. I was treated to another white water rafting trip and of course the obligatory booze cruise that were a staple of all those trips. Alcohol seemed to play a factor in the fun, but that did not seem so bad from the security of my retro-wrapped bed.
This visit to Victoria Falls was different though. I wasn’t with an overland truck, neither as a passenger nor working. I had no friends by my side. I had parted ways with Eddie the night before, so no longer even had his company or guidance to lead the way. In fact, after walking away from his land cruiser on the bridge from Zambia to Zimbabwe, I had a moment of panic at being solely responsible for my own actions once again. I was the only one to guide the way and was fearful of the path that might unfold. Thankfully, the morning sun burned some of those trepidations away.
“First things first,” I thought, as I scrambled out of my sleeping bag and made my way to the bath house. My present abode didn’t offer much, but at least the campground’s bathroom was reasonably clean. The other perk was that they would safely store my backpack, while I wandered around town for the day. That was a bonus that would at least help to save a few more knots in my grateful back.
I rolled up my “home”, strapped it on top of my pack and headed out to start my day. Once my pack was safely stowed, I crossed my fingers and headed to the bank machine that I had been urgently seeking since Tanzania. I was down to little more than dust in my ravaged money pouch, as I had been forced to break my last traveller’s cheque in order to pay Eddie for the food I had shared en route from Dar es Salaam to Livingstone. I did not begrudge him the money in the least, but was at desperation’s door now. The remaining Rand that I held didn’t amount to enough to get me to Cape Town. I couldn’t think about that now though. 
Not daring to wonder what I would do if my card got rejected again, I slid the card in, punched in some numbers and held my breath. There was what seemed like a painfully long wait, as the machine processed my request. The sweet sound of gears grinding finally released me from the tension that had threatened to overwhelm me, as money slowly slid out into my waiting hands.
It worked! I had money again! I could access my account and in turn, continue to travel. Even better,  I could afford breakfast!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Somebody Hand Me a Kleenex

Saturday's Email of the Week

Oh my GOD, I thought I was going to stop breathing while watching this! I laughed so hard during the video that tears were literally squirting out of my eyes. My sides hurt and I worried that the girls would sleepily wander down the hall wondering what all the noise was about. While they remained blissfully sleeping, I snorted and chortled right through to the end of the skit.

Now technically this video was directed to me through Facebook, but I got an email that it was there from my inbox. And I went directly to Youtube to watch it, effectively avoiding losing 10 minutes of my life scanning my Facebook wall, so I think it counts! Anyway, it is my call and I think that this video is well worth sharing, even if any of you have seen it before. If you've never seen "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", then you are in for a treat. Put down your coffee and just try to keep poker-faced while you watch the antics of Drew Carey (super funny host), Ryan Stiles (a way tall drink of water), Wayne Brady (so dreamy!), Colin Mochrie (Canadian, eh!) and a surprise guest!

I hope that your week didn't end too wet. As I write this, it is too early to tell how bad Irene will be, but she is all over the news. I wish you all health, security, and happiness, plus a dry bed at night. Be well.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Monkeying Around

I am "monkeying" around today.

Yep, happily enjoying a special present that arrived in the mail this morning.

Hoo, hoo, haa, haa!

Can you guess who might have sent it to me?

The sender is someone we know and love, who hosts a weekly meme that challenges writing abilities in 160 characters or less.


Thanks Monkey! Not only did you help to put a special smile on my face today, but you also helped me to write a fun little Flash 55 for another great guy - G-Man, our favourite Mr Knowitall! So if you get a chance, go visit G-Man for his Friday Flash 55 and then on Sunday swing on by Monkey Man's Sunday 160 challenge. They are both worth a visit. Have a great weekend all!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Little Luxuries

Thoughts of home drifted through my head today. They were like unreal memories from a time that felt like ancient history and  I could not shake them. Despite telling myself that I had moved on and was fine, my brain still refused to let go of images of John, the ex-boyfriend whom I had left so many months before. It was his birthday and his presence was strong around me, as I idled in Lusaka.  I wondered where he was and if he had a roof over his head at night. Was he still dependant on friend’s generousity and the comfort of their couches, or had he found a place of his own to call home? It did not matter, but just thinking of him, I knew that he still held a piece of my heart, despite all that had happened. I wished him well and sent happy thoughts across the ocean to him, knowing that if it mattered, he would feel them. Odds stated that I would never see him again, but our spiritual connection remained branded in the far reaches of my mind. I wasn't sure if I was happy about that or not, but the fact still remained.
John was not with me now though. No one was. I was in Lusaka at a friend of Eddie’s apartment. The night previous, Eddie had gone out with his friend, while I stayed back at the apartment and enjoyed the luxury of a candle-lit bath with Leonard Cohen and classical music on the stereo, as well as poetry and the first few stories from Roald Dahl’s collection of short stories in hand. It had been a long time since I had spent an evening in that manner. It felt decadent and rich. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend an evening alone. And now, the light of the day illuminated the journal that I scribbled into again. 

With Eddie busy getting welding done on some of his equipment, it appeared that we would be spending another night in Lusaka. I didn’t mind though, as the calendar did not dictate my days. We had the luxury of a real roof over our heads and running water at our fingertips. I had no money to spend, but nothing that I had want of either. Food and drink were readily available to fill my bloated belly. A real bed and pillow would catch my dreams that night. We would depart Lusaka in the morning and by evening, I would rest my head in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.  It was enough to know that I still had food in my belly, good people around me and the means to get where I wanted to go. Tomorrow might be a different story. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: A Religious Debate

Saturday's Email of the Week

I am out of town today at a wedding. I should be up by now showering, doing hair and makeup & trying to convince the girls that they should let me do their hair as well. At least I should have Grandma to help me out, so maybe she can pull their hair into cute little piggies to set off their fancy dresses. I shall be pulling on a brand new dress with a set of pretty new shoes to go with. I would like to say I am a girlie girl, but this was my first new dress in about 13-14 years. My other fancy dress that has always been my stand-by staple was one I wore as a bridesmaid at a friend's wedding. I figured it was time that I could do with a little fresh gussying up. Perhaps I will be able to have someone snap a picture or two so that I can share. Until then, I leave you with this week's email of the week. It came in early in the week and got a good snort from me. I hope you enjoy! Have a super weekend!

The Pope and The Rabbi

Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert to Catholicism or leave Italy. There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal: he'd have a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy; if the Pope won, they'd have to convert or leave.
The Jewish people met and picked an aged and wise rabbi to represent them in the debate. However, as the rabbi spoke no Italian, and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, they agreed that it would be a 'silent' debate.

On the chosen day the Pope and rabbi sat opposite each other.

The Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.
The rabbi looked back and raised one finger.

Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head.
The rabbi pointed to the ground where he sat.

The Pope brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine.
The rabbi pulled out an apple.

With that, the Pope stood up and declared himself beaten and said that the rabbi was too clever. The Jews could stay in Italy.

Later the Cardinals met with the Pope and asked him what had happened.
The Pope said, "First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up a single finger to remind me there is still only one God common to both our faiths.

Then, I waved my finger around my head to show him that God was all around us. The rabbi responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us.

I pulled out the wine and host to show that through the perfect sacrifice Jesus has atoned for our sins, but the rabbi pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin. He bested me at every move and I could not continue."

Meanwhile, the Jewish community gathered to ask the rabbi how he'd won.

"I haven't a clue," said the rabbi. "First, he told me that we had three days to get out of Italy, so I gave him the finger.

Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews but I told him emphatically that we were staying right here."

"And then what?" asked a woman.

"Who knows?" said the rabbi. "He took out his lunch, so I took out mine


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chicken à la Lino Without You

The last bite of chicken lies
wet on the floor,
growing colder as
we throw barbed taunts,
defiant challenges
with our eyes.

Seconds tick by...
I bubble,
broiling up
like the
congealed mass
on yesterday's linoleum.

Fire burns bright
in indignation
"How could you do that?"
Dead poultry don't tell no tales.
Neither does your daughter.
And flung chicken makes me miss you even more.

There is a new poetry hangout in town by the name of d'Verse ~Poet's Pub. Tonight they are hosting Meeting  the Bar: Critique and Craft with a big theme, namely big topics, ie. death, life, grief, suffering, etc., but the suggestion is to come at it from a less than blatantly direct angle. The thrust of the night is to offer honest, helpful and informative critiques of other poets work. I read a few pieces and am going to explore a few more before hitting the hay, but thought I would add a poem of my own.

You tell me the theme. If you can't get it, that lets me know that more work is needed. I welcome your two cents worth. Thanks for visiting!

I Leave You with "Sunday"

I'll be headed out of town again this weekend. Strapping the girls onto the hood of my tractor and moseying on over to a wedding a few towns away. I might not get back here to write much more up, but I just wanted to say that I miss you all when I'm not around! My friends out there in the blogosphere are the best, most supportive lot around. And as I truly feel like you care just a smidgen about me and my two cents worth, I do try to make an effort. Therefore today, while I was getting my hair done (so that I'd be all dolled up for the wedding), I snuck in some writing. Yup, while I "processed" my pen scribbled across the pages of one of my journals to capture stories for you dear folk. I managed to get not one, but TWO chapters of my African tale written. That way, even if I don't get back here on Monday, you can still wander through Africa with me. I'll be back though and look forward to hearing what you think!

And so that this post is not too dull, I thought I should throw in a little something extra as well. I dug deep and came up with an ancient poem to share this evening, entitled :


I escape to words today.
Small smile for others,
But gray eyes inside lay.
     The rain pours down...

Letters that I don't have to say
Written, not mailed
Away. Now,
     The thoughts poured down...

Looking through watery lids
Streaks cover the pane
Where a question breeds.
     A tear drops down...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Flies, Fishermen and Flights of Fancy

The days flew by, as dust wafted behind the land cruiser on our way South. A smile curved my lips when we reached the brilliant coast of Lake Malawi again. Oh, how I loved its azure shores. One day Eddie pointed out a dark cloud across the lake. It looked like smoke, but Eddie shook his head no. The hazy cloud that drifted on the horizon was in fact lake flies. Catherine and John had never seen them before, but Eddie remarked that they were edible and considered a delicacy by the locals when they swarmed across the lake. They caught them by the handfuls and squished them into balls, then fried them up into "delicious" fly cakes. As we were not there at the right time of year, we would not get the pleasure of trying them. Eddie assured us that we were not missing anything. He had tried them before and wasn’t impressed. As I had tried the other Malawian treat of grasshoppers and hadn’t been a fan, I didn’t rue our timing all that much. I guess protein is protein though, when it is scarce to come by. I just preferred the view.
The lapping waves were a welcome companion, as I curled up on the beach at night as well. With the flies located across the lake and no mosquitoes to bug me, I could look up at the pristine, star-lit sky in awe. It was also a treat to watch fishermen stringing their nets out in the moon’s glow in hopes of catching a meal for the next day. The long row of lights that represented each fisherman along the net, painted a line of humanity in my mind’s dark eye. I was mesmerized and fell in love with Malawi all over again.
Before I knew it though, the lake was behind us and I was let out at Annie’s Guest House, in Lilongwe, for the night. I was amongst backpackers again and enjoyed the camaraderie, for an evening at least. Stories were swapped and chocolate was shared. Our laughter was only good until noon though and then I met back up with Eddie to head off for the next leg of our journey.
After jumping into the land cruiser again, we journeyed on across the continent. We stopped in Chipata, then made our way across Zambia to Lusaka. Conversation lulled and was wan, at best. In bursts of discordant chatter, I spoke of my plans for the rest of my travels. Eddie nodded politely, while he drove across the dry terrain dotted with rondavels. When I said that I was thinking of heading back towards Harare, then south again to Cape Town, he suggested an alternate route.

Why not cut across at Kasane and travel south down Namibia for somewhere you haven’t been before?” he said.

Why not indeed. And with that, plans changed again. I silently wished goodbye to my erstwhile friends in Harare and opened the door to adventure in new lands, as yet unexplored. I still had a ways to go before I could be introduced to this new country for me, but a twinge of excitement filled me again. I fell silent thinking about all the places I had been and people that I had met, but was still present enough to wave at the villagers that we passed who eagerly lifted their hands in greeting. Their enthusiasm still brought a smile to my lips, even after nine months on the road. While Lusaka neared on the road we travelled, my own trail grew as my mind drifted along on a new flight of fancy.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Cleaning Day

Saturday's Email of the Week

I am lost in the chaos that is my basement. We are in the middle of one of our 1-2 hour long clean-up sessions. Lord help me! The day started with homemade muffins, but it is noon and I am ready for a drink!

No time though. I must go back downstairs with the vacuum now. I might even pull out the mop, while I hand dusters to the kids. How does it always get so bad, so fast? I ask you!

Well, this calls for humour, since there isn't much downstairs. I hope you all have sparkly Saturdays! I will be needing a bath and a drink in a few!


Good morning, this is called following instruction precisely...

A wife asks her husband, "Could you please go shopping for me and
buy one carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get 6."
A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk.
The wife asks him, "Why on earth did you buy 6 cartons of milk?"

 He replied, "They had eggs."

This is a story which is perfectly logical to all males.

have a nice day......


Be sure and cancel your credit cards before you die! This is so priceless and so easy to see happening - customer service, being what it is today!

A lady died this past January, and CBIC bank billed her for February and March for their annual service charges on her credit card, and then added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00, now is somewhere around $60.00.

A family member placed a call to the CBIC Bank:

Family Member: 'I am calling to tell you that she died in January.'

CBIC: 'The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.'

Family Member: 'Maybe you should turn it over to collections.'

CBIC: 'Since it is two months past due, it already has been.'

Family Member: 'So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?'

CBIC: 'Either report her account to the frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!'

Family Member: 'Do you think God will be mad at her?'

CBIC: 'Excuse me?'

Family Member: 'Did you just get what I was telling you . . . the part about her being dead?'

CBIC: 'Sir, you'll have to speak to my supervisor.'

Supervisor gets on the phone:

Family Member: 'I'm calling to tell you, she died in January.'

CBIC: 'The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.'

Family Member: 'You mean you want to collect from her estate?'

CBIC:(Stammer) 'Are you her lawyer?'

Family Member: 'No, I'm her great nephew.'(Lawyer info given)

CBIC: 'Could you fax us a certificate of death?'

Family Member: fax number is given.

After they get the fax:

CBIC: 'Our system just isn't set up for death. I don't know what more I can do to help.'

Family Member: 'Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. I don't think she will care.'

CBIC: 'Well, the late fees and charges do still apply.'

Family Member: 'Would you like her new billing address?'

CBIC: 'That might help.'

Family Member: Rookwood Memorial Cemetery , 1249 Centenary Rd, Sydney Plot Number

CBIC: 'Sir, that's a cemetery!'

Family Member: 'Well, what the f**k do you do with dead people on your planet?'

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In Tandem #5 - Golden Heart

Soft caress
a kiss of wind drifts 
gently 'cross mountain pass
Down the valley
to the forest floor

Lo, the hot breeze 
drives in without forgiveness.
Fresh leaves, but a memory
swept away by
Autumn promises

Now parched images
all that is left of you
as sun sets steady
behind the bulk
of your memory

I draw your lines
hold your visions strong in mind,
yet I am too small
to ever spy the
golden heart that was you


M'lady Jinksy
holds a weekly prompt
by the name of In Tandem.
I showcase one of her beautiful paintings
and make attempt to capture her art
in words.
If you are interested,
every week she posts 2 pictures
on Wednesday
and leaves a link open for the week
for inspiration to flow
amongst others.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Barefoot with Tea and Music

Grooving on the new tunes in my play list. Hadn't made a change up in a while and thought it was time. After going through illness, vacations and the busyness that is summer, I felt that I needed to ground myself in a few new songs. Go take a listen if you need some quiet music to chill out to. Feel free to make a suggestion, if you think something is missing too! While you are listening, you can also read about some of the other things I have been up to this summer. 


I have also read some new books. I started the summer with a light-hearted book entitled "Barefoot", by Elin Hilderbrand (© 2007 Elin Hilderbrand, Back Bay Books). Well, light-hearted might not be the right term, I guess. More light and easy to read. It was predictable and tied up nicely with feel-good vibes all around at the the end. A brief synapsis: Three women land in Nantucket to spend the summer barefoot and fancy free on the beach. Or do they? One sister is just beginning a battle with cancer and will be receiving chemo all summer. She has two young sons and is not ready to let go of life, but doesn't know how to let go of the stress of it all. The other sister has volunteered to assist her older sibling through chemo treatments and help out with the kids. It sounds altruistic, until we discover that she is also escaping her life back home where she lost her job as a professor at a university for having an affair with a student (mature student - older than herself).  Oh ho, getting interesting! The third woman is the best friend of our ailing woman. She needs a break from her life back home, because she has just found out her husband is cheating on her. After several rounds of failed IVF, she is devastated, but no more so than when she finds out that she is pregnant! And to add a romantic twist, they meet a young man at the airport, who becomes their babysitter for the boys, who of course ends up having an affair with our poor pregnant damsel in distress. It is all very predictable, but was a perfect read for sitting on the beach myself. Easy to read, and well enough written to keep me reading through to the end.

I followed that up with "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (© 2006 Penguin Books). Now this was another cup of tea entirely (pardon the pun). I originally picked up this book, as we were going to read it in book club, but we ran out of time the first year. It sat on my bedside table for ages and I finally cracked the spine this summer. Once I did, I could barely put it down. Relin is an accomplished writer and he brings Mortenson's story to life in vivid detail. I am sure that many of you have read the book or at least heard tell about it. It won the Kiriyama Prize (according to the sticker on the front of my book) and was on book club lists all over the continent. It is the story of Greg Mortenson's original failed attempt at climbing K2, that ultimately led him to set up the Central Asia Institute (CAI), which built many schools, community centres and irrigation systems around Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson struggled against political, religious, societal and economic hardships, but is painted as a hero that strives to accomplish good where all others failed. 

In pulling together information for this post, I did find out some interesting details though. It seems that there has been some scandal associated with Mortenson's dealings, just this past year. 60 Minutes did an expose back in April, that questioned many of his financial practices, as well as his claims to greatness. Regardless of the truth of the story that was unearthed, I still applaud the ultimate goal behind the book though. The message is that one person CAN make a difference. I think that this fact is a valid point and humanitarian aid always has a place in society. It is a shame if the rumours are true, but the book renews faith in the goodness of human kind none the less. It is a great story and one that is worth the read. 

Now, I must close my eyes for the night though. I am reading "The Book of Negroes" by Lawrence Hill, at present, and so far it is good. I fear that my brain is done for the night though and any reading will have to happen in the morning or beyond. I wish you good music, happy reading, and whatever else floats your boat this summer.


Monday, August 8, 2011

The View Out the Window

I watched the world fly by through the window of Eddie’s land cruiser now. I was headed south, re-tracing my steps back to South Africa, and eventually home. Today’s stop was in Karonga, Malawi where we picked up supplies. Eddie and John went shopping, while the other John and Catherine got out to stretch their legs and browse around Karonga. I stayed back in the land cruiser to scribble a few words in my journal and process where I was at. As there was no money in my wallet to spend anyway, it made more sense to stay put and hence keep out of trouble.
Gladly, trouble seemed to be skirting my world for the moment. Neale was long gone and Nimesh was a friend that I could hold in my heart, if not close enough to offer a personal hug in my arms. I reflected on the other friends that I had met on my journey. Dear Brett had been an excellent travelling companion, bar none. Miki had been the surprise ghost from my past, that had set me off on a path of adventure that I surely would not have stumbled upon on my own. The family that I was lucky to have been rekindled with had filled me full of a heart-song that I had never known and would cherish the rest of my days. There were many others too, like Ian, my erstwhile man in Harare, Stuart and Rob, my house mates in Lamu, Oliver and Taro, other faces that graced us with their presence in our van Arnie. The list went on and on. As I sat alone in the land cruiser though, I felt slightly hollow realizing that it was all coming to a close. While I might yet get a chance to see Max, Keith and Ndaba in Victoria Falls when I arrived, I just as easily might not.  At this rate, who was to know?
All I knew for certain, was that I was very lucky to have picked up the ride with Eddie at the helm of his “Tusker” fleet. He came to me at a point when I needed a sign. His offer was surely the most glaring sign I could have asked for. When I was not sure which way to go, he gently led me to the path home. And at that moment, when I looked up and saw him ambling towards the land cruiser, I knew that it was meant to be. In a week’s time, 1500 kilometers would pass under the vehicle's wheels. That was a lot of time to think about the days past and the days to come, but for now I scrambled to offer whatever help I could before we hit the road again. Repacking done, I wedged my growing backside back into the seat and picked up my view out the window again. Livingstone, ho!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Thoughtfulness

Saturday's Email of the Week
I am feeling a far cry better this week than I was last Saturday. Hoo boy, but that strep infection knocked me on my behind in a big way. Very nasty stuff, and no I do not have the pleasure to have picked it up by sucking face with some poor slob that would pass me those kinds of cooties. Many of you kind people did inquire nicely as to my health too, and for that I thank you. On Monday, I couldn't lift a case of pop. Tuesday, my brain was still firing on only half its cylinders (making writing for a living pretty painful!), but by the end of the week it was coming back to me. Well, I guess you can be the judge of my mental state though. What say you?

Ok, who asked you anyway!!

So one of the lovely people that tried to cheer me up was Penny, from over at Alias Jinksy. Last week, I shared a joke about the heat in Texas (or insert whatever hot place you might call home). She responded by sharing this beautiful picture that she crafted in my email inbox. I was touched and love this beautiful rainy day scene. You made my day with a gift of thoughtfulness Penny!

I also got a video from my trusty source Bill that made me laugh out loud. He is always so thoughtful to fill my inbox with a vast array of emails to peruse. Well, this week I have needed the laughs so... After feeling like everything coming out of my mouth was dumb, dumb and dumber, this was right up my alley. Oi Vey, but my brain got lost in the slow shuffle! While this doesn't improve my brain functioning, a little laughter doesn't hurt either. 

And just to let you know, I won't be responding to any comments until later this evening or tomorrow, as the girls and I went to their father's aunt's trailer for a visit. Just a short road trip, but overnight this year! Yippee, off to Ipperwash!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Nights

Cricket song washes over me
A shooting star teases -
You have a wish?

No need to 
Capture anything
That can't fill my heart

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


night creeps in
erases days repast
the moon glows

full light above my head
wiping stars clear 
from memory

eyes close to the light
I can take no more of today
tomorrow sunrise

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Hindu Celebration

A tear slowly slipped from my travel-worn cheek, as the bus turned a corner and disappeared from sight. Nimesh stood beside me, respectfully letting me have a moment. In the end, it had been him that had lent Neale enough money to catch a bus North. Neale was headed to Nairobi, hoping to find a cheaper flight from there. I, on the other hand, had to face facts that my travelling days were dwindling to a close. With Neale gone, my heart was no longer in the adventure. It was time to turn towards home.

“Let’s go home,” Nimesh said, breaking my sad thoughts.

“Yes,” I replied. Home, my mind echoed.

Home today was not a bed in my mother’s house though. Neale and I had been taken under Nimesh’s protective wing and now he insisted that I stay with him for the night before leaving Dar es Salaam myself. Tomorrow I would be meeting up with Eddy to hitch a ride South with him in one of his company's jeeps. He was an American fellow that ran a small safari company catering to wealthy American tourists. He had just completed a trip from his home base of Livingstone, Zambia to Dar es Salaam, and now was returning home to rest for a few days before doing it all over again. He had room in his jeep for a stow-away and all I had to pay for was my meals. Meeting Eddy, with his gift of transportation South, had been the sign that told me I was not meant to try to scrabble my way North with Neale. We had promised to meet up again in the future, to travel further together, but the fates had said “not now”.
So I followed Nimesh through the familiar streets of Dar es Salaam, now a little emptier without the large figure of Neale beside me, towards the outskirts of the city. Nimesh lived with his parents and brother in a small home that consisted of two bedrooms and a kitchen. It was comfortable, if not spacious. There was no running water inside, but a tap was outside to bring in water to cook with. There was also no real water closet (WC), but I was directed towards an area where I could void when I needed to. I had been in Africa too long to balk at their primitive hole in the ground. Their “toilet” was cleaner than many I had seen anyway.
In fact, I was more than thankful that Nimesh’s family had agreed to take me in for the night at all.  For them, having a visitor was a cause for celebration, so as soon as I arrived any sad thoughts I had were flung away and I was dragged into the centre spotlight of a grand hoopla. After leaving my shoes at the door, Nimesh’s mother, Jasvanti, took me in hand and hugged me warmly. She had heard the many stories from her son of the big South African man and young Canadian girl that travelled with him. What I didn’t realize, was that in the stories she heard, Neale and I were married! Many questions poured forth about how we met, how long we had been married for, and when we would meet up again. While I felt a little awkward in this little white lie, I reassured them that we would be meeting up again soon in South Africa, then be jetting off to Canada together. Our married life for the last year and a half had been grand! I hoped that no Hindu Gods would strike me down for these little fibs that seemed necessary to maintain a sense of decorum for my generous hosts.
Questions and joviality continued on, as the tea was poured. This was a precursor to the feasting that would follow. I had fallen in love with the sweet tea in Tanzania, so enjoyed it immensely. My eyes popped at what came next though. Exorbitant amounts of food were presented to me, and I was encouraged to eat, eat and eat some more! It was all delicious and I wasn’t exactly sure how to politely say I was full, so kept eating the excellent dishes that were presented in their finest wares. When finally they let me groan back from the eating area smoothed out on the floor, I thought that perhaps I would get a chance to rest, but no. Now it was time for dancing!
What had I gotten myself into, I wondered, as Jasvanti insisted that I change. My belly was straining at my clothes already, but my thin traveller’s garb was not good enough for tonight. I needed to get pretty! A sari was the only thing fit for the occasion. “Ok,” I acquiesced as yards of fine silk were pulled out of Jasvanti’s wardrobe. I stood still as she expertly wrapped me in a length of pink checked fabric, lined with blue and a band of white, and decorated with squares and circles throughout. A light blue top was donned underneath, before the end of the long silk was draped across my shoulder.

“Now we need some makeup!” Jasvanti declared.

I suspected that she would have loved to have had a little girl of her own to dress, but she made due with me today. Bangles were produced and a necklace was declared perfect as it was slid over my head. My lips sported a bright pink that matched my sari, but there was still a missing piece to be put on – a bindi. I had to have one. Jasvanti found a pretty oblong one that was attached with an adhesive backer. I had no idea that bindis could be stickers! Hers was a simple red dot painted in the middle of her eyebrows, by comparison. finally finished, I was a sight to behold. 

“Go get the camera,” Jasvanti urged Hemendra.

Nimesh’s brother ran off to find the missing camera, as I looked at my transformation. Jasvanti declared me beautiful and I certainly looked special, but I wondered at the pictures. Before I could protest though, Hemendra was back with the Polaroid and I was placed in front of the altar for a  photo shoot. After taking pictures of me with every member of the household, in different combinations, I was finally allowed to undress and retire for the evening. It had been quite the day and not one that I would forget for a long time to come. I needed to sleep though. Tomorrow I would be on the move once again. 


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