Monday, August 31, 2009

Spring Cleaning & Reminiscing

I did some Spring cleaning over the weekend and found, amongst many other things, these movie reviews that I wrote as a first year student in 2001 for Die Matie's "Dag & Nag" section. Yeah, I'm well aware that spring only starts tomorrow... Just call me proactive!

Happy Spring Day people!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Taking Out The Trash

Most women will admit, albeit grudgingly, to moments where they would love to be rescued by a man. Ah come on! So you’ve never contemplated doing bit of flirting to avoid getting your nails ruined washing your car? Or getting that spider squashed? Never even crossed your mind?

For me most of these moments involve taking out the trash.

Being a rampant feminist, I view ‘male’ and ‘female’ domestic tasks as totally outdated. Terribly passé.

[Okay, technically I’m more of an “equali-gist”. Word or no word, its descriptive right? Don’t expect me to go burning my g-string though. It could get mighty drafty.]

Point is, according to me there’s just plain unisex, everyone-hates-it shlep work. I don’t need a guy to fling his coat (or himself) over a puddle for me. I have very stylish black & white gumboots thank you very much. I’m also quite capable of killing my own creepy crawlies, changing the light bulb, doing the odd DIY project and, on the rare occasion where it actually crosses my mind: checking my car’s oil and water. Yet, when it comes to this one itty bitty domestic duty, I look for the nearest knight in shining armour!

I’m not a particularly squeamish person. I don’t flinch at Nip Tuck’s graphic surgery scenes or Fear Factors’ worm-gobbling nonsense. I watch whatever the horror genre has to offer with abundant relish. And I do so without having to watch peeking through my fingers. I don’t faint at the sight of blood and, as long as it isn’t a Rottweiler, I’ll even give the dog a bath. Yet, on my keychain I keep an extra long key, to a gate not attached to my door anymore, for the sole purpose of lifting the trash can’s lid when taking out the trash. Eeew…germs!!! The lengths I have gone to, to avoid touching the actual trashcan… Let’s just say that on occasion, more than one occasion, I have lifted the lid with one high-heel clad foot while balancing on the other, chucking the bag in and quickly snatching away my foot.

Now, get that mental picture out of your head. And stop sniggering. We all have our quirks.

I’m not sure how much truth is in the old saying “the path to a man’s heart leads through his stomach”, but the path to my heart definitely goes through my dustbin. Jewelry is nice. Flowers are okay. Lacy underwear is overrated. (Dude, you WILL get the size wrong. And there WILL be shit).

But when a man takes out the trash - without me asking – it…it takes my breath away. (Partly from disbelief). It makes me want to declare my undying love to wildly inappropriate men.

And have his super duper polite, helpful, magnificent babies. I mean, if they breed dogs to get a certain trait perfected… It couldn’t hurt to try, right?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Ek wil dit net noem dat ek laasweek my eerste lagplooi gekry het. Aan die linkerkant. (Lag nou net daaroor en Liewe Jesus sal jou met 10 lagplooie straf...okay?) Maar dis net blerrie stupid. Wie het nou een lagplooi? As ek dan plooie moet hê, moet hulle ten minste simetries wees!

So van nou af as iets snaaks is, gaan ek net my regterkanste mondhoek effens lig en grynslag soos 'n haai na 'n beroerte. Lag is heeltemal uit. En as ek dan twee eenderse plooie het, gaan ek heeltemal ophou smile. Sielkundiges smile elkgeval nie. Hulle frons net en knik baie.

En hoe voel jy daaroor?

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I loathe dreaming.

Forgotten memories suddenly so clear
Then, waking utterly bereft.
Always dragged back too soon.

Feeling the vivid colours,
So worn and faded in life,
Slip once more beyond my reach…

The passage of time momentarily acute.
The wound fresh.
The loss new.

Another day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Most Mortifying Moments

While I'm in the process of sorting out my plans for next year, I've been chatting to one of my old lecturers who was also my masters supervisor a few years back. He is a wonderful person, inspirational lecturer and a great psychologist. One of the people who make me want to be a clinical psychologist. His office is also the scene of what is probably my worst embarrassing moment on campus. And I had a few.

The day I, with a giant racket, fell down the steps in my undergraduate academic building is right up there as well. I landed on my ass with my books scattered around me and one of my shoes lying a few steps below. Naturally, I wasn’t alone in the stairwell when that happened... (There are always witnesses when I do something utterly stupid!) There were tons of nice people picking up my stuff and bringing me my shoe, asking if I'm ok, did I get hurt? To which I replied: "No, I’m fine. I landed on my butt so I didn't feel a thing." Sigh. Now, it is true that my butt is pretty padded, but did I really have to say it??

Talking about butts... I studied at Stellenbosch. Most of Stellenbosch University's academic buildings are scattered around a big garden/square called the "Rooi Plein" (aka Red Square). Due to the general acoustics (empty space surrounded by high buildings) sounds on the Rooi Plein tend to eco. So the day my little brother walked past me on the Rooi Plein, slapped me on the ass (loudly - it echoed), and just laughed and kept walking as people stopped to stare, was also SLIGHTLY mortifying. Apparently I had a tendency to be in my own little world when walking around campus. You can't exactly blame me - It's really nice in there! Anyway, I would pass people (friends from school, res, class, lecturers, my students, roommates...) on campus without noticing them. I could even walk past my own brother without seeing him. Which I did. Multiple times. Which is why, when he saw we were going to walk right past each other and I was completely lost in thought - again, he decided to catch my attention... Admittedly, he probably underestimated the volume of the sound his little pat on my backside was going to create. I still owe you for that one lil bru.

Back to my most embarrassing blond moment. No, I’m not blond so I don't even have an excuse. At least this story doesn't involve my ass...

On the morning in question, I had an appointment with my supervisor, so I got dressed all neat and studenty. That particular year, the very feminine look was really in. Everything was pastels and flowers and blouses and related girly stuff. So I put on my flowery, pastel, girly blouse and a skirt and skipped of to my boyfriend’s residence. Thereafter I was supposed to go to the library to search databases and print articles before my appointment at 12. The boyfriend said no, stay here and work from my PC. So I sat myself down and did my searches while he went to class. At about 10, my work was done-ish and his bed was starting to look really inviting. In order to not crease my frilly girly blouse, I put on one of his t-shirts, got in bed and promptly fell asleep. The boyfriend got back to his room and decided this mid-morning nap thing looked really inviting and joined the club. At about 11:45 I awoke to someone softly snoring in my ear and realized I was very late. Plus I was on the very opposite end of campus to where I was supposed to be.

I jumped out of bed, yanked my girly button-down blouse over my head, combed my fingers through my hair in front of the minute guys-residence mirror, applied some lip-gloss and asked the very sleepy boyfriend: "How do I look?" Who replied: "Fine, fine, very pretty. Now run." Which I did. Past all the mens' residences, through the little student shopping mall, over the Rooi Plein... and all in peak lunch-hour student/pedestrian traffic. Just past 12 I flew into my lecturer's office, apologized profusely and plopped down in a chair with my notebook in my lap. As I was looking down at the mentioned notebook a though crossed my mind: Where is my buttons? Hmm... The blouse's thin cotton material basically looks the same on both sides, but a lack of buttons, the presence of seams and a washing-instructions label are still a pretty good indication that you are wearing your top inside out.

Trying to cover my surprise, I flipped the notebook up and clutched it to my chest while trying to subtly flip my hair over my shoulders. Goodness knows whether he noticed anything. I was out of his office as soon as I could find an excuse! Keeping in mind the label at the back of my shirt, I backed out of the office, shook his hand at the door and then just kept backing down the hallway while making small talk. The staff's toilets were just around the corner from his office, so I backed around the corner…

I have found that, when in doubt, blame the boyfriend! Outside, I phoned him. "Jan!* I had my top on inside out! And you said I look fine." The snorts of laughter from the other side isn't doing anything for my bruised ego. "Jannie*, It isn't funny. I just walked across campus AND sat through the whole meeting with my top on inside out!" Increased laughter. "Okay, it’s a little funny, but it isn't funny to me right now!" He finally calms down enough to speak: "Ag shame my skat, I'm really sorry. I honestly didn't notice." I am slightly mollified. "Did Dr. ***** notice you were inside out?" I can hear he wants to laugh. "I don't know! He always laughs at me so much that I couldn't figure out if he noticed or whether he's just laughing at me anyway." At that point the boyfriend forgets he is supposed to be sympathetic and completely loses it again.

You know that saying: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger? Right. This just taught me to check the mirror twice before leaving the house.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Honey, I'm home!

Of late I have been a bad bad blogger...or is it naughty non-blogger? (Somebody spank me!) My excuse is that I've had a few bigger fish to fry. For example figuring out what to do with the next 40-odd years of my life. Oh, and I had this stupid song on constant replay in my head! Just my luck that whenever something actually sticks up there, I usually get stuck with some soppy ballad/irritatingly catchy poptune. Never a classic rock song... This one really isn't too bad as love songs go (see Lyrics below)...but that would be if it was only for a few days or weeks - not months! Just as I though rotation was getting a bit less frequent a new colleague started at my office. Want to guess what her ringtone is??? Jip, you've got it...

Hinder - Lips of an Angel

Honey why are you calling me so late?
It's kinda hard to talk right now
Honey why are you crying, is everything okay?
I gotta whisper cause I can't be too loud

Well, my girl's in the next room
Sometimes I wish she was you
I guess we never really moved on
It's really good to hear your voice saying my name
It sounds so sweet
Coming from the lips of an angel
Hearing those words it makes me weak

And I never wanna say goodbye
But girl you make it hard to be faithful
With the lips of an angel

It's funny that you're calling me tonight
And yes I've dreamt of you too
And does he know you're talking to me?
Will it start a fight?
No I don't think she has a clue

Oh, so this isn't enough reason for my absence? Well fine then! Lets get back to the next 40 years. Lately I have been thinking about what I want to do with the rest of my (working) life. I have come to the conclusion that furthering my studies might not be a bad idea. NO, three degrees are not enough! It’s a hobby…I collect them like baseball cards. AND since my varsity wardrobe still fits now might be the know how they say "if the shoe fit..."?

What? Not reason enough?

All jokes aside...I just need to actually get a useful qualification. One that will lead to a job I like doing. Vaguely stimulating and all that. After varsity I was headhunted into a career I didn't study for and that I am still actively hating 3 years 1 month and 2 days later. But who’s counting?? On a more serious note, life really is too short (and the average working day too long) to stay in a career that I firstly don't like and secondly doesn't allow me to use the talents I have. Don't laugh! Those talents might be few ... and deeply hidden ... also almost forgotten ... don't include any form of ball sense, but there is definitely still some talent here! I hope... It also gets a bit lame to always have to answer the quintessential small talk question "So, what do you do? Oh, that’s nice." with "Yeah its okay" or on more honest days simply "No, its not".

So I'm thinking of either continuing with the direction I was studying in way back then (psychology) or doing an honours degree in Journalism. Clearly I like to write copious amounts of mostly nonsense, so I might as well get paid for doing so. Right? some serious thought to going back to varsity next year. Since, I have already clarified the "why", I just need to work on the "where" and "how". And most importantly: get a new wardrobe for this new phase...I mean what self-respecting chick would wear the same outfit to an event twice?? Tsk.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pencil Sketch of Paul Cézanne Painting

Paul Cézanne's "Madame Cézanne Sewing"

Thursday, April 2, 2009


When the music disappears from your life,
When the lock reappears on your door,
When your distinctive laugh goes quiet…
And you slowly vanish off the grid

Then I get scared.
Can I almost hear the penny drop
My heart stops
And I dread that late night call
When you’re out of my reach.

I want to hide you in the light
Shield you from the world
Take away all the tools of your self-destruction
And protect you like a child.

Cover the sockets,
Move the toxic materials to a higher shelf,
Put away all sharp objects
And hide the guns.

You carry it all within you.
Your private darkness and your hurt
Deep. Where I can just almost reach…

Stored for future use.


Monday, March 30, 2009

The List

Watching old Friends episodes this weekend (clearly I had too much time on me hands) I was reminded of something: The List. My list to be exact… For those of you who have no clue what I’m on about, have a look at an excerpt from Episode 3.05 (The One With Frank Jr.) below:

Chandler: Well, we have a deal where we each get to pick five different celebrities that we can sleep with, and the other one can't get mad.
Ross: Ah, the heart of every healthy relationship: Honesty, respect, and sex with celebrities.
Monica: So, Chandler... who's on your list?
Chandler: Uh, Kim Basinger, Cindy Crawford, Halle Berry, Yasmine Bleeth, and, ah, Jessica Rabbit.
Rachel: Now, you do realize that she's a cartoon... and way out of your league?
Chandler: I know, I know, I just always wondered if I could get her eyes to pop out of her head.

(If you still don’t know who Chandler, Monica, Ross etc. are, then…well, then I simply can’t help you!)

I’ve been present in quite a few conversations where “The List” has been discussed and inevitable someone’s partner gets pissed off. This clever cookie has always managed to avoid actually answering that question, but ah, what the hell, here goes…

Number One: Mr. Robert Redford (10 years younger)

Yeah, and this coming from a woman who refuses to date any guy who is more than 5 years her senior. Yet, I am 100% willing to make an exception for Mr. Redford – 73 in August. I mean, any woman who has seen this man’s older movies won’t give Brad Pitt a second glance. Ever. Again.

Number Two: Mr. My own personal Boy-Next-Door

No, not literally. I actually grew up on a farm, but I’ve known him practically all my life. Why a perfectly normal guy? I think it’s the “comfortable” factor. And the fact that he is just such a good guy.

Number Three: Mr. Blast-From-The-Past

When I was at school there was this Grade 11 guy that I spent quite a bit of my Matric year staring at… and then imagining that he was staring back… Four years later at varsity I danced with him one night at a club (turns out he had been staring back) until a girlfriend dragged me back to res. (Stupid, stupid bitch! Sorry ****, I still love you!) A few months later I danced with the same guy at the same club and with the bravado of a few beers (or more likely brandy & cokes), he confessed always having a thing for me at school and asked me on a date. Now, that very afternoon I had started dating a guy exclusively. Talk about an “ah f*ckit” moment. (Mr. Blast from the past couldn’t believe it either. He just kept repeating, “but you don’t have a boyfriend. I know you don’t.”) That afternoon the new boyfriend had told me I could have some time to think before I made my decision. I told him that if I had time to think the answer probably wouldn’t be yes, so I’d rather just say yes right there and then and give him a chance. About 6 hours later I was really really wishing I had taken just one more night of being single to think about it (and to kiss the hell out of Mr. Blast-From-The-Past). I would still have answered “Yes”…just the next morning.

Number Four: Mr. Just-My-Type

Have any of you have ever met someone who is just SO your type that every time you see them you want to, ever so politely, request that they immediately rip off all your clothing? I did. When I was 19 I met my very own blue-eyed, just-my-type, boy wonder. Seven years later Mr. blue-eyed, just-my-type, Man-wonder still has exactly the same effect. (Regrettably, I’m just way to decent to actually do that whole polite request thing…still the thought does briefly cross my mind every time he crosses my path.)

Number Five: Mr. To be continued…

Maybe this time I should take some time to “think” about Number Five before I make an overly hasty decision… *Giggle*

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Iets in 'n naam?

This very long, not-so-tall tale was actually written in response to a friend’s question and now I feel the compulsion to bore all of you with the answer. Since I don’t really want to announce my name to the world, lets just call me Elmira Du Toit*…And of course to protect the anonymity of the other two “Elmira Du Toit’s”! :)

Iewers in die 1600's (ja ek se mos dis 'n lang storie) en natuurlik na 1952, het die Hugenote van godsdienstige vervolging in Europa gevlug en na die Kaap gekom. Onder hulle was drie Du Toit* broers. Hulle was aanvanklik vier, maar die jongste het op die laaste oomblik geweier om op die skip te klim en het teruggegaan na sy ouers se plaas toe. Die oudste drie het in die Kaap aangeland, grond gekry en met wingerd ensovoorts begin boer (onhou hulle was Frans....wyn is 'n redelike prioriteit!) Nou anders as baie van die Hugenote wat as gesinne of getroude pare hier aangekom het, was die drie broers enkellopend. En daar was ongelukkig nie veel single chicks op daai boot nie... So, in SA het hulle elkeen vir hulle 'n vrou nadergehark ... en begin teel soos hase. (Weet jy hoeveel Du Toit’s daar in die land is??) Eish.

Kom ons spring so 300 jaar in die toekoms in. Een of ander baie verveelde Du Toit man besluit om 'n stamboom op te stel vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Du Toit "clan", die ding in boek vorm te laat bind (2 bundels nogal - ek het mos gesê hulle het geteel soos hase!) en uit te gee. Elkgeval, op ‘n stadium koop my pa toe die boeke. Hy het geweet van die projek, want hulle het hom ook vroeër gebel vir informasie. Natuurlik het die kinder-weergawe van my die goed redelik interessant gevind en eers gekyk hoe verlangs my ortodontis, ons bure etc etc (almal Du Toits - moet ek die teel soos hase opmerking weer herhaal?) familie is. Die tweede ding wat ek gedoen het is om te kyk hoeveel "ekke" daar in die afgelope 300 jaar was. Dis nou "Elmira* - geen middelnaam – Du Toits". Want Elmira is 'n Franse naam (my ma het hom so gekies) so daar behoort deur die jare seker 'n paar te gewees het? Nope. Die "pas-jou-kind-se-naam-by-sy-van" ding het eers in die 80's mode geword. Daar is hordes Anna Susanna Wilhelmina Margaretha Gertruida Du Toits...Um, Nederlandse invloed...

Ok, uit 300 jaar se Du Toit chicks is daar toe net 3 Elmira’s (almal net Elmira...niks Elmira Anna Susanna's nie). Die een is net so oud soos ek - 1982. En dan is daar nog 'n 1981 of 1983 ook (ek kan nie meer onthou - weet net dit was 'n een jaar ouderdomsverskil). Dis al. Iewers in die 80's het 3 ouerpare 'n gesamentlike brainwave gehad en nooit weer nie - soos een van daai komete wat 1 keer in 300 jaar verbykom! Elkgeval. So paar jaar terug, stel ‘n eks ou se ouers my toe eendag voor aan my een naamgenoot se ouers wat hulle al jare ken. Hulle het my oor die jare al fotos van haar gewys en hope nuttelose info oorgedra.

Toe, in 2001 sit ek eendag in 'n Afrikaanse eerstejaars tutklas...met 'n baie bevoeterde seniorstudent as tut-lektor. Die klasregister gaan om en ek skryf my naam, studentenommer, maak my horribale handtekening en skuif aan na die volgende victim in die klas. Die blou-oog, donkerkop chick langs my kyk af na die papier, kyk vir my, kyk die papier... en sê vir my: "Is jy nou ernstig?" Heel verward vra ek haar "askies?" Sy sê "Is dit jou naam?". "Um, um ja" antwoord ek baie confused. Sy kyk weg en begin haar lyntjie invul...en skuif die papier terug na my. "Elmira du Toit – Studentenommer 136..." Ons begin gelyk lag. Die tut-bitch (my innige simpatie met haar - ek het dit self 'n paar jaar later vir twee jaar gedoen) draai na ons kant toe en vra met 'n vreeslike bitsige stemmetjie. "Wil julle graag wat-ook-al-so-snaaks-is met die res van ons deel?" Die hele lang tafel kyk vir ons... "um..jammer..nee..niks nie." Die klas gaan aan. So 20 minute later is daar doodse stilte terwyl almal hulle takies sit en doen en "Juf biatch" die klasregister bestudeer. Die volgende oomblik bars sy uit van die lag. Almal kyk haar verstom aan: There is a personality after all! Sy kyk na ons twee en sê "ek sou waaragtag ook gelag het".

Dis die eerste en laaste keer wat ek die ander Mej Elmira du T 1982 sien. Sy was nooit weer daarna in 'n Afrikaanse klas nie en ek het aangeneem sy het opgeskop of van kurses verander. Elke nou en dan vertel ek eers vir mense die storie.

Facebook maak die wêreld klein! Toe ek op laerskool was het my een tannie (ma van 3 seuns) altyd vakansies 'n dogtertjie uit 'n kinderhuis gaan haal wat by hulle kom kuier het. Ek het Ann* een vakansie by hulle ontmoed en daarna het ons soos tipiese 12/13jarige meisies vir mekaar 'n briefie of twee geskryf. Maar ek het haar in 10+ jaar nie gesien nie. So paar weke terug sien sy toe my gesig op my neef (ons enigste gemeenskaplike kontak) se facebook profile - stuur vir my 'n boodskap en "add" my as 'n vriend. Ek los vir haar 'n boodskap op haar wall en die volgende oomblik kry ek 'n boodskap van 'n Elmira Visagie*.

hi girl, weet jy ken my nie, maar myself nou boeglam geskrik toe ek sien ekt vir Ann 'n boodskap gelos op facebook en dis met my nooiensvan en ek weet vir 'n feit dat dit nie ek was nie.

Aangename kennis eks Elmira du Toit (nou Visagie*). It's a small world.

Hoop jyt 'n great dag!!

Ek kyk die fototjie so en dink...ek het die meisie een keer vir 'n uur 8 jaar terug gesien. Kan dit wees? Nou wil ek ook nie my nek te ver uitsteek nie. Ek se vir haar:

Hi Elmira :)

Ag, daar is 'n paar van ons spesiale creatures!. Ek ken nog 'n Elmira du Toit se ouers ook. En ek het jare terug eendag in 'n klas op Stellenbosch langs een gesit...ons was albei effens verbaas toe ons die klasregister sien....

En wag vir 'n reaksie...

lekker lag ek nou

Sal jy my glo as ek jou se dat dit ek was wat langs jou in daai klas gesit het.....op jou linkerkant....? Dit was aan di begin van die jaar toe ek nog onderwys geswot het. Het wel opgeskop en Graphic design gaan swot in die kaap. Het al vir soveel mense daai storie vertel van die girl wat my naam neergeskryf het... :)

Het al baie gewonder wat van jou geword het :)

Sy bly nou saam met haar man en seuntjie in **** (‘n vêr land oor die see) so ons sou mekaar hoogwaarskynlik nooit weer gesien het nie. Sy het later vir 3 jaar by ‘n bekende gesinstydskrif gewerk as grafiese kunstenaar en deur die jare het van my vriende my gebel en baie opgewonde gevra van wanneer af ek by **** werk. Dan wonder ek of dit sy is.

Elkgeval, die snaakse deel - die "something in a name deel" is die volgende. Elmira nr 1 - werk by ‘n SA vrouetydskrif as 'n fotograaf. Elmira Nr 2 het by *** gewerk as ‘n grafiese kunstenaar. En ek is oorspronklik Stellenbosch toe om joernalistiek te swot, en fotos neem en kuns is my stokperdjies... Vreemde wêreld.

* Skuilnaam

Monday, March 23, 2009


Bliss - 1999. Or at least "bliss" from the point of view of a naive 17-year old. Art teacher told us to pick an emotion and sketch it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sunset Pics of Cape Town

Taken on the 19th of March at Sunset. And this time I used the tripod... ;-P

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The way you stared at me untold times,
That fathomless look in your eyes
Will forever set the bar.
Remain my standard for love.

One infinitely small circle,
Seemingly so insignificant,
Now ends it all.

Signals the full-stop to this story
I cherished so.

Time to pack us up,
Bury the multitude of memories beneath a thin lay of dust.
Let go of children I will never meet,
Then, file our photos, letters, hopes & dreams
And box up the remaining fragments of you.
Give the rest away.

Is it then fair
That the mere mention of your continuing existence
- without me -
Still tears me to pieces?
While I look for you in everyone that I meet.

Why, my foolish heart,
Do you remain stubbornly true to a long gone Lover?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sit dit af! SIT DIT AF!

Okay, do keep in mind that this was written by a 17-year-old ;-P - 1999

Ma en pa is Amerika toe vir ‘n maand. ‘n Hele maand. En omdat dit in die middel van die kwartaal is, het hulle in hul ouerlike wysheid summier besluit dat ek by my tannie moet gaan bly. Dis nou sonder om my te vra natuurlik.

Tannie Andra is my pa se suster. Sy is hoof van haar eie maatskappy en volgens die grootmense vreeslik loopbaangedrewe en suksesvol. Sy is nooit getroud nie en vir kinders het sy ook nie lus gehad nie. ‘n Regte, egte oujongnooi. Ons het mekaar nooit baie goed leer ken nie. Sy het nie vreeslik erg aan klein, hiperaktiewe, stout seuntjies gehad nie en ek was definitief een. Nou dat ek daaraan dink…dalk is ek die rede hoekom sy nooit kinders gehad het nie?! Hmm. Ek meen, my ouers het ook gestop na hulle my gehad het. Ek voel nogal effens trots by die blote gedagte dat ek iemand afgesit het van kinders hê. Ek het ten minste my merk gelaat!

“Noem my Andra, jy is mos al groot en ‘tannie’ laat my tog net oud voel.” “Okay,” mompel ek. Natuurlik is sy oud, vyf-en-veertig het sy dan al lankal sien kom en gaan. As sy agtergekom het dat ek nie vreeslik beïndruk is met die idee om vir ‘n maand by haar te sit terwyl my ouers oorsee rinkink nie, het sy haar nie daaraan gesteur nie. Juis daarom, of dalk omdat iemand moes betaal (of dalk net omdat ek sestien is), het ek besluit om te kyk in hoe ‘n kort tydjie ek haar teen die mure kan uitdryf. Dit was nou my tipe uitdaging.

Ek het alles gedoen wat grootmense haat. Ek het gemompel, vra met een-woord-antwoorde beantwoord, my klere deurdie hele huis laat lê en my mure vol afskuwelike prente geplak. Haar reaksie? NIKS. Dit maak nie saak wát ek doen nie. Sy gesels al antwoord ek nie, sy tel my klere op en ignoreer die prente totaal en al.

Ek is stomgeslaan. Sy dryf my teen die mure uit. Alle grootmense sou nou al iets gesê of gedoen het. Enigiets. ‘n Week is verby en ek kry geen reaksie nie. Dit is tyd vir intensiewe taktieke.

My kamer is ‘n doolhof, varkhok, negosiewinkel, waarin geen vierkante sentimeter mat, muur of stoel uitsteek nie. Ek plunder die yskas, eet die koskas leeg en was nie eens ‘n koppie nie. My vriende lê permanent in haar leefvertrek rond en sy het dae laas die afstandbeheer in haar besit gehad. Al my broeke is te groot en sak af. My T-hemp se soom hang uit, ek sleep my voete en elke môre neem dit ‘n halfuur om my hare net die regte manier in my oë te laat hang.

Na twee weke is ek desperaat. Sy kan níe ‘n regte grootmens wees níe. Nie een van hulle kan dit verduur nie. Dit is eers toe – op die randjie van moedeloosheid - dat ek onthou van my CD-speler. Ek glimlag terwyl ek my luiddrugtigste, mins ouervriendelike CD’s begin uitpak. Het jou katvis.

Dit was minder as vier ure terug. Die man langs my gluur my aan as ek weer met die klein TV’tjie voor my se knoppe peuter. Ek glimlag vir hom. Ek het die ontspanning nodig. Hy weet nie hoe hard ek die afgelope tyd gewerk het nie. “Maak asseblief u sitplekgordels vas, die vliegtuig na Amerika gaan binnekort opstyg,” sê die vriendelike vrouestem. Ek moes twee weke lank ‘n tipiese tiener wees.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

An Old Favourite

Pencil sketch of a painting by Custave Caillebotte - 1999.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

unfinished fairytale

One day, a very long time ago, in the land of witches and wizards, princes, princesses and even a fairy or two, there was born a little girl. This was just an ordinary little girl, nothing special or extraordinary about her… with one exception…she was afraid of people. She was so afraid they would hurt and abandon her that she pushed them all away. No-one knew what had happened to make her so afraid, least of all the little girl herself, but it was rumoured to have been a curse by an particularly evil witch. The older the girl got the more afraid she became. The fear created a wall around her, and the more she afraid she was the higher the wall got, until you couldn’t see the girl at all. You couldn’t even hear her if she screamed. Over the years the wall got so high that if you stood next to it and looked up all you could see was the tower endlessly stretching up into the sky.

The witch decided to call the tower Loneliness. She painted a picture of a beautiful princess on the tower wall and inscribed the promise underneath that whoever could find a way to get past the wall could have the princess. The witch designed the tower so that that it was invisible from the inside and the girl could see and hear everything that went on outside the walls, but that no-one could really hear or see her…only the pretty picture on the outside.

And through the years the princes came and went. They heard about the rumoured beautiful princess trapped in a tower and they came from far and wide to claim her. Some of them tried for years to get past the walls and earn their princess, but eventually even the most persistent gave up and went away. And still the ordinary girl sat inside her tower of Loneliness and watched and waited for some prince to succeed in reaching her. So it continued for years until the girl gave up and stopped even watching the princes trying, for she knew that her fear was still causing the tower grow even higher.

One day another prince (just tall enough, dark and very very handsome) came riding past on his white horse and saw the impossibly tall tower called Loneliness stretching up into the sky. Intrigued he rode up to the tower and saw the painting of the beautiful princess on the wall and decided he simply had to have her. So he started making plans to get past the wall.

First he decided to try climbing over the wall. And so he packed himself a backpack and set off on his journey to conquer the wall. He climbed for days, but every time he looked down he saw that the part of the wall that lay ahead was still greater than what he had already climbed. So after a few days of making no progress he climbed back down. Next he decided to tunnel underneath the foundations of the wall. He dug for days until he had the deepest hole man had ever made, but still he kept finding himself stopped by the wall’s foundation. But still he did not give up on reaching the princess. He decided to try to break through the walls. This whole time the girl had been completely oblivious of the prince trying to reach her. She had become so disheartened by the previous failed attempts of all the princess that she had given up on ever getting out of Loneliness. Now, for he first time she started watching his progress through her see-through prison walls.

The prince took up an ax and attempted to make a hole in the wall. As he was hacking away at the wall he looked at the painting and talked to the “princess” he hoped to find and whom he hoped could hear him. And inside the girl sat and watched his efforts and listened to him talking. She looked into his melted chocolate eyes and she saw the kindness there. Later she even started answering him and so they spent their time: him working away at the wall talking to his princess while she sat and watched him and answered him even thought she knew he could never hear her. And over time she even started feeling a spark of hope again that maybe this time someone would finally be able to breach the tower walls.

But after a few days the prince noticed that although there was heaps of stones littered all around the tower that he had broken from the wall, he never managed to pierce through it. He realized that behind every stone he removed from the wall there appeared another one. For the first time he understood why he kept climbing but never reached the top and kept digging, but could never reach the bottom…it was a magical wall. And so the prince sat down on a pile of the rocks that he had broken from the wall and hung his head, for how could he hope to fight a magic wall? The girl watched him give up through her invisible wall and turned away from him, a single tear running down her cheek. And so again she lost all hope for yet another prince had given up on her. The prince sat dejectedly on his rock for a full day, before he jumped up, got on his white horse and galloped away. The girl watched him go, believing he had finally left her and would never return.

The prince decided to fight magic with magic and went to the first witch he could find. He traded his white horse for a pair of magic wings to fly over the wall. And so the prince returned to Loneliness – minus his stallion, but with a giant pair of wings. The girl didn’t even notice his return. She had given up looking at her wall altogether and spent her time thinking up pretty stories and painting pretty pictures to forget her ugly reality. He walked up to the tower and started talking to his princess again. At first the girl didn’t even hear him. She thought the voice only a part of her dreams and when it stopped she thought herself waking up from her dream to find him gone again, as she did every morning. But the rustling of the giant wings as he left the ground roused her. She jumped up and ran to the wall astounded to see that a prince had finally returned. At first the girl soundlessly watched him fly higher and higher, too afraid to hope. But as he flew higher and higher she started cheering him on…only to see his wings start to disintegrate as he came close to reaching the top of the impossible tower. She watched him slowly floating down again like a leaf on a breeze.

The prince left again…and the princess cried for him not to give up on her and banged her hands against her invisible walls until her voice got hoarse and her hands bled, but still he couldn’t hear her despair. The prince went to the wisest wizard in the country and asked him what to do. The wizard told him that the key to releasing the princess from her tower would be Trust. For with Trust there could never be fear. The prince immediately wanted to set off across the country to go earn her trust. The wise wizard told him that trust could not be earned nor deserved, but could only be given freely as a gift. The prince was greatly surprised to hear that he could do nothing to reach her, but that his only chance was to just be himself.
He returned to the tower and the princess. He sat down to next to the wall and talked to the princess day and night for seven days. He showed her the contents of his heart. And the girl sat on the other side of the wall listening to him speak and saw that his heart, the very core of his soul, was good and kind. After a week of talking continuously the prince fell asleep next to the wall and the girl reached out her hand to touch his sleeping face …and suddenly there was no wall, for there was no fear anymore. The prince felt the hand on his face and awoke…and the tower was gone and there was no beautiful princess…only an ordinary girl, nothing special or extraordinary.

And the prince was perfectly happy with his perfectly ordinary girl… for a short while. Until a bird came to warn him and whispered in the prince’s ear. The prince told the perfectly ordinary girl that he had to leave. He had also been cursed by a witch and had a dragon chasing him. He had been running from the dragon for a long time and every time he thought he had left the dragon behind it caught up with him again. The girl told the prince that she did not care about the dragon breathing down his neck, she would run with him. He told her that she had to stay, for he needed all his strength to evade the dragon and could not look after her too. The girl told him she could look after herself and after him too when he needed it, but he only shook his head and turned away from her. And the perfectly ordinary girl stood and watched the prince that had finally released her from the tower walk away without looking back.

But she had nowhere to go for Loneliness was gone forever. The prince had saved her from it. So the girl ran after him and told him that she would fight the dragon with him. The prince told her to leave, for it was his battle alone and he was not ready to fight his dragon. The perfectly ordinary girl refused to leave and vowed that if he did not fight the dragon with her, she would do it alone for she could not watch him run. And the prince finally agreed and so the prince and the perfectly ordinary girl fought the dragon together. The prince’s brother and the king and queen all came to join the battle and the dragon was finally defeated and has not been seen in this land since that day.

Yet, although the tower and the dragon was gone, their problems were not over. Part of the spell that the evil witch had placed on the prince was to create an invisible shield around him that caused everything he heard and saw to be twisted and which caused him to remember only the sad and bad stuff and not that which was happy and beautiful. It drained all the colour from his world and he lived only in shades of grey. She called the shield Misery. If the girl told him that she was unhappy without him, he heard her say that he made her unhappy. If she told him that he is perfect just the way he is even with his flaws, he heard that he isn’t good enough. And he couldn’t hear it at all when she told him that she loved him. That she would give her everything to spend her life with him alone. The girl did everything she could, but she couldn’t break through the shield. She cried and screamed, got angry and begged. All to no avail. She finally searched far and wide until she found the famous Wizzard of Wait who knew how the shield worked. But although he was an expert in destroying Misery, the witch’s shield was simply too strong for him to break through.

No-one knows how the story ends. Maybe the ordinary girl (nothing extraordinary) is still there trying to break through the shield. Or maybe the ordinary girl gave up and started rebuilding Loneliness while the Prince waits for the love of a true princess to free him from Misery.
But, eh, boys and girls life just ain’t a fairytale. There’s no such thing as a happy ending. The prince probably decides that the dark side looks a hell of a lot more appealing and decides to shack up with a witch. While the not-so-little-anymore girl finds out that true love truly never dies (try as you might to kill that fucker) and rules over her very own kingdom of Loneliness. And kids? While I’m at it… the Easter Bunny is pure crap. And you know the fat guy in the red suit…

Mountain Fire

I was watching the fire flare up again Sunday evening and couldn't resist taking a few pics. SOMEONE was too lazy to go get her tripod inside, so the pics are a bit blurry. Photos were taken from my balcony - Bellville, Cape Town.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Room with a view

Many moons ago (ok, about two years back) I lived out in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. Muizenberg to be precise. I stayed in a teensy weensy absolutely charming little flat. The place was great! The building was an old hotel which had been renovated and turned into apartments. It had high ceilings, wooden floors and a stunning view of the mountain. (Okay, the guys on the other side of the building had a view of the sea, but you take what you can get, right?) Except for the "teensy weensy" part, the place had only two real flaws. Well, three. But that specific stalker neighbour is a story for a different day.

Flaw number one was the rumoured "drug element". Well people, this was Muizenberg... According to the caretaker they had had a few less pleasant tenants of the drug dealer variety a while before I had moved in. They had apparently been kicked out and the complex got electric fencing and security cameras. Problemo solved. One evening, a few months before I moved out, I started to imagine that I was smelling smoke. I checked the kettle. Checked the toaster. Also the oven, TV, computer, flat-iron and just in case, also everything else with a plug. I decided it must be my imagination (my nose is purely ornamental anyway) and continued with whatever I was busy with. A while later I realized the place was looking a bit hazy. Only then did I notice the smoke tendrils wafting underneath my front door. I yanked open the door to find a solid wall of smoke. I was still standing there mildly perplexed, when two firemen in full gear ran down the corridor past my open doorway. Through the thick smoke they looked like a pair of ghost firemen. Anyway, I closed the door, changed out of my pajamas and into something more suitable for when your house is burning down, shoved my camera in my handbag and headed for the door.

Finally, four flights of stairs later, I strolled down the front steps and found one very upset caretaker (my car was on its usual spot and I wasn't answering my intercom), a crowd of people (apparently everyone else's intercoms had worked...), six fire trucks of different sizes and varieties and about 2 rugby teams of fire-fighters. Total overkill of course. We were about a kilometre from the fire station and they must have been having a slow night over there? Back to the point. According to the caretaker (my usual source of info) a petrol bomb had been thrown through one on the ground floor windows. This specific apartment had been targeted before and they believed it had something to do with the tenants and drugs and or money.

The damage was pretty much limited to the ground floor, but all four stories were covered in soot for the next few weeks. I had to basically wash everything I own. Including me. Ever had soot up your nose? Not pleasant. But that is apparently pretty normal after walking down four flights of stairs and up again. Hey, it was cold outside! I wasn't going to stand there with stalker boy staring at me for the next hour...and the fire was basically under control...

I digress...

The actually point of this, the real fatal flaw of the complex, was the doves. The friggen doves. I had a serious problem with the doves in general, but specifically with the little dove couple (later family) that lived right outside my bedroom window. If measured, about 1.2 meters from where my head hit my pillow. And that is not very far, or for that matter, soundproof, when all that lies between you is the slanted roof (I stayed on the top floor and my outside walls were basically the roof of the complex). Fun fact of the day: doves do not have the same sleeping rhythms as humans... Less Fun Fact nr.2: when doves are awake, you will know it. They are noisy! That "Koer Koer" sound can drive you insane. I spent many a morning - I use the term morning very loosely because in my world when it is dark it is not yet morning - banging on the wall right on the other side of their nest. Until they got used to that. Then I had to resort to sticking my head out the window, screaming at them and waving my arms in a threatening manner. I am not by nature a violent person, so I declined my brother's offer to shoot them with his airgun. I was severely tempted though. So, I just continued attempting to intimidate them into moving somewhere else. Regrettably though, you can not frighten a dove to death. You can try, and I did, but eventually they will get used to anything. Or so I thought...and now I will actually get to the crux of my story.

I was not the only one with the dove problem. Especially the apartments with balconies really had a dove sub-letting problem. As mentioned I lived on the top floor and I normally took the stairs. We had a lift. A really, really old lift. About the size of a cupboard. With a door that you manually opened and a gate that slammed shut behind you... Still I didn't really mind the lift, but this was during the time of the power outages in Cape Town and I didn't especially want to be stuck in that mini lift for a few hours. So, on my "daily commute" down the stairs I passed the window that overlooked the third floor balcony of two of the apartments. Now that balcony had the most spectacular view all the way to the Muizenberg beach... (Regrettably the photo doesn't really show that as I had to take it from an upward angle to get my little friend in). Almost every morning, depending on how late I was, I would stop to have a quick look at the view. Yet, I almost never saw people using the balcony. Probably because the doves used it as a permanent residence.

One morning I saw the little scene in the photo above. Someone had gotten tired of their feathery friends and had placed a orange toy snake on the balcony. Very effective indeed. But what tickled me ....well, orange, was the placing of the snake in a pose so that it looked as if he was admiring the view. From then on, every morning (when I was not too late) I would stop to admire the dove-free view and to chuckle at the snake. So, did I get my own little snake to evict the doves from outside my window? Nah. It was their home too and in all fairness they had been there longer that me...not that that I suddenly stopped banging on the wall or shouting out the window.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I am sitting on a roof. Can you believe this? I surely don’t! It is the first long-weekend of the semester and I am spending it on the roof of a very pretty girl’s house. It's just a shame that she isn’t home. My mother would have said: “This is what you get for running after members of the opposite sex the weekend before your final exams.” My dad, well, my dad would totally have totally got chasing after chicks!

You see her father is a professor at the university where I am now in my third year. He is also my Maths III lecturer and to put it mildly, he doesn’t like me. Not that I can blame him exactly. I wouldn’t like me either if I were him. The problem of course is that I really like his daughter, but who wouldn’t? She is a babe. So when she let it drop that her parents were off to a wedding for the weekend, I was in heaven. What she didn’t mention was the two Dobermans that have been slobbering up at me for the past four hours.

Where she is, I can't imagine. Reality is the thick bank of clouds above me. For the first hour I baked. Slowly. They just had to have a black roof, didn’t they? Now the wind has come up and the clouds seem more ominous by the minute.

I don’t know what prospect scares me the most, starving or her father finding me (probably dead) on his roof when he gets home on Monday. I have this nasty feeling that I might be failing Math this year. I thought he didn’t like me when I didn’t turn up for class for a week. Or when I did. Or when we dyed his french poodle pink, but this time he is simply going to hate me.

It can't get any worse. First small raindrops, then big ones and now I look like I went for a shower under the Victoria Falls. It’s getting a bit chilly up here, but it doesn’t seem to be bothering the Dobermans. Oh, and did I mention that in my haste to get on the roof I knocked over the ladder that had been leaning against the house? The same ladder that is now lying on top of his prize petunias.

I wonder if Honeybun, the once again white poodle, went with them for the weekend. (I also wonder how she gets on with the Dobermans?) That must be the most hated dog in history. The professor brings her to class every day and the stupid mutt is quite capable of barking an hour without end. I have heard it with my own ears. Twice.

Luckily, the rain has stopped, but the wind hasn’t and I am freezing. It is also getting dark, I am hungry and it is getting more difficult by the minute to remember why I found this girl so much prettier than the other five thousand on campus.

It’s half past twelve and I am still freezing, hungry and on the professor’s roof. Don’t dogs ever sleep? That knowledge might have been handier than my Math right now…

Headlights! They are coming up the driveway. She’s home! This must be the single happiest moment of my life. Someone is getting out. No, no….two people.

Oh. No.

“This is just typical of Sarah, I always knew she would leave him standing at the altar,” I hear a male voice say. “We should never have gone to the wedding.”

“Oh darling”, his wife replies, “don’t fuss.”

I was still deciding whether to call out for help and get killed or to freeze anyway when the decision was made for me. The professor switched on the yard lights and stared up incredulously at me where I sat illuminated against the darkness.


Friday, March 6, 2009

My Immortal

Movies and books,
Songs, people and places...
Everything still contains the smallest of traces
Bits and pieces of you.

My trusted infallible memory
Suddenly the cruellest of enemies.

All the things I can't bring myself to remember
Everything I can't bear to ever forget.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

In stead of going to the gym...

I rather messed around with a new packet of graphite pencils.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Character piece

The glowing red numbers of my electronic alarmclock mockingly tells me that it is now exactly 1:30 AM and from experience I know that my eyes are going to be the same angry red colour again tomorrow morning. But as you grow older insomnia becomes a constant companion that you grudgingly learn to accept. These days I spend most nights in an arm-chair at the window of my second story bedroom watching the houses around me sleep.

Yet, tonight is seems that I will have some company. About five minutes ago a car, with its lights switched off, slowly came driving down my street and dropped off a young man. At first I had thought that he must be one of my neighbours’ sons and that his friends were considerate enough not to wake the whole street when coming back after a night out.

Then I noticed that he was dressed all in black, like young people have a tendency to do these days, but still there is something strange about him. He has a large frame and is built like a football player but has a slouching posture as if he is trying to be noticed as little as possible. He is wearing black jeans, some sort of black running shoes and a dark top with a hood that covers most of his face from my view…although I did catch a glimpse of dark hair and a rather prominent nose. Yet, the thing that is really making me uneasy is the fact that he is wearing black leather gloves…on a warm summer’s night.

When he got out of the car he silently closed the door and quickly headed for the nearest tree where he is now standing shielded from the street lamp’s glare. Luckily, from my position I can still see him. (And naturally my trusty little binoculars do help. It’s not that I’m nosy…The eyes just aren’t what they’re supposed to be anymore, so I always have them handy just in case something interesting does happen…) He appears to be rooted to the spot with only his eyes darting everywhere; watching his surroundings. It seems like he immediately took a liking to my neighbour’s new BMW parked directly across the road from me. He noiselessly crosses the street, all the while glancing around and behind him. He looks just like someone with a guilty conscience…like a criminal.

Then it hits me: why, he is a criminal! Oh my. The young man must be part of the car-stealing syndicate that has been in all the local papers lately.

He quietly drops to his knees on the shady side of the car and takes his tools from a jeans pocket. As he starts working on the lock, I reach for my cellphone… yes, even little old ladies own cellphones these days…and phone the police.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009


No princess in a white tower,
No knight in shining armour,
No perfect everlasting love,
Could take your place with me.

Your great big chunk of my heart,
Was bought and paid for long ago.

Of all the millions out there,
You are the only one
Who shares my every knee-high memory,
Understands the language of my soul.
You’re the keeper of my childhood.