Thursday, April 29, 2010

The 7 Pieces of Patchwork

My Terrivle Half over at Ruby Letters gave me an award. Well I sorta have to work for it because I must now write seven things you don't know about me. Not sure how possible that is since I have no secrets. Or at the very least, I talk a lot and tell all often.

Here goes;

1. I used to suck my left pointing finger and it is now smaller at the the tip than the other one. It was also bent for the longest time.

2. I never told my half  brother that it was I who forgot to turn off the water in his bathroom and flooded the place. To this day he thinks he did while drunk. It cost him a bundle and he was soooo mad I couldn't tell him!

3. I am a huge fan of gospel music that makes me dance. I sometimes put it on and do my aerobic/dance exercise to it. By the end of the CD I'm usually very close to declaring myself a born again Christian. Then I sit down to watch TV and cool down and I forget all about it. But it really makes me feel good inside.

4. I have a dream that I am slowly realizing of having a business that will hep others too. In this form it is a home industries/crafts shop that will help really disavantaged people. I am planning a roadtrip to the EC's deepest rural areas to unearth some gems and market the hell out of them on the internet.

5. I have never believed in Santa. My family was rather straight forward about the whole business and consequently, my kids know Santa is a myth. I feel a little bad about this.

6. I can still climb trees pretty easily even though I am scared to climb down. I can be found perching atop my guava tree chomping away like a monkey and I am not scared to lean a ladder against the lemon tree to get the fat ones at the top.

7. I secretly want to punch the slow-walking people in front of me when out and about; I will also tell off a litterer no matter who they are. You throw something down in front of me and I will tell you you're despicable!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Freedom Day Tribute

Ngizwa sengathi nginekaka esele lapha ngaphansi nesi, iyangincinza, ngicela ungisule bandla,” is the piteous plea from the extremely frail and thin pitch black lying on the hospital bed. Hitching up a fake smile (since all I want to do is run away and cry) I hustle over to her bed and reassure her I would be back briefly. Although I am nauseated at the thought of my task, I remind myself that this is a twice yearly event for me and for others it is their lives. I take comfort in knowing that I am making the slightest difference in this dying woman’s life and I that I am doing it in honor of a woman I loved above everyone else in the world.

Today my aunt would have been 41 and appalled at herself for getting old. But unluckily, it wasn’t to be. Not a single day goes by that I do not miss her. I miss her laugh, her loud mouth and her ability to turn EVERYTHING to a joke. If I were to tell her what the woman had asked me to do at the hospital she would have said, “Yho and you TOUCHED HER ON HER STUDIO?” without a trace of embarrassment.

Quintessentially young and blessed with the bubbliest personalities I have ever encountered, she remains my best friend, six years after her unfair exit from my life. Her wonderful daughter is a source of joy to me the likes of which I can never describe; calling her my child has been like a balm on the throbbing pain of losing my best friend.

Freedom Day means a different thing to everyone and to me it is forever entwined with the birthday of my aunt and a time to remember how wonderful she truly was. For the past 6 years I have celebrated Freedom Day by giving of my time to people living with HIV/AIDS. To be more factual, I have decided spend some of this day visiting those who await death, at the final stages of fully-blown AIDS.

This is by no means a selfless act or heroics. It serves as a reminder to me of the cost of the disease; the pain of watching someone you love die, being unable to do anything, the incredible loss of the security blanket you believed knowledge could be, the fate of being too stubborn to take charge of your life and test yourself when you know it is possible you have the disease, the cost of refusing the help of those you love and the eventual emptiness and apparent pointlessness of having to live your life without your compass.

Today I visited a hospital that had several AIDS patients. From my understanding it is no longer possible for hospitals to keep patients who aren’t sick of “anything” per se but rather whose bodies are systematically shutting down bit by bit rendering the person incapable of taking care of themselves. But this hospital, along with the aid of Home Based Caregivers is able to provide a dying place for these people, those whose families are not able to take care of them. But also, there are also others who are ill from severe tuberculosis or other HIV-induced/related illnesses.

As I cleaned the woman private parts today I continued nonsensical chatter while my heart shattered. Looking into her shiny blackened face I saw my aunt’s and felt (as though it was that day 6 years ago) a sharp pain in my chest. Tears stung my eyes and the woman attempted to smile, her dry cracked lips stretching thinly over her yellowed teeth, “Don’t be sad sisi, I know it is hard to look after us but you make us so happy by taking care of us,” she said in IsisZulu and it was all I could do not break down. My aunt had said words along the same lines as well as I helped her drink some water. I wanted to tell this woman that we should not have to be taken care of them. I wanted to tell her she was so selfish to have let this get so far. The same words I have said over and over in my head to my aunt. The words I could not say to her as I watched her die. The words that keep her memory tethered to me as thought she was still alive. Words of recrimination and unforgiveness.

As I remade several beds, cleaned the ward and talked to the women I wondered if this is also an act of penance for me. I know I have to forgive my aunt for dying. I know that, but so much of me is so angry; so angry that she didn’t think of me or her daughter. My logical side says of course she did, and then I become confused and angry again.

But whatever my reasons; whatever the motivation, I would like to think that those women I helped today felt a little better for my presence.

Happy birthday my darling aunt. I will always love you.

Happy Freedom Day Saffas.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A HAPPY Period, Always?

Always, have a happy period!

This line has always irritated me but I said to myself, “B you don’t use sanitary pads, don’t let it bother you.”

That was until I heard my TV bleating, “Always, have a happy peeeriod!” in a new and revamped version of this incredibly bizarre tagline which meant the happy voice over lady now SANG and I wanted to scream.

Have a HAPPY period? A HAPPY period?

Starting with the PMS period that many women use as a disgusting excuse to be mean, bitchy and eat like starving pigs to the icky sticky 5-day torture that is accompanied by the most torturous cramps to the days later when the face is dealing with effects of gorging on chocolate, a period can never be happy!


So I wanted to share with Always my best “happy period” story.

I was suffering from the most unbelievable PMS, which for me means a fever, a runny stomach and near-maddening thirst. I probably do have mood swings and am cranky but I like to think that is because I am mildly ill and spending half the day emptying my bowels. This PMS period is usually three or four days before the actual bloody assault on my privates. I was armed with my hot water bottle and medication made specifically for period cramps.

However, this one time the fever developed into a fully fledged flu and I was coughing up my lungs while tampons tried to shoot out of me all willy-nilly. I was in the shower and sneezed so hard my uterus peeked out for its first glimpse of the world and, defeated, I sat on the bath edge, and I contemplated removing the whole thing (uterus) and living a life free from the hell of periods for the millionth time

Amidst all of this, the TV bleated, “Always, have a happy period!” and the only thing that stopped me traipsing naked to pick it up and chuck it across the room was the fact that I was attempting to stuff uterus back into place, swallow a lung and breathe through the tearing pain in my lower abdomen. My hands were quite obviously full.

Then after a week, when I was safely back on just panty-liners and feeling human and clean again I looked at my face and saw the massive zits developing around my face, a reminder that I had gorged on three Cadbury Wholenut slabs and half a tub of chocolate ice cream along with an assortment of crisps. Another week of waiting for the lot to clear up while I walk around like a zit-faced teenager or an overly made-up woman trying to hide battery bruises.


The TV pipes up, “Always, have a happy period!”


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An Old Dowager’s Secret Vice

 Mrs K is an old dowager and some bigwig on the Church Council. We supply her with a standing order of cupcakes, ginger bread, banana bread and whatever cake takes her fancy on a weekly basis. She likes to think we don’t know that she pigs out on the whole lot during her interminable elevenses that could go on till four in the afternoon if she has a chance. She always says, “The church ladies absolutely LOVE your delicious bakes so I have just decided to have this standing order for our Thursday ladies and church and meeting!” We smile encouragingly and pretend we don’t notice that Mrs K is getting positively porky.

We also know that different ladies from the church take turns placing an order for a cake every Tuesday that they pick up on Thursday morning saying, “You know Mrs K, loves her cakes and would never forgive us if we pitched empty handed!” We never tell them that Mrs K has possibly eaten more cupcakes than kids at a party and is hiding her stash from the church ladies.

But now we face a serious moral dilemma, honest to Gawd! Mrs K has discovered our double white chocolate delight and now orders this cake maybe twice a week. While we appreciate her business we do not want to be responsible for the old darling’s death even though she tried to shaft us once by saying she wasn’t satisfied with our delivery. She simply should not be eating that much sugar. My cousin/manager says she is not going to be on the receiving end of Mrs K’s sharp tongue if she lets on we know she is eating the cakes herself. I’m scared of her too! We’re screwed. :(

PS: The double white chocolate delight is a chiffon cake that has melted white chocolate spirals, is sandwiched together with white chocolate sauce and iced with, yes you guessed it, white chocolate decorated with brown and white chocolate curls and a white chocolate mousse topping. It’s so extravagant ONE slice is enough to put one on a chocolate high and is incredibly unhealthy in big servings. What to do about Mrs K?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

And what a GOOOD time we had!

I cooked our anniversary dinner myself. I had one hell of a time! And so did my TJ. Here's a photo of our meal. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gifting with HIV

Coleen* is a 24-year-old high school dropout who discovered she was HIV-positive when she fell pregnant in 2006. Her child suffered asphyxia and died at 10-weeks old; it was a baby girl. Coleen was devastated; she had been craving a child of her since her sister gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.

I believe that the loss of a child could lead a mother to be irrational in her grief. It is because this belief that I can perhaps excuse and even forgive how Coleen went out to find the next man she could trick into impregnating her.

You see, upon the death of their child, her boyfriend had promptly dumped her and taken a wife. This new wife was everything Colleen wasn’t, she was a big African woman with curves in all the right places, in the little village they all lived in, being fat meant you clearly did not have AIDS and could bear him many sons. Coleen’s figure could (and still can) put a runway models to shame although she was slightly short for that career path.

Coleen did find a man to impregnate her, but she never told him that she was HIV-positive and in 2008 she was spotting a new bump and very much in love with the new man. This did not stop her having very public and embarrassing slanging matches with the wife of her ex lover. When this woman failed to conceive the sons her husband had anticipated he kicked her to the curb which only served to make Coleen even more unpleasant and spiteful.

Maybe she hoped that her ex lover would take her back and marry her since she had demonstrated that she could have children. But the man took another woman, a bigger version of his first. At the age of 23, this young man has had two wives.

I say I could forgive Coleen going and purposefully infecting another person, perhaps one who didn’t already have HIV because she was riddled with grief and is not the smartest person I know. She didn’t drop out of school because she was lazy after all; she dropped out because she just could not get past the 10th Grade.

A woman who loses a child would do anything to have her back. She is wounded more deeply than any other wound known to mankind. Hands used to cuddling the squirming warmth of her child, gurgling nonsensically while the purest form of love cascades through her like a live fire, are suddenly barren. Left clutching only the reminders; the fluffy toy, the rattle and the clothes she will never outgrow. Bereft. For Coleen, the hole could only be filled with another child, HIV be damned.

And so she gave birth to another adorable baby girl; she heeded the rules the hospital had set out – only breastfeed or only bottle feed for the first six month if you want your child to stand a chance against infection. She breastfed her baby who grew cuter by the day and when this child’s father did a bunk Coleen did not despair, she had what she wanted, an adorable baby of her very own. Even Coleen’s worst critics, for in a village everyone knows everyone else’s business, started to mellow and overlook that she had infected someone with HIV.

But with the birth of a normal baby girl also came Coleen’s healing. She now could live fully again; and this meant date of course. Her first victim, cleverly seduced, was her ex lover, just to make sure he was indeed infected with HIV she began to sleep with him again; inviting him to her bed, often with the baby sleeping soundly next to them. At the local communal water tap she was heard to boast, “I have taught his wife a lesson she’ll never forget,’ to awed audiences who went home to further discuss this and hope she got her comeuppance. But otherwise do nothing.

She then began yet another relationship with three other men (if her wagging tongue at funeral vigils while villagers await the priest and need a good story to chase away the chill is to be believed) and finally one man won her heart. And her HIV. And the title of her third child

I do not judge Coleen, I believe that the men she may or may not have infected also had a responsibility to protect themselves. They did not know this woman and displayed the same ignorance and carelessness that has allowed HIV/AIDS to ravage our continent unabated. But she knew and she did nothing. For her own selfish reasons she continued to have unprotected sex and produce children, who in all probability will end up either dead or orphans. That is saddening.

And more frightening is that Coleen is not the only one who does this.

*not her real name.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Anniversary Jitters

TJ and I are making it to the totally insignificant big, amazing and meaningful two-year anniversary!

*pause for Zumba-style rocksta hip-hop dance here*

I’m pretty excited but curiously nervous at the same time. Given both our ages I guess two years would mean that we start delving into “THE FUTURE” but we did it backwards. We settled this question a long time ago.

Unfortunately I was amiss in telling my friends and family of this. Now I am besieged with questions. My mom is fond of asking, 
“Does this man REALIZE you’re an old wrinkling graying-by-the-day nearly-past-shelf-life an amazing catch and shouldn’t be kept dangling like this?” 

“Yes mom he knows and he does NOT dangle me, we’re not into funky sex positions!” I’m often heard mumbling in answer while she gets into stride on her anti-TJ rant.

Even my daughter who really doesn’t have the right to comment on my love life often makes heavily suggestive comments about single women who really should be settling down as an example to impressionable teenage children.

She can obviously go jump for her cheek.

But more than that jitters, thinking of my anniversary makes me dance and I get stomach flips; because after all this time, after all our fights and make-ups and disagreement about Bill Clinton and Mandela I am still so crazily in love.


I’m IN LOVE with my quiet, thoughtful, clever, brilliant writer and sex god of a man.

I imagine a life without him and I panic. I imagine a week without him and I panic. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night just to tell him “Baby I love you,” because his response is always “I love you more,” and LUURVE to hear that even though it is patently untrue.

5 Things You Don’t Know About Us
  1. We’re the world first couple to be this amazingly in love. I know you’ll say I’m lying because YOU and YOUR partner have that honor but everyone knows you’re wrong.
  2. When we don’t speak for a day we start to mutate into broken hearts and bleed all over there people we’re with so that is why we’re together ALL the time.
  3. We’ve adopted a hut in the bundus that is our very own love nest and we may be found there pretending we’re not in so we can be alone.
  4. Although we’re both incredibly sexy and good-looking our gorgeousness doesn’t make everyone around seem dowdy, it actually beautifies them.
  5. We’re never going to break up because a group of aliens we met told us that if we did Planet Awesome Couples would invade Earth and destroy everything in bitter disillusionment. We both take the responsibility for Earth’s continuing existence very seriously.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Zumba at Home

Well I thought I’d tackle the flab once more instead of letting grow wild and confident, taking over my whole shape over the winter so that come spring I am cowering in dressing rooms, trying to shut out the four-way view of my fatty fold while I fit a size bigger than three months ago.

Now I wasn’t going to do my usual waddle/jog or swimming gig to keep in shape over the winter! No way. It gets darker earlier and I am not giving some rapist a shot at TJ’s sexy ass NO SIR! And obviously, heating the pool is just irresponsible given my bank balance.


Or lack thereof!

*let me shatter inside for a bit and cry into my double chins over this tragedy*

Anyway, my dughter is now proficient in the "Hip-Hop Abs" exercise routine and while it’s great exercise and I like to do it, I was getting annoyed with Shawn T’s annoying voice. Not really, I’m lying, she’s taken it to her bedroom and I just didn’t want the politics of going to ask for it every time I need to exercise!

So I got me the Zumba!!


Sigh. Here are three of the topmost reasons I'm glad I get to do it home though;

1. They make you do something called the Booty Roll.

*break for maniacal laughter at this point please*

The booty roll is so EMBARASSING! Now imagine I was in a gym and doing the Booty Roll among 5million other saggy-bottomed losers?! JESUS! Please someone save me from myself. I feel embarrassed doing the booty roll alone. And slightly ashamed.

2. Your children think you’re hilarious but at least it’s not Miss Skinny Pants standing behind you at Gym.

This once, my daughter came in as I shook my groove thang and commenced, *maniacal laughter again please* to laugh until her abs turned into a dancer’s six pack. Little bitch. But imagine if it was someone else at gym? My heart would shatter to little pieces, my merger self esteem a thing of the past!

3. When you do the Cumbia you can trust upwards for all you’re worth!

I feel this step is the closest I’ll get to learning tantric sex secrets and I am glad for chance to do it at home! While the energetic upward thrusts would no doubt lead TJ to crown me his queen forever, it is not without its drawbacks. If I continue to participate in it as enthusiastically as I have been I am afraid that I will have a lot of explaining to do. My boobs nearly smash my double chins into my face and I think a few teeth have been knocked out! Mercy! Only try this at home!

So there you have it. My forays into Zumba! (I always resist the urge to do an African war-cry here.)

The small comfort is that come spring, I won’t be ashamed to shop!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The day I died I little inside. Not! But Eugene Terreblanche died for REALZ!

Well if you’re a South African black and you are truly honest about your feeling you will be currently experience the same merriment I do that has nothing to do with the resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Let me wish you a Happy Easter in case I forget during my descent into the dark world of rejoicing when another dies.

Eugene Terreblanche, affectionately known as ET to his enemies and known as “Eugene The Terrible” to those of us who despised everything he stood for was bludgeoned to death by two of his farm workers at his farm on the eve of Easter Sunday. The same day, incidentally that Chris Hani was gunned down by two white men so many years ago! The reason they say they killed him was because he was refusing to pay them their wages.

ETT was a white supremacist and founder and leader of the AWB, an Afrikaner Resistance Movements whose proper name I cannot be bothered to learn to spell. His body was discovered on his bed with his alleged murder weapon, a machete and a knobkerrie lying next to him. His attackers were both young, 21 and 15-years-old.

In 1997 he was sentenced to jail for assaulting a work and trying to kill another. But now that he has been killed we must all cry buckets treat his memory with respect.

[Pardon me a moment her while I laugh raucously and snort most a unladylike manner]

Sadly for all us who hated this man, his murder comes on the heels of another Julius Malema controversy! JM has recently taken to singing a song that means Kill The Farmer (Dubula Ibhunu).


Kill the Farmer and a Farmer Numero Uno DIES?


Essentially they mean we declare war on blacks of cause but I think it would be illegal to say that outright.

So now instead of looking forward to the many braais I wanted held over ETT’s grave while we danced merrily away I found myself practicing a spot of Desktop Activism this morning. I was nearly late for church as I sat furiously typing, my little thumb flying while I tried to put on my pantyhose with the other hand.

I managed to get into a scuffle with a few white supremacists and a born-again Christian who swore like a hooker who just realized the John’s money is short! Eyes watering in shock from the pain of waking into a table corner I fielded the compliments from those who agreed with me while dodging the verbal vitriol from everyone else!

For the first time in a LOOONG time Facebook was fun!

Now I’m off to make myself a wonderful Easter Dinner for One.

A terrible man died a terrible death at the hands of those he despised! The poetic justice of it all makes me shiver with foreboding. And now we await the wrath of the AWB with mild disinterest.