Friday, 19 December 2014

Renovations – how hard can it be?

So this past week, I wondered if it might be possible to divorce myself.

I have this symptom which is likely a by-product of being diagnosed with a change addiction that regularly rears its head and it’s called the ‘how hard can it be’ syndrome. 
Perhaps some of you also suffer from this and usually you find out in the middle of a ‘little’ experiment that it appears to be a ‘little harder than anticipated’ when you are in way to deep to undo what has already been done and rethink the process. 

A conclusion that was drawn when my kitchen was so dirty it looked like the sand dunes of Namibia due to the high levels of saw dust that had seeped into every nook and cranny and was now definitely not fit for food preparation of any sorts and the kettle needed to be unearthed by qualified archaeologists and sterilised before every usage.  And the ankle deep sawdust in the upstairs bathroom, which was before all my bright ideas once cream in colour, now needed industrial equipment for a full on evacuation and removal operation, not to mention the state of the rooms actually undergoing renovations. 
And I wondered to myself if this might be a good time to move. 

Because if it were anyone besides myself turning my house into that sort of state, it would be definitely grounds for divorce or at minimum a prolonged stay at a nearby hotel, alone. 
Except I was the problem in this case and one can hardly run away from oneself albeit, I am sure many have tried. 

My daughter must have been in the process of Googling ‘how to replace your mom’ or ‘ways to put your mother on Ritalin without her knowing’.  I cannot help but wonder if the rights of children are regularly violated due to the genetic lotto that all children are subjected to because they are simply not in a position to trade in their parents; poor things.            
See the story is simple, it happened when I found out that the company would not be paying my agreed salary (that is another blog, once I have found the amusement in that), and I concluded that the carpet in some of the rooms might be contributing toward some of the ill health we have been experiencing the past few months and so decided to pull it out and put in a hardwood floor.

I mean, how hard can it be? 

Well for starters it was the carpet’s intention to be a permanent fixture in the house, installed back in the days when things were done properly to industrial proportions.  Aside from the glue that securely ensured that a portion of the screed underneath came with it, the underlay, due to simple touch, released a cloud of something that resembled pictures of biological warfare they show to primary school children.  So armed with a dust mask and gloves, I went to battle.  A few hours in, I took to calling in reinforcements all of whom were currently and conveniently unavailable.  Which is what tends to happen when you do not have a spouse of your own that you can persuasively convince to do your dirty work and have to rely on a borrowed muscle power every now and then.          

A few hours later, nearly suffering from excess exhaustion, the carpet was on its way out the door.  But the door in my house is of course, as anticipated, not conveniently located.  It is through the hallway, down the stairs into the dining room, through the entrance hall and out the front door.  A process which in an open plan house, has just spread a cloud of hazardess dust through every single room in the house; an airborne haze which took a good couple of hours to settle.   

And underneath the carpet, was a bright pink chemical stain.  More than ten years old, it still had the ability to colour plaster that was smeared over top of it and come to the surface.  It is scary what you can find in the process of undergoing renovations; a stain which in the state of my exhaustion brought on a highly destabilised emotional state; a stain which has been subsequently chipped out of the screed and removed.        
I then proceeded to bleach floors, swear at the smell and the glue scraping process, purchase bamboo flooring, swear at the price, put underlay, swear at the inability of it to lay flat, trim door frames, swear at broken blades in power tools, cut floor boards,  swear at the lack of tools in my house that are needed for this job, purchase tools, swear at the project creep as a result, use my kitchen counter as a work bench and cut it too, swear, nail in base boards and hit my fingers a few times, swear, varnish base boards, spill varnish, swear...  

I am sure you get the picture.  
I am still not finished with the work... but am now at least hoping that the room is dust and toxin free and our health can improve.

And so now while I am tackling the mountains of sawdust still in the upstairs bathroom to see if the cream colour of the bathroom is still intact after hours of the much needed excavation operation, I promise to convince myself that next time I ask the question of how hard can it be, I will explore the possibility that the answer to the question just might be; ‘damn difficult’, and not allow the gleaming new bamboo floor lure me into any future illusions about the process and potential of renovations. 
But once the dirt is gone... there are just no guarantees... that the change addict will remember any lessons learned. 

And who will wait just long enough to forget the process a little before she begins again ‘cause that bamboo floor looks sooo shiny... 
And like a crow that is attracted to shiny things, the shine with eventually win out.

 ‘Shiny.’ ‘Damn difficult.’ ‘Shiny.’ ‘Damn difficult.’ ‘Shiny.’ ‘Damn difficult.’ ‘Shiny’. ‘Difficult’. ‘Damn shiny.’  ‘Difficult.’  ‘Damn shiny.’  ‘Damn Shiny.’  ‘Damn Shiny.’   
That is what it means to be a true change addict.      


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

On Food Trucks and Frucks

These days, between work, study and parenting, I am generally doing very well if I know what day of the week it is and arrive home before 9:30pm.
And while writing crosses my mind once in a while, I have been extremely busy, studying change... I know, fancy that, the change addict, studying change. 

It has been so hectic; my daughter even informed me this week, that she would appreciate at least “one day of parenting” a week. 
If your children are requesting parenting, you know things are bad and your schedule is managing you, not the other way around and so I am counting down the days until my last exam in about two weeks time.  

That and I have also started a new project in the food truck industry which is adding to my schedule.
And while the industry is relatively large overseas, here locally, it has barely begun.  And I cannot help but wonder exactly how it will adjust to the South African market, or rather just how the South African market will adjust to it. 

In one of my previous positions much of my marketing work was to reposition an American social development concept for a South African market. 
You see, South Africans culturally are quite big on slang.

So you see, How are you in South African is ‘how’z it?’  In other country’s ‘how are you’ is ‘how are you’?
And hey my brother is “hey bru.” 

A washroom / restroom is referred to as a ‘loo’. 
That’s fine / cool is ‘sharp’.  It took me a long time to figure out what that was because the pronunciation was ‘shap’. 

Slang here tends to be highly economical in its usage of phonetics and generally efficient. 
Similarly there are eleven official languages and so if there are concepts that don’t quite translate, they simply become adopted, words like tsotsi (street savvy thug), lekker (tasty / great) to mention but a few. 

That said; it brings me a question.  What will be the street lingo be for food trucks?  I know; food trucks are food trucks.  But in what markets are they food trucks?  Not the SA market. 
I have my concerns about the language of food truck or mobile kitchen.  The streets will never adapt to lingo like that.  Mobile kitchen is simply too long, food truck conjures up images of a delivery truck with food and so generally the market will pick up on that and build an association.
So we explored a few ideas with my daughter (on my one day of parenting this week) and made a few suggestions.  One that we liked and thought had some potential was mobicat which was short for mobile catering unit, not bad - but already a brand, or koscaddy (kos is food in Afrikaans), not bad but maybe a little long.  Has a nice ring to it though.  And while we explored a few more options, have actually not come to a conclusion on the matter.

That said we do have some concerns. Knowing that ‘how are you’ is ‘how’z it’ and ‘hey my brother’ is ‘hey bru’, we are concerned that the shortened version of food truck...          
I am not so sure I would like to tell people I work in the frucking industry.  Aside from the standard reply to that statement which would be; ‘Sweetheart, we all work in frucking industries’, I myself might have the urge to ask someone working in the frucking industry whether an average day at work is spent vertically or horizontally? 

It has the sort of sound to it that might suggest most working time is spent on the back which would be a gross violation of reality. 
I mean, can’t you hear it.  ‘Where did you get that?’ ‘I got the burger from the fruck on the corner’.  

‘Well which fruck did you get it from, the one with wheels or the one wearing jeans with the chef’s hat? 
Not good people.  Not good at all. 

I cannot help but wonder why food trucks have less of a presence in Canada when in the US it is an enormous industry.  And the answer is simple.  They would be ‘FRUCKS’ there too.         
Because driving that thing through winter would be a mission and when it gets stuck on snow filled roads believe me, it would most definitely be a ‘Fruck’ and I am quite sure that the ‘food’ in ‘food truck’ has been adequately replaced with another adjective.  

That said, ‘fruck’ is a word that would be easy to place into the market... no effort at all, and the entertainment value is somewhat high level... 
But as a parent, I must conclude that it’s just not a good idea.  Because we will have created the excuse for children, who when accessing alternative adjectives for expression and emphasis, will tell us implicitly that:

‘I did not say what you think I said Mom,’ I said ‘Fruck’. 
‘You know, Fruck, short for F-O-O-O-O-D truck.  Hellooo... where you been, Ma?’  ‘Where you been?’





Monday, 15 September 2014

In Desperate Times - Bring on the Ritalin...

Okay, given the number of projects I start on a regular basis and the number of plans I have hidden up my sleeves at any given time, at some level I am sort of wondering if I should have been diagnosed with ADHD as a child. 

I even wonder if other people consider such possibilities...  Undiagnosed adult ADHD sufferers who never just quite knew what the issue was...   
So what I would like to know is whether Ritalin would enable me to continue to focus in a job that does the same thing over and over and over and over again?  Because even the previous four 'overs' are enough to lead me in search of new information, yet alone the daily grind of doing the same thing day in and day out.   

I have also been told by a friend of mine that I don’t ‘stick to things’ (bastard – who are you to judge).  And I have been analysing the situation closely wondering if perhaps there might be some truth to that as I am in search of yet other opportunities in the workplace, yet again.  Yeah, I know;  nobody wants to hear it.   
And as such while there is some evidence that suggests that might be the case; the jury is still outstanding on the verdict although my tendency to go back to school (again) was met with my editor querying whether there are support groups for people like me.  Information addicts are us’ or something.    

So in an effort to collect data on the situation I proceeded to do an online Adult ADHD test.  Now the test itself has a disclaimer that states ‘this is not a diagnostic tool’. 
That said, the test scales states that:

If you scored 34 & up... You may have symptoms of Adult ADHD.
My score: 41.  ( 

 – Yep there it is... as everyone close to me has probably suspected for a very long time.   
Now before I delve into the implications of that diagnostic, I do need to briefly reflect on the positioning and potential bias of some of the questions.  One of which refers to whether one gets irritated while waiting in a queue.  Except that the test is not South African and so it states ‘waiting in line’. 

Unfortunately, in a country that prioritizes customer service, this may be an indication, but nobody who ever goes to a bank on a weekend at month end in South Africa comes out with the same blood pressure they went in with.  You see, here, instead increasing the speed of customer service, we put chairs and television sets to entertain the queue while they wait.  Like watching the third rerun of some dated television show / sports programme is going to disguise the irritation that an hour and a half has pasted while you were waiting in line. 
Thus I have concluded that those departing with ‘no irritation’, probably have ‘no pulse. 

Does that then mean we have a whole country with high levels of ADHD?  I doubt it.  Wide spread lousy customer service - maybe.   
Truth be told, I wonder how many kids diagnosed with ADHD just process information differently. 

From experience, information I receive needs to have a use and a purpose and fit into information already in my brain.  It also gets rewritten in a different format (implications, importance, etc.) before storing, – into what I deem to be, ‘a more useable format J’. Thus, yes, there is a lot of noise and static in my brain.  That said; I struggle to reproduce exactly what someone else has done and said, a characteristic which has shown up in my school marks my entire life – especially in an environment where regurgitation is considered more desirable than critical thinking.  And so I find memorisation to be extremely difficult, but critical thinking and strategy come much easier.      
Thus, I will need to delve into my mind and see how far the jury is in the diagnostic as there appears to be substantial evidence both for and against...        

Upon an analysis of the evidence, I may be inclined to allow myself to be diagnosed as suffering from an information compulsion, disorganised, variety obsessed, and a change addict, etc., but would to prefer to leave my brain free of drugs that will force it to process information like most other people do even if it might improve my memory – and there are days I feel like I need that - like when I am looking for my keys that are in my hand..    
That said, I am somewhat inclined to consider seriously the diagnosis of ‘ADHD’.  I think it’s dangerous to put children into a box that will enable them to reason away internally whatever weaknesses they may have and maybe even force them to change the way their brain processes information.  PS – one of my degrees (yes, complete... why are you asking) is in psychology.

My recommendation with the luxury of hindsight would be to consider making the environment as stable and predictable as possible for these children who have high levels of internal chaos.  And I would urge parents to seriously consider the implication of giving children learning medications.  I am not saying don’t do it, but urge you to look seriously at the matter and take into account possible alternatives.        
I was the kid who would be highly likely to be diagnosed with ADHD in today’s society.  A diagnosis that I was never given over even tested for.  Thankfully I grew up in a relatively structured and predictable environment; enough to give me some balance to my internal chaos.  And so despite of exhibiting many of the ADHD symptoms, I have come to the conclusion that the score of 41 should be ‘shoved’. 

What usage would it serve me aside from giving me a medical reason why ‘I can’t...?     
As a result, I am forced to live with a mind that whose internal jury system is able to hang itself and intent on a continual quest for new information.  A mind I often wish came with an off switch. (Ritalin perhaps?)  Note to self - consider for further exploration. 

I suppose it just might be one of those perils of being a change addict because nothing will change if we all think alike...


Friday, 15 August 2014

Sprinkled with Paranoia

I have been struggling a little bit with my car that past few weeks.  And while sometimes you wish car repairs are one of those things you could post-pone doing, they sort of have a way of ensuring they become urgent. 
It’s annoying really.  The damn thing just stops. 

So mine was on the verge of doing just that when I took it in for repairs.  The way I saw it was that either I put holes in the bottom and we could propel it Flintstone style, or I needed to find some mechanical assistance.  And after weighing my options, the pro’s and cons, i.e. no gym membership needed, less petrol costs, etc., I decided that mechanical assistance is probably best.       
Having taken in my car previously for a disk replacement, I took it to the same place, not sure if they do clutch replacement or not.  I drive in and roll down my window to ask. 

One of the sales people comes to my car and asks if he can help and in response to my query replies,
“No, we normally do not do clutch replacement, but ‘don’t worry, we can make a plan”.  (I can see that the motivation to ‘make a plan’ is clearly a result of this man liking what he sees.  God bless those who make hair dye, make-up, spanx and booster bras.  Heaven knows what I am going to do when my blessed age of 29 gradually creeps up).    

The statement ‘don’t worry’ is really an indication that there are things you should be worrying about but are being asked to make the deliberate choice not too.  And that alone, is usually reason enough to worry! 
The ‘making of a plan’ is infamous for just that.  It is as it sounds.  People organise, and make a plan.  And the plan is, aside from the paper with pictures of dead presidents, a paperless transaction.  

Experience has taught me that with car repairs, it really does not matter how business gets done, because someone is about to be screwed. It was my hope and prayer that it wasn’t going to be me this time.          
Not faced with an infinite amount of options (my car will not go far), I submit to ‘the plan’.   

A few hours later, after some price negotiation, which is now about 60% of the original quotation, they need cash to “purchase the parts”. 
Internal alarm bells sound.  ‘Oh, hell no.  My car and cash?  Sounds like a rat.’     

A request, to which I asked if they could not purchase the parts and I reimburse them? 
Besides, how far am I going to go if they have my car, out of the two of us, they were sitting with the balance of power.  An agreement to which they originally agreed and then reneged and I needed to come up with at least half, an amount to which they undertook to finance the balance.

I walk back to the workshop, cash in hand revisiting the process in my head and examining myself for errors of judgement and checking my internal stupidity barometer...  It is now 4pm and the car, is now laying in about four hundred pieces; a sight at which my stomach turned and an obvious indication that it is much too late to change my mind.  
Not having transport, the ‘garage’ arranges for a car for me.                

My ‘courtesy car’ is the first guy’s personal car, a 2004, royal blue Corsa lite.  Not a luxury car by any stretch of the imagination, but hey, a car is a car and they are sitting with my car, in 400 pieces, no paperwork and cash.  I need to have my head examined.  At least my having a car (albeit a poor trade off), is a small consolation that they are somewhat serious about fixing my car, so I tell myself.       
So I climb in and prepare to depart.  The car’s gear shift where the gear indicators had been rubbed off with time and so the first exercise was to establish exactly where reverse was.  Incidentally the car also brought to my attention that power steering is a luxury. 

After some effort I manage and pull myself into traffic.  I am acutely aware that I am putting on the windshield wipers instead of the signal lights when suddenly I am jerked backwards.  I am now driving from the back seat instead of the front; a position from which I am no longer able to reach the pedals thanks to the sudden collapse of the seatback.  In a state of heighten alertness (code for full on panic), I pull desperately on the steering wheel shifting myself forward enough to access the foot petals and slam on the brakes before the rapidly approaching red light.  My heart pounding, I manage to stop the car and attempt to get the seat back to return to its upright position. 
A whole lot of drama for a simple half a block of progress.      

Yes, I am missing my car even more now.  And an FYI, seatbelts are entirely useless when there is no seat back.        
All in all, I manage to arrive home safely with only two additional terrifying visits to the back seat; holding on desperately to hope established on the promise that the car would be fixed yet this evening.  

When it’s ready “we will call you”, they had promised.
But by six pm, I still had no telephone call and now I am beginning to wonder if I had not inadvertently purchased the petrol to take my car to Mozambique for a permanent holiday on the coast – which wouldn’t be so bad if I were in it...  assuming of course that ‘in it’ would imply at minimum, sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat and not tucked in the boot (trunk). 

Once again, I find myself revisiting my decision making processes for errors of judgement and decide that perhaps I need to drive back to the garage and check whether my car is still there (I mean – because after all I will be able to something about it if it isn’t-haha). 
So I climb back into my courtesy chariot and aside from the automated front to back seat transfer mechanism, I also do not have headlights that actually work and it is already dark outside.  I drive back to the garage... periodically flashed by oncoming traffic – the polite way of saying, “turn on your lights you moron” -  with only one trip to the back seat this time. 

I arrive at the garage to find that the building has been locked up.  The side gate is still open and one ‘back business’ is still busy, but not the one where my car is located.  The good news: my car is still there, albeit with no front tires.  It does however look as though it is in a few less pieces than my last visit, but it does not look like it has any intention of being returned to me yet this evening; a sight which causes some irritation.        
On my way again, I call and enquire whether my car will still be fixed yet today.  I will check and phone you back, he tells me. 

The phone remains silent. 
I still have no evidence that my car is there or had been there in the event that someone drives it away.  

‘I should have taken a picture’! I think to myself more irritated.        
I go back, this time with a friend, angry with myself for not thinking of taking a picture the first time around. 

It’s been about 30 minutes since I left.  It’s now closed.  Locked up tight.  I estimate the time gap and assume that my car must still be there. We travel around to the back and peak over the boundary fence. 
Yes it has reached the full height of madness , a security guard is walking over to check ‘what in hell we are doing’.  We ignore him.     

The car is there.  Its bonnet open and front tires still off; a sight which this time causes relief.       
I take a picture between the barbed wire attached to the top of the boundary fence as ‘evidence’ if needed, that my car really ‘was there’.  Just in case. 

That night, I put myself to bed and sink into an uneasy sleep. 
The next morning I wake up and arrive at the garage as soon as I am able, the complimentary Corsa keeping me in the front seat the whole way this time.        

And there she was.  My car.  All fixed up, in one piece and ready to go; running like new.    
I breathed a sigh of relief, said a prayer of thanks and paid the balance. 

For a change, it’s a happy ending, but I am well aware that it could have been otherwise. 
I cannot help but wonder if more happy endings such as this one would soon start to change our expectations and perceptions.  It may even significantly contribute towards a reduction in paranoia. 

But that, I suppose, is entirely up to us.


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Garden Spooks and Change

Although I live in Africa and it is supposed to be warmwell that is the international stereotype of ‘Africa’ in any case, I need to put frost guard on my garden every year if I want to preserve my plants for the next growing season because at night we can get some serious frost. 
And so I pull out big white sheets of frost guard and cover the areas of the garden that have plants which cannot tolerate the cold.  And every year without fail, the dog, a little black schnauzer, reacts with a ferocious irritation at the changes to his garden. 

For the first week he attacks the covers and pulls them off.  He regularly gets himself tangled in his efforts to fight the new additions to the garden because they cover areas of ground he is accustomed to patrolling and he is unwilling to change his behaviour.  And then my frost guard gets a life of its own, while he jumps and scratches at it in an effort to find his way back out.  And if it wasn’t for the 9 meters of white frost guard trailing behind this little ghost of a dog, one would almost have to look twice at this garden spook.
And every evening I am forced to go out and put the frost guard back much to my own irritation.

Thus it would seem the nature of change requires chaos. 
A change in direction requires force and energy.

A change in thinking requires a paradigm shift.
A deliberate life change requires energy and intent.

Whatever the case, from somewhere, somehow, change requires different input(s).  
Sometimes change is easier when the inputs are from external sources and change is reactionary not deliberate.  It saves ourselves from the necessity of considering options and creating a shift for which by virtue of consequence, we will be held accountable for and, by virtue of the numerous variables in life, we may get the wrong outcome and regret in hindsight - in which case one could always seek to attempt to change it again.       

But deliberate change requires choice.  It is a calculated decision to destabilise our environment and create chaos with the intention of creating new outcomes; a plan to change one’s way of thinking and make a new behaviour choice; an internal input of something new into an old situation.  
And yet the first reaction to change seems to be fear.  A worry about what is not known.  An attachment (sometimes illogical and unexplainable) to what we know even if what we know is not working well for us. 

What I don’t seem to be willing to understand is the unwillingness of humanity to honestly ask whether one is satisfied with the status quo at present?
And if the answer is ‘no’, why not change it? 

Perhaps the change you fear is little more than a garden spook.    


Monday, 21 July 2014

Life's Re-Start

So I have been a little lax... Is 'lax' even a real word?  Okay, I've gone full on missing in cyberspace.  Interestingly enough, there was no search party.  No queries.  Nothing.  

And that's way a cyber relationship is not real people... 

But that said, when I started this blog, it was my intention to create dialogue.  To open a conversation, trigger some thought and say something real. 

It was my hope that people would start to follow ideas and not personalities.  But given the number of visits to the 'blogger profile', that seems to be just a pipe dream...   

But I haven't given up hope yet...

Life experience has taught me that often social truths are mistaken for reality.  Intentions mistook for outcomes and little of what we think we know, is actually the way things are. 

Wisdom has shown me that intentions are sometimes more important than outcomes.  Social truths are things other people do not want you to question and simply accept as given, usually because they serve someone else's purpose.  And that truth, when revealed to yourself can truly set you free. 

So consider this:  

Our starting point in life is always where we are now... 

Our past we cannot change, we can only change how we view it. 

Our future depends largely on the perspective we take of our past.   

Our present determines that perspective

So have the courage to look a little deeper.  Ask more questions.  Change something.    

Even if its simply a change in perspective. 


Friday, 14 March 2014

Mixed up in Verbosity...

I had to write a professional competence exam this week and have never encountered such a poorly presented course.  I cannot help but wonder why human beings have the tendency to complicate matters unnecessarily.  Are we testing competence on a matter or are we testing the ability of candidates to discern between essential information, peripheral data and absolute bullshit.
These days bullshit detection is a skill that seems to be in high demand on a daily basis. 

And which, incidentally, seems to be something that the average adult even seems to be struggling with...
I mean really, I piqued the interest of a married man this week.  The problem was, I simply couldn't get past the idea that some men actually think they are so special that a woman should be flattered when they get ‘come-on’ by them; men, married, as they are.  Like so here’s the offer:  I have a wife and kids but I will find an hour or two a week to come and spend it with you to relieve myself. 

Wow!  Is that supposed to be flattering?  Because to me; it is not.  Not at all. 
What makes you think you are that special?  What makes you think I would allow you to use me like that?  What makes you think that I also cannot get a man for everyday of the week if I so wanted to? 

Incidentally there is a guy I know who says the majority of men cheat and he figures about 10% of women cheat.  Unless the majority of men are cheating with men...(me thinks), - he failed mathematics...      
Since he is so sure his wife is not among them, I didn’t have the heart to correct him... moron. 

And so we work very hard to package what we want to believe.  We end up making things very complicated unnecessarily, perhaps even to deceive ourselves.  We live in a world whereby we would like to be so different from one another, exclusive, special and so in addition to the usual excuses for discrimination like race, gender, language, etc., we have added yet another; verbosity. 
What the hell is verbosity?  You wonder.  And no, I did not make that word up.  It actually means long-winded and wordiness.  Essentially the ability to make things more complicated than necessary.  And I think it is a trend that seems to be growing. 

You see these days we have MBA graduates who still do not understand that in order to become wealthy, there needs to be more money coming in than going out.  I mean this is a concept that can actually be taught to a five year old.  But it would seem that governments and experts alike seem to be struggling with the same principle.
We try everyday to tell ourselves that we can make it alone.  But anyone who’s ever made it, had some help along the way.  Perhaps it was parents who paid for schools, a friend who opened a door, a scholarship, someone who saw potential and invested...

We have convinced ourselves that love uses people to get what it wants.  ‘Love bites, it bleeds’.  Love hurts sometimes.
And that’s the kind of bullshit I am talking about.

Love does nothing of the sort. If love is real: love does two things I am sure of. 
Loves gives and love shows up when needed.   

Its time to stop buying so much bullshit... 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Time to Talk...

I had a bit of a rough week this week and so aside from not blogging there is a running list of other things that just didn’t get done.  (I have to let people know that my blogging is likely to fall to about once a week as my schedule at the moment simply doesn’t allow me to give blogging the diligence it deserves).
That being said, I attended the memorial service of a friend who was just in his low fifties from cancer this past week.  He was a good man, but then again I have not yet attended the funeral of a bastard yet.  Either they never die or it is simply culturally unacceptable to speak ill of the dead (incidentally that seems to be a universal cultural norm).   I am not sure which, but in any case, that was not applicable here.

I couldn’t help but look at the situation and listen to this man’s friends, family and colleagues and wonder what would be said about me in my absence in the event of my passing.  Culturally I suppose nothing too ill-gotten would be mentioned, but somehow I couldn’t help thinking, that isn’t it sad that one lives their life and everyone else gets the last word on the matter?
So I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to plan my own eulogy.  If nothing else, I would have the last word which I think is somewhat appropriate.  It was my life after all.   

Wouldn’t it be a dream come true to have the last word where no one can argue.  You could say anything and there would be no debate.   
You can’t argue with a dead person.    

Then I needed to laugh because I would imagine the audience would go away wondering if they actually knew the person that they thought they knew. 
That, and I wonder when I would finish because I seem to have something to say about just about everything. 
I suppose everyone has sides, but sometimes I wonder if my life is more compartmentalised than the average person.  I have boundaries and distinctions between private, personal, professional, home, hobbies, interests, sports, academics, internet presence, etc., and there are only a handful of people who know me in more than one area.      
That being said, I suppose it is also possible that given the groups tend not to overlap, I could have a whole eulogy planned and even in my death be left with a lot to say and no one to say it too. 
So perhaps death is a good reason to keep quiet after all... and life is the time for your voice to be heard and for you to say the things that should be said. 



Thursday, 20 February 2014

Icon Escapism

My friends and I went to see a soap opera actor once when he was in town.  It was a long time ago in high school.  It was supposed to be very exciting.  Truth be told, it was my friends who were big on this.  I was the tag along.  I wasn’t even sure who he was; I just knew he acted on the soap opera ‘All My Children’ which I was not allowed to watch.  I am not dissing his acting or anything, I just had limited access to that sort of information and wasn’t interested in seeking it out.  So we went and got our picture taken and got the autograph, of which I still have neither.  It went into file thirteen.  (My ex’s contribution and that is a whole other blog)  But that’s besides the point, we went with a group of friends when we teenagers.  It was fun and it was an evening out.  
But that was sort of old school.  These days, you can stalk people up close and personal in cyberspace and they ‘answer’.  My daughter and her friend were quite excited that her celebrity crush answered their ‘happy birthday’ message back (well someone did anyway).

Which I told her and she was like, “Ahhh... Mom, why do you gotta kill my joy”.
To which I replied:  “Someone has to do it”.     

I find it interesting that in cyberspace, people read and seem to comment based on stereotypes or even follow people that they think they know and so actors and singers hold some of the largest following.  Funny how people who are paid to pretend they are someone they are not carry some of the most influence in society today.  I somehow find that amusing, somewhat worrisome and definitely ironic.    
The entertainment industry has an influence on media space and the growing disconnect in society’s relationships as a result of increased individualism are feeding an icon fascination much of which is hyped, staged and fabricated.  But who cares, it makes money and creates a high level of dissatisfaction which in turn makes people spend more money to make themselves feel better.  It’s a brilliant business model.

In any case, it would appear that the cyber-community seems to have a strong desire to follow someone that they know something about and can recognise, regardless of whether the other party would recognise them back in return.  And so it has been somewhat interesting to note that the distance between ‘followers’ and ‘the followed’ feels closer than in generations past and yet is in actuality further, given that there is no real relationship present.
So someone we think we know, who doesn’t know us, we can follow.  Someone whose ideas we identify with, but we cannot recognise, we engage with, from a safe distance. 

The question is why. 
What makes us buy the perception that we really have a relationship with Celebs?    

Is it because we know more of their business then our own? 
And could that be a coping strategy? 

Escapism perhaps?   

Monday, 17 February 2014

Valentines Cynicism

So, you know things are bad on the relationship front when the most exciting thing you have planned on Valentines Day is to change into your old clothes after arriving home from work and going to mow the lawn.  

I know, the best I could do for Valentines flowers was to cut them out of the garden.   

Yep, that was it.  My evening on Valentines.  A bit sad, eh?  It could be, I guess, but I suppose it really just depends on how you look at it

Yeah, I know, none of you have ever experienced that.   

If you measure success by the presence of a relationship then I suppose I am terribly unsuccessful and that is terribly sad.  If you measure your value by the presence of a significant other then I suppose I am not so valuable either and that would be even worse. 
But to me it is neither.  My current status is simply a part of life's journey which provides me with time and opportunity to focus on other things.  Relationships with significant others do demand an enormous amount of time investment.  In economic terms, they can sometimes be a huge opportunity cost.  I think in my life to date, my largest opportunity cost was my marriage.  That's probably a highly politically incorrect statement but I think for many women it is probably true, even though we don't say it out loud.          

So while enjoying the evening air and the view of my garden, I have come to the conclusion that there are a few things that I have decided I totally do not miss that are frequent occurrences on the relationship front. 

The first one I refer to as the butterfly syndrome.  I have had enough relationship drama in my life time to know that often a 'significant other' is more interested in what they stand to gain by having you in their life than simply an interest in sharing their life with you and vice versa.  And so there is so much effort put into the chase and catch which is soon followed up by the 'lock them up' and put them on show when other people are watching.

You know the desire to catch a butterfly and place it in a jar.  The jar soon becomes the place that causes them to loose their lustre because they have lost their ability to fly free.

Yes I know, that has never actually happened to any of you.  You all speak your minds when you are not happy with something.  The problem only arises when you begin to withdraw your voice from the circumstances and that eventually will also cost you your power.

The second is those who see you as the clay from which they can create their ideal partner or as close to it as they figure they can get.  And after all the pruning, one day you look in the mirror and you wonder who the hell that is, looking back at you.   I know, that has never happened to any of you either.   

My experiences have taught me that there are very few people who have the courage to love the person they're with and see and appreciate them for who they are.  In order to do that we need to first love ourselves. 

For once, I would like to share my time with someone who sees and values me not what they hope to get out of me, even when I am in my overalls and covered with paint or experimenting with power tools,

Perhaps that is the largest case of wishful thinking there is.

In this day and age, I am beginning to wonder if there are people out there who can still do that?  

So that is my little contribution to Valentines Day cynicism, but since there are so few of you who identify, let's leave it there and hope next year will be better... 

So here's to the flowers, teddy bears (no, the damn bear needs to go), chocolates and other trinkets on Valentines Day.  

Having someone make you feel special will never get old.


Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Devil of Procrastination

I am back to writing the day before publication. 
That is one habit, I cannot seem to shake.  The devil of procrastination.  How is it that for me the relationship between deadlines and doing is so strongly correlated?  Perhaps I need to journey back to my childhood to find the answer to that question. But I will leave that for those visits with my paid best friend, and since I am suffering cash flow issues at the moment, that will have to wait for another lifetime.  

The problem with blogging is that we are back to ambiguous attempts at sourcing last minute topics and so I thought to myself, perhaps I should have a look at blogs that are popular.  You know, put myself in mainstream market.
So let’s see, fashion..., well..., after careful consideration, I think I will just leave that up to the experts.  I personally wear clothes  (I know - that is a serious disclosure of note) and I would like them to look good, but generally would prefer to spend my time discussing things other than clothes.  I mean just how much can be said about shoes before we reach overkill?

Apparently quite a lot since society has not yet arrived at the level of overkill yet.  Some of us have lower thresholds of tolerance.  Clearly.  It was probably the playing with tractors growing up instead of dolls; ruined me for life.  Thank God. 
Alternatively we can discuss our children.  Yeah that’s good too for a while, but eventually I think those who do it too often have become too highly invested in the lives of their children to the neglect of their own.   

Or how about a classic blog on relationships?  See, relationships are a fascinating topic.  I enjoy this topic.  I just don’t think it is necessarily a topic that people are very honest about.  We do relationships according to our own unfulfilled needs and societies expectations and if you have never looked at what you are looking for or where you are going; it is generally a recipe for disaster. 
The ‘can’t get out of bed’ and eat nothing but ice cream for the whole weekend disaster.  Ice cream being the silver lining in the situation. 

But hey, in the mean time feel free to take the compatibility tests, learn how to seduce your man / woman (whichever strikes your fancy, temporarily) and find out which shoes will attract the right sort of relationship into your life, how to stop being the other woman / man,... blah, blah, blah.  Something like that.    
Yeah... so the change addict in mainstream is probably not such a great idea because I am of the candid opinion that the mainstream market needs to change its interests just a little.  I know, wishful thinking...    

So while we touched a little bit of everything in the time being I should confess that I have a paper to write on the relationship between poverty and governance.  I know, a little heavy for blogging, but at least this blog allowed me to do what I do best: 
A little procrastination.    



Monday, 10 February 2014

Man's Best Friend is also Man's Best Replacement

The balancing act between what can be said, what should be said and that which should be left unsaid seems to be where the boundaries of etiquette are shrouded in fog; discernible only by those who have high levels of EQ (emotional intelligence). 
The art of ‘come ons’ seem to be positioned right about in the middle.  The most savvy are those with dual interpretation which allow for a duplicity of meaning.  This way there is an avenue of retreat, should the response of the party to which it is directed, be less than favourable.

Armed with a lighter and offering to ‘light someone’s fire’ at a braai (BBQ), has a definite double meaning and you will likely get away with it.  Albeit, you would be pushing your luck.  Saying that in the workplace, probably less than easily ‘back-peddlable’.   
I suppose those who regularly push those boundaries become exceedingly practiced in which case gives rise to yet another phenomena; heightened levels of charm and lowered levels of substance.  The problem with charm is that it is generally a reflection of an inner need to be seen and noticed which contributes substantially toward that same charm being readily and freely available to anyone with the slightest indication of interest. 

In lay-mans terms: ‘a player.’
And since I encountered one this week, up close and personal, the only conclusion I was forced to come to is that 29 is definitely too old for ‘that shit’.               

The good news is that 29 is not too old to be ‘come on to’.  So it was a little flattering.    
The bad news is that the quality of the selection of men, as time passes by, seems to deteriorate.  The good ones get taken.  So, I know it’s not a politically correct thing to say but; I have almost concluded that I should be looking for a man with a dead wife. 

And not just any dead wife because that too can be risky.  These days, even the circumstances around the death need careful consideration.  One that died in an accident.  And not any ‘accident’ either; you know what I mean.  Consider Oscar.  Accidents’ involving bullets don’t count.    
So the long and short of it is simply this.  By the time you reach ‘29’, the pickings are thin. 

But despite that, what I do know is that the right man is still important and that life has taught me that it’s better to get a dog, than have the wrong man around. 
I mean dogs are great.  They are always happy to see you when you get home.  They know when you have had a bad day, understand that they must simply listen and not try and fix the problem and would lay down their lives to protect you.  

They will happily keep you warm and are content to simply curl up at your feet. 
Many a man could learn something...