Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Hommage

This is about someone whom I love very muchly.  Since this person has asked me NOT to write a blog about them, I am doing the exact opposite.  I am however, leaving out the identity of this person.  They know who they are, and anyone who knows them knows who they are.  But for privacy's sake, they shall remain anonymous.

This person often shares stories with the family; some of these stories are just too ridiculous to believe, and my line after these stories usually goes something like this: (incredulous yet very amused expression) "you're so funny!".  The funny stories I have heard from this person are too numerous to remember, I will however start with the unusual thing that first led me to the above line.

My mom and this person speak very often on the phone, and what I find so bemusing is right in the middle of the conversation, I will hear mom say "ok, bye then", and put down the phone.  This person, when they talk on the phone, just seems to randomly end the call - however, with experience, I have found that it is because the conversation is over... why waste time with sticky goodbyes?  Very amusing.

Another story which I remember fondly, is the mirror story.  This person was wandering around a shop one day when they saw a person just in front of them, who stopped at the same time as they did.  We have all experienced this awkward little dance, when both parties step in the same direction.  So this person experienced that, they stepped to the left, the other person stepped to the left.  They stepped to the right, the other person stepped to the right.  They said, "after you", the other person said "after you".  They chuckled, the other person chuckled.  They said, "no really, after you", the other person said "no really, after you".  Getting the picture?  Whilst we have all had this experience, I can't imagine that more than a handful of people have had this experience with a reflection.  A reflection of themselves in a shop mirror.

Whilst there are many more tales I could recount, I will follow with this one: the story goes, that the one and only time this person has very been, possibly, a bit too slightly inebriated, the following may have happened: whilst possibly been driven back from wherever it was that all this possible drinking took place, this person may have wanted the car to be stopped.  When asked why, they may have replied - with utter conviction - that they needed to roll up the white line and take it home.  Yup, that's right, the white line on the road needed to be rolled up and taken home.                                                                                                                               (Disclaimer: I am not saying that this person did drink, I'm just saying they may have).

I would like to end with these words of wisdom: when this person experienced the word LOGMEIN on the start up screen of the computer, they came to me with some concern.  I took one look at this word, shook my head (again incredulous and amused) and said, "you mean Log Me In"?  Closely followed by "you're so funny".  Another amusing anecdote involves MSN, this person innocently suggested that mom log on to SnM so they could chat.  

These days, I don't even have to say "you're so funny", this person knows full well what I would say.  To this person, because I know they will read it (for which I am eternally grateful), thank you for looking after me, thank you for making me laugh (often hysterically), thank you for EVERYTHING.  And I shall sorely miss you (both) when I return to the UK.

Lots of Love                                                                                                                                               Ari

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Being Bing

"Jack wee-ed on Bing!"
"Wait... who's Bing?"

This is the conversation that took place after the horrible discovery of a wee stained Rescue Rabbit, called Bing. In case you were becoming slightly concerned as to why the act of Jack wee-ing on a Rescue Rabbit is the topic of such light heartedness, let me just point out that Bing is a stuffed rabbit. And when I say stuffed what I really mean is Teddy-Bear like toy, not roast rabbit stuffed with garlic, or a dead, but taxidermied, bunny.

I found Bing in a Mr. Price Home.  He was alone amongst shelves of garish baby toys, the only one of his kind left.  He was underneath a giant pink hippopotamus (no I am not joking), and looked slightly perturbed (as much as stuffed toys can look perturbed) at being beneath this giant pink hippopotamus.  I rescued him from this fluffy fate and studied him; he looks like a baby pig crossed with a bunny, or whatever the designer imagined a baby pig crossed with a bunny would look like.  But he is undeniably cute and ridiculously soft and cuddly to boot.  When I found him, his long droopy ear had started to come unstitched – he was definitely in need of a rescue.

Picture this; a twenty year old wondering around with a gorgeous little rabbit toy, begging her mommy if she could keep him.  I'm not saying that I did that... but picture it anyway.  Mom said sure, if I could get a discount on him.  I asked the not-so-friendly ladies at the till; they just looked at me blankly before refusing.  It seemed that Bing was to stay forever in that sad little shop.  However, they did check, and he was already on discount.  So it was that Bing came home with us. 

I stitched up Bing’s ear, and he had priority seating on my bed, his favourite place in the world.  Until that is the fateful wee incident.  Doreen had been away for a few days, which meant the house was in somewhat of a sorry state; it also meant that the animals were running rife throughout.  It was then I discovered that Bing had a spray of sickly yellow over his side.  Jack wee.  Needless to say the dogs were banished, and I decided, as Bing NEEDED a wash, that I would do all the cleaning for the day.  Ironically, just when I had finished everything, Doreen got back, ready to clean. 

Bing however, is newly clean and fluffy, he still has priority seating on my bed, and I'm pretty sure he bears his baby-pig-cross-bunny fangs at Jack every time he comes close. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Word Salad

Let me describe a situation: you are talking to someone, having a perfectly sane and understandable conversation, when suddenly you are struck by a case of Word Salad.  No, this doesn't involve lettuce leaves and a page out of a book, rather it involves the embarrassing moment when your words come out of your mouth in a violently tossed salad format.  Don't deny it, I bet it's happened to everyone at some point or another.

The problem I have with Word Salad is that it strikes more often than it doesn't, usually when I am meeting someone new, and in which case they assume I am crazy, or drunk.  Or both.  I don't mind Word Salad so much when I am amongst family or friends; first there is the slightly bemused look, then it is just rather funny.  The meeting new people Word Salad still gets me though, and the worst case I can remember involved a puppy, a dog sitter, and a low cut red dress.

When mom and I decided to book our tickets to come to SA, we had to find someone to look after the new puppy Lily as soon as we could.  Eventually we found a man who looks after dogs in his own home, his name is Matt.  The day before we left, Matt was coming round to our house to meet Lily and sort out all the formalities, Mom, my friend Stussy, and I were all at home.  I also happened to be wearing a rather low cut red dress - but we will get to that later.

Mom was on the phone, Stussy was watching TV, and I was engrossed in a book when Matt the Dog Man arrived.  Mom shot me looks which told me I had better go open the door, so I leaped up, still mostly in another world and ran to the door, flinging it open as Matt had been standing out there.  There was no-one there.  Right, so I did look rather stupid, standing in the doorway looking slightly wild eyed as Matt climbed out of his car.  What do I do, I thought, so I started to shut the door, but then I would be waiting just inside and he'd seen me anyway.  Do I look busy, like I was picking up post, or do I wait nonchalantly.

I waited nonchalantly.  "Hi, I'm Matt", he introduced himself as he stuck out his hand for a handshake.  "Hi, I'm Ariel," I replied shaking his hand.  "How are you?" he continued with the pleasantries.  It is at this point that I was struck by Word Salad.  The phrases, nice to meet you, and fine and you suddenly became tossed like lettuce leaves in my mind, so I came out with this classic: "Nice and you?"  This is what I said to the slightly concerned looking dog sitter.  Fantastic.   

He smiled a little fearfully as I tried to cover up my mistake; which incidentally involved more Word Salad before I gave up and ushered him in.  I walked quickly to the back room, only to find that he hadn't followed me and was still standing just in the entrance hall.  So I went back and ushered him in as though he was a frightened animal; which I suppose, in a manner of speaking, he was.  Mom was finished on the phone by now, and Stussy had emerged to meet the Dog Man.  Lily, the puppy, had also appeared to greet Matt enthusiastically.

The thing about Lily is that her enthusiastic greetings often involve weeing with excitement.  Which is exactly what she did.  Right in front of Matt's feet.  Obviously it then needed to be cleaned, so what do Mom and Stussy do?  They suggest I do it whilst they chat to Matt.  Cue the low cut red dress.  There I was, on my hands and knees directly in front of Matt the Dog Man, with, yeah you guessed it, the very low cut red dress.  I shudder at what he might have thought.

Needless to say he was looking slightly concerned, I was feeling as though the ground should just swallow me up, and Mom and Stussy were chatting obliviously.  I excused myself to take Lily outside, and shortly afterwards he excused himself to get out of the mad house.  The moral of the story is, don't wear low cut red dresses whilst cleaning up puppy wee in front of a stranger who is looking decidedly frightened.  Also, think before you speak.   

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fright Night

Who doesn't love a good movie?  I certainly enjoy them, and sometimes, just sometimes, I can even be persuaded to watch a horror film.  The thing is though, I do get terribly frightened when watching horror movies, which of course begs the question - why do I watch them.  But that is not the point of this story.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day watching a selection of so-called horror movies with Bianca.  Two of them were ridiculously scary, and the other two... not so much.  Even though it was broad daylight, Bee and I still spent much of the scarier movies cowered beneath pillows and screeching at anything that moved - including a few cats... and the curtain.  

The fun really started in the evening however; what night could be more perfect for horror movies than the one we had last night - thunder and lightening which would have put any horror movie special effects to shame.  The movie we were watching at the time involved an abandoned mental asylum, with ghosts in the typical white doctor's coats and lightly coloured patient's overalls.  Just as we were on the verge of losing our minds in terror, we decided it was the perfect time for a breather to stretch our shaky legs.

So there we were standing, Bee and I almost huddled together as we chatted to Leanne.  All of a sudden Bee looks over my shoulder and goes pale before letting out a blood curdling scream.  As I am glancing around she shoves me forwards in an attempt to get away from whatever is making her scream.  I set eyes on this horrific vision; illuminated by a flash of lightening stands a figure in a blowing white coat - something straight out of a movie.  I screech loudly as I leap like a slightly lopsided yet startled rabbit into the next room, where I cower behind Leanne (who as it happens is about half my size).

Bee is curled up in a ball on the couch, a cushion clutched in front of her face.  We both look up as Leanne's friend walks through the door, looking slightly perplexed at all the screaming.  Bee and I look at each other and burst into nervous giggles, no we are not quite recovered from this shock.  We do however move back into the TV room to continue with the evenings entertainment.

Eventually after a few more minutes of this film, Bee implores me to spend the night. I am definitely up for this as I don't really want to be driving home alone.  I phone Kyle to let him know, and just as he answers a roar of thunder echoes over the house.  Bee screeches loudly in my ear, which in turn makes me yelp out, all the while on the phone to Kyle.  He sounds resigned, possibly slightly amused as I relay the plan to him.  We did actually manage to finish the film, but I definitely don't think I'll be doing that again any time soon.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Frog Princess

Having an empty swimming pool quickly loses it's charms during a heatwave.  Yes, it is rather amusing at first, leaping about the empty swimming pool with the dogs (and surprisingly the cat).  Lying in the swimming pool and enjoying the fact that one's hair isn't getting wet and chlorine-ie... neither is the rest of one getting wet and chlorine-ie for that matter.  However, on days like today when even the birds are slowly melting into little piles of feathers and sweat, having an empty pool is not ideal.

Still, I tried to see the positive in this situation, and I went down into the garden with the thought of going frog rescuing.  Now the frogs in the garden have a funny habit of leaping into the empty swimming pool during the night, and unfortunately, with the heat and no water, dying and turning into mummified frogs (R.I.P little frogs, R.I.P).  However today was different, after the rain the other night, there is a small pool of water in the bottom of the pool.  I wandered down there, in search of more frogs to rescue from a horrible mummified death.

Crouched in the shallow water, I found two frogs, a bigger one, who I will call Daddy Frog, and a littler one, who I shall call Baby Frog.  I quickly scooped Baby Frog up -  he didn't put up much of a fight - and carried him back to the fishpond, where I gently released him into the water.  I had a momentary panic when I wondered if frogs could swim as Baby Frog sank slowly deeper in the water.  He did, however, give a little kick and clung to the wall.  I rushed back to the swimming pool, with the thought to rescue Daddy Frog, who, as it turns out, didn't really want to be rescued.

I persevered however, which did involve me leaping about after Daddy Frog, trying to catch him, with Jack standing near me looking slightly perturbed at the attention I was paying to what he would undoubtedly consider a live squeaky toy.  I managed to gently grab Daddy Frog, remove the soggy leaf from my ear, and make my way to the fishpond to release Daddy Frog into Baby Frog's company.  

I watched with the warm feeling of having done a good deed as Daddy Frog leaped into the water and swam energetically around.  Baby Frog was still attached to the wall, watching Daddy Frog swim to the wall near him, then hop onto the wall, then, much to my surprise, and perhaps his too, leap off the wall and land in an undignified sprawl a few feet from Jack.  Of course Baby Frog began to follow Daddy Frog, but not before I'd realised the error  of my ways and scooped up a slightly concussed Daddy Frog and deposited him, with Baby Frog, in a bucket full of water.

If it was not obvious before, they made it painfully so then; I'd obviously deposited Baby and Daddy Frog in the wrong fishpond, or as I imagine, the fishpond of the rival frog clan.  Not wanting Baby and Daddy Frog to be turned into fish food - or whatever it is rival frog clans to do one another - I quickly rushed them up to the smaller fishpond.  I am still left wondering where Baby and Daddy Frog actually belong, as they did not seem very pleased with their new home.  

Baby Frog simply clung to a plant and watched me warily with his beady eyes as I chased after Daddy Frog.  Daddy Frog quite obviously considers himself to be a daredevil of sorts, as he did a flying leap from the edge of the fishpond to the ground.  Jack was definitely becoming concerned by now as I chased Daddy Frog round and round the fishpond before he hopped towards the bushes in an attempt at freedom.  Alas poor Daddy Frog, it was not to be, as I quickly scooped him up, plopped him in the water and ran away before I could see them try to escape again... and before my moral conscience made me rescue them.  Again.


Friday, October 8, 2010

The First Rain

I enjoy rain.  I enjoy lying in bed at night as I listen to the sound of fat raindrops "thunking" the window.  I enjoy the thunder and lightening even more; the bright flashes of white light that illuminate your whole room for a split second, the deep roar of the thunder which makes you snuggle deeper under the covers.  This is my favourite thing about rain.  

Unfortunately, however, living in England, I no longer get to experience these thunderstorms.  All I have there is the constant light mist of rain which falls relentlessly.  The great mystery, of course, is how I can become absolutely soaked from this irritating mist without even realizing it.  But besides that, I do miss South African thunderstorms in England.  

But let me not be so negative, I did once experience a thunderstorm.  Well what I mean by that is that there was (for lack of a better word) a fart of thunder, which sent the Brits screaming and running for cover, and me wondering if someone's car had backfired.  But that is not the point of the story.

I experienced my first South African thunderstorm last night, well first in about a year, but I was still very excited.  I got home to find the electrician already here, pottering about with the electricity... I hope.  I tried to make myself scarce, but when it started raining quite heavily I decided it was time to enjoy the rain.  The three dogs and I rush outside, mostly I rush, and the dogs saunter after me, where we frolic about in the rain.  It is when I am returning in doors that I notice the electrician and his helper standing just inside the garage. staring at me with slightly surprised, and possibly concerned expressions.  It is also at this point that I realize I am in fact wearing a white t-shirt.  Fabulous.  Let me just slink back indoors to hide myself away.

You would think that would be the end of my outdoor frolicking in the rain, but it was not to be.  And it was not to be that I should think to put on a darker coloured t-shirt.  Thank you Gryphon for so kindly escaping up the road, where I had to run up and down in soaking flip-flops and a mostly see-through t-shirt.  Could this get any worse?

Ah ha, but it can!  After the electrician had left, he did seem a bit nervous when he spoke to me, I decided the black night sky would be a perfect backdrop to some lightening photos.  As it turns out, trying to take photos of lightening is not as easy as it sounds.  Especially when it starts raining.  Of course the best way to remedy the rain on the camera is to hook your t-shirt over the top of the camera, leaving just the lens exposed.  Which I of course did without a second thought.  My plan was quickly foiled as I realized I was standing with a camera underneath my WHITE, now see-through, shirt in the pouring rain.  On the balcony.  For all the neighbours to see.

Right, I thought, no more rain.  And with that I slunk back inside and snuggled under a blanket.  Not before I had to arrange a series of bowls underneath the leaking roof above the only couch in the house.  Stupid rain.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

First Come First Serve

Driving in South Africa is no easy task.  It seems as though everyone has whole heartedly embraced the idea of "first come, first serve"... well in a manner of speaking anyway.  I have been getting a lot of driving practice since I've been here, most often I am driving by myself, as the rest of my family seems to shrink into a nervous ball of... er... nerves.  Though why this is I cannot say, as I drive perfectly adequately.  Mostly.

Today I drove from Nan's house to Bryanston to meet Kyle and Sarah for dinner.  The fastest route involved going along the highway.  Fantastic.  Not only have I never driven on a South African highway, but I have never driven on ANY highway alone!  Now who's the nervous ball of nerves.

"Be cool, be calm," I told myself as I made my way towards the highway.  At this point I would just like to thank the lady who altered my stress levels.  By the way, no, it actually isn't helpful when you drive just slightly behind me, then slightly next to me, then slightly behind me, then slightly next to me (you get the picture) for the few MILES I am trying to move into that lane.  It also doesn't help when you hoot wildly and shoot past me when I do decide I have had enough and begin changing lanes.  Thank you again, and don't worry about the small tree I nearly killed as I swerved out of your way.  

The drive was, for the most part, uneventful.  I stuck to the speed limit on the highway, which meant of course that I was the slowest car there, I indicated when I changed lanes - another not so regular occurrence on the highway, and I tried to think positive thoughts when the taxis drove near me.

Finally the end was in sight, I took the turn off and began slowing down to stop at the very RED robots.  To my surprise, a very fancy car came zooming past me, straight through the RED robots.  I did a double take; oh, actually Ariel, the robots are GREEN.  Right, so stay calm, stay calm *panic panic panic!* just pull off like you meant to do that.  Oh but what's this, no, as it turns out, you can't pull off in 4th.  So there I was, stalled on the turn off of a very busy intersection.  Needless to say I was by then a nervous ball of frayed nerves.  

This story has a happy ending though.  I managed to turn the car back on, and drive off nonchalantly, as there were no other cars behind me.  Though what the queues of traffic, stopped across from me, thought... I don't even want to know.