Saturday, October 31, 2009

You can eat tequila?!?

Ok so we all know that tequila the drink is very popular, you know....One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila.....FLOOR!

I don't like it, at all. I'd rather drink turpentine thanks.

I do however cook with it. If I do say so myself, my tequila lasagna is very popular with my family. Nothing fancy, just chuck 8 tots into about a kilo of minced meat while you are cooking your meat sauce and that's it.

Last week while browsing around the Irene market, I noticed a tiny little plant at the back of the Plant Lady's stall. The name of the chilli was tequila. I didn't buy one. Himself was....well...beside Himself. (He likes tequila see....)

This morning I thought I'd surprise him (he's away and on a flight home right now) so after visiting the Veg Guy's stall, the Bread Girlie's stall and the Italian Lady, I stopped by the Plant Lady. She had to look for it but it was there, hidden at the back of the habanero and tobasco chilli plants.

So, I am now the proud owner of a tequila product that I can eat.

Friday, October 30, 2009

And this is why Pretoria will always be tainted with racism...

Last week J's grade 2 year (6 classes) spent the morning at a working farm that has a small part set aside for guided tours. You get to touch farm animals too! He enjoyed it immensely. Later on in the week, a friend asked if J had also complained about "those blacks". I said no, what was going on? She then told me that there had been a group of kids from another, black, school there and that a few of them had attacked a few of our, predominantly white, kids, stolen money, scratched in bags and just generally behaved like a bunch of savages, you know, like only blacks can (insert eyeroll from her here). Her child was one of the kids attacked and choked from behind by a black boy, she said.

I was quite shocked because surely the teachers would have intervened, I asked. No she said, they were nowhere to be seen and the kids had to fend for themselves.

Did any one of the parents ask the teachers what really happened? No she said, there was no point, it was obvious that they did not have the best interests of the children at heart and she had an appointment to see the headmaster anyway to lay a complaint and to insist that the other school be held accountable. After that the conversation became a rant on her part about how black people are the scourge of the earth. I must admit, at one point all I heard was blah blah blah blahblahblah blahblah....until she left and I had time to think about it and to question J.

J told me that he didn't know about any physical fighting but that he saw one boy try and grab a sweet out of another's hand. He couldn't remember the colour of their skins.

Today, for the first time since last week, I saw his teacher long enough to ask what had happened. I though, let me find out from someone who was there and saw firsthand what had gone on.

It turns out that one of our schoolchildren verbally pestered one of the other children in the other school group. The guides had taken our children around the farm and then left them in the care of the teachers to eat their lunch before climbing back onto the buses. A handful of children didn't listen though and sneaked out to a small play area and started pestering the black children whose turn it was to play in the play area. And as it happens in any schoolground around the world, the kids involved got to fighting and the teachers from both schools jumped in to stop it.

So, our kids were the culprits. To further complicate things, she said that some of the parents had taken the matter up with the Parent Control Board instead of going to the headmaster or even the teachers to find out what had happened. That these same parents demanded action and even wanted to get a protest march together to force our school headmaster to do something about the children from the black school. That they also wished for the teachers to be disciplined in some way.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Racism is so ingrained in many households here that the future of our country's minds are being poisoned from the cradle. They are being taught to hate black people for no reason other than skin colour. White children here are taught that blacks are less than human, that they have no worth. And when it comes to incidents like these, it's better to lie to your parents than tell them the truth. Because white people don't lie.

Which makes me think that my friend's child may have lied to her mother just to be part of the group.

I hope that in this environment I can raise J&C to be better than that, to not see colour at all except as a novelty. That any prejudices I might have do not rub off on them about anything and anyone. That they have their own minds when it comes to the colour of someone's skin and that they judge a person on their actions and not by racial makeup.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A random act of kindness

My friend Jen has restarted her blog about random acts of kindness. The challenge for this week is to pay for something for a stranger.

Reminds me of that movie Pay It Forward. A random act without thinking about what you can get out of it, how you will benefit instead of the person you are supposed to help. This is going to be interesting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ECC 25 years on...

25 years ago this year, a group of young white men stood up to a government and told them they would not be conscripted into an army out fighting the big bad black man not only in our own backyards but also in other countries like Namibia and Angola.

I was 14 the year they came about. The 80s was a very violent and anxious time for many young white kids in the suburbs. The government at the time was in the midst of fighting the Swart Gevaar (Black Danger) that existed in the townships and hell bent on dominating the black population permanently. The country was also suffering from sanctions by the rest of the world and there was enormous pressure to release Nelson Mandela and unban the ANC. The white media at the time were full of stories of white people suffering at the hands of black people and perpetuating the myth that the Black Man was out to end the lives of all white people. Many white people were genuinely scared that they were going to be slaughtered in their beds by rampaging masses of black people.

At the time, it was required by law that any eligible white male would serve in the country's defence force for a 2 year period upon leaving school. The ECC opposed this, and as a result was banned and their members harrassed by the government and jailed or exiled. Even so, they helped overturn apartheid rule by denying the government the lives of young men unwilling to fight a war that was wrong on such fundemental levels.

I remember young men in our community at the time going off to fight in a border war they couldn't begin to comprehend. I remember those same boys coming back scarred for life after witnessing some of the most horrific scenes you can imagine in a war that had nothing to do with them, a war perpetuated by a government unwilling to treat all human beings as equal. I remember too the families just in our little community of a few thousand houses mourning the loss of their sons.

The ECC is having a celebration in various locations this month to commemorate the legacy that the ECC gave this country. One of the most exciting items on the agenda will be the performance that the 5 original members of Bright Blue will be doing at Spier this Saturday, the first time in 23 years that they will be performing again.

Their song Weeping was, for me and many others, the ultimate protest song that spurred on the movement to bring down the apartheid system.

This is the original video shot by Bright Blue.

I knew a man who lived in fear
It was huge, it was angry, it was drawing near
Behind his house, a secret place
Was the shadow of the demon he could never face.

He built a wall of steel and flame
and men with guns to keep it tame.
Then standing back, he made it plain
That the nightmrae would never ever rise again
But the fear and the fire and the guns remain.

It doesn't matter now
It's over anyhow
He tells the world that it's sleeping
But as the night came round
I heard its lonely sound
It wasn't roaring it was weeping.

And then one day the neighbours came
They were curious to know about the smoke and flame
They stood around outside the wall
But of course there was nothing to be heard at all
"My friends" he said, "We've reached our goal
The threat is under firm control.
As long as peace and order reign
I'll be damned if I can see a reason to explain
Why the fear and the fire and the guns remain."

The background song you hear, that is Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, rallying song of the ANC during apartheid and now part of our National Anthem. Weeping spent two weeks at number one on Radio 5's top 40 after the radio djays played it over and over in defiance of the ban the government felt this song warranted.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hey hey it's Friday!

I'm supposed to be clearing out some paperwork (self imposed work) but am soooo not into it. It all started with a phone call from Leo. Leo is trying desperately to sell wine over the phone. Poor Leo. Maybe if he'd caught me in the middle of the afternoon after trying to calm down 4 kids in the heat, I'd have bought the entire harvest and had it shipped up express courier or something...

Instead, he called me an hour ago at 9.30am, sounding all breathy and so stoked he actually got someone on the phone who wasn't instantly trying to end the call. Poor Leo was so intent on going for the jugular he totally missed the point of a cold call - keeping the person on the other end from losing interest. Comes from sounding unsure of the product you are selling and waffling on about harvests and wine makers and the John Platter guide. I'm a wine ho bro, shove a bottle in my hand and it'll be downed before you can even try and pry the cork out. I don't need to know that a particular wine is made by Such-and-Such and has 4 stars in the John Platter. Mr Platter might have been the eminent wine guru back in the day but his guide has become an unaffordable bribable whore who rates wines according to who pays more to be in it these days.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Market day and silkworms

Yesterday morning, J&C came to wake me up at sparrowfart to tell me that they now had a female moth...and look mom! They're stuck together! Why are they stuck together? at 6 30am...ur fnljemmmal huh? My head was still under the duvet. Mooooom! What? Oh they're stuck together because they're making babies. But how are they making babies? Oh the daddy moth puts his seeds into the mommy moth and she lays eggs. Oh. Cool! they went happily babbling about the eggs they're going to!

So, market day. It was damn hot yesterday morning and idiot here forgot to take a hat with. And I left the half frozen water bottle at home. First stop was at the deli section to get a medium sized iced coffee...yum fair trade stuff.
The loot :

Second stop was the Curry Dude. Curry Dude will mix whatever you want for whatever type of curry you want to make. I'm making chicken curry today for lunch. Himself has been in Zambia on a conference since Thursday and is lekker lus for a good homemade curry. Oh and Curry Dude also gave me a seasoning mixture with a bit of a kick, can use it on any meat, roasted veg....I mixed it with some melted butter last night and poured that all over the cauliflower and broccoli. YUM!!!!!
The bag on the left is the bbq spice.

After Curry Dude we visited Veggie Dude. Veggie Dude comes every second week and has the most awesome tasting tomatoes, these things are so fresh and taste so sweet and sunny. This week he had red and green chillies so two bags of those plus fresh dhania and I had the makings of a nice curry. I bought some of his artichokes too, dirt cheap! The bread, a large ciabatta type, scarcely made it home before it was devoured, plain with butter on.
Check out those tomatoes, so red and juice. Gosh I sound like an orgasmic ad for adult toys or something. They are good though.

J&C had gotten some money from The Mother when she was here visiting and decided to spend it at the market. I just knew the minute we walked past the stall with the handmade Barbie wedding dresses and ballgowns that C was going to spend her money there. So now her fake Barbie has a bright red ballgown with sequins and a gold panty to match. J was a bit more conservative and bought a box with 3 wooden cutout and glue together then paint toys.

So with all my shopping needs taken care of, off we went to see what else the market had to offer. Two hours later and we were ready for lunch so off to the tearoom section. J&C opted for calamari and chips while I had a steak burger, all washed down with ice cold water. Then we headed off home to gloat over the loot.

Afternoon thunder shower brought some relief from the heat of the day, hail the size of quail eggs though. Lightning was pretty impressive until well in the night.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Some not so Caturday stuff

All about music

I'm an 80s baby, with some 60s and 70s in there and possibly some early 90s. Anything else after that is just atrocious.

The one thing I despise though is the rise of the boy band. You know who they are - Boyzone, Boys to Men, NKOTB....the 5 boy lineup that can act, sing and dance...well maybe not sing so much. The fodder of record companies when they want to make money, a formula that precludes any originality.

So in no particular order, here's a sample of what I enjoy listening to :

Annie Lennox's YouTube channel....oh the memories....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance day. It's a day that many women who have suffered losses put aside to remember theire lost babies.

Hugs and sympathies to all who have suffered such a devestating loss.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Saga of the Silkworms continues...

The box has been kept under J's bed now for about a week. The last worm spun its cocoon at the end of last week. Today J heard a slight noise coming from under his bed and when he investigated, there was a moth clinging for dear life to the threads holding a bed of cocoons safe against the wall of the box. It's wings are still wet.

What I find interesting is that he can hear a moth making a noise like uncurling it's wet wings inside the box under his bed from the top of the bunk but he can't hear when I call him to clean up his latest mess.....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An Afrikaans lesson...

Aparently, if you add the gutteral sounding ge- in front of any English word, it automatically becomes an Afrikaans word.

C in the car on the way home from school - Mamma kan ek asseblief 'n slukkie koeldrank kry? (Mom can I have a sip of colddrink please?)

Me - Yes, but don't backwash. (She frantically swallows the snack she'd been eating...)

C - Mamma ek het nie ge-backwash nie. (Mom I didn't backwash.)

For my non-South African friends, it's very difficult to try and explain how to pronounce the ge- sound. It's very gutteral and sounds like you are trying your utmost to clear your throat.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Funny email

Someone sent me this picture in an email today. Gives new meaning to hot willy....

Dressing for a visit to the gynecologist

Backstory - Five years ago we moved our entire household from Cape Town to Pretoria. Of the many things I do miss, my gynecologist is one. She's just the best there is (Christine van Heerden at Milnerton Medi Clinic - the one time I break my self imposed rule of mentioning real names of real people). She's such a sweetheart. So if you are reading this and live anywhere near Milnerton Medi Clinic....SEE HER! Awesome doctor.

Some time last year my GP said it was time I found myself a gynecologist up here as I'd last had a pap smear just after C's birth. I called around and eventually found one who still takes on new patients who are not pregnant. Lovely lady, she could be my old gynecologist's twin sister. Just as good. This morning I went to see her for my annual checkup.

The dressing up part....

I don't know about anyone else. Me, you take me as you see me. I'm used to walking around barefoot in summer, with a tshirt and capris on. I lived 5 minutes from Blouberg and there was no way I'd squish my feet into shoes in summer! Whenever I had to go somewhere more fancy than the local mall, I'd try and remember to dress a bit better, you know...smarter pants, shirt instead of tshirt, sandals instead of bare feet. Sometimes I'd wander into a doctor's visit barefoot with two kids in tow but hell, their view of Blouberg was practically on the water! They didn't mind or care.

Up here, in Pretoria, capital of the Jean Pant wiff a's a different story. Here, they not only plaster on the makeup whenever they take the trash can out, they really dress up for the occasion. So this morning, after dropping J&C off at school, I came home and pottered around first. Then wandered into the bathroom...showered...washed my hair...remembered to shave my out...saw that the hair on my legs could make a nice winter pelt for some hibernating wild bear somewhere so got back in and out and got dressed.

There were 5 other patients there this morning, all dressed as if they were going to meet the Queen. With my shoes and my smart pants and shirt I still felt under dressed. Next time I think I'll just go in a pair of shorts, tshirt and bare feet, and sprinkle fairy dust on my you-know-what.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

On my soapbox

So driving to school this morning I got stuck behind a woman with a child in the front seat. Kid couldn't have been more than about 3 or 4. She had a car seat in the back seat, empty. The kid was, instead, playing with a doll while sitting facing the seat with her back to the windscreen.

I see this sort of thing every single day and every single day I want to get out of my car and smack the person upside the head, or something. People don't think about the what ifs, until it happens to them and they lose a child in a most horrific manner. And even then, they'll blame the stupid driver of the other car who crashed into them. They never think that maybe if the child had been in proper restraints in the first place, they would not have died.

What is it with the human race that we can breed without thought, treat our kids as if they are there for our entertainment but when we stupidly create the reason for their death, we blame someone else for their stupidity?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

District 9


Last night Himself and I went to see this movie. Ok it started showing here 3 weeks ago but we hate going to watch a movie the day it comes out. Too many people pushing and shoving to get in. We like to take our time.

If you haven't seen it yet, this movie has put SA firmly on the international movie scene like Tsotsi the Oscar winner never could and like Leon Schuster likes to pretend he has.

The plot : Parktown prawn-like aliens park their spaceship over Johannesburg and 20 odd years later they are living in squalor and breeding at a rapid pace, with an angry human population wanting them removed. A company called MNU (read multinational agency trying their utmost to get their hands on alien weaponry, genetic engineering...) is in charge of the aliens. One agent, Wikus van der Merwe, is put in charge of forcibly removing the aliens to a new settlement some 200kms outside of Johannesburg as the human citizens do not want them anywhere near them (shades of apartheid at it's worst). Somewhere in the first 15 minutes or so, he is contaminated with a black liquid.....with MNU agents chasing him down because his human-alien DNA is now highly sought after.....

We laughed through most of the movie. The South African humour will probably be lost on an international audience, especially the Afrikaans bits.

If you enjoy sci-fi with a local lekker twist, go see this movie. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, October 02, 2009

All about silkworms

The Saga of the Silkworms 2009 continues. We had 19. Last week one died. By Friday we had 2 solid sunshine yellow cocoons. On Sunday, an off white cocoon and today, one is currently spinning itself into it's home for the next 3 weeks. My mulberry tree looks like a sad little thing with many many bare branches. Not only have I provided food for our 18 worms, but for a friend's 250. So far, only 12 have spun their cocoons. She has another coupla hundred to go.

So far, we've learned that silkworms eat for about 26 days before taking 3 days to spin a cocoon and turn into a pupa. About 21 days later the moth emerges. It doesn't eat or fly, but has a fantastic sex life, lays eggs and dies 5 days later. Six to 20 days later, the cycle starts again. I don't think my mulberry tree is going to last another round...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Catching up

So The Mother has been visiting. She arrived on the 19th and leaves next Monday.

I haven't been online much until this morning and have been trying to catch up on all that has been happening on the interwebz since the 19th....damn but people can talk a lot! :)

While wading through all these interesting events, my mail has been slowly downloading in the background. Slllooooooowwwwwwlllllyyyyyyyy.

When I checked why, there were 1meg, 3meg size mails coming from someone I know who likes to send endless streams of crap to every single person she knows who has an email address. I regret ever giving her mine. Maybe I should put her on my junkmail or banned address list.

Oh and she has a full time job, with internet access. One can only silently eat spaghetti in the hope that her boss revokes her access, soon.