Archive for December, 2010

Underdog

I’ve been listening to ‘Raise your glass’ by P!nk a lot lately and the whole underdog phrase still bothers me. I don’t get it; I just can’t see her as being an underdog.

Yeah the music industry is tough and you have a lot of competition and obviously some radio stations find it easier to refuse playing certain songs rather than play a bleeped version. But with all of that said, underdog is not a phrase I would use in regards to someone who has such a varied fans-for-life fan base. If I had to use the word ‘dog’ in a phrase to describe Alecia Moore it would be more like she’s the only dog at a cat show…

Anyway, my point was actually that I spent the last week with my future in laws and they have quite a few dogs. They have four Toi-poms, a Jack-Russell, Alsatian-wolf hound and a non pedigree dog called Beast. Everyone in the family has their favourite dog or in the mother’s case favourite mongoose but the Toi-poms are excluded from the favourites list.

The first Toi-pom is the eldest one, female and called Dino, she is dark brown and gets preferential treatment due to her age and the fact that she doesn’t bark at absolutely everything that moves like the males do. The second dog is Dino’s daughter Pookie and a light brown but also gets rather preferential treatment because she’s considered to be the baby of the lot and has big brown eyes. Then we get to the males: Socks (also light brown) and the Wolfie the only black Toi-pom. If you want to talk about underdogs, these two would have to qualify. It’s not that they’ve had a hard life or are treated badly, they could just use a bit more love.

The males belonged to JS’s late-grandmother who was probably a bit too old to be all cuddly and lovey-dovey with them as puppies not to mention never really having energy to play fetch or teach them tricks. Just a side note before anyone starts asking why people who can’t exactly pay a lot of attention to their dogs are allowed to have dogs: these weren’t ordinary circumstances! Living alone on a huge farm while trying to run it for the sole purpose of keeping your late husband’s memory alive and being absolutely terrified in your own house every day because the guy who gets your farm as soon as you croak lives just a stone through away from your bedroom window, warrants special consideration.

Either way, these 2 little dogs were basically scared half to death by the ‘future farm owners’. As hard as they tried to protect their home, it took its toll on them. You can still see it when people wearing specific clothes walk by and they flinch or they quiver as soon as they see the thunder clouds approaching. They’ve faced difficult situations considering they’re just Toi-poms. Even though they are younger than the female dogs you would never be able to tell just by looking at them.

So this whole week I made sure to give them as much attention as I possibly could and I like to believe it made a difference. But like with all recovery processes, it’ll take time before they realize they can go back to being pets instead of guard dogs.

Even while I was playing with them, they find it difficult to just lay there and allow me to rub them for more than a few minutes, like they fear they should be doing something else and if they don’t hop to it, something bad is going to happen. Being an underdog is fine for a while but sooner or later you’re going to have to make the conscious choice to stop caring how other see you and worrying about all the things that can hurt you and just step up and take back control of your life.

The thing about a label like underdog is that it can go in two very different directions: You could just sit there feeling sorry for yourself and throw your hands up while saying that the world is against you so why should you even bother trying or that label could inspire you to prove every one wrong. Maybe that’s what P!nk’s been referring to: her inspiration to be better than anyone ever told her she could be… In that case I hope a few more people tell her there are things she’ll never be able to do, because if she’s inspired then through her amazing courage we might all find a bit more inspiration too.

It’s up to us to make the best out of life because nothing’s just going to fall into our laps. A little inspiration and a fighting spirit can turn any underdog into a champion.

 Just a thought,

AM

We shared a life

I think that you spend the first 5 years after High School trying to get over it or more awkwardly away from it.

It’s like you have to take some time out to re program yourself. This could mean forgetting bad memories or making new friends even though you already have great ones or simply just verifying that the person you are is the real you and not just a by product of adolescent pressure. I found that you sort of need to take a break from all the things you’ve come to accept as normal and constant to discover which of those things actually result in your happiness.

Then one day you’re sitting on the porch drinking coffee and a flood of memories from childhood rush through your mind. You’ve done all the discovering and have a pretty good idea of what really matters to you and now you find yourself comfortable enough to go back and re-introduce those constants and normalities you spent the last five years expelling. Like you’ve managed to purge your system of everything you know and replaced it with new knowledge that now allows you to go back and sort through life’s memories to determine which ones you still want to have when you’re 104 and telling your great-grandchildren about the good old days…

I’ve been reading a random Wilbur Smith book while listening to a mixture of Erik Faber and Butch Walker and all of a sudden I felt comfortable missing my old friends. Let me explain: I don’t really do regrets so for me to miss something is incredibly rare. Even on days when I miss something, I can’t wait to expel the thought from my mind but somehow today I like missing them. Missing these people I haven’t spoken to or even FB’ed in 4 years. People I grew up with and made mistakes with and actually had loads of fun with but never really considered having in my adult life…

Usually I’d chock it up to nostalgia or find some reason to say that it’s actually my psyche masking deeper and more complicated issues yet today I’m just enjoying the memories. The greatest thing about this fast pace life we live in is that I can actually do something to make sure we cross each other’s paths again. I can send messages and give them a call and pretty much pick up right where we left off all those years ago. It’s like I’ve given them enough time to find themselves so that I don’t have to look at them with the same wondering eyes of ‘when are you going to stop trying so hard and just be yourself already’ that I use to.

See, they always say High School is great for finding yourself but with me and my friends it was more like we found a hundred different parts of ourselves and by the time we left school we hadn’t quite figured out how to put those puzzle pieces together yet. After taking a break from constantly motivating and pushing each other, we have another chance to re connect and this time do it because we really want to be friends not just because our paths happened to coincide.

I guess that’s why they have a 5 year reunion… I didn’t go to mine; actually I’m not even sure ours went ahead~ something about a lack of interest. I always said that I’d never attend the 5 year reunion because we’d all still be in contact so I didn’t see the point, I was especially put off by the idea when I realized that 180 out of the 200 people in our class figured I’d be the one organizing it! As if!

What I’m getting at is that sometimes we need to get away from everything we know and walk away from the people who know us to really get an idea of who we are… Pretty much like it’s sometimes easier to talk to strangers about something that really bugs you rather than your oldest friends because they won’t expect anything from you; they won’t anticipate your moods; instead they will be willing to allow you to change… and if needed, they will be fine with you changing back too.

‘On one tombstone all our names should go: we shared a life’ is a line from a Lisa Marie Presley song and I think it’s incredibly true. It’s extraordinary that we can meet so many people throughout our lives and how all of them help make us who we ultimately become; even we have to let them go in order to really appreciate them in the end.

Just sharing my view,

AM

Giving

Christmas is around the corner… I’ve been all nostalgic today and thinking back on our family traditions.

We obviously did the digging out and dusting off of old tree ornaments; had our fair amount of fights with sparkling lights and hiding presents and the other usual stuff. But there was this tradition I almost managed to forget completely, well not exactly forget as I still do it without even thinking about it, I guess I just forgot that it was our tradition.

The first weekend of our summer holidays we’d always take about 20 or 30 kids from the orphanage camping and made up brilliant names for star compilations as we sang silly little Christmas carols. I use to love every second of it when I was little, mostly because I felt like – even just for a few days- I had brothers and sisters. For a few days out of the year other people got to experience the love my parents shared. Of course my parents had their share of fights and disagreements but somehow when they were putting other people first, every conflict they had perished in comparison…

We also spent a few days before Christmas going to old age homes with a few of our family friends. The parents would spend the whole time baking loads of pancakes, while we take time out of our lives to just sit down and talk to random strangers. It was always a bit sad knowing that most of these people will spend Christmas day alone. Some just don’t have any family left and others have lost contact for some reason or another. We’d sit there and listen to them tell stories of when they were our age or even break down in tears because it’s been years since someone cared enough to just listen to them. We had so much fun just spending time in someone else’s world.

That’s what I’ve been wondering in my nostalgic mood today: were we having fun because we were caring and enjoying the wonder of giving or was it just our way of paying penance? Obviously helping others is good no matter what the reason because the end result justifies the cause… I’m just remembering that in those few days, I didn’t have this over whelming feeling of guilt. I didn’t feel like I was taking my perfect life for granted. I could just be proud of the person I was becoming.

I’m not sure if we cared for the right reasons. It’s not like we didn’t intend to help or as if we planned to do it only for the justification. I just can’t help but wonder if having brothers for a weekend was my way of trying to make up for letting down my own… Maybe I enjoyed talking to random strangers so that I wouldn’t feel guilty about never taking time to get to know that kid in the back of my science class… Maybe I went out to help them so that for a while I could escape my own world and all my mistakes…

I’m all for caring and doing whatever I can to help, I’m just not entirely convinced that I’ve been doing it without any personal gain! Maybe that’s half the fun: getting more out of it than you could ever imagine…

Just my opinion,

AM

Childhood dreams

I loved the film industry and a part of me always will. A part of me will always watch movies with a sparkle in my eye because I see the detail of every shot and the long hours spent in the editing room instead of just a catchy soundtrack and intriguing story line.

For half of my life I wanted to be a movie director but after spending some time in the industry, I realized that family was more important. Actually I always knew that but never believed that it would be that easy for me to walk away from a project simply because my family needed me. There are some people out there who have managed to craft a ‘best of both worlds’ life and figured out how to put the project first without letting their family life suffer too much but I’m not sure I could be one of them.

I know we all have to make a choice between work and friends or family or even our own needs most days, especially when you are in charge. It just seems like a problem to me when practically nothing can happen without your say so and a strict deadline on creativity forces you to spend long hours on a project that you absolutely love…. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, see as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that I face the same things in my line of work now but somehow knowing that I have a great team behind me gives me the freedom to enjoy my days of without thinking about sixty million little things I still have to get done before the end of the week.

I’m starting to wonder if it’s more a question of combining your hobbies with work instead of a question about industries. I’m obviously very passionate about my work and can spend hours talking about silly little details most people outside my industry will find excruciatingly boring but it’s not something I dreamed about when I was a little kid. It’s like I still get to discover all the wonderful hidden secrets no one ever tells you about, instead of discovering things I couldn’t see through rose coloured glasses.

I don’t regret my choice to leave the film industry when I did. If I had stayed I would have ended up like many of my smart friends taking part in projects purely as a money factor where creativity is shelved for the benefit of a bottom line. Or if I were lucky, I’d be doing what some of my other friends are doing: artistic projects; these projects that take up 4 months out of their lives where they live and breathe only that while neglecting everything and everyone else in their lives, because if they don’t, quite frankly, they would be disgusted with the end product for the rest of their lives. A few of them have found good people to share their lives with; understanding people but I see the looks on their faces every time they wonder when or even if my friends will even come home that evening… The artistic element can be very addictive and when you’re on a role, time doesn’t play a factor so after a 16 hour shooting day, you’ll end up in the editing room which like a sinkhole will just keep luring you in to do one more scene and before you even realize, the grip is knocking on the door to see if you’re ready for the days shooting to commence. Riveting stuff and as I reminisce I cannot help but grin profusely and I’m sure that if I checked a mirror I’d be able to see a twinkle in my eyes but then I look up at the man of my dreams and I’m glad that I have a slightly more normal schedule.

The hotel industry is not that far removed from the movie business. You still have 24 hours in a day and a whole lot of details to take care of during those short hours. You have 300 strong crew of back of house staff making sure that things run flawlessly behind the scenes. You have actors with basic party lines who get to deliver the same story 20 times a day but you also have a hell of a lot of ad-lib. Your viewers are live and reactive instead of sitting on the other side of a screen but at the end of the day, you have a message you want to convey and still need to be sure that you have all the right actors who can portray your ideals on and off the set. My favourite part of directing, even when we were still in high school and I occasionally got a bit hung up on all the minute details, was still to spot talent and develop them into stars. Sure, now I do it with long conversations over coffee at 3am in a hotel ballroom instead of with a mega phone in one hand a camera in the other but the rush is still there. Seeing someone be the best they can be and knowing that somehow you helped them get there is amazing even if the rest of the world never get to know about it. The rush of sudden changes due to weather or people calling in sick when you really can’t afford to waste time with substitutions; pushing every single member of your team further than they thought they could go; knowing about every single movement on your huge set and dealing with an ever changing market is just a few of the similarities that gives me confidence in my career change.

I think in the end it just comes down to knowing why you love something. I use to think I loved the film industry because I could already see myself thanking the academy until someone [ a film magnet at the time] called me on it during a lecture and at first I wanted to let it slide without saying a word but all of a sudden I found myself standing up and saying how fame, power and money was never part of my game plan and how it all came down to sharing thoughts and ideas and the looks on my crew members faces at the end of a long day as we all acknowledge that somehow we managed to do the exact things everyone including the studio told us we would never be able to achieved. I stood up to this guy with years of experience and knowhow and basically told him that I’m so confident in my abilities that I don’t care if anyone ever watches any of my films, as long as I get to help others make their dreams reality…

I haven’t thought about it in years, maybe because I was afraid that I would end up doubting my decisions but yesterday one of my friends asked me about it because she doubted hers. She wants to be an actress or at least a part of her wants to be an actor. It’s this exact thing that originally made us enemies/ friends way back when. I always believed she’d be great at it, mostly because I got to see how her face lights up when she first discovers a character and starts forming mannerisms in her head. The biggest problem with that industry in South Africa is the money situation, it is a lot better now than it was merely 3 years ago because our government decided to give an influx of money to up and coming stars but it’s still not to be compared to Hollywood. I’m sure if I told you that South Africa has one of the oldest film industries in the world, you’d have trouble believing me, truthfully when I look at our international exposure I’d agree with you. It’s only when I look around and see the incredible talent and watch movies we made 30 years ago that I can’t help but stand back and admire how much talent our little country has. I would love to tell my friend that she should finally stop caring what everyone else is expecting of her and start living her life but it’s never that simple.

She has just finished her honours in a degree that will allow her ample possibilities so she feels obligated to get a high paying job and give her parents a return on investment so to speak. The fact that she was the head-girl of our high school and valedictorian (which usually never happens) and played first team hockey and did long distance running and her parents were active members in school activities means that a lot of people who never bothered to get to know her expects certain things from her. If I could, I would kick all of their asses and tell her that it’s not worth living your life by someone else’s rules. But this is not my place and because I’ve been there, I know how scary it is when you are taking a leap of faith; I definitely don’t want to be the one to shove her of the ledge while she’s still getting ready to jump…

But then again: I am her friend. Sitting by and watching her wonder for the next 20 years is not something I can live with either, so I’ve decided to call up a few of my old colleagues and introduce them to her, nothing big that will force her to make a commitment to the arts but enough for her to figure out if she likes the prospect of being an actress for the right reasons or simply because she use to.

Letting go of our childhood dreams is never easy but being able to replace them with something better and more fulfilling is what allows me to smile when I consider my ‘failures’…

Sharing my view,

AM

High School Ends

I think it has something to do with the time of year or maybe I’m just getting to that age but I’ve spent a lot of the last week speaking to good friends I made in High School but rarely keep in touch with.

I’m tempted to believe that our final year was not like anyone else’s, like somehow we were different and special. This is probably false but to me and my friends this is the reality we choose to believe. While we were living it, of course we didn’t think about it much and figured everyone did what we did. It was only months after our final exams that I sat down to have a conversation – quite by accident- with someone I hadn’t spent much time with during our school years, even though we were in the same school for 11 years.

This conversation caught me off guard, I figured we’d just talk about our future plans and things we’re still trying to figure out but somehow she changed the conversation into a reminiscing session. Except she was remembering things I never knew. She told me how kids, some a few years younger than me, had pictures in their dorm rooms of me and were throwing darts at them- one of them use to be my friend when we were about 8. She continued to tell me that there was about 18 people in a club dedicated to hating me and a few of my friends and what made it worse was that these members were all our age, I sort of figured they’d have more important things to focus on than hate like maybe their futures!

The fact that I didn’t know about any of this when we were still in school shows you how bad they were at hating me… It’s also very convenient that I never knew their crazy glazed looks were those of loathing but sometimes I wish I would have known so that I could have called them on it. See, I have no problem with them hating me or calling me names, however I would have hoped that the people who shared all the opportunities I had and got the same great education I did, would at least have the decency to dislike someone they actually knew. Half these people I barely saw once in a semester and they weren’t in classes with me or any of my friends so somewhere between us not talking and not running into each other they formed a opinion of me in my absence…

That same conversation brought up the other side of the coin and how teachers would use me as an example to the juniors and even in some senior classes and how there was a fan club thing who use to meet every week and discuss silly things about me, including what I was wearing. Now, if you know me at all, you will know that fashion is not my forte and I basically put on whatever is on top in my closet- some days I end up looking like I really like the colour blue! I recalled a few people during my high school career coming up to me and going: “Look at what I’m wearing! You were the same things in orange last week!” And I also recall being surprised and pretty freaked out by the fact that someone else remembered what I wore last week when I don’t even remember! I guess it’s pretty cool to have people look up to you and if I managed to inspire anyone to be a better version of themselves along the line, then yippy!

I think it’s just the fact that I only discovered this afterwards and even some of my friends knew about it before I did, they just figured I already knew so they never bothered discussing it with me. I have to admit that my 5 closest friends and I were well, total geeks! We only needed 6 subjects to graduate and all of us had more and we had it on Higher Grade. Our transcripts look 3 times more pages than most people’s because we never really said no to new challenges. Then there’s the fact that we actually had keys to the school: as in our own sets of keys to get us into buildings while no one else was around… Total geeks!

It was a blast and I loved every second of it but thinking back I can’t help but wonder if by doing so much, we took opportunities from others? Combined with my 5 friends we had control of 3 charity organizations; the school news paper; school year book; school archives; drama club; debating club; cheerleading; social tennis club and we had our fingers in everything remotely academic. Nothing happened that in our school without one of us being part of it, even ditch days failed if we weren’t involved. I’m not trying to say that we ruled the school or anything cheesy from an 80’s movie, I’m just wondering if by seizing every opportunity we cost someone else the opportunity to find their true potential.

It’s been years since any of us actually went back to school but our paths keep crossing and probably always will. I never found the haters anything other than amusing and I think somehow knowing people looked up to me inspired me but I just hope that these kids who spent so much of their energy profiling me, managed to become adults who have been able to find themselves…

Sharing my view,

AM

Inspiring Friends

Inspiration is a funny thing: no one has ever been able to pin point a full proof formula for inspiration. We have all been inspired at least once in our lives and usually it comes when we are at our lowest or just about ready to give up.

I have this friend and for years she has managed to inspire me, even when we don’t speak for a year, she still manages to cross my thoughts and give me a lift when I need it most. When we were still in school, I managed to end up in a situation where I was barely keeping afloat with my school work, extracurricular activities and friends and family. Now if we were to compare point by point all the things I had to get done on a daily basis, it would outnumber the amount of things she had on her plate, even weighing its complexity or importance would still put mine on top. But that’s not how I chose to see it back then.

Every day I’d sit in our registration period after meeting with at least 3 groups of people and compile my to-do list. By the end of the 15min period I’d almost be exhausted simply by staring at this daunting list on top of my normal class schedule. Just as I am about to go into a negative train of thought, I’d look up and sitting across from me would be my friend. She’d be laughing or smiling and I’d start to think: If she can smile then so can I. I’d start compiling a list in my head of all the things I knew she had to get done that week and compare that entire list to the first thing on my list. That’s basically how I made it through that unexpectedly chaotic year: I’d compare her weekly to do list to one thing on my list and after that’s done, I’d do the same with the second and the next and well, you get the idea.

So before I knew it I’d be through my list because when you take it one step at a time, it really seems a lot easier. Reading it back now, it sounds like a lot of psycho babble that I used to trick myself into not being overwhelmed by details and maybe that’s exactly what it was but to me knowing that I had amazing friends who worked really hard for all of their achievements and who managed to smile and in the process inspire me while they were under that much pressure, still makes me smile and reminds me that I can still do anything as long as I take it one step at a time.

I have amazing friends and they have spent years figuring out exactly who they are and in all fairness they’ll probably spend several more years trying to define what makes them unique. I’m just glad that to me they will always be those kids who managed to inspire me not to be scared of new challenges and overwhelming odds, kids who will be known as adults who changed the world, even if they only manage to change their own little corner of it.

Even if all they ended up changing was me, I still think that’s pretty amazing!

Thank you,

AM

Meat Eaters

I’ve been having a few heated discussions this week with vegetarians and vegans and people who just don’t eat meat. If you don’t eat meat because you don’t like the taste, then that’s fair enough although I’d think you probably just needed a bit more sun…

Anyway, there are a lot of people who’ve lately started criticizing me and my friends for eating meat. That I find extremely annoying! We’re not idiots; we’re responsible human beings. We won’t buy meat from just any crazy local; we know where our meat comes from. We know the small farmers whose lively hood depends on these sales and we know that they would never risk it all by miss treating their animals.

I know there are farmers out there who couldn’t give a crap about the wellbeing of their animals but we’re fortunate enough to have options! We get to go directly to the farms and see for ourselves. We get to make educated choices and to be perfectly honest; you can taste the difference in the meats: if the animals were under stress before being slaughtered, you can taste it! Even the types of food they eat changes the way they eventually taste.

I’m sorry if this grosses any vegetarians out but being told that I’m a murderer because I’m a carnivore is really starting to annoy me. If you’ve never seen the slaughtering procedure or never thought about the animals before they end up on your plate, then yeah, sure maybe you could be considered a careless eater but that’s not me!

I was about 4 the first time I helped slaughter a chicken and even though I felt bad for the chicken that I had gotten to know the week prior, I also saw how quick it was. When the farmers know what they are doing, it’s quite a simple procedure. Obviously I don’t go around still killing chickens but if I had to I would have no problem killing my own food. It’s not like we’d kill animals that we had no intention of eating or anything on an endangered list. We eat animals that have adapted over the years for the sole purpose of being food.

I know where my meat comes from; I know how they are treated before they are considered food and I can taste if they were tense during the slaughter process. Do any vegans think about the circumstances their corn was growing in?

It’s not just meat we’ve been getting flack for. Milk and eggs seem to have become a problem too. My milk comes from the same place as my chickens and well obviously so do my eggs. This makes it awfully simple to keep tabs on the farmers and ensure they are doing all they can to keep these animals happy. Now that I’m in Zim my milk is actually being milked by hand twice a day- lack of consistent electricity has its advantages. Chickens are free range and also have corn that’s grown on the same farm as a supplement to their diets. Again, you can taste the difference in the chickens and even the eggs have better colorations.

I understand that these diets are a life choice and all of us have the right to choose which one we believe in but don’t judge me for liking meat, because I’m doing it the responsible way. I once considered being vegetarian [vegan was just way too complicated, I don’t want to over think my food] and I ate only half of what I usually eat simply because my body didn’t want any meat substitutes. I don’t think that’s healthy at all. The reason I gave it a shot was down to sustainability. I want my children and grandchildren to have the option to choose for themselves, therefore I need to make sure that there will still be meat and animals for them to eat in the future.

The farmers I buy from depend on their farms for survival, they will not jeopardise their entire livelihood for a quick buck, and by design they are built to be sustainable. A lot of people are also following the fish trend. Instead of eating other meats, they eat only fish. Apparently the logic lies in ‘there are more fish to eat than other animals’. This is so incredibly untrue! Yes, there is a lot of fish but if a quarter of the population decide to increase their fish intakes [which is the case at the moment] it’s not sustainable. Remember that farmers have been around for decades and understand how to ensure they will still have a working farm to pass on to their children in years to come; fisherman on the other hand have never had to plan that far ahead. Now there are fish breeding farms popping up all over the place – only after several species found themselves on the extinction list. This is usually the point of the conversation where my semi-vegetarian friends say: “See we needed to create breeding plants for fish and since we’re not doing it for the land bound animals, they are sure to dissolve into extinction” I sort of like the dramatic analysis my friends conclude but they forget that people have been eating meat for centuries and if anything, the amount of sheep and cows and even chickens have just increased over the years.

They are also grossly misinformed about these ‘wonderful breeding programs’. Everyone keeps focusing on the numbers of fish bred but no one remembers to look at how healthy and edible these fish really are. When fish are bred in captivity, they have an increased level of magnesium that is poisonous to any living thing that eats it. If you eat sea food once a month, you should be fine. If you eat it once a week, you should remember to tell your doctor that when you start feeling bad, if you eat fish more than once per week, I hope you’re not eating ones from these breeding camps because magnesium-poisoning isn’t fun.

It’s actually quite predictable that a trend to prevent the extinction of one type of animal leads to the increased threat of endangering another. Oh and one of my friends threw out this low dig at everyone not eating meat: cows produce more methane (which is very bad for the environment) than any humans do. That’s a really stupid pro-meat argument because we’re increasing the amount of cows roaming around due to the meat eaters, therefore logically meat eaters are ultimately responsible for the methane created. But if that’s the case then meat-eaters are also responsible for the highly fertile excrement that comes from cows. If you’re not quite following, I’m saying that meat eaters are responsible for cows fertilising dry lands which allows farmers to plant crops. In short: meat eaters are responsible for the development of food for non-meat-eaters.

Look, I believe that we are designed to eat everything but we don’t have to eat everything. Like some berries that are poisonous or people with allergies, there are people whose stomachs and taste buds just don’t agree with meat. Mine is fine with all foods and I’m not a reckless eater, I know what goes into my food.

If you don’t eat meat, that is your business not mine but just make sure that the alternatives you’re eating aren’t harming the very things you’re trying to protect. I’m responsible for my purchasing power and I’m comfortable with my choices. Before you judge me for eating meat or drinking milk in my coffee, make sure you know where your corn comes from…

Just my opinion,

AM

Something Salty

We just had a lovely dinner and thought I’d rub my happiness in your face. I don’t mean it in a bad way, I’m just really happy!

We made Spaghetti Bolognese together for the first time. You need to realize that we’re both fiercely independent and when it comes to cooking we’re very meticulous. We prefer doing the divide and concur-thing to the point where if his side of the kitchen was on fire, I wouldn’t help him because that’s the way he’d prefer it. The same goes for me, unless of course the other person is holding the fire extinguisher in their hand… it’s not like we’d let each other crash and burn.

I think I’m making this more complicated than it needs to be. Let me try that again: he was doing the meat and sauce side of it and all I had to do was the spaghetti and set the table. When it came to cutting onions he was struggling a bit, which he didn’t expect because he thought that wearing glasses [he’s only had them a week because of the intense amount of hours he has to spend in front of a computer each day] would help. Obviously it doesn’t, unless the glasses are not fitted properly and basically cuts of the air supply through your nose… Most people assume the crying that accompanies cutting onions is caused by your eyes but it’s actually due to the smell. This is also why people advise you to put a spoon in your mouth while cutting unions thereby forcing you to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose.

Usually he’d get upset if I mentioned something like that, simply because he is too hard on himself and hates not being brilliantly perfect every second of every day. We’ve had a few of those moments today and it does go both ways. I like being right but even more than that, I like learning something new. I think it’s a pretty good combination and if our cooking tonight is anything to go by, this might just be a winning recipe.

There were a few more of those silly little things in the 15min it took us to cook dinner including the mixing of an Oxo cube but these are a bit harder to explain so I’ll just skip the logistics and get to the point. It’s like for the first time we weren’t cooking as a team [where everyone has their defined roles and better stick to them] instead it was more like we were cooking together for the first time…

I have to admit that it tasted pretty freaking awesome! I think we managed to surprise not only each other but also ourselves. Spaghetti might just become my new favourite dish! The coolest thing is that we made it together and enjoyed it together. We’re very different people but every day we find something seemingly small that we have in common and somehow that’s a lot more important than all the things we vary in.

By the way, if you ever come over for dinner be prepared for something salty because we can’t seem to get enough of the ingenious white stuff.

Till next time,

AM

My silly little life

You know what; I love a lot of things. I love how everything looks greener when it rains; I love how awesome cold water tastes on a really hot day and I love splashing someone with soapy water while washing the car.

There are about million other things like that I absolutely love about my life. This weekend I got to do a lot of them. Had a stroll through a Christmas market; had ice-cream with sprinkles on; made a huge fire that took 3 hours to cool down before we could actually start making food… Watched how someone meticulously mowed the lawn allowing us that unique smell of freshly cut grass; played werewolf and ghosts with a three year old; played the best drinking game ever and half of us weren’t even drinking alcohol!

Something else I love is the fact that I can list these things. Less than a year ago my whole life revolved around my career and I really couldn’t focus on anything else. Now I have time to sit down and talk to relative strangers about hats and ‘The old country’. I get to plan something without the fear of having to cancel at the last minute due to a sudden ‘emergency’ at the hotel. I got to spend the whole day with the man I love just doing normal things like grocery shopping and LAN gaming.

The day ended perfectly with a bunch of friends just sitting around a table waiting for the fire to settle down while playing an interesting version of a Monopoly like game: Dop Property. I’m not a fan of drinking games but I have to admit this one is intense! It’s really funny and that was when we were still sober so I can only imagine that it gets a lot more interesting when we are actually drunk. Half of us were only drinking normal cool drinks but that game pretty much makes everyone drink 3 portions every round and that’s if you’re lucky. So those of us on nun-alcoholic drinks had a severe sugar rush and this morning we had bigger hangovers than the actual drinkers. It was a lot of fun and nothing complicated, just a group of friends hanging out.

The cherry on the cake was today when we were washing the car. I know that might sound a bit silly but I love being outside and sharing something mundane like washing a vehicle with the person you want to share the rest of your life with. Just the subtle co operation and congratulations afterwards [you really have not seen a dirty car until you go where they drive on gravel more than on tar]. We did a smasher of a job and of course nothing can beat Handy Andy and the sound of some good music in the background.

I’m having a good day living my silly little life!

Till later,

AM

Too hard to apologize

I discovered something I’m utterly useless at: apologizing! I have no problem admitting you were right; it’s just the part about me being wrong that seems to be eluding.

For the last two days, I’ve been trying to write an apology letter/ speech to my cousin. I haven’t spoken to her since sometime in 2008. We exchanged a few comments on FB earlier this year but it was more of a family-grape-vine situation and I was at our grandfathers house on her birthday so I spoke to her on the phone for a few seconds but nothing note worthy, not like we use to.

We had sort of a strange relationship. At the time it seemed perfectly normal but as I think about it now, I just don’t get it. We had practically nothing in common and she’s about 8 years older than me. I like sports and maths and 20 million other school activities and she hated most of them. She did all the things I vowed I’d never do, because I thought they were dumb… She probably felt that way about me too. I’m not really sure how we ever ended up together alone. I remember being 5 years old and playing with her twin brothers and hating how she and her sister wanted to play dolls with me when I could be building something disastrous with her brothers instead. And then suddenly my memories jump to being 12 and seeing how most of our family have picked sides.

First everyone just had ‘a favourite twin’ and then they seemed to pick one of the girls too and this went a bit further than just the four of them but somehow I remember feeling that she was being overlooked. I saw potential in her and really wanted her to see it too. At the age of twelve I found that younger kids often came up to me and thought I was so cool because I had a badge for something or other or won that competition or something else equally silly and most of all I remember how their attention inspired me to be a better me, sort of like I didn’t want to let them down. So I figured that the best way to get my cousin to see her potential was to treat her like she’d already reached it and maybe guilt her into being a better version of herself [whatever that meant]. So I gave her this present, actually it was more like 10 little presents that had their own meaning [which I spelled out very clearly]. I remember being very surprised about how excited she was about it and I guess I’ll have to use the cliché and say: the rest is history.

The fact that I’m choosing to write about how our relationship started instead of why it ended should give you an indication of how lousy I am at apologies and how hard this really is for me. We had such a strong relationship that I could literally feel when she was sad or in pain even though we were on opposite sides of the world. Then we lived practically next door to each other for about a year and somewhere in there a few things rocked the boat.

There was this situation with my mother that my cousin never understood, mainly because I refused to tell her my side of it. It’s not like I wanted her to stay mad at me, I just needed her and the rest of our family to not be mad at my mom and since I was further away, I didn’t want their sympathy vote. So I broke one of my own rules: I hate when people with hold information because they believe it’s better for you but in actual fact it’s just better for themselves. I’m probably never going to tell her what really went down; actually I’ve only told one other person by accident and using only one short sentence. Anyway, around the same time I really needed to talk to someone about my dad and since I trusted her more than anyone else in my entire life I figured she’d be the best one to go to.

As you may have noticed I tend to be melodramatic about really strange things, so like a poker player I have a few tells most of my friends are aware of. These basically tell them whether I really need them or if I’m just looking for someone to listen or if I actually want them to kick my ass and tell me to get over it all ready. So in no uncertain terms [or at least so I thought] I laid down every single one of my tells and the rules I live by. My cousin couldn’t get out of that conversation soon enough but I figured it was just her way of digesting it all. So a few days later I told her some things I have never and probably will never again, tell anyone else. She didn’t even care enough about me to listen to me and later I would find out that this was because she misunderstood the rules I told her a few nights before… so for that I forgave her after we had a fight about it and everything came to light. But the trust was still broken because it wasn’t easy for me to open up about those things.

Somewhere in that same conversation-fight she also started miss quoting me, once again proving that she didn’t care enough to listen to me in the first place. The things she believed I said also proved that she really didn’t know me at all. If she could believe that I would actually do and believe those things, then she wasn’t the kind of person I needed in my life.

She also brought up my friends [whom she’s never met] and totally dissed them. Maybe because she thought I had changed or because she was afraid of losing me but I think that’s just wishful thinking on my part. I honestly have no idea what she was thinking. She also miss quoted things from my diary[ she asked me once if she could read it and since I whole heartedly trusted her, I had no problem with that as long as she read it cover to cover] that just confused me because my opinion changes as I gain new information i.e. I grow as a person every day. I found it annoying that she was trying to defend people against things I wrote a year earlier, not knowing that I had already had that conversation with them. The fact that she drew so many uninformed conclusions made me wonder why I ever trusted her in the first place…

There was also a comment about my dad that I have completely blocked from my memory but I remember my reaction clearly. Such a strong reaction wouldn’t have come without a huge provocation. Whatever it is she said, I really want to forgive and forget but I think it’s exactly that that caused this whole mess.

Every time I see a picture of her or think of her I have a flashback to my reaction and all I want to do is shove her down the stairs. That is not healthy!!! I have never felt this way about anyone! Even Robert Mugabe has never been that hated by me…

I know this was supposed to be about me apologizing but clearly I’m not quite there yet! I wish I could just spit out those words and stop wasting my energy on this hatred but I think first I need to get over the crushing blows she delivered. I’m sorry that you have to read my psychotic babble but hopefully it’ll lead to the words: “I’m sorry” coming out of my mouth soon.

AM

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