Thursday, September 29, 2005

We have lift-off!

So as if the excitement of the impending trip to Paris wasn't enough, I experienced my first ride in a helicopter today.

What fun! This is definitely the transport mode of choice, people. No traffic jams, no queuing at check-in in the airport, no smelly hobo next to you like on the train or bus. The whirlybird re-defines everything you've ever known about getting from A to B.

It's a little disconcerting at first when suddenly you realise you're flying but there are no wings to be seen out the windows, but after a while it's just plain cool!

The reason, you ask?

Well, believe it or not, it was a favour for a friend. She works at a place that hires out helicopters for aerial tours of Dublin, and they don't like the chopper to go up without all the seats filled, so she rang me up this afternoon and asked if we'd like to pretend to be paying customers in order to fill the two empty seats.
It's a tough job, but someone has to do it :-)

But shh! It's a secret - don't tell okay!

So here's what Dublin looks like from the air:

Just after takeoff

South side of Dublin bay
Sorry it's a little blurry - apart from some distinct bumpiness, the weather today is not great. Actually, it pretty much sucks. As much as I'm refusing to accept it, Summer has left the Emerald Isle and probably won't be back for, oh, another 10 months or so. I even had to haul my long boots out yesterday :-(

But that's all I got for you for now. Too much excitement in TerriLand to be writing any more. I'm reasonably sure my next post will contain pics of the Eiffel Tower and such.

Try to contain yourselves - seeya next week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Le Countdown has begun

Well my sister-in-law left to go back to SA today. I'll miss her. She does laundry every day.
LOL, no, that's not why I'm going to miss her! It was just really nice having family around for a while.

The good news though (for me, anyway) is that this weekend I'll be reunited with my mother and BOTH my sisters. Yep, I'm flying to Paris on Saturday morning, and will be meeting up there with my li'l sis from London, and my Mom and big sis from SA, for four whole days... Lookout Paris, here we come!
You have been warned.

I'm so excited I can't type properly.

I'm so nervous I haven't slept properly in a week.

Of course, being The Most Organized Person On The Planet, I have everything sorted. Today I sent out an email to the Gals with all of our respective flight details, our hotel details, where we're meeting at Charles De Gaulle airport, and how to get to the hotel if for some reason we miss each other at the airport.

The only thing I haven't done yet is spend any time looking at the guide book which Hubby so kindly procured for me, or the French Phrase Book that I bought for our last trip there 2 years ago. This is most unlike me.
Although, in my defence, I have been rather distracted, having had a house guest for the past two weeks.
[Thanx for being my excuse, M, hope u enjoyed ur visit :-)]

Besides which, I have a pretty good idea what there is to do in Paris - there's that big arch thing, the tall spiky tower, a couple of churches and a gallery or two... the only thing I really need to find out is where are the best places to shop?! Priorities, girls, priorities.
And I'll have a few hours on the 'plane to read up on that.

As for the phrase book, it may well be a complete waste of time and effort (and I am nothing if not efficient) because as I have mentioned before it appears I suffer from StageFright when in a foreign country. What this means is that when I am faced with a genuine French person in France, the only French word I can remember is "Oui".
I think this dates back to my childhood, when our grandmother's sister would visit from France, and she would drum it into us:

"Nod your head, smile and say 'Oui', and she'll just keep talking and not even notice that you don't understand a word."
It worked a charm.

But, being as diligent as I am, I will probably spend my train journeys for the rest of the week with my nose dutifully buried in said phrase book.
I can't help myself.

Ce La Vie.

Hey, I may as well use it while I remember it, non?

So Au Revoir for the moment, mon petit mange touts...

I think I'm going to have a go at re-reading The Da Vinci Code before I go.

PS For those of you who have been following my little life recently, you may be interested in reading Hubby's take on his recent
adventures in Venice.

Friday, September 23, 2005

invisible monsters

She tiptoes through the days, careful not to offend or get in anybody's way. She zig-zags as she walks in the city to avoid bumping people as much as possible. On the train, she squeezes herself into a corner, out of the way, and makes herself as small as possible; she doesn't want to seem to be selfishly taking up too much space during the rush-hour commute. Her work is always up-to-date and she is always there on time. She keeps her head down, does slightly more than what is expected and speaks only inane pleasantries to those she works with. It's best not to get too close; cleaner, less complicated.

But small cracks have begun to appear.
Was it really necessary for that woman to push in front of her to board the train?
Why did that guy at work not find the information himself?
If she had left work just two minutes earlier, she would have made it to the bank in time...

Today she can feel a cold coming on - her throat is scratchy and she was sneezing earlier. She also has toothache, which kept her from having a good night's sleep.
She is tired.
She overslept and then undercooked her egg, so she left for work without any breakfast.
She is hungry.
And then PMS kicks in.

Approaching the station she shoves a teenage boy who pushed through the door in front of her and then stopped dead in his tracks. She sticks her foot out and trips the snooty woman who jostled her as she walked past. When she sits down on the train, she 'accidentally' kicks the shins of the girl sitting opposite as she crosses her legs, to make the girl shifts to give her more space. Feeling a slight bump as the man next to her raises a drinking yoghurt to his mouth, she elbows him so he spills some on his trendy tie.
Stomping along the sidewalk from the station to her office, people move out of her path. The homeless man on the corner turns away from her glare.

The storm gathering in her heart is reflected in her eyes and she sees that everyone is tiptoeing around her, for a change. Sounds in the office are amplified inside her head - ringing phones echo, the click-clack on keyboards reverberates and the babble of voices grows louder and louder until she thinks her head might explode.

After a day filled with dirty looks and curt answers snapped out to questions others dared to ask, she makes it back to the safety of her apartment, her nerves as taut as piano wire.

She locks herself away in the candle-lit cocoon of her home, where a large dose of chocolate and a deep, hot bath allow her to relax and metamorphose back into the shy, timid pushover the world is used to seeing.

But she knows it is just a matter of time before the monster inside resurfaces... and next time it may not be quieted so easily...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

closed for repairs

Well I finally got to sit down & hear all about the Venutian Veekend [sorry, it's the best I could come up with at short notice] from Hubby & S-i-L, last night. Sounds like they had a ball and thoroughly deserved the hangover they sms'd me about on Sunday.
The photos look great and I'm encouraging Hubby to put something up on his blog so you can hear all about it first hand. Watch this space...

And now that the formalities are out of the way, I can tell you the important stuff: I did indeed get Very Nice Presents brought back for me :-)

My soft, plush Italian leather handbag is the envy of the office, my sparkly ear-rings blinded all the people on the train this morning and the velvety scarf is just the perrrrfect accessory for my favourite black velvet formal dress! Now I just need another occasion to wear it. I'm thinking of sending Hubby away more often - I suspect he might turn out to have better taste than I do!

You'll have to forgive the lack of deep and pondering thoughts - my head still feels like it's stuffed with cottonwool and I'm having trouble focussing on, well, pretty much anything. Last night we had people over for dinner and all I can say is thank goodness my sister-in-law is comfortable in the kitchen. While I was wandering around aimlessly looking for serviettes & candles for the table, she very kindly started cooking the dinner which for some reason had escaped my list of Things To Do When You're Having Guests For Dinner.
All I had to do was prepare the butternut.
Which I completely forgot about until she gently reminded me about 15 minutes before the guests were due to arrive.
"Uh, Terri, how did you say you were going to cook the butternut?"
[Yes, it seems I, too, have fallen prey to the quoting of Homer Simpson.]
I'm afraid I'm giving new meaning to the term "Bubblehead" at the moment.

It kind of makes one wonder how I managed to get through work today without killing all the Databases in sight.
Well, I'll tell you how: Two breakfasts, a packet of crisps & a coke, loads of water & coffee, and a plate of lasagne for lunch.
You may think that all of that screams "Hangover Munchies". You'd be right. I must be out of practise because the 2 glasses of champagne & wine I had with dinner left me feeling like I'd been hit by a train. Yay Paracetamol!

So I think I have now completely used up what little brainpower I had left. Hopefully once it is restored I'll be back to my normal bubbly, charming, witty, creative and entertaining self(?!)
We live in hope...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Blah humbug

Another Monday is over. Thank goodness.

I arrived at work to find myself with no less than Three systems crises on my hands. Me being the 'appie' DBA, and not a mentor in sight.
So I did what I could, used my best bullshitting techniques to delay what I couldn't do, and calmly waited for my backup to arrive two hours later. I was quite proud of myself for not panicking, although this probably had more to do with me being doped up on 'flu medication than any crisis management abilities I may (or may not) possess.
Watcha gonna do, eh?

My weekend alone was just what I needed to pull myself towards myself a bit. I slept deliciously late and spent my time fiddling around on the PC, printing out some photos (right up until the part when the printer upped and died), and doing a bit of reading and writing in between sneezes.
I also had a long chat on the phone with my friend in SA, and another with my sister in London, and I watched a couple of movies that I wouldn't dream of inflicting on Hubby:
Shall We Dance [who knew Richard Gere was so graceful?] and The Phantom of the Opera, which is one of my all-time favourite stories - right up there with Wuthering Heights in the Romantic Tragedy rankings.

Eesh, ppl, I'm boring myself with this post!

What I was meant to be telling you today was all the exciting news that has filtered through from Hubby and S-i-L in Venice. Well, I'll tell you all I know:

- They got there "safe & sound"
- The hotel was "lovely" and Venice "spectacular"
- I'm apparently getting a "really nice present"
- They went "on the tear" on Saturday night & ended up with "such a hangover" on Sunday.

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

I'm assuming their lack of communication is 'cos they were having too much of a good time, not 'cos they had nothing to tell ;-)
They're due back later tonight so no doubt all will be revealed then.

And as much as I know you'd all love to hear about the rest of my exciting activities this weekend (ate, slept, stared out the window for a while), I'm not going into any more detail... I'm afraid if I do I might bore myself so much I may actually fall asleep on the keyboard.

Oh, but before I go I'd like to share with you just one piece of wisdom, because
someone sent this to me in an email recently:
Can You Believe This Crap?

Rant over.
I feel better now.
Thank you.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I think we're alone now...

What do you do when you're alone at home?
Some people like to walk around in their underwear, or naked, and do all sorts of things but I'm afraid I'm not one of those people. Sorry to disappoint!

I just got back from dropping Hubby & S-i-L at the airport - they were laughing at me 'cos I was stressing more than they were about their trip.
-"Do you have the tickets & hotel reservation?"
--"Do you want a bottle of water to carry with you?"
---"Do you have your credit card?"
You get the idea. Eventually I forced myself to just leave them be. They're grown-ups, they can handle it. I put it down to the fact that I don't have kids - it's a female instinct to need to look after & worry about someone. Usually I worry about my sister in London. This weekend it'll be Hubby out there in a strange city without me.
The man had NO sense of direction!
But enough about that. They've taken a notebook to write down their adventures (they both have atrocious memories for details) and have promised to keep in touch with me.

But now the apartment is empty, I have just the radio on for company and am happily ensconced in front of my laptop, hiding from the nasty, icy weather that sprang up outside overnight.

So what am I going to do this weekend? Go wild while I have some freedom? Er, not quite. I'll do what I always do when I have the house to myself:
-I'll smoke inside (no lectures please!).
--I'll eat salmon for supper (Hubby doesn't like salmon).
----I'll watch a girlie movie ("Shall We Dance" with Richard Gere).

-----I'll play loud music and sing along to it.
------And, of course, I will blog.

And hopefully my head will clear up enough so that I can write. I started something a while ago & it's just been sitting there needing my attention for some time now and I finally have reached a place where I think I might just be able to carry on with it a bit. That's all you're gonna get out of me on that subject, at least for now.

Onto the blogging.
I've seen these 'tagging' things that go around but have no idea how it all works, but this one that LiVEwIRe did caught my attention.

So here is my list of Seven Things:

1. Fire. It's an irrational fear that as far as I know has no reason for being.
2. Being upside-down. When I was a kid doing high-jump at school I used to land on my feet. Couldn't kiss the Blarney Stone 'cos u gotta bend backwards & be upside-down to do it; and I can't do some of the inverted yoga postures.
3. Heights - although I love flying and also being on top of mountains. Just don't like steep drops like balconies etc.
4. Never being happy & 'normal' again.
5. Not being in control - I actually don't like being drunk for this reason.
6. Irreperably damaging my relationships with people I care about because of my ever-so-slightly unreliable frame of mind.
7. Getting what I want only to find it's not what I want.

1. Still being in love with Hubby and excited that he's the one I married, even after almost 11 years.
2. Dancing of any sort.
3. Music - except reggae, rap and opera.
4. Travelling.
5. Writing.
6. Sewing.
7. Having coffee & a good heart-to-heart chat with a good friend.

1. Hubby. OK he's not there this weekend but he normally is :-)
2. The clock-radio to wake me up in the mornings else I'd sleep all day quite happily.
3. My yoga mat.
4. 'Froggy'. He was given to me by a friend of my sister's when she came back from the States & is the only pointless thing I brought over here from SA when we moved. I'd take a pic of him to show u, but Hubby took the camera with to Venice.
5. My purple fluffy slippers.
6. Clothes, for obvious reasons. And shoes. Very important things, shoes... and so pretty!
7. My camera.

1. I love boxes. When I see a box, I have to open it, and I have a little collection of pretty boxes, wooden and otherwise, which I intend expanding a lot once we find a permanent home again.
2. I grew up in a household of females; I'm the 2nd of 3 daughters, my father died when I was 7 and when we were growing up even our dog was female.
3. I am addicted to Pringles crisps so I don't buy them anymore, except for emergency munchies situations on aeroplanes. I can eat an entire large tube by myself in one sitting.
4. I don't have any female friends in Ireland.
5. I cry every time I see the movie "Ghost".
6. I laugh every time I see an episode of "Friends", even if I've seen it 10 times before.
7. I enjoy food almost as much as most people enjoy sex.

1. Go back to Santorini on holiday.
2. Finish writing a novel.
3. Visit my friend Gillian in New Zealand.
4. Go to Las Vegas.
5. Go to the Rio Carnival.
6. Be the coolest step-Grandma ever (not for a few years yet!)
7. Quit smoking.

1. Sew.
2. French-braid my hair.
3. Eat dessert even if I'm full after a main course at dinner.
4. Sing karaoke (a recent discovery).
5. Play pool.
6. Finish a crossword.
7. Dance.

1. Touch my toes.
2. The splits - in my 10 years of doing ballet I was only able to do the splits once.
3. Stop reading a book halfway, even if I'm not enjoying it.
4. Play sports that require ball skills (it's a depth-perception thing).
5. Walk past a shoe-shop without looking in the window.
6. Drink tequila.
7. Stop myself from cracking jokes in tense or awkward situations.

1. Ja (Afrikaans for 'yes'. It's a South African thing.)
2. Ag shame (Another Saffa thing - suits a variety of circumstances, e.g. "Ag shame, did you hear his mother died?", "Ag shame, the baby is so cute!", "Ag shame, they look so happy," etc.)
3. Ow, f*ck! (I'm a class A klutz, always covered in bruises.)
4. Sorry! (Normally for bumping into someone, see 3 above.)

5. Er, what were you saying? I wasn't really paying attention...
6. Holy sh*t! (Variation: Holy crap!)
7. Right, so... (This is a very Irish thing that I've picked up.)


Ooh, now we get to the interesting bit ;-)
Double Yum!
1. George Clooney - Definitely top of my list, just utterly yummy!
2. Brad Pitt... although he's losing ground after dumping poor Jen. Great ass though!
3. Brendan Fraser - he's just so big and huggable.
4. Johnny Depp - ever since his days in "21 Jump Street".
5. Rob Thomas - his voice makes me all warm & fuzzy inside.
6. Antonio Banderas - the ultimate Latin lover.
7. Mel Gibson - can't resist those baby-blues, even if he is a bit long in the tooth now.

So there you have it. The stuff I know you've all been dying to know about me. Any questions? Direct them to Q&
No don't, that address doesn't exist, Silly, hahaha!

But feel free to return the favour on your own blogs.

Meanwhile, I'll keep u posted on the intrepid travellers as the headlines come in ;-)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

the blind leading the blind

I came home early today because a twit at work didn't when he was sick last week, so as a result I am now a snivelling, sneezing troll [insert sympathetic noises here].

But that's not what I'm going to tell you about.

Hubby's sister arrived yesterday for a visit from SA. No, this is not going to be a character assassination - I happen to be very fond of my sister-in-law.

The thing is, the two of them are off to Venice for a few days tomorrow, on a sibling bonding expedition. I think it's great - they have always been close but what with us living 10,000km away for the past 4 years, they haven't had much time together.

So when I decided to arrange a trip to Paris for next month with my Mom and 2 sisters (more about that in another post, I promise), Hubby decided to arrange this trip to Venice with his li'l sis, 'cos she's always wanted to go there. I think that's really sweet, I dunno about you.

Of course, although I said HE organised this trip, in actual fact it was Yours Truly who booked the flights and hotels for them and printed out the reservation sheets etc. It's what I do - I organise stuff.

This afternoon they decided it was finally time to think about what's going to happen once they leave Dublin tomorrow, and this is where things get interesting, hehe.

See, traditionally in our family, I am the one who organises the flights & hotels, figures out the maps and how we're getting to & from places, and roughly what we're going to do when we get there and how we're going to go about all of this. I can read a map and have a good sense of direction.

In my S-i-L's family, it is her hubby that does all of the above.

Which means that between S-i-L and Hubby, they haven't a clue, LOL!

They've been sitting at the PC for a while, poring over a tiny guide book they purchased this morning and abusing Google, trying to figure out where they're staying on the map (in the guide book) and what exactly there is to DO in Venice.

These are some of the comments I've heard so far:
HUBBY: See here, we need to get there, by the 'knuckle' bit.
S-i-L: Oh so the airport is quite far away from the hotel then.
HUBBY: Aw crap, the hotel is completely surrounded by water! [Bear in mind this is Venice we're talking about ;-)]
S-i-L: Well I have my flip-flops so my feet can get wet.
S-i-L: I'll show him my t*ts, will that help? [In reference to getting in somewhere that requires some Italian word that neither of them can pronounce]
HUBBY: Where-o is-o this-o? [This is his own special Italian dialect. In German, all the words end with "en", e.g. "Where-en is-en the bar-en"]

I think this is hilarious, although I can't help worrying a little bit about them finding their way back to Dublin on Monday..!

PS I asked them if they minded if I blogged about this and they said I shouldn't but, well, this is MY blog and I'll write about anything I choose, hehehe! This situation is just too good to pass up :-)

Monday, September 12, 2005

what dreams may come

Ben asked people to leave their weird & wonderful dreams as comments on his blog yesterday, but I felt that I should devote an entire post to this.

Because if anyone knows about weird dreams, it's me.

I suspect it might be genetic, actually. I remember my grandmother once saying she dreamt she was surfing down Brickmakers Kloof (a really steep road in Port Elizabeth) on her ironing board.
Go, Grandma!!!

But let me tell you: Gran's dream has NOTHIN' on mine!

Apparently some people have dreams that make sense - like a story, perhaps. Hubby's dreams, for example, are as easy to read as a book:
He and I (and/or various close family members) will be in some situation where we are in danger, and he is running around like a lunatic trying to protect us using whatever means are at his disposal.
No prizes for guessing what that one means, huh?

But when it comes to my own dreams I just give up. Occasionally they're nice dreams. For example, not so long ago I dreamt I was swimming with dolphins and it was awesome! I woke up feeling wonderfully relaxed, happy and tranquil because it was extremely realistic and vivid in my my mind.

More often than not, though, I wake up feeling far from happy after one of these vivid dreams. Like the one where I went to work having completely forgotten to put on a stitch of make-up - no foundation, nothing! (This is a big deal for me - you'd have to know what I look like sans make-up to understand. It's scary.)
I only noticed because the guy who got in the elevator with me looked at me strangely and asked if I'd had a long way to walk to get to work. Confused, I said no, it was only about 5 minutes from the train station. Then I went to the ladies' room and almost screamed in fright when I saw my own reflection in the mirror.
Oh wait, that wasn't a dream. Yikes! So okay, maybe some nightmares do come true, hehe.

I also remember dreaming not so long ago that I was with Friends. The sitcom Friends I mean. A little odd but not too far off - I put it down to the fact that I remind myself so much of Monica. Not in looks, mind you, but the neurotic, over-achieving perfectionist Monica. Only, I don't like cooking so much. Not so scary, that one, just a little weird - and the weirdness was how very real it felt.

So I suppose you want to hear the scary and disturbed ones too, don't you? Well, since I have resolved to pretend that Nobody who reads this blog actually knows me, why the hell not.

I often dream about the same place, or places. The funny thing is, I have never actually been to these places. In fact, it starts off as if I'm looking at a map, and then voila! I'll suddenly zoom in and find myself in this place. It's an island, or a group of islands, in the middle of a really calm blue sea - the kind you see in posters advertising Carribbean cruises and such. I'll waft between an island and a big cruise ship, but when I finally settle on the ship, things become unpleasant, and suddenly it's not all pretty and white and spick-&-span, but dark and dusty with rusted railings. And I'll be deep inside the ship, on a steep spiral metal staircase, and trying to get out. Normally at this point Hubby suddenly joins me, and then we'll start running, like it's a race against time. Or sometimes, someone is chasing us - these looming shadowy faceless men, dressed in dark trousers and thick polo-neck jerseys, with caps on, like you see in old Cold War movies - you know, the guys running guns on an old abandoned oil tanker. And then I wake up, normally with my heart pounding and sweating like mad.

Many of my other dreams involve spiders falling on me, or sometimes scorpions. Strange, since I'm not particularly bothered by either creature in real life (except those horrible rain-spiders we get in SA, but that's another story altogether). I woke up really angry with hubby a couple of weeks ago because in my dream we'd been swimming in the sea on an island much like Santorini, and the side of the pool was like a giant rock. He climbed out first and then turned to help me out, and when he grabbed my hand he threw a scorpion on my leg - as a joke. Needless to say I was not amused! And then we got on our horses and rode away into the West.

But also, there are the utterly pointless dreams - like the one where I was talking to my mom about my big toe for a good 20 minutes. WTF???

And finally, this one is for Anne :
Possibly one of the most vivid and definitely the icky-est dream I ever had was the one where I had to climb inside a real (albeit very large) chicken skin. It was plucked, and cleaned - much like when you take the skin off a chicken to cook it, and... well I'm sure you can imagine how it felt. EEUW!!! I had to do this for a job that I was going to be doing, working for a drive-thru fast-food place. Which is a little odd because I have never had such a job, but then, who ever said dreams have to make sense? Especially considering my, er, uniform for that one!

So make of this lot what you will. And Anne, you decide - idiosyncrasy, or not?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

movies 'n stuff

We watched the movie Thelma & Louise last night. That's gotta be one of my all-time favourites.
That and Gone with the Wind, of course.

It's funny and sassy and poignant all at the same time (Thelma & Louise, I mean) and I just love that they would rather drive off over the edge of the Grand Canyon at full speed, hand in hand, than be captured by the police and have their freedom taken away.

It's great to watch women just doing what needs to be done, not like the silly girls who do stupid things in most movies.
HE: "You stay here while I go see what the problem is."
SHE: "Okay, if you say so."
He gets out of the car to investigate, she follows when he doesn't know it, and ends up getting shot / kidnapped / dead.

Personally, if I were in a potentially life-threatening situation and the man I was with told me to stay put, I would do it. In fact it's entirely possible I would lock all the doors, gun the engine and get the hell out of there!
Okay, maybe not. I mean, you don't necessarily know that you're in a potentially life-threatening situation and in real-life you don't have the scary music in the background to warn you. Plus, being left alone in the dark is not really something you want either. Hm, I think I just justified the actions of the stupid women in the movies. Yech!

OK, so on to "Gone With The Wind". (Let me just mention here that the book and the movie are equally excellent.)
Scarlett O'Hara is actually a really annoying woman and if I knew her in real-life, she and I would probably not be best mates. However, in the story she is yet another shining example of a woman who does whatever is necessary to ensure her survival, and get what she wants. You have to admire that.

So you might think there's a theme here: Terri is a feminist and all that jazz.

Well, maybe, but I also adore the Lord of the Rings trilogy and yes, I have read the book too. Not too much feminism in there. Just pure fantasy and adventure, with huge battles between good and evil, and a handsome king and a beautiful fairy-man (I'm sure you'll all agree that Orlando Bloom should always have his hair long and blonde). If there's a feminist message in there somewhere that I've missed, please feel free to enlighten me!

So why am I telling you all this?
I have no idea. I felt like writing and this is what came out.
I just really enjoyed the movie last night.
One of the scenes that stands out in my mind is the two women on the open road in their car, singing their heads off and having a whale of a time. It reminds me of a holiday that I took with my sister to Cyprus, when we hired a car and were driving through the countryside, singing along at the top of our voices to "Pretty Woman" on the radio, windows open and our hair blowing in the wind... hell, we could have been Thelma & Louise (I bags being Geena Davis!) - just without the whole, you know, shooting-the-would-be-rapist and robbing-a-convenience-store thing. And we didn't blow up any trucks either. And then of course there was the absence of Brad Pitt.

But apart from that, it was exactly the same :-)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Don't believe everything you read

Just for fun, cos I love this kind of thing, I followed this URL to find out what my name really means.

Reaper : Greek

You have enormous vitality and originality making you a dynamic individual with great charm and sex appeal. You believe in putting one hundred per cent into all your activities of which there are many. You have potential to achieve great success in business or public affairs where your friendship and consideration of others wins you many allies. Your innate strength and determined effort is able to overcome any obstacles. Freedom is important to you.


Whatever you say, Yoda.
I'd like to meet me, someday.

Have a good weekend everybody!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

So how's everyone doing on their Life Plan then? Oh come on, you know what I'm talking about. The list your guidance counsellor made you write when you started high school. Or the amended list you made when you started college. All the dreams you had, the plans you made... because, of course, it's a well known fact that we all know exactly how our lives will turn out, and what we want at age 13... or age 18... or, I'm beginning to think, ever!

For some reason I've been thinking about this stuff lately and although I can't remember precisely what was my list back then, I'm gonna have a go at checking things off it and, er, updating it slightly.

Well, maybe I should go back a little further - to see how it's all evolved - just for interest's sake.

Terri's Aspirations - Age 6
> Be a ballerina
> Marry a handsome prince
> Live next door to my best friend who coincidentally would have a baby at the same time I would so we could push our prams around the neighbourhood in springtime together

Terri's Aspirations - Age 13
> Be a ballet teacher
> Marry Rob Lowe
> Live next door to my best friend who coincidentally would have a baby at the same time I would so we could push our prams around the neighbourhood in springtime together

Terri's Aspirations - Age 18
> Be a high-flying businesswoman wearing tight pencil-skirt suits, taking charge of my own advertising company from the head of a large, polished boardroom table
> Marry a particular guy I knew at the time
> Move to Jo'burg so that I could be closer to my best friend
> By this stage I was re-considering the whole baby thing - it sounded a little painful!

And then came my 20's and it all went awry.
After dabbling in a variety of jobs for a good few years, I have now officially been an IT geek for around 7 years. No ballet shoes involved!

I also realised at some stage that I wanted either a husband, or a child, but not both. And lo and behold, just as I had given up on ever finding a man, and was looking around for donors so I could get cracking on the child thing, I met the man who is now my husband. Ten years on, and not an ounce of regret. Phew, that was a close one!

I don't wear skirts to work (not very practical for crawling under desks fixing PC's) and I detest meetings with a passion, so no boardrooms for me except under duress in extreme circumstances.

So, how am I doing on my checklist?
> No ballet of any sort (although I still have my last pair of pointe shoes tucked away in a box somewhere)
> I did marry my hero [insert "ugh" noises here :-)], but no babies thanks very much!
> Actually, I did live in Jo'burg for a short time and it was fantabulistic to be close to my friend for a while. Nowadays we're once again reduced to corresponding via letters (by now upgraded to email from snail-mail) and the odd phone call.

But as I grew up (I'm tempted to use the word 'older' but I still feel like a kid inside so I'm not ready for that just yet) a whole bunch of other goals popped into my list, although I never wrote them down. And this is where it gets interesting.

Terri's List Of Stuff To Do Before She Expires:
> Skydiving - (done - Grahamstown, circa 1996)
> Go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower - (done - 2003)
> Go to Rome to see the Colosseum - (done - 2005)
> Go to Cyprus and other Greek islands - (done - 2004 & 2005)
> Go Hiking in the Tsitsikamma forest - (done, circa 1995)
> Go to the Rio Carnival - (hoping to go next year)
> Go see a F1 Grand Prix live - (done - Hockenheim 2002 & Silverstone 2003)
> See Mikael Baryshnikov dance on stage, in the flesh - (Sadly, it's too late for this one, but I did get to see the Bolshoi Ballet perform 'Swan Lake' once which was almost as good)
> Take ballroom dancing or Salsa classes - (gotta work on that one)
> Swim in the deep blue sea - (done, Santorini 2005)
> Write a novel - (sort of a work-in-progress)
> Learn to speak German

Actually, on the subject of languages, here's a little sidenote. I used to think I had an ear for languages. I still do, in a way, even though I've been extremely slack with the books & cd etc that I bought to help me learn German. But I seem to suffer from stagefright. It happened first in Germany a couple of years back. I'd brushed up on my touristy phrases but when I got there, I couldn't remember even ONE of them.

I thought it was a one-off thing. But then, after weeks of poring over a little phrase-book before going to Paris, the only French word I could get out when I was there was, "Merci".

Earlier this year I went to Brussells on a business trip (sounds important - it wasn't!) and I thought it would be a cinch. Flemish is SO similar to Afrikaans (which I DO speak) that when I accidentally stumbled across a Belgian website one day I was halfway down the page before I realised I was reading a different language. So great, I'll go to Brussells and be able to converse with my colleagues in Afrikaans, and we'll understand each other no problem, right? Well, not quite. Thank goodness they all speak English pretty well because while I was there I even forgot how to speak Afrikaans, which I've been able to speak since the age of about 7.

Like I said, it must be a form of stagefright, hehe.

Anyway, back to my list. I'm not going to put down everything because that would be - well, to be honest I'm bored of making a list now. But the point is, I have actually done a whole bunch of stuff on the list already and I gotta tell ya, I think that's really cool.

My quote in our end-of-school yearbook says something to the effect of, "I wanna leave school, have fun and be happy for the rest of my life."

I wrote that because I didn't know what else to write.

Amazingly, that's closer to how my life has actually worked out so far than any of the other lists I made.
Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Dear Diary... or not

To write or not to write... what was the question?

I'm having a little dilemma. My first glimpse of Blogs was when I looked at
my cousin's blog and thought, "Ooh, what a great idea! Now I can put pictures and stories of my travels, etc, on the internet so my friends and family back in SA can take a look - much better than clogging up mailboxes all over the planet with unwanted gunk!"

And that's how my Blog started.

Before I knew it, someone, a complete stranger, left a comment on one of my posts. Cool! So I followed the link to their blog. And read the comments. And followed the links on the comments. And the next thing I knew, my Blog had evolved into something completely different from its intended purpose.

So where's the dilemma? I'm getting to that.

Having sent the URL for my Blog to a select few people who know me, my readership is now beyond my control. For some reason I don't give a toss who reads this thing... as long as they are strangers.
But, me being the repressed person that I am, I find myself editing my thoughts because I'm not sure who is reading this... meaning people who actually know me.

Now, from previous posts you may be forgiven for thinking that I am referring to my Mother, however that's not entirely accurate. I mean, I had to get my rather odd sense of humour from somewhere, right? Yep, you guessed it - dear old Mom... and I use the term 'old' in the loosest possible way :-)
I'm quite happy to share my thoughts with her.
So no, Ma, you're not the problem.

In fact, even those few people who have bothered to go to the trouble of commenting, and even setting up their own blogs are not the problem. I feel flattered that you care enough to make the effort.

The problem is I don't know who else is reading my drivel... and who else are they telling?

To date I haven't written anything terribly revealing or soul-baring, but occasionally I get the urge to do so, but I don't necessarily want everyone who knows me at home to start giving me the "I-know-what's-going-on-inside-your-head" look the next time I see them. 'Cos let's face it: there's some scary sh*t going on up there!
You see, in my experience, you just can't trust everyone you know, to not use personal information they know about you, against you.
Cynical? Maybe. More like experience.

Let me tell you a story.
When I was about 8, my grandparents came back from their annual trip to France & Germany after visiting their respective siblings, with a gift for me. It was a purple diary. I like purple - in fact I have TWO purple notepads at the moment. But I digress.
It also has a big bad-ass lock on it. I am now... a good few years older and the diary isn't full yet, because I only ever wrote in it when I had things I needed to get out of my head but couldn't say to anyone else. It contains my most private and honest thoughts from the last twenty-something years. Or it did, until someone I trusted, some years back, got their grubby little paws on it, broke it open and read it.
Way to break a girl's trust, or what?!

Trouble is, that diary has now also lost my trust because I can't really be sure when something like that might happen again. (Well it makes sense inside my head - bear with me here.) So now, when I have something really personal that I need to put down on paper, I write it on any paper I can find and then promptly destroy it. That way I can be sure no-one will ever read my thoughts.

Back to my dilemma. In some convoluted way, this Blog is almost like a diary - but one that talks back. How cool is that?! Except... I don't know who reads it.

Now, you might think, "But Terri, you KNOW who you gave the URL to!" and you'd be right. However, I DON'T know who THEY gave the URL to. Hence the dilemma.

So what is the point of me telling you all this? I don't really know. I'm like that. Sometimes I ramble on in the hope that a point will make itself clear to me.

What I DON'T want to do is come across as saying, "If you know me, bugger off and don't read this anymore."
Because I actually feel absurdly pleased to have made contact with some people I haven't seen in a long time, but who mean a lot to me, because quite frankly I can use all the friends I can get while I'm stuck here on this Godforsaken island on the other side of the world.

Perhaps what I would like to say, in my own clumsy way, is please be judicious in who you tell about it... although having said that, I'm sure you are because chances are, you'll be going through a similar thought process as this (perhaps not quite as long-winded and convoluted, but this is my brain after all) at some stage in the future.

'Cos basically, on days like today, I'm little more than the same fragile teenager I once was, and I've had enough hurt and backstabbing to last a lifetime.

And to end this uplifting post, here's my thought for the day:

"Life is like a box of chocolates..."
Nope, sorry I don't have a thought for the day.

I can't believe I'm reduced to quoting Forrest Gump!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Summer memories

I stoleded this pic from someone else's website - sorry dude!  But I didn't have my own one of J-Bay
This one is for Undr. As living proof that nagging DOES work, I am finally posting my answer to one of his assignments on my own blog.

So here is my most memorable summer story.

OK first I have to remind myself that my mother reads this blog so it has to be a reasonably wholesome story because, you know, my mom still believes I am and always have been an innocent angel. My sisters were the naughty ones, not me.
[Hi Ma!]

As summers go I suppose those that stand out most were the ones we spent caravanning in Jeffreys Bay when I was a teenager, in the latter half of the 1980's. We'd always go around the same time - the first couple of weeks in January - Mom and us 3 girls in our little caravan, and Granny & Grandpa in their enormous one. They were older so deserved a bigger one, I guess. It was really fancy (so I thought) cos it even had it's own toilet inside, although we were never allowed to use it.
That's what the ablution blocks in the caravan park are for. Back then we didn't mind that they were always damp and a little smelly, and somehow it didn't matter that we had to brush our teeth in the mornings along with dozens of other campers.

We weren't the only regulars though. There were about 4 or 5 other families who made that their annual holiday too - people who lived and worked in Port Elizabeth, same as us, but who we only ever saw during our holidays in J-Bay, when we became the best of friends. There were dozens of us teenagers around and, like, it was J-Bay in the 80's man! No crime or bad stuff to worry about, so we had the freedom to pretty much roam around and do as we pleased.

For those of you heathens out there who aren't familiar with J-Bay, it is one of the foremost surfing spots on the planet. Surfers come from far and wide to ride the waves at "Supertubes".

Back in the 80's it was still really small - more like a village than a town - but during the summer months it would overflow with holiday-makers enjoying the sandy beaches and sunshine. And the wind. It gets quite windy there sometimes, if memory serves (which it doesn't always, but never mind that now)... but I guess that's what makes the waves so good. I remember the excitement amongst the guys when the wind changed direction - they'd suddenly desert us and take to the water on their boards, sitting like oversized ducks (I almost typed 'dicks' there - Freudian perhaps?) on the water, waiting for the perfect wave, while us beach-babes would lie on the beach talking... mostly about the guys in the water, of course... and spying out the, er, talent.

But the evenings are what I remember most. We'd go to a place called "Tubes" which is now a restaurant (if it's still there, mind you) but back then it was a little shop with a few basic tables and chairs, and a big room off to one side that contained a pool table, a foosball table and a jukebox that played mostly Brian Adams (Cuts like a knife) and Madonna (Holiday) all night. There must've been about 20 of us that used to congregate there most evenings, and we had a ball!

When we didn't go to Tubes, we'd have a 'beach braai' ('braai' = BBQ in SA) although I don't recall us actually having any food at these occasions. We'd trundle over the sand dunes from the caravan park and find a good, sheltered spot on the warm sand. The guys would go off hunting firewood, of which there was plenty because the bushes that grow on the sand dunes there get really dry in the hot South African summer, and they'd then pile these things as high as they could - higher than head-height - and set flame to the bottom branches and wait for it to go Whoof!
Which it would do (I'd always stand well back cos actually I'm terrified of fire for some reason) and then it would take the rest of the night to burn down, so we'd sit late into the night under the starry sky, with warm winds blowing, listening to the surf pounding onto the beach, and occasionally music if someone remembered to bring a radio (no CD's in those days) and just do what teenagers do.
Oh you know... do I have to spell it out (remember, my MOM reads this!) ?
Oh alright then... we'd talk, and laugh, and someone would have some beers that we'd share (sorry Ma!) and sometimes if we'd paired up there would be a certain amount of snogging... although I was what you might call a 'late bloomer', what with my braces and acne and frizzy hair and stick-legs, so I can't say I recall doing too much of the snogging myself.
At least not in the early years, hehe!

So that's it: my most memorable summer story. No one particular incident - although there were a few there - but those are probably some of the happiest memories I have.

Oh, sorry
Undr, were you looking for something to match your own experience (it had to do with Mickey Mouse and a pair of tight yellow shorts) ?

Well then, let me think...
Ah, got it! It has to be the time when I was about 12, when me and a friend of mine decided to suntan in the nude for the first time, and my backside got SOOOO burnt it felt like it was on fire, and then we had to go on stage in a play in front of the whole school, and... nope, that's not it.

Here's one that might fit the bill... and also really sums me up well:
Picture it: Sunny day, me in my early teens with my best friend, meeting up with some really cool boys we knew. They had a skateboard. We're standing in the road (quiet neighbourhood, don't panic), I want to look cool too so I'm standing on the skateboard even though I've never done so before in my life. I mean, just standing. Suddenly the thing takes on a life of its own and the obvious happens - gravity kicks in. And I land in the middle of the road on my head, SMACK! I also hit my elbow on the tar, and banged my hip, but only had 2 hands to hold 3 very sore places, so there's me, lying in the road, skateboard disappeared into the bushes, moaning, "Ooh, someone hold my head, I don't have enough hands!"
Not the coolest sight or best way to impress the lads.

Well, that's one of them anyway. One day I'll devote an entire post to my various self-inflicted injuries, but I think that's enough for one day.