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Archive for April 2007

50% better.

Things are looking up today. Michael is feeling much better. Must have been one of those 24 hour bugs, or food-poisoning. He went to work today, which I wasn’t that keen on, but three of his staff were off work and he didn’t have much choice. That was quite suspicious, I thought. Nothing like taking a sickie to extend the long weekend, hey? But he really is doing great, compared to yesterday. Still feeling a bit muzzy and weak, but generally back to his old self. I am so glad.

He slept the whole of yesterday and last night, just about. When I got to bed at ten last night, he was so wrapped up in the duvet I had to fetch the one from the spare bedroom for myself, lol. It was damn cold last night, by the way. Winter has arrived with one fell swoop!

As for myself, I’ve been better. I had quite a vicious nose-bleed this morning. Don’t know where that came from, but it was even running down the back of my throat. Not nice. Slept badly, courtsey of aching back and knees, and my hand, while being better than it was last night, it not doing that brilliantly. Which sucks. I read some mordib MS stats this morning. I certainly wasn’t meaning to, I was doing research on homeopathic remedies for some of my symptoms. Instead my eyes briefly flicked over a passage about the mortality rate of MS. (It’s not frequent, considering the number of people that have MS, but it does happen). I try to avoid negative press like that at all costs these days, but sometimes it sneaks up on you when you least expect it.

M was as hungry as a hound at lunchtime, having not actually eaten anything yesterday, because of the nausea. So when we went to collect my homeopathic drops, he suggested we go to a coffee shop we haven’t tried but have been meaning to. What a disaster! They’ll never be seeing us again.

We sat outside, at a nice table, and they took our order. All fine so far. After a goodly amount of time, the waitress (also the owner) came and said they only had tinned fruit for the ‘health breakfast’ (my order) and was that okay? I changed my order to an omelette, and appreaciated her telling me.

And then we waited. And waited and waited.

In the interim, there was a young mentally handicapped boy at the next table waving and trying to engage us in conversation. We couldn’t decipher a word of what he was saying, but smiled and nodded our heads enthusiastically. We felt really sorry for him. Sometimes life is so unfair I just want to cry and cry. But we were feeling a bit fragile ourselves, and didn’t really have the energy. But a person can’t ignore a child, so we soldiered on. Michael is such a great guy. He spoke so nicely to this boy. Eventually, the owner told us it is her son, and he insists on sitting at one of the tables and having something to eat every day.

Eventually, our food came. It was nice enough, but the wait definitely wasn’t worth it. We weren’t even finished eating yet when I asked for the bill, to give them plenty of time. We finished our food, and waited some more, just in case they hadn’t made us wait enoough already. Eventually, M, who needed to be back at work, had to go into the shop and sort it out. I’ve never had such bad service before at a restaurant in my life.

We didn’t have time to have any cake, which was probably just as well. So I decided to make some muffins. I’m quite pleased with the result. Very pleased, actually. They are Vanilla Apple muffins, but you can’t taste the apple. I read somewhere that you can cut down on the oil used if you add one grated apple. So I used less than half the oil that the recipe called for and substituted a grated apple. The oil I use is quite strong tasting, but having cut down on it so much, by using the apple in lieu of it, you don’t notice it. I use cold-pressed sunflower oil, instead of triple refined, which is bad news. But apparently most sunflower oils contain an agent that deodorises the sunflower taste out of the oil because people somehow deem it offensive. Maybe with good reason. The one I use has quite a potent sunflower flavour. But anyway, I added more water to make up for the reduced oil, and the muffins came out nice and fluffy. I forgot how much I liked baking.

Written by Maggie

April 30, 2007 at 4:56 pm

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Hope it’s of the 24 hour variety…

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Poor Michael is really sick. What a disappointing long weekend. He was going on so well with his cycling training for the month, too. He only needed another 10km so break a personal record of best April ever. With any luck, it will only be one of those 24 hour bugs.

The thing is, Michael was extremely competitive with the cycling before we met. After we met, however, it went for a loop. The whole getting married and getting to know one another bit took precedence. However, we’ve now been married for six years, and his cycling is on the up and up again. He will be doing a grueling 180km stage race in June, the Kremetart. He does it every year, but I think this year will be his best by far. I’m really proud of him for being so committed to it. I feel so bad for him that this stomach bug, or whatever it is, is getting in the way of his breaking a personal best.

I don’t know if it’s food-poisoning, or some sort of gastric bug, but he’s in a bad way. I ate exactly the same food as him yesterday, so I don’t know what it could be. We have a hunch that it may have been the chocolate mousse we shared. I only had about 3 teaspoons, and it tasted fine, but Michael licked the underside of the lid, and he said afterwards it tasted bad, so that may have been the culprit. Whatever it was, I only hope that he’s better soon. I can’t stand seeing him sick. He’s been in bed the whole day. Couldn’t even watch tv, and that says a lot. We are looking after his parents’ house and the dogs while they are away for the weekend, but I could see there was no way that M was going to make it out. So I called my brother-in-law and asked him if he would be kind enough to take me there so that I could activate the alarm and make sure everything was locked up, which he kindly did. I had to have a laugh though. My brother-in-law came into the foyer of the house with me, because he is a cop and wanted to make sure it was safe, as it was dark already. He waited there while I checked the back door. The two pekinese dogs, one of which is Michael’s, were barking at the stranger in their house. I made sure it was locked up, and then before we left said I just wanted to make sure both dogs were in the house. Priscilla (Michael’s dog) was standing there, barking her head off. But where was her brother, Seuntjie? I went to the main bedroom to check, and heard the most menacing of barks, but slightly muffled, and coming from the safety of behind the bed. Poor Seuntjie.

I made such a cool discovery last night. Michael and I were into this really lame pinball game, years ago. He was trying to find it on the net, but they discontinued it in 1996, so there were only used copies available at

But I got to thinking, and decided to do a search on Adventure Island. Remember those old combo tv-games? I loved it when I was a kid. Loved it. I never did finish the whole game but I got pretty far. Michael and I played those tv games a couple of years ago, and I totally whipped his butt. Annihilated it, more like.

Anyway, I did the search, and found a site where you can actually play the game (and its sequels) online. Not only that, but all those classic old games, like the Atari games, remember them? And the Donkey Kong games? Pacman, Pinball, they’re all there and more. Tennis, tetrus, all those classics. I spent a good chunk of last night playing Adventure Island, although it was pretty frustrating on the computer keyboard, as opposed to the tv-games controls, which I am used to.

Today, we were going to visit my parents for lunch, as my sister and her fiancé were there. They will be getting married tomorrow, and I wish them all the happiness in the world. They are getting married in court, in Johannesburg, so I won’t see her tomorrow. But there was just no way that we could have gone out today, as M was as sick as a dog. Didn’t want to go without him, because he was feeling dizzy and weird and I wanted to be here.

So I amused myself playing more Adventure Island. I played for ages, must have been a good hour or two. Till I started noticing that all my men were dying. For stupid reasons, too. Turned out my left hand was up to its tricks. It went completely numb and weak, and I couldn’t play anymore. First, I was just frustrated, because I had been enjoying the game. Then I tried to scratch the side of my nose with my index finger, and my finger couldn’t even offer up the resistance to do that, it just collapsed in on itself. It has improved slightly since then, but not enough. I tried to play on my keyboard with my left hand, and couldn’t even manage a simple chord. This terrifies me so much. I only hope it’s feeling better tomorrow. I can’t take cortisone until the 15th of May, earliest (long story, but I have an appointment to see my neuro on that day). And, my legs are so stiff in the mornings that I can hardly drag myself out of bed. This is a new and frankly quite disturbing symptom. I’m going to try and see the homeopath tomorrow. He gave me some drops a while ago that were really helping, but they’re finished now.

So all in all, quite a crap day. Hope tomorrow is better.

(PS I was so upset I ate a pie. Haven’t had a pie in years. That is so not a good food option. I made it (one of those convenience ones you just jack in the oven) for Michael, but he was so nauseous, he didn’t want it after all, so I ate it.)

(PPS The link for the games is for those interested.

Written by Maggie

April 29, 2007 at 10:01 pm

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Oops no.2

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Maybe I shouldn’t blog so late at night. Not only do I make odd syntax errors, but my hubby has also just informed me that 100 minus 15 is, in fact, 85, and not 75, as advertised in my post of two days ago. Maybe I should give blogging up as a bad job, lol, before I do some serious damage. To my reputation, that is. I heard someone on tv slagging off some teeny-bopper celeb who famously answered a question on the Weakest Link as follows: Half of 1000 is…100. I had a good scoff at that, but it has come home to roost, ha ha.

I’m feeling sleepy now, so better that I head off to bed while I still have the alphabet straight 😉

Written by Maggie

April 24, 2007 at 10:03 pm

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By the way, ‘Constricted’ = ‘confined’ + ‘restricted’, for those of you that picked it up. Ha ha. Totally out of context, my usage of ‘constricted’.

I had a little spot of insomnia last night, and all of a sudden it popped in my head. I hate making word mistakes like that, so I tried to go online to fix it (this at twelve am) but alas, no internet access!

I’m going for my first detox in nearly a month. I haven’t been since I had the cortisone, because I didn’t want to detox the stuff straight out. I really hope it’s going to help with the alarming stiffness I have every morning.  I’m starting swimming again soon, so that should help, too, both with the stiffness and the back pain.

Written by Maggie

April 24, 2007 at 9:38 am

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Life is pretty slow at the moment.

I am largely constricted to my home currently, thanks to my sore back. It was doing so well, but is now feeling like it did when the whole sacro-illiac problem began accelerating in the first place.

I’m not too worried about it, though. Just trying to take it easy 

I’ve decided to keep swimming during the winter months. My dad has organised me a discounted rate at the local gym, which has an indoor (and slightly heated) swimming pool. He has kindly offered to pay my membership for me, and to come and pick me up three mornings a week to go to the gym with him. He is training to go up Mnt Kilimanjaro in a couple of months time, so while he is doing circuit training, I’ll have time to swim. I might also see the biokineticist there, as they offer rehabilitation programs for MS. I will have to keep up with these programs, because otherwise I can see that I am going to run into big problems with my musculoskeletal system, and that I really don’t want.

My relapse wasn’t halted completely by the 1 gram of solu-medrol that I took. I really regret not having taken 3 grams or more, because that would have been more effective, I think, and the side-effects of the 1 gram were just as bad as with the larger dose, so I didn’t score in any way. I feel annoyed with myself, because I’m probably going to have to go again in May for another course. My legs are awfully stiff in the mornings, and my left hand and left leg and foot are numb and unco-ordinated. Only intermittently, at this stage, thank goodness.

I’ve been on the trial drugs for two and a half months, and so far there has been absolutely no reduction in my relapse rate. I’m trying to be patient, because I did say that I wouldn’t judge before I’d been on it for at least six months. I just hope all this schlepping up to Jo’burg and back hasn’t been a complete waste of time and money. I’ve always thought that I have a bit of a rogue case of MS, anyway.

I’m still loving my keyboard. I’ve indulged my Phantom of the Opera infatuation, and learnt to play ‘All I Ask of You’. The sheet-music itself is surprisingly simple, but it sounds really beautiful. It’s one of the most satisfying pieces I’ve ever played. I’m nearly finished a lovely hymn, called, ‘Jesus, You are changing me‘ I’m enjoying it so much. It takes me a couple of days to a week to learn a song (depending on level of difficulty, of course) and commit it to memory.

My goal is to have 100 pieces in my repertoire. So far, I only have about fifteen, so that will be a challenge. My sister and I agreed that we have to (one day) play in a public (preferably classy) venue at least once. She is of course way ahead of me, having made music her profession. But I have more time on my hands. I may have to go to Jo’ies for the actual event. They have better venues. We were thinking along the lines of a café in Monte Casino. Of course, I have about 75 songs left to add to my repertoire, so it may take a while yet. And there’s the little issue of my left hand packing in, but hey, who ever said dreams have to be realistic?

Speaking of my sister, she will be getting married on 30 April. They are opting for a quiet wedding in court, with a fancy lunch afterwards for both sets of parents. I hope that it will be special for her. This weekend past, her friends threw her a bachelorette’s party, which she loved. She had to dress up in a rented outfit, consisting of fishnet stocking, short skirt, spiky blonde wig and then they swept her off to Teazers. ‘Nuff said. I’m so glad they did that for her: a nice send-off from the single life!

That made me remember my own, more sedate send-off in the form of a kitchen-tea, courtesy of my big sister. Just as much fun, and more my style, frankly. Notice the veggie-necklace around my neck. It took me a while to figure out what a marrow and two patty-pans were meant to represent as the centrepiece. It’s not that I was so innocent, I just didn’t expect my sister to do that in front of my mother and future mother-in-law, ha ha.


Written by Maggie

April 23, 2007 at 4:19 pm

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Music dedications and locusts.

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I’ve spent the past hour listening to music on our computer, and my chest feels compressed by nostalgia. Every song carries a truckload of memories with it. Happy ones, sad ones, silly ones. Isn’t music just totally wonderful?

Speaking of which, yesterday I had a song dedicated to me on a big radio station. Michael voted on OFM’s website for the top six at six. He chose Christina Aguilera’s Candyman. The radio station phoned him just before six, and asked him to introduce the song, and say whom it was dedicated to. Without missing a beat, Michael introduced himself and dedicated the song to: his love, Maggie. I just melted. It’s the first time I ever had a song dedicated to me on live radio

I’ve got a bit of a grip on myself with regards to the whole grasshopper/ locust thing. Only because it’s gone, though, ha ha. At least I think it’s gone – I still hear a suspicious noise from behind the curtain every now and then. Still, the windows are open, it’s not like I’m keeping Loki captive. (Sorry, but you know how I have a penchant for naming my insects). Loki is both short for locust and the name of the Norse god of mischief, so the obvious choice. I figured that the worst thing that could happen is that Loki flies out from behind the curtain and jumps on my face. While I’m sleeping. And while that will creep me out tremendously, it’s won’t kill me. Or even hurt me, come to that. So I have nothing to fear but Loki himself. He’s a lot smaller than I am and non-venomous, and they don’t even bite. (They don’t bite, do they??) Well, not unless you’re a nice, big, juicy leaf. So I’ve gotten over it, to a certain extent. But please don’t ever throw one at me, okay?

By the way, who else thinks the Rehab song is really cute? I say: No, no, nooo!

I’ve having a wee bit of trouble with the font size of the script on my posts. Any help from fellow wordpressers would be appreciated. I have a memory of there being font options on the ‘New Post’ page, but it gone awol. Help. It;s getting to the point where you’d need a microscope to read my blog! 

Nevermind the last bit – Michael helped me out. He actually knows how to read html code, so no problem. I feel like a bit of a dufus.

Written by Maggie

April 18, 2007 at 5:34 pm

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I have one really out-of-control phobia.

It has been dormant for a while, but last night it was back with a vengeance. 

I am really scared of locusts. They creep me out something terrible. I’m talking about those big, ugly ones. Just typing out the word makes a shudder go through me. A picture of a True Locust

I can’t find the scientific term for a fear of locusts. I suppose it’s something along the lines of locuphobia.

While reading the list of phobias (and there are some pretty whacky ones, believe me) I realised I have a couple of others, more low-grade. Locusts are in the number one slot.

I also have a fear of fire, called either arsonphobia, or pyrophobia. And one of crime, but I think that is shared by all  South Africans.

Some fears are acquired, but some are just inherent, I think.I have acquired a fear of ms relapses. But I have an inherent fear of fire and heights.I can’t work out whether my phobia of locusts is inherent or acquired. A bit of both, I think.

I hate, hate, hate locusts. Ugggghhhh!

The reason for this post is that I’ve had altercations with a locust, last night and this morning. Michael was watching sport on tv last night, and I was upstairs, in our bedroom. I can’t remember how it came about, but after I’d been in there for hours, I suddenly spotted a medium to large, brown locust (actually more large than medium) Draped on my drapes. Yip, hanging on my curtains like he had every right to be there. I was about to summon Michael to do some sort of extermination, when I decided not to be a complete wuss and do the job myself. (oh, I just remembered how I spotted it, I was closeing the window because it was getting chilly and then I saw it was right next to my bloody face) So I very gingerly opened the window, reversed the curtain, aligning it with the open window and flicked the back of it, hard. Yay for me. I closed the window, drew the curtain closed again, and leaned back, feeling inordinately proud of myself, savouring the feeling. Feel the fear and do it anyway!

Then I looked up, and there it was again!! I let go of an involuntary shriek. And let me just add at this point that I think it’s pathetic when women scream at mice and spiders etc. Obviously not as pathetic as screaming at a harmless oversized grasshopper. But I just can’t keep it in. It comes barrelling out of my mouth before I can stop it. I just find them so gross.

So Michael calls up, “What’s wrong?”

Me: Locust is what’s wrong.

That explains it all. Michael knows about me and locusts.

Once, before we were dating, we were playing golf with his best friend (who I was seeing at the time, and I use the word in it’s loosest form) and my best friend. The best friend (his) thought it might be funny to throw a massive locust at me. I, of course, went completely beserko. Nearly hysterical. Not my finest hour.

Anyway, I tried to get rid of my friend for the second time last night. Same tactic: lining it up with the open window and flicking it out from behind the curtain. This time I was convinced that it was gone. I tentatively pull the curtain aside to make sure, nd there it is sitting, RIGHT NEXT to where I am holding the curtain, at sodding eye-level. To me. Another scream. Damn, for someone who’s trying hard not to be a wuss, I’m sure acting like one. Michael blithely ignores all this, watching some sports show which I’m sure is not as entertaining as my shenanigans. Humph!

I have memories of driving a car, very shortly after getting my licence, right through a cloud of locusts. Those big grass-green ones, with the  red underwings. I was avoiding them like I was playing space-invaders, all over the road, both lanes. I was truly a danger that day. Luckily there wasn’t much in the way of traffic that day. But that is the extent of my revulsion. I can’t even hit them with my car!

Anyway, I flicked the pestiferous thing out of the window again. This time I was 100% sure that it was gone, as I was leaning half out of the window with the curtain with it. But I still made Michael close the window when we went to sleep, and check behind the curtain.

This morning, I wake up to the sound of it beating its wings furiously behind the curtain. I was half-asleep, but instantly awake, and under the duvet. Where I remained till I got up. I’ve barely been back in my own bedroom the whole day. Our computer room is adjacent to it, and it’s all I can think about. I haven’t actually seen it today, but that oh-so-familiar whirrrrr of wings gave the game away.I feel so grossed out to think that it may still be in the house with me.

I know logically that they can’t hurt me, but they CREEP ME OUT!!

Strangely, I don’t mind a Praying Mantis (although I’m not that crazy about them) and I’m actually quite fond of crickets. Weird. I’d even take a parktown prawn over a locust.


Okay, maybe not!

My earliest memory of The Locust was when I was maybe six or seven, and a truly gargantuan specimen did the whirrry thing around my head and landed on my shoulder, where it proceeded to inch it’s way up my neck. Little sister was with and I sent her with an urgent message for help. She disappeared, and unfortuately for me, noticed that Maya the Bee was on the tv. So she watched Maya for 20 minutes and eventually sidled back out, where I was still frozen to the spot, too scared to move (at that stage I still thought they were mortally dangerous, I mean have you seen the spikes on them legs??) She went back in the house and returned with help, and the offending insect was unceremoniously flicked off. I think I spent the rest of the day shuddering to myself. Yuck.

As it is, I’m really jumpy today, and everything that touches my skin, is a locust. In my head, anyway.

I doubt I have any readers left at this stage, but here is my last Locust Story. I’d like to say this has all been tongue in cheek, but that would just be a lie. Well, mostly. I may have been exagerating just a tad. I have a penchant for doing that when locusts are involved.

Anyway, picture this. I’m in high-school, with thick winter stockings on. We’re all standing in the quad, waiting for morning assembly. I hear the dreaded whirrr and know exactly what it is. I look around nervously, and sure enough, out of 1000 plus girls and boys, it is making a bee-line straight for me (you know what I mean). So it lands on my upper-thigh, and no, my skirt wasn’t that short – it elected to fly up it. Not only that but it got its little claws stuck in my stockings. So I was going ballistic, and trying to beat it off, but it was stuck and beating its wings furiously, showing off its disgusting pink-red underwings. I tell you, they almost had to sedate me. Is it any wonder I hate the things so?

Worst of all, were the ones I saw in the then Eastern Transvaal when I was on Veldschool. They were in a whole swarm, and were pitch-black, with bright red underwings. They looked as if they came straight out of hell. I swear they even had horns. Lemme see if I can find a photo…

Nope, can’t find a picture. Obviously too disgusting to be posted on the net, and that takes some doing. They are, apparently, high in protein and fat, and supposedly form a valuable contribution to the African diet, though I think I’d rather die of hunger than eat one. I don’t think I’ll ever be that hungry.

Okay, I’m done. And if you’re still reading – don’t you have anything better to read, lol.

Written by Maggie

April 16, 2007 at 5:59 pm

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