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Archive for April 2008

Crickets and load-shedding

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Update on Crickey:

Can that cricket just get laid already?! Oh wait, he did nearly get it right, but was thwarted by… me! (What have I done? He chirps non-stop for three weeks, and then when he finally gets lucky – I chuck his mate out the window!)

That was so blonde of me. Even worse than when I tried to light a match from the wrong end (repeatedly) last night during load-shedding. (In my defense, it was dark and I couldn’t see what I was doing).

Crickey has now relocated to behind the fridge. Thank goodness. From our bedroom, it just sounds like vague (and not altogether unpleasant) background  noise. It sort of lulls a person to sleep. No problem. He’s back to being a pet.

Michael and I quite like load-shedding. Quality time, people, quality time. And now, quality time just got better. My dear parents-in-law gave us the most wonderful prezzie yesterday. It’s a fluorescent light that recharges when there is electricity, and automatically switches on when the load-shedding hits. It is so bright that on its lowest setting, it lights up the room like Christmas, never mind daylight! Huge improvement.

We bought a fitting for our gas-ring yesterday so that we can boil a kettle on it. We also bought an aluminium kettle for this purpose. Of course, I balked at the aluminium part. Every bunny-hugger knows that aluminium is strongly linked to the development of Alzheimers. Unfortunately, that was all that was available. And it’s not like we will be using it everyday. Twice a week, max.

So now we’re organised. Bring it on.

The cherry on the top, is that the dude in flat No.1 (us being flat No.7) has stopped using his (noisy, stinky) generator, which was the only fly in my load-shedding ointment. There must have been complaints. (Not from me!). Like Michael said though, if it was bugging us in No.7, it must have been driving the folks at No.2 through 6 absolutely nuts.

What’s worse than sitting without power? – Sitting without power while the guy next door to you is lazing in his (fully-lit) living room watching tv while you inhale his generator’s fumes.

Now, silence reigns golden once more. The sky is heavy-laden with the most magnificent stars, courtesy of the darkness afforded by no street lamps. Last night, I could even make out some of the constellations. Of course, I had no idea what they were, but I could make them out.

Makes me think of Ben E. King, and his song Stand By Me:

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid, no I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me


Written by Maggie

April 25, 2008 at 9:55 am

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Retract, retract!

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I’m a bit of a nut. I can write the biggest load of crap at night if I feel like it. And last night was no exception.

I’ve had it with that little bastard, Crickey!

After my vomit-inducing  heart-warming post of last night, Crickey relocated to our downstairs toilet. Only problem with that, is that with the acoustics of the toilet, which is situated at the bottom of the stairwell, those little chirps were amplified and arrived at an alarming decibel-level in our bedroom.

And as it was so cold last night, I was battling to go to sleep anyway, without needing the booming orchestrations of Crickey on top of it. Michael was restless, too and is feeling flu-ey. If it wasn’t so freezing cold, I would have gone on the warpath and hunted that no-good Crickey down. And I would have squashed him. (Even though I do think it’s unlucky to squash crickets 😉

Ordinarily, I’d ‘release him back into the wild’ with or without a tracking device, but not last night.

But today, he has to go. I know a nice farm where he’ll be happy… *evil laugh*

Only kidding. I’ll put him out back with his mate, promise. But he’s no longer welcome in this humble abode.


On a more sombre note, I received the most horrifying email yesterday. It is a petition that my Mom-in-law sent me to sign, regarding the so-called ‘artist’, Guillermo Vargas Habacuc. I’ve heard vague accounts of ‘starving dogs for art, but this is the first time I’ve read the full account, which follows.

In 2007, the ‘artist’ Guillermo Vargas Habacuc, took a dog from the street, he tied him to a rope in an art gallery, starving him to death.For several days, the ‘artist’ and the visitors of the exhibition have watched emotionless the shameful ‘masterpiece’ based on the dog’s agony, until eventually he died. 

Then followed the most heart-rendingly grotesque photos of the poor dog. I feel sick to my stomach, and those images will stay with me for a long time.

Worst of all … the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American  decided that the ‘installation’ was actually art, so that Guillermo Vargas Habacuc has been invited to repeat his cruel action for the biennial of 2008. 
If you wish to sign the petition to stop this inhuman cruelty, here is the link:

Just as my faith in human nature was taking a turn for the better, I had to read something like this, that has sickened me to my core. I cannot believe that it was allowed to take place in this day and age.

Written by Maggie

April 24, 2008 at 9:53 am

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I feel so bad….

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I think it is cricket season. The bugs, not the sport. (Mind you, the sport, too. It always seems to be bloody cricket season).

Anyway, it started off with just one. One noisy little cricket, hiding behind our kitchen sink, chirping away to the outside crickets all night. Michael said he had a good mind to spray Doom. (But he knows I’d probably divorce him if he did that. Just on principle, lol) He wasn’t too serious about it though, and with him being such a deep sleeper, it didn’t really bother him. As for myself, I quite enjoyed the chorus. It felt like being on safari somewhere. Didn’t bother me, anyway, is what I’m saying.

I adopted ‘Crickey’ as my pet. There would be occasional sightings, if we took the trouble to sneak up to the sink, because he had to back his butt out of the niche a bit to have enough space to make his chirps. Michael would try and drop the Sunlight soap on him to squash him (or at least break his leg so he wouldn’t be able to chirp). It became a bit of a joke. I’d defend Crickey by asking, “Have you seen any ants around lately? No? Well, it’s because Crickey ate them all!”

Michael was half-heartedly out to hunt Crickey down. He was out for his blood. Secretly though, I think he was also growing attached to him.

I managed to escort Crickey out the door one afternoon. He was skulking about the kitchen, and I managed to manoeuvre him out the door with my toe, closing the door behind him. When M got home and opened the door again, Crickey was back in the house, quick as a flash. Michael says he thought he heard a faint laugh and the quick flash of a cane. (Reference to Jiminy, if you never got that one).

Then there were two. Now, in case you don’t know this, two crickets are infinitely worse than one. They chirp at each other, back and forth, all night long. Dang, that was getting a bit much. One behind the sink and one behind the fridge.

We were going to sleep one night when they started up, and Michael said, in such a voice, “Ag, Crickey.” It was so cute, sort of resigned and a touch affectionate.

When we got home from the shops the next day, there was an unpleasant discovery. Under the dining-room table lay a cricket, on its back, moving its legs feebly. I lifted it onto its feet, but it was no good. That cricket was not looking in good shape. Okay, and I’m not proud of this, but we put it out of its misery. I felt like a murderer afterwards for giving the command to the firing-squad (aka Michael). I think it was quick and painless though.

Skip to later that night, Crickey (behind the sink) was not sounding himself at all. He sounded postively mournful. “He’s lonely,” I said.

Michael (who only panders to my eccenticities to a point, starting singing, “Are you lonesome tonight? Will I squash you tonight?” Ha ha, very funny. Poor Crickey.

To finish off the cricket chronicles, things have been quieting down a lot around here lately. Today I heard some muted squeaks behind the curtains of our french doors and went to investigate. And there was Crickey and his lady-love, going at it hammer and tongs! I mean, have you ever! Well, I might be a cricket lover. Or a cricket tolerator, but I won’t allow breeding on the premises. Good grief, can you imagine the cacophany?

So I got the dust-pan and brush and managed to flip the smaller of the two (the girl, I think) out of the window, which is low on the wall. Then I turned to get Crickey himself out and did the little bugger ever give me the run-around! I hunted him down for about fifteen minutes to no avail. So I had to leave it.

When I came back later, Crickey was on one side of the window and the little lady on the other side, trying in vain to get to one another. I felt like the most terrible person, having separated the poor wee beasties. Star crossed crickets. I tried to help Crickey out the window but he hopped away beind the tv cabinet, and that is where he is now, chirping reproachfully at me in loud ringing tones.

Is it possible that I have too much imagination and too little to do??




Written by Maggie

April 23, 2008 at 9:48 pm

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Not in the mood for blog

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I’m just too lazy to compose a proper entry. Let’s blame the cortisone, shall we?

Seriously though, every time I take cortisone, I have this urge to can the whole blog. Usually, I resist, knowing the feeling will pass.

In the mean time, here’s a joke that I thought rather good 😉

There once was a young woman who went to confession. Upon
entering the confessional she said, “Forgive me Father, for I
have sinned.”

The priest said, “Confess your sins and be forgiven.”

The young woman said, “Last night my boyfriend made mad
passionate love to me seven times.”

The priest thought long and hard and then said, “Squeeze seven
lemons into a glass and then drink the juice.”

The young woman asked, “Will this cleanse me of my sins?”

The Priest said “No, but it will wipe that smile off of your

Written by Maggie

April 18, 2008 at 1:46 pm

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In the wars.

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I’m a bit battle-scarred at the moment. The last couple of days have not been my best.

Last  night I felt half depro and melancholy. Not too crazy about that word – melancholy – but it is how I felt. Still feeling subdued and feeble, not my usual perky self at all.

On top of the usual cortisone side-effects, I managed to pull a muscle in my shoulder-blade, just by rolling over in bed. Very sore. It’s only just starting to come right now. (But no gym for me tomorrow, that’s for sure.)

On the plus side, the relapse has stopped progressing. With any luck, things should start improving soon.

Also on the plus side, Sarah-Kate is a little sweet-heart and is doing well, as is sister Annie.

Michael has gone to Joburg today to map some golf-courses for his WeGolf application, which is a GPS device for golfers. It’s super handy because it goes on the golfer’s cell-phone, so no separate device is required. Michael has become the South African agent and sales really seem to be taking off. If you know of an SA golfer with a GPS enabled cell-phone, let me know and we can send him (or her!) a free trial version to try out. Michael says it’s the best thing that has ever happened to his golf.

So I’m home-alone and taking it easy. At 3pm there is a movie showing that I’ve been meaning to catch – Miss Potter, with Renée Zellweger. I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit and co. So that is what I have planned, between naps, lol. That, and feeding my newfound Horlicks addiction.


Written by Maggie

April 13, 2008 at 10:31 am

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Eventful day

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On Wednesday morning, I decided enough is enough and went into hospital for my cortisone fix. I was going to take 2grams over two days, but then came some exciting news! My baby sister Annie, was scheduled to have her c-section on Thursday morning. My parents were going through to Joburg to see her and the baby, and there was no way that I was going to miss that trip.

So I booked in for a single gram dose. Same old, same old. Got buggered around by the doctor/ hospital about being discharged and ended up waiting there till seven o’ clock that night.

Didn’t sleep at all on Wednesday night, of course, being so revved up on the cortisone. Out of bed at 5am on Thursday morning, went to work with Michael and then met up with my parents. Then it was off to Joburg to meet Sarah-Kate.

She was born at 8:36am, weighing in at 3.7kg’s and 52cm long. (A nice big baby girl). She has dark curly hair, quite a lot of it. Chubby cheeks and a round face. Too precious for words. And a real cupid’s bow of a mouth. We’re all in love, especially the proud mama. She is completely besotted.

The birth itself went very well. Annie ended up having a spinal epidural or whatever they’re called and she said it was a good experience. They battled a little to get the baby out and had to use forceps though. Shame, the marks were still on her little head when we saw her.

We visited for an hour (they are strict with visiting hours there!) and then left for home again, satisfied that mother and baby were doing well.

I slept really well last night. Today I feel decidedly fragile. My back is sore and I feel weak. And I managed to pull a muscle in my shoulder blade while I was sleeping, so I’m not doing that perky. In a way though, I’m glad. Last month when I had cortisone, I had very little in the way of negative side-effects, but the flip-side of that coin was that it didn’t really seem to work much either. At least if I’m experiencing side-effects then I know it is doing its job.

Right now, I’m going to go and do some serious vegging out!


Written by Maggie

April 11, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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Ha. During last night’s episode of Boston Legal, Shirley Schmidt got a dig in at Happy Feet and not getting it. Mind you, she was busy throwing a case at the time, so I guess it should be taking with a pinch of salt.

(On the subject of Boston Legal, does anyone else out there think that Shirley Schmidt-ho is totally hilarious? Pervy, but really funny, too.)

On a very different note, yesterday something happened that made me re-evaluate my life so much.  M and I got home at about 7 o’ clock last night, having been out all afternoon and I just really didn’t want to make food that late, so we decided to stop and grab a bite to eat on our way home.

We stopped at Nando’s and the food was actually really good. I had a ‘vitality meal’, which was a grilled mealie, salad and chicken breast. Didn’t even taste like fast-food, it was so light and delicious. But that’s not the point. While we were eating our food, a beggar came into the restaurant. I didn’t even make eye-contact, concentrating on my food. He had a board hanging around his chest, telling his story.

Now, before you think I’m a real hard-hearted Hannah, let me explain. I usually give to people in shopping centres, that stand at the exit doors with their collections tins. They usually say which cause they are collecting for and so on. But SA has a huge problem with people begging on the streets. Boards bearing legends like: Help! No work, five children. Hungry.

On the other hand, we have a huge crime problem. So now we have people standing at red robots, boards and all, and there have been many cases where drivers of cars stop, try and do the decent thing and get hijacked and shot for their trouble. People have been mugged for taking out their wallets in front of beggars. So who do you trust?

Anyway, the person in Nando’s had moved on, out the door. He certainly wasn’t an obnoxious type, unlike so many others. He seemed to have some sort of disability and as that is a cause close to my heart, I was suddenly stricken by not having acknowledged him. I looked out the window and saw him still there, in the parking-lot.

Unfortunately, the only cash I had on me was R5, but I grabbed it and went outside to find him. He saw me and I smiled at him and proferred the money, saying something trite, like, “Here is something for you”.

The hand that he held out for the money was hardly a hand at all. It was like a little palm, with no fingers and only a slight bulge where his thumb should have been. I think he was unable to speak, but he gave me the most beautiful smile. His face was so expressive that he conveyed his thanks in volumes. I didn’t know what to say, so smiled and hoped that I was conveying, “You’re welcome.”

The exchange touched me deeply, and I was fighting back tears when I got back to our table.

Later, when our desserts arrived, I wished fervently he was still there so I could have given mine to him. At least he would have had a little bit of sweetness in his life last night.

It is so, so hard for some people in this country. That man was on my mind the whole evening. Where did he sleep last night? The system cannot be right if someone like that can’t be taken better care of by the state.

I am so blessed. There have been times when I really battled, physically, but I always had someone to take care of my every need. Many someones, in fact. Right now, when I’m in a snit about having a little relapse, my only worry is choosing which private hospital to go to. Having a medical aid (insurance) affords me the choice. Relatively few in this country have that choice. Most have to go to dubious state hospitals.

So today, instead of bemoaning my fate at having yet another relapse, I will count my many! blessings. How very much worse things could be than a little relapse.

I feel really sorry for the poor people in this country. The cost of electricity has sky-rocketed this past month. And for those already on the bread-line, it will push them over the edge. I feel so helpless sometimes, for the people that live a hand to  mouth existence.

I’m not fabulously wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. M and I live a comfortable life, but hardly an extrvagant one. But today, I feel like a spoilt rich girl…

Written by Maggie

April 8, 2008 at 9:38 am

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