03 July 2014

One of my greatest fears [#writersbootcampZA 3]

This topic is a toughie for me.

Cancer? Car accidents?

Cancer? Car accidents?

Cancer!

No, car accidents. Shit.

I couldn't decide. Dithered all the way to school in the car. Cancer, car accidents, cancercaraccidents...

And then, something weird happened.

We were crossing from Parktown North into Greenside, paused at a stop street outside a house we pass every day.

A pretty white house. With a little green garden. And a white beaded sheep on the lawn. There's also a Road Safety-branded car parked in the driveway in the mornings. Maybe you've seen it?

Now, my daughter is three. She can't read. But she must have registered something in the graffiti on the car because, out of nowhere, she interrupted my inner cancercaraccidents monologue and said, 'Mom - cars are very, very dangerous.' So, there you have it. Decision made.

My greatest fear? Car accidents.

I've looked cancer in the cold, heartless eye. Close up. My mom's had it. My husband's had it. My aunt currently has it. It's a scary thing. I've also been in and seen and heard of my share of hideous car accidents. They terrify me.

But so far it's Us: 3, Cancer: 0. So I'll just continue to drive in fear. And to live with the worry about all those I love who take lives into their hands every day on the roads.

I f***ing hate car accidents.

01 July 2014

Discombobulated in my pantoffels. [#writersbootcampza 2]

Two of my favourite words of all time. Up there. In the title.

But s'true's Bob, if you could just see me now... you'd laugh.

Or cry.

Um... No... Not what I meant by 'silver slippers'.
I'm wearing fluffy silver pantoffels (noun, Afrik.: slippers). One foot is resting on the bird-printed ottoman in my daughter's room. The other, plus leg, is squashed between me, my laptop and the seat of a raggedy polka-dot armchair. You get the vibe, I hope.

The only light in the room? Yup, the screen. My face - though I can't see it - is ghostly blue. Complemented perfectly by a white dressing gown that makes me feel (and look) like a chubby marshmallow. And my hair is in its post-6pm pineapple.

Thank G-d, in His infinite wisdom, that the hub is out of town.

My little daughter, who has a cold, is snoring gently to herself.

It sounds peaceful. Blissful, even, if you're a parent. And yet - I'm discombobulated (adj., Eng.: befuddled, bewildered, disconcerted). It's been a helluva day. Too many yeses; not enough nos. Too much schlepping; not enough working. Too much toddler-wrangling; not enough painting. Too little food. Too little wine. Too much caffeine. And just enough exercise. At least I got something right.

All of which brings me speedily to Tiffany's Favourite Words Numbers Three, Four and Five:

Perspicacious (adj., Eng.: quick to understand). Which I try very hard to be. And mostly manage.
Rummage (verb, Eng.: to search untidily; to scratch around). I do this in my head a lot.
Bedroggen (adj., Unknown [Ancient Markmanese]: grumpy; otherwise). Yes. I am. You?


Dear Stranger, I'm strange. [#writersbootcampza 1]

White teeth
We don't know each other.

We may have engaged online. Perhaps you liked one of my Facebook updates once. Or favorited a tweet. Maybe we've had no contact whatsoever. But if we ever have occasion to meet in real life, in the human world, there are three things about your appearance that I will notice immediately.

   The whiteness of your teeth
   The flatness of your ears in proximity to your skull (size is not an issue; prominence is)
   And - men only - whether or not you have the beginnings of male pattern baldness

Yup, I'm pretty shallow. However... In my defense... I won't actually judge you on these things. They won't cause me not to like or befriend you. They don't really matter, in any real way.

But I will notice them.

See, I don't care about fatness or fashion or frivolity. I've not even the slightest interest in BMI, designer sneakers or weird-ass hobbies (except if you're a scrapbooker - those people scare me).

The thing is, I spend shitloads whitening my own teeth. So I admire gleaming snow-white ones that glow in the dark. I endured an excruciating operation to flatten my slight bat ears, when I was 25 (20 years too late for it not to be agonising), so I appreciate flat ones. And I dated a hair transplant surgeon for two years, so I'm a lay preacher/fetishist on the topic of androgenetic alopecia.

Look it up. Its a real thing. Swear.

There they are. Three of my foibles.

Another foible is that I like round, even numbers. No odd numbers allowed. When I set the volume on the TV, the temp on the air con or the alarm on my phone, it has to be 18 or 22 or 6:00.

So, to round the aforesaid foibles off to a nice, neat 6, less the above bonus one, here are 3 more.

   I really enjoy gospel music. Which is weird for a Jewish girl. Who thinks Jesus was just a guy.
   When I lived alone, I existed on a diet of small, self-contained, round-ish foods I could eat with one hand. Peas. Popcorn. Chuckles. Cherry tomatoes. My husband says I have culinary autism.
   If the loo roll is put onto a horizontal toilet paper holder with the flap at the back instead of WHERE IT SHOULD BE - at the front - I will not be able to enjoy my ablution until I remedy it.

There you go. I feel closer to you already. Just open your mouth a bit more, so I can see your teeth.

Writers' Bootcamp: And now, for something completely different.

Mayday! Mayday!

Fore-warned is apparently fore-armed. So it's only fair to tell you that, for the next 30 days, this innocent and oft-neglected blog of mine will serve as a posting platform for 30 days of blog posts.

They will be appropriately categorised, so if you're only here for book reviews, that's cool - feel free to skip the non-book posts. If not, please enjoy.

#WritersBootcampZA

Background: #WritersBootcampZA is a challenge issued by two new mates of mine, Jacques and Clarence, to blog every day for the month of July, for a minimum of 30-60 minutes. The blog posts are then shared on Twitter via the handle @writersbootcmp, for others to comment on if they want to.

The topics are pre-determined and each evening at 6pm SA time, the day's topic goes live on Twitter. The bloggers then have 24 hours to write and share their daily post.

What's the point?

It's really a competition against yourself. To see if you can maintain it for the month and, that way, improve your writing style, speed and commitment. For me, who writes for a living, it'll be the first time I'm using (or even relating to) writing as something FOR ME. Weird, huh? But there you go.

First post coming up shortly.

02 June 2014

2 Lovely New Kiddies' Books

As you may already have gathered, I’ve been thinking a lot about children’s literature lately... 

What’s good, what’s interesting but bad for sensitive kids, what’s local and how it compares with the international stuff… 

And just in time I received two lovely new books:

-       A Scarlet Tail (An Original African Tale) – Susan Long & Claire Norden
-       Pig and Small – Alex Latimer

We’ve read both at bedtime and had requests for repeats, so that’s a good sign. 

You'll find my reviews of these books on the JoziKids blog, www.zaparents.comEnjoy!