Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Carmen, The Amateur Photographer.

I thought I’d take advantage of the beautiful weather with weekend to stroll around the yard and take some pics of the flowers in our garden, - the ones that have refused to let Winter get the better of them!

Purdy, hey?
And then I discovered red wine and starting to play with the silly photo editing functions on the phone. Here’s a before and after of my wine glass.

Kinda interesting, I think…

Minor altercations aside, it was a great cuppa coffee!

Vida E Caffè is loud, buzzing, friendly, beautiful… all of the above, on a Saturday morning. Just the place for a great cup of coffee and some weekend inspiration.

I’m not sure it’s the place to be if you’re looking to catch up with the gossip with your girls in hushed, conspiratorial tones, - the music is LOUD! (I think the guys at the table next to us now know more than any guy ever should about bio-ionic hair straightening!) And whatever you do, don’t try and take a pic of the chow for your blog. You will be promptly dealt with by the burly counter staff. Also, if you’re looking to avoid the advertising mugs you stare at everyday at work, don’t go to Vida E. (It seems to have taken over from Home as the latest Durban design/advertising haunt.) If you’re wheat intolerant, just stay at home.
Otherwise I’d definitely go back… I wonder what the girls are up to next Saturday.

Meet Son.

Not MY son, but a guy named Son, - the cousin of an ex-boyfriend. When I met him, Son couldn’t have been older than 10 and I think it’s safe to say that in the ±7-8 years that I was in the relationship, Son and I pretty much grew up together. I’ll never forget when my ex’s 21 year old brother was killed in a car crash. I pulled up to the house for the funeral, greeted by scores of grieving family, cars parked everywhere, the smell of incense and the sight of Son waiting in the driveway for me. I barely got out of the car and he threw his arms around me and from that moment wouldn't leave my side.
Son’s all grown up now. He left his mom and sisters at the age of 19 to take on a job with a Spur franchise in Tanzania and has been there ever since. He now calls Tanzania “home” and a Danish girl his partner, and is as happy as could be.
When he smsed to say that he was in SA for the first time in 2 years and wanted to see me, I had my mind’s eye on that teenager in the driveway and my other 2 eyes on my hectic schedule at work. But I’m so glad that we made the time to have coffee. I’m so proud of the person he’s become!
I’ll admit, it was a bitter sweet coffee… seeing someone who was such a big part of the life I thought I was going to live… The life that society told me I should live from as far back as I can remember. As we said goodbye and promised to stay in touch, I was happy that we had parked on opposite ends of the mall. I don’t think I could’ve camouflaged the lump in my throat any longer. I wasn’t sad that things didn’t work out with the guy, - I’m glad that door has closed! He wasn’t the one for me. But I think seeing Son reminded me of a person that I once was, - someone I barely recognise. It scared me to think of how much I’ve changed and how narrowly I escaped a life that would have frustrated and destroyed me, had I matured the way I have now. I think of the sacrifices and compromises I was willing to make and I can’t believe how much of myself I was willing to kill in order to live the life everyone thought I should have. The life that I convinced myself I wanted too. Son tells me that he looks at me and at my ex, and it’s like something is missing… like we’ve each lost a leg or an arm. We were together for so long, and so very much “together” that it’s like we’re missing a limb when he looks at each of us. (It’s true. We were always touching when we were in the same room. It wasn’t a conscious thing. It just always seemed to be the case.)
I can’t tell you if it was a long or short walk to the car. I don’t remember it at all. My mind was too busy with the what-was and what-ifs of the life I turned away…

Monday, July 23, 2007

Meeting someone new can be quite scary...

I mean... You're never quite sure if they might turn out to be the next Ed Gein, with a giant axe hidden in the trunk of their car. (I watch way too much tv. CSI and the Crime Channel are KILLING my love life!)
Then again, you just have to be brave and a little daring and take that leap of faith, 'cos you never know who you might meet. You may just be pleasantly surprised. Maybe the person we fear isn't the stranger, but the "axe murderer" inside each of us... Axe murderers come in all shapes and sizes and they don't just kill other people, they also kill dreams and fantasies... hopes and expectations... Does the fear of killed hopes and expectations (of your own hopes and expectations being killed by nobody but you) hold us back from meeting someone new.
I dunno.
Just throwing it out there...

Friday night piss-ups are the best!

... Especially when you're a Durban girl! Beach and booze... Yeah!
(Some background info: The advertising agency that I'm with is called publicaddress: and every so often we let our hair down and have what's called a "PAPU" - Public - Address - Piss - Up, pronounced "pup-oo".)
Last Friday we all decided it was time for a papu so we closed shop and headed for any spot in Umhlanga that did jager-bombs and had a great view of the beach. Sadly for Jane and I (the only 2 girls in the group) the boys thought that the place this time would be the lifesaver's club right on the beach... And yes! The view of the ocean was awesome...

... But when you turned around to face the bar again, this is what greeted you.

Not gonna happen. Don't get me wrong. I like "quaint and quirky". Quaint and quirky are cool, but Melville Quaint & Quirky. Not Durban Quaint & Quirky as this often includes plastic chairs and tables. Again I say, no.
So a couple of whiskys later we packed them off to another spot just up the road that didn't smell of surfers and pee, ordered a few snack baskets and more booze... And before we knew it Mark (Jane's boyfriend) was rolling around on the ground doing who-knows-what...

... And I was slurring some junk to Wayne's very sober, very pregnant wife. (Blind!) I'm a demon when the booze kicks in. It's all or nothing for me! Go large or go home, - that's what I say. (I like to blame my bad behaviour on an alter-ego I call "Carmel" my evil twin, but really it's all Carmen, all the time! It's bad!)
Shot publicaddress: for the awesome papu. I don't even want to see what the bill looks like!
I'll be OD-ing on liver tablets for the next few weeks...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hooray for book club!

This month, Katey's choice for our book club venue was ZEST in Hillcrest. What a cool restaurant! Let's just say that any place that sells Pongracz by the glass is just GREAT by me! So I started with a couple of those and moved onto white wine. By the time my starter got there (chicken liver / cognac paté with red onion marmalade and brioche) I was well warmed up! I then moved onto my main, a prawn linguine that was so rich and creamy it would've kept me fueled for DAYS! I couldn't bring myself to order something for dessert so I merely took a small bite out of everyone else's! YUM!
By then end of the evening we were loud and raucous and taking pics of each other's boobs. (I won't be posting those!)
This month I'll be reading "11 minutes" by Paulo Coelho and Porno by the oke who wrote Trainspotting (I forget the name!)...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It was a pink weekend for me, guys...

My cousin, Neil Gabriel, tied the knot this weekend with the love of his life Nalisha Bisnath, and guess who was asked to emcee the very posh reception at the Durban ICC... Well none other than yours truly, of course!
As you can see, no expense was spared to drape the ICC in lashing after lashing of pink frosting with the odd hit of silver.

I shudder to think what the whole thing set them back... Gulp!
I've been fighting the flu since Jhb, and I think my body knew that it had to hold on just until the formalities were over... 'cos boy! After that last "Thank you and goodnight!" I lost my voice completely and by the time I got home I couldn't breathe and my tonsils felt like 2 soccerball-sized rolls of barbed wire in my throat. I also managed to lose R100 between the parking meter and the car (SOB!)...
Sorry for not getting a pic of the bride and groom! They didn't sit still long enough for me to get a good pic of them. They were on the run all weekend, and I was SO preoccupied with my emcee duties that I clean forgot! But here are my cousins' kids, Kelcey and Tatum, who kept me in stitches all night!

(Here you see Tatum unfolding a giant table napkin, smoothing it out on the dancefloor and taking a snooze on it, while the speeches droned on! Precious...) They both also joined me up at the mic at one stage... Too cute!
Please people... If you love me, don't ask me to mc your wedding? The pressure was just far too much!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Can you guess what I got little Ella for her third birthday?

A barbie?
Maybe a book or two?
How about a tea set?

None of the above!

Here it is... The ultimate birthday present for a 3 year old ANGEL!!

A little dress-up set and a cute cartoon dvd!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Thirty four years together!
I don't know how you did it... I sure you both deserve a bunch of medals!

Partying for a worthy cause

If you’ve been living with your head under a rock for a while, you probably would have missed the 07-07-07 LIVE EARTH concerts.
“Live Earth is a 24-hour, 7-continent concert series taking place on 7/7/07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis.”
New York… London… Rio de Janeiro… Shanghai… Tokyo… Sydney… Hamburg and… JOHANNESBURG!!
There was no way in hell my girls and I were going to miss this one! (Thanks Noodle, for keeping us informed and hooking us up with Golden Circle tickets! xox) So, Maria, Gail, Trysten and I took some time out from work and hit the road to Jhb at 6am.

(Noodle flew because she’d booked an airticket ages in advance, before we even knew we were all going.) It was dry and cold and – apart from the 4 coffee stops and 45 minute accident traffic jam – pretty uneventful.

We made our way to the beautiful B&B arranged by Gail (FREE OF CHARGE!) through her awesome Aunty Margaret, unpacked and set off to the airport to fetch Noodle. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Noodle’s plane gets delayed by about 3 hours! And by the time we looked for parking for 30minutes at the airport, had a couple of glasses of wine and stood at Arrivals for what felt like AGES we really didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when Noodle eventually made it through the sliding doors. We then got so tired and freaked out that we missed a couple of KEY turns from the GPS and ended up in the dodgiest part of Jhb. The GPS further freaked us out by flashing red and repeatedly shrieking “HIGH ATTACK ZONE! HIGH ATTACK ZONE!!”, so we promptly drove the wrong way up a one way street! By this stage I was pretending to be staring out my window, taking in the sights, but I was really just hoping that nobody could see the tears about to pour our of my eyes! After postponing our dinner four times, driving to 2 different “Main Street”s (thanks for nothing GPS!) and dropping Trysten off at Aunty Margaret (aka The Babysitter) we got back to the B&B, showered, dressed and were off to Soulsa (Melville) for dinner with Luke Michal of Eat This fame! (Name dropping!) I don’t think it was the mediocre steak that did it…

It must have been the 7 tequilas and ±3 glasses of wine, but the rest of it was a blur. I know we went to a club called Fuel. That much I remember… But I don’t remember taking a dog in with us; I definitely don’t remember singing Happy Birthday for the dj or owner… (Someone tells me there was even a cake and candles!) I remember a dirty martini or two and then we were back the B&B.

The girls and I sat around talking for what felt like half an hour, but I’m told it was really SEVEN THIRTY the next morning when we eventually collapsed into bed. GROAN.
At about 11-ish we dragged ourselves off to breakfast at some cool place in Melville not far from the B&B, (Black Coffee in think?) and pretty much had our omelettes on “auto-pilot”. From there it was off to Sandton City to pick up our Golden Circle tickets and some Haagen Das. We would have done more, but by this stage we were hanging so badly that we really just wanted to get back to bed to snooze for a couple of hours before the concert… Remember the concert? Our main reason for going to Jhb? Well! The last thing we needed was to stand in a crowd from 6pm to 12midnight with loud music and drunk, sweaty people! But dammit! We did it! And boy am I glad we did!

The African acts were brilliant. Angélique Kidjo and Baaba Maal had us rocking out inspite of ourselves! Zola had me almost breakdancing at one stage! I’ve seen UB40 twice before, and Joss Stone is lame, so I can’t say that I thought too much of those acts! We also deliberately missed DannyK (Hey Shordy?! Shut your face…), shame. I can’t say that I felt too comfortable after that chicken prego roll. It was a battle of sheer determination and pure brute strength keeping it down, but I did it! Along with the help of a Fanta grape. Mmmmmmmh.
Jhb is cold. COLD! COLD! COLD!
Understand this: I’m a Durban girl. Anything under 20ºC is cold for me! Jhb decided to fluctuate between 2ºC and 16ºC… God help us. Needless to say we’ve all come back with the flu.
Sunday was great for just bumming around the artsy-fartsy shops, restaurants and bakeries in Melville.

We lunched at a posh japanese place in Melrose Arch (dim sum = YUM!) and catching Ocean’s 13 after dropping Noodle off at the airport. By Monday 9am, we were ready to get our flu-ey asses back to Durban. Steers burgers, cola and Dido kept us company as we made our way back, gradually defrosting as the temperature gauge slowly made its way upwards. We knew we were back when we started peeling off layers of clothing and could feel our fingers and toes again…
What a crazy, awesome weekend!
I’m still trying to heal myself… I’ve been dosed out on flu medication all week which is why I haven’t been able to get this story into cyberspace yet.
We’re already planning our next girl’s trip, by the way. I’m just going to make sure that it happens some place warmer! Some place where there’s also no tequila…