Friday Morning Thoughts

For those of you that have just started following my blog, there are two people I often refer to as The Bean and The Toppie – these are my parents, the former being Mom and the latter being Dad.

The Bean often told me growing up that Yours Truly is as transparent as a pane of glass.  Some days she’s wrong, because my condition has taught me how to be like the penguins of Madagascar.  Most days the smile and wave approach to life works, but then there are days like yesterday where I’m visibly not my sparkling, rainbow-farting-unicorn self.

I went to my favourite restaurant in town after work to sit in what has become known as my table, which is in the cosiest of corners, intent on blogging.  I read a few more chapters of my current novel, James Patterson’s 15th Affair instead.  I had zero inspiration to write and I almost always have a real book with me.  Failing that I have a selection of Kindle books on my phone, thanks to Charlie.

Some of the waitstaff who I’ve got to know over numerous cappuccinos and amazing meals came to ask if I was okay – not the standard implied question of are you satisfied with your meal and/or our service?  One even sat next to me for what might have been thirty seconds and asked how my day was (because clearly something was amiss).  They noticed me and that made a shitty’ish day a lot better.

The point that I’m trying to get across here, is that sometimes all that’s needed to life someone’s spirits is a kind word and a smile.  What’s even better about this is that it costs nothing.

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Thanks for reading this post 😊  Have a fantastic Friday!

See-Saw Happy-Sad…Am I Mad?

If jam equals sunshine as it does in my vocabulary, then this past weekend qualifies as jam-packed.

Friday night Melody and I went out for what was supposed to be dinner, but it ended up being a scallop starter each, a shared bowl of sorbet and countless Virgin Strawberry Daquiris.  As is almost always the case when we see each other, the restaurant started closing around us, but we just couldn’t stop talking.  It was so great to see her; she is tonic for the soul.  We’ll likely catch up again during the week, this time with her husband, Leonard.  I dropped her off shortly after eleven and headed home, only to be pulled off by the cops.  I’m never fazed because I don’t drink anymore, but it is a schlep, even more so when their handheld scanners are on the fritz.  A regular two-minute-routine-license-check took almost fifteen minutes and by then the Sandman had entered already.  It was too late to drink my meds, so I skipped them.  Not. A. Good. Idea.  I had the most awful nightmares, vividly memorable and upsetting as I woke up crying and covered in perspiration.

I had to be up early too on Saturday as Carla and I decided that we’d take a drive through to George as she was looking to buy some ‘not-blue-because-that-is-all-I-have-in-my-cupboard’ tops.  On the way, we picked up a friend of hers, Arissa, who was house-sitting for friends.  The house is stunning and the view left me breathless.  Shopping went rather quickly and I found myself two cashmere-like sweaters at Queenspark for R99 (about $6.50) a piece on sale.  I also bought a snakeskin-look belt.  So I now have a dress, a bodysuit, shoes, a handbag and a belt in the look, but they’re all different colours.  The irony is I don’t own a single full-quill ostrich leather item, and I’ve been in the industry for almost nine years.  I do have a leg-skin purse, so I’m not a completely bad example.

After shopping we spent the afternoon with Arissa, at the place she’s housesitting, chatting over snacks and freshly-brewed Java.  I immediately comfortable with Arissa – she is an open person, with an extremely warm and welcoming personality.  We walked round the grounds and I got to see adult miniature horses and a foal that is not much higher than the resident border collie.  I also got to see a majestic Waterbuck, some springbuck and teeny-tiny little ducklings.  It was such a lovely experience.

Headed off to spend the night with The Toppie and The Bean.  We had chicken, butternut and The Bean’s roast potatoes – as if my Saturday couldn’t get any better! By something to eight I was pulling amps because of the lack of sleep the night before.  My folks went to bed round nine and when I got couch all kitted out for sleep, I discovered I’d left my meds at home.  Skip night number two.  I tossed and turned and again woke up in a glistening film of sweat.  Aside from that, I didn’t feel off, until Sunday night, but I’ll get to that in a bit.  We decided on a whim to take a Sunday drive to Still Bay and Jongensfontein, which is about an hour away.

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The sky was a cloudless blue and the sun was warm despite the wind.  We stopped at the well-known Lappiesbaai restaurant for a light bite to eat before driving to Jongensfontein.  Seeing the tidal pool brought back memories of a weekend I took away with Carmen, Ewan, Elena and Nick many moons again when Elena was still pregnant with her first-born who is now almost seven.

Sunday night after all the excitement wore off, the lack of medication and restless sleep hit me like a ton of bricks and I sat on the couch, in the eerie quietness of The Cave, with not a single light on.  I was overwhelmed by a feeling of immense loneliness and self-doubt.  I cried.  For how long I don’t know, but at some stage I got into bed and prayed for sleep so that the feelings of no companionship and being the girl that’s always everyone’s friend but no-one’s person could end, even if only temporarily.

What many people don’t realize is that a depressive ‘episode’ isn’t always a case of ‘going ballistic’, or ‘losing one’s shit’ requiring hardcore antidepressants or a stint in a psych facility.  In my case, it is sometimes just an immense moment of immeasurable sadness that has me wondering what my purpose on earth is, and if anyone aside from my parents would really miss me if I wasn’t here anymore.  The smile on my face in the photo is genuine, but in a moment, that smile can be erased as Sunday night is testimony of.

I know this melancholy feeling is something momentary; that it will pass.  I have so much to look forward to, and be grateful for.  I’m just in a dip at the moment.

I have since filled my prescription, and I have back-up meds in my handbag with me at all times now.  What’s that thing we learned as Girl Scouts?  Be prepared!

 

 

Time in a Bottle

So, Charlie, knowing that I was saving for a bottle of perfume I’ve wanted ever since Granny fell of the bus, gave me money for my upcoming birthday before he left to go back to work.  The notes were safely packed away in my underwear drawer.  I also told all my friends that if they wanted to get me something, money or a gift certificate from the perfume stockist would be much appreciated.  During this week, I found out the stockist had all beauty products, including their perfume range on a 20% discount, so I charged there as quickly as I could after work, only to be told, Sorry Ma’am, but we are sold out and have not reordered.  I left there, deflated and irritable.  I’ve wanted this perfume for almost twenty years – that’s how long it hasn’t been available in South Africa!  Yes, I searched online during that time too, and found many perfumes by the designer, but not the one.

Turns out that thing about one door closing means another one opens is sometimes true.  In this case, I found the same perfume (in a smaller size) online.  Placed the order and received it the very next day.  I haven’t been so excited to receive a parcel in ages; I nearly tackled the delivery man.

The instant I saw the box, I smiled and the moment I retrieved the bottle from the box and removed the top and smelled the familiar scent, my olfactory sense took me back in time to some happy memories.

I received the bottle of perfume as a Christmas gift from The Toppie’s stepfather the Christmas before my final year of high school.  I often wore it on a Friday or Saturday night when Cousin Lara and I would go dancing at the local haunt.  I also wore it for my first formal red-carpet event: my matric farewell/senior prom.  I remember feeling so grown up in my black evening dress.  My shoes were slightly scuffed; already well worn-in from the weekly langarm’ing*, which was a blessing, because the last thing I wanted on that Magic Arabian Night, was aching feet.

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I used the last droplets on my 21st birthday, which was a fun event in its own right, because it was a whole weekend of celebration.  The Friday night, my at-the-time-boyfriend, Joe, drove me home and hit a bump, which claimed my car’s exhaust as a trophy.  The next morning when we started it, it sounded like a John Deere on steroids.

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I think it’s only fitting that as the dawn of a new decade awaits, with much of it unknown, unfamiliar and a little scary, I have something familiar to keep me company and take me time-travelling when things are a little daunting to deal with.

Thank you Charlie, and thank you, Oscar de la Renta!

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Reblog: The Beauty Within

August is Women’s Month and out of the blue at work something stirred in my soul today, telling me to reblog this post I wrote last year; that someone needs to be reminded that she is a Beautiful Warrior.  I don’t know who you are, but I hope you know that you’re special!

https://reflectionsofamisfit.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/the-beauty-within/

 

Reflective Misfit Ramblings

I’ve been a bit “unbalanced” today, not sure why, but I think it may have something to do with a hypnopompic episode I experienced last night. I went to bed early and at some stage during the night found myself in the lounge obsessed with wanting to know what the time was. I kept saying to myself It’s dark, it’s still time to sleeeeeeppp, but my brain was having none of it until I found the time. Seventeen minutes to midnight… Hallelujah, I could go back to the snugness of my bed and get at least another six hours in. I did, but I tossed and turned the whole night. When my third alarm of the morning rang, I set another. Fortunately work wasn’t demanding today, so my lack of brain-power stealthily remained under the radar.

Now, I’m sitting at my favourite writing spot, double-shot cappuccino for company, loungy-kinda music in the background being drowned out by a table of patrons clearly celebrating something and a crackling fire for warmth. I’ve blogged about fire before because flames are mesmerizing. The way they dance across the wood, creating glowing embers is almost hypnotic.

Today I finalized arrangements for a part of my upcoming-40th birthday celebrations: A vintage-style ladies’ high-tea for some of my closest girlfriends and of course, The Bean. The blokes will be included at a separate celebration (which I’ve planned as a picnic in the park, but that idea may change given the limited numbers of positive RSVP’s received). Every year I try and do something “different” from a hobo-themed party to an as Nathan jokingly refers to it “a boring meet and greet”. Last year I had a movie-themed trivia-chill night which was a great success. For those of you wondering what I looked like, here is a photo of me as The Joker. Charlie did my make-up.

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I was telling Charlie afterwards that I almost always feel “deflated” after my birthday because the actual event, while always fabulous and fun, seems to be anticlimactic, because I have so much fun planning. Today when I confirmed the number of attendees and menu options with the owner of the venue, I told her “I’m starting to get excited now.” Her reply was “You should be excited. The Germans don’t say ‘Die vorfreude ist die schonste freude’ for nothing.” Given that my German is about as good as every other European language I know, I called in my trusty friend, Google. Turns out that what the Germans say is true: The anticipation is the most beautiful joy. I love the excitement that comes with a celebration of some sort.

On the subject of celebration and mounting anticipation, I have had a dream ever since I can remember and that is to visit Victoria Falls. Shalya-Rae says it must be because of a history lesson we had in fifth grade about Livingstone and Stanley. I don’t remember it (does the memory start going at 40?!), but whether it is the reason or not for my obsession with The Smoke that Thunders, I can’t say. All I know is that I am going! In November… and I’m over the moon about it!

I had actually saved for another holiday, but things didn’t go according to plan. Initially I was disappointed, but then the opportunity to visit one of my bucket-list destinations came along. I’m not big on signs from The Universe, but this was a cosmic confirmation to realize my dream. I didn’t really waste time in making a decision. I armchair travelled with Eliza and Nathan one evening, saw the lodge and booked my spot the next day. Everything lined up perfectly. I’ve gone all out – an all inclusive package, accommodation at a five star tented lodge on the banks of the Zambezi. To say I can’t wait is an understatement.

I have told everyone that if they want to get me a birthday gift, I’d like money for my holiday, because I’d love to do the Flight of the Angels and if possible, visit the Devil’s Pool. Harriet gave me my first US Dollar and subsequently The Bean found three more which she gave to me. I’m crossing my fingers and my not-yet-sagging-boobs that it will improve.

Anyway, my dinner’s just arrived, so I’ll catch y’all on the flipside.

‘Til next time…

The Answers…

For those of you who did play the game in my previous post, here are the answers.  How many of you noticed the line in the Title of the post?  I’ll be blogging at my local spot again tomorrow evening 😀

I see trees of green What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
In the last moments of the dawn In the Last Moments of the Dawn, Chris de Burgh
Jambalaya, crawfish pie, fillet gumbo Jambalaya / On the Bayou, Hank Williams
Jack & Diane Jack & Diane, John Mellencamp
Strutting into town like he (was) slingin’ a gun Jesse James, Cher
Making love to his tonic and gin Piano Man, Billy Joel
Like the deep blue sea, on a blue, blue day Blue Eyes, Elton John
Life is bigger, bigger than you Losing my Religion, REM
The world over the rim of his teacup Streets of London, Ralph Mc Tell
She’s gonna get you from behind Devil Woman, Cliff Richard
Jesus loves you more than you will know Mrs. Robinson, Simon & Garfunkle
A gamblin’ man House of the Rising Sun, The Animals
She was brushing her cat in (the) black limousine Dark Lady, Cher
Find which side (his) future lies Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
When the time is right, I’ll cross the street (I belive in) Angels, Abba
Put a gun against his head Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
Drug dealer on speed dial Rockstar, Nickelback
Lying on the floor where you left (her) Just like a Pill, Pink
It’s a quarter after one Need You Now, Lady Antebellum
You can check in any time, but you can never leave Hotel California, The Eagles
I’ve got a feeling I’ve got a feelin’, Black Eyed Peas
End of Lonely Street Heartbreak Hotel, Elvis Presley

Hypoglycemic Brain-Roar

As many of you know, I lead a relatively healthy lifestyle.  Healthy Herbalife shake for breakfast, healthy snacks, moderate exercise (which has gone for a loop recently due to a recurring injury) and water or tea as opposed to coffee.  Yesterday though, Eve, Elizabeth’s elder sister celebrated her 50th birthday, and so they packed in some sugary treats for me today: marbled meringues and a generous slice of lemon meringue cheesecake.  On some plane maybe they knew that I’d be getting news today, news I’ve been waiting a long time for.  I’d been expecting the information to be exactly what it was, but the finality of it clearly messed with my brain chemistry.

Every so often, the company I work for arranges for short training for us – usually it is by the same person, a relationship psychologist who teaches us to apply the skills we already have to improve both our relationships within- and outside the workplace.  His last talk was nutrition-based and how blood-sugar levels affect our moods.  In very simple terms, he explained that if our blood sugar reaches a certain low level, the adrenaline and nor-adrenaline our body excretes has the same impact on our brains as a person seeing a lion.  Judging by the number of calories I’ve consumed already (I’ve devoured every morsel of The Toppie’s homemade steak & kidney and all the sweet goodies Eve packed in for me) I must have a pride of lions on the prowl in my subconscious.

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Pic from PetRescue.com

Time for water to flush them out and replace them with delighted, rainbow-farting unicorns, because goodness knows, I can’t pack up and move to Scotland.  For those of you who don’t get the reference – Google is your friend – search for Scotland’s national animal.

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Review: The Cork and Plunger

I’ve lived in Mossel Bay for going-on 31 years now.  In that time, I’ve seen all kinds of places come and go: B&B’s, stationers, pharmacies, general cafés, clubs, movie houses and restaurants., particularly those of an upmarket caliber, but it appears that the tide may be turning.

As I withdraw from my memory bank, there is one posh place that has stood the test of time.  A few years back, another chic, golf-inspired place opened its doors and it appears to be going strong.

More recently though, about two weeks ago, a friend and I visited the newest kid on the block:  The Cork and Plunger.  As the name suggests, it serves wine and coffee – a vast selection of both.

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There is also a range of craft beers and gin on tap available.  These drinks can be enjoyed in the comfort of the wine bar on the upper level.  The way I would describe the décor upstairs is Gentleman’s Club. With its dark wood tables, comfortable booths, leather armchairs, it is a place to enjoy an aperitif or a post-dinner drink.

If you’re one for a more outdoorsy vibe, you can enjoy a cocktail on the balcony overlooking a portion of the harbour.  I’m not a drinker but have sampled both a virgin mojito and strawberry daquiri so far.

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If the balcony’s fully occupied, there is a vibey beer garden at the back of the building, with a pool table and a lighthouse-jungle gym for the kids to clamber around on, while you sip on a cold one.

The restaurant downstairs is combines comfortable furnishings with beautiful photographs of many stone buildings in Mossel Bay, lending to the atmosphere of homely comfort, while the white linen napkins, exquisite glassware, weighted cutlery and out-of-the-ordinary crockery remind you that you’re in a classy place.

Food wise there are various menus:  Canapés (which I’ve yet to try), breakfast & lunch, and dinner. All the dishes cater to varied tastes, including vegan and gluten-free options.  The dinner menu is limited to a few dishes in each category of starters, main courses and desserts.  In the first two groups, chicken, meat and fish are catered for. In my opinion this ensures consistent quality of the food served.  To date, during my various visits,  I’ve tried the Coq au Vin, which is served with Garlic Mash and Veggies, the Ribeye Steak (which I recommend eating rare to medium-rare at most), with the crispiest baby potatoes I’ve ever had and Veggies and Lloyd’s Pork Loin with Peppers & Butternut Risotto.  Honestly, I’d love to see that Risotto as a dish on its own too, because it is delicious.  Marc’s Lamb Shank appears to be a firm favourite – when I dining last night, I saw various people enjoying it.  Dessert wise, I’ve only had the chocolate mousse, which is a touch too bitter for my personal taste.  I’ve had their strawberry cake, which is good, but I’d opt for something less sweet, and more decadent next time, like the Carrot-, or Black Forest ones.

Finally, any place can serve good food, but it’s the added personal attention the patrons receive from both the waitstaff and the management that puts the Cork & Plunger in a league of its own.  I’m a firm believer that if a person wears a name badge, it’s an invitation to use their name.  To date I’ve been served by Marc, Herschel and Bridget, and when I was there with friends last weekend, Keagan showed us around the beer garden.  While referring to someone by name adds an informality to things, it allows for a relaxed experience, which is what I am looking for when I go out, whether alone, or with friends.

With every visit I’ve had to the restaurant, whether just for coffee or a meal, or as has become custom for me, to get some blogging done, both owners Marc and Taha have stopped by my table to say Welcome back or it’s good to see you again.

Nothing is too much trouble for the staff at the Cork and Plunger and that’s the recipe for long term success.  Keep up the good work!

I’ve also published this content on Tripadvisor