Lucky Catch

I took my backpack out the boot and slung it over my shoulder. In doing so the strap hooked on my earring and the stud and butterfly came undone. I thought I felt something fall down my cleavage but could not find anything. Eventually I gave up looking and made peace with the fact that it was gone and instead I embraced the idea of single-handedly bringing back the lone earring trend which was popular back when I was in high school, a very long time ago.

Once inside the house I removed my bra, as I think all women do at the end of a long day. There nested in the cups were the butterfly and stud respectively.

Disaster averted thankfully as the only successful way to wear the lone earring is to pair it with a mullet. And nobody wants that trend back again.

Face Off

I threatened, I promised, I hoped and finally I did.

I quit Facebook.

It was something that I have wanted to do for the longest time and now, with a little nudge from He Man, it is done.

Like many I joined because I was curious. And in the beginning it was fun. I reconnected with an old friend and I even got to raise a dragon. But really it was all fake (especially the dragon, which was most disappointing). These friends on line who couldn’t spare me time for a cuppa and a chat off line. The requests to be part of their circle of “bestest friends eva” when the only reason I accepted their friend request (or they mine) is because Facebook is really all about who has the most “friends”.

And now, no more. Instead tonight I will spend my time with real people; talking with real people, laughing with real people, having a good time with real people.

And I am really looking forward to it.

Spa Good For Me

What a difference a day makes. Was it only yesterday when I could scoff at the notion of spending an entire day at the spa getting a facial, a massage, a manicure and a pedicure. And now, after a day spent doing just that, well, I get it.

This unexpected treat came along in the form of an invitation from a good friend to join her for a day at the spa. I was thrilled that she’d asked me to come along and really excited about spending my Saturday getting pampered.

But I was also nervous, having never had a spa day in my life before.

Like, for a start, what do you wear to the spa? Well, according to my friend, a tracksuit would do and if you’re getting a pedi, be sure to don a pair of slip slops so as not to ruin the paint job on the way out. Of course I don’t own a tracksuit so clearly I’m not cut out for this. No wait, I’ve got the slip slops, I’m good to go.

Of course what you wear is totally irrelevant because when you get there they give you other stuff to wear.

First there was the paper panty. I have a sneaky suspicion that I had it on back to front. But it was not uncomfortable and I think it protected my modesty during my pedicure so purpose served.

Next was the boob tube. Which I donned as a skirt because apparently I don’t know what the words ‘boob tube’ mean. The nice lady who squeezed god knows what out my face, yes the one who gave me the facial, set me straight. The gown was the only thing I got right in the dress up part of the programme.

The facial was steamy and quite relaxing, apart from the afore-mentioned squeezing part and I came out shiny like the sun. Tomorrow I shall be radiant.

My only complaint, wait, let’s not call it a complaint, it makes me sound petty and entitled. Let me start again. If I were asked how they could possibly improve the massage experience (not that they need to but you know, if they felt like it) then I would suggest that letting me nap for twenty minutes afterward would be nice. Really nice.

I have only myself and my clumsiness to blame for getting my manicure messed up before I’d even left the spa. Luckily some clear nail varnish has diminished the damage and if I can avoid dishes and housework for a week or two my manicure should last a week or two.

And about my pedicure I can say this, I am cuckoo about the colour.

Would that I could schedule a regular spa day but there are those pesky ‘working for a living’ and ‘paying off a bond’ details getting in the way. However, it is nice to know what being a lady of leisure would entail should I ever get the opportunity to be one.

In the meantime I’m going to invest in a tracksuit, you know, because I want to be prepared.

Run Tracy Run

And just when I thought that I’d have nothing to blog about this week, I drove past the local primary school and was reminded that South Africans are meant to register for the upcoming local elections. Now I’m not going to use this space to tell you who to put in charge or the nation but I am a strong believer in at least registering so that when elections do come around, I have the option of participating.

I can, however, use this space to indulge myself in imagining life in South Africa if I were left in charge for a while.

For starters I’d declare weekends to be a three day affair so that we can all stop dreading Mondays. Yip, that alone would probably get me elected.

Next up on my agenda would be the world of … Book Selling. I know, I know, I’m probably the only person who has this issue but dammit, if I’m going to be in charge then I might as well use my opportunity to fix the things that really, REALLY bother me.

Allow me to explain.

I’m an avid reader for science fiction and fantasy and and the most common feature of these genres are trilogies. My issue is not with trilogies, per se, but with the way they are sold. Just last week Exclusive Books were having a sale in the open area of the mall close to where I work. Great for Exclusive Books and great for me. While I was browsing, I came across a book by David and Leigh Eddings. I’ve read Eddings before and I’ve really enjoyed the books so I’m keen and happy to add some of them to my own collections. But of course the only books on sale were books three and four of the series.

So I bought a book on Black Adder instead.

I realise that it would be impractical to force publishers to publish trilogies all at once; that sometimes a first book is written as an only book and then when it’s successful or when the author realises that the story can be expanded and continued, that a second and third (and in Eddings’ case a fourth and fifth and sixth and  seventh and eighth and ninth and tenth) book follows.

But what I am proposing, and would put into legislation, is that when that second book comes out it has to be sold along with the first. And when the third book came along, it would have to be sold along with the first and second. You get the idea.

Of course if you bought the first book the first time around, the bookseller will give you a full discount and you could donate the already read book to a library.

I know this is not the burning issue of our time; that crime and unemployment will always be the more important problems to solve but when I don’t buy books it’s bad for the economy (and that just then exacerbates the unemployment and crime problems). So it’s a small solution to an even smaller problem but every little thing counts.

Just like a vote, right?

Road to Nowhere

Q and A with blogger, and now jogger, TracyL.

It is estimated that there are 120 million blogs on the internet today and that number keeps rising. With that many blogs and bloggers in the world it’s no surprise that most bloggers remain anonymous, unfamous and read by no one but their significant others. Meet TracyL who, although her real name is Tracy, is still pretty anonymous, still unfamous and can barely get her boyfriend (who goes by the blog name of He Man) to read her blog.

Today she’s agreed to answer our questions about her new possession and obsession, her treadmill. We join TracyL in her study, a somewhat stuffy and cluttered room in her house where she and He Man spend most of their free time. (He Man is in the dining room, enjoying an impromptu LAN party with his friends.)

Andrea (the imaginary reporter): Thank you TracyL for taking this time to talk with us. I understand that the treadmill was meant to be a secret, why do you wish to talk about it now?

TracyL: Not really a secret Anthea but it was meant to be nobody’s business but mine. A certain blabber mouth went and spilled his guts to his mom and now the whole of Krugersdorp and large parts of Pretoria know about it. But of course they only know half the story and I wanted to set the record straight.

Andrea: Um, it’s Andrea.

TracyL: Sorry?

Andrea: My name, it’s Andrea.

TracyL: Andrea, okay.

Andrea: Okay great. So tell us about the treadmill, when and where you got it.

TracyL: We went shopping for it last Sunday and got it delivered the same day. We got what we thought was a really nice deal at the Pink Place.

Anthea: The Pink Place?

TracyL: Well they’re actually called something else Althea and if they hadn’t gone and bettered the deal four days later by offering something bigger for the same price I might have mentioned them by name.

Andrea: Andrea

TracyL: Right.

A: Why a treadmill though? They’re a bit on the expensive side, take up more space. Why not an elliptical trainer or join a gym and get to use all sorts of equipment?

T: One of my goals for this year is to exercise. Gym is expensive and impractical for me and I’ve yet to encounter a sports bra that can cope with the bopping up and down on an elliptical when I’m at full tilt. I like walking, I walk pretty fast actually. My neighbourhood isn’t always so safe and the weather can be a factor so with a treadmill I can walk as much as I like anytime I like.

A: Still, a treadmill, not a pretty addition to your lounge décor. What happened to playing table tennis on the Move?

T: That is still part of the plan but its’ not quite the workout that I was hoping it would be.

A: And you want to work out because?

T: Mostly I just want to get fit and have more energy. Believe it or not in my twenties I was quite the gym bunny, working out nearly six times a week and it felt great. I want that feeling back.

A: So you’re not exercising to lose weight?

T: I anticipate some weight loss hopefully but it isn’t my primary motivation.

A: So what is motivating you?

T: Short answer. Simon Baker.

A: And the long answer?

T: The JP Morgan Corporate Challenge. I actually signed up for it after the treadmill arrived but the timing was so great and it gives me something work towards. I’ve put myself down for finishing 5.6 km in 60 minutes. The event takes place at the beginning of March so I’ve got a good few weeks to train.

T: Also, skinny vegetarians.

A: Skinny vegetarians?

T: Ja, the kind that thinks they know everything about nutrition, fitness and health because they are skinny. And vegetarian.

A: Tell me more about this skinny vegetarian.

T: Um, is this going to be published on the internet?

A: Yes.

T: Then I don’t personally know any skinny vegetarians.

T: I don’t work with any either.

T: Next question Athena.

A: Andrea, remember? Anyway, do you want to be a skinny vegetarian?

T: No. Because first of all I am never giving up bacon, even if the bacon on my lunchtime pizza did taste a bit funny. And I’ve actually been skinny once and it was not a good look for me, made me look ten years older than I am.

A: Okay. So what comes after the JP Morgan, the Comrades?

T: No. Possibly I’ll look around for another 5 km race or maybe even a 10 km if I’m feeling really fit by then but that is as far as my running ambitions go. The closest I’m going to get to participating in the comrades is watching the race from start to finish from the comfort of my couch.

A: Well TracyL we wish you all the best. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us.

T: You are welcome Shelly, it was great talking with you.

A: MY NAME IS ANTHEA!!!!!

T: You sure? Because you look like a Shelly.

A: Dammit! It’s Anthea, A N T H E A, Anthea.

T: I thought you said it was Andrea. You should call your mom and check with her, I’m sure she’ll know.

Shelly Andrea is an imaginary person who is happy to ask the questions you think you have the clever answers to. She lives inside TracyL’s head.

Speaker for the Week*

Angel Ornament
And this was just part of the wrapping

(* My apologies to Orson Scott Card – I just got through reading “Speaker for the Dead” and I was stumped for a title)

First week back at work and this is how it went –

The yays

  • Got to work on time every day.
  • Managed to leave work on time too so no overtime (so far).
  • Found an xmas pressie lurking in my desk drawer – I am so spoiled and what a beautiful gift it is.
  • Resolved a simmering conflict with a co-worker. Had a nice chat and a hot chocolate and now it’s all sorted and I feel so much better. I think she does too.
  • Encouraged someone I like and admire to be more ambitions, to apply for a serious promotion. In truth she had been thinking of applying but my little talk convinced her to go for it. I will be holding thumbs for her.
  • Took along yoghurt and muesli to work every day for breakfast. I am pleasantly surprised by the fact that eating breakfast is making a positive difference to work my day.
  • And on the subject of food – when I said that for dinner I was going to the kitchen to make magic happen, I totally did just that. He Man** and the lack of leftovers*** will confirm that.
  • Nobody missed me, they managed along just fine without me.

The nays

  • That xmas pressie – well I got it on Monday, opened it on Tuesday and only thanked the giver on Wednesday.
  • Five is way to early in the morning to get out of bed.
  • While I was away no one updated the dress code to allow for slippers in the workplace. Or pajamas.
  • Had my first little road rage outburst for the year. The holiday is over folks and traffic is back to normal.
  • Nobody missed me, they managed along just fine without me.

You know, I wasn’t expecting the yays to carry it, but there it is. Yay?

** He Man – it’s what we’re calling him now apparently (thanks Kyknoord)

*** He Man and the Lack of Leftovers – awesome band name or way past my bedtime?

A List for Doing

From Our Table

It is a feature of my everyday working life that I make lists of things to do. And I derive great joy from crossing those things off my list as they are done. Sometimes I do things that don’t even make it on to the list (but need doing) and other times I write the list (and mark it off as complete) after I’ve already done everything. No matter. The list helps because I have a memory like a sieve and it keeps me focused on the work at hand.

So without further ado, herewith my list of things to do:

Certify – as in obtain the necessary certification in my chosen field. This has been on the list from about June last year when I finally qualified for writing the exam. I just didn’t have the time, the energy or even the inclination to study (work was busy, insanely so), and a lot of study is required.

Exercise – because this will help with the studying. I reached a point last year when I was just tired of being tired. I don’t want to be tired all the time. I don’t want to put off studying because all the energy I have left over at the end of the work day goes into navigating Gauteng’s roads and drivers so that I can get myself home safe.  Maggie Mason’s post on exercise  could not have come at a better time and was rather inspiring. Fifteen minutes, I can manage that.

Socialize – He and I are really introverted people. It should come as no surprise that we’re both avid gamers and readers and the most socially active we’ve ever been was when we played WoW. We got off to a good start this year by seeing in the New Year with friends. Well okay they are also family but it was a step in the right direction for us. And we just hosted our first dinner party for the year.

Create –To create, to evolve from one’s own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention*. To use my talents (such as they are) for something other than someone else’s corporate enrichment; to create and make something original and enduring, something beautiful and good. I wish to do more of this.

I have promised myself this year that working overtime will be the exception, not the rule, Mondays to Fridays. And if I stick to getting home at a reasonable time (traffic permitting) then there will be time for all of the above.

I realise that nothing on this list will ever be quite done, except maybe for the certification. And that’s okay by me. Making the list was the first step and at least I can mark that one item (that’s not even on the list) as done.

* definition via dictionary.com