Monthly Archives: January 2014

Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls

I’m a keen observer of human nature and I’m aware others are too. So my mantra is and has been for a long time, ‘There’s always someone in the back of the crowd watching’. When you’re driving in your car, stuck in peak-hour traffic and not moving, often you’re The Person in the Back of Crowd, and usually at the worst possible time. Like when the guy behind you (yes ‘sir’ we CAN see you in the rear-view mirror) decides it’s time to take advantage of this dead time and do an excavation of his big hairy nostrils. Or, when you’re in the bathroom at work, washing your hands, and someone steps out of a stall and thinks they can just sneak out of the bathroom without washing their hands, carrying a roll of pilfered toilet paper, and no one will notice.

466031519There are many such instances as these and we all get the chance to experience them (and then some of us write about them too). Something else I’ve noticed is that boys and girls are different. Not in the ‘I have a pee-pee and you have a hoo-hoo’ kind of way, but rather in the way we approach the world. I’ve been researching these differences for a little while now and have also asked for input from my colleagues and this is what I’ve come up with:

  • When the dinner has been eaten and the rich mac ‘n four cheeses is but a fading memory, it’s time clear the kitchen and pack the dishwasher. The girl will ask the boy to please do the kitchen since she made dinner. These are their responses:
Boy Girl
I’ll do it now. I just want to see if Jeremy Clarkson reaches Edinburgh on one tank of petrol in his floating tractor.Later… You didn’t have to tidy the kitchen. I said I’d do it! I can’t relax and enjoy Jeremy’s motoring exploits if the kitchen is untidy. I’ll just do it myself.Later… When I said I wanted it done, I meant now!
Ridiculous argument over béchamel sauce ensues and explodes into fight about the hole in the hosepipe. Doors slam… Grown ups sulk.
  • The toilet has been fixed and no longer sounds like Marge Simpson’s sister when you flush. The door handle had been screwed on straight and the garden shed has been assembled. Ahh… domestic Sunday bliss. No… wait! There’re monkey wrenches, hydraulic torque wrenches and a sod buster (what the whaaaat?) lying all over the granite counter in the kitchen where girl prepares her sundried tomato pesto.
Boy Girl
I’m finished all the DIY. I fixed the blady blah, schmackety schmack thingy bobb, and the… as well as the… Uhm no… You’ll be finished when all your man-tools are packed away in the new man shed.
Ridiculous argument about girl being ungrateful for boy’s hard work ensues and escalates into an argument about that one time in 1999 when boy didn’t introduce girl to his boss at the Christmas function.
  • Girls put smiley faces in their emails, text messages and tweets ☺. Including work emails.  Boys don’t.
Boy Girl
You don’t send an email to a supplier with a smiley face! Of course you do – otherwise how will they know you’re being friendly and chatty?
No argument ensues. Smiley faces don’t warrant a fight.
  • Girls will tell each other absolutely everything about themselves within three minutes of having met. I once sat at a lunch with other members of the media and by the time our drinks arrived I knew that the lady across from had struggled to conceive because her husband’s swimmers had low ambition, the lady next to me had had liposuction on her thighs two months before and the woman on the other side’s sister was getting divorced from her husband of six weeks.
Boy Girl
We don’t share anything private with each other. We don’t even tell each other our reasons for supporting a particular rugby team. But you have to tell each other stuff! How else will you know whether you like the person or not.
Childish argument, along the lines of girls are silly and boys are stupid, ensues.

158693780I honestly don’t believe there are any solutions to the problem of dealing with the world in such different ways. Girls will always tell each other stuff – we have no boundaries. We’ll always use smiley faces J even if it seems unprofessional and we’ll always want the kitchen cleaned right after supper. And boys will never change. Grab a copy of the February issue of Essentials and read about Michelle Priestly who has five little boys under the age of 10! She knows all about the differences between boys and girls…

Tutti fruity, oh Rudy

Pic from

Pic from

Ironically I’m lying in bed with what I have diagnosed as a Horrible Cold. That is the correct medical terminology – Horrible Cold. Just like you get the Awful Man Flu (which my brother tells me is 1 000 times worse than ordinary flu), you also get a Horrible Cold. I have very sharp little razor blades moving around in my throat, a squishy brain wrapped in three layers of cotton wool and a chest that has hundreds of malicious ants running around in it, searching for what, I just can’t fathom.

Pic from

Pic from

I said ironic because I decided, just a couple of days ago, that 2014 is the year I’m going to get super healthy. I had a plan and everything. Today is in fact Day 4 of my eating only raw food. Not the whole day, only until 4pm. The name given to this lifestyle is ‘Raw til 4’. After 4pm I can, if I want to, eat cooked food.

It’s not as difficult as I initially anticipated. But it does involve a whole lot more food! Basically what I do is eat copious amounts of fruit until lunchtime when I eat a very large, delicious fresh salad. Followed in the afternoon by more fruit. Then salad and something cooked for supper. But, like I said, it requires me to eat a lot of fruit. Which is OK – I love fruit.

Pic from

Pic from

Today when I got to the office, I noticed a little ‘Eeyeore’ type cloud loitering in the vicinity of my desk. As I approached, I saw, upon closer inspection, that it wasn’t in fact a cloud symbolising the blueness of Monday, but rather a little swarm (is that the correct collective noun? Perhaps irritation would be better?) of fruit flies.

In my cold-addled brain, this made sense though. I thought to myself that there were bound to be hundreds of famished fruit flies following me around – I must smell like a Kobi-beef fillet steak to a lion who’s been forced into vegetarianism for a while (somewhat like my Mister feels…) But, as the cotton wool threads slowly detangled, it dawned on me that it was in fact not normal to have fruit flies following one. And anyway, what did I think? That they’d flown behind my car in rush-hour traffic dodging treacherous taxis and plucky motorcyclists?

Pic from

Pic from

Where they actually came from is not nearly as exciting as if they had tracked me from the house, wearing tiny little fly goggles and those 1930s leather pilot hats that have the flappy bits over the ears. They’d merely been attracted to the dustbin which hadn’t been emptied of Friday’s fruit remains before the weekend began.

Tenacious and daring fruit flies aside, the irony is simple to understand. I began an exciting new food journey as a means of getting extraordinarily healthy, only to be besieged by an onslaught of cold thingimajigs that make you feel very not healthy. If you you’re feeling miserable and down-in-the mouth, for whatever reason, I have just the thing to cheer you up: a raw chocolate mousse made from avo, cocoa, dates and agave syrup. Or, if that doesn’t tickle your fancy or your taste buds, grab a copy of the February issue of Essentials magazine (out Monday 20 January) and enjoy fab fashion, delicious food, hot décor and spoil-yourself beauty. Plus loads of entertaining real-women features.

The dog days are over

Jimmy used to sleep in the shower and give our guests a fright when they went to the toilet. He also used to get up and pointedly leave the room if you coughed. For some reason he couldn’t stand coughing. And he’d often use the couch as a facecloth. He’d walk along the couch and rub his hairy face on it. He was a real character and he’s left a huge hole where he used to be.

Jimmy James Bartholomew Douglas Monster was our little cross bearded-collie. We’re not sure what he was crossed with but it was something very intelligent and beautiful. And quirky. Like a unicorn. He was a unique dog with so many fabulous idiosyncrasies, and more than one of our friends have referred to him as a ‘legend’. He was a legend.

We met Jimmy 13 years ago at the Animal Anti-cruelty League. We’d decided we needed to adopt a puppy but, what we weren’t prepared for was the way he’d become so entrenched in our lives and play such a central role in shaping our lifestyle.

We’d spend many hours just watching Jimmy playing when he was a puppy. He’d find the most banal objects ridiculously entertaining and, even right into old age, he’d spend many happy hours playing with an old plastic ice-cream container. In fact that became his pre-dinner ritual. He’d push it around in front of him along the ground, grab it in his teeth and toss it high into the air before catching it in his mouth again. Like a very talented seal. Only less smelly.

And feeding time came to play a central role in all our lives for a long time. When Jimmy was seven, he was diagnosed, after a being very very sick, with diabetes. This diagnosis rocked our worlds and completely changed our lives. It meant that Jimmy had to be fed at regular intervals in order to keep his blood sugar levels stable as we couldn’t test them regularly like a person with diabetes would. And he had to get insulin injections twice a day.

This meant that if we wanted to go away over night we’d have to find a babysitter who’d be willing to take on the responsibility of administering twice-daily injections. Fortunately we have family who loved him as much as we did and were willing to help out.

When we moved into the first house we owned, we bought off plan. This meant that, when we first moved in, we didn’t have a front gate at the bottom of our driveway in the complex and there was nothing to stop Jimmy from running out. We erected a little makeshift fence using wooden flower bed edging. Which was hilarious because it was only about 30cm high. But it was enough to keep Jimmy in. He stood smartly behind it, peering out through the crosses, but never trying to get out.

Jimmy got sick suddenly with an aggressive growth in his abdomen and his health deteriorated so quickly. Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye. It was the only fair thing to do. It wasn’t an easy decision, it never is, but we knew that he was counting on us protect him, as we had throughout his life, and make sure he didn’t suffer at all.

We loved Jimmy like he was a child, and for a very long time he was our child. And it broke up hearts to let him go. But I know that wherever he is, he isn’t alone. The other day, while talking to my editor about him, the word ‘Jimbo’ popped into my head, completely out of the blue. The only person who used to call Jimmy, Jimbo was my father in law, who passed away two years ago. So I know that wherever our boy is now, he’s in good, caring hands. If you’ve let a furry friend go, and your heart is still tender, please share your experiences with me.