Monday, 30 January 2012

Three Special Birthdays

It’s Birthday Week!   This week I am celebrating the birth of three very important Aquarians in my life: my mom Alison, my friend Megan, and my sister Nicky.   Some people think that I get a little bit too excited about birthdays, but I love everything about them; the shopping, the wrapping, the card-making, the cake-eating... everything!   And I especially love it when I find the perfect gift for someone special.  

My mom is super difficult to buy presents for, mainly because I have to think of what to buy for her from my dad as well.   It always amuses me that even after 30 years of marriage, my dad still hands me his wallet on the day before my mom’s birthday, and asks me to help him find her something extra.   He generally has one present planned, but when it comes to getting flowers, wrapping said present, finding something else, organising the birthday meal, and buying a card, that is all left down to me.   He says this is the reason why he had daughters, and I have to admit that I think he would be lost without my awesome present skills!

Megan and I have been friends since we were three and have pretty similar tastes, so this makes it pretty easy to find her the perfect gift.   When I was thinking about what to get Megan this year, I had a quiet chuckle to myself when I remembered one birthday many years ago.   We must have been no more than 5 or 6, and I told my mom that I wanted to get Megan a Barbie outfit for her birthday.   Well my mom dutifully arrives home with this beautiful pink princess dress, and I throw a complete temper tantrum (in typical 5 year old bratty-Karen style) and demand that I want the dress for myself.   Amazingly, my mom folded and ended up buying another - equally beautiful - dress for Megan, and I kept the pink one.   Not much has changed and even now, I sometimes look at what I’ve chosen for Megs and think, “I wish I’d bought that for myself!”

And as for my sister Nicky, she is the kind of person who is happy with whatever you buy her - as long as it isn’t something Twilight-related, you’re safe!   When we were little, Nix and I never wanted to be given the same thing for our birthdays.   About the only thing that we shared was our Lego, and that was because it was expensive and we’d save our birthday money to buy it together.   Even then, there were definite boundaries about who had paid for what and the rights that came along with it!   Being my sister, Nicky also inherited a knack for present buying, so I always have to make sure that her present is a good one.   Then again, if I’m at a loss for ideas, I know that jewellery is always a safe bet.   What girl doesn’t love a bit of bling?  

So I am dedicating this post to these three amazing women.   All of them have played such major roles in my life, and I truly would not be the person I am today without any one of them.   Happy Birthday Mum, Megs, and Nix!   I love you all and I hope that you each have a fantastic birthday .x.

Friday, 27 January 2012

A Day at the Doctor's

Going to the doctor.   Probably one of my least favourite activities.   In fact, it’s right up there with a visit to the dentist and sudden death.   But unfortunately, every now and then, my body betrays me and forces me to face this demon head-on.   Today was one of those times.

As I walked through the hospital’s front door, I was immediately confronted with the stench of sickness.   You know those television adverts that depict cartoon germs in an attempt to get you to buy toilet cleaner?   Well that was all I could see.   Those animated germs floating around in the air, passing from sick person to sick person, cackling maliciously and contaminating everything they touched.   I could almost feel them landing on my skin as I all but sprinted to the reception desk to announce my arrival.

Once at the desk, I get informed that I need a urine sample before I see the doctor.   Interesting.   I can’t say that peeing in a container is one of my strong suits, but I figure it can’t be that difficult right?   If drug addicts and possible pregnant ladies can do it, then so can I!   So I dutifully follow the matron into the procedure room, where I get handed a polystyrene foam cup.   As in, the kind of polystyrene foam cups that are used at children’s birthday parties and team-building workshops.   No sign of the sterilised and sealable container that I had conjured up in my head.   And when I asked the matron if there was a lid for said cup, I received a withering look and directions to the nearest bathroom.

After performing the necessary deed, I stick a wad of toilet paper on top of my lidless cup and leave the bathroom, urine sample in hand.   Why is it that as soon as you concentrate on not spilling something, it becomes that much more difficult to keep steady?   Whatever the reason, my walk down the corridor seemed to take forever, and all I could do was thank my lucky stars that I didn’t have the shaky hands of a coffee addict.   When I finally did arrive at the procedure room, nobody paid the slightest bit of notice to me and I had to wander from matron to matron – all the while holding my polystyrene cup.   Eventually, some kindly soul took pity on me and, after conducting the test, I was told that my urine was fine and that I shouldn’t have bothered her with an unnecessary procedure.   Because carrying around a polystyrene cup of my own urine is my idea of a good time.

Urinating done, I finally get to see the doctor and, after a pretty good consultation, I get told that I need to have some blood tests taken.   Easy Peasey right?   Not for me.   To put it lightly, needles are not my friends.   The mere thought of needles makes me feel sick to my stomach and I start to break out into a cold sweat.   It’s not the pain so much as the whole concept of something jabbing into my skin and drawing out my blood that makes me literally feel faint.   Added to the fact that no one can ever find a vein and I end up getting pricked countless times until they succeed, I am less than enthused as I follow the doctor back into the procedure room.

There I am greeted by this surly looking woman who brusquely tells me to lie down and stick out my arm.   Her bad mood was obviously because she had been told that I was a trouble-maker who enjoyed having her urine unnecessarily tested just for the fun of it.   I do as I am told, trying to calm my nerves, and politely inform her that I normally have my blood taken from my wrist, because my veins are so small.   “Well then you’ve come to the wrong person Missy!” she barks at me.   “I don’t take blood from wrists, so you had better get that idea out of your head right now!”   She then proceeds to plunge a needle into my hand, misses the vein entirely, and yells, “Look at that, you’re so nervous that the needle popped out!   This is because you’re nervous!   Now I need to get someone else to do this, I’m not going through it again!”   She storms out of the room, oblivious to the fact that I am now a withering puddle oozing on the hospital bed and trying not to throw up.   At which point another matron comes in and inserts the needle... into my wrist.  

So after my tormenting experience at the doctor’s office, what have I learnt?   That urine samples involve peeing in lidless polystyrene cups, that needles (and grumpy matrons) are still not my friends, and that I must never get sick again.   Ever.  

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Heidi and Seal No More

Yesterday, I heard the saddest celebrity news ever: Heidi Klum and Seal are officially separating after 7 years of marriage.   This was undoubtedly my favourite power-house couple of all time.   I remember watching them singing their first duet at a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2008 and thinking, “Is there anything that these two can’t do?!”   Both Seal and Klum are independent, talented, successful, and good-looking, yet they seemed to make far more sense together than apart.

For me, Klum and Seal’s marriage always represented the kind of relationship that I hope I might have some day.   They appeared so comfortable with each other, and just always seemed to be having fun.   I love it that they used to renew their wedding vows every year in a themed ceremony, and that their Halloween costumes were always crazy as opposed to sexy.   Their relationship exuded so much energy, passion, and exuberance, and they always looked so happy together.

I think what it all comes down to is that they just seemed so very much in love.   The laughing-all-day-in-bed-with-no-makeup-on kind of love.   The kind of love that people – like Seal – write songs about.   The kind of love that every girl dreams of. 

Friday, 20 January 2012

Lion Cubs Rescued from Smugglers

There was an article that I read on News24 today that I feel that I have to comment on. Yesterday morning in Kimberley, two lion cubs were rescued by the police from three men who had presumably smuggled the cubs over the Botswana border. The cubs, one male and one female, were only two months old and no one is certain what has happened to their mother. They have been examined by a local vet, who said that the cubs are very weak due to exposure from rain. The three suspects’ court date is set for Monday, where they will be charged with “the illegal importation and possession of protected animals without the necessary permits”.

When I hear stories such as this one, I get very mixed emotions. My initial reaction is, of course, anger. Being a great animal lover and a total softie when it comes to anything with four legs and fur, I just cannot understand how some humans can think of treating animals in this way. I realise that the blackmarket value of the cubs (estimated at 
R500 000) has a lot to do with it, but this still doesn’t explain how anyone can be heartless enough to separate two cubs from their mother and sell them off as commodities.

But on the other hand, I also feel hopeful that our country is recognising that these sorts of practices are occurring, and that something is being done about them. The police were tipped off by a member of the public, and I can only hope that more people will get involved in the prevention of animal smuggling and abuse in South Africa. This is going to be the first trial under the new Northern Cape Nature Conservation Act and will hopefully send out a strong message to all those considering animal smuggling in the future.

Although I shed a few tears when I first read this article, I am comforted by the fact that the cubs have been recovered and are now in safe hands. Whilst my faith in humanity has been jarred by the actions of the smugglers, I know that it is still intact when I think about the people who made it their mission to rescue these beautiful animals.

Link to full story on

Thursday, 19 January 2012


I was watching E! Entertainment’s “Live from the Red Carpet: The 2012 Golden Globe Awards”, and there are two dresses that I absolutely have to comment on.   The first is this dress by J. Mendel, worn by actress Claire Danes.   

Danes oozes old Hollywood glamour with her sleek bun and red lip – a look which suits this monochromatic dress perfectly.   The dress’s structured feel at the front is contrasted beautifully with the open back, and I think that she looked magnificent!

The second dress literally had me going into raptures of delight when I saw it: it is of course the Giles Deacon dress worn by Glee actress Dianna Agron.

My first thought was that if this dress were white, I would wear it down the aisle – yes, I think it is that amazing!   The dress is made up of thousands of laser cut outs of swans, and it’s originality and whimsy makes Agron look like a modern-day princess combined with a high fashion model.   I don’t think that I can say much else except that I LOVE THIS DRESS!