Browsing "Culture-Shockasaurus Rex"

Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Blog











So I’ve started several blog posts in the past few weeks that I haven’t been able to finish because of time.

Waaa.  (Poor me.  Somebody call a Waaambulance)

The first post was for my Step-Father-Figure’s 70th Bday!  From here on out I shall refer to him as Victory 2010.

That guy is a riot to have around.  I could  sit there and listen to him talk all day.  He is the red-neck to my mothers yogurt-hippie.  He might be from Tiny-Town, Texas, but that guy has an interest in ALL THE THINGS.

My favorite is hearing The Discovery Channel as narrated by Victory 2010.


Happy Birthday Victory 2010!!

A couple weeks back I was having a reflective moment where I looked at some other blogs, like Leauxra’s (her tablet drawings blow my mind!), and Gweenbrick’s (his life in the most genuinely ironic that I’ve ever seen. He should be discussing poetry with mental giants instead of wiping the poop from grown bottoms in an institution.)


I was thinking about Africa.  The sunsets right on the beach by our cottage.


I was remembering the first day I took a long walk on the southern tip of a continent where I knew not a single person.


I was walking in a land where places like Darfur happen.  Somalia.  Rwanda.  The Congo.


Then I thought even further back to Chicago…..


Aaaaaannnnnd thats where I discovered a whole new set of brushes in my drawing program.


Sorry. I go downhill real fast.

In other news, I painted some acorns.

Don’t take this nut-display lightly.

It was a mixed martial arts fight just trying to get them back into the house.

And thats all I have.  Good night.


I’ve always wanted to  like old people.

Same thing with seafood.  I know my life would be enriched if I could learn to like seafood.

One of my favorite television scenes of all time was on the show Futurama.  The “group” took the old guy, Professor Farnsworth, to a spa and he couldn’t handle it.  He jumped out of his scented bath and yelled something to the effect of…


And I think about this scene EVERY SINGLE TIME I SET FOOT IN WALGREENS and the ancient one in front of me pays for everything with pennies out of her coin purse!

You think I exaggerate?

Last night’s evidence!


And if it doesn’t take them an hour to pay, it take them an hour to go over the receipt point by point.



So, it was just my luck that when we moved to Strand, South Africa, we rented a cottage attached to the home of a 93-year-old woman.


Aunty May was….particular.

I visited her with baby Siegfried and we had tea.  I realized that first day (when I found out she had no kids and no close relatives) that God had put me there for a reason.  I had to choose to love her.  I knew it had to do it.

For the next year I spent many many many days strapping Siegfried to my front and walking to the pharmacy to get her hemorrhoid medication.  And when they say “over the counter”, they mean, “You come in and ask for it and we’ll hand it to you over the counter”.


ANUSOL!  Why do these companies have to include the name of the body part???



I can’t stand being in line at the store, holding a big box that has the word VAGISTAT written across the front in pink letters.

And Anusol???  Anus?  Really?  The Dr. Knight announced that they might as well call it Butt-hole-soothe.

And to make things worse, the entire country ran out of the components to make the suppositories.  So I had to go around to ALL THE PHARMACIES and buy them out.


How many times can a girl have this conversation in public without needing therapy?


Many, many times, apparently.

But I did it.  And I changed out her hot water bottles when she was sick in bed.  And I had tea with her almost every single day.

But one day I was sitting in her livingroom and a bizarre thing happened.


First of all, when we first moved to Africa, we lived on that horse farm by the beach.  But we were an hour away from The Dark Knight’s university. So after our 6-month lease was up, we moved into the wine country.

Oh heaven.

It was so beautiful.  We moved onto this little strawberry farm with a cute Indonesian restaurant on it.  And a farm stall.

It was on Polkadraai Road.

The farmland was littered with worker’s houses


Surrounded by mountains.

The land was fascinating.  There were “ruins”.

Was this a swimming pool?  If so, it was HUMONGOUS!


It must have been a pool.  There were stairs.


And beautiful old water spouts.



It was a mystery.  And I LOVE a good mystery.  There isn’t enough mystery in this new world of ours.

The landlord’s house was also incredible.

All the rooms were round and you could only get to the front door by taking one of two sweeping staircases. (they had stamped the date of the house above the door:1944)


The landscaping was amazing.


We lived there for a year. That is where Siegfried was born.

But after he was born, they started construction on another cottage right outside our house.  It was loud and awful.  Plus it was so stinking hot in the summer with no AC.

So we decided to move almost an hour away to a beach village.  Strand.  May’s cottage.

It was like a different world. 


But the point here is that we had found a listing for this cottage, looked at it with a realtor and then moved in.  And there was May.

So here I am, all this time later, sitting in her living room talking about her family. Watching her go through old photos.

Her father had moved to South Africa from Poland in 1899 (he used to tell her about hiding from the Bolsheviks in the sewers).  He came to South Africa and started a clothing manufacturing business which became one of the first in the country. I heard the story a million times.  So many times that I thought my eyeballs would roll out of my head as it spun around on my neck.

They had a home in Cape Town and then they had The Farm.  How many times did I have to hear about the farm?  A bajillion.

So she busts out these pictures and I start looking at them.  I asked her where the farm was and she said it was lost forever.  She hadn’t lived there since the 30’s and 40’s.

She and her sister had gone looking for it 20 years earlier but they couldn’t find it.

Her father had built the house in 1944.


Boy that house looked familiar.  Kind of looked like our old landlords house far far away……

Got me to thinkin’….


And then she showed me a picture (of which I DIDN’T get a copy) of her sister sitting on the side of an enormous cement swimming pool.  Dated 1946.  I asked her about it and she said they would have hundreds of people out for parties after the war.

And then she showed me this picture of her father next to the farm gate….





Needless to say we both had our minds blown.  Out of ALL THE PLACES IN AFRICA, we had moved from her old farm into her current house.  She cried sweet old lady tears and I laughed.  But not at her.  And she laughed too.  And we were bonded forever.

I drew a big map for her and showed her pictures (she couldn’t leave the house on account of her tummy).  It was amazing.  The story, not her stomach issues….. those were totally not cool….

Anyway, May died last month at the age of 95.  I love her with all my heart.  I’ll see her again. And she’ll have her own teeth in Heaven.  And no hemorrhoids.  Please, Dear Lord, let there not be hemorrhoids in heaven….

I miss Chicago. And the Cookies I polished off 2 hours ago.

I walked outside today and it was all…


Summer in San Antonio it THE WORST.  I hate it.  I dread it like I used to dread the winter in Chicago.  But at least winter was INTERESTING.

(I found this old photo laying around)


There is nothing interesting about melting your face off.

Really, if I were a millionaire (wow. Don’t even know how to spell that word), I would have a winter house here and a summer house there.

May is the best time to live downtown Chicago.  Its warm for the first time in MONTHS.  The billions of dollars worth of city landscaping is finally making an appearance.  Tulips EVERYWHERE.

I miss it with all my heart.  I don’t miss the homeless problem.  I don’t miss all the spit on the sidewalk…

I’m addicted to this drawing..


We made some of our best friends there.  So fun just walking out the door (here’s the view from our window at night)


…and having the whole world RIGHT THERE.  Although, one day me and ebirdie and The Fat Marathoner were walking down the street and weird things happened.  Like, weirder than usual….

We lived on Lasalle.  You could see the board of trade way down there at the end of the street.

Alarmingly accurate, I know.


So we were walking down a sidewalk with shrubbery.


…..when suddenly this massive rat ran out of the bushes.



I was all…


I mean, what kind of rat in its right mind would run out of the bushes in broad daylight??  And the only thing more frightening than a rat, is a rat that finally ate the wrong thing and is now completely “scooters”.


But then, this big squirrel ran out directly behind the rat.


And I was all…



And then to my neverending horror, the squirrel tackled the rat, flipped it over and and started biting his stomach!

* Tasmanian Devil Sound Effects



Ok just one more time!!



Disgusting!!!!  That thing was like a freaking Honey Badger!

I looked over at buddies and they weren’t noticing the carnage that was etching its way into my psyche along with all that poop I discovered in that gas station bathroom!

The Fat Marathoner was like….

And ebirdie was all….



And apparently I was the only one on the planet suffering.


It was tragic.

Anyway, I was digging through my emails and found a couple pictures of ebirdie and I.

This one was from 2003.  Almost a decade ago.  Neither of us have changed too much.  Except I had bangs!!!!!!!


And then here we are on one of my visits back from South Africa.  2008.  Again with the bangs.  I was pregnant in this picture.  For the first time.  And didn’t know it.  


But on the 30-hour plane ride home I stayed up watching I Am Legend.  I started doing the ugly cry when his dog died and couldn’t get over it.  I had to turn the movie off and sob into my neck pillow.

And then to make this ending completely random, here is a drawing I did of ebirdie’s daughter.

Sweet, sweet girl…..


Take THAT, Logic & Reason (you think you’re so big)!

Update: I played the yeahwrite challenge last week and it was SO FUN.  If you have a blog you should take a look at the contest.  Click here to check out new blogs and vote for your favorites!

We’ve had nothing but average neighbors….

Wow did this post get away from me!  I started drawing about one thing and then totally went off on a stupid tangent.  You know when you’re writing a letter and after a while your handwriting gets really bad?

These Drawings.  Bad.

I started saying something about our upstairs neighbor.  Girlfriend doesn’t even have the door shut behind her and her laundry is STARTED.  Every day after work its a bee-line to the patio where her machines are.  


Her noises are :


Clop Clop Clop (OR Stomp..)

Zzzzhweeeeek (sliding glass door opening)

Slam (closing the washer lid)

whirwhirwhirwhir.  Its like, what do you do to your clothes at work and how do you get them off that fast??


We’ve moved a lot so we’ve had a TON of neighbors.  There was Dog Lady, in Chicago, who liked to slip things under the door. Or just wait for me to come out…..

She was reeeeaaaalllll nice…..


And then we shared a duplex with a witch.  She was a nice witch about my age.  She and her buddies would have a little Circle of Earth Love (or whatever) in the field across the street and then they’d congregate on the lawn drinking wine and listening to Enya.


We’d come home and there would be like 20 o them out there, and I’d be all..


And when we lived on the farm there was a very tall, very large guy who lived next door.  His absolute very favorite thing to do was to water his porch.

Yes. The cement.

And he’d do it in the shortest shorts he could find.  And the entire time he was out there, he was screaming at his dog in an English accent.  Our Saturdays were basically this:


But my favorites were Aubergine and Francis.  Aubergine owned the horse farm on the beach in South Africa and we rented the tiny flat in the paddock from her. Francis was her daughter.


(Fricky the parrot was ALWAYS present)

They were quite the duo.  Always fighting.  Always home.  They both loved The Dark Knight. Francis would corner him and ask him bizarre questions.


Aubergine (who resembled Denathor on Lord of the Rings, look him up on Google Images….) liked to skinny dip in the salt water pool in front of their house.


To say they were eccentric would be a vast, grave, ridiculously inadequate understatement.  They kept horses for other people and enjoyed letting them graze inside their fenced yard. They would leave the french doors open so the horses could come in and eat the apples off the diningroom table.

I say its all fun and games until somebody takes a car-sized dump on the floor.

Of course, knowing Aubergine, she would have  let the dogs clean it up.


So one day The Dark Knight and I were outside chilling when Francis comes running out of the main house screaming.


She did a lot of screaming so we didn’t alert the press.  Bur we did follow her to the front of the house and saw this:


One of the horses was in the swimming pool, upside down, and Aubergine (and her enormous dress) was trying to hold his head up.  What the…?

So of course The Dark Knight jumped in.


Turns out the horse had fallen in (even thought there was a net over the pool. Idiots all around) and he was completely tangled in the net.  The Dark Knight got him mostly untangled and sent a still-screaming-Francis into the house for scissors.  She came back out with a giant butcher knife and passed it off. To me.

So I stood there like an idiot with a huge knife.

The horse eventually (and quite suddenly) lunged out of the water and came up the steps.  But his back hoof was still caught on the net and the net was attached to the pool.


He was totally about to freak, so I pulled swift ninja move.


…and  sliced through the net.  The horse went flying one way and the net snapped back into the pool,  trapping a still-screaming-Aubergine.


…aaaaaannnd thats where I realized I had gotten a little side-tracked here…..

Sorry.  Come back again for more coherent thoughts….


Update-I”m submitting this post for a great weekly writing “contest” at

You should go check them out. Lots of great writers.  Vote for some!

Happy New Years Eve, Drunkards!

3 years ago about this time, I had me a baby.  We were living in South Africa then.  Living on a farm.  Strawberries and palm trees.

While I was pregnant I’d head into the fields and pick my weight in strawberries.Until I was too fat to bend over.  Then I’d just waddle up to the farm stall and buy them.It was in the dead heat of summer (December 29th) that I went into labor at 2 in the morning.And by 4 in the morning, we were trucking down a dark country road on the southern tip of Africa.  Everyone we knew was on another continent.  It was 8 in the evening in the States so they were probably all leisurely lounging and dining at the exact same time I was writhing and imploding.When we got to the hospital, there was a gaggle of white ducks blocking the main entrance. Like 47 of them.So we went in the emergency exit and I attempted to casually waddle my way down the halls.  I was fine, for the most part, until The Dark Knight said……and I suddenly felt panicky.  I realized I’d never been in a hospital bed before.And there was nobody for 10,000 miles around to call if we needed help.And that’s when the sweaty nausea hit me.And then they put us in a back-up utility closet delivery room with no AC and I was queasy and hot and confused because all the nurses spoke Afrikaans.

*I apologize to my Afrikaner friends for butchering your cool language.

And when the doctor came in to deliver the baby, they had to rearrange all the weird furniture.AND he didn’t wear scrubs of any kind.And so on December 30th, Siegfried joined us in the non-air-conditioned office/closet/storage room.

Then they kicked us out on New Years Eve at 4. We got in our old car (with no seat belts) and I sat in the back seat to hold onto Siegfried’s carrier so it wouldn’t go flying.  It was about 90 degrees out and the windows were open as we sped back down the country road. That was a little slice of Heaven.We arrived at the farm at almost 5 in the evening.  As we pulled onto our property, I noticed a gaggle of neighbors (kind of like the ducks), milling about in front of a neighbors cottage. The cottage belonged to Mr. Creepy and his wife.  I’d NEVER seen her before but I saw Mr. Creepy all the time.  Standing on the hill in front of our cottage.




…clothed in tight, white, micro-shorts….


So, they saw us getting out of the car and suddenly everything began to look like a zombie apocalypse.They were all staggering towards us.And I was afeerd.And that’s when I remembered it was New Years Eve.  And that some people actually drink alcoholic beverages on this day. :)

But come on man! It was barely 5 o’clock and these guys were already 3-sheets-to-the-wind.They surrounded us.*Lekker is the only Afrikaans word I know.

And we held onto their arms to keep them from toppling.And then somehow we extricated ourselves from the invasion and made it into our own cottage, firmly locking the door.Happy New Year!


Strawberry Fields Still able to bend over.

Not so much now.Back from the hospital.Our cottage and a lovely ditch that somebody decided to dig beneath it.At home with the babakie.