Music for a happy heart

You know that uncontrollable feeling you get when you come across a really fantastic and fulfilling song? That painful and pleasurable mix of happiness and nostalgia that makes your heart skip a beat, your stomach feel a bit hollow and your eyes tear up just so… oh, you don’t? Well, this is awkward.

Anyway, moving swiftly along then…

I was lucky enough to get that feeling again today in a way that I haven’t gotten it since hearing Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros through the wooziness of sleep on some random Eastern Cape road more than a year ago. And, let me tell you, I’m still basking in the gorgeous glow!

So, let’s just get right down to the juicy details, shall we not?

The song is called Up and the band behind it is the curiously named duo, Black Handed Kites and I came across it via a tweet by Bouwer Bosch from Straatligkinders and Dans Dans Lisa fame, in which he openly admits to being “jealous of their sound.”

As far as I can tell, the band is still quite new on the SA music scene, but if this song is anything to go by, they’re going to skyrocket to folky fame pretty soon.

Here, check it out. Tell me what you think!

Monday poem

Twas the day before pay day, and all through my purse

Not a cent was ka-ching, chinging, not a note sang a verse

The fridge was deserted, left completely bare

In the hopes that a grocery shopping trip would soon be there.

In the mean time, I was nestled all snug in my bed

Because, frankly, that’s all you can do when you’re stuck in the red.

My friends were out partying, my family going for breakfast, dinner and lunch

Every time they had to pay for me, I bet they wished they could just give me a punch.

But, here’s some good news… And I’m sure you’ll agree

It’s about time you were hearing it from me.

Today is Monday, and it may bring those blues

But tomorrow is a bright new day, and it starts with a Tues!

With a vibration and a famous Beep-beep,

It will be rung in while I’m still asleep,

With a welcome text from FNB, that will say

“Today is the day you will get your pay and, once more, be okay!”

Yippee yay!

– Cute piggy picture by Imar Krige

 

 

Dallas Clayton: Bringer of awesomeness

If you’ve never heard the name Dallas Clayton before, I wouldn’t be surprised. Perhaps a tiny bit disappointed and sad for you, but not at all surprised.

You see, this lovely and crazy man is a children’s author all the way from the United States of America and, well let’s just be honest, really doesn’t even feature on our South African scene at all. But, let me tell you something… HE SHOULD!

http://veryawesomeworld.com/awesomebookofthanks/inside.html

He’s written two Awesome Books – no really, that’s what they’re called – An Awesome Book and An Awesome Book of Thanks and spreads encouragement and childlike joy wherever he goes. The seemingly silly little poems and cuddly, colourful illustrations he posts on his Tumblr pretty much make my day, almost every day and this is why:

Cool, hey?

So, if you find yourself in desperate need of a burst of energy, a little giggle or just a refreshing thought, it’s time you followed that link to the Dallas Clayton Tumblr, feed it into your favourites, your google reader or your Blog Lovin’ list and… wa-lah! Magic!

It works every time!

 

Snaps: Roadtrippin’ delights

I recently got to go on a six-day trip along the Garden Route and up to the Eastern Cape for work. While there were a few stressful moments, being work and all, the trip was rather refreshing and gave me an opportunity to see some sweet, awesome and interesting things.

Here are a few…

Me. Taken on Wilderness Beach

How about a walk on air? Wilderness beach

I love these Eastern Cape trees. Shamwari game reserve

Pinching for the loo it seems. Shamwari Game Reserve

Die klippertjies onder ons voete. Wildernis strand

Watcher of the Wolf Sanctuary gates

One shot costs you R500... Shamwari Townhouse, PE

Yum

Yum. Taken in Storms River

Lost in the '50s. Storms River

Baby, baby, sweet, sweet. Shamwari Game Reserve

Mom and baby blur. Shamwari Game Reserve

Another beauty. Shamwari Game Reserve

Monkey curtains. Lake Pleasant Living

Best friends. Oceana beach and wildlife reserve

Bubesi. Shamwari Game Reserve

 

7 Things I learnt at Rocking the Daisies

1. Playing the damsel in distress always works wonders, as Marieke and I found out while pathetically trying to pitch the pen-less tent my wonderful BF, Morne lent us. First we borrowed a hammer from the guy next door, but when we evidently had no clue what to do with it, the guy camping right behind us came to offer his services. Don’t think his British girlfriend was too impressed, but oh well!

2. The best place to be in a heatwave is… under a tree. It’s true! We tried a few of the music tents, we tried a little stall selling crystals, we tried hats, sunglasses and sunscreen, but the best place turned out to be a little patch of trees conveniently close to the main stage. I even had a little nap there.

Or you could just make some shade of your own...

3. Murphy and his stupid little law gets me every time! For instance – I’m not a person who particularly LIKES cold showers, but when I woke up on Saturday morning and found myself slap bang in the middle of the boiler rooms of hell – further confirmed by the sinful conversations of our close by neighbours – I thought it might be a good idea.

So, off I went to the designated media area with its distinct VIP air and its wonderfully short queues to make the most of my accreditation. I fell in line behind a few of the other hot, bothered and bedraggled chosen ones and patiently waited my turn.

Finally at the front of the queue, I watched the sets of shuffling feet peeking out beneath the five or so doors with growing anticipation and was overjoyed to hear the welcome sound of a lock unlatching… only to have the previous occupant tell me: “Just be careful, there’s ONLY hot water in this one. And it’s boiling.” I stood there for a moment, weighing up my options and decided clean hair is more important than cooling down, so to the shower I went.

Bad decision all in all: too much shampoo + scorching water = a mess of ever-frothing soapy hair. Dry and soapy hair + rock fest dust = a nest of tangles alike to dreads, just much less attractive. Hygiene fail if ever there was one. So, does anyone know if Johnson&Johnson’s No More Tangles works for grown-ups too?!

4. Old habits die hard… especially among old friends. I was lucky enough to meet up and party with 3 of my oldest friends. We all went to primary school together and belonged to a super group of seven girls. Five of them had been together since preschool and the other two of us were invited – because that’s how primary school girls roll – to join when we started going to the school in grade 6. Anyway, sometime during grade 6 or 7 we came up with an alphabet of hand signs to foil the efforts of those around us to pry on our all important conversations. Guess what?! We can still communicate in this manner almost faultlessly! Yay for Anchen, Erica, Helene and I – Ilze, Lani and Elzaan were greatly missed! Hoe lykit met ‘n reunie, dames?!

Sadly Helene was missing here 🙁

5. I like Lark more every time I see them… especially the tribal-tinged love song “Brave.” I couldn’t find an official music video, but press play on the video below, taken at The Assembly in 2009 to get a bit of a taster.

6. Crop tops and short shorts are on the fashion cards this summer – *Groan* Which means I guess I am on the fashion bench. On the brighter side I also glimpsed a lot of gypsy-inspired looks, which I LOVE! So, guess I will just be cashing in on that as much as I can.

I really liked this look, however. Very vintage

7. I like leaving early on a Sunday – I know it sounds lame, but I find lingering around rock festivals on the last day a bit depressing. So, soon after waking up and waiting in the Daisy Den queue for about an hour to shower – which was wonderfully mild – Marieke and I packed our stuff and hit the road to be back in Cape Town before 10. And I kind of didn’t regret it… much fun was had over the other two days, so all was good!

Ray Ban beach balls bouncing around during aKing

Marieke, Alicia and Anchen being all merry and stuff

Cool headgear was a must!

Sunset dreaming

Some stompers in the Nu World Beats Ring

Peachy Keen - the coolest girls around

Cool fishing hat 🙂

Sneaky, sneaky! Second hand books

Man, oh man! I’m really neglecting my dear old Gypsified… and it’s a shame! So much to blog about, but so little time (and internet access outside of work – which I actually have to use for, well, work!). But, I’m going to do my best to post at least two little things this week – so keep your eyes peeled!

In the mean time, I have finally found out why I am obsessed with second hand books and can’t help but buying a few a month.

Wise words: Race

There are two races of men in the world, but only these two – the “race” of the decent man, and the “race” of the indecent man. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people. In this sense, no group is of ‘pure race’ – and therefore one occasionally found a decent fellow among the camp guards.

Viktor E. Frankl from the book Man’s Search for Meaning 

 

Of wildness and wilderness

As I grow older and ever more *ahem* responsible, I often find myself pondering the long lost magic of wildness and wilderness, and the curious way in which I seem to seek them out at every hint of an opportunity.

Now, the wildness of which I speak is not so much tearing down the highway at breakneck speed on a motorbike (although I guess that’s part of it), but rather the natural state of mind we are born into. That original craziness with which we navigate the world as children – exuberant, curious, joyous… and yes, somewhat shy – but have to lose somewhere along the way in the name of normality and socialization.

In my mind ‘wildness’ is as simple as the following little anecdote from Maurice Sendak, author of the highly acclaimed children’s book Where the wild things are, that Imar shared the other day:

“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”

 

While observing a few deer amble up to a pond close to their house in the North of Canada the other day, my little cousin, Tammy-Suede (8 years old) touched on the wiser side of this wildness when she nonchalantly told my aunt Madi: “that’s the thing with deer, they don’t need to go to school, they already know how to do everything.” (Hehe! Yay for Facebook, otherwise I wouldn’t know these sweet everyday things about my Canadian cuzzies).

Wilderness, on the other hand, is a collective name, I guess, for the places where I feel the creative hand of God most clearly. The places unhindered by human interference, or alternatively triumphant despite it.

Phantom forest amphitheater

Like the forest amphitheater we visited this evening for a Chris Chameleon performance: wood chips crunching beneath our soles as we headed to our picnic blanket seats, exultant Blue Gums stretching up to tickle the stars (momentarily covered over with clouds) and, blending in perfectly with its Phantom Forest surrounds, the ruins of an old abandoned house – beautiful in the way only broken things can be – finding new purpose as a picturesque stage for poignant acoustic performances.

In my daily work life I browse the internet for inspiration and continually catch myself lingering over images of untouched landscapes and animals with that intangible ferocious purity in their eyes.

I take late afternoon walks to De Waal Park and have to stop myself from greeting and striking up conversations with each of the gnarled and wisened old trees I come across in all their shapes, colours and spring beauty along the way. When I’m lucky enough to escape the city – whether to the mountains of the Cederberg or the lushness of the Eastern Cape bush – my heart starts mourning the leaving before I’m even fully there.

Music, stories and poetry with something of toil and adventure, transcendent love and brutal kindness, stark reality and some edges of crazy magic fill my head and soul.

And people… I find myself forever drawn to the ones who carry with them the freshness of the mountains, the fragrance of the forests, the saltiness of the sea or the unmistakable scent of wild grasses crushed underfoot.

But still I find it exceedingly hard to access, or perhaps, more accurately, retrieve my own essential wildness.

To capture it somewhere between the initial, innate reaction and the forced polite response. Between the spontaneous exclamation and the self-conscious ‘but what will they think?’ To grasp it for once and for all before it once again slips between the cracks of who I really am and what I’ve become.

But, alas! It dances and dances just beyond my reach… but at least I know it’s there. Somewhere.

 

In a bit of a stew

So, the other evening Morne and I decided to try our hand (hands?!) at making stew.

Now, I knew from the start that it would be a bit of a mission, because Morne and I have wildly different cooking methods. Although neither of us follow recipes to the tee, he is just those few steps more extreme than I am. You see, he could easily empty out my (or actually, mostly, Marieke’s) entire herb rack in one quick go and ALWAYS ends up sneaking one too many chili into any dish. And while I used to hover over him, gasping in horror and despair everytime he did something like cook pasta in the water just used for boiling pumpkin in (very eco friendly, I know I shouldn’t complain), I have started leaving him be and letting him live out his craziest culinary fantasies while I grit my teeth and pretend to read in my room.

And the worst of all – his dishes are ALWAYS more delicious thank mine 🙁

But, my first ever home-cooked stew was most definitely NOT going to suffer this forced disinterested distance. I was, after all, the one who found the delectable-looking bits of beef shin in Pick ‘n Pay that inspired the whole process.

Anyway, once we’d decided to agree to disagree on pretty much everything and gotten all the ingredients together – a packet of potjie mix, the above mentioned meat, a sachet of bisto and a sprinkling of brown onion soup – we suddenly realised that we actually had no idea how to put together this dish our mothers so effortlessly seem to produce!

We got about as far as browning the onions and meat… and then decided to consult the recipe book my aunt Fiona gave me for my birthday a couple of years ago. Now, let me just tell you, it is no Reuben Riffel masterpiece (although I do happen to have one of those as well, it somehow seemed a bit lofty for our purpose), but a rather humble – though very neat and practical – ring-bound book filled with cute kiddies drawings’, suitable bible verses at the bottom of each page and “Aunt so-and-so’s apple tart” type recipes. The fact that it was produced by the ALPHA church in Centurion with so much personality and heart made the fact that it was index-less entirely forgivable (though not entirely un-annoying)!

So, what was I to do but flick through the meat dishes section at top speed – lest the cooking process get delayed too long, and the tangible tension in the kitchen build even more – and scan for the simple word ‘stew‘?

When I finally spotted it, I didn’t even bother reading the first part of the name, because frankly, would beef stew differ that much from lamb stew or chicken stew or pork stew? Probably not, so I started reading it aloud to Morne and a curious Marieke who was lurking about the kitchen door, hoping to catch explosive glimpses of Nadia and Morne cooking show spectacular.

Only once I noted that they were absolutely hosing themselves with laughter, did I pay any attention to what I was saying:

“Right, what we need to do: cut the elephant in bite-size pieces (this will take about two months), prepare the gravy using bisto and water… wait, what?!”

Suitable bible verse - see?!

I stared at the page in disbelief for a moment or two and then burst out laughing too. Those ALPHA rascals had managed to trick me and trick me good with their sick little joke hidden away on the last page of the meet dishes section in their cute little recipe book!

Casting that aside, we decided to do what we usually do and just wing it! Well, it ended up being one of the most delicious stews I’ve ever tasted – and not least of all because of the iron fist with which I reigned over my kitchen (and Morne in it) for that one night!

Yay for us!