Monday, April 28, 2014

You think about your aunt.

You lie awake at night, unable to sleep, and try to find a still place inside. But all you feel is an emptiness, a vacuum where something used to be, closely followed by fear: that everyone you love will slip through your fingers eventually, no matter how tightly you hold on whether taken by disease, or a car accident, or quietly in the night, like some ghastly magic trick.

You think about how your dad wept openly on the phone when you spoke on the morning following his sister's death, how it was the first time you’d ever heard him really cry, how grief can connect the living, which is at least something beautiful amidst the pain and confusion.

But mostly, you think about your aunt. The sound of her voice. The way her pretty blue eyes crinkled when she laughed. How absurd it is that these things no longer exist. You think about all the times you were together, how few there seem to have been, and of a life you were really only aware of in your peripheral vision.

You think about her diagnosis in October, about how hopeful she seemed; about her 60th birthday party in November, how happy she seemed. If you’d known it was the last time you were ever going see her, would you have said or done something differently?

You think about her sons (your cousins), her husband (your uncle), and how devastated they must be, how robbed they must feel, how utterly inadequate anything anyone says or does is in the face of that kind of grief. You want this to make you feel more appreciative of all the love in your life, of everything you still have, but mostly you just feel afraid, because you finally understand that all things end: eventually, surreally, pointlessly. You joke that you’re having an existential crisis, but it’s more like an existential malaise, a slow-burn disillusionment. But you also understand that these times are probably necessary, and like quicksand it’s best not to struggle against them.

You can’t make the memorial service the last-minute flights to Joburg cost more than you can afford but you drive up to Calitzdorp a few days later to be with your parents, to talk about your aunt, to remember her, toast her. You hug your dad and don’t want to let go, because … who knows?

You spend time in your mom’s herb garden, you go for walks at dusk, you take in the ancient beauty of the Klein Karoo. You try to snap out of it, and almost succeed. 

But in the dark, quiet hours, these thoughts still rattle around your head like dice in a cup, and you know you need to get them out, to write them down. So you put on your dressing gown, close the bedroom door quietly on your sleeping husband, pick up a pen, a writing pad, and tip-toe to the couch...

You think about your aunt, Dianne MacLarty Van Dyk.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

This & that (okay fine it's a favourites list)

Frothy chai rooibos.

I am obsessed with Woolworths' Chai Rooibos. It is the Most Amazing Beverage Discovery since ... since ... WATER. Has it been on the shelves for ages? Why wasn't I informed?
It's aromatic and dreamy and comforting. Just spices (cassia, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves) and rooibos, nothing else. I think it'll be amazing in warm coconut milk, but I haven't tried that yet. 


Earthsprout blog, by certified nutter Elenore Bendel Zahn.

I discovered this blog a little while ago and am completely addicted to it, which is odd because I'm not a vegetarian or a tree hugger... I don't even think GMOs are evil, so I'm pretty sure she would not approve of me. But I can't stop reading it, because she's completely bonkers, in the best sense. Her writing is bursting at the seems with manic, frenzied passion and positivity... I don't know what she puts in that green juice of hers, but if that's truly the source of her magical powers, I'd drink a litre of it every day. Her broken English is adorable and hilarious. Here are a few examples:
  • 'I seriously felt like I was hallucinating but then I remembered I hadn’t sprinkled hemp seeds on my breakfast that morning, phew!'
  • 'So what is it that’s so rocking about Romanesco, it’s obvious bold Lady Gaga-ness set aside?'
  • 'Well, let me start by saying that this year round I so not felt like making a raw food cake for my B-day. Nope I wanted an over the top real life baked cake (gasp!).'
I know imagine wanting an actual baked cake for your birthday? Gasp!

I don't want to rip her off, because her verve is massively inspiring, even if I'm too cynical to buy into her idealism. Mostly I like her kooky writing and beautiful pics (she lives on the edge of a wood somewhere in Sweden with her husband and baby, and she ain't exactly hard on the eyes). My brand of lifestyle porn, I guess.

But thanks to her I've started eating more veggies (example, this morning's breakfast: chopped tomatoes and grated beetroot [!] on toast, topped with poached eggs, garlicky yoghurt and dill; insanely good), and even drinking a strange concoction of fresh ginger, lemon juice and turmeric in the mornings (my take on this)... I don't know if it's doing any good, but I do feel like some of her fairy dust is rubbing off on me. Heck, if it's a placebo, I'll take it.

Chopped tomatoes and grated beetroot on toast, topped with poached eggs, garlicky yoghurt and dill.

In other news...
Vice has launched a food site called Munchies. (Oh you knew that already did you? Well bully for you.)

Interesting reads: