Friday, 25 May 2012

I know they have souls

For all the sleepy people waiting for Friday to finish...

Perfect spot to take a nap

I stole this from an email I just received - one of those 'take the time to smile' ones full of cute or amusing photos with tongue-in-cheek captions. And wow. It may just be me but that looks COMFY. I've used my Great Dane or Boerbull as a pillow before but never a cow.

Other than the fact that I am a tad knackered from an overindulgence of wine the previous two nights, this photo makes me glad to be seeing my animals on the weekend. They really add so much to a life. They may be a handful and require time and effort - you can't lead a lock-up-and-go lifestyle - but each pet I've known, whether they are my own or a friend's or one I met in the street, has it's own personality. Even our gander has his own special quirks. And because of a life lived amongst them, I do not know how people say that animals don't have souls.

That may take us back to the question of what a soul actually is. I don't know what it is per se but I think it's what makes us us. Indiviually speaking, not humanoid speaking. Our genetic make-up makes us human. I think our soul is the thing that stores our personality, way of thinking - the stuff that makes us different from the person next to us. If we cloned a body and made it the shell that each of us walked in, then the soul would still tell us apart. You may not like the term 'soul' so go for whatever you think best suits: soul, spirit, force, whatever.

Anyway, whatever they are, I am convinced that animals have them. Some may disagree and say that certain breeds of dogs have certain traits which have been bred into them and so it falls under the realm of genetics not the soul. I do not deny this is true. However, I have know at least four Great Danes, so that's four individual animals of the same breed. And sure, there were traits that they all had - their penchant for leaning against you as they crab walk, their gentle-giant natures and their intimidating growl. But then there were the things that each of them had that were their own special personalities. Shadow was a mothering, protective type who would sit her bum down on a couch and quizzically watch TV with us. Othello was my sister's boy, Bianca was mine - not by ownership but by favourites - they unfortunately weren't with us long enough for their full selves to bloom. And then there is Picasso with whom I have the closest bond. He is intelligent and playful - at 9 years he still dances with me in the kitchen and runs circles round me in the garden so proud of his rope that he wants you to play with it too, but won't give it to you without a game and a fight.

I have crazy owners but it's fun!Rarrrrrr! Hehehehe....Oh young thing, compose yourself...

And those are just the Danes. There was also Grizzly (to name but one of the dogs I've had the priviledge to have known through the years) who is the Boerbull pictured above. Seeing his face in those, well, enough said. We've had a cat who loved to lick Germolene or Jik (maybe she was a closest druggie) if you had it on your fingers. We currently have three pairs of cats - pairs in that they are from the same litter. And within each pair the cats could not be more different. Some are attention-seekers and love human contact, others are more aloof and selective in who they'll sit with or when. As I said, we have a gander who I swear likes to be best mates with the alpha-male dog in the family, and who gets very protective and jealous of his closeness to it. Skittish but gentle donkeys, cheeky horses, parrots that bite your toes or love to eat from your mouth (not a good plan if they've just been fed chillies).

So yes, my point is that they are each their own animal and if you are one of the lucky ones who know the joy of having a pet with whom you have a bond, then you also will know, or will at some time know, the heartbreak that comes along when we outlive them. It's as bad as losing a human family member or best friend. It has been for me anyway. As for those of you who don't have an inkling of what I'm talking about: shame. I really do feel for you. You're missing out on a great part of life.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The value of security

You're at home. You're watching TV, relaxing alone or in the company of family or friends. All is well. You're ready for bed, lock up the house and go to sleep, content to dream. Then you wake up the next morning to find locks cut, doors damaged or even something as simple as an open gate you know you closed. Someone has been there. And suddenly the friendly darkness of the previous night becomes sinister and filled with strange noises and changing shadows.

I don't know if there is any feeling more unsettling than that of knowing a stranger has intruded in your space without your permission, and worse, that they had evil motives. During the last year I have found that it's so easy to become complacent about security. Crime is what happens to other people. Well. It isn't. It happens to you precisely when you aren't looking for it. You drop your guard (assuming you had it up at least once) and all is well for a while if you're lucky and then BAM! You're jumping at commonplace noises in your own house and not sleeping for all the paranoid thoughts or images going through your mind.

It's irresponsible to be complacent about the sanctity of your home, your personal space. On the other hand it's terrible to be the other side of the coin and have to unlock and relock six security measures to leave your door in the morning. Finding the balance is difficult, and exactly where that balance is, I think is different for each of us but I do know one thing for certain: Living in fear is no way to live.

So try not to be paranoid; be vigilant instead. And if you think you're the right type of person, learn to shoot. You can always bury them out back. Fertilising the earth will give them something worthwhile to do.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Share a little sunshine :)

Smile at strangers 
(a decent, good-natured, happy smile; not a creepy I-have-a-dingy-basement-don't-you-want-to-see-it smile),
give cheerful hellos and share any joy you have.
Making others smile, if even for a moment, is a wonderful thing.

I have had the best few days in a long time. And it's thanks to a few good old friends. We forget they're around while wallowing in the doldrums but then they burst in and haul you off your ass and get you smiling and laughing and you think 'How could I have forgotten this?'. Well. I have remembered.

It all starts with a simple invitation to coffee. An invitation heavily laded with you'd-better-bloody-well-make-it-to-the-cafe. You think 'Hey, ok, I haven't seen this person in ages. Guess I could go even though I don't feel like socialising; let's make the effort since they asked so nicely.' So you go and the moment you see them and you get that friendly hug, the grouchiness steadily dwindles to nothingness. Plus the cafe turns out to be a bar.

You meet up with another friend (at this point it doesn't matter if this other is an old or new or barely friend) and you enjoy the conversation and sharing of life's goings-on. As an added bonus after one beverage you all go off to a sports bar that you haven't been to in yonks where you proceed to have a drink, banter with strangers, get your ass handed to you at pool, and watch some beer-pong tournament. Sometimes simultaneously. I would put a link to the sports bar/pub so that you could find it and go there if that's your thing and are geographically able, but I can't find it on the net so that won't happen.

So at least we know that one thing is true: if it's not on the internet, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

To circumvent an entire readership of three of mourning the loss of a possible new place to hang out, I'll direct you to Glenwood Village Shopping Centre. Have at it.

A further joyful time is to be had at the symphony. Don't laugh. It was good. But it turned out I was woefully overdressed for Steers - we went there afterwards to get icecream. I must admit though, pianists are all well and good but I think I'd prefer to watch a violinist soloist or someone on brass rather than a soloist pianist. Just me though. He was still pretty good. Free concerts are generally good anyway. Hoorah for the KZN Philharmonic and being a UKZN student! Plus the evening ended in two spontaneous acts - paid for some elderly gentleman's parking and gave one of the street kids what was left (about half) of my Steers dinner. I hope they, or at least the man, pay it forward in some way, shape or form.

Other/lesser bits of good-vibes came from supervisor meetings not killing me, and waking up this morning to a sunny sky, bouncy music on the radio and a jaunty stroll to Spar to get breakfast at 7am. The bouncy music had me bopping in my room as I got ready for work which is also grand.

So basically, GOOD MORNING world!
(see the first few lines)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Idle wonderings

Ok here's a question for you: on a date involving dinner and a movie, is it better to have the dinner before or after the movie and why? Is it dependent on the movie genre?

This conundrum crossed my mind whilst in the shower this morning. It's amusing to me to see what random things flit through my brain at weird times. Though I suppose the shower is not such a weird place to think. Unless of course you're not actually showering. Just going to stand in the shower to think may be a little... eccentric.

On a wholey unrelated note, ROXETTE IS PERFORMING IN DURBAN IN 3 WEEKS(ish)! I really want to go. I was meant to go to their show this time last year in Cape Town but then I got sick and yellow so I missed it. It's a sign right? What are the chances of them coming to SA three years in a row? Let the penny-pinching begin.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012