Sunday, October 30, 2011


So I finally did it.  I bought myself a Kindle and now I am addicted to reading.  I have to wonder about the timing though, with NaNoWriMo about to start.  If you plan on writing a whole heap then there's no time for reading.
For those not in the know, NaNoWriMo happens every November, where thousands of writers all over the world attempt to write 50 000 words of a novel in 30 days.  It's a huge ask and requires motivation, dedication and a huge abundance of time.  For me the issue is time.  I don't really have the time available and am not too sure how successful I'll be this year.  I did manage the previous two years, but this year it is going to be a struggle and a challenge.  I just hope I'm up for it.
I've done the ground work, research, plot, character sketches.  But despite my preparation I don't feel as if I am in 'the zone.'  I'm not sure how to get there and am hoping that once I start doing my 1600 words a day I'll just somehow magically fall into 'the zone.'  At this late stage it's all I can hope for.  Which is why I'm trying to frantically finish the new Jonathan Kelleman book I downloaded onto my Kindle.
Just over 24 hours until I start the 50 000 words.  Wish me luck!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Family holidays

I have to admit, I'm a slow learner.  The last time I had my hair cut in Kenya I came out looking like a lop-sided Beatle.  That should have made me have second thoughts about getting my hair cut in Kenya again.  It didn't.  So desperate was I to have my overgrown shaggy locks removed and fringe trimmed, that I decided to chance my luck.  This time I look like a stunned mullet.  Yes, you heard me, I now sport a beautiful mullet.  Actually, it's not as bad as it could have been considering the hairdresser never once used a comb or brush on my unwashed hair.  She did use lots of clips though, that she kept between her lips and pulled them out as needed.
Haircuts and bad hair days aside, it's not often these days that we get to have a family holiday with all three of my children together.  As they have grown older and left the nest, it's become quite a rare occurence.  In the past, I have felt my role has been peacemaker, putting my body on the line to stop them from tearing each other's hair out.  This holiday has been different and everybody has gotten along most of the time.
We started off the holiday with a couple of nights in Saltlick in Tsavo, where the infamous man-eating lions once roamed.  I let Tony drive on the safari and he did a great job and even managed to successfully reverse narrowly missing the sheer drop off a steep cliff. 
We did see lions and many other animals, but the most spectacular animal we saw was the aardwolf, I don't think you often get to see them.
On the way to Mombasa we drove through the worst downpour ever, torrential rain that blinded you completely.  It was quite frightening, but when it passed the skies became blue and have been a bright blue ever since.
The beach resort we are staying at in Nyali Beach just a little north of Mombasa is great!  We've been enjoying the swimming pools and stunning views of the Indian Ocean.  It's so peaceful here but it has made me too relaxed.  I know I should be writing, warming myself up for NaNoWriMo in November, but it's far easier just to chillax and enjoy my children. 
Tony and Kerri are both off to Miami for different reasons.  Tony to complete a 4 month internship at the Ritz Hotel in Naples, and Kerri to auction art on cruise ships plying their trade off the coast.  There is a part of me that wishes I was young again and doing something similar, but then I do enjoy my job and the life I lead now.
I can't believe November is nearly here and the start of NaNoWriMo.  I have been good, I've done some research and plotted out the story, so I'm ready to hit the keyboard on November 1st!  Novel Writing Month is just what you need to get your writing back on track again.  I haven't written anything since June, it's just been far too hectic at work, but NaNoWriMo forces you to make the time to write.
But in the meantime, I'll enjoy the rest of my family holiday as I garner the strength needed to write 50 000 words in the month of November!
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oh Rats!

Coping with disappointment is never easy.  You psyche yourself up for something you believe is going to happen, then circumstances beyond your control throw you a curve ball.  Feeling let down can be depressing.  The recent quarter final loss to Australia is a good example.  In my heart-of-hearts I had expected the Springboks to win.  I could already picture them holding the Rugby World Cup Trophy up in the air again.  The number one team in the world.  It was not meant to be.
Once the initial shock of the disappointment has passed, it's time to look at the positives.  I was just as proud of the Springboks in defeat as I would have been as if they had won.  Their sportsmanship and graciousness in defeat was something our youth can learn from.  They played like world champions right up until the final whistle.  All I am saying, is watch out in 2015!  The boys will be back!
There are always things that happen which puts disappointments in perspective.  You can't let them rule your life, you have to move on and focus on something else.  In my case, it is rats in the kitchen.  You all know that UB40 song, right?  Well, please don't sing it.  The rat problem is actually not very funny.  It is traumatising.  Maybe, dare I say it, even more than the Springboks unfair loss.
 Rats are cute.  However, when they get into your food cupboard and leave their droppings everywhere, some of their cuteness dissipates.  A few weeks ago I opened the food cupboard to see a rat quickly jump down and hide in a box amongst the neatly folded supermarket packets I recycle.  My housekeeper called the gardener and he managed to batter the rat to death.
I should have realised that rats are social creatures.  They have friends.  If you have one rat, you surely have another.
A couple of days after the death of the rat, I noticed some items knocked over in my cupboard, a half-eaten biscuit where it shouldn't have been, and what looked suspiciously like some rat droppings.  When I told my housekeeper about it she assured me the rat was dead and those brown crumbs were coffee granules, or cocoa.
On Sunday afternoon while I was reading a book on my bed, I heard a blood-curdling scream from the lounge.  A hysterical Siobhan said she'd seen a rat run down the passage.  We called on Tony, my strapping 1.95m rugby-playing twenty year old son to attack the rat.  He ran into his room screaming like a girl and jumped onto his bed.  If this is the future of rugby in South Africa, I have to wonder about winning the world cup back in 2015.  Eventually he calmed down and grabbed his Maasai spear and went to attack the rat hiding in the bottom of the food cupboard.  The rat, like lightning, jumped over Tony's foot and sped across the kitchen floor to behind the stove.  Although Tony moved the stove and the fridge, the rat had disappeared.
The screaming didn't stop with the rat.  Tony closed his bedroom curtains and a large gecko dropped down onto him.  He flung it across the room with a high-pitched yell.  Siobhan went to the bathroom and started screaming as a large cockroach had positioned itself blocking her way to the toilet.  It seems as if all the Moshi-wildlife had come out after the rains and were determined to make their presence known.
Most shops and markets in Moshi are closed on a Sunday afternoon so we weren't able to purchase some rat traps.  I managed to get two lethal-looking rat traps on Monday.  Tony tested one with my ballpoint pen and it snapped the pen clean in half.  I imagined walking into the kitchen to find a decapitated rat's head stuck in the trap and the body at the other end of the kitchen.  Despite using some of our choice imported chorizo to bait the trap, the rat and his friends weren't interested.  This morning the traps were still set, the chorizo untouched.  Tonight we might try smearing the chorizo with peanut butter.  I am determined to kill these rats, however cute they may look.
So the moral of this story is, when you are faced with having to cope with upsetting disappointments, redirect yourself and find something else to focus on.  Like rats!