Category Archives: Stupidity

Confessions of an insomniac

Tips-To-Beat-InsomniaFor many years I tried to deny it. I have used all the excuses in the book. But I think it is time to admit it and call a spade by its name.

I am an insomniac.

I cannot remember the last time I went to bed and slept until the next morning, without waking up constantly; tossing and turning; throwing the duvet off me; pulling the duvet up when I get cold; getting up for a glass of water; or going to the loo because of drinking water during the night.

I have tried many things over the years to sleep better, but most things have counter effects which makes me toss it out.

Some of the things I have tried include:-

Sleeping tablets

I am horrible with sleeping tablets. I normally don’t have a problem falling asleep, rather, I have a problem STAYING asleep. It is not uncommon for me to fall asleep before I manage to turn the first page of my book (or click the page down button on my kindle), but then I would wake up at 01:00 or 02:00 wide awake, unable to sleep.

Jealousy makes you nasty...

Jealousy makes you nasty…

Once, I decided to take a sleeping tablet on a flight to London as I had a long day of work ahead of me and needed my sleep. (Let me not get started on trying to sleep on an aeroplane!) I had it all worked out. I was flying business class (yeah, even then I cannot sleep properly), so I took the tablet just as we took off, which of course would give me enough time? In fact, it didn’t and I woke up with the air hostess trying to wiggle the plate of unfinished food out from under me. But STILL, I kid you not, I woke up at 03:00 (or 05:00, depending on which clock you were watching) and could not sleep again!

If I do manage to get a full night’s sleep, because maybe I take a stronger sleeping tablet, then I will wake up groggy the next morning and feeling like I didn’t sleep at all.

Toggle with the timing…

Of course I have tried to go to bed later. At one stage I was so tired that when the kids went to bed in the evenings (this was when they were small and I could force them to go to bed at 20:00 every night), that I would creep into bed with a book, with the intention of catching up on some reading, and would be fast asleep at 21:00. And wide awake at 01:00, tossing and turning for hours.

On the other hand, going to bed later just seem to delay that dreadful wake up hour by a couple of hours. So, now instead of waking up at 01:00, I would wake up at 03:00, which is definitely worse, because I will toss and turn for an hour, fall asleep and then wake up with a start when the alarm clock goes off, as I am rudely awakened from my REM sleep.

insomnia-remedies-300x300Sleeping with the notebook next to bed

I am sure you are asking what I think about when I am tossing and turning. It is definitely worse when I am stressed out at work and inevitably I will wake up thinking about a potential problem or solution or something that I was working on in my subconscious. And I was told that you should wake up, write it down and go back to sleep. However, waking up and switching the light on and actually writing something down is a sure way to get me wide awake. The next moment I would be sitting down and writing whole essays, making detailed to-do lists and thinking up other things that come to mind. As if my 02:00 mind thinks it is cleverer than my 08:00 mind.

Amend my eating/drinking habits

I have tried to cut out coffee after lunch time, before lunch time (incidentally, coffee doesn’t seem to keep me awake in the morning so how can it keep me awake at night??). I have tried to drink a glass of warm milk, or no warm milk. I have tried to eat a piece of cheese before I go to bed, or in the middle of the night when I sometimes wake up hungry. I have tried drinking a glass of wine, or avoiding alcohol. Makes no difference whatsoever. The only difference is that after a couple of glasses of wine I may wake up with a headache in the middle of the night, so I take a headache tablet in advance when I exceeded the recommended-not-to-exceed quota, or in simple terms when I range from tipsy to drunk. Better safe than sorry!

Counting sheep or something similarly dull

I get bored pretty quickly, so trying to count sheep, or doing something boring, like reading the Economist to lull me to sleep, does not work, because inevitably my mind will wander. In fact I find it better to read an interesting, but not gripping book. Interesting enough to keep my mind occupied, but not too interesting as to keep me reading until 01:00 in the morning.

Some pre-sleep exercise (affectionately named sexercise)

Of course a release of hormones such as induced by this type of late night activity does stimulate sleep and is a sure fire way to fall asleep, but like a person who sleeps next to a railway line, it takes me a fairly significant amount of time to get used to someone sleeping next to me. I know this is weird, but I will wake up if someone next to me turns around. My kids know that I only allow them to sleep with me on weekends and on special occasions; otherwise I prefer to sleep alone. I get irritated when the cat walks around on the bed, or wake up when one of the kids get up in the middle of the night, so just imagine a snoring or farting partner? In fact, I sometimes snore myself when I sleep on my back and that wakes me up! Definitely not a short-term solution.


So, what to do?

There are a few things that worsen the midnight insomnia spells. It definitely is worse when I am super stressed at work or panicking about something. And something insignificant like stressing about doing something on time will become a huge issue in the middle of the night. I will wake up with a start from a dream where I missed my aeroplane, because I forgot something at home, or neglected to check what time I had to check in the night before I travel, probably because I still need to pack. So, maybe get a bit more organised can help?

And the whole cellphone/social media thing has not helped either. I know I should switch off my phone at night, but I don’t, so sometimes in the middle of the night when I wake up and glance at my phone to see what time it is, I will look at my emails, and sometimes (horror face!) read an email. Or check my Facebook news feed. Or read a message I missed when I fell asleep. And the longer I stay awake, the more difficult it becomes to fall asleep again. Eventually, I will switch on the bed light and start reading…

So, maybe a suggestion for this year and in the furtherance of my sleeping habits, is a list of light reading, engaging enough to take my mind off things, but please no page-turners!

Alternatively I must just find a way to chop off my head every night and stick it back on in the morning, although I have visions of The Witches of Eastwick as we speak…:-)

Any suggestions??


Posted by on February 20, 2013 in Stupidity


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The final countdown

I don’t particularly feel like writing at the moment. Maybe that is because my mind is filled with everything that I still need to do and buy and close and clean and pack before my flight leaves in less than two days time.

(In case you missed my awesome blog post about my year of firsts, I will remind you that I am off to the United Kingdom on Monday evening. I am flying to Scotland, spending five days there and then returning via London. Yayness!)

procrastination-hear494Being a bit of a procrastinator, I have of course left several things to the last minute. Like I realised that my driver’s license card is expiring and left it to the last working day in the country to apply. And as I was approaching the building that houses the licensing department on Friday morning (bright and early at 7:45am), and getting ready for the queues (prepared with a book or two on my iPad), my phone made a ping noise, which is when I realised I had a meeting on the other side of town in 15 minutes. With my boss. Lovely.

I did consider calling in and saying I cannot make it, but instead I jumped in my car and phoned in late, and travelled the 30kms plus trip at a speed that would put Felix Baumgartner to shame, with intentions of returning to the license department before they close at 3pm. Which I did, of course. But when I arrived at their offices just before 1pm, I found out that they called it an early Friday afternoon, it being a long weekend and all. And, arriving on the 30th of December (a Saturday) from my UK trip, we are planning to drive down to Cape Town for another few days, so technically I am not spending another working day in Johannesburg before the 10th of January, and my license is expiring on the 7th of January. Damn, I will have to leave Cape Town at the crack of dawn, and adhere to the speed limit all 1 500 plus kilometres to avoid being pulled over by a traffic cop. Why did I decide to drive down again?

Today, I spent my day doing all those important things that a gal has to do before she leaves on a trip over Christmas, like going for a facial, and a pedicure (don’t know who is going to see my feet in the UK though, but it looks very nice), and doing some final Christmas shopping. And fitting in a movie (which incidentally was a fireworks display ala James Bond). I have loads of time to pack on Monday! And tomorrow I am meeting a friend for lunch, the gardener is coming in and we have to go and buy some garden essentials like that cord stuff you put in the hedge trimmer. Because you have to do all that stuff before you go on a trip. And, of course, I have to leave the house in an acceptable going-away-condition. One never knows when something happens to you and other people come into your house and see the state you left it in. That is definitely a no-no.

female trying to close her suitcaseI do intend making a list of everything I need to pack tomorrow though…definitely! Like my iPad and charger, my iPod and charger, my phone and its charger, my camera and its charger (damn, I wanted to get a spare battery today…), my Macbook and its charger, hairdryer. And that connector thingie to download pictures so I can blog about my trip en route. And goodness knows how I am going to fit my shoes and warm clothes in. I always pack with all the intentions in the world of travelling ‘light’, but somehow I can guess from the fact that half my suitcase normally comes back clean that I am not very successful in my quest. And of course, I need to leave some space to shopping??

So, let me go to bed now.  If I do wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, remembering ANOTHER thing I have to do, I fully intend to write it down immediately, and forget about it!



Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Stupidity


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Have you heard the story…?

EmbarrassedWe have all done some embarrassing things in our lives (audience cue: nod affirmatively).

Some people (like me) probably have a nack for getting into embarrassing situations often, and maybe we are just worst at hiding our stupidity. I think the reality is that some of us just laugh at ourselves easier than other. Which is really great, but the flipside is that sometimes you can become the butt of the story. Over and over again. Like a good party trick that never gets old or that one joke that will always get the crowd going.

Unfortunately, I have experienced a few of those embarrassing moments that I’ve had to relive time and time and time again. One particular story is very popular and was unfortunately witnessed by three current and one ex work colleague, one of whom was my boss.

I did tob a bit about hanging my dirty laundry out here for everyone to see, but I maybe I am hoping that one of two things will happen:

  1. You will say “Aah, that’s nothing! Guess what happened to me” or/and
  2. at some stage when one of these guys starts to tell the story, someone will peep up “That’s an old one!” (Yup, I am a dreamer)

Anyhoo! Let me tell you the Ice Bar story.

Two years ago I travelled with the aforementioned work colleagues to London. We were there for an audit committee meeting, from which you can assume these were all high-up-in-the-company-managers. Most of us were staying over in town on the Friday night and flying back to Joburg on the Saturday evening, fitting in a bi’ of shopping on the Saturday. So, we decided to ‘hang out’ on the Friday night.

The Ice Bar in London is located just off Regent Street and built out of ice, and is kept a chilly -5⁰C all year round. It operates in 40 minute slots and the entry fee includes one complementary drink. It is really quite awesome and if you ever go there you will spot the sign on the outside with a snapshot of me, listed as a patron that is not allowed back inside. Or that’s how the story goes, I have never been back.

Drinks anyone?When you arrive at the Ice Bar, you are given a thermal cape with hood and gloves to wear for your 40 minute session. Even the glasses that you get your complimentary drink in, is made of ice. The guys I was with decided, after the first drink was done, to try out some of the other cocktails and drinks. After all, we only had 40 minutes, and they were going to try and fit in as many drinks as possible. With names of drinks such as Suicide Blonde, Purple Rain and Tennessee Swizzle, they could have been entertained all night picking drinks, but of course we only had 40 minutes.

After around 25 minutes, we were already three drinks down (the glasses are tiny, so it is more like shots, and judging by the speed we drank, you can imagine that these drinks went down like shooters). I do not do shooters well. So after the third (or possibly fourth) drink, I firmly declined another one, but of course the guys were “Aah, come ooooon, just one more”. And since I did not want to be a spoil sport, I obliged. BIG mistake.

Now, another little thing about me you won’t know, is that I have a bad gag reflex. I am very sensitive and choke fairly easy. What happened next still feels surreal. I started chugging back the fourth (or fifth) drink and all of the sudden started choking. And instead of just spitting out the alcohol or swallowing it back or something (anything), I started hurling. I kid you not. I barfed, puked, threw up, whatever you want to call it. And then we all witnessed a very interesting chemical reaction taking place. The former-content-of-my-stomach solidified on the spot. There was to be no quick wiping up of my shame. Oh no, they had to scrape it up.

By now, my red face were nicely contrasted by the splatters of frozen vomit still stuck to the cape, so I left the Ice Bar and waited outside for the other guys to finish retelling the story to everyone inside.

It was not the end of the evening, (un)fortunately, as we still had a booking at Belgo’s where we had to sample beers of the world (and thankfully eat something), and then went on a bit of bar hopping in London, and you can imagine that by the end of the evening, the guys could tell the story with all the fanfare of well seasoned actors. The fact that one of the boys barfed in a bin on the side of the road somewhere late at night went by completely unnoticed. By the end of the evening, even I was laughing along at my shame.

If only it stopped there. In the last 6 months, I have heard the story being retold a staggering four times. We would be at a lunch or a function or something and all of the sudden one of the guys would start talking about going to London or being cold or any damned thing that could spark this memory and next thing I would hear is “Have you heard the story of the Ice Bar in London?”.

So next time, I am hoping, praying (or if not the next time, at some point in time in my future) that someone will come to my rescue and say the words I would love to hear “Aah, that’s an old story”and proceed to make fun of someone else.

Is that too much to ask for??


Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Stupidity


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That’s Ms Crazy for you!

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for
~ Billy Joel

I went through quite a stressful time at work a little while ago… And my solution to stressful situations is laughter (come to think of it, that is my solution to most situations…). Anyway, I was having my morning coffee with colleague #1 when colleague #2 walked in and apologised for interrupting our conversation (erm…laughter). He then looked at me and told me that he thought I kept colleague #1 sane…(a nice compliment I thought). But when I asked “And who’s keeping me sane?”, he proceeded to tell me there is no way that I could be sane… (I think that is quite rich coming from someone who names his pet chickens, but maybe it takes one to know one :-)).

So, I went home that evening and in a you-have-to-feel-sorry-for-me voice relayed the story to my 14-year old daughter. She responded by saying “Mom, but you are crazy. We are all crazy around here.” Sounds earily like a scene from Alice in Wonderland…

Now, one person could be a fluke, but two people sounds like a confirmation. So, I am crazy. And apparently I gave birth to two crazylings. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “Knowledge is the antidote for fear”, so I did what I always do when I don’t know the answer…I googled it. Whatever did I do without Google?

And, guess what? It’s actually not that bad. Apart from the ‘affected with madness, insane’ bit of the definition, the rest (sort of) sounds palatable. Here it comes…

Informal Departing from proportion or moderation, especially:

  1. Possessed by enthusiasm or excitement
  2. Immoderately fond; infatuated
  3. Intensely involved or preoccupied
  4. Foolish or impractical; senseless

Now, if that’s not me, then I don’t know.

  1. Possessed sounds a little bit spooky, but to be possessed by enthusiasm or excitement cannot be a bad thing, now can it? For example, I am super enthusiastic about going to Greensleeves this Saturday evening! Greensleeves is a medieval venue, and like a friend said to her husband “Gerda wants to you dress up as a wench and serve her beer. Wanna go?” I may just break out in song….”I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it
  2. Why do you have to moderate fondness or infatuation? Okay, I guess maybe I should do that a bit more, it may save me some hurt, but then what is the point? I don’t ever want my loved ones to wonder if I love them!
  3. I don’t do partial involvement, sometimes to my own detriment. A few years ago I got involved in the Homeowners Association for the complex where I lived. Now, I am renting out the house and I am still the Chairperson?? Something wrong here…do I hear the word sucker…?
  4. I have been known to do some foolish and impractical things from time to time. Which is why I often have to hush people I have known for a long time, when they are introduced to new people (can we let the London Ice Bar story die now, please….). Somehow my embarrassment can provide hours of entertainment to other people!

I don’t think anything can contain my zest for life. I don’t think I will ever see myself as old. I still find it very surprising when young people call me ‘Tannie’. I keep thinking they are talking to someone behind me. I don’t feel old. I don’t know when you are supposed to start feeling old. I always thought that one day I would feel my age, that one day I will wake up and look at all those wrinkles and decide that I have to start acting my age. But it must be a long way off still.

So, I have decided to embrace my craziness. And after my daughter jokingly referred to our house as the ‘Looney Bin‘, I decided it may be an apt name for our new house! We now live in an Estate (yeah, it sounds all very fancy, but essentially it is just a big closed off neighbourhood) and there are geniunely houses that have names, and I find that almost as amusing as personalised number plates. Imagine driving a car with the number plate 2SXY4U? You would never be able to go to the corner cafe in a tracksuit! Ever!!

So, the Looney Bin it is…maybe that will make the neighbours in ‘Oaktree Cottage’ or ‘Villa Toscana’ sit up straight 🙂


Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Stupidity


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A tale of a scorpion…

I have an admission to make. I am the ultimate optimist. You would think that is a good thing, but let me tell you, sometimes it’s not. A friend said recently that hope is a very bad thing and I shook my head. How can it be? Hope is a good thing, right? As long as there is hope, you can carry on? It is the thing that fuels perseverance. It is the thing that allows people to get second chances. It is the thing that allows forgiveness.

But sometimes, it really isn’t a good thing. There is such a thing as being overly optimistic. And it can cause a lot of pain, because it allows people to disappoint and hurt you time and again. Why is it that they say a donkey only bumps his head once, but as humans we can do it over and over again? Because we hope that the next time we won’t bump our head. Because we hope that the next time, miraculously, the obstacle will vanish and the road will be cleared. Reminds me a bit of the definition of insanity…you know, doing the same thing, but expecting a different result.

I started drafting a blog a week ago. It was a letter. I wasn’t sure whether I would publish it, but I wanted to be honest with myself. I wanted to put my feelings down on paper. It was an open letter to the one person who managed to hurt me more than anybody has ever done before. It was a letter to the obstacle that I bumped my head against over and over again these last, almost four years. A man. A compulsive liar. A cheater. A manipulator. But one that I loved. And one that managed to convince me over and again that next time I won’t bump my head again. Next time the road will be cleared. Until I finally kicked him out last year. Not a moment too soon…I found this quote last year which explained the madness a bit…

We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are ~ Anais Nin

I am an optimist and I believe in the best in people. I believe that most people are inherently good. And that most people will inherently aim to do the right thing. That circumstances, things that happen that we have no control over, cause us to deviate and make the wrong choices. And that we will be conflicted because we didn’t do the right thing. Because that’s how I am. That’s what I am like. Sure, I have done lots of wrong things in my life. But like waking up with a hangover and knowing that was stupid, I am able to reflect on my mistakes and aim to do it right next time (still looking for the hangover cure). I feel bad about my mistakes. But I realise that some people just don’t. Maybe it is a gene. I will dub it the guilty gene.

You see, I just don’t get the scorpion and the frog story. I don’t get it that some people by nature are just bad, even to their own self-destruction. That they will try to do well, but will end up stinging the poor frog, time and again, because ‘it is their nature’.

The scorpion in my tale owes me money. Quite a bit. A little while ago, I realised that he was owed a huge tax refund…more than he owes me, so I offered to do his tax return, if he will pay me from the money. He promised, because he wasn’t ‘bargaining on the refund anyway’. Of course I knew there was a risk that he won’t pay me once he got the money. But, surely he will do the right thing and pay me back. Even if it is only to get me off his case? Ta-da!! The scorpion stings again. And when I started ranting and raving about it, he had the audacity to tell me to keep my panties on (in little less polite words). He will pay me. Yeah right. He didn’t say when.

I was livid. I was fuming. Do you know what I was blogging about a week earlier? You ready for this? About how I was comparing every man I meet to him. Looking for the qualities I loved and avoiding the ones I despised. This is what I wrote:

I even have my moments where I wish I could repackage you. Prune away at the lying, cheating bits and voila! The reality is that it would be more like cutting away at a rotten apple and the more you cut off, the less there would be left over, and in the end you will just have to toss the remainder in the bin.

Unbelievable. You could say I am an ass. But that would be an insult to the poor donkey. The same boyfriend once gave me Candide from Voltaire to read (I really should have seen that as a sign…). In short, it is about the illegitimate son of a Baron who gets banished when he falls in love with the Baron’s daughter. But being ever optimistic, he keeps believing that “all is for the best”. In a satirical tale, that takes him to the end of the world and back, onto riches more than you could ever dream about, but in the end he is left with nothing, even a dog-ugly wife, and finally realises that life does not always turn out for the better.

So I am tossing the whole damn rotten apple in the bin. And then I am throwing out the bin too. I am done with trying to justify myself to someone who only sees one point of view, his own. I am done with working myself up and begging someone who does not have the guilty gene. I can threaten to hang out his dirty laundry (of course he has lots of that), but it won’t make me feel any better about myself. So I am walking away. If somewhere down there he does have some sense of righteousness, he will pay me back, whether I rant and rave or not. An expensive learning experience, I know, but you can’t buy peace of mind.

And to celebrate, I will open the bottle of Dom Pérignon that was a gift from him. I will finally get off the rollercoaster, feel the firm ground beneath my feet and make a toast to life, the future and happiness!



Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Stupidity


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Holiday blues (or whites)

It’s the weekend, baby! And it’s a long weekend for me on top of it. And despite crashing my car into a security vehicle in our Estate yesterday…(erm, I looked down for 2 seconds to find the charger cable for the iPad…), with a short detour via the Midrand police station, we are all checked in at our home for the weekend, a 2 bedroom self catering unit in a lovely holiday resort.

The fridge is stocked with food, more food, and wine… The birds are chirping. I successfully managed to teach the girls how to play Rummy last night (it is successful if they manage to beat you on a run…). There is an entertainment programme which even includes sand art and a dance off this afternoon for the teens. And the weather has done a bit of a turnaround and played with the 30 degrees mark yesterday! (at the risk of getting a clap…did you know it snowed in Joburg last week?)

So why am I sitting in my bed and writing a blog? I should be out there, getting ready to hit the pool. Haul out the cozzie, the fresh smell of suntan lotion, cocktails in the sun….
Well that’s it…I was ‘blessed’ with a what they call a fair skin. Very fair. Super white.

When I was young and didn’t care about freckles or whether I am giving the sun arc eyes, I thought the standard deal with going out into the sun was getting sunburnt, nursing blisters and the peeling that goes with it a few days later. The vinegar baths, the lightweight clothing and the grinding on your teeth was all worth it for spending a day in the sun, and having a ball.

Then I got a bit older (and slightly wiser) and realised that not everyone burns like that. It was in the good old 80s and brown fat looked better than white fat. So I tried to get brown. Believe me I tried almost everything. The gradual tan….10 days of increasing sun exposure and lots of patience. And low and behold, after 10 days I had a brown, heathly tint to my skin. It worked, and I was running around in shorts everywhere showing off my legs. I was about to replace all my long pants when a week later the brown tint was gone. Literally gone. What the heck? All that trouble for a week of joy?

I also tried self tanning lotion. But since yellow is not my colour, I only tried that once. And later in years when the body lotion came out with gradual colouring with regular use, I also tried that. It worked, except that my fair skin has spots where the melanin congregates and is prone to freckles. So as with the sun, all these creams and stuff activate the colouring in those spots much quicker than the rest so instead of a smooth tan, I end up looking like the lesser spotted freak.

And then of course there is the risk of skin cancer. I once read that having had more than 2 episodes of blistering sunburns in childhood, doubles your risk of skin cancer. Oh boy, am I in trouble. Never mind blisters, try scabs from burning on top of blistering skin…

So…in the end I have resolved to ‘live with it’. I am seeing the advantages as I get older (finally!!) as I seem to have more youthful skin, less wrinkles. (That’s my story and i will stick to it!) And I wear skirts with sexy stockings, but you will seldom see me in shorts. Or cozzies…until of course, I am on holiday….

So, I am forced to substitute my trusted pair of jeans, or my powerful suits with a pair of shorts and a swimming costume today and all of the sudden I have a song stuck in my head…

She was afraid to come out of the locker
She was as nervous as she could be
She was afraid to come out of the locker
She was afraid that somebody would see
One, two, three, four, tell the people what she wore

Oh well, what the heck…maybe this time I can pull it off with grace. What are you looking at? Does the trick for stage fright, ie imagining everyone naked, work in this situation? Can’t do harm in trying, methinks 😉


Posted by on August 25, 2012 in About me, Stupidity


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