Mila and The People

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My staffie Mila runs away. She is scared of lightning. Johannesburg is in the highveld. We have thunderstorms almost every single day during summer. This is that story.

A little over a month ago my neighbour phoned me. "Megan, we have your staffie, she jumped over the wall. Don't worry about her, she is safe. You can come fetch her after work." They are an elderly couple, who lives in a garden cottage in their daughter's yard. They lived on a farm, but was urged to move after an insurgence of farm attacks in their area. Their dogs were poisoned. At first, they were okay. But then it became a problem. "She will scratch our cars. Our dogs (there are three sharpeis on the yard) will tear her apart." And one day, I actually saw her fall. Heartbreaking. She fell flat on her face from over 2 m. Something had to be done. So, we set out to Boksburg and bought two wattlewood screens next to the road. This would keep her in the yard for sure.


"Hi Megan, there is a brown doggie here. Her name is Mila. Is she yours? Please phone back when you get this message, my number is. . ."

That was on November 11. I rushed to the address to pick up my little one, my heart. The lady was nice, but I didn't get her name. "Your doggie is very sweet. My father had a stroke last year and she ran straight to him and jumped on the bed with him. She kept him company the whole afternoon. He is talking now, but his one side of his body is still a little weak. The bird in the kitchen brought him back to life. He called the bird's name first." 

I wish I could take pictures of the inside of her house. Little figurines, books, trinkets, pictures, toys etc will all stacked in neat piles everywhere you looked. It wasn't hoarding per se, more like OCD collecting. 


November 7. I was in the gym. It was starting too storm. I received the call, but signal was terrible so communicated with Zilda, as I would later learn, over sms. She owns two staffies of her own and told me that she takes them everywhere with her, even the preschool she owns. "I had to drop them off at home first, then went back to pick Mila up, because people will steal a beautiful dog like this. She is so sweet. I will check up on her when I drive past your house."

She lives on her own, she says. "If I meet a man, the first thing I tell him is that he must love dogs, and accept that they sleep inside the house, with me. He must accept that, otherwise, no, I don't want him in my life." She also has a husky and a white alsation. "Both of them were strays, also ran away from home, but I rescued them. No tags, no chips, and no one asked for them at the vets or SPCAs, so I kept them." 

Mila smeared blood all over her walls and tiles. "Where does that come from?" she asked. I explained that Mila keeps on fighting with the Yorkshire terrier next door and hits the wall so hard when wagging her tail that it now has no hair or flesh. Just bone and blood. Zilda offered me a concrete slab to put against the wall. It was the heaviest thing I have ever had to pick up and it barely fit in my Kia Picanto. At least it stopped Mila from seeing the damn Yorkie. Fucking pest. 

Zilda and I stay in touch. I love her. She's just so charismatic. 


Tomorrow, I will share two more.

To my dearest Secret Santa

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This is the second year that Ms Kelly from Sunflowers and Spears is hosting a blogger Secret Santa, and it has gone international! I thought I would write a post to my secret santa to make things a bit easier.

You see, Secret Santa, I am not the easiest person to buy for. I am incredibly fussy when it comes to other people spending money on me. Take for example my birthday three years ago, I broke down crying in a store because I didn't want my then-boyfriend, now-husband to spend R500 on a handbag. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. (That handbag is still being used every single day.)

Not only am I fussy, I am allergic - to scents, to creams, to soaps. I have a terribly sensitive skin and when I try and use something I haven't used before, I get a rash, or go red, or get little white spots all over my skin. I am not kidding here. I wish I was. So those things are out.

But here are a few things that you could consider:

  • I am a dog lover - well, animal lover in general. As a present, you could donate money or volunteer at a local shelter for a day. If you do the latter, please take pics and write a short post which I can share on my blog.
  • I recently discovered that baking is a little bit more fun than I thought. I used to be big on baking, but lost that touch somewhere. Anything that would make baking even more fun could do. Perhaps a funky cookie cutter, or perhaps a baking recipe book. Or cookies. Everyone loves cookies!
  • I am a writer, or rather scribbler, so a funky little notebook or stationery piece would make my heart sing. 
  • I am a sucker for sentiment, so anything sentimental will seriously pull at my heart strings. 
  • Or a new car. (totally just kidding)
  • Lastly, cool tea towels, jewellery, trinkets, a camera bag, knick knacks, or perhaps even some plant seeds will do.

Picture from here

The cons of owning a Stafforshire Bull Terrier

Monday, November 18, 2013

I took this pic while we were on honeymoon in St Francis. I forget his name, it was something Scottish -  McDuff? Macbeth? McGuffey? Maccintosh? I don't know. 
But I wanted to take him with me, he was just so damn awesome!

The only con that comes along with owning these little, robust, high-energetic, life loving breeds, is that they eventually die. And that they lick the body lotion of your legs as soon as you have applied it. WHY?

But, their pros far outweigh the cons. Like the way they cock their heads to one side when you scratch them behind the ears; or when they leave the room for five minutes and upon return act like they haven't seen you for hours. How about when they have entire conversations with you? They have more personality that some humans I know. They are loyal and loving and they love spending time with their humans, being on the couch with you, or going for jogs, and car rides. (You have to see my car's doors; scratched to pieces from Mila hanging out the window)

But, lately, I have experienced some terrible prejudice towards Mila, my Staffordshire.

Scene 1

When I go for jogs with my dogs, I don't put them on leashes, because although they have been taught to walk nicely on a leash, running is a different thing. And they just love exploring! My dogs never run away from me, just sniff something and run back to tell me that they found something and when I tell them to heed, they heed.

I often go for jogs around a dam near our house; early mornings, as there are fewer people and dogs. However, on my one particular jog, a lady - running with her husband - literally froze when she saw Mila. He asked me to hold my dog, because they want to pass, his wife is scared of staffies.

On the same morning, I had to run around the dam a few times more than planned, because there was a woman with a Great Dane, on a leash, who looked very worried about my staffie not being on a leash. Every time I saw her, I had to turn around. Eventually I grew tired of running in circles and decided to pass her - my dogs still unleashed.

She said that she was scared of passing us, as about two weeks prior, her Dane was attacked by two pittbulls that looked like Mila. One, I have nothing against pitt bulls, but I'm pretty sure they aren't brindle. Two, the pitts owner should have taken better control of their dogs.

And three, my dogs are socialised with other dogs. I would never take them off a leash if this wasn't the case. The only dog Mila cannot tolerate is our neighbour's Yorkshire terrier, who torments her!

Scene 2

I was watering my outside garden earlier this week. Mila joined me outside, leashless, because she loves playing with water. I recently noticed a couple that walks their three bullterriers, those ones with the long faces, every afternoon. Unfortunately, I was outside at the same time they were walking their dogs and Mila saw, no heard, them. The man was frantically screaming "oh shit, oh shit, oh shit."

I must say it looks very intimidating when a staffie storms towards other people, but I know Mila just wanted to play and make new friends, because that is who and what she is. I told the guy to calm down, she won't do anything, just want to say hi to his bullies.

The guy then proceeds to tell me that he freaked out because he knows how vicious Staffies are and he was scared that she might bite him.

Excuse me, you are walking a muzzled dog here, and my staffie is roaming free. Who has the vicious dog? I was thinking that, not saying it out loud.

 It makes me sad to know that there are people out there that are scared of this breed. They are enthusiastic little energy monsters who like to lick every piece of exposed skin on your body. I've already converted my husband to loving and defending staffies, as well as converted a close friend. I wish I could convert the rest of the world. Still, I'm glad that staffies don't get the same treatment as pitts, which is just as wrong. Those myths also need to be busted.

If you want to know more about owning a Pitt bull, check out Gaelyn's post here.

Adventures in Honeymooning {Jeffreys Bay}

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I didn't enjoy this town, the weather sucked, a week prior to us being there a guy was mauled by a shark - so there was no way that we were going to take a dip - and I was not a happy chappie for some reason. So Jbay sucked. Maybe I should go another time of the year to really appreciate it?

The odd thing was, that besides the surfers, who are somewhat protected against the cold water with their suits, there was one girl on the beach trying to catch a tan in weather that was on the brink of pouring rain. In fact, it drizzled a bit.

Albeit that I had a bad experience, I still took some - in my humble opinion - awesome photos and I want to share those.  

{WEDDING} On being married

Monday, November 11, 2013

Shortly after our honeymoon I phoned my parents so that they could listen to the storm that was taking place in Joburg. It had been raining a bit, but it was still so hot in the house that all the doors were open. Suddenly, the downpour was much more intense and then the hail came. It bounced into our house and in the chaos of trying to close all the doors and windows, Flip urged me to stay away from the windows so that I don’t get hit by big, icy balls of hail. He closed the windows by himself. He was protecting me. And it opened my eyes.

During the conversation, my mom asked me: “So, is there a difference between being married and just living together?” And trying to speak over the cacophony of hail and rain on a zinc roof, I simply answered yes. There was a mindset change.

To be honest, I thought that it was going to be the same as just being together, but it isn’t. It’s better. It’s like some switch in my mind went on and it said “He is now your husband and you better start treating him that way.” I have fallen in love with Flip all over and it feels that we’ve had sort of a fresh start. As if the old, sometimes bad, skin of just ‘being together’ had been shed. We had now started our forever journey.

There is no getting out of it, like in a relationship, where, when you fight, you can just say, screw it, it’s over. Marriage is a forever and ever promise that you made to God, yourself and your other half.

My mindset not only changed in that respect. It had changed to mindset of gratitude. He chose to spend the rest of his life with me and I am grateful. God put us on each other’s paths and he planned for us to walk the path of life together and I am grateful. This gratitude makes me want to be a better person, a better wife, for him. It makes me want to cook, to wash his shirt when he messed on it. It has opened my eyes to see all the little things he has done and still does for me – like keeping me away from windows in fear that I might get hurt. I am loving this change in my mindset.

A few years ago, four guys from Liverpool sang: I am he, as you are he, as you are me, as we are all together. It might be words inspired by a psychedelic space-out, but I see it as us being a union and that this union is only as strong as its members. In marriage, you need to support your spouse, build him/her up, praise him/her and be their biggest cheerleader. Vice versa.

I’ve only been married a month and already I have grown so much because of it. I cannot wait to learn, grow and experience life with my best friend by my side, forever. 

Photos: Kikitography

{Wedding} The reception music

Friday, November 8, 2013

I promised to do the reception music yesterday, but as luck would have it, I was passed out in bed in a codeine-filled stupor. Except for the one time I was awoken by my stupid Mila, who jumped from the bed when thunder started, to run outside to jump our fence. This is a whole new post in itself, but short story is that she can't get over our fence anymore and she was crying. So I had to get up, in my half drunk medicated state and fetch her. Stupid dog.

Anyway, here are the songs we chose for the reception. SPOILER ALERT! There is a tearjerker of a story right at the bottom, which you must, but must read!

Music for entering the reception - Quill - Bison

This was actually my original choice for my 'wedding march', but as I said in my last post that the song I eventually used just had me in tears. Flip suggested that we use this to enter the reception. It also has a beautiful message of writing your story and the path you will take in the light of God.

First dance songs

Okay, there were two, the traditional love song, which was Your Song by Elton John, covered by Ellie Goulding. It is just one of the most beautiful love songs on earth! We followed this up with Baby Tjoklits by Gerhard Steyn, an Afrikaans song, that has a backstory to it, so don't judge ;p

I'm just going to skip through the next few ones, because I want to get to important stuff. For our dad/daughter dance, my brother was supposed to play an acoustic version of Blackbird by the Beatles, but this didn't happen and he, who was also MC, forgot to announce the father/daughter dance. Just before the djays packed up, we asked them to play Butterfly Kisses. We danced halfway through then decided we are both overheating. The day was scorching!

For cutting the cake, we chose Overwhelmed by Tim McMorris, because it is just such a happy, happy song. One way or another by Blondie played when I threw the bouquet and Thunderstruck by ACDC played while Flip took off my garter. I nearly fell of the very flimsy chair.

The last song for the evening was Queen's Don't stop me now. Best.

However, there was one song that I didn't put on the list. And it's a little short story of its own, but I don't want to put my man on the spot here. I decided that I wanted to give a speech at our wedding, because I am woman, hear me roar. Jokes aside, I wanted to show Flip how much I loved him in the best way I could, written words. I was already beyond emotional by the time I finished my speech and then Flip's turn came.

He started by saying that he had never been good at giving speeches, as we all know, and he isn't a man of many words. As we all know. And even though he is not the type of guy who expresses his emotions, whether it be in public, or in private {and here Flip started getting teary eyed} he loves me more than anything on earth and the best way he knows how to show it, is through this song.

And then this started playing. And I sobbed, like a little baby.

A friend of mine said that every girl deserves a guy that looks at her the way he looks at me.
I am truly the luckiest girl on earth.

Pics: Kikitography

{Wedding} The ceremony music

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Besides loving the life out of Flip and dogs, in particular staffies, I have a third passion – music. I probably cannot say that music is my thing, because I still cannot play the guitar – besides Free Falling by Tom Petty and the Heartbreaks, and I for sure cannot play piano, except for Colourblind by The Counting Crows. I dabbled a bit in the learning to play the harmonica, but that never went further than How Great Thou Art and a departed friend tried to teach me a few chords on the violin, but they all failed, miserably. So I cannot claim music as mine.

But I do. I am obsessed with music, I am obsessed with listening, and at one stage, I even had the chance to interview some of South Africa’s up-and-coming artists. I’ve always thought of myself as a music aficionado and thought that I would eventually end up working for a magazine such as Rolling Stone or NME. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that music is my everything, the listening part of it, and thus, choosing the music for our wedding day – our most important day – was almost more important to me than anything else.

It took me months of compiling, changing, putting back on, deleting other songs and so forth before I came up with the final mix that played during the reception. I gave our DJ a memory stick with 4 GB worth of music, so I can’t share every single song that played here, but I will share the most important ones and the story behind it.

Bridesmaids’ entry – I run to you – Lady Antebellum

My reasoning behind this was that Flip will be the one I run to in good times and in bad. He will be my beacon. It was a tad prophetic, as apparently, I walked down the aisle very very very fast. 

The Song I walked down the aisle on – The Wedding Song – Matthew Mole

This guy, from Vishoek, somewhere in South Africa, made headlines when he debuted at Nr 1 on iTunes. And I was intrigued by his music. But when I heard The Wedding Song, I started crying.

He sings about how God should be present in your union with your life partner and how you should not forget that you are on this path because of Jesus, that planned it long before you even knew who you would marry.

Exchanging of Rings – To Build a Home- The Cinematic Orchestra

Oh man, this song is just heart wrenching! I just love it. The other day we were watching Step Up 4 for the first time and here this song starts playing. I started crying as I remembered us exchanging our rings.

(I didn’t, however, find this song on that commercial dance franchise crap.)

The guest left the chapel on First Day ofMy Life by Bright Eyes, which was also while we were signing the register. And Flip and I left the chapel on You are the Best Thing by Ray La Montagne because it is just such a great feel good song.

That was the music for the ceremony. Tomorrow, I will share the reception music, otherwise, this will turn out into one helluva long post.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I still do. 

Pics: Kikitography

Adventures in Honeymooning {Clarens Brewery}

Monday, November 4, 2013

The other day I wrote about our first stop, Clarens, which is a quaint little art town in the heart of the Free State. One of our little adventures in this sleepy town included visiting the Clarens Brewery.

Started by master brewer Stefan Meyer in 2006, this little pub-like brewery creates fine hand crafted beers and ciders. We just had to try it out, because a) we were thirsty after covering the town by foot, from corner to corner and b) it offers free beer tastings. I am yet to meet a person who would say no to free beer.

The waiter brought us the little samples and explained that we would now taste:

Clarens Blonde - a beer with a biscuity aftertaste and the brewery's flagship beer.
Clarens English Ale - a smooth, medium-bodied caramel ale. 'One for the boys'
Clarens Red - an amber ale with fruity finish. It won the most popular beer on show at the SA On Tap Craft Beer Festival 2012.
Clarens IPA - an Indian Pale Ale with delcious, distinct hop character. It won the same award as the Red, but this year. 
Clarens Stout - classis stout with creamy texture and coffee aftertaste.  'A real winter warmer'
And the Clarens Weiss -  a German wheat beer with spice notes. 'Very refreshing.'

If you think that I remembered all this, you are mistaken. It was all on the menu. There were also a number of ciders, including an apple, cherry and a pineapple flavour. Oh my greatness.

He also mentioned that if I mix the cherry and apple flavours, I would get a chapple flavour. Not a fan. But I did order the delicious cherry cider on its own. I would drive the four hours back there just to have another one of those amazing ciders. Gee whizz! Flip opted for the Clarens Red, which was also a firm favourite.

The little brewery makes a 5000 l batch a month of beer!! which half is bottled and half served on tap.I really loved the character of the place, which was covered in currencies from around the world, like Ten trillion dollars from Zimbabwe. Could you just imagine having that much money? And it having an actual worth?

I also met this gentle giant outside, but I forget his name. His owner, a Scotsman, had ordered a vienna basket and kept slipping him a few pieces. He was the sweetest little pup!

AT R25 a pop, they are decently priced and well worth a visit. 

Adventures in Honeymooning {Golden Gate}

Friday, November 1, 2013

There’s a little town in the belly of the Maluti Mountain range, in the Free State, called Clarens. Now, some of you might be familiar with it, and although it increased in popularity in recent years, owing to its burgeoning artscape, the town has always held a sense of wonderment to me.

As a little girl, I became obsessed with the works of Father Claerhout, who called this town-of-five-streets-and-a-donkey home. My mom mentioned that one of my drawings struck a liking to that of Claerhout and I just had to know more about him. It stuck in my head that he was from Clarens, but I never did any research on the town itself.

So my idea of Clarens had been brought about from a priest’s art, with a rather childlike drawing style. Upon arrival, I immediately learnt that the town was much more different that his depictions of ladies washing clothes or a donkey pulling a cart full of flowers.

I was in awe from the moment we arrived and was absolutely thrilled when we learned that the Golden Gate National Park was a mere 17 km away. Please forgive my ignorance, but Flip had kept a cloak of secrecy on our honeymoon destinations and I found out about each place as we arrived.

He couldn’t have chosen our first stop better.

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