Smile, it’s Friday the 13th

Cool shopping bag. Smile, it's Friday the 13th!
Cool shopping bag. Smile, it’s Friday the 13th!

What a cool shopping bag I got the other day with humorous info on the Number 13 written on it. Since it’s Friday the 13th and many people are superstitious about this day I thought this might put a smile on your face. Translated from the Portuguese:

Ignored in the hotel industry and in sport
Refused in lotteries
Omitted on busses, planes, roads and buildings
Feared by the superstitious and the triskaidekaphobics
But no one remembers that...
...on the 13th January 1969 the Beatles released their album the Yellow Submarine
...Mickey Mouse was born on the 13th
...each year the moon completes 13 full orbits of the earth
...that on a Tuesday the 13th the unification of the 2 Germany's began
...that the 13th of April is the International Day of the Kiss
...and the 13th of September is the day when your glass is half-full
...and, the most important things to remember:
...47 muscles are needed to make yourself angry
...and only 13 to smile :-)

 

What have you done this Friday the 13th?

 

Bittersweet and lightning fast

Cafe Nicola at the Rossio and restaurants waiting for lunch patrons
Cafe Nicola at the Rossio and restaurants waiting for lunch patrons

In 2008 I decided not to return to Portugal ever again. In that year we came on a lightning (goodbye) visit to my Mom-in-law, with the knowledge that it would probably be the last time we’d be seeing her. As it turned out it was also the last time I saw my Gran and my Uncle. My Gran and Mom-in-law passed away that year, and my Uncle passed away last week. So here I am again, on another bittersweet and lightning (sorry guys, I’m not able to see you this time around) visit.

Lisbon is awash with tourists, foreign languages heard everywhere. I’ve watched with amazement huge tourist busses squeeze their way through the narrow streets of the old parts of the city. Despite the economic and political crises there is an interesting vibe about this historical city – something funky, cosmopolitan (off-course :-)) and young. The fact that it’s summer probably has a lot to do with it.

In spite of the reason for my visit, I’m enjoying the coffee – it’s sublime – I’ve yet to find a bad cup of coffee. Every second shop is a coffee shop, the ubiquitous “pasteis de nata”, “rissois de camarão” and “pasteis de bacalhau” a must-have companion.

It’s scorching hot, 38 degrees on most days. Clothes stick to the body which have to be peeled off. It’s almost 10pm and it’s still light, and hot. Fires have started, already decimating acres of forest land. Just walking on the street guarantees sunburn. Walking into an airconditioned shop is marvelous and finding an airconditioned taxi is heaven!

One cannot understimate the state of mind that such visits bring along with them. The future will in all likelihood include visits to Portugal once again, longer ones, and I’m counting on happier ones.

Never say never again, isn’t that what it’s all about?

The Resistance

 

The Resistance…

 

No, it’s not a blog post on the Muse album (that’s something us bloggers do, slip something in to the post to let the world know that we don’t sit whole days in darkened rooms trying to think of something to write; it’s usually something totally unrelated to the subject at hand and just lets the world know that we are actually cool)!

Anyhow, I’ve written a few times about my bloggers block. I think I’ve found a way to overcome it. I came across an article by psychologist Douglas Eby on Zite. He says that what causes creative blocks is The Resistance. This holds us back from being creative. He quotes from a book by Steven Pressfield. In the Foreword, Robert Mckee describes The Resistance as being the:

“…all-encompassing term for what Freud called the Death Wish – that destructive force inside human nature that rises whenever we consider a tough, long-term course of action that might do for us or others something that’s actually good.”

We sabotage ourselves in that way because we are afraid of the Master Fear, the fear of all fears – the fear that we will Succeed!

This must be true because most of the world’s population is not 100% happy with what they’ve got.

Now what literally stopped me in my tracks so much so that I went for a walk, was what he said next. The reason why we are afraid of success is because we are afraid of rejection, of being excluded from our ‘tribes’. This is a fear 50 million years in the making, and, it seems, we’ve been “wired” for it.

Douglas Eby goes on to say that a Professional cannot let the thought of rejection get him/her down, or take actual rejection personally. The internal enemy is Resistance and Resistance gets stronger when we take things personally. What I like next is when he says that:

“The Professional gives an ear to criticism, seeking to learn and grow.”

By challenging limiting beliefs about oneself and thoughts that are no longer useful will fortify our inner creative resolve.

In a nutshell, The Resistance arises out of a master fear that we will succeed at doing something that’s good for ourselves and others. This fear prevents us from taking any action because to do so, and succeed will mean that we will be rejected by our social groups. The only way to get over this is challenge these limiting beliefs and use criticism as a way to improve and become better.

Probably the best piece of advice I received about my so-called blogger’s block, came from a colleague at work who at one time dabbled in art. He said:

“…Regina, just sit in front of your open laptop on a blank screen, and wait for words to come. Just like an artist stands in front of his canvas, eventually something will go on to that canvas, even if it is something he will paint over. At least you will have broken the block.”

That was good advice indeed. At last, what he said made sense to me after reading Douglas Eby’s article.

I actually managed to create this post quite effortlessly. Now let’s see what happens tomorrow 🙂

 

Above post inspired by Douglas Eby’s article, “Fighting Inner Battles to be More Creative” on Psych Central.

Steven Pressfield’s book, “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles”

Diners Drive-ins and Dives

I enjoy watching Diners Drive Ins and Drives. It’s enough to make a vegetarian like me want to eat meat again. There’s none other like Guy Fieri and those cars he drives – nice, very nice cars!

The variety of food influences in America is vast – Cuban, Mexican, Creole, Italian, Greek and…meat…it’s a meat culture like ours. Life revolves around meat. It all looks yummy (I haven’t always been vegetarian, I still remember what meat tastes like).

Which begs the question – do we have diners in South Africa right now?

There’s a 24hr joint in the Alberton boulevard called Pink Cadillac. It used to be open 24hrs – it now has an opening and closing time. I think a diner should be a 24hr place. Anytime you’re hungry, there’s a place to go. Hungry after a concert – no problem, go to the diner. Hungry after a night out – no problem, drop by the diner. Hungry, no food in the fridge – no problem, there’s the diner. Good home-style food. The Pink Cadillac menu included spaghetti bolognaise and macaroni cheese at any time of the day or night 🙂

We have tons of restaurants and coffee-shops which have an opening and a closing time, and many are in malls. I remember a diner at Bedford Centre years ago who really tried to emulate the diner experience – the decor was all red and rock and roll, complete with jukebox (very 50s), and food was served in plastic baskets. The food was nice, the vibe was nice, but they closed early. So, no satisfying of the hunger after the 10 o’clock show.

Hubby and I found a place, quite by accident (years ago), while aimlessly driving around Braamfontein on a Friday night, hungry as hell. Tucked away at the street level of an office block, fronted with big glass windows, the warm glow from inside invited us in. We walked in and were welcomed by the owner, a big bear of a man – I think it was a Greek restaurant. Or it could’ve been Croatian. Or Italian. I don’t recall exactly. The influence was European bistro-style. There was a row of tables on either side of the narrow space with a corridor down the middle. We had the tastiest meal ever, home cooked by Mamma in the back I am sure. I just know that I haven’t tasted food like that since, truly (outside of my Mom’s kitchen)! We were offered dessert and the cognac was on the house. I half-expected to be offered a cigar. The owner sat with us and we chatted for a long while, I think he found us a bit of a novelty because the rest of the patrons were much older than us, they all knew each other – probably went there every night. Or maybe it was just a front for the mob…:-)

Another wonderful memory, although not of a diner, but of a 24hr food place nonetheless, was Casablanca roadhouse at the bottom end of Hillbrow. I have fond memories of going there after clubbing or a movie, a whole lot of us piled into a skedonk of a car (poor students, more of us than was legal in the car). It was there that I had my first dagwood – the-best-ever-dagwood-in-town, in the world, a sumptuous tower of bread, burger, ham, egg, and other stuff I can’t remember, and a coke! Absolutely delicious, I still remember the taste, enough to make me salivate as I write this.

As I end this post, I am left wondering what a South African version of Triple-D would look like. If the Food Network had to do a South African version of Diners Drive-ins and Dives, where would they go? If you know, share on this site (I haven’t been out much lately)!

I bid you good eatings!

Blogger’s block

 

Writer’s block tip – keep an idea book

 

For a long while I haven’t had anything to write about even though the desire has been there to express something. Not wanting to become a self-absorbed blogger, and wanting to write stuff that others actually search for and read, led me on a path of searching for blog topic ideas and random blog topic generators.

I played around with a few random blog generators and the topics that come up are quite random and simply hilarious. The process of searching for inspiration has led to this post. I can safely say that for today, the desired outcome has been achieved.

Here’s a list of random blog topics from Generator Land – what shall I write about next :-)?

#1 – 6 things I love about vanilla extract

#2 – 8 things I love about cat treats

#3 – What’s better than laundry detergent?

#4 – I want to learn more about The Cranberries

#5 – Some thoughts on bathing

#6 – The future of olive oil

#7 – I wanted to learn more about sleeping

Hmmm…food for thought…

 

Social Entrepreneur, chief wide eyed in wanderer, wonderer and bottlewasher

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