Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Happy Days. Mom and Dad.

We received a frantic call from the funeral home just a few days before my father's funeral service. They had, they told us, dressed him in his suit, as instructed. However, they could not locate his trousers.

If my sister and I were comic book characters, our surprise would have been marked with bold exclamation marks above our heads. Several, in fact.

We tried to work this thing out. Greg my (ex) brother-in-law (and my sister's current boyfriend - don't ask, long story) had delivered the suit to Thom Kyte himself. He assured us that all items of clothing were present and accounted for.

Not so much, I thought. Missing a tie or his jacket - maybe. But trousers?

In a rush, my sister and I worked out his trouser size from the other trousers still in his cupboard and then dashed to the Men's Department of Woolworths to find a pair in the matching colour and fabric as the rest of the suit.

We were lucky, and we purchased the last pair of trousers my father would ever wear before speeding down the highway to the funeral home to deliver them.

Trousers delivered, we returned home for some (strong, alcoholic) refreshment and congratulations all round on our success at averting a rather embarrassing situation. Even though it was to be a closed casket, we didn't think it dignified to allow my father to wander into the afterlife in his good suit, with his good tie and underpants.

As we sipped at our drinks, I noticed something odd hanging on the hatstand. Indeed, it was the original pair of trousers my father was to be buried in.

I like to think that somehow, from beyond the (almost) grave, my father's quirky sense of humour had reached out to touch us at such a difficult and traumatic time.

After we were done giggling, we toasted the old man. And his new pair of trousers.

Hot Cross Buns and Easter - Pagan Origins

 This post may be offensive to some.

Hot Cross Buns. Yum!
Once upon a time, there were a whole bunch of Saxon Pagans who had a little celebration at the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. They called this celebration Ostara or Eostre, to honour the Goddess Ostara.

The Goddess Ostara
Is that a Bunny at her feet?
Ostara was the Goddess of the dawn and of spring. Spring, of course, is a time of fertility and a return to life as the earth greens herself up a bit and flowers begin to bloom again. Naturally, fertility celebrations came into this. (Think of those bunnies and Easter eggs everyone loves so much. More fertility than Jesus.)

Also, once upon a time, there was a Sumerian God named Tammuz. Tammuz was the only begotten son of the moon Goddess and the sun God. Tammuz was particularly fond of bunnies. Bunnies became a symbol of the God Tammuz. One day, Tammuz was killed by a wild pig and ascended into Heaven to be with his father - Baal - and as a twosome, incorporating the spirit of their bond as father and son, they would be worshipped as (drum roll) The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.

Each year at the celebration of Istar/Easter, Tammuz's resurrection and ascension would be celebrated over a period of 40 days.

(Sound familiar to anyone?)

Round cakes, or buns, were prepared in the Goddess's honour and a cross iced over the bun to signify the different phases of the moon.

Easter, my friends, is a Pagan holiday.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spam, spam, eggs and spam...

Enough with the fucking spam!
I have noticed that not only have I been receiving spam in my email, but also on WhatsApp and my phone. I hate spam as much as I hate telemarketers. Yet, friends, family and acquaintances continue to send the damn stuff.

When I receive spam from you, this is my reaction:

I am done with people whose only email contact with me is the latest chain mail or hoax going around.

I am done with clearing my inbox of all the game invitations and twinkly sparkly 'angels are surrounding you' crap.

Don't EVER send me:

* Stupid chain letters promising me miracles/money/hugs/whatever other crap that will come to me if I send this on to at least 20 of my friends.

* Warnings that the Sandton SPCA is closing down/gangs are waiting to follow me home and kill me/sick little girl stories/free Blackberry if you email this person. These are hoaxes. Before clicking forward and send, why not check these things out on Snopes, Hoax Buster or Hoax Slayer?

* Twinkly, sparkly 'the angels love you today' bullshit. No fairy crap either

* Any "I have forwarded this to you, my friend, because you are my best friend and I love and send this on to your friends and if you send it back to me I will know you are my true friend". My friends know who they are - and they don't like spam shit either.

* Pictures of half-clad men - I am a lesbian for goodness' sake! WTF would I want to see a half naked man for?

* Jokes about how stupid women are. See the note above - lesbian AND a feminist

* Prayer chains
* Invitations to any games ending with -ville. Or any games at all.

Please also note that from now on, when I receive 'inspirational' messages that focus on the particular religion practiced by the sender, I will be responding with an inspirational message of my own from a random, obscure religion. If you're going to push your religion on me, I will be pushing back.

If you have my email address, you have it because I trust you enough to have it. Forward me the stuff you know I find fascinating and interesting. If you know me at all, you will know I can't stand the crap that some people send.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why I am an Independent Nichiren Buddhist

(Taken from an old post on my old blog)

The SGI (Soka Gakkai International) is the lay organization for the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonen. I started practicing this Buddhism in 2004 and received my Gohonzon (a holy scroll that represents your life) in 2005.

Initially, I believed I had found where I belonged, but gradually, and especially since coming to SA and joining SGI SA, I realised that the organisation ain't really that organised. I began to grow very disillusioned with the organization altogether, and several events culminated and allowed me to make the decision to break ties completely.

I am not faulting the practice of Buddhism – Nichiren Daishonen’s or anyone else’s. It’s not the practice of Buddhism I have left behind: it’s the SGI.

In points, and no particular order, here are my reasons:

For a practice that is supposed to be about tolerance, I have seen a great deal of judgement delivered. I am openly gay and while I didn’t encounter any homophobia with the UK groups, I have in South Africa. I was waiting in line for a cup of tea at the end of a meeting, chatting to one of the ladies behind me. She was bemoaning the fact that she just couldn’t find the right man. I joked that perhaps she should be looking for the right woman. We both cracked up and laughed about this. The man in front of us, also a leader in the SGI, turned around and with venom spat out: “You people with your agendas. You come in and take our women from us. What’s the matter with you? Why can’t you just leave our women alone? Why do you always have to push your agenda in everyone’s faces?” He looked so angry, I was certain he would have hit me, if he had the chance. His tirade went on, saying pretty much the same thing in several different ways. Not cool. Another member in Singapore has told me that because she was gay, she was being ostracized by her family – all of whom are practicing Nichiren Buddhists with the SGI.

I was told that I need permission to practice healing modalities such as Reiki. Not a fucking chance. I don't have to ask anyone's permission.

The SGI discourages investigation into other schools of Buddhism. Nichiren Buddhism is promoted as the ONLY path. I like to think for myself and explore. If people are telling me not to look into other schools of Buddhism, I want to know why, and telling me that “those schools are wrong” isn’t a good enough reason. The SGI also discourages silent meditation. Again, the ONLY path is to chant. Stuff that – I have gained a lot of insight from silent meditation as well as chanting.

The SGI is infatuated with its lay leader, Daisaku Ikeda. Maybe I just didn’t get the lesson of mentor/disciple, but from working with Demartini’s Quantum Collapse Process, I know that I am no greater or lesser than another person. Yes, he has written great works and is a great leader, however, I am not going to view him as some kind of Buddhist Jesus. Nichiren’s Buddhism tells us we are ALL Buddhas. We all have Buddhahood. Then this man is no more enlightened than anyone else – we are both Buddhas.

Talking about everyone being Buddhas… We are told we are all Buddhas, but when we begin to think for ourselves and move away from the SGI, investigate other faiths and practices or meditate silently, you are labeled arrogant and ignorant.

The teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, the guy who started it all, are left a little on the wayside. The eightfold path is not discussed. Ever.

I engaged in SGI activities. When my schedule no longer permitted me to be as involved, I was given a series of phone calls and emails, bordering on guilt trips in order to get me to come back. The organization didn’t like NO as an answer. Even after leaving, I have been pursued with a cult-like enthusiasm to return.

Finally, I don’t need to have permission to do what I do, nor is it necessary to apologise for who I am. No one has the right to tell me how my spiritual life should be structured or what I must believe.

So I have started my own religion. I call it Hectic Eclectic and I embrace all things and nothing. In fact, I do a lot of embracing. I’ve named myself the Huru Guru and I am basking in my own glory.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kittens - Free to a Good Home

Today I learned that my friend was dead.

He had died, alone, poisoned, on the side of a street. For at least a day, he lay unclaimed on the top of a manhole cover. I wasn't there to comfort him. I wasn't there to tell him I loved him. That I still love him. Eventually, people would have come to trim the hedges around where he lay, and they would have tossed his body into the garbage, not caring that he was (is) loved.

But a set of unrelated and uncanny events led us to his final resting place, and we claimed the body of Bodhisattva Kinkytail and brought him home for burial, beneath an apricot tree alongside my ancestral shrine.

Bodhi and I had met by chance too.

A sign had been posted on the corkboard in the office building where I worked, declaring boldly: Kittens! Free to a good home. There was a picture of Bodhi, his nose stuck inside a slipper. I told Madelein I wanted to just 'have a look' at the kittens. Nothing more. Just look.

There were five kittens in all. I went straight to Bodhi, and picking him up in one hand, where he fitted so perfectly, I lifted him up to look more closely. That was when he touched noses with me and I turned to Madelein and said, "This one's coming home with us." She laughed. Of course he was. There was no way I was just going to LOOK at kittens. Come on. Get real.

Bodhi's adventurous spirit showed itself really early on. He pounced on anything that moved and was keen to make his way outside, into the world.

He turned out to be a great adventurer and lover of fine organic (rat/mouse/bird) cuisine. He even brought these morsels in for Madelein and I to share. Of course, we declined. He loved nothing more than adventure, finding his way up trees, onto our roof, going on excursions around the neighbourhood.

His spirit, it turns out, was much larger than what his body could contain. It was only after he had left us that we felt how empty the house felt. His spirit took up a room, a house, a garden, a neighbourhood.

There was a magnificent intellect that hid behind his eyes that seemed to hint at something beyond feline. He had a playful, self-assured presence. He was more like an elegant jungle cat than a house cat, although there was always the twinkle of mischief on his face.

 He looked so small when we buried him. It seemed impossible that the heart of a tiger could be housed in something that tiny. But it had been.

Indeed, the earthly realm has lost a great spirit, and heaven has gained one.

Thursday. Blech.

My mother hated Thursdays. She thought that everything that could go wrong would do so... on a Thursday. I don't think that it is much of a coincidence that she actually died on a Thursday then.

I have not allowed my mother's suspicion of Thursdays colour my perception of the day. It is, after all, a day. It's not a visit to the dentist.

But today, I am having, what my mother would call "A Thursday".  My Bodhi cat is missing. I haven't slept and feel like hell and on top of that, while in the shower, I found a small lump under my arm. I have never shot out of the shower so fast. I asked Madelein to have a look at it - I didn't want to. She reckons it's an ingrown hair.


Fucking Thursday.

Monday, March 12, 2012


There is no remedy for a Monday. I checked. And there is no guidance from Nichiren Daishonen regarding Mondays either. Perhaps he had other things to concern himself with than Mondays or how his followers may feel about it in much later generations.

I am usually able to 'do' Mondays. Just not this Monday for some reason.

There is nothing I can pinpoint exactly. Yes, I had a late night. Yes, I am concerned about finances. Yes I haven't had a proper cup of coffee...

Perhaps the problem isn't with Monday, or this particular Monday, but with me.

My enthusiasm has ebbed. I feel like I would best serve the world from under my duvet, cuddled up with dogs and a good book.

Life state. You can change it and shift it. I just think that it's going to take more than a cup of coffee today.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Maths and I have never been good friends...

I started to dislike maths the day we started doing fractions. It did my head in.

Later on, instead of numbers, there were all these letters - x + y = xy. WTF? That makes no damn sense!

In high school, I wrote silly poetry in maths class and passed these notes to my friends Dori and Orly who contributed to the silliness. I paid very little attention.

In my second term of matric, I switched my standard grade maths to Business Economics. Also boring, but a little more manageable. Maths and I had parted ways and I was showing my teachers the finger: See? You were wrong! I will NEVER need algebra in my life.

Until now, when I find myself eating humble pi. Yes. PI.

In order to get a foot in the door at chiropractic school, I need maths, physics and biology. I have the biology. Not so much the maths and physics.

I guess that maths and I will have to work together now.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Do One Brave Thing...

Over a period of three days, I have been reminded of something from three very different people. I am a believer in the Universal Baseball Bat.


The law of the universal baseball bat states that the universe will tap you on the shoulder once or twice - three times if you're lucky. After that, it brings out the baseball bat.

Knowing and understanding the law of The Universal Baseball Bat has saved me several times from being clobbered.

The three people who approached me about the same thing - they're the three shoulder taps.

You see, when I was a kid, I wanted very much to be a doctor. I got toy stethoscopes and thermometers and other doctorly gifts for my birthday. I even got a model of the skeleton and the organs that you had to build yourself. I was going to be a doctor one day.

Then at thirteen, someone burst that bubble for me. No more doctor - now I was going to be an opera singer. And then that bubble burst.

So now, I begin a journey for a dream. One that involves doing Matric physics and maths when I never did them before in the first place, when I graduated high school 21 years ago... It will involve me being in the same class with students half my age, where I would be old enough to be their mother... It would involve six years of my life.

A journey begins with a single step, though. And that first step for me is to find an institution that would let me take classes in maths and physics.

Then I need to pass the exam.

And I would only end up going to university in 2014 in any case. And I have never been to university.

Leap and the net will appear, eh?

So here goes...