Tag Archives: Operation Oysterhood

Operation Oysterhood: 31 July-1 August

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

Weekend, a real one. There was a little bit of work, but mostly because I felt like it. For the rest of the time, I indulged in creative activities: compiled my timeline, continued crocheting, listened to Meditative Stories, read a few snippets here and there (the hunger and concentration for books are gradually returning) and gardened. It was good to watch the rugby with my love and to go for a walk around the Rondebosch Common together. But the highlight of the weekend was the live Derek Gripper concert at the Alma Café.

I listed to one of Derek’s live online concerts during hard lockdown last year while cooking dinner one evening, and the joyous memory stuck with me. Last time my brother was in Cape Town just before the lockdown, we went to see Derek live at Maynardville. Today, after weeks of not being able to operate, the Alma Café reopened with a live concert and, together with twenty-odd socially distanced patrons (nowadays that’s a packed venue), my love and I basked in Derek’s guitar storytelling. His music and the tales he told brought the world into the small space of the café and transported us into a time beyond the relentless present. I am listening to “One Night on Earth: Live in 2021” available on Derek’s website as I type. It is sublime. Pure magic.

To be under the same sky or roof with a performer of such talent and skill has always been a privilege. Now, it is what keeps hope for a better tomorrow alive. Thank you, Derek and the Alma Folks, for nourishing our souls – with beauty and deliciousness (the world’s greatest lemon meringue pie was on the menu tonight!).

Good night.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 30 July

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

Another day of Salieri eating all on her own. I got a scale for her, so that we can monitor her weight until her operation. It pleases me no end that she has gained a little bit of weight since her return from the clinic. We must just watch out that she doesn’t get too much exercise while crocheting … ;)

A lovely visit from a friend in the afternoon. We had tea on the stoep.

I picked up the author’s copies of the latest Karavan Press book today and will be handing them over to the author tomorrow. This is always such a joyous moment. The book turned out so well. Even though I have read it several times during the production process, I find it highly inviting in its published form again.

At the end of the day, I received an incredibly kind and generous email. There are some really decent people out there, and it is a huge privilege to be working with them.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 29 July

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

I slept through the night, for seven straight hours. I don’t remember when was the last time this happened. And I fell asleep in all my day clothes, just after flossing my teeth in bed. I meant to brush them and to get into PJs, but … I know I was too tired and too frustrated with my laptop (suddenly very slow, but all back to normal today after some TLC) to write Oysterhood last night, but I did not know that I was this tired. In general, yes (exhausted for months now), but not in particular. Yesterday seemed like a rather calm day. I listened to another Meditative Story, read (yes!), met with a lovely author on Skype, did some work and ran some errands (I am still on leave, but a certain longlist cannot be ignored and it is the loveliest of things to have to think about and do things around), and in the evening had another delicious Kitchen Republik dinner with my love, while we finished watching Mare of Easttown (an excellent series).

I slept, and it felt like a miracle.

My brother reported that he did have a reaction to his second jab: fever, tiredness, chills in the night, etc. Nothing that he wasn’t expecting. My Mom also suffered a little after her second dose, so I guess, if it runs in the family, I will have to take a day or two off after my second jab at the end of August. I can’t wait anyway!

Over five hundred people reported dead in the last twenty-four hours, and the same the day before. Official warnings about local hospitals at full capacity this weekend. This is not the time to do stupid things that might lead you to the trauma unit.

Joburg experienced an earth tremor this morning.

I keep thinking: Are there volcanoes in South Africa?

Good news is the GOLD and world record at the Olympics for Tatiana Schoenmaker. Congratulations! And I still haven’t watched a single Olympics event … Hopefully, this weekend!

Friday. I am starting a new crocheting project. And I have to do therapy homework – something I am really looking forward to: my life’s timeline.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 28 July

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

What a story! Yes, I am still pinching myself. Even though I had felt how special this book is from the very first page of the manuscript, and the longlist is not a surprise in this respect. But when I think back under what kind of circumstances Robert from Holland House Books and I made the book happen in the UK and here respectively, it all feels like a miracle.

I will continue believing in these stories, the ones that need a home where kindness lives. Holland House Books is such a home. And I hope that Karavan Press is, too.

I have loved Karen’s writing for so many years now. To see it shining in the world like this is pure joy.

The other reason for celebration is that my brother had his second jab today. All three of the people who are closest to me are now fully vaccinated and so much safer than they had been for much too long. My heart is beating with a calmer rhythm.

I saw my counsellor today again. It was only our third meeting, but she also makes my heart and mind calm down. I feel safe with her. And at a time when I am battling fear and anxiety on many levels, this is a huge gift.

Another gift was the arrival of Penny Haw’s latest novel, The Wilderness Between Us, just released in the US. I am still struggling to read – I am struggling with everything, really – but I have a sense that I might be able to lose myself in this story. Can’t wait!

I cooked a version of lecsó tonight for the first time in years. It was delicious, even if I say so myself. Cooking also relaxes me. And sharing food with my love is always a highlight of the day.

Sharing food with Salieri is not as easy, but we have managed another day without syringes. It wasn’t entirely easy to find things she wanted to eat, but we are getting there. Yesterday morning, she vomited again, but luckily it only happened once. Her fur is growing back everywhere. And she loves meditating with me. I think she is soothed by the music and the voices. I definitely am. Small steps.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 27 July

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

Honoured, delighted, infinitely grateful to be part of this story.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 26 July

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

When life gives you lemons, eat them!

My dear friend Helen gave me a jar of her pickled lemons when I saw her last time. They are beyond delicious. These are the kind of lemons that I want from life.

I put in a full day’s work today, and I feel like I have let myself down. I did what I’d promised a while ago that I would, so I did not let somebody else down, but this being on leave is not exactly working out for me how I’d imagined it would … The one thing I did do for myself today was to listen to another Meditative Story in the early morning. And, in the evening, I cooked a really nice dinner for my love and for myself.

But my cheeks are sore again, my OCD and anxiety are through the roof, and I am edgy, distracted in ways where I feel simply lost. Who is this person, tying up her hair in a braid, then in in a bun, all tightly out of the way, so that she feels at least a little bit in control?

The worst about all of this is that, even in good moments, the lack of emotional resources to deal with most things is constantly under the surface of the everyday, ready to erupt. And this at a time when one of the most incredible dreams of my professional life is about to come true. I am bursting with excitement to announce it, but it has to wait a while yet. All I should be doing, though, is wallowing in happiness and pink bubbly (especially now that it can actually be bought for the first time in a month!). But that’s not how depression works …

And my lovely Salieri is getting stronger and more independent again every day. In the last twenty-four hours, she has had the first night and day that she did not require any assistance with eating. And she did not even spend the night on the bed with me. She has been quite clingy since she became ill, but now she is doing more and more of her own thing. It is such a huge relief.

Sadly, the horrible news reached us today that a little dog whom we really liked was brutally killed by another one. The dog’s human family is devastated, and so am I. I did not know her well, but whenever I visited her home, I was always welcomed with the friendliest of smiling tails. I am going to miss her, and I can only imagine how her family feels about her tragic death.

The relentlessness of it all.

Here is a song we played this weekend that I love, especially the bits where Roy Orbison signs (the voice!): “The Traveling Wilburys – Handle With Care”.

Last Week Tonight is back …! Off I go to watch in bed. Good night.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 24-25 July

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

Meditating with The Cats

My counsellor recommended that I try meditation. I have been curious about it for years, but never had an opportunity to explore. Because I am a writer, she thought that Meditative Story might be a good place to start for me. This morning, I finally gave it a go and at random chose the perfect episode: “Learning resilience from earth’s edge, by Tony Tjan“. It resonated on many levels and I and The Cats really enjoyed the half hour we listened to Tony Tjan’s story.

I have done some reading this weekend, and spent time with my love. Together, we had a socially distanced lunch with dear friends who have been through much pain lately and are somehow surviving despite impossible challenges. We had a wonderful meal with them and listened to some great music and just basked in one another’s company. It was our first meal with friends in a month.

I watched the first episode of “Reyka”. I am not so sure about all the ‘artistic’ camera work, sound and lighting – it feels overdone, artificial – but the characters and the plot are intriguing, so I will continue watching. Local is lekker, after all.

And it’s Level Three again. I wouldn’t mind getting myself a bottle of pink Miss Molly sometime this week and I will see a few friends socially again, but preferably in their gardens or on their stoeps, or mine. I can’t wait to be fully vaccinated and to be able to meet with people without fearing for their and my own life.

I haven’t gotten into the Olympic spirit yet, but I will work on it soon. I did enjoy this from Dulcé Sloan: “Dulcé roasts the Olympics opening ceremony”.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 23 July

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

My love got his second jab today, and the relief is gigantic. We went out to breakfast to celebrate. Our first restaurant visit in nearly a month. We have been supporting local restaurants with takeaways as much as possible during level four, but it was so good to just order the food, sit down and have it.

We also had good literary news on two different fronts. And my love had a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the whole day of positive vibes at dinner. After all the challenges, sadness, loss, relentlessness of the past few weeks, today was simply a good day. Salieri needed help with food only once. And the sun came out to say hello, too.

I did wake up in the night, freezing, and had to put on the electric blanket to fall asleep again, but seeing snow on the mountains while running errands all around the Cape today made up for the cold (Topolino’s heater kept me warm). I did not feel on leave at all today, but the work did not bother me – and that in itself is a sign of healing.

Thank you.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 22 July

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

Bloody loadshedding. Fortunately, only for an hour tonight, and I had a plan: I just got into a hot bath with crocheting, a generous glass of wine, a crime novel and popcorn. Glinka sat on another chair next to the bath and kept me company by candlelight. Then, when the power came back on, we had a long Skype chat with Austrian family.

My love was here for coffee in the morning, and in the afternoon, I visited a dear friend whom I haven’t seen for ages. She is now fully vaccinated after surviving Covid-19.

I managed to read a bit this morning and in the bath. Not for long both times, and a bit here and there, but it wasn’t bad.

And Salieri needed help with her food only once during the entire day. What a relief that she is almost eating on her own. She also played with a toy and explored the garden in between rainfalls. All those ordinary things that seem like miracles nowadays. I am infinitely grateful for every little step of her recovery.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 21 July

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

Today’s rainbow wishes. There is really only one thing that I really want right now, for my loved ones and for myself – HEALTH.

My second session with a counsellor and a long postponed visit to the oral hygienist – thus, a morning of self-care. It felt comforting.

Salieri is stable, still needs some help with her eating, but the improvements in her well-being are obvious and her test results revealed that the plan the vet suggested for her recovery has every reason to succeed.

A friend who had recently recovered from Covid-19 shared a bottle of bubbly with me in front of her fireplace this afternoon. It was amazing to see her and to know that she is well, also to know that we can do no harm to each other. But we still sat far apart just in case. AND WE HAD BUBBLY IN FRONT OF A FIREPLACE. It was truly special because it felt almost normal.

Afterwards, I had dinner with my love. And the fireplace at his house kept us and his cats warm. I am now writing in front of my own fireplace, with Glinka next to the fire, Salieri on the warm bed and Mozart – being Mozart – in his outside nest. I tried to entice him to be with us in the warm room, but he loves his independence more than warmth.

My brother is moving back to Salzburg, our university town, and I saw today that KLM is flying to Vienna for just over R7 000. Mom is fully vaccinated, and my brother and I will be soon, too. The idea that I might be able to go and visit them soon feels like the best of magic.

I just need to work a little bit more on self-care. Talking to the counsellor, I realise that I really have to take care. The alternative is not pretty.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”

— NICD