South African Articles Are Now Available Online

You’ve already read them, of course, but I’m so excited to see that the Cape Chameleon is up and running online. Straight from the internets, here are my old articles in all their glory:

Our Contributors

Katherine Barry, USA
Issue Articles
5 Houses of Sand
7 White Wine
Katherine Barry, from Denver, Colorado, USA, is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a degree in Communication Studies. She enjoys excellent adventures, particularly road trips, and hopes that she will one day find a job that will her allow her the luxury of world travel.
Words : Katherine Barry
A pile of charred wood is all that’s left of the shacks. The sand where they sat is littered with burned belongings: a blackened Bible, an office chair, clothes no longer usable. The metal sheets that had once been walls have been salvaged, taken for use in new shacks, the obviously burnt edges blending in amongst the rust.
The first fire broke out three weeks before in the same shack that would be the ignition point of the second fire, which would tear through the informal settlement of Village Heights in Cape Town, depriving 15 families of their homes.
Fires in informal settlements – like Village Heights – represent one of the biggest dangers of living in such a community. Even with attempts to build with space on all sides, fires such as the one that destroyed those 15 shacks can spread quickly since the materials used to construct the homes are highly flammable and unregulated.
‘It was better under apartheid,’ says Bernadine, the community leader who has created and maintained the Village Heights library, and who is the recipient of the first Projects Abroad sandbag house in South Africa. ‘At least then we all had our own homes and jobs. Now we have nothing.’

Government response

According to residents, after the first fire the government offered four wooden posts, five pieces of metal and some grounding plastic as a replacement. However, the metal went to the construction of a roof and the residents were left to use plastic to create walls. During the second fire, a woman was badly burned when the plastic melted onto her skin.
Proper housing is something that many people living in South Africa lack, for a multitude of reasons, including long waiting times after application for government housing. ‘I’ve been on a waiting list for twenty one years,’ says one woman who lost her home in the fire. ‘My daughter is 20 now.’ She went on to detail her experience, saying that she makes regular visits to go check on the status of her application, only to be told that she is indeed still on the list, but that no further information can be released about the status of the application.
While debates rage about governmental involvement and personal contribution for houses, the issue remains that people lack proper living quarters. Residents of the informal settlements around Cape Town and throughout South Africa are forced to create homes using materials that they can find, salvage, or buy, resulting in homes that often lack even basic features such as a floor. Security measures are an afterthought as well, allowing for criminal activity to flourish in the crowded neighbourhoods. Where to go from here?
Sand is nearly ubiquitous in Cape Town and the surrounding areas. It also might present a feasible solution to the problem of the shack homes in the ever-expanding informal settlements. Filling bags with sand and then stacking them within a frame can create a solid structure that is built both efficiently and quickly.
Beginning with materials, construction with sandbags can be a cheap alternative to traditional building methods. Since all that is needed to build a sandbag structure are bags, sand, cement and wooden and metal framing, the cost drops significantly due to the lack of construction equipment needed. No cranes, no stacks of bricks and no heavy vehicles entering or leaving the construction site.
20% of the materials need to be allocated for the construction of the frame of the sandbag building, but there is a certain amount of flexibility as to what those might be – including the use of wood or tin. Bricks can be used as well, but in order to maintain the eco-friendly atmosphere, they should only be implemented if they are within reach to avoid the entrance of trucks and other machinery in to the site.

Benefits of sand building

This cost effective creation is incredibly ecofriendly. Since most of the building can be done with materials found on-site, the need for waste is nearly eliminated. This waste elimination plays a large factor in the ecofriendly nature of the sandbag buildings.
Builders who choose to use sandbag building as an alternative to conventional construction methods also stand to gain carbon credits for their choices. Carbon credit programmes offer financial incentives for companies to build in keeping with the ‘green’ trends and for waste elimination and recycling of materials.
This waste elimination and recycling process, presents an opportunity for those who are economically disadvantaged. By being able to build effectively and also save money, they can increase community bonds and safety.

Structural soundness

Besides being fireproof, the sand structures also present an element of soundproofing not found in the corrugated iron structures, which currently make up most of the homes in the townships and informal settlements in the Cape Town area.
They are also not easy to deconstruct or demolish, in essence creating a lasting home that won’t be victim to natural disasters such as flooding or tornadoes. The solidity of the sand as it is packed and stacked neatly to create walls allows for an element of indoor climate control that supersedes that provided by the corrugated structures as well. The sand essentially insulates the home, keeping it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Spreading the word

The surmountable caveat to sand building is that it is not well known as a possible method for creating homes. The newly homeless fire victims had never heard of sandbag building when asked about it, yet were curious as to how it might work. They eagerly agreed that the community would want to be involved in such a building plan, given the right materials.
Based on the readily available materials and the community mentality that many of the neighbourhoods have, it seems that if sandbag structures could catch on, they might make a wonderful improvement for communities who are underfunded and under protected.
Projects Abroad began constructing their first sandbag house at the site of the Village Heights Library in August of 2010. While normally the construction of such a building (one room) would take less than a month, due to staggered volunteer arrivals, the project has continued for more than three months. Nevertheless, the house is beginning to take shape.
Bernadine hopes to show off the building project as a model of sustainable building. As of the beginning of December, the structure was complete and the roof had been added and finalisation of the exterior decoration was beginning. The hope is that the building will remain a long-standing testament to the possibility of creation from local materials and community involvement.
The project supervisor – Deen Singh – remains optimistic that the sandbag building will be used for the betterment of the community. He explained that everything must be done to help the children. The building has been designated for use in a crèche, or a childcare centre, one that will hopefully create a safe haven for children from all over Village Heights. Currently there are five volunteers working on the building. Rick, a German volunteer, feels that the building he is helping to construct will last, showing immediate change in the place that he came to volunteer. ‘It’s nice to leave something behind,’ he said.
Perhaps this sandbag building can be a model of change for a community that is desperate for change, but lacking the resources with which to create it.
Words :Katherine Barry
The clink of glasses and the soft murmur of conversation fill the air with the sounds of a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Searching for looming mountains, lush vineyards, and quiet roads, families and groups of friends flock to the wine lands in the Western Cape for vacations, day trips and evening meals to sample wine and pass time under the South African sun.
Behind the idyllic fields that birthed the South African wine industry, lie the lingering oppression of apartheid and the pain of extreme poverty. South Africa, which wasn’t known for being a world exporter of wine until post 1994, when apartheid induced international boycott ended, had eighth largest wine producer as of 2005, according to a report published by the South African Wine Industry Council in 2007.

Industry history

South Africa entered the wine industry long before 1994, however Jan van Riebeeck planted the first vines in South Africa in 1655 and the first wines produced from those grapes appeared four years later. After initially planting vines in what is now Wynberg, the wine industry began to flourish in Constantia.
It was soon after the French Huguenots settled in the Cape area during the late seventeenth century; the wine trade began to flourish. Exports from Constantia became well known in Europe, creating the market for South African wine. However, Phylloxera, a disease that kills grape vines, was discovered in 1886 and caused much of the vineyards to suffer heavy losses.
The twentieth century was one of the most important centuries for South African wine. In 1925, Stellenbosch University Professor Perold was able to blend Pinot Noir with Hermitage grapes to create the Pinotage. The Pinotage wasn’t marketed until the late 1950s, but has since become South Africa’s most famous and successful cross-pollination.

Economic impact

As of 2008, the wine industry grossed 2.2% of the country’s GDP, which was about R26.2 billion. The latest numbers, coming from the wine industry, show an increase in production, up R4 billion from five years earlier. The industry also provides 275,600 job opportunities as well, according to South Africa information ( Wine tourism draws a steady stream of people to the winelands in the Western Cape. Stellenbosch and Paarl are among the most popular destinations.

Economic problems

The problems plaguing the heavily white wine industry are most certainly correlated to other social problems in post-apartheid South Africa, and while they do not necessarily have their origins within the industry itself, it is apparent that the industry is feeling problematic reverberations throughout its entire structure.
The antiquated ‘dop’ (meaning ‘drop of alcohol’ in Afrikaans) system, under which black and coloured workers were paid in alcohol, usually wine, rather than cash or other goods, led to high rates of alcoholism among the workers, whose consumption of the wine left them tethered to the farm that they worked on in order to maintain a continuous flow of alcohol from the farm owners, who were (and still are) overwhelmingly white. Even though the ‘dop’ system has been abolished, and reforms are in place to ensure that the workers are compensated legitimately, alcoholism remains one of the main social problems emanating from the Western Cape wine industry.

Alcohol-related problems

Shebeens, or other illegal liquor establishments, are often hotbeds of alcohol-related activity. The farm workers, who often lack other means of entertainment and suffer from geographically induced social isolation and lack the money as well as other resources needed to overcome these obstacles, have easy access to the Shebeens.
Since these Shebeens often act as community centres, the presence of children is common. Some mothers even put wine into their babies’ bottles in order to keep them quiet, according to Professor Dennis Viljoen as quoted in an article written for (Voice of America) by Darren Taylor.
Another of the far-reaching social problems stemming from the South African vineyards is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). FAS and other alcoholrelated developmental problems occur when the mother ingests large quantities of alcohol during pregnancy and is the most preventable cause of mental retardation. Many mothers continue to drink throughout their pregnancies, due to a lack of education about the ill-effects of drinking during pregnancy as well as disregard for that information.
Estimates of FAS in South Africa, average around 45 cases per 1000 (suggests Jake McKinstry in the American Journal of Public Health, 2005). Compared to rates of one case per 750 infants born in the United States, (according the rate of the South African FAS is staggering. The country has one of the highest FAS rates in the world. Children who suffer from FAS often suffer from symptoms such as: a low birth weight, developmental delay, learning disabilities, behavioural problems and poor social skills.
All of these symptoms could be easily avoided if mothers would abstain from alcohol while pregnant, making FAS the most preventable cause of developmental problems. In South Africa, awareness of FAS is limited, but attempts to spread information have begun. International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Day in on 9 September. Despite the fact that attempts are being made to quell the rise of FAS in South Africa, it cannot be achieved without support from the systems that have contributed to the spread of the problem.

Economic diversity

Alcoholism is not the only problem plaguing the South African wine industry. The lack of diversity may seem inconsequential, but in order to maintain growth rates that mirror those of the population of the country, it is imperative that more black wine farms be created. A black economic empowerment (BEE) charter drafted in 2007 attempted to address the economic disparity and to create a more diverse industry has failed to move through governmental channels. However, there has been promising, albeit slow, growth within the industry. According to the Wine Industry Development Association (WIDA) 38% of ‘wine operations’ have programmes in place for black empowerment. Another positive indicator of progress is Thandi, now an independent company that was started under Paul Cluver Vineyards. Thandi began to show profit and has also been able to pay dividends to its shareholders. However, it appears that Thandi might be an outlier rather than part of a growing trend. BEE research shows that only 2.26% of vineyards are operated under black ownership. Growth and change may be coming to the South African wine industry, but it’s coming slowly.

Putting it all together

The South African wine industry mirrors the rest of the country quite clearly in racial breakdowns and social problems, but it also mirrors the positive impact that time seems to be having on those same issues. Racial integration has been slow coming to South Africa, particularly the Western Cape, but it seems as though the tides are slowly changing as the workforce becomes a more integrated, educated place. The determination of industries to diversify has only added to the sense of hope being fostered among communities of all race, socio-economic, age and demographics.

On Tuesday, fondly

Jumbled thoughts, collected below: 
I am pleased to report that I have successfully returned all six books to the Denver Public Library, one day before their due date. No fines! 
Your song for the day is Regina Spektor’s Us. I’m starting to get nostalgic – this week last year was the beginning of the end of South Africa. I remember so badly wanting to get out of the tangled mess that was the end, but I knew even then that an impermeable love for that place had settled in my soul. Every time I hear this song, I think about my commute to and from work. It reminds me of the jangle of the chain as I closed the front gate at Priscilla’s; the hustle of Wynberg market; the way the street smelled in the morning; the narrow, slanted sidewalks. I wish I had a jar of South African sand. I would open it right now and dig around, letting the sand slip through my fingers. I would think about wine, and the waves, and looming mountains. I would be home. 
I’m happy. I woke up this morning and I was utterly content, all the way to my bones. I didn’t want to get up; I didn’t want to leave; I just wanted to roll over and shut out the day. I wanted to nuzzle in, close my eyes, and pretend that the alarm wasn’t going to ring obnoxiously in another nine minutes. 
But of course it did, as alarms are wont to do. Even though I’m not nesting happily somewhere, there’s a constant current running through me. I can dig this. 
It’s too bad we couldn’t have just ray-gunned the Jackson 5 so they would have stayed in those childhood moments forever. Much better than their later selves, less creepy. 

On Suburban Segregation

Not necessary reading material (because it’s just an infograph), but something worth looking at to prove that I’m not entirely insane: Suburbanization of Poverty

Wet and cold (at least I was), we headed home from last Monday night’s Bronco game via public transportation. Mike and I found ourselves at Colfax and Broadway at half past midnight, seated on a wet and cold park bench.

That bus stop is always busy, and half past midnight on an early Tuesday morning is no different. As we sat, people surrounded us, all talking about the game. But what caught my attention was the fact that they hadn’t gone to the game as spectators, they had gone as employees. Kettle corn, beer, other food-service.
The commonality was football statistics; the man behind me knows more about football than I ever will; the crazy man pacing knows much less.

I felt guilty, shamed by my spectator-status as they discussed what had gone on behind the scenes and counted out their tips. One guy had a fistful of one-dollar bills. I was tempted to tell him to shove them back in his pocket, lest someone steal them. (Cape Town really got that in my brain. Last Saturday when I was out, I found that I had stashed $42 in my bra, just in case.)

The bus was not coming. I was grumpy.

I listened to the girl a few seats down start talking about where she was staying (Mississippi and Sable) and how long it was going to take her to get home (forever) – but then I got the impression that she was still in high school. And possibly homeless.
The guy next to her was also headed out to Aurora.

To my great relief, the bus finally came and we squished on. (For the record, people in Denver have no idea what a crowded bus is – they were balking at the prospect of having to move back and squeeze in, claiming that the bus was “full.” Not full at all, but I wasn’t in the mood to get stern.)

As the bus lumbered up Colfax, it stopped at nearly every stop to add more people. You’d think, perhaps, that as the bus left the city center, it would slowly empty rather than filling. No. It seemed that everyone was headed east. What’s east? First of all, the Colorado Blvd connection (and the #40 bus), but second, and more importantly, Aurora.

Whenever I bemoan my situation (as I so love to do), I’m absolutely overlooking the fact that I have a support system. That I have transportation, that I have Simon.

I’m overlooking the fact that, like the girl seated a few seats away, there are varying degrees of homelessness in our city. Not everyone who’s technically homeless has a cardboard sign and wants your money. They’re sleeping on people’s couches; they’re crashing at a friend’s place; they’re staying awake all night; they’re riding the bus around until they get somewhere. That’s how people manage not to freeze during winters in Chicago – they ride the train until the end of the line and then turn around and do it all over again.

I’m overlooking the fact that I don’t have an hour-long commute each way. I don’t have to be dependent on the bus, something that can add hours to any commute, anywhere. I don’t have to get on the bus with my arms loaded with groceries.

Unlike the woman with at least three, possibly four, kids and two strollers, I don’t have to rely on the kindness of others to get my family safely off the bus. The kids reminded us of the township creches. They were cute, polite, but desperately needed clean clothes and baths. And a decent bedtime.

In Cape Town, the suburbs hold populations that fall into varying classifications of income levels, from the rich (Camps Bay) to the poor (Steenberg) to the poorer (Lavender Hill) to the townships (Vrygrond) to the informal settlements (Village Heights). As you go further down the income ladder, you find that the population density increases exponentially, as does the crime rate. But what falls at an equal rate is access to transportation.

Poorer neighborhoods are further from access to trains. Instead, they have to take a minibus from their neighborhood, probably to another minibus, then eventually to the train. This adds to their commute and can be a determining factor in their employment status.

Vrygrond was strategically placed away from train lines. The white Cape Townians didn’t want the colored and black populations to have access to the transportation, but instead, wanted them to remain in their designated neighborhoods.

Minibuses, the other transportation alternative to trains, are dangerous. I’ve never been so harassed as I was on the trains and minibuses in Cape Town. It’s the touching that really gets you. You’re either about to be groped or robbed, and neither are pleasant. But people have to do that every day. Sitting on top of strangers, next to strangers, pushed up against them.

It’s funny because just as the transportation effectively cuts off the poorest, it also secludes the richest. You can’t take public transportation to Camps Bay, the wealthy, white side of Table Mountain. You have to take a cab.

In Cape Town, when I was finding jobs for the unemployed, many of the ads stipulated that people be from certain areas only. For a country that has come so far from Apartheid, it’s disheartening to see such blatant discrimination.

Is that what we want here? A segregated workforce? But more importantly than that, is that what we’re eventually going to have? Are we becoming a more diverse population or a more segregated one as time passes?

As someone who usually has access to transportation, it’s a wake-up call to realize how much your life can be affected by the inability to commute. Mobility is a key to success. By continuing to eliminate entire populations of workers by simply making it difficult for them to access transportation, we’re effectively ensuring that only a select portion of people will be able to apply for, and eventually obtain, those jobs.

We need to focus on building effective transportation systems that are easily accessible, by everyone. We need more trains. We need more bus-only lanes. We need a swifter boarding process. We need to be able to get to the Denver airport via train. We need to be quick about it.

This time for Africa

It’s been a year since the epic adventure that was Cape Town began…

I’ve not got the words at the moment, so here’s the music video for the song that I most closely associate with our time there.

When I got there, that very first night, my German roommate Svenja and my host mom Priscilla (Mama P, affectionately) played this song and we danced to it.

Odds and Ends and Saturdays

I got an email from Mama P this morning. You’ll remember Priscilla, my absolutely insanely wonderful host mother in South Africa.
Her emails are always short and to the point. They never say much, but I’m grateful for them. Today she said that the weather is turning cold, and to say hello to Mike and James Dean for her. I laughed out loud when I read the last bit; I had completely forgotten about that. So here’s how it goes:

The night that James was coming to pick me up for our first date, I realized I had no idea what his name was. I knew it was either James or Dean. So we had all just referred to him as James Dean the entire week. I realized that this was eventually going to present a problem, so I called him, and luckily, he didn’t answer his phone. Voicemail clued me in on his real name and that was that. But we still called James Dean.

It’s amazing how much I miss that place. I know it will never be the same, but it will always have a beautiful place in my heart. I want to get back there, to stand at Muizenberg Beach and feel the waves crash against my feet and fight my way onto the train and off again.

However, my life here is growing daily. While I like that I’m learning a lot at my current job, I’m not satisfied with the compensation and have taken on babysitting to make extra cash. (This supports my lifestyle, which you may be surprised to hear isn’t quite as wild as you might think.) Anyway, I’ve got four families in the rotation and the balancing act is getting a bit hectic.

This week, for example, I will be working all seven days. And twice this week I had to go straight from work to babysit. The other nights I went directly home and was in bed relatively early. It’s all fine and well, but I’m not getting any decompression time and am beginning to get a bit stressed.
Hopefully this week will provide ample opportunity for sleep as I’m not scheduled to work any week days.

Alas, today brings more babysitting, volunteering at a choir concert that one of my co-workers is singing in, and then date night. And tomorrow brings babysitting.
I really love the families that I’m sitting for this weekend – I find it much easier to babysit when I’m actually enjoying myself as well. One family has three little girls, and then, of course, there are the twins.   I find myself hoping the symphony season won’t end!

Last night, Jacob and I went to see a production of Macbeth at UCD. Jacob was personally invested – he did the music for the show. I went because I waffle back and forth on my hate/love of Shakespeare. This play was pretty well done. The costuming choices were interesting – mostly just corsets – and the cast was tiny, but the leads delivered their lines really well.
After that, we went to an art gallery where they were serving pancakes and alcohol (strange combination, but hey, whatever). After paying $5 to get in and being told that drinks were free – we ended up having to pay $4 for a small cup. Ridiculous. The gallery was cute, but it was trying too hard to replicate the scene in New York. There were topless models being spraypainted (when done properly, it’s actually really beautiful), but it just felt like an afterthought, especially as the crowd began to diminish.  After meeting up with our friend Claire and her girlfriend and wandering around looking at some art, we bailed to go dancing.

And so we danced. The night drew to a close, and I was grateful, because the tired had begun creeping through my bones. I went home, said hello to Carlos and Mike, and was asleep nearly immediately. I woke up tired – I didn’t get nearly enough sleep. I’m hoping for a nap while I do my laundry.

Tonight, once my obligations are over, I’ve got a wild night planned (as usual). The guy that I guess I’m dating (I don’t know – we eat dinner together sometimes. He made me waffles. I think that counts as sort of edging toward dating?) is going to come down from Boulder (and maybe bring his adorable dog!) and we’re going to go see Claire’s band play and then (depending on how tired I am or how bored he is) head to a weird art gallery/warehouse for a space party ordeal.

Jacob is super into the electronic scene, which means I find myself at a lot of events. I joking called it a “space cult” based on the theme of the first party he invited me to. Now, we call them space parties. They’re not really – just a bunch of people in a room listening to really good (or really bad, depending) music and maybe drinking.

And yes, we may have to relocate Carlos for the evening. Jacob is more than happy to babysit and Carlos has been itching to get out and explore.

South Africa: Preliminary Information

I’m sidetracking off of teen pregnancy, although I’m coming back to it after I post info about South Africa.

Coinciding with this wonderful news, The Economist has been so kind as to publish a special report about South Africa (just for me, of course. It has very little to do with the upcoming World Cup being held there later this month).
However, I’m going to link you to it, because hopefully this will be the start of a very wonderful journey for all of us. (I’m contemplating starting another blog to focus solely on my experience because I’m hoping to do some actual analysis and writing while I’m there….but we can get to that later.)
Click on the words below for links to the individual stories.
When the whistle blows (not part of the special report published this week)

"Money can’t buy you class" and other assorted random things

Two posts in a day, be sure to scroll down for pictures of the Mustache Bash bar crawl from Saturday.

I’ve been getting back into fiction lately. I went to the local library (where I’m not yet banned and don’t owe them large sums of money. Going to miss that small freedom once I get back to Denver) and got some books last week. Ah, the oppressive stacks of the cramped space reminded me of my youth, when I was quite a bit smaller and not as tall. I made an effort to look at the titles near the floor, but it was impossible to do. But I ended up picking out four hardcover books. Hardcover to remind myself what literature really is. The crinkle of that plastic wrap is a magical, comforting sound to my over-auto-tune-subjected ears. Two murder mysteries (um, because that is what I do best), a book by John Connelly called The Gates, and then Clinton Kelly’s fabulous etiquette book. Thus far, I’ve consumed The Gates and the fabulous book about being fabulous, which I enjoyed, but was thoroughly relieved I’d not spent any actual money on it. I enjoyed The Gates immensely. It was light-hearted, even though it was about Hell.

But it’s been making me realize that I should be writing. Seriously. I need to up the English levels on my blog. I need to stop writing such melodramatic trash so that you’re convinced you’re not following some sort of soap opera. Instead, I shall focus on social issues that I care about and whatever else I can drum up. Hence the teen pregnancy allusion in the last post. I will get to it. And when I do, you will come away astounded. (Not by teen pregnancy, hopefully. There’s really not much about it that might astound.) But I’m going to be a real (and by real, I mean completely amateur, un-official, writing from my apartment) journalist about this and do some research. You know, get the real facts before I spout off about stuff that no one really needs  to know.

I finally took the cover off of my laptop because I’m convinced it’s scratching my laptop more than it would be scratched had it remained uncovered. I’m in the market for a new case as of tomorrow, so perhaps a stop off at the Apple store is in order. I’d also like to check out the iPad, in case we do end up going to South Africa.

Um, did I mention the applications and deposits have been submitted? WE ARE GOING TO SOUTH AFRICA (most likely)! I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m terrified, obviously, as I am about to embark on a mission deep into the unknown, however, I think that when it’s all said and done, my life will have been irrevocably changed. For the better, hopefully. Unless I’m not. But we can deal with that at some later point. But The Economist seems to be on my side. My mailbox today was full of a fourteen-page special report on South Africa, which I will read on the train tomorrow and report back on. I enjoy their coverage. I am keeping my subscription to their magazine, partially because I think the British spellings are cute.

Also, it’s not “for all intensive purposes.” It’s “for all intents and purposes.” I feel like an idiot. I want to issue an open apology to anyone I may have grammatically offended over the years. Just so you know.

The title of this post is in reference to a song, if it can be called that, sung by an over-privileged woman from New York (she’s on the Real Housewives, a show I can’t get enough of). It’s a horrible mess of song but it’s hilarious and catchy but not in a good way. Catchy in that it’ll be stuck in your head all day and you’ll be wishing for anything else. Even a Rickroll would be nice about now.
And on that note: a really bad song sung by a really annoying woman

I’ve realized that one of the things I love about my cat is the way he sighs. It’s so adorable. One thing I wildly disapprove of is his need to go bolting out the front door when I open it. Lame. Chasing him down the stairs seems to be his favorite game.