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Showing posts from 2013

Please and Thankyou. Love and Laughter

So here we stand ... 2014 is peeping cheekily around the corner, waiting for the 24 hrs of its  predecessor to run to an end.  2014 is waiting in the wings, shiny as a new penny, unblemished, filled with promise and good intentions.  In 365 days time, what will you have done with that year? Wasted it? Put it to good use? Blemished it? Used it in a blaze of glory?  Perhaps pause a moment and consider the many options open to you. 

I myself have pondered the question at great length over the past two weeks or so ..... What will I leave in 2013, what will I look for in 2014, what will I start, what will I end .... And who do I want to end the year as?

I know that I want to say I can't or I don't know if I am capable, way less. 
I am going to both listen and hear more.  
I am going to remember that I have one mouth and two ears for a reason.
I am not going to be quieter, more subdued, less involved or anything else to fit into a mould
I will trust more and forgive those who hurt me this…

Food. Fun and 10 Jan

So Christmas is over and I have eaten pork, chicken, silverside, turducken and lamb.  I have also had cheesecake of 3 different kinds, chocolate mousse, meringues, ice-cream, assorted fruit, lebkuchen and Christmas cake.  I have not had mince pies .... I would rather eat the latest issue of Good Housekeeping than eat a mince pie.  Mince pie ... stupid name.  No mince huh?  However I did have both shortbread and Quality Street chocolates at my priest's house.  No Christmas is complete without Quality Street chocs. He was the only person I knew who had them.   They are available 365 days a year, but in some bizarre mindset most people only buy and eat them at Christmas.  I swear in Feb I am going to buy some.  Oh no I will be on diet by then .... best buy them before 10 Jan.  

I have drunk a wide range of stuff including a fantastic rose essence and litchi crush cocktail with vodka last night which left me with a divine taste in my mouth and zero feeling in my thighs.  

And so January…

just sitting

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Fun times at the moment in my life.  The slowing down of the normal "hamster on a wheel" pace of my life has left me with more time to read, more time to blog and most strangely, more time that I am simply not filling with anything, which for those that know me well, is very weird and most un-Karin like.  Yesterday when hubby came home I was sitting at the dining room table.  Just sitting.  Not doing anything.  He looked a bit panic stricken because obviously it must have looked like I was waiting for him to come home so I could impart some terrible news.  "What are you doing Laverne?", he said ...... "Nothing", I replied "Just sitting and relaxing".  When I say that sentence most people follow it up with "Are you sick?".  No.  Processing.  Re-aligning.  Re-setting.  Re-finding.  Re-routing.  Call it what you like.  Just sitting.  

I took my darling 6ft 2" son who is all of 14 years old, to Sportsmans Warehouse (his home away from …

love, laughter and Christmas trees

My hubby loves me.  A lot.  But there are some non-negotiables in our marriage ..... He will only do malls for movies, meals and necessities (buying me or the kids a gift, getting sports equipment for kids etc) ... no wandering, window shopping, trawling the mall, or as he so eloquently puts it "frikken faffing around".  Another non-negotiable is me eating anything at all in bed.  He wants no chewing sounds around him when he sleeps.  Bizarre. But that is not relevant here.  

Thank heavens I did not take him to the mall with me and the kids yesterday.  Given the option I would probably have rather lazed in the pool as well.  When we got to the entrance of Game and could not even get into the shop door properly, plus there were no trolleys available, we did a quick reverse.  

All this simply because for the first time this year we did not put up our tree on 1 December.  Yes it may be early but it is beautiful and we have our Nativity Scene and the flickering lights and the tins…

my caffeine and my religion

So I am slowly slowly cutting back on coffee.  Slowly slowly being the 2 focus words of that sentence.  I have decided to give up coffee for Lent.  Because that will be beyond huge for me.  However if I go from my current coffee tally to zero on Ash Wednesday, I will be in jail by the day after Ash Wednesday because I will in all likelihood have throttled more than one person.  So the way to do it is to lessen my intake leading up to that day so that I literally am going from 2 to 3 cups a day to zero.  If 2 to 3 cups is what I am trying to whittle down to ..... then do the maths about my coffee intake. 

Coffee is my friend.  It holds my hand when I am sad, it celebrates with me when I am happy, it sits quietly with me when I want silence, it makes me smile when I am feeling joyful.  It is constant.  It does not mind sharing my attention with my family, or my best friend, or my book or my IPad.  It knows that it is important to my life. It can travel with me in my car, to my office, it…

raining on my parade

This has not been one of my best December months for a whole lot of reasons.  It has felt as if I walk continuously with a cloud pouring down rain right above my head, only my head, 24/7, like in a cartoon strip. And each time I think it will stop, someone else stands on the ladder next to me and starts it off again.

Between the renewing of my contract with my employer, an annual event which is stressful for me, the birthday of my recently passed away great-grandmother (which hurt like hell), my coming to terms with a great deal of changes in my life this year, my daughter finishing school and standing on the brink of her 19th birthday and new study direction and a past month which seems to me was surprisingly filled with people, mostly kindly, suggesting  how to "better myself", or in one case even the brashness of someone unknowing saying that I was not at all suitable for one of the roles I perform as a person, in my personal life ...... a comment that hurt as if someone …

Yellow submarine ~~~~

Sometimes serious things can turn out to give us reason to laugh .... Or maybe we are not laughing ..... Maybe we are simply hysterical.

Someone told me a tale about a submarine today.  It had direct bearing on me.  No the person did not say I look like a submarine or anything else inappropriate .... They simply used it in trying to get me vividly picturing their point.  It was a good and valid point.  The submarine comment just made me chuckle.  And it was said out of caring.  Given a choice between submarine and delightful ... I would wanna be described as the former.  Se-ri-ous.

It is a bit like me using the word foghorn when my dear girl bursts in anywhere.  It is a very vivid description.  Her teachers at school always said they know where she is all day long.  I am continuously saying sssssh... And she rolls her eyes and says "ag mom".  And I do realize that it is quite apt for me too.  I decided I like it.  And I am going to tell her to like it too.  Where is the rule…

Temporary empty nest

My daughter has finished Matric.  She laid out her clothes with great excitement and packed her bag.  She then said "we can take 35kg hey mom?"  ... My heart nearly stopped ....We breathed a huge sigh of relief when she stood on the scale clutching aforementioned bag and it was 20kg for the bag.  On the dot.  The cutoff weight for luggage on an airline.  She then rustled up her hand luggage .... With her bottle of wine for their first night ...... You have to think ahead if you gonna land after the stores close.  We were always good planners in this family.

I have promised not to contact her all the time.  I have been impressive .... Even she says so.   I have called her once since Sunday .... The 2nd time was because she asked me to.   Because her camera got stolen. Out of a bag around her body. In a crowded nightclub.  Karma is a bitch and she will find you thief.  I wait for her to whatsapp in the morning and in the evening I say hi and send some whatsapp pics of the sea…

seriously not cycling

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Yesterday one of my closest friends rode in the 94.7 cycle challenge.  In the searing heat.  On a bike naturally.  On hot tar.  In lycra sort of material.  I applaud him. 

Now there are a number of reasons why I did not ride in the cycle race.


Firstly I do not own a bike.  My hubby had one that I rode on now and then.  Actually it was quite a bit more then and hardly ever now.  When I park my car at work and get out in the searing heat, I find it challenging to walk from my car to my office.  I don't know if I could even cycle from my car to my office. You have to get up really really early to train in the weeks and months prior to the race.  I find it really really difficult to drag myself out of bed to brush my teeth, let alone get on a bike. I am always looking for my cellphone, glasses, car keys, office keys and parking mall tickets.  Having a bike means there would just be one more thing that I could not find in the morning. When doing the Spar Ladies Race, my greatest aggravat…

remain or retreat?

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So what do you do when you feel like you are giving a lot of yourself to someone or someones (is there such a word) but what you get back is not a lot, or maybe it is a lot, but superficial, just on the surface kind of sharing, without depth which does not mean it is sharing.

Do you a) walk away, hard as it is  b) hire a hitman  c) grin and bear it  d) you have no advice to give me

I realised today, without warning, like a thunderbolt hitting me, that sometimes we get so swept up in giving of ourselves and so swept up in someone's accepting this and joy in this, that when you suddenly stand still you realise ... wait a minute .... what am I getting back?  And I am not speaking about financial rewards, or favours or gifts or anything material, I am talking about giving of yourself, your thought processes, your ideas, true sharing of who you are.

Some of us do that.  It is who we are.  If you are close to me.  You get me.  Heart and soul.  

So where does that leave me .............…

Simply Smiling and Sweating

Zumba.  The word conjures up images of hip swaying dancing, bongo drums, feathers, beaded tops and smouldering Latin men.
Now come down to earth ........

Zumba ..... Is actually aerobics done to gyrating Latin American music .... Think lunges to Latino music .... Jumping to Jennifer Lopez.  It is for all ages, all sexes .... But it is intense ... We sweat, we sway ..... We love the song Look at My Body ..... I workooooooout.

Zumba is also fun, social, toning, heart racing, invigorating ..... Along with other words like panting, dying, crawling, drinking litres of water, falling into your vehicle afterwards etc.  But smiling.

There are weeks when I carry a copy of my Last Will and Testament in my car cubbyhole so that my daughter, dancing next to me, has easy access to it when I go into cardiac arrest.  Luckily our priest lives next to the hall in case of emergency and I have him on speed dial.

And then there is Simone aka our Ringmaster, Instructor, Chief Whip.  She is Fun with a cap…

me + samsung S3 = disaster

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My dear Samsung S3 is now hanging on by a thread.  A tiny one.  After my blog a couple of weeks ago that I had managed to set the corner of my 11 month old phone alight, by putting it down on my novel, on a table full of burning candles and then dozing off, much to the amusement of the local Vodacom store, I now managed to accidentally drop it 2 days ago and naturally it will not fall with the cover facing down ... oh no .... it has to land screen down ... and shatter the screen .... only for Samsung to tell me the screen is not covered by the warranty and costs ..... wait for it ..... R2 100 to replace.  That is on top of the R2 000 I paid when the phone was 6 months old and their wonderful S3 screen stopped working ... also that was not covered .... in case it was dropped .... and that time it wasn't ... so now 11 months after I bought it, I have spent almost the same value on repairs.  Go Samsung!!

So now I may be forced to seek "alternate sources" of phone repair peop…

Christmas comes early ..... why?

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And boom ..... the silly season is blossoming in the stores already.  As early as the second week in October the shopping malls, retailers and anyone else who owns a piece of tinsel jumped onto the bandwagon.  And I still don't get it.  I would if the packing out of the trees and baubles and the playing of the Boney M rendition of Drummer Boy started on the 1st of December .... but October?  I arrived at a popular mall in the Eastern suburbs on 11 October and lo and behold at the entrance, an obscenely high fir Christmas tree adorned in splendour, glittering in the blazing South African sun whilst the faux snow looked sad.  Probably embarrassed .... don't get a lot of snow in Lynnwood Road methinks. Especially in October. 

And then the chocolates.  Lindt really has gone all out ..... Reindeer, Father Christmas, Baubles ... you name it ..... available in the entrance of every more fancy supermarket ... displayed proudly, at a premium price ..... in October.  Along with Christmas…

did you hear .......

Rumours.  Half truths.  Half stories.  Supposed facts. One-sided versions.  Call them what you like ..... we all hear them and we mostly repeat them.  Sometimes without even considering what we know about the person as a fact, without thinking for a second about whether or not it may be true ...... Scandal is such a fun thing .... and the bigger the group, the more ears to listen ... 
Recently a friend of mine got entwined in such a little game ..... one or two people who think they know it all ....... narrow minded ...... uninformed, unenlightened, half facts and half truths.  People who break the rules and then try and enforce them afterwards.  A dangerous game for all.  People who don't deal one on one with the involved parties but prefer to use the "loudhaler" method ..... Blurt out your correctness and other people's shortcomings to all and sundry.  And one person tells another .... and another ...... and each one adds a little 1% "new bit" to the stor…

back in time in a mall

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Today I had reason to stop at the Tramshed Centre in the very middle of town.  Now I had not been there since I was studying in the 80's and this was then a close centre for me to frequent.  This was long before the Brooklyn Mall / Menlyn / Kolonnade era. People shopped in the middle of town ... that is where the OK Bazaars, big Edgars and Greatermans / Garlicks was.  

The shop I had to pop into has only one branch, in the Tramshed, and it was with some trepidation that I entered their covered parking.  When I had walked down the steps, doing all the ridiculous normal things .... clutching my bag, clutching my cellphone and trying to remember where I was putting my parking ticket, I did notice that I stuck out somewhat in the mall.  But I was surprised ..... there are not a lot of shops .... but there are some of the brand ones and it was really clean and neat and obviously had the "prerequisite for malls in October" Christmas decorations which just gets my hackles rising…

learn some random stuff

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I regularly get an assortment of these in my blog inbox from people all over the place asking me questions ... and once in a while I make a compilation from various people and answer some of them .... so here, just for fun's sake and because I need something mindless ...... 

Favourite song:  The Way You Look Tonight by Steve Tyrell 
Favourite scent:  Vanitas by Versace or Narciso Rodriguez 

Favourite author:  mmmmmm could never narrow it down to one ..... I read such a broad spectrum of fiction and non-fiction.  I do however hate novels that start in 1822 and span hundreds of years and generations with great detail ..... I am too impatient 

Favourite TV shows:  presently Homeland, Nashville, Ironside, Hostage and Come Dine with me SA simply because I am always amazed at how common some people can be 

Pet hate:  Dismissive people 

Favourite way to spend a day off:  Movies, coffee with my BFF, couch & book, watching catch up on DSTV, hanging with kids

Favourite store:  Typo or any othe…

supertubing at the speed of light

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You are never too old to ride on a supertube at a waterpark. I have also discovered that your costume NEVER stays where it must in that moment between shooting off the end of the long supertube and hitting the water explosively at the bottom.  Trust me because today I came down one several times, swam in the artificially orchestrated waves in a 1.8m wavepool and languished in water that equalled a very hot bath, despite the fact that it was at least 30 degrees outside with a blazing blue sky. 

Today was our annual Bela Bela Forever Resorts outing which sees the staff and volunteers of Irene Homes take all our residents and day workers for a day of fun in the sun ...... 144 people in total descended on the resort, of which about 108 were the very people we take care of on a daily basis at the Homes. 

Now trust me, you have to be vigilant .... double vigilant ..... eyes in the back of your head kind of vigilant.  The ladies and gents must get their costumes on ... we must ensure they wear…

the golden thread of our daily tapestry

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Today I write in gratefulness.  For many things ....... and I am reminded how often we take the little things and the great people for granted that we interact with in our daily work.  Same people, same faces, same personalities day in and out ..... but you have to wonder how would your day be without them in it?

I think about the admin staff who are always glad to see me on my in-office days ..... V who hugs me every time, who never forgets to ask about matric dances, the kids, my day before, what I have been doing ..... (and how can I not love someone who says I have the joie de vivre of a 35 year old) ... L who is just in my heart every day for 4 years ..... always supportive, always an open door for me, and always willing to hem my kid's school uniforms and pants (to save them the embarrassment of having it done by me).  J who has called me Flaky for as long as I have known her and says I just bring light into the office.  L who is always interested in how my fundraising is goi…

wish her luck as she waves you goodbye CBC

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So today is my daughter's last official school day.  She left in a blaze of teary eyes this morning, perfectly neatly turned out as usual, ponytail swinging and a self-assured air she was definitely not completely feeling. 

Rumour has it the final assembly that the Gr 12's produced today for the rest of the High School, was incredible.  And a very fitting and suitable way for them to bid the school goodbye.  At 12pm they will gather in the quad, in their newly printed black t-shirts with their names and matric emblem on, and countdown the goodbye.  After that follows the traditional "let us soak everyone with water balloons" and then they go off and have a braai together ... this time at Pioneer Park. 

Sunday heralds the Valediction Mass with the parents and teachers saying the final goodbye to their children's school career and then she comes home.  Till finals on the 28th.  Home.  Every day.  I find it hard to get the words over my tongue.  No more waking her up …

Winds of Bias

Last week I took a stand on an issue.  It was a matter of principle to me.  A matter of standing up against a form of discrimination.  And now everyone is rushing to the words "racial issue".  For the record, it wasn't, but I would have stood up for that too. 

It gave me a lot of food for thought in the days since then, and a lot of soul searching within myself and even some sage advice from a good friend on the weekend.  He reminded me to "love the sinner, hate the sin".  Then on a Radio Veritas talk show this was further entrenched in my mind when the subject of "lepers in our society" was discussed.  It made me think of the discrimination again ..... and in my mind we form those very same "leper groups" in our churches, work places, schools and social circles when we make ourselves the judges of others based on criteria of what is "acceptable".

Now I accept and understand each person's right to their own feelings, but if you a…

Friendship ... not just one big thing .... but a million small ones

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So how do we define friendship?  The term rolls so easily off the tongue but I think very often the word friendship and the word acquaintance get confused.  

If my relationship with someone is not safe, comfortable, mostly happy, sometimes fraught with discord it is an acquaintance.  If it does not have the space to speak openly, debate, divulge, share, face hard truths, argue, voice concerns and contain laughter, joy and its own special moments ... it is an acquaintance. 

Friendship is like a comfortable pair of slippers ..... you can be around others, you can spend time with others, but when you slip on those slippers, you are comfortable and your authentic self.  You cannot put a price on something like that.  Close friendship is not about always agreeing.  Close friendship allows the space to disagree .... even vociferously, but mindfully ..... without so much as a dent on the friendship.  It allows you to be yourself, warts and all.  It makes room for you to make mistakes - sometim…

Once upon a matric dance ...... cue Jaws music

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So this Matric dance thing is not for sissies. 

As the big night draws near ...... the culmination of planning for a dress, hairstyle, makeup, nails, shoes, bag, jewellery, transport, date, afterparty, photos, underwear and whatever else makes the checklist is nearly here. 

Moms are by now well aware that their input will have been divided, depending on the day and the mood of the inputee, into two categories .... "wow mom that is a fabulous idea" and "wow mom that is the worst idea that anyone has ever had, as in ever".  Moms are never sure which category they are venturing into when giving their opinions and ideas. 

The dress was easy.  She saw it.  I saw it.  She tried it on.  We both cried along with the saleslady.  I paid, I cried more (for completely other reasons than the first crying).   We had to have it made smaller closer to the dance.  It was perfect.  In and out in under an hour.  She has tried it on 10 times since March.  

The shoes were a little more tra…

TV and Transport

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So we got a flatscreen TV.  Now to 99 % of you out there this will be a pretty unexciting announcement.  But see, we never had one before.  We still had an old fashioned TV, one that weighed 109kgs and the back end of it was about the size of an additional TV ..... it stretched about 45cm beyond the screen at the back. 

We have a happy teenage son.  That TV now went into his room on the proviso that it would not be connected to the aerial and the DSTV because that would turn him into a bedroom hermit.  And that is a no.  But he took his Xbox from the lounge and set up everything in his room.  So now we don't have to negotiate and run timeshare on our TV in the lounge between us trying to watch and him trying to play. 

Setting up the DVD player into the new TV proved a small challenge.  The plugs were labelled differently and we were holding a plethera of red, yellow and white plugs while staring excitedly and confused at the holes.  2 hours of trial and error and Ta Da!! It was a bi…

the cellphone, the flame and the burn

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Yes.  I accidentally set my Samsung S3 alight.  Yes this follows straight on from the underpants on the head incident I blogged about a few blogs ago.

It was simple.  I am candle crazy .... any colour, size, shape .... scented ...... and candleholders .... big, small, glass, ceramic .... I have a huge amount on my lounge table and I love to have them all burning at night ... it looks really beautiful.

So on Sunday early evening I am on the couch, candles alight on the table, family out, and I decide to have a little slumber.  Put my book down, phone on top and I am gone.  Wake up quite a while later because I smell something burning ..... open my eyes and when I see the small flame by my cellphone I just know I must be dreaming.  Or not.  The candleholder is an angel and it holds a small tea light candle.  This had tipped slightly due to having more melted wax on one side than on the other, the wick subsequently moved, taken the flame with it.  It leaned to my cellphone (pretty spite…

counting sheep

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Not sleeping. You can call it insomnia, sleep apnea, lack of sleep, not falling asleep, not staying asleep, anything you like.  It comes down to not sleeping. 
Please don't tell me to get into bed earlier.  Or that it is the hours before midnight that count. Or that I need my beauty sleep.  Or that I should aim for 8 hours a night.  Some nights 8 minutes would be a blessing.  Don't tell me about coffee, or stress, or reading too late, or blogging too late.  I know all those things.  None of them, when changed, have any effect on the opening 2 words of this blog. 
I have darkened the room, lightened the room, bought that airplane eye covering thingy, I have read gentle verses, hummed, sang kumbaya, meditated, did that relax one limb at a time thing, got a new pillow, warmer pyjamas, cooler pyjamas, windows open a bit, windows opened wide.  Sleep tabs?  No.  Some are too weak and don't work and the stronger ones given to me recently?  I sleep .... oh yes I sleep.  And in the m…

matric dance fairytale silly season

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Matric dance time is upon us.  
Cue "Hey Big Spender" song for parents.
Cue "rework the budget" for the 9th time. 
Cue "we can afford this if no-one in our house eats for the month of October".

Seriously though, tonight we were discussing matric dances over the generations whilst at an excellent dinner at the school's beautiful restaurant. 

In my and my hubby's time, as well as in my parent's time, these dances were held in the school hall.  There are very few schools where it still happens in the hall.  The gr 11's did the fundraising, chose a theme and were the waiters and waitresses (this still happens) and decorations were put up which included many flowers made from 14 layers of tissues tied with florists wire and then reshaped, lighting in different colours and streamers creatively draped across the ceiling.  If the budget allowed there were helium balloons and pretzels in the foyer.  The food was made at the school, by teachers, kids and…