Tuesday, 31 December 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 year.  I will praise more and find less fault and forget those who demean others

I will deepen my Faith and surround myself with people of warmth, caring and wisdom.

I am also going to surround myself with people who do not find it hugely and unusually difficult to say "thank you" and "sorry".  Such simple words that some refuse to utter, simply to prove a point.   Life is too short for that.  And what joy can it possibly give you?

I will actively seek joy. Happy people. People filled with Faith,  

I am going LIVE and LAUGH and LOVE

and in 365 days time I am going to look back with great satisfaction.

Till next year ...
c'est la vie xxxx

Saturday, 28 December 2013

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 is knocking at the door, and on 10 Jan, so is my visit to a doctor specialising in eating plans.  I am hoping it is a plan that includes cheesecake and shortbread biscuits, but somehow I do not think that is the diet version she has in mind. And I am scared of her, so I am likely to listen to her.  Dieting (and yes I have done Weigh-Less, Weight Watchers, The German eat only frikken eggs diet, The One Diet, The Injection Diet, the Passive exercise diet, The California Diet, The eat only fruit one (nearly ended up hospitalised with kidney problems), The drink only shakes diet, The Fatbusters diet, The blood type one, The eye colour one, The shoe size one) but so have most of you reading this ..... Dieting and policing go together with me.  Don't leave me to weigh myself, don't leave me to check in once a month, don't invite me to weigh weekly and listen to talks about one step at a time etc.  I have to lose so much that unless I walk more than one step at a time I will be dead before I am thinner.  

I will not be the only one starting a diet in January.  It is the oldest New Year's resolution in the book along with drinking less, spending more time with your kids and getting a new job.  I love what I do, I spend huge time with my kids and drink only once in a while.  So I guess I have to go with the diet one. 

I am sure I am sufficiently stockpiled now with all the fun foods, but I must say in some perverse way I am looking forward to 10 Jan.  Even though I have to fast from 10pm to 10am before I see her.  Ugh.  Water only.  

So as we head to New Year I wish you a 2014 filled with magic, love and all the things that money cannot buy.  Cherish those around you.  

till soon, 
c'est la vie xxxx

Friday, 20 December 2013

just sitting

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 home) so that he could get some new soccer balls.  2 to be precise. He is in that aisle, me in another one, a saleslady approaches me and asks if she could assist .... "Yes", I say confidently, "my son needs help with his balls please". Now the saleslady was collapsing inside, this was obvious.  My son looked up "Really mom, really?" .... It was now hard to go anywhere intelligent after that comment ... because now she went to him and simply gave a awkward smile ..... all 3 of us pointedly avoiding the word balls.  "Mom", he said as we left the store, "you are special".  

Yesterday morning there was cleaning up at our church.  I watched that same young man of mine sweep outside the church building and dump all the leaves etc in the bin and then sweep and mop the bathroom floors.  Happily.  Chirping me as we went along.  And I realised once again ..... how blessed I am to have 2 level headed, outspoken, deep thinking kids.  Responsible, hard working and always but always doing whatever they can for those around them.  My son who seems to consider every matter deeply and so able to give a very good and well thought out opinion on all matters ..... very much the voice of reason.  And my daughter, as loud as me, but with a graciousness and sense of right and wrong that blows me away.  How blessed we are to have them. 

And so the preparation to Christmas continues, I still spend long times staring at our Nativity Scene, our Advent candles are happily burning, you can smell incense and I swear I see serenity in the air.  

Wonderful.  December ...... gotta love it. 

till soon
c'est la vie xxx 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

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 tinsel and our Advent Candles and wreath and our home says "love, God, preparation, excitement, prayer, togetherness and warmth".  And yes lots of bling. But then the older child went on Matric Vac on 1 December.  Only one day after finishing her exams, a day that passed in a flurry of packing, lists, excitement, shrieking, bikinis and instructions from me.  There was no time to buy and put up a tree (ours came to an untimely end last year when it broke in two).  I suggested that her brother and I buy a tree and put it up.  My suggestion was met with horror ... "put up the tree without me??????". Obviously failing Matric would be less traumatic.   Then aforementioned brother went off on holiday with his friend and my parents for a week .... and I should have listened to my inner voice ...... on 3 Dec ..... when the stores were quiet ... and gone and bought and put up the tree.  But no, waited for everyone to come home.  Then Sunday went to the mall ....... all the shops closed for the funeral.  And that is how we got there yesterday.  

I wanted a white tree for a change after 47 years of green trees.  Jess wanted a green one.  She was obviously going to put up quite a fight.  We were in the Hyper, facing a vast array of trees, the white one being the most beautiful.  We ended it easily ..... "Nic which one do you like?", I asked my son.  "White for sure", he said.  I turned to Jess, reminded her that it was 2 votes to 1 and white wins.  She said dad would want a green one which would be a draw then.  Dad was at home ..... too bad.  No voting if you not actually in the store.  

And then I decided we should do a bit of the Christmas gift shopping whilst there .... I am really cutting it to the wire this year ...... our gifts are usually wrapped and under the tree by the 2nd week of December.  I am still perusing and pondering but I must say that with careful planning and budgeting we did make some nice finds yesterday.  We are determined not to get caught up in the "let us spend every cent of our money completely overwhelming everyone with massive gifts" trap.   Maybe it is as I get older that I find a deepening sense of seeing Christmas as a wonderful, warm, stay at home family time with well thought out and not necessarily expensive gifts.   But so do my kids and hubby, so maybe it is the way we do it. 

Putting up the tree was magical ..... all four of us involved ....... beautiful tinsel and very ingenious LED battery operated tree lights that stay on for 6 hours and then go off for 18 hours and come back on again for 6 hours by themselves and then off again etc etc.  Low wattage ...... batteries last forever ....... no added electricity or extension cords and plugs everywhere ....... 400 sparkling lights in 8 light patterns for less than the cost of the normal ones .... (well done Checkers Hyper).  Most of our Christmas baubles have a story attached to them and we reminisce whilst hanging them up.  Our reindeer who sings Jingle Bells amused our new puppy no end as she did not know whether to bite it or lick it.  

At a Christian bookstore we bought a Nativity scene with statues that are 25 cm high.  It is so beautiful.  Unfortunately ours came to an end last year when both Mary and the lamb fell.  It was not pretty.  So we packed out the statues and put little lights around on a special table and spent most of the night staring at it.  It will have a special place in our hearts this set.  

And so the week continues .... I am still working up until the 24th, and even here it is quiet and very relaxed with only a skeleton staff on duty.  Time to clean up and prepare for the new year lying ahead. 

And in my head .... I am singing "How Great is our God" most of the morning. 

till very soon 
c'est la vie 

Friday, 13 December 2013

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 sits with me in the mall, it is always around in my home. Sometimes I spend a lot of time with it, other days even more than a lot of time.  We have a 365 day relationship.  

and that is when I realised .......... 

that my coffee, it is the absolute reflection of my relationship with God.  Wow.  God is my friend.  He holds my hand when I am sad.  He celebrates with me when I am happy. He sits quietly with me when I want silence and He makes me smile when I am feeling joyful.  He is constant.  He does not mind sharing my attention with my family, or my best friend, or my book or my IPad.  He knows that He is central to my life.  He can travel with me in my car, to my office, He sits with me in the mall, He is always around in my home.  Sometimes I spend a lot of time with Him, other days even more than a lot of time.  We have a 365 day relationship. 

How blessed am I.  And I don't have to cut back on God for Lent :)

c'est la vie. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

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 had punched me in the throat.  It fills my mind every day sunrise to sunset ...... because it is true?  No, because it is so far from the truth that it is actually ludicrous, yet I took it, in all its unfairness, to heart.  Because that is an area of weakness of mine ...... taking stuff to heart.  It is on my Resolution list for 2014.  I need a slightly more "stuff you attitude".  I put it on the list, not sure I will be able to do it though.

So the fact that it is raining is not great.  The fact that it will probably rain tomorrow and the next day is not great.  I normally love the rain ..... an opportunity to sit quietly and work in serene circumstances, come home, climb under a blanket and read.  Right now, the rain is not conducive ......

So next year?  Next year I intend to start with a change in my perceptions ..... about myself but also about some others as well.  I am stronger than I think.  There will not be room in my life for doomsayers, unappreciation and those that punch in the throat.  I will be hitting the delete button.

c'est la vie I say, c'est la vie


Thursday, 5 December 2013

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 which says you have to be of the non-foghorn variety?  

Then I have a friend who says I sigh.  My son is also a sigher.  This one was more challenging as everyone I know sighs.  However I am seemingly an above average sigher.  Some have above average IQ .... I have above average sighing.  Now I am gonna have to concentrate .... Because breathing and sighing could be confused.   I will attempt shallower and more silent breaths.  And my boy?  He is 14 and sighing is almost mandatory at that age.  However I am no longer 14.  I wish I was.  Then I could also roll my eyes.

The other natty description rolled my way was brilliant.  Well that one obviously I liked.  Who would not want to be brilliant on the odd day.  Sometimes I even manage to be brilliant more than twice a week.  The flip side of brilliant brings a whole plethora of words to the fore.  I won't list those .... I am sure I have been all of them ..... On the remaining days of the week.  

Labels are given .... I wrote about this a while ago after a talk I heard on labelling and boxing people.
...... Some are accurate.  Some are way off mark.  Some are hurtful.  And some are serious but I have decided to try and look if they fit me.  Could it be a fair label?  If it is made to hurt ... I am simply going to duck in future.  And the others?  I will learn from them.  So if you know me .... Attach a label by all means.   But if you are a stranger to me...... And you make your own label for me without knowing me........ Or you just think you can use someone else's label and make a judgement call about me without meeting me ..... Haha I will also duck .... Because sadly if you do that it says more about you than it does about me.    Now how is that for progress.

Now I will go float .....

Till next time
c'est la vie xxxx

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

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 and cocktails and stars and smiley faces.  She is having a ball .... Relaxing ..... Laughing and getting exactly the break she deserves.  She is responsible and I am lucky .... Because I can trust her and the girls staying with her.   She is learning that grocery spending has a limit and eating out a budget .... She is watching the sunrise on the beach and dressing to go out when many others are dressing for bed.  She is 18 and alive.  What a blessing.

Now tomorrow Nic is going to pack.  It is a car trip so the mandatory cutoff is not 20kg.  But in a car with his friend and my parents and stuff for a week in a game park the luggage cutoff may well be 6kg.   Nic is a relaxed packer.  No laying out everything on the bed off a list like his sister.  Then making a second list of what the leftover items are to be added last eg toothbrush.  Nic opens a bag and puts in stuff.  And then nonchalantly says "mom pls call out the kind of stuff I should have".  As long as he has a soccer ball, cricket bat and Dev I don't think leaving behind his towel will faze him.  I don't have to worry about too much contact ... I will get one whatsapp a day.  To keep me happy.  But I will be restrained and not call every day.  After all he is with his grandparents.

And then it is just me and Eug.   We are going to two movies on the weekend ... Back to back .... Stopping only to refill our popcorn and drink inbetween .....Each choosing one movie.   Because we can.  Because exams are done.  School is closed.  Life is good.

Till next time
c'est la vie. Xxxx

Monday, 18 November 2013

seriously not cycling

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 aggravation is the fact that the back of the queue at the starting line is about 3km from the actual starting line.  This almost doubles the distance of the race.  In a cycle race of this magnitude, I would in other words, already have to drop out of the race due to exhaustion, roughly 2m after passing the starting line. 
  • And then there is the stopping.  I seem to be incapable of braking and getting my feet onto the ground timeously when on a bike.  I either bring them down too early, thereby almost ripping them off at the ankles, or I bring them down too late, which means the bike stops and you simply just keel over, bike and all.  Tar hurts. 
And then lastly.  The cycling outfit.  I mean seriously???? Cycling pants are right up there with Speedos.  Getting me into the cycling outfit I would imagine would be almost as much of a challenge as getting me into a wetsuit.   I would be so fear struck to walk in front of people, I would be the only one cycling in jeans and a tshirt. 

So I will cheer, encourage and be excited for my friends.  I will post their photos and praise them.  I will lovingly stroke their bikes and be enthusiastic when their numbers etc arrive for the race.  I will not cycle.  Some things are just meant to have spectators. 

Till soon 
c'est la vie xxx

Thursday, 14 November 2013

remain or retreat?

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 .............. I actually have no idea what to do.  But do something I must .... either remedy or retreat.

And so I do what I have been taught.  Process and decide.

Till soon
c'est la vie

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

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 capital F.  Fit and full of enthusiasm she drives us through the moves ... Reminding us to smile.  She thinks up a theme for every week which we enthusiastically embrace.  We have gone through Traditionally SA, Carnival, All in Pink!, Bows Galore and this week Dress to Match your Personality, which should be fun.  I was planning on demure and quiet .... When Simone finished laughing she said perhaps I misunderstood the Theme.

Now let's be clear.  I hate gym.  I have all kinds of body issues which find me going around that rotating entrance bar thing only to keep going and wind myself back out again.  Gym clothes are made it seems for thin people and I don't enjoy going on the treadmill whilst my entire body parts shift from their intended location to any other location.  Then they suggested the rowing machine.  Listen peeps if I had a burning desire to row I would get an inflatable boat and do it in my pool.
Ditto for machines where you lie on your back whilst pushing a square, weight loaded metal thingy into the air.  I can lie on my lounge floor and push my Alsatian up should the need arise.

So Zumba it is, every week.  It is exercise.  It does not require a gym bunny look or outfit.

And we smile.  I never smile on the rowing machine.

Till next time
c'est la vie xxx

Friday, 8 November 2013

me + samsung S3 = disaster

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 people, may be cheaper, may last less time, but will at least not look like it does now .... a professional businesswoman arriving at a meeting with the corner of her phone burnt and her screen shattered .... really screams "successful" to those I am in contact with. 

So now I am on the prowl for a phone .... as my phone is also my office, it has to have all the bells and whistles, but as an NPO worker it has to come at not all the bells and whistles price. 

So if you win one, have one lying around, donate one, find one lying somewhere weird, manufacture them or whatever else option you have ... please contact the writer, all solutions accepted with love. 

till next time, 
c'est la vie xxx 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Christmas comes early ..... why?

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 biscuits, fruits, candies, mince pies, decorations, more faux snow and so on. 

Here is a plan.  Why don't we put up our trees at the end of September, then we can beat the deadline of 1 October.  Faux snow spray is available readily, let us cover our windows so that the 35 degree South African sun can bake it into the glass.  Let's start the mayhem of spending .... overspending ..... as much money as we can on lavish gifts and don't forget the food~!!!! 

Or here is a really stupid idea ...... let's put our trees up in December, let's play meaningful Christmas carols, let's have a nativity scene and remind our children of the purpose, let's use some of our money for those who are struggling in life .... and there are many ...... let's eat less and share more ..... let's open our homes on Christmas Eve to someone that has no-one and would be alone that night ..... let's take time to go to church, even more than once, let's pray for the very reason that we have this celebration in the first place.  Let's read the bible about this wonderful moment. 

Let us put Christ back into Christmas.  And sit with joy under our tree, and share our gifts and have a reasonable meal ..... but let us do it all for the right reason. 

Till next time
c'est la vie xxx  

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

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 story.  It is this kind of recklessness that leads to pandemonium, misperceptions, incorrect judgements and unnecessary drama .... 

Ivory towers are very much in the forefront of my mind ...... doing something in a new way, or a different way or a more modern way is not always a bad thing ..... much is to be learnt by keeping up with the times.  But often those in the ivory towers have to be dragged along kicking and screaming. 

And so it is easier to take the moral high ground and make someone else the scapegoat. .... to cover our shortcomings but projecting them on someone else. 

Makes me angry ...... this person did not deserve it ......... but karma ...... man she is a real bitch. 

till next time
c'est la vie xx

Friday, 25 October 2013

back in time in a mall

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.  I soon relinquished my white knuckled grip on all my belongings and relaxed my bambi in headlights look when I realised that although the location was not ideal, the shop I needed was there, and so was I.  The salesman was accommodating and very friendly, the service was quick and the only shock came when I exited the parking to find that 0-2 hours comes at a whopping R10 .... way more than any of the upper class malls in the Eastern suburbs.  I had only been in there 15 mins after all.  The cashier at the booth told me it was high to keep people out who use the parkade as their daily parking place when they work in the area. 

When I drove out the parking I thought how sad it is that our kids never got the experience of "going to town".  I can remember as a child my mom had an account at Greatermans / Garlicks .... it was an old fashioned department store ... taking up 3 levels and having all the fancy hosiery, glove, perfume and other departments.  Naturally it came with a tea room where we always went for creamy milkshakes and lunch.  They played soft classical background music throughout the store and salesladies were extremely well groomed and polite, always in the background, never in your face ..... the face cream from the Dead Sea / Perfume people who lurk in the passages in malls and jump out accosting you with their samples could take a lesson from this.  Another outing was with my grose ouma ... she had an account at Uniewinkels ... a similar multi-level department store and I could spend forever going from department to department looking at the goodies.  Around the corner from it (in an arcade leading up from Church Str) was Polly's Tearoom, the kind you read about in novels, and this was a regular spot for ouma and I. No wonder I am so coffee mad today.  Kids don't know about the OK Bazaars and their restaurant in the basement that made the best pies and gravy you ever tasted, or riding on the bus to town and then catching it back from Church Square, about movies at the Oscar theatre in Sunnyside and bowling at Kingsley Centre ..... somehow it was so less complicated then. 

Till next time
c'est la vie xxx

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

learn some random stuff

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 other unique stationery store 

Favourite coffee shop:  Currently Vovo Telo, Isabellas Montana and Abreu.  They are getting better at  those 3 words "hot and strong".  

Do you collect anything?  Yes, pens.  If anyone travels anywhere, even locally, I love it if they bring me a pen.  I use it and when they are finished I have all the empty used pens in a box.  I have some really beautiful ones. 

What will you not eat:  Snails, tripe, livers, olives

Where would you most like to go on holiday:  Amalfi Coast, Portofino, Santorini, Spain, Bali and most of all in a non-holiday sort of way ..... a pilgrimage to the Holy Land 

First thing you do every day:  Repeatedly swipe the snooze button on my cellphone 

Last thing you do every day:  Brush my teeth

What do you wish you could do better:  Write more 

till next time readers
c'est la vie 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

supertubing at the speed of light

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 suncream, don't wander off, have sunglasses on if needed, wear their hats all the time, are watched in the water, have one of us to take them down the supertubes and in the waves, lead them around the pool in the warm water whilst they shriek with delight when they realise they are "swimming".  There is no joy like watching the joy on a resident's face which she hurtles down a supertube with you for the first time, clinging onto you for dear life.  . A lot of "arranging" has to take place in the water before you dare step out.  Another challenge is that I have to take my glasses off to do this, which means I have to be extra careful that when I am two storey's up in the air I actually step onto the tube and not off the platform and fall down the two storey's.  

We have wonderful companies who sponsor muffins, flavoured waters, ice-cream and juices.  Maxis gave us a fantastic price on nice burger and chips combos ..... and let me tell you .... when Ingrid and I went to pick up the lunch ..... you can get 144 boxes of hamburgers and chips into my Polo Classic.  Entire boot and entire back seat choc-a-block!!! Mobile munching machine.  

We spend lots of time walking up and down to the bathroom with residents and into the little shop which is a treasure trove of things they want to buy. We have to keep an eye out for how much junk food is being consumed and then the huge task begins of ensuring that everyone gets dressed, has all their belongings and that before the buses roar out the parking we have everyone on those buses.  

The ladies return to their residential houses relaxed and tired, ready for dinner and an early night.  And the staff, we just fall face forward onto our beds. 

Do we love it .... hell yes
Do we love taking them ....... hell yes
Roll on next year !!

c'est la vie till next time

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

the golden thread of our daily tapestry

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 going and along with M celebrates every incoming rand, big or small.  And knows I never enter quietly.  R & K who shriek with laughter at my antics in the kitchen, along with M who often bounces stuff about her kids off me, R who loves costume jewellery as much as me (and shoes) and I who keeps me on track by ensuring that I know what is due when and all my meeting dates at work and of course A my opposite office to mine who tolerates my music and radio streaming ..... and then of course dear L, who I regularly make blush with my comments as I love to tease him .... he calls me Mevrou and when he retires I will miss him terribly. And then of course C ..... who makes great coffee, is a moral compass, long-suffering friend and shares a similar sense of humour. 

This is what makes up the thread of my working day.  Do they sometimes drive me to distraction.  Of course.  Do I sometimes want to just shake them.  Of course.  Can I be without them.  Of course not.  Do I tell them often.  I do.  It is a Karin thing.  Do they tell me in return ..... 95 % of them do. 

The golden threads of the tapestry of our lives ........ hold them dear. 

till next time
c'est la vie xxx 

Friday, 11 October 2013

wish her luck as she waves you goodbye CBC

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 for school.  No more trips to school with dad.  No more fetching her in the afternoons, or watching her play sport or taking her for a bite to eat whilst we wait for Nic.  No more throwing her school bag in the boot and telling me all the news for the day about CBC.  No more seeing her bro during the day at school, or being with him in Assembly and Masses and the daily school drill.  

So many no more's ..... I have myself, along with many other moms, been very teary the last week.  My heart feels like someone ripped it out.  You cannot understand this if you have not been a parent whose child finishes their last school day.  

But with the no more's, come many now to happen's ....... I will drive her to her exams and back some days.  I can take her for a bite to eat after an exam paper, I can have her at home, I can go to the first day at the Chef's Academy on 15 Jan when a whole new life opens, she can hopefully soon start helping to drive her bro (a lifelong desire of theirs), she will cook more and more meals and treats ........ the list is growing. 

She is a young woman now.  Self-assured, independent, kind, warm, well-mannered to a fault, laughs like a drain, witty and with the smallest heart I know.  

She's my girl.  And I thank God every day for that. 

till next time 
c'est la vie xxx 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

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 are going to discriminate against someone, at least have a reason why, and that reason does not give you the right to make judgements about that person .. and voice them, continuously, out loud.  Nor does it give you the right to slander other people who do not share your bias.  It is usually the biased person who gives the non-biased one the most flack.

So before you make judgements about other people's lifestyle choices, preferences, gender or any such, make sure that the way in which you conduct your own life, is beyond reproach.  

Generalizations about issues of discrimination are commonplace .... Glass houses everyone, glass houses ...

Till next time
c'est la vie

Monday, 7 October 2013

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

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 - sometimes borne out of circumstances.... because you can go to that person and say "I am sorry" and you find that they are still there.  Solidly waiting for the dust to settle.  As my very wise daughter commented "in a friendship you don't end it because you have an argument or a sticky few days" .... I have never known those words to be more true than in the last few days.  I looked at some friendships and thought of the many many little deeds and caring acts that make them so relevant ... for both parties. 

I have learnt a lot about the difference recently ........ I have a amazing best friend who is the safest and most comfortable place in the world - she is without any doubt "my person" and a have a very important friend who is not only the wisest person I know, but embodies everything that makes a safe friendship.  Sometimes we just have to be reminded ..... 

So if you are a friend, have a friend, love your friend ...... silently thank that little group tonight.  And pray for them. 

till next time, 
c'est la vie xxx

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

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

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 traumatic.  The specs were laid out clearly by the matriculant and the colour was an obvious choice.  We walked ourselves to blisters in Pretoria's malls before venturing to Sandton City.  There we found two perfect pairs ...... at R1 000 (on a sale) and R2 300. We drank coffee at 3 different places and came home.  Round number 42 of shoe searching found the pair, one pair only and in her size, standing in (I think I was hallucinating) a circle of light in the store and I am damn sure I heard Alleluia playing.   A bag was also a quick and dirty in and out purchase.  Saw it.  Bought it.  #boom

Ditto the jewellery and appointments.  Luckily the matriculant knows what she wants so hair, nails, makeup etc are easy.  I think.  I hope.  But I will take the hip flask and some salty crax with on Friday morning.  Just in case I need help.  I am sure if I wash down some anti-depressants with hard tack it will have the desired effect. 

Then we had the transport.  The transport.  I repeat it again because the magnitude of this organisation deserves a double mention.  We are driving madam the matriculant to the place where photos will be taken (this is permissible) .  But somehow it came to our attention that you do not drive your daughter to the venue.  Arriving in my VW with Eug and I in the front and her and date at the back is tantamount to arriving in a gorilla costume it seems.  Same kind of unacceptable-ness.  

So once all the friends have had their photos taken, their parents will drive them to a pick-up point where the aforementioned parents will part with cash in order for these gorgeous children to climb into and be driven to the dance in a limo.  Now I must say, I have never been driven in such style, so I am happy to give her the money to have this once in a lifetime experience.  But the organisation .... oy vey.... eish ....... shaking my head. 

Then last but by no means at all, least ...... the after party.  The two words which send chills up parents' spines as they think of their kids on the road, very late at night and then again very early in the morning.  The driving, the dangers, the this and that.  So us moms do the responsible, get us into heaven thing .... we offer to drive.  Even though this year it is quite a distance.  We do it with love (ok we do mutter a little but only under our breath) ....

A friend of mine whose daughter has been with Jess since Gr 0 has offered to drive the girls to the afterparty.  I will fetch them in the morning.  I told Jess that since I am picking her and Lala up, and Lala's mom is going with me, we should definitely find somewhere and have a snack en route home, after all, I only have one daughter. We may as well go big or go home. 

So the countdown has begun ...... the fairytale is on the doorstep ....... there are a myriad of people who helped to make it as special as I know it is going to be ..... 

Would I change anything if I could do it all again ....... No .... Has hubby been fantastically generous with his wallet ..... Yes ...... this is his baby girl after all.  

Enjoy the fairytale Jess .... you deserve it. 

till next time
c'est la vie xxx 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

TV and Transport

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 big choice.  Did we want sound but no picture or vice versa.  Choices, choices.  

Then there is the matric dance.  In my day you climbed in your parent's car and got dropped there.  Today arriving in your parent's car seems to be just a step away from insanity.  So you have to be creative.  I have seen everything from tractors, to camels and ice-cream vans.  Limo companies are rubbing their hands in glee.  Parents are recalculating their budgets in less glee.  My face is quite long at the moment.  After parties are all the rage ..... but kids, especially girls, have to get there.  There is not a chance that Eug and I will let our daughter go with an unlicenced driver, a licenced but inexperienced driver or anyone with a breath of alcohol in them.  This limits the choices.  It is quite a distance away this year which makes this a huge problem.  I am ready to tear my hair out.  It has caused some delightful arguments.  Next week this time it will be all over ... with tons of photos for memories.  By then we will know what the answer to the transport problem was. 

No wonder I had a Savanna at 1130am.  At a stork tea nogal. 

Till next time
c'est la vie xxx 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

the cellphone, the flame and the burn

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 spiteful I thought) and burnt the cover.  Once through that it started to burn and melt my actual cellphone.  So now I had a beautiful white phone with a huge black melted stinking welt on the one top corner.  I sat and paintstakingly filed it down with an emery board but there is a hole now, right in my phone.  Thank heavens it still works and a non-see through cover makes it impossible to see the problem.

And yes, when I went to Vodacom to buy the cover, the saleslady did look unbelievingly at the phone and say "is that a burn?" and yes I had to explain it to her, and yes she felt the need to re-explain it to 4 colleagues, who then also looked along with 3 customers.

As my son says "mom you are never boring.  crazy, but never boring".

Till next time
c'est la vie xxxx

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

counting sheep

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 morning?  It is like trying to wake a mummy (not a mommy, a mummy).  It is ridiculous, I am puffy eyed and incoherent.  I would rather be sleepless than look like I drink first thing in the morning.  Warm milk?  I would rather have my lip pierced three times than drink any temperature of milk in a glass.  Milk is for milkshakes and cappuccinos. 

Recently due to some emotional unpacking, a course I went on, a major car accident, a daughter writing prelims and 2 deaths in my family 11 days ago, I started to unravel .... a lot.  And drove a lot of people crazy.  a lot.  And of course my trusty specialist is handling it all ..... and drying tears .... a lot .... as I seem to bump heads with everyone in my non sleeping path. 

And then, in Dischem, there it was at the Solal shelf ....... 30 sachets in a box aptly called Sleep Naturally.  It was a sign, because that is what I want.  I still want to stay up late watching movies, but then if I go upstairs I don't want to lie awake for 6 hours till my alarm goes off.  I want to read and blog after midnight, but know that I am on leave and can sleep till 9 and do so fitfully.   These delightful little strawberry granules get dissolved in a half glass of water at bedtime .... like a non-alcoholic bedtime treat and when I get into bed .... the box has it right .... I fall asleep quite quickly and ..... I stay asleep.  Cue Angelic Harp Music. 

And in the morning .... I feel dik geslaap, but not incoherent. 

So there you have it ...... I am sleeping.  I am healing.  And I am trying not to be too feisty.  Those feeling it will know who you are.  I ask forgiveness. 

Till next time, better rested 
c'est la vie xxx

Friday, 20 September 2013

matric dance fairytale silly season

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 other so we had delightful pineapple halves filled with tuna that had been standing waaaay to long, a main course of something that I to this day cannot identify, and melting ice-cream.  Added to the fact that my date wore a weird shade of green suit and brown grasshoppers shoes, it was certainly nothing to get over-emotional about.  I did, however, have my dream dress which my parents had paid to have made for me.  Today with the money paid for that dress, you are lucky if you can buy a clutch bag for a matric dance.  I also wondered out loud recently why my mom had let me out with that hairstyle.  Sort of bouffant meets Lady Di.  She assures me it was the fashion.  I look younger now than in that pic.  If I can find it I will attach it below.  The pose I am in is usually only reserved for reigning Heads of State in official potraits.  But I will embarass myself for your amusement.  

I still have that dress (yes I am ridiculously sentimental) and a few weeks ago Jess put it on.  She looked a bit like a combination between little Bo Peep and who the hell knows what.  They collapsed laughing.  I did feel a bit affronted.  Off the shoulder satin with 109 metres of lace triming was very in.  It was 30 years ago for heaven's sake.  And I definately had my sexy on.  I know my matric buddy, Baz, is reading this.  You better say something nice in your comment!

Dress shopping today is a BIG thing.  And can be pricey.  I was lucky that in March as we passed a shop in a mall, Jess saw a dress, stopped dead in her tracks and said "mom that is the one".  It was her size, was a one of a kind, we bought it and it has hung in state waiting for 4 October.  Shoes are proving to be our achilles heel ..... too high, too low, too much bling, too little bling, too strappy, too closed, too expensive, too this, too that .... I did not know there were so many words in the English language to describe shoes ......... I also did not know that one could take so many sips from a hip flask whilst looking for shoes. 

Then there is the hair, the makeup, jewellery, a bag and of course .... THE boy.  Depending on the girl, the level of difficulty for all these assorted "items" will differ in rank.  So we have hair and make up appointments (check) THE boy (check) .... yes you Brad #fantasticchoice, jewellery (check) and shoes and bag (uncheck, uncheck). 

At CBC parents of matriculants are also invited and they sit on the teacher's side of the venue.  The matric boys open the dancefloor with their moms and the matric girls with their dads.  A wonderful CBC tradition.  If you do not have your parents there, or do not have a parent or parents, you dance with a friend's parent or a teacher, it is your choice.  After this they have a 5 minute break to allow the wailing parents to gather themselves.  I managed to do the ten minute in and out the shop method of finding something understated to wear.  It is the kid's night.  

Venues are coining it at this time of year ...... as matric dances move to boutique hotels, fancy restaurants or other venues.  Jess' dance is at a beautiful place and will be everything magical she expects, with fantastic food and  without a Kleenex tissue flower in sight.  Her date won't have on brown grasshoppers and she has a mindblowing photographer so there are no queen's coronation style potraits.  

And mom and dad .... in no way am I knocking my matric dance things you got me .... merely reflecting on how it has changed. 

Oh and in closing ...... my dad told me tonight that at his matric dance at Affies, they had a kind of braai affair, and because there had been some "incidents" the previous year, there was no music or dancing.  Instead they were shown a movie called "Soldiers".. whoop whoop ...... that trumps the green suit. 

till next time, 
c'est la vie xxx

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