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 

Mo Salah, My car and other stuff

Each year a group of bloggers circulates a questionnaire around this time, intended to be answered by bloggers on Google and other forums, t...