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 
xxx 


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. 
xxx 


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

xx


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


Kitchen Conversations and the joy they bring

For many years I had a very special daily routine in my life.  The Housekeeper of my boss, who additionally is also regularly in my office b...