Thursday, 30 January 2014

Coming to terms with terminology

So last night I learnt how to hit a new cricket bat in.  You can have it done in the store where you purchase it but Nic wants his hit in right to the very edge and no store goes that close to the edge.  So year in and out he does it. 

He has a cricket ball hanging from some rope above our garage door and when he gets a new bat he stands there for hours day in and out hitting the ball so that it compacts the bat all over. 

Yesterday, given the level of sport and homework he has, I suggested we purchase the mallet from Sportsmans Warehouse which is especially designed for this purpose. 

So Nic got home and started knocking and knocking and knocking with the mallet.  And I kept shouting "come in".  Not really.  Then he did some whacking the hanging ball outside.  Then he had homework and so I took over the knocking in as he needs the bat.  A lesson followed on exactly how hard I need to hit it. Apparently hard but not "moer method".  The areas that the mallet MUST touch, the art of hitting the sides, and also a long involved lesson on the benefits of properly compacted bats followed.  I even know about the oil and how to apply it. But that I knew for some time already. 

This is what sports moms do.  We multitask.  You would have loved the day Nic explained the offside rule of soccer to me.  I am an avid soccer fan and I get it all ..... but the offside happens so damn fast that I am never 100% sure when it is actually happening.  So just like in the movies, out came the salt and pepper holders, mustard, worcester sauce, aromat, parsley bottle etc etc until we had enough for a goalie and some players from both teams.  And so he explained at which time mustard, when passing aromat (who is on the other team), approaching salt (who is the goalie) is offside.  Then I had to play ...... apparently when I shouted "now he is offside", I had parsley not enough past mustard, which confused salt and caused it not to be an offside yet.  Confusing game.  I would rather put tomato sauce and aromat on crispy chips and watch!

And hockey?  Both my kids played .... Nic still does. ...... I have watched at least a 100 games over the years.  And clapped.  When they scored.  The rest of the time I only shouted "yes" and clapped when other CBC parents did.  Because I had no damn idea and still have no damn idea what is going on.  So many rules about defence and being in the circle and sweeping and deflecting ..... sjoe.  More chips.  

Don't even get me started with Jess' netball rules.  Sigh. 

Swimming was always easy.  Jess swam from Gr 3 to Matric.  Everyone dives in and swims there and back and the first one to touch the wall wins.  Easy.  No stupid rules about number 2 being offside or a lot of sweeping before the edge of the pool.  2 hands must touch when you end and you cannot dive in too early.  

Now Jess is at chef school ..... and a whole new vocabulary has started for me .... julienne, batonette, dice, brunoise and then the very specialised "turning" method of cutting for veggies, which entails cutting the veggie into a 7 sided "jewel shape" where each dimension is perfect.  And these are just the things she practised in kitchen at academy yesterday.  And each one has to be perfect.  Or you do it over and over again.  

Moms ...... whatalot we learn from our offspring :)

till soon
c'est la vie  

Thank you and more thank you

Gratitude journal ..... Good time to start one .... I have over the years done it ... But somehow never lasts more than a couple of months .. Which does not mean I have nothing to write down ... Just forget.

A friend who has relocated to Cape Town added beautifully to my pen collection recently when she travelled to London and then she got me a gorgeous little journal to go with it ... And I knew what it should be used for.

From past journals I know that some days I filled a page with all the great blessings from that day but on other days it was such a bad day I battled to think clearly to focus on something.

This week there have been many things that made me smile and feel blessed ..... Birthday celebrations with loved ones .... Gifts that were chosen with great thought .... Finding everything Jess needed for restaurant service at Academy ... One of the nicest Tuesdays I can remember in a while ..a best friend who reads me like a book ... Good and bad days ..... And lectures me when I need it ... But with love ..... Being taught how to hit a new bat in by my son so I can help him .... Some really nice compliments .... Sticking to my diet .... Drinking way less coffee.

Be grateful for your blessings

C'est la vie xxxx

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Cafe + 41 = a little slice of heaven


My son asked me yesterday when we were there, if the number pertained to something specific.   I did not know, and when I was there today, I forgot to ask.  

The 41 I am speaking of belongs very nicely behind the word Cafe, and I am referring to the very delectable Cafe 41 in Groenkloof.  Beautifully tucked into a popular little plaza opposite the LCM Hospital, its chic wrought iron furniture, longer couches, upper class "street cafe" outside seating and cooler inside seating make it a popular choice amongst diners and coffee drinkers .... any hour of the day. 

Not many places begin their menu with their coffee-offerings.  This to a coffee-holic like me, is like honey to a bee.  There is an extremely vast range and the different strengths and types are clearly laid out on the thick glossy menu you are offered.  Cafe 41 is one of the rare places in Pretoria that understands 2 things ...... when I say cappuccino with foam and it must be strong, it is, and for the 1st time in a very long time I don't have to ask for it to be very hot.  It is, because they clearly understand why it falls under Hot Beverages.  Only thing I would like to see is a little more barista art ..... but with such brilliant coffee I am prepared to overlook that. 

Now at this stage I would like to introduce Peter ...... I cannot remember too many times when I have not seen him there.  Peter has what I would like to describe as "presence".  Wonderfully full of "joie de vivre" he never fails to pass your table to check that you are happy, and he listens with interest when you are not, immediately rectifying the problem.  Yes, this is happening in most places, but Peter does it with such style.  Obviously burningly passionate about this little gem, he moves amongst the patrons, many who greet him with air kisses and hugs and whom he seems to know by name.  Regulars are as important as people who can help draw more people.  He is always there, a little nod to a waiter to remove a finished coffee cup from a table, a discreet flick of the hand to point out something to another one.  The devil is in the detail.  

The waiters and waitresses are well trained - evident by their attention to patrons without being overbearing.  They genuinely seem happy to see everyone and their conversations with patrons far exceed the "hello I am Monica may I take your order" level of service.   I would like to mention that Monica who served me today was brilliant.  

Now besides their to-die-for cappuccinos, they do another thing that I would happily take to heaven with me one day ....... Trinchado.  Available as both a Meze or Main Meal, you can choose between a chicken or beef as well as Mild, Regular or Hot.  I am the beef with regular "burn" kind of girl.   Served in a sauce that I would sell my hubby for, the meat is tender and spicy and the highlight has to be the moment when you take the toasted rounds of bread they serve with it and drag it through that sauce .............. memories must be made of this!

My hubby, being a vegetarian, found their offerings in this area to be vast enough to break away from the "vegetarian platter" many restaurants slap down with the mandatory mushroom, limp veg and such.  His moussaka got a big thumbs up, as well as the large breakfast demolished by my ever growing 6ft2" son a few weeks ago.  Yesterday's toasted bacon, egg and cheese also was extremely well received by him ...... a good sized portion served not only with some cracklingly fresh mixed salad, but also with some beetroot and potato salad ..... which makes it worth the money.  

And then ...... that cheesecake fetish that I am unable to discipline myself about.  About a month ago I treated myself to a slice on a family outing.  It is a decent portion, I shared it with my mom, but this is the real deal.  Not the namby pamby pretends to be a baked cheesecake when actually it is a fridge cheesecake type of cake, but the real thing which sticks delectably to the top of your inner mouth  before you wash it down with ......... yes, that damn fine cappuccino.   I am unashamedly a cheese cake fan. 

Today Peter shared with me their catering menu.  It is so extensive that if you cannot find what you want on there, then there is actually something wrong with your function.  They cover a vast variety of breakfast and croissant platters, oriental / fish / schwarma / vegetarian / meat / snack / sandwich / greens / cold meat / cheese / fruit they are all there in platter form.  In addition they have Main Meals of every type of chicken and meat lasagnes, stirfrys, trinchados with include a salad, roll & juice.  In case I have not got you salivating yet, you can add on every vegetable ever created, Sir Juice (which both my kids will walk a mile for) and they even will rent you a filter coffee machine for an occasion.   You will not have to rebond your home to afford their offerings and imagine how impressed your guests and colleagues will be.  

So, surely there must be a reason for you to drive down George Storrar Drive and pop in there.  
Go on ~ I know you want to.  And will someone please explain the 41 to me next time?

till next time 
c'est la vie xx

Cafe 41 Groenkloof 012. 4605216

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Abs. Abdominal Bench. The Circuit. And Me.

"So", says Solomon with great enthusiasm ~ "sit down on this piece and put your hands on the handles with your elbows resting here at 90 degrees".  He moves the pin in the weights.  "Ok", he continues, "now I want you to bend over forward and then come back up, it works your abs".  Now at this stage the area of my body where my abs are (I am positive they are in there somewhere, they must be) have contacted the brain and requested that a Code Red be sounded.  Exercising?  I was almost as excited as my body was traumatised.   So back and forward I went while Solomon counted the repetitions.  When he saw I was waning, he was quick to tell me that the round was almost finished and that even if I go a little slower, I must finish the repetitions.   I must eat cheesecake was my immediate thought.  And so I did. Finish the repetitions, not eat the cheesecake!   After all, if I can gradually make myself drink the whey protein shake, then I can do the damn ab thing. 

He moved from machine to machine with me ...... explaining exactly what area each one worked and a small talk on the importance of core strength.  He counted up and counted down and I could see him concealing a little smile when I climbed onto one machine the wrong way round .... I am sure it is not the first time he sees that. 

When I got off the treadmill was when I found Solomon.  I was staring at this bank of machines hoping someone would come and do it before me so I could see what to do.  My regular gyming daughter saw me standing there like a lost child mixed with Bambi in headlights and rushed over .. "What's wrong mom", she asked.  "I don't know what to do", I replied, feeling about 100 years old.  That is when Solomon appeared.  

Once done we headed down to Kauai where I made a well thought out choice of a drink.  I sat at the table a bit like Mr Bean, beaming at everyone in a "look at me, I am at gym" kind of way.  I went home.  Things started to hurt.  By midnight getting up from the couch was a little testing.  This morning I got out of bed only to be greeted enthusiastically by my other new friend, lactic acid. 

As I write this my upper arms are aching.  But my heart is happy and my face is smiling. 

I have pains in places I did not know I have places. 

But I went.  And I will go again. 

till soon
c'est la vie 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Scale. The Seeds. And me

So there it lay.  In black and white.  Well actually black and blue.  Blood tests are black print. Blue background.  Those numbers.  That Christmas eating come back to haunt me.  The chocolates, the sweets, the "all the things I know I should not have", all back to haunt me. Actually not just Christmas.  I have to be brutally honest, tug up my "big girl panties" and admit ...... my eating routine was all over the place. 

No breakfast, 4 cups of coffee at work in morning, then perhaps a KFC coleslaw for lunch, but often nothing but a bar of chocolate.  Then at 4pm whilst at work again, I am ready to fall over, so I have some sushi, normally washed back with an apple danish at least twice a week. Then 2 or 3 more coffees.  Then a chocolate.  Then at home supper.  More treats.  More coffee. An adrenaline pushed, head rush, operating on no steam kind of eating plan.  Not sustainable.  I wrote that I would be seeing a doctor on the 10th who was really good at this kind of "mania". It took a mail from a reader in the USA who asked what the doctor suggested, to now share this.  

In fact she did not suggest anything.  It was more of an instruction.  But she delivered it in such a vibrant, get up and go, enthusiastic and supportive way that it really hit home.  She made the food choices sound fun, she planned an eating plan that fits into my hectic day that often has me in the car.  She cared about what she found.  The blood tests were extensive, her measurements taken of me along with BMI, fat percentage etc were thorough.  And then the scale beckoned.  I was by now so enthused by her I just hopped on.  Looked down.  Took 20 drops of the rescue remedy she held out.  Blew into a paper bag for six mins to get a grip on myself.  Then she wrote it down.  Writing it down is good.  It is there.  Looking at you.  I bravely made eye contact with the number.  

When I went back to the doc for results we found 2 very concerning elements in the tests (and no dad glucose / diabetes was not one of them as I know you are going to phone me instantly and say that).  She outlined exactly what I would be eating from now on.  I have banned sunflower oil completely from our home.  I have wonderful organic, virgin coconut oil in its place.  You must buy the organic one and it must be in a glass bottle then it does not become like Vaseline.  Also if it is not in a glass bottle, but a plastic one, its composition changes when heated and is bad for cholestrol.  You bake with it and cook with it and there is no difference.  I baked muffins for a meeting last night using it and not sunflower oil and there was no weird taste (and no I did not have one.  I watched 11 colleagues eat them and they told me).    In all salads etc ..... extra virgin olive oil.  Big change for me. 

I am now a seed person.  I have chia seeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, little mixed seeds that could very easily be confused with the budgie seed my mom has for her birds.  I sprinkle them on my oats, I eat them in a handful during mid-morning and mid-afternoon.  I throw chia seeds into my whey protein shake.  I luckily love seeds so am happy to have them all over in my daily meals.   Let me tell you something about whey protein.  If you don't know it then go and buy some talcum powder, put it in 250ml of ice water and drink it.  Then tell me how much fun you are having.  Ugh.  

I don't eat carbs unless it is a gym day.  Then I do, and yes gym, I am finally actually using the membership as opposed to only paying for the membership.  Today I played basketball with my son for 50 mins.  My heart rate soured.  But it felt good.  I beat him.  That felt even better.  He was determined to make me run.  

I am on medication for the 2 problems, but this will be reviewed after 2 months ..... maybe my radical food change will do wonders.  I miss the dairy since I elect to use my dairy in the form of milk for the 3 cappuccinos I may have.  I love cheese so I miss that.  I pat it when I open the fridge and tell it that one day when I have mastered the word "moderation" around food and chocs etc, I will have some again.   I also miss crusty bread, bread rolls and such.  

So far so good.  After the first day I was so hungry at 8pm I was like a caged tiger.  My limbs were heavy and I was physically exhausted.  Ditto the 2nd day.  But I seem to have turned a little corner.  Still tired but not so "kill you if you don't give me more food" hungry.  Every time I think I am battling, I do two things ..... I close my eyes and see the number on the scale and I think of the blood tests.  To wrap it up I think about my vibrant and healthy GP and how much work she has invested in this.  Yesterday Jess said "mom I am so proud of you". 

And of course we get by with a little help from our friends.  I have 2 friends who have known about my appointment, tests etc all along.  Both are concerned about my health, both are supportive, both will definately scold me when needed.   Yesterday I had a coffee meeting with the one   Before going I was eating my oats.  A little "langtand" as it had absorbed all the water and along with seeds with quite a chew .  My friend commented that the food in the bowl "did not seem to be getting any less".  Then followed it with "we are not leaving for that cappuccino until you have eaten all your food".  I laughed because it was like being a contestant on Survivor.  The winner must complete the food challenge.  But I love this friend for caring.  My other friend is the one who says "Karin you must take this seriously"..... she is my coffee buddy and always has my back .... it is the role of the BFF #loveherforlife

So onwards and upwards I go ..... me and Jess' birthdays are 2 weeks away and my GP says I may have a "day off".  She suggests I use it to eat what I want and to have that cheesecake I so desperately want.  Do it all on that day, because the next day it stops again. But I have worked something out.  I am not going to be able to eat a ton or eat too richly because my body will find it strange. She obviously knows this.  

But that cheesecake.  I will have it.  Happy birthday to me. 

till next time 
lotsaluv and c'est la vie xxx

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Chefs Academy and that first day

Today was Jess' 1st day at the Prue Leith Chefs Academy.  We attending the official opening with her this morning (even brother came along). 

Yesterday saw tears about this 1st day, decisions about what to wear, covering of books, wondering about making new friends and a little apprehension .... and that was just me haha. 

On a more serious note, Jess was having some of the above.  The "be a newbie" in an environment where most of your friends go to university, see old friends and be one of thousands of students, she is one of a handpicked 40 students in a very strict environment .... no weird hair, nails short, no jewellery unless it is a wedding ring .... no makeup except a slick of colourless gloss and not at all noticeable mascara .... anything out of line of the above and you will be sent home to rectify it.  Dress and cleanliness to be exemplary at all times.   Chefs uniform to be worn at all times.  This is not a mickey mouse short cooking course .... this is the top chefs academy in the country as rated by 5 star lodges, hotels and such.  You know this when you go there.  You will emerge with not only your Grande Diploma in Culinary Art but also with a wine qualification from the Cape Wine Academy as well as 2 international qualifications after writing additional exams from the UK.  

And Jess ..... with her competition wins on a National level, is one of the top student school chefs countrywide.  She has wanted this since Gr 3.  She knows the hours, the slogging, the commitment, the tiredness, the strictness etc etc .... but she is over the moon at the prospect of reaching her lifelong dream.   

She is there now getting a plethora of chefs kits, chefs shoes, scrub uniforms (yes Saturdays they scrub kitchens top to bottom), equipment ... hand mixers etc, that knife set for which you can rebond your home, textbooks  and much more.  My boot is filled with a helluva big toolkit, 22 tupper containers and lids of all sizes, notebooks, stationery and a mammoth amount of dishcloths.  She is also taking part in the "Amazing Race" orientation challenge. 

We know that it will be an adjustment, we know that she is often going to collapse on her bed when she gets home and we know there will be good and bad days whilst they prepare her for the gruelling world of top restaurants and hotels. 

Just bring your food samples home Jess!!

Prue Leith Chefs Academy 

Dominique & Jess first day 

till soon 
c'est la vie xx 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Cellotaping. Clicking. Slurping. Banging and other stuff

So what little things annoy you?  I thought of this today as I wondered which ingenious staff member at a large national pharmaceutical chain decided to cellotape the eyeliner lids to the actually eyeliner pencils.  This is great so people don't use it as testers in the store, but heavens sake at least do not use 20cm of cellotape wound 100 times around the same place thereby restricting the buyer from ever using it either. After trying to remove the thick cellotape with a) my teeth b) a knife c) a scissor d) bad language, I then in a moment of panic (was trying to leave for Mass), did a very "inappropriate before going to church" thing and smashed the plastic lid with the meat mallet so I could get to the pencil.  

Then there is the tollgate thing.  The tollgate I use onto the highway is a stop and pay kind.  Not the go under whilst showing the middle finger which is more the eToll kind of thing.  Now it is mostly people entering and exiting the highway daily at that point that use our tollgate.  It came into use about 7 years ago.  So you would think by now people, having gone through it 52 879 times, would understand that the fee is the same, every day, and the booth is in the same place, every day ..... so why the hell in peak hour traffic do people pull up to the window with that "oh my word look here is a tollgate" surprised look on their faces and then start that thing that irritates me when I am behind them ... hunting under their seats, in the coin holder, in the flap down mirror thingy or in their purses to get the right change.

Repetitive noises.  Of any kind.  My kids know do not tap, click, bang or shake anything in a repetitive sound next to me unless you are playing in a concert. Ditto for a window banging continuously in a monotone or a squeaking door. And just so you know, NEVER sit next to me in a meeting or the office or any other place if it is your intention to click your pen on and off the whole time.  I will destruct your pen.  And while we are on the subject .... if you buy a Slush Puppy, Coke, Juice or anything at the movies, decide before you go in at what height you want your straw and then do not move it again.  That screeching sound as you move your straw in and out that tiny lid opening also brings out the worst in me.   As does anyone sitting anywhere near me in the movies and having to check their facebook, twitter, whatsapp and sms' all the time.  The light around the phone is irritating and unless you are a surgeon on call, trust me you can survive for 90 mins without checking the above.  If not, stay home and wait for the movie to be on BoxOffice. 

Cold stuff.  If I want my cappuccino, eggs, pizza or anything else cold, then I will especially ask upon ordering for you to ensure it stands long enough to get cold before you bring it.  As cappuccino is a hot beverage (it is under hot beverages on the menu), I fail to see why I actually have to specify hot when I order it.  My favourite is when I say hot, it comes lukewarm and then when I send it back it gets nuked in the microwave so that it returns with not a drop of foam left on top.  

And then my personal hobby horse for 2014 ....... rude people, unkind people, skinnering people (gossips for overseas readers), backstabbers, unappreciative people ..... you can complete the list.  I have come to realise rather harshly over the past 6 months that shit happens.  To us all.  So have a little compassion when it happens to others, because either in your past you have had turbulent waters and relied on others or somewhere in your future it may be waiting .... so be nice. 

And don't sit near me with your pen. 

till soon
c'est la vie 

Friday, 10 January 2014

Matric results and Much joy

Life has a funny way of handing you unexpected (but earned) surprises.  Jess worked her butt off during her Matric year.  She sacrificed a lot of family time, a lot of social time, a lot of all kinds of stuff.  With motivational and religious verses pasted all over her study wall, a plethora of coloured pens and an iron will, she poured herself heart and soul into her Matric studies.  

Before the finals she could be found at her desk at 10am and you would still find her there at 2pm and again at 11pm, having taken very few breaks.  Her goal?  To ensure she got 3 distinctions and if she could make 4 ..... she said she would be overjoyed. 

And so she slogged her way through the finals, sometimes saying papers were good, other times feeling that they were challenging. All 7 subjects were finally written and she went off on a well deserved "matric vac" with her friends for 10 days.  It was the first holiday she took without us and she had a ball.  However it was comforting to know that whilst having this wonderful, festive and loud time, she was never fall on the ground drunk, never acted like an imbecile and returned home with her reputation firmly intact.  Such is my daughter. 

After a very long wait from 29 Nov to 7 January, results day rolled around.  We got up in the dark at 430am to dress and go in search of a paper.  5am saw us around the corner from our house, her crouched over the paper with her dad.  If you have access to my Facebook page you will be able to see the link to the video I took when she saw her results .... Priceless!!  After much gasping and wordless pacing she uttered those words "I got 6 distinctions".  It is now 3 days later and she still is uttering "I got 6 distinctions", disbelief and excitement alternating across her face. 

She is by no means a study nerd.  This is a full of beans, gorgeous, loud, social and crazy young lady.  But she is living proof of what happens when you put your head down and say "I can. And I will."

Tomorrow night we are going out celebrating with family, her celebration with her friends happened on the same night as the results.  Tomorrow night will be filled with laughter, loudness and pride. 

Pride because despite many odds this year ...... she Could. And she Did.  Chefs School for 2 years now lies ahead ..... Go and catch your lifelong dream Jess.  

till soon
c'est la vie

Monday, 6 January 2014

The fitting room mirrors. The spotlights. And me.

Cue "Jaws" music.  I am going to speak again about fitting rooms in retail stores.  Obviously they were either designed by men, or by perfectly built women.  Neither of these make up the total demographic of SA. 

When stepping into the fitting room, you are immediately assaulted by a 3D full-length mirror image of yourself.  This is heightened by the 6 x 100w globe lights shining on you .... It is so sudden and so bright one half expects a border patrol guy with sniffer dogs to come in. Now you have to begin the balancing act .... getting all your items onto the hook, putting your "number" in an obvious place, putting down your bag and shoes and trying then to not continuously hit your elbows as you turn around.  

This is the point of truth for most of us.  As I stand up from stripping down to my underwear, a large shadow looms up behind me, scaring the living daylights out of me.   I am only vaguely calmed down by the fact that I discover that this shadow is my butt.  Now before trying on anything one gets to glimpse yourself in all your wobbling glory.  It is not an encouraging sight.  Then begins the real bit ...... I put on outfit A ..... It is the size that I am sure I am.  This is never a realistic estimation.  The pants are screaming as they drag themselves bravely over my thighs.  They are what is known as low crotch, which means that in my case the waistband is just above my nether regions and the zip is somewhere between there and my upper thighs.  Traumatised I continue.  Several up sizes later I come to the definite conclusion that low crotch is not for me. 

I move to dresses.  Now if these could be designed with one size on top and another on the bottom I will be A for Away.  I decide to go with my top size.  It looks great from waistband up, but below the waistband ...... let us just say that short and tight is not my thing.  So I swop the calculation around.  It is now perfectly fitting waist down and on top I am drowing in additional fabric with the crossover top section leaving my bust leaning a bit towards "Debbie does Dallas" .... and I am not referring to a Kontiki tour. 

I am down to my underwear again.  Completely rattled now I lean out and ask the fitting room attendant if she could order me a double shot Cappuccino from Woolies Cafe' so that I have something to knock back my rescue remedy with. 

When I leave the room I hand back the number to the attendant and tell her that I love all the items and am taking them all.  I ditch them on the first open rail I find in the store. 

I bought shoes.  My size is my size.  Always.  They look great.  I feel great.  And the mirror which you use to view them ...... it's usually from the ankle down. 

I want to say Fat and Fabulous.  Pffffft.  

till next time, 
c'est la vie 

Friday, 3 January 2014

Being Nice. Being Forgiving. Today it's Me. Tomorrow You.

Let me give you some advice.  Be silly.  No matter whether you 2, 20 or 82.  Be silly.  Life is too short to be serious all the time.  Worry less about who other people say you are or what they think about you.  

Laugh.  A lot.  With your family.  With your friends.  With your colleagues and bosses.  There is no point in spending a lot of time surrounded by these people if you cannot share joy with them. And there is joy in being with all of them.  Sometimes we forget to notice.  

Cry.  When needed.  No-one on the entire planet does not cry.  Our hearts break, we suffer losses, things go wrong, we get things wrong .... EVERYONE does.  Share it - people who care will be there before and they will be there after.  

Be gentle.  To all.  Remember that very often when people are unhappy with a behaviour of yours, you may discover that they did that very same thing in their past, sometimes recently. But they forget.  Or pretend otherwise.  Kettle, meet Pot.  So be gentle.  It is a beautiful trait. 

Spend time alone.  Wherever you want to ..... in your head, in your home ..... makes no difference.  But remember that you have to return to the real world on a regular basis.  

Be civil.  Actually just be nice.  It costs nothing.  Old cliche' but so true.  You know that song ... "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world".  Be careful what you say about other people.  And if you are not 100% sure what you say is fair and correct .... then maybe you should rather just can it.  

Tell people they matter.  Today.  Because not telling them as a point of principle is a futile exercise ...... making yourself feel good at the expense of others ~ not nice.  See point above. Be nice.  

Say "thank you" and "sorry" when needed.  Electing to say neither is just rude.  You can sugarcoat it, justify it to yourself ... whatever floats your boat.  In your heart you know better.  

Mean what you say.  Don't play with people.  Don't carry grudges.  Move on.  Give 2nd chances, or 3rd.  If you think you can't, look back at your life .... Are you really so perfect that you cannot? Have you not made similar or other mistakes in your life?  If so, give chances.  

Stop long enough in every day to be able to see the beauty.  The joy.  The people who make your day worthwhile.  The people who make your life easier, be it your family, friends, boss, employees .... whatever.  Notice them.  Be nice.  

And forgive.  Because whilst you sit in judgement today, tomorrow you may need those very same people to not sit in judgement of you.  

And if you not finding something that makes your heart jump every day?  Well then my readers ..... you ain't looking hard enough !! 

Mom and daughter silliness ...... 

till very soon 
c'est la vie 


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Sparklers. Coleslaw in the boot and 48 hours without pissing someone off.

Well we are almost done with the second day of the New Year.  Just as in that silly quote, I have managed not to piss anyone off, break anything, lose my temper etc etc.  But after all we are still on Day 2.  My friend, Marie-Louise, will be checking up on my progress on a regular basis throughout 2014 - but she likes the crazy version of me.  I also have some pressure on me to behave appropriately. Sigh. 

We saw the New Year in with a semi-quiet evening which featured sparklers, Blackjack (yes the innocent home version with plastic chips and let me tell you when I am the dealer ..... pasop), Scattergories (this goes really silly when played at 3am) and then of course we had those straw like things filled with luminous liquid and when you crack that liquid you have glow in the dark straws.  Like a bunch of kids we pounced on the container and amused ourselves for almost an hour wearing these around our necks, heads, wrists while having the lights all turned off.  Nothing like a bit of uninhibited, silly-for-silly's-sake fun.  Then there was our sky lantern.  Let us just say that it did not go as well as expected.  And leave it there. We missed the countdown when the radio announcer said "In 2 minutes we start the countdown".  We stood on the patio, clutching our champagne and waited.  And waited.  And next minute aforementioned announcer said "And so we wish one another Happy 2014".  When I grew up countdowns went 10, 9, 8 .......  So that was a bit of a damp squid. 

At this point I would also like to mention that forgetting coleslaw in your boot after the party is also not a great thing.  Just putting it out there.  
And I would also like to mention that wearing a lot of clothes during the December holidays may seem fun.  For everyone.  Except the person who gets to wash and hang the items from 4 family members.  If one more person in this house says "why is the laundry so slow?", I will break all my resolutions in under 30 seconds.  

So before Monday I am going to watch the remaining 4 episodes of The Following .... am watching the whole of Series 1 at once.  The only time that I am not tense and peeping out behind my fingers is when I pause it to go to the bathroom.  I am also going to see a movie, hang a banner in the street to go along with the marching band I organised to welcome my domestic helper back.  Pop into the parish office.  Read my book and 54 magazines finished. Phone the DSTV technician.  Accost someone in the DSTV accounts department.  And rest. Because Monday is approaching and bringing with it all the usual stuff.  But me?  I gonna be seriously shoulder to the wheel when needed and eazy breezy the rest of the time.  Why?  Because it is gonna work for me. 

till whenever 
c'est la vie xxx

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