Monday, 24 February 2014

Lining pockets with water money

My Beci got a RDP house several years back.  A house she has cherished and taken care of, improved where she could and cried over when the hail broke her windows recently.  As a single parent with an unemployed son (an unemployed son note, not one incapable of working, simple unwilling to find aforementioned work), she turns every cent over twice. 

Beci is a master at fashion.  She knows every vendor in every corner of Marabastad.  She has every contact for every thing she likes.  She outdresses me by far and her colour co-ordinated very joosh look has everyone double-taking as she walks from the bus stop to our house.  I always tease her about it. 

Like every South African she simply wants to live in peace.  Be treated fairly.  Have a government who cares for her.  Now if you want to get her revved up, then you must talk politics.  Her feelings are quite clear about who she likes and who not.  And as she does not suffer fools, she is one of a growing number of people who intend to speak out with their vote.  With her hand on her hip and her other hand swinging to and fro in the air, she expresses her opinions, and boy does she have opinions. 

2 weeks ago Beci came to me in tears.  Her water had been switched off.  This was weird as she pays roughly R100 per month for water and always pays on time.  The Council then asked her to get an employment letter from me so that she could pay off "the arrears" in instalments.  She does not have arrears.  Next came a letter stating that she owes 
R4000.  Then she finds out that every single house in Klipgat is without water and every single resident has a similar letter varying from R1000 upwards.  Now after enquiring she is told that it is a water cost attached to the original handing over of the RDP house to her years ago.  How can that be her cost?  It is quite a sum if several hundred residents each cough up R1000 to R4000 ....... a lovely lining for someone's pocket or several pockets. 

So a residents meeting is called for Thursday evening .... I tell Beci she must go.  I make several fruitless calls to the Councillor for Klipgat.  She tells me they turned out in droves. The representative of the Council tells them he knows nothing about the water cut-offs even though they all have letters.  It appears to be a futile evening. 

The following morning hundreds of residents gather outside the municipal office.  They light a fire and systematically walk past it dropping in their overdue notices.  It is a desperate move to try and get the water supply that they have paid for, switched on. The crowd is getting restless.  Aforementioned representatives seem to be able to wave a previously "did not know about it" magical wand.  The water is flowing in abundance half an hour later. 

Beci arrives this morning to say she has received an "adjusted amount".  R62.  

It is a travesty that they had to go through all that.  

till soon
c'est la vie 

Friday, 21 February 2014

Less of Me

So one of my overseas friends who reads my blog asked me how the gym thing is going.

I am happy to say it is still going.  I actually have regular swipes at the entrance turnstile after which I actually go into the gym and not around the turnstile and out again having satisfied Discovery Vitality and their long-suffering emails about my insufficient attendance (what is this .... rollcall?).

I am now able to even put the treadmill on an incline setting without going into cardiac arrest and am working up quite a pace.  The first time I walked at this pace, 5 weeks ago, it was so unexpected that I shot backwards and had to run to get back to the front again, a bit like a comedy video clip.

I even manage to go around the circuit, and end breathing normally.  I no longer have the pin on the very first weight and that impresses me no end :)  Very soon I will have to start jumping up and down that step thing inbetween each machine on the circuit but it is still too early for that.  I don't want to die before Lent starts.

I happily lie on the mats and stretch afterwards and Ta Da, I even wore tight gym shorts to my knees last week ..... which if you know me you will know what a big step that is for me.

So with 5 kg and 23 cm already done and dusted and lost, I have no place to go but forward.

till soon
c'est la vie xxx

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Unused. Unwanted. Make a needy child smile with sporting goods

As we give sporting goods so shall we NOT need to receive. 

A number of years ago when wanting to acquire new kit for a sports team, I was told by the "powers that be" that they would fund half if I raised half.  They thought this would get rid of me and my request.  Wrong. 
I went out hard and fast and raised more than half the funds needed.  That left the other party with no choice but to match my funds, and new kit we got. 

This spurred me immediately afterwards to think about how fortunate our kids are when it comes to sporting kit.  Yes there are many that play in very good condition hand me downs from family and friends, but there are more than that who receive new kit regularly.  Hockey, Swimming, Cricket, Football, Netball ..... the list is endless. 

Soccer, Football .... call it what you may .... it is played everywhere (which is why I battle to comprehend why we cannot have decent multiracial development teams and a national squad who actually win more than they lose).  Having 2 kids with an unrelenting attitude their entire lives about always looking out for those in need, they have passed down sporting goods, personal goods and whatever else they can help others with. It is something that has always made me very very proud ..... because they still do it.  

Through Nic's soccer at various clubs, I have seen township soccer en route to the game, where kids play barefoot, with a mostly deflated ball and rocks for goals.  I have seen many, many teams, even in our own opposition, where not a single child on that team owns shinpads.  Many have to play in takkies and often the entire team does not have matching kit.  But play they do.  With spirit and keeness.  And sometimes I feel awkward about our perfectly turned out kids.  And the amount of used, too small, no longer needed kits and equipment they have lying in their cupboards. 

6 years ago I went on a "shinpad" drive with my son, Nic.  We approached every schoolchild we could in his school and club and we managed to collect 60 sets of shinpads.  I drove out to a local township and found enough players in those "deflated ball" teams to give shinpads to.  A few years ago we followed this up again when we approached schools all over via our kids to get supplies of used football boots, but still in a decent condition.  Jess and Nic spoke to everyone, as did hubby and I and through his initiative we ended up with almost 300 pairs of boots at our house. 85% of them were not tied together as requested and so our family spent an entire weekend matching boots in pairs on our driveway.  Hubby also managed to secure 100 really decent sponsored soccer balls and armed with this our family managed to put 300 kids playing barefoot into some boots.  And many teams now had a decent ball.  We also managed to get some real leather World Cup replica balls and each team got one ...... happiness is ..... smiling faces of kids!!!

And so now for us the time has rolled around again.  I know this is aimed only at my South African readers, and very much only those in Gauteng (but feel free to mail me your stuff from other provinces) ..... our family is on the "kit drive" again.  If we were able to fund kit, get shinpads, get boots and get balls, then we have no excuse.  Maybe this is a good Lent thing for my family. 

We will put up a Facebook page for this.  Expect us to mail you, nag you, beg you, follow you, whatever it takes.  Look in your cupboards and house.  Hell, look in your friend's cupboards and houses when you visit. Ask your family, ask your friends.  Chuck it into black bags and mark with my name and leave at Christ the King parish if we are in the same parish.  Call me, drop it, or I collect it.  Mail it.  Bring by foot.  BUT LET US HAVE IT.  Anything ..... hockey, soccer, cricket, netball, swimming, tennis, squash, basketball, baseball and whatever else.  Adults this includes you - there are many Gr 11 and 12 kids that need stuff too. 

This morning two people already pleged a hockey stick and ball and cricket shin pads and gloves.  

And so it begins ......       Karin    0790 362 262

till very very soon 
c'est la vie 

Friday, 14 February 2014

How I touch my dreams

Dreams can come true if you can decide what it is that you want in life. 

Look at yourself and work out who you are.  Be honest, mostly with yourself. 

Work out what makes you smile, what is special to you, what you excel at.  And do it. 

Sometimes you will get it wrong.  That is ok. 

When things are not going right, just keep moving forward.  Dig deep inside for courage. 

Try out new things and make sure you adjust your thinking regularly enough to do things that make you grow spiritually and emotionally. 

Be ethical.  Guard your morals. 

Laugh.  Laugh some more. 

Surround yourself with people who respect you.  Acknowledge you.  Thank you.  Miss you.  Treat people in a way you want them to reciprocate. 

Be truthful.  With yourself.  With others. 

Don't have your moat up so high that you cannot love others, or allow them to love you. Some people will eventually give up trying to reach you.  

Stay close to those who care. 

Appreciate what you do have.  There are always others who have less. 

Make people happy.  Be peaceful. 

Live every day.

Make dreams.  With everyone. 

Live Love Laugh 

till soon 
c'est la vie 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Your Journey of a Lifetime

A journey no one else will travel and no one else can judge - a path of happiness and hurt, where the challenges are great and the rewards even greater. 

You are on a journey where each experience will teach you something valuable, and you cannot get lost, for you already know the way by heart. 

You are on a journey that is universal yet uniquely personal, and profound yet astonishingly simple - where sometimes you will stumble and other times you will soar.  You will learn that even at your darkest point, you can find a light - if you look for it.  At the most difficult crossroads, you will have an answer - if you listen for it.  Friends and family will accompany you part of the way, and you will walk the rest by yourself .... but you will never be alone.  

Travel at your own pace.  There will be time enough to learn all you need to know and go as far as you are meant to go.  Travel light.  Letting go of extra baggage will keep your arms open and your heart free to fully embrace the gifts of the moment. 

You may not always know exactly where you are headed, but if you follow the desires of your heart, the integrity of your conscience, and the wisdom of your soul ... then each step you take will lead you to discover more of who you really are, and it will be a step in the right direction on the journey of a lifetime. 

With thanks and credit to Paula Finn 

till soon
c'est la vie 


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Stereotypes, masks and judgement

Look deeper at everyone you come into contact with today, that you actually know. Not just casual passerby's or people you speak to briefly.  People you believe you actually know.  Do you? 

We actually have no idea what goes on in other people's lives.  We judge simply by the outside, what we know of them, what we see of them.  But sometimes behind that mask, that facade, that person we think we know, lies a whole lot of stuff we don't know.  Hardships, secrets, personal stuff.  And sometimes unexpectedly we get to learn about the stuff behind the mask.  And that is where true friendship comes in. Because if someone learns all about you, and it does not change your friendship one iota, well I pretty much think that tells me something about loyalty and the strength of that friendship.  And the people you think will be most understanding about what they learn about you .....the ones you give all your attention to, often aren't.  Often it is the person you give less credit to that turns out to be your strongest and most loyal friend. 

And so we judge by stereotypes, labelling people, offering unsolicited opinions and never really look behind the mask.  And when we catch a glimpse behind the mask .... do we continue to judge?  Or do we give that person acceptance, try to understand their choices or situation? 

I like to think I fall into that last group.  But somehow the people you give that acceptance to, often overlook it. 

Such is life.  

till soon
c'est la vie xxx 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Stop and hug me

Where is your quiet space in life?  Do you even have one?  Or is your life just a barrage of work, driving, questions, money issues, to-do-lists, schedules and running on a please everyone treadmill?

I have a quiet space .... sometimes the only hour in my entire week.  I spend it in my church, in the Adoration Chapel.  In silence.  Praying or simply just sitting.  And listening.  To God.  My priest says I have to listen.  And wait.  
I am better with Listen than I am with Wait. 

I am pretty much the "go-to" person in my life.  As if I have this library of useful and useless facts just swirling around my brain waiting to be dispensed ...... but sometimes my battery runs flat.  I wish I had a jumpstart machine for myself, much like for a car.  I find myself in a "please just stop and give me a hug" week this week.  But very often we don't have time to stop and notice when usually "out there" busy people are in need.  

So a friend told me today to institute a "don't ask me anything for the first 30 mins after I arrive home" rule.  So I can just find my space.  Before I start answering the barrage of questions and sorting out the world's problems, just in my house. 

So I am lucky to have that hour a week ...... but I intend to try and stretch it to two. 

till soon, find YOUR space
c'est la vie xxx

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

No. I did not win the Lotto draw.

Just found out that I did not win the R8-million Lotto draw on Saturday night. 

In fact after triple checking my ticket I can confirm that I did also not win the 5 & bonus ball prize of R213 000 or even the 3 number prize of R2.75

This upset me for a number of reasons:

  • The saga of the cricket bat.  My taller child, he of the First XI cricket team, hits the ball when batting in what can only be described as "moer" hard.  Hence even his very good quality bat eventually, after one year, simply cracked in half and folded in two ..... I cannot anymore, it declared.  And this bat was loving oiled regularly and hit in for hours before first use.  So that meant that a bat had to be procurred, hit in and oiled asap for this week's matches.  To deal with this "moer" hard batting, he has to have a fairly thick bat.  They do not come cheap.  He is talented, so we close eyes and pay.  But the Lotto draw could have also been more co-operative. 
  • The shorter child, she of the Chef's Academy, seems to need every plastic tupper in every size made anywhere in the world.  After buying a tall stack of them last month, I have now been informed that a large stack of little ones for measuring out tiny amounts is needed.  Really Jess?  You cannot just put the 2.5ml of salt on the counter (I can see the horror on her face - surpassed only by the Chefs' Academy). So this meant another visit to the Plastic Company, who reached their 3 monthly target in January already thanks to us.   Once again .... thanks for nothing Lotto draw. Naturally this was followed by the fact that underneath the chef's jacket, which they have to wear all day long, some white, thin, strappy tshirts are needed so that the minute they get in the car they can ditch the jackets.  So off to the trusty P'nP I went, who are now, just to spite me, packing out their jerseys, long sleeve tops etc for winter, which was all I needed since it is 34 degrees outside.  So the white tops are available in XXS and XXXL.  Great.  Maybe I can buy XXXL and cut into 4.  
  • My son's overseas sports tour is becoming more of a nightmare for parents as the Pound exchange rate has managed to get way worse than it was when we started our initial payments for this tour.  Giving spending money to our boys for this trip will be a challenge.  You hand them R2 000 that you sweated to save and maybe they can get some fish and chips and a Coke.  Would it have killed the Lotto machine to put just 4 and a bonus ball number of mine in a row.  But no. 
So I will just be happy for the R8-million winner ..... one person took it all ...... and I sincerely pray that it went to someone who really needed it, as it is a life-changing amount.  Be blessed and spend it wisely.  

till next time, 
c'est la vie 

Okay so lets move to another province

“The company feels that there are great growth opportunities for it in the Cape” says hubby whilst we are sitting on the stoep of our chalet...