Monday, 21 December 2015

the moon, the cloud and the raindrops in my life

The weather made me think about 2 things in the last two hours. 

I was letting the dogs in and as I locked the gate I glanced up and through the trees I saw a sliver of moon, the rest concealed by a very black sky.  As I watched, within seconds, the dark cloud in front of the moon glided slightly to the right and then gracefully stopped and the moon that was barely visible a few seconds previously now stood more illuminated and only partially covered. 

Now, about 2 hours later, the 39 degree heat of today has suddenly and instantly been broken.  A crash of thunder and a huge bolt of lightning and the skies have opened, with decent rain.  Not that drippy excuse for rain kind of rain that stops after 72 drops, decent rain that has water cascading down our gutters and offers sweet reprieve for the brilliant blue skies and unrelenting heat we sweated under today. 

Instantly I thought of two things now.  How very much like our lives this weather is.  How often do we - vibrant, fun-loving, luminous and outgoing people have our light covered by a black cloud?  A life event or series of events that sees that cloud hanging in front of us on a regular basis or for a prolonged time?  How often do we try and make our love and radiance shine through the cloud, but find ourselves being choked by it.  Many times this year I felt like that.  A situation not of my or my loved ones making, engulfing us and overwhelming us, knocking out our light and love of life.  But like the moon, we just stood our ground.  And regularly, by the grace of many others, the cloud shifted across gracefully allowing us the very brilliance I saw in the moon tonight. 

And that led me to think about this rain.  Washing the earth, dissipating the clouds, bringing relief and for many in our country struggling in the drought, great joy.  And that is what we have found .... a growing group of people, familiar and unfamiliar who have, like thunder and lightning - jumped into our lives and made huge sweeps to knock that cloud away, and like the rain have given us great relief. 

Our lives, not just mine, but all of mankind... have periods of clouds, rain, brilliant sunshine and frightening fog that we think we will never come out of.  That is how life works.  Sometimes we spend long times in the great weather and short times in the really terrible weather.  Other times we have long periods of miserable weather and feel like the sun is just never coming back.  

But it does.  And in my life and in my 2015 ... I cling to every person who was a raindrop, or a drizzle or a good old fashioned great storm.  Because every one of those drops knocked the cloud a bit to the side, more and more and helped me to shine and reminded me of my vibrancy and of who I truly am.

All your hands are safely in mine.  And in time I will get to be your raindrop also.  Perhaps I already am. 

How very blessed we are. 

till soon 
c'est la vie xxx

Thursday, 17 December 2015

my 4 non-resolutions - just simply what i will glide into from today

So this New Year resolution thing ..... same old same old.  Approach it with great enthusiasm during December - get the plans ready - many people go with the standard favourites - lose weight, eat healthy, sleep more, go to church more, be nicer to others etc etc etc.  All keen 31 December .... excited and enthused 1 Jan - needing reminding by 31 Jan and by 6 March ALL FALL DOWN.  Not everyone, but most of those that I know of.  Including me.  Which is why I stopped this ridiculous pressure on myself 4 years ago. 

Why do we need a fresh start on 1 Jan?  Why wait?  Do you decide that you are a crappy person in June but then you have to pass the time being like that until 1 Jan?  Why not just say in the summer that you will change in the winter?  Same delay tactic.  

So next year I am looking at a few things - not forcing, not pressurizing, not having a reward system and not being nagged by others.  Nothing worse than people that ask what your resolutions are and then nag you about them all year long.  

So what am I giving some attention to ...... 
  1. A gentle reminder that very often what you give is actually what you get in return.  This year I have seen an outpouring of love and kindness from a wide group of people, some know me a lot, some know me a little, but they surrounded me.  When I asked my son how I would repay all this kindness he said to me "mom have you ever considered that they are actually paying you back for your kindness?".  So I shall continue to be mindful of the fact that kindness given brings kindness back and then you give more etc etc.   So # 1 focus on continuing kindness
  2. The fact that you can love someone but you can never love them enough for both of you.  As the Tumblr quote goes "love them anyway".  I have learnt over the past 18 months in particular that love in any form hurts.  Because you put your heart on a plate and say "here" but there is a chance it simply gets stomped on.  But love special people - remember that loving someone and being in love with them is not the same - I am talking of the former, not the latter.  So # 2 focus on continuing love
  3. Prayerfulness  along with a good dose of meditation.  Thanks to a wonderful programme I am gaining momentum with, my meditation schedule has over the past 2 months been worked on so continuously that I am able to completely switch off for 15 mins a day, sometimes twice a day - anywhere and everywhere in a whole serious of meditations through a phone app.  It took long for me to master the "cutting everything out" bit - I found myself distracted by noise, my thoughts and much else.  However I have now got so far along that I can switch off quite successfully - so I will continue to find this deep quiet inside myself.  I am able to calm myself in a stress situation, fall asleep, centre my thoughts and much else with these.  So # 3 focus on stillness inside and prayer inside
  4. Serenity.  I have to learn that not everyone says thank you, some simply take you for granted.  Not everyone is capable of saying "you matter", not everyone will appreciate you.  That is their thing.  And as my FB status says "the way you make other people feel when they are around you, says much about you".  I need to focus that when I feel unthanked for big or little things, unappreciated or any of the other un-s, I need to look at that person/people and remind myself that the way they make me feel, says more about them than about me.  I will continue to shower those around me with gratitude and appreciation.  Because that says something about me.  So # 4 focus on inner peace
Those are the places I want to find myself in the coming year.  Along with a healthy dose of the 56 ways to be Merciful during the Year of Mercy that we were alerted to. 

If along with that I lose 5 kg and get my "leaving for everything too late" issue sorted.  Well then ....

c'est la vie 

till soon 

Friday, 11 December 2015

the price of real friendship

Real deep friendship has no price
Real deep friendship has no conditions

It has unbelievable love and caring
It has sharing and deep and regular laughter

Real deep friendship says "I accept and love you just as you are. Always"
Real deep friendship says "Don't ever change who you are"

It allows you to be authentic
It allows you to let your guard down

Real deep friendship says I am always on  your side
Real deep friendship says I have your back - and does

It allows you to say let me help you
It allows you to say it's ok

Real deep friendship is a blessing that not everyone gets
Real deep friendship is an incredible privilege

It allows you to say you matter to me
It allows you to say just be you

The price of real meaningful friendship - there is not one.  I am blessed in that I am able to say to some "I love you just as you are.  Always".    If I have given you that gift, don't ever forget to treasure it.

till later
c'est la vie

searching for silence

Our country is in complete turmoil.  The press abounds with news of the shock dismissal of our Minister of Finance.  The plummeting rand.  The newly appointed replacement Minister. Calls for President Zuma's resignation.  Bad news, bad news and many a talking point. 

At the same time it is Advent.  A time of waiting.  A time of quiet.  A time of preparation.  A journey. Not a race. 

And somewhere I need to find balance between the headlines, tweets, FB comments, press articles and barrage of negativity and the quietness I am seeking. 

I turn to my daily Advent reflections.  I play Gregorian Chanting loudly whilst I work.  I look for joy in my friendships, my family, my job, our pets, our parish and the quietness which that cool and reflective sanctuary brings. 

I look for quietness in my thoughts.  I am going to look for it when my leave starts on Tuesday.  A space.  Just a space.  Where I am not being asked a question every 2 minutes, juggling 10 things at once and being available all the time for anything.  A time when I can sleep.  Rest.  Read.  Reflect.  A time when I can tell my brain to slow down.  

I will look for the quietness in myself.  Perhaps that is a good place to start. 

Till soon 
c'est la vie 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

bond. james bond.

Bond.  James Bond.

Who can resist?  Piercing blue eyes.  Tailored bespoke suits.  Just a tad of stubble.  That short short hair with a touch of grey at the temples.  That walk ... slow, measured and then of course he has an Aston Martin.  Face it.  You like him.

Saw the new Bond movie, Spectre, tonight.  It had all the makings of a Bond movie .... great car chases, lots of action, fight scenes, decent plot and then the Bond women.  This time there were 2 .... the awesome Monica Belluci who is 51 and since I am 50 next month, she made me feel awful.  She is spectacular.  However hers was barely a cameo role - the whole movie just centered around Bond's new blonde love interest.

And then there is Moneypenny.  Always on her post, always pre-empting what Bond needs, always on the same wavelength, always able to answer his questions.  She has changed over the years in who plays her, but Moneypenny is the epitome of the dedicated secretary / pa / righthand woman.  She is bright, fiery and unfailingly loyal - I love her.  She has always been my favourite character.

If I am ever a boss, I want my very own Moneypenny for sure - and he lets her drive the Aston Martin.

till soon 

c'est la vie xxxx

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Saturday, 28 November 2015

incense, schnitzels, stillenacht and hope

Today we spent the late afternoon and evening at the ChristKindlMarkt held at the German School in Pretoria.  

It was lovely because the food was cheap, wholesome and perfect for dinner and the hall was full of little stands selling mostly things that make traditional German Christmas - little wooden tree ornaments, hand made lanterns, Stollen, Adventskranz, candles, marzipan, Christmas incense cones to burn and much more.  You did not have to spend money to go there and enjoy it, it was just as much fun seeing the lovely things and ideas. 

Most of all, especially with tomorrow being the 1st Sunday of Advent, I got the feeling for the first time, that Christmas is coming.  I smelt it in the incense in the market, in the beautiful big pine tree with lights.  However the greatest thing about the evening was the beautiful choir accompanied by an orchestra.  I was not able to catch where they were from, but they were not youngsters and it was magnificent. 

I love carols, and I love orchestral music and we found a nice little spot to sit, a bit buffered from the wind.  We had schnitzel and potato salad and a coffee and just sat there.  Sometimes chatting and sometimes in silence.  

The carols were mostly in German, but you will recognize the tune of carols in any language.  The air was a little crisp, the sky was adorned with a criss cross of little gold lights that had been strung up, interspersed with stars.  The voices rose and we sat with our closest friends, in a semi-circle, my bestie close to my side and my hubby and the long child on the other side. 

And I felt it .... as the first verse of Stille Nacht sounded up, I thought of my dad, who loves this hymn and is of German descent.  I thought of our Christmas Eves where we always start with this hymn ... I felt the first stirrings of peace. 

And as I sat there, I felt it, Christmas is coming ..... there is hope.  We have to believe that there is always hope. 

till soon 
c'est la vie 

Friday, 27 November 2015

the science of sons

And so today exams ended, and thereby the long child's gr 10 year.  Only one day left next week for the Liturgy for end of year and then he is home ..... for a lovely long break.  It is much needed and I intend to see that he enjoys every minute of it.  He has worked.  Late nights almost every school night and during exams he was joined by the hip to his books.  I am proud of him.  This year has not been easy for us and he soldiered on - head up, chin up in his quiet gentlemanly way.  The fact that his sister, aka chefgirl,  will be home for 5 days next month is a great source of joy for him. 

He is, besides his dad, the funniest person I know.  He has this off the cuff, laissez-faire way of remarking on things, a dry as Savannah sense of humour and is so astute it always amuses me.  We spend a lot of time laughing ... in the car to school and back, at home and when we go places.  He often sleeps in the morning on the way to school, interspersed with the odd laughing moment.  Other times he brings along his speaker which he plonks on the dash and plays us a plethora of music of every genre.  One day we are listening to Eminem, the next to John Legend and the next to Elvis.  He is a huge Elvis fan.  We play 20 questions (he says I have a bizarre way of asking mine) or we sing along to the beat. 

Homeward bound trips often include a stop at the Lollipop Roadhouse a few blocks from the school.  We get two lekker icecreams (sugar cone me and cup him), then we open the boot and sit on the inner edge while we discuss all kinds of things, serious or other, whatever comes along.  

He is also a master at accompanying me for groceries.  He always chirps because I say "we are just getting 2 things we do not need a basket" and yet he always has to go back for one when we are no longer able to carry the things between the two of us. 

He is 6ft 3" of love and kindness, deep humility, intelligence and humour.  A real "old soul" I think.  And he thinks his mother is highly amusing. 

How blessed am I. 

till soon
c'est la vie 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

78 is my dad's number today - YAY

So today my dad is turning 78.  What an awesome big number.  So many fun memories ... so many lekker places we have gone on holiday, so many special weekends together.  We have had meals together in so many places, seen so many shows together .... remember the Follies?  And the Angus Steer? And football at Callies - cheering me at Pilditch as I finished the ten gazillion km race ... about 2 days after I started running it ..... all those galas you supported .... the fantastic cappuccinos that you churn out on your machine when we visit, the drawer that has a neverending supply of biltong and Lays.  The dried peaches that I like only when they are rock hard, the lebkuchen when Christmas arrives, the hunting for Easter eggs in the garden ... even though we are all grown up now.   Each year we try see who can find the most bizarre hiding place.  Always listening to Silent Night before we open our gifts on Christmas Eve.  Board games with the kids .... you are a Thirty Seconds Addict and you have more newspapers still to read than even I do.  You and mom have a social life that I aspire to and I know you are making a concerted effort to spend our entire inheritance .... a family joke that amuses you and us no end.  You spoil the kids rotten and visits are much enjoyed because they always come with 2 fun things .... board games and prawns and just as fun are the visits to the sea - full of outings and fun times.  I remember going to the sea with you as well ... and you and me swimming out so we could be the two that were the deepest in the sea ... and you would eat 6 grenadilla snowball icecreams ..... and those rides on the rollercoaster ... the only person who would go with me. Remember your bday when we got you the hot air balloon ride?  You were so excited and that made us really excited.  I also inherited your love of watching TV till late and we even got a pair of headphones for this.  You also like rollmops just like me and eating the chocolate Dr Oetker pudding as long as you only eat it with a teaspoon and from the side .... nicely.   Just like chocolate ice-cream ... remember the awesome chocolate icecream cones we had at the Leaning Tower of Pisa?  The best ice-cream in Italy!! And when you blew the horn in Austria ..... whahaha with your serviette attached to your pants!!  And then there was Paris where we spent no time in the shops and all our time trying to buy tickets on a public holiday whahaha.  Then there was the time in the Kruger Park when the boot jammed and you packed all the luggage on the back seat along with me and my sussie.  What a fantastically crappy trip home.  And you have been ill .... so ill ..... and so brave.  I have watched you fight many very serious problems ... never moaning or complaining.  Remember the New Years Eve you were in Little Company of Mary and we decorated your entire room with streamers and balloons and Happy New Year signs.  I am sure there was glitter as well.  And how we laughed when I pulled the April Fools Joke on you by sending you a fictitious letter from the City Council saying you had to move the front house wall back 3 metres ... after living there for 30 years ...... and you got me back by sending me to the hardware shop for a long weight.  And they made me wait and wait and wait ... for long whahahahahahahahahahahaha.  

We are so blessed to still have you with us at 78 and still so fun of love and silliness.  Plus you can fix anything which is useful. 

Happpppy Biiiiirrrrthday Dad ... see you later 

till soon
c'est la vie 


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

eisbeins, food stalls and plenty of firsts

So last week was a big week of firsts.  

First time I dyed candles with paint and oven baking to make Advent candles.  First time I made Christmas wreaths (see my previous blog) and first time I did something I thought I would never do ... make Eisbein and my last first (get it?) ran a little teeny food stall at our Church Patronal Feast Day.  The money it made was not mind blowing in the big picture. But I made money, I was able to add to the fundraising of the day and that is all that matters.  Every drop helps fill a bucket. 

What a lot of firsts I had! 

Despite the fact that my dad was born in Germany, we make very few traditional German dishes from scratch.  He came to SA when he went to High School so to date the best place for Eisbein when I was growing up was at the German Club in town.  And now it is at a restaurant in the East of Pretoria.  

The most silly of all .... I have never eaten an Eisbein until I tasted a piece of the ones I made.  Nor have I ever had any inclination to make it. 

Then the International Food Stalls were needed for the Feast Day at the Parish and I in a weird moment of bravado said to my son ... let us do a German stall with Bockwurst Rolls, Potato Salad and Sauerkraut.  A week before the big day, whilst in the Repository, a man said to me "so you obviously going to have Eisbein?" .... "yes" I said, whilst my son looked at me wide-eyed. 

Now those who know me well know that I have a pretty gung-ho attitude when it comes to doing new things ... so I started gathering prices for fully cooked and ready Eisbeins to sell on the day.  This is expensive.  Ridiculously so.  So then I struck a sweet deal with a major SA brand's factory shop and bought lovely 1kg Eisbeins - uncooked.  I went with ten. Because I had never done it before and mostly so that when they did not sell I would only have 10 lying there and not look like a complete idiot.   I also have my daughter, a professional chef, on speed dial.  She was proud that I did not have to call her. 

Let me just jump to the end of the story ..... we added up the people who came and asked if there were still Eisbeins available to have there, and to take home with them ...... if I had made 60 I would have been closer to the mark.  Live and learn ne'.  Self-confidence needs an adjustment it seems. 

So I got a kind friend to let me use their stove which can take a lot of pots at once and on Saturday afternoon I set about cooking my little round pieces of beautiful Eisbein.  I kept looking into the pot ... not sure what I was looking for, but I boiled those little buggers until they were fall apart soft.  And then stored them overnight. 

We set up our stall with German flags, home-made posters (no I did not use glitter, I was banned for this event from glitter) and put out all our goodies.  Thank heavens for super salesmen one and two ....  my son and his friend and then a 3rd friend who joined and they really performed when it got busy.  

So I grilled the Eisbein and when my son carried it from the oven and placed it on our stall table .... we sold the ten in literally 4 minutes.  Boom.  And had to take our sign down.   I was both excited and mortified all at once. 

We sold lots of bockwurst and weirdly people came with their very delicious food from other stalls and asked to buy potato salad (I make mean potato salad) so all in all we did ok.  Having a stand is not something I would ever have done in the past.  

Now I have received requests to make and sell Eisbein, from a number of people.  One described it now to me on the phone as "to die for, crispy on the outside and fall apart on the inside".  Go figure - I can make Eisbein.  Dad must be grinning. 

So the handful of people who wanted one and never got one, I will be making yours especially, as arranged, at the end of the month - and in addition I got an order for several for a dinner party.  So I am going to take on that too.  

Go figure - 4 new things in a week.  
Never too old to learn. 

me and my super awesome son, Nic

till soon
c'est la vie xxx

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Me in creative mode - a tale of Advent wreaths and other pretty things

So to work out my frustrations I decided to turn to creativity.  It was either that or boxing but my son's punching bag and I had a small incident when it swung back towards me recently.

Having decided 2 weeks ago that I want to do some different holders and candles for Advent this year, as well as try my hand at Advent wreath making, I knuckled down yesterday, bought a bounty of items for my moment of inspiration, checked Pinterest for exactly how to bake the paint and set out. 

I wanted to make enough to stock and sell in the Repository at the Parish. 

Now for those for whom Advent is starting on 29 November, you know that you have 3 purple and 1 pink candle and these get lit starting with 1 candle and working up to all 4 candles over a four week period leading up to Christmas.  Some people have just the candles, others have the wreath as well.  I grew up in a home where we had the Christmas Krantz every year. 

So armed with glue spray, glitter, decorations, pipe cleaners, pegs and craft glue I made what I think is very decent wreaths in the end.  I did pinch my finger in a crocodile clip and get glue on my teeth .... but that is not for now. 

Then I set about painting 60 of those votive glasses .... 45 purple and 15 pink.  This was work of great patience as the paint had to be swirled around in the glasses to cover the sides completely.  It was a matter of trial and error.  Thinned out with too much water, the paint simply poured out the glass and onto the table (thank heavens for a plastic table cloth).  Too thick and you were left with a sludge like substance everywhere.  Also important to note that you wear surgical gloves.  Not because you are going to have a medical exam of your family, but because this stuff is meeeeesssssy.  I had it on my clothes, my arms and of course my face from rubbing it with the gloves.  Once done they were dried and then popped into the oven for 4 hours (no I was not wasting electricity ... you bake for 40 mins and cool for the rest of the time).  

With a tealight in each, I packed them in fours and then consulted Pinterest for the "how to make bows" bit.  As always it was easily learnt and executed. 

Everything is now in the Repository (please note parishioners and friends) - the candle sets (4 votive glasses and 4 candles) are R25 and the wreaths incl the candle sets are R230. 

Advent: the time to listen for footsteps – you can’t hear footsteps when
you’re running yourself
.” Bill McKibben

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Frustration, anger, nightmares and hope

This week has been trying, to say the least.  I have behind me a very busy last week at work, 3 nights of terrible nightmares ... covering all kinds of bizarre things, they have haunted me right until I wake up.  I dragged myself through today with a searing headache that gripped me the minute I opened my eyes this morning.  Add a pounding heart from the headache meds and my day was anything but fun.  

I drove home in absolute turmoil today.  Anger and frustration. Tiredness. 

Anxiety.  It has me in it's grip. 

I do not have to wonder if this is it, I absolutely know - anxiety brings the headaches, but a sure sign is the nightmares - I have walked this road before. 

Is it not amazing how our bodies react - the renowned fight or flight reaction.  How we allow the things in our lives, often not from our own doing, but many that we do by choice, to grip us and throttle us physically. 

It becomes a rolling ball of stress, pressure, work, anxiety, anxiety and yes, anxiety. 

I find solace across the road ... twenty steps from my office, in the Adoration chapel, where I found myself on Monday, asking God to just let me hang on by my fingertips for a little longer.  I wore the newly washed carpet even thinner with my pacing in the front - God must have felt like he was watching a tennis match. 

I have to remind myself that life is ebb and flow ...... and sometimes it feels like it is just a thunderous crash of waves. 

But I wait.  Because I know this too shall pass, or I shall have to make decisions that make it pass. 

And I wait in Faith.  because I have no choice. 

till soon 
c'est la vie 


Sunday, 15 November 2015

jobs, marriages and life - go with all your heart

Every time my world gets very full, I think about the things that make it so. When my world gets overfilled with things that I can handle, and make me happy, then all goes well, I deal with the tiredness and everything that comes with it.  However when it gets full of just STUFF, then I become run down and even more tired ---- like dragging a chain behind me. 

My dad's favourite question to me is "when are you going to slow down girl?" - "you do not rest enough and sleep" - probably because every time I go to their house I visit and then end the visit with a hour long sleep on the couch, irrespective of the day or time.  

I have this thing - I don't do half measures.  In anything.  If I work for you - I am all in.  I give my everything.  Throw myself in heart and soul.  When I am with my friends - I am all in.  All the laughter, joking, friendships.  Heart and Soul. Especially with my bestie.  At home - double heart and soul - it is a home of great laughter and love.  And when I lose my mall parking ticket (often), my car keys (regularly but always find them), trip over something, fall on something .... man I do it ..... heart and soul. 

There is a lovely little quote I often see which says "wherever you go, go with all your heart.  and whatever you do, do it with all your heart".  

That leads me to asking you ...... Where do you go with all your heart?  What do you do with all your heart?  Your job? Your marriage? Your relationships?  Kids? Religion? Fun? .... the list is endless.  But life is short and I have started to ask myself ...... the places that you do not go with all your heart ..... and the things in your life that you live, tolerate and endure ...... not with all your heart, when do you walk away, step away, move away and ask yourself what the point is? 

And I know .... there are no perfect marriages, jobs, friendships etc etc .... but hell, you at least want to be acceptably happy.  

So what I want to ask you ..... where you go .... go with all your heart ..... and what you do ..... do with all your heart.  And if you are only 60 % happy ..... then do that 60 % with all your heart. 

We have one life.  Make sure you are living yours. I am giving it my very best shot! 

till soon 

c'est la vie xxx

Saturday, 14 November 2015

what you need vs what you want

Been thinking about the heat a lot (how can you not) and also been thinking about the rain we are praying for - which will bring much needed relief for our country and our crops and also a small reprieve from this murderous heat everywhere. 

Chatting to a friend with Nic this morning and commenting on how awesome this overcast sky is today, it suddenly reminded me of something - how we often in life want the opposite of what we have, and then when we get that - we long for the very thing we had in the first place. 

I know someone, lets call her X.  She was married for 20 years, to what appeared on the surface to be a great guy (who knows what goes on in other people's marriages).  Then along came person B - charming her and eventually this lead to an affair.  So she had what she wanted - she was bored of her mundane, every day the same life with her husband and longed for adventure and excitement.  And then?  She realised one day that she missed the stability of her husband, the warm snuggly place in life where she had someone who knew her best.  Sadly he was hurt beyond reconciliation, and now she fell neatly in the middle.  No hubby, no lover.  Just her.  

How often in life do we wish for something else - riches when we are struggling (ok no-one wants to go back to that), thin when we are fat, bigger homes, better cars, younger faces, bigger salaries, higher job titles .... the list is endless. 

Not every time that you get your way is a huge success - because when you are always chasing something (not aspiring, that is different) you end up on a never ending treadmill of always wanting more.  So why not pause.  Just for a bit.  Think about what you have (I mean material things - not serious illnesses or such) and ask yourself -- will bigger be better?  Will more or different make you more happy?  Or can you pause and love the place you find yourself now? 

So it is overcast ... and I will love it, and when the sun beats down, I will try and love that too. 

till soon 
c'est la vie xxx

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

I wish I can keep track of my keys (and other wishes)

My greatest wishes for myself: 

  • That I can find my car key every day
  • That I can find my house key every day
  • That I can find my remote every day
  • That I can work out why I never ever look for my work keys and then apply it to the above 3 points
  • That I remember to take my tablets every day
  • That I discover that I do not have to carry everything I own in my boot
  • That I can just once go into a secure parking alone and not have to pay the Lost Card Fee when I leave.  
  • That I charge my phone when it gets to 10%.  Which is 3 x day. 
  • That I can find my car key when I leave work every day.  And not have to put it in my boss' fridge so that I know where it is
  • That I understand that the orange fuel light on my vehicle means the fuel is about to end.  It is not a suggestion. 
  • That I can find my house key every day (yes I repeated it, it is unbelievable)
  • That I can drink less Coke (please do not lecture me - I get it)
  • That I understand that making time for myself every day is not breaking any great rule
  • That I stop worrying about other people's analysis of me - I am OK - elke huisie het sy kruise.
  • That I realise that not everyone you love will love you in return - but as the saying goes - I will love them anyway.  It is good for me.  And them. 
  • That just once I can find last month's L & W account (oh yes I solved this - I get it electronically now) ..... um .... now where did I put the laptop whahahaha
  • That I can have a back and shoulder massage every month
  • That I can fall asleep at night when I must and not every time I sit on the couch at night (and that never happened before)
  • That I can drink more water, eat less chocolate, finish my mags, do more crosswords, untangle the Christmas tree lights, get my son's organ to play (speaker prob), find a way to keep our Husky from bomb-dropping into the water bowl. 

till soon 
c'est la vie xxxx

Thursday, 5 November 2015

completely irrelevant and fun facts

Did You Know: 

The average lead pencil can write 50 000 words before it becomes too stumpy.

You breathe on average about 5 million times a year.  For me it must be 6 million if I add in the eye rolling and sighing my one friend says I do.

Months that begin on a Sunday always have a Friday 13th in them. 

"Almost" is the longest word in the English dictionary with all the letters in alphabetical order.

A silkworm consumes about 86 000 times it's weight in 56 days.  Hold back on fat jokes please.

11 % of the world population is left handed. 

Rubber bands stretch further and last longer if refrigerated.  You also then know where they are ... like my car keys (yes I put them in the fridge at work).

A snail can sleep for 3 years.  I am clearly a member of the snail family.

All the continent's names end with the same letter that they start with. 

A goldfish has a memory span of 3 seconds.  I have some friends like that as well. 

A hedgehog's heart beats 300 times a minute.  The same happens to me when I see a picture of Richard Gere. 

Some worms start eating themselves if they cannot find any food. 

Giraffes can clean their ears with their 21 inch tongues.  I feel I should comment.  But I won't. 

Billy Goats urinate on themselves to make them more attractive to females.  Uhm ... ok.

Polar bears can eat up to 80 penguins in a single sitting.  About like me and Woolworth's Chuckles. 

and lastly

Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian.  He also had only one testicle. 

till soon
c'est la vie 

(with thanks to Google Top Random Facts)

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

all i want .... is authenticity

if I wrote Poetry .... This is what i would want to say ........... i love her work ....... it is what i would say to everyone that i care for and everyone that i interact with ..... with me ... be you .... the authentic you ..... not the public you ...... not the person you think you have to be with others .... be authentic .... because that is how i love you.   And Always Will. 

By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

The Invitation

It doesn't interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if have been opened
by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain -
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn't interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Monday, 19 October 2015

airlines. late check-ins. half marathons and more

The Travel by Air Manual


All those travelling by air shall remember that whilst 2 of the "lower cost" airlines make more of a *humming* noise whilst flying, 1 of the others makes more of a *growling* sound.  Important to remember if you are uncomfortable with a teeny bit extra movement under the seat whilst flying.


If you hire a car and return it to CT airport and catch the outgoing flight from there, please ensure that you add an additional 45 minutes on to your original "arrive to check-in" time.  It is quick to drive to the Car Rental returns spot.  And relatively quick to have them check that you have not totalled their vehicle.  What is not short, or quick however is the distance you have to walk from that spot to the Terminal.  Also important to bear in mind that when you push the trolley with the 35kgs of luggage (yes us 2 had that much), downhill to the underground parking to cross to the terminal, you better be able to hang onto that weight as well as the weight of the trolley as it careers downhill.  We were quite a sight.


When, as a result of number 2 above, you reach the check-in desk and discover that the flight check-in closes 45 minutes and not 30 minutes before the flight, ensure that you smile brightly, shed gentle movie-style tears (sliding down your cheeks) and if necessary remind them that you have to be at work at 10am (which is why you are on the 530am flight) and they should please not leave you at the mercy of your boss.  Drumroll ....... Oscar winning performance ...... they will quickly check you in at a side desk.  The smile and tears were real.  As was having to be at work by 10am.  My boss however is not a tyrant.


When the airline desk says you need to "run" to boarding gate 12, they mean it.  Do not be discouraged when you see the board showing the times to reach all the boarding gates and for number 12 they have eight minutes.  You can do it.  Yes I know that running is hard when you have a handbag, 2 free newspapers, a Coke for airsickness, a book and that extra 20kgs you have been trying to lose since your 21st.  Almost 3 decades ago.  But give it your best shot.


The size of the airline belt is not designed to in any way make you feel bad.  Just because during the onboard safety "show" they say "clip the buckle in till you hear the click and then pull tight" and then they pull about 50cm of belt across.  Who did they practice on?  Barbie?.  So yes, don't worry, you will not be the only one on board who hears the click and then finds you only have 1cm of belt available to pull.  Us chubby people are cute too.


When the plane lands, breathe, whilst it is taxing to park you do not have to whip out your phone, switch on your data and get online immediately.  Unless you are racing to a court case or are a cardiothoracic surgeon on call, your friends can wait ..... really ...... you will be in the terminal in a short while.  I promise.  You also do not have to jump up, grab your bags and leap into the aisle ..... it is a Jumbo Jet ....... riding on the tarmac ....... to its allocated parking ..... where the hell are you going to?


When you eventually get to the arrivals area and that cute little circular thing returning your bags to you - please ensure that by the time you get a trolley, go to the loo, talk to someone and look up which carousel it is, that everyone has not taken their bags - all the carousels have stopped, and there are your 2 bags, along with 3 airport security peeps in their little yellow jackets waiting to see if it is unclaimed baggage and they should call a code Red.  I had splashed my whole tshirt with water, it was drying under the dryer.  But thank you for taking such good care of the cases.  And yes, I felt like a real idiot.

Airports and travel .... gotta love it.  But High 5 to Safair on brilliantly friendly staff who actually looked like they enjoyed their jobs - on time flights and understanding ground staff.  And I dunno (Low 5?) to Jacksons OR Tambo who clearly don't know the difference between a beef breakfast sausage and a moerse piece of Boerewors.  Which I did not feel like at 730am after being up since 3am.

till soon
c'est la vie xxx

Monday, 5 October 2015

Facebook - not all friends, but its own kind of community

Facebook is a funny little thing.  Social media indeed, but also very often well disguised and hiding what it can be - a malicious, spiteful little playground in which, like kids, people play little games.  It fascinates me for 2 reasons - one because I am stunned that people cannot just enjoy the site - share in other's happiness - be happy for other's happiness - say something - know when they share something sad that perhaps this forum is the only one one which they can share hurt, consider that before you mutter a nasty comment in your head, or to someone else about them.  Secondly because many people make it so obvious.  I shake my head in something akin to pity. 

I have a casual friend and we have a mutual acquaintance.  It tickles me - if she puts the word "the" as her status my friend will be the first Like she gets.  If she posts one of the vast collection of regular pics of herself, even if completely blurred and average ..... the land speed record for Like Like Like is broken.  It is not about what she says or posts or reposts or comments on, it is simply that if her name appears in the News Feed, then it must be Liked.  I thought I was being strange until 3 other people noticed it - so I am not as mad as I thought.  

Then you have the flipside - friends who make it a point not to comment or Like anything - and lets face it - you know when it is deliberate.  I am a little amused as to what the message is that the person is trying to send.  I am actually a little concerned at such pettiness in grown ups.  

Something I learnt in Lifeline when I did my counselling course - THINK!!!!!  

Maybe someone who shares something about a joyful occurrence in their lives is doing simply that - sharing a joy with you.  Not bragging or showing off. 

Maybe someone who shares something sad like a death or the loss of a job or the loss of a pet or whatever - is simply sharing it because they are sad or projecting it on others or it is a coping mechanism.  Not looking for undeserved sympathy or snippy remarks

Maybe someone who shares a pic of their baby, toddler, teenager, grown child etc is proud and wants to show their child some public acknowledgement.  Not trying to make their child better than others.    

Maybe someone who vents about something that irritates them, has no-one else to vent to or no-one else that listens to them.  Will it kill you to read it?  

And before some of you attack me by saying it is your choice, yes it is.  When it is a reasonable choice.  But when it is done with forethought or to make some sort of point, nope.

So next time someone posts something or says something that includes you, or posts a photo that includes you, be what our priest calls your #bestself and be gentle. Maybe they are proud to feature in a pic with you.  Be kind. Have fun.  Who knows how happy you may make someone's heart. 

I know a priest who has subsequently moved to another province.  When Jess wrote matric, the results came out, she did phenomenally and the first place we came at 6pm was to Mass in thanksgiving.  This priest at the end of the Mass said "Let us share in a great joy" and he told them what had happened and how happy it made him to see people who prayed for success, also praying in thanks for that success.  He then said something I have never forgotten in the 2 years since then - "We are a community, we are not all friends, but we are all a community, and a community must celebrate the joys openly and share the sadness's together openly".    

How often when someone does something are we just not capable of telling others because we don't want any "shine" to come their way.

And that is what Facebook is to some.  A kind of community.  Not all friends, but to them a community in which they share. 

There are worse things you can do. 

till soon 
c'est la vie 

Young Men, Big Dreams & Insightful opinions

Young Adults ..... teenagers ....... Youth ......... whatever it is that you call 16 year olds .... I think Young Adults is the best word .... teenagers is so 13-ish. 

Some people really battle to relate to this age - it can be cocky, frustrating, stone-walling, trying and exasperating.  It can also be interesting, fun, self-assured, cocky, inquisitive, loving, responsible and many more descriptive words. 

I speak as an expert.  I have a 16 year old son.  And 4 years ago my daughter was also 16 (but girls are a whole other blog).  Being school holidays there was a lot of interaction between Nic and other 16 year olds in his Grade this week. 

One of them stayed here for 3 days, one spent a whole day with us and one stayed overnight.  At various stages I had 3 of them together.  Probably the highlight of the past week for me. 

16 year olds have opinions.  About everything.  And before you shrug off their opinions as being defensive or cocky, listen to them.  Really listen.  Kids today are savvy.  They know all the usual stuff ... music, games, sport ..... girls, girls, girls.  But they are also able to speak about what they perceive to be going on in our country, about how political parties behave.  They can converse on families, religion, how we treat others both adults and those younger and in turn how they treat 16 year olds.  They can give opinions on drugs, alcohol, smoking, same sex couples, relationships and you will be well advised to give them your ear.  They can have grown up discussions on this and allow open conversation and opinions to be aired.  It is important. 

I had a small group of boys (and later in the day a girl) help me to clean the Repository at the church and count the stock.  They did the usual ... laughed, teased, chased, wet each other and were crazy with each other.  They also successfully counted and recorded a massive amount of individual items, washed the shelves (without being asked) and packed back.  No moaning, nothing.  And it was not just because they were plied with pizza and colddrink.  One of the boys is not Catholic like the rest are, and I found his one on one chats to me about religion and Catholicism to be deeply inquisitive and grown up. 

On Friday night a slightly different compilation of boys stayed over and we watched 2 movies together.  Again it felt interesting ... they drift between laughing at the most ridiculous things and then coming out with the most deep opinions.  They speak about their futures, their dreams and their concerns.

Nic's friends of all sexes and ages have always been comfortable around me, since they were little, as were Jess'.  We have had them for sleepovers often over the years and some nights our rooms are as full as our lounge furniture.  In our house they know there is a line ... but the line is far enough down the lane that they can talk to me comfortably about most things. 

So if you have boys .... in this age group.  Spend time with them.  But most of all ... LISTEN .... listen without correcting ... listen without interrupting .... listen without judging or giving a lecture. 

Just listen. 

You may be amazed at what you learn. 

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...