Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Back to School ..... Purse meet Shops

Today I went to buy my son 5 items of school clothing / bag.  I left the store having parted with R1100.

For this I had 2 thin navy blue golf shirts with a simple gold badge on, 2 plain navy sports shorts with a drawstring and a sports bag.  The sports bag literally was the cheapest item ..... because golf shirts with badges cost R236.  Each.

I was left reeling.  We were fortunate enough to have family who helped buy all the other items that were badly needed for school this year.

But as I left the shop I was wondering and worrying about all those people who cannot afford this, who maybe don't have someone to help them buy the clothing.  White shirts and grey pants are still ok, but the branded school items like jerseys, sports kit, caps, socks, blazers and on and on .... are across the board ..... expensive for all schools.  I still battle to understand how a navy blue golf shirt becomes R200+ because of a badge.

The school supplier was very busy and I watched a plethera of well known school's stuff pass over the counter.  I recognized the parents ... they looked a bit shell shocked.  I also recognized the look in the eye of the parents who had a huge piece of their budget taken away in that store, and who were now calculating how to make ends meet till month end.  There are a growing number of these.

Yes there are 2nd hand clothing items available at most schools, and because my son is growing at the speed of light I ensure that every last item we have is donated to that shop, but there are limited clothing amounts there, and as I said, a growing number of parents needing to use that shop.

Once you have added on a minimum of R1500 + for textbooks (more if you are below Gr 10) and then the stationery items, January becomes quite a nightmare on the back of having our kids home for 6 weeks of holiday.

And yes all parents did it, from Noah's ark onwards.  Except in that time school clothes / stationery / books did not swallow up one person's entire salary for a month.

So today I pray for all those for whom this is a stressful month.

I cannot help but wonder about standardized school uniforms ........

till soon
c'est la vie xxx

Monday, 12 January 2015

the past 7 days

It has been an interesting past 7 days for a number of reasons.  

I came back to work ..... to my office which I love .... my very very hot office and to my great friends who work along the passage adjacent to my office.  

My daughter finally seems to be settling down a bit in her 5 month stay in CT and is getting used to the crazy hours of her training there. 

My son seems to be growing taller before my eyes and I am already wondering if the new blazer my parents so generously bought is going to cover his wrists until the end of Gr 11 ..... which is the plan.  I have also spent some real quality time with him both on Friday and Sunday night and he never ceases to amaze me with his depth of knowledge and maturity.  And we share a crazy sense of humour.  

I then made an appointment with a friend for a chat on Friday.  A knowledgeable friend, a religious friend and one with a depth of conversation that brought me close to tears.  Sometimes the wisdom that comes from other people can put so much in your life into sharp focus and at the same time remind you that you actually are ok as a person in the big scheme of things.  It is amazing that someone can listen for so long and then come up with the most incredible and relevant replies and assurances and advice.  I have three such persons in my life.  You should all try have at least one. 

Today someone arrived at the office gate to thank me in advance for the admin work I will do for the church this year.  Well now I better make sure that I perform!! It was a nice gesture. 

My blog is climbing nicely and in addition I have been given an opportunity to have a previous blog used in a column ..... which is nice and special to me.  And it is so valuable to me those people who are supportive and interested in my blogging.  

I walked a friend's dogs for him .... well actually they walked me.  So that was fun.  I sort of ran past the local school opposite my office and then on the downhill we slowed to a bit more of a trot, but when we got into the road parallel to my office we got into a bit more of a brisk gait.  And then I came back and repeated it with the other dog.  It made me laugh.  A lot.  I love those puppy friends of mine! 

Someone brought a great big donation of toys and books to my office to be given to the Outreach for distribution to needy schools ... that brought a big smile to my face. 

I have stuck to my guns about drinking 10 glasses of water a day although the heat means that the ice cold water is luke-ish most of the day which is not that great!  I am trying to slow down sugar intake.  Baby steps.  But at least I am trying. 

I started the week in a very anxious space which always seems to "paralyse" me ... unable to eat, not sleeping well and something akin to an ulcer burn in my stomach all day.  The result of that was a couple of days in which my self-esteem and self-worth took a severe beating but luckily this improved by Wednesday and by Friday I was feeling better.  Now just to sort out the insomnia.  

So considering all the above I can hardly believe it is only the 12th ... but it was a week in which I learnt some valuable lessons from others. 

till soon 
c'est la vie xxx 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Out of Step

I love this time of day in my office.  By 630 pm the sun is just just peeping at us before it sinks below the horizon, the intolerable heat of the past few days .... in fact past month, has subsided to something more manageable, it is already necessary to put on my office light, but sometimes the absolute quiet and serenity of my office at this time draws me to simply be present here.

Today someone came past and lent me something to read.  In a free moment I was glancing through it when my eye caught something ..... so tonight my blog comes courtesy of Oriah Mountain Dreamer's wisdom, taken from a section of her book "The Dance" entitled "Out of Step":

"In my humanness I forget that who I am IS enough, especially when I am hurt or afraid of being unloved by someone.  Immersed in the pain and fear that are part of this forgetting, I sometimes hurt another.  Yet even this failure, for which I am responsible, calls me to hold myself within my innately compassionate heart.  And I learn about an expansiveness that makes us all capable of compassion, even where we think it is impossible.  While there are important differences of degree in the injury we do one another, there too are differences in kind.  This is what makes our ability to hold others in our heart, even when we commit hurts against them, and ourselves".

Further on she continues:

"Life is full of opportunities to really hurt one another, life is full of opportunities to then be annoyed Be aware of what it would feel like to put that person out of your heart.  Replay the incident and decide if you can try and see why they behaved like they did.  Was it careless, reckless?  Consider the times that you must have, under different circumstances behaved hurtfully, carelessly or recklessly."

The cover reads as follows:

"Take me to the places on the earth
that teach you how to dance,
the places where you can risk
letting the world break your heart.
And I will take you to the places
where the earth beneath my feet
and the starts overhead
make my heart whole
and again"

till soon
c'est la vie

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

matric results. pass or fail. joy or tears

Today the Matric results were released.  All over 1000's of either eager or seriously worried teenagers could be found queueing outside newspaper offices or hunched over newspapers at street sellers at the crack of dawn .... hunting for their number.

I wondered what would happen if you opened the newspaper today and realised that this year the results in there were published under each school's name .... with the results reflecting only the matriculants' exam number and their results.  What a bugger up if you had already forgotten your number .... 

Facebook was soon flooded with hundreds of messages of congratulations and photos of excited kids, kids & parents or just verses and such.  You can feel their joy.  And then again there are the photos of those who have really excelled and roped in distinctions .... up to 10 (yo .... did they never go out?).  At the school were my kids go/went .... there is a girl with 8 .... a bright, friendly, lovely girl ... we applaud her.  My daughter managed her 6 last year with a lot of tears (a lot) and sweat and a phenomenal amount of grit and studying.  She will reap the rewards.  She is studying and living her dream at the moment. 

But that is not the be and end all ...... there are 1000's of kids who work themselves to a standstill and as long as they got the best results that they were capable of on the day ... then that is a pat on the back for those too ...... it is very much like prizegiving at the end of the school year.  Just because you do not go up on stage, does not mean that you are not a dedicated person working very hard.  

Obviously if you are just cruising along ... well then that is your own doing. 

So today we smile along with the joy of all these kids.  But we also need to spare some thought for those who do not have a pass in hand today.  I am not referring to the ones that simply did not study or try and I most certainly am not referring to that large group of cheaters who are going to find their marks reversed.  I am talking about the kids that really tried, whose lives are perhaps not conducive to study and homework, who waited in vain for the Government to supply their books, who receive their schooling under trees ... yes many of those pass, but many don't.  So let us spare a thought for their struggles and their disappointment today.  I hope I live to see a time of equal schooling for all. 

till soon 
c'est la vie xxx 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

the 31st, sky lanterns, jelly and wish you were here

We spent New Year's Eve at home.  Something I cannot ever remember having done.  In shorts, with my hubby, my son and his friend, we lounged around and had the most low-key, quiet evening that the 31st has ever produced. 

I reminded the 15 year olds that no-one ever said that you cannot eat your cake before dinner, especially on New Year, so I made a red velvet cake with butter icing and decorated with jelly gummy bears (my chef daughter must be cringing) and we tucked into that at about 730 pm.  It got good feedback.  

We then decided that we would, like good law abiding citizens, go and light some of our sky lanterns in a nearby open park, to be safe.  We got as far as the driveway.  The amount of lightning convinced us that we do not want to be in the park, having lightning bounce off the merry-go-round and frazzle us .... especially since without our beloved Beci, and the constant rain, our laundry is a tad in arrears .... did not want to end up in hospital in our assorted outfits ... looking a bit ... well ..... strangely uncoordinated. 

So we then settled down nearing 9pm and after finding nothing on 426 paid for channels, we hauled out an old favourite "Twilight" and put it on.  My hubby declined the invite to watch, citing "freaky shiny guys biting others" as the reason, and me and the friend won the vote 2-1 against Nic to watch it.  

Chicken roasting happily in the oven alongside some potato friends, we decided at 1030 pm to do the sky lanterns attempt no 2.  We drove because of the possibility of having to walk home in the rain and once there tried to find a well lit part of the park.  The municipality tries to keep three quarters of it in total darkness.  Great for midnight drug deals and other stuff.  

Now there is something about going into a public area, with matches, that makes one feel as if you are breaking some sort of law.  The 3 of us crept in whispering until we realised how daft we looked. 

Very often in past years, the sky lanterns have not been that successful.  It is an all or nothing process.  When they fill with hot air and launch properly it is a beautiful thing.  When they don't, it isn't.  Last year we managed to set 3 lanterns completely alight whilst still grounded and in a spectacular moment my son set his shoe alight and was left with us and my BFF's family shrieking hysterically as he ran around trying to kill the flames.  The pool came to the rescue. 

This year?  This year it was perfect.  We managed to light 2, which heated up and floated up from our hands in record time.  Then the rain returned.  They went all the way up and then just got slowly carried across the sky for a loooooong way.  We watched them until they were a fleck and finally burnt out .... still without losing height.  We made a video of the one which we sent up for my daughter who moved to CT last week for 6 months of training as part of her chef's qualification.  I naturally cried and convinced myself that she could see the lantern from CT.  Moms do that. 

We spent the rest of the pre-Auld Lang Syne time eating the roasted chicken and veg, finishing the movie and having my splendid multi layered multi coloured jelly and ice-cream (you would have been proud Jess).  With the countdown done, we ran around wishing each other... short run ... only 4 of us .... then settled down with cappuccino and champagne and those sort of "let me try make this year better" thoughts . 

Instead of crashing into New Year, we sort of just slid quietly into 2015.  I missed my BFF as we had a total miscommunication about what to do and in the end it was a bit of a bugger up ...... but given that we are still adjusting to be temporarily one short in our home, sliding in quietly seemed a bit gentler for our hearts. 

Be good to each other, and to yourself .... 

till soon 
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...