Friday, 19 January 2018

the trip, the tops, and the temperature

I love lists.

I love paper and pens.  I love my iPad.  And I love lists.

 The Apple iPen designed to work with an iPad, is a fantastic innovation.  My notes screen is filled with handwritten entries .... ideas for blogs, work reminders, lists etc etc.

So even if it takes me a few days to get to something, it is written down.  So when we went away for a few days after New Year, I had my little list ready the week before.  However, making a list and then following the list, are 2 separate things.  And I usually do not depart without ticking off every last item.

So having bundled the adult offspring x 2, off to the Kruger Park with a family friend, hubby and I leapt into the car, marvelled at how little luggage there seemed to be when it is just him and I (first time in a long time) and hit the road.

It was a leisurely drive, quick stops here and there for coffee and such - it was New Year’s Day and the only things open and trading were the highway fuel stations.  Each little town we drove through was dead quiet.

Staring out the window and musing about this and that, I started thinking about the weather, which lead me to wonder if the kids had taken a warm jacket at least for the evenings, which led me to think about tops and that made me think of the tops I had ironed for Nic and I early in the morning, this lead to me having the word tops in my mind and that led to ........ holy shit!!!!!

.........After ironing Nic’s tops, I had ironed mine.  Then got distracted with getting his to him in his room and ..... did  So in my case I knew I had underwear, 4 skirts, a costume, 2 pairs of scrappy sandals, a thin jersey, toiletries, books, iPad, the Nespresso machine and capsules ...... damn ....... also magazines ....... Salt & Vinegar Willards ...... yes .....but

Not one single top.  Nada.  Zero. 

Simply the wonderful situation of wearing a skirt, sandals and a bra for the week.  In a lodge.  12kms from Pilgrim Rest.  That huge commerce Centre.  Where the only thing you can buy outside of a great toasted sarmie, is ripoff Jeep clothing and ostrich egg ornaments. At that stage the thought of going to the nearest big town later in the week, had not occurred to me.  So once the husband person and I had stopped laughing .... which took long ..... I realized that I had a dress on that would dry very quickly when washed.  So that would be it.  If necessary I would wash it every night and by the morning it would be dry.  1 dress 4 days.  Boom. 

Not long afterwards, we passed through Belfast.  And there, like an oasis, was a tiny PEP store.  With an open and welcoming door.  Hubby parked, I dashed over, the guard told me that they were about to close.  “Not without me you aren’t” - I said, and slipped in.  Everywhere, but everywhere, were Back to School signs and since I would not be able to get my upper torso into a white button up girl’s school shirt, I asked where the ladies “section” was.  The lady pointed towards what she referred to as the “Ladies Department”.....well we all have different ideas of what a department is.  There, proudly against the back wall, were two rails of about 1m each.  The one was stuffed full of hangers containing skirts and shorts, mixed in colour and sizes.  The other contained all the blouses and T-shirt’s they had, mixed in colour and sizes.  Bear in mind the wide range of sizes between 30 and 44 and you will be able to imagine the limited range.  Luckily for me they had 4 black blouses ... with pretty embroidery around the neckline, 2 of them in my size.  I grabbed them and a R29 apricot coloured T-shirt, and hit the tills.  R106 later and I had 3 tops.  I want to state right here that these 3 tops fitted well, look great and have washed surprisingly well too.  When I returned to the car, hubby had already taken 2 pics of me dashing into the store and sent them to the kids via the family group. 

All’s well that ends well.  Or so we thought.

We got there and it was 33 degrees outside.  Clear blue sky, beautiful stoep on our chalet ... views forever of the valleys and forests - we had great plans for sitting out there reading and playing scrabble.  We had not brought warm clothes.  Why would we ..... most of the country was reeling in a heatwave.  

The next morning we woke early for 2 reasons - the first being the fact that we could not understand why we were getting so cold.  The other reason being the sound we heard outside.  We crossed the lounge, opened the curtains and saw ..... nothing.  Because we had our eyes shut? No.  Because the mist had completely surrounded our chalet.  We could not even see our patio furniture.  It was raining.  And the 33 degrees of the arrival day had plummeted to 16.  We did not even have 16 at home in the winter.  We checked the 5 day forecast.  It would be 16 to 18 degrees the entire time.  Now you might ask why we did not check the forecast before we left.  Yes ok know it all .... we didn’t ok.  So hush.  My hubby had no warm tops at all, but at least he had a pair of jeans.  I on the other had still had the 4 aforementioned skirts.  Plus the lovely thin new tops from PEP.  What I did not however have was a single pair of leggings or jeans.  

So the 4 days were spent inside largely, wrapped in huge fluffy cream blankets we found in the cupboards.  We lay on the couches, in these, and read.  In the first week of January.  The one day the weather cleared for 63 minutes we did manage to get in a quick trip to Pilgrims Rest, and a game of putt putt. 

Naturally the day we left we woke up to a magnificent blue sky and a weather indication of 32 degrees. 

So, what have we learnt?  To pack tops?  To check the weather forecast? To always have a warm outfit in summer and a cool one in winter for just in case?  To read the list better before leaving home?

No.  What we learnt is how much we could laugh in the car when we realized I had no tops.  We learnt that even though the weather was awful, it gave us the time to relax and rest and sleep because that was what we needed.  We learnt that you can play putt in the cold and have as much fun.  We learnt that not driving anywhere for 5 days, except to pop to Pilgrim’s Rest is just how it was meant to be.  We learnt that getting up every day and getting dressed and then dashing for those cream blankets made us chuckle.  We learnt that every time we see a PEP store we say thank you.  

So I am glad I left my tops at home.  I am glad it was cold. 

Sometimes the unexpected is the best thing that can happen. 

Till soon, be good to yourselves
C’est la vie

Monday, 15 January 2018

Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn

New beginnings are so important.  This is how we renew, reinvent, revive and reset ourselves.  These new beginnings do not always have to mean that you chuck up everything that you know and do and go off on a tangent finding yourself a new job, new car, new life and new address.  It does not have to be that complex. Just reset yourself where you are, in your current circumstances.

I recently wrote about my aversion to New Years’ Resolutions.  I also do not tie new beginnings to the 1 January deadline for starting.

Now my life had/has settled a bit again.  I stopped driving my daughter around when she finished studying and started working in CT.  I drove my son around right till Matric last year and after he got his licence last month, and got a car, he now gets himself around (but is not adverse to still sometimes riding with mom, or getting mom to ride with him).  So I started the year with nothing to worry about in the morning but me.  Getting up a bit later and driving to work behind the peak.  Lekker.  It did not last long.  My daughter took up a new job in Pretoria and after 3 years of Uber in CT she now has the mom-Uber going again.  So back to getting up really early and into the peak hour traffic to get her to work by 645am.  Simply because many people want breakfast and coffee at that time already.  A mom’s work is never really done.  That is a blessing.

However I still find myself with time.  I finish work at 430pm and suddenly I do not have to wait for Nic to finish at 515pm or later at school.  I no longer have any sports matches to watch, sometimes till 6pm.  I miss it.  However it does give me that extra time.  I am getting to blogging ideas even
more regularly.  I read even more than normal, which is a lot.  I am making work of my candle decorating.  I watch series. But you know what I do more than ever?  I Be.  I just Be. Yes I still have to run errands, drive in traffic, do laundry and a myriad of other things.  But I have taken a conscious decision that forthwith I will distance myself from that which sucks joy from me.  From liars - those that I ask a direct question of and they look me in the eyes and lie to my face.  People I hardly know, people I know well.  Same same.  I will distance myself from people who lie to me about serious stuff and little stuff but when I do something have that “you broke my trust” type of mentality.  I will distance myself from arrogant people.  If you like to tell everyone what to do all the time, but lash when you get called out, stay clear.  I will distance myself from people who do not return what I give in friendship.  If I do all the legwork, you will suddenly find that I Whatsapp less, chat less, care less. Friendships are a two way street.  And if you not prepared to meet me half way, then you are not the close friend you pretend to be.

That is one of the most awesome aspects.  How often do you do that?  I suddenly realized that I had filled every second of every day with something.  That is life.  It is what we do.  We balance wife, mother, employee and all our other titles.  All the time.  And every time we have a little break, we find the need to fill it.  And so I discovered Just Be.

It is a wonderful space of drinking coffee somewhere and just looking - at other people.  At cars passing.  At nothing.  Letting your mind run exactly where it wants to.  In that space I discovered the changes that have come this year.  Much more letting others be.  Much more letting others only so far into my space.  I commented to a friend this week that he is surprisingly letting a couple of people closer whilst I am shutting out.  That is the exact opposite of the kind of people we are.

I am careful with titles I give people like this is my “best ......” or this is my “closest .......” simply because I think we set ourselves up to get our hearts bashed.  Giving anyone that title can be soul destroying. And no, I am not jealous of people who wear these titles.  I let go of that concern.  It is such a lekker feeling.

So all of this?  Did it make me sad?  Did it make me depressed?  Did it make me have an anxiety attack, deepend, overreact or anything?  No ..... sometimes we just need someone to tell us that we are simply part of a very big picture and BOOM it explodes in our head like a big fat reality check.

It was a fantastic gift I realized soon after.  Because for the first time in two years it gave me the chance to say ..... Let Go.  Let God.  You be You.  I Be Me.  And a wonderful sense of the fact that I am ok.  I am kind and loyal and trustworthy.

And if you cannot see that, well let me take a line from Gone with the Wind - “Quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”.  Any longer.

What a wonderfully liberating attitude change this has been.

Till soon.  Be good to yourself.
C’est la vie xxxx

Friday, 5 January 2018

matric results - more than just our own kids


So today the much awaited (or feared) Matric Results for the #Classof2017 were released.  

Now some students would have been waiting with great joy, some with great trepidation, some with great angst, others with complete confidence and others still with utter panic. 

Every student would like to do his or her best. OK, maybe most students. Some have to additionally do their mother or father’s concept of what their “best” is.  Some have had no guidance or family life or had a lack of books and/or stationery and will fail as a result.  Others will have those same restrictions and soar.  The press and social media are full of success stories today.  From all spheres of life, all incomes, all family backgrounds.  I saw and heard and read of kids with distinctions from upmarket schools but I also saw my fair share of kids with that many distinctions from not such upmarket schools or very understaffed and underequipped schools.  I saw stories of kids who studied the entire year by candlelight. Who came from families where there were no parents. Who walked forever to get to school.  And yes, I also saw stories of kids suffering from car accident injuries, serious illnesses, the loss of a parent during the final exams.  These tales of courage are everywhere.  And this goes throughout - does not matter where you went to school, hundreds of kids failed or passed because of or despite of challenges.  Of course there were hundreds of thousands who came from stable homes with great support systems and soared.  But amongst those stable homes and great support systems were also kids who did not quite make the standard and subsequently failed or barely scraped through. On the other hand naturally there will always be those who had the opportunities but squandered them with lack of studying, unnecessary absenteeism, truancy and continual lack of effort. 

Today I am lucky and very very blessed.  Both my kids went to a very good school.  But both of them also took every ounce of talent they were given and every single opportunity they had and worked and put in the extra effort and hours in every single sphere of their school career from academic to sport to cultural.  Their results did not fall in their laps.  And during my son’s mid high school career, something awful was done to us, something that many of our friends and family have never had to experience and probably never will.  However through it all he put his head down, studied, worked hard, played hard.  He steadfastly refused, along with us and his sister, to let life break him, and even though only management and a handful of teachers knew his circumstances, he emerged, with us, on the other side after 2 years, still standing.  Till today I applaud my children for this.  If only people knew. 

So today I salute my young man for his fantastic results.  He did it his way.  In a home of great love and support.  And with great love and support from those who are close to him.  These marks will stand him in good stead.  You are a gentleman of whom I am very proud.  You are also the funniest guy I know. 

But I ask that you spare a thought .... in fact more than a thought, for those that did not pass, whatever the reason, for those for whom passing hangs on supplementary exams.  For those who did not live up to the expectations that others had for them and had subjected them to.  For those that gave their all, and found it not enough. Whatever you got, if you got it giving your all, then pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.

And spare even a more serious thought for those for whom the results are so overwhelmingly devastating that their own lives hang in the balance.  Every year around this time we read of more than one child who ended their lives because they simply felt they were not good enough. 

The pressure is enormous.  

So pray in thanks for those who are celebrating.
But also pray for courage for those who are not. 

Be good to yourselves
c’est la vie 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

resolving not to resolve and such stuff

So, how many of your New Year resolutions have you already broken?  It is, after all, already the 5th of January.

I have given up with the resolutions thing.  What does it do?  Brings pressure.  Extra stress.  Huge expectations.  I have realized that if I need to sleep more, I need to do it now.  If I want to lose 10kg, I need to start now.  No matter whether now is Feb, June or September of a year.  The emergence of a new year gives us this false sense of a “starting point” - a belief that if you start on the first day of the new year, what can go wrong?  I am not knocking anyone for whom this works.  Just not for me.

So let me cover the highlights of the years that I did try.  Let’s take food.  So on the 1st of January I decide that I will no longer eat chocolate or drink fizzy cold drinks.  At 11am the box of Quality Street chocolates from the previous year are staring at me.  They are feeling sad because they know they are Christmas time chocolates and are worried that no-one will finish them now.  In a great act of duty and sympathy, I eat the last 8.  Surely this is an exception to breaking your resolution?

Then I try exercise.  I will exercise 3 times a week, in some form.  So I join a gym.  I go with great zeal.  Then I start experiencing problems - my gym clothes are in the wash, I cannot find my gym card, my car is low on fuel - I mean what’s a girl to do?  So I do what 60% of gym membership folks do - make a monthly donation to the gym via debit order whilst I lie on the couch eating Willards Tomato Sauce crisps.

Then my all time favorite - the “I will go to sleep 2 hours earlier every night”.  That one did not even make it past the first 24 hours when the new season of Wentworth started.  You cannot record Wentworth.  I mean you can, but I don’t want to.

Lest I forget - there was also the “this year I will always fill up my car when I get to about a quarter tank”.  Well in the 3 years that I tried that, I was given a lift to a garage in a tow truck, I was given a lift in the back of a bakkie, I once had to walk 2km to a garage lugging with me my handbag (9kg), laptop bag and what ever other valuables I did not want to leave in my car at the side of the road.  So answer your own question as to how that one went.

Another spectacular attempt was the year I decided that I would always be on time.  That one went alarmingly pear shaped.  I set my alarm so early to be everywhere that I found myself pushing the snooze button repeatedly since I “had time”.  As a result I dozed off regularly and woke up even later than normal.  Epic fail.

So this year?  I have again resolved to have no resolutions.  Things that have to be changed and improved?  They will have to be done so at the right time.

I will decide if that time is now.  Or when.

Be good to yourself.
c’est la vie


2019 - new beginnings and other excitement

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