Thursday, May 31, 2007

Moments that changed my life forever….. (Part One)


I think the first moment that had a significant effect on the rest of my life (apart from that very first one when I took my first breath
;-)) was the moment that Grant and I were declared husband and wife.

I don’t think there was a single person at our wedding who thought that Grant and I getting married, at the tender ages of 20 and 21 respectively, was a good idea – except Grant and me, of course!

We first broached the subject of our getting married with my father a year prior to the wedding. Expecting resistance, we launched a “two-pronged attack” and cornered my father together. As expected, his immediate reaction was “definitely not, you’re way too young”. I nearly threw a fit and Grant was conspicuously quiet … he’s like that, in his opinion the best form of attack is silence (personally I think he just doesn’t like to fight).

To cut a long story short, I cried a bit, threw a few tantrums and then hatched a plan to get married the day after I turned 21, when we would not need anyone’s permission. Fortunately my father came around (I think he realized this was one argument he was bound to lose) and the day after my 21st birthday, he walked me down the aisle, albeit a little reluctantly.

In hindsight I can see why everyone was so uptight about our tying the knot – Grant was still doing his stint in the army (compulsory National Service) and hadn’t even got a job lined up for when he came out of the army 6 months after the wedding. (I then compounded the problem by falling pregnant 3 months after the wedding – talk about living on the edge!!)

People kept on asking why we were in such a hurry to get married. Now I look back myself and I wonder what the rush was about? The truth is there was no real reason to get married at that particular time, but I think we were simply ready to get married. Grant and I had been together as a couple for 4 full years and we’d been at school together since we were 11 years old. We knew each other very, very well. Quite honestly, I think we both knew about 3 months into our relationship that we would be getting married one day. So it was just a matter of waiting for that day.

The added incentive to get married at that point was that, in those days, if you were in the army and married, they would post you as near to home as possible and double your (very meagre) salary. Once we were married Grant was posted to an army camp in Durban and could come home every weekend – for us that was a big deal!

So there we were, 21 years old, poor as church mice, married for 3 months and expecting a baby. Do I regret it? The only thing I regret is being an 80s bride – that hair! I don’t regret getting married young for one moment. There’s no doubt about it, times were often tough, but if I had to do it again, I would still get married the day after I turned 21.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A family-filled weekend

We spent most of this weekend in Durban with family. It makes me realise how lucky we are to have our extended family so close by.

Yesterday we went through and picked Impi up from his boarding school and then we went to my aunt June's flat in Pinetown. Rox has been staying with her for 10 days, since June came out of hospital having had surgery. (I have really missed my daughter, so it was a very happy reunion! Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.) We all had lunch together, went to the Pav and did some shopping for June (and to be honest, Grant had forgotten to pack his underwear, so he had to stock up on that - hee, hee!) and then it was off to Grant's parent's house in Gillitts. We all spent the afternoon together and then went and watched Westville Boys High's production of "High School Musical". We spent the night in Durbs, Rox and Imps in Pinetown and Grant, Paula and I in Gillitts.

Today we celebrated Grant's Dad's 70th birthday with a "Richardson family lunch" at a restaurant in Hillcrest. We don't see much of Grant's sister and her family, so it was really good to all be together today. I could see how much my in-laws enjoyed having most of their off-spring gathered around the table.

Tonight we will get together with my mom and dad for pizza and a "report-back" on our busy weekend.

Heaven knows, my family can often drive me stark, raving mad, but it's nice to know that they are there. And, every now and again, it's good to have a family-filled weekend and remember how lucky we are to have each other.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mother Nature is having a laugh...

No doubt about it, Mother Nature certainly has a sense of humour! No sooner do I wax lyrical about our gorgeous weather in my previous post, and a great big cold front comes rolling in.

Yesterday was freezing! I was woken up just after 6am by an sms from a friend in the Umvoti region (where we used to live) to say that their lawn was white with snow and more was falling. You get snow in that area about every 3-4 years, but it usually only lasts a day. I'm so jealous! Paula has never seen snow (well not that she remembers, she was one the last time!), so she would love to have been able to build a snowman. If we hadn't all had so much work to get through yesterday I would have gone and spent the day there, but it was not to be, maybe next time.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I love Autumn

Autumn is my very favourite season. I feel so energetic and alive at this time of year. Maybe it has something to do with fact that the energy-sapping, mind-numbing heat and humidity of Summer is finally over. (I just don't DO Summer!) But honestly, we have the most blissful Autumns in this part of the world (and our Winters are not too shabby either). Day after day of brilliant blue, clear skies and sunshine, a sea as smooth as glass and temperatures in the upper twenties..... who could ask for more! We really live in a beautiful country.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm blue.....what colour are you?

BLUE

You give your love and friendship unconditionally. You enjoy long, thoughtful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality. You are very loyal and intuitive.

Find out your color at QuizMeme.com!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Going green

As I mentioned in a previous post, spurred on by my environmentally conscious 11 year old daughter, one of my New Years resolutions was to recycle; well this has gradually transformed into a mission to “go green”. It’s going so well at the moment that I thought it was time I blogged on our progress and reviewed some of the products we have tested, just in case any of you might want to give them a try. If you do, click on the “Organics Online” banner to the right – it will take you directly to the online store.

Since January, Paula and I have been steadily working at making our home more “green”. I’ve discovered that it’s not one of those things that you can do overnight and we still have a long way to go, but we are making progress. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will ever manage to be one of those fully, 100% organic people – there are some “nasties” that I just can’t imagine living without. (Much to the relief of Roxy, who for some bizarre reason had visions of Paula and me becoming hippies with underarm hair….eeuw!)

We are slowly but surely replacing our “un-environmentally friendly” products with environmentally friendly ones. Most of the organic products are a little more costly, but I find that you do use quite a lot less of the product and quite honestly I am happy to pay a little more for a quality product that is kind to the environment, to the animals and to us.

So far I have replaced most of our household cleaning products with organic ones. It has been so much easier than I thought. Most of the “green goodies” I am using were bought on-line at Organics Online – they offer a superb service and my products arrived quickly and safely. I am using Enchantrix laundry gel and fabric softener and find it as good as, perhaps even better than, the products I was previously using. Paula gets eczema and there was only ever one brand of washing powder I could use in the past that didn’t cause her to have a flare up – her skin if fine with the Enchantrix products. I have also replaced our general purpose household cleaner (aka Handy Andy) and our loo cleaner with the Enchantrix ones and they work very well too.

As far as toiletries go, I am using the Enchantrix shampoo, conditioner, face cream and body lotion. I absolutely love them, the shampoo smells particularly gorgeous! (They are not paying me to say this I promise!!) I tried the Enchantrix deodorant and I seriously didn’t like it, so I am still on the lookout for a good organic deo and I can’t say I was mad about their liquid hand soap either. I am using the Esse face wash and it doesn’t come cheap, but I really love it.

We have also decided to start an organic vegetable patch. We’ve started very small, using the instructions for a "door size” veggie garden that I found here. Today we planted our first seeds and a couple of seedlings. I am completely new to this organic gardening thing and am not known for my gardening skills at the best of times, so I’m holding thumbs that, with me involved, we don’t have total crop failure!! Will keep you posted.

And that’s about as far as we have gone so far. It’s really been fun (especially the gardening part!) and not as big a mission as I thought it would be. Best of all, I get a kind of warm fuzzy when I look around me and think I’m doing my bit for the environment. I rather like being green.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What a week....

This is one of those weeks that I wish I could delete and send to the recycle bin. Do you ever get the feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way life happens? Well I've got that feeling...

On Saturday we heard that a friend of ours had dropped dead of a heart attack. I know that people die of heart attacks all the time and in the great scheme of things, his death is probably just a blip on the screen, but I'm still reeling from the shock and the unfairness of it all. This guy was 42 years old, he leaves a wife, 2 teenage sons and a 6 year old daughter. Things like that just shouldn't happen.

Dealing with grief

I just read this amazing blog post by a mom who recently lost her baby. She gives real, practical examples of what to do/say to someone wh...