The last day of 2008!

I’ve seen this Year End Meme around and about the Blogosphere and thought I should give it a go

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? I baked bread and I puffed on a Hubbly-bubbly (naughty, naughty!)

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I had really good intentions about doing some self-nurturing this year and unfortunately I didn’t quite achieve what I had hoped, but I made some progress and I plan to make more progress in 2009. So I will definitely be making some New Year resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? I so, so wish!

4. Did anyone close to you die? My mom

5. What countries did you visit? I wish I could say somewhere exciting, but I never left our sunny shores at all! We had planned a fantastic family trip to Greece, the UK and a whirl-wind tour of Paris for May this year, but my mom wasn’t well enough for us to do it.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? Money! Lots and lots of money!

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 21 November - my mom died

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Staying sane!!

9. What was your biggest failure? I failed to stick to a healthy eating regime!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nope, apart from some minor gripes, I have been in rude good health this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought? No one thing stands out in my mind, but lots of little things we’ve bought have brought me pleasure. Among them a nice rug for our lounge, a couple of new duvet covers and other odds and ends for the house, and of course books – I LOVE buying books.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My children. Rox had a very successful year as a teacher’s assistant and passed her 1st year Business Management exam. Impi was made Deputy Head-Boy of Glenwood High School and Paula came 3rd in class and got an outstanding report.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Robert Mugabe, what an idiot!

14. Where did most of your money go? Groceries – how boring.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The Sharks winning the Currie Cup and our cricket team teaching the Aussie cricketers a lesson.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” – love it!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer? Oooh this is a nasty one.
(a) In some ways I am definitely in a better place than I was this time last year, but I still have some work to do. I wouldn’t say I am ecstatically happy, but I am more at peace. BUT...
(b) I am nearly 5kgs fatter than I was last year this time! Horrifying, absolutely bliming horrifying I tell ya. Guess what my New Year’s resolution is????
(c) I am a little bit richer, but next year is my year for sticking to my budget!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Relaxed!!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Eaten!! LOL! See No.17

20. How did you spend Christmas? Grant, the girls and I prepared a Christmas Eve dinner of cold gammon and turkey and all sorts of salads, which we took over to my Dad’s house and enjoyed with the extended family. On Christmas Day we went to church and then had a big, fat Christmas lunch at a local restaurant with my Dad, the aunts and the Uncle

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? I fell in love with my precious little Zippity-Boo

22. What was your favorite TV program? Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Army Wives – can’t choose one.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Robert Mugabe.

24. What was the best book you read? That’s a tough call. I read some seriously good books in 2008. I loved quite a few of them and couldn’t possibly choose just one.
To name a few: “The Kite Runner” was harrowing, but brilliant, I loved “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” and “Watership Down”. Earlier in the year I really enjoyed “Eat, Pray, Love”, “The Secret Life of Bees” and “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. Paula and I have also read loads of Lori Wick and Janette Oke books and, as always, those remain favourites.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Forgive me for being cheesy, but I really love the Mamma Mia soundtrack and I have also fallen in love with Duffy this year. I LOVED “No Air” by Jordan Sparks and Chris Brown, "Warwick Avenue" by Duffy, "Nothing Sweet about Me" by Gabriella Cilmi and "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay ....there were others, but for the love of life none come to mind right now.

26. What did you want and get? An air-conditioner. Thanks Dad!!

27. What did you want and not get? Nigella’s "Christmas"

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Mamma Mia, hands down, I LOVED it and I watched it again …and again….and again...

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 40! I had a stomach bug, but I still managed to go out for lunch with my whole fam-damily

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? To have felt spiritually calm. I am in the process of "finding myself" spiritually - I'm doing some serious soul-searching and although it is necessary, it's not entirely a comfortable process.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Hee, hee. Um… I clearly demonstrated that it is possible to wear jeans ALL the time!

32. What kept you sane? My fantastically, amazing daughters and my long-suffering husband, my beloved Dad, Impi and Eunice, as well as a couple of delightful dogs and a crazy cat. And the Hunter’s Dry didn’t hurt either….

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I have a long-standing “thing” for Hugh Grant, but I am two-timing a little with Colin Firth (sorry Hugh! Love ya Colin!). Sadly, Johnny Depp’s star is on the descent.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? The goings-on across our borders in Zim, as well as the antics of our very own JZ!

35. Who did you miss? My Aunt Pam. I always miss my Aunt Pam, but there were some times this year when I could REALLY have done with her gentle voice on the other end of the phone line.

36. Who was the best new person you met? Rox’s new BFF Roy.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. You gotta stress less!

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. You knew it would be a Mamma Mia song didn’t you?!

Seriously, the first time I heard this song it spoke to me, because this is SO how I feel about my girls. This year I have realized, more than any other, how quickly they grow and how very little time we have with our children. I am SO blessed that Rox is still living at home even though she has finished school and I treasure every moment with her. Paula is growing up before my very eyes and I am very aware that she is not going to be at home for too much longer.

Slipping Through my Fingers by ABBA
Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while
The feeling that I'm losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl
Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when she's gone there's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can't deny
What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go
Well, some of that we did but most we didn't
And why I just don't know
Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Schoolbag in hand she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile

Merry Christmas!!

May your Christmas celebrations be filled with peace, hugs, good food, lovely prezzies, lots of warm fuzzy moments and all those marvellous things that make Christmas so special!

Slay me!!

Brace yourself people, 'cause I need to unload!

Yesterday Rox and I went to the gynae. Sounds simple, it's not! For some reason I have developed this complete and utter phobia about going to the doctor in general and the gynae in particular. Everytime I have to visit one, my blood pressure goes through the roof and they get all worried and make me lie down for 15 minutes and won't let me go until the *bloody* (sic!)pressure comes down - it's so embarrassing and makes me more nervous about going the next time. I think part of the reason I panic is because between Rox arriving and Paula's birth, every time I would go to the gynae I would have to go into hospital for some surgery or other (I have had more laparoscopies than I can count, serious!) and I am petrified of anaesthetics! The result being that over the years I got more and more nervous about going.

Anyway - Rox has been having some gynae issues, so I felt she needed to see the gynae and I was long overdue for a pap, so I set up the appointment for yesterday. I popped Rescue Remedy the whole morning and drank chamomile tea and spent the entire morning convincing myself that I was being silly and I would actually be fine at the appointment.

We got there and Rox wanted to go first because she was terrified out of her wits (her first trip to a gynae). I went in with her - thankfully! He asked her a whole bunch of questions and then said he would have to do an internal scan. So she had that, and you should see what her ovaries look like!! Good grief!! They are more than twice the size they should be because they are covered in cysts. He said straight away that she has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - classic case.

It's really scary as apparently she has a significant chance of developing diabetes, high cholestrol and worst of all infertility. Anyway, he has put her on a special contraceptive pill that she now has to stay on until she wants to fall pregnant. She has to have blood tests for sugar and cholesterol and follow a special diet as well. Not nice at all. But at least she has been diagnosed early and we can now deal with it correctly and watch out for the sugar issues etc. We also know about the issues with infertility, so when the time comes we will be prepared. The infertility aspect is what worries me most of all, having been down that road myself.....

Then it was my turn. By this time I was already stressing big time. So I put on the gown etc and he took my blood pressure - straight away he asked if I was having a stressful time of late. Aaargh! I explained that I ALWAYS get "white coat syndrome" and my blood pressure screams when I see doctors of any sort. He then started talking about me having to go for a mammogram and at that moment I came over all dizzy with bees rushing in my ears and black spots in front of my eyes. How embarrassing!! I still cringe when I think of it. He immediately took my blood pressure again and it was even higher. Turns out I was having a panic attack. He must think I am SUCH a charlie!! And now of course next time I go I will be even more nervous........

Do it, done it.

I found this on Marsha's blog and it seemed a fun one to do.

Put the items you've done in bold. I've italicized things I want to do.
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (Disney World)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped (hell no!!)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (I've always had this little fantasy, but I'm getting over it now!)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon (mwahahaha! NO!)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (mwahahahah! Uh no..)
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (well seeing as I was born there.....)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (but I was just there for moral support)
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud (when I was pregnant I even ate the mud!)
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class (mwahahah...)
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching (from land tho!!)
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (I should, really I should...)
65. Gone sky diving (hee, hee....)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (and it put in an appearance at my wedding!)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (well it felt fast to me!)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (yay!)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (eeuuuw!)
88. Had chicken pox (when Paula was 6 weeks old, not fun!)
89. Saved someone's life (we had a very nasty drowning incident with Impi..)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (well quite famous - the lead singer from Tree 63, very nice guy)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (oh yeah!)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day (often!)

***forgot to add that anyone who wishes to complete this meme is welcome to copy it and replace my answers with your own... just let me know so I can come read your list!

Taking a break

Just to let you know, I'm not going to be around much for the next few weeks. My girls are on holiday and we are going to be doing some serious bonding. So blogging will be taking a back seat until school goes back in the middle of January. I may pop in to say "Hi" every now and then if the spirit moves, but on the other hand I may not....

"Season" starts

On the lower south coast of KZN, there is a clear distinction between holidaymakers and locals. You're either "one of them" or you're "one of us". That's not to say we don't love the holidaymakers, we do.... (usually). Without the holidaymakers most of the businesses on the Lower South Coast (LSC) would fold altogether - so we love the holidaymakers because we have to love them; without them we wouldn't be here! BUT for a couple of weeks in December, I have to confess that I find the holidaymakers a little ..... hard to handle.

If you come to the LSC in November, you are bound to hear locals discussing "Season". You'll hear snatches of conversation along the lines of: "So, what do you think the Season is going to be like this year?", "Are you all ready for Season?", "Stocking up for Season, eh?" You might wonder what on earth they are talking about? Let me explain: the LSC relies mainly on tourism for it's existence. The holidaymakers that come here are largely South African, although there are some foreign tourists too. We have 3 main "seasons" - Easter, Winter (those who come to see the sardines) and the really bumper season - Christmas.

In the Christmas season, roughly 100 000 holidaymakers will descend on the LSC in a 3 week period from early December to round about the first week in January. You cannot imagine what 100 000 extra people travelling on our roads/visiting our beaches/shopping in our malls looks like unless you have actually seen it with your own eyes! Why anyone would want to come down here at this time of year and fight those crowds I truly do not understand! But fortunately people do, and they come back year after year.

This year should be particularly interesting as The Powers That Be have decided that the roadworks they started waaay too late in the year will now NOT be finished in time for the seasonal traffic jams......

If you live on the LSC you learn how to cope with season. This week I went to the library and took out a HUGE pile of books and had the librarian give me an extension - I only need to return the books at the end of January. We do loads of eating out in November because we won't be visiting our favourite restaurants again until January (well that's the theory, but we always end up going out a couple of times over season anyway) Some people do an enormous grocery shop, with the intention of not shopping at all during Season. I can't do that, I'm a mall rat. I live within spitting distance of two big malls and I have to shop or I get withdrawal symptoms. Quite honestly, I practically reside inside Woolworths! (closely related to the UK's Marks and Spencer) I cope with shopping in season by arriving at the mall as the shops open, when the holidaymakers are hopefully still sipping coffee in bed. The beaches are a complete no-go in season as far as I am concerned. Picture towel-to-towel crowds........hmmm I don't think so!! Traffic is the biggest problem - the whole area becomes gridlocked with streams of cars, it's hideous - we use the toll road if we have to go out of our immediate area and spend more time at home than we usually do.

Season is crazy, but we get through it and it is quite entertaining in a bizarre kind of way. In fact I make a point of going and sitting on the verandah at the Keg in Margate at least once in season, just to "people watch". I have a friend who goes and sits on one of the benches in Shelly Centre (yep, she's the crazy one you saw, just sitting there ;-) for the same purpose. You have to find some entertainment in the spectacle or you'd go quite mad!!


I just wanted to let you all know that I am still in the land of the living! Just a quick update:

We got some really great news on Friday - Impi has been made Deputy Head-Boy of Glenwood High School!!! We are so, so proud of him :-) Wow, I still get a thrill when I think of it :-)
My mom's funeral service went off very well on Thursday. Roxy and Impi did a reading, which I thought was very brave of them. Grant read the eulogy and considering how inarticulate Grant can be, I thought he did a really great job. (I'm going to post the eulogy at the end of this post, more as a record for my self, than because I think any of you would want to read it)

The visiting family all left yesterday morning. My Dad had been doing remarkably well, but I think it all hit him yesterday, when life more or less got back to normal - his "wheels completely came off" and he ended up sick in bed. It must be hard for him to take in, I mean he's not yet 60 and he's a widower, horrible! I am hoping he will find his feet in a day or two. I'm sure he will, he's a trooper.

School is winding down this week, the end of the school year happens on Friday. I can't wait for the girls to be on hols, even though I still have to work , it takes some of the pressure off. Right now I don't need any pressure!

Mom's Eulogy:

Lyn would have been so happy to see you all here today, because that’s what she loved –people and her friends. Lyn loved to cook fantastic meals and invite family and friends over for an evening of fun and fellowship. She so enjoyed entertaining and was never shy to try a new recipe, or to invite friends and strangers alike into her home for a meal.

I’m sure that many of you will remember the legendary “garage parties” she would throw in Greytown. She would pick a theme for a garage party and would then spend months, planning the d├ęcor and menu. She loved it and we all loved the end result! She was always the life and soul of a party.

Lyn was well-known for her wacky sense of humour. She was a great one for practical jokes. One story that is legendary in our family is of the night she phoned her sister, Pam, in Springs. Complete with authentic Afrikaans accent, she pretended to be a long-lost cousin of Ian’s and announced that she was out of work and coming to stay with Pam and Ian for an indefinite period of time, with numerous kids, dogs and mother-in-law in tow. Pam of course nearly had a heart attack on the spot, but being the lady that she was, she quietly agreed to this! Lyn managed to keep this joke going for a couple of hours, while Pam stewed about the crowd arriving the very next morning from Cape Town. When Lyn finally phoned Pam to confess, Pam actually cried and we have never established whether she was crying with laughter or relief!!! With Mom around there was never a dull moment!

As a family, we will remember Lyn for her love of birds, and other wildlife, and for her love of gardening and whale-spotting. In recent times, when her health has not been good, she has spent many happy hours sitting on her verandah, watching the birds feeding and keeping an eye out for passing whales.

We’ll no doubt also remember Lyn every time we walk past a shoe shop! She adored shoes, and she obviously had strong genes because unfortunately her grand-daughter Rox is also unable to walk past a shoe shop without going in!

The greatest sadness in Lyn’s life was the loss of her beloved son Craig. It was a turning point in her life. Family was so important to her. She adored her grandchildren and was so proud of them. She was particularly proud of Impi’s achievements on the sports field and would boast about him to anyone who would listen.

Politics was very important to Lyn and she was a great defender of her political views. She worked tirelessly in a number of political campaigns. For many years she was a proud member of the End Conscription Campaign and the Black Sash. She relished a good political argument.

There is no doubt about it, Lyn had a strong personality and was not afraid to voice her opinions, LOUDLY! Although this has at times made her quite “challenging” to live with, it has also on occasion given us a few laughs.

Earlier this year Lyn fell ill at home and became unconscious. Paramedics were called in to attend to her. On regaining consciousness she immediately demanded to know what the Statue of Liberty was doing in her bedroom! The Statue of Liberty was in fact Neil, standing at the end of the bed, holding the drip bag up!! Later on, in the ambulance, she demanded that they stop the vehicle immediately so that Gill could run inside and fetch her mascara as she was going nowhere without her face made up! Even when ill, Lyn was not a lady to be messed with.

In recent years Lyn became quite the homebody. She didn’t enjoy being away from home at all. Neil and Gill once spent a very uncomfortable day sitting in the casualty room of a local hospital while Mom refused to be admitted because she “wanted to go home” Having heard her say this once a minute, every minute for something like 6 hours, Neil and Gill were understandably ready to climb the walls!! On a recent holiday to Ballito, Mom again spent an awful lot of time telling Dad that she “wanted to go home”. Her heart was definitely in her home. We are enormously grateful that she passed away in the comfort of her own home.

Her failing health has been a source of immense frustration to her, and to the family, in the last couple of years. She hated being frail and unable to do all those things that she had been able to do in the past. Lyn was imprisoned by her failing body and mind. She was absolutely ready to go and “meet her Maker” She told us so, again and again. For that reason we are at peace today. We know that Lyn is where she wanted to be, reunited with her beloved son Craig, whom she missed so very much.

At this point I would like to thank Eunice for all the help she gave Nana in the last few months. Eunice has been completely devoted to Lyn and no task has been too great for her. She has been an enormous emotional support to all of us and to Gill especially and has seen us through some very dark times. Siyabonga Eunicie.

Gill and I would especially like to thank Dad for standing by mom when the chips have been down. No-one will ever know what Dad has been through in the last couple of years. Dad you are an example to us and we salute you.

As a family we would like to thank the many friends who have been there for Lyn and for us in the difficult times. We so appreciate the kindness you have shown to Lyn and the support you have given us.

Strange times indeed!

Tonight the family and friends start arriving from far and wide, for the funeral service tomorrow. I can't tell you how much I am dreading all of this...

But in amongst all the angst, there have been a few crazy-funny moments too, you know those moments when you feel a vague sense of hysteria rising and you just have to laugh?

Yesterday the lady from the funeral parlour faxed me a copy of the order of service thingy to look over. When I opened it I found that it had my mom's name in bold letters, with her date of birth and date of death underneath it - my mom was, for some reason, paranoid about people knowing her age. So I phoned the woman and explained that we do not under any circumstances want dates on this thing - this blew her mind altogether...."but we always put the dates on!" she says - I explained that in this particular case we are NOT putting dates. True as nuts she then asked me if it would be okay to still have the dates on the front cover then??? AAaaargh!

We arranged for funeral notices to go in a couple of newspapers - the Mercury and the Natal Witness. This morning they appeared, the Mercury was fine, the Natal Witness had: "Lyn Read, loving wife to Neil, mother to Gill and the late Grant"!!!! It should have read "Gill and Grant and the late Craig"!! So it would appear that I am sleeping with a dead person... .

To top it all, having had the shock of learning that my husband is "late" over my breakfast, I brushed my teeth with the "now-deceased Grant's" toothbrush!! I was in such a daze, I brushed my teeth and then realised I had used Grant's toothbrush head..... EEEuuuuW....

Wish me luck at the service tomorrow people, so not looking forward to that.... I won't be on-line for a couple of days - but will be around again on Monday. Oh flip, my aunt who is at Cape Town airport, waiting for her flight to durban has just phoned to say they have evacuated the airport building!!! I wonder what's up??


Thank you all so much for the lovely messages you left on my last post. I really, really appreciate your kindness. We are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. I am busy writing a bit of a eulogy which Grant is going to read at the service on Thursday - that's been quite a challenge for me.

We've been spending a lot of time with my dad and just generally supporting each other through all of this. We've (well actually they've) cried a bit - I am still alarmingly tear-free - and believe it or not, we've also laughed a bit at crazy memories of my mom who was a real character.

I am a little bit worried about Rox. At first she let it all out, cried a lot and I thought she was fine, but then she went all quiet - very unlike Rox, maybe it is just her way of dealing with it. Had I not read her blog, I wouldn't have realised quite what a struggle she was finding all of this. So I will be keeping an eye on her in the next couple of days.

I wish I could cry

At 7pm last night my mom passed away. She died at home, peacefully.

Although she had been on a downward spiral for some time now, her death was still quite unexpected really. She had only been sick in bed for one day. We are thankful that, at the end, my Dad, Grant, Rox, Eunice and I were there. At the moment my head is buzzing with all sorts of things and my emotions are all over the place.

I wish I could cry, I wish I could sit down and sob out all of the frustrations and pain of the last couple of years. Unfortunately I think that grieving demands a certain purity of emotion. Maybe with time, when I have worked through all my conflicting emotions, I will come to a point where I can truly grieve and feel some release. It's just going to take a little time.

Friday Fill-Ins

Friday Fill-ins
1. The last band I saw live was Watershed.
2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving Christmas is the food!!
3. My Christmas shopping is slowly, but surely, getting off the ground.
4. Thoughts of work-related issues fill my head.
5. I wish I could wear the cute kind of clothes that my big butt looks stupid in.
6. Bagpipes have their place, but I'm not overly crazy about them.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going to Paula's Grade 7 farewell (sob, sob, my baby is going to High school!), tomorrow my plans include the usual Saturday stuff - shopping, reading, rugby.... and Sunday, I want to relax, have fun!

I don't get it!

You may have noticed that I have “taken against” a number of things recently. I am very anti flying ants, I am very anti snakes…. But what you don’t know is that I am very anti a whole lot of other things too.

I am anti mornings: I am not pretty, I am not a morning person, combine those two and you have me standing in the kitchen at 6:15am with my bed-head look going on, in my nightie and stokies, making sandwiches. It’s downright scary and to think that that’s the first thing my kids see of a morning – how scarring, how potentially damaging. I hate mornings.

I am anti my cat: This is a biggie. Considering I am not pretty and I’m quite fat, and I have a butt the size of a small continent, it follows that I have low self-esteem. My dog helps with that. My cat doesn’t. Zip has taken against me. I call him, he ignores me; I scratch his favourite spot just above his tail, he shows me his bottom and walks away; I pick him up to cuddle him and he writhes about, jumps down and looks at me with a look that clearly says “Geez, woman!” I think the fact that I took him to have his little ballies cut off has something to do with this shift in affections. Stupid cat!

I am anti men: Men don’t have periods, men don’t go through menopause, men don’t suffer with vaginal thrush….. I HATE men!

I am anti that song by The Script:The Man Who Can’t Be Moved”. It has got to be the MOST annoying, MOST stupid, MOST continuously played song of all time. Have you actually listened to the lyrics?? WTF? The guy is clearly in need of mental help!
Conversation between Paula and me about this ridiculous song:
Me: Is this not the most ridiculous song you have ever heard?
Paula: I LOVE this song, it’s my favourite song
Me: What??? It’s daft!
Paula: It’s SO romantic, he’s so in love and he has lost his girl.
Me: Hello! Has the guy never heard of facebook???
Paula: Mom!
Me: I’m serious. He needs therapy!
Paula: You just don’t get it do you?

Nope, I just don’t get it. I don’t get any of this stuff!!

It’s the season to be sexy!

I hate snakes. I don't just hate them, I really hate them. I’ve always found them creepy and awful, but last Autumn I had a close encounter with a snake that has left me freaking out at the mere sight of them. It’s a standing joke in our family that every snake I see is either a green mamba (they’re the green ones, duh!) or a black mamba (they’re the ones that are any colour other than green!)

Last Autumn the girls and I were faffing around in the garden, moving rocks from one spot to another, when suddenly I realised that the rock I was about to pick up was in fact a snake's “waist”. At this point I was very brave, I totally freaked out and flipped my lid and very nearly wet my pants.

Simon came charging around the corner to see what was going on and, after he had got over his alarm at my rather disturbing display of braveness, he too began to freak out. Once he had calmed down somewhat, he positively identified the snake as a Black Mamba. I don’t know how much Simon knows about snakes, but in this case I think he was 100% spot on. And anyway, even if it wasn’t a black mamba, I know for a fact it was a Very Deadly Snake. I know this because of the magnitude of my reaction to it (puhleez, I would never carry on like that over some common little house snake or something!) and because it had evil eyes and a very sticky-outie tongue.

By the end of the afternoon the Very Deadly Snake was a Very Dead Snake. Before all the snake lovers out there come and flame me, let me just add that my intention was never to stone the beast (yeah, right!), but unfortunately by the time I had finished explaining to Simon that we should phone the very nice man from the snake park to come and relocate said snakey, Simon had finished beating the snakes brains out with a rock. And a spade. And a big stick. Oops, sorry snakey…

So after that incident my “ funny little snake phobia” became a full-blown Snake Phobia of astounding proportions. (It’s very sad, and a little ironic, that a person that feels this way about these cold-hearted, evil-eyed reptiles should live in what is without a doubt the most densely populated snake kingdom known to man. I think nearly every snake in the whole of South Africa inhabits my back yard.)

So you can imagine how chuffed I was to idly look out of Rox’s bedroom window yesterday to see not one but TWO large “green mambas” and they weren’t just lying about taking in some sun…, they were MATING. Good grief!!! It was quite, quite bizarre – they were all wound up in each other giving me a defiant look as if to say “so what you going to do about it lady??” Sis man!! (If you are *that way inclined* nudge, nudge, wink, wink and want to see some snakey action yourself pop over to this link - seriously though, it's quite fascinating!)

What is up with the animals in my neighbourhood? First I have copulating flying ants on my floors and now mating flipping mambas on my window sills!!

I tell you Africa is becoming way to WILD for me!!

Cremora Tart

A couple of weeks ago my friend Gerda and her husband came for dinner and Gerda brought this deeeeelicious tart for pud! When I say delicious, I mean delicious, this is SO my kind of dessert.... I begged the recipe off Gerda and made the tart for our office weekend away, where it went down extremely well (you know a recipe is good when everyone asks you for it!)

The tart is sweet, but with a slightly lemony flavour; reminiscent of cheesecake but with the most gorgeous silky texture. It is NOT diet food and if you are looking for a quick hit of cholestrol to the veins, then this is your "go to recipe" for sure ;-) but in my opinion, it is SO worth it!

Biscuit base: 100g melted butter, approximately 2/3 pkt Tennis biscuits. Crush the biscuits finely (pop them in the blender), add the melted butter and mix well. Press into a greased pie dish and refrigerate until required.

1 cups of dry Cremora (coffee creamer)
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tin of condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice

Mix the Cremora and the boiling water in a small mixing bowl until no lumps are left. Refrigerate until cold. Beat condensed milk in a large mixing bowl with an electric beater. Add the cold Cremora mixture in a steady stream, beating continuously. Continue beating and add the lemon juice in a steady stream. The mixture will thicken. When it is well blended pour onto the biscuit base and smooth the top. At this point you can freeze the tart until needed. Defrost in the fridge overnight before serving. If you don’t need to freeze the tart – refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before serving.

Frigging flying ants!

I have declared war on flying ants in a BIG way! For the last couple of nights we have had swarms of these flipping flying ants suddenly appearing. It always happens that we have left the sliding door open and these %*@# creatures (I am being remarkably restrained here, you don't want to hear me in real life, believe me!) are in the house swarming all over the place before we can get the doors shut.

They drive me insane! I become completely slightly deranged at that sight of them. So they're harmless.... I don't care, they drive me nuts. Everywhere I look there are these little brown beasts, flapping their wings, and then dropping them all over my floors and furniture and, just to push me completely over the edge, they then begin copulating all over the place. It's disgusting, it's annoying and I can't handle it!!

The cherry on top? Last night I stepped on a couple of them in flagrante delicto in my bare feet, while walking to the loo. War has been declared!

Friday Fill-Ins

Friday Fill-ins
1. Please feel free to leave a comment.

2. When I bake, if I'm using vanilla I can't help sniffing it occasionally.

3. My favorite thing to cook is cannelloni.

4. Chocolate is something I can't get enough of.

5. That's the thing I love most about my husband, he accepts me for who I am.

6. Judgemental Christians always make me think to myself, what the heck?

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to chilling, tomorrow my plans include a little shopping, a lot of reading and some rugby watching too and Sunday, I want to tidy my linen cupboard!

For more Friday Fill-in participants, click on the button above.

Isn't it ironic?

Would you believe it, after my gushy, warm-fuzzy post about Rox yesterday, we had a *huge* fight yesterday afternoon!! LOL, the joys of having a peri-menopausal woman and a teenager under one roof.....

The strange thing is that even when we are fighting, this girl knows exactly which buttons to push and how to get to me.

Two things you need to know at this point: I don't play nice when I fight. I am inclined to go off pop, shout and create and then I retreat in a huff and I....sulk. Now honestly, there can be nothing less attractive than a big, fat, forty-year old sulking like a teenager. Not pretty, not clever! And Rox is the most unconfrontational person on the planet, she hates to fight - also not a good thing and also not particularly clever.

So yesterday I did the shouting thing and then I was in my bedroom doing the Ugly Sulk when Rox came in to tell me she was going to gym.

Rox: I'm going to gym now mom
Me: okay (said with a suitably mournful tone)
Rox: I love you
Me: love you too (said in a completely unemotional voice, without raising my eyes from my book)
Rox walks out and then turns around and comes back in
Rox: You can't let me get in that car and drive off without saying "I love you" properly, like you mean it, imagine if I get killed in a car accident!

Ouch! Eina! Pain! Round One to Rox
So I gave her the "Because I am cross with you, it does not mean I don't love you" talk and told her I loved her in a meaningful way

Later on we were on our way out for supper. I am still doing my No Speak thing (I know, I am actually so ashamed of myself!)

Rox: Guess who I was just chatting with on Facebook?
Paula: Who?
Rox: (Insert name of cute guy X here)

Bingo! Round Two to Rox, Game Over!

Rox knows full well that there is nothing more entertaining to me than details of her romances and flirtations...... it's like the most addictive soap opera. I managed to contain my curiosity all the way to the restaurant and then gave up and we launched into the full "he said, she said" thing. Don't tell her I told you, but she's meeting him for coffee ....yay!

Only in my house...

Only in my house would you find a conversation that goes like this:

Paula: Mommmmm!!!! (shouted from the bedroom with a distinct note of hysteria)

Me: What's the matter love?

Paula: Oh, don't worry, it's just the sex toy***, I thought it was a snake!

Me: Well that's a relief!

***You have to go to the link if you want to "get" this post!

It's a Rox thing!

On Monday Rox wrote her last UNISA exam for the year, so she had the day off work. Her exam only began at 2pm, so we decided to play hookey in the morning. Our reasoning was that if she were to try to study at that late stage she would only be overcome with nerves, so the best thing for it would be some retail therapy! I took a days leave and Rox and I headed for the shops bright and early. We had such a lovely morning! We browsed the malls, bought Rox some shoes and a couple of tops, thought a bit about Christmas gifts and spent a loooong time over a couple of cappuccinos. Bliss! Wow, I'm a lucky mom to have a girl like this in my life.

Paula and I are very much alike, we are homebodies and left to our own devices will hole up at home with a pile of books and only emerge, like moles from our holes, when we absolutely have to stock up on basic necessities! The time I spend with Paula is restful, we understand each other and enjoy doing the same things (that would be reading!) side by side - no stress, no fuss. It's wonderful, but I think we both need a hefty dose of Grant and Rox in our lives to get us moving!

Rox continually challenges me, she forces me to get out there and do things! She is a bit of a bully actually, but in the nicest possible way. She's not afraid to say (with rolling eyes) "Come ON woman, get dressed and look snappy we are going out now! No arguments!"

With Rox around there is always action, never a dull moment. She is always on the go; baking, shopping, swimming, gyming, cooking, talking.... She loves chatting over coffee and we can talk endlessly about nothing in particular. She's bubbly and she is hysterically funny in her very unique way! Rox is the fizz in my life, without her life would be very, very flat indeed!

Goodbye Mama Afrika 1932-2008

The Real Mom Meme

I was tagged by Angel..... for the Real Mom meme:

Copy this list to your blog- leaving all links intact- and add in who tagged you.

Add your ‘real mom’ contribution to the list, linking it to a post you wrote about being a real mom, obviously.

Then tag as many moms as you can and go out and meme-ify the blogosphere! (Or don't, it's entirely up to you...)

1. Real Moms don’t flinch when they talk about boobs. They do make you laugh your brains out.
2. Real moms go on vacation and learn to play traffic cop
3. Real moms brag about their kids
4. Real moms do not mince words when they present the truth
5. Real moms juggle
6. Real moms “resist the guilt and embrace the journey”
7. Real moms don’t give a damn to media generated Mommy Wars
8. Real moms have kids with potty mouths
9. Real moms know that real life is not like TV sitcoms
10. Real moms aren't afraid to dish the dirt on motherhood

And I am going to tag the following moms:
My Name is Mommy
The Jackson Files

Friday Fill-Ins

Friday Fill-ins

1. My blueprint for success includes routine – I’m like a baby, if I am to succeed I NEED routine.
2. Dark chocolate was the last candy I ate.

3. The best facial moisturizer I've ever used is Estee Lauder, love the stuff, but can no longer afford it (sob, sob).

4. Blogging can be good therapy.

5. I'd like to tell you about all sorts of things that go on in my daughters' lives, but I have to hold myself back for fear of upsetting them - it's very frustrating you know!!

6. Loyalty is my strongest characteristic.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going to a show that my friend’s daughter is in, tomorrow my plans include watching the rugby (SA vs Wales) yay! and Sunday, I want to tidy my bookcase (exciting eh!)

What was Top of the Pops the day you were born?

The No.1 song on the day I was born was.......

....... "Hello Goodbye" by the Beatles!

Want to find out what was No. 1 on the day you were born?

Go to Flashback Charts - and then drop me a comment and let me know what was playing on the day of your birth :-)

Books, books and more books

You may remember that a while back I posted about the Big Book List (the original post is here) and committed myself to reading some decent literature? I thought I'd update you on my progress.

The list of books I planned on reading was:

The Color Purple - Alice Walker
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C S Lewis
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Middlemarch - George Eliot
Emma - Jane Austen
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

The ones I have crossed off are the ones I have now read. I have enjoyed all of the books so far, but if I had to choose a favourite it would be "The Kite Runner" - wow, what an incredible book!

I'm currently 1/2 way through "Sense and Sensibility" and next on my list is "Prayer for Owen Meany"

It's quite slow going as I have to read a bit of fluff inbetween too, just for fun, but I'm thoroughly enjoying this little exercise.

Away for the weekend

This weekend is our annual staff weekend away, we're going to a timeshare place in the hills somewhere. Families are included, and the idea is to mingle and let our hair down. Being the introverted soul that I am, this type of thing is not my cup of tea at all. No doubt I will come home thinking that it really wasn't so bad after all and I should honestly make an effort to socialise more often.... I always do that - and then spend the next 12 months dreading the next one! (I admit that I am seriously weird and probably in need of psychological help!!)

I have missed the event for the last two years because of the small matter of kids writing exams (that's my story and I'm sticking with it!). Only people without school-going children would organise to head out of town during exam time, every year without fail! This time round I was given strict instructions that I would be at the getaway "or else!" And we have no exams going on in our household until 10 Nov. Paula is bringing a cart-load of studying with her and is probably going to hole-up in her room for the duration. Rox, in typical Rox fashion, is pretending that exams don't exist and she is out to extract as much fun from the weekend as she possibly can! Guess who has more of my genes?

So that's what we are doing this weekend. I'll be seeing ya'll on Monday!

Lost in translation......

I haven't mentioned Eunice on my blog much, although I did post about her briefly in this post. Eunice is Impi's mother. My relationship with Eunice defies description. She is part mother, part older sister, part friend. In every way that matters, I am closer to Eunice than I am to my actual mother. We love each other deeply and care for each other in so many ways, big and small. I know that Eunicie prays for me and my family every single day, without fail, and I carry that knowledge in my heart always. She is just the most wonderful, wise, gracious lady.

It's such a strange set-up because although Eunice and I are as close (in some cases closer!) as family, I am also her employer 2 days a week, but we don't let this get in the way of our friendship ;-)

What's even stranger is that neither Eunice nor I are fluent in each others language. Far from it. We get by by talking this sort of pidgin Zulu that I am quite fluent in! 9 times out of 10 we do just fine, we can talk, joke, gossip and commiserate quite comfortably in a language that just about nobody else understands!

But sometimes, like today, our language lets us down. A short while ago Eunice came to tell me a little tip that she had picked up from a friend - I know this now, but at the time I had no idea what she was telling me! She said what I understood to be "you must get some shock for your cupboards" Huh?? I asked her to repeat herself and she said it again. I confessed that I was lost. And so it continued. It ended up with us laughing rather hysterically, me miming a person getting an electric shock and Eunice moving her hand all over the wall..... Finally the penny dropped!!! Chalk, she was talking about chalk!

Apparently if you put a couple of sticks of chalk in your cupboard it removes any damp that may be lurking in there.

3 about me...

I received this meme as an email but thought I'd post it here instead:

Three jobs I have had:
  1. political campaign secretary
  2. bank clerk
  3. bookkeeper

Three places I have lived:

  1. Greytown
  2. Underberg
  3. Shelly Beach

Three shows that I watch:

  1. Army wives
  2. Survivor
  3. Grey's anatomy (can't wait for it to come back...)

Three places I have been:

  1. England
  2. Paris
  3. Scotland

Three of my favourite foods:

  1. Italian
  2. Seafood
  3. Chinese

Three places I'd rather be right now:

  1. Sun City
  2. Europe
  3. Cape Town

Three things I am looking forward to this year:

  1. The end of the school year (6 weeks to go.....)
  2. Closing the office for the Christmas break (no work for 2 weeks, yay!)
  3. Doing things together as a family over Christmas

Diet doldrums

I have been on diet for nearly 3 weeks.

In the first week I lost 2 kgs - one kilo off each breast ;-)

And since then? NOTHING-NIKS-NADA-ZERO!!

I am really fed up with this whole thing and on the verge of packing it all in and going on a binge session of note. Think......fruit chutney chips, chocolate, Mozart's ice-cream...super caramel flavour, toasted cheese sarmies.......

The thing is I can't - I am beginning to look like Barney (minus the *happy* face and the purple hue).

So, please people, talk to the weight-loss gods and arrange for a couple more kilos to fall off, pleeez, preferably off my rump this time okay!

Personal Needs Analysis tag

I was tagged for this meme by Tamara. It's a really fun one! If I've mentioned you, you are tagged! (BTW I chose the least offensive alternatives here LOL)

Simone needs: to understand that she has great ideas, she just needs to work on

Caz needs: to draw on the best of both worlds

Mel needs: to handle the sales end while some one else runs the company

Lucy needs: a haircut (considering Lucy is a hairstylist I find that hard to believe...)

Linda needs: a new best friend

(If I've tagged you, all you need to do is Google the name of the 5 bloggers you are tagging with the word "needs" attached and see what comes up)

Labels....they aren't good

It’s strange, I am not particularly keen on labeling people or pigeon-holing them and yet I have done it with my own daughters. I think in our family it was inevitable because my girls are so unalike. Paula is “the reader”, she’s “the academic one”, she’s “dreamy”; on the other hand Rox is “bubbly”, “adventurous”, “outdoorsy” and very “blonde”. (You might think it is strange that a girl who is clearly a brunette is labeled “blonde” – but trust me; think of any blonde joke you have ever heard…..and you could substitute Rox’s name for the blonde!! She isn’t by any means stupid, but she comes out with some really ‘doff’ things and frequently speaks without engaging her brain first!)

I have always felt that our labels are quite accurate, but boy was I in for a surprise while we were in the berg.

Paula is my dreamy, book-loving, laid-back daughter. She’s a real softie. So you can imagine our surprise when one morning she got up and said she wanted to go mountain-boarding! Mountain boarding is very much a “Rox-type” thing to do, definitely not a “Paula” sort of activity at all. But this girl was determined that she was going mountain-boarding. So off we went. I had no doubt that Paula would take one tumble and decide that mountain-boarding was not for her.

We got there, got her kitted out and she had some lessons on the small ramp. After 2 or 3 tries she decided it was time to head for the adult ramp….

Oh my word, I would never have dreamed that she would even consider it! Up she went, at which point I had to turn away! She fell really hard on her first try and I assumed that at that point she would call it a day. No such luck, up she went again….and again…..and again. The once she winded herself and she had tears in her eyes, but up she went again. I could not believe it! Unfortunately she never made it down without falling and eventually we told her she had to stop as she was going to end up black and blue. She was really sad that she hadn’t mastered the thing, but was quite proud of her bruises.

I have always known that Paulz has a stubborn streak – it’s hard to miss! But I never for one moment expected her to have such guts and determination. I am guilty of under-estimating my own child.

This little episode really brought home to me the fact that labels can be very limiting. Because I don’t expect Paula to do outdoorsy things like her sister, perhaps I am giving her the impression that she shouldn’t do these things. I truly hope that’s not the case!

I couldn't have said it better myself....

Which cartoon character are you?

I found this at Lulu's Petals.

I'm Charlie Brown!!

The Quiz:

1. Which one of the following describes the perfect date?
a) Candlelight dinner (4 pts.)
b) Fun/Theme Park (2 pts.)
c) Painting in the park (5 pts)
d) Rock concert (1 pt.)
e) Going to the movies (3 pts.)

2. What is your favorite type of music?
a) Rock and Roll (2 pts.)
b) Alternative (1 pt.)
c) Soft Rock (4 pts.)
d) Country (5 pts )
e) Pop (3 pts.)

3. What type of movies do you prefer?
a) Comedy (2 pts.)
b) Horror (1 pt.)
c) Musical (3 pts.)
d) Romance (4 pts.)
e) Documentary (5 pts.)

4. Which one of these occupations would you choose if you only could choose one of these?
a) Waiter (4 pts.)
b) Professional Sports Player (5 pts.)
c) Teacher (3 pts.)
d) Police (2 pts.)
e) Cashier (1 pt)

5. What do you do with your spare time?
a) Exercise (5 pts.)
b) Read (4 pts.)
c) Watch television (2 pts.)
d) Listen to music (1 pt.)
e) Sleep (3 pts.)

6. Which one of the following colors do you like best?
a) Yellow (1 pt.)
b) White (5 pts.)
c) Sky Blue (3 pts)
d) Dark Blue(2 pts.)
e) Red (4 pts.)

7. What do you prefer to eat?
a) Snow (3 pts.)
b) Pizza (2 pts.)
c) Sushi (1 pt.)
d) Pasta (4 pts.)
e) Salad (5 pts.)

8. What is your favorite holiday ?
a) Halloween(1 pt.)
b) Christmas(3 pts..)
c) New Year (2 pts.)
d) Valentine's Day(4 pts.)
e) Thanksgiving(5 pts.)

9. If you could go to one of these places which one would it be?
a) Paris (4 pts)
b) Spain (5 pts)
c) Las Vegas (1 pt)
d) Hawaii (4 pts)
e) Hollywood (3 pts)

10. With which of the following would you prefer to spend time with?
a) Someone Smart (5 pts.)
b) Someone attractive (2 pts.)
c) Someone who likes to Party (1 pt.)
d) Someone who always has fun (3 pts.)
e) Someone very sentimental (4 pts.)

The Answers:

(10-16 points) You are Garfield :You are very comfortable, easy going, and you definitely know how to have fun but sometimes you take it to an extreme. You always know what you are doing and you are always in control of your life. Others may not see things as you do, but that doesn't mean that you always have to do what is right. Try to remember, your happy spirit may hurt you or others.

(17-23 points) You are Snoopy:You are fun; you are very cool and popular. You always know what's in and you ' re never out of style , you are good at knowing how to satisfy everyone else. You have probably disappeared for a few days more than once but you always come home with the family values that you learned Being married and having children are important to you, but only after you have had your share of fun times

(24-28 points) You are Elmo:You have lots of friends and you are also popular, always willing to give advice and help out a person in need. You are very optimistic and you always see the bright side of things. Some good advice:try not to be too much of a dreamer. Dreaming too big could cause many conflicts in your life.

(29-35 points) You are Sponge Bob Square Pants. You are the classic person that everyone loves. You are the best friend that anyone could ever have and never wants to lose. You never cause harm to anyone and they would never not understand your feelings. Life is a journey, it's funny and calm for the most part Stay away from traitors and jealous people and you will be stress free.
(36-43 points) You are Charlie Brown:You are tender, you fall in love quickly but you are also very serious about all relationships. You are a family person. You call your Mom every Sunday. You have many friends and may occasionally forget a few Birthdays. Don't let your passion confuse you with reality.

(44-50 points ) You are Dexter:You are smart and definitely a thinker... Every situation is fronted with a plan. You have a brilliant mind. You demonstrate very strong family principles. You maintain a stable routine but never ignore a bad situation when it comes. Try to do less over thinking every once in a while to spice things up a bit with spontaneity!

So which cartoon character are YOU?

I'm nosey

I come from a family in which noses are a "big thing" - literally! Many of us are blessed (cursed more like it!) with what has become known as "The Tucker nose", thanks to one of our Tucker ancestors who had incredibly strong genes and an unfortunately protuding nose! Thanks to those self-same genes, I am one of the "blessed". Tucker noses are long, pointy affairs - some like to think they are aristocratic, I think they are plain ugly. At the birth of both of my daughters, one of the first things I looked for was the "Tucker nose", but thanks to their Dad's equally strong genes, neither of them are going to have to walk through life preceeded by the nose.

What Your Nose Says About You

It's likely that you'll be lucky with money, though this luck may come later in life.

You tend to be stubborn. You don't take other people's opinions seriously.

You are helpful and giving. You like cooperating, and you're always willing to lend a hand.

You are a realist. You aren't much of an optimist or a pessimist.

My hubby

So often this blog seems to focus on the girls and me, and poor old Grant gets sadly neglected. I saw this meme on Addie's blog and again on The Nocturnal Wench and knew I had to do it. So today, finally, Grant gets his day in the spotlight!

1. Who is your man? His name is Grant. To the girls he's Dad or "Annie" (don't ask!!) He's a really tough looking guy but, truth be told, he's a softie at heart (just don't tell his mountain-biking buddies, they'd never believe you ;-)

2. How long have you been together? Since 16 February 1985. 23 years

3. How long did you date before you got married? 4 years

4. How old is your man? 40 (I am 3 months older than my toy-boy)

5. Who eats more? Grant. Hey, he's a big man!

6. Who said “I love you” first? I really can’t remember (woops!)

7. Who is taller? He is, not difficult, I'm a short sh#t

8. Who sings better? He won’t admit it, but he really has a lovely voice (again, don't tell his MTB buddies, bad for the image you know!). I like to sing more, but he sings better.

9. Who is smarter? Academically, probably me, but in every other way Grant is.

10. Whose temper is worse? Mine, definitely!

11. Who does the laundry? It’s a joint effort, he puts it in the machine, I hang it out, we both iron

12. Who takes out the garbage? Usually Grant, but sometimes I do.

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Depends which way you look at the bed doesn’t it? No matter where we go, Grant sleeps nearest the door, so that he can fight the boogeymen, I take my chances with the guys coming in the windows ;-)

14. Who pays the bills? Me. Grant is not good with finances!

15. Who is better with the computer? I’m better at some things, he’s better at others. If it's Excel, he's the go-to man.

16. Who mows the lawn? Simon

17. Who cooks dinner? We complement each other beautifully in the kitchen. We generally cook together, it’s a lot of fun.

18. Who drives when you are together? Always Grant. I feel nervous and intimidated when I drive him.

19. Who pays when you go out? Usually Grant

20. Who is the most stubborn? Grant without a doubt

21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Neither of us ;-)

22. Whose parents do you see most? We see mine almost daily, but it’s usually just in passing, we spend more concentrated time with his.

23. Who kissed who first? If I remember correctly, I kissed him. He was very backward in coming forward those days…..

24. Who asked who out? He asked me out, I can still remember it quite distinctly and I still get a funny feeling in my tummy when I think about it.

25. Who proposed? We came to a joint decision. There was no “getting down on bended knee” or anything like that. It was quite, quite unromantic!

26. Who is most sensitive? Definitely me.

27. Who has the most friends? Definitely Grant, I don't do the social thang.

28. Who has more siblings? Grant, he has a brother and a sister; since my brother died I don't have any siblings

29. Who wears the pants in the family? Grant hasn't figured this out yet, but I think it might just be me!

30. How did you meet? We were in the same class from the age of 11 and I thought he was quite the most revolting specimen of humanity! Until one night, at a Valentine’s party at a friend’s house, when we were 17. I had, had a couple of glasses of champagne (I know, under-age drinking….shocking!) and I don’t know whether that was why, but he suddenly looked quite…..delicious, and why on earth had I never noticed his cuuuuute butt before? Suddenly I was seeing him with completely different eyes, we’ve been together ever since..…

Blog Action Day 2008

Today is Blog Action Day and this year’s theme is Poverty.

With talk of a global recession, the rand reaching record lows and the interest rate sitting at a level that has made our bond repayments go through the roof, poverty is feeling rather close to home at the moment. And penny pinching doesn’t come easily to me, I have to confess.

So I’ve been feeling rather sorry for myself of late because, facts are facts, and we are having to cut back a little. This means we have to think twice before eating out (one of my favourite past-times) and I’ve had to determinedly walk past the clothing department of my favourite store as I know that a “quick browse” is always going to turn into “a bit of a splurge”. It sucks people!

But driving through the rural area close to where I live all of this is put very clearly into perspective for me. The people living in that area are living in poverty. The kind of poverty that means they don't have a proper roof over their heads, the kind of poverty that means their kids don't have decent clothes, the kind of poverty that means hungry tummies at night.
The cutting back that I am dealing with is SO not poverty! We have warm cosy beds to sleep in, we have more than enough to eat, we have cell phones, computers, TVs and a DVD player, we have hobbies that cost money and we don’t think twice about spending money on our health and well being. In short, we are living in the land of milk and honey!
The people in that rural area are living in makeshift shacks, they do not have the very basic necessities. Talk about humbling!

According to the Department of Public Works, seventy per cent of black South African children under 16 are classified as living in a state of poverty and undernourishment. Many children have lost both parents (often as a result of the AIDS epidemic) with the oldest children left to care for themselves and their siblings. They are frequently forced to drop out of school, reducing their chances of getting decent employment, and further reducing the chances of the household being able to move out of poverty.

It’s a vicious circle. So what is the answer? Frankly, I have no idea. But I really do believe that if each one of us did something small in our own lives to make a difference in the lives of those who are facing grinding poverty we could have a positive effect, albeit a small one.

Nelson Mandela said “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

A couple of sites worth a visit: Greater Good SA and fellow blogger Mel’s Bosom Buddies

Exam time!

Rox is writing her first UNISA exam this morning and my stomach is in a knot, I am running to the loo every 5 mins and if I was a nail-biter I would no doubt have chewed off all my nails by now. Why? Why is it that I am completely unable to disassociate myself from what goes on in my daughters' lives? For goodness' sake, she's a grown girl. If I'm like this now can you imagine the state I will be in when she has a baby oneday?
By the way, I have no internet access at home at the moment, for some inexplicable reason our ADSL line is non-functioning. So if I haven't been around your blog in the last couple of days that's the reason why! I am going to try to contact my service provider this afternoon and find out what's going on.

Blogging mojo M.I.A

You may have noticed that my blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground this week? I hate to admit it, but since I got back from our week away my blogging mojo is just gone.

Holidays are supposed to recharge my batteries, but instead, ungrateful wench that I am, all they seem to do is leave me wanting more holiday. I have spent the entire week sitting here at my desk, grumbling under my breath at the cruel injustice of my having to be here at all! I know, I'm a spoilt brat!

I'm hoping that by Monday I will have reconciled myself to the fact that every weekday for the next 10 weeks (yes, I counted!) my lazy ass will be sitting behind this desk, like it or not. Maybe once I have reached that stage of acceptance my blogging mojo will return

5 Ways Blogging has affected me

The rules:
1. Write about 5 specific ways blogging has affected you either positively or negatively
2. link back to the person who tagged you : Thanks Lucy
3. link back to this parent post: (the parent post link has, unfortunately, been lost along the way….)
4.tag a few friends or five, or none at all
5. post these rules— or just have fun breaking them!

Lucy and I seem to be 2 peas in a pod, I could copy her response to this tag, word for word, and it would all be true – but I’m going to try to be a little more original than that and post my own response!

1. Blogging has given me an outlet for all those thoughts, ideas and rants that mill around inside my head. Sometimes when something has really got me uptight and rattled I can let it all out in a blog post and feel an enormous sense of relief, other times it feels good simply to share something, but either way, it’s nice to have a place to record what’s happening in my life, the good, the bad and the ugly.

2. I have met some really, really nice people through blogging. This came as such a pleasant surprise as I didn’t get into blogging for the purpose of meeting people – it has been a wonderful, unexpected by-product of the process.

3. Blogging has given me a sense of accomplishment. I am inordinately proud of my little blog. I still get quite a thrill when I look at it and think “Wow, I created that and I did it all by myself” (with some help from angels like Sanni of course!)

4. Blogging gives me “Me Time”. It’s something I do just for me, and it gives me a break from all the other responsibilities that crowd my life. The family knows better than to bug me when I am blogging!

5. On the negative side, blogging gives me an excuse to sit on my fat rump in front of the computer. I SO don’t need another excuse to just park off! When I should be doing a myriad of other things, such as exercising, tidying cupboards, gardening…… I can be found blogging – which probably accounts for the cartload of weight I have gained this year!

I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you are keen to do this one please leave me a comment!

The Name Game

I found this at Trish's blog and had to steal it, 'cause this type of blog post is all that I am capable of right now!

1.Your rock star name (first pet, current car)
Silky Run-X

2.Your gangsta name (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe)
Rum 'n Raisin Thong

3.Your Native American name (favorite color, favorite animal)
Grape Dog

4.Your soap opera name (middle name, city where you were born)
Donna Nigel (well I wouldn't call it a city as such...LOL!)

5.Your Star Wars name (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 of your first name)

6.Superhero name (2nd favorite color, favorite drink)
Blue Hunters

7.NASCAR name (the first names of your grandfathers)
Burton Stanley

8.Dancer name (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy)
Eau Dynamisante Jelly Tot (Bwahahaha!)

9.TV weather anchor name (your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Fox Frankfurt

10.Spy name (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Autumn Rose

11.Cartoon name:(favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now)
Mandarin Trackpants

12.Hippie name (what you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Oats Oak

13.Movie star name (first pet, first street where you lived)
Silky Tyrell

A couple of photos from our holiday

Hi Honeys, I'm home!

Just wanted to pop in and say "Hi". We had a very relaxing, peaceful holiday in the berg, but it was way too short - could definitely have done with another week or two. At the moment I am playing catch up, but I will be back soon with a couple of photos.

Interview with Paula

**As Paula was kind enough to do this interview for me, I am keeping this post on top for a couple of days, for newer posts please scroll down**

You might remember that, quite some time ago, I got the wonderful idea of doing interviews with my kids, from Marsha who blogs at Just Some Thoughts. I did an interview with Rox, and one with Impi and today it is my youngest daughter Paula's turn:

1. What is your full name and age?
Paula Hope Richardson and I’m 13 years old

2. List a few things that make you happy:
Being with friends and family, reading, taking photos and cleaning my room.

3. Are you proud to be South African and do you like living in South Africa?
ABSOULTELY!!!!!!!! Our country is going through a hard time, but I wouldn’t live any where else.

4. How do you feel about being the “baby” in our family?
It sucks that I missed meeting and getting to know Craig (my uncle), Aunty Pam (my great aunt) and Gan-gan (my great gran) and I don’t remember stuff you guys and Rox talk about, but I do get spoilt and I like Rox driving me around.

5. Tell me about some of the things that you find difficult to deal with as a teenager:
Parents! hahahaha just jokes : D !!

Boys are always soooooo rude, unpredictable and just plain irritating, adults immediately think all teenagers are up to no good and everyday you are forced to make so many choices that can affect your future.

6. What do you hope to achieve as an adult one day?
I want to get a degree in journalism/photography or drama, have a stable job, have enough money to support my family and I would like to have been all over Europe, the USA and Prince Edward Island.

7. Tell me something about yourself that most people don’t know:
I might act like a clown but I am actually very sensitive

8. Name one of your role models and tell me why this person is a good role model:
I don’t actually have one because I want to be unique.

9. What do you feel about marriage? Can you see yourself getting married one day?
I think marriage is wonderful, I can definitely see me falling in love, getting married and living on a farm with my hubby and 2 children

10. If you could be anywhere else in the world right now, where would you be and what would you be doing?
In Italy, on a gondola with you mommy, eating pasta :D love you mommy, mwa mwa