Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cell-phone etiquette

A lot has been said about cell phone etiquette, but I really feel the need to have my say as well. I love my cell phone, I make no bones about it. I’d be lost without the little thing. My daughters both adore their phones and my husband uses his 24/7 in his line of work. So I have no gripe with cell phones per se. What I have a huge gripe with is the cell phone users who feel the need to conduct cell phone conversations while sitting at their tables in restaurants and worse still, in the movies. What makes them think that I need or want to know about their cousin Charlie’s hip replacement or the business deal that SO nearly went through but didn’t??

The trouble is that bad cell phone etiquette isn’t limited to arbitrary strangers, I have sat in the homes of dear friends and family members too and been subjected to their rambling phone conversations. Come on people, that’s the beauty of cell phones, they are portable, you can pick them up and walk with them! So do us a favour, when the phone rings, get up, excuse yourself and walk outside the room with the flipping thing!




Your Cell Phone Etiquette is 16% Bad, 84% Good



You are practically a cell phone saint. You never annoy the people around you.

Everyone should have phone manners as good as yours. And you sure wish they did!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I've been reading.....

I've recently read two books which were recommended by other bloggers. The first was "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert - Bohemian Mom posted about it here and having read what she had to say about it, I immediately had to go out and get myself a copy. I really enjoyed this book about one woman's quest to find harmony of mind, body and spirit as she travels in Italy, spends time at an ashram in India and finally finds love in Bali.

The second book, recommended by Sognatrice of Bleeding Espresso, was "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. I thoroughly enjoyed this finely crafted read. Sognatrice has a beautifully written review of the book on her blog, so do hop over there to read up on it.

Both books are highly recommended.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The new school pledge

Below is the proposed pledge that all South African school children will be saying at school each day in the not too distant future:

“We the youth of South Africa, recognising the injustices of our past, honour those who suffered and sacrificed for justice and freedom. We will respect and protect the dignity of each person, and stand up for justice. We sincerely declare that we shall uphold the rights and values of our Constitution and promise to act in accordance with the duties and responsibilities that flow from these rights.”

There is a lot of controversy about this pledge at the moment - it's the subject of many of the talk shows on our local radio stations and there has been a fair bit about it in the press too.

Shoot me down if you feel the need, but I must admit that I have mixed feelings about it. I don't have a problem with the second part, but I am not too keen on the first bit. In my opinion, part of the problem in this country is that we spend too much time dwelling on our sordid history and not enough time working together to grow this country to its full potential. We should be dealing with the pressing issues that we are confronting right now - crime, electricity shortages, spiralling inflation and the like, instead of continually dredging up the past.

No doubt about it, there were "injustices in our past", yes apartheid was totally unforgiveable; but apartheid ended 14 years ago - for goodness sake it's time to move on. How is that wound ever going to heal if we are always obsessively poking at it?

Not for one minute am I suggesting that apartheid should be forgotten - our children need to learn about it to ensure that nothing like that ever, ever happens again. But we should also remember that the children who are at school now never lived under apartheid, they never engineered it, they never voted for it, so why on earth should they carry the guilt of it around with them on a daily basis? Far better to let them all grow up without it's heavy shadow forever hanging over them!

Please spare a thought today for my sister-in-law and her family who discovered a short while ago that while they were at work/school their home had been broken into and literally "cleaned out", all their clothes, electrical appliances etc etc have been stolen.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Time to pass those awards on!

Don't tell a soul, but I am the world's worst procrastinator! I've been meaning and meaning to pass on the awards I have so generously been given for ages now and have simply not got around to it. Yesterday Wayfarer Scientista left a comment which finally nudged me into action.

But I am still going to take the easy way out - I find it SO difficult to choose who to give awards to, how do you narrow it down? Each of the blogs I read is unique and special in its own right. So I'm going to cheat and give the awards to everyone on my blog roll. So without further ado, I award MY BLOGROLL the following awards:








If you are on my blogroll (it's down there on the left) please accept these awards (don't be shy now!) with gratitude for keeping me entertained most days, for warming my heart on bad days and for actually keeping me sane some days!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Watershed

So I didn't get flowers...., or a card......., or chocolate....... (I am married to THE most unromantic man on the planet, I know this with absolute certainty) BUT I did get to go to the Botanical Gardens in Durban to watch Watershed perform last night. I love, love, love Watershed, the lead singer is so incredibly gorgeous sexy talented - so the trip to Durban to see them perform was a huge treat!

Do yourself a favour and follow the link above - underneath the words "Watershed jukebox" at the top right, make sure that the album is "Mosaic" and click on track 8, also tracks 1 and 6 on "In the Meantime" These guys are amazing, can't wait for their new album due out in June or July.

We had a blissful evening picnicing in a beautiful setting with about 7000 other people (no the two aren't mutually exclusive, strangely enough) and it was the most perfect way to spend a Valentine's night. So I got my lovely Valentine after all!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day


Love it or loathe it, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!

Personally, I love Valentine’s Day, I always have. I know it is becoming a money-making racket, it’s over-commercialised and kitschy, but a whole day dedicated to LOVE – I think that’s a brilliant concept! Heaven knows, in the crime-filled, jaded world we live in, a little love might be just what we all need.

This year Rox and I went with Paula to buy her first ever Valentine’s card. (At the ripe old age of 12, she has fallen in love!) The purchasing of this all-important momento of first love was so sweet and such fun. Paula browsed the shelves of cards on offer for ages, while Rox and I offered loads of unsolicited advice. The card had to be “just right”; it couldn’t be too soppy, too serious or too rude (I should think not!) and I tell you what - finding this perfect card was no easy task! Having finally made her choice, she was too shy to walk to the check-out and pay for it, so that task was left to me ;-)

I can still remember receiving my first Valentine card. I was 12 years old at the time. I arrived at school on Valentine’s Day, opened my desk and there it was! It was a big, pink card, with a picture of a fat little cupid on the front. And it was mine! I can remember floating around on cloud nine the whole day and I kept that card for years.

So maybe the fond memories of that first Valentine have clouded my judgment and made me a sucker when it comes to Valentine’s Day? I don’t know, but whatever the reason, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I plan to have a love-filled, red and white, chocolate and champagne day!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Strange days indeed

Strange things have a weird way of happening to me.....Last week I found myself driving around with a total stranger in my car, with whom I was completely unable to communicate and with no idea as to where I was going. Things like this just don't seem to happen to other people. What do I do to attract these peculiar events and I have to ask, why me?

So you're wondering how I ended up with a complete stranger in my car, who spoke a language largely foreign to me? It's quite simple really:

I arrived home from work the other day and as I pulled up at my gate and was pushing my "remote controlled gate-opening thingy" I looked in my review mirror and noticed a large stray dog in the road and the next moment a woman was tugging frantically at my passenger door. Now any self-respecting South African would immediately assume that they were being hi-jacked - for a heart-stopping moment I did too and then I looked at the complete terror on the woman's face and I pushed the button to unlock the passenger door - a split-second later she was in the car and the door was shut. Much to the very vocal disgust of my Jack Russell terrier (yes, I am one of those slightly nutty types who takes my dog to work ...and to bed ...and to the loo....but I digress)

As you may recall from my blog post about my dear old gardener, Simon; I am not too fluent in Zulu. So there I sat, with this unknown woman in my car who was letting forth a stream of highly excited Zulu and I could not make out a single word except "inja" (the Zulu word for dog) and "isitolo" (shop). I deduced from that very small amount of information that she was on her way home from the shop when the stray dog tried to attack her. In my pidgin Zulu I offered to drive her home .... she gave me a watery, bemused smile and continued with her flood of explanations. I said again, as best I could, that I would take her home and she looked vaguely pleased - progress!! I then asked her where her home was and she waved a hand in the general direction of the corner.

So we went on a little jaunt together, my new friend and I, with her jabbering the entire time in incomprehensible (to me) Zulu and my worried little dog sitting on my lap as I drove clumsily (rather reminiscent of Britney Spears and Sean Preston in the good ol' days) to an as yet unknown destination. I finally dropped her off at what I assume was her home - and she all but kissed me for my troubles.

Yet another strange interlude in my otherwise humdrum existence...

(And yet another reason why I have got to improve my Zulu language skills!)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

What does your name mean?

I saw this over at my friend Lucy's blog and thought I would give it a try - in many ways I think the results are quite alarmingly accurate!

What Gillian Means

You are deeply philosophical and thoughtful. You tend to analyze every aspect of your life.
You are intuitive, brilliant, and quite introverted. You value your time alone.
Often times, you are grumpy with other people. You don't appreciate them trying to interfere in your affairs.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.
You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.
You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.
You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.
You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Oh ancient one!

A couple of days ago Rox came home from her job as a Teacher's Assistant, marched up to me and demanded to know whether she "looks very old"? I gave myself a couple of seconds pause for thought - when the person asking this question is 18 years old it could very well be a trick question! Having stewed over all the possibilities as to what answer she was actually looking for, I bravely answered that I did not think she looked at all old. Thankfully it was the right answer! (Being a mom can be like walking through a mine field I tell ya!)

It turns out that one of the Grade Ones had come up to her during the course of the day and asked "How old are you Mith R?" Rox explained that, that was a secret. Little girl then said, "I bet I can guess, I bet you are TWENTY NINE" Rox was shocked out of her socks and told the little girl that she was definitely not 29 (horrors!), so the little one guessed again and came up with the bright answer of THIRTY SIX!!

Oh boy, the bloom of youth, it fades so fast.......LOL!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Awards season in Blogville

It appears that the good citizens of Blogville are having an awards season fit to rival the awards season happening in Hollywood (not much of an award season happening there, with the writer's strike and all!)

I am the very proud recipient of:

  • the "You make my Day" Award, bestowed on me by two of my favourite bloggers - Baby~Amore' who blogs at My Little Drummer Boys and Linda who blogs at {this and that}

  • the "Everyday Kindness" Award also from Linda



  • finally, the "Spread the Love" Award, also from Linda

Thanks so much!!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Oh dear...

I am having an unexpected difficulty in being the mom of a teenager and a 12 year old who likes to think she's a teenager: it's not the mood swings (I have them too and mine are probably worse than theirs), or the hormones (I have them too and mine are definitely worse than theirs!), or the bad taste in music (I turn up my copy of The Divinyls' "I touch myself", loud, and that shuts them up! hee, hee). No, the problem is that I am beginning to speak like a teenager!

There is something very scary about a "mumsy" type of 40 year old who speaks like a Paris Hilton-clone! It's fine when I am speaking to my daughters themselves - they give me a patronising look that says loud and clear "she's speaking like us in an effort to bond with us". But it's a little embarrassing when I am sitting with a friend and "I'm like, whatever".....

So please people, if you see me launch into "teenager-speak" on this blog, tell me to stop it. Immediately. It's like SO not cool!

Camino Portuguese (Coastal Route)

We are planning another Camino walking holiday!  I couldn't be more excited.  The plan is that next year, in June, Grant, Paula and I wi...