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.