Wednesday, December 31, 2008

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

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!

Friday, December 12, 2008

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........

Thursday, December 11, 2008

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!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

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....

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"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!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Update

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.

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