I have finally faced facts and accepted that my bloggy mojo is gone for good. So I've decided to call it a day on the blog. Just wanted to pop in to say "Bye" and to thank all my readers for the comment luv you have sent my way in the past couple of years. xx

Recipe for a perfect day

Today has been one of those blissful days that stands out from all the other grey, samey days around it.

* I woke up, bright and early this morning and waffled around the house doing my own thing. I absolutely love a day that begins with solitary me-time - even if that time is spent putting washing in the machine, feeding the pets and loading the dish-washer. The bottom line is I need that time alone with my thoughts at least once a week.

*The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the sea is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. A perfect Summer day on the South Coast of South Africa.

* I went to the shops (very briefly, fortunately) and happened upon a Terry's Orange Chocolate.

* Grant made us a couple of the most divine Pina Coladas. I'm loving this newly discovered talent of his and I have a strong feeling that this is going to be The Summer of The Cocktail. Oh yes, bring it on!

* For lunch we had a homemade prawn salad which was unbelievably delish.

* After lunch I retreated to my bed with a book and the Terry's Orange Chocolate. Bliss.

*Paula joined me on the bed and we painted our nails and talked about Robert Pattinson. A lot.

*Later on this evening we are going to the movies to see that gorgeous creature in action. I feel a bit like an over-excited teenager and I'm loving it. New Moon here we come. Team Edward all the way :-)

What a perfectly lovely day!

The only downer of the day was that Paula discovered the Top Secret, Extra Special, Big Surprise, Christmas present I have bought her. The little wretch!

I am extremely good at keeping a straight face when I want to pull a stupid stunt. Take this morning for example: I totally convinced Paula that I had discovered that the much coveted New Moon movie tickets I bought on-line 2 weeks ago were actually for last night instead of tonight (this would be a crisis of note as the movie is sold out all weekend and all her friends have tickets for the show this evening, vitally important that she should be there!!). I kept a perfectly straight face, looked completely devastated and even swore a little to keep things authentic. The girl was beside herself, for the entire 30 seconds that I managed to keep up the act!

Then why, oh why, can I not keep a straight face when it really counts?! This afternoon Paula came bounding up to me and announced that she had just thought of something she really, really wants for Christmas: A "Team Edward" T-Shirt! I, in fact, hit on this bright idea last weekend already and bought her the very thing on Tuesday in an auction on e-bay. I have been secretly hugging myself with excitement all week and picturing her face when she opens it on Christmas morning. The surprise, the delight!! Well that was the plan. My stupid face totally let me down. I swallowed hard, looked vaguely in her direction and muttered "Yes, that would be a lovely Christmas present..." Then I gave her a hug, trying desperately to look nonchalant, but evidently looking completely dumb, because she took one look at me and said "You've already bought me one, haven't you?" I tried so hard to look her in the eye and deny it, but there was no way I could pull it off, so now she knows..... Damn, damn, double damn!!!

Hellllloooooo.....anybody out there.......???

I have not blogged for a month. A whole month! Bad, bad blogger!

If you're wondering why, and you want a straight-forward, honest answer, I have to tell you it's because my life is a bit of a train wreck at the moment. Nothing dramatic or earth-shattering going on, it's just.... me. I will admit it to you and you alone, I am being an hormonal, horrible cow at the moment - but don't tell the family, because I have cunningly (love that word!) convinced them that it's all their fault.

Life has just been so sucky at the moment. I know you are dying for me to elaborate (please say you are, because I am dying to elaborate!), so I will:

The weather has been abysmal. I now know for absolute certain that I could not live in the UK for any length of time (something I've always secretly kind of hankered after, after our aborted attempt at emigration) I have no doubt that I suffer from Seasonal Affecive Disorder (is that what it's called? I think so) We have had grey, rainy day after grey rainy day and it is driving me stark staring mad!

My children are all writing exams. Rox finished today on the very day that Paula started. Impi is writing matric and let's just say that science and maths are cause for concern.... The problem is that I take this way more seriously than they do, well apart from Paula who is a darling mini-me.

I am living with on-going genocide happening in my very bedroom. The cats are killing bunnies like you will not believe and bringing them into my house to boot. It is horrible. What really gets me down is that they look as happy as Hugh Hefner at a gang-bang while they are doing it. Oh my word and I love these animals (the cats and the bunnies) it is KILLING me!

There is this thing going on which involves some of my Zulu compatriots planning to kill a bull bare-handed by strangling it and gouging it's eyes out. It apparently happens annually, but this is the first time I have got to hear of it and it's upsetting me something terrible. It's called the First Fruits Festival. I know this has no direct bearing on life as such, but it's bugging me and making me more irritable than I already am. Which, by the way, is very irritable indeed.

There are Particular Family Members in my life that are behaving badly. Can't go into too much detail in this public forum, but suffice it to say that I would rather they were slightly more sensitive than the back end of a rhinoceros. That would be nice.

Okay, that's enough for now. Got to go and watch Private Practice.

Love you all and I WILL be back!! Trust me!

Disgusting! Really, really disgusting post

As you will know if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, I am a complete naff. I am scared, grossed out or nervous of just about everything. Geckoes included. Living on the South Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, geckoes are everywhere and where they aren't their poop is. Horribly disgusting little creatures. They love to creep around the ceilings with their pinky-grey-brown semi see-through bodies, purely to torture me. I'm always scared they're going to plop down on top of me. With good reason, seeing as about 16 or 17 years ago one did.

Picture the scene: It was almost bed-time and Grant had gone into the kitchen to make tea, I was sitting in the lounge, clothed only in my nightie (I know, too much info, but it's relevant to the story, so bear with me), reading a book. Next thing a gecko fell off a picture frame, right down the back of my nightie. Oh my word! For a moment I completely lost my marbles, ripped my nightie off and began to wave it around my head, shrieking and dancing around the middle of the floor. Grant came tearing into the lounge and stood gazing at me open-mouthed. Well wouldn't you? I could just see him thinking "Finally, she wants to play stripper fantasy games - I like it!" It took quite a while for him to get out of me exactly what I was up to, I was completely speechless for at least 5 minutes. So I don't have a great track record with geckoes.

Now that we have cats, I am presented with gecko corpses on a daily basis. To my mind, the only thing worse than a live gecko is a dead gecko or a piece of one. Eeuuuuw! The cats just love to hunt them, they'll go to enormous lengths to stalk them (see below) with an incredibly high success rate.

Pepsi on top of the grandfather clock.

Last night I was sitting in the lounge chatting to my Dad and Grant, unconsciously playing with something with my bare toes, picking it up, rubbing it under my feet (truly I have no idea quite why I was doing this...need to see a shrink!) We'd been sitting there for ages, when we got up to go through to the dining room. As I stood up I suddenly became aware that I had been playing with something with my toes, I bent down to see what it was and there it was, between my toes ......... shudder, shudder, shudder.... I realised that all this time I had been fondling a large, dead gecko with my feet. Total freak out! These great big shudders kept going right through my body - I still get freaked out just thinking about it. EEEEeeeek!

Me again.....

You must be getting SO tired of me ranting and raving and moaning and groaning...... I promise this will be the very last negative post for at least a week. Watch this space for a very upbeat post about everything that's making me happy soon, soon!

Today, however, I have to have a gripe because I am royally peed off.

Reason being that some silly ar$e has made my daughters all nervous and scared in their own home. And I just hate that. To me your home should be a place where you feel comfortable, relaxed and nurtured. You should be able to go to sleep at night without feeling scared. I know, I know..... I live in South Africa and nervousness goes with the territory. But really, until Saturday, apart from Rox who lives in a perpetual state of anxiety regarding her safety, we felt relatively safe in our house at night.

On Friday night Paula slept over at her friend's house, which is just a couple of roads away in our neighbourhood. My friend Tania (the mom) woke up in the early hours and heard a noise in the passage, got up and came face to face with an intruder. Thankfully and surprisingly, he looked her in the eyes and began to back away and then made a run for it. The police were called and arrived, with dogs, in 10 minutes, but were unable to find the intruder. He got away with the contents of their wallets (over R1000), and a laptop. He'd entered by bashing in the burglar guards on a window in the lounge. I can't stop thinking about how much worse it could have been.

At the time Paula seemed totally unfazed, she was just really mad at being woken up from her sleep! (This is a girl who loves her sleep) But yesterday she was unhappy about staying at home in the afternoon while Rox and I went for a walk ... not like Paula at all. Grant was away last night and Rox got hardly any sleep. She woke up in the night convinced there was someone in the lounge and was up and about searching out the baddies.....

It makes me so mad that some shameless criminal (Tania said he didn't look a day over 16!) has made us feel all vulnerable and anxious. I hate it. If I could lay my hands on him, I would wring his neck for him! AND spit in his eye!

About that deleted post....

So some of you will have noticed that I deleted my previous post? Just wanted to let you know that I haven't gone out and committed a murder ;-)

I ummmed and ahhhed about deleting the post. I thought Rox might have wanted me to delete it when she read it, but funnily enough she didn't, in fact she said something along the lines of "You go mom!", Paula rapped me over the knuckles about my bad language (blush, blush), but also felt it was a valid post. But eventually I decided it would be better to pull it. So I did.

This is exactly the reason why I sometimes have my doubts about keeping my blog going. I want my blog to be real, to be true to what's going on in my life. I don't want it to be some fake, prettied- up version of my life, I want it to be about the real me, warts and all, the moody, stubborn, sometimes bitter and twisted, often bitchy, but usually nice me - because, truth be told, that's who I am....but the frustrating thing is it can't be. What's going on in my life is generally related to one or other family-member and I don't think it's really fair to spread their lives all over the internet, tempting but not fair. The bits of their lives that I feel completely comfortable about sharing are so boring; it's the juicy stuff I want to share and that's the stuff I have to be protective of.

So for now, you're going to continue to get the candy-floss version of my life I'm afraid. Don't know how much longer I'm going to be comfortable with that, but we'll see.

Random Dozen

Trust me, I will get back to posting some sensible blog posts soon, truly I will. Right now I just have so much going on (don't worry, it's all good) that blogging is waaaay down my list of priorities.

Although I am late again (the questions go up every Tuesday and are meant to be posted on a Wednesday), I kinda like the questions on this weeks Random Dozen, so I am doing it anyway.

1. On an average, how often do you splurge and buy something for yourself?
I used to be terrible about spending money on myself - I'd buy for the kids, the pets, even Grant and never for me, but as I am getting older I am getting better at spending money on me.

2. Are you more like Hall or Oates? Just kidding. Real question: What is the last creative project you began/finished? Feel free to post a pic of it. Sore point, I have a cross-stitch project I have been working on for something like 5 years....

3. OK, Goldie Locks, do you consider your house too big, too little or juuuust right?
I love my house, it's nothing fancy but it has loads of cupboard space (a biggie for me) and it has a very user-friendly kitchen BUT I desperately need a spare room and an office, especially the office.

4. What is your favorite outdoor chore?
slightly hysterical laughter....... let's just say I'm not an outside chore kinda girl. Does walking the dog count? I love walking the dog!

5. If you knew that cigarette smoking was not bad for your health but would be a weight loss tool, would you use it? Why or why not?
In my mis-spent youth I smoked - only about 3 a day, but I LOVED smoking. I gave up a few months before I fell pregnant with Paula and haven't had one since. I could start smoking again tomorrow though, I really could....but I won't because (a) I have the most rotten sinuses in the world and (b) I don't like the way I smell when I smoke.

6. On a road trip, would you rather drive or ride?
Oh gawd, I hate driving and will get out of it at the first opportunity.

7. What do you consider a trivial pursuit?
Dare I say "Blogging" LOL

8. This weekend, we downloaded the movie "Duplicity" with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Within 5 minutes, I was bored and annoyed, but I kept watching 5-10 minutes at a time hoping it would get better between small chores. I finally gave up and Jorge watched it alone, and then regretted wasting that time because he disliked it intensely, too. So ... how long do you watch a movie or read a book before giving up on it?
I hate giving up on a book and will soldier manfully on for at least a few chapters before admitting defeat. Movies I will happily walk away from in about 30 seconds.

9. Is there a song that you really love but are embarrassed to admit because it's not cool or it's racy or because it's by Hall and Oates?
"I touch myself" by The Divinyls. I have no idea why I like it, but I really do.

10. On a scale of 1-10 (10 = extremely) how spontaneous are you?
It depends what we're talking about here. Buying books or magazines of a bottle of wine - I will do it very spontaneously. Planning a holiday, or a new home, or car, or something like that, I will plan, plot and ponder for weeks.

11. Are you a food and/or beverage snob?
Hmmmm...... in some ways. I'm not big on overly fancy cuisine, but I like to buy good quality ingredients (I like to get my fruit and veg from Woolies)

12. Who/What are you trying to control in your life? (I hear people gulping and see them sweating in anticipation of how to answer this one.)
Everything and everyone! Truly. I am a control freak of note. The only thing I am really struggling to control is myself, evidenced by the uncontrollable spread of my buttocks!!!! How's that for honest?

Random Dozen

I saw this over at Just Some Thoughts and although I'm a bit late, I decided to join in anyway. Random Dozen is hosted by 2nd Cup of Coffee

1. Tell me the absolute best way to watch a movie.
At our local movie house, eating wine gums, with my family...and it has to be a chick flick

2. Do you ever think about your own funeral? If so, do you have specific ideas about how you would like it to be?
I have planned my funeral down to the finest detail, I feel VERY strongly about it. My funeral will be attended by Grant, Roxy and Paula, Impi, Eunice and my Dad and aunt if they're still around. It will be conducted at the crematorium, there will be no singing, no flowers or any of that other nonsense. There will be a short prayer and that is it. I want the cheapest coffin they can find (funnily enough I had always wanted a pine coffin, with rope handles, but it turns out they are not the cheapest, who knew!) and my ashes must be chucked in the back garden.

3. Are you more of a giver or a taker? I hope it's pretty evenly balanced in the long run, I'd hate to think I'm a taker!

4. Vacations: planned activities and schedules, or play it by ear? Hee, hee...... I like to plan, big time! Our holidays are planned down to the last detail (don't laugh, but I actually use spreadsheets!!) I do realise and gracefully accept that the plans are going to be tweaked and tampered with in real life though.

5. What is one often overlooked item in your home that needs to be cleaned regularly?
The ceiling fans. Where does all that stuff come from??

6. Name a cause that means a lot to you.
Animal welfare. At the moment I am freaking out about the disgusting and horrific Zulu ceremony that is coming up soon in which a group of men kill a bull with their bare hands (ie they tear it apart!!) I think it is disgusting and disgraceful that this sort of thing is allowed to happen. Hateful!!

7. Do you eat a regular old peanut butter jelly sandwich, or do you customize it? And by the way, jelly or no jelly? Peanut butter and syrup on toast. Yum!

8. If we were having a conversation in person, how would I know if you were nervous?
I am hopeless at hiding my nervousness. I get all red around my neck (although nowdays thanks to my dodgy hormones I am nearly always all red around the face and neck...) my eyes dart around, I fidget. Believe me, you'd know!

9. Do you have an elaborate bedtime routine, or just the basics of tooth brushing and jammies?
I do the whole shower, night cream, baby powder.. thing and then I hop into bed and read. I can't sleep without reading, even if I go to bed in the early hours, I read for a while.

10. Have you ever regretted something you wrote on your blog?
Yes. 'Nuff said.

11. Has anyone ever told you that you look like a famous person or celebrity? Did you agree?
Oh my word, once when I was a LOT thinner and younger I was told I looked like Lady Di. Wow! Those were the days :-)

12. If you were going to dedicate a song to a loved one or friend, what would the song be and to whom would it be dedicated? Boyz II Men "One Sweet Day" - to my little brother, my gran and my aunt.

Different strokes for different folks

From the time Paula was born, until she was 5 years old we lived on a property adjoining my parents' property in a small town in the KZN midlands. Eunice and Impi lived in quarters on my parents' property and we had Goqo and her grandson Ndu living in their quarters on our property.

The kids loved it, they roamed freely between the two properties, in and out of each other's houses, a happy little gang of four. Naturally they would often eat together; if they were at my house at lunch time I'd give them sandwiches for lunch, if they were with Goqo or Eunice, they would tuck into whatever she was serving up at that point. And this is how Paula developed a love of traditional Zulu food. Her favourite was and still is phutu and amasi - crumbly maize porridge served with fermented milk. But she would happily tuck into madumbis or whatever else was on the menu. As long as I live I will never forget the day I came around the corner of Goqo's house and there was Paula, a toddler in nappies with a chicken head protuding from her mouth! "Walkie, Talkies" (chicken heads and feet) were on the menu and Paula was partaking with gusto!

As time went by the kids settled into a loose sort of routine; Ndu would usually come and have breakfast with me - Coco Pops or chocolate spread on toast were his favourites - and Paula would head off to Goqo in the morning and have phutu and amasi. Strange set-up, but it worked for us.

Nowdays not much has changed. Goqo and Ndu don't live with us anymore, but given the choice, Paula would still rather eat phutu and amasi. We love eating out and generally eat out at least twice a week (my large butt can attest to this fact). Rox and Paula have eaten out with us since they were a couple of months old, it's how we live. And yet frequently Paula will opt to have supper with Eunice instead of coming out with us. Just yesterday we were heading out to a local restaurant and Paula (yet again!) begged to be allowed to stay with Eunicie and eat phutu and amasi.

I truly don't get it, imagine wanting to eat sour milk and porridge instead of a delicious plate of prawns or calamari?! But hey, whatever makes her happy :-)


I have spent most of this weekend alone, and it has been utterly blissful. It's taken me a while, but I've come to realise that in order to remain a relatively nice, sane person I need lots and lots of me-time and this weekend I've had it in buckets and I'm feeling gooooood.

Last weekend was the annual "Staff Weekend Away". This year we went up to Cayley Lodge in the 'Berg. The 'Berg was at its beautiful best,
the company was fun,

the accomodation was lovely,

so it was all good - except for the bit on Saturday where I had the first hangover I have had in a very long time.... I didn't enjoy that experience one little bit!

That's what you get for discovering that the wine tastes uncommonly good up in the 'Berg and partying until 2:30am.... There will not be a repeat performance in the forseeable future, trust me!

So this weekend all alone in the quiet, quiet house has been like a tonic for my soul. The family have hung out at Lake Eland all weekend, there's a mountain biking thing going on there. I'm really happy for them, but I could not think of anything I'd like less - don't get me wrong I LOVE Lake Eland, but the whole mountain biking thang....not so much! (although I have to admit that some of those men in tights look mighty fine) The girls left on Friday afternoon and have camped there all weekend, my idea of hell! Grant has come home to sleep, but other than that it's just been me, me, me and the pets all weekend. Lovely.

So what have I done with all this alone time: Yesterday I got the Tidy-up Bug and whipped through the house, tossing out junk, re-organising shelves, potting plants, washing up a storm - very productive. Although I didn't manage to find my yoga DVD - how on earth can a DVD just disappear???

Today has been much more peaceful. Don't laugh, but I spent a lovely half hour on You-tube with Adam Lambert - I know, I know, it's very disturbing, but I love him to bits (Paula if you're reading this don't you dare go eeeeeuw! Even Mom's are allowed to like hottie celeb boys) Just listen to this and tell me he is not lovely! And before you think I have spent the whole day perving over young boys..... I have also done lots of other boring odds and ends around the house, not as fun as listening to Adam, but necessary and so much easier to do without family around.

So that's my weekend, hope yours was good too!

Happy Happy!

It's my blog's birthday today. 3 years ago I sat down to write my first blog post - I can't believe it's been so long!!

As you may have noticed..... my blog is going through a bit of a slump at the moment. I have considered shutting it down altogether (shock, horror!) but I'm not going to do that just yet. I am sure eventually I will get my bloggy mojo back, but until then, I will be popping in sporadically as I have been for the last couple of months.

It's also my Dad's birthday today, so Happy Birthday Dad! One year to go to the big 60!

It's also exactly 14 years since Grant and I wrote off my Dad's Mercedes, but we won't dwell on that.....

Nothing to say

So I haven't been blogging much, for no reason other than that, for once in my life, I have nothing to say. Life is just so normal right now. Everyone is happy, healthy (geez I probably shouldn't say that, it's almost an invitation for Paula to get sick!) and humming along quite nicely. Great for family peace and all that, but not such great blogging fodder - I always feel I blog a lot better when I am all drama-driven and uptight.
So I am going to leave you with some photos from Durban Day that we went to on Sunday.

Can you believe that my teenage daughter brought her book to a music show? You'll be pleased to know that eventually she did take her nose out of the book and in fact got quite excited about what was happening on stage.

Random thoughts....

* It's SO cold. I need comfort food.... beef stew and dumplings sounds good.

*Paula claims she has always disliked mushrooms! Please tell me I have not lived with my daughter for 14 years, eaten at the same dinner table with her every night and not noticed that? Surely not!

*Paula is going to have to pick the mushrooms out of her stew tonight

*There are 2 confirmed cases of swine flu at Paula's school

*There are 2 confirmed cases of swine flu at the school at which Rox works.

*Paula got sent home from school today, sick, but I don't think it's swine flu

*I am terrified that if Paula gets swine flu we are going to be in serious trouble with her asthma and all....

*Moving on......

*I'm really loving my Andrea Bocelli CD

*I have got a very silly crush on Adam Lambert.

*Paula dissed me on facebook about my crush on Adam Lambert - she said something about him being 20 years younger than me

*I may be old and decrepit, but me and my sole surviving ovary know hot when we see it and Adam Lambert is verrry, verrry hot.

*I'm not sure I like my daughter having access to my intimate thoughts on facebook

*I probably shouldn't post my intimate thoughts on facebook.

*I spend too much time on facebook

*Paula has decided she wants to study to be a paediatrician when she finishes school

*I'm not sure how I feel about Paula wanting to study medicine

*I have no doubt that she has the smarts and the determination to study medicine

*I always thought that Paula would become a writer one day, she is truly gifted at writing

*I just finished reading the latest Katie Fforde. Nice.

*I am about to start the latest Maeve Binchy

*I am heading off now, to do just that.....

Finally seeing the light?

I am an Anglican. And today I can say that with some pride. Something in the newspaper caught my eye this morning and I'm going to quote it for you:

The Anglican Church has taken a step towards accepting gay people in "faithful, committed relationships". The Anglican Diocese of Cape Town has passed a resolution asking church bishops to provide pastoral guidelines for gay parishioners living in "covenanted partnerships".

Some of the people I admire most happen to be gay and it really bugs me that those of them who are believers are ostracised by the church. In my heart of hearts I believe that Jesus would not have pushed these people away. I am very glad that the church I belong to is at least taking a tentative step in the right direction.

I'll be there for you

Jax comforting Rox on Sunday

R.I.P Nala

We had to say good-bye to our Nalie dog today. We found her this morning with a hugely distended tummy, a very uncomfortable old girl, clearly distressed. I immediately phoned our vet and he said we should bring her straight in. It appears that she had a twisted intestine. Unfortunately we had to put her to sleep.

Nala has been a part of our family for more than 10 years. She was such a lovely dog. So gentle and sweet. We're going to miss her.

Good-bye my Nals. I hope that where you are there are lots and lots of bunnies, for you to chase to your heart's content.... Love you my old lady xx

Harbouring a serial killer..of sorts...

I have a confession to make: I have knowingly been harbouring not one, but a few serial killers for the last few years. And the stress is beginning to get to me! Not to mention the corpses!

It all began the day after we moved into our new home a couple of years ago. Paula had her friend Michelle over and they were playing in the garden - oh sorry, I forgot tweens don't play, they hang out. Anyway, whatever, they were "hanging out" in the garden, when I heard a blood curdling yell and a shrill, yelping sort of bark. Rox is quicker off the mark, so she shot outside, where she too began to yell, I then hoofed it outside and was met with the most bizarre sight, a sort of "run past"; first a bunny, followed by my late daschund, Chelsea, with Jackie, the Jack Russell, in hot pursuit, followed by the 2 other dogs, then came Paula, panting and yelling, followed by Michelle, followed by Roxy! What was I to do? I joined in at the back of course..... It looked very much like a hysterical sort of "Locomotion" dance! And this people was the sight that greeted Michelle's mom, who happens to be my good friend Tania, when she arrived at our gate to fetch her daughter. We all ran past her, yelling frantically, as she stood at the gate, completely bemused and then very amused! This particular episode, thankfully, had a happy ending when said bunny managed to squeeze through the fence to its home on the other side.

That weekend I was sitting on the verandah, telling my parents-in-law this very story when our gate bell rang. Grant went to see who was there and then came to tell us that it was the owner of the bunnies, who was adamant that our Boerbul was in his yard, killing his bunnies. I refused to believe it. Nala is the most pathetically, harmless, great oaf of a dog that ever was. She is mentally handicapped (I'm not joking, she really is.) And she would not harm a flea. In any event, Grant went to investigate.

Humour me for a minute: Picture how you would feel if you were faced with Mother Teresa armed with an automatic rifle, blowing a couple of Calcutta's poorest of the poor to smithereens, with a big fat grin on her face. Well now you have some inkling of how I felt when Grant arrived at the gate, frog-marching my beloved Nala, who was wearing a grin the size of the Nile river, with bunny blood dripping from her loose jowls. Horrified. Mortified. And I swear I could hear Nala humming "I've - had - the time of my liiiiife....and I've never felt this way before...."

It was blatantly obvious that the fence between our property and that of the reckless bunny breeders was not doing it's job! That Monday morning at 8am I was on the phone to the builders, arranging for a large concrete wall to go up between us and the remaining bunnies. Nala was sent on holiday to my Dad's house in the interim and a couple of weeks later the wall was up. Problem solved.

Weeeell not exactly. It appears that concrete walls are there simply to provide a challenge for bunnies, not to keep them out. About a week after the wall went up I spotted a bunny playing in my veggie garden....

A couple of days later we were greeted by the sight of Jackie, bunny firmly clamped in her little lips... Fortunately that bunny was rescued and survived to tell the tale.


Since then Chloe has killed a bunny.


Believe it or not, our little cat Pepsi has killed a bunny. That was a particularly dreadful episode for me - I held the dying bunny in my hands and I completely lost my cool... thank the pope Rox was there to sort the situation out, because I was a gibbering idiot!

My precious cat Zip was found in the lounge with a dead bunny in his mouth, but this of course in no way proves that he actually killed the bunny. He's my favourite boy - he would never do an ugly thing like that.

The final straw came on Sunday. As I stepped outside to hang out my washing I found a dead bunny in Chloe's bed (there were no dogs in sight at the time, so the perpetrator of this crime has yet to be established). I pretty much flipped my lid. The thing is I simply cannot have this happening in my garden anymore. It wasn't that long ago that I read "Watership Down". I love bunnies.....

I wish the bunnies would realise that our garden is a bad, evil place. Why the idiotic owner of the bunnies can't control them I really don't know. His attitude sucks. But the bottom line is chasing bunnies is instinct when you are a dog (and, it would appear, a cat) ..... and if those bunnies keep on coming into our yard, my dogs will continue to be serial killers. And I am having a very hard time with this!!

25 Firsts

I found this meme on Natalian’s blog Twaddle and Twak (love the name of that blog!)

1. Who was your first prom date? I went to my Matric dance with Grant, we got married 3 ½ years later.

2. Do you still talk to your first love? In fact I do, but not very often. He lives in Cape Town now, with his wife and two children. We don’t see each other very often, maybe once in 5 years or so, but we chat on the phone on the odd occasion.

3. What was your first alcoholic drink? Beer shandy. Still love a beer shandy to this day.

4. What was your first job? I had a holiday job working in a Wimpy bar while I was still at school. I still feel the greatest sympathy for the staff when I walk into a Wimpy. You just can’t get that smell off your clothes, or your skin and hair!

5. What was your first car? A Toyota Corolla

6. Who was the first person to text you today? My bank, with my OTP

7. Who was the first person you thought of this morning? Oh that’s easy. My husband’s cell phone battery started going flat in the early hours. My first words were something along the lines of “Grant! I am going to KILL you!”

8. Who was your first grade teacher? Mrs Lazar. She was Canadian. Very sweet lady, which was more than could be said for my Grade Two teacher!

9. Where did you go on your first flight in a plane? My first flight was to visit my grand-parents in Cape Town, I was eight years old and very proud of flying solo. I flew solo quite a bit after that, as my parents were divorced and I'd often fly to see my father in the holidays.

10. Who was your first best friend and do you still talk?
Lisa and I made friends in Grade One and still communicate almost daily. She is and will always be, my very best friend. We have travelled a long road together, through boyfriends, marriages, babies, our parents’ divorces, moving home, bereavement….. the list goes on and on.

11. Where was your first sleepover? I can’t actually remember, but I’m pretty sure it would have been at Lisa’s house.

12. Who was the first person you talked to today? See number 7!!!

13. Whose wedding were you in for the first time? Either my mother’s or my father’s. They both remarried at roughly the same time.

14. What was the first thing you did this morning? Shrieked at my husband, see No. 7!

15. What was the first concert you went to? I can remember seeing Ipi Tombi when I was about 6. Music wise I was a late starter – I saw Michael Learns to Rock when they came to S.A in about 1996.

16. First tattoo? That is still on my to-do list!

17. First piercing? I got my ears pierced when I was about 5.

18. First foreign country you went to? England, as a teenager.

19. First movie you remember seeing? I truly can’t remember. I know that I saw Poseidon adventure at far too young an age, with the result that to this day, I won’t set foot on a cruise liner.

20. What state did you first live in? I was born in Gauteng, but relocated to KZN when I was 6 years old.

21. Who was your first room mate? Grant. But don’t tell my Dad okay!

22. When was your first detention? I was in Grade 8 (Standard 6) and I pretty much lived in detention – I had a very rebellious, mixed up year!

23. If you had one wish what would it be? I am copying Natalian’s answer here, it’s such a good one! To live in a crime free South Africa, now wouldn’t that be paradise?

24. What is one thing you would learn, given the chance? I’d love to be able to paint, but I don’t think I have the gene, I can’t even draw a decent stick figure.

25. Who will be the next person to post this? Whoever would like to do it, please leave a comment, so that I can come read your answers – I’m nosy like that!


I'd like to ask those of you who are that way inclined to please pray for little J today. Eight year old J lost his parents and his older brother in a fire in their home, on the West Rand, last week. Today he will be attending their funeral. He has been taken in by his aunt and uncle whom he loves very much and will be raised by them. J's uncle is a member of our extended family and we have known him since he was a young boy, I know he will be a fantastic father to J.

I'd really appreciate it if you would keep this family in your prayers at this difficult time.

I'm ugly...

When I stress it eventually shows. I am a great one for bottling up my stress (well until I get to the gynaecologist, who could ever forget that particular episode?) But generally I look as if I'm coping fine, when on the inside I'm in a state of complete turmoil... Until a few days later and then it shows. It's there for the whole world to see.

When Rox gets stressed she gets laryngitis, when Paula stresses her back goes into spasm and she gets asthma, Grant gets migraines and tummy troubles. And me?

I get ENORMOUS great cold sores. Hideous! I have tried all kinds of potions and lotions, I take loads of Vitamin B and it all works to some extent, but if I don't catch the thing as it is developing (and how can you when it happens in the middle of the night?) there it sits - on my lip. Uuuugly!

Rainy Days and Mondays...

Feeling down. It's been a tough few days.

On Thursday Eunicie was trying to pick a papaya and (I don't know what she was thinking!) she got a ladder and leant it against the tree and climbed up it... and she fell, but she didn't just fall onto the ground, she fell right down into the adjacent car-port. I reckon she fell close on 3 metres! I got a phone call from my Dad to come quickly as she had hurt her arm, badly. (My Dad is no good in these situations.) Rox and I gathered her up and took her to our local hospital. She had x-rays and it was established that she had broken the radial head in her elbow. It's a looong story, involving more visits to ghastly hospitals than I would have wished, and I won't bore you with the gory details but the end result is that she is having surgery on Thursday.

I have just had enough of hospitals and trauma. I spent SO much time in and out of hospital with my mom in the last few months of her life, last year . And then there was Paula and her surgery in January. I'm over hospitals now! Enough already!

What's on my iPod?

I've got to confess that I don't have an iPod, I just can't stand the feeling of having something in my ears. But if I did have an iPod, this is what would be on it:

You get what you give – New Radicals

Stumblin in – Smokie

Save a Prayer – Duran, Duran

Sometimes - Erasure

I touch myself – The Divinyls

Up Up and Away – The Fifth Dimension

Future Love Paradise - Seal

Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell

Fantasy – Earth, Wind and Fire

Time to say Good-bye - Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman

Africa – Toto

How Deep is your love – The Bee Gees

I Will Love You More Than That – Backstreet boys

Life is a roller coaster - Ronan Keating

Goodbye Heartbreak – Lighthouse family

Whose sorry now – Barbara Streisand & Barry Gibb

If Ever you’re in my arms again – Peabo Bryson

The way you make me feel – Steps

Soledad – Westlife

I belong to you - Eros Ramazzotti & Anastacia

Summer Nights – Grease

Patience – Take That

Shout – Tears for fears

Only You – Michael Crawford and Frances Rufelle

I Feel Fine – The Beatles

Take a Bow - Madonna

Wild World – Cat Stevens

Up Where we belong – Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes

Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2

Love is a losing game – Amy Winehouse

The Logical Song – Supertramp

Two out of Three Ain’t Bad – Meatloaf

Pure and Simple – Hearsay

What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

If Everyone Cared - Nickelback

Penny Lane – The Beatles

Love is All Around – Wet, Wet, Wet

They Say it’s going to Rain – Hazell Dean

No Air – Jordin Sparks feat Chris Brown

Colourblind – Darius Danesh

Only Hope – Mandy Moore

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

Leave Out All the Rest - Linkin Park

Falling – Julee Cruise

Shine on Me – Watershed

You are the First, My Last, My Everything – Barry White

Gotta Get a Message to You – The Bee Gees

Make it With You – Bread

I’m not A Girl, Not yet a Woman – Britney Spears

Any Dream Will Do – Jason Donovan

Rainy Days and Mondays – The Carpenters

Vincent - Don McLean

Unfrozen – Danny K

Hunting High and Low – A-ha

Don’t Speak – No Doubt


I just know that you are all dying to know how my "No Swearing" endeavour is going. Well I'm not going to tell you. All I came hear to say was:

1) Thank goodness it's Friday

2) Oh shit, I haven't posted in a full week.

I have a new resolution...starting Monday

Every year, on New Year's Day, I make a resolution to stop swearing. Every year on the 2nd of January I give up on that resolution, until the first day of the following year. This will have been happening for 20 years come January. I know this because the first time I made this resolution was on the January after Rox was born, I didn't want my child growing up around a mother who curses like a bad-tempered sailor.

I swear. I am not proud of this fact. I think swearing is horrible, it's unladylike, it's common, it's stupid. And yet, I swear. Most people are quite surprised to hear this, it seems I don't look the "swearing sort"! I'm matronly and mousey looking and it would seem that matronly, mousey people are more inclined to say things like "Oh my goodness" than "Oh shit". I'm afraid I go with "Oh shit!" every single time.

I have tried to analyse why I feel the need to curse at the drop of a hat, ...or a cell phone, ...or a phone line, or a...... you get the picture? And the theory I have come up with is this: (1) I think in swear words. The sentences that form in my head are littered with graphic, descriptive, techni -coloured swear words. (2) I am an emotional kind of person and I feel things really strongly. I don't just feel tired, or happy, or cross; I feel utterly exhausted (in my head I'm thinking... buggered), ecstatically happy (in my head I'm happy as a pig in shit), or totally fed up (in my head I'm thinking...pissed off) Do you see the problem?

I have learnt to control this "issue" of mine. Basically what I do is censor the words before they come out of my mouth. It goes something like this:

I think "Oh shit, I forgot my bloody shopping list again!"
I say "Ag no, I left my shopping list at home."

I think "Would you look at that ar$ehole, overtaking on a blind rise! idiot!"
I say "Hmmm, these taxi drivers need to go for driving lessons"

It works, but it's exhausting and I have to watch my tongue the whole time. And it also makes the world seem, I don't know, dull? And boring?

In any event, it works. So what's the problem you wonder?

The problem is, that the self-censoring only works most of the time. It does not work when I get a fright, am taken by surprise, or hurt myself...... Problematic.

I once tripped going into church.....enough said.

Or take for example the excrutiating moment, on a boat with our tour group, in the middle of Lake Lucerne, when I thought I had dropped Rox's camera into the flipping lake! Oh dear! What came out of my mouth was loud, it was descriptive and it was not at all lady-like. I froze with my hand clamped firmly over my mouth too late and my family froze, wide-eyed, looking at me in horror. I blush and squirm just thinking about it. Fortunately my girls saw the funny side of it later and we giggled late into the night about my Most Embarrassing Moment. (Rox's camera was fine, it landed on a little ledge and was retrievable....thankfully) But seriously who wants a mother who does stuff like this??

Then there was the moment when I made a complete (uh, insert rude word for breast) of myself by dropping my shoe between the tube and the platform in London and found myself hopping about a tube on one leg (well would you put your foot down on a dirty tube floor?) to the amusement of half of London.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I have realised that it is time to rid myself of this stupid weakness. I am trying to cultivate a more...gracious, ladylike and dignified persona for myself.

We'll see how that works out for me.........

Post holiday blues

I always feel a bit glum after a nice holiday, but this time it goes way beyond glum. I'm downright miserable! The worst is getting back into my stride at work, it's just not happening and I am SO busy.

"Vat day" and "salary day" (two biggies in my line of work) are looming and all I can think is: Don't these people realise that I may be sitting at my desk, looking interested, but in my head I am actually floating about in a gondola, sipping on a chilled prosecco, watching gorgeous Italian men parade by? Who cares about trial balances and bank statements? Puhleez, leave me alone with my fantasies.....

Oh dear....

European Experience 2009

We're back! We had such a brilliant time! I kept a journal the whole time we were away and I've decided to transfer it all to a blog, so if you have the urge to read all about it and see a couple of the photos, you can find the blog here. I've only just started, but I aim to get the whole thing "done and dusted" as soon as possible, while it's all still fresh in my mind - which means I won't be around here very much for a bit! Oh and I'll be popping over to see what you've all been up to while I've been away as soon as I get a moment.

Another update

Internet access has been very sporadic......

We have had THE most amazing time! Wow! I am going to be boring you guys for months with all my stories....

In Switzerland at the moment, off to Paris tomorrow and then back to England. It's all going way to quickly.

Bye for now

Quick update

My sms roaming on my phone is not working ;-( so I can't update to twitter.

Just wanted to let you guys know that we are having the MOST divine time!

We had all sorts of travel hassles to begin with: Imagine this - we get on the plane at Dbn and you know how I hate planes...... Taxi off to the runway and there is a problem with the plane! Freak out! We had a one and a half hour delay, finally got on another plane and very, very nearly missed our Heathrow flight in JHB... stress. Anyway, we finally made it to London unscathed.

And boy have we been busy since then! We did Tussauds, we shopped (Rox's baggage didn't make it to London with us...) We did the Hop-on hop-off bus. Very, very exciting - I met my first ever real live blogger! Jeanne from Cooksister. She is SUCH a sweetie.

And then yesterday we started our European tour. After meeting our tour group in London we bused down to Dover and then caught the ferry from Dover to Calais where we boarded our tour bus. We drove through Belgium - beautiful green countryside and the fattest, most content-looking cows I have ever seen - and on to Amsterdam. I LOVE Amsterdam! The canals and canalside homes, the it's beautiful. We did a quick soujorn into the red-light district and then had a lovely Chinese dinner. And today we have had a gorgeous brekkie and are now heading off to Germany. yay!!


Paula is packing!!

We are leaving in less than 24 hours, so life Chez Richardson is pretty hectic right now!

We're all really excited, nervous and hyped-up. Rushing around like Duracell Bunnies :-)

I hope to post at least a couple of times while I'm away, but we'll have to see how that works out.
In the meantime, keep well, keep blogging and think of me strutting around Europe LOL!

Oh and if you want to follow along, I will be updating my Twitter daily - look down there on the left :-)

Horrible realisation

This weekend I discovered that I am more like a man than I thought..... and no, I have not discovered any extra body parts.....

I have a head cold, a nasty head cold. You know how you get the "ugly cry" well I get the "ugly cold" equivalent of that. All snotty, red nose, watering red eyes, cracked lips..... you get the picture. It's not pretty. And the worst of it is I am behaving just like a man!

Yesterday I took to my bed and I was pathetic in the extreme. I found myself doing that whimpery, whiny, sick-man kind of thing. You know, the croaky "Please bring me some ginger tea, I feel too sick to get off the bed, sniff, sniff" thing. Stagger to the toilet, clutching my brow.... all that kind of stuff. Too embarrassing for words....

Living in a shade of grey: Part One

Is it just me or do most of you find yourself living permanently in a grey area?

When I was a know-it-all teenager I had this idealistic view of what my life as an adult would be like. In “The World According to Gill”, all was black and white – no grey areas whatsoever. I had rules I was going to live by, I had a plan! When you read the next bit you’ll realise that I also seemed to be harbouring an almighty superiority complex!

For one thing, my marriage was going to be completely perfect for the simple reason that my spouse and I would communicate effectively! I had come to the conclusion, having witnessed first-hand my mother’s numerous and dire attempts at married life, that the problem with marriages on the whole boiled down to a simple lack of communication. So, in my marriage there would be a wealth of communicating going on. This would be achieved by having regular little meetings, where we would each have an opportunity to calmly and clearly air our grievances. Heaven help me, I intended to run my marriage as if it were a business!

This was probably the first colossal illusion to shatter. When I entered into wedlock at the very tender age of 21, I soon realised with shock and horror that in a real life marriage, even one as “perfect” as mine, communication was frequently reduced to grunts…. and sometimes one party (that would be me!) would retreat into sulky silence…. so much for communication. Welcome to the real world girl!

It dawned on me, really slowly and after a dismal period of disappointment and grieving for that “perfect marriage” I had dreamt of, that marriage is pretty much a grey area. It’s not a matter of it being either perfectly wonderful or absolutely dreadful. Good, honest marriage is lived somewhere in the middle of the two. It’s largely made up of those simple, ordinary, everydays, with bits of bliss and bits of misery sprinkled, seemingly randomly, in-between. It’s taken me a while, but now I can happily say that I’m perfectly okay with that!

One week!

We leave for our overseas jaunt exactly one week from today. I can't believe how time has flown!

Right now I am surprisingly cool and calm about the whole thing. I have made an awesome packing list (as you can imagine!) and 1001 to-do lists for myself and various other family members, so I am actually feeling quite on top of things at the mo. Probably because I haven't had much time to think about it!

For those of us lucky enough to wangle Monday off work, last weekend was a 4 day weekend. We got to spend the weekend in Pietermaritzburg of all places. Not that I have anything against PMB as such. During my years in Greytown, 'Martizburg was our nearest city and I spent an awful lot of time there and grew to love "Sleepy Hollow". But it's not the place I'd choose to spend a weekend.

Paula was recently chosen to be a member of our district's under 14 hockey team and this was the reason for our soujourn to 'Maritzburg. The provincial hockey tournament took place there over the weekend. Because of Grant's inordinately big mouth, he found himself in the position of Team Manager. So Rox and I got to spend the weekend at a B&B and Grant had the privilege of sleeping in a hostel, with only a handful of other men and a couple of floors full of noisy teenage girls. Geez I felt sorry for him!! Leaving him there all defenceless felt like driving a lamb to slaughter.

That being said, things actually went relatively well until Sunday night. Sunday night was an unadulterated nightmare. After supper Rox and I got back to our (as it turned out, rather dodgy) B&B to discover that the manageress person had gone off and left her sidekick in charge. Said side-kick was socialising with about 6 rather inebriated men in the back-yard.... By 10pm when the noise levels showed no signs of decreasing and the inebriated fellows had taken to walking up and down the passage, Rox and I decided to take our chances with the teenagers in the hostel! We jumped in the car with the bare necessities and arrived on Grant's doorstep. Like dealing with a whole bunch of whiny, exhausted teenagers wasn't enough - the poor thing now had whiny, disgruntled wife and daughter to contend with.....!

So for the first time in our lives, we got to experience hostel life. I can tell you I am extremely glad I never had to live in a hostel!! Non-stop noise, hideous bedrooms, draughty passages and total lack of privacy in the bathrooms.....definitely NOT my style!

And then the gastric flu struck..... By morning Grant and a couple of the other coaches/managers were "man down", our Under 14 goalie had succumed and was crouched over a bucket and was in no state to do anything... A hostel is an unhappy place to be IMO at the best of times, but when gastro steps in.....eish!!!

Thankfully we had only one match left to get through! We played with a goalie who had never been a goalie before, a few girls who were looking exceedingly pale and waif like (you're not actively vomiting girl, of course you can play!), 2 girls (including Paula) who actually limped onto the field and for half of the game we were a player short!!... it was not pretty! And yet those girls played their hearts out! I was so proud of them! We had to play one of the strongest teams in the tournament - who all looked very robust and had reserves aplenty - and the score ended up being 4-2 to them. Brilliant all considered.

So that was our weekend. I am still recovering!!

Good grief woman, get a grip!

We finally went and saw "17 Again" last night - Grant included, he would never openly admit it, but I think he actually likes chick-flicks and teeny-bopper movies. Or maybe he has learnt to tolerate them by force of circumstance?

Anyway, the thing is, and I am deeply ashamed to admit it, but I have developed this alarming crush on Zac Efron.... In the words of Katy Perry, "I was disgusted with myself" when I realised I was licking my lips at the mere sight of him on the big screen, having to wipe away a trail of drool from my chin..... Eeuuww there is something very disturbing about a matronly 40-something year old woman having decidedly dirty thoughts about a rather effeminate 20-something year old. But there you have it, I think he is smoking hot!! Yummy!!

Rox is adamant that he is gay. Could be. I have always had a thing for gay guys. I like my men clean, tidy, sensitive, cute......pretty much sums up 99% of the gay population doesn't it? (If you're reading this Charlie, don't be scared of meeting for coffee I won't hit on you I promise!!) The girls laugh at me because if I point out a cute guy to them, nine times out of ten his boy-friend suddenly appears around the corner.... Just as well I'm happily married, I'd be completely hopeless at trying to find a boy-friend!

Which leads me to wonder how on earth I find myself married to a big hunky, untidy (but clean!), not particularly sensitive, alpha-male kind of dude? My friends were all very surprised when I fell head over heels for Grant, but no-one was more surprised than me! He didn't tick one of the boxes I sub-consciously measured all my boy-friends against. The thing is we click. In some weird and unlikely way, we really, really suit each other.

I know for a fact that I could not live happily with one of the clean, sensitive, obsessively tidy guys that I am naturally attracted to; not for 5 minutes - that'd be waaaay too much angst and obsessiveness in one house. Nope. I need Grant to push my boundaries, to challenge me, to not put up with my sh%t, to give me a sharp reality check every now and then. And he'd never admit it but Grant would be lost without me - he needs me to be the one fretting about things, making lists, moaning about the mess, nagging about tasks left undone... Truth be told, every now and again when no-one is around he actually admits this!

The other night I was lying in bed after Grant had had a particularly alpha-male, butch kind of day and I was pondering these very things; wondering how on earth I find myself happily married to a man who likes to drink beer and sweat and watch violent movies.... shudder.. and then he leant over and kissed me good-night and then he cradled the little kitten that was nestled between our pillows and he kissed her good-night too and suddenly I knew why I married him..... somewhere in amongst all that testosterone there is my sensitive, loving dream come true!

Twas my baby's birthday

Yesterday was my Paula's 14th birthday!  I had planned to do a birthday post for her, but coming so close on the heels of her First Communion, I decided not to.  Rox however did do a birthday post for Paula and I'd love it if you would pop over and have a look at it.  It's really special, especially her very, very special photo of Paula!!  Click here 

3 Weeks to go!

I had a bit of a wobbly about our overseas holiday at the start of this week. In fact you may have read my post about it, which I later deleted when I realised how totally ridiculous I was being. Anyway, most of my little issues have now been resolved and I am once again feeling quite excited about our holiday. So I thought I would tell you a bit about it.

We're doing the European Experience with Trafalgar Tours and we're also spending some time in Guildford and in London. On the tour we will be spending nights in: Amsterdam, Rhineland, Innsbruck, Venice, Rome (2 nights), Florence, Lucerne (2 nights) and Paris (2 nights).

Once back from the tour we get to spend a few nights with our friends in Guildford. While we're with them the girls are going to spend some time at Thorpe Park and we're also going to Windsor and hopefully we'll squeeze in a trip to one of my favourite places - Burley in the New Forest.

Then we're off to London. We're going to try to cram an awful lot into our time in London! On our itinerary we have: Madame Tussauds, Regents Park, Hop-on hop-off bus (you get to see all the important sights on the bus), the Tower, Greenwich, Little Venice, Camden market, Harrods, Covent Garden, Changing of the Guard, National Gallery, British Museum, Kensington Palace, London Eye, a London Walk and all sorts of exciting bits and pieces in-between. We've pencilled in plenty of shopping time to keep Rox happy as well ;-) And we plan a fair bit of socialising too! Shew!

It's all very exciting and when I am not getting tied up in knots over details, I am actually counting the days. We'll probably have to take a week off to recover when we get back though....I wish!

Who wants to house sit?

I love my parents in law for many reasons, the chief of them being the fact that every time we go away on holiday I hand them the following notes, and they still manage to smile and wave as we drive away. If anyone handed me something like this I would shriek, turn tail and run!!!


REMOTES – the white button is gate, green button is garage, red button is a panic button and the blue one is to put the burglar alarm off.

BURGLAR ALARM – If the alarm goes off it can be de-activated by pressing the XXXX button on the gate remote. The password for the alarm (if ADT Security phones they may ask you for it) is XXXXX. The phone number for ADT Security is xxx xxx xxxx

EUNICE – Eunice will be at the house from about 8am until about 4 or 5pm on Tuesdays and Fridays. She has her own remote and will let herself in. She knows exactly what to do and can be left to it.

VIVIENNE – is the gardening lady, Eunice is in charge of her and will pay her and feed her. Eunice does the hiring and firing of the garden people, so don’t be alarmed if a new gardener suddenly appears, it happens quite often.

CHLOE AND NALA – they get fed and watered every morning. The dog food is in the blue bin near the washing machine. They get a bowl of the dry crumbles each, in the silver dishes. Please keep the dishes far apart or Chloe won’t let Nala eat. The water goes in the big blue bowl.

LILO – Lilo lives on the verandah by the lounge and is fed and watered there, her feeding regime is the same as Chloe and Nala. Don’t worry if Lilo and Chloe have a go at each other every now and then, they have a personality clash happening, we are leaving them to work it out. She is inclined to bark at night, but if you yell at her she usually stops. She is also inclined to walk outside when you open the gate to go out. Just keep an eye on her and shout at her and she will wander back inside. I always wait to make sure the gate closes with her inside before I drive off, just in case.

JACKIE – Jackie gets fed inside by the garage door. She gets fed at the same time as the cats and has a small handful of her crumbles (on the floor near the broom cupboard) mixed with Husky morning and evening - (don’t worry if she doesn’t eat, sometimes she just doesn’t and she hasn’t died yet!) Jackie needs to be taken out first thing in the morning, out the kitchen side, you have to stand and watch her for some unknown reason.

ZIP – He gets fed morning and night – a handful of his crumbles (large ones in Tupperware on dishwasher) and in a separate dish ½ a sachet of his cat food (in fridge on right, more in big cupboard) He does not get water because he refuses to drink it, he drinks out of the dirty mugs that are in the sink – I know this is bizarre, but it’s how he likes it!

PEPSI – Pepsi eats on top of the hot tray. She eats morning and night and she has a dish of her crumbles (small ones on top of dishwasher) and a dish of her tinned food – about 2 dessertspoons. She has fresh water, but also likes a little dish with half milk, half water once a day, if she starts squeaking a lot that is what she is asking for. Please don’t be alarmed if Pepsi and Zip look like they are killing each other when they play, Zip sometimes gets Pepsi in a grip and it can look quite scary, but Pepsi goes back for more every time.

TRIP SWITCHES – there are two trip boards, one in the cupboards above the fridges and one in the garage, in the corner that backs onto the kitchen. Often if there is rain, the pool filter can make the lights trip – the switch for that is on the garage trip board. If this happens, just leave that switch (the far right one) down and it should then be okay. If you have a problem you can usually phone Grant and he can talk you through it but this time he won’t be much use will he?? (he has to talk me through it frequently!)

THE WATER FILTER needs to be topped up every now and then, just take the lid off the top and pour a jug or two of water in.

POOL PROUD – They come on a Friday afternoon between 4:30 and 5 usually. Just let them in, they will sort the pool out and then hoot when they need to be let out. Sometimes they come twice a week.

RUBBISH DAY – is on Tuesday and Eunice will take the rubbish out.

LOCKING UP AT NIGHT – We lock the doors but don’t faff too much about the windows. Zip likes to go in and out of the various windows during the night. If Jackie goes out before bedtime (you have to go with her and it takes a while!), she is usually okay until morning, but she does sometimes poop in the garage…unfortunately. The keys for the door in the lounge live inside the xxxxxxxxx.

WASHING MACHINE – put the clothes in, push the red button, then the green one – it will do it’s thing, then when the water starts running in you put the Woolies washing liquid (there are two lines on the cap, I fill to the second line) into the dispenser (it works better if you pour it in the powder side for some reason!) no need for fabric softener, close the lid and then push the “rinse” and “spin” buttons at the same time (to stop the cat from messing with the buttons, this is an important step!)

DISH WASHER – load the dishes (the blue plates go in the top, white big plates don’t fit in at all and have to be handwashed, damn!) put the powder into the dispenser which is on the inside of the door, twist knob to No.1 and push on off button. It is normal for the dishwasher to make some very weird noises and it has taken to tripping the lights – I get a sense that my Christmas present is going to be a new dishwasher!

OVEN – the oven is now working perfectly, yay, at last!! I usually give it about ½ hour to warm up.

WATER the stop cock thingy is in the bottom right of our property if you are standing in the driveway with the pool behind you. If by some twist of fate there is a burst pipe (Please, NO!) then the person to phone is Keith Langton Plumbing xxx xxx xxxx

EMERGENCY NUMBERS – all the relevant numbers are on a piece of paper stuck on the side of the computer.

PETE AND GERDA – They said if there is anything at all that you need (sick dogs needing the vet – Pete has a bakkie…. Any dramas… whatever) please give them a ring. There numbers are: Home: xxx xxx xxxx, Gerda: xxx xxxx xxxx and Pete: xxx xxx xxxx

CEILING FAN – I seriously hope you won’t be needing to use the ceiling fan in the lounge. I have tried hard to learn how to use it and from what I can gather, you have to turn it on at the wall and then take the remote and stand under the fan, point the remote at it press some buttons, swear, bang it against your thigh, press some buttons, swear…… I have asked the family numerous times if there isn’t a simpler way and they assure me that this is the only way!!! So I don’t use it.

BUSTER – There is sometimes a big commotion in the bottom corner of our garden – that means that Buster is walking on the wall or has jumped into our yard. He’s a skinny little brown dog that lives in the house at the bottom of our garden. We just ignore him and he usually goes home.

MONKEYS – “Blue Balls” is being starved out of his troop by a new young fellow and has taken to coming into the kitchen and stealing fruit and bread. That is why the fruit bowl now lives in the cupboard. He is a nuisance, but I haven’t quite figured out how to stop him. The windows need to stay open for the cats and he can climb through the windows. What to do??

Paula's First Communion

The concept of First Communion is a relatively new one in the Anglican Church. In my day we were Confirmed at about 12 years of age and were then able to take communion. Nowdays they prefer children to be Confirmed when they are older, at about 16 years of age. If they would like to take communion before then, they can go through a period of preparation at about 12 years of age or older and are then formally Admitted to Communion. Paula and her group of friends have been attending classes every Friday and they were the first group of youngsters to ever be Admitted to Communion in our church.

Please try to look past the fact that Paula is the only girl who is not wearing a dress! The decision that they should wear white was made at the "11th hour" and because of hockey matches we were unable to go shopping for anything more appropriate! I was having a fit about it, but Paula was totally unfazed - she doesn't possess a dress and has no intention of changing that at any time soon ;-)

Birthday wishes and a big vent!

Happy Birthday Eunicie!

You're looking at one of my very favourite people in the world. Eunice means so much to me, she has touched my life in such a profound and unexpected way and I love her very, very dearly. Our relationship defies description, but there is no doubt that we love each other and look out for each other and probably get along a whole lot better than most mothers and daughters. She's taught me more about unconditional love than anyone else I know.


Which is why I just have to post this next little vent. I really didn't want to spoil my birthday tribute to Eunice with this, but I just have to get it off my chest. My blood is literally boiling.

As I was leaving work today I popped in to say goodbye to Eunice and we had a little chat. In the course of our conversation she told me about an incident that happened at church on Sunday.

Eunice attends a Sunday afternoon service for Zulu speakers at a local church. An elderly Zulu pastor conducts these services on a voluntary basis. During the service on Sunday the white pastor walked into the church and looked up at the air conditioner, walked into another room, came back, interrupted the service, called the Zulu pastor to the side and asked him why the airconditioner was on, the Zulu pastor explained that it was on when he got there, probably put on by one of the ladies in the congregation who readies the church for the services, the white pastor got a bit upset, saying it should not be on, walked across the room, picked up the air con remote, switched it off and walked out shaking his head and muttering under his breath. Eunice said the congregation were really upset, well obviously!

To my way of thinking this is just SO disgusting and disgraceful on SO many levels!! For anyone to behave like this is really, really bad, but for a pastor......!!

I generally like to live with rose-coloured spectacles firmly on my nose, I like to believe that on the whole most South Africans are actually getting along just fine. Yes we have the odd racist idiot out there, both black and white; but the majority of us are doing okay. We're living side by side and it's going just fine. Of late those spectacles have been knocked a bit askew and this incident has pretty much wiped them right off my face.

Eunice is not a racist person at all. (In a previous election we had a farcical situation where I was trying to convince Eunice to vote with me for a predominantly "black" political party and Eunice was trying to convince me to vote with her for a party which is generally perceived as being "white") So how does this make her feel? If I was her I would become totally militant on the spot!

What the hell (exercising admirable self restraint here) is the matter with these people?? Who the ...hell does this a-hole think he is? What right has he to come and insult (by his actions) a dignified old pastor who was probably sitting there preaching "Do unto others...." and "Love your neighbour.....".

This is a prime example of why I am going off organised religion FAST. I know he was acting in his private capacity, but there are just too many "men of the cloth" out there who get up on a Sunday and preach all the right words and in their private lives they live out something completely different. Idiots!

What hope is there for this country if this kind of thing goes on? Grant and I walk in the mornings and we greet each and every person that walks past us. I was just thinking the other morning that it's a bit hurtful the number of black people that refuse to greet us back. Quite honestly I thought we were over that kind of stuff in this country. If someone greets you, you greet back surely? Well after hearing about Eunice's experience I fully understand why half the people in this neighbourhood look at me like I am some kind of racist bigot. If the local preacher is a practising racist.....


It doesn't happen very often, but every now and again I have a "Wow!" moment and I just had one that I want to share with you.

I don't like to brag about my girls. I think they are blooming marvellous, I think I have the most amazing daughters on this earth, but I am very aware that every mom feels that way about her offspring. But I do admit that I have been blessed with two very special young ladies to share my life. They inspire and amaze me every single day.

Today Rox inspired me in a very special way with one of her blog posts and gave me a wonderful "Wow!" moment - pop along to her blog and have a look.

Along came Chloe

Rox had her hair coloured today. She's trying to grow it and it's at that awful inbetween stage - it's driving her nuts! It was definitely time for a bit of colour to pep it up and make her feel better about herself. So she spent this afternoon at the hairdressing salon, having her hair done and her ego boosted. Once it was all done and she was feeling nice and pretty again, she wanted me to take a couple of photos, so that she could update her profile pic on facebook.

Sounds simple enough no? But then along came Chloe!

Chloe is definitely a bit of an attention seeker... Remember this one!

Bring in the Men in White Coats!

I could not sleep last night and as you know, I am a creature who needs her sleep or else I become seriously nasty! There I was, tossing and turning until the wee hours, getting more and more panic stricken as the numbers flashed by on my bedside clock.

I am embarrassed to admit it, but part of the reason for this bout of insomnia is our overseas trip which happens in less than 40 days. You see I am hard at work developing a fear of flying. It's crazy, it's ridiculous, I do NOT have a fear of flying. I have done quite a lot of flying in my life time - being the child of divorced parents does that to you. I have flown to the UK as recently as 2001 - exactly 9 days after the Twin Tower debacle in fact! I was very brave that time. If you don't believe me just ask Rox, she was the one holding me down when the Osama Bin Laden look-alike sat down directly across the aisle from me.

Back to the point: I have never had a problem with flying. In fact I get a kick out of the adrenalin rush at take off. Well I used to. The thing is I seem to have developed a strong aversion to adrenalin rushes in my middle age. And now I am developing a fear of the Fear of Flying. My mind is filled with "what ifs". What if I am overcome with terror as I get on the plane and have a panic attack and make a complete ar$e out of myself (like I did at the gynae that time)? What if I suddenly develop a bizarre and irrational urge to flee the aircraft? It's ridiculous! Why am I doing this to myself? In some misguided way my mind seems intent on creating a problem where there isn't one.... And it seems to want to do it the minute I lay down and shut my eyes at night.

So this is what I was up to when I should have been sleeping last night. And then I hit on a brilliant idea. I would meditate. Meditation would serve a two-fold purpose: (1) It would put me to sleep and (2) If I practice meditation enough, I would be able to use it when I get on the plane to keep me from ripping my clothes from my frenzied body and screaming my head off during take off. Brilliant! Inspired idea.

Now bear in mind that I have had no real practical lessons in how to meditate, but I have read about it quite extensively in womens magazines and such.

So lets do this thing! I decided to employ the technique of (a) focusing on slow and steady breaths and (b) clenching and then relaxing my muscles, starting at my feet and working my way up. (Hopefully I would be asleep before I had to clench my brain, as I have yet to figure out how to do that...)

So there I lay and this is how it went:
Get comfortable lying on my back...there..that feels good... ooops I have a wedgie, that won't do, okay, with a ping of elastic wedgie is gone...alright, settle now.... breathe: in...... out..... this feels good, quite relaxed now....pyjama pants feel a bit twisted, but I'm sure that will be fine..... okay, clench toes -and- relax....I'm definitely getting the hang of this.... breathe....clench calves.....Okay, a dog has just jumped on the bed, but that's fine, I will ignore her and she will lie down...where was I? oh yes, clench calves....relax...clench do you clench your thighs without clenching your butt muscles? try, my butt muscles will insist on clenching...maybe I should do some pelvic floor exercises while I'm at it...I wonder how necessary it is for a woman who never gave birth naturally to do pelvic floor exercises? I think I must Google that tomorrow to find out....where was I? Oh yes, I am just going to move directly on to clenching my tummy muscles, I seem to have taken care of the whole pelvic region....
Boy I'm getting good at this...any minute now I'll be ready to go to an ashram! I wonder if I want to go to an ashram in India? that my brother-in-law is living in India it would be a good time to go to an ashram, we could kill two birds with one stone - visit Geoff and head off to an ashram for a spiritual experience.... Would I like it at an ashram I wonder? Would they make me do yoga there too - I suppose so...remember that time I tried yoga and put my neck out.... I suppose there would be some very learned and mystic yogi at an ashram... Remember that funny but disgusting song I heard the other day - "Yogi, yogi bear, he's a yogi bear" ...Siss, it was very rude...but quite funny....Now I have that silly song going round and round in my mind...What did that book say? Allow the thought to drift through your mind, but don't let it settle...that's what I'll do, the silly song will drift through my mind, but it won't settle....."Suzie she likes whips and chains - kinky, kinky"...silly, silly song... gross really "Sis Gill, en die op 'n Sondag" (And before you ask, yes, I do find it disturbing that I talk to myself. In Afrikaans. In the third person.)- I must say, I liked Allie's post about Sexpo... clever idea her church had....Imagine our church putting up a stand at Sexpo!! Snorts, Hee, hee, never going to happen (We're Anglican, average age of congregation 75) Good grief...wasn't I supposed to be meditating???

Doggedly devoted

99% of the time I prefer dogs to humans. Given the choice of a human or canine companion I’d pick the canine every time. Does that make me a little eccentric? Quite probably. Does that worry me? Not at all. I like it that way.

Dogs are just so straight forward. There’s no pretence, none of this nonsense of having to listen to what the person is saying, but at the same time read their body language to know what’s actually going on. There’s no reading between the lines. With dogs you know what’s going on, it’s obvious.

Dogs are completely upfront. If they dislike you, you know all about it; on the other hand if they love you to bits they’re completely upfront about that too. I like that about dogs.

Take Rud for example: Rud belongs to my Dad and Impi. Although he lives with them, over at my Dad’s house, and on paper is their dog, Rud has chosen me to be his “person”. Rud adores me and he makes this utterly obvious. There is no doubt in my mind that this dog would risk life and limb for me. How many people can I say that about?

Is he not the most gorgeous creature?
At the moment I am nursing Rud through a nervous breakdown. Rud (his full name is Rutherford, poor fellow - that probably accounts for a number of his issues) came to live with my Dad when he was a "teenager" and it appears that he suffered some abuse at his previous residence. He is a verrrry nervous boy and although he is large and has a well-developed bark his appearance belies his gentle, fragile nature.

For the last couple of weeks my Dad has had painters at his house and this has caused Rud to suffer a nervous breakdown. For about 10 days Rud had to spend my working hours (in case you’re new here, I work in the granny flat on my Dad’s property) under my desk. Bearing in mind that Rud is a Great Dane-cross-Rhodesian Ridgeback, you’ll understand why those 10 days were excruciatingly uncomfortable for me and rather disconcerting for my clients. Fortunately my clients only pop around once in a blue moon, so Rud and I only had a couple of visitors to contend with…and the computer repair man who had a hard time dealing with my badly behaved computer and scary looking dog all at once – but that’s another story! (I am of course way more concerned with Rud’s well-being than my clients’ momentary discomfort – but we’ll keep that between us okay? Wouldn’t want The Boss to fire me now would we!)

Like me, he's camera-shy!
Thankfully the painters have finally left and with a whole bunch of Tender Loving Care, Rud has reached the point where he feels comfortable venturing out from under the desk and now spends his mornings lying on my office floor in a patch of sun. He still feels the need to follow me to the loo and sometimes tries to climb through my car window when I leave, but we are making progress. The family thinks I am mad the way I nurture this dog, but really I don’t care. Rud loves me, he thinks I’m the greatest. The fact that I am a cranky, over-weight middle aged woman matters not one jot to him, in his eyes I am perfect. That kind of devotion totally deserves my respect!!