Category Archives: General

Why I can’t be a mommy blogger anymore.


I mean this as no offence to my friends who have mommy blogs. You carry on wit yo bad selves, do yo thang, guurl.

I used to read blogs like fashion interns read Cosmo. A lot. Then I stopped. It was also at this point that I stopped writing. The two are interconnected in that the more I read about other people’s lives, the less I wanted to share about my own. It became dull and boring; we were all saying the same thing. And let’s be honest for a second, we were all advertising the same product sponsored by the same brand. Aside from that, it’s also connected to the fact that the older my children get, the less “help” and validation I need. Also, I have no right to infringe on my children’s privacy any longer. I started this blog as a way to document the early years of my children’s lives. As my blog name suggests, I wanted this to be a space for them to relish the good, the bad and the ugly of their first few years as humans. I think I have achieved that goal. They are now at the age where I feel I owe it to them to decide if they want the WWW to know about their lives or not. I’m not disconnecting from social media  – I mean IG gives me LIFE, but I do not feel obliged to share the intimate details of our lives on this space any longer. I must be getting old.

If I must be honest, I far more enjoy IG for a picture and snippet of what’s going on in your life. I just cannot read another long blog post about what you did today or what you had for dinner or what’s going on in your life currently. When my kids were little, it was wonderfully cathartic to spew everything out in this space. So I get that, I do. But I’ve evolved, my interests have evolved. And I’ve evolved as a writer. I’m more interested in your opinion on current affairs, your religious views and what shaped them, why you think the way you do and who told you it was right. I’ve not gone completely Oprah, it appears I can’t shake off my offbeat Freudian vibe as hard as I try, so I’m all about human behaviour… I want to know what keeps you up at night, what gets you going in the morning, what’s your favourite song and why. You see, I thirst after stories that make you, YOU. Stories that leave me feeling SOMETHING. Good or bad. I love a story that enlightens me, evokes emotions and stirs up a response that makes me want to leave a long-ass comment underneath your post. I feel like my stories weren’t doing that. And don’t get me wrong, your little space on the internet is YOURS. You can do whatever the heck you want to with that space; this is about me. So yes, my stories were becoming tedious and dull. But I still want to write. Bloggers say our blogs are for us and that may be true. But give me a break, our blogs are for the readers, we want our blogs to be read by others, we want to see our stats rising and we want to see commentators saying things like “yes, I identify, preach it sister!” or “your opinion sucks” or whatever. Blogging is symbiotic. Otherwise we’d write in journals or on typewriters and never hit the share button, right?

Where am I going with is?

I’m changing things up around here. I want to write about stuff that baffles my brain so that you can help me formulate answers. I want you to unequivocally know my hard limits and to challenge me on those. I don’t want to advertise anything unless it’s something I’d actually pay hard cash for myself. I want to use this space for lots of naval gazing, for spewing out rhetoric on things that make me froth at the mouth.

This will no longer be a memoir for my munchkins.

I may use my children to illustrate a point here and there… they are fine specimens and my greatest teachers, and I may use motherhood as an interlude because I think my experience could teach you a lot about how NOT to do life.

And I don’t know much more than that.

2017 will be the year of completion and transformation. Please hang around while I figure this blogging thing out. I hope you’ll respond in the way you always have, I hope my mommy blogger-friends aren’t going to snub me in aisle #3 in Dis-chem after reading this. It’s because of you that this blog even exists. Join me on this metamorphosis and let’s see which *rabbit hole we’ll go down together.

Xxx

*Rabbit hole may refer to: “Down the rabbit hole”, a metaphor for an entry into the unknown, the disorienting or the mentally deranging, from its use in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. a slang expression for a psychedelic experience.

Tact. Full Disclosure.


I’ve had it on my heart to write about this for a while, but at the risk of putting myself out there or offending someone, I’ve kinda put it off. But now I think it’s time for full disclosure.

I’m a talk-now-think-later sort of person. I can run off at the mouth and very often later regret what I divulged. I’m impulsive and I generally say what I think. I don’t think this is cool. I don’t think it’s a great quality to possess. In fact, I think it’s quite off putting.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for speaking your mind and “putting people in their place” when the situation calls for it. I’m all for honesty upfront and cards on the table and that bravado that let’s you call out bull dust as soon as you see it.

But. Tact.

Tact.

I believe that being able to guard your thoughts, being able to think something through in your mind, even if it’s just for 3 seconds before you spit it out, being able to hold back when your mind is  screaming at you to pounce… THAT right there is an art. And it’s called tact.

There are some people who have tact down to an art. My mother is one of these people. My mother has such a way of saying things that you cannot help but listen and obey. It’s incredible. She doesn’t shout. Ever. She doesn’t use big words or frighten you into action. She just chooses her words tactfully, her words soothe over you and have the right effect on the listener. Like she could tell you that you totally suck or that your hairstyle doesn’t suit you or that you are not a very nice person, without you being offended at all. And yet you would have absolutely gotten the message. It’s amazing.

There is power in the spoken word. Often HOW we say things is much more pertinent than the actual words we use. But the words we use also have the ability to make or break the intended message.

I am so tired of running my mouth. It’s like a bad hangover, when I wake up the next morning and I regret how I said something, or why I said something. And I replay the scene over and over again in my head and I analyse how I coulda/shoudla said it better. And then you are consumed with anxiety as to how that poor person on the receiving end is feeling. You see, we’ve all been on the other side. I think we’ve all been in a situation where someone has said really hurtful things to or about you, where the person has ripped your heart to shreds with the words spoken to or against you. Sometimes it’s in the heat of an argument and we think it’s OK, but long after the argument is over, the words remain. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be the crass, ballsy, vitriol-spewing person that I know I can be.

And yes, there is a big difference between being loud, fun loving and the life of the party versus the person who always wants to be right, who’s opinion MUST be heard and who says whatever they feel with no holds barred. You see, I used to think I was the former, but often that line is blurred with the latter. And sometimes I don’t even know who I am. I do.not.want.to.be.the.latter.

So I’ve been praying about tact; believe me it’s a spiritual thing. I know this because I have tried/ I BEEN trying to work on it and still I can’t help but POUNCE. If I was an animal, I’d be Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh: the ultimate POUNCER. Also, people in my circle have been dealing with word issues.. words said out of context / words that hurt / words WOrds WORDS that didn’t even NEED to be said but now it’s too late and those words are out there. I believe the world would be a better place if we all just developed a bit of tact. If the world didn’t view tact as a weakness, I think we’d be onto something. Because that’s what the world thinks, if you hold your tongue, if you allow other people to have their piece while you silently observe… you’re weak. And that could not be further from the truth.There is true strength, beauty and grace in saying what you have to say so that it does not demean, demerit or destruct the next person.  And it takes bravery to say what you have to say while keeping the hearer’s feelings paramount. Be brave.

It’s a journey of self discovery, I guess.

A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent. Proverbs 17: 27-28

This is my jam. And it says succinctly, what I’ve been trying to say in 835 words.

 

 

I went to Tanzania with Coca-Cola


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The nice people over at Coca-Cola invited me, along with 9 other bloggers and journalists from around the world, to visit Tanzania to explore and understand their social responsibility initiatives in this part of the world.

It was an exciting, eye opening and humbling experience. The words I write here, will not do this experience justice because until one tastes and touches this landscape for themselves, it is hard to describe the emotion that you see on people’s faces, it is hard to explain the number of lives that are being positively changed or how different this world is, to the one I live in. But I will try.

It was hot. I grew up in Durban so I am  not unaccustomed to high humidity levels, but the humidity in Dar Es Salaam is stifling and suffocating. It’s that kind of heat that envelopes you and makes you instantly tired. If I had any hopes of slapping on some make up and GHD’ing my hair every day, they were dashed that first moment I stepped off the aeroplane. The city itself reminds me a lot of Thailand, the poor and the rich coexist; there are run down buildings next to posh hotels. It is surprisingly clean, and there are no beggars at every traffic light, although there are hawkers trying to sell you nuts and Coca-Cola at every stop. The traffic is insane but people don’t seem to be bothered by it like our resident-road-rage-joburgers.

Our first stop was at the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in Dar Es Salaam. It was fascinating to witness the behind-the-scenes work that goes into that cold drink you buy in your local shop. We even got to see the secret syrup that makes Coke, COKE.  This here, is a Buddy bottle:

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We were then introduced to my most favourite project: #Projectlastmile. Isn’t it freaking ridiculous that you can get a Coke anywhere in the world, in the deepest darkest parts of Africa, in small villages which aren’t even on the map… and yet… people are dying from treatable diseases because they have no access to medicines. Not because there are no medicines. There ARE medicines. There are medicines which are reaching their expiry dates in warehouses. There ARE medicines which will change people’s lives. But. The medicines can’t reach the people. How sad is that? Coca-Cola have teamed up with USAID, The Global Fund and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to share their business model, their distribution and logistical strategies to help African governments improve their medical supply chains. Thus reaching the Last Mile. Even as I write this, I get goose bumps. We’re all entitled to certain basic commodities, and it breaks my heart that some people don’t have access to the sort of stuff that I take for granted everyday. This project saves lives.

Another initiative which I have to mention is #5by20. In a nutshell, Coca-Cola has committed to empowering 5 million women entrepreneurs  by the year 2020. These women are all previously disadvantaged, the women we met in Tanzania who are benefiting from this project all have an amazing story to tell. One cannot deny how this project has changed their lives, and the lives of not only their families, but the communities they live in. It’s incredible.

” The initiative addresses common barriers women face in the marketplace by providing access to business skills training, financial services and mentoring and networking opportunities. Coca-Cola collaborates with government, civil society and other businesses to customize 5by20 programs to address the needs of female entrepreneurs in specific countries.”

We visited Lillian, who now owns and runs a key distribution centre for Coca-Cola. She started her business with a small push-cart, she endured through a broken marriage which left her penniless, with one daughter. She has grown her business, with the help of Coca-Cola, and her distribution centre can now house 8000 cases of soda. It’s fantastic to witness.

We visited another market place where women are selling food (and Coke of course 🙂 ). Their stalls are powered by solar panels to cook and keep their fridges operational. They run these little stalls and are able to provide for their families, and again uplift the community by providing the service.

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The last project we were introduced to was EKOCENTER. They call it a modular community market. It’s like a “shop” in the middle of an otherwise rural village. It looks quite out of place in its rural surroundings but the impact it is making on this village is incredible. Aside from the fact that it is run by local women entrepreneurs, and aside from the fact that you can buy your food and household items here without having to travel hours to the nearest town.. for me, the most BEAUTIFUL thing about EKOCENTER, is that is provides safe water and solar power. This is like a gift. A gift that we take for granted everyday, yet people right here on our planet, have been denied of it.

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Over and above being exposed to these projects, we got to experience a day in Zanzibar. It was an amazing adventure of visiting a spice farm, Stone Town and spending 20 minutes in  a rather rickety 12 seater plane… but that story I shall share with you another day.

It was an amazing experience, I got to meet some great people from around the world, and more so, I think when one’s eyes are opened to the great need that exists in the world, outside of your perfect little bubble, you cannot go back to being the person you were before.

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While the Coca-Cola company sponsored the trip, I was not compensated in any way for writing about my experiences, nor was I asked to write about my experiences. 

Writers Bootcamp Day 4: I just couldn’t live without…


In no order of importance…

my husband. I could live without him, but I never want to.

my kids. Day 2 of being without them and I miss them. (They are on holiday with their Aunty)

love and laughter. What is life without these two?

WiFi. What? Don’t make like you can.

spooning. Big bodies and small bodies. I love spooning. It’s like instant therapy for free.

my blow dryer. Well if you’ve seen my hair, you’ll know why.

my helper. She makes me life so easy. And my house so clean.

Jesus. Seriously, I would be dead without him.

Bubbly Chocolate. If you want me to like you, just buy me Bubbly.

Google. Who answered all my questions before Google? No idea.

 my words. Although I’m sure my husband could live without my words.

 

Writers Bootcamp Day 3: One of my greatest fears


I am way behind on this challenge due to a mini holiday break , so I’ll catch up as best I can.  Did I mention how liberating it was to be out of contact with the world. No phones, computers, devices – that topic needs a post all to its self.

Anyway.

I didn’t have to think too hard about this topic. I am an over-thinker and an over-analyser by nature, but the things that frighten me the most all relate to my children. Everything else pales in comparison. Largely, I fear for their safety. I fear for their future when I look at our country. I fear for their first broken hearts and for things that I, as their mother, will not be able to fix. I fear for bad report cards and not making friends easily and  for making bad decisions with bad consequences. Logically, I know that every life comes with its fair share of troubles, but I fear for them when trouble strikes. How will they manage? Will I have equipped them enough? Will I be there? Will they be OK?

What I do know is that fear is often something we create all by ourselves in our heads. I know that the things you fear, may never come to pass. I know that fear is a wasted emotion, it is draining, it limits you and often incapacitates you. While it often serves as a warning bell, I do believe that, often, our fears hold us back from experiencing many things – things that could be GOOD for us.  I acknowledge my fears and then I pray about them. Sometimes they go away, sometimes they serve to protect me from making stupid decisions, sometimes they stay forever (I don’t think I’ll ever really feel comfortable in the pitch black).

What are you afraid of?

 

Many things


Hello. Welcome to my new space. Do you like it? I don’t know if I like it yet. Firstly, because I never do black anything. I am a bright-colours type of person. And even though I need the slimming effect of BLACK, you’ll very seldom find me dressed in anything black. I recently got a black car which is weird. I have a few pairs of black shoes and that’s about it. I remember when I dyed my hair black, back in my twenties… urgh, it was awful. My black kettle used to depress me, so I had to replace it with a clear glass one. I just don’t like black, except on my eyelashes.Which reminds me of this which made me LOL!

panda

 Anyway, I’ll be messing around with my blog for a bit until I find something that I fall in love with. Or maybe I won’t mess around at all – I don’t know. It took me half a day just to make these simple changes, clearly I am techno-challenged.

This weekend was a quiet one, which was just what we needed. It’s been all systems go since systems were invented, so the quiet was most welcomed. We had time to reach this milestone:

 This kid was the most excited boy on the block when he got the swing of riding training-wheel free. Clearly he was ready because it took him all of three or four guided pushes from his Dad and he was on his way. Then it took him a few more tries to navigate turning, that made me laugh and I have a few hilarious videos of him falling of his bike while trying to turn. A speech from the biker himself:

 

Have you been watching the Soccer World Cup? I haven’t. I guess this is because my hubby isn’t home during the week so I am not forced to watch it. Apparently it’s the best world cup in so many years; action packed they say. I guess my disinterest is twofold: Bafana Bafana aren’t participating (no surprises there) and I guess the vibe is different when it’s not in your own country! The closest I’ve gotten to the World Cup is receiving a daily email from our office correspondent who sends a mailer out every day with the eye candy playing on that specific day.

Anti malaria medication. How expensive is it?! So technically, our chances of contracting malaria are very slim. Firstly because we are going literally over the border to Ponto de Oura and secondly because we are going off season (winter). So our risk is greatly reduced. However, I would rather play it safe than be sorry, especially as we are travelling with the kids. My initial request from my doctor was to go on the same medication that hubby and I had used two years ago on our last trip to the area. So I didn’t even question the script. When I went to Dischem on Saturday the cost of this drug was R450 per person! That’s more than the petrol we will pay to get there! So I chatted to the pharmacist and my sister (who is using a much cheaper option) and I’ve since asked my doctor to prescribe a cheaper option. Anyway, the scary part about anti malaria medication are the side effects, across all of the different types… most concerning: they could possibly make you go nuts in the head, hallucinate, have very vivid dreams, bring on depression or anxiety attacks, etc, etc! The last thing I need is to be dealing with crazy people in the middle of nowhere! My doctor didn’t seem too concerned so I’m going on her good faith…

The Flu shot. Seriously, I am never getting it again. I never ever get sick. Like never. I have the immune system of an ox, I have a stomach like a concrete mixer. I never catch bugs and viruses that float around and I never get an upset stomach from “bad” food. I’m just generally a healthy person. Well, I use that term loosely. I don’t eat healthily, I just don’t get sick. But this season, I’ve been sick twice, sick enough to go on antibiotics which I haven’t been on in at least 10 years. And NOW I have the sniffles AGAIN. I can blame it on nothing other than that silly injection. It is most annoying, especially as I single parent during the week so there is no time to crawl into bed and feel sorry for myself, I have to function like a healthy person even though I feel like I need to be left ALONE (read: without my children) to wallow in my illness. What are your experiences with the flu jab? Or with illness in general this Winter season? Are you sicker than normal this year? Or is that just me?

And lastly, you’ll notice a little advertisement on the top left hand corner of the blog. That little button allows you to click through to whatever is advertised. Now hear me out before you roll your eyes… I need money, you need money, this is South Africa with escalating petrol prices and scary interest rates.. WE ALL NEED MONEY. So of course when someone says “ok, we’ll give you a few cents every time someone clicks on that little ad” I jumped at the chance. So there you have it, every time you click on that ad, I get a few cents. So can I ask you to click away like your life depends on it? I promise I will only put ads that I think you would be interested in, for example the current advert is a Sheet Street one for really cool kids linen at a really good price! I’m going to get some of that myself, I promise not to advertise anything ridiculous like Crocs (secretly I love Crocs) or such-and-such Bank (that’s just silly, this is a mommy blog, not a financial institute) or a bathroom-drain-unblocking product (although this may be useful to you at some stage in your life). Just keeping it real with you my loyal readers.

 That’s what’s cracking right now in my neck of the woods… how was your weekend?

Random questions I need answers to please.


  1. Has anyone ever actually responded to these sms’s and emails about how you’ve been selected as a recipient for the gazillion dollar estate of the late Mrs Frederica Carrera? Or the one from the Afghanistani soldier who is apparently rolling in the dough and needs to make an urgent deposit into your account. Or how my sim card has won a RICA competition and the prize is  R175 000 and I must contact Mr Molefe to claim my prize. We roll our eyes and hit delete, but has anyone actually contacted these people to claim their millions? Who’s on the other side? What do they actually want from you? Is it just a strategy to build a database of people and their information? Do they steal money out of your bank account? What’s the deal with these things? Come on, be honest, who has responded to these messages? Did you get your share of the deceased estate? It’s ok, we’re all friends here, I won’t judge you.

  1. Do people still use Internet Explorer in the real world? Man alive. I work for a French company and even though we are like on the other end of the world, like so far apart that planes can go missing between us, we all run off one amazing system. By “amazing” I actually mean “stupid.” I don’t know the details but basically our servers are housed in Paris. Now perhaps its only the South African version of Internet Explorer that sucks but these Frenchies insist that we use IE as our main browser. It feels like been back in the days of Nokia 3310. It feels like sending a fax. It feels like listening to dial up internet. It feels like going to an internet café to check your Yahoo account. IT FEELS LIKE THE DARK AGES BASICALLY. Even if I download Chrome sneakily, it doesn’t work. You get a whole lotta French people’s backs up if its detected you are not using IE. So I put it to you, are there any other poor sods using IE? I’d like to start a support group. When will they just ban it forever?

  1. Who pays car guards in shopping centres where you already pay for parking? So I almost always choose undercover parking because I don’t fancy getting heatstroke from getting into a vehicle that has been standing in the sun for too long. But hey, these days it’s not even undercover parking that you are made to pay for. Most shopping centres charge you to park in their parking facility. Fair enough, what can one do. But I get the hee-bee-gee-beez when I unlock my car and I am arrested by people wanting to wash my car (ok shame, these guys I need to just be patient with) and the other dude waving hello and signaling that he will watch my car in exchange for money. Hello? I though the fact that I drove into this premium priced parking space with a boom gate meant that my car was going to be relatively safe. And parking is not cheap I tell you! NOW I must still pay some other random dude to “watch” my car? I don’t get it? And I feel baaaad not to give dude something but really, who’s really been suckered here? More so when he is nowhere near my car and then comes rushing to direct me out of the parking? Oh wait, are these guys just there to direct you out of your parking? Is this like a value added service? Do you pay for parking AND pay the man in his reflective shiny “car guard” jacket?

  1. Who are these people who like their own statuses on Facebook and favourite their own tweets on Twitter? At first I thought it was pretty funny but now it really makes me wonder what goes on in their heads:  “Today is going to be a good day! Happy Tuesday friends!”(Ah, that was such a nice status if I may say so myself, let me like it!) What? No man! Stop it! Look if you’ve really done something amazing like won a hot dog eating competition or picked up all the dog poo in your yard, then yes go ahead and like that status, you deserve it, but liking every single thing you say YOURSELF is a bit weird. I love it that you have such a high self esteem, your ooze confidence, that’s great, really I do believe that you can’t love others unless you love yourself,  but go easy on the public self love. Come on, who are the closet self-likers? Have you ever liked your own status? And pray tell, WHY?? Sidenote: have you ever liked something by mistake? I do this ALL the time while stalking people’s FB pages. And then I quickly unlike. And then I have a sleepless night wondering if the person saw that I liked and unliked. But still, I’d rather mistakenly like someone else’s status than openly like my own.

 

That’s deep, dude.


There is wisdom in perspective.

I read this on a friend’s BBM status last night and it really struck a chord with me. We’ve been praying for a certain situation for the longest time. And those of you who pray will know that when your prayers don’t seem to be answered in the way you WANT them to be answered, or WHEN you want them to be answered… one’s prayers sway between many levels… I’ve gone from a faithful prayer, to a whiny prayer, to a plea bargain prayer, to a bribe prayer (seriously, I’ve actually tried to bribe God), to a frustrated prayer, to a prayer where I just cry and cry and hope that it’s going to work. I tell you God is sitting on the Throne like “look at this insolent child of mine behaving like a needy toddler, I should go down there and give her a hiding.”

I have these battles in my mind where I try to figure out WHY God isn’t answering the prayer, or what lesson I’m supposed to be learning in the hope that I can figure it out, pass the test and get my bloody prayer answered already!

It’s ridiculous really, I know that!

Because I WILL remain confident of this: I WILL see the goodness of the Lord, I WILL wait on the Lord, I WILL be strong, and take heart and WAIT.ON.THE.LORD (Ps 27:13). Paul says we must rejoice in our suffering, because suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope (Rom 5:3). I KNOW that God who began this work in me will bring it to completion (Phil 1:6) and God has promised to be with me wherever I go and whatever I face and that I should not be discouraged or afraid, but be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9). I know these things and I BELIEVE these things.

But.

We are human, and it’s a fallacy that Christians live in this happy little bubble cushioned by the promises of God and are untouchable from the pain of this world. QUITE the contrary in fact! But here’s the thing: I’ve come to realise quite recently that what John Bradford said in this quote is SOOOOO profound: There, but for the grace of God, go I. WOW. Let me tell you, based on my life, the silly situations I’ve gotten myself into, the foolish choices I have made, and just the general battering that life can give you… I should be a deadbeat. And quite possibly DEAD. BUT for the grace of God! Oh man, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Thank GOD for His grace. And then when I have THAT thought, I think about how my situation is not that bad. My “unanswered prayer” is teaching me many other things that I would not have learned had a magic wand just fixed this problem (even though we all think that would be rather nice, don’t we). Last night I was thinking about all of this and started thinking about people in my immediate circle and the things they are praying for (nothing like looking at other people’s misery to make you feel better about your own haaahaaaa). No seriously. Some are praying for babies, some are praying that new business ventures will take off, others have just bought houses and are going through the stress that that brings, others are dealing with sick parents, others are afraid of entering the corporate world for the first time after many years, others are coping with children with learning disabilities, others are facing financial difficulties, some are trying desperately to sell their houses, others are dealing with relational problems within their families, some are desperate to get out of their current jobs. People got problems, yo! And these are just the few people I interact with daily!

And that, my friends, is why I love that BBM status. Because there IS wisdom in perspective. Absolutely. I see the trials that my friends and family are enduring, and it gives me another perspective of my own problems and it makes me realise that there is communion in the Body of Christ. Let’s start praying for each other earnestly while still lifting our own petitions. This is not a magic cure. This is not going to make your prayers be magically answered. This is not you doing something good for others, so you can expect God to do something good for you. No. Look around, look at what people are facing, look at what people are going through, lift them up to God and give thanks that your situation (and theirs) is only just THAT. A situation. It’s not your life, it’s not your destiny, it’s most certainly not the end of your story. God’s already working in the background, while He is working on YOU, you can be assured of that. He’s done it before, He’ll do it again. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

There is wisdom in perspective.

Coloured People Be Twanging, yo.


So we were with friends on Saturday and having the age old discussion about how people talk, as in, how you sound to the hearer. Now Coloured people sound very different depending on where in the country you hail from. Us Durban folk would be horrified if you said we sounded like the Kaapies or the Joostes and vice versa. We are all distinctly different. Coloured people have also taken it upon themselves to create almost an entire dictionary of colloquial slang – again this slang is different for every region, although some words do overlap, and many of these words orginate from Afrikaans words.

But further than that, the running joke in our family is that I “twang”… this is the term used to describe the way a person speaks when they are talking to a specific group of people. Specifically, when a Coloured person converses with a White person. It’s ridiculous! It refers to taking the broadness out of your speak, rolling your R’s and for want of a better explanation… sounding more European than African! I laugh even as I write this because it truly is hilarious that one can have long debates and discussions over something as simple as the sound of your voice! But hey, that’s one of the reasons I LOVE South Africa! Ons is mos same-same but different.

Anyway, my argument has always been that I need to employ my professional telephone-voice when dealing with clients or speaking to large groups of people, or dealing with the parents of the children I care for at church, etc. I admit that the way I sound when hanging with my chommas is by far different to the way I sound when I am in my office space. People say this is fake, that you are fronting and that you are not being yourself if you feel you need to speak differently depending on the situation. I disagree. For one, my American boss would not even understand if I chooned with him, the way I choon with my bras by the posie. Translated: if I spoke with him the way I speak with my friends at home). Secondly, just as there is a certain way to dress for different situations, I  do believe there is a way to speak in different situations. And I don’t mean you need to be highfalutin and pompous when you speak to a certain group, I mean you need to make yourself adequately and eloquently understood, right? First rule of Toastmasters for goodness sake!

My friend’s hubby called her “ghetto” on Saturday, boy did we laugh! He holds a high position in the world of education and of course that in itself comes with some level of decorum, so I get what he is saying, but shame this friend is anything but ghetto! I enjoy throwing in a slang word here and there because it’s who I am. It by no means defines me, it most certainly does not mean I am uneducated or common, it sometimes just adds flavor to what I want to say! You know there are just some words in the Afrikaans language that are sooooo meaningful, like when you use that particularly word, there is NO mistaking your emotion… well slang is like that.. the English language with all its niceties sometimes just doesn’t have that ONE word or phrase which conveys the same meaning as it’s slang counterpart! “EK SMAAAAAK YOU STUKKEEENDDD LOVEEEY”  is just not the same as “yeh, you’re a lovely girl and I like you a lot.” Haaa!

I love words. I love language, I love how stringing a few simple words together can make or break a person. The power of words – is there anything greater? I have a friend who does “word of the day” with me. We take turns sending each other an unusual English word and its meaning. You’d be AMAZED at the number of words you’ve never even HEARD of! After 32 years speaking the same language, you’d think I’d covered all the words in the dictionary, but no! Isn’t that amazing!

So this one goes out to all those chameleons who switch it up when they need to! I’m just a stekkie from the Fields, but make no mistake that I can and will terminate you in a game of Scrabble. Cos I know my words. You make out?

Just two things (one funny, one scary) …


I wanted to tell you about two newsworthy items. Things I didn’t get time to blog about but I think deserve a mention.

We went to the annual Christmas production at our church two weeks ago. The show is advertised as being suitable for children age three and up and Liam thoroughly enjoyed last year’s production of the Grinch and was very excited to sit in “big church” again this year. Hannah turned three this year so she too was excited to experience her first time in the “big church.” Right. The Polar Express was lovely, a wonderful tale of a little boy who had lost his Christmas spirit, blah blah. However the plot was a bit lost on Hannah. She enjoyed the music and dancing and theatrics, but she couldn’t really follow the story. She was bored. Like half an hour in, the child was whining and whining and ready to go home. But the best part was when she announced REALLY loudly into a darkened and quiet auditorium that “MY VA.GI. NA is SORRRRRRRE” Yup. She made that announcement really loud. And then proceeded to whine on and on about how sore her VA.GI. NA was. There was a lot of sniggering from the people around us. I adjusted her brookie, and did all the things one’s mother does in these awkward situations to make you feel better without really doing anything, but on she went. So folks, while I’ve always maintained that I think it’s important that your children learn the correct terms for their body parts from a young age for a myriad of reasons (their own safety being number ONE), I do think that I would have saved us all a lot of embarrassment had she had another name for it… like flower, petal, cookie, or whatever other weird names people come up.

Then.

Two weeks ago we discovered that a horrible person had broken into Zoleka’s outbuilding at the back of our house. While they didn’t take anything of significant importance, I still feel outraged and upset (and scared) that someone came into MY property and took stuff that didn’t belong to them and and and! With the paranoia of THIS still top of mind, the other night the electricity went out after 10pm. Now. I am not afraid of the dark as such, but I do like to be able to see what’s going on around me, even if it’s in the shadows. But when the lights go off at night, it’s pitch black. No street lights, no shadows, no nothing. I couldn’t even see my hand before my face. I was freaked out. I thank GOD that just the week before, with all the terrible thunder storms we’ve been having, I asked the hubby to please make sure our candles and matches were well stocked in the event of a power outage. I lit about 7 candles in my small little bedroom, I dragged the children from their beds to sleep with me. Because I am crazy like that. And I sat up waiting. For what, I am not sure. I was so MAD when I realised that wi-fi works on electricity and I couldn’t even get online. I mean really. And I have a Wackberry, so I couldn’t chance wasting that battery. About an hour and a half in, the alarm makes a weird noise which I believe signals the battery is now dead and shame, you are basically without security. Sorry for you. Great. So now I’m proper freaked out. Hannah is now awake from all my shenanigans. She’s talking up a storm, asking for supper: child is AWAKE.

THEN.

I hear someone by our big front gate by the driveway. PEOPLE. When I say I went into complete PANIC and my adrenaline went into OVERDRIVE – it was a feeling I have never experienced before. Not like the fear I felt just before the anesthetist administered my spinal block. Not like the fear I felt the day a man walked up to my car window with a sledge hammer and I zoomed off, narrowly escaping a smash and grab. Not like the fear when Liam got his first stitches above his eye. It was ear blocking, heart thumping, shaking, dizzy fear. I see a FLASH LIGHT by the gate. I see the FLASH LIGHT walking in my YARD. I dial my husband, his phone just rings. I dial the alarm company ONLY TO DISCOVER THE NUMBER I HAVE FOR THE ALARM COMPANY ON MY PHONE IS THEIR SALES OFFICE AND NOT THE EMERGENCY NUMBER, I dial 10111. I follow the light and get to Hannah’s bedroom window and I don’t know why but I open the curtain and I start banging on the window and I’m pointing to my phone as if to say “I’m calling the PO-PO, MAN!” (I can’t even explain to you the fear I still feel as I write this.) I can only see his flash light blinding my eyes and I can see he has a BEEEEEG gun on his shoulder. The 10111 person is saying “hello, hello, anyone there” or something like that. Then I hear the dude outside yelling, “MAM, MAM, it’s xxx reaction unit” or something like that.. All this time I am consciously very quiet, I do not want to upset Hannah or alert her to the fact that I am basically pooping myself. He filters the flash light on himself and I see him in our alarm company uniform. He’s yelling “is everything ok, what’s your password, your alarm is off, etc etc etc” I’m confused. The man on the phone is like “IS EVERYTHING OK.” My brain registers, I say to the person on the phone to please hold on, I open the window and the dude seems legit. So I tell 10111 that I think everything is ok and sorry. So the alarm registered as not working, the company phoned Byron’s phone and when there was no answer, a vehicle was dispatched. (I won’t describe the hate mail I sent to poor husband about sleeping like the dead when there was a potential crime scene on our hands.) The dude asks me a million questions and asks about the password, “the safe word” and I’m like I AM FINE, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO FRIGHTENED ME HALF TO DEATH. I tell him to please patrol at least until the power comes back on. He gives me his name, goes back out through the gate and leaves. The power comes on about half an hour later. Through all this I was chatting with a night owl friend on Whatsapp, but even once the power was back on, I couldn’t get to sleep. I think the last time I looked at my phone it was like 2am something something and which stage I said “LORD, REMOVE THIS FEAR, I NEED TO SLEEP OR ELSE I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FUNCTION TOMORROW.” And I did.

So now.

I thank God that most of that was all in my head and that actually there was nothing to have been afraid of. I thank God for his protection every day. I know that almost every South African can vouch for having being a victim of crime in one way or another, so I am not going to make like this was some incredible event but I can, in some small way, identify with people who have had their privacy and security violated, let alone the awful atrocities that often go down in botched break-ins. Sjoe, I was scared hey.

So anyway. That dog we spoke about months and months ago. He/she is DEFINITELY joining the family as soon as we get back from the December holidays. Not that a dog offers complete protection, but it’s an intimidating presence in the yard and in the home. A dog also serves as an early detection or alert to something going on before it’s like HAPPENING TO YOU, you know what I mean? These are exciting times we living in people, exciting times.