Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Meme time again

I found this over on The Only Cin, and quite liked it. So, here goes: 

I am: a wife, mother, and daughter
I have: enough. Aren’t I lucky?
I know: that I am loved
I think: not nearly deeply enough or often enough
I don’t think: that you can ever have too many macarons or cupcakes
I want: to play my piano more often
I like: chocolate, coffee and afternoon naps.
I dislike: whinging and whining
I hate: liars
I dream: of a chef’s kitchen. And time to put it to good use.
I fear: losing my family
I am annoyed: by inconsiderate people.
I crave: to do something Different
I search: for love.
I hide: if I told you, they wouldn’t be hidden any more!
I wonder: what happened to an ex or two
I just can’t help: procrastinating
I regret: not spending more time with my dad before he died.
I love: lying on my bed reading
I can’t live without: my family
I try to: do the right thing
I enjoy: baking
I don’t care: about what people think of me, as much as I used to
I never want to: be at a loss for words
I believe: in trusting people, until they give you reason not to
I dance: a bit weirdly. But I have fun when I do.
I sing: in my head. Nobody wants to hear me out loud.
I argue: poorly, mostly because I cry when I get angry
I win: not nearly often enough
I lose: my hard drive, with all my photos on it, with alarming regularity
I wish: that the government would sort its sh*t out.
I listen: to what my husband mockingly calls “adult contemporary music”. And a bunch of other stuff.
I don’t understand: people who are cruel to children or animals
I forget: if I remembered, I’d be able to tell you.
I am happy: Yes, I am. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Spooked by Hallowe'en

This is an updated version of a blog post I did for www.jozikids.co.za a few years ago - refreshed for 2012.

When I was growing up, Hallowe’en was a thing we saw on American movies – it was never a big deal in South Africa, probably because our parents were concerned about the security of children wandering around the streets after dark, and because dressing up in black to have fun was probably against some apartheid law or other.

While I think most parents still have security concerns, the advent of security estates and boomed off areas has created safe pockets for trick or treating – and then of course there’s the business opportunity for everyone from Pick n Pay and Woolworths to China City to make extra income from costumes and themed sweets.

Playschools, crèches, primary schools and communities have Hallowe’en themed parties across the suburbs now, commemorating a Celtic festival (or a selection of festivals, depending on your choice of origin (Halloween background) that they have little knowledge or insight about. Children whose parents have spent a small (or large) amount of money on costumes compete to see who is dressed the best, and who can liberate the largest haul of sweets from willing neighbours.

So why am I particularly ‘omgekrap’ about an extended fancy dress party?

Hallowe’en is not a part of my culture, just as Makar Sankranti, Purim and Hola Mahalla are not part of my culture – and interesting though they are, I don’t celebrate them. Hallowe’en may have been a part of the culture of my Celtic ancestors, but it has never part of my culture as a Christian-raised South African.

I totally get that Hallowe’en is an opportunity for kids to dress up and have fun – but why do we need to wait for a festival that has nothing to do with our history or culture to do that? Why do we not make a bigger deal of our own Heritage Day, for example, and invest more time in celebrating that with fancy dress and local food (because let’s face it, there is more to South African food than braaiing!).

So what do I do about Hallowe’en, without making my children feel like they’re the only ones not going to a city-wide party? I’m happy for them to dress up for parties, at friends’ houses or at school, but I draw the line at letting them beg for sweets on the streets when there are others not so far out there who don’t even have food for one meal a day, never mind three.

Talk about a juggling act… but when was parenting ever anything but?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Beetle off to Baron's, why don't you?

Melanie Minnaar is an in-computer friend, and a real life fellow mom at St David's. She's also somewhat of a dynamo - and when she puts her mind to something, you know it's going to happen. If you haven't heard of Melanie's Twitter Blanket Drive, I would have to ask what rock you've been hiding under for the past three years...

She's taken on the cause of The Tomorrow Trust, and is using social media to help them raise R2million before the end of the year. Sounds like a lot of money, yes? But she's broken it down into chunks - and is challenging 1000 people to raise R2000 each for the Trust. That old thing about how do you eat an elephant - one bite at a time? She's got that down to a fine art - so please contact her if you're keen to host a tea, have a lunch, do a raffle, or just do your bit to help her raise funds to help school going orphans or vulnerable children bridge the gaps in their education, so that they really do stand a chance out there in the big wide world.

If you're not up for raising the money, you can still help - and have some fun while you're at it, with the help of Baron's Woodmead.

They're launching the new Beetle on Saturday 20 October 2012, and you're invited to the event. Your entrance fee? Some books for the Trust to hand over to the children, or a teddy bear or soft toy, to offer some comfort.  

So...beetle along to Baron's Woodmead, books and bears in hand, between 08h00 and 13h00 next Saturday, to have a look at the next edition of one of the world's favourite cars.

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Some observations.

So, the last while has been pretty chilled in my world, but here are a few observations: 

  • Puppies can instinctually swim. We put both the puppies in the pool over the weekend, pointed them in the direction of the step, and they made it out ok. 
  • Puppies do not know instinctually that you shouldn't get too close to the pool. 
  • If a puppy falls in the pool and is not pointing in the direction of the step, it is likely to stay where it is, doggypaddling madly, until it can't any more. 
  • Our pool net is no longer there for our (swimming) children), it is there to prevent the puppies drowning. 
  • I am not freaked out at all by holding a live lizard in my hands. I've done it several times. 
  • I am totally freaked out when a lizard that I'm holding drops its tail in my hand, and the tail carries on wiggling. 
  • I guess that that is the desired result for the lizard... 
  • I'm loving spending more time at home over the weekends. I'm not sure what we've changed recently, but home has always been a sanctuary, and we're revealing in it at the moment. 
  • When you have a new gardener, it is Murphy's Law that he will find the irrigation system's piping, without looking for it. And he'll find it with the tine of a big garden fork. 
  • Even though I'm not eating anything with wheat flour in it at the moment, I still enjoy baking. And judging by how my zingy lemon cupcakes with homemade lemon curd secret centers were received last week - you don't have to taste it to bake it. Although tasting would be great... 
  • Junipa's in Bryandale is The Business. Even though I couldn't taste what is apparently Joburg's best croissant (weep!), the breakfast that I had yesterday was the best I've had in years. 
  • Builder's Warehouse is a time/space vortex. No matter how quickly you intend to be in and out, it will take five times longer than that. Multiplied by a further five times for every additional person that goes with you. 
  • The Country Road till point in the Men's Section at Woolies in Sandton is the slowest till point in the whole of Johannesburg. And it's a Rule of Operation there that no matter what you have to purchase from wherever in the shop, there will always be something that they can't scan. And they will always try to scan it at least five times before admitting defeat.
  • My sons live in an imaginary world that is part Skylanders, part Star Wars and part sniper soldier. However, Daniel is remarkably good at chess, so we must be doing something right. 
  • It's a good thing to check your junkmail folder every now and then. It's the best way to avoid being embarrassed in front of the taxman, your pregnant friend, and your retirement annuity broker. 
  • It's never certain whether the shelves in Pick n Pay are empty on a Sunday afternoon because a) it's a Sunday afternoon, b) it's the Sunday afternoon before Succot and your PnP is in a Jewish area, or c) the shelves are empty because of the truck driver's struck. Regardless, a little bit of stockpiling won't do any harm...
  • You've got to keep your eyes peeled for the good news stories in SA. They are out there. If you don't, you just may not get up in the morning. And that would be a terrible waste of a beautiful day, in spite of all the crazy stuff that's going on out there. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

#BrandPlus to Woollies

On Sunday we did a bit of a shop at Woolies in Sandton, and part of the shop was picking up two bras for me, at a special offer section outside the food hall.

We paid for everything in the food hall - and I had a chat with our lovely cashier, Aphiwe. We were chatting so nicely that I forgot to put the packet with my ...er... underwear in the trolley.

Which I only realised on Monday morning.

Now, a few months ago when I was frustrated as hell about not being able to find the right size shirt for Daniel in that store, I bumped into a roving manager, and vented somewhat. He gave me his business card and promised to sort out the issue - which he did, via email.

So, I mailed that same email address on Monday, explaining what had happened, describing the items by size (ahem) and colour. Hmmm. Explaining to a strange man over email that you've left your underwear lying around Woolworths... embarassing, much?

And, credit to them, a different gentleman mailed me back, saying that Aphiwe had found the packet, and had turned it in to their lost property. He offered to have it delivered, or I could go and fetch it. I mailed him back saying I'd collect, but when he didn't reply before I left the office, I called him to make arrangements.

This time, a phone conversation with a strange man about one's underwear that you left lying around in Woolworths, again with references to size and colour. MORTIFIED.

End result though: I got my shopping back, and everyone along the way was very helpful and friendly.

So, Woolies. I am vocal when you do something wrong, but this time you did something very right. Thank you, so much. And thank you to Aphiwe, for not only being a really friendly and helpful cashier, but for being an honest person, and someone with initiative too.

#BrandPlus to Woolies!