An Auntlet of Memories…

There is some unwritten rule that says you’re not supposed to have favourites where family members are concerned. Well, if a former British Prime Minister could favour her one twin above the other, I can surely have a favourite aunt, and even though she traded her earthly shell for her angel wings this past Monday after a short battle with liver cancer, Aunty Cathy will always live on in my heart and memories.

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Day Three’s Got Me Smiling :D

This post is going to be short and sweet (literally and figuratively!)

It’s Day 3 of Advent Town and I was overjoyed to get a lovely Waxees candle in today’s house. It even has a wooden wick which crackles as the flame burns. The instruction today is something I try to do every day: make someone smile. I like to think I succeed.

I must admit, having a countdown to Christmas is getting me in the festive spirit earlier than usual. I am already thinking about how to make the day special for my parents. I have ordered a delectable treat box and a fruit cake from Heavenly Treats Cake Boutique in Port Elizabeth for us to nibble on while we watch a Christmas movie after our planned lunch of cold meat and salads. Also, I am either going to make gifts or buy from friends that have their own businesses. Pity none of them have their own winery!

On other news…

Last night I stayed over at the Toppie and the Bean. The Toppie made apricot jam, which spurred me on to make a pot bread. The combo = amazing! The Toppie gave me half the bread, which I will be taking with to Nikita and Jack’s house tonight; I’m cat-sitting for them until Sunday.

I’m excited for Saturday morning. Carla, four of her friends and I are going to a high-tea experience at a local boutique hotel – a belated celebration of Carla’s birthday. I am happy to report, despite carrying some extra kilograms around, I still fit into my 1950’s-style dress and my red high heels, which is what I’ll be wearing. I look forward to the day when the Coronavirus is a thing of the past, and we don’t have to wear masks anymore, so I can put on make-up and sassy red lipstick.

Don’t forget to take part in the Advent Challenge on my Facebook Page.

Won’t You Take Me to Advent Town?

Yes, the 1980’s hit Funky Town is now stuck in my head after typing that title. Did someone say #earworm or #brainitch.

Moving along, believe it or not, I’ve never had an Advent calendar. Until now…

Yesterday Eliza and Nathan gifted me an entire Advent Town!

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Day 20: Celebrations, Nostalgia and Britcom

Today is day 20 of the lockdown. Like the featured image of this post, it feels as though time moves at a snail’s pace of late. I have slowed down. As I sit typing this post, I can hear the waves crashing in the distance, and the occasional cheep of a wagtail. The local hotel’s resident ducks are also meandering around the neighbourhood by the sounds of things. All these sounds have just been drowned out by an aircraft that is audibly flying very low.

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Frightfully Awful Friday

I was at work today, but I may as well not have been. I woke up to news from Charlie that the ship on which he works has been exposed to COVID-19. Isolation and quarantine are imminent. I am sad, anxious, and unable to concentrate. He was so close to returning home (albeit it to self-isolation here).  

I can only hope that he isn’t infected and that once the mandatory quarantine has passed, the airlines will have resumed their international and regional flights that he can get home.

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Happy Birthday to MMMMEEEEEE!

Yay!  Cake for days…

This is what Tina said when I sent her a picture of the FOURTH cake I’d had in as many days in celebration of my fortieth birthday this past weekend.  It was the absolute best commemoration of my earth-joining ever.  To say I’m all caked-out is an understatement, but knowing me, and my insatiable sweet-tooth, the feeling will pass soon.

On Sunday (my actual birthday) night, as I lay on the couch with a sore tummy (not from cake, but lots of laughter), I felt immense gratitude for my blessings – my parents, my friends and their love for me.  I know I’m special to them, but somehow I was reminded of it, and extremely overwhelmed.

It all started on Friday evening.  Eliza, Nathan and Carmen, along with their little ones hosted a surprise party for me.  There was sushi, the most amazing quiches, milk tart (a South African confection) and a coconut cake.  There was also bubbly…

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We spent the evening on the couch under blankets watching Rocketman.  I have newfound love for Elton John’s music.  When I suffered my major depressive episode earlier this year, I would often play I’m Still Standing, singing along at the top of my lungs.  Then I’d burst into tears afterwards.

The next morning I woke up at 06:15.  For those of you a little slow on the uptake, it was Saturday.  Who in their right mind wakes up so early?  I’ll tell you:  People that are (almost) forty.  I made the best of it with a cappuccino as I watched the sunrise.  This photo doesn’t do it justice.

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The afternoon The Bean, some of my closest girl friends and Cousin Lara got together for a vintage high tea at Déjà vu Vintage House.  The Bean and I even “bopped” on the stage and the pillbox hat I was wearing came right off.

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We regaled stories and shared memories and Cousin Lara had us in stitches with some of her tales.  Our host, Joan, baked a royal lemon and elderflower cake for the occasion and her husband, De Waal took many photographs for us.

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The day was perfect.  It ended with The Bean, The Toppie, Elizabeth and I staying over in Eliza and Nathan’s Airbnb, Eagle’s Rest.

Sunday morning, I woke up feeling different.  I can’t pinpoint what exactly is different, but something is.   It makes me excited and hopeful for the future.  That morning, I did something that I’ve always loved:  I crept into bed with my folks and had coffee with them.  I realize more and more that these moments often taken for granted are going to be no more some time in the future, so I cherish them even more now.  We had a lazy morning before heading off to The Cork & Plunger for lunch.  As always, the food and service was en-point.  This was also where we enjoyed cake number three, a Vegas-themed one, baked by one of my colleagues, Marjorie.  The wording underneath the cards reads A Royal Start to a New Decade.  After way too much food, everyone went their separate ways.

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Yesterday I got to work and there was another cake, again baked by Marjorie.

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I got a lovely card from my colleagues.  Many of the messages inside touched me deeply, but one in particular brought tears to my eyes.  It read “May you receive the abundant kindness you always give to everyone around you”.  Even just thinking about it makes me emotional.  I’ve always said that I want to be remembered for something.  To be remembered for kindness is better than my name on a plaque.  I’m blessed to know that I do reach people and that it is my heart that they see.

I’ve made a promise to myself – to be as kind to myself as I am to others. Cheers to forty!

Friends – The Real Family

Cousin Lola always used to tell me when I was younger, “God lets you choose your friends, because you can’t choose your family.” I’ve been thinking about this more and more lately, especially since The Toppie lost his job at the beginning of the month.  Family are nowhere to be seen – and yes, I’ll concede that some of them are estranged because of bad attitudes, stupid feuds and stubbornness.  I keep coming back to the adage “blood is thicker than water”.  I don’t see much of my family, and to me it’s not really a big deal – there is no animosity between any of us (well almost any), it’s just that we move in different circles, and we have virtually nothing in common.  These family members are those that I don’t ask for anything, nor they from me.  It works.

But then…let’s face it – we all have someone with whom our DNA is interwoven that quite frankly we’d rather not be related to.  Others unfortunately join the ranks through marriage.  The upside of this is that the feeling is usually mutual and as a result paths don’t cross that often.  These people are the ones that you might bump into at a wedding, or a funeral. In my experience it’s usually the latter.  I could chalk it up to paying respects, but sometimes attendance is merely to say I’m still around, Fam-i-ly, just in case… you know, my name might be appearing in late Uncle Joe’s will.  I always did love that landscape painting by Obscure Artist that hung in his dining room.  What my hypothetical Wannabe Art Collector doesn’t know is the good ol’ Uncle Joe ended up on the bones of his arse and worked himself into his grave to keep his wife safe and cared for as he promised her a lifetime ago in front of many of the people at this very funeral. It doesn’t say much for my Wannabe Art Collector, but it does speak to the kind of person Uncle Joe was.

Moving away from hypothetically dearly departed Uncle Joe, and back to the reality at hand…

The past three months have been hell for my parents.  The Toppie had a tough time at work (more than that I am not allowed to say at this stage), and he was let go four days into 2019, tensions were (still are!) high because of rising costs and the place they’re living is in an industrial area, so human contact is almost non-existent.  I’ve tried my best to get them to come and stay with me (as hard as the adjustment would be for all of us, and they’ve declined), and they’re both still competent, so I cannot force the issue.  I’ve tried too to get even a little help from some family members who should as far as I’m concerned have a moral duty, but with no success.  It’s disillusioning to say the least. I hate seeing the two people I care about most in this world have to suffer as they are, when there are people that knew where my parents were when a hand or Rands were needed. The only thing I have to console myself is not everyone thinks like-, nor were they raised like me.  Add to that, that God doesn’t sleep and I do feel a little better about things.

But, as I have learned in an attempt to become more enlightened, I look to what I can be grateful for in this situation – and it is for friends.  From the ones that travelled from Cape Town in September last year and brought my parents a crate of non-perishables and some meat, to the one that baked them some biscuits, so that they’d have something nice to nibble on over Christmas, to the one that drew money out of her bond to loan to me so they could pay their car (and yes it’s a loan to me, which is to be paid back), to the ones that gave The Toppie a painting job so the rent could be paid, to the ones that are sharing a post I’ve put on Facebook to try and help The Toppie find a job to keep him busy and bring some money in, to the one that lets me travel with her to work, so that I can help my folks out with some things they need, to the one that sent me money to take The Bean and The Toppie out for their anniversary.  These people have zero obligation to help at all, but they care about me, and by extension about The Toppie and The Bean.

You know who you are, and I just want you all to know that everything you all do for me (no matter how big or small), is valued and appreciated.  I’m grateful to each one of you, and I’m proud to call you all family.

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Candles in the Wind…

This past fortnight has been quite emotional for me.  It can be written off to the Mirena I had put in when the doctor did the other two procedures in November last year.  It’s normal.  Apparently.  I must just ride the wave.  Does that mean surf’s up?

Last week was a particularly bad week for me.  I would go from zero to bitch to activist to snivelling heap, to centre of attention to strong silent type in a matter of minutes.  Add to that I sometimes have foreboding premonitions and well, you pretty much have a category five hurricane on your hands.

I don’t often have these gut feelings, but when I do, they’re generally not wrong.  My friend Cassey was on my mind a great deal last week, and instead of just touching base, I kept putting it off.  Turned out she, along with another friend of mine, both lost parents last week, and one of my FB friends lost her brother, but the heartbreak doesn’t stop there 😦  On Saturday Shayla-Rae let me know that a couple of our former teachers lost their eldest son in a tragic drowning accident.  He was only seventeen.  A young man, with his entire future ahead of him.  It puts things in perspective for me once again.  Life is precious and in the blink of an eye, it can be ended, whether after a long illness, or in a heart-rending accident.  It also leaves one asking Why? Why did God decide to snuff their candles out?  Only He knows…

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In the bigger scheme of things – you all know how scared I am to lose my parents, but having heard of all this loss this past week, I’m grateful The Toppie only broke his arm.  It could have been a lot worse.  A few people have sent well-wishes after my post about The Toppie.  As I said, going back to work did him the world of good.  I also think it saved The Bean from committing murder 😀  The next bridge to cross is when the plaster comes off.  I’ll give y’all another update shortly after.

On a happier note, I’m having a catch-up with Carmen after work tonight.  She’s visiting her parents for a few days.  Can’t wait to have a decent chinwag with her.  Even though I saw her three weeks ago, it feels like years has passed.

Have a great week everyone, and remember – tell the important people in your life that they mean something to you.  You never know when they won’t be around anymore!