Goodbye April! Things are already better in May…

Inspiration.  It comes from the strangest of places sometimes most times.  More often than not, it isn’t really subtle either…

Today, the Giggling Gourmet, @Jenny Morris, whom I follow on Facebook posted a quote by Marilyn Vos Savant:

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If you read my previous post, you will be more than aware of how defeated I felt, how close I was to tossing it all in the fuck-it-bucket and having a pity party of epic proportions.  Giving up really did look like a promising option.  Not only because of my flooded flat, which more than two weeks later has still not been assessed by the insurance for damages, but because of the struggles my parents have faced of late.

Mom still mourns Marley daily, and their living conditions leave a lot to be desired, but, with that said, acceptance of- or resignation to the fact that this is how things may be for the foreseeable future, has made things a little easier to deal with.  I still hate having to see my parents live in an industrial area where all sorts of noxious fumes are the order of the day, especially with Mom’s propensity to bronchitis and asthma.  The confined space that she and Dad have to share is also not ideal because he is frustrated to the point of physical aggression.  Just yesterday, he tried to hang a shelf which he spent hours making.  A piece of the wood split when he drilled it into the wall and he almost smashed the thing to pieces with the hammer.  It worries me a great deal.  I wish there was something I could do, but short of holding a gun to their heads, forcing them to come and live with me, my hands are tied.

Then of course, there are the tired expressions, such as, “this too shall pass”, or “it could be worse”, or “count your blessings, not your problems”, which I will admit, are all true.  Hearing these platitudes from people who actually are in my- and my parents’ life is acceptable, but I have to muster every last bit of self-control not to tell other people who know us, but prefer to live in happy obliviousness in their ivory towers, to shut the hell up.

Before I get lynched, I have the greatest respect for the trials we all have to face, but no two situations are the same.  Your wife leaving you for another man is regrettable and tragic, but so is my parents’ loss of almost everything they worked hard to build up.  I could go on like a long-playing record, but I would rather not rant more than is necessary.

In between all of this drama, I had to still find time to complete my second assignment before my upcoming exams in June.  I finished and handed in by the deadline, but part of me feels that had things been a bit calmer, I could have done more.  I anxiously await the results.

Since last week I have received incredible support from not only my friends and my colleagues.  Elizabeth and her parents put me up for a few nights, feeding me well (she still makes the best chicken pie in the whole world!) and allowing me to enjoy a glass of wine in the evenings.  The restlessness of living out of a suitcase got to me though and I opted to take a colleague and his wife up on their offer of staying in the granny flat on their property until such time that my flat is habitable again.  At first I was hesitant, but after arriving, and seeing a beautiful bunch of proteas on the table to welcome me, I immediately felt at home.

The stability of a “home-away-from-home” without distractions, has afforded me the opportunity to begin revision for my final exam.  Heaven knows, I want to get this subject over and done with.  Having failed twice, many years ago, I’m hoping that the third time will indeed be a charm, otherwise I will forfeit all the credits I have obtained to date, and then have to do the entire year over, which is something I cannot afford.  So, putting the positive vibes out there – when I receive the notification that I have passed my Diploma in International Trade (Exports) exam, I will be celebrating with something bubbly – even if it is just sparkling mineral water.

The messages of care from friends far and wide have been a comfort in a time that has been so dark for my parents and I.  A surprise visit from a Capetonian friend last weekend also did a lot to lift our spirits, as did a visit with Aunty Carol, Uncle Barry and some friends.  Speaking of Uncle Barry – he worked incredibly hard to get dad’s car running again, which we are all so grateful for.  Dad can now get to work every day without hassles or stressing about rapturous steam billowing out of the bonnet.  Eliza and Nicholas have invited me to eat with them in the evenings (as they are very close to where I am residing for the interim), so I don’t have to cook.  Yay!

To every single one of you, who has, despite your own storms, blessed my parents and I with words of encouragement, a loan to keep the bank from taking my car back, a pot of soup, a bed to sleep in, an ear to listen, a long, flaming-hot shower, a back & neck destress massage or who did a load (more like a mountain!) of washing.  Thank you.  You know who you are.  You are the people that I will roll a boulder out of the way for.

So yes, things are not ideal, but they are 100% more ideal than they were in April.  And for that, I’m grateful, because while we’ve been defeated, we’re a long shot from giving up.

 

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A Man-Made god, used by God…in my opinion anyway…

Note to reader – You are welcome to comment on this post, but I WILL NOT get into a flame-war with you, should you disagree with my post.  I am entitled to my opinion.  This is MY space.  If you visit, respect that.  If you disagree with my views, and wish to comment, be adult about it.  I WILL NOT tolerate being sworn at, nor abused.  Such comments WILL BE REPORTED and subsequently DELETED. If you can’t handle that, then please leave.

Many people, have, in my opinion, made a god of Nelson Mandela, forgetting that he too, like you and I, was a person, created in the image of God.  There is a global outpouring of grief today, as his passing is mourned by millions.  I can’t help but wonder if Jesus had been on earth now, if His crucifixion would have got the same media coverage.  Now, before any of you decide to put me in front of a firing squad, stone me, burn me at the stake, or hang me by the neck until I’m dead, I’m not saying that Nelson Mandela wasn’t a great man, a great leader and a shining example to us all, not only as South Africans, but the world as a whole. 

A while ago my parents and I were listening to the news, where the report was about a six-week old little girl being raped.  A few weeks prior to that, two little girls had been gang-raped, their broken little bodies left in a make-shift toilet to be found.  In South Africa we daily hear news about rape, murder, looting, corruption and AIDS to name but a few.  So much so, that it actually isn’t news to us anymore, and THAT readers, is where the problem lies.  I believe that the only hope for us as a country, and the world as a whole is a Divine Intervention and while I don’t know what Nelson Mandela’s beliefs were, I believe in my heart that God made him a wise, humble and forgiving man and that the wisdom, humility and forgiveness God placed in him will be remembered for generations to come, and that many people who are touched by those traits, will feel a transformation in their hearts, and turn to the One True God.

Today my Facebook status reads:  “I think regardless of anyone’s political views, we cannot deny that Nelson Mandela was a great man, with a great vision for our country. He could very easily have incited a black on white war if had wanted to, but instead, he chose to FORGIVE and move on…

I’m in no way saying that our country is perfect – I often think that the vision Madiba had for our country has got lost as politicians fight for power, officials lie to the people, and ignorant people rape and murder women and children…and it saddens me and I could go on, BUT we need to remember that Madiba had a positive vision for us, that he loved this country, that he FORGAVE. He too saw the vision being lost – after all he was still alive during a great deal of it, but he continued to believe in this country. He remained strong in his vision and mission for all South Africans – for us to reconcile and move forward. Who knows, maybe now that he has finally gone, the vision will be re-instilled in the Rainbow Nation’s heart.” 

My only hope is that we get to a point where we all realize Who placed the greatness and vision:

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.
Let freedom reign!
The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!
God bless Africa!
’ (Excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural Celebration Address)

upon Nelson Mandela and that we get to know Him, because “we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, and who are called according to His Purpose”.  Romans 8:28

Three Months has Passed…

…since I last blogged. Shocking! I should be court-marshalled, or burnt at the stake, or something…

So, let’s see, where shall I start?

Ah, I know, my hospital two weeks ago. I came to work feeling very chipper because I was only due to work half day and then a mini-holiday awaited me as we were only due to restart work on this following Tuesday. Well, as I sat down in my chair, a searing pain (that I’m sure is worse than childbirth) took hold of my back, and that was me. I couldn’t move, and worse, I couldn’t feel my legs. I yelled up the passage for help, which arrived and I was loaded into the car and taken to casualty, because the stupid doctor’s receptionist couldn’t comprehend the term emergency, and failed even more to understand that I couldn’t wait until after lunch for an appointment. I was in pain and needed help. Immediately!

I ended up having to wait for the casualty doctor for about a half hour, but I got to lie flat which relieved a great deal of the pain, but I still couldn’t feel my legs. I have only ever felt so helpless once before. He poked and prodded, and I yelled like I was being murdered. Eventually I was put on a drip with serious pain meds and for a while I think I saw little birdies and stars. I was sent home with strict instructions to lie flat on my back for the entire Easter weekend. So not cool! Needless to say, I didn’t listen.

I went to physio the following day. My legs nearly gave way underneath me again, but not because I couldn’t feel them anymore – the therapist was one of the most handsome (young) men I’ve ever laid eyes on. And that is no exaggeration! He also attempted to assess my pain, but all I could do was squeal like a pig off to slaughter. He told me to come back the Saturday, but that I’d be seeing his colleague as he already had prior work commitments. So I lost the gorgeous-blue-eyed-boy’s hands on my body…alas!

Went back a few days with significantly less pain, thank goodness. Turns out the gorgeous-blue-eyed-boy’s colleague is equally handsome. Not as drop dead gorgeous, but a looker nevertheless. I’m not sure if it is a pre-requisite to have beautiful eyes to work at this specific practice, but therapist two has equally beautiful eyes, and a soft manner which made him immediately likeable. He pulled and propped and yanked and prodded and while it wasn’t exactly a heavenly massage, I walked out of there unassisted! I even drove myself home without having to drink pain meds when I got there! I was so happy, I could quite easily have kissed him, because it meant that I could go to a concert that evening.

Now, those of you who aren’t South African may not yet have heard of this amazing foursome, Romanz. Do yourselves a favour and check some of their YouTube videos. Go on…I won’t let you read further until you have!

Right, now that you’ve done that, all I am going to say about the concert is, “Wow! Amazing! Super! Bravo, bravo, bravo!” So, that’s pretty much my Easter weekend in a nutshell…

Two weeks before that I went with Carmen, Ewan, Nicolas and his wife, Eleanor to a little holiday village called Jongensfontein. While there, my car was broken into (it was parked at Nic and Eleanor’s place as I drove with them), but fortunately not much was stolen, but the schlep involved to get everything sorted out was not amusing, believe me. The police came to take fingerprints, but there wasn’t a single usable print, so I don’t hold out much hope. The most valuable thing the stupid tits stole was my reading glasses, which the insurance is not replacing and I don’t have a medical savings account, so I will struggle on without them. Besides that, a pair of my favourite sandals broke that weekend too. So, if bad things happen in threes, mine are over! *Happy dance*

On the subject of that weekend, here are some of the photos I took.

Jongensfontein at Dawn
Jongensfontein at Dawn
Jongensfontein Tidal Pool
Jongensfontein Tidal Pool

It is a small piece of heaven, that is less than an hour’s drive away from where we live. The break was just what I needed and while I thanked them, I don’t think they comprehend the extent of my gratitude. We had quite a few laughs and I got a tan that should last me through the winter – physiotherapist number two even commented on it *blush*

Oh yes! I’m moving round about the middle of July – to a place that is a mere 10 minutes away from my folks’ home. I started thinking about moving out when Dad started talking about retiring – he’s not getting any younger and the hard, active work on the rig is taking it’s toll on him. He wants to scale down a bit after retirement, and if I’m honest, I should have moved out ages ago, but living at home is convenient, and mom needs the company because she doesn’t drive. If dad still decides to work for a while after I move, I will spend some nights a week with her and some at my own place.

I looked at a few places online in our area and what fell in my budget was mostly bachelor pads, or single-bedroom places. I’ve always had champagne taste and beer money, so this was obviously not really working for me. I found one place that I would have deemed habitable, but I was put off by the bathroom being off the kitchen (I am not a germophobe per sé, but I seriously don’t want to be flushing the loo an arm’s length from where I’m going to be prepping food) and then someone else at work showed me that there is a cupboard affixed above a door-frame. How the heck is anyone supposed to reach there? Seriously, even I could have drawn up a better plan… another place I looked at online was well within my budget, and semi-furnished, but almost everything furnishing wise was zebra stripes. And the walls were a violent shade of orange. So not the restful zen-retreat I had in mind.

What I really desired in my heart was a place with two bedrooms and a full bathroom. Make no mistake, I love my shower in the morning, but there are just some days when only a bubble bath can make a bad day better. So, with that said, God knows the desires of my heart, and He blessed me beyond that. It is a blessing that came across my path, through Carmen. She and Ewan are currently living in the flat. It is underneath her parents’ house, but with a separate, private entrance. She was telling me that she and Ewan want to move out later this year and I asked her if she’d ask her parents if they’d be willing to rent the place to me. I thought even if they would be willing to, I may very possibly not be able to afford it, but turns out that it is R200 more than I had in mind BUT it includes utilities, satellite TV and will be furnished with whatever I don’t have (which is almost everything!). It has THREE bedrooms (although I will use the one as a dressing room, as they currently do), and two bathrooms (the one bedroom is en-suite), and the other has the bath!

I bought myself a little second-hand lounge suite from a friend of Aunty Carol’s and the lady threw in a round table too. Mom has given me a food steamer, a fridge and while there is a bit of a fight about it, I’m sure my orthopaedic bed will be moving with me (after all, I don’t want to have to go to hospital again, now do i?) Dad bought me a little two plate stove oven and Aunty Carol and Uncle Barry gave me a George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Grilling machine. In the meantime, I have been buying a few things (dry groceries mostly) which I’ve been boxing and storing. One thing I can tell you is that if I have friends over for dinner, there is a good chance that they will be eating Mince/Tuna/Rice Mate because I have about 8 boxes of those meal kits already and most likely canned fruit of some sort for dessert (or jelly and custard)! I have everything to make the flat shiny and clean from Toilet Duck to Mr. Muscle. I have been trying my best to settle all my small niggling accounts (but the back episode has set me back quite a bit this past month, but I’ll survive – I have faith!).

I’ve finally reached goal weight, having lost 20 Kg (although with all the meds for my back and subsequent need to have a pity party (I’ve eaten two boxes of Lindor balls in as many days), I’m quite sure I’ve put some of it back, but I’ll be back in the gym tomorrow (with permission from physiotherapist two) and I’ll start shedding it again. Apparently I have to do more pilates-type exercises, so I’m not only going to be thin, I’m going to be bendy too!

Then, a shocking revelation came my way two weeks ago. A very close friend, Jesse James, of mine for whom I carried a candle for almost a decade (read the linked post, you’ll understand) came to visit his folks and we got together for drinks. I had the most incredible cherry vodka and mint tea cocktail – served in a teapot! He had two beers. From there we popped around to another old haunt and while we were waiting for our drinks, he asked me if I had regrets. I said I think everyone does and he told me that he…he… and then he tried to change the subject, but I pressed. He told me he regretted that we never ever ended up together. I wasn’t sure I’d heard right, so I made him repeat himself. “I regret that we never ended up together, that we never gave a relationship between us a chance.” Now, if you’ve read the linked post, you’ll know he knew how I felt about him, but I honestly had no idea he felt the same. I’d made peace with the fact that it just wasn’t meant to be, and I believe in my heart that I’ve met the man I’m going to marry anyway. Jesse James knows how I feel about this man, and he says he’s happy for me, and I believe him, because I know him better than he knows himself and I’ve never seen him so sincere. I told Elizabeth what happened and the cynic in her says it was the booze talking, but how much truth serum is hidden in two beers? Even if I didn’t feel about this other man the way I do, Jesse James himself has told me that he knows it would never work, because in our case, we really love each other, but it’s not enough. We’re from different worlds, and he can’t give me the life I deserve…part of me is glad he told me, because I’ve always wondered, but part of me wishes he’d never said anything because the dynamic of our friendship has changed a bit. I don’t know how to describe it other than “it’s complicated”.

So, that’s a glimpse of what’s happened in the last few weeks… I’ll try to blog more often, but more often than not, I look around and think “where the hell did the day go?!”

Let Us Never Forget…

I remember exactly where I was when I got the news that there was a terrorist attack taking place in the United States of America.

It was just after midday here in South Africa when I got a call from my boss, telling me to put on the little fuzzy Black and White TV in his office. “A plane has just flown into one of the twin towers in New York.” I thought I’d heard wrong, but curiosity got the better of me.  There, right before my eyes, on the snowy, staticky TV were images of a plane crashing into a tall building.  I was still considering that the hype was possibly unnecessary when I saw the second plane.  I was stunned.  I continued to listen to the TV, and for good measure switched the radio on too.  I even phoned Mom, telling her to check the satellite channels on and let me know what else was being said.

A while after the telephone rang and it was Mom telling me that I plane had flown into the Pentagon.  Now, my US geography is really not good, but I did know that the Pentagon is in Washington DC, and that was where one of my best friends from school, Nerina, was au-pairing.  I also knew that Nerina travelled quite a bit with her host family.  Soon my mind was racing – was she safe?  What if she’d been on one of those planes?  I emailed, tried to phone, but with no success.  I suspected the worst, not for one minute thinking that as a result of this terrible situation, telephone lines would be jammed.

About a week later I heard from her – she was safe.  She’d actually been outside playing with the kids when she’d heard the plane fly over.  I got chills.

Eleven years has passed, but let us never forget.  The Americans that died that day were regular people, just like you and me.  They had regular jobs, they had families, pets, mortgages.  Let us instead honour their memory by being silent for a moment.  America, I salute you!  Your resolve is inspiring!  Your bravery and remembrance give me hope.

 

Yearning

I woke up on Sunday morning, opened the blinds and smiled with relief when I saw the blue skies because I wanted to take a solitary nature walk, to connect with a part of myself that I miss.

Image

(Photo from saidaonline)

Alas, the weather has turned foul, so my plans were shelved for the moment.

I had had some friends round the night before for a small get together.  We had a few laughs and when everyone had left and I was doing the last of the dishes, I suddenly felt like someone had ripped my heart out.  Just.  Like.  That.  I waited until everyone had let me know they’d arrived home safely and I crawled into bed.  Horrid dreams plagued me all night.  I was awake at five am again…

I had my morning shower and put on some Lady Antebellum – it’s great Sunday music.  The strangest thing happened when All We’d Ever Needed started playing – I was overwhelmed by a flood of tears and a gut-wrenching yearning…for someone.  The question is who?  Some days being alone really gets to me; it makes my heart ache so badly. My folks got home from a weekend away and we went out for lunch to a local steak house called Cattle Baron.  Elizabeth joined us, as did Aunty Carol and Uncle Barry.  Lunch was divine, as were some shooters…but even more scrumptious was our waiter, a tall, dark haired, blue eyed god called G.T.  The old folks left and Elizabeth and I stayed behind, drinking coffee – but G.T I’m sure knew we stuck around to just perv over him.

After I got home, the Sunday blues grabbed me again, so I forced myself to write something – I have had no inspiration for quite a while now and many people notice that I’m devouring books.  What they don’t know is that as long as I’m reading, I’m not writing much.  I read three novels last week…

Yearning

A simple tune drowns out the white noise

But it doesn’t stop the raging storm

Waves of emotion crash over my rocky heart

Changing its exterior with each swell

A deep, insatiable yearning sets in

Tears blur my vision

The melody continues to taunt me

Rubbing my solitude in my face

Taking pleasure in my heartache

Evil voices laugh in my head

Making me doubt my worthiness

I wonder if you see what I see

Is that why you keep your distance?

I know you’ve noticed me

Yet you keep me at arm’s length

Or do I just blend into the background?

The yearning to be part of your life

Devours my mind

Day and Night

Dawn and Dusk

Through my soft sobs

I wipe my tears

The yearning isn’t gone, but the ditty is finished

I have to carry on, face the day…and not lose hope.