Yesterday was a day of good abso-flippen-lutely fab-u-lous news for some amazing friends in my circle!
Charlie told me that he is soon going to be owning his first home, a dream come true! I’m so incredibly proud of him for chasing his dream and staying focussed.
It was pretty much a done I’ve been to the place with him a few times to just peer in the windows like proper lookey-Lous and once to see the actual inside. It is a stunning place, with a magnificent view, but most importantly, it checks all his boxes. Yesterday he said, “It’s not a new chapter. It’s like a whole new book” and I found myself wondering what the title would be, or if it would be something to do with a Wonderland of sorts.
While I have never owned a property of my own, I have been prone to bouts of nostalgia walking this journey with Charlie. The excitement of the smallest of things, like buying hand soap that matches the bath towels, making that first meal or simply unpacking stuff into the cupboards of a place you can call your own.
At times, understandably, doubt would set in with questions that usually started with “What if…” and I would just revert to the logic of – you found something that has ticked all the boxes you wanted, except the jacuzzi and the Lamborghini in the garage, so ergo, it is just a matter of time.
It is an exciting adventure – Charlie’s delight is so evident; there is an inflection in his voice that belies his attempt to be nonchalant about the whole affair. I’m quite sure if he was a woman he would physically be glowing.
Shortly after receiving Charlie’s news, I got a call from Jack, who I consider a solid friend, although work is what ties us together. During his last courtesy visit to my office, we got talking about goals. He mentioned that he would love to climb the corporate ladder within the company that he works for, but that the next step would mean relocation for him and his wife. His beliefs and mine are pretty much aligned and it was said that if it’s meant to be it will.
Jack’s call was to tell me that the promotion had happened, and that in three weeks he and his wife will be moving to a new city where he will be the National Sales Manager. The next step on the ladder after that is Sales Director.
Jack’s loyalty to his employer and his open, dynamic approach to thinking outside the box in a challenging market are his keys to success. I’m confident that he is going to be a shining example to the colleagues entrusted to his leadership.
Then last, but by no means least, I saw news on Facebook that my amazing US friend, Mike McClelland’s debut novel, Gay Zoo Day which was published in September last year, has been named a finalist for the IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Award in LGBT literature.
This in between completing his degree and becoming a father to a beautiful baby boy he and his husband adopted. I’m so inspired by Mike’s achievement. It makes me want to dust of my work-in-progress-novel and get it finished.
Admittedly, I haven’t read the book…yet, but it is merely because I haven’t ordered books in ages. While I am a real-page book-slut, I am beginning to realize that at some stage I may need to join the Kindlers *gasp!
I am humbled to have many wonderful friends that are scattered all over The Globe and if every day can be one in which I get to share happy news (even from afar) with even just one of them, and celebrate their victories and their joys with them, then my life already feels full. I’m grateful too, to the ones that are close, that want me to be part of their life-puzzles, because after all, as my tagline says, I’m the piece of the puzzle that just doesn’t quite fit.
Charlie, Jack and Mike – you guys made my Tuesday. I’m ecstatic for the roads that lie ahead for each one of you because you’re all so deserving of everything good that is coming your way!
I’m a member of various FB groups in our region – mostly to market my Herbalife sideline business, but also to stay in the loop as to what is happening in the area, because I live under a rock most of the time. I don’t buy the local rag because it is more ads than news and with social media being reported in real time, by the time the paper makes the round on a Friday, most of the news is old already anyway.
One thing I have noticed on many of the groups is how many people are looking for accommodation, yet they can’t find because of limited availability and for those who do manage to find something available, the places come with ridiculous rentals and the owners are very particular about no pets. Some even state “no children”, which I think is cruel – and this coming from someone who is not a parent.
It’s the price of living in the Garden Route, I suppose, but it doesn’t seem fair. It brings that Roger Miller tune, King of the Road to mind.
One member pointed out, “How am I supposed to afford a house with a rental of R8K when between my wife and I, we’re only bringing home R11K. We have accounts that need paying, kids that need to be fed, clothed and schooled, and then some…” Some replies were, “If you can get a house for R8K you should count yourself lucky” and “if you don’t want it, I’ll take it. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find accommodation here?” These statements are true, but it doesn’t make the reality any easier to deal with for those who are struggling to make ends meet, because in many instances employers in this area are still pay their employees way-under-market-related-salaries. Every morning I say a prayer of gratitude because I work for a company that not only remunerates its workers well, but also allows for both professional- and individual growth. Add to that great colleagues, and it’s a recipe for success.
Besides the supply vs demand for accommodation in general, another topic came up for discussion: In December many people were left out in the cold as their landlords put them out to rent the places for the summer holiday at rents only the Northerners can afford. There are two sides to the argument of course – as a tenant of a furnished flat, the first thing I did when signing the lease was to check that I wouldn’t have to vacate the property during the summer holiday, because my brain said, “where will I go?” I wanted the assurance in writing that I would have a roof over my head during the busiest part of the year, and I got it. I will say too, that the couple that owns my home, are amazing lessors.
So, the question begs, did these people that were displaced not know about the requirement to vacate, or did they merely not bother to procure alternative accommodation in time? Or did the property owners merely shaft them? It’s anyone’s guess. The plight of the tenants left stranded has now been raised to the point where the legality of such rentals is going to be investigated. A good thing, I believe because there is clearly exploitation of a loophole somewhere. Whether it is intentional or not is irrelevant.
It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the investigation is. Guess we’ll have to just wait and see…
Quite a few of you have enquired about The Toppie and his broken arm. So, instead of repeating the same thing over and over, I thought it best to let you all know the way I did just after it happened.
One thing I can tell you from this experience is that I am grateful I have never broken a bone. The closest I’ve come is having torn the ligaments in my left ankle some years back. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, I tell you. One minute I was strolling along admiring the Tsitsikamma scenery, the next minute I stepped wrong and bam, swollen blue ankle. I don’t care who-, or how old you are, unless you have some serious psychological illness, you don’t hurt yourself on purpose or you might suffer from Munchausen Syndrome, but then you’re merely only pretending to be sick. The bad thing is, an injury like torn ligaments, tendons and broken bones have repercussions for the rest of your life and they get worse as you age. It’s almost three years down the line and I still have issues when it comes to walking long distances, even more so on uneven ground.
Okay, getting back to The Toppie… the whole ordeal took the obvious physical toll on him, but for the few days he was at home, The Bean and I were very concerned about his mental state too. He was understandably frustrated because he had to do everything with his left hand, but clearly worried about stuff too. At one stage I wanted to start calling him Snappy.
He went back to the hospital on December 28th, eleven days after the fall and the temporary cast was removed. Not all good news, but not morbidly dark report either. After new x-rays were taken, they showed the bone had moved into the right position and there appeared to be no visible swelling. The doctor on duty also sent the images to another doctor in a neighbouring town who looked at them too. Both were satisfied with the progress to date. The concerning factor was that the open wound on the forearm hadn’t closed entirely and to prevent infection The Toppie was given a course of antibiotics, a petroleum jelly gauze was applied and then he got a proper, hard, plaster cast. It turned out to be quite a bit heavier than the temporary one and the sling the hospital had given him, did zero to support it. Uncle Barry lent him a fancy adjustable one, like the one pictured below, which made a mountain of difference, because it reduced a lot of the discomfort.
He got asked to come into work during his sick leave tenure to help out, driving with one arm, potentially risking not only his own life behind the wheel, but those of other road users too. Obstinate! He continued to help out, because in our Sleepy Hollow town, December and January are particularly busy months. This resultd in him ending up working for almost two of the three weeks he was booked off. He said though that the team of ladies he supervises were stellarly helpful, not allowing him to do anything that might result in him causing himself further injury. It did help a bit to keep his mind occupied at least.
Last weekend when I visited there, he mentioned that his left arm is starting to ache, so much so, that he even started drinking the pain medication again, after having weaned himself off it. I’m of the personal opinion it is because he has overcompensated with it because he stubbornly hasn’t heeded medical warning, but he swats my words away like an irritating blow fly.
The next appointment is set for February 1st. The cast is due to be removed during that visit, and new x-rays will be taken and further action, if necessary. In the meantime, we’re all trying to stay positive and hope for the best. One thing I will tell you though is every time any one of us has to go down the stairs, the other two parties in the house shout, “Be careful on the stairs!” Even more so when there’s been a bit of rain because as I mentioned earlier, accidents happen in a split second.
To each one of you reading this, who have sent well wishes and other forms of support, thank you! It is a comfort to know that there are still some real people out there that do care.
It’s that time of the year, when I look back reflectively on the year past, and with excitement and expectation for the one that lies ahead.
2017 was a tough year. As an individual I was tested, as a couple my parents were tested, and as a family, you guessed it, we were tested. Yet, here we are on the first day January, with hope and courage in our hearts, and the faithful belief that things will be better this time round. It was also the year that I bid goodbye to seven pairs of shoes, six pairs of which broke at the office. Pair seven broke as I got out the car for my year-end-work-function. As I look back though, as tough as it was, it was a good year, all in all.
January started off slowly, but I did do one parkrun; the only one for the entire year. It was a destined one though, because it was there that I met Heather, with whom I have become quite close. We “get” each other, like uMeredith and Christina do. We’re both book sluts and Dischem whores, who love drinking wine out of enamel mugs at Kaai 4, or eating fish and chips out of polystyrene containers on top of the iconic red London bus at the harbour. In a short twelve months, she’s joined the ranks of “heart sister”.
In February I was faced with a bit of a surprise. The institution through which I studied years ago let me know that if I didn’t complete the final subject of my tertiary year by the end of 2017, I would lose all the credits for that period. I took the leap, borrowed the money and, at the tender age of thirty-seven, hit the books again. It was an experience to say the least, because I struggled with self-discipline. Honestly, had it been anything to do with writing I would have approached it with more enthusiasm. It was also the month I met Charlie, in passing, at Heather’s birthday party, blissfully unaware that by the end of the year he too, would be someone genuinely important in my circle.
The Toppie, Bean and I also went on a bit of a safari adventure, arranged by Tina and some of her friends. It was such a special time for us as a family, where memories were made.
March marched right by. I’ve gone through my photos and I can’t find anything blog-worthy that happened that month.
In April, shortly after The Toppie’s 70th birthday celebration, my parents bid their home goodbye, and moved to a much smaller place, in an industrial area outside of town. It was gut-wrenching to have to watch them sell off their possessions to be able to make ends meet, but through the hardship, they’ve learned that they didn’t need all that stuff – they’ve got each other. It broke my heart when The Bean lost her precious cockatiel, Marley, shortly after.
That same month, a tiny pipe in my bathroom broke, resulting in a flood right through my flat. For three months I couldn’t live there, but thanks to friends and an amazing colleague and his wife, I had a roof over my head the entire time. If I’m honest, I kind of became attached to my transit-home, which was a garden cottage in said colleague’s back garden. The fact that their beautiful Labrador would visit had nothing to do with it.
May was a cold month, so most of the studying I did for exams took place under the duvet, with a cup of hot chocolate in hand. I also spent a great deal of time reading for leisure in the evenings. I discovered the literary genius of Afrikaans author, Deon Meyer and have since read two of his books, Koors and Spoor.
June brought with it the birth of Shayla-Rae’s first child (and my goddaughter), Lily-Rose. She was the most perfect little person I had ever seen.
My heart swelled with pride, not only because I was now a god-mommy, but for my childhood best friend, who pushed that perfect little person out of her vajajay.
I won’t use the exact phrase she did to describe the process of child birth; needless to say, it was colourful.
June also brought with it exams, that, no matter how much I had studied, I still didn’t feel prepared for. I dragged Tina with me to Cape Town, because she needed a break from the drama with her ex, and because I didn’t fancy being in the Mother City without decent company. It was during that visit that I had the best Durban curry of my life – yes, in Cape Town. It didn’t bode well for my exams the next day because it played havoc with my stomach. I wrote what felt like a million words on the answer sheets provided and when I left, after not having completed the final question, I thought I think I’ve done enough to pass. I took Tina up Signal Hill where we nearly blew away (Did someone say Cape Doctor?) and then we went to the Company Gardens to feed the squirrels. The little critters are quite brazen when they know you’re hiding peanuts.
July was a good month. I got to move back home, to newly installed floors and the luxury of a bath. While I love my morning shower, sometimes all that cures the ails of a long day at the office in the middle of winter, is a hot, candlelit bubble bath.
I also got to visit Shalya-Rae, Shane and little Lily-Rose for a few days in the beautiful Tsitsikamma. I really wanted to do the hike to the suspension bridge across the sea and Shayla-Rae indulged me, carrying a sleepy Lily the entire way in the car chair. It was up countless stairs, and down through steep valleys. The view, and the feeling of absolute freedom was amazing. Granted we were windswept and a bit cold afterwards, but it was worth every leg-stiffening step. It’s something I will definitely do again.
Charlie also came home for a holiday and we spent some time together, in an attempt to get to know each other better. While he hasn’t managed to convert me to a KFC fan (yet), I think I did well to make him a Sherlockian. He went back to work in August and his imminent return in January 2018 is something I’m looking forward to.
In August I got my exam results. Thankfully I’d passed. With distinction! I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the results. Over eighty percent. I still don’t know how I managed the excellent mark; I can only think that there were many prayers going up at the time on my behalf.
September. The month of my birthday …Usually I have some kind of shindig to celebrate, but this year, I opted for something a little more low-key. Jensen, a family friend of over twenty-five years, came to visit and took me out for pizza and wine at a new place in town. It was a great catch-up. First Sighting Shiraz is a wine I most certainly need in my collection.
Carmen and Ewan also welcomed their second child into the world. World, meet little Roger!
In October, little Liam, Eliza and Neil’s second child celebrated his first birthday. I have a special tie with him; he’s my “bonding-baby” – the first child I every held that wasn’t even a month old yet, and I believe that he prepared me for Lily-Rose. In the imaginary world I sometimes live in, I imagine the two of them getting married one day.
It was also the first time I got hypnotised. Theresa came to visit and I convinced her to tag along with me to a hypnosis entertainment show. I’ve always wondered about going under but didn’t for a minute think I would be on stage. For over an hour! Theresa was awesome, filming all my shenanigans on her phone. I looked like I had tremendous fun and without a doubt, I will do it again. I woke up the next morning stiff as a board, but after watching the clips, I understand why – I was really active on stage, from being a dinosaur, to a washing machine, to a goldfish, to a rapper, to a lifeguard and then some.
Now, there are few things as daunting as having a man who you’re not having sex with inspect your lady-bits, but in November I trotted off to the surgery. I’d been putting off the gynae visit for months, but due to exacerbating problems around Aunt Flo’s visit every month, I was left no choice but to face the Fanny Flapper and his dreaded (to coin a phrase by a good writer friend of mine) dildo cam. It should be mentioned at this juncture that the past two times I’ve seen him, it has been for emergency procedures, so when he greeted me with, “It’s so lovely to see you here, in my office, instead of the operating theatre,” I couldn’t help but smile. After likening my cycle to that of pig slaughter, it was decided that a deeper look would be crucial to get to the core of the problem. Oh yay, off I go to the hospital. Again. What I wasn’t expecting was that it would be for two procedures. I’d had the first, a laparoscopy, before so I knew what to expect. The second, a hysteroscopy, I was a bit worried about because it sounded a bit scary. Turns out there was reason for concern: The monthly vampire bloodfest seeping from my uterus was due to a teratoma (the same thing the first laparoscopy had been done for to remove). The odd thing was it wasn’t on my ovary, where the little bastards normally cling on, it was between my intestine and my stomach lining. It had all kinds of different human tissue, which I of course find fascinating; most people find it gross. The doctor said they do tend to grow back, but in this particular case, this might be the remnants of the original alien that the first doctor didn’t get entirely removed. Thankfully, I am feeling a great deal better. The night-dwelling-day-sleeping-bloodsuckers are probably really pissed off with me about it though.
December. By definition: Hectic. It is par for the course when one lives in a seaside-resort-holiday-town. With only three weeks available to do what felt like three months’ worth of work, tempers were clearly frayed and the prospect of a holiday was all that kept me from committing murder. Fortunately, before that happened, our bosses were awesome and gave us a delicious year end dinner, which gave me a reason to dress up.
I originally wore a pair of killer silver heels, but both shoes broke as I got out the car.
Little Lily-Rose was christened in the Dutch Reformed Church a stone-throw away from a one-horse-town called Kareedouw. It wasn’t without its own hysterics. Shayla-Rae’s mum put her button-up dress over her satin slip (which was keeping her warm). As we stood up to sing the first hymn, her pretty, pink pyjamas landed in a crumpled heap at her feet. I of course was the only one who saw it, and trying not to laugh, only made me want to laugh more. It may not sound funny to those of you reading this, but to me it was hysterical.
It was also my twenty-year school reunion, which I didn’t attend due to other commitments. From the photos it looks like much fun was had. One pleasant surprise was seeing Nola and her husband Connor, who decided to surprise my parents and I with a visit. She was also a best friend at school and boarded with us in our final year. Our paths don’t cross often anymore, because she lives in a different city, and has Connor and two beautiful boys to look after, but she has never forgotten my-, or my parents’ birthdays. I on the other hand am an epic failure at remembering hers.
It was also the month I realized what my biggest fear is. After having written that post, and some of the responses I received, a few things have more perspective for me now, for which I’m grateful.
Christmas was not a lavish affair for which my jeans still thank me. We had a small braai with Aunty Carol and Uncle Barry and vetkoek. For those of you not familiar with the term, it is bread dough that is deep friend which can be enjoyed with a selection of savoury spreads or sweet preserves.
Shortly after, my former roommate, Sarah, and her fiancé, Sam, came to visit. She is also someone I refer to as a “heart sister” and she is the youngest one of them all. I am her “big (but thin) sister”. We had plans for a day of catching up in the summer sunshine, but not before this:
They’re getting hitched in November next year, so I already have something to look forward to in 2018. You see, I’ve never been a bridesmaid before.
And then, to almost end of 2017, Shayla-Rae and her other half, Shane took me to an open air concert, where there were 12000 people. It may not sound like many, but in the sleepy hollow town where I live, that is probably the entire population out of season. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long while. The R150 Shane paid for six beers though, left a bitter taste in his mouth – it was R10 short of what they’d paid for one (golden circle) ticket.
I’m off to spend the last night of the year with Shayla-Rae and her family at the farm.
So, I have been quiet. Honestly, I haven’t felt much like writing. Work is hectic; fuses are slightly shorter than usual all round and, I’ve been preoccupied with both good/fun-, and not-so-good/fun things.
A friend introduced me to a great guy, Charlie, with whom I’ve been chatting for quite a while already. To get to know each other better, we’re doing the “50 I’s about Me” challenge, that I did on this very blog eons ago. It’s fun to see how some of my answers haven’t changed at all while others have done a complete one eighty.
We haven’t been doing them in the same order as the original list. Yesterday’s “I” was meant to be “I fear”, but I just couldn’t face it. You see, I realized yesterday, that more than my fear of dying by drowning or smoke inhalation, I fear being an orphan. Even as I type the words, bile rises in my throat and my vision becomes cloudy. Ironically, in a previous conversation, Charlie said that fear is a learned emotion. When we’re born all we fear is loud noises; everything else we fear is imprinted on us.
I’m sure you’re wondering Where the hell is she going with this? So, I’ll get to it:
Neither my mom nor I knew The Toppie had decided to take the garbage out early yesterday morning. All we heard was a loud “Ooohhhh”, followed by a blunt grunt and then an even louder, “Owww!!” I bolted down the wet stairs to find him at the bottom, bleeding, shaky and unable to stand. He had a gash above his right eye, a long cut on his arm, so deep that the bone was visible and instant bruising on his legs and thighs. My first aid training flew right out the window. I began to shake as adrenalin began to course through my veins. All I knew was he would need stitches and that we had to stop the bleeding. Mom gave me a towel which I wrapped around his arm before loading him into the car and driving like Lewis Hamilton to the local state hospital, all the time quietly reciting, Please God, don’t let him die. Please!
Sitting in the cold waiting room, my poor dad was rocking backwards and forwards with pain. I have never seen him so vulnerable. It just made me even more aware of how mortal he and my mom are and just how much I’m not ready to have God take either of them away. He started to doze off and I panicked thinking he may have a concussion, so when a nurse came to call another patient (of about twenty sitting in the waiting room), I walked up asking how long the wait would be, given that he was now drifting in and out of consciousness. It was then that the brain fog cleared and I remembered the big words I’d learned in first aid training, cranial contusion and bleeding laceration to right forearm with suspected fracture. Bless the nurse, who told me to immediately bring him in. We waited a long time for help, but once the nurses got busy, they were efficient and professional. The doctor saw him, and said that X-rays would be required, because she too suspected a broken arm. The X-rays took a long time because the radiographers (in both state and private hospitals) don’t work on weekends. In the instance of the former, the hospital waits until there are at least five patients requiring X-rays before they ask the radiographer to come in. If there aren’t a time of at least two hours must elapse. The nurses in the meantime disinfected the wound on his arm, which had him flinching and then applied strips to close the gaping hole – he couldn’t have sutures because his skin is too thin and gave him a shot of morphine for the pain.
It was frustrating to have to wait, but Aunty Carol, Uncle Barry and Cousin Lola popped by with a bite to eat, a flask of coffee and two magazines. It helped to pass the time until the radiographer arrived. The process of the X-rays was quick-sticks.
The verdict – broken ulna, less than two thirds, which thankfully means that no surgery is required.
Not The Toppie’s X-ray – just a Google one for example.
The doctor applied a temporary cast (because the arm my still swell) and told him to come back on Friday, for it to be removed, the wound to be cleaned and a proper cast to be applied.
It was a harrowing six hour ordeal that left The Toppie broken and bruised, The Bean emotionally frazzled and Yours Truly on an emotional rollercoaster.
I’m scared that it might happen again, and that if it does, it won’t be just a broken arm. I’m furious because so many people knew where my parents were when the going was good, but 95% of them have disappeared into the woodwork now that it isn’t the case anymore. I’m tired of the pretenders; exhausted in fact. I’m willing to wager that had we called for help, only a handful of people would have come to our rescue. I’m relieved that it was only a few bruises, a bashed head and a broken arm. I am hopeful that everything will be okay in the end. As Cousin Lola said yesterday, ”This too shall pass” and it will. My mantra right now is that EVERYTHING that is happening now is for my ULTIMATE GOOD, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.
I didn’t type a post on January 1st as I have done for ages. It’s not that I didn’t want to, I wasn’t of much value yesterday having rung in the New Year with Neil, Eliza, Neil’s friend, Grant and his wife, Casey (who happens to be Eliza’s cousin) and only had 4 hours of shuteye. I’ll admit the hangover was deadly, but if I had to do it over, I would. I had a great deal of fun and honestly, I was happy to see the back of a year in which I had shed a great deal of tears because of unsolved worries and constant financial and emotional stresses. It was a harsh, unforgiving year in the sense that I not only came to realize, but accept that many people are fickle and that they will only be in your life as long as you are able to give and they are able to take. Once the proverbial well dries up, those same people who would telephone you once, sometimes twice, a week, can’t seem to operate the telephone anymore, nor can they make a special effort to pop in for coffee when they happen to be in the neighbourhood. It hurts, and it makes me bitter, but I am not going to allow the bad vibes to cloud my hopes for 2017. I also realized that there are good people out there too – people who I hardly know and who I least expected would care, who have proved to care more than some people I’ve known for a long time.
Looking back on some photos taken last year, I am grateful for the happy times that I had too.
Dad and I attended the first birthday of the parkrun. I can’t remember when it was, but I do remember the theme was funny hats. We didn’t do as many parkruns as we did in 2015, but this year that will change. Dad has been very tired with his part-time job and the ridiculous hours involved, so I didn’t want to push the envelope too much. It was good for us though, our bonding thing, so we need to get back into it. It will also take his mind off the worries he has, albeit for a little while.
Elizabeth’s sisters had babies early in the year – the first being Anna and Miles’s little princess, Karolyn and less than a month later, Ilne and Zachary welcomed their first-born, Harold to the world. They are both sweet kids, with polar-opposite personalities. Elizabeth is such a proud aunt, who shares their progress with me often. Little Harold started walking just before Christmas.
I did a first aid course in April. The course matter was intense, but the instructor made the day informative, interactive and fun. My certificate is valid until 2019, but honestly I hope that nobody at work has a serious injury because I think my nerves may get the better of me.
June I decided to do some baking. I made a peanut butter and syrup swirl roll which turned out to be such a resounding success, a friend makes it regularly for her children.
July I broke away to Shayla-Rae for a few days. It was, as it always is, spectacular to see her. She taught me how to stoke a proper wood-oven and she cooked on the stove for me every night because I was totally fascinated. Let me tell you something: a chicken roasted in a Dover oven tastes out of this world.
In August Carla, her friend, Elaine and I went to Benguela Cove where we did a wine and chocolate pairing – a first (but definitely not a last) for me. It was a special day, a memory etched in my mind.
September was a month of celebrations. Mom turned 70 and she and dad also celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. I took them for a fancy lunch and afterwards we ate cake – for days afterwards.
I also turned 18, for the 19th time and did something different – a Murder Mystery Party. It took a lot of planning and while nobody was really sure what to expect, the evening was an absolute hit!
My Herbalife business picked up systematically throughout the year, and I’m trusting that the trend will continue upwards this year. My upline had a promotion for the members in their team and I qualified for a Hawaiian themed-party in October! Pictured here are all the qualifiers.
The same month I decided to give my hair a bit of a chop and while I hate selfies, many of my friends wanted to see the new look. I like it, but sadly, finances don’t allow for a short do that requires constant upkeep. By the end of 2017 my hair may very well be long enough for me to sit on!
One of the most special events that happened in October was the birth of Neil and Eliza’s second son, Leonard. I am the first person that will tell you I am scared of babies, but he is special. I have really bonded with him and look forward to cuddles from him when I go to visit them. Their eldest son, Noel, who is three now is such a good big brother.
November Carla treated a number of us to a weekend away for her birthday. We went to a tiny little place called Nature’s Valley (about two hours from here). We had a special time, bonding as friends, over wine, laughter, food and the tranquility of the nature there. I’m sure another weekend will be on the cards this year. Topping the last one may prove a bit difficult, I think.
Elizabeth also had her birthday and my gift to her was an open-air movie at the Botanical Gardens in George.
The last month of the year brought with it summer and with that, the annual Colour Run. It is marketed as the happiest 5k on the planet and I think it lives up to that statement. I was man-down afterwards because the heat was extreme. It is fun and the positive vibe is electrifying. The only downside is the struggle to get clean afterwards. It took me three days to get all the paint out of my hair and off some parts of my body. Will I do it again? Absolutely!
Dad also bought Mom a hand-reared cockatiel, who I named Marley. It means misty meadows and she is grey, so it was a no-brainer. She has proved to be a real joy. She is only nine weeks old, and can be a bit of an attention-hog.
The saddest thing that happened in December was the devastating veld fires which raged for a few days. There was speculation that someone had tossed a cigarette butt out of the car window, but it turned out that it was arson. One of the fire-starters was caught red-handed and arrested. People could have lost their homes and so many animals would have been displaced, or worse, killed.
There were other gems throughout the year – random drives with Mom to The Point to feed the seagulls, or simple pleasures like a beautiful sunrise, entering the American Green Card Lottery (I’ll know later this year if my application was successful, but I have a really good feeling that my dream of writing a novel in The Big Apple will be realized) a homemade grilled cheese sandwich, real boerekoffie in an enamel mug and even a spontaneous cheese and wine with a friend on the back of his bakkie.
…that Peace that Paul wrote to the Phillipians about…I received it!
Phillipians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (ESV)
A great deal of things happened this weekend…Roosterkoeks the size of tablets, coffee at Steve’s folks on their farm, a touch of the mysterious at Sulina’s Faerie Sanctuary, an ice-cold something at the Dros in Roberton, a wors-braai on Du Toit’s Kloof Pass, a walk from Three Anchor Bay to Sea Point and back, photos at Signal Hill, a stop at the Lindt shop, a pop in at that Waterfront, rugby in a box at Newlands, watching the lights from Ou Kaapse Weg, a drive over Chapman’s Peak, via Hout Bay and Camp’s Bay, feeding the squirrels and pigeons in the Company Gardens…but that is not what I want to share today… despite all these wonderful memories, one moment, a few fleeting seconds actually, is what I will probably carry closest to my heart for a long while still.
This past Sunday, whilst on a weekend away to Cape Town with Steve and Elizabeth, I experienced a fleeting few moments of that God’s Peace that surpasses all understanding.
On a whim, we jumped in the car at 06:25 to find a good spot to check out the sunrise…knowing that the best sunsets are seen from the southern side of Cape Town, I took the two “tourists” up the scenic Boye’s Drive then into Fishoek where we decided to take a walk on the beach. I was dressed in my skinny jeans and the shirt I’d slept in (we weren’t initially planning to be getting out where people would see us) and no shoes. While Steve and Elizabeth took photos I rolled up my jeans (with no real success) and put my feet in the water. Before I knew it I was thigh deep and after a quick conference with Elizabeth regarding the use of her jersey, I walked right back into the water and it happened…just before I dived under the waves, there was complete silence around me.
I could have dived under the waves and not resurfaced. It wouldn’t have mattered because…I. was. at. Peace.
I can’t qualify my experience with words, be they spoken or written. All I can say is that in that fleeting five to eight seconds, nothing in my life mattered, except me and my Father in Heaven. He touched me in a supernatural way – I have been teary ever since, but I know that tears bring healing, so I am letting them flow. God is working in me, making changes for the better. So, even as I am not sure what lies ahead, I know that I can walk in faith, because I am filled with peace.