Depending on one’s personal beliefs, one may believe in Karma – that things happen to you because of what you did to (or for) someone in the past, or that everything happens in a perfect time pre-ordained by God, or that something is a mere stroke of random luck.Continue reading
Inspiration to Travel Down Memory Lane
Last night I was reading The Brain Bleacher, the final short story in the second Sticky Fingers anthology by JT Lawrence, with whom I was at school with for a short time before moving to Mossel Bay.
I was chatting with Charlie after I’d finished the book, and said to him that one day I will write like that – as in short stories, because while I know I have a writing gift, I do not possess the mad skills to weave a tale in a limited amount of words that grabs you from the word go. JTL just has it.
One quote in the story above really resonated with me: “While a memory is a mental snapshot of a moment, it carries with it layers of emotion and texture and scent.”
It reminded me of quite a few mental snapshots and something my colleague, Carla and I discussed when we spent a girls’ night away at a local lodge about three years ago one November weekend. She said when she looks back in time, she doesn’t necessary remember the things that were around her at a time, but she does remember the smell of the air, or the warmth of the sun on her skin, or the song in the breeze; most importantly she remembers how she felt in that moment. Thinking about that outing, I remember being stretched out on a long wooden deck chair, with a book listening to the trickle of the stream nearby. While I don’t remember the title of the book, I remember the feel of the parchment between my fingers and the smell of the ink. I remember feeling completely content, even if only for a few fleeting moments.
Another memory that popped into my mind was our visits to Mossel Bay when I was a child. The Bean and I would catch the train from Johannesburg and travel to visit my matriarchal grandparents and all the aunts, uncles and cousins. The one olfactory memory I have of these journeys is pulling into the station and smelling the oceanic saltiness in the air – a world removed from the Johannesburg smog that enveloped us during our time in that concrete jungle. I remember loving the feel of the sea sand between my toes and being bribed out of the freezing cold water with what was probably an even colder ice-cream cone.
I recalled other memories too – and with focus on the emotions, texture and scent, I was transported back to those moments in time, and it felt as if I was there again.
In one, I felt the gooseflesh rise at the receipt of a gentle touch in a tender moment, even though my heart was racing with uncertainty and angst and flaming desire at the same time.
In another, I felt the dread and horrific realization induced by the smell of burnt chicken (I won’t live it down either, I promise!)
In another I was warmed by the soft heat of a gas heater with the fairy-tale lights of a Cape Town Waterfront Christmas display to illuminate my friend, Andrew’s face as we caught up five years’ worth of news over a chocolate-berry-spiced red wine and lekker South African fare. I also remember the indigestion that followed shortly after seeing the bill.
In another I remember sitting against the trunk of a tree, after a particularly trying parkrun. My hair was plastered to my forehead with glue-au-de-perspiration and my breathing was laboured, so much so I’m sure I could have given The Big Bad Wolf a run for his money (bacon, anyone?). A woman approached me asking about Herbalife (yes, I was branded for the walk – not my finest advertising moment) and we got chatting. Eighteen months later, that woman, Harriet, is one of my closest friends. I haven’t been able to do our routed parkrun since though because of my bum knee.
I could reminisce like this for hours, and I think each day I shall get in my time machine and take myself back to at least one happy (or funny) memory – where I can relieve the sensation, feel the grain, and inhale the fragrance of times gone by. And sure, sometimes it’s necessary to revisit the sad and bad memories, to remind oneself how far you’ve come, but for the most part, I want to simply revisit the happy times, filled with laughter, hope, friendship, family and most importantly the love that surrounds all those things.
So, here’s to joyous recollections, all inspired by a single line, from an incredible book.
Cheers to you JTL! I aspire to be an author like you. You are a creative genius and an absolute legend.
I Need YOUR Help! Yes, You!
I should write more. That’s the consensus among the close friends I have that read my blog. It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s more a case of The Muse being a bigger hibernator than I am. But, they’re right *sssshhhh don’t tell them I said that*; I’m not doing what I love on a daily basis.
In an attempt to write more, an in so doing, pursue my passion – whether poetry, prose or anecdotes – I’m going to need help. Please would every one of you that reads this particular entry, leave a comment of what you’d like me to write about – it can be anything – I will do my utmost best to do right by you.
So, who’s first?
In 2013 I’m Going to…
Wake up and smell the roses…like this softly scented one I just picked out of our garden. Isn’t it beautiful?
How often aren’t we so rushed to do something, or be somewhere, or see to others’ needs that we simply miss the beauty of God’s creation around us?
Though I said in my previous post, I’m not a resolution-making-kinda-gal, I’m going to resolve to do these five things daily:
1. Be thankful for everything I have, every day – because this is A Philosophy we all can Live by. An online friend of mine has an awesome thing – it’s a gratitude jar, and every day she writes something down which she is thankful for and places it in the jar. At the end of the year, she literally counts her blessings.
2. Try to speak only positive things into my life, and into the lives of those around me – and if I stumble, to immediately ask God’s forgiveness immediately and restart the process. I’ve bought Pastor Joel Osteen’s bestselling book I Declare and I’m going to be reading the 31 Promises this January and living them.
3. Give my best at whatever I am asked to do. I’m not saying that it will be perfect every time, but that I will give my best – and if I can’t do it on my own, that I will ask for help.
4. To talk less, (be more patient), and listen more – to God’s Voice, and to those around me.
5. Walk by Faith, and not by sight.
Right, that’s that…no wait! There’s two more:
6. To drink more water and green tea
7. To not go to bed with my make-up on – no matter how tired I am!
Then, I have a bucket list of things I would like to do this year:
1. Read more motivational books – I’ve just bought this book which Nianell signed, with a simple, yet effective message “Just Be…” on Sunday evening after her performance which I was privileged enough to attend. She is an incredible local artist, blessed with an angel’s voice. She is an amazing ambassador for God too – an inspiration and a true light. In the 90 minutes she sang and brought her message, I was moved to tears a few times. After the show, she patiently posed for a number of photos with fans and spoke to each one. Here we are:
2. On the subject of reading, I want to also read all the books I bought in 2012 that I didn’t get around to reading. I realize that this means I am going to be sleeping a lot less than I did last year…
3. Go horse riding at Eight Bells – I’ve told Steve, my trainer, that I want to do this and he will ensure that there is enough lower-back strength training in my program for this to happen. I’m thinking round about July / August – it’s cooler then, perfect weather for mountain outrides. I can’t wait!
4. To go hiking at least once every two months – the Garden Route has some beautiful trails, like the Giant Kingfisher Trail in Wilderness. I think I shall start rallying the troops now already for a hike towards the end of the month.
5. To save a few Rands every month, because I really do want to do the Advanced Novel Writing Course through the South African Writer’s College. Having passed the first part of the course with merit, it is a step in the right direction. I AM going to be published! And my novel IS going to be a New York Bestseller – just you wait and see :-D!
6. To swim in the sea more – I went with Carmen and Ewan to the beach on Thursday and swam in the sea for the first time in easily a decade (if not longer) and it was so refreshing. The fact that I have a bikini ready body now helps too, I’ll admit 😉
7. See more of my extended friendship circle – I am so blessed to have many true angels in my friendship circle, yet I don’t get to see them all as much as I’d like.
8. Watch more movies (at the cinema) than I did in 2012 – shouldn’t be too hard, considering I only saw two last year 😀
9. Take more photos – and share them with those around me, be it through the various forms of social media at my disposal, or here, on my blog.
10. With that said…I will definitely be blogging more than the meagre 33 posts I did last year!
Versatile Blogger Award
This is the second time I’ve been privileged enough to receive this award – the first time I got it was in July 2010. That post is here.
This time I was nominated by Christina from A Piece of my Mind, to whom I am very grateful. It is a pleasant experience knowing that other people enjoy what I write.
The rules are:
1. Add a picture of the award in your post.
2. Thank the award giver.
3. Share 7 random facts about you.
4. Choose 15 other bloggers to pass the award to and let them know that they’ve been nominated.
So…seven random things about me…hmmm *pensively chewing the tip of my pencil as I think about this…*
1. I don’t work at the strawberry farm anymore – I resigned in November 2010 after nearly suffering a nervous breakdown. I was on anti-depressants for longer than a year, but kicked them cold-turkey after I found a new job and then later, joined the gym. I now work a normal 8-5 Monday to Friday job in a completely different industry and I absolutely love my job! The people are fantastic, the work is stimulating, and…I have my own office.
2. I love a Mercedes Benz, but I can’t afford one, so I drive a little Ford Figo 1.4i. It’s white.
3. I have just finished a novel writing course, presented by the South African Writer’s College. It has been the most amazing journey. My novel, when complete will be submitted for consideration to be published. Its Title… Unmasked.
4. My favourite colours are blue, green, brown and black.
5. I am short – only 1.61 m I don’t know how many feet and inches that is, but I don’t think it’s all that many…
6. I am just about addicted to green tea.
7. I absolutely love Sundowner apples. I eat at least one every day.
As for the nomination of bloggers, I haven’t done much reading of other blogs lately. I have been too busy with work and getting the required portion of my manuscript done, so I will re-nominate the ones from my previous award win, if that’s okay…
Day Two: Nine Loves
I uhm’ed and ah’ed about this one quite a bit, but I realized I have more than nine – deciding on the top nine was the difficult bit.
- My Parents
Yes, yes, it probably sounds so clichéd, but it’s the truth. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today. They still chide me when I do something wrong, but are supportive of me in every way. I sometimes think about what life will be like when they’re gone, and it breaks my heart – the time we have is so precious…
- My friends and Some of my Family…
…Most of them anyway, although honestly, I love some a lot more than others.
I can count on a single hand the really awesome friends I have (and this is in no particular order) – there is Kerry in Jo’burg – no matter how much time goes by without us seeing each other, we are always able to pick up where we left off, and she is always there when I need to talk.
Elisabeth is another top-notch friend – sure, there are days when she makes me so angry I’d like to throttle her, but I will never find another friend like her – she is loyal, caring, always willing to listen, and always around with a helping hand to help plan or clean up after a get-together. I love the way she always brings me back to earth – even though the ride is sometime bumpy. She said to me one day that I am her “honourary sister” and that made me feel so special.
Geri & Dan in Durbs – who strangely enough are friends I met online (in a trivia chat room). We met in person in November 2002 and just gelled so well. They have two gorgeous kids and they are always willing to open their home to me. They were Godsends in January when we had our car accident – the towing company wouldn’t come and get us out until we paid the money upfront – (really now, talk about unreasonable), but when I phoned Dan and Geri with the details, they didn’t hesitate to immediately transfer the cash and get us sorted.
Cousin Lara – while we live in the same town, and don’t see each other as often as we should, when we do, well, there are always tears – tears from laughing so much that our tummies ache.
That’s not all of them, but if I have to list everyone – this will end up being a thesis-long post.
I cannot function without books. Sure, the Kindle is a great invention, but to me, there is nothing like the feel of turning a page to find out whodunit. I have been gifted some old books over the years, and there is something magical about the smell of the yellowing pages that makes me wonder what those books had seen before they landed on my shelf. My love of reading is something I inherited from Mom (another reason I love her… Dad on the other hand doesn’t understand why I spend a fortune on books that I am only going to read once…)
While I am by no means a foodie like some of the blogger friends I have, I do love being in the kitchen rustling up something to eat. Mom has a number of kitchen gadgets, which makes the exercise all the more entertaining. I am totally in love with (her) Russell (Hobbs Bread Machine). I have mastered a Cottage Cheese and Herb Bread and on Sunday I made a Trail Mix Wholewheat Loaf (it was almost perfect, except that all the raisins were on the outside of the loaf. Generally I am not a bad cook (well, nobody has died from anything I’ve made), but heaven knows, I am definitely not a contender for Masterchef…
I have been blessed with a vivid imagination, a knack for telling a story, and a love of words – this combination has grown into a love of writing. I enrolled for a novel-writing course with the South African Writers’ College. I am loving every minute of it and I am so inspired because the feedback I have been getting from my tutor has been constructive, but always positive. One of my dreams to be on the New York Bestseller’s List – who knows, maybe this is the beginning of realizing that dream.
- Children and their Innocence
Even though I don’t have any of my own, I love children. I love their innocence – like a friend of mine’s daughter telling the minister’s wife that she has big nose. Her mom is cringing with embarrassment, yet the little one doesn’t realize that she has just committed a social faux pas.
- A Good Red Wine
Elisabeth and I hadn’t been friends long, but she took it upon herself to turn me into a red wine drinker – and I love her for it! There have been countless evenings when I have polished off a bottle with either her or another friend – and always felt better for it. A spicy Shiraz on a frosty evening wards off the cold – and what’s better, the empty bottle doesn’t tell secrets…
- Rainy Weekends
Because then I don’t have to find an excuse to lay in bed all day watching DVD’s or reading a book or working on my novel.
It doesn’t matter what shape, size, form or colour – if it is chocolate, I love it.
Simply Sublimly Divine…
…spent Saturday night with Mary and Martin and was treated to this:
It was absolutely H.E.A.V.E.N.L.Y!
Thursday night they are coming round here for dinner, along with Rachel and Kyle. Elizabeth might join us if a friend of Greg’s doesn’t stay over at her place for the memorial service on Friday.
Module Five of my writing course has been emailed to my tutor, hopefully I will have my results before the weekend 🙂
…and seeing that everyone seems well, even if they aren’t all feeling the Christmas feeling. I haven’t got the feeling either, in fact I wish the whole so-called Festive Season was over. Dad gave me the task of going to get a watch for Mom from him that she had seen in a catalogue. Well, let me tell you, I am NOT going back to the mall until all the holiday makers have gone home because there is no parking anywhere, at all! It took me 35 minutes to get off the highway offramp to the mall and a further 20 minutes to find a parking space. By the time I reached the jewellery store, I was hot and bothered. To add insult to injury, the store no longer had the watch in stock! I managed to maintain my rage and phoned Dad who politely told me to “choose something else, something she’d like, but something that I would have chosen…” Okay, so I now had the brief in hand, but not enough dosh. Grrrr…. I eventually opted for another watch, elegantly understated. Here’s hoping she likes it.
Given the fact that I’m not working, I opted to make gifts this year. Elizabeth’s elder sister, Esmeralda, gave me a recipe for a Spanish Hot Chocolate Mixture from Annette Human’s recipe book Lekker vir Later, which I made and bottled. All that I still have to do is type out the directions for use and voilà, the gifts will be ready.
For those of you who would like to make some for yourselves, it is easy to make (and quite tasty too):
100g Castor Sugar
100g Coffee Creamer Powder
30g Custard Powder
15 ml Instant Coffee Powder
15 ml Cinammon (I only put in 5 ml, otherwise the cinammon is a little over powering)
Sift all the ingredients together (I sifted it three times to make sure everything is mixed through well) and store in an airtight container. When you want to make yourself an indulgent cuppa, just add three heaped teaspoons to a mug and mix with a little boiling water to make a paste. Fill with boiling water or hot milk and enjoy!
Dad was due to have been back at work 12 days ago already, but he is STILL waiting for his Nigerian Visa. If he doesn’t get it before the end of this week, he will not be home in time for the cruise, so one of two things will happen – we will have to change the departure date (which will have to be sometime in March because of his rota) or we will have to go on our own. A spanner will be thrown into the works if I in the meantime find employment, because not many companies will employ someone who is going to be wanting a week’s leave just after starting work. Ah well, I will just have to cross the bridge when I get to it, won’t I?
On other fronts:
I am three quarters of the way through the fourth module of my novel-writing course, and enjoying it tremendously. I am finding the length of the text installments quite challenging, but with each word I type, I do a little happy dance.
I am trying to work on a tan, but the weather hasn’t been co-operating. I am patiently waiting for the sun to come out, so that I can laze about on one of the loungers in the back yard and soak up some colour.
I am in the mood to bake something, the question is what?
Anyhow, that’s me for the moment…I’ll pop in again sometime and do some catching up.