Sunday, 23 April 2017

Chosing an airline: flying Down Under

Analysing the trip Down Under.


As I mentioned in previous blogs, I have been planning my visit to my (grand+)children for a good while now. The closer the departure date came, the more serious I attacked the necessary arrangements and items of interest so to speak. The gifts - though not in large quantity are more for the fun and just because omaverweg's suitcase needs to hold gifts.


During those months I had booked my flight with China Eastern Airline ( using vliegtickets.nl), I received about 4 schedule adjustments. They didn't amount to much, were more a nuisance so I stoppen printing them off. This was 't something I had experienced before with the other companies I had flown with ( Cathay Pacific, Singapore Air, Qantas, China Airlines). Once a flight and time chosen this didn't vary. I always knew how long my stopovers were to be and planned accordingly.


Then the Friday afternoon before leaving ( I was due to leave the following Wednesday) I was informed that my time of my stopover in Shanghai had been increased by as much as 5 hours. My giddy aunt did that rile me. Weeks before I had tried to leave a day earlier- without succes, and now without a by your leave my schedule was altered drastically. I started to wonder about my choice of Airline.


The staff at Vliegtickets.nl were also 'not amused' and finding no joy at the airine for a hotel room, they booked me a room at their expense. What a lovely gesture. It wasn't something they needed to fix, bit did! Good on them. As a paying customer, i felt ad though they were doing me a favour by allowing me on the plane!!! Instead of being pleased I had booked with their airline.


The departure delay also meant problems with checking in. One can only do that 24 hours prior to departure. So another X on the list of unsatisfactory service. The first part of the flight was hosted by KLM. The service was great, the food was too as was the staff- ever so friendly they were. And what a lovely plane. 


Without any hickups we arrived at Shanghai Airport at the expected time. I had been informed when checking in at Schiphol, that I had to get my luggage off the bagage bay and see to it's placement on my ongoing flight. The KLM staff on board the flight were under the impression that the system wasn't automatic. So, off the plane, through customs, and because I needed to stay 15 hours I had to fill in an immigration form. " Shock horror"! It said I needed a visum. So pleased there was a passenger in the know- a stay of less than 72 hours didn't require one. Sigh of relief!


After a reasonably thorough scrutiny at customs I trotted off to the baggage pick up. I waited and waited and waited. Not anywhere in sight. Drug dogs gone, all other passengers gone- the staff member at the Luggage claim pointed me in the direction of the Luggage Information Office. English was not a language this person had managed to learn. Hands and feet did the tsking! By this stage I wasn't only tired I had added another X on my growing list of negative experiences. 


English isn't a strong point in Shanghai I have to say. They try, really they do but.......! Frustrations galore on that score too. My bag was automatically sent on, so the young man at the counter advised me. He looked at me as if I had cursed when I said that I had been told I was responsible for this. He shook his head. No, it would be on plane tomorrow ma'am, really! Here's hoping. I am on the plane writing this- I'll know in a few hours whether my suitcase was too.


So far I have to say there were a few X-es. Since returning to the airport I have had plenty of happy moments.  I was a wee bit tense as I wasn't sure how the procedure was going to flow - I had as yet not check-in nor had I my boarding pass or seat! With a few scary moments and 15 minutes with a cheery young male attendant I merrily piloted myself through customs and security. A very modern airport. My vague feeling is that it is the same architect as the one in Taipei. Very compatible.  Almost all perfume and smelly stuff stores. Can't and didn't expect Changi Airport ( Hongkong) size in Shanghai so my walkabout was reasonbly quickly 'round'.


Breakfast had been served around 8 am just before landing here from Schiphol. At the hotel I munched on a couple of Pringle chips I had fortified myself with from home. It was now almost 8 pm and time for a decent meal. First place I fancied they didn't take Mastercard but would accept Visa. Weird deduction but oh well - their loss! Then I struck GOLD. Almost next to the Gate I needed to be at for departure a cafe style eatery with genuine Chinese cuisine. Ohhhh I could have kissed the waitress. There I sat with a lushious bowl of chicken soup, a steam basket with 5 of the most delicious pork meat dim sims with sauce and as the cherry on this lovely meal event - a teapot with REAL jasmine tea. BLISS BLISS BLISS. So many sins (Xes) were pushed to the back of my mind.


I spent the next hours playing Rummicup, walking in circles and even had a sleep stretched out over 3 chairs. The departure lounge was filling up. At 00:30 the gate opened and in a very orderly fashion ( total opposite to when we left Schiphol which was bedlam) we filed down to the air bridge, got seated and were ready for takeoff before you could blink an eye. Taxi-ing to take off took longer! Thought we were going to drive to Auckland for a minute.


A light warm meal has been served and cleaned up. I think the girls are doing the dishes as we speak. Plenty of turbulance which isn't my cup o tea. 


I haven't landed yet to reclaim my suitcase, or made my return trip home. I have however decided, that is airline probably has lots going for it, but it wouldn't be my first choice - even if the price is lower than others I have had more relaxed travel experinces with. 


Maybe because things were so muddled and unpredictable. The original drama is behind me- who knows how much better things can go from here.


- Update: my suitcase WASN'T on the flight. I spent 5 days wearing the same clothes. Washed admittedly during the night but still very uncomfortable.


When I finally received my suitcase my conviction was complete. I will avoid the airline on future trips - I still have to fly home in May. My confidence is at low ebb. Here's praying for a better experience. 




Friday, 31 March 2017

That little seed called F E A R!

Many many years ago I had this wee book called, "Feel the fear and do it anyway." Can't remember the author's name. Maybe I ought to look it up. Feel free to do so if you are interested. Really worth it.

The word alone says it all. F E A R! What is your first reaction to it? How do you cope with F E A R?

Wisdom comes with age is the old saying. I am not sure about ALL wisdom, but I do know I actually 'see' things differently as my age gathers momentum.

When I was a child I was afraid of lightning. Not the thunder although they did go hand in hand- but LIGHTNING- that put the F E A R fair and square into me. An experience in my childhood was the reason for this strong and long held emotion- and truth of it all, I am still not comfortable when lightning strikes. I would hide - anywhere and for as long as it took. Even as an adult raising my children. While they laughed, I trembled.

When I was about 38 years old I needed a hysterectomy. I was all set to ring the hospital to have me taken off the list when the appointment to be admitted presented itself. I was positively scared stiff.
F E A R of the 'what if?' and 'what else will they find?' and the 'aftermath'. It all scared me to bits.

Life has a habit of producing moments of uncertainty, insecurity and unforeseen events that can cause the reaction of F E A R to overwhelm and sometimes paralyse us. But does that help in any way at all? Does it answer the most important questions that we have regarding the 'whatever we are scared about' issue? NO!

It demotivates, undermines and disables our ability to cope with the unexpected, the unwanted and the unknown. F E A R is actually the negative factor, not that 'thing' which we have to deal with.

Recently someone very dear to me underwent a series of operations to remove cancerous tissue and suspect lymph nodes - she had been diagnosed with malignant skin cancer. F E A R crept under my skin, it crawled over my scalp en got into my head. I felt paralysed and shaken. In all honesty, it took a couple of days for me to realise that I had given my control over to that F E A R again.

I spoke to a dear friend about this and she said, "watch out for that seed. If you let it, it will grow into a tree and take root. Don't let
F E A R be the ruler of your thoughts and deeds. You won't be able to think straight or offer the support needed. Your every move will be clouded by F E A R and that isn't a pretty sight." Now I already knew this but I needed someone to remind me - F E A R is the enemy not the unknown, unexpected or unwelcome challenge which life threw at me.

Since I let F E A R go and started thinking rationally again, I regained my rest, slept better and was able to be positive during a trying and uncertain period. The dangers have abated, the future looks a lot better than a few months ago and I have re-learned a lesson which I obviously needed to re-embrace and make mine. F E A R doesn't belong in my thinking or my handling. Assuming the worse isn't helpful nor is thinking that one is helpless in any given situation.

There is ALWAYS a way out, a solution. Be bold and weed out those seeds before they grow into those trees through which you can't see daylight when F E A R takes hold.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Onward and upward- TRUST and no regrets!

" Do you have any regrets? You know, like coming back here ( Nederland) to live?" Well, I was somewhat taken aback by this question. It came out of nowhere, or so it seemed. Apparently not. My friend said she had been thinking about it lately as I am preparing for another trip "Down Under' to see my children, grandchildren en friends. It set her thinking maybe I regretted my return home.

Regrets: Things one wished, in hindsight, one hadn't done.

How can you have regrets? Day to day decisions are made with the insights held at that very point in time. Whether the picture is clear or misty, it is all you have to decide on whether or not to proceed with whatever issue you are dealing with. Be it small, be it large and life changing.

I could instantly answer my friend. NO! Because I did what I did, decided what I decided with all the necessary insights of THAT moment and at that point in time. I do not have a crystal ball. Thankfully.

At the start of this year I selected a word, something I was going to consciously think about and focus on. The word is TRUST. ( Trust blog dec 2016)

Not only do I have a need to be able to TRUST those around me but also I need to be able to TRUST myself.

Our elections have been and gone- and just like in the states, there were plenty of media moments in which we were goaded into thinking no-one ( leaders, politicians) were to be TRUSTED. That terrible things might happen if we didn't show our discord by placing, preferably that is, votes that showed our dissatisfaction, our distrust and our disappointment in the leaders of the past 4 years.

It was, in my opinion, an anti campaign. Without TRUST.

I do not have the insights or qualifications to rule our country. Nor do the thousands that crowded the Social Media pages with their negative statements and curses pointed at those who spent the past 4 years working towards a more stable, financial and safe time.

I need to TRUST that those who do think they have something to offer, DO have those qualities. NOT just for little ol' me, but for the country as a whole. I am not alone in this world. Many are worse off than I am- and yes, I would also like to feel that 'things' like purchasing power, job prospects, good education and health care are at the forefront of those entrusted with the tasks thereof. I need to TRUST that this is why they choose do what they do and I don't.

Looking back is only useful if you learn from the experiences you had on the road just travelled. New insights are a given every day. Don't waste energy on the past- except to learn from it, cherish memories and be grateful.

Today, a new day. To TRUST that what I decide to do today is what is needed to feel successful, satisfied and content.

The past couple of months I have completed a few tasks that have been 'laying in wait' for a long time.

I feel a sense of relief, pride and satisfaction. Do I regret not having done these chores sooner? No, because for whatever the reasons, they were valid, contra productive and disruptive. Now I had a clear run, enjoyed the tasks and am pleased and proud of the results. My 'to-do' list isn't empty, but every tick in the box is a success story!

I TRUST you will have a nice day- I know I aim to!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A wee lighthearted post ( for a change )

Tongue in cheek title don't you think?

The past few posts have been rather weighty. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I do also have lighthearted stuff that occupies my mind and life every now and then 😉 . They help lift the gloom of darker moments.
As it can in circumstances like that!

Take today. I finally completed a task last night that I have had on my 'to do list' for months and months. Somehow time, interruptions and the inability to concentrate barred me to finish the job.
Now, I can breath easily, as IT weighed on my conscience that I let myself and others down. DONE. Tick in the box. 👏
As one does in circumstances like that!

Full energy and enthusiasm I tackled a long awaited necessary kitchen chore. The word alone sounds ominous. CHORE! My oven. In much need of a large dosage of TLC and elbow grease. I have used and used it for many a dish, roast and baking moments. Due to other pressures I have omitted to clean the thing. Haven't even so much as wiped it with a damp cloth. 😜
As one ought in moments like that.

So today, BIG TASK ahead. I have prepared myself well. Promised a reward for a job well done when all is gleaming and sparkling. Thing is, it may take all day- but hey, the feeling of pride and achievement are worth the effort. 😏
As one hopes in situations like that.

The sun is out, the mood is positive, the task awaits.....😊
As I tackle the dreaded smudgery in times like that!

HAVE A GREAT DAY PEOPLE!
As one choses for moments like that!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The challenges and victories of multi-culturalism

Nederland: The elections are behind us. The people have spoken. Times and situations are very turbulent. Emotions have run high. Over al the 'battle' was clean. No real scandals to speak of. We didn't need them really. Enough 'other stuff' happening.

It hasn't gone unnoticed that here in Nederland, we are struggling with international tensions between countries. Since the huge upsurge of displaced peoples who have fled their home countries due to war, hunger and little prospect of a safe existence and fulfilling future, Europa has become the prime target for migration of those seeking a better future.

I would be the last person to say that leaving a place of war or devastation is not the solution to the problem. I can imagine that for the majority, leaving loved ones, homes, culture and lifestyle behind under these circumstances must be horrific.

People immigrate every day. They seek their good ( or worse) fortune elsewhere. A choice they make for better or worse. But refugees often have no choice. So where so they go? What is the best option?

What does baffle me, is that people don't choose a country where their cultural differences are more in tune with their own. Where religion, language, weather, life style and food are more alike to their own needs, customs and comforts. Instead they brave the dangers and end up in 'holding camps' hoping for better things to come. Most of them being robbed of any dignity, all their money and possessions, hopes and dreams. Reality being:  the grass wasn't as green as they thought it might be. The differences and prospects so adversely challenging then they assumed that the realisation of what they've done adds to the already feeling of being unwanted,  not welcome. How horrible is that.

As a 'new settler' Down Under in the early1960's, our family's priority was to learn the language, attend school, find work, make friends and blend in- keeping our identity but melting into the culture we embraced as being our new 'home'. We succeeded. Yes, we still cooked evening meals 'like home' but also added new flavours and dishes to our meals. No, we didn't wear clogs to school- didn't do that in Nederland either. We did learn to accept jandals. My parents kept their accent, we children didn't.

Today, I am back in the country of my birth. I went to the local supermarket today. It is a Turkish Supermarket- AWESOME. Specialises in Turkish products but also stocks the necessary dutch daily fare. I see vegetables I am unfamiliar with. I can't read all the labels. I am curious about certain recipes. I love the meat department- lots of lamb, NZ lamb even or so I am told. I have the privilege of tasting foods from all over the world. Because others have settled here. I can't understand all the conversations as I walk down the aisle. While shopping here I am in another world. I have couscous, lam cutlets, three bunches of fresh herbs tied with string ( mint, coriander, Turkish parsley), I have chickpeas and Turkish yoghurt and bread, and a cereal as dutch as they come, Brinta.

With my Dutch heritage, my Kiwi influences and my Turkish Supermarket my life is enriched. Now here's hoping that people everywhere will attempt to accept and get to know their neighbours. Learn from their differences and share their knowledge and friendships. If we can start in the kitchen- then maybe we can also learn more about each other on other fronts- learn, accept and allow everyone to be who they are meant to be.

Upon re-reading this before publishing my blog ( which I do to erase typos etc) I can only sum up by drawing this conclusion. Other cultures arrive here looking for a better, safer life and more promising future. Then after a while there are protests and judgements about our western lifestyle, customs, religion and way of life. Why choose a Western country if our values are not approved of? If the west is 'the place to be'. Then live as the western people do - keeping own identity and customs alive at home but become part of the community which was chosen for a better and safer future.

It can work- I know that for a fact - in harmony and showing respect for each other!

Solutions to conflicts and poverty take many forms. 
Helping a country restore the balance 
so people can stay in their own environment is also an option. 
Fleeing isn't always the answer. 
Helping each other is.


Monday, 13 March 2017

Ode to my past - in loving memory!


Dear Carol

How lovely it was to have met you and spent those glorious, carefree days with you on board the f/s Flavia all those years ago. I smile at the memory.

We were young, energetic and as teenagers will be, in for a laugh.

Do you remember Semonelli, Francesco ( always remembered he said that the surname went first) the barman in the Lido lounge. I had my first 'real' adult drink, a Grasshopper. Creme de Menthe I believe.

How we enjoyed swimming and the 'grandeur' of being on board such a luxury liner. Well to us it was. Although we normally used the stairs, occasionally we would choose the lift. But, we were warned, don't get caught in the lift with some of those young, male, handsome Spanish crew members. That was enough to get us giggling.

Although we only had a few days together, we had that proverbial 'klik' that people do when the personalities match. On leaving the boat you vowed to write. And you did. When I arrived in Leeuwarden, Nederland a number of weeks later, two letters and a postcard lay waiting for me.

We kept it up, that correspondence. Girlie stuff, young womanhood. When you heard I was to return to New Zealand you mentioned the hope of seeing each other again. And we did. You had joined the crew of another cruise ship and luck would have it the boat birthed in Auckland. And we were there, at the quay to welcome you. My wee young family and I.

The kids thought you were the bees knees. An aunt from Australia. I thought that too- so lovely to see you again.

The correspondence was spasmodic but we kept each other up to date. I vaguely recall you mentioning moving out of Wangaratta. My life changed a lot too.... and then we stopped. You and I were caught up in LIFE and all that it entails.

My quest is over dear Carol, I have found you. Not how I wished but non the less, my questions have answers.

Carol, dearest friend, it was, as the saying goes " lovely to have met and known you." I will forever cherish the memories.

Rest in Peace my friend, rest in peace.

Anita
Your time here was shorter than many
I am proud to have shared some grains of it with you!



Friday, 10 March 2017

Spring has sprung

Slowly but surely the tell tale signs of spring are more apparant around the place. Crocusses ( or croci) are popping their colourful heads through the soil. Tree branches are starting to thicken and buds swelling ready to pop open en reveal new life. Even though the sun is at a distance, it's rays are gently warming the earth I walk on. The mulched leaves from autumn are decaying rapidly and fresh grasses are pushing their way to the surface.

Walking in town and looking at the window displays, one can also identify the oncoming season. Freshly couloured displays, new season fashions and smart footware tempt the shopper inside, wanting to add new season clothing to one's wardrobe- ready for outings and parties in the offing.

I love spring. Everything fresh and new. The smell of wet soil and fresh leaves. The crispness of the young green leaves on the trees, daisies littering lawns and birds cheerfully chirping whilst they flit from branch to branch looking for the ideal spot for their nest to start a new family.

The clouds, varied in size and colour. Some days dark grey and threatening to be followed by wisps of cottonwool, thin and swirly, stretching across and pale blue sky. Ducks, both male and female chasing each other, trying to impress before finding a mate to bring new life into the world.

Council workers, in charge of the green areas, busily getting the last of the tree trimming done, working hard to gather the fallen branches and finally getting the lawnmowers out again after the stunted growth of grassy fields and parks.

SPRING has SPRUNG, and even though the weather is unpredictable and whimsical, the promise of warmer weather is in the air. It is time to clean the winter smudges of green off my balcony, to let my windows sparkle again and organise my planters for new seedlings.

With gratitude to a winter well done, I welcome the newness of spring and the promise of renewal that this season brings with it.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Looking for a piece of my past

Well, I have never done this before.

My memory is still pretty well in tact. Yes, I forget where I leave my keys every now and then. Occasionally I might have a wee gap when it comes to a conversation, details about a trip or what was on the shopping list I wrote but left on the table. Apart from that, I think the memory is pretty efficient.

What might help, is that I have a huge collection of photos. Which, this day and age, is even easier than before. With a simple tap on the screen of my phone, I manage to perpetuate the moment. Helps when wanting to re-live that moment of remember who I was with at the time or why 😛.

f/s Flavia, Carol with niece Leanne
Carol, Carol on park bench by lake,
Carol and I in Pakuranga,
Carol and Toni and Reece in Pakuranga
Now the reason for my blog today. I would so LOVE to re-kindle a friendship from yesteryear. My last contact with this person was in the 1980's. The last photo I have of her - is from 1985.

On the 30th December 1966 my parents, two brothers, one sister and I boarded the F/S Flavia, an Italian owned liner, in Auckland, New Zealand. We were due to sail for Europe with first being part of a cruise which was in progress at time of boarding.

Here, onboard, I met Carol. She and her parents and 2 brothers, one older one younger, were part of the cruise passengers on board. Carol and I were pretty similar age and the click was immediate. We got on. From day 1 I had a friend. Not for long though, as in Melbourne, Carol and her family left the boat being the end of their cruise. It was a short but firm friendship- and we stated corresponding immediately.

I kept a diary at the time- but unfortunately, that has since been lost. For quite some years we wrote. My life took another big twist and I ended up back in New Zealand. We kept corresponding.

In the late '70s Carol paid a visit to me and my young family. We lived in Pakuranga, Auckland, New Zealand at the time. I had two children, Toni and Reece. Carol had secured a job on a luxury liner of which I cannot recall the name ( hahah) and we picked het up from the wharf so she could spend some time with us relaxing and renewing our friendship in a special way.

A few more letters and photos followed- then SILENCE! For many reasons not only my life but hers too was constantly changing.

While tidying my shelves, ring binders and a photo box with a collection of all sorts, I came across the photos of my long lost friend Carol. I have no idea if Carol wants to be reminded of this period. I do not even know if Carol is alive and well somewhere enjoying a happy and loving life. It is my hope- but more than that I cannot be sure of.

Details: Carol Robins, 7 Greta Road Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia ( I can dream that address)
Born somewhere around '52-54. Worked as a administrator I thought first, then on board the liner for a number of cruises. Carol had an accident in the '80s which left het with diabetes due to the shock. Somewhere in the back of my mind I believe she shifted out of Wangaratta but that is really vague.

Her older brother's name was Kevin.

So now, my request. Well it is pretty obvious. Would you please share this message around?  If you think you may have some information regarding Carol, her family, her whereabouts.... ! Just add a message to this blog or email me at 3deschoffie@gmail.com

Happy searching, hunting, spreading, reading!

PS: Here a link to the followup of my quest to find Carol
http://mythoughtsinadayinthelifeof.blogspot.nl/2017/03/ode-to-my-past-in-loving-memory.html

Thursday, 23 February 2017

It is just one of those days

Yes, it is still winter here. We have had such mild weather. Not the harsh winters of my childhood. A slight dusting of snow.  Quite a few crisp and crunchy frosts followed by sun filled days with clear blue skies. No real rainfall to even mention it. In fact the rivers were at an all time low every now and then, causing concern for the shipping industry.

But today, all that changed. A storm is raging outside. The wind is howling past my window. In fact, it is trying to come inside. I can feel a slight draught from where I sit at my desk. Furiously the branches of the trees are bending and waving every which way that if they were people they'd be dizzy and not be able to stand upright. I fear that some may loose a branch or two and even others will simply not stand up to the furore and strength of this wind almost gale force. A 'code orange' has been issued.

We live along a river, gladly on the third floor. The water is rising rapidly and the clouds hold promise of more wet stuff to come. Winter is not over by a long shot.

As it is in Heaven-trailer
Today is a 'down day', me keeping a low profile and not being very active. I have had some really hectic weeks of late- time to chill down ( sorry about the pun here) and give myself a break. Lovely to be able to watch the developing storm from a warm and secure distance - but feel for those having to brave the elements.

A month or so ago when we had a similar - but not nearly as violent a day, I baked. Lovely. A warm, comfortable and nostalgic feeling. Baking odours, yummy cookies and a freshly baked loaf.  Cozier than that is hard to get.

Today a different emotion has taken hold. More sensitive and less active. I discovered a memory- something that fitted my mood for today. A film I watched a few years ago now. In fact I have replayed it a few times- and feel the urge to repeat the experience. The Swedish movie called: As it is in Heaven. Do you know it? Have you heard of it? Oh what a movie. What a story and superb acting. Goosebumps jus thinking about it. And that feels so right for today. Goosebumps but then of the pleasant emotional variety.

So I googled, went to Youtube and listened to one of the songs which touched me deeply. The text so powerful, the music so full of feeling. Here the link to the version with English subtitles. Cabriellas Song.

The song, the memories and the story line were a perfect accompaniment for today's conditions. I have enjoyed the moment. The day is slowly drawing to a close, getting dark early due to the low and threatening cloud formations crowding the skies. As the water rises in the river below, I am grateful for my warm and comfortable home! Snug as a bug in a rug- I am safe, warm and content.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Hope you had a good and satisfying week.

Due to the feeling I have that time is slipping through my fingers, I have tried to be more aware of my activities each day- so I can maybe change my routines or somehow get more out of my 24 hours.

Monday: Time for some serious housework. Spent lots of time away from home the past week due to m-i-law (ma)  breaking her wrist. She is doing extremely well and I can only say I am pleased and glad I had the time to spend being there for her while she needs me. Cooked meals - also for ma and 'oom' Arie - a courtesy uncle who is alone and not comfortable cooking 'ordinary' meals. He loves it when we drop in.

Tuesday:- A few wee chores at home and hung out the washing before I took ma to the hospital to have the temporary plaster removed, wrist checked and a new cast fitted. Ma (87)  is feeling lots better than last week- but today has tired her a bit. Stopped for some shopping on the way home- sorted a few wee jobs. Called into 'ex' neighbours for our first port of call this year. We enjoyed a good relationship as neighbours and want to keep in touch as friends. Home and time to cook dinner. Hubby had a meeting to attend. I had a couch to surf on. Still hurts my ear when I swallow.

Wednesday:- Called in to visit friends for coffee at their cafe. His health not the best- wanted to see how things were progressing - or not! On the way home some grocery shopping. Had guests coming for dinner. Their home being renovated and the lounge, dining room and kitchen floor was being refurbished. Decided to not cook a run of the mill meal- finally challenged myself into cooking Beef Wellington. Also managed to produce a meal for 'oom' Arie. After dinner and guests had left ( brother in law also ate with us) we had some stuff to discuss in relation to b-i-law's own house issues. He wants to renovate and reorganise. Must be spring in the air!! Bit weary - not quite over my own flu episode yet- so another couch moment was in the offing.

Thursday:- Cook some meals for ma so she can reheat at leisure. Also cooked for 'oom' Arie. Ran some chores for ma and picked up some boxes for a friend who is shifting- I said spring was in the air didn't I? Went to funeral in the afternoon- on the way home called into some close friends- hadn't seen them in a while and were now close by. Was good to catch up and leave the 'always a bit somber funeral feeling' behind. Hubby delivered the boxes, picked up some shopping, dropped of meal to 'oom' Arie while I baked Appeltaart with blueberries to have with coffee. We were expecting company that evening. While baking also cooked a huge pot of vege soup. YUM. No time to couch surf.

Friday:- Bit chilly outside. Frost has returned. Friend is shifting. Needs a bit of help getting organised with the planning. Is single and we have recently shifted so bit 'in the know'. Good to be able to help. Had soup for lunch. Warmed us up. Hubby also sorting out our storage. Every now and then it needs a bit of a tidy up. I feel the need for some 'down time' so have written up one of my other blogs - on recipes and stuff.

It is Friday afternoon and almost 'PORT O'CLOCK". The week has once again flown. Needless to say there were more things - like our own stuff that helped fill the past week. All things considered we managed to complete what was necessary and then some.

Happy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Smiles instead of frowns

I posted a message on my FB wall the other day.. it went like this:

I have had it with staring blindly and with dismay at all those Trump messages and items. It would have one think that there is nothing else happening in the world. Well there are wonderful things to be happy about. And I would LOVE to see HAPPY ITEMS fill the screen. Who is with me in this? How about starting and closing the day with a HAPPY POST.

The thing is Mr President is enjoying all the attention he is getting and I believe this works as an incentive to be even more destructive.

Today I have decided to no longer react to any TRUMP posts. No more sharing - no more emoticons, no more likes or dislikes.


It is Sunday. The sun is out, haven't seen it for a while. People are walking their dogs in the park, children on their bikes. The world is smiling at you and me. Let's share HAPPY messages.

It is all about which way we look at ourselves and the world around us. Let's reflect love and friendship. Well, that's my goal anyway.


End of post


I missed out saying that there are sad things too, and there are sad events that hurt because life itself brings about a dose of smiles and a dose of tribulations. The whole point of the message was - STOP WITH DOOM SPREADING. No more objections, judgements or unbridled insults. Thing is - many of those comments I actually took time to read weren't even of Americans or people immediately affected by the decisions made by the new president of the USA.


Sure his methods, actions and way he sees the world are as far removed from me as can be - BUT, I am NOT the president of the USA. No matter how bad I think some of his decisions are- it isn't up to me to spread all those uncensured comments that others place on Social Media. I do not believe that spreading hateful and damaging comments do anything at all to help bring about change.

My task in the life isn't about people bashing. It is about being the best possible person I can be. By respecting life, buy being there for those who seek me out to help them. My business is to be honest, caring, compassionate and cheery.
I want my smile to affect someone whose smile has faded. I would like to think my arm around someone's shoulder gives encouragement and support. My aim is to say uplifting encouraging things to someone needing to hear them.

No longer am I prepared to help others do something I have no business doing. Slandering and cursing.

No way am I behaving like an ostrich with my head in the sand. On the contrary. In no way at all do I condone attacks on people of any ethnic group what so ever. My vision is one of peace and caring for this planet so my grandchildren and their children may enjoy life to it's fullest like generations before them have. I believe in dialogue and compromises. In sharing and caring.

As a child I had plenty of people around me I looked up to and wanted to 'grow up to be like'. They are still my example and heroes.

In each day there will be things to be grateful for - and my hope is that people will start focussing on those so as to lift their spirits and let hope gain strength so down play and minimise the damage all that screaming and yelling that is happening world wide.


Saturday, 4 February 2017

All in all it has been a lovely day!

A late start. Not the best night's sleep. Blocked nose and all the discomfort that goes with it. I even spent a few hours on the couch not wanting to disturb my partner. He was due for an early start and quite a energetic day- so he needed to be refreshed when he woke.

I did hear the alarm- and him getting up. After that peace reigned again. I also had noticed in that wee gap of being awake that my nose was less problematic than earlier in the night. Yippeeeee! I dozed back off.

As I opened one eye and the other eyelid slowly followed suit, I saw the digits on the clock 10:37am. OMgoodness. That late!! I got up and walked into the living area. A note lay on the table. It read, " hope you slept ok? See you tonight."

I made a cuppa, added a slice of lemon. Re-rubbed my soles of my feet with Vicks and pulled my socks back on. After a quick brush of the teeth and a splash of water on my now truly awake face I dropped onto the chair and slowly focussed on what was to be, my short morning.

The weather was a perfect mirror of how I felt. The sky wanted to clear and become blue, but didn't quite make it. The sun did try to shine- but shone elsewhere. The misty rain that slowly developed caused my view to deterioratie. It fitted me like a glove.

By about 13:30 I had stopped breathing through my mouth. Nose started to clear some more. Things were looking up. I still sneeze, about 23 seconds after that sharp prickle jabs the interior of my nasal passage. Just enough time to grab the nearest tissue at hand. I will have to wash my woolly top tomorrow- especially the crook in the elbow part of the sleeve- it catches my sneeze if I am caught without a tissue. Better that then spray the room.

Then I heard a ringing noise. First thought it was my head cold causing music in my ears. But no way! I was to be distracted by a HAPPY EVENT. The doorbell went down in the lobby - we live in an apartment building. " A parcel for you ma'am." HUGE, it was HUGE. My new Kenwood KN287 All in One Kitchen machine. YESSSS. I couldn't care anymore about the nose, the sneezes, the slowly becoming darker sky.

I was in KITCHEN WALHALLA.

At first I didn't want to open this HUGE box. Wait till hubby arrived back - I resisted and resisted. But alas, the apple looked so tempting, I grabbed a small knife and proceeded to slice the tape. One at a time I lifted the flaps to reveal - ANOTHER BIG BOX!

I made a coffee and sat there looking at this box with it's text - KENWOOD KITCHEN MACHINE!

Coffee done- back to the task of giving in to my urge to unwrap. All the components were finally on the table. Glad we have a big table.

It felt like Santa had granted me my biggest wish ever! In a manner of speaking that is 😀. Not everyone goes into a happy rain dance at the sight of a kitchen appliance.

I am back after a wee break. Got to finish my blog.

 Evening has fallen. My hubby has been given a demonstration to see how all the attachments fit and to what use they are. I have removed the loose components I had as tools ( hand mixer, juice press, liquidizer and foodprocessor from my pantry. After years of faithful service they now will be transferred to other homes, other kitchens, other users. Their usefulness, except for the foodprocessor, is still present. Too good to dump so passing them on.

From the miserable, feeling yukky and blurry to feeling on top of my world - it has been a LOVELY DAY!

Aahhtishoooo!!

Friday, 27 January 2017

When your child hurts

As far as I am aware most parents hurt when their child hurts. I say most because of the reports that appear in the media about child abuse in homes and child maiming or death instances where parents are found to be negligent or worse guilty of abhorrent treatment of their children. So, I repeat, MOST parents hurt when their child hurts. Whether it is with a common flu or 'minor' ailment to severe health issues which might mean heavy and drastic treatments.

But not only when your child is ill do you 'feel' their pain. Problems at school, relationship upsets, job struggles, personal struggles to name a few instances when I as a mum can truthfully say, " I hurt right along side you." If possible there are moments when you want to take their pain away to ease stress, sadness and in some instances - despair. I know, it is called life, lessons learned, their own walk. I know... it is just, well I just don't want them to have any kind of hurt!

(This blog is written from a MUM'S perspective. I realise dads feel things too - only I cannot describe those emotions because I am a MUM. So don't feel left out dads. I understand you too feel the pain- your way.)

When I was 13 my mum gave birth to my baby brother. Although a healthy looking baby, pretty hefty health issues were discovered. I recall my mum praying that she would rather loose the use of her legs in order that her baby would walk. He had spina bifida with a twist, and kyphosis of the spine. It turned our family's world upside down.

I am proud and pleased to mention my brother is a dad of 3 and just recently celebrated his 50th birthday. A miracle child in more ways than one. Mum mum did keep the use of her legs - with 5 hip operations and 2 knee surgeries. But hey, maybe she would have had to have those anyway! Who knows.

Being a MUM of 3, I too have had my shared sad moments when ills and unhappiness entered the lives of my children. Being an oma I now feel unsettled and connected with my grandchildren when they have their moments. A few years ago the intense disbelief and grief at the death of my step grandson, that pain lingers even still. Recently one had a ski accident, thankfully no lasting effects, there have been all sorts of health issues per child as per usual. The various levels of distress at times do creep up on me. NO, I am not a sad, forlorn, depressed person in any way or form. I think it is a natural healthy and emotional connection I experience with my children and grandchildren.

I 'feel' the happy moments too. My internal system detects up and downs - without even trying. I call it a blessing.

And now, for the BIG STUFF. What happens when you hear that your adult child is ill. Someone who has an independent life, family and friends. Does that pain then no longer affect you? Well, let me tell you, it still hurts. And for your child you want to be strong, encouraging, understanding, a rock, the shelter to run to. You want to have the wisdom, energy, the courage to be there hiding your own fears sadness and concerns. And as a mum you too need time to let the dust settle, come to terms with and get a grip on .... !

I received a long and detailed account of someone's daughter going through more than a wee rough health patch. More like a jungle. Not only does the patient have to digest all the information and let it all 'land' but those around close to her are also affected. And the ripple spreads.

In this big pond of loving and caring people, of which I am privileged to be one, we all want to swim with her. Our arms are there to catch her when she fears she will fall. But not only the patient - the MOTHER too will also need a floaty - an air cushion of love to ease the pain she feels - because HER CHILD HURTS.

Right this minute, and I know it will ease, I too hurt. For the mums with pain, because 

YOUR CHILD HURTS and YOU DO TOO!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Whichever way you look....

Whichever way one looks at life will determine one's demeanor. If you had a good night's sleep and wake up refreshed - one can tackle anything that comes on one's path. Have you tossed and turned, gone to bed too late and the alarm went off before you were rested, then every little task can seem a chore.

From experience I have found that the way I look at a task or up and coming event is telling for my success or failure to enjoy.

Take cooking for a group. I LOVE cooking, I love being amongst friends and I get pure JOY from deciding on a menu, the challenges of new recipes and the final moment when te meal hits the table. So whether I have slept badly or not - the JOY of COOKING will ensure that I have a successful and enjoyable day. Someone asked " what can I wake you up for in the middle of the night?" and I replied - "as long as you are hungry I will cook something for you!"

On the other hand - my administration. You know, keeping the files up to date, accounts files and all sorts of documents stored etc. Whereas many moons ago I loved 'playing office' and was quite sharp in that area - I now loathe the task and unfortunately, that means I let things slide. I am careless with some documents, I stash stuff in a box and think- yeah yeah- later! I have lost the 'FUN' feeling this task held for me.

It is that time of year again- tax time is looming. Even though I am also dependent on outside forces to send the annual records which I need to complete my tax return, I could, should and have to get my own 'house' sorted and up to date. I keep procrastinating. Which only makes the task less appealing.

So this morning I decided to challenge myself into turning my thoughts around on this matter. A new approach to things to avoid. On attempting to look at this task differently to entice me to embark on my 'adventure' in ADMINLAND!

I am going to purchase some new colourful binders, a new note book and set up a time table in which to have chores done by so that a whole year of administration is broken down into smaller tasks. I will be posting times into my diary so I keep those days during the year free to update my administration. It then should only take 30-60 minutes a time. Now I know I will be active all week to get things completed to my satisfaction.

I know for a fact this will work for me as I applied it to some other 'nasties' on my to do list. And I have to say - I have less and less things I avoid doing. Breaking larger tasks down into small jobs does make things easier to handle ( for me).

So today - I am going to change my view of ADMINISTRATION TASKS and embrace them instead of avoid them.

Well, that is step one. My dairy appointments with myself are done. The old binders are on my desk and I will start 'unfiling' them today- keeping what's relevant. The newly purchased will be filled tomorrow. The box which holds a 'horror' moment- will be tackled later this week. And by the end of the month I should be all sorted. A first so soon into the New Year for me.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The clock is ticking.....

Tick tock tick tock- goes the clock. I don't know if you notice or experience it as I do, but somehow the days seem to dissolve into nothingness at a speed of knots that is making me nervous.

I seem to be ticking off my days on the calendar faster than I have ever done. I wake up Monday morning and before I can complete my set tasks it is Friday afternoon.

And it isn't just me. All around me I hear the same comments.

Is that a real reflection of what is ging on? Is the world spinning faster, are our days losing time? Hardly seems possible. Yet, for some things, time is running out. For certain species animals in our wonderful and colourful world of nature- things aren't looking too cheerful. Ice caps and glaciers are losing ground ( or in their instance - ice). Flocks of birds are shifting their breeding grounds, tree types are threatened as are habitats and small indigenous peoples are being forced into unfriendly and alien territories.

I recently saw this posting of The Free World Charter and it instantly reminded me of a book I used to read to my children and later my students at school. My grandchildren have also got a copy of this book- which I feel ought to be in all homes and lessons taken from it put into practice.

And the book is called: The LORAX by Dr Seuss. Dr Seuss wasn't so silly after all when he wrote this book which was published in 1971. I guess people didn't take it seriously because it was ' a children's book!' What may also have played a role was that the damage brought to light in the book- wasn't as evident then as it is now. The thought- we have TIME to fix this, also played  apart I feel.

BUT people, the rate things are going - TIME isn't our friend anymore as far as this subject is concerned. We NEED to wake up- NOW!! And YES, YOU CAN make a difference. All little bits help.

Maybe I am speaking to the converted and my readers already recycle, grow their own vegetables, ride bikes when possible instead of taking cars. Maybe you do already contribute by having solar panels and eat meat only once a week- or not at all. So, well done for that. And thank you. BUT there is MORE.

We need to not preach - but encourage others to join us.

Invite acquaintances over for dinner and cook and serve fresh produce- so they can taste the difference.

Do stop and pick up that discarded tin can, food wrapper, Mc-ers meal box, which hasn't landed in the rubbish bin where it belonged - but missed the  mark. Help it find it's way there.

Sort your refuse- plastic, metals, paper, food scraps and 'ordinary' waste.

Avoid the 'cheap clothing' stores. Better to have a 'environmentally and employment friendly fabricated clothing article which lasts then 6 cheaper unfriendly versions.

Educate your (grand) children - especially by example. If you pick up the chippie wrapper and bin it while at the park or on a walk, and they see you do this, they will learn some valuable lessons like:

1. Keep our parks, paths, cities clean- it starts with you
2. Don't litter.
3. Every effort no matter how small- helps.

As far as  projects that are about saving the whale, or whatever- support the initiatives, give credit where credit is due and select appropriate materials when purchasing home products.

Small things but they all help fill the bucket.

Anyway, enough of my ranting and raving. It all came about the memory of reading Dr Seuss great book- The Lorax. If you haven't read it- time you did! Think it out to be more widely read and promoted.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Changes can, generally speaking, be unsettling

The saying, " a change is as good as a rest" isn't always as restful as one might imagine.

We human beings are creatures of habit, of rituals and routines. We like to know what the day or event has in store for us. At least have some indication of what we might expect. And of late,  that isn't always as clear as we would like it to be.

Take changing jobs for instance, shifting house, country or lifestyle. In this changing world where most things have become unpredictable as far as long term is concerned. Where marriages hardly last the distance, where gold watched are no longer handed out after 25 years of faithful service, where shops come and go, there isn't much that holds promise for longevity - except for us humans. We live longer in a more unstable world.

Events world wide are splashed on screens and in newspapers and reach our ears sometimes before the storm has died down, dust has settled or embers are smoldering. And before the news is old and cold- a new disaster reaches our ears and eyes. And I haven't even mentioned political unrest and abhorrent offences against human beings.

My last blog was about TRUST- the trust we have lost in so many instances. In people close to us, in friendships, in promises, in politicians, in those who have been elected to guide and protect us.

What I would like to see happen, is that we ourselves become that reliable factor in the lives of those around us and in our own lives. That stability and the comfort and security that it brings those around us, also ourselves, helps restore some of this unrest in us as a people. That we know that we can count on ME, YOU and the OTHER PERSON.

Somewhere, some how we have become restless, insecure and indecisive. It has become harder to hold onto a decision we have made - we dither in uncertainty. This reflects in all we do. Our 'leading examples' our ' heroes' from yesteryear have vanished or at best have become invisible or unreliable to many.

Time to turn the tide. I am an Optimistic Realist/ Realistic optimist. I believe people CAN bring about the right sort of change of which we all can benefit.

I believe we are more resiliant than we believe ourselves to be.

It is January 2017. Let's make it a TOGETHER and TRUSTWORTHY year! Let's fulfill promises, offer assistance to those needing our support and reach out from within.