Just keep walking

Today’s inspiration comes from the daily “Notes from the Universe” emails

When you finally get that call, meet that person, walk that walk, and live that dream, Elna, do you think you’ll even care that there were a few dark and scary moments in a journey that made them all possible?
Trust me, you won’t even remember. 
Keep walking,  The Universe

The Universe – Mike Dooley

So very true!

Forgive, forget, move on. Don’t lose the lesson, but cling to the triumph.

I suppose there are 2 types of people in the world where this topic is concerned:
Those who enjoy the victory and build on it; or
Those who wallow in regret and “why me” and cling to everything that went wrong.

I am the first to admit that sometimes I lose the plot and things go seriously haywire, but generally, when things go wrong, there are two quotes which help me stay on track:

The first one is from The Bible and I believe in this so much, I actually had a tattoo of it done on the back of my neck:

The second is by John Lennon:

Getting back to the Note from the Universe, think back to a time when you were looking for work, or fighting for a promotion, or your car broke down and you had to walk, or you were cheated on and lied to….

As humans, we always remember the things that went wrong and I think that it is important to do that. By accepting the pain and grieving the loss, we heal. By remembering the pain, we remember the lesson and from there we grow – if we choose to do so!

But, bigger than the pain and stronger than the disappointment, there always is hope and the knowing that a victory is around the corner.

Cling to that! Hold vast to unwavering hope, knowing that this too shall pass and the victory will be yours in the end.

If it’s not yours yet, it’s simply not the end, my friend

Just keep walking!

Thoughts on life and death…

Since putting it out there that I am caught in this supernatural bubble of peace, a lot has happened to challenge The Bubble and make it disappear.  Despite the tone of the current post, I must add that The Bubble is still intact.

Also, during the past couple of days, I’ve taken a huge step toward “acceptance”, if you will, and decided to stop colouring my hair.  I started going grey around the age of 16 and have been colouring my hair for 20-odd years.  I guess I finally just became tired of spending hours every 3 weeks to hide what is essentially a natural part of who and what I am.  The journey from (artificial) flaming redhead to……I don’t know what, but which will involve a lot of greys, is one that I am somewhat cautious but mostly excited about.  I have, for the moment, set my mind on embracing the change and just going with it.  I’ve also reached a point where I no longer care about what others may say or think.  My life, my journey.

There is a certain freedom that comes with this acceptance.  I suppose I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to figure out who I am and where I fit in.  It’s almost like I’ve been fighting my whole life and now I’ve just decided to go with the stream and see where it takes me.  Freedom…

I’ve often thought about the time I worked with Joel and, more often than not, I wished that I had been older, wiser and more attentive to all the conversations we had. 

It feels like a hundred lifetimes ago when my first employer told me about Tuesdays with Morrie.  If you’ve not yet read this masterpiece by Mitch Albom, I highly recommend it.  Today I started reading it again, and it is still as profound and moving as the first time I read it.  Every time I read it, something else stands out.

I don’t know if it is simply because of “where” I am at the moment or if it is something deeper that I am yet to discover, but the one chapter really got to me this time around.

If you had the choice to know exactly when you would die, would you take it?  Would you want to know the exact day when your time on earth was to expire?  Further, if you had the choice between a long, slow death or a sudden final line being drawn, which would you choose?

“Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.  You strip away all that stuff and you focus on the essentials.  When you realize you are going to die, you see everything much differently.  The better approach is to be prepared for it at any time.  That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you’re living”

Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom

We are all dying.  It is a fact we can not avoid, nor deny.  What if we lived as if we knew we were to die, let’s say, next Monday?  How would we do things differently?  Really think about it for a second…

Would that new car you had your eye on still be as appealing?  Would that pair of boots you had an argument over with your partner still be as important?  What about that promotion you were fighting for?  Yes, I agree that those things might be important, but, and here is the big question, is it really important enough to steal from the joy you have to be alive today??

Does it really matter that much?

Recently I started a morning routine which includes making a cup of coffee and slowly sipping it while I stroll through my garden.  Before cellphones and work and news and traffic becomes a part of my day, I take time to listen to the birds and soak up the smell of jasmine and lavender and soil.  I just sit there and soak it all up, banishing all thoughts of bills and to-do lists and worries and cares; just filling my spirit appreciation and gratitude for all of my blessings.  Life is so uncomplicated in that time.

After reading this piece in Tuesdays with Morrie, I am drawn to look at the things I would do differently if I knew when I would die.  Studying, working, saving, fighting for a “bigger, better” place in the world, to make my mark and leave a legacy of….what?

Or, would I pursue the things that brought more of the joy and blissful peace I am experiencing at the moment?

But stop.  I am dying.  I already know I am.  You are, too.

So what are we waiting for?  What is stopping us from doing the things we would do if we had this knowledge of when we were to move on?

Would you stop working and travel to destinations far away?  Would you spend more time with your children, teaching them life and love and relationships and social responsibilities? I have never been overly materialistic, but I am also not naïve.  I know that I need to work in order to live.  I know that we have responsibilities and duties and things that happen along the way, but surely we can find ways to do all these things that “must” be done, while in pursuit of the things that really matter.

I think, when we find our purpose, we naturally follow a path in line with that purpose, and that is where the magic happens.  Following the driving force within that leads us on a path of discovery and acceptance, that is where we learn to be more involved in the life we are living and we stop the never-ending rat race that leads nowhere in the end

Following that path is, I think, ultimately, the one where we can go toward death with open arms and live with no regret.

Supernatural 2020

20-Plenty – The year that gave us all so much, much more than we bargained for (and it’s not over yet). I, for one, I am quite “curious” to see what the last 3 months of this year will bring.

Before I started writing this post, I went back to my 2020 Vision to see exactly how different it turned out to date. It didn’t.

So I went back to another post from June, sort of a mid-year check, surely by then, it must have changed? It didn’t.

OK, my post about the rona must have shown clear as daylight that it definitely changed, but again, it didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot has changed, and there has been (and still are) challenges, but my path for 2020 have stayed on track. I am mightily surprised by the fact. Like most people, I always go into a new year with the starry-eyed look of a child standing in front of a huge Christmas tree. Inevitably I am then usually quickly brought back to reality by life as we know it.

So far this year we’ve had the rona and the massive economic impact it continues to bring, income lost due to markets and festivals being canceled, breakdowns on the bus and the infamous south-easter which rocked our little village like never before, me leaving my job and starting my own thing, Cape Town earthquakes…

Last week Thursday the car broke down and I failed my driver’s license test – again. Pre-20-plenty, it would have been a really sucky day. As I went to bed that night, I had a fleeting thought of “woe me, what else is gonna go wrong” – fleeting because before I could get myself to fall into that trap of despair, I thought popped into my head and instead found myself wrapped in a bubble of gratitude. The thought?

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON

Yes, the car broke down, but it happened in such a way that it didn’t involve any person or vehicle and, what could possibly have been a very dangerous situation on a busy national road, turned out much simpler. Yes, I failed my license test again, but what if I had gone out on the road that gloomy, rainy day and a child ran in front of the car or something worse happened? Everything happens for a reason. In the past, the happenings of the day would have been enough to send my over-thinking mind into turmoil. All of 2020 would have been enough to send me to a dark place. None of these things, however, have been able to shake my vision for 2020.

It is now 5 days later, and still, I am wrapped in this indescribable bubble of peace and gratitude and a very firm belief that this year will yet stand out as one of growth, transformation, and peace. 20-plenty will still be OUR year.

As I mapped out my 2020 Vision, I explained the angel numbers and how every year in the past, which had the same angel number as this year (2+0+2+0=4) had been years of significant change and growth for me. The peace and gratitude which I find myself wrapped in at the moment is something that I want to hold on to, no matter what comes my way. Coming to think of it, I honestly can’t remember the last time I sat for hours over-thinking something. That, in itself, is massive growth for me.

I find myself enlightened, in tune with nature…

The sun shines brighter, the soils smells richer, the colors are more vivid and the birds sings more clearly…

Lying in bed Friday morning when we couldn’t open the bus due to gale-force winds, I should have been despairing about the wind and the rain bucketing down, but instead I found myself drawn to the birds chirping outside in the midst of the storm

A grueling hike on Sunday in search of a Treasure Chest, which should have left me tired and disappointed (as someone else found it), and hungry and grumpy, instead left me noticing every tiny flower on the path, soaking up the sunlight and in awe of the beautiful colors of the puff adder we passed on the trail

This quote by Ken Kesey, the author of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ probably resonates best with me at the moment

I still have a lot I want to achieve this year and in terms of business, I am working on something really big that puts me directly in line with my heart and passion. Once I have crossed all the t’s and signed the dotted line, I will let you in on what it is!

How has your vision changed from 1 January to date? How are things different from the way you envisioned it?

I hope you too, find yourself in a good space, despite what this year has brought us to date

The rona got me (or I’ve finally gone bonkers)

Day 100 of lockdown – one of the longest lockdowns in the WORLD and still no smokes available. Apparently (if the government is to be believed) smoking is worse for you than taking a taxi or going to the funeral of a person who died of the rona, where, if I may add, other then become infected – first-hand knowledge. Smoking is even more dangerous than going to the mall, stand in the Sassa line, or go to church. I have loaded opinions about this, as do thousands of smokers and non-smokers in SA and the world, but….I’m not getting into that

No, I don’t really have the rona, but it has impacted me in more way than one and it has forced my hand… I don’t know if the universe finally had enough of me not pursuing a path that I was supposed to take, or if I am misreading the signs. I’ve been known to do that.

Remember at the beginning of last year I had a scathing post about studies and work and everything that went down there? The conclusion of it was this quote from the scroll marked 3 in The Greatest Salesman in the world by Og Mandino, one of my all-time favorite books and one that I am re-reading now for the umpteenth time

Being a Leo, this resonates with me on so many levels, yet sometimes we forget the things that speak to our soul and we get caught in the trap of everyday life. So, after that post, I took up my studies and persisted with them. I am now qualified as a junior bookkeeper and will be writing my senior bookkeeper and tax practitioner exams as soon as the rona allows us to do so. Yet, even though I persisted with the studies, the part about pursuing my goals, finding, and continuing on a path that will leave to success, was lost on me. I continued working for a boss and became more miserable with every month that passed. Don’t get me wrong, my job gave me security and I learned so much while in it. It was, however, doing nothing towards my future success. I was not able to use what I had studied and there was no room for growth or promotion. It was just going to be a desk job until I retired. I turned a blind eye to every nudge from the universe, so I was failing at the persisting part and making a huge success of that!

On the side, I started to discover a love for things I never thought would fit my personality. I got excited about marketing the bus and designing stuff for it – side note: we’ve launched our own brand of coffee and it is going SO well! I also discovered that I’m good at networking and that the fine art of connecting people and things to create lasting and profitable connections is something that I am really good at. But, it still was just something on the side, and every day I continued doing my job, toeing the line, like a sheep, and not being the forceful Leo I was created to be.

Then lock down happened and with that came a lot of challenges and changes. Suddenly, I found myself living at work. Yes, living at work because I failed at working from home. My home became work. There was no disconnect between office time and home time. Some days I would get up and 5AM so I can work. Or wake up in the middle of the night, remembering about an email I forgot to send and then actually get up and go send the darn thing. Those of you who know me will know by now that I can not do anything half=arsed. I either fully immerse myself in it or I don’t start at all. So for three full months, I drowned myself in work, neglecting my home, my family, my garden, and myself. In a way, it was a blessing, because I was so busy that I never really felt the “being separated from society” bit of lockdown (or maybe it’s because I’m in introvert). Either way, work kept me so busy that that part of the whole thing went right over my head. On the other hand, the downside of it was that I was doing it without pay. Jip, I did receive my UIF benefit but we were all placed on unpaid leave for the duration of lockdown.

That started to wear thin when I had to start canceling policies and life cover and gym memberships…. it wore really thin when I realized that I would have to abandon all the great plans I had for my love’s 50th birthday party in August and my boss told us, in no uncertain terms, that there are no guarantees that the company will make it through this. We had no job security for the next month or even into the next financial year. It all came tumbling down when (on the very same day) my boss called to say that we can go back to work on the 1st of July but at a huge pay cut until at least Feb 2021 and my son’s school called me to congratulate me on him being in the running for top matriculant! My first response was to check if they’re phoning the right mom. Terrible, I know, but he has never been a “top student”. Since he started with the online school last year, things did get better but never to this extent. I asked him what happened and how he got those marks. He replied with “O, I’ve decided I want to go to university next year”. I heard that and all I could bring myself to think of was my boss and the pay cuts and the rona and the economy and the business not making it. It sent me right over the edge of the cliff.

How did I respond? I quit my job. The rona got me or I’ve finally gone bonkers. Who quits their job in times like this when companies are closing their doors for good, unemployment is at a 20 year high, we are in a recession that by all predictions will be the biggest in decades. Who starts their own business in times like this. Utter madness right?

It took about a week of reasoning and overthinking and debating and questioning, but in the end, the one thing that stood out to me was the fact that I was made to succeed. I was not made to sit and wait for the boat to sink. Abandoning shop and swimming in shark-infested waters was the only thing that made sense. So, I sat myself down, sent my boss a heartfelt and honest letter of resignation, and took up youtube lessons on building a website. After putting out some feelers, I realized that there is a market for what I want to do, and I am confident that I can make this work.

The business idea started with things I can do (through experience and studies), but very soon took on a life of its own and now also entails the things that I love to do – marketing, design, and networking. Are these perhaps too many things to wax? I don’t know. Is this a good idea? I don’t know. Will this work? I don’t know. I have made a couple of seriously bad decisions in my life. I don’t think that this is one of them. I think the universe finally got tired of sending me subtle hints and I’ve been forced to embark on the road less traveled. Where it will lead me – another thing that I don’t know.

All that I am 100% sure of is that – by the grace of God – I am not stressed about this. I had my last day at work this week and woke up this morning without a hint of stress. I am completely at peace with my decision and stand like a gladiator on the sacred ground of an arena soaked in the blood of those who have fallen before I arrived. I am now forced to roar like a lion and make my presence known. I am forced to persist until a succeed because succeeding is all that I have left.

If you want to pop over to my website and check it out, here is the link:

Balance It Up Business Network

I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out!

Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy and stay sane!

love xx

Phoenix in the making

I’ve been very quiet on my blogosphere and today, for the first time in what feels like forever, I found something that I want to share with you

Over the last couple of days, I have felt the weight of Covid-19 crushing me. The sorrow it brought to all the families destroyed by the death of a loved one leaves me unable to laugh at jokes. The hopelessness of business, big and small, forced to shut their doors and lay off staff. Not knowing what’s going to happen with my own work situation, having been on unpaid leave since the lockdown started. The hunger. The pain. Everything. The gravity of the virus pulls at my heart and mind and spirit, like black tar slowly seeping into every fiber of my being and drags me into a dark pit of despair until I find myself unable to see light at the end of the tunnel

But then, and I thank God for “but then”, I found this image and I was reminded of my ideals, hopes, wishes, and vision for 2020 and I see that little spark in a long dark tunnel and I know, everything will be OK and if it’s not OK, it’s not over! Like a Phoenix in the ashes, we will rise from this. We will look back at 2020 and whether it will be known as the year to break us or the year to make us, is in our hands.

I don’t know who Leslie Dwight is or where to credit him/her, but Leslie deserves my gratitude for days and months to come

Lockdown is over!

I wish someone would jump out of a giant freakin cheesecake today and declare that corona was just one long stupid prank

You know, the kind of prank that @WhackheadS would do. The kind that takes days and weeks and months to set up, with all the top players involved. At this point, I would even settle for some government somewhere to come out and admit that this was just one huge social experiment and that we’ve all passed with flying colors (well, most of us. The ones who think it is STILL fine to walk their dog and go for a jog should just be sentenced to a lifetime of house arrest)

Sadly, however, it is not. It is what it is, whatever that “is” may be, that is what is. I found this interesting article on exactly that and I kind of like the idea that the phrase actually relates to a state of possibility and that is exactly what this lockdown is, isn’t it?

It is possible that we can contain it, sooner than later, and everything can go back to normal, albeit a different kind of normal. I like to think that after this we as a human race will be kinder and warmer to each other. Perhaps we will become more caring about those around us, how we spend our time and money and have a greater appreciation for nature

It is also possible that things can go horribly wrong, but for my state of possibility, I choose to not think about that. I have a little it of a head in the sand approach, where I just pray for the best and believe instead of fear.

Also in my state of possibility is the belief that thousands of illicit love affairs will dwindle into nothing and that husbands and wives will fall in love with each other again and that parents and children will reconnect. With all the distractions taken away, we are forced to cook and bake and do garden work and do things around the house and in that there must be bonding. New connections must be formed and battle-axes put away.

Perhaps I live in an idealistic, hopeless romantic and naive space that exists only in my mind, but I’m fine with that. There is nothing wrong with hoping for and believing in a happy ending to all of this

Also to be found in my state of possibility is what I’m going to do when this is all over. So many things..

Firstly, I’m going for a run; a long run on the promenade with the sun setting over the ocean, the smell of sea and sand and coconuts being whipped up from the shore by a cool breeze. Reality check: it’s autumn so the chance of that happening is remote, but I’m going to go. Even if its raining and I have to bathe in coconut flavored sunblock before the time, I will have my beach and my ocean smell and my coconut smell and a sunset. I will.

On the topic of running, the day before lockdown I lay in bed and worked out a running route through the garden and backyard. It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time until I tried it and realized that it’s only 80 meters and I would have to do it 62.5 times to get to a 5KM run. It’s very boring. It’s also not happening. Day 6 of lockdown and I’ve run a total of 80 meters. I am determined, however, to run that little piece of land 12.5 times today to at least get 1KM in.

I am also determined to buy a treadmill when all of this is over and I am kind of ticked off at myself for not doing it earlier. I’ve been playing with the idea since December but never got round to actually buying one. It always takes me forever to buy something. More often than not when there is a dress I really, really like, by the time I decide to go and buy it, it is no longer available. Note to self: stop procrastinating on buying things you really want!

Secondly, we are hosting the biggest party this house has ever seen. Friends, family, neighbors. I’ve already started on “save the date” invitations last night #datetobedeterminedbygovernmentwhenallofthisisfinallyover

Thirdly, I’m going to have to get my diet on track when all of this is over. I’ve been very good with eating during lockdown so far, but my family… they are leading me into temptation with their requests for dessert. I haven’t baked this much since my high school days

Day 1 was apple crumble pie
Day 3 was cinnamon mousse filled salted caramel donuts
Day 5 was fudgy chocolate brownies with a hind of coffee and home-made custard
Today I have a hankering for carrot cake. Any recipes will be welcomed #justsaying

For now, it is time to get to work. My state of possibility also includes the hope that I’ll still get paid when all of this is over

Stay safe and stay home!

Lockdown diarrhea (verbally)

Buckle up Buttercup, this is going to be a long one

I have so much to say and so many thoughts and ideas around the corona and since everything just melts into one, I can’t seem to split this into two or more posts.  So, grab a cup of coffee and banana loaf (can’t believe this is actually trending on twitter) and dive into my mind.

The world has gone crazy.   In case you’ve missed it, here are some of the headlines to prove it.  Being an overthinker always forces me to look at both sides of the story, so for each, I have 2 arguments.

Sex workers want to be included as “essential services” and be allowed to work
Suzy, if everyone must stay home, you won’t have clients in any case.  So, give your “job” a rest for a while, I’m sure everyone will manage just fine without you.  Husbands will be with their wives and the single ones, well, there is always Mrs Palm.  They will survive
I don’t think anyone becomes a sex worker by choice.  I think it must be one of the hardest, most soul-destroying things to do.  May God give that I am never in the position where selling my body to feed my family is the only choice I have.  I get that for them it too is a matter of no work, no pay.  They don’t have the benefit of applying for UIF and they may not survive

Homeless demands better food and drugs.
I get why people on the street would need drugs to send themselves into oblivion just in order to forget where they are and what little hope they have.  I get that.  Unless we can set up detox centers where they are weaned of the drugs over a period of time (as is done in Europe), I can see a lot of druggies going cold turkey during this time.  I’ve never needed to go cold turkey on anything (even though I may have an impending cigarette cold turkey if Government maintains that cigarettes are banned during lockdown) but from what I understand it is not a pleasant experience.  Perhaps, however, this is an opportunity to get clean.  

I found this one to ring very true for me: “People out there making jokes about couples’ survivor, but this is real life, you guys. “Til death do us part” might really mean “I’ll fucking kill you for the last cigarette, don’t try me.”

Tamaryn Shepherd@ExMi (my new favorite person on Twitter)


What good does getting clean do, however, when you have nowhere to go when all is said and done and life goes back to, albeit a slightly changed, normal?  Well, there are shelters, but since most shelters expect you to stay clean and sober, a lot of homeless chooses to not go that route. 
I guess it just really peeves me off that Government is doing all they can, yet still, instead of being grateful for being taken off the street in this time, being fed and having the ability to clean yourself up, some still feel it’s not good enough. Can we please handle one crisis at a time?  Perhaps this too will highlight the areas where we are failing the most vulnerable and provide ground for some much-needed change.

Then there are the conspiracy theories

This, ladies and gentlemen, is me if I hear one more conspiracy theory

“If I hear one more conspiracy theory, I’m going to explode”. I have to agree with that. While some of conspiracy theories out there carry some weight, most of them are just downright ridiculous.

Here is a collection of them to wrap your head around:

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/coronavirus-china-bat-patent-conspiracy-theory-942416/

Conspiracy Theories – continued

Whichever way it started, the ones that ring most true to me is this:
Create a virus, lockdown society, spin the economy upside down, bankrupt business and countries, buy them up one by one – world domination, one world order…. The end is near, whether you choose to believe it or not, that is entirely up to you.  The more I look at what’s going on, however, the more Revelations comes to mind. 

In the end, I don’t think we will ever know how or why or where this really started and what the end-goal was.  Sure, there will be some “breaking news” somewhere with proof of it all, but whose proof will it be?  To any story there is always my side, your side and the truth…  

One thing is certain: the world economy will never be the same again. I think it is safe to say that the world as we know it has forever been changed. My work has adopted the “no work no pay” take on it. Luckily, they are applying for the UIF benefits for this (R3 500.00) but how long that’s going to take, no-one knows. What happens if the lockdown is extended, no-one knows. What happens when the money runs out, no-one knows.

Amongst all the madness, this is a time to stop and think.  To take stock.  Time for a time-out

Remember the time when your alarm would go off in the morning and you’d wish that you could just have a life where you could wake up on your own accord, without an alarm?  Remember the time when you would wish you could just stay at home and not have to go anywhere and not see anyone and just be … on your own … without someone popping in or you having to go somewhere?

Well, that time is now and it’s not at all what I imagined it to be.

I think for the first time ever I understand why a time-out for a toddler is actually punishment and not just a sanity tool to prevent you from murdering your 3 year old when they’ve managed to find that very last nerve at the end of a long day

I think the world and God (perhaps) have given us all one massive timeout.  Apparently, we need time to sit and think about what we are doing.  To ourselves, to those around us, to strangers, to the world, to the economy.  Time to think about our purpose.  Why are we here really?  Now, more than ever I am convinced that there is more to life and the way we’ve been living it than getting up and going to work.

There is something psychological about not being allowed to go somewhere or do something.  21 Days while on holiday is different from 21 days of lockdown.  It’s the same period, spend with the same people, but… different. 

When we go on holiday, we are busy all the time.  We go out and do things, we play games and go shopping, we go to the beach and see friends.  We are busy all the time.  21 Days go by in the blink of an eye

In everyday life, we too are busy all the time.  There is work and meetings and traffic and shopping and homework and gym and social commitments, the list goes one.  21 Days go by in the blink of an eye

We are so busy living our lives and doing what we must that we “miss” the people around us.  We don’t really connect.  Then, when we are forced to connect, it’s like we must get to know each other all over again.  We live our lives side by side every day, but being confined to the same space doing the same thing with the same people for 21 days, things could become interesting once cabin fever sets in.

It’s strange how the human psyche works.  For most, being told you cannot do this or that will most definitely invoke a response of “You bet? Let me show you!”  Ask me, I know.  That’s how I started smoking – dumbest “I’ll show you” of my life. 

For introverts, it is much easier to a degree, but extroverts really struggle.  Use technology, phone, message, video call your extrovert friends.  Check-in on them, they may need it now more than you can imagine

Mental health in these times is precisely why violence (both domestic and out of pure desperation and fear) and abuse is at the forefront of my concerns at the moment. An abuser will always find a reason. Cabin fever is nothing less than fuel to an already volatile situation.

A close second on my list of concerns is what will happen when peoples’ money and food run out? I expect to see a lot of rioting and looting happening in our near future, especially if the lockdown period is extended, which in itself is a possibility unless people start to listen and just stay the XXXX home!

My third and final concern (for the time being) is how quickly the virus will spread now that it has hit both Khayelitsha and Alexandra townships.  The appalling living conditions of many people in SA are a breeding ground for this pandemic to explode. Add to that the high number of people with TB and HIV/Aids and I expect to see a disaster.  Decisive action is needed by the Government at this time in the townships in order to stop the virus from spreading like wildfire.

On a lighter note, I have to agree with some of the social media posts doing the rounds

“Some parents are finally going to find out that the teacher was not the problem after all” My son has taken the self-isolation thing next level. He’s always been an introvert so this is heaven for him. We honestly only see him at mealtimes. That’s gotta change. Soon… O, and does anyone speak “teenage” around here? I could really use some help. If I have to hear one more thing about Minecraft and red stone… please refer to how I feel about conspiracy theories above

@saltyamas – Someday our kids will have kids. Those kids will complain that they’re bored and want to go somewhere. So our kids will tell their kids about the time they couldn’t leave their house for a month because of a pandemic. This is our kids’ “2-mile walk in the snow uphill” moment.

My dogs have gone ballistic. They can’t seem to figure out why I haven’t left the house in 5 days and since there is no one walking their dogs for them to bark at, they’ve taken to barking at the birds. Have you noticed how many birds there are around these days? Not my imagination.

OK, enough for now. Time to feed the dogs and get to work.

Stay safe!

Doing lockdown like a Kardashian (or not)

https://www.ekurhuleni.gov.za/media-relations/21-day-national-lockdown-covid-19.html

So day 1 and 2 of lockdown came and went and it’s not that bad (yet).

Day 1 wasn’t much different from the norm, except that I got to work from home. Jip, I’ll be working through lockdown which is an absolute blessing. Remember the 11 Commandments of lockdown – find a balance between time spent on your own and time spent with your family. With me being able to work, we are sure to have a very good balance in how we spend our time.

Day 2 – my love decided to bring all the equipment from the bus home and I am super stoked about it. That means I get to have the best coffee while on lockdown. We phoned up the neighbors and invited them over for cappuccinos. Before you blast me about social distancing, we had our cappuccinos on either of the fence with 6 meters between us. Realized again what nice people they are. Spend the day lazing around for the bigger part of it, doing crosswords and watching reruns of Kom on Braai. We watched a rerun of our episode too and felt like a total celeb: watching myself on TV while wearing my fat pants, no makeup, and hair in a mess. It’s fabulous being me 🙂 I wonder how the Kardashians will do lockdown? Finished the day with a chicken braai, roasted veggies and my very own apple crumble, which was delicious, even though it was more apple than crumble. O yes, I also tried out my running track I had laid out in our back yard. Turns out I need to do it 62 and a half times to get a 5KM run in. Yikes. I’m not entirely sure that it is going to happen, but I’ll try it out later today nonetheless. I am really sad at this point that I never committed to buying a treadmill. I’ve been meaning to do it for the longest time. Too late now.

As promised yesterday, my Corona scare

During the weekend of 14 and 15 March, we worked at a bike rally. A rally that was attended by a lot of Germans. Days before that weekend, news of corona increased and (being an overthinker) I started to take note of news specifically on how the virus is spread from person to person.

Well, I’ll have you know that before now I never realized

a) how much people spit when they talk

b) how often we touch our face and

c) how many things we touch that may or may not be infected

Taking a coffee order from a drunk guy insisting on telling you how his “flat white” is supposed to be made while you have a live band to your left and a DJ to your right – spit fest. At one point I seriously contemplated taking off my bra to cover my face. It was THAT bad!

Going to the loo, well that is just simply a minefield of germs and viruses waiting to jump! Seriously, men have it so easy.

Your first challenge arrives as you get to your cubicle. Closing the door with your foot is no challenge at all. To get the latch, however, your options are limited to fingers or teeth….. Mmmmmm I think I’ll opt for keeping the doors closed with my fingertips. Now, any girl will know that you never sit on a public toilet, you squat. Squat done, you wrap toilet paper around your fingertips and keep the door closed with that, hoping that it will offer enough resistance to someone wanting to enter. Do your business and (while still squatting) you use your free hand to gather some more toilet paper and wipe. Done! You feel super triumphant knowing that you’ve managed to miss every germ. Time to wash your hands. fcuk. You have to use your hands to open the tap, get the soap and wash and then use that super clean hand to close the tap. Hello toilet paper, my old friend! (I think I’m starting to see where the world toilet paper problem is coming from) All clean! Yayyy, a 4-year-old who has just managed to lose the training wheels on his bike couldn’t be happier! You turn around to leave, open the door and walk out of there feeling like a million dollars. Your fringe tickles your forehead and you wipe it away, not thinking for a second about the door and latch you touched to leave the cubicle. You take cash from someone who pays for their skinny dirty chai, gives them change and wipe the counter. You have now successfully touched 5 sites of possible infection. I’m not going to carry on, I’m sure you get the message.

So, Monday the 16th of March, our president announced a state of emergency and I started to think about the weekend. All those germs, all those Germans. I have no idea where they all come from. Tuesday meets me with a runny nose and sore muscles. My overthinking topped new levels, levels I never dreamed possible. Turns out I’m OK and there is no need for concern, but I can fully understand how mental health can become an issue in these times.

Mental health is going to be a huge thing in this time, more on that in my next post

How are you spending lockdown? Please share interesting ideas of things to do

Until next time, stay safe and stay home!

The 11 Commandments of Lockdown

As we all frantically prep for lockdown, which is now only 8 hours away, I just wanted to share the below with you. I am not entirely sure who to give credit for this, but it makes so much sense, I just had to share it. It was originally posted on Facebook in Afrikaans, please forgive me if my translation of it is not 100% correct.

Over the next three weeks, the gala is on, and you’ll most likely be sharing very limited space with people you’ve always thought you could get on with very well.  After 5 years in Afghanistan, and countless “hard lockdowns” that sometimes lasted up to a month, I would like to share a few thoughts of my own experience.

1. It’s hard. No, it’s tough! Especially here around day 10, when the newness of it begins to disappear. You are going to have to improve and keep your self-discipline.

2. Quickly develop a comfortable routine where you maintain a healthy balance between your own time and time spent with the rest of the household.

3. Don’t be lazy where day-to-day duties are concerned – do your part.  But also don’t be a spectacular pain in the a$$ with others and constantly order them around.  Nerves quickly wear thin.

4. You are going to learn, see and discover things about the people around you, things that you have never noticed before.  Most of it is not things you will be giggling about. Deal with it, and bite your tongue. They also realize that you are not as perfect as you believe.

5. Keep a close eye on the people around you. The “black dog” has a really bad habit of moving in during these times. And if it is not he, it is that fox we call intolerance. Keep both of them away from you.

6. When you are allowed to travel/move, avoid anything in uniform like the plague (no pun intended). Nothing puts the standard traffic cop/policeman/security guard/soldier on a bigger power trip than circumstances like this.

7. Stay busy, even if it’s just being busy at being calm.  And don’t get yourself worked up with all kinds of worries and stress. It is what it is. The comfort is that very few of us will NOT come through this. Make sure that your relationships are stronger and better. It will be a huge bummer if your first stop after lockdown is the divorce attorney or madhouse.

8. Stay positive. This too will pass. It always does. This is not war. Exploit your creativity. Forge new plans for the future. Dream big and prepare yourself to kick a$$ when the doors are swinging again.

9. Keep a stash of popcorn. You are going to need it when you sit and watch out how the guys who do not follow this council self destructs. Avoid snowflakes – they will make you crazy with their entitlement and claims.

10. You have a lot of time at hand. Talk to your Creator, get to know Him again. Years from now you are going to look back and realize how valuable these three weeks really were.

And then, that eleventh commandment. “Be safe, but have fun.”

Best advice in these times, don’t you think?

Be safe out there, see you soon with the story of my Corona scare…

And so, this is lock down

corona virus
covid-19
SA lockdown
Cyril Ramaphosa
SA Government
Coronavirus outbreak and coronaviruses influenza background as dangerous flu strain cases as a pandemic medical health risk concept with disease cells as a 3D render

It is with morbid curiosity that I have been watching the developments around the Corona Virus since early January 2020. From the get-go there was something about this virus that made me keep an eye on it. As it turns out, Covid-19 will go down in history as something that united the world, for now at least.

When we first learned of the virus, it was “the black sheep of the family” – like domestic violence, sexual abuse, your best friend’s narcissistic husband – something that happened “over there, to other people”. As it started to spread outside of Wuhan, people took notice and it became the thing you talk about at the water station with colleagues. Soon it was the main topic of discussion, but still not something that will ever happen to us. Even as the first case was diagnosed on home soil on 5 March 2020 people were joking about “whether you have washed your hands”.

5 March – that is just 19 days ago.

16 March – the count is now at 72 and President Ramaphosa urges people to take care

22 March – 274 is now infected – that is 202 people in less than a week. But then…..

23 March – the number of infections jumps to 402 and between day 17 and 18 the number of positive cases jumped by 45%

24 March – 554 infections, 4 recovered and 2 in ICU.

In 19 days it took us from joking about something “over there” to 21 days of lockdown. 19 days for it to jump from 1 to 402. I expect that the number of infected people is actually much higher as it takes about 3 days for a positive diagnosis to come back. If the current rate of infection continues, I am afraid we may exceed 1 500 by this weekend. We still have 3 full days of work and shopping and prepping for lockdown (read: contact with others that may be affected) before we go into lockdown. It is very scary indeed.

Since this is a developing story (not the time for jokes, I know, but I’ve always wanted to say that) and there is too much to say on the topic for one post, for this one I will focus on why it is one of the biggest unifying events to occur in the world during my lifetime.

For the first time in South Africa’s history, that I know of, everyone is united against a common thread. I find it amazing that this tiny little unseen virus has the ability to bring together all races, all religious organizations and all political parties to stand as a united front and fight this thing. Not even Nelson Mandela or the Springboks ever had the ability to unite us like this. I am proud President Ramaphosa and I am proud of my country for the way they have come together to fight this unseen speck that has the power to grind us and the rest of the world to a halt.

Last night our President announced that we will go into lock down midnight on 26 March 2020 until midnight on 16 April 2020, This could not have been an easy decision, and it certainly is one that I am glad I did not have to make. Millions and millions of people will be affected by this. Business will be forced to shut their doors for good, the job losses and economic impact will be massive. It is something that will take a very long time to remedy. Despite all of this, I believe it to be right move, the only move. The economy and the coins in my pocket can never be more important than the value of a single human life.

Governments, organizations, companies, individuals, political parties, different religious groups, millionaires and billionaires – all are rallying to fight this unseen enemy. This invisible threat that is ripping apart families and forever changing lives has caused more unity than anything I have ever seen before.

All of a sudden you see groups of people pop up making donations, looking beyond the “glory” of “I did something good”. Parents are forced to spend time with their children as the schools are closed. The elderly are being looked after by strangers who are concerned for the health of the aged and husbands and wives have nowhere to go but spend time with each other – there are no pubs to go to or golf games to be played. We are forced to slow down and take stock of what matters. Nations are praying for each other and helping out where they can. Unemployed doctors and nurses come in from all the corners of the world to offer their services.

All across the globe, things are slowing down and resetting for one common goal – let’s beat this!

Corona will not touch me or my family, but I’ve had my scare (more on that in the next post)

As we approach lock down and we get everything in place to make sure that we won’t have to pop out to the shop, I stand in awe at the unity this virus has brought. I stand in awe at how resilient we are. I stand in awe at how we can pull together – regardless of social standing or race. Together we can beat this!