Winter Wonderland Carnival Weekend

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Traditionally towns along the west coast of South Africa turn quiet in preparation for the influx of visitors during the summer holidays.  Here in Gordon’s Bay however it is termed the secret season.  The 3rd Annual Winter Wonderland is an initiative that turns our sleepy little winter town into a festival of lights.

All the houses, business, pubs and restaurants along the beach front get in on the act and the properties are transformed into a magical world with fairy lights.  Live music and the smell of food lingers all over.  Apart from their normal sit-down menu, all restaurants also offer quick, on-the-go snacks prepared on open fires.  The empty site where the historic Van Riebeeck Hotel used to be is filled with marquee tents offering live music throughout Carnival Weekend and food stalls with the most delicious and affordable meals you can imagine.  The Milkwood tree strip at the edge of the beach is turned into a fairy forest with craft markets.

Across the road you will find Carnival rides for young and old and the Ghost House was, as usual, a hands-down winner.  The organisers have arranged for tractor rides between the different locations as it is quite a walk from the old harbour to the new harbour.

This year saw a much bigger crowd being pulled in and I am already looking forward to the next one.

I’ve tried to upload the photo’s here, but my technology fail continues.  I will be uploading them to the Facebook page instead.  If you haven’t done so already, follow the Facebook link on the sidebar and you’ll be able to catch up on all the photo’s.  Please excuse the photo quality as it was taken with my Blackberry, but I’m sure it will be good enough to give you an idea of all the fun there was to be had.

Patience…Please….

patience

Tell us a moment or an incident that you treasure – not necessarily because it brought you happiness, but because it taught you something about yourself.

I guess The Universe was trying to teach me some patience today, something which I don’t have a lot of to start with, which would explain why you are reading this.  I had a very different response in mind for today’s prompt than what you are reading now.

I woke up this morning to a blank BlackBerry.  No new e-mails, no comments, no notifications, nothing.  Just a screen that reads “Grouping Messages”.  Turns out the game Luke downloaded and deleted also messed up the device firmware.  Luckily I back up daily, so once at the office I was able to restore to yesterday and … still no email service?!?  Vodacom, for some obscure reason decided that my BlackBerry service, which was due to expire tomorrow, already expired so I had to renew one day early.  No biggy, WHOOSA moment later and service reactivated I’m ready to go, but still no emails.  After spending 45 minutes on the line with the Contact Centre they were able to figure it out and bliss, the emails come rolling in.

Next the one computer at the office came up with an “Internet Security” pop-up.  Please, if you are reading this, do not click on any Internet Security pop-up thingy that jumps up at you.  It is designed to look like a Windows system message, but also to destroy your system.  Once you click on this, it releases Trojan upon Trojan on your system.  When it reached the point that he would click on Outlook or Google Chrome, just for it to automatically close again, he decided to call in the powers that be (read: me), since I am the only one at the office who is not somewhat technologically challenged.  Nothing was working.  Safemode – forget about it.  Safemode with command prompt – forget about it.  Msconfig – forget about.  System Restore – forget about it.  It took me the better part of the afternoon to sort it out and 25 Trojan threats later, he was ready to get back to work, just in time for us to go home.

This weekend we have the Winter Wonderland Carnival Weekend in town so Luke and I decided to go to Spur to watch the sunset and the build up of excitement as everyone gets ready for the parade.  While Luke mastered the Crazy Climb Wall I prepared my post, which is now not happening.  First it was a struggle to get connected to the Wi-Fi.  Regardless of how many times we entered the correct password, it just wouldn’t budge.  After about 10 minutes we finally got it connected, then just as I was about to click submit, battery died.  No biggy, put laptop on charge, start system up and …. it’s gone.

So now, here I am, post gone, connected to Wi-Fi, posting this one.

Universe, this is not the best way to teach me patience.  Please, go gentle on me.  Eish, I will have to work harder at that virtue.

Luke and I are off to the Winter Wonderland, pictures and post to follow tomorrow, if technology does not fail me again!

The Artist’s Eyes

Is there a painting or sculpture you’re drawn to? What does it say to you? Describe the experience. (Or, if art doesn’t speak to you, tell us why.)

I am one of the fortunate few to have an artist in the family.  Susan Kemp at Art Life works absolute magic with her hands and visiting her studio, which is something I unfortunately don’t get to do often enough, is always a pleasure.

Amaryllis was first done in 1903 by John William Godward and she was commissioned to do a copy for a client a while back.  When I first saw it, I immediately fell in love with the painting.

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To me this painting speaks of so much longing and expectation.  It draws at the corners of my heart; it brings to the fore emotions about something that that my soul is ready for, but has not yet come to pass.  Like the bride anxiously waiting for the time to arrive when she is to approach the alter.   It speaks to me of something that my soul is ready for and in need of, but have no other choice than to just wait for it to come to pass.

Silly perhaps, I am no art guru and wouldn’t be able to tell a Van Gogh from a Godward, but when it speaks to me, it speaks loud and clear.

For the sake of this post, I decided to  look up the history of the painting and this story is by far the one that touched me most.  It is so tragic and, well just, beautiful.

Do yourself and a favour and go look at Art Life on Facebook.  Her Bamboodees are brilliant too and I can’t wait to commission a couple of those for my lounge!

7 Deadly Sins of Relationships

Ever since Jacques and I met, we have placed a lot of emphasis on the importance of communication in relationships. Between us we have witnessed, and were somewhat intimately involved in, 13 marriages; that, I’m sure you will agree, is a huge learning field to get your information from with regard to making a relationship work. Let me clarify the number: my only marriage to date, which ended after 12 years, my grandparents, who have been an inspiration to me of what marriage is supposed to be like and the remaining 11 were broken marriages our parents were involved in.

No wonder then, that it has been one of our big questions, quests even, to find out what it takes to make a relationship work. What is the secret ingredient?

I obviously can’t speak for everyone and I fully realize that there is valid reason, even if only a one sided one, for any marriage or relationship to come to an end. We all have our share of circumstances and emotions to deal with; circumstances and emotions which can never really be fully understood by any outsider. I guess we live in a society in which it has just become all too easy to give up; it is rather more acceptable to walk out than it is to stick around and fight for what you want.

Last night we decided to do the chick-flick thing and watch “The Vow” – O My Hat! Waterworks galore!

Now, if you have never seen the movie, do yourself (and your partner) a favor; get the popcorn, settle in for the night and prepare to be moved!

The Vow tells the true story of a young married couple who are involved in a car accident. After waking up from her coma months later, the wife does not remember her husband or even the fact that they are married. Despite being presented with voice messages, photos and even a video of their wedding ceremony, she can’t remember ever having met him. Her memories goes back about four years ago, to a time when she was still living at home, enrolled in Law School and engaged to someone else. It is then up to her husband to make her fall in love with him again and remember why they got married. Now that takes dedication!

Naturally, the movie got me thinking. We are all human and inevitably we all make mistakes. If you want, these mistakes can be categorized and filed and rated and such, to fit into two main groups; either it is forgivable or it is unforgivable. Perhaps we will call them “The 7 Deadly Sins of Relationships”

  • Forgetting to by milk – This one is not really something which will destroy your relationship, but if you have a full out row about something as small as this, it is a sure sign that you have some underlying issues. Get to the point and do something about it. You still have time!
  • Not pulling your weight around the house – Again, not something that in itself will destroy a relationship, but combine this little monster with underlying stresses of everyday life and soon those stinking socks you keep lying around everywhere will multiply with the toilet seat being left up and, boom, you have disaster!
  • Good lies – This, I will admit, is a tough one. Say you are planning a surprise birthday party for your partner. You tell your partner that you are going to visit your aunt on a Saturday afternoon. In actual fact you are going to the bakery to pick up the cake and then to the venue to decorate and get everything ready. While you are going about your business, your aunt innocently pops up at your place for cake and tea. Certain recipe for disaster! In a perfect world with perfect relationships where no-one have ever been hurt and does not harbour any trust issues, it would not be a problem. When you are in a committed relationship however, you have to take into account what your partner’s relationship history is.
  • Bad Lies – This one is obvious and it is also where we draw the line between forgivable and unforgivable “sins”. Telling your partner that you are visiting your mother just to go and watch a movie on your own is not cool. Speak up, tell him or her that you want some time to yourself and then go with it. There is never a justifiable reason for lying to your partner; it will only leave them hurt and doubtful of your relationship.
  • Flirting – Do I really need to explain this one? Yes the pretty little blond at your work has been giving you the eye and your ego just swells every time she turns the corner. There is no such thing as innocent flirting. Either you are committed to your partner and do all your flirting at home or you are not and you don’t. It really is that simple.
  • Cheating – This one is not to be confused with Number 7. Cheating does not necessarily involve having a relationship with someone other than your partner. Cheating, in my books, are defined as anything which steals quality time from your relationship. Addicted to porn? Drinking too much? Spending more times with your buddies than with your partner? These are all things which steal time from your partner and, in effect, steal the life out of your relationship.
  • Having an affair – Needles to say, this is the big no-no. Make up your mind: do you want to be with your partner, yes or no. Again, it really is that simple. Either you love him or her enough to want to be there or you don’t. Having an affair is just a cowardly act which speaks of nothing but your spineless character. If you are unhappy and you can’t fix it, walk out the door and go have your affair then. No-one has the right to treat another human being’s emotions as a yo-yo. You are up or you are down; you are in or you are out – you can’t have it both ways.

The big realization that came with the movie, however, is this:

If both of you are 100% committed to making it work, it is never too late to start building new memories. If you truly love each other and you are both truly committed, if you have love and Grace in your relationship, nothing can stop you. Look at your partner and right now make a renewed commitment to each other and let go, and I really do mean LET GO, of the past. With love and Grace there is no room for hatred or grudges, there is no room for any resentment, you have to let it go in order to move on.

Start your relationship afresh. Every second from here on in is the opportunity to build new memories. You owe it to yourselves to make those memories good ones. The choice is entirely yours.

THERE IS NO BETTER TIME THAN RIGHT NOW!

Cross-country journey

You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely — bike? Hot air balloon?)

A friend shared this photo on Facebook and it immediately spoke to me:

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I have never had the opportunity to fly and it is most definitely on my bucket list.  Those who know me would probably say that I would therefore select the airplane.  I am going to shock them all by saying that my chosen mode of transport would be either by train or, even better, hiking.

The town I grew up in had one of the main railway stations between two major towns and I used to love listening to the sound of the trains going by.  Once we took a trip from the Free State to Durban and it was just magical.  It is something that Luke has never experienced so I see it as my motherly duty to let him experience it at least once (apart from the fact that I am dying to go on a train ride again!).

As far as the hiking goes, I love walking.  It is the best therapy for any internal issue you need to sort out and you get some solid exercise as an added bonus.  It has always been a dream of mine to take a backpack and just walk.  Do a cross-country up to the Free State to visit my mom or take the scenic route around the coastline to visit my brother perhaps.  Being a mom makes that ideal just a bit difficult.  Add to that the fact that I am a woman, and you have a recipe for disaster.  It is so unfair that men can just up and leave to do stuff like that, but we have to think and re-think about safety and all that jazz!

Why take the slow coach (pun intended) when travelling by bus, car or airplane are much faster?  Life is so rushed and we can all do with a bit of unwinding.  Taking the slower option also gives you a much better opportunity to explore the countryside, which is the reason for a road trip right?

So there you have it, for me it is travelling at a snail’s pace.  Here is what others had to say:

Quick Blogging Tips from Huge bloggers

Fantastic Tips for Bloggers!

We Blog For Love

14 bloggers about their routines I also asked if they had any tips for other busy bloggers. I’m glad I did because collectively they give some great insight below.

Chris Garrett

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  1. Write down any ideas you have and transfer them to your blog drafts as soon as possible. If you can, skip the writing down part and go direct to your blog drafts. Maybe use a smart phone so you are more likely to have a handy route to your blog!
  2. In your drafts add a semi-decent headline (not final, just enough to get the idea across) and some bullets. At the very least the point you want to make. If you don’t then you will forget what your post was about. Trust me on this, I speak from experience, ha.
  3. Work out the best time of day for you to write and schedule time in that slot. I find…

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21st Century Citizen

Do you belong in this day and age? Do you feel comfortable being a citizen of the 21st-century? If you do, explain why — and if you don’t, when in human history would you rather be?

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Photo: http://fostercityblog.com/2013/03/then-and-now/

Sometimes I miss the world as it was when I was a child.  I look at children today and pity them.  When technology is down, it’s as if they don’t really know what to do to occupy the time.  In my time (gosh, that makes me sound so very old!), the world was our playground.  We could play outside whenever we wanted.  We had dolls and books for rainy days and TV was restricted to half an hour every day.  I remember my sister and myself listening in on phone calls – all phones were still routed through a central switchboard with an old lady at the other end “Nommer Asseblief?” (Number please?) and I miss the simplicity of those days.

On the other hand however, I am so grateful for where we are in terms of technology.  It sometimes is a curse, but can you imagine how difficult it would be to do our work without internet, email, etc?  It would be a nightmare.  Not to mention writing.  I have so much respect for Shakespeare, Hemingway and the likes.  How they managed to become famous without the internet boggles my mind.

So, generally speaking, I think I am pretty happy to be happy to live in the now!

Here are what 25 other bloggers had to say:

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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What happens when Madiba dies?

Today 18 years ago old President Nelson Mandela lifted the Word Cup trophy at Ellispark. It was a triumphant moment, not only in terms of rugby, but also as a symbol of how far we have come as a country in 5 short years.

Today, South Africa and the world wait with bated breath for news on our Madiba. He is spending his 17th night in hospital; his condition critical. It is time to let him go; he has done his job well and needs to rest.

The question on everyone’s lips: what will happen after he dies?

Everywhere you turn it is the topic of discussion. Everyone hopes that we, the rainbow nation, will be able to carry on his legacy. Everyone hopes that we will be able to honor his ideals and mourn his passing in peace. Sadly though, the underlying common thread is fear. There seems to be a general feeling that the country will fall into a state of chaos. It is feared that his supporters might revolt against government and against anyone who is not black.

My mind went back to the day of his release in 1990. Despite my best efforts I cannot remember the momentous day; I was only 13 at the time. So where does that leave me, my generation and our kids?

I had no part in apartheid. I grew up in a home where “the help” Saartjie and Kerneels were as much part of the family as I was. They were treated no different from a white person. They were not mistreated and called names. They were people just like me and you. Saartjie and Kerneels, to me, were just people being paid to do a job. I knew they lived in a different part of town. I knew they had schools in the area where they lived. As a child I was not really allowed to watch TV, so I never saw anything on the news. I suppose, in a way, I was much shielded from the atrocity that was apartheid.

Just before I went to high school, I asked Saartjie’s daughter, Selina, whether she will be going to the same high school as me. She laughed it off and I didn’t understand. It was around this time that my grandparents could no longer take care of us and I moved back to my mother. My mother shares the same sentiment as I grew up with, which is also the one that I am carrying over the Luke:

When we cut ourselves it is the same colour blood that runs through our veins, our hearts beat in the same way and our brains functions exactly the same. No one chooses to be born into a certain race and no one has the right to treat you different because you are white, coloured or black.

Sadly though, it is at this time that I also came to know about apartheid. Her husband at the time was a racist through and through. The hate he displayed towards anyone of a different colour was sickening. I remember Elias, he lived in a small room next to our garage – nothing really, just space for a bed and a cupboard with an outside toilet. Elias never complained and always greeted with the whitest and brightest smile I have ever seen. He had a roof over his head and had work, which meant he could send money to his family. Every Friday night Elias would step out, dressed in his best, freshly ironed shirt and left. I never knew where he went, but in my mind he was going to see his family. On Sundays Elias went to church and returned, bible in hand with a smile bigger and brighter than before he left. To me, Elias was just an honest, hard-working Christian man. My stepfather hated him with every fibre of his being. I could never understand why.

I think back now at the Mandela speeches I have read over time:

“I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.”

“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

“The struggle for democracy has never been a matter pursued by one race, class, religious community or gender among South Africans. In honouring those who fought to see this day arrive, we honour the sons and daughters of all our people. We can count amongst them Africans, Coloureds, Whites, Indians, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews – all of them united by a common vision of a better life for the people of this country.”

“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. Let freedom reign.”

“Take your guns, your knives and your pangas and throw them into sea. Let’s unite with peace in democracy”

So where does this leave us? Where does this leave my child?

We had no part in what happened. I don’t suffer from white guilt as it is called.

Yes, I agree that what happened was inhumane and wrong in every sense of the word.

Yes, I can see why the older people might still carry some resentment.

Yes, I know that we have a very long way to go to right all the wrongs and to live in a completely free and democratic country.

The quest for equality is one which leaves a huge responsibility on the shoulders of my generation. Whether you are black or white, you have the responsibility to teach your child that we are all one. Race, gender, religion – none of that matters. The mistakes of the past can never be made again.

Should I, too, then be living in fear to hear the news that Madiba has departed to the heavens? I refuse to do that.

The legacy of this great man needs to be carried forward into every tomorrow of South Africa.
I refuse to let the years Madiba spent on Robben Island be in vain. I refuse to be afraid because of the colour of my skin. I refuse to let Madiba’s vision for this beautiful country die.

Before I am white, I am South African! And that is something that I am prepared to die for.

The Moral Playground

Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?

My morals are something that I will fight for; tooth and nail, I will fight to the grave to protect what I stand for.  Morals, integrity and self-respect are, to me, something that goes hand in hand.  You can simply not have the one without the other.  Malcolm X said it best:

stand

Where do they come from?

I suppose morals come from everything that we experience in life.  Experiences, which we can either learn from or suffer under.  In life, I have chosen to observe and learn.

  • My faith taught me about grace, compassion and understanding.
  • My grandfather and grandmother taught me what I needed to know about love and marriage.  It is their image which will forever be the picture I hold dear of what a marriage should be like.
  • My mother taught me about always doing the right thing.  No matter were you are in life, no matter how bad things are going, you always do the right thing.
  • My father taught me about hard work and dedication (and never being late).
  • A very bad man once told me that I, like a typical woman, will never be good enough for anything other than sex – in that he taught me to treasure my body.  In defiance of him, I am proud to say that, at the age of 35, I have only had three boyfriends.

How do you deal with those who don’t share it?

Each to his own.  Although it breaks my heart to see how parents blatantly disregard the importance of teaching their kids moral values, it is not something that we can impose on someone.  No matter what, I can not force anyone to have better values.

My claws come out and my eyes shoot fire if you dare question my values though.  I can remember one or two people in the past who have tried to question my values.  They left in a hurry with tales between the legs.  I am of the opinion that, if your values are questionable in any way, you have no right whatsoever to cross-question me on mine.  Don’t get me wrong, I never get onto a moral high-horse and pretend to be better than anyone.  I only stand firm for what I believe in.  If it does not suit you or your lifestyle, well then we are simply not meant to spend any time together.

What others had to say:

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