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Showing posts from January, 2015

A tribute to our Family Connector, Geraldine.

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Our life's journey is indeed a series of seasons. People enter our lives, walk part of our journey with us and then follow their own course. Like Geraldine, my sister-in-law who passed on yesterday. Thankfully, we can still draw strength from the legacy she has left us and pay our tributes to her.

Our ladies weekend getaway at Calais Wine Estate Self-catering cottage in Paarl

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Paarl has many secret gems and the Calais Wine Estate, the oldest wine farm in Paarl is one of them. We spent the last weekend of the school holidays at one of the Kleinvallei self-catering cottages. Kleinvallei used to be a boutique wine farm that was privately owned. Now this farm is part of the Calais Wine Estate.

Friday Chillbuzz
The hosts, farm manager, Vladimir and his wife, Helena, were warm and friendly. The welcoming tone was already set by Maritza, the Office manager who took care of our booking and received us with a broad smile the Friday afternoon when Sasha and I arrived.
We settled in and then took a walk on the upper slopes where we saw rolling vineyards of black grapes, a dam hidden by tall pine trees and two houses perched on the upper banks of the dam. That was a pleasing visual treat.
Later the afternoon, Vladimir had tried to tune the television channels. Interestingly, only channel that had a good signal, was a Russian channel. After many failed attempts to improve o…

Take your family to experience the Maynardville Open-air theatre.

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If you want a different outdoor theatre experience for the family, book tickets for Othello, a Shakesperean play that is on at The Maynardville open-air theatre. Othello is one of Shakespeare's tragedies. Othello, a black "Moor" general in the Venetian army and Desdemona, a white, Upper class woman, fall in love and get married against her father and society's wishes. The play is meaty. There is the tragic love story of Othello, who consumed by obsessive jealousy, falls prey to the scheming Iago and eventually murders innocent Desdemona. The play also deals with issues of racism, sexism and cultural discrimination, issues that we experience and understand only too well.The production of Othello at Maynardville sticks to the traditional theatrical format and may appeal more to Grade 12 students who study Othello as a setwork rather than to the general public. The Daily Maverick article raises interesting insights into the debate about theatre's reluctance to inte…

The Million Plastic Bottle Project of Operation Smile, Cape Town.

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If you see a well-dressed, cropped-haired woman walking from Retreat railway station, bending and pausing every few meters, don't despair. She is not doing a new form of exercise nor is she suffering from backache. This woman, Naomi, is busy collecting plastic bottles that people have discarded along the road. There is not a single plastic bottle that misses her eye. By the time Naomi arrives at her home, she usually has a bag load of plastic bottles that will be rinsed and flattened. The Million Plastic Bottle ProjectNaomi is raising funds for Operation Smile, the Not-for-Profit organisation. Operation Smile South Africa provides free surgery to children who suffer from facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate. One operation costs about R5,000, a hefty sum of money that many of the parents of such children cannot afford. Recycling One Million Plastic Bottles can pay for one surgical operation and that is where Naomi fits in.
Naomi's fundraising project is called …

There is no mid-life crisis.

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Whoa... What is this nonsense that you are in a mid-life crisis when you hit 50?A crisis means there is a BIG PROBLEM. Like ESKOM's power cuts or the petrol price increases. Okay, there are 50-plus irritations like hot flushes, creaking bones and just enough energy to watch others do marathons and zip-gliding. But there is STILL no catastrophe, guys. How can there be a crisis when you reach the mid point in your life? When we are born, we come kicking and screaming into this world, ready to give anybody a karate chop. As we age, we give constipated smiles and complain. Then we say we have 'arrived'. I know where all this delusionary stuff comes from. Some lonely,Puritan sicko sat in his dark room, with his head bowed over a bowl of castor oil- infused steam and declared a mid-life crisis for his Ph.D.Mid-life birth days means You are having a revival.So don your 5cm hat, put on your dancing shoes and sing with James Brown: 'Wo! I feel good, I knew that I wouldn'…

Tik infiltrates all families

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My heart bleeds for those young people who are drowning in the Tik hole.Our family has its fair share of Tik victims. One of the couples visited us two days ago. They had just walked from Victoria State Hospital to our place. The beautiful young woman - mother of two awesome children- was taken to the hospital because she was acting 'crazy'. Apparently the doctor just told her to get help and discharged her.While we sat at the kitchen table, I felt powerless. I didn't want to preach. I shot off a silent prayer, asking for guidance to talk without sounding hollow. I asked the young woman whether she wanted to come off the drugs. She gave a suppressed laugh and her eyes darted around. I joined in, telling her to laugh if she wanted to. I know that uncontrolled giggling is a sign of Tik highs and lows."I dunno if I want to come off Tik. I feel my brain is going. Everybody hates me and think I am bad. I think too much when I am off it, "she said. She cannot make dir…

We are hanging up our school shoes today.

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Just the other day, almost nineteen years ago, I discovered we were going to have another baby. I don't want to bore you with all the details, but Sasha was a complete surprise to us. At the time, my dad who was still here with us, was more excited than I was. He reminded an emotional me of the blessings and privilege it was to be a parent. I swear that when I was in labour (forever again), he was sitting on the armchair, keeping watch over his second granddaughter. Today I was all soppy again. Time flies too fast. Sasha has suddenly grown into this beautiful, young woman. While we were chatting one day, she said:" I explained to my friends that I have to take small steps so that you can get used to the fact that I am no longer twelve years old. I will go out to clubs, then take a break to allow you guys to recover, then go out again. I want to help you deal with the shock of having an eighteen year old around."We laughed because she hit the nail on the head. We had t…

We wore our hairstyles and our school uniforms proudly during the 1970s.

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I was a high schooler during the 70's, the era of freedom for the individual. It was "out with the plastic, in with the natural" . Freedom of expression was captured in our various hairstyles and dress, if nowhere else. The picture tells it all.The hairstyles Many of the guys in the front row looked like Motown musicians. The bigger the Afro, the higher the attraction factor. The Afro Afro comb or pick was often stuck in the hair like an accessory. There were guys who went for the long, sleek hair even though the gene pool delivered a thick, dry, frizz mop. That's when the swirlkous came in handy. The swirlkous was the recycled hair wrapper made from stocking legs that sprung a ladder. This Eco-friendly device tamed the frizz.Hair styling products
Then there was the Brylcreem, a hairstyle cream for smooth, sexy-smelling hair. I plonked my hair with dollops of Blue Seal Vaseline if the Brylcreem ran out. My rebellious hair has outlived all threats of baldness an…

Our first rainbow moon for 2015

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My son, Christo, phoned this evening at 9:37 pm to tell me about the rainbow moon in our skies. "It's insane, Mom," he said. I grabbed my camera and went outside. The moon was indeed spectacular. There was the moon halo with its moon pillars.
The moon halo The moon halo is formed when the ice crystals in the surrounding cirrus clouds bend the moonlight. You can't see the cirrus clouds because they are very high - on average at an altitude of 6,000 meters. These wispy clouds, often the forerunner of rainy weather, contain hexagonal ice crystals. The radius of a moon halo is about 22 degrees. The various colours are formed because of the angle at which the light is refracted. The moon pillars The moon had thin horizontal and vertical pillars extending from the centre. These pillars are formed because the light is reflected rather than being bent. What you see depends on the angle that the light reaches your eyes. Therefore, each one of us may have seen different perspec…

German tourists see South Africa from the comfort of their Motorhome.

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On New Year's Day, we met Monica and Wolgang, two German tourists, at Kleinmond Camping resort. The two were dog-sitting for friends. Wolgang and Monica flew from Germany to Durban where they met their younger friends who were touring Africa in their motor camper. " Our friends travelled from Egypt down to Durban. When they arrived in South Africa, they wanted to spend time with family here, " said Monica. "They handed over their van and the dog to us and they will meet us in Cape Town. We will fly back to Germany while they travel inland via Zimbabwe and Botswana en route to Egypt again."Wolgang and Monica would stop at any town or city and camp at available dog-friendly campsites. Monica shared interesting stories about towns they stopped at along the Garden route on their way to Cape Town. Ironically, many of the places Monica mentioned were foreign to us. Here we had a German tell us about the beauty of our own country! I want to explore our country and ex…