Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What part of the plants do we eat?


What part of the plants do we eat?
27 November 2013

The problem with schooling, is that it caters for a percentage of kids only.  And it’s to be expected, that not everyone will fit this traditional scholastic mould.  It’s impossible. 

And who can blame the system?  It certainly works for the majority.  And we all went through it right?

Still, if ever I needed proof, that not all kids are the same, and think along the same lines, I got sent Cole.

My unusual boy, who sees the world slightly differently to the rest of us.  He’s not afraid to go left, when everyone else is going right.  And he quite often rushes in, where angels fear to tread.

Perhaps a part of his charm, is his wonderful honesty.  His ability to sum a situation up clearly, with a few succinct words.  How he is able to get to the crux of a matter, with the bare minimum of fuss.  His perceptive skills.  In addition, his humour is a joyful delight to behold.  He is the master of the witty comeback.  And his brain operates at a speed I can only marvel at.

Though at the same time, it’s not really tapped into school work per se.  And who can blame him?  It’s boring and tedious and you have to sit still for a really, really, really long time.  Every single day.  Breaks are too short.  Homework takes too long.  Still, he’s doing rather well at school.  I just don’t think he gets the point and sees the purpose of it all.

Thankfully, the academic year is drawing to a close.  And so too, the seemingly never ending round of assessments, tests, orals and continual evaluations.  My gratitude knows no bounds.  I was reaching the very end of my looooong fuse, in terms of drilling bonds, phonics, klanke, etc. into him.  I was quite literally going to crack and spontaneously combust.  It would not have been pretty.

And then yesterday, I got a little gift.  Cole’s portfolio, containing all of his assessments came home.  And as is normally the case, I so enjoyed going through it all.  Depending on his results in his various tests, my heart either swelled with pride, or I had a mini collapse.  See-sawing between delight and the occasional despair.  I also can’t see the pattern to his results.  Some days, he’s switched on.  Other’s he’s not.  And the evidence is always there in the handwriting.  If the handwriting is bad, chances are he’s rushing through his work, and the end result will not be all that stellar too.  One those days, I think that while he’s doing his work, he’s thinking about running outside with our dogs once he’s home.  Or racing a friend across the field to the car.  Or spending that little bit of time, before Amber finishes school, playing cricket with his mates.  And on those days – school work’s not all that important to him.  There’s an exciting life to be lived, and sitting behind a desk, is clearly not the way to do it.

But, back to assessments.  And of all of his assessments, none tickled me more, than one particular test for Life Skills.  Now Life Skills is a funny subject.  Most of it is general knowledge.  But depending on the subject matter, there is still some studying involved.  For this past term, the focus was on natural disasters and food products.  Mostly they zoned in on sugar cane – how long it takes to grow, where it grows, the products you get from it, etc.  Also the logical steps involved in the brick making process?????  You know – handy kind of stuff a nine year old needs to know.  If he’s building his own home, with bricks he’s made himself.  In between harvesting his sugar cane fields, and avoiding natural disasters likes floods, fires and the odd Tsunami.  Which explains why I would avoid the whole Kwazulu Natal area with its sugar cane fields…

And then, just for fun, they threw in a set of questions, we had not studied for.  They listed a few plants and the question was asked:  What part of the following plants do we eat?  Now I think the answers they were shooting for was:  roots, stem, leaves, fruit, seeds, etc.  But clearly, Cole disagreed.  In addition, I get the impression, that he thinks his teachers are a bit s-l-o-o-o-w, asking him silly questions.  And hence he gave them very logical answers.  Albeit that I do think he thinks his ”idiot” teacher knows nothing.

Carrots – orange part
Sunflowers – inside
Asparagus – outside
Tomatoes – inside and outside
Lettuce – whole thing

Yip, he got zero.  It’s a crime.  Because I think his answers are actually rather clever.  They’re spot on.  He stuck to the parameters of the question he was asked, and so technically at least, his answers are right.  He most certainly explained which part of the plants could be consumed.  You simply can’t argue with his logic.

I bet it brought a smile to his teacher’s lips.  And I’m so grateful that he had the most amazing teacher this year, who understood him and delighted in him too.

He’s most certainly unique.  And to quote him and the end phrase he uses on any written work he does…

The one and only Cole

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

I don't dance, I balter


I don't dance, I balter
26 November 2013

BALTER – to dance or tread clumsily

Oh I get it.  It’s kind of when you’re balsy enough to think you can dance, but you actually falter.  It makes perfect sense.

And truthfully, I’m quite good at the art of baltering.  I don’t always look like an idiot.  But I’m well aware of the fact that I don’t look really all that cool either.  At least when I’m dancing. 

However, everyday life is a different matter.  I’m quite capable of stumbling for no apparent reason.  I don’t even need an object in the way.  It can just happen randomly.  And so, depending on the shop I’m in, I tend to walk up to the counter and hand my handbag over.  Well aware, that I’m quite liable to knock something over with it, otherwise.  In fact a while ago, Amber and I went to Mr Price Home.  A big retail shop, specialising in home ware products.  Yes, some of its dainty.  But lots of it is not.  My poor Amber was a nervous wreck.  Every so often, she’d pipe up – “Mommy – step away from the glasses”.  Or “Careful!  You just missed that!”.  I do believe that it was an unpleasant experience for her. 

Though we do tend to laugh a lot too, as something always gets knocked down.  By me.  Or something gets dropped.  By me.  And in situations like these, I always revert to my fall-back position.  I point my finger at her, look around me, and say in a loud voice, “She did it!”.  Apparently, I’m not very funny.  Though I do beg to differ.  Personally, I find it very funny.

But it would appear, as if I’m not the only baltering idiot out there.  There are many of us.  We rome amongst you.  And stealth is not our mode of movement.  Chances are, you’ll hear us, long before you see us.  Or we’ll simply bump into you.

Flight footed, we’re not.  Twinkle toes, neither.

And as luck would have it, I happened to STUMBLE upon some awesome YouTube clips of fellow balterers.  None more special than this one - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrwU1_fIlNg.  It’s a beauty.  Absolutely hysterically funny.

Firstly, there’s the naff music.  Spine chillingly awful.  Then there’s the horrendous outfit, making him look like a male stripper gone wrong.  Oodles of chest hairs on display.  Big on the bling.  Added to that, there’s the whole wing arm bits, collar around the neck, and excessive and gratuitous use of sequence and glitter.  You simply HAVE to see it.

But if you haven’t – picture this…  Visualise the corniest male dancing outfit.  In the world.  No, cornier than that.  Dig deep.  Keep digging.  Just a little bit more.  Well, whatever you’re imagining now, it’s even worse.  The dancing itself isn’t all that bad.  Probably standard early 80-ish stuff.  However, there came a point when “Fred Astaire” simply got a bit ahead of himself.  He kicked his one leg up really high, and he must have  pulled a hamstring.  Yet, the video makes it look like he kicked himself in the face.  Which he might actually have done.  It certainly looks like he connected his leg with his face.  And he’s pretty much concussed thereafter.  Truly dazed and confused.  Barely able to stand on his own.  Very, very funny! 

But back to my own baltering.  Lack of rhythm and dancing skill aside, I’ve always enjoyed dancing.  Immensely.  Most particularly, when I don’t have to look at myself doing it.  Cause then I’m actually pretty good.

However, when I do catch the odd unfortunate glimpse?  The term blithering, baltering buffoon comes to mind.

Perhaps my saving grace, is the fact that it’s just as well, I’m not supple.  As I’d be sure to kick myself in the face too.

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Monday, 25 November 2013

My kids speak 5 languages


 
 My kids speak 5 languages
25 November 2013

My multi-lingual kids have mastered yet another language.

Man, but I have got the most talented kids on the planet!  And it seems as if I’ve successfully identified, their exact area of expertise.  Their strong points.  That one direction, they’re naturally inclined to succeed in.

The none-too-easy-field of linguistics.
 
Be still my beating heart!

Cause here’s the thing – I had kind of been hopeful, that they would at some or other point, master at least one language.  Their mother tongue (even though their mother is actually Afrikaans), of English.  It was the language I spent the most amount of time, ploughing into their brains.  It is the primary language in our home.  The language their father and I speak to each other, and most of the family too.  And so perhaps therefore, a certain level of skill is to be expected.

However, given the fact that we live in sunny South Africa, that Afrikaans is a part of the landscape for children in this country, and the happy coincidence, that their mother is Afrikaans, they have certainly had a fair amount of Afrikaans ploughing too.  And thus, they are able to gooi the taal.  At least ‘n bietjie.  And though the three of them have various levels of proficiency, in terms of speaking it, I think it is fair to say, that they most certainly understand the basics.

The downside, of this, is that as their Afrikaans skill has increased, so too has my ability to speak about them, in front of them, in a language they no longer understand.  You know exactly what I mean right?  I think we all do it.  That “secret” code you dip into.  Most especially between parents.  When you discuss your kids openly, and they quite simply don’t have a clue.

But all was not lost – in terms of “The Code”.  Once we realised, that they were able to understand our lingo, we resorted to spelling out words.  We often spoke about the S-W-E-E-T-S.  Or the S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E.  Though great was our surprise, the first time one of them “cracked” the code.

And so I thought, my kids’ language development was done.  They spoke and understood English.  They kinda grasped Afrikaans.  And the older they got, the better they got at figuring out S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G-speak.  Clearly, it was done.  Right?  Well, unless they decided to take up a third language.  Like French, Mandarin, Spanish, Xhosa, etc.

Little did I know – they would still be able to grasp another two complete languages.  I told you they were talented!  They most certainly take after me…

Firstly, they’ve successfully, internalised, BODY LANGUAGE.  I have noticed that though they started with body language training, in their formative years, their real skill in this form of communication, is best witnessed in their teenage and pre-teen years.  Who would have thought, that a simple rolling eyeball would so aptly depict disdain.  Also disbelief.  And as for the shrugged shoulders and “world-got-me-down” shoulder-slouch?  True masters of their craft.  Such dedication to expression.  Actually a “joy” to behold.

And secondly, TEXT TALK.  Now I’m all for moving with the times.  Of staying abreast of current trends.  Yet, this area of linguistics, shows true talent.  Because what this means, is that my children have completely taken on the concept of abbreviations and acronyms.  And they tend to use these in everyday life. 

Or perhaps, they have just learnt from the pro’s?  Cause what is TEXT TALK, if not a variation of the way my husband and I used to spell things out?  So maybe they are trying to emulate us?  And imitation is the highest form of flattery.  Or so I’ve been told.  In Afrikaans and English.

However, it does give me pause for thought sometimes, when I hear them talk to one another.  Most particularly, when they’re arguing.  Then it’s all, FYI (For Your Information), TMI (Too Much Information), WTH (What The Heck), TMT (Too Much Talking), etc.

Though just the other day, I did have a really good giggle. 

Most of their TEXT TALK is pretty easy to decipher.  To understand the meaning and the reasoning behind the TEXT TALK even.

Still, hearing Amber and Cole having a verbal altercation (about who knows what), and Cole saying to Amber, “DILLIC”, had both Amber and I puzzled. 

Well, having to pause conflict, so that Amber could ask Cole, exactly what DILLIC was, most certainly helped to deflate frictions and managed to cease verbal fire.  At least for a while.

And the answer?  What precisely does, DILLIC, stand for?

Well, duh!  Surely it’s obvious!

DO I LOOK LIKE I CARE.

Gotta love it!  In a warped kind of way, at least.

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Saturday, 23 November 2013

I got picked up at McDonald's once


I got picked up at McDonald's once
23 November 2013

I’ve heard a few pick-up lines in my time.  Most chicks have.

Though, usually, I am pretty much always with my husband.  At least when out and about at social gathering type places.  Where single people might bump into one another and the need for a pick-up line could be great.  Like a restaurant, pub, evening function, etc. 

Cause apart from those occasions, though alone, I’m usually doing mundane things.  Like the shopping, carting of kids to extra-murals and everyday things like that.  Hardly the setting for romance.  As you can imagine.

Still, during my early twenties, I worked at a pub.  And from the safety of my spot behind the bar counter, I heard a few clangers.  People generously preserved in alcohol, are often given to declarations of love.  And lust.  Not always necessarily in that order.

And I was witness to lots of attempted bar room romance.  Some successful.  Some not so much. 

But then again, this is often the case with alcohol.  For those that have indulged, it gives a wondrous illusion of their own desirability.  And the more alcohol soaked they are, the more self-confident they are too.  Supremely assured of their charm.  In addition, they believe they are terribly light footed and possess amazing dancing abilities too.

Though, from the sober outsider’s point of view, the slurring and stumbling can prove to be challenging.  Even hilarious.

And I think most would agree, that evening entertainment spots, would probably be the most obvious place where one would be subjected to a pick-up line.

Yet, every so often one gets a surprise.

As was the case with me a few years ago.  I quickly popped past McDonald's one Saturday lunch time, to get some take-aways for my family.  And on this occasion, I hopped into my husband’s bakkie and off I went.  I decided on doing the drive-through, as it is just so convenient.  But somehow or other, on this particular day, the drive-through was rather busy.  And hence, I spent quite a few minutes, in the queue.  I noticed two young guys in the car ahead of me, looking back towards me every so often.  Mostly in their rear view mirror.  Clearly they were bored, having a slow day and were trying to kill a few minutes at the same time.

The first time, I smiled, as one does, when a stranger smiles at you.  It’s a friendly thing to do.  Like reciprocating to a wave.  And randomly smiling at strangers, gives me faith in the general friendliness of people.  It also reaffirms my belief that people enjoy being friendly.  That it makes them feel good.

However, by the second, long glance and smile, I felt uncomfortable.  If a bit flattered.  And avoided eye contact thereafter.  I looked left.  I looked right.  I looked on my lap.  I scratched in my bag a bit.  Hoping the queue would move quickly and that they would move off.

Finally, I got to the window to order my food, and the friendly McDonald's staff member, gave me a giggle and a smile, and then presented me with a business card of the guys in front.  It contained the obvious details, like the name of one of them, a contact number, as well as a hand written scrawl, saying, “Call us”.

I made the foolish mistake of glancing up.  And for my efforts, I got furious waves from the two of them.  Thumbs up signs and general goofiness.  I swear they were like friggin kids.  Cause they were.

Luckily, by this stage, they had to pay for their meal and they drove off.  Which left me to think.

Had I been driving my car, filled to the brim, with a baby car seat, booster seat, Barney window sun protector and general kids paraphernalia, including all three of my kids, I could have avoided this all together. 

Though possibly not.  Now, I’m not saying I’m a fox or anything.  Cause I’m pretty comfortable with the fact that I know that I’m not.  I’m hardly a catch.  Even without my kids.  I’m just me.  Average and that’s okay.

Still a while ago, I went to a gig with Grant.  As in I was with my man.  And it was a gig where my brother, brother-in-law and stepdad played together.  And given the family connection, the venue was flooded with family members.  My mom, sister, my eldest son, aunt, two uncles, various cousins, stepsister, etc. were all there.  Even my grandparents were at the theatre, where the gig was hosted.  We nearly took over the place.

And towards the end of the evening, as the venue was clearing out, a guy came over the me and said, “Where have you been all of my life?”

Now I admire his guts, cause it probably can’t be an easy thing to do.  And it surely takes a fair amount of guts to approach someone.  But clearly this guy was blind.  I was very obviously with someone.  Or perhaps he was just stupid.

Which explains why my answer to his question, said with a kind smile, was,

“With my husband”.

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Friday, 22 November 2013

Teenagers - they're a laugh a minute

 
 
Teenagers - they're a laugh a minute
22 November 2013

No not really.  For a lot of the time, they annoy the living daylights out of you.

They’re selfish.  Self-absorbed.  Singular in their determination to get exactly what they want.  They’re lazy.  Unfocused.  Sloth-like in fact.  Not goal orientated.  Free-loading.  And they’re surrounded by a general air of self-entitlement.  The world in general, and their parents in particular, owe them.  Big time.

See, I told you!  They’re a laugh a minute.

The focus of all that they do, is geared towards themselves and how they can better from it.  What they can gain.  What they can get. 

And I think their philosophy (if they were diligent enough to sit down and formulate one) is this – Minimum Input = Maximum Output.  How to put in the smallest amount of effort, to get the greatest reward.  In fact, if they can get by with putting in no effort at all, it’s even better.  Especially if their end reward is still great.  Even good will do.

As if the world worked like this.  If only.

But perhaps this is not true for most teenagers?  However, having spoken to many of my friends, it certainly rings true for a lot of them.  In fact, the majority of them.

Personally, my own specimen “delighted” me once more, just the other day.  With a “captivating” and “fascinating”, if ever so slightly ridiculous notion.  It’s absolutely amazing what they come up with.

He was bemoaning the fact that he didn’t have the latest craze PlayStation game, “Grand Theft Auto V”.  Yes, a charming little game.  I know all about it.  So “wholesome and educational”.  He was whinging about how he needs it so badly.  And the way he was carrying on, you’d swear it was oxygen.  Yes, yes – they’re truly hysterical.

Life would not be worth living if he didn’t own this game.  Were there any chores he could do around the house?  Yes, there were many.  But those are expected from him, and he should be doing those chores for free.  Not charging me.  A laugh a minute, I tell you.

Anyway, eventually the penny finally dropped, that I wasn’t going to rush off and just randomly buy him this game for no apparent rhyme or reason.  And truthfully, I think he thinks I’m being rather mean.

After all, why won’t I spend R800 on a game for him???  Hysterical, I tell you!

And then he presented me with the clincher.  The piece de resistance.  His final plea…

“Can’t you please just buy me the game as a kind of well-done-because-the-exams-are-finished-next-week?”

And pigs can fly.  Ducks and ostriches too, for that matter.

They’re bloody entertaining, if nothing else.
 



Tuesday, 19 November 2013

I open my mouth and a mom jumps out


 
I open my mouth and a mom jumps out
19 November 2013

Every so often, I open my mouth, and much to my horror a mom jumps out.

I swear!  It’s most bizarre.  I’m not quite sure where she comes from.

And at times, I’m tempted to swivel my head around, to see exactly who really spoke.

Only to find, to my surprise, that I’m the only adult.  Which more than likely, means it was me.  Unless there’s a really sneaky, invisible, ventriloquist, who hangs around me quite a lot.  And an opinionated mom-one at that.

I’m not quite sure precisely when it happened.  And if it was all just overnight?  Perhaps it crept up on me, and thus I barely noticed.  Sort of bit by bit, it lulled me into a false sense of security, that I’m still young, unencumbered, cool and hip.

Which, according to my kids, I’m SO not!

Personally, I’m thinking maybe it happened gradually.  And that as my kids have gotten older, so my mom-talk has too.  It’s had to adapt and grow with them.  No longer do I make cutesie baby talk, and praise them for using their own spoon to feed themselves.

The goal posts have most definitely shifted.  And both the kids and I, have had to move with the changing times.

Still, whereas the meta-mom-phosis for most of us mothers, is gradual, and possibly starts at the onset of pregnancy.  Maybe even earlier, with the planning of a pregnancy phase.  For some it really happens overnight.  Sometimes even during the day.  I will never forget, my twenty one year old sister, and her brand new, if slightly older boyfriend, and his kids, joining us for a family weekend away.  Up to that age, Katrine, had been my much loved younger sister.  The baby of the family.  And perhaps in my eyes, she was still the little four year old, who tagged behind eleven year old me, all of the time.  Or rather, the annoying eleven year old, who tagged behind the “cool” eighteen year old me.

Also up to this stage, Luke, at age two, had been the only grandchild in the family.  And I was the first of the next generation of moms.  And was very hard at work playing proud-Mommy-good-Mommy all of the time.  We were all just hanging out together, relaxing and having some fun, when the next minute my twenty one year old sister opened her mouth, and I swear a mom popped out!  She said, “Alex, my sweetie, it’s getting a bit cold.  I think you should put a sweater on.”.

I do believe, I incurred a nasty bout of whiplash.  I could not have been more surprised than if my sister had sprouted a set of horns and a trunk.  Because just like that, she not only became a mom, she became an adult.  And I have never forgotten that.  At the same age, I was not in the child zone at all, and I was amazed by her maturity.  And still it did not stop there.  For the remainder of the weekend, she cut up food into bite sized chunks, whisked kids through the bath and helped put them to bed.  Rather eye opening, I tell you. 

A few years later, those lucky kidlets, became her bonus children.  And how funny it is for me, to get teenage parenting advice from my baby sister, who is now currently busy rearing her third teen.  And all I can say, is RESPECT!  I’ve just got the one, and I’m barely coping.  And somehow she’s made it all look rather easy.  She’s got a great relationship with the kids, and they all absolutely adore her.  Furthermore, they genuinely like her.  A very hard thing to achieve with a teenager.  As general dislike of adults, is usually the norm.

And she’s not a pushover.  She’s strict.  They do chores.  She makes them do homework, and study and help with their baby sister.  Still, they gravitate towards her.  It’s truly amazing.

And so, perhaps I should take a page from her book.

And get me some bonus children…

Occasionally, they even like you better than your own.

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Katrine with three out of the four Auld offspring


An Auld full house


The awesome Aulds


With just a ten year age gap between them, Katrine and the lovely Kati, have the most amazing and special bond


Three of the Auld gals - sadly Alex is missing in this pic. Me-thinks she's the photographer.


Fantastic family

 
Katrine and Cory


Many moons ago - Katrine was growing Honey at the time. Absolutely LOVE this pic!
 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Hiding in the bathroom, minus one shoe

 


 
Hiding in the bathroom, minus one shoe
18 November 2013

It can be said, that it is good to try and keep the spark alive in a marriage.  That one must invest time and effort into a long standing relationship.  And that keeping things fresh and new after twenty three years together, can be a challenge.

Yet, my Grantie and I seem to manage just fine.  Mostly, because I think we’re best friends and we like one another’s company.  We enjoy spending time together.  Hanging out together.  And when not in each other’s close proximity, we phone one another a few times a day, just to touch base and say, “Hi!  How’re you doing?”.

It’s actually pretty sweet.  And I do appreciate how exceptionally fortunate I am to have this relationship.

But yes, it does require a fair amount of work to maintain.  One has to be cautious and mindful of your partner.  Of their likes and dislikes.  Of ploughing into the bond you have created.  Of not slipping into complacency.

Not just emotionally, but physically too.  Cause let’s face it – our bodies have deteriorated rather a lot along the way.  Very little firmness, apart from the obvious, to be found.  And so one has to be inventive and keep things interesting.

And so let me tell you a story, about a friend of mine.

Every so often, she would surprise her husband, out of the blue, in the middle of the work day, for some light exercise of the carnal type.  Now she didn’t look upon this as stealing company time.  Her husband pretty much never took his allotted lunch hour.  And most days, he was in the office before 7h00.  And thus, she thought a “lunch break” was perfectly normal.  Acceptable even.  And nowhere in company policy did it prescribe exactly what you must do in your lunch break.  And to give her her due, she normally enquired beforehand as to whether his colleagues would be in the office.  As clearly, this was not a spectator sport.  And privacy was key.

Well, on this occasion, she thought she had covered all bases.  The scene was set.  Temperatures were soaring.  And romance was clearly in the air.  Until…..

They heard the telltale sound of a key in the lock.

Well, luckily her clever man, had left his key in the keyhole, preventing said colleague from entering.  Still there was no real time for dilly-dallying.

They both scrambled like lunatics.  The husband calling out, “Just give me a second!”.  She grabbed her clothes and dashed to the bathroom, right there, trying to be as quiet as a mouse.  The only problem being, that she had a ludicrous attack of the hysterical giggles.  She tried to gag myself with her shirt, to prevent any noise from escaping. 
 
Eventually, once her giggles were sort of under control, she quickly and semi-quietly got dressed.  All whilst being able to hear her man and his colleague having a lengthy discussion about work, right outside the bathroom door.  As in right outside!  The whole time, while she was getting dressed, she contemplated casually wafting out of the bathroom, pretending that nothing was amiss.  I mean, people do use the bathroom occasionally, and there would have been nothing off kilter with her doing just that.  Technically at least, she could have just randomly popped into the office to say “Hello!”.  No one would have thought anything of it.

But then she realised the flaw in her “casual-emergence” plan.  One sneaker was missing.  Gone.  Lost.  Nowhere to be found.  It was also at this point that she realised, her handbag was lying around, as well as her jewellery and cell phone.  Haphazardly thrown about.  From the outsider’s point of view, there obviously was a woman on the premises.  It was impossible for the colleague not to know.

Still she decided to go with avoidance and remained hiding in the loo.

She never quite discovered if her husband’s colleague had intended on staying at the office for longer or not.  But shortly after his appearance, he left again.  Rather unexpectedly, she thought.

She never quite got her giggles under control either.  And managed to bite her lip rather harshly in her efforts to keep quiet.

Once the coast was clear, she eventually emerged and surveyed the carnage she’d left in my wake.  In the middle of the floor, tipped to the side, was the offending sneaker.  Unmissable in fact.  She’s assuming the colleague had to step over the dainty small sized shoe.  Her handbag was strewn.  Jewellery and cell phone randomly flung on her husband’s desk.

Quite naturally, she and her husband dissolved into peals of nervous laughter.  Which continued for days afterwards.

The spell had been broken.  The mood no longer there.  Yet somehow, this bound them even closer.

The colleague never said a word, and she’s assuming he thought her man was having a flaming hot affair.

Which suited her just fine.  Seeing as she was the floozy in question.

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Sunday, 17 November 2013

The pregnant pause

 


The pregnant pause
17 November 2013

English is a strange language.  It really is.

There/their are/”R” so/sew many meanings for/four/fore certain words, even though they’re spelt exactly the same.  Others are spelt differently, but/butt they sound exactly the same.  It’s/its rather confusing at/@ times/thymes.  If you/ewe/hew/hue/Hugh/yew sea/see what I/eye mean.  The biggest problem normally comes in/Inn, when you/ewe/hew/hue/Hugh/yew have to/two/too write/right/rite these words down.  Then it can be/bee quite difficult to/two/too wrap/rap your head around them.  You/ewe/hew/hue/Hugh/yew know/no just/gist what I’m talking about, right/write/rite?  But/butt if you/ewe/hew/hue/Hugh have a flair/flare for/four/fore writing, then you/ewe/hew/hue/Hugh should be/bee safe.  Though if in doubt, just/gist use/ewes a dictionary to/two/too your aid/aide.  It will/Will give you/ewe/hew/hue/Hugh/yew great/grate insight/incite.  And piece/peace by/bye piece/peace, you’ll/Yule figure it out.  Perseverance is key/quay.  Patience/patients important.  So/sew don’t give up and groan/grown or/oar/ore moan.  Bare/bear with it.  Real/reel soon, you’ll/Yule get the hang of it.  Therefore/their four, you/ewe/hew/hue/Hugh need/knead to/two/too choose/chews carefully, what you/ewe/hew/hue/Hugh say and write/right/rite.  Rule of thumb is to/two/too go by/bye sight/site/cite.  Mistakes are mostly minor/miner.  And given due/do diligence, before long, you’ll/Yule be/bee writing an/Anne ode/owed of your own.

Yip, English sure is peculiar.

But perhaps, oddest of all, is her sayings.

Amongst others, “the pregnant pause”.

And I’ve never really properly identified one.  What does it look like?  What are its defining characteristics? 

Is it slightly fatter than a normal pause?  Perhaps more pear-shaped?  Does it have swollen feet?  Maybe some heartburn?  Battle with water retention?

But just maybe those questions, are not all that important after all.  Cause surely the real clincher is this:

What does it give birth to?  A full stop?  Maybe multiples, like the colon?  Which would obviously qualify as identical twins.  Perhaps the semi-colon?  Fraternal twins for sure.  A difficult child, like a question mark?  Or one suffering from ADHD – the exclamation mark?

Isn’t it funny, how we know exactly what the term “pregnant pause” means.  Yet if we’re quiet and listen to how it sounds, it’s really rather strange. 

Imagine trying to explain the term to a small child.  Or a foreigner.  How difficult it would be.

Yet at the same time, it is so wonderfully descriptive.  That extra length one gives, for ….. dramatic effect.  Kind of creating some antici…..pation.  If you catch my drift.

And we indulge in these so easily, because we understand them.  Our grasp of the spoken word, as learnt from our childhood, prepares us for all of these anomalies.  We barely think of them, so naturally do they come.

Yet I must confess, that strange though she might be, I’ve fallen in love with English for sure.  She’s lured me with her siren songs of evocative, beautiful words. 

And I’ve got a collection of my very favourite ones.  Perhaps one day, I’ll weave them into a blog, using them all.

Which could be a rather delectable problem to have.  How to string together words like incumbent, transcendental, scintillating, lugubrious, so that they all make sense/cents together.

I quite simply can’t wait/weight!

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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Dear Father Christmas - I think we've got to talk


Dear Father Christmas - I think we've got to talk
15 November 2013

                                                                                                 Santa Claus
                                                                                                 PO Box 25/12
                                                                                                 Lapland
                                                                                                 Arctic Circle
                                                                                                 Close to the North Pole
                                                                                                 SANTA 1

Dear Father Christmas

I think we’ve got to talk.

Now I don’t mean to be picky, and I’m sure you’re a really busy guy, but you’ve got some serious commitment issues Mister. 

The brief is pretty simple.  Even I can understand it.  All you have to do, is pay a personal visit to every single child in the world on the 25th of December. 

I mean seriously?  How hard can it be?

Actually, to be truthful, if they go to bed early enough, you can even start doing your deliveries during the late hours of the 24th.  Because the thing is this – when they open their eyes on the 25th, you better have been already.  Tardiness in this matter is unacceptable.  You can not afford to be late.  And a no-show is imminently worse.

In addition, to simplify your task, the earth was kindly made round.  And so, what this means in practice, is that while some kids are already waking up on Christmas morning, on the 25th of December, other kids are still blissfully sleeping.  Suspended in dream land by your colleague Wee Willie Winky.  This allows you some extra time, to do the rest of your dispatching and deliveries.  Ensuring everyone wakes up on the morning of the 25th, firm in the belief that you visited them too.

I’m pretty convinced that Grandfather and Grandmother Christmas taught you better. 

Talk about being slack!!!

Now I’ve been a mother for fifteen years already, and NOT ONCE HAVE YOU ACTUALLY PITCHED!  Ridiculous, I tell you!

But do I out you to my kids?  No!  Cause that would Crush.  Their .  Fragile.  Little.  Hearts.

And we can’t have that now, can we?  So, I cover for you.

In an attempt to lure you, we’ve left snack and drinks.  Even the odd beer on occasion, just in case you’re a lager or ale man.  And just to show you exactly how very thoughtful I’ve been, I’ve even encouraged my kids to leave carrots for your lazy lout reindeer.  Not that they, or you, have ever bothered to make a turn.

Now let me just tell you, you don’t want a whole bunch of bad press, about this.  And if I wanted to, I could make a real stink.  Is this really the route you want to follow?

Personally I feel that I am protected by the consumer protection act.  And I’ve been led to believe that you will deliver.  On time.  When needed.  With the gift goods.

And why should I not believe this?  I’ve read the books.  I’ve seen all of the Christmas movies.  You even stoop so low as to advertise on TV and print media.  Promising that you will do your thing for Christmas.  For institutions like Checkers!  And Pick ‘n Pay!  And don’t even get me started on those lengthy ones for Game.

False advertising I tell you!  And I know nothing, if I don’t know my rights. 

You’ve created a fake expectation.  One you don’t deliver upon.

How could you!  Cheating on little kids!

Look, perhaps on the odd occasion, you've had another gig.  And that I can get.  Maybe with the whole beard thing, you’ve stood in for one of the guys from ZZ Top.  Possibly even for my stepdad, when he’s had a double function, as his beard is rather impressive too.  I'm sure you're a busy guy.

But a complete no-show?  Fifteen years in a row?

Come off it!

Maybe you’re battling with distribution.  And I can grasp that it must be rather challenging, given ther vast area you have to cover.  Or maybe those supposed-hardworking-little-elves are not all that hard working after all.  Who knows – perhaps the problem is rather logistics and dispatching.

So, here’s my suggestion.  Outsource things.  Think big.  Companies like DHL, FEDEX, UPS, RAM and the likes will more than likely be able to help.  It’s kind of their thing.  They’re courier companies.  It stands to reason.  And if those short little elves, are not pulling their weight, then fire them!  Economic times are tough.  Unemployment is rife.  You’re sure to find replacements pretty easily.  The job market is flush with people just looking to be gainfully employed.  Maybe even hire some taller assistants this time.  I think it might have the added bonus of being an asset and helping with stocktaking in your warehouse.  Never mind that – storing your stock, as they could reach the really high shelves, to pack stuff.  And with regards to logistics and dispatching – you have to think these things through.  Plan in advance.  Make contingency plans.  Have you got a good software programme?  It could really help you to streamline things and make it all run smoothly.  Furthermore, I hope you’re starting present production way in advance.  One can’t leave these little things to chance.  And cut things too fine.  Personally I think that nice though hand made gifts are, there’s nothing amiss with you doing a bit of shopping for your gifts.  Just consult those advertisements you’re always so eager to do.  Why Game offers lovely specials at Christmas.  Checkers, Pick ‘n Pay and even Clicks too.

But basically, here’s the deal – I’m tired of you not pitching and having to single handedly eat and drink the treats we’ve left for you.  And those blasted carrots too.  I’ve even had to go to the mortifying lengths of writing my children letters on your behalf. 

And as for having to buy presents.  Out of my own pockets.  With my hard earned dosh.  And then letting you take the credit for it?

Well, that little ship has sailed.  The buck stop here.  Cheap skate!

Let’s make a deal.  How about I leave you some sherry too.  Possibly some chocolates.  Maybe even a little envelope with some bribery cash to entice you. 

So this year – please step it up a notch, will ya!  And tell those reindeers, they better not poop in my garden. 

Yours kindly,

Helene Cloete
aka - Annoyed Mom
aka - Your stand-in

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