Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I have commented many times before about the fact that I am not a political thinker. I never have the audacity to express any kind of political opinion. In spite of these admissions, I find it impossible not to comment on the lunacy that is going on in the Middle East. I have very close relatives in Israel as well as near and dear friends, so it is impossible to ignore it. I don’t understand the lunacy and I just pray that sanity will be restored – it freaks me out completely.
I really didn’t know what to write about today. I struggled to come up with one theme. Therefore, I have decided to post under a heading I use from time-to-time. Here’s my mixed bag.

Madiba turned 88 today. There is an event held here every year called the Scarsdale Braai. I have been to two of them. It is held on the banks of the Hudson River in upstate New York. The setting is gorgeous and South Africans from near and quite far attend. The event was started by a boykie 14 years ago who hosted a braai/bbq in his back garden. Next month will be the 14th year. The first year we went we were fortunate enough to enjoy the live sounds of Sharon Katz and the Peace Train. If you are in the area, it's worth attending.

Taken last year en route from New Jersey to New York when we went to the popular South African restaurant, Madiba.


The birthday party we had for my mom and Ross on Saturday turned out amazingly. There were lots of dietary restrictions pertaining to food allergies so we had to pay close attention to the menu. Once again, Daniel rose to the occasion and prepared nothing short of a feast. Everyone’s needs were catered to. To ensure the meal was safe for everyone to eat, I decided to make labels for each item on the table. It worked really well and I strongly recommend this for your next party. Everyone was so appreciative of this small gesture but as I too am on a strict food allergy/intolerance diet, I know how nice it is to not have to abstain from something that looks really yummy just because you can’t be certain of the ingredients. A couple of days before the party, I decided I wanted to give everyone party bags. This is a custom I learnt only after arriving in the USA. When I attended a birthday party, I was used to giving the birthday person a gift, and that was it. Here however, all kids have to go home with a goodie bag. I have done it for five years at all of Ross’ birthday parties. In spite of the fact that there were only two kids at this party and 11 adults, I thought the bags would be a nice touch … and they were! I hung one on each person's chair. It was a really fun way to end the meal with everyone opening their goodie bags around the table.

I love these words of inspiration so I copied it and put one in each party bag. If you click on the pic to enlarge it, you can then print one off for yourself.

While in Toronto recently, at the pool in the complex where my in-laws live, I found it impossible not to extend my zoom lens as far as it could go, if not further, to capture some pics of this bathing beauty. I am not sure if she is going for some kind of world record, but take a close look at the length of her finger and toe nails.

Two of my favorite shows are back on TV - Hell's Kitchen and Project Runway. I successfully predicted the winner of another chef’s competition that was recently aired on a different network to HK. I don’t know if the best of the best all auditioned for Top Chef, but my golly – HK is really scraping the bottom of the barrel this time around. I will make no prediction as to who is likely to win as based on the show so far, I don’t see any of these contestants being worthy of a million dollar restaurant at a resort in Vegas. It is too early to comment on a possible winner for Project Runway, but I would certainly suggest that contestant Keith should find himself a Jude Law look-alike competition to enter. I am pretty confident he would win it.

At around 1.15 this morning, we heard a whole commotion going on outside on the back deck. On investigating, we discovered that Rocky Raccoon, checked on to our deck, only to freak out our doggy. (sung to that tune!) Fortunately Pingy sleeps tucked up under our duvet or in this super plush new bed we bought her on the weekend, so she came to no harm. The raccoon totally creeped me out. I have never been this close to one who was stationary, in fact, he turned to face us when Daniel knocked on the sliding door and all but posed for the pic. I took one long look at him and started to itch. I broke out in a complete rash to the extent where I had to take an anti-histamine. I’m not sure what it was about this guy that gave me such heeby-jeebies.

Pingy curled up in her new bed/lounge suite is a far prettier picture.

My relationship with my step son David ranks as one of the hardest I have had to deal with, ever. In the last year or so I have learnt how to protect myself from the hurt it has caused me and for the most part, I have chosen to stay out of his way and in so doing, he is out of mine. For reasons I could never understand and have stopped trying to fathom, he switches from barely extending a grunt in my direction to suddenly interacting with me as if we have had a “normal”, healthy relationship over the last 8 years that we have lived together. While I do proceed with caution, because it is heart shattering when he then switches back to walking by me in the hall as if he has never seen me before, I give the “good” times my all. Earlier this week we were having a conversation about the trials and tribulations of looking for love where you mostly only find sex when you are in your late teens. He is turning 18 at the beginning of August and as we well know, it is a hard, life-lessons age. I know this might sound extremely self-important, but when he left, I thought to myself that the irony of our relationship is that the one woman who has consistently been there for him regardless of how he has treated her, is none other than ME. No matter what might have gone down, (and believe me, major stuff for both of us has gone down) when all else has failed him, I have been and will continue to be there. I confess to wishing that he would not only see that for himself, but acknowledge me for it – maybe not now, maybe not in the immediate future, but hopefully some day. I would really like that.

Last summer my friend Jody asked me to take care of her pet while she went on vacation. The strange thing about this pet-sitting job was that the pet was not yet born but was likely to arrive while they were away. Confused? What Jody had asked me to take care of were still in the making ... butterflies. If you have never witnessed this process – you must treat yourself and your kids to it. It is so interesting and an opportunity to see the miracle of creation unfold in front of your eyes. Here are some more detailed pics off a website that show this process of metamorphosis. My pic shows the butterflies within minutes of them hatching. As soon as they were able to spread their wings completely, we released them. It was fantastic.

To fully appreciate the history of my family’s relationship with Martina, you would have to glance over three archived blog posts. These are from August 1st and 3rd, 2004 and October 17th, 2005. The next chapter in this wonderful story took place last week when Marti received her Green Card. Acquiring a Green Card was not her motivation for coming here but a complete life-change is what she found. I know that everyone who knows Marti through us and who reads this news will be as thrilled for her as we are. Congratulations Manka – you deserve it!
(p.s. any attempts at a vrtual lesson on how to link back to earlier posts will be both welcomed and apprecaited!)
Marti welcoming her Dad last year when her parents arrived for her wedding.

This last year has been baby season in our family. I previously featured my pregnant sisters in law. Here are the belly's beauties.

Another pic that I featured last year was this gorgeous child in the green hat. When ever my friend sends me pics of her children, I reply by asking how she copes with so much cuteness. This is what gorgeous child in the green hat looks like now. No surprise she has wings – right?

Inspired by an email my sister sent me today, I am launching a new awards show. It is called the HOTY AWARDS. (pronounced 'hotty.') It stands for HUSBAND OF THE YEAR AWARD.
Which countries do you think each of these contestants come from?

And finally, as was clearly evidenced in the comments section of my last post, if I don’t feature my sister, who knows what punishment I might end up enduring?