Sunday, August 27, 2006

FIVE ...

In this order … I read Tammy’s blog from August 26th. I sat and looked out the window and thought how typically English the weather was today. The sky was grey and it was raining. I thought of England and asked myself “Where is home, really?” I know that has a certain ET ring to it and as I write I have this funny picture in my mind of me at the window, pointing to the sky with that special finger. I went and read Tammy’s blog again.

I remembered that five years ago, on a day that looked and sounded exactly like today, we had our farewell party in London.

I went back to my blog post from this time last year and had a chuckle at my list about what I had learnt after four years of living here. Now it is five – and these are the things I feel I have gained a deeper understanding of with regard to being here.

I don’t think it really matters what your address is. It’s about being able to take a moment, close your eyes and allow yourself to enjoy a moment’s peace. Peace about being with yourself. Peace about being where you are and trusting that this is exactly where you are meant to be. The more peace within that I create – the more joyful and fulfilled my life is – regardless of the address on my snail mail envelopes.

I reminded myself of something I often tell people – the more ok I get with myself, the more ok the people around me become, and they don’t have to do a single thing about it.

I miss the people I shared my life with in South Africa. I miss the people I shared my life with in England, and in Holland. Yet, if I were to fall into the category of ‘address unknown’ I know inside of me is the address I most yearn to be at the most – a place of peace and tranquility – a place of contentment - and from there – the possibilities of
where I go and what I create and experience are endless – and borderless – and infinite.

In celebration of our 5th year in the USA, I invite you to visit this site and watch the movie. It will be the most valuable $4.95 you have ever spent. If you have seen this already, watch it again. If you haven’t, I really urge you to take the time. (If you are not on line at home, share it with a friend who is, or plan to stay late at work. It's worth it. Alternatively, buy the DVD as there is every possibility you will want to watch it a second time.)

The whole planet is home – our address is truly EARTH – and we really do have the power to make it a peaceful haven for each and every one of us. PLEASE watch the movie.


THINK PEACE TM

pic courtesy: www.jengray.com

Sunday, August 20, 2006

HUSTLING ...

I’m in a strange mood today. One of those moods where you feel everything is ok and how un-ok so much is, all at the same time. I am feeling frustrated about the fact that I am so far away from so many people I want to spend time with. I feel happy that there are a few people who, in spite of being in my life for a short time, I want them around me for ever.

There was a parent/child argument in the house yesterday that has left me reeling. It’s the same old, same old story – how do parents get their kids to hear that by offering a different perspective, you are not judging them – and you are not trying to clip their wings – you’re just trying to get them to see where there are some pot holes that can be avoided. How do you get them to hear that you will never stop them from taking life’s knocks, because it’s the knocks that make the landings sweeter?

Before going out to my Mom for lunch today – I went to my desk to check my calendar for tomorrow – I needed to see if there was something I had to do today in preparation for an appointment I have. By reading my calendar, I sent the following information to said child:

I just had to share this with you – I love it when the universe comes back at you INSTANTLY. While getting ready to (almost) leave – I tore off my calendar from yesterday to today’s date – cos I needed to see what was on my calendar for tomorrow actually – and this is what today’s inspirational message on my calendar reads – I think it is something that all three of us needed to hear – it also enforces everything I said – not from the perspective of being right – but more from the perspective of – time to re-think the modus operandi or game plan – and no two parents are more open to this than me and dad … this is the quote:

“CHILDREN OFTEN FEEL THAT THEIR PARENTS DON’T RECOGNIZE OR GIVE THEM CREDIT FOR THE FACT THAT THEY’RE MATURING OR GROWING MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY. LET THEM KNOW THAT THEY DO HAVE THE CHANCE TO REDEFINE THEMSELVES IN YOUR EYES IN THE HERE AND NOW.”
What I love about it is the reminder of the here and now. We can’t change anything that has already happened, the future hasn’t happened yet, all we have is the here and now – let’s make it the best version it can be!

If you are wondering what the connection is in this post between my opening paragraph and the family fight – it is this … it is a blessing having friends who are like family, but it sucks, big time, when your family does things to you that they would never do to their friends.

On a lighter note, I watched ‘Hustle & Flow.’ If you enjoy indie movies and haven’t seen this one – get it. Terence Howard’s performance is breathtaking. It’s a universal theme of having a bigger dream. To give you an idea of how much I enjoyed it, I will confess to having spent the entire day quietly singing:

“You know it’s hard out here for a pimp –
when he tryin get this money for the rent -
for the cadillacs and gas money spent –
because a whole lot of bitches talkin’ shit …”

Hope you don’t have to hustle too hard this week and that the flow is easy.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

TEN ...

... of life's little pleasures:-

  1. Excitement when the firefighter returns from yet another business trip.
  2. Spontaneous dinner party with friends.
  3. Giving someone a present that they flip out about they love it so much.
  4. A comfortable bed.
  5. First bite of a delicious meal.
  6. A loving and caring AVON lady.
  7. An Email from a long lost friend.
  8. Switching the light off and walking out of an up to date, tidy office.
  9. When your kid comes to you and asks for a snuggle.
  10. When your husband says the best way you can help him clean up the kitchen is by staying right where you are – and that’s in front of the TV.

Perhaps you'd like to share yours.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

DOROTHY ...

When Dan Dan The Fireman is away on business, Ross assists me with getting dressed in the morning. The advantages of having someone help me is that it takes so much less time than when I do it myself, and it doesn’t leave me feeling physically tired from the process. Up until recently he used to have to stand on a step stool to hook my bra closed at the back, now he has grown, he can do it without the stool.

When we were both finished dressing, I slipped on my sandals and said to him, “You won’t believe how long I have had these sandals. At the end of this month we will have been in America for 5 years, and I brought them with me from London. I can’t remember how old you were when I bought them.”

“Where did you buy them from?” he asked.

“A little shoe shop in Bushey and I can’t remember exactly how old you were when I bought them – maybe 3 or 4. Either way, they are at least 7 years old and I think that next summer I should treat myself to a new pair.”

“Why Mom, these are nice and they totally bring out your personality!”

This kid lays a yellow brick road for me wherever he walks.

Monday, August 14, 2006

INDULGING ...

It took quite a long time for me to learn how to accept compliments. When one would be extended to me, I would always respond with a counter argument or something to put a negative slant on the kindness that was being extended to me.

As I got older, I realized that this was quite an ungracious way of responding to people who were extending kindness to me. I firmly believe that every kind gesture goes out into the universe and is there for ever. It has a ripple effect and can’t be taken back. When I saw that by responding this way I was in fact sending out negative ripples, I changed my ways. It didn’t come totally easily but I eventually got myself to a place where it became easier and easier accept these kind of gestures from people.

With this in mind, I am going to indulge myself today by posting about my blog. I am dedicating today to everyone who finds their way here, and then comes back again. I had several reasons for starting my blog. I love writing and expressing myself this way, and I have always wanted to do something with it. I have many family members and friends spread out all over the planet, and I wanted a way to keep them up to date on what is happening in my family’s life. This seemed the perfect way to do it.

While I am confident I have achieved that, there has been the added bonus of making new friends. People who, in spite of never having met them, I have grown to love, value and have real emotions for. I find it difficult to articulate how it makes me feel when I read comments from people that tell me they have enjoyed what I have written. This lifts my spirits to great heights, and I thank you in return for being prepared to leave a comment and for extending your kindness to me that way.

As I write this I am thinking that I hope you, the reader, my friend – don’t find this post overly self indulgent. I thought it would be easier to say, ‘THANK YOU.’ Perhaps I have more growing up left to do than I realized.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

BEING...

Today was family visiting day at Ross’ camp. Last year I couldn’t go as Daniel was away so Marti and Alex went for us.

There was nothing special laid on for the parents. This was simply an opportunity to visit the camp in full swing and watch your kid enjoy a typical day.

This kind of camp is still quite a novelty to me. Growing up in South Africa, I never experienced camp. Although this is not sleep-away camp, there was never this kind of program laid on for South African kids.

The main reasons for this were that the vacation times weren’t as long as the summer vac is here. Our longest break from school was for three or four weeks in December at the peak of the summer. Our other school breaks were shorter and we all had the luxury of nanny’s at home, so even if both parents were working, the kids had someone to take care of them.

The programs available range from activities at the local park in your town for three hours a day supervised by the high school teenagers, to full day programs along the line of what Ross is attending. A bus picks him up at the front door at 8am and drops him off again at 4.45 in the afternoon.

The cost is hefty but given how many months he spends indoors through the winter and how demanding the school schedule is – he deserves to really let his hair down in the summer. The break started on June 24th and they go back to school on September 6th.

A little further down from this entry, I posted a video under the heading of ‘Simple Pleasures.’ Today I was again reminded of the beauty of those things we sometimes forget about in our day to day lifestyles where we experience ourselves as humans-doing instead of humans-being. Kids have such an incredible way of staying touch with these values and because we are always so darn busy, we so often don’t even take advantage of the distractions they offer us from our busyness to just be with them to do the things they do. A sign posted along one of the paths we took caught my eye.

I felt very blessed by the peaceful surroundings, the joy of it all and the sheer pleasure of watching my son basking in the sun with his Dad at his side.


Monday, August 07, 2006

BUSY ...

I sadly noticed this week that it is starting to get dark just that little bit earlier in the evening which means the fall/autumn is fast approaching. I welcome the fall but dread the long winter. In the midst of our heat wave last week, we had a power outage for just over an hour. When I was writing this the temperature was 91F/33C but with the heat index it felt like 100F/38C. The weather is clearly doing freaky things all over the world – it even snowed in South Africa last week!

The top pic is a view of the trees in our back garden taken now, well into the summer.

This is what the same view will look a few weeks from now when the seasons change. It happens almost overnight. The leaves that fall to the ground are thick like a carpet.

Then, all too soon, the winter will set in. This is the view from my diningroom window. When winter ends, within a few days, the scene changes to the beauty as shown below. It almost makes the winter worth enduring.


A couple of weeks ago I hosted a Touchstone Crystal party. I never get much opportunity to make things, least of all to the point of where I end up being able to wear it. It’s a great way of getting together with your girlfriends and spending some fun, creative time together. It essentially works on the same premise as a Tupperware Party with the difference being you make your purchase in advance of the party. Once you have been to a party you can purchase other items to make or there are some pieces you can purchase that are already made up. I must admit that I chose an item that looked like it required the least amount of intricate beadwork as I have never done this before. We had a really fun afternoon and everyone left with their own little creation. I felt well chuffed coming away from the party with a pearl and crystal necklace that is truly good and pretty enough to wear. Not bad for just over an hours worth of work and fun.
My beautiful crystral pearl and bead neckalce and a view of the girls hard at work!


David turned 18 on August 1st but we held his family birthday celebration on July 29th. All the kids were at home and we had a BBQ. Our neighbor Denise came over with her kids. Brian is a friend of David’s and her daughter Jessica hangs out with Ross a lot. Although she is two years older than him, they get on really well and have fun together. Alex’s friend Marc was also here. He was on his 10 day break having just graduated from boot camp. He joined the Marines and this was the first time we had seen him in three months. The next morning David was heading off to the beach with friends for a week where they had rented a house together. When I look at this picture of the three men I share a house with, I felt like putting a warning sign above the front door ~ ‘ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK … TESTOSTERONE OVERDOSE ZONE’. Thank goodness I have Pingy’s female energy to support me!


When I look at this picture of David at 18, it is freaky. He was Ross' age when he came to live with us. Did someone press 'fast forward' without me noticing?



If you are looking for an original idea for a birthday gift for a 9 year old boy, Alex came up with a winner this year. She bought Ross an ant farm. You buy the kit and the ants come in the mail. You place them in the container which is filled with a gel that contains all the nutrients they need. Over a period of time, they dig their way around the container and it is really interesting to watch these little things and what they create. They have a life span of four months and if you so choose, you order more in the mail! Every morning we rush over to the container to see what the ants have been busy doing overnight.

The ant farm is born. The tunnels after a couple of days - hard working little buggers!


Possibly one of the freakiest things to happen to me in a long time took place this weekend. While cooking on Saturday morning in preparation for Sunday’s BBQ, I felt something prick my foot. I had sandles on so I wasn’t too worried that I might have stepped on something. By the evening, I was very aware of something irritating my foot and told Dan Dan the Fireman that I thought I might have a splinter. He checked my foot out, poked around with a needle and said he thought he had removed it – although he wasn’t certain. We cleaned the area well and applied anti-biotic cream and I didn’t give it another thought. During the course of the day on Sunday my foot started bugging me. I wasn’t sure if maybe the splinter was in fact still there or if it was just sore from the poking around with the needle. We borrowed a magnifying glass from the neighbor and after my shower; Dan Dan The Fireman started investigating again. He spent quite some time poking around with both a needle and a tweezer and although not removing anything, felt sure if there had been something there, he had worked it out of my foot. As he was about to finish, he commented that he thought he had seen something glinting in my foot in the reflection of the flashlight. On taking another look he saw that there was something there but lower down from where he had been poking around. He eventually managed to get hold of the tip of it and when he pulled on the tweezer to remove it, it kind of just kept on coming as opposed to being a quick extraction. We were totally shocked when we discovered that it was in fact a one inch piece of copper filament that had found its way into my foot. We have done some electrical work in the house recently and I do walk bare feet but I have no clue when this actually went into my foot. It felt like it had happened on Saturday morning but I am not sure. Either way, considering what it turned out to be, we were relieved to have removed it. About half an hour later, Dan Dan walks up to me and holds his fingertip up and says, “Look!” I looked but had to ask, “What am I looking at?” I couldn’t help laughing when I noticed he had a splinter right on the tip of his finger. He managed to remove it himself.
Although his face is hidden, this is one of my favorite pics of Dan Dan (who wasn't yet the) Fireman! It was taken soon after we had met and were still in SA. It does however capture the essence of who he is. He just makes everything so totally ok for me ~
as the name on the cap suggests.
(click on all pics to enlarge)

One disadvantage of having nothing to do is you can't stop and rest.
~ Franklin P. Jones

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

SIMPLE PLEASURES ...

I watched this video today and it made me feel H.A.P.P.Y! These dudes display such a cool vibe of friendship. It made me think of those days when me and my girlfriends would be doing similar stuff in front of the mirrors in our bedrooms, using our round blowdrying hairbrushes as microphones. Hope it puts a spring in your step and a smile on your face.

 
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