Monday, October 30, 2006

WEATHER ...

Last week I was having a conversation with a relative who still lives in South Africa. I made the comment to her that when considering relocating and choosing between the Northern and Southern hemispheres, she should not under estimate the impact weather has on our lives.

This made me remember two stories that I want to share with you. They run the risk of falling flat as they might prove to be like, “You had to have been there” jokes – but I’ll do my best to communicate the humor of both moments.

South African weather made me believe that when you look out the window and see a clear blue sky and the sun is shining, the temperature will be warm. If this happened in the winter, you would need a light sweater at most.

After a very short time in London, we awoke on a Sunday morning and were thrilled to see just that. A blue sky, sunshine and yes, it wasn’t raining. We got ourselves dressed, called a cab and headed for the mall so that we could go to the supermarket.

The genius cab driver dropped up off and drove off. Very quickly we noticed there were just a few cars in the parking lot. DanDan went ahead of me, came back and said, “It’s closed on Sundays.” For those readers who have not been through a relocation process, this might be hard to relate to. For those who have, you will understand what I mean when I say that in that split second, I had my relocation breakdown.

I looked at Dan and said, “What do you mean it is closed?”

“Well, the doors are locked, there are no cars in the parking, it is closed. C.L.O.S.E.D on Sundays.”

“Why the fuck did that cab driver not tell us it was closed when we gave him the address when we got into his car?”

“I don’t know, Dawn.”

“Well all I know is that I am freezing my ass off and I am seriously questioning what the fuck we are doing here and I want to go home … and no, I don’t mean home as in the home that I can get to by means of a cab ride – I mean the HOME … – SOB, SOB, SOB, SOB AND MORE SOB. WITH EACH SOB I CAN FEEL MYSELF LOSING MY GRIP ON LIFE. THE SHEER PANIC OF THIS FEELING MADE MY SPEECH INCREASE IN BOTH SPEED AND VOLUME QUITE DRAMATICALLY.

…I mean the HOME where when the sun is shining and the sky is blue, it is frigging well warm – you know, that thing called W.A.R.M – even in W.I.N.T.E.R.” SOB, SOB, SOB, AND MORE SOB

Although early on in our marriage, DanDan realized that these freak outs of mine happen very rarely, but when they do, best to just give me the space to get it out of my system. I sobbed just a little bit more, and then arm in shivering arm, we headed off to the nearest cafĂ© for an English fry-up. As we shivered our way down the sidewalk, DanDan whispered to me in the shakiest of shiveriest voices, “You’re right, it is fucking cold and this weather sucks – but we are home, so we better get used to it.”

Just a month or so later, on another Sunday morning, we awoke to very gloomy weather. Grey sky, constant depressing mist of rain and very cold temperatures. We had slept late and when we got up, DanDan went into the kitchen to create some of his magic. At around 1.30pm we sat down and enjoyed a grand DanDan lunch.

This took place in December 2003 - (oops, thanks Ann, wrong year, should read 1993) so I am sorry, but I really don’t remember what the menu was. After the meal, we rolled on to the couch and spent the day curled up under the duvet watching movies and TV.

Much later on, I got up and said to Dan that I was going to take a bath; get into my pj’s and prepare for an early night. He thought this was a great idea and that he would do the same. As we were both still getting acclimatized, we walked around the house in winter looking like Mr and Mrs Michelin. I was in sweat pants with thick socks, layers of t-shirts and sweat shirts. Dan used to prance around in white thermal underwear looking very Nureyev-esque. I found the socks pulled way up over the long thermals particularly flattering.

As I crawled back on to the couch and back under the duvet, Dan rubbed his hands together and said that he was clearly in the mood to cook that day and he was going to make us yet another sumptuous meal.

“What would you like for supper?” he asked.

“Ooooo, I don’t know – all I know is I am starving and anything you make will be delicious.”

He was heading over to the window to close the curtains. It was totally dark outside and as he was pulling the curtains across the window, he said to me, “You know, it’s a good thing we bathed early. Guess what the time is?”

“I have no clue.” I said.

“Just as well we’re ready for bed so we can eat and have an early night – it’s 4.30pm”

Oh my goodness, did we laugh. Not only had we only finished lunch no more than two hours earlier, but we realized what a long way we still had to go getting used to our new place on the planet and how the weather worked.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

SYNCHRONICITY ...

I am still in close contact with the wonderful woman I worked for in England. We became close friends and even though we don’t see each other very often, we maintain a close and meaningful relationship.

She is about to carry out some extensive home renovations to accommodate her son , Alex who has returned from boarding school. This came last week in an email from her and I decided to share it as I think it is a wonderful story.

On Friday I had a young builder from Doncaster come and look at the ground floor to assess the potential for making a studio bedroom for Alex. This guy is called Yan. He is a 23 year old from the Czech Republic. He has done such fantastic work for me in Doncaster that I know he's the guy to alter this house. He can come in January and will bring his father over to help. I feel an amazing affinity with him which makes no sense in the physical world. He called in because he was on his way to do a meditation course in Oxford. While he was here I gave him a copy of CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD Book 1. I don't know why I gave it to him as we've never had any conversations along spiritual lines. Yet it seemed the right thing to do. He called me this morning to say he had been reading the book and although in some parts it was difficult to understand as he is still learning English, he had found it amazing.

His story is the stuff of legend. He hitch-hiked here four years ago because he was missing his girlfriend so much. She had left the Czech Republic to take on a job as an Au Pair in Doncaster. With only £20 (UK Pounds) in his pocket he got here. He arrived in Doncaster with the postcard she had sent with her address listed on it. He had no money left but saw a bus with the name of her town on the front. He then walked from stop to stop following the bus until he got to Bessacarr. Unfortunately his girlfriend was no longer interested but she did help find him an Au Pair job with another family.

He still lives with this family, which comprises a middle-aged divorced woman and her three sons. He started off by doing small fix-it jobs for all of her friends. It soon became clear to the woman employing him that he had amazing DIY talents. She then encouraged him to apply for a small business set-up grant. He now has a truck advertising the name of his business on the side as well as a website for the business. He still helps to manage his employer's three children between his working commitments. Fortunately they are all teenagers. In return for this help, he has free board and lodging. When I visited him it was clear that he had redecorated most of the house for her.

Anyway I'm telling you all this because today he called me to say that he had been telling Cathy (his employer) all about me and showed her CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD Book 1. She was completely amazed because it turns out this is her favorite book that she has read over and over again. When he told Cathy he had seen the photo of
Neale and I hugging at the recent workshop I attended, she said she'd like to meet me. Is this synchronicity or what!

ooo000ooo

While doing my regular blog visits earlier this week, I was served this treat. It was so unexpected that I had to click on the link to make sure it was intended for me. There is no way to describe this surprise other than to say it was totally delicious. Thank you again, nc and bh.
Shabbat Shalom - Peace Out, for the weekend.

pic - jen gray

Monday, October 23, 2006

LABELS ...

I spent a large part of my life doing everything possible to avoid labels. In my youth I never wanted to be labeled a rebel in spite of the fact that it came naturally for me to not want to do things the way the rest of my family did. I never wanted to be labeled lazy because I was not passionate about aerobics classes in the 80’s. Most of all I never wanted to be labeled as stupid for any reason at all, ever. In as much as not wanting labels, I never wanted to feel like I had a life that could be fitted into a neat pile of boxes all perfectly labeled.

I promised myself last week that I would make a concerted effort to clean up and clear out my home office. In the context of my work space, ‘clean up’ means that there are no piles of paper scattered all over the surfaces like landmines. Things are filed and sorted and everything is where it should be. ‘Clear out’ means that below the surfaces I am not hiding anything either or fooling myself with the cleaned up surfaces. This meant going through a whole bunch of files and folders and finally getting rid of things that are now outdated. If they were not yet meant for the garbage or shredder, they needed to be put in their rightful place. As I was going through this process, I became conscious of how many frigging labels I was either typing or writing up. I was amazed at how much security and comfort I was gaining from a space that was taking shape by virtue of everything having its perfect little label.
I thought it would be a fun process to intentionally label my experiences from this past week. Having spent so many years trying to avoid and shake off labels, I was now on a mission to come up with as many labels as I could.

Here then, is my week in review … in labels.


For SATURDAY’S REWARD

This came about as the result of a melt-down I had, you can read about it by clicking here.

For SATURDAY’S CELEBRATION
We all say how time seems to pass faster the older we get. Perhaps this year seems to have gone insanely fast for me because I feel like I lost three months of it recuperating from a broken shoulder. It did however seem quite unbelievable to me that Marti and Glenn celebrated their first wedding anniversary on the 14th. For a really special love story, please visit my archived post from October 17th, 2005 under the heading of LICENSE, SHOWER, WEDDING. (Angel – proof that I can’t work out how to do that ‘click here’ linking thing. aaarrrggghhh) Happy Anniversary Glenn and Marti!

For SUNDAY’S MIXED EMOTIONS
This car in front of us en route to Whole Foods caught my attention. Unfortunately it came out totally blurred. You can however see that there are two bumper stickers on the rear of the car. The one on the left reads, “It is the right of every American to arm himself.” The one on the right reads, “Free Tibet.” I got angry at the one on the left as I will never come to terms with the gun laws in this country. I found the conflicting messages such a contradiction in terms that it was amusing, but ultimately, I felt sad for the owner of the stickers.




For MONDAY’S DELIGHT
The "Fire Bush" outside Ross' school.



For TUESDAY’S PANIC
This could easily be called 'Tuesday’s Confession.' For this to have any meaning, I have to direct you to my archives again. (This whole link mystery has to be resolved soon!) My clearing out process brought the packet containing my scarf to the surface. If you click on JANUARY 2006 and scroll down to TUESDAY 3rd – MY SCARF STORY - you will understand why I felt a sense of panic when this happened. I have basically got a few weeks to knit the scarf. The pic below shows how it looks right now. I renew my commitment to an honest update on December 3rd. I could whine about the fact that I couldn’t have knitted for about two to three months even if I had wanted to, but I think that might look even more pathetic than the pic below.



For WEDNESDAY’S SURRENDER
You know it’s time to get out of the kitchen when you squirt ketchup all over the phone. Put everything down, and walk away from the island.



For FRIDAY’S FUN ON MY OWN
DanDan and I went to do some shopping. I chose to wait in the car at one point as it was pouring with rain. I found myself feeling bored so decided to play with my camera phone. I have never done a self portrait with it. I am so critical of myself in pics that I was amused by having had this idea. I took the pic. I am not quite sure what the eyebrow/centipede thing is all about. When it came to posting the pic, I remembered that my Mom had given me some baby pics of myself that she had unearthed on a recent visit to my sister. So here they are, Me Unplugged – 1960 and 2006.



For SATURDAY’S SHOPPING TRIP
On the way to get Ross his Halloween outfit, I thought it a good idea to show some scenes of the neighborhood in preparation for freaky season. Halloween is the perfect time to capture a pic of a graveyard.




For THURSDAY’S LESSON (I have gone out of sequence due to the length of this item.)
A large amount of my time this week was spent in conversation with my step daughter, Alexandra. She has been going through a major shift in her thinking with regard to her boyfriend and the possibility of a marriage commitment. I tried my best to outline to her how essential it is to recognize the importance of being in a healthy relationship with yourself before being able to even consider this kind of union with another. How do you explain this to someone who is young enough to be lost totally to the romance of the situation? How do you explain to someone who in their youth still believes the importance is in the details of a wedding rather than the heart and soul of a marriage?

Many years ago I read a book called THE INVITATION by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. A few months ago I had wanted to give it as a gift to someone but could not remember the title of the book, only the feather on the cover. In my ongoing search I found it and discovered that I could get it on audio disc. I have been listening to it in my car. After this lengthy conversation with Alex, and at time frustration with myself at not being able to put my thoughts across in a way that I felt I had said it in a nutshell, I hoped I had at least got her thinking.

A while later on the same day when I went to get Ross from school, I tuned on the CD to carry on from where I had finished the day before. As her beautiful reading unfolded, the smile on my face got broader and broader. It was as if she had been sent to give me this message to pass on – articulated so perfectly. I have transcribed it to share here, and although it will make for a long post – it makes for a beautiful read. In addition to my excitement about being able to give this to Alex, a picture of DanDan and I popped into my head from when we were living in Amsterdam. This picture is one of my favorites of us. We didn’t know our friend was taking it. It captured a special and tender moment. I feel that it captured the beauty outlined in this transcript.


… I resist the idea that I will be with another only to avoid being alone. Surely the ability to truly be with myself does not exclude the willingness to fully be with another. I do not seek isolation. The longing for another remains even when I am able to be with myself although it is smaller – a whisper that tugs at me gently. Even there in my place of solitude in the wilderness, I found myself at moments wanting to turn to someone and share my awe at the brilliance of the full moon on the still water, the delight of watching the otters playing at the edge of the stream. But the loneliness was bitter sweet and bearable because I knew myself and the world in a way I sometimes do not, when I let my life become too full of doing things that do not really need to be done. Once in a while, trying to find the end of the thread of what wants to be written, I will do a writing exercise that involves finishing the statement – I DON’T WANT TO WRITE ABOUT …

Over the years the statement is most often completed this way – I DON’T WANT TO WRITE ABOUT THE LONELINESS. For years I thought the loneliness, the longing for the other was a weakness. A sign that I had not learned how to be with myself and there have indeed been times when I have wanted to be with someone simply to cover the ache of not being able to find my own company. But I have come to accept that no matter how much I am able to be with myself, no matter how much I like my own company – I still long to sit close to and at times to merge completely with another in deep intimacy – this too is coming home. The completeness of self is found when we can be alone and when we can bring all of who we are to another – receiving and being received fully. This is the sacred marriage. The coming together of two who have met themselves on the road. When two who have this intimacy with themselves are fully with each other whether for a lifetime or for a moment the world is held tenderly and fed by the image they create simply by being together. They can be friends or family, lovers or life partners or simply two strangers whose lives intercept for a moment. They may be telling each others stories, or making love, or sharing a task or sitting in silence together – it doesn’t matter. If having met myself in the empty moments I am willing and able to bring all of who I am to another, receiving all of who they are, then we are truly together. In that moment, in the image our being together creates, we are the manifestation of life holding, creating and feeding life. This is the fullness of the homecoming for which we all long. These moments, these sacred marriages of two bring each person back to themselves more fully.

When I was younger the excitement of proximity and the heat of passion combined with an uneasiness with myself often meant that I lost myself when I was with another. When I was with someone who caught my imagination with possibilities beyond friendship I found it hard to know what I wanted. I was aware only of his wanting me and was drawn by his desire. Now that I am more able to be with myself I seek those I can be with completely without losing myself and when I listen for and follow the quiet but deep impulse to move towards someone moving only as quickly as I can while staying connected to this impulse I find a sweet ease in my body and an infinite tenderness in my heart and I recognize what I have longed for in the nameless ache that has been with me for so many years. The tension eases between my desire for personal freedom and independence, my desire for the solitude of my own company, and my longing for deep commitment and intimacy with others. I find in our time together more of myself and I find in my time alone more of the world.

D2 - CIRCA 1995



Wednesday, October 18, 2006

ANSWERS ...

In my post of October 5th I invited anyone who might have wanted to, to ask me a question. Here are my answers:
FROM GARY:
“Here is a question for you. I have read several English blogs and several South African blogs, and I feel that it is actually easier for me to relate to the South African blogs than English ones. That really surprised me. Does it surprise you? Why do you think it might be true?

I lived in England for 7 years. It took me quite some time to get used to their sarcasm. It was really only after a few years there that I learnt to not take it personally and I finally understood that it is deeply entwined with their sense of humor. The English humor is like no other and for me there was most definitely a learning curve involved in how to interact with them on a frivolous, day-to-day basis. What I have learnt since living in the USA for five years is that a lot can be lost in translation even when both parties are speaking English.

South Africans are by nature far more open and warm towards strangers than most cultures, particularly the English. I think their general light and easy disposition might make it easier for you to relate to them. South Africans wear their hearts on their sleeve and represent a very, “What you see is what you get” attitude to life and how they present themselves to the world. The English on the other hand are far more guarded therefore making it harder to know where and how to plug into them.


FROM YAEL - A.K.A.
FREDDIE:
“ … If you were invited to appear on the Oprah show, what little pearl of wisdom do you think you could offer to Oprah and her viewers that would alter their current point of view on who we are as a human race?”

I am flattered that you think I might be able to alter people’s point of view, be it on OPRAH or otherwise – I will take that as a compliment and thank you for it. I am going to give you a comment more than an answer to your question though.

Anyone who reads my blog knows I am a huge fan of OPRAH so this is by no means OPRAH-bashing. I would however like to tell her that her claim to being African American really doesn’t sit well with me.

The work she has done and no doubt will continue to do in South Africa is incredible and thank G-d for her and her contribution. I would however like to see her spend one night in Soweto or Alexandra township, as opposed to the
Saxon Hotel, for example which she apparently frequents.

It is in those areas where OPRAH will get to the heart and soul of black South Africa and those are the roots she lays claim to. I just question how many black South Africans have had the pleasure of enjoying putting their heads down in a room the likes of which are to be experienced at the Saxon? If she has perhaps done this, then I will be the first to retract my comment and apologize.

I just feel that I am more African-American than OPRAH will ever be and I find her claim to it seriously lacking in authenticity.

I doubt that this comment will be of the magnitude to shift points of view, but I thank you for asking the question and creating the platform for me to express my comment on.

FROM
TAMMY:
“My question is why are you making me think of questions???”
I don’t know – good question!

FROM ANGEL:
“What does purple smell like?”
My answer to this was instant and I love the question because purple is my favorite color. For me, it smells like FANTA GRAPE. My earliest clear childhood memory is from when I was 3 or 4 years old at Astra Nursery School in Kensington, Johannesburg. Going as far back as then, I can remember my favorite soda being FANTA GRAPE. I can still feel the ripples on the lower part of the bottle and I totally recall how my top lip used to get stuck in the bottle if I drank without a straw. (It still happens to me as an adult – my sister always laughs at how I drink bottled water.) I used to love the smell of it then and I can still smell it now – and that to me is how the color purple will smell, for ever.

FROM NMOTB:
“Does Ross know any Afrikaans? Do you tell him about South Africa?”
The only Afrikaans I spoke was at school and most of the Afrikaans I was exposed to on TV, I didn’t understand. In spite of that, even after 13 years of living away from South Africa, the slang I talk is still predominantly Afrikaans. There is a strange phenomenon that takes place when South Africans abroad meet up or at gatherings of friends – we use a lot of Afrikaans, even if just in jokes or as slang. I have no desire to lose my accent either.

In the same way that my parents would speak to each other in Yiddish when they didn’t want us kids to understand what they were talking about, so do Dan Dan and I communicate in Afrikaans. Ross is both fascinated and amused by it. He has picked up, *“los it!” He constantly asks me to teach him Afrikaans and given how much he has heard Dan Dan and I use it, is confused when I say to him that I actually don’t know enough Afrikaans to teach him the language.

I do tell him about South Africa but more in the context of how I grew up as compared to how he is growing up. What makes me very sad is to think that when I do bring him to South Africa, there will be very little to show him of the country that I knew. While I love the fact that I will bring him to a liberated South Africa, there are aspects of what I call the good old-bad old days of South Africa – that my child will never experience.

As we say in South Africa, that’s my five cents worth –
I hope I did justice to your questions.
*"los it" - roughly translated - leave it, forget about, stop it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

REPEAT ...

While having dinner with friends recently, the conversation lead to Dan telling the story of when we had the pleasure of meeting Tony Randall. It is such a fond memory of mine that I have decided to re-post it. I wrote this the day after Tony Randall died in 2004. I have edited it slightly in terms of layout and punctuation only and I have added the inclusion of pics – way back in 2004 I did not know how to do that yet.

FELIX HAS LEFT THE BUILDING ...
The experience I had living in Scottsdale, Arizona for a year in 1982 was very much enhanced by watching “THE ODD COUPLE” on TV every night. It was my ‘Friends’ of the 80s. Where possible, I never missed an episode. I always thought Tony Randall played the best Felix, ever! I left the USA at the end of that year, a dedicated fan of Mr. Randall’s. It was with real sadness and lots of tears that I learnt of his death today.

In 1997, Daniel and I went from Amsterdam to London to see the production of “THE ODD COUPLE” at the Haymarket. I wrote a fax, signed by Daniel, to the manager of the theatre explaining what a fan of Tony Randall’s “My wife Dawn is.” Because Tony Randall was such a super cool being, he invited us to join him in his dressing room after the show.

We had to go round to the side entrance where there was quite a crowd gathered outside at the Stage Door. We felt like celebrities for a moment as we, “Um, excuse me, sorry, coming through, yes, that’s right, me, oh sorry, yes, I am going in” through the crowd. It was fantastic to say, “Mr Randall is expecting me, DL” when I got to the door. We were directed up what seemed like a never-ending flight of lots and lots of stairs. I could still climb stairs in those days but by the time we got up the three floors, (not sure what you call it, when the stairs form a square well down the centre) – I was almost on all fours. I heard a voice from the top say, “Are you gonna make it?” I looked up into the face of Tony Randall, and what a face it was. He had a look about him in certain poses that I found hilarious. It did not seem appropriate to burst out laughing in his face, particularly in my Mowgli posture on the stairs. I dragged myself up and staggered into the dressing room.
He was very welcoming and introduced us to his wife, Heather who was just pregnant with their first child. They were both super friendly. We all shook hands and then, the silence! I got so star struck that I could not articulate a word out of my mouth. I stood there with an idiotic grin on my face and a strange sound coming out of my mouth. I wasn’t sure if anyone else could hear it but I could not get it to stop. I looked at Daniel and he appeared confused. We were all exchanging glances in silence and finally, Daniel realized he needed to do something to save this moment. He got a conversation going and soon enough, everyone was standing around, very relaxed, chatting away; everyone except me. All I could hear in my head was my own voice begging G-d to please remove this idiotic grin off my face and to connect my speech to my brain, please, just this once more.
Their conversation lasted about half an hour and in a last attempt, Tony turned to me and asked if I realized what a famous dressing room we were standing in. He rattled off names like Sir Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Richard Burton and how they had all occupied this dressing room at different times over the years. I nodded my head up and down very dramatically to indicate that I so totally did and hoped he would get how desperately I was wishing I could wrap my tongue around the simple word, just one little, “Yes”. No such luck. Fortunately the sound in the back of my throat had stopped. Daniel looked at me like I had completely and utterly lost the plot and indicated that clearly, it was time to leave.

In one of those gestures that remind me of why I fell instantly in love with him when I met him, Daniel turned to Tony and said, “Mr. Randall, would you mind if I took some photo’s of all of us?”

What Tony didn’t hear, but I could - possibly because at the mention of photographic proof of the meeting where I turned into a complete bobble head, was that part of Daniel saying, “Would you mind posing with my dof* wife; and Dawn if you don’t say something soon I swear I am going to bop you on the nose for a reaction”.

I have a vague memory of having managed to offer some kind of goodbye message and it was over. Photo’s, autographs and the climb back down the stairs.
As we got to the street, I exploded as if I had been holding my breath for two hours. The first sentence out of my mouth was, “Well, we now know I can’t meet Mick Jagger ‘cos if this is what happened to me with Tony Randall, how can I possibly meet Mick Jagger?”
Thank you for all the laughs Mr Randall. Rest in peace.


*dof – Afrikaans slang – pronounced like ‘off’ but with a ‘d’ in front of it.
Dof ('Dorf')(Afrikaans – “not bright”, “dull”) Stupid. Dunce.
Someone who is dof is not necessarily that way all the time.
It is often used to describe a temporary loss of brain cells.

Monday, October 09, 2006

DUDE ...

IN HONOR OF CANADIAN THANKSGIVING TODAY,
I PRESENT
MY 6 MONTH OLD NEPHEW
WHO RESIDES IN VANCOUVER.

HE DA MAN, EH?


Thursday, October 05, 2006

WHAT ...

… HAS MADE ME HAPPY THIS WEEK?
A few months ago my father in law was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer and two tumors were discovered on his brain. This came as a complete shock to our family as Brian is a healthy, energetic, fit man who still worked full time and was very busy leading an active life. Within a matter of days my in-laws' lives became dedicated to getting Brian through his radiation and months of chemo therapy.

On Tuesday he had a scan to see whether the chemo has been effective and the results were great. The tumor has shrunk and his chemo has been reduced from 5 days every two weeks to twice a month, through to the end of this year.

When he thanked the Oncologist who has been taking care of him, the Doc reminded Brian that what he had done was administer and manage the correct prescribing of chemo and medications. “The real work,” he said, “you did!”

I couldn’t hold back the tears as my mom in-law related this to me particularly because I could hear the relief and pride in her voice. I told Brian how deeply proud I felt of him as he has truly displayed an attitude and strength the likes of which we have never seen in him before.

Our family could not have asked for a better gift … the day after Yom Kippur.

… HAVE I BEEN WATCHING?
If you have not seen ‘KINKY BOOTS’ yet – make a plan to do so as soon as possible. I do not want to reveal anything about the movie as it will only detract from the sheer pleasure of it. If you aren’t already a lover of Brit movies, this will be the one to swing you. Although I sat and watched it on my own, I was literally cheering aloud at the end.



… AM I GOING TO CONFESS TO YOU?
That I have a crush on Tim Gunn and Dog the Bounty Hunter!

… DID I DO FOR SOMEONE ELSE THIS WEEK?
My sister has recently opened a new business and I wanted to mark the occasion with a meaningful gift. I wanted something that would give her pleasure and that would also make a contribution to a good cause. She was thrilled with it. Perhaps you would like to consider this for your next gift to someone.

… HAVE I BEEN READING?
One of the things I miss from the time I spent in England is the hours I would spend reading to and from work on the London Underground. I love reading but rarely get the opportunity to put my feet up and vanish into a good book. A few months ago I signed up with Simply Audio Books and I have been listening to books when I am in the car. It is a great way to pass the time, especially when I wait outside the school for Ross to come out. I have just finished OPEN HOUSE by Elizabeth Berg. It was easy to listen to but I was surprised when I got to the last disc that there weren’t more to follow. The next one on the way to me is KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini.
... MADE ME FEEL VERY SPECIAL TODAY?
Receiving this gift from Wenchy ... all the way from South Africa.

SOME COLORFUL SOUTH AFRICAN STAMPS


… QUESTIONS MIGHT YOU WANT TO ASK ME?
I’d be curious to see and happy to answer.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

THREADS ...

There is a common thread in all the blogs you read that are written by people who are from South Africa. This thread talks about the uniqueness of the warmth of South Africans. It talks about how South Africans open their homes and hearts without any hesitation to people they have just met, be they South African or not.

In spite of the physical distance between me and my friends still in South Africa and the South African friends I made in England, I cherish the fact that these friendships stand solid in spite of the time and space between us. The bond is there. The bonds I have with my friends were made instantly in some cases, and others were formed over many years of investing time and energy into each other. Those people who have been more transient in my life have taught me a valuable lesson - that you really don’t have to make it with every single person on the planet.

Recently I have had two experiences with South African friends that have touched a place deep in my heart. While reading an on-line weekly newsletter I get from SA, I saw a picture of a colleague from many years ago. I calculated that it was about 22 years since I’d had any contact with J. He worked in the advertising agency division and I was in the public relations division of the company. Our paths crossed occasionally as we were account executives on the same account. J is one of those people who are funny without even trying to be. I am the kind of person who laughs hardest when I am not supposed to be laughing at all. This made for an interesting school career and tricky situations in meeting rooms as an employed adult. The fact that the most simple and obscure things appeal to my sense of humor doesn’t help the situation at times either.

I emailed the guy who circulates the letter and asked him for J’s email contact here in the States. Within a day or two, J and I were first in email contact, then chatting on line, then on the phone. Dan Dan the Fireman has since had dinner with J as he travels to where J lives regularly for business. In spite of the fact that they never knew each other from before, the common bond of where we all come from was sufficient to motivate a dinner get together. Of course DDTF agreed that J is the most hilarious individual and they both agreed that it was hard to believe this had essentially been a blind date. They felt like they had known each other for years.

A short time after reconnecting with J, I received a call from him telling me he was at a supermarket which stocks South Africans products. He wasn’t phoning to ask IF I wanted any, it went more along the lines of, “How many bottles of chutney do you want? How many bottles of mayonnaise do you want? You’ve got to have Marie Biscuits and how many boxes of tea should I put in?”

I was completely blown away by this gesture. The spontaneous kindness of it all touched me so deeply and at the risk of sounding sexist, I admit to having thought to myself that this was such a “chick thing” to do. We gals do this kind of thing for each other without giving it a thought, but for a dude to do this is somehow even more special. (Oddly enough I did not get this out of my 50’s guide to being a good wife and friend!)

Then there is the connection on line between strangers who have nothing more in common than the place from which they come. This gives us an understanding about how we operate as people, how we think and how we act. I have written a lot about the fact that I am very technologically challenged. I have advertised on Craig’s List for someone with HTML knowledge in an attempt to get some hands-on lessons that would improve my blogging abilities. It is that severe that I am willing to PAY someone. Without knowing why, there have been no takers.

Perhaps you have noticed three recent additions to my page. The heading ‘MORE OF ME TO PLUG INTO’ linking this page to my other two pages, and the same on those pages. For those who might have checked out my profile page, you will have noticed that previous blogs of mine that had become redundant have been removed. As recently as today, you will see a clock is now displayed on this page.

These miraculously appeared through the kindness of yet another angel. Within a few days of us discovering our blogs and commenting on them, a friendship was established to the extent where I was secure in giving her access to my blogs in order to make these changes for me. When it comes to technology, the best assistance anyone can offer me is to just do it for me.

The people who have come into my life over the last five years that I am fortunate enough to call my friends are of equal value to me as those friends I have had for decades. The difference is that I have never had to work this hard to have so few friends. While I know it is quality that counts and not quantity, a community can be a lonely place when in small numbers.
I’ve learned that we don’t have to change friends
If we understand that friends change.
www.seaquotes.com

 
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