"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Thursday, 31 January 2013

the fake doughnut and other stuff

I am still here, just distracted and busy and wishing I had time to catch up with my friends and family and blogging (which is exactly the same thing, I suppose).  I know you will excuse the lack of activity - the week coming up is also going to be crazy - so I am doing the lazy thing and sending you stuff that I have had stored for a rainy day.  Stuff that I wanted to elaborate on a bit and maybe tell a story about but for now there are not many stories.  But you guys know what is what, you can make up your own stories....
I love this
(Note how the 136 has been rubbed out and changed to 137 - I think he (it has to be a "he") added the word "strawberry")
Delicious yogurt panacotta made by Lynne for a lovely lunch last week
She shares her recipes, I followed the recipe - gelatine and all
and it was almost (actually just as) delicious as hers
(but I lost points on the presentation as I only had blueberries 
and my ramekins were much flatter)
A treat of a butterfly outside my bedroom window yesterday morning
(good picture hey Ellen?)
Someone always does 
Don't you forget it!!
Open that window - there may even be a butterfly waiting for you!!
Sleep tight

Friday, 25 January 2013

a man's a man for that...

I have not had time for much this week but while waiting for a takeaway pizza, I had a quick look on Facebook only to see messages from Siobhan about Robbie Burns night.  It was quite ironic because this evening was the first time that I have sat down to watch television with Michael in ages.  He had just settled down to watch the cricket (Who wants to watch the cricket when you know the South African team have already lost the series? What is the point?).  So I hijacked the remote and started looking at what we had recorded.  Dalene had told me about the Graham Norton show that was on DSTV last Friday. It was a great show especially since we are trying very hard to get the whole family together to see Les Miserables but it is proving more difficult than putting a marshmallow into a money box.  Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) was a guest (along with Tom Cruise and Billy Crystal). I can't wait to see this movie (and if Dalene and Gareth have sneaked off without me there is going to be trouble!!).  The two of them are the ultimate Les Mis fans and they both know every word of every song. It is a special musical in our family.

Sorry, I get sidetracked.  As gorgeous and entertaining as Hugh Jackman was, the star of the show to me was the Scottish comedian, John Bishop.  Michael and I really had a good laugh watching the show and now while I wait (very hungrily) for the pizza to arrive, I thought I should share this little bit of Burns magic.  

"A Man's a Man for That" has always been one of my favourite poems.  I remember my English teacher translating it for us and explaining, quite simply that a man is a man, rich or poor and that we are all equal.  Wealth and social class is not a measure for a person's worth and honesty is worth more than fancy clothes (tinsel).  I had forgotten and had to look up what a "birkie" was (cool young guy) and I remembered that a coof was a fool.

Is there for honest Poverty 
That hings his head, an' a' that; 
The coward slave-we pass him by, 
We dare be poor for a' that! 
For a' that, an' a' that. 
Our toils obscure an' a' that, 
The rank is but the guinea's stamp, 
The Man's the gowd for a' that. 

What though on hamely fare we dine, 
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that; 
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine; 
A Man's a Man for a' that: 
For a' that, and a' that, 
Their tinsel show, an' a' that; 
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor, 
Is king o' men for a' that. 

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord, 
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that; 
Tho' hundreds worship at his word, 
He's but a coof for a' that: 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
His ribband, star, an' a' that: 
The man o' independent mind 
He looks an' laughs at a' that. 

A prince can mak a belted knight, 
A marquis, duke, an' a' that; 
But an honest man's abon his might, 
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that! 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
Their dignities an' a' that; 
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth, 
Are higher rank than a' that. 

Then let us pray that come it may, 
(As come it will for a' that,) 
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth, 
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that. 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
It's coming yet for a' that, 
That Man to Man, the world o'er, 
Shall brothers be for a' that.

My apologies to the Scottish family (and Aunty Alice) for any misinterpretation.  Colette and Siobhan I know will love Paolo Nutini's version of this poem.  

Victoria has told me that she is having haggis, tatties and neeps for dinner and I wish you all a wonderful evening.  I am off to have some pizza (which has finally arrived) followed by a "wee dram" (with all the Scottish whisky* in our house, that never gets drunk, it would be silly to let an occasion like tonight pass me by).

*Did you know what "whisky" is for the Scottish variety and "whiskey" is Irish?  The Scottish take umbrage to inserting an "e" in their "whisky".

I have been waiting for so long to find the right time and place to use the words "take umbrage".  Such a lovely expression.

Therein ends the lesson.

Monday, 21 January 2013

thoughts on blogging

I have been thinking about this blogging addiction lately and it is confusing me a bit. My main reason for starting the blog was to get some confidence with my writing and start this off as a platform for putting my often random thoughts down on paper and hopefully work towards my book.

Well it has now been quite a long road which has produced a steady stream of posts - nearly 390 posts since April 2011.

I realise that I am a person of contrasts.  I do not seek attention and hate drawing attention to myself.  My Friday post received more comments than usual and also resulted in a couple of emails and sms messages as well.  All very much appreciated and I am glad it was enjoyed, but at the same time it was a bit overwhelming and got me thinking.  

Why do I say contrasts?  On the one hand I like to know that people are reading my blog - I do push the "stats" button every couple of days to see what is happening and get pretty excited when I see that some unimportant posts from way back are still getting read.

Then I write another post, put quite a lot of effort into and it gets very little response (and then that makes me insecure).  Should I just remove it?  Why am I feeling insecure?  It is just a blog that I am doing for myself (or is it?).  

I have now started to thrive on the number of "likes" I get, which I suppose is interpreted as "attention seeking" and is very contrary to my "wear black and go unnoticed" policy.  I probably need counselling.

Then there is Michael.  He is not computer literate and I used to print out the posts for him from time to time so that he could read them too. But since I have been on the road and not desk bound he has not received any hard copy for ages. After writing a post like I did on Friday about his mother and concerning him, people made comments to him about it and I realised that perhaps I should print it out for him to read.  So I did and went to hide away while he read it.

Before I gave it to him, I re-read it and thought that I perhaps am starting to come across as a "do-gooder" and painting a far better picture of myself than what I really am.  I write honestly and usually without re-reading and, if you know me, the writing is very much how I speak (sorry, babble). 

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend who does her best and feels the need to uplift people more than to write about the sad and bad. I feel that I have got to know my audience too.  I can pre-empt a comment from Judy or Hope when I post any music, I know those who love to see my garden, and those who prefer to read about wine or family stuff. It is satisfying when I hit a cord with my words (or the words of a song or a poem).  I sometimes sit for ages trying to make a decision about one sentence because I know it is going to make my mother cry.  Then I often leave the sentence in and wait for the sms "You made me cry".  (I have a cruel side).

The main point: -   I thank you for your support and the fact that you let me know when you enjoy a post but I am not a saint or amazing or incredible (in fact I am very ordinary).  I am not doing this for accolades or to make myself out to be special - because I am no different to anyone else.  I try to always be positive and I have been fortunate enough to be blessed with a happy disposition so I do find it easy to look for the good in most situations.  

I am not sure whether this post has made any sense.  I'll leave it up to you to let me know.

I am looking forward to getting my teeth into some meatier stuff in 2013 and am starting a series "Letters to Amy and Kelly"

So expect a lot more to come but remember it is me, Jenny (the wine loving and selling, menopausal one who best get moving and be off and sell some wine).

Friday, 18 January 2013

never too late for a resolution

You probably did not even notice but there was a noticeable lack of "New Year jargon and motivation for 2013" on my blog this year.  The heat of January has slowly infiltrated my already spongy brain and I have busied myself with some "new and out of my usual box" experiences, which I thought I would share with you.

Michael's mom is dying.  We cannot tell how long it is going to take but we are hoping that her sons from Boston and Canada do get here to say their goodbyes.  I have been blessed this week with 3 relatively good visits to see her.  Over the Christmas / New Year period whenever we arrived to visit she was in a deep sleep.  This week however I have caught her in the morning and she has been responsive.  I am not experienced at this and feel a little stupid at times but I have decided to do the reading and praying option (I put my foot down for any singing - that could push her over the edge).  

For Helen's 90th birthday (nearly 3 years ago) the family collected letters and photographs from friends and family all over the world.  It was then put into a scrapbook which over the last couple of years she has read often.  There is lovely mix of letters and cards in the scrapbook and there are a couple that I read to her over and over again.

Her daughter Jennifer, who lives in the UK, wrote a lighthearted letter where she listed memories of her childhood through to adulthood which were special to her.  "I remember being about 5 years old, walking to the shops with you, listening to stories about you when you were a little girl and  I felt very special to be alone with you while my 3 older brothers were at school".  This one sentence gives Helen a faraway look in her eyes and a big, gentle smile.

Her daughter-in-law, Judy in Boston wrote a wonderful letter about their daughter-in-law / mother-in-law relationships and the similarity of the paths they followed.  She quoted words from Ruth, in the bible, and makes mention of two favourite hymns.  Now Helen's voice is failing and she nods and smiles in recognition of the hymns. I certainly could not sing them.  What was I to do?  I read the words of the hymns to her and then last week her great friend Connie brought along a CD of all the popular Methodist hymns.  This was the answer.  Now I read Judy's letter to her and tell her to hold on, while I fiddle with the CD player and play Love's Divine at full volume while she smiles to herself and taps her very long and thin fingers on her lap.

Some letters are too long, some of the people I do not know but by reading a couple of lines from these letters seems to give her some joy, a smile and a nod of remembrance.

The American Scrapbook idea is a wonderful one to bear in mind for a gift for your parents or grandparents.  The one I put together is by no means fancy.  I used an expensive flip-file and printed the messages on coloured paper and together with birthday cards and old and new photographs it really is a wonderful testament to the woman, Helen Kotze.

While this is a sad time we feel more for the family who are overseas.  There is no knowing how much longer she will linger on, she is losing weight and only eating small amounts of smooth food, drinking water and apple juice.

While this is not something that one hopes to have to do often, it is giving me lots of satisfaction in making Helen's life a little bit better and this experience will, in turn, help me to help my family and friends when they are faced with a similar situation.

The nervous way I used to walk into her flat has changed - I am no longer afraid of what I am going to find because in that frail body is the same woman who has lived, loved and fought the system.  I learn a little more about her each day.  If she is not afraid of dying (and has been requesting it for months and months) why should I be afraid to watch her die.

She now seems resigned to her end, she is peaceful and loving and most of all is always grateful.

That was slightly side tracked but here are some other things to share with you:-

“Most good things happen without a plan: friendships, 
falling in love, 
finding a job, and so on. 
If you want to make your new year count, 
you’ll need to be intentional — not by setting goals, 
but by making space in your life 
for what really matters.” 
Jeff Goins

and then:

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, 
and living alone won't either, 
or solitude will also break you with its yearning. 
You have to love. You have to feel. 
It is the reason you are here on earth. 
You are here to risk your heart. 
You are here to be swallowed up. 
And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, 
or left, 
or hurt, or death brushes near, 
let yourself sit by an apple tree 
and listen
 to the apples falling all around you in heaps, 
wasting their sweetness. 
Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP

This will be my resolution:-

If you want to make your new year count, 
you’ll need to be intentional — not by setting goals, 
but by making space in your life 
for what really matters.

I like that!!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

queen of nothing....king of the world

I had a great day today.  It started with an early morning walk, with my camera, taking some pictures on the way to St Luke's Road to see Kelly off to school.

They were all up and ready to go and even with 32 degree predicted for today, she was having to take her blazer "because it has a pocket and I need to have a pocket for my map of the school".  

I then got home and did a few chores and headed to Wine Time for a meeting.  The meeting went well and Steve, while walking out the door made a call and in a tick, sealed a big wine order.  Being the efficient business we are, I decided to deliver the wine immediately.  The weather has been extremely warm and yesterday I put my beach towel and bathing costume in the boot of the car (one of the many lessons from John Rosslee "never miss the opportunity for a swim in the sea and always carry at least a beach towel in your boot").  The wine was delivered, I was at the end of the M3 and had an hour to spare so I headed for the beach.  After some deliberating, I decided on St James and found a parking spot without too much trouble.  This proved to be the easy part.  The beach was pretty full but there was not a free changing room in sight.  Every one of those little bathing boxes was filled with people either eating their lunch, sleeping (?) or filled with children playing.  There was one empty one which, when I entered it, I realised why it was empty.  The door would not close properly (with that smell you would not really want the door closed) so it was not going to work and I made a hasty departure.

The fact that I did not have my bathing costume on was not going to spoil my time on the beach.  I found a spot on the sand, took off my pants (don't worry I had a long top over them), lay on my towel and read a couple of chapters of my book.  I did venture into the water before leaving (again, don't worry I did not swim in my clothes) for a splash around and to get some salt water on my skin.

Driving back I stopped off The Little Fisherman in Lakeside and bought a yellowtail for supper.  It was a glorious ride back.  I had decided not to use the airconditioner and opened the windows wide and played the music on top volume (it had to be with the wind tearing through the car).  Nic had made me a new CD for the car and this song I ended up playing on repeat.  So many times that I now know all the words.

The perfect "road trip" song:-

At ten in the morning 
I was laughing at something 
At the airport terminal 
At nine in the evening 
I was sitting crying to you over the phone 
Well passing the border from a state to another 
Filled with people whom I couldn't help to relate to 
And we stopped a while at a roadside restaurant 
Where the waitress was sitting outside smoking in her car 
She had that look of total fear in her eyes 
And as we drove away from there she looked at me and 
She smiled 

I keep running around 
Trying to find the ground 
But my head is in the stars 
And my feet are in the sky 
Well I'm nobody's baby 
I'm everybody's girl 
I'm the queen of nothing 
I'm the king of the world 

And once you asked me well what's my biggest fear 
That things would always remain so unclear 
That one day I'd wake up all alone 
With a big family and emptiness deep in my bones 
That I would be so blinded, turn a deaf ear 
And that my fake laugh would suddenly sound sincere 

Now I wasn't born for anything 
Wasn't born to say anything 
Oh I'm just here now and soon I'll be gone 
I'm nobody's baby 
I'm everybody's girl 
I'm the queen of nothing 
I'm the king of the world 

Now everyday there's a short intermission 
While I sleep they start dimming the lights 
But I've seen everything I ever want to see 
Screaming "Fire!" in a theatre people taking their seats 
Watch it all go down like a stone in a stream 
If you fall for your reflection you will drown in a dream 

Tell me something real 
Tell me something true 
I just want to feel there's something left that I can do 
But I'm nobody's baby 
I'm everybody's girl 
I'm the queen of nothing 
I'm the king of the world

Funny how sometimes a very ordinary day can turn into something special.

Oh and I visited Kelly this evening and she had "the coolest day".  She also has "the coolest teacher" and a new friend called Cameron.  She did not have to wear her blazer.

One more thing, the yellowtail was amazing - Matthew braaied it to perfection and we had it with new baby potatoes, baby broccoli spears, a green salad and perfectly chilled wine.

I keep running around 
Trying to find the ground 
But my head is in the stars 
And my feet are in the sky 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

jenny turns into joan

This is not about me turning into my mother (who is Joan) it is about questioning myself and why when I watch award ceremonies I turn into Joan Rivers.

Maybe I have seen a few too many of her shows but last night, while Michael read the newspaper and did some work at the table, I sat on my cushions on the floor (on my own), armed with nothing but a glass (or two) of wine and hurled oohs and aahs at the screen.  Watching these shows you expect to see beautiful dresses worn by even more beautiful woman, handsome men with designer stubble in dark suits - it is all so wonderful and I become totally absorbed and act as though I am right there in the audience.  I even have a pencil and piece of paper right next to me so that I can remember everything and be able to mention around the Saturday girls lunch table "Oh my word, did you see what Jennifer Lopez was wearing?"  "Did you see what horrible hands Quentin has?" "How funny was Will Ferrell with that girl from "Bridesmaids"?"

Why then do I become this horrible critic and rewind and pause the pictures of the "shock value" actors?  Did you see what Jessica Lange looks like now?

And Nicole Kidman?
At least her eyes are still pretty and blue but why are they always bloodshot?

Helen Hunt was not far behind but Sylvester Stallone must have been the most scary of all.  He looked like he was made of putty  He would have been followed closely by Dennis Quaid.  Who would think that men could be so vain?
Why so when Jeremy Irons, Daniel Day Lewis and Kevin Costner improve with age?  
Quinton Tarantino and his dyed hair - he is seriously strange.  Did you see him spit out his champagne?  I was so excited for Ben Affleck to get both awards for Argo after being snubbed by the Oscars. I have always like him (must be because of his passion for Jennifers) and his wife, Jennifer (number 3) is gorgeous.  It does make you wonder though who is actually doing the voting and were they trying to show up the Oscars (interesting write up here)

Adele looked lovely and actually slimmer after having her baby than before. She added some natural English humour and down-to-earthness to the show.  

Then, Jody Foster, if you could follow her words which were babbled out so fast, clearly moved the audience but I did wonder why she did not slow it down and actually mention the word "lesbian". A serious Duracell bunny who I suppose was pressurised into "coming out" but why when everybody already knows?  Well done to her though and she drew attention to the hard life that comes with being in the spotlight.  This article from the Huffington Post gives you some of the verbatim (if you missed it and I watched it and missed it) and also reminded me that her mother was still alive and suffering from dementia.

All this and I have not yet mentioned the outfits.
Looks like Julie Andrews sewed this one up quickly for her

Should I show my legs or not?
Best actress, who I have never heard of - Jessica Chatain. What a beautiful woman and a wonderful speech but really who paid her to wear this dress?  It obviously was a real surprise to her that she won.  Her mother would have told her that eventually her breasts would sag so while they are pointing in the right direction wear them proudly!! 

So it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening for me on the couch (sorry floor).  I can't wait to see Les Miserables and sad that it is probably going to come to Cape Town after the Cinema Nouveau closes in Cavendish (but that is another story).

Saturday, 12 January 2013

postcards with an edge

Nic gave me these Postick "postcards" as a part of my Christmas present (actually I think I was supposed to pay him for them (but I don't think I did) and he did not ask, so it must be a present).  He has a friend Tatjana who started this business in a very novel way.  You can read all about it on her website.  Anyway after Christmas I decided to print out some photographs from our time away to give to my friend Cheryl who was on her way back to New Zealand.

I had a really lovely picture of Lorna (and a more serious Bruce) printed for them and decided to send them the photograph as a postcard.  How often don't you keep the pictures in an envelope waiting to give them to whoever and you never get it to them or when you do they are all crumpled, worn and outdated?  The postcard backing is a peel off sticker that you just stick onto the backside of the photograph and, there you have it, your own postcard.  Nic tells me that he uses it to send magazine articles or rugby programmes to friends overseas.

Yesterday I received a lovely message from Lorna thanking me for the postcard

Besides the stickers Tatjana also has other cards that she has made herself
My next postcard is to send to my mother. I found this picture in my treasure box taken of her
for a Reckitt & Colman advert in the late 50's, I think.
Hectic - Go Nanna!!!

Taking down the few Christmas decorations that I had put around my Yellowwood tree the other day, I found a present which was beautifully wrapped in a handmade Christmas stocking bag.  No card but I remembered that it was for me from Janetta.

What a thoughtful gift and how nice to find a surprise present hidden by yourself for yourself!!  Thanks Janetta.

This morning the boys decided it was time for a family breakfast and invited me along.  We headed off to The Alphen in Constantia and enjoyed a lovely breakfast and chat on the terrace.  A lovely start to the weekend but I wonder what the correct etiquette is?  If you are invited, do you pay?

Love this one
What does it mean when you send postcards to yourself?

I once sent myself a Valentine's Day card - but I will save that story for next month.

Friday, 11 January 2013

january brings changes

The first week back at work is all but over.  It is always a bit difficult to ease yourself back after a holiday but what a way to start by inviting your mom, step dad and sister-in-law to attend at your warehouse and count cases of wine.  It was not the mammoth job that I expected (many hands do make light work).  Now there is some admin to attend to and then to get the show on the road again.  Hopefully your livers have recovered and your wine stocks are low and you are ready for your next order.

With a new year always comes change and there is quite a bit of that going around.  Kelly will be starting high school.  It was so sad to see the devastation and saddest on her face on her last day at Oakhurst.  It had been her nurturing little nest for 7 years and she is one who loves her "comfort zones" more than most.  Rustenburg looms next week, luckily she has a big sister to look after her and suddenly the questions are flying and the excitement is mounting. Oakhurst is almost forgotten. Amazing how "getting lost" is always the biggest fear with starting at a high school.  Good luck Kelly - with your tennis racquet, hockey stick and spunky and honest nature you will have lots of new friends and having all the teachers loving you in no time.

Another change has been for Gareth.  He had his first day at a his "new school" on Monday.  Sports Illustrated, a magazine that we supported from the very beginning 28 years ago, has pulled out of South Africa. Really sad that the life of the magazine seems to be ending - Femina, Shape, Sports Illustrated with many others struggling to keep afloat.  However, with changes come new challenges and he is now working for Arena Sport and has some time and incentives to do the freelance writing he is so good at.  Please take a look and "Like" their Facebook page.  It is sports news site with a difference and I like the fact that you can pick the stories you want to read. They have some amazing video clippets that you would not usually see.

So this is what social media is all about - how we link our friends and family and keep them involved in what we find interesting.  When you click on a button, your network becomes interested in what you like and suddenly you have opened yourself up to a whole new audience.  I have had a brief lesson in Twitter and Gareth is going to give me an advanced lesson this week so that I can start being "really well connected".  It was amazing how he "tweeted" my post about Nic being the Positive Troll and suddenly, on this blog that averages about 150 reads a day, I have had over 900 "hits".

Gareth's lovely girlfriend Hayley is also changing jobs.  She is moving to a private girls' school and they are going to love her.  She has a smile that splits her face in half, is loving and caring and has enthusiasm that is contagious.  Good luck Haylz!!!

So my love and full support to my family who are facing new challenges and changes.  I know that you are all there for them too.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

let the new year begin

My friend Annie wrote a wonderful post on her blog yesterday (I think it was yesterday, what was yesterday?).  It summed up my feelings exactly.  

Today I know is Sunday because tomorrow is Monday and the proper start of the new year for most of us.  This has been a different Christmas and a special holiday time.   December has been a good mix of being really busy with work, lots of visitors from afar, a couple of special days away with the family and close friends and to close off 2012, a really quiet Christmas and New Year as we stay close to Michael's mom who at nearly 93 is not shaping very well.

There is never time to fit everything in and it gets harder and harder to keep the family together for Christmas but somehow we manage (even if this year our Christmas Eve was on the 23rd).  It  did not make any difference that it was not the usual 24th and it was a special time with special people (and a Mexican theme).  During this last week of "quiet time" as I watch Helen in her final couple of months and I appreciate the birth of new grandchildren for my friends, weddings in abundance, meet little great nieces and nephews from overseas, hear of tragedies which affect close friends, I am only now starting to realise how this circle of life works and how fragile it can be.  How today when Helen, in a very confused state starts talking about her school days as if they were still happening, asks where her sisters (who are long gone) are, and how she needs to be spoon fed and encouraged, like a toddler to eat, I realise that her circle is also almost complete.  How she capably cared for 5 children and is now completely dependant on others for her care. 

So like Annie, I also feel the need to say thanks and I also realise that this special Christmas was made that way because we did not go overboard with the decorations, presents, the material things and hours in the shopping malls.  It was about being together and sharing our time.  My suggestion for next Christmas is going to be that no presents are to be bought - thoughtful homemade stuff will be the order of the day. Time around the table, playing games, eating wonderful meals (with wonderful wines), talking and joking beats the fancy wrappings and bows.  This is what makes memories.

Rusty Gate Farm at it's best
Hours spent on the jetty and in the dam
watching the brave tackle the foefie slide
A lesson in Mojito making
Taking their jobs very seriously
Five special boys together at Christmas again
This does not seem like that long ago
(Kris took the picture and I do not ever need an invitation
to use this picture)
It took me awhile to realise who was missing
Kelly - on her bike somewhere or playing pool
Gareth - reading a book in a hamock or playing pool with Kelly
Kim taking the picture from the canoe
Matthew balancing the canoe
Dalene holding up the jetty
Kris - not sure
(also taking a picture?)
Tom - starting the fire?
I loved Kim's caption for this picture
"Spot the Rebel"

Thanks Kim and Kris for the pictures.

Let 2013 begin...

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

I have my own "Positive Troll"

Happy New Year everybody.  2013 is here and let's grab it with both hands.

Our family week at Rusty Gate was wonderful (although Mike and I only had 2 nights there) - it was really, really hot (I have had to be in hiding since returning because the skin on my nose has blistered and peeled and now weeping and crusty (very attractive) and I think I had a bit of sunstroke as well (silly girl).  It was hot (said that before), busy and tiring but in between bobbing on the jetty in the dam with champagne, watermelon and snacks for hours on end (with not enough sunscreen), it was very chilled and very special.  Extra special to have my friend Cheryl here from New Zealand and able to spend some time away with us.

 3 Stooges
 4th Stooge (on her side) giving Amy a lesson is skinning a tongue
not surprisingly she vows that she "will never eat it again"  "I did not know it was a "real" animal tongue"
(one of her blondest moments)
 The Mexican theme at the pit
Surprised Mexican dancer

2 out of focus Mexicans
Hiawatha and her other mother 
 Keith and his 73 year old (today), Dad who managed to foefie slide the length of the dam
(Good on you Rob)
Happy Birthday Robert Traill
(we are off to his birthday celebration later this afternoon)
Positive Trolling can be serious business
(Why are you making her cry Nic?)

Everybody had their job to do to contribute to the Christmas Eve dinner.  Matt and Nic, the Mojito cocktails  (which kicked the party off very well), Kathy, Kris and Justin - nacho starters, Nanna - cauliflower and cheese sauce (ALWAYS cauliflower and cheese sauce), Keith and Anna - hundreds of roast potatoes, Caroline - roasted veggies, Dalene - glazed gammon cooked first in ginger beer (very good), Gareth - turkey, Jenny - duck and tongue (with black cherry and sweet mustard sauce) and quite a bit of other stuff which I cannot quite remember now.  We finished off the evening with our crazy Christmas game, ice cream and a new divine grape and greek yogurt dessert and Nic playing his guitar around the fire, while some sang and others dozed off, exhausted.

Nic (the middle one) was in one of his inspiring moods.  He follows "The Positive Troll" on Twitter and these positive things have obviously rubbed off on him.  Instead of Christmas Crackers this year Nicholas hand wrote a message for all 23 people at the table with a whacky, positive message for each guest in Positive Troll style, for example:-

"Nanna, you are the best Nanna in the world.  Keep doing what you are doing, it makes you what all wannabe best Nanna's around the world should try to aspire to"

"Hey Matthew Rosslee, Do you remember the time you weren't the world's most generous person? No, me neither! Keep our lives filled with greatness!"

"Kelly van Vlaanderen, say it again louder, "Kelly van Vlaanderen" - she was dipped in awesome sauce at birth - Kelly van Vlaanderen - no need to say more just keep doing what you are doing Kelly van Vlaanderen"

Each person had to read the positive message for another and it was great fun.

The Urban Dictionary has this definition for Positive Troll -  "A person who gives compliments to the point where it could become annoying or creepy". Very rude and negative. Ours was not annoying or creepy.

I wish I had them all with me or that I had some kind of memory to remember more of them.  My mom, in true grandmother style has collected them from the table, scraped the gravy off the messy ones and has kept those left behind (in a special box). A couple of people folded their sheet of paper at the table and put their note into their pockets immediately.  

It is always good to hear positive stuff about yourself - Nice touch, Nic.

I thought this was a good post to share today, being the first day of 2013.   Being positive about all around us is a good place to start, don't you think?

I'm off to the fridge to look for some "Awesome Sauce" and hope that those chocolate squares are not still there looking at me and shouting "Eat me, Eat me!!" or that could be my resolutions only lasting until noon on 1 January 2013!!!

Happy New Year everyone