Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Gems from Griffin

We just put our Christmas tree up... with the usual electrician impressions required from me to get the damned lights working. I was refitting plugs, stripping wires - you name it. Next time I am buying a tree with the lights built in I swear...
Anyway, once it was all done and the lights turned on Griffin sighed and said profoundly, 'Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without these Chinese lights.' I just about pee'd myself! I thought that was pretty profound though. The spirit of Christmas is in cheap Chinese lights! Who would have thunk it huh?
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Then - noting that I have actually recently lost around 5kgs (ye-haa) - Griffin turned to me as we were leaving a clothing store after I tried something on this morning to say, 'I hope you lose a bit of weight before the wedding - because you look a little fat.' Shame, to be fair, he did say it very sweetly and in a concerned and encouraging way.

So after fetching Q and his friend P - who is a rather proper and Brittishy only-child a while later I asked them, 'Guess what Griff said to me earlier?' and told them.

Quinn gasped, and P exclaimed, 'OH MY WORD. You NEVER say that to a lady. EVER! Not even if she weights 16 000 kilograms.' He went on to say, '...unless you want to commit SUICIDE!'

LMAO. P has been well conditioned I see. Unlike my tell-it-like-it-is boys.
:twisted: :twisted:

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Shame my boy!

Q came home from school with a certificate on Monday. For athletics! It said it was for being 'placed 8th in the 100m sprint'. I was all like; 'Well done dude!'.

So he shows me the certificate and I'm looking at it, and my mind is turning over.... He then grinned widely and told me he'd made it himself! (or at least written it out on a proper printed cardboard school certificate). See below:Check out those realistic looking signatures though! Woah! I am thinking I may never have to sign a homework diary again!;)

Anyway, I asked him why he made HIMSELF 8th? He said 'Because if it said 1st or 2nd, no one would believe it.'

Shame man. He is right though - he is not blessed with athletic prowess or speed. LOL, but I think it is pretty funny that even in his fantasy world he is a realist. ;)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Stylish eye for the fashion-retarded IT 'guy' - HELP

So it's my step sister's wedding in around 2 weeks, and I have suddenly woken up to the fact that that means I had better get my ass into gear and get organised. There is a LOT to do!

I need to buy the happy couple a gift AND sort out all the Christmas gifts for the Gauteng contingent. Not to mention arrange get togethers with all and sundry up yonder.

On that note: I will be available for guest appearances (I mean meets) on Sunday 13 Dec (after lunch or evening) and/or Monday 14 Dec (anytime). I'll be staying in Pretoria Eastern Suburbs, but can get to anywhere within reason in JHB/PTA area. So please help me plan a get together! I am happy to do whatever everyone else wants - and am more than happy to do a day-time with-kids get together and/or evening drinks/jol etc. Just let me know, and let's make it happen! I have no clue where y'all from up there live and what are good venues there anymore etc. (I moved in 1996 remember!)

Anyhoo, back to the point of this post. I also need to figure out all the 'girly' stuff. Dress, shoes, bag, hair, nails. All that crap! Crap which I am so not good at. It does not come naturally and I am not that fond of it at all. I wish someone could just style me, because I do not know how to shop, coordinate, accessorise or anything. I don't even like shopping or trying stuff on. I KNOW I am a terribly defective female in this regard. *shrug*

Anyway, so I am asking the great people of the Internets to HELP me with this arduous task. So great people of the Interwebz; I need something formal to wear. It is a late afternoon/evening black-tie dress code event - a Bryanston fancy church & Pretoria Country club.

I have managed to get myself into 2x shops for long enough to find and purchase the following (on condition that I have the option to take either or both back by the end of this week-end, once my gurus have spoken) 2 dresses and pair of snake-skin strappy sandals.

So here are my options. Don't forget to HELP! I am pretty clueless when it comes to fashion & style.

Option 1:

Stretchy silky fabric 'Helen of Troy' type dress with empire waist line in white, brown, black and snake-skin type print.

(Excuse Griffin's crap photography)

Would this dress work for a formal evening wedding?
Do the shoes (also 'snake skin') match the dress?
Are either nice and/or do they suck?

Option 2:

Dusky blue knit dress from YDE with empire waist line and stain ties which can tie front or back...


Note the choices of shoes:
White or black slip on sandals from my wardrobe, or the higher new 'snake skin' numbers, (or something else completely...?)

Oh and I was thinking of wearing my hair UP, with a few strands hanging down to soften the look, would that work...? Or down and cut/blow dried etc...?

Any advice, suggestions or scathing criticism welcome! ;)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Parlotones - G's bday & Q's musical ear

So The Parlotones ended their world tour here in South Africa and their second last show was at Grand West on Fri 13 Nov. Griffin chose to go as his main birthday present/party - se-ri-ous! (He is definitely MY child ;) ) So I duly got tickets and off we went.

It was my 7th time seeing The Parlotones live. Yeah yeah, I may be a tad obsessed with them...

So the boys and I arrived at Grand West that evening at about 18:45. The show was scheduled for 20:00. There were massive long lines out the door. I have never seen Grand West so crowded!

We managed to get in and went to get big slush puppies for the boys to sip on and moved on with the crowd towards the Grand Arena, where I just had enough time to get a beer before heading in to find a good spot to stand. We managed to find a place right against the fencing separating the Golden Circle from the main pleb standing area, where we were.

The support bands were Spirits from Cananda. They were ok, but not great. Then came Crash Car Burn, who I quite enjoyed. In Quinn's words though 'Crash Car Burn kind of sucks, Spirits sucks a lot!'. So there you have it.

It was nearly 10pm by the time the support acts finished and the boys were starting to fade, despite me spiking their slush puppies with a Red Bull (in a bottle - which we bought back from Thailand last year). Yeah yeah bite me! Send the parenting police over if you like. It was a once off (OK twice off) thing, to give them 'wings' when they needed it. I was starting to wonder whether it really had been a good idea to take them to a huge music concert like that.

I mean check out the crowd, there were more than 5000 people....

This is reportedly the biggest crowd pulled by a local SA band ever. WooHoo go Parlotones!

Anyway once the Parlotones started the boys perked up and got a second-wind and raged along with me to the awesome awesome set. They played a lot of songs and carried on for about 2 hours! Pretty much all the favourites were played from the first 2 albums and a whole bunch of songs off the new album too.

We all sang along loudly. By the time we got to the very end we were yelling along to 'Here comes a man' which Quinn LOVES.

Us at the concert:
The boys thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and chatted happily afterwards about the show when we went to get a literal midnight snack at the food court and then home where they got into bed after 12:45. Sleepy but happy little boys.
Rectron's Gigabyte Parlotones Launch by Axel Bührmann.
Then when the new radio single 'Push Me To The Floor' was aired on radio for the very first time a couple of months back, within 2 lines Quinn said, 'Hey this sounds like the Parlotones!?' So I listened and sure enough at the end they announced that it was the new song. I was pretty impressed.

Then we saw the concert at Grand West which was 10 days ago now. The boys heard about 4 or 5 of the new album's songs. They had never heard these ones before. Except for 'Push Me To The Floor'.

One of the new tracks played was Stardust Galaxies, and the lead singer from Gang of Instrumentals (Tumi Masemola) joined them on stage to sing the female part.

I finally got the CD yesterday. We listened for 5-10 mins on the way home in the car yesterday and then again this morning. I put Stardust Galaxies on just as we pulled up at school this morning. I asked Quinn if he remembered it from the show? He said yes. He then said, 'The lady from Gang of Instrumentals came on and sang it with them.' Sjoe, I was impressed that he remembered. He then went on... 'But this doesn't sound like her, it sounds more like the lady from Freshly Ground.' * I listened and honestly I was not at all sure. I told him I'd check.

Well blow me down with a feather if he was not right!

Flippen hell on the CD it is in fact Zolani Mahola from Freshly Ground who recorded the song with them. I am astounded! I mean she DOES have a very distinctive voice, but in this song you can't really hear it as obviously her's (well I can't anyway). He has an incredible ear and memory for this kind of thing hey!?

(* Note we have seen all 3 bands live.)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

I hope... you're not blinded by the light from me

La Roux – In For The Kill

We can fight our desires
Oooh but when we start making fires
We get ever so hot
Oooh whether we like it or not
They say we can love who we trust
Oooh but what is love without lust?
Two hearts with accurate devotions
Oooh but what are feelings without emotions?

I'm going in for the kill
I'm doing it for a thrill
I'm hoping you'll understand
And not let go of my hand

I'm going in for the kill
I'm doing it for a thrill
I'm hoping you'll understand
And not let go of my hand

I hang my hopes out on the line
Oooh will they be ready for you in time
If you leave them out too long
Oooh they'll be withered by the sun
Full stops and exclamation marks
Oooh my words stumble before I start
How far can you send emotions?
Oooh can this bridge cross the ocean?

I'm going in for the kill
I'm doing it for a thrill
I'm hoping you'll understand
And not let go of my hand

I'm going in for the kill
I'm doing it for a thrill
I'm hoping you'll understand
And not let go of my hand

Let's go to wars to make peace
Let's be cold to create heat
I hope in darkness we can see
And you're not blinded by the light from me

Oooooh Oooooh Oooooh Oooooh Ooooooooooh

I'm going in for the kill
I'm doing it for a thrill
I'm hoping you'll understand
And not let go of my hand

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Quinn's 'really bad' science test mark

Today on the way out of school Q told me earnestly that he did 'pretty badly' in his science test. Serious face. I asked him what happened, cos he normally does WELL in Science. He says he doesn't know. It was open book and he didn't use his book... SHRUG. I was like, 'Dude, that's just doff! Use the damned book next time!'. I asked how badly he did. He said he can't remember, but ' really bad, something like 35%' ... Aaaai.
Anyway the evening went on, I had to go to yoga etc etc. And I totally forgot about it.

I just went to my room now and the test is there for me to sign. The little shit got 93% and 3 merit stamps, he was totally yanking my chain!

LMAO. He is such a joker. NO idea wheeere he gets it from...? *innocent whistle*
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

I don't want no one else

Athlete — Trading Air

Covered ground just to reach your house
I know we need to talk
But I can't catch my thoughts
Insides gripped scared of what you'll think
Words I can't repeat
Could change all we've got

Set it off
Someone better hit the alarm
Set it off
Someone better help me disarm myself
I don't want no one else
All I want is you
All I want is you

Trading air once more from the start
I can open up a thousand paper cuts
People hear what they want to hear
But they wont change a thing
No they wont change a thing

Set it off
Someone better hit the alarm
Set it off
Someone better help me disarm myself
I don't want no one else
All I want is you
All I want is you

Disarm myself
I don't want no one else
All I want is you
All I want is you

Disarm myself
I don't want no one else
All I want is you
All I want is you

The Rash persists

He saw the boys for dinner last week, and it had seemed like it went fine.

I tried calling on Mon this week, and the call was rejected and then after that his phone was off.

I tried to call again on Tuesday, thinking if same happened I would leave it and cancel this week's visit. But he answered, so I gave the phone to the boys and they all chatted nicely. Then I heard he was making plans for dinner, so I asked them to tell him to make plans directly with me. So he said ok, and we spoke and it was cool. He confirmed he'd like to see them for dinner on Wed night, and then asked if he could take them for the w/e. I said it was fine with me, if the boys wanted to go. They said yes. Seemed like good progress, and he sounded good.

I got an email confirming arrangements for both shortly after. All good.

Last night they were meant to be collected between 17:00-17:30. They eventually got collected at almost 18:00. It was fine though, I wasn't really bothered. I was planning to do something run/gym/shopping etc, but hadn't decided and ended up procrastinating. At 19:00 I finally decided to fit in a quick run before they got back at 20:00. But then at 19:10 - literally just as I was about to leave - the doorbell rang. They were back.

I let them in and they said they were in trouble, so had been brought back early. I tried calling ex to find out what had happened, but his phone was off. So I took the boys down to the park and chatted casually to them about what had happened. The said they were just playing (they insist they were both happy and cooperating and NOT fighting) and skipping around etc. Ex was apparently annoyed and wanted them to be still and quiet and to NOT PLAY. They went to the waterfront, where he showed them the pirate boat and told them he'd take them on it some time and got a brochure etc. They were excited about that...

They apparently kept 'playing' and 'not listening' he got cross and yelled at them. They said he told G to shut up, when G tried to show him a coin he'd picked up and then told them to go to the car and marched off. They couldn't keep up so had to run, and were yelled at for not keeping up.

Then apparently ex took out the Pirate Ship brochure and crunched it up and threw it out the window and then dropped them off.

He phoned me about 20 mins later, and I very calmly asked if something had happened. He said the boys don't respect him and 'behave like animals' and they mustn't 'waste his time'. I stayed completely calm and neutral and pointed out that they hadn't seen him for 3 months and that this is very unsettling for them and must be confusing, and that when they don't know what to do, they often do behave 'badly'. He said if they want to see him they must 'behave properly'. I pointed out that WE are the adults, and they are CHILDREN and this is psychologically very difficult for them, and we can't expect THEM to behave like adults. I told him they had been FINE and totally settled, but since seeing him last week they have been acting differently. We need to help them work through it all and get used to being with him again. He seems to selfishly think they they must prove they are worth his spending time with them or something. Which is crap! He needs to convince them he is worthy - surely!?

Anyway, I then asked them about last week, because as I said it had sounded like that went fine..They then told me that they were taken to a restaurant and they sat quietly and 'daddy had his friend Justin there and he just spoke to Justin and hardly spoke to us'. WTF?! So after 3 months of not seeing them, he barely spoke to them, and now last night they were doing their own thing and they got crapped on because they weren't spending time with him they way HE wants...?

I asked the boys if I should rather cancel this planned week-end visit, and they both said they still want to go and will 'try harder'.

I KNOW they can be a handful sometimes, esp when they are together. But he has to realise that the onus is on HIM to develop a relationship with them again, and to at least try to understand things from their POV? Surely he can see that?

Quinn's lip was quivering the whole time he was talking to me, and although he tried to hid it I could SEE how upset he was...
:evil: :evil: :evil:

Monday, 16 November 2009

50 things everyone should know how to do

Self-reliance is a vital key to living a healthy, productive life. To be self-reliant one must master a basic set of skills, more or less making them a jack of all trades. Contrary to what you may have learned in school, a jack of all trades is far more equipped to deal with life than a specialized master of only one.

While not totally comprehensive , here is a list of 50 things everyone should know how to do:
1. Build a Fire
2. Operate a Computer
3. Use Google Effectively
4. Perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver
5. Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle
6. Do Basic Cooking
7. Tell a Story that Captivates People’s Attention - don't know about captivating but I tell stories all the time...
8. Win or Avoid a Fistfight - sort of, but not for real.
9. Deliver Bad News
10. Change a Tyre - yeah I can change a car WHEEL or bicycle TYRE.
11. Handle a Job Interview - plenty of times, both sides of the desk.
12. Manage Time
13. Speed Read - nah, I can scan quickly, but my actual reading speed is quite slow.
14. Remember Names
15. Relocate Living Spaces
16. Travel Light
17. Handle the Police
18. Give Driving Directions
19. Perform Basic First Aid
20. Swim
21. Parallel Park
22. Recognize Personal Alcohol Limits
23. Select Good Produce
24. Handle a Hammer, Axe or Handsaw
25. Make a Simple Budget
26. Speak at Least Two Common Languages
27. Do Push-Ups and Sit-Ups Properly
28. Give a Compliment
29. Negotiate
30. Listen Carefully to Others - sometimes, but I'll say no. I talk too much.
31. Recite Basic Geography
32. Paint a Room
33. Make a Short, Informative Public Speech
34. Smile for the Camera
35. Flirt without Looking Ridiculous - erm. nope I am pretty sure I look ridiculous.
36. Take Useful Notes
37. Be a Respectful House Guest
38. Make a Good First Impression
39. Navigate with a Map and Compass
40. Sew a Button onto Clothing
41. Hook up a Basic Home Theater System - not tried, but I can do hi-fi, TV, DVD & video recorder!
42. Type
43. Protect Personal Identity Information
44. Implement Basic Computer Security Best Practices
45. Detect a Lie
46. End a Date Politely Without Making Promises - what does that mean..?
47. Remove a Stain
48. Keep a Clean House
49. Hold a Baby
50. Jump Start a Car

I think I am pretty functional and self-reliant!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Quinn rocks the kitchen

Quinn is getting more and more useful and helpful at home.

He is really starting to enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and making things and learning how to do new things. I am more than happy to encourage him too.

In fact I make a point of being available to help, give advice, info or whatever, but apart from that I keep away and leave him to do his thing without interfering or worrying about mess or technique etc.

The one rule is that he has to clean up at the end.

He has arranged dinner for 3 of the last 4 nights.

On Sunday we'd had a busy and active day and I was not in the mood for making dinner so he volunteered to do it! While I sat on my bed with my feet up. :)

He made 'pizza breads'. These are basically pizzas on slices of bread. He's been making these for a while. Usually just tomato sauce and cheese on bread and then grilled. On Sunday though he sliced and diced; cheese, ham, mushrooms, peppers, pickles etc and assembled them neatly all by himself. And then popped them in the oven to grill.

They were delicious! Although I did have to yell at him to check on them when I realised he'd wondered off to watch TV. Luckily they were saved in the nick of time and we had the talk about needing to stay and watch stuff under the grill! ;)

On Monday he again wanted to 'cook' and he made oven chips & chicken schnitzels with microwaved veg.

He had the night off on Tuesday when we had chicken, mash, stir fried veg etc.

Then last night we had a little dinner for Griffin's birthday, and while I was doing the cake, Quinn phoned to order pizzas. He placed the order, for 4 different pizzas with topping substitutions all by himself. He even met the delivery guy at the door, paid and gave a (slightly too large) tip.

This is great!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Rash update...

So I didn't contact him and surprise surprise we didn't hear from him.
:roll: :evil:

His mom phoned me on Saturday*. I had to tell her that I am sorry but I can tell her no more about him and am really through with caring about him now. I said I was not trying to be mean or callous but that I feel I have gone the distance and won't do anymore. If he comes around and behaves and communicates appropriately I will probably reciprocate but I won't try to initiate anything now. I think she understood.

(*She phones about once a month or so, and I try to talk to her when I can. I send her general news and photos in letters - mostly to avoid having to call myself. She is not my favourite person, but I can tell she is trying, and her son has refused to speak to her AT ALL since we split up LAST April. So I have been her source of info up to now. But I really can't help her any further wrt him and have no advice for her. I said I really don't know him anymore and have no idea if he'll ever have any kind of functional relationship with any of us again.

She found out I had given him the R5k she had given me and told me off, because she said that was to help me not him. I think in some way she feels a bit responsible for his actions - from being related to him and as his parent. It is really very sad.)

Friday, 6 November 2009

Back, like a rash.

If you have followed my - lengthy and drama filled saga - you'll know that my ex has not contacted the kids AT ALL in almost 3 months.

Last night he apparently phoned (while I was out) and spoke to them and told them he's sorted himself out and can take them for a day visit one day this week-end to do a party of sorts for Griffin's birthday - which is next week. Probably Spur and Games arcade or something.

They of course are now dead keen to go, because what kid wouldn't turn down a trip to Spur?! Although previously they didn't want to see him and said I shouldn't bother to try contacting him.

BUT he has not spoken to me, or emailed or anything. Even if I had been there last night he wouldn't have spoken to me.

I had to extract sketchy info from the kids about what the plan was exactly, and they eventually said I must email HIM to arrange. WTF?

So what would you do?

We had a full week-end planned already, but due to the bad weather forecasts some things have been cancelled, so I CAN make a plan now.

It just really irks me that he will not communicate with me, and does what he pleases all the time. Q is about to start his first ever round of exams too, so I really don’t want his equilibrium messed with. KWIM?

So what should I do here?
- NOT contact him - I mean he cannot rely on the kids to sort out the plan making and he needs to learn that HE must make arrangements with me.
- Or just contact him and make a plan anyway?

For the not option I can plead ignorance that I was supposed to contact him, and say we are booked up this week-end anyway and then offer him the option of arranging properly again for next week-end. That way the kids don't lose out, but he gets the message that things have to be properly agreed and planned in advance?

GAH, I has so wished he'd go away for longer!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Mom PLEASE put some pants on!

I seldom wear skirts or dresses - either for work or leisure. I am more the pants and shorts type. I mean you never know when you are going to have to climb under a desk (To fix a PC! - where was YOUR mind going!? ;) ), or want to climb a tree, or roll around etc.

However yesterday I wore a long ankle-length summer dress to work.

In the evening I wanted to take the boys and dog to the park for a bit, but didn't feel up to a major exercise mission, so just popped some slip-slops on and called them so we could go. Quinn was somewhat appalled and almost insisted I change first. I said, 'Nah it's fine, I can still be fun like this. I'll even ride a scooter down.' But he seriously wanted me to change. He didn't think it was appropriate at all. He eventually said, 'Please at least put some PANTS on... under that'.
:roll: :lol: :twisted:

I mean for frik's sake is he the modesty-police now or what?

I ended up prevailing - did you have any doubt about that?. So while I was coasting down the hill on my scooter with my leg raised up in the air behind me, I called out to Quinn saying 'OMG look Quinn, you can see my whole CALF!'. I then threatened to do handstands in the park. Yeah I am that evil. But as luck would have it the nutty neighbours who live next to the park had a couch out on the grass - I KID YOU NOT! - and were lounging there having a glass of wine, so I decided against that particular antic in the end.

I really had to giggle at the 'Please put some pants on at least' thing though.
:lol: :lol:

p.s. I hope I am actually not mortifying my kids and seriously embarrassing them...? I like to think I am quirky and fun, and not cringe-worthy to them.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Camping Week-end without Camping

This past week-end was Griffin's class camp-out in Tulbagh. It was great fun!

The boys and I shared a cottage with another family, rather than the schlep of setting up camp and lugging a million things for 2 days and one night. Although I actually do like camping. I have a tiny car, only the bare minimum camping-wise, and don't think the effort is worth it for less than 2 nights myself. Ok, I am just lazy perhaps, but hey I have to do it all myself now! It was much more fun when all the hard work was done FOR me. Besides since we were sharing the cost was almost the same as if we had camped. Really a no-brainer in my mind!

Anyway, the cottage was lovely and comfy and had a fridge and all other necessities. So we were well sorted. We were close enough to the camping crowd to be able to stroll down and mingle with them as we wanted, and it really was perfect. It was a lovely break away from the city and usual routines and rat race and a nice time just focused on the kids.

I was the only single parent there and all the other adults were in their little groups being parents - on the side lines, sipping their spritzers etc

I, being me, decided I was one of the kids and leaped into the farm dam with them, raced them, dunked them, bombed them, had mud and algae wars* with them, you name it.

I played cricket with them for ages and then we switched to soccer, and played and played until we had quite a nice team going. Finally after too many kicks in the same spot and a kid jumping on my foot I limped off the field with the excuse that I had to go braai our meat.

I woke up on Saturday night in agony and my foot was in serious pain, I could not get comfortable at all. By Sunday morning I could barely walk at all. Flip it was sore! I was worried I had a cracked bone, but it must have been just really badly bruised right onto the bone. (Because now a few days later and after ice-packs, arnica oil, and anti-inflammatories it is much better, still tender but way better.) I guess I am not actually the kid I act like.

When I limped in to the camp site on Sunday morning one of the dads from the soccer team laughed at me and said, 'Ja well, you want to act like a kid'

*sulk*. Sometimes being old and brittle sucks!

* Quinn and another boy started throwing mud at each other and some splattered near me and hit my shoulder. They both got a fright and expected to be told off. Instead I gasped, grabbed a big handful of mud and flung it back at them, and then it was a free for all for about 20 minutes. Afterwards one of the dads commented on it and I said, 'You know sometimes you have to just do the unexpected, instead of moaning and yelling, catch them off guard and just go with it! It's fun, and there are far too many things to worry about already, so sometimes it's good to just muck in.' He said, 'Um... I think you need to have a word with my wife...' LOL 8)