Thinking & Feeling

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

Saturday, 27 March 2010

12 years on...

My first born, a baby girl named Angelique, would have been 12 this year. Her birthday is on 23 March and every year we remember her on her birthday. It has become our family tradition to celebrate her birthday with cake and candles and to use the opportunity as a 'thanksgiving' celebration of sorts in honour of her.

We each blow out a candle and think about what we are thankful and grateful for and talk about what we appreciate about each other, and why we are glad to have each other in our lives.

I think it's a nice way to mark her birthday and the role she played in our lives and in our family.

Happy birthday baby girl...

Be the change you want to see in the world...

"They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." ~ Andy Warhol

"People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.: ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Om Shanti shanti shanti...

I've been busy. Doing various things, and not inspired to blog about or project what I have been doing, thinking and feeling.

Today is Angelique's birthday. It is 12 years since she was born. Tonight the boys and I will light candles for her and eat cake to mark the occasion. We were going to climb Lion's Head last night to visit her tree, but the weather was not good and we were all exhausted after busy and happy week-ends apart. So we have postponed that for now. We'll go in the next week or so.

Speaking of the week-end Griff went off to Port Owen with a school buddy, while Quinn & Roxy went to Bainskloof with our fabulous neighbours. Allowing me to go on a yoga retreat. My first ever, after 12 years doing yoga with my beloved yoga teacher.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. We were kept active and busy. It turned out to be a yoga TEACHER'S retreat! So 9 out of 12 of us are actually yoga teachers and they are all pretty advanced. It was an awesome group of warm and nurturing women though, who were all different. Some bubbly, some quiet, some serious, some large, some tiny, but all real, natural and authentic. They have such an energy about them. Also they are real people who live in the real world. They are not false or pretentious. And they are fun. They take the classes seriously - well not seriously, I think respectfully would be a better word. But they also kick back and joke and laugh and enjoy themselves. We drank coffee, giggled about sex, declared some of the poses to be 'diabolical', we flirted with our host Peter - who responded slickly by offering us wine with our dinner and declaring us 'cheap dates' when we needed only one bottle for 10 of us!

I also enjoyed running and walking around the farm on my own, getting a chance to think & feel. I also took long solitary swims across the farm dams, an eerily strange yet liberating thing to do. Swimming out into the centre of a large body of dark water into the unknown. No one even knew where I was.

We did 6 classes including some meditations, and Kundalini yoga with mantras and chanting. It was an amazing experience. We started the day at 06:00 and ended at about 22:00. Exhausted but totally relaxed. Falling asleep without even having energy to read. I slept soundly and restfully.

One odd/serendipitous thing happened... after each of the classes as I was leaving the chapel building and walking back to our rooms I would glance down and my eye would be pulled towards a pebble which I'd pick-up. Almost all of them were heart-shaped. One was completely round and smooth. I have my little collection of 'heart-stones' now, as a memento of my trip and as a reminder to keep my heart open.

 I am so glad I went. I am going to try to keep that feeling of peaceful balance within me.

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” ~  Deepak Chopra

Om Shanti shanti shanti...

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

There's a fine line

between letting go, and giving up.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Quinns ears - it is cholesteatoma.

We had an appointment with this new ENT today. He is an awesome doc. Really made us feel at ease and safe with his calm, supportive and confident manner. He was brilliant with Quinn too. I liked how he approaches the problem like we are all a team working together and that he is there for US.

He does most of his work in the public sector - at Red Cross & Groote Schuur and doesn't often take private clients, but it seems he has decided to help us with this, and I am so thankful because I am not sure I'd feel comfortable with anyone else handling it.

The problems is cholesteatoma, as per my Google investigation/diagnosis.

He checked the hearing test and said the hearing loss in his right ear apparently about a 30-35% loss!

As he said this op is pretty major. It is not easy, it is risky, takes a long time and not many people will even try it because it is a sensitive area and is so risky. (Risks include Facial paralysis from nerve damage, hearing damage, brain issues etc) But it is something he has dealt with before and he really seems knowledgeable and experienced. Also the risks of NOT doing anything become as bad, if not worse than the risks of the op...

Apparently this is the condition which Oscar Wilde died of. His was left untreated for so long that the enzymes eroded right through his skull and his brain got infected. Interesting - but scary!

Although the op is not to be trifled with I really don't think leaving it as an option and now I'd like it to go ahead as soon as possible. He is going to let us know if he can make a plan for this holiday, but failing that I said I'd rather do it in term time rather than wait until June/July because it has been left for too long already. And since he is redoing Grade 4 and pretty much cruising it, a week or so off school for something this major is not a big deal at all.

Anyway the op will take 2.5-3.5 hours if all goes smoothly and up to 6 HOURS if it is more complicated. THAT IS MAJOR! (Not to mention freaking expensive, but that is something I'll work out one way or another.)

Please hold thumbs that he'll be able to schedule us these holidays and that all goes well. I am trying to stay strong, objective and positive about it all. It needs to happen and I need to do what it takes to make sure it does.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


"If you want things to be different, perhaps the answer is to become different yourself." ~ Norman Vincent Peale:

"If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth." ~ Mitsugi Saotome

Friday, 12 March 2010

Quinn - ear issues

Not sure if I have mentioned it here before...? But Quinn has had a chronic ear condition for years, which is worsening, and it is degenerative. He has been to the GP and ENT several times - in fact it is the only reason he has been to the doctor at all in the past 8 years or so. He has had creams, anti-biotic drops, and in June 2008 he had his ears cleaned out in theatre by the ENT to try to alleviate the issue, but it did not actually resolve the problem which has returned. We clean out his ear all the time using an antiseptic solution. The problem keeps coming and going through and never totally goes away. At time he is in pain from it, and other times it smells - a lot. The rest of the time he is fine.

When Quinn had that op 20 months ago - just when my life was at max insane and hectic with divorce etc etc etc - the original ENT found a much worse problem while he was in there. Basically his ear drum and hearing bones have been damaged and compromised, by this condition he has developed. He probably needs to have invasive surgery, where they will cut behind his ear and flap his ears forward and drill into his skull to get right into his internal ear to try to stop what's happening, but the damage can not be reversed and depending on how bad it is he may need hearing aid(s).

Since then life intervened in a big way and we have been treating his ear symptomatically as described. He went back to the ENT once or twice again, but the Dr could never explain the issue to me understandably, although he did make it sound bad and scary (but also chronic, unsolvable & degenerative) and I really thought it was 'just' an outer ear bacterial infection.

I recently met another ENT who explained the underlying issue to me properly and seems to be able to help. (I HOPE) He is one of the cubs kid's dad. He noticed Quinn's destinctive smell one night at cubs and immediately recognized the problem. We got talking on the recent hike and he totally explained the issue to me and I GET it now. It IS serious and bad but is treatable - although the op is NOT trivial.

I took Quinn for a hearing yesterday. His left ear is normal (hears in the 10dB range) but his right ear has mild hearing loss (35-30dB). Thankfully his right ear was fine on the conductive (through the mastoid bone) test, so the issue is in the middle ear and not inner ear. I.e the nerve and hearing bones are still ok. Which mean it IS treatable and probably fixable. AND he will probably not have to lose any more hearing. He is still functional at this level and may regain hearing if they can fix his eardrum.

The problem is quite complex but I just found THIS ARTICLE that explains it well. He has the worse condition called cholesteatoma - which is very smelly at times.

It's pretty flippen hectic!

Anyway we have an appointment with this new ENT on Monday and I am hoping we can get him in for the surgery these holidays.

This doc does most of his work in the public sector - at Red Cross & Groote Schuur Hospitals and doesn't really take private clients. He says this op is not easy and not many people will try it because it is a such a sensitive area and is risky. (Facial paralysis from nerve damage, hearing damage, brain issues etc) But it is something he has dealt with before. So please hold thumbs that he can help us!!!

(and that it doesn't bankrupt me - although that's the lest of my worries, I'll sell my house if I have to!!!)

Previously Quinn was reluctant to getting any ear treatments because it is sensitive and he doesn't like it when the Drs want to swab it etc. So he has been scared and a little resistant about needing the op previously, but now he wants it, because he does get teased and questioned when he has a discharge flare-up and when it smells. (it comes and goes). He gets called 'Quinn stink ear' etc and he was very upset on Tues when a teacher accused him of not bathing. When he tried to explain she told him he was speaking nonsense, and that she 'has grommets and doesn't smell so that's rubbish'. So he is getting self-conscious about it now and says he wants it done. He said he 'can't wait'. Poor boy!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Taking DIY too far!

I have reached new depths of frugalness. I have recently started cutting my own hair!

It was well below my shoulders in December and I decided it needed a slight trim. Who needs to pay R100s for that, right? So I snipped away and hey presto it was ok... ish. Since then I keep finding little bits that need a trim and then I snip and then find more (not my hair was actually layered before) and then I find more. It has now got to the point that I'll find a piece at work and grab my scissors. Much to the amusement/horror of the guys I work with. It's become a joke. But it's like I ca;t stop now, because I always think I am so close to getting it right.

It is now well above my shoulders and I think I need to stop, and/or go fro a proper hair cut!

I have decided that for my birthday in April, I will have to get my hair fixed properly and maybe go for a couple of treatments at that awesome SPA I had the voucher for. (Our HR lady has even managed to get us a 10% discount there now too.) Or at the very least I'll go to the oral hygienist. I really think I need to look after myself better.

I still can't and don't want to spend fortunes on all this stuff which seems unnecessary and even wasteful. But I don't think I need to be quite so puritanical either.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Beer Challenged

So yesterday was the Men's Health 10km Lighthouse Race in Moullie Point. I again issued a Beer Challenge to all and sundry. (A race review can be found HERE).

I haven't run a race since my disastrous run/day in October. So even though I am less fit than before, it was time to come back.

Unfortunately only the willing competition was far too able too. Our company/my friends are far too young/fit actually... makes me look positively inadequate. I need to trade them in on some lesser models I think...

So last night I was competing against:

- Beryl -  hard-core long distance adventure racer who does the Puffer, the Bat run, The Table Mountain Challenge etc etc.
- Marilie - 1 hard core major cyclist and trail runner. Came 3rd in Summer Trail Series.=, and cycles the Cape Epic, Karoo to Coast etc.

- John - Iron-man competitor!
- Jason - 1 Muay Thai & general fitness freak (think 80 push-ups/sit-ups in 60 seconds. I kid you not!)
- Clinton - serious club runner, does time trials and races basically every week. Runs a 1:35 half marathon!
- Scott & Ash  - 2 of the directors out from London both of whom run a lot.

The final score...
John won with a convincing 44 mins. Clinton was just seconds behind him.
Marilie and Scott finished together in 46 mins.

Jason finished at 50 mins.

I started strong and near the front but by 3km in everyone had passed me. I was suffering in the heat a bit and not really enjoying myself. It was very very hot and dry out there. Not an easy race! Instead of killing myself I slowed down and just carried on, hoping to at least enjoy the rest of the race. The second half was much better as it started to cool down a little. At 9km to my total surprise I saw Ash just up ahead. There was no way I was going to stop or let him win after that. So I turned up the music and pressed on. I became aware of people ahead of me turning around to see who was huffing and wheazing behind them (I have been slightly chesty for a few weeks which hasn't helped). LOL. Anyway I managed to hold my lead and crossed the finish line at 55 minutes. Ash finished about a minute behind me. (I believe he is pretty bummed to have been defeated by me as I was unanimously considered the weakest contender of the group by far - nice!)

So my time was ok, not great, and not terrible. My best ever time for a 10km is 51:25.

44mins is not realistic for me (now) especially considering my last race was mid-Oct last year. Still I am glad I did it, and the beer was good afterwards! :)

I never understood the beer thing until I played action soccer one day and was so hot I chugged a beer afterwards and suddenly GOT IT! :)