Life, Love, and Passports

Archive for October, 2012

Helping hand

I’ve been volunteering at the local food bank for just over a year now. While it started out as a way of helping people in need, I had no idea that it would change me in so many positive ways. I’ve been forced to look inside myself and to deal with many indifferences and perhaps judgements which I hadn’t realised were such a part of my make up.

I’ve worked with so many volunteers who’ve impacted my life with their positive attitudes and caring manner. As it turns out the food bank is not just about food it’s so much more. Meeting people from various walks of life with very different circumstances really does stretch you and sometimes leaves you in tears.

Today was one of those emotionally draining days where the food parcel was a very small part of our service to the community. I walked away feeling so grateful for all that I have because looking inside constantly can make you selfish. I’m so glad I signed up to help when I did. If you have an opportunity to serve in your community do it. You’ll be surprised you might just be the one being helped.


Hickory Dickory Dock

So the clock fell back an hour during the early hours of this morning. While people are claiming they gained an hour to sleep in I feel a bit deprived of sleep. It’s going to take at least 48 hours for me to adjust.

Daylight saving makes no sense to me and I’m not sure that it ever will. There is no daylight during the winter and I wish the powers that be would take note. This morning we were faced with a cold, wet and windy morning. This surely signals the season where people walk with their heads bowed, small talk ceases and occasional smiles disappear until the summer. Everybody has one goal to get into a warm, well-lit area.

Happy hibernation!

Heroes and villains

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the amazing spy that is James Bond. I cannot say that I’ve watched them all but I’ve certainly seen enough to know how Mr. Bond operates. Fast girls, beautiful cars, amazing gadgets, the iconic theme song and his martini which is shaken and not stirred of course!

Yesterday saw the latest Bond adventure Skyfall unveiled at the movies (my South African friends have a bit of a wait though!). I wasn’t one of the masses who flocked to see it on opening day but I was interested to hear the general consensus even though I’ll still make up my mind after I eventually get to watch the world-famous spy 007 achieve the impossible in the least amount of time. What a hero!

The first article I read was a complaint made about product placement. It seems James no longer drinks martini and has become a lager man. Really? People actually took the time to complain and that I find admirable because I’m not sure that I would’ve noticed. Honestly speaking Daniel Craig just looks like more of a lager man than say perhaps Sean Connery.

Come on ‘Bondsters’ surely some things are going to change after 50 years. Bond movies have evolved since telegrams and other now prehistoric gadgets. Who knows our next Bond may like his water bottled not poured. I’ve no doubt that this film will be true to the basic plot and in the end Bond triumphs as he always does.

Personally I cannot wait to see the sequence to this instalment of the theme song because that is my Bond highlight. Adele has not disappointed and the song reminds me of Dame Shirley Bassey’s rendition of Diamonds are forever. Spectacular!

Going up?

There are some things in this life that will never make sense to me and I suppose not everything is meant to.

Whilst waiting to get into an elevator today it just occurred to me that people have very different ideas about the purpose of this amazing invention and the etiquette required. I’ll understand if I come across as a little bored but you’ll probably find you’ve encountered some if not all of these ‘lift personalities’.

There’s something about standing outside a lift having pressed the direction you wish to go. A little while later a user arrives and upon seeing the already lit button proceeds to press that very button as if there’s some kind of magical split ahead.
Let’s call this the platform for temporary time travel. A place where common people wait for their turn in an orderly fashion and when your turn arrives some unruly passenger jumps the queue by sliding in. At this point everybody mumbles but nobody is brave to really speak out!

If you’re lucky enough to get in and be the first occupant when the lift arrives you’re a winner because you get to choose your destination. Fear not it’s just a floor away before a rocket scientist joins the journey and once again the already lit button no.3 is pressed again. I’ve yet to figure out why people do this. Do you know?

Finally, I really wish people would realise the elevator is not your personal possession and based on this obvious fact personal space is not guaranteed. Making shifty movements, folding arms, placing feet apart, pretending you’re moulded to your space is not cool. Please move along and realise that everybody finds the journey unpleasant at the best of time.

Safe journey!

Frivolity of the bowling alley

My girls are huge fans of the bowling alley. Yesterday it became quite clear that my total lack of seriousness of the game was in poor taste according to my five and seven year old anyway. They’ve both reached the stage where competition and achievement are important. It’s the taking part theory is of no interest to them.

My highlight at the bowling alley is the recent announcement that it’s no longer necessary to wear those regulated bowling shoes. I must admit that I do sleep easier at night knowing I haven’t shared a pair of potential athlete foot infested shoes. The very thought of those shoes gives me itchy feet.

So we bowled our way through our game. I’ve learnt very early on that unless you’re a professional bowler the harder you try the more things seem to go wrong. We had a great time as usual and look forward to another bowling session filled with strikes, gully balls and total misses!


Sweet Revenge

So I’ve been watching a series called Revenge and for the most part I couldn’t figure if I loved it or hated it. I must admit I admired the research and effort put in by the lead character, Emily. I absolutely disliked the fact that I often found myself supporting her evil schemes. I really worried that it may show exactly what type of character I truly am. I’ve long-held the view that people who wrong you should be forgiven but occasionally in my life I’ve dreamed elaborate plans to get back at people who had wronged me. Perhaps this is why in a sick kind of way I really admired Emily because she did what I only dreamed.

The downside of a vengeful persons life as demonstrated by Emily is the loneliness and feeling of complete emptiness. As the curtain came down on series 1, the sight of her heartbroken and being no closer to being free from a life of vengeance just proved how futile payback can be. I’m not suggesting that wrongdoers should be let off but their punishment should be left to those in authority if they’ve broken a law. Personal offence is a seperate issue of which I’m sure most of us have had to deal with it. How we deal with this says volumes about us.

There is nothing sweet about revenge it just leaves you bitter not better. Forgive, forget and move on!

It’s not a game anymore

Today was one of those days that called on my husband and I to present a united front when dealing with my seven-year old. I’ve come to realise that parenting is a multifaceted occupation. Some days I feel like I’ve got a split personality. The challenges come thick and fast and then there are periods of smooth sailing when everyone seems to know what’s required of them.

My daughter has been playing the violin for little over a year now and we still have to deal with these intermittent outbursts when she doesn’t want to practice. She recently joined a junior orchestra and things have stepped up a gear. She is more than happy to attend her lessons but is not in favour of practicing at home. I’m looking forward to the day when I’ll tell her that she has put in more than enough time. Truth is that’s a long way off and for now we just have to encourage and occasionally threaten her. Whatever gets results!

The road ahead is long and we’ve agreed that she won’t be allowed to throw in the towel because quitting is for quitters. I must admit at the height of her music tantrums I want to throw the towel in for her. Here’s hoping that she’ll thank us one day for teaching her the useful art of hanging in even when things aren’t going your way.

Never gonna give you up

Now if you read the blog title and didn’t immediately think of Rick Astley I’m afraid it may be a bridge too far for you to understand my gushing account of one of my favourite music artists of the fabulous 80s.

Last night I felt firmly in my teens as I left home to meet up with a friend who is half my age (young enough to be my daughter!). I was trying to function normally because the absolute giddiness I had been suffering from for almost 24 hrs was now reaching fever pitch. I had no idea what to expect but it soon became apparent as we entered the venue that I was an admirer of his work and far from a crazy fan because the absolute commitment from some of the fans was amusing to say the least. The two things which stood out the most was the Rick clone and a woman with an original album cover from 1987.

The performance got underway and I was not disappointed the quality of his voice was as I remembered and I was transported back in time to carefree days and thoughts of childhood stupidity mostly. He did a spectacular job singing hit after hit and entertaining the crowd of little over 400 people. Curtains came down and farewell waves and squeals for more music ended at around 2230. As I headed home I couldn’t help but chuckle because I really felt that the organisers had done their homework by getting us out of there not too long after our bedtime.

I threw myself into my bed with aching feet and at that point the teenage delusions were well and truly over and I wondered how old Rick will feel after a few more nights. The reality of last night was that none of us are as we were at the height of the 80s. I had a very entertaining evening and I’m more than happy to admit that I’m not as young and certainly don’t feel as young as I used to be. Bring on the twilight years!

Anti Slavery Day

It’s estimated that there are about 27million people in slavery. That is a staggering statistic and each number represents people being held against their men, woman and children. Human trafficking has become a very lucrative evil with people being bought and sold like cattle at a auction. People are being tortured, misused and abused. No doubt there are long term psychological effects for those who are lucky enough to be rescued.

Today is a day to highlight the plight of those being misled and tricked into activities they would’ve never chosen for themselves. Across the world people are taken against their will and forced into labour, domestic servitude, forced marriage, forced begging, sexual exploitation or removal of organs. The United Nations is leading the fight to end human trafficking in our lifetime.

The numbers are daunting but we can all get involved by reporting suspicious behaviour and activities to local police. Education is key and once we become aware of the tricks of the trade we can help to alleviate modern-day slavery one person at a time. Nobody should be bought or sold!

There are some awesome organisations working to get the message out about human trafficking. Shout out to Stop the traffik, A21 campaign, Hope for justice and many more. Get involved wherever you are!

The shoe monster

This morning my house was filled the sound of wailing, sniffing and sobs. If I’d been a passerby I would’ve imagined that something really awful had happened. Well actually something awful had happened my five-year old Gemma discovered that her school shoe had vanished during the night. I must be honest there was very little empathy from my side. You see I’ve told my kids on countless occasions the importance of storing shoes in pairs. I’m not dogmatic about where they are stored just that they be together.

I couldn’t help but feel today was the day for her to learn that lesson and I had no doubt the message would be made clear to her siblings. In between sobs I was asked what she should do. My ‘you should listen to your mother’ tone went into overdrive. My solution was simple choose another pair of shoes and I’m sorry they’re not black but fuchsia will have to do. At this point the crying went to another level and she eventually went to school in a pair of polka dot Wellington boots and a pack of tissues to dry a now endless production of tears and snot of course.

Safely in the car and on our way to school I started having second thoughts about the boots. I mean what kind of mother does this? I found a problem solver she could change into her physical education shoes after-all they are black, the downside is they are canvas and not practical for outdoor play on a wet turf.

On my way home I just knew I had to try to find that shoe and I did after all but two minutes. Now I would’ve just left them paired for her to find after school or I could take them to school and give her one less thing to worry about. Being the pushover I am I carted the shoes all the way to school. I’d like to think they’ve all learnt a valuable lesson. Somehow deep down inside I know this will not be the last time!