Life, Love, and Passports

Archive for February, 2013

Superhumans

Having watched two documentaries (From Romania with love and My new hand) which showed how selfless and amazing human beings can be. I’m feeling overwhelmed with appreciation and gratitude for individuals who make decisions to adopt children and those who donate organs.

There are many people who do amazing exploits every day by going the extra mile for those in need or who find themselves in difficult situations. The world needs each of us to do what we can to help. For today though I would like to salute these Superhumans!

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Growing pains

Today we took another major step as parents when our daughters got their ears pierced. They’ve been asking for some time now and we’ve always managed to change the conversation and prolong this very important step. We did persuade our youngest to wait just a little longer. She has no idea it may be three more years.

I do realise that it may not be a big deal for many parents who choose to have their children’s ears pierced as soon as they can. So while we’re filling out an ear piercing application form I realise how things have changed since I had my little ears pierced. Everything seems so much more complicated these days.

Having chatted to many parents and after discussing the do’s and don’ts for their respective families it is very apparent that one shoe doesn’t fit all. Some mothers have gasped in an almost disgusted way when they notice that I paint my girls nails something I have no problem doing I just think its a girly thing much like carrying a handbag. Being a parent means having to make decisions and choices for your children and sometimes with them.

The piercing went off without a hitch apart from the slight wincing and that was understandable. Tonight we have a chuffed 7 and 5yr old who are very pleased with the outcome. We are now secretly hoping that it will be a while before we have to agree to another major decision. Well what was a major decision for us anyway!


It’s easier to leave than to be left behind

After reading what seemed like some of the most devastating stories in the news the past week or so I have felt deeply for the families who are left behind to pick up the pieces following the tragic loss of loved ones.

I really despise the fact that death is one of those occasions where nothing more can be said by the one who ceases to breathe. There are no answers just unanswered questions. Death has proven itself to be a thief in the night. There is no way to prepare or avoid it. It just happens without warning!

Life hands out different measurements to each of us. Since we’ve no idea how much time we have I guess the idea is to make the most of our time. The challenge is to be the best we can be.
Love, laugh and and above all forgive. No regrets!


Service please!

Much is said about being entitled to excellent customer service. It’s ludicrous to expect our standards to be met continually, especially since we deal with a range of individuals. When on the receiving end of poor service, I very seldom find reasons why service is delayed or shoddy! I guess a part of me just expects reasonable service.

 

This week I’ve had quite a mixed bag of service, and when excellent, I’ve acknowledged it. When it’s been below par, I’ve tried to be understanding. However, I do think that service providers can nip potential problems in the bud. Simple things make a difference, like informing customers, and not just disappearing into thin air. After all, we really just want to be shown that we’re valued, even by the guy at the corner shop or the woman in her store(the size of a box), trying to make an honest living. Yes, the same woman who checks the empty cash register, her coat pocket and then finally her handbag, to give you change.

I don’t consider myself much of a complainer, but I do expect some level of service. That seems totally reasonable.

 

 


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Forgiveness is hard work yet so rewarding!

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My baking challenge…so far

Just in case you’ve been wondering what’s happened in the baking department since I first blogged about my desire to conquer the world of baking. Well I’ve been quite busy trying my hand at new things. Some with major success and others were just destined for the trash can. Needless to say I felt let down when things didn’t turn out right. There was far too much post flop analysis and the failures were duly placed on the never to repeat list.

Since I embarked on my baking challenge my idea was to bake at least one new thing each week. My challenge was briefly interrupted during my 3 week holiday in South Africa but I’m not complaining. It was a wonderful chance to eat well loved favourites though on my return I realised I hadn’t had any of my mothers delicious scones. No point asking for a recipe because my mother is one of those people who just has the special gift of not using measuring equipment. I can’t wait to reach that point with my baking.

While out for for dinner last night my girls wanted chocolate brownies for dessert and my husband suggested that I should make them from scratch and I did just that. My greatest reward at the moment is having my family applaud my effort. The girls were so impressed with the outcome and requested a repeat today. So to date I’ve attempted a carrot cake, Italian hazelnut cake, bread pudding, scones and of course my safe bake cupcakes. All in all I think it’s been going well. I did take a detour from the baking by making my first ever plum jam.

There are some big challenges on the horizon like bread making but that is going to require the very best of my limited baking skills. I’m gearing up for the challenge!


Have your say!

These three words have become an invitation for people the world over to unleash their every thought and opinion. I seem to have this incurable problem of always having to read the comments section whether on news sites, blogs, facebook and even trends on twitter. I’m always so interested to read people’s thoughts because I think it usually says much about the individual whether or not they realise it. This incessant need to be right and in some cases to just be rude really intrigues me every time. Countless usually faceless people criticising the way people look as if you could magically change your physical appearance. Does it really hurt that much to say something positive or just say nothing at all? Apparently not because it seems the quickest way to get noticed these days on social networks is to say mean and outrageous things. This usually means picking on defenceless people and in my opinion this is where the bullies and bullying should be curbed.

Obviously I love having my say and having a blog allows me to do that. After blogging for two years I can honestly say that this week was the first time I could not and would not give a public opinion of a headline which had the whole world talking, judging and even passing sentence. Yes! I have an opinion and I’m waiting to have my say but this time I’ll just sit it out. After all opinion has never counted as fact not as far as I know anyway. Oscar Pistorius deserves his day in court in this case I think I’ll let the courts decide.

Fact: A young woman has lost her life in the most tragic of circumstances. Rest in peace Reeva Steenkamp!


Courting danger

After putting off watching a documentary about a woman who was savagely attacked by a chimpanzee I finally gave in to my inquisitive side. I’ve mentioned previously that I’m a huge fan of documentaries and particularly those which include reconstructive surgery. It all started out so well and quickly evolved into a sickening account of that fateful day.

I saw pictures of this oversized chimp and couldn’t help but wonder what goes through a persons mind when they try to domesticate animals which should be left to rome in the wild. An animal by its very nature has the instinct to attack and that in itself should be a deterrent. No matter how cute it may seem when you bring a hippopotamus, cheetah or chimp into your house surely there must be some point when you realise that it may not end well.

Sadly it was Charla Nash who was at the end of that horrendous attack and how she survived that is absolutely remarkable. Watching her recovery and undergoing extensive surgery was heartbreaking to say the least. Watching her undergo that full face transplant and both hands being transplanted. Sadly there were complications with the hands and they had to be removed. Through all of this added drama she remained resilient and hopeful.

The work of the surgeons and the rehabilitation team was truly amazing. The unsung heroes for me in this journey to normality are the organ donors who decide to make a difference after their deaths and very often it’s their families willingness to help while dealing with a loss of their own.

I headed to bed pretty upset and my only consolation was that Charla seemed okay considering her awful experience and so grateful for family who make the hardest times bearable.


Licensed to write

Yesterday my 7yr old received her handwriting pen licence. I had no idea there was a standard of writing required to be trusted with a pen. Thinking back to my days in primary school perhaps they should’ve let us prove our worth with ink.

Being able to write with a pen was a highlight and I remember those days so clearly but I’ve always wondered why we just couldn’t bring a reliable pen from home. The right of passage to getting your hands on a pen was so complicated back then. I can actually picture the absolute mess in Room 11. All those desks with ink wells, 9yr olds armed with cheap fountain pens from the corner shop. Of course there was always the child who pitched up with a state of the art fountain pen and it would make no difference to the quality of their handwriting.
I think what our teachers failed to tell us was that writing with a fountain pen was an art not at all like grabbing a ball point pen and getting on with it.

The end of the school day always showed signs of a struggle with tiny fingers looking like they’d had a ink fight and eyesore blotches on uniforms. I can’t remember how long this battle continued I’m certain I was glad to see the end of my fountain pen. These days I write with any pen I can get my hands on.

My daughter is now a qualified pen user and has the certificate to prove it. She has been perfecting her cursive writing with the letter ‘X’ being her foe and finally she has perfected it. I haven’t seen the pen she was awarded because it’s so special it has to stay at school. Huh!
It’s not the end though because she’s been informed about ongoing pen skill assessment and failure to maintain the standard will result in her licence being revoked. Really? It is just a pen isn’t it?


Mommy milestones

There is much said about childhood milestones from introduction of solids, sitting, crawling, standing, walking and of course the sighting of the first tooth. The joy of parents as each goal is reached and of the course the exaggeration and rigging of onset of milestones is never too far away. Truth is we all encounter these types of parents as we raise our toddlers and some of us may be guilty of this gross exaggeration as well.

Truth is every time a toddler reaches a milestone we lose more control and they edge ever closer to independence. Watching them needing less of you can be quite daunting. It’s weird when you think that you spend most of their first year just waiting for your baby to do the next big thing. Reality of life is that there is only one chance for a first after that its just as regular as clockwork. I do miss having a baby to take care of and seize every opportunity to hold other people’s babies until they start squirming and crying then I’m reminded that with my children’s independence comes my freedom!

This week I reached another mommy milestone. After coming to the shocking realisation that my girls will never need a pushchair or camp cot ever again I still found it really hard to part with the items. I’d been driving around with these articles in my car which were of no use to me but could make a huge difference to somebody else. I’m no hoarder and lack any sense of sentimentality so I found it very weird that I had to let go emotionally before I could let go physically. Finally I did the drop off and felt at peace as I walked into a new phase of my life.

Wherever you are in the parenting spectrum try to enjoy it because it’s a fact that nothing lasts forever. Say goodbye to each experience as it ends and prepare to embrace the next.
Happy parenting!