Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lip Service!

You know you are going to have an interesting conversation when you go to look at new lipsticks and the person who comes to assist you is wearing blue nail polish, has bronzed sculpted cheekbones and is male! I was just browsing really as I have about 5 lipsticks at any given time on my person but one that I got free with a Clinique purchase was particularly impressive for long lasting - I just wasn't keen on the colour so I just thought I would see if they had one in a burnt coral shade. I told him/her that most lipsticks seem to disappear on my lips and I was told to outline them in pencil, then fill them in with pencil, then lightly dust them with transcluscent powder, then apply the lipstick again - sensible advice and nothing I didn't know. I get strangely irritated when younsgters with blue nail polish tell me stuff I have known since my teens as if they are imparting pearls of beauty wisdom!
Anway I went along with him/her and tried a few shades - too orange - too red - too brown and eventually a Goldilocks moment - "Perfect!" he/her said. "What is this shade called?" I asked. Well I had to ask as the writing on the bottom of lipsticks is in elf language - too small for anyone taller than 5cms to read without a magnifying glass. "Perfect Pink, I was told with a flourish. Great - it's exactly the shade that I was wearing when I came in! I'll stick to using my free with purchase one! He/She pouted and off I went to powder my nose and my lips!! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Fine-hair Things of Life

My hair! It is supposed to be a woman's crowning glory but mine alternates between a pancake and  a birds nest. Baby fine, Bum fluff are adjectives that come to mind and I have tried every product on the market that mentions VOLUME or HOLD or THICKER, or BODY and nothing works, if fact the latest products are all about flat, straight and gloss - three words that spell DISASTER to my crowning glory! So I make the most of it especially for the first hour after my hairdresser (me) attends to it in the morning after that its all downhill and I have given up believing anything will make a difference. That was until I walked through Dischem and saw a new range of products and in particular a shampoo that promised 95% more oxygen in my hair. I have been using it for a week and not one person has commented that there is almost twice as much oxygen in my hair. I tested it on several friends asking, "Have you notices anything different about my hair?" Replies have been, "Lovely colour!" " Erm - No!" "Changed your hairdresser?" "Is it a wig?" Not one person has noticed my 95% oxygen boost. I am disappointed - especially when lamenting this situation to my sister who when asked if she had noticed anything different mentioned my earrings! Julia suggested that seeing that I live in the windy city that I could have saved myself some money as our PE breeze would have done the oxygen job - Sigh!
Sometimes I regret being an optimist because I know the wonderful things that are happening in the world with technology and space travel and now hand transplants and making Winnie Mandela look 20 years younger using only face cream (no botox). These make me believe that there is hope for my me and other beings destined to have hair like a maltese poodle! Perhaps one day I will have thick beautiful tresses full of volume, body that will hold a style for more that 30 mins - Perhaps one day I will have a swinging bob - till then I will have to rely on the breeze to blow me away!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Everyone is a Kardashan....

I have a secret pleasure and I am about to make it public! Well you all know I love photography - no secret there but I also love to watch people being photographed especially when they dont know I am watching them! People giving their best smile - I know you have practised this in the mirror - and others just pulling a face or fooling around because they have practised their best smile and didn't like it. Even better I love to watch people taking selfies - I was guilty of this but have now taken pills to stop the compulsion to pout at myself in public - the effect of this medication wears off when under the influence of alcohol! I was once in the queue in the ladies at Kei Mouth Service Station and the lady in front of me was taking selfies of herself - a bit extreme I thought!
Best of all is watching young people pose like they are in a magazine or like they are in a Kadashan fashion shoot. I love to watch them lose their inhibitions and just seize the opportunity as they drop on one hip while thier fist finds the waist and they throw their headback - Classic pose! I have seen them turn thier back to the camera and look seductively over their shoulder and I have seem them spreadeagled against a rock with the wind whipping thier hair around like a Mens Health Calendar Girl but larger than life. I watched a group of young girls doing exactly this last Sunday at sunset on the beach by Something Good - there was no sunset as it was one of those strange misty dusks we had - it was suddenly very cold too but nothing could dampen thier enthusiasm as they strutted their stuff oblivious to the line of cars they faced. They were our entertainment as we enjoyed our fish and chips.
I am not being judgemental - I really do enjoy watching them project that sass and rock that moment. There is a Kardashan in us all - but we are just all not brave evough to let our inner celeb out!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Gentle-man

I went to a funeral this morning - the heavens opened as we said farewell to a young man you died very suddenly of a heart attack aged a too young thirty four. The church was packed, as it so often is when a young person dies, with young people from all walks of life and my heart went out to his parents - his dad was inconsolable. I think all in the church had a question in their heart - Why? I also sat there listening to the wonderful testimonies from his best friend, his two brothers and his lovely young wife thinking Why?
I was thinking why I had not got to know the depth of this young man - I knew him as a friend of my sons Mark and Paul and I remember him from his youth when he was DJing with my youngest Sean (who is the same age) and he was always a quiet, respectable and hardworking youngster but I had no idea, nor had I given a thought to, his good kind heart. I sat considering why it is that the quiet souls amongst us get ignored and I realise now that I am poorer for ignoring this gentle hearted man. I learned that he had a spiritual home in his church and I learned that he played rugby for his school and was a prefect long ago. I saw photos of him as a shy youngster and heard how he loved to make biscuits and was teaching his daughter how to bake. I admired the way his brothers told of thier childhood memories growing up with thier younger brother who wanted to be included in everything they did. I learned how he had been not only a proud father, but how he had been a loving and positive influence on his step son. My heart went out to his incredibly brave wife as she spoke of their love and gave thanks for all he had brought to her life. She questioned where she and the children would get the strength to carry on living without him. I thought about why God was so cruel to take him from them and I just knew that her strength would come from the people she was surrounded with this morning. As in all situations of stress to me, I thought what could I learn from this morning.
I learned that it is easy to underestimate those among us who walk quietly and smile gently and who live thier values and their life in peace with others. Greatness lives in small and humble actions and in the love given to others. I learned the true meaning of the word 'gentle-man'.
His parents can be so so proud of raising this gentleman - I wish I had known him better.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Peek at my Week

Life is chaotic and this week has been a busy one - action packed and full of daily challenges but I have managed to find small pockets of stillness within the chaos and they have been beautiful. Just now I sat for a moment in my sunroom and felt the sun on my face and just closed my eyes and enjoyed that simple pleasure. Its moments like that that keep me sane I think! Sitting next to V and listening to his breathing - a little rattly as his cold is lingering and weakening his already fragile strength, I gave silent thanks for my health and the simple breathing that most of take for granted.

Where have I been? Mostly to work but because of being sent home thanks to  protest action I got a free day which I always treat as a gift - Time is the most precious resource and I spent this windfall by driving to a little shop that always inspires me - the Chameleon in Humansdorp! Just a lovely eating and shopping experience - the food always beautifully presented and there is always something different to buy. I found something pretty to wear but Vernon was not feeling well enough to brunch so we then drove on to St Francis with take away coffee and found a sunny spot to park and enjoy the waves crash onto the sand - pure therapy!

Who have I met? I have worked with some interesting groups this week - Women on a Leadership programme who discussed the challenges that we face working in a world designed for men by men  and how we as women can extend the positive impact we have on our families to our workplaces and in doing so heal this sick planet and ailing world. Women hold up half of the sky so we have a responsibility to create a world that we want to live in and use our influence where we can. Women have an authentic type of power that we need to harness for change. I loved our conversations.
Yesterday I was tasked to develop a service mentality with a group in hospitality and we explored the topic of keeping motivated and energetic in our work. Most were enthusiastic but there was a small minority influenced by one particular person who seemed hell bent on blaming their current unhappiness on their boss, their finances and their race. You really cant teach happiness and some people are just happy being - well being unhappy. To me happiness and positivity is a daily choice to make the best of what you are dealt with. Problems and challenges are part of life  and always will be whether you moan or worry about them or both, or whether you choose to just get along with solving them is what makes the difference to whether you have a miserable life or a happy one. The rest of the group's enthusiasm made up for them and I left there feeling that I had made a difference. I have also met my pharmacist - and seem to have a daily meeting with him for as fast one of Vs challenges disappear another one pops up the following morning! Who else - Oh yes! I Skyped with a nephew that I have met only twice - once when he was four and then a few years ago at a  funeral. He is coming to SA in December and I am looking forward to get to know him and his wife a little better.

What I have learned? 
Dont sweat the small stuff. It really isn't worth the worry.
Never take your health for granted.
Make the most of cancelled plans and use the time freed up as a gift.
Make time to enjoy simple pleasures - right now I am enjoying looking at a jug of yellow freesias and the smell is reminding me that Spring is around the corner.
I have learned to sit and enjoy an episode of my favourite programme at the moment 'Doc Martin' for no reason at all.
I have also learned that reading Marlina De Balsi's books - set in Italy and dripping with pasta, porcini and pastries make me yearn for La Dolce Vita.......the sweet life! I love her writing and last night I read just like fruit  "Some people ripen, some rot!"  thank God that I am ripening!



Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Road Less Travelled

Over the thirty odd years that I have lived in South Africa I have driven many times up and down the N2 to Cape Town and in the last two months alone, I have done that return journey three times and in addition spent a girls weekend in Knysna with my granddaughter and last weekend I drove as far as Wilderness. for a healthy retreat.  People have been astonished that I have driven it alone and comment". "Shame, you must be exhausted." Well I want to comment in return, "Shame you don't know what you are missing!"
The Garden Route looks BEAUTIFUL at this time of year and my problem is not driving this route, but making myself stay in the car, because if I stopped every time I wanted to take a photograph or enjoy the breathtaking views - I would still be en route and going nowhere slowly. One day - I will have the time to go nowhere slowly and enjoy every minute! 
Fields of fynbos contrast with lush green farmlands, long winding rivers cut through rocky gorges, the endless blue ocean on one side and mountains that graze the sky on the other. The windy road brings sudden slashes of bright yellow crops that cut into the earthy landscape and now and then you have to slow down to avoid a baboon family feasting in the road or a farm stall entices you with promises of home grown produce. I love this route! I love this land!
Today I enjoyed it from the air - and was back home by 12,30! I flew to accompany V back to PE. My 7 am flight was cancelled (thanks SAA for not letting me know so I didn't have to get up at 04.45) so I was on the 8am flight arriving at 9.30 and on tenterhooks as our flight back was at 10h55 and check in time was at 10,00. Because the flight was running late, the pilot explained that he was flying lower than usual to try and make up time, and as it was a perfectly clear day the aerial view  was fantastic. I followed the N2 and knew exactly what little coastal town or settlement I was looking down on and enjoyed that earth toned patchwork quilt from above. 
Last weekend, when I was in Wilderness, I decided to find the road less travelled to circumnavigate those lakes and lagoons from the other shore. I followed the railway line once graced by the Outeniqua Choo Choo and bumped up muddy tracks to Karatara passing farms called Moon Rising and Serena and Groenveldt. I passed tumbledown cottages and wondered who had sat on those sagging stoeps. I passed a man (could have been a woman) in overalls, boots that looked too large and a bandana, vigourously tilling the vegetable patch not a meter from the road. Engrossed, he raised a hand but not his eyes in greeting.  I saw carefree skipping children with broad grins who waved like mad or raised thier thumbs and gazed curiously after my car. 

The road turned and climbed and I was surrounded by verdant fields and chewing cows full of lazy disinterest and was now able to look down again on the still waters, now in miniature below me.
 Soon there were signs of life and I drove through a settlement - rows and rows of RDP houses - new, shiny and totally out of place is these ancient lands - I slowed behind a farm truck and reluctantly joined the N2 again.

I enjoyed the last of the suns rays on my balcony - writing my journal - a few geese flew in noisily and settled in the reeds, then another a family and another. As dusk fell a thousand or more geese joined them and noisily made thier home for the night - becoming silent as darkness swallowed them. The following morning at sunrise, they all took off again in thier family groups, in the direction from which they came reminding me that I must also leave return from whence I came but like the geese - I will return. There is much more to explore!

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The road ahead

So much has happened this month! None of us know what the road ahead holds but we can drive from one side of the country to the other just by seeing the road illuminated in our headlights - that's all we need - to see the moment in front of us and to navigate that! Giving up is conceding that things will never get better and that is just not possible.
South Africa has voted for change and the mood is upbeat as an ocean of blue congregated in our metro to support and welcome the DA as our new political party of choice, sending waves of optimism through our midst. Voting day was cold and wet but thankfully we turned out in our millions to make our mark and it has paid off - I am looking forward to some real governance in our metro and the DA living up to its promise.
The second thing that has happened is that I have a new man! Well the same one but made new because he has gone through his stem cell treatment. Its amazing what science and medicine can do but it has its price - not just the medical aid price - but the toll it has taken physically and mentally. Some major doses of chemo (they literally take you within a whisker of what your body can survive), three weeks of isolation - in a room with beige walls, white bedding, a view of the hospital roof and a bit of mountain on a clear day through dirty windows - really is a sight for sore eyes. Most days V was too sick to care but its true that most survivors of this treatment have a touch of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) due to the experience. Anyway it is behind him and although he is weak, each day is an inch of progress and healing has begun and will continue from Thursday in PE.
But....right now I am in a really good space - Literally! I am in Wilderness at Lodge on the Lake watching wild geese and sailing boats and listening to the sound of silence. this morning I went exploring the back roads off the N2 to where my mind has wandered before me as I travelled up and down the Garden Route. Muddy tracks and derelict cottages and cows and birdsong for breakfast.
I am staying in a room the size of one of those labourers cottages with a vase of white roses and lavender, a soft bed and a view to die for! I have started a new book by Marlena De Blasi  (click for the review) The Thursday night Umbrian Supper Club - which is mouth wateringly good and this afternoon I shall be renewed with a facial and a hot stones massage before sleepwalking back to my room and enjoying my book and later a movie that I have been saving.
Tomorrow I will wend my way home mindful that its Woman's Day - I may even stop and shop a little - Life is like a roller coaster - live it - enjoy it - You can choose whether you scream or enjoy the ride!