Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mid Week Rant - The Great Orchid Rip-Off

Have you got one of these? Every one seems to have one or two and most of them look like mine does! All of mine have been gifts that my lovely friends and visitors have spent over R100 on and with out fail they have all died. I feel awful when the flowers all come off and very guilty about my non-green fingers - Sad I know, but I don't think of myself as a plant murderer just a victim of Woolworths or the other retailers that sell them.They must sell hundreds of these a week so are making a fortune.
I have a friend who is an expert on all things green and she has an orchid hospital at her home. She tells me that the orchids that are imported are doomed to a short life span by the way they are packaged and rooted in cotton wool.
Orchids are exotic plants that live on the bark of trees in warm humid climates - not cotton wool trees! She takes my ailing orchids and replants them with love and care and a considerate amount of skill and tries to revive them. Not always successfully. I love flowers and plants but I think these are being abused!
So - if you think that these are good value - think again. They look pretty for a couple of weeks and then are gone and you would be better advised to buy flowers or an indigenous plant that can go in the garden later....or better still something more useful - Perhaps a silk orchid!

Monday, July 22, 2013

I am as rich as Bill Gates......

....when it comes to our most valuable resource - Time! Like air it is free but it is really what we do with it that adds value to it. It's like having 86 400rands placed in bank account each day (R1=1 second) and it disappearing on the stroke of midnight that evening. If that were the case we really would make sure that we invested that money well and we would protect it from others so it couldn't be stolen. As it is with time  - waste it and it is gone forever.
I invested my Sunday catching up with my work backlog to give me a less stressed week and I must say I went to bed tired but strangely energised by the thought of being able to do things that I enjoy in the evenings this week - such as my writing and some reading and relaxation. Strangely one of the chores that I had to complete was marking assignments and one of the topics was Time Management and the delegates need to complete and report on a time analysis. I could weep when I see the way our jobs have become fragmented and the volume of work that the average worker is expected to get through. It severely impacts on their stress levels and then on their personal lives. I try to give them feedback and advice around the aspects that they can control - some of which is how to say no and how to stop people stealing their precious time!
We are generally successful in the areas that we focus our attention and therefore our time and that is why I needed to catch up so I can focus on my other passions and there are many!! I once was privileged to hear Prof. Weihahn speak (he was the lawyer who led the Weihahn Commission which changed the face of labour law in South Africa) read here. You would think that he was a privileged white lawyer but he told a story of a childhood spent in poverty, having to leave school to support his family and no money for education, and yet through grit and sheer determination he succeeded. He accounted his success to what he called the 3rd shift. We have to work 8 hours and then 8 hours to sleep, eat and keep ourselves groomed. He believed its how we used our 3rd shift - the other 8 hours that made the difference to our success and our self fulfilment. If we spend it watching TV or waste it on meaningless activities then its gone forever and it has not contributed to anything. I have never forgotten that talk and as he died not long afterwards, I am so glad he left me that legacy to take with me on my journey!
 So if you could make a wish for more time or more money what would you wish for - I will leave you to ponder that .... I know what my wish is for!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 Waiting!

I am excited by the prospect of a Royal birth and really happy for the young Prince and Princess but have the press camped outside the hospital for over 2 weeks now with lenses trained on windows and doors waiting....waiting....waiting... for WHAT? We all know what is going to happen and we don't need photographs of Kate in her hospital gown red faced and panting. Nor do we want to see William rubbing her feet while Kate pulls angry faces at him! BBC, SKY, CNN - you really need to leave them alone and wait like the rest of us for a dignified announcement to be posted outside Buckingham Palace. The international press need to show some respect and an urgent refresher course on professional ethics and morals.
If this is a taste of things to come for the little one then heaven help heir (excuse the pun)!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Challenge Yourself!

Well done to Lorraine Primary School for setting their pupils a challenge of tasks and activities to complete during the school holidays. Jessica was issued with her list and took it quite seriously. I thought it was a great idea designed to keep the children occupied and that some thought had gone into the challenges. None of them involved TV or computer games!
Some of them were fun eg. Sleep under the dining room table; find out two naughty things that your parents did when they were children. Lots of material there LOL!
Some required skill eg. Decorate a cake and do some crafts with an adult. Some challenges were about being outside eg. Go on a long nature walk and plant some seeds.
My favourite was to write a letter to a friend and post it. How many children can say that they have or will ever do that! Its all about BBM, email and Whatsap! Do a good deed for someone was on the list
Jessica invited me to be involved with 3 of her challenges and I baked a cake for her to ice - which she did with an icing nozzle for the first time. We scrap-booked her Justin Beiber concert page and she wrote her letter to her cousin while staying with me. Jessica is not a stranger to letter writing as she wrote to the Queen and received a reply - I hope her cousin writes back!
Her favourite challenge was the long nature walk and the cake icing, her least favourite was 'tidy your clothes cupboard and her most unusual was the challenge to visit an art gallery. She completed 17 out of the 18 challenges which I think is well done!
I just thought it was a great idea and it would be good for other schools and youth groups to do the same as a way to get children motivated and involved in their spare time. Setting and reaching challenges is a life skill too!
I like to set myself challenges in all areas of my life including professional development and personal development and physical challenges - they drive me to stretch myself and try new things. This year I have challenged myself to improve my photography - I have been on more workshops and getting out there - the result being my sunrise photo last week! I also want to learn to crochet and I am about to sign up for an online course in early childhood development and I want to do a Project Management qualification - something that I know I will find challenging. Zumba! say no more :-)
The message is that if you stop stretching yourself when you finish school then you are going to stagnate. Your brain, like a muscle, needs to be exercised. You need to enjoy them so set yourself challenges in areas that you enjoy and don't make them too easy or you wont s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
My biggest challenge at the moment is learning to live independently and I am treating it as something that I need to learn on my life journey. It's a stretch but I am improving and a challenge that I am determined to cross off my list.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mid Week Rant - the Mandela's

I am ashamed right now to be associated with South Africa! The shenanigans of what is supposed to be one of South Africa's leading families are nothing less than bizarre and the world must be rolling its eyes in amazement. The events surrounding Nelson Mandela's demise are a public embarrassment and anything could happen next!

We have a close relative digging up other relatives and moving them to suit their future financial needs. We have other family members selling the rights to their father's funeral to international TV networks when he is still alive. We have an old man on life support - at the age of ninety five - I ask you! We have a wife telling the world that her husband is responsive and conscious. We have a previous wife using police cavalcades to accompany her on hospital visits to say good-bye time and again, wasting our security resources. We have the international media camping out anywhere they can to get front row seats to the biggest circus event ever!
There is no dignity. There is no compassion. There is no respect. It is obvious that no one in the family has inherited the wisdom of this proud man. I am embarrassed and sad for him.