Wednesday, December 28, 2011

After Christmas Ramblings

It's been ages since I posted and I should write "something". You'd think that I would have learnt by now that "should" is never a good reason for anything. Nothing like guilt and obligation to kill one completely.

This year has been difficult. I miss my SIL at various events, but especially missed her this Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas, we had our Christmas Eve family dinner and it was good. Everyone pitched in with food and drinks and it is always fun watching children with their presents. My folks had asked us each to write on a small piece of paper 5 things we like and 5 things we dislike. We weren't allowed to discuss this with our partners and were not allowed to be too obvious, or too vague - so it was quite a challenge!  When we arrived we put our slip of paper into a Chrismassy envelope and these were hung randomly on a tree.

During the meal, we each had a chance to read someone's "likes and dislikes" and we all had to guess who it belonged to. It was a lot of fun and we all learnt things about members of our family that we didn't know!

I still have about 3 weeks of holidays left and I have no idea what I am going to do with it!


Random Holiday Happenings:
  • Having My Man on leave - always good.
  • Going to spend some very chilled days with my folks who stay a couple of hours away from here in a quiet, yet surprisingly active town. We arrived and didn't get back into our car until we left. We read, swam, slept late and ate abundantly. It was a break we both needed.
  • Seeing 'old' friends. I have had breakfast with school friends, some of whom I have not seen for 25 years, met up with friends from up country that I haven't seen for about 10 years, as well as lots of dinners, braai's and other fun stuff with local friends.
  • My long-time friend arrived from Aus with her 9-month old whom I got to meet for the first time. That was special!
  • I have tickets to cricket next week - so looking forward to that!
Lots of cricket happening all over the show. It's definately SUMMER! 

Niiiice.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oh! Christmas Tree

When I was in about Grade 5 we couldn't afford a Christmas tree. So my folks found a tree that was partly dead, sprayed it silver, and we hung our decorations on it. It's highly possible that at the time, I behaved like a spoilt brat and complained bitterly, but in my memory, it was the most beautiful tree I have, to this day, ever seen.

So much so, that I have never been happy with "traditional" trees. While "My Girl" was growing up, we had wire trees, sprayed trees, no tree, and a variety of ideas from me, until one day when she was in about Grade 7, she said to me "Mom, can't we just have a normal Christmas tree like everyone else?" - so from then on, we have pretty much done that.

A couple of years ago, was one of my most memorable Christmas's. My 'local' folks were overseas (of course we missed them!) and the siblings decided to get together and make our own fun! (while the cats away...  :-)  We each had to buy a present for under R30 and it had to be as kitch as possible.

On the night we got together, had supper and drew names. Depending on the name we drew, we got their kitch present. However, heres' the catch:- the deal was that you had to display the gift in your home in a prominent position for a year. I am not sure when I had last laughed as much as that night.

In fact, we laughed so much, that the tree got knocked over! It's a good memory and I will treasure it always. I had sprayed a tree silver for that night too...


The year the tree collapsed laughing
Subconsciously, I think that's why this year, I have gone back to my sprayed tree. Besides the fact that it remains my favourite.... Good memories are attached to it.

This year...
There is something else that is special about this tree. Do you remember this post? This same lady made us all a Christmas angel to hang on our tree as a gift. Some people are just a gift in themselves....

A special gift.
Of course, the real meaning behind the joy of Christmas is not in the tree.... but in the gift of love and grace  born on that day that changed the history of the universe forever.

Now THAT is a gift.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I almost "klapped" my printer.

It's THAT  time of the year where, at school, there is full on carnage.

It never seems to matter how well prepared you are in advance for the "end of year", that it always becomes a frenzy of half-crazed (and sometimes fully-crazed) people, all frantically trying to get everything done that needs to be done.

On Friday, in the middle of printing reports and award certificates - (All those things that have to be left to the last minute), I got an unusual message on my printer "Replace/Install Waste Toner Bin".

Pardon?

What the flippin heck is that ---- and why was there no WARNING??

And no, it's not like the toner, which gives you a good forewarning and then still prints for a decent period of time -- the printer just ceases to work.  So, I finally located this silly plastic piece of ...... (you fill that in), I emptied it and hoped that it would work. It didn't.

Please bear in mind that I am the only one with a colour printer. I am the only one who can do this. I now have teachers, quite literally, and quite within their rights, standing over me and needing their printing.

So, I phoned my local PC support guys and they promised me that they would get it first thing Monday morning. I was happy. This was do-able.

Fast forward to Monday.

Apparently, the supplier said that this will take 6 weeks to get.

P-a-r-d-o-n?

(cough, choke, faint - 6 weeks???)

What part of  "I need it now" is so difficult to understand?

They sent a very helpful tech guy to come and try to 'make it work'.

It didn't work.

SO he took it away and it turns out that, wait for it.... Compressed air is my new best friend.  He just sprayed it inside the silly plastic piece of ...... (you fill that in), and it worked. Apparently there is a laser that detects even the tiniest bit of toner left in that silly plastic piece of ...... (you fill that in).

So, it's working. I am happy.

I am truly happy with my fabulous PC Support guys - it's not often you get that kind of service!

So now - onwards and upwards! Prize giving and holidays.

Bring it.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Weekend That Was

If you read this post you will know that our family lost a special person recently: a son, brother, nephew, cousin, uncle and friend to all.

We went up to spend time with the family and attend his Memorial which was held on 19/11/11.

I am fortunate that I live within easy reach of my family, but  My Man's family is too far away for a weekend hang out or a spontaneous dinner date.

It was a lovely memorial with the hall full of family, family friends and young people who knew him, loved him and will miss him.

As I sat there, I felt emotional listening to the reams of FB posts from friends and family talking about how awesome he was and how much fun he was to be around. I couldn't help feeling "Damn! We miss out living so far away!"   I found myself emotional for being so far away from them. I felt we had lost out on being a part of his life and he being a part of ours.

It was a difficult weekend - but it was so good that we could go and be with the family.
  
Bulleted list of "My Most" of the weekend:
  • My most heartwarming moment was seeing My Man and his brother standing at the braai together and joking around. It was one of the moments in the weekend that I wanted to freeze, or grab and not let go of.  I wish we could do this more often. It just made me realise again that family is so precious and life is fragile - really treasure the time that you have together. 
  


  • My most funny moment was when we got into our hired new automatic Polo 1600 and it wouldn't start. The gears wouldn't move, the brakes were solid and the key turned but nothing happened. After much debate as to whether the radio was left on, or the lights, My Man eventually phoned the Call Centre to which the lovely lady on the other side said: "Have you perhaps locked your steering wheel?"  Oops. Yes. Let me say no more about that! :-)
  • My most daunting was driving on that coastal road! I have NEVER EVER seen taxi's and cars who use the painted yellow islands as overtaking lanes.
  • My most inspirational moment was when my niece stood up at the memorial and shared memories of her cousin. What a brave girl!
  • My most thoughtful was the banner my nephew and his friend had made for everyone to write their final farewells on.
  • My most 'yay' conversation my sister-in-law saying they were going to come and spend a week or so with us next year. I can't wait and am already making plans!
  • My most goose-bump moment, was hearing all the big bikes arrive at the memorial and seeing these bikers, men and women, in their colours, coming to share this day. What made it more intense is that my sister-in-laws husband passed away about 4 yrs ago, and he was biker.... we were blown away by their kindness, generosity and care for the family then too.
  • My kodak moment was My Girl and My Brother-in-Law chatting in the rain at the braai.
 

  • My most enjoyable  time was every moment spent with the family.

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." 
~ Jane Howard ~

Monday, November 7, 2011

An Emotional Rollercoaster

On Thursday last week, our 19 year old nephew was involved in a motorbike accident with a taxi.

It's one of those calls that you dread and the days since then have been filled with plenty of prayer from plenty of people as well as regular phone conversations with the family.

 He is still in the medically induced coma.

If it feels like a rollercoaster to us, I can only imagine how his parents must be feeling (although probably not). It seems that there is good news, and we are thrilled and then the next day they find something else, and it's bad news and our hearts sink.

The news yesterday evening was that his recovery is steady and he was going to have a follow up operation to his liver today, half of which has been removed. From what I understand, it's still not working properly. To add to that, his kidneys aren't functioning properly either and they are connecting him to a dialysis machine, his body is still not producing adrenaline either.

The leg that is severely damaged is still waiting for treatment and we are as yet, unsure of what that is. I don't know what the news will be this evening.

I feel so helpless being so far away from them, but have been overwhelmed by the sense of care from family and friends through their correspondence in various ways. We really are an interconnected people and we do need support and encouragement from one another. So don't kid yourself. No man is an island.


It reminded me of a post I wrote sometime ago, although I am not asking "Why?" at all. Instead, I know that even though we have little to no control over this situation, that we are never alone in it.


For that, I am truly thankful.




* 11.11.11 - My nephew fought bravely but lost his battle. He was loved by family and friends and will be missed by all. Our hearts go out to his folks and siblings especially at this time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Living Under the Line - Final Thoughts

Living under the Line was a challenge put out to the community to try, for 3 full days, to spend no more than R10/person/day on food. 

When someone first said to me "You must blog about it" my initial thoughts were, "Yes, it will be fun to record the meals and shopping experience".

But, that's not what I am going to blog about because it really wasn't about that for me in the end - so instead I am just going to jot down some thoughts I had during those 3 days.
  
  • It is easier to feed 2 or more people on R10/day than it is to feed 1 person.
You really can't get anything that classifies as a meal for R10. However, for R20 or R30 for 3, you can actually throw together something that is fairly nutritious, even if the portions are smaller.  I wonder if that isn't just another reason why our African population (let's face it, they are the majority who struggle the most) have totally got the edge on us when it comes to living in community. We are, for the most part, so self-sufficient, often too proud to admit when we struggle and then try to 'go it alone', whereas when you are part of a real community you just take time to look after one another. 

It is NOT easy living on R10/day on your own.

  • Bread is satisfying.
When I was young, if we finished a meal and said we were still hungry, my folks would say "Have some bread" it was annoying and yet it's one of those things that I carried into my parenting, so that if My Girl said she was hungry, I would say "have some bread".  I may have said it all these years, but it's as though now I really know why - bread is satisfying. A little bit can really 'hold your heart' if you are hungry and fill you up.

It reminded me of the Israelites in the desert being fed manna to sustain them and Jesus years later telling them that he IS that bread, except he sustains permanently and not temporarily.

  • Sauce is expensive.
I never realised how heavily I leaned on 'ready made' sauces - especially for mince. For me, mince needs as much help as it can get...therefore I get it LOTS of help with lovely jars of basil and tomato sauces, or such like. One can make a meal for the price of one of those nice big jars of sauce. It's outrageous. I have learnt that a great deal of red wine can go a long way to saving mince!  I should learn some good old-fashioned  recipes on making my own sauce, however I know myself well enough that this will never happen... but it's a nice thought. I will probably always buy sauce!

  • Waste not.
I have to admit to loving fresh vegetables. They look so bright and colourful and I LOVE them, and though I am not the worlds most domestic goddess, I am a sucker for buying heaps of fresh veggies when I shop: and honestly, I am every single time without fail, convinced that we WILL eat them all.

Probably what nailed me most in this exercise is how wasteful I am with what I do have. I never seem to learn that if I buy that much fresh stuff - it inevitably goes off, and I end up growing my own veggies in the fridge (and I don't mean 'growing' in a good way - I mean, like, FUR!) I am not proud of this. It's not only a waste of money, but it's also a waste of food. I know myself well enough that this is something that I can change, and that I want to change.

  • I don't feel guilty.
Often people feel guilty about what they have when there are so many who don't have. I don't feel guilty, I do feel grateful.

I am thankful for what I have and, I believe, that as long as my gratefulness overflows into generosity and does not become greed - I think, I hope, I will always have compassion and a desire to help those who have less.

It was a good exercise - but it ended up being more than that.

It ended up being a lesson.
I learnt something.

That's good.



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Living under the Line

Day 2:

I am not going to write an actual post on this yet but there are some things that I have noticed:

1.  Usually I don't eat that much anyway - but now that I can't, I am starving ALL THE TIME!
2.  Vienna sausages are overpriced.

I told you I wasn't going to write anything yet.... Thursday.

I am waiting for something - something breathlessly revelationary.

  (and I don't mean food)

OK.


No, this is not me obviously. I have blue eyes. Oh, and I am a girl!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Life & Bryce

I have been quiet.

I know.

My last post was full of optimism for the Rugby World Cup ... and we all know that it ended badly for us, thanks to the Ref - dear Mr Bryce Lawrence who clearly has a rule book from a parallel universe. 

It was a horrible way for Smit, Matfield and de Villiers to end their journeys with the Bok squad. I was so proud of John and the guys though, not an ungracious word did John breathe at the after match interview about the reffing. Real heroes in my eyes and real winners.

If one doesn't enjoy sport, it's difficult to understand the complete disappointment a person feels when there is such injustice. I wondered for a time if I would even watch the rest of the Series, but, I am, because I believe in the spirit of the game, even though I definately don't believe that those in the Final are necessarily those deserving of the Final.  (I do think NZ is deserving, let me add!)

I hope that NZ wins now. It will be really cool for the host nation to win. I remember how we felt hosting the Soccer World Cup last year, and even though we didn't feature - the atmosphere everywhere was electric. I am guessing its like that in Kiwi-land now. It will be such an upset if France win... but then every now and again an upset is a pretty fun thing!


At the same time as the RWC, I was also watching the Champions League T20 in India.  My team, Royal Challengers Bangelore, was in the final last year having led ALL the way, thanks to the genius of Chris Gayle but lost in the final to Chennai Super Kings. This year, they did well enough to get to the final and then LOST again to Mumbai Indians. 

It was disappointing, but I loved seeing how happy Saschin was to see his side win! His smile just made me smile too!



On top of the dreaful news that we were out of the RWC and that my CLT20 team was out, Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations. Oh! Then it was said there was a mistake, and they had qualified...and we were happy! Then we were told it was another mistake and they hadn't. What a rollercoaster of emotions! Um. Can you make up your mind people. Please?

Two weeks ago, we welcomed the Mathilda's here for the Cricket Series. I went to the first T20 and it was so close... SO SO SO close. Even though we lost narrowly, going to the game and being in the stands was just awesome!  I seriously considered just bailing from ever watching sport again after that loss on the back of all the others. But I can't.

The 2nd T20 I almost lost my faith in our boys when they needed about 60 off 24 balls - imagine my excitement (you'll have to since I have no pics!) when they pulled it off!  OH MY WORD. I love cricket. I love cricket. I love cricket. (Did I mention how much I love cricket?)

The 1st ODI was rained out and reduced to 29 overs. We had an epic fail and I went to sleep before it was even over. *faint* This is not something I do!!

Sunday. BIG day. RWC Final and the 2nd ODI.  I do believe I may come unhinged if we lose the cricket this week!! 

Now you see why I haven't blogged. You aren't interested in this, are you? ;-)


Friday, September 9, 2011

Reigning Champs!

I had to laugh at a blog that I follow Tall Skinny Kiwi

I may finally have met my match in patriotic zeal!  Let me say that I love your Haka! If I miss it, I feel as though I have missed out on the entire game!

Let me remind you too... that we ARE STILL THE REIGNING CHAMPS!

And when we win (again).... we will still love you too!  :-)

Looking forward to the opening ceremony and a feast of rugby! 


  
May the best team win... Us.... (Of course!)
Go Bokke!!

Ole ole oleeee!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bananas, Peasants & Schoolgirl Kisses

Do you remember the School Plays that you were in?

I remember being a banana in Std. 3 (Grade 5 now) in the production of "Senor Onion"! Oh my hat, I had to sing in the chorus in that, I believe that may have been theee last time I sang out loud in public! Oh, and the last time I ever wore a giant banana suit!  I still remember some of the words...."I'm a spotted banana, a spotted banana, that all people just love to munch, (something something something....) just hanging around in the bunch!"

I was a peasant by the name of Obadiah Bobblenob (I think!) in "The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew" in Std 6 (Grade 8), I loved this play, mainly because my English teacher at my school, Mr Fisher, was in charge of it - and really I do think it was the most fun of all the productions I was part of. 

Then there were the school  "House Plays" where in Std 8 (Grade 10) I was "the young girl" in "The Weymouth Generation"!  I remember that the "young boy" and the "young girl" had to kiss one another on stage. I am rather embarressed to admit now that we decided it was easier to just kiss one another than to fake it! *blush*... I was young - and he was cute. It was just one tiny moment and one scene - so...yes. I admit. We kissed. It was over. I believe I may really have blushed too.

It's no wonder then that I have grown up with a real love for live theatre and try to go as often as possible.  Some of my best memories are involved with school plays (more memories than just the "kiss!")

This week our School put on their play - A Kidsummer Night's Dream.  It's an adaptation to the Shakespeare play (obviously) and watching it, in all their costumes, and feeling their excitement as they get their dress and make-up done, just brought back all those memories.

School days - they really are some of your favourite memories!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Staring into Space

I haven't blogged for ages - not because I have nothing to say this time, but because the stuff I want to say I need an anonymous blog for - stuff I need to shout into the universe in general. Don't you ever need to do that?

Since I really don't want another blog -I will have to be satisfied with shouting it to the God of the Universe instead.

Let's see... what has actually been happening lately?  Hmmm. Bullets will do.
  • It's been raining and I have had wet hairy dogs in the house!
  • Have been to a birthday breakfast where I had the most delicious croissant, bacon and brie and enjoyed the great company,
  • It was my folks 35th anniversary and his birthday dinner
  • I locked my keys into the house when I was on the way to fetch My Girl from work and she had to get a lift to let me in! (so silly, eish!)
  • Had to service the car, renew car licences, take Jack to the vet for his ear (which is fine), fixing My Girls car, booked for the next ICT Integration conference at the end of the month - been a rather hectic month financially
  • Loving work - so many excited staff members with the new e-beams being installed at the end of the month. Awesome for me to be a part of this.
  • Our 'homegroup' leaders have stepped out of leadership - expecting a baby and pressing work commitments made it a wise decision. Now we are homeless.
  • OH OH OH. We won the rugby. Well - it's not really that we played THAT well, we won on penalties and at least it wasn't a Tri-Nations whitewash. I keep telling myself that we are lulling the opposition into a false sense of security before the RWC. Here's hoping! :)
  • Been watching a fair amount of cricket - the England/India tests have been pretty good to have on in the background. As well as the Aussie/Sri Lanka ODI's.
Been a busy and rather tough week one way and another. So I will sit, stare into space and shout occasionally ... and I have no doubt that I will be back with something far more interesting.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Balancing Act

It's time to give myself a good talking to.

You know those times that you KNOW that you have to make some changes but it's just such a mission?

I am in one of those times. I need to find some balance between work and play.

Now don't think that my work is that demanding, or that they demand that from me, not at all. It's completely self-inflicted.

Those of you who know me (or read me) will know I recently attended a conference that completely changed the way that I see education. This is a great thing and I wouldn't change it - BUT, it also made me aware of tools and resources I had never heard of, and that I KNOW my children will LOVE and benefit from. I do, however need to be familiar with these tools before I can teach them.

Can you see the problem? Twitter and FaceBook don't help - I don't follow celebs on Twitter, I follow people in the "ICT in education business", every 5 minutes they introduce a new tool, or another awesome site that needs my attention. I never seem to have enough time to master everything that I want to!

The result of this is that... well, the cartoon is pretty close to the truth except for one, not so small thing. Even on the couch, I often have my laptop and find myself working. Hours feel like minutes and the next thing "My Man" is home and the day is gone.... and if I am not careful... it often slips into the evening too. Not good.

So, as difficult as this is at this point (because I am not unhappy doing all this research - but I do feel its unhealthy), I am going to just choose 4 new tools/resources to master for now - and I have to find a balance, I have to get to gym, get some fresh air, walk the dogs, something.

I just need to get some exercise.
I may need (make that definately will need) some sovereign intervention at this point!


FuNnY thing... before I had started writing this, I had decided on "only 3 things" to master! Eish.... I wonder if there is ANY hope for me....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

C.S. Lewis says it best...

I came across this C.S. Lewis quote in a book of Philip Yancey that I read sometime ago and I love it all over again....



I think this will be a suitable contemplative for the next while...                                                                  


Monday, August 8, 2011

His Lordship Lying About...

When did I become "one of those people" who do posts about their dogs?
However....
I did one on the superb self-discipline of the pup... so one on his lorship seems apt.

Therefore,without further ado, this is the way that Jack lies!




I (heart) my boy....

Saturday, July 30, 2011

No Time to Waste... I mean, Wait.

I got a Blackberry this week. It pretty and burgandy and matches my laptop! 

It wasn't smooth sailing though. We went in, filled in the paperwork and they told us they were offline and I would have to wait for the next day to get the phone. I was SO disappointed and very IRRITATED. The next day I went in and they said I needed a letter from My Man to collect it since he had added it to his existing contract, and I would have to come back later with a letter. I was ACID since he had been there and arranged this the night before. I phoned him at work and asked him to email them their instructions. I can't say that I was thrilled with my attitude at having to deal with all the 'red tape'. (I did however, apologise later for being somewhat abrupt.)

Anyway - this post is not about the Raspberry but it triggered a thought.

Rewind. Some years ago I was teaching Grade 4 about email. I introduced the lesson by doing a short "one man show".

"I hunted for a piece of writing paper, and a pen, then I sat down and wrote a letter. I searched  for an envelope.  At this point I realised that I didn't remember the persons address so had to go and look it up. I wrote it on the envelope and then realised that I didn't have a stamp. So I put the envelope in my bag.... and walked around a bit. (Days pass.....) Oh look! The letter is still in my bag! I forgot to buy a stamp... let me do it now. Go to the PO buy a stamp and stick it in the postbox. Then it has to be sorted and sent this side, and sorted and delivered on the receivers side."

(You get the picture by now...don't you?)  It could take days, weeks even months to reply to a letter or send one.  Hence the name - snailmail.

After this little piece of theatre I showed them the marvels of email. I opened my email on the projected screen for them to see, added the address that was memorised, typed a mail to My Man, and pressed "Send". Within 2 or 3 minutes I had received a reply from him, and his email went via the UK before it reached him.  "Is this not fantastic?" I asked them. "Yes!" they said. It was awesome!!!

Fast Forward. Those same children that I taught are now about 17 years old and the chances are good that they all have some kind of Smart Phone and can either BBM or Whatsapp and have various Social Media accounts.

Last night I bbm'd My Girl and waited, and waited, and waited...and eventually went to bed.

The point is that going from that generation where email was considered fast - we are now in a generation where email is almost taboo. Its just too slow. We don't want to wait for a response. We want it instantly. Straight away. No waiting.

Now, I love Technology and am in the business of embracing the advances of it, but I can't help wondering if this influences our attitude or our character in some way. How do we respond to people when we are told to wait for something?

Does it affect how we "wait on God".
What do you think?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's All Distinctly Normal

Ho Hum.

I haven't blogged for a few days and really, weird as this is, since I do talk quite a bit, I have nothing to say. (Which probably means that when I do talk it's all a bunch of rubbish anyway!)

  • I mean, you don't want to hear that we lost the first TriNations rugby, do you? No, I didn't think so.
  • What about how our dogs have dug up virtually an entire strip of our back lawn? Riveting stuff, isn't it?
  • Or that I need to replace the laundry taps? What on earth would you do without that piece of information?

I guess what I am trying to say is that life is normal. I guess after these holidays it just feels more normal than 'normal'.

I am in need of a seriaaaaas partay with lots of friends, very loud music, dancing, laughing and great food & wine! Somewhere. Soon.

So - I will leave you with yet another of my favourite songs, from one of my favourite bands that were out here last year... Enjoy.

(Yes, I am aware that these songs are old - but I like them... I am sure that I will share some of my newer favourites at some point)



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Radioactive

I love everything, everything about this ... the band, the song, the video. Love. Love. Love.


Can't wait for their October tour!

(Let it buffer completely first or it will be ruined)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Springbok Friday

Springbok Friday!
                     Tri-nations start tomorrow
World Cup around the corner....
Just
in
case
you
don't
already know ....

let me nail my colours
out there.


Go Bokke! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Special Gift

Last night I had one of those moments that will stay with me forever.

We were with a group of people that we see reguarly and had gotten together for supper and to catch up after the holidays.

In the group is a young lady, wife and mother of a 3-month old. The family escaped from Ruanda and speak very little English although it is improving really fast. She has no work and has very little to call her own. I can't profess to know her well but what I do see is that she is always full of smiles, optimism and hope.

Last night out of the blue, she produced a hand made gift for me and the other ladies there. I was told later that she sat with a photograph she had of us and thought about what would suit us best. It was so unexpected and I felt so humbled. I have so much and she has so little, yet what she had she lovingly worked into something beautiful for me.

That sort of kindness and generosity is rare and incredibly moving.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ready, Set, Go!

After the excitement of the holiday workshops buzz, today was back to school day! 

It was great to be surrounded by everyone, Staff and students, who were happy to see one another again.

I absolutely love that I didn't have to try to get any Staff members to 'buy into' all the ideas that I came back with, and already I have set up appointments for demo's to be given at our school for various products, and scheduled a visit to a school close by who are already using this technology.

This term will see us begin to find technology that we can use to teach IN the classroom - so not waiting for the students to "come to computers' ... but taking technology in all forms to them in the class, making learning way more interactive and fun. 

Here are some products that we are comparing to see what works best for us:





Already one of our teachers has come to me and said: "We are doing Reduce, Reuse, Recycle this term.  How can we broaden this using ICT?"

My board at home is filling up squiggles, arrows, boxes and ideas for Projects! 

In fact, I am going to have to organise a clocking in machine at home so at some point I stop thinking about them! 

I am so thankful for my working environment and all involved there - there is a saying that goes something like "If you find a job that you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life."

I definately believe this applies to me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Confused July

It's winter.

Atleast, I was under the impression that it was.

Personally, I just think that I am very much loved and this warm weather is a tangible way of making up for me freezing my butt off last week.

Seriously though... July is meant to be a month where every person you meet moans and wails about how awful the weather is.

On Sunday we took the dogs for a walk and it was bliss. No wind and the sea was like glass as far as the eye could see. Pretty soon the whales will be frolicking in the bay! We have had so many dolphins this season too. Hard to believe that these are out there with our notorious great whites!

Today looks like it may be another beaut. So I am going to take my work to the beach this morning (aka "The Office" since I mostly do my prep there!) and soak up the heat and have a bottomless coffee.




It's the last bit of holidays - I feel the need to make the most of it!
Enjoy your week!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bulleted Highlights...

  • Finding out I was going...*duh*, obviously.
  • Meeting Louise at the airport after my email and her interntional phonecall hook-up
  • Not sure if any of the 3 of us stopped talking long enough to breathe on the flight there
  • Not sure that Leonie stopped talking even while waiting for the luggage.... by her own admission
  • Meeting Leanne on the shuttle. 4 Ladies whose names start with "L" in one bus....
  • The Hotel Room - OMW!!!!
  • Conversations of every kind
  • The presentations - mind boggling. Wish I could see them all again. I don't remember doing mine not because public speaking makes me nervous - but judges do!
  • Getting fingerprinted. We can go back anytime now girls
  • The College itself. Unbelievably beautiful
  • John Davitts workshop and trying to convey how a periscope works via text messaging... yes. Really.
  • Trying to carry my backpack, my 'geyser' (renamed from 'hottie'), get coffee and food, all at once.
  • Not knowing how to keep warm that one FREEZING day
  • The Google Earth & Maps Workshop - Loved that one
  • Sitting in the sun with friends - when there was sun
  • Locking my stuff under Louise's bed
  • Needing the loo in the middle of the night and thinking - FORGET IT, it's too cold
  • Hanging out in the back row of the auditorium, being very distracted by 'someone with a Mac' taking special effects pic of us all.
  • Watching Louise win
  • Unbelievably great food and great organisation overall
  • Sitting at the edge one of the fountains in the sun, looking out through the arches and thinking how lucky am I
  • Laughing myself silly with Skattie Skattie. I think I am going to post that actually.*
  • Never having coffee that was actually piping hot
  • The Gala Dinner. What a night. I am sure pictures will be emerging from various sources in a few days. I am sure that I will have embarressed myself badly but I have got to make the most of every opportunity to d.a.n.c.e since it's not My Mans favourite activity
  • The Black Eyed Peas - Tonight's Gonna be a Good Night. Love, l.o.v.e, LOVE it. Can't help myself. Truth be told... I don't really care. You only live one. Why go to gym if you can dance. That's my motto.
  • The bus ride back...and seeing where my camera had been! :)
  • Watching the 2 guys come down the airport ramp literally riding their trolleys
  • It wasn't lekker to say goodbye ... I didn't like that. Not one bit.
................................ I am sure that I have left tons out

To summarise really - the highlights revolved around meeting, sharing with, hanging out with and learning with and from people that I became really fond of in a short space of time.  Maybe because we are like-minded in education, maybe its just, well, just because. Whatever the reason. It was good.

So, now it's over. I'm a little sad but at the same time pretty amped to try and use some of these new found tools and ideas...

We'll have to make do with FB, Tweets, Skype, and whatever else until we all meet again!

*  Skattie Skattie - is a remake of Justin Biebers song "Baby, Baby". It formed part of a presentation this week, done by a High School Afrikaans Teacher. His goal, with his Afrikaans 2nd language students, was to extend their vocab in order for them to communicate better. What he did, amongst other things, was to let them choose a song, and they had to translate it into Afrikaans and present it in whichever way they chose.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's really about people

I feel as though I am in a dream.
                                      Everything seems rather surreal.

These last few days have been an incredible experience for me.

Initially it was all about "what people had produced" and, believe me, they PRODUCED fantastic stuff. There was media used that I had never heard of and amazing topics exploring themes that ranged from Romeo & Juliet in R&B, teaching Grade R about shapes and how they change, investigating stereo-types, e-waste, etc. I could go on and on because there were 22 projects.

Now the 'hype' is over and I am left with this - I feel enriched by these people and not for their knowledge but I have met some just such lekker people. 

In the end - I will remember them long after I have forgotten their project no matter how good it was. I am hoping to be able to keep some of these new friendships alive and carry them on into "our real lives".

Tomorrow the workshops begin and it will be heads down - act like a sponge and suck it up!

What a week. What a life.
Happy.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Excitement Begins...!

It's 22h30 and I am sitting in a suite fit for a queen. I thought maybe they had given me the wrong room! I wish My Man was with me - he would love it!

It's been a whirlwind of a week of preparation. Getting my presentation ready, packing, making sure the presentation is saved in various places, timing my talk - I have not fallen asleep before 02h00 in the last couple of days for thinking about this week. I wasn't anxious, and am still not, but all night I kept thinking, what do I say, what do I leave out, should I have done anything differently?  I am sure you have experienced times when your mind is just overly pre-occupied and over active. I never battle to sleep, but after this week I have renewed sympathy for those that do struggle to.

I have just finished dinner at a table of 5 (and there are 20 of us) and have come away feeling completely inspired - and that's just listening to them talking about how they teach. Is my brain going to cope with all the great ideas this week?

This conference is all about understanding that the way that people learn, is changing. The 'old way' that children used to learn doesn't work anymore. It's boring and doesn't engage them. We, as teachers, need to find a new way to teach.  It's about understanding that this age is a technological one - and how can we incorporate technology into our classrooms to capture our kids and still teach them what they need to know.

It was rather funny when I realised that this mirrors my spiritual journey. The 'old way' of living out my faith, doesn't work for me anymore ~ it doesn't for a lot of people. Just like the teachers have realised there is a whole 'other way' of teaching, so there are those that are realising there is a whole 'other way' of living out our faith.

I am so excited about this week. I feel so honoured to be amongst these people to learn from them, to pick their brains and to go back to school and hopefully inspire others too.

There are times that I am overwhelmed by the grace of God. Today is one of those days.



Monday, June 27, 2011

HD Ready?

My folks just got HD TV. 

You know how when you have always had a 'normal' TV picture, you don't know what you are missing until you see the HD picture of the TV next to it?

I feel like that about my spiritual life. For years I have been very happy and very comfortable, with my 'normal Christian life', and suddenly, alongside mine, I have seen a spirituality that is being lived in HD. It's high definition. It's bright!  It makes my spiritual walk feel dull.  This doesn't mean my walk has been / or is dull, in fact, I think my walk has been making me HD Ready!!  Recently I began browsing through blogs and sites of mind-blowing accounts of what people are doing 'out there' in real life, with people who are not yet believers, but who are seeking truth.

I recognised what I always felt I was looking for, but didn't know it was there.

I was offered an alternative to my nagging heart today. Perhaps it's not about wishing I could be part of it elsewhere, maybe its about experimenting with our faith with others who may feel like I do, right here.

Just get together... and see what God does. I'm not saying don't go to your Sunday meetings, of course go!

But rather as an extra dimension to our faith, in our desire to draw nearer to God in creative ways and draw other seekers along with us....why not try? 

I don't know why not.
I'm "HD Ready".

Are you?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Puppy Control

Remember the Puppy?  And when she was growing up?

Here is a little update.  Puppy is now about 6 months old and may not eat the Old Man's Food. (Daschund 15 yrs old) 

Have a look at Puppy's remarkable self control!

Jack reminding Puppy not to eat whats left of the Old Mans food.

If I look at it hard enough...maybe it will jump out at me?

Maybe from this angle?

Hmmm...what to do?

I'll just keep waiting...

and waiting...

The Old Man comes for a nibble...

leaving a little leftover to tantilise the pup

Seriously... I can't eat that???

*sigh*

They sleep... and still... she waits.
 Love this puppy! 
:)