Gifts and Gratitude

I was blown away last week when our house guests arrived and I was presented with a little box containing earrings that I had pinned on Pinterest, as one does, not expecting or being aware of anyone else to viewing my Pinterest boards.

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My friend had seen the earrings on my Pinterest board and tracked down the maker in Seattle and had them sent over to the Netherlands to bring with for me. I don’t think I have ever received such a thoughtful gift where someone has gone to so much trouble to get something that they have seen that I liked. I was so grateful that I was moved to tears and I will treasure these earrings forever because of all the thought and planning that went into giving them to me.

Maybe that is why I felt so badly for footsy whose specially painted portrait of a beloved dog has not even been acknowledged by the recipients.

I find it difficult to buy gifts for other people, even those closest to me (who are perhaps the most difficult of all). Some gifts are just tokens because people feel obliged to give something and some are well thought out but still not really appreciated.

But some gifts, like my lovely earrings and footsy’s painting, are very special and personal and I just cannot get my head around gifts like these going unacknowledged.

Now as we move into the Christmas season I am inspired to find special gifts for the special people in my life so that they will know how loved and appreciated they are.

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Optie went AWOL

Sometimes in life, you find a special friend

No, I have not disappeared off the face of the earth, nor have I been taking a deliberate break from blogging, nor have I been lurking without posting or commenting but I have been AWOL for far too long.

Four weeks ago we went to our holiday home for a two week break. I tried to keep up with the blogs there but as I am dependent on my mobile network for the internet  I had to restrict myself to essential emails that were mostly work related while there. 

Back home two weeks later we had a hectic week catching up and preparing for old and very special friends to arrive from overseas. Earlier today after another hectic but very enjoyable and special week I said a tearful goodbye to them and their gorgeous 16 year daughter who we last saw when she was just 6 years old and we visited them.

Friendships like ours don’t come around very often in a lifetime and from the moment they arrived we talked non-stop. Over the years we have shared each other’s happy and celebratory times as well as the more difficult and painful periods that life throws at one. Maybe it’s because of what we have shared that it is so easy to pick up where we left off when we see each other again.

I arranged a larger reunion of friends who all attended the same church at a local restaurant last evening as another good friend is also in town, some had not seen each other for 16 years, some see each other fairly regularly but everyone had a great time. The poor waitresses must have been tearing their hair out because it was like a giant game of musical chairs as people moved about to catch up with each other.

OH and I are tired but so grateful that we have had to opportunity to spend quality time with very dear friends again. Today is our 38th wedding anniversary and we are going to treat ourselves with an early supper at our favourite sushi restaurant and then crash.

Anarchy in the Western Cape

 

This is not a good signFor the benefit of my overseas readers a brief background to this post: The Western Cape is in the hands of the Democratic Alliance and Cape Town is a well run, clean and beautiful city. However instead of being held up as an example of local government excellence the ANC is employing underhand tactics to sabotage the city ahead of the general elections next year.

There have been 12 documented incidents of faeces flinging – at Cape Town International Airport, on the steps of the Provincial Legislature and other locations – all of which caught on CCTV as well as by the press who appear to have been tipped off in advance because they have been on site before the “you know what hit the fan”. Also present have been the police, largely in an observer capacity, because they say it’s no use arresting the culprits because they have a “legitimate” grievance and they will just do it again!

The culprits are widely known, they are leaders in the ANC Youth League and their communities and openly boast of their exploits on Facebook yet no action is taken against them. This begs the question just who are the police force “serving and protecting”?

Almost daily major roads are blocked with burning tyres by gangs of thugs protesting about something and stoning passing vehicles. All the police do is close off the roads thus inconveniencing the law abiding citizens of this province and allowing the “protesters” free rein.

Zuma & Malema

Yesterday a mob armed with pangas, knives and sticks boarded a train into Cape Town and were allowed to proceed unchecked to a construction site in Bree Street where they ordered the workers off the site, caused substantial damage to vehicles and property and (unconfirmed) caused one of the site managers to have a heart attack.

Bree Street

This same mob was then afforded unhindered public transport back to the Crossroads area where they overturned and set light to a truck and stoned passing vehicles.

Burning truck

Where else in the world would a mob armed with weapons be allowed to travel on public transport, illegally enter a building site, damage property and simply leave without any police intervention?

It is no secret that the ANC is trying to make the Cape ungovernable in order to win it back from the DA next year but the level of violence and anarchy is not compatible with a democratic election.

If no action is taken against these rioters the violence will only escalate in the months leading up to the election and many areas of Cape Town will become “no go” areas.

Rain, rain go away

They say that August is the wettest month in Cape Town and this year that has definitely been the case.

Flooded roads

It feels like it has rained continuously the whole month. The ground is waterlogged, the dams are over 100% full, there have been mini landslides all around the mountain passes, rivers have burst their banks, homes have been flooded and now there is snow on Table Mountain as well as the surrounding mountains.

Snow on Table Mountain

Of course all this damp air has it’s consequences for our hair

Bad hair day

 

But my sources say that this latest fashion item is floating off the shelves in Cape Town.

High Heeled Flippers

 

Have a great, warm and dry weekend everyone.

Here we go again, marching off to war

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I’m no expert on world affairs and certainly no expert on Syria but now that the USA and UK seem hell bent on military action against the Syrian government forces I have to ask “have they learnt nothing from Iraq and Afghanistan?”

From my perspective the Arab nations don’t welcome Western intervention in their affairs and for all they know the West could be arming Al Qaeda extremists who will turn their attention on the UK and USA next. And if Russia and China are arming the Syrian government as has been claimed what will their response to the arrival of Western forces be?

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My next question is why are other Arab nations not getting involved to broker a peace agreement in Syria? Is it because they are all just blood thirsty warmongering tribes? All the serious unrest in the world in recent years has taken place in Arab countries, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. Bombing and gassing your own people is horrific but it seems that there are too many factions involved in the rebel movement to provide any reassurance that a democracy will emerge from the chaos if they succeed in toppling the Syrian government. Bombs still explode regularly in Iraq more than 10 years after the UK and USA went in and toppled Saddam.

Personally I think the West should recall all their diplomats and citizens and leave the Arabs to sort themselves out but of course that won’t happen because of their insatiable need for oil.

Trying to live with less

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Ozzy and Milo enjoying some much needed sunshine

Of late blogging has taken second place to a number of other things so I thought I would share a little bit about what I have been busy with.

Firstly I am on a mission to de-clutter my life. I am systematically going through cupboards, rooting out stuff that we no longer use, need or like and packing it up for charity or charity shops. OH wants to know when I’m going to chuck him out – LOL

The de-cluttering is hard for him because he is by nature a hoarder whereas I am able to live without holding onto stuff for fear that I might at some future stage need it.  Of course I like to have nice stuff, but only things which I can use or, in the case of art, things that bring me pleasure to look at. I am not a collector of things that require dusting and the less that has to be moved to clean the better as far as I am concerned.

OH is the exact opposite but there is no logic or order in the things that he holds onto so he can never find something when he wants it anyway. I am trying very hard to get him to keep like with like and not just stash things wherever he can find a gap. We have been married 38 years and this is a battle I have fought for every one of those years. How it starts is he can’t decide if he needs to keep something or not, so he leaves it lying around where he (and everyone else) can see it. After a couple of weeks I ask him to please find a home for it or throw it out and so off he goes in a huff and stuffs it anywhere where he thinks I won’t come across it again in a hurry. Then of course he can’t remember where he put it and it becomes my fault 😦   I hope I’m not boring my readers with this …

I on the other hand like to keep “like things” that are worth keeping for whatever reason together so that I will know exactly where to look if I want to retrieve something.  OH’s excuse is that he does not have enough storage space allocated to him which is nonsense, it’s just that he uses it badly and refuses all my efforts to help him organise the space better.

I am also busy researching my family tree and gathering information that will assist me in finding my ancestors. So far I have just started but even 2nd generation ancestors are a bit of a mystery so there is lots of work to be done.

And then going on faith I have started researching a trip to the UK next year. We obviously want to see our daughter and granddaughter but there are other things that we would like to do as well and because this might well be the last trip that we will be able to afford to make we would like to make it meaningful and do and see the things that hold the most interest for us.  So a wish list is being drawn up and over the next year we will have time to do more research and amend the list accordingly.

Meanwhile OH has been busy with some rather unpleasant DIY. Our shower tray cracked some time back and had been held together with off cuts of plastic and clear packaging tape for far too long. With a great deal of difficulty OH has removed the tray and the bottom row of tiles and discovered that where the tray cracked there was nothing underneath except for the trap and that was also loose.

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He has done a great job at preparing the area for the next step that is throwing a new base, tiling with mosaic and replacing the bottom row of tiles but it is not easy working at floor level in a 90 by 90 cm area and the old bones are complaining somewhat. He has done an excellent job so far, no damage to the surrounding tiles at all. We were lucky enough to find matching tiles in a broken box at Builder’s Warehouse but what a performance to buy them. We had to hear how they send damaged tiles back to the manufacturer and don’t sell them. We only needed 20 tiles and the other 18 in the package were all damaged and literally lying all over the floor. I don’t believe for a minute that it would have been sent back to the manufacturer, the damage probably happened at BW and had we not bought the “good” tiles I am sure the whole lot would have ended up in a skip!

So bloggers that’s what I have been up to, there just does not seem to be enough time in a day to do everything that I want to accomplish. I have also been going for physio treatment for a neck and shoulder problem that is not settling down and the discomfort disturbs my sleep a lot so come 8.30 pm I am ready for bed.

Understanding Introverts

I previously did a post on Extroverts and Introverts because I am most definitely an introvert. I like people but in small doses. Communal living would be my idea of hell. I guard my personal space and value having time to myself. So when I came across this rather clever explanation of Introverts I thought I would share it.

Introverts

I think it sums us Introverts up rather well. What do you all think?