Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Going back to my roots.

It's another one of those days where I'm longing for touches of home....well, African home that is. And I found myself listening to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and drinking tea. Yes, tea!!    I. Love.Tea.
And I love Ladysmith Black Mambazo. There is something about their songs, that just conjour up images of African sunsets, the bushveld, and everything South African. It always puts a smile on face watching the lead singer Joseph Shabalala sing. He makes the funniest faces sometimes, and puts such emotion into it.  My mom & sister got to see them perform live in the UK, and I was NOT jealous, NOT. Okay....maybe a little....alright then, I was. OKAY!!

So I took some time to find some fun and totally different LBM songs for y'all to hear. You might to firm fans, or totally new to their music. Either way, I hope you enjoy it. (And I bet you'll be singing the African Alphabet song all day.......)

That one was a double bonus for me as I also love The Muppets.....if loving The Muppets is wrong, I don't wanna be right!
This next one is a little more updated, and does not involve Jim Henson puppet characters....

.....but it did include Dolly Parton. I'm not a big fan, but hey....just seeing Joseph Shabalala's face in that clip, makes it all worth it!

And lastly some vintage LBM. I remember singing this song, and driving everyone mad......"somebody say, i ihi, ihi....somebody sing why, why why....". Memories!

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Catching up

Yeah,yeah,yeah....once again I start my post off with apologies for my total lack of blogging ability over the last few days. Totally unacceptable, I know.......and yeah, I know y'all had sleepless nights waiting for my next exciting story... *nudge,nudge,wink,wink*

Anyways, it's been an interesting week, had some great fun with some of the Koeksister ladies, isn't it just amazing how revived and encouraged you feel after a cuppa tea and a chat with friends? It's like an instant pick-me-up. Who needs expensive and painful Vitamin B shots, when you have great friends and inexpensive beverages!

I had some discouraging news from my doc, but after a good ole dose of Meryl Streep in "It's Complicated" and some friends to enjoy it with, I felt heaps better.

Jingles, our little Daschund puppy, is fine, slightly traumatised after her last bird incident, but going strong. To update y'all, The Bird (as it's now known in our household) has been back almost every day, I didn't see it on the weekend , but it was back yesterday, sitting on it's usual high tree, scanning the surroundings vigilantly. For about 40 minutes.
Jingles is now wary of any creature of the feathered variety, and this morning went running in the house yelping once more. NOT AGAIN.....I thought, and upon looking up, saw that she had gotten scared off by a very scary looking squirrel (well, it was very scary looking to her, OBVIOUSLY!!), that was running across our back fence.

Now not ALL wildlife here in Houston are scary though, just take a look at this. A family in Texas found a malnourished baby deer, and took it in and raised it until it was old enough to go back to the wild and fend for itself. But apparently it comes back almost daily to play with the family dog!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Jessica

Today's post goes out to my niece Jessica in the UK.

Hope you have a wonderful birthday today, we love & miss ya tons!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

There is still hope!

It's the story in everyone's mouths, on the TV, in the news, on Twitter, Facebook and in the blogosphere, people are talking about the earthquake in Haiti. An already impoverished nation overcome by tragedy once more. A few years ago, they endured 3 hurricanes in one season. And now this.

I cannot begin to say how overcome I am by the generosity of the American nation. Everywhere I look, on the radio and television, they are making it easy for people to donate even a little something to help these desperate people. There seems to be something inbred in the hearts of the American people that in times like this, they have the most wonderful ability to look past their own - sometimes dire - situations and give of what they have. It's an inspiring quality, which I admire tremendously. I heard on the television just yesterday, that up to now the American Red Cross has received 35 million dollars to help with this disaster. That's just incredible!!

And now, the stories of survival are starting to come in, I listened to this video this morning, and it just encouraged me to keep lifting the Haitians up in prayer, as yes, there are still people living under the rubble, and yes, there is still hope.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It sounds like my kinda gum!

It's not that I don't like cooking....cooking I can handle. It's that dreaded question I ask myself  EVERY day, and the energy expended trying to figure out the answer to said question.

Oh, the horror!! It's the same, boring question day after day. Constantly trying to think of new ways to cook a chicken breast, I mean how many ways can there be?? I scour my cookbooks, go to the internet cooking sites, and even resort to reading the back of the soup cans for new recipes. All this to inspire my
uninspired cooking brain! It seems futile most days.

I open the fridge, and stare in the freezer to check the meat situation. Then I open the pantry and stare inside, hoping 'something' might jump out at me. Then I check the vegetable drawer to see what's lying in there.
On a good day, a meal will form in my head within seconds.......such joy!! Sadly, those days are the exception and not the rule! It's the monotony that gets to me, I think.
 I DO try new recipes, don't get me wrong, but the chances that my new Parmesan Chicken will be liked by all 3 men in my house are slim. And if I do find a new recipe that everyone enjoys....woohoooo!!!

One of my favourite scenes in a movie has to be the one from Charlie & the Chocolate factory. In which a young girl by the name of Violet Beauregarde has her first taste of a bubble gum meal. She chews on the gum, and voila!! First, the tomato soup, then the roast beef and baked potatoes, lastly the blueberry pie & ice-cream.

Glorious!!! Can you even begin to imagine how wonderful this would be???
All of my culinary problems sorted. No more humming and hawing in front of the open freezer. I could just pop a stick of gum in everyone's mouths, and that's it!! A three course meal  in an instant. *sigh*
Of course, you can leave all that turning blue stuff, and growing to the size of a giant blueberry... that's definetly not a look I want to experiment with!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

Yesterday, our little 11 week old Daschund puppy was almost taken from our back garden by what looked to me like a hawk. That's right...a hawk!!

The weather has slightly improved here, and she has been valiantly exploring our back yard, playing in the leaves, and chasing the kids's big ball with great gusto. I was sitting at the breakfast nook table about a yard away from the back door, which I had left open to keep an eye on her. In the next instant, I heard this terrible yelping, and fluttering.

I looked out the door, already on my feet. And as I looked out, I saw a huge greyish-brown large bird, about 3 feet off the back patio floor. It happened so fast, and before I could even think of what to do, I saw Jingles land on the floor and she came running into the house with the speed of light. She was crying and scared witless!! The hawk had her, but somehow, miraculously, she got away, and didn't, thankfully, fall far. She didn't have a scratch on her little body, and I think that the hawk just didn't have a good enough grip on her..... or something??

Anyway........the hawk went and perched on our next door neighbours tree, and sat there and waited. it eventually moved off to a further tree, but kept a watch out on our yard, it must have stayed there for about 20 minutes.

A quick search on google, and I have since discovered that 'yes', birds of prey will attack pets, especially small breeds and puppies. I read horrifying stories of people who have lost their pets in this way, with either the pet being taken right away, or falling from the bird's grasp at great heights, and dying from the fall. It was extremely sobering.

Well, little Jingles in fine, she had a very high heart rate for about 15 minutes, and got held and examined and fussed by the whole family for the rest of the evening. She has been outside since, but this time she is being accompanied by an extremely protective owner, at all times. Yes, I am no more than a step away from her wherever she walks, and armed with my big black umbrella, to boot! This bird ain't getting near my pup again I'll tell ya!! And just half an hour ago, when I took her outside again, I saw 2 birds of prey circling the sky near our house, and that was playtime over! Inside we went! And she is now sound asleep next to me on the sofa.......safe & sound!! Sigh!!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Well it's another January, another year, and I've been rather quiet on the blogging side of things. All I can say is we had a good Christmas, but it was a very homesick one, and we holed ourselves in our house for the two weeks that the kids and hubby had off. We felt quite sorry for ourselves some days, but managed to crawl ourselves out of that, and are now focusing on the year ahead. Looking at new endeavours and exploring new ideas. So things are looking better. Thankfully.
I'm getting the idea for today's post from a fellow blogger, who posted the questions on her blog. And it got me thinking about my own year...... lessons learnt, and mistakes made.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Sold everything, left our country and moved to a new land. Basically uprooted the whole family, and left all we knew behind....was scary indeed!

2. Did you keep your new years resolutions, and will you make more for this year?
I'm not really into new year's resolutions, so I can't remember having any last year. HOWEVER, I do have a goal I have set myself by the end of January, and that is to get my Texas Drivers license!! Yes, I know......I still don't have it, and am still using my international & SA one. Am trying to get my head around parallel parking on the wrong side of the road, in the wrong side of the car!!!!!?????

3. What places did you visit?
Not many places yet, I am sorry to say......only Galveston, and Vermont. I am trusting that this will change in 2010! I'm thinking Florida, California (particularly the Red Forest), Denver, New England, a cruise to any-old-where-will-do, and Hawaii (I can dream can't I??)

4. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
I lacked patience, that needs to change.......

5. What days in 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Oh......well, the first would be saying goodbye to my dear friends at Johannesburg International airport. The second would be landing at Dubai Airport, and feeling such sheer terror, and doubt at the decision we had made in moving to the US. The third would be moving into the house we lease in the woodlands, and seeing our furniture container arrive with our few items we bought from South Africa....that was a good day!

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting through it! Seriously though, anyone reading this who has moved countries can relate to how difficult it can be. Nothing is what you are used to, familiarity is out the window.Comfort zone.......what comfort zone?? It's been quite the ride.

7. What was your biggest failure?
Doubt. Doubting God, our decision etc etc.

8. What was your biggest wake-up call?
If I don't make it happen, it isn't gonna happen!

9. What was the best thing you bought?
My car.....I was totally lost and isolated without one for 6 months.

10. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My husband, and children's. They have really been great this last year, this moving countries thing is not an easy task, and in spite of our ups and downs emotionally, they are tops in my book!!

11. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Without sounding self-deprecating, probably my own! I would like to have handled things with alot more patience and maturity, and much less selfishness and self-pity.

12. Where did most of your money go?
We had to start basically from scratch when we got here, so that and buying our cars.

13. What did you get really, really really excited about?
Finding a church, and going together as a family. Getting involved with my "Koeksister" group of ladies! Visiting and seeing my good friend after many years, and meeting her lovely family!

14. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Love Story by Taylor Swift. I downloaded this version on my laptop which I listen to over and over....it's one of my firm favourites, and I'm now a Jon Schmidt fan........

15. What do you wish you'd done more of ?
Spend time alone with God, played more games with my kids and exercise!

16. What do you wish you'd done less of ?
Wasting time watching TV, and fretting the small stuff!!

17. What was your favourite TV programme?
Fast-forward, Glee, House, So You Think You Can Dance.

19. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My hubby took the day off, and we went out for breakfast, and then to a movie to see Blind-Side. It was nice spending time alone....a rare thing for us since we came to the US. I turned 38....wow... seeing that in writing makes me feel really old!!!

20. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
What personal fashion concept???

21. What kept you sane?
My laptop and internet.
My blog.
My new car.
The 'Koeksisters'.
My faith.

22. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm not into any celebrity/public figure, most of them are just over exposed anyways. Although Simon Baker from The Mentalist is easy on the eye....just ask my Mom (big fan she is...)

23. What is a valuable life lesson you learnt in 2009?
Family and friends should NEVER be taken for granted. Not to sound cliched but life is short, and things change, change is constant. Make the most of relationships, and people you love while you can.

24. What is a valuable spiritual lesson you learnt in 2009?
God never wastes your time, and He can catch you up in areas where you feel you've fallen behind.

25. What are you most proud of from 2009?
Getting out of the box of "normal" and the "mundane". My life had become stagnant, and moving like we have, has caused me to re-evaluate what my purpose and passion in life is...I'm still looking for it, but at least now I have a hope of a purpose, and a hope of a passion.

26. What are your goals for 2010?
Like I mentioned in question one, I WILL get my Texas license in January! I also am tinkling with the idea of studying....now don't go falling off your computer chair now....I'm NOT talking MBA or anything quite as ambitious as that. I'm thinking more along the lines of creative writing, and I want to do a good photographic course....we'll see where that goes.

27. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Oh goodness....that's a hard one! You know, the song that spoke to me the most was one by Casting Crowns called "Praise You in the Storm". I remember landing in Dubai airport on our flight out here, and the overwhelming sense of panic at what we were doing, and with tears in my eyes I looked around at the all the foreign people there, and it just got to me. I kept thinking, what on earth are we doing here, and I felt lost and alone, even in the midst of that extremely busy airport, with my family around me. And almost instantly I remembered this song, and the words from the chorus just spoke to me, and comforted me....

"And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I cry
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart will fall
I will praise You in this storm"

In the months to come that song kept helping me....and still does. Here it is for those who haven't heard it before.

Hope y'all had a great Christmas, and are looking forward to the New Year. 2010....here we come!!