Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dinsdag en tyd vir boeke - Ver in die Wêreld Kittie en Foxtrot van die liefde

Ek is deel van die toebroodjie generasie - die generasie wat ouer was toe hulle kinders gekry het en nou tussen ouerwordende ouers en klein kinders gedruk word. Almal vereis sorg en jy kan nie regtig op ouers steun om te help met kinders versorg nie en ook nie anders om nie. Hierdie is nie 100% die geval met beide Kittie en Katalaya, die heldinne van die twee boeke waaroor ek vandag gesels nie. Wel dalk vir Kittie se broer en suster want Kittie het nie kinders nie. Dit maak egter nie saak of jy ouers het wat verswak nie of klein kindertjies het nie - Kittie en Katalaya se verhoudings met hulle ouers en die res van hulle familie sal heel moontlik vir jou bekend voel.

Dit is hoe verhoudings uitgebeeld word wat my aantrek na beidie van die boeke. In albei word verhoudings uit alle kante bekyk maar veral ook die een wat elke vrou van geboorte het - die een met haar ma. Vir my is dit heel relevant - my ma is ook besig om te verswak - nou wel nie verstandelik nie maar liggaamlik. In Foxtrot van die liefde word Katalaya se ma se verstand al swakker maar haar liggaam hang hardnekkig aan - in Ver in die wereld Kittie is die teenoorgestelde die probleem. Die feit bly dit is nie maklik om oud te word nie en allermins maklik om dit te aanskou met jou eie ma.

Foxtrot van die liefde - Kristel Loots
 Katalaya is funky en sestig (en mag ek tog op sestig so funky wees) en laat haar nie sommer onder kry nie. Maar nou gaan staan en los Franco haar en haar volwasse kinders dra by om haar silwerwit hare nog witter te maak. Katalaya se lewe is losweg net omver gegooi deur alles wat sy voel op haar afstorm.

In wat vir my haar grootste worsteling is moet Katalaya haar seniele bejaarde ma nog besoek en die verflenterende bande optel en styf hou. Tipies van haar ouderdom probeer sy uit die siekeboeg en haar senieliteit steeds beheer te kry oor Katalaya se lewe. Toe haar ma nog beweer dat 'n man met n Elvis kuif haar besoek in Huis Herfsblaar bars die sweer van die verlede oop en word sy bloot gestel aan die dinge watarvan niemand ooit gepraat het nie. In 'n pelgrimstog na haar verlede val soveel stukke in plek.

Bo alles gaan die boek oor verhoudings en familie dinamika. Katalaya worstel nie net met die verhouding met 'n ma wat verder van haar dryf omdat sy haar verstand verloor nie maar ook met haar verhouding met haar kinders wat besig is om in flarde te val. Natuurlik ook haar flenters huwelik.

Foxtrot van die liefde is alles behalwe jou tipiese liefdeseverhaal. Dit is soveel meer (met net genoeg romanse) en regtig 'n heerlike lees. Ek het soveel deernis gekry vir Katalaya. Ek wens sy was my vriendin. 'n Baie besliste 8/10 vir 'n heerlike lees met meer diepte as wat mens verwag van die voorblad greep.

Ver in die wêreld Kittie van Santie van der Merwe
 Kittie word teruggeroep uit Engeland om haar ma wat pas 'n beroerte gehad het te versorg. Kittie het nie veel van 'n keuse nie - dit is haar beurt soos haar suster uitwys en bowendien het sy nêrens anders om heen te gaan nie as om terug te keer na die stowwerige dorpie van haar grootword jare.

Kittie moet die verlede wat sy so suksesvol verby presteer het vierkantig in die oe kyk. Sy wat altyd gevoel het asof sy die stiefkind, die ongeliefde een was moet die een wat haar die meeste te na gekom het, versorg. In die proses word soveel meer van haar verlede aan haar bekend - ook haar ma se geskiedenis. Soos wat Kittie se ma meer beheer oor haar liggaam wen werk Kittie deur soveel in haar verlede en albei word heel in die proses.

Hierdie boek het my baie diep geraak - nie net Kittie se agtergrond, verlies en hartseer nie maar ook haar ma s'n - en die res van die familie. Die verskillende maniere waarop die kinders met die swaarkry en verlies om gaan is word baie raak uitgebeeld. Wat my ook diep geraak het is die dele wat uit haar ma se stem geskryf is en hoe swaar dit moet wees om beheer oor jou eie liggaam te verloor terwyl jou verstand steeds skerp is.

Onthou daai rooi jassie in Schindler's list? In hierdie boek is daar ook 'n rooi jassie en hy het my net so diep geraak. Die hartseer en swaarkry in 'n enkele simbool vervat.

Hierdie boek is oor verhoudings en ja, daar is seker so klein liefdesverhaal versteek, maar bowenal is dit oor hoe een vrou haar verlede oorwin.  Die boek is pragtig geskryf , vol sensitiwiteit en die besondere mooi omslag verdien ook om genoem te word.Lees geru - 9/10 vir 'n pragtige verhaal.

Friday, 7 April 2017

No five for Firday

Because today South Africa is protesting our president and what he has done. It seems that the protests are peaceful and structured and we all hope, maybe in vain , that something will come from this.

In my personal life I am moving through a storm of my own - my business partner passed away on Saturday. He taught me almost everything I know about the it. It is a huge loss and it is hard to deal with the sadness of a whole office and the insecurities and uncertainties we are facing. We are also trying to fill a gap in terms of work and the load of what needs to be done is huge.

The combined anxiety is driving me nuts and making me so very tired - of course struggling to sleep does not help one bit. Your thoughts and prayers will be appreciated.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Tuesday bookday - Until Thy Wrath be Past

I have written before about my love for Scandinavian writing and authors. There is a special breed of them up north in the white cold winters that form the backdrop for so many of their books. As a lot of you know my favorite genre to read is crime and mysteries. In particular I enjoy Nordic Noir - that particular brand of murder mystery that the Scandinavians do so well. A bit edgy, sometimes gory but always tension filled right to the end. I was really happy to discover a new (for me) Nordic Noir writer recently.

Until Thy Wrath be Past by Asa Larsson

Wilma Persson and Simon Kyrö disappears on a Winters day while diving in a lake in the icy weather. When the first sign of Spring comes Wilma's body is found - and Wilma makes her first visit to Prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson who starts to investigate the case with Inspector Anna-Maria Mella. 

The setting is small town northern Sweden with all the usual trappings of a rural community - be it in Sweden or South Africa. The community and how it functions form the background to the story. The story is partially told by Wilma herself and constantly switched between today and the past as the intrigue around it unfolds. Larsson uses this very effectively and gives very interesting background to the Swedish, Norwegian and German Nazi occupation during World War 2. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the tension and complexity of the story and it is great to see two strong female protagonists . I got the idea that it might have been beneficial to have read the others in the series (this is number 4) to fully understand the emotional complexities they are both dealing with and that impacts on the background on the story.

As with a lot of the Nordic Noir books the area forms a big part of the story as does the climate and the cold and snow. What did stand out for me about Larsson's writing is that it holds a lot more emotion than any of the other Nordic Noir books I have read up to date. She taps into and expresses the emotions of her characters and have the reader involved in the emotions leading up to and following most events in the book.

A 9/10 for a great tension filled murder mystery. I will without a doubt find her other books and read them.


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Is this the start of the teenage thing?


The last few mornings has been a bit, well, how will I put it? Trying? Difficult? Maybe not more than the usual, it's just that the tone has gone up that one, two notches. The same girl that now prepares their lunchboxes every evening, helps out so much and in general is the sweetest child will explode into a raging animal for a few minutes, to switch back to the sweet cuddly girl we know within another 5 minutes.

It has only been a few times now - I can count them on my one hand - but the frequency is picking up. I know it's probably hormones that are at work in full force. It is also the end of a very long first term with some late nights for the ballet concert. She has been busy. But dressing takes soooo much longer these days - even for school.

I would love to have a great loving open relationship with her but I struggle with the animal that takes over once in a while. I want to shout and scream at that animal - the only problem being that while the animal is in place she hears nothing. And then the sweet girl returns and who wants to shout at her? But geez guys - I need some advice here from those who have the been there done that teen T shirt. Help!!!!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dinsdag en tyd vir boeke - n lekker jeugboek vandag

If one good thing came out of my inactivity after my little accident, it is the reading. I have  read more books in the last 3 weeks than what I usually read in about 2 months. So I have lots to talk about on Tuesdays, but today I start with a wonderful Afrikaans youth book - so if you are looking for a great series of books to improve your daughters' Afrikaans from about 12 (even for second langauge ) - read on.

Meeste van ons boekwurms se kinder herinneringe sluit boeke in. Ai die lekkerte van Saartjie! Saartjie en Trompie was vroeë leesgenot - kortop gevolg deur die Uile en die Lennet reeks. Maasdorp was nooit my gunsteling reeks nie - seker omdat Kobie net eenvoudig nie my tipe meisie was nie - maar was Saartjie dan? Ek weet nie regtig nie - my gunstelinge was steeds die onnutsige maar goedhartige Uile van Kranskop - al was ek 'n meisie. Wat ek wel weet is dat ek elke liewe Maasdorp boek gelees het ten spyte daarvan dat ek nie regtig van Kobie gehou het nie Die aantrekkingskrag was natuurlik die koshuislewe so lekker uitgebeeld daarin. Almal wou koshuis toe - hoekom dan nie? Dit klink asof alles lekkerder en meer avontuurlik is in Maasdorp koshuis as by ons eie huise in voorstedelike Pretoria/Kaapstad of Johannesburg.

Ons wil almal ons lees passie en lekkerte met ons kinders deel en daarom het ek gretig vir A die eerste Saartjie omnibus gekoop - net om deur my boekwurm ingelig te word dat dit regtig nie lekker lees nie. So ook Trompie vir die seuns - dit lyk asof alhoewel vermoderniseer, die stories nie ons kinders aanstaan nie. Toe ek dus later hoor dat die Maasdorp boeke, hoewel nuut uitgegee, nie regtig geniet word nie (ons het een by die bib uitgeneem en ja, is nie eers halfpad gelees nie) het ek so half in my mou gehuil oor die lekkerte van koshuisboeke wat my kinders nou gaan mis. Tot my groot plesier ontdek ek toe die Gravitas reeks van Christien Neser. Ek het voorheen oor haar briljante "Amper Einstein" geskryf en Christien is beslis iemand wat 'n jeugverhaal kan skryf wat volwassenes net so geniet.

Heel gepas met 'n Cream Soda float in die hand gelees.
Die opgewondenheid van my 12 jarige meisiekind by die sien van "Pienk Bikini" moes voorspel het dat sy en ek die boek gaan geniet. Ons het amper loodjies getrek so groot was die afwagting maar ek het ingegee dat sy eers lees aangesien ek 'n stapeltjie het wat wag op my bedkassie.

Prinses A skryf oor die boek: Pienk Bikini is die storie van Elle na sy verkies word as die hoofmeisie van Gravitas skool. Elle is baie opgewonde maar ter selfde tyd baie onseker oor haar nuwe rol. Sy betwyfel heel tyd of sy dit verdien en goed genoeg kan doen. Dan is daar nog Shia en haar inmengerige ouers wat net wag dat Elle 'n fout maak sodat Shia kan oorneem as hoofmeisie.  Elle se werk met die kinderhuis se kleuters sorg vir 'n baie prettige maar op die ou end problematiese modderstoeigeveg. Ek het regtig lekker aan die boek gelees en was bly om al my gunsteling Gravitas karakters weer raak te loop in die boek - ek het reeds Koshuiskofiie en Blou Sjokolade gelees. Ek hou veral baie van Refilwe wat so 'n prettige vriendin is. Sy is altyd vrolik en sal jou nooit in die rug steek nie. Sy het ook vir my my nuwe gunsteling woord gegee - "gomverdorie" Hierdie was 'n heerlike boek!

My opinie: As volwasse leser het ek heerlik aan Pienk bikini gelees - dit is werklik een van daardie jeug boeke waarin die taal, storie en skryfstyl nie vir een oomblik sy jeugdige lesers en hulle ouers onderskat nie. Vir my was elke karakter en die hele Gravitas omgewing nuut en vars en n absolute lekkerte. Ek hou daarvan dat Elle effe onseker voorkom - dit is iets wat ek dink meeste meisies van die ouderdom mee sukkel - al mag hulle dit dalk self nie noem nie. Ek weet my dogter is soms onseker en ek dink dat Elle so suksesvol is ten spyte van dit is 'n heerlike aansporing vir die meisies. Dit is nie maklik om 'n tiener te wees nie en Elle en haar maats spreek daardie onsekerhede en angstigheid goed aan met 'n prettige ondertoon. Elle is beslis my tipe meisie en ek hou sommer baie van haar en haar vriende. Ek gaan beslis die ander Gravitas boeke in ons huis lees - en seker maak my Prinses A kry die res ook onder oë. Ek moet natuurlik ook soos sy Refilwe uitsonder as die aller lekkerste karakter. Sy is daardie een vriendin wat elke meisie of vrou nodig het - lojaal, prettig, positief en so effe astrant.

Die Gravitas of dan Elle reeks is ons keuse van geskenke vir die graad 6 meisies in ons "jaar van boeke as geskenke" Die boeke het als wat mens kan verwag van 'n goed gebalanseerde jeugreeks en elke meisie was tot dusver erg in haar noppies met haar geskenk.

Pienk Bikini kry van albei van ons af 'n vrolike pienk 9/10! Gomverdorie maar dit is 'n heerlike boek!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Five for Friday edition 28

So yes! It's Friday and the first one in a while that has a small semblance to the usual.

 1. The Friday morning coffee club met for the first time in 2017 in full numbers (we are only 3). Gosh the first term has flown past. We generally only have coffee but this morning turned into delicious breakfasts. It was such a great hour spent chatting and listening and eating at our little local coffee shop. There is something to say for one that opens before 7 am every day.



2. I got my stitches out yesterday and was promoted to one crutch and being able to drive a bit. I am so very very happy - am starting to feel relatively like myself again.

3. The rugby season started yesterday and the boys' team won their first match in a very convincing way. L made a huge tackle on a much bigger boy to his own great delight.

4. It was A's yearly ballet concert last night and the night before. It was once again spectacular and featured the most beautiful costumes. She also danced in a Spanish number for the first time. It was a lot of Saturdays and nights and extra hard work but so worth it.


5. It was world Monopoly day on Sunday and to celebrate Monopoly released the results of their Token Madness vote. I am glad to say that Scottie the dog lived to survive another round There is even a T Rex now! Tonight is Monopoly night in our home as we upgrade from the Junior version to the special edition token madness one.

So, any five for Friday from your side?

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

I had many plans for the next few week


I had a wonderful canine nurse at home - Ocean took such great care of me.
I was really excited to take photos for A's dance teachers of their concert. I was really excited to walk my first Parkrun and do so many things. There were two book launches I had my eyes on - and so much more. But one never knows what will happen the next moment - and an accident is the last thing on your mind.

On Friday the 24th of February I had a half written Five for Friday post open on my laptop as I rushed to take something for the performance arts teacher at school and then pick up A to take her to a camp a bit later the afternoon. Her classroom is behind the stage in the hall - with a small passage leading to the stage. She and the kids were not in her classroom and I heard A's voice on the stage - I peaked in and saw them busy with a drama performance. I turned around to wait in her class and as I put down my left foot I stepped on a round orange pencil - I can still see it in my mind - neatly marked and round. It caught in the groove of my tekkies and I slipped - hitting a wet spot on the floor. My foot just went and went - I could not control it for one minute. In slow motion I realized that I am falling- and falling hard.

To make a long story short it was off to hospital, extreme pain and xrays, MRI scans and sonars. The end result being operated on on the 6th of March to repair my hamstring - partially torn off at the origin and with about 5 tears in itself - one rather big one. The last two week was spent lying mostly (as due to the laparoscopy I have 3 holes right under my sitting bone) and a very sore leg, There has been physio and frustration. Work had to be taken care of by my wonderful peeps at the office who have been simply amazing and at home Hunter had to fill in - a lot! He was simply amazing - I can not even start to tell you how he seamlessly took over everything I do and I kept doing all his tastks You can do very little for yourself flat on your back and on two crutches. Luckily our wonderful au pair was there for afternoons and to get me to physio. Our Lucy took care of me during the day - making sure I had ice on my leg and something in my tummy.

One wonders why this had to happen - I was a tad  quite angry about this! Why do things ike this even happen? ( just goes to show to how very important a good medical aid is too). Myabe it was God's way to slow me down a bit. I was running life fast and furious - maybe I had to slow down for a few weeks. Who knows? I though I would blog a lot, I thought I would draw an bit but it transpires you can not work well lying down with a computer or draw for that matter. I did colour one picture and read quite a bit. But that is about it. There was however a bit of quality time with each kid as all of them at some stage cam to sit with me on the bed and play a game, or simply chat.

I have learned a lot these past few weeks - and will share some thoughts later Mostly we spoil out kids and they can do so much more than we think they can. And none of us is as irreplaceable as we think we are. 

There will still be  a road of rehab to follow and lots of hard work - I guess some pain too. But I am feeling a lot better today and stronger. Onwards - but maybe a bit slower than before.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

It's Tuesday - and booksday!

The All - Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion - Fannie Flagg

Sookie has just married off her last daughter in Alabama and it seems the biggest issue in her life is to keep the Bluejays from eating all the bird food before the little ones have their share. It seems 2005 is going to be her year to at last relax until a package arrives for her dominating elderly mother . Sookie opens it up as she does with all her mother's affairs she had to take over and it changes the whole way she thinks about herself - who she is and where she belongs. The package sends her back to Pulanski Wisconsin in 1941 and the world of the Jurdabralinski sisters and how World war II not only affected the men fighting but also the whole of America. 

The book seamlessly moves between the two time frames and is filled with wonderful characters that really come to life. I love how I could picture almost every one of them in my head - not only in the way they looked but how I would imagine they sound and hold themselves. The description of the places that house the book is rich and colourful and one can clearly imagine living there.

What I particularly enjoyed about the book was that I learned a bit of history that I had no idea even took place. Did you know that the first US female pilots were already recruited in World War II? It is a fascinating piece of history and have prompted me to do a bit of research myself.

I totally fell in love with  Fanny Flagg's writing - it is so charming and easy to read. You may remember "Fried green tomatoes at the Whistle stop cafe" - her best know book (turned into a lovely movie). If you loved it this book will not disappoint. It is a great family saga well told with lots of sensitivity. Many laughs but also a tear or two.

A great 9/10 for a great read. 





Thursday, 23 February 2017

Lets talk teen/tween skins - well all skins actually

So A have been struggling since last year with the typical skin outbursts the tweens get. We tried face wash and creams - it helped a bit. And then I mentioned it one day at our local pharmacy. They have a nursing sister that works for them and the doctor connected to the pharmacy and she was standing next to the pharmacist that helped me. She quietly hands me two little pill bottles (no brands) and assures me that it will at least help. The total cost was less than R50.

So I started giving A two Brewers yeast tablets in the morning and one Zinc tablet as indicated. My, did it make a difference - in less than a week. Do not get me wrong - the problem is not totally gone, but it is certainly a whole lot better. Our Au Pair at the time also struggled with her skin and promptly went to buy some. She had almost instant results and is still using it. We saw her a few weeks ago and her skin has totally changed. Our student in the office is a beautiful girl but I soon saw that she had a tendency to isolated huge pimples - so I gave her the advice and two weeks on she has absolutely none.

So our secretary started to read up on the benefits of Brewers yeast and it turns out to be a great help for IBS. So from today I am on it too. It of course also contains heaps of Vitamin B too so maybe will help with my tiredness. And the odd pimple - I mean honestly how is it ever possible to have pimples and wrinkles at the same time?

So here's my ten cents of advice for your skin - and your teen or tweens' skin - Brewers yeast and Zinc every day. Any brand - the latest we have is Dischem's house brand and it still works.  Let me know if it helps! Any other teen/tween skin advice to share? What is the best face wash product for them?

Disclaimer - I have no medical or beauty background. This is purely our experience. If you are unsure in any way please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Family gifts for the win!

Let's talk a bit more about gifts. As the kids get older the obvious need for toys get less (I mean they all have so many) and clothes get more difficult (I can not imagine someone knowing what my 12 year old would like - even I sometimes have no idea). Books are always an option. But let's talk Christmas in particular.

We have scaled down a lot for Christmas - maybe I took it too far when they were younger. But we started a new trend two years ago with the in laws - we would agree to buy a family girt for the kids for Christmas and not a gift for each on their own. This means you can buy something more expensive and it is often something that in general can be enjoyed by them all. In 2015 we decided on boardgames and we got Cluedo as a gift. There has been many many games of Cluedo since. (For now we will not discuss the matter or fights around board games....)

In any event in 2016 we agreed on books with the in laws and my children were all 3 delighted to received the Percy Jackson box set. Mr C is almost done with the 3rd book, The Princess has read the first 2 and is waiting to get no 3 fro C and Mr L is patiently waiting until we think his reading level is on par to tackle them. This gift has provided hours of reading fun and will still do so in future.

My mom also gave the kids one gift - Rummikub - which is a fantastic game that I really enjoy playing with them. It has become a somewhat staple Friday night activity for us. It has been apart from the Percy Jackson books the most used Christmas gift of the year. The kids also got a tub of giant marshmallows from a family friend - they have been greatly enjoyed at braais and we still have a few left that I am sure will get demolished soon.

I remember as a child (when we gave way more Christmas presents) there was a general thing with friends, neighbours and family to give say a tin of toffees or Woollies cookies (or homemade ones) to families.I love this idea - as I in general love the idea of boardgames.

I would love to know if you have done or received something similar and what are your thoughts.