Monday, August 30, 2010

365 Days, Day 84

A moment in the life of Deidre and Ariel

It all began with the "For Sale" sign outside the house. We arrive home after an exciting (not) journey to the shops to get Jelly Tots and chocolate, only to discover *drum roll* that their are prospective buyers coming to look at our house!!!

Maybe it is a subconscious thing, but what we do next is bordering on the slightly irregular... actually mad. We find some cheap red gloves, that look like they used to belong to an "entertainer" of the male/female persuasion, as well as mom's cute little red hat. I promptly adorn myself in these things and proceed to act out the possibility of meeting the "mense" (the prospective buyers). This involves much waving of the gloved hands as well as a sightly dodgy Rocky Horror inspired accent. And of course mom as the scape goat.

What mom finds next is very unusual. She discovers, much to her pleasure, a piece of one of her art works. This hat/mask is quite honestly... frightening. It looks like some kind of balaclava, only more sinister. Also it has no mouth hole. And it is made out of leather.

Amongst rather a lot of chuckling we go downstairs to show off our outfits to dad. He smiles indulgently, as is his way, while we frolic about like mad people. What mom does next is truly inspires, she pulls the balaclava like mask off to reveal her face, which makes her look a bit like a goth Marge Simpson, with tufts of bright pink hair sprouting from the eye hole. I then put my red hat on to of her goth MH hairstyle, and we take a few snaps of this incredible look (see above).

So the moral of the story is this, no we did not greet the "mense" like that, in fact we quickly rearranged everything to an appearance of normality. But we did almost collapse with laughter and we also managed to capture a (not so infrequent) type fun and crazy moment in the lives of Deidre and Ariel.

Lots of Love and Madness

P.S: I know that wasn't exactly a moral, but my brain panicked when I tried to the of the right word and typed out moral. Such is life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

365 Days, Day 83

Leaving my home and family has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Moving is stressful. Moving to a new country is heart-breaking. One has to leave so much behind. Emotionally, it cost me plenty. When one is away from one’s own country, one becomes very patriotic. One remembers only the good moments, the best of one’s land. I coped with the extreme loneliness, the heart-ache, by taking my sad emotions and placing them carefully inside an intricately carved emotion box, which resides inside my imagination. I closed the box and looked at it. I sat on my box. Some days I stand on my box. Mostly I am aware that my box exists, but I don’t interact with it.

I am back in South Africa to spend time with my mom and with my dad, as he lies in hospital. I keep them both in my thoughts all the time: I send positive energy-thoughts to them, willing them both to be strong.

I am also here to pack up my home of 25 years. Twenty five years of objects (memories). Some are difficult to part with. Some I cannot part with - the select few sentimental objects are going to be shipped to us. There is a wardrobe and dressing table made by Tom’s dad for Ariel – made form the floor boards of the house where Oupa was born. My dad made a beautiful rocking horse for our twins when they were little boys: my grandchildren will someday rock on Dobbin, made with love , by Grandad. We spent many hours in Cape Town looking for a dressing table for me, years ago. I knew the instant I saw it that this was what I had been looking for – even though it is slightly fire damaged, I adore my antique dressing table. I wish I knew the history of it. There is a showcase full of crockery from Tom’s mom, with an Italian history. There is a little salt-and-pepper set dating back to the de Medici family which has been bequeathed to Ariel. These will come with us.

So many things will be given to family and friends. Some will be sold. Tom has had an emotional few weeks of packing up his workshop. So many tools that he has made over the years to do his knife-making have already been sold. The last few, he would love to ship to the UK in the hope that he will, on a smaller scale, recreate a workshop to be able to make knives again… Parting with memories is easier said than done.

Today when we arrived home from a family lunch (it is the birthday of my brother Lionel - who doesn't read blogs!), there was a “For Sale” sign outside our home. It was like a punch in the stomach. Our home of memories is really going to be sold… No-one will love and appreciate it like we do. All the years of growing up with our children, our family, our friends. The years of sharing, entertaining, building, making, digging, growing. Growing old[er]. All will melt away into our memories…

My memory box will house all the years of love, laughter, happiness, sadness, stress and worry. Because that is part of who I am.

Someday, I will be able to look inside the box, and carefully take all the sad emotions and I will insert them inside red balloons. I will tie red ribbons to the balloons and walk out to the pier overlooking the sea. I will let the sad-emotion-balloons go. When I am ready…

Saturday, August 28, 2010

365 Days, Day 82

The sun rose slowly, like a fiery fur ball coughed up uneasily onto a sky-blue carpet by a giant unseen cat (Michael McGarel)

As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows, cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human mind (Cleveland Amory)

Diego is beautiful. Last night though, I was seduced by his beauty. I stroked him and told him he was beautiful. His throaty noises encouraged me.

I had forgotten how allergic I am to cats. My eyes swelled up and became fat, my nose had swords stabbing its sinus cavities all night. I sneezed myself awake several times.

I need to remember to look, but not touch when it comes to the feline creatures.

Below I am going to paste “how to give a cat a pill” – even if you have read it before, I am sure you’ll chuckle if you have ever been owned by a cat.

How to Give a Cat a Pill

1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm, as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop in the pill. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor, and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw away soggy pill.

4. Take new pill from foil wrapper. Cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force open the jaws and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl, and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees. Hold front and rear paws, ignoring low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand, while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, and get another pill from foil wrapper. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth, and set aside for gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel, and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force cat’s mouth open with pencil, and blow down straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill is not harmful to humans. Drink one beer to take away taste of pill. Apply Band-Aid to spouse’s forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbour’s shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage, and replace cupboard door on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of Scotch. Pour shot and drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check medical records for date of last tetanus shot. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw away tee-shirt and fetch another one from bedroom.

12. Call fire department to retrieve ****ing cat from tree across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrapper.

13. Tie the little sod’s front paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table. Fetch heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth, followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour two pints of water down throat to wash down pill.

14. Consume remainder of Scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm, and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call in at furniture shop on the way home, to order new dining table.

15. Place “Free Mutant Cat from Hell” ad in local newspaper and ring local pet shop to see if they have any bunnies.

How to Give a Dog a Pill

1. Wrap it in bacon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

365 Days, Day 81


by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple

Red moments in my life:

On our first date, all those years ago, Tom and I went to see the movie The Rose, we had supper at the Red Mandarin Chinese restaurant.

Kyle and Roarke’s baby room colour theme was red. The curtains were red with little white birds. I have a red lounge suite, red curtains in the dining room. I had red walls down the passage and along the stairs at one stage. I made myself a red evening dress. I made a red suit (long flowing jacket and trousers) for my role in Kindly Leave the Stage. My favourite coffee cups are my red Nescafe ones.

If I look around me now there are red things everywhere: purse, gloves, leather folder, candle, tie backs, flowers, dark glasses, placemats… Without realising it, red seems to feature strongly in life.

Everybody needs a little red in their lives. Look for your bit of red today…

Thursday, August 26, 2010

365 Days, Day 80

Colour Therapy - Chromotherapy

It has been known for eons of time that colour plays a major role in setting up a particular mood or state of mind. Colour does affect one's feelings, moods, and emotions.

Colours affect us in different ways:

* Colour is one of the languages of the soul, just look at inspired or meditative paintings.

* They influence our mood and emotions.

* They have their impact on our sense of well-being or un-easiness.

* Using and avoiding certain colours is a way of self-expression; it sheds light on our personality.

* Colours affect our way of perception (light colours make a space look big, a high ceiling looks less high when painted in a dark colour, etc.)

* Colours have a symbolic meaning which is immediately recognized by our subconscious. It must be said that not all colours mean the same to all persons and all cultures.

* They influence the flow and amount of energy in our bodies.

* Colours tell something about biological attraction and sexual availability.

Colour Chart

A preference for certain colours can point at two things:

* self-expression (you choose the colours which match your personality; for instance green for a lover of harmony and nature)

* completion (you choose the colours you need more of; for instance an active, passionate person chooses blue colours to cool down his nature).

An aversion against certain colours gives information as well.


Healing properties: Brings warmth, energy and stimulation, therefore good for energy, fatigue, colds, chilly and passive people. Red energizes heart and blood circulation, it builds up the blood and heightens a low blood pressure. Energizes all organs and the senses hearing, smell, taste, vision and touch. Increases sexual desire and activity. Stimulates ovulation and menstruation. Never treat cancer with red, because this colour will stimulate cell growth!

Red links with and stimulates the root chakra, at the base of the spine, causing the adrenal glands to release adrenalin. This results in greater strength. Red causes haemoglobin to multiply, thus increasing energy and raising body temperature. It is excellent for anaemia and blood-related conditions. It loosens, opens up clogs, releases stiffness and constrictions. It is excellent for areas that have become stiffened or constricted.

Esoteric/magickal: Deities of love, passion, sexuality and war (to stimulate a healthy portion of assertiveness). Great energy, courage, will-power, determination, speed, assertiveness, aggression, masculinity, independence, physical strength, sports, competition, conflicts, health, sexual attraction and potency, love and passion, fertility.

Preference for red: Red is associated with passionate love, sex, great energy, impulse, action and stimulation, assertiveness and aggression, courage, strength and power, adventure, danger, warnings, revolt and revolution. Temperamental and ambitious people with a need for personal freedom.

Aversion to red: A person who has an aversion to red may be over-active, too impulsive, hot-tempered, aggressive and egocentric, or have difficulties with people with such characteristics. It can also symbolise deeply hidden fears and rejection of his own assertiveness.

I am still on my quest for information about red. I scouted about today looking for red things to photograph. Whilst I was in the garden crouching down photographing a red wind chime hanging in a bush, Jack and Gryphon dashed under my skirt where they became disorientated and confused. They started attacking one another with much snarling and growling. I was rather perturbed that this was happening under my skirt, as I didn’t fancy my flesh being involved in this altercation. A loud (aggressive!) yell from me brought the silly beasts to their senses, and there was much apologising all round.

My favourite pudding at the moment is Eton Mess, because it has red ingredients (strawberries) and because it tastes really good.

Eton Mess


* 1 punnet strawberries

* 2 teaspoons castor sugar

* 1 cup whipping cream

* Meringues


Chop the strawberries and put into a bowl. Add the sugar and leave to macerate while you whip the cream.

Whip the cream in a large bowl until thick but still soft. Roughly crumble in the meringues.

Fold the meringues, cream and fruit mixture together.

It looks messy, but tastes delicious.

I need some more RED recipes. Please share yours with me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

365 Days, Day 79

Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, quality of the imagination, a vigour of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life (Samuel Ullman)

Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That or a kick-ass red lipstick (Gwyneth Paltrow)

My theme for today and maybe for the rest of the week is: RED. That’s because I happened to take red photos today. And I like red: it’s my new winter colour. I bought a huge red handbag for winter, which is quite ridiculous (the size, not the colour) because being so capacious, I can never find anything in it! When I saw this beautiful cherry red bag, I decided that this would be my new winter colour. So, I shall have red hair this winter. I have red lipstick, a red flower for my hair, a red scarf, a red leather jacket and red gloves. All I need is a pair of red shoes. Or boots.

I looked up some meanings of the colour red.

Red is the warmest of all colours.

Red is the colour most chosen by extroverts and one of the top picks of males.

In China, red is the colour of prosperity and joy.

Red is Tuesday's colour.

Red roses symbolize passionate love.

Red is the colour of blood*, and as such has strong symbolism as life and vitality.

It brings focus to the essence of life and living with emphasis on survival. Red is also the colour of passion and lust.

Put some red in your life when you want:

- increased enthusiasm and interest

- more energy

- action and confidence to go after your dreams

- protection from fears and anxieties

Wearing Red

Wear a red accent piece when you want to present yourself as bold and dynamic. It can boost your confidence if you feel unsure of yourself.

If a woman wears a red dress it usually is associated with sex appeal**.

Chakra associated with Red:

Red is the colour associated with the Root Chakra at the base of the spine (animal or base nature). This chakra deals with life at the level of practicality. It is responsible for maintaining the body's heat and has a relationship with the circulatory system.


*I love the colour of blood, when it is drawn from the body into those glass tubes. The richness of that dark red is beautiful. I would love a long velvet hooded cape in that colour.

**Okaaay… not so sure that is what I am saying when I wear red… Maybe I do look sexy in red??? Not so sure about the validity of this one!

I shall continue with the colour red tomorrow. Going to visit dad in hospital now… (Oh I also have a very snazzy red hat).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

365 Days, Day 78

Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame! (William Butler Yeats)

Spread your wings and let the fairy in you fly! (Author Unknown)

No child but must remember laying his head in the grass, staring into the infinitesimal forest and seeing it grow populous with fairy armies. (Robert Louis Stevenson, Essays in the Art of Writing)

Don’t ever neglect the child within: protect and nourish her/him. They will provide you with new eyes and ears. They will add delight to your life.

On a warm day, take a blanket and a friend outside and lie down. Let the child within enjoy the shapes of the clouds, which transform into new creatures as you watch. I remember doing this with my mum as a child. And I did it with my children when they were little. And Ariél and I watched the UK clouds together recently. After the cloud watching, let the child within enjoy some pretty little cupcakes topped with hundreds-and-thousands. Save some for the fairies.

When we walk in the forest with Lily, I think she sees more fairies than we do because her mind isn’t cluttered with ‘reality’. Let your child within come out to play. So next time you are out walking in a forest, tread softly and lift the fern fronds slowly. Perchance you will come across a fairy. If you listen carefully you might hear their singing.

Okay, so now, I might be perceived as being a little odd… but nonetheless I will continue.

I have a delightful book of Fairy-Fashion; each outfit was designed and made of petals, leaves and seeds. Such creativity tickles me.

My art therapy workshop will have a fairy day which will start with a walk in the forest to collect materials and inspiration. It will end with a fairy circle banquet. To release the faerie within, so you can spread your wings and fly.

Monday, August 23, 2010

365 Days, Day 77

Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away (Robert Fulghum)

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without (Buddha)

To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and
a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up
that which is planted;

A time to kill, and
a time to heal;
a time to break down, and
a time to build up;

A time to weep, and
a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and
a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and
a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and
a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and
a time to lose;
a time to keep, and
a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and
a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and
a time to speak;

A time to love, and
a time to hate;
a time of war; and
a time of peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Attributed to King Solomon)

I do not have much to say today. I need to find stillness in my heart. I need a time to be silent and time to pray. I need to use the power of my mind.

Ohm shanti shanti shant* – peace peace peace


365 Days, Day 76

If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves (Thomas Edison)

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

Sometimes we find in ourselves in situations where we might not choose to be; where we question why?! Or we might impose conditions on ourselves which push our physical selves beyond the limit. In these situations, our mind has to take over. I think we cannot even begin to comprehend what our minds are capable of.

The following is for my daddy. Perhaps someone wants to read this to him?

In healing, repetitive use of positive visualization allows access to the mind-body connection. This lets the mind and body work together to foster the healing process of the body on a physical level.

Positive thought is essential to producing positive results. Negative thoughts and emotions lower the immune system, while positive thought and emotions actually boost the immune system. To maximize success of visualization as a support to the healing process, the following suggestions are offered:

Define Your Specific Intention

Take Responsibility

Get Mentally Relaxed


If you have difficulty you may want to try one or more of these methods:

  • Use creative imagery like seeing the cells in your body healing you; your immune system fighting off invaders; your pain being taken away by healing mud
  • Imagine yourself in a very beautiful place whole, healthy and happy
  • Try reading scripts from a visualization or self-hypnosis book
  • Try making your own tape in your own voice

Visualization does work to help boost your body back to health. Don't just work on the body; add the mind to maximize your healing process with visualization.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

365 Days, Day 75

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams (Ashley Smith)

This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, love to complete your life (Author unknown)

Sometimes I get so caught up in the business of life that I miss the bigger picture. Life seems very intense at the moment and serious. My own life is on hold. I am between two worlds, not entirely in either. My heart is sad and heavy.

Tonight I am going to pray for a rainbow to follow this cloud.

I know I will have hugs when I am with the family tomorrow. I read an article on the power of [hugs], here is an excerpt from it.

At the centre of how our bodies respond to love and affection is a hormone called oxytocin. Most of our oxytocin is made in the area of the brain called the hypothalamus. Some is released into our bloodstream, but much of its effect is thought to reside in the brain.

Oxytocin does more than make us feel good. It lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood, increasing tolerance for pain and perhaps even speeding how fast wounds heal.

One thing researchers can say with certainty is that physical contact affects oxytocin levels. Light says that the people who get lots of hugs and other warm contact at home tend to have the highest levels of oxytocin in the laboratory. She believes that frequent warm contact may somehow prime the oxytocin system and make it quicker to turn on whenever there's warm contact, even in a laboratory.

We may not yet fully understand how love and affection develop between people-or how love affects our health-but research is giving us some guidance. Give those you love all the affection you can. It can't hurt, and it may bring a bounty of health benefits.

(The Power of Love By National Institute of Health)

When I taught at Aurora, at the convent and at Krugersdorp High, hugging was part of the day. Sometimes the pupils or a colleague needed a hug and sometimes they sensed I did. It was good for morale. In the UK, one does not touch the pupils at all, not even an encouraging tap on the shoulder - there is just no physical contact… I really miss the hugs I used to get from my pupils.

The family and friends are only source of hugs now. As a family we cling together in difficult times, and are a comfort to one another. Together we can get through anything.

I need a hug.


Friday, August 20, 2010

365 Days, Day 74

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves (Mohandas K. Gandhi)

Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are (Alfred Austin)

The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible: The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden. If you don't want paradise, you are not human; and if you are not human, you don't have a soul (Thomas Moore)

I have not had much time to be in my South African garden: but although it looks neat, it does need some attention. Everything is very dry here. I had forgotten how dry and dusty it is in winter in Gauteng. The work I did in January in the garden has grown sad. I need some inspiration for getting the garden to look good for prospective buyers. Any suggestions from my skilled-gardening family and friends?

When my mum (Shirley) was a little girl she and her sister, Pam, would play in the garden while their mum was gardening. They called their mum (my Nan): Mrs. Garden. Shirley was Mrs. Martin (the rich side of the family’s name) and her sister, Pam, called herself Mrs. Pam. Years later, my cousins from Durban (Pam’s children) and I would play in the very same garden, while the adults were visiting. We would play a game that involved making a witches’ brew with leaves and plants gathered from Nan’s garden. I remember Nan’s roses which had a beautiful perfume. I always associate roses with Nan.

Mum’s rose garden is even more beautiful than Nan’s was. Many hours of loving attention have produced gorgeous rose bushes. There are so many interesting things in my mum’s garden and nooks and crannies. When I think back to my childhood, the garden always had fruit trees from which we had peaches, plums, apricots and apples. Now they also have a big vegetable patch – which dad has been involved in too.

I haven’t really inherited the green-fingers, only to a pottering extent. Although Ariél says now that Tom and I are getting older we are starting to like gardening more- so it must be an old person’s past-time! [hmph]

I like garden ‘accessories’ as much as the plants themselves, like my fairies and the amphora I made for an art work which are scattered around the studio. I like it when you round a corner and see little unexpected things in the garden that encourages real fairies and fantasy creature to inhabit the space.