Still breathing… barely

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Hi dear friends… So I have been quiet for a while… a few months to be precise…

I always wanted my blog to be a place with a positive vibe, good news and so. So I developed a huge writer’s block.

It was a hard year for me with my eldest son working in the USA. But he has safely returned last week. The US of A has been good to him, and he really enjoyed it a lot. He thinks the people of Gregory, South Dakota are some of the friendliest people around. He was based in Hendricks, Minnesota. The Combined Harvestingvteam travelled through to Texas, Colorado, Montana, both Dakotas and over to Saskatchwan in Canada. He has seen a lot that his father would also love to see one day.  He returned to South Africa, and promptly left for Mozambique again last Friday- week ago, with his girlfriend and her family. His sister also worked until now, and her firm closed for the Christmas holidays.

The rest of the family is at Scottburg just south of Durban. We are having a good time in the Indian Ocean, swimming and suntanning. I also am planning to make a bucket list item a reality, to go shark cage diving if weather permits on Saturday. My eldest 2 children will probably join us in 2 days’ time to celebrate Christmas together.

Why I was so silent on my blog: the situation in South Africa is really getting me down. We have a very expensive clown for a president, and he and his cronies are really ruining our beautiful country. Even the New York Times says so…

In South Africa, if you are white and think the ANC is ruining the country, you must be a racist and longing for the old apartheid days. And that is really getting me down. No, I do not long for old days of racial discrimination. But I am fed up with the corruption and the way our President treats the country as his personal piggy bank. I do not long back to good old days, I look forward to a day in the future where everybody will really be treated as equals, and that I will never have to fill my race in on a form again. South Africa is in real deep… trouble. And while I still have the freedom to say that, I will.

So we are going to enjoy this seaside holiday, I think 2016 is going to be a very difficult year in our country…  we need a good rest before the next struggle starts.

So for all readers who celebrate Christmas, may it be a good time of peace. And for all the rest, may you also experience peace in these troubled times!

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When things come grindingly to a halt…

This morning, on my day off, I had to do the chores that is expected of an obedient South African husband…  It was time to take all the pruned branches that I can’t use as compost to our local landfill.  Now, with my eyes cast on photography, I thought I would take the small Powershot with for an opportunity that might present itself.

Maybe it has: An abandoned old bulldozer just caught my eye:

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This thing must have cost the municipality a few million ZAR a few years back. And now… like the rest of municipal services in rural South Africa, it was just left to rot…

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At the end of the Day… a la Naas Botha

Daily Prompt: No, Thank You

by michelle w. on June 22, 2013

If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us NO.

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I am sorry, but this post will probably only be understood by my fellow Saffas, and some of the British Commonwealth nations who play rugby.

It was triggered by this: in a few minutes our national team, the Springboks, will take on Samoa at Loftus in Pretoria, in the beautiful gentleman’s game of rugby.  Not that silly stuff that Aussies play in Aussie Rules, and not that other silly game that the rest of the world want to play in Rio soon with round balls…  Especially not that American game where you need a knights armor suit to go on the field. No, plain old rugby…

Well, there is this one South African who some people see as a legend in the game. His name is Naas Botha, and he was a long time ago a flyhalf who could kick really well, but could not tackle worth a damn. This gentleman is the but of many jokes, and our nation’s prankster, Leon Schuster, loves to portray him in his movies.

Naas Botha is a television commentator at Supersport these days. You usually, like today, will see him on the panel discussing the game during halftime, as well as the post mortem at the final whistle.  His English did improve a lot. But he started saying something, that you will now hear ALL South African rugby players echo in post match interviews. It is not a word as such, but a phrase…  You will hear it at the end of nearly every sentence by the boys from the Orange Free State- the Cheetahs, for whom English really is torture.  Much more than for me!

It is this phrase: At the end of the day…

A famous rugby couch echoes Naas regularly: At the end of the day, looks (sic) at the score board…

The interview with a Bloemfontein boytjie who were made man of the match after a Super 15 game:  “At the end of the day… ugh, ugh, oom weet, ugh… I played lekker… so at the end of the day we beat them up because our coach said to keep it tight at the end of the day. So, you know (the other phrase in this category) hey (ditto) at the end of the day we won. Né oom. It was very lekker, and now we are going to celebrate at the end of the day…”

For all you who doesn’t know the word yet: “LEKKER” means it is very nice/good/awesome/fantastic/ orgasmic/ delicious/ tasty/ all of the above and more. It is the one Afrikaans word accepted in our version of English in South Africa, and all our expats of whatever mother tongue uses it. It is just not possible to translate into one English word, you need a lot. And it is very lekker to say lekker. So that is the one word I would like to add to international English/ At the end of the day, you know, hey?

Images of Naas Botha:

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rugbydecuyo.com.ar

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I do not think this is Naas Botha, but the picture did come up in Google… I Image

This is the dude today, at the end of the day…

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pessimistincarnate.blogspot.com

And now, like all middle aged white South African Afrikaans speaking males  I have to hurry to attend the kickoff whistle, due to start at 17h15 GMT + 2…  Have a good Saturday, wherever you are, at the end of the day…

Monday Morning Travel

Today, I wish I woke up with my bags/suitcase/ backpack already packed, the tickets/travel vouchers/ passport laying on top at the front door, ready to go.

But alas, sometimes it is necessary to do some work, to collect holiday time and money.  How would it be to be Paris Hilton, jump in daddy’s jet and fly off to daddy’s hotel  on the other side of the world, for their high tea is so good…

This is the Monday morning blues speaking. I feel grumpy, and jealous, irritated and frustrated this morning. That is why I usually spend Monday mornings behind my desk in my office, and not on appointments with real people… Monday morning I need help myself, I am not able to give help to others…

My reading of other people’s blogs do help though. Just to imagine there is a big, wide world somewhere behind my back door, and someone else, like you, dear reader, is sittng at totally the other side of the world, and reading this grumbling blog before going out to a party with friends on the beach, around a huge bonfire… Do you hear the sobbing in the background? That’s me… Image

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Other readers are saddling their motorbikes for a drive around South America. Actually- they would still be sleeping… Sherri Jo’s KTM is fixed and ready to go! She is on her way to the Iguazu Falls in Brazil today… http://sherrijosbecauseicanworldtour.blogspot.com/2013/04/on-road-to-iguazu-falls-brazil.htmlImage

One dude has painted Mount Fiji… http://pursuingwabi.com/2013/04/28/mt-fuji-from-lake-kawaguchi/

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Megan  is out on the Appalachian Trial, doing her dream walk meeting some weird people…

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While Niceguy is floating on a boat/canoe/ship/yaught/ battelship/cruiser/dingy somewhere in paradise in the East: http://niceguysphotographer.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/surat-thani-seeking-paradise/

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 Yes, today would be much better spent trying out some totally foreign (to me) cuisine like the street markets of China, you know- eating Maltese Poodles and such stuff… http://sammydesign.ca/2013/04/28/06-yichang-a-small-city-in-china/
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 But if I could really, really have one dream come true- oh come on, bear with me, I need to survive today somehow! One dream I would love to come true- hmmm (long pause, making coffee…thinking so hard that the smoke tendrils are coming out of the ears…)

Yes! This is it… Swimming with dolphins in Hawaii! And no, I am not that old… geriatrictraveller.com

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What would you rather do today, if it was totally up to you, and money was no concern? 

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The early worm gets caught… Daily prompt

Daily Prompt: Your time to shine… Early bird, or night owl? 

I could never be described as an early bird.  I hate waking up before the sun.  Fortunately I don’t live near either of the arctic regions where the sun could disappear for weeks on end! I love waking up due to natural causes. There is a historical reason for this state of affairs. And it goes like this:  I always loved having a little bit of extra spending money. You know- that extra few litres of fuel for my motorbike, to see more of the world with. Money for another book, to take me places I have never been. A flower for another beautiful girl… okay, that last one is just fantasy, if I get to do it all over again that one would get more attention…  So, to afford it all as a schoolboy, I had a newspaper route. In summer it was good, the sun rises early, and the morning air was not that hot yet. But in winter, riding around on the frosted grass, with freezing fingers, nose and ears- that cured me forever of being an early bird. As you know, it is the early worm that gets caught by the bird…

Image photo: poems.easybranches.com

I usually wake up around my third cup of coffee. This can be quite dangerous, because my body would have left the bed without me, sometimes to go cycling, or doing other early chores. Sometimes my body even interacts with other people while I am still sleeping.

After the third hit of cafeine: BAM! I am awake. Now I am ready to change the world. A long and productive day follows, and then, after 11pm, I go to bed.

I would much rather be described as a night owl. Once the hamster is steadily spinning the little wheel inside my mind, it is difficult to stop it.  Around and around and around it goes.

Image Graphics: www.empowernetwork.com Spinning it’s way through all that I have experienced that day- while being awake, that is…  Thinking of al the good things I have seen that day. Beautiful people, beautiful places, inspiring songs or words.  The dark thoughts also creeps up on me- the sad things I have seen, sad people, the hate and cruelty some people causes in this world.

I have read somewhere that it is healthy to have a mental enema before going to sleep- to leave all the negative thoughts and actions of that day behind in the past, just keeping the positive that happened for the journey of tomorrow. I try to do that.  Sometimes it is just so hard, kicking some bad things out of the mind.

I try to read something good before bed. Or listen to something good. Or… have you ever read Solomon’s Song of Songs book in the Bible? What a good book! What a way to end the day…

So yes, I am for the nighttime. I am alive after five… pm…

Marc Chagall: Song of Songs

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Daily Post: Clone Wars!

The question was asked: “If you could clone yourself, how would you split up your responsibilities?”

What a good few minutes of daydreaming followed after hearing this challenge. Because who of us really feel we have enough time in our lives? Cecil John Rhodes famously said on his deathbed: “So little done, so much to do.” And he only wanted to conquer the whole of Africa for the British Empire…

I have a job where it is possible to work 12 hours a day, for 7 days a week, and still never be done.  There are always more unhappy people in this world that need a shoulder to cry on, more hungry people that need to be fed.  Time management is the one big challenge in our work. We need to draw the line somewhere, and go home, and be with our families without feeling guilty.

So, one day my doorbell rings. It is the delivery of my clone- Beta-Me.  He looks exactly like me, with the same abilities.

Immediately the phone rings.  His job has just started. He handles whatever is on the other side of that line. Some husband is beating his wife. Beta-Me goes to sort it out. Actually I wish he is much stronger than I am- he goes to beat up the scumbag who dare to lift his hands against a woman!  He also goes and visit all the lonely people in town, who just need someone who will listen to their stories. He goes out to fix the leaking water pipe behind the church, he visits the people in the Alzheimer’s part of the retirement village. He goes out to those people who has been married for 7 + years, and now hate each other.

And Alpha-Me, that being me- what do I want to do? I take the opportunity to eat every meal at home with my wife and kids. I get to play more ballgames with my sons in the afternoon. I get to sit on my bench in the garden, and read the book I want to read for so long time now.

And yes, I also want to do some of my work. I get to teach the Bible study classes, interacting with positive people. I get to visit all the young couples who just had a baby in hospital. I take the people who wants to get married soon, on a journey of discovery about themselves, their personality, their communication skills, conflict handling… You catch my drift? Alpha Me handles everything that is about love and beauty. Beta Me handles the hate and ugly parts that I have to deal with professionally.

While doing all that, Alpha Me gets to be superfit, riding his bicycle every morning while the kids are at school. I also get to be a much better than average motorbiker, because I get to spend more time on the twisties…

It is so good to think about these things today. Because that doorbell will not ring and bring the clone- I will have to do all those things by myself.

But it teaches me to prioritize.  I need to work on my own marriage, and make it a nice place for my wife to be. I need to be an attentive dad, sharing good times with my children, because the time they spend in my house is running out so fast.

I need to stop and smell the flowers along the way. I have to get better coping skills in place, to handle it better when I am confronted by the violence and hate in some people’s lives.

A clone would be good, but till it arrives- I just have to make the best of every single day of my life! I need to make a difference for the world to be a better place…

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Picture from: www.coloribus.com (Greenpeace– yeah!)

It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack… *

Today was most probably just another day in the life of Planet Earth and all it’s inhabitants.

Some people:

  •  Made love to the one they love
  •  Cried about the loss of something special in their lives
  •  Enjoyed a sunrise/ sunset  over a beautiful part of the planet
  •  were trapped in a traffic jam, inhaling all the smog
  • drew a picture of a happy family
  •  dumped a photo in the trash can
  • bought the car of their dreams
  •  resigned from their work to chase down their dream
  • Killed a stranger for a cell phone
  • planted a new garden
  • sat in front of the television with a huge hamburger and fries
  • gave birth to a baby- day 1 of a new life
  • crashed their motorbike around a corner- a stupid mistake
  •  listened to Adele on their Ipod
  • screamed at and then slapped their “significant other” ‘s face
  • played Angry Birds on their cellphone in a tube/ metro/ other public transport
  • walked across the bridge over the river Seine next to Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Woke up in a dumpster under a piece of carton box
  •  read a beautiful book
  • hijacked a car/ passenger ship
  • Bought a beautiful red rose for a beautiful girl
  • had a bad hair day
  • caught a trout in a Highlands stream
  • caught the Aids virus
  • threw their Blackberry away in anger
  • Swam in the Pacific Ocean
  • Raped somebody
  • Planted a tree
  • Avoided contact with all human beings
  • Took a photo of Tiananmen Square
  • Fell in love for the first time…
  • died
  • wrote a blog to combat the bad side effects of the new medicine driving them to anxiety and depression…

And all those choices, by ourselves or by others for us,  had a huge impact on Planet Earth, and all of us…

(* The title of a South African band’s locally famous song- 4 Jacks and a Jill)