You call it “age”, I call it “wisdom”. As we get wiser (not older…humor my incessant fear of ageing ),  we learn not to sweat the small stuff …..well, with time, we realize we should sweat the small stuff less. We learn that when life looks bleak, things will undoubtedly improve…..before they get bleak again. We learn that life is filled with lessons…….well, really tough and unpleasant ones….but lessons nevertheless. Most importantly, we learn (well, I learnt) the fact that karma truly exists is undeniable!!

Having said that, bear in mind that I am quite the paradox! I have spent large stages of my life convincing myself that I believe in destiny. This is very calming for me, as it involves no reasoning or deliberating on my part. ”What will be, will be.” So simple and undemanding!

So perhaps my beliefs (as unwavering as I like to believe they are), are dependent on where I am at a certain point in my life at any given time? A tad fickle I might add…..something which I pride myself on NOT BEING!!!!

If one looks up ”karma” in a thesaurus, one finds the following substitute words, “chance”, “fate”, “destiny”, “kismet” etc. I, however, prefer to use my own substitute word……P-A-Y-B-A-C-K!!

My first conscious encounter with the said payback, was when I was around 15 years old. One of my best friends, a neighbor, and I were having a “moment”‘. It could not have been a very serious ‘moment’, as I have no idea what it was about, and we are nearly 40 years later still best buds, but at the time, it was clearly a moment I found upsetting. This friend used to catch the same bus as me to school every morning. One morning before leaving home, I had thoughts of him missing the bus. That will teach him, I thought to myself. Not my proudest moment, granted, but these displeasing thoughts entered my mind uninvited, without even being summonsed. Well guess who missed the bus? Yes, ‘twas me that in fact missed that bus!!

Being the ripe old age of 15 or so, and also being thoroughly peeved, that was the day it became clear to me that we need to be very careful about what we wish for!! In fact, we even need to be guarded about our thoughts!! I suppose if that wasn’t life lesson enough for me, I deserved whatever followed.

Thereafter, and with my newly expanded “wisdom”, I slowly but surely became (and still am) certifiable about this whole theory of karma versus destiny. I am also so conflicted when less than fabulous thoughts pop into my “wisdomed” mind.

I wonder whether these words will come back to bite me in my butt? They will, I know they will. They do every time!! I wonder if I can “unsay” them? I would probably have to “unthink” them as well. If I “unsay” them, it will still be a problem, as I thought them. Well, if I “unthink” them….can I “unthink” something? Oh,damn, I have just spent the last 10 minutes analyzing how to “unsay” and “unthink” what I thought and/or said, which, according to the laws of attraction (a new theory I ‘wisdomed” up to at a later stage), I am even deeper in the poo now, then when before I had dissected the thought….I have just given this dreaded thought WAAAAY too much airtime!!

Yes….. The Laws of Attraction. A book given to me by a friend…… not the one that I wished would miss the bus incidentally, nope, he was never privy to my evil and monstrous thoughts!! This friend gave me the Rhonda Byrne’s book on the laws of attraction. Wow…..totally up my alley!! Information communicated in a short and succinct manner. Perfect for my lack of concentration limitations! It was given to me when I was in a fairly dark place (darker than usual), and I craved some sort of assistance in getting out of the place of darkness. Oh no….what was the Universe doing to me?? Not another theory for me to obsess and be fearful about. But I realized that this too was something we had to understand for spiritual growth.Yes….I was in the process of becoming a theoretician, a scholar of spiritual growth!!!!

So I read the book (a statement I have not been able to utter many times in my life!!) Not only did I read the book, but I started practising the behavior suggested in this masterpiece. And you know what?? It worked!! It changed everything. It improved so much in my life. I even became pleasant!! Yes…..for 3 months or so……. or until I could no longer keep this strange and unknown behavior up. 

So, if I was such a theoretician, such a scholar of spiritual growth, what in the tarnation of otherworldliness prevented me from practicing only positive energy as opposed to that negative wretched energy…..I could so have had everything I ever dreamed of…..and then some!!!!

However, it literally would have taken me another lifetime to train myself to think and act in the manner she recommended. It was so tiring people! Like running a marathon, but a mental marathon! I just eventually reasoned that you are either lucky enough to be born with that nature, or you are like me…..poor sod!!  

Another question I have battled with, is, if I am given an option to do something, and I agree to do it, not because I want to, but because I reasoned that I had to in order to prevent payback visiting at a later stage, does that mean I have avoided payback? Is payback only avoided when you do something with totally pure and good intentions, totally from the heart? If so, there is not much I can do to avoid anything. This is me, this is my nature, this is the way I think!! How do I change my nature? Can I change my nature? Can I change the way I think? If not, am I now destined to a lifetime of flying kismet and negative grenades coming my way??

I would so love to meet the person that can answer all these questions. Is there a person that can answer all these questions? Are we expected to find the answers ourselves? Do we need to go through the experiences to complete the conundrum? Is there even a conundrum……..I am exhausted….perhaps I should stick to the belief in unavoidable destiny ………it is so much less tiring!!


Sybil and Basil Fawlty

One of my side hustles, which I started nearly 15 years ago, is a children’s party venue. Now, if you could hand pick one person in the world who should NOT have been involved in that industry…….yes….. that would be me!!

I am very pedantic, ridiculously practical, a neat freak, obsessed with symmetry and have little tolerance for a child who behaves in a senseless and naughty manner. You know….how the average kid behaves everyday!!!!

So there I was, planning this venue in my head. Pretty much my priority was that the venue needed to be neat and practical!! Huh…..what in the world of children was I thinking??? So essentially, everything I planned (and executed initially), was what every child ever disliked.

Nevertheless, I was fortunate enough that I got booked up a lot. In retrospect, this could have had a lot to do with the fact that it was something new, in a good location (you know what they say….”location, location, location”) and definitely spotless, immaculate and orderly ….you know, everything every child hates, but what every parent loves. To be honest, it served parents’ purposes and kids had fun.

Early on however, I received a call from someone who told me that he had owned a party venue, and was closing down. He said he was ‘’leaving town’’ and asked if I was interested in purchasing his equipment. Well that was the start of a ten year epic journey.

This man, who we shall call “Sybil” (for reasons that will become more apparent shortly), was a truly colorful character. From the outset, most of what he declared was in fact all a lot of baloney. I was totally shocked that a person could so effortlessly and convincingly be so deceptive. Just as an example, the information given in the first five minutes of our conversation, transpired to be untrue. He was in actual fact NOT leaving town at all.

On purchasing his equipment, he asked if he could work for me for 3 months UNTIL he ‘’left town’’. Then once he did not ultimately “leave town’’…. this 10 year working relationship began,  that would prove to be one that can only be compared to Basil and Sybil in the sitcom Fawlty Towers.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these characters, I would say, well firstly I would say, you don’t know what you are missing……but secondly, that you should imagine an intense, anxious, intolerant, cynical, super OCD character (that would be me…… Basil), working together with a laid back, affable, people person, who has a fiery temper, but manages to keep his cool much of the time, is pragmatic, collected and has the mind and imagination of a child (that would be Sybil)

In time, I got to realise that what was said, was not necessarily what was true (in fact very seldom). I was able to sift through the untruths, and manage a very volatile, but somehow stable working relationship with Sybil.

Now, as much as this description of Sybil might lead you to believe that Sybil was way more suited to this line of business than I was, bear in mind that this LITERALLY would have been like allowing your 10 year old child to make the day to day decisions about your business.

So with all these fabulous and mostly impractical ideas of Sybils, coupled with Sybil spending his week days at the venue to just ‘’potter around’’ (he was unemployed our Sybil was), I very uncharacteristically relinquished my authority, and just let things ensue.

Problem was, Sybil was as bored as an oyster, and just started making and creating things to pass the time. I would arrive there on a Saturday morning to set up for our first party of the weekend, and either be pleasantly impressed by some new idea he had introduced, or was so horrified at how he could possibly even have thought that something was acceptable, or even worse….safe!!! The latter would then lead to rip roaring arguments. As Sybil did not take well to criticism, even when it was constructive, things would be destroyed or dismantled in a temper tantrum only befitting of a juvenile. He would be huffing and puffing and grunting away, while I stood with hands on hips telling him to clean the mess before the guests arrive…. and we would then move on (with moping and brooding by both Basil and Sybil).  


He had this amazing ability of talking circles around people, having them convinced that they were they were fascinating, interesting and fabulous. He lied, joked, deceived and had everyone eating out of his hands. He radiated positive energy (something I think we can now establish…..I DO NOT!!!)

I, on the other hand, would be totally honest, totally myself, totally legitimate…… yet people still LOOOOOOOVED Sybil.

Of course not many saw the flipside to Sybil. Disagree with something Sybil has done/said/thought, and one had to contend with temper tantrums, coupled with the beginnings of a plot to “get revenge”. And best be warned, until revenge was taken, Sybil would not rest!! One knew to watch one’s back in this event. However, Sybil always managed to strike when you had, just for a moment in time, let your guard down.

In time I realised that I had to insist in no uncertain terms, that Sybil stay away from the venue when I was not there, as the thought of a temper tantrum, followed by something being furiously dismantled or reversed,  just became too much to bear.

‘’If you have an idea, run it by me first.’’ I explained to a very pouty juvenile.

‘’Do nothing until I give you the go ahead.’’ I continued, feeling like I was talking to one of my children.

So, in essence, the rules were:-

No equipment unprofessionally erected with rotten wood picked up on the side of the road;

Rusty nails…..out of the question;

Electrical work…..DON’T EVEN!!!

Digging up beautiful green grass to make a mud pit for our potbellied pig in the middle of the venue….as opposed to the meters of available ground at the very back of the venue……NO, FORGET ABOUT IT!

The list could go on forever, and things that happened could be discussed for days, but long story short, Sybil had to be restrained.

Sybil’s partner (bless her cotton socks), was everything Sybil wasn’t. She was level headed, smart, practical and most importantly CALM. She was who I will hereinafter refer to as ‘’Treasure’’. That was always Sybil’s saving grace, as I would phone Treasure, offload my displeasure of Sybil’s unacceptable behavior (still with hands on hips, while Sybil was shredding pieces of wood and muttering to himself), threaten to get rid of Sybil forthwith. Treasure calmly agreed with everything I said, and told me she would chat to him when he returned home. No doubt Sybil did the same thing when he got home, and no doubt Treasure would just calmly agree with him.

We had the kind of relationship that led most people to assume we were an old married couple, who bickered constantly. It was a great source of amusement to hosts and guests alike.

What an adventure that was. It eventually came to an end, as Sybil, ten years later, actually DID ‘’leave town’’ with Treasure and their two kids.

Truth be told, when we were not have rip roaring screaming matches, we laughed…..A LOT!! I still laugh at things that happened over the years. We often said we could literally write a book about our experiences at the venue.

The adventures my kids and their friends had with Sybil, will forever be etched in their memories. He was very much part of their childhood growing up. He was like the Pied Piper.

The venue has evolved into a paradise for kids. Slowly you get to learn what appeals to children (loads of which would completely surprise you), and slowly you make the changes. The same applies to the adults. 

I do miss Sybil though……..Sybil was my calm, but I was his common sense. I was the Yin, but Sybil was the yang. But mostly…….I was Basil and Sybil was…..well…. Sybil!!

Graduating in Absentia

So, finally, all that hard work is done and dusted, and you can now attend your Graduation Ceremony! Everyone can acknowledge the dedication and sacrifices of your years of studying, stressing, strange sleeping hours, anxiety and missing out on life’s moments, that your friends who were not studying, had the privilege of enjoying.

Your parents can feel like all the sacrifices they made were worth every cent!

Your memories of the evening will be captured in photos, more especially that one photo….yes, you in your gown, cap and holding that sought after degree. The photo you intend framing and hanging on the wall next to your framed degree….. in your amazing modern, luxurious and plush office…… with a 360 degree view of the city……

This is how I expected my oldest child (aka pepper), to have felt when he attained his undergraduate degree. I totally assumed he would be so excited for this momentous occasion! The fact that he would choose NOT to go, was not even a consideration.

Being that the ceremony was in March, I did not even discuss this exciting upcoming event. I assumed he would approach me with all the necessary information when this was called for.

Sitting at work one day, I received a call from a friend, whose son had graduated the same year.

“Can we go out for a celebratory dinner after the  graduation ceremony?” she asked.

“What a lovely idea”, I said.

Great ,I thought, this was going to be so exciting. I could get my moment of glory, my moment of pride….I did this….me….well….whatever…..no way in hell he could have done this without me!!! Finally, I was going to get my moment that would make it all worthwhile!! I could take photos, distribute them on all my social media platforms. Brag to the world about my accomplishment…I mean, HIS accomplishment. Let the world know I managed to raise a perfectly functional, and smart, and responsible, and diligent adult, despite the fact that there were challenges. Yes please!! This is my moment…hmmmmph……okay…..HIS moment.

Anyway….enough about me. When I got home that day, I excitedly discussed this post ceremony dinner celebration with my son.

“I am not going to my graduation mom.”

“What????? What do you mean????? How can you not?????” I persisted.

“Firstly, it is going to be boring, and secondly, I don’t see any point?” he replied casually.

“Yes, it will be boring,” I bellowed. I mean, that is a prerequisite for such a ceremony….that together with the obligatory pomp and circumstance, but to us mere mortals…. boring. “The whole idea, is to mark the end of all the years of work you put in, the pinnacle of pride” I continued.

“Naaaaa,” he replied.

“What about the photos?? You HAVE to have photos as memories??”

“Where are your graduation photos mom?” the little smug brat asked.

“In a cupboard somewhere…..but that’s not the point. Yes it was boring, yes my photos have never been on display, but you cannot NOT go??” I continued.

“Naaaa mom, really. I don’t think you understand how much I don’t want to go. A friend of mine is actually not speaking to me at the moment, as he said he wanted us to take photos together for memories.”

“Then do it for him dammit!!! I deserve the moment……..I mean he deserves the moment” I shrieked.

“Naaaa…….but I promise I will go to my post grad graduation, and you can get your photos”.

Well so glad I had spent 3 years of educating the little rotten swine, and he seems to have learnt only one word “naaaaa”!!!!!! I thought to myself.

So it got me thinking back to my graduation. I really never even thought one had an option whether or not to attend. It was just something one did. But having said that, I did want to go, for the very same reasons that I assumed my son would want to go.

It was a bit political, however. I was allowed to invite 4 guests. My husband was not even a question. Obviously he would looooove the opportunity to proudly see his wife being capped!! Ditto for my my mother in law. My parents had been divorced, and my father had remarried. I had always been very close to my mom, so felt I had to ask her, rather than have my father and his wife there. My dad was not a hugely emotional man, so it did not even cross my mind to invite him. So that left one more invite, and I decided to invite my one brother, who had spoken me out of “dropping out” one anxiety ridden moment just before my finals.

However, long story short, the only one that wasn’t dying to go home from start to finish, was my brother. If he also had felt that way, he at least had the decency to hide the fact. It was a total anti-climax. My photos were done as quickly as possible, as my guests were irritable and wanting to leave as quickly as possible, and all in all, it was nothing like I imagined!! No pride, no parade, no speeches about my achievements, just “when are we going?”.

I then remembered how my dad, on hearing that I had attended my graduation ceremony, asked me why he had not been invited. And do you know, that I am ashamed to say, that only then, from experiencing it from a parent’s point of view, did I appreciate how hurt my dad must have been. He, of everyone, would have loved to have been there. He would have savored every moment. He would have been so proud, so absolutely proud!! It was mortified, and I can only hope that he knows how sorry I am, and that he has forgiven me. Although, knowing my dad, if I had the opportunity to apologise to him in person, he would probably say something like “no problem, wasn’t that cut up about it anyway”. But the life and times of my mom and dad are for another day.

Anyhooo, that made me realise that actually….my son was correct. This arrogant little turd had more insight than me as to what is actually important in the big scheme of things.

Waiting for over a year to actually collect his degree, all the while being incessantly nagged by yours truly….you know….the degree he never received at the Graduation Ceremony that he did not attend, might have been a bit excessive though.

The day he did finally collect it, I heard my phone messages pinging incessantly, like my phone was about to detonate a monstrous explosion. What on earth… I thought, I opened my messages to see possibly 30 photos of my son, dressed in his usual casual gear (just another day at University), posing  in various over-elaborate positions (mostly with an exaggerated look of annoyance on his face), holding his degree. He was leaning against the wall, seated on the bench, kneeling on the floor….any possible position that would get his point through!! The message read “here are your photos”. Little swine!!

But fact of the matter was that I had got the point, was over it and definitely did not feel like he had deprived me of a moment.

So fast forward to him receiving his post graduate degree recently. You know…the one which “he had promised he would attend the Graduation Ceremony for?” I fleetingly wondered whether he would still obliged to attend, but made no mention of it, as, like I said…..I was now over it!!

Not surprisingly I was told a few days ago that he would not be attending that one either.

The dazed and confused look on is face when I made no issue of it, and just replied “okay, your decision”, was certainly an unforgettable moment!

Like I said….over it!! Oh, and I did kind of get a moment!!


So the other day I was driving home from work, and heard a discussion on talk radio regarding the importance of boys growing up with a male role model. The discussion attempted to highlight how young boys growing up without a male role model in their home, have a greater chance of growing up dysfunctional, and have more of a tendency towards antisocial behavior.

Wow, really??  And that was from a woman?? I wondered if she was a mother herself. The conversation did not even refer to a POSITIVE male role model. So in actual fact, this foolish woman clearly assumed that whether positive or negative, a male role model is a requirement in the home of boys, for them to grow into functional adults.

Well foolish woman, I beg to differ! Whether or not you have a male role model in the home, your son can grow up to be an emotionally healthy adult male.

There are untold fortunes of males, emotionally healthy males, successful males, awe-inspiring males, raised by single mothers or even grandmothers. By the same token there are hoards of adult males who suffer from emotional and behavioral disorders, due to the NEGATIVE male role model in their homes? Is that home seen as MORE functional??  Surely not!! Society needs to take a step back, and change this archaic perception that a boys will grow up dysfunctional if there is no male in the house!!

All single moms will know that, to a certain extent we live our lives in a fish bowl. We are being watched and judged by friends, family and society in general. Being a widow just intensifies the judgment.

I had told my sons many years ago, that we were being judged with a different yardstick to other “conventional” households. I told them that they had better keep the family name intact, otherwise I would have no alternative but to tar and feather them. I told them, that if I ever even suspected that some know it all parent ever had to place their hand on their chest, and condescendingly utter, “shame their mom is a single mom”, to condone any behaviour they might have exhibited, I would throw them to the wolves without any hesitation.

This was not always fair to them, as even if I suspected this was happening, I would summons the wolves! Many times, it became apparent, after the fact, that I had been overly sensitive, but I am sure that while cowering from the wolves, they learnt some or other life lesson!

In most households, the mother is the primary caregiver anyway. Most of us run the day to day household activities anyway. We are the doctors, therapists, social workers, nurses, guidance counselors, teachers and just about everything else.

It warms the cockles of my heart when successful males (as they so often do) express gratitude towards their mothers or grandmothers for everything they had done for them.

Yes, being a single mom involves financial implications, perhaps keeping moms out of the house more than where there is a two parent household. But even that, nowadays, is not necessarily the case. Most households today need a dual income.

The single mom household is definitely different, but is it necessarily dysfunctional?

When I became a single mother, I quickly learnt that people were waiting for the family unit to fall apart, particularly other dads. I cannot tell you how many friends’ husbands I had to dart a look of disdain at, when they took it upon themselves to try and discipline my children on my behalf. Totally felt I, as a single mother, was not capable of doing so unaccompanied by a MALE ROLE MODEL!!!!!

Truth be told, my children knew that when their mother laid down the law, so the law was laid. There was no other person to play against their mom’s decisions. If anything, they had it tougher.

Being that my sons were barely 5 and 8 years old when my husband passed away, the question raised over the years, was whether I was planning on meeting anyone else. Some asked as early as a few months after I had lost my husband. Clearly they had no conception of what one goes through when the rug is pulled out from under one!!! Not their fault and just as well I saw the humor in it. 

 “Your boys will need a male role model, you NEED to find another man”, I was told on various occasions. Really? Why was that? Of course they would have, and will still have many positive male role models in their lives. This applies to any child, even the ones who live with a male role model.

Was another male role model in the house going to of necessity be a POSITIVE role model? Was another man encroaching on their place of safety, unilaterally taking on the role of a disciplinarian, going to be a more positive experience for them, than being disciplined and educated by their own mother?? I think not! And let me tell you, there is no way in hell that this mother would allow some other male to reprimand or discipline her children. No, thank you very much, this mother was, and still is, quite capable of disciplining them herself. Who would have thought…..a paltry female managing to undertake that mammoth task??

Please don’t misunderstand me. My kids were not exemplary or the epitome of perfection. Nope, they were NORMAL boys going through the life and times of normal and FUNCTIONAL boys.

I am not saying mothers are MORE capable of raising boys than fathers are. I am merely saying that mothers are AS capable of doing so.

So to all you naysayers out there, before you label our sons…….have faith in us single moms of boys….we got this!!!


Just enough salt and just enough pepper!

Now every parent knows that your love for each of your children is equal. You might have a far higher tolerance level for one, more patience with the other, more of an understanding of one and more empathy towards the other. Another thing every parent is aware of, is that every child is convinced that you love the other sibling more than you love them. The only time your children will understand how a mother can love their children “equally”, but “differently”, is when they become parents themselves.

Of course, every parent also knows that you can love the very same child “differently” on any given day (or hour for that matter). Let’s not beat around the bush here. We can feel so much love, so much pride and so much gratitude for one child at 9:00 am, that we are not sure how we got so lucky…we are bursting with pride!! The sky is blue, the grass green, the sun shining and there is a medley of rainbows surrounded by a haze of fairy dust. But something happened/was said/was done between 9:00 am and 9:02 am, and we feel immense rage towards that very same child. The love, the pride, the gratitude….gone….poof….the grass is dry, sky grey and the sun….what sun? That fairy dust has turned into a dust storm, and while you are rubbing your dust filled eyes, you think to yourself what the bloody hell did I do wrong with the upbringing of this child?????? In fact that is when you want to grab hold of that very same bush that we were not beating about, and beat said child!!

Yes…..EVERY parent knows how this seemingly impossible scenario can be a very common occurrence in our daily lives!

I have salt and pepper. Pepper, as pepper is, is spicy, complex and can vary depending on the type of processing used and handling after production. Being my first born, as I have discovered, is very common amongst the majority of first borns, he is sensible, caring, empathetic and supportive ……oh, and diligent….all first borns are diligent!  He also wants lots, lives big and aspires to have the lifestyle of Sir Richard Branson. Totally understands that to have all that he will need to work hard, and is totally prepared to!! He needs to keep busy……..constantly.

This is a very real phobia….even has a name……  ”thaasophobia”…..who would have thought?? It is not a common fear, or a rational one for that matter, but everything would have made more sense to me if I had known this when he was but a tiny tot. I used to feel like his Personal Assistant!! I had to make sure his daily diary was full of things to do, until he put his head on the pillow at night. And even then, as he was about to close his eyes, he would pop up like a Mongoose, and ask, “where are we going now?” This got easier as he got older, and he managed to tend to his fear of boredom himself.

If pepper has tests or exams, he studies, he ONLY studies. He leaves his phone in another room, sees no one, speaks to no one and is just a miserable rotten house guest! He is virtually impossible to live with. You have to levitate above the ground, and if breathing is absolutely necessary, you have to do that very quietly!! If you heaven forbid have to make or receive a phone call, you need to leopard crawl past him to get outside, until you find the correct spot for signal and/or Wifi coverage, and may then proceed to make or receive the call. If you forgot to close every door between you and him in the process, you will hear bang, bang, bang for each door you omitted to close. When he finishes exams, he is so going to regret this unacceptable behavior, I think to myself (quietly). Not going to do anything at the moment as my sweetie darling is being so diligent.  Then the reasoning with salt begins…..

’’Be patient, it’s pepper’s last year in school, things will change next year.’’

Next year……

‘’Be patient, it’s his first year at University, things will change next year.”

Three years later…….

‘’I know it’ hard, but we nearly done.’’

…….poor salt……

Can’t wait for the exams to end, I would be thinking during these times. On conclusion of exams….day ONE, he needs to do this…..do that……be there….. see them….go there, and pretty much keep himself busy one way or another . Our house is bustling with guests, He is in, he is out and he is just totally about!!!  This is the point where I can’t wait for exams or tests to start again!

I can never relax if he is not home. There is always the chance of something happening to him, an even bigger chance that he will lose his phone and/or wallet, and almost a guarantee that keys/remote/chargers will be left somewhere never to be recovered. Also, put 2 sips of alcohol in him, and he transforms from a socially awkward and shy pepper, to a snarky, brave pepper. These are my worries people.

To sum up….life with pepper is a rollercoaster ride in perpetuity.

Then I have salt. Salt, as salt is, is a man of the earth, little wants, little needs……simple….uncomplicated……consistent….. He is just…..well salt I suppose.

Not a very hard worker my salt is, spent 15 years going to school, coming home, placing school bag in ready position for pick up in the morning, and so on and so forth! Not even sure if there were books in that bag. But yet, he managed to pass every year. Knowing this, you can imagine how much harder it was for salt to understand pepper’s, yet to be published, ”Behavioural Guidelines In The Home During  Study Time!!”

Sure there were years of arguments, threats, attempted bribery etc, but salt does what salt wants to do. So, I EVENTUALLY realized that I am not going to manage to change salt into the stark raving lunatic known as pepper. Eventually I reasoned, why in the world would I want to change salt into pepper? Salt is constant if nothing else. How would I have possibly coped with riding 2 roller coasters simultaneously. This is not even a possibility!!!

Don’t misunderstand me….salt is not all he is cracked up to be. Not a picnic to live with either. He is stubborn, difficult (impossible) to reason with etc. But he is just a person who wants to chill, relax and be left alone. No hoards of guests to keep his mind occupied, no late nights out to keep busy. Playstation, YouTube….these are the things salt desires. Stress free…..frustrating and infuriating at times, but for the most part…..stress free!

Salt is warm and funny. There are no hugs like salt hugs. There is nothing as funny as salt funny. And smart…..salt is sharp as a whip! Got a question? Salt’s your man. Salt is hugely attentive….he observes…he remembers…he is salt!!

So obviously, from the above, you can imagine the impossible task of loving both children ‘’the same’’. I suppose one could say that to a large extent, the degree of love at any point is dependent on what my tolerance levels are at that point. Actually, the degree of love is dependent on many variables.

Of course anyone who is not a parent, or any parent who has yet to admit the truth (even to themselves), might be totally outraged by the fact that this ‘’unconditional love’’ a parent has for a child, is in fact ‘’conditional’’. But it is not the love for your child that is conditional, rather the degree of love at any point in time.

So to sum up…..food without salt and pepper would be bland and unappealing. Life without salt and pepper would be bland and unappealing. I love my salt and I love my pepper….just in different degrees at different times!


To monetize, or not to monetize……that is the million Dollar (apparently literally) question!

As previously mentioned, once upon a lifetime ago, I used to write short articles….. just to vent. Blogs were not a thing. Back then, it was called “pounding the keys on the keyboard with passion and enthusiasm.” Honestly, it was just therapeutic, and not meant for public consumption. Seeing those dislodged keyboard keys flying around the room like missiles, was oddly satisfying!

I kind of felt that it was a tad presumptuous of me to assume that people cared about what I had to say. I was always that person who preferred people to know as little about me as possible. It was hard enough to warm to me if you didn’t come into the relationship with any pre-existing opinions of me. The thought of exposing my snarky thoughts, blunt opinions and intolerant views to total strangers, or even worse, people who sort of knew me, and were still on the fence about me, was terrifying!! You need to understand….I am a love her or hate her kind of a gal. I have no issues with that, as I am a kind of love them or hate them kind of a gal myself. However, being that I am this ball of pure joy and warmth, there are but a select few who love and understand me. Again, no problem with that, but by exposing myself prematurely, there might have been someone (on the fence) that I would have totally connected with, if I had reeled them in with no pre-existing opinions, AND THEN exposed my true self. By then they would have understood me and condoned me for all my (not) warmth and joy. They wouldn’t have slipped through the cracks! Got it?? Well, if not, let’s move on anyway.

“You could write under a pseudonym’’, they said…..worth considering, I thought.

So due to public demand (well, one or two requests), I took the first step in my journey to becoming a well renowned author (well, a chance of having an article or two in the local baby magazine).  I sent my articles to said local baby magazine. The Editor telephoned me to say that she really liked my style of writing, but asked if I could write about my experiences in a more positive light. I explained that I was writing my truth, and that the whole purpose of wanting to have these published, was to help future parents know what they might experience, rather than only the sparkles and rainbows they had repeatedly read about. She clearly did not want to hear a word I said, as she then told me to submit more positive work, and they would definitely consider publishing it.

Needless to say…..the pages were blank…..

So that was then. Nowadays, there is so much more authenticity to the information regarding pregnancy, child birth and child rearing.

So that was when I first dabbled with what would later be known as ”blogging”. A few years later, when blogging first became a thing, the same friends told me to start a blog. So I did. However, I was still that person who felt it was presumptuous of me, even with a pseudonym. So it kind of dissipated.

During COVID, I was faced with the reality of my income being drastically reduced. My two young men were at home the day the news broke, and they proceeded to tell me how I need to stop being so “old school”, and start looking at making money online. During the course of the conversation, blogging came up. My older son….aka one third, aka “deep’’ atbka (also to be known as) ‘’pepper’’ (see a future blog) …..informed me that I needed to YouTube to learn everything I could about how to monetize a blog. We started said Youtubing (a bit of COVID bonding time), but then the conversation veered towards us, as a family, attempting to get involved in e-commerce. And so it began…..the YouTube marathon……on types of e-commerce, on the marketing of the site, on the necessity of having a niche product….did spreadsheets, calculations, projections, research….and then went back to YouTube some more.

We were going to be multimillionaires by the end of 2020!! Who bloody knew???? There I had been, for the last 15 years, working multiple jobs…and all I needed to do was sit at home on a computer, and the bucks were going to come pouring in!! Every YouTuber on the topic (apparently gazillionaires , most of them just out of nappies), showed us their cars, their houses, even their bank accounts….all from this undiscovered beast they called e-commerce!  

Thank you COVID, you woke me up…..I WAS OFFICIALLY “WOKE”!!!

YouTube said first step is to find a ‘’niche’’ product. So hours and hours….and hours….days and weeks…..even months of YouTube and more YouTube to find a ‘’niche’’ product. Found one, more research, realized not so ‘’niche’’, needed to find another. We spent so many hours finding so many ‘’niche’’ (not) products, that we just got niched out! Simultaneously, we were researching the very important requirement of marketing on Facebook…..totally wasted my money by sending pepper to study Accounting! Money would have been better spent sending him to study for 4 years on the ins and outs of digital marketing!

After what seemed like thousands of hours of research, we realized that e-commerce in fact involved shipping…..humungous delays and unhappy customers, or air freighting….unaffordable to us, never mind the end user. Furthermore……erratic and disastrous exchange rates……unhappy traders. Mission e-commerce put on the back burner! What a total waste of all that time and vast knowledge we acquired. Dammit!! We had missed the bloody boat (excuse the pun)!!

Well, maybe, I needed to rethink the blogging? Becoming a multimillionaire by the end of 2020 was the goal. How I got there was just incidental.

So back to the drawing board I needed to go (aka YouTube). Now, I might have bragged about being ‘’woke’’, but I was not THAT ‘’woke’’. The best people to do the research, would have been my lazy good for nothing children, as their lazy good for nothing mother felt out of her depth, what with all this new age technology! However, relying on said good for lazys was a huge risk.

So their lazy good for nothing mother decided to start blogging to get the wheels turning, and would do the research into monetizing as and when time allowed. To start though, I had to have a bit of a YouTube moment, to learn what blogging platforms are best. There were choices….I hate choices…Wordpress…Blogspot….Pinterest…..uuuurgh. Decided on WordPress, because…well no idea really.

So, some time allowed, and back to YouTube I went. What a lot of information was being fed to me. I needed followers (something I had been taught at a very early age to watch out for and avoid) and I needed oodles of likes (highly unlikely, given my history). I needed to be shared a lot (sounded x rated), I needed to have conversions (from what was I converting and to what???) and algorithms……algorithms were of the utmost importance….. affiliate marketing was required when monetizing….. needed to do marketing to create awareness of “my brand” (what brand????)


The straw that broke the camel’s back, was when I started hearing about the “niche” word again. One has to find a niche to blog about apparently, in order to corner a certain market. Your blogs cannot be general…..there is no multi millions in general blogs. Oh frogs!!! Nope, this was not going to happen…. back to hearing that I have to write on a topic that would appeal to the public. Again, no longer my truth. Had no desire to do it then, and no desire now either!

So what I ultimately decided to do, was to blog for the sake of blogging! Back to being therapeutic. Back to spreading the word of truth about life. Back to not becoming a gazillionaire, or even a millionaire by the end of 2020!!



“A New Chapter”…….for some that sounds exciting. For me……..not so much! I prefer everything in my life to stay constant…..you know…. continuous…uninterrupted. Of course I am totally aware that this is not a healthy attitude! If things are not going so great, why in the world would one not want change? How does one grow without change? Yes…got it….agree with it…..but still need continuity to remain in my safe place.

Another one of my (many) character flaws, is that I am only comfortable if I am in control of a situation…in the driver’s seat, so to speak. I don’t cherish this little flaw, as I then only have myself to blame if things go awry.

Having said that, I am beginning to understand why I so value continuity. There is less need to make those decisions that I feel only I can make, you know……the ones that only I can be held accountable for when things go awry??

Yes, as will become apparent if you are a regular reader of my blogs, my head is not one that I would suggest you attempt to live in!! However, to be totally fair to myself, these unappealing traits only really came to the fore in a major way after I became exclusively responsible for the life and times of myself and my two children!! So that’s that then!! It was a coping mechanism. It helped me run our lives efficiently for all those years. Yes….that’s it….totally understandable…..not even remotely my fault……be a dear…..just smile and nod!!!

So you can imagine the calm, peaceful and dignified manner (not) in which I handled post Corona. You know…that point where myself, and a lot of people, realized that our lives didn’t just pause briefly, only to continue as BC (Before Corona). The winds of change were blowing. Damn those winds!! Be gone with you!!

In but one of the areas of my life where it became apparent that change was inevitable, was my business JEEKS. Circumstances led me to opening JEEKS, a party venue, nearly 15 years ago. No, not my entrepreneurial and free spirited nature, in case you were wondering! I had to do something, and had a totally out of character moment, and just did it. This was in total contrast to my usual life choices, which was debating with myself…..maybe I should….. um nooooo…… yes must try, what is the worst that can go wrong….. everything, everything can go wrong…..but if you don’t try you won’t succeed…but I don’t want to fail….abort idea……you know…..just the normal debates one has with oneself?

Over the years, I have invested my entire being, financially, emotionally and physically into my venue. It was (and still is) an extension of me. There have been stages where I have had to step back and see where I could reinvent the venue. A lot of the clientele were regulars, and eventually parents got bored of the same surroundings all the time. Not the kids mind you, they never got bored of the venue, but the kids were not the clients! So yes….frightening stages…..change and all, but all needed to be done!

Of course being a party venue, and an outdoor one at that, it is very seasonal. Winters and school holidays always see a drop in bookings. New party venues come and go. And although this happens year in and year out, together with my identifying when the venue needed to be reinvented or needed a change, I would still, each and every time, be consumed with anxiety that that was the end of the road for my business….my extension of me.

So, post Corona, the bookings have been trickling in slowly, the slowest it has ever been since opening. That, in addition to being locked down for many months, being the last level of business permitted to open again, has been the hardest time for the venue since I have opened. It is understandable, as I think it will take some time before a lot of people will feel comfortable booking for parties again.

Taking into account my need to control, coupled with my ‘’no change’’ agreement I had with…well someone out there, who certainly did not keep to their side of the deal……one would think that this would have led me to becoming certifiable.

Strangest thing though…..because this situation is out of my control (you know….that control that I have been clinging onto incessantly for forever and a day?), I almost feel calm. Well, I think this is what they refer to as calm…..yes, I do feel calm….yes calm….I am calm…..I have no control…….vis major……wow, is this how normal people live?? I want me some of this!!

So yes, it is not me…..it is not my venue…..it is simply a matter of staying calm, acknowledging that this is beyond my control, trusting that this too shall pass, and that JEEKS will survive the storm!



Once again, started writing about blogging….diverted….will get to it next time.

As a preamble however, I need to mention that once upon a lifetime ago, I used to write short articles…..merely to get odds and ends off my chest……. a “Dear Diary” if you will. Blogs were not yet a thing.

Obviously, it was totally honest and unfiltered…….you know….me being me! In those days, motherhood was painted as a picture of paradise. First time parents-to-be would read all the literature on what to expect and to do during pregnancy, what to expect and to do when having a baby and what to expect and to do after having a baby. There were baby magazines filled with this incredible new life that was coming your way. A life of calm, tranquility and serenity. 

Apparently the bonding with your newborn happened IMMEDIATELY…. as newborn was placed on your chest. This after having given birth naturally……as one must. Apparently the bond was reinforced when this little bundle of joy started breastfeeding…..as one must. Even more ridiculously apparent, was that breastfeeding just happened. Mom and bundle both knew exactly what to do. EVERYTHING just came naturally to all involved.

Pictures of sleeping babies, smiling babies, cooing babies just filled your head with this new life that was eagerly awaiting you. Pregnancy was a time when you felt joyous and blissful. Childbirth was just a breeze, everything would come naturally. Taking your newborn home, and navigating your new calm, tranquil and serene life was just something that happened organically. Did it though?????  Not bloody likely!!!!

So as soon as I experienced what was in fact normal for a new mother, in other words, NOTHING any literature prepared me for, I just assumed there was something wrong with me, or even worse, with my child. Nothing went as I was told it would. It was all misreported! From the time I went in to have my “breezy’’ (had to be natural….best for the baby) childbirth, to the time I had a C section (under total bloody duress mind you), to the time we got home, there was NOTHING calm….NOTHING tranquil…..NOTHING serene!!!

So there I was, a new mother, convinced I had ruined my bundle’s life. I did not have natural birth……ruined his entire future.

Neither he nor I NATURALLY settled into breastfeeding. This led to a panicked dad, convinced that bundle wasn’t getting enough food, as unfortunately my breasts never came with measuring levels. Naturally panicked dad was not conducive to anxious, stormy and turbulent new life. Might have coped if new life was INDEED calm, tranquil and serene, as promised…..but nope….didn’t happen. So obvious step ……..immediate termination of the breastfeeding, and commencement of formula feeding. Naturally the bottles were not as defective as my breasts, and dad saw EXACTLY how much bundle was consuming. Bottle fed……ruined it…..his future…..totally ruined this little new life’s future. He will be wrought with allergies. Him and I……bonding…..won’t happen. A baby born by C section, not being breastfed……..what?…….shame!!!…….poor kid!!!!! BAD MOTHER….BAD, BAD!!!

And this, my dear friends, was just what transpired while I was still in the clinic!

‘’We need to get him home,’’ I suggested to my husband. ‘’That is when our new calm, tranquil and serene life will commence.’’

’’ Yes,’’ he agreed.

‘’ No, “the sister said. ‘’Don’t rush it. You need to get as much sleep as possible while you can.”

Pheeeugh, I thought, I always had problems sleeping anyway. This bundle is not going to make any difference to my sleeping pattern. Uuuuum….not even going to grace that idiotic notion by discussing it any further!!

Why was it not all going according to what I had been apprised of?? I would think, while tears rolled down my cheeks, irritable bundle in one arm, book with earmarked pages in the other. Is it me? Is it bundle? Maybe my husband was right! Maybe babies only cry and are irritable if they are sick? Maybe my husband’s concern (OCD and anxiety disorder), which led him to discussing his crying and irritable newborn with customers, friends, family, petrol attendants, cashiers and actually ANYONE he came into contact with, had led us to our answer!

‘’One of my customers said if his ‘poo’ is a certain shade of green, we have to change the formula.’’ he said when he returned from work one day.

Formula changed with immediate effect….did not help! Maybe the petrol attendant, who told my husband that we need to massage his belly (bundle’s belly…not husband’s belly) to calm him down (bundle…not husband), was right. Wrong…..bundle got more irritable.

Of course, doctors telling you that your child has colic, works for the first three months of his life. Especially considering you were TOLD that this would happen by terminating the breast feeding prematurely. Bad mom!!!! After 3 months, reiterating the colic diagnosis started to seem inconceivable. When he is 9 months old, it started becoming questionable!! That is when you just accept that you had given birth to the spawn of Satan.

So there we were, trying to navigate this new ‘’calm, tranquil and serene’’ life we had spent 9 months learning about, feeling like total failures, in all probability suffering from post natal depression, myself and my husband both feeling completely defeated!

I was probably the most honest living soul sharing my experiences about becoming a new mother. I vividly remember returning to work, and all and sundry excitedly gathered around me, curious to know what this wonder of parenting was like.

“Bloody awful”, I told them! ‘’I have not slept in weeks, bathing has become a thing of the past, and eating happens sporadically.’’ Their faces were self – explanatory. They looked on in horror, as I proudly proceeded to explain that it was NOTHING like I had been told! I needed to get the truth out there. These future parents needed a heads up!! However, from their faces, I saw that they thought I was evil, wicked and deplorable!

What I did find, was that when I discussed my feelings with other new parents, they seemed so relieved to hear the similarities between their stories and mine. To them, I was not evil, wicked or deplorable. They felt comfortable and safe enough to concur with me. As we chatted, shared and laughed…..a lot, I saw their shoulders relax, their chests feel lighter and a feeling of normality making its way back into their minds and souls. We collectively decided we were not going to return or exchange our bundles. We were NORMAL and what we were going through was NORMAL!!!!

Well look at me, I thought. For the first time my honesty and tactlessness had done something for the greater good!! I need to go public….warn everyone…..save all those before it is too late….

So, what to do? I expressed my feelings on paper. When I suspected someone was in need of saving, I would tell them about my pearls of wisdom. They would ask to read these very pearls. All those who read said pearls, suggested I try and get the word out there somehow, as it would be helpful for people to know what really to expect! Make people more prepared, making the process gentler, instead of crushing their dreams.

Hence, that was the start of something big…..well, could have been big…..or medium sized…..let’s just say it was the start of something…..but that is a discussion for another day!


So here we are……finally. For those of you who have not read my previous Blogs, just to bring you up to speed…..I have been wanting to write about my new found love for my neighbors,  discovered during lockdown, but as always, got sidetracked. So I thought about the solution to getting me focused, and decided to use the words in the title, so I would have no other option, but to get this completed.

Before starting to write about this journey, I do want to be perfectly honest, put the cards on the table, total transparency….. Two thirds of my house comprises of withdrawn (perceived as anti social), shy (perceived as arrogant) and intolerant (perceived as grumpy) people. The other third comprises of a (mostly…and certainly on the face of it) charming, tolerant and peaceful person. I am most fortunate that the latter one third exists, as people then realize that the other one third’s lack of social skills was not as a result of the other one third’s poor parenting skills. How could it be? Both one thirds were raised in the same house, by the same parent. Clearly one of the one thirds was just genetically predisposed to being socially inept. Granted….that is what the other third has to accept some responsibility for. Not exclusive responsibility mind you, It took two to produce this mountain of warmth!!  

So we moved into my complex just over 15 years ago (post rug pulling incident). Generally I am one who totally prefers to keep to myself. I had no intentions of moving in to the complex, and making a whole new set of friends, or even neighbors actually. ‘’We’ll keep to ourselves, and you lot keep to yourselves!’’ was my attitude. Granted, I had no time to gather a new tribe, what with working 7 days a week, and raising two little men! But to be honest, there was no inclination either. I had my tribe, I had my family and I had my beautiful two thirds!

Unfortunately, as with most complexes, you will ALWAYS find ‘’those people’’. You have the ‘’Town gossiper’’ (who knows things about your life that you don’t even know about). You have the narcissist, the deceitful ray of sunshine, the misogynist, the overstated Good Samaritan, the male chauvinist, the self appointed leader , the imbecile followers…..pretty much all types of characters hoping to live in harmony.

Now me, I just wanted to make my home as happy and peaceful as possible, and did absolutely in no way need any external distractions. Hence, drove in and out of my complex for 15 years, and had no idea who I was passing (aka ignoring).

To be fair, I did have a friend living in the complex already. Her, I greeted…..for a while…..will get to that a little later. However, back to honesty, putting the cards on the table and total transparency ……kids will be kids. When you have no garden and 2 boys aged 5 and 8, things will happen. Soccer balls will be kicked against the boundary wall (apparently a capital offence), there will be a lot of running around in communal areas releasing pent up energy (apparently ALSO a capital offence) and strategically placing little rocks on the neighbor’s sprinklers, so when the timer goes off, said sprinklers don’t pop up (maybe this IS actually a capital offence). So are you getting my drift here? Most of the complex was filled with old fuddy duddys, who either had no kids, or grown up kids, and they had forgotten what little kids do…….yes, yes you are correct, they were who I am now.

So taking the above into account, i.e the fact that two thirds of us were socially inept, and just came across as rude, angry and ……dammit….we were like the fuddy duddys…..aaaarghh………whatever, with that put together with kids being kids, flying under the radar became a little more difficult.

What transpired was trying to stay incognito (despite those little child prodigies making it an arduous task), a grunt here and there, a feeble wave, a couple of angry outbursts in my quest to defend the honor and dignity of my child prodigies and for the rest of it……nothing neighborly at all!

Getting back to the friend that lived in the complex when we moved in, we had a great thing going. Her son and my sons were great friends from school and she was the closest to me of all my friends, in our sunny dispositions. She too was the bearer of the truth, irrespective of whether it was going to be popular or not and she too was not the picture of tolerance. But from one day to the next, we kinda just weren’t anymore. Don’t think there was a reason….get busy…move in different directions….who knows? No-one to blame, and nothing to harp on. So my last hope at seeming remotely pleasant and neighborly came to an abrupt end!!

I had even found names for certain sections of the complex. There was Widow’s Lane (guess where I resided, together with the left neighbor and the two right neighbors?) There was The Greek Corner, where six Greek households just happened to live next door to each other, and then there was Arb Road (a mix and match of households that did not bear any visible similarities).

Enter COVID….lockdown…..like everyone else, the need to get out of the house for a bit of movement. I recruited my socially pleasant one third to accompany me on my walks. Besides him getting some exercise…..totally my couch potato third……he would provide a sort of a buffer between me and….well anything resembling a neighbor. It was a resounding success, I walked with my head down, and when he greeted someone…and they replied….I lifted my eyes (not the head), and greeted them too!

Slowly but surely, more greetings were forthcoming, and slowly but surely I realized I had totally misjudged my neighbors. The overstated Good Samaritan was indeed just that! How would all the day to day issues in the complex be sorted without him??  The deceitful ray of sunshine, aka the lady who apparently growled at socially inept for driving too fast, was actually the sweetest dear I could imagine. The other cow, who periodically gave the hairy eyeball to both my kids, was a honey. I chatted with her for ages one day. Clearly my neighbors were not the problem. We were!! The lady that was on the receiving end of my angry outbursts when defending my children, was an absolute honey!! The nosey neigbour, aka ‘’the Town Gossiper’’ was an absolute gem I tell you! She seemed to go above and beyond for ANYONE! Wow….wasted years…if only I had known what a little piece of paradise this complex was!!

Let’s not be unrealistic here. The misogynist …….still a misogynist, the narcissist……still that…..the self appointed leader….yep…present and accounted for! Now, this may or may not be the same person. I say nothing!

So there I found myself having this notion of my family living together with our neighbors in tranquility  in this little ‘’small town’’ (barring the fact that there was some dreaded virus making its way around the world leaving death and so much loss in its wake).

So many times I have fantasized about a lifestyle like this. No rat race, not stress, pressure, anxiety or unrealistic expectations.’’ I must have manifested this,’’ I boldly told myself. It was at my doorstep all along! I would go on my walks, no longer accompanied by one third (told you he was lazy), and imagine myself, a free spirited Bohemian-ish women, with a long flowing dress, long curly locks and a straw hat, cycling through my little village, waving and smiling at all who pass. This was so ridiculous, I imagined I was riding side saddle, and the bike was somehow riding itself. But it was a fantasy….don’t judge!

Oh, and the best part, was that my another lifetime ago friend and I started walking together. Hell I missed her!!

There were a couple of problems though. I was a 54 year old shriveled up prune with one hair on my head. I didn’t possess a bicycle or a straw hat. I used to own a long flowing dress, but that just wouldn’t work anymore. Also, and probably most importantly, for the most part, the rat race, stress, pressure, anxiety and unrealistic expectations started to return. Tolerance levels decrease rapidly, and suddenly we start to see what we saw in the first place. Whether what we see is in fact what it is, is a whole other question, but we have seen it nevertheless. Suddenly an innocent statement by the nosy neighbor becomes a statement wrought with meddlesome innuendos. Suddenly the deceitful ray of sunshine became just that!

I also started to realize through my chats, that all of these people were actually being perceived by others as just that. The difference was, that I, as the self appointed bearer of truth and honesty, would not tolerate it. Others, as the poster children of correctness, acknowledged it, accepted it and tolerated it…..hmmmm…..food for thought? Nope, just not me I am afraid!!

At least I got a renewed friendship and made a couple of new, barely hanging from a thread acquaintances.

Damn I miss my Village!!