Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bullet point Wednesday

I don't have a particular post in mind so this will mostly be a rambling sort of post.
  • Today is a beautiful day.  Just in time for the official start of summer tomorrow.  The 1st of December.  Unreal!  Can't believe it.  It has come around so quick.  
  • Am busy making little green boxes for the kids' advent calendars, but am a bit behind so tonight will officially be known as the night of the green box.
  • Am really excited about another project I'm working on which will be ready in the next week or so.  I just hope it works out the way I'm hoping!
  • From this weekend things are becoming quite a bit busier for us (sigh!).  What is your schedule like at the moment?
  • There is only about 2 weeks left of school for this year.  Then Bianca will be completely done with Year 3.  Somehow this year seems to have gone too fast! 
  • Did I say what a beautiful day today was?  After all the rainy and grey days we've had the last little bit, the sun and blue skies are really a welcome sight!
  • Next week I need to start Christmas shopping.  Have you done yours already?
So what's happening in your life???

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


So in the news this morning I read about a mum who got involved when her daughter was bullied and assaulted by a group of other girls.  (Read here).

I'll never forget once we went to a particular indoor play area and as soon as we walked in, this one little boy walked up to Caitlyn and pinched her.  And of course she cried her little eyes out.  We sort of left it at that, comforted Caitlyn and went to let the kids play.  Now usually these areas are safe and secure enough that we can sit one side while they run around and have fun.  Except on this day.  On this day, this little boy and about 3 or 4 other kids from the same group for some reason targeted Bianca and Caitlyn.  They kept following them around, pushing into them, if they built something with blocks, they'd run and push it over, shouted at our kids when they were playing with something.  It was terrible!  And the stupid parents were just sitting there watching it all happen offering the kids ice blocks every so often and refusing to do something about it.  It got so bad that Terence and I had to physically follow our girls around to make sure they won't be hurt.  And then at one point this one little boy did it again - ran right into Caitlyn and at that point Terence lost his cool and told the little boy off for his behaviour.  Oh my goodness, that was the fastest the dad jumped up and told Terence off for telling off the little boy!  Well at that point we had enough, loudly told the girl behind the counter and the group of parents that we were leaving because we refuse to let our kids be tormented by these bullies any further.

I have to be honest that reading about some of the bullying behaviour out there makes me feel a bit anxious.  While it seems easy to protect our kids when they are little, when they are older and more independent, it won't always be possible to protect our kids from things like this.  I wonder just how effective anti-bullying programmes at school really is?  And whose problem does it become when these things happen after school?  What is really the answer to solve these kind of problems?  It seems to have become much more severe and vicious than I remember from my school days.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Finally I am able to say

For a more than a week now I've been wanting to share something with you.  But I couldn't because the time was not right!  But finally I can share it with all of you today!

My mum's birthday is tomorrow on the 29th.  So yesterday my brother and his wife and their beautiful little girl Febe celebrated with my mum seeing as it was the weekend and during the week my mum often works really late.  Because my mum lives in South Africa, we could not be there, but we were definitely there in spirit!  Very much so.  So much so that we made her cry.  At her birthday celebration!

In 2010 we started the process to sponsor my mum to move here to New Zealand.  Since 2004 we've only ever seen her maybe for a total of 9 weeks.  Earlier this year we received a letter from Immigration where we needed to supply more information and more documents and it took me about 65 days just to get everything together.  It was incredibly stressful and I spent hours on the phone, email, Facebook tracking people down, asking for info and getting ready.  And amazing people came on our way.  People I've never met before, but who were absolutely amazing in supplying what we needed.

So finally I submitted this big stack of documents.  And then we waited and prayed and waited some more.

And last week I finally received the letter we've been waiting for.  That my mum's permanent residency is approved and that we now need to send in her passport and the migrant levy.  What a big relief!  An absolute answer to our prayers. 

And so I sent a copy of the letter which my sister in law carefully inserted in my mum's birthday card as a nice birthday surprise from us.  Sorry mum for making you cry!

And next Christmas we'll spend it together!  No more sending parcels that never arrive (on the 1st of November 2010 I sent a parcel to my mum and my brother and it has never arrived!).

We were incredibly blessed throughout the process.  So many who did so much to help us!  And we had the most amazing and most helpful immigration case officer working with us.  We'll be eternally grateful!

So mum, time to start planning your big adventure!

Happy birthday mum, next year we're spending it together!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nothing much happened today

And so this post won't be very significant or necessarily interesting.  Apologies!  Sometimes we are really boring people...

I've learned something - there is such a thing as planting too much lettuce.  When I planted mine I had no idea just how much we'll end up with.  I don't think we'll ever use it all - even if we had salad for breakfast, lunch and supper (and then some more in between...).  Anybody wanting some lettuce leaves?

Saw the cutest little kittens yesterday.  I used to volunteer at the SPCA with the lady 2 houses away from us.  She sometimes fosters kittens and keeps them at her mother-in-law's house next to our house and so when she saw me at swimming on Friday she invited us to come and have a look.  Oh my goodness!  So cute!  There is a mother cat and her 4 kittens who are only about 2 weeks old now.  In about a week we'll go visit again to see how they are doing.

And now I'll leave you with this photo and message I saw on Facebook - how true!

"As long as we have memories, yesterday remains; as long as we have hope, tomorrow awaits, and as long as we have friendship, each day is never a waste." -Heart Matters

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A special something, an award, 7 things about me and what we got up to...

Firstly I'm very excited to share something very special with you.

For a while now I've been wanting to do another Youtube video.  The last one we did for Bianca was 1 year after her leukemia diagnosis, but she was still on treatment at the time and I wanted an updated one on where she is now.  I guess it is also really appropriate because even though Thanksgiving is mostly a celebration you find in the US, it seems a time to be thankful for all the blessings we have.   We are certainly so incredibly blessed that Bianca is doing so well!  I've been searching for the right music to go with my video clip for a while now and just recently Paul gave me the perfect music to use.  I absolutely love the music that Paul did (and even Bianca said it is one of her favourite songs!)  And so today I share with you Bianca's new Youtube video! (Click here).

Blackhuff nominated me for an award!  Thank you!  How it works is to share 7 things about yourself and then nominate 15 bloggers.

  1. I don't have any middle names.
  2. I hate clothes and shoe shopping.
  3. I am not a coffee drinker (sorry LatteJunkie).
  4. When I was at school I played netball.  I wasn't very good, but I enjoyed it.
  5. I am fluent in 2 languages and can say a few words in another.
  6. When I was about 10 (I think) I wrote to the then State President of South Africa asking him how I could become a State President when I was all grown up.  I even got a reply back from his office.  Obviously I never became a State President... 
  7. I like to try and come up with unique presents for people when I feel I know them well enough.  Presents that I feel would be meaningful to the other person.  And then I get all excited and can't wait to give it to the person.  And yes, sometimes (okay a lot of the time) I come up with the ideas at the last minute leaving me very little time to get it ready.  But hey, if it wasn't for the last minute nothing would ever get done!
I now nominate (in no particular order):
Okay so not quite 10 blogs...

Today has been an amazingly beautiful day!  All sunny and blue skies.  And so this morning we had to go to Coastlands Mall in Paraparaumu and decided to go to one of the little cafes in Raumati Beach not too far from Coastlands.  I've seen it in passing and it looked really nice.

The red lines above Caitlyn's eyes and yellow cheeks are her attempts to put on kiddie make-up...
See, beautiful blue skies!
After that we set off for the mall.  Terence wanted to go and have a look at something we are considering for the girls for Christmas so the girls and I walked around The Warehouse.  Caitlyn bought herself a puzzle (or rather a set of 3 puzzles) with some of her pocket money and Bianca couldn't really find anything she wanted to buy.

On the way back home stopped off to cast our vote.  Yes, it is election time!  It took all of maybe 20 minutes and we were done.  So different to what we remember from our South African days where you'd stand in a long queue for hours on end.  As we were there waiting for our turn I noticed around the hall there were some of the main political party representatives.  Not quite sure what the purpose was to be honest, but there they sat - the National Party representatives in their blue shirts and the Labour party representatives in their red.  Suddenly I heard a noise and when I looked it was the one National party representative falling off his chair.  I felt sorry that he could have gotten hurt but I couldn't help thinking "oh dear, there the National party comes toppling down...".  Of course I have no idea what the outcome of the elections will be.

Hmmm, decisions, decisions...

All done!
Okay, I'll stop talking now.  I think this is a long enough update.  Make sure you go see my Youtube video.  Don't you just love the song?  I think it is perfect!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Feeling rather exhausted...

So last night after Terence got home from work and before he had his squash game I went out for my run / walk session.  It's been a while.  With Funrazor planning and my injury I've simply not had the opportunity to go out and do anything.  Okay I also had permission from the physio to "rest" my leg so that was all fine.  But now I need to start getting back into it.  So the physio basically wants me to gradually get back into it.  So a mix of walking and running.  And so that's what I did.  Oh my goodness!  It was hard work.  I am incredibly unfit at the moment. I felt half-dead by the time I got back home.

Tonight I had a swim lesson.  I was recently given 10 free lessons and so my friend Rose and I went to the lesson.  She went last week, but because of Funrazor I couldn't do last week and it had to wait until tonight. 

Of course this meant that I had to visit the optometrist  this morning and thankfully OPSM could see me at very short notice.  Because it's been a while since I had my eyes last tested and got contact lenses (which I don't really wear much), I had to get another test.  And thankfully no deterioration. 

The swim lessons are at the Raumati Swim Club - the same place our girls go every week.  To some extend I can help myself in the water, but I have absolutely no technique and this was really obvious when the coach made us do 2 lengths without a break in between. By the end of the session (after she made us do around 18 lengths), I have learned a few things.  I still have a long way to go to be able to swim properly, but the tips and techniques she shared were very good!  Of course this means that while last night I felt half dead, right now the other half feels dead. :-).  Thank goodness for the weekend...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A rambling sort of post

It is now exactly 1 month until Christmas Eve - are you all ready for it?  I'm not...It feels like it has so suddenly sneaked up on us and I just don't feel ready just yet.  I love Christmas, the decorations, the Christmas songs (especially this one will always be a favourite of mine - click here).  I love watching our kids' faces light up and see the excitement as they count down the days.  I love trying to come up with special presents for special people and as last year, I love teaching my kids the real gift of giving when we delivered biscuits to the one retirement village.  Where the real reward was in seeing somebody smile.  So right now I'm working on getting ready.  A few things taking just a bit longer than I was hoping, but I'll get there. 

Do you have any special plans for Christmas?

Anyway -

Blackhuff did a post all about the keywords people use to find her blog, so I thought I'd check out mine as well.  The current search terms (in no particular order) seem to be:

Kapiti Cheerleading
Kitten cake
Granny afghan
Handing out balloons
Bloody butcher tomato
Granny square afghan
Granny square quilt
Netball cake
"It's all relative"
Girl status updates for.fb..going to new york for 21 months
Fred's Fine Foods
Lala Teletubbies
Lala Teletubbies Christmas
Life and adventures in Auckland
Lose my voice when nervous
Oxygen ECG
Traditional vetkoek
Something about you


חיות עוגה

Yes... I'm not quite sure what the last one might mean to be honest...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The day I got 2 puppies for Terence's birthday

Years ago... wow, it must be about 10 or 11 years ago now (really, can it be that long ago?) Terence really wanted a dog.  It had to either be a Beagle puppy or a Basset Hound puppy.  Not sure what it was, but those were the dogs he really wanted to consider. And because we lived in a smallish townhouse there was no way we could have a bigger dog than that (of course he didn't quite realise how big Basset Hounds actually become fully grown, but anyway...). 

And so I thought for his birthday we could get him a puppy.  I looked in the paper, phoned a whole bunch of people and both were rather hard to find except 1 lady had some Basset Hound puppies for sale.  She was about 100km away from where we lived at the time, but okay, that's manageable.  So I rang her up and told her I'd like to buy one of the puppies and that I would come through on the Saturday to come and have a look and take one.  All good and all organised. 

Of course I then started thinking that we really shouldn't just have one puppy because it would get lonely when we go out to work.  And so I told Terence that I really wanted a puppy too and it would be good for his puppy to have company.  So once again consulted the paper and phoned around. 

I really wanted a small kind of dog and when I saw they had some Miniature Pinchers for sale I knew that that's the puppy I wanted to get. 

So the Friday night we set off to go and have a look.  When we arrived they had the cutest little puppies.  A little "brother" and "sister".  And so I stood there looking at the two and tried to figure out which one of the two to take.  But I simply could not decide.  Because really - how could you possibly split up a "brother" and "sister"? After I managed to convince Terence why we simply had to take both we went home.  They were so cute!  No bigger than your hand.  10 Weeks old. 

Of course on the way home I thought to myself that that meant we were going to have 3 dogs all of a sudden and that wasn't quite what we planned, but it was too late to change our minds.

So the next (long awaited) morning arrived and before I got in the car to go and get Terence's puppy I rang the lady to let her know I was about to leave home and would be at her place in about an hour.  And this is what she said to me "I'm sorry all the puppies were sold in the week" - this after I specifically told her during the week that I planned to visit her on the Saturday.  What if I just went, drove for an hour and then to be told they were sold???  Sigh!  Poor Terence.  I then had to tell him that he wasn't going to have his puppy for his birthday...

And instead I ended up with these two for Terence's birthday:

Rudi on the left and Bambi on the right.

Rudi was a typical mommy's little boy.  Bambi was equally cute, but definitely the one "wearing the pants" in that relationship...  While she was able to jump down from the bed or from the couch, she could not jump onto it for some reason.  No idea why, but she never learned how.  They were also very much like brother and sister.  When I gave them their treats Rudi would instantly gobble his up and Bambi would then quietly watch until he is finished before starting to eat hers, barking and growling at Rudi almost as if saying "ha! I have a treat and you have nothing!". 

When we moved to New Zealand friends offered to take them from us.  We are so grateful because they would not have survived staying in quarantine for months on end.

We miss them, but we know they are happy and well settled (and really quite old by now) living with our friends.  If I'm ever able to get dogs again, I'd definitely go for Miniature Pinchers again!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Am so angry right now!

It has been a while since I have felt this angry and upset.

Am not going to say much here because I really don't want to offend anyone. But I will not have people come onto our property, harass me and effectively tell me we were wrong to let Bianca receive the blood product transfusions she desperately needed during her leukemia treatment.  That as far as they are concerned, the doctors really should have just offered some fluids and she would have survived.


I'm off to go and count to a hundred somewhere (I don't think counting to 10 is going to do the trick!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

About Christmas

It is hard to believe that there is only about 4 weeks left until Christmas and now that Funrazor is done and dusted, I'll need to really do something about our planning.  I'm actually a bit behind to be quite honest.  I've been meaning to make the little boxes for the kids' advent calendars again and come up with activities for each one, but I've simply not had time to work on them. 

This reminds me of the time (many years ago) when I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea for a present for Terence. 

Now there are 2 things I should say here - I'm very good at keeping secrets. If I have something in mind, there is no way you are actually going to get me to give away what I have in mind (it doesn't matter how curious you get - and in fact, the more curious you are the more fun it is for me...).  The other thing I should mention is that Terence is nearly impossible to buy anything for.  He is into computers.  But my knowledge is rather limited and if I had to choose something for him that has anything to do with computers it will likely already be outdated, be wrong for our setup or something.  So I steer away from this.  Books is another one.  He likes reading and reads way faster than me, but he has such specific taste that I won't be able to choose the right thing.  So I usually either have to look for something completely weird and arbitary or I need to include him in the process.  But this one year I came up with an idea...

For weeks Terence has been looking for the Mission Earth series (of books) at the library and he could not find every single one in the series.  And he felt rather disappointed.  It was the kind of series he could quite happily read over and over again. And so I broke my own rule about books and thought this would be the perfect Christmas present for him.  I set about looking around on Amazon and wow, what a mission, but I managed to find every single book in the series.  I was extremely careful too and I only searched for this at work and ordered them using my own credit card (we had our own bank accounts then) from work and I didn't get any credit card statements.  I kept the books hidden away at work.  There simply was no way Terence could ever know what I had in mind.

Then one day as we stopped at the security gate of the complex where we lived, Terence turned to me and said "I know what you're getting me for Christmas".  I should have said "I don't want you to guess", but instead I said "Really?  What am I getting you for Christmas?"  And he said "The Mission Earth series".  Now I'm pretty good at keeping a "poker face" and pretending when I need to so I acted as if he was just soooo wrong and then asked "Really?  Now where would I get this from?" and he said "you're ordering them from Amazon".  And I said "........."  - that's right, I was speechless at that point (which might be hard to believe because I am never speechless...).

To this day I have no idea how he figured it out.  Up to that point I've never bought him books.  I didn't ask him about the books.  I searched for them from work (we didn't even have internet at home), he didn't have access to my bank account or my credit card and I didn't get any credit card statements sent to home.  So I am baffled at how he not only figured out what, but also where I was getting it from... And he insists he was simply taking a guess.  Which I don't believe for one minute.  Hmmm, maybe he has special mind reading powers....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What an amazing day and what a very special surprise!!!!!!

Remember when I did this post?  Where I wrote a poem about the journey we've had with Bianca?  Remember that one? 

Today at the Funrazor Paul gave me the best and most special surprise ever.  He actually went and put music to my poem.  He performed it at the start of our event!  I absolutely love how it came out!  It is definitely one of my favourites.  Click here to listen to our song (my words, Paul's music and vocals).

Wow!  I was completely and totally blown away. Thank you Paul, it was an incredibly special thing you did!!!

I must admit that last night I felt really stressed.  As I sat there finishing the last few things I kept thinking "what was I thinking?  What do I know about putting together events like these..."

And this morning I kept hoping that there was nothing major I forgot about, but as it turned out, I didn't have to worry.  I had an amazing team on my side who all jumped in and helped.

I remember that recently I was so worried nobody would be there to watch it all happening and I didn't have to worry....

 Bianca did a speech and I was really impressed with the way she delivered it.

And then it was time for the big shave:

Don't you just love Catherine's expression?  Catherine is a fellow child cancer parent and we used to catch up in the corridors when both our kids were stuck in hospital.

One of the things I did was really effective.  I had 2 display boards and I put 4 kids' photos and stories on these boards.  And many people looked at the photos and read the stories.  For me it was important to show people what child cancer is all about.  Make it more real. 

Organising the Funrazor event was everything I thought and hoped it would be.  It was incredibly full on.  One of the biggest things I've ever done.  It didn't start off big, but it kept growing and growing.  It was also one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.  Knowing that I was able to do something and give a little bit back to say thank you to the Child Cancer Foundation for everything they have done for us.  When I started this I really wanted this to be a community event.  Not just my event.  And it was.  Way more than I ever imagined.  People who joined me today shaving their hair, people who sprayed their hair, people who turned up to watch and support, people who donated to CCF.  All the companies and people who helped me make today a success.  I am absolutely blown away by it all.  How will I ever be able to say thank you?

And now some more photos:



Today is the day...

of the great hair shave.  After weeks of planning, this is it!  It is here!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Something about you

There is something about you
Perhaps it is your smile
Perhaps your caring nature
That makes me want to stay for a while

There is something about you
I can see it in your eyes
The way they light up
Just like a sun rise

There is something about you
I don't quite know what it could be
But it is there
Even if I can't quite see

Friday, November 18, 2011

A nervous start

Had a rather nervous start as I was called by a radio station to talk about our event on Sunday.  I knew since yesterday they were going to call me, but oh my goodness, the nerves!  And I simply hate how my voice sounds on the radio (yes, I've heard it before...) - Let's just say I don't have a face for TV or a voice for radio :-).

I am busy with the last few bits and pieces for Sunday.  I need to get photos printed and a few more admin issues.  It is getting so close now.  I'm not nervous to actually lose my hair, but absolutely nervous I'm going to forget about something.  I've been making lists, and rewriting my lists and making more new lists. 

I rather like the poster I created:

We have quite a bit of spot prizes which I have now sorted into 3 groups ready for the MC to hand out on Sunday.  We've been so lucky with all the prizes donated to us.

Why would it be a good idea to shave your hair?
  • You'll support the Child Cancer Foundation and support brave kids who are fighting cancer.  If we join them in losing our locks they won't feel as awkward or sad at having to lose theirs! Because we all take comfort when we are not alone and know that there are others truly supporting us!
  • It is truly a get up and go hairstyle - no more spending hours styling it in the mornings.
  • You'll save heaps of money on shampoo and conditioner.
  • It is an instant way of getting rid of unwanted grey hair.
  • It is a nice cool hairstyle for the warm summer days that lie ahead.
  • And at the end of the day - it is only hair.  It does grow back. 

So there - the perfect reasons why you should join me on Sunday.  Well me and Catherine who is a fellow child cancer mum.  And if we can do it, so can you.

But fine, for those really not brave enough, we'll have plenty of hair spray to spray your hair - blue, red, yellow, green, pink - take your pick and don't be shy!

Thank you to Kapiti Kids Connect, LatteJunkie and Char for sponsoring me and helping me reach my $500 goal.  If you are able, please sponsor me.  Every little bit will make a difference and people can continue sponsoring me.  It is a secure site or if you are in the Kapiti area you can give me cash donations and of course we'll have plenty of opportunity for you to contribute on Sunday!

See you there!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

For the first time

Bianca has gone to school all by herself.  On her scooter. 

She's been asking for a while now and I know some of her friends have been doing this for a while now.  And so today I let her go all by herself.  Oh the stress! 

It is not far for her to go (maybe about 2km, won't be more than that) and she would have to cross 1 really quiet road and 1 busier road closer to school (but she's crossed the busier road by herself before).

Made me realise how very fast she is growing up - and I don't want her to grow up so fast...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Only 4 days to go...

Okay so I know for a fact at least 3 people here on the Kapiti Coast read our local paper.

Shortly after the article came out about Funrazor and that I'll be shaving my hair - the one lady at New World looked at me and then asked "are you the lady from the paper shaving her hair?" And of course I am that lady.  And of course the next response is "wow, you are so brave!"  But it is only hair really and will grow back and I really like low maintenance hair styles (and you can't get more low maintenance than that I tell you!).

This afternoon the girls had swimming and as we rushed in to change them (we were running late as usual) the one lady looked at me and said "hello".  I looked at her, said hello and must have looked rather stunned because I did not recognise her and didn't know who she was.  She then said "I saw you in the paper".  And then straight after that (straight after the swimming lesson that is, not the saying hello bit) we went to New World (yes again) and there was another cashier who looked at me, scanned a few items, looked at me again and then said "were you in the paper recently?"

I'm really pleased that the article was noticed (by at least 3 people) although find it rather odd being recognised by strangers.  I'm more of a hide in the background kind of person which will be rather hard on Sunday, but at least that is for a good cause.

There seems to be quite a bit of interest in the event on Sunday.  I am nervous and excited all at once.  All the big things have been put in place.  Everybody has been confirmed so very little can really go wrong I guess.  But I still worry that I will forget about something.

We've also got so many spot prizes now and I'm especially pleased that we have some cute things specifically for the kids so they can have their own spot prize draw.  We'll also have a raffle going.  So really, lots of ways for you to support us.

You can simply put some coins (or notes) in one of the buckets.  There will be some prizes for the audience, so make sure you listen closely to what the MC is saying...  You can buy a raffle ticket or two or three or more...  You could buy a copy of "You're not eating me".  You (or the kids rather) could paint their faces (and they'll get their own numbers to possibly win something cool), you could shave your hair (now really, you don't have to go size zero, but maybe a size 2??) or if you are really not brave enough, how about spraying it a bright colour (but hey, if I can shave my hair, so can you...).  All participants will also get numbers for spot prizes.  And there are some cool spot prizes - how does a 3 month gym membership sound?  Or a $40 meat voucher?  Or 5 pilates sessions?  Or what about a beach towel with some swim goggles?  You know - those kind of things...  Every little bit of support will make a difference!

Thank you Lee Patterson, Febe Opperman (our cute little niece) and Jane White for your donations. Much much appreciated!  I'd very much like to beat our friend Mike who is now sitting at $510 - so if you are able, please sponsor me (click here).

Only 4 days to go...  I know I haven't yet, but will post a before photo at some point (even if I hate photos of myself).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

About good friends (and the not so good)...

Marcia recently did a blog post where she talks about her passions.  I admire people who found their true passions because I'm very much still searching for mine.

The other part of Marcia's post was all about friendships.  And right now I have to be honest I am struggling with the realisation that once again I have allowed myself to be taken advantage of.  I hate that it happens.  And even more so I hate myself for letting it happen.  And even more so I hate that they think I am too stupid to see what is happening.  And so they keep pretending (whenever it suits them) and the rest of the time I don't exist.

Unfortunately a few times in my life I've also had some really toxic and negative friendships.

This is not really how I do friendships.

For me a friendship is give and take.  It is somebody who can simply just let you be.  I wrote about it here.  I've never been super popular with loads of friends. Instead, I've always had a few close friends.  People I knew I could trust.  People who accepted me just the way I am.  Typically it takes me a while before I truly trust somebody enough to consider them a friend, but when I do, then you'll know I am extremely loyal to you.

And for me friendships aren't only chosen based on age or gender.  I've had a good range of friends, some younger than me, some older.  And yes, I've even had some really good male friends.  Through the years our friendships have changed a bit.  When we moved, some of the friends we had stopped talking to us.  Then when Bianca was diagnosed with leukemia most of the friends we had at the time (in and outside of New Zealand) stopped talking to us.  I sometimes read on some of the forums how some parents can't get people to stop visiting or phoning and just give them a bit of space as they are dealing with their unwell child, but we were on the other side of the spectrum where we never heard from anybody.  And this is where blogging was really good for us.  I have made some really good blogging friendships over the years.  We laughed with each other, cried with each other, celebrated and shared with each other.  And sure in most cases we've never met and probably never will, but it does feel like we do know each other.

Right now we are incredibly blessed with a few really good in real life friends.  Friends who you know you can count on.  Whenever I hear this song, I think of these friends!  And to these friends I say "thank you!"

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's all relative really...

I actually had another post in mind that I started working on.  A post in response to Marcia's post and where she emailed me and asked if I would do a blog entry on it.  So I'm working on it! 

This morning I didn't have the best start to my day.  When you are already running late and then have to sort out a crisis (of sorts)...  Not the way I wanted to start my Monday, but anway.

Just as we were about to leave to drop Bianca off at school, the kids discovered a young bird (well I don't really know much about birds, but it looks young to me...) sitting on our outside steps.  How it was even still alive with our cats around I have no idea, but there it was.  So we stood there wondering what on earth we were supposed to do.  Shouted at the cats that looked like they had some plans of their own and then finally managed to get them back into the house with the cat door locked.  Prince Charming was so not impressed with me and loudly objected at the injustice of it all.  Right now the little bird is sitting under the tree and I have no idea at which point it would be fine to let the cats out again.  I know that if I let them out now or if they slip out as we leave through the front door, they'll go straight for the bird.

It is all relative really... This morning I realised once again that in my world, this is rather small:

But this (in my world) is big!

Especially when Terence is not here to sort it out and both Bianca and I are too scared to even look at it and each time it moves, we run away screaming.  I nearly had a heart attack when finally I managed to get some water in a container, plucked up the courage and tried to flush it down the drain, but the water came down with such force that it got flushed right out of the sink... and sat there on the top of the bench. So not the ideal situation!  Where is Terence when I need him? I mean this is one of the reasons us women keep men so that we don't have to deal with freaky creatures... 

I absolutely hate spiders.  I'm scared of them and they freak me out so much so that I can't even stand to look at it.  Even putting this image on my blog fills me with dread.  If I was somebody else watching me as I edited the photo to make it smaller, I would have laughed my head off watching myself.

Brings back vivid memories of the time we lived in our rental home in Khandallah and we had a huge spider problem (like in finding 12 really big ones crawling around the inside of the house in the first 2 weeks).  It was like living in my worst nightmare ever!  I became so good at spotting them that I could see them in the darkest little corners.  And these spiders were really big.  Like in if they were dead and all curled up with their legs pulled in, they would probably be about 10cm long or something like that.  I should have know the very first day really, we arrived after a very long drive from Auckland (we did our own move) and I went to the upstairs toilet.  I noticed something black and round in the one corner.  Looked a bit like a flower shaped fridge magnet.  I wondered why it was there because that's a silly place for a fridge magnet, and then when I looked closer I noticed it was a spider - all dead and curled up.  Didn't know that that was going to be a sign of things to come...

This house was really big.  It had 6 bedrooms, a really big sunroom, lounge, kitchen, dining room and 2 bathrooms.  We didn't intend to get such a big house, but I only had 3 options at the time - a house in Houghton Bay with 40 steps from your garage to your front door (not ideal with a 2 year old at the time), a smaller house literally about 20 steps to the Khandallah station and right next to a dairy (didn't feel ideal) and then this one.  And this one wasn't much more expensive than the other ones, so we took it.  It had the most amazing view of the harbour, was right up on the hill and oh so quiet.  And if it wasn't for the dreaded spiders could have continued living there. 

The front of the house.  See we do get blue skies here in New Zealand...  The room on the right of the picture (at the top) is the sun room.  The lounge and kitchen were both as long as this room and the dining room is at the windows in the middle (the top).  The bottom had 4 bedrooms, shower / toilet.

Our view from our house.

The lounge.  Through the front left is the dining room that we turned into a play room and through the right you get the stairs, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom.

The kitchen.  There was enough space for our dining room table and chairs also.


 The view from the kitchen through the lounge and sun room.

Now with this house we mostly only used the top.  So as you come through the front door, you had a big room on your left (which looked like you could have used it as a study also), and then to the right there was a room, a long passage way with 2 other rooms and a bathroom with toilet and shower.  Then you take the stairs up and there were 2 bedrooms (the master and one smaller), a bathroom with bath, shower and toilet, the kitchen, lounge, a sun room and then what I assume a formal dining room (we didn't use it as a dining room, we turned it into a play room for Bianca).  
The only thing we really used at downstairs was the shower (the shower downstairs was better than the one upstairs).  So every morning I would go downstairs, carefully looking in each little corner just in case a spider was there.  I would glance down the hallway (looking at the floor as well as the ceiling (because you never know if something will jump on you...).  I would then stick my head into the bathroom carefully looking against all the walls, the ceiling, the corners just to make sure I don't have some visitors with me and then I would shower.  Afterwards I would rush upstairs again.  Quite the ritual I tell you...

One morning I did the same, checking as I go and as I got to the bathroom I noticed this big black spider with its long, thin, legs quietly sitting on the wall in the bathroom (where I'm supposed to shower...).  That was the quickest I ran back upstairs and sent Terence to go and sort it out... 

Another time we were watching a movie.  Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.  One of my favourites. I felt cold and asked Terence to go and get me a blanket.  He went downstairs and got a blanket from there and I looked at him and said I wasn't keen because it came from downstairs and that was where most of the spiders seemed to be.  He shook it all out and then passed it to me.  So there we were watching the movie and then in the one scene, the "Beauty school dropout" scene (for those of you who saw the movie) just at that moment a huge spider crawled from where the blanket was touching the floor.  That was the quickest I ever got up and out of my clothes feeling all freaked out not knowing if this spider was actually in the blanket, sitting on me or what.  Terence collapsed on the floor laughing and just for that - I made him get rid of the big spider.  Took me a long time before I could use that particular blanket again.

I can handle many things, but living with big spiders in my house - not so much...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A lovely weekend so far

It's been a great weekend so far. 

Yesterday Paul and I worked together to get copies of his book ready for next Sunday.  For a great price people will be able to buy a delightful picture book along with a CD.  On the CD there is a title song along with a great selection of other songs.  So if you bought a copy you will not only get a cool Christmas present for a special someone, but you'll also be helping the Child Cancer Foundation because Paul has kindly offered to give $5 per copy sold to CCF (which effectively means Paul is only covering expenses and not making any profit at all). 

Both Caitlyn and Bianca absolutely love the book as well as the songs and I often find the kids sing the songs when we are at home or in the car.  Now if you are at Coastlands next Sunday you'll actually get to hear some of the songs as Paul and some of his students will be there performing at our event.  How can you buy your copy?  One of my friends Sarah will be there selling copies of the books and CDs, if you are there you will actually be able to get Paul to sign it for you!  Or alternatively if you are not in the area, please email Paul at

While Paul was here we also recorded 2 more songs and added it to his YouTube channel (click here).  Paul would love to know what you think, please go and have a listen at some (or all) of his songs and let Paul know which of the songs you like the most and why you like that particular song.  There are many of his songs I really like, but 2 in particular I think I really like at the moment.

Last night a friend and her daughter also came to visit and stayed the night.  Suret was a friend from the one high school I went to and thanks to Facebook we discovered about a year or two ago that we both lived in New Zealand.  I think it is amazing that after all these years we still enjoy each other's company.  At my previous high school my best friends were Wilna and Jackie.  I remember the time Jackie, Wilna and I were going to start a band.  We even had a name all worked out and everything.  The only small glitch in our plan was that Jackie was the only one who could play a music instrument and actually sing...  We lost contact after we moved from one town to another in 1993 and even though we also found each other again more recently, we discovered that our lives turned out so different and that the connection we once shared was completely lost.  I think it is a case of we all moved on and went in different directions and our ideas, goals and dreams all changed.  And that is really just part of life. 

This afternoon Bianca and Terence are in the city.  Bianca and her cheerleader friends will be part of the Santa Parade.  I've stayed home with Caitlyn because she (and I) won't enjoy the crowds and Caitlyn gets bored pretty quickly so we'll probably head off for the beach a little bit later on.  Unfortunately Terence has the camera, so I won't be able to take any photos of our beach outing.

Hard to believe it is only a week to go to the Funrazor event.  I have a few things to get through before next Sunday and I have another project that I am starting to work on, but I can't reveal just yet what this one is....  Speaking of Funrazor - thank you to Sharon Booth, Amanda Opperman (mum), Jessie Pottinger, Clint, Hannah R, Sharon VW and Lee Patterson for your donations.  If you would like to still sponsor me you can do so by clicking here.  Every little bit will make a big difference!

So what did you get up to this weekend?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rambling thoughts on a Friday

This morning a package arrived from a very generous person.  I can't tell you yet what this is because certain people read my blog and they'll have to wait until next week to find out...  So I'm looking forward to working on it...

I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to blog about today, but it was such a beautiful day today that I thought it was the perfect day for a gratitude post.

With the Funrazor only a week away (so have a nice look, because by next week my hair will be gone...), I am so blessed and grateful to all those who are helping me make this event happen.  I am incredibly nervous, but I do believe I have a great team on my side so it can only be a success!

I am so grateful to Coastlands who is supplying the venue (and given us the best spot!), Matt Hoyle from Multi Media supplying the staging, Daizy Design for Facepainting and Gingersnaps Photography who will walk around capturing our day.  Rodney Wayne who will come and help with the hair shaving.  There is Sarah who is so helpful and has fully embraced all my mad ideas.  And Paul and his students kindly giving up time on a Sunday to be there to support us.  The MC who will help us make lots of money on the day.  Mike and Matt and their families, Catherine one of the oncology mums who will join me on stage shaving her hair, every single helper, and every company who donated spot prizes.  Just earlier in the week I received a call from Radius Pharmacy here in Coastlands and they wanted to do something so offered to make up something that we can do as a raffle.  If I forgot about anybody, please accept my apologies.

I have been going through some of Bianca's photos from when she was unwell in preparation for the event setup and it is so amazing to see how far she's come. I've had this floating around in the back of my mind.  It is not perfect, but just a bit of a reflection really:

Stuck there in a moment
Time kept standing still
Looking at the road ahead
Wondering where to find the will

You showed us how to live
You showed us how to smile
Even when things
Were tough for a while

An uphill battle... a struggle
for such a long time
Looking so small
This little girl of mine

All alone over there
Not much for you to do
Fighting a beast
So much bigger than you

But look at you now
So vibrant and free
And happy just like a child
Deserves to be

For you those days are long forgotten
You've never looked behind
You live here only for today
Not a worry in your mind

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Really? How is this helping?

I was going to write about this last week, but then decided maybe not.  But now, after seeing some of the snarky comments out there have decided to do it anyway.  Sure, some at the time were not too impressed with me, but then I wasn't too impressed with them either and I guess that makes us even...  And I'm okay with that. 

So now before I start I'll just say - sorry girls if I will be spoiling this for anybody...

Right now one of the things I really truly can't stand is a little game on Facebook.  Now it is not so much the game part that is annoying me, but that they are actually trying to say this is more than just a game.  I'm fine with people playing along, but really?  To keep pestering me on Facebook to play along?  That's just annoying.

But before I get all carried away (Terence says it is surprising I still have a mind left because I give a piece of my mind so often :-) ), here is the email that I have been receiving:
It is that time of year again! It is time to raise awareness for Breast Cancer.

Remember the status about our bra color or where we put our purse?? It made more people aware of the problem as it went viral on FB and made the news.

Don't tell any MEN what the status means! Copy, paste and resend this message to all your girl friends, let's see if we can make it work like before, keep them guessing, let's see if we make the news!

The idea is to use you birthdate, month and day only, no year!

Write: "I am going to live in _______ (see below) for _______

Ex. if your BD was on February 14th, then
" I am going to live n London for 14 months!!!!

January - Mexico

February - London
March - Miami
April - Dominican Republic
May - France
June - St. Petersburg
July - Austria
August - Germany
September - New York
October - Amsterdam
November - Las Vegas
December - Columbia

I hope you're in!

So let's look at what they are saying.  They are saying that if I type "I'm going to live in New York for 21 months" as my Facebook status that this is somehow going to raise awareness for cancer.  Now I've read this several times and really, all this does is confuse people.  Unless I'm missing something here...  Nowhere does it even remotely make mention of the word cancer.

Another problem I have with this is that the email very clearly states "Don't tell any MEN".  Now I have a problem with this bit to be honest.  If you are supposedly raising awareness by playing this game, why would you exclude somebody?  As much as people might think that this is some exclusive club where only the very privileged might join, men also get breast cancer (click here).

The thing with cancer (any type of cancer) is that it does not discriminate. It doesn't only choose some people, anybody can get cancer.  Even when people think it will never happen to them.  So if you are truly trying to raise awareness by playing this game, why would you exclude somebody?  If a woman is fighting breast cancer, would she not want her partner's support?  Would she not want her partner to learn as much as they can?  In real life you would not exclude anybody!

The other thing that is making me feel rather uncomfortable about this whole game is that cancer is no game.  There is nothing about it that is fun or funny or should be made fun of. (I actually wrote a whole blog entry on this before, click here to read).  It is traumatic, devastating and likely the most exhausting thing anybody will ever have to do.  And your life will never again be the same.

For me, real awareness is making people aware of the facts.  Teaching them what to look out for.  Sharing with them whatever knowledge you might have.  That is raising awareness.

Sometimes people ask me why nowadays so many more kids get cancer than they did in the old days and this is what I usually say.  Kids in the old days also got cancer, but because kids could show symptoms for other illnesses, if the testing wasn't as advanced, then it could be mistaken for something else.  With Bianca's particular type of cancer, if she did not get treatment she would have died within 3 months.  And the month leading up to her hospital admission and diagnosis she had tonsillitis and that is what she was treated for.  If we did not have suitable testing available to us, they would never have thought she actually had cancer.  But thankfully through real awareness, things have changed through the years and Bianca's chances certainly are far better now than it would have been 50 years ago.

And this is why I am doing things like Funrazor.  This is my way to help raise money so places like CCF can continue doing what they are doing.  This is my way to help spread the word.  That just because your child is healthy, does not mean that kids do not get cancer.  Before Bianca was diagnosed I had no idea that there were different types of leukemia or that treatment for leukemia is as long as it was or that there were other types of cancers kids could get.  Doing Funrazor and through our previous blog - this is my way to raise awareness.  Real awareness.  Trying to make a real difference!  Not a silly little game on Facebook...

Sure, I am happy for people to play along with this little game and to keep the men guessing, but then keep it a game.  Don't pretend it is actually raising awareness.  And please don't send me requests to play along with this. I have no interest in playing along.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Call me traditional, old fashioned, whatever... But I think these Christmas Trees spotted at Freedom Furnishers on the North Shore are probably the ugliest I have ever seen!  Especially the red one was very hard on the eyes.  Almost blindingly so!  What would you decorate it with that would not clash with it?  Would you buy something like this?  And more importantly would you spend $299 on it?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's big, soft and cuddly...

I needed to do a further quick update.  If you haven't yet, make sure you also read the other post I did earlier today.

Rob Clarke from Paper Plus donated this amazing big teddy bear (worth $70!) for our Funrazor event.  We are going to do this one as a raffle.  So this is the perfect opportunity for you to not only help a great cause, but maybe you might win the perfect Christmas present for a special someone!

Looking for something to do on the weekend? As some of you might know the Downtown Cinemas recently opened at Coastlands Mall and we now also have 10 movie munchout vouchers that we'll be giving away at our Funrazor event.

Now with summer right around the corner - it is time to get fit and active!  Sarah at Sculpt Pilates has given us a concession card with 5 free pilates sessions and Debbie at City Fitness Kapiti has offered us a 3 month gym membership

Some amazing prizes up for grabs!  Don't miss out.  Make sure you are at our event on Sunday 20 November and support the Child Cancer Foundation.  We'd love it if you could shave your hair along with me, but if you are not quite as brave, we will have some bright and colourful hair spray - so you can still support a great cause and make a bright statement that will make a difference!

Finally a catch up (with photos and video clip)

If you can't do touch typing, I suggest you start learning.  This weekend I had the iPad and had to do my blogging and emails using 1 finger.  I found it rather slow and frustrating! Give me touch typing any day!

We're back home!  As much as I tried to enjoy the journey, I was really looking forward to coming home.  Sunday night was a real struggle for me to sleep because of fireworks and some noisy people around us.

What a great welcome!

After Terence and Caitlyn picked us up from the airport we had to quickly go to New World to get a few things and as I sat there waiting for Terence it felt like a Sunday afternoon.  Virtually no cars around!  You don't realise quite how little traffic we have here until you've been to Auckland.  And I most definitely do not envy anybody from Johannesburg because that is even worse!!!!

One thing I totally forgot about when we arrived in Auckland was that we have this cool map gadget thingy on the iPad to give you directions and of course I got lost (typical Lea style), but today we used it to the airport.  So much so we were very early and had to keep ourselves busy until we could board our flight.

It was rather funny on Saturday when I dropped Bianca off at her friend's house and the very first words Saana said as she opened the door was "you changed!" and Bianca said "so did you!".  Not, "hello, how are you?".  But I guess it has been almost a year and a half since the two saw each other last and I guess lots changed in that time.

I think this trip was a bit of a life lesson too for Bianca.  The realisation that some, but not all things stayed the same.  When we visited the mall Bianca said "wow, it is still as I remember".  
Her teachers and school were still just as she remembered.  But the friends have all changed.  And some friendships like with Saana stayed strong even though they haven't seen each other in a long time, but I think the other friendships are most definitely not as strong and the brief meeting they had was almost awkward.  In your mind things always stay the same and then you suddenly realise how much changed, how often we change in the process.

Visiting Bianca's tree brought back so many memories.  It is amazing to know that it is still going strong!  It is truly a symbol of what we wanted it to be - of growth, strength, courage.  And best of all, the tree is exactly the same age as Bianca.  It is growing with her, every single day.  The same time she finished her treatment, we planted it and it had to find its "feet" in new and unknown territory in a world that was a mix between exciting and scary (just like it was for us).  Unfortunately we haven't yet seen it with flowers, but I'll ask one of her teachers to send me a photo once all the flowers arrive.

And now for some more photos:

Paraparaumu Airport (I told you it was small and cute):

The view on the way to Auckland:

Auckland (with the exception of the first 2 Bianca took these photos):

Lots of prep for the competition:

And all the hours practising and all the getting ready was worth it - third place in their division:

Photos of some of the other teams:

All the Kapiti Cheerleading teams did so well.  All 4 teams got medals!  One team was first in their division!

Click here for some more videos:

Kapiti Sharks (first place in their division!)
Kapiti Jayhawks
Kapiti Rays (a different view)
All Star Shooting Stars

If you are in Auckland (and from South Africa), Fred's Fine Foods is the place to visit for biltong and other South African goodies. 

The view from the plane coming back home: