Novice Blogging - Note #14 (Disclosure Policy)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
One of the first pages that I've added onto my blog when I first started out was a disclosure policy. And I must admit that you can never be too careful about this.

Being a “published” blogger (posted by me and published by me, lol, but of course, powered by Blogger), your disclosure policy must be clear as to what sort of considerations you accept in exchange for advertisements on your site and product reviews. Remember that if you get some sort of compensation to write a product review, it could taint the readers as to your motives and the opinions that you present on the product.

I got a standard disclosure policy from a website called There is a lot of information on this website with regards disclosure policies and their importance, especially to bloggers and advertisers.

If you haven’t got a disclosure policy on your blogsite yet, go read up and seriously consider getting one. One just never knows.

VTT Postcard - For Anything Else, There's Visa

Monday, December 27, 2010
Another week of absence, another pre-post.

If you are taking a trip to Europe in the near future, you might wanna know what happens with visa applications and such.

It was kinda nerve-wrecking to apply for the visas for my trip. Always thought that something would happen and I would not get the visas I required. I had to apply for 2 visas, namely the UK (to let me into the UK) and the Schengen visa (to let me into all the other European countries).

For the UK visa, I had to set up an appointment online via their website. It was quick and easy. Payment can also be done online. The visa fee for a 6-month visa was GBP70. However, there was a lot of information that they required to accompany the application. I had to bring all the documents to the Johannesburg application centre (@Sandton City) and submit it in with my application. I was given a tracking number so that I could track the status online. It took them 2 weeks to issue me with the visa. I went back to the application centre to collect.

For the Schengen visa, it was slightly tricky. I had to determine where I was going to stay the longest and apply to that country’s consulate/embassy for the visa. In this case, I was staying in Italy the longest and so I submitted my application to the Italian Consulate in Johannesburg (@Houghton). The appointment for the visa was also done online except the payment could only be done at the consulate itself. The visa fee that was charged was roughly EUR52. I also had to bring in a lot of supporting documentation which they took in with my application. I was given a date to come back to collect my visa, which was roughly just over 2 weeks.

My applications were both done about 2 months apart. My trip was in December and I applied for the UK visa in August and the Schengen visa in October (you could only apply for this visa 6 weeks before your trip).

For interest's sake, my UK visa was valid for multiple entries for 6 months from date of issue. The Schengen visa was valid for multiple entries for 25 days from my date of expected departure.Important documents to take with to the embassy/consulate/application centre are:

Passport (most important)
Letter of employment
Insurance policy for trip
Hotel bookings/confirmation

There are obviously other documents the issuing authorities may require and so must be provided. For more information:

Visit the British Visa Application Website for Africa for more
Visit the Italian Consulate for Johannesburg for more

On Christmas Day....

Saturday, December 25, 2010
For all our readers and followers:

My Christmas Present - Surprise Or Not?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Recently I've been hinting (quite excessively) that I wanted a certain Christmas CD as a Christmas present from hubby. Hubby vows that he will buy the CD and give it to me during the holidays. However, I pointed out that as it is a Christmas CD, I would like to get it beforehand so that I could enjoy it. Who wants to be playing Christmas songs in January anyway?

So we made a date to go out and buy this CD. But somehow or other, it just never happened. I started feeling frustrated. I decided that I would have to leave buying the CD up to him. I have already told him what I wanted, it would be kinda weird if I still have to keep reminding (= nagging) him to buy it for me.

The next day after our second attempt to "buy" the CD never materialised, hubby came home with some unusual groceries from the store. Part of the groceries was a weekly magazine that I always read. The magazine was enclosed in a plastic envelope as he gave it to me. I actually thought that the magazine appeared bulky to start with. Imagine my surprise, when I opened the magazine, the CD was inside!

I was definitely impressed! He bought the CD without my help...and nagging, lol. There is yet light inside the tunnel.

In a way, it was a surprise and not a surprise at the same time. How do you react to that? :-)

VTT Postcard - Background

Monday, December 20, 2010
Location: Somewhere in the Winter Wonderland

I am pre-posting this post as while you read this, I am probably already somewhere in Europe. This is just to tide you over until I get back from vacation.

So why “Vanilla Twilight” you may ask? The name actually comes from an Owl City song by the same name. There was a line where it goes “I’d send a postcard to you dear ‘cause I’d wish you were here”.

While driving to work one morning, I heard this song and somehow that one line struck a chord inside me. And after that, it just became my theme song for my planned trip. (Haha! I even have my own theme song; I just need my own reality TV show like Amazing Race now. 8 countries, 12 days, 1 tourist, etc. etc.)

Anyway, each time that I wanted to think of a happy thought, I’d play this song and it would take me to a place where I think I would be in the tour. It’s kinda weird. I don’t even know what I’m gonna see when I get there. Too excited for my own good, I think, lol.

And so the plan was hatched. This blog will be my postcard. And I’m sharing it with all of you because I wish you were here!

Novice Blogging - Note #13 (Watermarking)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Okay, so I haven’t quite perfected this yet but I have been doing this since the start of this blog....well, almost since. Give or take about 10 first photos that went up on this site did not have any watermarks on them.

Whenever I use personal photos for my blog, I stake my claim on them. Here come the watermarks. Watermarks are slightly faded letters on photos that usually state their origination. On most cases, I’ve found that bloggers just either watermark in their website’s name or address onto the photos. This is a good way to actually promote your blog website and such.

Not any different, most of my personal photos contain my website’s details. It is a bit of a mouthful but I usually put them around the edges.

On the internet, you can try Free Watermark Tool. You just upload the photo and select the transparency and the font of your watermark. Type in the words you want on the photo and the watermarks are then stamped on the photo. You get a code for the watermarked photo and you can use this then.

I have mostly preferred to use good ol’ Paint, which comes with Windows. After editing the photos (cropping and resizing, you name it), I quickly pop the photo on Paint, and do my thing. Of course then, my watermarks are not as faded as most. Actually, I tend to use bright colours. But it works for me for now so it’s fine.

Ahoy There! Part Two....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Following the review on the pantomime production, Robinson Crusoe and the Carribean Pirates, I would just like to share what happened at the aftershow party. As if. I am starting to sound like a celebrity, aftershow party indeed.

Anyway, there was an aftershow do. Some of the main characters of the production visited our company’s conference room and enjoyed a few minutes of picture-taking and autographing with us. Well, actually, it was more like a frenzy of young adoring fans clamoring for attention (me included).

I was especially looking forward to meeting and taking my picture with Kim Engelbrecht as I had seen her when she was still part of the Isidingo cast. Isidingo is a daily South African soap opera. I dragged my youngest with, while my eldest tagged along (secretly she wanted to be in the picture with me and Kim, lol!)

Next up was Carlo McFarlane of Backstage fame. Backstage is also a South African soapie and I used to follow it before when Carlo was still part of the lineup. I got to chat to him and told him this little information. He was very friendly. My eldest was so chuffed when she got to shake his hand! (The beauty beside him is SA lovely Tanya van Graan, his love interest in the show)

And lastly, who can forget Marc Lottering? A long line of wait and when we got our chance, it was definitely a bring-it-on moment.

Hubby was not as starstruck as us so he stayed in the background and just took all the photos. Following the family like a paparazzi.

Eldest mentions now that I was actually the only adult in the room that wanted my pictures taken with the stars. It’s true though. And who wouldn’t? I am not shy to admit; I was in my “crazed fan” zone and got a little carried away. Well, I can’t lie about it now when the pictures let it all hang. It was a definite fan day.

VTT Postcard - Preparations

Monday, December 13, 2010
Location: Still in Johannesburg, South Africa packing like a mad woman

My last post about my trip before I actually take it.

Today, I talk about preparations, specifically what I’ve packed for the trip. I must say that I started planning what to pack 2 seasons ago. Winter in South Africa ended around August and so I had to go through all the winter sales at the end of season to pick up some bargains. Not that I bought a lot. I was kinda lazy and missed the sales anyway.

Only time(and a later post on this blog) will tell but I hope what I’ve packed is enough. Here is the full list:

1 x trench coat
1 x leather coat
1 x fleece jacket
3 x jerseys
4 x casual tops
3 x pair of jeans
2 x pair of leggings
2 x boots
1 x sandals
2 x gloves
2 x hats
lots of socks
lots of underwears

Our Little Christmas Tree

Friday, December 10, 2010
mommy momentsFollowing my entry about last Christmas, today at Mommy Moments, we talk about our little christmas tree.

Well, coming from a vertically-challenged family, a little christmas tree actually suits us better. Here was last year's tree with all the presents underneath. You will note that some of the presents appeared so big but is not that the presents are huge but rather that the tree was tiny.

Here is another photo with my kids sitting on the floor, exchanging gifts, so we could squeeze the tree and both of them on the photo.

And this year, we bring you the same little christmas tree....See how tall my child has grown :-)

Unfortunately, this will be my last Mommy Moment for this year. I am taking a vacation and will not be around to post the last few weeks. But don't fret, I will see all of you mommies in the new year!

I wish you all happy Mommy Moments!

Weighing In: Last Two Minutes Before Assessment

Wednesday, December 8, 2010
My second assessment recently came up and my trainer had to measure me to see if I’ve had any changes since I first started seeing her. I knew this day was coming up and so I tried to do some last-minute adjustments. I tried to eat less on the week before the assessment. Of course, this did not work because I started so well on the Monday through to Thursday but on the Friday, I just could not help myself as I down a McFlurry, boo hoo hoo. With this knowledge of my bad behaviour the day before, I decided to attend a Step session at the gym on the Saturday, the day of my assessment. Before actually being assessed. Definitely some big last-minute stuff happening here. Worked out like hell.

After which my assessment came up. My final figures were:

I lost a whopping 0.3kgs. Whoopee??? Is that it?

Overall, my body fat went down by 1%. Total centimetres lost around my body was 9cms.

There is more definition to certain parts of my body but of course, my biggest problem is the bicycle tyres that I carry around my waist. (I am modest so I will not say that they are car tyres, lol! They equal to about 3 bicycle tyres though.)

Anyway, I feel a bit better about my weight although I feel my progress is slow. I will be 70 by the time I get my Jillian Michaels’ bod. Grrr!

I promised to abide by healthier eating choices again and more time at the gym.

A Social Network Butterfly

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Okay, so I am not quite there yet but I feel that ever since I’ve gotten my new “always connected” HTC phone and reviving my blog….I have crossed over that line between just semi-crazed about the social networks (Facebook specifically) to full-blown internet vixen.

I have always been easily influenced by social networks, joining Friendster in 2003 and Facebook, probably around 2004. I just love that whole idea of connecting with people, especially those I’ve lost contact with over the years. And believe me, being an expat, I’ve lost a lot….but social networking has remedied that situation a bit.

I have recently joined the bandwagon of twitter-ers (Yo! A new word?). Much like I hated Facebook in the early years I’ve had the Twitter account but never used it because I didn’t like the way it worked. But since my HTC supports these two networks, I have started tweeting more and more. Plus, my tweets also update my Facebook, showing up as statuses….so you can be sure I will definitely check out how it all gels together.

It’s a toss-up between the computer and the cellphone but I am not shy to admit that I cannot live without my internet connection on both these items.

And why should I be ashamed when the connection has brought me that sense of being part of a revolutionary movement?

Facebook me.

Friend me.

Follow me.

Tweet me.

I’ll be waiting.

VTT Postcard - Introduction

Monday, December 6, 2010
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

For the last couple of years, I have not had a proper December vacation. And although I have tried several times to enjoy what little days I’ve been granted during the festive season, somehow the break does not seem long enough. So I vowed that this coming December will be different.

I have made plans to do a Contiki tour this coming month. I have been planning the tour since June this year and now it is a couple of weeks away. I am literally exhilarated! I want the days to fly!

I have dubbed this tour as my “Vanilla Twilight Tour” (VTT) to make it more special and give it more oomph. But at Contiki, it is simply known as the 12-Day European Discovery (Winter) Tour. The tour will cover the following countries: United Kingdom, Belgium (in transit), the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Vatican City, Switzerland and France.

There will be more stories about sightseeing and experiences in upcoming posts. However, there might be a slight delay as I’ll only be able to tell my stories next year when I am back. But don’t worry, I won’t forget a single moment (good or bad). Nothing gets me this excited and not be blogged about!

Unfortunately though, due to some constraints, I am travelling on my own. But I have hubby’s full blessing to go on this trip and I will definitely make it worthwhile.

Gosh, it almost feels like I am taking you all with me on this journey. Blog it all when I get back!

P.S. This is also a Bucket List entry of mine.

Seven Today!

Sunday, December 5, 2010
"I never thought that I'd be so inspired
Never thought that I would find a higher truth
I believed that love was overrated 'til the moment I found you
Now, baby, I know I don't deserve the love you give me
But now I understand...." - Westlife, Something Right

Isn't it just precious?

The way she looks at me, with her big dark brown eyes, like I'm some kind of wonder woman. And in certain ways, and at this age, I am still a superhero in her life. I bandage her pain away and calm her fears down. I strengthen her when she is scared and comfort her to sleep.

In return, she gives me kisses to melt the stress away after a hard day at the office. She hugs me tight like only she could, without knocking the wind out of me. She gives me all the love she can give with so much ease, never faltering....

Yup, as much as I may be the superhero, she is my special power, the crux of why I became a lot less ordinary.

My youngest turns 7 today.

Happy, happy birthday, my little clever cow....

The Christmas That Was...

Friday, December 3, 2010
Last Christmas one family member was missing in action. Hubby went to the Philippines to visit and so only us, girls, remained in South Africa to celebrate Christmas.

I bedazzled my kids with my culinary talent by cooking them pancit (special noodles). I must admit, the food turned out better than I expected (Well, it was edible, which was a plus). My children had two servings each which went to show that it was patok (a hit)! LOL!

And to top it all off, it wouldn’t be complete if we did not wish my hubby a merry christmas while he was far away. I organized a little impromptu christmas carolling and wished him (and others) a festive season. Posted the carolling video on Facebook even for all to see. Thought I would get some pamasko (Christmas gifts) this way.

That was the Christmas that passed. And this is my entry for Mommy Moments as we remember last Christmas. Click on the badge and join us!

mommy moments

Novice Blogging - Note #12 (Blog Counters)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
One other thing that I have added onto my blogsite is a blog counter. Although the main objective of a counter would be to count your blog’s visitors and readership, most of the counters actually do much more than that.

It is always interesting to find out what kind of people you are attracting, where they from, where did they hear of you....

I’ve installed several counters although the most frequent one I use is the one that comes with Blogger itself. On your Dashboard, you should see something called Stats. You can do daily, weekly, monthly and all-time reports. You can even check which pages or which posts gets the most views and where your visitors come from (i.e. America, Africa, Asia, Europe, etc.)

I’ve found this tool very handy in getting to know my audience.

P.S. Do not go overboard and scrutinise every little stat detail! We all love stats but there is a limit to what you really need to know.

Ahoy There! Part One...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
What a day! What a day! And what a wonderful production and performance!

This year, my employer treated some of us, employees, and our families to go watch and experience a pantomime production as a year-end function. One of many functions before the year closes, I hope.

The setting: The Mandela @ the Joburg Theatre.

The show: Robinson Crusoe and the Carribean Pirates.

It was mostly for the kiddies but the show was really fantastic, even by adult standards. The cast and crew were magnificent with their performances. Main casts included some well-known South African actors like Marc Lottering, Carlo McFarlane and Kim Engelbrecht. They sang and danced to up tempo songs and converted some modern tunes to suit the storyline. Very nicely done.

Without giving much of the storyline away, the show follows the adventures of Robin Lottalove aka Robinson Crusoe (McFarlane), son of Lolly (Lottering) and brother of Bobin (Engelbrecht). After the mayoress’ daughter, Primrose Petal (played by SA beauty Tanya van Graan), was kidnapped by the evil Beelzebub, Robin and his family set off to save her!

Special mention should be made of Marc Lottering, who was absolutely hilarious in his role as Lolly Lottalove. He simply brought the house down with his antics and dialogues. The role kinda reminded me of John Travolta’s role in the movie Hairspray. Very different  but very convincing.

The stage sets were fully amazing as they changed scene by scene….it almost felt like watching in 3D without the glasses :-)

The family’s assessment were as follows:

Hubby: Performance by all was good. He was amazed with how quick the stage changed with each scene.

Eldest: It was fine. It was okay. The singing was really, really good.

Youngest: It was nice. She became very excited when the strobe lights came down the stage and caused some sort of fireworks.

Me: Needless to say, I was mesmerized by the whole thing. I am just showing off a bit of my naivete of theatre productions. Bravo, I say!

The production will still be at the Joburg Theatre until January 2, 2011. For time and seat availability, book at Computicket.

Disclaimer: This review was written with no other special consideration received from the Joburg Theatre or any individual connected with the production. Our show tickets were solely provided for by my employer.

Weighing In: Nomad Flab

Monday, November 29, 2010
Saturdays and Sundays nowadays meant gym days for me. I have always wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle and with not enough time during the week, I have resolved going to the gym on the weekends. Not to mention the additional weight is now really affecting my conceit (self-confidence if you ask me) and so I must start doing something or go mad!

I have been seeing my personal trainer twice a week for more than 6 months now and can swear that there has been a slight change in my body built (my pants have been fitting more perfect than before). No weight changes though, which bugs me to hell because I know those fats are just hiding somewhere else (my belly) if not my thighs. What a frustration to realise that fats don’t just roll in the land of my body, they relocate.

Which brings me to one of my favourite, and most pained, topics – weight gain....or is it weight loss? Whichever way, it has been years and my ultimate goal would be to stop gaining and start losing.

I am slightly hard-headed when it comes to eating veggies and regular workouts so this has mostly been an uphill battle for me. And so I start to document my ups and downs with healthy living and bad habits.

I declare war on you, my nomad flab! Take that, you! There is no turning back now as it is cast in, blogged I mean.

Hopefully, with perseverance, I shall prevail, this time. Of course, looking good is just a fringe benefit. The real deal here would be to live healthy and feel better all round. I want this to be my choice, my life.

Feel free to share me some of your success stories and advices........or frustrations.

P.S. I must admit that I am doing this all to satisfy my vanity. I want my Jillian Michaels bod. And soon.

Super-Size Me!

Friday, November 26, 2010
mommy moments

I am doing today’s Mommy Moments with a little twist. Instead of showing my kids with big things, I’ve decided to let my kids be the “big things” for once. We are so used to being small that when we become the “bigger things”, we grab it with both hands…..with a lot of photos to show for it.

Whenever we visit Durban (a coastal city found on the eastern part of South Africa), we never miss the opportunity to visit Mini-Town, where everything else is much smaller than us.

Our first visit with eldest in 2002 when she was 6 years old. Here she is "outside" a replica of the City Hall:

I thought these buildings were supposed to be smaller than me!
 Our second visit with youngest in 2008 when she was 5 years old. Here she is with a replica of a British Airways plane:
Yowza! What a big plane!
These pictures kinda remind me of scenes from the animation "Monsters vs Aliens" and sci-fi "Godzilla".

This is my share! Join the rest of us at Mommy Moments!

And Now, A Thanksgiving Rap From The Sponsored....

Thursday, November 25, 2010
Mama's Losin' ItWe don’t have Thanksgiving in South Africa, but it would be nice to still be given the opportunity to give thanks, even if they are just for the small stuff, like sliced bread and peanut butter. So here I join Mama Kat et al in their celebration of Thanksgiving and rap my thanks to the first 25 "small stuff" that came to my mind this morning.

I thank:

1. the Philippines – for offering me their country as my place of birth.

2. the Chinese – for bestowing me with a culture here on Earth.

3. South Africa – for adopting me into their rainbow nation.

4. my passport – for affording me the opportunity of expedition.

5. the University of South Africa (UNISA) – for presenting me with a degree after they got tired of corresponding with me for 8 years.

6. accounting – for supplying me an A-ha! moment and when I followed the decision through, my career path appears

7. my slightly overweight physique – so I can work at it and it gives me something to do at the gym.

8. Adidas - for my sportswear and making me look more decent than I seem.

9. Reebok – for my running shoes that can withstand pain

10. the VirginActive – for providing me with the gym equipments to make myself sweat like rain.

11. the McNuggets – for giving me the option of a less-caloried meal at McDonalds when I binge.

12. the Sony Cybershot – for bringing me back to reality and creating unflattering mugshots of me (where just thinking about it makes me cringe).

13. Avon – for offering me a wide range of cosmetics to hide my imperfections, created by the Cybershot.

14. HTC – for my Wildfire and for contributing to my status of being a crazed, “always connected” social network nut.

15. Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, etc. – for giving me that sense of being well-connected and able to reach anybody in the world, even though they're not in sight

16. Sissy Boy – for my slightly loose hip hugging jeans that make me look good and feel sexy…just because it hugs my bum right!

17. Lasik surgery – for giving me back my 20/20 vision

18. Oakley – for providing my now-lasered eyes protection

19. the Honda Jazz – for taking me to work and back….and lets me travel to other obscure places in the city of Johannesburg when I get lost and try to find my way back home.

20. “Lucinda”, my Garmin GPS – for ordering me around town and confusing me with her barks of “Keep right, turn right, stay right”….etc. etc. At least she knows her way to my humble dome.

21. life experiences – for giving me depth and character and blog material. Keep 'em coming!

22. my Toshiba laptop – for the creation of every post on the blog, it is "contributing".

23. my family – for showering me with real unconditional love, which they probably don’t always just want to show. Most of the time, they probably want to hit me with it too.

24. my blog – for letting me be who I am, mostly nuts and demented and cuckoo!

25. And lastly, my blogworms – for knowing that they are in the grasp of a mad woman but continue reading my blog anyway.

And these are my thanks on Thanksgiving Day!

It was kinda difficult to rhyme all the endings. I can see now (and I'm sure it's pretty obvious) I am not much of a poet. LOL!

This post (barely) fulfils Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt #3: Write a poem about the things you are thankful for.

Hot Air Ballooning - A Once In A Lifetime Experience (Old Topic Reposted)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010
My second travel re-post. What can I say? I'm having a trip down memory lane and wanting to re-live all my travels and experiences during the past decade.

Here's one of the few unique experience I've had as noted on Friendster....and now it's here on Blogger.
23 September 2007 - It has always been one of the things I’ve wanted to do when I first arrived in Johannesburg so it’s no surprise that I finally made it happen when I got enough dough to actually do it. My husband and I went hot-air ballooning over the Magaliesburg area. The trip was a bit pricey at just above 2 grand a head, but it was worth it as it was really an experience of a lifetime.

We arrived at the Skeerpoort Balloon Field at 4:45am that fateful morning. We were supposed to be there only an hour later, but maybe from excitement (and leaving a bit too early from home as we thought we were gonna get lost along the way), we got there way too early.

Around 5:45am, we walked towards the path where the balloons were gonna be set up. My hubby and I actually thought there were only a few passengers and that we would be one of few who would take the ride. But we turned out to be wrong, as slowly but surely, the field filled up and in total, 5 balloons went up, carrying about 70 people.

We had tea/coffee and biscuits while they were setting up the balloons. it took almost 2 hours to set all the balloons up. We left the field just after 7am. Some of the balloons carried about 16 people in its wicker basket. The basket that we were on was the smallest out of the lot. Our basket carried 8 passengers plus the pilot and his gas tanks :-).

There is really not much to say about the experience except that it was one of a kind. The view over the area was breathtaking!!! The ride was extraordinaire!!! The trip took about an hour, travelling at about 14km/h. There is really nothing quite like floating on air and leaving your destination to the will of the blowing wind.

We had champagne after landing to celebrate our "safe" return to land. Afterwards, the tour bus gave us a ride back to the balloon field where a real English-style breakfast was awaiting us. Bill Harrop (the owner of the ballooning company) and his crew presented all of the "courageous" passengers certificates of bravery, for taking part in this unique aerial experience.

It took me a while to write this blog up, sorry. Plus not all the pictures have been uploaded (Friendster restricts me to 50 a month). I shall upload the rest of the pictures in the next few months. But for now, enjoy, and share this wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experience with us.
For more information, please visit Bill Harrop's Original Balloon Safari.


Destiny Calling, Fate Beckoning (Old Topic Reposted)

Monday, November 22, 2010
Okay, so maybe this post has a little melodramatic overtone than my usual "lighter side" blogs. Pardon me, I was just feeling a bit whimsical......and most thankful.

It was one of my earlier works on my old Friendster blogsite and was first published on September 7, 2007. I have scratched out my endless ramblings and tweaked it a bit (in blue).

I’ve learnt to believe that there is no such thing as destiny or fate or the way that some people visualize these two things. You make the choices and the consequences become your destiny or fate. Although…I still believe everything happens for a reason. It’s kind of weird because the one belief does not really support the other very well. If something is not destined for you, then what is the reason that it happens to you? I cannot fully explain this cycle, but I stand firmly between these two beliefs. There will always be things happening to you (because they happen to you for a reason), but you have that choice to turn that situation into something good or bad, great or crap.

A few years ago [(about 3 and a half years to be exact) now it is more than 6 years and counting], I was involved in a very bad car accident. I was driving home from work one afternoon and whilst making a right turn at a robot (stoplight), a taxi (mini-bus) came from the other side and hit my car on the passenger side. The taxi was trying to beat the red light and in doing so, came hurtling down from the other side of the road whilst I was already making my turn. I was hit and my car spun. I lost consciousness and only regained it when the paramedic woke me. I suffered temporary memory loss. I actually thought I had fallen asleep while driving. It was quite bad but it could have been much worse. I was not driving my usual car as it was in for repairs. I was driving my husband’s car, a bakkie (1-ton pickup) at that time and if it weren’t for the size of that car, there would have been no protection at all. The impact was hard; the bakkie was a write-off afterwards. Imagine if I had been driving my small car then, I would have smashed upside down and broken every bone in my body.

Upon waking up, I also found out that my right leg and knee were in terrible pain, “broken” according to the paramedic. My husband arrived at the scene and the paramedics transferred me to the ambulance and took me to the public hospital. Service at the public hospital was something to be desired. I was very lucky that my local GP was in the same hospital delivering a baby at that same time. He had a look at me after the delivery and advised that I needed to be seen by a specialist. I was then transferred to a private hospital.

I remember arriving at the private hospital just after midnight, thinking while waiting for the specialist to arrive, that I was lucky "I always wear clean underwear everyday, haha!" as my clothes were in tatters after they did the x-rays on my leg and back but they couldn’t really move me to take my outfit off for fear that I had injured my spine as well. Joking aside, I lay there thinking I will never walk again. It was a doom-and-gloom situation. But the specialist arrived and informed me that I just needed a major surgery to fix my broken leg and smashed knee cap. He reassured me and my husband that all will be well.

And sure enough, I stayed 5 days in hospital, was in crutches for the next two months, started physiotherapy around about the sixth week, and by the end of the fourth month, I did not look like a car accident victim anymore at all.

Nowadays, I walk fine but find it hard to bend on my knees and stand up from kneeling. But otherwise, I am 90% there.

So was this my destiny? My view is that it happened to me at a time when I needed to feel and prove that I am a stronger person than I or other people give myself credit for. So, yes, I believe it happened for a reason…but I could have chosen to go either way. There is a lot that could be said for the support that my family and friends gave me at that time. But for the most part, I think that maybe my willpower kicked in and did not allow me to just accept the situation as my fate. This was a temporary situation from which I could rise up from and I needed to rise from it if not for others, for myself.

I always look back to it and say that it was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life as I learnt a lot about myself, and life as well.

Destiny….is the path you choose to walk when life throws you a fork.

When I Was Just A Little Girl......

Friday, November 19, 2010
When she was born, my eldest weighed 3.14kgs (6.9lbs). She was delivered via emergency C-section and I was put to sleep and so did not see her come into the world. When I woke up in the hospital room, hubby excitedly told me that we had a girl. Unfortunately I couldn't open my eyes at the time as I was exhausted and in shock. Hubby goes on to describe her and his first comments were "She's got a flat nose!"

Eldest when she was just a tiny baby "with flat nose"
 Just less than 8 years later, youngest came along. She was also delivered via C-section but this time, both hubby and I were present when she was born (Well, okay, I have to always be present else they don't get born, right?). She weighed in at 2.9kgs (6.4lbs). I lay awake while the doctors chopped and sewed me. Hubby said it felt like being in a butchery (I think I'm turning nausea green just talking about it).

Anyway, youngest was a screamer in the hospital....and was no different when she came home. She also had birthmarks on her forehead, which I am told is good luck. Can you see them in the pic?

Eldest was so excited with her new baby sister
 And so this is my post for Mommy Moments this week, where we share our kids when they were SO LITTLE.
mommy moments

Novice Blogging - Note #11 (Blog Worms)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010
No real advice today but just sharing a novel idea a friend of mine gave me recently.

My friend had been sick during the first part of the week and so missed some of my blog entries during that time. But as soon as she was well and up, she visited my blog to see what she’d missed. And by the middle of that day had caught up with everything that I had to say :-) (I probably didn’t say enough, haha).

She goes on to tell me that it was starting to feel like an addiction. Much like bookworms who love reading books and just can’t seem to get enough of them, she feels the same way about my posts. She even started calling herself a blogworm.

How about that? I’ve gained a following without even trying too hard.

It’s very easy that if you have beef, you blog and get your say in space. But to get people to read and be interested in what you connect...that’s really something else.

So there it is, no more followers, no more readers....give me blogworms any day!

Garden Route Vacation (Old Topic Reposted)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I didn't want to just leave all the wonderful trips behind on my Friendster account so I have decided to re-post them here on my new blog. This is the first of (hopefully) many more re-posts on travel.

We took this trip in August 2005. Our vacation took place at the Garden Route in South Africa. Basically it is a route that is marked out at the southwestern parts of South Africa. This was also my first try on blogging in 2005 and so it looks a bit weird. Kinda like writing a letter to old friends or something. Anyway, I have tried to spruce it up a bit just so I could keep the memory of the trip.

Hi all Hope you are all fine. Just something to keep in touch. The family recently went to Knysna for a vacation (a long-awaited and much-deserved one). We spent 4 days touring and driving around the Garden Route, seeing places and "relatives" (Uncle Monkey and Auntie Ellie...hehe).

We arrived in George on Saturday, 6 Aug and proceeded to Knysna, where we spent our afternoon riding the waterfront ferry, which took us out to The Heads. Quite nice and rough ride, but we all came back in one piece.

Next day, we went to the Knysna Elephant Park (to see our aunt Ellie) and Monkeyland (to see our uncle Monkey). Har har. Nice pics but we walked a lot. Carried youngest for a good part of the journey. Felt as if we had journeyed through the Tour de France in snickers.

On Monday, we went to Oudtshoorn to see the Cango Caves and some ostrich farm. Nice photos of the Caves but it was dark (what did I expect?). Met some bats and rocks that told me a century old tale. Hubby tried some ostrich meat and said that they were delicious (sorta like beef).

Inside the Cango Caves
 Then we went on to see an ostrich showfarm. Youngest fell asleep at this time and missed out all the fun. But eldest enjoyed this experience thoroughly and even got to sit on an ostrich (and a picture to show for it!)

Ostrich had his face covered so he doesn't realise that my eldest is actually riding on him
 The last day saw us going around in George, which by the way, is a very boring place if you're no Tiger Woods or Ernie Els. We drove around for a while and landed up at the Railway Museum. Took some more photos of old relics and locomotives. And there are even some pics of our hired car, Benz. A well featured member of our entourage and we were very sorry to give him back. Anyway, I've attached all the pics here. Don't worry, I did run out of battery and memory on my camera so there are only about +- 50 photos. Enjoy the pictures and tell me what you think. Lots of love...

Hubby is so proud of his "Benz"
It was kind of a lame blogging attempt but hopefully I am better at it now.