Meaning!!??

 

This is an overdue post.  My sister-in-law went away over the Thanksgiving holidays.  When she returned, she brought me a gift.  I’m just curious to know what you all think this might mean.  I mean, my sister-in-law is always sweet and gracious.  She always has the kindest words to say in every situation.  She doesn’t have to blow happy smoke to say nice things – she’s totally honest, but can do it in a way that makes the people she’s talking to feel really good about whatever she’s being honest about.  And then she gives me this:

It’s a T-shirt.  With this message.  Now personally, I find it hilarious.  It’s totally me.  But do you think that the kindest person who never talks about anyone and who always has a positive slant on any situation would get into this kind of t-shirt message?

In reality, I think it’s her mean, no shades of gray, no color, only black-and-white brutally honest sicko husband who picked it out.  But if he did, I couldn’t wear it.  I have to go with HER being the thoughtful one.  Ooi, I’m so confused.

Family Skywatch

 


Have you noticed how family gets involved in skywatch?  We’re driving along, or eating a meal, and one of the kids says "Hey – look at that!  It would be great for Skywatch, mom!"  And they run get a camera.  And hand it to Prince Farming.  Isn’t that funny?  And cute?  Actually I like it.  It’s like they’re taking interest in what I’m doing, like I take interest in what they’re doing.  And they hand the camera to Farming because my hands shake.  Like leaves.  So he gets steadier shots.  You all liked his pond shot a few weeks ago, so here’s a moon shot he took too.  (You know about me and moons . . . the photographing of them, I mean!!)

Actually what the kids were WANTING you to see is that there was ice/snow on the trees.  So that grayish hue isn’t fog – it’s ice.  Not as spectacular as in real life, but we can pretend that the moon was the real focus, and that makes it okay.

 

I’ve promised to be brief in my posts (to you AND to myself).  But I can’t resist this one (since I didn’t post yesterday).  Part of the season’s busy-ness is due to school programs and the like.  Here is a shot of the piano recital.  Both kids played in it, but the camera only worked during our favorite child’s performance (that’s what I tell my son, anyway).

Poor boy – he’ll need therapy as badly as his mom does before he grows up . . .

 

Happy Skywatch Friday!  You can see more skies from all over the world by visiting Skywatch Friday. 

Organized People . . .

 

. . . . Make Me Crazy

Probably because I want to be one too

And I just can’t get it together.

You know who you are.  Your Christmas shopping is all done, and everything was wrapped and ready before December even hit.  AND your Christmas cards are handmade and mailed with perfectly matching holiday postage stamps.  Arggghhhh.   My Christmas list isn’t even complete.  I mean, I went shopping last week, and spent one month’s salary stipend in an alarmingly short period of time.  And while I suffered some amount of "AAaahhhhhh" over the bill that will be coming, I felt some satisfaction in being pretty much done.  A few online orders to place, and I thought I was SET.  But as the days have gone by, I’ve realized this small detail:

My LIST isn’t even done

Meaning, I didn’t have a complete list, so my shopping is not complete.

Unfortunately, all the money I’ve set aside for Christmas is long spent.  So, I’ll just have to THINK about the things I would want to give to the people who didn’t yet make it onto my list.  Because it’s the thought that counts, right!?  RIGHT?!

And you KNOW those people aren’t going to be getting any truffles!!

 

Vices.

 

The blogs I visit don’t ever have comments about blogging or not blogging, or guilty feelings over long pauses in blogging.  Well, except for this one.  But then maybe it’s because I’ve not only NOT been blogging, I’ve also not been visiting my friends blogs to hear them whine (I’m starting to see the wisdom in blogging even more clearly now!)  But seriously – I have this feeling of "what a loser am I – I can’t even keep up with my blog."  Even though Louise, who set the blogging hook that others had cast, said that I shouldn’t worry about when I can’t blog – to just do it when I could – but I still just love to torture myself obviously gain SOME pleasure with guilt.  Whether its warranted or not.

It’s not like I don’t enjoy blogging.  I do.  Although I find it freakily weird that people actually stop to see what I write.  But I get it when I go and read other people’s blogs.  It’s like people-watching in the airport.  It’s fun to see what other people are doing.  And blogging gives a little window into their world.  So I miss out on seeing what people are wearing most of the time on blogs.  But the great trade-off is I get to see what they’re thinking and doing – which is what I wonder about when I’m in an airport.  Blogging is deeper.  Airport people-watching you want to go and add "when you decided to wear that travelling" to the usual "What are you thinking?" question.  So here’s my plan.  Since my iPhone camera seems to be doing fairly well, I’m going to start doing little blog entries (well, right after this one, I mean).  Just sort of snippets.  Of the things that float through my life and head where I think "this is bloggable."  I’ll go ahead and blog it.  Just like writing a status update on Facebook, which I manage to do fairly frequently.  So there.  You can breathe a sigh of relief, or remove me from your reading list – whatever you choose.  I’m back.

You know I’m only back because it’s a stressful time of year, right!?  It’s like "What else can I possibly cram into this week!?  Oh wait, this is bloggable."

This has been my current dilemma:  Actually no.  This has been what I SHOULD be worried about, and am, on some level, or I wouldn’t have used it in my Facebook status either.  Now I’m blogging about it.  Maybe it warrants some analysis.   I bought these truffles at S*Ms club.  A 3-pack, that I might be able to use as gifts if the need arose.  They’ve been in my house for about 2 weeks.  This weekend I decided I should open one of the boxes, just to check them out.  If they’re disgusting, I certainly would not want to give them away. 

Well, let me tell you.  I won’t be giving any of these away.  They’re absolutely TERRIBLE.  Like melt in your mouth into buttery extasy.  Wonderful.  Delicious.  Completely non-shareable.  Well, except for single others who might be able to appreciate how divine they really are.  And worth the hour-drive to go buy the whole stock in case they aren’t available after the holidays terrible.  Ghastly.  Like a lump in your stomach because you have NO SELF CONTROL.  Gross.  Like maybe if I eat some yogurt or an orange, this heavy feeling might go away.  But oranges and yogurt aren’t melt-in-your-mouth delicious, so maybe I should have one more. . .. it’s sick.  Really.  I know.  I probably ought to have therapy.  Then I started to wonder (out loud, on FB) how many truffles are in one serving.  If any of you want to know, I recorded it here.

You can look and see, but please don’t tell me, because even though I asked the question, I truly do NOT want to know the answer.  Nor do I want to know what’s in these amazing orbs.  Unless of course S*MS has run out and I have to try to make my own.  Then I’ll take them to a lab and have them dissected and analysed so I can reproduce them.  Oh – but only half of one, because I’ll not want to waste an entire one on science.  Unless that science has it’s processing plant in my own body – like this is how chocolate travels from your mouth, down your throat and plants itself on your hips, butt, and stomach.  And thighs.

I’ve been so proud of myself, because my previous vice was this:

 

Laced with this:

in milk.  I had it daily.  Sometimes multiple times daily.  For YEARS.  And years.  And I finally gave it up this year.  Not because I haven’t tried before – it just didn’t work.  This year I got sick for a couple of days.  Really sick.  And couldn’t eat or drink anything.  And when I came out of it, I just didn’t feel like my coolers anymore.  There are still at least 8 boxes in my pantry, because I had to buy them in the big city – no local place would stock them.  I tried – believe me!  And the bonus was that I lost about 20 pounds.  Just when I quit!  I didn’t know I was losing weight till I went for a 6 month recheck at the doctor and my weight was vastly different.  I had to get on the scale a 2nd time just to check.  Hmmmmm.  What a wonderful thing.  Now I’m starting to worry.  How many truffles will it take to turn this thing around? 

iPhone Flood – Skywatch

 


On Wednesday I went for a walk (for exercise and wellness) with some of my relatives – they walk a lot, and sometimes I join them.  It had rained really hard all night.  REALLY hard.  I mean, a LOT of rain came down.  Ad being in a mountain/valley area, the water patterns make for interesting living.  You’d think that after the rain the water would be mostly gone.  But that’s just when the water starts appearing with a vengeance.  All the run-off fills every conceivable dip in the ground – the path of least resistance.  I took some iPhone shots again to share.  This is becoming a habit, maybe.  As long as the pictures turn out okay, I’m fine with it.  Don’t ask me to zoom in or anything though.  It’s less functional than the original PHD camera (Push Here Dummy).

 

Here’s a picture of the corn field.  Obviously the corn is long gone – but here it looks more like a rice paddy might look.

 

Here’s another one -

That flow of water at the top of the picture is normally there – but it’s not looking so normal in this shot.  "Normally" you can’t see water from this perspective.  The stream is WAY high.  With much more rain it will be covering one of the bridges to get onto our road.

 

This is the road to my parent’s-in-law’s house.  The stream flowed over the lane for a long time – but a year ago they put a culvert in.  But this rain is stretching the culvert’s capacity just a bit.  Here they were finding their way over the stream without getting wet.  Sorry it’s so blurry . . . the iPhone is only as good as its operator.

 

When I was leaving from the walk I saw these images that I thought you’d enjoy:

This barn was originally on my parent’s-in-law property – before they moved or built.  That means it’s more than 40 years old – and Prince Farming says it looked old then too – so maybe it’s close to 100 years old.  How can you tell?  Anyway – it looked quaint with the misty fog.  Just down from the barn is the entrance to their place – this is with me exiting their farm:

Obviously they’ve been farming for way longer than we have.  Their fences are all solid.  And, well – THERE.  They HAVE fences.  The exterior fences around our place are still waiting to be put up – and they probably will not look like this at all.  Hmmmm. 

Coming to our farm, here’s what our vegetable patch looked like:

Yep – the space to the left of the barbed wire fence across to where the grass begins is where Prince Farming planted tomatoes and potatoes. (The summer before last)   It’s a bit overgrown and neglected – and maybe that’s a good thing, considering what happens when the rain comes down!

And here’s the same field you saw in my haying pictures:

This picture is looking up towards the pond -it’s right near the top left of this shot.  Looing down from my kitchen window right now there are multiple pond-looking spots.  All equally muddy.  The rain just keeps coming.  And tonight is supposed to be Prince Farming’s office Christmas party.  And I’m supposed to wear something other than cover-alls and a hat.  Ugh.  Can’t we just stay near a fire with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate?  I guess today this farm chik isn’t all the reluctant, huh?

 

You can find more views of sky and places from around the world here at Skywatch Friday.

Very Vintage Christmas Swap

W A Y back in October my dear friend Louise blogged on a Very Vintage Halloween swap.  She told about the fun package that she received, and about the very cool one she sent.  So I decided to join in on the fun – except that Halloween was over and I don’t really get into Halloween at all.  BUT the very organized Heidi over at Foxgloves, Fabric & Folly posted a new swap – all about Christmas.  So I signed up, knowing I’d have PLENTY of time if I just started early.  I’m very happy to report that my package WAS sent before the deadline.  But not before my wonderful swap partner got hers to me.  This post is about the wonderful box I got.

I’ve participated in various swaps in my life – mostly to do with stamping where I make xx identical cards, send them to a swap hostess and receive xx different cards back.  This is done to grow a sample library – lots of cards to look at, copy, and share.  So this Christmas swap was a departure for me.  My swap partner was Yvonne of White Painted House.  What I really loved about the experience was the fact that I got to know a little bit about someone I’d otherwise never have the opportunity to interact with.  And I got to know her through the emails leading up to the swap, finding out about the things she enjoyed and did over the holidays.  And I got to know her even more through her interpretation of what I told her about myself.  The things she sent in the package are very clearly evident that she paid attention to my interests.  A dimension of what she included shows a part of her personality in the whole thing.  It was very fun.

Is there anything better than receiving a great big box with your name on it – something that you didn’t buy off eB*y or from some online catalog?  YAY!!!  The mail lady (does that sound weird to you too?) brought it just as I was heading out of the door.  I’m not known for my patience or restraint – so I broke into it immediately.  Of course I had to take pictures at each step, but the delay was WAY WORTH IT!!!  Guess what I got!??

A whole bunch of packing peanuts!!!  But poking through the peanuts was one of my all time favorite things.  STAMPS!!  Not only that, Yvonne found out about my absolute crazy addiction to anything CUTE and MINIATURE – and so the best thing of all was that the STAMPS were MINIATURE.  I was already thrilled.  But I didn’t let that amount of satisfaction stop me.  I dug through the peanuts and found these distinct packages.

  Don’t you just want to tear into this and see what the juicy stuff behind the lovely miniature stamps might be!?  But no – you’ll have to wait.  Because then there was this:

A beautiful box that definitely had SOMETHING in it.  And, as if these two surprises weren’t enough, there was also this:

Can I just tell you how much I love packages inside packages?  Looking back over my life, the gifts I’ve loved the most had gifts inside the gifts.  This box just helped me to realize that "out loud."  It was SO MUCH FUN.  Like a whole adventure in a box. 

In addition to those adorable and very useable tiny stamps, here’s what was inside the first package:

 

 

Very nice.  I love notepads.  And places to keep notes.  And paper.  Yvonne hit the nail on the head with this whole package.  But then came item #2.  The gorgeous (and suspiciously heavy) box.  I couldn’t wait to open it.  And here’s what I found:

 

  

  and 

 

 

 

 

AND . . . .

a perfect resource for people like me – those who LOVE to be creative, but who lack a certain – how shall I say – creative originality.  This is a LOVELY book – one I’ve paged through and planned with . . . but have yet to actually follow up on.   But wait – let me back up.  Did you notice that ADORABLE stocking?  Yvonne told me she really loves crafts . . . and on inspecting that stocking, I’d say she must do a fair amount because the craftsmanship on it is amazing.  I actually looked for traces of a tag indicating it was bought, but NO – I’m certain she made it.  And there are tiny bells on the ends of the green trim – too cute for words. I think she called it "wool felt applique" if I’m not mistaken.  It’s a craft I have not delved into, but I wouldn’t consider it too far in my distant future!!  And the cloths – the little hanky was peaking out of the top of the stocking – very cute.  And the table runner is beautiful – and perfect for holiday decorating.

You would think that this would be the perfect finale for my wonderful package, but it was not.  Inside that adorable little box, a clue on the contents was right on the lid – - – there were these TOO CUTE FOR WORDS ornaments.

Aren’t they sweet?  But wait – you’re missing something.  Each one has little stick arms.  Check this out.

  Isn’t that the cutest thing ever?  And although I can’t figure it out, I could swear Yvonne made these too.  I really need to broaden my horizons on the craft front.  I’ve been pretty well stuck in paper for a very long time. 

THANK YOU Yvonne!!  I would swap with you ANY time of year!!  Yvonne did a great job staying with the "vintage" theme of the swap.  I feel like I strayed a bit . . . but that’s just my personality.  Always the rebel, I guess.  I took photos of the things I put together for Yvonne too – and I’ll share those in another post.

iPhone Cloudwatch


 

It was farm day again yesterday.  I know – it was Wednesday, and farm day is supposed to be on Thursday.  BUT Prince Farming got done at the office early, and my plans postponed, and the weather forecast predicted rain for today, so we decided to farm.  Out of necessity, I assure you.  See, the cows (the post of which you’re STILL waiting for) keep escaping from their lovely TWO fields.  They have two huge and glorious fields in which they  have free roam.  But NO – they want to go into ANOTHER field.  So they keep escaping.  It is too cold, wet, busy, and inconvenient to chase cows this month.  They need another field.  We seem to accomplish the fencing of fields in spurts – I suppose as needed.  This time the barn field fence needed to be completed.  It was mostly done, but . . . I won’t go into those details here.  It’s a skywatch post afterall.  I didn’t bring my regular camera with me.  I did have my iPhone, and couldn’t resist these shots.

I know planes fly over us frequently, but I’ve never seen the traffic in such a grid pattern before.  It was really cool.  I couldn’t capture the smallest contrails – they added a unique dimension.  But that’s okay.  Here’s a different view:

It seems like no matter what direction I looked, there were contrails.  It was amazing.  BTW – the gate in the foreground – right at the bottom left half of the picture is one we just hung – temporarily – till we can buy new gates.  This gate is too short – it is supposed to be able to open across this lane and touch the fence on the right – and the gate from that field opens and touches this fence – creating a passage through which the cows can pass from one field to the other.  Pretty nifty, huh?  I would not have thought of that – which is why I’m just the apprentice in this set up.

The day before yesterday (that would make it Tuesday, I suppose) the sky was amazing.  Again – no camera.  This is another iPhone shot – which just blows me away.  It was snowing on and off – nothing of note stuck, but the clouds and sky seemed very restless.

You can’t see as much of the orange as was present, but still – the differences in color in this small window were truly inspiring.  It reminded me of the verse: 

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork"   

                                                                                    -Psalm 19 : 1

You can see more amazing evidence of God’s handiwork by visiting the Skywatch site here, where hundreds of people share pictures of their skies every week.

Basket Fun

 

Once a year a women’s group at our church gets together for an exchange of sorts.  Everyone brings a basket and 12 items (preferably home-made, but not necessarily so).  We put all our items out, then go through and pick 12 miscellaneous items to put in our baskets.  Basket liners and bows are provided for decorating the baskets.  Then we get to take our basket and give it to whomever we please.  I love this idea – because there might be people who could use a little bit of cheer, and they might not ordinarily be in a specifically identified group of people (homeless, needy, poor, etc.) 

This year the organization of the event was a bit sketchy because our fearless leader was transferred out of state (or her husband was, and she followed).  But there were enough of us interested that we pulled it together sort of at the last minute.

Here are the things my daughter and I made:

 

 

You might remember this biscotti recipe from here.  I just cut the pieces a bit smaller for this event.

 

 

 

 

The English Toffee Cookies come together very easily too.   Here’s the recipe:

1 cup Butter                   2 cup Flour

1 cup Sugar                   1/2 cup chopped Nuts

1 egg (separated)          1 tsp Vanilla

Cream butter & sugar together.  Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.  Add flour.  Spread thinly over a cookie sheet (14 x 17") to 1/8" thick.  Spread egg white evently over mixture.  Sprinkle with nuts and press lightly.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes (until slightly brown).  But while hot into diamond (or desired) shape.

 

We have a friend who has had a rough week – too much going on at work and the death of a close family friend.  She was not around to get the announcment about the baskets but I knew she’d probably enjoy participating, so at the last minute I decided to pull something together for her to take as well. I have boxes FULL of card-makings.  These are cut and colated pieces for stamped cards that I usually offer at classes.  But I always over-prepare in case extra people show up.  After the class is over, these little card makings just sit around and rot.  So I dug out a bunch of them and created them in a hurry.  Enough so we could have three cards per basket (12 items x 3 cards each = 36 cards).  They weren’t all the same.  It was just a hodge-podge of stuff, but they came together well.  Here are the cards I found/made:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were originally designed for total non-stampers to create, so they are the simplest stamping ever. . . but that’s what makes them quick, right?  We had varying numbers of each card, so the 3 packs were quite varied.

 

 

 

 

 

Putting the baskets together didn’t take very much time at all.  Here is the basket I ended up with.

 

 

My daughter’s basket was dropped off even before we got home.  She wanted to give hers to her teacher.  I’m not sure which neighbor we’ll give mine to.  We’ll probably take it to the corner neighbor (don’t think you’ve seen their house in a picture yet).  If they’re not home, we’ll take it to a down-the-street neighbor who lives alone (we won’t leave the basket on the doorstep of the first neighbors because we never know when they’ll be in – and they have a PACK of dogs who would tear it up before anyone could see it).  It would be fun to have a whole bunch of baskets to hand out.  Maybe next year, right!?

Cloudy and Blue – Skywatch

 


It is with pleasure that I report that our mist has dissipated.  It is with displeasure that I report that FREEZING TEMPERATURES have replaced that mist.  Adding to the positive tally, however, is the fact that the skies are watch-worthy again – not that mist was horrible – it was a nice variation – but I love watching clouds.  So here is my weekly report:

Forgive me bloggers, for I have failed you.  The first snow on the rooves of our barns went un-photographed.  A double whammy, I realize. . . . for this was the new barn’s FIRST SNOW.  For the record, I am an unfit nostalgic all the way around.  I knew that I’d be miserable with follow-up.  So the old barn has no "first snow" pictures either.  In real life this is how my photographing goes as well.  You know all those 2nd and 3rd siblings who complain of diminishing pictures?  My children can never hold that over my head.  There is an equal dirth of photographs for BOTH of my children.  So there.

This was taken one morning after the family left for school/work.  You can’t tell as well in the photo, but there are layers of textures – the front clouds are fluffy and cotton-candyish.  The back clouds are more . . . ummmm. . . . textured (I have obviously not been taking notes in Dewdrops class).

But then check these out – almost made me forget the texture (sorry Dewd).

 

This was on the opposite side.  Can you tell how frosty the mornings have been!?  BRRRRRrrrrrrrrrr.  I almost started feeling sorry for the cows!  Not sorry enough to bring them in to the garage with the chickens, but still – it is pretty downright nippy out there.  Hey – didn’t someone call this a "mackerel sky"?  See – I do sort of pay attention (actually – it’s more about retention than it is paying attention. . . honest!)

 

Happy Skywatching!  There are all sorts of skies for your viewing pleasure at Skyley . . . where you might even catch a few warmer skies.

 

When I was 11 . . . .

 

As I read various people’s blogs I wonder what it is about me and my life that makes it so absent of stories.  Like there’s someting that’s repressed or missing.  But then as I considered it further, I realized that my life is as full of stories as anyones.  It’s just so close to who I am – to my reality – that I don’t see it as "a story."  It just is.  So here I am – sharing.  Tentatively.  Madge wrote a beautiful post about when she was 11, and she was inspired by someone else . . . so I’ll keep the theme going.

You must know that I don’t specifically remember myself at 11.  I actually had to do the "in which year was I 11?" math and then sort of remember details based on the year.  It was the year 1978 (there – now you all can do the math).  This story actually starts when I was still 10.  My family (2 parents, 2 brothers and me) were living in Somerset West (near Cape Town), South Africa.  My dad had been the business manager of a small college there, but for some reason was working for. . .a company that also employed a lot of Koreans.  I can’t remember the name of the company, I just remember him getting impressive presents from Korea from some very gracious people.  It was the only time that I can remember my dad not having denominational employment.  

We were getting ready to move to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe on this map).  My dad had been called to be the auditor for our church’s division office in Salisbury (Harare).  I wasn’t part of the discussion referring to the timeline of our move, I just knew that I was going to start the school year in Somerset West, but would not be finishing school there.  The school year in South Africa goes with the calendar year.  Being in the southern hemisphere summer break is in December.  So in January (or whenever school started back) I got SOME school books – not all of the "writing in" books because they’d probably be different at the next school, and it was too expensive to buy stuff I wasn’t going to completely use.  Also, because we knew that we’d be moving, my oldest brother was sent to boarding school near Johannesburg, because that was closer to relatives, and to where my parents would be living.  They didn’t want him to have to move schools part way through the year – with starting high school and all.  It was a very sad time.  I remember my mom sobbing for a week after dropping him off at the airport.  She said she felt like an arm had been pulled out of her body.  I remember feeling completely inadequate because I couldn’t help her to feel better.  

I can’t exactly recall when we left Somerset West, or what event took place to make it the time to leave – I just remember living with my grandparents in Pretoria.  Sort of a "stop over" on our way to Rhodesia.  But then something in the political scene in Rhodesia made it too dangerous to proceed, so we stayed in Pretoria for a while longer.  And my brother and I were enrolled in a small school there.  I believe it’s the same school my mom might have attended as a child.  To get to this school we had to take a city bus to the center of town, and then another city bus to a bus stop near the school.  Then we’d walk the rest of the way.  My mom took the bus with us several times, and met us on our way back several times, to make sure we’d know which buses to catch.  It must have been very difficult for her to let her little kids out that way.  If I were to make a comparison, it would be like me dropping my kids off at the DC Metro to get to school.  I’m sure lots of people do it, but considering our current lifestyle, it just seems like I’d have a hard time doing it.  But that was how it was at the time.  I’m glad my brother was there – he always watched out for me – and carried my backpack if it was too heavy for me to run when we were late for a bus.  That school does not have a pleasant spot in my memory.  I remember some kids from there, but only because we met up again when I went to highschool.  I only vaguely remember names from that time.  My non-memory might also be because we were there so briefly (again, I don’t recall the time period).  It was hard because in our home we spoke English.  I could understand some Afrikaans – the other "national language" in South Africa at the time, but it was not comfortable for me.  I couldn’t hold a regular conversation in Afrikaans.  But this school was an Afrikaans one.  That meant all the kids there were fluent in the language, and the classes were taught in Afrikaans, with English being offered as a "second language."  I remember having to give two speeches in Afrikaans.  I was completely out of my element.  And I did NOT prepare as I should have.  And I was so embarrassed by my performance, I could hardly stand to be there.  I also remember the teacher trying to get us to memorize poems in Afrikaans.  I can still recite one of poems.  There was another poem she tried to get us to learn.  I remember her trying to teach us intonation and expression.  She wanted us to say a phrase in a certain way, and the entire class did not get it.  We just sat there and listened to how she wanted it said, and we did our best to imitate her, and we failed miserably every time.  She’d get SO frustrated.   I remember that phrase, and how we WEREN’T supposed to say it, very well too.  I also remember music class, for some reason.  It seems a different person taught us music.  And all the songs were in Afrikaans.  It was just like a sing-along.  No instruction, as I recall.  Just singing.  For fun, it seemed.  Which was fine for me.  And gym.  We had sort of a tumbling/gymnastics class, the idea of which I LOVED, but the actual doing of which I hated because people were watching me when I failed my tumble pass.  The part about living with my grandparents was cool.  I shared a bedroom with my grandmother.  My brother and I would talk about which TV shows would be on in the evening on the way back from the bus stop. (TV only started at 6pm – that with a sort of short devotional).  It was the only time we’d ever had a TV in our lives (till we moved to America).  Monday and Wednesday started out in English, then switched to Afrikaans at 8pm.  Tuesdays and Thursday started out with Afrikaans and switched to English with the 8pm news.  We never watched TV on Friday nights, and the weekends alternated between languages – with lots of American shows dubbed over to Afrikaans.  We watched CHiPs in English though.  I had to go to bed half way through it (because the clock, and my mom, said so).

We were there for enough time to realize that the current way of living was too unsettled.  My dad was able to do his auditing job from South Africa, because to go anywhere from Rhodesia for his job would require him to fly through South Africa anyway (geographically that doesn’t make sense, but South Africa was the hub through which most people went to any southern or central African country at the time).  My dad’s job required quite a lot of travelling.  So we moved out of my grandparents’ house and into a rented house in Johannesburg.  Right next door to the school where my aunt (my mom’s sister) taught.  This was a cool thing because my aunt became my teacher.   I don’t know why time, or the passage of  time, is so hard for me to remember at this stage.  I don’t remember much about school during this time.  But I remember odd bits about church life and time outside of school.  I don’t remember any specific friends.  I was in a class with a first cousin and a couple of 2nd or shoestring cousins.  So we played together.  But I don’t remember having a "best friend."  The school (and our house) was right next to a city park – that’s where we had recess.  I vaguely remember walking there and having a feeling of being completely disconnected.  Like I didn’t belong.  Not in Johannesburg.  Not in Pretoria.  Not in Somerset West, because my friends there had gone on without me in their lives.  And not in Rhodesia, because we hadn’t gotten there yet.  I don’t remember school ending.  I don’t remember good-byes.  I do remember not going back to that school the next year.  Somewhere during that summer break we made the move to Rhodesia.

 

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