Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Alms For A New Day

It's getting so that
I don't recognize the girl
in my mirror

Telephone rings
fingers fly filling pages
notes for next story

children mourn days
before hum-filled house reigned with 
laptop burning vision

a paycheque- my dues
recognition won in alms
A New Day Begins

Monday, September 26, 2011

On The Road

After driving through Rundu and Grootfontein, we ended up in Tsumeb, where I spent another night on the ground under chilly cloudless skies. My travelling companions were headed to Etosha to take in some game viewing, but I had had enough. While I would have loved to see Namibia’s premiere game reserve, I could not afford to continue with my new friends. My pennies were feeling pinched and the date on my airline ticket had me counting the days. So I bid adieu to my rag-taggle group, was charged for gas and rental fees while in their car, and departed from them N$122.50 lighter. At that rate, if I had continued with them, I would have been left in the middle of the game park to bunker down with the lions again! Egad!

So I struck out on my own again, this time with my thumb as my only travelling companion. It was a brand new day and my third in Namibia. It was about to get a little more exciting, but NOT in a way that I would have liked. In fact, it shaped up to be one of the scariest days that I endured throughout my whole  stay in Africa.

So after my rented ride roared off, with high spirits I plunked my backpack on the side of the road and stuck my thumb in the direction of passing vehicles. It didn’t take long before one of those motorists stopped. In hindsight, I wish he had not, but things happen for a reason and on that day, I climbed in with a gracious smile. For my efforts, a crooked smile was returned, before the driver aimed his car back onto the road. The word “aim” was the best description for what he was attempting. I quickly discovered that my driver was three sheets, or more, to the wind. He reeked of booze and swerved all over the road. Every time he talked to me, the car veered in the direction that his head was facing in. I was terrified. My smile turned from gratitude to horror, as I clutched at the door, bracing for impact with oncoming vehicles. I knew it was a miracle that the driver did not flip the car every time he grazed onto the gravel shoulders and manically thanked my guardian angels for every near miss. Their wings were fluttering like mad that day.

How I got out of the car, I have blocked from my memory, but suffice it to say that I did. I felt like I was down a life or two, but still had miles to go before I could call anyplace home. With a little more trepidation, I clung to the side of the road again, praying that my angels would forgive me my transgressions from months gone by. Cars zoomed by and I remained where I was. I was only half discouraged, as my last ride remained fresh in my mind.

The arrival of a young woman broke me from my train of thought. She appeared to be about my age, perhaps a little younger, maybe a little older. It was hard to tell and no common language could rectify that. She was obviously a local woman and travelled with a large bag, minus the live chickens that I had become accustomed to.  I remembered that I was in Namibia though, and life here was a little more progressive. While both of us were still hitchhiking, it was on a good paved road and lines even ran down the middle of it to define left from right. As it was obvious that we were going in the same direction, we both gravitated towards each other, despite our lack of verbal communication. A shy smile passed between us and that was enough to let us know that we were on the same path. So when a big rig applied his brakes and rolled to a stop, we both ran together to jump in for the next leg of our journeys. I prayed that this ride would prove to be less eventful.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week - Time to Breathe

Saturday's Email of the Week
My week has been a whirlwind of activity. With two new clients, plus a few other existing clients, I have had to learn how to better utilize my time management skills. Hmm, yeah. Have to say that they have sucked so far this week. Up late most nights and crossed eyed in the morning over coffee. What with a "Meet the Teacher" night thrown in mid week, a PA day at the end of the week and a house full of guests expected for the weekend, I feel like I have not had a minute for me at all. We still made it to swimming lessons, ergo a dip in the pool for me too, but my aquatics class was vetoed due to eye appointments for the girls. Always at the bottom of the list it would appear.

I don't mean to sound like I am complaining though. I am thrilled to have new clients. In fact thrilled to be able to say I have clients at all! Last year at this time, I was blogging away for myself like mad, half-heartedly blogging for a baby boutique and doing some basic PR work for a friend's blog talk radio show. Better than nothing, but not like this year. Can I tell you a secret? I even had business cards printed out a while back, as it looked like I just might have need of them. And oh boy, I have! Well, I have given them out to friends, family and a few other souls, but still!

So before the rooster crows morning, I will leave you with a brief look at what my week has looked like via my inbox.

"you okay?" - SL

"send along the info about this story you mentioned" - DC

"Can I drop off your wood about 1:30?" - CM

"retweeted to 729 followers" - AI

"Check out my stuff" - MC

"today i am in a very awkward state. i could use a word or two from a friend. my love to y'all in an attempt not to hate." - JT

"I'll get back to you on time, but dinner first would be fun" - CA 

"Let me know so I can present the idea to the board" - ME 

"A new device named "home" logged into your Facebook account"

"LAUGH!!!!!" - BL

"Register before September 23rd" - LSBC

"Would you consider writing a press release" - MC

"My goodness! I'm speechless for once. Thank you so so so so much." - SP

"I hope all is well" - CM

I like that last one. How about one more that put a smile on my face from BL. I hope you all have a great weekend and find time to stop and smell the roses! I sure am going to try (after I vacuum the house, wash the sheets on the beds, mop the floor, buy some groceries, clean the counters and put away the salsa that I canned a few days ago). Agggghhhhhh!


 The couple were 85 years old and had been married for sixty years.
Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they
watched their pennies.

Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to the
wife's insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the last decade..

One day, their good health didn't help when they went on a rare vacation
and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven.

They reached the pearly gates, and St.. Peter escorted them inside. He
took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with
a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath. A maid could
be seen hanging their favourite clothes in the closet.

They gasped in astonishment when he said, 'Welcome to Heaven. This will
be your home now.'

The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. 'Why,
nothing,' Peter replied, 'remember, this is your reward in Heaven..'

The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship
golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth.

'What are the greens fees?,' grumbled the old man.

'This is heaven,' St. Peter replied. 'You can play for free, every day.'

Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with
every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to
exotic deserts, free flowing beverages.

'Don't even ask,' said St. Peter to the man.. This is Heaven, it is all
free for you to enjoy.'

The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife.
'Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods and the
decaffeinated tea?' he asked.

'That's the best part,' St. Peter replied, 'You can eat and drink as
much as you like of whatever you like and you will never get fat or
sick. This is Heaven!'

The old man pushed, 'No gym to work out at?'

'Not unless you want to,' was the answer.

'No testing my sugar or blood pressure or....'

'Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself.'

The old man glared at his wife and said, 'You and your fucking Bran

We could have been here ten years ago!'

Monday, September 19, 2011

Without A Kosher Passport

Dear Victoria Falls; home of temptation, excitement and over-indulgence to the extreme. I loved you with all that you represented, but had to say goodbye. My journey was winding down, as was the not-quite bottomless pit of money that was stashed in my money belt. It was definitely time to move on. At the last minute, I was graced by a visit with Max once more. As I hadn’t seen him, he convinced me to spend one more night, but this time with a roof over my head at his place. After three nights spent dozing in rough gravel, the warmth of his home was a welcome treat that I could not resist.

It was not to last though, as the fates offered me a ticket for travel again.  A highly orthodox Jewish couple and a vegetarian Seventh Day Adventist, who had just left his volunteer position in Rwanda, were heading into Namibia. That was the direction that I wanted to go in, so I stashed my rugged pack in the trunk of their car and climbed in with my newest travelling companions. Not to besmirch the gracious offer, but I have to say that this wandering posse was one of the stranger ones that I had hooked up with.  Far be it from me to snub anyone’s religions, but I wondered how easy it was to travel with the heavy restrictions that these young people had. I had found it difficult to find fresh water at times, let alone kosher food and carrying two sets of utensils to maintain kosher law. And while “God” is everywhere, how do you find any church, let alone your preferred church, temple, synagogue or mosque, when the only structures to be found for miles were often a collection of trees or dusty rondavels. I suppose God is in the heart though. My heathen ways would have had me bursting into flames if I tried to enter any holy buildings while I travelled anyway, so it was fine for me that they were few and far between.

With a quick backward glance, I now looked ahead to a new country though. We first had to cross through Botswana, a journey of only about half an hour, but this almost proved our undoing. While Eric and I handed over our passports with no problems, Israelis needed a visa to enter Botswana. This they did not have. What they did have though, was the car that we travelled in. The border guards threatened that they would have to go back to Lusaka or Harare to obtain proper paperwork, which would have either meant a delay in my travels, or me suddenly hoofing it from the border onwards. Neither option appealed to any of us.

After much negotiation, their passports were finally stamped and we were on our way again, next stop Namibia. This border crossing was much easier and suddenly, I had a brand new stamp to admire in my passport. I had already travelled through nine African countries. This was now my tenth and last new country to explore. The road ahead was gravel, and although dusty, a fairly decent one to traverse. We were headed across the thin Caprivi Strip, before falling into the rest of the country. Popa Falls would be the first place for me to lay my head in Namibia, and lying on the chilly ground once more, the Namibian stars were beautiful to behold. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Reaping the Rewards

Saturday's Email of the Week

Happy Saturday all!

I have to be honest with you. This week was not what I expected at all. I don't know quite what I was expecting, but I was riding off of saying goodbye to my friends/teachers from daycare, losing a client and finally losing my babysitter. To say the least, I was not in a very good mood. Kind of glum in fact. I had a big internal pout on and thought about crying into my shoes. 

Instead, I bought mulch and gardened. Mother Nature has a way of taking all your ills and whisking them away, while you toil in the dirt. At least that is how it works for me. A little meditation if you will, as I imagine things growing here, flowers blooming there and edible bits popping up in the lawn (yes, clover, violets and dandelions are all edible!). I am in the moment while debating terra firma and the rest of the world disappears. 

On Saturday last, I pulled every plant out of a small garden and rearranged it freshly and nice. It all started with a peony that refused to bloom. People say that they are particular about their depth - too deep or too shallow and they will not bloom (YUP!). So I uprooted it (to show it what for), set it aside, then debated where to replant it. That lead to the day lilies coming out, the balloon flowers moving to the front, irises being added into the mix and wishing adieu to the transcendentia. I can't always visualize so well, so I just pulled them all out, added in some new and divided the others to replant elsewhere. By the time I was done, it looked much better, but all the existing mulch had either been turned under or ran for the hills while I wasn't otherwise engaged with staring blankly at the blank slate of dirt that I had created. 

So with plants newly arranged, I headed out to the closest big box store on Monday and purchase me 6 more bags of mulch to disperse hither and yon. Most in the 'new' garden, but a bunch in places where divisions found new homes as well. I might have been just hiding from responsibility just a little bit, but at that point I didn't care. My internal pout felt pretty comfortably in place and I used the full moon as another excellent reason to indulge my escapist whims. I have to say, by the time I was done, it looked pretty darn good too. 

Eventually I could not ignore the clock any more though. I might have been down a client, but there was still work to do and only so many hours left before I would have to pick the kids up from school. Plus we were expecting friends for dinner. They always come with wine and sympathetic ears, so I kept that thought in mind and plodded through the rest of the afternoon.

Well, wouldn't you know, but they brought good news in tow! At a Car-Free Festival, I had met a woman who was a friend/business associate to my dear friend. They had chatty chatted about me in my absence, and lo and behold, the woman is in need of some social media help. By mid-week, we had a coffee date and I had a new client in my roster! Not only that, but another friend of mine contacted me the same day asking about this "social media thing" and wondering if there was a reason to get into it as a small business person. He showed up at my house with coffee in hand and left with a promise from me that we would start him out on a new path too! Two new clients on the same day!

So with my head spinning by the end of the week, I look forward to a new start next week with fresh clients, new and very different topics, and an upgraded schedule to set my days. I am excited for the challenge, nervous about how I will handle it, but ready to face the day. Perhaps my reward for tending to Mother Nature's patch was a little helping hand in the fate department? I am going to take that as a yes and head into the weekend with a smile on my face and a much lighter heart. And with that I leave you with a little light-hearted humour to go out into your day with. 

Daddy, how was I born? 

A little boy goes to his father and asks 'Daddy, how was I born?' The father answers, 'Well, son, I guess one day you will need to find out anyway! Your Mom and I first got together in a chat roomon Yahoo. Then I set up a date via e-mail with your Mom and we met at a cyber-cafe. We sneaked into a secluded room, and googled each other. There your mother agreed to a download from my hard drive. As soon as I was ready to upload, we discovered that neither one of us had used a firewall, and since it was too late to hit the delete button ,nine months later a little Pop-Up appeared that said: Scroll down...You'll love this 



...... 'You got Male!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Whistle While You Work

and I am typing so much
that my arms feel tender by lunch.
I rest and stretch
with a smile
on my

there are emails
to respond to. Stat!
Attempts to keep up with
requests and questions
from new clients
 in the wings?

last week
with doubt and

This week
full of opportunity
and the potential
to make my 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Long Lost Friends

With money in hand, it was time to celebrate. First stop, grocery shopping.  I needed some staples in my depleted backpacking larder. With cheese, bread and cucumbers, I couldn’t go wrong. On my way into the store though, I bumped into Glenn. I hadn’t seen him since I left Harare, so we chatted for a few minutes to catch up. 

After leaving the store with my purchases, I headed back to the campsite to drop off my fresh wares. Lo and behold, but didn’t I bump into some other old familiar faces! Craig and Nina were full of smiles to see me again. While I remembered them, it took a minute to remember where I had met them before. In fact it was right here in Victoria Falls last March, when Miki and I had gone canoeing. We happily recounted stories of what we each had been up to since last we met. While my wanders were an exciting tale to share, theirs were even better. They had just gotten married! The happy couple had found a most romantic spot on a small island in Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania and tied the knot with a small gathering of friends and family to witness their nuptials. Ten people were plenty at their intimate gathering and now they were on honeymoon backpacking through Africa. They even had Nina’s parents backpacking with them, which impressed me thoroughly for their fortitude.

We parted ways and I continued on with my day. I was in for yet another surprise though. As I walked down the stairs in the plaza, another familiar face caught my eye. Again I could not place it, but sure enough I did know this stranger. And who was this new person, but Barbara. Her husband Jap joined us and soon the three of us were excitedly chatting away in the middle of the street. Where do you suppose I had previously met these good folks, you wonder? It wasn’t Victoria Falls, Tanzania or even Africa for that matter. I had stayed at Barbara and Jap’s house in Enschede, Netherlands 2 ½ years before that. They were cousins of the ex-boyfriend of my travelling companion at the time, when I had backpacked through Europe. Complicated, but the short story was that Barbara and Jap had allowed their house to be my home base for a few days, while I poked about the Netherlands.

The middle of the street was not a great place to update each other on all that had passed though, so we agreed to go for a beer at the camp bar. As we laughed and joked about seeing each other in such a remote place, Nina and Craig, plus their parents, materialized and joined us. Soon enough the beers had flowed to make us all a little giddy. When some local entertainers took to the stage (or rather a clear space on one side of the patio), we had another round of beers, while we watched them sing and dance. I talked, laughed and had a marvelous evening, such as I hadn’t in what seemed like ages. I was amongst friends and it felt good. I had even seen Ndaba and Keith earlier in my wanders. They of course were easier to place, as they lived and worked in Victoria Falls. I had met them on previous excursions while white water rafting. I had yet to bump into Max, whom I had a soft spot for, as he had been my first white water rafting guide way back in December. Regardless, I was in my glory with so many familiar faces around me.

At the end of the night, I wobbled home to my sleeping bag on the ground underneath a tree. It was far from a luxury, but it felt like coming home none the less. A smile played across my face, as I drifted off to another night’s sleep in Zimbabwe. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Dark Path...

I can faintly see shapes littering the path ahead of me. Eyes seem to peer through the gloom watching my every step. Is it too late? Should I turn back now?


It is playtime at my house this morning, as I pen a Sunday 160 for Monkey Man. Go visit him and see what else is on offer this week. If you dare...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: A Look Back

Saturday's Email of the Week
Goodness, a little late this week! The week has come and gone and now its Saturday already. It has been a busy, strange kind of week with much new goings on. For starters, the children started back to school. I held up much better this year, as compared to last. To be honest, I had a harder time letting go of the fact that we were saying goodbye to the daycare that we had been attending for the last six years. The ladies there were all warm and loving individuals that not only physically took care of my children, but made me feel like a part of all of their families. I tried not to break down too much, but there were more than a few tears shed in anticipation of the last time we would walk out their doors. I was not the only one with tears in my eyes though. It reaffirmed our connection, getting those teary hugs from many staff who were just as sad to see us go.

My writing and crafty self could not help but get involved in our goodbyes either (surprise). I made up a collage of snippets with what the girls had to say about individual teachers and mack-tacked it together to offer it to them. Here are just a few examples of the love that the girls poured forth;

“Cindy is a special person because she makes my life feel better sometimes. Cus she gives me a hug and she helped my do a nice craft today (Ie. Making books)” - words from my 4-year old

“I like her because she helps me exercise. And I like her because she tries to tickle me and sometimes does. ” - just one of the nice things that my 6-year old had to say about her teachers

And you know that I couldn't resist getting a few words in edgewise. I am pretty sure that I made a number of the teachers cry with my heartfelt missive of what they meant to me.

"Over the years, I have seen both of my girls grow and mature. I believe watching their father die has made them more sensitive and compassionate souls, and many times the E--- staff has pointed that out to me. The staff has always treated my girls as nothing short of normal and when I felt so far from that myself, that was a godsend. I constantly had staff ask about my days, weekends and family life. She might not have realized it at the time, but every time that K- remarked on a new haircut I got, I wanted to hug her, kiss her and/or cry. There was no one else to even notice if I did anything to my appearance. You were my family. B- encouraged T’s creativity and C- encouraged R’s sense of self. K-, M- and C- are always at the ready with tickles and both my girls always screech in delight at the sight of you. While some of you I have not gotten to know as well as others, you have all been an integral part of my family. You let me tinker in your garden every year and gave me thumbs up for the effort, when really it was one of the few ways I could think of to give back. Having R- at my side was a special moment for me that first year with my fingers in the dirt. Years later having L- approach me as the “Gardening Mom” and asking my advice made me feel special and kind of proud. You all have truly helped me grow back into me. Whether it was insisting that I stop, eat and talk, the week following my cousin’s death, or sensitively asking how to handle Father’s Day, I have always felt respected, cared for and loved. It was always offered so genuinely, that I could not help but absorb every ounce of it."

Now I get teary at the memory of it again. No time though as the girls are starting a Rolling & Tumbling Class today. We started back to swimming lessons and I have started back into a more active lifestyle by exercising myself while they are in the pool or at school. So now, time to go, go, go! I wish you all a fabulous weekend and hope that your first week back to school and September went well. I leave you with a little funny that showed up in my mailbox last week from one of my regular contributors to my laugh track. Peace!
Older Love Making

Maude and Claude, both 91, lived in The Villages, in Florida . They met at the singles club meeting and discovered over time that they enjoyed each other's company. After several weeks of meeting for coffee, Claude asked Maude out for dinner and, much to his delight, she accepted.

They had a lovely evening. They dined at the most romantic restaurant
 in town. Despite his age, they ended up at his place for an after-dinner drink.

Things continued along a natural course and age being no inhibitor, Maude soon joined Claude for a most enjoyable roll in the hay.
As they were basking in the glow of the magic moments they'd shared, each was lost for a time in their own thoughts.....

Claude was thinking:
'If I'd known she was a virgin,
I'd have been gentler.'

Maude was thinking:
'If I'd known he could still do it,
I'd have taken off my pantyhose.'

Thursday, September 8, 2011


* Photo courtesy of Jinksy

Look into  this  fountain
of an inner soul's cusp
with  soft  waves 
lapping slowly
as I gaze
lilts of peace
and promise for 
tomorrow  to  blow
yesterday's debris away

Trying to be a little more upbeat with an entry for this week's In Tandem. Jinksy has some colourful stuff on offer. Go check it out!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday Trackbacks

Heck, I forgot to share photos from the recent wedding I went to. For shame! And today was Tuesday, not Monday, and I still did not fly across the pond for my regular traipse through Africa. What is going on here? Can I blame it on late summer fun and road trips. Why not! Well, despite the late hour I can rectify at least one of my lapses, I suppose. This evening I will strut my stuff here in a photo walk from the wedding day. Enjoy!
Last week was a busy week for me writing wise, but this week might be a more sedate. I slammed out about nine articles, wrote a little poetry and still had a few letters in me by the end of the week. This week not so much so far. With it being a short week, I will have to play catch up as well. And both my babies started school this morning, so I have just not been feeling the words flowing oh so nicely. We all have days like that though. 

Happy Couple's 1st dance

So the night of the wedding, we ate, danced and made merry. There were hors d'oeuvres, much wine being poured, succulent main courses, dessert, more wine, a dessert table, late night sandwiches, more drinks, and of course movies under the table for the kids. Gotta love portable DVD players. 

I fear that my eyes are about to cross though, so must go to bed. If I don't get my beauty sleep, no amount of makeup can improve my kisser. I go from the belle of the ball, as seen above to more like this self-portrait below. NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT! Ha! Fare thee well & good night all.

Where's my coffee?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Snap Happy

Saturday's Email of the Week
Ok, I am going to be a little serious today. We are going into a long weekend and I know that many of you will be out and about with the family, quite possibly snapping a few pictures along the way. I know I certainly will be! Please watch this video before you head out today though. It will give you something to think about before you post any of those photos online.

I don't have a blackberry, smartphone or iphone of any sort, but this video is a little scary. While I don't have one, I can think of a whole bunch of other folks who do. I wouldn't doubt if some of you, my good readers have one as well. This video discusses the ability to track your location, via your phone. While you might think, "I know where I am!", what you don't want is every Tom, Dick and Scary Harry to know that though. This might be a little reactionary, but there are some questionable folks out there. So play safe and be aware of what you do with all the pictures that you take!

Happy Long Weekend everyone!


Friday, September 2, 2011

In Tandem #8 - Looking in the Mirror

by Natasha Head @ The Tashtoo Parlour
Some days
I cannot look myself in 
the eye...

Thoughts swirling,
in chaotic reds, 
burnt orange memories
smelling of
yesterday's mistakes

No amount of tears
can wash away 
this jaded gray,
as blue drops
splatter across a 
face that refuses to 
own itself

in that orb
of innocent eye
I see me
curled on the floor.
& I'm gone...


Thank you to Jinksy riding the Tandem this week for a little inspiration.
I saw a lot of hurt in Natasha's picture
and it reminded me of some painful days of my own
in days gone by...

If you are interested in checking out more poems and stories from the photo prompts
go check out In Tandem and choose between the two pics. Enjoy!


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