Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Photography challenge - Destruction

Graham Ettridge has a monthly photography challenge on his blog. If you would like to join in, stop by at his blog.

According to the guidelines, we should post a photograph representing the theme, then explain, if need be, the connection. In this case, other photos would explain it. I spent a while trying various scenes that would go with the 'destruction' theme. In the end, my daughter and I had some fun...

I started shooting 'to perfection', but accidentally had some curious effects creeping in, at which point, I decided to have some fun with it. We were tickled by the ghostly effect of some of the shots. The card pack is really old, so this works.


Our first destruction... rather accidental....

Destruction with gusto..... !

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Illumination - A Picture Perfect Theme

Blogger doesn't show the whole photo. Please click here to see the original. The link will open on a new page.

The only flag missing here is the Lithuanian flag to make up the countries we, as a family, represent. Yes, there are two South African flags, the old and the new. The old flag is there for a special reason. That flag was bought for me at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. My family were Voortrekkers (pioneers). The flag means a lot to me. The little boat is an oddity. It was given to us by Darcy. It is made of copper. It is a replica, apparently, of the fishing rafts used in the North East of Brazil. I took this photo one night when I was lighting candles on the shelves of our little display cabinet. Not the most exciting photo, but there you have it : )

Visit Picture Perfect to see the rest of the entries.

Monday, 24 March 2008

A Lithuanian Easter in Brazil

We, as a family, don't celebrate Easter, so for us, it was a pretty ordinary weekend, except for my insistence on trying to make hot cross buns without the right spices and... the eggs. I went to the little Lithuanian shop that we usually buy all our sweet treats from. They make the most magical Torta Holandesa and pies of all sorts.

We were in the shop, so that Tat could buy a dessert (the Torta Hollandesa) for my birthday dinner when I spotted these gorgeous eggs. We asked the lady about them. They're hand-painted Lithuanian Easter eggs. When painting the eggs, there is apparently a little ceremony that goes with it. The design on the egg is meant to represent the coming of spring and the growth of the wheat. I got us each an egg. Apparently, the eggs give prosperity. We could do with some : )

We found this photo in the Lithuanian online newspaper (from Lithuania). Needless to say, I don't understand a word of the newspaper, so I couldn't read more about the eggs. I assume they would say much the same as what the little Lithuanian lady told us here. These are hardboiled eggs. She swore that they would last many years if kept unbroken. We won't get the chance to test that... they broke on the way home. What a pity.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.... those who celebrate Easter and those who don't.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Birthdaze - March 19, 2008

This photo makes me chuckle. The afternoon of my birthday, Tat and I went to the village to get some dinner ingredients and check mail. The pizzaria had a new batch of wood delivered and was closed. I stood snapping photos of the wood and the pigeons who frequent the place. The one pigeon, the blue-grey one standing in the middle lording it over the others, is a regular there. I have photographed him before. The pizzaria owner arrived towards the end of my impromptu photo shoot and asked if he 'could help'. The look he gave me was one of suspicion. I think he suspects underhand dealings. I offered to show him the photos, but he declined to look. I think he was just really weirded out by someone wanting to take photos of a couple of birds and piles of wood.

My birthday was wonderful!! Jorge decided I needed to be woken somewhere between 4 and 5am to be wished happy birthday. He was out when I got up much later. Tat scuttled off to the kitchen to pour coffee and bring me my brioche for breakfast. Brioche here is a sweet bun with glaze over the top. I smelt baking, but wasn't allowed to check. I then sat down at my pc to check mail and blogs. I was overwhelmed.... I still find it hard to believe how many people took time out to wish me a good day, some I haven't heard from in many months. A special thanks to Tat (of course), Picture Perfect (Heather), and Libby, for the very special (I have saved them all) blogs for my birthday. I was laughing and crying all the way through them. You guys are amazing! Then there's the PM's I received and the guestbook notes - I'm still trying to respond to them all! I feel loved *grins*

My day was spent on Skype and in my mailbox with friends calling and mailing to wish me well. I got great news that my friend, Fel was out of hospital and doing a lot better. We joked about her hair falling out, that, luckily, it happened at the hospital, so she didn't have to clean it up. Her husband is the sweetest thing. He's pretty bald himself, but shaved the rest of his hair, so they could both be baldies. I asked Jorge today if he would do that for me. He said, "Sure... in fact, I would do it now!" Dumb question... Jorge loves having little or no hair. We tend to harp at him over his 'convict cut'. He hates curls and has a natural tendency to curls. Daft man.

Supper time came and I was banned from the kitchen. Jorge and Tat went off to do supper.... a kind of mock chicken a la king that we have evolved here. I like it, as it is simple to make, light, and tasty. I did follow them though - with the camera. This is my favourite photo... a rare moment with dad and daughter working together. I took many more photos, mostly humorous, but this one is precious to me. While eating supper, we watched a little 'TV' (old rerun series) on my pc. Tat had bought some Torta Hollandesa for dessert. That stuff is divine. It is a chocolate cookie base, topped with a vanilla cream, which, in turn, is topped with a rich chocolate layer, followed by a single chocolate coated cookie.... rich, sweet, smooth, very satisfying.

In all, I had a wonderful day and I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the part you all played in it!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Thoughts - 14 March 2008

The day started off with some worrying news. My friend, Fel, the one with the brain tumour, is in hospital. Either the chemo drugs or the tumour itself has caused Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which, on its own can be a killer. For those who are curious and who have a strong stomach, there is more information on the subject here. In short, this syndrome attacks the mucous membranes of the body, both internal and external. She has not been able to eat since last week, as one of the places affected was her mouth and throat. Her lungs are affected too, though pneumonia has been ruled out. I called her and spoke for a short time - talking hurts her. She sounds upbeat though and thrilled to at least be able to eat jelly (jello to those in the USA) now. She's considering bathing in jelly. Her sense of humour is still good.

I didn't sleep well last night. I was tired after our rather complicated day, but, though I was calm at the time, the whole thing hit me when I went to bed. My mind started playing the whole scene through and presenting countless situations where everything could have gone horribly wrong. Needless to say, I overslept this morning.

It was cool and drizzly again here today. Weatherwise, delightful. For me, though, a day of highs and lows, moodwise. A day spent working hard on my 'glass half full' and wondering why bad stuff happens to good people. Yes, yes... lesson to be learned, character to build, yadda, yadda... we've heard it all before. For the record, I'm not depressed. I'm just finding optimism a little harder than usual today.

Hm... I'm sitting here wondering what everyone will make of today's photo....

Who is the victim? - long blog, sorry

What a morning. We left home just after 5am to head into town to Poupa Tempo, the govt offices where Tat was to renew her RG. It was drizzly, tiny droplets of rain floating and dancing, never really hitting the ground, landing gracefully and soaking everything they touched. In the light of the street lamps, the overhead wires looked as though they were beaded with diamonds. We were about to take a photo when the bus arrived. The bus was packed with steaming bodies... shouted conversations, the bus conductor playing with cell phone tunes, a girl singing along to some private tune on her mp3 player. We swayed and bumped along as light crept almost imperceptably into the sky.

The fresh air as we got off the bus was delightful. A group of elderly folk in white with perky white caps were doing some form of slow movement... not sure if it was Tai Chi. The walk to Poupa Tempo was uneventful. We chatted and laughed, glorying in the fresh, cool air. At Poupa Tempo, we got into the queue to get the number to be in the queue - yes, confusing. We wanted to take photos of their fascinating old/new light fittings. These things were huge, very antiquey with flourescent lightbulbs in them. Needing permission from the building admin, we decided against it. When Tat's turn finally came, we were somewhat dismayed to find that hers wasn't an ordinary case. She has to choose her nationality... and no one really knew what the next step was, but we could find out at a 'cartorio'. The cartorio's are basically clerical offices set up as middle men between the public and the government offices. Just another link in the chain... just another palm to cross. The cartorio was going to open in around 2 hours. Nothing else is open in the city before 9am - Brazilians aren't early birds.

We set out to wander around Sé. Sé is a mostly-paved semi-park fronting São Paulo's main cathedral. The Sé metro station runs below. Sé is in the heart of the city, it's center. All city measurements are taken from this point. We took a photo of a gorgeous rain sprinkled rose, then crossed over to another garden, where we took photos of some really interesting flowers. A little further along, I took photos of some shattered safety glass on a 'bridge' going over the pond. We caught sight of some fragile plants with dainty bell-like flowers. I took a few photos and handed the camera to Tat. As I handed the camera over, her cell phone rang. In that split second when we both looked down to the cell phone, a 'wind' blew past. We were robbed. I say, 'a wind', as the bridge was empty. It was a big bridge and wide... there was not a soul to be seen other than the two youths over head in another 'pond' taking their early morning bath. It took a second to register what had happened. Tat was on the ball. She dropped the umbrella she was carrying and gave chase... yelling for anyone to catch the thief. I think this guy could have given Road Runner a run for his money. I have never seen anyone run like that. They look in the wrong places for Olympic athletes. I followed as fast as I could, but I'm not exactly built for high speed chase. Two other men joined Tat in the chase. The cops and security guards we passed just looked on.

The chase got to where the area was very dicey. My hot-headed, impulsive daughter finally stopped, thankfully. There were two cops on the corner. One kept muttering about not being able to leave the car and the other said, "Don't worry! I'll get on my white horse and chase the scoundrel down!" Ok, not quite in those words. He ran off. I think he must have fallen somewhere. He was still dapper when he returned, but obviously hurting. He was totally bewitched by Tatiana. After radioing a bulletin to the other cops in the area, he very 'officially' took down Tat's details, interspersing his assurances about catching the criminal with "I wish I had eyes like yours" and "You're very pretty" (how does she do it... even when she looks a wreck, she attracts them!). I suggested she autograph a photo for him ; )

Around that time, Tat's two fellow-chasers came back. They lost the thief in the bus terminus. It was assumed that the thief got on one of the buses. What astounded us was that these two were homeless men and they were angry! We thanked them profusely for their efforts. They went off swearing that if they caught the thief, they would make him pay. We made our way, slowly, back up to the scene of the crime. There, we found one of the chasers talking to a woman, also homeless. She was ranting that thieves like that bring a slur on them, as they don't steal. When they spotted us, they went on about what they would do if they caught him. I guess they have their own justice system.

We left the area and headed to the bus to go home, a little heavier in heart than when we arrived. Tat's documents could wait for another day. The lesson? Not that we should be more careful when going into town. That is a given. That boy stole to get a pitance with which he could buy his next bottle of glue - or he stole to 'pay' an older person... a controller. He was skilled at his 'art', probably having done that since he was barely out of his mother's arms, if he spent any time in his mother's arms at all. Then there was the two homeless men who helped give chase. They had nothing to gain from helping, though on hindsight, I think there was a reward expected. I think, though, that they chased because they saw a crime committed on their 'turf'. Yes, we learnt a lot about humanity and our perceptions of people this morning. As for me, the material loss is not welcome, but when I watched my child running, and sometimes losing sight of her - it was a long distance - I feared something happening to her. I cannot begin to describe the relief when I finally met up with her again and could put my arms around her. Life is precious.

I'm sleepy....

This and that

Thought I'd treat you to another dose of dimples ; ) I've been doing my nut getting the printing of Tat's ID photo right. Each program has decided to play up in its own way. Like the fat watermark? This photo won't be swiped... it had better not be or I'll go after blood. I had fun last night checking my site's statistics. I found one of my photos was being hotlinked to a forum. Kippy, stop laughing. It was a generic enough photo of an old man selling limes at the streetmarket. I wouldn't have minded all that much if it weren't for the bandwidth being used and the fact that it was being used in a not-so-savory environment. I love bandwidth theives though... they make life fun. I swapped the photo out with a huge banner in bright red accusing the user of theft : ) I doubt they'll leave the link up for much longer.

The weather was hot here today with a token splash of rain this afternoon. It was rather fun walking in the rain to the village. I then had a bad kitchen moment. Mac 'n cheese was on the menu for tonight and the white sauce curdled - yay! Then, instead of putting the cheese into the rescued white sauce, I plonked it into the boiling water, which was on hand waiting for the pasta. Nice going there. Tat fished the, by then molten, cheese out of the water and rescued that. The whole meal was a rescue effort. Guess I'm grateful it was rescuable.

Anyhow, tomorrow morning, we need to be in town by around 6am *HELP!* to get into the queues for the govt offices dealing with RG's (what they call the local ID cards), so that madam can get hers. Then we need to get her registered as a voter - more fun, but at least that is closer to home.

Have a great day tomorrow, my friends. I have grand intentions of catching up with everyone when I get home. I'm getting behind with mail and blogs again.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Beyond the door

The door is ugly, imposing, possibly a little scary. Do you have what it takes to look beyond the door and see what beauty lies there? Often we face a challenge in life, something looking quite as imposing as this door. Do we have what it takes to look beyond that? To visualise a future filled with beauty?

Tuesday, 04 March 2008

Baby(ish) - little me, him and her

I was tagged by an old friend who has been very patient with me - not that she had any choice in the matter. In short, I have to post a baby photo of myself, one of Jorge and one of Tatiana (she's gonna love me for this!)

I don't have baby photos of me. My earliest appearance in front of a camera was when I was around 3. It was an old slide. Sadly, I have no idea where it is now. Some of you may already have seen this photo or at least another version of it. It is the closest I have to a baby photo. This is me, being strangled by my brother, Hamish. Poor guy was probably told to give me a hug.

Jorge has never been one for smiling in photos. I can't think why. It is a habit that started very early on. Every photo of his from babyhood is ultra-serious. I am deliberately posting a slightly older photo of him, as there is no true baby photo of me. Got to love that hair!

And now, ladies and gentlemen.... the pièce de résistance. Tatiana, comfortable as ever. We still harp at her about slouching ; )

Omg... I just noticed the similarity in the photos...... I'll say no more. Let the viewers decide and it has nothing to do with the peculiar fashions haha!