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

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Mowing the lawn

You didn't know we had one, did you?

lawn 2

Jurgis mowed the lawn today... with a pair of scissors. We went out and took turns to shove our faces into the newly cut grass... delicious!! Mowed grass is near the top of my list of all-time favourite smells. It is a smell we all dearly miss.

lawn 1

Jurgis has a chili plant tucked into the corner there. Behind it is a stray citrus plant. I forget which pip we shoved into the ground. Probably a naartjie pip (tangerine seed).

Thing is, we don't have lawn. We have a 2 foot square container that used to hold my nasturtiums before they all died out for some reason. I would then sprinkle bird seed in there. Heidi, the cockatiel, dearly loves fresh seed. Trouble is, the grass never grew to seed level, as the dogs would munch it. One day, I saw someone had tossed out a scrappy-looking piece of sod. I reaarranged my groceries I was carrying home and picked the grass up. Now we have our own piece of lawn and what a pleasure it is!! The dogs love it. The cat loves it. The bird would love it too if it got tall enough for seed, but she has nibbled on the actual grass. Above all, we love it. I often walk past and just run my hands over the cool blades. The container is at waist height, so isn't practical for walking on, though not for lack of trying. Today found Jurgis attempting to put his feet into the grass. Ever see a family gathered around a 2 foot patch of grass? We'd happily go back to mowing acreage again *sigh*

lawn 3

This was our lawn (see Jurgis mowing?) when Tat was little. The dog is Rocky, a friend's dog we were babysitting. At that time, we only had Gypsy, the shepherd. It was before Noble (the Great Dane) came on the scene. Kippy, I think that expanse would have been perfect for a river and pond, don't you?


Somewhat later, we lived in a house just a little further down the road. It was the last house we lived in in South Africa. Duchess, Tat's Dane, is more to the front with Noble closer to the camera... uh... grooming himself. That's me on the left, an old family friend in the middle and Tat on the right. Katey, yes, we were in West Riding on Marion Road with Embo behind us. That was Camelot in front of us. We watched that place 'grow'. Apparently it's now fairly built up with many houses.

Ah... one of the simple joys of life... cutting the grass, walking on it, rolling on it, running on it. Yep : )

I couldn't resist this last photo of Tat and her Great Dane pup, Duchess, playing on the lawn.....

lawn tat duchess

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Friday, 20 November 2009

Friday Happy Hour


I even supplied the drink. I can't tell you what it is, but Tat saw it on the menu, liked the appearance and promptly ordered it. No doubt, it was exotic, boozy, and very sweet, as Brazilian drinks usually are. She loved it.

This week was hellishly hot. Ok, so it wasn't hot by Aussie standards or anything like that, but, for me, travelling on oven-like buses in the noon sun, it was way too hot. I consider 35°C to be close to furnace temperature. Add the 80-90% humidity and I'm a puddle of molten me.

But... it's Happy Hour! I have to find Happy and find it fast. Exotic drinks help with that ; ) Hm... I need to find me some batida ingredients.

Happinesses for the week......

I got to stay home today! It's a public holiday. I was meant to go out, but because other people didn't confirm, the event was cancelled. I was grateful, as I didn't fancy the train ride or the schlep of lugging eats out in the heat... or even making the eats in question.

I'm thrilled because I had the chance to chat to a friend I don't get nearly enough time to chat to lately because of that really freaky time difference and my odd working hours : )

We had pão de queijo and cake today! Yay! Note, this isn't cake with frosting and layers... Brazilian cake tends to be more like sponge cake, but nice anyway. Due to the public holiday, we never went shopping, so junk food was in order. Oh and we had salad for supper. We haven't had a decent green salad in ages.

This week, I started a new student. I'm happy about this. It's a first for me, dipping my toes gingerly into the fine art of teaching a very basic student, but she's sweet and communication flows easily, each of us acknowledging the strengths and limitations of the language of the other. She laughs at my Portuguese, but learns (I hope). She's a private student, which makes me happy too. She's all mine! *chuckles*

I'm happy because my schedule is pretty full. There's room for a few more, but, for now, I'm happy.

Erm... I'm not finding too much with this heat to be happy about, but, on the bright side, I'm getting a Boere-tan (clothes tan).  Walking out in this weather has its advantages.

Heppie, Happy Hour, everyone!!

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Odd One Out

pp-odd one out

a mass of humanity

a fragrant heap of spice

each with its own

heady perfume

You are unique

vibrant, rich

adding flavour to the potpourri of life
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Thursday, 19 November 2009

What do you do?

What do you do for you?

The photo was taken by Felicity, otherwise known as Joy. We don't have tulips here.

I was talking to a girl tonight who felt as though her world was falling apart. I asked her, "What do you love to do for yourself, when the world seems against you?" She didn't have to think long. "Dance", she said. I could almost see her smile, "but I don't have the time." The smile vanished. She's at a crossroads in her life. I encouraged her to do something that gave her the time until she found a career path that brought her joy.

I know I need to find something. Lately, I found that my little inner candle had sputtered and was just a tiny glow. I needed to relight it. I'm having difficulty thinking of one thing that really brings me joy. I'm going to think about this some more. My student this morning was talking about the little courtesies we give each other. Just a friendly good morning and "how are you?" How much do we reach out to each other. I had stopped doing that this past week or so. I let life and busy-ness get in the way. So what do I do for me that brings me joy? Music does it, as does dancing (with total lack of rhythm or co-ordination), reaching down to stroke the cat, 'laughing' with the dogs, getting lost in a good book (or blog), touching nature...

... and then there's always chocolate ; ) So what do you do for you... something that brings you happiness in a crazy world?


Friday, 13 November 2009


I no longer know where I found this, but it is so good and worth sharing. The model in this photo, naturally, is Tatiana.

self esteem

I am me.

I am unique.

There's not another human
being in the whole world like me.

I have my very own fingerprints
and I have my very own thoughts.

I was not stamped out of a mold like a
Coca-Cola top to be the duplicate of another.

I own all of me......my body, and I can
do with it what I choose; my mind,
and all of its thoughts and ideas;
my feelings, whether joyful or painful.

I own my ideals, my dreams,
my hopes, my fantasies, my fears.

I reserve the right to think and feel differently
from others and will grant to others their right to
thoughts and feelings not identical with my own.

I own all my triumphs and successes.

I own also all my failures and mistakes.

I am the cause of what I do and am
responsible for my own behaviour.

I will permit myself to be imperfect.

When I make mistakes or fail, I will know that I am not
the failure......I am still O.K.......and I will discard some
parts of me that were unfitting and will try new ways.

I will laugh freely and loudly at myself......
a healthy self-affirmation.

I will have fun living inside my skin.

I will remember that the door to
everybody's life needs this sign:

Honour Thyself
I have value and worth.
I am me, and I am O.K.

(Adapted from Self Esteem by Virginia Satir)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

In the dark

A quick blog. I need to get to work...

national blackout 10 nov 2009  2

The photos from today come from the user-submitted photos in Terra News. Last night, our lights dimmed dramatically. The UPSs were screaming at us, so we powered down. Looking outside, the whole world (more to the point, our little corner of the world) had been plunged into dark. Oddly, in last night's class, I was talking to my student about the frequent electrical problems we've been having. This time, the problem was national though. Both Brazil and Paraguay were affected. Something went wrong at the main power plant. One news report says there was a short in the transmission lines from the power plant. A local news site mentioned atmospheric conditions. Naturally, the chance of it being human error is virtually nil ; ) The atmosphere is big... it can take the blame.

Life, as much of Brazil knows it, continued as normal, as can be seen in this quaint pub photo with it's beer bottle candle holders.

national blackout 10 nov 2009

If you'd like to read more in English, you can pop over to Yahoo news:


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Friday, 06 November 2009

Cow entities and pole dancing

Hm... I wonder if this title will draw attention? Tat and I went in to town this morning. Her South African passport finally arrived!! Thus, our picture of the month... This isn't the current passport. Our new passports are very snazzy! The pages are thick, embossed and beautifully watermarked with the Big Five and other indigenous treasures. A photograph just does not do it justice at all. It's a passport I'm proud to show. Herewith, a photo of our old passports:


Back to going to town and pole dancing...

Tat has been watching an anime film. I tend to glance over her shoulder and shake my head. The one part had these little demon-imp-like creatures that were getting in everywhere. Today, they were in our bus service! First, the buses were going strange routes (probably being diverted because of some obstruction in the road), then they were crowded. On our crowded bus, we had tuneless whistlers, deaf ipod users, and a manic driver. The second bus was only slightly better. The driver was grumpy too. We were glad to reach our destination.

We had another mission to accomplish in town, so we headed to the metro and scored a ride on one of the brand spanking new metros on the green line (they're all colour coded). The green line is the one that will finally reach our neighbourhood next year, which will make a huge difference to getting into town for teaching. From there we took a walk through a less-than-salubrious area all for nothing, as many of our town exploits tend to work out. It was hot... and extremely humid. We got the bus to come home. If the earlier buses were bad, this one was lethal! The bus driver must have been on psychadelic drugs or something. The bus was, as all the others were, crowded. He took corners like a Formula 1 wannabe. As we clung to the poles, we were joking about doing pole pushups, then onto doing pole dancing. Tat did the whole "Ride 'em cowboy!" scene we usually reserve for crazy drivers. When seated, she often puts her arms in the air and pretends she's on a roller coaster. Yep! Has to be seen to be believed! We were laughing about the crazy driving - not much else we could do - when we suddenly found ourselves a foot or so in the air! He'd gone over a speed hump and gravity lost the battle. Everyone flew up! I didn't fare too badly. I was standing in a pole-free space at a door, but Tat was directly under a pole. She went up and slammed her head on the pole. When we dropped to the ground, I, like a fool, was laughing hysterically, totally confused. Poor Tat was in pain. We got off shortly after. The woman next to Tat who came up to Tat's shoulder, if that, was teasing Tat and calling her 'Shorty'. She's lucky Tat was too dazed to slap her. Now we were hot, thirsty, miserable and in search of another bus. We managed to get one about 45 minutes later. Strange creatures abounded there too. There was one girl who (apologies to those who are easily nauseated) was picking her nose and wiping it on her armpit as she was holding the overhead pole... weird!! It made for a looooong day.

Jurgis has been sniffing and sneezing all week. He is now congested and coughing too. Tonight, Tat and I are congested, headachy and with sore throats. It could be the heat and pollution. It often is. If it is a cold. I will not be happy.

But... Tat has her passport!! Finally!! *grins* All is good! Oh and the 'cow entities'? That's pc gone crazy, much like São Paulo was today. We decided on the one bus that we were cowboys... no... cowgirls... no... un-pc... uh... cowpeople? But that is discriminatory against actual cows, so 'cow entities'. Everyone is happy : )


Thursday, 05 November 2009

One of those alphabet thingamebobs


Image from http://www.alphabetbooks.com/abc.htm. If I were teaching kindergarten, I'd spend more time there. Great illustrations. Check out the partridge in a pear tree under 'Christmas'.
Wow... while looking for an alphabet image, I stumbled across this:


Very clever!

Actually, I was looking for a melting alphabet. That would be appropriate. It's hot here. No. It's not hot. It's HOT. I don't do heat well. Yuck. Luckily, my noon student is on vacation and I only have the late afternoon until 10:30pm teaching stint. Poor Tat is out there in the heat.

A - Area: Concrete jungle aka São Paulo

B - Broken Bones: Right baby finger metacarpal, left shin (have an attractive ding there) and left knee.

C - Camera:  Canon Rebel

D - Dance: Even jelly wouldn't dance in this heat. Saturday late night fling-your-body-around-when-we-have-enough-energy fun with Tat, yes. Doubt any sane person would call it dancing though.

E - Exercise: See above dance response. Oh I do try other forms of exercise too, when energy levels and time permits.

F - Flavour:  Y'know they put chillies into booze here and apparently it's sweet? Next flavour to try if I can pluck up the courage.

G - God:  God as in a title? Or god as in.... everyone has one.

H - Height: 5'7 Average in everything. That's me.

I - Instruments you play: Um... attempted the trumpet because it looked cool. Desperately wanted to play the piano. Can pound out a version of Somewhere over the rainbow... the first line anyway.

J - Jobs: statistician of sorts and considering my woeful abuse of anything resembling a number, that was a Bad job; seamstress; upholsterer; sales lady, secretary, receptionist, teacher, jill-of-all-trades

K - Kid(s): "Children!" My most often used expression when Jurgis and Tat are around and misbehaving.

L - Living arrangements: A typically Brazilian, very narrow house with a strip going up the side that the dogs use as a race track.

M - Mom's name: Annetjie

N - Nicknames:  Corrie (vile), Có (Brazilians like to use the first two letters as a nickname), Tint (of course), Chicken (don't ask), and a few very unflattering high school nicknames.

O - Owies:  Right now? This minute? None *is grateful*

P - Pet Peeve:  I have a list. Litterbugs! Inconsiderate people.

Q - Quiet:  I crave quiet. I've forgotten what it sounds like.

R- Right or left handed: Right

S - Siblings: 2 brothers, 1 sister

T - Time you wake up: It varies between 4:30am and 9:30am depending on how early I'm teaching or how late I was teaching the night before.

U- Underwear:  Cotton (can't help but wonder why everyone always wants to know that in these quiz things)

V - Vegetable you dislike:  Okra. *shudder* <<<< yes!! Other than that, I love all veggies.

W - Ways you run late: Procrastination. Nuff said.

X - X-rays you've had: teeth, hand/wrist, spine

Y - Yummy thing you make to eat: I'll have to ask the family. Jurgis is napping and Tat is out teaching. I rather like my mac 'n cheese. Oh and desserts... and potatoes au gratin... and rice salad. Ok, it was a stupid question.

Z - Zoo: My house on a good day : )