EMAILS, FACEBOOK, OH AND WALLY


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I received an amazing message on my phone yesterday ……… it goes like this:

eBucks:  Hi Wally.  FNB rewarded you with eB220 for MAR’15 on all your qualifying purchases.

I read and re-read this message ……….. and only one thought came to mind – WHO ON EARTH IS WALLY?  and ….. WHAT ON EARTH IS WALLY DOING IN MY PHONE?

Even though this is not my real phone, because my real phone was stolen by bad people in Cape Town, and is probably doing the rounds on ebay, OLX and, and, and.  Which is exactly where I bought my new old phone and did the whole deal in Ratanga Junction parking lot …… where if you think about it, its the perfect place to do dodgy celphone deals ….. anyway.

Back to Wally, I have never been Wally, EVER, and now my trusted and long standing bank has decided to call me Wally, even though for many years they have been calling me Mrs T.J.

This whole Wally business just added to a funny feeling which has been hovering over me lately.  I AM BECOMMING INVISIBLE.  Its an odd feeling that as I age my purpose on this earth has become less and less.  But I could always rely on my bank remembering my name NOW THIS!!!

My relationship with facebook is wonderful.  Getting in touch with old friends and connecting with new friends.  Seeing friends pictures, achievements, relationship status’s and just general ramblings really completes my day.  But all of a sudden friend requests start popping up from people who I really don’t know.  So you start thinking ………..

a.   Did I meet this person sometime in the last week and don’t remember?
b.   Does someone out there just like the look of me and decided to become my friend?
c.   Did I go to school/varsity with this person and they have changed a tad?

or

d.   Is there a lonely person out there, and if I become their friend I might make their day?

So I push “Accept friend request” ……….. POINK …. seconds later a post that I am tagged in appears on my wall – MY WALL – selling raybans.  Flippit, I am gutted, the only reason that the person wanted to be my friend was to sell flippen sunglasses.  POINK …. I de-friend them.  So now I do a test ……… I accept a whole lot of friend requests, and low and behold a million posts appear on MY WALL, all selling raybans.

Is this stupid? no, the Rayban gurus are definitely onto something here.  Is it irritating?  Absolutely.  Is it hurtful?  Well yes, here I am trying to slot back into a meaningful slot in my universe and along comes the Rayban Train and puts me into the “We only need you if you buy something” slot.  What on earth gave them the idea that I needed a new pair of sunglasses?  I am gutted.

I really believe that parents shouldn’t live their lives through their children.  But hell, their lives are far more interesting than mine.  And how can we not be involved???? we are the driving force behind their adventures ……….. LITERALLY …. we drive them to horse riding, cycling, parties, shopping, concerts etc, etc.  Then we are expected to not get involved whist they are doing the adventure bit of adventure, then we drive them home.

Surely parents there is more to life here.

I cook, I clean, I drive, I mother, I wife.  I am on one committee that my one sole purpose is to put up street signs once a month.  For one of the kids sporting activities I have even been cut out of the commitment part ……. I pay, I drive, I have no say.

Its time to take my life back.  BIG TIME.

In a recent episode of Greys Anatomy (Yes I still watch Greys Anatomy).  One of the sexy brain surgeons has to do a really tricky brain op on one of her colleagues.  She is nervous, she is scared and the whole world is watching her to see if she can pull it off.   She is standing in the room where they clean their hands before slicing into a brain.  Her legs are slightly apart, her arms are at her waist, her fists are clenched, her elbows and slightly back.  Her shoulders are are square and her head facing firmly forward, slightly tilted towards the sun.  “What are you doing?”  asks her intern.  “This is the Superhero pose.”  She answers.

Apparently it is proven that people who take up this pose before a challenge or a task, do significantly better at what they want to accomplish.  So, I am going to start using this pose and those 5 posing minutes are going to be used to brainstorm my “take back my life plan”.

Now if you think about it, Clark Kent, when he gets the gist of a drama playing out or that Louis Lane is at the mercy of some baddy, he doesn’t go umm haaaa mmmmm, he dashes into the nearest telephone booth, strips down and soars to the drama.  He definitely doesn’t over think his future actions he just (here is that word again) SOARS with his cape flying and fixes what ever needs fixing, whether it is stopping a speeding train full of victims or just to make sure his chick is fine.

So back to Wally, people with the name Wally just don’t SOAR.  As in “Look, here comes WALLY soaring to the rescue!”.  Nope this just doesn’t work.

FNB, my name is Tanya, spelt T-A-N-Y-A, and I am going to strike my superhero pose and rescue my life before I shrink into nothingness.

TANYA IS GOING TO SOAR.

DRIVING LESSONS


Jamie Drivingn

Yesterday we bumped into two friends we havent seen for ages.  In fact they are Jamies Grade 1 and Grade 7 teachers.  Jamie was driving the car and one looked at me and said, “I found the two most stressful parts of being a parent was choosing the matric dress and teaching my children to drive”.  And this comes from a well seasoned educator.

The story goes like this ……….

The word was out, everybody was failing their learners licence …….. by one point.

Sentences like …… moneymaking scam, and waste of time was being brandished around.  Booking the licence alone meant a full day out of school …… I kid you not.  We arrived at the traffic department at 7.00 am and Jamie was given ticket number 14 – he walked out of there at 1.00 pm ……… now this was to BOOK.

Well the day to write arrived, exactly one month after his 17th birthday, and in went a group of youngsters all looking very nervous.

Jamie being Jamie, had only done enough studing that was required in Jamieland ……. or 17 year old teen land.

All the parents waited outside (wish I had gone shopping because it took ages).

Jamie walks out ……. a sad look on his face.

“I failed by one point ……….. ”

“Phone your father ……”

“Dad I failed by one point”

At this Frans launches into one of those Dad lectures.  You know the ones …… “Son I told you to learn harder” and “I told you to learn for an extra hour” and “I hope you will take the next time seriously”.

Mid Dad lecture Jamie bursts into a HUGE grin and says “Just Kidding!!!!” and hauls out a piece of paper – HIS LEARNERS LICENCE.

I got such a fright that I tossed him the keys …. learning to drive starts NOW.

Now being who we are, we really dont allow the kids to do things before they are legally allowed to do it, no driving, drinking, going to bars etc.  So Jamie has had extremely little driving experience apart from parking the car at home – mmmmm now that I think about it thats about it (that I know of).

So off we go to grab a celebration bite to eat, and then to drive home from Humansdorp.

I get into the passenger side of my car and Jamie gets behind the wheel.

After much adjusting of the seat and steering wheel and shoofling in the seat, he looks at me ………

“Put on your safety belt”.  Good start.

AND-THEN-WE-START-JOLTING-DOWN-THE-ROAD-ONE-METER-AT-A-TIME.

“How am I doing?”, he asks as he stalls at the stop street.

“Very Good”, I say with gritted teeth after managing to peel my cheek of the windscreen.

NOTE TO SELF – Maybe the first driving lesson should be done at a deserted salt pan in Nevada …..
 or something.

So we stop round the corner of the stop street and I go through a couple of basics.  Like how to go into first gear.

Off we go.  Not so rattly the second time.

I begin to notice that my right foot is starting to tramp an imaginary brake, my right hand constantly moves towards the manual gear shift.

Then he puts the left hand indicator on for the first time and the car veers straight to the left.  I clamp my left hand on the passenger window.

He speeds up to 40 kmph.  “Slow down Jamie!!!!!!”  I yell.

“But its a 120 zone” he says.  I have to add here that Jamie has probable spent more time on wheels on the Humansdorp/St Francis Bay Road …….. Bicycle wheels, there is a difference.

We agree that 60 kmph is a good starter speed.

My body is rigid and pushing hard against the seat,  my left foot has made its way to between the dashboard and the windscreen, my right food is pumping an imaginary brake, my right hand is hovering above the gear shift and my left hand is still firmly flattened against the passenger window.

I am trying to be positive but my throat has completely sanded up and my mouth is opening and closing like a fish.  My eyes are wide and nostrils flared.

“Good driving Jamie”, I rasp.

“I know”  he replies.

A friend of ours overtakes us and toots and gives the thumbs up sign.  Jamie waves and the car veers to the right.  Me, well, I dont have any body parts left to do anything.

So there we drive the 16 kilometers home and into the driveway.

As we stop, Jamie looks at me with a huge grin on his face.

“Well that was great!!!!! and you didnt shout at me at all!!!!!”

I smile.

“Well done boy”  I croak.

…………… It took me 45 minutes to get out of the seat.  Now I have 4 years to worry about the dress.

 

ITS ALL ABOUT THE T-SHIRT!


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With advertising by-lines like RIDE THIS ONE YOU WILL REMEMBER IT, and ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH?.  The annual Steeltek race at the Lurie Ruskamp promised to be at the very least a tough one.

Now Jamie and the Steeltek race have a history, and not a happy one ……… he has yet to finish a Steeltek with both himself and/or his bike intact …….. in fact …….. he has yet to finish a Steeltek race full stop.

Add to the mix this will be his last ride on his beloved Merida 29’er (its got to go up for sale on behalf of the sponsor to make way for the new …… to be announced).  Boy did he love this bike.

Add to this there is only one race this year, no kiddie dash, no family ride, no 30 kay – only 60 km and on a new course set to challenge the riders to their limits.  There is 2000 meters of climbing (more than the Karoo to Coast).  You are asked to check out the race profile before the race so that you dont start too fast.

Add to this ……. the Mountain Events, Fat Tracks and Steeltek have  dangled a once off cherry to the participants.  Finish the race in Sub-4 hours and you will get a special T-shirt.  Oh there was a nifty amount of prize money, but the T-shirt was the real cherry.

Add to this the weather has been playing up as normal.

All the riders wanted that T-shirt.  Top local and not so local riders started entering the race.

As we set off, Frans shouts to us, still under the comfort of his downy duvet.  “There is enough petrol to go 120 km – it will be plenty”

IT WASNT

As we hit the J-bay turnoff it was as if the petrol tank started sucking its own juice.  50 kays left it said.  Crossing the Gamtoos – 30 kays (impossible! its not 20 km from J-bay turnoff to Gamtoos.  By the time we hit the Thornhill turn off it said 10 km.  We limped into Lurie.

Now,  Lurie is cycling heaven, all the names are there.  Lots of really nice bikes.  Lots of bike talk.  Eventually the cyclists set off.

Did I mention that Lurie Ruskamp is in the middle of nowhere, except, close to Lurie.  To my horror I find out that Lurie does NOT have a petrol station and somehow I must get petrol in Hankey .

“How far is Hankey?”  I ask .

“20 km” the oke says.

“Oh dear”  I say “I only have enough petrol to go 10 km”

“Ag then its about 10, but dont worry its all downhill”  He retorts.

I decided since its a four hour wait I will try my luck at getting to Hankey, and if I get stuck I will phone a friend at the race.

Off I go, as I start the car the light starts beeping ………. 0 km’s it says.  I decide to see it through.

Now next time someone says to you “Its all downhill”, dont believe them.  I have never been so happy to see Sarah Baartmans grave in my life, I think I made hankey on fumes in the Ford.

Anyway …….. The car and I get back armed with 300 bucks in the tank and now I can relax.

The race has started claiming it first victims.  Last year, at this race I saw one oke limp home with s SQUARE wheel, I kid you not, it was square.

After 2h31 mins Jason Meaton flew in ….. “Shew that was tough”

Ten mins later Conrad Viljoen ….. “Tough”

and a mere 4 minutes later Jason Reed ……. “Toughest Ever!!!!”

And these guys are top top riders at the peak of their game.

More casualties came in, and still Jamie and his friend Nick are out there.

The riders start dribbling in, each of them heaving a sigh of relief as they come over the finsh.

At the 3 hour 40 mark I see Jamie in his Custom Bike shirt comming up the big finish hill.  He had made the 4 hour cut off AND he had got the T-shirt.  A few minutes later Nick came in …… he also got a T-shirt.

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The last sub 4’s dribbled in, and then the wait began for the rest of the field.  The question on everyones lips as they rode in was “Did you get the T-shirt?”

The T-shirt was important, 4 pieces of white cotton sewn together with some printing on it became a major aquisition at the Steeltek.  I proved that you were Tough Enough.

Which all got me thinking. Sometimes we need these physical reminders that we are good enough.

Rosie and Jamie gave Frans  a mug which says # 1 DaD,  he knows he is a good Dad, but boy does he love his mug.  Many years ago ……… many many years ago, Jamie painted Rosie a mug saying “MY BEST SISTER”, that she is his only sister is irrelevant, after he gave her the mug they were nice to each other for about two minutes and then the bickering started again.  I keep the mug in memory of those two minutes.

Mug 001

I have a sticker …….. yes a sticker saying “MOMS TAXI” ……….. mmmmmm, I wonder …. does this mean I am tough enough?

THE LIVING ROOM


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We have a living room.  This living room is exactly what I DIDN’T want as a living room, you know the type of room that no-one ever sits it ……… I remember going to friends homes when I was young and there was this room in most of my friends houses (we didn’t have one).  It had cream carpets, a cream lounge suite, beautiful cushions, tasteful drapes, lovely lamps and works of art tastefully placed in carefully thought out places.  Amongst all this beauty there was always a sense of loneliness in these rooms – this was the sitting room kept for special occasions – to me, it always felt like a “left-out” waste of space and I vowed I would never have one if I ever owned a house.

Homes are meant to be lived in, they are not museums they are houses where memories are made and every inch of space should be used.  Anyway, we don’t use our sitting room – it isn’t hidden away behind a door it is there in the openplanness which is our home ……… it just doesn’t get used …….. ever.

So in this unused space Jamie saw an opportunity.  He gets home from training one night and enters the house – bike and all – through the front door.  Now at the best of times a cyclist chomping around in full kit with cleat shoes pushing his bike is not a pretty sight.  For one thing the shoes make them walk like ducks,  a cyclist in full kit walking is a bit Borat-ish, a bicycle inside a house just isnt great, add to this when Jamie finishes his daily ride everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is full of mud.  The bike is caked in mud, his body is full of mud, even his face is full of mud splatters.  It can be the warmest, sunniest day and Jamie will come home full of mud.

Back to the opportunity.  Jamie calmly minces in, bike and all and parks the bike in the sitting room.

Frans sits there looking to and from Jamie and myself like a spectator at a tennis match ……. his mouth is wide open doing sort of fishy movements – no sound comes out.

I sit there looking just at Jamie.  My mouth is wide open also doing sort of fishy movements   – no sound comes out.

Rosie on the other hand will never let an opportunity go by to point out to Jamie what he is doing wrong – 100% normal 12 year old sister behavior.

“Why are you putting your bike in the lounge????”  She asks just loud enough for the whole of St Francis to hear.

“Get a life …………”.   He answers. 100% normal answer of a 15 year old boy to his sister.

Frans’s fish mouth is the first to find words, “Jamie why don’t you put your bike in the garage?”

“The garage is too dirty”  replies Jamie, “I am trying to look after my bike”.  He has calmly forgotton that his bike is full of mud, he is full of mud, man, even his riding glasses are full of mud.

Now I am really finding it difficult to take a boy seriously who is dressed in full muddy cycling kit, still in his cleats, sunglasses and helmet I am wondering what alien has walked into my home.

Jamie also seems to have calmly forgotten about the other 3 bicycles that he owns that are safely and quite happily living in the garage.

So now I am beginning to see method in Jamies madness.  The sitting room is unused.  No memories are made there.  There is a little voice in my brain saying “why not”

Before I know it the words spill out before the brain has time to process ……. “why not?”

Frans looks at me …… you know that look a husband gives to a wife when she is treading on uneven kid ground.  Its a sort of look, the eyes narrow, the head gives a little shake, and then the eyes move in a sidewards upwards direction.

What he is actually saying is ….. “That is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard, STOP TALKING NOW!!!!!!, come upstairs so we can discuss this without the kids hearing”

But OH NO!  mouth is in full swing here and brain has shut down.

“Frans, I seem to remember you actually building a boat in our living room once”,  what he has forgotten in those days we only had one place to sit, no TV room, no seperate dining room – just one place ……….. and he built a boat in it.

The shakey head is going a bit stronger here, Jamie and Rosie are looking on with interest – I can actually see their ears flapping.

“We dont use the living room ……… so why not?”

The brain starts catching up ……. I know my kids, once you give them an inch – or in this case 1.8 meters x 65 cm – they will take a whole room.

I can hear Rosies mind calculating how fast she can get a horse, hay and water in the room so we can have a new addition to the family.

Jamie is checking out the space and mentally working out where his workbench can stand, and how he is going to fit a personalized bike workshop in there.

Frans is pondering how much bigger this living room is and whether or not he should start construction of another boat.

Me on the other hand is punching myself in the mouth!!!!!

In that one single moment I realized why my friends parents had this “room” in their houses.  We all need a sanctuary.  A place of beauty, serenity and peace.  A place where the word cluttered doesn’t even hit its stratosphere.  I have it in my unused living room and I was just about to throw it all away – I need that unused space of beauty in my house.

So the end of the tale is ……. Frans doesn’t get a new spot to build a boatie thingie, Rosie must realize that horses belong at Homestead Estate and that is it.

Jamie on the other hand is still putting the bike in the sitting room ……. but …….. when he does, it is clean and shiny – lets face it a Merida Big Nine is a thing of beauty after all.

HAND EXTENTIONS


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I have just received a broadcast from Rosie.  Now I think that a broadcast is a message that you send to all your Blackberry contacts, I know they always arrive on a blue background and rule of thumb I ignore them.

They normally go on the gist of ………….

Make So-and-So your friend pin no 12345667 and she/he is a lekker person.

or ……..

Write down the colour of your pants you are wearing now plus the food you last ate and make this your new bb status or name i.e. “Blue Chips”

Normally these messages are a load of toss, but this one caught my eye

“Sorry if anyone got strange messages with hearts and kissy faces my brother hacked my phone”.  Next to the message is a yellow round face with a white Minnie Mouse type of hand over the yellow round faces eyes (in add smiley terms this means “cant watch”).

Anyway …….. what here brother has done is almost a logistical impossibility.

Lets face it, how often do you see a kid without their blackberry in their hands? I swear I have tried to get hold of their berries and I cant.  We dont even use their phones as a form of discipline anymore because the actual separation becomes so traumatic that the whole thing becomes so big that it is simply not worth it!

So ……… picture the scene.  Jamie is innocently walking wherever he is walking, and, low and behold there sits his sisters Blackberry.  Now what does a 15 year old brother do ……… does he pick it up and put it safely in his sisters hands with a “look Rosie what an amazing brother I am, I found your Blackberry”?, does he just leave it exactly where it is?  NOOOOOOOOOOO, he picks it up and sends some kind of broadcast with hearts and kissy faces.

Now who does he send it to, carefully selected contacts?  All contacts? Boys only – big possiblility, or one random poor soul who is sitting and pondering why he is getting hearts and kissy faces from Rosie.

Now maybe this poor soul secretly likes Rosie, he gets this broadcast and his day is made.  Maybe he gets the broadcast and has no idea what it is all about. Maybe Rosie secretly likes him and he doesn’t know yet.  Maybe he has sent it to a friend of Rosie’s boyfriends and all hell is going to break loose when she sees that friend (or ex-friend) again.

Someone getting hold of our Blackberry is totally outside of my realm of understanding.  We simply did not do this when I was 12.  Today the kids have a level of communication that is immediate and in the wrong hands can be cruel and destructive.

Now Jamies innocent prank is cute, but my mind goes wandering to how much damage can be done by hacking into someone elses private bbm.  I am getting this sick feeling in the base of my tummy.

A kids reputation can be crushed by a few cruel words – remember other kids in their essence only believe what is fed in front of them.  Unfortunately the more scandalous the better,  they will wreak havoc with someones life and all will be forgotten by everyone the next day – except for the person picked on.

Real or imagined a broadcast can be sent from “whoevers” phone to his/ her 300 odd contacts – the 300 odd contacts will then forward the broadcast to their 300 odd contacts and so on.  Within the blink on an eye a rumor, video or photo can make it to thousands of Blackberries and read and believed by thousands of emotionally immature 12 year olds who will believe and pass on anything fed to them.

My world is rocking here, and not in a good way.

What is left for us to do?  Not much me thinks and all I can do is hope and pray that the kids that live under our roof firstly hold onto their phones and dont mislay it and if they do send out broadcasts they will be filled with hearts and kissy faces.

TEEN SELF-ESTEEM – PART ONE


“PUTTING ON MY GAME FACE!”  The status update glares at me.

“Ummmmm ………. Frans, what is a GAME FACE?”  I innocently ask Frans – thinking it is a guy thing.

“Dunno”  He’s been hanging out with Jamie too long.

“AMPED FOR CYCLING RACE TODAY – GONNA ACE IT”  Luke puts.

Rosie and her clan normally put one word statuses surrounded by huggy faces, stars, big grin smilies and lot of exclamation marks – HORSERIDING!!!!!!,  NETBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!, TENNIS!!!!!!!!!!!  Sometimes when they get imaginative they add the words “I love” before the one word masterpiece.

And here,  I am beginning to feel is the key to all our teen and pre-teen’s Self Esteem issues.  What they are actually looking for is recognition, encouragement and acceptance from their PEER group.  Mark my words, parents, family, teachers and coaches are important – but we are a very shabby second to the all important peer group.

I also think that each teen is a very very fragile eco-system in their own right  What rocks one teens world tilts the other.  In order for the eco-system to function all the sub-systems need to be in harmony – parents, school, friends, sport, finances, puberty, self-image and self-respect – then throw in the minefield of social networking and you have something like a firework – if something goes wrong it blows up in your face – if all the components are correct it can be a beautiful thing.

Some kids love being teased and joked with – it makes them feel part of the crowd.  Others think that the same teasing is a form of bullying.  Some kids like teasing others but cannot take being teased back.  A kid who likes being teased will tease and will not understand what he or she is doing to their friends self-esteem.

Throw in the over-protective and interfering parent and the eco-system is going to collapse.

One parent wrote me a fantastic comment last night – I quote:

“I promise you that no matter how much you long to have the quiet, you will cry when they go.  I still want to protect and tuck the in.  I am proud of my “young men” yet I pray every day that the job I have done is good enough to equip them for the life that lies ahead”

The self-esteem topic is going to need homework.  Lets find out from teens what boosts or bursts their self-esteem ……….. we may be shocked by the answers.  From what we get from the kids we can start looking at peer groups, parent intervention, social media and the world at large.

In the meantime ……………

PUT ON YOUR GAME FACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BLOGGING TIP

Its day 2.  Have had a lot of response over the topic and will have to do more that empty my cobwebs.  Have asked others to do some investigating in the topic.  Most response comes from facebook.  Its still a blog from the heart.