Monday, December 19, 2011

Perspective is everything

Last week my family and I were unfortunately guests at two funerals.

The first was for my 93-year-old Grana, who lived on the land and had a long and happy life.

The second was for my long-time neighbour and dear family friend Mike Stout, who sadly, passed away at only 56 after a long battle with cancer.

It’s a strange thing, I think, dealing with grief amidst all the joy and excitement that comes with Christmas. I feel like my emotions are giving me a massive battering – one minute I think about spending the holidays with my family and friends and I get a feeling of immense happiness, the next I am crying in the arms of my (incredibly) supportive husband about how life isn’t fair.

My friend Hayls wisely told me that amongst all the good that comes with this time of year, it’s the universe’s way of balancing the good with the bad and that unfortunately, bad things happen when there is good around.

It’s odd because last year at exactly the same time, just a week before Christmas, I had a negative turn of events whereby I found myself in hospital having surgery. Needless to say my Christmas last year was pretty lack-lustre and it looks like this year it will be a pretty sombre one too.

My husband told me though; it all comes down to perspective. While discussing life and our two loved ones that have now left us, we were talking about how their families would be coping and how they would move forward after such immense loss.

What I have learned out of this situation is, it’s not just about the quantity of life, it’s about the quality of life and the special moments that make life all the more special. On one hand my Grana lived a long life, but it was filled with such struggle and tragedy that only families who have lived on a farm or station know.

In her latter years, she got to enjoy the love and company of her family – grandchildren and great-grandchildren – so that once she passed her life was rich and full of happy memories.

Our friend Mike achieved so much in his short life – more in fact than many would ever achieve if they lived 30 or 40 years more. When I look at his amazing family and the legacy he left behind, it is hard to comprehend how someone achieved so much. He really did want to bring out the best in people and people wanted to better themselves because of him.

I guess that perspective really does teach you to look for the good in every situation – to find a positive in every day, no matter what (something my Dad tells me often).

The perspective that I have gained in the past two weeks is that time really doesn’t stop for anything or anyone and that we are constantly moving forward.

Things do happen at inopportune times, but you can’t plan these things. I can only hope that my family and friends who are going through these tough times after suffering loss, can gain a renewed perspective of life in the hope that it will help them on this emotional journey.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cookie goodness

I found this recipe for these yummo cookies on Give them a whirl, they are fool proof.

Peanut butter & choc-chip cookies

Preparation Time - 30 minutes

Cooking Time - 10 minutes

Makes 30


1 cup (260g) crunchy peanut butter
1 cup (200g) brown sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (185g) dark choc bits


  • Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease two baking trays and line with non-stick baking paper. Combine peanut butter, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and egg in a bowl. Stir in choc bits.
  • Roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on the prepared tray. Press lightly with a fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden. Leave to cool on the trays then place into an airtight container.

Makeup mahem

Unless you have six arms, please don't attempt this in the morning traffic rush!

When I was little, weekday mornings were always a mad rush to get my brother and I to school.

My mum successfully managed to juggle packing our lunches, making breakfast, ironing our uniforms and my dad’s work shirt, getting us dressed and making sure we brushed our teeth/hair, then showering herself and getting dressed before heading out the door. 

The only thing she would never put on before she left the house was her makeup. That was left for the car…

Now I used to watch my mum as she quickly and effectively applied foundation, mascara, blush, lipstick and combed her hair in a matter of two or three traffic light stops – she was quick, no mucking around here!

Now I know this is dangerous to do in the car, and I myself don’t have the coordination to even contemplate doing it, but it seems as though others who really should take more time in the morning to do their face, unfortunately leave it for the drive to work.

I had the unhappy pleasure of driving behind one such tragic this morning – she was hardly as deft as my mother in the applying-makeup-in-car department, and proceeded to swerve around in her lane, then into the other lane, narrowly missing oncoming traffic.

It wasn’t as if she even waited to stop at a light or anything – she thought she could do this while moving at more than 80km/hour. Oh the rush and the stress of it all!

I couldn’t even get around the maniac – she was swerving so much that if I had gone around her I probably would have been side-swiped. Cars were dodging her as they zoomed past, some even breaking to take a gander at the crazy behind the wheel.

Once we eventually stopped at a traffic light, she missed the light once it turned green. I let her know it was time to move (well, my horn let her know) to which I got a rude response – she gave me the finger.

Well that’s fine love, but next time you’re wrapped around a light pole because you’re trying to fix your ugly mug in the tiny rear-view mirror instead of waking up 15 minutes earlier in the morning and being better organised to do it at home, maybe you will then re-assess how important it was to apply makeup in the car.

If you have mastered the art like my mum did back in the day, then hats off to you. In the meantime, please leave this task to your bathroom ladies!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Please, enjoy!

Yesterday I went to a supermarket (I won’t name which one) to buy a couple of mundane items including paper towel, insect spray and a zucchini.

As I lined up with all the other people at the checkout I noticed that the supermarket clerk had a strange farewell line he used for each customer – “enjoy!”

As I looked down at the three items I had in my hand, I wondered if you can really ‘enjoy’ insect spray, paper towel and a zucchini. I suppose there are ways?

So as it came to be my turn to be served and upon handing over my cash and receiving my change, the young man whipped out a big cheesy smile and said in a pleasant supermakety voice that you hear over the loudspeaker, ‘enjoy!’.

I raised my eyebrows and gave him a knowing look and with a hint of a wink I told him “oh, I intend to” as a bit of a joke, to which he gave a fleeting glance at my zucchini gripped in my hand and then gave me a smirk while snorting though his nose.

Dirty bastard!

So, word to the wise buddy, for those customers, even the elderly that you may serve, please don’t tell them to ‘enjoy’ what they have bought. It doesn’t make sense, especially when it isn't a food item. What if someone was there to purchase batteries or super glue or even a bottle of laxatives – people don’t always ‘enjoy’ their purchases.