Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Blessed Christmas!!!


Hi to everyone!

It's really been quite some time since I've last blogged, but I'm still trying to catch up with all my work that got left behind when I had to leave so suddenly to go to Cape Town (for Thinus' mom's memorial service).

I'm just quickly logging on to say "May you all have a blessed Christmas" from Thinus and myself, as we will be sorta busy for the next 2 days. We're celebrating German Christmas today with my parents and family, and then will spend tomorrow's Christmas day with my brother and his family (for the church service) and Thinus' maternal grandmother and uncle for lunch.

I still have to go and make some fudge and drag Thinus out of bed to make unbaked chocolate cookies - this year everyone is getting home-made goodies from us as we had to really check our budget! But I think it's actually WAY better than getting bought gifts, not that there's anything wrong with bought gifts ;-)

May God really transcend your Christmas and make it a joyful, loving and cherished experience!

Lotsa love,
Ronel & Thinus

Friday, December 5, 2008

Goodbye to a Mother...

It has been quite a while since I've last blogged. When Thinus left for Cape Town, to be exact... Since then a lot has changed, and I just feel the necessity to blog and share some news.

Thinus left for Cape Town (CPT) on 24 November 2008 to be with his parents, especially his mother who was terminally ill with cancer. His work was wonderful in that they provided him with the necessary airfare to travel to CPT, as well as his own car that he could travel to work and back from his parents' home every day.

Throughout the week Thinus would call me with daily updates, and his father and I spoke quite regularly on the phone. I am rather fond of his father, and it really helped to talk to hom about his wife/my mother-in-law, since she was no longer able to communicate at all. I felt the uttermost dispair whenever I spoke to Thinus or his father, and even just on the way to work. I would cry all the way to work, and in-between patient appointments, and then all the way back from work. I did visit with my family once or twice, but I really wanted to be on my own at home where Thinus could reach me.

I was in Potchefstroom, with my parents this past weekend (the weekend of the 28th Nov) when Thinus once again called me early on Saturday morning (the 29th Nov), and asked "Why does God allow my mother to suffer so much? Why can He not just take her away?". This he asked throughout the week that he had spent in CPT, and I just could not give him an answer. We had watched a DVD by Louie Giglio - "Hope, When life hurts most". This helped us tremendously to deal with his mother's suffering and looming death. But on this particular Saturday, Thinus sounded very hopeless and cried a great deal... and I just prayed that God would take away his mother and end her suffering.

On Saturday afternoon, 29 Nov, at 13H05, Thinus' mother passed away. It was sudden, but peaceful, and her wish of dying at home was fulfilled. Thinus called me at about 13H40 to inform me of his mother's passing, and I suddenly had to start making plans to get to CPT from Potch. We checked the airlines, but there were only vacant seats on SAA, which would cost R2000 ONE way! My youngest brother, Heinrich, then offered to drive with me to CPT, since Thinus and I had initially decided that we would drive to CPT as soon as his mother passes away. But Thinus was there, and I was 1335km away from him. My brother was in anycase on his way to Oudtshoorn, approximately 450km away from CPT, and would've taken the bus to Oudtshoorn the next day to go mountain climbing with his buddies. After having to do a few calculations (regarding time of arrival, etc), my brother and I left Potch at 16H45, gassed up with all clothes necessary. We bought him a bus ticket from CPT to Oudtshoorn, left Potch, slept for 2 1/2 hours in Bloemfontein (about 320km away from Potch) at my 2nd oldest brother's house. We left Bloemfontein, after filling up with some more petrol, at 00H20AM, and got ahead with driving to CPT.

We arrived in CPT at 11H40AM Sunday 30 Nov, and put my brother on the bus at 15H10PM. It was quite a drive, and Heinrich and I had a TERRIBLE breakfast on Lainsburg at the Steers (TOO MUCH OIL!!!), but we enjoyed the roadtrip (despite the reason for having to take the roadtrip).

Thinus' mother's memorial service was held yesterday, 4 December, from their church. It was so good to finally be able to bring closure on this chapter. We had spent this past week just being with each other, and having the idea of no wife/mother around, sinking into our reality.

Margaret Irene Swart will be sorely missed, but we rejoice in her pain-free state and that she can now be with the Heavenly Father, whom she loved SO much! Thanks for everyone's prayers, and please continue to pray for Thinus, his father,Manie, and his brother, John, as well as is maternal grandmother who has lost her beloved daugther.

Ciao...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Indefinite visit...

This is just a quick update with regards to Thinus' mother (my mother-in-law).

Things have not been looking too great with Thinus' mom since she came out of Rehab following the spontaneous fracture of her right femur just underneath the femoral head (and thus right hip joint). She no longer really has an appetite, sleeps a lot, and seems unaware of small things that used to matter to her - e.g. is her son John at work, have the birds / cat been fed, etc.

Last week Thursday (19 Nov) Thinus called me at work to say that he just had news that his mother is really not doing well. I have asked him to please get onto a plane and go visit with his mother for as long as he needs to. He really did not want to go, saying that he could not bear to watch his mother die without me being with him (which is kinda impossible for me right now, since I have no leave days left for the remainder of this year). But the more I spoke to people who had lost someone to cancer / death, the more I realised how important it is for him to be with his mom or at least close to his mother when she passes away.

On Friday afternoon he called me to say that his big boss had just called and had informed his supervisor that they would send Thinus to Cape Town to work there at their head offices until such time that his mother passes away. It was the biggest blessing ever, and when Thinus came out of a meeting with his supervisor he called to say he would be flying down on Monday (24 Nov). The thing is just we did not know if he would make it in time, as on Saturday his father also called to say that his mother's kidneys seem to be failing.

So yesterday (Monday, 24 Nov) at half past 2 he gets the call from head office to say his flight leaves at 5PM. What a mission, coz I was still in Orange Farm (50km away from home) having lunch with my auntie, and Thinus was still at work (16.5km away from home), working.

But we all made it home, and to the airport on time. I did not have much time to say goodbye and when I called him last night (Monday, 24 Nov) he was rather tired. It had been a very emotionally taxing weekend and day.

Please pray for Thinus, his father, brother, but most of all for his mother. That she may be pain-free and continue to be peaceful. I don't know when Thinus will be returning, and I'm already missing him tons! But I do pray that he will have precious moments with his mother in these last few days.

I've gotta go to bed now, it's been a rather long day for me too. And I have to be up nice and early tomorrow morning!

Ciao!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Photo-update on my life

Here follows a LOT of photos of how I spent time 2 weekends ago with my family (another installment will follow on what my friends and I did last weekend)

First you will see a lot of family photo's - that was when we spent the weekend of 31 Oct - 2 Nov 2008 with my brother Marthinus, his wife Jesse and their daughter Ada in Bloemfontein to celebrate Ada's birtday and see everyone participate in road cycle races. The kiddies did a "Classic Kiddies Race" on Saturday, 1 November, and my brothers did a 107 km Road Race on the Sunday, 2 November.

Secondly you will see Ada and I with a black doll (well, brown actually) that I made for her birthday and took me THREE years to complete due to the stupid hair having to be woven in strand-by-strand!


The Bloemfontein Weekend / Ada's 3rd Birthday Party:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Illness sucks

I'm once again sick... for like the 3rd time in one month's time! It's my sinuses again and I think that it also did not help that my sister-in-law and brother has also been ill, and I spent the weekend with them.

Could you all just pray that this continuous illness will subside. It really is affecting my personality negatively, and it makes living with me kinda a nightmare.

So, that's all I wanna say right now. I will post some photo's of our weekend away at some other time. Keep well all!

Ciao!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An update on our lives...

It's been quite a while since I last posted anything (a full 8 days!!!) so I thought I would quickly update everyone on our lives.

1. Job Applications:
I called every school before applying for each post, just to make sure that the posts were still available. One school that I called said I did not have all the reference numbers, and therefore took my details to call me back with the 3rd reference number that I was missing. They were quite desperate for OT's, and for each job that you apply for there's a reference number, and they had THREE job openings (right now they are 2 OT's having to treat 400 children!). So they called me last Tuesday (21 Oct) to ask if I would come for an interview as they are in desperate need of an OT. And the fact is, they only could call me cause they had my number from the previous week when they had to give me the extra reference number. Apparently our Department of Education in Gauteng Province prolonged the closing date for applications to 31 Oct, which means it will take the HR Section of the Educational Dept about a month to sort through and short-list the applications sent in. Then the schools only receive the short-listed candidates' applications in Dec (by which time our schools are closed for Summer Holidays) and would only be able to interview the candidates in January. Which means they will only appoint the chosen candidates in APRIL (with the start of the 2nd term in the school year). So I would have been without a job for FOUR MONTHS if this school did not have my number! I'm going for the interview on Friday, 31 Oct - and I am really praying that I will be granted this job! God work in misterious ways, and just even the way that they could get hold of me is awesome!

2. Mother-in-Law's Health:
Thinus had to fly down to Cape Town for work on Friday, 24 Oct and got to spend the weekend and these past few days (up until today, Wed 29 Oct) with his parents in Bellville, Cape Town. His company provided him with a rental car as he was not using their accommodation (saving them TONS of money!), and therefore could zip around everywhere that he had to be. He went to see his mother, who is now in a Physical Rehab Step-Down facility where she is receiving OT and Physiotherapy to rehabilitate her following the injury to her right femur bone (by the way, they decided on putting in plates and not doing a hip-replacement, which is down right awesome). My father-in-law had to remind the two ambitious young ladies (OT & Physio) that my mother in law suffers from a lot of pain, and now the instruction board above her bed reads "Respect Pain". How cool is that?!? Thinus says that his mother had her ups and downs, and that his father is really very drained (physically and emotionally). They looked for caregivers to look after his mother during the week, and finally found some qualified home-based caregivers at affordable rates. The whole family is helping out to help and provide for these caregivers. So please continue to carry my mother-in-law in your prayers, as well as Thinus' father.

3. Having a good life:
I spent the weekend with my parents, driving back to Jo'burg on Monday morning (actually first to Orange Farm and then to Jo'burg after finishing off my work day). I also slept over at my 4th brother's house on Monday and yesterday again to try and lessen the missing-my-husband part. By yesterday I was SO ready for Thinus to come home!!! Tonight when I went and fetched him at the airport, I literally RAN into his arms and started sobbing because it was so good to see him again and be able to HUG him!! He says the flight was somewhat rough, but the pilot must have found the short-cut between Cape Town and Jo'burg, bcoz even though their flight was delayed in the Cape, the STILL landed on-time in Jo'burg. (Apparently the flight took only 1 hour 40 minutes, a total of 10 minutes shorter than usual!)

So this weekend Thinus and I will join 3 of my other brothers to go and visit our 2nd oldest brother in Bloemfontein to celebrate his daughter's 3rd birthday (and the brothers are also participating in a Road Cycle Race on Sunday of 107km!!!). We are completely looking forward to the weekend and just taking time to relax - we are all putting in leave for Friday so that we can leave early for Bloemfontein, which is about 470km from Jo'burg.

And that's about it...and I know by now this post is no longer falling in the "just-a-quick-hi-and-bye"-category, but I hope that it brought you up to date on what's up in our lives. Hope you have a good weekend, cause I'll be spending it away from the computer!

Ciao!

PS: Here are some of the photos of the past two weeks - I included some of the pictures we took at my niece and nephew's Sea Scout Water Sports Day. It was SO cool!






My neighbour, Charmaine, and I after our first official swim for the summer. The piece of cloth around my hair is my swim shorts - I had to keep my wet hair out of the way!














The bottom picture is of Thinus and I, also after the first official swim of the summer...



















Ivan (right) and Zoé (left) preparing for their Kayak Water Polo Event - what a JOL that was?!?!













Joel is always climbing ANYTHING that he can find that will support his hands and feet - even his sleeping uncle Thinus!






Zoé and I (known as Aunty Dolla) taking a little rest next to the lake...whilst Oom(uncle) Thinus, Joel and my brother Gideon (in orange shirt and wide-brim hat) heads back to the shade.

Gideon read a bit while we waited for everyone to finish of their games for the day.

The prize-giving was quite something! And I just LOVE the outfits that the Sea Scouts wear - Sea Officer hats whilst in-land, and a nice 1400km away from the sea!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Long Time No See!!!

It's been a while since I last blogged, although I've really wanted to blog in the last week. I collected photos to put on my next blog entry, and stories to tell....and then I never got to the blogging part!

Thinus and I, together with our neighbour, went for our first swim of the summer on Tuesday, 14 October, and BOY was that fun?!?! We did laps and water aerobics (my tummy muscles ache just at the thought of the water aerobics) and cooled down a LOT! We even took some photos afterwards to commemorate this big event in our lives...how exciting! As for the rest of my exercise, I even went to play squash for the first time in 3 months on Wednesday, 15 October. So I am rather proud of my physical activity these last few days, as I usually am a lazy girl. The thing is, I'm one of those lucky people who only have to exercise twice to see results, like in several pounds (not so many kilograms) - that makes me lazy coz I know that I don't need to exercise often to get results. Not a good way to live a healthy lifestyle!

Regarding my job hunt - I applied for no less than FIFTEEN jobs between Wednesday and Thursday of last week. God has been SO awesome, really changing me from the inside and my attitude towards other sectors of public service, such as the education sector. I have a love for children with learning difficulties, but I have some difficulty enjoying working with children with Cerebral Palsy, as my experience with most of these children are that they are not disciplined and lack respect for me as the therapist (I've been slapped and kicked more times than you can imagine). Even if your child is disabled, they need discipline and routine, and if they don't have this they wreak havoc, just like any other typical child would do without these basics. But children with learnding difficulties, I GET them. I was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age, and the early diagnosis spared me a lifetime of hardship (like my dad had to experience until being diagnosed at age 49?). I knew how to structure my own environment to avoid external stimulation and consequent distraction. Thus I can truly empathise with children that have learning difficulties, as I also have one. So the point of this whole rambling on?

I am now really looking forward to the idea of being a therapist in a school setting, as it will challenge me as a person and as a therapist. The fact that there are added benefits (increase in basic salary, more holidays/leave and less hours per day) also helped to change my mind! I will have more time for Thinus and myself, and my studies...maybe even a little pink foot? But the point is, God really miraculously provided in Thinus and my needs. It turns out that our Gauteng Department of Health are freezing all permanent posts (so if you are not a permanent yet, good luck trying to become permanent if you were on a contract for your community service year) due to over-spending by some major hospitals! I found out about the job vacancies in Dept of Education a cool 7 days before the closing date for application! And here I was applying for Department of Education as well as 3 posts in Dept of Health, not knowing that Dept of Health would not be able to offer me a job! So God really intervened in this matter, knowing that a job at a school would aid Thinus and me tremendously! Praise GOD!

Finally, regarding my mother-in-law...I'm afraid that she's had another serious set-back. She fell on Sunday night, and by yesterday (Monday) her right leg was VERY swollen and she experienced tremendous pain! She was taken to the hospital by ambulance (the driver was SO nice and only drove like 15km/h to prevent her from feeling too much pain and went EXTRA-slow over bumps!) and was immediately admitted. It turns out that she has broken her right femur just underneath the hip joint (that's the area where she has bone-cancer in her hip-girdle), and they had to do surgery to fix the problem. Thus they did an ORIF surgery (i.e. Open Reduction and Internal Fixation) to align the bones and secure the hip as well as the femur bone. Thinus spoke to his father last night, and it sounds as if they had to do a hip replacement, due to her bones being so brittle from the cancer. The doctor says that he cannot guarantee her mobility but that they are aiming towards as much comfort as possible for my mother-in-law. She was admitted to intensive care unit to get through the night, and we will find out this morning how she is feeling. Please pray for my mother-in-law and that her pain will be managed better. Also for Thinus' maternal family, especially his grandmother who is really being hit hard by the foresight that her child might not make it through this. Thinus and I spoke about it, and it is easier to accept to lose a mother (as it is inevitable) than to lose your child (that's just not normal). We are trying to be strong for the family, but we also cry with each other when it all just gets too much. We just wish his mother to be pain-free, as that would really improve her quality of life!

Anywhooo, I'm gonna have to go now so that I can still eat breakfast, bath and get dressed for work before it's too late! I will add some photos when I get a chance to!

Friday, October 10, 2008

More illness and happy days at home!

On Monday I wrote about my B-day and being ill...and then some more. So on Tuesday I went to work, on my way with the Government Transport from Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital (Soweto) to Orange Farm (about 27 km from there), I became SOOOO tired!! As I'm typing this the drowsiness is overpowering me again.

When I got to work I could not think straight and struggled to walk straight! I had difficulty dealing with my morning patients, and then realised I better rebook my afternoon patients or I might just have a narcoleptic attack and crush one of my kiddie-patients! I then fell asleep in one of our consultation rooms (after rebooking my patients) on an examination table (YIKES! - those tables REALLY hurt your body after 2 1/2 hours of sleeping on them!). I was only awoken by 14H00 by a doctor that decided not to give our OT Assistant a message, and wanted to give a message DIRECTLY to me (I did not appreciate that!).

When I spoke to Beauty (our OT Assistant) she asked me, "Are you not maybe pregnant?". And honestly I thought that there is a strong possibility that that could be true, coz I've never been THIS tired in my entire life! And when I got into the Government Transport and we picked up my friend and another female doctor from Lenasia-South Community Health Centre (read: Clinic) they also wondered if I might not be pregnant. So when I got home in the afternoon, I took my car and drove to the local mall to pick up not ONE but TWO pregnancy tests, just to make sure! (I ended up only using one of the tests) And I did the test..and it was negative. (It sucks when you now decide that there is a very real possibility that you're pregnant, have figured out the text-message you're gonna send everyone, just to find out the test is negative!) You see, Thinus and I would LOVE to have kids right now, but our finances will not like it. There is a lot to consider, and with me possibly going back to study next year (albeit a part-time diploma), money can sometimes become a bit tight!

So when I spoke to my mother on Tuesday night, she ALSO asked me if I'm pregnant and at least I could affirm I'm not! But then on Wednesday morning I wake up, and I'm EXTREMELY dizzy! Plus I had aweful stomach cramps, compliments of a mild gluten intolerance that I have and aggravated by eating a whole TIN of Woolworths' Shortbread biscuits! That's when my husband decided that I have to get to the doctor. He then proceeded to take the day of work (and in anycase did his work from home) and took me to the doctor.

The doctor told me I have a serious case of Sinusitis, to the point that I now need to take anti-biotics! I could not believe that Sinusitis could be THIS bad?!?! So now I am on Augmentin SR (these pills are as big as suppositories!), and an antibiotic nose spray that smells like LAVENDER! Yes, you heard me - LAVENDER! (Not nice to spray floral-scented nose sprays into a Sinusitis, and currently hay fever-plagued nose!). Oh, and then I'm also now on Beclate, another nose spray smelling of flowers but is actually a cortisone-based spray to open up airways. And for the big finale, I'm now taking a multi-vit. Previously I was just taking VitB12 &Folic Acid.

And the best?! I've been booked off work until Monday, 13 October. Coz if I don't start looking after myself, my patients will no longer have a nice OT looking after them! Thus I've decided to spend yesterday at my sister-in-law's house, basically vegging out on couch and bed. I did have to sleep a little bit, but mostly I just took things slowly. I also had the time to finally finish the painting of an orange and yellow Gerbera that I wanted to give to this particular sister-in-law.

Whilst at my sister-in-law's place, her children built an Egyptian Shaduf as part of their science & technology lesson (they are home-schooled). It came out SO cool, so please click on the link I provided and read about the purpose of this particular tool. Here are some photos of their Shaduf (built in their back yard!)




Today I'm staying at home, having to get some sort of order in our house, because I'm VERY ashamed regarding the current state of my house! And I will probably do some painting, starting a new painting project and all. Plus we are house-sitting my 4th brother's house (it's got a jacuzzi and satellite TV [similar to cable TV]!! YEAH!!!) for the weekend, and I can't wait to just veg out in front of the TV and sleep late!

But that's me for now! I hope to speak of only good things next week! God Bless!

Ciao!

Monday, October 6, 2008

My 23rd Birthday...Aardklop...and the Psychosocial Presentation

23rd Birthday!!!
Today is my 23rd Birthday, and I'm happy to announce that I am still alive and kicking! It was a strange, and at the same time blessed day!

It started this morning with Thinus and myself waking up to sing "happy birthday" to one of our close friends. And then Heinrich Niemoller (our close friend) said "Oh, but Ronél, Happy Birthday to you too". Uhm...*GULP*...Thinus and I had forgotten that it was my birthday! hehehe! Thanks Heinrich for reminding us that you and I share a birthday!

The bad part about my birthday was, and still is, that I am currently sick with sinusitis, blocked ears, a bad case of hayfever (I've NEVER had hayfever before, but due to drastic weather changes and there not being a lot of rain up to date, THIS year I got it!), post nasal drip (with secondary nausea) and a sore throat. Not a stunning way to start your birthday! But I went to work...and then went home due to being ill. I did get spoiled yesterday (had my birthday party then), and then got the "Onbeskaamd Live!"-CD (STUNNING Afrikaans praise and worship - check out the website!) and the book, "The five love languages" by Gary Chapman with money given to me by my dear friend, Jessica.

I've also been chowing on my shortbread biscuits that I got from my surrogate family in Jo'burg, the Benecke's. It's really been nice this afternoon to listen to my CD, and just chat to everyone that called.

Aardklop...
The festival was the same than any other year...except that Angke and one of her architecture friends, Peet, joined us for a lovely weekend. We spent a LOT of time on visiting and WAY too little time on sleeping! What I did not like about the weekend, was that there were so many DRUNK people, especially young people who are either in Gr.12 or are students at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus. So read more about my husband and my experiences at and experience of Aardklop on his blog.

Psychosocial Presentation
I was up till 3 on friday morning to write this presentation..and God just KNOWS how to bless His children! It went very well with the presentation and a lively discussion followed the presentation. After the discussion as said "Thank you for participating in this discussion, and I hope that you enjoyed the presentation"...and would you know? I GOT AN APPLAUSE!!! No one has received an applause for their presentation this entire year, and here I was: dog-tired, worried about the presentation, and busy becoming ill with WAY too little sleep. And I got an applause?!?! God truly is faithful and worthy of praise!

For the rest I enjoyed my weekend and my day, and now I just wanna get to bed. My husband bought me a Temptations High Viscosity Memory Foam Pillow - but I should actually be saying "cushion", cause it really cushions your neck! It is the most awesome pillow ever, and is very good for correct spinal alignment during night time. So instead of sleeping with the normal 3 pillows all stacked on top of each other, I now only need ONE pillow, and BOY is this pillow heavy! Thinus says if we now have a pillow fight, I'll probably end up with either a concussion or a traumatic brain injury! Hehehe!

But enough of all my pressies. Hope you guys have an awesome week!

Ciao!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Psychosocial Presentation

It is now 02H30 am, and I am SOOOOO tired! Like my Zulu patients at the clinic would say "Katele Kakhulu!" - meaning I am Tired Big! (Very directly translated ;-) )

I just finished my presentation for Psychosocial Meeting, with the Psychologists and OT's from all the clinics in JHB Metro Region A, that I have to give later this morning (in about 6 hours' time - BLEH!). It took me quite some time to actually get to the sitting-down-and-doing-the-presentation-part, but once I started I was on the roll and I just could not stop! It is titled "Taking a Chance on a Second Child (as borrowed from a New York Times article by Michael Winerip) - Impact on a mother's decision to have another child following the birth of a disabled child".

I am glad to say that I think it is a pretty neat piece of work, and that a lot of research went into making sure I presented a well-rounded picture.

But now I MUST go to bed! I have to get up at half past 5 to start packing for my weekend away in Potch! We are going to attend Aardklop, the local Arts Festival in Potch that is held every Spring Vacation. Check out the website...although it is predominantly Afrikaans. However, more and more English, as well as African productions are being introduced into the festival.

AND then I have to come back EARLY on Sunday morning, since I'm having my birthday party on Sunday afternoon, and still have to come clean the house! (I'm turning 23 on Monday...eish...old-age is now setting in LOL!)

So jah, let me get to bed!

Ciao!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A wife once again...and the new South African President

My husband came home in the wee hours of this morning from Cape Town...after driving 14 hours to get to Jo'burg and sleep in his own bed. And it did not do my nerves well to think that he and Marco were driving whilst actually being dog-tired due to continuous road-works along the way! So I am happy to report that I once again have a husband in the house, and that he is much more awake after taking the day off work!

His mother has not been doing very well, and Thinus said that she complained of severe pain (headache I assume) yesterday. I could actually HEAR her crying yesterday morning when I was speaking to Thinus over the phone, and he was 2 rooms away from where she was. So please continue praying for her, and that her pain will stabilize. Only God knows what lies ahead for her and Thinus' family, and I find my strength in the fact that He never takes us through situations / experiences which we can't handle.

As for our new president...uhm...jah. BEFORE today I've NEVER heard of this guy in my LIFE! And it's not as if South Africa is a very big country... His name is Kgalema Motlanthe and if you wanna know more about this dude, feel free to click on his name and you will be directed to an article published in the UK Guardian today. Besides for him being chosen for the President, I also have NO IDEA who this new deputy-president of ours is... a certain Mr. Baleka Mbete. So please read the article attached to the link by clicking on his name.

And then...for all the political turmoil that follows the resignation of our previous president, Thabo Mbeki on Sunday afternoon (21 September 2008). I think about 11 of our ministers and about 3 deputy-ministers have resigned from the cabinet since Thabo Mbeki put forth his resignation. I've stopped trying to keep track of who's resigned, who came back on board (for example Minister Trevor Manuel - Minister of Finance) and who has moved elsewhere (e.g. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang - Minister of Health...right NOW I don't know WHAT she is, but she is part of the presidency). So I've lost track of what is happening in my country...and it terrifies me. But I do believe that God is watching over us, and that He is ultimately in control, even with the human free-wil given to us.

So I will try keep you updated regarding the happenings in South Africa. However the changes come about so quickly that it is hard to keep track. Hope this week is blessed for everyone else, and that the weekend is relaxing!

Ciao!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hubby's short-term farewell...

It is now almost 05H30 in the morning...and I've been up since about 04H15! The reason for such unreasonable times to be awake? Uhm...my husband has a business meeting in Cape Town today, and his plane leaves at 06H30. This means that he was picked up at 5 o'clock to go to the airport, by his friend (Marco) and the friend's mother.

The cool thing about him flying to the Cape, is that he will get to spend the evening with his mother, father and brother. And if I have my way, with his best friend as well! (I'm gonna call his best friend's wife at 06H30 to tell her Thinus is at his parent's home for ONE NIGHT ONLY... I know that he will really love to see Ettienne (the best friend)!) Another awesome thing is that only his dad knows that he is coming, and he had to keep it a secret since SUNDAY AFTERNOON! I think Thinus' mother is gonna be thrilled beyond words to see her son!

Thinus and Marco will be driving back from Cape Town (a cool 1,500 km OR 932 miles) to bring Marco's company car back to Jo'burg. So Thinus decided that they will probably stop over at my 2nd brother's house in Bloemfontein [Bloemfontein to Jo'burg is about 420 km / +- 261 miles] (I'm including the picture of the South Africa Map, so you can fathom these distances!). Then they get to see my very cute niece (the one that I took pictures of in my wedding dress?!?) So I'm either seeing my lovely husband tomorrow night or Thursday morning. But it's worth the wait, and he gets to see his mother!


So I'm all lonely now..but NOT FOR LONG! I get to spend this evening and the WHOLE of tomorrow (which is a Public Holiday ~ Heritage Day) with my family on the other side of Jo'burg! I'm really happy about it, coz I have not seen my brother (my oldest brother) in about 4 weeks, and it's been a week since I've last seen my sister-in-law and the niece & nephews. So I'm sure it's gonna be a blast. Only thing is, my brother and his family are Jewish, and I've not stayed over at their house since they made this transformation a few years ago (They were living in the Eastern Cape, and I was studying in Jo'burg..so I didn't get to see them that often). But I'm sure that we will be able to get past that fact.

Ah well, I better go and pack my overnight-bag now. I will go to my brother's house straight from work...YIPPEE!!!!

PS: Thinus' mother's pain is quickly spreading, especially being really bad in the fontanelle region of her skull. This is because the cancer has spread to the frontal skull bones. So please pray for her, just for some relief from the pain. The medication does not always take away all the pain, and then all we can do is pray.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I have direction!!!

I have been threatening for a while now to apply for a Postgraduate Diploma in Hand Therapy at the University of Pretoria (PTA, South Africa). And this afternoon I FINALLY did it!

I've paid for my application, I've signed the contract, and now I'm just waiting for my new student number so that I can fax through the signed contract to the university. I cannot tell you how psyched I am!

Last year I realised how much fun Hand Therapy really is (when I was supervised by two EXCELLENT Occupational Therapy Hand Therapists at Johannesburg General Hospital). Since then I've known that I really want to study further in this direction. But up to now I have not gotten around to it.

That was until I was asked at my interview on Monday if I have applied for the postgrad diploma yet..and I had to answer "No". That really made me think I better do it fast! So this afternoon (I'm home because I'm still recovering from illness) I actually gathered up all my nerves and called the PTA University to get all the necessary info and how to go about applying for this diploma. And I just LOVE internet, 'coz I did it all via internet without any difficulty (I must say that they have an excellently designed application website!).

Now I know what I will be doing next year, besides for working for the Government's Gauteng Province Health Department. (I am not allowed to study this year, because I'm doing my Community Service Year and that's basically like your internship...or something ~ but you do get paid!)

So yah, just thought I'd share this exciting bit of news with you all! I better get back to bed now...my body is yearning for some rest :o)

Ciao!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The inevitable

There was always one thing in life that I had wished, as a grown-up, to avoid...to never face, to NEVER have to participate in. And that was: The first job interview".

Yip, you heard me! I had to go for my first ever job interview...it was inevitable~ It just had to happen...and I think it went alright. That was until I started replaying the interview in my head --> over and over and over again! Not clever, cause then you start picking up on all your mistakes. And believe me, when you are interviewing for the post of an Occupational Therapist, there ARE mistakes you can make. What mistakes, you may ask?

Things like, applying the wrong patient right to a given scenario; or getting the type of treatment given to a Guillian-Barrè patient in an acute setting right the first time! EISH! Oh yah, and how would you correctly supervise an Occupational Therapy Assistant within the hospital setting...uhm...gave them my answer. I'm wondering if my answer was in line with what they were thinking?...

Anycase, so I went for the interview, both the longest and the shortest 10 minutes of my life! I can't believe that they can actually decide your fate based on 10 minutes spent with me, but okay. And this interview happened with me being ill.

I've been ill since last week Wednesday, having dizzy-spells, sometimes having some nausea, and feeling like my blood-sugar levels were dropping every half 'n hour or so. Plus I had this constant, but not too high fever that would not go away even after taking Paracetamol to fix the problem. But by late afternoon yesterday, it ALL became clear to me. I had developed a bladder-infection (which explains every last symptom!), and it was NOT pleasant!

This morning I called my doctor (one of my sisters-in-law) to ask if I should still not eat/drink anything to take a fasting blood-sugar level test, or if I could PLEASE drink some water and a Urispas tablet since I had now solved the puzzle. She then said that's fine, and that I should just come in for a prescription and a note off work.

The worst is, this morning I woke up (unbeknown to me)at HALF PAST THREE!!!! This is because a bladder infection brings on this beautiful urgency to want to urinate every 2 seconds...3 drops at a time! It was aweful, and because I was still actually asleep I cried a great deal and kept my husband up with me. Now I know why I married this guy! He came and sat with me in the bathroom...to comfort me and just be with me. Then he switched on the TV for company when he had to go back to bed to get just a little bit of rest in until he had to get up for work. He even drove to work, and then I just drove to my (other) sister-in-law (where I spent the day). He was awesome! I love this guy to bits!

Anyhow...a little bit of last-minute info. Thinus (my husband)bought a Sinotec 32" LCD TV yesterday, after having to go without TV for the past 2 or 3 months (I begged him to get rid of our previous TV, which was about 20 years old and giving us more trouble than joy)! And the best is, he bought it for R4899 at Game Stores, as he was able to PRICE BEAT the original price of R5999 with R1000 at Makro (who sold the TV for R4999). The cool thing is, on Saturday he renewed his contract with Vodacom, and got a nice old R2600 voucher with his new contract. Then he Price-Beat Game Store's price, and then he only had to pay in R2300 to buy the beautiful TV! He is the happiest man alive, and now can play X-Box and watch all the UEFA Soccer Games in STYLE! I'll put up some pictures when I'm a bit more rested.

For now I'm going to say ciao. Still have one call to make, and then it is sleepy time!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Painting = Expressing the Soul

About 1 month ago I once again became interested in painting. I used to paint when I was in St.9 / Gr.11, but nothing serious. So I bought a few canvases, new brushes and borrowed my brother's acrylics.

The first painting I did was finished in about 4 hours, and I thought "This is the BOMB!"... until I went to Cape Town and visited my parents-in-law and cousin, of whom my father-in-law and my cousin helped me to improve on technique. My first painting is on a 5"x7" canvas.

Then I produced (with a lot of help and input) the MOST AWESOME yellow and orange rose ever to be painted by me (Okay, it was only the 2nd rose I have ever painted)! It's about the size of an A4 paper...the rose in any case, excluding the border. So the challenge when I got home, was if I could repeat this incredible feat without the assistance of other people...especially my cousin who really gave me such good advice on technique.

I then continued to paint an orchid with only the computer screen to guide me with regards to colour. That was rather difficult, and after a few days I still just wanted to change the think, cause you ALWAYS can change / improve a painting even more! This orchid was painted on another 5"x7" panel.

So please, ladies and gentlemen, feel welcome to view the first presentation of Ronél Swart's paintings!



This is the first painting, titled "Silent Rose".


This is the 2nd painting, titled "A New Beginning". I painted it for my mother-in-law, so that she can also have something nice to look at everyday and know that my husband and I are always thinking of her. She proceeded to hang it up on the wall opposite to where she sits, and says that when she wants to talk to GOD, she finds silence by looking at the rose. Very comforting for us to hear!


This was my 3rd painting, titled "Bowing Out Gracefully". I gave it to my mother, she and my father share a deep affection for delicate flowers. My mother also put it up on the wall opposite her bed, so that she can look at it everyday. I love my mummy!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Life in Orange Farm...

As you could read from my profile info, I'm currently working as an Occupational Therapist in Orange Farm. I also have/had this very nice Samsung U700 mobile phone which has taken a few knocks since last year when I got it, coz I kinda make anything fall easily (except for babies!). So I thought, hmmm...just another year with this phone until I can upgrade on my contract at my service provide. Okay...that's the background to what follows next.

Yesterday I was alone in my department at work at around 12H30pm when two guys saunter into my Child therapy treatment room (adjoining my office). They looked kinda weird, they smelled of alcohol and they were carrying an old plastic clothes bag (Edgars or Jet? I'm not sure) with them.

I was busy doing some sewing, and quickly had to iron a band to make its seam. So there I was ironing, with all my stuff laying on my desk - my phone, the sewing machine, a very sharp pair of scissors, all the material, the iron I was using to iron the material with, and so forth. You get the picture, a very messed up and "deurmekaar" desktop!

These guys then come and say that they wanna ask me something, so I'm like "Yes, how can I help you?". They were standing in such a way that they were blocking the room entrance from me, I'm basically in a corner. They start pulling out old clothes from the bag and try to sell it to me. I told them "I don't have money, no thank you", but they persist. So once again I tell them "I don't have money, I'm not interested, thank you". But they ask me, what about this piece of clothing. They just could not get the hint that I didn't want or needed to buy clothes (and I suspected if anyone bought clothes from them the guys would have used the money for MORE alcohol - I don't know, that's just a calculated guess I made).

Now the guys were standing so that one was on my left in front of me, one stood on my left, but more towards my back. So that one behind me asks again "What about this for R40?", and I turned to him and said "I'm NOT interested, I DON'T have money, can you guys please leave now?".

They did leave, and about 3/4 of an hour later, whilst I was busy packing up everything... my phone was GONE! I first tried to think and be rational about this and looked everywhere that it could possibly have been - my handbag, all my drawers in my office, rummaging through all the material I had just used.

Nothing turned up, so I calmly walked to our Matron's office and asked if I could use the Clinic's cellphone as I was looking for my cellphone and I thought it might be stolen. She was very shocked, and I told her it might just be missing, but I suspect that it was stolen, please give me a few moments. I went back to my department, called my phone and after the first ring someone put the phone down. I called again, same thing, after one ring someone put the phone down.

This is when I knew that I had to get my phone and SIM-card blacklisted, so I quickly called my husband and relayed the story to him (with a lot of emotion!). It turns out the guys distracted me with that last question and when I turned around to the guy behind me, the guy in front of me took my phone from my desktop.

I went back to Matron's office, and she asks me "Where is this therapist?" which I reply to her "this therapist has already left for home". She asked where the other two therapists were, and again my reply was the same. So uhm...ja, bit of a problem cause they left when they weren't supposed to leave!

I have since thought this over a million times, and I'm VERY greatful towards God. I was ALONE in my department, there were very sharp scissors on my desk --> these guys could've stabbed me. I was ALONE in my department, with 3 doors between me and the exit of the department --> these guys could've raped me. They ONLY took my phone, without me realising, and left me alone!

God is AWESOME, He truly protected me. So I have forgiven the guys, and pray that they will find the Lord and repent their wrong-doings. But I'm very frustrated as I lost a few hundred photos stored on my micro-SD memory card.

So this is what I learned yesterday:
1. It's not good to be alone in the department at 12H30 on a Friday afternoon (My husband says that I must tell Matron that I will be working half days on Fridays as a I'm no longer safe on my own and all my colleagues have left by then. On Friday ALL my fellow therapists / colleagues had left already for their "unofficial Friday half day" as always that the matron doesn't even know of! I don't take unofficial half days, I feel that I get paid for a full day, thus I must WORK the full day, EVEN on a Friday!)

2. God's mercies are new every morning, and this day He was REALLY merciful!

3. I must really carry my cellphone out of sight and VERY close to my body to prevent further such events.

4. I'm VERY greatful for insurance, I can now get a new phone --> YIPPEE and next time I will ensure the phone for more than it's worth as I will always have to pay an excess amount of R600 when I make a claim.


So this has been a very long post, but you know, I just had to get this all out of my thoughts and on ... uhm.. digital paper? Keep well and have a good weekend. Be safe and pray for God's protection - ALWAYS!

Ciao!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My brother's visit, A new Bed & Info on Mom-in-Law's condition

Marthinus, Jesse & Ada's visit:
Guys and girls, first of all I HAVE to show you these pictures that I took last weekend of my niece. It's my 2nd oldest brother's kiddie...and she steals my heart EACH time I see a picture of her. Some people/kids are just COMPLETELY photogenic - and she's one of the few!

My brother, his wife and daughter came to stay over at our house last week Friday (25/07), since they have not been to Johannesburg this entire year. So they decided to come and visit, and we had space for them to crash. They got here and their little one (2yr 10 month old Ada) was asleep...and my loud voice woke her up! OOPS! (She kept her parents up the ENTIRE night!) So she and I played with ALL my dolls (she wanted to put all my rag dolls in the bath WITH her!) and we painted her nails, and made her a necklace...and bathed my Polly Pocket dolls --> It was TONS of fun! And the next morning she wanted to play Wedding-Wedding, so we dressed her up in my wedding dress... Here follows the pictures of one of the most adorable children EVER!

Ada checking out what her dad is up to

Oom Thinus & the necklace
Ada the adorable bride!

A New Bed - YAY!!!
Last week Wednesday (23/07), Thinus went and bought our bed - a Cloud Nine: Superior Comfort. These days I'm late for work as I can't get up from this LOVELY bed in the morning! It has been SO awesome! And the company that we bought the bed from delivered the bed within TWO days...and then my brother Marthinus and his wife had the supreme opportunity to sleep on this amazing bed before we did (we thought we might have to give them reason to come back, since I did wake their kid up and all!).
So here is just a very simple of our new bed...Oh ja, Thinus can't stop commenting about how BIG the bed is, and how he can't believe that we have so much space on a BED! He is still getting used to not having to sleep near the edge of the bed (as was the case with our three-quarter bed), but that there is actually space to maneuver around. Plus it is the same height than our computer monitor, allowing us to watch movies whilst lying in our bed - SO cool!
Our brand new bed!!!

Update on my Mom-in-Law
We're still not very clear what's going for what with Thinus' mom, but we are planning to visit her soon. Well, as soon as we've figured out what's actually going on (not meant in a bad way). So this weekend we'll talk to my parents about the situation, and then we'll decide when to go to Cape Town (definitely in the next 6 weeks or so). Thinus' mom seems to be doing well, and she's experiencing less pain since her dosage of morphine has been increased - we're SO relieved that she's feeling better physically! But I will continue to let you know what's happening with her. Just keep praying for the Lord's will to be done in this matter.

Over and out for now...I've got to go and cook dinner now!
Ciao!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Illness and Death

This is just a quick entry, although morbid it may be.

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with Takayasu's Syndrome approximately 17 years ago, and was told that she will have a slow and painful death. Plus that it would take about 15 years, then the disease will take her life. Okay, so it's two years past the predicted 15 years and she's still with us (thank God!).

Last year, just before Thinus and I got married, she was also diagnosed with lung cancer causing the doctors to have to perform surgery to remove one of the lobes of her left lung. The cancer then metastasized (spread) to her pelvic bone region, causing bone cancer (this is as far as I understand it - Mom, you must correct me if I am wrong). She's been in severe pain for the past year, to the point that my father-in-law had to make her a special bed/chair to accommodate her pain. She is also taking morphine syrup, although it is not taking the pain away - thus the dosage was adjusted yet again yesterday morning.

Last week my mother-in-law went for a CT-scan, and it was found that she has some new spots / spreading of the cancer to her skull (and I think the brain, although it is not that clear to me). Yesterday my mother-in-law went to see the oncologist regarding the results and he stated that with her symptoms the life expectancy is about 3 months (my brother, also an oncologist, stated that her symptoms points towards a life expectancy of 0-6 months, but one always state the average, which is 3 months). She was in tears (understandably so), and my father-in-law rushed home to be with her. My brother-in-law John (age 24) does not want to hear of any possibility that his mother might pass away.

It was a rough day yesterday, trying to organize plane tickets to go visit my in-laws, residing in Cape Town, SA (about 1400km away from Johannesburg). I wanted my husband to spend his birthday with his mom, but she's gonna be having guests over this weekend, and the following weekend (which is when it's hubby's B-day!). So Thinus' grandmother suggested that we rather not go now, when EVERYONE Is going. So we'll be taking a September holiday to go and see his parents, and it also works out about R1000 cheaper than it would if we flew to Cape Town in 2 weeks' time.

So ja, just thought I would ask for people to pray for my mother-in-law and her family. She is in so much pain, and I just pray that God's will be done.

Will keep you updated regarding her condition. Ciao!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stupid VW Jetta's!

For the final 2 years of my varsity life I drove a Red VW Jetta that belongs to my dad. Last year it started acting up, and by September it was REALLY behaving badly. By October 20th or so, the car one day made strange noises whilst my husband was driving it, not really liking to be started up. I drove it the next day, and wam-bam-thank-you-Ma'am, suddenly the car is not starting at all! No matter WHAT we tried after that, we could not get it to start.

So we towed the car to my husband's work (as I had just left his work and was closer to him than our home)and there the car stood...and stood....and stood some more! About a 1 1/2 months ago, we finally had enough money to fix the car... well to START fixing the car. First we replaced the starter... then it would not start. Charged the battery for what seemed like FOREVER. Then we replaced the spark plugs and floater complements of my oldest brother (this is a device that is somewhere in the carborator ("vergasser" in Afrikaans) and prevents the car from flooding, or something, when the choke is pulled out)... and the car STILL would not start. Once again we tried to jump-start the car and charged its battery. We did consider to put in some petrol, but the petrol gauge was still on a quarter-tank. My dad came last night to fix the car, YET again! They were busy, ONCE AGAIN, charging the car's battery!

My youngest brother and I got bored whilst hubby and daddy were fixing the car... so we decided to go and buy some petrol. And guess what happened as soon as petrol hit the petrol tank? Well...the car considered for a few moments to start, then actually succeeded in doing so once we cranked up the REV's on my dad's car... and then it died again after two minutes. This car is really suicidal, cause it just WANTS to remain dead...how stupid! I called my oldest brother for help, and HE said "Clean the spark plugs, coz it might have become dirty in the meantime by the carbon/soot in the system" --> secondary to the stupid float having burst in the first place (requiring replacement).

Cleaned the spark plugs...and guess what? The car ACTUALLY committed itself to life again, for a short while and then it required some more psychoanalysis to convince it this life is worth driving through! So ja, the car is working, I'm happy and my mom and youngest brother are relieved that my dad finally has a more trustworthy car to drive with! (Today everyone at Thinus' work must have thought something is missing, and then realise that the parking lot ornament of the past 10 months-or-so, is GONE...someone actually stole it?...whatever!)

God is awesome, really, coz He knew I just could absolutely NOT handle another day of knowing that I have to repair the car, or find someone to do it for me. So here follows a few pics of what a car looks like after remaining stationary in one spot for over 10 months - and interesting facts on what happened to the petrol price in those 10 months!





The last time I threw in petrol into the Red Jetta, the petrol price was at...wait for it... R6-87/liter! Can you ACTUALLY believe there was such a time? And with that it was not that long ago. Thus the petrol price have increased by about 80% or so since October 2007! Now there's something for you to ponder on... Enjoy your day!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What a big, BIG God we serve!

This is once again a testimony of how awesome God is, and how He just knows when to provide! God has NEVER once failed me, and has always been faithful, even though I'm not always faithful!

About 3 weeks ago, my husband was curious about certain items on his internet banking site, and discovered this "Unit Trust" with a surplus amount of quite a bit of money in it! And then about 1 1/2 weeks ago, my back started acting up again (I've had back problems since the age of 9 years following doing long-jump). I suddenly could not sleep, and cried basically every morning due to a lack of sleep and a seriously hurting back. So Thinus (my husband) said we can use the money, if it indeed is available to us, to buy a proper bed.

Thus today we started our Saturday bright and early, to go to the bank and inquire about the unit trust. It turned out that this was a loan my husband took out about 5 years ago to pay off a Opel/Vauxhall Cadet that he had just bought. But he never stopped depositing money into the loan account / unit trust, and today he has about R3000-00 more in the account than he originally borrowed from the bank. Why? Cause it is an inflation-beater account, which means that when you deposit money into the account, every quarter the money builds interest with the current inflation rate + 3% above the inflation rate (this is where I basically become lost regarding the process). But what happened was that he kept depositing money into this account, even after paying off the loan, and thus building a serious nest-egg for us when we would need it.

Thus FIVE YEARS AGO God knew that we would need a new bed, and for that we required cold hard cash, cause we can't really buy anything else on account now (I don't like debt, and our cost of living has seriously increased since I have to travel approximately 2000km p/month for WORK ONLY (petrol is expensive)! How awesome is God! He is omnipresent, otherwise He would not have been able to know that 5 years in advance we would need a bed, and thus money to buy that bed!

So today we went bed-hunting, and although we are not loaded with money, we still wanted to buy a decent bed that would last for the next 10 - 15 years (by then I ought to be able to buy the next bed cash again!). So we looked at the Sealy Posturpedics, Slumberland's, Serta's, Rest Assured, Simmons', and FINALLY the Cloud Nine range. WOW! It was really difficult to find what we liked, and all the sales-people were so good at trying to convince us! We've now decided on a Cloud Nine, as it works with foam only, thus you don't get wear on Coil Springs as you would in other ranges. The foam just returns to its original state after you get off the bed, because it is memory-foam. And no coil springs, means a lesser chance to wear and tear the bed!

So ja, next week Wednesday we're buying the bed (when our money that we got from the unit trust is transferred), and by next weekend I shall be on Cloud Nine, there right next to Heaven's gate, telling God just how good He is to us, and how much His compassion for us means to me!

Keep well, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Great Recipes, Minister Manto, & awesome water fights!

I know that I said I would post my new-found favourite recipe on Saturday-gone-past, but truth is I was too tired when we got back from Pretoria to do anything but vegetate on our bed and watch TV-Series.

Anyhow, right now I'm being a good housewife --> cooking food (in a steamer, as I would not be writing this blog at any other cooking time), and doing the past 2 weeks' laundry. So I thought about putting up this recipe, and here goes:

White Onion Soup and Fresh Cream Baked Mixed Veg: (WHAT A MOUTHFUL!)
Ingredients:
* 1x Packet Royco White Onion Soup
* 1x 250ml (?) Fresh Cream
* 1kg Precut/Prepared Mixed Veg (In a sealed bag)
* 100g Cheddar Cheese, Grated finely
* Tin foil to cover prepared dish with

TIP: I would suggest that you use a deep, but medium-sized (20x30cm) oven dish, instead of a big shallow dish, to ensure all the veggies are covered in the cream and soup mixture.

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius
2. Cut a 1cm corner off the sealed bag containing mixed veggies and pop into the
microwave oven for 8 - 10 minutes to steam veggies until it is soft but crunchy.
3. Heat up the cream in a small dish and add the soup mixture to the cream --> mix
thoroughly until there are now clots left. (You could also add seasoning salt and
pepper to your taste)
4. Cut open bag of veggies (Be careful with the steam escaping!) and throw it into a
smeared oven dish, spreading it evenly throughout the dish.
5. Pour cream and soup-mixture over veggies, making sure to cover ALL veggies with
some of the mixture.
6. Scatter the grated cheese over the mixed veggies-dish, ensuring that all the
top-layers of food is covered with cheese.
7. Cover entire oven dish with tin foil (shiny side outside), with no gaping holes
and sealed at all sides.
8. Place in the oven and bake for 40 - 50 minutes until all cheese are molten and
golden brown on top.

* * * * *

Minister of Health - Madam Manto Tshabalala-Msimang:
Today I was in the fortunate / unfortunate position to come face-to-face (well, more like back of head to my face) with our Minister of Health. She attended a HUGE Mental Health Awareness Campaign hosted by the Johannesburg Metro Region A clinics (one of which is Stretford Clinic where I am working currently). Anyhow, it was as I expected - she looks EXACTLY like our matron at my Clinic! They could actually have been sisters - but with the exception that I prefer spending a quiet afternoon with our matron much more that I think I would enjoy the minister's conversation. Although, I should probably not make such harsh judgments, as I have not ACTUALLY spoken to the minister and found out if she actually believes all that she is saying when giving a speech. My supervisor did however say that her speech was really good, but I do have my apprehensions about WHY her speech might have been good. See, I have this very sneaky suspicion that someone else probably wrote her speech, but that all apart. I just thought it cool that I could finally see this minister in body, although I would have appreciated it if we could have given her a relaxation therapy class - which her VIP said she would like to attend, but never did. But that's enough of that, because the food was good, the day was interesting and my friends' conversation was just plain lekker.

This brings me to my third and final point:
We had the most amazing time smashing water-balloons against a wall to de-stress. In the meantime not ALL of the balloons ended up on the wall, but some also made their way to our supervisor's car, as well as each others' feet and occasionally their heads! I had a great time with my friends, and it was good to loosen up a bit and forget about your worries or the consequences of bombing your supervisor's car with water balloons! I once again salute my friends who enjoy the funky side of life!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Life's too short not to enjoy!

1. Treat your husband well:
Last week I got the shock of the week on Monday night when I received an SMS that someone I know from school and church's husband died. The worst is they had only been married for 6 months! This really got to me, and I realised that I have to treat my husband with respect and love ALWAYS, not just when I feel like it. It has made such a difference in my outlook on our marriage, and I'm happy to report that Thinus has been treated like royalty up until now. I never leave home without telling him how much I love him, and now I actually ENJOY cooking food (I used to loath it!) - it could be our last meal together. So I am now living by the motto of "Live every day as if it is your last on earth". It's corny, I know, but it's really the truth!

2. Visit your friends and tell them how much they mean to you:
I took leave this past week, as it was our first wedding anniversary. In this time I also spent some quality time with all those I love - my family, my friends in Jo'burg and my friends in Pretoria. It was amazing to see all these friends and enjoy a cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate with them. I truly realised that they mean the world to me, and that I can't go through life not acknowledging their part in our lives. Thus it has been a rewarding week, filled with love and enjoyment.

3. Have a Tea-party:
Today is one of my hostel-mommies' birthday party, and I can hardly wait! The invitation said "Dress up with a hat or pearls", so naturally I went on an extensive search to find just the right stuff. Finally I found a loooooong string of pink fake pearls at a haberdashery and then the outfit to suit it compliments of my aunt trying to sort out her house (YET again!). I won't elaborate on my outfit, as I will post the pictures tonight after the party - my friend whose party it is reads my blog (I think), and I don't want to spoil this for her! My husband is still trying to figure out what he is suppose to wear, so I'm doing casual-formal for him --> a decent shirt, dark jeans and Bronx. Hope it works out for him, and maybe I will even throw in a nice ol' jersey, as it is somewhat chilly this morning!

4. Clean up the house (in the company of your husband):
So last night we had my brother and his family over (2 adults, 3 kids) and I cooked up a STORM(will add the recipe tonight)! Now we are sitting with the after-math of this occasion, i.e. TONS of dishes to do (actually not that many, but our dish-basin only has one basin, causing our kitchen to look over-crowded by all the dishes). But Thinus has very kindly offered to help clean up the lot, so I'm really gonna enjoy cleaning up, 'coz I'm spending the time with Thinus. Thus nothing to worry about - all's well that ends well.

Ciao for now...expect some uber-cool blog post tonight!

Friday, June 27, 2008

My visit to the Zoo!

Mel and I

Today I was fortunate enough to visit the Johannesburg Zoo, as part of our Johannesburg Region A Metro Rehab Department's Team Building... (*phew* - What a mouthful!) Anyway, this was only the SECOND time in my entire 22 1/2 years of existence that I had the opportunity to visit a zoo (the last time was in 1997, when I was 12 to celebrate my nephew's birthday)!



I don't wanna say a lot about the zoo itself, more about the experience. I look at those animals and I feel VERY small compared to them - have you EVER seen the size a rhinoceros grows to?! And the whole time I was there, I kept on thinking how awesome the LORD is to have made all of these majestic animals. GOD truly has a very vivid imagination. And it was also interesting to note that each antelope / mammal species had its own bird accompanying it in the encampment. I found it awesome how these animals could live in such peace with each other, complete balance.

I think my most exciting experience was getting the chance to see a polar bear in real life, as well as the rhinoceros and hippopotamus. They are so huge, and it is awesome to think that GOD provides for them.

So anyway, here follows a few photos of my day at the zoo. Hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking this pictures!

Check out the little squirrel on the right of the rhino.