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!

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 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!)
* 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.

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!