Thursday’s almost mental collapse!

Written on the 28 February 2008 at 9.48 pm

(2 mths after surgery)

I have to get this out of my system once and for all…

The Brace

I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept more than 3 hours a night (even with sleeping meds), since my surgery mid-November 2007. Shouldn’t share that with anyone as I’m in a horizontal position most of the day and no one can really understand how I can be tired. But during the night my mind is swirling and twirling with family problems. and crises.

The usual & unusual things that get so blown up in the quiet of the night. A mind needs sleep. Plenty of it.. or at least, enough of it! This morning I was awake at 4 am. After getting to sleep around 1.30 am.

I do keep justifying my exhausting days to myself. Every time I get off the bed, I have to put on the brace. It’s heavy, uncomfortable, fastens at the back. Even merely going to the bathroom or kitchen to fetch a drink or open the blinds is a mission – the brace has to be on. No bending (with or without said brace – not that one could bend with this monstrosity on one’s person) and definitely no sitting.

I can walk. But walk to where? Up and down and through my house and garden and up the driveway. How long will this go on for? Over the past 4 months I’ve wondered if I can cut it. And the platitudes – I know my family and friends mean well, but when they say “you’re so strong, you can handle it, it’s not long now,” and they “know how I’m feeling”, I want to scream. And with all the other problems I think of at night, these words from the well-meaning pump through my brain. How do they know what it’s like… I mean honestly. I’m being horrible, but I can’t take much more of the well-meaning advice. I’m the expert now, after 4 major back surgeries! I’m the one who’s done the research into every drug and every surgical procedure on a back, prior to going under a knife! (Do not ask me about mental problems though… that I know nothing about.)

With artificial bone inserted although way up the vertebral column with metal rods, plates and screws on either side, we have to wait for the bone to fuse all of these. Perhaps I can start the 5 mins a day sitting routine by middle of March. And then it’s 10 mins for a week, etc etc.

It can take a year. Dependent on friends to do even my household shopping etc. makes me feel so useless. For someone who has been so independent all her life and never ALLOWED anyone to do anything for her, and worked at a job and at raising 3 children and being a homemaker and a wife, this has been one of the hardest experiences of my life. Especially going through it a 2nd time in a year. Cannot believe how totally reliant one has to become on others. Every time I’m on my own, I find I drop things – a pencil, book, a tray of ice in the kitchen, a remote control. Some of these I can pick up with my toes. Amazing how a body learns to compensate. And braai tongs work some times. But some objects spend the day lying on the floor until the hubs or anyone gets here and picks everything up.

I’m impatient, frustrated, angry and irritated. I have to keep remembering that I’ve been to hell and I’m on the way back now. I cannot let anyone or anything jeapordise or get in the way of my recovery this time. I have to keep telling myself that it’s okay to be selfish about this. If not, I could well land up in a wheelchair or worse. I couldn’t imagine not going to America to spend quality time with my precious angel grandchildren. I do keep looking at the before and after X-rays to remember what can still happen if I don’t take care of myself.

SURGEON GENERAL & DINX’s WARNING: These pictures are not for the fainthearted. View at your own risk.

Above: After the fatal fall on 15 October 2007, the vertebral column totally collapsed on itself, almost folding over, onto the lower spinal fusion , (metal plates & screws), from October 2006. The L1 vertebra was totally smashed and my spinal column was literally hanging on a thread.

X-rays taken after surgery (15 November 2007), in January 2008. Quite amazing how with metal rods and plates and screws, cement and bone, my spinal column has been almost straightened. However, I’m left with one leg slightly shorter than the other. Something I’ll have to live with.

In the meantime, while I wait for the sitting and driving go-ahead, I fill the empty spaces of my life and distract the full spaces of my mind with Sudoku (my passion), online Scrabble and Boggle, with friends around the world and I’m now even trying to teach myself Texas Hold’em Poker online. And lest I forget, my blog here and my Face Book groups!

Any one know of a local online Kaluke card game I can join?

Travelogue – USA

Sun 2 Mar 2008, 17:09    4 Comment(s)

WEEK of 23 – 30 September 2007

After recovering from spinal surgery, or almost, by July ‘07, I decided, in my wisdom, to book my trip to the USA to see my children and grandchildren. I was missing them terribly and I just HAD to see them. I always go first and my hubs (B) comes a few weeks later for a couple of weeks.

I planned to be visiting with them in Northern California, (last September 2007) for almost 2 months, so my eldest daughter (N.) and myself planned a trip down to Southern California with her 3 children, taking the 2 boys out of school, for a week. Tee (other daughter), wasn’t able to join us due to work commitments. We based ourselves in San Clemente, Orange County – more or less midway between Los Angeles and San Diego on the coast and Palm Springs, inland in the desert. With so many of our friends and family in all those areas, we wanted to be able to see everyone. Actually, we were hoping that everyone would come and meet us there at some stage during the week. But Americans are different to South Africans, even ex South Africans change over time. They’re not as willing to go out of their way, as we are. I’m not sorry though, it gave us the opportunity to see the whole Riverside, San Juan Capistrano area and, that we didn’t see all our friends, was unfortunate, but fine in the end.

My plan was to drive on the Pacific Highway along the coast but Nicki wanted to go on the 101 S, which wasn’t as convoluted and slow as the Interstate 1 (Pacific Highway). In the end, because we left the East Bay pretty late on the Sunday morning, we took neither, opting for the bigger and thus quicker route from the 580 onto the Interstate 5 South, about 8 hours down to San Clemente, which borders on the Orange and San Diego Counties. Notwithstanding the pitstops for the 3 kids and ourselves, I think we did it in pretty good time.

Initially, our plan was to stop at friends in Calabasas, south of Ventura County, but leaving so late meant we had to nix that plan and opt to go back through LA on Monday to spend time with them. Which, we duly did the next day and had a lovely time with our dear friends. The kids swam in their pool and we caught up with current family and mutual friend news. What a gorgeous area Calabasas is. It’s inland from and in line with Santa Monica. After lunch we took the scenic route – the Pacific Highway – back to San Clemente through Los Angeles, stopping in Dana Point for a closer look at the sea and a walk on the beach. I love the sound and the smell and watching the sea. Any sea. It brings a spiritual serenity to my soul. And experiencing it with Daniel, Zak and Sage and of course N, made it even more meaningful.

Above : Dana Point Pier

Interestingly, it’s the surfing media capital of the world and famous surfers live there, (eg. Greg Long). Tony Tave, the skateboarding champion lives in San Clemente, amongst other TV and movie celebrities.


Below right: San Clemente Centre

Tuesday was our day to explore the San Clemente village. So quaint and cute. I would have liked to visit the Richard Nixon museum. (He bought the house in 1968 and named it La Casa Pacifica and when he resigned as President, retired there to write his memoirs). Not a place for young children though and we have to save something for next time!

In the afternoon we took a drive to Irvine to some of N’s friends. They live in a wonderful gated community with gorgeous parks. Everything is so safe and beautiful. We drove back the 40 minutes to San Clemente quite late after supper, but the roads are safe and it was much quieter than in peak hour traffic, so it was an easy ride.

Wednesday, we had decided, was the day for LegoLand in Carlsbad. Not confirming gate times etc., we took the ride further South on the I 5 toward San Diego. Driving into Carlsbad and Legoland, we were confronted by bolted down booms. Legoland is NOT open on Wednesdays out of season! Not a trainsmash – firstly these grandchildren of mine have been to Legoland before, and our family in San Diego would be delighted to have us… hopefully! Auntie Myrtle and Uncle M were with my cousin and thank G-d for mobile phones. Myrt and Man were very excited and off we drove to cousin S’s home. We were fortunate too, that we had “Mrs Garmin” with us. The kids were hysterical as the Garmin GPS’ `voice’ can be changed from an Australian male to an American lady. Of course MY grandkids speak “American” so we had to use that one mostly and I called her Mrs Garmin. Loads of fun was had asking Mrs Garmin which route we should take. In between that, the tons of songs we sang, enhanced our road trip experience over the week, tenfold. (I can’t sing but Daniel, Zak and Sage don’t seem to mind, so N has to put up with it, laughing hysterically at me most of the time).

In San Diego, after the kisses and hugs, and food and drinks, N and boys went to Sea World for the afternoon and I looked after Sage with Myrt and Mannie. Sagee had her midday nap and I rested in the sun at the pool. BLISS. She was so cute when she woke up, Madame Sage. She played the piano and took all my bracelets and watch off my arms and put them on her own. She is a real “girlie” girl.

Later on, in the afternoon the Sea Worlders came back, laden, (of course), with knickknacks and loads of stories to tell.

…..more later

Trying to squash a rumour is like trying to unring a bell.— Shana Alexander

Hi, I’m an addict…

Tue 4 Mar 2008, 08:08        18  Comment(s)

Every day, for almost the past 3 years, I have done the London Daily Telegraph’s Sudoku & submitted it. (There are two every day, one for competition and one gentle, for fun and weekly, there is an extreme competition version). Except of course for the periods of time of surgery and recovery when I could not, physically, go to the desktop computer. I had refused to get a laptop for fear of becoming totally debilitated. However, I still attempted books of Sudoku, lying on the bed, But in my feeble-minded state after surgery, I wasn’t managing very well during those periods of time.

I am an addict and I admit to it. In between the daily’s, I had being buying tons of books & magazines of Sudoku and whenever I had a spare moment, I did another grid. I’ve had loads of time over the past year with two back surgeries(?) and  recovery, so you can imagine how many Sudokus I’ve done. I stopped doing crossword puzzles, blockbusters and the giant teaser crosswords. I’d stopped reading for some time: after being such an avid reader my whole life and managing to gobble up 3 novels a week (all at night due to work constraints).

I’m passionate about stimulating the mind. It’s a fear I have of falling victim to Alzheimers or a dementia of some sort, G-d forbid. I do believe mind stimulating puzzles can prevent early onset of these diseases.

So why am I talking about this now?
Since I got my laptop and set it up on my tummy and then stepped back into 24.com blogs and this community, I’ve become hooked… on you! There are days when I don’t even do ONE Sudoku. (AND I’ve stopped playing online poker). Sad, to say the least, but I can say with total honesty, that I enjoy being here and learning about so many of you, through reading your blogs. It’s a slow process, to read and get to know about everyone, but I am getting there.

Thank you, one and all, for making me welcome. And if I’m slow in answering your comments, do please forgive me. I will get to respond eventually. Problem is, I get sidetracked and tend to go off on tangents to other blogs, in the middle of reading another.

Back to the blogland drawing board I go!
“Hello, my name is Dinx and I’m a blog addict”.

Topics:  sudoku back surgery blog 24.com puzzles crosswords

Sage

Tue 4 Mar 2008, 14:56        20  Comment(s)


Last week, my precious munchkin (granddaughter) of 20 months, Sage Olivia had her first haircut. The first is the before picture – getting prepared for the big event with pacifier in place, in case…

Below: the after pic with wet and combed hair. She’s delectable and edible and I miss her so much.

Topics:  granddaughter grandchild

Ergonomically and environmentally speaking

Fri 7 Mar 2008, 17:20        6  Comment(s)

At the beginning of the week Supagran debated Laptop vs Desktop PC. I’ve always been a strong defender of the Desktop version. But, when needs must etc., and I had no choice after back surgery, 4 months down the line I’m getting pretty used to this set-up. In fact, I may even start working (real work), on the laptop soon, instead of standing at the desktop for 15 mins at a time and then conking out on the bed or walking. I have to admit that my little angled ‘thingie’, (couldn’t think of the name at the time I commented on the debate), has made my life so much easier.

It’s called an ergo-tilt and this morning, just when I was going to take a picture of my red “ergo-tilt”, I realised there had to be a web site. Very interesting it was and impressed me even more as it is a green product. Interestingly and correctly, as we ourselves have found out, ergonomists in the USA are worried about upper body and upper extremity problems from the use of laptops – read the article by Stephen Friess, Laptop Design can be a pain in the Posture.

And in case you need more info on this little ‘thingie’, check out the video Laptop tilts

I’m very into my and my family’s responsibility to save our environment. I believe the little things do make a difference. If every one of us did one thing (like recycling paper and/or changing 5 of our light bulbs to fluorescent energy-saving ones), it definitely would cut down on the carbon emissions in the world. To give some real statistics, (somehow these always makes it ‘more true’), the average US household receives approximately 1 1/2 trees’ worth of junkmail every year. Most of these trees are trashed. You/they may read some of them, but mostly it’s all still trashed, after. If all Americans recycled their junkmail, the landfill dumping fee of $370 million could be saved. I have no idea of South African statistics.

My daughters live in San Francisco which is very environmentally conscious. I’m not sure about the rest of the West Coast, but the whole East Bay area and San Francisco have an incredible system: Three bins: one for garbage, one for paper and the third is for glass and tin plus other metal items. These bins are picked up every week at the same time and each city council ensures that the landfills are kept sorted. PVC and other plastics are not recyclable and in the USA amounts to 1.23 million tons per year. The staggering amount of gunk filling this earth is very frightening.

Litterbugs beware, Dinx is on the warpath!

Trying to squash a rumour is like trying to unring a bell.– Shana Alexander

Topics:  ergonomically laptop recycling green

On ageing well…

Sat 8 Mar 2008, 14:48

I love this guy… have to share this with you

George Carlin’s Views on Aging

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m four and a half!’ You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key.

You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16!’ You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life .. . You become 21.
Even the words sound like a ceremony YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re Just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30 ; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; ‘I Was JUST 92.’

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’ May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

HOW TO STAY YOUNG

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay ‘them.’

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10.Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.

Catching up

Mon 10 Mar 2008, 17:42

The past few days, when I popped in, I tended to get carried away reading as many blogs as I could and getting totally sidelined commenting and not writing on my blog. I had decided, in any case, I was spending far too much time here and not responding to email, which has collected over the past 5 months. Reading through the mail, I realised so many of our friends around the globe, didn’t even know that I had broken my back and I owe them some explanation for not responding. I mean, how rude can one be, after all.

Now that I’m set up with said ‘ergo-tilt’ and laptop on a pillow, on my tum, I have absolutely no excuse, except that I am embarrassed that I’ve played a ‘kyk-weer’ on all of them. I mean, it was only a year ago, that I had told them about my recovery from the first back surgery. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be quite laughable. The good news, for me, is that I’ve managed to respond to 50 emails over the past weekend. Another 100 to go, but at least I’ve made a start. And it’s a lot better than writing snail-mail. Although, personally, I am sad that the art of real letter-writing is a dying art form. In my present circumstance, however, I thank G-d I don’t have to write with pen and paper. I used to have a pretty good handwriting and even turned out the odd bit of calligraphy, but from years of tapping on this keyboard, my ‘beautifully turned’ handwriting, has gone to the dogs. In any event, it’s much more difficult to write whilst lying on a bed, with head positioned no more than 30 degrees from that horizontal position.

I’ve had a few good laughs too, in busying myself with mail. No sooner have some of my replies been sent, than I’ve had replies to replies. Some people are just too damn ‘on-the-ball’. [Aside to myself: I used to be like that and I can see how annoying it can be to some]. Some of the humour posts received, have been hysterical and I see I’ve let my humour distribution list down as well. In the ‘old-days’ from 1996 until about 2006, I ran a humour list. Only people who requested they be added, were and by the end of 1996 there were a minimum of 250 people on that list. Probably closer to 400 by 2006. Seems as though I’ve got some maths and editing to do on the lists.
The posts were moderated by me – no racial slurs or bigotry of any kind, hence I went through each joke with a pretty fine toothcomb. My humour members are now chomping on the bit, so it seems that I will be starting that again in the not-too-distant future.

While out of commission, when nothing else was on my mind, except neurology and orthopaedics, I carelessly had slipped up in paying for the MOONBEAM domain. This had run from early 1995 until the end of 2006. This was the site, or rather home, of South Africans, local and ex-pat around the globe. It was the base of Channel #Moonbeam on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), otherwise known as the unofficial South African Channel. When I was more compis (sp?) mentis, last year, I did some searching and found that some arb Canadian had poached my domain name and was offering it for sale at $500. Cheap, I’m told in the WWW economy, however, there was no way I was going to pay for MY name.

In any case, Channel Moonbeam was never run for profit and I carried that site with the help of some sponsoring of ISP’s since inception. Except the ISP sponsorship went out the window in about 2002/3, when they didn’t need me any more!
I wrote a very polite letter to him, (poacher), requesting he give me back my name and domain and he, not very politely at all, totally ignored me. And I just sat back and waited… and waited…

Yesterday, I took a chance on COZA names database, (which I’ve been doing pretty regularly, since the hi-jack), and found that moonbeam has been thrown back into the pot again. It took me 2 mins and a credit card to re-register and I feel as though my world is going to start coming right now. Not that I’m betting on this of course. It all means I have to upload the Moonbeam data again, but not before it gets a total revamp. Wonder how many more of our ‘old’ friends will come back to re-visit. It will be just like a lucky dip methinks and I look forward to it. In the meantime, I’d better send an email out to the moonbeam list, which I’m sure is not very current or up to date and of course to my humour list, letting them know that I’m back in circulation, somewhat half-baked, or half-cocked, but willing to attempt to take up the reigns again.

And wondering how many of them will be up for the challenge of assisting in this endeavour. Time will tell…

We have to keep believing

Tue 11 Mar 2008, 14:54

On this sad day, I, like most, have used the time for reflection and introspection. I’ve also done some research on why bad things happen to good people. In everything I’ve read, it all goes back to G-d. That He has a plan for us and whatever it may be, we shouldn’t question. However, in some of the Talmudic lessons, it says that with the death of a loved one, and awful suffering, it is permissible to question G-d. You won’t find all the answers, but you ‘allowed’ to ask WHY? And in time, we may learn the reason.

When my father died of a heart attack 20 years ago at a very young age,  I asked “why?”. Especially as this happened 4 days after his younger brother died of a heart attack on the other side of the world! I did, in time, come to make peace within myself for my dad’s, (and uncle’s), passing. I have been questioning, since my brother died suddenly 3 1/2 years ago, of a heart-attack, while playing a soccer match.  At the time, a Rabbi friend told me that He only gives us what we can cope with. Never more. And not to punish us, but to teach us and others around us, how to deal with our/their lives ahead. And he added, in my case, it was definitely a teaching tool for the others around me. He re-iterated this when I had my 3rd back surgery in 2006. I honestly tried to believe there was a reason for it all. It’s difficult NOT to blame oneself, eg. ‘I must be a very bad person for this to have happened’. Somehow or another, one gets the strength to carry on and fortunately for me, I have a positive personality and character. Although I tend to keep ‘it’ in and show the world a stoic face. Not a good thing, not always.

When I questioned G-d after I had the awful fall in 2007, that resulted in a broken back, I came to terms with that and found the inner strength to survive. But then, Auntie M. was murdered in cold blood, in an attempted car-jacking. Just 4 weeks ago. In fact, exactly 4 weeks ago TODAY! How can I not question G-d’s motive or plan? Yes, M and all those my family have lost are in a better place. But why did M. have to go in such a cruel and violent way? And what about my poor mom – why did she have to go through the trauma of losing her sister 4 weeks ago, in front of her eyes. They spent almost every day of the past year in each other’s company, if only for a few minutes a day. They spoke on the telephone more than once a day. It’s unfathomable. And losing her vibrant, only son, at such a young age. I wonder what G-d’s plan is for her? I can’t help wondering. At her age to have faced such hardship and so many losses. It feels as though she’s had insurmountable peaks to climb at every step of her life. Every day I listen to her sobbing on the phone. She’s strong, but she’s so terribly sad.

And then yesterday, hearing the news of Lyndatjie’s godchild, Gracie. Horrific and devastating and violent. So horribly cruel and totally senseless. I cannot help but ask G-d what his plan is for this poor family. A family who are in horrific agony. Why? I have no doubt, He has his reasons, but at this stage I have to admit, I wonder what they are or what Life is all about. I can only offer my prayers and love to Lynda and this family and hope that the beautiful memories they have of Gracie, will be a source of comfort to them, with, and in time.

And the Jewish saying, loosely translated to “Man proposes and G-d disposes” echoes and resonates in my mind… and still, I keep asking myself… why?

What a week… already

Wed 12 Mar 2008, 20:20   11  Comment(s)

I had almost finished my post and I lost the whole thing. I could kick myself for not doing it in Word first. So, tomorrow is another day, and I will redo that one tomorrow. In the meantime I need to briefly diarise my neurosurgeon’s follow-up. Since the studies on anaesthesia have shown that it does affect the brain, or rather, to quote Doc Neuro, “anaesthetics CAN affect brain function”, I know that this has to be the reason. I’ve thought that this was why I’ve been forgetting things, names, places etc. And I’m RIGHT, sadly. I am convinced that 14 hours of anaesthesia in one year, has definitely taken it’s toll on me. I also firmly believe that mind puzzles, wordgames, numbers and Sudoku, are going to help me get my MIND back. Positive thinking and all that – it HAS to work.

Funnily enough, that has been worrying me more than the check-up. I’ve been so good, I can’t imagine why the bone shouldn’t be regenerating. It’s exactly 17 weeks today, since the surgery. No sitting, no walking without the fibre-glass brace, no bending for 17 weeks. The x-rays show good bone growth and the metal screws and rods have not shifted, which means the chances of a good recovery are higher. It takes a lot longer than a year for proper regrowth, but the chances of me getting to the USA by October to see the kids, are pretty high now. Except, I’d do myself more service not going until next March or April I suppose. But looking at the latest weekend pics of my blessings, D, Z and S, how can I wait that long? And any case, T may decide she wants her wedding at that time, so perhaps I should just plan for that eventuality. Any excuse to see my precious puddings (grandchildren) and the kids of course.

The past week I’ve been sitting for 10 mins at a time, up to a 1/2 hour a day. Today I actually drove myself to the doctor. A huge milestone for me: I don’t have to depend on others for everything, any more. I even stopped at the Mall to check out the Woolies stock. I overdid it and did a grocery shop as well, so I’m paying the price this afternoon and evening. Two pain meds and a good night’s sleep, should see me right. And no going out tomorrow. I know the drill by now. In a week or so, I’ll use my sitting time to drive to and from, Biokinetic swimming, three times a week. The five months of biokinetics in water last year, saved my life. And I know that’s part of the rehab… as long as it takes.

So Doc Neuro is happy and has given me extra sleeping meds. I can’t get strong on 3 hours of sleep a night, which has been the pattern for the past 4 months. I’m now taking much less, and sometimes no pain medication, than I have in the past 10 years. Incredible when I think of the Schedule 7 drugs I was taking. And I haven’t touched an anti-inflammatory in 4 months. What a win… if it will only stay that way. But, there’s always a downside I guess and it could be worse. If it’s only sleeping meds I have to take, then so be it. As long as I get to see my grandchildren soon!

Topics:  spinal medical pain sleep neuro neurosurgery

Bible stories

Thu 13 Mar 2008, 14:02 (1) 30  Comment(s)

In view of the bible punching and some slinging of sorts, being done in the neighbourhood, I thought these would offer some lighthearted entertainment.

  • Q. What kind of man was Boaz before he married Ruth?
  • A. Ruthless.
  • Q. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?
  • A. Noah He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation
  • Q. Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?
  • A. Pharaoh’s daughter.  She went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet.
  • Q. What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?
  • A. Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury. David’s Triumph was heard throughout the land.  Also, probably a Honda, because the apostles were all in one Accord.
  • Q. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
  • A. Samson.  He brought the house down.
  • Q. What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why he no longer lived in Eden?
  • A. Your mother ate us out of house and home.
  • Q. Which servant of G-d was the most flagrant lawbreaker in the Bible?
  • A. Moses.  He broke all 10 commandments at once.
  • Q. Which area of Palestine was especially wealthy?
  • A. The area around Jordan. The banks were always overflowing.
  • Q. Who is the greatest babysitter mentioned in the Bible?
  • A. David.  He rocked Goliath to a very deep sleep.
  • Q. Which Bible character had no parents?
  • A. Joshua, son of Nun
  • Q. Why didn’t they play cards on the Ark?
  • A. Because Noah was standing on the deck. (Groan…)

PS…  Did you know it’s a sin for a woman to make coffee?
Yup, it’s in the Bible.  It says . . . “He-brews”

**Disclaimer** I’m not anti-bible, or anti-religious, and none of the above posts or previous, are intended to insult or offend any person/place/race/creed or gender in any way. In some instances, parental guidance may be advised.

Dear Diary

Fri 14 Mar 2008, 16:57        19  Comment(s)

Dear Diary,

When I first registered for a blog in July 2007, it was purely to enable me to write a personal online diary, for my husband and children. Two of whom live overseas. There was no intention of  it being seen by anyone else. Although there was nothing that I had to be secretive about. Just never thought anyone, outside of my immediate family circle, would want to read anything I wrote.

Even though I wasn’t ready to sit at that stage, (at the computer), I still knew this was  exactly what I was going to do and what I wanted to do – eventually. And for ME and mine (read family). I find it very therapeutic and cathartic, to put everything in black & white, (so to speak). However, lots got in my way and my life got in the way and eventually, I only managed to sort myself out and start writing, in January 2008.
Imagine my surprise, when, after a few weeks, happily writing away, alone, in my online cyber diary, suddenly there were comments about a particular post in my weblog. And then it dawned on me – there were some people who were actually interested in what I was writing. I’d never looked at it in that way before. Granted it was on the day Auntie Myrtle was brutally murdered.

After that I did a bit of research on Blogs.24 home page and saw that the subject topic of a blog goes up on a roll, as one posts. Also started reading the editor’s blog and found out a thing or two! And then, a bit of sneaking into other blogs. Prior to this, I hadn’t given it a thought. After that I became neighbourly and I learned the basic etiquette of 24.com’s WEBloglist. What a wonderful group of people I’ve found. Caring and warm and friendly.

That’s when I decided to post a joke or two and get involved in some political discussions. I’ve had loads of time to read newspapers and online news casts, as well as TV. And the politics and crime and lack of service in this country is something I’m passionate about. I’ve found a few people around and about, who have the same view point as me…. and think like me, which is fortunate…. for me!

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them all and I hope I’ve slotted in somewhat. I will still be writing my personal journal, of my recovery and my day to day existence, which will obviously be boring for most. No problem though, this is mine after all :) In between, I’ll post other topics being discussed in the community, day to day news, as well as some funnies. I’ll try and be as appropriate as possible. If my friends and acquaintences living alongside me, wish to read the other stuff [MY stuff], and comment, they are most welcome. All constructive criticism will be taken into consideration.

In the meantime, if no one minds, I’ll happily read and comment on what the others have to say in their ‘homes’. I really enjoy visiting with them!

A parting weekend wave in the form of another laugh at our ‘esteeemed’ future leader:

Launch in external player

Jungle Book

The Internet and Rules: an Oxymoron?

Sat 15 Mar 2008, 18:42        (1) 33  Comment(s)

Chapter: The Internet and Blogging

I have to disagree with  Marcy, with regards to the meaning of blogging. Blogging has evolved over the years just like the Internet has evolved over many years. Even prior to 1994/95, when we, the general public were granted access to it; (as opposed to Universities, worldwide, who had access before 1994).

A blog, ([is] a portmanteau of weblog), is a website where the entries are usually displayed in reverse chronological order. The word, “Blog”, can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. So basically, a blog is a notebook for you and me to use, at our [personal] will and leisure; how and where and when we want. There is no such thing has having to maintain one’s blog on a daily basis and there is no restriction to and for the use of a blog, as a personal and online journal. Blogs can be  kept private, or public, as one deems fit. Some business’  run INTRANET blogs for their staff and day to day business affairs. There are a myriad reasons to use a blog and a million ways to use one, however and whenever one wishes. The important thing to remember, is that there are no hard and fast rules and within a community, one can place restrictions on posts and the methodology used, in that community’s ability to do whatever they wish. Hence the presence of an administrator. On other servers, the moderator or facilitator may be the owner of the host server. There are many servers linked throughout the world, where there is no restriction at all and this is what certain people are fighting for – absolute freedom. It is here that the hackers, nukers, etc., come in. They believe the internet is their/everyone’s space and anarchy and chaos should rule. But paying for a domain and becoming a host (eg 24.com) gives one the right to impose restrictions at will. Thankfully.
(Check out Wikipedia for more on BLOGS)

And as a note to Marcy : you certainly haven’t failed. You’ve made a success of the type of blog you chose to do. If one choose’s to work out daily or weekly topics, and then sticks to that schedule, good on her or him. I certainly couldn’t or wouldn’t run my blog that way. Personally, I like to see what the current  and my personal  situation is, on a daily basis before I commit my pen to paper. Each to his own as they say and thank goodness there are different strokes for different folk. That is what is so amazing about the wonderful worldwide web. We can be ourselves and even, who and what we want to be, when, where and how. There are no hard and fast rules. Everything has been made up and learned, as we go along!

A bit of history of the Net and WWW to peruse for  your edification:

The INTERNET was triggered in 1956, when AARPA was created, after the Soviet Union launched their SPUTNIK I satellite and Dwight G. Eisenhower, then issued the mandate for AARP, in order to regain the technological lead in the arms race.This was the beginning. Then packet  switching was developed and the AARPANET went  ‘live’  in 1969. In 1983, packet switching was replaced  with TCP/IP protocol, which is the basis of our internet and how we are able to communicate with each other.  In 1990, after much transference of the ARPANET to various organizations around the world and connection to other networks like NSFNET (Science Foundation) and CSNET,  (linking the university networks around North America), the US Government transferred management to independent organisations,  at the beginning of 1995.

And then the WEB developed:

The W3 world view, is of documents referring to each other by links. Due to its likeness to a spider’s construction, this world is called the Web. And this Web, was formulated by Tim Berners-Lee and Robbert Cailliau. And the rest, as they say, is history! These two articles are very good and warrant a read.

Interestingly, an  article denigrating the net makes for a view from the other side. Gave me a bit of a giggle.

But, for me, I still believe that the Internet and WWW are the most educational tools ever developed by mankind. And so much more is developing and evolving all the time. The evolution never stops and I can say that from the experience of using this tool in the “prehistoric” DOS OS days, with a black (sometimes green),  screen and white ascii type, chatting away to people in the IRC and on message boards. And having my computer students writing their online projects in Wordperfect and then uploading it to UUCP Pegasus Email to send to schools around the world. When I  designed web pages, it was in Notepad, using basic,  manual HTML programming, which I’d had to teach myself.  (I still use the old ‘pencil & paper method’.)  There were no user-friendly, easy HTML programmes in those days. I cannot believe how much we’ve changed, how far we’ve come and improved in 13 years. And I’m not sorry I was there  ‘in the beginning’. The learning  I’ve achieved is beyond what I’d hoped for. And the great part is that one never stops learning. Especially about technology in this technological age.

Mondays Fun on the Cyberhighway

Mon 17 Mar 2008, 22:04        10  Comment(s)

On this miserably cold, wet Monday, I have been on my hot (electric) blanket all day, playing scrabble and boggle (online) and trawling the web… ONLINE:)  OK, don’t look at me like that… I’ve got a good excuse remember?  I’m only allowed to sit for 1/2 an hour a day this week, so still can’t work.  I had very good intentions of adding to my Blog Diary – the continuation of my travels in California last September. Also was going to journal my weekend, which wasn’t as boring as usual.

However,  I got side tracked and went off on a wild tangent. This I tend to  do lately, understandable and allowed at this time of my life.  But in doing this, I have found a vast group of   people, or minds, with an IQ  less than their shoe size,  who feel the need to share their “expertise” in some of the most ridiculous fields one would imagine.  However, along the way, I’ve been fortunate enough to find incredible gems on the  journey.

Through the SA Blog Awards, I  landed up at  6000 miles from Civilisation and found Rob’s  blog very interesting, especially the post regarding a comment the head of the Milnerton MediClinic emergency unit made,  regarding the Cape Argus CycleTour. Had a good giggle at the author of this blog. And enjoyed reading about the CokeFest coming up this weekend. Yes, I did know about it… tsk tsk. Having a 26 year old Hip Hop/Rapper son as my Youngest Unmarried (YU?),  ensures I’m up to date on all the festivals and concerts around South Africa, at ALL times.  Even though he doesn’t live at home any more,  thankfully.  –  Oops, don’t get me wrong, I love him to the moon and back, but my life is a lot more peaceful since he’s moved out. – And no, I stopped short of kicking him out myself!  We talk on the phone everyday, so it can’t be all bad.

Through Rob, I landed with both feet, on  Brian Micklethwait‘s site, which definitely is an eclectic mix of social commentary,  as he’s described.  Love his description of professional photographers as”Billionaire Monkeys”. For me, it’s a perfect description of the tabloid paparazzi.  However,  I  then founda link to  the funniest, eccentric lady’s knitting blog. Why on earth this said Brian, needs a link to a knitting blog, is beyond the realms of my thought process at the moment. As for wanting a link to this particular one,  boggles, (no pun intended), the mind. The less said now, by me, the better!

However, it did provide me with the screech of hysterical laughter that I desperately needed  today. Young Ansley is from L.A. California,  if that makes a whit  of difference.  But this hat she designed, in keeping with the Star Wars costume, is  the weirdest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Would any one wear it? I read the commentaries made on this blog and obviously there are those that would. One would have to be very, very brave, or just plain stupid, to wear one OR to make one. If I’ve offended any Star War fanatics, tough. We’re each entitled to our own opinion and mine is a huge thumbs down to this piece of head [gear] fashion.

Mind you, I was planning to have a theme-type costume  party later on in the year, to celebrate my eventual and expectant (or expected), mobility again.  Nah…  I’m not enough of a Star Wars fan to warrant making this head sore!

Topics:  cyberhighway blogs reading interesting eccentric

Emote Icon YES I can

Tue 18 Mar 2008, 16:57        (4) 51  Comment(s)

I’ve noticed that many of us don’t know many of the emoticons, which we use in everyday writing these days: for web or blog writing/commenting AND for cell phone texting. Merely to help some, with the basics, I took the liberty of taking a few basics, out of the tutorials I had written
for my students, 10 years ago, for your perusal.
Enjoy!

Text Emoticons and Acronyms

Emote + Icon = emoticon.

The intention of these, is to convey emotion. A smiley is a sequence of characters on your computer keyboard – called ascii. If you don’t see it, tilt your head slightly to the left – the colon represents the eyes, the dash represents the nose and the right parenthesis represents a mouth. Smileys are used in place of punctuation, or follow after punctuation at the end of a sentence. A smiley shows what you really mean, if and when you make an offhand remark.
These are a merely a few of the BASIC  useful symbols which show emotion in  text messages(emoticons). A lot more have been added since the start of texting messages over the Internet and there are some websites who ask for new submissions for evaluation and addition to their so-called dictionaries.

Smiley

:-) or :)     Happy
:-D or :D    Grinning
:’-D  ;        Crying with laughter
%-7            Smirk
:P~            Blowing a Raspberry
;-) or ;)     Wink
((((Hug)))   or *hug* – self-explanatory

Love
:-x            Small Kiss
: – )…        Drooling
<3            A love heart
@–^—–    A rose
:-X            Big Kiss
Sad
:-( or :(   Sad Face/Frown
:’-(      Crying
%-(      Confused and unhappy
>: -(     Angry, yet sad
Angry

/: – |  Unamused, mildly cross
>: -|   Cross
>:-@!  Angry and swearing
:’-(      Crying

Fun:  Celebrities

5:-)           Elvis Presley
|:-[|]        Mick Jagger
*<|:o)>      Santa Claus
>@@@@8^) Marge Simpson
=(_8^(1)    Homer Simpson
c|B-)         Ali G

Acronyms

LOL       Laugh out Loud
ROTFL   Roll on the floor laughing
LMHO    Laughing my head off
LMAO    Laughing my a*se off
IMHO     In my humble opinion
RTFM     Read the eF*ing manual
RTM       Read the  Manual ( polite way)
TX/tx    Thanks/Thank you
LTNS      Long time no see
G           Grin
EG         Evil Grin

So many of us have loads of complaints about service; if you don’t have, then do let us know how you get it right .

For the rest of us, who are so frustrated with all kind of service in this country today, you can log on to Hello Peter and write your complaint. Whether it’s about restaurants or companies like Telkom. Naming and shaming is encouraged, as is naming a company to leave positive feedback. Sadly, this last is not too often.

Trying to squash a rumour is like trying to unring a bell. — Shana Alexander

©Moonbeam 1995 -2008

Wednesday at my place…

Wed 19 Mar 2008, 19:03        14  Comment(s)

I love how Thabo Mkhize, reporter for The Times, (today),  says `Let’s not beat about the bush: there is no team.’ This being in reference to Bafana Bafana embarrassing the nation. He calls this team “hapless”, which I’m sure is correct, although I haven’t kept up with a lot of their games lately. So between us having a useless soccer team; power outtages that may stop our economy in it’s tracks, as well as the building and revamping of stadia and roads and Gautrain and another public holiday, (now that will do what for our economy, I wonder); violent crime that will definitely stop our economy, as well as kill or maim a lot of  us,  I don’t see the World Cup 2010 happening, do you?   I hope I’m wrong. G-d willing!  Maybe the Scorpions will not be disbanded…  if the DA and Helen Zille have anything to do with it.  The  Eskom, total  switch off, will not happen, (in a perfect South African world that is!).  The police and crime units will do SOMETHING about the terrible crime wave. And then, of course there’s the matter of my son’s flat in Johannesburg.  Maybe, just maybe, we’ll also have a chance to let  it out,  for enough money to pay off some of the mortgage, at least!  Ok, I know how selfish this sounds, but it would help the whole of South Africa, as well as me, not so?

Since we had no power again today, I had time to read  The Times quite  throroughly. On the same page as the “World Cup Threat”, is a picture of Paul McCartney’s lawyer, stepping out of court soaking wet. Apparently Heather Mills had thrown water over the lawyer and accused the damp Fiona Shackleton of insulting her and not handling proceedings very well. This, the judge denied and berated  Ms  Mills, stating that she was inconsistent. The Judgement for this case has been released, online nogal, even though Mills appealed against its release.  One can see from behaviour exhibited, which of these parties comes from the other side of the tracks.

And then, as if we have nothing else to worry about, we hear that Paris Hilton is coming to town for the Coke Fest. Who cares. She’s not performing, just accompanying her ‘Good Charlotte’,  boyfriend, Benji Madden. Why the big shpiel (fuss)?  Imagine the paparazzo who will be following her into the country.

Boring day, boring news, but thank G-d the weather improved today and the biting chill is out the air. Not that it helps me much, as I still can’t get out and around for more than a 1/2 hour at a time. Patience girl, patience. Have to keep telling myself … it will be worthwhile, in the end, whenever that may be.

The most exciting things I’ve learned since yesterday: that my 21 month old granddaughter speaks more Spanish than English. Her 2-day a week nanny only speaks Spanish to her, so Sagee now asks her mom for “Aqua” (water) and says “Gracias” (thanks) when she gets it. Obviously the Uruguayan Wendy has more power over Sage in 2/7 days than my daughter N has in 5/7! But it’s too cute for words and it’s not a bad thing that she’s going to be fluent in Spanish as well. Last night when N told her, Granny Di sends her love, she marched  over to the phone, grabbed the receiver and waited for me to sing to her. Precious angel. And then, unfortunately, my grandson Z, had to fall off the monkey bars at school and split his chin. So he’s had to have 3 stitches. This long distance/split family business is killing me, even though I’m glad they’re not here now.We’re such a close family and I should be closer in distance,  to help and do the granny AND mommy ‘thing’.

Also good news is that my nephew in the USA has been awarded a Fellowship by his University. I’m so thrilled for him. His late dad, my younger brother, would have been so proud of him. Also means plenty of money to carry on with his thesis. Well done D!

Hubs B, has gone to a meeting in Jo’burg and I didn’t have to worry about supper for him, luckily for me! Just have to worry ’bout me, myself and I, tonight, so I’m off to rustle something up. Adios for now.

©Moonbeam  1995 -2008

Topics:  news children grandchildren economy south africa violence crime

Blue skies, sunny day. (Another) day in the life of…

Thu 20 Mar 2008, 16:16        16  Comment(s)

Started my day outside early today. Although I’m awake pretty early every day, I haven’t ventured out in the early morning, as I haven’t been too steady on my feet for so long. I’m really getting stronger TG!

But at 7.45 am., I actually took my camera with me, whilst walking in my teeny tiny garden. I’ve managed to keep it trim and prim, by remote control (i.e. “Ok Elkin, now cut the dry bits off the lavendar plant and cut the dead flowers off the trees”. Later, it’s “don’t forget to sweep at the back and get all the leaves out of the beds”, etc. I think I’ve drawn a pretty good picture.) It’s the only way I’ve been able to ‘see’ to the garden, whilst so restricted.

So, the sun had just started to come over the wall behind my right shoulder.

Yes, yes, I am very jealous of Granny being able to take such marvellous pictures on the beach every day. This has to suffice my needs for now.

It’s been a long time I know, but it’s only now, that I’m able to do my thank you notes. I never had the energy to respond to all of you, individually. Those who left such wonderful messages for my family when my aunt was taken away so tragically. So this is a public acknowledgement of thanks to the following wonderful friends in 24.com and specifically the blog community, who stood by me in our time of tragedy. Words can not express how much it meant to me, that you took the time to show your care and concern.

Wine-in’ GROGGERS

Fri 21 Mar 2008, 15:25        (1) 10  Comment(s)

I’ve been listening to a few of the old groggers, oops, I mean bloggers ‘gaaning aan’ (“going on… & on”, for SupaGran), about their Perdeberg wines and how much they’ve been drinking, for long enough now. In fact, many of them have had so much to drink already, they’re having sad and fateful, identity crises. No finger pointing now and no naming and shaming. You know who you are…. hehehe. So the reason for this post, in case you were wondering, is to point out some pitfalls.

Firstly, you should know how to behave, when on a drinking binge? The easy answer is to follow the local customs (grateful thanks and acknowledgement to Benedict Carey at the New York Times). As far back as 1969, it was researched that the ‘disconnect between the conventional wisdom on drunken behaviour and the available evidence is ‘even now, so scandalous as to exceed the limits of reasonable toleration.'”  So what does that mean exactly?… read on….

Huge differences in behaviour of people from diverse cultures, after hectic alcohol imbibing, have been shown.  A Japanese island’s inhabitants, know there’s been a wild, drinking party if the participants started singing and dancing. A group of Indian Americans become very sedate, reserved and quiet.  In Western culture excessive drinking is an excuse to have a much-needed nervous breakdown.

In Blogland (is this one called 24.com?), the natives’ fingers loosen exceptionally well, to the extent of becoming almost double-jointed. Their raucous behaviour flies across the ether, through fingers dancing with tip-tapping skill on their keyboards. So good are they, at what they do, it would make a ballerina envious. Or nervous? :) Their thoughts take root in their neighbours’ gardens with incredible ease and we, the neigbours, are left with the notion, that, once these ‘trees’ take hold, we too will be swayed into this life of POTATION. Easy enough to see how peer pressure in any culture has enormous impact!

Which brings me to a sobering thought about something I read recently: that peformance-enhancing drugs are entering the academic arena. Bad enough that steroids and hormones are used in sport and other physical activities. Now students are popping prescribed pills/meds, to help them study, or write exams and even stimulants to stay awake to study. Isn’t this as bad as the illegal pumping of drugs in sport? And then the world wonders about, and suffers through, the disasters of widespread drug addiction. Looks as though the 22nd Century is an era of doping.

And on that sobering thought, I wish one and all a very happy Easter and Happy Purim. And keep smiling. The first part was only joke. Sheesh, you always take me so seriously :D
©Moonbeam 1995 -2008

Topics:  drinking drug-addiction addict alcohol potation

Rising to the bait

Fri 21 Mar 2008, 17:06        28  Comment(s)

The fun challenge, posted by Venus – my version:

SCATTERGORIES – it’s harder than it looks!
NO JOKE.  Use the first letter of your Blog name
to answer each of the following.

They have to be real places, names, things – nothing made up.
You can not use your own Blog name for the boy/girl names.

1. Your Blog name: Dinx

2. A four letter word: Dash

3. A vehicle: Dodge

4. A city: D Flourney (promise, in California)

5. A boy’s name: David

6. A girl’s name: Debbie

7. Drink: Daiquiri

8. An occupation: Dentist

9. Something you wear: Drab dresses

10. A celebrity: Daffy Duck

11. Food: Don’t panic, eat organic? Ok ok.. then Devilled eggs

12. Something found in a bathroom: Dye

13. Something you shout: Dashit

14. An animal: Dinosaur

15. A body part:  Digestive System

16. Word to describe yourself: Delishus J

If you are interested in the challenge……
Then leave a comment on  Venus‘  blog  so she can
check yours.

Copy ‘n Paste This to your blog with your answers.
This could get very interesting!

Good luck!

Food for thought

Sat 22 Mar 2008, 17:32        (1) 16  Comment(s)

Birds of a feather flock together and crap on your car. Oh yeah

A penny saved is a government oversight. Take note South Africans

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave the unsaid  and the wrong thing, at the tempting moment.

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends. Proven

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

He who hesitates is probably right.

Did you ever notice: The Roman Numerals for forty (40) are ‘XL’.

If you think there is good in everybody, you haven’t met everybody. A wise person said this :)

If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to  blame.

The sole purpose of a child’s middle name is so he can tell when he’s really in trouble. I can vouch for this one

There’s always a lot to be thankful for if you take time to look for it. For example, I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don’t hurt.

Did you ever notice: When you put the 2 words ‘The’ and ‘IRS’ together it spells: ‘Theirs?’ (For the Americans)

Aging:  Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me,  I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way. I’ve traveled a very long way and some of the roads were NOT paved.

When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.

You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.

Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

First you forget names, then you forget faces. Then you forget to pull up your zipper. It’s worse when you forget to pull it down.

Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today, it’s called golf.

Lord,  Keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth…AMEN!!


Eavesdropping

Sat 22 Mar 2008, 21:57        15  Comment(s)

Nothing great on TV, except Without a Trace and of course Las Vegas, wooohoo! which I love for some inane reason – bit of escapism I suppose, also, stupidly I guess, because it’s been filmed at the Mandalay Bay (name changed to Montecito for the series). The Mandalay Bay is the only hotel I’ve stayed at, the one and only time we went to Las Vegas.

I digress… TV is over and purely as I don’t feel like reading and there’s nothing to watch, I’ve been trawling and quite by chance, landed up in web-based Chatroom of the Writer’s Space. Seriously, it was chance. But quite weird listening, or rather watching, these aspiring writers asking Stella Cameron questions and her giving them tips and tricks and ideas for writing their “BIG” forthcoming novel. And Stella Cameron, if anybody knows, (I didn’t), has recently published “A marked Man”.

Whatever, I just thought for anyone interested, or busy writing their own first ‘big’ novel, you may be able to pick up a bit of methodology (is the use of that word in the correct context?), on that site. Seems as they meet once a month for their ‘lessons’.

Toe-tapping Tuesday

Wed 26 Mar 2008, 14:45        (1) 29  Comment(s)

Early yesterday morning, after the usual computer ‘switch on’, with coffee at the ready, I found the email in my inbox, stating I’d used 92% of my ADSL (1gig) booster. This being the 2nd booster I’ve bought this month, over and above the basic 2 gig I have a monthly subscription for, it dawned on me that someone had been hacking into my line and using my bandwidth. For the next couple of hours, I started the investigation: tracing dates and times of online activity. For example, at between 12.50 am and 4.35 am on the morning of 25 March, an amount of 296 Mb had been downloaded. I did manage to account for approximately ¼ of the 300 Mb, but I surely didn’t use 500 Mb in 2½ days. Not even talking to my daughters for an hour each on skype can use that amount of bandwidth. Impossible. My YU (youngest unmarried) son, living in his own apartment in Johannesburg, uses my ADSL connection (with my permission of course). So that accounted for 500 Mb in total over 3 days as the ‘beaut’ is downloading Mpegs and videos. By the dozen it seems. But, what of the previous booster of 1 gig? And the 2 gig that was used up in the 1st 2 weeks of the month… big query. So, the end result of that is: all routers logged into my account have to be switched off when not in use and definitely when sleeping. And I’m now keeping a strict log of online times. YU has been instructed to do the same, in no uncertain terms. Even at his `ripe’ age of 26, I’m the boss… mostly, hehehehe. But, I am a stickler for doing the right thing and been known to ‘discipline’ my adult children. Oh, alright, it’s in a totally different way than when they were young – I make suggestions and let them think they’ve made the final decision. And I’m known for voicing my displeasure at certain behaviour I find offensive, discourteous, insulting or rude. And not only to my children! (I’m told it’s a typical Libran personality – who knows, I don’t much care). In the meantime, I’ve insisted he, (YU), transfer the cost of 2 extra gigs to my account from his – this has been done, lucky for him! Be warned, dear readers, it is a very good idea to have your routers unplugged when you’re not on line or expecting VoIP calls (e.g. Skype). It is quite easy for people in your area to access your bandwidth, via portable notebooks with wi-fi capabilities, as is done in wi-fi hotspots around the country (and the world). Also, if you think you have a problem, contact the abuse team of your current ISP. They’re usually pretty helpful in tracking IP addresses, not ‘belonging’ to you, as well as blocking junk and/or spam mail.I am now plugged into a 5th Gig of broadband, which has to see me through to the 1 April. Sounds rather weird. As I said, I’ve been online a lot lately, but not to THAT extent. Beware anyone who has been taking my space away from me – I’m going to find you, with or without the help of my ISP’s abuse team!

All in all, it was a strange day yesterday. Very busy, for me. I had it all planned: go down to the smallish shopping centre for a few groceries and pop into the shoe store for the much needed pair of shoes. It’s only in the past few weeks that I have the need to wear anything but slipper-type foot wear and ALL my footwear has pretty high heels. The only flattish shoes I possess, I’ve used as ‘slippers’ and they’re now worn into the ground, (no pun intended). Today was not about retail therapy. Definitely not. It was pure necessity. Never mind that it’s the end of the season, I needed a sandal type shoe and I found — 2 pair. Wouldn’t have been my first choice, but when needs must, one does… I guess. Only managed to leave home after 11 am after my ADSL detective-type mode, had been quieted.

And then, silly me. I got suckered in by the supermarket, way too deep and over-did the grocery shopping. Walked around for far too long and spent far too much. I really felt like the proverbial kid in a candy store. But wow, the prices have gone sky high in the 6 months since I last shopped in South Africa. Just as well my hubs has been doing the major shopping and, somehow, I never felt the need to ask how much our grocery bill was lately… not even a price of any item. The odd times I’d asked friends to pick up a few things, I didn’t seem to be in ‘price care’ mode. I just paid up. And never asked questions, before or after. There was nothing I could do about it in any case, so there was no point in getting into a tizz.

There was so much more I wanted to do/buy. As in: the bookstore, a clothing store or two and @home looked as though they had some lovely soft goods. Oh well, next time! I eventually staggered, like a beast of burden, slowly and painfully, to my car and came home. Not only did I spend money I didn’t really have, seeing as I haven’t worked in ages, I could barely put one foot in front of the other. Mind you, it’s quite a lot of fun spending someone else’s money.

Mentally meandering…

Thu 27 Mar 2008, 10:22        (1) 31  Comment(s)

The Mental Meanderings of a semi-lunatic

Will have to do less blogging, (or rather less reading of blogs), for a while as my PVR is almost full. It’s most annoying to keep getting the message, ‘you’ve got less than 10 hours of space left’, every time I change the channel. Since I became a blog maniac, (which could pass for schizophrenic, methinks), I’ve been recording all my favourite shows and not watching. The time has come… (The walrus said… etc). Most people go to movie theatres, I guess. Since I can’t do ‘THAT’ yet, my movies are on DVD or TV. Cannot wait to be able to get to some live theatre again. That is my goal for 2009. That said, I am not wishing this year away. Too much going on, or will be…Tee (youngest unmarried daughter), has 90% decided to have her wedding on the 26 October (in SF). I have to be strong enough to travel by then, so next week, will be starting my Biokinetic swimming. Not that I plan on breaking my back again, but that exercise, for 5 months, did save my life last year! That and mind power. (Yes, I do believe in the power of positive thinking.) Normally, I would be planning to go to the USA by August to help with the planning and organisation. That is out of the question now and they have postponed this wedding for long enough for me to get strong. So N (eldest daugher), will step in as surrogate mom and help Tee with everything. At least, I can and will design and print the invites and get them mailed from SA. And I’d best move my bum, as time is marching on at a rapid pace! This is definitely NOT how I want this to go. Being very hands on, I’d have liked to be with Tee when she chooses her wedding dress and decides on the venue and catering, etc. It’s awful not being able to be part of all of the planning. Especially since I love giving my 2c worth. J

I’m sad for Tee, as I did all that and more with N, when she got married 10 years ago. Oi.. 10 years already – makes me feel older than I really am! J
C’est la vie. I’ll just have to grin and bear it.

As the sun was setting yesterday evening, I noticed the pink cloud above the trees. Not the gorgeous sunset of the Cape, but still pretty. I love sunsets, even the bit I can see over security walls and electric fences. (How sad we have to live this way now). L

I find the silhouette of the leaves and trees against the blue and pink of the sky, quite beautiful.

Still not sleeping well, even with sleeping muti. It has been suggested by someone that I drink a ½ glass of red wine, but as red wine gives me a headache, I’m passing on that remedy.

So, as always, was up and pottering, brace and all, at 6 am today. It’s still dark at that time, so winter is definitely here. Luckily the weather is mild. I’m dreading the cold and wish I could migrate north for that season. Around 6.30 am, the sun was peaking over my garden wall and within a couple of minutes the sunlight seemed to burst over the wall and on to the lawn. The autumn leaves are leaving a horrible mess. I cannot see B doing it, so the garden cleaning will have to waituntil Monday, when Mr Gardener arrives.


Got a few errands and chores to do, so on that note, dear readers, I bid you all adieu with a special message for all:

http://www.frontiernet.net/~jimdandy/specials/friend/friend.html

Fridays Fritterings

Sat 29 Mar 2008, 16:51        (2) 25  Comment(s) Memories from London 2004

Memories

Yesterday I did some spring, or rather, autumn cleaning. Not being able to do manual labour,  so to speak, after the back surgery, ‘stuff’ started to accumulate on all shelves and open surfaces, at waist height.  There has to be some reason for a particular envelope of items surfacing then. I’m sure the answer will come to me soon. At first glance it seemed to be merely a collection of papers from 2004. However, amongst these, I found a poetry book I’d forgotten about. A small, thin, A5 size, paperback, called  “The Gift of Imagination”, by Rosemary Arthur. It was inside an envelope marked: “For the grandma who likes Leonard Cohen”. My reputation for being a Leonard Cohen fanatic has obviously spread far and wide, all the way to Elstree, in the north of London.  J

It all happened in May 2004, when I went to the UK (London) to  meet my daughter, N,  son-in-law, R and my 2 grandsons, Daniel (nearly 3 at the time) and Zak, (then 7 months), for 10 days. Sage, obviously, wasn’t born yet. They had a wedding to attend in London and it was a good opportunity for me to see “my” boys… an halfway meeting point.  From the West Coast of the United States, and South Africa, it is a perfect halfway point, (if money isn’t/wasn’t an object that is, but that’s besides the point!) The kids stayed with R’s younger brother, a medical doctor, in his flat in Elstree. I stayed in a sweet,  little boutique hotel, down the road. (Do not ask about prices here– TG my hubs wasn’t with me… if he had been, we wouldn’t have been able to afford our daily bread –or crackers – for the next few months, after that! It was in the times when the £/sterling was even more than it is today and that’s a lot!) Sort of reminds me of the words: “It was the worst of times, it was the best of times –  [Charles Dickens]. In more ways than one, it was exactly that…

The author’s name, is the pen-name of Mary Partridge. It’s a combination of her parents’ names, Rose and Arthur with her own name, Mary.  I read some of the poems again. They are really beautiful and are similar in style to the lyrics that Leonard Cohen writes. In the front cover was a message to me:

Lovely to have met you all!
It’s such a lovely time when the grand-children
are littlies, but when they’re biggies they’re better!!
Enjoy your time here in lovely Elstree.
Kind wishes for good health & great happiness.
Thanks for the cheese cake.
2004.
Jean L…. No 19

Jean, about 80 years old, maybe more at the time, was Anthony’s neighbour. She never looked or acted that age and her wit was as sharp as a razor. Every morning, N fetched me from the hotel and I did breakfast, or rather snacks by that time, with the ‘littlies’ and we played on the front lawns of the apartment building. Jean, a widow, was very friendly and sweet and sent in small welcome gifts for the children when they arrived. While watching the boys, before our daily outings to see farm animals or to the huge toyshop, Hamleys, amongst the other, many outings, Jean would come to her door and talk to me, if she heard us. Lots of the time, she played her music rather loudly. She liked Leonard Cohen, much to my delight. And the first music I’d heard emanating from her flat, was the song, “I’m your man.” One of my favourite tracks, for the music, as well as the poetry, although I never told her that. Hence we got talking about the philosophical nature of Cohen’s music and lyrics. A week in to my visit, she gave me the envelope with the book. Such a sweetie! She had marked passages in the book that were meaningful – as if to bring to my attention. I realised, or assumed then, that although the book was in pristine condition, it was obviously her personal copy. When I subtly thanked her for marking passages, she told me she had decided I was passionate enough about Cohen’s poetry, to be entrusted with a book of similar style, in the form of author, Rosemary Partridge. So much so, she was willing to give me her own copy. She told me her late husband had given it to her and thus, was very special. Overwhelmed with this disclosure, telling her that I couldn’t possibly accept, she replied that it was time to start handing her material belongings to those who would appreciate them. On one of the pages, a poem called “The Listener”, she’d written: ERWIN, 7.8.1914 — 10.6.1993 [and] R.I.P.  I love you.

My heart felt rather heavy at the time, I remembered; now I had that feeling again. I paged through and got to the back inside cover. She’d written another message for me:


For the`Bobba’ (grandma), who likes Leonard Cohen!

My favourite track is: “I’m your Man:” —

“If you want a doctor,
I will examine every inch of you,
and if you want a boxer,
I will go into the ring for you,
if you want a lover,
I’ll do anything for you,
‘Cos I’m your Man.”

Everytime  I play it, which is often, I’ll think of you all!

And with that, yesterday evening, N called me from San Francisco. I was telling her about my ‘hectic’ (for me), day and mentioned my “find” and how it brought back such fabulous memories of that trip, with my precious treasures: grandchildren…and children of course,  J and how weird it was that this woman of 80+ and myself, liked the same music. My mother, though no old fogey, certainly doesn’t see anything of value in the music of Leonard Cohen or any of the other artists and music that I like, except classical, and in fact reckons he doesn’t have a good voice and thus she doesn’t even want to listen to it. She’d rather listen to opera. [His voice, I think, adds to the charm and depth of his poetry].

“Shame,” (so South African, that word),  says my child. “Jean died a couple of years ago…. she had cancer.” Jean knew she was ill when we were there and that’s why she gave me her copy of a book that was so special to her.

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty;
not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.”—Charles Dickens

©Moonbeam 2008

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About d1nx

Techno-Gran living and working in Pretoria, South Africa and spending 3 months of the year with my 2 daughters and their husbands and 5 grandchildren on the East Bay, Northern Californa. Started blogging on my recovery from Spinal surgery in 2007 and have taken many twists and turns on my life's journey and varying chapters of my life.
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