Junjuly and Konmari revisited

So the Rhinovirus has caught up with us.  In my case it decided to make a detour from the sinus into the lungs too, the little devil.  I’m dosed up to me ears, because I do not like symptoms!

An old friend of ours used to refer to both winter and the winter colds and flues as “Junjuly”.

We’re sorting and clearing, working on what goes into storage and what is discarded.  Trying to move from a full, sentimentally cluttered home of 19 years into another full, cluttered house (filled with someone else’s furniture and clutter) taught me a sore lesson.

1)  It is not doable.  We worked on it for 7 months, reducing, throwing our own stuff out in bales, trying to integrate what we wanted to keep, being super conservative with throwing out anything from m-i-l’s things as they technically belong to s-i-l (who has a full house too and therefore, did not come to clear them…)

So, 2) I never want to have that many possessions again!  Marie Kondo has nothing on this.  Minimalist.  Squishing in my mom’s place for 6 months (it’s good to be here because my parents wanted us close and they are such an incredible comfort to us) has taught us to live out of suitcases and with minimal stuff.

If I think about it, we started our move out of our home just about a year back!  Unbelievable.

But, 3) there are certain things one needs, to make a home a home.

When we were moving, we didn’t feel at home in the Haunted House at all; until Wildest One suggested we need to move our “us-ness” into there.  That consisted of our favourite paintings on the walls, colours we love (the warm reds, dark-browns and oranges, but also the rich & deep blues and greens – we’re just not Pastel People and never were), and little touches – the little espresso percolator that Hubbs gave me for my birthday, my grandmother’s antique Turkish coffee pot.  It got better after that.

I guess those are the things Konmari means when she says they “spark joy”.


The Power of Story

Today there was another person who had actually already heard sort-of what had happened on the 19th of January but wanted to hear the details, directly from the  source.  So here I was, rehashing the attack that has destroyed our lives.  My son was sitting next to me, so I cut the story short and left out the part where he tried to keep his father alive with resuscitation.

I can (almost) keep my posture by now, retelling it; but not quite.  It still messes me up for the rest of the day, and probably will for the rest of my life.

By now I can retell details from Hubbs’ life without the urge to crawl into a hole and howl.  Like how he constantly found ways to poke fun at things and at people.  Or funny habits he had.  He lived for making people laugh.  Witty without an end.  And I love to recall how he used to spoil us.

These are the stories that are too fresh to tell at a wake; even though telling them brings peace to the family and friends.  So the wake carries on, and on…  as time puts distance between us and the dread event, the memory stories have a bigger impact.  “Remember the time that…”  “Remember those dream drives…” – “Remember the poster runs”…   he had an absolute talent for turning a chore (putting up posters for advertising) into a fun family outing.

Here’s a bit of life coaching.

Write down the good times in a kind of events diary; when you feel low, read them again and relive them.  It works.

Luckily, when I page through our photos, it is one packed mountain of happy times.


Father’s Day


I love this picture.  The lights look like spirits floating in the great Nothing, making a lot of light together.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there, for yesterday.

My own father, my children’s grandfather, was duly celebrated; but it was a tough Father’s Day, with our Daddy having made the ultimate sacrifice for his children and for me.

It is weird in how many old religions and folk tales the Father God or the God of the Harvest, or the God of the Hunt, always a male, paternal figure, lays down his life for his children.  Just, weird.  Is it an indelible part of the human male psyche?  (Mind, each of us was prepared to die for the others that night, as my son pointed out – only Daddy got there first.)

Daddy, we miss you.  We wish we hadn’t taken the wrong turn and ended in a universe of many parallels where we have to complete our paths without you.

We will see you again on the other side of the Door.  Until then, we will have to be content believing that you are here – with your great golden wings, a protector and spirit guide for the children, and my soulmate regardless if incarnate or not.

Psychopath- Symptoms and their Emotional Breakdowns

Cyril on Psychopathy. Highly relevant summary!

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Psychopath is a terminology used for a person who is having a chronic mental disorder.
The patient who is insensitive, aggressive, abusive in nature, having sexual tendencies, lack of appetite etc., is called PSYCHOPATHIC.  Now let us see the symptoms of Psychopath.

Symptoms of Psychopath
1.      Superficial Charming:  These people will have extremely charming personality, especially with the opposite sex.  They use smooth words to attract public and we will misunderstand them as well – mannered person.

2.      Narcissist: They love themselves and very arrogant persons, who thinks  that they are very superior human beings than others.

3.      Proneness to Boredom:  They easily get bored with their daily routine  work  which they considered as dull or boring . Psychopaths usually gets tired or fail to complete their task  or duties which  is given to them or handle by them.

4.       Having…

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:-O Epub Bud has stopped!

I’m shocked – and glad now that I took screenshots.

Epub Bud, free ebook site of 7+ years, is gone!

Last I looked (in December) they were still there.  And “Arcana”, with the gorgeous cover Iain made for it, was still on the right-hand top of the “Browse” page.



So many things have disappeared since he was killed.

Sometimes I get the illogical feeling that they only existed because he did.  For instance the cinema at Woodlands, and countless little coffee shops he and I used to frequent, with and without kids.

And then sometimes I feel as though they collapsed as a result of the same terminal break-down of South Africa of which he became a victim.

I have begun the task of tidying up loose ends – such as, finding out which websites he was keeping up and figuring out what to do with each.

Which brings us to Honeymead Books.  The sister site to P’kaboo, which I also need to address.  I will retake Honeymead along with P’kaboo.

I can’t believe Epub Bud is gone.  But then again, it was a non-profit, and perhaps they have achieved what they wanted to.  Seeing that the site was mostly for free books, I guess I do understand.

I must say their visual standard was high, as was their usefulness re conversion of ebooks.

Let’s give them a moment of respectful silence, and wish the proprietor all the best forward.

Memory moment

We were on our way down to Shelly Beach, to a holiday given to us by a friend in her flat, with 3 young kids in the car.  Artist was 7, Wild One was 3 and Wildest One was 1 year old.  It was winter, freezing cold, and the car would simply not heat warm enough.

I can’t remember whether we took my old Toyota or Hubbs’ old Jetta (both cars have since been stolen), but the cold came in.  We had been driving all night, and it was nearing 4am, and both he and I were exhausted and could not carry on.

We found a petrol station in the abandoned-looking tiny town of Warden, and woke up the pump attendant.  He woke up the manager, who helped us with fuel and tracking down a Bed and Breakfast – who opened their doors for us in the middle of the night.  We shivered our way warm in that little place, five of us in 4 beds with Wildest One snuggled between us, in her little baby boots (too cold to take them off – houses here are not set up for winter, the insulation is up to nothing).

The next morning the owners had some lovely English breakfast for us all, and we hung out a little, and Hubbs did what he did best and made friends of them both.  They had children too.  There seemed to be something wrong with our car (I think it was a flicker that had popped), so the owner (Rafe) organized a mechanic to fix it.

While we were waiting, we all had a glorious time with these new friends.  But the one thing that lingers most in the memory is the image of those two little boys, my Wild One and Rafe’s little 5-year-old, sitting in Rafe’s “bakkie” van in the front seat listening to the CD, over and over and over again…  bopping on the seat as though it were a trampoline, and singing along at the top of their little kiddie voices,

“If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,

never make a pret-ty woman your wife…”

It was hilarious.  🙂

Indie Author Friday: Lyz Russo #IndieAuthor #scifi

Thank you Teri Polen for the wonderful interview! (And for the touches of polish…)

Books and Such

Welcome Lyz Russo to Indie Author Friday!  I think every writer can relate to Lyz’s answer about the most constructive criticism she’s received – it’s all about setting aside the ego and working on your craft.  And another mouth-watering cookie answer that has me craving a chocolate chip dessert!

The Solar Wind series:

A mostly teenage crew of motley pirates sails the Earth’s oceans on a freedom ship, the Solar Wind. Their Captain Radomir Lascek is not only a wily old sea-devil, but also a politician with a big picture on who should take over the Earth… and then the solar system… and what hey, how about the neighbouring world… and overthrow the intergalactic forces that be… The Earth is infested with an uncanny military world government, the Unicate, costing countless human lives. They don’t seem entirely human; their decisions and actions run contrary to anything one would consider normal…

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Curve balls.  We all get them.  Whether it is someone placing irrational demands on you or the sound of shots because of yet another hijacking on the N4.  (You can’t do anything about it.  This is basically a war zone.)  There are many things that break a person’s day and distract one from what needs to be done.  Some you can ignore; others, not.

But there is a curve ball that is being thrown at the younger generation that is worse than all others; because it completely destroys the actual principle of focus.

It’s social networking.

I’m not only talking about the big, commercial social networks.  Electronic media have amplified our social networking (which is a natural, human thing to do) into something monstrous.  It’s a wonderful thing to have a Whatsapp group when you need to organize a rehearsal.  It simplifies things immensely.

But on the other hand, if you’re studying for an exam and your friend needs help in Clash of Clans now or he dies…  Physics exam or your friend’s life?  Which young person needs this pressure, to make such a choice?

The Bowing Experiment

This past week I did an experiment.  I taught a highly effective and fairly complex bowing exercise to my whole studio, from beginners through to advanced. I “dressed” it in cool kiddie terms – see-saw, round-about etc. It wasn’t that they needed to be little adults to understand the exercise.  (I’ll see who took me seriously by the next lesson – but TBH I think I can predict it.)

What I found (in my experiment) confirms something I already knew.

There are two kinds of students.  Those who focus and those who don’t.  My four-year-old displayed amazing focus!  And he only started violin this year.

Some of the students didn’t stay with the exercise for longer than two seconds at a time!  Not even though I used words like “Paganini’s secret” and “magic bowing”.  Intrigue, apparently, doesn’t work on a person with ADHD.

And I’m saying ADHD though I don’t believe it’s a “genetic disorder”.  Or, caused by evil sugar.

What breaks our children’s focus (and ours)

ADHD kills, I tellya!  I was starting to write a seminar on how children connect things in their brains and …  TMI, IMHO!  Read Manfred Spitzer’s “The Mind Within the Net” if the topic interests you (and it should, if you are a human.  Doesn’t concern giraffes so much).

But to illustrate my point, just watch some TV ads, and some “kiddie” channels.

What do you notice?

Jumble, mess, noise.  Everything moves fast, is loud, is interrupted by unrelated noises etc.  I’m sorry!

I don’t know if you ever had a grandparent telling you a story?  Did they need to make loud noises and interrupt themselves?  Or, did they mesmerize you with a lowered voice, building tension by not yet telling all?  Did you love listening to them?

My argument is:  ADHD is real, and it is caused deliberately by the media, and the social media, and even the way a lot of school books are laid out these days (short, unrelated snippets of “fun facts” – some grossly inaccurate and some even wrong – and a change of topic in every paragraph).  Look at your facebook feed.  Every post takes your attention between 3 – 10 seconds, just long enough to “like”, “sad-face” (you hypocrite), “funny” or “angry”.  I just called the sad-face hypocritical because do you genuinely feel sad, sorry for your friend?  Do you pick up the phone and call?  Few do.  (Real friends do!)  And if you’re sad, how can you find the next post funny ten seconds later?

Yes, social media train us to be shallow and not to pay attention.

You create your own reality

We learned this in the wave of holistic healing modules and life coaching courses that welled up in the 90’s.  At times it was misquoted, misapplied; of course, if another car crashes into yours in a way you could not prevent, you didn’t create that.  You didn’t create 911, for instance.  (Someone else did though.)  It can be abused as victim-blaming.

It can also be abused as magical thinking.  “If I keep on thinking of myself as rich, one day I’ll be rich.”  The joke’s on you.

But in fact, you are creating your own reality – by the actions you take or fail to take, day by day.

Days are made of hours and hours are made of minutes, and minutes are made of – here’s the core – the moment “NOW”.

If you can string a whole lot of NOWs together, you get focus – like a laser. 

If you can’t – well, then you can’t ever achieve anything!

It’s as simple as that.  And social media, television and a lot of the electronic games we play, are aimed at destroying your capacity to focus.  They are purely reactive. If you are reacting, you are playing to someone else’s agenda, not your own.

(Some games are actually the opposite, and can train you to goal-set, focus and achieve.  I’m not bashing the invention – I’m bashing the way it is applied to destroy people’s capacity for focus.)

Children, as a rule, learn faster than adults.  So too their focus gets destroyed faster than that of adults.  Their brain is highly adaptive, and will, over not much time, adapt perfectly to a highly reactive game where someone else calls the shots and focus gets in the way.  They learn ADHD, and fear staying with a thought for any length of time (because in the background their “clan” gets slaughtered by rivals).

How to fix this?

Start with yourself.

Audit how you spend your time.  “Shadow” yourself for a whole day and jot it down.  So many minutes on social media, so many answering emails (social), so many answering emails (business), so many struggling with something that won’t work; so many taking calls (business / friends – specify), and so on.

Then sit down in the evening, switch off the telly and the computer, take pen and paper (yes, manual please, preferably a notebook – the paper type) and write down your goals.

1 year, 5 years, lifetime.

And write down how much time you spent today working on them.  And how much time you could have spent if you’d cut back on frustrating & reactive stuff.

Take a pencil.

Twirl it around your fingers, one by one.

Spend one hour (yes!) practising this, not allowing the pencil to fall.  Don’t let anything interrupt you.  For every interruption, you have to start the hour anew.

This is not about the pencil.  It is not about your fingers.  You get it.

Can you do it?

Thank you South Africa

… for once again showing us that your criminals are running the show.

Stupid bleeding hearts (what are they really intending) protest for “freedom of movement” for criminals, against security measures such as, pedestrians being identified at a boom gate (wtf?  All the motorists have to identify themselves!).

Security villages’ measures get curbed.  Criminals can again roam freely.

My oldest has PTSD and currently, also laryngitis that came with a flu.  So she couldn’t sleep, and therefore started roaming around the house.  She heard weird noises coming from the front and did what she shouldn’t to, went to investigate – and saw a criminal monster at the window with three more behind him, in the process of chopping through the burglar bars really quietly.  Clink, clink, clink.  She screamed.  At the top of her laryngitic voice.  Galvanizing me, her little sis, her brother and my parents out of bed.

Luckily the devils ran off.  Luckily there was a functional panic button and my father knew where it was.  Luckily the alarm went off and the security people came.  Luckily, nobody shot or stabbed my sweet girl to death last night.

But the criminals stroll quite openly out of the boom gate by day, not having to identify themselves, being able to try again tonight.

Thank you bleeding hearts.  Thank you humanitarian societies that decree that we have to put up with all the crime from north of South Africa too because our prisons are in better shape (gee, we taxpayers are really proud of that) and we don’t have death penalty like they do up north.

Thank you for creating a country where trains derail because of cable theft and innocent commuters get killed.  Thank you for allowing those devils to stay free so they can steal counter-weights of lifts that go crashing down then loaded with people.  Thank you for passing strict gun laws to the citizens while flogging off the collected weapons to the criminal element.  Thank you for allowing those devils to roam in gangs of four to six, to break into houses and murder down an old defenseless man, making a blood bath for the relatives to find.  Thank you for not executing them when they steal children and bludgeon them to death and leave them to rot in the veld.

Thank you for employing total idiots to man the police switchboard at the emergency number (think 911), where after I already said the address, they still ask back if Pretoria is in the Eastern Cape.  Do they know where their own elbow is?  Or are they paid to keep a person on the phone while the family gets stabbed and raped?  The police “isn’t coping” – no shit Sherlock, how about employing someone who doesn’t come out of an institution, to man the phones!  And thank you for the direct line at the police station just ringing…

“I had a dream.”

Wake up.  Dream’s over.