Why is everyone so happy?

I’m feeling so disheartened tonight, and I have been for a while. I so badly want to open my heart on my blog, but it’s tricky. There’s this invisible line in this whole blogging business that you might not know about. Talk, but don’t say too much. Be personal, but don’t air dirty laundry. I don’t know about you, but every person I’ve ever met has a bit of laundry that needs doing – you know? I’ve experimented with different writing styles and gone through my own emotional growth in my blogging years. I’ve experienced different kinds of reactions from all angles, both personally and by listening with open ears when others are talking… about each other.

Someone I know wrote a beautiful and heartfelt article on her struggle with depression. Weeks later, I felt nauseated when I overheard other bloggers referring to her as the ‘sad’ one with all the ‘problems’, clutching flutes of complimentary champagne while perched in a huddle, overdressed with made up faces as genuine as their personalities. Nothing annoys me as much as phoniness. Be real, show an abundance of character and authenticity, then you have my full attention and my respect. Intelligence, quick wit, knowledge and an education in both books and life are what will set you apart from those who are easily herded in to social corners and cliques.

I admire people who show their unique and creative spirit. People who disagree and argue. The non conformists and the trouble makers. The kind and fiery hearts with exciting stories to share about their lives and experiences, and not about other people and their misfortunes or personal struggles. I may have crossed a line here, and perhaps there’s a press release or event invitation that will skip my inbox next week, but I believe in authenticity… to a degree. Tricky, I realize. Let me explain.

I had a quick chat with Jane over on her blog this week, and I’ll share an extract. She asked if there was anything I’d want my readers to know about me, and I said:

I think that people assume that they genuinely know or understand people via following them on social media, but it pays to remember that I don’t share intimate details of my life involving my kids or husband, marriage, work or extended family. While you might see a cute picture of my son on Instagram, I may have lost a big client that day. Maybe G and I had an awful fight or maybe one of the kids is struggling at school and it’s breaking my heart. While I want to talk about all these things, I do value and respect the privacy of those around me. 

These are the boundaries that we all face in our lives. We sensor ourselves. We show the good and cheerful parts and try fit in and be likeable. Desirable, even. Maybe we don’t want people feeling sorry for us, or looking down on us. Maybe we don’t want to appear weak or fragile in this world of filters and selfies and perfectly styled breakfasts.

Last year my heart bled like a broken reservoir. Our little Benjamin was diagnosed with asthma. He’d had it for years and I didn’t know. I’m his mother, and I did not know that my sweetheart of a boy was struggling with something that I was not making better for him. He got in to a whole lot of trouble and in to a critical condition. We carried his little body to a hospital and sat at his bedside for four days watching people try fix him. If we’d waited an hour, things would have been different, they said. I thought he just had flu. I thought. he. had. flu. Specialists were coming in and out, syringes filled with blood and oxygen and nebulizers were being passed around and I sat next to him feeling like the worst human that ever existed. Like I didn’t deserve to be his mother. I wanted to tell everyone, I wanted to tell all our friends and I wanted to tell complete strangers because I wanted help. Advice. We needed support. Even now, it’s hard to talk about because the guilt pushes my tears forward every time I think about that week. How awful I felt. How scared we all were. I didn’t want to tell you because it was personal, and it was about Benjamin. So I wrote about houses and holidays and a bunch of other things and I pretended that I wasn’t terrified and desperately lonely in all my fears and feelings.

6 months later, Ben is so in control of his condition. After several tests, we’ve established that his asthma is allergy induced. Bunny Banana struggles to get his breathing straight when something (we don’t know what) in mother nature annoys his tiny boy chest. He’ll tell you all of this himself, like he’s telling a really good story. The asthma is something he’ll probably outgrow, and he’s completely the boss of it. He is not ashamed in the slightest. He pulls out his pump at play dates, in class and amongst friends like it’s just no big deal at all, because it isn’t. He is strong and proud and true to himself, so why was I so ashamed? My boy is perfect and he’s going through the business of growing up and with that comes all sorts of challenges, developments and obstacles. As he grows and changes, I’m learning and growing as a mother too.

We’re not all as happy as we might seem online (not even you) so why all the masks and faces. Are we seeking validation? Do we appear more desirable if we pose our lives in a sunny disposition? We’re sharing our good times and happy memories. Our journeys, travels and experiences. I get that, I understand that and heck you guys – I do it too! Let’s celebrate our lives and be grateful for all our blessings, I know – let’s do that.

But let’s also be real. I miss humanity. I miss the connection. Our poses and masks are leaking like bloodied ink from our smart phones in to our real lives. Like the idealism of our highlight reels are becoming our misguided realities. Sit around a dinner table and it’s like getting the commentated version of instagram. A podcast of your social media lives, printed and transcribed in to a dialogue for all to hear. “Look how happy I am” we say. “Look how great everything is” we try to convince each other, and ourselves while adding more filters and hashtags so that even more people can see how great everything is.

But is it?

I had an awful night tonight. I’ve cancelled two overseas trips this past year, and my social media feeds are covered in photos of international museums, concert tickets, the Eiffel tower and exotic beaches. A reminder that I haven’t quite got my shit together this year (again) and another nagging reminder that I’m sinking so deep in to the ‘suburban mom’ persona that I genuinely fear that I’ll never get out. Am I too selfless? Am I just unorganized? Why am I so busy all the time? Am I doing something wrong, is everyone else better at everything than I am? I haven’t gotten round to returning our library books, so how will I ever manage to sort my visa out.  Am I not making it a priority, or is it secretly not actually important to me at all. Is it an escape tactic? A rebellion against the school commute, play dates and soccer practice? It’s always like that, isn’t it. When you’re trying to lose weight, your social media feed is consumed by pictures of people who look like they haven’t eaten in three months. The best decor posts will always show up right after the dog ate half your couch. A perfectly styled picture of a nutritionally balanced salad will punch you in the chest as you’re digging in to (another) defrosted pizza base, reminding you just how awful you are at everything. How much more organized everyone else is and how much more money everyone has than you. Seriously though – where do you all get all your money from?

I sound bitter and ungrateful tonight, don’t I? I’m not. We’ve been blessed in more ways than I’d ever hoped. My life is riddled in privilege and happiness, I admit. We don’t want or need for anything, and yet lately I find myself feeling quite greedy about it. Like we need and want more, but we don’t. Not really we don’t. Yet, some days I feel like a wild spirit captured in a mediocre life. Some days I feel disappointed in how ordinary everything is. The routine of it all. I want to pack up this house and the boys and trek through Africa for a month, but then I remember that we have full time jobs, and those darn library books. Some days I really just want to shake things up. I also remember how incredibly blessed and happy we all are, just the way everything is right now.

Obviously I genuinely want all the good people on earth to be happy and healthy and for all your dreams to come true, hard work to pay off and for every success to be granted in your very and exact direction, I do. Maybe social media mirrors our own shortcomings back to us and hits us in the emotions in case you really were numb inside, and maybe that’s a good thing. Like a reminder of our own obstacles and shortcomings. A kick in the butt, if we’re being eloquent. Maybe social media is the new nagging housewife, except in pictures. And while the nagging housewife is annoying AF (ask Graeme) maybe we need it, and to keep track of everything we’d like to achieve. But then I question – is social media selling us a preconceived idealism of flashy cars, expensive restaurants, stylish clothes, perfect bodies and international trips that we don’t really desire? Is the augmented reality of other people’s lives encouraging and motivating our every success or making us feel disheartened and depressed? Depends what mood you’re in, I say. Some days I feel so inspired by everything around me and other days I want to unfollow every single person I’ve ever met. Because emotions. The thing is, it’s not jealousy. It’s a reminder. When I see someone who has lost 10kg I instantly feel happy for them, but then I feel super guilty because I skipped a run (or six) and ate that second bowl of pasta last night. You know? And sometimes I don’t want to feel that guilt. Sometimes I just want to eat my pasta and be happy with my muffin top without questioning my life on a Tuesday night.

Then I remember that we’ve got some great trips coming up, and we’re really trying to make our home look beautiful and cozy. And I wonder if there’s someone out there, looking at my or someone else’s social media feed, wondering if they’ve gone wrong and how they ended up alone on the couch on a Saturday night. And if that’s you, I want you to know that I feel like that sometimes too, and it really is awful. We’ve all got a different ‘ordinary’ and it’s up to us how we reflect these mirrors shining their light in our faces.

It’s okay to feel pretty sad about all of it sometimes. Sad about being tired, and not seeing your friends and family often enough, or eating junk and not living your best life.  Sad about not being on top of things all the time. And sometimes it’s good to talk about it, even if nobody is listening.

 

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Weylandts’ first ever TV ad – The Tastemakers

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I’m sure I’ve told you, but super talented Mr Husband works over at Weylandts. Over the past couple of weeks, they’ve been shooting a pretty incredible TV ad for their Tastemakers Campaign. The ad was shot at Chris Weylandts home (I KNOW, right?) over at Maison Estate. The model is the very gorgeous and apparently super nice Ana Kuni. I’ve taken a few stills from the ad to show you the vibe, because oh man… it’s just such a breathtakingly beautiful little story. The ad opens with “A weekend to ourselves” and shows a home video style series of the husband filming his wife being very every-day in their gorgeous (and tasteful) home.

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From eating left overs for breakfast (empty bottles of wine still all over the kitchen) and dancing in the living room with no shoes on, to running around the house in your cozzy, this feel-good ad will leave a nice little grin all over your face. It’s so gorgeous that within seconds you’ll want to be in that house, with all that furniture, decor and accessories – which I guess was the entire point. Watch the ad! And congrats to the entire Weylandts team. This is beautiful!

 

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Summer Bodies are made in Winter, right?

This time last year, I was prepping for my first ever half marathon. I took part in a challenge to go from “Couch to 21km in 8 Weeks” with no previous running fitness or experience. In hindsight, it wasn’t the best move on my part. I jumped in too quickly and went too far, too fast. I ended up with injuries including blisters, stress fractures, shin splints and it took months for my quads to feel back to their quad-like selves. I was super proud of myself, and signed up for more races straight away but every time I ran I was in pain. I did a few short runs but most days couldn’t clock 2km. Running is something I LOVE doing, but I switched to fitness classes to strengthen my body and to keep moving without my running shoes. At gym and I do Shape classes every week, which is 30 mins hard core cardio and 30 minutes toning – squats, lunges, sit ups, planking, all of it. I don’t know the names of the things we do but I know that you can’t walk for 6 days after, and it feels great. Toning and strengthening my core has made such a difference in everything that I do. A few weeks ago, I went for a run again in the Overberg and for the fist time in almost a year, it didn’t hurt. I’ve slowly been adding more runs to my routine, mostly on the treadmill just to keep the muscles warm and active. One of my favourite things to do is run my little heart out to super loud music and watch the swimmers.

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Now that I feel stronger and fresh again, I really want to up my game. Last year I wrote about my sudden and epic weight gain, where I gained like 7-10 kgs in a matter of weeks. Call it the 30s, call it pasta (probably the pasta though) but I ate my way through my entire wardrobe. The 21km was the perfect challenge for me to adjust my life, get fit and healthy – and it worked. I’ve been keeping active since then, and I feel good. Winter can be pretty crummy in Cape Town cause it rains a lot, so I hang out at gym  more often. Also – our gym has a huuuuge indoor play area for kids with basketball court, so the kids LOVE going and getting a little workout too. I take the dogs for a walk every single day, sometimes twice a day. We have 4 great parks in our area, so I take my running watch with me and do a few laps with Jack and Daisy. They really love it when I run, and while I’m breaking a sweat they literally look like they’re not even trying. Mocking me with their finesse and endurance, those darn dogs.

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So while I’m slowly upping my fitness, I’m also trying to lose those last few kgs. While I fit in to all my clothes again, I still feel like I should be wearing LONG shirts and HIGH waisted pants (what muffin top) to cover any and all wobbly bits, you know? What I wouldn’t give for skinny, toned arms you guys. I’m not doing enough in my diet, and I have the appetite of a teenage boy. I never used to care for things like cake, but since becoming a vegetarian, I’m craving more carbs and sugars. I’m trying to find the balance with the protein and iron to nourish my body appropriately without it craving or needing anything unnecessary. I love healthy food and I do eat well, it’s just the little extras that are weighing me down (or up, am I right?). I’ve switched to soup because it’s easy for me to add proteins like dollops of cottage cheese, kidney beans, spinach and chickpeas and it’s working! I like soup because preservatives and added ‘secret’ ingredients freak me out, and soup is just vegetables and water which makes me feel super clean and healthy and like the food is pure. I’ve cut out carbs completely, which isn’t a great move because two hours later all I want is chocolate cake. I just need to start creating a better balance. Or I just need to stop ordering cake but let’s not be ridiculous you guys. I mean.

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So I want to lose 5kgs. I’m not a banting kinda gal (because gross) and I 100% believe in balance and moderation. I would never DENY myself anything. If I have cake, I know I need to run that little bit extra the next day or I add another walk in to our routine. I don’t drink enough water, and I need to add even more activity to my schedule. Resistance training and running makes you younger, stronger, healthier and reduces your risk of disease and osteoporosis quite drastically. Not eating meat is helping with cholesterol and cancer risks, but I want to do even MORE to live a healthy life. One of my besties has joined my gym so we’re doing Pilates which I feel quite weird about cause I’d rather be RUNNING, but I really need to get to my core and balance, and get in tune with what my body is capable of. So I need to stop eating the added crap, and I NEED you guys to support me. I’m going to be posting all my meals on Instagram (@therabbithaus) again. I call it #tashbunnydiet if you want to find it or follow along. My goal is to lose 5kg by Friday 26 June and the real challenge will be to maintain it throughout winter. By reducing my body fat percentage, I hope to be lighter, healthier, fitter, faster and more confident. Feeling self conscious isn’t sexy, you guys. So here’s to more running, less cake, a tiny bit less wine, more water and more balance. This blog post is all about being held accountable, so please will somebody count on me. Do you have any health goals this winter? Let’s run them out together. Lace up!

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Interviews with my father. A podcast.

In one of my recent posts I chatted a bit about our crazy family holidays. And I got to thinking about my parents a lot, and the amazing lives they’ve lived. I got the idea of doing a podcast (starting with my dad) to interview him about his life a bit. I’ve been nagging him to write a memoir for years, but my dad… He’s not great with technology, so he wouldn’t be able to type it all out. He’s got this book where he jots memories down but he doesn’t know how to get going with all of it. I figured we could start with little interviews and see where that goes.

My dad has had the most incredible life, and it really just needs to be documented. My dad is also just the nicest guy you’ve ever met in your life. He’s just so real, and different and authentic. He’s such an old soul, and we are really close. I also want my boys to know more about their grandfather, as my dad lives in Empangeni we don’t get to spend a lot of time together. I started with a little clip this morning, and I’m researching how the heck you even create a podcast – what do you use to record it? Do I have to do any post production sound engineering? How do I do that? I also need to get hold of some old pictures and things, and I’m putting together a timeline of my dad’s life to date to get a feel of chapters and how to break it all down. Can I do it all by recording our voice conversations? What about the quality? Loud speaker audio is so miff. So I got myself a little side project to work on, and I’m super excited about it. I’m eager to learn even more about my dad and both my parents’ lives – and uncover some family tree information as well.

This morning I just wanted to do a sound test, to see how the audio would work. Man I’m so bad at this – I just took a video clip of me on the phone to him – in photo booth. Sigh. My dad said we can do the recordings at night and over weekends so he can concentrate. I’m gonna do the first one tonight, and get those kids to bed super early so we can figure it all out.

I am EXCITED you guys. If anyone has any advice on the best way to go about creating a podcast, right down to how to record it, please let me know. I woke up at 4am with this whole idea and called my dad pretty early to discuss all of this, and his phone went straight to voicemail. It’s going REALLY well you guys.

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A note on blogging from a blogger

Hello daar, blog. Flipping flip I haven’t been writing for a while, have I? Guys have you noticed how many blogs there are lately? There are one or two that I read, but those of you from back in the day (7 or 8 years ago) might remember a completely different and more isolated internet life. Back when some of the greatest and most important blogs were around and everyone really gave AF about what they said and thought about the world. Nowadays – not as much. It’s all gone a bit commercial and kak, hasn’t it? In it for the ‘opportunities’ these young guns. The stats, the awards (remember those) the freebies and I don’t know what else. I saw a blogger meet up thing the other day and flip you guys that was what Nicki, Angie and I started up about… six years ago? Five? Back when I was at a PR agency in Joburg. A LONG time ago. Remember when Nicki blogged? I miss her writing so much. So many really good writers have censored or packed it in completely because it’s just too much. And you guys, some bloggers these days can be hard-core-mean to each other, and super serious. It’s changed. I have noted that the real writers, the artists, the sentimental and passionate… are still here. The ones who built their house on the rock, you know?

Do you still read blogs? With all these apps and services and devices, it’s pretty easy to stay in the loop these days. I’m so guilty of not updating and it bugs me because this is where I keep all our memories. I made a bit of a U-turn a few months ago, or was it last year – when was it? and decided to stop and say NEE to the sponsorships and cash monies and things because it blurred a lot of what I wanted to do with my online space. Blogging is not a business, or well it’s not my paycheck. I have a business that I put all my energy, love and excitement in to every day and it’s just so rewarding. Some of you may know that I run a little social media agency in Cape Town. With blogging: I find that when you start getting paid to do something you love (in terms of hobbies) then even that starts to become a bit of a chore. A deadline. A responsibility. It’s no fun, I say. And I’m not a salesman you guys. That’s not what I wanna write about. And I’ve been doing SO MUCH writing lately, just not online or published because some things are private. Here is a picture of me looking private. Look how private I am.

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I’ve become very… personal about a lot of things, and I think it’s great. I’m quite an introvert IRL, and a bit of a recluse. I was telling Graeme how I struggle to make small talk or make friends because the friends I do have, I’ve had my whole adult life (and most through childhood and teen years too) So meeting new people and telling them about me sounds just… exhausting. I am a complex person. My besties know everything about me, and there’s great comfort there. I don’t trust many people because there are just so many jerks out there, you know? I like to stay warm by the fire of my close friends, family, children and dogs. We went to a kids party yesterday, and I spoke to a group of moms for a few minutes and as G and I walked away, I was like “OMG was I okay? Did I say anything weird? Do you think they’ll think I’m okay? Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned this or that, or like spoken a word at all. Was I weird?” Cause the thing is that I AM weird and I’m afraid of opening my mouth around people for most of the time. Also, G is so used to my quirks / probable personality disorders that he is completely useless at giving feedback. He’s like “you were just yourself” and I’m like “NOOOoooooo that’s awful!!” I’ve really been struggling with school moms. The ‘other’ moms I call them. I mean they all seem nice, but I am so skittish all the time. Is there an app for people skills?

I have these friends that I’ve met over the years who I know don’t know me at all. You’ve got them too. Friends you keep at the very tip of your fingers and who you ‘friendship’ with every day, but they don’t know a darn thing about the human you are deep inside. In the corners and shadows and behind trap doors. You don’t ‘show and tell’ those parts because heck, the therapist you hired and paid couldn’t open that kak with a crowbar.

So sometimes it really is easier to go online and talk to complete strangers than it is to whatsapp your mother and get IRL feedback. Sometimes it is nice to talk to absolutely nobody about absolutely everything and to remind y’all that this is real life people.

My friend Stacey (real-deal writer) has described my writing style as confessional. She picked it up off the bat because hers is too, and I’ve always suspected that Stacey and I are similar. I love friends like Stacey because she’s felt extreme and utter heartache. Not a standard requisite for a tick-box, but I feel comfortable around people with broken hearts. People who have suffered are real. Humble. Intelligent. Wise. Wordly. Experienced. Haunted. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable around people who live ordinary or sheltered lives. Easy lives. Does that sound bad? Look how insecure I am all over my blog today. I wonder if you’re able to feel without your heart broken in half, like it needs to be exposed and vulnerable to heighten your awareness and absorb more life.

I’m more drawn to honesty and bleeding emotion. I want to read and write and feel. I want to save my own memories for a rainy day. I want to remember everything about this life and I want people who love me to remember all about me too. I’ve been following this tandem blogging experiment over on Cath’s blog (thanks for the invite, bitches) and I’m really enjoying it. They get a ‘line’ every week and a whole bunch of them have to write a blog post on it. It’s very cool! I also read my friend Keri‘s blog because her writing is lekker and she likes to leap out of her comfort zone, which I really respect about people. Some research (a tweet I sent out once) has shown that we follow blogs because we’re drawn to the writer’s personality and feel connected to them. I get that, because even if my favourite bloggers are writing about computer games, I’m all in cause I like to read their words and find out what they’ve been up to, like a creepster.

So I guess what I’m TRYING to say, is that it’s pretty hard to stay authentic in this new world and wave of bloggers who might be in it for different reasons – reasons that weren’t even around when some of us started out, and that’s okay. We have our own motives, and who’s to say who is right anyway, just cause someone isn’t doing something the same way – doesn’t mean they’re wrong or right and who cares… let people do what they wanna do, right? I haven’t been feeling very creative. As I write this, it’s Sunday morning and the kids are being hella loud, running up and down the passage and outside (up to no good I’ll bet) so it’s hard to stay focused. I know I sound like a whiny mother. I am a whiny mother. I’ll write more soon, little rabbit haus memoir. I swear it!

 

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Confessions of the worst vegetarian ever.

Sho. What. A. Week. This week was, horrid. I was on so much medication, and the boys were on school holidays, and work doesn’t stop. How I functioned through all of it is a modern miracle mystery. Or something. The past month or so I’ve been getting really sick. And I honestly hardly ever get sick. I run, I gym, I eat (mostly) super healthy – I love fruits and salad and bran and grains and crunchy leafy green things. You’d have a hard time getting me to eat any junk – to be honest. If I feel like something yuck (YUM) then I’ll make some sweet potato chips with loads of mayo or something. I’m super proud and careful about what I eat most days. So let’s take an unbalanced, unhealthy diet off the table right here.

About 2 months ago, I cut meat out of my diet but still ate fish. I felt better than ever – really. Skin cleared up a lot, I felt lighter, healthier, lost weight and just all-round great. Then I (quite accidentally, really) stopped eating fish or seafood for another month. I just hadn’t gone out of my way to put tuna in anything and we hadn’t been for sushi. Our local grocer’s fish is hella expensive, so I was like “I’ll get when I do the big shop” and that just never happened. Maybe I’m supposed to be telling you what a good person I am cause I didn’t eat meat but honestly it just happened. And at the same time all this other stuff happened.

I got a bad tummy bug. I got flu. I got mild tonsillitis. I got an ear infection. My eardrum burst. All of this in like a 6 week period I think. I usually get sick once a year or so, like most of us. After the third night of being up ’til 3am with a hot water bottle on your ear, you kinda lay awake and start trying to figure out WTAF is wrong with you. I started getting sick when I cut out the healthy fats and proteins found in fish. I think. I’m pretty sure.

Then I thought “nah…” because Noah has been vegetarian for 3 years and that kid NEVER gets sick. In his whole entire life I remember him being sick once, when he was about 2. He is a healthy, brainy, happy and super active child. So… wtf. I spoke to my brother cause he was vegan I think for 5 years and now vegetarian for 4 years and he used to get sick too. He had to go for injections and all sorts of things but he got really sick. Then I spoke to my friend Kate who was vegan, then vegetarian since 2009 and she didn’t go through this. So what gives.

So after laying in the doctor’s room for several hours (hellooooo sick bed) after another injection (this time for a reaction against penicillin or the cortisone or something) and after throwing up for 6 hours straight, I had a tuna sandwich. And it felt good. And I felt stronger. Sorry I know I’m supposed to be all YOU DON’T NEED MEAT and SAVE THE OCEANS, but I felt a bit of strength come back. Two nights after that, I cooked some boerie rolls. I was all ‘blue steel’ frying those onions and sausage like a malnourished starving animal. I wasn’t craving meat-meat, but I was trying to find a solution. The spinach for my pop-eye, if you must. I got in bed with my boerie (haha) and settled in to some series. It wasn’t until there were 3 bites left that it happened: the taste. It tasted like meat. Like flesh. Dead, rotting, bloody flesh. And come now guys, I had eaten meat since I was like 6 months old – THIRTY YEARS I kicked back the burgers, mince, chops, lamb – loved it. But I swear to God, it was the most disgusting, foul taste.. like I was eating something dead. And I frantically tried to tell Graeme and my mom and they were like “yeah but technically that is what you ate” and I was just like… “No but you don’t understand, when you stopped eating it, it tastes SO DIFFERENT.” It does. When you grow up with meat, it’s just a thing – a thing your mom dishes up with mashed potatoes and green beans and rice and you eat it and you love it, because you know it and it’s awesome.

Having not eaten red meat for two months – it really adjusts your palette. Like.. re-sets everything. I wasn’t disgusted on an emotional or ethical level, I was mid-way through my favourite show and not even thinking about it. I just needed that gross taste out of my mouth as soon as possible. I got in my car and drove to the garage and bought like a handful of ghost pops and juice and chocolates (sooo much better, right?) and anything I thought would get the taste away. The taste, it’s like… iron, metal. Like when you cut your finger as a kid and you lick at it (we all have) (yes even you) and you taste blood and you’re like “gross how do vampires do this….” That is what meat tastes like after you stop eating it. And meat is meat whether it’s dog or human or cow or baby sheep – it all tastes the effing same to me now. My point is – you’d probably go through the same thing.

Anyway, I’m like the worst vegetarian / pescetarian ever. The other weekend I accidentally ate chicken samoosas at Noah’s sports day. Graeme had a packet of them and I was like “yeah gimme some” and like two days later I was like “oh wait…” and felt like I had to do the vegetarian equivalent of Hail Marys but I didn’t know what that was. And it’s hectic, man. Vegans and vegetarians can be soooo hectic. A friend of mine is vegetarian and she was like “yeah I eat fish sometimes but don’t tell people” and my brother felt some flack when he went from vegan to vegetarian for health reasons. And then the vegans are like “Oh, the bad and unhealthy vegetarians are putting the good ones to shame” but it’s not like that. Some people really get sick, you guys. I opened the convo on twitter, and dozens of people said they had to go back on to animal proteins or dairy or something. Another friend of mine got sick on a vegan diet, then switched to vegetarianism. People don’t want the animals to suffer, and people are trying but it’s hard in the beginning. Maybe it’s easier for some (and I applaud you) but changing your diet and life-long habits in any way is hard. I felt so much better when Kate told me that it literally takes years to fully adjust. And now I don’t feel so bad about my failings and accidents and sickness and wanting to self-harm over eating 3/4 of a boerie roll.

I don’t know why I got sick, or why some do and some don’t. It might be a detoxing process – maybe Noah’s system was young and strong enough to adapt. Maybe some people have better immune systems, and there’s research on different blood types needing different nutrients. I’m not going back to red meat, because it tasted like something that had maggots in it (for real) but I will still eat fish now and then. I think I need to. And maybe I’ll wean myself off of that eventually. Maybe I’m not as hard core as I thought I was, and getting ‘that’ sick really humbled me. Something about sitting on your bed at 1am with a toilet plunger to your face that makes you really consider your life and actions.

So I am saying this:

I don’t want to eat dead animals. I don’t think it’s cool to eat blood or have any part in the suffering of another earthling. I also know (and you should too) that colon cancer is most common amongst people with a diet rich in red and processed meat. Not nice to think about, but do yourself a favour and google “colon cancer” in case you have any doubts. I am shit scared (see what I did there) of that type of cancer. Right now, it’s the third most common type of cancer – globally. Anyway… I am saying: take care of yourselves and listen to your body and keep it strong. Do your research. Tonight a friend asked what plant based proteins I am eating and I was like “what is that” because even though I’ve been eating all those foods she mentioned like beans and lentils – I didn’t know that they’re proteins. Cause I’m the worst. So if you’re looking for a list of meat alternatives that nourish all the right boxes, find one here.

Anyway, I know I said I wouldn’t be talking about this anymore, but I’m still sitting here with a stack of meds next to me wondering how the heck this all happened. I’m putting it down to detox, and I’m eating some fish again. And getting back to the gym tomorrow and hoping that this is the last of it. So if you’re going through this transition and it’s not all hunky-dory world peace vibes, then that’s okay. Tiny little steps need to be taken at your own pace. Saving the world is HARD work you guys. Kidding. I think I’ve saved like, half a cow. Maybe a drumstick. And in light of all this negative, ranty sulky vibes… Here’s a picture my brother took while we were at the beach yesterday. Dudes chilling with dolphins. We live in a beautiful world, people. Let’s all be kind to each other.

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A few family pictures – 2015, Betty’s Bay by Paul Clark

We went to my mom’s house in Betty’s Bay for Easter Weekend. It was super fun (and busy) and some days a bit rainy, but it was great. The dogs love, love love going to my mom’s. The houses there aren’t allowed fences – how awesome? Something about the fynbos and preservation, so you can build a house but you aint putting up a wall and gate. So your dogs have to be pretty loyal to stick around, as ours do! They really love exploring around the garden, fynbos and bushes and keeping busy.

My brother Paul is visiting for a bit, and took some pictures of Jack and Daisy. On the morning we left, I asked him to take a quick family picture or two before we got going. It was super unprepared, I hadn’t planned any outfits or props or plans or anything fancy. I sat on that rock for like 20 minutes trying to call Graeme away from the tv to quickly sit for a picture. Looking at these, I’ve decided that THIS is the way to go: all natural! I didn’t even edit these images – just a quick crop here and there. I feel a bit self conscious now cause I was wearing short-short shorts, and I was gonna try take some bumps and bruises out but you know – this is us. All rested from a weekend away, about to get in the car and head home. A moment, a memory. We’re gonna frame three of the pictures from the below, and I’m really excited to see how they come out in print. Thank you SO much for the quick snaps Paulie – ek waardeur dit baie! Who needs a lawyer in the family when you have a photographer, right? If anyone in and around Cape Town / Overberg wants some profesh “frame it” family pictures done in the next few weeks, you should mail my brother – pawlclark@gmail.com and this is his website. It’s my blog and I’ll punt if I want to!

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What happens when you push a panic button in South Africa?

Now, I’m home alone from time to time. Not often, but sometimes just the boys and I are at home. We have a pretty good security set-up, but we had ADT installed when we moved in. I don’t know why – as we’d previously had a bad incident in Observatory. In that case, 3 guys had gained access to our property while I was home alone. They ran off when they saw me, and as they ran I pressed the panic button three times, but nobody showed up or called. I phoned my husband and he got on the highway from town, and made it home to me before ADT had even arrived. In fact, I had to call them about 25 minutes later to ask why nobody had showed. Interestingly, the SAPS had showed up before they had. This is a business that had been taking about R425 of my money every month for three years, at a total of about R15 300. And nobody showed up, at all.

When we moved to the suburbs, we had a meeting with ADT and expressed our concerns. They promised a maximum 4 minute response time, as they have so many patrol cars and bicycles in this area. We also stipulated in our contract that in case of emergency, they have full access to the property and need to jump the front wall if necessary so that they could view the front and the back property – especially if we’re away, but in any case if there is an emergency: They have access. We signed our contracts and felt secure in the fact that this area is better managed, as promised.

This morning I was discussing security with Graeme, and I told him that I was going to test the panic button. We have them all over the house, and we’ve trained the kids to use them too. In case there’s a medical emergency, a fire or if something happens to mommy that they don’t know how to help with. At around 11am, I closed our front door, set my stopwatch, and pushed the panic. Sirens went nuts, and I waited.

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The siren blared and eventually switched itself off after about a minute and a half. Nothing. When my stopwatch was at 2 minutes 42 seconds, my phone rang. By now I had checked a few emails and put some cartoons on for the boys. Or, been attacked by some sort of crowbar gang or something. I didn’t answer the call, because after all, I was in ‘distress’ and unable to take the call. This was an emergency.

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These are screenshots from my phone. It appeared that nothing was really happening, and nobody was arriving. I made a cup of tea and checked more emails. Interestingly, the siren didn’t activate again. I would have thought that if a panic was pressed, then the siren would continue to alert neighbors and passers by. An alarm going off for a minute, then switching off would tell neighbors that it was activated accidentally. A siren that continually goes on and off might signal an erm, alarm of sorts. For me, this would show that someone is in distress. I took my tea and stood at the front door. We have these old school patterned windows next to our door where I can see our front garden and gate. Note that my car is in the driveway, showing that someone is home.

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At 8 minutes, 8 seconds our gate bell rang. I stood next to the intercom but didn’t pick it up. After all, I was in serious distress and unable to answer. I had pushed a panic button, which should trigger every SOS signal in the books over at security headquarters. Nothing. I watched the ADT guy get back in his car. And then more nothing. Nobody called again, nobody jumped over the wall. I got concerned that he in fact WOULD jump over the wall because those guys are armed man. I also wondered if he was in his car calling the police for backup, in which case I had some serious explaining to do. But he was just sitting in his car. He didn’t ring the bell again, nobody phoned me again. It was like nothing was going on at all. From the time that I had pushed the panic, over 15 minutes had passed. I thought that even more concern would be raised as I hadn’t answered the phone, and I wasn’t answering the gate, and a car was parked outside. I have seen the ADT guys respond to alarms in our area, and they generally park, stand outside for a bit, then drive off, noting in their log books that they’d attended to the call-out. I am pretty sure that the guy would eventually just have driven off.

The carpenters that are doing our floors arrived that moment. The ADT guy quickly jumped out. I opened the gate for the carpenters, and the ADT guy followed. “Is everything okay ma’am?” he asked. He was a really nice, soft spoken man. I said I was fine, and he said “Okay!” and left. Didn’t even ask for my password. About 20 minutes later, a lady from ADT called to ask if response had arrived, about 35 to 40 minutes after I’d pressed the panic. I said I was fine. And that was the end of that. So there you have it, ladies and gents. This is what happens when you press a panic button in your home when you’re alone with your children. This post is not to defame ADT in particular, but to highlight security systems in general. I’m sure that ADT does a lot of good in their line of work, but I don’t feel very safe being in their ‘care’ right now. I thought you should know, and I urge you to test your systems too.

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The doorbell rang at 8:08 and I opened the gate at 15:31. If I hadn’t opened the gate, I’m sure he would have driven off eventually. He didn’t even shout out. Nothing.

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a little bit of us

We had such a great weekend. Really, these good weekends seem to come out of nowhere these days. Maybe it’s because winter is approaching and we’re making one last push to enjoy the outdoors before the rains and cold and lazy days consume us. We found a sweet little beach in Milnerton called Lagoon Beach. We’re all about the lagoons these days in search of warmer water! Not much swimming going on in Cape Town beaches unless you have skin of steel. The boys love swimming and splashing around at the beach, so lagoons are our little haven. Wait, I need to start at the beginning.

On Friday afternoon, we watched this great new movie called “Home” and found a bit more info about it. You have to have to take your kids. Mine loved it, and I cried all the cries at the end. Such a fun story!

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HOME is the latest offering from Dreamworks Animation (The Croods, How to Train Your Dragon) and  features an array of well-known voices including the likes of Rihanna, Jim Parsons, funnyman Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Matt Jones.

After an overly-optimistic, yet inept alien race called the Boov led by Captain Smek (Steve Martin) invades Earth to make it their new home and to hide from their mortal enemies, a resourceful human girl named Gratuity ‘Tip’ Tucci (voiced by Rihanna) avoids capture and embarks on the road trip of a lifetime with a banished Boov named Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons), who accidentally notifies the enemies of their whereabouts.

Through their unlikely friendship, and a series of comic adventures with Tip and her pet cat named Pig, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human. And, while he changes her planet and she changes his world, together they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.

View the trailer for HOME here:  http://sterkinekor.com/?cinemaID=11#/trailer/6856/Home%20/

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I really love my movie dates with the boys. I especially wanted to take them over Easter weekend, but we’ll be away. Over Easter weekend and school holidays, Ster Kinekor has loads of fun planned for kids. Home, Cinderella and Fast & Furious 7 are all releasing now. So, whether you’re into fairy tales and dreams coming true, or animated aliens looking for home, or you’ve fastened your seatbelt for the ride of your life, there is loads to do. For HOME, The cinema foyers at certain Ster-Kinekor cinemas will be transformed into a carnival of colour and activity over the Easter weekend, with face painters, jugglers, bubble machines, tasty treats, prizes and so much more. Take the kids to Ster-Kinekor cinemas at Gateway in Durban, Cape Gate in Cape Town, Brooklyn and The Grove in Pretoria, and Cresta and The Zone in Johannesburg, to join in all the excitement from 03 – 06 April.

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For Disney’s Cinderellasome of the cinemas will be transformed into a fairyland over the Easter weekend, so definitely dress your girls in their favourite princess outfit. Follow the fairy lights to the big screens at Ster-Kinekor cinemas at Gateway in Durban, Cape Gate, Tygervalley and Cavendish in Cape Town, Brooklyn in Pretoria and The Zone, Sandton and Cradlestone Mall in Johannesburg – and, on Thursday, 02 April, the palace’s footmen will welcome you to the land of Cinderella. I’ll admit, I’m dying to see this movie, and I AM dragging the boys along.

If you fancy yourself as a would-be Fast & Furious driver, you can test your skills in the racing simulators at select cinemas from 03 – 06 April. The racing simulators will be in pole position at Ster-Kinekor Gateway in Durban, Tygervalley in Cape Town, Sterland in Pretoria, and at Cradlestone Mall and The Zone in Johannesburg. Phew! That was a lot of info, but well worth it. The kids are gonna LOVE me for telling you about all this. The boys always have a great time at the movies with mom, I love having this one on one time with them. They feel so special when mommy takes them on a “reeeal date!”

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Noah had his first ever Sports Day on Saturday. Graeme and I volunteered at the Tea Garden and Braai Station and got busy with helping sell some treats and raise money for the school. We managed to watch all Noah’s races and we were so proud. He is a master crawler, and super cautious in egg-and-spoon situations. He kicked butt in the sack race, and Benjamin loved cheering him on. It was such a fun morning in the sun and I really missed that school spirit from my schooling days. We watched all the house captains lead the teams around the field with a marching band playing and everyone was all competitive and excited and super passionate about their races. It was incredible. I’m so grateful to be part of this wonderful school and all the bright and feisty children.

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We headed to the beach with the dogs. We really can’t leave our pups for more than a few hours on weekends – they must have been going mad with jealousy and boredom. We hurried home and packed a bag and cooler box and headed to Lagoon Beach for the afternoon. There are always so many dogs there for ours to play with and so much space for them to run, play and swim. Oh, the kids had a good time too :0 hehe. You know what I mean!

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We had a braai when we got home and a few sun downers while the boys played and watered the garden. Graeme made Noah and I some delicious veggie burgers, a big chicken roast / braai and some salads. I know – it really was the most perfect day, just us. On Sunday we were so lost on what to do. We wanted to go for a hike along the mountains, but so many parks and trails were closed due to fire damage. We thought about a fishing trip and a little Sunday road trip, but in the end all we wanted to do was go back to the beach! We got some bodyboards and snorkel sets for the boys and headed back for another sunny day, because really – winter IS coming. I can feel it in my bones every morning and getting out of bed at 6am is becoming a real and painful struggle at the rabbit haus.

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Graeme was itching to make something (anything) and I had a few things to do around the garden, like re-pot ALL our house plants that were getting too big for their pots. I’ve been walking around for like a month wondering why all our plants suddenly look miserable and near-dead. WHOOPS! Anyway, they’re pretty happy now. I also got a bunch of new house plants because I love love love greenery in every room. I also put a bunch of flowers that I planted back in to pots because Daisy is a sneaky little naughty and has a huge appetite for flowers, it seems. Funny cause her name is Daisy. Maybe she’s angry about her name choice and this is how she’s taking it out on us. Graeme and the boys made us a standing veggie crate and we planted a bunch of delicious herbs and lettuce. We’re gonna try make one every weekend. The research I did said that it’s better to have veggie gardens in raised crates or boxes as it protects them from more pests and things. So you don’t have to spray all those gross poisons and things on your food. So far – so good! It really was a fun weekend and I’m struggling to get through this week already. We’re going away for a few days and I can’t wait because we’re in for MORE summer vibes and beach and family. Also, the Easter Bunny is coming soon!

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