Whilst holidaying in Limpopo at my cousin’s lodge… I had the unfortunate experience of coming into contact with a small, hairy worm…. which left me with a hellish, angry-red rash on both my forearms and (strangely) on my stomach! I cannot explain the ITCH!!! Still – a week later – I’m trying not to scratch!

Here is a gross photo of the rash on my stomach – (the day after I met the worm).
It’s rather eewww, yes I know. Thought I’d share my pain! ;o)


I’d have preferred a partridge in a pear tree…

3 days before Christmas:
Much frenzied shopping and money-spending in overcrowded malls – every trick in the book for us to “buy! buy! buy!”. Whining, tired children and irritated husband – and even more irritated me. At least Nick bought me a Christmas present that I actually wanted (portable voice recorder) – and he chose himself a fancy steering wheel thingy to plug into his computer game.

Nick samples his new toy.

2 days before Christmas:
Obligationary visit to my father and his wife. We don’t visit them as much as we should (and vice versa) – but it’s the “right-thing-to-do”, I guess, to visit them before Christmas and give gifts to Andrea (my half sister) and Zubedia (my step sister) that they probably won’t even like… because we spend so little time with them… that we don’t really know what they DO like.

Dad and I looking oh-so-excited…

Awkward moment when Dad and Nelly realize that they haven’t purchased anything for Morgan & Joah… and feel (once again) obligated to reciprocate the gift-thing… so I’m handed 2 boxes of wrapped, unlabelled assorted chocolates and Dad pushes a wad of cash into my hand and instructs me to “buy something nice” for the kids. We eat wors rolls and too many ferre roche chocolates.

Christmas Eve:
After much present wrapping and faffing, we eventually get ourselves and the kids to Nick’s parents house where Nick’s sister, Angela, has erected an enormous tree (whose lights broke 2 nights prior). Nick is allergic to Angela’s dog’s hair which has been distributed liberally on every couch, bed and pillow in the house. His eyes itch, his nose runs and he’s irritable. Morgan is ratty from lack of sleep and demands presents non-stop. We un-wrap presents in the afternoon for the first time in years to avoid over-tired tears in the evening.

From left: Yiayia, Theodora, Vicky, Angela, Joah sitting on Papou’s lap.

Dino & Rita

“What dat, Daddy? Is Morgan’s present!”

Angela hates the afternoon present unwrapping thing and says it doesn’t feel “Christmassy” enough. Rita is over-pregnant and unhappy. After presents (I don’t think anybody was truly delighted with their gifts) – and a spot of tantrum throwing from Morgan who wants her cousin’s presents as well as her own… we move to the dining room table which is too small to accommodate all of us, so half of us eat in the kitchen. Once again we gorge on food. We leave early because the kids are irritable and Nick and I spend the rest of Christmas Eve watching the TV and nibbling on left-overs.

Christmas Day:
Morgan wakes us up at the crack of dawn because she knows there are presents under our lob-sided tree destined for her. I force myself downstairs while Morgan unwraps Mommy-&-Daddy’s-present (to her) which is a Morgan-sized grand piano. However, we forgot to buy batteries – so it doesn’t work. Morgan is very disappointed so moves on to her brother’s new fire engine. She tries to take it from him. He screams. Nick administers discipline.

We eventually manage to pack the kids and more presents and drive to my Mom’s place. My sister is on holiday – but my Mom has long-time-no-seen relatives over for Christmas dinner (along with a number of familyless waifs and strays that she invited). It’s a scorching hot day and I try hard not to feel supremely irritated (too much heat always puts me in a vile mood). We don’t get much time to chat to Mom because an old friend is visiting and Mom (plus friend) are chatting non-stop. Nice to see long-lost cousins though… although I felt supremely guilty that I hadn’t seen them in 10 years since Scott died. After a short visit (and food!!)… we re-pack the kids and drive to Edenvale to Nick’s cousin’s house (Costa & Sophia)… where, it seems, that every Greek in Joburg has gathered for Christmas lunch. Roasted in the sun… chatted to relatives… and politely waited for the older folk to get their food first – only to arrive at the dinner table to discover that the lamb and Greek roast potatoes had already been devoured. Picked on some chicken and ate way too much Greek dessert. Left feeling bloated and overheated.

Drove to Melville to Bertus & Ronel’s house – (they were having an all-night Christmas movie evening). Loved the company… ate too many snacks and cupcakes… and felt embarrassed because Morgan was in a show-off mood and performed loudly whilst everybody tried to watch “Elf” and “The Grinch”.

Arrived home exhausted and over-fed. Fell in to bed and slept. Merry Christmas. Merry.

Boxing Day:
Rogan, Tracey & Dino arrived at our house for a braai. The kids were all well-behaved and played in the new Jump-O-lene (Christmas gift to the kids, courtesy of Dino & Rita)… we enjoyed a fantastic braai… my Mom arrived for a visit too… some great conversation… and lots of laughs.

Morgan & Matt enjoy the new Jump-O-lene…

Later, after the kids were bathed and sleeping and my Mom and Dino had left… Rogan, Tracey, Nick and I enjoyed a wonderful conversation – plus ice-cream, hot choc sauce and coffee. They left just before midnight – definitely the best Festive Season day yet. Relaxed, real and un-forced… definitely my kind of day!

Tracey is expecting a baby girl in just a month or so…

Joah with his granny.

Since then…
Currently packing for getaway to Limpopo province to stay at my cousin’s lodge near Makhado… yay-oh-yayyy!!! Going to re-think Christmas and hopefully have something meaningful to do about it next year!

In spite of my not-so-fabulous Festive Season – hope yours was great! xx

Not entirely Merry…

Christmas came and went in a blur of frenzied shopping, kitsch bling-a-fied decorations, hideous amounts of money wasted on gross-&-inappropriate presents… and obscene amounts of gorging on way too much not-too-wonderful food. Were it not for the kids, I think I’d cancel Christmas indefinitely. This year it felt so… obligationary... so rushed… so flippin’ forced. I really need to re-think Christmas and figure out brand new family traditions and ways that we can make Christmas meaningful for our kids (and ourselves) – instead of the hideous, wasteful, meaningless family-duty that it’s become.

Sorry to be such a stick-in-the-mud. But really – it was bleugh this year!

What’s my problem?

An interesting thought occurred to me, whilst languishing in the waves of uShaka’s kiddie pool (no more adrenaline pumping steep slides or deep waters for me… alas! With a baby and a three-year-old, the paddling-pool is as good as it gets!).

Anyway – whilst dipping Joah like a rusk in an enormous cup of watery tea… I couldn’t help but notice that I wasn’t the only woman in the vicinity bedecked in over sized lycra from the Donna Claire store. OK, wishy-washy PC language aside! Here’s the truth: I wasn’t the only fat person in the paddling pool! Actually… make that the entire park!

This is a rare occurrence in my life – since I’m currently the fattest person in my circle of friends… so, being in the presence of other… uh… “large people”… was strangely comforting. Even more comforting was the fact that nobody seemed to care about the size or shape of anybody elses bodies (with the exception of the rude aquarium man that I mentioned in my previous post). It was a scorcher of a day – and people were far more concerned about cooling down and enjoying themselves. Relief! (However, I was secretly pleased that the Greeks were nowhere in sight. I didn’t have to worry about body scrutiny and knowing looks. I could just relax and be me).

Anyway – I began to people-watch… and I noticed – to my surprise – that there were no “perfect” bodies in the vicinity. There were fat people, thin people, white people, black people, brown people and people burned bright red (lots of those, actually). There were tall people, short people… short legs… long legs… cellulite (or lack thereof)… flabby thighs and drooping boobs. And speaking of boobs!!! All shapes and sizes of boobs and bums imaginable!
I was looking out for the models… the ones we see in the glossy magazines all the time… the ones we all wish we could look like… and surprisingly (!) – didn’t come across a single one! Not one person amidst the hundreds of people there that day… had a centre-spread worthy body that would incite an envious Ooooh! I wish I had a gorgeous body, just like hers!” thought in my insecure mind. Just hundreds of people with normal, imperfect bodies. People just like me.

Wow! So what’s my problem? Why can’t I just relax in the company of others – and just… “be”?

I’m chewing on it, let me tell you! Gnawing away like a toothless granny with a mouth full of rubbery calamari. Why do I over-think? Why am I so bloody paranoid about nothing!?


Beach holidays and whale-watchers.

I’ve just returned from a trip to the coast that was way too short – and I don’t feel ready to be back home!

My two favourite guys in the whole world!

About 2 weeks ago, a generous friend of my Mom’s, offered us the use of her beach-front apartment in Margate for 5 days. We hadn’t been on a bonafide holiday in ages… so even a short seaside trip sounded appealing!

I must admit, I was a bit sceptical about the “beach-front-apartment” description. Often, the more accurate description of holiday “beach-front-apartments” is “dark-musty-roach-infested-rat-holes” – down the road from the beach – but not actually on the beach itself.
Not that I mind. Rather a holiday in a rat-hole than no holiday at all.

However, we were all very pleasantly surprised when we arrived at “Indigo Bay” – swanky, new apartments right on the beach with an enormous balcony and gorgeous view. Note to self: send Mom’s generous friend a BIG bunch of flowers!

Best of all – we arrived out of season… just a few weeks shy of Christmas Chaos when every coastal town from KZN to Cape Town is sardine-packed with over-eager holiday makers from inland cities (read: Joburg!!!).
Because we weren’t there in peak season, we didn’t have to battle with traffic, overcrowded beaches, queues and overcrowded swimming pools. Blisssss!

Now… beach holidays are usually bittersweet for those of us who are fat. The holiday part is great… the beach part, not so great. Many of us… ummm… ‘larger ladies’… feel uncomfortable exposing ourselves in swimwear and shorts. I can’t shake the feeling that people are staring at my fat… and every now and then, something will happen that injects adrenaline into my already-paranoid and overactive imagination. Let me share….

We took the kids to uShaka Marine World in Durban (I was very impressed. World class facility – even reminded me a bit of Disney World). So… anyway… there we were at the uShaka Sea World aquarium – looking in to the big glass window below the snorkeling pool. I rather liked the idea of the Snorkeling Pool. You pay R160 – and spend the day snorkeling in a huge, deep pool – teeming with tropical fish and all sort of interesting creatures. My interest, however, was short-lived when I realized that those actually snorkeling in the pool were being viewed from the aquarium windows below. And my mind was made up 100% when a man standing next to me at the viewing window, pointed at an ever-so-slightly-chubby woman snorkeling above and exclaimed loudly: “Look, son! It’s a whale!”.

The “Whale”.

I imagined the comments from the aquarium spectators if I were the women snorkeling above. Whale? Orca? Walrus? Pregnant puffer fish? Sea monster?

I might have lost 10 kilograms, but I’m no Minnie Mouse. I currently weigh 111 kgs / 244 pounds. The woman referred to as “whale” couldn’t have weighed more than 70kgs/154 pounds. I can’t help but make these kinds of comparisons and jump to these kinds of conclusions. But what does one do?

Needless to say, I shot a dirty look in the rude man’s direction – but he didn’t even notice, because the people around him were giggling and guffawing – thinking his comment soooo hilarious… and he was smugly revelling in his own ‘comedic timing’.
Am I turning in to a sour, old bag with sense-of-humour-failure…? Or was that man just flippin‘ rude!?

Sometimes, I don’t even know the answer to that question. I know that I can be very over-paranoid when it comes to my weight… fervently believing that absolutely everybody is staring at my arse in amazement – as though it’s a macabre exhibit from a circus freak show.

One of my relatives can be credited with bringing on this absurd sense of arse-awareness when she made a very insensitive comment a few years ago – after I’d lost a large amount of weight on another one of my yo-yo escapades.
“I’m so glad you’ve lost the weight”, she said. “Your bum used to be enormous. It was embarrassingly big. People would stop and stare at it. But thankfully, it’s not so bad now that you’ve lost the weight”.

Uhhh. Thanks. Now what am I supposed to do with that little tit bit of information?

Unfortunately, I never forgot what she said, which is typical of me. I easily remember criticisms and verbal attacks… but struggle to remember affirmation and compliments (I’m trying to change this self-destructive pattern, by the way).
Sure enough, a few short months later… I ended up putting all the weight back on again – with the added burden of realizing that my backside was, once again, “embarrassingly big”… and that “people were stopping to stare at it!”. That thought has been added in to my Paranoid Pot – and every time I’m in a situation where I feel over-exposed (ie: beach holidays and family get-togethers)… the Paranoid Pot starts to boil over and shriek like one of those annoying kettles with the whistle on the spout. “Fat arse! Fat arse! Fat arse!” it shrieks with glee.
“Shut up, shut up, shut up!” I reply, with gritted teeth. And thus, ensues an inner war – with my paranoia and insecurities arguing viciously with the logical side of my brain which tries, in vain, to convince the rest of me that: “People aren’t staring at my arse! They’re too obsessed with their own hang-up’s and insecurities to worry about the size of my bum!”.

I usually don’t believe that comment, though. People, like the rude man in the aquarium, put severe strain on my “people don’t care what I weigh” theories. Because people DO care what other people weigh! The trick is to not care that people care what I weigh.

Let’s just say… I’m working on it.

Other than my rant for the day – about the aquarium “whale watcher” and the people around him who thought he was so funny… I have to say that I really enjoyed our short little week-long getaway to Margate & Durbs. I miss the coast. I love the sea (was born in Cape Town for those who didn’t know and spent my first few years there… including my first year of primary school). I’m not particularly fond of Joburg (understatement of the year)… but, for now, it’s where we find ourselves and, for now, it makes sense (cents?) to be here. For now.

OK – blabbing on about nothing now, so gonna sign off. xxx

Off for a short holiday!

Out of the blue – my Mom phoned me and ask if we wanted to join her in a beach house at Margate for 5 days. She didn’t have to ask twice!! Nick and I haven’t been on a proper “holiday” for – literally – years! We travel, yes, but there’s a huge difference between a holiday where you just loaf around and do nothing… and working travel – where you don’t have time to relax or enjoy the sights!

Joah hasn’t seen the sea… and the last time Morgan was on the beach was when she was one years old. I cannot wait to see how excited the kids are going to be with the abundance of sand (which I know Joah shall eat) and the sea.

It’s a short trip – but so necessary right now. Especially for Nick who is hovering on the edge of a burn-out!