A South African, married to an American, finally adapting to my adopted country. I love life, laughter, good friends and the warmth that my two kids have filled me with. I glory in the colors of my life and am grateful for the gray days as they allow me to appreciate the rainbows.

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Location: New York, United States

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Friday, December 24, 2004

The year is almost over........

Where does the time go? I am always reminded of my 21st birthday. I was so excited, told everyone, everywhere that I was 21. It was very disheartening as most of the OLD folk, yeah my parents were all of 50, lol, would tell me how they remember their 21st party (or at least parts of it) and how I must enjoy it because all of a sudden you turn around and you are 50. I was so friggin' depressed by the end of it all. My dad would always say how he feels like he is 20 and he looks in the mirror and this old guy looks back at him and he is not really sure where he came from.

I feel young. I am younger now then I was at 21. I don't have those complexes and needs that I had then. I value the lessons in my life and am grateful for the security that has surrounded me in my later life. I spent so much of my life building up walls and developing an idea of who I thought I needed to be only to come to terms with who I am and what I am about. I love that I don't feel the need to seek the approval of those who live around me, I already have the approval of those who count. I am so grateful to my parents and Josh for all they have put up with and done for me. I have a real and special relationship with my sisters. I never knew what inner peace was. I thought I needed to pursue it through yoga or exercise, I get it through work, achievement, my kids and the security Josh provides. I never knew what it was to truly need people and after not having a fallback position for so long it is great to now have one. I live in a neighbourhood where many people believe what you wear or which club you belong to defines who you are.

Josh and I were chatting last night and for all the privaleges of my past I am so grateful to be in a place where none of those things matter to me. When I came to live in America and was so wracked by lonliness and heartache I did not cry for my car or my apartment, but for my family, my friends and the secutity of being noticed, cared for, loved and needed. I don't have that single minded ambition,that need to succeed financially no matter what. I like what I do and do well at it, and I feel financially rewarded for what I do. I also know that if I ever needed to I could use my career to support my family by working harder and longer hours. I am grateful that I don't need to do that and I am in a position where I choose to work so we can have the small luxuries in life we both desire.

I am so immature now and am always playing pranks on people at work or with my kids. We play hide and seek or they will get into whooppee cushion mode and we can be silly and laugh - I love that. Josh for all his seriousness has an unbelievable sense of humour and while I am sometimes on a different mental plane and the full imapct of what he says does not sink in - and when it does I have a good laugh about it. I have never had anyone who adores me like he does and I must say at first I found it suffocating but now I love that he feels that way about me, also I think part of the problem was believing that I was worthy of that kind of love, now that I know that I am, I would never accept anything less.

The end of the year is like my birthday and PMS - it makes me delve into my world and examine it, I love the challenge of going deeper and deeper into who I am and finding out what I am about. I love exploring those around me and watching people and discovering who they are and what makes them tick. As a Scorpio I have always had an uncanny sense of who people are and what they are about, I can read volumes into a few words or a look, I used to use that to exploit their weaknesses so I could feel strong and better about myself, now I use it to understand who they are and what they are about and if I can help them make it right. I have done and said many horrible things in my life, I have made it right with many people in my life and let go those who have hurt me. It is wonderful being able to look around and acknowledge how far I have come, know that I have a long way to go and send a Thank you to all of you who include me in your cocoon of love so I may have the strength to be who I really am not who I thought I should be.

Happy New Year to one and all - may your year be filled with love, luck, laughter and a few quiet moments to take stock of who you are and how lucky you are. Drink a toast at midnight to us and we will drink one to you all, Miles seperate us, memories bind us, we are together even when we are apart.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


It is weird. I don't look at myself as a needy person. I don't think I come across as a poor person. Josh and I work hard. We have an almost great house (it has taken a lot of work and is looking awesome but still needs a bit more work). We manage to send our kids to camp for 8 weeks every year, we have both taken trips to London this year, two trips to Florida and are off on holiday next week to Rocking Horse Ranch We have had some seriously tough financial times and we have had good times, but through it all we have tried to keep our dignity and our belief in each other strong.

I seem to give off weird vibes and it makes people give me stuff. Just out of the blue. I have an acquaintance in the neighbourhood who gives me all her daughter's hand me downs, THE most unbelievable stuff. I live in a really Japie/Kugelish neighbourhood - she only buys the best and my girls reap the benefit. I would never buy ESPRIT, Beneton, DKNY, Flowers by Zoe or Ralph Lauren for them, her daughter wears those brands exclusively. I have bought so few clothes for Ry as a result and Nikki never gets anything - she has more clothes then I have ever seen, even after me giving two huge bags of stuff to Josh's cousins. People have offered us tables, chairs, sofas etc. I was dinkum starting to get a complex.

Case in point - I did a closing yesterday with this hysterical attorney whose name also happens to be Tammy. It is our second closing together. The first well over a year ago she sent me $100 too much and told me to keep it for all the good work I did. Then at last nights closing we got into a whole chat about our kids. She has a 7 year old daughter who is not into Barbie anymore and has a closet full of Barbie stuff some still with tags on it. Keep in mind this is only our second meeting. Next thing I know today, she comes to my house, quite out her way, to bring me a huge bag of Barbie stuff. Next week she is bringing me a Barbie Bike because her daughter refuses to ride it because it is not cool and is getting a new bike for Christmas. I have protested her generosity but she insists on bringing me more stuff.

I called Heid afterwards, a bit perturbed as to what I project. I have seen Tammy at closings where I wear business suits, I always look professional, I don't wear jewellery as I go to a lot of lousy areas, but I am professional and put together. Heid's answer and I love her for this, was that it was Karma, she said, seeing as I do so much for so many people its the Universes way of giving back to me. I just loved that. I had never thought of that - wow that made me take stock. I hate being seen as needy, and have always been a believer in what you do comes back to you to either haunt you or help you. I do hope she is right as I do so love her version.

Merry Christmas to all my pals who celebrate it - hope its a good one.

Brotter Vs FEDEX

Last week was Ebay today its FEDEX. Holy cow! I am so friggin mad. Here's the story, as a Title Closer one of my responsibilities is to pay off peoples mortgages. I attend the closing, do all I have to do and then three days later either pick up the checks or have them sent by FEDEX to my home. About two weeks ago I get a call from a bank attorney saying that one of my payoffs never made it. Now for all my disorganization I keep amazing records and people at work know me to be incredibly organized and together - a manageable cover seeing as they only see me for short stretches of a few hours at a time. So I track my package which had been sent 6 weeks earlier to find that FEDEX had indeed lost the package. I spoke to a most apologetic FEDEX rep, real sweet lady and she assures me that FEDEX will reimburse me for the interest that was lost. I found out about the missing package on a Friday Night - it took until Tuesday to get Citibank to generate an updated payoff, get new checks written, new affidavits signed - the mortgage was short $1,800.00, the clients were out an additional $400.00 in money that should have been refunded to them. So everyone is happy .... right???

Yeah right, call their claims department to find out that they are happy to tell me that they have settled my claim, I said wonderful, they said yes, your check for $100 is being sent to you tomorrow. At which point I LOST it. Here I had asked the Title Company to cover me for the shortfall until FEDEX reimburses them. I have spent a good part of the past two days fighting with them and going up the chain of command to find out that they will not do anything as their policy only covers $100 if you don't declare the value of the contents and then if you do declare the contents they are only responsible for up to $500 its on the small print on the back of the airbill. I told them that I was too much of a lady to tell them where to shove their $100 and airbill. My problem was not the value of the contents of the airbill but the consequential value of them not getting it to the bank on time. Not only are the customers out of money and the Title Company but this will also show up on the customers credit report as being a payment that was late past 30 days. I spoke with Josh's lawyer and he feels there is a very good case for small claims court. I have faxed him the info and if he thinks it is a good idea I am going to file a claim against FEDEX. Little me against FEDEX.

I have to say I am so appalled, I was brought up to believe my word is my bond, not sometimes but always, if I make a promise I stand by it, no matter what. Sometimes to my detriment other times to my benefit but always to my word. Why is it that FEDEX can promise to deliver ontime and when they don't there are no ramifications??? America is such a litigeous (sp?) soceity and I think its because we don't have a choice, when I had my car accident I was told to sue, I chose not to - suing people or companies is not my thing and my health insurance will pick up the cost of correcting my issues with that, and we took a big financial hit on the minivan. Now I would never sue FEDEX if they stood by their product I would dissapear never to be heard from again. BUt they leave me no choice, I have better things to do with $2,200.00 then pay for their mess up.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

OOOooohh Baby Its Cold Outside

Jissus Chines but it is cold outside!!! There is something magical about NY in the wintertime, although it loses some of its appeal when the windchill factor falls below 4 degrees - bbbbrrrrrrr. I love the snow, I love the way light bounces off the white blanket, I love the way the stark trees are a black contrast against that whiteness and how all the houses are lit up with Christmas or Channukkah decorations. It is hard not to get into the spirit of the holidays. Happy Holidays to everyone - hope you have a Happy New Year.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Don't mess with me........

Its funny, I don't view myself as a confrontational person. I love to push the envelope and see peoples reactions, sometimes getting more then I bargained for, I spend a lot of time delving into what makes people tick and I love watching what unfolds when they are faced with certain situations that they can't deal with. That being said I am a wimp of sorts, I will be patient and nice but once I reach a certain point there is just no turning back, I just don't know how to give up. I guess that is what made me stick it out in the States when most (sane) people would have packed it in and moved back. I have really toned down my killer instinct - yes this is toned down :) as it does not always gel with being a parent and I truly want what is best for the little souls who share my heart.

That being said I won the most gorgeous antique desks on e-bay. I paid immediately through paypal. No desks. I was nice. I was patient. Got reassurances from the seller every week that he would be delivering them to my house, two weeks later - nothing, three weeks later - nothing. Contacted e-bay and launched a campaign to get all the people who were bidding on his items to withdraw but I got him suspended and my money back. Don't mess with me.

I am not sure if it was being brought up in a home where my folks are such hard workers and were all so dedicated to what they did, but Heid, Nin and I all have an unbelievable work ethic (which I believe is true of most South Africans) and none of us know how to do a half job. All three of us run our own businesses. I have to say out of all the things I have achieved becoming a Title Closer is one of the things I am most proud of, I did not quit, it took over a year for me to find someone to train me and I worked even harder to get business for myself. I have developed a great name for myself in the industry and I have to say I truly love what I do. I love being financially rewarded for my time, I find the work interesting and I meet amazing people. I have developed many friendships and feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to do what I do. I think part of what makes me successful at it is my training at Advanced Credit Bureau, my mom's debt collection company. As a young kid from around the age of 8, holidays and some Saturdays were spent working there and let me tell you it was unbelievable ground work for getting through doors that no-one else can. I know one thing for sure, as a parent my kids will work whether it be babysitting or being a waitress to learn the pride and independence that comes with a job well done.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Link to Heidi's website

You can see my nephews if you click on the link. Aren'tthey just delicious??

After a few attempts at getting a pic of Gary and Joey from my sister I decided to include the most recent one I have of Gary with my girls and hope it prompts Heid to send me one of the two boys. Silent protest!!
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Saturday, December 04, 2004

A Perfect Pregnancy Moment (not mine :)

My cousin Darren and his wife Laura live about 20 minutes from me. His mom and my mom are sisters. They are expecting their second child in April. We made plans to get together last Sunday and Josh was kind enough to take the kids off my hands for the whole day, I really needed a day to get stuff done. So I called Laura to say we can't get together as arranged maybe we can do it another time. She said no problem why don't you guys come over next weekend and we can all have lunch or dinner at our place. We chatted for a while about our plans and I wrote it in my agenda/diary :) A few days later my friend Debie called and said why don't we all come to their house on Sunday. Sounds great I say. Good she says. I did not have my diary with me and on Friday I remember to write it in, only to see I have double booked the date. So I called Debie to see if it was ok with them if they came to my house instead and I would just invite Darren and Laura here. I called Laura to check if it was ok with her, and she had no recollection of inviting us over, she even said that Darren never told her about our chat. I really laughed when I told her that it was actually her who had invited us over. (Talk about a pregnancy moment - boy can I relate).

So obviously it has now grown from a tame 3 family get together to 25 people coming over for a Sunday afternoon feast.

As a side note the poor woman (Laura) had such a rough week, they are ripping out the pool in their backyard, the contractor accidentially pulled down her second story deck while doing it. A piece of wood from the deck flew into her second story brand new Anderson sliding glass door and shattered it. The glass from the door scratched her two day old dining room table - now that is what classifies as a bad day. Of course she now has glass everywhere and has to keep her three year old away from the two story high hole in the wall. Shame felt so bad for them. The good news is their house is looking absolutely stunning and they are getting all the construction out the way before the baby comes.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

simply scrumptious
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Brotter Family Pic - I swear Josh insists on ruining every decent family pic we have taken - I may have to hire a young stud to sit in for him :)
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