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, April 29, 2005

Reasons and Seasons

The other night I had a rather unsettling dream. It was about a friend of mine who no longer speaks to me. It was a big misunderstanding and I have tried on various occassions to explain it to him, but he has not given me the chance to do so. I wish he would stop and listen to me, but he won't. So there is nothing I can do about it.

Part of my work is spending lots of time in the car. In my travels I have become acquainted with radio personalities the likes of Howard Stern, Rocco Dispirito and my all time favorite, Dr. Joy Browne, she is an online psychiatrist who is unbelievable (if you choose you can listen to her and Rocco online at ) One of her pearls of wisdom is: Some people are in your life for a reason and some for a season.

After this realistic dream, I was making a mental list of all the people who are no longer in my life, and while there are so many who thankfully are still in my life, its the ones who are not there that stand out for the moment. I guess I am more sensitive then I give myself credit for and while I know we have all moved on to bigger and hopefully better places in our lives, I enjoy looking back on all the things we have done, the adventures we have taken and while it makes me sad that those journeys have ended. I know new adventures have begun.

I know some of those people have left voids that can never be filled, but I also know that those people, the ones I knew so well in that time of my life don't exist as they did. They now have added baggage, new appendages, altered hearts and minds. Life is a funny thing it deals you cards, no matter what you get some can keep it straight while others fold. While I truly wish a Royal Flush on all of them I have heard from various mutual friends just how different they are and I fear that I would not even recognize them if I had the opportunity to.

I think part of this dream was hanging on with a certain longing to a time in my past that was so secure even if it was not stable. A time before I vowed my heart to a man until the end of time, before I lost a part of my soul to immigration, before I knew what motherhood meant. A simpler, self indulgent time that I did not recognize as such and it is gone, along with the friends and faces that made it what it was. To those of you who were in my life and no longer are, I wish you well, I wish you happiness and I thank you for the memories we shared.

Ryan and Nikki
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The Day That You Were Born ........

The Day that you were born,
Was such a special day,
For a split second,
The wind stopped blowing,
The birds refused to fly.
Into my arms came my special butterfly.
Stealing my heart in one foul swoop.
I heard the heart beat that had beaten in time to mine.
Free from my womb you let out a cry.
I held you tight vowing to love you until the end of time.

My wish for you,
My love,
Is to follow your head, listen to your heart.
Be all that you can be.
Know that there is always a place for you to be with me.
Even on the day you spread your wings and fly.

I love you now and forever,
Ours is a love burnt into the annals of time.
A sacred bond of mother and child,
You are my heart, my soul,
My Ryan, my Nicole.

No matter how free you will be,
You will always carry a piece of me.
Find your own way
Fill your world with beauty.
Don’t hide in your shell,
Set your butterfly free.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Polite Soceity???

I was brought up to believe in having good manners, respect ones elders and knowing how to treat people with respect. Living in NY that all seems to have fallen by the way side, not for me but for those around me. Conditioning my kids to survive in this soceity is one of the hardest tasks I face. Today I had a double hitter. The first at our local Trader Joe's where the shopping carts are kept at the bottom of a of a metal corral, on a slight hill. I went to retrieve a cart for myself when a woman was standing at the top where one brings the carts through - only space for one person in the cart corral at one time, so I grabbed two carts to bring one back for her. She gave me such a look, shoved the cart back down the hill and said to me "I am not that old I can do it myself". I must be the worlds biggest glutton for punishment because a short while later I saw an elderly lady loading her car with cases of cans, I offered to help her hoist her load when she turned, think she may have snarled at me, as she replied No. Not no thank you. Not anything remotely resembling a pleasantry. I said it with a smile, a big one. In my friendliest voice. What is wrong with these people? She should not have been buying green bananas let alone hoisting cases of sodas.

In Manhattan I have had people refuse a seat when I have stood up to offer them one. I don't get it. Why is it so hard for people to go out of their way to help others and accept help from others. It does not demean you to brush with humanity. It does not make one less to help another or accept a small gesture of politeness. I just don't get it and hopefully never will!!!!!!!!!

Quotable Quotes

Pearls of Wisdom from Helen Keller
"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content."
"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

"The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor; he took my measurement anew every time he saw me, while all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me."(George Bernard Shaw)

Some Native American Wisdom
A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner:
"Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time."
When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, "The one I feed the most."

I should be contentto look at a mountainfor what it isand not as a commenton my life(David Ignatow)

The Rules for Being Human
You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a fulltime informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.
There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works."
A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive there are lessons to be learned.
"There" is no better than "here." When your "there" has become a "here" you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."
Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
Your answers lie inside you. The answer to life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
This will often be forgotten, only to be remembered again.
(Cherie Carter-Scott)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Passover Pleasures

I love my family. I love to see them, be with them and do many things with them. Pesach (Passover) is not one of the things I like to do with them. They just plain drive me nuts for that one week of the year so we came up with the perfect solution, ship my folks off to Florida and my mom and sister (my sister lives in Florida) can drive each other nuts. It is wonderful.

Both my mom and sister keep kosher, they change dishes and won't eat in anyone else's home unless they too change dishes. My family is lucky if I change my clothes let alone my dishes.

Josh and I had both seders in our home this weekend and I must say it was one of the most relaxing, warmest, almost spiritual experiences I have had over the holidays in a long time. There is such a warmth and pleasure I get from having people in my home. I feel like the walls have a memory and absorb all the love, all the laughter and expand and hold it within this place we call home. Keep your fancy castles, I am no Lady of the Manor, for me the grandest place of all is the place I call home. OK so the front step is falling down, we have no deck but the inner light, the inner love, well that is the gilt edged beauty that makes me whole.

Josh has turned into the consumate host, he has relaxed into his role and is so great at what he does. The first night we had a bustling 20 people, a nice mix of family and friends, My Friend Fern, her husband and their two Kids, Ryan was so excited at the concept of playing with the two girls and could not get her head that the "kids" were 19 and 21. Luckily Fern's daughters had such patience it was great. The weirdest thing is her youngest daughter looks so much like my sister Ninnette did at that age and it was so weird as it felt like Nin was at the table with us - strange how that happens. My friends Lisa and Kevin were also there along with their two kids and her parents, My in-laws and us. A great time was had by all.

My friends have all teased me that I appear to be the most laid back easy going soul, completely grounded and un-JAPpy (JAP = Jewish American Princess) but I am actually the Jap-iest out of them all because I have my mom do ALL the work. She made the appetizers entrees and matzo ball soup, even the desserts, and then she went to Florida to make everything for my sister's Seder. G-d bless the woman, she has more energy then anyone I know she is truly remarkable and luckily an unbelievable cook. Thanks Mom.

Don't think I let her off easy as she had to make the second night as well, which was a completely different night, my friend Lauren, who went to Yeshiva for school conducted the Seder, she has such a remarkable voice, it was wonderful, and her kids sang. My South African buddy in the neighbourhood also joined us, plus the in-laws, a real low key (except for Lauren hitting the high notes) evening.

Chag Sameach Everyone.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Design Dreams............

Josh and I have been at odds, not with each other but with our house. We bought a house that was in knockdown condition and truly should have been knocked down. It is an unbelievable location, in one of the top two public school districts in the country. I love the house once you get inside but the outside is hurting.

There is not an original wall, fixture and barely any original plumbing or wiring either. I think the only original parts are most of the external walls, the fireplace, the stairs and the aircon unit. We have struggled with our grandoise ideas and our budget, truly, I would love to implode it and start all over again but we have invested so much in to it that it would not make sense to do so.

This year we are replacing the deck and the front has to be redone, our retaining wall on the driveway is collapsing and the front step is literally falling down. Now the Town we live in has very strict codes about what you can build, how much of your land you can cover, etc. and at the moment you are not allowed more than 25% coverage, so we have to juggle what we want to do with what we can do. Part of the struggle we have had is turning our modern exterior into a more country, traditional looking home. Josh and I love history, antiques, older homes and live in a modern house.

We have met with various architects and have not particularly loved their solutions and it has now reached the point that we can NO longer put it off.

Last week we met with the perfect architect. Can he design? Can he draw? I have no friggin' idea all I know is I told Josh that he is doing the work because he is the most gorgeous man I have ever met and that Josh has to work it into the contract that he has to make a minimum of one visit a day to check on the progress of whatever he decides to design, even if he transforms the front of the house into something from the pages of the story Heidi, I WANT HIM, ...... er to design our house that is..........................

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Right Thing ..............

The South Africans I know are instilled with a sense of doing the Right Thing. There are so many variables that come into play in our everyday lives where it would be easier to walk past someone rather then help. Where it would be easier to just get off a bus or grab your bags without saying thank you and engaging in some form of pleasantaries. I believe in doing the best you can for yourself and those you love. Not necessarily grabbing for the almighty buck but within yourself and helping our fellow travellers.

I was at one of our local superstores, similar to Macro and COSTCO called BJ's, unpacking my purchases into my car when I hear a loud bang behind me. I saw a white Mercedes had hit a Lexus truck next to me, the driver got out, inspected the vehicle he hit and then his own car. Saw there was no damage to his car and walked in to do his shopping. Now about 2 years ago the ame thing happened to me where someone went into me while I was parked outside a store and just drove off. Josh and I had to pay for the damages. I looked at the back of the car he hit and there was not major damage but he had managed to crack the whole bumper. I wrote down his licence plate, make and colour of his car and left a note on the windshield of the person he hit with my phone number. All I could hear was Josh's voice in my head saying leave it the F*** alone, its none of your business. But Jack and Ruth's voice of doing the right thing was just so much stronger. Leaving the note I made my way home, unpacked my groceries, started a million things cooking because I am just so anal about having everything done in advance. The phone rings and a very sweet Korean woman who barely speaks English calls to say thank you for the note and should she call the police or should I. She thought I hit the car, lol, anyway I told her to call the police and that I would come down and meet with them. Anyway spoke with the coppers and all was squared away, the man had already left and I am sure he is in for some wake up call when policemen rock up at his front doorstep to take his statement.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Cape Town at night - what a magical place
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June 10th, 1993

It was almost 12 years ago that I left my family, my friends and my life. Packed up my belongings into two suitcases, boarded a flight for New York. It seems like a million years ago. I never imagined what would start out as an adventure would change my life forever. Since that time I often ponder the power of small decisions, those mini moments. What would have happened if I had not been listening to the Radio that day when the PAC was declaring that they had one settler one bullet, had I not had to venture into Kempton Park with two white students during the state of emergency, had I not gone to the Boksburg town council meeting that night. The far right adamant that they would fight until the end. Too much for one day, far too much to process at 24, far too much to see. Start over in South Africa, or start with a new adventure, a new place a new life, a new opportunity. One decision so many lives altered.

Josh and I would not have met, he never had a passport before he met me. He never had a love for travel. He is now Mr. Adventure. He would not have a relationship with his father if it were not for me. My parents would be safetly ensonced in South Africa. I am not sure where exactly I would be or if Heid would have ventured to this side of the ocean.

One decision paved the way for so many other decisions.

One rash, impulsive decision, most probably my first, changed the course of my life forever. I can't imagine living any other way and am so grateful for where I am today, hard as it was, and oh my word I don't think I could survive something like that again, but now 12 years later, all is well in my world. My two precious little girls are fast asleep next door dreaming their princess dreams, my man is out and about doing his thing and I am in my office alone with my thoughts, the runaway train that swirls through my mind at times exhausts me. Every decision is the right one they say and I guess "they" know what they are talking about, guess there is no way of knowing what if ...........................

I think having Andi and Lisa here transports me back to a time before, a time that no longer exists. It just felt so safe and that it would be there for ever. I was chatting to Andi and discussing oing to late Night Als in Bruma, Bruma lake is gone. People left, landmarks gone, we are planning on an extended holiday there next year over our summer, I wonder if it will feel like home or like a world I don't quite recognize. All I know is when I reconnect with mense from my past, my pace slows down, my heart beats faster and my smile widens.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

All grown up

My cousin Darren was a bully of note when we were young. He would beat the crap out of anyone who crossed his path. I seemed to be in his path a lot. His sister was in his path as was my cousin Warren. Darren truly made my childhood hard. He has since grown into a delightful man, someone I adore and am proud to call my cuzzie. We have become really close in the past few years, we are in the same profession and have kids the same age-ish. We are bonded by the desire to have our kids know each other and share the closeness and emotional scars we shared as kids.

Today was Darren's eldest son, Ethan's 4th birthday. Ethan is a real peanut, the sweetest little boy you could ever hope to meet. His other son Jordan is almost 2 months old, he slept through the whole party without a peep. We all thought Darren would be paid back in spades for the terror he spread amongst us when he had kids, but instead he has two of the most delightful, well behaved kids I have ever come across. I guess, his wife Laura must have been some angel in her youth to wipe that slate clean.

It was such a great party held at a place called Jillians, they had bowling, followed by a millions games, tons of good food, friends and family - it certainly is as good as it gets.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

And just like that - its over.............

Andi is gone.
I am so sad.
She grabbed her bags, headed for the SAA flight.
What a special time we had together, everytime is more special for all the the ones before add more treasures, more opportunities to laugh, more remember when's ...............
When will I ever not be sad when those I love leave?
When will I ever feel completely whole?
So many people, so many faces, too many places and I miss you all.
I have made new friends, discovered new places but still yearn for those old familiar faces.
These are the treasures.
These are the moments.
But when they are over I feel so sad.
Step into a box of chocolate let it envelope me in its smooth, warm texture a taste of home, comfort food, smother the sadness so we can go forward to a new day.
But for today, I think I will remain sad so tomorrow I can play,
Create a new memeory for another day.
Travel safe my friend, come back soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

To find the time...................

People e-mail me and ask me how I have the time to update my blog as often as I do. For me it is so important because at the end of each month, I make a copy of the months post and there it is, a hard copy of a month in our lives, a way to reflect on where we have been and what we have done. A gift of me to give to my kids for those days when they can't quite grasp that their mom was young like them. When they feel cut off from who I am and not so sure about who they are. I want them to know how unsure I was at times, how human, how very much like them. I have books of poetry that I wrote that I will never share, those are mine, but this blog is a chronicle of our lives through my eyes and as a mom I feel a gift to them and me. The gift is their's as well as mine, when I have purple haired teens in tatty clothes I can look back on the love and the laughter and know why I take a shtum powder and let them discover who they are.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Out of Africa

And they're off................................
Sunday morning we wake up and start the day running - divide. Conquer. A major offensive. Josh to soccer with Nikki, Ryan and I off to her activities, and then the supermarket. Meet at home at oh-12-hundred-hours to see my hubby, my hero, my Boer had carved out a hole in the backyard and was busy cooking a huge potjie , he also had a huge pot of samp and beans slowly simmering on the stove. Josh was born in NY but that is only by the way, he is really more South African then I am. I could not be with someone who did not embrace my culture and I have to say that he not only embraces it but cloaks himself in it. Meeting my dad to watch Rugby at 4am, making boerewors or biltong. When I first met him I told him about the black africans putting their beds up on bricks to keep the Toklosh (bad spirit) away. He has this amazing ability of storing info like that. He called me from work a few months later and was having a bad day. he said to me "that's it, I am going home and putting my bed on bricks!!!" His favourite past time is watching rugby with biltong and a Castle Beer. He even went to London to watch the game last year.

He invited my cousins, Darren, Laura and their two little boys(Ethan and Jordan) and Lisa(with her daughter Jamie) to come and partake in the feeding frenzy. We inherited a little girl (Jessica) from down the block for the afternoon and I must say a great time was had by all. The trampoline was a huge hit, the adults could barely handle a few minutes jumping on it - the kids kept going for ages, sheesh they have so much friggin' energy!!! There is something magical about watching the next generation continue where we left off.

I have 11 first cousins and while I am only close to a few now I love the fact that we had such a great time growing up and now our kids will know what it is like to have a large extended family, they get to have a blood bond with a whole lot of little people in a place where we don't really belong :)

Case in point, I was at the Javitz Center with my friend Andi who is working a show there with the South African Trade Commission. The South Africans all think I sound American and the Americans all think I sound South African - go friggin' figure!!!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Nikki and I at her friends birthday party. We had the best time on the trampoline - this is us collapsed after a good jumping session
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Jumping Jack Flash

We did it!! Bought the kids a 15ft trampoline today - it is AWESOME!!! Can't wait to see their faces when they see it in the backyard when they come home tomorrow!!! I am the most fortunate soul, my folks are two of the most awesome people I know, they live 8 minutes away and I am so lucky, we go to their house on Friday night for Shabbas Dinner, leave the kids there and the kids are returned to me on Sunday Morning. They are only around for 6 months of the year but I have to say it is the best 6 months. I make a point of seeing them at least once a week on my own, sometimes I play hookie and spend a whole day with them or other times I will abandon my hubby and kids for a night and go out for dinner with them. It is so wonderful and I am so fortunate to have them near me. I appreciate the sacrifices they have made to be with us. We all benefit as they have an unbelievable relationship with the girls, they are close with Josh and of course with me. My dad and Josh usually meet for breakfast on Saturday morning to catch up on the week. The girls are in their element as my mom has more energy then Josh and I combined, she has them doing arts and crafts, she takes them to the park and then she takes them to the boardwalk or the beach they just move constantly all day long. The biggest punishment I can give them is not allowing them to go sleep over at my folks.

We have also started a new thing where once every 3-4 weeks we split the girls up, they alternate spending a night at my folks and a night with us, we all love it as it is real one on one time, it stops the sibling rivalry and they both come away from the weekend with a renewed sense of self. I love how they blossom when they feel like the center of the world. For me they are and I hope they know it. How lucky I am to have them all in my life. I do truly thank G-d for all the joy in my life, my husband, my kids, my family, and my friends, these are the big things.

This is my lottery.......................................

I feel even more blessed at the moment as one of my closest friends, Andi is visiting, there is something about catching up with someone who knew me when that is so amazing. To be able to laugh. Funnily enough Andi arrived in NY on April 5th which just so happens to be 17 years to the day since we met each other (it was at a mutual friends party on her birthday), so we managed to acknowledge that we have not killed each other and even still like each other and want to spend as much time as possible without killing one another. One of the many treasures............

Thursday, April 07, 2005

ok Dee now I am hooked - building ashrine
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Be still my beating heart - Richard Gere rules!! Dee thanks for showing me how to do this! You get the patience award.
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