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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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Jack O' Lantern on horseback

Halloween may be a pagan holiday but it is one of my favourite times of year. My girls both have Jasmine costumes (from Alladin), I am still working out what mine will be. We have decorated the outside fo the house and are ready to trick and treat with full gusto!!!

Last Saturday morning I went to watch Ryan at her horseback riding lesson. Josh reckons she looks like a smiling Jack O'Lantern with the big riding hat on. The smile never left her face for a second. I must say I was really impressed with her, it was a cold damp day and she was so gung-ho I don't thinks he felt the temperature at all. She has such a love for animals and such a gentle soul that I think Rosie the horse really responded well and they had a great time together. I was really proud of her. Her and I then spent the day doing school work, making muffins and having manicures and pedicures. She had a party in the evening, while she was at the party, Josh and I got ready for a party of our own. Josh's step-brother and his wife both turned 40 and held a fabulous party at It was really nice, they had close to 100 people there and we all had a lot of fun. The food and booze just flowed. Who ever heard of pomegranite margueritta's. they had one o fthe most extensive margarita lists I have ever seen. We met some really fun people and had a great time. Got home a little later then we would have liked (the party was an hour and a half away).

Sunday morning was a wet day and we packed the kids into the car and headed for Josh's step-grandmother's house. Muriel is a remarkable woman, she is 93 and has more energythen anyone I have ever met. She finds beauty in everything and has a zest for life that is completely contagious. I am so drawn to her energy and every day I spend with her is one in which I feel blessed. Muriel moved to an apartment on the banks of the Hudson River, near Sleepy Hollow, NY (where the headless horseman was said to roam). Muriel has lived an incredible life and part of her work was being an interior designer, she has exsquisite taste. Its interesting because when we arrived at her home, Nikki dashed straight for the toys where as Ry walked slowly around the apartment looking at everything for about an hour. She was completely captivated. She really is going to be some interior designer!!!! Lunch was great, Josh's step brothers and their wives were there. One of the sister-in-laws, Jill had a baby 12 days before. This little peanut of a person. I was lucky enough to hold Lily Zeva while her mommy took a nap. What a delightful little girl, she just shnuggled up to me sending every mommy hormone running rife in my system. I am definitely not having another child but oh how cute they are!!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The other illusions

All this talk of optical illusions is making me wonder about the optical illusions in my own life, the things that I see and feel that either are or are not there. The times I get so annoyed with Josh, usually when I am PMS :) or the time I spend on the computer trying to decompress and not being with my kids. Sometimes losing sight of the wonder of the world and hearing about it through the eyes of my kids. Last week Nikki's teacher discussed respect with the kids and I have to say this squeeky little voice re-enacted all the scenarios that were presented to her. I am not sure what her perception of respecting her elders was but I think she envisions "old" people as people who are so far gone they are unable to do anything for themselves. Josh and I were hysterical as she showed us how she would give up her seat on a bus for an old person, we had to pretend to be the old person and she tripped us up in the process, I pity the poor old person on the receiving end of her particular brand of thoughtfulness. How delicious and divine.

This weekend I am going to watch Ryan do horseriding for the first time. I have had glowing reports from both her instructor and Josh, her class conflicts with Nikki's dance class and I am not ready to give up my one on one time with Loren (her daughter Cami is in the same class). We huck through dance and then head out to the best pizza place nearby - the yummiest thin crust pizza, her family calls it ten-light pizza as it used to be 10 lights (robots) from her house. We have all adopted the name and no matter how you say it the food is just yummy. I think it is also great that Josh gets to spend some one on one time with Ryan, she adores her daddy and I think it has been good for her to be able to shine in her own arena with his full undivided attention.

I had started this post talking about illusions and I have to say I am not one to live a dellusional life and tend to look for the truth in everything. My favourite line was in a fortune cookie that I read when I went out for lunch with my folks and Ninnette before she went back to SA, my fortune told me to (and I paraphrase) be more direct and honest. I think if I was MORE direct or honest people would actually shoot me like a lame horse. I have to work so hard to curtail my mouth and my honesty lest it wounds all those in its radius. I think the problem is sometimes I just get caught up in life and forget to just be, just sit on the swing on our deck and watch the leaves change colour or recognize the beauty in everyday life. When I forget to do that its amazing how quickly the world loses its rainbow and I get so stressed out and everything seems gray.

This past week was one of those weeks and I just could not seem to shake the gray cloud. Fortunately my husband or one of my good friends can bring it out of me. Today that honor went to my friend Deb, Deb is my neighbor at the end of the block who has a daughter who is the same age as NIkki and is in Nikki's class. Alexandra is a remarkable kid she is full of sunshine and is so warm, loving and sensitive to the people in the world. I love that her and Nikki have connected in a big way. I have to say Nikki has a knack (does that make it a Nik Nack??) for picking great friends and the friends have great parents. Today was gymnastics day and Deb and I sat with huge cups of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, just connecting and chatting while the kids did their super star gymnastics stuff. Deb is a smart, vibrant woman with a contagious energy, I come away from my time with her feeling energized and enthusiastic. Today it was the tonic I needed and I feel so much more intune with life as a result.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Optical Illusion Continued ....................

Here are some more examples of what Eric Grohe can do to a flat wall - he is absolutely unbelievable................

Monday, October 17, 2005

Optical Illusion

This is one of the most amazing optical illusions I have ever seen - really worth a visit - some people are just so creative, its amazing what paint and time can transform the side of a building into.

If you want to check out more optical illusions go to:

Sunday, October 16, 2005

DysFUNctional Families......

Sitting at soccer it occurs to me, the demise of the American family is not in its lack of doing anything together but in its doing too much together.

Growing up in a Christian state was by no means a liberating soceity but with stores closed on a Sunday it facilitated forced family day. Many of my school mates were forced to sit in church, but being one of those of another faith, it forced my parents to be creative and come up with ways of entertaining s so we did not actually kill one another. It meant meeting other families at the Zoolake who bought along their weapons of mass consumptions for a picnic of note. Or finding places to explore. We would pack into my dads car, taking turns sitting on his lap and driving, yes he would let us sit on his lap while he sped down the highway and he would take his hands off the wheel and let us steer. Forget seatbelts. Airbags? Naah - just freewheeling down the Nichol Highway.

New York is a different animal all together, moms and dads negotiating who will wait until the end of the soccer match and who is going to go to Lacrosse or whatever other event they have lined up, three kids three sets of activities, thrown in with a good dose of birthday parties, its a wonder they know eachothers names let alone function as a family unit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Family moments

Today concluded two weeks of family bonding. Having ones family spread around is really hard, I am fortunate in that Heid is a two hour plane ride and my folks a few minutes away. When we are together the gap is huge, looking at Heid's two boys gaed 2 and 5 they are so big, so grown up. I barely know Joey and he did not know his aunt. The last time I saw him was in February and in his short life that is just too long. The kids all had a ball, Gary had a few sleepovers with his cuzzies which was great and yet another reason why we will not be having a thrid child :) He is a very special boy, gentle and laid back with a curiosity that is remarkable. He discovered things in my house that my kids never ever gave a second glance to childlocks, gates, mechanics. His little mind constantly turning. He reads too beautifully and is just a great kid. They all had a great time.

Saturday was a very special day, we packed the kids up and went shopping and for lunch, the three aunts and the four kids. It is one of those day one treasures. I then dropped my brood off with my hubby as they got ready to go out to their cousin Amanda's birthday party (J's first cousins daughter). I got dressed up because we did our annual visit to Manhattan with my dad. He makes a point of taking his girls out to a play and dinner whenever we are together. It is such a treat and we all appreciate the time together. There is something about a dad and how his girls see him as their hero, I still do. My daddy is getting old but I am so grateful to him and all he doe sin my life. Josh always says how hard it is following in my dads footsteps and it is, my dad is a tough act to follow. He spoils us rotten. How lucky we are.

Sunday was Nikki's party. We had 27 kids there, she had a ball. I was sut, I must say we got home late the night before and it has been non stop running. Friday Night we were up late doing goody bags, I have been hitting the supermarket at 7am to make sure we had everything for the mammoth BBQ/Braai we had planned for after the party. My cousin Darren, his two boys, my sisters, my two nephews and both sets of granparents came for a braai of note, my dad bought T-bone (Porterhouse) steaks so huge we needed to get platters to serve them. Nikki scored unbelievable loot and had a great time. She is 5, all growed up. So delicious.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

So Proud

One of my best friends still lives in South Africa. We met when I was 20 at someone's 21st Birthday party. It was a strong bond that has grown stronger over the years and Andi is someone who is as close to me as one of my sisters. She is part of my family and an incredible friend. When I was on the bones of my arse when I moved to the States all those years ago, her support was so much a part of my survival here. She really went above and beyond!!! She has alsom made a huge effort to visit New York and is very much a name and a face to my kids. They adore this woman who comes here and spoils them a tad too much and they think of her as an Aunt. She has been so instrumental in sending me down my path with Ryan and I see where Ry is today and know that a huge part of me having my child back is thanks to Andi and her guidance and support. Last year I managed to sneak away for 8 days and meet her in London, we had such a great time eating tons of candy (my fault) and hucking a chine-nick (sp?). This year she came here to do a show at the Javitz Center. A few years ago on oone of her jaunts to New York she mentioned that she was planning on making soap and selling it, she said she was going to put stuff in it and sell it. I had visions of some poor rubber ducky or a plastic frog staring out of clear soap with sad eyes. I should have known my friend a tad better then that. Ands has a great entreprenerial spirit and has created a range of soap that literally takes my breath away. I am so awed by her creativity and genius. She is such an artist. Here is the link so you can see for yourself. Unfortunately you won't be able to let your other senses travel the journey they take when you smell and touch the soap. I am addicted to it and as my friend Loren says Andi has put a part of herself into each bar. I am so proud of all that Ands has done. Thanks for everything.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Chag Sameach

The new year is here. Time really has flown. The past year has not been one of the best, I am pleased that the chapter has closed. Luckily not the worst either. I feel we have made great strides with Ry and am just grateful for her and to the powers that be for everything. This was the year of Ryan. Poor kid took some beating but came through strong. I am proud of her.

My mom outdid herself as always, she makes complete different meals for Rosh Hashanah, has different sets of people for each meal and never repeats a menu. her attention to detail is remarkable and her tables are just stunning. I swear I must have gained at least 50 lbs. Thanks mom for all your hard work (and for the extra poundage it was worth it!!!!)

Chag Sameach to everyone.

Monday, October 03, 2005

All Growed Up

My baby is 5. I can't believe she is all growed up. Mommy she said to me, I am so tall. Thigh high Nikki. So cute so full of wonder of the world. Bending down to pick up her friend's "baby" sister who outweighs my peanut by a few pounds, she marvels at her own stature, but the three year old "baby" towers over her. Funny being able to see yourself as you want regardless of the reality of the situation. Not sure if you feel yourself transported back in time to that very first moment when yoou first laid eyes on your little one. I see that moment in the delivery room so clearly, my heart leapt out of my body with her, my perfect baby born by c-section. I remember still being strapped to the delivery table when they brought her to me, I just sobbed iwth emotion. My treasure, my love. My heart, my soul, my Nicole. How lucky am I.

BBQ Bliss

My dad bought Josh a mammoth BBQ/Braai for our deck warming present. Josh was so excited he sat by the window waiting for the delivery truck to arrive. When it came he jumped up and down screaming "The stork is here!! My new baby is here" He assembled it and had the burners burning, looked like a small inferno. That night we went to meet Josh's step brother and his wife for dinner, we went to an unbelievable carribean restaurant, had a great time, it was actually our first time socializing without the families as a couple. Its funny Josh and Robbie essentially grew up together, Leslie (Rob's mom) and Ralph (J's dad) have been married for 20 years and were together for about 8 years before that. Rob and Josh were both troubled teens and could not stand each other. In the past few years they have found this huge common base, they are both Landrover obsessive and spend many a weekend off-roading together, they have kids of similar ages and are both great dads. Its nice to see. Especially as we are not close to either of Josh's siblings.

After dinner, we drove the hour it takes home, when we got home, Josh dissapeared. He was tucking hhis baby in for the night!!! Oy vey :)

I am not sure how things work in your neck of the woods but weekends are unbelievably hectic here, Saturday is a mesh of Nikki's dancing class, Ry's horseriding lesson, after dance Nikki and I go out for lunch with the kids in the class, then its off to various birthday parties. Sunday is soccer day mixed with a ton of parties. Crazy stuff, I am looking forward to the day when they stop inviting the whole class and just invite their buddies.

Sunday we had a double shift, Ryan had slept at my father-in-law, they returned her :) and we made a braai of note. Cleaned everything up. They left. Started round two, my folks, my sister Ninnette, My cousin Danny, Darren and his family came over. We made a huge Korean style BBQ, called Hibachi. It was really great and I loved how willing everyone was to try new foods. There was literally not a scrap left.

My cousin Darren and I have really developed a special and warm bond, I feel close to him and love that we can tell it like it is without having to watch what we say. His wife is a doll and I love, his kids, it is really special watching the four of them interact together and I hope they will all feel as connected with eachother as I feel with their dad.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Nocturnal South Africans

We did the Family Fun Day on Friday, it was a huge success. I made personalized Bingo cards for the kids of them and their classmates along with pics of Ryan and the things she loves to do. Brotter Bingo was a huge success. My sister, Ninnette and my mom joined me. We brought a whole lot of SA literature and goodies, spoke about SA. To illustrate how far South Africa is from New York, I showed them on a huge map how far it was to Florida from New York and how much further it was to SA, well they were told to ask questions and raised their hands the first 5 questions were all about their grandparents who live in Florida or their latest to Disneyworld. Nin decided to try and explain to them about the time difference and how it was now 2pm in NY therefore it was 8pm in South Africa. One little boys eyes grew wide as he raised his hand, excitedly wanting to ask us a question, Oh he says, I know exactly what you mean, people in South Africa are like bats and owls and only come out at night. There was just no convincing him that we were not nocturnal. So we ended up with a class of kids thinking South Africa is like Florida and that people sleep during the day and only come out at night - who says I don't have a career in education.............

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