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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Saturday, April 29, 2006


Josh is one of the funniest people I know, he has such a sharp wit and he has a recall of things that are said that he can twist to make funny, sometimes months, even years after the event. Often it is just off the cuff remarks in all innocence when we are sitting having my favourite decaf flavoured crumb cake coffee (yum) and looking out over our yard, he pipes up.......... you know if it weren't for the weeds we would have no color on our lawn at all. It would be like me saying I look very pale except for the big red spot where a pimple is trying to procreate on my chin. Once I told him about the toklosh (evil spirit) and how certain tribes believed that if you put your bed on bricks the toklosh would not be able to get you. One day after a very harrowing day at the office, many months later, out of the blue he says to me, that's it, I am going home and putting my bed on bricks!!!

Its funny, I did a late night closing with this adorable mortgage broker who always requests me to do his closings. In fact his company has my voice on the answering machine, when I walked into the closing the attorneys office comes to a standstill and says oh my word its the voice. They thought the company had paid to have someone record their voice mail. Anyway Brian and I have these long discussions he is such a sweet guy who is has such a kind heart. He is adorable to look at. He is in an unhappy relationship and for the life of him can't understand what I see in Josh. Its so hard to explain to someone who is not married with kids how your heart melts when this gentle big man spends Saturday mornings watching cartoons with the kids, all three of them wrapped up in a big blanket, one girl on each knee, the girls love shnuggling with their dad and for me, well my heart melts. How when I am just too tired to go on he will. When something needs to get done no matter how late or hard it is he will do it. When I am overwhelmed he deflates the air out of my anxiety. How he makes me laugh, sometimes not at the time but often afterwards when I am out of the moment and can reflect on what he has said. We may not live in a fancy house or feel like we are always managing financially but we are on the same path and I think at the end of the day being on the same journey is what really counts.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I have been tagged

have been tagged by here are my answers to her questions:

· Four jobs I have had in my life:

1. Public Relations Officer for JH Isaacs

2. PR/Marketing Manager for ADECCO

3. Ran my own PR/Marketing consulting firm - had many interesting clients, loved it

4. Title Closer

· Four films I would watch over and over:

1. Bridget Jones Diary

2. My big Fat Greek Wedding

3. When Harry met Sally

4. Nottinghill

· Four Places I have lived:

1. Johannesburg

2. Cape Town

3. Los Angeles

4. New York

· Four TV shows I LOVE to watch:

1. Grey's Anatomy

2. Medium

3. ..............

4. ..................(guess I don't watch that much TV)

· Five places I have been on vacation:

1. India

2. Europe

3. South America and North America

4. Israel, Turkey

5. Extensive Travel in SA, Botswana, Namibia (SWA at the time)

· Four websites I visit often:

More then 4.



Jen Gray

Dad Gone Mad

Overheard in New York

Super Mom

the other side of the mountain

A bit of that....

Broom Girl

reluctant nomad

The Patch

Granny W-I's Recipes

Apparently Nothing



· Four of my favourite foods:

1. Sushi

2. French

3. Italian

4. Anything with sugar and or chocolate in it

· Four places I would rather be right now:

Right where I am, relaxing after a really tough week, the kids are playing in their beds by themselves.

· People who I have tagged:

1. Dee

2. Yades

3. whatalotoffun

4. Andi who will never ever respond!!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A dream come true.........

By all accounts my dad is a very successful man. he has been happily married for over 40 years to my mom. He has three daughters of of whome he has a good relationship. He is a great dad and husband. He came from humble beginings, the only child of immigrant parents Lionel and Rachel. He and my mom built up a company from the ground up that eventually went public. He succeeded through hard work, at the office by 4:30am everyday and working well into the night, in the beginning he juggled two or three jobs. He retired 8 years ago. He is one of the smartest men I know and my hero. He has fulfilled every dream of his, except one. My dad's passion is trains, in any form. I remember many a Saturday morning sitting at Johannesburg station watching the trains come and go. Occassionally we would catch a train and have a picnic lunch. Steam trains being his favourite. His dream job is to be a train driver. he even applied in South Africa where he was told he would have to work the night shift and be an apprentice to the driver which entailed making the driver sandwiches and coffee and ensuring that he did not fall asleep. Over the years we have tried to make this dream come true for him but to no avail. Last week my sister Heidi finally succeeded. She found a place in Florida that gave him a lesson and let him drive the train. Elated is the only word I can use to describe the enthusiastic phone call I got from him afterwards. There it was that glimpse of the little boy inside the man. He had the time of his life and has finally fulfilled his life-long dream. My dad, the train driver. Choo Choo.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Driving in the car with my sister, two kids safetly entrenched in the backseat of my car. A little Nikki voice, all of 5 squeaks up. Mom she says, why is fuck a bad word? She pronounced it so clearly too. I had to stop myself veering off the road, my sister was quite surprised at how calm I appeared - reeling inside. Nikki I say some words are just bad words, you will understand them when you are older, for now just know that we don't talk that way in our house. I was stern but calm. Ryan, I say, do you understand. Repeat it back to me. Where did you learn that word. Well daddy says it and Emma's big brother told us but she wouldn't say it, she knows its a bad word. Silence for a few minutes. Nikki chirps up, if no-one in our family talks that way why does daddy say it?? She got me there - hate when the kids outsmart the parents and she is only 5!!!! I don't stand a chance. I am sure daddy said something else that sounded the same I say, knowing full well that my husband has a mouth that would make sailors blush. Time to rein that cowboy in or at least his mouth anyway.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Personal Trainer

A friend of mine hooked me up with an affordable personal trainer, I always thought that was an oxy moron and I must say not only is he incredibly cute but he knows his stuff. My poor body has not worked out in 3 years and boy is it feeling it, There are muscles that have never known the existed and are now rudely awake. This was just my first session, he is taking it easy on me - can only imagine how it will feel when he actually makes me work out! I shudder at the thought. Poor Josh is being subjected to the same treatement and the diet plan makes weight watchers look abundant but I am going to kick these last 10 pounds off or if not die while trying at least feel like I am dying while trying.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Sensuality or Sensual-reality????

Its funny I have never been comfortable with my sensuality until I got married. I think the wedding band made me unafraid to interact with men so that it was not thought to be a come on. I was always told how sexy and sensual I was but honestly in South Africa I just felt like I could not relate to the men that I met. Apparently I was very intimidating which I find pretty laughable because I really do try to be just me and always have. Young single men used to be too scared to ask me out but married men would hit on me one after the other. Its sad to say but I considered married men dead to me. I could never find myself attracted to them, I have never cared if others had affairs but it really was not for me. I found it especially hard being attractive in NY where you are not insulated by a car, here are all these people in your face on the subway and I think part of the reason (besides depression) that I gained so much weight when I got here was to insulate myself from the daily barrage of men who were hitting on me. Its not like I am G-d's gift to all who live or breathe and I must be quite honest before I met Josh I had never had anyone in my life who found me quite as beautiful and sexy as he does, having had a whole string of verbally abusive or emtionally unavailable relationships before him. It was easy to make me feel unattractive because it was how I felt, when Ciny Crawford says she never felt beautiful growing up, I know what she means. I am no Cindy Crawford but growing up I was constantly teased for being ugly and always made to feel that I was lucky that I had a great personality because I certainly was not going to get by on my looks. When I wasn't being beaten up for being Jewish, I was being teased for being ugly. South Africa certainly was not the place it is today, although I am sure there are certain sectors of the population who would still rub my head to check for horns if they could.

I work in a male dominated environment. Many lawyers with massive egos. For the most part they are very respectful and we have a good laugh. Yesterday I had a rather funny encounter with one lawyer who was quite smitten with me. He ran around getting my copies made, could not do enough for me. All through the closing he was telling me how wonderful I am, how beautiful I am, and how he could listen to my voice for hours. I told him that my accent loses its appeal when I nag and he should count himself lucky that he just gets it in short doses so that it is still intriguing to him. He wanted to know if I was a married person. I started wearing a wedding ring after one too many attorney hit on me), Josh was saying that is apparently code for do I have affairs. He is a married man. Who knows. I am just too naive sometimes for my own good. At the end of the closing he and I were alone in the board room, I was finishing up some work when he says to me. I hope to see you sometime soon. I said that he must get me into his title company that he uses and he can see me anytime he wishes at his closings. He said something along the lines of what an icredible person I was and how he was going to have a tough time getting my voice out of his head, in fact he was going to be fantasizing about me all night and I did not want to know what my voice was going to ask him to do to me. On that note he saunters out with a wink and a smile. I laugh and he closes the door. A few minutes later he opens the door again, shame faced, he had left his briefcase behind, I had to hold in my hysterical laughter when he left for a second time. That is just as uncool as I would be. I would most probably have tripped on the way out or something as exciting. Skaam China. Skaam.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Camping out...........

This past weekend was so hectic, we left bright an early in the morning on Saturday after a mad week of late nights, was not home one night before 9:30pm and was out the door everymorning between 7:30 and 8 - crazy stuff. Saturday was my day to get a taste of camping, NY style. One of my saviours is my friend Anita, I am so bad at being an in your face sales person in NY, she pushes me into lots of new companies whether they like it or not - I know I love it!!! We headed out to their camping growns in riverhead at the end of Long Island. Their version of camping is a lager of caravans/rv's in a cicle with not a tent in sight. Now I have done extensive camping in my life, many times with my dad who would take my elder sister, my two first cousins (both boys) and me for a weekend of fishing. The boys would fish and Heid and I would play. Then as I got older we would go to summer camp, which is nothing like the american cushy version, we would actually erect the tent. Dig a moat around it, pee in blocks of cement with a hole in it and shower in uncovered buildings with only cold water - now that was camping. No where in my camping experience was there satelite TV, indoor plumbling, a sofa, two bedrooms, a fridge, freezer, microwave, 3 TV's, I must say, I like their way of camping. Most of my childhood vacations were spent in our caravan/rv they were awesome, very basic but we had a jol. Here the kids come laden with gameboys, bikes, scooters and dirt bikes. Not knowing this I brought a few toys and ball games for the kids. They ended up watching all the other kids on their hi-tech toys, so I did what any mom would do - got them to dig a huge hole in the shade by the RV and I filled it up with water - the kids made mud pies, sand castles, little villages and had a great time, theyw ere covered in mud from head to toe. No-one there could believe that there were girls who loved to get dirty and they had a great time until another 7 year old girl came up to Ryan, Ry invited her to join in, the little girl turned up her nose and said ew that is disgusting. Suddenly the mud lost all its allure, Ry had been having such a great time until she saw it through someone else's eyes. I happened to have bought a wacky hose pipe for the kids that shoots water in a million different ways, I am a real Walmart Shopper, it was in the back of my car - we hooked it up, the kids had a blast. There is something about kids when you add water that just makes them so happy. They collapsed into the car at the end of the day having had a great time.

Sunday morning we got them up bright and early so we could drop them at my in-laws. Josh and I then headed off to Bob's mom's apartment to finish packing it all up. Finished it as best we could. Got home, emptied out our spare bedroom/office and Josh got to work installing the shelves Bob had given us - they look awesome and it is taking us forver to actually sort everything out and pack them back. We are such hoarders - both of us and hate throwing anything away. Ah such is life. Monday Nin arrives for another night before she whisks back to SA her nieces love hanging out with her.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Miss Communication......

I have been getting calls from people for the past few weeks asking me who Joel Weinberg is?? Who is Joel Weinberg? I have no friggin' idea. Well his answering machine is picking up all your calls was the response. I called the phone company to tell them that the phone rang in the house but did not go through to my answering machine. I told them to call my house to test it and then call me back. The lady at the phone company also had a chat with Joel's machine. She called me back and said I'll have a technician over in an hour (have to love living in America). The technician comes over, spends 4 hours working on the lines. He could not get to the route of the problem, they had to request a splicer to come re-route the lines. The next day being Saturday, the doorbell goes at 8am. Mr. Splicer. He was stumped. Could not get to the bottom of the problem. Hang on a minute says Josh. He goes to his workshop. Inside is a shiny new phone with a tape answering machine. Blinking with tons of messages and Joel Weinberg's voice. Now that has got to be grounds for divorce. You see Josh's office changed phone systems and they had a whole batch of almost new phones - he brought a few home. Guess at some time a Joel Weinberg had used it. The tech could not stop laughing and I had to refrain from strangling my husband!!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

The two girls and I

Ryan and Nikke

My girls

Bringing out all the outdoor furniture - my little helpers are pooped :)

Real American BBQ - hot dawgs and hamburgers

Spring Braai

Sensational Seder..............

Been plowed under for the past few days, more like burried under matzah - oy vey, Pesach/Passover descended with an unusual ferocity. Most years I have the celebration in my home where we collect numerous strays who do not have their families around, the only relatives being Josh's dad and step-mom. This year our group dwindled down to just 5 adults, hardly worth doing a whole hoo ha for. My cousins were kind enough to extend an invitation to all of us so we went to their house for the abridged seder, a 30 second countdown to dinner time with a few sips of wine thrown in, I walked into the kitchen for something and it was over. The food more then made up for the meager seder :), my cousin Darren is a superb cook, we have alwways told him to open a restaurant, he does the best braai/BBQ you have ever had and I must say I have yet to have tried one thing that he has made that I don't like. His mother-in-law made the best kneidlach/matza balls I have ever had (who even knew Matza had balls??). Pesach came on the heels of an unbelievably busy week, I had quite a few closings, two of which lasted for 2 days - it was great being busy but so hard having to coordinate all the other million things I had to do. I did not get home before 9pm and was out the door by 7am at the supermarket/drycleaner/school, etc. doing what has to be done before the work day got underway. By the Seder on Wednesday I was exhausted. The kids were so conked, Nikki crawled onto my lap at around 9pm and begged me to go home, she is a kid who is happily asleep by 7pm. We did not get home until 11pm, where we unpacked kids, peeled off clothes and collapsed into bed. One of the endless joys of my kids is that the later they go to bed the earlier they wake up - what the hell is with that? Normally Nikk is the culprit today it was all Ryan, oy friggin' vey. 5:30am. Way before Barney or any cartoons, we watched the waether together - not that she would have watched Barney but hey it was bloody early!!

I scrambled off to work, arrived bleary eyed, did my thing, hit COSTCO, shopped for the weekend - COSTCO for those in SA is like Makro only way, way better. The best butchery, best fruits and veg but you buy them in bulk, my kids eat fruit in bulk so it is never wasted in my home.

Cooked, refereed a playdate (4 screaming girls) threw kids in the bath, dressed them and headed out to Josh's step brother who without traffic lives 45 minutes away. It took us 2 hours!!!!! Pure hell. Luckily we put videos on for the kids, Josh had his satelite radio, the voice on the magellan directed us and I could just chill out and relax. Rob and Pam did an incredible seder, have to say the food was no where near the night before's spread but the seder was incredible, they made their own book with unsual stories and funny songs which the kids acted out. It was great, very lebedick (lively) as they say in yiddish. The girls had a blast as there were a cackle of little screaming girls for them to hang out with.

Today was work once again and I am just dragging, ready to pass out but have chicken soup a' cooking, matzo balls a boiling and we start eating all over again.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Mommy's Little Darlings.... yeah right!

As a mother ones first instinct is to defend ones little pups whenever possible. Josh and I were watching "Everyone Loves Raymond" last night, the premise was about their daughter being bullied by an older boy. Raymond rushes to her defense, goes as far as to catch the bus to school with his daughter. Says to the bus driver when they get to school, see how they don't try any funny stuff when I am here. She smiles and says - yeah, she wouldn't try anything with you here. She he asks? yes she says - your daughter is the bully.

It reminds me of an incident last year when Ry would come home in tears talking about our neighbour whose son would tease her, she was 6 at the time and he was 8. He really should have known better. It eventually got so bad that Ry refused to catch the bus anymore. I called the mom a little snippy to discuss it with her. Yes she says I am well aware of it, every morning your daughter gets on the bus and calls him stinky boy and hits him with her backpack. Sheesh ended up I had to take her over for a pow wow for Ryan to apologize!!!

Last week my sister Ninnette arrived for a visit. She is a wonderful person and it is always good to see her. Nin and I travel in different universes, I believe if we were not sisters we would not be friends. She has an incredibly responsible position at work and has achieved many things in her life that as her sister I am incredibly proud of her for. As the baby of the family, we older siblings get to shake our heads in wonder at how she manages to to function at all, she is umarried and unecumbered by the routines of kids, snack time, potty time or any of the other fun occurences of a parents day. She gets to flit in and out and make spur of the moment decisions that usually have those of us in structured existences scrambling to try make happen. She is unable to plan more then a few moments ahead. She sent me an e-mail giving me her flight time but failed to mention what airline and flight number it was going to be. In the past I would frantically try call her and track her down and try get the details, my mom was freaking out because I told her my new attitude is, give me the details and I will be there, if not catch a cab or get to me when you can. I can't scramble to make someone elses plans work when my life is already so hectic. There are 8 terminals at JFK, millions of flights coming and going. Lucky for Nin she managed to e-mail the info to me and I got it before I left to visit Dawn. Once I see Nin I am always pleased to see her and spend time with her, the kids adore their aunt and I happen to think she is very special, I don't think we will ever orbit around the same planet but I guess that is what makes family so interesting.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Two buddies a few years ago

Against all odds.......

Yesterday I went to visit my friend Dawn. She fell while working at a show (she is a rather enterprising sort). Dee is one of the people I admire in this world. She is a great friend and a very special person. Dee had physical limitations that would set some people so far back they would never recover, but she manages to not only do but excel at what she does. Dee is not defined by her handicap and as a result people who know her do not remember that she even has one until something like this happens. You can read more about Dee and her issues on her site - my sidebar Dawn Unplugged. (I swear I still can't do those damn link thingy magigy's).

Dee's fall has left her pretty incapacitated and confined to a chair. Dee and I live between 45 minutes and three hours away from each other depending on the volume of traffic. Yesterday was a three hour day. I have been unable to see her since her tumble and this was my first day to do so, I did my Thursday agenda on Wednesday night after work, I am having 40 people over for a braai/BBQ on Sunday and needed to do all the prep work, pre-cook chicken, marinate steak, make mac-n'cheese and desserts. The cook ahead and freeze life of a working mom.

Seeing Dee is always hard as we have such a lag (laugh) and its always hard to leave. Geographically we are not that far but making the time to see each other is so hard to do and something that we only manage a few times a year. Its unfortunate especially as we are connected through many people we know in common and by our similar outlooks on many aspects of life, and those things that we don't agree on, boy can we argue about!!! She has such an incredible perspective and is one of the parents whom I admire, she really taps into her sons soul and treasures who he is in a way that is very special. Thank G-d for the internet, through it I get to "speak" to her on a daily basis even if its for a few minutes in our parallel lives.

Feel better my friend. It was great seeing you, wish it were under better circumstances.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Ryan and Nikki


The girls and I

Josh and the girls

Ryan and Nikki


Jordan driving a car

Weekend in review......

All week long I dread Saturdays. Its the day Ry and I tackle homeowrk, her and I end up at odds. I hate fighting with this lovable creature who is so sweet and so eager to please. I know she can't help that the words all get scrambled and we both hate that we have to face this foe head on. It looms large for both of us. She hates it as much as I do. I try to keep patient, I try counting to 10 and taking deep breathes but it is so hard to do, especially after a long, hectic week. I always feel bad when I shout at her and I know it makes her feel just as lousy. Homework is homework and our Saturday battle is better then fighting every afternoon after a longer day. I must say last week I was really so proud of her, she got all her words right on her test. I have to say I can barely spell half the words, not sure how they expect an 8 year old to be able to - congruent? microscope? comprehend? disrespect? symmetry? and those are just a few of this weeks 20 words. Too much I tell you. The hardest part is trying to explain them to her when I can barely understand them myself!!! Sheesh crazy stuff.

Amongst it all Ry went from 8 to 16 overnight. At the doctors last week I was not allowed to touch her, I embarress her, lol, I stopped smoking almost 20 years ago and developed a great habit of rolling paper in my fingers instead of smoking, that habit embarresses her too. When I was on the phone with my sister I wanted to tell her how well Ry did on her test, Ry rolled her eyes. I know I shouldn't laugh and encourage this behaviour but I can't help it, it is so friggin' funny. She is all growed up, although that night we lay in bed for ages looking through the American Girl catalogue working out what she can spend her pebbles on - that place takes a lot of pebbles!!!

Friday Night we went to my folks for Shabbat Dinner. My dad is still in so much pain and it is hard to watch, the fall really put him on his arse, literally and figuratively. My folks set a beautiful table with a fabulous meal for our Anniversary. It looked beautiful and was very sweet. They bought us a video camera - they really are the best!!

We packed up the kids so we could start the Saturday whirl bright and early. Ry and I started homework at 7:30am so she could be at horseriding at 10am. Horseriding is her passon, her whole face lights up. She has developed so much confidence that she no longer even uses a lunge or lead line, she manoevers Rosie with such style and grace, the smile never leaving her face for a minute. While we do our stuff, Josh takes Nikki to dance. We meet back at the house in time for Bob to pick Josh up so he can start helping him dissasemble stuff in Bob's mom's apartment which we are still helping clear out. I drop the kids at a friend who is taking thm to a party so I can go help Bob sort out his moms stuff and pack it up for him. Split second timing, rush, rush, rush. Josh and I exhausted don't even have time to shower but stopped into our favourite greek restaurant Mythos in Queens. The food is absolutely superb. Did some shopping at Target afterwards, needed bike helmets for the girls, prepared for our adventure of the next day. Packed up the car, got everything together for our picnic and our bbq/braai for Sunday.

Sunday morning we loaded up the bikes, picked up the girls from my folks and headed out to Caumsett State Park It is a former Estate, a summer house of a very wealthy man, oh the days before income tax!!! Gorgeous place in Lloyds Neck Harbour, the main house has a view of the bay. There are horses, hiking trails and biking trails, we did the three mile paved trail, had a picnic in fron t of the main house. We had such a great time, it was Nikki's first time on a big girl bike and she handled it so well except for two rather major spills. Ryan had one fall which really shook her up but she was fine after that. We then headed over to have frozen yoghurt and afterwards headed for home where my cousins Darren and Laura brought their two boys over for a BBQ and to play. It was really the perfect day and made the whole weekend just great. The best thing about a three mile hike and then a strenuous day on the swings and trampoline in our backyard, the kids conked out at 6:30 pm and slept for 12 hours straight!!!

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