The Black tie dinner i went to...

Was a cool night.... My date is on the right in white.... Will upload more as soon as i get them.

Rolandas Birthday...

We all started at a chinees restaurant, after that to the pub downstairs we went... and the night would not be complete without spending the rest at Billy's

Some random night

Who knows..... Some where out in Pretoria west... never to be seen again...

Barman... Very random.

Oppi Koppi

Oppi Koppi was great... But lucky its only once a year. Saturday was by far the best night, we saw Zebra and Giraffe play their first live Gig.

Paul getting ready for a big night!


Some Random guy we met!


Monkey after a long long awesome night!

Main Stage

Big pond

A couple more images from our trip to Tophill Low last weekend.


Happy families are all alike; every dysfunctional family is dysfunctional in its own way.
with apologies to Leo Tolstoy
You must understand that I adore my family. My mother and sister and I get along wonderfully. For the most part we really LIKE each other and we are seldom intentionally nasty to each other (unlike Nick's family, where people never miss an opportunity to say and do spiteful things).

The three of us were having a very interesting conversation over a champagne lunch the other day ... and yes, the conversation was definitely made more interesting by the champagne. Jane and Mother started talking about a Newsweek article on the biological roots of morality. The discussion was lively and interesting and one of us wondered if some of the moral differences were gender-based.

Mother said she had always known she should have been a man. Interesting. How so? Her explanation stopped us cold: Ever since I was a little girl, I've known that girls always lie and I never wanted to be that way. She described a dream from when she was a toddler and thieves were coming up the stairs to kill her family. Nobody else was aware of them, but I knew that if I simply called them out for what they were, everything would be fine. Girls won't do that. They won't be honest and name the thief that's going to kill everyone.

Wow. Jane and I had to pick our jaws up off the floor. Mother saw herself as surrounded by liars and thieves. Gee, Mother, that explains your difficult relationship with your sisters: They've always known you saw them as liars. And that explains why you always loved Lawrence best: He wasn't a liar like your daughters. Wow. Jane and I were laughing through the shock when we said these things. On one level, we knew that Mother didn't mean what she said to be taken literally, and we were joking about her loving our brother best; on another, it really did explain a lot.

The discussion turned to the childhood tapes we all have in our psyches. One of the most consistent messages from my childhood came from my grandmother (Mother's Mother). She was a bitter, unhappy woman, and she made it abundantly clear that All Men Are Bastards. Even when I was only 6 or 7, I knew that All Men Are Bastards. But you never got that from me, did you? No, but you never contradicted her; you never told me she was wrong.

Then Jane laughed with despair. I was so confused. I knew that Blita (the family version of the Spanish word abuelita) thought men were all bastards, and I knew that Mother didn't really like women. So what was I supposed to do?

Dysfunctional. Our childhood tapes have left us all utterly dysfunctional. But somehow, we turned out okay anyway. Right?

Tophill Low

We went to Tophill Low today. The top picture is a Great Crested Grebe on the 'O' reservoir. Katie and Harry were both thrilled to see a hedgehog for the first time, sadly, because hedgehogs are nocturnal, this one is probably poorly.

He's a baby, He's a baby

Katie left her dolls pram in the conservatory, naturally Boozer had to sleep in it, but given his size it's a wonder it's still in one piece!

Yeah, I'm here

But I've taken a day or so to indulge in in some good old-fashioned self pity. And now, no more time for that: It's a weekend of birthday parties and playdates.


I was on a training course today, learning how to investigate complaints, it was ok. At the beginning of the course, as part of the old 'ice breaking' routine, we were asked to garner 3 facts from 3 different people and then feed them back to the group. People were coming up with interesting facts like where they went on holiday and what they did in their spare time. One woman commented that she did the ironing in her spare time and this caused quite a reaction amongst the participants, as did the person who said they did something called 'body combat'. I happened to mention that I had a blog; this was met with complete silence, not a flicker, a real tumbleweed moment. Oh well, nice to know I'm doing something popular!

despair, n., v.

verb -- 1. To lose all hope
2. To be overcome by a sense of futility or defeat

noun -- 1. Complete loss of hope
2. One despaired of or causing despair

I took Mother to the doctor today, knowing that I would hear her say what I did not want to hear. She said that she is done with chemo and wants no more. She is utterly at peace with that decision and knows that it is the right one for her to make.

Then I heard the doctor say things I did not want to hear: She described what Mother can expect when the cancer becomes symptomatic again, when it is too late for any intervention. My mother faces a terrible painful end, what the doctor called "one of the most horrible ways to die."

The brutal truth is that even if my mother does have more chemo, her ending will still be the same: The chemo can only delay, not prevent, the abdominal destruction that the cancer will cause. Given that reality, I cannot criticize Mother or fault her for her decision not to put herself through the misery.

I was looking at Mother closely when she talked about how awful the chemo was, how sick it made her, how weak ... and she looked so OLD and withered. Then when she talked about the certainty and peace she has about her decision, her appearance changed, and she looked GOOD.

Seeing that physical transformation made it clear to me that this is, in fact, the right choice. I just wish that it didn't have to be this way, that she didn't have to choose, that she didn't have to suffer.

The good ...

On the way to school on Friday, HardPlace asked about our last name.

So does Rxxxx even mean anything?
Not in English, but it's a Russian name.
Yes. Dad's grandfather was born in Moscow, I think, and he and his siblings immigrated to this country.
During World War II?
No, long before that. I think it was in the 1920s. I'll have to ask Papa to tell you about it; I don't know the details of the Rxxxx family history.

Rock's voice piped up from the back seat.

You could ask Daddy to tell you about it.
You could have a dream about Daddy and ask him to tell you.
Do you dream about Daddy?
Does he talk to you?
What does he say?
I don't remember. But I dream about him and he tells me things, so you should ask him to tell you about his grandfather.
What a good idea ... [quietly to HardPlace who's next to me in the front seat] Do you dream about Daddy?
Sometimes... Not really... Hardly ever... No.
Neither do I. [then louder for Rock to hear] But I'm glad you do, Rock. I'm really glad Daddy is with you in your dreams.

A deep, thoughtful silence filled the car the rest of the way to school.

The bad ...

Two days before this conversation, I was sitting in the Volkswagen service center when my cell phone rang.

Mrs. Rxxxx? This is Mrs. R from Immaculate Heart. I need to tell you that Rock was throwing rocks at a little girl in the pickup line yesterday. I didn't find out about it until this morning, when her mother complained to the principal.

Well, cr*p. I don't need to tell you the rest of it. You can imagine. The school is very good; the teacher established a behavior plan with Rock and he knows that if he does anything wrong in the pickup line again, he has to wait for me in the office. And he knows that if I have to park the car and get him from the office, I will be extremely annoyed and he will not get any computer time at home.

The child is IMPOSSIBLE. He absolutely knows that throwing rocks at other kids is wrong, but he really doesn't care. Grrrrrr.

The ugly ...

I watched two shows about the terrorist attacks of 9-11-2001, and they both made a lasting impression on me.

On Thursday the 11th, MSNBC aired a 2-hour special of their broadcast from that morning. It was minimally edited, and everything was how I remember it. It began with the startling, if somewhat irrelevant, news that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. Most likely a small commuter jet... I wonder if there's a problem with air traffic control... Then the shock of seeing the second plane hit the second tower. OMG... Did you see that? Another plane just hit the other tower! Did you see that! Let's roll back the video! Look... you can see it coming in and -- there! -- it angles and turns. This was no accident. Then, talking to their correspondent at the Pentagon about US reactions and responses. Wait. I just heard ... felt ... what seems to have been a large explosion. The growing realization that this was big, bad and big, bad and big and scary. And then the unthinkable, as first one tower fell and then the other.

Last night, I watched a program on the History channel. It was almost all footage from the ground, and a lot of it was amateur video, with some from local news stations. I had seen -- we've all seen -- the photographs of the shock and destruction, but the video footage was simply unbelievable. The still photos of the exploding cloud of ash are impressive; the distant news videos of it moving so fast through the streets are stunning. But the footage taken by people on the ground right there made me gasp for breath myself -- especially the amateur footage, with the untrained camera work taking everything in, with no regard for aesthetics, no professional or editorial restraint in their comments. To see the swirling mass of debris and destruction and death envelop the street, the people, the camera. To hear the voices of shock and terror, to see the glazed looks on people walking north, walking, just walking, utterly unable to comprehend what was happening.

Dear God in heaven, save us all.

We went to Filey Brigg today, after all the recent rainy weather, it was lovely. Everyone had a great time until Katie went full length into a rock pool. It was time to go home then!

Self Portrait (This is me!)

Well, this is the last day of Robert's challenge and it has been a challenge, mainly to find the time! I have enjoyed it and visiting all the other blogs has also been a challenge. Nice to meet so many new people, but with the time difference, by the time I got to a lot of the blogs it was difficult to find anything original to say! So if some of my comments have appeared a little brief or even strange, forgive me, I did my best! I'm sure I will meet some of you again.

How do I relax?

It's Robert's challenge, so it's only fair that I should copy him and go for music as my relaxation method of choice. 10 smartie points for the first person to name all the albums!

A view from the home!

I may be using an element of poetic license here with Robert's photo challenge, because it said a view from in your home. The top photo was taken from my garden, so that's pretty close isn't it?
This was taken from my conservatory so technically that's in my home. It's not the squirell as such that's significant, just wildlife in general. We live in the middle of a big city, but we still get Squirrels and foxes and a fantastic selection of birds. So I give you my 2 favourite views from my house.


Two years ago, I participated in a project to mark the 5th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001. I still remember that day, and I still honor Christopher Paul Slattery.

Sentimental Object


Front Door

It's not much of a front door but it's the only one I've got.


The cooker hood, proudly fitted by myself, and before Quilly says anything it's the photo that's crooked!

The oil burner, used more often after I've been cooking

Can you spot the odd one out?

Mail Box?

Robert over at is hosting a photo challenge, today it's a photo of your mail box. If you want to join in, or find out what the rest of the photo challenges are, head over to see him. The red one is where I post my mail, it's at the top of our street, the tatty brass one is where my mail gets posted, you may see more of this later in the week.

Poor thing

How does a cat break a leg? I don't know, but that may be what Clara has done. She was fine and dandy this morning, tearing around the house like any 6mo-old kitten. Next thing I know, she's crying and limping into my office.

I took her to the vet; the x-ray didn't show anything, but he says she may have a hairline fracture that's not visible because of the swelling. He was relieved that her growth plates seem intact; alternatively, she may have torn some cartilage. Poor thing. The vet says there's not much we can do. He doesn't want to give her pain killers, because the pain will keep her from using the leg, allowing it to heal more quickly.

Poor thing.

So how did you spend YOUR Saturday morning?

Lazy blogging

I do have breaks from blogging occasionally, but I still take photographs. This one was taken in February this year at Paull, looking out onto the River Humber. I think it has an eerie quality.

Tall trees

Took these at Dalby Forest last week

September 5, 1992

I wake up on the sofa bed in my mom's study. She comes in and plays with my tousled hair spread across the pillow.

Is my baby really getting married today?
Yes. I am.
Now why would you want to do something like that!?
Because it's Nick, Mother. It's Nick.
Yes. It is.

Happy anniversary, darling. I'd do it all over again.

Since Nick never bought me flowers, I would buy my own. This year is no different.

One red rose for every September 5 we were together; one yellow rose for every September 5 we've been apart.
Still not functioning fully, hopefully will get back to some sense of normality at the weekend.

Is it Wednesday yet?

It is!

And my new chair is here!

I may never stand up again...

1st day at school

I haven't got any image manipulation tools on my new computer yet, so this is a little pale. What with work and family commitments it is going to take me a while to get back to normal, bear with me.

Phishing? or not?

"Natasha" has posted twice on my previous post: When I tried to go to her blog, I was warned that blogspot was reviewing it for violation of terms of service.

It looks like she's trolling for paid members at her website. Has anyone else encountered her?

(I should note that this is NOT our beloved Natasha from Natasha's Den.)