Meet Lucy

This is Lucy

After much deliberation, and HUGE speculation, I have finally been allowed to adopt Lucy to live in my office. This is a big deal for me. I am grateful for the chance to prove to everyone that I am in fact, a nurturer. 

My track record is not great, I'll admit. There were two before Lucy, well three to be exact - but I'm not counting the one that didn't even see the first week out (clearly defective & too needy by nature!).  The other two (nameless, so I can disengage myself from the guilt), have been taken away and put back into the system - for their own good, I was told. Apparently they are now thriving under the care of Wouter - he who has the ability to resuscitate any desperate, sad looking, um plant. No comments here. 

So the bets are on, the jokes have started. Lucy must survive and flourish if I am to maintain any credibility as the Human Resources Manager. The person people come to for support, counselling, and yes, nurturing. I accept this challenge, albeit with some trepidation (and a tiny bit of self-doubt!).

And not that I'm defesive or anything, but the ONE dead leaf found after being in my office for a mere morning, was planted there. I'm Just Saying...

I Have Arrived...!

I have to admit that I have been a bit obsessed lately with getting old. I am officially closer to forty than to thirty, which is damn frightening. Looking for the greys, counting the wrinkles and spending a fortune on that elusive miracle formula to eradicate these stubborn, uninvited buggers from around my eyes. Looking at my clothes and comparing them to what is in the shop windows (ouch!), weighing up the desire to have dinner at a good restaurant with friends or go clubbing (ouch!), and realising there is no question as to where I would rather spend my Friday night. The obvious conclusion I reached was that I am no longer 20. Or 25. Not even just hit 30. Or 35. OUCH! But, and here comes my epiphany... is that necessarily a BAD thing??

These ARE the best years of my life... in all the ways that count. The days of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, of not trusting my instincts, opinions or judgements, of insecurities and unease about my future, are behind me. Of course, on the down side, the carefree days, no responsibilities, party-all-night, guiltless hangovers, 'Varsity holidays and sporadically scheduled lectures, are unfortunately collateral damage when it comes to leaving things behind. 

So what makes me think getting oldER is not as bad as I dramatically made out at the first sight of that first pathetic line? Life experience for a start. Looking back, I have come a long way from where I was as a person, to be where and who I am today. I am confident, independent, and a lot wiser than I was. I am more sure of myself, and less likely to crumble at the opinions others may have of me. In fact, I am more aware of who I am and who I see myself being in the far off future. When I look in the mirror now, I see someone who IS a role model to her kids, who can hold her head high because of decisions made by herself. And I like what I see.

When I think about getting oldER now, I think about my kids, and the wonderful life experiences I still have to share with them, the knowledge and advice I can pass down to be ignored as I did to my mom way back when. And of course, there's the fun side - disposable income!! And the means and ideas to use it - albeit responsibly (the nerd in me never gets fully suppressed).

I have come to realise (and embrace!!) that although the playground may have changed and become more sophisticated, the playing doesn't have to stop. In fact, the games just get better and better! In the words of Dr McSteamy - we don't age, we arrive!! I'm Just Saying....

Counting down!

Its Monday, and I am in a great mood! I have so many things to look forward to in the next week - I am counting down!! (And blogging, to remind myself that Monday isn't all that bad!)

In TWO sleeps its book club!! Despite us all buying on Kindle and ipads, this book club is very special. We have known each other for 4 years now (all of our kids are at school together), and we just click. There is always dinner and wine and books, but more importantly, connecting, bonding, sharing, absolute hilarity, and tears. Its obligatory. Our once-a-month blow off steam where there is no judgement. These girls have become incredibly important to me, and I honestly can't imagine my life without them.  

 In FOUR sleeps, I am having breakfast with my oldest BFF, husbands, kids - the whole lot! Jen and I have been friends since we were 12 - which was a L O N G time ago. We have been through all of our major firsts together: First Boyfriends (we shared them when we were 13!), first kisses, sleep overs that lasted days, exams, disco's, school camps, high school angst, dances, clubbing (from the std 5 school disco, to Raywood, from Sandpebbles to 330) break-ups and make-ups, weddings, husbands, careers and kids, shared secrets and shared lives. My family was hers, and hers was mine. No matter how far apart we live, and how much time passes between conversations, she will always be my true BEST friend. And on Friday she will be here from JHB, and we get to spend the morning together. I can't wait!!

In FOUR sleeps (yes, on Friday again), we leave to spend 5 days with our special friends, the Osborns at Castleburn, in the 'Berg. Much needed quality family time, long walks around the dam, wine, cheeses, chocolate, lazy mornings and long afternoons. There is no better place to be to unwind and relax.

It has been a very stressful year so far, and I know all of us are looking forward to reconnecting and just being. 

In EIGHT sleeps I am meeting up with old school friends - from London, JHB and from around town. Thanks to Facebook we have all kept up and kept in contact, but it has probably been  20 years since we all saw each other. I am nervous, excited, proud to talk about my life, my family, my career. But really, I am just looking forward to seeing everyone again and proving that despite the time that has passed, we are still the same people we were 20 years ago - just with a few more lines and a whole lot more life experience!

I know its not good to wish time away, but I am counting down none the less. I'm Just Saying...

Big Girl Pants

VENT!!! We all need to blow off steam at some point in our lives (or in my case lately, at some point in my day!!) SO in an effort to be constructive about it, I have decided to not vent about each specific, annoying, irritating, hurtful, stinging, frustrating (no over dramatising here!!), incident, but to let it all out now - and move on.

Everyone lets you down in some way or another, this I have realised. Unfortunately some of those "let downs" have lasting repercussions, and lead to long term consequences. To date, I can honestly say that I am an inarguable doormat. Simple. Let me down, break your promises, be creative with the truth, disappoint me, make me feel second best, take me for granted, put me down, remember me only when YOU need something, cause me to respect myself less, and guess what? I am STILL here!! Ready to take it on the chin again. Ready to fall into familiar patterns, ready to be THAT person.

Until now. TODAY. Big girl pants are on, and I am taking charge of myself. No more will I be THAT person. I need to look in the mirror and smile, because I haven't let myself down. I am worth more. I know I am. I just need to act like I know that. And today, I feel good.

So this is me, moving on. Moving forward. Being real and true to myself. For the first time in a long time. I'm Just Saying...


Today my all-of-a-sudden-philosophical sister decided that it was my day to focus on "Forgiveness". (Hers was "Boundaries" and Wouter (The office "Jack"- we love him to death!!), well, Wouter got "Hope". Personally I would trade him his Hope for my Forgiveness in a heartbeat - he got off lightly!!)

But I did take her seriously and started doing a bit of past reflection (NEVER a great idea is you are hovering on the fence between a good mood and extreme irritation!). None the less, I contemplated.

First off, I have mother-in-law issues. We love each other dearly, but have very different opinions on how to do most things. Raise kids, decorate a house, house keeping, boundaries, cooking - you name it - we have probably butted heads about it. In the past 17 years we have had many, many, many, verbal (and written, sms'ed, emailed, and lately bbm'd) difference of opinions. And every time we seem to reach a plateau of peace, something happens to rattle status quo.

She thinks I'm controlling and bossy, that I don't include her enough in my life, that I over react and am keeping her son and grand kids from her. I think she doesn't respect me as a wife or mother, doesn't respect my boundaries, and basically thinks I am not good enough. Without analysing every issue, without rehashing past injuries, past injustices, past fights, without doing the he-said-she-said dance, playing the finger pointing, name calling (oh yes!) blame game, admitting we have issues is a first BIG step. Admitting that we probably always will have issues is the second BIG step. So now what?

The thing is, I need this emotional warfare to stop. There is no competition for affection, there is no ulterior motive, there is no hidden agenda. There is life. And life is complicated, and tumultuous, scary, fragile, short and amazing. I don't want it to be marred by constant walking on egg shells, ulcers, headaches, tears of frustration and sadness. There is no need for it. There shouldn't be. And quite honestly, there is no room in my life for it anymore.

I love my mother-in-law. I really do. She is kind, generous, spunky, creative, and a bit eccentric. Because of her I have my husband. Sometimes I forget that. We do, despite our differences, have  a lot in common as well. We both love making people feel special through the little things, how a gift is wrapped, a table set, a card written. We both love animals, and have a soft spot for helping those who need us. I like to think we both have huge hearts and generous spirits (I know she does). But above all, we both love Warren, Dylan and Kirsten beyond measure. Is that not what its all about at the end of the day?

So in my contemplation on forgiveness, I have decided that this is it. We both need to admit, accept, forgive, forget, and move on. For real. No more grudge baring. No more rehashing and reminding of past injustices. No more pettiness. No more jumping to conclusions. No more reading into things that are not there. No more assumptions. No more thinking the worst. No more harsh judgements. On both sides. Instead, more patience, more understanding, more mutual support. More listening, more empathy and more compassion. On both sides.

Maybe being forced to concentrate on this notion today has been a good thing.

Thanks, Jax. But no more being philosophical tomorrow - its exhausting!! I'm Just Saying....   

Sister Friend (An indulgent blog!)

I remember the days of fighting non-stop over vitally important issues like who got to wear high heels first, who's turn it was to get out the car and open the gate (seriously!), who got to ride shotgun, and who was generally the all round better sibling. Those days were so exhausting, and when I look back now - such an incredible waste of time spent fighting the inevitable.

No relationship ever truly stands a chance of surviving through perpetuity unless the foundations are solid enough to withstand the impact of a few challenging blows. And believe me - we certainly had our fair share of those! But we bounced back. It took years of sarcastic remarks, quick judgements,cross communication, general interference and a mutual lack of tolerance and understanding  of each others lives, to get to where we are today. AND I can say, with ABSOLUTE authority that if the relationship wasn't worth it, it would never have survived those tumultuous early years!!

Today, I couldn't imagine my life without my sister. Without her unconditional love, her non-judgemental support, her willing ear, her no-question-I'm-on-your-side attitude. By allowing our friendship to evolve (one hysterical business trip and one drunken night later!!), my life has changed. Irrevocably. The thing is - we GET each other. Like no one else does. And the feeling that I'm not alone in how I view life, based on our mutual history, is one of the most valuable affirmations in my life.

My sister gave me the courage to take the plunge and go back to work. To prove to myself (and the rest of the nay sayers!) that I COULD be multifaceted - a mom, wife, daughter, friend AND an EMPLOYEE! Working with her is the best thing I ever did. Aside from being a fantastic business woman (big admiration here!), she understands the conflict, the restraints, the guilt, and the responsibility of being a working mom. This is huge. Any working mom will testify to this fact.

Gushiness over - we do still have our difference of opinion, we argue, grumble, fall out, have our moments of tears (mine), but oddly enough, these further prove how far we have come. She is generally my first call with good news, bad news and to husband-bash. Simply put, my sister is my best friend. Just Saying...

Damn Emotions!

OK - maybe if I admit it first then it won't seem like I belong in a locked ward somewhere! I have been known to be a bit over sensitive and over emotional at times. In my defence, I am only these things over issues that matter to me, and are close to my heart. And quite honestly, I don't know how to NOT be these things.

Take today, for example. In a management meeting at work, discussing my department, when horror of all horrors, I feel the build up of irrational tears starting to form. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't under attack or under fire, the issue being discussed was merely one I felt extremely strongly about. SO there went my credibility and tough management exterior as the tears that threatened, made their appearance in full force. This is a problem!

How do I, a blond, short, late-30-something-year-old woman, get taken seriously in the workplace when I am not able to control my own emotions? Does it make me less of an effective manager when I lose composure? Should I try harder to toughen up and present a more guarded, amour-encased persona? I'm sure the answer to this is HELL YES!

But I have my reservations. This is who I am. And this is part of what makes me good at what I do. I am able to show empathy and compassion when required, and am able to emotionally identify and reach out to staff and clients should the situation call for it.

I suppose what I am saying is, this is me. Take me for who I am. Like it or lump it. If my emotions make me weak in the eyes of some, it shouldn't matter. I can't change who I am, I won't change who I am. I need to accept my fallibility, and perhaps start seeing it as a strength. My emotions ARE my strength.

I'm Just Saying...

We all have to start somewhere...

I have always had this desire to write. To Write and Be Creative. I live out this pseudo Martha Stewart / Jodi Picoult existance - in the closet! So this is, in essence, my coming out. I am going to shake off my inhibitions, my fear of being judged, my fear of being wrong, and just take the plunge.

My life is filled with amazing moments, moments that deserve to be commented on. And while I have no inclination to wax lyrical about the beauty of life (I am a self-confessed cynic at the best of times), I hope to be able to capture the reality of my life. The life of a late-thirty-something-year-old wife and mom, with almost nine year old twins, a new career, and a head full of musings, rantings, observations and opinions!

So whether this gets read or not, I'm Just Saying...