Groundhog Day Ramblings

So here we are at the end of the first month of 2018 already and the Silly Season is well behind us.

I was lucky enough these past weeks to spend a lot of time back home in Swaziland after not having been there for quite a few months before that.  And gosh how I missed it.

We all lead such stressful lives at the moment and each day is just a re-run of the last.  It is Groundhog Day over and over again.

For those of us who are employed, it is the stress of trying to survive on the same salary cheque when the cost of living increases on a month to month basis and the 13th cheque being a thing of the past.

And for those of us who own our own companies, it is the stress of clients not paying and trying to maintain a good relationship with them while trying to apply pressure from the side.  I bet the legal profession is smiling – although I must admit I’m sure it’s a catch 22 scenario and their clients aren’t paying them either.

Regardless of the stress, we need to make sure we don’t lose perspective over what is important in life.  And going home to Swaziland these last few weeks has reminded me of that.

I am guilty of not taking the time to de-stress.  I was just saying to my boyfriend earlier that although we were home for so much time, I didn’t have a single good nights sleep where my mind wasn’t processing work related challenges.

I was thinking how I would know when I am de-stressed – I would be able to read a book!   I can’t remember the last time I read a book.  I have this ever growing pile of books next to my bed for one day when …

I do a fair amount of reading but it is all either work research or social media related so my mind never switches off and allows my imagination to kick in.

There are so many weekends where we have declined invitations to go to the dam, or camping, or outings with friends due to work related challenges.

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So I have promised to start getting some perspective back in my life.  Remembering that tomorrow is another day and learning to switch off from work after 5pm and most weekends.

Finding the time to “Smell the Coffee” and taking time to enjoy little distractions that life brings.

And I hope you will all be there to share it with me.

Keeping the lights on

 

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Man Up FFS

I have many opinions, usually kept to myself.  But there are certain things I feel quite strongly about and I find myself wanting to voice my opinion occasionally.

I am the survivor of Throat (Oropharynx) Cancer so I feel I sort of have the right to voice my opinion about smoking.  Now it is debatable as to whether my cancer was caused by second hand smoke or the HPV virus but I watched my father die a very slow death from Emphysema when I was in my early twenties and my mother followed on many years later so I think it narrows the odds quite a bit.

I have never ever tried smoking and I think it is a filthy habit.  (I’m sorry if I am offending close friends here)  You can always tell who is a smoker as soon as they walk into the room and women shouldn’t be caught dead with a cigarette – EVER!

I’m happy to go through the pro’s and con’s of smoking but I think we all agree smoking is bad for you and causes cancer so I will move on.

So here we are in the modern age where smoking is banned in public spaces (Yay!), but as usual there are always ways and means around new laws.

It is also the “In Thing” to try to be healthier now and of course a healthier cigarette was sought, one which doesn’t cause cancer (or not as badly) yet still feeds ones addiction.

So “Vaping” was born and is the new “in thing”.  As far as I am concerned it is like ordering a Big Mac, upsize of course, and accompanying it with a diet coke.

One of my sons has tested the waters with me a few times and hinted that he would like to Vape.  Well he is old enough to make his own decisions now but it is not something I would encourage him to do or be proud of him doing either.  And here’s why…

(I was going to post a few links of the dangers of vaping here but I’m pretty sure we are all pro’s at using google by now.)

But if you are going to / want to smoke, then smoke.  Don’t try to legitimize it by pretending to be opting for the healthier / cleaner version.  I just look at you and say seriously – Just Man the F up.

The reality is when I look at a man vaping, I kind of have this little giggle escaping from the back of my throat. There is NOTHING cool or manly about it.Vaping

I come from a culture where men are men and the moment I find myself in the presence of a man vaping, he has lost my respect and I cannot take him seriously, even if he is “trying to stop smoking”.

If you want to stop, then stop.  There is no inbetween.  But in the meantime, be a man.

As for woman – I refer to my earlier comment.  It is the most unattractive thing any woman can do.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Keeping the lights on

 

A Christmas Festival

Here we are halfway through the Festive Season once again.  Blink and it’s over.

Last year this time I was still in hospital struggling with my cancer treatment, knowing I would in all likelyhood get through it but nevertheless felt as though my life was at an end and I would never realise my dreams and get to that Bucket list.

I spent a lot of time thinking about life and what my priorities were.  Thinking about those who are important to me and regretting petty squabbles with those I hold dear to my heart.

I still haven’t realised any of my dreams or tackled that Bucket list but that is another topic for discussion.

I no longer hold grudges as life is too short.  It is not worth carrying hurt with you.

I ended my marriage quite a few years ago and I remember the first Christmas after.  Sad I was not with my Children, but I had made a decision which I have no regrets about.  I didn’t want to put my Children in a position where they would have to chose one parent over the other or them feeling guilty about not being with the other parent.  It was not a choice I wanted them to make.  So I stepped back and gladly let their Dad have Christmas.

The reality is that we do not need “Christmas” in order to have a good time with our children.  I still do Christmas with my Children but just not on the 25th December and we usually try to celebrate “MY” Christmas on the 5th December which is when the Dutch celebrate theirs.  My boyfriend is Dutch and it was one way of bringing our two families and traditions together in my new life too.

There are many broken families out there where only one parent shares in the joy of this festive season.  And many single parents are left at home alone, heart broken.

I am blessed to have very dear friends who I now spend Christmas with and consider them all part of my extended family.  We celebrate with many different family traditions, great food, great wine and great conversation.

Each year I get to have my own Christmas Festival starting with Christmas with my Children in early December and culminating with Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner with very close friends whose friendship I value most.

From someone who is truly blessed, I wish you all a Blessed Christmas too and hope all your dreams and wishes are realised in the coming year.

Merry Christmas all!

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Beauty and The Beast and 16 Days of Activism

Today marks the start of 16 Days of Activism for NO Violence against Women and Children.

Usually this doesn’t mean anything to me except another excuse for our government to spend our hard earned tax dollars on something that doesn’t require them to actually run the country, but I had an issue with some employees at work this week and I thought it a good time to share my experience.

We have a small company and we don’t have any admin staff so my partner and I do whatever needs to be done.  So I find myself being chief cook and bottle Washer with HR playing a huge part of my current duties.

You won’t believe how much of my time is wasted with employees sitting in front of my desk having to be disciplined or reminded that in fact they get paid to come to work and that also requires them to actually do some work.  And not to mention the petty dramas that happen between staff members themselves.  It is a sitcom all on its own.  It reminds me of when my kids were little and Son no 1 would be crying because Son no 2 would be looking out his window on a car trip. I want to pull my hair out on most days.

We made the mistake of employing 3 ladies on our site.  Why is this a mistake.  Well it shouldn’t be.  But in reality we work on a mining site so most of the work revolves around “manly duties”.  Now I don’t want to get into a debate about women being equal and able to do a man’s job as I would agree with you on most levels.  And yes, I know that 16 Days of Activism promotes exactly this.

But we have noticed a change on site since we employed these ladies.  We find it difficult to keep the men away from them and somehow there is always an excuse for them to neglect their duties and be found chatting to the ladies.  So my job becomes a little harder and more of my time is spent resolving HR issues rather than actually trying to make money.

So on Wednesday “Beauty” came to my office in tears.  She had apparently been smacked across the face by “The Beast”.  Now although she was in tears, there were no other signs of an altercation.  Her face was not marked or red or swollen.  But nevertheless there was an altercation of sorts as otherwise she would not be sitting in front of me in tears.

There were witnesses too of course so now the whole site comes to a standstill as it has become our daily episode of “Days of our Lives”.

Apparently Beauty and the Beast had an argument over something.  She told me word for word what the argument was about but quite honestly I switched off after the first 10 minutes of her reciting it.   I sat with my head in my hands thinking why me – I have work to do and really don’t have time to deal with this.  If they were both doing what they were supposed to be doing and at their posts, they would not have had the argument in the first place.  But of course let’s ignore this.  It is more important for me to deal with the “abuse” which had happened.

Apparently the Beast had compared her in some way to a whore and she apparently then accused his mother of being a whore and he then in defense of his mother smacked her.

I have no formal HR training.  I deal with issues to the best of my diplomatic ability.  We have joined an Employers Organisation who handle the more serious issues but it is a mission to get them to come out 20 times a week to deal with petty issues.  I am aware that this is a more serious issue and I need to deal with this seriously and by the book.  It could in fact mean I have to terminate the Beasts employment contract.  It means we have to now have a formal hearing.

I sent Beauty home, hoping that some time would calm her down and tomorrow we could resume the matter and have a proper discussion.  She insists she wants to go home via the police station and lay a charge.  It is her right to do so, so I tell her she needs to do what she feels is right.   I don’t want to question the Beast as yet as quite honestly I feel like I could lose my temper.  Why hit a woman,  Why hit anyone in fact.  Why call each other names.  And WHY WERE YOU BOTH NOT WORKING!!!

So on Thursday I had a few meetings which meant I didn’t get to site.  The Beast asked to see me first thing yesterday morning.  He wanted to call a meeting with Beauty, all Management and the witnesses in order for him to make a public apology to Beauty.  I asked him if he was sincere in his apology.  He said he was.  He is quite a big talker.  Always full of excuses and tails so I asked him to only give the apology if he was going to be sincere about it and not back the apology up with excuses or mitigating circumstances.  He agreed and seemed truly apologetic.

We called the meeting mid morning and he gave his apology.  Beauty was not keen on accepting it.  She said she wanted to make an example out of him, especially in light that it was the start of 16 Days of Activism and his behavior was not acceptable.  But she agreed to think about it.

Beauty and The Beast were then back in my office an hour later with her agreeing to accept his apology, not for him but because he is a married man with a child and the charges against him could see him at the least unemployed and possibly with a criminal record.  The Beast seemed relieved and was very thankful.

Later on I called the Beast back into my office as I still had to deal with him from a company perspective and he couldn’t get away Scott free.  I told him I would have to officially discipline him and he agreed to sign a Final Warning with no need for hearings to take place.

I’m not sure if I have conveyed any real message in this blog besides my irritation with having to deal with HR issues on a day to day basis.  But violence against women and children is very real and we need to address it.  It is far too easy for us to ignore.

I am pretty sure I know at least 2 or 3 women who are being abused, if not physically but emotionally.  It is easy to overlook them and whisper to ourselves that they need to do something about it themselves but in reality it isn’t that simple.   Especially when children are involved.  What women wants to find herself alone, with no home and children to support with some monster lurking in the dark ready to hit out at any convenient time.

Ladies (and Gents) look around you.  Identify possible victims and extend a hand of support.  How can you help.  Even if it’s a shoulder to cry on.

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Why our Country doesn’t work

A venting post…

So today I had the task of taking Son #4 to make a booking for his Learners License.  What a #nightmare.

We started at the Marlboro (Sandton) Testing Station.  Parking was full so I had to double park and wait for an open spot.  I suggested Son #4 get out and find the right queue in the meantime and I would join him inside when I find parking.

A few minutes later he reappears back at the car – he can’t figure out where to go inside.

Luckily a parking spot opened up shortly thereafter and we both went inside.

There was a main area with about 20 seats of which about 10 were randomly filled.  In front of us were 2 large rooms, both filled with seats and all were taken.  To the right was a passage and again people were queuing along the whole passage.  No room or area was marked or had any signage beside scrappy bits of A4 paper stuck all over, most informing people that their eye-testing equipment was out of order and people were to call the main Call Center to find out when they would be operational again.

Just to the left was a counter with a window and it too had a scruffy piece of A4 paper stuck to it which said “enquiries”.  So we stood in the queue there.  Not too bad as there were 3 people in front of us.  The gentleman in front of us turned around and made conversation for a few minutes and before we knew it we were in front of the lady at the counter.

I approached her politely and asked here where we must go to apply for a Learners License?  She asked me who for?  For a few seconds I was a tempted to ask if it mattered (you know, perhaps they have pink forms for women and blue for men?), but I  managed to bite my tongue.  I politely replied that it was for my son and I turned and pointed him out.

She then snapped at me and asked me why he doesn’t speak for himself.

I was taken totally off guard by this comment.  How was I supposed to  answer that?  I lrimages1happened to get to the counter first / I’ve had experience dealing with government departments before and he hasn’t / I wasn’t shy …  I finally settled with “Because I’m his mother and he’s a minor”.

She was not impressed with my answer, tutted, shook her head in disgrace and then snarled at us and asked if we had the various documents with us. I replied yes we did and handed them all to her.  She snatched them, picked up an application form, shoved the documents in the middle, handed it all back to me and told us to go to Room A.

Room A was the second of the 2 rooms in front of us as we walked in. So we went  to room A.

Room A was filled with seats and all were taken. We  hesitated for a minute as one is  not quite sure where to queue and the start or end of the seated queue is not identifiable.  Then a young lady shouted / snarled at us that we can’t stand there, we have to join the back of the queue.  (Who knew where that was?)

At this point Son #4 whispers to me and asks me if we can go somewhere else.  Yes I said, gladly!

So we left there and headed over to the Florida Testing Station, a 45 minute drive away but hopefully much friendlier.

We found parking easily.  It was also far cleaner.

We went inside.  No queue’s.  High Five Son #4 eyes said to me.  We asked at the counter where we must go to make a booking for a learners license.  She politely points out that we need to go down the passage, first room on the left.

We found it, got a number and were asked to join the queue outside.  Our number will be called in due course for Son #4 to have his eye test done (at least they had working equipment).

It is a small building and no space inside for the number of people they deal with on a daily basis, so having to queue outside is a necessity.  Everyone randomly stood outside, chatting, mingling, walking around.  Every now and then they called a few numbers.  There was probably 50 people there.

We ended up standing outside for just over 4 hours till our number was called.

I went to sit in the reception area near the cashiers while Son #4 had his eye test done.  He messaged me from the eye test room to say he finally understands why we waited for 4 hours when the eye test only takes 2 minutes at the most.  He said that most people could not understand the concept of the eye test and they spent almost 10 minutes with most people explaining how it works and what they  should be looking for. #itsnotrocketscience!

Once his test is done, he is instructed to go to Room 2.

Again no signage!

So where is Room 2 one may ask?

Room 2 is the open window on the outside of the building just before the entrance.

We went there where he was given a booking date.  It took all of 2 minutes.

We then had to pay the fee at the cashier and this too only took about 2 minutes.

What a day.  At least they were a little more helpful and polite in Florida.

This is my 4th son so I have done this many times before over the last 12 years. There is honestly no improvement in the system since the first time I went.  No new furniture.  No improved signage.  No automation.  Just plain incompetence and staff (whose salary is paid by my tax money) who have not been taught how to deal with customers and be polite.

And after all this I still don’t understand why getting your learners license is not part of the school curriculum.

One asks if there is any hope?

Keeping the lights on

 

Naked, but Not afraid

I have looked at my header picture and often thought about whether it is appropriate or not for my blog.  Friends and family see it, including my sons – it is on public display after all.

The reality is, this is me.  This blog is me.  And the stuff I write about is the naked me – about my deepest thoughts, emotions, love, and life.  It would be inappropriate to use a naked pic of me so this is the closest I can get to showing the real naked me to you all.

This photograph is about 4 years old now and yes, it had a little help from photoshop.  I am a few years older now and have lost a little lot more weight and have a few more wrinkles – thanks to a fight with Throat Cancer in the last year.  But I fought and won and am in the clear!

Cancer was my greatest fear.  I wasn’t afraid of dying from anything besides Cancer (Okay maybe scorpions too!).  But I got cancer and survived.  So now I have no fears – I am invincible.

i-am-strong-i-am-invincible-i-am-woman-quote-1

I have realized life is short so I intend to live life to the fullest.  Not wasting a single moment to enjoy it and take full advantage of what it has to offer!  My only hope is that you are all by my side enjoying it with me.

Keeping the lights on

Missing in translation

I had my own domain (www.lifecherries.com) which is where all the content on this blog is imported from.  Luckily I kept this blog on the side but a pity I didn’t keep the imports up to date.

I forgot to renew my domain subscription to lifecherries.com so I lost the domain.

At first I was very disappointed, extremely annoyed and very saddened by this.  Lifecherries had become part of my life and I had lost it. I am really pissed at GoDaddy and really pissed as blogspot (google) because of this.

Yes, I tried to buy it back but I found this to be impossible.  Some company had taken over the domain – not to use it but to extort money from me.  It is no more than a parked domain and they want a vast amount of money for me to buy it back.  I am not open for extortion, especially not something that I feel belongs to me.

I realise I lost it as I had not paid my annual domain fee but this domain has NO value to anyone except me.

There have been a quite a few posts in between may last post here and this one and quite a few developments in my life.  I will try to catch up on my news in my next few posts.

So I will be trying to build up followers on this site now and hopefully all my old blogger friends will re-acquaint themselves with this domain.

Keeping the lights on