Archive for the ‘meme’ Category

An Interview with Lightening

January 14, 2009

Lightening posted an interview style meme and of course, I went “me me me!”   For this meme, you put your hand up to be interviewed and that blogger sends you 5 questions to be answered on your blog. I have known Lightening from various Yahoo groups (and her blog more recently) for several years now so she knew just what to ask!

Here are my replies to her questions:

1. You’ve travelled and lived in many different places around the world. What is the best place you’ve ever lived or visited?

mmm not easy to choose!  I have only lived in Johannesburg and Sydney, and Sydney might have prohibitively expensive real estate and horrible traffic/public transport and Mark Driscoll called it the most selfish city he had visited but we love it for so many reasons.  We chose to emigrate to Australia and live in Sydney (we arrived 22 years ago), and we have never regretted that decision.  People often ask “Why did you choose Sydney?” and my answer is always “Where else in the world would you choose?”

Of the places I have visited, there are many I love and would love to visit again, but none I would choose to live in.

Venice is special, as is Paris (I have been to both of those twice and would go again if I could) but I would hate to live in either.


We loved Mauritius and have had 2 holidays there (the above photo is of MissN in 2005 and the Coin de Mire island) , and would love to visit again – and to go to the island of Rodrigues.  You don’t get much more off the tourist track than Rodrigues!  Friends recently moved to Mauritius.  I will have to ask them what it’s like living there, as opposed to holidaying.

Africa will always be in my blood and I still shed tears when I hear Nkosi sikelel’  iAfrika.  Afrika, kearata!

The best place IS Sydney – it’s where my family is!

2. If you could offer one piece of advice to a brand new mother, what would it be?

Trust your instincts! They are God-given.

MissN had silent reflux and was a very unsettled baby.  I attended Tresillian (a community family care centre) when she was about 2 months old to try and get some kind of sleeping routine (or just daytime sleeping!) happening.  They practised controlled crying.  Now, I did learn a lot from them (although I was an older mum, I had had no exposure to babies and was pretty clueless generally) but my instincts told me that controlled crying was NOT the way to go with an 8 week old baby with quite moderate reflux.  I went for a follow up a few weeks later, and they wanted me to do a week’s residential (as she still wasn’t sleeping well) and I declined.

About a month later, I was checking out day care centres (planning well in advance) and I got chatting to the owner of one.  She didn’t have any places but we were discussing MissN’s sleeping difficulties and her son had reflux too.  She said to me “I can’t advise you to do this as it’s against the SIDS recommendations, but I will tell you that I started putting my son in his cot on his tummy for his day naps and he is now sleeping!  You have a strong healthy baby who can lift her head..”

Well, I followed my instincts, took her advice – and guess what?  MissN started sleeping for longer than 20 minutes at a time!

I had another friend who urged me to get out of the house more when MissN was tiny.  She told me to express breastmilk so I could have a few hours away from my baby (MissN fed 3 hourly till she was 7 months old!) and this friend even gave me her breast pump.  I was to get someone to mind the baby (I didn’t have anyone anyway!) and take some sanity breaks.  Well, that didn’t work too well… MissN wouldn’t drink breastmilk from a bottle and was very unsettled the couple of times I did leave her.  I wish I had had more confidence in just going with the whole attachment parenting thing.  I did work it out later, and now I tend to err or being too loving rather than too firm, but that’s what my instinct tells me to do.  And I am blessed with a very close relationship with my daughter (maybe it was all those hours for months on end that I held her upright so her throat wouldn’t burn when we established the close bond…)

3. You obviously have a love for a wide range of tastes when it comes to food. Is there a particular dish or cultural style that you’d consider your favourite?

If I had to choose one cuisine to live off, it would be Italian.  But of course, Italian has so many different regional cuisines that there is a great diversity.  C recently got fed up with my cook bookcase kindly rearranged my cookbooks by cuisine (I had it “organised by size” mainly) and I found I have more Italian cookbooks than any other cuisine.  I love Thai food and it agrees with my dietary needs (no wheat or dairy and very little meat) but I don’t cook it often.  I should!  I felt wonderful when we were in Thailand – rice, rice noodles, lots of seafood and vegetables and tropical fruit!

My cooking style is best described as cucina povera.  Rustic peasant cooking with lots of garlic, chili, vegetables.  Ethnicity not important.  Indian, Mediterranean, east Asian…    ingredients close to how God created them  (as unprocessed as possible) and robust flavour paramount!

4. If earth were to be evacuated to Mars and you could only take 5 things with you (not counting people), what would you take?

My multifocals.  I can’t do much without them anymore!  My family tell me I need a hearing aid too, to which my reply is “What?”

An unending supply of lip balm. I’m addicted to lip balm!   My latest favourite is Perfect Potion rose petal lip balm.  I also love Burt’s Bees.  Or maybe Organic Fiji pineapple and coconut body lotion instead.  It’s a multipurpose product (you can use it on body, face and fair), it’s healthy (no nasties to be absorbed through your skin) and the smell evokes the memory of our 25th wedding anniversary here. (I try to use only products that are organic and have no parabens, propylene glycol or laureth sulphates in them.  If it’s not safe to eat, it’s not safe to go on your skin!)

A Bible.  Not sure which one.  Probably an ESV Study Bible (which I don’t yet have!)

The complete works of Shakespeare.  MissN has a one I will take!  That takes care of my reading!

A computer.  It would be my source of music, infinite information, connection to the world back here and a way to blog!

5. What is your favourite bible verse?

I’m going to post 2.


Isaiah 40:31

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

and John 6:68

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,

Nicky Chiswell’s song Where else have we to go? celebrates this verse beautifully.

If you’d like to participate, leave a comment saying so and I’ll send you 5 questions for you to blog the answers to. Then offer to interview any of YOUR readers…


Aussie flavoured meme

January 6, 2009

I found this on Andrea’s blog and liked it so here goes…

I have bolded those I have done. Comments in italics

1. Started your own blog. (April 2008 for this one, and some false starts prior to that I started one on Blogger and a couple on Live Journal)
2. Slept under the stars. (not quite – have slept in a tent)
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited The Great Barrier Reef. (I can highly recommend Lady Elliot Island – our stay there in 1989 was one of the highlights of my life)
5. Stood under the stars in the outback, the real outback – think Uluru. ( I went on a birdwatching trip up the Birdsville Track in 1992.  You don’t get much more outback than that!)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. (now why does that sound like boasting – it does… How does one define what you can afford?)
7. Been to the Gold Coast’s theme parks – anyone, you take your pick. ( went to Movieworld with MissN, my sister-in-law and my niece on 28 Dec.  I still am recovering from this ride!)
8. Climbed a mountain. Cleft Peak, 3281m, 1986.  I will never forget that altitude!
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sung a solo.
11. Bungee jumped, jumped out of plane, been paragliding or hang-gliding, hot air ballooning – you get the idea, you’ve been hundreds of metres about earth in a seemingly flimsy contraption. Nope.  No chance!
12. Visited Melbourne. I love Melbourne – it’s been 10 years since we were there last.  Too long!
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Had a child. Raised a child. Worked with children. MissN was 14 on Saturday so I guessed she is still being raised.  I taught Secondary School (English and History) for 5 years in the 80’s.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Been to the Snowy Mountains. Love the Snowy Mountains but I have not been there in winter!
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Visited the Brett Whitely studio in Surry Hills, Sydney.
20. Slept on an overnight train or bus. Tried to.  I took a bus from Johannesburg to Cape Town once and was seated next to an 8 year old who was a chatterbox.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Been backpacking. Only carried a backpack on bushwalks.  Does a 4 day walk count?
23. Taken a mental health day.
24. Been buried in sand with just your head and toes sticking out.
25. Held a possum, kangaroo or koala – or any other native Australian animal. I’ve had a kangaroo stand on my foot!  And a kookaburra sit on my lap (I was eating a salmon sandwich and he wanted some!)
26. Gone skinny dipping. Barrington Tops.  We hiked to the top and camped beside a pool.
27. Been in a fun run.
28. Been on the Blue Mountains cableway. No, but I have done the Scenic Skyrail.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Played, or watched, summer cricket.
32. Sailed, kayaked or canoed our beautiful waterways.
33. Seen the Daintree.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. umm, which ancestors?  Mine come from all over Europe.
35. Visited an Aboriginal settlement or mission.
36. Learned a new language. Not to fluency, but I can still get by in Afrikaans, read some German, and I have fleeting reminiscences of the Sotho I studied at uni, and I have some community college French and Italian.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Toured the Sydney Opera House.
39. Tried rock climbing (indoor or outdoor), abseiling or just simple bush walking. Bushwalking!
40. Visit Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art. Nope, but we were right next door on 26 Dec and decided to visit the Queensland Art Gallery and Museum instead.


41. Been to the Tamworth Country Music Festival. No, but I this is me in front of the Golden Guitar last Tuesday!


42. Sunbaked at Bondi. Briefly.  I don’t sunbake.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Broome. Not yet!  On my wish list!
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone fishing. I have accompanied family fishing.  Does that count?
49. Seen Tasmania’s old growth forests.
50. Been to the top of Q1, on the Gold Coast.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling. Snorkelling.  I LOVE snorkelling!
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre. My first date with C was at a drive-in.  The Hill-Fox for those who knew Johannesburg in the 70’s.
55. Been in a movie. I have been on A Current Affair and Today Tonight!
56. Driven the Great Ocean Road.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Norfolk Island. Been to Lord Howe Island!
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Guide biscuits.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone jet boating.
66. Visited Port Arthur.
67. Bounced a cheque.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favourite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Australian War Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt. Yep, I have yet to quilt a quilt though…
73. Stood in Federation Square.
74. Been on the Murray River. Crossed it, but not on a boat on it..
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Travelled, or climbed, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited St Mary’s Cathedral, in Sydney.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Been to Hermannsburg.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. Does the local newspaper count?
85. Read the entire Bible. Getting there…
86. Visited Parliament House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.

90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Saved a pet. All our cats have been shelter or stray cats.
95. Been to the site of the Eureka Stockade.
96. Swum in The Whitsundays.
97. Been involved in a lawsuit.
98. Owned a mobile phone. This is a bit outdated!
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

I tag all the Aussies reading this!


November 8, 2008

Bettina, a FLYlady friend, awarded me this:


It comes with a questionnaire to answer and then you pass it on to four friends

1. Do you have the same friends since childhood?

No.  I keep in touch with a friend I was in high school with, but we weren’t friends in high school.  We met quite by chance 12 years later at a bus stop on another continent!  We had emigrated to Australia (from South Africa) and I vaguely recalled a friend I had seen before we left telling me that Sandra was also in Australia.  Amazing that I bumped into her not 4 weeks after we arrived!  Auatralia is a big place.  We chatted so much that I got on the wrong bus with her.

I met Janette in 1977 in our second year of uni (we were both doing English as a major and were both living in the same residence).  She too is now in Australia and has been here since 1993.  I sent her the advert for the position she now has (in those days I faxed it, I think!)

I met Avril in English class in 1977 too.  We lost touch after uni when she moved to Cape Town but she found us in the phone book when they moved to Sydney a year after we did.  We manage to see each other every year or so but it never seems like we have spent any time apart when we do catch up (even though her son is now taller than she is and MissN is taller than I am!)  It was special to be at her 50th birthday celebration a couple of weeks ago.

They are the friends I have who date back furthest.

2. What do you value most about your friends?

Their unconditional acceptance. That we can catch up whenever, even if busy-ness and neglect has meant we haven’t been in touch as often as we should have been.

3. Are your friends your sounding boards?

Indeed. I probably use my online friends more as sounding boards as it’s more “instant”.

4. What is your favorite activity to share with your friends?

Sharing a coffee, or a phone call.  Many of my friends live far away  – Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth – and that’s not the ones I have met online like Bonnie who is from Katherine in the NT with whom I spent last Friday.  Bonnie and I catch up irl when she is in Sydney, sometimes just for a few hours when she is awaiting a plane to the USA.  But she has stayed here o/n and I can verify that she is not an axe murderer!

birdwatching with Bonnie at Bicentennial Park

birdwatching with Bonnie at Bicentennial Park


I will tag some of my USA online friends whom I have met through various Christian lists, blogs and chat





What books are next to your bed?

October 30, 2008

I found this set of questions on Sheila’s blog.

What was the last book you bought?

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Russian: Один день Ивана Денисовича Odin den’ Ivana Denisovicha) – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.  We are reading it in book club this month and I need to finish it by Tuesday night.  I am well known for not finishing book club books.  I get to choose the book we read next.  Any recommendations?

Name a book you have read MORE than once.

The Bible.  I generally don’t reread fiction (unlike MissN who rereads everything – which makes buying books for her a pleasure as I know she will have endless hours of pleasure and that my money has been well spent.  She is currently reading LOTR for the fourth sixth time.)

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?

What’s so Amazing about Grace by Phillip Yancey.  I was a very new Christian.  Wow.

How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews

Generally from recommendations or reviews.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

I read more fiction but enjoy non-fiction too.  I read travel books, memoirs, biography.

What’s more important in a novel – beautiful writing or a gripping plot?

That’s sort of an either/or question. I prefer both/and.

Most loved/memorable character

Commissario Guido Brunetti – the hero of Donna Leon’s Venice crime novels.  I could fall in love with Guido!

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?

I finished The Shack by William P. Young this morning.  It was profound,  Flawed but powerful and moving. Now I can read John Mark Hicks’ blogposts on it!  Readers in the USA can order a free copy of The Shack here. I know the 2 friends I ordered it for were blessed by it, and they in turn have blessed others with it.

Have you ever given up on a book half way in?

Many times. One book I tried to read so many times (it went on every holiday I went on for at least 5 years) was Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda, which C gave me for Christmas the year it was published (1988 I think). I got halfway quite a few times but could NOT finish it. Now I have enjoyed the movie and won’t ever attempt to read it again. I was relieved when I met others who had the same problem with O&L!

Which book or books can be found on your bedside table at the moment?

ESV New Testament
Wilful Behaviour – Donna Leon (I have just 2 Brunetti novels to read after this – her 2 newest.)
Five Quarters of an Orange – Joanne Harris (borrowed from a friend at least 2 years ago)
A Bunch of EverlastingsF. W. Boreham (my Boreham collection is growing)
The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook – Ian Brodie
A Gathered PeopleJohn Mark Hicks, Johnny Melton & Bobby Valentine (we started discussing it in a Yahoo group I am in)
TNIV Bible Experience
The Scandal of the Season – Sophie Gee (one of my Christmas presents – haven’t begun it yet)

On the floor, next to my bedside table are:

The Gathering – Anne Enright (book club several months ago – I got to page 142)
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (I gave it to C for Christmas because I knew I would enjoy it too – haven’t begun it yet. He enjoyed it.)
Cover to Cover – Through the Bible as it Happened (I need to pack this away – have tried using it twice but it’s too “bitty” – jumps around too much)
An Omelette and a Glass of Wine – Elizabeth David (now back in my cookbook bookcase – I did pack something away!) Elizabeth David is a favourite.  I have most of her books.
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth (a signed copy I bought in 1994 when I heard him speak at Writer’s Choice at Sydney Uni – I keep intending to read it.  I took it on holiday in December.  I think I need to pack it away! Or maybe just leave it out to take on holiday this December!)

There is also a (neat) pile of magazines but let’s not go there.
Or mention the books IN the bedside cabinet.

What books are next to YOUR bed?

One word and one song

October 29, 2008

One word…

John Dobbs posted this meme, in which the questions have to be answered in one word.

1. Where is your cell phone? handbag
2. Where is your significant other? work
3. Your hair color? reddish
4. Your mother? mourned
5. Your father? missed
6. Your favorite thing? coffeepot
7. Your dream last night? convoluted
8. Your dream/goal? example
9. The room you’re in? study
10. Your hobby? internet
11. Your fear? madness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you’re not? American
15. One of your wish-list items? princessparrot (is that cheating?)
16. Where you grew up? Johannesburg
17. The last thing you did? chatted
18. What are you wearing? jeans
19. Your TV? silent
20. Your pet? Dolce
21. Your computer? humming
22. Your mood? thankful
23. Missing someone? sister
24. Your car? red
25. Something you’re not wearing? watch
26. Favorite store? Kinokuniya
27. Your summer? soon!
28. Love someone? indeed!
29. Your favorite color? green
30. When is the last time you laughed? earlier
31. Last time you cried? yesterday

Consider yourself tagged!

and one song…

A-Z of Me

September 29, 2008

I was tagged by Lightening to do this “A-Z of Me” meme:

Attached or single? Attached. C and I met in 1973 and we celebrate 30 years of wedded bliss (mostly) next June.

Best Friend?  Can I say my daughter? I will.  MissN.

Cake or Pie?  Cake. Rich brownie flat cake.

Day of Choice?  Sunday. Family day. Sleep in. Church. Sunday afternoon tea (new family tradition).

Essential Item? I SHOULD say My Bible.

Flavour of icecream? Coconut and kaffir lime sorbet (it’s dairy free!)

Gummy Bears or Worms? Neither.

Hometown? I was born in Johannesburg and lived there my first 29 years. Been in Sydney ever since.

Indulgences? Jurlique

January or July? January. It’s summer. School holidays. MissN’s birthday.

Kids? MissN who is 13, going on 23 and such a blessing.

Last Movie I saw in a Theatre? I think it was “The Other Boleyn Girl” with MissN.

Middle Name? Joy. MissN has it too. MissNJ. My mother was Dorothy Joy. Her mother’s name was Geziena (she was Dutch) and my grandfather called her Joy as she was his joy. She died in 1934 before my mother was 4.

Number of Siblings? 3. I’m the oldest. Glynis (lives in Johannesburg) is 15 months younger. Neville is next (nearly 4 years younger) and he lives in Cape Town. Derrick is nearly 7 years younger and he lives in Brisbane (he moved to Cape Town, then London, then Auckland and now Brissie. MissN is very happy to have an Aussie cousin!) It’s a pity Brisbane is 10 hours drive away.

Oranges or Apples? Apples.

Phobia or Fear?  Serious mental illness.

Quote? “These are the days of miracle and wonder, this is a long distance call…”

Reason to Smile? I am redeemed!

Season? Autumn

Tag five more…. Linda, Kat, Joyce, Melinda, Sarah

Unknown fact about me? I have studied Afrikaans throughout school (it was obligatory in South Africa), Latin (I took Latin for my matriculation), German and Sotho at university and have done a bit of Italian and French at evening college.  I’m only fluent in English maar ek kan nog Afrikaans lees en ‘n bietjie skryf!

Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals? Semi vegetarian. I love seafood. I didnt eat any meat for almost 20 years but have been eating prosciutto again.

Xrays or Ultrasound? Ultrasound. What a weird question. But ultrasounds hurt less than mammograms do.

Your favourite food?  I will resist saying chocolate.  Vegetables.

Zodiac? My uncle had a Zodiac I think.. or was it a Zephyr? lol I steer clear of astrology.

Enjoy “my” song: