Archive for January, 2014

I’ve never been a person to criticize parenting styles, I’m no expert nor do I really care how you raise your own child as long as there is no abuse involved and the child is raised in a happy, stable home. It’s not my right to judge because I too am not perfect, there is no textbook for this and every child and parent combination is different. As adults, parents should be able to look at their own parenting style and know what works and what doesn’t for their child (psychopaths excluded).

I read an article on Parent 24 this morning that actually raised the hair on my neck a little in irritation. A parent taking the time to ‘judge’ other parents for certain activities that their children are involved in… Delving slightly into the world of toddlers with nail polish and young girls attending pamper parties. Parent24 Article

The gods thought it would be pretty funny to give me two daughters instead of the sons I’d be better suited for. That said, I don’t have sons and would probably suck at parenting boys… Now that I have girls, I wouldn’t know what to do with boys! I’ve also never been the girliest of girls and assumed I wouldn’t know what to do with my girls either. Turns out, I am a little girlier than I thought :) My daughters have been raised in a home where they’re free to be whatever they would like, do whatever they like (within reason) and grow up to be the people they’d like to be. They’re both young (8 and 2) so there is plenty of time for them to discover themselves and what kind of women they’d like to grow up to be. I am not the greatest parent in the world, I make mistakes, but for my mistakes I’m the greatest mom in the world TO THEM. I discipline my children, I’m strict when it comes to education and homework, I get frustrated with them but nevertheless I love them. I have no secrets from my girls (This has at times come under scrutiny, though the information I arm my daughters with is certainly done in an age appropriate way), H is only 8 and yet she has had conversations (not dictations) from us regarding the birds, the bees and the mechanics in between. Some may say I’m prematurely aging her, I definitely do not see it that way. I choose to arm my children with correct information and knowledge rather than limiting them in the home only to come under outside influence and learn incorrectly. To the people who disagree with my approach, I accept your arguments and see your points and choose to disagree politely. My 8 year old daughter and I can openly discuss sex, love, religion, menstruation, emotions, nudity, money and schoolwork etc in a way that is appropriate to talk to an 8 year old and she is free to make up her own mind, voice her own opinions and make her own decisions. I am certain that when my daughters are in their teens, finding out who they are and discovering their place in the world, they will have all the information they need to make educated choices, some of which I didn’t make myself. I find that the naysayers are from a generation in which this approach may not have been necessary… The world is changing, has changed. We are forced to mature quicker, make decisions earlier and be adults long before our ancestors were teens.

Back to the article, my daughters have a fairly privileged lifestyle. No, I do not believe my children are spoilt or have an entitled air about them. I believe that I have always done my best to over rather than under provide for them and yes, they’re still children and have occasional bratty moments yet they still understand money and how financial standing affects their lifestyle. They don’t have everything they want, they do have more than enough. We always do our best to get the children outdoors, we’ve visited all the zoo’s possible and do other outdoor activities with them. At the same time, they have access to their toys and consoles indoors and certain time is permitted for that as well (On the condition that rooms are tidy and homework is done). I think we really have tried to balance their indoor and outdoor time along with tv time and friends and family time, they have no cause for complaint in that department. Now, no matter how badly I wanted the girls to be tomboyish (And D is to some extent), my girls are GIRLS. They like the girly things in life. If I sit in the lounge and do my nails for the fun of it, both H and D want their nails done as well. Generally, H will opt for bright pink and D would opt for black, out of the 20 something colors of nail polish I own, their choice. H is 8 years old and while she is still very much into Monster High (How awesome is my child?), Barbie, Reading (Vampires, Fairies and fairy tales. Again, how awesome?), Writing (In multiple diaries, everywhere) and music, she is also very into make up, handbags, jewelry and of course nail polish. We even considered a pamper party (the type of party mentioned in the article) for her birthday should she decide that that was what she wanted, not because I wanted it for her. She is only 8 yet she already knows what she likes and doesn’t like, how can I fault her there? To say that make up and nail polish is forcing girls to grow up too quickly is like saying that boys playing soccer influences their chosen career path too soon. Not the same thing? Exactly.
It’s not about the art of ‘grooming’ when it’s a 2 year old child having her nails done, if anything it probably looks terrible because it’s all over the fingers as well… It’s more an act of fun, a game, an alternative to jumping on the trampoline. So why would I let my 2 year old have painted nails as well as my 8 year old? To any non parent I say, have two children first and we will discuss letting one do something and not the other. To a parent, I say I choose my battles wisely. The article asks ‘Are we not raising diva’s?’ and I can confidently say no, we are not. We are raising confident children who know what they want and like and if they’re well groomed as well, bonus.

What advice about parenting can I give to anyone? Absolutely nothing. Go with your gut, if you believe to be correct then it probably is and if you feel terrible about it, it’s generally not the best course of action. (Again, psychopaths excluded).

I don’t aim to be the best parent in the world. I aspire to be the best mother to H and D and them alone. What works for me may not work for everyone else and vice versa. I’d like to think I’ve learnt from my own mistakes to help me be a little wiser to the ways of the world and I cannot wait for my children to start finding their feet, making their mark, making mistakes and growing up to be beautiful ladies who are happy with who they are, because that’s all that matters. My only hopes for them? That no matter what they wear, what make up they put on, what color nail polish they manicured with or what tattoo they got that day, they can go to sleep with a clear and confident head staying completely true to themselves and no one else.

And to all who judge me walking with my children in the zoo, they really are my children and just because I’m tattooed to the nines doesn’t mean they’re kidnapped. I have the scars to prove it :)

Shevy

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Happy birthday Lindsey!!!

Posted: January 31, 2014 in Friends
Tags: ,

So yesterday I posted the poem I wrote for Lindsey in honor of her 30th birthday, today is that day!!!

Happy birthday my friend.
I hope you have the most amazing day surrounded by friends and family who love you for the fantastic person that you are.

Remember… Stay true to yourself, be who YOU are. Don’t change for anyone… We all love you for you and are so very proud of how far in your life you have come.

You are an amazing person whose spirit is infectious and whose laugh occupies the room… We love you for it.

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A lifelong friend of mine is turning 30 tomorrow and I decided to write her a little something (It’s what I do). I know I’m posting it a day early but she is in need of a little inspiration at the moment so I thought it would be a nice way for her to spend her morning, reading my stuff. So for tomorrow, Happy birthday Lindsey!!!

***

Who ever did know that one soul at birth
Could be divided and split into two
Spend a time in one’s life without half a soul
Then later realize that half the soul is in you

Who ever did fathom the friendship that formed
Two halves of a soul now together as one
Two peas in a pod yet so completely different
Who knew the best of friends we’d become

The ying to my yang, the jiminy to my cricket
My conscience, my confidante, my friend
The bestie to whom I’d tell all my secrets
In front of whom I never had to pretend

We witnessed each other’s up and downs
Sometimes little the other could do
Yet a shoulder, an ear, a heart were always there
To each other, each time we were true

We weren’t always perfect, heaven knows we tried
And yes, we sometimes fell out as well
Heartache, sadness, feeling half of a whole
Would we repair this? Only time would tell

The souls were split for some time
So many important things they’ve missed
All we are to do now is recreate those events
We can start by making a list

Two individuals so mortally different
Yet so alike at the very same time
We don’t always agree on everything
But now we are older we’ve realized that’s fine

21 years on from the year we met
Proud friends here we are
On your 30th birthday, this amazing event
I’m so proud of how you’ve come so far

Your heart is so good, your soul is pure
Yet one of the most fun people I know
You’re just a stunning aura to be around
In the people surrounding you it shows

Happy 30th birthday to my best friend
I’m so proud to have known you all these years
I’m so grateful to have you in my life
Know that forever I hold you dear

***

Shevy

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I have the pleasure of being tattooed by Mr Paul Collocott (Tattoos by Paul) from Handstyle Tattoos in Emmarentia (Handstyle Tattoos) tomorrow and I am so excited! No matter how, I always try to fit in some skin canvas time whenever financially possible and tomorrow is my first piece for the year. While I know that the best pieces come out of giving my artist free reign, I have chosen a specific piece for tomorrow that is kind of a mushy piece to go on my family / wedding themed arm.

Piece number 16… Jack and Sally.

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I will be sure to update you once I’m wearing my new piece and got my tattoo fix :) I thought I’d dedicate a blog to the work I already have and the reason behind getting them. Warning. Some of these tattoos were chosen in haste, not by the greatest of artists and not the greatest of work. I have learned my lesson and stick to an artist that I know is phenomenal…

Tattoo number 1 – Scorpion

This was my first tattoo which was done when I was 18 by Fadi at what was Kevin’s Tattoos at the Randburg Waterfront. I chose the Scorpion because I am a Scorpio and thought it was a great idea at the time. 2 kids later I completely regret the placement of this tattoo (My lower left hip, very close to the pubic line).

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Tattoo number 2 – Chinese writing

Oh boy do I regret tattoo number 2. I had the Chinese symbols for Love and Lee tattooed in the middle of my back, Lee being my oldest daughters father. They were done by Alan at Alberton City mall and this tattoo taught me that one shouldn’t get tattoos on a whim in a shopping centre. To be redone, eventually.

Tattoo number 3 – Arabic writing

I had the Arabic writing for ‘Angel’ tattooed on my neck. I am not sure what led me to have Angel but at the time, Arabic writing was uncommon and I wanted something most people didn’t have. This was also done by Alan at Alberton City and Paul has since had to touch it up.

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Tattoo number 4 – Tribal rose

This is not a tribal rose. This is my worst tattoo ever. 2 of my friends and I decided to get matching tattoos which also were done in Alberton City by Alan’s son, can’t remember his name. When I knew nothing about tattoos, it was great. Now both my friend Lindsey and I will be having these tattoos redone, it’s not fair to my skin to walk around with it.

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Tattoo number 5 – Wolf paws

I went into Kevin’s Tattoos at the Waterfront looking for three small paws on my wrist to symbolize my favorite animal. I walked out with three large paws up my arm. They were done by Matthew and had to later be redone by Paul.

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Tattoo number 6 – Hayley Grace

My first tattoo with Paul, referred by a friend. My now husband, then boyfriend, designed this tattoo as a birthday present the same year we met and represents my daughters name (Before there was Dakota). It was tattooed on my right foot and was probably one of the most painful tattoos I got. The bubbles represent her nickname ‘Bubblemonster’ because of her obsession with bubbles when she was younger.

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Tattoo number 7 – Jp

Before Jp and I were married we went through a little patch of drama, I knew that I had to do this to show him my promise and shortly afterwards he did the same and we got engaged. We did not opt for wedding rings because we had them inked instead :) This was also done by Paul.

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Tattoo number 8 – Dakota Storm

Shortly after Dakota was born, Jp designed this tattoo for me for my left foot to match my right. The dream catcher represents Dakota’s name and it’s origins and I love the way that Paul (Yes, again) greyed the dream catcher in the background. Both the designer and artist did a great job.

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Tattoo number 9 – Birthdays

These tattoos represent the girls birthdates, done by Paul as well.

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Tattoo number 10 – Fallen

Paul did this typewriter font of Fallen for me above ‘Angel’ when I realized that I am not an angel, I think it complimented the writing nicely.

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Tattoo number 11 – Ribbon and Key

I asked Paul to do this for me after my wedding, we had a hand fasting ceremony so the ribbon was to represent the ceremony and the key represents the necklace I wore on our wedding day which had a key on it.

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Tattoo number 12 – Chess pieces

I had these chess pieces done by Len who was an apprentice at the time, the chess pieces symbolize the theme of our wedding which was chess.

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Tattoo number 13 – Day of the dead girl

This beauty and my favorite piece took approximately 15-16 hours in total. I sat for 4 sessions with Paul to get this work of art which is a replica of a design I found on a purse that Jp bought for me at Sexpo. While the actual picture has more deathly features, we decided not to put those details into her face as the tattoo was perfect without it. The lyrics were added above and they’re lyrics from my favorite band, Evanescence ‘Here in the darkness I know myself’.

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Tattoo number 14 – Vegas

I was fortunate enough to go to Las Vegas in June and what was Vegas without a tattoo? I got and designed this little USD300 gem at Starlight Tattoos in the Mirage hotel.

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Tattoo number 15 – Snake and Skull

This tattoo was done in an almost 6 hour sitting by Paul. He designed, colored and tattooed this piece and it turned out better than I imagined, he had free reign and gave me a piece of art. My most painful tattoo to date but probably because I sat for my longest sitting on this piece.

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Tattoo number 16 – Jack and Sally

The finished product :

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Tattoo number 17 – Infinity

I’m particularly interested in the dotwork technique, this was done by Barry at the Black lodge.

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Shevy

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When I finished school I decided I wanted to be an air hostess. I was only 17 when I finished school so it was decided that I would go to college and study Travel and Tourism to ‘kill time’. Who know that from killing time in 2002, I’d end up where I am and doing what I do today?! No, I’m not an air hostess or trolly dolly and while I have asked the question around the dinner table a few times (chicken or beef of course), I ended up becoming a Travel Consultant or Travel Counsellor as we are sometimes referred to.

I do love my career, travel is quite an amazing industry to be a part of. We all know it isn’t the highest paid industry and while the perks were amazing ten years ago, they’ve somewhat slumped in recent times. I’ve been fortunate enough to work my way up, from a receptionist in a travel agency to a Team Leader of a great team in the Oil and Gas sector. I’ve done everything from holiday travel to conferencing and right now specialize in corporate travel. No, this is not my blogged CV.

I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with some extremely intelligent and revered travelers in my time. Doctors and lawyers, politicians and sportsmen, radio personalities and family. Now I understand that not everyone is as travel savvy as the next person, but I must admit that I’ve heard some true pearlers in my time with regards to travel ignorance. This is by no means a dig at anyone, more of a lighthearted chuckle and a reminder that no matter what job you do or how educated you are, you’re still capable of a faux pas here and there. Some were my first hand experiences and others experienced by colleagues and friends.

• A client called me one afternoon with the desire of traveling to Paris in the coming weeks. I knew the client was South African so my first question to the client is ‘Do you have a visa for France?’. The response I got, ‘No, I have a MasterCard’. Wrong visa I think…

• I had a call for an urgent trip that needed to be booked. The traveller was in Johannesburg and wanted to travel to Mauritius and then onward to Antananarivo in Madagascar. I did some quotes and the flights were quite full (meaning expensive) and so they opted to take a one way to Mauritius. Also, the client was Canadian so he would be able to drive to Antananarivo… (What?) I’m certain that bridge will never be built.

• Another last minute booking was done telephonically and in a rush to get the traveller confirmed, she requested business class. We advised that it was outside of policy so we would require additional approval to issue the ticket to which she responded that approval wouldn’t be a problem because it got him there faster. Confused, we asked how that logic worked and the travel booker was adamant that business class lands before economy class… Technically she isn’t wrong if the plane lands nose first.

• A colleague of mine had the funniest of days. The first of her queries was a request for travel to Germany. Knowing the account and not getting much more information than ‘Germany’, quotations were sent for travel into Frankfurt out of Johannesburg. A very irate response was received to the request later on in the day. The client had requested travel to Germany! Why on earth did we send quotations to Frankfurt. Google maps much?

• The second of the day was a a client who had asked for quotations for travel into Italy. My colleagues sent options for travel to Rome and then received an email requesting the traveling distance and time between Italy and Rome. That one had us in tears, was a good day.

• I used to do a number of bookings for a frequent traveller into Gaborone in Botswana. He truly was a frequent flyer, flying to Gabs at least once a week. It was a standard week and a routine trip, nothing out of the ordinary barring OR Tambo becoming a ‘silent’ airport (No longer calling for boarding). Half way through the morning I received a panicked phone call. After he had boarded the plane and been in the air for approximately an hour, the pilot had announced he weather in Windhoek. At this point the client realized that while he had boarded at the right gate, he got on the wrong bus to the wrong plane going to the wrong destination. We did laugh about it in the end and he spent most of the morning on a plane.

• It’s not uncommon that clients get destinations very confused. While you may get a request for Douala in Cameroon, they actually meant Luanda in Angola. This really has happened to me frequently and there is nothing better than that phone call on a Monday morning when the traveller realizes he is going to the wrong destination and even, obtained the wrong visa. It happens.

• A colleague had a request recently for flights to White River. Obviously, she quoted on flights into Nelspruit, the closest airport operating commercial flights. A very confused client replied with the question ‘How far is the drive from Nelspruit to White bank?’ My colleagues had to giggle when they realized that the client had a serious case of lost in translation. There was no need for flights at all, we only had to advise her how far it was to Witbank.

• Especially in corporate travel, it is not uncommon to get the early morning phone call that a client is stuck in traffic or running late and about to miss their flight. Sadly, if that is the case, all we can do is try to assist in booking a later flight where a cost is generally involved. At the sound of ‘cost’ is generally when panic sets in and we get the request to call the airport or the airline or even the pilot (We have them all on speed dial) to ask them to hold the plane… Yeah no, that hasn’t worked yet.

• Back in the day a very high profile client made our lives extremely difficult. Whilst it is compulsory for an unaccompanied minor to have assistance to / from the plane on all flights (Being under the age of 12) it’s quite another thing when an adult traveller orders you to arrange an SAA meet and assist on every flight. Yes, that’s right, this healthy adult individual made sure that the airline walked her to her seat every single time. Weird.

• When booking a flight across a time zone, the flight can ‘look’ a lot longer or a lot shorter than the actual traveling time. When travelling back a time zone in the US for example. You can leave one city at 08:30am and arrive in another city on the same day at 08:15am. This takes approximately 24 hours to explain and involves the use of world clocks, a diary and a calculator.

• Cue a natural disaster and any traveller becomes a wreck. During the ash cloud we experienced flight cancellations out of airports in London and Europe as there was no visibility. Many calls came through advising that the airline had told the client the flight was cancelled and they would be required to wait out the storm until the flights had resumed… Of course, we then got the calls to book alternative airlines. I’m still trying to figure out how to build a new airport to accommodate them when their airport at the time wouldn’t.

I can truly say that my job is never boring and while incredibly stressful at times, there are always clients and situations that make for a laugh amongst the hard times. If you’re in the travel industry or have a funny story, please share it! I will compile a follow up blog with some more laughs.

Shevy*

I was a girl whose heart had been broken enough times to know that I was going to be a single parent for the rest of my life… Marriage was just not an option for me.

The idea of being married made me ill and anyone who knows me will know that before meeting my husband (Yes, now I am married), marriage was a swear word. I can’t say for sure what it was about a marriage or a wedding that had me running for the hills but the thought of searching for ‘wedded bliss’ was not a treasure hunt I was willing to participate in.

That said, I’ve had some pretty good examples of loving marriages in my life time. My great grand parents were married so long that they got an anniversary card from the queen. My grand parents have been married for over 50 years and we share an anniversary month, only we are way behind. I have known a few people who’ve been married for a very long time who are still in love, little old lovebirds. Sadly, a long marriage does not always mean a happy one. I’m certain that there are many couples in the world still married because of the stigma attached to divorce and the effect it has on people like me.

I was 12 years old when my own parents got divorced, very young and it affected me pretty badly (As any one who knew me then could vouch for). My parents were divorced and I was too young too understand why. I watched many couples separate and end marriages thereafter… Friends parents, family, just so many people ending the sham that was their lives. Little to inspire any hope in the sanctity of marriage.

I was engaged once before to my oldest daughters father. An engagement I think we thought was best because of the situation we were in. I was young and we had a daughter, isn’t that the natural progression of things? No. No, we learnt that it really isn’t. While we were engaged, we could never set a date and I was not happy. Instead of planning a wedding, I was planning an exit strategy. What did I know? I was 22 years old with a 1 year old and a lot to learn.

The next time the idea of marriage resurfaced was a past relationship where my ex had been engaged before we were together and I couldn’t possibly understand how he had been engaged to someone before me (After 6 months of dating her may I add) and yet wouldn’t propose to me. I’m not sure why I wanted the proposal knowing full well that I wasn’t going to marry him. In his defense, we dated for little under a year and he was 3 years my junior, less prepared for married life than I was.

Throughout this time I watched people marry and divorce, couples get engaged but never setting a wedding date or couples together so long that you’re wondering where the bling bling was or of it was ever coming. Too many people taking marriage lightly and getting married for the sake of having a wedding. I knew, I truly knew in my heart that it wasn’t for me and I was content to never get married… Never commit. (And no, I don’t have commitment issues, have you seen how many tattoos I have?).

I met my husband the most common way possible in this day and age. Facebook to be exact. Mutual friends had decided that we should befriend each other via social networking and get chatting that way. I did add him as a friend and lo and behold, he was still ‘married’. Immediately I wanted to stop chatting to him but he quickly came clean about going through a separation which was verified by the mutual friends… One thing led to another and we started dating. I became a stupid, gushing girl and truth be told for the first time in my life I fell in love.

We were only together for a very short time when I fell pregnant. Definitely unplanned and definitely out of the blue… Hubby moved in and within a few months we’d found a place of our own and started to build our life together. After what felt like forever (but was actually only a year and a bit after we met) he finally proposed over breakfast in October and we were married by the July of the following year. We had the most beautiful wedding despite him not wanting a second ‘big’ wedding and that was that. What I spent my whole life thinking I didn’t want, I craved with someone so badly and once it happened it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me!

I’m not a very religious person so the biblical idea of marriage is not something I really worry too much about. What I do think about is the vows I said and the promises that were made and how I try my human best to honor them, almost every day.

Marriage is tough… Oh em gee it can be tough. Up until you sign those papers or walk down that aisle, no matter how committed you are there will always be an invisible trap door waiting to be used. Don’t get me wrong, there are people content to never be married and live in partnership their entire lives and it works for them… Going so far as buying houses, having children and opening businesses all sans a marriage certificate. I always thought I’d be one of those peoples and yet here I am, truly knowing that there definitely is a mind shift change that happens subconsciously when you get married. In my personal experience, those I do’s sealed the deal.

What you have to understand when you get married is that you’re not only marrying a person. You are marrying a lifestyle, a personality, a family. You are marrying values, traditions and certainly some bad habits (and vice versa). You have to be prepared to take on baggage… Marriage comes with two people’s histories that excluded the other person merging to create a future involving each other. We haven’t yet been married for two years and those good times and bad times that our reverend spoke of in our service have been experienced ten fold. We have had breaking times and times near cracking but at the same time, we love each other and neither of us would be here if we didn’t.

I intend on being married for the rest of my life, until death do us part. To do that means that every now and again, I have to suck it up, put on big girl panties and move forward. That means learning to shut up sometimes and knowing when to nag at others. It means knowing when to agree, when to disagree and when to agree to disagree presenting a united front… It’s the unspoken rule book of marriage that will ensure we do have a healthy marriage for as long as we are willing to stick it out, even when sh1t get rough.

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I have friends getting married soon who I love dearly (a few couples actually… Wedding season much?) and so I thought, as the wise old wife I am, I’d share my thoughts for them to claim as their own one day… Copyright not required.

• Times will get tough. What you think is tough isn’t tough, that’s a walk in the park compared to the times you guys may or may not face. Guess what, if you can get past it together, you will survive.

• The wedding is the easy part :) And that’s what everyone says is so stressful.

• No matter what, you’re partners. To the world, you’re a unit. Your behavior does not only reflect who you are but reflects your partner as well. If one of you cracks, you both crack. Make sure your husband or wife has a safe place to crack when it happens, we are human.

• There will be people who test you, challenge you, disagree with you and even doubt your marriage. Honestly, who cares!!! The marriage is yours and your partners alone, what everyone else says is irrelevant.

• There is no time frame on love, life, marriage etc. If you marry after 1 month, 2 years or 10, it’s your choice.

• Always know where you stand with each other, that is something both of you should know before everyone else does. If people around you know more about your marriage than you do, something is wrong.

• Heated discussions and debates make for a healthy, intelligent marriage. If conversations stay interesting, so will your marriage.

• Learn how to be together and do nothing. Even better, learn how to do something for yourself while you are together. I can read a book, he can work on the computer, we are still in the same room together :)

• Then for goodness sake get some time apart. 24/7 was not in my vows and the time we spend apart is healthy. There is truth in absence makes the heart grow fonder.

• Never lose who you are for the sake of being someone you think your spouse wants you to be. I’m difficult, always have been and always will be but he married me this way and knows I will never change.

• Your husband or wife is going to come with bad habits. My OCD means half of what my hubby does annoys me but I choose my battles and sometimes have to overlook the ring in the bathtub or the half glasses of water all over the house… I’m certain when asking what my bad habits are, the list is pretty long.

• When asking my husband what his marriage advice would be, his answer is ‘Just say YES boss’.

• Compromise, compromise, compromise… The only thing you shouldn’t compromise on is yourself.

• If you do not love yourself you cannot expect to love someone else. If you’re not happy with yourself, ask your partner to help you and support you so that you can be happy with yourself. The more confident, sassy and sexy you feel, the more you’ll want to share with your partner.

• Remember you are human. We get angry, we say nasty things, we push buttons and we sometimes let our ugly streaks out… If your spouse doesn’t love that ugly side, who
will. The habit we need to get out of as a human race is saying things we don’t mean. It’s not a very nice trait to break someone down when that’s the person you should spend time building up.

I hope everyone gets to have that 50 year long marriage filled with love and happiness. If it’s not work, it’s not a marriage. When you stop working at it is when you’ve given up.

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On that note, happy husband’s day to my amazing husband. I drive you mad, we irritate the crap out of each other, we fight and we argue… But that’s only a small percentage of the time and actually, we have a pretty cool marriage and we make a pretty awesome couple!!!

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A few years back, before I was touched by death at all, I wrote a poem about death. It wasn’t an emo poem, a gothic dark poem expressing my self loathing. Not in the slightest. Lady death is a piece of writing on my interpretation of death and who I think she is.
You can refer back to the post here Lady Death

Nowadays I find myself thinking of death more and more as those around me are affected by death… As I get older, I watch friends and family go through such sad and unfortunate times as their family members pass on. It is such a sensitive topic and yet, a natural part of life.

My uncle passed away when I was 12 years old, too young to grieve or understand the nature of his passing… You’d imagine that at the age of 12, one can’t actually be that close to someone to mourn him as I did (and still do). I was close to my uncle Brian and still miss him and think of him all the time, he was the cool uncle. The uncle who wore his hair long and owned Dr Martins, listened to alternative music and had tattoos. His death was the first to affect me… And the last for some time.

2 years ago, his father and my grandfather passed away. It was a terribly rough time for the family. It was so difficult to prepare for his death and even worse to watch my mom, aunt and gran come to terms with how to live without him. At first I wasn’t certain how to handle it, I hadn’t had much experience with death and tried to keep that crushing feeling inside until one day I broke down at home and let all the sadness and grief have its way with me, completely. I had the privilege and honor of speaking at grandad’s funeral and while my nerves got the better of me, I got to read a poem that I wrote for him that was straight from the heart. Grandad RIP

I watched friends and family around my uncle and grandad and how lives came crashing down. I watched hearts breaking, bodies shaking and tears rolling. A mother losing a son, a daughter losing a father, a wife losing a husband. As if Lady Death came sweeping through leaving sadness and destruction in her wake, or so it seems at the time.

Driving to work the other day I had a thought about my own death. A what if. What if I died on the way to work, if a car came crashing into me at record speeds and my body and soul didn’t make it out of the wreckage in one piece? A horrible idea I agree, but a thought provoking one nonetheless. Death is imminent for all of us, the only questions are when, where and how? Sadly, we have little to no control over this. I do not know if I’m living to 35 or 95, I don’t know if I will be buried by my children or be here long enough to bury them, a grim thought but a realistic one. I know these are harsh thoughts but I am a realist and I am a planner, so am I prepared for this? Am I prepared to live today as if it were my last day? When I think of fear and death, I’m not afraid to die. I’m not saying I want to either, please don’t get me wrong. There is no fear for me as I know and believe that there is something more, I believe in rest after death. I do not fear Lady Death herself but that said, I’m not cold and heartless either, what I’m not prepared for is what I would leave behind… The thought of leaving my children without a mother, my husband without a wife, my parents without a daughter and my brothers and sister without a sibling brings heavy tears to my eyes. I may not fear death, but I fear what I’d leave behind and how they would cope with me no longer around. It’s at this point that I can’t think about death anymore, I’m done, it’s too much.

Recently, so many people close to me are experiencing death and the things that come along with it. Some mourning the loss of friends in history passed, commemorating them on the anniversary of their deaths as a reminder of how much they gave in the time we were fortunate enough to have known them. Some mourning a recent death of a colleague, a pillar of strength leaving a legacy behind as his light fades away, an absent light that I notice daily walking pass his desk. Some mourning the recent, untimely passing of friends, gathering to celebrate their lives. Some mourning the recent losses of close family, so fresh and so full of heartache that conversation without tears is far from taking place. Some battling with the idea of death itself and what it would mean for those closest to them… Death is all around us, it is a sad and gut wrenching time and yet we cannot escape, cannot forget, cannot hide from her.

What all of these people have in common is that they left a wake of sadness as they left our world. Though unintentional, many tears followed them as they left and tears will continue to fall while we are left with the memories they leave behind but never to recount. The tears will eventually dry up and we will, if we haven’t already, start remembering their lives and not their deaths. We will be able to toast their achievements instead of picturing their sickness. We will be able to remember their smiling voices instead of hearing their strained cries. I can look up at my wall and smile at the photographs of my uncle and grandfather, knowing they left at the exact time they were meant to.

Our loved ones leave us lessons to learn in their passing. Lessons of love, lessons of loss, lessons of determination. I do not know when my time will come but when it does, I need to know that I’m happy with the person I am and need to live every day happy that this could be my memory, this could be my legacy, this is how I will be remembered. Life is short, too short, criminally short. Too much time is wasted on unnecessary feuds, feuds that should be replaced with friendship instead. Bridges burned need mending and I love you’s can never be said enough. Make time to see or speak to everyone who is important to you. Hug your loved ones every day. Never stop showing love. Be forgiving, let go of the past. Don’t hold on to anything that cannot be said today. Forget fear, live in the present, do everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more. Forget a bucket list, write an immediate list. Eat the foods you love, dance to music that makes you happy, laugh… Laugh all the time. Find hobbies that fill your life, sleep, wake, watch tv, play outside, buy a house, start a book club. Do whatever it is YOU want to do, you only get this life once and only you can live it….

Know that whatever you do, your loved ones who have passed on would want you to be happy, no matter what. To all my friends or family currently experiencing loss caused by the death of a close friend or family, my deepest condolences to you. I’m so sorry that you have to experience this sadness and hate to see you this heart sore… Know that time does heal and when the tears stop, memories live on… They live on in everything we do, all that we are and anything we can aspire to be. Your loved ones would be proud.

Take care of you and yours
Shevy

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