• Jul
  • 10
  • 2010

Part 2: Ah…ah…ah….AAAATISHOOOOOO!

Posted by Katherine Stott In Health & Fitness | Comments Off on Part 2: Ah…ah…ah….AAAATISHOOOOOO!

OK, so the neti pot was great, a miracle worker in a little ceramic space. It worked like the bomb – for about 10 minutes. I tried a brisk walk instead of the Yoga coz I couldn’t stop sneezing long enough to breathe, I tried some fresh fruit and chilled water. And waited. Patiently. While my brains poured out of my nose. It didn’t work… none of it. And it ain’t pleasant having to endure this for 5 hours on a Saturday when you’re supposed to be chilling…

So its now onto Plan B – Part 2 – la segunda parte ….

Drugs. Over-the-counter pharmaceuticals with antihystamine and phenylephedrine that will both cut down the sneezing hysteria as it weaves its way along this path to my destruction, AND make me feel super cool at the same time. Like suuuuper cooool maaaaan!

I’ll save the natural healing for tomorrow.

  • Jul
  • 10
  • 2010

Ah…ah…ah….AAAATISHOOOOOO!

Posted by Katherine Stott In Health & Fitness | 1 Comment »

Hayfever. The bane of my life…

I can go through an entire week maintaining optimum health, and then come Saturday morning I greet the day with a procession of sneezes. Like hundreds of them, and that is no lie. These accompanied with watering eyes and – for lack of a better word – snot, pouring out of my nose make for an overall attractive appearance just in time for the weekend. YAY! Where these attacks come from, no one knows. It could be a hundred different triggers working symbiotically to make me go out of my head, but trying to pinpoint it is much like the old cliche: trying to find a needle in a haystack.

A lengthy yoga session and a few neti pots* eventually tame the beast, but that isn’t before marginal exhaustion hits from 1 – 100 sneezes a minute.

I like to agree with one perspective I’ve heard on the whole hayfever thing. That all the sneezes, the pouring snot and watering eyes are a way to cleanse the body of something that is not supposed to be there. A bug, perhaps… or maybe something bigger, something deeper. Something emotional that I haven’t dealt with on my own and so now my body is reacting physically to purge itself of the damaging goods. A physical manifestation of something else that I haven’t been aware of, until now that I am processing it all. So every sneeze fest is actually a little bit of healing for my soul… I like that :)

—–
*A neti pot is a little teapot looking thing that you fill with warm non iodated salted water. You then pour it into one nostril through the spout, tilt your head at the correct angle and wait for the warm salted water to pour out of the other nostril. It’s a bit weird at first but there is NOTHING that cleanses your nasal cavities as well as a neti. A neti before a yoga session is magic for your breathing.

  • Jul
  • 09
  • 2010

Now that I think about it…

Posted by Katherine Stott In Thoughts & Concepts | 2 Comments »

Further to my previous post, maybe I AM getting old. Well, I know that I am aging with every day – this is inevitable. But when we actually start showing signs that we are pushing forward in time, well then I have to take a deep breath and wonder when this all happened? Where was I when I turned 32 and decided to stay at home on a Friday night instead of going to a live gig? Who did that to me!? Hello? Mystery personality thief, what did you do with my persona?

But… there is always a but… the funny thing is that I like it. I’m loving the fact that today is Friday and after work on this crisp Winter’s Day I’m going home to my babies (husband, kids, cats and dogs) to curl up on the couch and watch DVD’s. If growing old has more of that, then its totally cool with me. Bring on the years… and I’ll mould my persona to fit :)

  • Jul
  • 08
  • 2010

How sweet they are…

Posted by Katherine Stott In Family & Home, Parenting | Comments Off on How sweet they are…
Little kids – how adorable they can be, especially when they ask inquisitive little questions about life and the meaning of it all. Where did we come from? How did we get here?
My 7 year old son, Cameron is a gem when it comes to questions:
“Mom, how do you spell …”
“Mom, what colour is…”
“Mom, what time is it in …”
“Mom, why do we …”
“Mom, what is the…”
This goes on for about half an hour at a time until he has satisfied his curiosity for the interim. And then it starts all over again a little while later. Amber, my 9 year old is much the same except for the fact that her questions can be very difficult to answer. Thinking along the lines of, “Why isn’t there a number after infinity?” This can be tricky to make sense of for a 9 year who only wants to absorb things that are comprehensible.
My best is when she asks me the meaning of a word and I give her a synonym. And then she asks me the meaning of the synonym. Well….err….. try that one on for size!
Knowing that my guidance is what waters and feeds their intelligence can be a daunting notion to consider, and I can only do the best within my power to make it all make sense.
Now when Cameron asks me things like:
“Mom, were there dinosaurs around when you were born?”
I have to wonder… am I not educating them as well as I think I am? Or am I really THAT old! :)
  • Jun
  • 30
  • 2010

A little place I like to call my own

Posted by Katherine Stott In Love & Relationships | Comments Off on A little place I like to call my own

We all have those moments; frustration and anger tied up in little increments of time that combine to form a bad day. Very often it is the same trivial things that irritate us, exhaust us, outright annoy us or cause us to become tense and wound up. I think that living in Jozi contributes to the road rage, the gritted teeth and profuse swearing… but I’m tired of passing the blame and bleating on about Johannesburg and her myriad shortcomings. Besides, Jozi is beautiful in her own way – it’s us, the people that make our lives difficult to bear.

Anyway I’m quickly moving away from my point: Perhaps a lot of us have these feelings in common; it’s how we deal with them that set us apart from each other.
 

I am no picnic that is for sure. I am defensive, short tempered, irrational at times, most definitely a passive aggressive and will explode at any given moment when there is enough of a build up to light my fuse. Mix in the Jozi traffic, taxis, lack of ocean and nature around us and limitations on time, and you would often have a recipe for disaster. That is if you don’t have a happy place. Everyone should have at least one; a space, a place, a song that takes them there. I have numerous little areas of my life that allow me the time and space to come back inside myself and just be. And all that crap that affects us externally never gets the chance to break the exoskeleton and get inside where the actual damage can be done.
 

Life’s trivialities can bring us down, but there are so many simple ways that we can elevate ourselves right up to where we belong again. I have countless simple solutions that can bring about such vast change: a complete overhaul of emotions and psyche. As simple as:
  1. A huge, squishy hug from Amber or Cameron – heaven
  2. A delectable kiss and hug with a long pause, as Mike cradles me in his arms – bliss
  3. 10 minutes on a yoga mat – calm
  4. A brisk walk around the neighbourhood in the afternoon – invigorating
  5. A long, hot bubble bath – delicious
  6. A moment of reflection – awe inspiring
  7. Having dinner at one of our favourite restaurants with the family – special
  8. Tucking myself in bed with a fabulous, inspiring book – decadent
  9. Being next to (or on)water – grounding
  10. Dancing my little heart out – electrifying 

There are more, but each one of these above elements has the power to make me feel whole again, to make me feel like ME! And allow me to just be. My “happy places” have the power to wash away the strain of the day and paint a smile on my face without fail, and ultimately keep me away from the complexities of life in Jozi where everything is simple and sweet.

  • Apr
  • 27
  • 2009

Spring Cleaning

Posted by Katherine Stott In Love & Relationships | Comments Off on Spring Cleaning

I feel as though I have walked the entire perimetre of Johannesburg today, all whilst remaining inside the massive and all encompassing Builder’s Warehouse on Rivonia and Witkoppen. I also lifted the equivalent of about 100kg’s of refuse into my car before ferrying it to the dump for the local’s there to sift through. It was a productive day, although not exactly what I had foreseen for my day off from work and responsibility. With the kids away, I had envisaged a selfishly indulgent and relaxing day ahead. However, it was not to be.

Mike’s immense keenness to fix the kid’s trampoline, get rid of all the rubbish in the store room and tidy up the garden should be intoxicating and preferably contagious! It should make me grateful and overjoyed! And it does… provided it doesn’t involve my lazy self! As much as I searched inside for my little glimmer of eager enthusiasm, I could not seem to locate it anywhere. It might have had something to do with the fact that my idea of today had centred around me staying in bed with my laptop and a cup of coffee, perhaps some toast or a bowl of Weet Bix. I had a perfectly painted vision of myself tackling the series of press releases I’d been assigned last week, expertly wafting through each one with a fervent, bespectacled, professional edge. I managed two paragraphs before the divine and delightful, pro-active Mr Mike got me up and at ’em to go and “get things done.”
I have to admit that cleaning out an entire store room full of rubbish evoked an incredible sense of positive feng shui-ness in me. A feeling of absolute relief at creating some space and finally ridding ourselves of all that crap. And by crap I mean the most useless, arbitrary junk that one accumulates for no real reason except that it “might come in use one day.” So I’m not exactly complaining that Mike chose to lift me out of my perfect little day and place me in the unwelcome terrain of manual labour in this case. I now have a whole new empty space to fill with crap that “might come in use one day!”

I think my sense of humour was dampened when we hit builder’s warehouse. We were there because Mike wanted to fix the trampoline for the kids after they had bounced it into submission and snapped a support beam. He needed some parts for the operation and even though it was all for the benefit of my children, me and my little companion – the black cloud above my head – kept on quietly questioning how important this really was. I guess it was because I knew that the moment we walked through those doors, Mike was going to be transported to that unreachable destination where hardware and power tools titillate the male senses to such a degree that mother earth cannot communicate with them anymore. I expected at least an hour, and was given about 55 minutes. Not too bad. A thorough and intensive investigation of each aisle provided us with the 5 things we needed to fix the trampoline, the 1 thing we needed to clean up the garden, plus 2 spray bottles and a pack of batteries. Of course we also managed to find potential bathroom fittings and basins for bathrooms that we haven’t yet built or even contemplated. All in a day’s work and an incalculable number of metres covered.

I don’t actually know why I am complaining. Probably because my body is sore, I’m tired and the evil and cursed PMS has hit, and added to that the idea of now sitting down to research and write a press release is most certainly less than appealing. But every now and then I gaze dreamily out of the window and catch a glimpse of my “garden boy” trimming the bougainvilla and I mentally slap myself across the face. Isn’t this what I have always asked for? That guy who uses initiative, who is a DIY fundi like my dad was, that guy who sacrifices his day off to do something to brighten the smiles of my children? And the fact that he wants to involve me in his practical, manly missions is surely just an indication that he wants me by his side or values my opinion?

When I consider my day from Mike’s perspective instead of my selfish, stubborn and self indulgent perspective it is so obvious I am a complete ass! But quite clearly an ass that is very much loved :)
  • Apr
  • 13
  • 2009

The Good Guy or the Bad Guy? Difficult to define….

Posted by Katherine Stott In Parenting | 4 Comments »

I am a divorcee, with two beautiful children under my wing. I would never give up the right to my babies under any circumstances, but have come to realise that in doing so I am repeatedly being viewed as “The Bad Guy” in this parental situation.
Before the divorce was even final, Dad whisked himself off to Cape Town because the hurt of being near me was apparently too much. I am not sure that he considered what the hurt of being without his kids would entail, but he has since started a life there for himself and made his own version of success in a small circle of existence. Perhaps every week I will get a call from him, running through the formalities of “Hello, how are you?” before asking to speak to the kids. This is their relationship with him. This coupled with a December holiday of about two weeks where they are at their leisure to run riot with their father. No specific bedtimes, no brushing or washing of hair, partial teeth brushing responsibilities on particular days, and a general lack of rules and regulations making holidays with Dad to be a rewarding, fun and exciting experience.

Needless to say, these two weeks of the year, hand in hand with the sporadic phonecalls make for Dad slotting into the number one position as: “The Good Guy.” Applause all round.

Of course, any self respecting parent knows that life cannot be measured by holidays, and if it could we would be sick to death of them and craving the substance of discipline as our time off. But tell that to a kid. Holidays always allow the rules to be slightly twisted and the distinctions to become marginally blurred. Extending bedtime in favour of late night chatter and sticker swapping is far easier to digest than lights out at 8pm. Diminishing healthy eating habits that lean more towards chocolate and jelly tots for breakfast seem far more daring and adventurous than pro-nutro and mango juice. But as parents we know that this type of upbringing will produce nothing but trouble if it is to become something that takes on a permanent appeal. As Dad, who hasn’t seen his kids for an entire year, the idea of disciplining his children is a waste of their precious time together, and the thought of attending to any formal rules is something that holds no allure. Lets just have fun, no matter what the expense.

The expense is something that he does not have to deal with. He hands them back to me after two weeks with unbrushed teeth and hair, suitcases full of manky unwashed, moulding clothes and sugar infused personalities that are bounding around like meteorites on a one way trip to destruction. As soon as the explosion hits, the fun ends. Bath time. Brush your teeth. Bedtime at 8pm.

A lengthly and tiresome adventure of clothes washing ensues as does the righting of wrongs laid down by Dad. Suddenly all the things that he allowed them to do are not acceptable anymore, and why not? Because they are dealing with “The Bad Guy” now. For every rule that was bent, another one has to be resurrected in it’s place and Mom has to do it. Nevermind that it is moulding them into creatures that will face the world with an arsenal of talent, blessings and wit to deal with all that life throws at them. They just can’t understand why Mom is so anal why she can’t just let them do what it is they want to do, when they want to do it. They cant understand why she isn’t the fun and ourageous person that Dad is, constantly playing games, telling campfire stories, spending endless hours with them soaking up the sun, tossing frisbee’s and swimming in the sea.

Give me two weeks of holidays and I’ll be that person. But in reality, I am so much more.

I am the person who works all hours of the day to pay their school fees, buy their clothes and all the things they need to get them through the week. I am the person who wakes up early to make their school lunches and make sure that their bags are packed ready for their day ahead. I am the person who wakes them up gently at an appropriate time so that they don’t have to be in a mad panic trying to get ready for school, even though they curse me, shout and cry, I do it. Because I know that it is something that creates the grounding in their life that they thrive on. I am the person that forces them to brush their teeth because of the implications of an unhealthy mouth are just plain unbearable. Even though they stamp their feet into the bathroom with black clouds circling their heads, I do it. I am the person who sits and waits outside the school before the bell rings so that when they walk out of class they can see me and they know they are not forgotten. I am the one who goes out of her head trying to come up with inventive ways to make healthy appealing so that I know they are getting all the nutrients they require for healthy growth, but still enjying it at the same time. I am the one who drops everything when they are in trouble and comes to their rescue, no matter what the consequences.
I am the one who is there when they fall: from their bikes, from the trampoline, from the tree, from love. When the lashing of vicious tongues slice them open, I am the one who is there to seal the wounds. I am the one who is there until 10pm colouring in pages and trying to make it look like a 7 year old did it, so that the 7 year old doesn’t get into trouble even though it will teach her a valuable life lesson. I am the one who sacrifices my social life so that we can have DVD night at home on a Friday night and french toast first thing on a Saturday morning. I am the one who wakes up to a whimper in the middle of the night, and holds a trembling child in the midst of heart wrenching nightmares until the fears and tears go away, and she is safe to be tucked under her bed covers again. I am the one who has had to clean up projectile vomit and snotty noses, diarrhoea and bloody stubbed toes. I am the one who has dealt with fevers, blisters, grazes, headaches, stomach aches, coughs, colds, burns, cuts, bruises and batterings and more. Each one healed and sealed with a magical mother’s kiss. And still, my gestures go unnoticed … as a mother’s love always does.

In moments of torment and fury the words that cut me deep and, quite frankly, piss me off are always thrown in my face, splattering themselves all over me as I wince and close my eyes: I hate you! I wish I could live with Dad! Spat at me with bubbling anger and immense hatred for me and what I am attempting to do to make their lives whole. They just don’t get it.

So many times I have ignored it and let the words slide off me, slowly and excruitiatingly, as if their sharp edges are grazing my naked skin as they fall to the ground. I shake them free and persist as if nothing has affected me, and no words could ever puncture the bubble of love that I envelope them in. But still, they just don’t get it. And it grates me that they don’t.

Do they think that Dad will read them campfire stories every night of their life? And do they think that when he returns home from work in the evenings that he would then resort to full playtime attack mode, burning up every second of available time together to have their fun before bedtime? Do they realise that he will never have snacks in the house, that cereal will be something that is always left off the grocery list, that he won’t have a throat lozenge in his pocket or a tissue in his bag for when they need it? Do they honestly think that he will be able to assume the far reaching and infinite role of a mother? They don’t understand that he would never be able to cope with them on a full time basis, and that if he were forced to he would soon become “The Bad Guy” and they would be wishing to be home with Mom.
There have been times where I’ve cried about it for hours on end. I have written and re-written my thoughts into diaries, onto scrap paper, into emails and now here. No amount of querying or questioning will ever change the fact that the most difficult job for anyone to undertake is that of being a mother. Being a divorced mother adds something of a tangled twist to it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is something you do selflessly, and never without incidence.
I have donned the cloak of “The Bad Guy” and continued to sweep through the corridors, prowling the night and making sure kids are in bed on time. When a muffled, squeaky voice calls out for more hugs and kisses, I venture towards and see small, wiry arms reaching out from under the duvet that wrap tightly around my neck. I feel a tug at my heart as I close my eyes and relax into the pure energy that is love. A soft whisper of “I love you, Mommy. Don’t bite the bedbugs…” followed by a trickle of giggles and I realise (not for the first time) what it’s all about.
As difficult a job as it is to be a Mom for all it’s trials and adversity, it is also the easiest thing in the world for all it’s treasures. I have to keep on reminding myself of this, and perhaps have to remind them too. Life is not easy, this is something we are all well aware of. Being a mother… well, that is just another level of life. Not ever going to be easy, Good Guy or Bad Guy, you are always going to encounter difficult times. I think it’ what you do with those moments that define the difference.
  • Apr
  • 04
  • 2009

I’m just a girl…

Posted by Katherine Stott In Love & Relationships | Comments Off on I’m just a girl…

I’m just a girl… searching for the perfect sunset in the idyllic location of my dreams, and yet trapped in a conrete world where cappuccinos at Fournos are my small piece of heaven. Jozi is a great place to be for those who want to be surrounded by enigmatic people, electric vibes and surging energy. A constant flow of parties from one place to the next, one person to another. A consistent, if not exhausting, buzz of activity that never dies but only moves through extremes of intensity.
Yup, Johannesburg is ALIVE with expression and enthusiasm! Her flame can only grow larger and brighter, fueled by her people’s never ending desire to progress, to grow, to change, to thrive. Success drips from the exhausts of BMW’s and SUV’s as they accelerate through their days of non-stop appointments and business meetings. The scent of wealth strides in step with every Carducci and Gucci while Armani briefcases and top end Nokia’s accessorise power suits, Europa shoes and five hundred buck haircuts. On the flipside are her dirty streets and colourful natives, toy toying in the background with bright white grins plastered across their soft faces. Gathered around metal bins, roasting mielies atop as they banter incessantly through the smoke. Sitting on the pavement amid tall, dry grass watching the world as she spins away, leaving those who can’t keep up a few steps behind.
Everyday is a freshly painted portrait of adventure. An exciting race across the hours of light in an attempt to reach darkness before anyone else does, and even then the race does not end but merely takes on a different colour.
What more could a young girl want? A social environment bursting with a myriad flavours and exhilerating options. That is unless you are me. What more could a girl not want?
It’s a fabulous life for those who’s moment’s of joy come from the initial crowd reaction to the unveiling of their newest ensemble or most outrageous hair colour. It’s a small piece of paradise for those who can only talk about lowered suspension, mag wheels and bucket seats. It’s hotter than a Nando’s chilli burger for those who live only to gossip, to socialise, or thrive only to laugh and drink and eat and then do it again the next day. All fabulous one would think!
Unless your most intimate moments are spent alone or with the love of your life. Or maybe not quite for you if waking up to a breathtaking view is more enviable than an Ed Hardy T-shirt. Perhaps it wouldn’t be your thing either if you enjoyed moments in silence, enraptured by the ocean or the simplicity of thousands of bug noises, bird call or the croaking of frogs a metre away. Unfortunately for Joburg’s hustle and bustle and her welcoming arms, this is me. And living in Joburg is not me, or for me. But it’s the only place that I can sustainably exist for the time being. So here I am…. still searching for my perfect sunset, and occassionally finding it amongst the polluted clouds of Jozi’s skyline. This seemingly beautiful sight can occupy my hungering spirit for now, knowing that this is only temporary. That my idyllic location awaits and it is only time that seperates me from stepping into it.
I’m just a girl. And all girl’s just wanna have fun – to their specifications, of course! :)

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