Author Archives: From the Pen of ....

Loadshedding Lessons

Written by Grazia Martienssen

Different Times.

In my view, Eskom and the City of Cape Town (C.C.T.) really care about us, that 1s why loadshedding is at different times. When it comes to the loadshedding schedule, if you ever feel like Albert Einstein trying to figure out his next invention, then you are not alone. But I believe they want to teach us different lessons. No, I am not crazy, loadshedding does not have to be a vast “turn-off”. No pun intended. Please read on and you will understand why.

Different Lessons.

For one, the 50 shades of darkness bestowed upon us, teach us NOT to be lazy, and NOT to sleep late. Wakey, wakey, yes you guessed it, it is 5am, time to get up, boil the kettle and fill a flask for tea or coffee. In my case, lemon water. It also helps us to get more organized and to get our own schedules in line, because at times, we have to cook earlier to beat the loadshedding.

It can also be a good excuse not to cook at all (unless you have a gas stove) and get hubby to braai or treat you to a meal out. It can get the family to sit around and talk or light a fire (I envy those with fireplaces) and sit around telling stories or making memories, thus helping family members bond, light some candles, and have a romantic evening. It can help us watch less TV and go to bed earlier to ensure we have a good rest.

They also teach us not to take things for granted as C.C.T and Eskom will often be on the same level in competition. Sometimes I think they just say, “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, which schedule are we on today”. Or maybe they choose a number out of a hat? Or as I heard someone say, “they have a dartboard and choose the number the dart goes to”.

What about when they forget to switch us off! It happened recently in Summer Greens. We were scheduled to go off in the morning but did not, or maybe the switch guy did not come to turn up to work that day? Whatever happened I just hope he/she did not switch off the wrong area by mistake.

In Summer Greens we also have what I call “water shedding” at times. Some of the houses are overcrowded, so the pipes burst at times, and the water gets switched off. The lesson in this is to always have some container filled with water and not to waste water because you never know when you might have the urge to stay hydrated or brush your teeth!

Keep clean water in a container in the kitchen to cook with, and wash up etc. Or by all means, use it as an excuse not to cook and wash up. It is advisable to keep some water in the bathtub, or in a bucket in case you need it to flush the loo, or for anything else that humans may require water for.

Sometimes electricity will come back on, and the water will go off. So, we learn not to take anything for granted, and to appreciate when we have water and electricity. It can also be used as a history lesson for the children.

You see children, Eskom is teaching you what it was like in your great grandparent’s time…. before we had electricity and running water. What about using these dark times as the topic of your next history project?

Last but not least, it might be good to have a well point and pull up water with a bucket to show them how it was done back then (just a suggestion.)

Silver Lining

Sometimes I want to stop making fun of Eskom, but I am powerless! What positivity do you find in loadshedding, and depending on where you live, in water shedding, if you have it? Thanks for reading and do not forget, every cloud has a silver lining!

The Phoenix will Rise!

Written by Nina Ganci

Load Shedding.

The word or event that nobody wants to hear that has become part of our daily lives. Yes, we as South Africans have once again adapted and adjusted to what life has thrown at us. We are resilient and known to overcome all obstacles.

South Africa is a courageous country. South Africa is a strong nation. South Africa is a proud nation. South Africa is a nation that is capable of leading the world.

Powerful words! True words!

Which nation in history has risen from the ashes with smiles and laughter? Which nation in the world has come together and supported each other? Which nation on earth has found workable solutions?

South Africa answers it all!

Think about it? A man works for Eskom. The one that draws up the load shedding schedule. What does he tell his family and friends he does for a living? Would you want him as a friend or do you want to tell him how to do his job?

The most hated person ever in South Africa is the Switch Guy. Yes, the man who switches off and on the electricity. He alone has the courage and power to switch off large areas and leave them in the dark! This happens often when you are trying to cook supper. Wonder what his mother has to say?

Communities are uniting. Small businesses are mushrooming.
Support a small business, you are keeping money in your local economy. Your money gets spent and circulated right in the community you call home.

Your community values relationship and will often go above and beyond.

You do not build a business, you build people, and then people build the business; then the business builds the country.

South Africa is in a corner, and I have full trust and faith, that we will rise from these ashes to build a stronger, powerful country. No other community, no other country, no other nation have experienced what South Africans do.

Failure is not to be feared. It is from failure that most growth comes.”
-Dee Hock

When South Africans have their backs in the corner, they come up with a plan, a good plan!

The phoenix will rise from the ashes!

A Month of Grief

Written by Chris De Flamingh

April is particularly a difficult month as my dad died on April 7th and was buried on April 12th, 1995.

My mom died on April 28th, 2019 and my little doggie was born on April 1st, 2010 and is also no longer around.

And lastly, my birthday is on April 29th.

So these dates are fairly edged into my mind for life. I cry myself to sleep still many a night when I remember my mom, dad, and my little doggie. It’s all I ever lived for in this lifetime.

To Face the Issue or Cower Away

Written by Deborah Jordaan

Hello to all you gorgeous beings. Hope your festive season went well and that you are facing the New Year with gusto. Today I am questioning whether it makes a person a coward to cower away or if should we suck it up and face our challenge.

To be outspoken and straightforward is a good thing but sometimes words must be chosen so as not to hurt people’s feelings. One cannot always molly-coddle people and allow them to step all over you because you want people to like you.

Does that make you a coward not to confront the issue at hand?

A straightforward person will say you are a coward as that person faces their challenge and runs with it. Yes, sometimes even a straightforward person bites their tongue as they were taught respect by their parents. So you need a strategy in most situations whether you solve the problem in the background or bring the other person down to earth.

Some people born with a silver spoon in their mouth can be good humans or just keep on being self-sanctified snob and oh-so opinionated. They think they were put on this earth to be the new generation royal by self-appointment.

We are all human, either our own money or other people’s money makes us think we rule the world. This person says what they want and expects the person that doesn’t want a conflict to shut their mouth and keep on being abused in whatever way they are abusing the other person. Having money makes some people emotional bullies.

The good person then cowers away because they feel the argument will go nowhere, whereas the person who is not impressed by the person with money will voice their opinion on whatever subject they are having conflict over. There is a fine line between the self–sanctified royal and the genuine person being abused by them.

Why are we not allowed to ask questions or create a conflicting situation? My mom taught me to be straightforward in some situations it has awarded me but sometimes I have had to step back and say that the person I am confronting is definitely not worth my words as the only thing their money could buy is maybe some style but no manners.

Remember money cannot buy class or etiquette, the only difference is the wealthy person’s money can be used to cover up their mess. Be humble and when someone confronts you just respect them and have an open mind toward the situation, especially in situations where the parents have handed their little royals all decisions to make and control finances.

Behold the parent asks the child what is happening in the said situation if nothing is done. Be wary not to give the royal too much as they then think they rule the parent, this is where the abuse comes in as the parent has to accept whatever this royal child decides. If a child has manners and respect by all means give them responsibility as they will obviously respect whatever the parent’s opinions are. They are there to assist – not rule.

In my parting words, remember who brought you up and who is now relying on your common sense as a child to help make life easier for the parent. Don`t be an opportunistic douchebag.

Be blessed and be safe.

Pros and Cons of Being an Empath

Written by Deborah Jordaan

Good day, beautiful people of this planet we call home. Hope much of the disasters of the past few weeks of rain have been cleared up for you. Mother Nature is not happy with us. Today I am writing about being an empath and the ups and downs of absorbing everything.

I am an empath and some days it is not one of the best traits to have. I work with ill people and still take care of ill people. My soul gets no rest from the emotional turmoil of humans and animals alike. Always being Miss all nice has its downfall.

I am always trying not to offend people as I can be very straightforward and insulting. The day comes when all the nonsense of people makes me explode and all the negativity I have absorbed becomes like an entity on its own. It comes out and I have no limit to what comes out of my mouth. There is a method to my madness, even though it is not always the best for others.

An empath is a person highly attuned to the feelings and emotions of those around them. Empaths feel what another person is feeling at a deep emotional level.

The only way I can get rid of this anger and resentment that builds up is to let it out. I have tried all kinds of methods, gemstones and incense just do not do the trick anymore. I have an arsenal of stones and they are just pretty adornments around my neck now. I feel the need to get away and be in my temple, Mother Nature. I need to absorb her magic and wonder and recoup my soul.

My garden is in absolute turmoil so there too I am absorbing the mess of that and of course that is of no help either. When everything around becomes an uncontrolled mess you need to step back and reassess everything. Take one step at a time, which is easier said than done – as I am the only one in my mess. I am always assisting everyone but the human stays true and shows me when I need their assistance its non – existent.

I now understand why some people escape to nature and never look back. The animals appreciate you, and the human uses you.

There are good humans out there but to find them is like trying to find a dinosaur. No one is perfect not even me, but sometimes it would be refreshing to find my tribe and never look back.

Those thoughts stay in my fairyland file as unfortunately, we have to live in the real world and suck it up and keep going forward. The going forward part is difficult sometimes as we sometimes feel stuck as if we are in quicksand. Logical thinking is the only way to face problems. We are allowed to lose the plot and put on a tutu and tiara and imagine we are fairies and just dance around but that could land us in hot water, the sanatorium could just have a door with our name on it.

In parting words, yes we need to be grateful but self-care of one’s psyche is always very important. Keep on colouring out the lines but don`t lose yourself among all the weeds.

Be blessed and take care of yourself for the safety of others.

The Special Neighbour

Children’s Story was written by Grazia Martienssen

Christmas Time

Angela and Angelo are 5-year-old twins that live in Italy. They are very excited because their Christmas tree will go up soon, on the 8th of December. This also coincides with the celebrations of the Feast of the immaculate conception of Mary. A canon is fired from Rome’s Castel Saint Angelo to mark the start of the festivities.

This period is a very magical time in Italy. In fact, the festivities continue until the Feast of the Epiphany on the 6th of January. Churches have special services during the lead-up to Christmas.

We call this the Advent period, which comes from late and means “coming” to signify the period of preparations before the arrival of baby Jesus that arrived on Christmas day.

In the lead-up to the 25th of December, children go from house to house dressed as shepherds, performing Christmas songs or poems, in exchange for sweets or money. A highlight is the midnight mass at the Vatican, but many people also enjoy skiing during this period.

Did you know that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus? What do you like best about Christmas?

The epiphany: (When the wise men found baby Jesus)

The good children are excited well beyond Christmas day because on the evening of the 5th of January, the legend of the old Befana will bring them gifts. If they were good, she fills their Christmas stockings for them with sweets and candies but, if they were bad, they will get a lump of coal.

She is a good housekeeper and will sweep the floors before leaving the children’s houses. She sweeps away all the problems of the previous year. Families leave a glass of wine out, and Panetone (Christmas cake) for her. They also leave out red or sand colour stockings for her to fill.

Angelo and Angela listen carefully as papa tells them for the first time that La Befana used to live in the empty cottage next door, and that she is gone out to look for baby Jesus and will bring gifts to the children. The kids listen on as mamma explains that a long time ago, she was sweeping in front of her house, and then suddenly the 3 wise men stopped to talk to her.

She offered them food and shelter. They asked for directions to baby Jesus and asked her to join them. She was too busy so she refused. That night she saw a bright light and took it as a sign to follow the wise men. She had the urge to go to Bethlehem to bring the newborn baby gifts, so she took freshly baked goodies with her, and off she went with her broom in her hand.

She went off to see him for herself, and to help the new mother with housework. Although she followed the same star, she got lost and did not find him, so legend has it that she is still searching for baby Jesus today. Sometimes the children see her flying through the sky on her broomstick. She enters the houses through the chimneys, so is covered in soot. The twins know they have been good, so mamma and papa help them to write letters to the Bafana. They also learn poems about her.

Would you like to learn one? Try to repeat this one, first in Italian and then in English.

La Befana vien di notte /Con le scarpe tutte rotti/Con vestito alla romana /Viva viva la Befana.

The Befana comes at night/with her shoes, all tattered and torn/She comes dressed in a Roman way/Long live Befana.

Have you seen an old woman flying through the sky at night on a broomstick?

La Befana is back!!!!

The next day the children went out to play and saw an old woman sweeping in front of the house next door. “Befana,” they shout out excitedly. “Grazie per I bel regali” (Thank for the gifts).

“Piacere,” (Pleasure) responded the old Befana. She then entered the house and came out with some freshly baked biscuits for them. They could not wait to tell their cousins and friends about their special neighbour, and her delicious biscuits.

Do you have a special neighbour?

Then the Festive Season Arrived

Written by Deborah Jordaan

Good day, beautiful people of this crazy place we call earth. I hope Mother Nature hasn`t been too hard on you as we have had floods in the Midvaal area. Not being a very good time for many people. As humans we bounce back, we have to.

Today I am writing about the festive season and the feelings it brings out in us. I for one did not celebrate for a long time as I had bad experiences through the years at this time. I eventually sat down with myself and realised I had been missing out on beautiful memories with family and friends. Yes, my mother has a birthday after Christmas and she passed away in January. It is a difficult time without her but I cannot keep mourning and thinking up excuses why I do not celebrate Christmas. This year I decided to celebrate and decorate my garden and even have a small tree in my kitchen. Just seeing my hard work makes me feel that I had accomplished more than I had accomplished in years. A lot of people get depressed and feel melancholy this time of the year. It can be lonely without anyone but do something to pay it forward, and embrace your life. You get to celebrate another year, no matter how bad it was or how things are going to be – just suck it up and be a warrior to yourself. Those of us that can celebrate must be grateful as there are little children who will never see a Christmas tree or get a toy as a present. The light in my grandchildren’s eyes makes it worth every effort it takes to forget the bad times.

Today I got bad news. A girl I had known since her primary school days had suddenly passed, she was thirty years old. Imagine her family has to spend Christmas without her so suddenly. How does one even begin to imagine how it will be? Yes, it is sad but celebrate her life and enjoy the festivities the way she would have celebrated it. I believe people that have passed would not want us to mourn, if they were here they would want us to celebrate, so do that in their absence to honour them. Christmas is not just about presents it is about paying it forward to the people that cannot even afford a meal. Paying it forward this time of the year should make you feel u did something good and you made a difference in someone’s life. Giving is so much more gratifying than receiving. As I am always writing about paying it forward I hope I reach people that do pay it forward so they in turn can motivate other people. Some families might just be able to afford a meal on Christmas day but the difference is there is love and gratitude. You then get the selfish child who receives a phone and it might not be what they want. That child should be receiving nothing. They should be sent to children’s homes on Christmas Day and should see the joy on the children’s faces if they receive a minuscule gesture for a present. Hopefully, it would teach that selfish child how to be grateful.

So in my parting words, I would like to say, embrace the blessings you have and spread as much joy and love as you are able. If you can even change one person`s day at Christmas you have achieved a lot.


Poem by Neshni Naidoo

Trudging through life with little motivation
Finding reasons for procrastination
I wonder what keeps me bound here
Complacency, laziness or perhaps fear

My inner voice urges, “From this slumber wake
Arise or your dreams you will one day forsake
Remember and honour your heart’s desire
Or your life experiences will be swathed in ire

Thwarted desires resentment breeds
Resentment that insatiably on love feeds
With love’s fragrant blossoms gone astray
Life becomes empty, dull and gray.”

I wrote this poem many years ago. It was a way for me to unpack and understand my debilitating habit of procrastination.

Since writing the poem I have improved by stepping out of my comfort zone and overcoming the fears and insecurities that plague me.

However, there are times, like now, when I regress. The reason is not anything that I’ve mentioned in the poem but overwhelm and mental exhaustion.

My remedy is getting more sleep, watching my diet (what I take in through my senses) and not putting pressure on myself. Doing a little everyday and celebrating those wins instead of criticising myself for doing too little.

As we end another year, reflect on what causes you to procrastinate, how that impacts you and what you can do to change this habit.

When is an Affirmation Good?

Written by Elsabe Smit

I have had issues with people grabbing onto affirmations and hoping for the best for a long time. My feeling has always been that when a person repeats affirmations and hopes for the best, I can hear the fear, disbelief and general misery behind those repetitions.

I have discovered why that is the case, and how you can in fact use affirmations to make your life better.

I will describe the process step by step as I now understand it.

Firstly, let go of any affirmation that did not come directly from you. No matter how good the guru is that gave the affirmation to you, it is not your affirmation. Accepting any affirmation from someone else is like accepting underwear that was not chosen by you, and expecting that this underwear will make you feel good about yourself. It does not work that way.

Next, you need to understand where affirmations come from.

Imagine that you have access to the biggest shopping mall in creation – not just in this universe, but in all universes, both known and unknown. In this mall, you will find everything that has already been created, and also everything that will still come to the attention of mankind because it already exists in this shopping mall that is called the ethereal. Also, imagine that you have all the money in the world, and this allows you to go into this shopping mall and buy whatever you please.

Then you bring the item that you have bought back home (to the astral level) and then you use the item in your everyday life. This item is your own personal affirmation that you selected when you had all the options and choices in the world available to you.

Let us take the example of road rage. Assume that you are prone to road rage – whether it is just a little bit or a lot, and you want to get rid of this road rage.

You have the option of grabbing an affirmation and repeating “I no longer have road rage” like a preacher on acid, however many times a day, and hoping (fingers crossed) that the relevant neuropathways will grow and save you from yourself, and that one morning you will magically wake up and you will no longer have road rage. And pigs may fly, and unicorns are real.

Here is a different approach. Imagine that you are looking at yourself and you acknowledge that you are prone to road rage, which no longer serves you.

This is like acknowledging that you went to this ethereal shopping mall and you picked road rage from a shelf and took it home, and now you have to live with your choice. You do not – just like you do not need to live with a garment that you picked from this mall only to discover later on that it was the wrong size. Just like you do not need to live with the garment knowing that you have outgrown it.

Time to go shopping. When you get into this ethereal shopping mall, what will you choose instead of road rage? I would say what I want is “I am calm and peaceful when I drive, no matter what other drivers do.” Those are my words, and all I paid for these words is the insight that this is exactly what I want to have in my life.

Then I bring these words home – into my spiritual and real home – by writing the words down so that I will not forget what exactly I bought.

Then I need to ensure that my brand spanking new purchase does not disappear into a wardrobe or cupboard, but that I in fact use it as intended.

So how do I want to use my affirmation of “I am calm and peaceful when I drive, no matter what other drivers do.”?

I think about it and decide that I will see proof of this affirmation when I graciously allow another driver to cut in when they want to change lanes. And if the driver did not use an indicator and still cut in? I will simply repeat my own affirmation because that affirmation is now becoming my own reality and not an imposed reality from some guru. Who knows: this other driver may have a bad day, and my generosity may just ease their burden. And what do I lose in the process? I lose a neuro pathway that no longer serves me.

Then another driver does not react quickly when the traffic light turns green, and I am behind their car and in a hurry. Do I use the horn that I got for Christmas and make my annoyance clear to not only that driver but also every other driver in sight? No. I say to myself of “I am calm and peaceful when I drive, no matter what other drivers do.” And I remind myself that life will continue when I reach my destination a few seconds later than planned.

Can you see what is happening here? The affirmation is now based on a deep sense of knowing, and I choose how I change my behaviour so that I can be aligned with my own personal affirmation. Those desired neuropathways grow stronger whenever I do this, and the result is not based on any emotion at all. It just is, and it makes me feel good.

Now I have value for my money, and now I know that I simply started off by using the wrong product from the mall. Now I have the correct product, and I actually wrote the manual, and I am a happy customer.

That is how I will use affirmations. This meets the three requirements for any successful affirmation, namely
• Say it (identify the desired product in the ethereal shopping mall)
• See it (bring the chosen product down to the astral level of deciding how to use it best)
• Act and do (use this chosen product so often that it because part of the DNA in every cell of your body.)

The important point is that you need to put your own affirmations into your own words, and then use these affirmations in ways that make sense to you – not to other people.


Modern English vs Kings English

Written by Nina Ganci

Many many moons ago, when I went to school, we were taught Kings English. Be it spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.

Yes, we learnt to write in cursive with a fountain pen!

What we learnt came home with us and was practised everywhere. It was the norm.

The other day, someone wanted to see me, so I suggested meeting at noon. Well to my horror, this young lady said “Perfect, will see you at 4pm then”

What just happened?

Telephone manners were strong. Never phone before 8am or after 9pm unless it is an emergency. That was something we all understood and obeyed. Never questioned.

Do you have WhatsApp? Should this not also apply?

I belong to a few WhatsApp groups in the area, someone will try to sell an item at 2am!!!

What happened?

Let me not start with the spelling …………..

Am I just old fashion? Is this what being old means?

What happened to manners? What happened to respect?