Monday, 27 January 2014

Photo A Day Challenge Day Twenty Six

26. #FunStuff #BullTerrier #PlayingFetch #JCBadCuzzBall #HappyDog #FMSphotoaday

Looking Back - September to December 2013

Before I carry on with the rest of the year - I have realised that I only really skipped May and June 2013. Today when I was doing my Photo A Day Prompts, I realised two things 1. I never go in the sun anymore. I used to be such a sun baby - I loved lying in the sun by the pool and too much sun is a bad thing, but I have gone to the other extreme and too little sun is a bad thing too. I need to spend more time outside getting some vitamin D. It is good for a whole host of things and mainly to stimulate your endorphin's and I need that, especially after sleeping through the past year on my non smoking exercise. I cheated in this picture for my Photo A Day Number Twenty Five - I actually caught up with the prompts and am now right up to date. I cheated and did not stay out in the sun - as inviting as it looks, but this whole photo a day is more than just taking random pictures, it really does make you more observant of your life and surroundings. The author and creator of FMSphotoaday says in this post that Photo A Day may very well change your life - it may just. If I never started this challenge, it would never have crossed my mind that lying out by the pool is so relaxing - unfortunately, it also brings back so many memories of Clint, which is why I find it so difficult.

Spike Ready To Play & The Tail Spins In Delight
How stunning is Spike in the photo above, which takes me to No 2. I never play with the dogs anymore. Working full time and mostly giving up smoking has ended that. Even if I was tired and didn't feel like playing with them, I would go out; light a cigarette and throw the ball until I was finished my smoke. Now Mark plays with them. I needed a photo of Fun Stuff and today was a sad not very fun day, so I came up with taking a photo of Spike playing, because that was such fun, seeing how much fun he has. Chad said this was not a Fun photo, he looked too serious so I used another one for Photo A Day. I just feel that taking a photo from another time is defeating the object of taking a photo every day - I might cheat at a later stage, but right now I will try and think about the prompts and do find something that fits in with them on that day. Oops I was rather side tracked and forgot that I was posting about the past year. September is also a huge month, because it is Clint's birthday and we also had so much going on it September.

Chad & His "Guns"
September is the month that Chad's new image became really apparent and his gym training started to pay off and in the past 3 months he has just grown up so much. In September we went to Ballito and Nelspruit. September was a busy month on my blog. October not so much. In November Sheila was very sick. To me she does not seem her usual self and her eye does not look OK. She said it is fine and the hospital said it was fine in December when she went for a check up before going on leave. She has to go back on the 3 Feb for another check up. I read that Adult Chicken Pox in the eye can affect your brain and I am sure it has affected hers, she battles with English and I know it is not her home language and she has always battled, but she has gone back to what it was like when she first started working for me and she really battled. She has become very forgetful and has even forgotten how to do stuff that she could do before. Maybe she has a lot on her mind. She told me the one nurse told her she got chicken pox because she thinks too much and it is nerves. That is how they explain stress - I don't think stress causes chicken pox - yes if you are run down but not stress - so maybe now she doesn't think so that she won't get it again. It is really irresponsible to say stuff like that to someone that is unfortunately not very educated or knowledgeable when it comes to medical issues. Other than a very stressful month nothing much happened in November  and December was also just work and stress. It was a terrible year that I mainly just slept through - so much for all the energy you get when you stop smoking

Photo A Day Challenge Day Twenty Five

25. A Taste 0f Summer #IceCream #Sparletta #SunBlock #Swim #Sunglasses

Photo A Day Challenge Day Twenty Four

24. #YourSpace #MySpace #Sunday #Morning #Naps #FMSphotoaday

Looking Back - June to August 2013

Carrying on from May, because Chad's birthday weekend was ruined we went on another bike riding weekend to the Freestate. It was a long weekend in June and Father's Day that Sunday.

Chad Ready To Ride
Bike friendly places are hard to find - I guess because of the hooliganism that comes with some bikers - as with anything in life. We stayed at a place called Mara Farm and it was run by an old couple with the help of one gardener - so again we stayed in a place that was not the best. It was warm and cosy and the blankets and duvets and pillows were all clean and new and all the beds had electric blankets on them. We did loads of sleeping, because it was so cold and there was no TV or radio even. We always chose places that are not the best, because we leave everything to the last minute. Mark is a Libra through and through - he cannot make decisions so others (not me) make his bad decisions for him or he makes last minute rash decisions - he does not plan ahead and it makes me mad, especially for going away over long weekends. Everything is always booked up quickly. However, saying that we had a lovely weekend. They did loads of riding, whilst I stayed home and had the resident cat keep me company. He was such a lovely friendly Ginger boy called Sam - I just wanted to take him home, but knew Garfield would have nothing to do with another cat stepping into her territory.

Chad Off For An Early Morning Ride

The first morning Chad and Mark were out for a ride, I came into the bedroom after having a shower and saw a cat that looked just like Garfield on the bed. The sun was streaming in, so it was more like a vision than an actual cat.
Sam The Resident Cat
I got the shock of my life, because I first thought it was a vision then I thought that Garfield managed to sneak into my suitcase. This photo was taken of Garfield after we arrived back home, but she always climbs into my bags both when I pack and unpack.



Sam Sitting Outside 
We went to Afri ski in Lesotho for the day. I brought our passports with just in case. Mark said we would not need them and then it was his idea to go to Afri-ski. He was speaking to the people staying next door to us and they told him that they came there for the weekend to Ski. The farm was 7 km's to the Lesotho border and then many Kilometers up winding mountain roads to Afri-Ski. Lesotho is beautiful and very cold. We did not Ski, we just had lunch and then drive back again. I absolutely love Lesotho and the Eastern Freestate and I can't get why Mark does not like it. Yes it is cold, but it is a different cold to Joburg cold. It is a crisp clear kind of cold. Where the sky is bluer than blue and the grass is greener than green and even the dead winter grass looks brighter than the Winter grass in other regions.

And whatever else happened in June; July and August has already been posted or was not post worthy or had no photos.

Looking Back Over The Past Year - May 2013

Carrying on from here, May was a HUGE month for me. May made history - that was the month that I gave up smoking. This time exactly a year ago, I would not have believed it. Wow what a coincidence going through my blog right now, I stumbled on this post I did on the 26 January 2012 - exactly two years ago to the day. I said giving up smoking was on my list of changes - I just read that post and yes I did go back to chain smoking for the next 16 months and yes when I finally did stop in May last year I did buy loads of sweets and put on loads of weight. Incidentally, I never stuck to any of my seven changes, which is why New Year Resolutions are not for me. Chad just asked me today, what happened to my interest in gardening. Yep, Chad I lose interest in stuff very quickly, but gardening was something I did to focus my anger and grief on after Clinty's death.

No More Of These

Another big happening is that Chad turned 16 in May and as I said over here and over here and probably everywhere else about birthdays, birthdays in our house are mostly not a celebration. We all hide our grief and sadness and act out in ugliness and anger or the universe just works against us, like it did the night Clint died. Chad did not want a party and we planned this weekend away of bike riding - yes bike riding - not me, but that is what Chad wanted. I found this "lovely" place. It had an impressive website, I called and spoke to the owner, who told me that there was a lovely bike track and long out rides and and and. We left work early and off we went, looking forward to the weekend. It was also in the Eastern Freestate, but not the Clarence side, it was outside Vrede. There was a lovely restaurant at the resort according to both the website and the owner. I told her it was my son's birthday and riding bikes was the most important part of the weekend and she assured me over and over of how fantastic her resort was. It was kind of weird, because I had a niggly feeling that all was not quite right. I Google'd  the resort, her name, her phone number and all that really came up was that she was selling the resort and a place in Cape Town and she owned an Estate Agency on the East Rand - No alarm bells or anything to worry about.
Chad Doing A "Sue Heck From The Middle On A Road Trip" Impersonation
 It started raining on the way and we arrived at the Resort in the pouring rain. We asked the Gate Guard, who later turned out to be the manager/cleaner/receptionist/gateguard/securityguard/handyman/gardener where the restaurant was and we decided to eat first, before we unpacked in the rain. We just glanced around the chalet and left to have dinner at the "lovely" restaurant. Oh My Word - this place was the perfect setting for a horror movie - you know back in the day when scary movies were scary movies and not far fetched sci-fi movies - OK they were far fetched too, but the paranormal kind like The Amityville Horror. We entered the restaurant, picture it - light rain but the drenching non stop kind, misty shadows, dark and eery  and we walk into this empty dungeon kind of a place, a kind of pub. There is only one thing on the menu - ribs and a baked potato. The ribs come straight from the rib factory - frozen pre-packed that is burnt in the pub on a griller. Mine is frozen inside and char burnt on the outside. I kid you not the baked potato that the barman/waiter/chef makes in the microwave is served separately 20 minutes after we have eaten the ribs or should I say attempted to eat the ribs. We are the only ones in the dungeon  pub/restaurant. We in there over an hour waiting for our meal. The barman/waiter/chef asks if we want to watch anything specific on TV - we decide to watch Isidingo - half way through these two men come in to watch the rugby and the TV is turned off Isidingo and we are not even asked if we mind or told that they are changing channels - considering that we paid a small fortune for our "meal" plus drinks.

Chad In The Dungeon Restaurant
We left to go to the Chalet and then we had a good look at it. Everything was covered in leopard print and everything was old and tatty. We tried to find another place and ended up hardly sleeping. We never showered or anything. I stayed in my same clothes and we froze the whole night and just slept on top of the covers with our jackets for warmth. We decide in the morning Mark and Chad would ride their bikes and then we would go home and not stay another night. Its hard to believe that it could get worse, but it did. The bike track had not seen a bike on it since the invention of motor-cross. It looked like a rubbish dump. The whole place looked worse during the day than it did at night. We just left and went home. I sent the owner a strongly worded email and told her in no uncertain terms that I wanted my money back and if she did not refund our money I would write a review of the place on every website that she advertises on - needless to say we did get our money back (which is why I have not mentioned the name of the place), but the money would never redeem Chad's birthday weekend away and that is what made me so dam angry. So Chad's birthday was ruined - thanks universe. He did enjoy his birthday presents especially his I-Pod. May was also the month that he started doing gym seriously and started doing it with his personal trainer. It seems like just the other day, but it was in May 2013. To read the rest of May you can click over here

I will follow on with June in the next post

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Photo A Day Challenge Day Twenty Three

23. #Bedtime - Nightly Routine #Bathtime #FMSphotoaday

Photo A Day Challenge Day Twenty Two

22. #Nice - #Afternoon #Nap #FMSphotoaday

Photo A Day Challenge Day Twenty One

21. #Blue #FMSphotoaday

Photo A Day Challenge Day Twenty

20. #ToDoList #FMSphotoaday

Photo A Day Challenge Day Nineteen

19. #Breakfast #FMSphotoaday

Looking Back Over The Past Year - Jan to April 2013

I keep saying that I am going to post about the past year and catch up on all the things I never posted about, but in all honestly there is not much to blog about. Looking back through all my photos, I missed out more in 2012 than 2013. The past year was nothing more than a sleep induced, sometimes lucid tear filled memory that raced by in seconds. I was looking through my photos - I sorted them in date order and I was really shocked to see all those that I thought were taken in 2013 were all actually from 2012. I couldn't understand why I had no photos in January and February, then remembered that our camera was stolen. It was stolen on the 2 February 2013 at the launch of our new workshop. So all photos I did have up until then were not downloaded from before December. February I just never took any photos.

Birthday Card From Mark & Chad
January is my birthday month and the beginning of a new year. Last year was slightly better than years gone by - less sad and more happy. My birthday was more of a celebration that I managed to spend another birthday with my living child than devastation that I managed to stay alive another year without my dead child. The guilt of a grieving mother is almost worse than grief itself. Today I have sobbed and cried and wiped my tears and sobbed and cried and hidden my tears and sobbed and cried and slept through tears. That is the effect birthdays have on me now. The guilt, the pain, the confusion at being happy and being sad and thinking about the past year and the years gone by. I still manged in between the tears to do my photo a day challenge and have caught up and by Monday morning I will be on the right prompt for the day. I even managed to paint my nails blue. That is how you learn to live with grief and pain and the death of your child. You never accept it, you just learn to be dam good about hiding the pain and tears from everyone around you.

My 2013 Birthday Present
Mark and Chad bought me a Kobo E-Reader for my birthday. Mark thought I would enjoy it, because I love loved reading so much until Clint died. Now I can't concentrate on reading and there is a huge amount of guilt, because I read so much and all that time spent reading I should have spent with Clint. In reality teenagers don't want to spend time with their mothers, but that does not ease the guilt. When Chad and Clint were babies and toddlers there was no time to read, but as Chad became more independent, I started reading with a vengeance, like I did before Clint was born. In all honestly, I have never wanted an E-Reader. I love books, the feel of them, the smell of them, the comfort of curling up and getting involved in a book, no matter where you are, in the bath, at the beach, on a bus, on a lilo in the pool; in bed; on the couch even on a boat - the list is endless and you never have to worry about the battery going flat. I do prefer books just not right now, but I must admit, I did read loads of books on my Kobo, mostly sad heartbreaking true stories about child abuse and then the last book I started reading, Killing For Profit - I just could not get into and have not read for months. So that was my last birthday. We went for lunch and for the life of me I cannot even remember where we went. That is why photos are so important - and downloading them. That was also something I learnt through Clint's death, but keep forgetting. Besides the launch of our new workshop and the loss of my camera nothing happened in February - and I have no photos except a photo of the cake we had for the launch that was given to me by the lady who made the cake. Thanks to the thief that stole my camera.

Launch Cake

The Cake Was So Yummy

In March we went to Fouriesburg and stayed at the Welgelegen Cherry Farm. It was the first time we had ever been to Clarence and the Eastern Freestate. Chad and I now both love the Eastern Freestate. Mark thinks it is too cold there - yes in Winter it is, but in March it was still lovely and warm and oh so beautiful. The rest of the photos are in this post.

Dam At Welgelegen Guest Farm
We also went to The Rand Show in March and every year that we go, we are disappointed and say we are not going again and then we do go - out of habit - part of Easter Weekend things to do. Chad and Mark went in the drifting cars again, we looked at caravans and all the other exhibits and it is just same old, same old - nothing new and each year it just becomes more noisy and rowdy and less family orientated and more of a booze up.

Drifting Course

Animal Park

Drifting Course

Animal Show
March is also a very sad month, because Clint's death day is in March. It was the 6 years in 2013  and it is extremely hard to live for Chad, when I want to die with Clint. If we did anything special in April, then I can't remember what it was and this is the only photo I have that was taken in April. The rest of March is posted here and the only post in April was my third year blog anniversary and how Chad has grown. I had one post in January and nothing in February and my January post was all about December 2012 anyway.

Chad On His Bike That He Has Since Sold

I was going to do May and June now, but I am tired and it is late and I want to post my Photo A Day Photos. I have posted them on Instagram, but still have to post them here and then I need to bath and off to bed.

Good Night

PS As always excuse the typos and spelling errors I am tired and my eyes were sore so I took my contacts out and am wearing 10 year old or older glasses and I cant see, plus most of the letters have rubbed off the keyboard of my laptop - excuses excuses -  I know!!!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Photo A Day Challenge Day Eighteen

18. #Happy Place -  #MyHome #MyGarden #MySafePlace #FMSphotoaday

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