Locally available yarn

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I am sometimes asked about the yarns that I use and where I get them as most are not available in the average wool shop – not that there are even that many of those. I get most of the yarn I use on line and there are some good places here in South Africa but you have to know about them, so I am spreading the word.

I am not a yarn snob and I will use acrylic for stuff too, especially kids toys or jerseys for kids that are going to get a lot of wear and tear and need to machine washable 1000 times. But there is something very nice about natural yarns. Wool is of course so much warmer than acrylic, it does not squeak as you knit or crochet.

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I feel cheated

I have an unwelcome visitor. With Rachel Aunt Flow only came back after 15 months. With Caleb it was 11 months and now this time it is a day short of 6 months! What is going on with that. All this breast feeding my enormous giant baby and still not even a good 10 or 11 months without a monthly visitor. For most of us a period is rather a hassle but it happens and we deal with it. I used to be like this. Now I am one of the unlucky that get menorrhagia, I have blogged about it before “I love being a woman”

Basically I get very very heavy periods and sever cramping. It makes life quite uncomfortable during the first few days. So my options are much the same as they were then. Except having populated the world a little more already I am leaning more and more towards the take it all out options. But…

I am sleep deprived and don’t even have nearly enough time to do the things I need to do. But…
I feel finished having kids, I struggle with the baby stage and this time in no exception, Titus is delighful and as things go he is an easy baby, but babies are babies and they take time and really limit what you can do and the time you need to get things done is quadrupled.But..

I really blame all these buts on Carle we had a conversation which got me thinking about Dads and their girls and would it not be sweet for Yme to experience having a girl from the baby stage. I am so over having babies. I can’t imagine coping with 4, my sanity is hanging on a tender thread as it is.

I should really just go and see the Dr and discuss the options. For the mean time it is back to the Menstral cup for me.

While googling I came across this list of euphemisms from around the world for a period. Funny I have never heard of the South African one and no one else had either when I asked on Twitter.

The Netherlands: “The tomato soup is overcooked”
Brazil: “I’m with Chico”
China: “Little Sister has come”
many parts of Latin America: “Jenny has a red dress on”
Australia: “I’ve got the flags out”
Denmark: “There are Communists in the funhouse”
Ireland: “I’m wearing a jam rag”
England: “I’m flying the Japanese flag”
Japan: “Little Miss Strawberry”
France: “The English have arrived”
Germany: “The cranberry woman is coming”
Puerto Rico: “Did the rooster already sing?”
South Africa: “Granny’s stuck in traffic”

Have you hear the SA one before?
What do you call that time of the month?
And please talk some sanity into me, 3 kids is enough right???

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#AliceBucketList – South African Goodie Box

Once again Twitter has proven how powerful it can be. There is a really brave young 15 year old girl in the Uk with terminal cancer. She has started a bucket list. Somethings she can do and there are tons of people helping her with local stuff, then there are place she would love to have gone but she can not travel anymore. Here is her list on her blog they are not asking for money and have declined having a donate button on the blog. I thought getting a nice box of things from somewhere different might be fun.

I thought it might be nice to send her a slice of South Africa as I saw a lot of SA tweeps tweeting about her, this was we can be involved in a small way. Stacey from story scarves ( yes I still owe you my scarf *blush*) is going to put a story scarf in. I will make a hat and collect some special shells from our west coast beach to put in the box. It does not have to be anything expensive but maybe something personally made or special from South Africa. Let me know if you would like to be involved. I am happy to collect everything and then post it ( I will need some help with the overseas postage costs but am happy to be a collection point and put it all together)

Please leave a comment or email me if you want to help with the SAbox cameronsallyjane(at)gmail.com ( you all know to change the (at) to @ hey ;-P )

Edited to add:

People have been asking about the time frame. I think if I ask that everything gets to me by the end of July so aim to post it mid July to give the good old SA post system a chance to get it to me. I will then box it and send it on.

This is not about the expensive stuff just a small something, after all who does not like receiving an exciting mystery parcel from overseas. But I wanted to add that one thing we can all do that is on Alice’s list is to register for Bone Marrow donation here are the details

From @6000’s blog
Registering as a bone marrow donor does take a bit more effort, but it’s actually not so hard.

You can find all the information you need on the Sunflower Fund website, but the basics are these:

To become a bone marrow donor you need to be:

  • Committed to help anyone (not just the person who motivates you to join)
  • Between 18 – 50 years of age
  • In general good health (with no history of hepatitis or sexually transmitted diseases)
  • Weigh over 50 kg

Do not register as a bone marrow stem cell donor if:

  • You think you might need a test for HIV, Hepatitis –B or C.
  • You have injected yourself (even once) with illegal or non-prescription drugs.
  • You have taken money or drugs for sex.

All you have to do to start this process is call 0800 12 10 82 weekdays 9am-1pm or 2-4pm or email donorqueries@sunflowerfund.org.za

You will need to give 10ml of blood for tissue typing.
And should you be a match and have the opportunity to save a life, contrary to what you may have heard, the actual donation process is minor, with very little discomfort.

FitFlops – gym while you walk, do they work?

I got these very cool pink Fit Flops from my sister in the UK for my birthday. I entered the world in May so it was a while before it was warm enough to wear them in Cape Town. But since then I have worn them a lot and been asked quite a few times what they are like and if they are worth getting. I have had people in the Post Office and shop queue ask as well as friends, so I thought I would do a little blog post about them.

FitFlops

Pink FitFlops

I have some lovely Fuschia ones like these. They are by far some of the most comfortable shoes that I have ever worn. They really support your foot and you can wear them a long time without your feet getting tired. Especially being pregnant, when walking and standing can get tiring they are great. They tend to be my shoe of choice when I need to grab shoes to put on and go out.

My only 2 cons are that mine have white soles and so they tend to get rather grubby looking, especially if I have been walking around on our wooden floors barefoot and then put them on. No matter how much I clean these floors they ALWAYS make your feet a bit dirty. WE would fail that sock test they show on one of the floor cleaning ads. I think a darker sole would be nicer.

They can make your feet sweat a bit, not heaps but if really really hot, like it has been in CT the last few days then it can happen. That said I think feet would have sweated in anything in this heat.

So they are comfortable, but what about all the exercise benefits?
FitFlop Facts

This is what they are supposed to do, I am not sure that I ever felt like my legs got a work out while wearing them, but then again a slow pregnant waddle might not be the best way to assess that. I feel like my bum is expanding to counterbalance my bump so as for them toning my bum and legs I think they were fighting a loosing battle against pregnancy expansion.

They are very very comfortable and even though quite pricey here in South Africa I would still highly recommend them as worth the money.

I hate that I fear

Learned emotions can create a physical reaction in you so instantly, you have no time to deliberate, migigate or suppress it. You feel the giddy euphoria of joy, the heart racing knot of fear in your stomach, the jaw clenching, bile taste of anger. Whatever the emotion is, it can be so deep-rooted, that no amount of trying to rationalize it away changes what it was, and nothing can make it sit well.

I fear black men.

There, I said it. How perfectly horrible those words look, in black and white, on a page. Of course, I do not fear all black men, but strangers in the street? A car full of young black men behind me in traffic? Someone crossing too close to my car? All of the above can make my heart pound and my hands sweat. In the new South Africa, the one in which we are forgiving and reconciling, I have these ugly, horrible emotions that I feel betrayed by. I am passionate about SA and making it better, and yet on Reconciliation day, of all days, I had to face the ugly, uncomfortable truth, that we all carry lasting effects of the past.

Reconciliation means literally to meet again, a re-establishing, reinstatement, restoration, renewal of a relationship that was damaged. On this public holiday I was driving out of my parents street, in Pretoria. I am more aware of safety there, than at home in Cape Town, as it has a statistically higher crime rate. I was doing all my pre-journey adjustments: seat belt, changing the angle of my dad’s mirror and locking the doors. Which happened to coincide with a black man crossing the street near my car. I cringed. I just hoped that the sound was not audible outside the car and that he did not think I was locking the door because of him, but I did feel the momentary fear. I can not even imagine how he felt, or if this reaction is so commonplace, that it is not even noteworthy anymore. Even if that is the case we are both poorer and separated by these feelings. There is nothing restorative about fearing, or being feared.

I am a white South African woman, 33 years old. Old enough to have known apartheid as a child, young enough to embrace change and want SA to be different. I have written before that, whether I agreed or not with the way our country was governed, in profound ways, I benefited – you can read it here.

I remember visiting the Apartheid museum before my daughter was born 6 years ago and being shocked at just how much propaganda I had been fed, as a child. I came from a liberal household but still, through news, media and school, the seeds of belief in the threat and danger were sown and allowed to germinate. Die Swart Gevaar ( the black danger) was a deadly, menacing force and something to always be aware and afraid of.

The problem is, that creating a blanket, unfounded fear in people, results in individuals on all sides being harmed. Long-term. As much as my rational self will fight against the notion, and try always to do more and work harder for a better SA, the fear remains.

I hate to admit, that sometimes I am scared. I hate that this fear is so undiscriminating, I hate that I fear someone’s, husband, son, brother, lover, friend. I hate that I have a blanket fear of good people. I hate that because of history, socio- economic reasons and certainly just pure demographics, it is true that more crime is committed by black males, which “truth” aids and abets my fear, offers it foundation. I hate that because I HAVE HAD a gun at my head, my coward brain says: “See? I’m right!”. Fear.

But overwhelming feelings like this are what keeps us apart, keeps us from breaking down the barriers, because for every one criminal that walks down the street, thousands are just normal, good people.

This country’s history has damaged us all in so many ways. I hate that I feel what I do, I am ashamed to even say it out loud. I could ignore it, and not blog openly about it, avoid risking anger and hurting others. I could pretend that it is easy to change the past, and that if we all blow enough vuvuzellas and act unified, it will be enough. But unless we look at these issues, and face them, instead of feeling them in stomach’s pit, and denying them, we don’t learn. Unless we stare these ugly truths in the face, and talk about them, we can not change.

For every person I fear and have built-up a barrier towards, I am sorry. This “thing” has eroded my soul. And yours. We are both poorer for it.

It made me think of this video

Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)

Rachel
Dear Rachel

My spirited child I am blessed to have you, you challenge me in more ways than I thought possible. You are always determined to do things your way. I have no idea where you get that from. You have so much to learn and at times the task of helping you to reach become the wonderful free thinking individual soul that you are seems totally overwhelming. I fear that is trying to survive day to day I will crush much of the spirit that makes you who you are. But I also need you to know that as much as I love you the world does not care about you as an individual. It is a hard place that does not like people who do not conform.

I have picked these songs for you, not because they are my favourite musically but because of the words.

Song 1
You need a strong sense of self, but more than that you need to know that you are part of a family, a community and a country, your actions need not be conformist but they have to be kind and thoughtful of others. Be true to yourself.

I am the one and only – Chesney Hawkes

Song 2
There are going to be times when you wish with all your heart that something would happen or that someone would do things the way you want them done. Often it does not happen, the pain is often overwhelming, head up, one breath at a time. Sometimes you will look back and understand and other times you will never understand why.

Just say Yes – Snow Patrol

Song3
I know you are struggling now with Afrikaans. It feels really difficult and you get frustrated easily at not being able to do it well from the start, but try really hard to learn, it is the language of a lot of people in this country especially in the Cape but not only that it will change your relationship with Yme. And of course your new brother will be learning it too. Learning a new language will also help you when you want to learn other languages one day.

I have been introduced to Die Heuwels Fantasies by Yme and this is the song he plays to the baby.
Die Heuwels Fantasies – Klein Tambotieboom

Song 4
You are going to make mistakes, like I said before keep your individual spirit, be willing to go against the grain and be true to yourself BUT consider others. Try not to hurt other people but sometimes hurting others happens be willing to say sorry. We all hate it, learn the skill now it is invaluable

Chris Daughtry – Sorry

Song 5
You are going to get hurt, very very hurt and as much as I wish that I could protect you from ever feeling pain, it is not going to happen. You are going to be disappointed, betrayed, you are going to lose people, you are going to have your heart broken. Even times when it feels like just taking the next breath is too hard, remember lots of people are been here before. There were times when I felt like this and only the thoughts of you and Callie made me want to go on. You will be okay, you will survive. Come and tell me, cry with me, let me hold you, or find the people/friends/person that you feel safe to do that with. But in the end you will be okay.

REM – Everybody hurts

Song 6
You are a South African, this is a beautiful country of much diversity and beauty, but it is also a country that has had a lot of blood spilt on the ground. Learn its history, learn about its people and most of all never forget that you have more than lots of other people in this land. Find how you can help and make this country better for all, it is worth fighting for

South Africa National Anthem

Song 7
Fall in love, it would be ridiculous to think that you will do it only once, but try not to rush and never settle. Wait and be fussy. You have the right to be loved everything that you are and for that to be enough. No one is perfect, don’t try change the person you are with it does not work. You will natural change in ways by being together, but be that growing together and not fighting to stay who you are. The 3 words I love you can be easy to say but destroying not to hear. Don’t throw them away easily but say them enough to the right person. If someone never says them to you, they are not the right one, I learnt that the hard way.

Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

There are many more lessons I want you to learn but enough for today. More than all the music in the world, learn to sing in the shower, dance to your own beat, love and laugh more than you do anything else and find your passion, when you know what drives you it will help channel your spirit and use your talents for good.

I love you so very very much
Your Pink Hair Mom

Can you help???

I was visiting my friend yesterday and she was telling me about these gymnasts at their club that walk 15km to and from training and come from nothing yet are trying to make something with their lives. They have a chance to go to Pretoria and compete in the South African Gym Games. I hope that by putting this out there more people might see it and be able to help. If you can’t personally help maybe you can also blog about it, just never know who might see and be able to help.

I really believe that through sport and giving kids a purpose we have a way to make things better in this country.

help gymnasts

If you can’t read it clearly or need more details please contact me.

We were the fat kid

Today I tweeted : You support your country like you would if your kid was the fat kid in a race with no chance of winning. You would not walk out on your kid!

I am really sorry to use such a non-PC analogy, but I hope you will forgive me and see the sentiment. I am a parent so it was just what naturally sprung to mind. I watched the game yesterday, along with millions of South African supporters, and at the end I had a very heavy heart, but not because we lost.

Last night we were like the fat kid turning up to run the 3000m at the big inter-school athletics day. Let’s face it. We’re ranked 83 in the world, playing a team who is ranked 16! When you are the parents of the fat kid, you know that they are really not in it to win it. Yes there is always an outside, blind chance but that is not the point. You are there to watch and support them because they are YOUR kid (team). Everyone loves a winner, it is fun to support the winner but it’s the underdog that needs the extra support. They need to know, no matter if they finish the race long after all the others, or if they come in 3 goals behind, that you are still there for them and proud of the way they played against all odds.

I am not going to talk about the bad decision from the referee, off sides, red card, fair or not. But that WAS the moment the wind was knocked out of our boys, who were so out-ranked,yet knew they had the hopes of a nation on them. I am not a football expert by any way shape or form, but I am a mother. I know that to support, means to stick by your kid and your team through the good and the bad. Yes, the game did not go our way, but I am not one tiny bit disappointed in our boys, they turned up and they fought with heart, they were the fat kid and yet they played until the end. I was (and am) however disgusted when the unthinkable happened, the supporters started to walk out! I am furious at every fan that lifted their butts off their seats and walk out on their team. There is no excuse. You let the fat kid run the home straight with no support, and for that I am sad to be amongst those who “call” themselves SA supporters. I only hope the boys know how many of us love their guts and their willingness to try and to play for a country who has pinned hopes on them against all odds.

Imagine you were the fat kid, unrealistically, blindly, expected to win. And your parents walked out when you didn’t! What hope do we have for unity and support for our fellow South Africans if we are so quick to turn our backs, when the going gets tough?

World cup fever

While we are not the biggest soccer fans, we thought that it would be a good idea to get involved in some of the world cup excitement. My friend Ghilraen who also home schools was say that they were learning about each of the countries that are coming to take part in the World Cup later this month. I asked Rachel if she thought this was something she woulc like to do and she did. We decided to start with South Africa.

For each of the countries we will be looking at:

  • Flag
  • Food and where possible we will try make a dish from that country
  • Languages
  • Maps and Locations
  • National plants. animals and birds
  • Clothes and culture

I benefited from Apartheid – did you?

I am a white South Africa. I was born and grew up in Bophuthatswana.
I have fairly liberal parents, and even if we did not agree with the ruling government, the fact is that I benefited. When we moved to Pretoria, I went to good school and got a good education – a solid foundation in life. I was lucky enough to go to University and, where I am today, is partly due to that start in life. Sure I worked hard, overcame dyslexia and disproved the teacher who said I would never amount to much, but had my skin colour been different, a lot of these priviledges would not have been mine.

There are a few responses one can have as a white South African. You can deny that you had any part in it, you can say you did your bit. I was still at school, but did any of us do enough? You can be guilty, but let’s be honest, guilt helps no-one and is immobilizing. You wallow in it and yet nothing changes. People are scared and worried about the future, those with kids worry about their future too, but I believe that our response has to be: To take ownership of how we benefited, regardless of fault, and give back.

So, while I might not be responsible, I fully believe that I am now duty bound to give back and to make SA better for those who did not have the chances I had. Being privileged is not bound by colour, so if you have more than other South Africans what are you doing to help?

It can feel a bit overwhelming but if we all reach out and help in our own small corner of the country we CAN make a difference, help one person, one family, one school, one community. Give time, give money, give skills. And not just in passing. Get involved. Get to know people and let them touch your life as you touch theirs.

I leave you with the starfish story – throw one back and make a difference!

Based on the story by Loren Eisley…

I awoke early, as I often did, just before sunrise to walk by the ocean’s edge and greet the new day. As I moved through the misty dawn, I focused on a faint, far away motion. I saw a youth, bending and reaching and flailing arms, dancing on the beach, no doubt in celebration of the perfect day soon to begin.

As I approached, I sadly realized that the youth was not dancing to the bay, but rather bending to sift through the debris left by the night’s tide, stopping now and then to pick up a starfish and then standing, to heave it back into the sea. I asked the youth the purpose of the effort. “The tide has washed the starfish onto the beach and they cannot return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun rises, they will die, unless I throw them back to the sea.”

As the youth explained, I surveyed the vast expanse of beach, strectching in both directions beyond my sight. Starfish littered the shore in numbers beyond calculation. The hopelessness of the youth’s plan became clear to me and I countered, “But there are more starfish on this beach than you can ever save before the sun is up. Surely you cannot expect to make a difference.”

The youth paused briefly to consider my words, bent to pick up a starfish and threw it as far as possible. Turning to me he simply said, “I made a difference to that one.”