Robby wants to go to Space …. lets send him there …. no really!

Axe is running a really clever advertising campaign.

Nothing appeals to me more than an ad campaigns that has the touch of the ridiculous.

AXE has finally stepped away from their “spray on and have women jumping all over you” campaign and given this one some thought.

The ad people at AXE have redeemed themselves (for now) with their new campaign.  It is very cool, very clever – and nicely put together on their website.

The prize/carrot at the end of the stick is that they are putting a winner into space.

LEAVE A MAN.  COME BACK A HERO.

AXE APOLLO SPACE ACADEMY

“Axe is scouring the world to recruit a few brave me.  For the opportunity of a life time – a trip to space.  And yes we mean actual space”

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My friend Robby Kotejin has made it to the leader board, and I can’t think of someone I would like to see more I’d like to see in a space suit eating his lunch out of a squeezie bottle.

He needs to win the South African leg, and then goes on to an international leader board.

Pop along to the website, it’s a cool campaign, click on the Leader Board, and give Robby a vote.  Let’s get our man into space!!

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Vote HERE!

Top 20!!!!
Go to www.axeapollo.com
Click leaderboard tab at the top
Scroll down
Click on Robby Kojetin!!!!!

None of the people who have voted have received any spam or rubbish – that’s nice of them!

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New Year … over enthusiastic parent ….

Last year I felt I was permanently on the back foot with regards to the kids and keeping up with their school work and school commitments.

I realised both Connor and Georgia make for hopelessly poor postman.

I don’t get notes in time.  I never seem to know what is going on, and most of the time I miss the notice about an oral, homework or something they have to bring to school.

I will confess that I also did not go and search out the information.  I used the theory of “if the kids don’t give me the right stuff, then they are going to miss out, and then it is their fault and that is just the way it is…”

I made a realisation this year.  I need to be more involved with the kids.  The less involved I am, the less involved they will be at school.  The less involved they are at school, the more opportunities they will miss out on.  The more they miss out on, will mean the poorer their school career is going to be.

The habits we teach them now about going to school prepared and with the right material, is the habits they are going to have in high school when things are much harder and they need to be more prepared than they are now at primary school.

I felt I needed to step up in the parenting department and start taking a more active role.  I need to be a pushier parent, instead of the sloppy parent I have been up to now.

I really do not enjoy “socializing with other parents” or going to school things.

My social awkwardness escalates and I find it all very stressful, but I am acutely aware that Connor is in Grade 5 and before I blink he is going to be in Grade 7.  Then I am going to be trying to get him into High Schools, and then kicking myself for not motivating him earlier.

This year, I have attended parent/teacher meetings.  Made sure I ask the right questions, and if I don’t know then I send an email to the school for clarity. (I even attended one incorrect one, so found myself sitting in a meeting for parents of Grade 7 children … on the upside, I feel quite psyched for Grade 7 and know how to start preparing!)

The kids have schedules drawn up and have been signed up for groups that I usually miss, because they are full by the time I wake up and realise I need to sign up for them.

The kids are enrolled into sports and cultural activities.  I have the name of the teacher who organises the eisteddfod, and I am on that to prepare the kids.

If something is sent home, I action it that evening, and do not leave it over until the next day.

I have jotted all the things I need to do, and what the kids need to attend for the next term.

By being a bit more involved, I do not feel so panicky and out of control, like I felt for a large portion of last year.

We have decided to have two evenings a week as no television nights – the kids can do homework, extra reading, or something else that does not require a computer screen, DS screen or a television screen.

Part of the reason I wanted to be able to “work for myself” was so that I am more available for the kids at school this year.

I do not necessarily want to have them at home with me in the afternoon.  But I do want to ensure that if there is a thing I need to go to, or a practice I want to watch, or match they need to be taxi’d to, that I am available and can attend.

On my list of things to do this week, is to look at open days for High School!!

How the hell does this come around so quickly?  I am still amazed some days that Connor no longer needs me to breastfeed him, and wipe his bum …. I know it is a cliché, but seriously it is like a blink of an eye and then they stand before you asking to borrow the car keys, and you wonder where it all went!!

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Game of Thrones …. slight obsession ….

I had a few Exclusive Books vouchers from my last birthday.  Kennith also found a voucher that was so old, it was almost worth more keeping and framing.

Even though I am charging my Kindle and wiping the dust off the screen and I have great ambitions to use it  – primarily so that Kennith does not get more upset about buying me digital things that I just never seem to use – I really still feel like I am cheating on my paper-and-ink books when I read a digital book.

Even with the guilt of “I must start using my Kindle more” I trotted off to Exclusive Books and bought some delicious books.

I do love bookstores – I could while away a day there quite happily.

I saw Series One and Series Two of Game of Thrones on DSTV, and was hooked — like dribbling at the mouth, dilated pupils hooked.

There was nothing I did not like …. well I did not like that it ended and sort of left me hanging with a 1/2 a glass of wine and an unfinished bag of Chuckles.

I usually do not read books if I have seen the on-screen version.  I like to be able to picture the character and his/her voice without having the “visual” forced on me by a tv series of a movie.

Game of Thrones has become the exception.

I bought Clash of Kings by George RR Martin (it is the second book in the series, and more or less runs at the same pace as Series 2 of Game of Thrones) –  holy mother mccreadie it is brilliant.

I don’t do books I have seen the series/movies of.

I don’t do books of the genre “fantasy”.

I broke both of those rules.  I opened the book, and it was a bit like the scene from Jumanji where the drums start in the background when they open the game.  Of course it was that do-do-do-doooooo sound track from the Game of Throne series, and I could hear their voices (the wildlings always speak in an irish accent in my head for some reason).

I loved the book.  Love might not be doing it justice.

I will confess that I might not have been able to follow the book without having seen the series on television – there are a lot of characters, they have long names and each chapter jumps to a different character/kingdom.

The books do not always move in chronological order, and sometimes run side by side to an earlier book. If you are not awake and all your brain cells functioning, these books can get a bit confusing.

The book order for George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones book order runs like this:

A Game of Thrones, Book 1

A Clash of Kings, Book 2

A Storm of Swords, Book 3 – Part 1 – Steel and Sow

A Storm of Swords, Book 3 – Part 2 – Blood and Gold

A Feast for Crows, Book 4

A Dance with Dragons – Part 1 – Dreams and Dust, Book 5 

A Dance with Dragons – Part 2 – After the Feast, Book 5

The Winds of Winter, Book 6 – Not released yet

A Dream of Spring, Book 7 – Not released yet

There are a shit load of character and no one is named Bill or Shawn.  They are all Cersei Baratheon, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, is the wife of King Robert Baratheon and after a while the names start to wash over you leaving you a bit dumb, and you stop worrying who individual people are, and get swept away in the story.

I tried to stick to remembering the key characters, and nodding in ignorance when I read anyone who was not the 10 or 20 I had committed to memory.

I picked up Clash of Kings which is pretty much Season 2 – it was brilliant.  I could barely contain myself and I scampered off  to purchase the next book in the series.

I keep thinking, well these books are thick lumbering fantasy epics – I am sure I will get bored …. it has not happened yet.

I am busy reading A Dance with Dragons – Part 1 – Dreams and Dust, Book 5 at the moment, and it is totally engrossing.

The thing that carries me through the last few weeks of hectic work, and the running around is that at the end of it all, once all is said and done, and I have a shower and brush my teeth, I have Game of Thrones waiting for me even if it is for 15 minutes or two hours – however long I can stay awake.

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I went back to Run/Walk for Life today …..

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I started Run/Walk for Life in October.

My theory is that running is great exercise, does not really require any organisation to get it going, and is something you can do pretty much anywhere and at any time.

I have a firmly held belief that “I can’t run.”

Back in 2010 I contacted a running coach, and he diligently worked with me to “teach me to run.”

I realise for people who “just run” that the idea of it being a skill that needs to be taught is a foreign idea, but I needed to be taught to run.

I had been doing Adventure Boot Camp in 2009 and 2010 and, it has lots of bits where you need to run.  Not far, but you need to run.  I found that I was getting stronger and fitter at Adventure Boot Camp, but I still could not run any distance easily.

I breathed and looked like I was on the verge of a heart attack or at the very least in the throes of an epileptic attack.

Runner coach started me running the distance between 2 light posts.  I thought I was going to die.  I was breathing so hard after that, that it took about 20 minutes for me to return to normal breathing.  Not a great start!

Runner coach guy worked with me and after 2 months I was able to run for about 35 minutes – which for me was unheard of.  I can’t tell you how proud of was of myself!!  We worked together two evenings a week, and we started slowly run for 1 minutes, walk for 20 minutes, run for 1 minute, walk for 20 minutes – and then slowly built on that until we got to a point where I was actually doing more running in the hour than walking!!

I was sure I was never going to run – and even though he said : “I have never met anyone who cannot run.  I have met many people who think they cannot run!”  I thought that I would be the person to change his outlook or at the very least his catch phrase.

I was still not a confident runner as each time I started to run I would tell myself  “you know, you can’t run, you know that, right?”

Even as I am busy running the voice in my head would say “okay, I see here that you are running, but best  you do not believe it, you may be running, but you know you can’t run — so this is just a fluke —– YOU CAN’T RUN!”

I know people say that running is a mental thing – cheese and rice, but can the mentally unhinged do it?

Back in 2010 Kennith entered me into the Two Oceans Marathon.

That was the equivalent of shooting me in the knee.

I  convinced myself  I could not run any distance, I would never be able to train to run any sort of event/race.

Instead of spurring me on to train, it spurred me on to sit on the couch, take off my shoes and further convince myself that I COULD NOT RUN.  I didn’t run for about a year after that.

October last year I joined and started Run/Walk for Life.  The programme is geared for everyone whether you are 10 or 80 years old.  I decided to slot in and stick with what ever they suggested I should do, and go with the flow.

I figured they must know what they are doing.  I like the idea of an organised and committed time to do something, but I like to work on my own within that range.  I like and need to spend time in my head – and exercise for me is a really a “head” thing, and I do not enjoy doing it as a group.

Run/Walk for Life felt I was not ready for road work – they had me walk around a field, and walk around a field and walk around a field.

Just at the point where I thought I had done my head in with walking around a field, the instructor suggested I start running a bit – short bits – maybe 100 metres, then walk again.  Still around the field.

Worked well – all very controlled.  I do about 40 minutes of walking interspersed with running.  I run really slowly, more of a shuffle – but my breathing is controlled. I walk, and then run when I feel I am ready, and as far as I think I can/should go – some days I push myself and play little mental “can you make it to the orange beacon” games.

I was on holiday and have not been to Run/Walk for Life since the first week of December.  I was meant to go last week, but I convinced myself of all sorts of reasons why not to.

This morning I was committed to go.  [Even though I took my book along thinking I would bail, and end up eating McDonalds breakfast in my car with my book.]

I went.  I got out of my car and I was sent walking on the field.  At a certain point I thought, okay, I will just run for 100 meters  and then carry on walking.

I knew it was going to be hard, as I just felt so “flahhhhhh” and just “gahhhhhhhh” – all the things you feel after a holiday of much lying around and too much eating.

The idea of running/walking held very little in the way of anything attractive this morning.

I put my earphones in, listened to Depeche Mode and Johnny Cash and did my 40 minutes of redemption.

I ran much more than I thought I would be able to.  I ran slowly, but I could keep my breathing more or less normal.

I did not throw up once on the field, and for that I am grateful!

When I was finished, I was sweating to the point where my back was one slick of sweat.   I did not realise I could sweat that much.  My sweat was sweating.  My face was the colour of beetroot, and not the attractive kind.  But, I was proud of myself this morning that I high-fived myself in the car.

Someone suggested this morning, I enter and commit to a 5km race now – I can already hear my voices convincing me otherwise.

Road Trip Story # 1

On the 10 December we left for a road trip – it was the first holiday we have taken with the kids.  We tend to go away without the kids, and when we do go away with them, we tend to head anywhere that is no more than 2 hours from home.

Mainly because at some point around day three we will just want to go home.

We drove to Bloemfontein, and then stayed over for a night – just so Connor was not going to be in the car for his birthday.

We had actually had a really cool surf party for him on the 8th.  10 of his friends doing a surf lesson and then surfing/falling at Muizenburg Beach.

I sat on the beach freezing and trying to keep Isabelle warm, thinking this is the coldest and grimmest birthday every – the wind was howling and it was freezing – only to be told by the boys that it WAS THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!

Shows what I know.  Children appear to have no thermostat and a high tolerance for lips that turn blue, and wind that makes you bend at the ankles.

We left Bloemfontein with stars in our eyes, and all the excitement one would expect when aimed towards Sun City.

I have never been to Sun City, so the idea of it was quite lavish, fun-filled, and included hours lazing around a pool with a large glass of Chenin Blanc and maybe a small packet of pistachios from the pool bar!

Sun City sounded very cool and we were “surprising ” the kids.  They only realised where we were going when Connor started reading the SUN CITY sign.

We are in the hotel and I am all excited about the fact that we are at SUN CITY.  We are taken up to our room by a porter and I am all WE ARE IN SUN CITY, WE ARE IN SUN CITY.

We walk in the room – bear in mind I have been stuck in a car for two days, so the room is like heaven.  I walk in.  It is big, it is clean, it does not smell of old food and feet like the car.  T\here is a big bed with crisp sheets and large pillows.  Oh heaven.  Wake me quick!

I am so “I am going to lie down with my book and a cup of tea” and I then I realised “hey where are the kids’ beds?”

“Where is the interleading door to the kids rooms?

I glance behind the tv cabinet.

I look under the bed.

I peek behind the curtain.

I ran my hand along the wall in the event it had one of those “secret” spring lock numbers.

I get annoyed because clearly we are in the WRONG ROOM.  I pivot around to Kennith and tell him we are booked in the wrong room, as where is the inter leading door to the kids’s room?

The porter indicates the red/orange couch with a bit of a flourish.

I knew he was saying something but I could not hear him, as the voices in my head started screaming at about that point.

I say a little louder (because I have learnt this from my kids, if you keep saying something over and over again, in a louder voice, sometimes you get that thing that you were not going to get in the beginning) voice: “WE ARE IN THE WRONG ROOM.  WE ARE MEANT TO BE IN THE FAMILY SUITE. THEY HAVE MADE AN ERROR WITH THE BOOKING.  WHERE IS THE KIDS ROOM?”

Porter guy showed us the roll out bed — which rolls out from the couch — where he suggests we are going to put three kids.  To sleep.

More importantly when he rolled out the bed, the room did not get any bigger.

We then were 5 people with 5 over sized bag, whose contents was thrown around in the room, squeezed into a room suited to 2 people. 2 people comfortable.  5 people a bit less so.

Shall we just say the glamour of SUN CITY evaporated right there!

I do not in any way wish to take away the magic that is SUN CITY.  But “family suites” appear to be not dissimilar from camping.  You have bags all around you, and you spend much of your day scratching around in them for items of clothing, and some more time trying to shove everything back into them.

If sleeping 5 in a room was slightly “what I did not expect” – 5 of us using one bathroom really took any trace of magic out of the equation.

By night two, Kennith ended up on the roll out couch’s mattress transferred to the floor.

Connor on cushions made from those that came off the couch, and I slept in the big bed with the two girls.

Not quite what I had expected, I will confess.

Connor knitted a Christmas Present ….

This year Connor knitted Isabelle a pair of socks.  All by himself, off his own bat, without any suggestion, motivation, cajoling from any of us – for the record he is 10 (he has just turned 11, but he made the socks when he was 10).

On Christmas morning there under the tree was a gift for Isabelle.  Hand knitted socks all wrapped up – Connor’s handiwork.

What is even cuter is that Isabelle wears them – granted like a German tourist – sometimes with the shoes swapped over on the wrong feet –  but there we go.

I really wonder where we got Connor from – he is just so damn sweet, endearing and has a heart of gold.  I am not sure what recipe we used to get him, but he is definitely such a sweet boy.

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Thanks so much #blogsecretsanta and The Stiletto Mum …..

I received my #blogsecretsanta gift on the 23rd (as we had been away for just over two weeks).  I put my gift under my tree so that I could open it on Christmas morning.

There is truly something delicious about getting a “you have a parcel at the post office” slip in your mail box.

You brush your teeth, put on shoes and head down to your local post office, stand in the queue with your little white slip and when you get to the front of the queue get to say:

“I have a parcel to collect!” and then a person with a name badge brings you a parcel.  You sort of smile all stupidly and just stand there – whilst the counter person’s hand starts to fumble under the desk waiting to push the “there is a freak at my counter alert security” button.

I seldom deal with the post office, but to toddle along and get a suprise gift is pretty high up there with “good things that make you smile”.

Thank you to Andrea Liss who took the time – and the effort – with a total disregard for her bank balance and found me some gorgeous stationery things.  You know how you get things that you did not realise you needed, and then wonder how you ever lived without them – all of them are scattered around my desk in various modes of use (and I now have a kitchen clock on my fridge!!!).

Loved the gift – appreciated the time you took to get them, and send them to me on time — thank you so much!

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Well done again to Charlotte/The Stiletto Mum who has set the bar so high this year.

I do not think anyone will attempt to try to organise and run a Secret Santa after this.  You are officially a spreadsheet and organising freak-goddess!!

Wishing everyone who got it together for #blogsecretsanta a wonderful 2013 – well done chickettes!!  And sadly a bit of shame for those who did not make it, and now are about to appear on Charlotte’s Shit List!

 

Bad Blogger … go sit in the naughty corner ….

I have been a very bad blogger.  I have not been very good at posting for the last few weeks.

It really is not for a lack of writing.  I realised I have 105 “draft posts” that I have not posted for varying reasons, so clearly I have stuff to say.

I feel a bit like I am losing my voice – my ability to express myself – right now I am feeling very much like this image – but with better cuticle and nail care!

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It is very frustrating as part of how I process “stuff”is by getting it out, and ideally getting it out on this blog.

Right now I am feeling  very “idea and thought” constipated – all these thoughts, ideas, frustrations, moments of joy, moments of anger, and well … frustrations are bottled up and not getting out.

Clearly I need a purge.  Usually I will look for the most inappropriate time or occasion to do this …..

I was busy writing a post about how I have been fortunate enough not to have MY BLACK DOG OF DEPRESSION back in some time.  I was all “hey check me out, no worries…. har har har….”  Yes, well, who is laughing now?  Not me in the event I was being a bit vague.

I have honestly not missed the whooshing sound of his tail, and the pitter patter of his feet at night.  As much as I try to picture him as this loping large black Labrador, I really think he is a m-fuker and can do without him.

I am starting to think that I might have “announced” it a bit prematurely, and maybe the inability to speak, to say what I feel, what I am thinking is probably a sign of a dip in the not too distant future.

It might just be an overdose on all the chaos and madness that is associated with this time of year.

Anyway, look out for some vague really makes-no-sense posts coming up … apologise if it all appears a bit nonsensical.