Vroom! Vroom! Jaguar Simola hillclimb 2015

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A day at the races

I had the fine luck to find myself with a media pass to the Jaguar Simola Hill Climb this weekend. I was the official Twitter feed “girl on the ground” for a local organization.

Off I went, armed with my (let’s face it fairly cut rate) cell phone, my (actually rather good) flask of coffee and a pink arm band declaring me as “media”. It is amazing the kind of access you can get around an event (even a dangerous motorsports event) with a media badge. It’s like the magic wand that opens the doorway to forbidden areas.

Okay so it actually just means that I got to go snoop around the pits and get myself into ridiculously precarious positions for the sake of a photo (all taken with said el-crap-io cell phone).

How was the 2015 JaguarSHC? In a word: Loud.

Seriously loud. Like vrrrrooooom, vroooom, brump brump brump, vrooooom!

That’s pretty much the best I can do to describe it.

That roar of the engines has an amazing effect on the adrenaline levels! I felt like a little girl. I was so excited! Even when I had no idea what was going on around me.

Oh and all the pretty cars! So shiny! So beautiful. Ironically a friend was teasing me before hand saying I was just going to try and bag myself a rich man, whereas I was actually more into the cars than the guys were. I think I may have a bit of a thing for loud, fast, powerful cars. (sshh, don’t tell anyone but they kind of do things to me)

The best was being in the thick of things. It’s definitely not glamorous being a “media” type. You get there early and leave last. You can’t miss a single thing. You are working, after all. But you also feel like you are really part of the action. You are right up close and personal with the cars and the drivers and the organizers. I don’t think I could attend another big event as just a spectator. I would feel left out.

I must give a big heads up to the organizers. This was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best organized event I have attended in some time, possibly ever.

It was safe, it was clean, everything ran smoothly from start to exhilarating finish.

I feel really privileged to have been on the inside track (quite literally) of such a flashy event.

I even managed to take the kids along for part of it, I think Felix has a new love affair : classic sports cars.

My only sadness is that the vintage drive happened on Friday afternoon, before I clocked in for duty, and I didn’t get to ogle my own true love: Vintage Stock cars.

If I had one request for the organizers next year (aside from “please can I run your social media and please can I drive your Jag”) it would be that they involve the classic vintage beauties more for the rest of the weekend. I would have loved a chance to go and day dream over them.

Cyber Flirting

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I have been told I am a natural flirt. I don’t know how true that is, but I do know that it is usually perfectly harmless on my side of the game.

So what about having a little flirt with a cute guy over cyber space? Or getting hot and heavy across the airwaves, how bad is it, really?

Like most things, I think its relative.

I recently had an experience of the digital persuasion. It was brief but thrilling. A real pick-me-up. I made a highly unprofessional comment on a picture that had been tweeted by a product. My comment was in regards to the handsome young man in the picture. To my surprise I received a reply from the model himself. I was so embarrassed at first, but then we ended up having a little flirt across cyber space that lasted an hour or two.

It was nothing extreme, and we were both polite, but it still felt kind of naughty. In fact, it was kind of a thrill. And it got me to thinking, how bad is cyber flirting, really?

I mean, we scorn the notion of meeting a spouse via a dating site, but I am meeting more and more happily married couples who did it.

Of course we all understand the dangers of the internet, the fact that it is rife with psychopathic sociopaths who are waiting to human traffic our asses to where-ever it is that they traffic them to. My eleven year old knows not to talk to strangers on whatsapp any more readily than she does to strangers in the street. And no-one wants to stumble into a cyber-nest of porn fiends and weirdo’s (Well evidentially not no-one as they do seem to have quite a community going, but you get my drift)

But what about flirting in a safe and respectful way?

I know my mother would disapprove, but she also disapproves of phoning people after 8pm and being seen in public with bare feet.

That little interaction I had put me on a positive buzz for the rest of the afternoon. I was happy, I felt playful and frivolous and I was more productive than usual for the rest of the afternoon. I am a morning person and I tend to crash in the late afternoon – so this little digital interaction gave me an energy boost. That boost had a positive spin on the rest of my day.

Maybe if it was something I did all the time it would lose it’s positive effect.

After pondering the moral aspect of it for some time I came to the realization that the internet is just another place where people interact (only there are no bad hair days in cyber space). It then follows that all of the usual rules apply to cyber flirting as to regular flirting:

  • It should be spontaneous and never per-meditated. Pr-meditated flirting is creepy.
  • No minors. Seems obvious but it’s really easy to fake your age on the internet so be careful.
  • You should both be having fun. If the other person isn’t enjoying it, chances are you are a bit of a creep.
  • Keep it clean. Intelligent people can be sexy as hell through suggestion without being explicit.
  • The previous rule may be wavered when dealing with your own spouse, but do be careful of your privacy settings, you don’t want anyone finding all that.
  • Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
  • Please don’t share your intimate details in a public space – for any reason , ever.

I am not going to launch into cyber safety – I should hope it’s obvious that you should not agree to meet someone you met over Facebook in a dark alley way all alone, give them your banking details or anything else stupid like that.

But if the moment arises and someone shows a digital fascination, I say have fun with it. Just remember that his profile picture is probably as photo-shopped as yours is.

Thanks for the loan of the image https://emagcomsecurity.wordpress.com

Shit could be worse

Dear trusty followers,

I apologize for my general silence of late.

The thing is, this is a happiness sharing blog. It’s a cyber space where I aim to inspire a sense of hope, whimsy or just a laugh. I usually attempt to do this by sharing some random happening that I have witnessed.

But lately, I have been struggling to lift my head out of my deep, dark funk long enough to see the random little whimsy’s. Sometimes I will register that something in front of me is blog worthy, that it’s happy and random and good, but I can’t seem to get through the thick layer of bluish grey glass that separates me from the happy people. I can’t feel it. I can’t write it.

Things have been a tad shitty of late.

It’s almost comical, how bad situations have gotten worse, and then even worse than that. Being an only parent to two school going children is not for the faint hearted. Especially when you are broke.

Like, not just low on cash, but properly screwed, broke.

But, anyway.

I was pondering upon my lack of joy to share when I saw a post by a friend of mine whose eleven year old daughter was going in for a heart op. I realized that all of my problems, and I mean all of them, would be solved by a lot of money.

Once I realized that, I started to see how incredibly lucky I am (well not as lucky as people whose ex’s pay child support, but still lucky-ish)

You see, almost all of my problems can be solved by money.

So they can be solved.

My children are healthy, clever and emotionally a lot more sound than they should be, given my being their only parental influence.

I am healthy.

My Mom is amazing.

I have good friends who really care about me even when I don’t want to burden them with myself. I really do not know what the hell they get out of the arrangement but I am happy to have them so I daren’t ask!

I have a wonderful sister. she is funny and loving and caring and as gay as a cucumber.

I also have a brother somewhere out there.

I have good people.

I can read and write. Those are two highly under-rated skills. Roughly 20 % of the world population are illiterate. That is around 775 million people who will never read Tolkien or write their own name.

I have a creative mind, I have a high metabolism and I am not an asshole. Not being an asshole is also highly under rated. Approximately 47 % of the world population are total jerks, so to not be an asshole is really an amazing achievement.

I even possess the ability to laugh at myself. I also have a nauseating inner optimist. Even when everything sucks. I sometimes hate her.

So yes, maybe everything sucks right now.

Everything sucks and I have big problems. But they are not so big, or so bad, because they are nothing money can’t fix.

And those are really the best kind of problems to have.

I am grateful for my problems, shit could be worse.

Why I love to hate the gym

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I never wanted to be a gym bunny. I have invested a lot of time into slagging the gym culture, in fact. And now here I am – a willing and paying member of the gym (non) reality.

I have always preferred the idea of exercising out of doors. Go for a run, a walk (a hike).

Or get what I call ‘incidental’ exercise while doing something that you love like dancing, Capoeira, canoeing, whatever.

The idea of going into an indoor area filled with sweaty bodies who are there with the sole purpose of working specific muscle groups always struck me as unhealthy and unnatural.

Which is why I have been so surprised to find that the gym rocks.

For one thing it’s open all kinds of insane hours when it might not be convenient to be on the road. In fact there are quite a few great things about the gym:

  • It’s open in the dark
  • It’s open when it’s raining and has cooling facilities when it’s hot
  • There are some mean looking dudes (instructors on duty) who will give you evil eye balls if you try to be lazy and downscale your work out
  • The same guys also show you how to use all the equipment – safely
  • The instructors at my gym work out a program just for you and your specific wibbly bits, no extra charge
  • You actually work out – because you are there. Whereas at home it’s easy to get distracted and think of other more pressing things to do.
  • No one is looking at you – 80 % of the other people there are feeling just as pathetic as you are – and they don’t actually give a crap about you
  • Contrary to what I always believed – you can wear anything that’s comfortable. No-one notices.
  • The equipment I always laughed at actually helps you sculpt exactly the areas you want to
  • Unlike a class – you can fit it in whenever you have time. you don’t have to be punctual or specific
  • No politics – unlike many group activities
  • The crappy music actually vibes you up
  • There is free filtered water on tap
  • Free hot showers, and hair drier!
  • You don’t have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to. This is a huge plus for me. I work with people all day, and come home to two kids every evening. I really enjoy that I can nod at someone once and not have to be sociable AT ALL while I am sweating.

As with all exercise the gym calms me down and gives me an endorphin buzz that lasts a couple of hours. Just 45 minutes at the gym takes away my desire to shove someone’s head through a wall and helps me restore my sense of humour.

My gym survival tips:

  • Don’t waste money on fancy gym clothes, no-one is interested in anything but themselves and they won’t notice
  • Wear something funny if it picks you up – I like to go with an eighties theme.
  • Bring tunes. If you get bored bring your own mix and head phones – works a charm
  • Always remember your water bottle and towel! Sounds obvious – I have forgotten both – more than once!
  • Go easy on yourself. Even if you cut your reps in half and slow that treadmill down to a walk – you are still doing 100% better than every person sitting at home in front of the TV. Rather have a slow day at gym than not go at all.

So sure, it’s soulless and without scenery. You are not learning a skill, practicing an art form or breathing fresh sea air – but you are doing something that is good for both your body and your mental health in a safe, convenient and professionally monitored environment.

And the beach (or forest) will still be there for you on Sunday.

The universe gave me chocolate!

Today a wondrous thing happened.

It was a dark and stormy day. It was cold and grey and wet and I had to go out to the shops for work because the office had entirely run out of milk and coffee.
So I braved the weather to make sure that my beloved colleagues would get their caffeine fix.

And then there it was. Just under the cover of the parking lot – lying in the middle of my path – a perfect, unopened slab of dark chocolate with hazelnuts.

I looked about me to see who may have lost this treasure, but there was no one about.

Whoever the sad soul may have been to lose a chocolate from their shopping bag, they were gone.

I picked it up.

Perfect, it must have just fallen out of someone’s shopping.

And I LOVE chocolate. I am not one of those pretend chocoholics who says they love chocolate and then go out and order vanilla. I am a true chocolate fanatic. I dream about it. I obsess about it. I spend the greater part of my life not buying and eating it, because I am constantly aware of it when it is not in my mouth. Chocolate is not nice when you have it, eating it is when everything is as it should be. I wake up at night and scour the kitchen for anything with cocoa in it. I need it.

Chocolate is my solace, my friend, my reward and my consolation.

When the universe hands me chocolate, I don’t ask questions. I say thank you.

I take it as a sign that everything is okay with the world.

And to every person who has ever lost their slab of chocolate, who has come home to find there is only one slab in the packet instead of two, I’m sorry for your loss. But I would like to say thank you.

And I hope that you have some comfort in knowing that somewhere there is someone who you have made very happy.

Because some deserving soul has picked it up and taken it as a fairy favour.

You may not have meant to, but you have made someone’s day.

RIP Capoeira Knysna

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Letting go of something I am passionate about is painful and difficult for me.

I am a loyal human being, and although I don’t often or easily commit to something, when I do it is whole heartedly in every sense.

I will give my all, everything I have at my disposal and more.

And so to let something that I have labored at with passion, hope and enthusiasm pass out of my life is not easily done.

Four years ago (next month) I discovered an activity that fit into my life like a missing gear.

I would say a missing puzzle piece, but a gear is more truthful – because it actually mobilized me and made me functional.

I will never forget my first Capoeira class.

I had never even heard of it before I walked into that class. What an amazing thing to discover a vibrant group of people moving in this rhythmical, beautiful and lethal looking activity. I was filled with the same kind of awe that I had as a child watching Olympic gymnasts and figure skaters – only for the first time in my life – the beautiful thing I was seeing was within my grasp to achieve.

I was welcomed into this family-like group of people with warmth and capaencouragement. And as I was just a few months out of the end of a scary marriage and making friends for myself and doing things for myself for the first time in eleven years, it was huge.

The passion flamed up in me and didn’t go out. The bug bit. And I know that even when I am a grey-haired granny I will still consider myself a capoeirista.

I am not going to go into detail now – but Capoeira infiltrated every aspect of my life. the people became my friends, my family, and we went through a lot together.

That is why the slow, inevitable death of my local capoeira group has been a huge loss for me.

But we live in a small town. People moved to the city for work, students finished school and went off to live their lives, and slowly the group got smaller and smaller until there were only a handful of us left.

If I can say one thing for myself it’s that I was the last student standing. No one can fault me on my perseverance. But you can’t flog a dead horse and in the end my mestre called it a day.

A few months later there was a brief flare, with typical capoeira-type politics surrounding it. We trained again, a few of us, for a few more months. But with new teachers, serious fee hikes and a sense of betrayal that could never be shaken after the last ending, it proved to be more of a “death-throws” than a new start.

In the end I had to admit the dirty truth. Nobody wanted to play anymore. My favourite game had become both too expensive and too emotionally exhausting to carry on with.

And so Cassa da Capoeira Knysna died for me.

The flame still burns for many of us. I am still a member of Barravento. I still sing IMG_7430the songs, and jogo in my dreams. I still long to hear that chi chi ting tong calling me into the roda. I can probably hang up my hopes of ever landing a back flip or flying kick again. But I will always be a capoeira girl.

I will always be game.

Now I turn to the soulless machine that is the gym to keep my body strong instead of getting strong as a bi-product of doing what I love. It’s different. Although I try to tell myself I am getting strong now so that I can play a better game than ever, soon.

The funny thing is I never realised just how committed I was to it until it was gone. I knew I was passionate. But not just about the sport. I was passionate about my capoeira family. I couldn’t have imagined life without them.cappi me

Now for the first time since the divorce I find myself thinking of new places. I would have to move my mother with me if I went off to the city, of course. But It never had any appeal for me until now.

I guess families come in many forms.

I feel the time may soon be coming for me to go in search of mine again. my soul family. I know there are more of us out there, somewhere.

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This Gratitude sh*t is not for sissies

I know, I know

Gratitude is the single most important thing when it comes to bettering your situation and improving your life.

But

It’s not always so easy.

Even when you have a list of things to be grateful for, that you really are grateful for, as long as your arm. Sometimes to really feel grateful can be a bitch.

When you are angry (oh and I have a list of things to be angry for – don’t you worry) it can be almost impossible to feel the happy feelings that you  know you should feel.

So I realized that I can’t always fake it til I make it. sometimes I just need to bitch and moan and be angry. Sometimes I even need to let myself wallow. and that is okay.

I realized that when I allow myself to be the cynical bitch I really am, I am actually pretty funny. Delighted with my own quick wit and unexpected (by me as much as anyone) scathing one-liners I actually managed to make myself laugh.

Laughing at my own evil sense of humor is the beginning of the healing process that lifts me out of my funk. Things are still crappy – the situation still unbelievably bad – but I feel strong again and I can handle it. Who knew?

I have been trying so long to be brave and positive while feeling progressively worse and worse, who would have imagined that all I really needed to feel better was to embrace my inner bitch?

Hoorah!

As for wallowing I think I have it nailed – You do it – and you just don’t pay any attention to yourself. I make sure I get plenty of sleep (although the angry person in me likes to wake up and be angry around 2am) but at least if you go to bed early you are not listening to yourself too  much. then I recommend watching favorite old movies. Movies that make you cry – CRY!

The important thing is to realize that this isn’t really the real you. Feel that crap – get right into it -and then let it go.

Pretending to be okay when you are not is probably as detrimental to your state as being negative. Feeling the bad feelings can actually be a positive thing. it’s all about keeping your perspective, and not letting it change who you really are.

Vent. call your best friend and warn her that you are about to let it all out – and then do. God forbid she offer solutions to your problems.  A true best friend knows better than that! Just make sure that you share the good things too when they happen, and that you are there for her too. It’s all about balance, apparently.

And if you really can’t see the light don’t panic.

Just take a few days, keep your head down and give in to some wallow time. It will pass. everything does.