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How quickly we forget.....

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Very often in life, how we view things is the direction our lives will take.
If we are constantly negative about what we are doing, then we will get stuck in a rut.
However, the same can be said about being positive.
If we are positive, we will see opportunities to refine/change ourselves rather than sticking with the...tried that nothing worked....attitude.

I say this because it happens to us all at some time. Yesterday over a "power chat" with my younger son, he reminded me of how far I have come. He reminded me that 7 yrs ago I went to East London (SA) to visit my other son and dil. That year, I had learned about calorie counting through Sparks and lost 20 kgs. I had a totally new look, wardrobe, and a spring in my step and as a result the kids did not recognize me when I walked through the restaurant door (our agreed upon meeting place). We went on to visit with my hubbies family and again everyone was so enamored at my new look and questions were flying around as to what I had done etc.
Lastly we called in on a very dear friend and his jaw dropped when he opened the door of his apartment to Justin and I. It was such a awesome week of my life and I felt as proud of my achievements as you can imagine.
Now...the jeans I wore yesterday to the "power chat" were the same ones that I wore with a tight fit 7 years ago. I seriously did lie on my bed to zip them up but was determined to wear them all the same. Now, they are baggy around the legs and can be buttoned standing with ease. How quickly one forgets the positive side of our journey. Besides the way my clothes fit, my energy is better and many other things in my life are better even than 7 years ago.

Needless to say, I am excited about my life again and so fired up to keep on going with the choices that got me here while remembering that this is not a sprint but a lifestyle.
I will keep on going till I get exactly where I am headed no matter how long it takes me.

So REMEMBER the good part, not the bad day/week/month...remember the entire journey.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CINA-MINI 3/31/2014 2:04PM

    Great things to think about. Being positive about as much as possible sends positive thoughts to all that encounter you!

Good for you on all your success!

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CTUPTON 3/30/2014 11:03AM

    I was looking at my first ever blogs on SP. You were there. We have kept on this journey using the SP support.

emoticon chris

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MAMALISA1975 3/30/2014 7:57AM


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GINA180847 3/29/2014 2:32PM

    You have some great sons, Celest. I am so glad for you that you have come so far and even that the not so fun past is becoming a distant memory. Like you say 'Lest we forget.'

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LOLAJO54 3/29/2014 2:13PM

    excellent -- right on

thanks for reminding us all!!

emoticon emoticon

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BARBARAROSE54 3/29/2014 10:51AM


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SLIMMERJESSE 3/29/2014 10:46AM

    Nice blog!

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RAINBOWMF 3/29/2014 9:54AM

    Awesome, so true.

Hugs Mary

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BOOKWERME 3/29/2014 9:47AM

    I was just thinking about this same line of thought...in how we view ourselves our dwelling on the negative perpetuates the negative, but on seeking out the positive, it lifts up our attitude and affects our whole outlook..which in turn, propels us on.

So proud of you for your successes. emoticon

emoticon and well done!

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A little positiveness goes a lonnnng way.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

From March 2013 to Feb 2014 I managed to lose 24 kgs (52 lbs) and was so thrilled with my progress. As anyone will tell you, it was work, no magic happened to me.

Then at the end of Feb, we a sad events happen in our family, in fact two..of which one was the death of my dil who was only 32 yrs of age, leaving behind a beautiful little 3.5 yr old son. The other incident I don't want to even discuss...needless to say, both these events had a really bad effect on me and I just couldn't eat. Now that should be fantastic, but it doesn't work that way. I ate little, but what I did eat was terribly unhealthy and sent my blood sugar in to overdrive and as a result I was lacking in energy and ended up sick for 3 weeks and ultimately had a 5 kgs (11 lbs) weight gain in that short time. Crazy isn't it how easily weight finds its way back onto the body so quickly but then I know what is bad and if you eat pies, pizza's, sweets etc. then you pay the price and basically I should quit whining about things.

Then on Monday I was at boot camp at the botanical gardens when my son pitched up on his bicycle to enjoy an early morning ride. I have not seen him for well over a month because he chose to do a back-to-back work session to have some spare cash for something he wanted. After the class finished, I walked over to Cole and the first words out of his mouth were "wow mom, you've been doing this for a year now, well done on sticking it out, and WAY well done on your weight loss, I'm so proud of you!" In the split second, I realized that I had been so focused on the 5 kgs and clean forgotten that even deducting those 5 kgs I gained....I still lost 19 kgs in one year and that IS GREAT.

I went home with a spring in my step and renewed determination to get back on track properly. Then later the same day, my step sister who lives in the UK sent message to say she will be in SA and visiting from the 1st of May....we have not seen each other in 5 maybe 6 years so this is a double incentive to get back on track. She doesn't know I have even lost 19 kgs.

While wondering around a second hand book shop with my mother, I ended up finding a self help book this called Valleys and Peaks which I bought and spent an hour reading while waiting for my mother at the Dr's. Its all about the fact that come what may, life will have valleys (lows) and peaks (highs) and even flat plateau lines in between. There is no way around that fact. How long however, we stay in a valley is how we view it. Whether we wallow in self pity in the valley or whether we use it as a learning tool. And it really got me thinking how true that statement was. While I was totally wrapped up in the "woe is me for gaining back 5 kgs" I stayed there sorry for myself. When I got an unexpected compliment for the overall weight loss and MUCH better health, it changed my valley to a peak and gave me a whole new view of where I was, and where I was going.

The book mentioned that the plateau, again is merely a place to take a rest a while from the downward swing and do some soul searching as to why we were in a valley and how we could overcome being there.

The illustration they gave was a man climbing from a valley where he was so unhappy because the clouds hung low and obscured his vision of the heavens. What he really wanted was to see a magnificent sun set. He finally braced himself to dig deep inside and find his personal courage to leave the valley and climb to the peak. He left at the crack of dawn one day and it took many hours of really hard work. He lost his path and had to bush whack his way till he found a new path he could walk on. He ended up having to cross a strongly flowing river. By the time he got to the top all he saw was the darkness had set and he had missed the sunset. His first thought was to be miserable, disappointed and frustrated until he looked up and saw a million twinkling stars he had never seen from the valley. In the semi dark, he also realized how high he had climbed and suddenly his heart filled with amazement at what he accomplished as well as heart felt awe at the beauty of the stars in the dark sky and realized that he changed how he thought. He no longer thought that he missed the mark which was the sunset, but rather made it a new goal for the next day and an added bonus of a magnificent night sky.

So....I missed that I had still lost 19 kgs in 12 months overall and gained so much in better health. From today, I will refocus my life on losing more weight in the next 12 months and be happy and positive because I am in position to do so with a caring family and personal friends and my cheering team right hear on sparks who have all "got my back."

They mentioned that each persons journey is unique, much like a heart beat which is why in the resting period, we need to search inside ourselves for answers to our questions to why we are stuck where we are.
I hope you are able to spend time searching why you may be in your personal valley and find a way to see how you can turn that into a peak. It really is how you internalize your life.

Its upward onward...here I go.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TERRY631 3/27/2014 11:50AM

    Thinking of you and so amazed by your strength during adversity and your positive outlook. You have done really well with your weight loss, and it definitely will continue to have ups and downs. Keep focusing on being healthy and thanks for sharing your wonderful insight.

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NYARAMULA 3/27/2014 8:00AM

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I really needed it!

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RAINBOWMF 3/26/2014 8:35PM

    Personal valley mmmm I like that.

You are awesome 19K is a great weight removal.

Love Mary

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BARBARAROSE54 3/25/2014 8:17PM

    emoticon emoticon

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DEBBIEANNE1124 3/25/2014 8:08PM

    Good job! What a motivator you are!

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BOOKWERME 3/25/2014 4:06PM

    You are a joy to be friends with. I loved this post. Wish I could share it with some who would benefit...if I can figure out a way to do so. I have long believed that how you view things truly can contribute to how you do in coping with those things/circumstances/issues. Glad to be sharing this journey with you...wish I could do that in person, but so very glad we can do it via internet!!! emoticon

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MAMALISA1975 3/25/2014 12:06PM

    Congratulations on your progress...both physically and emotionally! emoticon

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LOLAJO54 3/25/2014 11:48AM

    An excellent learning blog
thank you for your incite and sharing ..
I know a couple others who would benefit from this too
--I will tell them to come and read

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GINA180847 3/25/2014 10:56AM

    Very well said!. I have to admit that you could gain 5kg. over a short time is a shocker but it makes me realize why I get stuck. I have to stop all the little here and little there. One truly has to focus on the positive.

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Visiting an Ostrich Guest Farm.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Daniel had 2 drumming students at an Ostrich Farm Guest Farm. He asked if I would like to go with, and of course I never say no and usually take my 80 yr old mother along for the ride. Thanks to my son, we get to go into all kinds of amazing places and have many adventures. I baby sit Axel during the time that Daniel must work and we have a bucket load of fun together.

So off we went. We were greeted at the gate by a tour guide and told that there was a tour group leaving shortly and we were invited to join at no cost to us...how awesome was that?!
These tourists pay heavily for the privilege we were given for free. First on the agenda, coffee while the tourists got to first put their bags in their accommodation rondavels (round huts) which is where they would be staying over night.

This is where we had our coffee.
It was surrounded by giant shade trees, perfect for the summer sun we have.

After coffee, we were taken to view first the new chicks. These adorable babies were only 4 days old, and despite my spending all my life in this area, it was my first ever experience in seeing baby ostriches. New chicks are fawn in color, with dark brown spots till they are 12 weeks old and then they lose the spots altogether. The guide was telling us that the first week of an ostriches life is crucial and usually only 15% survive. After one week, they get stronger by the day. Hearing that, I was most surprised that we were all allowed to handle the delicate chicks??

Axel was allowed to handle one, even at his young age. So was I and this is how they feel....the top back feathers are rough, the under belly feathers are soft, soft, soft like down while the neck and face were like handling velvet material. Such a mixture of textures on one little creature.

Its strange to think that in no time at all, these velvet necked babies would lose all that hair and end up with rubber necks. I got to touch the rubber neck too....awful feeling-really gross. LOL The necks have incredible muscles in them, and as you touch any section, it starts to move under your fingers...eeewww.
By the way...would this be considered "breakfast in bed?" chuckle.

We got to feed the adult ostriches too. They ate right out of our hands, but for Axel we used the bucket, because their beaks are very hard and could easily hurt him, whereas us adults knew to keep our hands straight (much like feeding a horse) except horses dont peck emoticon
One lady did forget the instruction NOT to turn our backs on the birds, and she had her head pecked...looked pretty darn sore to me. I did as told, kept facing the birds so they could see the corn in my hand.

We were permitted to ride them, I declined. The thought horrifies me. These are not animals created for riding purposes, even their shape is all wrong. They dont appear to enjoy it either, hissing and doing their utmost to get free, but people were queuing to do so. I could barely look at it. They even put hoods over their eyes to keep them grounded while big people, even really fat people lumber onto these poor creatures to have their fun. Its harder than it looks to stay on top..once again, probably due to their shape. This did not do anything except repulse me.

Some interesting facts about ostriches :-
Ostriches eat mainly plants, but strangely enough, they HAVE to eat pebbles to help grind the food in the digestive tract. Despite their odd body shape, they run like the wind reaching speeds of up to 70 km/h (43 mph), which makes them the fastest land speed of any bird.
The males weigh on averaged 115 kg (254 lb) and females 100 kg (220 lb).
Male ostriches can be between 2.1 - 2.8 m (6 ft 11 in - 9 ft 2 in) in height, while female ostriches range between 1.7 - 2 m (5 ft 7 in - 6 ft 7 in) tall. Their lifespan is beteen 40 - 45 yrs.
Its a myth that ostriches hide their heads in the ground when startled. You may have heard the expression "burying your head in the ground like an ostrich"...they dont do that. What they do, is burrow their heads into soft sand searching for pebbles to swallow, and from a distance, it may appear that their heads are in the ground. In the wild, people would keep their distance from ostriches because they kick worse than mules. Its called a death kick, because that is what one kick can do. Their knees bend FORWARD so the kick is unexpected and deadly.
Males and females are totally different in color. The males are a striking black and white, while the females are gray and white.

They lie on the ground, spread their wings and flap sand all over themselves to keep themselves parasite free. I couldn't use the wings flying photos because they kept blurring.

Their whole ostrich is used, the leather for shoes and bags, while the feathers get used to make many things, from feather dusters to jewelry. They dye the feathers before they use them. Here is an example of the black, grey and then blue dyed feather.

From the birds, we were taken to where the eggs are kept.
And its true, you can stand on the eggs without them cracking.

The shells are cleaned and turned into candle holders. Some are painted in colors and then ostrich motives are glued onto the eggs and sealed (decoupage), while others have holes or patterns chiseled into them. This man was fascinating to watch. The fan was kept on him constantly because you cannot believe the amount of dust this egg produced. The smell was weird too, hard to actually describe it in words....but if I must, it was like muddy water - smelling dust.

All the while we were viewing and handling ostriches, a pair of donkeys waited patiently under a tree for us.

Once on the donkey cart, we were taken all over the guest farm and shown various things of interest from incredible plant life in this dry, dusty, arid area to old fashioned implements and transportation. At each point we were allowed off the cart to inspect the various items. This was the first stop, an ostrich transporter. I still cannot see how they transported anything as large as ostriches on this.....but nobody asked the question...not even quizzical me??

Axel treating the ostrich transporter like a car LOL

There were some other old items like these next few. I especially took this photo with the old and the new form of transport in the same picture. While the original must have been great for bonding, smelling the air and hearing the sounds of nature all at a slower pace, I dare say on a rainy day our new form of transport would be a big improvement.

After the lovely donkey cart ride, and giving the donkeys corn to say thank you, we had more coffee and those who wanted could order a breakfast or light lunch. We opted for toasted sandwiches and side salad with our coffee. This was the view from our table.

Once the tour was over, we were free to do whatever we wished. Most of the tourists went to lie down, but Axel and I went to check up on daddy and see how his drumming students were doing. Axel was privileged to join the trio in a song before being given a squishy daddy hug and then asked to leave so they could continue.

Axel and I walked ALL OVER THE FARM. I reckon I must have walked 5 kms easily (3 miles) and we saw some interesting things like these two dung beetles busy busy busy. (also known as rollers or scarabs) So black and shiny..quite beautiful. We didnt touch them, because if startled they let off a terrible stink that is terribly rancid and its hard to scrub off for a good hour or so.

They roll balls of dung with their hind legs and the ball of manure can get as large as an apple. In the early part of the summer the dung beetle buries itself and the ball and feeds on it. Later in the season the female deposits eggs in balls of dung, on which the larvae will later feed. Dung beetles can roll up to 10 times their weight. can pull 1,141 times their own body weight: the equivalent of an average person pulling six double-decker buses full of people. Quite an amazing fete. Creation is marvelous, how can people believe in evolution?

We walked and inspected the plant life also. This is an incredibly dry area, yet cactus and such like flourish here and have their own kind of beauty. Mostly its red dust wherever you look with cactus plants growing, but every now and then you find a green spot or tall reeds growing and you realize that a small river or underground source of water is in that area.

But mostly it looks like this.

As tough as these plants are, they all have some redeeming feature, like incredible flowers in season like these. The fact that they need no watering to survive is a big draw card.

Most, of course have incredible thorns which sometimes look like crocodile teeth.

This is what happens if you get too close, as Axel learned this day.

Those thorns rip through skin like a hot knife through butter. He cried and cried, poor little guy. Guess he'll not get so close next time. I have had those thorns rip me too, it burns like fire under your skin, so I felt sorry for him. Anyway, thats life...you take the bad with the good.

Next we explored where the tourists would hear the locals put on a show in the evening of how the town of Oudtshoorn came about. The place is very rustic with an outside fire pit which lead into a tented area with lights hanging everywhere and a stage in the front. The place would be decked out with round tables and chairs and each would be given a picnic basket with all their food and drink inside. There were bales of hay all around the outer edges for those who chose that form of seating. Interesting and a different way to do things.
We would not be there for the show this time, but I will get to see it when Daniel is in it, at the KK&K festival.

Axel and I found a bunch of felled trees which made a perfect play ground for this little guy. I got my second work out for the day. It was Axel jumping from one log to the other, with granny swinging him through the air...with the constant "again granny". I had been to boot camp in the morning so it got pretty tiring. At one point I said to him "granny is 53 you know Axel" his prompt reply was "Axel too" yeah right LOL My arms got so tired, I eventually taught him to do it alone. He was cagey at first, but ended up loving it.

Crossing a sand pile and sinking ankle and then calf deep into the sand.

We could hear no more drumming, so we made our way to the area Daniel was using to teach his 2 students. Axel getting a big squishy hug from his daddy for being a good boy while he was working.

Now here's the funny part of the day. All the work was finished and we sat having a last cup of coffee before taking the hour long trip home. The speed point machine packed up, so Daniel had to go somewhere else to use another machine. He decided to pick Axel up to take him with and realized he had only one sneaker on and asked me about this? Well, I hadnt noticed and offered to walk back to where I thought it may have come off (in the sand pit area) because they are brand new sneakers. I walked ALL THE WAY back to the sand, nope not there. Decided to walk ALL THE WAY to the giant logs in case it came off there, nope not their either. Ended up walking everywhere I had been with Axel....I probably walked the same 5km (3miles) all over again but found no sneaker. In the end, I gave up and decided to leave the sneaker we had behind, so that if the workers found the shoe, at least someone got the benefit of a pair of shoes. By now my knee was killing me and I sat down briefly while Daniel packed his drums and stuff back in the car. As I turned for one last look at the view, there I spotted the sneaker right at the tree next to the table where we were sitting at....oooooooh my word emoticon

So Axel, granny and great grandma had a fabulous day. He never got to do much of this in the early part of his life because his mom not only was ill with cancer, but also suffered with OCD and Phobia about dirt, so this is all new stuff for the kid and he is loving it.

This is Axel at the end of the day. I must admit I envied him. I imagined myself flopping on the couch next to him.....but grannies have stuff to do and are not privileged with the afternoon nap.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTUPTON 3/30/2014 11:07AM

    Oh, thank you for posting this! I live n the USA but a farm near us has a couple of ostriches. I have not visited , I just see them in the barn yard. Itaught science for 40 yrs. to deaf students and I had an ostrich egg shell. I can't remember where I bought it. I loved it! I left it at the school when I retired.


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LJCANNON 3/24/2014 3:02AM

    emoticon What a Wonderful and Educational Day!! You made memories that Axel will carry for the rest of his Life!! What a privilege to get to spend a day like that with your Grandma AND Great Grandma!!

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TERRY631 3/21/2014 10:29AM

    What an adventure! Looks like you all had a fabulous time. Just seeing this a bit late, but wow. Love the ostrich chicks...so cute, and the ostrich egg art - so beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing this.

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NYARAMULA 3/19/2014 7:28AM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing.

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MAMALISA1975 3/18/2014 8:43AM

    You always have the coolest adventures! When I grow up I wanna be just like you! Thanks for sharing!

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MISTYSMOM06 3/17/2014 6:20AM

    That is so AWESOME! I wish there was something here in Michigan like that! Guess I'll check into what is around here.

Have another fun day! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LOLAJO54 3/16/2014 8:00PM

    you are going to love this Celest..

My grandson he is 4 soon to be 5--- was here when I was looking and reading your blog..
He asked so many questions I just read him your blog and he studied your pictures.
Now not only do I know all about your day out but so does Markus..
By the way we both learned a lot..

thank you for teaching us over in the western hemisphere.

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CAROLYNL8E 3/16/2014 7:05PM

    What an amazing account of your day! The pictures are wonderful! It looks so beautiful there.

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RAINBOWMF 3/16/2014 3:17PM

    emoticon when ever you come do a blog for us I so enjoy it.
So many great pictures. What a great day you had. SO funny about the shoe.

I am so happy you are all enjoying Alex so much.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share with your spark buddies.

Hugs Mary

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GINA180847 3/16/2014 2:22PM

    What a great day and a once in a lifetime adventure for all of you. South Africa is a very interesting place. I am glad that Axel is having such a great life.

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BOOKWERME 3/16/2014 2:06PM

    What tremendous changes in Axel's (and yours and his daddy's) life!!! This is great stuff for a kid his age. Good exercise for you as well...but I am with you...after an outing like that, I'd want a nap, too! Thanks for sharing all the photos and info. Hope you are making some kind of journal or scrapbook for Axel! Memories are precious and photos and descriptions will help him remember these very special times. emoticon

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AUNTRENEE 3/16/2014 2:00PM

    Looks like a fun day.

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Wednesday is Granny & Axel day.

Monday, February 24, 2014

My son works out of town on a Wednesday, so I get to enjoy Axel most of the day. I try to do something interesting and different each Wednesday....I also realize that I will have to repeat some things, since there is only so much one can do lol.
But for now, its only been one month since his return and we still have plenty to do.
This past Wednesday we chose to go to the Barnyard Donkey (and other animals) Sanctuary because for once it wasn't beach weather. For a donation, you can go in and feed the animals. They will even let you feed the animals if you do not have a donation, since the animals still get a treat feed. Mostly people do actually give a donation and others bring special foods or adopt a pet and care for that specific one.
I took my mother and her old friend along for the ride and enjoyment. The Barnyard has loads of animals besides donkeys in their care. Just recently a pony was rescued and has yet to find a loving home. We took along a couple of loaves of bread...and we could have taken even more with us. I didn't realize how many animals were currently on their property.
It's quite sweet, the animals are so used to being fed, that the moment your packet rattles, they come to the fence, neighing, braying and quacking as they come.

Even the dogs on the property come for a tidbit, despite their being very well fed.

The old girls had as much fun as Axel and I did.

The place was abuzz with animal sounds. The roosters could be heard above everything else and from absolutely anywhere on that property. Loud little guys.

Their "little woman" and her babies were also out and about, clucking to show the chicks were to find edibles and them with their sweet peeping sounds. Its marvelous how these chickens dont end up under the hooves of the larger animals.

The larger animals included the usual tons of donkeys and a few with foals (if thats what a baby donkey is called??) This youngster was having an afternoon drink and cuddle with its mom.

This little guy wasn't as fortunate. The poor little calf was motherless. There is a book on what condition these animals were found in, but I dont read it, its just too shocking what some people do to animals. I read it once, and it really upset me. I think the idea behind the book is to REALLY pull at your heart strings and hope that you will adopt an animal, which means you pay for all its feed and care. I just drop some cash into their donations box and leave them to use it how they need it. I don't want to read "war stories."

This pig is so huge, its hard to believe he was abused....then again maybe he wasn't. Possibly this guy was bought as a piglet and grew to big for city dwelling...who knows...I didnt read the book...see!

Besides the ducks and other animals to feed, there is a section where children can swim (was too cold) or play on swings and jungle gyms etc. Axel had a ball climbing up to the top and then pointing out various animals from that vantage point before sliding down the other side to start again. Amazing how repetitive little ones can be.

This place used to have a small restaurant, but since the parents retired and the kids took over, they have done away with the restaurant and opened a cattery instead. What a wonderful place for cats to go if their owners are away. Big spacious cages, some open (depending on the social ability of the cat or state of health) As we waited for permission to enter the cattery to show my moms friend....my mom and Axel shared some doggy time. There is a double bed where cats and dogs of various breeds all lie in the warm sun.
Today it was a really old great dane and some mixed breed little ones.

Once inside, the first cat we saw was lying in the sun out of her cage.

Most of the cats were super friendly and majority of the cages were open.

The only creatures we found NOT to be friendly were a pair of grey parrots.
They were happy to talk, whistle and to imitate anything we said, but if we got too near the cage..they tried to take a nip at us. Still, I was fascinated that not one of the cats was interested in taking a nip at the birds? They surely didn't all come from homes with birds?? Maybe just such a peaceful environment...I don't know the answer to my own question emoticon

After spending a few hours at this marvelous animal retreat, we headed home.
I guess this may be called After Action Satisfaction emoticon
He slept for 2.5 hours, only waking when he heard his fathers voice on arrival.

Wednesday coming will be a beach day again since the weather forecast says its going to be sunny skies. I have bought him a new inflatable butterfly shaped "floating thing." We should have a load of fun with that, but ultimately I will have to think of some things to do with a 3 yr old when winter gets here and outdoor activities go on the back burner.

Weight wise.....I've been messing around a bit, for about two weeks now, so no losses and no gains, but that's not what I really want to be about. I want losses and staying the same only if a plateau occurs not because I'm messing about which I am emoticon Every new day I say TODAY I will start and make really smart choices and then when I blink my eyes again, the day passed and my choices weren't great. Aah well, I know its a marathon not a sprint. Maybe I must just enjoy the short break and then take a deep breath and get cracking once more.

Today I spent an hour taking in my younger sons clothes. He has lost so much weight, that nothing fits properly. His clothes are marked 36 and I've taken them in 2 sizes. This is my silly great dane trying to what...help??? When I finally chased him off the clothes, he ended up resting his head on my shoulder. It got heavier with every few minutes, till I finally had to just quit and get his blanket to lie down next to where I was working. Animals are so cute.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CINA-MINI 3/3/2014 1:54AM

    What a great day! It's so beautiful seeing animals getting along.

A little peek at Paradise!

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GINA180847 2/24/2014 9:47PM

    What a lovely day with Axel. Like you I can hardly bear the way some people treat their animals. But those people sure seem to have their best interests at heart. Went and got our little Chica spayed today and she is feeling down. I miss her usual mischief.

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LOLAJO54 2/24/2014 8:56PM

    aww what a great day for you all including Axel ..

loved the pictures
enjoy your Wednesday hope the weather will co-operate

thanks for sharing

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FANCYKAYAH 2/24/2014 7:23PM

    Love the pics of the animal sanctuary and Axel having fun!

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RAINBOWMF 2/24/2014 12:38PM

    emoticon thanks for sharing, Love the pictures.

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DEBBIEANNE1124 2/24/2014 11:57AM

    Great pictures. I cana ctually see Axel ahs grown.

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BOOKWERME 2/24/2014 10:44AM

    RE: the cats not bothering the parrots...my guess is that the parrots have already let the cats know...via nipping etc...to leave them alone! There is often an animal hierarchy in place as well. As you learned through experience, those birds can defend themselves. My Mom had quite a few birds, but you absolutely didn't mess with the parrots. Talk, sure, touch, NO!

Thinking about this reminded me of how after my Mom left around 4:00 pm to run her daily errands, the parrots would start up with a riot of conversation: "Stop IT!", "No, NO! Bad Dog!" "Get down!" You never heard all that when Mom was home! She had a lot of dogs...all sizes. When she left the house, they all settled down to wait for her return...some on chairs and even a table top inside, some outside on the terrace.

Loved seeing the pictures and hearing the account of your Donkey Refuge visit. THanks so much for sharing.

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MAMALISA1975 2/24/2014 10:36AM

    Axel is such a cutie! What a great way to spend the day! emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 2/24/2014 9:51AM

    What cute pics and what a fun place! Thanks for sharing the adventure.

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Long Wednesday...tired, but fulfilled.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

7 Years ago, I was just becoming internet literate. My husband used online scrabble to get me into using the net. I loved scrabble. I had been playing scrabble with a few folks online, but didn't know them, nor had I spoken to anyone....I didn't even know there was a chat button.(pre spark people days) Suddenly one day, a man called Eric asked where I was from?
I panicked and replied that I was from planet earth....and himself? He found this hugely amusing and has teased me ever since and my nickname is now PE (planet earth) on our scrabble games.
So imagine my surprise when recently he let me know that he, his wife, his brother and his brothers wife were all coming to SA for a visit. He asked if I lived anywhere near Durban, their first point of call, or the Garden Route their second visiting area? Well, that IS where I live so we exchanged contact details and I got to meet them on Wednesday morning. They are from Manchester and all in their late 70's. I thought I was the only one nervous about internet meetings.....yet they say their kids were mad at them with worry over who I might be? LOL Needless to say, we had a great hour together and exchanged many stories of their lives back home, their holiday here etc. Eric and I have several similarities. Both of our spouses names begin with J (Justin and Jeanette), both of us love scrabble, our spouses do not. His wife has two girls from a previous marriage, but no kids of their own.....same with Justin and I.
Quite amazing actually.
I will probably never see them ever again, but I'm glad we got this one brief chance. I've heard it said that a stranger is merely a friend you have not met yet......sometimes that is true, and sometimes not, I have a feeling this time it worked that way.
Erics last msg to me for directions to our coffee meeting spot was that I was not to fear an abduction from them, they were friendly aliens. LOL My reply was that I would be bringing a bodyguard in the form of my 3yr old grandson. Anyone brave enough to abduct a woman with a toddler, deserved what they got. LOL
From left to right:
John (Erics brother) my mother, Johns wife, Jeanette (Erics wife), Eric, myself, Cole and Axel. Justin took the photo...therefore not in it.

While I thoroughly enjoyed my outing, it seems to have worn these two out. emoticon

Since it was Cole's last day of his annual leave, and we were babysitting Axel for Daniel who was working, he decided we should take Axel to the beach. We chose Victoria Bay because it has a protected beach area as well as a lovely paved area that Axel could ride his scooter along.

Well that was the plan, made before we discovered the heat wave we have been experiencing had caused the paving to heat up so drastically, Axel could not put his feet down.
Luckily Cole had beach sandals on and towed Axel along.

We passed this amazing tree with its roots outside the ground.
The roots are so big, look at them compared to the car parked beside the tree. Crazy.

We walked right to the end, called Lands End, and then Cole climbed to the top of the crags.
I was amazed to see Axel go with him. There was a time Axel was so afraid of heights that his mother could not even change him on the changing tables in the nursery facility at the mall. She had to lie him on a blanket on the floor. So this is a major improvement.

He wasn't even concerned with the coming down process.
Relaxed enough to point out something he saw, in the sea to Cole.

Once down, he started a search for some flowers to pick.
These little white ones had thorns, so he had to leave them.

After several attempts, he found some little wild yellow ground cover which he could reach.

"Here granny" - don't you just love this age when their little hearts are so generous...even with other peoples flowers. LOL

The paving was still hot, so we took Axel down to the beach where the two of them had a load of fun. I stayed at the rocks on the hard soil, because I had stepped into a hole at boot camp that morning and wrenched my knee. I didn't want to put anymore strain on the knee.
I managed to take photo's from where I sat on the rocks. For a guy who swears off having kids of his own...I think he did a fine job keeping his little nephew entertained.

Axel had loads of fun riding his favorite toy, his scooter on the beach.

Lucky for him, his uncle was just a few paces behind, so when the tide come rushing in with an unexpected BIG wave, he was able to lift Axel up...just in time.....

But not in time to save the scooter being taken away. Fortunately the tide was coming in and not going out, so the scooter washed into an alcove of rocks which meant we didn't lose the precious toy. I got soaked right up to my knees....luckily I did not get my camera wet. emoticon

Axel has a huge blow up whale at home which he called Dotty....don't ask my, I have no idea why that name??? He plays with his Dotty in the garden, jumping all over the hard plastic whale...such fun....so he was excited to see someone else with a dotty at the beach. Cole asked the kid for a ride for Axel, but thankfully Axel did not want to when I saw how the tide was tossing this big teenager around on his Dotty.

Axels second best toys are his collection of dino's so it was great to find one of the mechanical rides at the beach was a dino....pity it only operates during season. Seems only tourists kids need dino rides LOL. Still, he enjoyed sitting in the dino for a few minutes. His toy dino's are realistic so we had a chuckle when he told Cole....."that's not a dino!"

After spending the afternoon in the sun, we decided to get out of the heat by going to the restaurant for a beer while Axel ate an ice cream. It was covered in some rich chocolate, so it wasn't long before he sported a chocolate beard. The restaurant is a chilled outdoor place under green plastic type roofing...hence the color of the pictures. Axel wasn't green from the excessive ice cream granny allowed him to eat emoticon

Mind you, talking about strange colored people, I spotted this guy so WHITE he was GREY. I have never seen anyone quite this shade of grey. Seriously folks, I think he must have something wrong with his kidneys or something.

It took us longer to drink our beer than it took Axel to eat his ice cream and it wasn't long before he started trying to amuse us by placing the plastic menu on his head.

"Look granny, no hands!" Usually we don't allow him to play with the menu's, sugar bowls etc but this is a really chilled out place and I had to admire his balancing skills.

So our Wednesday together came to an end, with Axel in a bubble bath and the adults all sitting around a fire chatting, looking at photo's and eating Chinese take outs.
As Cole said, a far cry from how he originally planned his vacation which turned into a staycation. At this point I must tell you how PROUD I AM OF MY SONS AND NIKKI, Cole's girlfriend. These young people are not monied people and they had saved and scrimped all year long saving for their vacation this past month.
Sadly we recently had a huge drama with one of our friends. A young wife walked out on her husband of 7 yrs....1 month before her husbands brothers wedding. She left him for the guy she had an affair with once before, but was forgiven at the time. The morning she left, she also cleaned out her husbands account that had the money for their flights, champagne costs and outfits for the wedding. They have no time to make up the money again. The brother getting married works as a voluntary missionary so he cannot help financially either. My kids heard about this and FUNDED the whole thing in the blink of an eye....forgoing their own annual holiday savings to do so. I was blown away. I told them that nothing so generous goes unrewarded and if not by people, Jehovah God certainly saw their big, warm, generous hearts.
I did everything in my power to make their staycation a wonderful, happy occasion. My sons, and Nikki never once referred to "wishing" they had gone away. They just donated the money and went on with their lives. WOW.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GAMOMMY3 2/9/2014 5:27PM

    You have a wonderful family Celeste! Well done! Am so proud of them too for stepping in and helping out that way. And my Axel has grown!!

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    I so love reading of your adventures (on Planet Earth)! emoticon

Axel is growing so fast! I know kids do this, yet each one amazes me still! emoticon

Your kids are amazing too - what an awesome and generous thing they did! May Jehovah bring them wondrous blessings! emoticon

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TERRY631 2/8/2014 11:12AM

    I just love your blogs and pictures! Have you ever thought about writing professionally?

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LJCANNON 2/7/2014 8:51PM

    emoticon How wonderful that you got to meet your Scrabble Friend!! I bet that you will be Friends Forever.
emoticon As always your little family had a Wonderful Time together! You are obviously loving each other!
emoticon btw, the fact that your Kids helped out their Friends at the "Expense" of their own Vacation does NOT Surprise me At All. Even as little as I know you it seems like something that you would have done if you were able. As they say, The Apple Does Not Fall From The Tree.

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FANCYKAYAH 2/7/2014 9:28AM

    Axel seems to have gotten over his fear of heights nicely. Looks like everyone had a wonderful time visiting and going over to the beach for some fun! Fabulous pictures~

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LOLAJO54 2/6/2014 8:34PM

    gosh I am crying again
love your blogs and hearing about your life

how fun to meet an internet buddy and his family..so cool

loved your day out with the family

life is good! emoticon

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BOOKWERME 2/6/2014 3:53PM

    I love your blogs. I also sincerely hope that someday I can be the visitor you meet in person after knowing one another online! I was thinking about the white guy that looked grey...could be that his heart is not working right...or could also be that he takes too much colloidal silver..which can give the skin a permanent blue color if one takes too much.

As always, I think of Andrew as I see Axel..esp. in those pics of Cole and Axel up on the rocks. I am so glad you all had such a lovely day together.

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DEBBIEANNE1124 2/6/2014 3:23PM

    Very interesting. I wonder if you play Scrabble or "Words with Friends " on facebook???

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CINA-MINI 2/6/2014 3:23PM

    What a big heart your children have. I know so many people that play the scrabble game. I don't know how to get into it or anything like that. I used to LOVE to play scrabble until I got married. He cheats by looking up words instead of waiting for me to contest. lol

I love seeing Axel again. I have missed him! You are such a fantastic Granny.

(That grey man may have been an albino.)

Enjoy your evening!

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GINA180847 2/6/2014 1:01PM

    What a great son he is and his girlfriend sounds like a real treasure.

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MTNMOM5 2/6/2014 11:51AM

    You have raised a good son Mom!

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GUDDIGO 2/6/2014 11:38AM

  Wow...love the blog...pictures are amazing...

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