The other day I read a quote that went like this… “People’s names are the sweetest sounds they hear. You should make a point of being good at learning and using them.”
Sjoe! I started thinking that it’s sometimes quite a problem in South Africa because we can’t always pronounce names the way they are supposed to be pronounced.
Sometimes people even get called other names that are easier to say. I wonder if that makes the person sad and if they maybe lose a little bit of their identity.
I started thinking some more – what do names actually mean. My full name is Sibongile. If you google “The meaning of the name Sibongile” you will find that it means thank you and it originates in Africa. But if you go to one of the American “what does your name mean” sites and type in Sibongile it will (a) tell you that this is not a very common name and (b) maybe you should try the shortened version.
Did you ever!
There are a couple of different sites that you can try too – some of them go into great detail about the meaning of your name. Others have the different meanings for every letter – and then you can sort of summarize all of them and see if it fits.
Then you get some people who make up their own names. Like my friend Luan for instance. He was named after his paternal Grandfather, Lucien and his maternal Grandmother, Anna. It’s not a very common name either.
Some people are named after people that their parents know – like my friend Ginny. She was named after the singer Virginia Lee – not that she can sing a note! The only time Ginny gets called Virginia is when her mother is cross with her! I guess that’s true with all of us. Ginny wanted to name her elder daughter after her Grandmother – Laura – but her granny really hated the name and was rather called by her second name Margaret (shortened down to Peggie or Peg) for most of her life. So Ginny named her daughter Lauren instead.
She didn’t really think that Lauren could be shortened – but it could – Lolla!
Let’s not even talk about the funny names that people call their animals – or why. That would keep us busy all day.
Sometimes you read about a kid who has invented something useful and you wonder just how on earth they ever came up with such a clever idea that nobody had thought of before. Or maybe they came up with a better way of doing something that had already been done.
A few weeks ago I invented something that was useful and I realised that it is not actually as hard as one would think.
Those pesky ants kept getting into our cat’s bowl. The poor cat did not fancy eating his pellets when they had wriggly little pepper tasting insects on them. (Ants do taste like pepper you know – pepper gets its flavour from a mild acid and ants produce acid – but I don’t recommend eating one to find out.)
We had to recycle pellets to the birds every single day. Worse – because he has a kidney problem – the pellets that he chomps are rather expensive.
Mum was all for just spraying poison on the walls so that the ants can’t even get to his dish but I thought that was a bit mean.
So I started thinking…
Ants don’t like water. Well – they like it to drink but they don’t really like swimming in it. Right!
I took a dish and put some water in it and put the cats bowl on top of it.
Turned out the dish was a bit small and the ants made a little bridge of themselves and still got into the food.
So I took a bigger dish. This did not work so well either because that cat of ours is a messy creature and he knocked half his pellets into the water. They swelled up and also got wasted. Even the birds did not like those squishy suckers.
Eventually I found a dish that was just the right size and ever since then we have hardly squandered a single pellet.
There was a process that I followed.
First I thought about the problem. Then I evaluated the situation to see how I could fix it. Then I tried different solutions to see which worked best.
I felt very chuffed because I had fixed the ant problem. And it wasn’t even really hard either.
I discovered that they do sell cats bowls with a little moat around it for water – but still – I made a plan and it worked.
You all know how I like to read… well sometimes mum is really irritating when she interrupts me in the middle of a good story and says it’s time for bed. I beg for another half hour but she says that kids need to sleep for at least 10 or 11 hours a night to be happy and healthy. She reckons I get grumpy when I don’t have enough sleep.
Sometimes I cheat and read with a torch under my blankets. The other day Mum caught me out and I was in serious trouble – she took my book away for two whole days!
I was quite sure that Mum was fibbing about how much sleep in needed so decided to google and find out why exactly why so many hours are needed.
Firstly between the age of 7 and 12 years old, we really do need to sleep those 10 or 11 hours a night. This is not just to stop us from becoming cranky either. It’s the time when our muscles repair themselves during the night. And don’t just think arm and leg muscles – it also includes our heart muscle.
Sleep also controls the signals that tell us when we are hungry or when we are full up – which allows us to maintain a good weight.
While we are happily snoozing our brains stores up all the stuff we have learned during the day – so that we can recall it later when we need it.
If we don’t sleep properly at night, it is harder to pay attention at school during the day. We tend to make more mistakes if we are tired than if we are well rested.
If we don’t get enough sleep at night – we could always have a little nap during the day to make up the sleep time. Preferably not during school time though because we’d land up in trouble with the teacher.
Apparently – it should take us about 15 to 20 minutes to fall asleep from when our head hits the pillow.
Of course teenagers can get away with a little less sleep – like 8 to 9 hours a night. Half the time they don’t get anywhere near this amount of sleep and so they really do need to sleep in over the weekends.
Seems like the older you get the less sleep you need.
A year or so ago my daughter, Emma, came to visit. She’d only been here for a day when she started whinging that she was missing her hula hoop.
I rolled my eyes and said we could go trawl the shops and find her a hoop (thinking to myself what kind of nonsense is this – being addicted to hula hooping).
She sighed, then remarked that we would not be buying a hoop – we would be making one.
So off we went to the hardware store and bought all the necessary paraphernalia to make a couple of different hoops. I looked at the roll of five metres of irrigation pipe… how many hoops can you make out of that then – two or three?
Just one – she replied.
Opened my mouth to argue but the look in her beady blue eye told me to shut the hell up as I had no idea what I was talking about.
I was flat out busy organising a conference at the time so took myself off to my office and left the business of hula hoop making to Emma.
When I emerged a few hours later I was amazed to see a circus creature dancing on our lawn.
The general misconception is that hula hooping is for kids. You see those little hoops for sale in the stores and don’t even give them a second glance. Yet there was my child (okay, she’s 25 but she’s a tiny skinny little thing) rocking this enormous hoop – taller than she was.
Doing tricks nogal!
I watched in amazement. She was so good at it. Flipping that huge hoop around and about. So graceful.
Here, she said. Have a go.
It looked so easy.
I grabbed the hoop and waggled madly. It plummeted to the earth. I tried again. And again… and again.
Hmmm… handed the hoop back to Emma – hula hooping is not for me.
Don’t be a wuz Mom, the nasty little weasel scoffed. She took the hoop and demonstrated where my feet should be and how I should stand up straight, shoulders down, tummy tucked in tight.
I had another go. Then stomped back up to my office in disgust. Next morning I noticed there were bruises on my ribs. I was horrified but according to Emma, this was perfectly normal.
It took me two weeks to get that wretched hoop to stay around my middle. And there was none of that graceful hand thing either – rigid dinosaur paws more like it.
Gradually I relaxed and let it flow. Fudgie (the dog) and Ralph (the cat) could stand under the hoop without getting clonked on the head every few seconds. (They consider this a new form of play.)
One day I hauled out a skirt that had gone from being loose and comfy to a tad on the tight side. Zipped it up and immediately noticed that the squidgy bits of body that used to hang over the sides of the skirt had considerably diminished. In fact, it looked halfway decent again.
Realised that I must have sneakily lost a centimetre or two.
I’m not a gym person – have never set foot in one and don’t plan to either. Can’t do yoga because Fudge thinks I’m playing with her and running would surely make my heart attack me. I like walking – but not uphill. The best exercise I’ve come across to date is rebounding – or jumping on my mini-trampoline. That’s great for building leg muscle and toning your butt!
I was totally delighted. Just when I’d resigned myself to being 52 years old and taking up more space in the world than I’d ever done before – here was a magical way of doing something about it.
In my own yard and in my own time!
And let’s be honest – it’s not like I’d been doing it all day every day either – maybe 10 minutes a day in several small sessions.
Emma smirked. See – hula hooping is not just for kids. It’s a great exercise.
Gave her the evil eye – right – now show me how to make these flabby arms not-so-flabby in time for the conference.
She gulped – the conference was less than two weeks away. She demonstrated some arm crunches and stretches. Three sets of those – three times a day. Get going, Mom!
My eyes lit up – I envisaged going to the conference with nice firm, brown arms – you can’t help but get tanned whilst hooping outside. (Of course, it rained almost the whole conference and my half-toned, tanned arms never even saw the light of day.)
Emma was here for two months. In that time I shaped up – lost a couple of kilos plus a good couple of centimetres around my middle and upper body. My arms look better than they have done in years my back has those nice muscly bits. I have improved my posture no end.
Last year our dog was sick and I had to lug all 29kg’s of Fattie Fudges up the stairs to my office – I could do it – thanks to hula hooping and strengthening my core muscles.
I now hula around the grass each day. It’s a great way to relax, have fun and keep in shape at the same time.
And it’s not just for ladies either – Chris, my husband, is also busy mastering the art.
The big hoops are great for toning up and losing centimetres – but if you want to lose more weight the smaller hoops are better – because you expend more energy keeping it up. However, the kid’s hoops that you buy in the shops are good for doing tricks, but are too light for weight loss – you need a heavier larger hoop.
It’s really easy to make your own hoop too! Not expensive either.
I even managed to sneak into the South African Book Fair by promising to read Sibo in Space while hula hooping in my giant space ship.
Hearing about the Pikitup troubles started me thinking about rubbish.
We all generate lots of trash every single day.
How many people do actually recycle their stuff? I know that some places have bins that are easily accessible for people to throw their paper, plastic or glass in and all it requires is a little bit of effort. Other places provide special bags for recycling stuff and it gets specially picked up every week. That’s also relatively easy to do.
Then you get the places are not so jacked-up and it actually does require a fair amount of trouble to recycle properly.
If your area does not have good recycling habits there are other things that you can do to help out.
Most places in South Africa have people who trawl around the bins in residential areas on rubbish day. They take out all the plastic, glass and paper to be recycled. They get money for this stuff – and often this is their only source of income.
I know some people whinge and mutter because they don’t always leave the bins nice and tidy as they found them, but actually they’re doing the earth a service.
Why fill up the landfill more when we can recycle?
So… the nice thing to do is to help out and try and segregate your own rubbish.
Save all your glass bottles and jars and put them into a separate bag in the bin.
Do the same with tins, plastic, paper and cardboard. Make sure you wash out tins and plastic containers first. It must be really horrible for the people who collect this stuff to have to grovel out yukky miffy old disgusting cans with bits of mouldy dogfood or baked beans clinging to the sides.
You could also find out if any of the play schools in your area need stuff – like the inside cardboard roll in the toilet paper, cereal boxes, plastic trays, jars etc. They often use things like that for craft projects or for storage.
If you have batteries, bulbs or ink cartridges you can usually recycle those in the bins in Pick ‘n Pay. They know how to properly dispose such nasty things. Some batteries have mercury in them and you really don’t want those to end up in the landfill.