The Blackboard Cat

The other day I took the last toilet roll to clean up a mess I’d made and forgot to tell mum. I didn’t think much of it at the time. In fact… I did not think about it at all! But when mum went to fetch one for their bathroom and found the packet was empty, she was as mad as a snake.

I confessed – mainly because there was nobody else in the house that could have taken it. Don’t think Dad even knows where they are stashed. Mum ranted, raved and performed. Really – you would have thought I had taken something very precious, instead of the last loo roll.

Luckily I still had half of it in my room which I could hand over.

I was telling my friend Nomsa about it at school the next day. She comes from a big family and they are always having some spat or another. Nomsa said that they’d had the same problem – someone was always finishing up something and driving her mum crazy – but they had found a solution that worked a treat.

They had painted a piece of hardboard with chalkboard paint and stuck it up in the kitchen. When somebody saw that the peanut butter was running low – they had to write it up. Or if her brother finished most of the bread (which he was always doing) he had to write it on the board. Her older sister was always making cookies, and used up the sugar at an alarming rate – that got written up too.

Then when her mum was going to the shops – all she had to do was take a photo of the board with her cell phone and she had an instant shopping list.

Their system worked really well – they hardly ever ran out of anything anymore. Even when her little brother ate the last apple – he could not write but he could draw – so he climbed up on a stool and drew a picture of an apple.

So I told mum about this idea after school. She thought it sounded quite good and said she had a piece of hardboard in the shape of a cat that we could paint with chalkboard paint and put up in the kitchen.

It’s still early days – so we’ll have to see if it works for us.

Have a happy day!

Sibo

xxxx

Monster Moles

My friend Ginny recently got a bit of a shock. She’s had a mole on her arm for a couple of years – okay – probably more than that – and her doctor has been keeping an eye on it. Ginny is not a very good doctor person – she hates going. But life is a sneaky thing! Her thyroid blew a couple of years ago and now she has to go every six months and lives on little white pills that don’t cost much – but basically keep her going.

Let this be a lesson people – look after your health. Ginny should read some of my healthy posts and take note of them!!!

Anyway, back to the mole… this year her doctor said it looked a tad dodgy and needed to be removed. But of course it had grown and was no longer easily removable in the surgery – so she was referred to a dermatologist. A lovely lady with the ironical name of Dr Carpenter! She did a fabulous job of carving up Ginny’s arm. A teensy little, very neat 15mm cut with 3 stitches that healed up fabulously after 2 weeks.

The bit of mole that was removed was sent off to be tested.

But like I said, life has other plans in store when you least expect them. Turned out the mole was a monster mole. Well – not really – it was an early stage melanoma. Could have been much worse, but it does mean that the cutie little cut is about to become a granddaddy of a cut (60mm).

When they find out that a mole is a baddie – they like to remove a largish area of skin around it to make sure that they have got rid of all the dodgy bits.

Good thing is – melanoma is really easy to treat if you catch it early enough. So check out your bods people and if you have any funny looking spots – get them looked at – because melanoma is also one of the biggest killers.

Through a series of events,  misunderstandings and a crappy doctor’s receptionist – Ginny’s operation was moved from this Wednesday to Friday – which made her miffed as all hell. But what she’s found very interesting in the last few days is that some people are incredibly blasé when it comes to cancer, and dealing with people who have newly acquired it.

Think before you speak peeps!

Sibo

xxxx

 

 

Have fun.

Sibo

Xx

Sniffing Stuff

Sometimes, in very old kid’s stories they would write stuff about tying a knot in a handkerchief to help a person remember something.

Hah! That’s a joke. For starters, very few people use hankies these days – definitely not kids. Tissues are the in thing now and trying to tie a knot in skinny bit of paper would be just silly! Not to mention trying to remember what the knot was for in the first place!

Apparently what does help boost your memory is sniffing the herb, rosemary.

According to the clever dudes, when you sniff rosemary (either essential oils or the plant itself), volatile particles get the olfactory nerve receptors in your nose all excited and are then absorbed into the bloodstream. Thereafter, the memory-enhancing mechanisms of the essential oil zoot up to your brain (via your bloodstream) where they act on your memory systems.  Sounds a tad complicated to me but seemingly it works.

It might be worth sniffing some rosemary when exam time comes around again.

Evidently, in the ancient times, students actually used to wear garlands of rosemary around their necks, or put sprigs in their hair, to help them remember stuff.

Even better, if you’ve got a headache or aching muscles, having a soothing bath with a few sprigs of rosemary in it is supposed to help. Don’t forget to dunk your head under the water too – if you have an itchy scalp problem that is.

Rosemary is a treat to cook with too – both tasty and healthy. It’s a great way to spice up spuds. Boil some potatoes until they are almost soft.  Put them onto a dish and smoosh them slightly with a fork or spatula. Then drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some salt and some chopped up rosemary all over the potatoes. Pop them in a hot oven and roast until they get crispy. The most delicious roasties ever!

So tootle off to your local nursery and invest in a rosemary plant. Not only are they hardy and easy to grow, but they are one of the plants that can actually survive a Springs winter too.

You can also put sprigs of rosemary in flower arrangements – just imagine – it not only makes the whole room smell fresh and lovely, but nobody will forget anything either.

Have a great week people.

Sibo

Xx

Listen to hear what is NOT being said.

I read something incredibly interesting the other day… research has shown that people who are in happy relationships or who have lots of friends live longer than those folk who are alone.

Duh! One tends to think that is obvious because they are probably happier and more fulfilled than those poor lonely souls who have nobody to talk to.

Originally they thought that individuals were responding to interesting topics or that it was the more stimulating conversations that possibly sparked off something in a person that made them live longer.

But ultimately it seems that WHAT is said does not really matter. It is more about HOW the other person responds to what is being said.

It all boils down to that human touch of caring, really listening and responding appropriately.

There are 3 different ways of responding to a statement that somebody has made.

If Jack says “It’s so nice outside tonight!” What he really means is something like – I enjoy being here with you.

If Judy replies “Yes, it’s lovely isn’t it!” She actually means she enjoys being with Jack too! This subconsciously makes Jack (and Judy) feel all warm and fuzzy and loved.

But if Judy says “Rubbish! The mozzies are biting me – I’m going inside!” this sends the message that she does not enjoy sitting outside with Jack and would rather be inside. This does not make Jack feel all that great.

Or worse, Judy could just ignore Jack totally and walk inside – leaving Jack feeling subconsciously sad and unloved.

Obviously the first response is going to nurture and deepen your relationship.

All too often we see somebody we know and, as we pass by, we say “Hey! How are you?” but then keep walking and don’t stop to hear their answer. This inadvertently sends the message that we don’t actually care how that person is.

Try something out – next time you ask somebody how they are – stop and actually listen to their answer.

It boils back down into that kindness pot again. In this busy world, it’s so easy to be self-centred and self-involved, but all it takes is a little bit of concentrated time to make another person feel loved.

Try it out – you’ll find it makes you feel good too!

Sibo

xx

Procrastination really is the thief of time

The other day I got into trouble and it was entirely my fault.

Mum had asked me to wash the dishes. She was going out to have her hair cut and she wanted them done before she came back. She told me she’d be home around five o’clock and needed the kitchen all nice and tidy because people were coming.

When Mum went out it was just after three o’clock so I reckoned that there was plenty of time.

I had stuff of my own to do. Had been promising myself to get stuck into weeding my veggie garden plus I had a new book I was dying to read.

You can guess what happened… right? It was hot so I decided to read first and got so immersed in my book the next thing I knew it was nearly time for mum to come home.

I flew into the kitchen and started frantically cleaning up – but the place was a mess and I knew I’d never be finished in time. Had a brainwave (okay – maybe it was a brain storm) and decided to get creative. Packed all those dirty dishes into a big plastic basin and hid them under my bed. I’d just finished wiping down the counters when I heard Mum’s car roar up the driveway.

Sjoe! With dardly a minute to spare.

Heaved a huge sigh of relief… I’d worry about how I was going to sneakily wash those dishes later.

Mom bustled into the kitchen with bags of chips and started opening the packets. She reached into the cupboard where we keep the bowls… but her favourite snack bowl was nowhere to be seen.

She scanned the kitchen with a perplexed look on her face. I backed out slowly, hoping she’d use some other container instead.

But no…. “Sibooooo” Mum yelled – “WHERE is my pretty chip bowl?”

Briefly wondered whether to fib or not but then decided I was already in trouble and lying would only make it worse. Had to confess.

I was certainly not the flavour of the day! Worse, Mum impounded my new book and said I could only have it back on the weekend. Plus I had to wash dishes all week.

That was a hard lesson. In future I’ll do chores or tasks first and then do the fun stuff later.

See you next week.

Sibo

xx

Let’s all talk more

It was my friend Wayne’s birthday and his Mum took us out for a teatime treat at our favourite place. We had barely sat down when she whipped out her cell phone and started pressing buttons.

I was still examining the menu so didn’t think about it, but then the waitron appeared and asked if we were ready to order.

Both Wayne and I knew what we wanted, but his Mum had not even looked at the menu yet.  She just ignored the dude and carried on reading something on her cell phone.

The waitron stood there patiently for a bit. Then he hopped from foot to foot and sort of cleared his throat, as if to say… well… um… excuse me?

I considered giving her a nudge or saying something but thought that might be rude.

Eventually she looked up, waved her arm offhandedly and said “Just coffee”.

I probably went bug-eyed with surprise. No please. No thank you. Definitely no sorry for keeping you waiting!

I looked at Wayne to see if he had noticed but he was messing with the sugar packets.

His mother went back to her phone and ignored us completely.

Wayne asked his Mum if she’d had a good day, but she didn’t even hear him and so did not reply. He and I chatted quietly for a bit, and then we went and played in the kids section.

“Doesn’t your mum talk to you at the table?” I asked when we were safely out of earshot.

“No,” Wayne replied a little sadly. “She’s always doing stuff on her cell phone, even at home.”

I looked around the place and noticed that quite a few of the parentals were fiddling with their cell phones whilst their kids were sitting at the table, colouring in or trashing the place. There were other people sitting together, looking at their phones too – not talking to each other.

Our food arrived. His mum drank her coffee and hardly took her eyes off her phone. Wayne sucked up the last bits of his milkshake and made a loud slurpy noise.

His mother looked up sharply and said “Wayne! Where are your manners?”

But how could she expect Wayne to have manners if she did not have any herself. My Dad always says you have to earn respect, not demand it.

Let’s all talk to each other more please. Put those phones down.

Sibo

xx

The Power of Music

The other day I was feeling a tad glum.

The weather was gloomy, I’d finished my book and did not have another one to read. Nobody wanted to talk to me or play a game with me and I was generally feeling miserable and heavy hearted.

Then I switched on the radio…  a song that I really like was playing.

Macarena by Los Del Rio. It’s not a new song – in fact it came out in 1993 – long before I was even born – but it’s one of those timeless songs that you can’t help singing along to. Even if you don’t know the words properly.

Immediately my insides lifted and my heart felt lighter. Really, it did.

Turned it up so loud that mum complained that she could not hear herself think.

I sang loudly and did a little dance around the kitchen – probably doing all the wrong moves but I did not care and anyway, there was nobody to see me.

I felt immediately better.

I went off and found something to do and just listened to the music in the background (by this time I had turned it down a bit).  I like to listen to the words of songs too – but often these days they are just sappy and repeat themselves over and over.

Decided to do a bit of research about how music makes you happy and was amazed to find out that it has lots of other benefits too.

  • Listening to classical music can lower your blood pressure.
  • Surgeons listen to music when they are doing surgery – it makes them more calm and relaxed.
  • Listening to music may help the body defend itself from disease and infection – apparently it raises the level of natural killer cells.
  • Listening to soothing music can help a person sleep – it soothes fractious babies too.
  • Singing can improve your breathing, which can help people who have lung problems.

And how’s this… Plants not only enjoy being talked to but they like listening to music too!

Okay – so they don’t exactly listen but apparently pressure from the sound waves creates vibrations that can be picked up by plants that is beneficial to them. How cool is that.

The moral of the story – whether you sing, play an instrument, listen to music or do all three – music makes your life better!

Happy listening people!

Sibo

Water challenged

Read this title free on the website

Right now those of us living in Gauteng might be feeling a bit complacent because we are not facing a severe water crisis like they are in Cape Town (and other parts of the country)  – but that does not mean that we have water to waste.

We should all get used to using water as sparingly as possible.

Make it a habit to save all those drops that are so easy to waste. Turn the taps off when brushing teeth, do the mellow yellow thing, make sure the washing machine is full before switching it on and ensure that there are no leaky pipes or taps in the house.

That’s the least we can do.

If you are planning a trip to Cape Town, be considerate. Don’t think you can rock up and waste their water because you will have left after a few days and the dire situation won’t affect you in the slightest.

If you are visiting family – buy-in water for your needs and be ultra-considerate with every drop you use out of the tap. In fact – don’t use those taps if you can possibly help it.

Think about taking your own sheets, or sleeping bag, with you and bring them back again to wash. Sounds crazy right? Not really – the guesthouse or your friends or relations would really appreciate such a gesture. You might even get a discount. Organise it with your hosts before you go.

Wash your hair before you leave and make sure you stick to the showering time rules. Even better – skip that shower if you can!

Take enough clothes to last the duration of your trip without needing to have them washed.

Don’t ask for a glass of water at a restaurant – they are also severely water challenged.

So are the shopping centres – don’t assume you can use their bathrooms – many of them are now closed.

Lastly – don’t share fake news or make cruel jokes about the water situation – especially around children.

The other day Ginny’s 5 year old granddaughter, Isabella, asked her mom if they were going to die when their water ran out. It was obviously a real fear uppermost in her mind. She was very relieved to hear that if things got too bad they could always move in with GG in Gauteng.

Be positive and considerate.

Every drop counts!

Sibo

xxx

Stand up to bullies

Remember last week we were talking about how bad bullies are and, even worse, how terrible it is to be bullied?

Here are some things that you can do if you are being targeted by a bully.

  • Get away as soon as possible and move to a safe please where there are other kids and adults.
  • Avoid places where you are alone – hang out with other people. Even if you are not friends with them – hang out near them anyway.
  • Act as if the bullying has no power over you. Look calm and confident (even if you are terrified). You can do this by standing up straight and tall – put your shoulders back and push your chest forward. (Practise this in the mirror at home – you never know when you might need to stand tall.)
  • Stand up for yourself – act as though the bullying is really boring and answer back with things like – So? Yup? Really? And…? Whatever you say! Who cares?
  • Get help from an adult you trust. Tell them what has happened to you and ask for their support. If one person does not listen – go to somebody else.
  • Keep in mind that bullying is about the person who is doing the bullying. Although they are targeting you and it affects your life – it’s not really about you – it says something about the person who is doing the bullying. Never forget that. It is not your fault.
  • Tell yourself that you are awesome, brave, lovable, worthy of respect and belonging. Nobody can take that away from you. Own it. Say it often. Remind yourself all the time that you are fabulous.

If you see somebody being bullied it is NOT cool to just walk away and not get involved either. YOUR SILENCE ENCOURAGES THE BULLY!

This is what you can do.

  • Don’t laugh and don’t encourage the bully in any other way.
  • Tell others not to join in on the bullying either. You can make a difference by encouraging others to do the same.
  • Help the victim any way you can – speak directly to them and say something like “Let’s get out of here.”
  • Show the victim that you are empathetic – say “I would feel sad and angry too” or “I’m sorry this is happening to you.”
  • Encourage the victim to tell an adult and offer to go with them.

Stand up for what is right – even if you are standing alone!

Sibo

xxx

It is not BIG to make somebody else feel SMALL!

In the same survey that was done about how sad South African reading statistics are, they also mentioned that our Grade Four children are among the most bullied in the world.

THE WORLD!

How horrible is that?

There is often some confusion regarding conflict and bullying.

  • When someone says or does something unintentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s RUDE.
  • When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s MEAN.
  • When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they keep doing it – even when you tell them to stop or show them that you are upset – that’s BULLYING.

Conflict is normally a disagreement or an argument. Bullying is normally a show of strength or influence to intimidate somebody else, or typically to force them to do something that they do not want to do.

Conflict turns into bullying when there is an imbalance of power. This can come from someone being bigger, older, stronger and more confident or having more friends. Their mean behaviour happens over and over again.

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes – some use their fists (physical) others use their voices (verbal) and in the last few years, cyber bullying has become a big thing too – using the internet, social media, text messaging, e-mail and other electronic mediums to say mean or embarrassing things.

No matter what shape the bullying takes, they all leave you feeling broken and humiliated.

Bullying does not only occur at school either – it often happens at home and in the neighbourhood.

Warning signs of somebody being bullied:

  • Withdrawal from friends and activities.
  • Physical complaints.
  • Worried, angry, quiet or moody.
  • Declining schoolwork.

One of the major forms of bullying in schools is EXCLUSION.

For various reasons kids shun other kids. Often for stupid things like they don’t have cool enough clothes or hairstyles. We all know having a friend to sit with at break or lunch time makes the world of difference.

That’s what the friendship bench is all about. If you don’t have anybody to sit with – you can sit on that specific bench at school and somebody is always there to chat to you and see that you are not alone. We have a roster and take turns to do bench duty – you get to meet all sorts of interesting people too.

More on how you can beat bullies next week.

Be kind people!

Sibo.