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.



Reaching for the Stars

My friend Ginny was invited to a think-tank on how to popularize multi-wave astronomy (no – don’t run away, this blog is not about that – although it is really interesting stuff) a few days ago, and had lunch with one of the other participants who happened to have a disability.

Not wanting to offend the lady in the slightest she asked a bit hesitantly… ‘Um, what is the politically correct way to describe somebody who cannot see?”

The lady promptly responded “Blind!”

Thereafter a lovely conversation followed, with the lady, Wanda, giving some insights (excuse the pun) into one of the challenges of being blind.
But let’s clarify something first. The lady is Dr Wanda, and she’s an astrophysicist, who, amongst other things, really enjoys developing interesting lesson plans to teach kids about astrophysics. She has not allowed being blind to restrict her in the slightest and continues to reach for the stars – literally. Except Wanda listens to them instead of looking at them!

She reckons the most irritating thing is when somebody sends her a .pdf file to read. PDF stands for “portable document format” and it’s a way of saving a document from any application into a format that most systems can read – unless you are blind.

Wanda explained that her special software that “reads” the document cannot comprehend a .pdf file. It just picks up random words and strings them together. Obviously this could lead to major confusion. She gave us a hysterical example that went something like the “The moon was in the bathroom exploding.”

The numbers at the table swelled with Alfred from Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown (Jozi) joining the ranks. Wanda asked Alfred what his favourite exhibit was. His answer was the one that explained sound waves. Of course she did not leave it there – she had him explain to her just how he got the concept across to the people visiting Sci-Bono.

Initially Alfred waved his hands around a lot, which Wanda could not see, but he quickly got the hang of it and used his words – very simply and effectively to explain how sound waves work.

We all take many things for granted and our sight is one of them.

By the way – how often do people check the toys that their young children play with for sharp bits they could potentially stick into their eye (or somebody else’s) by mistake? Double check that toy box please, just to make sure.

Reach for the stars people – don’t let anything hold you back.


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!



One of a kind

13th of November was World Kindness Day. Yes! There really is such a day. Although honestly I think that every day should be kindness day – just like every day should be earth day.

The world revolves around kindness.

Just think a bit… if somebody smiles at you, or compliments you on something – you feel good. Right? It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and your whole body feels a little lighter and happier. Just because you are feeling good about yourself – you might then smile at somebody else involuntarily because you’re in a good mood. And that might make them smile too.

It’s a chain effect – a good one!

Just the same if someone yells at you and makes you feel bad, you curl up into a little ball, and smart at the injustice of it all. You are far more likely to yell at the dog, shove the cat and be mean to the next person you come across.

That’s also a chain effect – a bad one.

Being kind is a mind-set. It costs nothing and means the world. If you are a boss it can be as simple as thanking somebody (publically preferably – remember – thank in public and scold in private) for a job done. It does not have to be a hard or complicated job either. Being nice to people makes them feel valued and then they want to do more. Being nasty makes people think… why should I bother?

It is crazy when people in charge belittle their staff and then still expect them to perform well. There’s a guy who owns a restaurant near us and he always yells at his waitrons and treats them like dirt. Obviously his staff turn-over is very high yet he still does not get that he, him-self is the problem.

It’s easy to say to say something nasty or demeaning – but it is even easier to say something nice.

And you don’t have to lie – if you don’t think a dress looks good on somebody – you could say you like the colour, or the style or something.

There are numerous ways you can be kind. Lend a helping hand. Give a word of encouragement. Give somebody a letter or a card. Compliment a stranger.  Or just smile at random people – that also does the trick.

Have a nice day.


Use time wisely

You often hear people saying that they wish they had more time to do something – be it homework, making dinner or spending time with friends doing something fun.

It is the one thing that we cannot change. Those minutes tick by relentlessly, never stopping for a moment.

Seems like when you are a kid the time takes forever to pass, but somehow when you get a bit older it feels as though the time whooshes by. One minute it’s the beginning of the year and suddenly the year is finished and it’s time to look forward to the holiday season again.

I guess we should all think about using our time more wisely.

Sometimes that sounds easier said than done. Exams are looming and studying for them is not really a very attractive prospect. Often you tell yourself you’ll just “do this quickly” and study later. Then suddenly the time has disappeared and you are unprepared.

That old saying – procrastination is the thief of time – might be tired – but it certainly is true.

I’ve decided to try and plan my life a bit better. I’m making lists of the stuff I need to do. I’m putting the important stuff on the list along with some smaller tasks – which are easy to get done. Then I feel great when I see things crossed off and it galvanises me to do more of the things on the list. I reward myself with some play time every so often for being so productive.

I’m really hoping it works because I’m rather good at dawdling!

Talking about time and how valuable it is – it’s really rude to keep somebody waiting.

Often we agree to be somewhere at a certain time and then get there several minutes late. In South Africa it is jokingly referred to as “African Time” but it does not make it right.

It sends the signal that the other person’s time is not important – to you anyway, and it shows a complete lack of respect. Being on time requires proper planning – like being aware and factoring in anything that might crop up causing delays and making one late.

It’s sometimes hard to predict traffic and often one gets to a place way too early and then you have to wait around but it is better than being late. Take a book or something.

Plan carefully people!


Draining Away

The other day mum and I were visiting a friend of hers and mum was moaning that she was going to have to call out a plumber to unblock our shower drain.  The shower kept filling up with water and you could almost have a bath in the shower well. She was whinging that plumbers were so expensive and she’d much rather buy a pair of new shoes with that money.

Her friend smiled and told her to relax – there was no need to call a plumber.

She gave us a recipe to unclog the shower. Mum was a bit sceptical – she’s not big on doing innovative stuff – but I wrote it all down and said I’d try it when we got home.

It was a bit like a science experiment – and I am very fond of those.

Mum assured me had all the ingredients needed – nothing fancy at all – just hot water, baking soda and vinegar.

Mum supervised and I got to do the fun work.

First we boiled the kettle and poured the whole lot of boiling water down the drain.

Then we poured in half a cup of baking soda – and let that sit in the drain for about 5 minutes.

Next we added a cup of vinegar followed by a cup of boiling water to the baking soda in the drain. This was the fun part – it all fizzled and foamed. Mum made me wear safety goggles in case it whooshed up too much and got in my eyes. (I felt even more like a scientist!)

If you have one of those drain plungers – put it over the plug hole at this stage – so that all the fizzy stuff stays in the drain.

Finally, after about 5 to 10 minutes – we poured another kettle of boiling water into the drain.

The next day we all had a shower and the water flowed perfectly out of the drain – no more bathing in the shower.

So maybe – if you have a blocked drain – you should try this first before you call a plumber!

Have a fabulous week further.


World Humanitarian Day

19 August was World Humanitarian Day. This day was initially declared by the United Nations back in 2008 after a terrible terrorist attack on the UN headquarters in Bagdad in 2003, where 22 people were killed.

Nearly every day some disaster happens – whether it is war, terrorist attacks, floods, earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, disease, poverty or hunger. These things cause huge suffering for all the people who are caught up in these events and, sadly, it is usually the poorest people who suffer the most.

Humanitarian assistance workers go all-out to provide help in these situations both in the short and long term. Often these workers put themselves at risk too and sometimes even die in their efforts to help other people.


We can all be humanitarians.  There is no special training needed to do the right thing every now and then. Sometimes it is as simple as delivering blankets or warm clothes to the needy when there is a very cold spell. Or helping out in your local community if something untoward – like a flood -happens.

Basically it all boils down to being kind and thinking of others. The definition of kindness is the quality of being friendly, considerate and generous.

It’s not very hard to be any of those things, but sometimes it does require conscious thought. Often we get so caught up in everyday life that we forget there are many people who have considerably less than we do and could use a bit of a helping hand. It could be as simple as knowing somebody at school who needs to share your lunch occasionally.

Remember a while ago we talked about having “Friendship benches” at school.  Where kids who don’t have any friends, or just maybe need somebody to talk to, can go and sit and know for sure that somebody will come and talk to them. That also boils down to being kind – and generous. You don’t have to be generous with money always. You can be generous of spirit or with your time.

There might even be an elderly person in your neighbourhood who is lonely and could use somebody to chat to or maybe needs help with shopping or garden work.

The main thing is for us all to keep an open mind and not miss out on opportunities to do the odd good deed. Or many good deeds!


Sniffy Season.

It’s that time of year when people get sick with colds and flu. Here are some rather simple ways of avoiding catching those dreaded lurgies …

Wash your hands – we are always touching things and people. Our hands are a prime spot for germs to hang out. If you wash them often, with soap, this dilutes the germs and they go scooting down the drain along with the water. While you’re about it – give up gnawing your nails too. Germs lurk under your nails and when you nibble them – you ingest the germs.

If you need to sneeze – sneeze into the crook of your elbow. It sounds funny but actually we don’t touch things with the inside of our elbow – right. So it makes a lot of sense.

Try not to touch your eyes and nose. These are common places where the germs sneak in.

The experts also say that our bags and suitcases pick up germs the same as we do. It’s a good idea to wipe them down every now and then to get rid of any little suckers that might be hanging around.

Get enough sleep – at least 8 to 10 hours a night is what the doctors prescribe.

Exercise! Working out helps our immune system function better – this is what we all need to stay healthy.  And smile – being happy boosts the immune system too.

Eat healthily. Stock up on Vitamin C naturally – this is not a cure for a common cold but it also boosts our immune system and helps prevent catching cold and flu bugs. The daily recommended dose of Vitamin C is 60mg.

We all know that oranges are full of vitamin C, but there are many other things that also have loads of the same vitamin – more in fact. A medium sized orange has around 70g. A cup of strawberries yields 85mg, 2 kiwi fruits equal 128mg and mango has 122mg per fruit. Pineapple is rich in the good stuff too. Bell peppers range from 95mg for a green pepper to a whopping great 340mg for a yellow pepper. (Plus those are low in calories so are great to snack on.)  Brussel sprouts are also rich in Vitamin C and are delicious roasted in the oven with bacon. Broccoli (raw) is another veggie that can be nibbled to get our daily intake. Don’t forget about kohlrabi – not such a pretty vegetable – but can be used instead of cabbage in salads or in stir-fries.

Stay well and be happy everybody!


Saving the Environment

Because the 5th of June was World Environment Day thought it might be a good idea to share some tips on saving money and the environment.

These days many people use toothpaste, facial or body scrubs with those teensy plastic micro beads in them.  Well… those little plastic toxic bombs go down the drain from your basin, shower or bath and eventually land up in rivers, lakes and seas. Very simply, the fish cannot avoid them and we eat the fish. These things are causing untold havoc in the environment.

By now we all probably know how useful bicarbonate of soda is for cleaning stuff around the house – but you can also use it instead of various beauty products. Here’s an alternative for your various scrubs. A much cheaper and more environmentally sound one.

Use an old spice jar – one of the ones with little sprinkle holes in the top and fill it up with bicarbonate of soda. Make sure the lid still seals well – you don’t want the bicarb to get wet. Keep it in your bathroom or shower where you can easily access it.

This alkaline substance has antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. But before you start using this – try a test patch on your skin to check that you don’t have any bad reactions to it.

In addition to being antiseptic and anti-inflammatory it helps balance the skin’s pH – so if you have acne or spots you can mix a spoon of bicarb with a bit of water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area for a few minutes and then wash it off with cold water. Do this until your skin clears up.

You can whiten your teeth by sprinkling a bit of bicarb on your regular toothpaste and brushing your teeth once a day. Only do it for a few days though – not all the time – otherwise you can hurt the enamel on your teeth.

Get rid of residue of hair products on your hair – put a blob of shampoo in your hand and sprinkle some bicarb into it. Wash your hair as normal. It removes all the yukky stuff very effectively.

Sprinkle some bicarb onto a face cloth and use it as a body scrub to get rid of all the dead skin and flaky bits. Rinse well when you are finished.

Or simply sprinkle some bicarb into your hand add warm water and gently use it as a face wash/scrub. This works especially well if you don’t wear a lot of make-up.

Take care,


To sea or not to see

The 8th of June is World Oceans Day.

Thought to celebrate this day I’d share some cool facts.

Did you know that around 70% of the world’s surface is covered by oceans?

There are 5 different oceans – namely the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean , the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean.

The largest is the Pacific ocean and it covers around 30% of the Earth. The name “Pacific” come from the Latin word ‘pacificus’ – meaning peaceful.

Incredibly, around 70% of the oxygen that we breathe is produced by the oceans.

Only 5% of the oceans have been explored. Not surprising really when the deepest known area of the Earth’s oceans is in the Pacific, near Guam in the Philippine Sea at the end of the Mariana Trench, and its deepest point measures nearly 11km.

The Great Barrier Reef (the largest coral reef near Australia) measures about 2,600km and it can be seen from the moon!

We all know that oil spills in the sea are terrible and kill lots of sea life, but waste matter from sewerage and agriculture gets dumped into the sea too. This sometimes had all sorts of toxins in it that can cause dangerous types of algae (sea plants) to bloom in water near the coast. When these blooms die and rot they use up all the oxygen in the water and then there’s none left for the fish. These are called “creeping dead zones”

Some people just think of the sea as a huge dumping ground. Lots of other stuff (like chemicals) are chucked into the sea – and get eaten by the fish that you and I eat, which causes illness in humans (never mind what it does to the sea life).  It’s very scary how polluted the seas have become.

312 million kilograms of sea food is consumed each year! Our ocean resources are being depleted daily. People often imagine that the sea is full of a never-ending supply of fish but this is simply not so.

Please remember you can consult the SASSI website   and find out which fish are endangered or not.

To celebrate World Ocean Day we are going to make Sibo and the Sea available on the website  for you to freely read if you want to read more about the oceans.

Please only eat from the “green list” people!