How do they do it?

Last week hubby did a course with his work and one of the lecturers spoke about how he stays positive.  He limits outside interference from impacting on his levels of happiness.  There are things he cannot control and can impact him but he makes the most of what he can control and chooses to be happy.

And it sounds so easy.  I even gave it a try on Saturday and it worked for most of the day.  I’ve been ill since Sunday and trying to take it easy but yesterday despite trying really hard to be positive and focus on the important things in life, I let silly stuff get in the way.

Why is it SO hard???  When I have so much to be grateful for, why is it easier to focus on negative and draining things instead of counting my blessings?  I’ve tried everything.  Gratitude journals.  Journaling.  Starting the day with a religious reading.  Praying.  Limiting FB.  I don’t seem to get anywhere and it is so upsetting.

I cannot take certain people in my life and turn their attitude into a positive.  I’ve tried but I just cannot do it!  My parents-in-law just drain every bit of patience out of me and I find myself gritting my teeth after I’ve been in their company.  They take and take and take and take and take and then expect more and they NEVER give!  Hubby says he has no expectations therefore they don’t disappoint him.  He enjoys spending time with them just accepts them for who they are.  HOW?!?!?!

I have tried fellow bloggers.  I have tried SO hard.  My mother-in-law is the cheapest person you will find but the one with both hands outstretched ready to take more.

We hosted her and FIL for a braai two months ago.  We paid for everything (of course) and she still got us to buy tickets to support their bowls club.  R200 later we haven’t seen or heard from her.

We didn’t win the lucky draw but this is not what this is about.

She is obviously terrified we expect them to host us as a way to reciprocate.  We have more chance finding a unicorn!  Neither of us expect this.  We literally had to give a bag of tea for when we pop on for tea.  We have never made use of it.  We literally have more chance travelling to Mars.  On our newly acquired unicorn.  But she will not make a phonecall or any contact just in case.  My other theory is that instead of suggesting a dinner out (here we always pay for ourselves) she is hoping for another freebie.

And I just cannot handle it!  I cannot be the doormat daughter-in-law they expect and I want to say something to them but it will come out wrong, will be harsh and although 100% true, they will take offense.

It doesn’t seem to bother them how offensive I find them!

How do other people do it?  Any advice welcome!




The last word

There are a number of things I cannot resist in life.  Beautiful shoes.  A hot cup of tea.  New books.  Getting the last word.

Yip, quite a variety.  I can cut down on my shopping but I cannot limit my need for the final say on a matter.

Terrible habit I know.

This past Friday was a typical example.  I had a busy weekend planned.  Was going to have an awesome braai at home,  visit the gym, get on top of the laundry and give our home a clean.

Plans in place, I took a walk at lunchtime on Friday and ran into the worlds biggest snob on my way back.  This is someone that shamelessly brags and when she doesn’t have anything she deems worthy to boast about, will ignore you.  After a fun exchange involving her fancy (at least in her opinion) car I made my way back to my office.  But not before she asked if we were away at one of our favourite places this weekend.  I told her we weren’t.   “We are”  she announced brightly as I made my escape.

I told hubby on the way about the exchange with the snob.  I said I’d love to just go and put it on Facebook so she’d know we’d been and snubbed her again.   She has tried to meet up before and was quite astounded when I pretended we weren’t going before.

So we made a last minute reservation and had a fantastic weekend.

Laundry, housework and gym waited.  The braai was moved much closer to the sea and we had a blast.  I put it all over Facebook.  I’m usually more reserved.  But posts involved putting my gps on, adding photos and then posting the next day to make my point.

She liked the first post (she never likes anything I post).

Hubby had a great weekend and the braai was delicious.

It was a spontaneous getaway although I am sorry to all my other friends on FB who must have wondered what the hell I was posting so much for.

So sorry about that but it was for a good cause.







I love the quote which goes “In a world where you can be anything, be kind”- unknown.  Simple and to the point it sums up a beautiful message.

And I try.  I really, really, really do try.  It is just the unkindness in some people that makes this so incredibly difficult.

I watched for years how people took advantage of my parents and their kindness.  And I suppose it made me a little harder than I should be.  My mother-in-law is not very generous (understatement of the century) and yet hubby is always keen to extend generosity to them.  And I should be proud of this.  Not bristle and grit my teeth and explode when they go home.

We had them over for a braai on Saturday.  MIL said the last one they had been to was on the weekend we took them away on in March.  An all expenses paid treat they took full advantage of and which resulted in me requiring copious amounts of wine to get through (and recover from).  If that was a hint for a repeat they are to be sorely disappointed.

But I digress.  It was a lovely evening where we supplied everything needed for the braai, all the meat, everything needed for the sandwhiches, refreshments and a huge salad.  They brought a milktart which was nice.  But not enough for MIL.  Oh no, before leaving she had to mention they were raising funds for their Bowls Club.  I’ve never bought a ticket so expensive before but hubby saw fit to buy two!  I’m used to spending money on a night out.  I’m not used to my wallet getting emptier when I stay home and entertain.

And I was a grumpy wife for Sunday to say the least.

I think it was very kind of hubby to support his parents Bowls club.  Why could I not just feel the same about generosity for their struggling club which means so much to them?

Because all I could see when we handed over hundreds of Rands was all the past stinginess from MIL.  And I couldn’t move past that.  And then I remembered numerous times my parents were taken advantage of, panicked we had the same to look forward to and lost my cool.

Showing the person who means the most to me, how awful I can be.

But it isn’t just his family.

For the past few years I’ve lent an aunt of mine books.  Around 60 different books I’ve bought.  I’ve put together stacks of fiction and even dropped it off by her.  Every birthday I give her a nice voucher from a bookstore and last year she bought a book which I was keen to buy but didn’t when I heard she’d purchased it.  I’ve waited months for her to read it and lend it and she just hasn’t.  She happily collected a big pile of my books the other day, returned the old ones and said she hadn’t included her book as she hadn’t read it.  I’ve lent brand new books before and pretended it was okay.  But it isn’t and I’ve been simmering about it since.  My aunt is the epitome of selfish – has taken advantage of my parents for years and nobody stands up to her.  She gets away with it year in and year out.  I told my mother and she said my father agreed it wasn’t right.  She uses me as a personal library and my uncle makes unnecessary comments and tries to make who reads the most in a year into a competition.  My aunt attends every family dinner, bringing as little as possible and doing even less.

She e-mailed me the other day to say she’d enjoyed one of the books and didn’t know which to choose next.  I.e reading her own book so that I could borrow it was not on her immediate to-do list.

And she expects me to keep lending just like MIL will expect us to continue to buy annual tickets to their lucky draws.

In a world where you can be anything why doesn’t everyone realise kindness is an option?









Start as you mean to go on….

For the past few weeks I’ve gotten into an unhealthy routine I’m not proud of.  I’ve been feeling down about my Gran.  The sadness still comes unexpectedly and I need to keep remembering that she isn’t suffering and is in a better place.  It just hurts so much.

I’ve been sleeping badly, eating terribly and my gym card has gathered a bit of dust.  It seems easier to reach for a glass of wine when I get home from work than to put on my running shoes.  So I end up taking a sip.  Bid farewell to gym plans.  Eat an unhealthy supper with zero nutrients, sleep badly and repeat the routine the next day.  I fall into bed exhausted, wake up even more tired and drag myself through a day with little motivation.

It isn’t right.  This is not what my Gran would have wanted.  This is also not what my husband deserves.

So yesterday I decided enough is enough.  At lunchtime I went to the shops to do a small grocery shop.  It meant we could save time after work.  An ex colleague had planned a girls supper that evening and in the past I’d use that as an excuse that after going to the shops there wouldn’t be time for gym.  Not yesterday.  We got home, I changed my clothes, blew the dust off my access card, found my towel and marched to gym.  Well, we drove there but I walked in with purpose.  I ran for 20 minutes, my body protesting most of the time but I just kept going.  Then I rowed for 10.  The machine was all sweaty from the previous user and it felt like it needed a service but I carried on.  I felt irritated about stuff at one stage (probably the sweaty rowing machine which was feeling more rickety by the second) and huffing and puffing I ended my work out and went to wait for hubby.  When we got to the parking lot I realised that I felt calm.  For the first time in ages, I felt calm and had a sense of relaxation that no amount of my favourite wine can give.

I went to have dinner with the girls and I had a water with my dinner.  They had drinks and I didn’t feel like joining in.  I sipped my water and mentally counted the glasses I’d had that day –  7 in total.  And when I got home I had number 8 and then went to get ready for bed.

It is a small start but it is a massive jump in the right direction.


Monday musings

After Saturday not going as well as I’d hoped, I ended up making unhealthy food choices and reaching for a glass of wine instead of my running shoes numerous times over the weekend.

But I’m not going to dwell on it and choose to start the week off on a healthier note with a dash of positivity.  I’m on glass number 5 of water, have eaten fruit and will have my second yoghurt just after 2:00pm.

Instead of dwelling on the fact that I have no idea of the way forward with my parents (is there even a path going forward?) I’m going to count my blessings:

  • My Husband.  He always has my back and I can rely on him which is wonderful and not something I take for granted.  He has helped me so much with dealing with my parents.
  • The beautiful photo we bought while on holiday has been put into the deep box frame and is on the lounge wall.  Looks stunning and finishes off the wall perfectly.
  • Dinner with hubby’s parents tonight.  They are much easier to talk to than mine (who isn’t) and we can just have an enjoyable evening laughing.  Unlike my mother, my MIL can remember more than 1% of what I say so having a conversation with her is easy.
  • Going to one of our favourite restaurants.  Good food and no dishes afterwards – bliss.
  • My birthday next week.  Already chose my gift from hubby and cannot wait to wear it (it is a Pandora charm for my bracelet).
  • A home filled with love as opposed to the house I grew up in which was filled with people.
  • Monday is almost done and dusted (2.5 hours of the work day left) and a relaxing evening can be enjoyed.

What are you grateful for today?


















Sometimes talking it out is worse than ignoring it.

I had breakfast with my mother yesterday.  After the way things have been between us I thought discussing some of it would be beneficial.  I had planned that 2017 would be the year I walked away from the most toxic, time consuming, hurtful and unfulfilling relationship I’ve ever had – the one with my parents.  But I had a change of heart and my mother sent an e-mail where she almost sounded interested in my life and we agreed to meet and talk things through.

My mother made a huge breakfast – she said we could eat by her as we wouldn’t be able to discuss things properly in a restaurant.  We had to stay in the diningroom because she has a needy friend who pops by most Saturdays at that time and will then stay for hours.  Easier to pretend one isn’t home than be seen in their lounge.  Heaven forbid she actually tells a friend from down the road that she is busy with her eldest daughter – wouldn’t want the world to end.

In a nutshell I feel we got nowhere.  My mother has an excuse for every bit of hurt she has inflicted on me over the years – the top 4 being:

  • Gosh did I really say that?
  • I don’t think I said such a thing
  • I was angry and venting – didn’t really mean it
  • I really don’t remember saying that

When I started our discussion I mentioned the 4 excuses listed at each of our ‘trying to talk it out meetings’ and was given another one! “I’d like to have known what the conversation was about before I said such a thing”  I.e I’m still wrong.  I deserved 33 years of hurtful things said.

My birthday is coming up.  It is customary with my parents to ignore me when they have a birthday unless all family are invited around.  So if the entire group of relatives aren’t present – we aren’t either.  My mother smugly pointed out that they don’t complain when I go away for my birthday or do stuff with my friends.  She has conveniently forgotten that I still include them in my birthdays.  I went to spend the day with them last year and took them for breakfast.  I’ve had numerous parties over the year including other ungrateful family members.  One year I popped around with a platter and drinks after work – it was too much to expect them to come to me of course!  I’ve spent numerous afternoons on my birthday by my parents and they have managed to forget each time???  My father is 60 and my mother 57 so I don’t know where this so-called memory loss is stemming from.

My father managed to be cold for most of the visit – don’t even know what that was about but don’t have the energy to care.  My mother wouldn’t say where they were planning on moving to – they aren’t giving the details to anyone.  What the endless stream of visitors that flood their house will think of this I’d be interested in knowing.

The real slap in the face came when my mother said I could spend my birthday by them and “stay as long as you like”.  This will mean an entire day with so-called deprived family rocking up for a free meal.  Or their hoard of friends who only know how to take.  Lucky me.  The REAL insult was when I said I’d like to take them for breakfast instead.  Long story was given on how my father promised one of his friends to get his drivers licence sorted on that day.  Apparently the friend asked 3 weeks ago.

I’ve had my birth date since the early 80’s.  How silly of me to think that would mean anything.


Hello Friday!

Wow but this has been a busy week.  Busy in a good and productive way but I’m tired and ready for the weekend to roll around.

Gym, visiting a friend, grocery shopping, gardening, cleaning and laundry – the week has flown.  I also drove each morning to work which usually results in the need for two cups of tea when I arrive at the office.  We managed a spontaneous dinner out on Wednesday, mostly because we were too tired from cleaning after work to cook.

But running around non-stop this week means that a relaxing weekend is ahead and I’m looking forward to that.  We have a date night planned for this evening.  Off to the movies after work, dinner and then a walk around the casino.

Tomorrow we plan to sleep in, have a slow breakfast and then go to Franschhoek.  We might fit in a gym workout and wash our cars but have nothing else planned.  Bliss.

My Friday gratitude list this week includes:

  • visiting a wonderful friend and meeting her adorable baby
  • An e-mail from my mother this week – with an invitation to breakfast where we can talk things through.
  • Reading two books at the same time and enjoying both
  • A relatively quiet week at work
  • A clean home with the ironing all finished (for now!)
  • Garden is looking beautiful thanks to hubby
  • Driving each morning and getting the hang of the tricky access boom in the office complex
  • Hubby’s patience re above and everything else!

What are you happy about on this Friday?