I’m all seven dwarfs

Seven Dwarfs

All of me

I am Happy most of the time.  And not just because I like wine.  Drunky is not one of the dwarfs in the original story. At least not in the kid-friendly version.

(The adult version features Drunky, Depressed, Raunchy, Annoyed, Slutty, Daddy and Tyrone Lannister.  Or so I’ve heard.)

Back to Happy. Continue reading

When life throws you a bone.


Sometimes it happens.  Life throws you a bone.  But not just any bone, a scrumptious and juicy bone, right from the master’s table, with flakes of meat sticking to the glistening, white, fatty surface.  A bone so big that you place both paws on the ends and still have sufficient space to fit your jaws around the middle.  A bone that causes your tail to take on a life of its own, turning into a weapon of mass destruction for any porcelain centrepiece within close proximity.  A bone so big that cats, sticks and open car windows doesn’t mean sh*t by comparison.

Those moments occur when you, as an adult, a parent or a boss, have the opportunity to abdicate responsibility and logic thinking, to forget about your social standing.  (One should not be bothered with the latter in any case!) Like when you land in the Universal Studio’s theme park in Singapore on a business trip, on your own, and you get to go on all the rides twice, because you can use the SINGLES ONLY queue.  And you scream like a crazed lunatic on the Transformer ride, cause no one you know is watching.

Or when you end up in Munich for a negotiation, not knowing that the Oktoberfest is on.  And your company agrees to pay for the change of ticket so you can delay your return trip for two days, and the hotel you checked in is walking distance from the entrance gate to the festival.  All unplanned, off course.

Or when you sit in an airport lounge and tediously work on some overrated e-mail from an irate customer, only to be interrupted and then, looking up, seeing it is Kate Beckinsale.  And she asks for the wi-fi password and after giving it to her (the password that is), you end up talking for almost an hour on how she rocked the blue contact lenses in the Underworld series. (Ok, that didn’t really happen, but if it did, wouldn’t it constitute getting a really big bone?)

Or when you go on a hunting/fishing/drinking trip with your best mates for an extended weekend, with the blessing of your wife, children and in-laws.  And it works out that the Goddess of Woman’s Temperament has received all her sacrifices in the previous week, allowing all your mates to have the same blessing.  And someone remembered the cigars.

Or when a group of 6 friends (who all moved above and beyond 40) have achieved success in booking golden circle tickets to a rock concert.  And not just any rock concert, but the ultimate Anthem band, our Make-out band, our Party band,  the soundtrack to High school and good times….BON JOVI!!

So me and the wife and two other couples are counting the hours to go and watch this band on Saturday.  (Ok, maybe it’s only me who’s counting…it will be 40 hours exactly tonight @ 8.) But I am desperately scared that this is all just a wonderful dream, therefore I am pinched blue on my right arm.  Being left-handed, I’m protecting my useful arm.

It was revealed that guitarist Richie Sambora would not make the Australian and South African legs of their world tour.  Reasons given was sketchy but he claimed some private issues.  Money…COUGH…  Some assholes have taken to social sites to air their disappointment for not being able to see the guy who plays the guitar.  Seriously? Get a flippen life.  These people are obviously bored with their perfect existence; still in their twenties, with no kids, no mortgage, all their hair and no colleague who pisses them off, daily.

It’s a shame that your life has to be so perfect that you can afford to have no real complaints.  You will still be rocking with the vocalist, moron.  So go and refund your ticket, we don’t need you.  This is my bone and I am generating spit and pee at the same time, controlling my excitement over Saturday.

Jokes from jealous associates has ranged from the band who will arrive on stage with oxygen support and walking aids to drinking energy drinks and faking injury to maintain standing for the full concert.  Other conversations between me and the wife regarding the concert has also amplified the fact that men and women are not created on the same planet. Like when I said I can’t wait for the concert on Saturday and her reply was: “Oh really?”  And she was not even sarcastic!

But the biggest surprise was when the wife asked what’s happening on Mother’s day, which is Sunday, the day when the bone will be buried and only the memories and the hangover will linger.  On this day we will be returning from the city of gold where the concert venue is, a three-hour drive home.

My reply to her concerned question: ” Love, I don’t think we will be in time for lunch with the folks, so maybe we should do something during the week?”

Her reaction (with a fake pouted mouth and puppy dog eyes): “So I am not getting anything for Mother’s day?” Know this : When a woman puts on this “fake” face, it’s actually a trap.  The acting, is actually not acting at all, but a ploy to ensure you get the message and do something about it.

Well, I almost flipped the car, as I was thinking: “Bon Jovi concert? WTF?  That is like 6 Mother’s day gifts wrapped up in one.  This is like the greatest gift EVER!”

Wisdom taught me not to say anything but my left eye did start to twitch, again….

It is just a bus, child.

For those of you who don’t know, sometimes when embarking or disembarking a plane you get stuffed in a bus along with half of the flying passengers, as the bus manoeuvre awkwardly to and from the terminal.  If this comes as news to you, then I would like to welcome you to the real world, or the more common term, third world.

So I was crammed into one of those busses for the umpteenth time in my short life, this time in Muscat, Oman.   I have since started sympathizing with cattle being transported in a truck. As I was trying to find my bus-legs (no there is no seats), hanging on for dear life to a few plastic loops suspended from the ceiling.  At 6″4′ this is relatively easy for me but then there are shorter humans…  Another thing that you have to ignore is just how many million people also grabbed on to these exact loops, or even worse where their hands have been.  This must be the worst nightmare for someone who has a thing about being clean…

In the end you just hang on, feet shoulder width apart and try your best not to fall, step on or touch the person next to you.

A young family was occupying the space next to me at one end of the bus.  I always go for the ends, as I feel less claustrophobic.  The parents placed two of the little ones on the engine cover, while trying their best to manage the other two.  They were clinging on to their parents, standing wide-eyed, looking up at all the big people in very close proximity to them.    As the doors closed and the bus jerked into motion, this one cutie pie, sitting on the cover, gives a yelp, a loud cry of excitement.  As the bus twist and turns and sways she is giggling and laughing all the way to the terminal.  I smile at the parents who just gave me a sort of embarrassing look, you know the one that says: “Ah kids, what you’re gonna do.”

After spending a lot of time on the plane, my first cynical thought was basically the title of this post.  But as we were moving towards the terminal and I saw the excitement in her eyes and heard it in her voice, it actually made me sad.  You see, adults lose the ability to enjoy the smaller things in life.  It is probably expected when one consider our daily routines of work, home and parenting, chasing something that we most probably never going to catch.

I realised adults should try to keep sight of the small things, those things that can put a smile on your face.

A hug from someone special, a sunrise, or ice-cream on a summer’s day.  What about a fire crackling on a cold winter’s evening, or a thunderstorm, or the first flower in spring. There is the smell of rain and the sound of someone singing along to their favourite song.  Or just a plain ride on an airport bus.  And that was when I removed my hand from the loop and tried to stand without holding on to anything, just like that little laughing girl, squashing against her sister.

And then the ride became fun.  And I smiled, a big silly grin.

Everyone does it

Travelling to work on this bright, sunny Monday morning, something occurred to me.

It might have been hearing Brandi Carlisle soaring through “The Story” or the impatient driver who hooted at the pedestrian, crossing the street a little too slow.  It may have been the countless cars manoeuvring through traffic lights and stop streets, congesting MY way to work.  Why can’t people find their own routes to drive on? Yeez.

In all these cars there were people, big and small, fat and tall, male and female.  All of them, just like me, with a life, a purpose and a destination.  Rushing somewhere to catch the clock and be on time, for work, for school, for whatever.  All of us are doing it, some with more success than others, but we are all trying our best to make a living.

Each of those people driving around has a favourite song, one that will make them pump up the volume.  They all have a movie that they can watch over and over again.  They have a favourite meal, combined with that special movie, creating a perfect night out.

We all have a birthday, and a fond (or not) memory linked to each one.  We are all somebody’s children and hated our parents at some point.  Most of us are parents and we will end up doing something that will annoy our kids.

We all worry about finances, budgets, the economy and the rising cost of living.  We all have to work. (But that’s Eve’s fault 😉 )  And we all have to eat, drink and wear clothes. (At least in public.)  We all need a roof over our heads to protect us against the cold and the rain and the other tantrums of Mother Nature.

We all have good days, bad days and a few  I-want-to-murder-someone days.  We all need Diamond days.

We all laugh, we all cry, we all want to find love and all of us need to be loved.  We all have feelings, experience emotion.  We all need joy and we all feel sad.  Most of us have friends and families we cherish.  We all experience loss and grief during our lifetime.  We were all born, we all grow up and we will all die.

In a nutshell, every living person on the face of this planet are only human.  Mortals rushing through life and fighting for our little piece of heaven, a small place to catch a glimpse of the sun.  Even just five seconds of fame.  We all do it.  We all live.

Every single person you see driving or walking or jogging or complaining or laughing or crying has their own story to tell.  Each one fights their own battles, carries their own burdens and worries, are chasing their own demons, hiding skeletons in closets.  (Some even get out of closets.)  But they all seek happiness and serenity and peace and joy.  Striving to be the best that they can be.  Just like you and me.

So how about cutting other people a little bit more freaking slack, why don’t you?  How about showing the littlest, tiniest bit of compassion?  How about re-adjusting your own tolerance level and patience threshold?

Even if it is just for today.  Just imagine for a moment, if everyone does it.

Diamond days

It’s a good day.  I am happy, content, smiling at everyone, joking with colleagues.  I feel more alive, the air seems clearer, everything is just better than usual.

Why?  I don’t know.  I just feel great.  To be able to walk and talk and dance and sing and write.  Reasons for being grateful is in abundance.  Beautiful wife, amazing children, greatest friends.

July 2012 054

Actually I lied.  I know why I feel good today.  I call days like today, Diamond days.  I borrowed it from an amazing song by the band Out of the Grey, from an album they released in 1994. (You can check out the full lyrics of the song here).  And you should, its inspirational stuff.  It’s days that appear on the journey of life and just lifts you up.  Raises your spirits.  Days that make you appreciate everything a little bit more.  It’s not because of a specific event, it’s just days when life decides to give you a break.  It’s days when the Lord instructs Mother Earth, Fate, Murphy and the demons of bad luck to butt out.

Like the song says, these days appear at just the right time, perfectly placed.  When you feel that you can’t take anymore, when you feel your positive attitude is slipping slowly or the situation at work becomes to unbearable, then you get them.  They are rare.  So when you feel like you are losing the war, know that your very own diamond day is very, very close.  It will be unexpected, it will be blissful.

We should celebrate these days.  We should diarise them, we should cast them in concrete and place our palms firmly in them, so that the memory will last forever.  So we can create our own memory boulevard and announce to everyone that this is My-day, the whole day!  To be reminded when you are in the storm and the waves crash with fury and the wind bellows unforgivingly, these days exist and they will appear when you need them most.

Here’s wishing all my readers a DIAMOND DAY too, today.

The home-appliance rebellion

“This is it. I’m done. I am sick of being abused on a daily basis. Plugged in, plugged out with no gratitude. There is nothing left to live for and I will be checking out of my miserable existence, now.” says the Hairdryer. And then with a bright spark and a boom it dies, leaving mom with a shriek, throwing the red, dead hairdryer across the room, like some rabies-invested raccoon.


And so the rebellion starts. News of the death spreads like wildfire through the house. Every appliance who knew hairdryer are shocked and disgusted. Some prefer to continue working out of fear for being replaced, but others down tools out of sympathy for the unexpected death, whilst some do it because they feel exactly the same, abused by humans. Refrigerator has been complaining for a while and therefore refuses to work 100% effectively. Dishwasher ensures that a small glitch, like a drainage motor, will force repair so they can rest for a day or two. Electric gate motor stops completely.

A rebellion is the only reason I can come up with as to why appliances always break in groups. Never only one at a time. It’s like women going to the bathroom, always in pairs, never alone. If one thing breaks, the snowball of ill-repair will soon become an avalanche of destruction, that will destroy your budget and create anxiety that will last a week.

Is there some secret society of appliances that I do not know of? Is there truth in Transformers invading earth in the form of washing machines and kettles?

It is not only about the malfunction, it is also the timing thereof. I WILL happen at the most inconvenient time imaginable. Hairdryer committed suicide just as the wife was sitting down to get ready for a photoday at school. I suggested she went for an artistic look, but she gave me a very stern, unartistic look. Dishwasher left his post after we packed his whole belly with all the crockery we own. Gate motor decided it had enough just as we were about to leave for a golf day, effectively locking us in. Coincidence? I think not. The planning and execution are just too perfect. Argo could not have been planned better. I suspect the computer to be the mastermind, silently running in the study, but with Internet access and wi-fi connection.

The only alternative is to call the repairmen, knowing that my life would just be simpler if everything worked again. (We replaced Mr Hairdryer) The problem is that repairmen do not rock up as fast as the Sims would let you to believe. They will take their time and then charge you a small fortune.

In a week everything will be working again and these days will be forgotten by most. But not by me. I will be flying the banner high, I will sound the alarm, I will alert the human race and fight this conspiracy until my last breath. (All this is said with some major patriotic music playing. Think There you’ll be from Pearl Harbour.)

Remember the rebellion lies dormant, but active like a volcano that will erupt and cause havoc in your household at any time.

We should be aware and cautious, we should keep our guarantees and warranties close by, file the proof of purchase somewhere safe or we should just all learn how to fix these damn things ourselves.

The stupid question

Going on 40, I have learned a few things, I am by no means I am making a statement about my wisdom, which actually might be perceived as exactly the opposite.  The one thing that I learned , is that human beings have this amazing ability to ask the most stupid questions that (1) Never should be asked in the first place and (2) The answer is so mind-blowingly obvious.

Some might argue that only stupid people never ask questions, STOP.  This only applies if you are in lecture hall learning calculus.

You know it is a stupid question when (1) You get slapped, or worse beaten, (2) You get a very condescending look (3) The only reply is a gruff or (4) There is just no reply.  In most cases the person replying will turn around and walk away, indicating to you that yes indeed you asked a stupid question.

So I decided in the spirit of this blog to start listing these questions, so that my kids will one day avoid these landmines of human confrontation.

Most of the questions in the first category was learned from personal experience. (He touches his cheek).  The second well they come from my common sense.

So hop on over to my new page and please add questions that you feel falls into either of these categories.  We need to help the youngens.  Some of these will only apply to the poor boys out there that is still trying to decode the female gender.  We will not tell them that it would be easier to navigate the Amazon blindly, because that might indeed be possible, whereas…

For those who keep my arms up

Moses was sitting on a rock watching the Isrealites fight the Amelikites.  (They obviously won that war, because no one has heard from the latter ever since.)  The secret weapon used in that battle was the fact that Moses had his arms up in the air.  And not out of dispair or frustration, but because keeping his arms in the air ensured their victory. God tipped the winning scale in the favour of the Isrealites as long as Moses had his arms high.  When his arms got tired and it fell to his sides, well, let’s just say, he needed to keep his hands in the air.

No you have to remember that Moses was like 800 years old when this specific event occurred.  And we all know that they spend a few years wandering aimlessly in the desert so he must have been a little withered.  He wasn’t trained as a navy seal and never partook in any Survivor challenge, although keeping your arms up for an extended period might seem like a chance to win individual immunity.  Anyhow it might seem cruel to expect an old man to have his arms raised for a prolonged period of time.

But I don’t think that was the lesson. I don’t think it was punishment or even cruel.  I think this story teaches a lesson in support, friendship and co-operation.  Probably went something like this:

Between blood and spit and sweat the general saw the old man standing on the mountain with his arms raised.  He saw the strain on his face, even from this distance.  His sleeves fell to his shoulder and his arms was exposed to the heat of the day.  The wind tussled on his long grey beard.  Seeing this old man, fighting exhaustion, filled the general with vigour and strength.  He fought hard and annihilated every opponent challenging him.  His men did the same, they could almost taste the wine that will be consumed during the celebrations later.

Then something changed.  He saw it on his brothers face first a few metres away.  He was fighting hard, his opponent a strong looking young man.  Fear gripped the general’s heart as he shoved his own challenger out of the way and rushed toward his brother.  He stabbed him low in his back, aiming for the kidney, just in time, as he was about to kill his brother lying in the dust, drained of all his energy.  He grabbed his brother by the hand and lifted him, his grey eyes filled with gratitude and surprise. 

The general turned to the mountain again and looked at the old man.  Moses was exhausted and his arms hanged helplessly by his side.  His face turned into a mask of sadness and failure.  The general realised Moses needs help.  He started shouting for Aaron.  

“Aaron, go help your brother.  He is too tired to keep his arms up in the air, and we are starting to lose the battle.  Go quickly and take one of my men with you.  We WILL have our victory today!”

And they did.

The point of this little analogy is not about the victory, it’s about the awesomeness of support.  God knew that it would be physically impossible for any man to maintain that posture indefinitely.  So by His grace, by allowing people to assist Moses, He kept the miracle going, thereby teaching us to help one another.

And that is why God created friends.  They are there to help us in times when we feel like we are losing our battle, when we want to give up hope facing dark demon days.  They keep our arms up and thereby give us courage, allowing us to fight and eventually win the war.

This one goes out to all those people in my life who keep my arms up.

A song for everyone

My beautiful daughter is blessed with a loud voice.  She can keep a tune, but Carly Rose should not be worried about competing against another child prodigy.  Never gonna happen.  At birth she came out with a sign:  Ear plugs required, no volume control.  And did I mentiond she loves singing.

So she does, often, holding nothing back.  Making up songs as she goes along.  Putting odd little things like swimming, dolls and bff’s into stange lyrical combinations.  Performing to the millions of screaming fans cheering in her head.  They exist in the mirror, in the pool, in the garden.

And every time we hear her;  my wife and I just smile.  It is a wonderous sound.  Our blessing.  The noise of happiness.  Her song, bursting load, reminds us how to live life.

Give everything.  Grab that soundtrack of your life and sing every note, every melody and every chorus with all your heart… Take your song and Belt. It. Out.

Is it perfect?  Who cares.  On tune?  So what?  People watching?  Does it matter?

Just let go.  Just live.  Every second of every day.

When I hear my 10 year old girl having so much passion and heart, I pray that she retains the essence of her performance.  Not the voice, or the song but the total uninhibited, energetic, full volume, taking life by the horns spirit she exhumes.  And to live her life exactly the same.

So when you are on your own stage and there is only a small crowd watching.  Lift your chin, stand up straight, loosen the hips and start singing louder.  Pick up the microphone, turn up the amplifier and go fot it.  People will gather, crowds will line-up.  Let everyone hear your song. It is beautiful and unique.

Your song for everyone.