Excited About Recycling!

Thats me!

Its actually a little ridiculous, just how excited I am about this!
I know I’m a project person though, so whilst I will continue doing it I won’t be excited about it for too long…

For now, I’m enjoying it.

For a long time now, I’ve been taking my empty egg boxes and the cardboard tubes from my paper towels to a nursery school up the road from me. And I keep tins and glass jars for my MIL who does crafty things with the tins and fills the jars with jams, pickles and preserves.

I felt better for not throwing them away, but that was as much recycling as I did. I had Pinterest dreams of having the colour coded bins, and a compost heap (which is a little odd since I don’t do any gardening), and a chute from inside my kitchen straight into a recycling bin, but I never got around to actually doing any of it.

And then our suburb’s resident’s association got a whole bunch of us to commit to the Pikitup “separation at source” recycling programme, and they came around and dropped off two kinds of bags – one for paper and the other for tins, glass, and plastic.
The bags are put out the day before our usual Pikitup collection and they leave new bags for the next week’s collection.

With just me and my Glugster in the house, and giving to the nursery school and to my MIL, our recycling bags are never really full, but I’m happier for not throwing it in the bin!

Do you recycle?

Support #SAB18Plus for Your Child’s Sake

You’re too strict!
Its just a beer…
But its a special occasion!
My mom used to let me have a drink with her before I was 18.
If you never let him have anything he’ll go overboard one day…

I heard these and other arguments many times when my son was growing up, because I did not allow him to have any booze before he was legally allowed to drink at age 18. Not even a sip of my drink.
To put it very simply, it was a case of it being against the law so he wasn’t allowed to do it. I grew up with the same rule.
But there’s more to it than that.

Lets face it, alcohol is unnatural and unhealthy. Its an artificially created substance accidentally discovered thousands of years ago thats been modified and changed and developed to become a part of almost every culture around the world.
That doesn’t make it okay for a child’s brain and body, which is still growing and developing.
I know there are studies that say a glass of wine with your meal aids digestion and prevents heart disease, and-and-and, and if you search the internet long enough you’ll find studies that refute those exact findings, but there’s no disputing that its bad for children.

Alcohol in moderation for adults?
No problem!
If you’re a grownup you can choose how much you want to drink and when and where. Heaven knows I’ve played my share of drinking games and I’ve had hangovers and I enjoy champagne very much.
Make no mistake – I did some drinking when I was underage, and I experienced a tequila hangover that pretty much put me off it for life. I also know my son did so as well. I don’t go around with blinkers on, and growing up he always knew – and still knows – that if he needs a ride or he’s stuck somewhere he can call me. His safety is whats important, we can deal with the fallout later.
I’m not denying that children will try their hand at all kinds of things, but that doesn’t make it okay.

What about drinking in front of your children?
Provided you don’t go overboard, thats also okay in my mind.
Children should never witness drunken shenanigans of ANY sort, and I don’t believe children belong in bars AT ALL. Feel like a drink while you watch the rugby? Get a sitter, or do it at home. I feel it builds a healthy attitude towards alcohol if children can see their parents enjoying a beer at a braai or a cocktail at a party – whatever it may be – and doing so without behaving like an idiot or driving drunk.
If you hide it from your children it becomes a taboo, and that will make them nosy.

If you’ve had to live with alcoholism in any form you may well be doubly aware of the dangers.
Our family has always had a mantra of sorts – that you never drink alone. Having alcoholics in the family makes you more aware of the risks of drinking, and whilst I know there are MANY people who are able to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer after work, especially after a particularly shitty day, I’ve never been able to get that caution out of my head.
My Oupa was an alcoholic, and whilst he was thankfully never particularly mean to his grandchildren when he was drunk, we were aware of his drinking. He was a spiteful drunk to his wife and children but he was amazingly intelligent and sweet and generous when he was sober, and I try to remember those moments.
I also have a sister celebrating her 10th sober-versary this year. I am so proud of her and I admire her so much because fighting an addiction like alcohol is a daily battle, and I have only a vague inkling of what she goes through.

And now my son is a grownup.
He is not an alcoholic. Nor does he drink like a lunatic even when he’s partying. I believe he has a perfectly healthy attitude towards booze, even though I never allowed him to have anything when he was growing up! The choice to imbibe is his – he knows about alcoholism and he has experienced plenty hangovers, a couple of those when he was underage and as punishment I took him grocery shopping with his throbbing head…
But I believe I did right by my son.

SAB has a campaign to prevent underage drinking, a fast growing problem in South Africa. There are a number of PDF’s on the website as well, to aid you in speaking to minors about drinking and behaviour to look out for in preventing underage drinking.
You can find the campaign on Facebook too.

Whats your policy for your children?

Do you have tips for the #SAB18Plus conversation?

Have you spoken to your children about healthy drinking habits?

A Blindfolded Eye Opener

On Saturday my Glugster and I attended a Puppy Raiser Social at the SA Guide-dogs Association’s Gladys Evans Training Centre in JHB.
These socials are an opportunity for puppy raisers and brood stock holders with pups of all ages to meet each other and meet members of the training staff.
There is time for socialising, refreshments are provided and they include an activity or talk that is either informative or fun (they usually try to make it both).

For Saturday’s two hour social, we were surprised with blindfold masks and then we were escorted across the training lawn to the GDA’s College of Orientation and Mobility hall.

There we were assisted to a seat – exactly they way they would help a visually impaired person – and then shown that there was a knife, fork, cup, spoon and serviette set out on the table in front of us.
And just a note here – the following pictures (except the first one in this gallery) I took while I was blindfolded because I couldn’t NOT take any pictures!

Once everyone was seated the GDA staff walked around pouring fruit juice and then served food and we were informed where the food was on the plate – rice at 2 o’clock, quiche at 6 o’clock and veggies at 9 o’clock – and, still blindfolded, we were invited to eat!

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Plates were cleared away (with many people not even sure if they’d finished eating) and dessert was served. A couple of slices of tinned peaches on a plate are tricky to find without using your fingers!

All of this was done under blindfold, with us having to keep control of our puppies-in-training at the same time!
Wendal was an absolute superstar, and having been under formal training for a few months already he was as good as gold, lying at my feet.
My Glugster had a bit of a harder time than me, having offered to look after almost 16 week old puppy-in-training Ash whilst her mommy was busy. She is very well trained already, but there was another young pup under the table next to her so they weren’t quite as chilled as Wendal was.

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Executive Director Gail spoke to the Puppy Raisers afterwards and explained why the pups knowing to sit quietly at a table whilst people are eating is so important.
The social was certainly an “eye opener” for many puppy raisers!

Now you know what we did, let me try to tell you how I felt…

Firstly, I have a deep and intense connection to my camera (and my phone of course), and not being able to take pictures and tweet what we were doing was immensely frustrating!
Is that ridiculous or what!?
I found myself racking my brain to try and think how I was going to access the apps on my touchscreen Samsung S4 if I couldn’t see the screen!!

Walking across the lawn under blindfold was strange… I know the property so I knew where we were going, but it felt to me like we were walking in a circle to the right! I battled not to try and steer my guide by yanking on his arm as we walked!
Once we reached our destination he guided me to a seat and then I realised I didn’t know where my husband was or who was sitting next to me! Was it a round table or a square table?! Was my handbag going to be okay under my seat!? And reaching out to see if there was someone in the seats next to me was a little tricky as I didn’t want to grab someones boob or smack someone in the face!
And the noise! I battle to filter out background noise under normal circumstances and without my eyes I was even more aware of the voices around me! Thankfully they seated my Glugs almost opposite me at what I realised was a long table, and I heard a voice I recognised a few chairs down from me, but there was not a lot of conversation… Without eye contact its very hard to initiate small talk so I found myself talking to my husband, who was not quite a metre away from me at the table but it felt like a mile!

At the start of the little luncheon I handed my camera to one of the Guide Dog trainers and she took a few pictures of the seated guests for me, and then she got busy so I had to either not get any pictures or make another plan, so without removing my blindfold – which was incredibly tempting – I remembered how to unlock the screen and turn on the camera, and held thumbs!

We were blindfolded for maybe an hour, and it felt a lot longer. I kept catching myself trying to look past my blindfold, as if I was just holding something in front of my face and turning my head a little to the left or right would fix it. Let me tell you, it took considerable concentration to not simply remove the blindfold, like you would brush your hair back out of your face.

Once I found my cutlery – with the aid of the GDA staff member who had seated me – I kept touching it as if I was expecting to forget where it was or someone was going to take it away!
Eating the food on my plate was tricky – I couldn’t tell if there was anything on my fork and I kept turning my fork upside down and getting nothing on it! And I couldn’t see how big a piece of the quiche I was cutting so I got almost the whole thing in my mouth!
I tried using my fingers to see if there was any food left on my plate, but I also wanted to be polite and not make a mess!
Dessert was two slices of tinned peaches on a plate, and lemme tell you bunnies – that shit is slippery!! I resorted to using a finger to hold a piece while I cut it with my spoon and I managed to eat it, but I got sticky fingers in the process!

I was terrified I was going to knock my cup over, and I was quite sure I would spill food on my shirt and in my lap!

It was an eye opener and a half, excuse the pun. It was fun and a little scary. It made me think differently and I learned a lesson or two.

An @SAGuide_Dogs “Red Carpet Affair”!

On Saturday night my Glugster and I were privileged to attend the SA Guide-dogs Association Gala Ball, which this year was billed as a Red Carpet Affair.

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I was quite chuffed with how my make up turned out for the evening, and the guests were photographed as they arrived so I can’t wait to get that picture too!

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The annual ball, which took place in the donated space of Montecasino‘s ballroom for the 8th year in a row, is one the biggest fundraisers for the association as well as one of the country’s premier charity events.

By popular demand, and due to her incredible passion for the cause, Ashley Hayden was once again the patron for the ball, and several artists performed throughout the night including two of the Goliath and Goliath comedians and Guide Dog Owner DJ Darkness with his Guide Dog Dolce standing patiently behind him, occasionally wagging his tail in time to the music!
As an added bonus, you can listen to his set from the ball on SoundCloud!

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The hall looked amazing, it was like stepping into luxury.
The tables were arranged with the stage in the centre, so no-one felt like they were sitting in the back and everyone could see the performers and the screens along the walls. The performers had a bit of a challenge though – having to turn around during their presentations to be able to see everyone. Rich red and gold centre pieces, hanging chandeliers, masses of flowers and gilt edged plates transported the guests far away from their every day lives and spoilt them with incredible food and entertainment.
The starter was a smoked salmon and mascarpone gateaux with trout caviar and a black olive crostini, the main course was a rolled lamb loin with red pepper and pine nuts and a mignon of grilled beef with dauphinoise potatoes and caramelised butternut. And the dessert buffet…
My mouth is watering just thinking about the incredible meal we had!

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Early in the evening the now traditional auction began – this year with a non-traditional twist.
The donated auction lots were things like a night at the Palazzo Hotel, an oil painting on canvas by Guide Dogs’ own Gail Glover, wine from Moreson’s Mss Molly range, furniture and jewellery and each guest was given a plastic card (like a credit card) with their name on it. There were several Lumi Bidding Handsets on each table and the bidding was done electronically and quietly, with the handset alerting you if someone outbid you, and the items with their newest bids were displayed on a big screen.
It was fantastic! It allowed far more time for entertainment and mingling and it was less intimidating than an auctioneer asking for bids.

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And then there were puppies!
Finalists from the Miss Earth SA Pageant walked around the hall with the Golden Retriever puppies from the GDA’s “B” litter, collecting pledges for donations and sponsorships from the guests. Bryanston Veterinary Hospital donated R40K, Supa Quik gave R80K, and Montecasino pledged a whopping R150K!

20140913_PuppiesMy Glugs and I left at midnight after a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and the SA Guide-dogs Association managed to raise a little over R640K.

I’m sure I’ve made you green with envy, so be sure not to miss next year’s ball!

~~As per my Ladybloggers pledge, I must state that whilst I was gifted two tickets to the ball as a thank you for the volunteer work my Glugs and I do for the SA Guide-dogs, I was not asked or paid to blog or tweet about the ball.~~

Get Yourselves to the The SA Guide-dogs Gala Concert!

O F F I C I A L    P R E S S    R E L E A S E

Leading Stars For S A Guide-Dogs Variety Gala Concert

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The South African Guide-dogs Association for the Blind will be hosting their Gala Variety Concert at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square on Sunday 24 August.

The sought-after annual event has drawn together many of the finest entertainers for a music and comedy extravaganza.  The star-studded line-up will be truly historic, with more leading performers this year than ever before.  There will be only two shows, 15h00 and 18h30.

The stars of the show have kindly given of their time and talents free of charge, and entire proceeds of ticket sales will benefit Guide-Dogs.  To add to the generous spirit, Daphne Kuhn is proud to host the event at the Auto & General Theatre on The Square, with their amenities, staff and services also provided pro bono.

Producing the sensational concerts will be Chet Diepraam, joined by Claire Pacariz. “Using the same winning concepts of the Leading Ladies and Leading Men extravaganzas at the same theatre, we will treat Joburg audiences to the most remarkable line-up of entertainment variety never before seen on local stages,” adds Chet. “The finest available, some old and some new, performing their signature, show-stopper numbers, for one day only! It’s to be a concert that the discerning Joburg public dare not miss.”

Confirmed stars include:
Sam Peo (award winning theatre artist, including Chicago, Cabaret and Aspects of Love)
Keith Smith (Hello Dolly, Aspects of Love, Egoli)
Carly Graeme (Mamma Mia!, We Will Rock You, Starlight Express, Boys in the Photograph)
Mark Banks  (one of SA’s most respected comedians, Comedy Choice Lifetime Achievement Award)
Michael de Pinna (funny man, singer, stage and screen actor, Yebo Gogo fame)
Cat Simone (solo shows include tributes to Barbra Streisand and Ella Fitzgerald)
Timothy Moloi (velvet voiced star that performs with big orchestras, recently the genie in Aladdin)
Cito (front man of Wonderboom, also lead in Queen at the Ballet and Jesus Christ Superstar)
Brenda Sakellarides (The Sound of Music, King and I, Menopause, and director of Youth Ballet)
Kiruna Devar (lead in Sweet Charity and star of Leading Ladies concert, NSA top achiever)
Fiona Ramsay (iconic actress and singer, film credits include Hotel Rwanda, Bang Bang Club)
Tony Bentel (pianist and entertainer extraordinaire, also of Doo Be Boobies fame)
Helen Desbois (SAMA nominee and MTN Radio Award winner, We Will Rock You)
Bongi Mthombeni  (Idols SA finalist and Panto star, session musician and conductor)
Holly Diamond, aka Neil Holland (one of The Dreemz drag trio, better than Celine Dion herself)
Live music with the dynamic Sandton Jazz Sextet, featuring Andre Behnke (piano), Nippy Cripwell (Double Bass), Tony Yoko (Drums), Pam Mortimer (Alto saxophone and Flugelhorn), Albert Burger (Guitar) and Philip Stapelberg (Harmonica).

With special guest artist appearances by true legends and iconic names in the SA entertainment arena: Des & Dawn Lindberg, Annabel Linder and Judy Page.

Daphne Kuhn, director of The Auto & General Theatre, enthused “We are excited to host some of SA’s finest and most well known artists, all rallying together for this fundraiser for the S A Guide-Dogs for the Blind.”

Parking is available at the Mandela Square or Sandton City Parkades.

TWO shows only: 15h00 or 18h30. There will also be raffle, with a new car as first prize – tickets for the illustrious variety concert are just R250, and are available at Strictly Tickets on 082-553-5901 or online www.strictlytickets.com

Find the Auto & General Theatre On the Square on Facebook and Twitter.