Carien at her best

Wouter and Carien visits my mom.  They decide to play “run run”.  The rules are simple.  They stand in a row.  My mom has to run to the gate, then Carien, then Wouter.  I didn’t say it was a complicated game.

They are ready to run.  Carien (who thought up the game, the rules, the everything) counts my mom down.  Wouter runs too.

Carien pulls a blowfish, inflating to double size in her quest to ensure everyone notices her unhappiness.

C:  (hands on hips, cheeks bulging, eyes shooting fire)  Wouter!  Het ek ge jy kan hardloop?

W:  (head hanging, guilty face)  Nee.

C:  (levitating with affront)  Nou hoekom hardloop jy dan????


Yesterday I overheard her again.  Woutertjie did something she didn’t like.

C:  (exasperated)  Jy is soos ‘n stout kind.

And a bit later

C:  (hopeless painted all over her voice)  Hoeveel keer moet ek jou nog sê?


The point of this post?  She is 4 years and 7 months.

Her teenage years are still lying ahead.




C:  (hands on hips, cheeks bulging, eyes shooting fire)  Wouter!  Did I say you could run?

W:  (head hanging, guilty face)  No.

C:  (levitating with affront)  Then why did you run????


Yesterday I overheard her again.  Woutertjie did something she didn’t like.

C:  (exasperated)  You are like a naughty child.

And a bit later

C:  (hopeless painted all over her voice)  How many times do I have to tell you?



Today 2 years ago Stephen du Toit passed away suddenly.

And I am remembering.


There have been a couple of times when 2 months’ worth of things happened in 2 days. Mostly because I procrastinated when I should’ve been studying and then tried to cram everything into my poor brain overnight. Literally.

I’ve said it a number of times and I’ll repeat it here too: If it wasn’t for fabulous friends (I am talking to YOU, Fletcher and Petrus) there is no way that I would’ve finished my undergrad career. How many times have they arrived at my residence’s door two days before a major test or exam to “remind” me of it? Many many times, I can tell you. And let’s be honest; to be reminded you have to know about it in the first place. And because they knew me well they also arrived with notes for me to start studying from…. May my children never ever read this and get ideas.

My first year I was good regarding attending class. The first 3 terms anyway. But I was never in my life good at starting to study earlier than the night before the exam and that continued. Unfortunately, by the middle of my second year I realised that class attendance (at least for some subjects) didn’t improve my understanding of the work at all. Especially the classes presented by a quitting alcoholic. He was shaking, stammering and craving so much that my knowledge DECLINED after listening to him. Unfortunately for my class attendance record I chose that subject as one of my majors in my third year. So I ended up attending most of my Biochemistry lectures and very very few of my Genetics ones. In my defence, I was a student and most of my Genetics lectures were at 08:00. I mean R E A L L Y. If they intend teaching at that inhumane time of day they couldn’t really expect me to attend and they couldn’t have anything much to say. Right?

So I spent many a night catching up the night before exams. And usually I managed to get through all the work I wanted to. I was also very very good at spotting what work would NOT be examined so that saved a bit of time. And except for the Time of the Pine Tree* and the Other Time of the Pine Tree** I mostly got away with it.

Once I hit my post graduate stage things started to change. It had to. Post grad is in many ways the same as having a job. You only receive your bursary if you meet deadlines. And those deadlines apply to practical work. Practical work can’t be done overnight, no matter how hard you try!

The last couple of years things tended to happen on schedule. In other words, spread out over more than one day. It is tough having to grow up and become responsible. 😉

And then we had a year and a half of utter schedule. Every week was accounted for but measured in doses of chemo and radiation, not days or hours.

After that there was no schedule at all except what the kids’ schools dictated. But again, things happened one after the other, bit by bit.

I realised today that I am out of practise. Yesterday and today were both really intense and I can feel it. Wouter can feel it. When I become preoccupied I tend to get extremely irritated by Wouter. Yes, I don’t know why he sticks with me either. I am preoccupied, busy processing and planning, and Wouter has the nasty habit of actually telling me things. What is he THINKING? I don’t want to know ANYTHING more.***

Yesterday, at Woutertjie’s swimming gala (he grabbed the edge of the pool and hand-over-handed to the other side of the pool while rest of the Grade 1s swam widths), I got a call to offer me a job. One that I applied for 6 months ago (2 October?) and interviewed for last Thursday. This is huge. From 1 May I will be Senior Scientific Officer at the department of Chemistry, University of the Western Cape. After more than a year of job hunting I landed a job. And a job that I actually WANT. Isn’t God amazing? If they offered me this position from January it would’ve been the wrong time. Now is the right time. The children are settled at school, I am settled at school, I know the teachers and they know me. They know my mom, who will be looking after the kids during the day, after school, all the time that Wouter and I aren’t available. And I will get a salary.

I’ve been very reserved here about our financial issues. Suffice to say, the issues are substantial. Beyond substantial. There have been months and weeks that we only managed to survive by the Grace of God. But now we have hope. The train has reversed out of the tunnel and was replaced by a flood light. In fact, we are approaching the end of the tunnel.

Life is good.

Added to that, it is today 3 years since we got Boeta’s clean scan results.

Again, life is good.

So why am I so completely out of sorts? I am snappy, I am irritated, I am just not myself****. I feel like an overstimulated baby.

For the first time in YEARS things (all things) are falling into place and now I am falling out.

I think I am going to balance my falling out with the cork of an excellent bottle of red wine being pulled out. I will let you know how well it worked. 😉

*That is a long story for another day.
**Don’t ask
****Wouter, on a brave day, might say that I AM myself.

3 year anniversary

Today we celebrate 3 years of remission.  3 years.  An eternity and a heartbeat at the same time.

I don’t have words today.  Overwhelmed?  Maybe.  Emotional?  Definitely.  So here is the post that I did about that day 3 years ago when we were told that all Wouter’s cancer was gone.

For now we are going to my in-laws later and spending the weekend.

We’ve come a long, long way.

What can you do with R50?

Buy 5 loaves of bread.

Buy 7 liters of milk.

Buy 5 liters of diesel.  If you are lucky.

Buy 1% of an iPad.

Fold a paper plane.  See it fly over the wall and disappear.

Roll with tobacco and make a very expensive cigarette.

Now I’m done thinking.  You can think up some more suggestions.

See, I’ve had a day (and week) full of thinking.  I am tired of thinking.  I had an interview at UWC yesterday for a job that I really really would love to get.  I plotted how to make our budget stretch waayyyyy beyond its abilities.  Carien has been an absolute ray of sunshine – NOT.  I am sure I’ve said “stop crying” more times than “hurry up” this week.  That child can milk a tear out of a rock.  Wouterman is being selectively deaf – he will only hear what he wants to hear.  And what he wants to hear isn’t what I want to say.

On my way back from work today (those who don’t know, I do part-time work for my fabulous friend Annie) I went to Pick n Pay for milk and bread.  And I splurged R50 on the Shark Tale DVD for the kids.  I shouldn’t have.  I should have used that R50 smarter.  But I did buy a whole weekend of peace and quiet for me and Wouter.

By wasting money.

By encouraging the kids to watch more TV.

And strangely, I don’t even feel bad about it.


This is me forcing a post out of nothing.  I am convinced that something will take form once I get going.  Or I hope it will.  For your sake.  Because reading through 7 paragraphs of me typing whatever gets into my head just to keep going until I get going will not be pleasant.

Good grief.  I reread that last sentence and it hurt!  🙂  My eyes crossed and I wrote the blooming thing.

So far nothing much is happening.  The inspiration that was supposed to come sleeting down from outer space seemed to have missed me and hit the cat, who almost concussed himself going through the open window.  Turns out the window wasn’t as wide open as he thought it was.  Hey, I didn’t say intelligence was sleeting down.  Or, for that matter, observation skills.

Someone hand me the tissues

Tomorrow morning I am talking in church.  We are in the middle of a course about obedience and I will discuss Woutertjie’s story.  How we had to come to a stand still and really listen to what God wanted to say to us.

For the record, I still don’t know exactly what He was saying.  But I did come to a stand still.  Which, in my not-so-humble-opinion, is a very big part of listening.  It is years later and I still haven’t got going in any real sense.  But I am listening.

I have to assemble a couple of photos for the talk and get a couple of dates straight.  But that meant that I had to go and read the first 2 months of the blog.  There is a good reason why I try to avoid that part of the blog.  It feels like a stranger wrote that.  A naive, blindly optimistic stranger with no idea what was still coming.  And at the same time, a stranger that tried so hard to hide behind an optimistic facade.

How did we manage to make it this far?  Now it takes the littlest things to make me go into meltdown, and yet back then I managed to keep things going.  Have I gone soft?  Am I finally in touch with everything that I didn’t want to feel back then?  Am I just a wuss?

I don’t know.  But I have to get the presentation done for tomorrow so I don’t have time to continue analysing myself now.  One thing is certain – I have to make time to blow my nose before I continue.

Yes, you needed to know that.