The story of our pool

We’re in the process of having our pool repaired. After 9 years, it is looking grubby and needs to be re-marbelited. Tiles have chipped away, mould has appeared in the corners of the pool, the filter is cracked and needs replacing. Even our pool net is looking tired.

Pool 2004 - 2007

Every time I think of how long we have lived in our house, I tend to default in my head to 6 or 7 years but if I calculate it correctly, we moved in to our house in 2003, a full ten years ago! Without realizing it, so much has changed. So much has happened…

10 years ago, we had no plants in our garden, no trees. Today our garden is overgrown with beautiful tall trees. 10 years ago, we had no pets. Today we have two Brussel Griffons which fill our hearts with love and bring us joy.

10 years ago, our patio was uncomfortably tiny and hardly fitted a 6-seater table and chairs. Today, our outside living area is fantastic since we extended the patio. Our neighbors have changed a few times. Their families have grown and instead of prams, we now see toddlers running up and down the street.

I remember 10 years ago when I hosted book club at my house. Sadly, our ‘So Much of Books’ book club doesn’t exist today and the stories of how the lives of each of those women has changed is a blog post of its own.

10 years ago, I could not run for 20 seconds without stopping to catch my breath. I had never entered a race and never belonged to a gym. I hated running! But yet today, I attribute many of the challenges and fears I’ve faced to my running.

Pool 2010 - 2012Yes, so much has changed. It’s time for a fix and some new memories!

Sometimes you gotta fake it

I love a garden full of colourful flowers. When I go for my runs through the neighbourhood and see gardens full of flowers, I’m a little envious. You see, our garden, unfortunately, does not get much sun, so we have been unable to plant any flowers.

When we originally moved into our house years ago, we were so concerned about blocking our neighbours from peeking into our garden that our landscaping was more focussed on big trees and bushes. Nine years later, we have the most beautiful trees full of bird feeders and nests, but lots of shade. It’s lush and green but lacks the colour that only flowers bring.Water lily

But a few weeks back, my mother-in-law changed that. Starting with just a single water lily, she “planted” this colourful flower to float gently on top of our water feature in the corner of the garden. Viewed from the kitchen, it was lovely to see not only the birds splashing themselves in the water, but a dash of colour. I requested she buy a few more and now have almost 8 of these beautiful flowers to view. I love them.Collage1

The water lilies are fake. They are plastic. But they look like the real deal and they bring me joy. In life, that’s what counts. Water lily in water feature

Lessons from weaver birds about perfection

The weaver birds and I have a special relationship. I feed them and in turn, they give me hours of pleasure as they fill my garden with loud nattering and allow me to get close and watch them eat and ruffle their feathers in my water fountain. They are exquisite little creatures.

I have been feeding them for 8 years now and it’s only been in the last 2 years that they’ve attempted to build their nests in the trees of my garden. I know it’s only temporary because what I’ve witnessed in the past is that the female bird is never happy and always breaks the nests into millions of messy pieces after she’s inspected it.

She reminds me a bit of myself…

Lately I’ve realised that I do not give myself enough credit – not at work or with my running. Unless it’s perfect, I am unhappy.

I am way too critical of my projects at work and always think I could’ve done better. When praise is due my way, I tend to brush it off and don’t take any credit for my own work. It makes me feel uncomfortable.

The worst flaw is that instead of promoting myself and my knowledge, I downplay it. I tend to use words such as, “We did this and that” instead of “I did it all.” I see people around me who are beaming with über confidence when talking about themselves and their achievements.

I need to be more like them because deep down, I am very proud of what I have accomplished even if I always think I could’ve done better.   

And when it comes to my running, I forget that I have in fact run 12 half marathons in just less than 4 years as well as many 10km and 15km races. I have managed to improve on my 21.1km time by almost 30 minutes. I may be a slow but I am not a beginner. I am a runner!

Recently, there were three new bird nests in my garden. But on the weekend, one of them got destroyed as the female weaver was clearly not happy with the nest. The grass was covered with the remains of the nest.

Ironically in my mind, the nest was beautiful, finely-crafted and perfect. Silly bird!

Planting seedlings

I planted the most beautiful seedlings in my garden on Saturday. Dark red petunias as well as delightful sprays of impatients.

I was home alone in the garden, having just fed the birds and was quietly sitting on the grass, with muddy fingers, watching them fight and natter at each other (birds in the northern suburbs of Jo’burg are very aggro!).

As I sat there, I started thinking about a friend of mine…

She has been away from work for almost 3 weeks now as she is embarking on her Hajj trip. Before she left, she asked me to do something. She requested that I forgive her for any wrong doing or for any times that we had a disagreement between us.

As I understood it, she made this request to all family and friends to resolve any outstanding differences and ask for forgiveness which is part of her spiritual preparation for Hajj.

The enormity of this hit me and as I carried on planting my seedlings, it made me think that this is such an awesome, powerful thing to do. In fact, more people should do it, regardless of religion.

It allows one to start over, to forgive and to renew bonds. To just let go and release some of that anger and resentment that is weighing down on our shoulders.

It’s a clean slate. The chance to start off ‘fresh’. New beginnings. Just like planting new seeds, I guess.

I am holding thumbs that my seedlings grow and that I have enough sun shining onto the beds to ensure the flowers survive and bloom with brilliant colour to lighten up my garden for Summer. (And I promise to remember to dead head them!)

Every time I look at the flowers, I’ll be reminded of my friend’s personal journey and what it means to forgive, to let go and start again.

I’m really looking forward to her return…