Monday, August 30, 2010

Never eat chocolate with a hole in your tooth

The days already seem to be flying past faster and faster.  I guess when you are busy, the minutes go by so quickly they almost pick up a speed wobble.  When I was in Cape Town recently, I was eating a chocolate bar, one of those nice ones with toffee and biscuit in the centre, and my filling came out.  I thought I'd get it seen to when I returned to Tanzania, dentists being much cheaper here.  Every week I say to myself, this week I'll make an appointment with the dentist, but that never seems to happen.  The time just flies, the week is over, and I still haven't made a dentist appointment.  Yesterday, while eating some chocolate I suffered from serious toothache.  The moral is, don't eat chocolate until you've made the time to fix the hole in your tooth.  But life is a bit like that.  We make time for hanging out with friends, watching our team win a rugby match, but we don't make the time for essential things like dentist appointments.  Learning to prioritise is a skill, and I can't wait until I learn it.  However, as I'm getting old now I'm beginning to realise that it might be one skill I might never learn.  Time is running out.

This weekend though, I did make the time to write two new hubs and make a video of Part One of The Great Mountain to Mountain Safari - the down trip.  The hubs are completely different from each other - one is about a Thyroidectomy and Weight Gain and the other is Part One of my Mountain to Mountain Safari, with excerpts from the book I'm currently working on.  So, I guess I should feel as if I accomplished something, worked on Sunday, went to TWO BBQ's on Saturday, but still no dentist.  I seriously must make the time to make that appointment.  It's that or no more chocolate.

Have a great week ahead!



Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good wine, good food, good friends

Sometimes we just have to take time out of our busy lives and relax a little, socialise with good friends.  I often find it difficult to go out, I think I'm a closet agoraphobic, but when I'm home and settled into doing something, I find it really hard to stop what I'm doing and go out.  Maybe, it's something to do with my shoes.  When I take my shoes off the minute I walk through my door, I'm loathe to put them back on again except when I have to leave for work in the morning.  So, I blame my agoraphobia on my shoes.
Anyway, yesterday evening, after standing making sausages for about four hours, I ventured out to a friend's BBQ.  I had to make a conscious effort to go out, but I'm pleased I did.  Because once I was there, I enjoyed the company of my friends.  Alistair and his wife Kate put on a splendid BBQ, I took them some of my freshly made sausages, there was heaps of good bottles of South african wine, great conversation.  I had a ball.
I guess, it's all about leaving your comfort zone.  Many of us are too scared to leave our comfort zone and try something different.  Once we remove our shoes and settle down on the sofa, that is it for us.  But once we make the effort, put on our shoes and leave that zone, we often have a pleasant surprise and are shocked with ourselves that we even contemplated not leaving the house.
So my message to all of you out there, is make a conscious effort to do something out of the ordinary this week.  Take the plunge, leave your comfort zone.  Do something different.  Otherwise, you might regret missing out on a good evening with good wine, good food and good friends!
Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Giveaway on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Not Telling (Paperback) by Cindy Vine

Not Telling

by Cindy Vine

Giveaway ends August 31, 2010.

See the giveaway details

at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Time flies when you're having fun!

It’s hard to believe that it was only just over a fortnight ago that we were still travelling back from Cape Town! The past two weeks have flown by, with there hardly being time to catch a breath. It seems like nothing can top our arrest in Zimbabwe, but there always has to be one kind of drama or other, or just some small thing to liven up a day.

In Malawi my ATM card packed up, leaving us stranded without money, but luckily with help from some kind folks we made our way back home. We stayed at a sugar plantation in Dwangwa in Malawi and then drove to Nkatha Bay where we'd initially wanted to stay.  What an amazing place right on Lake Malawi!  Absolutely magical and I think we'll return to holiday on the lake during the Easter holidays.  We had a rest day in Mbeya holed up in a hotel while we waited for the school to send money with the cellphone.  Amazing how they do that.  You get a text message saying go to Vodacom to collect your cash.  It's a big problem when the magnetic strip on your ATM card gives up the ghost.  The money from the school should have been enough to get home, but by the time I had travelled 20km from Mbeya, I had already picked up 2 spot speeding fines, so we crawled the rest of the way knowing we couldn't afford to pay out more money to corrupt policemen.  But still, we were about 200km from Moshi when the car hit empty.  Amazingly enough, we managed to drive 100km with my fuel light on.  I had to leave my camera as security at Same, 100km from Moshi so that I could get enough petrol to get home, but that just makes life a lot fuller, and our adventures more interesting.
Once again we travelled through Mikumi National Park, and this time had to stop while a lion crossed the road.  Of course I couldn't get the camera aimed in time and with Siobhan swearing in my ear as the lion was on my side of the road, tracked it through the grass while snapping away merrily.  Some other travellers stopped and started shouting at the lion so that it would look at them while they hang out of the window with their camera phone.  Crazy people!
One has to look on these little adventures as good material for my book. Driving the 100km to Same a couple of days later to pay our debt and retrieve my camera was a bit of a pain as just between you and me, I was a little tired of driving! The whole trip from Kilimanjaro to Table Mountain and back again was a whopping 11980km! But I have to say, I have caught the bug and I want to do more driving trips in the future! I quite fancy driving to Lake Victoria and the southern coast of Tanzania. There are some interesting ruins on the Mafia islands I’d like to see.

I didn’t have much time to reflect on the trip before I was back into the swing of things at school, meeting the new teachers, helping with their orientation and getting everything sorted for the first week of school. So far I am absolutely loving my new role in management, even though one of the kids asked me, “Miss Cindy, have you dyed your hair grey?” I ask you, would anybody intentionally do that? I decided over the holiday to stop fighting the grey hairs that sporadically appear, as when you colour your hair they quickly reappear at the temples making me look like a poor imitation of a Siberian hamster. But now, my daughter has instructed me to colour my hair as the salt and pepper grey look ‘doesn’t suit’ me. Of course, easier said than done as my dark blonde dye is not so easily available in Moshi! I could go red I guess. Our English teacher let his daughters colour his grey hair red and it came out shocking pink! Poor blighter even let them colour his beard. Luckily for him, it was virtually all washed out in time for the start of school on Monday.

Sometimes, you meet interesting people who you immediately know you are going to use as characters in a book. I met one like that, a lawyer whom I had to see to stamp his commissioner of oaths stamp on a document I have to send off. A small man, probably pushing eighty, with a full head of snow white hair, and a booming voice that seemed to come from a far more imposing figure than him. I was solemnly ushered into his office, a dead leopard’s head mounted on the wall behind the chair I was shown to, and was amazed to see him reclining back in a large black leather swivel chair that seemed to swallow his tiny frame up. What was more amazing to me, was that his waistband button and zipper was undone and he didn’t seem concerned about that at all. He looked up at me and smiled, and kept his sunglasses on even though he was inside his office. All very bizarre. He wouldn’t look at the form he had to certify until he’d heard about where I’d come from and my trip down to Cape Town. Then his phone rang, he politely asked my forgiveness while he took the call, and I listened to his booming voice alternating between Swahili and a delightful very upper class English accent when he repeated interesting parts of the conversation in English, obviously for my benefit. So I heard about corrupt politicians who were little more than thieves who were trying to set up a casino with prostitutes flown in, in the central part of Tanzania in a game park somewhere. The way his lips moved as he enunciated his words was quite fascinating, like a cartoon character. In fact, he was like a real life cartoon. I eventually managed to escape from his office with the form duly stamped, about an hour and a half later.

We arrived back home from our trip to find that termites had taken over in Siobhan’s room. Although they were living in the room, they were starting to eat through her ceiling and holes were beginning to form. In fact, if you banged on her wall you could hear them scuttling, and if you stood still you could hear the steady sound of them chomping. It seemed like it would be only a few days before her ceiling collapsed on her. Of course, being terrified of anything with more than four legs, Siobhan moved herself and all her possessions into my bedroom. So began my nights of interrupted sleep, as I desperately clung to the edge of the bed while she spread out like a starfish, and grabbed all my blankets, leaving me shivering in the cold. It’s been quite cold at night since we got back, and on overcast days it’s been decidedly chilly. We’re glad we brought our winter stuff back with us. Anyway, they fumigated her room and roof, removed part of the ceiling, and as is here took ten days to get round to putting in new ceiling panels. They still haven’t painted, so madam is still in my bedroom.

As happens here, simple jobs become more complicated. We were unable to shower, with only one continuous drip coming from the left side of the shower head. Strangely enough I never connected the lack of water in the shower to termites in the ceiling. One puts in the maintenance request and then you have to wait until they find the time. By that time, Siobhan has washed her hair in cold water in the basin and my hair looks like I’ve been working part-time in a grease factory. Five days later and they discovered that when they fumigated, they accidentally disconnected the water pipe in the roof that goes to the shower. At least now we can shower.

I’m setting aside weekends to work on The Great Mountain to Mountain Safari. It is just way too hectic during the week. Hopefully, the initial huge workload will lessen in time, but I have my doubts. The trick is going to be managing to juggle time, so that I can still keep up with my writing. At the moment I get home between 6.30pm and 7.15pm, eat dinner, watch CSI and then am ready for bed at 8.30pm-9pm. Just been feeling so shattered at night. But last night I managed to stay awake until 9.30pm, so I think I’ll start to build up stamina again.

Otherwise, it’s good to be back. I love life here and have good friends. But the way time is flying, before I know it it’ll be time to fly to Cape Town for the Christmas holidays. Yes, we’re flying not driving this time!

Have an awesome week ahead!



Sunday, August 1, 2010

Introducing Vogue

Encouraging words from fellow author, Vogue.

Underlying Messages

I decided to write this post after receiving a text message from one of my friends. She had given an autographed copy of Diamonds in the Rough as a gift to a young lady. According to my friend, she gave the young lady a copy of the book to inspire her to go after her dreams.

After reading the message, I automatically began to think about the numerous amounts of people who have told me that I have inspired them to reach their dreams. Some even have gone on to start working on them. For example, I have a friend who is now a published author as well as a relative who is working on opening up a clothing store. It’s like a domino effect in a way. Since I decided to take a chance with my own dreams and goals, others have automatically done the same. I rest peacefully at night knowing that I have had this impact on people.

It is because of this experience that I ask all of you authors out there, what is the underlying message that you want your readers to get from your books? When I discuss Diamonds in the Rough, I often label it as a story of ambition and determination. Anytime I get feedback on the novel, I try and listen to see if the reader sees this in the storyline.

If you don’t have an answer yet the question, try and remember some of the feedback that you’ve gotten. What did your readers get from your book?

Regardless of what your book is about, there is always a hidden message there that can inspire others. Remember this: Words on paper have the same effect as the words that come out of our mouths!

April L. Blanding/ Vogue

Simply Vogue-