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Monthly Archives: October 2017

It is hard to believe, with all its probiotic goodness: But because yoghurt contains lactose it’s a no-go when you change to a low FODMAP diet.

I cannot remember a day that I didn’t eat yoghurt. The only reason would be that I’m in a country where they don’t do yoghurt, like when I was travelling South East Asia.

Or where they don’t know how to make yoghurt, like in South Africa. Thank goodness for Amasi, which by the way contains less lactose, as that is what the yoghurt cultures eat: lactose. So the more sour your fermented milk tastes, the less lactose it contains. To me, a big fan of kefir and buttermilk and such, a fair trade.

So yes, I like yoghurt, but if I want to eliminate FODMAPs from my diet, I need to find a replacement, for two reasons:

1) The lack of calcium causes my fingernails to break, so I need to find an extra source of this mineral.

2)  What I’d actually miss about yoghurt is the yummyness with which it binds together my muesli.

You can read the answer to 1) here: #FODMAP #Tip: 5 calcium rich alternatives to dairy

As to 2) I think I found a good compromise: Replacing milk with coconut milk for the low FODMAP diet, I’m left with coconut pulp. It has a lovely yummy consistency and can be used just like yoghurt. It has no sourness to it, so less sweetening is required, and the coconut oil is filling. It is of course nutritionally completely different from yoghurt, hence 1), but for the time where no yoghurt is allowed it works well as a substitute.

Would you believe this is not yoghurt: Coconut puree makes for a great substitute.

Would you believe this is not yoghurt: Coconut puree makes for a great substitute.

Check out my low #FODMAP muesli recipe for breakfast: Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.

This tastes as healthy as it looks: Low FODMAP breakfast cereal.

This tastes as healthy as it looks: Low FODMAP breakfast cereal.

 

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Even though I’m not actively looking, it’s good to know my LinkedIn profile still delivers results.

Even though I’m not actively looking, it’s good to know my LinkedIn profile still delivers results.

 

When I moved to London I had to very quickly catch up to the fast paced environment of this mega city.

Things worked differently in London: Where in Germany the illusion you’d work your entire life for one company and they’d look after you was still high flying, in London we were simply thrown into the future of the job market: Freelancing, contracting, project based work.

I came to London to study full time, but this city was so expensive, I also had to work – full time.

 

Luckily I already had work experience, as I had served an apprenticeship before starting to study. So I upgraded quickly from waitressing to admin temping to translating to copywriting.

 

Then I made a discovery that would boost my career: Recruitment agencies!

All you had to do was send them your CV, and they look for a job for you.

 

And they did another great thing: They all used LinkedIn.

Forget about the laborious task of emailing updated CVs around. All I needed was the link to my LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trulyjuly

 

Now recruitment agencies would get in touch with me based on the keyword search results on LinkedIn. Not requesting my CV, but inviting me to an interview for a job that matched my LinkedIn profile.

Eventually companies followed suit, with some moving their entire recruitment process to LinkedIn.

And since LinkedIn started actively suggesting ‘Jobs You May Be Interested In’, all I got to do is check the job matches.

 

LinkedIn is a powerful online networking tool, and the one social media professionals sign up to with one purpose in mind: business.

Ensure you make the best out of your LinkedIn presence, here’s how:

How To Promote Your Business On LinkedIn

How To Market Your Business On LinkedIn

 

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The dynamics of rat clans are very sophisticated and quite impressive. Impressive because if even little rodent animals like rats can learn to live together in unity, why can’t we.

 

When new recruits arrive, the previously settled roles within the rattie bunch are shaken up and maybe even up for grabs, so might some of the more opportunistic pet rats think.

 

Luckily, my ratties have gotten so used to visitors, they are super relaxed about sharing their territory. Somehow that makes their home a neutral zone: It is often their cage everybody flocks to and shares a meal or some cuddles.

 

But the visiting ratties are coming in their own cage, with their own smells, so they indeed have a home away from home.
Rats are super sensitive to smells, and they mark each other and everything in between to reconfirm belonging to one clan. I think it’s important for rats to be able to go back to their familiar home and not be completely uprooted when going for RattieSitting.

 

But of course that makes their cage equivalent to their territory.

 

My observation is that if there are many ratties, like for example Camilla’s 8, they are pretty relaxed about their space, as they are used to ratoots coming and going.
But if it’s only 2 pet rats, like Fendi and Cher, and they’re new to the whole ‘let’s meet other rats’ idea, they can turn a bit possessive over their space.

 

So when Mulan and Harley, two black hooded cutsie sisters, visited their lookalike Cher, she was not so impressed.

Mulan says hi to Cher, who however reacted in a territorial manner to these advances.

Mulan says hi to Cher, who however reacted in a territorial manner to these advances.

 

Whenever they encountered each other, there was some huffing and puffing going on, a rat’s way to indicate they are ready to fight for their right. The right for what is not always that clear, so I just kept on separating them when they came to close for comfort.

 

Rats can be very persistent, and Mulan and Harley kept on going back to Cher, but yet again, it wouldn’t go well.
I sometimes had to lock Mulan and Harley in one of the other cages, because they wouldn’t leave Cher alone.
They even managed to sneak into Cher and Fendi’s cage every now and then, and that was really a no-go zone for them, also Fendi agreed on that one.

 

However, outside of this specific Fendi and Cher cage area, everything was totally fine. They could eat, sleep and cuddle together, no problem.

 

So maybe there was hope that they could transfer the friendship’s locale.

 

And indeed: On the very last day of the RattieSitting Cher and Harley were one heart and one soul in Fendi and Cher’s travel cage.
Where they had stood upright, confronting each other, swaying in the attempt to dominate, they now sat side by side like good old pals. Some stretching, and then some more relaxing.

I couldn't believe my eyes: Cher and Harley in harmony side by side in Cher's travel cage. Forgotten are all territorial disputes.

I couldn’t believe my eyes: Cher and Harley in harmony side by side in Cher’s travel cage. Forgotten are all territorial disputes.

 

Even with 17 ratties from 4 different clans, they manage to achieve harmony eventually.

 

To me, this is the bliss of RattieSitting. I love watching these clever little munchkins, it’s better entertainment than TV.

 

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It’s like Microsoft resorts to the double opt-out to really prevent you from quitting Skype.

It’s like Microsoft resorts to the double opt-out to really prevent you from quitting Skype.

 

If you use Skype you know how difficult it is to close it:

Because when you click the right top red x button it doesn’t close, it only minimises.

And when you go into the Skype menu and select ‘Close’, it doesn’t close, it only minimises!

 

So you have to be really really determined to indeed close Skype:

The only way is by right clicking on the Skype icon in your desktop toolbar – this is not available anywhere in the actual Skype menu, where you can only ‘Close’ or ‘Sign Out’ – and select ‘Quit Skype’.

 

But halt!

Not so fast!

Even if you made it this far, Skype still has a comeback, trying to deter you from finally exiting this program:

 

A pop up window asks quite patronisingly: “Sure you want to quit Skype?”

Followed by a FOMO inducing warning: “You won’t be able to send or receive instant messages and calls if you do.”

 

Dark Patterns at work:

Microsoft is famous for their really bad way of trying to manipulate you.

This one feels like they got it all wrong all together and created a double opt-out when they learned about the double opt-in.

 

Yet, don’t despair: It is possible to quit Skype, you just have to click buttons a few more times than any good practice usability guide would allow, but it is possible, eventually!

 

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Our new garden design: Chillout area with braai at the back.

Our new garden design: Chillout area with braai at the back.

 

Progress in our garden is slow: There’s still so much fixing going on around the house, that our backyard is mostly abused as a storage facility.

So when finally the east wall got done, we had some extra space freed up to move the concrete blocks.

And the rest was left to play:

Like tending to a zen garden, an empty space is quite inviting to be reflective and creative.

 

The first time the concrete blocks turned into an interactive group seating area:

 

Now the concrete blocks form a centre piece, as the garden work will continue along the garden wall. They cover quite a bit of ground, which will prevent dust being blown around. And they stretch out like a giant sofa, an outdoor lair, complete with backrest and bird bath. And of course, the braai at the back:

 

With water restrictions plans for our garden are changing, so let’s see what the next giant lego reshuffle will look like. 🙂

 

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I’m a muesli fan, and I enjoy my muesli with yoghurt.

During the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet however, both wheat and lactose need to be cut out.

So here’s an alternative breakfast cereal recipe, low FODMAP and still yummy:

 

Being a muesli fan, this works as a low FODMAP alternative for me: Diced Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.

Being a muesli fan, this works as a low FODMAP alternative for me: Diced Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.

 

Add in equal parts:

Diced Banana

Buckwheat Granola

Coconut Puree

 

You can use any other fruit of the season or a combination of fresh fruits or fruit salad.

I use the buckwheat granola as is. Some prefer to soften it by letting it soak, but I like it crunchy.

The coconut pulp is a leftover from making coconut milk. It works well as a yoghurt replacement.

 

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The tan I get in 1 day in the African sun.

The tan I get in 1 day in the African sun.

 

All day we worked in our backyard, because finally the east wall got done and we could resume shaping the garden from storage room into living space.

Our garden is situated at the ideal angle to South Africa’s weather: Facing north and sheltered towards the back where the south easter comes from. Meaning it’s all day sunny and protected from the wind.

So while it’s maybe averagely warm in Cape Town, let’s say 19 degrees, it’s quite hot in our garden. Which makes it just perfect for winter, and well, all year round.

 

Our yard is also full of treasures, as there seems to be an entire house buried in it. – When it comes to garden work it’s easy to get sidetracked.

While I was digging up various artefacts, and Christian was redesigning our garden with concrete blocks like playing giant lego, we got burnt. Well, almost.

 

Whereas the African sun is unforgiving, it is at least so right from the beginning. I can feel my skin burning as soon as I venture into the midday sun. So I just can’t stay long enough in the sun to get seriously burnt.

 

According to the calendar we should move into summer, but hey, with global warming who knows what and when is summer these days. This was a relatively mild day and at 19 degrees you don’t seriously burn. You just get a taste. Your skin flares up in the swelter to give you a caution.

I only tan during winter in South Africa, my skin is too fair for summer. But who needs a summer tan when the winter sun is so warming already.

 

So this was probably my last day of tanning. Almost coming too close to my skin’s tolerance, I can feel the heat encaptured in my body. But by next day my skin will have calmed down again, and all that’s left is a nice bronze shine.

 

With its early warning the African sun should not get the chance to burn you, it’s more like a kiss that got too fiery.

 

Sunkissed at 19 degrees, that’s why I love South Africa.

 

 

How dreadful to know no other way than the final way out

How fearful to self harm to the degree of life threatening

How frightful to leap over the edge all alone

How unrestful to take that one step too far

How painful to go beyond life preserving means

How loathful to extinguish all love

How mournful to leave everything dear behind

How remorseful to sacrifice all there is, life itself

How sorrowful to find no solace but in abandonment

How fateful to go through with it

 

How awful when life becomes unbearable

How tearful when the last cry has dropped

How unhopeful when hope dies at last

 

How tragic to miss the opportunity to be found and come back

How very sad to have yet another soul lost

 

And yet, how very selfish.

 

Rat City is spreading: Across the south wall, and further on top of the desk, and beneath it, and across the bridge to the original cage location.

Rat City is spreading: Across the south wall, and further on top of the desk, and beneath it, and across the bridge to the original cage location.

 

Looking after 17 ratties!

 

Rat City is taking over our bedroom with 4 medium sized rat cages, 1 small cage, and 3 travel cages:

Across the south wall, all blocked up so no chance of draft, the cages continue onto the desk. Which is where the rattie exploration must stop, with office cables on the far end.

Same below the desk: 2 travel cages give the opportunity to play and settle, as the ratoots are not allowed further.

Instead, why not give Agatha and Eleanor a visit, who have their cage in my original rattie cage location. Because they don’t react well to stress, they sit a bit apart from rat city, only connected by the bridge, which can be removed if they need a bit more quiet time.

 

I thought it’d be a big job.

 

But besides having to do some more cleaning, all the ratties are well behaved. You hardly notice it’s so many, because all they do is cuddle in bigger packs.

The variety of cages and rattie friends is enough entertainment for them to stay put. Most of the ratoots only interact within the boundaries of rat city.

The few curious culprits who roam the entire room are noted and easy to watch out for. Especially when they actually come to greet you, like Yoshi does when he’s on top of the staircase. What a nice way to be welcomed into your own bedroom. 🙂

 

It is inspiring to see how all these different characters manage to find harmony.

Because not all of them get along: There is quite a bit of rivalry and territorial protection going on.

 

A rat who’s boss in one clan might clash with a rat who’s boss in another clan.

And rat who is used to only one other rat messing about in their cage might get a tad irritated when another rat comes not only to visit, but actually to stay and set up camp.

 

There are a few odd squeaks of protest, but rats have the most funniest and actually impressive way to solve conflict: Through cuddles.

A rat’s way of showing their domination is through vigorous grooming of the inferior rat. So there might be a lot of huffing and puffing going on, but it always gets resolved through devoted preening.

 

Rat City offers enough space for the ratties to avoid each other and sort any conflicts in their own time. And because I leave the cages open, they can choose who to hang with.

Sometimes with surprising results: Rats who might have not gotten along so well in their own clan all of the sudden team up, with so many other ratties around. New pet rats meet and make friends. Odd pairs match up in their quest to explore.

 

The dynamics and interactions are more entertaining than the best soap opera.

Maybe that’s because as soon as you, the spectator, come forward you’re totally engulfed in rattie attention. And when it’s 17 of them, that’s a lot of rattie love! ❤

 

Rats are so tender, timid and sweet, it’s the most humbling experience: For these little skittish critters to trust you, come to you, and shower you in rattie kisses, to be acknowledged, inspected and not only welcomed into their clan, but actively sought out to be part of it, I can only ever conclude:

 

Rats make great pets!

 

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If you want your belly to stop grumbling, try cutting out wheat for a while.

If you want your belly to stop grumbling, try cutting out wheat.

 

I love bread! Not white bread, proper brown whole wheat bread.

And I love muesli! Not the sugar loaded clusters, but the proper bran flakes type.

And I love couscous and pasta! Or at least the sauce for it… 😉

 

All of these however contain wheat. And thus need to be cut out during the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet.

 

Finding alternatives to wheat is quite simple if you switch to the usual replacements: rice, corn, oats.

But I already eat brown rice as a staple with my lunch or dinner.

And I already snack on corn chips and corn flakes – watch out that they’re indeed wheat free and preferably non-GMO by the way.

And I already enjoy my porridge every day.

 

So I don’t want to just add more of the same staple I’m already eating in order to replace wheat. If I want to get through this FODMAP diet I need a bit more variety.

A great opportunity to try out some new, more exotic, and supposedly super, foods:

 

Sorghum and quinoa taste great as couscous and pasta substitute.

Buckwheat and amaranth make for a great breakfast cereal, and millet can be cooked into a delicious gruel.

As for bread, well, being German I can tell you that from steam bread to crisp bread, from spelt to rye, from potato to carrot to beer bread, everything is possible. Find a great bakery or supplier of wholesome flour and bake it yourself.
Or be creative and swap bread for a different ingredient altogether: How about a saladwich?

 

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Gigi, you cutie little cuddle munchkin.

Gigi, you cutie little cuddle munchkin.

 

Everything takes a bit longer with little Gigi who was stunted in her growth and had rickets disease due to severe malnutrition when she was rescued as a puppy.

 

I could hardly pick up Lola after 3 months already!

 

And Gigi still behaves and looks like a puppy after 4 months.

 

But then, we don’t know how big Gigi is supposed to get, she might just stay this size, or maybe fill out some more, or she might end up outgrowing Lola.

 

We’re just curious about the end result. Her cute and hyper manners make her such a big part of our life, her actual size doesn’t matter.

 

Here’s to 4 months in which Gigi blossomed into a mischievous dainty little lady, surprising us and mostly herself with her newly learned stunts, always tail wagging, a happy chappy.

 

#AdoptDontShop 🙂

 

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This matter of fact humour can work well as a Call To Action to click on 'Explain, Please'.

This matter of fact humour can work well as a Call To Action to click on ‘Explain, Please’.

 

Humour is a real tricky thing. Not everyone finds the same things funny. Some don’t find it funny at all!

 

There’s a fine line between satire, irony and insult, and in nowadays time of post-truth it’s difficult to know if your audience indeed gets it. They might just start a shitstorm on you…

 

But humour is also an incredible means to bond: Laugh together and the ice is broken. Share the same humour and become friends.

 

So if you’re after strengthening the relationship with your existing customers, a little humour might help.

 

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Digging stuff out from our garden: What could this be?

Digging stuff out from our garden: What could this be?

With a new puppy in our home, we got a new force for digging at work. Gigi has reached that stage, where digging is the coolest thing ever.

Luckily our garden is not yet done and our dogs can dig as much as they like. In fact, they’re actually helping us: With the clay ground it’s super hard labour and with an entire house buried in our backyard, there’s still plenty to excavate. So wherever you dig, you’re bound to dig something up.

This time it’s an Iron Ring Pull with Flower Rosette. At least that’s the closest I came to finding something on the internet that resembles this.

An 8 petal iron rosette with a twisted pull ring. Was this perhaps the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

Could this be the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

Could this be the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

If you remember this door knocker or know anything about The Broken Palace, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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The communication between machine and human is a difficult thing.

 

But still, every machine was initially programmed by a human, which justifies a ‘What were they thinking?’ non-usabilityfriendly induced irritation.

 

So here is one of those double blink excusez-moi is this happening for real moment:

 

I’m glad this is ‘The exception’ then.

I’m glad this is ‘The exception’ then.

 

When doing some Google research and the page froze, Chrome popped up with an explanation: “The exception”.

 

Great, I’m glad we cleared that one up. I’m sure all of the possible browser errors are exceptions, but it’s good to be told, just in case.

 

And I wonder if one late night the dude who’s still working for free couldn’t be arsed to explain why on earth Chrome messed up this time and simply called the application error “The exception”.

 

‘Nuff said: OK

 

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How I found my earring.

How I found my earring.

 

When we got burgled in South Africa, they took everything my grandmother had left me. Whatever scrap gold value they got for it, is just an insult to the meaning it had to me.

 

I was lucky to have one memory remain with me: The little pearl earring I was wearing.

A piece of jewellery my grandma wore and I wear now out of respect for her. Because to me she is a hero, having survived the second world war.

 

But a couple of weeks ago, I lost this tiny stud earring. I noticed it right away, because I always subconsciously feel for it. So I knew it must’ve happened at home.

 

The next day I was crawling around on the floors, looking for it. I wanted to at least make sure we don’t vacuum it up or sweep it away.

 

I suspected that I had lost it playing with our dogs. Lola has a thing of nibbling your ear.

Or maybe I had dislodged it when I pulled my cycling shoulder bag off.

Perhaps it fell in my scarf and I shook it out somewhere.

 

While my search for it gradually stopped, the image of the earring remained glued to my eyes, and 3 weeks later, I found it!

 

In our garden, out of all places. Our backyard is scattered with sand, dust, pebbles, dog toys, weeds, and it currently serves as a storage facility for building material as there’s still construction work going on inside.

 

I was cleaning up one of the holes our puppy Gigi had dug in order to fill it up with sand.

 

As I lifted the green garden net, the earring fell forward together with bits of sticks, pine cones and sea shells, the stuff our dogs play with.

 

I can’t believe I found it!

 

Of course the little Nupsi that holds it in place at the back is missing, which means I can’t wear it.

 

Maybe better, so I can’t lose it again. But where to put it for safekeeping?

 

Isn’t wearing it the best way to remember my Omi.

 

Calcium is an important mineral for the human body, as it helps maintain healthy teeth and bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Calcium is an important mineral for the human body, as it helps maintain healthy teeth and bones and prevent osteoporosis.

 

When I came to South Africa, I couldn’t find acceptable yoghurt at first, as most supermarket yoghurts are loaded with preservatives and emulsifiers.

So I didn’t eat yoghurt for a while, because I boycott products with additives. As a result, my fingernails started to break. Thank goodness I found Amasi.

However, as I have IBS, it’s part of the low FODMAP diet to cut out dairy for a while.

In order to keep my fingernails, I did some research on:

 

How to Get Enough Calcium Without Dairy

The total recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1000 mg.

 

Eggs

One large egg provides 28 mg of calcium, 2.6% of the Daily Reference Value (DRV). But more importantly, eggs are a good source of vitamin D and when fortified maybe the only source of vitamin D we need.

Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, without enough vitamin D, the calcium you eat won’t have any beneficial effect.

 

Leafy greens

“If your lactose intolerance is severe and you need to avoid all dairy foods, you can get plenty of calcium from leafy green vegetables,” suggests Barto. Vegetables high in calcium include rhubarb, spinach, broccoli, and certain greens like kale. For example, one cup of cooked spinach has about 250 mg of calcium.

 

Beans

Beans are a fantastic source of calcium in plant-based diets.

Especially Soybeans are high in calcium with 175 mg per cup. Accordingly tofu is generally regarded as a high calcium food.

 

Fish

The amount of calcium in milk is 125 per 100 g. As calcium percentage of the RDA this is 13%. Comparing with Fish, caviar, black and red, granular, in 100 g it contains 275 mg of calcium. As a percentage of the RDA this is 28%.

Sardines do not only contain high amounts of calcium (383 mg per 100 g, that’s 38% DRV) and vitamin D, they are also less contaminated with mercury than other fish.

 

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds and brazil nuts contain about 100 mg of calcium per serving and are recommended snacks for people on low carb diets.

Just a tablespoon of sesame seeds delivers 88 tasty mg of calcium and an ounce of chia seeds has 179 mg of calcium.

 

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Martial arts instructor Kenneth showed us ladies that it doesn't need muscle to defend yourself. Take part in self-defence classes to be safe.

Martial arts instructor Kenneth showed us ladies that it doesn’t need muscle to defend yourself.

 

During heritage month the Cape Town Self Defence Institute (C.T.S.D.I.) offered free self defence classes for women and girls.

I had only heard about it on the radio and was lucky enough to catch where and when it would take place. So on a Saturday morning I made my way over to Oude Molen in the hope to find the class.

Organised by the Yes We Can Sport & Jazz Foundation they had a great gym facility and quite a big group of women battling it out. Some of the women were devoted regulars, who had attended all the classes already offered, and helped teaching others to defend themselves.

 

I had taken part in self defence classes also in Germany, but yet again, I would soon learn that South Africa is of a different calibre:

Whereas in Germany the key to the self-defence class was to learn that there’s always a way to free yourself from the attacker, that was it, as it was assumed once free you can run away.

However, in South Africa, that is not enough: While we also learned that no matter what debacle you’re in, you can always fight back your attacker, here it doesn’t stop with running away:
The risk that your assailant will attack you again is too high. So we went a step further and also learned how to hurt people. Because in South Africa, fending someone off won’t help: You also have to incapacitate them before running away.

 

In a country with the highest rape rate in the world, and the most women being killed by their partners, this should not come as a surprise.

But to me it is.

Will I ever ‘get used’ to the high crime rate in South Africa? Where when your home got burgled the police tells you to be more vigilant? Or where the police is not even reachable and all you get on the emergency number is that ‘our agents are busy right now’?

Here in South Africa us women have to overcome our own caring nature and learn how to injure others physically, so that when the assault happens, we are prepared.

Well then, if that’s what it takes, let’s get training:

Check out the Cape Town Self Defence Institute (C.T.S.D.I.) for their classes. As their slogan rightly says: Make the attacker your victim!

 

 

Step 1: Insert rat into flowerpot

Rattie Harley fits so snug into the flowerpot.

Rattie Harley fits so snug into the flowerpot.

 

Step 2: Adjust flowerpot to rat’s liking

 

Step 3: Let rat settle

 

Voila! Rat has grown a little – maybe 😉

Rattie Harley looks so cute! Ready to be showered in kisses!

Rattie Harley looks so cute! Ready to be showered in kisses!

 

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Jenni Leibbrandt is doing a fantastic job talking us through the behind the scenes tour a the Two Ocean Aquarium.

Jenni Leibbrandt is doing a fantastic job talking us through the behind the scenes tour a the Two Ocean Aquarium.

 

I always enjoy visiting the Two Oceans Aquarium.

 

But do yourself a favour and go on a night / behind the scenes tour at the aquarium.

You’ll look at the displays with all new eyes:

 

The night tour has a calm and relaxing feel to it, without the hustle and bustle of the day visitors.

Lights are dimmed, because also fish need their sleep.

The information displays are switched off, which points all the focus on the tanks and their inhabitants.

With the surroundings in complete darkness, you might get lost a little like in a fun fair labyrinth.

Fun effects in daylight turn into startling surprises at twilight.

 

The behind the scenes tour is actually more worthwhile during day, as then the kitchen is still open.

Yes, the fish have their own kitchen, as maintaining the tanks is a large scale operation with its own water recycling and air filtration system the size of a wastewater treatment plant.

The aquarium offers a lot to learn and accordingly even features a classroom, designed to make studying fun with open fish tanks in the middle of hexagon tables for groups.

You can even train diving, as submerging into the tunnel tank counts as a logged dive for scuba certification.

 

As a member of the Two Oceans Aquarium you get access to a range of awesome events such as sleepovers and yacht trips.

Alternatively check the Two Oceans Aquarium blog for the latest happenings.

 

Being prompted to check out 'New Groups' for nothing: Why am I alerted to 'Suggested Groups' when then there aren't any?

Being prompted to check out ‘New Groups’ for nothing: Why am I alerted to ‘Suggested Groups’ when then there aren’t any?

Lately I’m being prompted all sorts of things on Facebook: To link Instagram, to link groups, to create a new post, to keep up the likes… It keeps me busy.

Especially as half of these alerts are outdated or simply fake:

Facebook keeps on alerting me about the same thing, for example I’m constantly alerted about my inbox, as if it sits on a timer set to bug me at regular intervals. I’ve actioned on that message long time ago, but I’m still being bugged about it.

But the worst is to be alerted about something that turns out to be nothing:

Facebook offers me to check ‘Suggested Groups’. Yet, when I do it tells me: “We don’t have any suggestions at the moment.” The red ’20+’ alert is however still hovering next to my ‘New Groups’, urging me to click on it.

Dark patterns at work. 😮

 

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In the middle of a busy city and yet it's possible to breathe! Reclaim the streets! #OpenStreets shows that streets belong to the people, not cars.

A busy city road and yet it’s possible to breathe! Reclaim the streets! #OpenStreets shows that streets belong to people, not cars.

I’m a fan of Open Streets since I first participated with the 100 in 1 Day initiative in 2013. See the photos: 100 in 1 day at Open Streets in Obs.

We hosted a Giant FREE content swap & Digital Be-In intervention where we set up free wifi on the streets to close the digital divide and offered anyone who came along to access it with their device and swap some bits and bytes.
We had great content donated from music by Hrh Spinsista Mitzi to edutainment by OGLE Media kiosks that could be freely downloaded. It was great fun, read the press release: Bitswap event takes free digital content sharing to the streets.

Since then I visited most Open Streets events and took some more photos in 2015Fun Activities at Open Streets Bree Street.

I enjoy Open Streets, because there’s always something fun to do and great performances to watch.

This year Open Streets took place just up the road from us, it was the biggest yet with 5km of Main Road (Cape Town’s M4) reserved for people and closed to motorised vehicles.

So I popped by, but with no intention to take pictures. Although I did: Open Streets Cape Town: More often please!

Because this time it was such a peaceful event:

5km is a long stretch to fill with activities, so there were patches where nothing special was going on besides that the road was closed to traffic and people reclaimed the streets in their own way.

Where usually I’d be met by taxi drivers shouting, angry people hooting, bikes cutting corners, busses coming life threatening close, pedestrians and general chaos in between, this time a scenery of peaceful serene flow welcomed me.

Even though there were no rules, everyone was so relaxed, no-one was in each other’s way; space was so open, everyone could move freely without worries; a colourful variety of people and people-powered forms of transport mixed and intermingled like everyone took part in one long dance.
It was lovely. Every now and then I’d be like: What do you hear? Nothing? Exactly!
The only loud sounds came from people playing or making or singing music, which invited to move from one street party to the next.

Children were playing and cycling, scooting and jumping, or just simply sitting down. The asphalt covered in chalk drawings.
Couples went for a stroll, families came for their afternoon walk. A lot of people walked their dogs.
Many just came out to have a look and stayed, caught up in a conversation with their neighbour or bumping into some friends.

If you wanted to get inspired about non-motorised transport, here you could see it all: roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, longboards, bmx, holland, mountain and lying bicycles, wheelchairs, onewheel, scooters and hoverboards, you name it.

All in all it was such a pleasant experience, we should do this more often: How about every Sunday? 🙂

 

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The Making of a Criminal: Part 2 was performed at the Artscape as part of the See Me: I Am Human Indaba.

The Making of a Criminal: Part 2 was performed at the Artscape as part of the See Me: I Am Human Indaba.

 

While the radio was talking about the Jazz Masters Tribute at the Artscape Theatre Centre, just around the corner at the Arena a very different kind of event took place.

 

The real deal

But that was not apparent to me at first, because I was late: I had booked the ticket over 3 months ago and the time had changed. This meant I entered the performance with very little context: My knowledge about it had fainted to ‘something to do with prisoners’, and because I had missed the introduction, that was all I was left with.

So I just opened up all my senses to make sense of what was unfolding on stage.

Two things sprung out at me after only a short while:
–  The performance was highly emotionally charged.
–  The acting was somewhat unprofessional but in a very human way.

It dawned on me that this might be the real deal: That these were real offenders, sharing their own personal story through a platform provided to them as part of their rehabilitation: the theatre.

And indeed: During interval lovely Janine next to me explained these were all real prisoners currently in jail and pointed out the guards on duty, who I had not seen in the darkness and now noticed were many.

Watching the next performance I realised that the provided context made little difference: I was just as much taken on a rollercoaster of emotions from laughing and crying, to cheering and applauding profound truths.

The audience was moved and responsive, from secretly wiping tears away to snapping fingers in agreement.

The message was clearly stated in the last poem: Nothing That is Human is Alien.

And that is really what we learned that night: A glimpse into the human side of offenders, past stereotypes and prejudices. Raw and real. Touching to the core.

These are real people who deserve real chances.

 

How can we help?

This was the question circling our minds, as this had been the last performance of this year’s group and it meant for everyone: ‘back to normal’, but what is ‘normal’ in these circumstances.

A discussion opened up in the theatre and continued in even more depth in the women’s bathroom resulting in these suggestions:

–  Don’t judge.
–  Share the message.
–  Provide space for theatre and rehearsal.
–  Support outreach programmes for offenders.
–  Bring more outreach programmes to prisons.

 

Driving home they announced on the radio that after the interval they’d get back to the Jazz Masters concert at the Artscape. I had just left and already this was how everything went back to ‘normal’ for me.

But of course there is more we can do:

 

Get involved

For another amazing example on how acting helps rehabilitate offenders listen to this podcast about the Prison Performing Arts initiative.

This just shows that theatre works as a crime prevention intervention. And why not? Why do we pay actors millions of bucks for faking it when we could use a fraction of the money to upskill people who can tell the real story?

So support future productions of The Making of a Criminal:

Follow the Help I Am Free cultural outreach project: https://www.facebook.com/HelpIAmFree.

Like the NGO Nicro (the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders): https://www.facebook.com/NICROSouthAfrica.

Donate to their crowdfunding campaign: http://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/the-making-of-a-criminal-part-2.

 

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