Friday, March 25, 2011

Want to leave a comment but don't know how?

I read today that apparently only 1 out of ever 100 visitors to your blog is likely to leave a comment. The article then continues to give 10 helpful and easy-to-follow techniques that you can use to get more comments on your blog. So if you are a fellow blogger who also struggles to have people be more interactive with your blog, I think that you would find this interesting indeed. Just maybe there is something that you have not thought of or tried already.

One other thing that it helped me realize is how important it becomes then to increase the number of readers that view your site. If people don't even know about you then their leaving comments or not becomes irrelevant, doesn't it? If you know what I mean I hope that this will be of value to you :)

I've been considering it for a while to just give a short "how to" on leaving comments on a blog in Blogger, just in case someone is not that familiar with how to do it and therefore don't. It's very easy, really! I'm going to base it on my blog in particular, although the principles are very similar from one blog to the next.

1) At the bottom of each post I've set it to display a block titled "Post a comment". The first step is simply doing that.

2) Then you need to choose an identity - whether you have a blog on a another platform (i.e. Wordpress, Typepad, etc.) or whether you choose to stay anonymous doesn't matter. If you don't have a blog but rather a website you can also use that by making use of the "Name/URL" option. What I like about this is that, should others read your comment, they are free to check our your web location too which, in turn, could increase traffic to your site.

3) The next step is very easy - simply click "post comment" (or preview it first if you want to).

4) Step four is the part that I am not sure whether it is easy or not, but if you want to be notified of follow up comments, whether by other readers or myself, you need to click the "Subscribe by e-mail" link just below the comment block after you have posted your comment. If you have chosen this option the link will change to "Unsubscribe" and that is exactly what you click on to unsubscribe from receiving further follow up comments via e-mail.

Unfortunately I have to admit that the "Manage your subscriptions" is a feature that I think Google can definitely learn more about from platforms like Wordpress, but maybe that will come in time. However, for the time being it works sufficiently and for that I'm grateful!

I would like for my blog to be a more interactive site where you can feel free to share your thoughts on whichever topic is blogged about. I'd love to hear from you. Hopefully these guidelines help you to realize that it doesn't have to take up a lot of your time and you don't have to worry about the hassle of registration before you can leave a comment. Simple does it!

Thank you for visiting my site and for those who have left comments in the past, or do so frequently, I always enjoy hearing from you!

Please feel free to let me know if any of these features are giving you problems. I'd love to help make your commenting experience a fun one so you will keep coming back to leave another one :)

Now all that is left is for you to have a relaxing, fun weekend!

"Just keep living"

Rebecca Lanier from Warrensville Heights, Ohio was born in Mississippi in 1892. She celebrated her 119th birthday today! She is still in her right mind, walking, speaking and (having outlived her two children) living with her 61 year old grandson. She still travels the country for family events and she doesn’t take medication for any illnesses or ailments; only a few daily supplements. When asked by a reporter on her 113th birthday what her secret was for a long life she replied, “Just keep living.” Now that’s a piece of advice that I most definitely agree with.

Hearing about people like this on the news is one thing – distant and impersonal – but when you get to know someone like this personally it makes an even greater impact. My fiancĂ© shares a birthday with a 102 year old lady living in Kansas, US. She still lives on her own land, cooks her own breakfast, balances her own check book and makes her own decisions. WOW! What an inspiration.

Now, I don’t think that everybody is destined to live that long, but my motto is live until you die and that is what I plan on doing.

Not only do I want to live till I die, but I also want to be gorgeous when I’m seventy and VUALA! Yahoo also featured an article today on How to age like a supermodel featuring aging tips by woman like Brooke Shields (45), Paulina Porizkova-Ocasek (46), Patti Hansen (55) and Yasmin Le Bon (46) – all woman 45 and older. Granted, when it comes to supermodels (and Hollywood) one can’t know for sure what is real and what is not, but these are some good tips:

Brooke Shields firmly believes in exercise and fitness, taking care of herself (not smoking, sleeping enough, limiting alcohol intake, eating habits, etc) and keeping an open mind. Her philosophy: “Putting yourself in the position where you're not chasing youth is the best way to stay young."

Paulina Porizkova-Ocasek believes in protecting her skin with proper sun protection and wearing less makeup (powder being a big NO-NO after 40). For her ”minimalism is the best approach”.

Patti Hansen became more health-conscious in her 40’s. She puts an emphasis on eating right and she sticks to basic skin care.

Yasmin Le Bon banishes gray and like to mix things up. She believes that “if you look at yourself in a different way, you start to look at the world in a different way."

Then there's me of course :) Drink lots of water, laugh often, make time to watch the grass grow and spoil yourself with a full body massage, a manicure and a pedicure as often as you can ;) ...and every now and again... have that piece of chocolate, burn that luxurious candle and buy a new pair of sexy lingerie. Love yourself!

More important than what you do is how you think. That is the secret for me. Your thoughts become your actions, your actions your character, your character your destiny!

How you think will affect how you live your life, so choose to live till you die, and take good care of your body. Without it there’s not much of a ride to go on :)

Pictures by: / / /

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Some birds get away, some don't!

Today was such a beautiful day. I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and sit outside to work, but no later had I moved everything to a pleasantly shaded spot outside when the dogs started barking, babies started wailing, voices rose up in loud conversation, phones starting ringing, cars were roaring past in the street… Alas the tranquillity has evaded me. Needless to add I had failed miserably at getting anything done. Both birds got away.

I did however get a chance to take a few more pictures. Didn’t find anything today that makes my heart beat faster, but I do have a few more of my favourites to share.

On my photographic journey so far I find that I have a particular interest in black and white photo’s, action photo’s and pictures of people (portraits). I almost forgot about sunsets. It is a pity though that (as far as I’m aware) photo’s of people can’t just be shared without permission – a pity indeed that it has to be complicated. Anyway, none of these were required to give me their written permission :) Enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

"These are a few of my favorite things" :)

I've often felt very intrigued with photography but it was not until the moment that I held a r-e-a-l camera that it became so real I could touch it! I started thinking that I could really do this! Anyway, these are a few of my (most recent) favorites. Enjoy :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Lost in translation"

I’m sure I don’t always use grammar correctly but I try. At school I very much enjoyed English, but I hated Afrikaans. I used to wonder what you would really use it for in real life. Today, however, as I write more, I find myself constantly thinking back to the grammar lessons in my English class and trying to make sure I apply the right rules. After all these years some of it has become increasingly vague. Sometimes, I guess, common sense simply has to do. Hopefully I’m getting my point across accurately :)

I used to have a friend who wrote me SMS’s without any grammar. I remember it being rather tricky and I had to be careful to make sure that I understood the message correctly. He didn’t consider it too much that if you move commas and full stops around, or added questions marks or exclamation marks in a sentence it could, in fact, change the meaning of what you’re trying to say. Sometimes it was funny, but a few times it could have caused some serious arguments had I not asked him to clarify.

Today I saw a car with this written on the back window:

We were content - if only for a few moments - with him driving at a snail's pace. We distracted ourselves with exchanging ideas as to what the person could be trying to convey.

Was he saying, “Don’t take it easy. Respect.”? This wouldn’t make sense because, if you don’t take it easy, you are probably not going to be respectful either, period.

Was he saying, “Don’t take it. Easy. Respect.”? It could make sense in saying not to do it – how? – Easy, just show respect instead. Maybe he is trying to discourage others from stealing his car.

Or was he saying, “Don’t. Take it easy. Respect.”? This one could also make sense in possibly warning against reckless driving maybe; to rather slow down and show respect to other road users.

For all we know “Don’t take it easy” might refer to it not being too easy to steal his car. In this way maybe “Respect” could be a kind of subtle warning.

I suppose it depends on who reads the sign. To me, however, it turned out to be none other than a waste of paint or shoe polish. "Lost in translation." In any event we were neither able to overtake him safely, nor did I have any desire to steal his car. Luckily we had to turn off and it wasn’t long before the conversation drifted off to another topic instead...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Rise of the Chadults"?

10 years old... Willow Smith - daughter of Will and Jada (Pinkett) Smith - pop star signed to a label with a debut album on the way: Whip my Hair...

12 years old... Elle Fanning - little sister of Dakota Fanning -actress

13 years old... Ava Sambora - daughter of Heather Locklear and Bon Jovi – model who made her debut at the 2010 LA Fashion Week...

13 years old... Kylie Jenner – model and reality TV starlet with a Sears commercial and numerous Vogue Teen interviews to her name...

14 year old actress, Hailee Steinfeld, 15 year old front row seat fashion blogger, Colby Jordan, 15 year old model and reality TV starlet, Kendall Jenner; the list goes on and on.

Is it success or is it ludicrous? Whatever happened to “you crawl before you walk”?

They’re superrich, ultrafamous, megatalented... and er, still children. Welcome to the terrifying new breed of ubercelebrities we’re calling the Chadults... (Heat magazine)

There she was, Christina Aguilera, in the worst shape I’ve ever seen her. Well, that is until you turn to page 5 of issue 354 of Heat magazine. By the look of it something has gone horribly wrong somewhere. She seems to have gone from booming teen pop star (starting at 18yr), to sex symbol, to a boyfriend, to marriage (Nov 05) with a kid (born early 2008) and then off the rocker to Never Never Land after having filed for divorced in Oct 2010. This leaves her 1 and a half year old son (pretty much) without a mother while she is off drowning her sorrows in booze with her new fling, Matthew Rutler. What happened, Christina? Baby blues..?

Similarly, there is Britney Spears. She started her phenomenal career at age 16 and she started off really well. However, it didn’t take too long before the innocent little school girl also became a cheap sex symbol that, if I was a mother, I wouldn’t want my teenage daughter to idolise – s-c-a-r-y stuff. Sadly amongst her list of achievements you also find two failed marriages, two small children that lost their mother due to drugs, alcohol and loose living. At one time I saw a music video of her portraying a suicidal girl because a boyfriend has left her, based on the song lyrics. I remember thinking, “My goodness! She didn’t happen to life; life happened to her.” How sad. Yes, maybe she is recovering right now, but not untouched by the emotional scars and garbage that she’s picked up along the way.

Do you think that the level of falling apart has to do with how much money you have: after all, a lifestyle of parties, clubs, excessive alcohol, ruined outfits, drugs, etc. does not come cheap, you know?

These are just two examples. I’m sure there are ample more.

But nowadays children are not children anymore. They seem to born with a Blackberry glued to the ear, a laptop, a mic and a checking account, two lawyers and an agent and before you know it sex is jiving to beat box rhythms. Sometimes, heaven knows, I don’t think you can call it music, but in the 21st century it is a renowned fact that sex sells.

Is this ”progress” in changed times or is the innocence of the youth ruined prematurely? It is possible that they have more talent than they have time to learn and grow the character to support it? Therefore being incapable of dealing with the level of success that is achieved, with it all the responsibilities, money and adult emotions that accompany it. It doesn’t matter how successful they become, up to a certain age they are still just children, and instead of having solid, grounded adults, we have adults who yearns to act like children when they are in their 20’s and 30’s (and even beyond). This saddens me. What do you think these “adults” will be teaching the next generation babies? You cannot give away what you yourself don’t have or would they say, “pour me another one, mr Barman”.

In the end you have nothing but a bunch of frivolous superrich, ultrafamous, megatalented... er, children. A terrifying new breed indeed!

Now, I understand that we cannot go back to the days that children played with clay oxen, dolls, toy cars and tea sets and cowboys and crooks has long gone been classified with the dinosaur age, but isn’t this a little extreme? In time the older “wiser” generation will have nothing to teach the next generation because they themselves never learned.

A terrifying new breed indeed!

Picture sources: - - - -

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

FW: FW: FW: FW You have mail – JUNK mail

Yay! I have mail! Oh no... it’s just junk mail :(

E-mail has become – in some ways – such an impersonal form of communication. How many people still take the time to write in their own words, speaking from the heart, rather than just merely forwarding items? Some people set up mialing lists to which items are forwarded routinely. After a while they don’t even know who is on the list anymore, they just select the list and send. Most of the time they don’t even note why they thought it was worth forwarding. That would have added at least something personal, if you ask me.

Have you ever received e-mails of which the content seems to be spiritual and in the end it says that you have to forward it to X amount of people if you want the good fortune or blessing to manifest in your life or circumstance? As if sending it after ten minutes, or not at all would cause you to be cursed? I used to feel a false sense of obligation to forward it but then I changed my mind. Then, however, if I pressed the delete button I felt guilty, as if I was a bad person. But I decided to ignore that. I don’t believe in luck anyway.

Then I’ve received those mails saying that if you forward the e-mail for some child that is sick or in need of an operation a certain company will donate a certain amount for every time the mail is forwarded. I still to this day don’t know how true that is, but I have heard that tracking in that way was not possible and that it was not true. How true (or not) that is I can’t vouch for. However, on some of these I’ve seen closing sentences that have seemed like a threat, almost as if you were not forwarding it, something just as bad, or even worse might happen to you. At times I have felt so angry at the emotional manipulation that I’ve seen. Do you really think that you can demand someone’s kindness or co-operation towards your cause? At times I have deleted these precisely for this reason thinking, “No one threatens me!”

Many times I receive some interesting information and notifications in the e-mail. I enjoy reading through them and sometimes I forward them, but I can’t help but wonder how true it is. I think we live in a time where people can suck just about anything from their thumbs and there will be those who swear by it like gospel. Also, those who find it amusing to create fake letters, notifications or publish so called facts on relevant topics and you just can’t be sure whether it is really sent by the traffic department, the hospitals, the ministers, etc... It is similar to the spam e-mails that you receive from the bank – YEAH RIGHT – that require your personal details but it is actually fraudulant thieves. Does anyone still actually believe that – or even bother to open it and wonder anymore? I suppose it still happening every day makes the answer to my question a yes. People are simply that gullible.

Then, of course, there’s the so called ‘testimonies’ of how you can make a million without lifting so much as 8 fingers – you see, you need at least two to forward the letter to everybody you know. Or those all time famous ones of having won millions in a lottery of which you’ve never heard of or for which you’ve never bought a ticket! Or that distant relative that passed away and left you his whole estate with instructions of how to claim your inheritance. If only it was that simple...

On a positive note, however, I have to add that I simply love the forwarded mails with beautiful photographs. Those I share with people that I know share my love for photography or nature or beautiful things – depending on the topic of the pictures – and I keep them in a folder to look at again later. Wanting to learn more about photography myself, I also sometimes look at those to see what I can do better or different. It helps me look at objects differently and sometimes it inspires me to take a picture of something I would otherwise not even have thought to aim a camera lens at.

Even then – most of the time – I write a short little note of my own thoughts before hitting the ‘send’ button.

One more thing that have changed the way I view junkmail is to consider the time that it will be taking up for the recipient to view it. Was it relevant or important enough for them to view, or would you rob them of a valuable resource: time. Time that should maybe be spent on something else more worthwhile instead... (especially if someone’s only access to e-mail is in a work place.)

Simply forwarding mail in this impersonal manner does not make me feel special because the thought of me has crossed someone’s mind. It’s become a bit of a cliche of sorts. A real pity, I’d say. What do you say?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Amateur professional presents: Puppy dream 101 (with sound)

I AM SOOO CHUFFED WITH MYSELF - impressed - I simply can't contain myself (*If only my ears would step aside I would have a 360* smile*) Haha

No one even knew that little (Snow)bell was pregnant, and the next thing the pup was discovered. Aaah, suddenly a few things from the past few weeks made perfect sense. It makes me think of pulling a rabbit out of a hat as a magic trick and for that reason I'm going to refer to the little one as Shizam. (At the time of this post no name has formally been selected.)

Since his discovery I've been very facinated with him and have been taking pictures every day (honing my photography skills). In my observing him the idea dawned on me to shoot a few video clips of him sleeping. Low and behold - at only 5 days old - he was dreaming! He is not yet able to see or walk, let alone bark, but in his dream all of that is totally irrelevant! :)

Ok, so to get back to what I'm so chuffed about... I am so proud of the little video clip that I've made! Wow! Wow! Wow! It was an awesome learning curve on Windows Movie Maker, as well as I managed to shoot the material in such a way that I didn't feel seasick (as was the case with the very first video clip I recorded with my camera). I simply LOVED editing the clips, selecting and adding the back ground music, creating the intro, etc. I had a BALL! I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I enjoyed creating it! Feel free to let me know what you think :)

The dreaming pup reminded me again that we are also born to dream! We should embrace it with more passion, more confidence and less fear and doubt. You can read more of my thoughts on this inspirational experience here

I am convinced that I will be taking more video's and I'm hoping to hone my skill beautifully, brilliantly :)

Liane de Witt - amateur professional ;) - proudly presents... HaHa ;)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The world's largest family

Most people are challenged by one wife and 2 or three children, but not Ziona Chana. Meet the man who heads up the biggest family in the world: 39 wives, 94 children, 14 daughters-in-law and 33 grandchildren – 181 members in its entirety but Chana says that he is not ready to call it quits yet.

The family shares a 100 room, four storey house in the Baktwang village in the State of Mizoram, India – the largest concrete structure in the village. While Chana enjoys his own room with double bed his wives share communal dormitories, with the youngest of the woman closest by. Based on a rotation system they take turns to share his bed with him. As Elvis would say, "That'll be the da-y that I die."

The household is firstly based on ‘mutual love and respect’ and it is said that the family gets along well with one another. Such a large family also needs a lot of organization and is managed with an almost military discipline with the oldest wife delegating the daily household chores like cleaning, laundry and preparing meals. It doesn't leave you with a lot of time to wonder what on earth you got yourself into, does it?

One meal for this family can consist of up to 30 chickens to be plucked, 132lb of potatoes to be peeled and 220lb of rice to be boiled. I’m not sure whether this is any chef’s dream or worst nightmare, but it sounds like a full time job to me.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t share my man, thank you very much!

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Aborted... and lived to tell about it"

Her name is Gianna Jessen, born April 6, 1977, the survivor of a late term saline abortion.

Instillation abortion is performed by injecting a chemical solution consisting of either saline, urea, or prostaglandin through the abdomen and into the amniotic sac. The cervix is dilated prior to the injection, and the chemical solution induces uterine contractions which expel the fetus. (Wikipedia)

At age 17, seven and a half months pregnant and scared, Gianna’s mother seeked council at an abortion clinic where doctors recommended an instillation abortion - a saline solution injected into the womb – intended to burn the baby inside and out, and for the mother to give birth to a dead baby within 24 hours. Instead, Gianna was born alive. Back then the procedure in such a case was to kill the baby after birth either by strangulation, suffocation, leaving it for dead or literally throwing it away. Instead, a nurse called an ambulance and she was taken to a hospital.

The abortionist had to sign her birth certificate, so she is well aware of his identity – she doesn’t mention him by name but he is the owner of the largest chain of abortion clinics in the US which gross an estimated $70M per year. He considers having aborted over a million babies his passion.

She describes her first emergency foster home as “the mean home”. Upon arrival at the second foster home she was 17 months old, 32 pounds of dead weight and diagnosed with cerebral palsy, caused by the lack of oxygen to her brain while she was struggling to survive. She was also supposed to be burned and blind but she was not. Because of the loving dedication of a foster mother who wouldn’t give up, and three sessions a day she was able to walk by the age of 3 and a half with the help of braces and a walker. Today she walks with a mild limp only; no braces or walker required. In fact, she even runs marathons!

She has met her biological mother once four years ago; an angry, broken woman even after 30 years.

When you listen to the story of someone who says, “They tried to kill me, but didn’t succeed” it makes you think about abortion in a different way. It shifts the perspective from the mother and her so called right to decide about her own body, to the baby – the silent voice – whose life merely gets snuffed out. But then I also think of Gianna’s angry, broken mom – 30 years later – and I realize that she was not so lucky herself, not like she might have thought she would be – she is the other side of the coin. The one difference is that her daughter is a daily, living reminder of the choice that she has made. I can't even begin to imagine how one lives with that, even worse when you have never been able to forgive yourself.

A dear friend of mine showed me a book a while back (forgive me not knowing the title), a compilation of letters written to unborn babies by mothers who have had abortions.

One baby was the result of a rape. The mommy was afraid that she would hate the baby because it would always remind her of what was done to her. Another baby was one more mouth to feed while the family was already unable to feed the mouths that was there. Another was filled with so much fear of being discovered pregnant and the rejection that would come with that. But all the letters had one thing in common: sadness, remorse, longing, emptiness, wonderings of “what if’s”. For most of the mommy’s it was a realisation that, even though abortion was the short term solution, they could never have fathomed the long term pain that it would leave inside of them. In reality they unknowingly exchanged one form of brokenness for another, but thinking that they would be free.

As I read one letter after another my heart broke for these women. I've never thought abortion to be right, but neither have I ever given much thought to why any mother would choose this horrible route.

From not really thinking about it much to learning about the stories of these woman I have certainly gained a deeper understanding, but still just a glimpse at the surface, I'm sure. Even though it hasn't changed my mind about believing it is wrong it has certainly stirred up compassion in my heart.

Life is indeed a miracle. It is so sad that we live in a broken world where it is not cherished as the gift that it is.

Today Gianna Jessen is an anti-abortion activist; a voice for the unwanted babies like herself. You can view clips of her story here: part 1 and part 2

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Save a parking space. Lose a life.

“Woman Beaten Into Coma In Apparent Case Of ‘Parking Space Rage’” - - PARKING SPACE RAGE??

She was standing in the street in East Side, Manhattan (NY) saving a parking space for her boyfriend when another man came along and decided that he wanted it. She wouldn’t give it up, so he got out of his car and the ensuing altercation left the 25 year old woman in hospital in a coma. Doctors say she might die, stay in the coma or possibly have permanent brain damage. She saved a parking space alright, but might not live to see anyone park in it ever again.

IN A COMA OVER A PARKING SPACE??? What is this world coming to? It is important to note that the two individuals involved are 25 (woman) and 35 (man) years old – NOT 5.

Following on the bottom of the article there is 74 comments (at the time of this posting) debating who’s guilty or not, who deserved what and the laws (or lack thereof) for saving a parking space. Oh, and let’s not forget that her license plate says “evil kitty”. WHO CARES? Since when is a license plate justification for such savage behaviour? Self defence..? Maybe I should take up Judo or something – never know when I’ll have to defend myself over a parking space *noted sarcasm*

The whole time scanning through the reader comments the only thought I could think is, “...OVER A PARKING SPACE???!!!...” – not a piece of bread that would save a life, or discovering a murderer with a smoking gun or a knife dripping with blood, or a doctor that won’t operate on a dying patient... NOOO – a parking space!!

I don’t give a damn about who is to blame – If you ask me, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. How tragic! Shame on both of them!

Bail has been set at $100,000.