Category Archives: tatiana

Yes, they can be pretty

3-tatiana visa photo - 28-12-2009_3430 copy

The timing is perfect for this photo. It’s a time when we, as a family, have been having a great number of passport-type photos taken for various bureaucratic processes.

In December 2009, my little bird was planning to fly the nest. It was a very exciting and very scary time for us all. She wasn’t just leaving home, but going to the opposite end of the earth (or so it felt… just across the Atlantic really). There were forms to be filled in, visas to deal with, belongings to sort through and the whole letting go process. I was the official passport photo photographer of the family. I’d just finished doing Tat’s visa photo and was sitting gazing at that lovely face. I don’t usually apply special effects to photos, but that day, I was clicking away at the photo and seeing what effects it produced.

Ah, my little girl… so beautiful, even in the dreaded passport/visa photos. See? Passport photos can be pretty! I do, however, hope that this latest run of officialdom is the last we’ll do for a little while. What say you?


Posted by on December 17, 2013 in tat, tatiana


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Wednesday Waffle

The week sort of spun out of control again. I had a whole heap of random publishable (and some very unpublishable) thoughts to write down.

I’m having a week of far too many cancellations again. Now I remember… that was another reason I was unreasonably excited about working for an establishment. Cancellations aren’t all bad though. Sometimes they allow me to tour the city in bumpy buses giving me time to muse about life in general and why I’m hungry an hour after lunch.

Bureaucracy sucks. I am fast learning that there isn’t a country in the world that doesn’t take delight in crumpling you up in a ball of paperwork and tossing you around. Much like this…

19Novt2007-wet 020sm
I was looking for this photo when I saw that Multiply had my last year’s NaNo photo as having been uploaded in 2007. Craziness!

I took a chance and asked a random person on FB a couple of weeks ago if they knew anyone who would have a photo or could take a photo of the monument in Ficksburg. This guy is my great (x a few) grandfather, the one the town is named after. Being a small town in the Free State, there is very little information out here beyond the annual cherry festival and all things cherry. The family’s farm there was… yep, you guessed it… a cherry farm. It’s a beautiful part of the world that appears to be dominated by the prevalence of cherries and winter frost.

Lo and behold, one lady came through for me! The monument is in front of Ficksburg’s really quaint city hall. What’s more is that she said she’d go back and photograph the text detail for me. I think I love her. Now she’s found an elderly gentleman who has the history of the town and its people on computer and may even be eager to share the information. I’m in genie heaven!

Generaal Fick se monument
With grateful thanks to Susan K!
I may yet be able to map this family’s winding path into the past.

Oh, Jurgis just came back from the village… mail day! Weeee!!! From the one place where us poor Seffies are welcome. And here I had just been watching the video of Tat dancing with her very sweet Leprechaun and no, she won’t thank me for uploading the video, so it will stay safely tucked away on my pc : )

dublin postcard

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Posted by on October 27, 2010 in genealogy, tatiana


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When the center goes…



São Paulo is the economic center of Brazil. When São Paulo goes down, the whole country feels it. Last night, on the dot at midnight, our internet died. I cursed and went to bed, as the internet has been dicey for a few weeks now with super slow speeds at times.

We woke this morning to the news that the whole of São Paolo was down. News later came in that the downtime was statewide. Our internet downtime meant that everything was down. Think banks, police, airports, the works. On tv (great crime-prevention move there), they announced that no one was able to make official complaints at the police (what happened to paper and pen?) and the cops weren’t able to release bodies from the morgue without internet (we needed to know that). Our news tonight tells us that Annatel, the governing ‘body’ for telecommunications in Brazil, is considering a R$50 million fine against Telkom if they can prove negligence. This should get interesting. Take a guess who’ll eventually foot that bill… the users. Speaking of footing the bill. We just got the delightful news, too, that our electricity is going up by 8.26% next month. That should go down well.

Yesterday, we were out the whole day. We only got home at 9pm. Tat had a job in. I was really proud of her. She worked hard and performed well. The director, a crazy British guy, asked her why she hasn’t considered going into acting. Born and raised South African, she has spoken Brazilian Portuguese fluently from shortly after we arrived here… without any hint of a foreign accent. For yesterday’s work, she had to do a huge section in an American accent, then follow up with a section using a British accent. According to the director, she is authentic. Not bad for a kid who’s never been to either the USA or Britain. She just listens to the accent and replicates it. That is some talent.

This photo was taken of Tat in the studio a couple of years back. I don’t take the camera in there anymore.

Now I need to catch up with some mail. ‘Someone’ apparently put the internet on hold for us, but forgot to stop mail while I was down ; )

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Posted by on July 3, 2008 in sao-paulo, tat, tatiana, work


This week…

I have been meaning to blog, but every night, I go to bed thinking… oh darn…. didn’t blog today. Somehow, the days have just filled themselves up.
At the start of the week, I was having a discussion with a friend on English and vocabulary. I showed her a recipe for a simply divine lemon sorbet I had found – I will post the recipe. She said, "Oh, sherbet." To me, sherbet is a tangy powder kids love to lick out of packets, which fizzes and tingles in your mouth. Sorbet is a frozen fruit juice. I wandered off to my bookshelf and hauled down the rather hefty Google. Apparently, a sorbet is what I think it is, while a sherbet may contain egg or dairy. Frankly, every site I land on seems to argue the toss. Apparently, my concept of sherbet is more of a British thing.
I found this:

Sherbet is a surprisingly easy sweet to make, with only three ingredients and no cooking involved. To make your own sherbet, you will need:
Sugar, usually caster or icing sugar
Bicarbonate of soda (aka sodium hydrogen carbonate, aka ‘bicarb’ or baking soda)
Powdered or crystalline citric acid (Note 1)

The manufacturing process is quite simple: mix the ingredients together. Just make sure your equipment and ingredients are dry (this is really important). The citric acid usually comes as dry crystals or powder. If they offer you a liquid form (a solution), just say no! The sherbet begins to dissolve and fizz as soon as it comes in contact with liquid, so it must stay dry until it touches the tongue.

The hard part is getting the taste right. You change the taste by changing the proportions of the three ingredients. A good place to start is with two teaspoons of sugar, one teaspoon of citric acid, and half a teaspoon of bicarb.

One source suggested using jelly powder (jello) for flavour. I suggested that my friend makes some to keep her kids amused during the long summer holidays. I think she may have fainted, having visions of sherbet-coated sofas. (Another Englishism… to me, it is a ‘couch’, but everyone else seems to insist on calling it a ‘sofa’). I then suggested playdough….


The idea of playdough on her couches got me a similar reaction, so I suggested that she shut her kids in the bathroom with a tub of playdough. More horror ensued. Do I know how boys and faucets (‘taps’ to me) mix?? I gave up at that point. Boys are as much of a mystery to me as speaking Portuguese. Basic communication is possible, but let’s not get too deep ; )

Tat was raised on playdough. In the photo above, she is the grubby urchin in the middle clutching her Tupperware containing playdough. There was always playdough on hand in various colours to keep the kids amused. Here is the recipe I used (for those who have little horrors to keep entertained):

    *  1 cup flour
    *  1 cup warm water
    *  2 teaspoons cream of tartar
    *  1 teaspoon oil
    *  1/4 cup salt
    *   food coloring

Mix all ingredients, adding food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from pan and knead until blended smooth. Place in plastic bag or airtight container when cooled. Will last for a long time.

Speaking of keeping entertained, here is the latest project I am busy on. It is a challenge, but I’m enjoying it. Sadly, the original wasn’t very big. This comes from a photo album that got wet. The pages stuck together and ink from the opposite side transferred to the photo.


On Wednesday, Tat went for her endoscopy. Somehow, this must have gotten to me, as I dreamt the night before that she never woke up from the anesthetic. I’ve been having many disturbing dreams. The night before, I had a dream that could rival the horror movies I refuse to watch, complete with butcher’s knives and gore. Thankfully, I don’t remember much of that dream, but I remember the dream of Tatiana very clearly. Anyhow, the endoscopy went well enough. All the other patients wobbled out, supported by the nursing staff, while Tat did her Tigger thing coming out, chatting brightly to the nurse. That kid is weird. We will get the results in 20 days. It is a timing thing here. I’m not terribly surprised, as we had to wait over 6 months for the actual exam appointment.

My next task is to get my sewing machine repaired. It has never worked since our move. I don’t relish hand sewing. I commented to Tat that there was a time when I was so very proud of my hand sewing, but now I’ll avoid it at all costs. I hold my pc responsible for that, along with the downfall of my handwriting, which was never stellar.


Posted by on June 6, 2008 in kids, language, recipe, tat, tatiana


Birthdaze – March 19, 2008

This photo makes me chuckle. The afternoon of my birthday, Tat and I went to the village to get some dinner ingredients and check mail. The pizzaria had a new batch of wood delivered and was closed. I stood snapping photos of the wood and the pigeons who frequent the place. The one pigeon, the blue-grey one standing in the middle lording it over the others, is a regular there. I have photographed him before. The pizzaria owner arrived towards the end of my impromptu photo shoot and asked if he ‘could help’. The look he gave me was one of suspicion. I think he suspects underhand dealings. I offered to show him the photos, but he declined to look. I think he was just really weirded out by someone wanting to take photos of a couple of birds and piles of wood.

My birthday was wonderful!! Jorge decided I needed to be woken somewhere between 4 and 5am to be wished happy birthday. He was out when I got up much later. Tat scuttled off to the kitchen to pour coffee and bring me my brioche for breakfast. Brioche here is a sweet bun with glaze over the top. I smelt baking, but wasn’t allowed to check. I then sat down at my pc to check mail and blogs. I was overwhelmed…. I still find it hard to believe how many people took time out to wish me a good day, some I haven’t heard from in many months. A special thanks to Tat (of course), Picture Perfect (Heather), and Libby, for the very special (I have saved them all) blogs for my birthday. I was laughing and crying all the way through them. You guys are amazing! Then there’s the PM’s I received and the guestbook notes – I’m still trying to respond to them all! I feel loved *grins*

My day was spent on Skype and in my mailbox with friends calling and mailing to wish me well. I got great news that my friend, Fel was out of hospital and doing a lot better. We joked about her hair falling out, that, luckily, it happened at the hospital, so she didn’t have to clean it up. Her husband is the sweetest thing. He’s pretty bald himself, but shaved the rest of his hair, so they could both be baldies. I asked Jorge today if he would do that for me. He said, “Sure… in fact, I would do it now!” Dumb question… Jorge loves having little or no hair. We tend to harp at him over his ‘convict cut’. He hates curls and has a natural tendency to curls. Daft man.

Supper time came and I was banned from the kitchen. Jorge and Tat went off to do supper…. a kind of mock chicken a la king that we have evolved here. I like it, as it is simple to make, light, and tasty. I did follow them though – with the camera. This is my favourite photo… a rare moment with dad and daughter working together. I took many more photos, mostly humorous, but this one is precious to me. While eating supper, we watched a little ‘TV’ (old rerun series) on my pc. Tat had bought some Torta Hollandesa for dessert. That stuff is divine. It is a chocolate cookie base, topped with a vanilla cream, which, in turn, is topped with a rich chocolate layer, followed by a single chocolate coated cookie…. rich, sweet, smooth, very satisfying.

In all, I had a wonderful day and I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the part you all played in it!


Posted by on March 21, 2008 in birthday, jorge, tat, tatiana, tint


Who is the victim? – long blog, sorry

What a morning. We left home just after 5am to head into town to Poupa Tempo, the govt offices where Tat was to renew her RG. It was drizzly, tiny droplets of rain floating and dancing, never really hitting the ground, landing gracefully and soaking everything they touched. In the light of the street lamps, the overhead wires looked as though they were beaded with diamonds. We were about to take a photo when the bus arrived. The bus was packed with steaming bodies… shouted conversations, the bus conductor playing with cell phone tunes, a girl singing along to some private tune on her mp3 player. We swayed and bumped along as light crept almost imperceptably into the sky.

The fresh air as we got off the bus was delightful. A group of elderly folk in white with perky white caps were doing some form of slow movement… not sure if it was Tai Chi. The walk to Poupa Tempo was uneventful. We chatted and laughed, glorying in the fresh, cool air. At Poupa Tempo, we got into the queue to get the number to be in the queue – yes, confusing. We wanted to take photos of their fascinating old/new light fittings. These things were huge, very antiquey with flourescent lightbulbs in them. Needing permission from the building admin, we decided against it. When Tat’s turn finally came, we were somewhat dismayed to find that hers wasn’t an ordinary case. She has to choose her nationality… and no one really knew what the next step was, but we could find out at a ‘cartorio’. The cartorio’s are basically clerical offices set up as middle men between the public and the government offices. Just another link in the chain… just another palm to cross. The cartorio was going to open in around 2 hours. Nothing else is open in the city before 9am – Brazilians aren’t early birds.

We set out to wander around Sé. Sé is a mostly-paved semi-park fronting São Paulo’s main cathedral. The Sé metro station runs below. Sé is in the heart of the city, it’s center. All city measurements are taken from this point. We took a photo of a gorgeous rain sprinkled rose, then crossed over to another garden, where we took photos of some really interesting flowers. A little further along, I took photos of some shattered safety glass on a ‘bridge’ going over the pond. We caught sight of some fragile plants with dainty bell-like flowers. I took a few photos and handed the camera to Tat. As I handed the camera over, her cell phone rang. In that split second when we both looked down to the cell phone, a ‘wind’ blew past. We were robbed. I say, ‘a wind’, as the bridge was empty. It was a big bridge and wide… there was not a soul to be seen other than the two youths over head in another ‘pond’ taking their early morning bath. It took a second to register what had happened. Tat was on the ball. She dropped the umbrella she was carrying and gave chase… yelling for anyone to catch the thief. I think this guy could have given Road Runner a run for his money. I have never seen anyone run like that. They look in the wrong places for Olympic athletes. I followed as fast as I could, but I’m not exactly built for high speed chase. Two other men joined Tat in the chase. The cops and security guards we passed just looked on.

The chase got to where the area was very dicey. My hot-headed, impulsive daughter finally stopped, thankfully. There were two cops on the corner. One kept muttering about not being able to leave the car and the other said, “Don’t worry! I’ll get on my white horse and chase the scoundrel down!” Ok, not quite in those words. He ran off. I think he must have fallen somewhere. He was still dapper when he returned, but obviously hurting. He was totally bewitched by Tatiana. After radioing a bulletin to the other cops in the area, he very ‘officially’ took down Tat’s details, interspersing his assurances about catching the criminal with “I wish I had eyes like yours” and “You’re very pretty” (how does she do it… even when she looks a wreck, she attracts them!). I suggested she autograph a photo for him ; )

Around that time, Tat’s two fellow-chasers came back. They lost the thief in the bus terminus. It was assumed that the thief got on one of the buses. What astounded us was that these two were homeless men and they were angry! We thanked them profusely for their efforts. They went off swearing that if they caught the thief, they would make him pay. We made our way, slowly, back up to the scene of the crime. There, we found one of the chasers talking to a woman, also homeless. She was ranting that thieves like that bring a slur on them, as they don’t steal. When they spotted us, they went on about what they would do if they caught him. I guess they have their own justice system.

We left the area and headed to the bus to go home, a little heavier in heart than when we arrived. Tat’s documents could wait for another day. The lesson? Not that we should be more careful when going into town. That is a given. That boy stole to get a pitance with which he could buy his next bottle of glue – or he stole to ‘pay’ an older person… a controller. He was skilled at his ‘art’, probably having done that since he was barely out of his mother’s arms, if he spent any time in his mother’s arms at all. Then there was the two homeless men who helped give chase. They had nothing to gain from helping, though on hindsight, I think there was a reward expected. I think, though, that they chased because they saw a crime committed on their ‘turf’. Yes, we learnt a lot about humanity and our perceptions of people this morning. As for me, the material loss is not welcome, but when I watched my child running, and sometimes losing sight of her – it was a long distance – I feared something happening to her. I cannot begin to describe the relief when I finally met up with her again and could put my arms around her. Life is precious.

I’m sleepy….

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Posted by on March 15, 2008 in homeless, identity, sao-paulo, tat, tatiana, theft


This and that

Thought I’d treat you to another dose of dimples ; ) I’ve been doing my nut getting the printing of Tat’s ID photo right. Each program has decided to play up in its own way. Like the fat watermark? This photo won’t be swiped… it had better not be or I’ll go after blood. I had fun last night checking my site’s statistics. I found one of my photos was being hotlinked to a forum. Kippy, stop laughing. It was a generic enough photo of an old man selling limes at the streetmarket. I wouldn’t have minded all that much if it weren’t for the bandwidth being used and the fact that it was being used in a not-so-savory environment. I love bandwidth theives though… they make life fun. I swapped the photo out with a huge banner in bright red accusing the user of theft : ) I doubt they’ll leave the link up for much longer.

The weather was hot here today with a token splash of rain this afternoon. It was rather fun walking in the rain to the village. I then had a bad kitchen moment. Mac ‘n cheese was on the menu for tonight and the white sauce curdled – yay! Then, instead of putting the cheese into the rescued white sauce, I plonked it into the boiling water, which was on hand waiting for the pasta. Nice going there. Tat fished the, by then molten, cheese out of the water and rescued that. The whole meal was a rescue effort. Guess I’m grateful it was rescuable.

Anyhow, tomorrow morning, we need to be in town by around 6am *HELP!* to get into the queues for the govt offices dealing with RG’s (what they call the local ID cards), so that madam can get hers. Then we need to get her registered as a voter – more fun, but at least that is closer to home.

Have a great day tomorrow, my friends. I have grand intentions of catching up with everyone when I get home. I’m getting behind with mail and blogs again.

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Posted by on March 15, 2008 in identity, photography, tat, tatiana

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