Is it time for a complete overhaul?

September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

Keeping up with the Safety checks

This past weekend has made me think a bit about the lax attitude we all get caused by that damn wicked concept called complacency.

Now the usual line of Complacency kills is so true but also watching out for the series of events.

There was a wise man that used to say that you could trace back all the series of events leading up to an incident. The trick is to identify possible events and stop the train before it collides with the bridge. Literally.

So there are two angles to this discussion. A personal one and a gear one. We tell students all the time that nerves are caused by a lack of confidence in their own ability and a lack of confidence in their gear. So why is it that we become complacent about these two aspects and think we are invincible?

  1. Gear maintenance and checks

How often do you methodically check your gear? Or are you one of those skydivers that tosses your rig into your rig bag at the end of every weekend and ignores it for the week?

Did you know that risers and lines shrink? Bad openings, built in turns and malfunctions can all be avoided by replacing your risers and lines regularly. Next time you are done jumping for the weekend lay your canopy out and check that your risers are still the same length. If not, replace.

Lines should not be left until they break. Spinning malfunctions are not only dangerous with “work” jumps like camera flying, but these can snap at any point, not just on opening. Just imagine coming in on final approach and having a break line snap off in your hand. Not cool.

Bungees on the D bag need to be replaced often and ensuring that they are all at the same level of stretch so that you can ensure good openings.

Pilot chutes should be checked after each jump to ensure that they are still offering you the right levels of security that they will in fact pull out your d bag on deployment. Replacement of you pilot chute regularly is a necessity.

  1. Body weight and wing loading

So often we as jumpers get to a certain level and then stop calculating our wing loading on our canopies. Unless we are looking to downsize . But how often do we evaluate our own level of fitness and weight even though we are not downsizing?

Letting ourselves put on a few kilo’s here and there over winter, or allowing that beer belly to take creep up over a few months or even years is a critical issue when one day you need to get yourself out of a bad situation or even land a reserve in a tight spot.

As sportsmen and women, we need to ensure we keep our bodies slim, fit and strong to handle any issue and if necessary heal up quickly if we hurt ourselves.

There are so many occasions where we see parachutists not being consciously aware of staying agile, fit and strong.

So this is  the challenge for summer. Set a date for a complete medical check. One for your gear and one for you. Get a rigger to do a full inspection of the lines, risers, pilot chute, d bag, bungees etc.  Then do the same for yourself. Health checks are under rated. Decide if you are in good shape and if not get yourself onto a plan to improve with a target and deadline in mind. Happy Summer!

The Rules of Dating

May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

My super smart mom who has a wealth of advice on the subject of boys (Men) and dating has some pearls of advice.

The main one is “Always remain a mystery”

The big thing here is there always needs to be something about you they don’t know. They may suspect, but they never really know. Some girls use this advice to not telling that someone where they are, who they are with or what they are up to. I think this is better used to not send nudie pics to the person via snapchat.

Second is “The men are hunters”, which does not always bode well for someone who is so used to fending for herself that they don’t need a hunter. Yes, pretty much everything I will need a hunter for I can pay for. What I need is gentle loving support and affection, so depending on your friendship circle and your willingness to pay for these types of things, the whole hunter thing does not really work for me. My one good guy friend made me promise to stop making the first moves. Something I did not realise I was doing so much of until he said, “Bev, you are the only female friend I have to say this to”. I did watch younger girls heading straight for the hottie in the room at many a work function and remember thinking back in my younger dating days you were required to just stare at each other all night until you bumped into each other at the end of the evening.

These days the hetro dating scene resembles a night out at Babylon and a scene from Queer as Folk.

Thirdly, Men are supposed to be the providers. Does this mean every time I offer to pay for something I am emasculating the poor dude? What is the right balance between taking advantage and “letting them provide?”

Maybe I am just confused about the dating scene in it’s entirety. I don’t understand the terminology.

Are we:

Flirting, Dating, Hooking up, In an open relationship, Serious, Hanging out, Friends, Friendzoned, potentials, One of a few, it’s Complicated.

God forbid I get the terminology wrong and offend someone into thinking we were more or less involved or more or less associated that I thought we were, or giving it some kind of label and getting them to freak the fu@k out.

I am going to be on the lookout to try and decipher the terms of engagement. I will let you know what I find out.

 

8 in 10 women use the first kiss as an indication of the relationship

May 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

This was a quote from the movie Hitch featuring Will Smith, one of my favourite romantic comedy movies.

It outlines a consultant who assists men in setting up opportunities for them to meet and develop a report with women they are interested in.

I often think that these types of opportunities are a great idea, setting the scene for conversation.

We have classes and lessons from everything from horse riding to poker, but we don’t really have lessons in dating.

So what is wrong with trying to learn a new skill to be able to communicate with someone you are keen on in a non-blabbering manner?

At a club a few months back, a guy came up to me with a friend in tow and started spewing some lines from Neil Straus’s The Game. Trying to Neg someone who has read the book was a bad idea and I quickly told them that I knew what they were doing and it was not going to work on me.

The irony, if you actually take the time to finish the book or movie, they show that all the techniques don’t actually work on the right one.

So what’s the plan then? How do you meet people and come across as authentic without revealing too much all at once, or interested as opposed to desperate.

How come it is so easy to move into the relationship zone with people you are not necessarily keen on and battle with the people you are interested in?

Getting back up after injury

November 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

I have often been asked about my recent injuries. I think everyone is always keen to know about the crash and what happened. All the gruesome and gory details get them excited.

To me that was the shitty part of my day. Something that happened really quickly and through quick thinking and not panicking I managed to stay alive.

But that is for another post.

My biggest hurdle I had to overcome was the rehab of the injuries. After spending 3 days in ICU and 1 day in a general ward, I was allowed to go home. By home I mean my mom’s home. As I had a broken left ankle and right wrist, I was a bit out of sorts. My back injury was the least of my worries this time around.

Having been super independent my whole life, having to rely on my mom to bath and help me dress was not my idea of fun. Take into account I could not really move around was agonising.

I booked myself into a compression chamber, so by day 2 I was schlepping my mom to Midrand to get me some oxygen.

Thankfully, my doc Mark Rault and his wife Sue understood where I was coming from and he told me he would help me get as independent as I can get as soon as possible.

After 3 nights at my mom, I was ready to go home. I needed my own room, bedding, clothing and pets. Against all protests from friends and family alike I was taken home. Fridge was stocked up and I was finally alone.

Based on the breaks, I could not use crutches and hopping on one leg was putting pressure on my broken vertebrae which made my legs go numb. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place for sure.

Basic things like dashing up the stairs or carrying a plate of food became a mission, added to that my broken wrist on my predominant arm made my life hell. I would hang out on the couch until it was time for bed. It would take upwards of a half an hour to get myself to the kitchen counter to rest, then to the bottom of the stairs. Taking one step at a time on my ass, using my left hand and right leg as leverage moving one at a time, stopping to rest every so often. Some nights sobbing out of frustration.

If you have ever tried to get up off your ass using one leg, from the ground, you will appreciate gym workouts. Luckily I had been very strong prior to the crash, strong enough to use my quads to get me up and to bed.

Morning bathing, brushing teeth, getting clothes on and getting back down the stairs would take me 2 hours. Being a low maintenance chick I could normally do this in 15. But now, even trying to put mascara on with my left hand took ages. (yes! of course I would still put make up on).

Various friends and work mates took turns to take me to the compression chamber and eventually physio. This created a mound of guilt for me. I don’t like relying on people. I am Miss Independent!

Mark was adamant that he could get me independent asap and I was doing all I could to help which included a handful of bone healing meds, K2, D3 and protein shakes twice a day.

At my 2 week mark, I had to go back to my surgeon for my check up. Of course the lift was broken and I had to hop up 2 flights of stairs to his office.

He only took my wrist bandage off. I was totally freaked out about my scar. It was horrible. I really looked like I had tried to commit suicide by slashing my wrist.

It did concern me that he was not prepared to remove my leg cast, so the next week Tuesday, I took it off myself and discovered gut stitches still holding it together. The next morning I was taking them out. I figured that 2,5 weeks was enough time to have stitches in. By the Thursday, I had put my foot into a borrowed moonboot and Friday morning, 3 weeks after my break, I drove myself to the compression chamber.

The beginning of week 4 I was walking, albeit slowly and with a small limp, in flat pumps.

Now, psychologically the rush to get better quickly to be independent was outweighing my desire to rely on people all day every day. Having my leg and arm atrophy to half it’s size within 2 weeks, got me shoving my swollen ankle into my cleats to ride the spin bike at gym. Starting to walk on the treadmill came the next week. I did feel like a lame ass retard walking at such a slow pace, but I really did not have a choice.

Over the last year, I have managed to push heavier weights than I did before the crash, run longer on the treadmill and get back to skydiving. It took 6 months for all bones to be fully healed to take out the pins and titanium and 8 months to be jumping again.

I have still to get back on my road bike, but I have done 2 mountain bike rides so far. Run Jozi 10k was done in an amazing time. The Dischem 21 is next on the list for Jan, 70.3 Half Ironman again in 2015 and the Great Wall of China marathon May 2015. How’s that for a bucket list?

So I can sit here and tell you how shit it was to get hurt, or I can tell you how will power and the absolute desire to get back on the horse as soon as possible made me get as independent as I could get.

My lessons were plentiful this last year. The main one was that I had to rely on people. My friends and family were exceptional at helping me with all the pleasure in the world. I had to accept that this was ok and I could ask for help. The second was for me to slow down. I tended to run everywhere, zooming around the shops, work corridors etc. It was time to slow down.

I will admit that the last year has been frustrating. It has also shown who I could rely on and who would not be around. I also know that I have a whole lot more respect for life, my body. Keeping it strong and agile is critical now.

People don’t understand why I wake up at 4:30 am to go to gym, I hope that some of this story can give an insight into my motivations now.

Follow me on @dreamskygirlsa for more updates

Bucket Lists

November 26, 2013 in Challenges

Every year about this time, my friends and I go through the typical “so what?” about our lives.

Evaluating work situations, midlife crises relationship statuses and we start planning for the next year.

We do find ourselves saying the usual “What should we do next year brain?” quite often.

This question has gotten us to do lots of insane activities and experiencing random events, including travelling to foreign countries, starting a new sport or starting new businesses.

Being a skydiving instructor, I come across many people who have a risk taking personality. On the other hand, I can identify people who would prefer to go mall shopping rather.

So here is the challenge:  What is on your bucket list for 2014? Is it a challenge, Something that scares you, or just somewhere you have always wanted to go?

Let me know on @Dreamskygirlsa

My top 10 concert peeves

November 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

I am a self confessed music concert junkie. I love a wide array of music and love to go watch various acts. This love of music has also taken me to Europe to see the best of the best.

So when I have to deal with inconsiderate South Africans at an event, it REALLY peeves me off. Badly.

This weekend was another chance to see magnificent South African acts as well as have our Seether boys play for us again.

Unfortunately my group of mates landed up standing just behind a “non-fan” who proceeded to yack to another “non-fan’’ for ages.

Eventually even their friends were moving away from them to try hear the concert.

So over the last few hours, I have been compiling a top 10 list of do’s and don’ts at music festivals.

  1. If you only know 1 or 2 radio play songs of the band being advertised, rather stay at home. The big band promoters use advertising to lure you to the shows. What ends up happening is you stand around not knowing anything except the chorus of the 1 or 2 tracks. Lame.
  2. Being totally wasted at a concert is a waste of money for you and an irritation to everyone else. I have never figured why peeps would pay for and look forward to a show and then proceed to get slammed drunk or stoned, stumble into everyone and eventually pass out before the main act. Again, lame.
  3. Smoking in tight spots might be cool for you, but for the rest of us, it is shit. Have some manners and go smoke somewhere else or use a patch.
  4. Shoving your way to the front of everyone with the lame excuse of “I am just getting to my friends” just pisses everyone off. We know you are lying, you know you are lying. Just leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
  5. Wearing headgear that is larger than a emo kids fro is just rude. Keep your headgear limited to a baseball cap and we can all see the stage.
  6. If you can see someone is a bigger fan than you, let them through. Don’t hog the band man, don’t hog the band.
  7. If you are not interested in the band and you would rather be chatting to your mate go have coffee. You can’t have a good chat over the music and all you do is irritate the rest of us wanting to hear the band and not hear about your “varsity days”.
  8. Clean up after yourself please. I know there are guys that will eventually clean the field after we have been there, but have some respect and throw your cups, cans, food packaging and cigarette stumps in the bins provided.
  9. Girls, dress event appropriate.
  10. Sitting on someone shoulders is fine for 2 minutes. Then get off and allow the other peeps to enjoy the show. Unless  you flash your boobs, I do not want to be subjected to your buttcrack for the whole show.

To Parklife who hosted an awesome day with ample food and refreshments, security, ablutions and parking, thank you, we will definitely see you again in March 2014.

 

Where the hell have I been?

September 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

Looking back over the last year, I cannot believe how my group of friends have all managed to get through this period of time.

Not sure if it was just us, but we have all been put through the washer and dragged through the bush backwards.

It is definitely in times like this that you see who your real friends are and how strong human beings can be.

More on the learnings of our experiences later…

Learning from mistakes – Jeb Corliss shares his jump with the world

February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

I was in Cape Town on a weekend break when I heard the news that Jeb Corliss, wing suiting and base jumping hero had crashed on Table Mountain.

 

I tried to think of my reaction to the news and I think I might have scrunched up my nose and asked if he was alive.

This is the life of an extreme sportsperson. It is the reality that shit happens and you may have to live with certain consequences based on your actions and lifestyle.

 

I have had to have many a discussion defending the choices I and my friends make on a daily basis. I call us calculated risk takers.

We have lost many friends along the way and the reaction has been the same from many of us. At least they were doing something they loved.

 

The general population that does not partake in any level of extreme activity will never understand and I have stopped trying to explain it to them too. I mean, how many times you can try justifying that driving a car is dangerous, or even worse, driving drunk and taking out an innocent family or a bunch of kids. Jub Jub is living this nightmare now. Trying to justify why drinking, taking drugs and racing a buddy down a street was ok.

 

I often think of my buddies I have lost and I have very fond memories of them. I loved each of them in my own special way and being part of a community that risk their lives on a weekly basis for an adrenalin rush is an honour.

I have recently started doing Triathlons and the scary bit is now hearing the deaths on the roads of runners and cyclists. It is not necessarily a safer sport than skydiving or scuba diving on these insane roads.

 

I watched Jeb’s video with interest to see where he made the mistake. Pushing the boundaries of the sport to new levels to teach the ones that come after him the lessons to help them not get hurt or kill themselves.

We live in a world where people have died pushing the boundaries of life, so to Jeb I say thank you for sharing this experience with us so we can learn from you. Someone that thousands of people admire and millions don’t understand.

 

There are some truths though to all this. He mentioned the hikers, rescuers and doctors that were there for him in his time of need. I can add to that friends and family that assist once you have left the hospital, the ones that bath and dress you because you cannot. To the wives and husbands that stay and love you unconditionally even if you hurt yourself so badly you become paralysed. To the community of sportspeople that rally around you and your family, keeping everyone close and taken care of as much as they can until you are back on your feet. To the people on the side lines that keep an eye out on the kids left behind, ready to help out at a moment’s notice.

 

These are the real hero’s.

  

I often think of what would happen to me if I had to hurt myself beyond repair or to the point where I have a disfigurement so bad that I would need assistance from a loved one or a stranger. I can’t say it does not scare me to think that the one that loves me would leave. Would they stay, would they be able to still see me?

Watch Jeb’s Video here:

http://www.news24.com/Multimedia/South-Africa/Official-Table-Mountain-crash-video-20120222

Is non invasive surgery the way to go these days?

February 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

I am seeing more and more people choose the non-invasive way.

I am specifically referring to the likes of Lipo and Botox.

There seems to be a sense of trust in the process without the nasty side effects of the hospital visit, prodding probes and possible bad reactions.

The Ultrasound Lipo actually pops the fat cells and additional care of your diet and exercise improves the results.

The resuts are instant, so before you even leave the shop, you have a visible cm loss.

Laserlicious in Lonehill Fourways has introduced both the Ultrasound Liposuction and botox offerings to their existing Pain Free Laser hair removal offering.

I am all about the not hurting part!

Yay!

www.laserlicious.co.za

Why does Valentines Day make me want to vomit?

February 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

The thought of another cheesy Valentines Day around the corner literally makes me want to hold my hair back and projectile vomit out the car window.

 

I have for as long as I can remember, never been a fan of the soppy commercial day of red roses and secret admirers and this year I am trying to figure out why?

 

I was a complete nerd at school. Being a late starter in the dating game, I was best friends with the guys in my class rather than seeing them as romantics. So the thought of receiving chocolates, cards or flowers on the day was a foreign concept.

 

We of course used to make cards and strategically place them in the hot and cute boy’s bags during break just to see them blush, but nothing ever came of it because they were always anonymous.

 

So let’s investigate that part of it. WHY oh WHY would you like someone and then run around not telling them? Maybe you would feel embarrassed if they rejected you, but we never consider the effects of what would happen if they felt the same! Is this where we learnt to play the relationship games that sometimes kill our chances at finding “the one” as we feel we have to play a cat and mouse game to seem exciting.

 

I am not good at games. I am good at flirting, but not very good at games. Most people I like can see right away that I am interested and we can take it from there. Having a very openly expressive face is my downfall to pretending I am not interested, thereby putting all my cards on the table face up right from the start.

 

After school I landed up in a long term relationship so never had to deal with these issues for a decade. Luckily he was shocking with dates and never did anything romantic! NOT! But it did take the pressure off expecting things. So leading into my thirties with the history of a dude never making the effort to do anything special for me on any particular day kind of made me the Grinch who stole (Insert holiday here).

 

Mmm, this is getting interesting. So now we have a history of being mates with guys that never saw me as a sexual being to being in a relationship and accepting (cough cough splutter splutter) a lazy boyfriend, I seem to have developed a nature of no expectations for anything.

 

Last year was one of the first years I was single and spent the evening at home on the couch catching up on my PVR recordings. This was all cool until I walked out my front door the next morning to find a beautiful red rose strategically placed in a beer bottle on the inside of my gate.

 

All of a sudden the knot in my stomach made me realise that I had a stalker. Being the considerate guy he was, he must have felt sorry for me being all alone on Valentines Day.

 

In hindsight ( and another separate occasion of stalking roses) it was a sweet gesture.

 

So this year I am again in turmoil on what to do tomorrow. I have already received a bunch of roses – albeit from a supplier. But they are pretty and make my desk look cool. Most of my mates are in relationships and have plans. So I guess it will be a night of home cooked meals and a glass of wine! Unless I hit the gym with the rest of my neighbourhoods singles and hang out at the juice bar gently twirling my hair.