Recently Read: Himmler’s Cook

A few weeks ago while my wife was busy shopping, I slipped away and made my way to the book store. I’m not the biggest fan of shopping malls these days. I found a great way to pass time though i.e. while my wife does her thing I go to the book store and catch up on whats new in the literary world. I never intended on buying anything until I came across this book pictured below. The cover looked so interesting and immediately drew my attention. 5 minutes later the cashier gave me a bag with the book inside.

9781782394129The story begins with Rose, a 105 year old Armenian woman who takes us on a journey through 20th century Europe. From a very young age Rose endures some of the most extreme hardships that you could ever imagine. It becomes clear early in the book that she’s definitely a survivor. Rose has an immense love and lust for life as well as great love for cooking. It is her love and knowledge of food that would change her life forever.

Early on in the book it becomes evident that the author has done a great deal of research on 20th century history. The story flows smoothly and reads beautifully. Every page makes you want more and more. The one thing this book is not, is boring. I think this is why I enjoyed reading Himmler’s Cook so much, I was never bored and the book doesn’t have a shitty ending. The story never remained stagnant at any point. I would give the book 4\5 stars.

The Blog is up and running again

It’s been a really long and tiring month. Work has been this month long ride in the fast lane doing 300km\h. And today for the first time in 4 weeks, I don’t have to run around from one meeting to another, manage a team to make sure that they meet their targets for the day or have people come to my desk every 2 mins asking me the most ridicules questions.

Yet here I am, it’s late afternoon and I’m still trying to update this post. My posts will be more regular going forward and I’ll really make an effort to get more content out. Even if it means writing about the weirdo at work who looks at everyone all funny and smells like onions (True story)

If you’ve read this then I thank you from the bottom of my beer bottle. Take care and don’t take everything I say too serious.


A long awaited update

I know it’s been ages since my last post. But that’s just it, that’s exactly why I haven’t posted anything new. Sleep wins every time when I have the choice between taking out the laptop or catch up on some much needed sleep now with the little one back at home. So here’s my update to the “Worst night of my life”

It is almost a week since my son was finally discharged from the hospitals neonatal ICU. They had to keep him there due to an infection they picked up in his blood tests. Last week Tuesday I phoned early in the morning to find out how he’s doing and the nurse told me that the doctor has discharged him. Music to our ears. I immediately phoned my wife and gave her the good news. Within two minutes I left work and rushed home to pickup my wife who was waiting anxiously for me. What an amazing feeling knowing that it was going to be our last time walking down that long dark passage that led to the ICU unit. We never could wait to get to those doors just so that we can see him again, and the horror of having to leave him there every night. It was officially the longest week of my life.

I can gladly say that tomorrow will be a week that he’s been home and keeping us up every night. But I don’t care, as long as he’s not I’ll or in any kind of pain. Every time I wake up during the night or the early hours of the morning to help my wife with him, I do it with a smile on my face and have the longest conversations with him, just thankful that he’s there and that I can hold him in my arms and tell him how much I love him.

The longest night of my life…

If you’ve had the time to read my previous post, you would’ve read about my wife being pregnant and that she was diagnosed with placenta previa. This is a rare condition that very few pregnant women get. It basically means that her placenta is blocking the canal that allows the baby to be born normally. This also means that she will experience bleeding during the pregnancy. Not a very pleasant experience believe me.

This is our third child. With my son and daughter previously, my wife had no complications and was able to give natural birth to both of them. But this time around the doctor told us that the chances of my wife giving natural birth was zero. I never realised how serious her condition was until I asked the doctor one day, “So how would we know when it’s time for the baby to come out” I’ll never forget his reply: “Your wife will start bleeding, and it won’t stop. That’s how you’ll know it’s time” His words hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only was there a risk of my son being born prematurely, but my wife’s wellbeing was at risk as well.

Everything was going good with her pregnancy until last night. Whenever my wife goes to the bathroom and she calls me I know something is off, and boy was it. She told me that the bleeding has started again and it doesn’t look good. My first reaction was that we would get everything ready and head off to hospital like we have the previous 5 times this happened. Our normal routine is for my wife to have a quick shower and me to get her bag ready at the same time. But this time was different.  This time, the bleeding didn’t stop. At first I thought maybe it would be best to dispatch an ambulance but, quickly realised that this wasn’t going to happen. Realising the urgency of the situation, I immediately got my wife dressed as best as we could, got her into the car, and sped off to hospital. Most men can’t wait for this day, the day that they have an excuse to push the button with the little red triangle on the dashboard of their car, and drive like theres no tomorrow, like a life depended on it, which it did in my case. I hit the highway like a bat out of hell, hazards flashing, and focussing on the traffic ahead. 10 minutes later I stopped in front of the hospital doors, ran inside, got a wheelchair and rushed my wife off to the maternity ward.

I tried my best to keep my cool, especially when dealing with a nurse that has the mentality of a fucking garden snail. As you can expect there was no urgency until that nurse got a glimpse of the amount of blood on my wife. I demanded that our doctor be phoned to come out to hospital as this wasn’t a false alarm, this was it. It couldn’t have been more than 5 minutes after we got there that we heard the sound of footsteps swiftly approaching the ward where we were in. In pops the doctor like he was sent from the heavens. The first thing they normally do when pregnant women get admitted to hospital is check for the baby’s heartbeat. This is done with a machine that has these 2 flat round rubber pods that get tied to your belly. These pickup the babies heartbeat which is then amplified through a loud speaker on the side of the machine. A truly beautiful sound, the sound of your babies heartbeat. Only this time around, the machine displayed a question mark and there was no sign of a heartbeat. As a parent this isn’t something that you ever want to experience. The second the doctor saw this he ordered the nurses to prepare my wife for surgery as they baby needed to come out Now!

She was prepped for surgery and minutes later wheeled off to theatre with me following anxiously. Once we got to theatre the nurse lead me to a room similar to the dressing rooms at a gym. Only the shelves were filled with navy blue scrubs. I quickly fished out a shirt and pants that fitted good enough. Just before I left, the doctor came in to also get dressed and kindly asked me not to go into theatre until they’ve managed to get baby out and see to my wife. He also mentioned that things might turn out for the worst and they wouldn’t be able to deal with me as well. I didn’t quite understand why I wasn’t allowed but respected the doctors wishes and assumed that they were afraid that I would be a distraction if the worst happened. Nonetheless I was standing right outside the door and could partially see inside. Pacing up and down, nerves shattered. I know they’ve already started cutting but I’m not hearing a babies cry. I think I stopped breathing for more than a minute, frozen where I was standing, wanting to be there for my wife to hold her hand and tell her that everything was going to be ok. Neither of us knew what they outcome was going to be, whether we’d be holding our newborn son and welcoming him into this world, or saying goodbye to a limp little body.

What felt like an eternity took less than 10 minutes. I could hear the doctor ordering the nurse to bring me in. I wasn’t going to wait for her to come out and immediately rushed inside. When I came into the theatre I heard my son cry out, it was an abnormally soft moan but it was something. That tiny little sound instantly pulled all the weight of the world off my shoulders. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. I was overtaken by emotions and relief. Soon my wife was sewn up and on her road to recovery. Our baby boy is still recovering in hospital but is doing better every day.

What a story this is going to make one day when he’s old enough for me to tell it to him. I know this has been one very long post and thank everyone that takes the time to share this experience with me.

My Week

When deciding to start a blog I was very excited and had so many ideas of what I would write about. Yet here I sit not knowing what to share with my audience (a whole two of them who might not even bother reading this) But, my mission was to ultimately write more so that is what I’m going to do. I’m going to tell you about what happened during this past week.


News at work

First off, I was working as a consultant for one of the biggest financial institutions in the country. Being exposed to some of the most exciting technologies in my line of work. The customer that I work for has mentioned at times that he would like to appoint me a permanent position within the company. This got me very excited as working for such a big and well known firm has many rewards and perks, as apposed to working for a smaller consulting company. Unfortunately the firm I work for wasn’t very accommodating when being approached by the client that we work for. I was extremely disappointed and this just made me realize that the people I work for only had one major goal which was to get paid at the end of the month and that their staff’s well being wasn’t very high on their priority list. Made me feel like I was just a number with a dollar sign on my head and nothing more. Long story short, 4 months later and I am 2 weeks away from becoming a permanent employee of the client where I am. The consulting firm I work for was basically forced into letting me go :-) Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together mowahaha.

News at home

In other news, my wife is expecting our second son, totaling my offspring to 3. 2 boys and a beautiful blonde girl. Unfortunately my wife was diagnosed with placenta previa, which is a condition that causes hemorrhaging during pregnancy. To date we’ve been in and out of hospital almost a half dozen times but, for the past 4 weeks she’s been resting at home and we haven’t been back to hospital since except for the  routine checkups once a week, which have been very positive so far. Our baby is due in 3 weeks time. I can barely contain my excitement. After our first child was born (my daughter) we we’re new to the whole parenting thing, trying to do everything right and by the book. Fast forward 5 years and out pops my son. By this time my daughter was already in preschool and now we had to start everything all over again with a new baby in the house. Things we’re not always smooth sailing with my little champ who is very peculiar about what he wan’t and how he wants it.

That’s my week in nutshell. Hopefully I’ll be back soon with something fascinating to write about. I will be doing a book review real soon and I’m looking forward to telling you about this one.


Taunting death?

Have you ever been part of a conversation or hear someone brag about how they cheated death? Living life on the edge as some people would call it. Well I remember such a time, a memory that will stay with me for as long as I shall live.

a Few years ago I had some people over at my house for a social gathering, my sister was there and invited a friend of hers. We we’re having a “braai” as we would call it over here in South Africa, or better known as a barbecue in other parts of the world. It was during the summer if I remember correctly. South Africa has some of the best summers and it is sort of like a tradition to invite people over and have a few drinks while the meat is on the fire.

Everybody was talking to everybody. There were stories being told all around. But one particular conversation that was going on was with this friend of my sister’s that was bragging about how he used to speed on his motorcycle. I can’t remember the details to clearly, but I’m sure the story was about him racing home from a friends place, on his bike, intoxicated, and would make it home within the hour. I could remember, the trip he was talking about would take the average person in a car approximately an hour to drive, whereas he did it in under 20 minutes. All this time all I could think about was how stupid this guy is.

I know there’s a saying that goes “If it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go” I’m not too sure I always agree with this. Isn’t this almost the same as jumping in front of a car at speed and saying well, if it isn’t my time I won’t die? Anyway, back to this guys story. The night wen’t on and all of us had by now already had quite a few beverages to drink including this guy (my sisters friend). I knew that he stayed very close to us and luckily he literally had like a 2 minute drive to get home. I remember asking him if we could take him home (having quite a bit to drink that day) but he seemed fine and insisted on driving himself home that night. It was around 7-ish when most people started leaving.

I can still clearly remember the next morning waking up feeling groggy and with a slight headache, not getting nearly enough sleep. I can’t remember who sent me the message, but I do remember the numbing sensation that filled my entire body when I read that message on my phone. It said that the friend of my sisters got home safely after he left us but, later got in his car and drove somewhere, I can’t remember if anybody ever knew where he wen’t off to, but on his way back home, a truck had broken down next to the road and didn’t have any lights on. He drove right into the back of the truck at full speed, and later died in hospital.

Isn’t it ironic? How he was telling us about doing speeds of over 200kph on a motorcycle, with no protective gear and having had a few drinks, getting on the yellow line of the highway and flooring it. This he told us while smiling, almost as to say “Don’t try this at home kids” And hours later, he smashed into the back of a truck driving a car.

Whenever someone says “If it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go” I think about that night, about that guy.

Putting it all in words

Welcome to The Pen Teller Blog site. I am Pen and I’ll be your…blost? Yeah I just thought that up. I know I know, pretty clever right? Not that I like bragging or anything.

After quite a struggle, many cups of coffee, and a bag full of cigarettes, I managed to get my blog up and running. How hard can it be? I wanted to have my own domain name i.e. not a blog that had /wodpress at the end of it. So I went through the whole process of registering for a domain name: Check. Then I had to find someone that could host the site (yes this is all new to me too). After reading countless amounts of manuals and watching hours of youtube videos, I managed to actually start writing something that does not involve a google search and pulling all my hair out of head.

And now, here I am, with a brand new macbook, fully charged and ready to go and I have no idea what I’m going to write about. Speaking of which, this is probably something I’ll be writing about in the coming days, the move from Windows to Apple. Something I thought I was going to regret but much to my surprise I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.

That’s it for now, time to shut down and get some sleep. Oh just one more thing, I’m still busy with the design of my site so it’s not going to look very pretty at first. I will be adding some nice features as time goes on.