Thursday, 28 May 2009
I know that I have cursed Telkom in the past, but today I am glad that at least my ADSL line at home is working. While the office is down, at least I can still download my work mail at home, research online and communicate with clients. And I can do it all from under my duvet!
If I didn't feel so crappy and sick, I'd probably be celebrating ;-)
TSC is writing a big test today, so he'll be home early. I've made him sick too, bad me. I'm looking forward to an evening of just vegging and hopefully getting better together (although you know what admin sick men are, so it may not turn out that way. Hehehe).
We had our church life group last night, I was helping present the "Get Connected" evening (for people considering church membership) the night before that, and Monday night was spent tidying up the house after the baby shower I hosted on Saturday.
Which reminds me... My friend had her baby yesterday evening, on her husband's birthday. Little Ryan was only due on 16 June, but decided to arrive early and make his daddy's day. He's a healthy 3.34kg and 48cm long. Both his parents still feel like they're in a dream. So do I - it's so weird to think of our buddies as parents!
I jokingly told Ryan's dad, Richard, that he'll never get all the glory on his birthday ever again, because Ryan will always take precedence. He smiled and answered, "Yes - but at least now I'm guaranteed cake every year!"
Good point, that. Hmmm... cake... It's lunchtime. Off to heat up my curry then.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
I'm seriously hoping that hasn't happened to any of you because it will just totally wreck my analogy.
Why is today random? I dunno. If I knew it would cease to be random, wouldn't it, clever?
The office is as quiet as a morgue. Roo is off work for exams, JK is off sick, Boss is off galivanting in Durban and Chips, Icing and I are at the office, wishing there was some wet paint that we could watch dry.
So let me tell you a random story from my cache of millions to match the random mood of the day. It is, of course, about my family. And if I have told it here before, I'm sorry. But I don't think I have.
When I was 14, about to turn 15, I was stuck for a birthday party idea. Having already done paintball, a picnic, a play and loads of other things, I decided to go with a purple party, where everyone had to wear my favourite colour.
It was going to be a girls' night at my parents' house with pizza, videos and pillow fights (no - not in our underwear! Get your minds out the gutter. Freaks).
My gran was visiting at the time, along with one of my cousins. And my crush, Brendan, had decided he would come along too. I told him he'd feel out as the only guy around, but he insisted he wnated to be there (come to think of it, which guy wouldn't - loads of pillow-fighting chicks and pizza all to himself). I stupidly decided it was a sign of dedication and agreed taht he could tag along.
The evening kicked off to a great start - people turned up wearing various shades of mauve and violet, and the pizza was dished out in box-loads. But while we young innocents were awaiting Brendan's arrival and gushing over whatever chick flick we were watching, my mother had deviously opened a bottle of bubbly in the kitchen for the family.
My gran, who has the alcohol tolerance of a flea, had two sips and was tipsy. When Brendan eventually arrived, she was giggling like a school girl and blushing down to her elbows.
In between my psycho friend Lauren telling me that she was going to smother herself (because I wasn't spending enough time with her alone) and watching my (supposed) friend Nikki flirting outrageously with Brendan, I saw my gran swan into the guest suite, where we were listening to our teeny bopper music and chattering away like Alvin and the Chipmunks.
She sweetly (too sweetly I see now) asked me if I had "that Macarena song" on CD. I said I did and asked why. She declined to answer and floated off again.
Suspicious, I followed her into the kitchen, where she was practising the Macarena dance. It was very cute to see Granny doing the whole dance routine completely out of order, but it instantly stopped being cute when she suddenly announced to my family that she planned to take off her prosthetic boob, strap it on top of her head, and perform the Macarena on the kitchen table for all my friends and Brendan.
She giggled and made as though to undo the top button on her frilly granny-blouse to get afore-mentioned boob out.
I screeched again, this time much louder and with gusto.
Needless to say, I was NOT going to let that happen.
I turned on my heels with great haste and made to fetch that bloody CD and burn it immediately.
That was when I realised that Brendan was standing right behind me, stifling his laughter. I turned the colour of a fire engine and wished I could dissolve into a puddle, wicked witch style.
Ten years down the line, I can laugh (sometimes out loud so that it scares people) when I recall that moment of teenage embarrassment. And I can be thankful for such an entertaining family. And a gran (and maybe even backstabbing Nikki) that definitely saved me from any involvement with Brendan (who went on to get his new girlfriend pregnant the next year and then skip off to England).
There's my random memory for today. And my parting words... your family may be more normal than you imagined!
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Sapphire, our timid cat, dressed by TSC in my teddy's glasses:
Photos definitely cheer me up. I reckon I'll spend the remainder of my bed-rest compiling a CD of the photos I want to have printed out. There's still loads of bare walls in this house to be filled!
I'd love to know about some of the photos that make you smile!
Monday, 25 May 2009
Friday, 22 May 2009
Here's some thoughts on that. The good and bad of freelancing...
- Working for yourself - no boss, no office hours and no office politics (unless you suffer from multiple personality disorder or are taking vast quantities of hallucinogenic drugs).
- Choosing your own projects. If you don't like it, you don't have to take it on.
- The potential to earn damn good money.
- Working at home. From your bed, if you like. With your cats and cup of Milo. Or a bottle of Jack, if that's your preference.
- No "15 days of leave" nonsense. It's all your time and you can take a holiday whenever you feel like it.
- No team-building sessions!
- Variety - the spice of life.
- All the money the client pays for the job (apart from tax) is yours.
- Working for yourself... Nobody but you to take the blame when things go pear-shaped.
- No choice but to take all the work that comes your way - there's no set salary to rely on.
- The potential to earn absolutely nothing if you don't get work in for any given month.
- The potential to turn into an unprofessional slob because you work, eat and sleep in your bed. With your cats and Milo. Or Jack.
- Having to deal with clients outside of office hours and during "holiday" periods.
- No friendly office banter.
- No stability or routine.
- You ARE the boss, accountant, tea lady, receptionist etc.
Remind me why I'm chasing this again ;-)
Thursday, 21 May 2009
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
How many blog followers do you have (if you have a blog)? And does that figure mean anything to you?
I try really hard not to obsess about how many people are following my blog. I usually fail miserably, even though I tell myself that I would keep on blogging if I had no comments and no followers at all. I do believe this is true. It just wouldn't be quite as much fun ;-)
But then I visit some blogs that I personally think are quite yawn-inducing but seem to have gazillions upon trillions upon zillions of followers. And I have to ask, "What on earth makes people read this blog?"
Now before any of you take undue offence, if I have ever commented on your blog, you are not in the above category. I don't comment on blogs I think are stupid.
And if I have not commented on your blog, it might not be because I think it's dull either. It may be that a) you are a lurker and I don't know you have a blog or that you even exist; b) I have been battling to update my feeds list on my new PC and you are still in my queue of blogs I'm trying to get to; c) your brilliance intimidates me and I lurk on your blog rather than leaving a daft comment that might embarrass me.
With that cleared up... I also ask myself why anyone would bother reading this here blog. I think the answer is the same reason I read blogs... either they're well written or funny or moving or I just like getting a glimpse into someone else's life.
But whatever your reason for reading this is, please hang around - I love having you here ;-)
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
My kitties, snuggling up in the cold winter weather...
The stroppy teenage cheetah we saw when we were last at the Lion and Rhino Park...
Monday, 18 May 2009
I have worked late every night since last Wednesday for a VERY difficult freelance client who hired me to refresh her web copy and now expects me to actually make over her business strategy - not what I quoted her to do! I don't mind working overtime when it's necessary, but not for something I'm not being paid to do!
In between that nonsense I have a magazine feature to finish and only one of my interviewees has responded within the deadline I gave. I had a rush job last week that had to take precedence over everything else and I've been trying to coordinate around 50 people's schedules for our new duty roster at church (we had to recruit new teams for the second evening service we've launched).
My day job is really frustrating right now because of all the politics. At the moment we're at the place where people are being nasty about each other in front of our suppliers, which in my opinion is just plain unprofessional.
I actually haven't had a free night since last Saturday and I'm pretty close to choosing violence as the best way of coping. Or maybe collapsing in a teary, snotty heap - I'm not sure which is the most attractive option right now. All this stress is making me grumpy, unproductive (funny how that works) and forgetful. I feel like I'm constantly dropping the ball.
And it's a big 'but' (capital letters, y'know)...
I had moments of great happiness this weekend:
- Seeing the fabulous Angel and awesome Glug for our church quiz night on Friday (which was such fun, even though our team did appallingly)
- Heading to Pretoria to visit two of my closest friends (who were my bridesmaids) for their birthday dinner on Sat (especially since one of them has been out of the country for the past six months)
- Finding out that we are going to Zanzibar next month. This was just plain incredible - we asked my folks to book us in at a fabulous hotel they frequent that was having a winter special. They know the manager, so we figured it would be easier. But when we asked them about ti, they said the hotel was fully booked for that weekend, so they'd decided to send us to Zanzibar! OMW... So excited. Are my parents not the coolest people in the world?! I cannot wait to get away from the city, the difficult clients and the cold!
In conclusion, I'm not loving life right now, but I am hanging on thanks to some awesome moments and friends and the anticipation of a long weekend in Zanzibar from my super-amazing folks. Yay!
Friday, 15 May 2009
When I was in grade 11, I remember telling Coach about the guy I was planning to invite to my grade 11 dance (a fellow redhead who didn't last long as a boyfriend because people kept thinking we were brother and sister - eww!).
As a ballroom and Latin champ, Coach got invited to a lot of dances. He was heading off to a Matric dance (the South African version of a prom) at a rival school to mine that week. He said that particular school held the best dances. I asked if he'd ever been to one of the dances at my school and he said no. I told him that OUR dances were INFINITELY better and informed him that he would be coming to my Matric dance the following year. He didn't have a choice.
One year later, I hadn't forgotten about my promise. But... despite my unwavering dedication to Coach, I was getting a bit frustrated with the fact that even though everyone agreed that he had feelings for me too, he hadn't done anything about it (he has always been rubbish with girls). I had started to attend a small group from my church and there was a guy in the group who had piqued my interest. Let's call him Brian (because that was his middle name).
Brian was the polar opposite of Coach... Shy, artistic and in no way a sportsman. We had friends in common and we saw each other regularly. He had a quirky sense of humour and was so gentle with me (unlike Coach, who would just pick me up and throw me over his shoulder if he felt like it). I decided I really, really liked Brian. And when he invited me to his Matric dance, it confirmed that the feeling was mutual. In our oh-so-high-school-way, we tentatively started to date.
But I had already invited Coach to my Matric dance, and I explained this to Brian. He seemed to be ok with it - he was really laid back. I called Coach to remind him of the fact that he was my dance partner and then gushed about Brian for ages. Coach was less chatty than usual. Eventually he managed to gruffly interrupt me and say, "By the way, I hope you know that you're MY Matric dance partner too?"
I hadn't known, actually. He'd never mentioned it before.
As it was, it turned out that his dance was the night after mine. I was thrilled to be invited (because the more dances you went to, the more your pathetic high-school status improved) and set about organising dress number three. Then Tim (his real name), a very odd friend of mine, invited me to his college dance and I was over the moon. Four dances - I was no longer just a teenage dirtbag. Of course, it turned out that Tim's dance was the night after Brian's dance, just to make life that much more complicated.
All the dances were great fun, although I discovered that Brian didn't dance. He also sulked about the fact that I was going to dances with other guys. I had an absolute blast at my dance and Coach's, despite comments from all our teachers about the fact that we'd picked the most unsuitable partner possible in terms of height.
After the spate of dances, Brian and I continued to date and I honestly thought I was over Coach, although we were still great friends. We talked each other through our final exams and then parted ways after high school - me to do a gap year in Pretoria with a church and him to study sports management (what else!).
Brian and I dated long distance for a year before I realised that he wasn't right for me. By that time I'd met TSC and we'd been through the I hate you / you're not so bad / let's be friends cycle and were best buddies. Coach and I had kept in touch but weren't close anymore.
TSC and I eventually started dating (long-distance) when I headed to Cape Town to study. Coach and I were at a stage where we only talked once every few months. Then TSC moved down to Cape Town and things got serious between us.
I had always stuck to my routine of going on camp for the holidays, although by this stage was a leader. Coach hadn't come on camp for awhile, but we'd always said we'd do one last one together.
And we did. And I discovered that even though I was madly in love with TSC, I still found my heart speeding up when Coach was near. I still got that tingly feeling when he touched my arm or spoke my name (he had nickname for me that only he could get away with). Our friendship returned to the way it had always been. He was actually dating his first girlfriend by this time, but we spent more time together that camp than they did, laughing and arguing for hours again.
I saw him a few times after that and decided that I would need to accept that I would never really be able to totally get over him.
The last time I spoke to him, it was to invite him to my wedding. He didn't come. I was a bit hurt, but secretly quite relieved.
TSC and I were incredibly happy together (still are). Coach called me to say he was off to spend a year overseas. I wished him well. I had no way of contacting him (I'm not on FaceBook) and I wasn't that interested, to be honest.
After about a year, I remembering wondering if he was back yet. And then forgetting about it.
Until he called me last week. And then it hit me like a car door in the soft part of a shin...
There were no butterflies...
There was no giddy headrush...
There was no tingly feeling at the sound of his voice...
Just happiness to talk to an old friend.
We chatted for over an hour, catching up on what he was up to and how our lives had changed. I jabbered about TSC and our cats and our house, and he chattered away about his overseas trip and his new job. We shared a few laughs and memories and it was great. And then we hung up.
And this overwhelming peace settled over me that I married the best person I possibly could whom I love with every cell in my body (go ahead and gag - it's true) and that Coach and I were never meant for each other.
We've both grown up. We've both changed. And while I look forward to enjoying my great friendship with him, I know that we'll never be as close as we were and that there is no romantic "what if" floating between us.
Things are as they were meant to be. For each of us. And it's awesome to know that.
Thursday, 14 May 2009
What am I on about? Let me back track slightly.
Just over a week ago I got a surprise phone call from an old friend. Let's call him Coach (he's been obsessed with basketball for as long as I've known him and has played and coached with numerous teams).
Coach was the first guy I ever really, REALLY fell for. I met him on a camp I went on at the beginning of grade 10, so I was 15. When we met, we couldn't stand each other (the same thing with TSC... see a pattern here?) and spent the week trying to avoid each other.
A few months later we bumped into each other again (literally - I was walking down a flight of stairs and he was running up them). We chatted for maybe five minutes and I thought to myself, "He's not SO bad."
It turned out that we had a mutual friend in common and we saw each other a few more times. By the time we went on our second camp, we were friends. By the end of that camp, we were inseparable.
Now if you've met me, you'll know that I am really small. I think I just, just make the 5 foot mark. Coach, on the other hand, is a typical basketball player - 6.4 foot tall. So we made an odd pair. Especially seeing I was going through a phase of collecting odd hats. At any given time, you might find the two of us strolling around the camp, me craning my head to talk to him and him bending over to hear me, both of us wearing some bizarre head piece (his favourite that he liked to steal from me was a luminous pink, fuzzy beanie that made his head look like a tea cosy. My favourite was a rainbow cap with a propellar on top of it).
It was definitely a sight that would make you giggle. Or maybe call the shrinks in!
We had a great friendship going and would argue for hours at a time about inane things like whose brother was most annoying and what breed of dog made for the best pet. But I never felt anything romantically for him. Until...
My school was invited to a huge social dance event at another school and so was his. It was an attempt by the teachers to keep us out of the clubs while we were underage and was supposed to be a club atmosphere without the booze and drugs. I figured it might be lame, but seeing he would be there, I promised I'd go.
It was actually pretty cool - there were people from about eight different schools there and there was a great vibe. Coach is a champion ballroom and Latin dancer (you can actually tell if you watch him play basketball - he's surprisingly graceful for someone so gangly) and makes anyone look brilliant on the dance floor, even someone half his height!
We were all dancing in a group when Coach came and just picked me up and plonked me on one of the sort of dance box / mini stage thingeys scattered around the huge marquee. I think he did it so that I'd be his height and he could talk to me, but the music was so loud that he had to come in really close. His adolescent cheek touched my adolescent cheek and I got a whiff of his adolescent aftershave. And that was it - I was smitten.
This took me completely by surprise. So much so that I jumped off the mini stage thingey and hid out in the bathroom stall for half an hour to try and wrap my head around it. A friend came in and called out, "T... you ok?"
"No. I think I like Coach."
Yes, this is also the dominant pattern in my life - everyone has always known about any crush I've had before I have even an inkling of what's going on. Not very self-aware, I'm afraid.
After my little discovery, I did what any teenage girl would do - agonised for months about whether he had any feeling for me.
Unlike most of my teenage infatuations, this one didn't pass within a few weeks. In fact, it went on for years. Boyfriends came and went, but Coach remained. As a friend and as some vague unattainable yet incredibly attractive idea of what I wanted in a guy. It was him I would phone the night before a science test to procrastinate and him I'd call in tears to talk me through my break-up speech that I needed to deliver to some poor sod. In fact, it was him I'd compare all the other poor sods to and find them wanting.
There was only one break in this cycle of puppy love. But you'll have to wait till tomorrow if you're interested in reading about that.
And about what hit me like a car door in the shin. Seeing that, after all, was supposedly the point of this rambling post.
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
And it was awesome!
I was crying by about three minutes into the movie, laughing at five, confused by six... It was a glorious rollercoaster of emotions, explosions, paradoxes, people, Vulcans and visions... Just my kind of movie.
I raved about it to Icing. She laughed at me and said she'd never have pinned me as a Trekkie. I never was. But I may consider it now. So long as I can get me one of those phaser thingeys.
Let's hope the sequels don't ruin everything Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-style.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
As I got in my car I discovered I had a flat tyre. Thankfully, Tuesday is the day that our gardener is here, so he helped me put the spare on.
I was late for work. I quickly printed my status report for our weekly status meeting. JK was off today for study leave so there were only five of us. We went through our status and when we got to Icing, my current best office friend who recently resigned, Boss asked about how our new business cards are coming along. Icing said she needed to know what job titles Boss wanted the new recruits to have on theirs and Boss told her. Then she said, "Oh, and remember to make your title senior account exec."
We all looked at each other. Ummm... She's resigned. Business cards will no longer be necessary.
Chips left the office at noon for her 3D pregancy scan, leaving me, Boss, Icing and Roo. Icing decided to confront Boss about her resignation. Boss left the office.
I finished typing the nth email begging my client to send me the information I need to get her company a big, impressive placement and went to the nearest wheel and tyre place to have my mammoth puncture repaired (there was a friggin roof nail embedded in my tyre. Dunno where that came from).
An hour and a half later I got home to write this post. Now it's off to make supper, squeeze in some freelance work, phone a difficult client and head off to a church meeting (one of three this week).
Yet another "challenging" Tuesday (to put it politely).
How's yours been?
Monday, 11 May 2009
- She is the most generous person I know. Seriously. The other weekend we went to pick up something in town and there was a thin, hungry-looking stray dog wandering around. She drove to the nearest shop to buy it food and made sure it had enough to eat before she carried on with her errands. This is nothing unusual - I could tell so many stories similar to this one, whether they involve homeless people, animals in need, kids or anyone with a problem.
- She plays the drums. How cool is that?
- She hands her clothes down to me (she has good taste and a great style, so I love that).
- She has a deep faith and is always trying to find out more about God and what He's like - she doesn't just settle for what a priest / church person tells her.
- She is loyal like no one else I know. If it were me, I would've told a few people in her life where to get off, but she loves them despite their issues and behaviour and their lives are better for it (that includes me).
- She listens to me, even when I whine.
- She has accepted TSC 100% as part of the family and treats him like her son (that means he gets teased like everyone else too).
- I adore her quirky sense of humour. It so runs in the family.
- She's quick to share her knowledge if it will benefit others (whether it's helping me with my gardening issues or re-visiting her maths to assist my brother with his).
- She mixes words up and calls anything and anyone thing-a-me, thingey-majig, whats-it-called, thingey-mabob, whats-his-face or some other variant. It's cute. She and my gran can have entire conversations made up of these words and still understand each other.
- She has learnt to hug me. She's never been the touchy-feeley type of mom, but she's learnt to physically demonstrate love to her two touchy-feeley kids. I appreciate that.
What random things do you love about your mom?
Friday, 8 May 2009
Like yesterday, I decided to go for a brisk 30 minute morning walk before work. This is nothing unusual. But it was cold. Very cold. And wet. So I missioned along for a while and then decided to warm up by breaking into a jog. This is unusual - I am NOT a runner.
After just more than five minutes of steady jogging, I got a mammoth stitch that felt like someone had punctured my right lung. It was horrible. Sheer agony, I tell you.
I moaned like a wounded beast and two spandex-clad old ladies out for their own exercise moved hastily to the opposite side of the road.
I slowed back to a walk. My one ear started to hurt from the cold (I have rubbish ears. Had grommets three times as a kid). This turned into a dull headache on the right side of my head. I completed my walk in misery and thankfulyl jumped into the shower as soon as I arrived home.
Lesson: I dislike running.
This is not news to me. If you've known me long enough you'll have heard me say the following at least a million times:
"Show me two people in a row who are out jogging and look like they're actually enjoying it and I'll take it up. Until then, no thanks."
Really... Give me a gym full of other sweaty people who look as ridiculous as I do going nowhere on the stairmaster.
Give me group classes where the butch instructor at the front tells me exactly what to do and when.
Give me my lounge and Billy Blanks shouting daft encouragements from my TV screen in his Taebo workout (good grief, that man is ANNOYING).
But don't give me a slippery, cold open road with lines of bored morning motorists staring at me while I try to jog and at the same time avoid the scores of domestic workers on their way to work who snigger at this mad masochistic woman breathing like a cow in labour as she attempts to do something she's clearly not cut out for.
Another lesson I learned is that I still take water for granted. When I lived in Broadacres, our water would get turned off without warning on an almost weekly basis. We once went without it for four days and were flushing our toilet with mineral water.
Since we've been in the new house, we haven't had this problem at all. Until last night.
When I arrived home at 18h00, the water was off and my mad Italian neighbour was awaiting me to point this fact out a million times over accompanied by grand hand gestures and lots of tutting.
Thankfully, since our experiences in Broadacres, we've been prepared and always have two 5-litre bottles of water on standby. With the water in our kettle and the 2-litre bottle we fill up regularly in our fridge, we were able to manage just fine.
But my sponge bath could in no way match up to the long bubblebath with TSC that I had planned. And brushing your teeth with ice-cold water from the fridge is not fun.
Lesson: I realised again how precious water is.
TSC always says that you can tell a man's wealth by how freely he uses water. The low-earning labourers on local buidling sites can wash up with the water they fill their hard hats with. Those of us spoilt suburb-dwellers used to having water on tap are outraged when we have no water for just one evening.
It makes one think.
What about YOU, dear reader? Learned anything interesting this week?
Have a great weekend, btw.
Thursday, 7 May 2009
Spotted in Cape Town, seemingly with reference to the global SWINE FLU outbreak and its possible spread in and around the Cape Flats."
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Then the latest addition to our motley crew, let's call her JK (who is a lovely girl, btw, just inexperienced), sent out an email to her contacts with her CV, saying this job doesn't pay enough. She accidentally CC-ed Boss into her email. Boss was understandably not too pleased.
She and JK butted heads. JK broke down in tears. Apologies were made, advice was dished out and things seemed settled.
Roo, one of our other employees, escaped the madness by leaving for her varsity lectures. Chips, our first-ever pregnant employee, kept quiet and maintained a low profile.
I busied myself with getting work done, seeing my computer has been on its best behaviour since Boss's return from holiday on Monday (how typical of this machine). I waited for the next piece of paw-paw (not Jackson's dog) to hit the fan, which I knew would be...
The person who has been around second longest (after me, leading with 10 months) informing Boss that she'd been made a job offer that pays a basic salary of double her current basic, plus commission and perks.
Boss remained remarkably calm throughout these events.
I left the office to come home and blog about it...