Friday, 28 August 2009
I'm still feeling blue (well, more sickly green), but I seem to have the tears under control today, which is a step in the right direction. At least I now have a facade of calm. And my rescue remedy back from TSC. Coincidence?
I still don't feel like going into what's making me miz (unusual for someone who generally wants to broadcast every issue to the world, or at least the blogosphere). I guess I feel that I don't want to focus on the rubbish stuff. Also, I don't feel like hearing everyone's advice. I know what I have to do, I know what I can't do, I know that this too shall pass, and that's all I need to know. Now I just need to put my head down, do what needs to be done and make the tough decisions when they come my way. But (there's always a but), just so you know... it's mainly work stuff. Just so nobody thinks it's about TSC, k?
Right, onwards to (80s) glory! I have my totally awesome outfit picked out, the house decked out with balloons and righteous 80s decor and tonight I'll do the food prep, so hopefully all will be ready for the valley girls and punk rockers to descend upon us tomorrow evening.
I always get butterflies before I throw a party, or even if I have a big group over for dinner. I think it's because my friends are from such different walks of life (from late teens to early sixties) that I worry whether everyone will get along and stress that someone will feel left out. But it always works out well and I end up having a great time, and I'm sure that will be the case here.
Now if I can just get my complicated cake right...
What's everyone else up to this weekend?
Thursday, 27 August 2009
- I missed celebrating my 300th blog post. This is number 304. I think.
- Struggling to keep my emotions in check today. I keep crying at the most random / inappropriate things.
- TSC took my rescue remedy with him to varsity for his maths test today. I feel bereft.
- My increasing dependence on rescue remedy to get through the day is a worry, but I reassure myself that cocaine would be a more serious issue, so I'll let this one slide.
- TSC and I are having a joint bday thingey this weekend. 80s theme. Much as it's stressing me out (dunno when I'm gonna have any time to organise the food / decor etc that I have planned), I can't wait to get my legwarmers on.
- I spent yesterday listening to 80s music in preparation. Thank goodness that decade is over. I don't think I could take any more Dr. Alban or Yazoo. Although I do still have a soft spot for Roxette.
- My boss is trying to guilt-trip me into doing a weekend work event that I really don't want to do. I have so few weekend days free at the moment (between freelance work, charity events and church stuff) that I actually just cry at the thought of it (once again - this emotion/logic thing is eluding me today). Pathetic.
- I think some uninterrupted, nightmare-free sleep might cure all of this emotional messiness. Well, at least some of it.
- It's freezing cold, even though ut was supposed to get warmer today. I really should stop giving the weatherman the benefit of the doubt. Must get more coffee...
What colour is your day?
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
For now... I leave you with this funny from my inbox:
THREE YEAR OLD BOY IS SITTING ON THE TOILET.
HIS MOTHER THINKS HE HAS BEEN IN THERE TOO LONG, SO SHE GOES IN TO SEE WHAT'S UP.
THE LITTLE BOY IS GRIPPING ON TO THE TOILET SEAT WITH HIS LEFT HAND AND
HITTING HIMSELF ON TOP OF THE HEAD WITH HIS RIGHT HAND.
HIS MOTHER SAYS: "BILLY, ARE YOU ALL RIGHT? YOU'VE BEEN IN HERE FOR A WHILE."
BILLY SAYS: "I'M FINE, MOMMY. I JUST HAVEN'T GONE 'DOODY' YET."
MOTHER SAYS: "OK, YOU CAN STAY HERE A FEW MORE MINUTES. BUT, BILLY, WHY ARE YOU HITTING YOURSELF ON THE HEAD?"
BILLY SAYS: "WORKS FOR KETCHUP."
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Monday, 24 August 2009
Friday, 21 August 2009
I had a great facial at Dischem, despite the therapist being unfriendly to the point of it actually being rude. It's the first time I've had a laser facial (hell, it's the seocnd time I've ever had any sort of facial) and it was quite pleasant. I may just have to do it again sometime.
You'll see I've turned the word verification on in my comments. I'm sorry, I know it's a pain. But I have a spammer, Ric, leaving messages on all my posts, so I'm trying to deter him. I've also turned on the comment moderation on all posts older than 14 days.
Right, now for the part where I rant... (I so love having a blog to vent on!)...
I chose Primi Extreme for my birthday supper because I was craving pasta and a cosy fire, and Design Quarter is a mere 5min from our place, so it seemed like the obvious choice. Hah!
We enjoyed our food. Pity the service was so rubbish.
Bad service frustrates me enormously. As far as I'm concerned, if I'm paying good money for something, it needs to be what I'm expecting. And at restaurants that means good food in a pleasant atmosphere served by a polite waitron.
I have mixed feelings about the Primi Piatti chain of restaurants. The first Primi I ever visited was the one in Menlyn in Pretoria, which was lovely. Set in a quiet part of the shopping centre, it had a great atmosphere, good food and the service was perfect.
I also enjoyed eating (and drinking cocktails) at the one in the Waterfront in Cape Town when we lived there. But I've had bad food or poor service at one or two other branches and gone off Primi a bit. Especially since they stopped serving gnocchi, which was one of the main reasons I visited.
Last night's experience left me with a particularly bad taste in my mouth, not because of the food (which was lovely), but because of the non-existent service. See, according to its website, Primi motivates staff through a rank system with a performance-based structure. Really? You could have fooled me.
We barely saw our waiter the whole night. He seated us and asked how we were. I said I was well - it was my birthday. But he wasn't listening to our answer at all and replied with an "uh huh" before rushing off to watch one of the athletics events that was showing on the TV. That's what he did most of the night, actually. He must be an avid athletics fan, because he was glued to that screen for 95% of the time we were there.
He took our order and served us our bread, but didn't bother bringing us olive oil or balsamic vinegar to eat it with. We tried to catch his eye to request it, but he was engrossed with the athletics.
A different waiter brought our drinks, and later our food. Nobody cleared our bread basket and side plates from the table, so there was hardly any room to eat comfortably. Nobody asked if the food was ok. Nobody asked if we'd like another drink. Nobody came near. One would have sworn we were lepers.
I waited 10 minutes to get our waiter's attention to ask for some parmesan cheese for my pasta. When he brought it, the cheese tasted awful (like it had been moulding in its plastic wrapper). When a different waiter took our plates, I told him the cheese tasted funny. He said he'd look into it. We never saw him again either.
After our meal, we sat for 20 minutes waiting for our waiter or someone else to remember we existed. Nobody offered the dessert menu. No-one asked if there was anything else we'd like.
Finally, after watching the manager laughing and chatting on his mobile phone for about 10 minutes and our waiter watching the athletics, we'd had enough. We managed to catch the manager as he walked past us.
"Seeing we haven't seen our waiter all night, would you mind finding someone to bring us our bill?" I asked.
"Oh... Ok," he said, and shouted for our waiter. No apology, please note.
When the waiter arrived, TSC and I calmly told him that we were unimpressed with his service. It wasn't a busy night (he only had our table and one other), so I said I wondered why he wasn't trying his darndest to make a decent tip by giving us proper attention (I waitressed for years and that's what I would do). He made excuses, saying he had checked on us and that we'd seemed fine. Bull! We paid and left.
On our way out, we spoke to the manager, who was lounging around at the front door again. I mentioned that it might be an idea to get his waiters to wait on tables instead of watching TV. All I got in response was another, "Oh... Ok." Once again, no apology.
Thankfully, I have a lovely husband who didn't let our bad experience spoil my birthday. He took me home and cuddled me and offered me chocolate (smart man). But I really wish I had chosen somewhere else to eat on my special day. And I really don't care if Design Quarter is walking distance from my house, I'm NOT eating at Primi there again.
Right. Rant done. Have a great weekend! I plan to ;-)
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Just deleted the rest of the lines I had written for this post which were thoroughly miserable.
Everything seems to be getting to me at the moment and I'm not sure why. I'm not (according to my mother) very good at managing my stress, so I go through these extreme downs. Blegh. But I'm not going to focus on the crap stuff today.
I'm going to list the things there are to be happy about instead. Because I need to. Please add yours so I can smile for you too.
- Tomorrow night TSC and I are going out for dinner to celebrate my 25th.
- I have proper post (not bills or ads) to open when I wake up.
- I don't have client meetings this afternoon.
- My house is fairly tidy for a change (spent Sunday turning the pantry on its head and cleaning it out to banish the moth infestation we had for some reason. There was curry powder / corn flour / moths / noodles / assorted other stuff all over the kitchen floor). the fact that the mess has gone makes me ever so slightly calmer.
- I watched Ghost Town last night. I wasn't expecting much, but it made me laugh out loud, which was so good.
- My cats have developed the habit of following me around the house whenever I'm home and lying down next to me when I sit down anywhere. There's nothing quite like cat love.
- We were invited to a birthday lunch on Sunday. We can't make it (because we're having my birthday lunch with my family), but it's nice to be invited. I often feel like TSC and I host people all the time and never get invited back. Although there are one or two people (like Phillygirl and Angel) who are super good at organising and inviting and whom I am in complete awe of.
- TSC and I have discovered the Lindt Petits Desserts range. It's ridiculously expensive stuff, but the Mousse au Chocolat in dark chocolate is possibly the best thing I've tasted in this world.
Tell me the good things in your life right now.
Monday, 17 August 2009
What did you feel when you saw that word?
Hope you're all having a good one so far. Mine hasn't been too bad. Irritating clients who don't communicate have been my worst problem so far, which is pretty good going for 11am, I reckon.
My back is killing me. I spent the whole of Saturday digging in the garden and serving TSC's ungrateful bunch of varsity people while they built their concrete boat. Which is actually more of a paddle ski, to be honest. It's quite impressive - they've made a metal frame, stuffed it with polystyrene and coated it with concrete-soaked cloth and some more concrete. They just have to paint it with a few coats of waterproofing paint and it should be ready to race.
I got one no-dig veggie bed done. What a mission! The veggies better be worth it in the end. first you make a frame, which I made with two layers of stacked concrete bricks. Then you put down a layer of newspaper, 5mm thick. Then you put down a layer of hay or lucerne (I had to get all this stuff from a horse-feed place), 10cm thick. Then you put down some organic matter (kitchen scraps, wilted weeds etc). Then you put down a layer of loose straw, 10cm thick, and some more organic matter. Then you water it well. Lastly, you top it with a 20 - 30cm layer of compost and water it again. Now I have to leave it to settle for two weeks before I can plant.
I have said before that patience is not my strong point. I want to plant NOW.
The point of a no-dig bed is that in theory, you never have to dig it (was that maybe a little obvious?). When you harvest your veggies, you just top up the bed with another 10cm compost and plant your next crop (obviously making sure you follow rotation guidelines so you keep your bed healthy).
The thing is... I ran out of bricks after this one bed. So now I need to get more to do the next oh, I dunno, five or six beds. Yes, five or six more of these back-breaking expensive bloody beds.
Like I said, the veggies better be worth it.
My current veggies are making me happy though. My peas are divine. There are few things in this world as yummy as a handful of freshly shelled sweet baby peas out the garden. Mmmm. In fact, these sparked my latest salad creation: a bed of sweet, tangy lettuce (not the boring variety) with sliced avocado and strawberries, finely chopped green pepper and fresh baby peas, dried cranberries and a handful of mixed seeds, all tossed in Pomegranite-infused white balsamic vinegar. Yum!
Hmmm... hungry now. Off to make some lunch. One last thing to say...
Friday, 14 August 2009
Luckily the long weekend turned out to be a good break, although sleeping on new beds and lots of driving meant we were both tired at the end of it and felt like we needed a day just to recover.
Contrary to what everyone seemed to think when I mentioned KZN, we were not in Durban or on the coast. My grandparents live in the sleepy town of Howick, which is about an hour and a half's drive away from the sea, in the Natal Midlands.
We spent a lovely day having a braai and picnic with the grandparents on Saturday at Midmar Dam. On Sunday we headed through to The Pavilion for me to make my annual stop at Oh La La and then went down to the beachfront for a bit of a walk.
We went to Mini Town (sadly not as awesome as I remember it being as a kid), ate yummy Milky Lane ice-cream and admired the sand sculptures on the beach before heading back to Howick.
We left at 5.30am on Monday morning and were back in Gauteng before 11am, which gave us time to snooze, chill and then work a bit.
This weekend, our house is being invaded by students so TSC and his team can start their big project - building a concrete boat. Should be interesting!
I also need to get seriously stuck into the garden (am replanting at the front of the house and replacing bits of our watering system at the back) and find a good cake recipe. It's my birthday next week Thursday and I'll need to top last year's chocolate devil's food cake with marshmallow frosting ;-)
Right now, I'm off to catch up on some blog reading. Have a great Friday!
Thursday, 6 August 2009
That means I have to answer phones. I have total phone phobia, so I am not enjoying it. But I can deal with it all - the cold, the phones, the fact that I spent all my free time yesterday helping TSC with varsity work and even the morons on the raod this morning - because tomorrow afternoon we leave for KwaZulu-Natal!
I want to see my grandparents, drink copious cups of tea in their cosy lounge, talk about plants with Lilly, visit a few favourite spots at the Pavilion shopping centre (it's tragic that I still know the shops better in Durban and Cape Town than in Joburg), not check my email, spend time with TSC not doing chores or varsity / work stuff and generally enjoy the fact that we have a bit of a break.
I. CANNOT. WAIT.
Which does unfortunately make the day seem slower. I'm sure it should be home time by now?
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
- He is an old-school man's man. No beauty products or pink shirts for him. He owns one mauve shirt and makes sure that everyone he sees when he wears it gets told, "my wife picked this shirt out".
- He is conservative to the point that it's a little odd. His catch-phrase is "I am the only normal one in this family" and he raises his eyebrows at everything from ankle bracelets to any nail polish colour that isn't red or clear. But...
- He owns a head-turning bright red 1996 Porsche that you can hear from a block away. The family calls it The Beast.
- He is passionate about cars (he's a mechanical engineer) and could author books on the subject. He knows the history of car companies, the latest models and specs and everything there is to know about engines, tyres and anything else automotive. He instilled an appreciation of beautiful motor cars in my brother and I, and taught me to love Formula One.
- He is a walking encyclopaedia of general knowledge. And it's all because he loves to ask questions and to learn. He will never pretend to understand something if he doesn't - he'll just find out about it right away so that he can understand. Although he would have liked me to be a chartered accountant and not a journo, I truly believe it's an inherited sense of curiousity I have from him that makes me love journalism so much.
- He pretends he hates cats. But when he thinks nobody is looking, he'll lapse into baby-talk and get all gooey with them.
- He is incredibly and supremely generous. Not in the same way as my mom, who is drawn to any underdog or charity case, but to those he holds dear. He will do anything for my mom, his dad and us kids. And those we love. So TSC, Lilly, my mom's mom and even my not-his-cup-of-tea cousins, aunts and uncles benefit from his family generosity.
- He can make the hard decisions. That's what makes him a good business leader. He believes in efficiency, economy and perseverence. He was hired by his current company to cut out the wastage, optimise productivity and generally stop all the nonsense that was going on (misuse of company assets and so on). It's a tough job that means he's not always popular, but he always gets the job done.
- Aside from his one extravagance (the Porsche. He wanted one from the time he was a mini motor-head kidlet and bought this rare one as an investment. Driving it is his weekend treat), he doesn't believe in excess. He has done well for himself, but he can't see the point of flashy watches, flying first class or other showy status symbols. He is as down to earth as ever, and prefers to spend money looking after those he loves rather than splashing out on himself. He also lets my mom channel money into her charity projects. It's awesome and very unusual, IMO.
- I have inherited his music taste. Well, most of it (not so much Cat Stevens). I'm not sure whether that's good or bad, but thanks to my dad, I love music from the 50s and 60s. Simon & Garfunkel, Herman and the Hermits, The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, The Platterers... I love it!
- He speaks well and taught me to love words and language. My mom is the reader; my dad is the speaker. He does "off the cuff" well, and I'm lucky to have that talent too (I think, at least).
- He has mellowed over the years. While my dad has the temper of a tiger (something I also got from him), he has turned into a teddy bear with us most of the time. He phones me a few times a week to check up on me and TSC ("just wanted to find out how you and your man are" is how these conversations inevitably start) and relishes the chance to spend time with us. He buys my mom flowers every Thursday without fail (did I mention he's big on routine?) and invites us over practically every weekend. The only time I see him lose his temper these days is when my brother damages his car (happens every few months or so). He is such a sweetheart.
He doesn't read my blog (for someone who's a total technology fan and has most IT gadgets, he still doesn't "get" blogging), but if he did, I'd tell him:
Love you, dad. You're my hero ;-)
Added at 6:11pm: Just discovered an old friend of mine is now blogging. Yay! Visit her at http://uttermutters.blogspot.com/. She's awesome.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
- TSC has just found out that he has to wear glasses. The evil eye doctor *makes spitting sound* says the eye op to remove the pterygium was successful but too late - the eye won't get any better than its current blurriness. TSC is quitebummed. I can just picture how many pairs of glasses are going to be sat on, but I think he'll look hot with glasses. Hell, I think he looks hot in anything. Or nothing. Hehehe... Shame, poor man still thinks of all glasses as those worn by Steve Urkel. I'm thinking more Jude Law, actually. Mmmm... So going glasses shopping with him next week!
- Work is still weird. We had another resignation yesterday, only according to Boss it wasn't a resignation. Colleague has apparently taken a sabbatical and will return in a few months. I somehow don't think so (having spoken to her about it). We are down to three again - me, Roo and Boss. *sigh* It's hard to keep saying goodbye to people I really like.
- I am trying to cheer myself up by the thought of the approaching long weekend (it's a public / bank holiday this Mon). We are off to KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) to visit my grandparents and fetch the trailer they are giving us (so cool of them). I CANNOT wait to be off the Gauteng roads. Useless Joburg drivers are getting to me more than usual. I feel my bloof pressure rising when I get in the car. Also, a big part of my heart still lives in KZN and I love going back there, especially to spend time with my darling granddad and Lilly.
- I can tell when my life is feeling all over the show because I suddenly can't let my house that be that way. I get these sudden "must tidy; must organise" urges. Last night I turned my bedroom upside-down, moving furniture around and repacking thinsg to try to make "more space" (ridiculous, seeing our bedroom is huge) and "less clutter" (not so ridiculous - I tend to pile things without homes in random spots around the house. There's one in the corner of the kitchen counter, one on my bedside table, and one on top of the gas heater unit).
- You'll probably think this is sad, but I can't wait to prune my roses today! This is my incentive to finish all my work early so I can have time to do my gardening. I have neglected my plants throughout winter because I've been so busy and it's just so flipping cold outside, but Lilly taught me how to prune while she was here and I can't wait to practice this new skill. Am also busy trying to figure out my plan for my veggie garden (I have decided my haphazard approach of planting things randomly wherever I feel like it at any given time unfortunately doesn't work as well as I'd hoped). I want to set out no-dig beds, which is a major mission, and make sure I follow good rotation rules so that I don't end up with unhealthy, bug-infested soil.
- My freelance work is still scaring me. I get a tight feeling in my chest when I think of it. I think it's mainly because I'm worried that I will forget about an assignment and just not turn in the work when it's due. This is unlikely, as I obsess about it well into the wee hours of the morning. Forgetting is not a problem. I guess I also worry that clients won't be impressed with the work I've done. *sigh* Enough of that, though... making myself nauseous!
- I am so loving the DairyBelle kids' range of smooth low-fat yoghurts! I just had the cherry lollipop flavour and it's really yummy, even in the cold (when I usually go off yoghurt. And most things healthy).
- It's already 11.25am and I am nowhere with my work for today, so if I want to prune, I must stop procrastinating and end this post. Adieu.
Monday, 3 August 2009
Curiouser and curiouser as Alice would say.
On a nicer note, the weekend was mostly great. I went to a 40th birthday party on Sat with the dress code "black tie or fancy dress". No theme, just that.
Am I the only one confused by that? Generally if it's dress-up, it's a theme. Like mafia. Or Pirates of the Caribbean. Or Medieval. But no, for this one, we had licence to dress up like clowns or queens... whatever our preference.
And normally I LOVE dress-up. I tend to go a bit over the top, actually. But I was nervous going on my own (TSC being away on men's camp), because I knew there would be hardly anyone my age and that I wouldn't know anyone other than the birthday boy and his fiance. I decided to go black tie with a feathered mask just in case no-one else was in costume.
It turned out I needn't have worried - their were scores of people dressed up (from the host dressed as Elvis to a Zorro, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, pirates, convicts and a Cleopatra) and loads in black tie, so I would have been fine either way.
I had also been to a girls' tea party that afternoon (not really my thing, but turned out to be good fun) and a friend who is studying make-up did mine for the evening. Wow! I didn't know I could look like that! It seriously helped me to walk into a room full of strangers knowing I looked my best.
Pity I don't have any photos, but that is typical of me. I prefer being behind the lens rather than in front, so I have pictures of everyone else at the party (even random folks I didn't actually meet), just not of me ;-)
So just take my word that I looked fabulous, k?
After my last post, where I just happened to mention Bosnia, I have been asked to write about our family trip there in 2006. My laptop with all my photos on it was stolen shortly afterwards, so I'll have to see if I can get some pics from my parents, but I'll try to post about that this week.
In the mean time, have a good Monday, folks.