Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Random outpouring of my thoughts

How is it that stuff all falls apart at once?

And no, I'm not moaning about my family and work stuff this time. I mean actual things, like our bathroom towel rail that's literally fallen to pieces this month (the various bits are lying on the bathroom floor and not even our best glue will keep them together anymore). And the lid of our kitchen pot, which I've had since varsity. It fits both my frying pan and my big cooking pot, but the handle has now disintegrated, so it will have to be replaced. We've also had a whole bunch of drinking glasses and mugs give up the ghost this month, as well as my old hairdrier that TSC uses to start the fire quickly when we braai (ok, that last one didn't really just stop working - he left it outside in the rain. Chop). My laptop is definitely on its way out and takes almost 10 minutes to open or close a window and I see that the guest room duvet cover has also come completely undone at the seams (which thankfully I can fix quite easily).

In literature there's a term known as "pathetic fallacy", which basically means ascribing human emotions to inanimate objects or nature (for example, "the menacing clouds" or the "friendly sunflowers"). It's like how, in movies or novels, bad things always happen on dark and stormy nights. The weather and nature seem to signify the human experience.

Well, right now I feel like my house and everything in it signifies my state of mind... falling apart and all over the show!

See, this is the trouble with working at home, alone - too much time for navel gazing and pseudo-philosophical nonsensical thinking. Thankfully, the exterior world barges in rudely at times. Yesterday, this happened in the form of a surprise visit from Coach and a friend of his.

The two lucky boys are leaving on Friday for four and half months of seeing the USA. They're going to camp out in Yellowstone Park and the Grand Canyon, see the Mardis Gras in St. Louis, visit Boston, New York and Miami and basically have the holiday of a lifetime as they make their way around the country.

Can anyone say ever-so-slightly-envious?

I am desperate to travel. In fact, ever since our names were signed on the dotted line and the house became our house (just over two years ago), I have had itchy feet. Putting down roots in Joburg was a big step for me and it still scares me sometimes. Don't get me wrong - I love, love, LOVE our house, but I also dream of seeing the world and sometimes just winging it for a bit.

I'd love to see Greece, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Kenya, Vietnam... everywhere, pretty much.

I've been fortunate to travel quite a bit so far (USA, Bosnia, Croatia, France, England, Ireland, Australia, Mauritius, some of the Caribbean islands and Zanzibar) and I've loved all the places I've been. But I was very young when I visited some of them and would like to travel more as an adult and with TSC to discover things together.

It's not possible to go overseas now. We just can't afford it. But we have friends going to Namibia this year who've offered us free accommodation and another friend in Zimbabwe who's setting up his own bush camp. If time and finances allow it, maybe we'll be able to take one of them up on the offer and see a bit of our own exotic and beautiful continent.

But we'll see. Who knows what will happen? Not me, that's for sure. Speaking of which...

TSC has a job interview tomorrow. If you're that way inclined, please keep him in your prayers.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Recently discovered

A few things I've recently discovered and am enjoying...

  • Peanut butter and chocolate bars from Tart at the Leaping Frog centre. It's like a piece of heaven in your mouth. Mmmmmm. Everything here is delicious though. It's hard to choose!
  • Homemade iced tea. I use the Woolworths' Fruit Infusions Apple, Cranberry and Cinnamon Tea, which is divine hot or cold with a little bit of honey.
  • WhatsApp. Yay for free messaging!
  • The new, bigger-sized Bostik Clear glue (50ml instead of 25ml). I go through tubes of this stuff at a rate of knots with all the cards and crafts I make, so it's lovely to have it available in a tube that lasts a little longer!
  • My 400 thread count duvet and pillow covers from Woolies. It's such a luxury to have these as they are really ridiculously expensive, but I asked for and then saved up Woolworths vouchers from my birthday last year through till Christmas to get them because we'd had our tired old bed set since we were married four years ago and they're a little threadbare. The new ones are beautiful and amazingly soft and comfy. I'm planning on asking for Woolworths vouchers again this birthday so I can get another set - I get so miserable when the nice set goes into the wash and I have to put the old ones on again. I've become spoiled ;-)
  • Daphne's Dream by Plascon. The new colour of our interior walls downstairs. Pics will follow once we've finished replacing the skirtings and hanging our frames.
  • My old CDs. I'm going through them to see what's worth keeping and what I'll be chucking. On the keep list so far: Delirious?; Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen and Plush. On the chuck list... I'm not even going there ;-)

  • Jolly Orange fragrance oil from the Body Shop. Such a happy smell and I just love the name!
What have you discovered recently?

Friday, 18 February 2011


How much can happen in one week? Seriously. This feels like a year.

Just found out one of my best friends is moving to Cape Town :-( We've been friends for seven years and she was one of my bridesmaids. Since then she's lived in Kenya, the UK and USA, and our friendship has always survived. I'm sure it will survive this too, but it has been so lovely having her close by and seeing so much of her over the past few years. I will miss our long chats over tea and our occasional shopping trips to craft markets or China Mall.


Thanks to everyone who let me know that my blog is giving issues when you try to comment. If I were more technically inclined, I might know of a way to fix that. Alas, I'm pretty useless in that regard. Any ideas?

Have a good weekend, all.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The upside of down times

It hasn't been a great week for me or my kin. But when life is giving me lemons, I always realise again how blessed I am with such an amazing support system.

My dad called on his way home from work yesterday, having read my blog post, and we had a lengthy, helpful chat. Shortly after that, my mom phoned too and we also talked for ages about some of the stuff. My parents both soldier on together and give me the courage to follow in their footsteps.

My awesome TSC came home from varsity yesterday evening and, after supper, ran me a hot bath, complete with candles and bubbles, and then let me watch Clean House so I could turn my brain off for a bit before cuddling me to sleep.

My awesome blog buddies left sympathetic or encouraging comments on yesterday's miserable post and even the person I partner with for some of my work (mentioned yesterday) called to find out if I was okay, as I'd sounded down on the phone. She also sent an email outlining the boundaries of our business relationship, which at least gives me something solid to work from. Or discuss if needed. It's a solid relationship and I'm glad to have it.

Yes, I'm not in the happiest place right now, but there are people who are far worse off and many who have survived much harder situations. I am so fortunate that I have friends and family who are ready to battle through stuff with me, even if I sometimes can't fill them in on the details.

Of course I'm stressed about the family stuff, but it's far more stressful for certain other people involved than for me. And of course I'm bleak about losing my biggest retainer client, but I'll survive. Worse things could happen. It's a good reason to look for more of the kind of work I want to do anyway. And yes, things may be slightly awkward with some of the people I work with, but such is life. Being a grown up means having to face up to the awkward situations and try to move past them. It sucks, but it's well worth it. I've seen that time and again.

I'm always hugely relieved that I can trust in my God that He won't load me beyond what I can bear. I know many of you don't believe or believe in something / someone different to me, but my faith gives me enough grace to get through days I couldn't cope with on my own and I treasure it, whatever your thoughts are on the subject.

This post is probably quite twee, so I'm sorry for that. For someone who works with words, I find it difficult to adequately express strong emotion in mere sentences. Frantic arm gestures and OTT facial expressions are a little easier, if somewhat less elegant.

So picture it if you will... I'm somewhere between crying and smiling, between flapping my arms in despair and lifting my hands in prayerful gratitude. It's all a bit of a mess, really. But wonderful things can come out of a mess. Just ask any Jackson Pollock fan.

Thankfully, for all my airy fairy meandering blog posts (which I find incredibly helpful, so they will continue, I'm afraid), I'm actually fairly practical. I'm off now to hit my list of possible avenues for new work, which will give me something to focus on, as well as trying my hand at a type of copy writing I haven't done before (a small job that came in yesterday). Yay for hard work - it is a brilliant treatment, I find.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Today has not been a good one

Yesterday at lunch I got more news on the family stuff. I can't talk about it here. But thinking about it is like being kicked in the stomach. It breaks my heart. But I'll keep praying about it and trusting that things will be fine.

Then today I got the news that my biggest retainer client has decided not to renew my contract, despite the fact that he previously had said he would. This company pays slightly more than 50% of my monthly salary, so it's a biggie.

It's not the end of the world, but it's not a fun place to be either. Tomorrow I'll start looking for more work.

Also, I got some recommendations from another client, but things got complicated. See, i partner with someone else on this account. I do the PR writing and she oversees the media liaison, so I work under her banner. Then I got hired to ghost write this client's book and do her web copy, which my partner was ok with and it all got done just fine. But now, the client wants to recommend my copywriting to some of her clients and my partner wants it to be under her banner. To me, this has nothing to do with media relations - it's ad hoc brochure copy and possible web writing - so I don't think it should be under her name.

*sigh* Today's a pity party day.

Excuse me till tomorrow. I'll try some smiles then, I promise.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Assorted updates

Hello people. Happy Valentine's Day.

How do you feel about V Day, out of interest? I have mixed feelings. I love the idea of a day to celebrate love, spoil TSC and eat chocolate. But I hate the plastic roses and restaurants filled with smug couples and drunk singles offering exhorbitant V Day set menus.

It's a day that makes some people go totally overboard with cheesy rhyming Hallmark cards and stuffed toys, while others go overboard in the opposite direction with the whole I-hate-V-day-because-it's-a-commercialised-marketing-ploy-to-pressurise-us-into-buying-things-covered-in-red-hearts-and-remind-us-that-Hollywood-love-is-a-lie rants.

I'm somewhere in between.

I flat out refuse to go to out for dinner on V Day (have you ever seen how many couples end up in huge fights in restaurants on V Day?) and I won't let TSC buy me the ridiculously priced red roses (I'd rather have sunflowers). And I love it when the day falls on a week night so that there's not as much fuss about it.

But we do spoil each other a bit because it's fun. I woke TSC up this morning with bodem coffee and breakfast in bed, along with some little presents and a homemade card, and he made me a card and earned big brownie points with a gift voucher for me from Rain.

This evening we'll enjoy a candlelit dinner of Woolies readymade yummies on our veranda with a bottle of bubbly so there's no cooking or cleaning.

For me, that's perfection.

After such a hectic week and weekend, it's nice to have a chilled night at home planned. It's been such fun seeing friends, meeting new people, hosting big dinner parties, doing supper club and catching up with people we haven't seen in years over the past few days, but now I'm quite peopled out for a bit.

We've also been exercising hard. We did a killer V-core class at gym on Thurs and I had an equally hectic aqua step class on Fri (so much fun though!). By the time we woke up on Saturday morning, I was painfully stiff. But we headed off to a special Battle of the Sexes training event where we got pushed through an obstacle course, running drills, sit-up and push-up events and more. I was so glad to have a Pilates class yesterday just to stretch all my poor exhausted muscles. Still stiff today though! But it feels good (the exception being my pathetic feet, which are in spasm again. Joy).

In other news, I have to admit that I have become a convert. From hating my BlackBerry to embracing the joys of BBM, whatsapp and not having to rush home to check my work emails, I am convinced, especially since I've managed to set up the predictive text on my phone. Now all I miss about my ancient Nokia is the one-handed typing.

What's new in your world?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Toll woes - a rant

For those of you not living in Gauteng, let me explain that we're about to get all our freeways tolled in this tiny little economic hub of a province (they'll have to change that name - payways instead of freeways, maybe?).

If I visit my folks in Pretoria during a weekday from June when this comes into play, a round trip will cost me more than R50 just in toll fees! For all you lucky Jozi dwellers, check out this toll calculator to find out how much your trips will cost you.

I don't have a problem with tolling our roads if it's going to mean they're kept in great condition. But if you live in Joburg, you'll know that it's difficult to get from point A to point B without using the freeway at some point. It's a big city that's really spread out. And at an estimated cost of 56c per kilometre, the costs will add up very quickly for residents of the province. This is going to cost courier companies a fortune, and, in fact, impact on the price of all goods that travel by road (which is most of them in SA, seeing our railway system is currently really poor).

Back roads, which are already pothole ridden, will worsen as people try to avoid the highway tolls. We'll also have to pay for the special e-tag or number plates for our vehicles, which is another cost to consider.

I know this has all been said before, but it hadn't really hit home for me until I used the toll calculator and saw how much it's actually going to affect me. Seriously considering signing the petition against the current proposed costs.

What are your thoughts?

Also, just so you know, Blogger is not letting me comment on any blogs. Keeps telling me it's a "bad request" when I submit in the comment form. So, Phillygirl, Cam etc... I am reading, but can't comment.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Pic shot at Keimoes, Northern Cape.

Stuff is going on with my family. Stuff that won't get blogged about here, because it's not my stuff to discuss. But it made me think.

And so I wrote a very emo post reflecting on our journey as a family. And then deleted it. Instead I leave you with a reflection in picture form.

And a link to the Kalahari Ads Valentine's competition - place a free ad and stand to win your V-Day wish. Sounds pretty awesome to me.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Some lists

Excuses for last week's lack of blogging (a quick summary tour):
  • Got sick and spent three days between bed and couch with a box of tissues.
  • Painted the house (finished at 2.30am on Tuesday morning).
  • Started operation clean-up after the epic painting mission.
  • Spent a night in Pretoria to celebrate my mom's birthday with her and the family at the most awesome restaurant - Hemingways (best creme brulee I've ever had in Gauteng).
  • Worked on publicity for my client's big event happening this Wednesday.
  • Hosted groups of people at our place on two nights of the week (one included our new neighbours, which was cool).
  • Hung lots of pictures on the newly painted walls.
  • Washed all the curtains downstairs (five sets) and rehung them. Fun times.

Things I've wanted to blog about:
  • Seeing Black Swan (what a strange film!).
  • The fact that TSC turned down the dodgey job offer I was worried he would accept.
  • How I was surprised by wonderful customer service at a Wimpy (of all places) and enraged (but unsurprised) by poor customer service at a Makro.
  • The fact that I have Ella back (my car). She's perfect after her visit to the panel-beaters, who fixed the front bumper that someone had kindly reversed into (and had then not bothered to leave their details, of course).
  • How much I hate paying my insurance excess for someone else dinging my car.
  • The fact that some Joburg twit managed to put a tiny dent into the rubber bumper (didn't know you got such a thing) of the rental we were driving while Ella was away and how I'm now worried I'll have to pay for that too. Two accidents where I wasn't even present that I must fund!
  • How the world seems to spin faster every year.
  • How I should never have made it a New Year's Resolution to blog more.

Awesome highlights from this weekend:
  • Having some neighbours over on Friday evening for a braai and chatting till 1am.
  • Seeing some lovely girlfriends for a champagne breakfast on Saturday morning and being able to have conversations both silly and serious in the space of a few minutes.
  • Finally figuring out (thanks to some help from Phillygirl and Arkwife) how to work my BlackBerry properly.
  • A really good church service last night that made me think (about life and death. Our pastor, who has been battling cancer, handed out a template for a will and told us to make sure we're not caught dead (pun intended, I'm sure) without having a will, funeral arrangements and letters for our loved ones prepared. It may sound morbid, but it was all done with a great sense of humour and lots of thought-provoking quotes).

Decisions that have to be made:
  • Do I agree to become a member of the board of trustees of our residential complex (they keep asking and I keep putting it off)?
  • Should TSC study full-time this year? Should he study part-time and keep looking for a job? Should he study and work for free just to gain some relevant experience?
  • Do I take up an interesting offer for some work that came through, even if it's something I've never done before and potentially quite risky?
  • What on earth can I do for TSC for Valentine's Day that isn't cliche and doesn't cost much, seeing we just spent our extra cash on painting our house?
And that, dear readers, is me summed up in bullet point lists. Here are some pics, as promised...

Loved this flower... shot at Augrabies.

The view and our breakfast at The Overlook in Keimoes, where we spent our fourth wedding anniversary on 16 Dec.

My two gorgeous nephews at my SIL's wedding on 18 Dec - both sitting still for a change!