Monday, November 24, 2014

the best of times, the worst of times

It's a BIG month of affirmation and freedom for husband and I.

I'm working like a maniac and being appreciated and affirmed daily for the job(s!) I'm doing.

Husband is hooking new clients, building relationships and laying the foundation for a new future for his company.

I had that marvelous girls weekend ....

.... he's still recovering from a wild bachelor weekend ...

I had an exhilarating, exhausting, misty, death-defying, amazing walk up Table Mountain to celebrate a special friend's 40th yesterday ...

... and we've still got The Wedding to look forward to this Saturday. The best of times!

But at the same time ... Frieda's had her tonsils out and it's been a rough week for her the poor, stoic, darling.

The op was last Tuesday and she's still in so much pain ... hardly talking at all and writing the most heart-breakingly sweet notes.

Twelve words to tell me the puppy was looking at her yoghurt. The child clearly misses communicating.
She's missing school, and her friends, and jumping on the trampoline - but she's also been a total hero; colouring next to me while I work, playing games on the tablet, watching lots of crap, thinking, dreaming, cuddling with the cats. She's really handled it so well, but it's not been fun.
The worst of times.

It is weird that we should all be having these vastly different life experiences right now, but it's even weirder that we're able to - that the bonds of parent and child have stretched just that much that we can be experiencing different things, while still being so close together.

With babies and young kids when they're miserable, you're miserable. When they're not sleeping, you're not sleeping. The boundaries between your experience and theirs are virtually non-existent. Now slowly we're able to live our own lives, parallel but individual.

Interesting times.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

the very best of friends (vol 4)

We've a best friend, someone we've loved dearly for years (he and husband have been friends since they were 7!).

This guy is special. He was one of these.
One highly eligible bachelor.

But only for another week or so.

There will be a wedding next weekend. One of those where we'll dance with the lightest of feet and the happiest of hearts.

A wedding for all the right reasons - for love, for friendship, for celebrating life - a wedding to bind two people together, and strengthen the ties which connect us all.

But first there was an idyllic beach weekend for the girls, and this weekend there's a river adventure for the boys, and then next weekend, next weekend we dance.

*First pic mine, rest by friends. Gotta love Instagram filters right?

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

halloween grinch

I just ... don't really like Halloween.

Most of my reasons place me firmly in the 'old fart' camp, but strangely I'm okay with that.

1. Really? Since when is Halloween a thing?
It wasn't when I was a kid, or even a young adult, or even a not-so-young adult, but gradually the long arm of consumerism has elevated 31 Oct up out of the calendar and into a place in which money must be spent and effort made and something celebrated.
Oh no wait, nothing gets celebrated, except by the manufacturers of candy and fake blood - they're having a lovely time.

2. The candy is gross.
I'm not a sugar nazi. I have a firm suspicion that my youngest (she of the remarkably sweet tooth of course) should probably not eat too much of it, I suspect it makes her bonkers, but I'm not proactive enough to try and ban it and I think I have a pretty standard policy on sugar consumption (ie not enough to ruin dinner and/or make you puke), but I don't like shit sweets.
And because everyone's compelled to buy so much of it to hand out on Halloween, there's usually a lot of shit, fake, disgusting plastic-masquerading-as-candy candy.

3. Scary is not cool.
We live in a country, nay a WORLD that is completely and utterly terrifying on a daily basis. Scary lost its cool in my book a long time ago. Round about when I become an old fart probably.
Ditto: wounds, blood, violent deaths, embracing the dark side, jokes about Ebola, weaponry of any kind.

4. Entitlement is unattractive.
Already our kids, all of our kids, even the really nice ones, are becoming painful about expecting Christmas presents, birthday parties, chocolate at Easter and cash from the Tooth Fairy. Now we're encouraging them to run around with buckets demanding sweets from people not even related to them or obliged to put out because of a complex social code of reciprocal present-giving.

5. It blows.
The wind that is. Late October in Cape Town is howling, throbbing, blasting South-Easter season. An invasive and spiteful wind that chills you to the bone, even when the sun shines, that blows grit into all your exposed orifices (and some that aren't), that ruins your hair and your picnic and your mood.
It always blows on Halloween. Really not a good time to be outside.

HOWEVER, the good news is: there is wine. Plenty of it.

And if you're lucky there are friends who aren't old farts and arrange fun and age-appropriate Halloween events in which you and your children can participate.
Friends who make snacks, and provide safe and welcoming environments out of the wind in which to eat those snacks, and drink that wine, while the sugar-fueled children run amok in the night.

My grinchiness abated .... did a slight encore to accompany my hangover the next morning, and then went back into hibernation until next year.

The Littlest Jaguar and SHOUTY MUM, appropriately wind-swept.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

more about the phone

To reiterate, I'm not one of those Mother Grundies who goes on about the whole phone = zombie thing.
I mean, a second related post in one week doesn't count as going ON does it?

In fact, I loved this meme my sister-in-law posted recently ...

... let's keep some perspective okay?

However, I am more consciously noting in public how many people are busy with their phones. Just noting mind you, not judging.

And maybe I'm being more conscious about pulling out my phone as my default response when waiting, or bored, or when hanging out with friends.

I went partying last Friday night and consciously only took my phone out my bag twice. The first time was to send husband this message:

'Have ditched my lift home. Am officially With The Band. Don't wait up.'

The second was to check his response. It was:

'Rock on.'

This is why I love that man.

I don't have any photos of the evening, no Facebook check-ins or updates, I may even one day (gasp) not remember the evening at all ... but I danced for 4 hours and had some hilarious conversations, face to face.

And only 2 people bumped me on the dance floor because they were texting while dancing ... not judging, just saying.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

watch this space

The last watch I owned I was given for my 15th birthday. I wish I still had it. I think the plastic strap eventually perished and snapped after languishing in a drawer for many years.

I'm not a watch-wearer.

Until now.

This morning I bought a watch (the simplest one I could find from the second shop I went into - I'm not a watch-connoisseur).

My reasoning is two-fold:

1. My time management sucks.
2. I'm trying to escape the tyranny of my phone.

We've all seen the campaigns and memes and photo essays about us all becoming zombies, staring at our phones instead of interacting with our fellow human beings etc etc. I don't really buy that too much yet (but we'll talk again when my kids have phones...), and I deeply appreciate how much more flexible my life and my time has become since I'm able to get emails on my phone etc.
When I see someone with their nose in (on?) their phone I like to think they're reading an interesting article, firming up plans to get together with their best friends, rearranging ballet classes so they can have more time with their kids, or checking the time.

Because that's what I'm doing 70% of the times I look at my phone. Checking to see just how late I am.

And, to be completely anal, I've timed myself - to find my phone in my bag, turn it the right way round, wake it up, check the time, turn it 'off' and put it back takes at least 8 seconds. Doesn't sound like a lot of time but it's about 8 times faster to just glance at my wrist.
And then I'm not that guy, the one staring at her phone while the children plead 'Muuuuuuum' and shoppers judgingly veer around us.

So I'll give this watch thing a go.

I probably won't be any more punctual, and I'm sure to get eczema under the strap just like I did 24 years ago, but let's see ....

Monday, October 27, 2014

bright lights, big city

My children have a far, far more urban childhood than I had, but we still don't really do a lot of city-specific outings with them.
They hardly ever go to a mall, virtually never shop with me and we don't do a lot of movies and restaurants and the like.
This isn't so much a big lifestyle decision as a reflection of my lack of enthusiasm for malls and shopping, husband's near agoraphobia in crowds, and a general preference for being outdoors.

So Saturday morning at the V&A Waterfront was a big thrill for the girls. And for me actually.

I would LOVE to travel with them at the moment, proper international travel I mean. We're done with nappies and prams and daytime naps and all that jazz, we're into walking and trying new things and people watching and sight-seeing - it feels like such a good stage for adventuring.

But for now we'll have to make do with being tourists in our own town ...

... sniff-testing every single sample at the Body Shop ...

... getting street 'tattoos'...

... and generally being wowed by it all.

It's a pretty good city to be a tourist in after all!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

how to torment your husband

The back gate is slamming in the wind.

It's after dark and there needn't be any conversation about who is to go out and secure it. Husband knows my fear.

But yet he's stalling, as the gate crashes closed over, and over. And over.

So it starts going something like this ...

Gate: SLAM
Me, on couch next to husband: 'Slam.'
Gate: SLAM
Me: 'Slam.'
Gate: SLAM
Me: 'Slam.'
Gate: SLAM
Me: 'Slam.'
Gate: SLAM
Me: 'Slam.'
Gate: SLAM
Me: 'Slam.'
Gate: SLAM
Me: 'Slam.'
Gate: SLAM
Me: 'Slam.'
Gate: SLAM
Me: 'Slam.'

This may be how domestic violence happens.

Luckily not in our household.

Friday, October 24, 2014

into the weekend ....

Midday Friday.

I've banged out 4 hours work without shifting in my seat once (that's a lie, I've gotten up to let at least 35 bull terriers and 27 cats in and out), and now I'm done.

I want to pack all these people in my computer away until Monday. I've done caring for them, organising them, resizing and reframing for them. I've put my thing down, flipped it, reversed it and now I'm outta here.

I turn around at look at my home. It desperately needs hoovering (Albert's still in Malawi!), decluttering. I need fresh flowers, clean laundry and maybe (but who am I kidding here), fewer bullie nose smears on the sliding doors.
Home needs some attention, some love, and it reciprocates so nicely if I give it some, making us all feel welcome and at peace.

It'll be a full weekend - 3 birthday celebrations! - a night out tonight, an art party tomorrow and a family lunch on Sunday, and I'm so looking forward to it.

Time with real people, talking in real life, looking into each others eyes. I need that after a week of screens, screens, screens.

Over and out.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


As Husband pulled into the garage I was waiting, dog leads in my hand.

'The girls have eaten, they need to get in the bath and I need to take the dogs for a walk.'

It had been a long day at home - Frieda has tonsillitis and I have SO MUCH work.

My multi-tasking skills are pretty damn hot, but trying to code HTML while mediating sibling squabbles and work through the rider for South Africa's most famous drag queen proved just a little too diverse for me yesterday ....

The dogs and I set off at a fast trot. It was an unusually still evening and I enjoyed the neighbourhood sounds floating past us - ice tinkling in sundowners, baths running, dinners cooking - I enjoyed not being part of any of that (even the drinks!), moving quickly through the cool air.

Not being encumbered with small people we walked faster and further than usual, finding ourselves in streets and cul-de-sacs I'd not walked through before, and being later than the usual dog-walking set, we were alone.

Or so I thought.


An owl, somewhere close.

I slowed and scanned around the growing dusk, the trees and bushes strangely in sharper relief as the light faded.

Hu - hoooo.

Of course he'd spotted us before we saw him. A-perch a branch only just above my head we stared at each other for a long while, totally motionless and relaxed, then I left him to his evening hunting and walked on.

It was getting darker as we headed home. The shady pathways we'd come on felt closer and more mysterious now, the dogs stayed close, all of us breathing hard.
Those with some sense kept their mouths closed as the clouds of spring midges gathered. The dogs sneezed and coughed.

Approaching home I could see darkness in the upstairs windows, the girls weren't in the bath yet. Half an hour before that would have infuriated me, now it was totally fine.

We burst in the door in a gust of crisp air and renewed good humour, and smothered them in hugs and laughter.

A necessary walk. Thank you owl. Thank you dogs.

*African Eagle Owl pic from flickr*

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

colour me sunday

We did some gardening and Frieda made a nest on the lawn with some branches.

Stella preferred the 'less scratchy' stoep, and made up her own bed there.

I finally (nearly) completed my DIY project - painting some of the cubbies in this bookshelf different colours.
I also succumbed to that incredibly cheesy, but fun, decor thing of colour coordinating the books (well, trying to - I need more blue books!). 

Chopping veggies for stir-fry in the late afternoon sun.

A gentle, colourful Sunday was just what we needed.