Tuesday, September 30, 2008

eid al-fitr

While spending a happy hour or two making falafel today (I just can't seem to stop - more about that soon), I thought about all the other busy cooks across the city, preparing for Eid tomorrow.

We're going to some friends for an Eid pancake breakfast as they prepare for a day of huge eating and family celebrating. Their 4 year old son is very excited as this'll be his first Eid going round to all the neighbours collecting money and sweets. We're taking him some moolah too but if I'm going to give money to a 4 year old I decided to make it as playful as possible.

I really need to expand my origami repertoire, I've been trotting out this shirt for years, but it works particularly well for bank-notes, and is kinda cute too. Eid Mubarak!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I hope he's ok. I keep thinking of him watching what the ANC's been up to and getting more and more despondent.

I really hope this is not the case and that he's at peace, having a whiskey with Graca in the evenings, playing cards, watching BBC crime programmes in front of the heater, having long naps in the Eazi-Boy in the afternoons...

This piece of old struggle graffiti never ceases to warm my heart. It's up on the wall outside Groote Schuur hospital and has been there since the 80's. I wish I knew who put it up then and I'm pleased that it's been respected ever since. No one has tagged it, or added to it, or attempted to paint it out. It sits there to remind us of our history and I'm sure I'm by far not the only person who smiles whenever I drive past it.

Let's hope it stays there for a long time yet, no matter what else may happen in this bizarre nation of ours.

Friday, September 26, 2008

lists of 5: 5 things I loved this week

1. An hour spent happily spending some birthday vouchers at premium art supply store The Deckle Edge.

The rain thundered on the roof, I had nowhere else in the world to be and nothing to do but stock up on gorgeous ribbons and paper and pens... lovely.

2. The arrival of a new friend, a baby boy delivered to two of our best friends safely and soundly on that very same rainy morning (and by god how happy was I to be buying tissue paper rather than having a baby?!).

No pics yet alas but I've been smiling inside all week thinking of his new pink snuffliness and the grand adventure our friends have just embarked on.

3. SA getting a new Minister of Health! At last we chucked Manto, by crook or by hook. Alas she's still around but at least finally there's some hope for the scores of sick & infirm in this country, the state of our health system in general and the hundreds of over-worked and underpaid health workers nationwide. Go Barbara Hogan!

thanks Zapiro for helping us laugh through our tears!

4. Watching my girlie socialise with her peers, this week they happened to all be boys. And especially watching her interact with the children of friends I've known since I was a child. 

And so the wheel turns...

5. Ummm... I forget what number 5 is. Shit. Oh wait, it could be the gourmet pizza I've just ordered to abate a pizza craving which has raged within me all week.

Yup, I think that's it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

decision made!

I mean, it's not like I didn't know which was the right one all along. I just needed to a) make very very sure and b) work out exactly how to play it.

I know, I know, I'm very fortunate to have the luxury of choice about going back to work and under what circumstances. I've watched so many friends with children agonise over career decisions and know as many who didn't have any choice in when/how to go back to work.

I've also read so much about the various debates around working versus or as well as motherhood and all I can say on that is God us chicks give ourselves a hard time! I mean really, I've read articles about stay-at-home mums by working women which have left me breathless by the brutality of their opinions and similarly, I've read judgements by stay-at-home mums against working mums which have chilled me to the bone. Seriously girls, is this what the feminist revolution has taught us?

My mother, a very very wise woman who has achieved great notoriety in her career as well as been an amazing and attentive mother, always says that the best thing you can do for your children is to be happy. And this is the philosophy I'm determined to live by.

Having said all of that..... the job I've decided not to go for would have been, pre-baby, a bit of a dream position for me. But, I am sure that the decision not to take it is the best one in the long term, not just for my girl, but also for my own happiness.

And I have every faith another opportunity like this one will materialise when the time is better for me, and.... in the meantime something else has come along! Something maybe not quite as earth-shatteringly glam and exciting, but a nice fun project with nice people and a fun brief which fits into my life much better for the moment. We're still working out the details but I'm hopeful and have made peace that this is the right thing to do.

For now. Hmmmmm.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

the way the cookie crumbles

So our presidency got toppled yesterday. You gotta hate that right?

The whys and wherefores and whodunnits and 'what will become of us nows' are complex and multi-layered and it's not like I don't care (I mean obviously I'm wildly politically minded and spend hours in furious intellectual debate around these issues. Duh.), but for now I reckon there's always someone fiddling while Rome burns and how much more fun is it to be the fiddler than the fireman?

Not having a fiddle handy though, yesterday I baked some awesome cookies...

Cranberry & Orange zzzzzest. Given a resounding 'two thumbs up' by everyone who encountered them.


Just had the last one.


Friday, September 19, 2008

ho hum... more distractions...

I'm just not ready to make a decision yet ok?!

About the job thing that is. I'm giving myself 'til Monday... Anyone who's gestated a baby for 9+ months knows the value in letting things alone to develop and grow by themselves. I have every confidence that as I arb around with my blog and baking cranberry cookies (my plan for tomorrow) the ultimate answer is slowly crystalizing within the muddled depths of my brain, readying to reveal itself to me when the time is right.

In the meantime.... 2 photos I took today:

Those chickens I mentioned (and yes, I wish I was a master photographer and no, I don't really care that I'm not); the kiddiwink loves them and that's all that matters right?

Confession time: the Toy Story money-box is actually mine. I fell deeply and ridiculously in love with Buzz Lightyear back in 1995 and a friend bought this for me on a visit to Disney Land. 2 things about Buzz Lightyear; 1) I still refuse to believe it's not George Clooney who does his voice. I mean, goddamn, the dude is waaaay too sexy for Tim Allen (sorry Tim) and 2) secretly my husband reminds me of him. Buzz that is, not George (that would be too good to be true). 

And the other, very silly but I thought very funny - check the mods on this car!

I blacked out the number plate with respect for the owner's privacy but even if I hadn't left the 'CA' y'all would've guessed it's Cape Town right? I really love living in a multi-cultural society!

Oh and, seriously, is this not the sexiest cartoon figure ever?


The outcome of the big & exciting job interview a few days ago is that I'm now plunged into that working mother cliche which is multi-layered and complex but boils down to:

exciting & career-advancing job


precious & fleeting time with my kiddie

I'm still trying to work it out in my head but in the meantime, a distraction far far from the world of corporate advancement and all that stuff. How awesomely beautiful are these?



They're all made in Canada by the extremely talented Christina http://bamboletta.com/  and I am deeply in love with them. At first I obviously wanted one for my daughter but as I've returned to these images again and again I think I actually want one for me!

Maybe it's because I'm feeling a bit tender - big job decision plus lingering flu - but I really feel one of these would be a comfort to me now. They are just so beautiful!

A dear friend has recently moved to Canada and I think I may have to ask her to keep a doll-shaped space in her suitcase when next she comes home for a visit....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

bread for the soul

The eve of a huuuuge job interview, could be my first big job post-baby and semi maternity leave, and a project I've been keen to be involved in for years.... Riddled with nerves.... 

What do I do?

Cook baby, cook.

I've been having great success experimenting with new recipes recently, and I've really been enjoying cooking in a way I haven't for years. One of my regular reads is the Pioneer Woman and I'd love to post step-for-step recipes with gorgeous photos like she does but I really don't have the time when cooking alas.

(As an aside, I enjoy the Pioneer Woman but as I hardly have time to read her blog I honestly have no idea how she finds the time to post it. Just taking, downloading, resizing and touching up photos takes long enough, let alone parenting, running a house & a ranch, toasting calf nuts and all the other things she claims to do. Love her, but seriously, does she really exist?!)

Anyhow, to alleviate pre-interview nerves I baked a focaccia (as one does) and it came out damn fine indeed. Nothing like tasty carbs when you're in a tight spot. Bread for the soul baby.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

kitty love

I mean, how am I supposed to get anything constructive done when I've got this asleep on my desk?

And oh boy I better post a pic of my other kitty real soon. If she gets wind of all the focus The Ginger's been getting there'll be hell to pay....

flash! ahaaaaaaaaaaaa....!

Can I just say how much I love my flash-drive? Truly these are the most wondrous things; so compact, so useful and increasingly, so sexy.

Some beauts:


And this darling little collection... this site has the most hilarious array.


Anyhoo, I had a realisation about my flash-drive this week.

I was at a meeting on Wednesday where someone asked me if they could use mine to run their PowerPoint presentation off and as I handed it over I suddenly realised it was very likely there was all manner of crap saved on the thing. Some of which would probably be fairly embarrassing if it was inadvertently projected onto a whopping big screen in front of the whole meeting. You see, I think flash-drives are like handbags, and the bigger they are the more crap accumulates. 

I managed to avoid any embarrassing revelations at the meeting but when I got home I checked the contents of my flash-drive and this is a small selection of what I found:

Lol, this guy is hilarious!! Achmed the Dead Terrorist  (Silence! I kill you!) a ventriloquist puppet for the talented Jeff Dunham (www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uwOL4rB-go). I have NO idea what this was doing on my flash though!


 I was going to make a card from this for a pregnant (and formerly very skinny) friend. Her baby's due next week. Guess I missed the boat on this one...

This I did use. Inspired by these http://thewrendesign.com/2008/03/11/silhouette-art/ I made some map chickens for my daughter's room (she's big into chickens at the mo). I must remember to post a pic of them soon.

And last but never, ever least. This photo of the chicken-obsessed babakin, saved to my flash to get a copy printed for Ouma.


what a sweetie-pie!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

chick lit be damned

Not to bang on about motherhood or anything, but it struck me today how the very incidents I used to occasionally read about and laugh at in (usually British) chick-lit novels about the trials of motherhood aren't nearly as funny when experienced in real time.


This morning, trying to juggle work and a teething toddler (it was a no nanny day alas alack) the following all happened within 2 minutes; said toddler managed to spill apricot juice all over the floor, said toddler then decided to simultaneously wedge herself in a) sticky puddle of juice and b) between the 2 uprights of the cat scratching post (seriously that post is not serving the purpose I thought it would...), then, obviously, I received a call from an important funder-type person and then, obviously, said toddler realised she was decidedly wedged and proceeded to scream in panic while I attempted to dislodge her without dislocating a shoulder (hers or mine) or getting too covered in juice all the while keeping funder person on hold. Having freed said (very sticky) toddler and calmed her to a whimper, retrieved my call and continued conversation in a calm and professional manner I grab a newspaper to put over the puddle.

The title staring up at me: Working Motherhood: Women have to make difficult trade-offs when it comes to work and family.

I kid you not.

Chick-lit be damned. I just can't read that stuff for fun anymore. My life is far more entertaining.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

the tee-gel incident...

Confession time.

I guess I should be wracked with guilt... but while I obviously feel a little bad, I can't help giggling over this. And the thought of this entering family lore.

So one morning a few weeks ago, the kiddiwink was being a whinge. It's unlike her at the best of times and I knew she'd slept well, fed well so I really couldn't think what could be bothering her. I checked her gums, sniffed her ears, took her temperature and she seemed fine.

I decided an outing was the only solution - she usually perks up in public and at the very least it meant we weren't stuck at home together. So I load her in the car and it's whinge whinge whinge all the way - again, really unlike her.

We get to the mall - whinge whinge whinge, do some errands - whinge whinge whinge, get a coffee - whinge whinge... (barrista gives her a chocolate drop, momentary break in whinging), take the lift back to the car - whinge whinge whinge. Tedious!

Before driving off I give her a quick nappy change in the hopes (oh please Lord) that she'll fall asleep on the way home. And lo and behold, what do I find in her nappy? Wedged inbetween those soft little pink bum cheeks? A tube of Tee-Gel!! Shame! 

It must've been lying on the bed when I'd last changed her, and inamongst the thrashing and wild cavorting which usually acompanies a nappy change, slipped undetected into her nappy. The poor little mite, those tubes are small, but with sharp metal edges!

No visible wounds luckily, just some redness. She perked up immediately, had a snooze and was her usual angelic self for the rest of the day.

Call me a bad mother if you must. But I still think it's fun-neeeee!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

lists of 5: 5 things I've learnt, or re-learnt, this week.

1. My time with my kiddie is fleeting and precious. She's growing so fast!

2. Many people, through lack of attention, make life far too complicated. And sadly not just for themselves.

3. Old friends will always have relevance in one's life, no matter how distant your homes or circumstance.

4. Crispy braai-ed lamb chops, green & potato salad, braai-broodtjies & wors are good for my soul (I'm such a Souf-Efriken....)

5. Sometimes, just sometimes, one needs to tell a white lie to save someone's feelings....

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Sms from a friend today:

'God I hate white people - am at traffic department and boy do they love to get in a group and whinge' 

Wha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...... SO true!

Thanks for the great laugh you-know-who. Reminds me of a blog I was into a while ago, also so spot on. www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com. Hilarious.

And one of my favourite recent posts from there: