Tuesday, May 27, 2014


There's only one thing I really, really miss from my before-children life. Sunset.

For no matter how much older they've gotten, and easier it's gotten, the end of the day remains a time in which bellies must be filled and bodies must be washed (okay, should be washed) and beds must be found.

I miss idly watching the day fade away.
I long to let day slip gently into night with nothing to mark its passing but maybe a drink, and a friend, and a sunset to fill my eyes.

I got quite a few idle sunsets back when I was immobile, and I savoured every one. And I got another one this week, stuck in traffic driving home.
Who knew a traffic jam could be so sweet?

The sky was magnificent. The air crisp and chill. Time seemed to stand as still as the cars around me. And I envied those surfers, tiny dots on the waves, as they caught that magic dusky moment, and rode the night in to shore.

Monday, May 26, 2014

from pinterest, to me, via some very clever friends

You know, it's totally worth pinning things you love to Pinterest. Because, in keeping with the whole vision board philosophy, sometimes if you pin them, they will come.

Pinned: 11 weeks ago
Arrived: last Thursday
Knitted by my lovely cousin in England and sent, unstuffed, in time for my birthday last week. At present he's called Grumpy George and he's not impressed with the bird poop on my window.

Pinned: 1 year ago
Given to me on Saturday
Crocheted by a very dear friend.
(Apparently her daughter made her add the side arm because it looked too phallic. I'm not sure she solved that problem or um, enhanced, it.)

It's been a beautiful handmade birthday this year, with lots of gorgeous things crafted by the giver or a local maker. Lucky me!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

artist of the uncool

Last night was The Exhibition opening.

I fear I was desperately uncool.

I waited until most people had left (and my 3rd glass of wine) before asking my brother to take some photos of me and my Lego.

And was completely incapable of not being a total dork.

I fear I gushed, and garbled, and talked too fast. I know I told someone I did 'NGO work for the film industry' - wtf? - and I distinctly remember calling two people by the wrong name.
I laughed too loudly and clearly over-used my eyes.


I'm totally hooked, and wonderfully inspired for my next piece(s). Solo exhibition within a year? Only if someone promises to give me a sedative and ensure I'm far more coolly laconic at the opening!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

still not 40!

But to be honest, having moments in which I kind of wish I was ...

I know that sounds ridiculous, but right now, on my 39th birthday, I'm SO fine (and indeed excited) at the thought of my 40's that a part of me wishes that was starting now.
Lord knows how that might change and what kind of crises of aging I could have in the next 364 days ...

This evening one of my older sisters-in-law (I have many) remarked on how in years gone by she'd never find us at home when she phoned to wish me, or if we were there'd be loud voices and shenanigans in the background ...
This birthday is the quietest one I've had in years. And I couldn't be happier.

Takeaways for supper, whiskey cocktails to toast with, husband upstairs putting the girls to bed and then we're catching up with Game of Thrones. There may even be dessert.
Pure bliss.

I got in from Joburg last night, after a fantastic and exhausting few days, tomorrow I'll need to face my inbox in earnest, but today was all about me - and that's how birthdays ought to be right?

I've got a little bit of fun planned though.

My collage tutor is headlining this exhibition opening on Saturday night, and asked me to submit a piece. Yup, an artwork of mine will appear in an exhibition.
My very first.

If I was a bucket list kind of girl, and if I had one of things to do/achieve before I'm 40, then this would've been on it.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

this may #2

Tomorrow I'm off on my now annual pilgrimage to Joburg. That great diverse urban behemoth to the north which lots of Capetonians like to feel superior to but I LOVE to visit.

Also home to my bestie and her adorable smalls whom I haven't seen since September and her equally adorable husband whom I haven't seen since last year.
And 5 cats.

All of whom together could not possibly produce as much poo as I've had to deal with this last week.
Not poo I'm responsible for anyways.

Last May I couldn't wait to get there, to escape my life and my trying small girl and the mundane humdrum of too long spent full-time parenting and a persistent cough I'd had for weeks.
Like pioneers of old I was keen to 'take the prairie air' for my consumption.

This May I'm racing to hit deadlines before I leave and popping vitamins and writing up lists for my au pair and feeling a little guilty about the Out of Office message I'm leaving in cyberspace to no doubt disgruntle the hordes of delegates who enjoy 'reaching out' to me on a daily basis to find out what the weather will be doing in Cape Town in June, or whether the hotel we've booked has humidifiers in all the rooms.
Seriously, 1st world problems are a real thing ...

Last May the surprising find after my 4 days in Johannesburg was how much my big girl missed me. I'd thought it would be Stella but in fact Frieda did some real pining.
This May it looks like it'll be the same.
Turns out my eldest, my independent self-sufficient and sunny child, still misses her Mummy. Bless.

Yesterday afternoon at 4:30, with a scant half an hour work time left in the day, I came out of my office for some reason and ended up romping on the lawn with both kids until the sun went down.
The emails called, but my heart called louder.
'We haven't done this for ages Mum,' says Frieda. 'These days you're always working or cooking supper.'

They've seemingly adapted so smoothly to the new normal. Au pair 3 times a week, Granny once and the rare Friday afternoon with me. Weekends are full of family time, mornings and evenings and stolen moments throughout the day when possible.
But as adults we tally up the time spent in hours or days and think it looks sufficient, considering the circumstances. For the smalls, used to big blocks of daily dedicated Mum time, just a couple of days without that becomes an age.
This time of intense work has taught me much about the challenge of the working parent, and while I have, and am, enjoyed the professional affirmation immensely, I'm really grateful I'm still doing this freelance, and really, really looking forward to a time of unstructured US.
It'll come again very soon.

But for now I need to stretch those heartstrings just a little further. This trip to Joburg is work and play, so I appease myself with that, and know without a doubt that a whole weekend with Dad is actually just what they all need. Junk food and You Tube and puppy-romping and Daddy Gym.
They'll have a ball.

As will I! See you on the flipside.

Monday, May 12, 2014

am I? am I a bitch?

A year ago someone called me a bitch, and just last week I discovered that someone else thought I was one.

Please believe me when I say that in principle this doesn't really bother me. I fully embraced my inner bitch some years ago. I know I'm no angel, I know I'm forthright and outspoken. But I like to think I use my powers of bitchdom in situations which deserve it, not to hurt or offend innocent parties.
Ah, such deliciously self-serving rationale ...

What does bother me is to be misunderstood, and what really bothers me is to find out after the fact, in a roundabout way, that I've upset someone. That despite being hurt, that person didn't have the balls/take the time to call me out on it. I just don't get that.

I'm working remotely from a big office. I communicate with them all predominantly by email. I went in to the office last week and discovered that someone there took offence to an email I wrote 3 weeks ago and said .... nothing.
Also, did nothing.
Didn't respond to subsequent queries from me, didn't action any of the tasks I needed done before I could proceed. Just decided to pretend I don't exist while I continued in blissful (yet puzzled) oblivion.

Mature huh?

And yet I was the one who apologised and explained and contextualised the 'offensive' email, and this person graciously accepted my apology while saying nothing about all the ways my work has been sabotaged by their lack of co-operation.
And then I went home and sent an email kindly re-requesting all the information I need in order to fulfill my contractual obligation to the organisation and received a response promising to 'get it to me soon'.
That was last Wednesday.

Call me a bitch, but seriously what the fuck kind of way is that to conduct yourself professionally?

Aaaaand, back to zen.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

this may

Last May was quite monumental.

I kept meaning to write about it, but it sped by in such a full flash that I didn't get there and then June zoomed through and then July and then ... you know.

Last May Stella started pre-school, her first since the school year had ended the December before. I was so emotionally depleted from dealing with her full-on, full-time crazy 3 yr old madness, utterly depleted in spirit and body.
May here starts with a public holiday, Worker's Day, so she started school on the 2nd and coincidentally and miraculously a friend had invited me to a spa morning that same day - there couldn't have been a more apt way to mark a turnaround I only really had an inkling of then.

I can so vividly recall that massage, the heat and the smells and the feeling of elevation as my body was manipulated and my spirit released. I would've cried but I was too far gone. I remember the masseuse talking to me and sounding as if she was far, far away, her voice bringing me slowly back into the room.

Afterwards, wrapped in an immense robe, I wandered into a warm room lined with air beds, suspended 25+ floors above the city, facing a bank of windows, watching the rain fall on the mountains and lay there smiling, probably somewhat ridiculously. I felt free.

It's a year on, and the turnaround that started that morning is immense.

The girls are really happy and settled in school. Stella is a a far more balanced little person, only occasionally prone to acts of heinous revoltingness. I am a far more balanced person, and probably quite a lot less revolting myself.
We're having adventures. I'm having a social life.
I'm working more and more (and at the moment quite a lot!).
I've found a new creative outlet, and have some exciting news about that soon.

Can you tell I've had rather a lot of gin this afternoon? Life is good.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 09, 2014

a little lunchtime trolling

The troll, in this case, being me.

One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument

The National Elections this last week have been an emotional time for the Nation. Lots of nervous energy has been spent on speculation and optimism, and then disappointment when the results have not been as different as many had hoped.
The problem with being a Nation that once witnessed a miracle is that we forever maintain the hope we'll see one again. Does one get more than one miracle in a life time? I'd tend to say we are amazingly blessed to have witnessed one, and such a magnificent one at that.
I'd also tend to say that anyone who thought the ANC would fall, or even significantly shift, during this election is a fool. I don't get the 'So crushed #fml #sadforSouthAfrica' status updates I've seen around the interwebs.
I ALSO think that all those calling ANC voters 'idiots' (and much worse), are vile, bigoted sanctimonious twits.
A Twitter friend yesterday expressed this far more eloquently than I:

Amen Karen.
So THEN, I stumbled across this little corner of the internet, heavily populated by aforementioned vile twits, mainly of the expat variety, bitching and moaning at this post about their votes 'not being counted' and I just .... couldn't help myself. 
(Screenshots because I'm not tainting my blog with a live link).

Obviously this wasn't the popular approach.

Luckily I'm not going to 'loose' any sleep over this.
And then of course someone had to play this card ... so cute ...

Ah, SO much fun to while away a lunch break which I couldn't really afford to take but you know, when a girl's got to troll a girl's got to troll!
Viva South Africa Viva!

Monday, May 05, 2014

the gender divide

Funny story.

This last weekend, while my girlfriends (it is one word isn't it?) and I were gleefully sitting down to a magnificent salad-medley lunch while camping, and giggling at how unimpressed our assorted husband-types would be ...

... my husband-type, alone at home with the puppy, was sending us this text message.

Sometimes I wonder how heterosexual relationships can possibly work long-term. Culturally, emotionally, genetically - the differences between men and women seem so vast that on paper it seems like a very bad idea.
But realistically it works for so many of us, and surely acknowledging our differences, and making time to celebrate them apart, is one of the keys to that success.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

have I mentioned I love camping?

Two girl friends and I took our assorted kids camping this weekend.

Our husbands/partners were all otherwise committed and the trip we'd planned some weeks ago looked like it was going to fall through until we decided to go it alone and headed out on Thursday late afternoon (it was another long weekend here).

This is the second time in two months I've packed up the girls and taken them away.
Both times we've missed our fourth family member loads, but yet there's something so empowering about doing this on my own.

It really shows me how much they've grown, that the thought of looking after, and out for, both of them in a strange environment is not intimidating at all.

They are independent and adventurous and always up for new experiences, and I value that so much. For it allows me to be independent and adventurous, to broaden my (and thereby our) horizons, and after near-on 7 years of small people parenting, it's a massive corner to have turned.

All 3 of us had a great time, together and separately with our respective friends.
Some of my best childhood memories are of camping, and after trips like this one I like to think some of theirs will be too.

It was good timing too. After 3 sunny days, sunburnt and mozzie-bitten, we drove home into this ...

Sayonara summer, catch you on the flip side.