Friday, May 29, 2015

this is how I do

So obviously within an hour of that last post the madness erupted. Yippeee!

The job I'm working on hit a particularly bad snarl today, a snarl that had been building for a while actually, and I was reminded of this awkward position I get into - stuck between client and service provider, Ms Go-Between, Ms Try and Keep Everyone Happy. Client wants a mile, service provider only prepared to give an inch. It's my job to reach a compromise. You know that thing 'compromise' right? When no one's actually happy.
Parenting is good practise for this.
I felt like the panty wedged between the cheeks.

I sat on the phone, in my car in central town, as Client angled for me to do the impossible. I stared out at the people walking past and imagined every single one of their lives was easier than mine (ha ha). I sat on that knife-edge of being a realist while not wanting to be a pessimist, I injected some humour (it worked), I made an alternative suggestion (it didn't) and I ended the call with the cover-all:
'I'll see what I can do.'

Hanging up I sat in silence for a while. Like one of those ultra shitty maths problems at school, I knew what the answer needed to be but could see no clear way of getting there.
What I did know was that I needed to step away.

So I popped in to Skinny laMinx for the launch of Heather's new fabric range.

I made some bunting.

I went across the road to Jason's Bakery for a flat white and OMGTHISTHING.

Blueberry, Almond & Lemon Curd in a Croissant Cup.
(I was under a lot of stress okay)

I did a couple of errands. I let the pressure build. I came home and hung the bunting.

And then, when I'd allowed my subconscious enough time for the way forward to percolate to the surface, when I'd pushed myself nearly to deadline, when I'd honed my veneer of fearlessness and 'what the fuck let's just do this -ness', I struck with the speed and accuracy of a blood-thirsty viper.
A sweet-spoken, diplomatic, calm and measured viper.
I made the call, I got it DONE, and I produced a result more wonderful than my client had even dared hope for.

40 hey, it's fucking great.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

hurry up and wait

This work that I do, coordinating logistics, has a boringly predictable and repetitive order of events. It goes something like this:

Get brief.
Pick brief apart and request more detail.
Get some detail.
Get more detail.
Initial detail changes.
Flurry of non-related, non-urgent detail to be filed to use later.
Finally, get most relevant (now bordering on urgent) detail.
Work work work work work work on detail.
Send epic missive to client including: multiple options, quotes, recommendations, risk assessments, comparative analysis, more quotes, spreadsheets, schedules and response requirements.
Bake Coconut Cupcakes.

Post annoying braggy blog posts (see previous).

Refine details for my ladies lunch this weekend. I think this sums it up nicely ...

And then suddenly - BAM - Client wakes up to OMFG it's all happening! And we barrel head first in to the madness.

But for now, I'm still waiting. As you can probably tell. I'm sure there's something I should be doing ...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

forthcoming delights ...

This winter is shaping up to be a good one ...

... because it's important to have things to look forward to.

Winter is an excellent time to road trip.

To hang out with friends.

And, of course, to eat.

All these pics have been shamelessly stolen off the internet (again), but watch this space - I'll have my own up here in the next couple of months.

It's okay, you can hate me a little bit.
I probably would.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

on top of the world

For my birthday I wanted to go up Table Mountain.

Up with the Cable Car, and then down on foot - via Platteklip Gorge.

The walking descent was unplanned. We'd bought return tickets, but after spending a couple of hours sight-seeing and picnicking we noticed a not-insignificant queue forming to get back down.
Turns out the cable car had a 'technical' issue and was delayed, only up and running again after an hour and then very slowly.
The queue got longer and the temperature dropped as the mist rolled in, and we started to tease the girls about sleeping out and subsisting on the one apple and a pink milk that we had left in our pack.

To allay growing apprehension (theirs), chilly feet (ours) and the risk of boredom we set off  at a brisk pace around the plateau to kill time, passing close to the top of this walk down.
Deep in the kloof we heard a marimba playing, and laughter, and looking down we could see the colourful specks of hikers strung all along the (long) path down.
A brief family referendum and we were off ... down the high stone steps and the slippery drops, past church ladies singing deep chorals as they came up, and young guys listening to some of our favourite music as they scrambled down.
A musical descent, a long one. Ankles crunching and knees locking.
Our girls did so, so well.

As night fell we emerged on the road, and with wobbly legs walked back to our waiting car.
Exhilarated, united and adventured-up.
It was a good day.

Friday, May 22, 2015

birthdays are RAD

Stella's latched on to this idea that one must first and foremost love and respect oneself. I don't recall having that exact conversation with her, but it's a philosophy I support so I imagine she's picked it up from us.
It sounds like the opposite of being humble, living in service etc etc - but I don't think it is.
I think you can only be happy if you are happy with yourself. You can only make a positive contribution if you're coming from a positive place. This is elementary right?
Yes, love yourself above all others - not in a cocky, presumptuous, entitled sense - but in a practical one. Love yourself enough to be happy, to make happy choices and then spread that happiness into every single thing you do.
Make your own happy.

Just like birthdays.

My birthday is a special day for me because I know I'm worth it. Because I make it so by deciding to be celebratory all on my own.
I go back to bed with tea and a book after the girls have left for school. I work as little as possible. I buy myself expensive shoes. I bake apple-crumble cheesecake because that's the flavour I feel like.
I reckon I could have a fabulous birthday even if I was alone in the world.

But luckily, awesomely, wonderfully, I'm not.

Every birthday I am reminded of how much I am loved - by the people who also tell me everyday, as well as by those who don't usually get this soppy.

Who said technology is the death of human emotional expression?

And here's the thing - I couldn't actually have a fabulous birthday if I was all alone in the world.
I am happy because I'm surrounded by people who make me happy.
I am happy because I've been raised to believe I'm worth it.
I am happy because I've been blessed with a sunny nature.
Nature, nuture and a hugely wonderful bunch of the super nice people = luckiest girl alive.

On my birthday this year my parents produced the newspaper clipping with my birth announcement. (And Mum was well enough to join us for pizza after all!)

On my birthday this year my youngest cousin left a voicemail message which reminded me so much of my Granny Molly that I got all tearful, 20 years after she's passed.
On my birthday this year, as with the last 3 years, I missed that birthday call I'd always get from my Grandad.

On my birthday this year I got some reddy-orangey things.

On my birthday this year I was, as I am every year, spoiled and loved and celebrated. And not for one moment do I take for granted how incredibly privileged I am for that.

Birthdays are RAD. Even fortieth ones.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

teetering on the brink ...

... nearly there ... nearly 40!

It's not such a big deal right? I mean, meh, what's another year, another decade??

I had a giggle with my parents last week - the idea of turning 40 myself is far less mind-blowing than the thought of my offspring turning 40! I imagine it's quite a big deal for them, but then they have had a number of years to get ready for it.
As have I.

A quiet day planned tomorrow.

I've got some work to do in the morning.
A cheesecake to bake.
I've got some expensive shoes to purchase - two pairs in fact. Two pairs of expensive shoes both of which have 'metatarsal arch supports in the mid-foot region' because I'm old now and I need that.
Luckily they're also cute.

Then I'll fetch the girls from school, and I guess we'll go to swimming classes because there's not much reason not to besides that I hate the loud, muggy swim school and it's really not something I'd chose to do on my birthday but you know ... being a grown up and all that.

I think a coffee/milkshake/ice cream will be in order after.

Then home to prepare for a big family pizza evening at ours. Unless of course we get our scheduled load-shedding, in which case we'll relocate entire event to my brother's house a couple of suburbs over.

My Mum won't be joining us - she's been so ill the poor thing. A nasty ear infection, a violent reaction to her antibiotics and her departure to the UK later this week postponed indefinitely. In her current state not even her desire to celebrate her first born's birthday could persuade her to be anywhere near pizza. 
We get that but we'll miss her.

And while I'm being a Debbie Downer, a friend of my younger brother and his new wife has gone missing.
His car was found at the foot of Table Mountain, he's an avid hiker so the assumption was he'd headed off by himself. Then we thought he'd had an accident and was stuck up there. Rescue teams, helicopters, dogs, friends and police - they've all been out there looking for him. It's been a week.
Not looking good.
Not feeling good.

And so tomorrow will be about life really - the ups and the downs - about being a grown up and trucking on and finding the joy in between it all. Luckily we're really good at that.

I've made a killer dessert for our pizza evening too. It's a firm family favourite but wildly indulgent so celebratory fare only.
I managed to sear the top off my left index finger with molten sugar while making it.

Good to know I'm just getting older, not wiser <smiley face>.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

25 things about right now.

1. These 25 things lists are really the best way to clear the blogging log-jam. Sometimes weeks of half completed drafts clog the system, becoming irrelevant or stale, causing a blog doldrum. A nice fat post of bits 'n piece is the way to get it all flowing again.
2. This analogy suddenly strikes me as rather gross.
3. Moving swiftly along ... we've been sick. Again. Still. I can't even keep track.

4. But I think we're finally all better and for the second day running everyone is at school or work! It's a miracle!
5. In between all that somewhere we went camping!

And found a little bit of summer. 
6 - 11. About camping:
  • Some members of our party left town at 07:20 in order to maximise their weekend away.
  • Their departure group text woke us up. We are not those people.
  • We're more about the journey you know? So had a lovely slow drive up there, stopping for lunch and sight-seeing ...
  • ... and arriving just in time to have our children whipped away for a walk down to the river, giving us an hour of quiet bliss to pitch camp and drink wine. Win.
  • The highlights package: Frieda - paddling up river and building a fort on a deserted beach with a bunch of kids she'd never met before. Stella - doing an epic mountain walk with her Dad involving rope climbs and lost waterfalls. Me - tubing down rapids! Through some thorn bushes! Husband - wowing fellow campers by producing kerrie vetkoek (from scratch!) round the campfire.
  • We laughed a lot.
12. And then we came back and were sick some more.

13. While we're on Stella, can we talk about 5? I've just remembered that 5 is the most magical age. And with this little star who gave me so much hell for a couple of years, it is proving to be particularly delicious. I find myself panicking a bit at the thought that I've only got 10 months left of having a 5 year old. Ever!

Stop! In the name of Schnauzer-Panda-Hoodie-HandmadeBow-Pink-Sneaker-Love!

14. I suspect however that any emotional hysteria of late must be blamed entirely on the fact that I TURN 40 IN 7 DAYS TIME!
15. Seriously, I knew I should have done this last year.
16. Should I also chalk it up to a mid-life crisis that I think this outfit is really cool, and kinda want to wear it every day?

17. Okay, not so much the shorts over leggings thing, and I can't wear recreational camo anymore (because war [see? 40. emotional]), but I really love those boots and I've already bought the sweater!
18. If channeling a stylish 20 yr old black guy isn't some form of weird turning-40-white-lady-shizz then I don't know what is really ...
19. On the subject of living vicariously ... have I mentioned my Instagram habit? Yeah, I'm a late adopter (because old), but I'm rapidly making up for lost time.
20 & 21. Two things I love about Instagram: pictures + words are so much more interesting than just words (are you reading this Twitter?) and, I like the boys. There are really cool, interesting men on IG expressing themselves visually and like, sharing man. It's a beautiful thing.
22. The hardest part about Insta is not just posting pics of my dogs all the time. Because dammit my dogs are cute.


23. Here's something I did post on Instagram recently, a perfectly wrapped gift for a friend. I do love me some good gift-wrapping. And it seems I've shared the gene.

On the right: my gift to a friend. On the left: Frieda's Mother's Day gift to me.
My legacy is complete.

24. And finally, AWEtumn has not disappointed.

25. Every year I seem to forget, and every year it is the most wonderful surprise to remember, that this is in fact my favourite season.

There. That feels better.