19 April 2010

Weekend of hibernation, take two

We got home very late on Friday night, so threw together some toasties and climbed into bed. Had to get up early on Saturday to take the dog to the vet to have her stitches removed (we had her spayed last week), then dropped Jordy off at the hairdresser, dropped Katie off at Fourways, made my way to the butcher to order a 20kg lamb on the spit for Grant's 40th, made my way back to Broadacres to meet up with Inez for a glass of wine and to give her a parcel that had been delivered to the office. Then grocery shopping, by which stage I was in dire need of an afternoon snooze. So off home for that well deserved afternoon snooze (best part of a weekend). For dinner, I made buttered lamb chops with patty pans and creamed potatoes, which we ate out on the patio (not many evenings left of being able to eat outside as it is definitely getting colder, so we are making the most of it while we can). After dinner I started putting together the play list of 80's music for Grant's 40th and we had such fun listening to track after track. It is amazing how a song can put you right back to an exact moment in time, as if you were right there (but you can't remember what happened yesterday). Sunday we were up and about like brussel sprouts again, as Grant decided the outside table needed a table cloth. As it is 6 metres long, I can't get a ready made one, so we popped off to Chamdor to buy material. I then sewed two table cloths, amazing what a difference a little bit of material can make, it looks really nice. Invited the in-laws round for a couple of drinks to catch up as we hadn't seen them since Easter Sunday (even though we live on the same property) nice to catch up with them. After they left, I made ribs, potato salad, coleslaw and beetroot salad for dinner. A good way to end a wonderful weekend.
I have now held up my side of the deal, two weekends of no outside people (in-laws don't count as they live next door), however I am now in desperate need of time with my friends, as lovely as it was just being the three of us, I am so ready for company again, so next weekend already planned and am looking forward to it.
till next time

17 April 2010

Ever had one of those days

Here I was happily making my way to work on Thursday, sitting in horrific traffic (for a change, not), anyway do I not get to work only to find that I have left my laptop at home. Well, nothing to do but turn around and go home to get it. I carry a glass water bottle in the car with me, and it was rolling around the floor, I was scared that it would break so I picked it up and put it between me and the door. I get home, open the car door, forgetting the glass bottle and you don't need a crystal ball to figure out what happened next, yup smashed all over the driveway. So when that was cleared away, I went and got the laptop, jumped back in my car to face the Joburg traffic once again, no jokes about de ja vu, nearly ran out of petrol, so had to stop to get some, then when I eventually get back to work, I am nearly at the door and look down and with horror realise I am still wearing my slippers (not such a good thing to do when you work for a fashion retailer). Had to run back to the car to get my shoes. This entire episode left me 2 1/2 hours late for work. All the while I was thinking to myself that the universe was doing everything in its power to keep me away from work that morning. In retrospect I should have just gotten back into bed and not come out that day, having a morning like that just throws you for a loop and you don't really add much value when your head isn't in the right space. So yes Thursday was a day I hope never to repeat.
Till next time

12 April 2010

Tips for a better life

This was just sent to me by a very dear friend, funny how these things are brought into your life just at the right time.

Tips for a better life
1. Take a 10-30 minute walk everyday. And while you walk smile

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
3. Sleep for 7 hours
4. Live with the 3 E's: Energy, enthusiasm and empathy
5. Play more games
6. Read more books than you did the previous year
7. Drink plenty of water
8. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants
9. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar
10. Make time to practice meditation, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives
11. Dream more while you are awake
12. Smile and laugh more
13. Try to make at least three people smile each day
14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip
15. Don't have negative thoughts about things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment
16. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6
17. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone
18. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does
19. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. This will ruin your present happiness
20. Realise that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime
21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree
22. Don't compare your life to others'. you have no idea what their journey is all about
23. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present
24. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
25. Forgive everyone for everything
26. What other people think of you is none of your business
27. However good or bad a situation is, it will change
28. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
29. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need
30. The best is yet to come
31. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up
32. Don't over do. Keep your limits
33. Your inner most is always happy. So be happy
34. Do the right thing
35. Call your family often
36. Each day give something good to others

Thanks Cally for sharing this
Till next time

If I was a fairy

Feeling rather melancholy today, far too many people we know are having to deal with issues that just don't seem fair. I know that you need to have "downs" in life in order to appreciate the "ups", but some people just seem to keep being knocked and knocked and knocked. There is a saying that if we all put our problems into a pot and listened to what others were going through, we would all choose to take our own back, I suppose it comes from them belonging to you, I just wish sometimes, that I could wave a magic wand and make it all right for everyone, but life isn't a fairy tale and most people don't get to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after.
Which leaves it up to each individual to make the most of what they have in life, I don't mean from a materialistic perspective I mean in terms of family, friends, acquaintances, and themselves. Mentally and emotionally pulling yourself up and purposefully growing and enriching yourself in any way you can.
As much as we need time to look after ourselves physically, we need to spend time looking after our brains and our souls, enriching ourselves both mentally and spiritually. Some tension is necessary for the soul to grow, and we can put that tension to good use. We can look for every opportunity to give and receive love, to appreciate the world that surrounds us, to heal our wounds and the wounds of others, to forgive, and to give, and to be thankful for all that we receive. It is too easy to fall into a pit of pessimism, given what is going on around us these days, but what a dreadful place to be. It makes me think of the "Pay it forward" concept, it is a wonderful idea that could take off in a big way if people just took the first step, each and every person can make a difference in their own way, even if only in a small way, many steps make a journey. When faced with a situation, I like to think that I look at what good can come out of it, it is difficult to do, especially when you are in the throes of it, but it helps to then lean on those close to you for support. "Flip it", I say, knowing how infuriating taxi drivers are, as they dangerously push in front of you, I purposefully pull back and let them in, and give them a smile just to top it off, well apart from it being hysterical to see there confused faces as they are obviously not used to being smiled at (wonder why) but it decreases my stress level, which is a big thing considering the amount of time we spend in Joburg traffic, trying to get to work and back. I put a challenge to you to try this, gives you good giggles in the traffic, or at least makes you feel like you have brightened someone else's day. Wave hello to the Outsurance traffic chappies, brightening other peoples day, rubs off on you too.
till next time

11 April 2010

Weekends are good for the soul

After a number of very eventful, busy weekends, we decided to hibernate as a family this weekend. So I set off on a mission to carry on sorting out my home, I finished sorting my closet, sorted all the Cd's (yes they do belong in boxes) and DVDs (yes the right disk, in the right box Jordyn), sorted my books and generally got some form of control back over my home. On Friday night I roasted a chicken with roast potatoes and roast sweet potatoes, also did asparagus French style (cooked in loads of butter, Julia Child would have been proud) after we all ate, I decided to use the carcass and left over chicken to make soup so I threw it in a pot with some veges and I made home made chicken noodle soup for lunch on Saturday,which my darling hubby said was the nicest soup he has ever had. On Saturday, I took Jordy off to Chamdor to buy a pattern and material and came back home and sewed a pair of tracksuit pants for Jordy then made dinner which was a lovely meal of meatballs and pasta.
It is rather unfortunate, that someone that is very close to my heart, is having a torrid time right now and I pray that all works out for her, but she knows that she has a very special place in our hearts and that we are all there for her.
This morning I popped into Martha's blog to see what she has been up to and, I swear, this is the truth, she steamed her soil yesterday. They lay large tarpaulins down, weighted with heavy chains, inserted hose pipes under the tarpaulin with small holes and sent steam through the hosepipes till the steam reached 160 degrees. She says due to the fact that she has moss and some beastie bugs they thought they would try steaming the soil to see if it kills them. Seriously the great Martha Stewart cleaned her dirt, even to me that seems excessive, how on earth can anyone live up to those kind of standards. I Can just see Grant out there steaming our mud "NOT", he would have me institutionalised for even asking. Anyway good luck to her and hope it does what she wanted it to do.
For dinner tonight I am doing Lamb shanks done in a mint marinade, with stuffed gem squash and roast potatoes and I think a glass or two of yummy red wine. A good end to a good weekend.
Till next time.

09 April 2010

My quest for the perfectly organised home (2)

A while back I embarked on a project to revamp my shoe storage, well suffice to say, it is eventually done, all 82 boxes worth, all shoes cleaned and placed in their see through box, stacked neatly on their shelf. Now wouldn't
Martha be proud.

Before and after.

08 April 2010

Living in the Country is not for sissies (4)

Our Place, Beautiful Sunsets & Septic Tanks

Did we ever stop and think to ourselves, "we will never get this done" ? sure, all the time, but we had a vision, we knew what we wanted and boy we were determined to get there.

Watching this take shape, was a glorious adventure, and day by day, this monstrosity transformed, until it became "Our Place".

We loved the name, as we felt it was relaxed and welcoming, "come over to Our Place", we could hear ourselves saying, and with Grant's Dad & Wife, as well as my parents planning on moving there as well, this encompassed all of us, it truly is all "Our Place".

We never stopped to think of the change in our lifestyle other, than the idealised version of fresh air and beautiful sunsets. Well the fresh air and beautiful sunsets are there, and boy do we enjoy them, and that is putting it mildly, a sundowner on our patio, as the most magnificent, orange and pink sunset dips into purple and dark blue skies eventually turning to darkness is a sight to behold.

However being such urbanites and coming to the realisation that, horror of horrors, WE HAVE SEPTIC TANKS, was enough to make me run screaming for the trees (you know the perfectly manicured lollipop shaped ones back in the suburbs). I knew we had the dreaded tanks, due to the “incident” with the truck, but had chosen to, pull an ostrich, and firmly blanked it out of my mind, I mean seriously, when you are finished with your business, that should become someone else’s problem.
Here I found myself, having to research what kind of cleaning products I could and could not use, there goes my anti-bacterial products (which I might add were very close to my heart, germs and I don’t go well together), oh and how was I to approach this very sensitive subject with my friends, of what they could and couldn't put down the loo. I refuse point blank to put up signs in my bathrooms, it is just so “public toilet”, and do you know you actually have to activate these things with live bacteria, you know the germs I have spent many years, on a full blown battle to eradicate. I was now buying bottles germs to pour down my toilet. I started to have some very serious thoughts about this living in the country thing and so Grant said for the first (and let me add not the last) time "Living in the country is not for sissies".

07 April 2010

Living in the country is not for sissies (3)

A perfect day

We visited almost every day, we were there every weekend. Eating picnics in our garden, as the house still didn't have a roof, (didn't have walls at some points either) inviting friends and family around, effectively to a building site, for lunch (and they graciously obliged by sitting under trees in our garden and ate alfresco, while we regaled them with building tales).

In fact one of my most treasured moments happened one very cold, July, winter, Sunday. we had gotten to the point where we now had a roof, we had floors and the kitchen stove had been installed. I had made a pot of Indian dahl lentils, Grant and I curled up on a futon (that actually belonged in Jordy's bedroom, but had been left in the bar for the meantime) in front of a log fire. We ate, drank, chatted and dreamed of what may be, when we eventually would move in. This was one of those truly perfect days.

05 April 2010

Easter Weekend 2010

This has truly been a weekend filled with ups and downs. Many great moments and some not so great, but then again isn't this what what life is all about, taking the good with the bad. Our Easter weekend started on an up as Mum and Dad arrived on Thursday for the long weekend, I so love having Mum and Dad down to visit. We had a wonderful evening catching up and chatting away.
My wee man unfortunately got really ill during the night and I ended up taking him to the animal hospital at 6 am. I had to leave him there as he had something called Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. (a really nasty vomit, runny tummy with blood kind of thing).
As there was nothing more I could do for him and he was in the capable hands of Dr Trish, in order to take my mind off Muffin, I took Mum, Dad and Jordy shopping, then we made our way to Monte Casino for lunch after which Mum & Dad went to see "How to train your dragon 3D" whilst Jordy & I went to see "Alice in wonderland 3D" (was so not impressed with it). On the way home I popped in to visit Muffin, who was so glad to see me but absolutely horrified I was going to leave him there, as he clung to me like some kind of monkey, however as he was still really ill they said I would only be able to pick him up on sunday afternoon.
Donna and Jason came round for dinner later on that evening.
We left early on Saturday morning and made our way down to the Vaal Dam, to meet up with our dear friends, Laura and Dean, after some drinks and lunch we made our way onto their boat and went out for a couple of hours on the boat. Grant and Jordy as usual were off on the jet ski, the paddle boats & the tube, whilst Laura and I drank champagne. After a wonderful day with Laura & Dean we had a superb braai (with loads more champers) and chatted till the wee hours. Always so lovely to spend time with them and Mum and Dad had a whale of a time with us.
We had breakfast overlooking the Vaal, then had to leave to come back to Johannesburg, we got to pick up Muffin on the way home, they had sorted the Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis but unfortunately they have picked up an underlying problem (not that they know what it is, his red blood cell count is 78 % and should be between 30 - 40%, so from what I can gather, he hasn't got enough fluid in his blood, so it is sticky, even though the spent 3 days pumping fluids into him, it hasn't made an inkling of a difference), so effectively his blood is sludgy and he is like a time bomb, waiting to go off. Grant and I made the decision to rather bring him home and let him be comfortable where he knows people love him. So he is eating like a king and being spoilt rotten.
We had all the family round for a late lunch on Easter Sunday, I had run around the garden hiding eggs and chocolate marshmallow, hot cross bun looking things, so when everyone arrived I sent them all off to find the eggs, great giggles were had by everyone.
This brings us to today, where Grant just wanted, it to be us, so Jordy and I popped up to the shops for some food, came back, then I made some home made pea & ham soup and some Butternut soup, which we had with lovely fresh french bread and have spent all day watching DVDs, just my kind of day, snuggled up with my hubby.
Till next time

01 April 2010

Such a lovely evening

I left the office at 4:45pm yesterday and the weather was absolutely dismal, had to step in a very large puddle (well without exaggerating it was actually closer to a pond) in order to get into my car, shoes soaked, pants soaked up to the knee and now I was freezing cold. So on the way home, fighting my way through the torrential rain, (down what was supposed to be a road, but rather resembled a river) I phoned my friend Cally to ask if they felt like joining us at the Ocean Basket for dinner. They were on board. The Original plan was that I would pop home, pick up Jordy, meet them at the restaurant at 6:30pm and then Grant would meet us all there as he hadn't left the office at this stage.
What do they say about the best laid plans?
Well by 6:05 I phoned Cally to say to take her time as I had just passed the 14th Avenue turnoff and would not make it by 6:30pm. Ross Cally & CJ however, were already in front of me on the highway, so we arranged that we would all meet at our house for a quick drink, so I could change out of my sopping wet clothes and get Jordy. Anyway closer to 7:15 we all arrived at the restaurant and although it was still raining cats and dogs, we sat down to what I always find with Ocean Basket was a really good value for money seafood meal. I mean ,where else in South Africa can you still get 12 prawns for R59.00. We had a great time, chatting up a storm and enjoying the great company as always. It is always so lovely to spend time with good friends, over good food and a glass or two of the obligatory.
Till next time

Living in the Country is not for sissies (2)

The start of the renovation

Grant was besides himself with anticipation, as absolutely nothing in that house was what we wanted, so he gleefully took a sledgehammer to it. What a way to get rid of work stress. He hired a team of builders and started project managing, what would turn out to be a year long project of renovating this old farmhouse into a beautiful home. They actually ripped out all windows, doors, ceilings, floors, bathrooms, kitchen, electrics, plumbing, cupboards, lights, and most walls. Everyone thought we were mad, "why didn't you just flatten the whole lot and start over?", we were asked on numerous occasions, but we liked certain features of the house and wanted to maintain some of the integrity. Not many could see what it was we were trying to achieve, but we carried on. Now if Mum and Dad thought we were mad before we started to demolish the house, you should have seen their faces the next time they came down to see it. At this point they seriously thought both Grant and I had lost our marbles completely, but yet again they said nothing.
The Bar

This was to become our bedroom

The start of the gym

The Kitchen

Breaking through from the study to the lounge

Breaking through from the lounge

Windows and floors out

Ceilings out

Roof off

Even the garden didn't get away scot free

Some of the rubble that was accumulated, throughout the renovation

Now, this was an unfortunate encounter between a reversing truck and a 40 year old septic tank.
After purchasing the house, I then determined that I had in actual fact paid money for 40 years of some other people's poo, this is just about as grim as it gets, and gave me many sleepless nights. So when this "unfortunate" event occurred, I was absolutely ecstatic as we were left with no other option but to get a brand new septic tank and sink it, leaving me thrilled to no end. (no more, other peoples poo)