Thursday, July 28, 2016

I need to get my mojo back

It's become really easy to eat supper, potter around the house (really, after reading, my absolute favourite thing to do is potter - move this thing, tidy a little here, take a picture of a pretty corner there, organise something there, and so on), get my lunch bag ready, and come upstairs to read with my mug of tea, and sleep.


Especially now that all the boxes are unpacked (well, all except about 3 of D's).

Did you notice what's not in there?

Computer time.

Was this what life was like 4 - 5 years ago?

So this blog and my organising blog are both sadly neglected.

I have kept up with Instagram though. In fact, about a week ago, followers of my @organisingqueen Instagram feed (which is 1 year and 2 months old) surpassed the number of followers of my personal feed, @marcia0608, and that feed is nearly 4 years old.

How's that?!

Too fun.

But I want to make a goal of writing 20 minutes a day, whether I publish anything or store up posts, because I need to get with it in August.

Too many months of being in limbo is catching up on me.

There may or may be photos :)

What does your evening routine look like these days?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Six on Saturday, the housing edition

So much to say, where do I start?

I've just finished morning gym class and I think I smiled throughout the class - I forgot how much I love the rhythm of my normal life.
Anyway, we were late and both D and Connor insist on a full hour so here I am, blogging.
I also realised that some of what has been putting me off blogging recently is the thought of crafting a post and selecting the "perfect" beautiful pic to accompany it. I'm usually only in the mood to play with photos at certain times when my energy is higher, and let's face it, lately I've had almost zero energy.
So, a post without photos about the housing situation:
  1. We moved house last Friday. I know I said this before but now I really mean it and I am writing it down for posterity's sake. I am not moving again for at least 10 years. I find everything painful - directing movers, having people not read the sides of the boxes, seeing all the boxes, unpacking, figuring out new configurations, etc. Painful. If I were wealthy, I'd pay people to do everything and move in 3 days later (from a hotel) to a house beautifully set up.
  2. I truly do hate having things out of place. The first two nights I woke up at 6 am one day (I'm an 8 am riser) and 3:29 the next day. These are clear signals that my environment is not working, so obviously I was working like a slave to restore order, because I really do like my sleep. Things have been "normal" since then except for one night of 4 hours of sleep - partially a book and partially unpacking til midnight....
  3. The kids have been both happy and unsettled. I feel strange even writing that sentence. Why do we feel that things have to be one way or the other? They can be one thing and the other. K & C love that they can go exploring, playing and adventuring outside for literally hours without getting bored. They also have only slept in their own rooms two times in the eight nights we've been living there. They tell me there are bad people in the house whenever they hear a sound. These are new house sounds but I said to D we need more lights outside (which the old owner left us, she just didn't have time to put them up).
  4. I have already scratched the side of my car reversing down the (very steep) hill so I feel very accomplished every time I drive into my garage without incident. I recognised years ago that I have many talents but parking is not one of them, yet the poor neighbours have to endure me revving that car to get up the hill to straighten out again and again, before going down safely. I can't wait til muscle memory kicks in and I don't have to think or concentrate so hard to just park or reverse my car.
  5. I've kicked into Weird Bond Lady gear already. I go a bit mental when I have any debt. The bond was just registered in July so first payment 1 Aug but of course, I can't wait so I was nagging them to attach to my profile so we can start paying it off. Successfully paid first payment (which I'd budgeted for in case the bond went through a little earlier - the lawyers were scarily efficient) a week later, so now my goal is 59 months left :)
  6. We still own the other (beautiful!) house as the other deal fell through. I'm debating between getting in a short-term rental because the thought of no income or current deal happening makes me a lot twitchy. Pray, send good vibes, send buyers my way, etc.

And that's it - time to get the kids.

What's happening with you? Housing situations? Life? Good and bad things simultaneously, etc?
By the way, are you good with moving, or like me?

(I honestly can't fathom how people move often. I think of my good friend who intentionally moved to a house to move again a year later. My sweet Lord!)

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Pancakes and other holiday essentials

So we're on holiday.

D said to me when we arrived that it's so nice to know what to expect even on holiday.

(We come to one of two holiday units every time we're here, in the same building).

This one has an abundance of glasses - I think the original owners are huge drinkers of alcohol and entertainers. At home, I have about an eighth of the number of glasses they have here :)

Usually in a holiday flat, depending on how many people the place can sleep, you have exactly that number of plates, bowls, mugs and glasses. Which I personally hate, but let's move on. I feel like they should at least double up - I like to use a lot of crockery.

We're in a 6-sleeper but there are 13 plates, 10 side plates, 9 mugs, probably 100 glasses. They have glass glasses, plastic glasses for outside on the patio - and all shapes and sizes, which is fabulous. I use them for snacks, liquids, everything!

The one thing this flat does not have is a non-stick pan, which completely cramps my style. There is a stainless steel one which I used one day for French toast.... and decided not worth it. And another day, I used an oven tray to make toasted cheese sandwiches.  Also not going to happen again.

I forgot to pack my one-egg travel pan so I went to buy one for R110 (!) on day 1. It is very gorgeous (pastel blue) so I will enjoy it for many months to come, at home.

However, the non-stick pan or lack thereof means we have not had pancakes, a key holiday staple for us. The days have been perfect pancake days (cool weather) so maybe I'll make some egg-sized ones this afternoon.

And our standby for pancakes closed down. New owners are busy renovating, the shop next door told us.

I was so floored I couldn't even comprehend it. It's been a staple for us here for a good 5 - 6 years :)

But yesterday, the kids and I went hunting for pancakes and enjoyed some at a new place. Not up to my standard (I make great pancakes!) or that of the Milk Cafe, but it was good enough. And sometimes that's perfect.

How are you all doing?
What is your cold-weather comfort food?

Here is my other post about pans and knives :) Many feel as I do; one thinks I'm crazy.

PS these photos were taken in January 2014

Monday, June 27, 2016

5 on a Friday... the friendship version

Let's just pretend it's Friday, okay?

I keep thinking about things to post (about friendship) on a Monday or Tuesday and then I completely forget by the Friday, so let's just pretend, shall we?

I really had a great friendship week last week.

1. My new Spanish dance partner and I went for a very early supper before class on Tuesday. We had soup so we didn't feel too heavy to dance, and it was perfect. Chicken Tuscan soup at Europa if you're interested :)

2. Then on Wednesday my pencil bag was misplaced/ stolen. I'm going to write about this on my organising blog once I publish this post. But that night Julia phoned me for 1 hour 45 minutes, and I swear for the first 30 minutes, I moaned about this pencil bag. It's not about a pencil bag though...Anyway, we had a great chat about life, love and everything else.
I met Sam on Thursday, again for soup! It's my favourite thing on the winter menus (aside from pasta). This time butternut soup at Tashas - delish! Also on the menu was great connection with my lovely friend who I hadn't spoken to properly for 3 months.

4. Then I was in a meeting and I got a whatsapp message which was perfect, letting me know that because I was so busy it was also probably a time I needed my friends. LOVE! And yes, too true.

5. And last but not least, lovely Cassie sent us a special food gift (do you all know how I love food?!) which we enjoyed on Sunday night after our last day's packing. It was a good reward for working hard. If I don't see another box for a while, it will be a good thing :-

What about you?
What's been good in friendship land over the last week or two?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Late night thinking

glorious winter sunset
I've been wondering why I'm really not enjoying this space any more, and there are a few reasons.

One of them is this:

I feel like all the stuff I'm talking about here is mostly just froth, not even cream, and certainly not the coffee.

I miss the days when we poured out our hearts in these spaces, and they landed in safe places. And yes, when people let you know that they understood you via a well-placed comment.

I also feel vulnerable talking here - I will write a blog about this as it deserves its own special post.

Thank you for your comments on this post. That's another thing. I'm clearly not communicating well these days - I did specifically mean podcast/ book-type things on this blog. I know there are about 5 people who have tried a thing or two on OrganisingQueen :) But yay, Laura listened to that podcast and is hooked. My work is done.

Many years ago I used to feel bad when my friends and family either weren't interested in the coaching/ organising/ authoring because it was such a big part of my life (it's still a huge part of my identity), but I got over that for my own sanity.

These days I have fewer and fewer blogs in my feedly. Not for a lack of blogs, but for a lack of heartfelt, real blogs.

I can't be the only one thinking these things, can I?

Anyway, any late night thinking you want to share?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

It's show time!

Today's my exam!

Since I started Spanish again in March 2014, this is my 5th exam and also the first one I'm doing completely alone.

We're 4 in our class and I'm apparently the only one who was motivated enough to get this done.

I had a wobble last week when I realised how short the time was and how much I still had to practise, and I briefly considered pulling out. After all, what's an exam fee in the grand scheme of things?

But then i thought of doing this same work for another 6 months and that kicked me into gear :)

I am ready for new work!

So pray hard for me at 5.15 this afternoon that my muscles stay warm, my body stays supple, my muscle memory kicks in and I nail this exam!

What are you up to today?
Have you taken tomorrow off work?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Here's the thing

I'm feeling a little discouraged these days.

Like I'm losing my mojo because I don't know a single person who has taken any of my suggestions/ recommendations for... anything really. Books, podcasts, things to try, etc.

This is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things obviously, and I should just get over it, but inspiring people is one of my God-given things, so if I don't have that, what do I have?

There are a few instances from years ago that I cling to, so there is that, and to be honest, God always sends me a little something to encourage me now and again.

But I'm going to try again in this post. Never let it be said I give up too quickly.

So here's the thing is a podcast with Alec Baldwin. From the website...

Yes, that Alec Baldwin. The one from It's Complicated.

Here’s The Thing is a series of intimate and honest conversations hosted by Alec Baldwin. Alec talks with artists, policy makers and performers – to hear their stories, what inspires their creations, what decisions changed their careers, and what relationships influenced their work.

And... he is fabulous. He has this voice that is just perfect for podcasts and he asks great questions.

I can't stop listening!

I've listened to him interview Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Joel, Carol Burnett and Molly Ringwald.

Okay, I confess - I listened to the Billy Joel one twice. I LOVED it. Some of you know I love Billy Joel a bit more than is entirely healthy. If you like New York, Billy Joel, the creative process (D and I love this kind of thing), the background to songs, listen to it.

Really, you've lost nothing if you listen to 10 minutes of any episode and hate it. But try and tell me what you think.

Otherwise, how was your Monday?

Thursday, June 09, 2016

What makes a good read? part 2

Last time I spoke about what makes a good non-fiction read for me.

Your comments were fascinating! And I'm not sure if you saw I answered your comments on that post too.

I don't think I'm finished thinking/ analysing this subject but let's talk about fiction for a minute or three.

I'm going to do it in the same format as before:

3 books I loved
(I'm cheating and telling you about 3 authors I love)
  1. Joanna Trollope - I don't know anyone else who writes about relationships better than this author. I read something late last year by Tara something or other, and I had that same feeling. You're hooked from the start. And it's because you identify but didn't know you do with all these characters because she's identified things that are so real. AH. Seriously if you've never read a Joanna Trollope, give it a go.
  2. Dorothy Koomson - this author writes beautiful, intelligent women's fiction. They're all based in Brighton (I think) and you will feel something for the characters.
  3. Maeve Binchy - my newest Irish author. I started with her last book before she died and now when I see a book at the library I snap it up. She writes these ensemble cast books that span a good length of time. All the characters are real, normal, flawed people.

(I love many more authors obviously)

1 book I hated
The Royal We

I still don't get ANY of the fuss. All I can think of is that all of you who liked this book are infatuated with the (real) royal celebs. I am not.

I don't even think this book was well-written, and I definitely didn't give two hoots about any of the characters.

So let's pull it all together.

I clearly love reading about relatable stories, relationships, good or bad, and strong character development. I also like good pace, a well-edited book and good structure.

These days I feel like a lot of books need another 2 - 3 rounds of editing. I sound so snobbish but if I can pick up things (characters using the same phrases over and over, grammar, spelling, etc.) while I'm reading fast, it hasn't been edited properly.

What don't I like?
  1. super long books. 500 pages is pushing it. Back in the day I used to read a lot of crime/ legal thrillers and while Scott Turow wrote good books, they took far too long to get to the point :)
  2. books set in the future (sci-fi/ fantasy) or in the past. If I pick up a book and it says, "in 1937 England" I put it down immediately. Current day please - give or take 10 - 20 years.
  3.  anything weird - I'm an ESTJ, we deal firmly in reality. Although sometimes I think something is one way, and I'm swept along by the writing, I may enjoy it but I won't pick something up like it again. E.g. James Patterson - The Lake House
  4.  books where kids are hurt or traumatised, graphic descriptions of murders (I can't read most of my "old authors" now I have kids - fascinating to me!) or gratuitous s*x
 Please tell me what makes a good fiction read for you!

And now, these are my books from May - another excellent reading month with 6 fiction and 3 non-fiction.

Notable non-fiction
When Breath Becomes Air (the book that had me googling brain cancer when I had a headache). It is a beautiful read and so fascinating to me because he was both a doctor and a philosopher. The last chapter is heartwrenching and beautiful, all at the same time. I listened driving down one of my favourite streets in Jhb (5th street between 11th Avenue and Glenhove) during autumn, which is another set of beauty.

Simply Tuesday - probably my favourite of Emily P Freeman's books, which means I highlighted quite a bit. I still only gave it 3, but it was a high 3. Like 3.6. Julia asked me once why I keep buying them when this author doesn't work for me, and I figured it out. Amazon's $1,99 sales. That's how. I bought all her books except the first for $1,99.

Of the fiction, the notable ones were the Maeve Binchy and Nicky Pellegrino's Recipe for Life. The rest were okay and so-so.

What were your notable reads for May?

Friday, June 03, 2016

Five on a Friday

Okay, I'll bite.

I opened up my Google Reader and 3 of my subscribed blogs had posts of the same name.

1. We have a move date. And it's soon! And I'm trying not to freak out because I have to have this house packed up in less than a month. On the bright side, I packed 2 boxes last night and will do another 2 boxes tonight. Then we need more boxes.

Connor and I went back to the house on Tuesday and I love it more. I keep finding more and more bits that I adore. I kept saying to the lady, "oh! I didn't see this part before, but I know exactly what I'm going to do there". She keeps telling me she loves that we bought the house because it seems perfect for our family. To that I say AMEN!

2. This week was seriously way too busy at work. I cannot even. Two functions meant 1.5 days out of the office. Feels like all the clients are fighting with me for nonsense. On the bright side, a big meeting is over and now I can stop dreaming about it (seriously I had a dream last weekend and said to D, apparently I'm worried about such-and-such meeting because I'm dreaming about it :o)

3. After that big meeting, I slept for 10.5 hours that night. No joke. It's exhausting for me thinking about all these emotionally-charged, tense meetings where people are "corporate fighting", all terse and extra-polite. Eeek.

4. It's true - it's much easier to write a blog post every day than only once or twice a week. Since my go-slow, I feel like I have to drag myself here. Don't get me wrong - I have tons to say; it's just hard when I feel like I'm talking and no-one's listening. Kind-of like talking to the nearly 7-year-olds :)

5. Speaking of which, the kids will be 7 really soon. 1 month and 4 days is what that little ticker above this post tells me. And for the first year, I don't care about parties! They elected to go on holiday rather than have a party so we'll do that but I do think we should have 3 - 4 friends over the weekend after we move. We'll see.

So what's going on in your life?
On a scale of 1 - 10, how's life going these days?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I'm having the most fun

reading through my old posts :)

So, one year ago - on kids' restaurants

two years ago - seriously, best muffins ever

three years ago - emotional ups and downs

four years ago - on nail polish

five years ago - what's your thing?

six years ago - satisfaction

seven years ago - I was blissfully unaware of what was about to hit us in about 5 weeks :)

Which was your favourite post? 

What were you doing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 years ago?


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