Friday, February 17, 2017

{Friday Five} The "I can't stop talking about" edition

I loosely decided that I need to give myself some boundaries around Instagram otherwise I'm going to end up in an Instagram coma every morning.

Some mornings I go with D to work so there's no break, other mornings I read for a bit looking out the lounge window, with a cup of tea, and other mornings I decided I should write up a quick blog, like today.

So here we go: things I can't stop talking about:

Oh my soul, I love talking goals, intentions, how to get at them, how to get better at them. It's my passion :)

Goals night is my favourite night of the month!

traffic in Jhb this year
I'm boring myself but honestly, I don't remember when last the traffic was this awful. I wised up after a few days and arrive at 9:30 - 10:00 these days and leave at 3.30 to miss the traffic. Even the 3.30 didn't work the other day :o

It's good but it means I'm mixing my lives (working at home) which I'm not a fan of, because I'm a clear compartmentaliser.

As I typed that word, I thought I should write up a full post on Organising Queen because I've realised I have podcasts for a Friday, podcasts for the shower, podcasts for editing photos, podcasts for listening with D, podcasts for driving, podcasts for cooking and also, podcast topics I simply delete once I see the topic!

Any new podcast listeners? (I'm going to keep asking) This is year 3 for me.

Okay, to be fair, I've always talked a lot about books but I think the book club has accelerated my bookish-ness.

Also, you know my friend Se7en builds a library every year, right? Please see if you can donate a book or three. They are gifts to these kids (and over 1000 others) so should be in gift-condition or new. For my US friends, if you shop from Readers Warehouse, Takealot or Loot, they will deliver (for low minimums, completely free shipping!) directly to the address so it's no fuss!

Read more here!

The kids started learning Afrikaans last year but it was very mild compared to this year. I'm the only one who actually speaks Afrikaans so I'm the one who has to listen to Gouelokkies being read a million times a week.

And that's it for today!

I'm looking forward to a quick lunch today and then.... weekend!

What can you not stop talking about?
Will you donate a book?

PS It feels like an orange day today so I looked through my favourites for orange pics :) Which is your favourite orange pic?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Health stuff and what I want more of this year

Okay, here's what I want more of this year.

Now, onto the health stuff.

1. I finally scheduled that extraction and implant simply because it had been hanging over my head, filling me with dread. Now at least I need only think of it the day before and the day of.... (currently 8 March)

I actually had it scheduled for 1 March but a conference came up and I have to go to this one because the alternative is farrrrrrrrr away. And you all know how I "love" driving. So no.


2. Then I had a mammogram (my first! should have been my third!) in the last week of January. I spoke to the doctor and you're supposed to go every year from 40, and start earlier if you've had issues or have a family history. The biggest medical aid in SA only pays for 1 every 2nd year, but that doesn't change the health professionals' view, just by the way.

Oh, it was all clear!

3. This morning I have my annual gynae check-up and Pap smear. I think this is the least dreaded of the 3! This one was supposed to happen in December last year... I just ran out of time.

These 3 were on my list for the year and I'm going to be thrilled when they're all done!

In very sad news, a lady I used to work with who is a close friend of a friend of mine died at the end of January from breast cancer. Like me, she has two young kids (7 and 9) so it is very tragic, and to be honest, threw me completely when I heard the news!

How are you doing with your health things?

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Bookish things and a January update

This year I'm really into getting specific about things and actually writing them down.

For example, I always have had a reading goal for each year and usually I make a goal to read some books off my physical bookshelf. That's solely to get through books otherwise they'll stay there for the next 10 years.

But this year I have lots of specifics. I'll share a few of them here:
  • read 72 books
  • at least 12 of them on Audible
  • set up book club
  • categorise all my Audible books on Goodreads
  • read 10 physical books from my bookshelf
  • re-listen to Better than Before, Overwhelmed, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (I LOVED THIS BOOK!), Marie Kondo (I now listen every year around my birthday) and Present over Perfect
  • track my splits monthly instead of having to do the Big Counteroo at the end of the year
What are some of your bookish/ reading goals this year?

I heard someone on the internet say (or maybe it was an Instagram comment?) that they want to read fewer books but more quality, like if they can see it's a terrible book, stop and rather invest further time in a really good book.

On that note, I abandoned 4 books last year. This is AWESOME for me as I used to "push through" on everything. But I could always do better.

So maybe I should aim to abandon books faster? :)

But now for my January books.

In case anyone is interested, I take a screenshot from Goodreads website (it doesn't lay out nicely like this on the app), I email the pic to my phone (Picasa compresses it), then I use an app called Blur it free to blur out the books that may overlap from the previous month, email that pic back to my computer and insert it into the post. It sounds like a lot of steps but the whole thing takes about a minute :)

No. of books read: 8, 2 of them non-fiction
Physical: Kindle: Audible - 4: 3: 1
Enjoyed the most: Better than before (2nd reading), Chestnut Street and Love in the making

I'm fascinated by the ways other people consume their books. I definitely always have one going in the car and one on my bedside table but I also have a "Gautrain" book, which is a business-y/ career book from my physical bookshelf which I read on my way to see clients. I feel like I'm being paid for that travel time so might as well improve my business-y skills :)

Tell me about your book-reading ways, the books you read last month and which you enjoyed the most.

PS book club deserves its own post but it was awesome!
PPS these are all pics taken in January. Something I'm most pleased about with the kids is that they love to read and drink tea like me :) :)

Friday, February 03, 2017

{Friendship Friday} Favourite characteristics of your friends

I follow a podcast called the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey (from Texas so she's got a really darling accent).

She does a Happy Half Hour every two weeks where she chats to people that have been on the podcast before but the half hour is just to talk about girl stuff :)

One of the questions she asks every guest on these half hours is this:

what are the favourite characteristics of your best friends?

It's so fun to hear what the various people say.

So I want to hear yours.

But of course, I'll share first.
  1. They invite vulnerability. That means they share openly from their heart and so I feel like I can do the same. (fabulous quote on this very podcast: how can you love someone you don't know? - I think it was Lysa Terkeurst but don't quote me on that!)
  2. They care about me and it shows. My love languages are words of affirmation and acts of service, and of course, these two do talk "more" to me but I love when I can see care in whatever form.
  3. Reciprocity of initiative and effort. I'm not a tit for tat girl and I know that I make a lot of effort but what I do need is some initiative and reciprocity. I just have healthier relationships with people who also reciprocate.

Over to you!

Tell me 3 of your friends' favourite characteristics!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Trump, the inauguration, womens's march, Christianity and all the things

These last few months have been very disturbing to me.
  • Obviously I was distraught and unsettled when Trump won the election and I still can't believe it happened.
  • And then there were some voices I followed with a reminder that God is still on the throne and He is to be looked at, not man.
  • This is why I put up Christmas so early. I needed some JOY in my life.
  • That calmed me down and what also calmed me down was people praying and taking action in volunteering, donating to causes they believed in and so on. 
  • There was also enough distance (just over two months) that I was prepared to engage my logical brain and give the man a chance to do his stuff.

And then the inauguration happened.

That speech! I couldn't believe it. I'm not even American and I don't know that America. It felt so exclusionary towards everyone other than those who think like him.

Anyway, I didn't watch much after the formalities.

(by the way, years and years ago, I used to follow a marketing coach and she said on a teleseminar that she only employs American people as she doesn't want to send her money elsewhere. I stopped buying product from her there and then because I was so insulted. For the record, I send my money all over the world and I receive money from all over as gratefully. The speech left the same feeling with me, X 100)

But then, the next day, the Women's March.

I want to say this carefully. I am anti-abortion but if I were a resident in the US, I would have marched for all the other things. The Human Rights things - equality and decency and common human rights.

On this abortion matter... I am firmly anti-abortion... for ME. But who am I to tell you what to do with your body?

I have two friends, one online and one in real life, who have both had terminations. The online one's life was in danger had this not happened; the other had other issues going on and she was desperate. I still think had I been in her situation I would have done differently but how can I be sure? I have not walked those miles in her shoes.

So I believe the thing I am is a pro-choice anti-abortionist :)

If just on this one issue it is so complicated. imagine if we add all the issues at play.

Back to the women's march.

I read and follow a very wide spectrum of women on social media from all countries.

The clear democrats were very vocal with pictures and points of view, and got trolled in some of their comments. I read some and quickly realised this is a thing. Not even a March was about standing for things people can agree on. Everything is so nuanced.

One faction that was very quiet (during the march and the election cycle actually) was that of the white Christian woman.

I follow many of those ladies too.

My own church is also quiet. I don't know if it's just because this is the South African branch (there are US branches too) or if it's the same over there too.

But I want to know how people feel and more importantly, why.

Then one young lady posted something about being disturbed about all the divisiveness in the church, and in her comments, I saw links, followed those and read all that stuff.

You know how this goes.

Some of the Christians voted for Trump based on this abortion thing and nothing else.

I had no idea that this was so nuanced. As I said, if I were in the US, I would have marched but I'm still anti-abortion.

Are these either/ or positions? If so, why? Why can't you believe in everybody deserving dignity and equal rights, and decide that abortion is not for you?

It has gotten worse over the last week (I can't even comprehend!!!) and honestly, I'm staying off social media as much as I can because hours go by and I feel worse.

But still, I feel compelled to speak about these things.

By the way, not one South African I follow is talking about this stuff so I might be talking to myself. That's okay too.

Are you thinking about these things or are they far removed from you?

Okay, happy Sunday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Extraction and implant

I'm busy with a post about Trump but I need to chat about my tooth quickly.

Remember last year I went to the dentist.

My (root canal) tooth came loose.

The emergency dentist cemented it but said she didn't know how long it would last.

So I had to make an appointment with my real dentist.

That was last Thursday.

Here's the thing:

The little root has fractured and is no longer strong enough to support my tooth.

They told me (the dental surgeon and my dentist) I have to have it extracted and an implant put in. Then my gum has to grow around this implant and they make me a new tooth and put that in, three months later. Oh my word.

I blocked it out because I heard "we will manage the pain" and "outpatient procedure" and I had that whooshing sound in my head...

(some of you know I hate dentists!)

The quote arrived today. R10 617. Medical aid rates provided you have that kind of money in your medical savings account.

I was drinking tea now and suddenly something feels funny in my mouth. I go check and that tooth is loose again. Not completely but in a day or so it will be completely loose.

So I guess this is urgent then.

I was googling and that is never a good idea. We know this but I have to know!

And all this talk of pain and recovery is freaking me out.

Tell me, have any of you had an implant? what was your experience?  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Grade 2!

I'm getting bored with myself.

You see, I keep saying "I can't believe it's been a week" and other such things, but yet I'm not changing my behaviour.

I'm re-listening to Better than Before, Gretchen Rubin's book on habits (highly recommended) and I clearly need to use the Strategy of Scheduling. Even though blogging is something I enjoy, I just don't get here unless I put it on my to-do list. So maybe that's what needs to happen.

But for now, let's talk about school.

So we've been back at school for a week already and it feels so much more chilled this year in terms of routines.

The kids are in different classes for the first time since pre-school and they don't seem to be missing their twins one bit.

Connor is with a firm teacher (which he needs) and Kendra is with a very soft and lovely teacher.

We had Parents Evening last night where the (new) principal spoke very briefly. We then went to our kids' separate classrooms. Suddenly the desks and chairs seem so small :)

We both met both teachers who seem friendlier than last year's teacher. There's a whatsapp group for the one class and the other class uses the notebook method.

What else?

Oh right, I love, love, love when the teachers say things that I have been saying because we all know the kids think the teachers know everything. So now I'm all Miss A and Miss W said you need 11 hours sleep a night, and so on and so on.

So that's school.

Did I tell you I saved about R1200 by buying my stationery on my own instead of the packs through the W stationers? And I am even more aware of time wastage than you are - I only made two trips "out of my way" but not really since the store is on the way home from work. Everything else from CNA and PnP.


One surprising thing that has happened this year...

The kids have had breakfast every day AND have been eating all their lunch. I'm pleasantly surprised. Usually Connor tells me he's too busy playing and Kendra mostly eats but only if no breakfast.

We haven't changed anything that we're putting on the lunch - cheese/ peanut butter and a piece of fruit.

Oh, I follow an Irish athlete (after hearing her on a podcast) and she does this Overnight Oats. Oats with milk put in fridge. Take out the next morning, add fruit and eat.

I do oats with milk and cinnamon sugar. I leave the two bowls in the fridge (they LOVE this and I do too - it's my acts of service love language) and they can take it out and heat for 30 minutes. I'm not sure what the big fuss is because they don't even get other fruit put on the top but they LOVE it. Maybe they feel the love?

Okay, I have to listen to reading now.

What's surprised you about school this year?
Do you like your kids' teachers?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Currently.... in 15 minutes

Bringing you another old-school blog post (no pics) that I may or may not update this afternoon.


A Maeve Binchy collection of short stories around a theme. This woman knew how to do a short story. I keep saying I don't even like short stories but she does them perfectly. Plenty of character development and plot so you don't feel anything is unsaid.

I want to discuss one of these for Book Club, it is that good :)


I'm catching up on all my podcasts but Se7en, you'll be happy to know I deleted a whole bunch too!

I'm also re-listening to Better than Before on Audible since it is the new year and a book about habit formation can only be good, right?


I've been doing the mother of all backups.

It started when I did my usual monthly photo backup and my external hard drive didn't have enough space.

Now, I know how this can go. You then postpone the buying and so on, and your computer crashes....

So I went onto Takealot and bought the first thing that looked like it could do the job.

R1000 later, it was only supposed to be delivered tomorrow but it was delivered yesterday morning (two days early!)

So one disc will keep photos, and the other will have Other (all my business stuff, all my online products - I think there are about 30 - I should check), personal, budgets, etc.

The photos finished earlier and I'm finishing off the other stuff.

I must say, it's so nice to have just a couple of hundred from this year, and I have a "use for blogging" folder with all organising/ goals type photos.


Book Club and a Happier Project I'm writing about tomorrow on Organising Queen. I want you all to join me if it sounds remotely interesting.


Nail polish. I'm going to insta at some point but I figured out I need about 24 nail polishes tops. I sorted them last night while cooking and there are many I didn't use/ used once. If you want some, let me know.

Alright, have to go fetch my Grade 2 babies! I can't wait to hear all the stories. Big kids are such fun :)

What are you reading, listening to, doing, planning and decluttering?

Saturday, January 07, 2017

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

I did something awesome this year - I decided to reach my reading goal early so I wasn't pushing to reach a goal around Christmas/ New Year and I could just chill and play with my workbooks instead.

I realise chill and goals may not go together for you, but they do for me :)

However, I just had a really good year of reading so I finished my goal months ahead of time.

For final nerdiness, I ended on 97 books. The best since I've been tracking through Goodreads or, my adult life.

My previous best in 2001 was 95 books.

There are two people who read here who read way more books than that last year. Please tell us how many pages you read please because I get some questions like that and I don't read short books. I read normal books. My average book length is 340 pages.

More stats:

2016 books
Audible Kindle Physical
14 44 39

Non-fiction Fiction
24 73
25% 75%

This is probably the most non-fiction I've ever read in one year. Most of those were memoir-type books, which are my favourite non-fiction.

Longest book: Tara Road - Maeve Binchy (648 pages)

5* - 3 books: Stories I only tell my friends, Smart Money, Smart Kids and The Year of Living Danishly

 Please see if this Goodreads link works for you.

The bad book stuff? I abandoned a couple, one just a few days before the end of the year (!) and more than half done when I realised I actually don't care one iota about the characters.

I also read four 2* books but there you go.

And that's it!

Now, Terisha and I are starting a book club. I've extended the invitation to those who said they were interested on Instagram. If you're interested, let me know. We're meeting end Jan/ beginning Feb. Our first book is Big, Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

We'll discuss everything at the first meeting.

Here's to a wonderful year of reading for us all!


PS the kids are 7.5 today!

Thursday, January 05, 2017

A chatty, catch-up post about Christmas

I've had it on my list to write this post for a long time (over a week) and today I told myself before I tackle my budget, I need to do this.

So here goes:

Christmas 2016

In my craziness, I invited everybody! My one friend didn't end up coming but I did have a house of 12 people.

Let's focus on all the good things, shall we?
  • Jesus is still the best Gift ever!
  • It was a beautifully overcast and rainy day
  • There was more than enough food (I had a little panic like was there going to be enough food?) and plenty left over. 
  • The SIL and BIL only bought one present per child (this I've been trying to get right for the last 7 years!!!).
  • The BIL ate food (super fussy) and plenty of it! Actually, I also think he's stopped smoking so that might be it.
  • The BIL complimented my house.

We told everyone we're not buying gifts so they listened... but I ended up looking through the rapidly diminishing gift shelf and so the grannies got gifts from there, and I made some keyrings with beautiful glass beads for them too. The grannies felt awkward about that so maybe I should specify no BOUGHT gifts next time because D and I love food gifts :)

Because of the aforementioned amazing weather (that apparently only D and I enjoy!), there was no swimming and people left around 5.... which meant we went to church again at 6, and that was really nice.

I do have one question: why is it that a house full of people for my birthday (usually even more!) doesn't stress me out one little bit but a house full of people for Christmas does?

Christmas is now all packed away and my house was thoroughly cleaned that day, two days later and again when Nanny S came back to work.

My To Marcia, From Marcia gift this year was a devotional colouring book - super little to colour daily with a scripture reference and about a minute of reading. Really low-key and hopefully a habit I can keep up, as long as Nanny S doesn't pack it away like she does everything else.

How was your Christmas? What did you get up to? Do you exchange gifts? Do you go wild? Do you buy a gift for yourself?


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