Friday, December 02, 2016

Friendship Friday - the crazy, end of year rendition and friendship plans for next year

Well, hello.

I didn't mean to stay quiet for a whole week but we did have three days of concerts.... so there's that.

I do want to get this one out quickly so that I can put on a podcast and attack a certain box in my study before supper, so let's get to it.

1. I don't know what made me have this idea (maybe it's my friend spreadsheet) but I seemed to think that I need to see at least all my friends once this year. And so I've been going crazy, scheduling stuff. I happened to mention something to D and he outright told me I'm crazy so I've calmed down and now I'm telling myself a year, 14 months, whatever... :) (I'm still twitching a little bit inside though, truth be told)

2. The crafternoons have helped to see and spend time with friends this year but I'm not continuing them next year. Tomorrow is the last one of the year, and the last one forever probably.

I thought there would be more people involved when I started. That hasn't quite happened so I'm moving on. I'm not saying some of us won't craft together but it just won't be a Thing. If someone invites me over to craft, I'll go and vice versa.

3. I have some other plans though - Terisha and I have spoken about starting a bookclub and I'm really keen to get this going. If you know me (or have met me in person), I really get very passionate about books. It's just that I hate being told what to read a typical bookclub won't work. Anyway, I'll let you know more when things are clearer with us.

this friend completely spoke to my acts of service self :)

4. I also want to have more workshops next year. Not that friends need to come but I do love it when my friends support my passions. I'm definitely hosting another 5 Love Languages workshop and something keeps calling me to a photo workshop or a motherstyles workshop. We'll see.

5. Julia and I are starting a God Centered Mom podcast group. I need to find my Skype password to test the technology otherwise since it's just us two for now, we will whatsapp chat. If you're keen, subscribe to the God Centered Mom podcast and let me know so I can send you the first episode. This is super easy - listen, and we jump on Skype to discuss, and done. You can't get any easier.

6. I have some big financial goals for the next while. It's a number goal so when I hit it, I can relax again. I'm not at all concerned because I'm good with goals and this one should be hit within a year or two but I do need to limit my eating out with friends so I want to do more old-fashioned friend stuff, like having people over. Or cheaper friend dates like tea (R20) or lunch (R65) instead of suppers (R120 +).

7. Still, I've had a good November as far as friends are concerned even though the first 11 days were all things Spanish. Impromptu teas turned into long lazy afternoons, Face Time dates with faraway friends happened, the 5 Love Languages workshop and lunch with a friend, Sunday night suppers, and two work things but these don't count as work because they were such fun.

Tell me, do you have this crazy idea that you need to cram into the year all the friends? Or is that just me?

Are you changing your friends calendar for next year? Do tell!

Friday, November 25, 2016

{Friendship Friday} Deal breakers

So I'm kind-of addicted to a new podcast called Dear Sugar.

It's Cheryl Strayed's podcast. One she does with a guy called Steve Almond.

Cheryl is the author of Wild, the book that was made into a movie that starred Reese Witherspoon.

I wasn't wild about the movie (haha!) but now that I've heard her podcast, I quite love her :)

Anyway, Dear Sugar is the title of her column which is one of the reasons she became famous, I think.

They talk about everything relationships on this podcast, which is probably why I love it so much!

People aren't like tapestries - you can't just pull out the bits you don't like. - Dear Sugar podcast

I can't remember in which context this was said but I loved it so I wrote it down.

It got me thinking about how with any relationship really, but definitely with friendships, you have to decide to accept all the bits if you're going to be friends with someone.

Or you have to accept that the annoying bits are endearing and quirky, and not a deal breaker.

Or you stop being friends.

The trick is that sometimes we don't know what those deal breaker things are until after the fact.

For me, I've had friends say hurtful things to me. That's not a deal breaker at all. The deal breaker is when you don't care that I'm hurt by those statements.

I have a work friend who is always late. Always. I'm always tempted to send her separate meeting invites so she actually pitches up on time. But this is not deal breaker stuff because in the ways that count, she is trustworthy, caring, and calls me out on things.

I'm afraid I'm still reading the election coverage on blogs despite my good intentions. I think it's because it feels like if I lived in the US, some of these issues might be dealbreaker issues for me and I wonder if I'd have any friends left. My stance is not so much political but more values-based.

I read a blog this week and she said that she'd been to a seminar with two speakers prior to the election, and both speakers spoke as if everyone there would be voting for Clinton. One speaker did say that statistically speaking there were at least a few Trump supporters but it highlighted (after the fact) that people were letting other people believe what they wanted, and staying under the radar. Anyway, the comments on that post are interesting.

This whole election business also highlighted to me that clearly I follow only one type of person and I need to change that.

Have you seen posts on the internet earlier this week (and podcasts for the 2 people who listen to podcasts!) talking about surviving Thanksgiving after all the politics? I hope all my US friends had good Thanksgivings!

Back to friendship.

Have you ever had a values/ beliefs disagreement in a friendship? How did it play out? Did you decide that it was okay and you'd accept it or did the friendship end?

(as always, you can stay anonymous - I'm more interested in the story than who is saying it :))

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Indulging in my absolutely favourite activity

(which is reading!)

I had a great reading month in October.

9 books.

I have to say that my goal for this year was 70, and my real goal was to have it all read by mid-Dec, because for the last couple of years I've been frantically reading during December, not that that's a bad thing, but it would be nice to be more relaxed so I can also work for a week on my annual review/ goal-setting, etc. since that is in fact, my absolute favourite part of the whole year.

And... I'm killing it!

I'm already on 84 books and we have 6 weeks of the year left.

Most disappointing

Strengthsfinder 2.0 - once you take the test and read up on your 5 strengths, that's it really. Nothing else in the book.

The best yes (good but I write on this stuff so not as meaningful for me)
Falling free (also good - I love her heart but I didn't find it earth-shattering. Then again, we live in Africa so things the Americans think are wow are our reality on every street corner)

Notable reads
Run - my first Ann Patchett and one I found very interesting
Foolish mortals - my first Jennifer Johnston. A new (to me) Irish author that I discovered as she was interviewed on my favourite Irish podcast, Roisin Meets... I will definitely read her others!

I mentioned on Instagram that one of my Christmas traditions is to start reading books set at Christmas. A lot of it is intentional but obviously if I don't have any, I will read anything, but I do buy ahead and make sure I have tons of Christmassy books on my Kindle.

So that's what's happening in my reading life.

And ohhhhh, I'm listening to Rob Lowe's memoir, Stories I only tell my friends .... and loving it! In other fabulous news, Alec Baldwin's book will be released in April 2017. You may remember how much I love his voice so I canNOT wait!

Tell me what you're reading right now!

How was your reading in October (if you can even remember!)?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday musings

(I was going to title this 7 on a Sunday... on a Monday... but it felt lame)

Right, how are you all doing?

I don't have a fireplace at my new house and I'm not sure where all our stuff will go :)

I'm doing great.

1. I had a wonderful weekend which D and I dissected in the car on the way to work and it's because of these elements:
  1. time with kids and D
  2. time in my passion (the 5 Love Languages workshop)
  3. time spent pottering (Christmas stuff....)
  4. time being productive (October photo organising complete!) and intentional (playing with my Shining Year workbook)
  5. time relaxing (photos, eating out, reading a whole book)
  6. time with friends (love languages and we went out for supper last night)

It's so nice to not be practising Spanish all the time.

2. I have some issues around this Spanish story which I need to talk through and decide what's the best way forward.

You see, many people have asked me why I'm doing Spanish, and why I do exams. And my usual answer (pre-this crazy exam period) was that I enjoy it. But I can't say that I had much joy this time around...

And if that's going to be the way it will be going forward, then quite frankly I can exercise for free at the gym (I joined in 2003 and paid about R600 then, so I pay nothing every month) and put the R600-odd into unit trusts/ paying off bond (things I really value) instead of this.... but I have some thinking to do because I'm also aware that it is the end of the year, this has been a tough period and I need some perspective....

3. The other night I got home just after the rain stopped and so, as you do, I put on my pyjamas and slippers and went prowling around the garden, taking pictures of the flowers with rain drops on them.

It was only about 10 - 15 minutes but it was such a glorious time of playing with my camera.

I'll show you some of those pics when I get to them but I thought I'd do a little photo workshop next year (nothing technical, really just how to "see differently", kind of a Superhero Photo lite) and then obviously we can all prowl around the garden and in the street practising our skills.

That sounds like such fun to me. What do you think?

How was your weekend? What made it a good/ not-so-good one?
Do you take time to do something for yourself daily?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Five for Friday - the crazy edition

Well, this week has felt like a month!

1. The election still has me glued to the internet but I decided tonight is my last night. I've read  Design Mom, Cup of Jo and Emily Henderson's posts, and comments (only some) and I'm understanding more about the Trump supporters but I still feel like I'm not sure how this happened. Still, desperate people.

One person told me they voted Trump and why (economics) and that they and many of their friends voted for him despite his character.

At the moment, I'm thinking MBTI's coming into play here.

I'm so grateful we have One higher to look towards.

2. In more pleasant news, my spanish exams are over and I never have to do that dance again - yay!

Results on Tuesday but I seriously don't care because I did my best and I enjoyed it, and that's what counts for me.

One of the other girls gets so anxious she was puking before she arrived tonight, and again while waiting. Shame!

3. I had a good week at work - this was the week of legal agreements coming out of my ears. I think I drafted about 8 - 10. Crazy.

4. I love my navy blue kitchen. I'm so glad I took a risk. I will write more about this on Organising Queen next week (with pictures!) but it is such a good improvement for just a tiny fraction of a kitchen makeover.

5. And last but not least, during my week of prayer/ social media fast (PS please tell me when things happen for you!), my prayer was to get offers on our house. Well, we got 2 - one truly awful one and one more decent. We accepted the more decent one mostly because I am ready for this to be done. It's been huge mental strain on me (I'm the "minister of finance" in our home) not to mention money and energy.

Anyway, today I received a copy of the signed bond grant so everything is in order and now the house is officially sold. :)

Over to the attorneys now to push through this transaction asap.

And that's me for this week!

I have BIG plans for this weekend in the "nesting" category - I want to start putting up Christmas because I'm in the mood for some O Holy Night :)

Tell me about one good thing that happened in your life this week.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

I am completely beside myself

I've been glued to the news sites for most of yesterday.

Usually when I work from home I'm super productive (I'd say about 3 X what I am at the office). Yesterday, I got done what I'd get done here.

That's because of this election.

I even woke early this morning to follow the news.

I said to a friend that I'm not even an anxious person but I was feeling such anxiety.

Turns out I was right.

What in the heck?

I actually cannot believe the result.

Who are these people and what was their motivation?

I got to the office and someone here says they're moving to the US (as a joke). Two of us set him straight and said you're black and a foreigner - not sure you're welcome there.

I feel like this is a nightmare that I'm to wake up from.

I can't imagine actually living in the US right now.

What's going through your head right now?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Hello on the last day of October

I was thinking that I might want to start old-school blogging again.

I do often need a change of pace and I can quite easily hammer out a post for 15 - 20 minutes while at work.

At home, it's much more difficult because I'm practising in the evening before supper, straight after supper while D does reading with kids upstairs, and then I collapse.

Anyway, let's chat.

1. So today is Halloween.

My feelings are well documented on the subject here. But I'm thrilled our school doesn't do anything for Halloween!

Maybe it's all the unsubscribing I've been doing but there are only about 3 people I read/ follow that are into the Halloween so yay!

A friend has an issue with all the pumpkin wastage :) Must say I didn't think of it like that but it's true.




2. 11 days to exam time

And I think I will make it.... but I had a dream night before last, so vivid I still remember every detail.

How, of the 10 exercises, I was only able to do TWO and then the examiner said, "right, that's it - we've run out of time"

So I'll be practising DAILY til the exam. At the lifts, at the pause area, in the boardroom later once they all disappear.....

3.  Cooking

With all our realignment at work, all people who do the same job as I do are now sitting together. The bad part is the department only ever has at most 3 - 4 of us here at any one time (out of 14). Remember I'm an extrovert and I love the buzz.

The good part is there is someone who I'm very friendly with, and she cooks. I've gotten such a lot of good ideas from her so far.

E.g. you can cook chicken, potatoes, carrots with salt and pepper on low for about an hour and it is delicious. I've made this for my crew twice in October and they LOVE it.

Another tip - she always makes pastas two at a time. Then freezes the second one in the glass pyrex dishes ready for during the week. I used to do that with sauces anyway. But I did it this weekend with the pasta itself and it gives me such pleasure knowing there's a meal ready for us :) :)

4 - 10 - can be found here if you feel like reading about my October highlights and lowlights

What are you guys cooking in this heat?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Nine on a Monday

1. Remember the stolen laptop? They only started investigating today....5 weeks later. I must admit, I was very irritated and told the guy there really is no point because that laptop is looooong gone. Anyone who's read/ watched crime stories knows the first 48 hours are crucial :)

2. Three lessons left before exams.... my right ankle is starting to give a little bit of trouble. It probably doesn't know what's happened with all the action over the last while....

3. If you're local, I'm holding a 5 Love Languages of Children workshop on Sat 19th Nov at 11:30. Bring a friend/ partner and you each save 10%. R200 per person or R360 per couple. It will be held at my house - hope to see you there.

4. If you're not local or you prefer a private 1:1 Skype/ Facetime/ Whatsapp session, send me an email and I'll hook you up.

5. Tonight Kendra told me while I was practising my dance, "Mummy, you look ready to me". Bless! I love her heart and she knows my love language!

6. I'm doing something quite radical to my kitchen. This decided Friday night and put into action today. Tomorrow it will all be done - I hope it looks how I imagine it in my mind...

7. It's remarkable what some good rain will do. The jacarandas are out, the views are amazing from my house and seeing all that purple just makes me super happy.

8. Oh, did you read about my social media fast? That was (honestly!) one of my favourite weeks this year and if you've never done this intentionally, I thoroughly recommend it. Cassey, I've answered your comment on that post in the comments ;)

9. Dare I talk about money? Money seems to be pouring out. I'm making a list because at least when I look at my list I feel a little more satisfied that things are getting done. But let's face it - most things are super boring things like plumbing and electrical.

Now I want to hear from you.

What are you loving right now? What do you hate/ strongly dislike right now? What do you need?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Crunch time

So I decided to enter the exams.

I told the teacher if she feels I'm not ready she can pull me out at the last minute.

However, I'm dancing my little tush off every 2 - 3 days.

D knows the rhythms, C and K imitate me and I have a cute little video of K saying "dig, across, dig, across, stamp, dig, dig".

Basically, if I'm not ready, I feel like at least I'll have given it my absolute everything.

And some things are already exam-ready. 

I still have 1 min 13 sec of the dance to learn, but I can't do some of it at speed yet. It'll come though. The good thing is I tell myself these things like - my body can do it, I just have to practise enough.

So you'll find me in the pause area or at the lifts at work, doing little bits of the dance, with not a care in the world about what people think.

In some ways I feel like I'm further along than I was last year... with exam prep... but that could be my imagination.

I have 5 lessons left and then it's show time :) And then I can chill til next year!

What's happening in your life?

PS old school blogging with no pics

Friday, October 07, 2016

5 on a Friday - books, babes and Bernadette

1. So, this is my haul for September. I'm truly having a fabulous year of reading. I feel like I'm reading more than enough, so much so that I sometimes think to myself, "am I not forgetting to do anything?" The answer is no.

And I have the mix just right - I listen to non-fiction audios and podcasts in the car, I read fiction at home, and I read non-fiction on my occasional Gautrain trips.

The best is that we have that which we always wanted - children who are readers. Reading is their currency and there are TANTRUMS in this house if they lose reading time so it is very effective as discipline.

2. Most disappointing books this month - Where'd you go, Bernadette, which I found way too weird for me. Those of you who like strange books might like this. And then Love Warrior, which I found to be very depressing with none of her blog's lightness/ sass/ spunk. Read full reviews on Goodreads.

3. The babies (kids) were on school holidays this week which was quite lovely except for the phone calls I received complaining about the other one doing who-knows-what.

Connor spent one day at a friend's house from 8.30 - 5.30 so he was knackered when he got home. He slept until 8.30 the next day!

Let's talk twins for the moment. D is not in favour of Connor doing something without Kendra and my view is that our job is not to make life rosy for them. There are lots of things that one will be invited to and the other not, so to compromise, I said I'd check if her friend could come over. If not, tough. Kendra's friend was able to come so all was well.

D happened to work from home that day and said two girls playing together are SOOOOO different. It was quiet and peaceful the whole day without all that testosterone :)

4. It's sandal season again. So I went to have a medi-heel treatment. Have you had one done? Best R70 you'll spend on your body. I promise!

5. Last but not least, the jacarandas. I've seen a few more, all in Illovo, but none anywhere else in Jhb. I was in Pretoria on Wed and there are jacarandas there. Beautiful, but nowhere near last year's beauty.

And that's it.

Which B things can you tell me about today?
How was your week? Tell me in the comments.


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