Friday, September 23, 2016

5 updates for {Friendship Friday}

1. I've had two weekend plans with friends cancelled. What is going on? Last weekend I had a plan with 3 friends. When I jumped out of the shower after gym, 1 friend had cancelled (sick), the next one said she'd prefer to cancel too (power outage in their area) and the other said if I hadn't left yet, should we rather just postpone. I actually wanted to say, "no! let's still go" but I stayed and that's when I went wild, copying photo files onto disc for printing. I felt like I had to be super productive to make up for my missed lunch.

2. Tomorrow's one was also a last-minute one cancellation, completely understandable but always kind-of frustrating because it took a month of scheduling to find a suitable date. This is a work friend reach-out from my side, a big deal because I'd closed myself off to making friends at work. At the last company, you know I couldn't drag myself away from that company because of friends, so this is big, after a whole two years :) Do you make friends at work, or are you merely friendly there? Are you even friendly?

3. I'm the most free with socials I've been in ages. I have literally nothing on my agenda for the rest of this year. It feels strange and lovely, all at the same time. Strange because I usually have about 5 - 7 things on the go every month, and lovely, because summer heat means I actually want to do nothing but read and potter.

4. The telephone dates are working so well. I had two dates this month with friends which was just so lovely. It's a really nice way to keep in touch with my friends who live far away in Cape Town :)

5. The principle of reciprocity has meant that if friends don't also make the effort to reach out to me, I won't keep reaching out to them either. This has unconsciously been a big deal for me this year, to realise that actually things work both ways and it's not always up to me to 1) make the effort 2) do the inviting.

I actually read a blog post with friendship advice for adults and someone said, "when people invite you, go, otherwise they'll stop inviting you". I gasped!

What's been happening in your friendship life? What's working well? Any tips to share?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Just another Manic Monday

Today I was all raring to go in true Monday style.

Traffic was so awful I have no words. On the bright side, D drove. Because of said bad traffic, we detoured through parts of Jhb we don't normally drive and I got to take some pics of beautiful doors, driveways and streets.

And then.... I got to work and walked to my desk, and...

My laptop wasn't on my desk.

You know how your brain doesn't quite catch up?

I looked under my desk, all around... I even opened my drawers to check, knowing full well there is no space there for a laptop.

And then.

Oh my word, my laptop's been stolen.

Yes, it was locked. I have a longstanding habit of walking to my desk, putting down my laptop and the first thing is I insert the lock and twist the combination away so my code no longer shows.

My code is not that difficult to figure out though. It's since been changed.

So that's today's drama.

Amazing how everything you have to do to sort such a situation out all involve a computer!

"Log a call"
"Fill in this online form and no we can't print it for you to fill in the old-fashioned way" (audit trails and such)
"Send an email to your manager to approve capex for new laptop"

ALL involve a computer!

Now here's the thing:

I left at 3.45 on Friday, my colleague went back to the office at 7 pm and it was still there. She returned at about lunch time on Saturday and it was gone. She said she thought I'd come to work on Sat morning (as if!).

At the moment I'm using a loan laptop which I received after lunch, have to go to the police-station tomorrow to lodge a case (is that what they call it?) and then I can move forward with the new laptop application.

The security are busy pulling access card stats.....because of course, there's no security cameras at my desk (we know this from the pencil bag scenario).

So that was my Monday!

Tell me something GOOD about your Monday :)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

On ageing physically... and exercise

I loved all your comments on my post about physical ageing.

Julia said something which I want to touch on.

I am more aware of twinges in my body...I have to say that I FEEL my age when I am sick. Recovery takes a lot longer. 

So true!

You all know the toe story. Well, praise God, it is 97% healed. There is a very slight twinge but it's mostly gone. Thank God. Seriously.

It has given me pause though.

I can keep up with those 16-year-olds in a Zumba class because I've always had strong legs and my fitness is good.

But apparently I can't in an abs class!

On Saturday I had to (well, I chose to - I need to write about my children and how they're annoying me but everyone has perfect kids so there's that) take an abs class that was 98% on the mat, and Oh My Word, I couldn't do half the exercises. I really felt my age. My knees are buggered, my back was killing me and I couldn't sneeze or cough on Sunday and Monday, I was so sore.

Seriously, they should have had personal trainers outside and I would have happily handed over my credit card. I need someone to whip this old body into shape. The trick is I need to go work out with a personal trainer for the social :) I HATE that kind of boring exercise even though it does work so I really have to feel like the person is nice and likeable and chatty enough to distract me from the extreme boredom of lifting weights, doing lunges and other such extremely boring things.

Speaking of Julia, we had a phone date the other night and I told her I pay Weigh-less to eat better, not really to lose weight. I know if I don't pay over my R185 a month, I will eat tons more junk (carbs and bread) so that accountability does the trick for me. I know that I have a habit of going to Weigh-Less on a Saturday morning so it keeps me from overindulging during the week.

Gretchen Rubin says the quicker we accept who we are, the happier we'll be. So true. I need that WL accountability to eat well 95% of the time, so off to WL I go. And now it seems I need to add personal training to that list.

Is this something else I'm going to have to come to terms with?

Fortunately I don't get sick with colds and flu-type things very often, and if i do, it's a half-day to 1 day and I'm good. I tell my 3 family members that it's because I eat, exercise moderately and sleep well :)

I do see with D (who has 4 years on me!) how long it takes to completely get rid of a cold.

I intended to write about ageing and emotions, but let's leave that for another day. I apparently had a lot to say :)

Do you need accountability for eating/ boring exercise?
Can you keep up with the 16-year-olds?

PS Oh, a fun thing! I was in George at a client last week, and the lovely receptionist and I got talking as I do, and she was telling me how she and her mom have a great relationship because she's still young....the mom is 43 (I'm 42). The receptionist is 19. Yes, people, that receptionist could have been my daughter!!!!!! Completely, because D and I have been married 21.5 years! FOR THE LOVE! (I didn't tell her this)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Decisions, decisions

I realised that I better get a post up here before I break my excellent habit of writing almost daily in August.

My brain is way too busy lately and I realised tonight I have three decisions to make:

what to do with the house
we're praying and confessing and and and.... there are two things - 1) I don't know that the agent is doing a very good job 2) "natural circumstances" says that it's not a seller's market right now.

So now my prayer is yes, send the right buyer and super quick, but also, should we rent it out? I am normally violently opposed to renting because people don't take care of places. I know you guys who read and rent are responsible, but you know you're in the minority, right?

Also, I need to stop believing everyone. After discussing this stuff with a work friend, I went online and did some research myself. Agent has told me I can basically only get people in for a year, but what if there are people who will rent my house for a short-term and move when it sells. This friend told me that I would get money and have other people stage our house for selling :)

what to do about exams
Spanish exams are mid-November. I have to decide by the end of this month if I'm doing it or not.

I have the same story as in June... I would have to do the exam by myself....which is such pressure in the actual exam.

But this examiner is divine! AND it's hot. Too hot for normal life, but hot for exams is awesome because that means nice, warm muscles and I feel like I can take on the world.

I have exactly 8 lessons left and while I don't think that's optimal, is it ever? I know everything except the dance which we started tonight. But the last dance was 2:12 in length; this one is 3:38. That's a hella lot of dancing. Even a 1:30 in Spanish leaves you breathless.

She did say tonight I don't have to do it but my problem is boredom. If I don't do this exam, I know I'll be bored within 1 month of next year and I can't imagine 5 months of the same thing over and over again.

Ideas? Advice?

Monday, September 05, 2016

Favourite activity during winter

It's no surprise at all that my favourite activity during winter is reading (with a mug of tea in hand).

And yet I listened to 2 of my 7 books this month.

Let's talk about those quickly.

When a Christian author releases a book, especially if it really resonates, I always feel from podcast interviews that I want to read it, but I know myself, and I don't usually enjoy reading many of those, except for the really great ones like Lysa Terkeurst.

But one morning I looked at my audible credits and there were 3, and so I thought let's see if the books are narrated by the authors.

Favourite audio voice

Looking for Lovely is narrated by Annie F Downs, the author. And she has a great voice. It feels like she's your friend, just talking to you.

So yes, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and now I'm thinking I should rather have listened to her others too.

Favourite (and only) re-read

The other audio is one of my favourite books, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up. I need to write about this one on the other blog but in essence, I think it's a great book to re-read (re-listen) to every year. I loved the refresh after moving into the new house. And bonus - I have a few new posts to write on Organising Queen. I also took notes in the car as opposed to sitting for hours afterwards re-writing from my bookmarks, and some of the things she says will make great printables for Instagram.

So win-win-win :)

Speaking of OQ, my how to pay off your bond posts start on Thursday. If you're not subscribed, make sure you don't miss them.

A read for women who feel guilty

Read The Fringe Hours. Again, I will write about this one on Organising Queen but I was mostly underwhelmed. That's not taking anything away from the book, but I have a really good handle on using my time well, which is exactly what you'd expect from a time management coach.

Favourite fiction reads

Always the Maeve Binchy. I loved this one, maybe more than I should have, because I read a later book months ago and it's so nice to get the background.

And a shout-out to The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane for having a really fiesty character, which always thrills me :)

How was August for you, reading-wise? Or hobby-wise? Or winter-wise?
What did you get up to?

Is anyone out there........... who is actually on audible? I got into audible in Jan 2015, and honestly, I'm not an early adopter but I am part of the next wave (slightly tested but still unknown to the masses), but it is now 20 months later and I feel like absolutely everyone I interact with is not on audible or into podcasts. For the love! How can this be?

I have one client who is into audible and podcasts so this delights my heart!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Friendship Friday - on hardening your heart

Oh hey, it's September. Some of you like the heat; I like taking photos of pretty flowers :)

How was your August?

Mine was mostly good - I talked about it here.

Now, I want to talk about something that's been brewing for a good few months.

In a nutshell, and some of you know this, I was not one for female friends until the infertility struck. I was friendly but not a sharer/ girly type of person. D's my best friend and I didn't see the need for others.

And then I started making infertile friends and pregnant friends, and mother friends, and before you knew it, I had lots of friends.

And then some stuff happened last year and I lost a friend, and another relationship changed a bit too.

I suppose also the year of enough led me to stop just accepting any kind of behaviour, and firm up on my boundaries because I'm worth more.

As I tell my K often, you are a lovely child with a caring heart, and if so and so doesn't want to play, there are lots of other kids who would love to have a friend like you.

(then I hear myself talking and it seems I'm talking to myself!!!)

But a little side-effect happened. An unintended consequence, if you will.

I started keeping all my friends except just a few at an emotional distance. Because I learned (completely unconsciously) that when you open up and are vulnerable, and you're hurt, self-preservation says to not do that thing again that will hurt you.

In church a few months ago, and I'd get my church notebook but I'm lazy to go downstairs... the pastor spoke about hardening your heart in another context.

There are at least two things going on in church usually - the thing that the pastor is talking about, and other things God's talking to you about. Like a secret :)

And suddenly God was talking to ME about hardening my heart in friend relationships. Whoa!

There's no cute story to tie this all up, but just to put this out there that I'm aware... and while I'm being very careful with my marshmallow heart, I'm trying to keep just a little bit open where I know my heart can be trusted.

Have you hardened your heart because of relationship hurts?

PS the link just above referred to some questions I was going to write about weekly. And then I lost the page with the questions. When I packed up the house, I found my page again so now it's on my desk and I need to write those other blog posts.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

So birthday party season has come and gone

Most of you will know that all 4 of us celebrate our birthdays in less than a month :)

For K & C, we had a doughnut and hot chocolate party, in pyjamas, with their school friends on a Saturday morning two weeks after we moved in.

Now, to be fair, I am not normally that crazy, but I didn't think the move would be as bad as it was.

I actually "woke up" to the fact that there was a party happening on the Tues before the Sat.

We made it through - it was super easy - I bought nothing except food and washers for the doughnut necklaces. And the two packs of washers cost me R19.80.

I had the party pack stuff and the rest of the activity supplies already, and the food was all eaten except for some fun cereal which is now nearly finished.

Really easy. If you want a low-key party, do this :)

D doesn't like people too much :)  I joke, but he is an introvert so feels no need to have people around him on his birthday. They did throw him a party at work and really spoiled him - proper eats (lots!), and lots of gift vouchers from two teams.

So we went out to eat for his birthday and that was that.

(no presents this year because the house is not sold yet)

this is a perfect day for me

And then me. I had people over as I usually do, and it was fabulous.

I kind-of feel like if your birthday is on a weekend day, it's almost a sin not to take advantage of that, right?

I had my usual caterer cook my favourite dish, chicken biryani (no peas!), and we had some cakes for dessert.

I asked the friends not to bring presents and only one listened, and, I must confess, it was actually receive presents because every gift was perfect for me. Maybe the lesson here is to trust that the people in my life know me well enough and not to try to control everything :)

My MIL had a painting that she painted framed. This is so special because she painted it from a photograph that I took in Ballito a few years ago. It is beautifully framed and is proudly hung in our lounge.

That kind of thing. Everything was so meaningful.

I gave party favours as usual - mugs - and a couple of people told me they think of me when they drink from their mugs which, of course, thrills me.

Now at work, exactly nothing happened, except one colleague said happy birthday for tomorrow on the Friday afternoon, and another sent me a whatsapp the next day. That's it. Which is spectacularly underwhelming in every way. This year I was not hurt because I expected it. Another life lesson - make your own magic :)

And that was birthday season.

Funso took this picture of me which I love!

I'm planning to write more about the emotional stuff of turning 42 this week, and on my review process/ goal/ fun things process on the OQ blog, so stay tuned.

How do you like to celebrate birthdays? 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thoughts...on being 42

photo taken by C

This is a post I've wanted to write for a whole year (when I was 41!) but somehow I just never got around to it.

Anyway, that's why - imperfect as all my thoughts are - I want to at least start the conversation.


I used to have no issues with ageing. I honestly believe that every single year is a gift and a miracle, and one I am grateful to have, especially because we all know ladies who have died young.

There is a girl who was with me at school (class below mine) who died two years ago due to breast cancer.

That was a huge shock to me but, besides her death, I have always felt that to age is a privilege.

photo by D in the Bokaap


I also (I think) look reasonably good for my age - don't tell me if you disagree... yes, I need to lose 5 kg but don't we all... and I'd much rather K & C see a mother who is fit and healthy, than someone who eats lettuce leaves and is constantly talking about keeping those 5 kg off.

I have grey hair but I've had grey hair since I was 25 so there's that.

I do get shocked looks (genuine) when people find out my age because apparently I look younger. My optometrist was also shocked at my age because I "should have many wrinkles at my age".

My medical aid agrees as I am two years younger than I actually am :)

However, the toe thing makes me wonder if that is an age thing? Someone at work (older than I am) kindly added that a lot of things start happening from 40. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that but I do feel joints creaking a bit more. :)

There is one disturbing line on the bridge of my nose. Some would call it a wrinkle (!). I'm strangely fascinated with it - I keep pushing the skin up, letting it go and the line snaps back into place.


Obviously there'll be more of this kind of thing and I'll stop being so fascinated when that happens.
Photo by Connor, cropped by me


Here's the thing:

In my old team I was the oldest. Me - 42, there is 1 X 39-year-old, 1 X 38-year-old, boss is 32, 3 X 30-year-olds and a 29-year-old.

And that's where it started.

Things said like "well, I was only 8 when that happened"or whatever.......

My one colleague and I just give each other the look.

But it is weird - when I got married, these guys were 8 and 9 years old (Kendra and Connor are 7!). I was already working.

I've been working for nearly 22 years.

It feels like a lifetime if you stop to think (I don't!) and yet it also doesn't.

I did think when I had my birthday review that I'm not sure I can do another 18 years of this working thing (whatever this looks like) til I'm 60 (our normal retirement age at this company).

But then, these other years went so quickly too.

I do know I cannot keep working like this - with youngsters - for 18 years.

I always thought I'd be somewhere by now, more senior I guess. And yet do I really want to play the corporate politics game? No.

I need to get some coaching in this regard from someone objective because one thing is for sure - I don't trust an HR person as far as I can throw them.

I always thought I'd do "my own thing" - the coaching/ speaking/ training thing - but it turns out while I'm good at the technical side of it, I suck at marketing myself and I actually like having money.

Anyway, that's where my mind is wandering these days.

Tell me about you - do you have ageing issues? Be honest. 
And please share your thoughts on ageing in the workplace.

PS Read this great post from Design Mom on being 41.5 and the physical effects of ageing (she is about two weeks older than me)

PPS I will have to write more on the emotional stuff at a later date :)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What I learned this winter

This is my version of the "what I learnt this summer" I'm seeing on Emily Freeman's blog.

1. Working from home is amazing 
I really need my one day working from home every week. I started blocking out one day a week about 6 months ago to get some work done that I need to concentrate on. I can't concentrate properly at work - too many noisy people, and I say that as a chatty person myself.

I found that because I'm at home, I work extra hard to prove to someone (?) that I'm not slacking. But it works for me.

I usually try to take Thursdays if possible because that's the day my kids have TWO extra-murals after school and I can comfortably get everything important done by 3.30.

What with the move and going on holiday, I'd forgotten to block out time but I did last week and this week, and man, I have an empty inbox and other important but not urgent things done too.

2. Don't sell your home to a freelancer

Seriously, don't. The banks don't like freelancers and getting bonds (mortgages) approved is a nightmare, which is how our deal fell through.

Also, I figured out something the other day. I always say that I'm a tither and God has never forsaken me financially. Yes, this is the time to act out with that faith. I believe now that it's a bit warmer my house will sell in Jesus' name!

3. I have awesome timing with phones

Completely unintentionally... or maybe not ;) But I decided to go upgrade one weekend and the week following my old phone was practically dead. By that I mean it's charged, I take one photo and it dies. Yep!

So people say, "oh you got a new phone" and I grunt because it feels like a complete grudge purchase.

Also, I went onto hello peter earlier this week and suddenly my service provider is refunding money that they owe me. Grrrr.

4. Konmari is not once-in-a-lifetime, at least not in my house

I wrote so many posts about Konmari I could have written another book. It's been a year now and I need to go through the house a bit more.

Winter's nearly over here in Joburg. Yes, I know we will have a couple of cold spells but I've worn short-sleeved t-shirts 3 times already which is perfectly lovely but a big signal that my favourite season is nearly over.

And..... there are many garments I haven't even worn. I have definitely worn my favourites over and over (all the purples :)) but it's worth going through the whole bunch to see if there's any I can thank and send on their way.

5. Reading and drinking tea is totally my thing

I've read such a lot this winter. Connor asked me how many mugs of tea I've had in my life........... I told him, "no idea but a lot".

Really, is there anything better to do in winter than read? No, there is not.

Hint - leave your phone at your bedside table and go read in the lounge or somewhere else to get real, good quality reading in.

6. The beach is good, winter or summer

I really don't mind what the weather is like at the beach but I love the sound of the waves, walking on the boardwalk, taking my tea on the balcony and looking at the horizon.

It stills my soul.

And then I come back, edit a million photos and let those photos play as a screensaver til the next trip :)

I should actually put them on a flash drive, plug them into my digital photo frame and display them properly.

and last but by no means least..

7. Moving house is really not for me

(the process of moving house, that is)

How do people do this? I suppose some of you think "big picture" and focus on the goal and all those good things. I just can't function for a week and I wake up at 3 am dreaming of to-do lists.... No, moving really is for the birds.

I will confess something slightly crazy - on Saturday, D took the kids to the library and I was pottering (one of my favourite activities after reading!) around the house, and I thought, "oooh, this is one of the benefits of moving - there's always a corner/ a drawer/ a cupboard to tweak, sort, organise"

What have you learned this winter?
Check out the hashtag #marcialoveswinter on Instagram :)

Monday, August 15, 2016

So are you settled yet?

I'm getting this question a lot lately, understandably, because it has been just over a month since we moved in.

Yes, we are settled, I tell people, but I'll feel a lot more settled once the other house is sold.

On being settled...

I have a list of about 10 things for the handyman to do, and actually, it just occurred to me that I need to print one of my pages from the Amazing Life workbook because I made a list of 33 for the old house at the end of last year and knocked off 20 in 3 months. And then we bought this house :)

I know where everything is in this house now which is a big deal but all photos are not yet up because I need tons of hooks. Or lots of nails banged in my walls :o

Head settled is another matter altogether.

I chatted to the estate agent and we're going to reduce the price of our house so this thing can sell.

On the bright side, my savings account is looking slightly healthier every month as I add to my savings, and we get bonuses end Sept.

Big talk around work about how the pool is half of what it was last year, blah blah blah, I don't care I just want some money!

I think it's the first year ever I actually can't wait for that money :) Normally I pretend to not have it so it can stay in my account as long as possible without "plans" (after the tithe, of course).

Anyway, enough chit-chat. I have a list to get to - I want to review my year of 41, start thinking about some goals for 42, and other such exciting (to me) things.

Over to you.

How settled are you? Do you plan to move anytime soon? Do you plan to stay forever? Move to another country (the current trend)?

PS I was chatting to a work colleague who has THREE sets of friends moving back to South Africa from Australia. Life was much better in South Africa. It's true - we do have a great quality of life here.


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