Saturday, April 30, 2016

A few things

Gosh, it's easy when you stop blogging regularly to just stop, isn't it?

I still don't feel bad about it so I'm going with it. But unsurprisingly, I have lots going on in my head, just no inclination to sit down night after night to bang it out on my keyboard.

And the other thing is some of my time's been taken up by phone friend dates, which is the best kind of thing to take you away from blogging.

But, let's do this quickly since it's Goals Night and I've just finished a book, given the kids some hot chocolate, and there's 33 minutes before I need to think properly about supper.

1. I'm working hard, very hard. Partly because that's what I do, and I don't like stuff waiting on me, but also because this house thing is Annoying me with a capital A.

They expect to phone you during peak work hours and get snippy when you tell them you're actually working! Fancy that. I said to two people this last week to please phone after two o'clock because I'm actually at work and my employer is not paying me to sit on the phone with them.

I am tired of speaking to insurance people and getting quotes, but I remind myself that these things are ultimately being done to save us money over the long-term.

So unfortunately, I have to spend some working time on the phone which means I have to crank it out when I'm working, harder and faster, because I still refuse to do very much after-hours work.

2. The house (s)

I'd hoped to hear whether the person who put in an offer on our house had her bond approved, but nothing yet.

We'll have to see next week. Until this house is officially sold, I'm doing my best to not get excited yet.....

As far as the house we've bought, everything is going reasonably well, except for all these people wanting to sell us buildings insurance, life assurance and such. GRRRR.

Every time we buy a property I get cleverer, and so this time I questioned everything, re-quoted on everything and maybe that's also because the sums are bigger, but it does feel as if we're going in with eyes wide, wide open.

On the bright side, the lawyers have left me alone since I paid them a rather astounding amount of money.

3. The kids seem to be in the swing of 2nd term school. However, we will have to have a talk about extra-murals because, for instance, Connor's signed up for soccer. I fetched them this week and I find out that he was "too tired" so didn't do it. However, he was not too tired to run around the field with his friends. Kendra is doing netball but I'm not sure that she's actually doing much there either....

Any of you have kids who do their homework verrrrry slowly? We are only in Grade 1 and already the extreme slowness is driving me batty.

And of course yesterday D and I celebrated 21 years of marriage. The first 14 years were a breeze but since kids, it's hard work, hey? I think we deserve medals :)

10 years ago, in our "youth" - Kuala Lumpur

What's news on your side? How's work, family, your own stuff?

Next up:
  1. I really want to talk about ageing, both physically and attitudes in the workplace.
  2. I also want to talk about how one pays off a bond in 5 years since I get this question ALL the time, more so now that I say, "oh, our house is paid off", but I'm thinking that's best suited to the OQ blog

Friday, April 22, 2016

{Friendship Friday} moving with the times

Well, clearly the concept of the phone date sparked something in all of us because since I wrote that post three weeks ago, I've had another two phone dates and I'm having another tomorrow night.

By the way, that Voxer thing clearly hasn't taken on with any of my friends, so I deleted the app.

But good, old-fashioned cell phones work because we all seem to have free minutes we don't get around to using, and my one friend even introduced me to the concept of FaceTime earlier this week. iPhone to iPhone, and when the iphone battery dies, you can move to your ipad :)

These dates have been such fun. I want to encourage you to try one even if you hate the phone.

The strange thing is I usually hate the phone, but this was Pleasant Phoning, not call centre phoning, you know?

One of my Secrets of Adulthood is that anything is easier to resolve on the phone than on email/ text/ whatsapp.

How has your April been for friend dates?

Also, I haven't asked this for a long time. Are you initiating as much as you're being invited to things?

All three of my dates were initiated by my friends which was really nice! I think I'm setting a good example of initiating though because the other night, Kendra asked me if she could use my phone. She phoned the mom of her friend and arranged a playdate for her and Connor there on Friday!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Can we talk about this weird weather?

I really don't know what to make of this weather anymore.

It's April - jeans and long-sleeved t-shirt, with sometimes a sweatshirt weather, and yet.... I'm still wearing sleeveless t-shirts, skirts (!), dresses and flip flops.

It's supposed to be autumn! On the bright side, I haven't had a heat headache for weeks so it must be about a degree or two cooler.

This is what autumn looked like in years past: jeans and closed shoes.

It feels very strange because if you look around, Mother Nature got the memo for some bits. Like the leaves are turning and falling to the ground, but temperature-wise, nothing's happening.

And as much as some of you don't like winter, we do need a proper cold winter to kill the germs otherwise it's months of sniffles instead of a week!

I keep wanting to do my 15-second pullovers on my way to work, where I get out of the car and take pics of my feet in the leaves but how can you take pics of sandals in leaves?!

I took this one just to record the craziness of the season.

Look at all the leaves and do you know what the temperature was on this day at about 4:30 - 5:00 in the afternoon? 29.5 degrees C, i.e. summer weather.

By the way, I bought another brand of deodorant and I think maybe my body just needed a break from the Mitchum, because I switched to Shower to Shower, and I'm good again. I think I'll have to do this switching business back and forth, so each speedstick stays effective.

My sister came to visit us a million years ago (14 years ago) in June, and she still remembers that as the coldest she'd ever been. She is not a fan of the Joburg winter whereas I still say it's the best climate ever! 

So how are you enjoying the weather?

PPS thanks for all the comments on the Jozi meetup post!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A post about the Jozi meetup


So I went to the Jozi meetup last Saturday.

I must say, I felt really odd at first, arriving and knowing absolutely no-one. Then I saw Heather and Laura, and later, Sharon, Sam and Funso, and Lebo. And Salome (photographer) who I first met at the event I spoke at in May last year.

I also recognised Wenchy but still haven't actually spoken to her :o

The not knowing people didn't bother me much because I'm an extrovert but it's odd to feel a bit out and yet know that I've been blogging for over 10 years. There's this whole community I'm not a part of so that was interesting. (this is a tip from Big Magic - when you find things "interesting" you turn down the level of drama :))

Anyway, 3 things about the event:

  1. The venue was amazing. I was so disappointed to not have time to walk around Maboneng afterwards because I had to rush off to another friends date. I would have had more photos if I had more hands to pull out my camera and carry the swag. The lift was gorgeous and the light was absolutely fabulous! 
  2. We got such a lot of stuff in the goodie bags that I shared it all with Nanny S. I don't drink wine and we got a bottle of wine. I was going to give it to a friend (!) but D was aghast - how could I do that? So now I need to get rid of it but it feels so wasteful.
  3. I used to run workshops in my home and I know how much work it is to organise them, yet they had (for me) such small profit margins. So hats off to Laura and Heather - clearly they have the secret to make these things work. And when I want to next run a Love Languages workshop, they need to organise it :)

I realised that there are two types of blogs and bloggers, and I have/ am one of each. One is niched and has its own Instagram and Facebook page, and the other is written for the pure joy of connecting (and therapy!). Except... my Organising Queen blog is like such a baby because I have no idea about when "my people" are online, which brands I resonate with, and all of that jazz.

Honestly, I don't know where these people get the time to be checking all these stats and responding to everything throughout the day. Unless they don't work, or they're faffing around the whole day at work.

Blogging seems like a lot of hard work these days and clearly I'm not interested in doing all of that enough to "stay current".

It's largely because I do have a full-time job that pays me a reasonably good salary so I don't feel that I need to monetize anything.

Best quote: "what do all moms do the whole day? They're on Facebook, of course" and with that, I suddenly felt like, "who are these moms because I'm actually working, but maybe it's an age thing, or a firstborn thing...?

One more thing - brand love. How do you feel about instagramming and blogging for brands just because you received free product?

I posted one pic on IG on Sat from a hamper I won and I fully intended to post another to enter a competition (peer pressure?!), but suddenly I didn't feel right inside. I tend to listen to those feelings so nothing went up. I don't even eat those biscuits and actually, I had my first one this Saturday... and I wasn't wowed. The kids are eating them though!

What makes you post a "brand" pic on Insta or Facebook or your blog? 

For me, I must be wild about the product, so wild I would have paid for it myself. Like I do with stationery :)

Which blog group do you fit into? Were you in one before consciously moving into another?

I have, of course, been blogging about organising, coaching, time management and goals for many, many years, simply because it's my passion, while this blog is my just my stress relief :)

PS don't you love this sewing machine?!

Monday, April 11, 2016

5 Random Thoughts

1. Today I said to a colleague, I feel like I need a holiday again and then I gasped, because looking at my calendar it's been just 2 weeks since I returned from leave.

But that's just work frustration because when I looked at my monthly review form, March was good.

We now know where we'll be situated in the new structure but the big client sort-out hasn't happened yet which is one of the main things. There is such a lot of work and I think I feel these things more because 1) I'm a firstborn and 2) I'm an upholder. I need to write more about the firstborn thing when I have time.

2. These days I blog here only when I feel like it and it's fabulous. I still blog every M W F on Organising Queen. I was in bed on the weekend reading, reading, reading and I thought, wow, in the old days I'd be banging out a post and now I'm ... in bed reading :)

I did get up to date on the kids' blog, March pics backed up and so on, so my system, although a big OCD, is still working great for me, some 3 years later.

I must say..... I'm loving the cooler weather. The heat is why I've been so unproductive. I only fully realised once it got a bit cooler.

3. My friends' spreadsheet has a total of 34 people on it. Way too many but I've colour-coded it so I don't feel overwhelmed. After I updated the weekend contacts, I see I've seen/ spoken to/ properly connected with 17 of those 34 which is just perfect, don't you think?

4. We had a show house yesterday. Nanny S and I cleaned and the house was sparkling.... but show houses are no joke. We had to readjust our schedule and go to early (full and chaotic) church so that we'd have cleaning time, pay Nanny S double time for those hours, I had to schlep kids around the shops to grocery shop (to use up the time) and then I tortured myself in the Spur and bought the kids and I a waffle and tea to share. And finally it was 5 pm and I could return home.

D and I prayed over our list so now we are just waiting for the perfect buyer to walk through that door and fall in love with this house. This perfect buyer will also have his/ her 10% deposit plus costs saved, and will be more than qualified to get the right size bond. :) (this is how we talk)

Jodi from Practising Simplicity posted on IG last week about needing to find a new rental house and a commenter said, get clear on what you do want not what you don't, go outside, open your arms and thank the Universe, or some such new-agey stuff, but I thought, HEY, God said this stuff first, so we made our list, added our Bible verses and prayed.

5. Term 2 started (oh, right, I didn't say anything - our kids did awesome last term. Interestingly, they both got their worst mark for listening. HA!) and we are in the swing of homework but the boy is (sadly) like his mother and does not like leaving his bed. D tells me he escaped the teacher with the late register by milliseconds.

How are you doing?
Which random thoughts are on your mind?

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

March was an excellent reading month

The ONE good thing about the heat would have to be my reluctance to move from the couch because that means..............lots of reading :) :)

I wrote a lot about my favourite book of the month here.

I really had a great reading month. I haven't read 10 books a month since Dec (chasing my 2015 reading goal) but before that, who knows when?!

Two non-fiction - both amazing reads, and most of those fiction books were 4 stars, so I had lots of fun.

3 Irish reads :) :)

If you read the same type of books as I do, check my Goodreads profile for full reviews. Goodreads sent me an email today to tell me I've posted 280 reviews (!) and am thus in the top 1% of reviewers.

How interesting.

And the most viewed review of mine is............... I will carry you. Go check it out. That was the first book I bought on the Kindle in 2011 :) if memory serves me correctly.

What was your favourite thing to do or read in March?

Friday, April 01, 2016

{Friendship Friday} The phone date

I've had three friend dates in the last week - two in-person and one phone date.

Well first I wrote about the friends spreadsheet here and a friend said, "hey, put me on that spreadsheet, we can do a phone date".

Why didn't I think of that??? :)

Anyway, so she is on the spreadsheet.

I happened to be chatting to another friend on whatsapp (yes, I can stand it in very small doses) and so we made a phone date for Monday.

Do you know what? We spoke for 1 hour 50 minutes.

It was glorious! Glorious! We're going to do this more often and I can't wait.

Aside from that, I also had two "real" in-person dates, one on a Sunday afternoon and one straight after work. Both were, of course, lovely.

It definitely takes effort to connect and I so appreciate it when friends make the effort to connect with me.

My one friend has a 30-minute drive home from work and she always uses this time to catch up on phone calls she needs to return and then to catch up with friends. If it's after 1 pm and I see her number pop up, I know she's on her way home. I love it!

What kind of unconventional ways do you connect with your friends?
Where, on a scale of 1 - 10, is your friendship satisfaction meter for March?

PS has anyone tried Voxer? I've downloaded the app but none of my contacts are on it. It's a voicemail thing, like texts but voicemail.
PPS I've had 7 dates in March, all one-on-one :) :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Can we talk about bodywash?

My brain is fried and though I have lots to say about the Instagram drama, let's talk about something lighter today.


First, I only use bodywash in summer. In winter I use soap because it doesn't feel so cold on the sponge. When I'm feeling fancy I use glycerine soap to give my skin extra moisture but otherwise it's Dove.

I always used to get gift packs of bodywash and body lotion so I haven't bought my own stuff for years and years... til I stopped getting those gifts.

Granted, it's better if I don't get them because I'm also a bit selective (fussy) in that I'm very sensitive to smells, so I only use vanilla, sandalwood and "clean, unfragranced scents". Oh, and cocoa butter also works although is not my very favourite fragrance. I also like a creamy soap.

So I've had to buy some bodywash of late, it being the summer that never ends (!!!! it's nearly APRIL and still so hot!).

I spent what felt like hours combing the aisles of Clicks and Pick and Pay, and friends, there is a thing like too much choice.

I left the first time empty-handed and then my MIL had this one in a hand wash in her guest bathroom, I wrote down the name because it's a nice natural smell, and got myself a bottle.

The handwash at the top is the one I use in our bathroom and it also has a nice clean, neutral smell.

But tell me, what do you use? Can you recommend anything?
Also, is it me or is R38 a bit steep for soap????

I always feel a bit cheap saying things like that but oh well, I call it good stewardship of my money.

But quick - a funny story. A girl at work had a STUNNING lip colour so I asked her for the name and brand (Frost by MAC) but then when I heard how much MAC is (R220!), I promptly tossed the post-it note away. That is just too much for lipstick. My most expensive lipstick was R90 (Rimmel).

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

So we had ourselves a little Valentine's playdate

Rimmel's Punk Rock

Some of you know I like a half-birthday playdate for the kids because, well, winter parties are just not as fun.

We were away this year for the half-birthday and since they're in school proper, looks like we'll always be away for their proper birthday and half-birthday, which really, is there anything better?

So we settled on a Valentine's playdate instead.

We invited about 8 kids, 4 accepted and 3 sets pitched, which is about standard for my RSVP rates. When the one mom RSVP'd, she asked if the kids should wear red and white, and I said, "That's a fabulous idea. Why not?"

Our craft one day was to make red paper hearts. Surprisingly I had no red paper so we used the side of crayons and coloured white paper.

We had pink, red and white food which was really fun once you get your head in the game. Can I just give a shout-out to Woolies for their beetroot chips? Expensive (R24 a bag) but YUMMY!

The kids ate apples, yoghurt, marshmallows and a few cupcakes. Good for me, they were not into the beetroot chips - more for me!

I thought the moms would stay too but sadly, they didn't. The one mom did want to stay but she had to take her other kid to a party.

Oh well.

While I'm on it, am I the only one who still doesn't have a school mom friend? I have three that I can text to check details, but that's not friends, it's friendly. The one mom I am more friendly with but it's not like we talk apart from matters regarding the kids.

Connor's hands
The kids all played nicely together and were so adorable that I said at one point, "you guys are SO cute!" and the one child said to me, "if you think we're cute, you should see the new Grade Rs" (she is very precocious and I love it!).

And that was that. Kids were all collected on time, tidy up was super quick and that was our social for Feb.

I think I need to do a little playdate once every 2 months - the kids love it, I actually get stuff in the house done because the kids are occupied, and it's really low-maintenance - I probably didn't even need to buy any extra food, except the cupcakes.

To keep them entertained, I just put out plain paper, colouring pages, glue, scissors, craft sticks, crayons and such, and I leave the kids to create. And run around the garden of course :)

Kendra's hands

I had big plans for this week (all mental!) but I've felt so lazy that I've made exactly no plans with anyone. I did get all my organising done that I wanted to, and I've read a lot already. But while I'm thinking about it, I quickly whatsapped one friend :)

So what are you up to this week?

Monday, March 21, 2016

My little photo project

So far my little project is going very well.

I've got the whole thing down to just a few short minutes every Sunday - it's WONDERFUL.

I take about 30 pics in about 2 minutes, and there's usually something good there :)

The only thing is... I'm now so fast at getting the pics that I've started forgetting about getting some of me with the kids.

I haven't had this problem for 4 years so when I was doing my Feb project life on Saturday night and I couldn't find any pics of me and the kids, we had to fix it the very next day.

And from now onwards I'll be more diligent in getting D to come take a pic, or I'll get a selfie with the kids or something.

But for now, enjoy K & C's 52 project for Feb :)

How are your 2016 photo projects going thus far?
Are you getting in photos with the kids?


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