Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New work rhythms




I've been working from home 1 day a week probably for just over a year now.

This only happens if there is a day with no meetings, so during busy periods there just are meetings every day, which kind-of sucks :)

After one of the holiday weeks, I think it might have been the week after the Easter weekend, we had meetings daily and it about killed me. I was exhausted on the Friday.

It's fascinating to me how quickly I got used to that extra day out of the office. Because whether that day is a Tues, Wed or Thurs, it does mean that I never have to go to the office for more than 3 days in a row.

Before you all think I'm extremely spoiled, let me remind you that a good day in traffic is 45 minutes one way.

Yes, it's long but it's good podcasting or audio book time.



So let's talk about my work rhythms when I'm at home.
  1. I take it super slow in the morning. What I should do and only do about 20% of the time is read. Mostly I scroll Instagram.
  2. I shower, dress, etc. at my leisure (while listening to a podcast) and eat breakfast while reading.
  3. Then I get to work and I make sure I do all my good work until 2.25 til I have to leave to fetch the kids. One of my delights in life is doing the mom thing. 
  4. I walk to fetch them and we chat while walking back. It's very sweet to see their little friends and hear them calling to me as C's mom or K's mom.
  5. I then quickly make our lunch (my love language is acts of service, so I love doing this kind of thing) , take my food back to the computer and eat while I continue working.
  6. I usually end a bit early - around 4. But sometimes it's like a full day and I end at 6ish. I'm task-oriented so I know what I want to get done and I work til it's done.


Today was a work from home day and I went on a quick photo hunt for autumn photos at lunch, and when I finished work, I went to the shops for (more) long-sleeved school shirts. On other days, I might run an errand or two, or meet a friend for lunch or tea. Next week, I need to go get two small things sorted on my car.

It's actually the absolute best of both worlds.

I love being at home because of all the above... and I love being in the office because... people! and stuff going on! and sorting stuff out with internal departments. And if the people there annoy me a bit, I tell myself, only a day or two til I get a break and get to work from home :)

I'm writing this mostly to remind me of how much my current role suits my skill set and my lifestyle, especially as this is the start of Busy Season.

So what do you like about your current job? Does it work with your introvert/ extrovert self?

Monday, May 08, 2017

A complete mixed bag :0



So I'm having a fabulous reading year.

I consciously starting spending fewer hours on social media each day last year, and that habit has thankfully continued so it's translated well to my reading.

And I realised I could actually read much more if I didn't listen to any podcasts or I didn't blog on Organising Queen.

But as it stands, I'm really happy with my reading life at the moment. I'm listening to enough books, and reading a more or less equal number of physical and Kindle/ Overdrive books.

How happy are you with your reading life on a scale of 1 - 10?
 

These were my April books.

I read 12 in total - 1 audible, 7 Kindle and 4 physical books.

Books that received 4 out of 5 * (I have probably given only 2 - 3 5* reviews per 100 books read)

  1. Mad about you
  2. Two Fridays in April
  3. My husband's wife
  4. Oxygen (our book club read)
  5. Little Beach Street Bakery (Jenny Colgan
  6. The Marriage Lie
Most disappointing read
Recipes for love and murder

Books that were really well-written (and that also made me happy - English/ Irish setting?)
Mad about you and Two Fridays in April

There were a couple of books where I'd invested too much time in and would have abandoned if not for that little fact because it's not like you can add up all the half-read books :)

Still, hopefully this month will be a great reading month too.

I already read a fantastic non-fiction which I talked about a little on Instagram if you want to see.

But back to you.

Tell me about your most disappointing read in April, and one that made you super happy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

So hey, it's May!



We've just been away for 5 days and I feel like I want to write before I forget things.

Driving there was easy-peasy. Still took us 5.5 hours because we stopped at the Dinosaur Park on the way. This was part of our bright idea to make the journey part of the holiday.

This is not my usual style - I really like to Get There and I don't like Faffing Around while travelling :)

Yesterday it took us 6.5 hours to get back. Only one stop but LOTS of roadblocks. Remind me to not travel on a public holiday again.

I'll put up a post with pictures when I finished deleting all the duds :)



April was good, wasn't it?

It feels like it was both busy and relaxing, which is super weird. Maybe it feels busy because of all the public holidays because I don't feel like I had many socials. I did get to see two friends I haven't seen the whole year so that was really, really nice.

Book club is going well. So well I'm seriously thinking of starting another book club - this time for children.

Am I mad? 

I've started a Goodreads account for Connor (I still have to do Kendra's one) and they tell me what they like and don't like. Granted, it's like pulling teeth but I want to get them used to enjoying books. I keep telling them it's the best thing in the world to have time to read :)



Other than socials and reading (which I'll of course write more about), I've been thinking a lot about friendship and such. That post is still percolating but I'll write when I'm ready.

Aside from that, I had a Brazilian Hairdo that didn't work. The lady is cross about it (I was very nice but I whatsapped her 2 videos of my non-straight hair...) so now it's awkward to go back. For the love!

So how was your April? Did you go away? How was the trip? And how's your hair looking?

PS this was the first holiday in years (maybe 6 - 7 years) where I didn't take my laptop!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Yay, it's freedom week!



Three things make this freedom week:

1) my one friend has resigned from work and she finishes on Wednesday - so excited for her :)

2) it's Freedom Day on Thursday. For the non-South Africans, here's a write-up from Wikipedia

Freedom Day is a South African public holiday (its national day), celebrated on 27 April. It celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994. The elections were the first non-racial national elections where everyone of voting age of over 18 from any race group, including foreign citizens permanently resident in South Africa,[1] were allowed to vote. Previously, under the apartheid regime, non-whites had only limited rights to vote.


3) we're going on a little break this week too - woohoo - our first holiday since moving into this house and high time, if you ask me!

Of course, freedom is my number 1 value so I'm very passionate about the concept of freedom. Turns out it's important to God too. This is my favourite scripture about freedom:

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” NIV


This blog post is short and sweet because it's pay day tomorrow and I need to do my budget recon before all the new money comes in :)

But tell me, what does freedom mean to you? What are you planning for Freedom Week?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter!


It's the end of the Easter weekend and it's been a really lovely one.

Relaxing, even!

I had this bright idea to invite D's mom for Good Friday lunch. Well, I said sometime over the weekend, and D said, "let's do it on Good Friday so it's over and done with". He is a keeper and comes up with the best ideas!

So that's what we did and our only people commitments were over and done with.



A few notable moments:
  1. church on Good Friday morning
  2. family lunch afterwards
  3. RAIN!
  4. running around the garden with my camera after the rains - this is my best!
  5. reading, reading, reading my Jenny Colgan
  6. gym as usual on Saturday morning
  7. supreme chilling and pottering
  8. playing with my website for hours and hours and hours (some of this was pure torture but needs must... and the one thing is still not fixed - my picture was linking to an old domain I've let go and I can't find where to change that in the code)
  9. Remembering that Jesus rose from the dead! 
  10. An Easter egg hunt - this is Connor's favourite thing of the whole year - he's been talking about it since January.... and they had such fun. We have a much bigger garden so they were occupied forever.
  11. more chilling
  12. a power outage, short walk and "the best supper ever" (French bread with cheese/ apple slices/ yoghurt and a mini doughnut in case you want to replicate :)) by candlelight
  13. the power came on after two hours so I RAN to the kettle to make tea and jumped into bed with my book 
and here we are - Monday.



We're going to see a movie later - Boss Baby. I adore Alec Baldwin, especially his voice, so I can't wait.

But the best news for today is.....tomorrow Alec Baldwin's memoir releases. Of course I pre-ordered so I will get it at midnight!

How was your Easter weekend?

PS My children have just discovered Siri and it's the most fun ever!

Friday, April 07, 2017

I'm falling into completely bad habits



I once successfully started a good habit of cleaning my face every night before bed. I remember I started that habit on 21 March (of whichever year) because we went to see Michael Buble that evening.

And then in July when we went on holiday, my good streak was broken and I never started up again.

I've been in a great sleep habit for a long time but I do track it which is the magic pill for me.

Anything I track I do well :)

But last week I read past 1 am on two nights because I have no discipline to go to sleep instead of reading.

But I confessed on Instagram on Monday and it's been good accountability for me because I've been in bed by 10.30 this whole week.

However, the weekend is near so who knows what'll happen :0



Last month, March, I had a spectacularly great reading month with 12 books.

I finished my Maeve Binchy on the Wed night, the end of the month was Friday and I posted on Instagram "wondering" if I'd just relax or try to read another. All while I was charging my Kindle. It's like my body knew before my mind had been made up.

So I checked the books available (still 31!) and selected the Lisa Hall, a psychological thriller (I think that's what you call these books). I read and read and read, and finished it outside of work, kids, school meetings and coaching calls, after 1am.

I was knackered the next day but it was great to completely dive in for a long stretch. Like the pre-kids days :)

The stats
12 read
5 non-fiction; 7 fiction
Most books read in one day, 14th March - 2 books (while on flights to and from Cape Town)
Audible: Kindle: Physical = 1:5:6

Noteworthy
I read my first Jodi Picoult and I loved it despite some hot-button topics!
I of course loved the Liane Moriarty, the Hypnotist's Love Story. She writes such great books full of discussion topics, perfect for book clubs :)

I'm currently reading Friends like us, Irish fiction by a new-to-me author, and I'm listening to Jen Hatmaker's For the Love, which I got through the free Overdrive app through my library membership.

What are you reading and listening to?

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Let's talk about comparison

Guys, it feels like forever since we've chatted even though it's not even been a week!

Ha - my standards are low these days.




Anyway, I want to talk about comparison.

This has come up 4 times for me recently:

1. Our podcast club had this come up as a question on our parenting, like do you compare yourself with other mothers in your parenting?

Both of us said no. Great!

Do you compare yourself in that way? How?



2. Then, I listened to this podcast and this guest said her reading had started to feel competitive because of Instagram. Like you start judging the books you read - are they cool enough, literary enough, up to date enough?

I get that. I don't care what Instagram followers think but I realised that I actually don't listen to that very podcast because I compare myself to those guests and feel like my reading is not literary enough.

Then I started listening again.

Really weird.



3. Design Mom linked to this post where he talks about the way to be happier.

Do you know what that is?

To think like a bronze medalist and not like the silver one. The thinking is that when you're the silver medalist you compare up, and say "oh, I missed the gold. I should have been faster" but when you're the bronze medalist, you compare down so you're grateful to place 3rd.

I, of course, thought of instagram, which is the gold medal. Everything is perfect and all are in the top 1% of experiences - perfect holidays, houses, clothes, families, etc.

We look at that perfection and we're unhappy because we don't have that - or maybe you have.

What we should do is think about all the things we do have that others don't. Some people don't even have houses, families, jobs, money for new clothes, etc.

It all comes down to perspective but it's a great reminder.



4. And then this post.

This post says that basically we're confident until we compare. That's also true.

We've all had instances where we were quite happy with a situation and then we found out more information (someone else's salary, job title, what they drive, etc.) and then suddenly we're unhappy with our lot.

Tell me what you think.
Do you battle with comparison?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bookish things a whole month late

I was looking for my Feb post and realised.... I never posted about my books.

February was a great month for reading for many reasons:

  1. We had our first book club.
  2. I discovered Overdrive (free digital and audio books that are actually things I want to read, not the cheap stuff from Bookbub) 
  3. 11 books!

Let's talk about the books:

8 fiction; 3 non-fiction
3 Audible; 3 Physical; 5 Kindle books


  • The one that delighted me the most - Parenting without Power Struggles (but listen at 1.25 speed)
  • New-to-me author that I'll definitely read again - Clare Dowling's Just the three of us
  • Old but loved author - Carole Matthews's A cottage by the sea, and....
  • Our book club read - I let you go, a solid 4* book
My word of the year is GIVE. And yes, I've been giving but I've been receiving a lot too. God is so fun!

One friend sent me a $10 Amazon gift card :) :) (imagine the Spanish dancing girl emoji)


Have you read a new-to-you author lately?
Or an old but loved author?

I'll be back next week with my March books ;)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Let's talk about lunches... yours, not kids

The other day I read a post on Cup of Jo about work lunches and this, of course, prompted a discussion in the office, because I am fascinated by the daily minutae of other people's lives.

Or inquisitive. Take your pick.





I generally see food as "breakfast", "lunch" or "supper" food and I don't like to mix my categories unless I'm super lazy.

So I never eat cereal for anything other than breakfast (unless there was food at a 9 am meeting and I had that instead of my cereal).

If I eat too many "lunch" meals which I actually define as "supper", I'll get bored with supper meals and that is not a good thing...

I typically bring a sandwich of some sort with a protein and veg, and then fruits and a yoghurt for my snacks.


Carb - always wholewheat bread, otherwise on a Monday, I may bring a roll if we have any left over from the weekend
Protein - tuna/ egg/ ham/ cheese (rarely, because then I have to bring a grater to work too)
Veg - usually tomato, sometimes cucumber, sometimes carrots



Favourite winter lunches:
  • Garlic roll, my homemade soup (which is lentil and vegetable - always at least 1 P/ 2 V on Weighless)
  • Toast, oodles of cottage cheese, Weigh-Less tomato and roasted pepper soup/ my own homemade soup
  • Wholewheat toast, baked beans and soup
  • Leftover pasta :)
Favourite summer lunches:

Wholewheat toast with
  • tuna mixed with onion, tomato and a smidge of mayonnaise (and a mint sweet for afterwards :))
  • eggs (I either make an omelette with onions, or I "boil" the eggs in the microwave at work, and slice them with tomatoes)
  • cottage cheese mixed with avo, and cucumber slices
Now that I'm looking at my lunches, no wonder I'm so bored.



I'm not the type of person (there are plenty, I've found) who can eat the same thing for lunch day in and day out. I'd go mental.'

And I'm soooo not a salad person. I need salads on my sandwich, not in place of :)

So, some ideas from the comments on Cup of Jo...
  • one lady said she takes supper leftovers for lunch and the fact that she needs food for the leftovers is a great incentive to not overeat at supper. LOVE this idea (in theory) because there are only ever leftovers if I make pasta, and in winter I do take this in maybe twice a month.
  • some people cook a lunch meal on the Sunday and eat the same thing Mon - Thurs... 
  • smoothies...

In our office, some buy a salad from the trolley (pasta for the boys and greens for the girls), some pop to the mall to buy lunch, some bring leftovers and some bring a bag full of stuff to assemble lunch at work (me!).

What do you typically eat for lunch?

PS a post from 4 years ago on the kids' lunches. And another one specifically on school lunch boxes.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Things that are making me super happy

I just checked on the date of my last post and.. it was two weeks ago.

Anyway.....

I'm using the writing of this post as a warm-up for my "real" writing on OrganisingQueen because I have a goal to write 5 posts this week.


1. It's practically a public holiday today

I feel very strongly that when a public holiday is on a Tuesday or Thursday, it's almost a sin to not take the Monday or Friday as leave :)

I always take these days off unless I'm out of leave...

Sadly, D is working but I did have a date with my cuties instead.



2. Book club

Oh my gosh, book club is making me so happy. We've started, we've had two meetings and people are reading!

I'm so enjoying all the bookish talk and really, why did I not do this earlier?!



3. Nanny S is back

Nanny S's sister died last weekend so she was off for the week again (that's three weeks in the last month). That part is not happy at all.

But she was back today. I told the kids if she's back then we can have the date mentioned above but if not, probably we'll be working.....probably doing laundry.

We did work on the kids' rooms because they want to share a room and not have their own rooms.

We'll have to see how this goes because their neatness personalities do not align...

Is anything making you happy today?
Share in the comments!

Monday, March 06, 2017

Losing your identity

So I've just read this awesome post on Design Mom about losing your identity (or not) once you become a mother.

Go read.... I'll wait.



I'll tell you what happened with me if you're interested.

I think I lost some of my career ambitions and drive while trying to fall pregnant. I honestly don't know how others get through infertility with everything intact :)

It feels like my 30's were taken up trying to fall pregnant (4 years), being pregnant, having babies, surviving the twins and then I blinked and I was 39 in that awful job.

I'm fine now but I don't think our marriage is even close to what it was pre-twins and I certainly feel like I've lost a lot of my ambition.

I love my children with an indescribable amount of all-consuming passion but I also know I love when I'm engaged in client solutions at my workplace.

I could never be a SAHM and I'm not sure if that's a brain thing or a personality thing; all I know is that I've had 5 months at home for maternity leave, 4 months on sabbatical and .... it's not for me.

Do you feel you lost your identity when you became a mother?
Or has it, as some of those commenters said, moved you towards your identity?


Tell me what you think.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

We've just about survived!

Here I sit on a Thursday night and Nanny S is due to come back on Monday.

Things I've noticed while she's been away:

she's much, much better at keeping up with the laundry than I am


D took all his shirts and two of Connor's school shirts to an ironing service on Monday because I simply don't iron. Ever.

I've been doing a load every two days - first colours, then whites, etc. I did a whites load today and there's enough for another whites load tomorrow but I'm going to just ignore it until Saturday so D can help.

our food lasts so much longer

for some reason, we have only had to buy fruit (the same fruit we usually buy every week) once every two weeks.

I go through cleaning cloths super quickly



I have a love relationship with microfibre cleaning cloths. I have a ton so I use one a day and toss in the wash because I can't stand the slightest bit of smell :)

the kids are getting away with murder with her

She's definitely picking up after them a bit too much. We don't do that at all and find ourselves telling them to pick up their stuff, wipe down/shake crumbs off placemats, put clothes in the laundry basket, etc.

Connor really loves a star chart

Every day he asks me for his list and tackles that list with singular focus. He's super motivated by a goal like I am.

Kendra is motivated by chilling :)



She couldn't care less about stars but just wants to be done so she can laze around (this is Francois blood!)

So while we're excited to have Nanny S back, it does make me think we could probably do with only 3 full days or half days!



We've planned to go eat out on Sunday to celebrate all of our hard work these two weeks :)

What are you excited about these days?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wet laundry, nanny stuff and weight

I fell into the Instagram coma this morning while having my tea and watching the rain with one eye.... so I'm taking 15 minutes at work to quickly bash this out while I wait for a client to arrive.


1. It's been pouring with rain for two days now and I'm loving it. I love, love, love rain.

What I don't love is getting my laundry dry. Today when I get home I think I'll use the tumble drier for 20 minutes.

Do you have a tumble drier? I first fell in love with these amazing appliances when I was at Rhodes. I was smitten and we had one before we even had a washing machine!

A pity electricity is so expensive otherwise I'd use it more :)


2. Our nanny's sister is very sick so she's gone home to Zim for two weeks.

We are bribing the kids with a weekend treat (movies this week and restaurant for all of us next weekend) to keep them responsible. But it's actually a lot - working, cooking, cleaning, chasing kids, etc. I was pooped last night and I just collapsed with my book.

I realise that Nanny S does way too much for them simply because it's easier for her. However, it doesn't teach them independence.

3. I need to do something about my weight.

I'm not prepared to do banting or other such stuff. I have no insulin resistance - the two dieticians I consulted about this said this is really the only group of people who should bant.

So I guess that means cutting out something.... I suppose carbs at supper is the obvious one but oh my word, carbs are my love language.....

I don't want to lose a lot - 7 kg is enough - but I also don't want to have to radically alter my life :)

Tips? Tricks?

Anyone else want to share a few things on their mind?



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:


goals
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.


podcasts
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.



books
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!



Afrikaans
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.

Yes!

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?

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