Thursday, October 02, 2014

11 weeks, 6 days

Yoh, Yesterday I could NOT stop smiling. I forget anything else that happened in the intervening week.

I still feel like The. Most. Boring pregnant lady. Ever. Everyone still keeps checking in on me and asking how I am, how is baby doing. I'm fine. I assume the baby was fine. It's hard to tell, really. I began to feel bad (only a little) about feeling fine. Nothing I'd consider a craving. Nothing overly emotional. Still no morning sickness.

Honestly it all made me a little nervous in the build up to The First Gynae Appointment. Nothing obvious had happened to make me question if all was well and ticking along as it should inside ... but it also felt a little like nothing much had happened at all. Okay so I don't feel 100% normal. But I wouldn't say I feel pregnant either.

So I woke up with nervous butterflies yesterday morning. The Trucker was excited! And off we went.

Oh. My. Gosh. That was hands down, the Best. Day. Ever. The first scan left me feeling good but still not really connected to my pregnancy or the funny little peanut shape in the photos. It was just something that was happening to my (still feeling very distant) future, not really my present, if that makes any sense. But yesterday, yesterday there was a baby! I am having a Baby.

It looked human. And although the photo prints we got are pretty blurry and don't even hint at all the awesome amazing things we saw, I can still vividly see it all in my mind. It was an incredible experience.

So yes, it looked human. With a huge head and a little body. Happily bobbing back and forth in the small space it's been allocated. She showed us the spine. The Spine! And we saw all the little rib bones. And fingers. 5 finger bones on one of the hands! And the 2 forearm bones. See the aerial view below. The best of the scan pictures we got, showing the Baby's head and arm, upper body and umbilical cord.

The definition on the face was still too blurry, but you could definitely tell which was the front of the head. We even saw a leg as she made it wriggle around ... trying to get a better view of the nuchal translucency.

Which is all fine. 1.7 and apparently they only worry if it's over 3.5. I went for the blood test after my appointment tho, for the Downs probability. She doesn't sound at all worried, so that's also a relief. Not that I was really worried about that. But it is just one of the things, you know?

And we finally got to hear that most amazing sound, the heart beat! It is incredible. And then I laughed and ruined it. Haha. Had to stifle myself to listen, but it was just so much overwhelming happy emotion! Really, no one can describe it till you experience it for yourself. 162 beats per minute. Looking good :)

So yes. All in all an amazing incredible experience. And I presume the scans just get better and better from here! Oh, and she showed us the tiny stomach, which she said was full (someone must've just had breakfast - haha). And we're currently measuring head to rump at just over 5cm! (I forget the exact amount). Incredible. Still so tiny ... but so much detail!

I am too excited.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

I actually really liked this book. It sounded mildly entertaining, but I enjoyed the (diary) style and the story more than I expected. It is definitely an interesting scenario. Yikes.

I am definitely going to be giving the sequel a try :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Taste of Joburg 2014

So we almost missed Taste again this year (I missed it for the first time last year when we were in USA & Bermuda) ... we were due to arrive back from Turkey at around 10am and I doubt after a lengthy flight either of us would've been up for it. But this is one of the things I'm considering a perk of us having had to postpone our trip.

Although I'll be honest when we arrived at Monte it certainly did not start out feeling that way. When we headed thru the casino to the "entrance", we saw the queue ... and we walked and walked, following it, trying to find a place at the end. The queue wound it's way around Monte and we eventually found the end at the entrance to the movies. OMG. We did consider turning around right there!

Luckily we waited around to see how fast the queue would move and were pleasantly surprised. 15 minutes after we took our place at the end of the queue we were out the Monte doors and into the sunshine and it wasn't too long after that that we got thru the entrance gates to Taste. Moods sufficiently soothed we'd had sufficient time while queuing to decide on what we wanted to eat and the next move was acquiring our scoins (wonder how much the South African Coin Exchange paid for that priviledge?).

So originally neither of us had circled that much, but I feel we tasted quite a lot by the time we left (2 hours later). I was certainly feeling quite stuffed and we blew the last of our scoins on Lindt truffles ;)

Our first stop was The Blackanese Sushi Bar (a place on my "to go" list), but sadly they seem to have removed the Spinach & Cream Cheese, Beef & Ginger Dim Sum that we both wanted to try off their menu. Pity.

Not to be deterred, Le Sel @ The Cradle was next door and we had each circled an item to try there :) I had my eye on their Lamb Tagine Rolled in aubergine & served with babaganoush (ah, I have such memories of the babaganoush I had on my holiday in Egypt. I can only hope to find some in Turkey!). Let me just say, that to start, this was a superb decision. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And even The Trucker, who isn't as much a fan of aubergine as I am, wolfed down his half!

He ordered their Chai tea infused Creme Brulee. Very tasty!

From there we headed to Sprout360 and shared their Leek & Spring Onion Risotto Balls with coriander pesto and black olive sand. I made sure my Ball did not touch any sand :/ Quite nice, but a very mild flavour from where we'd come.

Then we wandered some of the little stalls and discovered Fruize Gourmet Ice Pops. We tried their Apple, Cucumber & Mint (yes!) and then before we left we went back and tried their Strawberry & Balsamic (not quite as good, or maybe I was too full by this point). I would definitely get some of those Apple, Cucumber & Mint ones for my freezer this summer!

Across from here, we spotted the Liquid Smoke stand. We've been on the hunt for this stuff ever since we saw it in an Indian Curry recipe (apparently the very reason they were importing it themselves!). I'd seen the website which said you could get it from some Spars, but have never actually found it. So we got ourselves a bottle of the European Beech. Yay.

I think at this point I was very thirsty ... and, as far as the eye could see, there were only alcohol brands. When that's what they're promoting, I suspect they don't take kindly to someone asking for a "Virgin". But, luckily I came across something I have been dying to try! Happy Me's Bubble Tea. We tried a Berry one with Yoghurt bubbles (twice). I like it :) But it is a very weird sensation the first time!

Then it was definitely time for more food! I think I hit Roots@Forum Homini for their dessert, Lemon Tart served with Almond ice cream, verbena & dehydrated citrus while The Trucker got the Nkomazi Chicken Curry Bunny Chow with butternut atchar & brinjal chutney from Licorish next door.

Both were superb! The lemon tart was divine, I could definitely have done with a larger portion. And the bunny was very tasty and so cute in the little roll!

Then I stopped at Gwefey (which I'm dying to go back to, if only they'd open one closer than Sandton!) for their Hong Kong Sweet Chicken Pies (Hong Kong pastry stuffed with chicken in char siu sauce). When I saw them, I knew I'd had them previously at their restaurant and how divine they were! So so good. The Trucker barely got a taste, I wolfed them down before he realised how good they were - haha.

After that I got my Spicy peanut calamari from Beluga which wasn't quite what I was expecting. But it was nice :) And The Trucker who has a complete aversion to all things "fishy" even tried it and liked it. While eating it, I noticed that That's Amore was next door. It's been on my list of restaurants to try for a while so I was disappointed to realise I had nothing circled ...

But, I noticed they had a Melanzane special which wasn't on the printed menu! My fave. I penned it in for later because The Trucker was dragging me off  to the Woodview Beef stall for the Wagyu Beef Slider he'd been waiting for all afternoon.

Okay, so this was the only stall with a significant queue that never seemed to dissipate, but it moved quickly enough and this was the one thing we both ordered. Yum!

Then we bumped into @clairam and some other friends and went and hung out with them in the Castle Milk Stout tent. The Trucker had a beer and I stood around bemoaning the sheer lack of non-alcoholic beverage options ... and eventually went to get myself a 2nd Bubble Tea from Happy Me.

After a catch-up drink, The Trucker headed for the Vivace at The Radisson Blu, Sandton's Mini vetkoek filled with curried lamb mince & peach mint chutney. I'm not sure if he really wasn't that impressed with it or just didn't want to share ... haha, either way I didn't get a look in.

Which was fine by me, at the same time I was eating a very ordinary Traditional Crepes with Strawberry & cream from Food Ink.

After that we were really feeling the need to sit and find some shade ... but in lieu of that, we got ourselves a Peanut Butter Las Paletas ice cream instead :) Brought back memories of New York's High Line!

After that everything was ticked off so we headed to get my Melanzane from That's Amore as our last dish. And on our way there we found the actual Woodview stall selling Wagyu meat, which I reckon pretty much made the entire afternoon for The Trucker! He promptly bought us a rump, which he cooked for us on Sunday evening. It was delish :)

Anyway, The Trucker didn't bother to taste my melanzane since he isn't much of a fan of aubergine. It didn't look that impressive, but it tasted good. I was very happy I'd spotted it on their specials board!

But now I was really struggling and full and hot so we decided it was time to leave, after one last stop at Lindt ;)

All in all, yet another wonderful afternoon spent enjoying fabulous flavours ... but who knows if we'll still be in Joburg for next year's one? Perhaps we'll be in time for Taste of Cape Town next year instead ;) Although it looks like it is in April, and we'll be otherwise occupied (!) and won't have moved yet back, so probably we'll only see you again in 2016.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Foodie Weekend

Shew. It was actually a good weekend. By Sunday evening I felt like it had been longer than usual. Unheard of, really.

So yes, good, aside from this whole being sick thing. No, not morning sick, coughy-snotty-sneezy sick. It is driving me nuts. I've been taking the same stuff the Doc gave me last time (about all I can take, apparently) ... and this morning I'm actually feeling a little better for the first time in days. It's typical tho, only really bad in the mornings and evenings. Vampire Flu, anyone?

On Friday evening we went for dinner with some friends at Curry Palace. I'd never been before and it was quite yummy :)

On Saturday The Trucker was up early sorting out the tiler for our patio and buying the gutters etc. Very exciting. So yes, the next phase of Patio is complete and looking fantastic. I love the tiles we chose, they hide the dirt (which is why I wanted something darker) and they are non-slip. And just generally awesome! Can NOT wait for The Trucker to fix the bamboo to the roof and put the gutters up and it to be pretty much done (there will still be one or two little things to finish but it'll be usable).

In the afternoon we did the annual pilgrimage to Taste of Joburg (full blog post coming). It was awesome, but shew, a hot afternoon! We didn't stay very late and then didn't do much for the rest of the day.

On Sunday we took back the last box of tiles (one of two that I'd rushed out to buy at the last minute yesterday) and some unopened grouting before heading to breakfast at Doppio and then grocery shopping.

When we got home, we cleaned the tiles (they were still covered in the grouting dust) and put everything back on the patio. And then The Trucker mowed the lawn!

In the evening he cooked us some Wagyu beef (from Taste) and made us some Smoky Mash (we also bought ourselves some Liquid Smoke at Taste). Dinner was amazeballs!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Just What I Needed

Ah Friday. And the best kind of Friday ... because I'm still home and in my pj's. Sure, I have my laptop open and have already sent 5 work emails and responded to GTalks (before 7:30am). But working from home is still a win.

And this week was even more win with that sneaky Wednesday public holiday :) I can NOT explain sufficiently how that was quite possibly the highlight of my Whole. Month!

So yeah, work was somehow more manageable this week. And on Tuesday/mini-Friday, The Trucker and I decided to give the new Pizza Hut that just opened in Honeydew a try.

So, I have had Pizza Hut before. I don't think we had it in America, but I definitely had it in Canada. And well, you know me and new things ... had to give it a try. My first impression was that the menu is very small. But, we were pretty much there for an American reminder of proper Pepperoni pizza, so that was okay.

After queuing a little to place our order, we were told it'd take 40mins. Not too bad, we thought, because the Pizza Perfect closer to home (where we usually get our pepperoni fix ... strangely a pizza I never ate before America and is now our standard order!) can take anything from 1 - 1.5 hours on a Friday night if you call around 7pm.

We wandered to the nearby Woolies. Which turned out to be a win for us. We stocked up on breakfast supplies and things for our Rib braai the next day. So by the time we got home from Pizza Hut, we needn't leave the house again till Thursday morning :) And we didn't, except for taking Pepper for a walk in the afternoon. That, I think, was a large part of why Wednesday's Public Holiday was so perfect!

Anyway, we got our pizza's home and to be completely honest, I didn't really enjoy them. The Pepperoni one I was so looking forward to had crisped pepperoni on top ... it had obviously been cooked. Usually it doesn't because it is under the cheese, I guess? But this was literally crunchy. Completely ruined for me. Yuck. We had also ordered a BBQ Chicken & Bacon to try. It was okay, I preferred it to the crispy pepperoni, but pretty much how I remember Debonairs (which I never eat).

So yeah, we tried it. But now we're saved of ever considering it an option again. What a waste.

But then the perfect Wednesday dawned. We had a lazy morning, read our books and made breakfast (scrambled eggs & bacon on croissants). We cleaned the house because Wednesday is usually the day it gets cleaned. And then The Trucker had some work to do and I pretty much lazed on the couch or on the grass reading my book. It was bliss :D

I don't even do nothing on weekends ever ... I think I'd forgotten what a difference it makes. Anyway, when he'd finished working, we took Pepper for her walk and then had a Rib braai for dinner at home. Yum! Eating outside, on the patio (where we'd also eaten breakfast!). It was an all-round perfect day, with perfect weather and everything.

I also discovered Woolie's new (non-alcoholic) Mint Mojito drinks ... OMG. I LOVE it!

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