Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Home Night 2

So last night Loulou and I had our second Home Night - come on now, I need a better name for this! It was fantastic, even tho it was my turn to cook :)

Now it is generally thought that I cannot cook and would probably burn water if I tried. This is not entirely true, but not an impression I mind giving either ;) The truth is closer to the fact that growing up The Peeb and I never really had to cook, what with a Mommy trained at Silwood Kitchen in her pre-kiddie days. Peeb got quite into the baking thing at one stage, but otherwise we pretty much steered clear of the kitchen. In my defense it's because every time I did feel the need to advance my culinary skills, Mom would be peering over my shoulder with "you should use this instead" or "I know it's not in the recipe, but you should add a little of this". Now this all might seem like helpful information to you the reader, but to a stubborn teenager, it's really just interfering and these episodes usually ended with a "fine, then you do it" and me storming from the kitchen (as much as one can storm from an open-plan area!).

Anyway, in my defense, I did one of the Pick 'n Pay School of Cooking's course back in 2003. But I've never been much of a recipe girl ... as much as I love them and cooking books, they always look better in the picture than when you actually try to make them yourself. Also, I don't really deal well with the vagueness in recipes. Don't tell me to "cook till brown". What the hell does that mean? Which brown?? Has anyone got a Pantone colour chart? I'm much better with instructions like "cook for 10 minutes". Precise instructions, now that I can do!

But, I've still come a long way from my flour and water samoosa's at Marga's house. Hey Peeb, remember my Pink Oros Rubber cake (Just add flour, water, pink food colouring and 7 cups of Oros!)? I guess creativity, not flavour, was always my thing ;)

Anyway, I have upgraded to actually having a signature dish - Mom's was Chicken a la King back in the day ;) It is a sort of Mexian Chicken type thing. I can't really explain it here, since I made it up, and that would give my secrets away! But last night I tried something new, I've already made my Mexican Chicken for Loulou, shortly after I moved in.

I decided to make Mexican mince (yes, I'm noticing a theme but I can get really good Indian and Thai food at restaurants ... Joburg is seriously lacking in fabulous Mexican restaurants, hence the need to make it at home!) and use it to stuff peppers and then bake them in the oven for a bit to melt some grated cheese over the top. Loulou made some Guacamole since I didn't have a chance to hit the Rosebank Rooftop Market (a fabulous place that Mom always makes me take her to when she is up in Jhb for the weekend!) and buy some of the best Guac ever from Bandito's.

Dinner was a hit, I even awarded myself marks for presentation ;)

Then TV night kicked in and we watched CSI & Nip/Tuck. I'd never seen Nip/Tuck before but heard it was generally considered to be worth watching. And it was, aside from the gore and the "Nooooo!" moments where the one guy enjoyed a threesome with a mother & her daughter - yucky!

And that was the evening. This morning I *finally* had that ECG. I'm fine, by the way. No big surprise. Anyway, hopefully that'll keep the insurance bigwigs happy. Other than that I also collected 3 new books from the post office ... ordered from, probably the closest thing Kalahari has to competition. Well, I've tried them out now, they were cheaper than Kalahari and I'll definitely be doing price comparison's in the future! Anyway, I bought The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner & Steven Levitt and Geek Love by Katherine Dunn.

At least I'll have something to tide me over till our next book club ... It keeps getting postponed since with so many girls having bailed, we need to get our books back before it's worthwhile. This is a more tedious process than one would think ... oh well.

Oh and lastly (I promise, this post rather got out of control once I started my cooking ramble) I started another blog yesterday. It's called Idiot Drivers, check it out :)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nothing Exciting

There is nothing exciting to say today ... but I feel the need to tell you that anyway, since I wouldn't want you all waiting around in anticipation and then ending up disappointed. So right up front, to get it out of the way and in Bean's best business-ism, to manage expectations effectively, I'm warning you: Nothing exciting has happened since my last post. Feel free to stop reading here ;) Kidding!

Last night, after only leaving work at (far too late for my liking!) 7pm, although I did squeeze in a little gym-time. We were dealing with these annoying post-implementation issues - at least we ironed out the last minor issue and were allowed to head home. Alas for me, I am on standby this week. Which means I had to babysit the new project all night. So most of my evening was spent online with my pathetic 3G 1-bar connection. Oh, how slow can one bit go ? But, all went smoothly and I slept like the dead once I hit the pillow - I think it was the night before's lack of sleep & my recent gym-session that sealed the deal!

Oh, luckily I have remembered something I needed to post about ... I finished James Patterson & Andrew Gross's Lifeguard on the weekend.

Everything is going right for lifeguard Ned Kelly. He is involved with Tess, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and what's more, a million dollars is within touching distance; his share of the score for the robbery of some world-class art. All he has to do is trigger alarms to throw the cops off the scent. But when Tess is brutally murdered and the others involved in the robbery are massacred, Ned is the prime suspect. He has been set up...

It was alright and quite a quick read. Loulou says James Patterson's book s are usually quite good and I'll give him another read before disagreeing altogether. This isn't the sort of book I usually read, now I remember why, but it was part of my book club selection and I'm open to pretty much reading anything with words ;) It had some fairly predictable bits and some that were just truly unbelievable. It's probably best recommended as a quick holiday read to keep you busy while lazing in the sun!

And that is as exciting as it gets ... I did warn you ;)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tired and Annoyed

Well, it was a fairly busy weekend.

Friday night I spent annoyed to all hell with movie-goers watching Deja Vu. Can these people just not shut up during a movie ? The worst part was that it was such a small cinema that I was trapped. People all around so I could not get up half-way thru and move ... as I prefer to do when surrounded by such rude, inconsiderate and self-involved folk. So, it nearly destroyed the movie for me ... and in turn for poor Varen who had to sit next to me as I got more & more annoyed ;)

If you thought it was just a trick of the mind, prepare yourself for the truth.
Everyone has experienced the unsettling mystery of déjà vu – that flash of memory when you meet someone new you feel you've known all your life or recognize a place even though you've never been there before. But what if the feelings were actually warnings sent from the past or clues to the future? In the captivating new action-thriller from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott, it is déjà vu that unexpectedly guides ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) through an investigation into a shattering crime. Called in to recover evidence after a bomb sets off a cataclysmic explosion on a New Orleans Ferry, Carlin is about to discover that what most people believe is only in their heads is actually something far more powerful – and will lead him on a mind-bending race to save hundreds of innocent people.

But, thankfully it's a fairly good movie and I enjoyed it in spite of the constant chatter. Although they picked a fairly tricky topic and unsurprisingly, I think they slipped up occasionally in continuity. *** spoiler ahead *** And aside from the fact that I don't for a second believe in time-travel, I enjoyed it.

Ster Kinekor & Nu Metro, I again have some suggestions for you: head-phone jacks in all your seats! No need to supply the actual head-phones, just let the people who like to watch a movie in peace bring their own. Or put up a huge advert at the start of all movies saying "Folks, please switch off your cellphones and SHUT THE FUCK UP for the next 2 hours".

Saturday was a fairly relaxed admin type day that started with breakfast at Doppio in Rosebank with Varen and his sister. After getting my general admin stuff out of the way (I can't believe I forgot to buy conditioner - must remember that on my way home today!) I re-shuffled my room to move my naughty fish out of direct sunlight in the hopes that they will no longer have to swim in pea-soup water ;) Actually I'm very annoyed with them at the moment. Just when I thought that I'd finally put snails into their bowl that were big enough not to be eaten, they had all disappeared by Sunday morn :(

Saturday we were supposed to attempt another movie - there is so much worth seeing at the moment! But after Friday night's fiasco, we decided to give it a skip and braaied with Varen's family instead.

Sunday was delightful, we went to the Joburg Botanical Gardens for JofH's birthday picnic. This year it was in the rose garden - lovely! And thankfully the weather played along and this year there was no mad scramble to shelter ;) A truly lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Oh, and I got him Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet. Hopefully he'll enjoy it and let me borrow it when he's done!

Then we braved the cinema's once again and went to see Mel Gibson's Apocalypto.

When the end comes, not everyone is ready to go.
From Academy Award® winning filmmaker Mel Gibson (The Passion of The Christ, Braveheart), comes Apocalypto, a heart stopping mythic action-adventure set against the turbulent end times of the once great Mayan civilization. When his idyllic existence is brutally disrupted by a violent invading force, a man is taken on a perilous journey to a world ruled by fear and oppression where a harrowing end awaits him. Through a twist of fate and spurred by the power of his love for his woman and his family he will make a desperate break to return home and to ultimately save his way of life.

It was okay. I think he should stick to epic's like Braveheart and The Patriot, I thought they were way better. It was pretty gory in bits and I didn't mind the subtitles at all, in fact it was a nice touch. Although I had the usual problem with the fact that all these people from different tribes all managed to understand each other? Oh, and my all-time favourite, fastest ever eclipse of the sun. The ending was alright (what else could they have done, really?) and you do connect with the characters. Yeah well, worth seeing, but don't expect a spectacular storyline.

And will sitting thru the marathon Apocalypto, I got 3 calls from work. The Brad was implementing. There were issues. So I raced home and switched on the 3G. Two hours I sat trouble-shooting with him (he worked far longer baby-sitting it tho! I just do not have that kind of dedication). Thankfully in the end it was resolved ... and I managed to get a little sleep last night. So today will no doubt be spent primarily on post-implementation support - blegh. I'm seriously starting to consider JofH's continuous job offers!

And to top things off, when I finally switched off my light my head decided to attack me ... and I couldn't get to sleep. I lay in the darkness thinking of Bean and the way things were and comparing it all with Varen. Trying to figure out what I'm doing with my life.

It may have had something to do with the email I got with another Book Club resignation - again no surprise, but it still reminds me of everything and that I'll no longer have any contact with these people I thought were friends during my relationship with Bean.

And then in the brightness of day, I remember why I still wouldn't get back together with Bean and why we really didn't work and it all makes sense. But when the lights are out and my brain is given free-reign, it likes to mess with me. I hate that!

Friday, January 26, 2007

But Wait, There's More

I totally forgot ....

While discussing the movie, The Queen, I meant to go off on a wee tangent about how it was based primarily on the week after Diana's death and how the monarchy handled it. Now, I wasn't like the millions of Brits who's lives were shattered by her death. But, like certain other moments in history, I do remember where I was when I heard.

It was 1997, I was in Matric. It was a Sunday morning. I got up late and went thru to the TV room. Mom had been watching Sky or CNN (I forget which, it was long ago) the night before so the TV was still tuned to that. Ah, fate.

So I switched on and they were going on about how this time the media had gone too far. For a good 5 or 10 minutes I honestly thought that the media had gone too far by publishing a fake story about the Princess of Wales dying, not that she actually had. I think we watched for most of the day. And I remember sitting and watching the funeral a week later too. It's one of those things that's gotta be done, just like I remember watching Fergie & Andrew's wedding. Admittedly, I was a bit young (a mere 1 year old) for Charles & Di's ;)

And 9/11 (as the American's love to call it)? I was with my family for a week in Greytown, for my Grandmother Ron's funeral. Seeing that none of us were at work, we managed to see the second plane crash too. The TV was on that whole day too.

Funny how these things stick in your head.

So where were you ?

So Much To Tell

Oh, so much to post today :) Well, less than there would've been if I didn't start the day with a brilliant breakfast at work (more on that later) ... it would've included another traffic rant. But I'm in a good mood now so I've forgotten already ;)

Last night Loulou and I went to see The Queen (the movie, not the actual Queen or even Elton John, of course!)

Tradition prepared her. Change will define her.
The Queen
takes audiences behind the scenes of one of the most shocking public events of recent times – providing an illuminating, acidly funny, yet deeply affecting, dramatic glimpse into what happens in the corridors of power when tragedy strikes. The setting for this fictional account of real events is no less than the private chambers of the Royal Family and the British government in the wake of the sudden death of Princess Diana in August of 1997. In the immediate aftermath of the Princess's passing, the tightly contained, tradition-bound world of the Queen of England (Dame Helen Mirren) clashes with the slick modernity of the country's brand new, image-conscious Prime Minister, Tony Blair (Michael Sheen). The result is an intimate, yet thematically epic, battle between private and public, responsibility and emotion, custom and action - as a grieving nation waits to see what its leaders will do.

Well, perhaps I should've read the write-up a little more closely before I watched it - the trailers didn't really let you know what you were in for, except that Helen Mirren was brilliantly cast and made-up. After watching, I'm still not really sure what the point of it was ... The Peeb said that she wondered "if it was commissioned by Tony Blair" - pahahahahaha! I dunno, it's a little dicey doing true-life stories of such famous people ... there's the obvious comparison between the actors and their real-life counterparts. And while they clearly put huge effort into making Helen Mirren looking the part (except for her nose and I didn't think her accent was "pointy" enough) they clearly forgot the rest of the cast ... How they managed to cast that woman as the Queen Mother escapes me completely and even the guy playing Charles was only vaguely similar, at certain angles. Otherwise, I think the Queen herself might've commissioned it ... and I did feel sorry for her at the end of it. She is after all, still a person just like the rest of us.

And since we're talking about the Queen, I'll fill you in on some related family history. Before she was Queen, Elizabeth came out to South Africa (in 1947 with her parents, it was her first official visit overseas) and while she was here, she happened to stay with my Great-Grandparents, Mom Burton & Bill. My grandmother, Ron, and her brother & sisters were teenagers, not that much younger than the future Queen herself. I will have to get the full story (again) from my Great-Aunt Jen next weekend ;) But still, what a fun story!

Other than that, Lou & I had a fabulous evening together! We'll definitely have to do it again :)

And then this morning we had our first Monthly Ladies Breakfast. It's a new project I'm starting at work this year. We have a People Forum (it's a bit like an SRC) at work and I'm involved in that too, but I think it's really important for the girls in such a male dominated industry to make an effort to bond & be friends, at work at least! Especially since we're all generally in such different departments and have to go out of our way to interact during the average work-day. So anyway, I've started these Monthly Breakfasts at our local restaurant and although it wasn't all that well attended, there was really positive feedback and I have such great ideas for girls-only team buildings etc. I'm really looking forward to this!

We had a similar thing at a company I worked for back in Cape Town (Hi to all those old Grapevine Girls!) and it was such fun. Quite a few of us
actually still keep in occasional contact. Nice.

So, today I'm in a fabulous, positive, almost bouncy mood. Which, I'm sure, is in no small part because today is also Friday! It's not going to be a terribly eventful weekend, there are a million movies to see ... how do they show nothing but rubbish for months and now suddenly I want to see almost everything ?!?
But I'm looking forward to it none the less :)

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Pahahahahaha. How cute are these HTTPanties ?? Using the helpful HTTP status codes in real life situations!

And I love ThinkGeek as much as the next person, appropriately so
since I was recently dubbed an "eccentric nerd" by my good friend Sal, thanks Hon! Hell, J of H even has that shirt with "There's no place like" on it :)

These are definitely a fabulous addition to their collection of crazy geek toys.

Meeting the Friends

Varen got to meet some of the friends last night. So far he's only really met Loulou, since I live with her, and Jarred of Hurlingham very briefly when he sneakily visited J at work to deliver my Christmas present.

So last night we had a lovely dinner at Cranks with two of my favourite people, Sal&Bru. It was really good to see them again and although I was nervous about introducing them to the new man, since they were used to me with Bean, I think it went fairly well and a fun evening with good food was had by all. I'm still waiting for Sal's report-back, tho ;)

So, back on the weekend, before the hectic week took over, I finished reading Douglas Kennedy's A Special Relationship.

Sally Goodchild, a thirty-seven-year-old American journalist, suddenly finds herself pregnant and married to an English foreign correspondent, Tony Hobbs, whom she met while they were both on assignment in Cairo. From the outset Sally's relationship with both Tony and London is an uneasy one - as she finds her husband and his city to be far more foreign than imagined. But her problems soon turn to nightmares when she discovers that everything can be taken down and used against you.

I quite enjoyed it. It is one of two Douglas Kennedy books we have at Book Club which initially I avoided since they appeared "way to girlie" from me ... Eventually, I decided to throw caution to the wind and give his The Pursuit of Happiness a read.

Manhattan, Thanksgiving Eve 1945. War is over and Eric Smythe's party is swinging. Everyone is there, including his sister Sara. Then in walks the gatecrasher - Jack Malone, an army journalist fresh from a defeated Germany. This chance meeting between Sara and Jack will have profound consequences.

This one I thoroughly enjoyed and I think it has a much more intricate and enthralling story than Special Relationship. Although SR was quite a hectic story, you knew it had to all end happily ever after no matter how bad it got in the middle, otherwise why would you read it ;) It's not quite the same in Pursuit, there's much more going on. Anyway, I enjoyed these two and would happily read other Douglas Kennedy books, no matter that there'll never be a forensic pathologist in any of them or how girlie the cover will predictably be ;)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

d u t c h t u b

I think this is such a fun concept! The dutchtub is an outdoor hot tub that requires no electricity, plumbing or hot water. Just fill it with water and start a fire in the bin.

It's completely transportable and comes in such fun colours. Although it's a smidge pricey for us spending our humble, hard-earned Rond, it's a mere six thousand USD !!! I can't begin to imagine what delivery would push that to either ?!?

Blegh, sometimes it's fabulous to live at the bottom of the world, sometimes not so much ;)

It's Nearly Afternoon

So far it is a happy morning. It's almost 11 am and I have not done a stick of real work yet today! I love my new little iPod and have spent a large part of this week swapping music for it and tracking down all the relevant album covers. It is fantastic!

I'm sure I can manage to squeeze in this little post as well :)

Yesterday evening was also really good. Went to Varen's for the evening and we had pizza and watched The Shape of Things. He'd recorded it onto the PVR Decoder on Saturday at my request.

While visiting an art museum, a nerdy college student named Adam (Paul Rudd) meets an iconoclastic artist named Evelyn (Rachel Weizs) and is instantly smitten. As their relationship develops, she gradually encourages Adam to change in various ways that surprise his older friends, Jenny and Philip. However, as events progress, Evelyn's antics become darker and darker as her influence begins to twist Adam and his friends in hurtful ways.

I saw it ages ago when it came out on big screen. It's a a surprisingly fabulous movie with a brilliant twist - if you have the staying power to get thru the first hour ;) It is on my list of favourite movies and one I think every couple should watch - I tried for ages to get Bean to watch it, but he never did.

Anyway, aside from that, today is Jarred of Hurlingham's birthday. Happy, happy birthday wishes to my good friend, I hope you have a truly fabulous day and I'm looking forward to the annual picnic on Sunday!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The First Home Night

Righto, I'm trying to get back to my pre-work day posting ... it's a good way to start the day and I have been missing my morning ritual. Consider these few minutes taken to post, my coffee-break. Since I do not drink the stuff, or tea. Generally I steer clear of hot drinks, it's strange (or so I've been told), but they make me feel funny ;) Although, on particularly chilly Jhb mornings I have been known to enjoy the occasional hot chocolate.

Anyway, enough about that ... Yesterday eve was nice. Went to Koeties place to sort out this Moz trip. Apparently it's a toss up between Praia do Tofo & Ponta Malongane. I'm keen for Tofo, the last time I was there was one the last stretch of my 5 week Southern Africa tour in March 2004 and I had an amazing time snorkelling with Whale Sharks. Bean & I went to Ponta de Ouro back in December 2004 to swim with the dolphins. De Ouro is right next to Malongane. And I figure if we're going to be there for 8 days, I need something more to do than just sit on the sand (with my 18 books to read) ... and Ponta is miles from anything ... miles of sand-dune roads. And I wanna see huge giant Manta Rays :)

So, hopefully the boys figure this out, and soon. But, I think the majority are keen on Tofo so, fingers crossed!

After that I went home. Loulou had cooked dinner as part of a new initiative we're trying out. It's been fondly dubbed "Home Night" (I'm sure given time and alcohol we could come up with a better name!) and will be a weekly feature. On Monday we'll check our schedules and pick the "Home Night" for the week. Then we'll take turns cooking dinner. Because I don't see the point in just cooking for one, so generally i tend not to. Which is a pity ... and so began the idea of "Home Night". Also it gives us a nice chance to sit and chat and catch up and just generally hang-out. Which is nice. We get on well when our schedules collide and we both happen to be home ;)

So, Loulou made Beef Massaman curry for dinner (I'd bought the tin from Woolies ages ago and was dying to try it). It was brilliant. She has set the bar high. I'll have to think up something brilliant for next week ;)

Anyway, Loulou: good luck for your exam today and yay! for finding your student card ;) Ps. don't you love the cute pic! While Loulou was wrapping Christmas pressies, Hon got involved and climbed into one of the shopping bags - she's such a crazy playful thing :)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just Another Weekend

Had one of those fabulously busy but relaxed weekends :) I love those! On Friday Varen had his birthday drinks at the Blue Goose in Cresta. It was well attended, even by the Mafia who thankfully were no longer going live on Saturday which meant they were allowed out. And we all made the most of it :)

Saturday he was off finishing his diving course at Bass Lake. I had the morning free and I used it! Lazed in bed for the first time in ages and then eventually, got up, did admin stuff and shopped up a storm at Sandton! In the evening I dragged Varen to oogle baby piggies in Charlotte's Web.

Help Is Coming From Above.
The classic story of loyalty, trust, and sacrifice comes to life in this live-action adaptation. Fern (Dakota Fanning) is one of only two living beings who sees that Wilbur is a special animal as she raises him, the runt of the litter, into a terrific and radiant pig. As Wilbur moves into a new barn, he begins a second profound friendship with the most unlikely of creatures – a spider named Charlotte – and their bond inspires the animals around them to come together as a family. When the word gets out that Wilbur's days are numbered, it seems that only a miracle will save his life. A determined Charlotte – who sees miracles in the ordinary – spins words into her web in an effort to convince the farmer that Wilbur is “some pig” and worth saving.

I loved it :) The little piggy is too adorable. Varen, being afrikaans, had never read the story as a kid. But, I think he enjoyed it too ... although it's pretty much a kiddie movie, there are some hysterical adult bits. "I need corn, man" Watch it, you'll understand :)

Sunday he was off diving agai and I somehow ended up shopping, again. I need to stop. But I did get a lovely dress I'd spotted ages ago but didn't buy because I really didn't need it, as much as I liked it ... then when I decided I liked it enough to buy it anyway, it was gone. On Sunday morning, it was back :) I snapped it up. That's how I like to shop, it makes me feel my purchases are justified and meant to be in the grand scheme of things. It's the same way I bought my Ceremonial Indian Elephant Stairs and my Hippo Table.

Anyway, I spent the rest of the day relaxing at home with Loulou, updating my iPod and lazing in the sun with my book and Honey while she gardened. Of course we cooled down with the occasional dip in the complex pool, had to break in the new bikini I bought on Saturday. Finally I found one. Just in time for Moz!

Varen & I spent Sunday evening at the movies again, this time wasting a few hours on The Fountain.

Death as an act of creation.
What if you could live forever? The Fountain is an odyssey about one man's eternal struggle to save the woman he loves. His epic journey begins in 16th-century Spain, where conquistador Tomas (Hugh Jackman) commences his search for the Fountain of Youth, the legendary entity believed to grant immortality. As modern-day scientist Tommy Creo, he desperately struggles to find a cure for the cancer that is killing his beloved wife, Isabel (Rachel Weisz). Traveling through deep space as a 26th-century astronaut, Tom begins to grasp the mysteries that have consumed him for a millennium. The three stories converge into one truth, as the Thomas of all periods – warrior, scientist, and explorer – comes to terms with life, love, death and rebirth.

What a load of shite. Some cool concepts and some beautiful imagery and a fairly impressive cast. Unfortunately not a good movie. It left even me completely confused by the end as to why there were so many layers to such a simple story-line. Over kill and unnecessary, although without it, you hardly have a movie. I'd suggest giving this a skip, don't even rent the video.

Anyway, now I must go ... I've had a truly hectic Monday, spent doing very menial tasks to build a clean Regression Test Pack of messages - oh the exciting life I lead! And I'm being rushed off to drinks to meet the crowd we're holidaying with in Mozambique next month. Yay.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Time to Buy a Scooter

Man, I hate Joburg traffic! It is the most ridiculous thing ... I want the traffic from quiet December back. This morning it took me barely under an hour to get to work. Who knows why ... I'm guessing it was one of the many, many electricity issues we're currently experiencing that is affecting the traffic lights. Either way, all the lights I went thru were working, but the traffic was still backed up.

And there are no sneaky sneaky routes left. Me & my handy map-book, I thought we could out sneak all these Joburg locals. No such luck. Every round about, traffic avoiding route has been found and is now subsequently catering to you and your 500 colleagues!

It's driving me crazy, but is just another part of living in Jhb, you'd think I'd be used to it after almost 3 years up here ? I should be Minister of Transport ... I've thought that for ages now, it's an idea that sparked at about the time I moved up here ;)

Anyway, since nothing will ever be resolved it's a futile rant, but makes me feel marginally better none the less ;) Bring on the Gautrain - whatever :P

In other news, I cleaned my fish bowl last Thursday ... the water had turned a rather murky green to the point I could only tell that there were any fish living in there when they came up to the side to wriggle hello. It appears that after a crystal clear week the water is turning the same unsightly green ... perhaps it has to do with their position in my room, I'm hoping I can just move them out of direct sunlight - I presume that's what's causing the fuss.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Varen's Birthday Festival

So it's been a whirlwind past 2 days ... Wednesday was Varen's 25th birthday, so Happy Birthday :)

Which meant, that we have been eating out constantly. Tuesday evening was a big one with his whole family at Pigalle in Sandton. It was a lovely restaurant with good food and wine. Not cozy, but still fancy enough for a really special evening. I had divine duck spring-rolls to start and for mains we shared a huge seafood platter for two.

Oh, and he'd made me go to gym after work ... that requires serious dedication after such a lengthy break over the Christmas season. But, it wasn't too bad. And I had my new iPod to keep me company and push me past complete exhaustion ;)

On Wednesday he got to open the gifts I'd spent my precious weekend hunting down. And he was suitably pleased ;) For lunch we went for all-you-can-eat sushi at the Sakura in Melville with The Brad.

And that evening I took him for his Birthday dinner at my favourite normal food restaurant, Soulsa. As opposed to my fav Thai food restaurant, Cranks, or my fav Indian food restaurant, Ghazal. Soulsa was fabulous, as usual. We both had my all-time ever best haloumi starter and I had ostrich for mains. I love this restaurant. We were also delighted by a display of true Joburg electrical storming so, we had the pleasure of sitting both outside and upstairs during the evening. Pity we missed the traditional Melville Xai-Xai dawa.

All this eating out, I'm really going to need to get back into the gym-ing thing soon!

This evening should be a quite one at home complete with book-reading in the bath :) We were supposed to have our Book-Club end-of-year party (yes, late, I know!) this evening but it's been moved again to the beginning of February. Still, I'm looking forward to it :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And Finally, an Update ...

That's right, the time of this post is completely correct ... it is 3:30 in the morning and I'm up online. Why you might ask? Because I am on Standby Support for our projects this week, which means I'm the one who get's woken in the early hours if something goes wrong in Production. And although this morning at 3am when I got my usual call, there was nothing to suggest anything amiss, I still dialed in ... I'm still nervous about this whole Standby thing and just needed to make certain before I could get back to sleep. Needless to say that there is currently a very minor issue after and implementation that was done by my team-mate on Saturday ... and that is how I happen to be blogging at all hours of the morning ;) No doubt I'll still be up for the next hour or so :(

Righto, herewith the full feedback of the last few days ... All the way back on Thursday evening, Varen & I enjoyed dinner from my favourite Jhb Indian restaurant, Ghazal in Bryanston. Admitedly I still prefer the Dhal Makhnie from Karma, but you can't beat Ghazal's Chicken Makhnie.

On Friday we had dinner at Sides, the hotel restaurant attched to 10 Bompas. Yes, I eat out a lot. Bean and I always used to and it's always been a favourite pasttime of mine. I love the variety of food eaten out, it's far more exciting than what I am capable of cooking at home :) Sides is fabulous if you're looking for a fancy, cosy, romantic dinner for two or something to impress the boss and colleagues on a business dinner.

Ooh, and before dinner we pop by Jhb Internation Or Tambo to see the little sis and her man on their trip home from the States. Got to spend a lovely hour with them eating coffee beans. Got my new sexy little 8Gb red iPod and tried to steal Peeb's funky new red jacket ... and then us girls spent a fair amount of time being laughed at by our boys. Since although we are, without doubt, at complete opposite ends of the gene pool of our folks there are apparently a fair number of personality traits that are inescapable. Technically the frog was NOT pink, okay?

I spent Saturday day spent between a kajillion (okay, four) different shopping malls trying to track down a birthday present for Varen who turns a youthful 25 on Wednesday the 17th. While he did the first of his pool sessions for his scuba course. My day entailed a visit to Fourways, Rosebank, Hyde Park and then finally to Cresta and even after all that, I hadn't bought everything. Although I'd spent an awful lot of cash on myself before even buying a single thing for him - got a lovely new top (for his bday dinner) and a spanking new metal fan for my bedroom, which being on the second floor gets terrifically heated in the Joburg Summer.

Note must now be made that Saturday was Daddio's 52nd birthday: Happy, Happy old man :) Unfortunately he went giftless (from me) as the perfect present I'd ordered well in advance for him back on the 28th of Dec has not yet arrived.
When have I ever been this organised for Dad's bday? But it typically still didn't pay off. Apparently they're re-sending it so maybe he'll get two :) It's a pretty cool gift and something I know he wants ... more once it arrives so as not to ruin his surprise ;)

Saturday was also a month since Bean and I broke up. Weird. Who can believe a whole month has gone past since I changed my life. Look at how much has happened since that fateful day. And I think of him often and still hold him dear, but I'm still pretty sure I made the right decision for us both. And I do enjoy the time I've been spending with Varen .. although I refuse to think too closely about what's really going on with us. I figure eventually it'll all sort itself out.

Anyway, that evening we braaied with Varen's whole family. Yes, I finally met them all. And Afrikaans families don't seem that different from English ones ... admitedly, it was only one braai ;) But they're great people and the conversation was always entertaining. His dad is still frantically trying to figure out where my family fit's into the war, that's the Anglo-Boer war for those of you who thought there might be any other significant war :)

Sunday I was left to fend for myself with Varen's family at breakfast since he was off on his second pool session. Fairly intimidating but I survived :) Then it was off to Eastgate where I thankfully finished the birthday shop ... without spending any more on myself, yay. Sunday afternoon we headed off to Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens for a relaxing laze on the grass with our books - I love that place! And we over-catered for our picnic snacks, seems to be a trend.

This evening, I spent at home frantically wrapping :) Although I did sneak in all the sushi I could eat at Sakura. And I watched House - hectic! And enjoying a well-deserved candlelit bath with my book. And testing out my shiny new fan. Oh, and I still haven't found music software for the iPod that I like yet ... working on it and trying out all sorts - any suggestions are welcome!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Lack of Post

Would love to write a catch up of the weekend and whatnot, but it's been a fairly busy day here at work and I'm not in the best of moods or remotely upbeat right now ... so I think it'd be best saved till later. Either way, the weekend was good unfortunately, I'm currently sleep deprived (stupid mosquitoes) and dealing with an annoying Project Manager. I will however endeavour to spend some of my precious evening chronicling the happenings for you :)

Till then ...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Minutes of Fun

Found a mildly amusing site called GeoGreeting! It uses buildings from Google Earth's satellite imagery to represent the letters of your message.

So go on, send someone you love a meaningful 40-character message :)
I guess that's why their slogan is : " geeks show they care."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Dangerous Dave

Help Dangerous Dave mole surf! Click the "Play Game" button to start your mole surfing training. Once Dave rides near Brutal Bob, click your mouse button to make Bob whack Dave over the cliff! The further you surf the higher the score!

My High Score : 1159.7m

Was it something I did ?

Last night did not start well. I got stuck at work for an extra half an hour copying a back-up to someone else's computer. Drove home and had a delightful (note sarcasm here) phone call with Varen who had been in a foul mood for most of the day. I guess that's what happens when you spend all day desperately trying to find something to fill your time at work and try not to feel like you have wasted an entire day in front of your computer at work when there were so many other wonderful ways to spend the day ;)

So, after deciding to visit him anyway (he promised to cook dinner), I set off on the lengthy journey across Johannesburg. Well, it's not that far by Jhb standards, but it's still a good half hour drive. And on the way I had the rather unpleasant experience of nearly aqua-planing into the back of someone. Thankfully there was no crash but the few seconds of complete lack of control and ineffective brakes left me quite shaken. This is not an experience I'd recommend.

So, no improvement on how the evening was progressing. Arrived at Varen's and was grateful for the long hug from him. The evening was starting to look up. He had made us dinner, nothing fancy, just pasta. It's still weird figuring out the different ways we do things or like things in the kitchen ... not that I spend much time there ;) And we shared a bottle of wine ... it had been the sort of day/evening that called for it. We spent the rest of the evening watching a dodgy, definitely should've been made for video, dvd called RV with Robin Williams.

So this morning I innocently came in to work to discover our book club has practically been disbanded ! We had 2 people leave at the end of last year and 2 more this morning. One of whom I was completely expecting.
Although admittedly, I do believe the excuses of the other 3 girls.

I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact that our book club was mostly made up of me & Bean's friend's girlfriends who were all trying to be friends. And well, since the break-up I was expecting a shift in attitude. I guess it's because sometimes you find yourself in situations where you regularly spend time with people (because your "others" are mates) but really, without that connection you would never ordinarily find yourself friends with the person. Sometimes, when you're really lucky these people that you're forced to spend time with become true friends. Those occasions are rare and should be appreciated. Thanks Band!

Anyway, so now there is no reason to fake a friendship or any sort of interest in each other's lives for the sake of the boys and the weekend outings we all used to find ourselves at. So really, why would they continue the farce and stick around for book club?

I sort of hoped it wouldn't come to this and I know that if any one of them had been thru a similar thing I hope I would've been friends with them just the same. Or as much as possible, since even when I was with Bean we weren't the closest bunch of girls. Anyway, it doesn't really matter. It just leaves me feeling bad about things.

But, things are improving. Although I'm still expecting one more book-club resignation (another girlf of one of the boys who I doubt will stick around either, but I hope I'm wrong) we will have 2 new recruits joining at the end of this month and I'm looking forward to it :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ster Kinekor, what are you doing?

Last night Varen & I went to Sakura in Cresta for all-you-can-eat-sushi. It's the fab-est sushi place in Joburg (but again with the no-web-presence. Hello people, sort yourselves out!) and the food last night was really good :)

After that we went to watch Night at the Museum.

Good-hearted dreamer Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), despite being perpetually down on his luck, thinks he's destined for something big. But even he could never have imagined how "big," when he accepts what appears to be a menial job as a graveyard-shift night watchman at a museum of natural history. But during Larry's watch, something extraordinary happens: the museum's exhibits magically come to life. A fearsome T-Rex insists on a game of fetch (with one of his own skeleton bones); Mayans, Roman Gladiators, and cowboys emerge from their diorama to wage epic battles; and a wax figure of Teddy Roosevelt gives Larry important advice while harboring a crush for an Indian princess. As things spiral wildly out of control, Larry must find a way to control the magic to stop a nefarious plot and save the museum.

Good fun light entertainment in true Ben Stiller style, with his friend Owen Wilson along for the ride, of course. And not too schmaltzy ... although it comes close ;)

Which brings me to a whole other point. Last night, for convenience we went to Ster Kinekor. Ster Kinekor used to be my cinema of choice, mostly because I was on Discovery Vitality and this got me cheap movies. I'm a big fan of the cheap movie, movies are one of the many things on my long list of things I can't justify paying vast amounts for. So when I changed jobs and moved to the Big Corporate I'm now at, they forced me to change my Medical Aid (another sore point :P) and I had to leave my Ster Kinekor Movie Club card and my Discovery Vitality behind. Shortly thereafter I found myself opening an Edgar's account to ensure continued cheap movies thru their Movie Club. This involved a switch of allegiance to Nu Metro.

I'm not sure what Ster Kinekor has been up to, they reshuffled and set up 2 cinema alternatives: Classic or Junction. Junction cinemas are cheaper but have no reserved seating, and on occasion, I have seen this cause punch-ups before the previews are even finished. I think it's probably a great concept, pity about the practice.

Either way I found myself paying for Ster Kinekor movie tickets last night. I was horrified. Movies these days cost R40 (really?) ... my Nu Metro card will get me & 3 friends in for R16, a far more believable movie price.

So, I'm wondering, what exactly am I paying for ? I didn't get free popcorn or coke and I wasn't sitting on a lazy-boy chair. In fact I was still surrounded by the usual assortment of idiot movie-goers all talking to their friends and bringing their under-5s with them. Hello, am I the only person who finds this arrangement truly bizarre? At least at Nu Metro's Montecasino cinema, they have one of those huge cinema's with the giant seats. And for that I can still pay a mere R19.50 to watch a new release. Ster Kinekor, what are you doing ?

If anyone could explain it to me, I'd be truly grateful.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

How Annoying

So I spent about 2 hours (incl 40 minutes spent driving across Jhb) yesterday evening not getting an ECG. That's right, NOT getting one. It's a long story ...

I have the most fantastic doctor in Joburg, Dr Lindi Kaplan. She's a Homeopathic, Chinese Herbalist, Accupuncturist & GP. Yes, I'm into the plinky-plonky stuff - it's cause my mommy's a Reiki Master ;) Either way I can't even remember when I last had anti-biotics and I'm thrilled by that.

So, now I need a full medical & ecg for insurance purposes. Lindi works from home and doesn't have an ecg machine. No problem she says, she has an arrangement with Sunninghill Hospital's casualty unit. "Cool, but can I rather go to Morningside cause Sunninghill is rather out of the way." "No Problem, I'll just write this handy doctor's note and explain the situation, it should be fine."

That's what you think! So this afternoon after work I head over to Morningside Clinic. As soon as I walk in and explain the situation the woman there tells me they don't deal with insurance at all - that's who it's got to billed to, you see. Okay, fine, too much hassle. It's still early enough in the year that the traffic isn't up to usual Joburg standards so I'll head over to Sunninghill - a little extra drive, but Lindi has an arrangement there so I'm sure it'll be less hassle. Wrong.

I arrive at Sunninghill which is possibly the worst sign-posted hospital I've been too - okay, I haven't been to many, but I'm thrilled I wasn't in any kind of mortal danger! Anyway, after I eventually parked in the right place and found the entrance, there's no separate one for casualty, I went to get my ecg.

So here's their process: You go into casualty, they give you a little form and you go back outside to wait in the reception area for them to "open your file". This takes a while ... long enough to bleed out, I'm sure. So I dutifully fill out the questionaire when it's eventually my turn. This is where things get complicated. You have to fill out the details of the person responsible for the bill, it's my insurance ... not an option, apparently. I try to explain that Lindi has an arrangement with them. The lady I'm filling the form in for doesn't have a clue what I'm talking about. I try calling Lindi. She's on leave till the 15th. So I leave my message and head for my car. I'm giving up in frustration.

As I'm walking, my phone rings & it's Lindi. I turn and head back inside. Apparently I need to speak to Dr Tebogo - or something? The line is shaky, she's at Chapman's Peak in Cape Town. So I get sent back into casualty to speak to the person in charge. Apparently Dr Tebogo no longer works there. Fantastic, why am I even surprised ? So Lindi chat's to the Sister-in-Charge. Apparently I just have to chat to my insurance broker (luckily, in this case, my uncle) and find out what to fill out on the form.

So I chat to my uncle. We figure it out, I finish filling in the form and join the queue in reception once again. So, eventually I have my turn, the new guy on duty punches my details into their computer and gives me my folder. I head back into casualty.

I get given a bed and told to get comfortable. Then after waiting a few minutes, I get told that another department has borrowed their ecg machine so do I mind waiting while they find another one ? No problem, I've been here so long already anyway. So I wait, surrounded by the sounds of babies crying and other emergency room type sounds. Hospitals are strange places. Eventually my ecg machine arrives. Now, I've done one of these once before and this machine doesn't look quite right to me. I point out the fact that I need quite a number of different types of ecg and show the nurse the insurance request forms. She reads thru it and seems confused. She disappears to check it with a doctor.

This is where she tells me that they only have a resting ecg machine and that just won't do for what I need, I need to go to a cardiologist. Fantastic. So I get my insurance forms and leave. An entire evening wasted, spent waiting with no result.

So I went home, did laundry, heated up soup and watched House. Not the most ideal evening.

Oh, and I got a mail from Bean yesterday. It was nice and mature. It was strange. It was an email from someone I loved and who loved me for 2 and a half years that had almost no emotion, that was purely functional. It was strange. I know we'll have to speak sometime to sort out things like the apartment we own together and that'll be really hard. So for now I'm greatful it's just email.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Back to Work

I expect it'll be a fairly quiet week blog-wise for me. We're back into the swing of things at work and have some guys out for London for the week to audit their software that we're busy implementing. So I expect I'll be babysitting for most of the week ;)

Anyway, let me try and get the weekend re-cap in before they arrive and take up all my time ... had en masse drinks with Nix & Rich on Friday night again. Gotta make the most of it while she's here. Although they'll be arriving back in the UK sometime this morning, so that was it. Hopefully we'll manage to keep in better contact, the usual goodbye promise ;)

So that was Friday evening. On Saturday morning, Varen & I enjoyed breakfast at Doppio Zero in Rosebank. I do love their Eggs Napoli :) And then it was off to do the usual admin type stuff, buy toiletries, collect post etc. You know the drill, all that stuff you don't have time for during the week. Bumped into Bean's grandmother & aunt, which was strange. Had a lovely chat with his gran who we used to see quite a bit of, but it was sad. Luckily I could give her his post and not have to go back to the complex & slip it under his door.

Then, it was off to Sal & Bru's for their official housewarming ... although they've been moved in since November! Their place is lovely and ideal for a pool party, and thankfully the weather gods played along and gave us a perfect day! Oooh, and in super exciting news, they have 3 new additions to their family. On New Years day they got 3 tiny little kittens who are just the most adorable little things :) Welcome Erin, Pip & Grommet! The housewarming was such fun and it was good to catch up with everyone and I hope you guys didn't spend too much of Sunday cleaning house ;)

On Sunday morning I got up at nought-o-clock to go biking with Varen. It's the second time I've been and it's loads of fun :) This time we went out to Cullinan with Koeties, all that way for a Wimpy breakfast! Needless to say, after a while sitting on the back really hurts! If you've ever ridden a horse, not so different! But it's still a blast, none the less. Here's hoping the folks don't have a complete freak out ...

And then I got to meet Varen's Dad! His mom & sister are still away on holiday, but now I've meet all the boys. We arrived back after the ride, after a lengthy rest stop at Koeties place naturally, and went for lunch ... at, would you believe, Doppio Zero. Luckily it's a good restaurant with a sufficiently varied menu. And luckily it was not too scary an experience ;) Not like my Dad who once made a prospective boyf fill out an application form to date me back when I was in Std 7 (Grade 9)! Makes for a fabulous story and I still have the form the sweet boy was nice enough to fill out and then laugh at the joke of it ;)

And that was pretty much it for my weekend.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Fascinating Torture

So I've been spending the quiet at work over the last week or two blog-surfing. It's been interesting and I'm pleased to say the in amongst a lot of rubbish, there are some true gems. I'm now focused primarily on the South African blogosphere, since you never know who's secret life you might stumble upon because although the South African population is not insignificant by any means, it's still a small world ;)

So in my browsing I stumbled upon this fantastic post (with a thought-provoking comment by liezl) about a photographer called Jill Greenberg and her controversial new exhibition called End Times.

"The pictures in the show, for which she deliberately provoked tearful outbursts from children by taking away lollipops she had just given them, have been described by some as tantamount to child abuse.
Greenberg herself insists that the children had the sweets returned within 30 seconds, that no lasting harm has been done"

I think the pictures are brilliant! The emotion of the children has been perfectly captured on film, for ever.

My personal favourite (? hmmm, perhaps not quite the right word) toddler-expression, however, is that moment just before they burst into tears, where their bottom lip quivers just a little and their eyes get big. I guess that is just because I'm not a parent myself ;) But I think that would be equally brilliant caught on camera, the calm before the storm, as it were.

My Favourite Jhb Restaurant

Yesterday was good. I got to see one of my oldest friends, Nix. Back in high school, we started out absolutely hating each other, but in Std 9 (Grade 11 on the new system) we became friends (Thanks Pat & the 40yr committee ;) ) and have been ever since. Nix lived up here in Jhb for a while after she finished varsity and moved to the UK just before I moved up here. It's her bed I'm sleeping on ;)

So anyway, she & her man, Rich, were out in SA visiting family & friends for Christmas and we got together for drinks last night. It was good to catch up, it happens so rarely these days. It's a strange thing these cross-continent friendships and they're hard to maintain, especially when you're used to more regular contact with a person. Keeping in touch via email is not as easy as it sounds and it's a lesson I've been taught repeatedly by people I once considered really close friends but now speak to twice in a year if I'm lucky. And often it's just as much my fault as theirs ... it's easy to get wrapped up in your own life.

It takes effort, and most people can't be bothered to find the time to fill you in on all the minor details of their life, or even the major ones. And sometimes, with certain friendships that doesn't matter. You are occasionally lucky enough to find a person who you can not see or speak to for years at a time and when you do, you can pick up right where you left off as if you saw them yesterday. When you find someone like that, treasure them, it's a special thing. Nix and I aren't quite like that, but it that's okay because it still doesn't take us long to get back to norm :)

After that, I introduced Varen to my all-time best-ever Jhb restaurant, Cranks. It's this fantastic little Thai Vietnamese place in Rosebank (between the Mall & The Zone).

Cranks @ The Mall, Cradock Avenue, Rosebank 011 880 3442. Cranks cooks up a storm with its Bangkok go-go bar theme; the menu extends to Vietnamese and Indonesian dishes. Excellent location, cosmo, authentic thai cuisine, colourful in every way.

I love this place, with it's zany decor and it's tasty curries. The service isn't great, but it's usually packed. The owners are fabulous, the crazy German guy with his Thai-Vietnamese wife who are there every day getting stuck in with the all the menial restauranty-type things.

It used to be a regular haunt of Bean & I. It was weird to be there with someone else. It's just something I'll have to get used to. But, Varen seemed to enjoy it ... I think he was a little skeptical to begin with, I imagine all Cranks first-timers are ;) I suppose one doesn't expect such yummy food from such a crazy, off-beat sort of place. And if you do go, try to read their crazy menu, otherwise stick to the old favourites like Massaman, Peanut Chicken, Green Curry or Red Duck (those are some of my standard orders!) and definitely do not skip the starters, Spring Rolls or Chicken Satay - they make their own fabulous sweet chili and peanut sauces for them :)

So yes, it was a good evening :) And today it's Friday so, here's to a good weekend. Next week will be my first 5-day week since the last week of November! Yikes.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Life Carries On

Went to movies with Varen last night, we saw The Departed.

Cops or Criminals. When you're facing a loaded gun what's the difference? The Departed, the gritty crime drama from director Martin Scorsese, takes us into the lives of two cops: Colin Sullivan, smart and unabashedly ambitious, appears to be on the fast track in the Massachusetts State Police Department's elite Special Investigations Unit, whose prime target is powerful Irish mob boss Frank Costello. Billy Costigan, street-smart and tough, is purported to have a violent temper that costs him his badge and eventually lands him back on the rough streets of South Boston, where he is recruited into Costello's ranks. But neither man is what he seems and, as they work at cross purposes, they are plunged into a dangerous game of cat and mouse in which the stakes could not be higher.

So it sounds like a good movie and it sure as hell has a star-studded cast - Yay for Jack being back as a bad guy! But sadly, it failed to deliver. It had some brilliant moments and the acting was good, unfortunately the ending was like a lead balloon. No witty twist as we've come to expect, especially from story-lines that have been so intricately setup.
*** spoiler ahead *** But no, no twist ... just a mass extinction of the entire cast!

So yes, I've been seeing quite a bit of Varen. It's a strange thing for me, so soon after Bean, but I'm going with it and trying not to over think things too much. It's nice, we have fun together and we might even technically be dating .... it's very strange for me to type that! What's more weird is that whatever is going on with him, believe it or not, doesn't detract from the "Bean & me" storyline of my life.

I still think about Bean, a lot. I still love him. I'll hear a song or see something that reminds me of us and I get that sad feeling in the pit of my stomach, the feeling that still can't figure out how we didn't live happily ever after like we were supposed to. We were the perfect couple. But clearly that's often more perception than truth ... and even if the people involved also believed in that perception, it
unfortunately doesn't make it any more true.

These boys are so completely different and seem to bring out different parts of my personality. Bean and I were equals, everything was split right down the middle and I liked that. Varen is a gentleman and insists on opening doors, pulling out chairs and paying for meals. It's hard to get used to and he still get's frustrated with me because I don't understand most of it. But sometimes it's nice to be spoilt ... (aren't I shallow?)

Also, as much as I know Bean loved me in a deep and meaningful, real way, there's a difference in knowing someone loves you and really feeling it. Feeling it when someone looks at you and you can see it in their eyes is an important thing. I know that at the end although I know he loved me, but I didn't feel it. And I have been wracking my brains trying to remember if it was ever like that, even in the beginning. Or if I just wanted him enough for the both of us, which meant that it didn't matter then. Either way, I do feel it when Varen looks at me. And maybe it's just lust and want, but it makes a nice change ;)

So I have begun my search for the things that were missing, the things that made Bean not quite enough to last me for the rest of my life. And maybe this is something that'll wear off and maybe things won't work out with Varen for different reasons, but for now, I'm just enjoying it.

Wow, scary stuff. The unpredictable rollercoaster of life continues.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Had a nicely uneventful Tuesday evening at home with Loulou, who was having a serious tv withdrawal after her holiday. So we made up for it in buckets last night!

Watched a couple of taped episodes of The Bachelor (Season 7, apparently) - I haven't watched any of this series, but have seen one of the earlier ones so the concept of the show was not completely lost on me. Although why anyone would sign up for it, is beyond me!
Except obviously, the guy who gets to date 20 or so adoring women, of course. But these episodes were towards the end of the series, down to 4 girls, so completely watchable - hey, this is where these reality shows get interesting. And then of course we watched CSI, I'm still hopeful about this series, perhaps naively so ... And that was naturally followed by In Justice. Nothing too spectacular, I assure you. Just a much needed quiet night in doing nothing.

Oh, and on Monday night I finished John van der Ruit's Spud (a Christmas gift from Varen).

It's South Africa, 1990. The country still squirms under the iron fist of apartheid. Two major events are about to happen: The release of Nelson Mandela, and more importantly, it's Spud Milton's first year at an elite boys only private boarding school. Cursed with parents from well beyond the lunatic fringe, a senile granny, and a dormitory full of strange characters, Spud has to forge a new life for himself in this foreign and sometimes hostile environment. Surrounded by names such as Gecko, Rambo, Rain Man and Mad Dog, Spud takes his first tentative steps along the path towards manhood. (The path, it seems, could be a rather long road.) Armed with only his wits and his diary, Spud takes us from illegal nightswimming to the cricket field, from ghostbusting to teacher baiting. He also invites us into the mind of a boy struggling to come to terms with a strange new world; a boy whose eyes are being opened to love, friendship and complete insanity.

It is a good fun read and from what I gather even more enjoyable if you're a boy who spent any time in boarding school (or so my Dad says!). It definitely had some laugh out loud moments and paragraphs I just had to read to Varen when we were reading under the trees on the farm. Completely enjoyable and even more so because it's set here in our very own South Africa, which I really like.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Break from Reality

Well, Happy 2007 to all :) Wow, I cannot believe it's a brand spanking new year already. And what an unexpected year 2006 turned out to be ...

And so begins the first post of the year:
I went to the farm for the weekend with Varen. It was fantastic. The farm is a truly beautiful and serene place, which made it so easy to forget the hustle & bustle of day to day life in Jhb. And thankfully for me, I could escape reality for a few days and not think about all that's happened in the past year or feel guilty or sad about Bean.

We left work at around midday on Friday and went on a mad shopping spree, thank goodness we had a list. Who can believe we were so organised?! But, when there's no Woolies down the road, i guess you have to be. Even when we go to Millers, we can at least pop into Simonstown for some forgotten item but there's no such luxury at the farm, apparently.

After filling the boot & the backseat of his little polo, we were on our way :) It was a fairly uneventful journey down into the Free State. For those of you looking at a map (would you really?), the farm is somewhere between Senekal & Rosendal.

As I said, the farm is beautiful and the farm house is just as you would expect, but with a few fabulous mod cons thrown in for good measure. Front stoops and wooden floors, high ceilings and sash windows. With a handful of cows & sheep, naturally (it is a farm, after all) ... but no piggies :( So, all round perfect. Friday evening was quite relaxed, we enjoyed a bottle of wine with some lovely pasta (hey, what do you know, I can cook!) and watched Eddy Izzard on dstv - that guy is hysterical!

Saturday morning we were up fairly early - it happens quite by accident on a farm, I assure you! And after a full egg breakfast cooked up by the man (I'm not that good a cook ;) ), we set off for Clarens. It seems to the Free State's very own little Riebeck. Very arty with creative little shops, galleries and coffee shops. It's a cute town and we had a nice lunch and a bit of a wander around, popping in at every single little shop in true philly-style. And of course, enjoyed the spectacular scenery on the drive there & back as well.

That evening we had a snacky picnic dinner, enjoyed a beautiful farm sunset and realised just how seriously we had over-catered for the long weekend. But the food was good and we enjoyed a wide variety, although perhaps a few too many vegetables for him tho ;) Later we watched How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days on dstv - it was that or Mission Impossible, he really must be trying to impress!

Sunday was a truly lazy day and was mostly spent in the sun & under the trees on the lush grass in the garden reading our books. And I did my last completely stupid (and unintentional!) thing of 2006, I got sunburned. I am now a luminous shade of pink over most of my body :P Oh well, what can you do? Invest in a vat of after-sun, but other than that, not much. After lunch (yummy sandwiches!) we took the quad-bike for a ride and he showed me the rest of the farm, the bucks and the shallow dam. Also got to get up close (sort of) with a whole herd of cows, with their young ones! After that we went to see one of the very new-born cows and even got to touch it ... yay!

Then we had a bit of an afternoon nap, the sun seemed to have sapped all energy and we did have to stay up late to see in the new year, after all! That evening we had a late braai, that turned out perfectly much to his surprise ;) and again barely made a dent in the mass of food we'd bought for the meal. But, it was good and we enjoyed another bottle of good wine (Springfield Estate, my new favourite!). We had a quiet New Year as we sat chatting waiting for 2007 to arrive. And when it did, we cracked open a fabulous bottle of Champagne to celebrate.

And it was mostly good, I did have a brief freak-out when reflecting on 2006 and all that had happened. It had some truly brilliant moments, Egypt being the winner by far and it obviously some really low points more recently. But I survived it and that's what I'm hoping for in 2007 as well: emotional stability & survival ;) On a less cynical note, I'm not making any resolutions, it's not my thing and there is still so much residual 2006 to get over.

But it's getting better and I hope Bean had a good New Years celebration too. It's the first one in 3 years we haven't spent together. And I do feel some guilt over the fact that I was away, with another boy, enjoying myself. But that guilt comes from society which dictates that I should still be in mourning and a social recluse after the failure of such a lengthy, solid relationship. But I'm not, I'm out and about and trying to enjoy the good things that come along and have a little fun and smile. Because Bean & I are over, it's not going to change and life needs to move forward. It might sound callous, but it's not, it's practical. I've been thru so much emotion with this and I will probably still have pangs of sadness, even pangs of "What happened?" but it was my decision and I need to move forward from it. So I squashed as much of the guilt as possible and enjoyed my fabulous weekend away :)

Monday morning we were up surprisingly early again (considering what time we got to bed) and had a relaxed morning soaking up the last of the country-ness and quiet (and as little sun as possible!) before heading back to Jhb after our lunch of leftovers. It was definitely the end of year break I needed (having not had any time off from work), I feel completely recharged and relaxed and although I'd very much like not to be at work today, most people are still on leave and things here are still fairly slow.

Loulou got back from her holiday last night too, so Honey (how cute is she -->) was thrilled. It was good to not be alone in the house again (although I was sorry to lose Hon snoozing at my feet during the night!) and nice to briefly catch up, no doubt there'll be more of that this evening. The fish survived my weekend away and I hope they're getting used to their new home in my bedroom. Otherwise, here's a final goodbye to 2006 & bring on 2007 ...

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