Friday, September 28, 2007

Four Fabulous Overs

Yesterday it rained and poured in Joburg. It was an ideal day to laze in bed, unfortunately this was not an option :( But I made up for it today.

I was playing Action Cricket again in the evening (being Thursday), but in the late 19h40 time slot. So, Varen & I decided to grab dinner out before the game. We were looking for something Sandton-y since it's close to his work and the cricket and I suggested we try a new Greek spot on my lengthy list of restaurants to try (I think it was actually the only one in the Sandton area). What a lovely discovery :)

Filakia in 24 Central. It's decor is not as cosy as Plaka in Illovo, but I think the food is way better than Mythos in Fourways. We shared a bunch of excellent mezzes: their Tirosalata dip (Feta & Peppadew) with yummy pita bread (I don't know what they did but it was the most divine pita bread ever!), melt in your mouth Haloumi, Spanakotiropita, Baked Brinjal and Sweet Potato Salad (that was mostly for me although Varen did try a mouthful), Keftedakia (Beef meatballs, of which I only had half of one ... not because it was bad, but because there was too many other good items!) and Chicken Souvlaki Kebabs (which I didn't even get to try, I was too full ... but Varen got thru most of it just for the good taste factor).

All in all a good dinner out :) And the evening was topped by a fabulous Action Cricket game ... we won. But even better than that, I was in the first batting pair (with the Assumed Cheating Husband :P The supposed new girlf was there again to watch him last night and seemed to arrive & leave with him ... Varen and I are now pretty certain in our suspicions) and we managed to beat the other team's score in only *our* 4 overs (this may sound bizarre, but the rules of Action Cricket are quite different than normal and I would recommend a read if you are confused)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fabulous Music for Download

Now back in the day (about a year ago) we were all using All of MP3 ... which seems to have gone the way of the recycle bin. Recently however, Varen has introduced me to a fab new site along the same lines called MP3 Sugar.

And this morning I stumbled across a similar site but geared to SA Music ... unfortunately they don't have everything one could want there (the Parlotones, hello?). It's called Rhythm Records and so far I'm loving it :) Ideal for those of us who love SA Music ... but maybe want to own only one song off an album! I imagine it'll also come in handy for those long-lost SA folk overseas, who will scoff at the mere R7 song download fee :)

The Art of Nothingness

Last night was very quiet. Didn't leave work in time for Yoga (and I hadn't drunk nearly enough water to think I could survive it anyway), got home and relaxed for a bit and then did plenty of admin stuff (putting washing on and preparing breakfast for today) before heading to Varen's. This took a whole hour of driving ... in the rain ... with idiot truck drivers (and plenty of other idiot car drivers too!). So I wasn't in the best of moods when I arrived :(

We actually didn't even spend the evening doing anything except chatting and laughing ... yep, not even a single episode of Series was watched! And then had a very early bedtime of 9pm. It actually turned out to be quite a lovely evening :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


So last night I had a quiet one, went to Yoga, dropped off my tax return stuff with my new consultant (gotta be done!) and grabbed a late sushi dinner (at Sakura, naturally) with Varen who had to work late (again, they're busy with some major project).

All in all a good evening :) Aside from the fact that on arriving home from Yoga I did a quick car inspection ... being that it was now all nice and sparkly clean again after spending the whole weekend stationary, collecting dirt outside my house. OMG. My car is less than 2 weeks old and someone has defaced it. There is serious scratching and scraping on my left mirror ... I have no idea when this happened, and it obviously wasn't me because I definitely would've noticed the grinding and crunching noise it made if I'd been around at the time.

Aaaargh, it could've been anywhere by any inconsiderate person :( Nothing stays new and shiny for long, I guess. I'm so frustrated by the fact that it wasn't me. If I'd been a moron driver and done it myself, I would be angry, but accepted that it was my fault and dealt with it. Now I have all this pent up anger at some random idiot out there, who no doubt drives some sort of 4x4 since the scrapes are all on top of my mirror.

I'm fighting a panic attack as I try to breathe my way thru this trauma. Devastated ... sigh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lazy Long Weekend

So I joined Varen and his hordes of family at their farm in the Free State this long weekend. It was just what I needed, relaxing and reading (with a fair amount of Series thrown in) in the blissful quiet and warmth of the Free State sun. And aside from the single bathroom shared between 9 people, it was all good :)

We drove thru on Friday afternoon with the handy advantage of Brother Swoop smsing us the gps co-ordinates of any up-coming speed traps (it's really the preferred way to drive!). Got to the farm after the sun had set and enjoyed a braai with everyone.

Saturday saw us all piling into the back of their farm-bakkie and driving out to check on the now pregnant buck and show off the newly acquired farm across the road :) It's beautiful, although burnt. The rest of Saturday was very lazy and spent watching Series (mostly Numbers) and reading our books.

Sunday was pretty overcast and windy so Varen & I decided to head into Clarens. I've decided I have no need to venture there again. It always seems like a nice idea, but the shops are terribly over priced and don't really stock anything I can see myself buying - where's the fun in that? And the lunches are nothing special either.

We did have some "fun" driving thru raging fires on our way home tho. Seems like the dry Free State farmland is going up in flames, they really do need some rain!

Watched Wild Hogs on dvd this evening.

Doug Madsen (Tim Allen), Woody Stevens (John Travolta), Bobby Davis (Martin Lawrence) and Dudley Frank (William H. Macy) are four middle-aged suburban men in Cincinnati who find themselves frustrated with the pace of daily life. Woody is a formerly rich businessman who now finds himself alone and bankrupt. Doug is a dentist who can’t connect with his son and misses his college glory days when he was called “The Golden Knight.” Bobby is a plumber who’s often bossed around by his wife while trying to follow his dream by writing a plumbing how-to book. Dudley is a computer nerd who seeks to find a woman in his life. Their one collective hobby has always been to ride together on motorcycles around the city because after college they stopped being your "typical" biker gang. They even have leather jackets with their biker gang name, “Wild Hogs,” stitched on the back.

The movie was very light entertainment. It took a lot for me to watch it since I simply can not bear Tim Allen, but I was curious to watch it none the less. Sheer disappointment and a waste of my time, really.

Monday we were supposed to head home early, but when we woke up it had turned out to be such a beautiful day we decided to stick around a little longer than planned. This led to us missing the final of the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup ... it started at 2pm and the thought of the 3 hour drive back to Jhb to watch a final that South Africa wasn't even playing in just couldn't override soaking up the last few hours of relaxation that the farm had to offer :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Back On Our Winning Streak

Last night was pretty decent. We went off to Action Cricket and we won :)

After that, Varen had a Chuckleberry's burger for dinner. I wasn't so keen, or hungry after a lovely work team lunch at Soulsa - I had a divine Vegetable Roulade, I love that restaurant :) His burger was huge and I must say the flavour (so, I had a few bites ...) was excellent. I'd go back and try them again ... but no doubt order a far smaller burger!

What bothered me most last night was watching what seemed to be a repeat performance of last year ... and not on the circket pitch. I think there's an affair brewing in the office, although no longer technically in the office any more since the lady in question worked her last day here last Thursday.

Anyway, so watching these two reminds me in some ways of Varen & I, the familiarity that we built up that got us here, even tho I was dating Bean. Here the story get's a little more interesting than ours ... he's Hindu and been married more than ten years and only adopted a son with his wife last year sometime, she's Muslim and has been engaged almost forever and is in the process of building (literally building) a house with her fiance.

So, it looks like she might've broken off her engagement, but I don't know her well enough to be sure ... and I'm pretty sure they'd be keeping it quiet. And from her perspective I don't have an issue. But he is married with a baby ... it just seems worse, and quite sad really because I'd heard what a wonderful couple they were previously. Obviously not so much anymore ... is this what having kids does to some couples or does it all just come down to the point in your life where you meet that one random stranger who turns your world upside down.

I guess I am hardly one to judge, so I hope they make the right choices and end up happy down the road ...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Good Dinner Out

Last night Varen & I tried a new restaurant (after I showed off all my new clothes to him, of course!). We went to The Bell Pepper in Kensington. I've been keen to try it for a while, but he was always a little skeptical because it looks a little dodgy. Even the decor inside, to be honest, is nothing spectacular.

Turned out to be fabulous :) We shared a bottle of Chilean wine which was far better than we were expecting and then came the most divine starters. Varen had Camembert cheese wrapped in phyllo pastry which was truly decadent and I had their Roast Vegetable & Haloumi Salad, which isn't a conventional salad, since there is no lettuce, but rather it's a stack of veggies (courgette, aubergine and peppers) with haloumi on top. Divine, both of them.

For mains Varen had the duck, which he said was the best duck he'd had ... since he doesn't like duck usually as it comes with orange sauce. I had the chicken breast (stuffed with feta & spinach and wrapped in parma ham) which was really good.

So, all in all a really good evening :) I'm sure there was something else I was going to mention ... but I can't for the life of me think what?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

17 August: The Masai Mara to Lake Naivasha

It was a long and muddy drive from the Masai Mara to Lake Naivasha, we were delayed by at least 2 hours by other trucks stuck in the mud and blocking the roads. We even managed to get ourselves stuck once or twice but never irrecoverably so (thank goodness!).

Eventually after a much longer drive than it should've been, we arrived at Lake Naivasha and headed straight to Elsamere, home of Joy Adamson, author of Born Free. It was quite an interesting visit, we got to look thru their little museum room with loads of original paraphernalia of Joy & George Adamson from back in the day and we got to watch a video of Joy. She sure seemed to be a crazy lady, I wouldn't have liked to have gotten on her bad side, I think she was probably quite a battle-axe and clearly related far better with animals than people.

After that we headed to our campsite where it was raining again. Luckily the upgrade was cheap, not that I think I'd care since it's my last night :)

Retail Therapy

I have just got back from a two hour shopping binge :) I tell you, there's nothing quite like it to make the work-day bearable!

Well, you see, I'd got to the point where I'd been doing documentation for so long, I'd almost forgotten what I'd really been hired for (that's since Monday ... it's long enough now!). And I wasn't in a fabulous mood this morning, something to do with not being able to fall asleep till 2am, even tho I spent the time till then yawning madly - urk. And no doubt some of it was hormonal ... I'm a girl, it's a valid excuse for shopping ;)

So today, I decided to duck out for "lunch", even tho I'd eaten mine during a canceled conference call. Quick aside, doesn't everyone think that the best part of conference call meetings scheduled over lunch, is that you can eat your lunch and no one is any the wiser (assuming it's nothing slurpy!) ;) So off I went, determined to get some new summer-y shoes, sandals or smarter slops, something in that genre. And of course, perhaps a new summer top or something ...

It didn't take long for me to get into the swing of things and soon (alright, 2 hours later) I was up 5 items :) I got a new dress in an unlikely yellow (unlikely for me, because yellow and orange are usually colours I steer well clear of), two casual t-shirts (in a light bright blue and a pink) and two more work oriented shirts (although that does not stop them being used on a night out!).

So, thanks to Hang Ten, Edgars and Truworths for making documentation that much more bearable :)

Oh, and I never did find any shoes worth buying ... seems I'll have to go shopping again sometime soon!

Our First Summer Rain

Last night was fairly busy. I finally made it to Yoga and I can definitely say that the 4pm class is more manageable heat-wise.

But on the other hand, perhaps it was the pouring rain that made it more bearable. Yup, the first of Joburg's summer rains arrived with business in mind yesterday afternoon ... and I'd left my washing out :P And now my fabulous new car is a mess of dust puddles :(

After Yoga, Varen and I finally made it back to one of the Goof Troop's Tuesday Night Dinners. It was good to see them again and the conversation flowed until I nearly fell asleep on the couch - I think mornings waking at 6am and 90 minutes of Yoga are not conducive to me being able to stay up past 11pm.

But, it was a good night out :)

Oh, and I forgot to mention my sheer unimpressed-ness with Netstar. So now that I have a new flashy car, I figured it was worth getting myself some sort of Tracking Device installed. Their technician arrived yesterday and very kindly accommodated my schedule. Unfortunately when I got in my car to go home my car was going crazy flashy "Faulty" Info messages on it's digital screen. Yikes? I phoned Varen in a panic. He said not to worry, he'd look at it when he came round later and if he couldn't sort it out, we could phone Netstar this morning. So off I drove in a fairly panic-y state with my front left indicator (in fact all lights on the front left side) not working! What if someone crashes into me, could I sue Netstar?

Luckily Varen managed to reconnect the lights - it turned out to be fairly simple and I probably could've figured it out if I hadn't been rushing off to Yoga. Shooo, did I breathe a sigh of relief :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Time To Celebrate

Wowee, last night was cause for celebration :) It started with the best of intentions to go and attempt Yoga again, but my rubber arm was easily twisted with the news that Varen was off to finally sign the Offer to Purchase on his new house. We found this place before I even left on my trip, but his lawyer has been going thru the contract with a fine tooth comb and based on the number of corrections she made to it, I'm pretty sure he's glad he waited for that rather than signing up front.

So, yesterday was the day and at 5pm I was next to him as he signed :) After that we went out to celebrate the purchase of my car (finally, here are a few pics) and his house (both in less than a week) at Xai Xai in Melville. Originally we only intended a few darwa's but succumbed to their divine Chicken Trinchado :)

So come November 1, he'll be living up the road from me ... actually he wants me to live with him, but I'm still undecided on that one. It's not that I don't want to live with him, I actually haven't even got to being able to consider that bit of it ... it's more that I have lived with my last 2 boyfs (The Lying Pilot and Bean) and neither worked out.

The experience of moving out from Bean's place last year was pretty traumatic, aside from all the emotional relationship stuff, because that was my home for 2 years ... yet in the end, it wasn't mine and I was the one who had to leave. I helped decorate it and chose the flowers for the garden yet in the end none of it mattered. I realise I'm in a transient place still, by renting my room at Loulou's place, but I crave something of my own that I won't have to leave, that I can decorate however I want ... Does that make sense? That's what's holding me back, the decision to again be living in someone else's place, to get emotionally involved in a home that isn't mine. Maybe it's just me?

But on that same note, buying myself a home is now even further from likely, what with the recent car purchase :) Still loving the car!

Anyway, after our celebrations at Xai Xai, Varen came over to my place and we started a new British series, Coupling. It's hysterical so far :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Change of Pace

On Friday evening Varen & I went to watch I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Sacrilege, I know, since there was that huge World Cup Rugby match on between South Africa & England - which I'm happy to say we won without letting them score a single point :) And although I wouldn't be opposed to watching that sort of international Rugby game, I'm happy to point out that I have a boyfriend who is not obsessed with sport! Admittedly I'm not impressed that he blamed us missing the match on me ... but I'm thrilled with the knowledge that I won't be dragged to a pub *every* Saturday afternoon :)

How far would you go for a friend? Grateful Chuck owes Larry for saving his life on the job, and Larry calls in that favor big time when civic red tape prevents him from naming his own two kids as his life insurance beneficiaries. All that Chuck has to do is claim to be Larry's domestic partner on some city forms. Easy. Nobody will ever know. But when an overzealous, spot-checking bureaucrat becomes suspicious, the new couple's arrangement becomes a citywide issue and goes from confidential to front-page news. Forced to improvise as love-struck newlyweds, Chuck and Larry must now fumble through a hilarious charade of domestic bliss under one roof. And after surviving their mandatory honeymoon and dodging the threat of exposure, the well-intentioned con men discover that sticking together in your time of need is what truly makes a family.

The movie was pretty funny and true to Adam Sandler's style. Just the sort of light entertainment I needed :) My hugest laugh-out-loud moment was definitely the fireman shower scene - pahahahaha!

Saturday was an early morning. Had to get up and off to some ridiculous branch of Standard Bank to pick up my cheque card - which I found out had been there since the end of June (!!). But, in an effort not to let myself wander down the road of depression over what useless service providers we settle for, I won't discuss this any further right now. Because, after the weekend, I'm actually feeling a lot better and I think I'm almost over my complete loss of faith in humanity.

Then it was off to Joburg Day for a Saturday in the sun :) We arrived just before midday, just in time for Wonderboom, who I was absolutely dying to see. You see, I think Cito (their lead singer) is truly divine to watch live on stage (it's a pity he doesn't photograph quite so well tho) and the last time I saw them was about 2 years ago ... Boy was I in for a disappointment that left Varen grinning madly. It seems that Cito has forgone his hotness and grown out his hair (I know it's been longer before, but that was before I first saw them live!) and is now sporting a mustache and beard :( I was devastated, watching him perform live was half of why I was there - okay, a third ... I was looking forward to Freshlyground and curious to see Mango Groove.

Unfortunately we missed Freshlyground :( But I was hugely impressed with the Parlotones and Mango Groove was a blast from the past like no other! I couldn't believe that I remembered all these songs, the last time I heard them was probably on a cassette tape back in the late 80s. But, it was a hot day in the sun and we didn't last till the end. Instead we went home to relax with our left over sarmies, the hubbly and Numbers Season 2. Was a perfectly relaxing evening :)

Sunday was equally relaxing and we slept till we woke up (this has been sorely lacking from my weekends recently!) and proceeded to eat Coco Pops in our PJs watching more Numbers till about midday :) Then we popped over to his folks and ended up staying for lunch.

The weekend finished as we concluded Numbers Season 2 :) It was a good change of pace from last weekends mad rush of events.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I Love My New Car

Have I told you yet how much I love my new car? I really and truly and really do :)

Last night we played Action Cricket, it was a dismal attempt. More so because we were last year's Champs. Last night we could barely manage to get half the other team's total. Afterwards Varen popped over for a quick supper at home and I finished reading my book, Brother Grimm by Craig Russell.

A girl's body lies, posed, on the pale sand of a Hamburg beach, a message concealed in her hand. 'I have been underground, and now it is time for me to return home...' Jan Fabel, of the Hamburg murder squad, struggles to interpret the twisted imagery of a dark and brutal mind. Four days later, a man and a woman are found deep in woodland, their throats slashed deep and wide, the names 'Hansel' and 'Gretel', in the same, tiny, obsessively neat writing, rolled tight and pressed into their hands. It becomes clear that each new crime is a grisly reference to folk stories collected almost two hundred years ago by the "Brothers Grimm".

Although this took me quite a while to read, what with my recent busy social schedule, I did enjoy it. When it got to the conclusion at the end it was tough to put down.

It's well written and you're provided with plenty of characters to speculate on "whodunnit" but in the end I must admit that I was none the wiser. My only issue with this book was that it was written like it had been translated (like The Beast), and with all the police titles in German, it means the reading flows slightly less as you pass over these words that you understand their meaning but are not articulated in your head (does that make sense?).

Aside from all that, I am curious to read his first book (the story is reference occasionally as background for the characters) and will definitely be borrowing the next one (Eternal) from book club :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sheesh, It Never Ends

So, I finally got the car. And the good news is that so far I am thrilled with it (pics to follow!) :) I was a little worried that the schlep of the last few days would damper my opinion of my spanking little C2, but it hasn't. I can see that the trauma of losing all faith in human kind will wear off, the further away from the experience I get ... or until I next have to venture into the fray and deal with more annoying service folk :P

Unfortunately just when I was starting to really get into the "new car" thing, I got my post and there was a letter from SARS. Blegh. Now again, I'm a law-abiding citizen, my tax return has never been late. But back in 2005, I worked at a company that liquidated in the August and as such, by the time it came time to do my 2006 tax return, they hadn't provided us with our much needed IRP5s.

I didn't think this would have such an impact, I included my final pay-slip from the company (which had the total amount of tax paid so far) and duly submitted my return with a friendly note explaining my predicament. A few months later I was asked to submit all my pay slips for the tax period from that company. And being the good and decent person I am, I took time out of my life and headed down to their Randburg offices to submit the required information (This was last year still).

Then in June (this year!), I get a request for my bank statements for that entire period. So I got thru the general rigmarole of fighting with the banks about having to go into their branch for this sort of information (hello, post it to me for Gawds sake!) and eventually get the required info (at a cost of R35 a pop at my expense - do you think I can charge the Reciever on this years tax return?). I again duly send them the information (via post this time because the Assessment Centre is in Alberton?).

Which brings me pretty much up to date with my story. So I get a letter in the post from them saying (and I quote because I find the language used hysterical!): "I have to enquire whether circumstances now permit a reply to my letter dated 15/06/2007" ... the letter is unsigned. Is it just me, or is this just the funniest, most roundabout way of reminding me to respond (again with no mention of what I was supposed to be sending, so not a very helpful reminder, really). This is equally hysterical because I actually had to phone their customer line to find out what the hell the original letter even wanted, there was nothing saying whether they needed originals or photo copies or where to send the information. These people are far to vague about something as important as this, as far as I'm concerned.

So again last night I was confronted with the impossibility of my life, again! I have come to the conclusion that there is pretty much nothing you can do if the government decides to screw you over. You just have to take it. It doesn't matter that you're trying and you have no desire to incur their wrath, they're just not that interested. And although Varen pointed out last night that SARS has bigger fish to fry (as it were), I still think it's easier to catch and implicate the little guy (that would be me in this story) because I have no arsenal with which to fight back. How sad :(

But I'm breathing a lot easier this morning, not least because I made it thru Joburg traffic with my spanking new car unscathed but also because I phoned SARS (and wit ha lot of general misunderstanding - I guess because they are just telephone operators after all ... ), I found out that they received my stuff on the 22 Aug (who knows why they got it that late, but who really cares?) and it's being processed (hopefully). So for now I'm ignoring their hysterically worded letter.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Frustration Reigns

So, yesterday I was almost at the point of canceling the new car ... even now it's no longer a fun or exciting experience. In fact, I'm hating every minute of it and will think long and hard before going thru this absolute chaos and game of broken telephone again.

So, I called my friendly (although that much may be true, I'm no longer sure about his competence) Citroen dealer, Hilton, just after 7am. He called me back when he got into the office a little while later and assured me he would contact my insurance and finance people and tell them to get in touch with me ... because after signing the papers on Friday afternoon and a ridiculous offer of added-extra costs on Monday by the folks at Citroen, I had heard nothing.

I guess this has been most annoying for me because I put in a lot of effort phoning all the right people the week before I signed the offer. All that effort hasn't benefited me one bit and I have been left frustrated by the futility of the situation and even in tears. I guess it was a minor emotional break down based on my complete loss of faith in all humanity and their ability to offer any form of useful service. That's right, after dealing with these frustrating people all day, I was ready to give up on the planet as a whole and decide to never have kids because I have no desire to inflict the human race's sheer levels of incompetency on them, that would just be cruel.

So I phoned the insurance people (Standard Bank - I should've learnt my lesson yesterday!) and had my premium go up by R70 for an accident that wasn't my fault and that my folk's insurance company got completely paid out for (therefore making no loss off said accident). How is it the accepted norm that I will now be paying monthly for some other stupid driver's mistakes? I am a good driver, I've never had an accident that I caused ... yet other stupid people and ridiculously huge hailstorms are pushing up my premiums. Again it shows that there is no real point in being a law-abiding citizen, where is the benefit?

Then I called the Vehicle Finance people. Aaargh, it turns out they haven't even got the Invoice from Citroen yet. Yes, that's right, I signed on Friday afternoon and it was now about 14h30 on Tuesday afternoon and they had yet to receive the invoice. Clearly I wasn't getting my car that day.

(Oops, left this out the first time round) Oh, and they also needed a letter from Loulou saying I lived with her, a copy of her ID and proof (a utility bill or whatever) that she lived at the place she was vouching that I did. Oh, and a vial of her blood and a dna swab too. All in the name of bloody FICA - can one Hello Peter the government? FICA is the bane of my existence when dealing with all remotely financial institutions. Reason number 2 illustrating that it serves no purpose to be a law-abiding citizen.

After Varen getting involved and me having my emotional breakdown, apparently Citroen finally faxed thru the Invoice and it would now take a mere 2 hours to process. Fabulous, since I was leaving work at 15h30 to head over to the Twenty20 Cricket Opening Match.

So off I went to the cricket in a particularly bad and disinterested mood. Luckily the cricket turned out to be fairly entertaining (might've been the cups of double Brutal Fruit!) with a convincing win by South Africa :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Customer Service, Pfft

Yesterday I was supremely annoyed. So angry I could spit, really. First it was a simple attempt to order my pill (I say order because I prefer to phone in and request that Dischem get's it all ready for pick up before I attempt heading into their stores to save hours of my life from standing in their long long dispensary queues).

Now last time I'd been, they told me that my prescription had run out and I needed a new one. There are many things I don't understand about this process a) why we even need a scrip for this sort of medication - what, are they worried we'll overdose or sell it on the black market? It's a simple thing and women tend to require it on a monthly basis, which brings me to my second point b) why do docs these days only give you a scrip for 6 months so that you are in a continual cycle of phoning them for an update. Really, who changes their pill scrip this often? I can honestly say I never have and would like a 48 month scrip. It would save me a helluva lot of effort!

So, that's just my general annoyance with the system. Yesterday's annoyance was more with the useless service from Dischem ... so back on the 24th August (I know cause I checked with my gynae's receptionist) I went thru the exhausting process of phoning my gynae's office. This in itself is a tedius process which is why I now hate my gynae, his patient load is far to large. How exactly does one go about finding a new one? My requirements are not excessive ... I don't care if it's a man or a woman, I just don't want to wait 3 month for an appointment or half an hour for them to answer the phone. Anyway, they'd apparently duly faxed it to Dischem as requested ... unfortunately when I called Dischem yesterday to order, they had no scrip for me. Not only do they not load faxed scrips unless you phone and ask them to, but in the meantime they keep them safely in a file ... and apparently misplace them completely. Thankfully the resolution was fairly simple and I had quite and easy time getting thru to the gynae receptionist and she re-faxed it (i guess cause it was already on file and she didn't have to wait 4 hours for the gynae to get thru his 2 ceaserians and 40 000 patients before he could sign it) and the next lady I spoke to at Dischem was very friendly :) Friendly counts for lots.

And onto the thing that really ruined my afternoon ... Standard Bloody Bank. So I have a card with them (and FNB, thankfully - although they both have their fair share of problems!), their cards smartly (?) expire annually, what is that about? Inconvenience for me and money-making for them, I presume. Why do banks make us still visit their awful branches? When will they realise that no one likes going into a branch and they should tailor their service around that. So anyway, here's the long and hugely frustrating story ... On Sunday the ATM swallowed my card wit hvery little explanation, actually it happened so fast, I'm not sure I realised there was an explanation I should've read on the screen. So yesterday I called their general enquiries to find out what was going on. They weren't very helpful but suggested I go into my nearest branch. So, due to the emergency of the situation and because there happens to be a branch a short walk from my office, I decided to venture forth. Stupid, stupid, stupid. So in I go and join a queue practically out the door and proceed to wait a full 40 minutes before arriving at the front. This is while enduring a smarmy smiley Branch Representative (I'm not really sure what he did, because he wasn't very helpful at all) coming round, asking us what we were here to do to check if we were in the right queue (Enquiries) and then apologetically saying "Yes, sorry, you are". But no further help. After waiting for so long, was thinking the polite thing to do was provide us with chairs or at least close one or two of the teller windows (they had no one to serve even!) and let them serve us. But apparently not.

So eventually after that general frustration, I arrive at the teller and state my problem, I need a replacement card. She types in a bunch of stuff, calls over her superior and then eventually the most help I get from her after my 40 minute wait is that "Your card expired, you need to call Card Division". So I told her that the other thing I wanted to do while I was there (I wasn't wasting my 40 minute queueing) was to have my branch updated to this one (being that it's clearly closer!). That she said I'd have to go to Customer Service for ... Aargh, I waited almost an hour and accomplished nothing. Typical.

So back at my desk I phone card division and ask them where my notification of card-expiry has been? Oh, she tells me, you were phoned on the 15th of August. That is impossible, I say, I was in Kenya and unreachable by cell phone and my voice mail was off (I only use my International Roaming for smses, otherwise it's a little too expensive on our piddly Rond). But, that's what the computer says so it's all she can offer me and so they've shipped my card off to "my branch" ... and here I must politely state that I have no idea how this particular branch became "my branch" since it is no where near where I am ... and when I opened the account (at another completely different branch), I had specifically asked for it to be this convenient branch just a walk away from my offices ... So anyhoo, my replacement card is now miles out of my way - not geographically, really, it's more a case of how to get there at an hour when the banks deign to be open to offer their poor customer service to those of us unlucky enough to have to rely on them.

The poor telephone operator (I say that because by this point, my blood was boiling and I was most unimpressed ... and I know you shouldn't shoot the messenger, but at that stage, there really is no one else within reach!) then informed me that if I wanted my card delivered to the convenient branch for collection, they would have to destroy the one currently waiting for pick-up and send a whole new card ... costing me R75 and 7 days!

I ask you, where is the Customer Service? None of this is helpful to me the customer. Not to worry, I've HelloPetered them, and apparently they're a company who responds. At this point I'd like to bill them for the work-hours I'm oging to have to use driving out thru notorious Joburg traffic to the branch with my card during their 4 hours of actual operation! Aaargh.

I should be able to do something about this ... but it's another Telkom example. Where would be better? I already fought tooth & nail and paid extra for FNB to actually courier my Petrol Card to me because I have the same issue going into their branches. We are sentenced to suffer bad service because we have no option and we just accept. They screw us over and offer the barest minimum of what could be called a service, charging us for everything from withdrawals to printing your own statement at an atm. Banks, I fekking hate 'em.

Other than that, last night was quiet. Went back to Yoga and nearly died. Apparently the heaters are now working as they should and I can barely get thru half the class before I'm feeling giddy and ready to pass out. I'll give it a try for a little while longer, but if I don't adjust to this extreme temperature, I'm going to have to find another exercise alternative

Then I watched a few episodes of Scrubs, ate my left over Ghazal's and read some of my book :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Doesn't Get Busier Than This

So the weekend was just as hectic as expected, if not more so! It was fantastic as weekends go and will take a while to top :)
Friday afternoon started early with a trip to the car wash to ensure my current mode of transport was looking as impressive as possible (not much to the untrained eye, but to me who is quite familiar with all it's faults and dirt, it looked spiffy). Then it was off to Northcliff Citroen to sign the offer to purchase my brand spanking new car (I should take delivery on Tuesday - can't wait!).
Then it was a mad rush home to get dressed and head to the Joburg Civic Theatre for Swan Lake (with the happy ending). Now this was Varen's idea, me I'm not that into ballet and although this was better than what I've seen before (admittedly only Romeo & Juliet), it hasn't turned me into an avid (or even a luke warm) ballet-watcher. It's very beautiful, you can't deny it. But really, once you've seen half an hour of people expertly standing ont their tippy toes, there's just not that much more to it, I'm sorry to say - because I know my opinion will horribly offend any of you happen to be ballet-lovers. The other problem I had with it was that because there's no dialogue (honestly, I htink it'd be improved with a narrator ;)), you have to read the story upfront just to grasp what the hell they're dancing about. And therefore it's not especially enthralling ... you know how it ends already, hell I spent the whole show just lining up what was going on on stage to what was said in the programme and wondering if I'd ever have worked it out otherwise. All that said, it was a night spent broadening my horizons and doing something slightly out of the ordinary and that's always a good thing :)

Saturday afternoon we headed to the Taste of Joburg. This was a fairly last minute addition to the schedule (Wednesday) but it sounded like a fabulous way to spend the afternoon and that it most certainly was. It was all very decadent but in my usually over-organised style (going thru the menu's on offer with a fine tooth comb and ruling things out and ranking the things we did wanna try - makes the day far more efficient and i'd recommend it over randomly wandering, because it tends to end up very expensive!) Varen & I managed to enjoy 10 of the taste samples on offer.
1. Goats cheese on butternut crumpet with aubergine and gooseberry compote from The Dining Room at the Grace
2. Medallion of beef fillet with duxelle of mushroom and lobster set on potato rosti with a fois gras froth from Roots @ Forum Homini
3. Belgian chocolate tart with hazelnut puree from Sel et Poivre
Then we did a little wine tasting and have since added Wine Sense at Melrose Arch to our list of things to try on Saturday afternoon :)
4. Grilled prawn sticks with tequila mayonnaise from Bistro @ The Peech5. Vanilla scented risotto with chorizo and butternut, topped with truffle froth from Green Truffle

Then it was off to the Collinson's tent for a Brandy, Champagne and orange juice cocktail, followed by a visit to the Amarula tent.

6. Pan-fried tiger prawn with a Thai curry essence and watermelon from Roots @ Forum Homini (this is the only thing we each had one of :) )
7. White Pepper Creme Brulee from The Dining Room at the Grace
8. Lime creme caramel compressed strawberries, mint and honey sprinkle from Food on the Move (a catering company, not a restaurant)
Then it was back to the Amarula tent for their Mint Splash - admittedly neither of us was brave enough to try the Coke & Amarula mixture called a Brown Elephant. We did a little more wine tasting (Varen order a whole case from Slaley which was the best we tasted all day) and found himself his dream coffee-machine ;)

Then to spend the last of our "crowns" (the currency of the event), we headed for a little more desert.

9. Valrhona chocolate fondant topped with vanilla ice cream,
served with chilli pineapple salad from Roots @ Forum Homini
10. White chocolate and blueberry bottom tart with roasted pear ice cream and vanilla tea brittle from March
My faves of the day were the Vanilla & Chorizo Risotto (5), the White Pepper Creme Brulee (7) and the Valrhona Chocolate Fondant (9). But, the best was still to come :)
Forum Homini were running a competition for a One Night Stay for Two with Dinner, Bed & Breakfast at their fabulous hotel (valued at about 5 grand) which I was desperate to win after Mom & I'd seen their rooms when we'd been there for lunch on her last stay up here. And wha tdo you know, I won. They called me at about 9pm that evening. I am so thrilled! Of things worth winning, this is right up there on the list ;)
Sunday we headed to Doppio Zero for breakfast with Varen's family and then wandered the shops for a bit before heading home for a sleep (Standby had gotten me up exceptionally earlier than I'd planned!) and then off to the Pink concert.

It was brilliant, she's fabulous live and interacts well with the crowd. It was a perfect end to a very busy weekend :) This morning I'm really struggling to set my mind to work ...

Friday, September 07, 2007

16 August: The Masai Mara

Today I was up super early for the ultimate trip finale, a Hot Air Balloon ride over the Masai Mara. Although this cost me more than my flight to Kenya and back, it was totally worth it! An amazing and indescribable experience that someone who has never traveled by balloon could understand.

The ride lasted just over an hour as we watched the sun rise and soared over (sometimes not very high over, either) the migrating Wildebeest in their masses. They looked like ants from way up high! This spectacular experience was concluded with a 5-star champagne breakfast in the middle of the Masai Mara, surrounded by the distant migration.

After that we got to enjoy a bit of game driving en route to our pickup point not in the overland truck, which is worth mentioning. This was fabulous because we all stood looking out over the roof of the very dodgy old Land Rover. And while waiting to rejoin the rest of our group, we watched a few hippo mating - there is not much to see of the girl except her nostrils above water as the boy mounts her. Amusing.

During the rest of the day we also saw 2 male Lions with a young Wildebeest kill. They had completely gorged themselves and were fast asleep with their huge full tummys under the only tree for miles :) And then we visited the Mara river again, in the hopes that perhaps now the Wildebeest would be crossing, but unfortunately they'd last crossed 4 days before and although they were starting to crowd the banks, no one was making a move (alhtough we did consider pushing one over to get them started, but it just wasn't viable ;) )

Unfortunately there was more rain on the way back to the campsite, which does not bode well for our drive to Lake Naivasha tomorrow as the roads are likely to be badly affected!

A Bat and a Ball

Morning morning, but it's a Friday morning which is all the better :) Last night was great fun, I finally played in our Action Cricket team (my first time this season!). And it was a total thrashing, them not us :) We beat the other team 197 - 56.

Varen met me there and cheered us on in between catching up with some of his old work mates, sometimes it's really nice that he knows just about everyone I work with :) And that was about the entire evening. Today I'm heading off early to get my old car washed and cleaned and then valued ... eep, by Wednesday next week I should be driving around in my new C2. Fingers crossed :)

Oh, I'll have a hectic weekend to report back on Monday: Tonight we're off to Swan Lake, tomorrow we're going to Taste of Joburg and then Sunday is the Pink concert.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

15 August: Kericho to the Masai Mara

This was a pretty good day, after a horrendous start that saw our truck getting stuck in the mud from last night's rain and the cement (as it tried to get out of the mud it got itself rather well lodged!) Mildly entertaining as we watched the boys heave ho and break thru the cement and eventually push the truck safely to gravel.

Later, after arriving at the Masai Mara, 6 of us were thrilled to already have been to the Manyata and therefore get to the campsite an hour before everyone else and grab the showers first, relax at the campsite bar and even do a little washing (not me, with so few days left it seemed unnecessary).

Facebook Depression

Last night was pretty quiet. Varen & I went out to Sakura for sushi and then spent the rest of the evening watching Numb3rs Season 2.

It was just what I needed after the surprising discovery yesterday afternoon that Work seems to have un-blocked our access to facebook. Now this in itself should sound like the sort of news that would leave me tingly with excitement. But, in fact, it didn't. It was strange to be back there after at least 2 months break and I came close to deleting my profile altogether - I decided not to just yet but, I've decided that I certainly won't be stopping in on a daily basis nor keeping it open on my desktop thru out the day. It left me with a very strange feeling, not a good one. One that made me want to rush home for a hug from Varen. Being able to see all these people and a snippet of their lives (obviously the best bits, hand picked by themselves) left me feeling a touch depressed.

Essentially I like my life the way it is and I've really lived it the only way I could've so far ... but *everyone* out there seems to be getting married (if they haven't already) and having babies and settling down like regular adults. And what am I doing? I'm in a fairly new relationship and I have yet to crack the 3 year mark with any of the previous boys (there are people from school who've been dating their partners for 10 years or 7 years - sheesh! And hell, even The Lying Pilot will have been married 3 years in December). Does that just make me more fussy than them or are they just afflicted by (what I like to call) the Cape Town Contentment?

So even tho I've been traveling to some places none of them will ever see, that I'm in a relationship I'm really enjoying (okay, I know it's early days and everyone says that!) and that kids would just screw with my plans to move to the UK, I still somehow feel that my life is sub-standard. Bizarre how you can be depressed by something you don't necessarily want right now (definitely one day tho), but that everyone else seems to have already. So based on all that I've been put off facebook after a mere half hour back in the browsing. Sad, huh?

Oh and I figured out last night that this must be the how the scary I'm-Nearly-30 Interviewing-For-A-Husband phase must start ... slowly but surely you get the occasional little pangs after you turn 25 and then by the time you're 29 & half it must just kick in at full tilt?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Oh For Those Red Shoes

Righto, so I know I've been neglecting my blog this morning, but right now I feel as tho I've just been dumped out of a work whirlwind, not unlike Dorothy. Finally I have a free moment (let's hope it lasts the afternoon!) after a crazy meeting-filled morning.

So, I skipped Yoga last night. I know I said I had every intention of going but as the day wore on and my breathing didn't improve, I realised I would just be wasting my money to lie on my back recovering in a hot room :)

So instead I arranged to meet Lady for drinks at 4pm. What a fabulous idea, an afternoon spent outside enjoying a drink and catching up. Which was more than required on my part because I've been feeling very disconnected from her as a friend since she joined Book Club and that's the only time we seem to end up seeing each other these days.

Later DJMike and I had dinner at the Kai Thai Village in Randburg (aargh, web no presence??) - Varen had to work late again :( I've been to the Kai Thai in Montecasino before but hadn't tried this one. I must say the ygo the extra mile with decor, but I still prefer the food at Cranks. The food was good if you like what I call "Western Thai Food" - it's all the creamy curries. Cranks is more Authentic Thai Food. Either way, the food was good, we shared a start platter (always nice to get a little taste of everything) and both had the Prawn Peanang Curry for mains.

It wasn't a late night and I was home in time for Varen to swing by for a goodnight kiss on his way home from the office - well, technically, it's not on his way ...

A good jam-packed evening :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

14 August: Jinja to Kericho

This was another driving day, out of Uganda and back into Kenya (stamps 9 & 10) to Kericho, famous for it's tea-plantations. Sadly it started pouring with rain this afternoon - and we ended up pitching tents (a small few of us who didn't upgrade - I only do when it's financially viable on the ZA Rond) in the pouring rain :(

Dinner was a pretty hasty affair over a fire in a storage garage of the hotel we were camping at. Also, they didn't have very impressive camping facilities at all! The toilets, squats, looked liked they'd been used to toilet train farm animals - yucky. As you can imagine, it's not a particularly fondly remembered night - but thankfully eventually the rain stopped and the tents were dry inside :)

Back to Yoga

So, I finally made it back to Yoga last night ... and it was dreadful. I think mostly because of a month-long break but also because I'm not fully over my cold yet and breathing thru my nose isn't always the easiest thing. That and they seem to have upped the heat in the room to 4000 degrees! I nearly died. Well, I'll be trying again today so let's hope I manage to get back into the swing of things :)

So other than that I had a fairly quiet evening at home. Read my book a little, had a lovely hot bath, Woolies yummy soup for dinner and a little Scrubs Season 6 to keep me entertained.

Varen did pop in for a little visit - he was supposed to be working an all-nighter last night and tonight. But he managed to finish earlier than expected last night and popped round on his way home :) A nice surprise.

And that was the grand total of my evening. But I must say it was nice to have one of those lazy nights at home with nothing specific to do :)

Oh, and this weekend I finished reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire (finally!).

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?

Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

Unlike the popular 1939 movie and Baum's writings, this novel is not directed at children. It contains language and content which catches some readers by surprise. Wicked, the hit Broadway musical based upon the novel, is also very different in tone from Maguire's book.

Alright, I'll start by saying that this book took me an inordinately long time to read ... and I'm not convinced it was purely because I took it on holiday with me and was saving it for my flight. Even once home, I've struggled thru it.

Maybe I didn't remember the basic story of The Wizard of Oz well enough, but even on it's own this book is draining. It is a complex (and not terribly interesting) book with many very odd characters that I just couldn't bond with. Apparently it's supposed to be "a political, social, and ethical commentary on what good and evil really are" - obviously I just didn't get it at all. And for the life of me I cannot imagine what the musical must be like!

It's a pity really because I had quite high hopes for it based on the back-cover blurb (above). But I just honestly wouldn't recommend this to anyone.

Monday, September 03, 2007

13 August: Jinja

Today was quite a day, we went White Water Rafting down the White Nile. turned out to be such fun because the girls smartly got themselves a separate boat from the boys :) We had an awesome "mild" trip thru the rapids and managed to not get tipped over at all (Except during the initial training bit where the guide tipped us on purpose so prepare us for how to handle it later)! Exactly what we were aiming for.

We went thru eleven rapids during the course of the day (mostly grade 3 or 5) and it was pretty terrifying in the moment - I was pretty certain were were gonna flip in a few of them. But once we'd made it thru, still wet but not drowning, the feeling was exhilarating.

Count Down to a New Car

Another weekend flies by and it's Monday morning again, already ... i could've done with an extra day - this drive to take off the Monday seems to be growing with each week!

Anyway, the weekend was lovely and relaxed - a good thing judging from the next few weekends (and weeks in between) I have planned. Here's a sneak preview: Swan Lake, the Pink Concert, the Pro 20 Cricket World Cup Opening Match and Joburg Day.

But, back to this weekend. On Friday night Varen & I went to watch Evan Almighty.

Evan help us. The sequel will take the news anchor character Steve Carell played in Bruce Almighty and put him on an Almighty-inspired quest to build an ark in preparation for a great flood.

Mildly amusing overall, although there were some truly funny moments. I think my favourite part of this movie is how they chose to do a sort-of sequel to the original movie, Bruce Almighty. The ending is fairly dull predictable Hollywood stuff, as one would expect from a comedic movie with a religious theme that is desperately trying not to offend.

On Saturday we went test driving once again. We hit Citroen for a second drive of the C2, plus a look at the colour and interior options - turns out the blue isn't nearly as bad as the orange ;) And then we headed to the Randburg Ford to try out the Fiesta Trend model. This is an equally convincing car in the specs, but hell, it was a heavy drive. Not a bad little car, aside from the Nissan Micra-like lights in front and the fact that I had to test drive a sales-person's actual car with all her strange fluffy toys (teddy bears, I ask you?) and sunglasses and whatnot cluttering up the car - which doesn't give you a very good impression of the car. I think I'm sticking with the C2 :) I think I've finally decided. Sheesh, this is big news!

Then we spent some time wandering around the shops in the afternoon and had the most fabulously decadent lunch - unusual for a Saturday, or any day, really - dinner is more our thing :) Varen took us to Smith & Wollensky and we shared a bottle of lovely Stormhoek Pinotage with our soups and our deserts. All of which were lovely - and due to our bottle of wine, we weren't even too phased by there typically slow service :)

Later Varen's mom and sister came over for dinner (his dad was at the farm - jealous!) Was a lovely evening while we teased Brother Zion about keeping it in the family and taking Brother Swoop's girlfriend's sister out :) Entertaining family politics.

Sunday was supposed to be lazy and mostly was aside from the nearly early morning as we headed over to his Folk's house for breakfast - I wanted to try using the Mac to rip some still out of my Gorilla vids. Then we hung out there lazing in front of the DSTV before heading home for some Series.

The afternoon found us back at Varen's folks for a late lunch with the whole family (almost - Brother Swoop is almost never seen) and then back at his place to finish off (finally) Season 6 of 24 - not nearly as impressive as all the rest.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin