Friday, December 28, 2007

Pressie Review

I have not had a very eventful day ... we had Gum over for tea, it'll be the last time I see him this holiday. And Varen is safely home and exhausted :)

Mostly, this is because I forgot to expland on the Xmas gifts I gave in yesterday's post.

I got the Peeb a very cool Rebound Book. I think it's a fab idea and first read about it on Spray Glue. It's a tiny little company operating in Cape Town (very convenient) who find beautiful, neglected :-( hardcover books and re-bind them with a creamy, matt, environmentally friendly paper. The result is a durable, totally unique journal, diary or sketchbook :-) It's perfect for her.

I got Daddio some food stuffs from Rickety Bridge and a Woolies shirt. The Peeb got him matching shorts so all in all he had a whole new outfit for Xmas day!

And then mom got a joint gift from the Peeb and I, a new Fossil purse - her old one was held together by a hairband ... it was well past replacement time!

I have yet to purchase Varen's gift. It ended up seeming silly to buy anything here that I had to take all the way back to Joburg with me ... but he really wants a Bonsai tree, so we'll go take a look for a really nice one next weekend.

Tomorrow it is back to Joburg for me. I'm not yet sure how that makes me feel. I've definitely enjoyed a relaxing Cape Town holiday for a change and I'll miss the fam. But I am looking forward to seeing Varen :) Not so much looking forward to going back to work next week tho :( But before that, Varen & I have a nice few days on his farm in the Free State to celebrate the New Year :)

See you all in 2008!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back to Civilisation

Well I'm back in the land of computers, electricity and hot water :) I spent a wonderful week at our family holiday home out past Simon's Town. Let me explain upfront that as a family we have chosen not to have electricity down there. I mean sure for many many years while growing up, it was certainly not an option (Eskom didn't have lines out that far past civilisation) but these days, it's a personal choice. It does mean you have to drive the half hour home every few days ... or make do with the sun-warmed camping shower when neccessary :)

It's a holiday experience most won't understand, the giving up of luxury items (tv, computer, instant hot water and light switches) because for most, in my experience and this is based purely on people I've exposed to this sort of holiday, they expect more luxuries while on holiday than at home. But, nothing can quite ensure your relaxation like the peace and quiet of not having the option to turn on a tv. To only really be able to read, run along the beach with the dogs or play cards (this is where The Peeb's & my card skills come from). It really is the life :)

For the first time since I left Cape Town, I am honestly wondering about the merit of returning. Anyway, we had a lovely Christmas with all Twenty Men visiting for our traditional family lunch. The rest of the time was spent attempting to snorkel - while Varen was enjoying the 26 degree bottom temperature at the Great Barrier Reef, I was donning full gear for my foray into the icy waters of the Atlantic. I kid you not, I was kit out with Daddio's old booties, wetsuit and hoodie before dipping more than my big toe in the water :) Well, until today - the weather is always perfect on the day you leave. Thanks, Murphy. I had a good old fashioned swim today with naught but my swiming costume on. The water was stilled chilly, but divine.

I've also been reading ... a lot! I'm about 6 books into the JD Robb In Death Series. Will review when I have less else to say :) Tonight the close family (Mom, Daddio, The Peeb, Button and me) went out to The Peeb's favourite sushi spot, Sake House. Although the service was seriously lacking and we had a good laugh as the waiters confered over the dishes, clearly unsure of what was meant for whom, the sushi is highly recommended. I had to experiment past my usuals from Sakura and went with their Rainbow Nation Platter. I even tried a one of The Peeb's Dragon Rolls. Not too shabby. If I were looking for sushi in Cape Town again, I'd go back :)

In other exciting news, Varen has begun his long trek home :) Oh, and I'm getting a new camera for Christmas - aren't I a lucky girl?

Holiday Status update:
1) See The Divine Miss M (x) - twice even
2) See Interviewing for a Husband (x)
3) See Jam (x)
4) Spend some time at Millers with the family (x )

All done :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Digital Camera

I think I have just figured out the perfect Christmas present for myself ... a new Digital Camera. Mine is now officially broken.

Unfortunately I only discovered this at lunch with Jam yesterday since I'd taken the camera along to get a few shots of us for posterity - being that we see each other so seldom, it seemed appropriate to record the event. Thankfully The Divine Miss M had done this for me at Kirstenbosch the day before :)

So as I whipped out my trusty camera and even asked some nice young fellow to take a shot of us, I noticed the picture was looking a little blurry. So I took a few tester shots. On the left is a prime example of the sort of photo's my camera is taking these days ... those are the windows in my room here ... not quite right, huh?

At first I thought it might've been a stale battery problem but after recharging them and snapping the above mentioned shot, I've proved that the camera's time is now officially over.


And now we're all packed up and about to head off to our beach cottage for a week :) I hope you all have a splendid Christmas spent with family and friends. Till the 27th ....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Social Butterfly

So I've been fairly busy (considering it's my holiday and I'm lounging around as much as possible) since I last posted.

I met up with The Divine Miss M for an afternoon stroll around Kirstenbosch gardens. What a fabulous way to spend a warm summer afternoon :) Although the service at their Silvertree Restaurant left an awful lot to be desired (The Divine Miss M eventually gave up waiting and went to hunt down a waiter herself) and the toilets were in a revolting state - certainly not up to par for what one would expect considering it is a fairly major Cape Town tourist spot!

Today I finally managed to have lunch with Jam :) Jam is my oldest friend in the whole world, we've known each other since our first year at school (Sub A back in my day, but that's Grade One for you lot). We've been friends thruout although not always a very big part of each other's lives. It's a special sort of friendship where we don't see each other on any sort of regular basis but when we do see each other, it's like we've never been apart. It was lovely to catch up with her, things are going fabulously with her & her man - he's a friend of Bean's and we set them up 2 years ago on another Cape Town Christmas holiday :) She's off to the Eastern Cape at the end of Dec to start her Occupational Therapy Community Service year.

We lunched at Greens in Constantia. Mostly we chatted away, but we did share a very nice pizza for lunch and enjoyed a glass of wine each :)

Then I went to visit The Gum again. I think he's pretty lonely there and since he can no longer concentrate or comprehend enough to read or watch tv, he's mostly left to whatever gobbledy gook his mind decides to cook up. We sat and chatted for about an hour and half until his dinner time at 5pm.

This evening I went to dinner with Mom & Daddio to a delightful little restaurant in St James called Octopus' Garden. It has an absolutely zany interior (reminded me slightly of Cape to Cuba, but much smaller and brighter). If you are looking for somewhere new to try in Cape Town, I'd highly recommend it! Although their menu is small, the food is all delish. I had 2 starters, since I'd eaten out already today ... the Butternut, Rosemary and Feta Soup and their Prawn Spring Rolls. Both very good!

Holiday Status update:
1) See The Divine Miss M (x) - twice even
2) See Interviewing for a Husband (x)
3) See Jam (x) - had a fabulous lunch this afternoon
4) Spend some time at Millers with the family ( ) - we're heading down theretomorrow till the 27th :)

Haven't even been here a week yet and I'm almost done with my list!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How Do You Spend Your Free Time?

Yesterday was fairly relaxing ... I've rediscovered computer games :) I say that because I don't think I've played one since I moved to Joburg. I used to quite enjoy the occasional strategy game like Sid Meier's Civilisation or Sierra's Caesar III. And now that I suddenly find myself in Cape Town with time to spare ... who wants to be out driving around or wandering the malls like the rest of the people down here seem to be doing? Yes, admitedly one could interject here with a "Who wants to be sitting in front of a computer in that divine weather" but that is besides the point right now because the answer is: I do. I'll get plenty of time to relax and enjoy the weather when I am electricity deprived at our holiday house out past Simon's town (we'll be there between 20 & 27th December).

In the mean time, I am becoming a far calmer and more relaxed version of myself and it is thanks to my books and computer games. I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling just before I left Joburg.

'His hand closed automatically around the fake Horcrux, but in spite of everything, in spite of the dark and twisting path he saw stretching ahead for himself, in spite of the final meeting with Voldemort he knew must come, whether in a month, in a year, or in ten, he felt his heart lift at the thought that there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione.' With these words "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" draws to a close. And here, in this seventh and final book, Harry discovers what fate truly has in store for him as he inexorably makes his way to that final meeting with Voldemort. In this thrilling climax to the phenomenally bestselling series, J.K. Rowling will reveal all to her eagerly waiting readers.

I liked this book, as with all the other Harry Potters in the series. But, I must say I'm glad the series is now closed. It's not that I wouldn't read another, if it were written ... it's more that I think JK Rowling has run out of Harry Potter stories to tell.

As I read I did have a theory or two about how she was going to end it, since she was not only ending a book, but an entire institution. She handled it delicately and I guess the way one would since there were so many fans out there waiting with bated breath. Still, as I said, I liked it (although the future based epilogue really annoyed me).

And Eternal by Craig Russell which I finished while lazing in bed this morning.

'We are eternal'. 'The Buddhists believe that each life, each consciousness, is like a single candle flame, but that there is a continuity between each flame. Imagine lighting one candle with the flame of another, then using that flame to light the next, and that to light the next, and on and on forever. A thousand flames, all passed from one to another across the generations. Each is a different light, each burns in a totally different way. But it is, nevertheless, the same flame'. 'Now, I'm afraid, it is time for me to extinguish your flame. But don't worry... the pain I give you will mean you will burn brightest at the end.' An environmental campaigner and former left-wing radical is murdered, his body scalped. When a second scalped murder victim, a geneticist researching the possibility of inherited memory, is found, the media latch on to a new serial killer. Jan Fabel and his murder team have nothing to go on other than a single red hair left as a signature at each scene, each hair cut from the same head, at least twenty years previously.;Connections begin to appear: a long disbanded terrorist group and its infamous leader; a mummified body over 1500 years old; and a killer who believes he has been reincarnated to exact a terrible revenge on those who betrayed him in a previous life.

This was the second of Craig Russell's books I've read and although the storyline is generally good, I just don't find them an easy read. This one was particularly slow and I'm not sure if it's because it's Germany-based as opposed to the usual British or American based novels we all generally read. Either way this one had a fantastic surprise ending that at the very least kept me gripped for the last few pages.

Craig Russell also takes care to make his characters 3 dimensional, they all have little sub-plots going, if not things in their life at least things in their psyche that affect who they are and the decisions they make thruout the story. Not a bad read, I'd read another of his books, but it's not earth shatteringly go-out-and-tell-all-your-friends brilliant either.

I have also been playing a fairly old computer game. After scouring the internet for whatever free downloads and demo's I could of the games I remembered, I eventually gave up - demo's that only last 2 levels do nothing much to calm me :) So I went out and spent a mere hundred rond buying myself a copy of Age of Empires Collectors Edition with AOE and AOE II and it includes an expansion pack for both games. I doubt my interest will last longer than this week, but at least next time I'm feeling the need for escapism and I have 3 hours or so on my hands I'll be armed with a real copy of the game. Come on, it's a little better than mindlessly watching series, right?

I was going to be attempting to track down Varen's Christmas gift today but it seems it's not so viable to transport it up to Jhb, so I'll have to wait till I'm back. Luckily it is going to be his Christmas and birthday present as it seems I will probably not be around for his birthday. Got a call from work yesterday morning asking if I was available to go to the UK in January for about 3 weeks. Yippee :) Anyway, I'm sure he's distracted by his flight to Cairns this morning and his impending dives on the Great Barrier Reef ... although he did somehow manage to send me flowers yesterday (yes, all the way to my door in Cape Town - isn't he the sweetest?). Am definitely missing him by now.

Holiday Status update:
1) See The Divine Miss M (x) - will be doing this again a little later this afternoon :)
2) See Interviewing for a Husband (x)
3) See Jam ( ) - will hopefully get to do lunch tomorrow
4) Spend some time at Millers with the family ( ) - we're heading down there on Friday for a week :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Interviewing For a Husband: The Story

So yesterday I had my delayed drinks with Interviewing for a Husband and the first thing I said was "Let's see the ring". Kind of a tacky way to start considering she followed it with an empty finger and an "It's gone".

Here is her story. I first met Interviewing For a Husband back when she was. I met her thru the same bunch I met Bean thru ... and she is now the only one left I speak to (aside from Bean over the occasional email about the house). A few months after I met her, she met this boy, let's call him CommitmentPhobia (although she didn't know so at the time). She and CommitmentPhobia were inseperable and blissfully happy for a month after they met before she had to jet off to New York for 3 months after her articles. The time is Nov / Dec 2003.

Off she went. And so he followed and met up with her for a 2 week holiday over Christmas and New Year. The blissful happiness continued. And soon her time in New York was up and she was headed on a 2 week road-trip around part of the States with some of her friends before heading back to SA and her lovely man. (Let me just point out here that before she met him, she wasn't planning a return trip to SA but, was instead going to head straight on to London). And here the story really begins. About 2 weeks before she's set to go road-tripping, he calls her up and says he's sorry, but he really doesn't think he wants to be serious and dating anyone right now. (This is a good time to tell you he's been divorced already).

So she's shattered, but comes back here as planned. They see each other occasionally, although he's seeing other girls too. But, he constantly calls her up to chat when he get's home in the evening and they still have this connection. So in order to aleviate her frustration, she arranges a 6month contract in Australia. About a month before she leaves, he get's his act together and they start dating again.

He loves her, he can't live without her, please come back to South Africa she hears while in Aus. So she cuts her contract short by 2 months and arranges to come back here. And again, literally about 2 weeks before she flys, he calls her up and says he doesn't want anything serious, doesn't want to be tied down and ends things (Round 2).

She comes back here, devastated again. And I'm not sure quite how it worked this time around, but they end up dating again, This time things seem to work out well and eventually they end up living together. Everything is going smoothly, although she's ready for him to pop the question and he just isn't ... yet.

On one of their holiday's, in New Zealand, they decide to get married. They even tried to do it there but due to marriage license laws, they couldn't. But when they got back, they bought the ring and booked a venue. Now all he had to do was propose officially.

It never happened, he bailed on her again (Round 3). This time she was fed up and even started seeing another guy while still seeing CommitmentPhobia. He still wanted her in his life, he just wasn't ready to get married (this was all around June/July this year ... the man is 40). Eventually he crumples and pleads with her to marry him, it's is what he wants. But now she's not convinced and it takes another few months but they officially get engaged and start planning their wedding.

Interviewing For a Husband sent out an email just last week Wednesday saying "keep this date free". And 12 hours later her wedding was off. The man has run from her again (Round 4). This is the last time. She realises she can't keep letting him do this to her ... and that he is never going to stop. She is shattered, but somehow calm. You can see that this time she knows it's for ever.

I feel terrible for my friend. She has spent the last 4 years with this guy, constantly around when he realises that she is in fact the one for him. Unfortunately when he realises what he lost this time, she won't be there any more. She'll be contemplating life as a single woman of 30. Which for her (and I'd have to admit me too) is a scary thing. As she says ... everyone she meets has just as many issues (if different) from CommitmentPhobia.

Anyway, lunch wasn't as happy an occasion as I was expecting, but it was much needed none the less. In the afternoon, the family all came round here for a braai and I finally got a chance to chat with Varen online. It was lovely to feel like I was hearing him in his words :) He loved the Zoo and sent me a few pics. He was supposed to go to SeaWorld today but they decided a day of rest was far more neccessary since they'll be diving the Great Barrier Reef in only 2 days :) So jealous. I got to chat to him this morning after I woke up (before he had dinner) again so that was a fabulous start to my day.

I was supposed to be seeing Jam for lunch, but she's not feeling well, so I guess I'll have to make some other plans now.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Relaxing Sunday

Today has not been especially eventful. The Peeb and I were supposed to head off to visit our crazy aunt in Riebeck for the day, but we both woke to the gentle sound of Cape Town rain. And, even tho Riebeck is a good hours drive from here, it happened to be raining there too. We decided to skip it and instead Peeby came over and we went off to Cavendish Square for some Christmas shopping - she managed to get her gift for Daddio and spend her birthday gift vouchers.

Let me say that Cavendish has changed a helluva lot since I was last there. We tried out this new little Kauai-type shop called Osumo. The smoothies were nice, although more expensive than Kauai, as if you thought that could be possible. The food looks nice but since they're currently only based in the Western Cape, I don't know when I'll ever get the chance to try it out - unless I find myself back at Cavendish before I head home.

This evening I was supposed to go for drinks with Interviewing For a Husband, to just generally catch up and of course so I could finally see the ring. Sadly she found out that her gran died a little earlier today so our plans have been postponed. Which means I'm left to enjoy a nice quiet evening at home. I am loving being on holiday :) But, all in all I didn't end up doing a single thing I'd had planned for today ...

I was hoping to get to chat to Varen a little online this afternoon. He had dinner on a boat cruising down the Brisbane River and was unfortunately to eshausted by the time he got home. At least I know he's thinking of me from all the smses, but it sure would be nice to actually have a more two-way interaction for a change. He's off to the Australia Zoo (Home of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin) tomorrow, I am hugely jealous!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

How I Met The Divine Miss M

I've just got back from dinner with The Divine Miss M. It was absolute magic to see her again without having to type a single word ;)

Now before I continue, let me fill you in on the long history of our friendship. We didn't start out as friends. Believe it or not, The Peeb and The Divine Miss M were in fact in pre-school together, along with DJ Mike ... at
The Children's Workshop, where I'd been just 3 years before them. The three of them were all best of friends. The Peeb and The Divine Miss M in particular, so much so that she even joined our family on holiday occasionally.

Then much time passed and The Peeb and The Divine Miss M lost touch thru attending different schools. DJMike stayed part of our life because our Mom's became best of friends too.

Then after The Lying Pilot and I had broken up and I re-grouped and started seeing more of my friends again, I started spending a little more time with EvilBob and Bokkie and their new friends. And thru them I met this girl called Miss M. One evening we all went to a party at her house and I ended up in her room chatting to someone (yes, actually chatting ... nothing more sinister) and I picked up her drivers license and student card (as one does) and read her full name. The Divine Miss M. I cut my converstaion short (being slightly on my way past tipsy) and went running thru her house shouting "Oh my God, you're The Divine Miss M" repeatedly until I found her. She was very nonchalant and was like "Yes, I am. So what?". "You don't understand," I replied. "I'm Phillygirl ... The Peeb's sister". And then we spent about 5 minutes jumping up and down screaming at each other with realisation.

After which I promptly phoned The Peeb and DJMike bragging to them that they would never believe where I was, I was at The Divine Miss M's house.

The Divine Miss M and I have been practically inseparable since then. I say practically only because although we are currently separated by time and space, this has no effect on our friendship at all. Much the same as Jam (who I'll be seeing on Tuesday) and I. It doesn't matter how often we speak or see each other ... when we do, it's like nothing has changed at all. These are true friends :)

So anyway, back to today ... I also got to see The Gum for the first time since February today ... he's getting old but he wasn't too bad. Mom & Daddio say he was putting on a bit of a show, trying to remember and chat with me, and this tired him out this afternoon. I can't really tell yet but, I'll be seeing more of him in my 2 weeks here so we'll see.

The Divine Miss M and I had a lovely catch-up dinner (we haven't actually seen each other in person for 3 years now) at The Fat Cactus, my favourite Cape Town Mexican restaurant. We enjoyed a whole jug of frozen strawberry margarita's, the best chilli poppers in the world and some truly fab fajita's.

And now I'm off to bed :) And it's 6:41am Sunday, Varen-time ... He's apparently off to The Gold Coast later today, wherever that is (will have to do some google-ing).

Arrived Safely

So, I made it safely to Cape Town. Getting to the airport was a bit of a debacle tho ... I had arranged earlier in the week for Varen's brother Zion to give me a lift to the airport, knowing just how crazy mental it would be at this time of year. Oh, and naturally to avoid the insane parking fees.

Things didn't work out quite as planned ... and I'm still not entirely sure what exactly went wrong. I had planned to meet Brother Zion at Brother Swoop's place at around 15h45, where I'd be leaving my car for the duration. I raced out of work at 15h00 and managed to get thru the surprisingly minimal traffic to arrive at Brother Swoop's place at around 15h30. I had tried earlier in the day to get hold of Brother Zion but it turned out I still had his old cellphone number - damn! So I waited around and read my book getting more and more paniced. I tried reaching Varen's mom in the hopes of getting hold of Brother Zion that way ... her phone constantly went to voice mail. I even ended up calling Varen's friend Koet, in the hopes that he had someone in Varen's family's phone number ... he didn't.

At around 15h50, I raced off to Varen's folks house (where Brother Zion lives) thinking that perhaps he forgot where we were meeting or something. After frantically harassing their useless security guard because he was delaying me further because he wanted me to fill in a form that he had left in the guard house, I eventually just left my car in the road and raced thru the gate to bang on their front door. There were no cars standing outside, but Brother Zion's bike was there. No answer. Well, maybe I had just missed him.

So I jumped back in my car and headed back to Brother Swoop's place (let me explain that he is currently down the South Coast on holiday so it is not as simple as knocking on his door). There was no sign of Brother Zion. But just in case, I banged frantically on Brother Swoop's door. No answer.

After all this manic driving around and probably 11 missed calls to Varen's mom I gave up and eventually drove myself to the airport at around 16h10.

I parked in the most far away parking (hopefully the cheapest) and raced to Domestic Departures. I arrived to the longest queue in the history of queues (although it may have gotten longer during the couse of the afternoon). But luckily I'd still arrived about 2 hours early for my flight. I made it thru the queue eventually, got my seat and breathed a sigh of relief as I passed thru security. There were no delays - thank you Kulula.

Oh, and this morning when I woke up to the toasty heat of Cape Town summer, I went for a swim in our pool :) Let me tell you, that is not a regular occurence. But it was fabulous!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Out of Office: Off to Cape Town

Today I walked into work smiling :) That is because I won't be back here till 2008 (it sounds so much further away when you say it like that!).

Yesterday was manic. I had a team lunch at The Butcher Shop in Sandton. It certainly wouldn't have been my choice, I tend to steer clear of restaurants with the words "Grill", "Meat" or "Butcher" in the title. Aside from my foul mood on arrival (due to the horrendous Sandton traffic, traffic lights out and general construction and the attempt to find parking in three different parking lots) but was swiftly solved by a double vodka ;) The food wasn't bad although I wolfed it down in record time because I had to head off to Varen. But I will say that I won't be recommending it to people or heading back there myself anytime soon. I did really like their veggies (even tho they looked like they'd glow in the dark!).

And then it was off to Varen's to pick him up and head to International Departures. We spent some time saying goodbye and then he jet-setted off with his gift-pack of envelopes (on for each day to remind him how much he means to me). I must say I am a little nervous since I have yet to hear from him announcing his arrival in Sydney (and all my smses haven't been delivered yet either). But I've checked the airline website and his flight has arrived. It's 17h51 is Sydney according to my personal world clock, which means that he is 9 hours ahead. It also means that the reason I haven't heard from him is probably because he's already on his next flight to Brisbane. He was supposed to have a 3 hour stop-over, but according to the airline website, it looks like he landed 2 hours late (not so far off a South African domestic flight delay!) - sheesh, I hope he made his connecting flight! Although I'm guessing if he didn't make it, his phone would be on and he'd be lamenting his delay. He should be arriving in Brisbane in about an hour and hopefully I'll hear from him then.

In other news, I'll be off to Cape Town later this afternoon. My bags are packed and I'm dying to be out of here! I'll post if and when I can, but don't count on it ;) Hope you all have a fantastic festive season spent with family and friends. See ya in the new year.

> Quick Update 10:29am: As per the airline website, Varen has now safely arrived in Brisbane ... still haven't had delivery receipts for my smses yet :(

> Another Update 10:45am: He's successfully arrived in Brisbane :) Yippee ... I await further details on what he termed a "complete fuckup" with flights. Oh well, at least he's there and can finally begin to relax and enjoy his holiday!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Varen's Last Day

Last night was our team's Year End Partners Dinner. We went to the Back o' the Moon restaurant at Gold Reef City. After never having been to Gold Reef City in my entire time in Joburg, I've found myself there twice in the last two months for Year End do's.

I didn't have very high expectations for the restaurant after seeing the trimmed down menu our table of 22 would be ordering off. It seemed like very simple food for a R195 a head charge. And the food was fairly simple, but it was good :) I had a very nice Prawn Curry.

In good news, today will only be a half day at work for me (yippee!) because I have another team lunch (this one with a different team) and then there's the bad news, because after that I'll be taking Varen to the airport. He'll be flying to Australia this evening and it hasn't really kicked in for me yet. If anything I'm getting more irritable with him because of it. I dunno, I get weird like that when I'm leaving too.

But, for all the things that are niggling at me for the moment, I know I'm going to miss him a lot . But, I do sincerely hope he has a fantastic trip and loves the gift I've made him to remind him of me for the next 2 weeks while he travels. Have a blast baby.

ps. So technically I've only got a day and a half left of work :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Still Counting Down

I realised yesterday as Varen & I discussed what to do with our evening that I haven't seen a big-screen movie in absolute ages. This may be because of the utter trash screening lately ... it's more likely to be that I just don't have time for it any more since we're trying to gym (and if we skip it we generally have something else on) and I need to get to bed around 21h30 to be up at 6am to allow me to leave work at 15h30 in the afternoon.

So Varen & I fully prepared to get some take-out ... Mochacho's yum :) and watch some more series. Instead while waiting for our food, we browsed a Video shop and ended up taking a DVD home with our food.

We watched Mr Brooks.

Mr. Brooks follows a developing trend in the serial killer genre where the audience is brought to like the killer due to his pleasant personality and the fact that killing is portrayed as an addiction.

Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) is an upstanding business owner and family man, recently honored as the Portland Chamber of Commerce’s Man of the Year. In his secret life, Earl is a serial killer, hounded by his inner demons, manifested as the gleefully sadistic alter ego Marshall (William Hurt). While he has refrained from killing for the last two years, Brooks feels the urge rising once again and, spurred on by Marshall, murders a couple in their home.

This was a pretty decent movie with a fairly star-studded cast. The ending had a predictable twist followed by the surprise of a twist you didn't see coming (well Varen did, but essentially my prediction still turned out to be right).

And now it is less than 36 hours until the man jets off to Australia. Luckily he received confirmation of his visa late on Monday and will be collecting it today :) There goes my plan to kidnap him to Cape Town with me on Friday ...

Currently I'm in training ... blegh. Can you tell how interested I am since I'm currently posting to my blog?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Four Days To Go

Nothing exciting to say this morning ... as I frantically post before the ridiculous training that work has scheduled for my last week here. And that is not as pleasant as it should be, by far.

Varen came over and we watched some Series.

The traffic this week has been weird ... it's supposed to be calming down what with all the Gautengers heading for the coast for Summer holidays. All the normal little roads I take in the morning have been decidedly quiet. However, as soon as I reach the Empire onramp to the M1 South, it all goes pear-shaped. It's the most peculiar thing. This morning the M1 South was worse than I've experienced it during the year when peak-traffic should be, well, at it's peak. It's very odd and more than annoying.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My Last Working Monday of 2007

It is officially my last "work" Monday of 2007. That alone is keeping me smiling. Although the mere prospect of spending the day at work is competing hard to ensure a bad mood.

The weekend was good, surprisingly restful, which I think is just what Varen & I needed before we both jet off to alternate destinations for 2 weeks :( It's starting to sink in ...

Friday night Varen's whole family came round to see his new place (his Mom had never seen it before at all) and then we all headed out to dinner at Adega in Greenside (we were supposed to go to CTFM in Cresta, but they were having some noise a carol service and the place was chaos.

We were amazed at our luck, just showing up off the street at Adega and there was a 9 seater table just waiting there for us :) The food was pretty decent and the portions are huge. It generally wouldn't be my choice of restaurant except when they're having their kilo-of-prawns special :)

On Saturday Varen & I slept in (it's been a while since we've managed to do that on a weekend) and decided to
head off to the Irene Country Market to try and get some Christmas shopping done. Unfortunately it was very drizzly and started raining good and proper by the time we left. But I did taste a vetkoek for the first time in my life. Well, I've had mini sweet donut type ones ... or at least that's what we were told they were called. But after tasting Varen's savoury one, they are not the same at all. It wasn't too bad, but I'm not sure I'll be ordering a whole one for myself anytime soon! And then I had a delish banana spring roll and we shared some Pumpkin fritters. Yum :)

Then we headed home for a bit of a relax before going to The Goof Troop's Christmas party. Varen & I were a little unsure about going having not seen any of them for quite some time, but we ended up having a blast :) It was great fun with many shooters, cocktails and hubbly bubbly for all. Varen in particular got "a bit under the weather" and I had to drive us both home ... luckily I'd seen this coming and had stopped drinking well before.

This is the first time I've ever seen Varen really hammered and it was quite different to what I was used to with Bean. Varen still loves me when he's been drinking and
he isn't just trying and impress the boys, he's not arrogant at all (although he may believe he can still keep the next drink down, he doesn't get silly and didn't argue once about me driving us home).

The next morning we got a very late start (someone was particularly hung over) and ended up lunching in Cresta at Piatto. Initially I'd wanted to try the Talking Eatalian, but it seems to have closed. Piatto was a fabulous choice and after seeing their menu and the number of things I'm keen to try, we'll have to go back another time. I was craving my favourite pasta so stuck to the Pumpkin Panzerotti and Varen had chicken breasts coated in parmesan cheese, stuffed with parma ham, mozzarella cheese served in a pool of napoli sauce - it was really good :) We also tried some potent Jalepeno Poppers to start, which was maybe not hte best idea on Varen's hung-over stomach ... but he survived.

Then he headed off to his folks place while I finished up my Christmas shopping. Decided to skip the house hunt this weekend in order to try maintain a fairly upbeat mood for the remainder of 2007.

Christmas Shopping List:
Mom - bought a fabulous item that the Peeb is going halvies on
Dad - done and dusted
The Peeb - bought last week :) And I'm thrilled with it ... Mom should be collecting it today, hopefully :)
Varen - Got plans to track down something specific while I'm in Cape Town ... I only hope I'll be able to get it back to Jhb.

All in all, a really good weekend. There was plenty of reading and series-watching involved in there too :)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Countdown to Holiday

Nothing exciting to say this morning. Didn't go to gym last night, stayed in and watched series with Varen.

Note to self: due to the continuous rain in Joburg (and yes, it's supposed to be summer), Varen & I must invest in the largest unbrella's we can find. The kilometer long path between his front door and parking spot is getting a little annoying in the rain. This morning I found myself turbaned-up in a towel to attempt to minimise the drench.

Christmas Shopping List:
Mom - no ideas as yet
Dad - ditto
The Peeb - bought yesterday :) And I'm thrilled with it
Varen - Got plans to track down something specific while I'm in Cape Town ... I only hope I'll be able to get it back to Jhb.

Oh, and I've started on Varen's travel-gift ... I have to do something to rival the amazing page-a-day letter and it's coming along nicely :)

Ps. there are only 6 more work days till I go on leave to Cape Town :)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bribery and Corruption

Last night Varen & I skipped gym ... I had a work thing (had a motivational speech by Nick Binedell). And then we headed to the Amazing Music Group's Year-End party. It was pretty cool, I quite enjoy these evenings with a totally different group, but I must admit that I sometimes struggle to know what to talk to some of them about. But it was lovely to see JofH & YogaCherryl again. They've just celebrated their one year ... something I was remembering while doing my own year's review because I remember so distinctly getting his phone call and hearing about this amazing girl he'd met :)

In other news, I'm being bribed, by work. So we're in the process of hiring even more newbs. And we have a guy starting who hasn't been referred by an agency or another employee. So my boss, who knows I'm not thrilled to be here of late, has decided that he'll put my name down as the referral person. This means that if the newb in question sticks around here for 6 months (I'm unclear on the exact time lengths) I get a fat finders fee. Naturally this is not only a money bribe, but also a working-time bribe ... I have to also stick around here to qualify for the cash. Cunning, very cunning.

Oh, and I found another fabulously interesting site (to me) via A Welsh View. It is a blog of Strange Maps. There is the craziest stuff there ... the picture I've chosen to include is the varying routes of the Mississippi river thruout history. I think it makes for a lovely image :) They've also got crazy stuff like the blonde-concentration of Europe and a guy who creates Alternate History maps (based on real life point of divergence, I assume where in history things could've gone differently and affected the way we view our world today) and it shows an Equinational Projection map which makes all countries identical in size. Very interesting stuff :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Mostly Internet Madness

Last night Varen & I dutifully hit the gym and then headed off to dinner with DJMike. We were supposed to go to Ghazal's, our fav little Indian spot ... but it has apparently become everyone's fav little Indian spot. One would think you could get away with not booking for a table of 3 on a Tuesday night, but apparently not. So we ended up at our fav little Thai spot, Cranks. Dinner was good as usual and it was nice to catch up with DJMike :)

I also have loads of internet madness to keep you busy as work quietens down (am so annoyed with work at the moment, but I don't want to talk about that right now because I am in a semi-decent mood this morning).

1. Strictly No Photography
This is a site where people can upload photos from all those places that ban photography. These people have sneaked their pics and are reveling in their rebellion online. I find it entertaining ;)

2. Ecological Footprint Quiz
This is quite an interesting little quiz you can do to see what your Ecological Footprint on the World is, basically the effect your fuel consumption, eating habits and existence is having on the planet. Mine is not great (but better than some, I hope). We'd need 4.6 earths if everyone on the planet lived like me. /* guilty */

3. Know Your World Geography Quiz
Now this one is great fun :) I found it via Andy's Blog. And I'm betting some people who try this will be surprised. I don't think I did terribly badly ... but I did only get to level 6 out of 12 with a traveler IQ of 92 on my first attempt and I'll definitely be trying again :) But, my Geography has never been all that impressive, dropped the subject as soon as I could in high school!

> 08:43am I seem to be pretty consistent with this because on my 2nd attempt I got to level 6 again with a traveler IQ of 90. And on my 3rd attempt I was caught at level 6 again with a traveler IQ of 91. Must be a good quiz if my results are so exact each time (although I do feel like I'm learning with each attempt!).
> 10:15am Waahaa, I did it :) I got to level 8 with a traveler IQ of 101. Had to take a break to do some real work, but still - Yippee for me.

And here's the last one just for the sheer bizarreness factor ...

4. Kitty Wigs
OMG, are these people serious? And besides, I've met a few cats, I can't imagine a wig would be their ideal Christmas gift. Anyhoo, I found it via A Welsh View and decided I just had to let you all in on the insanity ;)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Blogo-versary Review

I missed my blogo-versary ... I remembered it before and after, but it slipped my focus on the actual day. I'll use the excuse that it was Friday and I was distracted by the slow collapse of my world.

But, I thought it was time for an annual review of sorts.

Where was I then? I was still dating Bean. Things were admittedly shaky, we'd already broken up & gotten back together and I'd moved out and was living with Loulou. Not the ideal place to be in when you've been dating for 2 & half years, but I guess it was a sign of things to come. It's 9 days to the anniversary of the end of our partnership. And I'm not sad. I haven't been anything more than certain I did the right thing back then for a long time.

And all that really means is that it's coming up for a year that Varen has been more than just a friend in my life :) It certainly doesn't seem that long at all but, with all our ups and downs, we're still together and we're still going strong.

I've bought myself a new car and have decided to invest in a house of my own. I traveled to Kenya, Uganda & the DRC (definitely a spot that's not on very many tourist's list), I saw the mighty Mountain Gorilla's up close and in person and watched as hordes of Wildebeest made their annual trek across the Masai Mara.

Technically I was sort of promoted into a Team Lead role at work this year as well. Now let's all just hope it becomes obvious by my pay package after Feb ;)

It's been quite year and it's all been recorded here online for posterity. I hope you've enjoyed the experience and ups & downs as much as I have (the ups for than the downs, obviously).

Trying to Smile

So yesterday was quiet. Varen & I went to gym and made some dinner at home (we're getting pretty good at this eating in thing!) and watched an episode of series or two.

I'm appreciating the nights of nothing where I can, because it takes all my energy to be upbeat on the ones where we have plans. Although I must admit I'm easily distracted so often the energy is worth it for the hour or two where I don't feel completely despondent about things ;)

Things to smile about:
1. A boyf who loves me dearly and would do anything in his power to cheer me up :)
2. An upcoming 2 week trip to Cape Town to spend with my family and old friends :)
3. I have a new car that I am still loving :)
4. Nah, that's it, but it's still something.

5. A URL Lopz posted: Running from Camera

Paha, that blog is hysterical and appeals to my quirky sense of art. Basically the entire blog is just photo's of this guy running away from a pre-timed camera. Makes for some interesting shots :) Although looking at the majority of pictures that don't have any people in them, one would swear he could be in South Africa and just afraid of people stealing his camera while he was running away. Now those would be some interesting pics.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Conflict of Interests

So, in the interests of public safety, I'm going to highly recommend that you never deal with an Estate Agent called Craig Newton at Fine & Country. He has been the most useless agent and I have had to phone him repeatedly to get any information and now well, you know the story. I'm still holding out marginal reaches of hope. But dealing with this guy means that marginal is an even smaller quantity that usual.

And since I'm talking about the things that are depressing me, let's give it a full go.

1. Work
I am absolutely hating work these days. I wish the people here would just leave me to do the things I'm good at and trust me on it. I wish I had a walled off office that I could hide in. Instead we have internal clients who make unilateral decisions over our head and then I'm considered argumentative because I tell them when these decisions are not the best or not made based on all the information. I feel like I'm the bad guy too often. I do the investigation into these projects and give them the best results I can. But if they don't like the results (because they already promised something to someone) then it's my fault. Not theirs for making a decision on incomplete information or on blatant assumptions. I just feel like my team and I are currently not being respected (even tho we are the experts with the knowledge for this system) or appreciated (because they can't understand why 2 people can't deliver everything tomorrow ... and even tho we now have a team of 4, we're still training up the newbs, they are no benefit yet, just a drain on TheBrad & my resources and time).

2. Varen's House (and my lack there-of)
As much as I care for Varen and am thrilled that he has managed at the ripe age of 25 to secure himself a fabulous home worth very close to a million bucks, it is killing me slowly. I am desperately craving something of my own and every step seems thwarted, from my initial pre-approved bond application to the developer changing his mind. Instead I get to swan around in every home-related store open in the Johannesburg region helping Varen pick stuff out. Which I love doing.

I knew this would happen. But I can't not. His thrill of buying his new appliances and
curtains and his wanting to share it with me is more important than the little bit of me that is dying at each swipe of his credit card. It's not mine. And at this rate, it'll never be me picking out things to fill my very own home. I went thru it all with Bean. And I was involved and it was for my home too. Although he was buying and he now owns it all, it was just as much mine as his. Actually, I've lost track of the stuff we split (like pots & towels etc.) but he got to keep them all - I had no house to move them to. And I lost all of that. And now I'm picking out house items with another boy, well aware, this time with the 20-20 vision of hindsight, that they are not mine.

3. Me
Yes, this is the tricky one and the one most difficult to change in any way. Varen says he loves me, and I know he does. He says I'm beautiful and that he thinks I'm sexy. But I don't think so, so I just can't believe him when he says it. This is not helping. I'm now over weight. I know it. I can't seem to fix it. As much as I hate myself, I can't find the resolution to stop eating (or rather, to only eat salad) or to get to gym every day. As I've said before, I find gym depressing. It reminds me how much I hate myself. I mostly try to eat well or if not well, then in smaller quantities. And the terrible thing is, I'm sure I eat better than some people, yet since I have no discernible metabolism (to my mind, although apparently this is impossible) it makes not a shred of difference. I wish for the resolve to stop eating altogether or for a magic pill that will solve all my problems. But, neither exist.

And that is the terrible story of what is going on in my head on a constant basis ... and this is why I struggle to get out of bed in the mornings and spend all day wishing for the chance to go home and curl up in my PJs with my laptop and millions of unwatched series episodes.

Yup, it's certainly Monday.

Not Much Better

Well, it's Monday ... again. My mood has not improved by much over the weekend, unfortunately. I am living in a state of limbo where things seem to happen around me but I have very little interest in them or doing anything else. All I want to do is curl up in my pyjama's and watch series or read my latest book.

Oh, and for those of you interested, I here is the review of my last book, the very interesting Knife Man by Wendy Moore.

This title is the winner of the Medical Journalists' Open Book Award 2005. Revered and feared in equal measure, John Hunter was the most famous surgeon of eighteenth-century London. Rich or poor, aristocrat or human freak, suffering Georgians knew that Hunter's skills might well save their lives but if he failed, their corpses could end up on his dissecting table, their bones and organs destined for display in his remarkable, macabre museum. Maverick medical pioneer, adored teacher, brilliant naturalist, Hunter was a key figure of the Enlightenment who transformed surgery, advanced biological understanding and even anticipated the evolutionary theories of Darwin. He provided inspiration both for Dr Jekyll and Dr Dolittle. But the extremes to which he went to pursue his scientific mission raised question marks then as now. John Hunter's extraordinary world comes to life in this remarkable, award-winning biography written by a wonderful new talent.

This was a very interesting read and I can only agree with akika when she says she's grateful for all the advances of modern medicine but even more grateful that she wasn't one of the folks around in the mid-eighteenth century who needed medical assistance. I think for me what was so fascinating, since we're all so used to how medicine works these days and that all new medical advances should go thru a number of tests and trials before being let loose on the general public, is how differently things worked back in the day. The number of "surgeons" of the day who were obstinately opposed to testing new theories, or even to thinking for themselves is frightening.

I for one am heading onto Google right now to see where Hunter's preparations from his museum can be found (if any have survived to this day & age).

Hmmm, so what did we do this weekend? Friday was very lazy, I think. I can't even remember what we had for dinner ... oh yes, random snack-type stuff from Woolies. Saturday we were up fairly early and headed off to do much-needed curtain shopping for Varen's place. He managed to find the perfect stuff at Mr Price Home :) Unfortunately we still had to go back again twice since he bought the wrong sized curtain rods and then after finally hanging them, we realised he needed an extra curtain for each window.

We did some other browsing around en route home ... a so-far failed attempt to find Christmas presents for my family (sorry folks). And then went home where he fought with his wall trying to drill holes for the curtain rods. Unfortunately I wasn't much help either. Luckily his dad & brother came over and between the 3 of them, managed to get the job done. It really is a impossible task for one guy (no matter how macho) to hang a 3 meter curtain rod up straight, especially when it needs to be hung above eye-level and you have no step-ladder :)

Varen also made us a lovely lamb dinner (using his new oven gloves!) and we settled in for a quiet night. I would've preferred a quiet Sunday too, but it wasn't how things worked out. We made our last trip to Mr Price Home and went to view another show-house. Blegh, I'm still miserable. I've pretty much worked out that I can't even afford land in the areas I want to buy ... let alone inhabitable housing. So, I don't want to talk about it.

After that, we browsed the (not so new anymore) World Wear centre - will have to go back when I'm in a shopping mood and have more time :) And then we went to Varen's and hung the last of the curtains and got rid of the black bags on the windows for good :) It's really looking lovely.

Then we went for a sushi lunch with my high-school
friend Bokkie (as Daddio used to call him). Was really nice to see him again ... a bit of a shocker since he's been up in Jhb for 4 months already. And then we popped round to see Varen's folks new place (they moved in this weekend). And then it was home ... and already the end of my weekend :(

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