Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Year

Oh an I almost forgot ... Happy Leap Year :) I'd love to hear if there are any girls out there planning to propose to their men (as is tradition). I'll let you know right now & upfront that it certainly won't be me :)

Eep, The Nerves

So, today is officially my last day in my department ... and I'm not even sitting in my good old desk. The team I'm leaving was re-located to a completely different floor yesterday afternoon. Luckily with a laptop, all the move requires is a network point :) Although I'm currently sans-phone ... how to survive the day??

Needless to say my nerves are kicking in about my move. I'm going to miss a lot of these people and this environment I've come to know and understand. For someone who is generally a huge fan of habit, this is quite a difficult thing for me. I've left jobs before, I'm usually pretty good at it, I'm not sure why even with my gut-feel that this is absolutely the right thing to do, I'm still freaking nervous about it.

At least I'm off on a lovely weekend away to distract me :) But I must quickly mention here that I'm not too sure what effect my department move will have on my blogging. Make no mistake, I'll still be blogging, but I might be a little erratic next week ... alternatively in the chaos of a move and starting in a new role, I may have even more time than usual to blog in the first week? I guess we'll just have to play the waiting game like with everything else :)

Yesterday evening was very quiet, Varen made us some yummy ostrich for dinner tho - the yummy admission is quite major for me because my usual red meat intake is fairly minimal.

And now I have a question ... ? There's this person who currently (till I walk out of here this afternoon) reports to me. I've generally been nice to her and she's a nice enough person. It's just that she walks sooo slowly. Okay, I know that sounds insane but it's been driving me nuts! And I'll admit right here that I am a fairly speedy walker. But whenever I have to walk to meetings or whatever with her, even with me trying to slow my pace to let her keep up, she ends up miles behind. She does not seem to be making any effort in this regard, hell I don't even know if she's noticed ... but I feel bad every time. Because mostly I just *cannot* walk as slowly as she does. I'm dying to quiz her on this ... does she notice that she waddles miles behind every one? Does she care? Does she think it's rude when people she's walking along with leave her in their dust? Does she even bother trying to speed up to bridge the gap? Seriously, driving me mental. Woooosah. One more day :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The End of The Stalker-Story

So, the ex-Office Crazy mailed back this morning ... How is it people don't know when to let things go. Although I guess the same can be said for me since I did reply. It's a matter of honour. But I hereby pledge it'll be my last reply :)

So, to fill you in on what should be The End of The Story (I hope). Here's her reply:

phillygirl*, if I was not that interesting you would have never remembered me when I said that you have so much to mention about me on your website…
Or maybe your life and website is so boring that you had to add some light to it…
Its good to know what you where thinking…. Maybe you should have been more direct than going and asking the boss about me…

Hope you find some kind off new gossip to BRIGHTEN your life… :)

Bye bye :)

For the record, the "Asking the boss" was clearly misunderstood by her. I was having a conversation with her boss (someone who I get on really well with), long after she left the company while we were actually at the Action Cricket (that she continuously came to watch even tho she no longer worked here!). And I mentioned that it was strange she was still coming ... since she didn't really talk to anyone there except the Hopefully Separated Husband. And so the conversation and exchange of observations began. I guess people get really defensive when they're trying to hide something they couldn't have made more obvious :) And I have to ask right here, if all it was was a really super-amazing friendship, surely they would've just laughed off anything anyone said because they & the people that actually mattered (I hope) knew it wasn't true.

So I sent my last email to her. I edited it quite extensively in keeping with my opinion that I don't really have any interest in keeping this communication with her going. And to be fair, I don't really care what she thinks about me or about whatever she thinks I was thinking (hello?).

This is all so completely irrelevant. Really, do you care *that* much what I think about you?

How long since I last saw you ... 5 months, more? I barely remember. Seems you do tho, enough to bother pretending to be someone else and making contact after so much time. I can assure you that although you fueled the office speculation for a time, that time has *long* since past.

Kindly let it go. If you're going to do things to warrant speculation or to ask questions about your antics, don't get bent out of shape when that's exactly what people are doing ... in front of you or behind your back.

I hope you've got what you wanted out of this little email exchange ... although I must admit that I'm not at all sure what that must've been?

But, I do wonder, is "Tammy" mailing everyone else at the office who was speculating 5 months ago too?

ps. Varen is doing really well. Thanks.

And I hope that's the end of it right there. Because seriously, why does she even care 5 months later what was said about her. And mine, I'll remind you, wasn't mere office speculation ... Varen & I did in fact see them out together, arm in arm, in public on a weekend. Sheesh. Thank goodness South Africa doesn't have those ridiculous "Cheaters" reality shows, she'd probably kill the cameraman :)

So, in closing, I'll repeat. All of what I said (yeah, the minimal amount) has always been clearly labeled as speculation and / or my own opinion. None of it is based in any more fact than one girl's (me) interpretation of what she saw with her own eyes.

Can someone please tell me what drives someone to do this: email an almost complete stranger (seriously she's one of those people I'd pretend I didn't actually see if I ever bumped into her again) about something that was going on 5 months ago? I'm not expecting a straight answer from this Crazy.

Don't Let The World Dumb-Down

Okay, so in retrospect, I could've handled yesterday a little better ... if only I'd known who was harassing me anonymously before I'd mailed back the first time. I would've played it completely differently, innocently and given nothing away.

Although, she has yet to bother responding, I'm hoping that since I let on that I know exactly who it is, she'll give up on her nonsense. It's kind of amusing ... don't people realise that if you do stupid things and moan about being mentioned (especially in such an elaborate manner), you're bound to get another more detailed mention ... I mean hell, now she has an entire post dedicated just to her :) I'm convinced some people do it for the fame ;) Paha.

Anyway. Varen and I had another quiet night at home. We watched Idiocracy.

Idiocracy is a 2006 American dark comedy directed by Mike Judge, and starring Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph. The two main characters sign up for a military hibernation experiment that goes awry, and they awaken 500 years in the future. They discover that the world has devolved into a dystopia where marketing, commercialism, and cultural anti-intellectualism run rampant and dysgenics have resulted in a uniformly stupid human society.

A mildly amusing literally idiotic movie. I would die if this is what the world turned into ... but I guess I wouldn't be around to see it :) In ways that other movies are contraceptive, this was a go out and have babies trigger ... Don't let the world dumb-down, people.

Oh, and I also finished reading The End of Mr Y by
Scarlett Thomas.

When Ariel Manto discovers a copy of The End of Mr Y in a second-hand bookshop, she can't believe her eyes. She knows enough about its author the outlandish Victorian scientist Thomas Lumas, to know that copies are exceedingly rare. And cursed. The novel tells how to enter the Troposphere - a place where all consciousness is connected, and you can surf other people's thoughts. But surely the whole idea is just fiction? It is in a novel, after all. Ariel would rather have fiction than reality - which is just poverty and bad sex - anyway. But soon she's running for her life, surfing both fiction and reality as she tries to escape from the people who want her secrets. The End of Mr Y is a thought experiment wrapped in a contemporary adventure novel that asks questions about thought, language, destiny and the very limits of being and time.

This was a bizarre and interesting read. A bit like the matrix, I guess ... I don't think there's much else out there I could manage to compare it with. Although admittedly it lacks the super cool special effects that got us all hook on the first Matrix Movie, it does have an interesting concept. And although I thought hte book started out very slow, by the end I was hooked :) Hmmm, would you try the formula to enter the Troposphere?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Welcome To Stalkerville

So, today has been interesting. I received an email at my work address from Tammy Triangle at Netcare. I have never heard of Tammy Triangle in my life.

Hi phillygirl*
Hope you keeping well..
I have been reading your website for a while...
But unfortunately my computer crashed a while ago and I lost the website address...
Please can you be so kind enough to forward it to me...

Have a wonderful day...
Please say HI to Varen* from me...

Many thanks

* - imagine our real names here!

Okay, even aside from the number of ellipses [...] she uses in an email, you can see how I'd be confused. Firstly, I have never to my knowledge referenced my own or Varen's real names (not that they're impossible to track down, but still ... other than myself I know few people willing to hunt that hard) and certainly not my work email address on this blog. And how can I not have any recollection of this person who got my name & Varen's spot on ... surely spam hasn't progressed to quite these levels of intuition just yet?

So I phoned Varen and asked him who the hell she was. And he had no clue either. So, being me, I Googled the bitch. Nothing. Facebook? Yup, there she was with no photo and no friends and no help!

Eventually I caved and mailed her back, being my sickly sweet cynical self.

Hi there.
Sorry, but I'm a little confused about how you know me (or Varen*) and got this email address .... ?

Hope you have a wonderful day too :)

Nice and neutral and certainly not containing this url.
So after that, frustrated and curious, I proceeded to mail 50 of my nearest and dearest to see if the name rang any bells. No one who replied had any better ideas. Oddly enough, and thanks to the status bar in my Google Talk window, a girl I work with told me that someone I did indeed know was using Tammy Triangle's email address.

Someone is currently temping at Netcare and filling in for Tammy Triangle and using her email address for evil. Luckily said person had mailed this girl I work with for a catch-up also using Tammy's email address but had signed the email from herself ... and not from Tammy as she'd done with me.

And this is where it gets really interesting :) If you've been reading for long enough, you know Tammy Triangle's Address Thief too. It's the Hopefully Separated Husband's little bit of fluff.

Apart from being mildly amused at her attempt to fish for my blog address, I was annoyed that she thought she was smart enough to be playing these games with me. So I left it ... although I desperately wanted to let on that I knew who she really was. But I figured if she let it drop when I didn't take the bait, I could too.

But, naturally, she didn't. I got another reply (she still none the wiser that I now know exactly who is posing as Tammy Triangle!)

Weird... YOU don’t know me but you had so much to say about me on your website...

Again with the ellipses godammit. And people please ... it's not a website, it's a blog. I maintain there is a difference here, although perhaps not to the uninitiated. So, she thought she was clever did she. Well not so much. Firstly, she was never even raised to the privilege of her own Nickname. And I barely managed to mention her 4 times (oh, 5 if you include this one) in the course of my, what, 325 posts so far. It's too small a number to even bother working out a percentage for. Clearly she had never read it if she thought that was me saying much about something :) But now she's just asking for it!

So I had to reply, as only I can, dripping with disdain:

Tammy Triangle's Address Thief*, I really didn't mention you much at all, I assure you (You're just not that interesting). And hey, freedom, of speech, right. I can write or speculate about anything I *see* ... and since I don't use people's real names (I assume Googling your name didn't help you find the URL which is why you resorted to a more direct approach), the rest of the world remains completely unaware :)

Nothing like impersonating someone to brighten your day :)

And now I wait in anticipation ... is she brave enough to reply again?
Oh, and if you're really interested in the very brief history of her mentions on this blog, follow the links:

  1. The Initial Mention
  2. The Very Brief Follow-up
  3. The Time We Saw Them Out
  4. A Mere Conversation in London

Hardly worth the effort, no? Amazing what some people get bent out of shape about ... but then I imagine after reading those 4 excerpts, you must all know exactly who she is and be planning to rush out to confront her :) Meh.

This is almost as much fun as the Email Conversion Campaign :)

Down with the Population Growth

Yesterday I managed to get home fairly early ... these early morning schedules of Varen's are turning out to be really handy. Except, let's say, on a Wednesday after Tuesday night dinner. This morning was not an easy jump out of bed for either of us.

We had a yummy dinner at Hammi's and generally some really good laughs :) No, Hoi Polloi, sorry to disappoint ... no details or gossip here.

Anyway, so this morning was not as early as we'd have liked and I for one paid for it in the traffic. These sorts of mornings lead to me sitting here at my laptop with my earphones in and iTunes blaring. This is my work-bubble. Do Not Disturb. Why? Well because incessant traffic makes me hate the world and the people who drive in peak traffic and insist on leaving a kilometer gap between themselves and the next car - how is it that it's always me who ends up behind these dunces?

And don't get me wrong, I'm all for letting in your neighbour car with the indicator flashing wildly ... if a) the road allows for it and b) they haven't been completely inconsiderate going up the lane they're now desperate to get out of in order to get ahead in my lane. Which brings me to my other annoyance ... can no one in Joburg tell the difference between a one and two lane road? Seriously ... Fair enough if there's enough space to allow the people turning right (who would otherwise block up the traffic flow completely) to inch to the right and out of the way of those of us going straight. But why oh why do the Moronics going straight zoom up this (obviously shorter) lane and then try and barge in front of our nicely formed queue the instant the light turns green.

It's mornings like these that I wish I had a loud-hailer and could tell these people just how annoying and inconsiderate they are ... and that they didn't all have a weapon of some sort to use on me when I did :)

Which brings me to my latest thoughts on The World. I'm slowly wondering if the wouldn't be a better place if in fact there were less people. Not only in an environmental way like using less fossil fuels, requiring less rain-forests to be decimated in the search for more farmland etc. But more in a less people means less annoyance for me personally sort of way. Sigh.

I'm sure there's someone out there who owes me a large mass of land off the coast of somewhere :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Usual Monday

Last night was a usual Monday ... quiet and at home, just Varen & me. We made ourselves some dinner and settled in to finally finish House Season 4. This Writer's Strike has really screwed with our series watching!

We went to bed early to accommodate Varen's newly decided 5:30 am wake-up. It's good for me too cause it means I can get myself out of bed a lot easier if he's not all warm and dozy next to me :) And we're started having proper breakfast again, which is good :)

The only problematic thing, and I'm blaming it on my uncertainty about the new job I start on Monday, is that my brain starts attacking me as the lights go out. It's something that has been happening my whole life, on and off. It's pretty hard to fall asleep when your brain is concocting all the worst case scenarios that could possibly ever happen. Blegh. Let's just hope it passes soon :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

All Aboard the Furniture Bus

It was another pretty busy weekend. Friday started out with a fabulous massage from Jeanius :) And then Koet & Nambi came to our place to check out Varen's new car (oops, I forgot to take more pics this weekend!). After a drink with them at our house, we headed out to Doppio Zero in Greenside for dinner. I had their very yummy Paesano salad (Herbs and greens, tomato, cucumber, avo, nuts, roast butternut, spring onion, croutons,
peppers and feta with extra chicken). After they came back to our house again for some coffee and a little hubbly.

It is really nice now having a home that is close enough to do this ... Varen's previous place in Bedfordview was just way too far away!

Saturday was fairly busy. We got our new TV cabinet delivered in the morning. It's not really a cabinet for the TV (which will be wall mounted above) but more for all the TV peripherals. I'm also hoping to find boxes or baskets to put in the bottom three spaces :) I think it'll look pretty fab when it's done.

And we have decided on a D-Day for the House Warming. When a) we get the TV Cabinet (done) b) the carpet has been made (Varen's got two cow hides that we're going to have patch-worked together ... it doesn't sound very exciting, but I think it'll look good when it's actually done) c) we've bought dining room chairs. So yes, we are en route to the House Warming and at least we've set ourselves a goal.

He, sadly, is back at work this morning ... sitting there since 7:30am in the foyer waiting for his new boss to arrive. I think he's excited :) I'm just worried about all the rest of the house stuff that didn't get finished ... Oh well, I guess that's what our weekends will end up being for!

After the cabinet arrived, we rushed around doing admin type stuff. And then headed to the Homemakers Expo at The Coca Cola Dome ... ordinarily I wouldn't go near this sort of thing with a barge pole, but I figured we might be surprised and find something of use. Wrong. Although I'm sure it's very helpful if you're planning to build your house, the mostly bathroom & kitchen fittings stalls were not much help for us. We did find some companies that did doors the way Varen wished our patio ones were done ... but at R11 000 (not including all the extra work we'd have to have done to get it done), it's just not looking viable. Sheesh, developers do not really seem to think long and hard before they build, I'll tell you that! We also found some decking ideas that might be worth considering. But for the most part, it was hugely disappointing.

Later on Saturday, Hammi & Zej came over and we all headed off to a movie. We saw Jumper.

Anywhere is possible. On discovering he can teleport, bright Davey uses his power to leave his harsh family life in New York City behind him as he uses his gift to track down the man who murdered his mother years earlier. On doing so though, he manages to attract the attention of not only the NSA, but also that of an evil and immoral man of his own age, who shares the same ability that he does. It soon becomes a game of cat and mouse between the two exceptional men.

I enjoyed it :) It's a pretty fun concept, aside from the people trying to kill the jumpers. Although if I weren't one of them, I'd be hugely jealous! Good to have something worthwhile to visit the cinema for. Although I think once Varen has bought the TV, I'll just be staying home and watching there ... who needs the whiny children, yakking idiot adults and over-priced popcorn while you're trying to enjoy a little escapism.

They also came back to our place after the movie for coffee ... we are becoming quite the entertainers, even with a half empty house!

Sunday equally busy. With a trip to Sandton to spend my La Senza vouchers (a gift from Varen when he bought his car - so sweet!) And a visit to the Design Quarter in 4ways to look for new beds (need one in the spare room before Mom can come visit!) and dining room chairs. Luckily we found a new bed for both the main and spare rooms ... now we just have to buy them. And we even found chairs that we both love, except in the wrong shade of wood :( They look like that -> with leather upholstery on the seat. Sigh. If anyone knows where we can get this in a almost black wood (as you can see from the pic, these are far to brown!), please let me know!

In the afternoon, Varne went to his folks for a visit and I stayed home. I wasn't feeling up for more company ... I still need some weekend time just to chill out and do nothing. I think he's been getting too much of that during the week for it to bother him :)

Ps. And can you believe I only got a mere 200 Rond for my bed (single, admittedly) and chest of hideous pine drawers (both were purely functional items I bought from Nix when I moved up here as she was heading to UK)!

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Serious Six Months

So Varen, with a giant grin on his face, came past my office to pick me up for lunch yesterday in The New Car. It really is lovely ... and boy does it drive. Accelerating feels a bit like being in a rocket where you get thrust from behind and go whooshing forward. Let's hope he won't need to start a new savings account for the traffic fines! Will hopefully post some pics soon, but I forgot to take any last night. Maybe Varen will oblige and send me a few sometime today :)

10:41am Update: He sent thru this shot of the new car ... I promise to take a few more this weekend!

He is at home now enjoying (?) his final day of freedom. He decided to start his new contract a week early. Shooo, it's been quite a hectic past 6 months for the two of us: 1) my new car 2) his new house 3) moving in together (more on that later) 4) his new car 5) his new job 6) my new job. Eep.

When I got home from work (and he was still smiling!), we headed over to Loulou's to collect the rest of my "little stuff". All that's left now is my bed and chest of drawers (fingers crossed that Cash Converters will take 'em!) and two tables. Varen has arranged with his brother to move all that this afternoon. And the I will be Officially Moved.

Last night we went for dinner at Pomodoro in Morningside with JofH and YogaCherryl. It was a lovely evening although the service was dismal to start with, it did improve. And my food was mixed. My Melanzane starter was divine, one of the best I've eaten! But my main, Prawn Ravioli was not that flavourful ... next time I'd stick with an old faithful like the Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli instead. Although the rest of the table seemed to really enjoy their mains :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

No Car But a New Job

Yesterday was fairly uneventful, aside from the fact that Varen, disappointingly, did not get the new car. Strange that the banks will suddenly freak out about you buying a car because you're a contractor (his new job will be ... which he'll be starting on Monday btw.) ... even tho you have a million rand home loan already with them and they don't seem worried about your continued monthly payment of that!

Oh well, apparently it's a mere formality and all he needed to provide was a letter from his contracting house (now done) so he should be collecting the car this morning and coming thru to pick me up for lunch and "the first drive" :)

In other news, my departmental move here has become official. I am leaving this team and it's politics behind and let's hope it's on to greener pastures. Except I do have one minor concern to deal with today, one of those ones that wake you in the middle of the night and won't let you get back to sleep. The whole point I'm doing an internal move is so that I can keep my increase & bonus ... this company is pretty dodgy (and downright unfair in my opinion) with that sort of thing. If you resign before the money is safely in your bank account, you lose it. Forget about the fact that you've already put in those 12 months of hard work and effort that the bonus should be rewarding you for, they zap it. Again, as I said, unfair. But my plan was to avoid that sort of childishness with an internal move ... and I woke up in a panic wondering if I had in fact dodged the bullet? Anyhoo, some serious investigating to be done today. But barring any surprises there, I should be moving on 3 March. Fingers crossed!

Quick mid-post update: The bonus is apparently secure :)

We had a very nice and quiet night last night, my first sushi since I went to London :) And a new series TheBrad has been insisting that we watch called Damages ... two episodes in and it's piqued my interest.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Another New Car

Yesterday I rushed home after work so that Varen could take me to our local Mazda dealer and show off the new car he's been eyeing. Ever since the issue with his Turbo charger (he got the Polo back yesterday), he's been planning an upgrade (probably even before then, he is a boy!). He's decided on the Mazda 3 MPS. All you boys can ooh and ahh later. But I will say that it is a very pretty car on the outside. Although the inside will take a little getting used to for me, but I've seen worse! He's thrilled because apparently it's as powerful as 4 of my little C2s.

Sadly we couldn't test drive it, they'd already packed it away. But he had already taken it for a spin earlier in the afternoon (oh the perks of not having to spend your days at work!). I did get to look around and sit in the floor model tho. And, the best part for him is he'll be taking delivery this afternoon :) Now he can't wait till our weekend away in the midlands next weekend to really give it a run!

After all that excitement, it was off to Tuesday night dinner at Hoi Polloi's. He has a very fancy pad, I must say. Dinner was a lovely chicken pie ... not quite made from scratch :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lovely Long Weekend

Friday started out well with the arrival of our bonus & increase letters. Let's just say I'm smiling :)
Later we flew on 1time, 20 minutes late (apparently they've only been on time one time - pahahaha :P) only to land in Cape Town and be told that the everyone's luggage would be arriving on the following flight. They'd left it behind in order to carry more fuel for their next flight. Not impressed.
But we did eventually get settled at home in Cape Town. Saturday was a fairly relaxed day. I visited Gum and he was quite chatty. Everyone gets fairly nervous and tries their best to prepare me every time I see him. I guess because I see him so seldom that the changes in him are more drastic. But I guess that's what happens as someone slowly deteriorates due to Alzheimer's and old age.
Didn't do much more on Saturday but prepare for Mom's 50th Birthday Party in the evening. She'd booked out the Acanthus restaurant in Kalk Bay. It was a beautiful evening with a stunning view over Kalk Bay Harbour. There were loads of people (50 or so) and plenty of good food and wine and some crazy dancing to all the golden oldies :) Hope you had a blast, Mom!
Varen & I gave her a paid for flight to Joburg for her birthday ... now I just need to get moving and buy a new double bed for the spare room so she can actually come and visit. Can't wait :)
Sunday morning we were up as early as possible (admittedly not very!) and Varen & I set off on a whirlwind drive of the Cape. He was moaning that the last time we visited Cape Town, he didn't get to see much more than my folk's house. We drove over Ou Kaapse Weg to Noordhoek and around Chapman's Peak to Hout Bay, enjoying all those amazing sea views! We stopped at The Lookout Deck in Hout Bay for some calamari and seal-spotting in the Bay. The cocktails were good, but the food was an extreme example of Cape Town's overcharging.
After that, it was back home over Constantia Neck for tea at our house with the family. Man, do I realise every time I visit how much I miss Mom's baking :) And truth be told, Varen & I spent a lot of time this weekend discussing the merit of moving to Cape Town.
After that, I took Varen for sundowners at La Med - no good Capetonian could leave this off a weekend visit, but usually we're flying back by this time on a Sunday. La Med was just how I remember it, crazy busy with those Out-to-be-Seen typical Capetonian folk and bad service but, with it's huge saving grace ... perfect sea and sunset views. Admittedly we didn't stay for the whole sunset, it happens kinda late in Cape Town and we were getting peckish (since the service wasn't obliging) so we decided to move on.
And so, after an un-scheduled wee-stop at The Peeb's place, we ended up having dinner at one of Cape Town's best restaurants (in my opinion), Five Flies. The food was divine and unfortunately we were a little alcohol-ed out from the few drinks at La Med in the sun. I had their pan-fried scallops with home made linguini and saffron veloute as my starter and Varen had the even better Norwegian crawfish with avocado, baby leaf salad and seafood dressing.
Oddly enough we stuck with seafood for our mains as well. I had their rosette of Sole fillet with shrimp thermidor, creamed tatsoi, sweet potato mash and basil beurre blanc. It was divine, I was completely amazed at the way the basil and sweet potato flavours complimented each other. Would definitely recommend this :) Varen had their seared Scottish salmon with lemon risotto, mange tout and light thyme jus. The salmon was cooked more perfectly than I've ever tasted! All in all, completely delish but, no room for dessert after tea earlier in the afternoon!
Monday was another designated Cape-oriented day for Varen. Mom took us out to Franschhoek for some Wine Tasting and lunch en-route to the airport (after a quick breakfast at home and a surprise hello for Lovedalia) :) We stopped first at the Hillcrest Berry Orchard for a drink and some scones (to line the stomach and taste some of their various jams). It is a beautiful setting over looking the mountains and highly recommended for breakfast (apparently it gets pretty busy over the weekends tho so booking in advance is advisable!). We tried 4 of their jams: 4 Red Berry, Blueberry, Hanepoot Grape and Cape Fig & Walnut. I stuck to the Red Berry and Fig & Walnut (divine!) although Mom & Varen seemed to really recommend the Grape ?!
And then it was on to the Wine Farms. First we visited Plaisir de Merle. We tried 4 or 5 of their wines, but only really enjoyed (most surprisingly!) their Sauvignon Blanc - ordinarily I'm so not a white wine sorta girl!
And then we moved on to Mom & Daddio's favourite, Lynx. I've tried their wine before and generally enjoy it. Mom & Daddio generally stick to their Blanc du Noir and I was surprised how little I liked their Reds, except for their Blend. Varen really enjoyed their Cabernet Sauvignon tho, so we ordered 6 of each :)
And then it was time for some lunch. Lunch was supremely un-impressive because we were starting to be pressed for time. We ended up at a little coffee shop across the road from Reuben's (they were fully booked) called Essence.

And then it was off to say goodbye to Daddio at his new work before being dropped at the airport in time for our flight - in retrospect we could've hit another wine farm on our way home tho. Yup, you guessed it, 1time was late leaving again. I'm thinking of writing an email asking
what exactly the "More Nice" they promise in their by-line is ... and suggesting they update it to be a more honest reflection: Less Nice, Less Price. But as they say, you get what you pay for. Although my flight ticket price should in no way affect the general running of the airport and them sticking to their own schedule :P Either way, we arrived home and got a good night's sleep back in our own bed after a fairly exhausting but super fun weekend visiting the folks in Cape Town.

Friday, February 15, 2008

And We're Off Again

Last night was lovely ... I arrived home to find Varen completely to whip dinner up and the snap of a finger and also banned from the fridge to keep dessert a surprise.

Since I left work a little early, we had plenty of time before dinner, although he was so eager, we did end up eating at about 6:30pm. He had slaved away making us Ostrich fillet with a Chili Chocolate compote, creamed spinach (not handmade) and veggie skewers (also not handmade). But the dinner was delish :)

Dessert was even better! He'd prepared us each a dinner plate filled with creme caramel, raspberries, mango (which I love and he can't stand!) and chocolate drizzled kiwi's. The chocolate was Lindt so you can imagine how decadent it was :)

Sigh. I think he'll have to take leave every Valentines Day :)

And this afternoon, we're jet-setting off to Cape Town to celebrate Mom's 50th birthday (next Tuesday, but the party's on Saturday evening). Am so looking forward to it and will only be back here on Tuesday. Four day weeks, gotta love 'em! I realised that since I've gotten back from London, I've had 3 four-day weeks in a row. Couldn't have planned it better myself!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Spoil Yourself Instead

So last night was fairly uneventful and I yawned my head off thru most of it. Tuesday was catching up to me. I did manage to hit the shops in search of an appropriate Valentines card for Varen and a 50th birthday card for Mom.

So Valentines day ... the uber-Hallmark holiday of the year. Our office is strewn with pink heart balloons. I've left Varen at home scheming something for this evening :) I'm not that into V-Day, but I do like to do something just to acknowledge it, be that dinner at home or out but NO extravagant gifts please. Luckily Varen, the most spoiling boyf the rest of the year round, barely blinks in the face of Valentines day. Like most boys he professes that he shouldn't need one day to show me how much he loves me. Unlike most boys, he does show me all year round on a regular basis :) Sigh.

And now for a something completely different that has been bugging me. So, as all of you around the world should know by now, South Africa is heading for the dark ages ... by that I mean we are running out of power to light our offices, homes and shopping centres. And as such there has been plenty of load-shedding affecting us all. One of the primary annoyances during load-shedding (aside from lack of hot water) is traffic lights. When they switch off the electricity to an area, it means the traffic lights are no longer able to function and as such our usual Jhb traffic increases to ridiculous proportions ... people seem to get just as stupid without lights as they do in the rain! But this is not what's bothering me.

Lately I've noticed that the JMPD has pointsmen out at traffic lights that are in fact working ?! So fair enough, for the first few days, even the first week maybe, I can understand that perhaps there have been complaints about the traffic light timing and they are checking to see how changing it could improve the traffic flow ... because when the pointsmen are posted at working lights, they seem to force motorists to ignore the red & green. However, these pointsmen have been at one of the light's I've noticed this at since December. Surely that's enough investigation and now you actually just fix the timing and send these fellows on their merry way to where their services are in dire need (like Sandton at 5pm during load-shedding?). Sigh.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Eep, It's Late

Righto folks. I didn't post yesterday ... even got a worried phone call from Daddio in Cape Town wondering if I was actually okay since I hadn't blogged. It was simply a case of forgetting to post an Out of Office note on Monday afternoon.

Yesterday I spent the day out in Orange Farm building a house ... yes, with bricks and stuff (mud which was actually apparently concrete). As part of the Leadership Training Course I went on last year, I had to do a day's community service and "give back". So this is what a bunch of us got together to do, each volunteering for 1 day of the 5 it takes Habitat For Humanity to put up a house for the needy.

So yes, instead of tapping away at my keyboard and posting to my blog, I was out in the sunshine, hauling bricks and troweling concrete into walls. Was quite a good day, although far more exhausting than my average one. That said, I'm still not sure I'd do it again if I didn't have to.

Then it was off to Daisy's place for fondue with the Goof Troop - thankfully enough time in between for a good scrub and a bit of a relax. It was a lovely evening and the first time the whole group has been together this year. Nice to see everyone ... I'm definitely more comfortable with each of them than when I first met them and hopefully my own individual friendship with each of them will develop.

Then this morning was absolute chaos in terms of meetings and catching up after a day away that involved an awful lot of issues on the systems. Anyhoo, things should be back to normal now, let's hope. And Varen's on his way thru to meet me for lunch :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

South African Blog Awards 2008

So, the 11th of February has rolled around and while I'm still waiting in anticipation for the results of the 2008 Bloggies, it's time for a little nominating closer to home.

The nomination round of the SA Blog Awards has opened this morning and I'm requesting (pleading for) your nomination in the Best South African Personal Blog category. Come on, I think I deserve it ... this is a well maintained, highly personalised Blog that is updated on a close-to-daily basis. And sometimes I'm even mildly amusing :)

My hopes for my blog remain. I hope that people will use it when looking for recommendations on where to eat, what to read, movies to watch and places to visit. But more than that, I hope you'll enjoy the journey with me thru my day-to-day life and it's ups and downs :)

Nominate me!

It's Braai Time

So I was off at a team build on Friday ... with this team I'm trying to leave. It went better than I expected. We were out at Campus Mentis in Hartebeespoort and the Team Build was run by The Keltram Group. The morning session was especially impressive ... since I'm certainly not one of those obstacle-course team-build kinda girls. We made wine. That's right, we stomped the grapes with our very own feet. I think it's a fab team building idea and was certainly great, although squishy, fun :)

The afternoon session wasn't nearly as impressive, we did one of those survivor challenge type things ... luckily more geared to the mental figuring out sort of thing as opposed to the running all over the place type of thing :)

And then it was home to Varen who was lounging around with Hammi & Zej. After a quick shower for me, we all headed out to dinner at Piatto in Cresta. Was a lovely evening although I must admit that I was yawning my head off towards the end ... no doubt from spending the day in the sun, definitely not because of the company, we spent most of the evening in hysterics :)

Saturday was fairly busy. Varen & I went to breakfast at the new Blackheath Centre. Not too shabby, and the pancakes we had at Coffeeberry Cafe were delish!

Then we ordered our tv cabinet ... although it's more like shelves for under where the wall-mounted tv will go rather than a cabinet. But we (I) designed it ourselves and are having it made to specification by Timber City :) Certainly still working out cheaper than buying something and this is specifically what we want. We also managed to move more of my stuff - it's almost all done now :)

I spent the afternoon watching National Treaure: Book of Secrets while Varen played with his new Lenovo laptop.

In this follow up to the box-office hit National Treasure, treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) once again sets out on an exhilarating, action-packed new global quest to unearth hidden history and treasures. When a missing page from the diary of John Wilkes Booth surfaces, Ben's great-great grandfather is suddenly implicated as a key conspirator in Abraham Lincoln's death. Determined to prove his ancestor's innocence, Ben follows an international chain of clues that takes him on a chase from Paris to London and ultimately back to America. This journey leads Ben and his crew not only to surprising revelations – but to the trail of the world's most treasured secrets.

I thought the movie was fab, but I'm a sucker for the uncovering archaeological conspiracies genre :)

On Sunday we woke up to a perfect day and decided it was ideal braai-ing weather. Which of course meant we had to go out an buy a braai :) And it must be said that Varen was hugely in favour of getting himself a Weber ... but it was a little pricey so we went with the identical Cadac version. It worked just fine, might I add.

So then we figured it was a good idea to invite Varen's fam over for the braai as well and show off the latest additions to the house (the couch that arrived while I was in UK). As you can no doubt tell, this turned into quite the event. We rushed off to do all the shopping and managed to get home in time to get the house cleaned before they arrived - shoo! The afternoon was a resounding success (even with people sitting on the floors!) and the weather played along perfectly ... in fact it's still lovely and sunny here in Jhb!

This weekend I also finished reading my latest book, The Exiled Times of a Tibetan Jew by Jake Wallis Simpson.

The novel centres on a colourful group of refugee Tibetans. One of the group's members, the charismatic (and slightly dubious) Rabbi Chod, recognises himself as the reincarnation of Moses, and various friends as reincarnations of key Biblical figures. Despite condemnation from both the mainstream Jewish and Tibetan communities, he declares his followers the true 'lost tribe of Israel', and defiantly opens up a synagogue in a pet shop. The action is seen through the eyes of the narrator, Monlam, who is born into a family where suppression and dysfunction are common currency. Both of his parents are Tibetan Jews, followers of Rabbi Chod. His father owns a cafe called 'Hush Hush', so called because within the cafe, all forms of noise are forbidden. Any customer who speaks is instantly banned and a Polaroid photo of them is pinned to a cork board in case they should dare to return. Monlam himself lives an extraordinary life; as each day goes by, he makes his way not into the future, but the past. He falls asleep each night only to wake up the day before. In this way, as he grows up his parents get younger. By the end of the book his parents are children - too young to manage by themselves - and the adult Monlam has to look after them. In this way he witnesses his own family history, quite literally living backwards into their lives.

This is a truly bizarre read, but I enjoyed it. Every morning the guy wakes up and it's yesterday (his future is everyone's past). I like it because of the concept although there are definitely some bits where I was sure the author was as confused by his new time-rules as I was. Either way, even with the predictable circular nature of the story being told, I thought it was an interesting read.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Out of Office

I'm off to one of those happy-clappy "let's make the whole team love each other" team builds tomorrow. As such, I will not be online or able to blog.

Have a fab weekend and I'll be back for you all to read on Monday :)

How Lucky is That?

Last night was a bit of a non-event. I got home and fell asleep reading my book while Varen played his new PSP Game (Tony Hawk Project 8). I guess Tuesday night was a little bit of a late one :)

And then we made some dinner and vegged out in front of the laptop for some series. After Varen cleaned all the dishes again ... having 8 plates and 8 people over does not make for easy eating the following night.

But, in the really interesting news, Varen resigned his job and took a really good offer from another big corporate yesterday. And this morning when he got into work he was told they'd pay his February salary but he was no longer required to come in and could he please leave the office ... now. How awesome is that? He now has a paid-for month off to do whatever he likes (no doubt waking up late and making me really jealous!) ... although little does he realise that I'm slowly but surely making plans to keep him busy for every single one of these free days. After all, there's all that furniture for the house he was wanting to build ... :)

Oh, and I just quickly wanted to make a mention of all the work going on in the side-bar ... if you haven't already noticed :) There are a couple of recent additions, like My Life List and the Tick list. The Life List is all about things I want to do and the Tick list is for those things I've already managed to do (although a repeat performance of some may be on the cards, if I'm lucky!). I've also added a section for the Weirdest Search Keywords to hit my Blog. This one should be fairly obvious, if not scary in terms of what people are scouring the internet for!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Goof Troop Dinner at Ours

Still a little hazy from last night ... We had Tuesday dinner with the Goof Troop (well, at least the half who are currently not off traveling) at our place.

But first to make matters worse, we discovered half way thru the day that ZimMaid did not show up for work again. She was sick on Friday and apparently still sick (let's hope this is not a sign of things to come). This was not good news as the house was in a bit of a state and with an impending dinner in the evening we were in desperate need of clean dishes!

But first we also had to go shopping so that we'd have food to serve :) You can see how it wasn't the most well planned dinner by now. We managed to get the shopping done, the house cleaned up in record time and start cooking just as the guests started arriving :)

Varen & I made yummy nachos that worked out far better than I'd expected when I made it up in my head the day before. Thanks to Koet, Nambi (& her brother), Daisy, Hammi and Zej for making it a fabulous evening with much wine and even a spot of Champagne :) Oh, and especially Zej for providing the chairs!

And now the house is back to chaos. Fingers crossed that ZimMaid shows up for work on Friday!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Perfect Stormy Monday

Last night was nice and quiet ... aside from the persistent thunderstorms and rain. I got home after spending just over an hour in the traffic. People seem to get stupid when driving in wet weather ... although to be fair some peoples cars just over heat after that long in the traffic. It doesn't make my journey home any more pleasant tho.

So, Varen headed out to do some grocery shopping and made us a yummy dinner with a little wine and hubbly bubbly for afterwards. All while watching series. A perfect way to spend a Monday night at home :)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Half is Better Than Nought

Here are a mere 25 things (if I come up with any more, I promise I'll do the other half then) about me that mebbe you knew, mebbe you didn't ... and hell, mebbe you agree :)

1. I have always wanted to own a pet pig, the miniature pot-bellied one not a giant farmyard-type one

2. In light of the above I seem to have amassed a collection of Piggy-bank pigs as well as a few fluffy ones that walk around and snort when switched on ... it makes me giggle every time :)

3. I have ridden on an African and Asian Elephant ... I'd recommend the African experience over the Asian one to anyone who asked.

4. I never went to University ... I went to 2 different Colleges and have Diploma's in both Multimedia and Computer Science.

5. I don't understand addiction. I think it's just lack of will power. But apparently that's because I've never experienced addiction so cannot relate at all.

6. I collect Fonts ... and Foreign Currency, coins & notes

7. When I was born I had all 4 Grandparents and 2 Great-Grandparents.

8. I think I might be addicted to Mayonnaise :)

9. I also don't understand "aquiring a taste". If it's that bad that it needs aquiring, how do you force yourself to do it enough times to get to the "liking it" point?

10. I have dated boys who knew more about make-up than I do. I never wear the stuff.

11. I'm a total stats-whore regarding my blog.

12. I was the eldest Grandchild on both sides ... and the eldest Great-Grandchild on one.

13. I can't tell if people have lost or gained weight ... obviously if i haven't seen them in 5 years and it's like 20 kilos but, if I see you regularly and you've lost 3 kilo's, I won't be the one complimenting you on it. To be fair, I can't notice it on myself either tho.

14. My Mom wasn't supposed to have kids, yet she still managed to fall pregnant with me while on the pill & using an IUD ... I'm that stubborn!

15. I love games (the board & card kind, not the emotional kind)

16. I'm a South African and I barely ever eat Red Meat. I'm a White-Meat-atarian, mostly (plus Bacon!)

17. My Great Grandmother on my dad's side apparently had 6 toes! Eep.

18. I'm against Organised Religion. I beleive it was man-made by the Greedy and Power Hungry to keep the masses in line. That said, I'm all for people with Faith.

19. I don't like swimming in public.

20. I had a pet rat when I was little. My kids will have rats instead of hamsters, they're smarter :)

21. I can lift my baby toe onto the next toe (on both feet) on demand

22. People think I'm funniest when I'm being serious.

23. I can't choose sunglasses for myself, I need someone else there to help

24. I think I may have an obsession with Koi Fish. I one day I want a pond with those giant ones just so I can swim with them :)

25. I haven't watched tv in absolute ages. I have now limited my viewing pleasure to series (downloaded, not by me - this is a far more efficient way to watch shows!) and the big screen (if they ever produce anything worthwhile again ... it's actually been ages since I went to the cinema either)

Glad to be Back

So, Friday was my last day over in the UK. It wasn't very eventful but the folks in the office did pull together rather nicely and organise a last lunch out ... me thinks they knew the bosses weren't around and all wanted a beer in the pub ;) Anyway, it was as good an excuse as any and we headed to The Banker.

Lunch was quite good actually ... although a bit of a strange system. You decide what you want off the menu, pay for it and then queue for it to be dished up before heading back to your table. It just means with a table as large as ours, some people have almost finished eating as others start. No biggie. I had some yummy Cod in honey & coconut crumb stuff - tricky to explain, but it was good :)

And then it was back to the hotel to reclaim my luggage and off to the airport for some serious duty-free shopping :) Got dad his requested Dom Benedictine B&B and I got Varen & myself some smellies. I got him Diesel's Fuel for Life and myself Marc Jacob's Daisy. So far they are smelling divine :)

And then it was time for my 11 hour flight back to Jhb. Didn't sleep much, watched two movies tho ... first Bee Movie and then Stardust.

Born to bee wild.
Bee Movie is a comedy that will change everything you think you know about bees. Having just graduated from college, a bee by the name of Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) finds himself disillusioned with the prospect of having only one career choice – honey. As he ventures outside of the hive for the first time, he breaks one of the cardinal rules of the bee world and talks to a human, a New York City florist named Vanessa (Renée Zellweger). He is shocked to discover that the humans have been stealing and eating the bees' honey for centuries, and ultimately realizes that his true calling in life is to set the world right by suing the human race for stealing their precious honey.

This was quite cute, but I'm glad I didn't waste a perfectly good big-screen viewing on it. It was cute enough but only pretty average with a poor ending. I'm sure the kiddies loved it tho :)

Tristan Thorne (Charlie Cox) is the son of Dunstan Thorne and Una, a captive princess. The couple met only one night and fell in love instantly. Unfortunately, when Tristan was born, Una was not allowed to keep him and instead sent him to live with his father. She put in his basket a "Babylon candle", and a letter to Tristan explaining everything. The story then jumps to Tristan as a young man, in love with the prettiest girl (Victoria) in a small English town (Wall Village). He is desperate to bring her a newly fallen star by her birthday. He uses the candle to fly to where the star landed, which is not in England but a magical land called Stormhold. But then he discovers that the star is not what he expected. It is actually a beautiful, young and spirited woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes).

I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this 2 & half hour film ... it hadn't really appealed while showing on big-screen. And even tho I don't especially like Claire Danes, it was very well cast. I had a good laugh at Robert de Niro's character :) I'd recommend this if you're in the mood for light fantasy (I think I just made up a new genre!)

And finally at 7am on Saturday morning, I arrived back in Sunny South Africa. I eased thru passport control (this is honestly the only time I've been thru when there have been more than 2 people working there!) and hung around waiting for my luggage before breezing thru customs - shoo!

Varen was waiting with a smile :) Boy was I thrilled to see him ... the sweet boy had been there an hour & half already, eager for my arrival. And so we headed home where I proceeded to unpack my bag sufficiently over the bedroom floor to get our all the gifts (which he loved) and then passed out for the next few hours (while he played his new Pony Slaystation games) :)

Saturday was very hot for me and I could barely manage being outside or without the fan. But by Sunday I had re-adjusted to the comparative "heat". We grabbed some Ghazal's take-out for lunch and stocked up at PnP and spent the rest of Saturday lounging around and watching series.

Sunday was equally lazy, although while Varen was off drooling at mph, I properly unpacked my bags and sorted thru some of the other stuff I'd moved but had yet to unpack. Mostly I wasn't in the mood for much.

And now, I'm back at work ... adjusting to being back in traffic instead of enjoying the brisk walk between the tube and the office and trying to decide exactly what I want to do about my job. Should I stay in the same company but move to a different department or make a move right out of this place? Ummm ...

Friday, February 01, 2008

London Eating

So, here's my list of fun food stuffs that we don't get back home that I've tried while in London 16Jan08 - 01Feb08:

1. This Water and citrus & This Water and mangoes
2. Feel Good Drink's Cloudy Lemon Juice & Feel Good Drink's Cranberry + Orange Juice
3. Innocent Drink's Guavas, Mangoes & Goji Berries Superfood Smoothies
4. Starbucks Hazelnut Hot Chocolate
5. Burger King's Chicken Royale with Cheese
6. Pret a Manger
7. Galaxy Minstrels
8. Cadbury's Dark Chocolate Flake
9. Sip Still Water with a hint of Strawberry and Mint
10. Magner's Irish Cider
11. Marks & Spencer's Percy Pigs
12. Eat
13. The Serious Food Company's Freshly Squeezed Lemonade
14. McDonalds Cajun Chicken Wrap & Wedges
15. Strawberry Energy Booster Fruzi
16. Fanta Summer Fruit Zero
17. Aero Chocolate Bubbles
18. Frijj Chocolate Milk
19. San Pellegrino La Limonata

I'm Going Home

( ^ said in that Tim Curry "Frank-n-Furter" way from The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Peeble, you know what I'm talking about!)

Last night was my last night in London and in my hotel bedroom that has been "home" for the last 16 days. The Divine Miss M and I went out for a final dinner after I'd finished all my packing (can you believe that even after all my Amazon purchases, I can still fit into my single bag - oh the relief). We headed for the GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen) in Soho :)

When I saw the menu yesterday I really thought I might end up ordering about 5 burgers just to try them all cause they sound so divine. And if I lived here I definitely think I'd be back to try another. But last night I settled on their Mexican Burger (100% Aberdeen-Angus Scotch beef, sour cream, avocado, spicy kidney bean salsa & salad) - fairly yummy but for me, I'd have preferred less of the actual giant burger patty and more of the delish fillings. Either way it was still gigantic and needs eating with a knife an fork (could someone please recommend to them the use of a Steak Knife?). We also shared a bowl of their fried (thick and chunky!) and The Divine Miss M's favourite garlic mayo. It was good, but let me warn you, not for the faint hearted. It was stripping paint from where it stood on our table :) And they have those yummy American style milkshakes where you get the giant milkshake container to top yourself up.

Needless to say we were much in need of the walk back to the tube afterwards :) Sadly I learnt just how close Soho was to my hotel ... GBK is only a few restaurants up from Zaytouna where I'd been for dinner with Kersh when I first arrived. If I'd known how close it was, I could have seriously saved myself the hour & half of walking with no dinner-joy on the last few evenings! Damn. But hey, it's not my home town so I guess there are somethings you end up learning the hard way.

This morning I'm winding up at work and off to the airport to do some last minute Duty-Free shopping. And then it's home to my darling Varen ... I can't wait :) South Africa, I'll see you on the morrow!

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