Monday, March 31, 2008

Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins by Rupert Everett

An element of drama has always attended Rupert Everett, even before he swept to fame with his outstanding performance in 'Another Country'. He has spent his life surrounded by extraordinary people, and witnessed extraordinary events. He was in Moscow during the fall of communism; in Berlin the night the wall came down; and in downtown Manhattan on September 11th. By the age of 17 he was friends with Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger, and since then he has been up close and personal with some of the most famous women in the world: Julia Roberts, Madonna, Sharon Stone and Donatella Versace. Whether sweeping the floor for the Royal Shakespeare Company or co-starring with Faye Dunaway and an orang-utan in 'Dunstan Checks In' (they both took ages to get ready), Rupert Everett always brings as much energy and talent to his life as he does to his career. A superb raconteur and a keen observer of human folly (especially his own), Rupert Everett turns his life into a captivating story of love, fame, glamour, gossip and drama.

Wow, this really was a fascinating read. I had no idea how he's struggled to be the recognised name he doesn't seem to think he is! It's very educational to see just how haphazard some star's rises actually are whereas us mere mortals sit here dreaming that they're all sunshine, roses and gold paved roads to the paradise of wealth and fame ... this seems not to be altogether true for the most part.

I'd highly recommend this autobiography if you've enjoyed him as an actor at all. I personally think he's just fabulous, darling ;)

Call Me Interior Decorator

Wow, what a weekend. Friday started with a braai at Varen's folks place. They all went there straight after his grandmother's Breyton funeral and I joined them after work. Sadly they were told that evening that his cousin had died in a head-on collision on his way home after the funeral. Such dreadful news, even tho Varen hardly knew his cousin (although he has a very close immediate family, their extended family isn't that close). Devastating for his poor uncle who had just spent the day burying his mother only to have his son die. There have been a spate of these terrible incidents in the past few weeks. Really makes one think about things!

So yeah, Friday was a bit of a rough one for him so I just hung around being supportive where necessary and trying to give him space (with his play-station) when he needed it :) Boys just don't seem to want to discuss things like death. But then again I'm far too practical about those sorts of things - I even have list that I keep up-to-date for when I die ... so that no one has to worry about who to tell, it has everyone I want told and their current contact details. For some peculiar reason I don't want some people to find out via the grapevine. Okay, so now that I've just typed that I'm beginning to realise just how odd it all sounds ... but that's just one of my eccentricities!

Saturday turned out to be a fabulous day. A little bit of gift shopping for Loulou's 30th at Hoy P'loy (Thanks to our good friend Hoi Polloi, the owner, for recommending such a beautiful orchid!) and then some surprise shopping for myself!

Varen & I have driven past The Gallery on numerous occasions thinking we should really stop in and have a look around but oddly it always seems to have been closed. Today we made a point of remembering to stop by during regular hours and found it open.

As soon as we walked in I spotted the most gorgeous bench (originally I referred to it as an Ottoman, but after some research on Wikipedia, it's definitely more of a bench). It is distressed leather with beautiful velvet flowers embossed across it in varying shades of pink, brown and orange. We wandered the rest of the gallery and showroom but I couldn't help but go back to the ottoman. I loved it! In the meantime, while I sat eyeing it, Varen had a coffee and we chatted to the very friendly owner Anthony Yapanis ... who apparently married his wife (and co-gallery owner) last weekend in Cape Town. Me thinks that after such a warm and friendly experience, we will definitely start attending the many events they host at The Gallery.

In the end I decided I just couldn't live without such a beautiful and typically me item of furniture and decided to spoil myself a little ... I mean, it is bonus month after all :)

Oh, and I did manage to have my kilo of prawns (thanks to Adega in Greenside) for lunch on my free day :) It was a highlight because the last time I had this many of them was when Mom & Daddio were here last December! It was well deserved and hugely delish.

Then we spent a relaxing afternoon at home, admiring my purchase (finding a spot for it) and playing with Bell in the garden. She is such a delight! We even had the one-day pleasure of seeing my fish-pond lily flower. Since it only opens fully in daylight, we've been missing it while at work but we got a stunning look at it on Saturday ... before it was broken by the Saturday night storm in Joburg :( Oh well, fingers crossed it'll flower again!

Then, it was off to dinner at Mythos in the Design Quarter for Loulou's birthday. As usual I thoroughly enjoyed their Mezze but wasn't such a fan of their mains. That's just how I am with Greek food :)

As I said, there was quite a storm in Joburg later that evening and by the time we got home it seemed to be right above our house. Well, I was having none of that, Bell was sleeping inside for the night. I'm sure I was more worried for her than she was! But we set her up nicely in the bath with her food and some newspaper lining the bottom because the enamel is a little too slippery for fluffy foots :) And a box for her to hide-away in.

On Sunday we officially decided to stop the stringent rules of the BFL program and rather fit it into our lifestyle as much as possible. It's the gym that's so tricky to do 6 days of the week! The food we're not having a problem with at all. What with Varen's gran's funeral on Friday, we didn't make it then and on Sunday we had Koet & Nambi coming over for a braai at 2pm ... there just wasn't enough time! So Sunday started with a mad dash to the shops for food and cushions.

On Saturday we decided that instead of getting 8 matching cushions for the dining room table, we'd get 8 different ones. This was also primarily because I wanted zany ones and he wanted far more subtle ones and we just couldn't agree. This way we each get to pick :) So far we have 6 of 8 and it's looking very cool! You can't really see very clearly in the picture, but one is furry and one has sequins and one is bright orange silk and then there are the subtle ones (far more obvious in the photo!) :)

The house is really coming together now, Varen also hung my paintings from Malawi in the dining room and my Christmas present, a coat rack of elephant heads (okay, that really doesn't sound as cool as it actually is!). Today he'll be shipping the cow-hides to Wilderness and in about a week and a half we should get the completed cowpet (my new word for a cow-carpet) back too :)

Then Koet & Nambi joined us for a late lunch/early dinner braai ... and to meet Bell :) It was a lovely afternoon, although the rain kinda dampened our out-door spirit and we headed inside to watch a movie instead.

Tom Carver (Samuel L. Jackson) a former cop and an extremely hygienic man uses his urge in his professional life as a crime scene cleaner. When he becomes involved in a job he later finds out was a covered up murder, he gets tied in to a web of deception, that un-earths his own family's long buried pain and secrets.

Surprisingly I enjoyed this movie. It's beautifully filmed and has quite an entertaining plot.

After they left, I spent the rest of the evening reading. I'd kept the book that interested me least as my last book-club read of the month and I must've read half the book last night! So far Torey Hayden's Twilight Children has been surprisingly involving and a real page-turner!

Oh and fabulous news from this morning :) Varen got in touch with the dwarf bunny place where we got Bell ... and we are going to be able to get one of the red ones when they're ready to leave their mom :) We should find out later this week when this will be ... hopefully on my birthday (when Mom gets up here for a visit) or maybe even the week before (when we've scheduled the house warming - that sadly very few people seem able to attend. But hey, at least it'll be cosy! Although you'd think planning something 3 weeks in advance would be enough, apparently not). Yay!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Spinach & Feta Pitzas

Okay, so the second installment (and the last until I find another recipe that I can't flop!) in my Recommended Recipe series is for a yummy lunch, Spinach & Feta Pitzas (there's method in the spelling madness, as you will see shortly).

Ingredients (to make 1 Pitza):

  • 1 tablespoon reduced fat feta cheese
  • ½ cup blended low-fat cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup skim milk mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup tomato puree (I just use All Gold's convenient Tomato Paste sachets)
  • ½ cup spinach (fresh or frozen, thawed) chopped
  • Pizza seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 whole-wheat pita (now see why it's a pitza?)
Note: I pretty much ignore the quantities (aside from the 1 whole-wheat pita) and just ensure it's suitably covered in goodness :)

First carefully slice the pita into 2 round crusts, place inside part up and set aside. (we don't bother with this but rather use the pita as a whole) Combine puree, garlic and seasoning in a small bowl and spread on top of both crusts. (another waste of time) Spread tomato puree / paste onto pita bread. Add garlic & seasoning as desired. Follow then with the cottage cheese. Using the tines of a fork (whatever) Crumble the feta cheese and sprinkle on top. Follow with spinach and then lightly sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Bake in a 200°C oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is slightly toasted.

This is yummy but I definitely recommend eating it while it's still piping hot straight outta the oven! Again, I'll post some delish pics next time I make them - if I remember before scoffing it down ;)

So Much For Gym

Last night was another quiet one at home. I spent some time with Bell in the garden before Varen got back from his dentist appointment (a follow up from last week). She definitely seems to be getting used to us and will regularly run up to us and sniff us and sit near us before scampering off again.

Yesterday afternoon, while playing outside her hutch under my watchful eye, she jumped (and then fell off) the window half-sill (outside). I was impressed she could jump as high as she did ... but I guess the only way she'll learn that there's no space for her to perch up there is by falling. And rabbits aren't really interested in being cuddled after a fall :( She also has what I call her "Grand Prix Route". She will race (and I mean top speed!) from under her hutch, across the stoop, around the fish pond, onto the grass and back again. Wit ha few skippety skips thrown in for good measure (although she only does those when not flying by at top speed!)

Dinner was a *huge* disappointment for me last night ... I hate those recipes that sound likethey're going to be the most awesome thing you've tasted in your own home and turn out to be better used lining you dustbin! I tried to make the BFL Ostrich (substituted for beef mince again) and spinach lasagne. Varen said he liked it (I'm sure it was just cause I was sulking tho!) but I thought it was crap. Sigh.

So here's where I'll admit I'm not the sort of girl who cooks for enjoyment ... it does not relax me. But I do find it thrilling to be able to make something that I myself might crave. As such when I produce something completely (or even marginally) distasteful, it's depressing. All that time, all those ingredients. Wasted. It's things like that that put me off the kitchen. Such high highs and such low lows. No even keel for me. Something is either perfect or ruined. It's always been like that.

And so, because of my after-dinner sulk and Varen's wearing-off mouth-anesthetic turning to dull numb nauseous pain, we skipped gym. Instead we watched The Sickhouse.

Anna is an ambitious young archaeologist. She desperately needs the kudos of an important find. But her work is ruined when the authorities suddenly shut down the old hospital in which she is working. Plague spores contaminate its medieval foundations. Anna is convinced that this ancient plague site holds an even darker secret. In her research she has stumbled on a murderous pattern of unexplained child deaths. This is a very cold case; the children disappeared in 1665, the year of the Great Plague. The 'suits' at her museum don't buy her theories and they give the go-ahead for the hospital's imminent demolition. That night Anna risks everything, and breaks back into the hospital to prove her suspicions. Reaching for a mysterious ancient artifact, she slips and falls. Meanwhile, Nick's 21st birthday celebrations are culminating in chaos. He just wanted a good night out with girlfriend Joolz, best mate Steve and Steve's younger brother Clive. But a little innocent joy-riding goes badly wrong. After a fatal hit-and-run the teenagers hide out in the hospital and their fates become intertwined with Anna's. With luckless synchronicity two worlds collide and the ancient force that has snared the young people starts to play out its cruel game. Anna has unwittingly resurrected the malevolent spirit of a hideous medieval Plague Doctor, and one by one they will all encounter his evil reincarnation - their fates mirroring the cruel deaths of his victims 350 years ago. History is repeating itself. Anna works against the clock to unlock the secrets of the murderous Plague Doctor. In a twisted version of Alice Through The Looking Glass, the young people find themselves fighting for their lives - and souls - in a long-forgotten medieval underworld. The only way out is for Anna to confront the Plague Doctor. Can she destroy him, and stop his evil spreading like a plague epidemic, into today's world? A shocking mystery that began centuries ago needs solving but even Anna cannot see that she herself is the final piece of the puzzle. Time is her enemy and death is only the beginning.

We didn't know anything about this movie when we started watching, it was just one of a handful I'd gotten from TheBrad earlier in the week. But within the first 5 minutes when they'd used the word Archeology, I decided it was worth sticking with. It's sort of an average horror, not as clever as SAW and just as nonsensical as The Ring ... if that's your thing, give it a watch. I will say that the ending arrives swiftly and doesn't quite manage to clearly explain itself in it's super-fast last sequence. But I kinda enjoyed it ... however this does not mean I would ever watch it again.

After that we settled in and watched the first few episodes of a brilliantly funny new series called The Big Bang Theory :)

Today Varen has headed off on the long 3 hour drive to Breyton again, this time (a week later) for his gran's funeral. My thought's are with you and your family, baby. Drive safe!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ostrich Chili Soup

So, as I've said before, with BFL, I've been cooking far more than ever before and trying out some new recipes. I'll be honest, they're not all great, but there are a few shining stars that will become staples from hence forth :)

And now I thought I'd share the winners with all of you too! My first favourite is the Ostrich Chili Soup ... I'm reminded because I've just had a bowl for lunch and it was (as always!) delish.

Now, keep in mind, for those of you a little nervous about the use of Ostrich or those of you overseas who don't have access to this healthy meat, it's not a requirement. You can use normal beef mince too and I'm sure it tastes just as lovely :)

Note: The original recipe is in blue ... I've left my updates (as you can see there are many) in black for your eating pleasure!

Ingredients (to make 4 lunch-sized portions):

  • 250 gram minced ostrich
  • 1 can Mexican stewed tomatoes (I use the All Gold Mexican Tomatoes)
  • 1 can chicken broth (I use the make-it-yourself chicken stock cubes)
  • ½ 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • ½ 1 can garbanzo butter beans (I'm keen to try it with some other variations too!)
  • Chili powder, to taste (approx. ½ tablespoon) (I use a splash of the Bandito's Pickled Jalapeno Pepper's oil instead, works wonders!)
  • a handful of sliced celery
Brown ostrich in sauce pan. Add tomatoes and chicken broth all other ingredients to a medium sized pot while the ostrich is browning. Stir. Dump beans into strainer. Run water through until water runs clear. (I don't bother with anything more than tipping out most of the bean-liquid beforehand) Add beans to soup. Flavour with chili powder. Add ostrich to soup once browned. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes before serving.

As an alternative, add 2 stalks cut celery, 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro, and 1 diced jalapeno pepper.

This soup can be stored in your fridge and heated in the microwave :)

Will try to remember to take a photo next time I make it (there will definitely be a next time!) and post it here. Enjoy :)

Cuter by the Day

Okay, so this morning's post is late ... no excuse really, I've just been faffing, catching up with people in my old department and old friends from college.

Last night was pretty cool. I spent another good hour or so outside with Bell before Varen got home. She's definitely getting used to me more and more and doing lot's of half-binkies :)

When Varen got home we both spent some time outside with her, which is good cause it ensures we stop and take some time each day to be together and chat and watch her run around. Then it was off to dreaded gym :P

Later, Brother Zion came over for dinner. Varen made us superb ostrich fillet and we tried out our new microwave steamer on some unsuspecting courgettes ... I can highly recommend it!

It was a lovely evening :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Yay, yay, yay. So for the last few weeks I have been badgered by an estate agent from Richter Properties while he's been trying to sell the place Bean & I own. Sadly it seems that the original valuation we had done by Pam Golding was pure wishful thinking (or just still based on last years constantly rising house prices).

Anyway, last week we got our first offer ... fa, far lower than we'd ever expected. But we counter offered yesterday and the buyer accepted it. I know we'll probably end up making a loss after the agents fee's and VAT and all that ... but I'm just so thrilled to not have this extra thing tying me to Bean and holding me back in a previous life. I mean, Varen & I have a bunny together now, things are moving along :)

Thru this entire Property Palaver, I have become even more certain in my decision to have left Bean over a year ago. The way he has handled this situation has not been ideal and shown him to be the self-involved person he really is at heart. When the world isn't revolving around him and what he's busy doing, well it just doesn't seem to be turning at all ... or at least that's the impression I've been left with after dating him for 2 & half years. Quite a sad reflection, really.

But, now (well, after the sale is completed, so in about 3 months!) I no longer have to deal with him again ... for anything :)

Finally I feel like this ship is turning and sailing off into the sunset. After all the upsets of the past few weeks, things seem to be improving since Thursday last week ... fingers crossed, touching wood and all the rest to ensure I haven't just jinxed it ;)

Bunny Binking

So last night was pretty hectic ... after Varen got home.

Before Varen got home, I spent a good hour lying on the grass with my book (not really reading) watching Bell hop around and even "binky" once or twice ... although she's not too adept at it yet, she's definitely trying and that's a good happy bunny sign :) I wish I could spend more time with her instead of at work! But somehow I don't think Varen is open to funding my stay-at-home-bunny-owner idea ...

After he got home, I was half-way thru making banana muffins ... which turned out so much better than the peanut butter ones (but they were just basically oats & peanut butter, who comes up with these recipes?).

Then we quickly made some dinner (yummy soy-marinated chicken burgers, a Varen speciality!) and headed to gym. And then when we got home it was a quick hop in the shower before heading over to GalleryGirl's for Tuesday night dinner (although we couldn't eat dinner :( at least the company was good!). All a bit of a mad rush.

In the meantime, I saw this brilliant study posted online ... a German company took 100 different products and compared the look of the products as shown by the packaging with the actual contents inside the boxes (the link will open a lot of very articulate pictures). I think it's a brilliant idea and I'd love for a similar study to be performed here. Because I bet the results would be as shocking as theirs! After looking thru the pics, I think there are *maybe* 5 products that closely resemble their packaging promise.

Oh, and I completely forgot to mention my fabulous news :) In a month, Mom will be up visiting Joburg for my birthday ... for a whole week! And even Daddio will be joining us up here for the new long weekend at the start of May :) Varen & I will be whisking them both & Bell off to the farm. So looking forward to it :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Weekend

Okay, blogger is doing something really weird this morning (can't upload pics!) ... hopefully it'll get sorted soon tho!

Update at 13h19: Yay, seems like I got it working again by clearing my cache :)

o we had a long long weekend. Four days off was such bliss that I'm not entirely sure how I made it into work at all this morning.

Now let me think ... Thursday was fairly quiet. Varen & I stayed home and watched a movie that I got from TheBrad, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.

Eccentric 243-year-old Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) owns and manages a magical toyshop. The shop has many quirks, including sentient toys and a doorknob that, when rotated, changes the interior of a magic room. Magorium's store manager is the young woman Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman), who is an aspiring pianist and has plans to quit the store and start a career in music.

Unexpectedly, Mr. Magorium announces that although he is not ill, it is time for him to "leave" and gives the shop to Mahoney. She does not understand, but Eric explains to her that he seems to mean that he is going to heaven. She urges Magorium to stay and struggles with self-doubt.

It wasn't that great. I mean it's kinda fun and fantastical and Dustin Hoffman was great but, otherwise pretty dull. I don't recommend it.

Friday I was left to my own devices as Varen drove (3 hours!) out to Breyton for the day to visit his Grandmother who sadly died last night. My thoughts are with you baby.

I went shopping ... and blew a fortune over the course of the weekend! First and foremost was bed paraphernalia for the spare room so that I can convince the Mom and Daddio to come up for a visit. I found everything I needed at good old Monsieur Prissay ... except for the actual bed (the one I wanted to get has had all stock sent back to the supplier cause of a defect, damn!) or mattress.

I also had all my Photo's printed so that I could start album-ing this weekend ... with all my free time ;) Sadly the gym was closed for Good Friday so BFL went sorta out the window! Instead we headed over to GalleryGirl's for a braai once Varen had got himself safely home. Somehow managing to talk himself out of a traffic fine for a) talking on his cellphone b) speeding c) having no number plates d) having an expired temporary number plate. I just don't know where this boy's luck comes from!

Saturday was an exciting morning ... the morning I've been waiting all week for. It was time to fetch the bunny :) We have named her Bell. She is so adorable and as soon as I can upload pics there will be some to show her off. The rest of the weekend was pretty much bunny focused. We got her a hutch at the same time we bought her. And now we're hoping that in 3 weeks she'll get a little strawberry blonde sister :)

She is the most darling thing and I watched her discovering her new home (the garden while we're watching over her). As she got more confident and bounded around the grass. Eating and eating! She's had two whole carrots since we got her ... she is an eating machine!

I also made another purchase (trying to stagger them!). Got myself a Canon MX310 scanner/printer from Incredible Connection. Mostly I got it because of it's handy auto-document feed tray. After going thru all the family history stuff, I figure it's a lot easier to keep all this documentation in electronic format than taking up space printed out! Sadly I have yet to even un-box it since I don't really have anywhere (other than the dining room table!) to set it up. Will have to get Varen moving on setting up the study-landing :)

We enjoyed our non-BFL day by gorging on junk food and finished the day with some pizza from Lapa Fo and watching some dvds with Belly snuggling under my jersey :)

We watched Premonition (my choice) and Chaos (Varen's choice).

The middle-class couple Linda Hanson and Jim Hanson lives a wasted and routine relationship with their two daughters in their comfortable house in the suburbs. On a Thursday morning, the local sheriff visits Linda and tells her that her husband died in a car accident on the previous day. On the next morning, when Linda awakes, she finds Jim safe and sound at home. When she awakes on the next morning, she realizes that her days are out of order, but her family and friends believe she is insane.

I kinda liked this movie. I do like Sandra Bullock as an actress and that does help. There are inconsistencies in the movie (as with all "time-travel" type themes I've seen) but as usual one gets over it, ignores it and enjoys the movie :)

During a hostage incident, inspector Quentin Conners (Jason Statham) accidentally shoots dead both the criminal and his hostage after which, Conners is suspended.

Some time afterwards, Lorenz (Wesley Snipes) and four other heavily armed criminals take hostages in a bank. They only want to negotiate with the suspended Conners, who is immediately reinstated with full powers. Together with the young inspector Shane Dekker (Ryan Phillippe), whom he doesn't regard highly, Conners takes charge of the crime scene.

While working on the few leads and trying to stay out of each other's face, both Conners and Dekker come to believe different theories. While Conners feels certain the robbery has something to do with the bridge shooting, other than that he sees no other pattern to the chain of events and resorts to the police routine of searching human leads and questioning them. While Dekker senses a design to all the chaos, based on Chaos theory — where seemingly chaotic and unrelated happenings are believed to be linked to each other in a way that is very calculated and systematically being carried out by the one who knows the entire picture.

As the two detectives work together and begin to respect each other, they both realize that they must work together and help each other out, if they are to get to the end of the chaotic tunnel of events. And as they start their hunt for the truth, they also come to realize that they themselves are being hunted and played with, by the one who see the pattern in this Chaos.

his movie was apparently released shortly before (or after?) Inside Man and as such did not receive much attention. I quite liked it ... although by this stage I was a little movie-ed out. I really enjoyed the plot twists although if I had to pick one to watch again, it'd definitely be Inside Man :)

Sunday was fairly quiet ... more lazing in bed and photographing Bell! She is completely adorable, although Varen didn't really see the cute side when she started munching on his bonsai leaves! I spent most of the day cleaning the fish pond ... it was an exhausting job and sadly I lost one fish when it took a nighttime kamikaze jump out of the pond. Bell had fun playing in the wet lawn while I worked.

Hell, we even managed to dutifully get to the gym as well! That evening, we went to the movies ... because we hadn't seen enough! I guess that's how I relax on a long weekend when everyone else is away. With my book and at the movies :) We saw 10000 BC.

The legend. The battle. The first hero.
Set in a remote mountain tribe, a young hunter, D'Leh (Steven Strait), has found his heart's passion - the beautiful Evolet (Camilla Belle). When a band of mysterious warlords raid his village and kidnap Evolet, D'Leh is forced to lead a small group of hunters to pursue the warlords to the end of the world to save her. Driven by destiny, the unlikely band of warriors must battle sabre-tooth tigers and prehistoric predators and, at their heroic journey's end, they uncover a Lost Civilisation. Their ultimate fate lies in an empire beyond imagination, where great pyramids reach into the skies. Here they will take their stand against a powerful god who has brutally enslaved their people.
An epic tale that centres on three stages in the development of primitive man, as seen through a 21-year-old hunter, who must journey through uncharted territory to secure the future of his tribe.

I thought this was great fun :) Except for the ending ... /*spoiler ahead*/ Just when you think they're going to be original and let the girl die, she "magically" wakes up, restored to full health (who knows what happened to that arrow in her back!?!). So yes, aside from that, it was great fun. An epic I can only compare to Apocalypto (except better, cause there are woolly mammoths!)

Monday we mostly lazed. We were somehow exhausted by the long weekend. But we did managed to get out and buy a mattress (me ... supposedly for the spare room, but we've taken it for ourselves!) and a new bed (Varen for the main bedroom). So I have made some huge shopping progress during the long weekend ... it's especially nice not having so many people around Joburg too :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Update: I Forgot the Ice Sculpture

I have just heard the sweetest story.

So I was just chatting to the bride-to-be from the engagement party we went to last weekend, Piano-girl. She was a little sorry her ice-sculpture hadn't got a mention. Yes, they had over 100 guests with a bar-man, a live band and an ice-sculpture.

So here's the story ... if I'd known it before, the ice-sculpture would definitely have got a mention :) She'd being chatting to Vori & his family about the party plans and was saying how much she wanted an ice-sculpture but that they were just too expensive.

As a surprise, Vori's dad went out and bought a huge block of ice and lathed it himself into a sculpture. Suddenly the ice-sculpture means so much more :) I think that's so sweet of him and far further than most father-in-laws-to-be would probably go to ensure their future daughter in-law has the engagement party of her dreams!

Please keep in mind that as much as I think the above is a lovely story, I do not want any ice-sculptures of my own ;) Lucky thing too, cause I don't think Varen's family has a lathe!

Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell

The 'Book of the Dead' is the morgue log, the ledger in which all cases are entered by hand. For Kay Scarpetta, however, it is about to have a new meaning. Fresh from her bruising battle with a psychopath in Florida, Scarpetta decides it's time for a change of pace. Moving to the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, she opens a unique private forensic pathology practice, one in which she and her colleagues offer expert crime scene investigation and autopsies to communities lacking local access to competent death investigation and modern technology. It seems like an ideal situation, until the murders and other violent deaths begin. A woman is ritualistically murdered in her multi-million-dollar beach home. The body of an abused young boy is found dumped in a desolate marsh. A sixteen-year-old tennis star is found nude and mutilated near Piazza Navona in Rome. Scarpetta has dealt with many brutal and unusual crimes before, but never a string of them as baffling, or as terrifying, as the ones before her now. Before she is through, that book of the dead will contain many names and the pen may be poised to write her own. The first name in forensics. The last name in suspense. Once again, Patricia Cornwell proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall.

A new Patricia Cornwell book. I must admit I think I've read her entire Kay Scarpetta series to date. I don't much enjoy her other books tho. But I do love these ones! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I reminded myself of the characters I haven't read about in a long while.

And there is a pretty decent twist at the end that you don't quite see coming. Just exactly how embroiled everyone is in the finale is quite something :)

Bring on the Bunny

Last night was and absolute disaster ... Varen & I had a huge argument. Over tampons if you can even believe that - although admittedly it was mostly me arguing (with a little ranting and raving thrown in for good measure) and him trying to do the right thing. He really is a sweetie. Which is more annoying when I'm trying to be angry with him.

Luckily the temper wore off, as it usually does with me. If I have a good yell, I won't even remember what was wrong half an hour later ... crazy :)

All I can say is that it is a good morning. The wood for the laminate floor fix should be arriving this afternoon ... so that it can do it's temperature adjusting or whatever over the weekend and get fixed on Tuesday (that'll be awesome!). Most of the rent got paid yesterday (damn those daily withdrawal limits!) and the rest should arrive today. And (and and and) most importantly of all, today is pay day. The best pay day of the year ... it's the day when we get our increase & bonus :) And to know there's still 9K coming when the expense claim people get their asses in gear ... it's going to be a super weekend, people :)

And even on top of all that, 2nd May was declared a public holiday - all because tomorrow we have 2 on one day. The unions got all up in arms since we in South Africa have rights to 12 paid public holidays in our constitution. I've heard we are really high up on the list of country with the most public holiday's celebrated annually. And they were going to try combining one? Well, pah, you can't get away with that! So they gave us a whole new one (for this year only) :) I must say, I love it. Although I know the businesses out there must be grumbling under their breath. While I remain a salaried-employee, I say bring it on!

In other exciting weekend news, the bunny countdown is 48 hours :) Can't wait. Kind of ironic getting a pet rabbit on Easter, but I assure you that's all just coincidence.

Have a fabulous long weekend :) Enjoy the religious bit, if that's your thing. Otherwise just gorge on the yummy chocolate bunnies & eggs, like the rest of us!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Got Load-Shed

Last night was a nightmare. Because of our lazy morning, we had to work the usual workday and ended up in the peak-time traffic coming home. Varen only left work just after 6. And shortly after that our house got Load-Shed. Aaargh.

Luckily the dinner was prepared and it could be braai-ed so we wouldn't go hungry. But there was no way we'd have time for gym. After stopping for charcoal, Varen finally got home just after 7. Damn traffic lights during load-shedding!

He made us a little fire and we waited for the coals. We eventually ate at about 8:30 and headed for an early bed in the darkness. Naturally as soon as we climbed into bed, the lights came back on. This was only uplifting because I now had a full stomach and could at least read my book for a while in bed.

So sad that the one night I end up getting out of gyming and I can't do anything useful with it.

Oh, but before the power went, I finally took some pics of the new dining room chairs :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's Wet

Yes, it's still raining. And as much as I loved the entire day of rain on Sunday (when I could stay snug inside in my pajamas), the novelty is wearing off fast! It seems to make Varen & I both very lazy. We snuggled up in bed while I read my book and he dozed. Damn but it was hard to get up and go to gym!

But we did. We haven't lost any weight yet ... I figure it's our bodies adjusting to eating 6 times a day. That and I don't think we're quite figured out exactly how little "a portion" is :) But we had the Macaroni Cheese for dinner last night and it wasn't too bad at all - needed a little more flavour, but that was quickly solved with a spoon of salsa ;)

And in other news, people continue to disappoint (or lie as I like to call it). The Rent has still not been paid. The Tenant assures me it'll be done today. For some reason she cannot understand that I just want her to tell me the truth for a change ... not that I'd believe it. Crying wolf, and all. So I keep phoning and bugging her because I figure it's the only way to get her to understand that there is no benefit in saying today if it's not going to be done today ... since it means I'll just phone her again tomorrow. Clearly my phone calls don't bother her one bit tho.

And then the new Floor Guy who actually came all the way to our house to assess the damage, he still has not emailed the quote. I mean really? What exactly does he think we can do without the quote? Without the quote, him actually assessing the floor has been a complete waste of time!

And currently Varen & I are looking at getting ourselves a pet ... yes, I'm caving. But not a dog. We're going to start with dwarf bunnies :) And the guy was supposed to send some information via email. Do you think he did? Nope. Maybe Varen's email address is just too complicated for all these people?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lost White Tribes by Riccardo Orizio

Over three hundred years ago the first European colonialists set foot in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean to found permanent outposts of the great empires. This epic migration continued until after World War II when these tropical outposts became independent black nations, and the white colonials were forced, or chose, to return home.

Some of these colonial descendants, however, had become outcasts in the poorest stratas of the society of which they were now a part. Ignored by both the former slaves and the modern privileged white immigrants, and unable to afford the long journey home, they still hold out today, hiding in remote valleys and hills, 'lost white tribes' living in poverty with the proud myth of their colonial ancestors. Forced to marry within the tribe to retain their fair-skinned 'purity' they are torn between the memory of past privileges and the present need to integrate into the surrounding society.

The tribes investigated in this book share much besides the colour of their skin: all are decreasing in number, many are on the verge of extinction, fighting to survive in countries that alienate them because of the colour of their skin. Riccardo Orizio inve stigates: the Blancs Matignon of Guadeloupe; the Burghers of Sri Lanka ; the Poles of Haiti; the Basters of Namibia; the Germans of Seaford Town, Jamaica; the Confederados of Brazil.

This was a book someone on my East African trip had been reading. It piqued my curiosity so when I saw it in a book shop earlier this year, I had to buy it.

And it is interesting. And sad ... but mostly, it's bloody difficult to read. The way these people live and where and how they came to be there is fascinating. But the story is not told in a very easy to read way and at the end of each section, I wasn't really sure what I'd learned about them.

I guess, the most interesting for me were the Basters in nearby Namibia. Their history so much in-line with South Africa's Great Trek that we all learned about in primary school History. I think one day I'd like to visit Rehoboth for myself.

On Engagements and Eating

Wow. I really had the relaxing weekend I needed after last week. Although admittedly I face this week with much the same unresolved issues from Friday.

Thankfully the New Floor Guy came and did an assessment. Initially the maid wouldn't let him in ... I'm now on the prowl for a new one who has at least a better than basic grasp of the English language. We have taken to communicating with the current one via sms the night before so she can have someone else translate it for her. This is *not* ideal. Anyway. So he came and did the assessment. And apparently left it there for us. When I got home, it was no where to be found. Turns out he didn't leave it (although I wouldn't have been surprised if the maid had hidden in some completely random place, like the kitchen dustbin!) he says he'll email it to Varen. We're still waiting. Sigh.

But, there was some excitement ... the dining room chairs finally arrived (damn, forgot to photograph them for you!). That has been a marvelous development in the downstairs. It's finally coming together. And we've found someone who can stitch the cow-hide squares together into Varen's dream carpet :)

Friday night (after gym?!), was not your average Friday night. I'm afraid we're showing our age ... and our sad dedication to this BFL Program. We stayed home, planning Week 2's menu and the requisite shopping list. And I admit I had my first forray into Pick 'n Pay's online shopping portal. On Saturday when they delivered almost everything we ordered (they'd phoned to warn us in advance of the items they didn't have in stock and we could return the items they'd incorrectly swapped - big corn bites instead of tortilla wraps ... hello?), I was impressed. We'll use them again and even move on to Woolie's online shop too. It saved us so much time this weekend :)

Saturday (our free-from-BFL day!) started with breakfast at Doppio Zero in Rosebank with Varen's dad & sister. Yum. I must say that the BFL breakfasts have become my least favourite meals.

And then we headed out to order perspex drawers for the TV Cabinet. Shooo, they better end up perfect because they sure as hell cost a fortune! That was followed by the last of our shopping and then we headed home. I started cooking some of our meals for the upcoming week. It's been surprisingly fun :)

And then we headed (in the rain) to Pianogirl & Vori's engagement party. Let me say, that the bride-to-be looked lovely but engagement parties for me are an interesting topic. I don't really understand them.

I mean, sure it's fun to celebrate, but really ... everyone generally already knows when a couple is engaged. And if they don't, the invitations are a dead give-away :) So it's not like in the old days (or my warped opinion on then) when the announcement was actually only made then and there. And if it's all about celebrating, why aren't you saving up for the wedding? I say this because I haven't really been to many engagement parties, but this one had over 100 guests with a bar-man and live band. Seemed a little grand to me, for an engagement party.

And then there's the debate over who you invite to the party. I had discussed this with Pianogirl earlier in the week. Now I'm far from knowledgeable on the etiquette of wedding planning, but I thought that if you invited someone to the engagement party, you had to invite them to the wedding. She'd read this online too, but found a contradictory article that said one should rather have a large engagement party and a more intimate wedding. So basically, invite all the people you only know tenuously to the engagement party so they can feel a part of things but leave them off the wedding list when you're spending the big money.

I don't think I'll be having an engagement party, I'll just be generally celebrating with everyone I see, when and where. I figure getting engaged would probably be a good time for the folks to meet tho ;) Maybe you can get away with an elaborate engagement party if you're not planning on getting married traditionally (like Jof H & YogaCherryl who want to do it on a beach with no guests) or if you're only planning your wedding in 18 months or more.

And then there's the present question. I mean for your wedding you get yourselves a registry. Nice and easy and it ensures you get things you want. And before that there's the hen's party where the rule is generally lingerie and what not. And now there's an engagement party too ... What does one do? My vote is we tell the couple in question we're willing to spend x-amount, you decide if you want one large gift at the wedding or the cash split over numerous other presents. I mean it does get a little expensive for everyone, especially when weddings seem to come in waves. I certainly don't want random house stuff (that I'd at least get to chose myself for the actual wedding with the registry) for my engagement. I've decided that if I ever do have an engagement party, I'd rather do something like Not Another Toaster and let guests contribute cash to a specific part of my wedding :) Now that would be a useful engagement party!

Anyhoo, it was still a nice evening although we knew about 5% of the guest and the Tuesday night crew generally hid-out in the study enjoying the snacks and non-stop wine :) Oh and the cake was very yummy!

Sunday it was back to the BFL Eating Plan and more preparation for the week ahead. This weekend I became a real little Martha Stewart and made Peanut Butter muffins (they're a bit solid, but are made pretty much entirely from oats), a frozen strawberry dessert (not bad, after you stick it in the micro for 20 seconds!), ostrich chili soup (only trying that at lunch) and healthy macaroni cheese (with whole-wheat noodles!). We also had the most divine spinach & feta pizza's for lunch yesterday, Varen made basil & orange trout for dinner and I made an apple & raspberry bake for dessert. See, not such a bad "diet" :) The tricky part yesterday was getting to gym. Especially after spending the rainy Sunday in our PJs cooking, eating and watching TV :) Yesterday was a tribute to Sundays!

Oh, and apparently the Rent *will* get paid today ... sigh.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cherry On Top

So here's another update on my week of lying and ungratefulness (other people's not mine). The chairs have still yet to arrive ... Blegh.

The one bright light is that the new Floor-guy has in fact been and inspected our floor and apparently left a quote for us. No doubt that bright light will be extinguished on reading!

And then onto my new story ... yes, even with what I've already mentioned, the week still brings more! So remember way back in January I was on a business trip in the UK. Yes, I've been back for about a month and a half already. So, the story: While I was there, I was spending on my credit card with the intention of claiming back on my return (standard policy at work).

fter handing in all my slips and my credit card statements, I finally got my printed claim back (for signing) yesterday. And what did I notice? They screwed it up ... no doubt because it was my claim and it is this week. Aaargh. With all the rent issues we've been having (no, the March rent is still not in my account!) and still being out of pocket for my London trip, I've been a bit stretched. Hell, I've already planned how I'll spend most of it already. Firstly I need to buy a bed for the spare room ... so that The Mom (and maybe even Daddio) can finally come for a visit. And then there's a few other items I have my eye on. So mostly I'm just waiting for this cash. And then they delay the process by messing it up, bloody typical.

But they messed it up in the most depressing way! They calculated that they owed me an *extra* R30 000. Boy, do I wish. When in fact they owe me a not insignificant R9000. See why my life is in limbo purchase-wise? Now, being me, I have to correct the error ... I'm stupidly honest like that. Plus I just can't bare to think of having to give that much back when they spot their faux pas. And I somehow don't see my Big Boss signing off on that kind of cash spend for the mere 2 & half weeks I was there.

But what does reporting this error get me? Delays. Dammit. It could've been such a good weekend with this repayment and the March rent ... So now, even tho I went thru the effort of getting those folk in finance to fix their error (with not a thank-you to be seen, I'll tell you!) and I've now signed it, it has to go to my Big Boss for signing. Needless to say he's not in the office again till Monday morning. Sigh. Apparently some thing are just not meant to be.

Still Not a Cent

Today didn't start out too badly ... I mean, it is Friday after all :) But it is steadily deteriorating. Again with the Tenants. I had to drive out to the unit last night to hand over the Lease Cancellation ... naturally Bean can't take any responsibility for this because he lives 12000kms away. Damn convenient if you ask me :P

While there I asked if March's rent had been deposited ... I mean she had said she would pay it yesterday (and the day before!). Yes yes, she said, I paid it.

This morning there is not an extra cent in my account. I even went so far as to phone my bank's call centre to see if there were any deposits that had not yet reflected on my Internet Banking (and I *hate* dealing with call centres!). Nothing.

Do you think I could get hold of the Tenants this morning to query this ... no chance. How do perfectly nice seeming people end up like this?

Anyway. Other than that the evening was not that eventful. Varen & I both had dental checkups yesterday afternoon and I'm proud to say that I'm almost 28 and still without a single filling in my mouth ;)

Oh and the new floor-guy should be inspecting the floor today ... again I refrain from comment till I see it with my very own eyes. And people wonder how I got so cynical?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Could Everyone Stop Lying To Me

Sadly this week has been a prime example of what I now think of humanity (let me just say right here, it's not good).

Since my angry, frustrated, depressed mood has not really lifted, but rather bounced during the week from Saturday to Monday to Wednesday ... one can only assume things do not look good for Friday.

So here's how the story goes:

1. The Tenants say they'll pay March's rent on Wednesday (it was obviously due on the 1st but we gave them until last Friday, the 7th ... since they only paid February's on the 29th!). They didn't.

She said she would, but she didn't. (She's now said she'll pay today ... I'm not holding my breath!)

2. We ordered our 8 dining room chairs while on our Midlands Weekend. We were told they'd arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday this week. They haven't and we haven't heard a word.

They said they would, but they didn't.

3. We arranged for the Laminate Flooring Guy to come and assess the damage so we can get the ball rolling with insurance. Friggin' annoying story: Varen's complex was empty for 3 years after the developers built it due to their attempt to sneak one past the building commission. As such they have never completed any snag lists in the units so there are plenty of little minor annoyances ... like missing tiles around the taps etc. The big one for us however is that after this very wet Joburg summer, the wooden floor bubbled up. Badly. Obviously we need this fixed as we can't even use this area of floor space currently. But because it's been 3 years since the floors were put in, the warranty has expired ... never mind that no one was there to use the warranty but whatever. So now it becomes an insurance issue - blegh. So back to this week. The guy said he'd come on Tuesday (all this Tuesday stuff is very convenient as the maid is there ... for about 3 hours :P). He was supposed to phone and get the address before he came thru. He didn't. Varen phoned him. He rescheduled for yesterday afternoon at 5pm. I'm sure you can see where this is going?

He said he would, but he didn't.

Is this a world-wide thing or is it just life in South Africa today? It drives me absolutely barmy. What is wrong with people. I don't want to be told what you think Iwant to hear. I want the truth. If you say you're going to do something, damn well do it. And if you actually can't do it till 2 or 3 days or hell, even a week from now, tell me that! At least then I can effectively plan my life around that. Instead we ended up with a chaotic night last night because
the Laminate Flooring Guy rescheduled for 6pm ... which completely screwed with our BFL gym plan. So Varen raced home to get lunch and dinner prepared beforehand so that we could zoot to gym as soon as the guy was gone. Instead we decided, screw it. We canceled the floor guy. We're hoping we'll find someone who comes out when he says he's going to. I'm not convinced people like that exist anymore.

Where are all those so-called Christians who are supposed to believe "Do unto others ..."? (Which I don't need to be Christian to believe since I just call it common courtesy) Because no one in Joburg seems to remember any of that ... just think about the last time you were in traffic. Every one is out for themselves. Which I do understand. But why does it have to be to my detriment every time? It makes me really just want to stay in bed every morning and ignore the world. But I can't ... because someone has to be responsible :P Sigh.

Oh, and I've also found the gaping flaw in the BFL plan ... you have to gym whether you want to or not. Which I think is actually just a a total waste of time. And there's not space to "make things up" ... if you miss a gym session there's no way to fit it in another time. So suck it up. This is your life. Do it and who gives a crap? See why gyming doesn't work when you're angry. Because I just let those weights slam down, hard and with that loud satisfying clanging noise ... it's the little things that make me feel better.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Night at the Theatre

Last night was an absolute blast ... and if you noticed the later-than-usual-ness of this post, I'm sure you'll believe that I'm still fairly bleary-eyed.

The Tuesday Night gang graced the Victory Theatre with our fish-nets (not quite, sadly) and enjoyed a fantastic performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The show was brilliant ... and I know I'm hugely biased here towards a show who's entire dialogue I know by heart. But, I also have very high-standards for it and I can honestly say that I was supremely impressed by Brendan van Rhyn's Frank. Oh and those legs! And Lyall Ramsden's Riff Raff - the two most important roles in the show. There was also huge debate over whether Clayton Heroldt (Rocky) was first and foremost a body-builder or an actor :)

Oh, and before I forget ... the set was very well designed. And the Victory Theatre is so cosy, I'll definitely consider going back there for other shows!

Well worth the late night and the upset schedule this morning ... luckily our BFL preparations didn't hamper our evening out as much as I'd expected them to and we're still right on track on day 3 :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Anger Management, Anyone?

Things are so bizarrely conflicting at the moment. In one aspect of my life, I'm blissfully happy. And in another I'm angry and tired.

Things with Varen are fabulous. This Body-For-Life thing (yes, we made it successfully to day 2!) is not dreadful. We're eating their healthy food and spent almost the entire evening preparing the food for today :) It was actually some pretty good bonding time.

And we gymmed yesterday, for the first time in a very, very long time. And today I even have muscles that are achey. I'm not sure how long it'll take before the novelty wears off, but for the mean time I'm enjoying this. Probably only till this evening when we have evening plans ... I have no idea when we're going to find the time to go to the gym, prepare & eat dinner, go out and still prepare our breakfast & lunch for tomorrow. But we shall see. The boy is determined :)

And then onto the more depressing side of life. I am so angry right now. So angry that I burst into tears of frustration. With this stupid property situation. I am sick of dealing with Lying Tenants. I just want this place to sell already. I am sick of dealing with Bean.

Yes, it was all fine when there were no issues with the property. Then keeping it seemed like a good idea and a wise investment. So, our personal lives have moved on, no reason our business ones should be affected. But now, when he's over in UK and I'm left here dealing with this, I am seriously wondering WTF was I thinking?

I'm tired. I'm tired of always being the responsible one. With this situation ... because Bean loves to fall back on his "It's hard to deal with it from 10000kms away" excuse. While I like to remind him that he chose not to sell the place before he made that move so there's not an ounce of sympathy here! And he's such a bloody softie. He's all for "Let's phone the Tenants and find out why they're paying late". I'm like "You dope" (damn, I wish I'd said that!). The only time he's actually been forced into dealing with the situation (in February because I was gatvol), he got such a run-around. "The rent will be paid by the 15th" ... "by the 20th". It was paid on the 29th, after I started phoning the damn Tenants. And he believed them when they said they'd pay by the 7th March. Hell, I almost did too after I made them sign an agreement stating they would. So really, now, at this stage ... what is the point of hearing another fantasy date from them?!?

Please sell, please. Someone out there, somewhere .... buy the friggin place and put an end to my unhappiness and frustration.

And then with work as well. So, I'm still not really set-up yet in this new job of mine. And I keep reminding the guy who I work with, on the few occasions he manages to be at his desk :P He seems to be one of those very laid-back types. Again, me ... the responsible one. Trying to ensure that I'm actually doing something constructive with my time here. No help from the masses. Sigh.

Double Sigh. I just want to crawl back into bed.

I am seriously beginning to think that I need some sort of anger management ... I get into these awful places where I just absolutely HATE everything and almost everyone on this awful planet. I wish I could just go and sit in a jungle and be surrounded by peace and animals who are not vengeful or power-hungry. And NO people. People are what I hate most about the world these days. And I wonder why I'd even have children and inflict this dreadful world on them too, when I can barely manage it myself. Yup, it is dark times up in phillygirl's mind these days ...

Oh, and the 2008 Bloggie winners were announced yesterday evening. I didn't win (no surprises based on all of the above). But, there's always next year ... right :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Oh To Be Landlords ...

Eep. So I just realised that today is the 10th March. The 2008 Bloggies are being announced today (I assume much later my time since the awards are actually taking place in Texas). Still, it's a marginally big deal. No, countries will not be plundered and stock markets won't crash. But my self-esteem just might :) Kidding. I have no delusions ... Hell I'm just super thrilled to have received the exposure I have from being a finalist. But how good will it feel to beat Tertia ... words cannot describe it :)

And now onto another more annoying issue ... Tenants. So Bean and I own a property (that we're trying to sell ... buyers?). We have tenants. Tenants who used to be good. Tenants who are now BAD.

They have been consistently late with their rental payment since November 2007. February's rent only got paid on the 29th ... that's a whole month late! I got a lawyers letter drawn up last week saying that basically if they paid the rent late again within the next 12 month or if March's rent was paid later than the 7th (last Friday) we'd be evicting them.

Needless to say I'm still waiting for the Rent. And this whole eviction thing is easier said than done, I'm learning. I now (after discussing with Bean, if he ever deigns to communicate :P He has been completely unhelpful during this entire process!) have to draft a End-of-Lease Notification and have it delivered. After that they have to leave the premises within the stipulated time. All fine up till here ...

If they don't leave the premises things get nasty ... I have to find myself some lawyers to start the actual Eviction Order. This can take up to 3 - 4 months, depending on the courts. It will also cost Bean & I R8000 (yes, Eight Thousand Rand) upfront deposit for an unopposed eviction (where the Tenants don't try to fight it). Or R12000 for an opposed eviction. Eep.

This is madness .... we own the property, we are paying the bond off monthly ... in blood (with South Africa's 14.5% interest rate) and it's now possibly going to cost me a fortune to kick these people out. Where are those people who break knee-caps and how does one acquire their services?

Sigh, you can never win when there are lawyers involved. They cost a fortune. I'm now interviewing for decent lawyer friends who will do me free legal favours in the future :) Anyone based in South Africa may apply.

So here I sit watching my January plan fly out the window and land with a thud on the road below (as a dying stain on the tar it makes for a pretty picture). After this experience, even with a friggin lease, would I really consider a) buying more property in South Africa considering the current political climate and b) renting it out since the law is clearly not on *my* side.

Finally, a Television

Shoo, with close to 1000 unread emails in my mailbox, I feel like I've been gone a while! Okay, so the email thing was just an work thing that triggered alert emails over the whole weekend (by my old department). So the delete button came in super handy this morning :)

Aside from that, Friday was fab. 11 members of my new team (there are 12 of us in total) spent the day at Stonehaven on the Vaal river. We did some of the usual team-building type stuff ... Pictionary, Charades, Egg-tossing (who's bright idea was this?) and Raft Racing. And then we got all-aboard one of Stonehaven's barges and headed down the river for lunch :)

Aside from the rain storm that started just as we were arriving back, the day was lovely. I felt so sorry for the couple who's outdoor wedding was drenched. Hopefully the rain stopped in time and they managed to get all those plastic chairs dried off!

That evening, Varen & I went to see Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Never forget. Never forgive.
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton join forces again in a big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's award-winning musical thriller Sweeney Todd. Depp stars in the title role as a man unjustly sent to prison who vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of what happened to his wife and daughter. When he returns to reopen his barber shop, Sweeney Todd becomes the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who "shaved the heads of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard from again." Joining Depp is Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney's amorous accomplice, who creates diabolical meat pies. The cast also includes Alan Rickman, who portrays the evil Judge Turpin, who sends Sweeney to prison and Timothy Spall as the Judge's wicked associate Beadle Bamford and Sacha Baron Cohen is a rival barber, the flamboyant Signor Adolfo Pirelli.

We both enjoyed it, it's just such a pity about all those annoying movie-goers. What fascinates me tho, is that everyone I speak to has just as many complaints as I do about the other people in the cinema ... so who exactly are these rude people? Anyhow, I have now vowed that as soon as the TV is bought, there will be no more movie-going for me. TV screens are getting big enough now that watching on the "big screen" isn't really that much of a draw. Neither is the popcorn which I can make fresh in my microwave. And the least enticing thing about the movies are the other people and the inability to press pause if necessary. From now on it'll be dvds in silence at home for me, thanks :)

Saturday was a surprising day. Although it started out with a giant fight and me in a miserably depressed mood. After which, I deigned to leave the house and we headed out in search of the perfect bed (we'd seen one at Boardmans 2 weekends ago). Now armed with cash, we intended to purchase. Sadly, the bed had disappeared and there was no stock. So Boardmans in the Design Quarter kindly scoured their computer database for us and said with authority that Eastgate had 3 in stock.

So off we drove ... only to discover that Boardmans in Eastgate had a grand total of zero in stock. And they hadn't sold three in the half hour we'd taken to drive their either. What. Is. Wrong. With. People? Seriously.

So we wandered Eastgate aimlessly waiting for the carpark-washers to finish with Varen's car. And we found a TV. Apparently it is quite impressive. All I know is that it's a 42-inch, Full HD Telefunken and it cost 13 grand (which is really good ... for those of you non-South Africans). So the afternoon was thankfully not a total waste :)

The TV was delivered about half an hour after we got home and we settled in to enjoy the novelty of it for the evening with Varen's Eddy Izzard dvds (with it perched on the floor and the TV cabinet pushed out the way). There's no real TV for us as we've since discovered that the complex hasn't been wired with aerials. Which brings a very interesting TV-license issue up for debate. If we have a TV, but physically cannot receive public broadcast ... do we still need a TV license? Hmmm .... ?

Anyway. Then it was up early on Sunday. Varen & I have decided to start Body For Life, today, and had to head out early to the shops to stock our fridge full of all the necessary goodies to make the requisite food for the week. It's going to be serious work. The food sounds like it'll be good tho. But you have to eat 6 times a day !?! After breakfast this morning (a burrito with 4 egg yolks), I was convinced the actual plan of Body For Life was to fill you up so much you would need to throw up after eating ... I was stuffed. Who can eat 4 eggs (even if only the whites!) at 6am in the morning? Anyway, at 9 am I have my first "snack" so we'll persist. I have decided to give it a bash for a month and if the results have been good and it hasn't cramped my life-style too much, maybe we'll continue for the full 3 month program. But I don't see us being able to go out much with this hectic gym & eating schedule ... since we have no option but to have dinner at home each night. Sigh.

After the giant shop, we headed to The Longmeadow Piano Lounge because Varen's mom had some art on show at the exhibition there. When we were done there, his folks came back to our house so his dad could help us get the TV mounted on the wall :) After all that hard work (on Varen's part, not mine) we had a very relaxing evening, watching some series on the new GIANT screen :)

Although I did get a bit of a bee in my bonnet and cleared up the entire spare room - it was filled with things that I had moved but had yet to unpack and just general things that we'd yet to find a place for. Let's just say I've repacked the cupboards in a far more efficient way :) Which means that most of the floor is now visible, finally!

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