Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Review

Wowee. Last working day of 2011. By chance yesterday I happened to read this blog post from the Last Working Week of 2010. Haha, I finished with quite a sense of achievement for 2011, to be honest. The biggest thing I wanted to do this year was to find myself a home. And I did! I mean there were twists and turns and for at least a couple of months I thought I'd be living back in Cape Town by the end of November. But life happens and I'm still up here in Joburg and finishing this year on quite a high.

I have a boyfriend who I absolutely adore. I went on an amazing holiday to Russia & China. I held a baby Panda Bear, I walked on the Great Wall and I saw the Terracotta Army. I traveled a lot more than that this year too. A week in Cape Town in Feb, a week in Botswana in August, and many weekends away :) And most surprisingly of all, I bought and moved into my very own home. See, some amazing highlights right there!

I've seen this on a few blogs and rather like it so am going to adopt it for myself (with a few minor changes) :) I think it'll be quite a nice tradition.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Quite a few things ... Hold a baby Panda Bear, buy my very own home. I'm sure there are loads more!

2. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Um, I don't think so.

3. Did anyone close to you die?
Don't think so either. Wow, it is hard to remember for a whole year!

4. Did anyone close to you get married?
Yes, @zoosev

5. What countries did you visit?
Russia, Mongolia, China and Botswana.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Can't think of anything here, 2011 has been quite an amazing year.

7. What date, from 2011, will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Quite a few, really: 26 April, which was my 31st birthday, spent alone in Moscow. 12 May, when I held a baby Panda Bear. 17 May, the day I got back from my holiday and officially got myself a new boyf ;)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Definitely buying my own home!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Tricky. It was a rough year work-wise with the merger. Apparently I'm initimidating in the office. I just have very high expectations of other people, I think. So probably that.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major or memorable. Oh wait, I did get tonsilitis for the very first time!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A whole house, obviously. Haha. The other thing I'm rather crazy about at the moment is my garden bench tho :) Oh, and my giant TV.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
The Trucker. Wow, he has had some stellar moments, from taking my car to be panel-beaten to buying me groceries on my return from holiday to organising a long weekend away and so many little things. 

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Um, hard to say really. No one in particular springs to mind

14. Where did most of your money go?
Holidays & Houses ;)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Holidays and Houses ... hahaha.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Tricky. Maybe Martin Solvieg's Hello. The whole Florence & the Machine Lungs album?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? I think probably happier. At very least I have more to be happy about :)
Thinner or fatter? roughly the same, I'd guess
Richer or poorer? Poorer, but Xmas bonuses & gifts are doing a lot to restore the balance of the very expensive house-buying process! At the end of last year, I also had a whole bunch of my savings allocated to my Russia & China trip ...

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Nothing really.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Doubted & Questioned myself. This self-confidence thing needs a boost, although it does fluctuate. As I write this I'm still riding a blissful warm & fuzzy high (which does have moments of doubt, but they're easier to ignore when feeling so upbeat about life!)

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
In the traditional way, at our beach cottage in Cape Town, with my awesome extended family.

21. How will you be spending New Year?
Back in Jozi, with The Trucker.

22. Did you fall in love in 2011?
It looks like I may have ;)

23. How many one-night stands?
None, how impressive am I? Actually I've only kissed 2 boys this year.

24. What was your favourite TV programme ?
Sheesh. This one is tricky, I tend to have a good stable of shows I watch, but some new ones have been added. I like Body of Proof. And was sorry they cancelled the Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour.

25. What did you want and get?
I'm guessing this is an obvious one ... my home :)

26. What did you want and not get?
More leave days? Haha.

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 31 in Moscow, Russia ... all on my own. Not the smartest move on my part. I thought it'd be fine, but it wasn't great at all. Being away from everyone I know on my birthday is not a mistake I'll make again.

28. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Gotta be the same old favs, Robert Downey Jnr & Eric Dane :) *swoon*

29. Who did you miss?
My mom. Always, being far away all the time is hard.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nearly there

Just a day & a half of work to get thru and then it's Xmas break. I can't wait, I'm flying down to CT on Friday evening :) Pity that The Trucker won't be joining me this time :(

On Monday I got so annoyed at work. Last week I ordered part of The Trucker's Xmas pressie online from YuppieChef. And I ordered myself some Springleap shirts. So when they sent me an email saying my order was being dispatched, I emailed the office reception to let them know I was expecting 2 packages, who the were from and the fact that since I'd ordered the YuppieChef one as a gift, it might come addressed to The Trucker, but it was, in fact, for me. And could they please sign for them and keep them for me if they arrived last Thursday while I was on leave. I said all this. I asked them later in the day (last Tuesday) if they'd both (our 2 receptionists) seen my email. Yes, yes.

On Wednesday before I left for the day (having seen that the tracking site said my YuppieChef order had been scanned out for delivery that morning), I checked with them again if anything had arrived. Nope, nothing yet.

So on Monday, when the status on the tracking site is still scanned out for delivery, I'm confused. I call reception. Nope there was nothing there for me. So I called the tracking company. Who eventually called me back to tell me that Receptionist One had signed for it last Wednesday at 9am (while I was actually in the freaking office!!) and they could send me a scan of the waybill to prove it. Mkay, yes, send away. Now, on Monday, Receptionist One is off on leave and not answering her phone ... or sms since I have yet to hear back from her still!! So I spent my morning trying to track down this package.

She'd sent it to our Cape Town office where someone with the same name (although spelt differently) as The Trucker works. OMG I was so angry! Luckily our CT office overnight couriered it back to me unopened (the guy in CT is already on leave and none the wiser). So yes. Annoying!

Anyway, on Monday evening I got take-out Chinese (after 40mins of waiting ... I know there were 3 orders ahead of mine, but seriously! Won't be going back there in a hurry) went over to The Truckers. We started watching Grimm then had a brief work-related excursion to go meet one of the trucks. And then it was pretty much time for bed. A truly uneventful evening, which did not feel like the relaxing-on-the-couch one I had in mind.

On Tuesday evening I went to @jarredcinman's for dinner. Was a lovely evening :) And then last night it was off to Gourmet Garage for dinner with The Trucker, CollegeInstructor and @Toxic_Mouse. Yumyum, have not had chili-cheese fries and a peanut butter burger in ages. We rolled out of there tho (as is tradition). Too much food. But so good :) Was another lovely evening.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Wish List

Mkay, it is probably too late, but I feel it is time to do a Gift Wish List (hey, I have a bday in 4 months too! Haha). I'm feeling like a terrible girlf because The Trucker came up with a list a mile long in a brief shopping trip 2 weeks ago which has made him easy as pie to shop for :) Me, I'm being difficult :P I can't think of anything really. I mean there is loads I want but none of it seems Xmas appropriate. It's all stuff I'll eventually (probably) get round to buying for myself. It's practical sort of stuff. It's boring. (Or it's impossible) So anyway, I was browsing thru my lists of previous birthday (surprisingly few) and xmas (none) wish lists and figured I should make another for the next time I get asked. I mean that is one of my favourite things about having a blog ... that there is a record of stuff ;) Haha.

So here it is, in no particular order whatsoever. Some stuff is still from an old list (which I haven't managed to get yet, but I was amazed at how well I've actually done).

1. Lady of Abu Simbel by Christian Jacq
I still need this one book to complete my collection of the Ramses series. But because I'm fussy, it has to be a matching cover to the 4 I already own. So to make things simpler, I've now tracked down the actual ISBN Number of the cover I want (published by Simon & Schuster in 1998): 9780684821221.

2. A gladtobeagirl necklace from Collect Jewellery
Not sure if they still make their custom-text necklaces actually, have mailed them to find out :) But yes, I definitely still want this one!

3. Random Kitchen Paraphenalia
I need oven gloves ... I have since I left Varen's house in January 2010. Clearly this is not urgent. But I still need them. But, again, I'm fussy. And I can't decide about plain old simple material ones (but with a cool material!) or those new fancy silicon ones. I need a new electric beater ... Hand mixing is doable but less than ideal! And I want at least 6 champagne glasses (although I have no space in my current kitchen for them ... but that will come). I'm sure there is more here ... my Blender broke before I moved (or rather I noticed it had broken when I last tried making Nam-Jim Chicken), but that's far less urgent. And I can't decide if the jug one or hand-blender is better. Thoughts?

4. DNA Mapping
Okay, I know this is totally peculiar, but I'll probably never buy it for myself and I've wanted to do it for years now (originally the National Geographic Genographinc project, but now there are so many more options out there so who knows which is best these days!) I'm definitely more into the mitochondrial & y-chromosome ancestor tracking than the health/physical stuff I've also seen, but I think it's all fascinating & interesting. Weird, I know. But I guess if you're looking for that unique niche of something I really want but am unlikely to ever get round to getting for myself, this is the one.

5. New Bedding
Yawn. Boring, I know. But I've been looking since I moved (okay, only 2 months, I know), and I've found nothing that grabs me. I absolutely *adore* the bedding I bought last year when I got my gorgeous 4 poster bed. And I did love my old duvet set when I originally got it (probably about 3 years ago or more), but it is faded and the buttons have popped off and it's time for something new. I am now considering a plain white duvet cover with a bright sheet and then 2 white pillow cases with the other 2 pillow cases matching the mad sheet colour.

6. Bedside Tables
Yup, haven't had these in years! But they do kinda finish a room off ... and it's nice to have a drawer or two to hide things away in or a counter top for a glass of water. I have spotted these that I rather like (from DeraKera, same as my bed) ... but there are no prices on their website. I've mailed them and asked for the prices & if they have stock. Maybe I'll get lucky and get these for myself in Jan :) Am a little worried the wood may not match the bed tho. They will definitely need to be seen in real life first! (Oh, and yes, I'd still absolutely love that big silver cat from DeraKera too ... for my keys ;) )

7. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Okay these are another one I'm unlikely to buy for myself ... not because I don't use my little iPod earphones daily at work, but rather because I am not sure I could justify the expense. And although I do occasionally wish for them in my open-plan office, I'm not sure I'm the head phone sort. I'm definitely much more the teeny hide-away earphone sort. Although my ears do sometimes get tired & sore wearing those iPod ones. Perhaps these B&W C5's would suit my requirements? Can you even get them in SA?

8. New Birkenstocks
No, no, I'm not a hippy. But I do like my Birkenstocks. The current pair I have, I bought, probably, about 6 years ago. I almost bought myself some brand spanking new white ones (which is the colour I currently own) while in China, but I decided not to. Now I wish I had. Mine are starting to separate. And I'd guess nothing is more hippy than owning Birkenstocks in the first place, except maybe owning such old ones that are falling apart ... Hahaha. Another boring one ... and one I'm definitely likely to buy for myself in the next 6 months, I'd guess.

9. iPod Speaker
Oh, and while we're wishing ... This is another one of those things that I'd like but I dunno how much I'd use, but it'd be nice to have, but I'd probably never be able to justify the expense to buy it for myself. The problem here is that the only iPod speaker I've ever seen that I actually like (because I have a love-hate relationship with sound-systems and alien speakers in the lounge anyway) is the tall column one. Of which there is currently only 1 option available in SA that I've seen ... and I don't know how in love with that specific one I am. See, I'm about speaker subtlety and aesthetics (which I know are all matter of opinion anyway).

10. Cowboy Hat
Oh yes. I've been looking for one of these for at least a year now ... probably longer (but I tend to forget to keep on the lookout). A friend of mine has an absolutely awesome one which I adore ... and I can not seem to find one in any shop that I get that gut feel about. There's always something wrong. So yeah, I want a nice straw cowboy hat. But this is another I need to see it to know kinda things. Or, maybe it's a someone buys it and I have no choice and no comparison so I love it anyway kinda things ... who can tell, really.

See, fussy. And most of these things are probably far too expensive anyway ... but at least now I have a list for when I go shopping for myself next year - haha ;)

Them by Jon Ronson

Them: Adventures with Extremists is a romp into the heart of darkness involving 12-foot lizard-men, PR-conscious Ku Klux Klansmen, Ian Paisley, Hollywood limousines, the legend of Ruby Ridge, Noam Chomsky, a harem of kidnapped sex slaves, David Icke, and Nicolae Ceausescu's shoes. While Jon Ronson attemps to locate the secret room, he is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, and witnesses CEOs and leading politicians undertake a bizarre pagan owl ritual in the forests of Northern California. He also learns some alarming things about the looking-glass world of them and us. Are the extremists right? Or has he become one of Them? This is a fascinating investigation into extremists of every stripe.

I thought this sounded interesting. It kinda was. I dunno, it's not an easy read. Some bits I found more interesting than others. Needless to say there are some people with some very strange beliefs in the world.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dive 2011

So on Wednesday afternoon, around 4pm we were supposed to be heading off to our overnight stop in Pongola. As seems to be tradition with the Pajero, we departed a good 2hrs late. But we were off, The Trucker, me, @Toxic_Mouse and another couple. Which means we only arrived in Pongola at around 01:30 on Thursday morning. The lengthy drive was slowed by some tedious stop-go's and, of course, dinner.

But the Dive Inn was accommodating and opened up for us and we got a good night's sleep (thank goodness for aircon!). We started the morning with a breakfast stop in Pongola's Wimpy and then it was straight thru to Sodwana, with a quick stop for a few snack provisions and booze in Mbazwana.

I won't lie, The Trucker organised us some awesome accommodation at Mseni Lodge. It was inside the reserve / National Park (which was mostly awesome, up until we tried to leave on Sunday, but more on that later). It has a path onto the beach (not the dive-beach, the beach on the other side of the point, which is gorgeous and un-touched and mostly completely private). And we had a lovely little self-catering chalet to ourselves. Was fantastic and I'd highly recommend it :) It made for the perfect base for the weekend.

On Thursday when we arrived we settled in and took a stroll down to the beach (we were literally the only people in sight!) and went for a swim (shoo, the waves & current were pretty rough!). And then a dip in the pool to de-salt ;) The water was all fantastically warm!

We went for a drink at the Lodge Restaurant. Let me just warn you, do not order their Nacho's. We were quite unimpressed with the R50 meal that couldn't have been more than a tiny bag of Doritos with some melted cheese. Barely enough for the 5 of us to share!

After that we headed back to our chalet and had a surreal experience with a baby Bushbaby. The Monkeys came past our chalet stealing a box of biscuits and a bag of sugar (we'd forgotten that we'd left the kitchen window open while we were sitting chatting on the balcony). So we were chasing them away and suddenly I saw something that wasn't a Vervet. It was a Bushbaby. Now I've never really seen more than the eyes of one of these at night (I would guess most people hadn't). But clearly the monkey troop coming thru was bothering this one. Turns out it was a Mommy Bushbaby because very quickly after I spotted her we could hear her babies. And then we could see them (I saw 2 running on the ground). We assume trying desperately to get away from the monkeys. We scared off the monkeys (not very far, they still kept trying their luck). And the Mom disappeared ... but there was one Bushbaby left behind crying it's heart out. Now this was just encouraging the monkeys who were definitely trying to get at it. It was breaking my heart. Obviously it was trying to tell it's Mom where it was and to come get it but with the monkeys around she wasn't coming near (I assume she managed to save at least one of her little ones).

Anyway, the baby came towards us, close enough that it actually bit me (I was trying to pick it up and take it ... where?). It didn't break skin, it's teeth were no where near strong enough. Poor thing was terrified. We watched it in the tree (which it climbed up off the floor) and scared off the monkeys as long as we could. We did hear the mother again but never saw her. We eventually had to go for our dive-briefing at 6pm so have no idea what happened to the poor little guy ... he wasn't there when we got back later. *sob* I'm choosing to believe it's mother came and got him. #sigh at Nature.

Anyway. We had our dive briefing. We dived with Amoray this weekend. The best part of the whole thing: It was just our group (3 of us for the most part) diving all weekend alone with them .. .except for our very last dive on Saturday. How divine is that? It really was :)

And then we decided to have dinner at the Lodge Restaurant (even after our poor Nacho's experience earlier). But we ate well, once you get over the pricing. Good prawns, not so great calamari. Apparently the steak was good too :)

We were up and at the parking lot, ready for our first dive at 7am on Friday morning. The Trucker is definitely the best boyf dive-partner I've had :) And we had awesome dives. Lots of turtles on the first dive (which I love!). No sharks at all (I'm totally okay with that). So serious surge & current in the water tho. But the Sodwana reefs are quite lovely coral-wise. Our last dive was the least impressive fish-wise but the corals were gorgeous. We mostly dived 2mile but on Saturday's first dive we headed out to 5mile and did Ribbon. And we got to see the blue&yellow Ribbon Eel :) The diving was good. It was nice to dive again after so long. But I think I dived as much as I needed. This is never going to be something I could spend a week doing.

Mostly the rest of the weekend was spent napping (sheesh I was exhausted by the diving), walking on the gorgeous dunes at the beach, swimming and relaxing (I read a lot less than I thought I would). And then eating out. On Friday night we went to The Lighthouse which, honestly, made one of the best pizza's I've ever had. It was amazing! The base was so so so thin (imagine a tortilla?). I had the Aubergine and Haloumi one and it was delish. Seriously, eat here.

On Saturday night we were going to braai but it just seemed like too much effort, so instead we went to The Sodwana Bay Lodge Restaurant called Leatherbacks. I wasn't terribly impressed by this place, honestly. I had their sole which was nice enough tho.

And then on Sunday morning we were up and packed and ready to leave our little chalet at 07:30am. We planned to stop and have breakfast at the Wimpy in Pongola again. All plans were thwarted as we arrived at the little area next to the petrol pumps and shop in the Park. The place was gridlocked. No one knew yet what was going on exactly, but slowly the story unfolded.

See, usually (apparently) you can drive your big ol' 4x4 right onto the beach sand here at Sodwana (apparently these people have been doing it for the 16 - 26 years they've been coming here year after year). And this year the government has clamped down and told the Parks Board to limit it and enforce a new system that allows only 200 vehicles onto the beach per day. We made a vague attempt to get one on Thursday afternoon (you have to get one between 16h00 and 18h00 for the following day). But decided that queuing wasn't on our holiday agenda and we didn't really need to take our Pajero right to the Dive Set-up Area. So we gave the permit a skip and enjoyed the rest of our weekend.

Clearly tho, the rest of the arriving holiday crowd was less than impressed by this new system tho and 2 cars decided to blockade the entire Park (since there is only 1 road in and out, this was not as tricky as one might think). And no one was going anywhere.

Sucked for the people stuck on the other side trying to start their holidays. Sucked for those of us trying to leave and get back home. Did not suck for those people here for the next 3 weeks who just took their cars and boats back to their camp sites and walked to the beach instead. I gather the diving was pretty much cancelled too tho (Amoray stores their boats at Mseni so couldn't get them out either, I expect more dive companies were affected similarly).

So anyway, these people just ended up annoying us completely. We had breakfast at Mseni Lodge Restaurant instead ... meh. We waited around some more. We went for a swim in the Pool (much needed). We tried to find alternate routes out of the Park.

It was a big fat giant waste of time. They didn't win. In fact they achieved very little in the grand scheme of things and the way it sounded they were planning on barricading the beach this morning from 4am too. Well, I guess everyone likes to spend their holidays differently :P I won't lie, I've never much understood striking. This was just dumb in my opinion. I mean sure if you want to protest against something you believe in, go right ahead. But I don't care one bit about your beach permits (in fact, if I'm honest, I don't think any of you should be allowed on the beach at all actually - except perhaps people launching boats but who knows?) so why are you forcing me into your protest. You are not making friends here.

The cars who blocked the road were both very distinct (one with company branding even! Yes, you, Gawie Steyn, Manager at and we got their license numbers. I gather tho that there was quite a lot of support for their cause ... but I still kinda hope that the Parks Board bans both of them for 10years at least. (UPDATE 21Dec2011: Here's an article from the news yesterday, seems things got even more crazy after we left!)

So yes, a very annoying morning but we finally exited the Park at 13h15 and The Trucker got us home just after 9pm.

And now to survive another week of work ... thank goodness I had a really lovely long weekend :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We Made It

Whoohoo, this afternoon we're heading off to Sodwana till Sunday. Yay. Mini-break. Diving. Can't wait :) Just gotta survive today at work. Which will hopefully be easy ... it has been nice and quiet this week so far.

Monday night I had a quiet night at home with Series. Yesterday was our last SCM for 2011. Wow, this year is practically over!

And the best news of all? I managed to get thru yesterday without a break-up. Haha. I wasn't really worried ... ask me again if The Trucker & I are still together in 2013 tho, when 13 December will fall at roughly the 2.5 year mark. Then I will be a little nervous ;)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Feeling the Love

Another Monday, but this morning I'm still in a good mood. I've been in a good mood since Thursday morning! All filled with the warm & fuzzies inside, it is awesome :) Haha.

So, Thursday evening was quiet, The Trucker came over and we got Luca's salad for dinner (after all the Xmas eating last week). And watched some series and just generally had a relaxed evening :)

On Friday we were supposed to go to drinks with some friends but the weather was all miserable and just made us wanna stay in on the couch and watch tv (which we did). Toasted sarmies for dinner and movies. Sometimes that's exactly what you need ;)

We started with In Time. I'd heard that this was good from a friend, but we were obviously unsure what with JT headlining the cast. But the concept really was very cool :) I'd recommend watching it just for that.

Next up we watched Cowboys and Aliens. I got a little more interested when I saw it had Daniel Craig but jees, it was a total yawn-fest. In fact I think I did actually fall asleep at one point. The Trucker enjoyed it, apparently. So maybe don't take my word for it?

Apparently the fact that Thirteen starred in both of these movies was pure fluke, but I have my doubts ;) Haha.

On Saturday we started with breakfast with the crowd we're off to Sodwana with on Wednesday evening. Can I just say how amazing it is to have a boyfriend who actually organises stuff. Like says "Hey let's go diving on that long weekend" and even tho you never mention it again (seriously, I thought it would just fade into nothingness and be forgotten ...), it all gets organised. I'm still surprised, but very happy :) Breakfast was good and I started to really get excited for the long weekend.

And then it was off to get all our Xmas shopping done. Cause now that we're away for the long weekend, this was our last chance before I head off to Cape Town to get everything bought. I am so pleased that The Trucker is like me about gifts: Tell me what you want and I'll get it for you. Sigh, such relief. I was really worried he would want surprise and intrigue. I am not into that for gifting. I want to buy someone something that I know that they want (which I did because it was something I remembered him mentioning he wanted months ago, but he'd forgotten. But in my book it definitely requires asking to make sure he still wants it!). Also, I want to receive something I want, not something I have to fake a smile at and think to myself now what on earth do I do with this dust-catcher :P Practical all the way ;) Haha. Although I don't think I have been very helpful to him since I have been doing so much of my own shopping for the house lately.

Anyway, we got a lot done, stopped to share a waffle at Milky Lane (love doing that!) and then went home to recover from the mall-chaos. I fell asleep while he watched Team America again. This was a surprise since he's usually the one who naps. Haha.

We had a very similar evening to Friday but with delish home-made pizzas for dinner cause we had to be up and at the dive-pool at 8:30am for a quick refresher. Am so glad we did that. And The Trucker surprised me yet again. I always kinda expect that a more advanced diver will get annoyed when paired with a weaker one (because I dive so seldomly). But he didn't he was amazing and helpful. (Can you tell that I'm feeling quite gushy about this lovely boy at the moment? Haha).

So now I am even more excited about going diving again. Haven't been since Zanzibar in 2009! And before that, I think it was Mozambique in 2007 (which was the last time I actually wore my wet suit!!). Yip, I average one dive trip every 2 years ;)

After some much needed breakfast, it was off to finish the Xmas shopping and then home for a nap. And then some quick baking of my spinach & feta pie (again) for another Xmas dinner, this time at DJMike's. They had 18 people over and the food & decor was amazing. Was a really lovely evening.

And now we really do begin the end-of-year slide ... 3 working days till it's off to Sodwana with The Trucker & friends. And then a mere 7.5 working days till I'm off to CT for Xmas with the family. It's gonna fly past!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Missing & Murdered by Alan G Morris

What can human bones tell us of a person's life, or even death? How can information from bones solve mysteries both modern and ancient? And what makes the study of skeletonised human remains so imperative in southern Africa? The answers to these and other questions are contained in Missing & murdered, which lays bare the fascinating world of forensic anthropology. As the popularity of TV programmes such as the CSI trilogy and Silent Witness attests, people are fascinated by forensic science as a means of solving crimes, and in this book Alan G. Morris follows the pathway into forensics via the fields of anthropology and anatomy. He makes the practice of forensic anthropology, the skills base of skeletal biology and the study of archaeological skeletons hugely accessible to the layperson in a series of fascinating cases, from muti murders and political killings to the work of the Missing persons task team.

I really quite enjoyed this. Especially after Byleveld and Catch Me a Killer ... I think this is a good read if you are considering studying something like this because it is very clear just how romanticised the TV versions we get exposed to actually are. It is so refreshing to read the true-life versions, and even more so the ones that are happening on our doorstep.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Must Catch-up

Wow, so much to catch up on. We had absolutely no internet at work for the day yesterday. I eventually left to go home at about 14h30, which was fantastic. Got to gym at 3pm (blissfully empty!) and then did some work from home via 3g a little later.

Work has had some other major annoyances lately, in the form of my computer. I was running Linux, but was having connectivity and speed issues and since our IT department doesn't have any Linux experts, they recommended a move to Windows. So I agreed.

The setup my "new" Windows PC and I switched over about 2 weeks ago. Notice that "new" is in quotes. They don't buy new computers here, they all just get recycled. And so I spent nearly a day installing and getting my Windows environment working. About a week later (last Friday), I complained about how slowly my computer was running again and programs were crashing. I had 3Gb of RAM running Windows 64bit. So we shut down and put in some more RAM. The computer never restarted. Even swapping in the old RAM again wouldn't get it working.

Eventually they did a Windows restore (or something) and basically it went back to "the last known working configuration" which basically wiped all my installed programs. #sigh. They took that computer away and gave me another recycled one. This one still had the previous owners applications & files on it. They apparently couldn't format it yet because of licensing issues.

Anyhoo, toys were thrown and my bosses demanded a new machine. Apparently in the next financial year (March). In the meantime tho, I spent half of Tuesday uninstalling and reinstalling this second 2nd hand computer so that I could actually get some work done. Only to hear that on Tuesday evening it's be formatted again because this one actually was only running Windows 32bit with 3Gb of RAM .... It was about here that I really lost my sense of humour about everything.

Yesterday I arrived to find my computer wiped clean with only Outlook installed. And no internet. I managed to steal installers from other people's downloads folder and am pretty much set up today. But sheesh, if I ever have to install another thing, I may scream! Haha. It has been a long and unproductive couple of days.

But socially life has been busybusybusy! On Monday evening I had some blogging friends over for an end-of-year dinner. One of those collaboration dinners where everyone brings a dish. And I got to show off my new house :) The dining room table in it's spot outside is so awesome, I am so thrilled!

Anyway, Doodles brought starters, which were delish! Parma Ham, Brie, fig and rocket skewers with balsamic reduction drizzle. Seriously, it was so tasty! I made a giant pan of Chili&Garlic Prawns in a Tomato sauce. I hadn't made it before (which always makes me nervous when cooking for lots of people!), but it turned out pretty well :) I'd make it again. Louisa made us an enormous chicken pie, which was so yummy :) And Arkwife brought us some pasta salad ... her daughter came along for the evening and was such a darling. Seriously this child is too gorgeous! Ruby Letters was in charge of dessert and made us peppermint fridge tart. Yummy. And to wash it all down, in blog girls tradition, there was plenty of champagne! Angels Mind & Jackson's Mom ... you two were missed!

We also did Secret Santa, which was great fun. And I got Louisa's gift, which was a lovely hand knitted scarf :) It'll sadly have to wait for winter tho ...

On Tuesday night it was our annual SCM Year End Dinner. Wow and again, another contribution dinner where we were spoilt for choice! I made my spinach & feta free-form pie (which people seemed to really like :) ) and we ate lamb and gammon with roast potatoes, peas & carrots. There was bread and gravy. Starters and dessert with some KFC on the side (and excellent application by @Kath_Forrest who was in charge of "poultry" for the evening - haha!). And plenty of red wine. It was made even more awesome because the Trucker finally came along to an SCM Dinner :)

Last night was our new Book Club's Year End Dinner. @WhizBangLouLou went all out on the food, with roast chicken, roast potatoes, divine roast courgettes & carrots with rice and gravy too! We also did a secret santa :) And, of course there was dessert, *and* mini Lindt reindeer!

What a great week it has been. Seriously, I woke up in an absolutely awesome mood this morning. Even tho there was no power. Life is good today. Oh, and there is internet ;) Haha.

Monday, December 05, 2011


On Wednesday evening I went to dinner at Koi for @tfrayne's farewell ... It was quite a lovely evening marred only by Koi's lack of service. It took more than half an hour after asking for the bill to get it, pay for it and get on my way. And then I got a nice surprise, The Trucker came over after his evening out :)

Urgh. On Friday morning I got to work to discover my newly installed computer would not switch on. After IT spent 2.5hrs trying to get it sorted, we gave up. I worked on someone else's machine and they whisked my computer away. This morning I'm using another recycled machine and they are ordering me a brand new one. Sadly tho it does mean yet another day spent installing the requisite software and setting up my machine ... temporarily :P This does not make for a good Monday.

On Friday at around midday we headed out for our office year-end function. In true big-corporate style (since that appears to be what we've become, much to my dismay), we had a proper team-building type event with an Amazing Race at the Johannesburg Zoo. Urgh. Not my favourite way to spend an afternoon. Obstacle courses and traipsing all across the zoo in the heat with nothing to drink didn't put people in very good moods.

That was followed by drinks with everyone's partners at Pimento in Illovo. I was very glad that The Trucker came thru. Things have been going really well with him this week :) Aside from one minor hiccup on Sunday morning that was cleared up pretty quickly ... except for the looming prediction from him that we are very different people and that this is hard work (which I already know). For now tho, things are going nicely.

On Saturday The Trucker helped his sister move, she & his 9yr old niece will now be living with him (long story). And I got lots of much needed shopping done. Sadly, aside for 2 Secret Santa gifts, none of it was Xmas shopping yet :( I had my fill of malls on Saturday tho, so am dreading the shopping I will have to do shortly! Especially since I am so out of ideas :(

They didn't finish moving till after 7pm, so I took some Indian food round and we all had an early night. On Sunday The Trucker and I went for breakfast at Nino's in Cresta and then did even more shopping. Finally got the curtain rods I need for the lounge and I got cushions for the bench this weekend too :) Then after I cleaned the bunny hutch and The Trucker had a nap we headed to the Rosebank Market where I got the 3 remaining frames I need (just gotta get 2 photos reprinted for them now) and a contact to do the board-mounting in the new year (yippee!). And then it was off to Zoo Lake for some lunch and to watch The Trucker's LSM team play their final.

After that I went home and finished off one of the Xmas presents Mom & I are planning for the family and later The Trucker came over and we watched series.

It was a good weekend :) I have yet another busy week ahead with plenty of food ... such is the Christmas Social Schedule.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Is It Coz I'm Black? By Ndumiso Ngcobo

The urban Zulu warrior, Ndumiso Ngcobo, returns to aim his streetwise eye at a fresh range of typically South African characters and social issues, including obvious targets such as Jacob Zuma and xenophobia, and classic Ngcobo subject matter such as his coloured cousins, black-on-black relationships and Benoni Afrikaners. The result is another collection of laser-sharp commentary on this wonderful Rainbow Nation of ours, with no regard for political correctness or sacred cows of any size, shape or form – South African satire at its best.

I read this on the flight to Cape Town and back. It took me a while to get into  it. The Trucker thinks it's hysterical. It wasn't laugh out loud funny to me. I find Ngcobo very difficult to read ... it's like he's trying to be verbose to be funnier. Which didn't work for me, honestly. Otherwise tho, I did enjoy it once I go to sit down and read solidly for a while (a page here and there is not the way to read this book).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Comedy

On Monday The Trucker came over for dinner and then he worked while I watched Series. Just a quiet night at home :)

Last night I went to watch @DeepFriedMan at the Old Mutual Theatre in Sandton. I thoroughly enjoyed this. More than Nik Rabinowitz the other night, honestly.

I didn't really know what to expect (I only found out last week it was musical comedy). But hey, I grew up listening to Tom Lehrer. And it was funny, sometimes a little predictable, but funny! And the theatre is nice and cosy, with more comfortable seats than usual, I thought.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Keeping the Dead by Tess Gerritsen

HE HIDES When an ancient mummy is discovered in the basement of a museum in down-town Boston, excitement starts to mount. Under the glare of a media frenzy, the mummy is taken to hospital for a CT scan. Forensic pathologist Maura Isles is also invited to attend. HE KILLS As the CT scan proceeds everyone in the room leans in -- and gasps in horror as an image of a bullet is revealed. Maura declares it a possible homicide, and calls in detective Jane Rizzoli. HE KEEPS When the preserved body of a second victim is found, and then a third, it becomes clear that taking their lives is not enough for this terrifying killer. And that unless Maura and Jane can find and stop him, he will soon be adding yet another chilling piece to his monstrous collection.

I quite liked this. Cause, of course, it had mummies :) Hahaha. A pretty decent offering in the genre, I'd recommend it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hey, Hey Cape Town!

So last Thursday I managed to (again!!) lock myself out of my house :P I am beginning to feel a little foolish. I mean I can't remember any other time before this that I've ever done this! Let alone twice (three times if you count The Trucker locking his car keys in his boot too, so hopefully we've covered the magic three and can be done with this now!)

On Thursday I managed to lock my house keys in my car, and only realise once I'd locked the padlock on the garage! Pfft, seriously? Luckily The Trucker was nearby and popped over to valiantly let me in again.

He didn't stay long, he was playing action cricket in the evening and I had @Kath_Forrest coming over to see the new house :)

On Friday morning The Trucker & I headed off to Lanseria to fly to Cape Town for the weekend. The morning didn't start well, but everything was fine once we landed :)

It was a lovely weekend spent with the family :) On Friday afternoon I let The Trucker nap and headed off to spend some time visiting my gran. In the evening we went to the massive party (the reason we were down for the weekend) at Polana. Was such a fun evening, with good food and a great venue. Danced the night away and drank far too many mojitos. Haha.

We had a late lazy Saturday morning followed by a sushi lunch at Just Sushi in Simonstown with Daddio and my cousin. Wow, did we order far too much :) Haha.

The weather was damn windy and quite overcast, but I was determined to take The Trucker to our beach cottage. So we headed there after lunch and after a quick walk on the beach, we spent the rest of the afternoon reading, relaxing and napping to the sound of the waves.

On Saturday evening we went to The Woodlands Eatery for dinner with The Divine Miss M. Wow, such an adorable little place, and the food was delish! We shared 3 of their pizzas, The Lamb Pizza (my favourite!), The Parma Ham Rocket and Goats Cheese Pizza and the Bacon Blue Cheese Chili and Avo Pizza. Seriously folks, I would recommend you try this place!

On Sunday the whole fan-damily headed out to Blouberg for breakfast at On The Rocks. Although the view they have there is beautiful, I was seriously unimpressed by the restaurant in general. I couldn't hear anyone at the other end of our table, the food was less than fantastic and the decor was just way too over the top for the gorgeous sea-side spot in my opinion. I wouldn't go back.

Yes, Cape Town weekends always seem to be all about food - haha. I also got to play with my Mom's 2 new kitties. OMG they are too cute and although they were less than impressed with our presence when we first arrived on Friday they were playing and scampering over me quite happily by the Sunday. Awe, can't wait to see them again in December :) The Trucker got some adorable photos, but I don't have copies so can't post them :(

What an awesome weekend. Am so not in the mood for work today!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas Crazy Social Season

Wow, the Christmas Crazy Social Season is *definitely* here. Yesterday afternoon I headed to Virgin Active for my Discovery Vitality Fitness Assessment. Let's not mention it again :P In my head I do definitely want to do something about losing some weight ... but when it comes down to the actual effort involved, there is always something I'd rather be doing.

I am seriously considering that 2012 may be the year to invest in a personal trainer, just to get me forced into gymming properly. anyway, we'll rediscuss this in Jan (of course!). Hahaha, I remember how determined I was at the start of 2011. Wow that seems so recent :P

On with the more fun news. The Trucker collected my new bench yesterday afternoon and then when he came over for dinner he assembled it and there it is, on my verandah :) It fits *exactly* perfectly. I can't wait to get some comfy cushions for it next weekend :)

We finished watching Falling Skies last night. Meh, we were quite enjoying it, but by the last 2 episodes it was getting a bit wishy-washy for me. As The Trucker said, it's strange how you actually dont really care what happens to the characters. Anyway.

And then, best news of all, today is officially a Friday for me :) I'm off tomorrow! We're flying down to Cape Town for the weekend tomorrow morning. I can NOT wait! I can't wait to show The Trucker some of my favourite Cape Town things (like our beach cottage), I can't wait to see my family and I can't wait to see The Divine Miss M. It's going to be awesome :)

And in case that wasn't enough excitement for you, I have only one evening to myself next week ... Tues - Fri are already all completely booked up! It's gonna be exhausting but awesome :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Keeping Busy

As I type this I am busy copying files from my old work compuer (Linux) to my new one (Windows). Yes, Linux is officially no longer a part of my life (except on our web servers, I guess). It's a kinda sad day, honestly. I really like a lot of Linux, and there are bits of Windows I prefer too. Me, I'm still wishing they'd get round to inventing Winux, the best of both worlds - haha.

So, it's likely to be a slow day getting all set up. But I am hoping my sloooow computer issues will be solved :)

So some stuff to tell. I forgot about the tedious Saturday afternoon we actually had on the weekend! The Trucker managed to lock his keys in his car boot. Annoying because he was parked in front of my garage doors so we couldn't even get my car out to go to his house. So we decided to take a walk. Thank goodness I live so close to him now :) It took us about half an hour.

When we got there, he searched and searched and couldn't find his spare keys. Bugger. And then the afternoon really turned into a comedy of errors. We were gonna take his motorbike back to my house (to save us from the walk back), but what do you know, the battery was dead and even with a couple of push-starts we couldn't get it going. So we walked ... And BMW Assist came to our rescue to get his keys out the boot.

I actually really enjoyed the walks :)

Anyway, on Monday I had a much deserved quiet night at home. For the last 2 nights I've been getting my photo wall finalised and actually stuck up on the wall. This is actually harder than it sounds. I tried going straight from the brown-paper cut-outs to the wall, but things ended up very unbalanced with plenty of weird spaces between ill-fitting frames. The solution that ended up working for me was demarkating the same area on the wall on my lounge floor and physically moving the actual frames around. This gave me a much better visualisation.

After that it was easy enough to make the wall match the floor :) I am so far very happy with the outcome. Although I dont think I'll be moving further with this till I get 3 more frames and the photos for them printed (I already know what they are and I can't believe the huge oversight ... but it's because they're currently in another group frame). (Sorry the picture is so rubbish, was too dark not to have the lights on which created quite a glare and the bb camera is useless at best!)

I also started the grand-move-around in the lounge. I moved my book shelf to it's new potential spot. Although I won't lie, I don't much like it in the new place. I'm gonna leave it there for a week or so and see if I warm to it.

Was supposed to meet the electrician last night, but that has been postponed to Thursday eve. Have paid for my garden bench, but not sure when The Trucker will have time to collect that for me.

Last night I went to SCM Dinner. Sheesh but what a storm! Driving up Malibongwe was quite an experience. Flooding! I even saw a full black rubbish bag floating down the slow lane :P On the plus side, I can confirm that my garden didn't flood (I have a brick blocking half the drainage pipe so that the bunnies cant escape). The down side of this lovely cool rainy weather is that I haven't got to play with my new toy (irrigation) at all!! Haha. I'm sure there'll be plenty of time in future :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her fate is merely hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the verses of the Book of Genesis that recount the life of Jacob and his infamous dozen sons. The Red Tent is an extraordinary and engrossing tale of ancient womanhood and family honour. Told in Dinah's voice, it opens with the story of her mothers - the four wives of Jacob - each of whom embodies unique feminine traits, and concludes with Dinah's own startling and unforgettable story of betrayal, grief and love. Deeply affecting and intimate, The Red Tent combines outstandingly rich storytelling with an original insight into women's society in a fascinating period of early history and such is its warmth and candour, it is guaranteed to win the hearts and minds of women across the world.

Okay, I'll admit that the blurb is not why I read this book. Rather, I read it because 2 people I know recommended it as a great read. And it was mostly completely captivating. The ending slows down quite a bit, but the beginning had me enthralled so I was okay with that. I really enjoyed this.

Monday, November 21, 2011

House Evolution

Wow, what an absolutely wonderful weekend I've had. Friday was kicked off in a seriously good mood and I'm still riding the high :)

The Trucker told me we were going out on Friday evening, but again wouldn't say to where. Nothing like a surprise date to look forward to to keep you in a good mood! Thursday was our 6months, actually. Although all we did was kinda acknowledge it over bbm. Sheesh. 6 months. In some ways it feels longer, in others so much shorter. But things are good for now and I adore him.

And then I got a surprise inheritance in my bank account. I say surprise because I didn't remember about it at all till my uncle called and asked for my bank details on Wednesday. Another surprise was that it was so much more than I was expecting. And it came with truly perfect timing! My grandfather gifted his inheritance from his brother's death to all his grandchildren.

I won't lie, I spent the weekend spending it on house-stuffs. My home has evolved so much this weekend and I love it more and more every day, as each little part becomes more me (although transfer is still not officially through, I have high hopes for it happening before the end of this week!).

On Friday after work I was instilled with a get-things-done attitude that stayed for the whole weekend. I headed out to hunt for a framer who I need to mount the 31 frames I have for my photo-wall. I haven't found one I like yet. But I did buy some brown paper, prestik and a black-marker pen and got started on cutting and marking each of the frames and demarcated the area on the wall where I plan for them to go (a method I found via Pinterest). I haven't finished this yet (ran out of brown paper, but I have bought more and I'll finish up during the week). I also realised I need 4 more frames for 4 more photos I want (one for The Peeb's wedding next March!). I realised how tricky it'll be to add more once they're all up on the wall ... oh well. I just really want them up and on display already! I can't tell you how excited this makes me :)

And then before I knew it, The Trucker was there to collect me for dinner. We went to Lucio's Pizzeria, which I'd never been to but he'd raved about. It's one of those dodgy-looking from the outside in a totally random location, but warm cosy inside with really delish pizza's! I was impressed, and I'd go back :)

Saturday was a crazy admin-filled day. We had to go drop off some stuff for The Trucker's trucks and then headed to breakfast. We tried the Woolies restaurant in Northgate. What a giant disappointment. Although the food was delish, the service was completely shocking and the portion sizes for their prices mean I'd probably never go back.

So, on my list for the weekend was buying curtains for the lounge & 2 bedrooms. By the end of the weekend, the 2 bedrooms have curtains (although that included exchanging the ones I orig bought because they ended up looking yellow with the light shining thru) and I've bought the lounge curtains but we got the wrong sized curtain rods so am waiting for the right one (neither of the Mr Prices we went to had the right size :( ).

Next up was my garden bench for my verandah. I've ordered it, I should be paying today when I get their invoice. Sadly they don't have their stock room open over the weekend so I couldn't get it there & then. Either they'll deliver or The Trucker will go and fetch it for me this week. I am *so* excited about this item on the list. Seriously. It's going to be awesome!

Next on the list was irrigation for the garden. I know, that may sound like a strange one, but It isn't that expensive and it really is going to make quite a difference to my garden. And I just adore the sound of the sprayers, like light rain :) So I bought all of what I needed, since I had already measured and whatnot during the week.

And then when we got home there was a flurry of putting up curtains and *finally* moving my dining room table to it's spot outside. I was really nervous about this (which is why I think I have been putting it off, aside from the sheer weight of the table) But not only does it fit, but it fits perfectly :) I am so so so happy. I can't wait to get an electrician in to put the new light fitting on the verandah for my Moroccan Light above the table. It's gonna be fantastic! The only thing is at the moment the table is barricaded from the bunnies so they don't nibble on it's legs. But that's obviously not a permanent solution. So am thinking of some kind of "leg-warmers" to stop them ... I will have to have a think about this.

Oh, the other thing I got was some mesh for the gate so that I can keep my sliding door open while the bunnies are outside in the garden. Has been sweltering keeping it closed in this heat while they've been out & about!

On Saturday evening, we collapsed with some take-out from Simply Asia and watched some series.

On Sunday we went for breakfast, stopped back at Mr Price to exchange the old bedroom curtains and the ill-fitting rod and then The Trucker went off to work, while I headed home to clean the bunny hutch and install my irrigation. OMG I love it. It is so awesome. Of course tho, that is why it has been pouring since the middle of last night non-stop :P Hahaha.

So, still on the list of minor-house-stuffs is collecting my new bench, getting the electrician in, getting new light fittings and switched and then getting the cupboards in the 2 bedrooms re-done. And then all the minor house-stuff will be done and I'll be super happy :) And then the saving for the kitchen-bathroom-tiling revamp will begin!

I relaxed on Sunday afternoon before heading to The Trucker's with dinner. We watched Kung Fu Panda 2. Yeah yeah, just the kind of mild entertainment I needed to end off and exhausting but oh so lovely weekend. Seriously. I'm filled with all sorts of bliss still this morning. The note in my breakfast didn't hurt either ;) *feeling so spoilt*

Thursday, November 17, 2011

All Good

Has been a good and busy week so far, honestly am looking to a quiet evening home alone with some series, a bath, my book and an early night (The Trucker has cricket this evening, perfectly timed - haha).

On Tuesday I skipped SCM (having seen the whole crowd on Saturday evening - is anyone else like me and prefers not to see the same people more than once a week?) and went to make a late dinner at The Trucker's after he'd had a long day. We watched some series and had a nice quiet evening. I like those times where you're not really doing anything just existing near each other (does that make sense?).

And then last night, on the spur of the moment, I decided to go and watch Nik Rabinowitz at The Market Theatre with @chrisdawson and @levonrivers (and a girl visiting from the US).

I haven't seen him before but I had heard good things. I laughed, but not that tear-of-laughter kind of laughing. I still prefer Trevor Noah & John Vlismas I think. Still, it was a fun night out and I'm glad I went :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It Wasn't Funny At The Time

So yesterday started out really well (with the Bond being lodged at the Deeds office). The work day was pretty average, neither here nor there. Then there was a bit in the late afternoon, that I'll tell you about now, but caused absolute panic. And then it ended off really nicely with a friend over for dinner. A mostly good day :)

Right, let me start by saying that this was probably bound to happen at some point, but yesterday afternoon, Murphy hit. I managed to lock myself in my garden, with no phone and no keys.

I noticed about a week ago that the sliding door latch was a bit loose because I almost had a minor panic one afternoon while outside because I thought I had locked myself out by shutting it (which is standard practice when the bunnies are out because the last thing I need is them in the house!). The sliding door locks with the lever in the down position. And being loose, gravity seems to lock it. Although this had never actually happened till yesterday.

When I got the fright a week ago I joked that I should put a spare set of keys in my garden (not that I could open the sliding door anyway, but if I had my house keys I could open the padlock on the garage door and get back in the front. Or that I should keep my cellphone with me whenever I went outside (to call The Trucker and his spare keys). We joked that I didn't know his number off by heart (that's what cellphones will do to you). And I've been pretty conscientious about it since.

Yesterday, I got home from gym, planning to shower and had a quick catch up with The Trucker on bbm. He was heading out to help some friends with their computer, he knew I had @jarredcinman coming over for dinner that evening. But then I decided to rather replant my potted rose into my garden before I showered, since I was hot and sweaty already, why not.

So I did that while the bunnies played and then when I was about to head inside to put out the garden refuse, I noticed the lever had fallen. OMG. Minor panic set it. I pulled at the door. Nothing. I tugged at it even harder. Still nothing. Quick look around for my keys ... nope there they are inside on the kitchen counter - damn gym outfits with no pockets! And my Cellphone was charging on my bed ...

OMG More panic sets in. What on earth am I going to do. My sliding door is locked, my garage is locked. I was locked in my garden! Mkay, lets stay calm. (Yeah right!).

I probably spent a good half hour in a state of absolute panic (you know where you wonder how long it'd take for anyone to notice you were missing ...). Knowing I still didn't know The Trucker's number, knowing that @jarredcinman wouldn't even be let thru the gate later since I couldn't answer the phone when the gate-guards phoned me. I attempted absolutely every option available to me. By the time The Trucker did arrive to let me out, there was a full arsenal of rakes and brooms and pergola's lost to my bedroom floor (that was the only window that was open) in an attempt to pull my cellphone from my bed and out of the charger (impossible from that distance, as my attempts will attest).

I weighed up throwing a brick thru a window ... but with all the bars, I still wouldn't be any closer to getting inside. Unless I broke the entire sliding door glass. I can only imagine how much that would cost :P So that was really only my last resort.

Instead I eventually (after major panic had set in and I'd had a mild bout of sobbing) went to try yelling for someone thru the hole in my garage door. And then I heard my neighbours drive in. My neighbours who I had never met before this. I can only imagine the great impression I've made, but they were very helpful :)

OMG. Do you have a bolt-cutter I asked, still determined to be self sufficient. I figured if I could get out by cutting the padlock on the garage door and then into the kitchen courtyard by cutting that padlock too, I might have a chance to reach my keys from the slightly open kitchen window.

Nope, they didn't. I asked them to ask the gate-guards. No luck there either. Then I had a brain wave. I borrowed my neighbour's phone and phoned work. I had The Trucker's business card saved on my desktop from about probably a year ago. So someone from work phoned him to tell him I was locked in my garden. #sigh

He was fabulous about it and raced over (luckily he wasn't far away) and had a good laugh at me :P But he did unscrew the sliding door lock and take a look. And it seems tighter since then. But I am still buying a new one this weekend!!

After I got over my disappointment that he hadn't shown up in any armour or on a white horse, he went back to his friends to finish working on their computer and I got showered and ready for @jarredcinman's arrival.

The evening was lovely. We ate vegan burgers outside on my verrandah and drank some very good wine he brought and caught up. It really has been far too long! I didn't realise how much I'd missed chatting to him.

Monday, November 14, 2011

An Awesome Weekend

Wow, it's been a very busy social weekend. On Thursday evening, out of the blue, I got a call from The Trucker saying he could get the Mahindra again and we could finally move the gym stuff from my verrandah. Which has made such a difference :)

His cricket had been cancelled and we headed off to @clairam's with the gear. We stayed for a drink and chatted the evening away. Aside from the sweltering hot days, these warm evenings are really lovely at the moment.

On Friday I went and splashed out on my new TV! I was planning on getting myself one ever since I put the offer in on the house. It makes sense. I watch a fair amount of series and I ended up in the old house just in my room watching on my laptop. I barely ever used my lounge, like ever. I have realised that's also probably a lot to do with the layout of the house, because even without a tv, I've barely spent any time that wasn't sleeping in my bedroom in my new house.

But anyway, having a TV is also more sociable because it means The Trucker and I can comfortably now watch series or movies at my house :) And I was getting more series from DJMike on Friday evening.

So, with all that in mind, I've been keeping an eye out (hardly at all, honestly) for a TV. I did not want to spend a fortune at all and earlier this week I found this special at HiFi Corp. They have a 42" LG (full HD) for 5K. A steal when I think that a few years ago Varen bought his 42" for about 14K!

So during lunch I headed over to Woodmead's HiFiCorp and bought myself a new (massive!!) TV. And a dvd player so I could plug the hard drive in (totally unnecessary with this TV!) and a TV License :( *sob* I get why everyone who owns a TV should have one because they *could* get signal if they wanted it. But I never plan to plug my TV into anything more than my hard drive. So that really was a bit of a grudge purchase. But they've become a lot more sneaky about it and there was no way round it.

I was quite amazed I could fit the giant TV box into my little C2. Barely. I was squished up against my steering wheel for the rest of the day. But smiling :)

And then The Trucker came over after work to install it for me ... although I was hugely disappointed that we got the wrong screws for the stand so we had to pop back on Saturday morning. But it did all get set-up and used this weekend, and wow, it just looks absolutely massive! I guess compared to my laptop screen it really is :) Haha.

The Trucker went home after that and got ready for the braai we were having at his house while I waited for DJMike & his girlf to come over and see my new place. And then we all went to the braai. It was delish & there was so much yummy food (The Trucker braaied ribs!).

Saturday morning was all admin, shopping and getting the right screws for the TV. The afternoon was spent relaxing (in front of the new TV - haha). And on Saturday evening we headed off to dinner with the SCM Dinner crowd (on a Saturday, I know!) Haha. It was awesome, but again wa-ay too much good food. Hummus and melba toast for starters. Beef Wellington for mains and Cheesecake for dessert. Was nice that The Trucker could finally meet that group properly :)

And then on Sunday, The Trucker & I had a long chat. Things seem better now. Admittedly things always seem to go up and down, depending on my mood and how secure / insecure I'm feeling generally. But I think it's hard when a relationship has to cope thru rough times in people's life (like the work chaos he's currently dealing with) so early on. It does put weird strain on that you haven't had enough time yet to figure out how to deal with or how it affects each other. Who know what'll happen. For now things are okay again. #sigh Life is complicated. Haha.

I went to breakfast at Vovo Telo on Sunday morning with some of the work-girls. We hardly see each other anymore now that the company has grown so much. So it's nice to have these catch-ups :) And Vovo Telo was delish!

After breakfast I headed to Mark's Park to watch The Trucker play cricket & we had their year-end braai there afterwards. And then I headed home to spend some quality time with the bunnies (they are absolutely loving their new garden. The heat, not so much) and watch some more series :) While The Trucker got some work done.

Ps. My Bond officially got lodged at the Deeds office this morning :) Giant happy smiles all round!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


It's been a kind of weird week. Seriously, I'm asking myself today how it can only be Thursday. Anyway, not a very eventful week, however.

I don't even remember what I did on Monday evening ... On Tuesday I intended to go to SCM as usual. But at about 18h30 I was lying on my couch reading my book and could barely keep my eyes open. I went to bed and finished my book before falling asleep early. I guess these 5:30am wake-ups are taking their toll. I didn't feel especially refreshed the next morning but I think it did definitely help.

Last night I was kind of intending to go to a work social dinner, but then decided I didn't really think I was in the mood. But since The Trucker had already made other plans, I decided to go out and do something constructive.

This started with a drive out to Angel's place to deliver my very lonely fish. Poor thing, I have felt so bad since I moved about him :( I had the pond set up at the old house but it wasn't very well looked after and at some point my big yellow koi died (the one who survived well past when I expected!). I knew there was a little orange guy in there still but I wasn't too fussed since I knew I was moving soon. So we emptied the pond during the move and at the new house I decided I didn't actually want to set it up again. The water-plant had really grown out of hand (it is still on my verrandah because I can't pick it up and get rid of it!!) and there are no outdoor plug points to connect a pump to. Besides, I decided I just didn't need the hassle. Maybe one day it'll make a come-back tho... but not right now.

So I put word out on twitter that I had a fish looking for a new home. The poor thing, I hope he survives, he's been thru so much in the last 2 weeks. His pond being dismantled, a drive to my new house, living in a tiny amount of water for a week & half with no friends, a drive to Angel's House and now an introduction to a new home with more fish and bigger fish than he's ever known! Anyhoo, in a flurry of second-hand pet acquisitions, my fish now lives with Angel. I hope he'll be happier there :)

And then, well, since I was out and had no other plans I decided to head to the work dinner. And I'm really glad I did. It was a nice small group (7 incl me) and although I was too late to eat, we sat and had a drink and chatted for about an hour.

The evening turned out quite well. Aside from the fact that (although I haven't seen the movie) I feel like I'm starring in "He's Just Not That Into You". Sigh. That's a whole other story, which I'm not ready to write about. Needless to say that at this point, I don't think that The Trucker & I will make it to 2012.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Catch Me A Killer by Micki Pistorius

Micki Pistorius, who has a doctorate in psychology, has spent 6 years as a profiler with the South African Police Service. As head of their investigation psychology unit, she was involved in more than 30 serial killer cases and participated in the training of nearly 200 detectives in the investigation of serial homicides. "Catch me a Killer" is the story of her remarkable career.

So this was quite an interesting read after Byleveld. It's very different. It's differently written and I guess it's a different side to the investigative story. I think I definitely preferred Byleveld. There is something about the way this was written that I didn't quite like. Sometimes it got confusing and I felt like she hadn't been clear about things. And I'm also not into this whole "and then I swam into the abyss" nonsense. But whatevs. It's her story, it's what she believes and feels. I don't quite buy it. But either way it's still a very interesting read. Again because who can believe the sheer quantity of serial killers we have in this country. It's kinda frightening, really. Glad to hear they're so good at catching them :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers

Zimbabwean journalist and travel writer Douglas Rogers wakes up in his fashionable New York neighborhood to discover that, at the age of thirty-five, his life has become a routine of latte orders, real estate conversations, and late nights in cocktail bars. Meanwhile, back in Zimbabwe, his parents are caught in the crossfire of a violent land war, and going to ever-greater extremes just to stay alive. Returning to the family farm and backpacker lodge to help, the author discovers that marijuana is growing instead of maize; prostitutes, diamond dealers, and refugee white farmers prop up the lodge bar; and war veterans and youth militia loyal to Mugabe hover outside the gates. Having left Africa in search of adventure and excitement a decade earlier, the author discovers that the great story he had traveled the world looking for was happening in his parents’ backyard. And in going home he discovers that there is a lot more to his country, himself, and his parents, than he had ever imagined. The Last Resort is an inspiring coming-of-age tale about home, love, hope, responsibility and redemption. An edgy rollercoaster adventure, it is also a deeply moving story about how to survive a corrupt Third World dictatorship with a little innovation, humor, bribery and brothel management.

I wasn't so sure when I started reading this ... but I really enjoyed it and found it a fascinating read. I'd recommend it.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Seven Weeks Til Xmas

Well it was a pretty busy weekend, really. Not much house stuff to report tho. Transfer still has not gone thru :( But apparently the lawyers have now got in an external company to get the Clearance Figures (or something). Damn, I hope it goes thru before the end of November!!

On Friday evening, I was watching the storm closely because The Trucker & I had plans to go to the Drive-In. Hahaha, I know, right? How mad. I haven't been since I was probably about 3. They closed them all in Cape Town and I've never been since I moved up to Joburg. We've been trying to go for a while, but there has never really been 2 movies we wanted to see. Honestly there is very little showing at the moment that interests me at all. But we were both keen to see Contagion and What's Your Number? didn't look terrible.

The storm cleared perfectly and the Drive-In was very quiet. We even got to watch a few fireworks going off during intermission. So, the Drive-In is R75 per car. Not too bad considering normal movies are probably about R40 per person. But I don't think I would go to watch 2 movies again anytime soon. I honestly could hardly stay awake thru the 2nd one.

The Drive-In is a weird experience. I wouldn't say your car is more comfortable than a cinema. The people who came in their Land Rover, reverse parked and then climbed in the back with the back seats down and duvets & pillows probably had a better idea! There were some very weird kids in the car next to us. And some people brought their dog ?! The sound and everything was perfect, being enclosed in our own little space tho :)

What's Your Number? was exactly what I expected. The Trucker was a little bored with it. Contagion however was a huge giant massive let-down. Massive. Yawn. I barely stayed awake during it. It was a star-studded cast and the trailer made it look far more interesting than it turned out to be. It was completely boring. Do Not bother watching this. Not even on dvd. Don't even waste the bandwidth downloading this!

On Saturday morning I had my new Domestic Worker come around so that I could meet her and she could get a feel for the place. She was only there about 3 hours. So far I'm happy with her, thanks Doodles! She'll be starting on Wednesday properly. Which is marvelous, the house needs some serious post-move cleaning :)

The Trucker & I popped out for a quick breakfast and then a bit later we collected his sister & niece and headed off to his mom & gran in Reitz to celebrate his gran's 80th birthday (tomorrow).

He snoozed most of the afternoon while the girl's all chatted away. In the evening we watched Trevor Noah's Crazy Normal.

On Sunday after breakfast we headed home. The Trucker went off to play cricket and I headed off hunting for house stuffs. I think I've found curtains I like for the lounge & bedrooms. But, I didn't think finding a bench for my verandah would be this tricky! Ah well, nothing is really urgent, honestly. I like the browsing, although with the lounge still in chaos (am waiting for another opportunity with the Mahindra to get rid of some gym equipment the previous owner left before I can figure out where that giant dining room table of mine is going!). Also I want to get the carpets cleaned too. And then the shuffling around will begin. Haha. Really not sure where anything is going to go yet!

In the evening I popped over to The Trucker's (can you believe I haven't been there since before we went to Dundee!) with dinner (I made us delish gourmet hotdogs!) and we watched Captain America. Haha, another movie I'm glad I skipped on the big screen. The Trucker's comment was "Well that's quite enough propaganda for one night" Haha.

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