Friday, July 27, 2012

Away We Go!

OMG. One. More. Sleep.

Sitting at work this morning I am so ready to be off and away on holiday. Shew. I am also so looking forward to this trip with The Trucker. Things are awesome and amazing and I adore him (like you didn't already know that!).

This week has been pretty quiet otherwise and now we're in a last-minute what-have-we-forgotten frenzy of pre-departure preparations. I still have to pack this evening! To be fair I have put a bunch of stuff out on the spare bed already ...

So yeah, I will see you all again on the 14th August. Here we come Vietnam & Cambodia :D

Monday, July 23, 2012

Most Amazing

Wowee, I have had a truly awesome weekend. Seriously. Best and busiest one in ages! And Vietnam is about to sneak up on us too! 5 working days & 5 more sleeps till we fly!

So anyway, my 2-girl cousins (almost 17 and 20yrs old) from Cape Town came up to spend the weekend with me in Jozi. All their friends couldn't understand why they'd come and spend a weekend in Joburg. But I think after the weekend we had, they will all be jealous :) It was so much fun! And so busy.

Their flight arrived at Lanseria at 16h30 but I couldn't get there in time (they closed one of the lanes on the M1 North and there was no way I could make it), but luckily The Trucker was nearby and had already offered to collect them for me. So I got thru the awful Friday afternoon traffic and waited at home for a little while for them to arrive. So good to catch up and show off my little house :)

We took them to Cafe Mexicho for dinner on Friday night which was awesome. We ordered different meals so we could all taste them. We really must remember that that works really well, but we don't need a whole meal each - I can never finish mine! So yummy and, of course, so were the frozen margaritas :)

On Saturday morning, The Trucker came to fetch us at 9am and we headed off to my favourite breakfast spot, The Salvation Cafe. Yumyumyum :) We wandered the little shops and then headed to the Market Theatre in Newtown to park our car (although the parking has mostly been closed for a giant hole they are digging in the ground (assume they'll be building something here next ... but I haven't been there in a while so it was a bit of a surprise).

We parked the car and took a wander off past Market Square and then popped in at the Migrant Worker's museum (that's right, I'm all about the balance of fun and learning - haha!) Then we wandered back across Market Square and took them down to the graffiti under the highway. They were absolutely enthralled and took loads of photos! It is not that great there on a Saturday with all the construction vehicles driving thru tho ... I am especially glad we got to see The Spear-styled graffiti :) Very clever!

After that it was back in the car for a little bit of a drive thru town to the Carlton Centre where we took them up to the Top of Africa to show them the 360 views of Jozi. I think they were quite impressed. After that we took them on the double-decker highway and back to Braamfontein to the Neighbourgoods Market, which was crazy-busy as usual.

Luckily we didn't need lunch after our huge breakfast but we wandered and tasted and bought food to make dinner at home later :) Such fun!

We had a relaxed and lazy afternoon at home and then made chorizo pasta for dinner - actually The Trucker did while we three girls sat watching tv cuddled under a blanket together :) Then we all watched Friends With Kids. It was quite a fun movie :) (although pretty predictable, but sometimes you need that!)

The girls & I were up early on Sunday morning (their return flight was moved earlier so we had to cram in as much as possible before heading to the airport again). The Trucker had an early cricket game and then a friend's 30th lunch so he didn't join us ... but thankfully he took my car and let me borrow the pajero :)

We grabbed some Wimpy toasted sarmies for breakfast and headed thru to Maropeng. (Can you believe our guide there's name was actually Maropeng too?! Haha) We whizzed thru there in an hour, but they really liked it.

And then it was off to the Rhino & Lion park to play with the cubs :) OMG The girls absolutely loved it. I think it made their weekend :) After that we took a drive around the rest of the park and had an amazing experience with the lions, especially a big male who walked alongside our car for a good while (when we arrived the 3 male & 3 female lions were all sitting resting but then they got up and started moving thru to where I supposed they must get fed daily, they seemed to know it was coming!) We missed the feeding and did a whirlwind drive thru the wild dog and cheetah enclosures before heading off to look for Rhino. We saw them quite quickly :) There were about 4 adult females with cubs. So awesome to see even if it wasn't nearly as up-close an experience as the lions.

After that we headed to Lanseria, checked them in (love self-service check-ins!) and had some lunch before saying goodbye. It was a whirlwind jam-packed weekend but so so much fun! I had a blast showing Jozi off to them :)

The Trucker came over later and we had a very relaxing afternoon after our busy mornings.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Very Quiet

Shew. I survived the week. It has felt like the longest week in a very long time! I can barely remember what I've done this week, honestly. Nothing very exciting, I assure you. I even skipped SCM this week. Think I'm in that weird pre-holiday hibernation phase I seem to get. Plus there is so much more draw to be home and cuddled under a blanket on the couch when I have a hard drive full of new series to watch :)

We have had a pretty rough week at work too. One of the guys in our team was retrenched. I does not leave everyone feeling warm & fuzzy.

I guess the highlight of the week was a surprise visit by The Trucker on Tuesday evening (when I skipped SCM) and then (successfully) making my Mom's delish Lemon Pudding on Wednesday evening. It was so nearly a dismal failure ... you try making a meringue mixture without an electric beater! Sheesh. Plus I inconveniently left out the flour till we were ready to put the mix into the oven. Luckily The Trucker is a far calmer cook than I - at that point I was ready to give up in a huff. But he saved the day and the pudding was no worse for wear :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On Everything by Gareth Cliff

Some people think it a very bad thing to have an opinion about anything. Blend in, don't make too much noise, just be happy with what you know and do. I can't do that. Gareth Cliff likes to shoot from the hip. Whether on air or judging a trembling Idols contestant, he's always quick with a point of view. In Gareth Cliff on everything, Gareth throws caution to the wind and writes about all those subjects that make him glad, sad or simply mad. Cows? The perfect steak-making machines. Tarts? Good to have around, even if there's no conversation to be had. Our President? A bargain-bin, most-things-to-most-people, least offensive compromise. Nigella Lawson? She's gotta go before there's an orgasm on set. Ancestor worship? Outdated and primitive. Wine expo? A boring waste of time: can you imagine how devoid of meaning your life has to be before you decide to spend five hours with the most pretentious people on earth. Death? Hey, we've all got to go sometime! BEE? Next subject. Children? No thanks. Only when I have my own. The British Empire? Sorry, it's fallen. The Pope? You better read about it. Want to know more? Dip in to where Gareth takes on all comers with his brash, iconoclastic and pointed musings. It'll engage, enrage and derange you all at once.

I really quite enjoyed this. Okay so I quite like Gareth Cliff generally. People either seem to like him or not and there is no middle ground. If you don't like him you probably won't even consider reading this. If you do like him, I'd recommend it as an entertaining, bite-size-chapters look at his opinions on South Africa.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Okay okay, I may be freezing this morning, but I'm in a much better mood than Friday. Sheesh, I'm pretty sure it's probably as cold as it was this weekend, but I didn't have to be up nearly as early then!

The weekend was really quiet. Stayed for after-work drinks and then headed post DJMike's place to pick up my now-full hard drive and then headed home to get under the blanket and snuggled up in front of the TV for the rest of the evening.

On Saturday morning I went and did some admin. Buying more hay for the bunnies, investigating why the place I get waxed wasn't answering my calls all of last week - they've closed down. How annoying!! Now I have to find a new place before we head off to Vietnam. #sigh inconvenient. I am a creature of habit.

And then because I was in a weird mood (no doubt because The Trucker wasn't around and the weather), I settled back in front of my TV for further escapism. I had things I kinda could've done, but I was more interested in just hibernating.

On Saturday afternoon he got back at about 4pm (in shorts ?!?) and we cuddled up on the couch together. Later we braved the cold for a dinner out. We were hoping to get a table at Cafe del Sol but it was full so we trying Luigi's (he was craving pasta). It was not impressive and I doubt we'll be going back. My butternut panzerotti was fine, but his bacon pasta was awful, there was more fat & gristle than bacon. They were quiet gracious about it and let him order something else instead. So he had a pizza (without bacon) which he said was quite nice.

We had a very lazy Sunday morning (sooo cold!) and then headed out for some breakfast at Doppio and did some grocery shopping. Then he headed off to cricket and I continued to watch more TV and stay warm. It really was a hibernation weekend for me, I did hardly anything. This weekend is going to be quite busy (my 2 girl-cousins are coming up to visit from Cape Town! Yay) and then next weekend we're off to Vietnam!! I'll take the hibernating while I can :) Plus it really was cold this weekend.

While The Trucker was at cricket, I decided to make some Sweetcorn & Sweet Potato Fritters (I want that recipe book!). They were quiet yummy while still warm - he nibbled on half of them while warming up in the bath :) And then he made us pasta for dinner. Yum.

A very ordinary but restful weekend. It was good :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fight Hangover

I did write a post, but one that I decided was just for me, to write what I am feeling this morning down and hopefully get it out of my head. Today I'm not happy and bouncing off the walls. Today I have a fight-hangover. Do you have those? Where after you have an argument, even tho in theory it's over (if not resolved, then agreed to disagree and stop carrying on trying to convince each other that you are right) it's still hanging in the air, left over and making you feel a little bit sad and alone, waiting for everything to feel normal and happy again. I have those.

So this morning, regardless that I've had a pretty average week, I need a hug. I won't be getting one today. The Trucker is off to visit his mom tonight.

This week we watched 21 Jump Street. And it was a lot funnier than I was expecting (never watched the original tv series). I went to SCM. The Trucker & I saw each other quite a lot. But not the actual doing anything kind of seeing each other, more the doing nothing, eating dinner at home watchin TV or reading our books in bed kind of seeing each other. And while that's good, I am feeling like I need more actual social things on the go. I know, it happens in winter, we hibernate and stay home and warm. Warmer if you have someone there with you to cuddle, which I am happy I do. And I know I've probably been planning less since we're about to be off to Vietnam ... dunno why I do that but I do mini-hibernate in the face of impending busy-ness.

Anyway, I'm going to stop typing now, this already says more than I was planning for it to. Here's hoping happiness has returned by Monday :)

(Cartoon shamelessly stolen from xkcd)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mortal Remains by Kathy Reichs

Dr Temperance Brennan spends her life working amongst the decomposed, the mutilated and the skeletal. So the two-days-dead body she is called to examine holds little to surprise her. Until she discovers that the man is John Lowery, an ex-soldier who was apparently killed in Vietnam in 1968. So who is buried in Lowery's grave. The case takes Tempe to the heart of the American military, where she must examine the remains of anyone who may have had a connection to the drowned man. It's a harrowing task, but it pays off when she finds Lowery's dog tags amongst the bones of a long-dead soldier. As Tempe unravels the tangled threads of the soldiers' lives and deaths, she realises there are some who would rather the past stayed dead and buried. And when she proves difficult to frighten, they turn their attention to the one person she would give her life to protect. 

I do love a good Kathy Reichs novel. Clearly evident by the fact that I read this one in about 3 or 4 days?  And I did enjoy this one ... although some things fell flat for me. Perhaps it's because I haven't read one of hers in a while, but I didn't remember her having a daughter. I think it's probably because I watch more Bones than read Kathy Reichs. And that left me feeling a different sort of disappointment. I like the Bones character of Temperance Brennan better than the one in the novels now.

Anyway, that aside I really did enjoy the book. I especially liked that it had elements from the Vietnam War ... since I'll be there in less than 3 weeks! After reading this I went and wikipedia-ed some more info on the war. It was complicated stuff, over a very long period, so I won't say I know much more but hopefully enough to make a little sense of some of the things we'll be seeing over there (like the Cu Chi Tunnels and maybe Ho Chi Min's Mausoleum ... but somehow I don't see The Trucker being up for that one! Haha, plus I don't think it'll work out time-wise ... much like my attempt at Mao).

This book also had me wikipedia-ing a medical condition ... so all in all that made it a very good book from my perspective (it made me learn something new and was also twisty fiction :) ). I recommend it.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Another Weekend Flies By

Last week was pretty cool. Nothing terribly exciting. Oooh, except I did get an awesome new notebook from Macaroon! Have a look at the range, they are super cool and I love the personalisation :) Which reminds me, I need a new moleskin for my Vietnam travel diary ... wish I could get one with a cover as cool as my Macaroon one! (which I won't use while traveling purely because it's ring-bound so more likely to get damaged packed in a bag)

Other than that, I was feeling much better by Tuesday evening and went to SCM. The Trucker came over for dinner on Wednesday. And on Thursday I went to bookclub. On Friday evening we went to meet some friends for a drink at Olive 'n Twist for a farewell. We didn't stay too later and headed home at about 8pm to make pizza for dinner. Yum, home made pizza. It is so much better than store-bought (even tho we buy the bases!).

On Saturday we headed to Vovo Telo in Cresta to meet up with The Bunny Farmer for breakfast. She's up in Joburg for some work-training. After that we did a little shopping then went home to relax (I even had a nap!) before heading off to the Lions vs. Rebels game at Ellis Park with @clairam and @obitadicta. It was a pretty exciting game, well, the first half at least. And the Lions did eventually win, so that was good (The Trucker is a Lions supporter ... me, I'm all for the Stormers, obviously!).

After that The Trucker & I made a mad dash thru to HQ for @Rubyletters' 30th birthday dinner. Okay, so I was skeptical of this restaurant to start with ... I mean they only offer ONE thing. A set menu of a salad and a steak. That's it. Oh, I think they can do a vegetarian option if requested in advance. You probably know, I don't really eat red meat. Honestly there is always something I'd prefer to eat at a resaurant. But I decided hey, I'll give it a bash.

I'll admit I did ask how their single serving restaurant concept was working out for them, apparently quite well because they have far less wastage than a normal restaurant (makes total sense). But to be honest, neither The Trucker or I will be going back. Simply because, well, now we've had the one meal they offer, so why bother?

The salad was nice, but very simple (lettuce, pine nuts and parmesan cheese). I didn't especially enjoy my steak. I should've stuck with it at Medium, but The Trucker recommended Medium Well, and since I so rarely order or eat meat, I trusted him ... but instead I ended up with my least favourite meat-eating thing: chewing for ages. I did have a piece of his Medium steak which was better. The fries were nice, the sauce was pretty boring. I guess that if you like steak, this restaurant is probably more suited to you :)

On Sunday The Trucker was up early and off to cricket. I had a nice relaxing morning at home. Then we headed out to do some grocery shopping, came home, made some rolls for lunch and read in the sunshine. We napped again and watched some TV and made some pasta for dinner. Sunday, honestly, was a pretty close to perfect day <3

Friday, July 06, 2012

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and just when she's about to get her heart's desire, tragedy destroys her world. In the aftermath of loss and divorce, she throws herself into her career as a music therapist. Working with Vanessa, she finds their relationship moving from business, to friendship, and then - to Zoe's surprise - blossoming into love. When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of children again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that she and her husband never used. But Max, having sought peace at the bottom of a bottle, has found redemption in an evangelical church, and Zoe needs his permission to take his unborn child ...

Ah, what a pleasant return to reading after 50 Shades ... I read this book quite fast, it captured me and I really enjoyed it. I won't lie it's a hard book to read in that it covers some tough topics, miscarriage and wanting a baby but not being able to conceive naturally (something, I won't lie, I'm terrified of), aging thru this process and watching it slip ever further from you, religious closed-mindedness and coming out (which I've never had to deal with, but I thought this book wrote about it very nicely). I don't always enjoy Jodi Picoult's books, but I really did enjoy this one.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Hmmm, guess it wasn't the McDonalds :(

Friday was an awesome day I wouldn't have missed because I was one of @zoosev's Birthday Fairies :) We had such fun spoiling her at work and even headed out to Tasha's for lunch with a group of the work girls. Normally I detest Tasha's, but I've never had lunch there. Lunch there was delish!

On Friday evening, The Trucker (barely back from his day-trip to Bloem) and I headed to Chef's Boma for BriGuy's birthday. Okay, I get that some people are all about the red meat. And that some people love buffet eating. But I am not a big fan of either. I didn't think the food was particularly impressive at all. And I certainly couldn't eat enough to make a buffet selection worthwhile. Also, the red meat (which I don't eat very often) didn't leave me feeling great. Well that's what I put it down to ... figured I was still a little fragile from Thursday night.

On Saturday morning, The Trucker was up early (again) and headed off to Bethel with @Toxic_Mouse to go and look at (and actually buy) a Lotus. A kit car. Awesome. I like the idea of it being finished. But am less than thrilled that the time it's gonna take to be built is coming out of his me-time (because he already has no free-time) #sigh. Guess I'll need a new hobby to entertain myself now too :P

Knowing he'd be busy, I'd arranged a catch-up with @louisabouwer & Nicola. I grabbed some croissants and the cupcakes I'd bought yesterday (a girl at work is making some very delish cupcakes at R5 a pop - while she's still enjoying the novelty of it!). I spent a lovely morning chatting to them (even if Nicola was less than impressed by my presence initially). I managed 2 croissants, but couldn't face a cupcake ... I didn't end up having a single one of them the whole weekend as it turned out :( But apparently they were delish! I was still feeling fragile and headed home and climbed into bed with my book.

When The Trucker eventually got home, we didn't have a very eventful Saturday, it involved napping and watching TV. What we both needed!

On Sunday he was up and off to cricket at about 9am. I was feeling loads better so went off to do a grocery shop and then headed off to @zoosev's actual birthday party. I was feeling okay till I was faced with food. Then I kind of nibbled at some of it but was not feeling particularly great. We left around 4pm, headed home and napped (can you tell The Trucker had lots of sleep to catch up on). By the time he woke up, I was throwing up again :(

I had a pretty miserable Sunday evening so decided it would be best to stay home yesterday. So far I have switched to a very boring diet that consists mainly of apples. But seem on the mend. Still not 100% tho but back at work today. Yesterday was very quiet, I did a little work from home (I had no tv to watch!) and read my book and slept.

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