Friday, August 30, 2013

Domestic Bliss

So in case any of you were in any way worried or concerned after Tuesday's post, there is no need. We are back to perfectly normal, which is pretty damn perfect to be honest. I am one super duper lucky girl almost all the time <3

I think I've found the spot for us to go too ... The Family Life Center. I found it myself online and really thought it sounded like what I was looking for. And then yesterday I had a couple I know recommend it out of the blue too. So that seems like the way forward. I'm sorta excited actually. It feels like an investment in our future together :)

Anyhoo, so yeah, I skipped SCM Dinner again. We've had some really lovely evenings at home this week. The Trucker got a new laptop for work, which is super cool. And he got a new S4 too. So he's had a week of playing and setting up - haha.

Last night I decided to skip Boot Camp again (although I started out the morning with the best intentions). I was in such a good mood I decided to get my domestic goddess on and make dinner AND dessert ... using my new NoMU Recipe Box :)

Well, let me just say, I was a little nervous. I am not a very skilled cooking coordinator ... but it worked out perfectly. I made the Melanzane for mains. OMG I adore Melanzane, seriously, it's like one of my favourite dishes ever. And I know a good one when I taste it. And this was right up there with the best I've had *squeal*. No one was more surprised than I was! I served it with a simple green salad (lettuce, cucumber, carrot and tomatoes). The Trucker even went back for seconds. For a vegetarian dish. I was blown away. Unfortunately it's not the healthiest meal, with the oil and cheese, but I will be making it again!

Unfortunately I also tried their Quick and Easy Custard Tarts ... which were not a success story. I know the recipe says the trick is exact measures ... but it's hard to measure exactly a tablespoon of cream when it sticks to your spoon. Plus the 180ml of cream didn't come close to providing fillings for the 8 tarts I made (let alone the 12 they say it'll make).

But they still tasted okay ... a bit rich tho, since we each had 3 - haha.

The one thing I did find disappointing is that, obviously, the NoMU recipes all are geared towards using NoMU products. Which is fine if you have a kitchen cupboard stocked with everything you may ever need for any of the recipes you decide to make on a whim. Unfortunately that is not me and while I have a few of the rubs & spices, I couldn't find any of the NoMU products I needed at Pick n Pay or Woolies. Less than ideal, I feel. I, luckily, managed to find Woolies branded versions of 2 of the 3 items mentioned in the recipe. So kinda a #fail in that regard (well, not for Woolies).

The other exciting news this week is that our new fridge is up & running and in the kitchen. OMG it is so awesome and big. Suddenly we have space in there :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Never Let Go by Gareth Crocker

As he presses a revolver to his head, Reece Cole sees his little daughter's handprints on the windowpane. One last, painful reminder of her all too short life. But then he notices something about the handprints that defies belief. Something that verges on the impossible. He spends the next few days frantically trying to make sense of what is happening. Then a stranger stops at his gate with a small grey envelope. Inside is a single white card, inscribed with six breathtaking words: I can bring your daughter back.

So this was the first of the 2 books I bought at the Bloody Book Week event we went to a few weeks back. He wasn't the author I was paired with, but I enjoyed the story and style of what he read at the event, which is what actually made me buy this one.

And I really quite enjoyed it. The story isn't what I expected at all, it's not actually a Murder Mystery (much as the cover might be misleading). And I loved his writing style. I also love the bite-sized chapters. Sometimes you really need that in a book ... I like to end off reading at the end of a chapter or a paragraph break and sometimes it can make a book feel more exhausting if you feel like you have to wait absolute pages before that happens.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I Need Recommendations

Yes, yes, I know I skipped yesterday's Weekend catch-up post. But The Trucker & I were mid-fight, so I was not in the mood whatsoever.

We're fine now ... but we've decided we should see if we can find somewhere to go for some counseling. I got quite upset when I read one of the sites say that it's a last resort. I don't feel like that at all ... I feel like we need some constructive tools to help us. We love each other and I can tell you now, when things are good they are blissful and I am pretty much deliriously happy, without question happier than I ever remember being before. But when things are bad (which I'm sure happens to everyone), things are awful. We do not manage each other's bad moods well at all. And while we communicate well in the patch-ups after a fight and are really very honest with each other, we can't seem to communicate very well at all when things are heated. And we are both very stubborn (I spent over an hour locked in the bathroom on Sunday evening simply because I wouldn't accept his help to unlock the door, in case you had any doubt - that said, he is still more stubborn than me! Can you imagine?)

I think the tricky times happen when our moods collide on the same day ... when I am feeling sensitive and needing some extra assurance and he's grumpy and gets annoyed very quickly. That's when the big blow outs happen. So yes, while we're contemplating the counseling, I have some very strict requirements of it ... I don't want "therapy" where you re-hash all the fights and just talk-talk-talk forever. I want somewhere we can go and learn constructive tools that we can take away and use in real life when these situations crop up  to diffuse the situation and not allow things to reach the point we're letting them get to now.

Anyone got something / someone they can recommend? I don't think we're being weak or have reached a last resort here, I think we're saying the good stuff is worth fighting to keep, lets work on improving the bad stuff. I don't think anyone likes fighting with the person they love.

And while we're on the recommendation band-wagon ... I need a new hairdresser. Okay so I probably get my hair cut like once every 2 years. So I've never really had a regular person. Since I just decide to go, book myself in any old where and get it cut. But I had someone recommended to me a few years back and I've seen her twice ... and I really liked what she did. But now when I phoned to make an appointment, I found out she left. And the place really is out of the way for me, so not really worth making the effort if she's not even there. So now where to?

I'm nervous of just walking into a random hair dresser in any old nearby shopping center ... although without recommendations, that's likely what I'll end up doing. Since I really want a cut before we go on holiday and I'm running out of time. #sigh Can anyone recommend someone?

I also need to know who one asks to fix a veranda roof? Apparently it is leaking and dented according to The Trucker's sister ... #sigh

Anyway, so onto the weekend? Friday night was a quiet night in, if I remember correctly. We were both pretty tired from our week. But on Saturday we started the great fridge hunt. But first we had the gardener over and a quick breakfast at home.

I popped into the Angela Day Kitchen at Lifestyle to visit the Nomu pop-up shop. I probably wouldn't have gone if it hadn't been so close, but I'd seen on their blog they had specials on their Recipe Boxes and I've been wanting one since April! They were selling them for R200 and the add-on packs for R25 (so I got 4) and then there was even a lucky-draw discount thrown in when you paid. I managed to get it all for the same price as just the Recipe Box would've cost me :D

It was a fabulous start to the day. But ... having now looked thru the recipe box recipes, I have some recommendations for them. 1. It would be great if there was some kind of indicator on each recipe card as to which section it belonged. I definitely had some mix-ups in my box, and while some were obvious, like finding a dessert in the starters sections, they're not all so easy to spot. And 2. I definitely wish they each had an indication of time on them. I like to have an idea of how much preparation time and cooking time it's likely to take. Longer recipes can't really be cooked on week nights when I get home from Boot Camp at 6pm, if you know what I mean ;)

Then we headed off to Cielo Lifestyle center to check out our future mattress. Okay, so if you're wondering where all this spending is coming from, we've decided to consolidate. We've sold a bunch of old stuff (old cameras, old computer equipment) and duplicate items (washing machines etc). We also decided to sell both fridges and buy ourselves one new one (likely what we'll do with the 3 couches we have at the moment too, 2 of which are sitting in storage anyway). We've been using my fridge, as it is newer, but it is quite tiny. So with the money we've got from the selling we've done so far, we have our eye on a new mattress and fridge.

Saturday's task was to price fridges so it included visits to Hi-Fi Corp, Dion Wired, Makro, Builders and Game. We also checked out PnP Hyper when we went grocery shopping on Sunday and ended up buying our new fridge from Game. It should be arriving today :D

On Saturday we decided to have a decadent large lunch as the main meal of the day and went to Cafe del Sol on a whim ... I was craving pasta. Remind me to stick with my all-time favourite, the Amatriciana (sp?). I had the Prawn Tequila and while nothing (except perhaps home-made) beats their pasta, I was a little disappointed that there were only 5 prawns :(

The rest of Saturday was very lazy and in the evening we watched The Great Gatsby. Wow, you could spot it was a Baz Luhrmann, it had such a similar feel to Moulin Rouge, which is one of my all-time favourite films. I was hoping if The Trucker enjoyed this I would be one step closer to getting him to watch Moulin Rouge, but sadly that didn't happen :( I enjoyed it, but have no need to see it again. The storyline is a bit flat, although prior to watching I had no clue about the storyline.

And Sunday was not spectacular. But I did go shopping, so I have new jeans. Joy!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Here is some Good Advice

Awe. Am full of the warm and happies this morning :) Well, I'd obviously be even more full of them if I could still be in my warm bed cuddled with The Trucker right now (who is no doubt still fast asleep). But still. Tomorrow I can do that, and boy do I plan to! Plus today kinda has that perfect lazy bed morning weather ... All overcast skies and grey.

It's been a good week. Okay so I only managed to make it to Boot Camp twice this week again ... Monday and Tuesday are the easy ones. It's getting myself back there on Thursday that I'm struggling with. So yeah, I did that. And I skipped SCM Dinner on Tuesday evening. Was feeling decidedly blue and anti-social at the start of this week.

Plus I knew I'd be seeing the same crowd on Wednesday night at @clairam's Half Birthday celebration dinner at Schwabing. Which generally I am not a real fan of, but since I don't remember the last time I was there, it was acceptable as a venue choice. I actually think I've found "my thing" on their menu finally ... their Schweizer Schnitzel (it's the cheesey cheese one). I do want to try their Hungarian Goulash as well. I have such brilliant memories of goulash while (attempting) skiing in Austria, in 1997 Chirstmas hols ... but I'm not sure if that was due more to exhaustion and setting than the food itself. I've never found another that I've held in such high regard. I will say that I was very pleased to find Gluhwein on their menu ... which I do so love in winter :)

So that was fun. Then last night, The Trucker and I had a wonderful evening. It wasn't really planned as a Surprise Date Night, but I guess it did sorta turn out to be one. I'd booked us tickets to go see Tim Plewman's new show, The Last Moustache. But, first we needed dinner.

Number 15 on my list of Date Night restaurants was in Braamfontein so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it :) I'd added it to the list when @PastExperiences mentioned it on twitter a while back ...

So I did some hunting online and found the facebook page for 86 Public (after accidentally calling the number on the Google+ page which is incorrect ... it belongs to Percy who was involved in the start-up of the restaurant, but he was very helpful) and made a booking.

Oh. My. Word. I think this was the cherry on top of our evening. What a fantastic little pizza spot. They don't have their liquor license yet (they'd told me when I booked and their corkage pricing, but we opted not to take any along), but we enjoyed our Coke Zero in wine glasses. And we ordered 2 of their medium-sized pizzas to share.

Superb. Loved them both! We had number 27: Bacon, dark chocolate, feta and pear (the last time I had a combo like this was at Lapa Fo, now closed, which I'd loved but haven't seen it since, so I could not resist!) and number 19: Bacon, chilli, feta and avocado (yes, yes, my standard). They have some other delish sounding options, but The Trucker wasn't up for a veggie pizza :( Haha.
When I saw the pizzas on the table next to ours, I was a little nervous ... the bases look solid. But they weren't, they were light and neither of us felt like we'd over-eaten or "heavy" from the pizza at all. Seriously, make the trip and try this little place :)

And then we popped over the Nelson Mandela bridge (which was very colourfully lit up) and headed to the construction site that is currently the Market Theatre. I am very curious to know what they're doing there. And there seemed to be a lot of parking confusion (Standard Bank's Joy of Jazz is currently on and people seem to be trying their luck to get into the Theatre's parking area). But we managed fine. And then had a quick drink at the bar before heading in to watch The Last Moustache.

Wow. I didn't really know what to expect, I just knew it was Tim Plewman and something about Hitler. And I so enjoyed his Defending the Caveman years ago, so it seemed like a no-brainer to book tickets to this. Plus I do so enjoy doing something different :)

It was amazing. It's 75 minutes non-stop. He plays a myriad of different characters to tell the story, the alternate story of Hitler's last days. It's not a comedy, although there are funny moments. It is, however, brilliant. Well scripted, spectacularly acted and very clever. Also, it worked superbly well in the intimate theatre setting of the Laager Theatre. It's still showing for another week, so I reckon you should get yourselves tickets!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Chicago, 1931. A strange house gives serial-killer Harper the power to travel through time; to hunt and kill his "shining girls". They're bright young women full of spark - until he cuts it out of them, leaving clues from different times behind to taunt fate.

Mkay, so I really wanted to love this book ... I was looking forward to reading it for ages (and yes, if I can get my hands on a signed copy, I'll still definitely buy a copy for myself!), but I dunno. It's an interesting concept, a time-traveling serial killer. But I still got a little lost along the way. In the beginning you read on, assuming it'll all come together and make sense in the end. And it kinda mostly did. But I think it still missed something ... and I can't quite pin point exactly what it was or should've been.

I still think you should read it, I really do adore a South African author :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hamster Wheel

Ah another Monday. They seem to roll around too fast. And I'm having one of those life-crisis things again. You know the one, where you feel like life is the same day in and day out. Where you just need a break, and not a holiday, because I rarely get rested on those - haha. I mean like a pause button. This whole wash-rinse-repeat of getting up early, going to work, going to gym, dinner, sleep thing is getting me down. I know it's probably the same for everyone and we all go thru it occasionally ... you know, whatever your routine happens to be.

Seriously, I wish for days of doing nothing, of waking up late ... but see, we do have weekends and even then I can't do nothing. It feels like wasted time. I know, how very contrary of me :/

Anyway, I suppose I'm just feeling a little blue right now. And I'm feeling anti-social, which I'm quite sure adds to it. And having (briefly) started boot camp again, I suddenly have no time to myself anymore. It's weird. I actually do enjoy boot camp (usually afterwards), which is more than I can say for gym. But I still begrudge the time it takes out of my day. And I wonder how people with kids manage ... where do they find the time?

The weekend was decent. I was working from home on Friday. Am still not feeling 100% today, but since I have no specific tasks to work on right now, it's harder to work from home ... which is why I didn't stay there today. I actually probably should've and just come in after the traffic. I struggled to get up this morning, since I woke myself in a coughing fit at about 4:30am. Luckily I managed to get a few more minutes sleep before my alarm, but it certainly did not feel sufficient. Thank goodness the sun is coming up earlier. The skies are getting much lighter on my drive in, which definitely helps.

On Friday evening we went for drinks which turned into dinner with one of The Trucker's friends and her little 4yr old boy (the ones we went to Sodwana with). They picked Chilling Thyme Cafe, which was mostly okay. The pizza's were average but I liked their use of avo (not stingy). The real downside was the rugby that the large table next to us was shouting loudly at. Ah well.

On Saturday we had no plans, which meant a lovely lazy morning. Although it was The Trucker's sister's birthday and exactly one month till we fly to USA! We popped round to say Happy happy to her. It's hard for me going there, seeing my old house. It feels mostly sad. And there is always some issue she wants to tell me about o_0. This time the verandah roof is apparently leaking and needs fixing. #sigh Can anyone recommend someone? I don't even know where to start or what type of person to look for.

After that we headed to Belle's Patisserie. I'd read on twitter earlier in the week that they were launching their new Crois-nuts on Friday. Okay, I realise that this probably isn't as exciting as I think. And honestly it hasn't been very long since I first even heard of a cronut. But I read about it a while back as the latest pastry craze to hit New York, and was debating trying one there. Although not very seriously since apparently the queues are crazy!

And then the opportunity arrived to try something similar (cause apparently it's been trademarked or something?) right here in Jozi and I figured, hell, why not? So off we went. We tried the variety: Custard, Chocolate and Strawberry. We only skipped the plain. And really, in both our opinions, only the custard one is worth it. And it is *amazing*. I've never been a fan of that think icing on actual donuts either so it's no surprise I wasn't enthralled with it on these either. But those custard ones ... seriously, get one.

After that we headed to the Apartheid Museum. Neither of us had ever been. It was quite hectic. Surreal is probably the word I'd use. I couldn't believe how similar it felt to Holocaust Museums I've been to. Now, I don't really remember any of apartheid, the first vaguely related thing I remember is in Std 4 (Grade 6, 1991) when our school became Model C and anyone could attend. I think I was probably 10 or 11. And, I remember the '94 elections. I didn't really understand much about Nelson Mandela's release from prison or how it was significant.

It's hard to express how I feel about it, so I'm not going to try. But I'm glad I went. I think I'd like to go to Liliesleaf sometime too. There was also a temporary exhibition on about the life of Mandela as well. Bwahahaha, after looking online it seems they have a very flexible view on "temporary" as the exhibition seems to have opened in 2008!

After that we stopped for some lunch at Salvation Cafe. Every time we have breakfast there I think we really should try them for lunch, the menu looks amazing. But it didn't seem so amazing to me once we were there for lunch. We both had the Salvation Gourmet Beef Burger. I hate it when places have "extras" but when you add them to a simpler meal they don't add up to what they charge you on the more complex meal. Oh well. The burger was nice, a bit too big for me, I didn't touch the roll or my chips. The Trucker enjoyed his tho.

The rest of the day was spent doing nothing much. We finished S3 of The Killing, which I thought wasn't nearly as good as the 2 seasons before. There was too much I felt they didn't tie-up. And The Trucker managed to predict whodunnit around episode 4. I maintain he just picked the 3 least likely characters as his options and it seems so did the writers :P

On Sunday we took The Trucker's sister & niece to breakfast at Doppio and then did our grocery shopping. He had a very industrious afternoon, cleaning more beer bottles, in anticipation of his first batch being ready sometime this week. So far he does not have nearly enough bottles for the 50L he is making. And he is already planning what he'll make next ... and that he needs another 2 buckets! Haha, the bug has bitten. I hope it tastes decent. He also cleared out his old clothes (which have been taking up our entire spare room cupboard since we moved) and got the cars washed. Me, I finished watching Call The Midwife.

And just like that, the weekend was suddenly over :( We had pasta for dinner (fast becoming a Sunday night tradition) and watched The Iceman. Which wasn't at all what I expected ... I expected something about this guy. Although it has led to some Wikipedia investigation, since it was based on a real person. Which I always like. But the movie itself, I felt, was pretty flat. As is often the case with true life stories.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Again *eye roll*

Urgh. I appear to be sick again. This has not been my winter. At all. I was lamenting to The Trucker how I must be getting old ... I never ever remember getting sick as often as this winter. And it hasn't even been an especially cold winter !! Clearly my immune system is not what it was ... hence the getting old :/

So I write this from my bed ... at least now I can work from home (we have ADSL now!). This week is probably a combination of Oppi on the weekend and starting up at Boot Camp this week. Managed to go twice, but last night I was just feeling too blocked up and sinusey to try. Sheesh but I suffered with the welcome back to exercise routine this week. Haven't been since April and it shows. Ah well, I'll get back into it.

Other than that this week has been fairly uneventful. Have been feeling rather anti-social this week. But I did drag myself to SCM, which was delish. Other than that I haven't done much at all this week.

Oh, I did manage to get my hands on the new Shortstraw album, Good Morning, Sunshine. Some kind soul (@jaxonrice) used some vouchers he had to buy the album for me, because I don't have an itunes account (and I don't really want one). I am loving this album ... even tho it isn't the one with Keanu Reeves :(

Monday, August 12, 2013

Oppikoppi 2013: Bewilderbeast

Wow, just wow.

I had an absolutely fantastic weekend. Seriously, loved it. We finished work early on Thursday afternoon. Worked from home especially. The Trucker did the grocery shop (far too much, as usual!) and we packed up the car and headed to Northam Farm. We arrived at about 4pm. Still plenty of light and no traffic to speak of getting there.

Our advance party (of two) had gone ahead on Wednesday and demarcated a camp site and we set up our tent. Very exciting. Although it wouldn't turn out to be completely perfect. We were warm and I absolutely love our bigger tent! But, the mattress was very disappointing ... the legs were ideal, we put a space blanket under the inflatable mattress and a blanket on top (all inside the mattress's casing), but unfortunately it just would not stay inflated. And, such is life, we could only use the car pump the first time, after that our tent, with our mattress, was just too far from the car. We hand-pumped plenty this weekend. Less than thrilled. But that was the only disappointment. We were warm and snug in there.

We watched plenty of bands and it was pretty awesome :) We started on Thursday evening with Crash Car Burn (on the James Philips stage), which we left half way thru to try to catch a little Shotgun Tori all the way up the hill at the Ray-Ban Top Stage. But we completely missed her and ended up watching a little Shortstraw Unplugged instead. We only stayed for about 3 songs because the place was completely packed. But we did hear Keanu Reeves for the first time and it definitely became the can't-stop-singing-along song of the weekend for The Trucker & I! Brilliant.

Also, wondered momentarily why Crash Car Burn sounded so familiar ... till I realised the lead singer was from Tweak and they played one of their old songs. Ah, I remember watching them at Party in the Car Park in August 2004.

I won't lie, aside from our deflating mattress, sleeping wasn't easy at Oppi. People stay awake, talking, laughing, playing music from their cars. It all carries. The worst was Thursday night tho, when the 2 other campers in our group of 6 arrived just after midnight and then stayed up ... this attracts all sorts of drunk or high weirdos wandering the camps, I presume looking for their own campsite, or maybe just someone to talk to / yell at. But aside from that, we generally got a decent amount of sleep, but with many wake-ups during the night. That and the distance to the loos was probably my least favourite thing about Oppi. I dunno why they couldn't have portaloos spread out around the whole campsite?

On Friday we got up and had some coffee around the campsite before heading up to grab some food for breakfast. On the whole the food was just average, I thought. Some people absolutely raved about it, but I think it a) depends on what you're used to eating and b) how drunk you were. We tried a variety, it was all pretty tasty (except for one bland schwarma) but nothing stands out in my mind. Oh, except those waffles on a stick! But again, it's festival food, it needs to be produced en masse and quickly. I didn't try one of the Burger Express burgers (except their bacon, egg & cheese roll for breakfast) because the queues were just prohibitive. But apparently they were fab.

We took our camping chairs with us on Friday when we went up and set up in the shade at Wesley's Dome to eat our breakfast rolls and catch Woodstock Mafia at midday. Jam's little brother plays in the band so I couldn't miss it. Really enjoyed it, I think I might have to buy their new album (Update: have just pre-ordered it here!). After that we headed back to camp and chilled out in the heat of the day. Sheesh, after some really nice overnight drizzle and a soggy Cape Town-type morning, Friday got quite warm. Thursday night also spoilt us (we soon found out) by being unusually warm (assume because of the cloud cover).

In the afternoon, we headed back up to the stages to watch Fuzigish on James Philips at 5pm. This was followed by a little Koos Kombuis Tribute on Wesley's, which we didn't stay for much of, and then Gangs of Ballet on James Philips. We headed back to camp after that, for some rest and warmth next to the fire but made it back for Shadowclub on Wesley's.

After that we went back and climbed onto bed, still clothed, waiting in anticipation for the possible Jack Parow. We had intended to watch him but then he got arrested the day before Oppi and was apparently cancelled. Rumor had it, by Saturday, that it had all been a publicity stunt and he'd still be playing in his 1am slot. But Shadowclub told us that although he wasn't playing, it was still worth coming to see, there was a surprise in store. Okay, so for us this completely back-fired. Although we set our alarm and woke up in time to head back, we were freezing and tired and not prepared to take the chance on if he was or wasn't playing. If only they'd just said yep, he'll still be there. We soon head from our bed that he was, but by then it was too late to get re-dressed and head up. We listened to Hosh Tokolosh from bed and went quickly to sleep.

Saturday was the big day, but we didn't have anything on our to-watch schedule till 4pm. So we had a fabulous relaxed morning around camp. The Trucker & I actually managed to get a hot shower too, thanks to Samsung and my Galaxy S4 :) I wasn't very happy at the time of my shower ... they were pretty muddy, there was no shower curtain and so there wasn't much space available to keep things dry. And The Trucker had hidden the shower gel, folded inside his towel at the bottom of the bag ... but by the time he had finished his shower, I was very happy to have had one. I had cooled down and was enjoying having clean finger nails again :) It's the little things. Haha.

Speaking of Samsung ... and Android, unfortunately the Oppi Beer Drone was a dismal failure this year. It's the first time they've tried it, so I can only assume, because it is a very cool concept, they'll be working on it more before next year and it'll be better. But this year it was pretty much useless, as far as we were concerned. I had pretty much non-existent signal with Cell C (only managed better than Edge once!) so when I loaded it up, it just showed the map. There were no instructions on what to do, so we zoomed the map around to where our campsite was and filled in the form. We never saw the drone.

Later The Trucker connected with his Vodacom signal and suddenly there was a little man on the map. But we couldn't move him and the 2 times we saw him, he was in different places and neither of them were near our campsite. So we gave up.

We did see the drone doing quite a few drops over the James Philips stage while watching shows, but mostly they seemed to drift too far from where they were dropped and ended up at the top of thorn trees (which people still climbed into to get to them) or on the roof of the stage (once). I think they need to be lower down before they let them go, but that is just me ... I did still think it was a super cool idea.

On Saturday we started with Jeremy Loops, which was pretty cool. Must try to see him again in a smaller venue, I reckon. But we left a little early to try and catch some more Shortstraw on the Skellum stage. We caught the last few songs and were more than thrilled when they did a quick encore of Keanu Reeves :D Concert. Made.

We watched a little of Toya Delazy before we headed back to camp. Her voice is amazing although I don't really like the style. Her back-up singers were absolutely hysterical tho.

Later we came back for Mango Groove, which were the most phenomenal thing we saw the whole weekend. I think it was because a) they were early enough that it wasn't yet freezing and we weren't yawning our heads off and b) I knew the words to almost every single song. It was incredible. Special Star gave me goosebumps. But it did make me realise I seriously missed out on going to Oppi back when I knew South African artists better ... the days of Wonderboom, Tweak, Jo Day, Qkumba Zoo etc. While I have, without doubt, enjoyed hearing new bands, quite a few who's CDs I'll now be getting, it must be an infinitely better experience knowing the band's songs.

Then it was dinner time while we waited for The Narrow. I only really know one of their songs, Lonely Lonely, and when they played that it was fantastic! Then we watched Yellowcard and then it was time for Deftones. I wasn't remotely excited about this, I don't know them at all, but The Trucker was super keen. I think he loved it, I mostly froze while trying to stay standing (my feet were absolutely killing me by this stage!).

We didn't stay for their whole set and headed back to camp at about 00h15, set our alarm for 5am, pumped up our mattress and fell straight to sleep.

Yip, we managed to be up at 5am, took the tent down and got on the road early early! We were home before 8am, and that included a quick take-out breakfast stop at the Wimpy in Harties. We had a quick shower / bath and then hopped back into (a real) bed and slept till almost midday.

It was perfect. We got plenty of washing done, had lots of cuddles with the GypsyCat, got grocery shopping done and generally relaxed :)

Yes, I'd love to go back next year ... it's their 20th!

Thursday, August 08, 2013


Well it hasn't been a great week. But I am bursting with excitement this morning, because later we're off to my first Oppikoppi festival :D

The Trucker & I were out of sorts this week. He worked late at home on Monday night (the kind of working that involves sitting at the dining room table with noise cancelling headphones on ... so pretty much like he wasn't actually there at all). Then on Tuesday I had arranged dinner with @WhizBangLouLou. Funny story, we were throwing around restaurant ideas last week when we arranged it so on the day I said well I guess it's that Indian place, I can't think of anything else. And so t was arranged.

However, I only remembered the first Indian place she'd suggested, The Curry Palace (since we went to 1920 last time, it's in the same center). But she remembered the other Indian place she mentioned ... and so, at 7pm, we sat messaging each other from different restaurants completely, both saying we were there and had a table. Paha. So funny.

So, I got back in my car and went to join her at Red Chilli Spice at The Colony. We had a great evening catching up. And on Tuesday's you get a free craft beer with your curry. It was Naked Mexicans this week. Not bad. We both had Butter Chicken. Not as amazing as my usual Chicken Mahknie but still yummy :)

Last night The Trucker had cricket, but managed to be home for dinner. Am very glad things are back to normal :) Now to get thru half a day of work before we head off on our noisy dusty adventure!

Monday, August 05, 2013

More Awesome

Well we had a fantastic weekend! Friday I stayed for after work drinks to catch up with @bronwyngale and then headed home where The Trucker was already lazing on the couch. Neither of us could decide on dinner so we got Steers. I've been wanting to try out their Rib burger (usually I have a Prince) ... I wasn't very impressed :( We stayed in and watched I Give It a Year.

Meh, it was terribly predictable and a horrible representation of marriage :/ But I did enjoy seeing Patrick Jane and Ellen from Damages.

This continues our losing streak of movie-watching ... we'd watched Identity Thief on  Thursday evening. I keep trying to explain to The Trucker that there is a reason that these are the ones we end up watching at home on TV and not in the cinema, cause they're probably not very good, but you're kinda still curious to see them anyway. But it does rather leave you feeling like that was 2hrs you'll never get back - haha.

On Saturday morning we headed off to do a few errands and somehow had the most wonderful all-over morning. We started with a visit to Lifestyle, where we breakfasted at Primi (not especially impressive as far as breakfasts go), and then went to Westpak so The Trucker could buy some gear to start his new Home Brewing hobby. Then we tried Northgate for a phone cover for me. Yay, found one I absolutely love! It's a Capdase soft jacket in primary red.

Then off to Builders to get some plumbing stuff so The Trucker could fix our leaking hot water tap in the bathroom sink. And then since it was still pretty early and we didn't have to be anywhere till 3pm, we headed to The Home Brew Shop so he could actually buy the rest of his brewing equipment. And then we popped past Filo for some frozen yoghurt on the way home. I tried a mix of their pistachio and caramel and it was *amazing* :D

Then when we got home we decided to set up our Oppi camp, just to try everything out ... we hadn't even opened the mattress yet! I was kinda intending to sleep outside in the tent on Saturday night just so we could gauge how cold it really might be (while we were still within reach of more blankets). But it turned out our Air Pump for the old mattress seems to have died as well. Just as well we found that out now and not next weekend! Haha.

Then The Trucker had to head off to do some work admin and when he got home, we headed off a little early to Rosebank. We had an amazing early dinner / late lunch at Tasha's, which although I won't go to for breakfast, I am a huge fan of the rest of their meals. We were also extra specially spoilt by @nadia_ass's hubby who manages the place. I had their Spaniard Quesidilla and The Trucker had their Chicken Prego Tramezini. Both were superb, but I think I totally won!

After that we headed to the Gautrain Station for the Bloody Book Week Murder on the Gautrain event. So it didn't turn out to be quite what we expected, we thought it'd be more of a whodunnit sort of murder mystery dinner type thing. But it wasn't, it was more a write your own adventure type thing. Still great fun.

We pulled authors names out of a bag and I was in Amanda Coetzee's group while The Trucker was with Michele Rowe. We rode the train to Hatfield station in our groups, all the while deciding the plot of our story, to be written around the one page scene we were all given as a kick-off point. The story couldn't be more than 500 words. And when we arrived on the other side, we were given wine and canapes while each author typed up the story.

It was great fun listening to all the stories in the end. The Trucker's group won, typical - haha. And I bought 2 more books and got them signed. Who can resist a signed book by a South African author?

On Sunday morning we thought we'd get a late sleep but instead we decided to get the grocery shopping out of the way first and then headed back home for breakfast. The way the Pick n Pay queues have been lately later in the day, we've been skipping any shopping there anyway. But at 9am it was much better ... aside from the stock not yet on the shelves.

The Trucker made us amazing home-baked croissants with scrambled egg and bacon for breakfast. And then we took down our tent and The Trucker actually made his 2 batches of beer. I chatted on the phone to Dad hearing about my grandfather and his Home Brew, which when I was little I didn't think was such an interesting thing, damn I wish I'd paid more attention then! We bought a new air pump before heading to @clairam's for the 14th Annual Hot Dog Party where we spent the rest of the afternoon.

Another lovely weekend :)

Friday, August 02, 2013

Fun New Things

Well it's been a busy-ish week. On Tuesday I went to SCM and on Wednesday I got my brand spanking new Samsung Galaxy S4. I love it. No doubt I'm not even using close to it's capabilities yet ... but it's so pretty and works so well. Has been ages since I was so happy with a phone upgrade ;)

Although I remain skeptical about the move to Cell C. I moved because they have a better deal for the price (although that may now all end up being a moot point since we're hoping to install adsl at home fairly soon ... in fact, the Telkom landline installation is scheduled for today). But regardless, I switched from Vodacom, which I have been on from day one.

The initial service wasn't great ... I popped into the Cell C store on Monday afternoon to find out what I needed. I had to wait ages just to speak to someone. There seem to only be 3 people who work at this store in Northgate and mostly they seem flooded. Anyway, on Tuesday I went back, armed with the necessary and signed up. With the intention of them activating the port on my account on Thursday (01 August). But on Wednesday morning I called Vodacom to find out when exactly my contract with them would be ending and apparently they'd already switched me to pre-paid. These days with WiFi at home and work, it's barely noticeable when you actually can't use your phone to phone (I mean who does that anymore? Haha).

So I called Cell C later (when they opened at 9am) and said they could go ahead and start the port and I would collect my phone after work. Yippee yay!

So when I called just before leaving work, it turns out they hadn't even started the port ... rushed off their feet, short staffed, so busy. They'd do it for me later today and I could collect my phone tomorrow.

I decided that was nonsense. Surely if I went into the store, I could take my 10 minutes as their customer and they could do it then, I could still get my fancy new phone and it could port overnight. Winning.

So I did that. It only took me an hour at the store (again, with the same 3 staff members I'd seen on ever visit before - no idea how many they usually have). And by the time I left there was barely any standing space left in the store it was so crowded with people waiting for attention. One staff member was tied up by a single customer who had apparently been there for 2 hrs trying to get her billing issue resolved.

Anyhow. Glad I'd done my paper work in advance, I just had to wait while they had multiple attempts to put thru my port ... the first staff member was just a trainee and the second time the system hung.

But I took home the phone and on WiFi I could get everything set up and start playing :) Sadly I lost a bunch of my contacts ... I think in retrospect it's because they were stored on my old Sim and not on the phone perhaps (because I didn't lose everyone). But now I've finished cleaning up and setting up who I actually want. A clean-up is always good :) This weekend I'll finish by moving the content (photos etc. from the old S2). I also need to find myself a suitable case for it before Oppi! Any suggestions welcome. Am not 100% sold on the Flip Cover .... although for Oppi perhaps what I need is a ziplock bag for the phone, cover and all o_O haha.

On Wednesday evening we headed to Indulgence Cafe with @clairam and @obitadicta for a Beer Tasting event by League of Beers.What a great evening!

I'd never been to (or even heard of) Indulgence Cafe before, but it's quite a cute little spot ... would not be out of place in Riebeck West! The food (by Lollipops Catering) was a selection of curries. Man, the Green Curry was good, made me wonder why I haven't had any in ages! Haha.

And then the drinking began in earnest. I think what League of Beers could've benefited from was perhaps print-outs for each patron with a list of the beers they were tasting, a scorecard even ... Or just to have a shelf up somewhere showing each bottle. I decided to make my own so that we all knew what we were drinking currently and could compare it, knowing exactly what we'd drunk previously. Plus it looked damn cool by the end :)

Okay so I pretty much already know I'm not an avid beer drinker. But I have enjoyed the craft beer festivals this year immensely. This is a little different. And I didn't enjoy many of the beers. I love the Darling Brew Bone Crusher (a well known fact). And the best I can say about the rest is I think I might try the &Union lager (2nd) and the Clarens Brewery English Ale (4th) again ... And it was very clear that I am not an IPA fan AT ALL.

Anyway, we had a great evening :) I highly recommend trying one of these just for the experience ... since it is different to a Craft Beer festival as you taste everything and you might find something you like you wouldn't have tried before? They have another event on this evening at one of my favourite restaurants, Eatery JHB, and it looks like there are 2 tickets left :)

I worked from home again yesterday and we had Mom's Mac 'n Cheese (we'd frozen a dish when she was up here) for dinner.

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