In her acceptance speech for Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Tina Fey announced that she was proud to make her home in "the 'not-real America'". It is perhaps that healthy sense of incongruity that makes the head writer, executive producer, and star of NBC's Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock such a cogent observer of the contemporary scene.
Bossypants, her entertaining new memoir, shows that strangeness has been her constant companion. Fey's stories about her childhood in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania are only appetizers for LOL forays into her college disasters, honeymoon catastrophes, and Saturday Night Live shenanigans. Most funny read of the month; the best possible weekend update.
So this was a bit of a weird read ... since I've never actually watched SNL or 30 Rock. So I don't really know much about Tina Fey. Aside from her being a comedian / comedy writer and seeing a few YouTube clips. I did enjoy the book. But I suspect it would be better suited to someone who had more context.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
In her acceptance speech for Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Tina Fey announced that she was proud to make her home in "the 'not-real America'". It is perhaps that healthy sense of incongruity that makes the head writer, executive producer, and star of NBC's Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock such a cogent observer of the contemporary scene.
It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners - and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage - in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.
So a friend on Goodreads read this and seemed to enjoy it so I added it to my list. I also added it to The Trucker's niece's Xmas Pressie ... so I wanted to read it beforehand. I was not disappointed. I thought it was a great girly YA book and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment.
You know when after you've finished reading a book and every time you think about getting your Kindle to read some more you're a little disappointed cause it's already finished and you're actually reading something completely different now. This book was like that for me.
|* These books are part of the Finishing School series: Etiquette & Espionage (2013), Curtsies & Conspiracies (2013), Waistcoats & Weaponry (2014)|
1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
Well, The Trucker and I increased our menagerie by one new bunny (named Smudge) and a little Miniature Schnauzer girl-pup who we named Pepper. The first dog I've had since leaving home <3
Oh, and then there's that little matter of Getting Pregnant!
We also renovated our whole house in 2 weeks, pretty amazeballs.
2. Did anyone close to you give birth?
The first of our SCMDinner crew, @Thunderkitty6, had a little boy in January. And quite a few people at work. And DJ Mike & his wife. And, as always, about a billion people on my Facebook timeline ... next year I'll be one of them :D
3. Did anyone close to you die?
My paternal grandfather, Ed.
4. Did anyone close to you get married?
A guy I've known since high-school (!)
5. What countries did you visit?
Turkey (sorry, *still* have not posted about this trip properly yet) ... and more of South Africa (on our Cape Roadtrip and Kruger Long Weekend)
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
I think 2015 is going to be quite the year of change ... new baby, moving to Cape Town. So I reckon there is enough that I'm already going to have in 2015 that I didn't this year!
7. What date, from 2014, will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Almost getting sued for a blog post!
And, of course, finding out we were pregnant and telling the family and seeing that little heartbeat for the first time ... and watching The Littlest One grow from scan to scan to scan <3
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Is it pathetic to say getting pregnant? I know it happens to lots of people completely randomly and all, but we waited and planned and tried, all on purpose. And I was more than a little nervous about it not being as easy as it turned out to be. Those months of waiting are stressful!
9. What was your biggest failure?
Can't think of anything particular this year.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had that neck issue that I had to go to a physio for ... and The Trucker ended up in a Moon Boot. Does that count?
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Dunno. Do all the supplies for our house renovation count? What about all the new Baby paraphenalia?
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Always, The Trucker. This year has really shown and reminded me how patient he actually is. He's been amazing since I got pregnant and certainly does more than his fair share of house-stuffs (including almost all the cooking). I am too lucky and so spoilt <3
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Erm, dunno. The world? It's been a pretty shocking year news- and society-wise. Somehow I suspect it's not going to change anytime soon either tho.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Travel and Home Renovations!
Oh, and Gynae visits o_0
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Okay, so this one is kinda obvious ... the fact that we got pregnant and the whole experience. Actually, I've remained pretty calm, but it's definitely the one thing I wouldn't trade for anything from this year!
16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Ways to Go by Grouplove
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? I think I'm prob about the same ...
Thinner or fatter? Fatter ... but I'm growing a human here!
Richer or poorer? Definitely poorer :(
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? and 19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
I don't really have an answer for either of these ... I think I did pretty damn well all round in 2014.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
This year it's The Trucker's family's turn so we'll be heading to his mom's house in the Free State on Xmas eve and spending Xmas day there before heading back to Joburg. Then on Boxing Day we're flying to Cape Town for a week and doing a "delayed" Xmas with my family.
21. How will you be spending New Year?
No idea. We are very boring. Especially since I can't even drink this year o_0 Haha.
22. Did you fall in love in 2014?
Nope, but very definitely stayed in love with my Trucker <3
23. How many one-night stands?
24. What was your favourite TV programme?
From shows that started this year, I'd say How To Get Away With Murder, Z Nation and Stalker. Oh, and let's not forget The Knick!
25. What did you want and get?
Pregnant! Oh, and we're having a little girl, which I was definitely hoping for :)
26. What did you want and not get?
Yeah, feeling pretty blessed about 2014 so got nothing for this one either.
27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
This year I turned 34 and got a super early birthday celebration at the office, with a real-live bunny this year! (Sadly I couldn't keep him)
And then The Trucker and I were on our Cape Roadtrip, staying at Addo, on my actual birthday.
28. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
29. Who did you miss?
Actually probably my Grandfather, Gum Drop. There were quite a few moments this year where I was reminded of him and thought of him and was sad he wasn't here anymore.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Shewee. That was our last "regular programming" weekend on 2014. And the final 2 working days have begun. Although I suspect they'll be fairly unproductive, honestly. The drive to work today was total bliss! And I can't help wondering if it felt calm like this every day, how much that would affect our mindsets and stress levels. I sometimes think we forget life wasn't always like this for everyone.
The weekend was pretty good. I'm still apparently being difficult because I don't know what to tell people to get me. #sigh. Haha.
On Friday evening we got pizza and watched Gone Girl. Brilliant. Finally something The Trucker couldn't predict ;) I thought it did very well against the book. But I don't think it ended the same ... it's been a while tho. Seriously, there are so few good movies at the moment, watch this one!
On Saturday we had to go collect my mom's gift from somewhere far away (the East) so figured we'd spoil ourselves with some Salvation Cafe breakfast to end the year (it has been too long!). We were very disappointed to find it closed and the only other option there was Vovo Telo. Which, really, would never be on my list. I find their breakfasts boring and insufficient. And this time was no different. Very annoying having this awesome expectation and ending up with something functional but disappointing :( Plus Stanley Beer Yard was apparently having their Xmas function later in the day and they were blaring their music over the Vovo Telo music and patrons. It was a very unpleasant way to start the day.
But anyhoo ... then it was off to collect Mom's gift. Damn, I wish we'd been able to find it in Cape Town. It's a rather irregular shape and size ... so luckily it's being sent down on one of the The Trucker's connection's trucks to Cape Town today. I think we would've struggled taking it on the plane. Thank goodness that even tho he's out of the trucking business, he still has friends who can help out :)
Then we headed to Woodmead to try finish up the rest of our Xmas shopping. It was chaos.
And when we got home, did we relax? Well, some of us did (me). The Trucker mowed the lawn and laid down some compost. The garden looks awesome! And then we invited some friends over for a braai. What a great evening :)
On Sunday we met up with some other friends at Urban Angel for breakfast and then headed to Rosebank. Now that I'm doing my photo wall again, I need some more frames for the new photos (adding what I could find from The Trucker's side of the family).
Then we really were shattered by the time we got home. The rest of Sunday was very quiet.
Did I mention we've now managed to buy all the plastic dinosaurs and we've ordered the wood for the nursery's DIY projects? Unfortunately sorting thru the spare room is no closer to being done o_0
Oh, and I had a visit to the vet with Gyps on Friday morning :( Her one eye seemed to have a lot of gunk in it. So I took her just to get checked. Turns out she has 4 tiny ulcers in her eye (they drop in this stuff that makes it glow green!). So she's been on eye drops since then. Currently she is hating me :( Back to the vet this afternoon, and hopefully it'll be sorted! Fingers crossed ...
Friday, December 19, 2014
Well it hasn't been such a bad week. Work is showing no sign of slowing down, but the days full of meetings have ground to a halt so have managed to work from home yesterday & today so am getting quite a lot done from the comfort of my bed (my back has started really taking strain - pregnancy symptom, I presume?).
Aside from that we had a lovely public holiday on Tuesday, which was disguised as a Satuday: busy morning and lazy afternoon. We had dinner out with some friends at Let's Meat. This time I tried their Nutella & Chili Chocolate sauce with a fillet. Shew. Decadent. But a little too burny for my mouth when I accidentally ate one of the chili chunks. Glad I tried it but doubt I'll have that one again. The Trucker had the Surf & Turf sauce I had last time.
And last night we headed to The Gourmet Garage for a long overdue catch-up with CollegeInstructor. He's been on holiday for ages (seriously, I think it was something like 6-8 weeks!) in Mexico and Cuba so was awesome to hear about it. Sadly we all decided Gourmet Garage has outlived it's deliciousness. It's been ages since we were last their. And although nothing beats those chili-cheese fries, the rest wasn't as good as we remembered it being previously.
And that is that. I reckon I can survive the 2 days left of work next week before Xmas break ;) Nervous about Xmas pressies arriving in time ... sposed to be collecting Mom's tomorrow and The Trucker's niece's should be arriving next week. I couldn't get what I wanted for The Peeb so back to the drawing board for that o_0 Oh, and NOTHING has been wrapped. #sigh. Oh yes, and The Trucker and I are no closer to any gifts for each other ... It's starting to nag at my brain. I definitely feel like there hasn't been enough time this year. And I have no bright ideas for anyone on what I want since I'm so focused on next year and what we need for the Babe ... so I don't want clothes cause who knows how long they'll fit for, I do want a new handbag but I know I'll need one of those Baby Bag things next year. See, it's like living in a weird limbo till you figure out exactly what you need.
At least I've managed to steer myself away from buying cute baby stuff. Because for the most part the things I have been eyeing, I'm pretty sure she won't be using / needing for at least a few years haha.
Righto, back to work then.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Robert Moreno, an
American citizen living in South America, is shot in the Bahamas by a
sniper. The killing was commissioned by the U.S. government, who
received a tip-off that Moreno was planning a terrorist attack on a U.S.
oil company headquarters. But this intelligence was fatally incorrect:
anti-American Moreno ordered a protest at the oil company, not an
Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are drafted in to investigate. While Sachs traces Moreno’s steps in New York, Rhyme travels to the scene of the crime in Nassau, where he finds himself on a dangerous path trailed by the sniper himself. As details of the case start to emerge, the pair discover that not all is what it seemed. Can they achieve justice and escape with their lives intact?
It's been ages since I read a Lincoln Rhyme novel ... the whole romance between the two of them and him trying to overcome his disability etc. etc. Don't misunderstand, I lovedlovedloved the first in the series ... but nothing since has quite lived up to that. Although most have been good (I think the electricity one is the only one I really didn't enjoy) and this was no exception. It started out a bit iffy ... but it came together in the end. And had some twists, but nothing that shocked me or made me feel differently about the book, really.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Ah, hello 4 day week! Still, it seems too long. Haha. The weekend was good. Met up with @WhizBangLouLou and her "new" (not so new, but first time I've met him) boyf for dinner at Tony's Pizza.
Shew, the pizza there was delish! I went for a half-and-half because I just couldn't make up my mind. And I still don't know which half was my fave! I had half Butternut and half Pizza pesto. I would recommend both :) Yum.
On Saturday we headed to Clearwater for some Xmas shopping. Luckily Mom & Dad have both been sorted already. And now the Brother-in-Law. The only outstanding purchase is the Peeb. Usually she's the easy one ... this year I'm struggling!
I can't actually remember how the rest of Saturday afternoon went ... but we watched Lucy in the evening. It was as rubbish as I'd heard (I tried to warn The Trucker). Seriously, don't watch this.
On Sunday we had breakfast at home and then just as The Trucker was about to leave for cricket he heard it had been cancelled. So he came grocery shopping with me. And then later we went to fetch some plastic dinosaurs I found on Bid or Buy. Sadly they were not what I was looking for, for the Nursery DIY projects. So that was disappointing. And I ended up in a bit of a funk for the afternoon.
But then I started working on the photo wall. I kinda figured we wouldn't bother putting it up because we'll likely move in less than a year. But we were discussing how to clear the current-dumping-ground-future-nursery and that's currently where all the frames are sitting gathering dust (although that's only part of what's cluttering the room currently). The Trucker said just put it up. I adore the photos and they're wasted sitting in a pile on the floor in a room we don't go into. So I got on a mission. Luckily I'd already bought some brown paper. So I started the tracing part. Didn't have enough to do all the frames. And now I need some new frames (for the few photos I managed to get of The Trucker's side of the family).
So yeah, I am on a mission now. First to buy more dinosaurs (Looks like the Crazy Store is the place!) then to get some photos printed and more brown paper bought and then hunt down some new frames ... Hopefully the wall will be hung before the end of Jan!
In the evening we watched The Maze Runner. Hmmmm. I have the book for this series on my Kindle, but haven't read any of them yet ... am not sure that the movie has motivated me to start either. It was a bit iffy and I'm not entirely sure where it's headed. The movie definitely felt like a prequel to something.
Not feeling especially awesome about work right now ... definitely a combo of end-of-year fatigue and feeling overwhelmed with preparation (and expectations) for next year.
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
A woman dies under
suspicious circumstances, supposedly after finding evidence of her
incarcerated brother's innocence. Now to prove a possible murder, Diane
Fallon must root through the victim's family secrets-and the many
skeletons in her closet...
I mostly enjoyed this one. It did seem a little convenient that when they end up investigating multiple murders, they're all related. And, yet again, Dr Fallon ends up in the firing line. I think this is my most consistent complaint about this series.
This one also had a disappointing outcome ... I dunno why exactly. The whole crazy family thing just didn't sit right with me.
|* This book is part of the Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation series: One Grave Too Many (2004), Dead Guilty (2004), Dead Secret (2005), Dead Past (2007), Dead Hunt (2008), Scattered Graves (2008), Dust to Dust (2009), The Night Killer (2010), One Grave Less (2010)|
Monday, December 08, 2014
Awe, we had a really good weekend. It started on Friday afternoon with our office Year End function. Better than last year aside from the fact that I couldn't drink. I stuck with mock-mojitos ... crushed lemon, mint and ice with sprite zero.
I did take strain tho and was pretty exhausted by the time I left (early by some standards) at 19h35.
On Saturday morning we tried a new breakfast (Urban Angel) spot I saw Jenty mention on her blog. I reiterate her comment that we are in sore need of good breakfast spots in that part of Joburg. And I was super impressed with this little spot.
I had a peanut butter, banana and yogurt smoothie with their Bagel Breakfast. It was spot-on. And there are definitely more items on the menu I'll be back to try :)
In the afternoon we headed to Emmerentia for The Lumineers concert. Shewee it was a hot afternoon. We camped out on our picnic blanket under the trees until The Lumineers came on. We ended up near the back, and it's not the best venue in my opinion ... Well, I don't really like Emmerentia in general. I don't think it's much of a Botanical Garden, more of just a park with giant stretches of lawn. I consider Kirstenbosch and Walter Sisulu to be proper Botanical Gardens. So anyway, the sound wasn't great. So I'm glad we got to see them in San Francisco. That was a much better show, I thought. But it was still a nice way to spend an afternoon :)
Unfortunately we got home to no power (of course) so went to bed early with our Kindles.
On Sunday morning we were up fairly early (the power came back at about 3:30am) and headed to Silverstar for breakfast before going to the Tutankhamun exhibition with The Trucker's niece. Not much was open for breakfast but we found a nice little spot called Vigour & Verve.
The exhibition was awesome. One of the best I've been to! I love the little dome "globe" they had it in (so much better than the revolting venue where they had the Da Vinci exhibition, although Silverstar is much further out). And I was super impressed that the audio guides were free. Definitely the way an exhibition should be done! And they had childrens-versions and adult-versions. The flow thru the exhibit was also set up well. Although I got a bit bored towards the end (the rest of the bits and pieces in the tomb don't fascinate me as much as the tomb itself or the mummy).
But seriously, what is with the people taking photos all the way thru the exhibit?! You know it's all replica stuff, right? Just sit back and enjoy and take it in, absorb the experience itself ... unless you're creating a pamphlet or a booklet for the expo, you are NEVER going to look at those photos ever again. I just got irritated because they got in the way and I'm not just talking about people with their cellphones either (they were there too) but there was a woman with her freaking SLR! I do not understand.
After that it was a whirlwind grocery shop and then back to clean the house before our friends came over for a braai. What a great afternoon! We didn't have power again for most of the afternoon, but no one noticed (luckily it went off just after we made the potato salad!). And by the time everyone left (around 6pm) it was back on again.
Friday, December 05, 2014
The Good, The Bad and The Furry: Life with the World's Most Melancholy Cat and Other Whiskery Friends by Tom Cox
Meet THE BEAR - a cat
who carries the weight of the world on his furry shoulders, and whose
wise, owl-like eyes seem to ask, Can you tell me why I am a cat, please?
Like many intellectuals, The Bear would prefer a life of quiet solitude with plenty of time to gaze forlornly into space and contemplate society's ills. Unfortunately he is destined to spend his days surrounded by felines of a significantly lower IQ . . .
RALPH: handsome, self-satisfied tabby, terrified of the clothes horse.
SHIPLEY: mouthy hooligan and champion mouser, rendered insensible by being turned upside-down.
ROSCOE: fiercely independent kitten, tormented by her doppelganger in the mirror.
And then there's Tom, writing with his usual wit and charm about the unexpected adventures that go hand in hand with a life at the beck and call of four cats . . . or three cats and a sensitive poet who just happens to be a foot high and covered in fur.
So I was inspired to read The Moggy Series by @MYSADCAT on twitter. The photos of The Bear often look so like my Gypsy Cat :) The book wasn't quite what I was expecting tho,and although there are some amusing bits, overall it's just a story. I'll still give the rest of the series a try tho.
Isabel Spellman, the
uncompromising - okay, obstinate - twenty-eight year-old San Francisco
private eye in Lisa Lutz's riotous debut novel, THE SPELLMAN FILES has
her share of problems. And those problems all happen to be named
Spellman. Her parents, Albert and Olivia, co-owners of Spellman
Investigations, think nothing of placing their daughter under 24-hour
surveillance simply to find out if she has a new boyfriend. David, her
perfect older brother, who escaped the family business by becoming a
lawyer, is hypercritical of just about everything Isabel says, wears, or
does. Fourteen-year-old sister Rae lives on sugared snacks, considers
recreation surveillance her favorite hobby, and believes that life is
one endless opportunity for intra-familial blackmail. And good-natured
Uncle Ray, a former cop and health food nut, now embraces gambling and
drinking; and when he's not in battle with his niece Rae over the
whereabouts of his favorite shirt, must be rescued from "lost weekends."
Welcome to Izzy Spellman's off-kilter world. Equal parts Sam Spade and Bridget Jones, she's a damn good investigator—if only her dysfunctional family would back off and let her do her thing. Izzy's cynical—okay, wise—enough to realize that a primrose-covered cottage with a white picket fence is not in her future. That's okay with her. Ever the jaded P.I., she catalogs her ex-boyfriends with calculated brevity, reducing her romantic misjudgments to curt summaries of name, age, occupation, hobbies, duration, and last words. No sooner has she met a new man that she begins composing his exit profile.
Hired to trail a husband whose wife suspects he's gay, Isabel easily determines that nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, Daniel Castillo, the object of her subject's misidentified affection, turns out to be a gorgeous—and straight—Guatemalan dentist whom Isabel quickly zeroes in on as the future "Ex-Boyfriend #9." Keeping her family and Daniel from discovering the truth about each other, though, proves harder than she would have guessed. While other parents might be happy to learn that their daughter is dating a professional man, Olivia Spellman has a pathological distrust of dentists. When Isabel discovers that her folks are not only having her followed, but have hired Rae to do it, her outrage pushes her to quit her job at the family agency - even though it's the only job she's ever had and the only thing she does well.
But just because Izzy says she is leaving the family fold doesn't mean that the family has any intention of loosening its hold on her. Besides, she's under contract. So, they make a deal - one last, ice cold case, from twelve years before when a Marin County teen went missing in the woods near Lake Tahoe.
Izzy throws herself into the case, thrilled at the prospect of getting away from Spellman Investigations for good. But then Rae, who has been expertly manipulating every member of the family with her ill-gotten knowledge of their individual secrets, disappears without a trace. Izzy, who loves the little creep in spite of everything, is propelled into the most vital missing person search of her career.
There has never been a heroine quite like Isabel Spellman, or a fictional family exactly like the Spellmans. The laugh-out-loud antics that Lisa Lutz cooks up for this strangely loveable dysfunctional brood vault THE SPELLMAN FILES into the pantheon of comic crime novels that includes the work of Carl Hiassen and Jasper Fforde. With publication rights already sold in over 20 countries and movie plans underway at Paramount, Lisa Lutz's delightful book should prove to be one of the most widely read—and talked about—literary debuts of the year.
Shewee, that is a long blurb. I got it straight off Good Reads. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Off-kilter is the right word. I loved the style it was written in and the tone. It's got some great characters set up and I'm looking forward to delving into the rest of the series!
|* These books are part of The Spellmans series: The Spellman Files (2007), Curse of the Spellmans (2008), Revenge of the Spellmans (2009), The Spellmans Strike Again (2010), Trail of the Spellmans (2012), The Last Word (2013)|
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Shewee, and we're past half way now! It feels like it has flown by but then I remind myself that you don't even actually know you're pregnant till the end of the first month.
Plus I suppose mine feels faster since I haven't had my attention drawn to it constantly by the symptoms (still haven't had anything, really).
It is definitely getting to the point that I am noticing the regular needing to pee thing. And my belly is pretty huge. Centimeter-wise it hasn't actually seemed to grow since 16 weeks. And that along with the fact that I'm still not sure I've felt her move had me nervous in the last week (apparently it'll start any time between 18 & 22 weeks).
The week before a scan always seems to be the most nerve-wracking ... it's the longest time since you last checked up on them and saw they were fine and well.
Yesterday we had our appointment with the Fetal Ultrasound Specialist. Our gynae recommended this appointment from our first meeting. Just to check on all the internal organs and what not, so there are no surprises like a club foot or cleft palate or something at birth. If anything like that is likely you can know in advance and find a specialist and be prepared beforehand. I suppose with the rush of giving-birth hormones, they are trying to minimise the surprises. I'm all for it!
Wow. This scan was just amazing. Seriously, I think it was my favourite so far! The face is there and fully formed. It's incredible to see the little lips and nose and eyes. They measure the nose and the brain and whatnot (no spina bifida). Make sure the cerebellum is growing as it should. And then you get to see all 5 fingers on both hands.
They go thru the rest of the body at a cross-section. We saw the heart's 4 chambers pumping. He measured the arm bones and leg bones. And we saw all 5 toes on both feet. And that both feet are pointing in the same direction (so no club foot).
And he confirmed that we are definitely having a little girl :) I also asked him about the kicking and he showed me that basically she is facing the placenta so that is currently acting as a pillow between her & I, and it has no nerve endings ... so it's quite likely I'll feel her a little later. So all is on track.
All our measurements were normal and our risk of downs halved. Whatever they measure that, if high, is a likely indicator for pre-eclampsia is low for me. And he measured my cervix, which is all good, there should be no risk of pre-term birth.
Basically all is going perfectly. I had tears in my eyes at this scan. Now there is a long break before the next one (cause of Xmas holidays) ... 6 whole weeks to wait!
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
So I know this super late, but that's still better than never, right?
Let me start by saying that this was by far my best Kruger trip to date. We organised it way back in May! My Dad absolutely loves wildlife but barely travels by plane (I think I was still dating Varen the last time he came to Joburg to visit me!). So I told my folks, knowing about our intentions to start trying for a baby this year that we wanted to get all the awesome things about living in Joburg done (again in some cases) before we headed back to Cape Town, so this was their opportunity to finally come to the Kruger Park (neither has ever been. Shocking for 2 people who love wildlife and have lived in South African their whole lives, right?).
I didn't think Dad would actually come and I invited Mom along too. I spose it's a bit weird to invite your two divorced parents on holiday with you, but that's not the sort of divorce they have (thankfully!). And Dad's girlfriend and her daughter were invited along too (of course).
As the planning actually kicked in and it turned out we couldn't get accommodation when we'd planned, the trip got pushed out to November. After our last trip there, The Trucker and I specifically wanted to stick to the Southern camps: Crocodile Bridge and Lower Sabie.
Dad's girlf and her daughter couldn't make it (exams and leave) but both my folks were still keen. We were fine with it if they were ... it saved us having to get a 2nd car for the trip. But it did turn out to be kinda entertaining checking in with 4 people for 3 rooms (which slept 2-3 people each).
My folks flew up on the Friday (7 November) afternoon and as soon as I got home from work we all headed to Kaapsehoop for our overnight stop. The week before they arrived was a little stressful: my mom ended up in the Emergency Room on the Wednesday night / Thursday morning, luckily her doctors cleared her for the trip. Plus the Pajero we had been planning on using was no longer in working order ... so we had to hunt down a rental car. I'm thrilled that because of the 94.7 Mountain Bike race happening that weekend that we actually couldn't rent the car in Joburg. It meant we came up with a different, cheaper plan. We took my Jazz all the way to Nelspruit and rented the X-Trail from there.
So we headed to my Mom's cousin in Kaapsehoop for Friday night (my folks met thru him, back in the day, because he was my Dad's housemate). We had a lovely dinner at The Bohemian Groove Cafe (seriously, my meal, the Pork Schnitzel, although it took ages, was amazing!) and then stayed in a cute little cottage. The place was crazy misty.
From there it was on to Nelspruit, a quick Wimpy Breakfast and off to the airport to collect the car. With that done we headed into Kruger at the Phabeni Gate.
Our days at Kruger from then are a blur ... we spent 2 nights in the chalets at Crocodile Bridge and 2 nights in the tents at Lower Sabie (disappointingly the tents furthest from the river). One of the days the car said the temperature got all the way up to 42! And then we had some overcast days towards the end (luckily the weather turned after we checked into the tents ... we were a little nervous of surviving the heat in them!).
We had an incredible animal viewing experience. On 2 days we managed to see the full Big Five before lunchtime! And this from 2 people who had never seen a Leopard in real life before! Seriously.
We saw a pack of Wild Dogs lazing on the side of the road. We saw over 40 Rhino during our trip (inl 2 babies). We saw Leopards mating at dusk. Okay so the light was terrible and we could only see them thru the binocs (Definitely have to buy ourselves a pair, having Dad's pair in the car was a huge bonus!). On morning The Trucker spotted a Leopard dozing in a tree! And then we saw one briefly with it's kill.
I saw more Hippos out of the water than ever before (I don't actually think I've seen a wild one out of water). We saw Lion ... only one male, but a cub experience that was incredible! There were 2 momma Lions with an array of 5 cubs in various ages. There were two littlees who were so cute bounding around!
We saw loads of Ellies and generally loads of baby animals everywhere. We saw a stand off between a croc and a cautious dik-dik (no one got eaten). And we saw the usual: Buffalo, a Hyena, Jackals, Giraffes, Zebras, even a puff adder that had recently eaten. And so many birds!
I think the only thing we missed out on seeing on this trip was a Cheetah. But the 4 Leopards more than made up for it ;)
The food in the park was better than our last trip. They've converted the old awful restaurants to Mugg & Beans and Cattle Barons. And their shops were all well stocked. Mostly we braaied ... although we did have one Mugg & Bean dinner.
Seriously, a spectacular and awesome trip! If we went again we'd definitely go back to those 2 camps :)
Posted by phillygirl at 12/03/2014 09:05:00 am
Monday, December 01, 2014
Shew. And just like that it's December.
I had a pretty awesome weekend ... it was back to busy and the End of Year crazy is starting in full force this week! On Friday afternoon Mom had her surgery. Turns out it was Gallstones. So actually I was kinda relieved (they can't be cancerous which was a huge fear of mine). She's been back at home since Saturday and sounds a like she's on the mend!
On Friday evening we had a lazy one ... in fact I can't even remember that far back. Oh, I think we watched Guardians of the Galaxy. I wasn't terribly impressed.
On Saturday I had brunch with the Blog Girls (Louisa, Arkwife, Ruby Letters and Tamara 0h) at our usual spot, Papachinos. It was a lovely morning of catching up with everyone :) And then I headed home for a pretty relaxing afternoon.
In the evening, The Trucker wanted steak for dinner. Which left us in a bit of a confusion ... since I generally don't often eat steak, so we had no idea where to go. We tried Turn & Tender, but at 7pm on a Saturday evening we couldn't get a table. So we headed to our back-up plan, the nearby LBV. Which was booked out for a private function.
So we headed homewards and decided to give Let's Meat in Bel-Airs a try. We knew we'd get in because the place always looks quiet ... which is why I hadn't been keen to go their in the first place. Oh wow. We will definitely be going back. I even had steak! And it was delish :) Even tho, I do think it's on the slightly over-priced side of things. The Trucker had a 300g rump with their Portuguese sauce and I had a 200g fillet with their surf & turf sauce. I was blown away and that was a tough choice because their other sauces also sound amazing! So yes, we will be going back :)
On Sunday I headed to Tasha's in Rosebank for brunch with @nadia_ass. So good catching up :) And then I did a little shopping ... it was supposed to be scouting for xmas pressies, but I ended up coming home with 2 dresses for myself instead haha.
I got home to find The Trucker had bought new tarp for the bunny hutch (Pepper had chewed the old rain-covering we had for them to pieces!) and even cleaned the hutch! Along with having done the week's grocery shopping. I felt very spoilt :)
And that was pretty much it for our weekend ... he headed off to play cricket in the afternoon, but it got rained out. And I just enjoyed the storm from our patio :)
Friday, November 28, 2014
Hello Friday! Shew, this has been one crazy long week. Monday and Tuesday were absolutely insane at work. People who work with computers may be familiar with the freeze that a lot of companies implement around this time of year ... so there are no code changes etc. while most of the staff are on leave. We were running a tight deadline to get a bunch of projects live before our freeze (Wednesday) and we managed 13 go lives in 2 days. A minor miracle, really.
So yeah, those two days felt like a whole week in themselves. So I took a duvet day yesterday. Boy did I need it! Also managed to get some Baby Admin out the way this week :) 20 weeks today! I think that's officially half way ... wowee.
1. I've done my maternity pre-admission 2. Booked the 4D scan for January (who knew the gynaes don't do them!) 3. Did I mention I booked flights to Cape Town for a weekend in Feb for a Baby Shower with the family (and a handful of Cape Town friends) 4. We bought a pram! 5. We bought a cot 6. We bought a baby monitor (super pleased with this ... apparently it only arrived in the country a week ago! Finally they have one that links to your smart phone).
In case you couldn't tell from the above, we popped in at MamaMagic yesterday. OMG. It was completely overwhelming ... and the queues! But we got the pram & cot we'd been eyeing already (at a saving of R1500) and then they launched the new monitors there too (so that was another R600 saving or so ... they don't know what the in-store price will be yet). Am kinda surprised that The Trucker hasn't set up the monitor yet to play with - haha.
So yay. The "Big Stuff" is out the way. The only other "big" item I want is a nice chest of drawers (white) for her room. And then I guess I'll have to organise myself a baby registry of stuffs. OMG there is so much fun stuff :) I am definitely going to have to rely on the already-moms to figure out the necessities for me - haha.
At the moment the future-nursery is still packed with other-house-stuffs ... a veritable dumping ground. We are going to need to dedicate some serious time to sorting that out. But at least we have a while :)
This week I also had a delivery from Hill's. I'm not sure if their Ideal Balance is a new range or if they've just launched some new flavours for Xmas, but both Gypsy and Pepper got something new to try from them :)
Pepper got a bag of Ideal Balance Oven Baked Naturals with Turkey and Cranberries. She loves a treat but these seem to confuse her a little, we've never really given her biscuits so I think she struggles with how hard they are. But given a few minutes she gobbles it down.
Gypsy got a bag of Ideal Balance Crunchy Naturals Treats with Real Tuna. Unfortunately Gypsy generally doesn't eat fish-flavoured things (we luckily learnt this early on and she only gets Chicken flavoured treats now). So when I first gave her one she turned up her nose, but yesterday she ate one. So I have hope. Otherwise, my mom's cats are gonna have a nice Xmas pressie :) Haha.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her
community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little
League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage
works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage
refuses... and then he confesses his darkest secret—he deserves to die,
because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's
grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.
What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all—if Sage even considers his request—is it murder, or justice?
I haven't read a Jodi Picoult in a while now, but I loved this one! I think she thought she threw in a twist there at the end, but she didn't really. The twist was the human aspect of it. Twisting the way you think about people. Or at least making you wonder if something could change your mind about someone ... I still dunno hey. Forgiveness is a weird thing.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Shew. This is gonna be a rough one at work ... but in the mean time, it's still quiet :) So I will enjoy the calm before the storm. Aside from all the load-shedding that led to our servers being off and the fact that half our area (incl my desk) has no power ... so am hijacking someone else's desk in the meantime so I can charge my laptop before they arrive!
The weekend. It wasn't very busy. The Trucker's mom came to visit for the weekend (with her dogs). She stayed at his sister (which is in the same complex, so easy enough). So we headed there for dinner on Friday evening.
On Saturday we didn't see them because we had the annual Xmas Party at DJMike's place. Shew, yet again, what an amazing spread of food! Nice to meet his little daughter finally too (3 months now). And, of course, catch-up with the familiar faces :)
Shew, but I was pretty shattered after that and headed home to nap. And then shortly after The Trucker woke me, our power went out :( So I hopped in the bath with my Kindle and some candlelight ... and the power was back on before I even got out! Haha. Luckily after such a big lunch we didn't need much in the way of dinner.
On Sunday we had The Trucker's mom & sister over for breakfast and then went grocery shopping. It was a glorious rainy Sunday so we settled in and relaxed. Till the sun came out and then we took Peps for a walk. The Trucker had big plans to try making a Cauli-base pizza for dinner. But we lost the power again at 6pm and it wasn't on again yet by 7:30pm so we headed to The Mariner for Sunday half-price Sushi.
Posted by phillygirl at 11/24/2014 08:18:00 am
Friday, November 21, 2014
Friday. Wooo! No idea how I survived a 5 day week - haha. Only 4 more to go till Xmas :)
So yeah, it's been a quiet week. Work. Life. Puppy walks. Little else. My life has been complicated by the fact that The Trucker decided to try this banting lark :/ As you might be able to tell, I am less than a believer in this. He seems to be loving it tho. But it is making grocery shopping and dinner a little trickier.
All my stuff is fat-free or low-fat (yogurt, mayo, milk etc.) and now he's buying butter and coconut oil and stuff that pretty much looks like lard (coconut something or other). He's talking about making "fat shakes". I don't understand. It seems so completely contrary to me. Anyhoo, here's hoping he'll lose some weight (because he's back at the gym now too and it's been bothering him) and the novelty of the "diet" will wear off in a month or two ...
Oooh, but in exciting news, I got a delivery at work yesterday from Bio-Oil. They'd mailed me while I was at Kruger because they'd heard I was pregnant and recommend Bio-Oil for stretch marks. So they sent me a hamper. Wow! I was expecting a sample or something but got a huge box of goodies :)
There is a lovely basket which everyone has commented will be awesome for storing nappies. And inside it was packed with 3 different Bio-Oil samples, a cute little babygro, a hooded towel and a photo album for scan pics. How thoughtful!
We've had Bio-Oil in the house since my boob op. I used it for the scaring then and my scars have healed really well. I also love sprinkling it in my bath because I have quite dry skin. So, naturally, I'm definitely using it during my pregnancy for any possibility of stretch marks ... I rub it on my boobs, belly and hips (almost) every morning and evening. I was also trying the Pregne Creme samples that came with my vitamins, but have worked out now that that is actually what was causing my crazy itchiness! So have stopped completely and switched to Bio-Oil 100%.
No progress yet on naming The Littlest One, but I am playing with Nursery ideas ... so far I am leaning heavily towards a Dinosaur theme. I know that might seem to some to be a strange choice for a little girl, I think it is awesome. I have always loved and been fascinated with Dinosaurs (what kid hasn't?) and as a friend of mine said to me, since I am not a conventional girly girl, why should my daughter be. The way I look at it, this is probably the last time I get to pick her room theme ... if she wants princesses or something when she's older, we can do that then.
That said I'm not really sure how much "theme" we'll really stick with ... since as I said previously, we won't be in this house very long after she is born. (I said she! Still excites me :) ) And I don't want to limit any other cool things I find ... so we'll see. I may just go with a theme of "Everything, Go Crazy!" haha. Who can tell ...
These are the things really inspiring me at the moment (all found on Etsy):
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield's success-and survival-is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst-and enjoy every moment of it.
In An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement-and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.
You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own.
This wasn't the book I was expecting. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, but it was a lot more "self-help" than I realised it would be.
Still it's an interesting story (the bits that are more story and auto-biographical) and he sounds like a guy who's without doubt had some incredible life experiences. And I think he did some amazing stuff education-wise and exposure-wise for life-in-space while he was on the ISS.
Monday, November 17, 2014
So I'm in a weird lacklustre space about the whole "online" thing at the moment ... I'm just not that into blogging or instagraming or tweeting.
I don't really know what to do about it. I *need* to get my Turkey posts done. And I have one on our long weekend in Kruger to write. But when the evenings and weekends roll around I just lack the interest. I feel like I have this long to-do list (but it feels like admin, not fun) and I don't want to do any of it ... so I don't. And then I feel guilty about it ... but still not enough to do anything about it.
That said, I did manage to sort thru and select my favourite photos from the last of our Turkey trip and our Kruger trip. So I do feel some sense of achievement ... but not like I really made any sort of dent still.
Maybe it's hormones, maybe it's the end of the year. I don't know. But if I get quiet (or terribly boring), now you know why.
The weekend was okay. I went to after-work drinks with some friends from work. Was lovely to see one of the girls' new house (wow!) and catch-up with everyone. You don't realise how little you actually see / socialise with people at work when you're busy. It was really nice.
On Saturday we were up before 6am (wtf!). We headed out early for breakfast and went to browse Baby City, looking at prices for cots and prams and car seats. We're going to Mama Magic at the end of November, and apparently they have great specials ... but I wouldn't know what the normal sort of price is before now. Sheesh. So many options.
Which got me thinking about nursery themes (do you really need one?) ... at the moment I'm thinking Dinosaurs ... or Wild Animals. Nothing too girly about tho haha. And we won't be painting the walls or anything (cause we'll be moving to Cape Town and renting the house out). So it makes it a little tricky.
It also got me thinking about the whole baby shower thing. It feels weird asking people to organise it for me ... I mean I guess I'll have one at work. And then I realised this weekend I should probably do a Cape Town one with my family and friends there ... that's an easy one to ask someone else to organise since I'm not there (have picked a date for that, now to find out if I can fly - Kulula says it should be fine, but will confirm with the gynae). But I feel weird for the Joburg one. I have so many different groups of people. Anyway. Just another thing on the list.
And I've been getting Maternity & Newborn photo shoot quote. Shew. I don't know how you decide. They vary greatly in price and what you get (time and photo number wise). Just add it to my to-do / to-think-about list. Sigh.
After Baby City, we headed to Meoli and I'm very pleased to have a new pair of comfy maternity pants. Skirts are easy, but Joburg's been so overcast and drizzly lately, I needed another pair of pants (the ones I inherited constantly need pulling up, so not great for any kind of walking around!).
And then The Trucker went to play cricket for the afternoon. And I went to buy Gypsy a pressie ... Pepper got some new toys earlier already! I bought a pot and some catnip seed ... we'll see how it goes haha.
We had a lazy evening at home.
On Sunday we woke up before 6am again ... but went back to sleep till about 8am. Then we headed off to get the grocery shopping done, before The Trucker went to cricket again.
We bought Pepper a kong because we'd read you can make them popsicles to keep them entertained while at work so I made a mix of chicken stock and treats and froze one for her to try. It worked wonderfully and she really enjoyed it ... for the solid half hour it took to finish it. Haha. It definitely had her attention 100% during that time!
And that was our weekend. In a nut shell. I guess I had more to say than I realised ...
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Yawn. Shew, I had an absolutely awesome time in Kruger with the folks! Had some fantastic animal sightings (saw the Big 5 on 2 different mornings before lunch!) but more on that later ...
Right now I'm a little tired because we had a trip to the ER with Mom last night after an amazeballs dinner at Licorish!
First the dinner. Mom & I both had the Game Plate. The Trucker had the Fillet Plate and Daddio had the Beef Fillet with Truffle. Mom and The Trucker got to enjoy the wine pairing too. Shew this weekend has been hard not to be drinking :(
Our food was superb and the service was brilliant. Was very sad to hear about the death of their Chef on Sunday tho.
And then towards the end of dinner Mom took 2 myprodol that she'd been given for in case after last week's hospital visit. The pain didn't go and by 21h30 Dad & I were sitting with her in the ER. We were home by midnight after she'd been given some pain meds in a drip and instructions to see someone on her return to Cape Town (already the plan). They reckon it's gallstones. Luckily it doesn't seem badly infected or anything (yet), according to her blood tests.
It was horrible. Watching someone in pain and you can't do anything to make them feel better. No doubt this is just a taste of what is to come with a baby :/
Anyway, they're heading home this afternoon :( This gloomy weather is doing nothing to improve my mood. I would love to just climb under my duvet today!
Posted by phillygirl at 11/13/2014 07:32:00 am
Friday, November 07, 2014
Sheesh. Just a few work hours to get thru and then ... I'm off on Holiday AGAIN! I know. You can quietly hate me just for a moment. But hey, gotta get all the travel out the way before the Baby arrives ;) And this one is super exciting, my Mom & Dad are flying up from Cape Town to join The Trucker & I for 4 days in Kruger :D
Can NOT wait to see them later. Was super nervous yesterday cause Mom ended up in hospital and I didn't know if she'd still be able to come. But she's got meds and is still coming! YAY.
Anyway, that's all I really had to say this morning :) Let's hope today is not too exhausting.
Posted by phillygirl at 11/07/2014 07:34:00 am
Thursday, November 06, 2014
Yoh. Yesterday was supposed to be this amazing incredible day when we found out the gender (fingers crossed). But the morning went terribly! I had what I presume could only be my first foray into the rollercoaster of Preggie Hormones.
Before I'd even had breakfast 3 things had set me off at home between The Trucker and I (and at least 2 of them are things that probably would've months ago anyway). I ended up in tears. Luckily I didn't say anything I knew I'd regret. And then after I managed to get it together enough to actually leave the house, the stupid Woolies yogurt 6-pack wouldn't separate (That's it! I'm not buying them anymore, something happened a few months ago, they changed something and they are now close to impossible to "snap" easily without often opening the foil lid) ... I lost 2 yogurts of the 6 in the process. And then the little screw came out of my sunglasses. Again (it happens often, thankfully the screw has always been nearby). Aaargh.
I got in my car and drove off and ugly cried the whole way to the appointment. I think the overwhelming disappointment of everything going wrong on a day I wanted to be happy and exciting and had been anticipating for so long just crushed me.
Even after we arrived (40mins early, morning traffic is so unpredictable), I just sat in the car, not getting out. Miserable. I swear, if I'd been able to postpone the appointment at any point before then, I would've!
But eventually I went in and we had our appointment. Everything is as it should be :) This time I'd been keeping a list of questions. And we finally got to see the baby again! Shew it has gotten so much bigger. I know it shouldn't be a surprise, but some how it is. It didn't look as cute as last time, it was harder to see the whole thing in one view. And the face is still a little weird ... it has these big black holes where the eyes are now. It's creepy. A little too much like something from Halloween. I think we saw a lot more cross sections in this scan than last time where we were just kind of looking at the whole Baby. It's legs we crossed but we did manage to see the gender.
Shew, when you see it you wonder how anyone ever can tell!! I suppose if you know what you're comparing it to it might be more obvious but as a total newbie looking at that scan I was like "what?".
While I definitely reached the point where I wouldn't have cared (but if it was a boy, I'd probably be more concerned next time around), we got the fantastic news that it's a little GIRL! Look, it's not 100% at this stage, obviously ... we should know for sure after the next scan, but the Gynae said she'd be very surprised if it changed. Then again I've heard of it happening to quite a few people. She did also say that she wouldn't say either way if she wasn't fairly certain.
I had to go for more blood tests (spina bifida this time, I think). And then I had another (probably typical) pregnancy freak out. Everyone I know is having girls ... what'll the world be like in 15-20yrs? Is it the hormones in our food? Hahaha. I can laugh now. The Trucker was like Oh my Gawd. It's just a girl, stop freaking out.
And now, more rational, I can think of all the friends I have who've had boys in the last 2 years ... shew. Yes, I think the crazy hormones are kicking in.
And then I had a fairly rubbish day at work. We both did. So I decided we should go out to dinner to celebrate. It's been a while since we tried somewhere new together. We headed to Steamworks.
It was quite nice. I think it made us feel a bit old tho ... it was very loud. The food was tasty but expensive, I thought. The Trucker had the Steamworks Burger and I had the Lamb Pie. The have (2) Virgin Cocktails so I had one of them and a good selection of craft beers. I was sad to miss the Fiery Gingerbeer :( Haha.
Oh, and I thought this convo with my Mom was hilarious! Haha.
Oddly I ended the day a little as I started it, in tears. But rather tears of hysterical laughter. We vaguely started discussing names at dinner ... I really just have a long "Not" list at the moment, so no, we're not even close. We were waiting to find out the gender before we even discussed it. So I started showing The Trucker entries from The Bad Baby Name Blog. OMG. It makes me laugh every time. So hard that I can barely breathe and tears roll down my cheeks. Hysterical. Although, probably completely unhelpful haha.
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
"The Sunburnt Queen is an extraordinary narrative. The writing’s fresh immediacy brings history to life." - The Sunday Independent (South Africa)
In the late 1730s, the local inhabitants of South Africa found a seven-year-old girl called Bessie, washed ashore on the beach of the Wild Coast. Bessie was brought up by them, growing into a young woman of legendary beauty and wisdom, and marrying one of the most important tribal chiefs in the area.
Using oral histories and written accounts by early missionaries, Hazel Crampton traces the extraordinary story of Bessie and the turbulent history of the Eastern Cape.
I loved this book! Okay so it is not an easy read like a fictional book would be. It was quite hard going in some places, and because of our trip, I ended up reading it in two halves.
Still, it is completely fascinating! I'm not sure if it would be for a non-South African tho. But for me, I adored the history. I'd highly recommend it if you're interested. You'll definitely be surprised!
Monday, November 03, 2014
Urgh. Monday again. My pre-workday blues have not disappeared :( But the weekend was still pretty good, pretty quiet, but good.
Erm, on Friday evening we went for sushi! I made it 4 weeks! Wooo. I was seriously craving it by then tho. But I decided not more than once a month / every 4 weeks. Which is maybe about as often as we had it before I was pregnant, but I suspect it has something to do with that whole "not being allowed" something mindset. You WANT it. Haha. It was delish and hit the spot.
On Saturday we headed to breakfast at The Culinary Table and then The Trucker had to go out and do something work-related so I headed to Cresta to collect my Discovery Baby Bag from Toys R Us. Sheesh, Cresta is a total hassle these days. Who knows where all the shops are? I walked to where I remembered it had been and found nothing so headed to the Info desk. Thank goodness that hadn't moved too far from where it had been as they don't seem to have any maps up at the moment. Lucky for me Toys R Us and Dischem were right across from each other (in the new section), so I got to sign up for Dischem Baby as well.
Toys R Us is a little daunting when you're still only pregnant. Yoh, I don't remember the last time I was in a kiddies toy store. It is both scary and amazing what they have these days.
I unpacked the Discovery Baby Bag when I got home. Shew, there is some cool stuff in there. A little first counting book (eep!), a parenting book, a tiny dummy ... and a bunch of other useful things and discounts.
I've told The Trucker to start investigating baby prams and car seats as if he were buying a new car. We're planning to go to MamaMagic at the end of November and I want to know when we get told about their amazing specials, if they are in fact worthwhile. So we can make an on the spot decision or decide just to buy what we had planned afterwards. Complicated stuff this!
Oh, and The Trucker got a chain so we could hang the chair we bought last weekend (we were waiting for the bamboo roofing to be finished on the patio). How awesome is that?!
In the late afternoon we headed to Randpark Golf Club for one of the SCM Birthdays. A fun afternoon, surprisingly filled with pregnant girls (3!) and already-moms! And from there we headed to Banjaara with @clairam & her boyf for a late dinner. Turned into a great day, really!
On Sunday there was no sleeping in, we were taking Pepper to her first Schnauzer Walk at Delta Park! Shew. There were so many schnauzers and a few really littlees. It was awesome. Aside from the fact that we all had to hang around a little too long before the walk actually started, I think the dogs struggled with that a bit.
Our girlie was way up front, constantly running back to us and then back to the front. Was much easier just trying to keep an eye on our one little pup in the mass of dawgs. Dunno how the people with 3 were managing. Photo credit to Chris Kritzinger.
We veered off half way thru cause Pepper looked like she was exhausting herself and we had left the water in the car (rookie mistake, not knowing how long the walk was). But she wasn't nearly as exhausted for the rest of the afternoon as she'd been after her visit to Walkhaven!
Friday, October 31, 2014
Sheesh. We've been home for a week (in a few hours, give or take). It's like we never left. It has not been a stellar week work-wise, I'm not sleeping well (waking up at least once to pee) and I'm more anxious/nervous than I'd like (which stops me getting to sleep easily when I go to bed and after I wake up in the night).
Socially my weeks seem terribly boring lately. Been walking Pepper (yay, we finally organised our key to Golden Harvest! Did I mention I got locked in there for about half an hour before we went away?!). Gypsy is fabulous, but oh so noisy. Dunno what is up with her, but we barely need an alarm clock anymore - haha. Such a cutey.
Oh, something funny did happen! A little background: Gyps is now forced to eat on the kitchen counter (so Pepper doesn't eat the cat food) and so, she has become increasingly interested in our food when we are cooking. It's really quite annoying and she's managed to lick a few things before we've got there in time to shoo her away ... she seems to like grated cheese (is that normal?).
Anyway, I happened to read this link earlier in the week: 26 Hacks That Will Make Any Cat Owner’s Life Easier. So I decided to try putting an empty box out as per Hack 15. Would you look at that, she climbed straight in! ('scuse the blur, every time I tried to take a pic she'd climb back out the box to investigate the camera - haha) But still. Peaceful dinner preparation, for a change!
How hysterical is that?! I could not believe she just climbed right in there ... we've never had boxes for her to play with before. Must be some weird inherent cat-instinct.
I went to SCM on Tuesday as well. Can you believe we have another preggie mommy?! She's about 7wks behind me.
And that was about it. No, I haven't even started writing up my Turkey blog posts ... was trying to get a little space for perspective because it wasn't my best trip. I think in some ways I came home feeling a little like I did after Spain, Portugal & Morocco. And my blog posts definitely helped me see how many awesome things I had actually done on the trip and that it hadn't been as bad as I'd thought at the time. I'm hoping for the same here :) I have started to sort thru the photos tho ... Am up to about day 5.
Oooh, and the other exciting news was that we got some preview shots from that photo shoot we did. Very exciting!
Posted by phillygirl at 10/31/2014 07:19:00 am
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.
Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical - most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.
Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent - and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie - and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.
The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.
Thoroughly enjoyed this book! Seriously, it is quirky and cute and, I guess, a reminder of that well known saying "What/who we want is not always what/who we need". This is a perfect holiday read :)
In 1911 two wealthy British heiresses, Claire and Dora Williamson, came to a sanitorium in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to undergo the revolutionary “fasting treatment” of Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard. It was supposed to be a holiday for the two sisters. But within a month of arriving at what the locals called Starvation Heights, the women were emaciated shadows of their former selves, waiting for death. They were not the first victims of Linda Hazzard, a quack doctor of extraordinary evil and greed who would stop at nothing short of murder to achieve her ambitions. As their jewelry disappeared and forged bank drafts began transferring their wealth to Hazzard’s accounts, Dora Williamson sent a last desperate plea to a friend in Australia, begging her to save them from the brutal treatments and lonely isolation of Starvation Heights.
In this true story - a haunting saga of medical murder set in an era of steamships and gaslights - Gregg Olsen reveals one of the most unusual and disturbing criminal cases in American history.
Mkay, this was probably a strange choice for a holiday read. It was very heavy. Very. And fairly long. And generally quite upsetting. Yet again people are dreadful and take advantage of others. And what was worse, it never felt like anything was ever done and justice just didn't really feel like it prevailed. This is NOT a feel good story. But, it is still a fascinating read, although the second half tends to drag far more than the first.
Local politics get nasty when a new mayor is elected and Diane Fallon is replaced with an incompetent crony as head of the crime lab. But just as she's adjusting to life without murder, the newly appointed chief of police and the mayor are shot dead. Back on the job, Diane sees, but can't quite believe, the evidence damning the former chief of detectives as the shooter. Someone with plenty to gain intends to get away with more than murder, and as the investigation reveals an ever-widening web of corruption and treachery, Diane realises that no one is safe - least of all her.
Ah, yes, another Diane Fallon. I liked this one too. It feels like they're getting better ... although there is still (predictably) someone out to specifically get her (which is getting a little tiresome for me). But I enjoy all the characters so will continue with the series :)
|* This book is part of the Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation series: One Grave Too Many (2004), Dead Guilty (2004), Dead Secret (2005), Dead Past (2007), Dead Hunt (2008), Scattered Graves (2008), Dust to Dust (2009), The Night Killer (2010), One Grave Less (2010)|
Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event - an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.
With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.
Shew. This is actually a great series! I enjoyed the first one and I really like how the series was continued ... instead of following on, it was the same scenario. But told from another perspective, of someone living in another place.
And, honestly, I think this one was far more hectic and harder than the first one. These books have made me think about what it might be like with a world wide catastrophe. We're certainly not ready or prepared ... I have no idea what I'd actually do. It's a scary thought!
|* This book is part of the Last Survivors series: Life As We Knew It (2008), The Dead and the Gone (2008), This World We Live In (2010), The Shade of the Moon (2013)|