Friday, October 31, 2014

One Week

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!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Holiday Reads

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)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

15 weeks, 4 days

So I figured you were probably due a preggie update ... unfortunately, I literally have nothing much to tell. Once again, I assume all is progressing well and as it should. Next scan is next week. Am hoping that since I'll be 16wks by then, we'll be able to find out the gender (!) Eep. Both excited and nervous for that.

Although I have successfully (I think?) adjusted my mind to accept either. It really is true that all you actually want when you're pregnant is a healthy baby. I still have my fingers crossed for a little girl.

Also, my belly has popped out. Now I actually do look pregnant. It was a little disconcerting when it happened (on holiday) ... I definitely felt like it was too soon! But I did some googling and it sounds like a fairly common concern. And since I know for sure that there is definitely only one in there, I'm not too concerned. Hey, and I've had no other symptoms so if this is my pregnancy "side-effect" so be it.

But random people (while we were on holiday) are now asking when I'm due ... it's weird. Haha.

Yesterday I was so pleased that a friend of mine had passed on her preggie jeans to me since I desperately needed them. My jeans still fit and I can close the button ... but honestly, they are no longer for sitting down in - haha. I think I'm still gonna need to find my own pair of preggie jeans now tho, my friend is much slimmer than me usually so these are a bit of a squeeze (although the waist band makes it totally worthwhile!).

Monday, October 27, 2014


We are home! But the holiday blog posts might take a while ... I only actually finished writing my actual diary entries yesterday :/ I was generally up-to-date till the last 2 days. And I did manage to get round to downloading the photos off the camera ... but I haven't even looked thru them yet!

Slacker, I know. You'd think that getting back before midday on Friday would mean I'd be super organised and ready to go this morning. But ... well ... nope, not really.

Friday was functional, we unpacked, did laundry, napped ... things like that. Saturday was relaxing. Lazy morning, breakfast out and then some grocery shopping. We braaied for dinner and I forget what we spent our afternoon doing.

The Trucker was supposed to go to cricket on Sunday but because of the rain it was cancelled. So instead we had breakfast at home and took Pepper to Walkhaven for the first time. She LOVED it! Luckily after her bath at home she then passed out for the rest of the afternoon :)


Was fantastic to catch up with all the animals again. Missed them. And thankfully neither of them were annoyed with us for disappearing for 2 weeks ... Gypsy was back under my duvet in the middle of the night on both nights. Awe.

On Sunday evening The Trucker made us Beef Rendang. It was amazeballs. Seriously. I am too spoilt. Leftovers for lunch today, score!

Righto, I have over 400 emails to sort thru now ...

Friday, October 10, 2014


Haha, the title is a nod to a joke a friend of mine made about our imminent trip to Turkey. Tomorrow, as it happens, is Turkey Day! Tonight we say Goodbye South Africa and tomorrow we arrive and start our 2 week holiday.

I'm surprisingly nervous. I think since I did my usual Holiday Itinerary for my folks & gran ... and I saw how busy this trip is actually going to be. Even tho we thought we'd sort of take it a little easier, what with The Trucker's ankle strapped and me being pregnant and all. Then I saw how busy we'll be ... Oh my.

But I am still looking forward to it. I need the break from work. Although I may come back more exhausted than I'm leaving - haha. At least we have 2 full days back home before we have to come back to work!

Plus it is probably our last overseas holiday in a while ... so I definitely want to make the most of it. Plus, I get to tick off 2 things on my Life List! So I'm kinda nervous excited.

What else. It's been another quiet week at home in the evenings. But, yesterday I got home to see The Trucker had arranged 3 guys to come and finish our Patio roofing! OMG. I love how it looks. So thrilled with how it came out ... except for one weird bent piece of bamboo :/ But still.

Have a fabulous 2 weeks guys and I'll see you here when I'm back!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Random Kak 2 by Trevor Romain

The hugely popular Trevor Romain is back with more random memories about growing up in South Africa in the 70s and 80s.

In this follow-up to Random Kak I Remember about Growing Up in South Africa, he offers a humorous and unique take on some of the sights, sounds and experiences that have made living in this country so inspiring. Remembering what it means to be South African has never been as lekker as it is in this illustrated memoir of a colourful past.

Mkay so Penguin kindly sent me a copy of this book. I think I may even have requested it to review ... it looked and sounded like the sort of books The Trucker seems to have a lot of, less like ones I'm more likely to pick for myself.

It was rubbish. Okay, it wasn't completely devoid of entertainment. I think I read it in one sitting in an hour. The only bits I liked were the "South African words" cause they made me smile as I know and remember so many of them. The longer "stories" were completely arbitrary and I didn't find them amusing or entertaining at all.

I thought it might've just been my sense of humour, but The Trucker wasn't impressed with this book either. When they named it "Random Kak", it wasn't an understatement. I reckon I'll prob give this to Daddio to read and perhaps he'll enjoy it ... but it's not something I'd go out an buy for anyone I know

* This is one of my Featured Book Reviews, sponsored by Penguin Books.
Read more here.

Monday, October 06, 2014


Shew, that was it. The last weekend before we jet off to Turkey ... 5 more working days. Squeal. I am finally excited. Well, probably more nervous. For some reason I feel like I'm forgetting something crucial. NO idea what tho. Flights are booked, paid for & printed. Tour is booked, deposit paid & internal flights printed. Visa has been downloaded, not paid (free) and printed. House sitter has been met and instructed. The Trucker is getting our cash this week and aside from a trip to Dischem to get some back-up toiletries & meds, I have no idea what I'm forgetting ...

Anyway, that's what's coming ... back to what's been. On Friday night, at 12 weeks, I caved and we went for an early sushi dinner at Cedar Square. It was amazeballs.

Then on Saturday I had a bit of a lazy morning. The Trucker was up early because we were hoping to finish the Patio this weekend ... unfortunately that didn't go quite as planned. After they attached the first panel of bamboo, we realised it would be too low and our windows couldn't open. So they decided to attach it differently (better imho) but that meant detaching every piece of bamboo and re-nailing them one-by-one. Needless to say at the end of the whole weekend of work, they had the gutters up (yay!) but only about half a metre of bamboo has been put up. Slow going. I think it's looking good tho :) The Trucker isn't completely convinced. I'll try remember to take a photo this afternoon for you.

So while he was doing that, I headed to Builders Warehouse for a dreadfully annoying experience (long boring story). And then I went to get my hair done. Not cut, although it probably needs it before summer! But just a wash & blow dry because on Saturday afternoon we had the Urban Jozi Photo Shoot I'd asked for, for my birthday (in April). We'd been putting it off during winter and then tried to book it asap once I found out I was pregnant ... but the guy The Trucker had arranged with was in Australia. So this was the last possible date we could do. I wanted to get it done before I get too fat/pregnant.

I was a bit nervous in the morning when @Jenty told me there was a festival in Joburg and that roads would be closed and that the graffiti under the bridge was hidden by construction ... and although The Trucker knows the photographer, I don't. He's the guy The Trucker did his photo course with (that I gave him for Xmas 2013). I wasn't so sure he'd be in the know as I think he does mostly weddings or corporate shoots, not lifestyle. (Sheesh but how big is that new Newtown Junction mall?! Haven't seen it since they began construction!)

But it turned out fine (well, I haven't seen any photos yet, but the experience in general). I think it was probably a little more "posed" than we were expecting, but we managed to find some graffiti and we got some at the Nelson Mandela bridge and some at Constitution Hill (which I'd never been to ... before April, I really must plan a day on the Joburg Red Bus!) and then, *then*, he talked his way into Randlords and we got dusk photos from the rooftop as all the lights were coming on in Joburg. I think that was my favourite and those are the photos I'm most excited to see! The Trucker has always wanted a Joburg skyline panoramic print for the house, and I am super duper hoping that we will be able to use one of these, with us in it. Can NOT wait to see how the photos came out :D

(In case you're wondering, we chose a Jozi Urban shoot because we knew we'd be moving to Cape Town when we had kiddies and The Trucker has lived in Joburg all his life and it's been a large part of my life and our whole life together so far ... so we specifically wanted that for the memories).

On Sunday The Trucker was up early again working on the patio while I did the grocery shopping and then I headed off to lunch with some of the #SCMDinner girls. Such a great afternoon :)

In the evening we watched The Giver. It was okay. I don't advise watching it too soon after Divergent. Seems to have similar threads of society falling apart and then the new order being to split and control everyone. But it was alright for Sunday night entertainment.

And that was our weekend ...

Friday, October 03, 2014

Dead Hunt by Beverly Connor

Clymene O'Riley is in prison for killing her husband-though Diane Fallon is sure she killed another, and suspects she may have left a veritable graveyard of dead men in her wake. Either way, Diane was happy to help put her behind bars. So when Clymene informs her that one of the prison guards may be in danger from a serial killer, Diane is suspicious. And when Clymene escapes from jail, Diane becomes the prime suspect in a bloody murder that puts her in the path of an angry killer who wants her dead...

Okay, I think this has been my absolute best book in the series so far. I mean, aside from the happens-every-time attack on Diane Fallon, which is getting beyond predictable and is well into the realm of ridiculous now.

* 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)

Thursday, October 02, 2014

11 weeks, 6 days

Yoh, Yesterday I could NOT stop smiling. I forget anything else that happened in the intervening week.

I still feel like The. Most. Boring pregnant lady. Ever. Everyone still keeps checking in on me and asking how I am, how is baby doing. I'm fine. I assume the baby was fine. It's hard to tell, really. I began to feel bad (only a little) about feeling fine. Nothing I'd consider a craving. Nothing overly emotional. Still no morning sickness.

Honestly it all made me a little nervous in the build up to The First Gynae Appointment. Nothing obvious had happened to make me question if all was well and ticking along as it should inside ... but it also felt a little like nothing much had happened at all. Okay so I don't feel 100% normal. But I wouldn't say I feel pregnant either.

So I woke up with nervous butterflies yesterday morning. The Trucker was excited! And off we went.

Oh. My. Gosh. That was hands down, the Best. Day. Ever. The first scan left me feeling good but still not really connected to my pregnancy or the funny little peanut shape in the photos. It was just something that was happening to my (still feeling very distant) future, not really my present, if that makes any sense. But yesterday, yesterday there was a baby! I am having a Baby.

It looked human. And although the photo prints we got are pretty blurry and don't even hint at all the awesome amazing things we saw, I can still vividly see it all in my mind. It was an incredible experience.

So yes, it looked human. With a huge head and a little body. Happily bobbing back and forth in the small space it's been allocated. She showed us the spine. The Spine! And we saw all the little rib bones. And fingers. 5 finger bones on one of the hands! And the 2 forearm bones. See the aerial view below. The best of the scan pictures we got, showing the Baby's head and arm, upper body and umbilical cord.

The definition on the face was still too blurry, but you could definitely tell which was the front of the head. We even saw a leg as she made it wriggle around ... trying to get a better view of the nuchal translucency.

Which is all fine. 1.7 and apparently they only worry if it's over 3.5. I went for the blood test after my appointment tho, for the Downs probability. She doesn't sound at all worried, so that's also a relief. Not that I was really worried about that. But it is just one of the things, you know?

And we finally got to hear that most amazing sound, the heart beat! It is incredible. And then I laughed and ruined it. Haha. Had to stifle myself to listen, but it was just so much overwhelming happy emotion! Really, no one can describe it till you experience it for yourself. 162 beats per minute. Looking good :)

So yes. All in all an amazing incredible experience. And I presume the scans just get better and better from here! Oh, and she showed us the tiny stomach, which she said was full (someone must've just had breakfast - haha). And we're currently measuring head to rump at just over 5cm! (I forget the exact amount). Incredible. Still so tiny ... but so much detail!

I am too excited.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

I actually really liked this book. It sounded mildly entertaining, but I enjoyed the (diary) style and the story more than I expected. It is definitely an interesting scenario. Yikes.

I am definitely going to be giving the sequel a try :)

* 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)

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