Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Parents - make us who we are

My father was responsible for much of my education. He largely helped to form my ways of thinking and attitudes, and views on life the universe and everything. I don't always agree with him - but that's the point, he taught me to THINK and QUESTION and LEARN and how very enjoyable these activities can be.

I often remember him going off to work one day during the holidays and leaving me with a challenge, when I was about 6 or 7 years old -to tell him why I 'wouldn't be able to find a Unicorn in a zoo'. I spent most of the day mooching around and being 'bored', and then remembered the challenge and got out the Encyclopedia and looked up Unicorns. I remember not being able to contain myself and having to phone him at work 5 minutes later to give him the answer. :)

My dad taught me how to play chess (and lie dice!), to listen to classical music (I can name quite a few pieces), he took me to plays (like Sophia Town & Herman Charles Bosman's Sip of Jeripego) and Ballets, and to see movies like Jonathan Livingston Seagull (and the Exorcist - the original!). He taught me to eat Mussels (and snails), and drink good red wine. He introduced me to authors like Arthur C Clarke, Carl Sagan, Richard Bach, Kahlil Gibran, John Steinbeck etc etc, and the great Stephen Hawking. I had read (and understood and enjoyed) 'Brief History of Time' by the time I was 20!

I can debate with my dad about anything from the distance to the sun, the thickness of a piece of paper, whether Oscar Pretorius should be allowed to compete in the Olympics (I say YES!), right through to sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. I think we are a fine match, although he is usually more informed on most topics, but not always and I have a managed to change his a opinion a few times...

Anyway my dad is cool, in a an old school intellectual kind of way. My boys love seeing him, which sadly happens far too little. We generally see him 2 or 3 times a year - mostly when he pops into Cape Town for a day or 2 for work. Sometimes we are lucky and he gets to stay with us for a few days.

Quinn loves being able to dress up in his quite formal uniform complete with tie and blazer and show grandpa how smart he is. He plays chess against my dad (and VERY nearly beat him!) etc.

We saw him briefly last week-end when he was here and he gave Quinn his belated Birthday present. It is a beautiful book called George's Secret Key to the Universe. It is by Stephen, and his daughter Lucy, Hawking! How totally cool! We LOVE it.
Take a roller-coaster ride through the vastness of space and, in the midst of an exciting adventure, discover the mysteries of physics, science and the universe with George, his new friends next door - the scientist Eric and his daughter, Annie - and a super-intelligent computer called Cosmos, which can take them to the edge of a black hole and back again. Or can it? And who else would like to get their hands on Cosmos? This tale is a funny and hugely informative romp through space, time and the universe.
Quinn and I have started reading it together. He reads really well. I am very astounded by some of the words he knows, although he keeps insisting that 'Cosmos' is pronounced 'Cous-Cous' - but I know he is just being difficult and trying to save face after getting it wrong the first time ;)

World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy have finished a fictional tale that's aimed at the middle-school set but takes on grown-up topics ranging from black holes to the origins of the universe. Lucy Hawking says the book, should give kids a better grasp on the cosmic mysteries that are her father's specialties.

Among the themes covered in the book will be "black holes, obviously stellar formation, the formation of the solar system, our place in the solar system and the way that you as a child, or a human being on this planet, relate to the universe around us," she said.
Anyway we are now on page 41. When Quinn went to bed last night he was keen to read on. So I told him he could read a few more pages in bed. He thought about it, hesitated, and then said, 'No this can be our book that we read together'...

Oh my heart can melt! I hope he remembers these moments fondly when he is older, and that I am helping to mold and shape him in some kind of positive way that he will like as he grows up.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Saturday, 16 February 2008

I'm a groupie!

You may or may not have followed my growing obsession with the local band The Parlotones. They are arguably the best South African band EVAR, plus they have the bragging rights of being the first SA band to sign an international recording contract while still based in SA! (Most others have had to venture out into the world before being noticed and recognised, these guys are so good they were found right here).

I started noticing them on the radio a few years ago, and liked their songs immediately. I first saw them perform 18 months ago at Rocking the Daisies, and have been a firm fan ever since. So have the boys.

I am on their mailing list (I did say I am a groupie!) and so always know when they'll be performing in CT, and I was VERY disappointed that I couldn't make it to see them at last Sunday's Kirstenbosch Concert. I felt slightly better about it that it rained horribly all that day! *efg*

When my mailing list told me that they'd be performing at Bishops High School this week, which is like 1km from where I live, I was so excited and immediately made plans to be there... and so that's where we were last night.

I have seen them perform 3 times now and each time I am more and more impressed. Really they just frikken ROCK!

Bishops was having their summer fund raising concert, so it was a small relaxed crowd picnic-ing on the lawn. Unlike the 10 000 strong Kirstenbosch mob. So we lounged on the lawn with our nibbles and sipping bubbly while watching the Bishops Mirimba, and Acapella bands and then saw a fantastic show by the local (but internationally acclaimed) Zip Zap Circus. They are a very talented group! I especially liked the little girl who performed on the scarf apparatus. Very impressive!

Thanks to the small crowd I was able to stand right in the very front, with the other 15-year old groupies... oh wait I am not 15... oh well who cares, I act 15! ;) But I can drive.... and drink legally! (although not at the same time... well I can do both at the same time, but not legally... Whatever! You know what I mean!)

So there I was hanging over the railings and watching The Parlotones while swigging my beer, and singing along with gusto to every song - yes I know every word.... I am sure the girls around me where not impressed, but now that I am 33 and not 15 I no longer give a toss what the 'cool' 15 year old gang thinks ;)

The set totally rocked and I loved every minute of it.

Afterwards we lined up (Richard got there first and was #1 in line. w00t! - fid I mention I am a groupie? ;) ) and we got the band to sign my CD (I was bummed I didn't have *both in the car!), and then I snuck around the table to get a picture taken with Kahn (Yes, I know I look totally manic).

Here are some pics.

* I have both their albums (ok they actually have 3, but as Kahn told me himself (hahaha) the 3rd (which was the first) 'is totally arb'. ;)

I actually sent them an email (which Glen replied to!) telling them how much I love their music and how the boys and I sing along loudly (and badly) in the traffic in Cape Town, and how after not buying music for years - as most songs don't outlive their radio play with me, I have taken out my wallet twice in the last year - both times to buy a Parlotones CD!

If you haven't heard them here are some songs (they played all of these last night):
Louder Than Bombs
Giant Mistake
Dragonflies & Astronauts
The Sun Comes Out
Radio Controlled Robot
I'll Be There
Disappear Without a Trace
Funny Face
Here Comes the Man
Listen to them and enjoy... and then go buy their albums. They really deserve the support!

Friday, 15 February 2008

Quinn Athletics Day - Grade 3

I snuck off work this morning to go watch Quinn 's athletics race. I have a manged to make it every year so far, so I really didn't want to miss it.

Grade 1 report here
Grade 2 report here

Here is a comparison pic of Q from Grade 1 2 & 3 at the athletics meet.
The athletics goes from Grade 1 right up to Matric, with all the races scheduled so the big boys run their long races around the perimeter and the littler ones do short races in the inside of the track.

(Quinn runs with the Grade 2s as he is the youngest in his grade, and with a 3 Jan birthday he is in the under 8 category. At least it gives him a fighting chance...)

Griffin was there too since he is in the Grade R class, and they were brought over to cheer for their big schools. I got there with 10 mins to spare before their race, and just in time to go say hi to both and give them some illicit sweeties. I got a few snaps of them (I seem to be the only mom who walks all over and takes photos instead of just being in the stands LOL. I am not sure the teachers approve, but I dash in and out before anyone has time to moan at me ;) ) LOL.

Anyway before we knew it Quinn's group were lined up and ready for their race. And then they were off, and just as soon finished. 50m doesn't take very long!
I went back took a few more snaps, said good bye. Raced to work and sauntered in as if I always arrive at 09:20.
Anyway here is a collage pic of all the action:

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Look she's wearing a skirt!

In the DAY time!

I never never used to wear skirts, at all.

I think I grew up feeling a bit too girlie and nerdy and a bit spaz. People used to pigeon hole me as really shy, and worse, conservative. I hated that!

Then, I went into a male dominated industry (engineering and then IT), and wearing the proverbial pants just seemed the right thing to do. For years I avoided lace, frills, pink or satin - fearing I'd look too conservative and farm-girlesque in it. Also I think having little kids is part of it. It's hard to run after a toddler and roll on the ground in a skirt! Plus when I used to do user support at work I did have to climb under desks etc at times... So I went the practical route and just wore pants - all the time. Jeans, tracksuits, trousers, shorts, whatever.

I wore black, brown, blue, grey and reds, and that was pretty much it.

In the past 4-5 years I have started adding more colour, and have even gone with some pinks! But skirts and dresses pretty much remained reserved for going out at night - barring the pregnancy tent dresses, which really just resemble large circus tents, nothing feminine about THAT!

Then 2 or 3 years ago I started buying a few long heavy winter skirts, and then a year or so later a few long flowwy summer skirts... but I still didn't wear them very often.

But recently I have started wearing more skirts more often - and heels too - and I am liking them. I seem to have broken that perception of me (whether it's internal or external who knows) and people now know I am just one of the guys and can cuss and joke (and drink) just like the rest of them if I want to. I feel I can do a bit of feminine and delicate without feeling nerdy and spaz, and can still be taken seriously.

My latest development seems to be wearing above the knee skirts. I found this one (and another similar but fuller black & white one) on Sunday and liked it. So this was me on Valentines 2008. It was after coming home from work hence the crazy messy hair!

I guess if I don't wear them now, I never will be able to...

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

My word!

I got this idea from Mel & Jeanette...

And since I have been a bit sparse with my posting recently due to being a bit pressed for time (as being a bit over committed will do to you), I decided I would copy the idea and try it here.

So here goes....

If you had to use one word to describe me, what would it be?

Be honest, no need to sugar coat it, just tell it like it is. Mkay?

Thursday, 7 February 2008

If you want something done....

I am starting to get volunteeralitis...

I don't tend to have time to volunteer and/or commit to being physically available at any specific time particularly during the work day/week - what with working basically full time, doulaing, running, yoga, kata-box, friends and and and.

So I avoid being class rep, or doing regular tuck shop duty etc etc, but I find I help out where ever I can. So I do tuck shop duty at fun events and sport days - when I'll be there anyway.

I help out at cubs if I am there on the day, and they need supervisors and demonstrators etc to help, but have also avoided getting roped in to the formal organisational structure there. It's not that I don't WANT to help, but I hate hate hate letting people down, and I get over committed pretty easily, so I just help as and when I can.

The Scout Group's web site has been static and very simple for years now though and it's needed a refresh. No one has volunteered to help so far.... so last night I decided heck I will do it!

The boys have really enjoyed cubs immensely, even Griffin who isn't even a member, but is very often there and gets included in all the fun activities they do, and we haven't paid a cent for him.

So last night I started on a new page for them....

The old site is HERE

and I am working on THIS

Noting that I have only spent an hour or 3 on it so far, and I have limited skills too... What do you think? Is it an improvement?

I am hoping this one will be nice and active and will have regular updates and new letters etc, so people will have a reason to come loo at it, and find whatever info they need....

I have just sent it to the Scouter for review - I hope she likes it.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

These legs were made for running...

These legs were made for running, and that's just what they'll do. One of these days these legs are gonna run all over you.... (Apologies to Nancy Sinatra - see the original song and lyrics) ;)

These are my beloved running shoes. They are the 2006 men's Asics Cumulus Gels. I got them on a sale at Sportsmans Warehouse marked down from R799 to something like R450! They have been absolutely great. They are light, comfy and support my feet well.

I have done well over 1500km in them and they are still going strong. I have not had a single blister or niggle with them at all. I used to suffer a bit with ITB flare ups in my old running shoes, but the moment I bought these babies that went away completely. I am dreading needing to replace them. I LOVE my running shoes! I actually call them my happy shoes, because just putting them on cheers me up ;)

Are you ready legs? Start running!

A day at the museum

While it might not be as adventurous as a 'Night At The Museum', it's still a fun way to spend a rainy Sunday morning.

This morning Quinn and I decided to go on an outing to the Cape Town Iziko Museum. We used to go often, but hadn't been there in 18+ months.

It really is lovely there with kids, especially on cold or rainy days when they need to work off some energy. There is plenty of space for kids to roam around and look at interesting things and I guarantee they will be exhausted by the end of it. Wink

They have some new exhibits up too, and a beautiful showcase of 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year' entries up atm too.

It's free on Saturdays, otherwise it's R10 for adults and R5 for kids, really cheap. And there is a fairly nice coffee shop downstairs, and the tea garden in the government gardens is lovely too.

Here are 2 collage pic of Q and my outing there today:

Quinn in the museum

Quinn feeding the squirrels in the gardens. some of them are very tame and let you scratch their head while they eat Wink

On the way home Q found a brand new R20 note too. He was super chuffed!

Saturday, 2 February 2008

A few recent pics

The past few weeks have been dull and boring and rather blah, so there hasn't been much to say or report on...

But finally things are looking like there may be an upswing soon, and I feel a bit better and like there is a light at the end of the tunnel (despite load shedding).

Anyway here are a few recent pics:

A week ago I rearranged the kid's bedroom and turned the bunk into an L-shape instead of just straight up and down as it has always been. So far it's worked out great, they are loving it.
Quinn playing with his rat Harry:
We had a great time swimming this afternoon, after coming back from a run/cycle to go watch a movie:
I got my running mojo back, after nearly a week of feeling down, demotivated and frankly disinterested in doing anything. I have run/walked 27km in the last 3 days (and done about 300 crunches) YEAH!
That's all.

Friday, 1 February 2008

What are your love languages?

Apparently there are 5 love languages, well according to Gary Chapman anyway.

The Five Love Languages or basic emotional languages, in no particular order, that we all have are:

1. Touch
2. Words of Affirmation
3. Quality Time
4. Acts of Service
5. Gifts

And according to statistics, approximately 90% of existing couple don’t share the same primary love language! This apparently can be where all those problems come in...

You can take a quiz to see what your predominant love languages are HERE or HERE

I took the quizzes and it seems my main language is quality time. I want to spend time with the people I care about and want to talk, and touch and actually focus on each other (and sitting watching TV doesn't really count as quality time in my books).

The first quiz's results for me are:
Score Love Language
6 Words of Affirmation
11 Quality Time
1 Receiving of Gifts
6 Acts of Service
6 Physical Touch

So quality time really is a biggie for me. Note that the maximum score is 12...

Then the others are equally important to me - except gift giving, which I really don't value that much. I mean a gift is nice, of course, but often it's just a last minute obligation, or given to placate another need. I'd rather be, do or say, than just get. To me a gift is only meaningful when it comes along with one of the other languages. Is that just me?

My results of the second quiz are:

My Primary Love Language is Quality Time

My Detailed Results:
Quality Time: 10
Acts of Service: 8
Physical Touch: 7
Words of Affirmation: 5
Receiving Gifts: 0
Take the Quiz!

This one shows that my secondary language is Acts of Service, which is more in line with what I expected. I like to be offered help - even if I don't want or need it, it's the offer that is important to me. Or just spontaneously given help, without having to ask for it. And for someone to just come and be with me (oh wait that's quality time) while I am busy.

So what are yours?

Dr. Gary Chapman, Christian counselor and author of The Five Love Languages, writes about the importance of being able to express love to your spouse in a way that your spouse can understand. He calls this type of communicating using the five love languages.

Chapman's Five Emotional Love Languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
    This is when you say how nice your spouse looks, or how great the dinner tasted. These words will also build your mate's self image and confidence.

  • Quality Time
    Some spouses believe that being together, doing things together and focusing in on one another is the best way to show love. If this is your partner's love language, turn off the TV now and then and give one another some undivided attention.

  • Gifts
    It is universal in human cultures to give gifts.

    They don't have to be expensive to send a powerful message of love. Spouses who forget a birthday or anniversary or who never give gifts to someone who truly enjoys gift giving will find themselves with a spouse who feels neglected and unloved.

  • Acts of Service
    Discovering how you can best do something for your spouse will require time and creativity. These acts of service like vacuuming, hanging a bird feeder, planting a garden, etc., need to be done with joy in order to be perceived as a gift of love.

  • Physical Touch
    Sometimes just stroking your spouse's back, holding hands, or a peck on the cheek will fulfill this need.

Determining Your Own Love Language

Since you may be speaking what you need, you can discover your own love language by asking yourself these questions:
  • How do I express love to others?
  • What do I complain about the most?
  • What do I request most often?

Speaking in your spouse's love language probably won't be natural for you. Dr. Chapman says, "We're not talking comfort. We're talking love. Love is something we do for someone else. So often couples love one another but they aren't connecting. They are sincere, but sincerity isn't enough."

Emotional Experiences

The number one emotional experience reported by folks is feeling the presence of God in their lives. The emotional high of being in love (which generally lasts around 2 years) is the second highest emotional experience that people reportedly have.

That is why it can be so difficult to try and talk some sense into someone who is in the midst of falling in love. Chapman stated that obsessive love can render people mentally incompetent. "There's not much difference between being in love and being insane."

Fading Tingle and Empty Love Tanks

After the first or second year of marriage, when the initial "tingle" is starting to fade, many couples find that their "love tanks" are empty. They may have been expressing love for their spouse, but in reality they were speaking a different love language. The best way to fill your spouse's love tank is to express love in their love language. Each of us has a primary love language. Usually, couples don't have the same love language.

Tank Check

Dr. Chapman recommends that you have a "Tank Check" 3 nights a week for 3 weeks. Ask one another "How is your love tank tonight?" If, on a scale from zero to ten, it is less than 10, then ask "What can I do to help fill it?" Then do it to the best of your ability.