Thinking & Feeling

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

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

2011 Crazy Frasers Wrap up


So another year has come and gone, and as usual I am late with my end of year letter. 

So much as happened this year, that it is hard to remember it all. It has once again been a pretty tough year with lots of sadness, heartache and stress, but overall in the balance it has been a good one with lots of positive and memorable moments too.

In January the boy's paternal grandfather, Wally passed away after a long struggle with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. He was a wonderful man and was much loved by all. Then in August our dear Granny Betty died, just shy of 92. We were lucky to have had a few months of really good quality time with her where to whole family visited with her and she delighted us with her wit and charm and sparling humour. She was a wonderful darling woman who was a true lady and absolute inspiration to me. I miss her a lot.

After my cast was taken off my broken ankle at the end of last year I rehabilitated myself and was thrilled that I could still run. I have had a good running year and achieved personal best times over 6, 10, 15 and 21.1kms. I am still loving running and am pleased that the boys have started entering the 5km events when they join me at my races and they have been enjoying them too. Griffin mostly walks, but Quinn has started enjoying running and is starting to get a bit competitive too.

Then after considering it for several years I eventually got myself a bicycle for my birthday. I have been loving being able to venture further afield than running takes me and have done several long rides around the peninsula and absolutely LOVE it. In fact I have entered the Argus next year. Although that it seeming a bit scary now! J

Early in the new year it became clear that I was going to have to leave my job at 1st Contact/Kube, which I had loved for about 3 years, as my role was becoming more and more at risk due to lack of funds and the UK financial crisis taking its toll. I ended up working 4-days a week (which sounds great) but also at only 80% salary in the last month or 2, at which point I had to leave. I found a new job which looked great on paper, but in reality it was really awful. It just didn't work out at all, despite having some really nice people on my team. I was having to leave before dawn, return after sunset, work nights, week-ends and it just seemed relentless and thankless. So after just 7 months, during which time I pretty much fell apart physically from the stress and demands of the job, I quit, on the spot. I had lost my health, fitness, and even my sense of humour and enjoyment of life. I was physically depressed and diagnosed with extreme bradi-cardia (slow pulse) and low blood pressure and my system was just shutting down. I was not happy.

I had a couple of weeks off where I regrouped, got fit, healthy and happy again and found a new job, just when I needed it, and could not be happier. It is keeping me very busy, and is also challenging, but I LOVE IT! It is exactly what I needed.

Griffin has had a good year in Grade 3 and as usual he is quiet, responsible, kind, caring and mature. He earned the merit badge at school several times and got a certificate for excellence in maths at the end of the year. His report was very good and he is starting to do pretty well academically. He has a strong work ethic, and although he struggles with spelling (and speech at times) he tries hard and gives his best. He goes to Grade 4 next year, so we are done with the foundation phase of school now. He has a fantastic sharp sense of humour and we often crack jokes between us which only we understand. He turned 10 in November and has really grown up this year. He is my precious poppet and I am very proud of him.

Quinn has had a good year in Grade 5, he has been social and playful, shrewd and scheming as always. He is always making something, selling something, buying something or planning something. He manages to simultaneously impress and irk me with his shenanigans. He has become a brilliant cook and can make pretty much anything he wants to now. After watching Master Chef he is great at presenting meals too. He is almost 12 now and is really starting to become a teenager now and we have a love-hate relationship brewing with him either being my best friend or being completely obnoxious. It's colourful!

Other memorable moments this year:
·         Going to the U2 concert with my darling sister Belinda in Feb
·         The family gathering for my niece & nephew's (Bee's children's) christening in Feb. It was wonderful having everyone together.
·         A camping Trip to Waterval with Ilse and family in March. What a wonderful place that is. I am definitely going back there.
·         My running come-back at the Mens Health Race Beer Challenge in March.
·         A 4x4 week-end with Warren in March. It was a wonderful fun and active adventure week-end, and a nice break from the boys for me.
·         My birthday at Beef Cakes with some awesome friends. Body shot on a HOT waiter... nuff sed!
·         A few games of pool with Mat & Tim. I even won a few games this year!
·         Seeing Lee-Ann & Pete before they sailed off for their big adventure in April. They rock.
·         Safari Half Marathon Week-end with the boys in May. I love that race. I'll be back next year I am sure.
·         Seeing my gorgeous sisters Catherine & Belinda in June. We don't see enough of each other but as the years go by I like, appreciate and admire them more and more.
·         The mid-winter Bainskloof week-end with Tim. I'd never been there before and it was possibly the coldest week-end of the year, but lots of red wine and food and fires kept us warm.
·         The 'Famous Dr Raynham' who with his incredible skill and expertise (and a tiny bit of titanium) fixed Quinn's hearing in his right ear!!!
·         Some fabulous hikes/runs in the mountains with Tim. I really appreciated and grew to love the mountain this year and spent more time out there than ever before. We truly live in a beautiful place. Somehow running around the Rondebosch Common doesn't really cut it any more.
·         Seeing my beloved parents in August. Just when I needed them here. They sympathised with me, took the boys out for the day (so I could have some time out and go for a hike) and took us for an awesome meal when I was at my lowest. This meant so much and really really helped me. Thank-you!
·         The Sister Mary James experience with Phil, Mat &Tim. Crazy but fun sweetie-darlings.
·         A fabulous week-end away at Beaverlac with Janine, Digby, Tim and kids. What an awesome place! I loved that week-end a lot.
·         Rocking the Daisies – possibly the best one yet, it was amazing! LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!
·         Meringspoort Half Marathon Week-end with Tim in October. ROAD-TRIP! Another fabulous week-end away full of fun and good memories.
·         Getting our new kitten Max(i-menance!) for Griffin's birthday. He is loving having a pet of his own.
·         Leading some of the RBPS Grade 5 boys on a hike to the Block House in December. It was worth taking a day off work for. I love the RBPS boys, they are amazing young men and such fun to interact with.
·         Getting to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Artscape with Andrew & Chantal. What a spectacular privilege and treat. Wow. It was awesome.
·         The Parlotones at Kirstenbosch – twice this year!
·         MCQP – the Japanese invasion with Mat. Such fun!

We really do lead a good life and are blessed to have the friends and family we do. Thanks to all who have been part of our lives this year.

There are too many thank-yous to mention but thanks go especially to our amazing neighbours who help me constantly in many ways (particularly with fetching and carrying the boys) and without whom my life would be much more difficult and harried. Beryl & family who are true and constant friends. Tiny who helps to keep me sane, keeps our house running and keep us clean, clothed and fed, and everyone else who has touched our lives. Especially those of who have made me laugh and smile. Thank-you one and all.

Love to you all and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, hope to see you all soon.


Love from Jane, Quinn, Griffin, Roxy & Max.



Monday, 12 December 2011

My boys took the heat

So I had a busy very tightly scheduled week-end. On Saturday morning Quinn decided he wanted to start on our Christmas cookies. He has enough experience with these, and cooking in general, now that I decided he was able to make them unsupervised thus giving me the chance to sneak in a  quick run before having to drop Griff off at a party/sleep-over.

So off I dashed. When I got back it was clear the biscuits had been burned... There were remnants of burned biscuits in the driveway! WTF? I did a bit of general yelling about having left them unattended in the oven and both boys insisted they'd only been in for 10 mins... I had no time to investigate or argue, so off Griff and I went to drop him off. While Quinn was at home cleaning up.

When I got back I noticed 2 important clues...
1. There was a distinct blackening of the cupboards above the oven and
2. The few remaining biscuits in the kitchen were charred on top, but still pale on the bottom... Hrm.
A quick check of the oven confirmed my suspicion... and yes they'd cooked them on GRILL and not BAKE. (I think we have all made that mistake at least once before..?)

I debriefed Quinn about exactly what had happened, and it turns out that...Yes, they did indeed pop the biscuits in the oven and then go to watch something on TV. But they did not leave them for very long though. On arriving back in the kitchen they noticed the burning smell and also smoke coming out of the oven. Quinn says there was flickering inside too. So he opened the oven and says the little flames then leaped into much BIGGER flames. (OH MY GOD!?). I asked him what he did, and he said he closed the door again straight away and turned the oven off immediately. Clever boy. Correct move on both counts.

He says Griffin then suggested they throw water into the oven. Quinn says he said 'No, because of the electricity'. Again, clever boy and brownie points for thinking, staying calm and using common sense. He says he got Griffin to go outside and get the hose pipe. He then opened the oven again and got the tray out with an oven glove and took it outside, placed it on the ground and Griffin then hosed them down. Hence the burned remnants in the driveway.

I was not thrilled that they'd almost burned our house down - while I wasn't even there! But I am actually very impressed with how they handled the situation. I think many adults would have panicked more and handled it less well. I did talk to them about being careful, not leaving things unattended in the oven AND always checking that the grill is not on when baking. I also reiterated that they could/should have phoned the fire brigade, or me or a neighbour, or ADT had they needed help and not been able to sort it out quickly or easily themselves.

I was initially horrified that it had happened, but now having had time to think about it, I actually think it was a great learning experience and I am once again impressed by my boys' level of common-sense, responsibility and accountability. Quinn cleaned everything up himself and packed the remaining dough away so that they can try again... Once the oven is properly cleaned up and we have checked if it actually still works. I have not had the time (or inclination) to check that yet. Please let it still work!!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Things are looking up....

Here is today's SOTD.... nice and early.

I LOVE this song. I heard it on the way to work and was sure it was Coldplay, but it isn't is a Durban based SA band. They are really good.

I love the sound, lyrics and feel of it....

Breaking the Silence by Gangs of Ballet

You can listen to it here: http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/song_details/10895241
(click play at the top)


The elves of Christmas 2011 have arrived!

Here they are...

(They still love doing this and I am going to carry on until they don't. )

Thursday, 8 December 2011

I love my job!

I really am loving my job! 

It is interesting, nicely challenging (without being unduly stressful), and very rewarding so far. 

Also I am getting awesome feedback (words of affirmation are one of my main love languages so that makes me feel warm and fuzzy). It makes me happy. I LIKE coming here every day. I have missed this so much in the past year or so!

"never could describe such a feeling"

This is my SOTD today... I am not sure why. It's not (just) the lyrics. I have heard it a few times while I have been working today and it does something to me physically. It fills me up inside and spills out through my heart. Making my chest literally feel full and swollen and almost overwhelmed with emotion. It is hard to describe (I am not sure if other people (everyone?) experience music the way I do..?)

FLORENCE + THE MACHINE - "All This And Heaven Too"

And the heart is hard to translate
It has a language of its own
It talks and turns and courts sighs and present proclamations
In the grand days of great men and the smallest of gestures
And short shallow gasps 

But with all my education I can't seem to command it
And the words are all skipping and coming back all damaged
And I will put them back in poetry if I only knew how
I can't seem to understand it

And I would give all this and heaven too
I would give it all if only for a moment 
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see
'Cause I've been scrawling it forever but it never makes sense to me at all

And it talks to me in tiptoes
And sings to me inside
It cries out in the darkest night and breaks in morning light

But with all my education I can't seem to command it
And the words are all skipping and coming back all damaged
And I will put them back in poetry if I only knew how
I can't seem to understand it

And I would give all this and heaven too
I would give it all if only for a moment 
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see
'Cause I've been scrawling it forever but it never makes sense to me at all

And I would give all this and heaven too
I would give it all if only for a moment 
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see
'Cause I've been scrawling it forever but it never makes sense to me at all

No, words are a language that doesn't deserve such treatment 
That all of my stumbling phrases never amounted to anything worth this feeling

All this heaven never could describe such a feeling as I'm here

Words were never so useful 'til I was screaming out a language that I never knew existed before


Monday, 5 December 2011

Quinn's Giant Pencil & Cross-bow

Quinn made this Giant pencil... which actually writes (it has a permanent marker attached in the front)

Image

He also made this Cross-Bow one day...
Image

He sometimes drives me a little crazy with his mad scientist projects (he makes a mess and uses everything up) but I must admit he is very creative and GOOD at making stuff. He has great ideas and the practical know-how to go along with it. It impresses me!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Mom's Got PMS - run for your lives!

I have been explaining the concept of PMS to Quinn - I think it's important for him (all boys in fact) to understand it. 

Anyway last night I was a bit snappish and pissy with the boys - because they were really irritating me! I felt blah and tired and moody and just wanted to eat and sleep and sulk. But I told them I was going to drag myself out for a little run and was hoping it would help a bit. 

A while later after I got back I told Q I felt much better after my run, and he said 'Yes you do seem a lot more cheerful now', so I said, 'Yeah they should write a children's book called "Mom's got PMS, so let's behave" '. To which he chirped, 'How about "Mom's got PMS. Let's go to bed!" ? Or even better "Mom's got PMS - where's that 45 Magnum??"' and then he motioned to shoot himself in the roof of the mouth... I think he gets it. Hahahaha. 
:twisted: :oops:

Monday, 28 November 2011

Cycled my butt off in the wind

On Saturday I went for a cycle. It seemed to be a good idea at the time...but the wind was PUMPING in Cape Town and flipping heck it was SO HARD to get back in that wind! It was sheer dogged willpower and determination that got me home. I may also have been muttering some profanities at times too. I went over Constantia Nek via Wynberg and then into Houtbay, up over Suikerbossie, through Camps Bay to Seapoint where I stopped for a break and to get a drink and then back via town and lower main road.

That last 15km was killer with direct pumping head wind. I was being buffeted around and even though I was on 3rd from lowest gear was struggling to keep moving forward. Insane!

By the time I got home I'd done 56km and it took well over 3 hours.

Quinn took pity on me and gave me a nice foot rub. While rubbing my calves  he said my legs are more muscular and firm than they used to be. Apparently they used to be 'floppy'. He then said my butt is smaller and firmer too, because previously 'When you were doing kata-box, your bum would be doing it's own kata-box...' Hahaha, he certainly keeps my ego well in check!

Great Full - Great Attitude

I have a lot to be grateful for... and although in my family we do our 'Thanksgiving' on Angelique's birthday which is 23 March, it has just been American Thanksgiving Day and so the theme of being grateful is strong and I feel like joining in.

I am grateful:
-That I am well and healthy again. My ankle is healed and I can do almost anything again without pain and I mostly don't have t worry about it. My balance is not as good on that ankle, but it is good enough. It is a good reminder to me to be grateful for my health and mobility and to enjoy and appreciate and cultivate it. My heart seems well again too. I feel fit and healthy and happy again. I am loving it.

- That my little family is well and happy and healthy and functional again. We are doing great. We have a good life.

- That I LOVE my new job. It is going so well and I really do enjoy it. Long may this last. Hurray!

- That life is full of fun, excitement, possibility and opportunity. I have learned and grown so much in the past 3 years. I feel really whole and settled and completely ME now. I love it.

- There's lots more, but these are the main ones and these pave the way for everything else.


I am Great. I am full. I have a great attitude. I am grateful and with gratitude. 
(I know it s sounds super corny out loud, but it worked in my head ok!?)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Classic Griffin

Last night I got home from work at about 17:30 only to find Griffin still in full school uniform. Blazer, shoes, tie and all. So I said, 'Griffin you need to change.' to whcih he replied in mock-Pinnoccio voice with a twinkle in his eyes, 'But I LIKE the boy I am!'

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

It was worth it

Last week Tuesday I attended Griffin's school foundation phase 'Celebration Day'. Even though I'd only been at my new job for 2 weeks, I decided to request and take the time off to go be there. Even getting a tele-conference meeting with our UK clients shuffled to later in the day. Knowing that in the greater scheme of things THIS was more important. Both to me and to my darling boy. It was the right choice. So I came in early and dashed off just in time to get there for the start. Even though I was too late to get a seat and had to stand in a door way near the back in heels for the full 2 hour event.

It was worth it. It was worth seeing the junior choir singing such beautiful touching songs. Listening to the headmasters address which touches me to the point of tears every year. There is something about that man that inspires me to tears each time he speaks. I revere him.

It was worth seeing those beautiful proud little boys each receiving their certificates for something they did well this year. I know many of them, either personally or at least by sight now. I was proud of each of them. It was worth seeing my boy stand to get his and for it to be no less than for 'Excellence in Mathematics' wow. That's no consolation prize that one. That shows his level of hard work, focus and dedication this year. He has really stepped up to the plate and delivered this year. I am so proud of my big little boy. It was worth him spotting me there in the audience and the big smile I got as a result. I knew he would have been fine if I couldn't have made it there. He would have accepted it. But I know it meant the world to him that I WAS there and that I prioritised that and HIM above everything else.

It was worth grabbing a 1/4 egg sandwich and cookie on the way out as a hurried lunch, even though I couldn't stay for tea and a chat with the other parents. I got back a bit late, and ended up having to stay late. There was no time for a run that evening, But it didn't matter. It was worth it.

Soft kitty

This is Classic Quinn...

Last night I caught Quinn singing Sheldon (from Big Bang Theory)'s lullaby song 'Soft Kitty' to Max our kitty at bedtime.

Soft kitty, warm kitty,
Little ball of fur,
Happy kitty, sleepy kitty,
Purr purr purr.

 Soft kitty, warm kitty. 
Little ball of furr. 
Lazy kitty, pretty kitty 
Purr, purr, purr

You can hear the song HERE:

:) 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Old Mutual 10km Race Results

The Old Mutual 10km Race Results have been released. They are HERE

This is how I fared..

I came 435 out of 1503.
             

 Results

Total

My Pos

%

Total

1503

435

28.9%

F

550

59

10.7%

35-40

198

59

29.8%

F 35-40

85

10

11.8%


:) 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Quinn: School exchange a no-go

So the draw for the UK school exchange was tonight.

There were 32 applications that met the qualifying criteria so they made it a random draw so that there was no favouritism or disputes....

Sadly Quinn's name as not drawn.

Shame man he got all dressed up smartly and was clutching my hand. Poor kid. Luckily (or even more sadly probably) he is used to dealing with disappointment, so has taken it in his stride.

He is disappointed but accepting of it. So now we'll keep trying to save for a holiday next year. It will be 4 years since I took them to Thailand and they are dead keen to go back.

Griffin is 10!

So Griffin turned 10 on Saturday.
His birthday has been pretty low-key for the past 2 years. No real party or celebrations to speak of really apart from the cake at school and obligatory Spur dinner. Especially last year when I went and broke my ankle the week before so even the cake at school thing was a challenge to arrange.

This year I wanted to make sure that the momentous occasion of his DOUBLE DIGITS birthday did not go by without a minor fanfare.

And so on Thursday we prepared a large cake and some sweet for him to take to school. He shared with his class, favourite teachers, friends and a few parents who are kind and helpful to us too. I think he even saved a piece for Tiny. I think I was the only person who didn't get any actually... (But it's ok I more than made up for it over the rest of the week-end!)

Then on Friday evening he had cubs, where more of a fuss was made. Then on Saturday on the day of his actual birthday he was woken up by Quinn with coffee and breakfast and a collection of vouchers Quinn had created for him. These included vouchers for 'Coffee', 'Foot rub', '3-hours uninterrupted XBOX time' and best of all 'Slave Duties for a Day'. Wow! Quinn is a complete sweet-heart when it comes to stuff like that.
After I woke up I gave him the gift I had for him. I also popped Max the kitten into his gift bag, since Max was actually his main birthday gift - even though we have had her for 2 weeks already. He enjoyed opening his gifts and was especially thrilled with the Swiss Army Knife from our friend Tim.
We baked birthday cakes after that and while they were cooling we went off shopping. As the other main gift he was getting (from me and ex-MIL) was a pair of decent training shoes. He has only had cheap and crappy tackies up till now, and as a result he trips over his feet, gets blisters and generally doesn't relish physical activity. Since he is becoming keen on the 5km races he's been doing and hiking he really needed some better shoes. Off we went to the Cape Storm shop and managed to find some lovely Montrail Trail-shoes at 50% off. They were supposed to be R900 and we got them for R450. He LOVES them. Hopefully this will help him to get a bit more sporty and competitive.
After the shopping trip we went to Wimpy for lunch, then home to finished the cakes. I made one for a tea party with friends that afternoon, and another for his party the next day.
At 4pm our friends came over and we chatted and played and ate cake. Griff's friend Maxine was left behind as she was staying for the night. A while later we joined more friends at Spur for his birthday dinner. With more singing and sparklers and ice-cream etc.


On Sunday he had his Bowling Party with 10 friends. His cake was a Skittle and Bowling Ball to represent the 10 and the Bowling Party.
We finished off on Sunday at the gym where he swam and played.

I think he had a great birthday week-end and really enjoyed it.

I love you my special precious boy who really 'gets' me. Happy Birthday. I am proud of you!

Update on my new job...

I'm juggling 12. Yes that's right, count them, TWELVE projects*. At. Once. Holy FUCK. I don't know whether I am coming or going half the time. But I'm kinda enjoying the challenge, and being in a much more healthy environment.

2 other PMs comment today on how well I have slotted in here. (I have only been here for 2 weeks! Feels a lot longer) And can already challenge and correct people in meetings. :)

* Some are big and many are small, but that's 12 sets of people, schedules and requirements and processes to figure out and steer to completion.

A Quinn School Funny - Faulty Towers

In Term 4 of Grade 5 at Quinn's school, they play a long and complex game called 'The Game of Life' it seems to be a kind of SIMS/Monopoly based game or sorts where they have to do activities, plan and earn things and build up a life for themselves. There are various inputs and outputs and their choices and strategies determine how well they come out at the end. They have to chose jobs, build houses, decide to invest or build other dwellings to rent out etc etc. It seems like a lot of fun and a good idea to teach about some of the intricacies and considerations of adult life and responsibilities.

Anyway Quinn has now earned the right to build accomodation to rent out. His friend made a bunch of cute cluster houses. Quinn decided to go the high-volume route and built 2 VERY tall and thin sky-scraper blocks of flats.

Guess what he has called them??

The Quinn Towers!

LOL. I love the sense of humour we have in our family. :)

Friday, 11 November 2011

Quinn's Exchange Application - nearly an EPIC fail

So after all the excitement and anticipation Quinn TOTALLY fumbled his application for the UK school exchange trip yesterday.... sigh.

He was SO dissappointed last night, even though he tried to hide it well and be non-chalant and show a brave face. He got mixed up and thought the applications had had to be in at FIRST break and he couldn't find anything or anyone then. After that break he gave up... In the mean time it was SECOND break which had not even happened yet, and then he didn't go!? WTF!?

I was quite annoyed and dissappointed myself, and vented my frustration to him. So he just clammed up. There was a mix up with his cricket match on Wednesday and he got into a lot of trouble (and got a discipline stamp for that) and his teacher has been quite unreleneting about it, even though I think it was a ligitimate mix-up and NOT Quinn's fault at all. So it turns out that Quinn DID try to ask his teacher yesterday and his teacher wouldn't listen, insisting that he must just go away because he was in trouble about the cricket.  Aaaai!

Anyway I have mailed another teacher (who was Quinn's Grade 3 teacher - during my divorce - and who really took him under her wing that year and he adores her) who is coordinating the exchnage and explained what happened, and she says she knew he'd wanted to apply and had a chat with him about it on Tuesday already and so se HAS submitted his name. YAY. So now we wit till next We night to find out if he is selected or not...

First Watermelon of the Season - Priceless

It's no secret that I LOVE watermelon. So when we were in P'nP recently and Quinn saw some watermelons on display he pointed them out to me and enthusiastically encouraged me to get one. I asked him to check the price. Knowing it is still early in the season, and these were still quite small I wanted to make sure it was a good deal. (I don't buy things out of season when they are 2-3-4-5 times their normal price!) He came back saying the fruit & veg lady had said they were R29. Cool! So I got him to select one for me.

Well was I not surprised to find it scanned at R79 when we were paing for our goods. HOLY CRAP. I nearly fell over and got the cashier to get it removed from our bill and sent it back. No way will I pay R80 for a small watermelon - no matter how much I love watermelon and was excited about the start of the season. Apparently the lady in the fruit & veg section had kept telling people they were R29, when they were indeed R79. Good thing I was paying attention! WOW. They really should put a sign up!

So I am still waiting for that first watermelon of the season in my house... come on summer!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Did you know...?

Did you know that if you do 2x kata-box classes back-to-back you weigh 900gm less at the end!? Whew! Talk about sweaty, but WHAT FUN!  

There is this super toned and fit coloured guy (quite a hottie actually) with huge muscular thighs who is a regular in the kata-box class. I have been going to these classes on and off for years and he seems to have been going consistently for all those years. He really is FIT. We've started greeting each other at the class each week now. (I have only been back for about a month again but I am LOVING them.)

Last week I told him I am trying to get fit and back in shape again after leaving that sucky job recently, which is why I am back. I asked him if he is a cyclist (due to the impressive thighs) and he said he sommer does EVERYTHING and loves it all. The more the better. Cool. So now we kinda compete and push hard and never give up even if we are tired.

So this week I was 10 mins late for the early class, due to a late meeting at work. But I joined in anyway and it was a great work out. I told him afterwards as he was leaving that I was going to stay on and see if I can manage some of the next class, since I'd missed some of the first one.... Next thing he came back and stood in position near me. I said 'So are we really gonna do this..?' and he was like 'Yup, don't let me down now, if you give up, I am giving up....' and so we did a whole nother class! It was really awesome.

Oh and best news is instead of playing on the computers as usual Quinn ran on the treadmill for a while - he runs at 9.5kms/hour now which is really pretty good - and then he cycled for 25 mins too. He was also dripping with sweat by the end and is starting to enjoy exercising a lot now. Yippeee!


Needless to say we slept REALLY well last night! 

Monday, 7 November 2011

Quinn - amazing school trip - dilemma

Quinn's school does a Grade 6 Educational Exchange with a UK school every year. Only 8 boys get selected to go (out of about 100) so it is quite an honour. They have to meet qualifying criteria in terms of academic performance, tenure at the school, not regulars at detention etc. If they meet the qualifying criteria they then have to fill in a 'resume' to motivate why they should be chosen.

Quinn is super keen to apply and believes he can convince them to select him.

It would mean a 3-week trip to the UK next March. Experiencing attending a good school in the UK, trips into London, excursions to the sites and museums of London and probably experiences, fun and memories to last him a lifetime.

I do believe that this is the stuff that builds and teaches us the most. More-so than what you learn and remember for your usual class-room lessons.

BUT. There's always a but isn't there? The trip will costs a total of about R20 000. Which I simply don't have.

I really don't want that to be the deciding factor and limitation though. He has had to go without so much over the past few years, and is always compromising and settling and making do...

So, I told him tonight that he must go ahead and apply, and IF he gets in I will do what it takes to raise the money for it.

If he does somehow get chosen, do you think it would it be reasonable for me to ask friends and family who would have given him Christmas/Birthday gifts to rather contribute towards a fund for this..? Be honest would you find that offensive or forward?

We could also sell and raffle stuff at work and school and... Can you think of any other clever and effective fund raising ideas?

Sunday, 6 November 2011

YES! New PB in Landmark's Fun Run

The first race I ever ran was the Landmarks 6km Fun Run in 2005, I have run it three times since in 2006 , 2007 & 2008 . I skipped 2009 for some reason I don't recall why, and then was going to run it last year expect I went and broke my ankle the night before the race, so my plans to run it were thwarted. In fact today marks the 1-year anniversary of breaking my ankle and I am pleased to say it is 99% healed!

So this year was my 5th time running this race. Although I could have entered the Half Marathon this year I opted to do the 6km Fun Run again for 2 reasons:
1) I wanted to gauge my time/performance against my previous results, to see if I have improved over time.
2) The boys were entering it too, so we decided to make it a challenge.

I told Quinn I was going to try for a PB on this run, but that I would give myself a 10 minute handicap to give him a chance, and I also told him that once I finished I'd go back to find him.

There were a LOT of kids running this year as it was publicized as a schools challenge. A lot of them are lightning fast, but they start out like the wind and start fading a few kms in. Still some of them are really impressive and tiny too. I enjoyed it and it was a nice brisk early morning comfortable run. I know the terrain well since it's right in our neighbourhood.

So far my best time in this race was 30:40 in 2008. So this year I was hoping I could crack the 30-min barrier. Was I ever surprised and pleased to round the corner at the finish line and come in at 52:50!! Yippee! I actually earned a silver medal too which means I was placed somewhere in the top 40. Woot!

Previous results are as follows:
Date Dist Time  Speed min/KM
Nov-05 6 35.00  10.3 5.83
Nov-06 6 31.20  11.5 5.20
Nov-07 6 31.15  11.6 5.19
Nov-08 6 30.40  11.8 5.07
Nov-11 6 28.50  12.6 4.75

Once I was done I went back to look for the boys. I found Quinn at just past the 5km mark and he was looking tired but still in good spirits. I managed to encourage him to finish strongly and he really pushed himself to the end. He managed to finish in a very decent 43:20 - which is about the same time he did the 5km last week so a nice improvement there. He ran nearly the whole way again and was motivated and focused which is nice to see. It seems the bug is starting to bite him.

I again went back after Quinn finished, to find Griffin. At which point a traffic cop was joking with me about being lost and just how many times was I planning to go around the same loop. LOL

I found Griff at the 5km mark. He was struggling a bit as he was pale and  feeling a bit shaky. It was low blood sugar I suspect as I don't think he ate breakfast. So he was plodding along slowly. After encouraging him to breathe deeply and slowly and giving him a mental boost, he perked up and started walking with more determination and even decided to run the last 400m. Quinn joined us and was encouraging him too. I told him that when he got to the grass near the finish line he must just give it all he has and finish strong. He took this to heart and shot off as fast as he could leaving Quinn and I behind him.. As he rounded the last corner he even had a small crowd cheering for him and the lady with the medal was clapping and leaping and making a fuss of him.He even earned himself a spot prize for his drive at the end. He finished in 1:13:30.

We saw a lot of friends and kids from school there and it was a great morning to be out. All in all another good race which we really enjoyed.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Aai of the Taai Gher!

Last night the company had a social event to raise funds for one of the women who works here who is representing SA playing Netball in Mauritius in Dec. It was a Karaoke evening. Groan. Now Karaoke is not my favourite pastime. Cheesy 70s songs belted out by the most inhibition-free tone-deaf Idols wannabees while your ears implode and bleed in protest...? Ja, no thanks.

However being the 'new girl' on the block and not yet knowing the team, and not wanting to seem quite, conservative or Miss Prissy No-Fun, I thought it was probably a good idea to show my face and get more familiar with the team. I generally quite like team building and social events anyway.

So after yoga and popping home to collect the boys we dashed back to 'the pub' (same place we were last week after the OM Race). I was pleased to see some others had bought their partners, although I was the only one with children in tow.

At first I was pretty adamant that I wasn't going to sing. I really am no singer. I have no delusions of being able to carry a tune well. Indeed when I joined my friend at choir practice in Grade 2 before a play-date at her house the choir teacher asked me to stop singing. Nice hey!? So yeah I am not a singer. I know this. (It however doesn't mean I don't sing my heart out with the boys and in the car anyway though!)

Anyway last night there were some REALLY bad singers. Like re-he-aly bad. And then they started handing out prizes. To both good and bad singers - as long as they were entertaining. Soon, lured by the prospect of a prize, the boys decided they wanted to sing a song with me. As I'd told them I'd only sing if they helped me. They convinced me that I would definitely not be the worst.

So we signed up and sang 'Eye of the Tiger' LOL. They've been singing it at school so they both know all the words, so they sang their hearts out and did really well. I was mostly their back-up, but afterwards Quinn said 'You sound better in the car without a microphone' so my assertion that I cannot actually sing stands true.

I was then coerced into singing 'I will survive' with the 'girls'. Corny and cheesy totally being the theme for the night, but it was actually really fun and a good opportunity for me to see and be seen and get to know some of the guys - which always helps to oil the wheels of the working environment. The BIG boss from the UK and my local boss were there too. So I think it was definitely a good call to go. And they've seen the boys now too, so they will subconsciously know my situation and hopefully stay empathetic to that.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Shocking News - Friend of Griff's mom killed

I have been quite rattled this morning by the news of one of Griffin's school friend's mom's (Christina Scott) having been killed in a tragic freak-accident.

Although I did not know her well, I have seen her around loads of times and even had lunch with her at a mutual friend's house over Easter.  I loved her and found her to be delightfully fun, witty and vibrant. We had a good giggle over several glasses of wine and I remember finding her inspirationally free-spirited and philanthropic, as well as very bright and informed. She was also a wonderful mom whose love for her children shone through as she spoke of them animatedly and with bright eyes. I remember leaving that lunch wanting to do and be better... both for my children and the world at large.

So the news that such a wonderful caring, bright, liberal, progressive and community oriented women has died in a tragic, freak, car-accident, while being the caring giving helpful person she always was, has really shaken me.

Her death is so tragic and shocking. She was helping a colleague/student learn to drive and the student's foot slipped and by mistake she accelerated into her and crushed her, and she died.

She was a Canadian-born liberal who got involved as part of 'the struggle' here in SA in the 80s, and was a journalist, having worked for the Natal Mercury newspaper and Metro & SA FM radio stations. More recently she has been a revered Science Journalist. 

Such a tragic loss of a great mind and wonderful person. Poor family. They have lost a wonderful vibrant, quirky, fun and energetic inspirational mother.

Her Memorial is on Sat... and they are setting up a Christina Scott Science Journalism Scholarship. Which is a wonderful way to remember her.

http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/top-journo-run-over-during-driving-lesson-1.1169016
http://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/tributes-for-top-science-journo-1.1169128

Blog From Email - Test 1

Right so I am going to see if I remember how to e-mail a post to my blog. If this is there, then it's worked! And if so, I'll be able to blog a lot more quickly and easily... so this is experiment post 1.

I am now in Day 3 at this new job and so far so good. I can see things are going to get hectic. There is a LOT on the go here. BUT the big difference here is there are proper processes and procedures to follow and things are handled maturely and sanely, not that mad rush and panic and perpetual crisis-mode from the last pace which is what caused all the anxiety. It's like they want to be stressed and tensioned all the time there. I really hated it. SO hopefully this will last... although the info and volume overload here is a bit overwhelming.

Anyway last night I got home (new commute takes 15 mins each way! Whoop!!) and didn't feel like running on my own in the wind, so I took the boys to the gym. I did a kata-box class and loved it so much that I stayed on for the next one. Yup that's right I did 2 kata-box class back-to-back! My clothes were literally soaked with sweat by the end. I am not kidding. I weighed myself before and after and I weighed 900g less at the end of the 2 hours (ok I did pee once in between too). But wow that's a lot! I was quite energised for the rest of the evening, it really gives me a rush. Today I am a bit tired though and think I might get a bit stiff too. ;)

Quinn impressed me by coming upstairs and running on the treadmill for a while instead of just sitting and playing on the computers. He ran for 10-15 mins and said he went right up to 10km/h for 2 mins or so. That's a really good pace! He is amped for our 6km fun-run on Sunday and wants to challenge me. I am very happy and proud that he has become interested in participating a little more seriously now. :) I think I'll give myself a 10 minute handicap and then see if he can compete with me yet. I'll be super impressed if he can.

Ok back to work for me... I have loads to read and figure out.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Day 1 at New Job

So I have started my new job. The first day is predictably boring... but that's ok, I have had enough first days to know that this will be very short lived. Indeed I am actually enjoying and appreciating the calm and quiet and bordom while I can, as I know things will get hectic soon enough.

The good news is that it took me less than 15 mins to get here this morning – in the worst of the morning traffic, since I started a bit later today. Since I'll normally be a bit earlier, it should be even better in future. It's all of 8kms and a fairly direct route too. YAY.

There are a couple of folks still here from when last I worked in the building 6.5 years ago. So I'll e able to catch up with them once I am settled in.

Once again I am in a super open-plan office so can't openly browse the web, or play games, or do banking, or personal emails etc. without it being completely obvious. But I have learned how to use notepad (or even work outlook email) to compose mails or blog posts and then cut & paste quickly when I am done. Sneaky I know, but one does what one must...

I must say I thorougly enjoyed my time off and loved my routine of going out for a run/cycle/gym visit first thing in the morning after dropping the boys at school. Then catching up with friends, shopping, admin, emails and what-not in the afternoons before the boys came home and then having nice long, fun and calm evenigns with them. It was great having TIME and not rushing from one thing to the next, and hurrying everything along all the time. I could very much have got used to that... but since I have to be a corporate slave again and one can't be a lady of leisure without having to first find and then endure a sugar-daddy, here I am. :) At least I can see windows from where I am and even have a view of the mountains. :)
Anyway best I get back to reading the docs I hve been sent and getting familiar with how things work here.

xxx

Monday, 31 October 2011

Look what I let the boys do...

We had a little spur of the moment burger braai last night and the boys decided to swim while we were out there. I told them that whoever jumped into the pool, in the most entertaining way would win a prize.

Quinn ran onto his boogie board while holding the pool leaf-net pole and kind of Gondola'ed across the pool non-nonchalantly while he slowly sank to the bottom. His balance is incredible! Anyway, he won by far.

His prize..? Was a 'Once-in-a-life-time. Limited-Offer. Never-to-be-repeated. Once-only. Chance to jump off the roof into the pool.' He could NOT believe I was letting him do it. Once he'd confirmed that I was seriously going to let him do it, he asked if Griffin could share his prize and also have a turn. (Earning him bonus points in my eyes).

So this is what they did...
Jumping off the roof-md.jpg
I am actually keen to try it now! 8)

Max the Kitten - Update

I used to be a total 'cat lady' but went off them after the offish ones we had last got even more offish after Quinn was born. I just gave up on cats after that... But I must say Max is awesome and so much like my favourite ever cat Rocky was. So chilled and relaxed and mellow. He is even happily playing and sleeping through the sound of the vacuum cleaner right now! :shock: 8) (Most cats I have ever known run like they have an axe-murderer pursuing them if someone turns on a vacuum in the house)

Both boys are THRILLED that we have a kitten. Griffin keeps thanking me and saying it the best birthday present he has ever got. Quinn keeps thanking me too. He had a great week-end with 2x sleep overs and lots of fun, but he listed getting in the car and seeing the kitten as the best part of his week-end by far.

Anyway so here's Quinn meeting Max... can you see how happy he is?? This child just LOVES animals, all animals. He just lights up around them.
Quinn Meets Max-md.jpg
Then, I was a tad worried about how Roxy would react to Max. I had a fear that she might not be able to help herself from being aggressive, since Jack Russells are hunting/ratting dogs and are pretty much genetically programed to go after little things that scamper around. Roxy however is not usually aggressive at all and never so much as nips us, even in play so I was hoping it wouldn't be TOO much of an issue.

Anyway although she is still a bit too excitable around Max - so I am only letting them interact when supervised - she is actually being very gentle and nurturing. She also listens nicely and stops or sits if I tell her to. If anything she just wants to lick and play with the kitten to death... And amazingly Max is not fearful of Roxy at all. Neither is she defensive/aggressive to Roxy. She is just so chilled that she lets Roxy lick and nudge her and is completely unperturbed. This morning she was biting Roxy's legs and playing with her... I think they are going to be good friends!
Roxy Meets Max-sm.jpg

And we've not had a peep out of Max both nights. She's slept through in her bed in the kitchen.So far so good! :)

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Meet Max the Cat

I deliberated for quite a few weeks about whether it was mad to be considering getting another pet for our household. I went back and forward about whether to get a puppy or kitten for Griffin for his birthday (which is in 2 week's time). I kept wanting one and then not wanting one. First I wanted a kitten, then I wanted a puppy. Finally I thought it was mad to get either....

But honestly Griffin has been so good and is so mature and caring and helpful in general. I decided it really is time that he has a pet of his own, and he really wanted one too. He is so easy going he'd have been happy with anything.

Quinn had been trying to program me subliminally too. Every morning he'd sing out 'I'm just going to feed the kitten/puppy' before we left for school. Thinking that would plant the seed deep enough in my mind and sway me - and convince me that a new pet would be looked after etc.

After much thought I decided not to make it a puppy, because honestly I think we got really lucky with Roxy. She is really well behaved and easy to handle and hardly causes any mess or fuss, we might not be so lucky next time... .Also although we happily take Rox everywhere with us, it's not like we can go around with 2x dogs in tow.... we do take Roxy a lot of places she is strictly not meant to be, but get away with it because she is cute and looks and cat like a puppy.

Anyway after all my deliberation and indecision, I finally relented today while having a 'Griffin and Me' day.

So this afternoon off we went just to LOOK at some kittens... and well Griffin was way more mature than me and I kept saying to HIM, 'Awww please can I have one!?' LOL. So yes we had to take one.

We chose this gorgeous one (we are still not 100% sure if it's male or female yet, it's not quite clear!) and named him/her Max. Because of the 'M' on his forehead and because it is a unisex name. So it's either Maxine or Maximilian. Depending on what it turns out to be.

Meet Max the Cat-md.jpg

Max's mom (top left in the collage) was so mellow and chilled and Max too is a really relaxed little thing too. Really cute. Griff as you can see is rather besotted.

-----
So far Roxy was WAY over excited when they met and she could hardly contain herself. I have no idea what she wanted to do, but didn't want to find out. So I am keeping them apart for the first night again and once Max has settled in a bit more and had a nap we'll try to introduce them again. Roxy in general is never aggressive but being a Jack Russell and Max still being the size of a rat I do not want to temp fate here!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Photos from the OM Running Race

These are the photos from the race on Wednesday.




 Quinn took these ones of himself while he was waiting fr me... you can see how chuffed with himself he is. It's too cute!


Thursday, 27 October 2011

Proud of Quinn - He ran a race!

The boys have been coming to running races with me for a while now. This year they have started participating in the 5km events. Griff takes it fairly seriously and walks with determination and says he is trying to 'get fit' and 'improve his time' etc. he finishes in around 60-70 mins each time. He has done 4-5 events this year now.

Quinn on the other hand only wants to enter if there is a goodie-bag, and dicks around and jumps on water sachets and annoys people around him. His main goal is to drink as many cups of coke as possible at the water points and generally just hams it up, as is his style. He has only bothered to do about 2 events so far. At the Junior Argus he also only focuses on the water points and what refreshments they had and how many cups of each he drank... NO competitive edge or drive there AT ALL so far.... :roll:

But last night at the Old Mutual Pinelands 10km night race, both boys entered the 5km - despite there being no goodie bag. Their race was to start 15 mins behind mine and I told Quinn we could make it a challenge and see who won. Me running 10km and them doing 5km... We agreed that if I won I'd get a foot rub and if they won they could get a coke & packet of chips and sour sweet. Yay - easy free foot rub! :twisted: :)
In end they apparently started only 5 mins after us. I finished in a pretty good time of 51:30. In the bag... or so I thought, until I saw Quinn at the finish. At first I was convinced he hadn't even done the race... until I spoke to him. That endorphin rush is pretty unmistakable. 8) :lol: :D
He was SO amped and psyched. He'd run pretty much the whole way and reckons he was right up front of the 5km race. There was a lady in front of him and he wanted to pass her and so went as fast as he could trying not to let her get away. He says he ran most of the time and 'power-walked' when he needed to catch his breath. He was so chuffed and really enjoyed it and kept going on about how nice the coke tastes at the end after you have really worked for it. He loved it!

I am so glad he has finally realised that it is fun to focus and compete and try. And to push past feeling a bit tired and to do it anayway. Because it feels so good afterwards!

Well done Quinn! I conceed defeat. No foot rub for me after all.

p.s. Griffin finished about 10 minutes after me, I think he came in at just under an hour. With his usual slow and steady serious attitude and approach.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Another awesome run

So knowing full well that this time next week I would be wishing I could be out and about in the sunshine and fresh air, and after wasting most of yesterday in a day of general meh-ness. This morning I dragged myself up and put on my tackies and decided to do a run... I had NO IDEA what I had in store for myself though!

I just headed out and decided to follow my nose and go with what felt right. This was the result...
I parked my car next to Keurboom Park in Rondebosch and ran up past Newlands Stadium, Westerford High, Forries and over the M3 an up into Newlands Forest.

I headed up to the jeep track and then descended into Kirstenbosch. I ran around Kirstenbosch for a bit and found a section I haven't seen before called 'The Enchanted Forest'. It is above the concert area towards the Rycroft Gate. It is lovely!

From there I decided to head uphill. Briefly considering climbing Nursery Ravine but then deciding not to since I was alone, had no water, food or mountain gear with me and no one knew where I was. Instead I ran up to the Irrigation Reservoir and then since I was on the contour path I decided to keep heading along it. Eventually going all the way to Constantia Nek!
 I still felt good once there so I ran down the road towards Constantia, stopping only to climb and ravage a mulberry bush on the side of the road. YUM!

I went all the way to Constantia gym where I lured Tim away from work to come have coffee with me while I recovered. After coffee he drove me to the top of the hill by Wynberg/Chelsea village and I carried on past Wynberg/Kenilworth and to Claremont and then back to my car.

That was quite a journey and my longest distance on foot to date I think! This is where I went...
Any idea how far that is? I am too tired to work it out now. ;)

(PS note that although none of those photos are mine they are all of the exact places I was running. Aren't I lucky to live with all that literally right on my door step!? I do love it here!)