Thinking & Feeling

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

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Breaking News - Pyromaniac Tendency Reaps Rewards

Quinn just phoned me, he got full marks for his project!! 
Apparently the teacher said she would have given him more if she could, because she was so impressed with his project and demonstration.

So all the recent pyrotechnic nightmares (petrol fire in the garage, firecrackers, lighters etc) we have had were just to hone his skills, and culminated in great success.

This is what he did:

I am not certain if I should be really proud, or worried about what comes next!??


Saturday, 28 July 2012

Gender in the workplace - should it be noticed?

And should you be treated differently because of your gender??


I work in a pretty blended organisation, it's got a really good mix of black, white, coloured, Indian, English, Afrikaans, male, female, young, older, thin, fat, athletic, not... etc. So a bit of everything and anything goes. I really like it.

Anyhoo on Fridays we have a big Project Management update meeting - so it's all reasonably senior people, about 15-20 of us pile into a room. There are usually 1-3 chairs short. So if you are late you are going to stand in the corner, or sit on the credenza. Such is life. I usually get there on time because it's a long meeting and most of us take our laptops and process mail and stuff while the others give their updates.

Anyway the point is we have recently got a new manager, a woman. So on Friday a female PM arrives late. We all carried on with our meeting and what we were doing. And the new manager piped up after about 15 seconds or so... 'I can't believe we don't have a single gentleman here!? No one got up.'

I think that is really wrong. Why SHOULD they? We are all equals and I don't think it is at all fair - to the guys. You can't fight to be treated as a equal, with equal pay, responsibility and respect etc, and then want to be treated 'like a lady'. Well I don't think so anyway.

And by the way the guys in the office are polite and will stand back at door ways if you approach at the same time (noting that I do too if they are ahead of me and approaching the same doorway from the other side) that is just normal courtesy. I don't think someone should have to get up, and give up the place THEY were on time for and are using to get work done, for someone who was late, JUST because they are female.

What do you think?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Cause I'm in too deep, and I'm trying to keep...

I recognised this from the opening riff when I was watching something with Q a few weeks ago and it keeps popping into my mind... so it is your SOTD...

Sum 41 - In Too Deep

The faster we're falling,
We're stopping and stalling.
We're running in circles again
Just as things were looking up
You said it wasn't good enough.
But still we're trying one more time.

Maybe we're just trying too hard.
When really it's closer than it is too far

Cause I'm in too deep, and I'm trying to keep,
Up above in my head, instead of going under.
Cause I'm in too deep, and I'm trying to keep,
Up above in my head, instead of going under.
Instead of going under.

Seems like each time
I'm with you I lose my mind,
Because I'm bending over backwards to relate.
It's one thing to complain
But when you're driving me insane
Well then I think it's time that we took a break.

Maybe we're just trying too hard.
When really it's closer than it is too far
Cause I'm in too deep, and I'm trying to keep,
Up above in my head, instead of going under.
Cause I'm in too deep, and I'm trying to keep,
Up above in my head, instead of going under.
Instead of going under.
Instead of going under.

I can't sit back and wonder why.
It took so long for this to die.
And I hate it when you fake it.
You can't hide it you might as well embrace it.
So believe me it's not easy.
It seems that something's telling me,

I'm in too deep, and I'm trying to keep,
Up above in my head, instead of going under.
Cause I'm in too deep, and I'm trying to keep,
Up above in my head, instead of going under.
Instead of going under.
Instead of going under.

Instead of going under again.
Instead of going under.
Instead of going under again.
Instead of going under again.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

67 minutes

It is our nation's father Madiba's 94th birthday today.

I joined one of the '67 minutes for Mandela' campaigns for 'Mandela Day' to spend 67 minutes helping others.

I joined one of the 'care and share' initiatives at work.

It was heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time.

I bought supplies, chocolates, tooth paste, tooth brushes, face cloths, soaps and deodorants, which I donated.

We made emergency waterproof sleeping bags (for homeless people) out of news papers and plastic bags. Quite a clever idea actually!

And then we moved onto something much more heart wrenching. We had to make care packages for raped little girls (aged 4-12). 

These include: Clean panties :`( , tooth paste & toothbrush, soap & a face cloth, a box juice, a packet of crisps, a sweetie/chocolate, a teddy bear and a colouring-in book with crayons. This is packaged in a cardboard gift bag we decorated with paint and glitter etc - I painted bright flowers and polka dots. We then wrote comforting, supportive and encouraging hand written notes which we attached. This was the hard part! 

I am really glad I did it, but I really wish I didn't have to (i.e. that there wasn't a NEED for this kwim?) :( It has made me feel good and really sad and empathetic all at the same time.

So did you do your 67 minutes today??

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Migraine - 3rd one in 2 months - but sweet relief!

I have posted fairly frequently about the Migraines I get. 

They had become manageable, to the point where I was getting about one a year for the past couple of years.  Although they are awful and totally debilitating, I could handle and cope with one a year. As a person who never takes so much as a Panado usually, I have learnt that these are not to just be endured though. If I try to ride these buggers out 'bare back' I am in for a 36-hour ride. And I have found that even if I pop a handful of Panados over those 36 hours I still have all the symptoms and headache but it just takes the edge off. So for the past year or 2 I go straight the a Myprodol as soon as possible and then get myself in a safe and quiet place and get to sleep as fast as I can. This way after 8-12 hours I can usually function again if I take it really slow and easy, but I am delicate for a day or so.

After my last Migraine, which struck at work and saw me literally vomiting as I retreated for home while I still could, someone at work told me they sell a 'Migraine Cocktail' at the Pharmacy downstairs. So when I got back to work I bought one. It has 4 tablets in it:
  • 1x Dixarit 
  • 1x Medazine 
  • 1x Lenadol 
  • 1x Ranfen
I am not excited at taking that many chemicals and pills, but migraines are that bad that I really will try anything!

So when I got to Canal Walk on Saturday and got the all too familiar tell tale signs of the weird tingling, visual auras and disturbances and headache and slurring. I felt some panic wondering what on earth I was going to do, and how I was going to get the boys and I home safely. I become partially blind when this happens and my brain really feels like it is shutting down, I get confused and disoriented and can't remember things.

Anyway I sat down on a bench in the centre and the boys sat patiently by. Giving me a few minutes to work out how to handle the situation. I was quite glad to remember I had my 'cocktail' in my bag. Quinn ran off to get me some water from the coffee shop nearby and I downed the pills. Slightly doubtful, but hoping for the best anyway.

I sat there with my eye closed and trying to be as relaxed as possible for about 30 mins. Afterwards I opened my eyes, and I could see! I still felt spaced out and I was slurring a bit (I might have sounded a tad drunk?) and I had a lingering but very light headache. But I was ok. ok enough to chose to stay at Canal Walk. I would never have been able to do that before. I let the boys run off to the shops they wanted to visit and I slowly walked around and browsed a few shops myself. Although I was low on energy and certainly not feeling wonderful I was ok. About 2 hours later I decided to take the boys to Wimpy so they could have dinner and I realised I was much better by hen and was a good 80% well. So I can declare that the MIGRAINE COCKTAIL WORKS!

By the time we got home I felt 100% and I had no head ache or hang over issues at all. Usually bending down would give me a searing head rush for a day or 2 after.

In fact on Monday I went straight in to buy some more and the lady said I certainly didn't look like someone who'd just had a migraine. :) I have bought 2 more, because at R20 a pop, I am not suffering like I used to ever before if I can help it!! :)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Unaccompanied Minors - help!

Look at me on a roll posting today!

So I have a question and I need help.

The boys really don't see their relatives very much. Their paternal grand-mother wanted to come down for these holiday, but I was just too busy to arrange it, the timing wasn't right and the thought of her cooped up in my house all day with the bad weather was a bit stressful to be honest. Plus,  as I said to her, chances are the boys would run off to the park or their friends and she'd be sitting in my house alone while I worked!? So it didn't seem like a great idea.

But then the boys and I thought and spoke it through and it seems to make so much more sense for them to go to Durban to visit her. And their Aunt and cousin. (Possibly their dad too, but who knows. He is not in contact with us or his family, so unlikley, but still he is in that part of the world...). Durban is warm and fun and exciting and they have not been since 2006. They'd love it there.

Anyway, so I think they are old enough to go, without me. But what's the best way of arranging the transport without having to rebond my house? I can't book them on the cheap options like Kalula it seems as they don't accept unaccompanied minors...? Having been divorced for 4 years you'd think I'd know this stuff... but I am 'full-time mom', not 'every second week-end and holiday off mom'! Seems I actually have no clue how this stuff works!

Any advice, suggestions or experienced wisdom on how to do this would be gratefully received.


BEEG Catch-all catch-up

I have been been ridiculously busy recently. Faaaar too busy actually, and that makes me harried, stressed, tired and generally not that happy. We had some tight and very pressurised deadlines at work and there was a lot of politics. It made me not very fun/funny for a while.

Thankfully that wave has passed now - although there are more on the way! I'll just have to find a way to deal with them functionally and not get quite so consumed by it all I guess.

It's weird that I am working harder than at my last job - the one I HATED- even, and that was tough, but I am actually so much happier. At least what we do here seems appreciated and valued. So it's not soul-destroying and crappy. It's actually fun sometimes and I enjoy the environment and challenge. But it is a little full-throttle and relentless at times.

For 3 months I worked around 200 hours a month (I am meant to do about 140!), I did very little else besides work, eat, run and sleep and there was precious little parenting, fun, socialising or anything else. I am not generally much of a 'mommy-guilt' kind of person, but I will admit I started having some. My boys have just NOT had enough time, attention or nurturing from me in the past few months. If anything THEY have looked after me. It does make me feel very guilty and even a bit regretful. At the same time I feel a lot of pride and gratitude for them. They are very mature, helpful and responsible (most of the time). I do love those 2 very very much.

Anyway I woke up on a Wednesday morning 6 weeks ago and had a stiff neck. I didn't think too much of it. I thought I'd just slept badly. This was after 4 weeks of lingering flu and chest infections, and 2 migraines in one month (after not having one for almost a year). The neck pain did not get better and just kept getting worse. It became a huge headache. The neck and headache became pretty all-consuming. I found that the only thing that seemed to help was running, strangely enough. The rest of the time I was in agony. I was waking up at night in pain, holding my head at work, and just willing it to stop - or for death to come swiftly. I would have chosen either! I took headache tablets, muscle relaxants, anti-inflamatories. Me, who never takes any meds or goes to the doctor. I was ready to try anything, I just wanted relief!!

As I said running helped. One week I ran... wait for it... 60km! But I had to do something about it. Not even yoga was helping at all, and I was not able to do my yoga class properly, it was a problem. So off I went to the Chiro. I was last there 6 years ago, when my back seized up when I was working round-the-clock for the Ubuntu project (spotting a trend?). Anyway he is GREAT. He remembered everything about me, and what I told him about the boys. I have now been for 3 sessions and after the first it was not as tight, after the second I was better and after the 3rd on Friday I am FIXED! Can I say it again? He is GREAT! I can not describe just how much it is improving my mood and general disposition to not be in discomfort and pain ALL. THE. TIME. Halle-freaking-luja! :) Wheeeee! My sense of humour has come back and my ability to cope is restored. I feel like I can deal with everything calmly again, because I don't feel like I am am in a deathly vice-grip all the time.

Bye bye monkey on my back! I really am so so happy to feel normal and healthy again.

I'll try to catch-up here as I can too. I still need to post about my birthday week-end, my friend's 40th in Grabouw, the #Moonlightmass cycles we've been doing and some big big  BIG news. Something life changing I am very probably doing soon.... I am sure I will get mixed and probably strong reactions to that!

As for this past week it has rained and rained and rained and rained and rained, and it seems there is much more on the way.

On Wednesday we were invited to a 4th of July party, with A's friends Graham and Kerry. It was a fun evening. Lots of good food and company. We had to dress the part and as usual if looking like an idiot is an option I excel at it. I dressed in everything red, white and blue. (including under wear - red bra and star-spangled panties!) And added my 'Little Miss Jihad' t-shirt for good measure and to be controversial and antagonistic - as is my wont! :)

We had a lovely indulgent, rich and comforting roast dinner with our neighbours on Friday night. Roast lamb, roast chicken, roast potatoes and winter veg, rich gravy, Apple pie and custard and lots of wine. It was a lovely way to end the week and completely lifted my spirits and filled and warmed my soul.

On Saturday thanks to the relentless rain, my neck being fixed, and work settling down, I had time and energy to get up to date on my admin and filing and have even submitted my tax return. YAY! I usually procrastinate on that a little. So it feels good to have it done. :) 

The weather cleared for a while in the late morning so I went for a nice long (17km) run. It was wonderful and despite not feeling super fit or strong it was a wonderful run. The Nike+ goodie I have was well-impressed with me afterwards. I got 6 awards! :)

The boys and I went to Canal Walk to do some shopping and I took them to Wimpy for a burger afterwards.

On Sunday there really was a SHIT load of rain! It was almost unbelievable. I'd actually love to know how much fell. We decided it was the perfect ice-skating day, and so instead of hibernating, like the rest of Cape Town, we headed out. Milner Road had a river running down the side of it and I went down Old Farm road and the whole road was flooded. So I of course did the mature and adult thing and speed up and zoomed through it creating a huge spray and splash everywhere. For a second I thought I might break my car and almost thought the water was going to come through the doors! But we survived and carried on and it was FUN! :)

The ice-skating was great. I managed to get over my fear (after a bad fall previously and the broken ankle injury) and skated non-stop for 2 hours. Griff is getting really good too. Afterwards I let the boys go the the games arcade and we played some games together and then had popcorn and coffees before heading home, for a warm bath (after I snuck in a 10km run because the weather was suddenly clear as we got home) yummy soup and sweet pepper bread for dinner!

It was a lovely winter's day.

All in a all a good week-end and I feel relaxed and recharged and ready to go again. I even wore a short skirt and tights to work! :)

Other random things:
- I see SPUD 2 is being filmed at SACS at the moment. I keep running past signs.
- My running draw-string bag broke while running last week and I have lost my gym cards, and some money, but thankfully my credit card, cell hone and house keys were not lost!
- I saw Ice Age 4 with the boys. It was fun.
- Quinn is growing suddenly and every time I see him he seems taller. He is eating a lot suddenly and is also extending his independence and likes to cycle to the shops and back. About 2kms each way. He'll ask me if I need anything from the shop now and will volunteer to go for me. :)

This might sound weird...

But I seem to have developed 'Jewish envy' recently.

My on-line friend in JHB Jeanette is a photographer, and I follow her blog, and she's done a lot of Barmis and Batis in the last while. I have to say that Jewish family, tradition, custom and closeness just looks incredible. I am not even sure I can imagine what that must be like.... it seems really nice though. It must be really nice feeling like you have a place and 'fit' somewhere. Growing up as a white, English, middle-class, atheist with a very small extended family I seem to have no discernible culture or identity. I kinda wish I had something that made me feel bonded to tradition. I have tried to start some minor family traditions with the boys, but they still involve just the 3 of us. I'd like to be part of a bigger network and support group...

Anyway this is her latest Barmi

I really liked the rehersal pics, they are so emotive and heavy with meaning and significance.

Do you have that sort of thing in your life? Do you fit in??

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Our Holiday Part 6 - Angkor Splendour!

So finally time to finish the posts about our April/May SE Asia Holiday.

Part 5 was in Chiang Mai.

So for the last part of our amazing adventure holiday we left Chaing Mai and flew off to Siem Reap in Cambodia, via Bangkok. Siem Reap is the closest town to the Unesco World Heritage Site of  Angkor Wat, the Khmer Temple complex, and where Tomb Raider movie was filmed. This was a bucket-list destination for me but I wasn't sure that I'd be able to get there, since it is not cheap or easy to get to Siem Reap. But luckily a plan came together and we managed to get flights and visa and so it was on! Yay.

Our tiny plane from Bangkok to Siem Reap
Seam Reap from the air
We stayed between Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat Complex at the Palm Village Resort, which was lovely. Simple and a little rustic, yet really nice, relaxed and friendly. And cheap too.
I kept having to remind myself that we were not in Thailand anymore, had to pay in US Dollars and that I couldn't use my Thai phrases. I actually felt a bit helpless and not easily able to communicate at all. But if I thought the Thais were friendly and easy-going people they have nothing on the Cambodians we met who are even friendlier. They seem poorer too, yet everyone smiles and waves and greets and is just happy to see you. I LOVED it there! It was also on the whole even cheaper than Thailand. Hard to believe, but true.

After settling into the resort and getting freshened up and then getting some directions and advice, we grabbed some of the rickety old resort bikes and headed of on the +-5-6km trip to Angkor Wat, via the permit office. It is completely flat so even Griff managed fine despite the 40+ degree heat, and at times crazy traffic, on the 'wrong' side of the road.

After cycling to Angkor Wat we were so excited and in awe being there that we stayed far too long. But it was sunset and we just couldn't pull ourselves away! We ended up having to cycle back, via a totally different route in the dark. With no lights or reflective gear. And pretty much no idea where we going, and having to cycle on the wrong side of the road. Most people did not speak any English or have any idea where 'Palm Village ' was. It was rather hair raising, but it was a great adventure. We all stayed calm and in good spirits knowing that we'd eventually get back somehow, and hopefully not end up in a ditch on the side of the road. And we did... get back that is. Although the way Griffin was veering around it was almost the ditch for him! :)

This video kind of shows what it is like but this was a QUIET stretch of road. But there are no traffic lights or stop streets anywhere and everyone just keeps going and filters as needed. You never stop, just adjust your speed to accomodate those around you. And the best part is everyone is friendly and courteous. So even when we were fumbling the lane changes and turn merges in the dusk people just sile and wave. There is no aggression at all.

THIS VIDEO shows us cycling int he traffic. Spot the pig on the bike half-way though.
THIS VIDEO is my favourite and shows our 3 personalities. I am trying to be cool, but look like a complete dork, Quinn is cool, but acts like an idiot on purpose pretending he can't cycle properley, Griffin is the clown - her being a 'No pictures' Nazi. :)

Photos below and there are more on facebook:
Outside the Main Entrance to Angkor Wat
Me at the back of the Angkor Wat complex
  A refreshing ice-cream break and Tuk-Tuk ride after walking and walking and walking between Angkor Tom, Bayon & Terrace of the Elephants etc in the heat of the day. How cool is that peel-able banana ice-cream!?
This was very 'Tomb Raider' or 'Temple of Doom' ish to me..

These building were built between 1100-1200AD! The Banyan (or strangler fig) trees are amazing!
There are the faces of Bayon. Which was commission by king Jayavarman VII, he was rather vain and self important it seems so his face and profile is on everything! It is beautiful (if not a weird).
These are the monks outside Angkor Wat in the dusk. I was so glad to get this shot!
A nun tying on our Red Strings and giving us blessings and good luck.
I was overcome with inspiration at Bayon and went up into a room on a high perch and did some yoga. It was great and I felt so invigorated and uplifted afterwards. I really really loved being there.
We explored as much as the temple grounds as we could, until we were tired and 'templed out' over 2 days. Poor Griff had seriously had his fill of temples by them and in his words 'temples can go to hell!'.
 The rest of the time in Siem Reap - we stayed for 2 nights - was spend shopping and eating at the night markets. Swimming in the resort swimming pool getting a massage and papaya facial and just savouring the last of our fabulous holiday. It really was an increadible trip and I am so grateful we had the opportunity to go. As far as I am concerned THESE are the experiences that make up our life-time memories and it is important to sieze them when they present themselves.

This little Khmer boy found us in the night market.He was pretty cheeky, but freindly and funny.
After Siem Reap our holiday was over and we had to hop back on a little plane back to Bangkok and then the long haul back to Cape Town via Dubai. Where I was not feeling well at all. After a 30 hour journey we were back home and I had to get up to run the 2Ocens Half 14-hours after we got back!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Feeling down

I think this happens to me every year. Every winter I slow down, eat more, put on weight, feel glum, and just want to hide away.

I hate it. I just have no energy or motivation. I have thoughts but the actions are slow to follow.. so I end up a big ball of ineffective indecision. Today there were about 101 thing I decided I wanted to do. I did NONE of them except get home and eat a sizeable snack, and now I am sitting in bed wishing I'd done all the other things but at the same time not feeling arsed enough to GET UP.

It suxs, and it doesn't make me feel good.