Thinking & Feeling

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

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Crazy Fraser's Wrap-Up 2013 - a picture essay - Part 1

So it's that time of year again, the time to sum up the year. To remember the highlights (and sometimes low-lights) and be grateful for the good, and also for surviving and gaining strength & experience from the bad.

I have been doing an annual wrap-up for a few of years now:

This year  - 2013 - I am calling the year of AWESOME

started with the boys having a FABULOUS experience at Camp Hermanus. While I had a great 'stay-cation' at A's house, where I relaxed, read, ran, cycled and swam in the sea. It was a great break after the super-hectic work year which preceded it. 
Quinn also turned 13 and officially became a teenager. This year he has grown-up massively - both in terms of size and height but also in maturity.
The rest of January was about getting back to school and the usual beginning of year stuff

February saw me join the RED SOCK running brigade, I have done pretty much every race I have done since in my red socks.
There was also a lovely romantic Valentine's Sushi Date with my boys.

In March I ran the Milkwood 10km Race – my very first run in my new AAC club kit. I managed to finish in the respectable position of 9th lady!  J
Griffin got invested as a fully fledged Scout.
We rode another #MoonlightMassCycle – this time Quinn and I rode into town from home (and then caught the train back afterwards).
I also rode another Argus. It was a tough 110km slog and although I felt faster and stronger it took me 8-10 minutes LONGER than the previous year and I finished in 5h17m. Meh.

The best news of all though was getting a hearing test for Quinn done, a year post his last ear op, and finding that his hearing was much improved and fully functional! We are still very grateful to our incredible ENT for that. It was no small feat.

End March/April Saw the boys and I taking part in the Spar Ladies race again. Where I managed to set a new 10km PB and placing 70th overall (out of 11867)! J
Quinn ran the 10km event to – a first for him at that distance and he found it a bit too long, and Griff did the 5km.

My parents came down from Pretoria to stay for a week and we had a fab time with them, including a lovely day out wine and chocolate tasting and lunching in Franschoek, followed by a sunset stroll on the Seapoint Promenade and then on to see 'Mr Harold & The Boys' which is an Athol Fugard play which was directed by one of my yoga classmates..

And then at the end of March and start of April ... we was an incredible and very memorable trip to India!
India is incredible. Hard to describe and quite overwhelming. In a nutshell it was amazing. (Even though I must be honest a lot of the time I was thinking 'but not quite as nice as Thailand' - as that is still my first love and everything there is just better and more).

India's charm  though is the chaos and madness and vagaries.  You never know quite what is going on, or what you are going to get, or where you are going. There is never a direct yes or no answer either. That head bobble means anything from, yes, no, maybe, later, not on your life, I have no idea what you want, I am going to do what I want anyway, yeah right, huh ?, lol, whatever! etc. It's funny when it's not frustrating. In fact most things are amusing if you manage to keep your wits and sense of humour. Basically it is a land of extremes and contrasts: Crazy, humid, dirty, loud, tasty, confusing, entertaining, spicy, poor, dusty, beautiful, fun, colourful, exhausting, opulent, magical, bustling, HOT. incredible!

After returning from India, I finally had a chance to ascend Table Mountain properly. By joining a colleague's trail running group running/hiking up Kasteelpoort and around the back-table and echo valley to Mac Clear's Beacon and on to the Cable way for Breakfast. We then opted to keep going and climbed down via Platteklip and back to the parking. About a 25km round trip. It was AWESOME!

I celebrated my 39th birthday with a fabulous hike and picnic up Lion's Head with friends and family. It was good training for a tougher mountain climb I was preparing for a month later...

May saw me running my 5th Safari Half Marathon, Where I improved my time from 1:53:30 to 1:45:45!

Then our 'tribe' (as established in the wilds of India) took part in the Slave Route Challenge. A and I did the 10km and Q&G did the 5km.

 Toward the end of May beginning of June  I was very fortunate to have an opportunity to tag along to the CFA conference in Singapore. I realised I knew very little about Singapore. It is certainly a beautiful, efficient and functional place. But I am not sure I'd want to live there. I found it FAR too expensive, regulated and not very friendly at all.

However the Singapore trip was just a spring-board for the more exciting and adventurous leg of our journey which was to Borneo to climb Mount Kinabalu (the highest mountain in SE Asia) at an altitude of 4095.2m (not that high by International standards) but 4x the height of Table Mountain, so not insignificant! It is a 2-day climb where you have to enlist a local guide to lead and assist you, and you climb up to the base camp 'Laban Rata' at 3272m where you get cleaned up, eat, rest and sleep. We opted for the longer but more scenic Messilau Trail. We were pretty speedy and ascended to our rest camp in 5 hours. As a result we earned an extra hour of sleep, and 'only' had to get up and start our summit climb at 3am (and not the usual 2am). Whoop. We again were ahead of the curve in terms of speed and so we summited well before sunrise and then had to sit in the cold and dark waiting for the sunrise! It was beautiful once it arrived, although I was a little too cold to care at that point! It is spectacular though and was an amazing experience. I am so thankful I got the opportunity. The climb back down to Laban Rata and then all the way down via the regular Timpahon trail was quick and easy and we were chuffed at how easily we'd conquered the mountain.... until 2 days later when we were so stuff we could barely walk! Turns out slow and steady might actually be a better tactic with mountain climbing at altitude after all. J

After the mountain climb we headed to the other side of Borneo to Sarawat Province to see Orang-utans and Proboscis monkeys.  We were glad to have nothing to do for 2 days but cruise up and down the jungle rivers spotting birds and monkeys while our aching legs rested.

After we returned and during the June school holidays we got news that Quinn had been selected for his first choice high school Rondebosch Boy's High for 2014. Wonderful news indeed.

To be continued in Part 2.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

A tradition I hope will last...

Aw, just look. My babies are kinda cute huh?

This has become a Christmas tradition of ours. 

I have realised how special I find these photos. I am really glad we do them and that they are still keen to do them! I actually hope when I am old and wrinkly (ok
) one day they'll take these and send them to me still! :)

Below our Christmas photos over the years, in reverse order...









<3 <3 <3

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The elves of Christmas 2013

The elves of Christmas 2013 have arrived...

The festive season may now commence!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Rio Carnival - Gr7 Farewell

Last week Quinn and I went off to his Grade 7 Farewell Cocktail dinner.

It was a fabulous production at the High School, all arranged by the Grade 6s, teachers and parents. I was so impressed by how much trouble they went to and the attention to detail and how much fuss they went to. It was amazing!

My boy was an absolute gentleman too. Despite also being cool and one of the guys, he was very dapper in his uniform and walked me into the event on his arm (as his partner for the evening). I was most impressed.

When we arrived we were served cocktails. The boys got mocktails and the parents got Strawberry Daiquiris - which were yummy! I think I had 3. ;)

After mingling and milling around the Grade 6s arrived in full Rio Carnival gear and had a carnival procession. They then flanked the entrance to the hall and cheered as the Gr7s made their way into the hall. They were cheering them as if they were celebrities or sports stars, it was quite something, and quite a right of passage and symbolic of them leaving the primary school and entering the high school. But for that night they were the 'main manne' and the stars of the night.

Once the boys had entered the hall the parents were invited to enter and find our tables. The hall was decorated beautifully too.

A boys from each Grade 7 class got on stage and spoke about the year in their class. Most of this was both touching and very humourous. It sounds like they have had a wonderful and very memorable year. The teachers also spoke about their experiences with their classes this year and gave life-advice for the boys to take forward.

Dinner was lovely too. 

The boys then each got a school mug and year book full of photos and memories. It really was a wonderful evening!

Quinn I am proud of you!

The official photos are HERE

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

GET 2013 Recognition Awards - Winners & Runners Up!

We recently held a Recognition Awards process at work, whereby 4 categories were:

- BRINGING OUT THE BEST (Everyday Leadership)



Anyone could nominate anyone else, and all nominations had to accompany a form detailing the nomination and substantiating WHY the person was worthy of the award.

A team of judges was chose - comprising of the senior management team (which I am part of) and a bunch of selected others to ensure a nice rounded and balanced viewpoint. Judges were told to judge purely on the written nomination and try to read them as if they don't know the nominees. So the winners were to be those with the best nominations, not just those that we as management thing are great. In this way the quieter unsung heros could also feature strongly. Not just those loud A-types who demand attention and recognition as a matter of course.

I was fully behind this initiative as I have a phenomenal team who are highly skilled, productive, efficient, and reliable and moreover they are (or rather were before I took them over) rather under-appreciated and undervalued.

I call them TEAM AWESOME. Because as far as I am concerned they ARE all 'Certified Awesome'

Anyway the point is Team Awesome proved just how freaking phenomenally awesome they are because not only did we receive 22 of the 56 nominations, but also had 3 runner's up.

A second for Bringing Out The Best, Team Player and Going the Extra Mile.

But we also got 2 WINS!

For Innovation (a very deserved win for my rock-star Automation Specialist!) and then for Bringing Out the Best - Everyday Leadership - which I was flabbergast to find that I won! With 6 (out of 10) nominations!

I then made a complete fool of myself at the Karaoke party afterwards! 

This was me leading a horrendous rendition of 'Bob The Builder' (and I do wish I was kidding!) LOL

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

On Saturday I was honoured and privileged to be included - for the second year - in hosting a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner.

It is a big event which focuses largely on food. Really! We had +- 50 people and 4x turkeys! Plus sweet potatoes, potato bakes, green bean casserole, about 6 salads, stuffing, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie, breads, cheeses, cranberry sauce and and and. Very indulgent and delicious. But more than that it is about community. Coming together with like-minded people and sharing and supporting each other and giving thanks for the rich blessing we ALL have in our lives.

It really was a fabulous event in a stunning setting (A's new house in upper Fresnaye) with stunning views over the sea, mountains and Robben Island.
Life is indeed good!

During last week I took some time to reflect on thanksgiving and what I have to be thankful and grateful for and these were my thoughts...

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse. ~ Henry Van Dyke 

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. ~ Oprah Winfrey 

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.  ~Native American Saying

Thanksgiving is possible only for those who take time to remember; no one can give thanks who has a short memory.  ~Author Unknown

I am grateful for all my opportunities.

The opportunity to be a parent, and friend, to my amazingly bright, capable, independent and caring children. Who have enriched my life and given me a lot of fun and love.

I am thankful to have connections with people who fill my heart and soul, and allow me to FEEL. Since feelings – both good and bad - give life richness and texture and inspiration.

The opportunity to have a job I love. Working with people I genuinely like, and with a successful and productive team.  I am grateful that my job allows me to be stimulated and to feel valued and worthwhile and also gives me the means to support my interests and to pursue my life goals.

The opportunity to travel and explore the world and see new places and experience sights, sounds, tastes and textures. To climb mountains, ride elephants, swim in oceans and all and everything in between.

I am grateful for being alive and well and living in such a breathtakingly beautiful part of the world. To be able to hike, run, cycle and swim in awesome natural beauty which is right on our door step!

I am thankful to be alive and look forward to another year of adventure, opportunity wonder, fun and opportunities for gratitude.