Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I should do this more often

Well, even though the half day wasn't as productive as I'd have liked, I had a great time today.

I finished all the edits and am now busy putting it into their book template. A bigger schlep than I thought but at least it will look like a proper book :)

I also had a chance to play with the babies.

By play I mean chasing them around the garden taking pictures of them :)

But it was a success.

I read my Kindle on the couch upon Connor's insistence (BTW, Kendra tells me tonight when she's BIIIIIGGGG she also wants a Kindle :)) and when D got home, we told him we want to go to a restaurant (their words!).

So off we toodled (okay, I lie - we flew - you guys know I am very scared of them going over the edge and screaming their little heads off) to Ocean Basket and had a lovely fish supper.

Back home and they're in bed.

Inspired by writing the book, I sorted out the medicine cabinet and the freezer and now I'm blogging.

I'm going to get back to the book in a minute but I just wanted to remember that this is the pace I prefer to operate at - literally able to smell the roses and enjoy the small things in life.

I'm half tempted to take a half day every week (oh how I wish) but I think I could happily do it at least once a month.

The fertility babies and the infertility support ended up being on the same day but they're bringing the one forward just for me! Yay.

I felt a tiny bit guilty going out two Thursdays in a row but actually, why? I love the time of connection and ministry (I always find I'm sharing God as well as hope at the infertility group, even if just with a lady one on one) and the kids are in bed anyway!

Do you ever just take time off just because?

How good are you at carving out time for yourself?

When's your next date with yourself? :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

{Friendship Friday} Do you have friend goals?

So after my last post on friendship, I got to thinking I need some concrete friend goals.


I still don't feel I have enough close friends who I can deeply connect with.

So I'm thinking that I want to have 20 friend dates this year.

That's one-on-one friend dates.

With existing friends and with new friends.

In fact, maybe to up the ante I should be bold and reach out to at least 5 new people this year? People I think I'd get along with?

A blog reader had problems commenting on here at first (I'm not sure if you still have problems commenting, F?) so she'd email me.

I love emails :)

And through this whole exercise we've come a long way and I am taking her to my infertility support group in two weeks time.

I'm considering that friend date 2 since I reached out and made the date.

Can't wait to meet you in-person, F :)

I firmly believe we get the most out of life if we're intentional about it.

Do any of you (Rebecca?) read The Nester?

I read a fantastic post recently about how she had two goals one year - one of them to make more friends locally.

I love that a big name blogger is willing to admit that she wants more friends and intentionally go after it.

Do you have any friend goals this year?

Even if you're not interested in meeting more people, how often do you intend to get together with your (existing) friends?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Seven on Sunday

Gosh, I feel like it's been ages since we chatted.

And yet, I just had a busy weekend.

1. Yesterday morning, I had a date at the gym with my little man. He was nagging me from 8:10 and I was only ready 30 minutes later. Anyway, they told me he only cried a little bit (he admitted as much) because he missed me.  :)

I'm hoping this new habit will remain and that K will join us soon, dragging D with us on a Saturday. The family that gyms together stays together? :)

2. Afterwards, we went to "the shops for croissants". C thinks that's what happens at the shops. But actually we went to drop off my purple TO PRINT flash drive with the Ballito and my "friends" pics. All 189 of them....The friends wall is finally going up - I have the frames for at least 6 and am waiting for two more to arrive in the mail. Fun, fun, fun.

3. And then home for croissants (mine was a cinnamon raisin. yum!) and a shower for me. Oh, I went to Zumba and it was great. Although I got serious itchy bums and legs in the class and I just thought I would have to leave 25 minutes early when the next song was slower and more hand/ arm movements.

4. I also went to iPad training on Saturday. Do you know what? Looking around the class made me think, "oh my word, I can't believe I'm now representative of this type of person" so it was fairly scary to not be hip and cool. And right there I showed you how unhip and uncool I am. Nevertheless, I was one of the faster ones. So there is that.

Sadly, I will have to "message" the dude because I already forgot some things but on the whole the training was useful. Also, those of you on iPads, apparently we should message one another? I don't know what's wrong with good old email but maybe there I"m showing my age again.

5. Last night I had LOTS of fun creating. I worked on and finished my mini scrapbook of Ballito. When the light's good I'll take TONS of pics and show you but I am so proud of how this went. When I do the proper post I'll tell you what worked, what I would do differently, etc. Also, last night, I perfected my technique on the last 3 pics (out of about 20) in typical Marcia style.

6. Today we had such a fabulous church service I didn't want to leave. Signs, wonders and miracles and me teary-eyed at God's goodness. This is what it's all about - He is a good God and I need to remember that more often.

7. Afterwards we went to some friends for lunch. Their teenage daughter loves "the twins" as she calls them so D and I had lots of help. It was lovely.

The food was also very lovely but I'm trying not to think about that in case I drool over the keyboard.

I was supposed to get the sewing machine BUT when we tried to test it, it made this weird sound. So three of us - the two of them and me - rethreaded and did the bobbin, and still it made this weird noise. She's going to take it to school (she's a teacher) to ask the needlework teacher (of course these days they've given all the subjects really fancy names, like I learnt today what I called Biology is now Natural Science, and Maths is now called Maths Core. Yes...) what that's about. I told her I'd pay if it needs a service.

I have two entries in this book and Julia also has one. Happiness :)
I bought this frame because of the colour.
This is Heather's lovely gift
A close-up of gorgeous Heather and her gorgeous family :) Heather, they keep asking me, "where's Tommy? where's Phoebe?" like we saw them yesterday!
and the rest are all from Ballito

And a bonus one two

8. I just sorted out pics for the grannies, 129 pics for our albums (yes, I'm old school) and some other randoms for my "brag book in the handbag" and I am DONE!

Until I download the last week or so.

But that will only happen later this week.

9. I've taken a half day on Tuesday to work on my book. I decided I can't have things hanging over my head anymore. Please send good, productive, non-procrastinating thoughts this way. I've also decided WHEN I write the next book, I'm taking 3 days and just churning it out. I can't do this piecemeal thing. Drives impatient me batty. And I'll be outsourcing a lot more!

So I'm really, really, really looking forward to having my part of the work on the book Done with a capital D. I saw a nice quote last week - Gretchen Rubin (Happiness Project) interviewed Harlan Coben (another one of my favourite writers!) and he said something about how he likes having written. Yes, that's me.

How was your weekend?
What are you looking forward to this week?

PS Get your Jan goals wrap-up posts ready (mentally) for Wed's link-up. Can you believe it's nearly Feb?!

PPS I forgot to tell you - Kendra had a check-up on Wed and D took her. She didn't cry at all so I told him he's the new designated person to take her to all medical appts because clearly he has the magic touch. Oh btw, she's fine. That CRP was down to 11 but her iron's a bit low so she's on something for a month.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A thank-you video for Heather

Totally unedited, unrehearsed and raw. One take :)

Thanks again, Heather!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Our first Creative Thursday linky for 2012

Thanks to Ginger reminding me, here is our craft link-up for January. I'm so glad she reminded me because I saw Allison's "pinned it, did it" post yesterday and it said 4, and I thought, "eek! I haven't even done 1 Pinterest project this year.

BUT I've taken a half day off next week solely to finish the editing on the book. I may be being a tad unrealistic but let's see if I need another half day. My head is not there at night - I'm too tired from work and babies and and and.

And after that, I can devote myself to playing a little until I start book 2. Which I think will go quicker as I'm even more passionate about time management than I am organising (if possible).

I'm personally going to do a lot more creative stuff this year but I don't know if I want to do the linky every week or two. Or should I?

I've said it before but you can link up anything you created - baked, cooked, made on the computer, sewed, crafted, etc, etc.The options are wide open.

Just link back here please.

Okay, let's go!!!

I'm linking up two TINY little things I did for Christmas. Together they took me probably less than 20 minutes.

1. Christmas Tree print

I took one of the photo frames I have lying around. And I have plenty.

I used a 1-inch circle punch to punch out some scrapbook paper for the top, made strips with red washi tape and put a tiny strip of green washi tape for the trunk.

It looked much more impressive in person :)

2. Christmas Tree notebook

I had this brilliant idea AFTER all the planning was done. Of course.

But I've since put the notebook in the two ginormous gift bags where I store my Christmas stuff. All I have to do in just 9.5 months (yes!) is print out my spreadsheet, paste it in the book and carry on planning.

Exactly same concept as the print except I didn't want to mess with glue so I washi taped everything. And yes, there are glaring signs of imperfection which I love.

On another note, I'm finding imperfection rather alluring lately. This from a recovering perfectionist.

Please link up anything you've worked on over the last month - recipes are most welcome because I'm bored with the stuff I'm eating!

I promise to come visit every person who links up but I will delete the random nonsense links that don't link to a POST.
Let the games begin :)

Am I alone?

Thanks for your lovely comments about “cross Marcia”.

Those pics were taken this month but the night I put them up was a night I was cross, sometime around Christmas.

So I am FINE now, thanks for asking.


Although… hang in there :)

I read lots of blogs. 110 to be exact.

Yes, I checked earlier today.

I read and comment on a good number of those blogs.

Some people read and comment back on my blog. It’s all lovely – community, I think they call it in the blog world – and happy and rosy.

Except when some people comment on everybody else’s blog but not on mine.

You see, at some point, the thought fleetingly crosses my mind, like “why doesn’t so and so ever comment on my blog?” and then I dismiss the thought by saying, “maybe they just don’t like to comment” but then, dear friends, I go and read other mutual people’s blogs and I find lots of lovely comments by these same non-commenting people. On many subsequent days.
Which makes me feel deflated and realize, “oh, OH, they’re just not into ME”.

It’s terrible.

I know it makes me sound like a teenager but this is how I feel so I’m putting it out there J

It also makes me ask those questions like, “what’s wrong with MY blog?” and sometimes when I feel like being particularly mean to myself, “they're my friends too. They know how important words are to me”

Oh I know I need to grow up.

I just needed to get that out.

But can you relate or not?
PS still one of the favourite pics that I actually took with the point and shoot :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Friend date 1

Well, I killed two birds with one stone tonight.

I went to see a movie and I saw it with a friend.

I"m quite drained, actually.

D knows me so well - he says to me now, "how was your evening?" and I said, "the movie was great and A was.... A"

He says, "and now you're drained and need a cup of tea!"


So we went to see I don't know how she does it and it was great.

Obviously not the movie of the year but then again, is it likely to be? I think not.

As an aside, I often wonder at people who say about books or movies, "so disappointing" and "no depth".

What did you expect? There's a picture of a really thin girl on the cover with shopping and handbags.


Anyway, moving on.

I really enjoyed the movie. A lot of it was a little too close to home - full-time working mother, rushing, trying to do things "right" for the kids, not enough time with husband, staying up late fixing house, etc.

I read the original book YEARS ago (easily 10 years) and obviously didn't get the full impact of what it meant but I do now.

There were some great lines in the book - one I remember was her telling her husband "doing this is part of what makes me me" - the job, that is.

So yes, I get her. Her passion for her work, her passion for her kids, the struggle to fit it all in.

But back to the friend part.

D told me I need to tell her that while I love spending time with her, I also would like her to ask me about my life.

Maybe I will.

On the other hand, maybe I should just look for conversation and reciprocity from other friends :)

I don't know.

What do you think?

Have you seen this movie? What did you think?

PS I want to see George Clooney in The Descendants next.
PPS The little one and her brother were running around after bedtime. D came up and said, "what are you two doing out of bed?" She got such a fright she burst out crying. And I, mother of the year, burst out laughing. It was hilarious!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Do you need more friends?

my card and friendship bracelet from Rachel - yes, I squealed like a teenager when I got it :)

I took a really deep beath and had to be really brave when I blogged that I needed friends.

Because nobody ever says, "I really would like more friends" or "I wish I had a special friend".

Until Rachel in MWF Seeking BFF.

When I stumbled upon her blog I was attracted to this well-adjusted girl who was going around OPENLY admitting she didn't have it all figured out in the friend department.

I love that about her.

That she knew this about herself and was brave enough to put it out there.

And if you spend some time on the blog, you'll see lots and lots of women admitting the same thing.

Me included.

And here I thought I was weird and was the only one who felt that way.

In the book she talks about some formula (and I'm way too lazy to go fetch my Kindle and look through the highlights) by which you calculate your "maximum happy number of friends".

Anyway, this number is 150 social connections.

She did the calculation and it showed that she had space for 20 friends.

Interestingly, I work with a guy (we mentor other people) who said on a course we went on that he only has space for 6 friends in his life at any one time so he doesn't even bother trying to be friendly with more people.

Yes, I was horrified!

There's a kernel of truth because imagine if we just hung onto all our friends from primary school (grade school) and kept gathering and gathering people? I would think the relationships could all only ever be at quite a superficial level.

It's like that fact I learned at a networking course in 2010. I feel I need to put the date because it's obviously changed by now, 18 months later. People have on average 64 friends on FB and only connect and talk to 6 of them. That ratio felt right to me then and still does now.

Of course I'm way too lazy to calculate anything except real money :) BUT I do know I have space for friends.


If you read that post I linked to up at the top, you'll see I took a more passive route to my search for friends early last year (praying and waiting) and then I like to think I ramped it up towards the end of the year by getting off my butt and actually meeting 3 blog friends in person.

It paid off for me because God indeed deepened three friendships, another three got worse (and I don't hurt about them although I should, if that makes any sense) and He brought a wonderful, new friend into my life.

This is besides the blog friends I met in person so all in all a fabulous year, friend-wise.

But over to you.

Have you ever admitted that you need or want more friends?

How many do you think you can handle comfortably?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Remember that sewing machine?

I know I twittered on and on last year (at least in the first quarter of the year) about getting a sewing machine.
I even priced it, looked at it and then didn't get it.
I had a twinge of something and my personal life rule is "follow the Peace". God's Peace has never led me astray.
Since I didn't have the peace, I just left it.
I think it was a good idea because 1) I don't currently have much space and 2) my environment MUST support me. I can't work if there's too much stuff.
I didn't stop pinning though.
And then a very good friend, one of the 3am variety, mentioned her machine that she's not using and I had a brainwave.
I asked her if I could borrow it for a specified period of time.
She said I could have it but noooooo, I told her I like a deadline to get me moving and I would rather just use it once a year or so. If I get really good (hahaha), I may then buy it from her.
So my list of stuff is piling up and D needs a Kindle cover so I've arranged to collect the machine next weekend.
I know!
But remember my style is very unfussy. Only straight stitches allowed. I have some old denim jeans (mine and the kids) to cut up and some felt.... and a couple of really pretty placemats and tea towels just waiting to be little aprons for K & C.
I can't wait!
What are your "personal rules" and have you ever thought of borrowing something rather than buying it?
PS if you know me and I have something you want to borrow (just not my books! I have issues with books and CDs although Caren, you can borrow anything - she is just as fussy as I am :)), please shout.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I'm so glad I live in Africa

As you know D is sick so I asked V to come in and help with the kids because I had a million errands to run.

Okay, only 5.

But it took me 2 full hours without kids, so imagine how long it would have taken with them?!

People have asked me why we don't go live in another country and I say, "I wouldn't cope without a nanny... and my once-a-week maid".

The microwave dude didn't pitch by 10:15 (that's not one of the things I'm happy with about Africa) so I sent him a text to basically say, "don't bother. I'll go and buy a microwave".

We are now the owners of a spanking new silver microwave with a mirrored front.

It feels very 80s.

I asked them where the black ones were - I like black kitchen appliances (old micro, kettle, stove, toaster) - and the very young girl told me they don't make black things anymore. It's all stainless steel and silver.

Anyway. function over form.

V and I were both so happy when we plugged it in, pressed the start button and it hummed, beautifully.

How spoilt I am - I didn't survive one day without a microwave.

Anyway, I think I showed a lot of restraint yesterday :)

Nester was also here and happiness is... a clean house and no bundles of laundry lying around.

LOVE it.

Nester tells me Kendra came up to her today and said, "why you cross, Nester?" (OH MY WORD - when did she turn 6?) Apparently she was just concentrating on cleaning whatever it was. She usually smiles all the time so that's why K thought she was cross!
Let's take a quick photo break.

Remember I told you I bribed K with photos for a walk? Right...

she's already perfected the fake smile... at2.5
pretending she doesn't hear me tell her to come back "what? were you saying something?"
the best of the lot - against a lovely red brick wall. Next photo shoot I want some lovely walls to stand against :)

But today while driving around, I was immensely glad I live in Jhb and have DRY HEAT.

I kept thinking (with a little smile on my face), "if I were in Ballito, I'd be sticky and sweaty right now. Instead, I'm DRY!"

Yes, it's the small things in life that make me so very happy.

Which small things made you happy today?

PS I'm thinking of writing up my own Happiness Project. As in the 12 things that make me happy. What do you think? Will you join me if I do? Inspired by a client who is, as part of her 2012 goals, doing the Happiness Project. Isn't that fun?

PPS I need to blog a bit about life goals/ Mondo stuff/ realisations and ahas :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Five on Friday - life admin

Well, we were quoted R400 for the microwave. D wants to fix so the dude's coming back tomorrow morning to do that. He's scheduled at 8 am. If he's not here by 10, I'm off to buy a new microwave (which was my vote).

I booked a hair appointment this afternoon and I told her to trim a TINY bit off. Of course she didn't listen and I sincerely hope this hair looks okay even when I do my thing (wash and leave it).

I've booked iPad training for next Sat. Yes. I need training. Tomorrow I need to go buy something called a microsim and data bundles (what the heck?!). Why don't they tell you there's all this admin before selling you stuff???? Nevertheless. I'm holding out for that "you're going to LOVE it" feeling you all told me about... South Africans, where do I get the best value for money as far as data is concerned from the cellular providers? And iPad users, how many MB do you use per month? The girl told me it doesn't carry over so I don't want to waste money.

I've done something very clever (not yet cute) in my study. Let me cutify it and then I'll post pics. I was so inspired by the colour..... BTW, this is distracting me from my main goal which is to declutter and tidy. It keeps getting sorted (after Christmas) and then the party. And then the holiday. And now it just has to get sorted as I'm back to work on Monday.

D is sick. I'm the worst nurse in the world so I'm unsympathetic and horrible as in I leave him to his own devices. I hate myself like this because he's all kinds of fabulous when I'm sick but I can't seem to summon up any sympathy. Although I did buy him a creme brulee at Woolies this afternoon.

How was your Friday and what are you most looking forward to this weekend?

Me? Getting the study sorted and finishing my book!

PS blogger is not letting me comment on blogs. Lea, MandyE, Mandy, Deanna, I tried several times and have now given up. There's a Sophie Kinsella I'm 21% through waiting for me...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

And... we're back from our holidays

Today we drove back from Ballito. We left only 10 minutes later than before but ended up in Jhb a whole hour later. Of course there are reasons (more traffic, uphills, more roadworks, etc.) but I am quite nerdy and I like keeping track of it all.

10 things that were very, very good
  1. I read 5 books. Yes! I took Deanna's and Shayne's suggestions and read up a storm. Strictly speaking I finished number 5 in the car on the way back. Does that still count?
  2. I am up to date with my travel scrapbook. Can't believe it either. Just have to write up today's stuff and print pics (one for each day) and I'm good. I'll take pics when I'm done. If you're travelling anywhere, you MUST do a mini scrapbook. I made mine on night 1 and then I just wrote a little every night. EASY and imperfect but DONE!
  3. The weather. We only had 1 day that was non-beach weather. This was definitely a good time of the year.
  4. Literally having the beach on our doorstep. 100 m and we were on the beach. It was SO easy to take a quick walk before or after supper, no schlep to get in a car, drive somewhere and then get on the beach. 
  5. The babies hardly had tantrums. I think we had more tantrums since we arrived this afternoon than we had the entire trip. Yes. It's been a fun afternoon.
  6. They were excellent travellers. I had "moments", you know those moments where you think "this (THIS!) is what I always dreamed of", especially hearing them chatter to one another in the back, singing and just being delightful. The worse thing that happened was Connor saying, "Daddy!!!! Connor no like being in the car" when he needed to stretch his legs. Yes, he's still doing the "Connor" thing. Kendra's new thing is "where's us going?" I just smile and say, "we're going to Jhb/ the beach/ the restaurant" but D corrects.
  7. Kids that slept and napped so well (the sea air?) and that ate up a storm.
  8. Kendra's curls. We LOVE it. Already her curls have subsided now that we're back in (thankfully) non-humid Jhb.
  9. Having 3 dates. That's a goal for January done and dusted. We both were tired the last night but D reminded me that we never get this opportunity at home so off we went.
  10. Taking tons of pics. I don't think my folders have ever bulged like this. I looked at my Jan folder for Picasa last night and there were 1275. And that's only 17 days. You may have guessed but I'm LOVING the camera. 
Also, I'm now bribing my kids. True conversation with Kendra who wanted to go for a walk after we'd had supper but before we were ready to leave the restaurant. "Okay, Kendra, I'll take you for a walk but you have to promise me you'll smile and let me take pics". She promised and then after one pic says to me with that pointing finger, "last one!".

the palm trees remind me of Kelle Hampton :)
some arbitrary lovebirds :) I love "eavesdropping" with my camera
I dressed them like twins this day
how sweet is this? Holding hands and running...
date 2 - aren't you impressed at my restraint?! I left a pancake!
this place is called the Milk Cafe. Reminds me of Australia where they call corner cafes (where you buy milk and bread) milk bars.
and 5 things that were not so good
  1. Moments of irritation with my mother and with MIL.
  2. Spending more than double what I'd budgeted for on food. It seemed like we were expected to sponsor the entire holiday. I started getting really resentful earlier this week but then thought I'd just leave it and if there EVER is a crazy thought about doing this again, I would make it our job to clarify expectations upfront. When you go away with other people, what do you do about food? Who pays? Who shops? Who cooks?
  3. Bullfrogs. Seriously. A creek ran through the grounds of our building and those darn bullfrogs woke Kendra on two nights. They started like clockwork at 8 and ended about 11:30.
  4. A full to overflowing car going down and an even fuller car back. 
  5. Coming back to a broken microwave. Do you know how difficult (and messy) it is to suddenly warm food on a stove, warm milk in a pot? Cook two-minute noodles in a pan? These are all things I did tonight. Ughhh. I told D to please go buy a microwave tomorrow OR get someone in. Either way, I can't get through the weekend like this.
So, I need to tally up the spending but I'm scared...

Anyway, D and I like to chat about what went well, what didn't , if we'd go back (we won't go back to Dullstroom, but we would go back to Clarens) and Ballito is a place we'd DEFINITELY go back. Me, just for the easy proximity to the beach!

We've already started discussing where and when we'll go away again. It will be April/ May but not sure where....

Where is your next holiday (vacation), and when will you go?


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