Thursday, December 22, 2016

The start of the 2016 wrap-up, Laura-style!

For those who don't know, I have this little side-hustle going on where I coach, do workshops and sell online programmes.

Anyway, I made a simple (Super Simple) booklet which, if I say so myself, is really good at helping you think through things to close off 2016 and start 2017 on the right note.

Go get your FREE copy here (and my time management purpose pack).

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Bought a house without selling the old one first! Um, I don't recommend it if you're the stressing over money type (I am!) but I still know this was the right thing to do.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't do new year's resolutions, but I do make goals. I wrote on someone's instagram recently that I love goals because you can set them anytime, you can start them anytime (right now!) and even if you make 2% progress, it's progress! Have I convinced you yet?

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
Probably here at home.

I feel like I want to have people over like we did two years ago but I'm going to play it by ear and see how I'm feeling.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit?
None and strangely, I don't feel bad about that at all.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
A closer relationship with God and with D.

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

 13 March 2016 - the date I first saw and fell in love with my house

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Staying sane. Seriously. Trying to work full-time with demanding clients, pack up one house, move into another all with the admin and paperwork and phone calls of navigating those purchases and sales = super stressful.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not a failure as such, but I do think our house was marketed at the wrong price at first and that meant it took longer to sell, and really, we could have got more if correctly priced and marketed. Then again, no point in looking back. One has to rely on the "experts" and we are not real estate experts.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
The numb toe

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The house. Okay, but besides that, my iphone 6 or how about my navy blue kitchen or Woolies beetroot crisps? :)

12. Where did most of your money go?

House, transfer and legal fees.............. and of course our biggest monthly expense is now the bond.

13. What song will always remind you of 2016?

Good good father - He is a really good Father!

A photo posted by Marcia Francois (@marcia0608) on
14. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Taken more walks. I have 6 left to reach my goal and I'm going to have to bribe the kids to come with me. The odd thing is we have such a great view and an interesting garden that I don't even feel like I need to venture outside to take a walk to see beauty. This is a great "problem" to have but does mean I'm not going to do this little project next year.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Stressed about the house sale

16. What were your favourite TV shows?
I don't watch TV...

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No, thankfully.

18. What was the best book you read?
See previous post :) or this one

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I'm really not one for new music - I like my tried and tested things. But I will say I got into Bethel Music a whole lot this year.

20. What was your favourite film of this year?
Did I even watch anything?

21. What did you do on your birthday?
I had friends over for a delicious lunch and they spoiled me rotten :)

22. What kept you sane?
God, D and my Bible whatsapp group :)

23. Who did you miss?
I missed many friends who I've not seen as much this year.

24. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016
That I can let go and I don't always have to initiate and drive friendship activities.

Who else is participating in this meme?

Let me know so I can come read your highlights.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Best books of 2016 and November reading

I think you can spot the 3 Christmas books in last month's "read" pile, can't you?

The best was the Maeve Binchy, of course. I don't even like short stories but she has a way of doing them so they are, in fact, complete stories and you're left satisfied with the result and you cared about the characters.

Other than that, I read my best book (most entertaining and pure enjoyment) of the year this month, Stories I only tell my friends, by Rob Lowe. Do yourself a favour and get it on Audible. You can thank me later.

(I wrote this post on making audible/ podcasts work for you - please read it)

I won't say too much here because I wrote a post on Organising Queen on my best books of the year!

Now that post should definitely be read.

How is your reading going? Are you chasing a 2016 goal or have you relaxed into holiday mode? (for me holiday mode is plenty of reading!)

Goodreads sent me a thing on around about the 10th to tell me about my year in books. Um, sorry, I'm still a good 20 days out from finishing off this year and I'm reading all the way.

Since then I've read another three books, I'm 2/3 through with an audible book (this week's travelling will enable me to finish that one) and so I estimate I'll end on 96 books, which is perfect because that will be my highest number of books read since 1998 (when I started logging books on Goodreads. I read 95 books in 2001.

By the way, Goodreads only counts a book once, so even though I read The Life-Changing Magic.... twice, it doesn't count last year's one, just this year's read. Just in case that 69 was bothering you like it did me.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday evening stuff

Usually I blog on a Monday morning because I'm at work too early for my brain to actually work for work stuff, but I can string together words perfectly okay, but...

I'm working from home tomorrow because Nanny S is taking her baby (who's turning 2 tomorrow!) to the clinic. She is coming back to work after lunch because I'm actually not on leave yet and I need to get some real work done. In addition, when I work from home I like to be super productive so as to leave my record untarnished.

Aside from the working from home while refereeing two 7-year-olds story, I also have a handyman coming to do stuff here..... and I need to phone for a dental appointment.

Kendra's signing "I love you" to me!

You see, yesterday I was chewing a biscuit when something felt weird in my mouth.

The tooth where I have a root canal is loose. The kids looked excited when I said "my tooth is loose" until we told them that adults are not supposed to have loose teeth!

I can wiggle it and move it around (!) so I'm chewing on the right side. My dentist is on holiday (I stalked her on Facebook) so that will be a fun little round of telephone tag, trying to find someone unfamiliar to attend to my tooth.

Wish me well!

So what have you been up to this weekend?

Ah, Sunday skies!
Most of South Africa is on leave already so these days feel like you're the only one working in the whole country, which I don't mind at all.

I have big plans this week - two lunches, the big filing and chucking-out session and prep for January. And obviously to get my Inbox to zero. I also like to make my to-do list for my first day back.

On the home front, I have my sister arriving on Wed and my mother on Friday. But actually, that can wait for another post.

I've already filed everything possible for 3 clients I've handed over to other colleagues, so I feel lighter already.

Who's on leave? Who's still working? Who's doing the Big Clean at home? (I'm doing that too)

PS I just told D that two years ago we were at Alpine Heath. How has time flown by so quickly?!

Monday, December 12, 2016

It's downhill from here to the end of the year

So, school's out, kids are at home and not listening much (looks like Miss M has much better-behaved kids than we have at home!), and the roads are clear.

(we left at 7.30 and I was at work at 8.10; at that time of morning it would usually take a full hour of driving)

We had a full weekend of socials.

Actually, let's talk about that.

I'm an extrovert; D's an introvert and he's getting older and as such, I say more grumpy :)

So my need to be with people and around people are much higher than his.

Friday night we met up with two sets of work friends at a restaurant close to home. D had his year-end that afternoon so he said he would just pop in to say hi (because I said "they really want to meet you"). The kids and I were going to go (my kids' favourite thing is to go to restaurants!) Well, he enjoyed himself so much he stayed. Maybe because he was sitting next to the one husband who was relaxed and not very loud?

How do you guys deal with this? All not go if the husband indicates non-participatory vibes? Go alone?

On Saturday afternoon we had a lunch plan with very close friends of ours. We love being with them and the kids are comfortable there too so that was wonderful in every way.

On Sunday afternoon I had two work friends plus partners over for tea. Again, D said he'd pop in and out but wanted to be free to not have to socialise. So that's what we did. Lovely time, D did his thing; I was obviously with my guests the entire time. Kids were out til about 4.30 and then arrived home with granny.

I guess I'm saying that this kind of mish-mash of socials works for both of us. I would be miserable if "forced" to not have people over, and he'd be miserable if "forced" to socialise too much.

What works for you?
Are your kids going mad at home yet?
Do you have a busy December?

PS I decided that is it. No more forcing socials into this month. I have a couple of dates during work hours with friends and one playdate after Christmas, and that is that.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Friendship Friday - the crazy, end of year rendition and friendship plans for next year

Well, hello.

I didn't mean to stay quiet for a whole week but we did have three days of concerts.... so there's that.

I do want to get this one out quickly so that I can put on a podcast and attack a certain box in my study before supper, so let's get to it.

1. I don't know what made me have this idea (maybe it's my friend spreadsheet) but I seemed to think that I need to see at least all my friends once this year. And so I've been going crazy, scheduling stuff. I happened to mention something to D and he outright told me I'm crazy so I've calmed down and now I'm telling myself a year, 14 months, whatever... :) (I'm still twitching a little bit inside though, truth be told)

2. The crafternoons have helped to see and spend time with friends this year but I'm not continuing them next year. Tomorrow is the last one of the year, and the last one forever probably.

I thought there would be more people involved when I started. That hasn't quite happened so I'm moving on. I'm not saying some of us won't craft together but it just won't be a Thing. If someone invites me over to craft, I'll go and vice versa.

3. I have some other plans though - Terisha and I have spoken about starting a bookclub and I'm really keen to get this going. If you know me (or have met me in person), I really get very passionate about books. It's just that I hate being told what to read a typical bookclub won't work. Anyway, I'll let you know more when things are clearer with us.

this friend completely spoke to my acts of service self :)

4. I also want to have more workshops next year. Not that friends need to come but I do love it when my friends support my passions. I'm definitely hosting another 5 Love Languages workshop and something keeps calling me to a photo workshop or a motherstyles workshop. We'll see.

5. Julia and I are starting a God Centered Mom podcast group. I need to find my Skype password to test the technology otherwise since it's just us two for now, we will whatsapp chat. If you're keen, subscribe to the God Centered Mom podcast and let me know so I can send you the first episode. This is super easy - listen, and we jump on Skype to discuss, and done. You can't get any easier.

6. I have some big financial goals for the next while. It's a number goal so when I hit it, I can relax again. I'm not at all concerned because I'm good with goals and this one should be hit within a year or two but I do need to limit my eating out with friends so I want to do more old-fashioned friend stuff, like having people over. Or cheaper friend dates like tea (R20) or lunch (R65) instead of suppers (R120 +).

7. Still, I've had a good November as far as friends are concerned even though the first 11 days were all things Spanish. Impromptu teas turned into long lazy afternoons, Face Time dates with faraway friends happened, the 5 Love Languages workshop and lunch with a friend, Sunday night suppers, and two work things but these don't count as work because they were such fun.

Tell me, do you have this crazy idea that you need to cram into the year all the friends? Or is that just me?

Are you changing your friends calendar for next year? Do tell!

Friday, November 25, 2016

{Friendship Friday} Deal breakers

So I'm kind-of addicted to a new podcast called Dear Sugar.

It's Cheryl Strayed's podcast. One she does with a guy called Steve Almond.

Cheryl is the author of Wild, the book that was made into a movie that starred Reese Witherspoon.

I wasn't wild about the movie (haha!) but now that I've heard her podcast, I quite love her :)

Anyway, Dear Sugar is the title of her column which is one of the reasons she became famous, I think.

They talk about everything relationships on this podcast, which is probably why I love it so much!

People aren't like tapestries - you can't just pull out the bits you don't like. - Dear Sugar podcast

I can't remember in which context this was said but I loved it so I wrote it down.

It got me thinking about how with any relationship really, but definitely with friendships, you have to decide to accept all the bits if you're going to be friends with someone.

Or you have to accept that the annoying bits are endearing and quirky, and not a deal breaker.

Or you stop being friends.

The trick is that sometimes we don't know what those deal breaker things are until after the fact.

For me, I've had friends say hurtful things to me. That's not a deal breaker at all. The deal breaker is when you don't care that I'm hurt by those statements.

I have a work friend who is always late. Always. I'm always tempted to send her separate meeting invites so she actually pitches up on time. But this is not deal breaker stuff because in the ways that count, she is trustworthy, caring, and calls me out on things.

I'm afraid I'm still reading the election coverage on blogs despite my good intentions. I think it's because it feels like if I lived in the US, some of these issues might be dealbreaker issues for me and I wonder if I'd have any friends left. My stance is not so much political but more values-based.

I read a blog this week and she said that she'd been to a seminar with two speakers prior to the election, and both speakers spoke as if everyone there would be voting for Clinton. One speaker did say that statistically speaking there were at least a few Trump supporters but it highlighted (after the fact) that people were letting other people believe what they wanted, and staying under the radar. Anyway, the comments on that post are interesting.

This whole election business also highlighted to me that clearly I follow only one type of person and I need to change that.

Have you seen posts on the internet earlier this week (and podcasts for the 2 people who listen to podcasts!) talking about surviving Thanksgiving after all the politics? I hope all my US friends had good Thanksgivings!

Back to friendship.

Have you ever had a values/ beliefs disagreement in a friendship? How did it play out? Did you decide that it was okay and you'd accept it or did the friendship end?

(as always, you can stay anonymous - I'm more interested in the story than who is saying it :))

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Indulging in my absolutely favourite activity

(which is reading!)

I had a great reading month in October.

9 books.

I have to say that my goal for this year was 70, and my real goal was to have it all read by mid-Dec, because for the last couple of years I've been frantically reading during December, not that that's a bad thing, but it would be nice to be more relaxed so I can also work for a week on my annual review/ goal-setting, etc. since that is in fact, my absolute favourite part of the whole year.

And... I'm killing it!

I'm already on 84 books and we have 6 weeks of the year left.

Most disappointing

Strengthsfinder 2.0 - once you take the test and read up on your 5 strengths, that's it really. Nothing else in the book.

The best yes (good but I write on this stuff so not as meaningful for me)
Falling free (also good - I love her heart but I didn't find it earth-shattering. Then again, we live in Africa so things the Americans think are wow are our reality on every street corner)

Notable reads
Run - my first Ann Patchett and one I found very interesting
Foolish mortals - my first Jennifer Johnston. A new (to me) Irish author that I discovered as she was interviewed on my favourite Irish podcast, Roisin Meets... I will definitely read her others!

I mentioned on Instagram that one of my Christmas traditions is to start reading books set at Christmas. A lot of it is intentional but obviously if I don't have any, I will read anything, but I do buy ahead and make sure I have tons of Christmassy books on my Kindle.

So that's what's happening in my reading life.

And ohhhhh, I'm listening to Rob Lowe's memoir, Stories I only tell my friends .... and loving it! In other fabulous news, Alec Baldwin's book will be released in April 2017. You may remember how much I love his voice so I canNOT wait!

Tell me what you're reading right now!

How was your reading in October (if you can even remember!)?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday musings

(I was going to title this 7 on a Sunday... on a Monday... but it felt lame)

Right, how are you all doing?

I don't have a fireplace at my new house and I'm not sure where all our stuff will go :)

I'm doing great.

1. I had a wonderful weekend which D and I dissected in the car on the way to work and it's because of these elements:
  1. time with kids and D
  2. time in my passion (the 5 Love Languages workshop)
  3. time spent pottering (Christmas stuff....)
  4. time being productive (October photo organising complete!) and intentional (playing with my Shining Year workbook)
  5. time relaxing (photos, eating out, reading a whole book)
  6. time with friends (love languages and we went out for supper last night)

It's so nice to not be practising Spanish all the time.

2. I have some issues around this Spanish story which I need to talk through and decide what's the best way forward.

You see, many people have asked me why I'm doing Spanish, and why I do exams. And my usual answer (pre-this crazy exam period) was that I enjoy it. But I can't say that I had much joy this time around...

And if that's going to be the way it will be going forward, then quite frankly I can exercise for free at the gym (I joined in 2003 and paid about R600 then, so I pay nothing every month) and put the R600-odd into unit trusts/ paying off bond (things I really value) instead of this.... but I have some thinking to do because I'm also aware that it is the end of the year, this has been a tough period and I need some perspective....

3. The other night I got home just after the rain stopped and so, as you do, I put on my pyjamas and slippers and went prowling around the garden, taking pictures of the flowers with rain drops on them.

It was only about 10 - 15 minutes but it was such a glorious time of playing with my camera.

I'll show you some of those pics when I get to them but I thought I'd do a little photo workshop next year (nothing technical, really just how to "see differently", kind of a Superhero Photo lite) and then obviously we can all prowl around the garden and in the street practising our skills.

That sounds like such fun to me. What do you think?

How was your weekend? What made it a good/ not-so-good one?
Do you take time to do something for yourself daily?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Five for Friday - the crazy edition

Well, this week has felt like a month!

1. The election still has me glued to the internet but I decided tonight is my last night. I've read  Design Mom, Cup of Jo and Emily Henderson's posts, and comments (only some) and I'm understanding more about the Trump supporters but I still feel like I'm not sure how this happened. Still, desperate people.

One person told me they voted Trump and why (economics) and that they and many of their friends voted for him despite his character.

At the moment, I'm thinking MBTI's coming into play here.

I'm so grateful we have One higher to look towards.

2. In more pleasant news, my spanish exams are over and I never have to do that dance again - yay!

Results on Tuesday but I seriously don't care because I did my best and I enjoyed it, and that's what counts for me.

One of the other girls gets so anxious she was puking before she arrived tonight, and again while waiting. Shame!

3. I had a good week at work - this was the week of legal agreements coming out of my ears. I think I drafted about 8 - 10. Crazy.

4. I love my navy blue kitchen. I'm so glad I took a risk. I will write more about this on Organising Queen next week (with pictures!) but it is such a good improvement for just a tiny fraction of a kitchen makeover.

5. And last but not least, during my week of prayer/ social media fast (PS please tell me when things happen for you!), my prayer was to get offers on our house. Well, we got 2 - one truly awful one and one more decent. We accepted the more decent one mostly because I am ready for this to be done. It's been huge mental strain on me (I'm the "minister of finance" in our home) not to mention money and energy.

Anyway, today I received a copy of the signed bond grant so everything is in order and now the house is officially sold. :)

Over to the attorneys now to push through this transaction asap.

And that's me for this week!

I have BIG plans for this weekend in the "nesting" category - I want to start putting up Christmas because I'm in the mood for some O Holy Night :)

Tell me about one good thing that happened in your life this week.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

I am completely beside myself

I've been glued to the news sites for most of yesterday.

Usually when I work from home I'm super productive (I'd say about 3 X what I am at the office). Yesterday, I got done what I'd get done here.

That's because of this election.

I even woke early this morning to follow the news.

I said to a friend that I'm not even an anxious person but I was feeling such anxiety.

Turns out I was right.

What in the heck?

I actually cannot believe the result.

Who are these people and what was their motivation?

I got to the office and someone here says they're moving to the US (as a joke). Two of us set him straight and said you're black and a foreigner - not sure you're welcome there.

I feel like this is a nightmare that I'm to wake up from.

I can't imagine actually living in the US right now.

What's going through your head right now?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Hello on the last day of October

I was thinking that I might want to start old-school blogging again.

I do often need a change of pace and I can quite easily hammer out a post for 15 - 20 minutes while at work.

At home, it's much more difficult because I'm practising in the evening before supper, straight after supper while D does reading with kids upstairs, and then I collapse.

Anyway, let's chat.

1. So today is Halloween.

My feelings are well documented on the subject here. But I'm thrilled our school doesn't do anything for Halloween!

Maybe it's all the unsubscribing I've been doing but there are only about 3 people I read/ follow that are into the Halloween so yay!

A friend has an issue with all the pumpkin wastage :) Must say I didn't think of it like that but it's true.




2. 11 days to exam time

And I think I will make it.... but I had a dream night before last, so vivid I still remember every detail.

How, of the 10 exercises, I was only able to do TWO and then the examiner said, "right, that's it - we've run out of time"

So I'll be practising DAILY til the exam. At the lifts, at the pause area, in the boardroom later once they all disappear.....

3.  Cooking

With all our realignment at work, all people who do the same job as I do are now sitting together. The bad part is the department only ever has at most 3 - 4 of us here at any one time (out of 14). Remember I'm an extrovert and I love the buzz.

The good part is there is someone who I'm very friendly with, and she cooks. I've gotten such a lot of good ideas from her so far.

E.g. you can cook chicken, potatoes, carrots with salt and pepper on low for about an hour and it is delicious. I've made this for my crew twice in October and they LOVE it.

Another tip - she always makes pastas two at a time. Then freezes the second one in the glass pyrex dishes ready for during the week. I used to do that with sauces anyway. But I did it this weekend with the pasta itself and it gives me such pleasure knowing there's a meal ready for us :) :)

4 - 10 - can be found here if you feel like reading about my October highlights and lowlights

What are you guys cooking in this heat?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Nine on a Monday

1. Remember the stolen laptop? They only started investigating today....5 weeks later. I must admit, I was very irritated and told the guy there really is no point because that laptop is looooong gone. Anyone who's read/ watched crime stories knows the first 48 hours are crucial :)

2. Three lessons left before exams.... my right ankle is starting to give a little bit of trouble. It probably doesn't know what's happened with all the action over the last while....

3. If you're local, I'm holding a 5 Love Languages of Children workshop on Sat 19th Nov at 11:30. Bring a friend/ partner and you each save 10%. R200 per person or R360 per couple. It will be held at my house - hope to see you there.

4. If you're not local or you prefer a private 1:1 Skype/ Facetime/ Whatsapp session, send me an email and I'll hook you up.

5. Tonight Kendra told me while I was practising my dance, "Mummy, you look ready to me". Bless! I love her heart and she knows my love language!

6. I'm doing something quite radical to my kitchen. This decided Friday night and put into action today. Tomorrow it will all be done - I hope it looks how I imagine it in my mind...

7. It's remarkable what some good rain will do. The jacarandas are out, the views are amazing from my house and seeing all that purple just makes me super happy.

8. Oh, did you read about my social media fast? That was (honestly!) one of my favourite weeks this year and if you've never done this intentionally, I thoroughly recommend it. Cassey, I've answered your comment on that post in the comments ;)

9. Dare I talk about money? Money seems to be pouring out. I'm making a list because at least when I look at my list I feel a little more satisfied that things are getting done. But let's face it - most things are super boring things like plumbing and electrical.

Now I want to hear from you.

What are you loving right now? What do you hate/ strongly dislike right now? What do you need?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Crunch time

So I decided to enter the exams.

I told the teacher if she feels I'm not ready she can pull me out at the last minute.

However, I'm dancing my little tush off every 2 - 3 days.

D knows the rhythms, C and K imitate me and I have a cute little video of K saying "dig, across, dig, across, stamp, dig, dig".

Basically, if I'm not ready, I feel like at least I'll have given it my absolute everything.

And some things are already exam-ready. 

I still have 1 min 13 sec of the dance to learn, but I can't do some of it at speed yet. It'll come though. The good thing is I tell myself these things like - my body can do it, I just have to practise enough.

So you'll find me in the pause area or at the lifts at work, doing little bits of the dance, with not a care in the world about what people think.

In some ways I feel like I'm further along than I was last year... with exam prep... but that could be my imagination.

I have 5 lessons left and then it's show time :) And then I can chill til next year!

What's happening in your life?

PS old school blogging with no pics

Friday, October 07, 2016

5 on a Friday - books, babes and Bernadette

1. So, this is my haul for September. I'm truly having a fabulous year of reading. I feel like I'm reading more than enough, so much so that I sometimes think to myself, "am I not forgetting to do anything?" The answer is no.

And I have the mix just right - I listen to non-fiction audios and podcasts in the car, I read fiction at home, and I read non-fiction on my occasional Gautrain trips.

The best is that we have that which we always wanted - children who are readers. Reading is their currency and there are TANTRUMS in this house if they lose reading time so it is very effective as discipline.

2. Most disappointing books this month - Where'd you go, Bernadette, which I found way too weird for me. Those of you who like strange books might like this. And then Love Warrior, which I found to be very depressing with none of her blog's lightness/ sass/ spunk. Read full reviews on Goodreads.

3. The babies (kids) were on school holidays this week which was quite lovely except for the phone calls I received complaining about the other one doing who-knows-what.

Connor spent one day at a friend's house from 8.30 - 5.30 so he was knackered when he got home. He slept until 8.30 the next day!

Let's talk twins for the moment. D is not in favour of Connor doing something without Kendra and my view is that our job is not to make life rosy for them. There are lots of things that one will be invited to and the other not, so to compromise, I said I'd check if her friend could come over. If not, tough. Kendra's friend was able to come so all was well.

D happened to work from home that day and said two girls playing together are SOOOOO different. It was quiet and peaceful the whole day without all that testosterone :)

4. It's sandal season again. So I went to have a medi-heel treatment. Have you had one done? Best R70 you'll spend on your body. I promise!

5. Last but not least, the jacarandas. I've seen a few more, all in Illovo, but none anywhere else in Jhb. I was in Pretoria on Wed and there are jacarandas there. Beautiful, but nowhere near last year's beauty.

And that's it.

Which B things can you tell me about today?
How was your week? Tell me in the comments.

Friday, September 30, 2016

{Friendship Friday} Creating with friends

I read a not-so-great book (for me) recently about time management but I did want to mention something that was mentioned in the book.

If you want to see friends and do something, why not do those two things together?
  • go shop together
  • run errands together (I shudder!)
  • organise your clothes together
  • bake/ cook together

(now all these things I hate doing with other people but we get the gist)

I have tried inviting friends to events with me. A friend and I went to a Flamenco show together earlier this year, which was great - I would have gone anyway and it was time we were able to spend together. As an aside, we put in the offer on this house that same day :)

I've also hosted 3 crafternoons - 4 different friends came to those. I got photos done at two of those, and had a washi frenzy at another.

And best? They were all great times of connection (and food!) with friends.

I used to have a friend who I used to go to chick-flicks with, but we've kind of drifted. I need to get another one of those in my area. Maybe I can persuade you, Terisha? Either that, or we need to start our book club of two people :)

What kinds of things do you do with your friends?

Friday, September 23, 2016

5 updates for {Friendship Friday}

1. I've had two weekend plans with friends cancelled. What is going on? Last weekend I had a plan with 3 friends. When I jumped out of the shower after gym, 1 friend had cancelled (sick), the next one said she'd prefer to cancel too (power outage in their area) and the other said if I hadn't left yet, should we rather just postpone. I actually wanted to say, "no! let's still go" but I stayed and that's when I went wild, copying photo files onto disc for printing. I felt like I had to be super productive to make up for my missed lunch.

2. Tomorrow's one was also a last-minute one cancellation, completely understandable but always kind-of frustrating because it took a month of scheduling to find a suitable date. This is a work friend reach-out from my side, a big deal because I'd closed myself off to making friends at work. At the last company, you know I couldn't drag myself away from that company because of friends, so this is big, after a whole two years :) Do you make friends at work, or are you merely friendly there? Are you even friendly?

3. I'm the most free with socials I've been in ages. I have literally nothing on my agenda for the rest of this year. It feels strange and lovely, all at the same time. Strange because I usually have about 5 - 7 things on the go every month, and lovely, because summer heat means I actually want to do nothing but read and potter.

4. The telephone dates are working so well. I had two dates this month with friends which was just so lovely. It's a really nice way to keep in touch with my friends who live far away in Cape Town :)

5. The principle of reciprocity has meant that if friends don't also make the effort to reach out to me, I won't keep reaching out to them either. This has unconsciously been a big deal for me this year, to realise that actually things work both ways and it's not always up to me to 1) make the effort 2) do the inviting.

I actually read a blog post with friendship advice for adults and someone said, "when people invite you, go, otherwise they'll stop inviting you". I gasped!

What's been happening in your friendship life? What's working well? Any tips to share?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Just another Manic Monday

Today I was all raring to go in true Monday style.

Traffic was so awful I have no words. On the bright side, D drove. Because of said bad traffic, we detoured through parts of Jhb we don't normally drive and I got to take some pics of beautiful doors, driveways and streets.

And then.... I got to work and walked to my desk, and...

My laptop wasn't on my desk.

You know how your brain doesn't quite catch up?

I looked under my desk, all around... I even opened my drawers to check, knowing full well there is no space there for a laptop.

And then.

Oh my word, my laptop's been stolen.

Yes, it was locked. I have a longstanding habit of walking to my desk, putting down my laptop and the first thing is I insert the lock and twist the combination away so my code no longer shows.

My code is not that difficult to figure out though. It's since been changed.

So that's today's drama.

Amazing how everything you have to do to sort such a situation out all involve a computer!

"Log a call"
"Fill in this online form and no we can't print it for you to fill in the old-fashioned way" (audit trails and such)
"Send an email to your manager to approve capex for new laptop"

ALL involve a computer!

Now here's the thing:

I left at 3.45 on Friday, my colleague went back to the office at 7 pm and it was still there. She returned at about lunch time on Saturday and it was gone. She said she thought I'd come to work on Sat morning (as if!).

At the moment I'm using a loan laptop which I received after lunch, have to go to the police-station tomorrow to lodge a case (is that what they call it?) and then I can move forward with the new laptop application.

The security are busy pulling access card stats.....because of course, there's no security cameras at my desk (we know this from the pencil bag scenario).

So that was my Monday!

Tell me something GOOD about your Monday :)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

On ageing physically... and exercise

I loved all your comments on my post about physical ageing.

Julia said something which I want to touch on.

I am more aware of twinges in my body...I have to say that I FEEL my age when I am sick. Recovery takes a lot longer. 

So true!

You all know the toe story. Well, praise God, it is 97% healed. There is a very slight twinge but it's mostly gone. Thank God. Seriously.

It has given me pause though.

I can keep up with those 16-year-olds in a Zumba class because I've always had strong legs and my fitness is good.

But apparently I can't in an abs class!

On Saturday I had to (well, I chose to - I need to write about my children and how they're annoying me but everyone has perfect kids so there's that) take an abs class that was 98% on the mat, and Oh My Word, I couldn't do half the exercises. I really felt my age. My knees are buggered, my back was killing me and I couldn't sneeze or cough on Sunday and Monday, I was so sore.

Seriously, they should have had personal trainers outside and I would have happily handed over my credit card. I need someone to whip this old body into shape. The trick is I need to go work out with a personal trainer for the social :) I HATE that kind of boring exercise even though it does work so I really have to feel like the person is nice and likeable and chatty enough to distract me from the extreme boredom of lifting weights, doing lunges and other such extremely boring things.

Speaking of Julia, we had a phone date the other night and I told her I pay Weigh-less to eat better, not really to lose weight. I know if I don't pay over my R185 a month, I will eat tons more junk (carbs and bread) so that accountability does the trick for me. I know that I have a habit of going to Weigh-Less on a Saturday morning so it keeps me from overindulging during the week.

Gretchen Rubin says the quicker we accept who we are, the happier we'll be. So true. I need that WL accountability to eat well 95% of the time, so off to WL I go. And now it seems I need to add personal training to that list.

Is this something else I'm going to have to come to terms with?

Fortunately I don't get sick with colds and flu-type things very often, and if i do, it's a half-day to 1 day and I'm good. I tell my 3 family members that it's because I eat, exercise moderately and sleep well :)

I do see with D (who has 4 years on me!) how long it takes to completely get rid of a cold.

I intended to write about ageing and emotions, but let's leave that for another day. I apparently had a lot to say :)

Do you need accountability for eating/ boring exercise?
Can you keep up with the 16-year-olds?

PS Oh, a fun thing! I was in George at a client last week, and the lovely receptionist and I got talking as I do, and she was telling me how she and her mom have a great relationship because she's still young....the mom is 43 (I'm 42). The receptionist is 19. Yes, people, that receptionist could have been my daughter!!!!!! Completely, because D and I have been married 21.5 years! FOR THE LOVE! (I didn't tell her this)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Decisions, decisions

I realised that I better get a post up here before I break my excellent habit of writing almost daily in August.

My brain is way too busy lately and I realised tonight I have three decisions to make:

what to do with the house
we're praying and confessing and and and.... there are two things - 1) I don't know that the agent is doing a very good job 2) "natural circumstances" says that it's not a seller's market right now.

So now my prayer is yes, send the right buyer and super quick, but also, should we rent it out? I am normally violently opposed to renting because people don't take care of places. I know you guys who read and rent are responsible, but you know you're in the minority, right?

Also, I need to stop believing everyone. After discussing this stuff with a work friend, I went online and did some research myself. Agent has told me I can basically only get people in for a year, but what if there are people who will rent my house for a short-term and move when it sells. This friend told me that I would get money and have other people stage our house for selling :)

what to do about exams
Spanish exams are mid-November. I have to decide by the end of this month if I'm doing it or not.

I have the same story as in June... I would have to do the exam by myself....which is such pressure in the actual exam.

But this examiner is divine! AND it's hot. Too hot for normal life, but hot for exams is awesome because that means nice, warm muscles and I feel like I can take on the world.

I have exactly 8 lessons left and while I don't think that's optimal, is it ever? I know everything except the dance which we started tonight. But the last dance was 2:12 in length; this one is 3:38. That's a hella lot of dancing. Even a 1:30 in Spanish leaves you breathless.

She did say tonight I don't have to do it but my problem is boredom. If I don't do this exam, I know I'll be bored within 1 month of next year and I can't imagine 5 months of the same thing over and over again.

Ideas? Advice?

Monday, September 05, 2016

Favourite activity during winter

It's no surprise at all that my favourite activity during winter is reading (with a mug of tea in hand).

And yet I listened to 2 of my 7 books this month.

Let's talk about those quickly.

When a Christian author releases a book, especially if it really resonates, I always feel from podcast interviews that I want to read it, but I know myself, and I don't usually enjoy reading many of those, except for the really great ones like Lysa Terkeurst.

But one morning I looked at my audible credits and there were 3, and so I thought let's see if the books are narrated by the authors.

Favourite audio voice

Looking for Lovely is narrated by Annie F Downs, the author. And she has a great voice. It feels like she's your friend, just talking to you.

So yes, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and now I'm thinking I should rather have listened to her others too.

Favourite (and only) re-read

The other audio is one of my favourite books, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up. I need to write about this one on the other blog but in essence, I think it's a great book to re-read (re-listen) to every year. I loved the refresh after moving into the new house. And bonus - I have a few new posts to write on Organising Queen. I also took notes in the car as opposed to sitting for hours afterwards re-writing from my bookmarks, and some of the things she says will make great printables for Instagram.

So win-win-win :)

Speaking of OQ, my how to pay off your bond posts start on Thursday. If you're not subscribed, make sure you don't miss them.

A read for women who feel guilty

Read The Fringe Hours. Again, I will write about this one on Organising Queen but I was mostly underwhelmed. That's not taking anything away from the book, but I have a really good handle on using my time well, which is exactly what you'd expect from a time management coach.

Favourite fiction reads

Always the Maeve Binchy. I loved this one, maybe more than I should have, because I read a later book months ago and it's so nice to get the background.

And a shout-out to The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane for having a really fiesty character, which always thrills me :)

How was August for you, reading-wise? Or hobby-wise? Or winter-wise?
What did you get up to?

Is anyone out there........... who is actually on audible? I got into audible in Jan 2015, and honestly, I'm not an early adopter but I am part of the next wave (slightly tested but still unknown to the masses), but it is now 20 months later and I feel like absolutely everyone I interact with is not on audible or into podcasts. For the love! How can this be?

I have one client who is into audible and podcasts so this delights my heart!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Friendship Friday - on hardening your heart

Oh hey, it's September. Some of you like the heat; I like taking photos of pretty flowers :)

How was your August?

Mine was mostly good - I talked about it here.

Now, I want to talk about something that's been brewing for a good few months.

In a nutshell, and some of you know this, I was not one for female friends until the infertility struck. I was friendly but not a sharer/ girly type of person. D's my best friend and I didn't see the need for others.

And then I started making infertile friends and pregnant friends, and mother friends, and before you knew it, I had lots of friends.

And then some stuff happened last year and I lost a friend, and another relationship changed a bit too.

I suppose also the year of enough led me to stop just accepting any kind of behaviour, and firm up on my boundaries because I'm worth more.

As I tell my K often, you are a lovely child with a caring heart, and if so and so doesn't want to play, there are lots of other kids who would love to have a friend like you.

(then I hear myself talking and it seems I'm talking to myself!!!)

But a little side-effect happened. An unintended consequence, if you will.

I started keeping all my friends except just a few at an emotional distance. Because I learned (completely unconsciously) that when you open up and are vulnerable, and you're hurt, self-preservation says to not do that thing again that will hurt you.

In church a few months ago, and I'd get my church notebook but I'm lazy to go downstairs... the pastor spoke about hardening your heart in another context.

There are at least two things going on in church usually - the thing that the pastor is talking about, and other things God's talking to you about. Like a secret :)

And suddenly God was talking to ME about hardening my heart in friend relationships. Whoa!

There's no cute story to tie this all up, but just to put this out there that I'm aware... and while I'm being very careful with my marshmallow heart, I'm trying to keep just a little bit open where I know my heart can be trusted.

Have you hardened your heart because of relationship hurts?

PS the link just above referred to some questions I was going to write about weekly. And then I lost the page with the questions. When I packed up the house, I found my page again so now it's on my desk and I need to write those other blog posts.


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