Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I'm having the most fun

reading through my old posts :)

So, one year ago - on kids' restaurants

two years ago - seriously, best muffins ever

three years ago - emotional ups and downs

four years ago - on nail polish

five years ago - what's your thing?

six years ago - satisfaction

seven years ago - I was blissfully unaware of what was about to hit us in about 5 weeks :)

Which was your favourite post? 

What were you doing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 years ago?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

{Friendship Friday} on a Saturday - feeling safe to share

Posting on Monday because my website's been down!


I heard something explained so beautifully on a podcast recently.

Interestingly, I could remember exactly where I was when I heard (top of Oxford Road where it changes into Rivonia) this but not which podcast it was on.

So I googled and I think it was this one - Jess Lively talking to Dana Schultz from Minimalist Baker.

Anyway, this is what they said: there's a difference between connecting with someone and being able to be vulnerable with them. YES!

You may have things in common with someone which provides the connection and spark (chemistry, if you will) and yet you might not feel like you can be vulnerable with them. Trust needs to exist in order for you to be able to be vulnerable.

Isn't that excellent?

I had myself an aha moment right there in my car.

This is why you can many great conversations with people about things you have in common, but not feel able to share because of the trust thing.

There is a person I work with who shares a number of work characteristics with me :)

But over the last year or so, I've seen more and more sides to this person that made me realise I cannot trust them even a little bit.

Well, not with any of my feelings.

I've stopped sharing everything. Not even a tidbit about the kids or house stuff anymore. I can see they've noticed. In fact, this person has asked me if they can ask me a personal question and I suspect it's about this withdrawing.

And then there are other people who you know you can trust immediately, right?

It's fascinating to me. I don't even know how conscious it is that I know the difference (not always! e.g. old job!!!) but I usually do.

For me, the lack of trust is not only about blabbing to others although that is a big part; it's sometimes that I don't feel my feelings will be held safely and not dismissed as unimportant.

I do feel blessed that there are those friends (Julia is one!) that are always such a safe place I could say anything to them and they won't think I'm absolutely crazy :)

Can you think of people you connect with, but don't feel able to be vulnerable with?
Do you have enough "safe place" people in your life?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Who are you, really?

I've mentioned before that it's always very interesting to me to see and hear how people introduce one another.

We are all multi-faceted and incredibly complex human beings, and we therefore define ourselves in many different ways.

I've been introduced as a mother of twins, organised, someone I met on the internet, etc.

All terrible descriptions, at least to me. You can call my house organised anytime, by the way :)

I think I object to these descriptions because they're just things that happened to me, not who I am at my core.

I'm grateful to parent these twins but I like to think that if I had the four I'd wanted (as Kendra has taken to telling everyone she meets!), I'd still be the same sort of parent. So how does having twins make me more special?

Same with being organised. I honestly, down to my deepest inners believe that anyone can be organised. It's a skill like learning to use Excel or Word, and we can all do it.

People don't say, oh this is Marcia and she can use Excel, so why is being organised that special?

(granted, I have called some of my colleagues Excel geniuses, but that's not how I introduce them to others!)

I read a post on a blog recently where the lady's friend died and she said things like, "she was such a great friend; she never let me hide away and she cared deeply for all of us".

Now that's just lovely.

I think it hurts when friends introduce me to others as "she has twins" or "she's so organised" because I think, "wow, I'm all this and that's all that comes to mind? Is there nothing else I am or represent to you that you could have said?"

I turned the tables and asked myself how I would have described the person and I could think of many other ways.

I have had one awesome introduction which I mentioned here before, which was Laura, who said I'm the most intentional person she knows.

That's the kind of thing that thrills and delights me. Thanks again, Laura, I will remember that moment forever!

So where's this going?

I was wondering if there's a way to reinvent yourself?

Clearly if the words people use to describe you aren't floating your boat, you should do something about it.

I was asked to proofread an email at work the other day "because Marcia's the nicest one of us here". I told them, "I'm taking that as a compliment". What they meant to say was that I write diplomatic emails without letting people off the hook. Also, no-one's ever called me nice!

Some nice things by previous bosses of mine - I'm the most passionate person (ha! that's his way of saying I gave him beans!) and that I care deeply for my clients (true!).

How would you like people to describe you?
How would you describe me?

PS D really gets me more than anyone else on earth. So when one of these incidents happen, I ask him the second question above and he says exactly the right thing for which I'm extremely grateful :)
PPS these pics have nothing to do with anything - I think they were our last pics from last year's project 52 and I love them... although I feel cold just looking :)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Can we talk about the price of groceries?

Before we talk about groceries, can I please ask you to tell me ONE thing on this post?

Thank you kindly because I really don't fancy talking to myself!

My Baggu shopping bags - bought about 8 years ago, still going strong :)
Our grocery bill has increased dramatically in the last 3 - 5 months. I can't say that we're eating differently - if anything, I was cooking less because the heat wasn't kind to me, and I therefore avoid my kitchen in summer. Good thing everyone around here thinks eggs on toast is a perfectly good meal :)

Usually one or two months of not sticking to the budget doesn't unduly alarm me. I tend to think maybe there were lots of specials (D is a sucker like most of you for The Sale) or we were having show houses (I am a sucker for all the cleaning things).

But then month 3, and I realised we needed to increase the budget. I can't keep making a line item called "overspent" - it just doesn't feel right.

My colleagues and I have been talking about the grocery issue for months now.

Yes, we moan about it but somehow there's somewhat of a money buffer in our budgets so we can stop doing other things to pay more for groceries.... and water and electricity (next blog post) and petrol.

But what of others who are living "on the bread line"?

I felt so guilty about this issue that we gave Nanny S and the gardener a cost-of-living increase in March.

Back to the groceries. R24,99 for a head of broccoli or cauliflower that used to cost R15,99. All packs of 1.5 kg apples now R25,99 each - they used to cost R15,99 and we bought 3 every week because we all eat lots of apples.

Carrots, thankfully, are still about R10,99 a bag. These prices are at the blue and red retailer.

So, no wonder the grocery bill has exploded. And I am getting more fussy so I'm checking that fridge daily to see what needs to be used, what can be tossed into the freezer for when we make soup. I even said, "we are not buying any more cereal until everything is used up". It still isn't, two months later.

Also, thank you to Kelloggs for the huge hamper of cereal I won at the blogger meet-up. I shared with Nanny S but we still had plenty for ourselves that will probably last til mid-June since we only eat on the weekends.

Anyway, so tell me, are you feeling the pinch?
Do you have any new tricks up your sleeve to not waste food/ use up food in interesting ways? I'm letting my pantry run completely bare a lot more... and making do every couple of weeks with what is here instead of adding more.

What are you doing to stretch your rands/ dollars?

Monday, May 16, 2016

What makes a great read?

I was clicking through on some good comments on Modern Mrs Darcy's blog a week or two ago. MMD has that podcast where she asks people 3 books they loved, 1 they hated and what they're currently reading.

By the way, this is often how I find new blogs. I read something in a comment that resonates and then I go follow.

Anyway, on one of those blogs, the lady had posted about the type of books that are a good read for her.

So I got thinking and this is what I came up with in the area of non-fiction:

(I wrote all about my favourite 5 books over on the organising blog)

3 books I loved
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
The Life-changing magic of tidying up

1 book I didn't care for...
(hate is a strong word...)
I didn't care at all for Notes on a blue bike, Sparkly green earrings and A million little ways

Books I've just finished
When Breath Becomes Air

What are the commonalities?

the 3 books I loved all had a combination of big picture thinking and practical how-to
I also love a good research element, so not just blah blah blah, but this is why this works, and this is how that research plays out practically in my life

didn't care for - all of these are blog writers with book deals. I personally think they write better blogs than they do books. I also think many of the blog writers don't translate well, because of the shorter-form essay-type format. Lots of faffing and not getting to the point, structure not great and I find myself thinking, "what is she actually trying to say?" which is a touch annoying in something I'm trying to learn from

So tell me, what makes a good non-fiction read for you?

I'll do the fiction reads next time, so start thinking :)


And the books I read in April?

April was a great reading month again with 9 books, 1 of them non-fiction.

Favourites were the Ella Griffin (READ IT!), the Jojo Moyes and the Sheila O'Flanagan. All library reads which I LOVE!

What were your favourite reads in April?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Worst headache ever and its causes

I had the worst headache ever last week. I've never had a headache last beyond a day and this time it was 2.5 days. I'd even venture that I haven't felt that ill in 14 years (when prep for a laparoscopy resulted in me vomiting all over my old house's beautiful wooden floors. anyway!).

Since I am at heart a science person, I tried to figure out what was the cause so I can be sure to not repeat whatever I did. Of course on day 2 I was googling the big c word.

low blood pressure - I think this triggered some of it because I was in a meeting and remember feeling really ill very suddenly. I grabbed an apple (I always have apples), sliced it in half, shook some salt onto it and ate it quickly.I felt better, enough to continue the meeting at my desk, but an hour later, I felt that sudden nausea again with the headache. So I packed up quickly, didn't even say good-bye and I rushed home.

(as an aside, the route I take home has, what seems like, a million speed bumps and I felt each and every bump. it was awful)

I haven't been super good with my 2 L of water. I was probably short about 500 ml a day so there could have been a bit of dehydration.

My patch had to be replaced on the Thursday (this was the Wednesday when it all started). My gynae has said that the withdrawal of hormones has various side effects; it seems I'm prone to the headaches.

Then psychologically... now hang in with me for a sec.

I am addicted to a podcast called Personality Hacker and when they analysed my type, they said we often display physical illness symptoms when things are going on with our emotions. I suppose it's because introverted feeling takes real work for me to access.

Well, that resonates. The last time I had a really bad headache with the nausea... nothing physical had happened but I was stressed about a situation, and I felt out of control choosing the "better" (for everyone) choice in that situation even though it was very stressful for me.

So last week I put it down to one major thing, and two minor things. The major thing being the house and the fact that even though I am doing everything properly, I can't control things exactly. Ideally, a person should make one phone call, and you should get confirmation of cover. I have had 7 phone calls and I still don't have my confirmation of cover.... everybody has been perfectly pleasant and very willing to help, but all seem to lack attention to detail, so this letter has gone back and forth all the time.

They are not things you can delegate - insurance companies need to talk to the insured themselves, and I am more financially-minded so I have to do these things. This is why I've said in the past I hate moving house. There's the admin, and the fact that everyone keeps asking me for feedback on the house, and I know people care but it just feels like everyone's hounding me because I don't actually know what to say. When I have news, I will tell you...

The two minor things are I'm listening to When Breath becomes Air, and obviously every back pain is suddenly not age, but the big C. The other thing is it's been a year since a friendship fell by the wayside. I was driving to work, past the location where we were last together as "proper friends" and thought, "OH! GOSH! I still can't believe that's over".

Thankfully, and I seriously praise God, the headache finally left on Friday night because when I woke on Sat, there was about a 5% twinge but once I was up and about I was perfectly fine.

Of course I've been super careful about no coffee, and been sure to drink lots of water, and not stew on things but deal with stuff, because I'd rather not endure that kind of hell again soon.

How are you doing?
Do you find that your "illnesses" are sometimes linked to stress/ not dealing with things?  

PS I'm using pics from previous years just because they make me happy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Two things that thrill me and one that puzzles me

don't worry, this is not currently my phone's state - the day I turned 40
On a rather delightful note, I had a client meeting last week and I asked the client if he listens to podcasts and audible books and he said YES.

This is probably the first person ever besides Se7en to answer yes!

Of course, afterwards, I sent him a link to Gretchen Rubin's Better than Before book (because I'd told him in the meeting he's an upholder!) and her podcast.
These things thrill me like no other.

Sam bought me this book for one birthday! XXX
Something else that thrills me is the Personality Hacker podcast. They have an episode on each Myers Briggs type. Just imagine - 40-something minutes of listening to two people discuss things that make you tick, and why. It's heaven!

There are also episodes on what gives each type energy, and motivation, and such. So useful. I had a HUGE aha listening to the energy episode.

If you don't know of it yet, download it from the itunes store or they have their own app for Android phones.

And prepare to be amazed!

I was thinking about something the other day - I'm such a Big Reader and yet I don't belong to a book club, I don't like reading outside my genres nor do I like to particularly discuss books. I can discuss and tell you about non-fiction but that's it.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Modern Mrs Darcy has a podcast, What should I read next, which is causing big waves all around the internet but I'm not that into it precisely because of the above.

The guest tells her 3 books they love, 1 they hate and then she gives them 3 recommendations.

These are all bookish people (people I think of as English majors!) so most of the time I've not even heard of these books.

The thing that makes me click over and listen occasionally is if a guest is someone I know.

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to one podcast and this woman hated a book I loved. I don't know why I got so riled up but I did. But that's when I realised, better for me to quietly read things and write my little reviews on Goodreads (by the way, I'm in the top 5% of reviewers) and occasionally blog on the non-fiction ones, but I feel far too passionately about things to share those in public!

Do you find yourself passionately sharing about books you read? 

PS if there are any people who are interested in buying physical non-fiction books from me (really cheap, like R20 a book, I need to get rid of books before the move), let me know and I'll send you pics from my phone.

Monday, May 09, 2016

I'm not a fashion blogger but my favourite pieces of clothing - summer

Let me share with you some of my favourite pieces of summer clothing.

 1. Silver flip flops

These go with everything and were my "To Marcia From Marcia" Christmas present in 2013.

2. Charcoal capri pants

I bought these from Pick 'n Pay clothing, they're so comfortable and the colour means they go with everything.

(there's a theme going on) 

3. Grey and white striped skirt

I used to wear this skirt with a bright blue/ bright pink t-shirt but I Konmari'd those t-shirts last year and I haven't found any to replace them, so sadly, this skirt hasn't seen too much action this summer.

But I love it!

4. Blue Reebok sandals

These cost R180 about 4 - 5 years ago, and at the time they were 50% off at Edgars. At the time I thought they were a bit much, but the cost per wear has been amazing.

I wear them every day when we're at the beach, and definitely almost every time we go for walks.

LOVE them. I have tried to look for new ones but the shops have plastic-y ones these days.

5. Grey t-shirt

To be 100% honest, I have about 5 grey t-shirts, and another 3 sleeveless grey tanks.

I ADORE grey t-shirts. I haven't yet met a grey t-shirt I didn't like ;)

This one is my current favourite though :)

6. Orange printed skirt

I bought this skirt on the same day I met Sam for supper about 2 years ago and I remember telling her I don't know what came over me because I bought this skirt that was very unlike me, but it made me happy.

(pre-Konmari, so very strange for me)

Anyway, I love this skirt. I wear it with black t-shirts, grey t-shirts and the one white t-shirt I own

Tell me about some of your favourite pieces of summer clothing

PS I'll keep track and write a winter pieces post soon. I already have about 5 things on my list :o

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Windows, doors and the perfect grey, aka Words to Live By

Good advice for life

Travel light

it's all about perspective

It's not what you look at; it's what you see. What do you see?
This is indeed the perfect grey. Well done, Cape Town, but where were you in May last year when I was choosing paint colours?!
Which is your favourite pic? What would you caption it?


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