Monday, June 27, 2016

5 on a Friday... the friendship version

Let's just pretend it's Friday, okay?

I keep thinking about things to post (about friendship) on a Monday or Tuesday and then I completely forget by the Friday, so let's just pretend, shall we?

I really had a great friendship week last week.

1. My new Spanish dance partner and I went for a very early supper before class on Tuesday. We had soup so we didn't feel too heavy to dance, and it was perfect. Chicken Tuscan soup at Europa if you're interested :)

2. Then on Wednesday my pencil bag was misplaced/ stolen. I'm going to write about this on my organising blog once I publish this post. But that night Julia phoned me for 1 hour 45 minutes, and I swear for the first 30 minutes, I moaned about this pencil bag. It's not about a pencil bag though...Anyway, we had a great chat about life, love and everything else.
I met Sam on Thursday, again for soup! It's my favourite thing on the winter menus (aside from pasta). This time butternut soup at Tashas - delish! Also on the menu was great connection with my lovely friend who I hadn't spoken to properly for 3 months.

4. Then I was in a meeting and I got a whatsapp message which was perfect, letting me know that because I was so busy it was also probably a time I needed my friends. LOVE! And yes, too true.

5. And last but not least, lovely Cassie sent us a special food gift (do you all know how I love food?!) which we enjoyed on Sunday night after our last day's packing. It was a good reward for working hard. If I don't see another box for a while, it will be a good thing :-

What about you?
What's been good in friendship land over the last week or two?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Late night thinking

glorious winter sunset
I've been wondering why I'm really not enjoying this space any more, and there are a few reasons.

One of them is this:

I feel like all the stuff I'm talking about here is mostly just froth, not even cream, and certainly not the coffee.

I miss the days when we poured out our hearts in these spaces, and they landed in safe places. And yes, when people let you know that they understood you via a well-placed comment.

I also feel vulnerable talking here - I will write a blog about this as it deserves its own special post.

Thank you for your comments on this post. That's another thing. I'm clearly not communicating well these days - I did specifically mean podcast/ book-type things on this blog. I know there are about 5 people who have tried a thing or two on OrganisingQueen :) But yay, Laura listened to that podcast and is hooked. My work is done.

Many years ago I used to feel bad when my friends and family either weren't interested in the coaching/ organising/ authoring because it was such a big part of my life (it's still a huge part of my identity), but I got over that for my own sanity.

These days I have fewer and fewer blogs in my feedly. Not for a lack of blogs, but for a lack of heartfelt, real blogs.

I can't be the only one thinking these things, can I?

Anyway, any late night thinking you want to share?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

It's show time!

Today's my exam!

Since I started Spanish again in March 2014, this is my 5th exam and also the first one I'm doing completely alone.

We're 4 in our class and I'm apparently the only one who was motivated enough to get this done.

I had a wobble last week when I realised how short the time was and how much I still had to practise, and I briefly considered pulling out. After all, what's an exam fee in the grand scheme of things?

But then i thought of doing this same work for another 6 months and that kicked me into gear :)

I am ready for new work!

So pray hard for me at 5.15 this afternoon that my muscles stay warm, my body stays supple, my muscle memory kicks in and I nail this exam!

What are you up to today?
Have you taken tomorrow off work?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Here's the thing

I'm feeling a little discouraged these days.

Like I'm losing my mojo because I don't know a single person who has taken any of my suggestions/ recommendations for... anything really. Books, podcasts, things to try, etc.

This is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things obviously, and I should just get over it, but inspiring people is one of my God-given things, so if I don't have that, what do I have?

There are a few instances from years ago that I cling to, so there is that, and to be honest, God always sends me a little something to encourage me now and again.

But I'm going to try again in this post. Never let it be said I give up too quickly.

So here's the thing is a podcast with Alec Baldwin. From the website...

Yes, that Alec Baldwin. The one from It's Complicated.

Here’s The Thing is a series of intimate and honest conversations hosted by Alec Baldwin. Alec talks with artists, policy makers and performers – to hear their stories, what inspires their creations, what decisions changed their careers, and what relationships influenced their work.

And... he is fabulous. He has this voice that is just perfect for podcasts and he asks great questions.

I can't stop listening!

I've listened to him interview Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Joel, Carol Burnett and Molly Ringwald.

Okay, I confess - I listened to the Billy Joel one twice. I LOVED it. Some of you know I love Billy Joel a bit more than is entirely healthy. If you like New York, Billy Joel, the creative process (D and I love this kind of thing), the background to songs, listen to it.

Really, you've lost nothing if you listen to 10 minutes of any episode and hate it. But try and tell me what you think.

Otherwise, how was your Monday?

Thursday, June 09, 2016

What makes a good read? part 2

Last time I spoke about what makes a good non-fiction read for me.

Your comments were fascinating! And I'm not sure if you saw I answered your comments on that post too.

I don't think I'm finished thinking/ analysing this subject but let's talk about fiction for a minute or three.

I'm going to do it in the same format as before:

3 books I loved
(I'm cheating and telling you about 3 authors I love)
  1. Joanna Trollope - I don't know anyone else who writes about relationships better than this author. I read something late last year by Tara something or other, and I had that same feeling. You're hooked from the start. And it's because you identify but didn't know you do with all these characters because she's identified things that are so real. AH. Seriously if you've never read a Joanna Trollope, give it a go.
  2. Dorothy Koomson - this author writes beautiful, intelligent women's fiction. They're all based in Brighton (I think) and you will feel something for the characters.
  3. Maeve Binchy - my newest Irish author. I started with her last book before she died and now when I see a book at the library I snap it up. She writes these ensemble cast books that span a good length of time. All the characters are real, normal, flawed people.

(I love many more authors obviously)

1 book I hated
The Royal We

I still don't get ANY of the fuss. All I can think of is that all of you who liked this book are infatuated with the (real) royal celebs. I am not.

I don't even think this book was well-written, and I definitely didn't give two hoots about any of the characters.

So let's pull it all together.

I clearly love reading about relatable stories, relationships, good or bad, and strong character development. I also like good pace, a well-edited book and good structure.

These days I feel like a lot of books need another 2 - 3 rounds of editing. I sound so snobbish but if I can pick up things (characters using the same phrases over and over, grammar, spelling, etc.) while I'm reading fast, it hasn't been edited properly.

What don't I like?
  1. super long books. 500 pages is pushing it. Back in the day I used to read a lot of crime/ legal thrillers and while Scott Turow wrote good books, they took far too long to get to the point :)
  2. books set in the future (sci-fi/ fantasy) or in the past. If I pick up a book and it says, "in 1937 England" I put it down immediately. Current day please - give or take 10 - 20 years.
  3.  anything weird - I'm an ESTJ, we deal firmly in reality. Although sometimes I think something is one way, and I'm swept along by the writing, I may enjoy it but I won't pick something up like it again. E.g. James Patterson - The Lake House
  4.  books where kids are hurt or traumatised, graphic descriptions of murders (I can't read most of my "old authors" now I have kids - fascinating to me!) or gratuitous s*x
 Please tell me what makes a good fiction read for you!

And now, these are my books from May - another excellent reading month with 6 fiction and 3 non-fiction.

Notable non-fiction
When Breath Becomes Air (the book that had me googling brain cancer when I had a headache). It is a beautiful read and so fascinating to me because he was both a doctor and a philosopher. The last chapter is heartwrenching and beautiful, all at the same time. I listened driving down one of my favourite streets in Jhb (5th street between 11th Avenue and Glenhove) during autumn, which is another set of beauty.

Simply Tuesday - probably my favourite of Emily P Freeman's books, which means I highlighted quite a bit. I still only gave it 3, but it was a high 3. Like 3.6. Julia asked me once why I keep buying them when this author doesn't work for me, and I figured it out. Amazon's $1,99 sales. That's how. I bought all her books except the first for $1,99.

Of the fiction, the notable ones were the Maeve Binchy and Nicky Pellegrino's Recipe for Life. The rest were okay and so-so.

What were your notable reads for May?

Friday, June 03, 2016

Five on a Friday

Okay, I'll bite.

I opened up my Google Reader and 3 of my subscribed blogs had posts of the same name.

1. We have a move date. And it's soon! And I'm trying not to freak out because I have to have this house packed up in less than a month. On the bright side, I packed 2 boxes last night and will do another 2 boxes tonight. Then we need more boxes.

Connor and I went back to the house on Tuesday and I love it more. I keep finding more and more bits that I adore. I kept saying to the lady, "oh! I didn't see this part before, but I know exactly what I'm going to do there". She keeps telling me she loves that we bought the house because it seems perfect for our family. To that I say AMEN!

2. This week was seriously way too busy at work. I cannot even. Two functions meant 1.5 days out of the office. Feels like all the clients are fighting with me for nonsense. On the bright side, a big meeting is over and now I can stop dreaming about it (seriously I had a dream last weekend and said to D, apparently I'm worried about such-and-such meeting because I'm dreaming about it :o)

3. After that big meeting, I slept for 10.5 hours that night. No joke. It's exhausting for me thinking about all these emotionally-charged, tense meetings where people are "corporate fighting", all terse and extra-polite. Eeek.

4. It's true - it's much easier to write a blog post every day than only once or twice a week. Since my go-slow, I feel like I have to drag myself here. Don't get me wrong - I have tons to say; it's just hard when I feel like I'm talking and no-one's listening. Kind-of like talking to the nearly 7-year-olds :)

5. Speaking of which, the kids will be 7 really soon. 1 month and 4 days is what that little ticker above this post tells me. And for the first year, I don't care about parties! They elected to go on holiday rather than have a party so we'll do that but I do think we should have 3 - 4 friends over the weekend after we move. We'll see.

So what's going on in your life?
On a scale of 1 - 10, how's life going these days?


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