Thinking & Feeling

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

Friday, 29 September 2006

Rocking the Daisies

Yeah well I blew off kata box in the end on Thursday evening. I was suddenly feeling really tired, lack lustre and decidedly moody, so I made an executive decision to just NOT do it. I boldly marched into the gym, retrieved my tog bag from it's locker and left again.

I then went to the library to stock up on some light reading material for the week-end, and went home, where I s(k)ulked around a bit before deciding that a walk really would do me some good. So I headed off, circuited the common once and then came home via Pick'nPay where I bought a folding table goodie, which we will need this week-end. I also bought a fold-up camping stool and camping kettle - because we are going away for the week-end. :)

Richard has arranged for us to go to Rocking the Daisies in Darling. YAY!
I'll take my running shoes along with me, but chances are they won't be used, because this week-end is all about the music.

"Darling is known as the flower of the West Coast and we are going to be ‘Rocking the Daisies on the Modder River farm from the 29th September – 1st October.

We’ll be head banging to the sounds of the The Parlotones, The Finkelsteins, Dirty Skirts, Goldfish, The Rudimentals and a whole lot more. Bring your tents along and party shoes for a non-stop party sensation.

You’ll wake up and smell the ‘daisies’ and to the sounds of your favourite rock bands."

"We will be partying to the sounds of 21 of South Africa’s hottest bands where music appreciation is the core. The line-up is cross-culture and incorporates a mixture of styles and backgrounds.
Our aim is to hold a music festival in a safe, beautiful environment, promoting SA music and nature in a responsible manner. Hence the opportunity to camp at the festival and not having to drive. Proceeds will go to an anti-drink driving campaign, SADD (South Africans Against Drunk Driving)."

The line up is pretty good, with some of the best SA bands around. Such as The Parlotones, The Finkelsteins, Louise Carver, etc etc.

We used to be quite into our music events in the past **, but haven't really done anything like this for years, especially since the kids have been around.

Although I did go to:
- MCQP Heavenly Bodies in Dec 1999 - heavily pregnant (8.5+ months) with Quinn, and then took him to
- a Synergy Rave for New Year 2000/2001 at just under 12 months, and
- took Griffin to a Cyprus Hill concert (remember 'insane in the membrane'?) when I was 7+ months pregnant with him, and then
- took him (at 6 weeks) and Quinn at 2 years to a Vortex Rave for New Year 2002/2003...

But they haven't been with us to anything like that since, and we haven't been to any overnight music festivals since Vingerdstok of 1997 and that Vortex New Years week-end.... so it should be fun!

So my bags are packed, and I caught a train in to work. Richard and the boys will pack up the car and collect me on the way, I am counting the hours.

** Other music events we have been to include:
- U2 Pop Mart Concert (1998)
- Music Event at the River Club including, Henry Ate (with Karma) Springbok Nude Girls and Battery 9 (1999) etc.
- Faithless (2003)
- Simply Red (2004)
- Robbie Williams (2006)
- The Wire Dasies (2006)
- Several Kirstenbosch Sunset Concerts - Robin Auld, The Muse, Freshly Ground etc.

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Note to self...

Perhaps having chosen today as 'annual short-dress, pantihose and high heels day' it was not the best of ideas to suddenly have an unavoidable urge to have to walk all the way across town at lunch time in search of car seat covers**.

Not only did I solicit some rather lewd looks from many an unsavory character (although by the amount of sweat out there today I think they are decidedly savoury - bleh) along the way, but OH-MY-GOD my feet are KILLING ME now!

I may have to peel these shoes off when I get home. Running is a breeze compared to scuttling around in these torture manacles!

I may just have to become a 'woman in comfortable shoes' to prevent this from happening again, or perhaps just not go for a stupid long walk when wearing less than comfy shoes... either way...

Update: It is now Friday and I still have large blisters on both my little toes from the long walk in those stupid shoes. The foot rub Richard kindly gave me last night helps a lot though.

** To protect Basil from my and other kids. Because I somehow suspect the 'show me that your hands and feet are clean before you can get in' thing is going to get old really quickly! ;)

Monday, 25 September 2006


Well the long week-end can be summarised with lots of 'ing words. Driving, Bowling, Hustling, Running Shopping, Walking, Running, Flying & Rowing etc.

Let's see on Friday I got my new car. I started driving it home, and then realised I hadn't insured it yet, so proceeeded to drive and talk on the phone to the insurance company (pretending I didn't actually have it yet!) through the rush hour traffic. I arrived home in tact, and the car is now insured.

Here he is (I have decided he is a male, and names so far are Andy Pandy (lame) or Basil).
More pics can be seen here.

After that Richard and I met my colleagues for a quick dinner at Nando's (which I haven't eaten for ages and which was YUMMY), before we went ten-pin bowling. This was only the third time I had ever been bowling. There were 10 of us, so we split into 2 teams of 5, and were competing for a top score between us all.

In the first game (is that what it's called?) I didn't do too well. I was still too much in my head and not just feeling what to do, so I ended up coming 3rd last. Blah. But after a few beers to loosten me up, the second game went much better and I was leading for quite a long time, until Richard (who is annoyigly good at just about everything) suddenly blasted ahead with several strikes in a row. I ended up finishing third, with a respectable score of 110, with my manager beating me by one point and Richard with about 145. It was fun though.

We weren't quite ready to go home yet, so we popped into Stones across the road for another drink. Stones is a pool bar. Richard used to play pool quite often, and is pretty darn good. I used to mostly watch, and would occasionally join in for a doubles game, where Richard could more than make up for my lack of skill. Neither of us have played for yonks - probably 7+ years now. We were with 2 other guys and they were going to play pool while I watched. We were waiting for a table where 3 young girls were playing (how do you play pool with 3 people??). After watching them for a few minutes I got the giggles because they were really bad. All 3 of them. I couldn't help myself from laughing because after 20 minutes they hadn't sunk a single ball between them. Richard went to speak to them to see if he could challenge them. They decided to rather leave, and then the guys we were with left too.

So now Richard had the table, and it was just the 2 of us. I agreed to attempt to play against him, fearing total humiliation on my part, and thinking perhaps I shouldn't have laughed at those girls.... but I surprised myself. Richard was not playing really hard, and I was WAY better than I expected, and managed to keep a reasonable pace against him, sinking something on most of my shots, or at least lining something up for next time. Richard did beat me, but I only had 3 balls left by then. After that I sunk those 3 in 3 shots. Go me! Another guy challenged Richard after that, and lost pretty badly. He asked Richard where he normally plays, and if he plays often, and couldn't believe that he hasn't played at all for so long. He claims that no one usually beats him. hahaha.

On Saturday I ran to Claremont (about 4km) - with my credit card in my pocket. Nothing like exercising your body and credit card at the same time! It's the ultimate in multi-tasking me-thinkes. I was off to visit my very favorite factory shop. Yes, I'll admit I am a factory shopper, so there! The shop in question was closing down, and everything was going for 50% off, now note that the prices are already amazing, so with 50% off they were virtually giving the stuff away. I have previously bought some amazing things there, for very reasonably prices. I found some lovely kids clothes (track suits, t-shirts, jerseys etc) and a nice pair of cargo pants and t-shirts and exercise clothes for me. I walked out with a huge bag full, about as much as I could carry, all for R250. Score!

After that I run/walked (about 2km) to my rental property were Rich and the boys were doing some minor handy-man tasks, before the new tenants arrive this week. We then went home for lunch, and then met Lindy in Newlands forest for a walk with the boys. They were moaning a fair amount and being a bit bratty (it is better to do that kind of thing in the morning I have discovered), but in the end they actually enjoyed it despite themselves. I also forgot that it helps to give them a lolli-pop or somethng at the start of a walk, because that gives them the sugar rush they need to keep up.

On Saturday night we did our bit for Heritage day by having a braai and watching rubbish on TV.

On Sunday my alarm went off at 6am. I considered turning it off and going back to sleep, but then decided to stick to my Guns (pun intended) and get up and get ready, by 6:30 I was on my way to the Gun Run. I arrived in plenty of time and got mysef right to the front of the 10km start. Where I got to see the celebrity runners, Schalk Burger, Breyton Paulse, Kurt Schoonraad etc. At 7:30am the gun went off (an army cannon) and everybody got a huge fright and screamed, and then the adrenaline kicked in so we ran. LOL. I wasn't feeling hugely strong and energetic, and kept telling myself to just get to 4km and then I could stop and walk for a bit. I kept plodding along, and at the first water point (at about 2.5km in) there were some KFM people cheering, and one guy on a microphone cheering people on with motivational comments. As I passed he said 'Hey I know you, you train at Virgin Active!'. I was like huh, you talking to me?! and somehow that spurred me on and gave me more energy. The route got more interesting after that as we ran around the Table Bay Hotel and through the waterfront, past Cantina Tequila (hmmm tequila!), and over the swing bridge and on past the Cape Grace Hotel. I kept going and made it to 7.5km before I had a very brief walk (30 secs maybe) and then ran again.

The last 2 km was easy. As I got back to the staduim I gave a last burst to try to finish quickly and managed to get in at 53:33! WooHoo! A medic at the finish asked if my heart rate was ok. LOL. I don't know if I looked like I was dying, but I felt absolutely fine. I think the last spurt made me look pretty flushed though, and I do get rather red in the face when I am hot anyway.

I wenthome - got photographed by Quinn, showered and dressed before the guys were even ready to go to the airshow, so we all went to together, in the Panda. He coped well despite having 4 us us loaded in, and the air con didn't affect the drive at all. The air-show was really fun, and we were there the whole day. I really loved the huge Boeing which flew over really low twice and the pilot was being broadcast on the speakers so we could hear what he was doing, and they played that aria (not sure what it's called Pavarotti sings it and BA used it in an ad), which was very moving and evocative. The jets were awesome, especially the Gripens and the shiny black one, and we really enjoyed the army display village with tanks, trucks and vehicles which the kids could climb on and in. We also got to see a Rooi Valk helicopter close and speak to the pilot, and look at some of the weaponry (mock-ups!) up close. It was definately worth going to.

By Sunday evening I was really tired though and fell asleep before 8pm.

Monday was spent doing some light exercising and socialising at the gym, treadmill walking and running and rowing.. The kids swam afterwards while we chatted and drank coffee etc. In the afternoon we went to see the Ant Bully, which was better than I expected.

I watched Grey's Anatomy (and cried when the old lady died) and then 6 Feet Under, and was shell shocked and speachless when that ended. Whew!

The end.

Friday, 22 September 2006

Gunning for Running

Three posts today - woo hoo!
I'll probably get fired later , so I hope you (who have been hassling me for blog updates) are happy :P

As previously mentioned I am competing in the Gun Run 10km on Sunday. I am not sure how well I will do though, as unlike with the Spar Ladies Race where I trained every day before the event and was looking forward to it, this week I have done very little, and I feel like doing even less.

Also I have no feeling of hype or anticipation this time at all. I am hoping that when I register and collect my race numbers tomorrow this will change. For now I feel bloated, gassy, sick, tied and very blah. Sometimes being female really sucks!

Maybe going bowling in sexy
clown bowling shoes and some obligatory tequillas will improve my outlook on life, it certainly won't make it worse...

Quinn (proud mom alert)

Quinn finishes term 3 (of 4) of Grade 1 today. I am interested to see what his report looks like for this term.
We have had some issues with him, being the youngest child in the school, and not always managing to complete the volume of work set, or stay undistracted for the length of time it takes. His teacher was pretty much fixated on his age as the reason, and we had to see her 3 times to discuss this.

Each time we saw her she was clear that he is bright and there is no issue with him understanding the work, but he just seems physically unable to complete work (writting and colouring) at speed, and he likes to chat and explore. She thought this would have been better had he been older. We didn't agree because he was already showing some signs of boredom, and since he is easily understanding the work, surely a year later he would be MORE bored?

In the last meeting (which I missed), she altered her opinion. This time she has said that it is in fact not his age which is the problem, and again she reitterated his intelligence and said there is no learning problem. She said she has 2 boys in the class who do have actual learning difficulties, and that Quinn is not like them at all.
She has often said his general knowledge is very good, and he can answer extrapolation questions which often no one else can

She has now said it is:

1. not age

2. not maturity

3. no need for repeat
ing grade 1

She thinks it is a "concentration on the task at hand" factor, she thinks he is bright and that his distractedness is due to him thinkng and focusing on things he shouldn't be at the time e.g. She gives him the reading book for homework, and asks him to just put it into his bag. Instead, she says he starts reading while he is walking, and before he gets to his desk and is absorbed to the point of excluding the rest of the world. She recognises that he thrives in one-on-one situations, but that it is not possible to for her to do so with a 23:1 pupil:teacher ratio, she needs him to conform and just get on with it.

Examples of things he does:
* forgetting things

* leaving things behind / losing them
* untidy workspace
* swinging on his chair
* making a stationery castle with his pens & glue instead of packing them
away (LMAO)
* Drawing a cannon, and bombs and full navy fleet on the picture of the boat instead of just colouring it in etc.

It is good to hear that he is not, naughty, or deliberately disruptive or trying to bother anyone, but he just gets absorbed into his own thinking and creativity.

We have noticed that since this last meeting with her (and she may have adjusted her attitude to him as a result?), he seems to be coping fine and thriving. He is completing his work often, and not getting consitently kept in at break and after school to finish tasks. He just seems to be doing well.

Yesterday he told me that he was declared the 'cleverest in the class' after he was the only one to get all the sums on a particular worksheet correct. He told me he wasn't the fastest, but he was the only one with all the right answers. Which afterall is more important :)

Well done Quinn!

Update: Quinn came home with his term 3 report on Friday and he did very well. He previously had 3 marks indicating 'Able to fulfill the requirements of the Learning Outcome at a basic level with support' (2') and 16 'Able to fulfill the requirements of the Learning Outcome' (3's) He now had 14 3's and 6 'Learning Outcomes are consistently fulfilled at a high level at a basic level with support' (4's).

He has maintained his marks or bettered them in all areas, and his only 2 lower areas were for completing work in the given time, and using expressive fluent language (?huh?), the rest was all above average. So a good result. :)


I am getting my Panda today!

It is being personally delivered to me by my trusty (rusty?) car salesman Rustum late this afternoon. So my very first experience driving it will be getting home in the worst traffic of the week - Friday afternoon mayhem. Expect panda-monium. Yee-ha!
It is metallic blue (Called Beebop Blue), very similar to my Hyundai actually, but I can't find a pic of one in the right colour, I will take photos over the week-end.

The interior looks like this (obvously with the driver's side on the right though). It's quite different to most cars I have seen before, with the light grey dash, and innovatively placed gear lever - raised, and protruding from the centre dash console, rather than between the seats. It means you are not elbowing your passenger all the time - unless you want to of course, but that's different. The car is narrow enough, that you could proably row out of both side at once (remember that Dave?), but seems wide enough that the driver and passenger don't feel too close and in each other's space.

I am not sure what we'll be up to for the rest of the week-end, but I am not gog to schedule too much, I'll rather let it slowly unfold as it happens.

So far Richard and I are going out with my colleagues tonight for a Ten Pin Bowling social. It will probably be more fun than it sounds.

Then I have the Gun Run on Sunday morning, and the boys will be going to the Ysterplaat airshow. Griffin is especially excited about seeing the SAAB Gripen (Swedish for Griffen I am told) jets. I am excited that I will not be going. Much as I can appreciate the engineering brilliance of a good aircraft, the noise and crowds I can do without...

Hopefully there will be much relaxing, reading and forest walking this week-end too, and perhaps some gardening too.

Wednesday, 20 September 2006


So Monday turned out ok in the end.

Quinn was dropped of at school in time for his concert, I did kata box etc and had a very speedy shower and dried myself on a tiny but clean sweat towel - must have looked hilarious! -and changed back into my clothes and shot back home to collect Griff, Rich and my Dad, and we went to the Chinese restaurant a block away from Q's school. 'Ma Ma's Kitchen'.

We had been to this place once years and years ago, and couldn't remember much about it. It is not a classy seeming place. It is basically a take-away joint in a side alley. They have closed over the alley and turned it into a little restaurant. Very small and unassuming. The clientele seem to almost all be Chinese though, and I always take that as a good sign.

We decided to order 3 'Set Menu 1's, and hoping we'd have enough to share with Griffin, else we'd order more. It was R44 per set menu.

Well this is what we got each:
- 1 medium to large spring roll
- 1 medium bowl of chicken sweetcorn soup
- Chicken Chop Suey
- Sweet & Sour Pork
- Fried Rice
- A large bow-tie
- Jasmine Tea
- A Sliced Orange (unusual, but very nice)

Then we got another free spring roll because we had kept half of one for Quinn and they took it away, then we got the original one back too. The kids got big Chuppa Chupps lolli-pops at the AND and we got large nice mint sweets too (one of the yuck boring ones).

We all ate as much as we wanted, including Quinn, who I popped out to fetch at 20:15. Granted he had eaten something at 18:00 so didn't eat a full meal, AND we took home a full large container of chicken chop suey, and a whole spring roll.

This may just become my new standard eat out place (instead of Panarottis LOL), although the play-area would have to be playing in the traffic! ;)

It was really great to see my dad again, and was nice to spend some time with him. He was down for work, and he stayed for 2 nights instead of one, so the boys got a chance to be with him a bit too. They are very fond of grandpa. We spent Sunday afternoon going for tea with my gran, who is turning 87, but is still sharp and spritely.

Then Richard and I made roast chickens with all the trimming for dinner, while my dad and the boys played in the lounge in front of the fire. Quinn played chess with grandpa,and they almost drew the game, but at the last minute grandpa managed to Queen a pawn and win. I used to love playing chess with my dad too. We shared a bottle of wine over dinner and stayed up far too late.

It's a pity we don't get to see the family often, or have Christmas etc together, but I think we appreciate the time we do have together more now.

Unfortunately my dad's visit was planned late, and I didn't know he'd be with us on Monday, else we would have taken him with us and gone to see the concert on Monday. Instead he was back in Pretoria watching my sister's son's school concert on Tuesday, while we watched Quinn.

We went to watch Quinn's concert last night and it was gorgeous! It was the foundation phase concert, so covered grades 1-3, and there are probably 350 children in total in those grades.

It was called Hoodwinked, and was loosely based on the Robin Hood story, embellished in places.
The school went to so much trouble to make the show appeal to children as well as adults, and tailor the script to include good in-jokes about the school (how brilliant it is) and the teacher's fund (which Robin Hood should see as a worth cause for his pilfered goods).

Each child was in the concert each in a stunning costume.The Grade 1 roles were restricted to singing and dancing in groups, so none of them had speaking parts. The grade ones were Dwarves (a la Snow White), Frogs, Teddy Bears and Monkeys. Quinn was a monkey, and completed his actions beautifully on time as rehearsed.

Some of the boys are really good actors even though they are 10 and under, and some of the show had me in stitches. It was very well produced, and to co-ordinate 350 kids (and one live rooster!!) to be dressed, on time and in the right place doing what they were meant to be doing and saying is no mean feat, so hats off to them.

The last performance is this afternoon, so hopefully tonight will be an early night for us all, and life should return to some semblance of normality now.

Monday, 18 September 2006

Stop the bus, I want to get off....

It may not seem it, with all the cyber fooling around I do (or perhaps it is largely due to that) but I am like lank busy at the moment! More so that normal. I feel like I am running forward all the time trying to keep my balance while juggling.

At the moment work is stretching me quite a lot as I am trying to co-ordinate not only taking on the rather onerous responsibility of Test Manager for all development testing that happens on the billing engine here, which is quite a scary role in itself, but also assuming the role of site manager for the consulting company I contract through. This entails managing 10 team members on 3 different floors, and keeping their respective client managers happy, sourcing new staff, making sure the guys are at work, happy, and completing timesheets, and wiping their butts as they should be etc etc, and liaising with the mother company in JHB to make sure we are complying with the Company Way, without having ever been to the company offices. FUN.

In between that I am trying to keep fit, by going to gym 3 times a week, and do some road running as well, and compete in the odd race. This is starting to slip up, but I can't really help it, real life has to take precidence, and there is only so much pressure you can put yourself under.

I am also trying to find a tenant for the house I bought as an investment, and which I let out, so have to run ads weekly in papers, take calls, dash off in between other stuff to show the place to people, get it cleaned and fixed etc etc.

Then I decided NOW is the time to buy a car, and arranging to borrow money from the bank, and all both of those entail.

Last but not least I am trying not to be the worlds worst and most neglectful wife and mother too (I have already given up on the daughter role, pah!). So have to makes sure the kids stay reasonably clean and presentable, supervise homework daily, and cover books and replenish school supplies, send dozens of reply slips and money for everything under the sun to school, make sure the right clothing and library books go to school with the right child on the right day (luckily we have a house keeper who mostly does this now). Make sure there is something to eat for dinner - and fortunately if I am organised enough I can get the house keeper to help with this too. Richard also plays a big role in making sure that homelife doesn't fall apart. (THANKS!)

On week-ends, there are kiddies parties, shopping, places to go, things to see, people to do, phone calls to make, movies to watch. Richard and I try to go out together or get together with friends as much as we can, and spend time having fun with the kids.

So this is all in a normal week. Now throw in my gran and mother in-law having a birthday - note to self send flowers to both, my dad coming to stay - which also means scurrying around to get presents for all the up-country birthdays I have missed and sending them back with him, the term about to end and all the activities that come with that, Quinn's concert most nights this week, booking an OT assessment for Griff etc, and well, chaos ensues!

We totally forgot and missed Quinn's end of season rugby social last week.

Today I have sat in meetings writing lists of issues which need co-ordinating, so I don't forget something really important, like:
- How will Q get to his concert at 18:30 tonight? -R will drop him, while I am at kata box.
- What will I feed the family and my dad for dinner, considering I will only be back after 7pm? - We are going to dinner at a small restaurant in the block next to Q's school, which takes care of the next issue.
- How will we collect Quinn at 20:15 after his concert? - I will dash out of the restaurant and collect him and take him back there with me.

There, easy!
Now I just need to figure the rest out...

The fact that the network is very unstable here at the moment and none of the testing which was scheduled for today could be done and the testers and managers are all irate is the least of my worries...


Uit gevang

So my colleague who shares this office with me has noticed that I type far more than is evident from my work output, and just said, 'So how's your novel coming along?'.

Oops! ;)

Friday, 15 September 2006

Si je pourrais parler français.

** Si je pourrais parler français, est c'à ce que mon blog ressemblerait. J'aurais que merveilleusement le vaugue et la manière retentissante hestitant de parler que les français ont, et moi sauraient les frappes pour des caractères de voyelle d'ASCII avec tous les accents. Je souhaite que je pourrais parler français, mais tristement je ne peux pas. (au moins je comprends de lui. De sorte que soit quelque chose.) Dans le temps moyen de Th je resterai collé en mon monde de l'anglais et des limitations en. L'anglais mon soit la lingua franca mais le Français est la langue de l'amour.

J'espère que vous tout avez un week-end merveilleux.

Aimez-vous follement.

**Avec grâce à Babel...

Thursday, 14 September 2006


Quinn to Griffin last night:
"We live in CAPE Town, not CAKE Town!"

Drat! Wouldn't that be so much better?

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Stripping for Comics

So sweeties the theme for this year's MCQP has been announced, and my tickets are booked and paid for.

As I have said before it is the event of the year in Cape Town, for open minded, free thinking, party people. For a 101 on what, where, why, who and how, look here. Tickets are cheaper until Monday and then they get progressively more expensive.

This year the theme is 'Comic Strip' and the possibilities are simply endless!

Be there or be some kind of boring 4-sided shape...

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Busy, Ubuntu doing well and RichEd too and stuff

Been a bit busy for the past few days. Trying to learn how the entire Vodacom system works (I am working as Test Manager on the Billing Engine and peripherals, which touches basically everything!) in a week is blooming difficult. It doesn't help that what was once probably a reasonably simple system has grown rapidly and organically, and been patched and cobbled to keep pace with competitors to make it hugely intricate and complicated now. With over 18M transactions a day it is a mean beast. Plus basically it is required that any product request be furnished, and there's no scope for the IT guys to say, 'No sorry that's too hard/expensive/complicated', it just has to be done, and FAST.

But enough about that unless I get nabbed for divulging compnay confidential information. Just belive me when I say my head my explode soon. I am told this feeing os normal here, and may never pass. YAY.

I have been noticing Ubuntu getting more and more main stream press recently, including an article linked off the IOL front page today. It can be found here and it also links to an article based on an interview with Richard last week. Go Richard!

There is also a Forbes .com article about Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu. It is full of erroneous facts, but the gist of it is correct and it is fairly amusing, including a revelation that Mark 'tried out in early 2005 for the Donald Trump role on a South African version of The Apprentice'. which must have been during that same week I met him. I am not sure how well he would have been in the role though.

I gave my office mate a copy of Ubuntu (Kubuntu actually) on Friday, so I am still doing my bit for the cause, evangelising as I can. Unfortunately the Internet link here is very slow and restricted, as well as me being rather busy so I haven't been able to keep up with the community at all. *sniff* I miss the team so much, and love to hear good news in the press.

I also keep an eye on the Ubuntu planet, Fridge and the weekly newsletters.

On the car front I am still leaning towards the Fiat Panda. We have a consultant out from the UK with his Top Gear magazine and they rate it second only to the Honda Jazz (in the small car class) but that is MUCH more expensive. Richard is due to go for an independent test drive to see what he thinks, and then we'll decide. I am rather under-awed by the Getz, which was ok to drive but nothng special at all, and seemed rather pricey all things considered, plus the dealer is a pest. As oposed to the Fiat sales guy who could be considered rather charming and yummy, er I mean professional! ;)

Friday, 8 September 2006

I dressed like a 'dork' and won a t-shirt

Last night the gym had a spring event. We were meant to dress up 'bright and fun' for the kata box class. Now anyone that knows me knows that I'll grab any opportunity to 1) Party and 2) Make a fool of myself.

So with the kid's help I selected some suitably bright and funky attire to take to last nights class.

I had:
  • Black spandex cycling shorts (argh!)
  • Multi coloured striped socks - bright pink, blue, yellow and orange.
  • I bright blue t-shirt with a bright pink string vest on top.
  • My new grey and sunshine yellow tackies
  • My hair in 2 pig tails and
  • My red pixie hat with big pixie ears, from a ballet concert when I was 7 (how can I STILL have that!?)
Yes, I induced much hilarity, sniggering and general strange looks in the class and gym in general, especially since I was only one of 2 people who bothered to dress up. The other a middle-aged lady who had a neon t-shirt and peak cap with flowers sewn on it.

Still the class was fun anyway. Towards the end some other staff members came in. They had a quick lucky draw for some key-rings - whoop-dee-do! I got nothing. Then they decided I needed a prize so I got a black Virgin Active t-shirt and a chocolate.

I went home - in my full multi-coloured glory and told the boys 'I won!', to which Richard said, 'What for dressing like a dork?'

Well, yes!

Thursday, 7 September 2006

I car-n't decide

Here, finally, is a topic everyone can relate to and comment on...

We have decided to trade in Richard's Beamer (323i with an M conversion) which is now 9 years old and no longer practical for our family. With the motorplan expired it is expensive to run, has very hard suspension and a surprisingly small amount of leg room at the back and a small boot. Although it is powerful and nice to drive on the open road, it is not nice for quick suburban runs at all.

I have a Hyundai Elantra which is 5 years old and is running well. It is reliable, comfortable, nice to drive, and has plenty of leg and storage space. We are able to use this as a week-end away vehicle etc.

Richard is working from home, and does the majority of the school runs, I commute to and from the CBD - frustrating stop-start fuel guzzling driving. So it makes sense for him to use the Elantra and me to commute in something small and cost-effective. I would not be comfortable on a scooter at the best of times and certainly not in Cape Town with bad driving and frequent bad weather too. Plus a scooter would be restrictive so I think I need a small car but which the 4 of us could still fit in with some grocery shopping etc.

My demands requests are simple really; I want a cute, fun to drive and comfortable car - not a tin can which has:
  • Good value for money (no more than R100000, demo or less than 1-year old).
  • Good fuel economy - the petrol price is really scary and likely to get worse.
  • Air-con - I have become accustomed to one, and it's quite necessary here in summer.
  • Radio (CD preferable) I like listening to the radio and singing along. Quinn asked me why I don't cut a CD, so I have 1 fan at least :)
  • Immobiliser - my insurer insists on a good immobiliser.
  • 5-doors - so 4 with hatch, I'm not doing the whole 2-door thing with kids in tow!
Nice to have:
  • Power Steering
  • Electric Windows
  • Central Locking
  • Alarm

So I have been looking at the:

Fiat Panda
Very CUTE! I saw one driving the other day and loved it - but the engine seems a bit small. I mean it doesn't seem likely that you could load this up much, so what's the point of the Utility Vehicle look?
Kia Rio
This is also a nice looking car. The other option is the lesser Piccanto, which is cute too and very cheap, but feels a bit too small and underpowered, and has virually no boot at all.
Hyundai Getz
I drive a Hyundai already and have been very happy with it. Generally considered to be the best value for money and you get the most fetures per buck with a Hyundai. Richard drove some of these as rentals though and doesn't love them.Renault Clio
I have loved the Clios from day one. Although Richard claims I wanted Theiry Henry more than the Clio ;). I actually prefer the Clio 2 to the Clio 3, but I am not sure it makes sense to buy an 'old shape'.
Nissan Micra
I love this one, tres cute too, but a bit more pricey than the rest.
So comments, suggestions, advice, warnings? Lemme know!

Wednesday, 6 September 2006


Big building climate control is definitely in effect here. I moved floors on Friday just as the weather got warmer and have been freezing ever since. It was really hot upstairs (while the weather was cold). Also I have the misfortune of sitting directly under an air-conditioner vent in this new office...

Why is it that large buildings are too warm in winter and too cold in summer? So you have to wear short sleeves in mid-winter and a coat in summer!

It's very Dilbertesque. Clearly I need my own thermostat, whether it's wired up or not, it will help!

I the mean time I am going to have to stop wearing tight shirts, as it is physiologically far too revealing... hrm I wonder if it is my new office mate twiddling the knob - so to speak?!

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

The results

The race results are up.

Total number of 10km finishers = 4351

#1 - 00:33:42. WOW, that's running at over 18km per hour!! I don't even sprint that fast. Seriously fit!
#4351 - 02:20:02 - that's a slow walk in the park ...

- Me #469 = 00:58:12 - so I just missed the top 10%.

- Ellie #137 - 00:49:59 <- Wow! She is a friend of a friend and a very keen runner. She went for another run with her husband up into the mountains afterwards. Yikes.

- Moira #231 - 00:53:10. She has been running for a while now and has a very slight build perfect for running.

- Beryl #331 - 00:55:33. Ran this race a year ago as her first event, and finished in just over an hour I think. She has lost a lot of weight and competed in a lot of events in the past 18 months. Going strong.

- Lorien #382 - 00:56:35. She also runs a lot and often does 15km events.

- Lindy #749 - 01:03:11. Also a regular runner, who competes often.

Monday, 4 September 2006

Griffin the runner? Quinn a soccer player, but not a bowler...

Ok, if you haven't been bored into a coma from reading about my exciting running life... here's my other riveting topic, my kids! Ta da.

Hey, if you want sex, drugs and rock and roll, come back in December Or invite me out! :P

The rest of our week-end was as follows. I tried Tai Chi at the Gardens gym on Friday after vowing not to sit in that traffic jam again. The Tai Chi was certainly relaxing and better than sitting in a traffic jam. The class didn't seem that organised and was a bit discombobulated (I love that word), but still I feel like I learned something and the bits the instructor told us made sense. I can see how you can get into it and get very strong and controlled from it. The Gardens gym is pretty smart and stylish. I still like Constantia for its family-friendliness though.

Quinn slept over at his friend Thulani's house on Friday night. His adoptive mom told Quinn that all 3 of the children are adopted. Thulani was abandoned by his mother at a bus stop (how awful!) and the younger 2 Suzie and Masie's mom died, and they were adpoted as siblings (now 3 and 1). Their mom is an awesome lady, I have a lot of admiration for her. It is heartwarming to see how Thulani is flourishing at school. He is good at everything. Sports, schoolwork, socialising etc etc. He is a lovely boy who is very popular and Quinn really likes him. It is sad to think that this precious little boy was abandoned by his biological mother.

Quinn was invited to go along to a little party on Saturday to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the younger 2 children arriving. So with one child away I volunteered to have Griffin's friend Maxine come to stay over. They go to the same school and are 'best friends'.

< -Griffin and Maxine

We agreed to take her along to their school's 'Big Walk' on Saturday. On Saturday I was up in time to get Max and Griff ready, and get a bag packed and Richard coffee'd etc. Since the big walk was being held about 2km from our house I decided to go for a quick run and meet them there.

We all met up, and the school was pretty organised and had tables with all sorts of eats and drinks available. The big walk started with the younger classes first and we had to wait for Griffin's class to start. Maxine's mom arrived just before they started, and off we went. We started walking slowly and chatting and next thing I saw Griffin and Maxine rounding the corner and heading over a bridge. I thought they were confused and was trying to catch-up to the wrong class so I set off after them. It took a while for me to catch up to him, and when I finally did, it transpired that he had decided it was a run, and just kept going! He ran and ran, and even passed the check-points and had to come back to get his hand stamped and get a fizzer sweet etc. He passed all the people who had started ahead of him and finished first with Maxine hot on his heals.

For someone who used to moan about walking to the car this is a major attitude change. Is he a budding runner?

On Saturday afternoon we walked down to our local park to play with our soccer ball. Quinn is surprising adept and agile with the ball, and has the dramatic fall down and pretend your leg is falling off soccer-acting down pat. He had a lot of fun, and even reacted well when I kicked the ball right at his head (by mistake - really!) and it hit him square on the forehead leaving a red mark! I got such a fright, but he thought it was funny. *shrug* Griffin is a grumpy and reluctant player, so moaned and whined a lot at first but finally got into it.

After my epic run yesterday I had to take Quinn to a party at our local Ten Pin Bowling alley. He was not very impressed by the bowling, even though he isn't too bad at it. After 2 or 3 frames he was bored and wanted to do something else. He would bowl his ball and then turn away and not even see that he had knocked 7 or 8 pins over...But he stuck it out and came 3rd in the group I was supervising. First and second being boys who play regularly.

The bowling alley was very loud though, and between that and the race I got a killer headache. So when I got home, I decided to veg on the couch and watch TV and enjoy some well earned snacks.

We watched the documentary on Carte Blanche about the Military ER Unit in Baghdad. Yes, I let the boys watch it too - but spoke to them both throughout, and gave it a lot of thought before hand. It was very gruesome and horrific but is a good lesson about the attrocity of war, and how badly people get hurt by guns and bombs. So they are not 'cool' in any way.

Also Griffin was fascinated with the medical aspect of it. He is really not squeamish at all, and is interested to see what happens to people, and how they can get fixed again. Note, that I do not think I would have let any other kids see it, but mine handle that kind of thing well, and do not have night terrors or other fears. They enjoy watching Grey's Anaotomy and CSI etc, where they know the wounds are fake. I told them that this time is was real - no make-up or acting involved... I can only hope that as I said to them that their generation will work on finding alternative ways of handling conflict which do not involve senseless maiming and murder.

I am a challenged lady

I did it! I ran my first 10km race. And I survived it. ## *And* I even enjoyed it! *clap* *clap*

My fit friend started with this race last year, and I thought she was 'loco', and yet a year later, here I am also doing it.

The Spar Ladies Challenge was a pretty good race to start with as a beginner, I think.

For starters the goodie bag is awesome. I got a heap of things from soap, to washing powder, energy drinks, vitamins, a magazine and sweeties (very imporant!), oh and er rice!? It also had a muchos grande purple t-shirt (a smaller size would have been nicer, but as they say 'don't look a gift horse in the mouth' - it may have stinky breath!). It felt like Christmas getting that mysteriously heavy bag of loot and taking it home to see what delights it yielded. Somehow getting free stuff is exciting to me. Even if it's crap. Pretty lame - but there you go.

Then the race started and ended at Sahara Park Newlands, which is a few km from my home. So it's my turf which I know well - and it's not too hilly.

Also the field is big and diverse and it's by no means just serious athletes, so not matter what your fitness level you fit in.

Finally it has a sane and humane start time of 8am. None of this ridiculous 6am nonsense!

So all the factors added up favourably.

I somehow managed to exercise every day last week. I did a 3km treadmill run and kata box on Monday, yoga on Tuesday, an 8km road run on Wednesday, a 4km treadmill run and kata box on Thursday, Tai Chi on Friday, and a 7km run on Saturday morning. The result was that my left thigh was pretty sore by Sunday morning, and I realised I should have rested it a bit during the week.

<- The pic is one of me after a run in June.

So I arrived on Sunday feeling a bit stiff and tired already. Great start! Since we would be running almost right past my house I told myself I could just go home if it all went horribly wrong. ;) Nothing like going into something already imagining giving up... So after a loooong wait in the pre-race toilet queue, giving up and then serendipitously finding a free loo just in time, we headed to the start line, with the other 10000 or so people that were there. There was no getting near the front, but I wasn't going to stress about it. I was there to have fun. My goals were 1) To finish, and to stay running for as long as I could, but walking if necessary and 2) To TRY to finish in 70 minutes or under.

So the starting gun was fired and we stood. There was nowhere we could move to until the people ahead of us cleared. It took a few minutes of standing and walking before we were able to start a slow jog and start dodging and weaving through the crowd. I spent a lot of time leaping up and down pavements, darting around poles and people and on verges (the x-country events were useful!). After heading down into the dip and then starting the ascent up Keurboom road for the first rise it got easier to pass a lot of people and start a proper running pace. I ran with my friend for the first 2km or so, but told her she was free to go at her own pace and didn't need to wait for me, and I wasn't going to push too hard to stay with her. She stayed just ahead of me for quite some time. I was expecting to get an energy surge and catch-up at some point, but I never did.

The first refreshment stop served coke, I decided to have some, as after no breakfast I thought a sugar boost could be helpful. We passed near my house at about the 3.5km mark. No family waiting and waving for me :/- but then it was too early for Richard and I don't think he even knew we'd be running right there. I made it up the hill towards the common, which is usually the first km of my own runs, and I went right past the second refreshment stop - still clutching my packet of water from the first pit-stop. I tend to clutch them for moral support of something! At the half way point I last saw my friend still about 50m ahead of me, so I was keeping pace well. But at about 5.5km I decided to stop and do a quick walk as my legs were feeling a bit tired. I walked for 50 meters or so and drank may now warm water and then got going again. That ended up being the only time a walked the whole way. I realised I had gone past the half way point and just had to finish the circuit of the common and head down past Quinn's school back to the stadium. All flat and very familiar ground to me. That helped, so despite feeling a bit tired in the legs I kept on plodding along and finally got to the stadium and finsh line at 58 minutes! I finished in under an hour even with the slow start. I really wasn't expecting that. YAY!!!

This is the route we ran.

My legs felt sore and stiff and tired for 5 or 10 minutes and then felt fine again. Today my calves are a bit stiff, but are not really sore at all.

This morning while driving to work along our running route I noticed I sign I didn't see yesterday saying, 'Run hot mammas' LOL. That made me chuckle.

## Sadly I have no photographic evidence. So You'll just have to believe me.