Thinking & Feeling

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

Friday, 27 February 2009

Week-end - Part 2 - Mosselbay & Bonniedale

So after arriving in Mossel Bay and putting my stuff in the hotel room *cough*Presidential Suite*cough*, we went out for dinner. J opted to go to a cute place called Jazzbury's.

We sat on the veranda out the back which was lovely as it was private and was a beautiful warm evening. I had Mussles, and J had Tripe (I still have to fight the urge to go 'Eeeeurgh' at that stuff.) - him being a plass jappie and all. I tried to taste it, but got as far as tasting the sauce and that was enough for me. I am not a fussy eater at all and have tried many a weird and wonderful thing, but I draw the line at tripe. Sorry. We also had a lovely bottle of white wine. I never used to drink white wine at all, but I am starting to develop a taste for it now. I still love me a good red, but in summer a crisp white with a few blocks of ice goes down very well. We ended with some delish cappuccinos and an Amarula Crème Brulee.

And then back to our lowly hotel room...

On Saturday morning J wanted to go for a swim in the ocean and I opted for a run. I did a half hearted jog along the coastal road - probably about 5km over 45 min and then headed back. We then had a nice long spa bath - the bath being more like an erupting volcano than a relaxing soak. We totally drenched the floor and some of the carpet. HAHAHA. Oops.

Then we had a lovely breakfast - fruit & a mushroom omelet for me - before going for a stroll around the Museum complex including the Diaz Museum. J was still technically working (doing shoots for Mossel Bay tourism), after that we cruised up to the light house and then down to the point to see if any surfers were catching any waves. The swell was not building enough though, pity.

After finishing up we headed off for Bonniedale Farm. It's a good hour's drive from Mossel Bay, and has a LONG dirt road section to get there. The road is quite good but some parts are relatively steep. Once you get within 10km of the farm there is no cell phone signal, so it really is an escape from the worls. It is tucked far away in a valley nestled amoungst many mountains. After I obliged on gate duty opening the half or dozen or so gates on the way we finally got to the farm.

It is fairly rustic, but cosy and with very friendly people. While J chatted to the owner and took some photos I relaxed on the bed and read my book. We then took a walk to the rock pools where we had a quick swim and looked at the cute frogs. When we got back it was time for our horse ride. As mentioned J is a plass japie and grew up with horses.

I erm, didn't. In fact I think I have sat on a horse maybe a handful of times ever. The last time was 2 years ago on Annie where I just walked her around her paddock, and before that was about 20 years ago when I was still at school, serius! That was on a karoo farm and was one of those lazy horses programed to just plod around their circuit and pay no attention to what you try to make them do. So hardly a challenge at all. I did mention that I was not an experienced rider, but didn't really make it clear that that meant I actually had like NO experience.

Still I was given what I was told was an even tempered and well behaved horse Charlie, and J was given the older slightly less tolerant 'Ou Boy' to ride. I mounted Charlie on my own, not needing a foot up from Carl (the farmer's Ausie son in law) which may have given a false impression of my skill. Carol (the Aussie's wife and farmer's daughter) was to be joining us on her horse Blitz.

Off we set into the evening. Me hoping to not die of either embarassment or mortal wounds. But knowing either way it should be an adventure and I am always game for those. We walked down the road and Charlie feeling rather lazy started dropping back immediately. He was really slow, but nice and steady so I just accepted that we'd be taking it slow. After 10 minutes or so Carol asked if we wanted to go faster. J said yes. I was thinking 'Oh shit!'. And with that they started trotting and Charlie followed suit. Almost running up Ou Boy's butt in the process. I was maginally scared but soon realised I was staying on and even quite comfy and rather than jostling up and down and colliding with the horse out of time it felt like I was actually quite well synchronised. Fun!

We stopped and walked for a while again, and I feeling all confident now would urge Charlie along to speed up and stay with the others. I would get him to trot a little to catch up and then we'd continue walking etc.

So as we got to a dip in the road Carol says 'Right let's canter for a bit'. Holy crap. WHAT!? Before I could protest they were off and Charlie bolted after them. By this time I was hanging onto the saddle for dear life. I have never been on the Cobra at Ratanga but I suspect it must feel the same, it was a combination of abject terror and extreme excitement. It's that thrill of 'Wow this is eally exciting!' blended very closely with 'Oh my god I am going to die!'. I just hung on knowing that if I fell it would not be pleasant or pretty.

But wow I can see why people enjoy riding horses it was rather exhilarating. So we walked on some more and then started descending a very steep and rocky path. Carol assured us that the horses know it well and to just lean back. I did this. But they were still slipping and stumbling in places, and then Charlie decided he was hungry and kept going of the path and dipping his head suddenly to eat, this was a tad hair raising at times, especially when I wasn't expecting it and he nearly pulled me off over his head.

We made it down the path intact and then it was just up the hill back to the farm. Carol warned us that they'd be keen to get back home and would likely want to run back. She said to just lean forward this time. I grabbed onto the saddle again in anticipation and Charlie really took off. He is such a steady horse with a lovely gait and we were on grass this time so it felt great. He really WENT. I must say it felt like runnng the J&B Met. I am not certain but I THINK he was galloping! What a rush! It wasn't really scary at all, but quite awesome actually. So I think I can now claim to have actually ridden a horse.

This is me on Charlie, he looks pretty tiny from this angle doesn't he?

One word ...

USING ONLY ONE WORD! It's not as easy as you might think! Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It's really hard to only use one word answers. Be sure to tag 3 other bloggers (and let them know!).. remember only ONE WORD!

1. Where is your cell phone? desk

2. Your significant other? gorgeous

3. Your hair? curly

4. Your mother? disowned

5. Your father? wonderful

6. Your favourite? Wors

7. Your dream last night? forgotten

8. Your favourite drink? coffee

9. Your dream/goal? fun

10. What room you are in? work

11. Your hobby? blogging

12. Your fear? inadequacy

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here

14. Where were you last night? carnival

15. Something that you are not? married

16. Muffins? yum

17. Wish list item? bicycle

18. Where you grew up? Johannesburg

19. Last thing you did? Type

20. What are you wearing? Jeans

21. Your TV? under-used

22. Your pets? Crazy

23. Friends? Appreciated

24. Your life? Good

25. Your mood? Sparkly

26. Missing some one? Slightly

27. Car? Panda

28. Something you're not wearing? Hat

29. Your favourite store? None

30. Your favourite colour? Blue

33. When is the last time you laughed? Today

34. Last time you cried? Wednesday

35. One place that I go to over and over? Home

36. One person who texts me regularly? J

38. My favourite place to eat? Anywhere

39. My favourite food? Sushi

40. What did you do today? Work

Okay, I tag:

Mel - Supermom

Erm... my reputation precedes me

So we have been trying to arrange another Go Karting session since the last one, and work load and other issues keep intervening and thwarting us.

Yet another member of our team is leaving today and apparently the Go Karting is now happening TODAY.

Huh? No one told me this!

So I said, 'Thanks for telling me guys! .... erm unless I am not invited....?'

To which someone chirped up drolly 'I am sure that wouldn't stop you from coming anyway.'

I was flabbergast for a second until I retorted; 'I am shocked! .... Shocked... that you KNOW me so well!' ;)

But yoh how wrude! I bet they are just scared I'll kill them on the track. (interpret that as you will).

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Week-end Adventure - Part 1 - Getting There

Now that I am done being sick and sulky...

I had a rather nice week-end this past week-end. Although I did not take a single photo. Not even ONE! *gasp*

The boys were off camping with dad. So J invited me to join him up in Mossel Bay where he was away working. After exploring both driving, flying and getting-a- lift options to no avail I decided to catch a bus - by far the cheapest option too. I ended up taking the whole day off on Friday, which gave me time to drop the boys at school and even take them right into their class rooms etc. Then I had a nice run, sorted out Roxy (which was a minor panic until we made a plan for our nanny to take her for the week-end), and packed. At lunch time I drove to Rondebosch station, where I parked my car and caught a train to Cape Town Station (First Class at Tiny's insistence. Apparently I wouldn't survive in 3rd class. Pah, I've hopped on 3rd class plenty of times! I am not afraid of public transport, or mixing with the common folk. Ek is self lekker kommon man!).

Anyhoo I arrived at Cape Town Central Station and cruised around the Station Flea Market lugging my wheelie suitcase behind me. This resulted in many a North African immigrant wanting to 'help me'. I had to insist I was local and not in need of any help, nor another suitcase thanks! D'oh. Anyway it was quite fun and all. I also walked through Clicks where the security guard thought it necessary to follow my every move - he probably thought I was planning on loading up my suitcase or something. LOL. I bought a few drinks and snacks and a crap magazine for my journey.

Finally I made my way to my bus, where in true African style we left a good 30 mins late. The bus was packed with Eastern Cape locals. Quite a motley bunch at that. I was one of 3 whiteys on the whole bus. The one being an old wrinkled and pretty poor-looking woman and the other looked like a student. Again this doesn't bother me at all. I like new experiences and adventures and I have no delusions of grandeur or superiority. Mass transit for all say I! LOL.

Look the bus ticket cost around R120, the flight would have cost like R1700 and with all the time wasted before and after a flight it would have taken about the same amount of time, except I would have landed up in George and would still have had to get to Mossel bay! So it was a no brainer. Ja ok, I'm a cheap skate whatever. :P

I was snooty enough to commandeer 2 seats though and spread myself out territorially. I even managed to keep those 2 seats to myself the whole way! Quite an achievement I tell you. At one point (you can't believe (J-Z reference in case you don't get it (fark I am digressing in my digressions now too!))) I had to pretend to be asleep to avoid having to move up to share MY seats with new people who were boarding somewhere en route (Wellington or something), teehee I am bad.

Anyway my 6 hours bus ride was surprisingly pleasant, I read my magazine, ate my fruit and listened to music on my iPOD. It was actually pretty nice to have a long stretch of time to just sit and think and be, with nothing to do, and no where to go. I really enjoyed the head space.

I finally arrived in Mossel Bay at 9pm, where J kindly collected me. So I didn't have to hike 10km across town to find him. He's nice like that :P

We went back to his hotel. The Mossel Bay Protea Hotel where he had been given the Presidential Suite. Excuse me! Holy crap it is flippen yoooge! Clearly hot-shot photographers are used to a far more luxurious life style than me, on my bus with the lowly masses LOL. It really is an full apartment with 2 large bedrooms - the main room has a king sized bed, bathroom with spa bath, large living room, kitchen & scullery and balcony etc. Oh and it's higher than the rest of the hotel, kind of a loft, and so has a gorgeous view over the bay. *swoon*

I'm back!

Yeee-ha... after an extended absence, I am back to my old self! Hallelujah. I was about ready to shuffle off my mortal coil.

Although a lot of my symptoms I had pointed towards stock standard PMS. Something I DON'T like to use as an excuse for bad behaviour and attitude. I could not work out what was wrong with me. I now think I actually had a low grade viral infection because I felt so very very tired, lethargic, drained, listless and pap.. I just had NO spark - at all. To the point that when our CEO (in from London) came over to say hi I could barely muster up a fake smile or any enthusiasm for him.

Wenchy posted this quote:
I'm going to get through this; I'm going to be fine. The power to do it is all in my mind. ~ Cindy Wagner
I clung to it hoping I could just mentally snap myself out of it.... But there was more to it than that there was definitely something physical going on with me too.

Last night I decided I needed to go for a run and that THAT would be the magical cure to make me feel better. But I physically could NOT run. I felt like my blood was thick and my legs heavy - a weird weird feeling I'll have you know. Anyway I got myself out there and just walked, listening to music. I ended up walking 10km and quite enjoyed it, but was rather exhausted afterwards.

Finally this morning I woke up feeling WAY better. I still feel a tad tired, but I am smiling and joking today and getting my work done and just feel like I can FUNCTION again. What a relief.

Welcome back self! Don't go away again m'kay? It's sad and lonely without you!

2009 School Photos

The boys had their annual school photos taken a few weeks ago. I don't always buy these cos often they are not very well done, but these are lovely and I definitely needed to get Griffin's Grade 1 shot. We have class photos for each of them too.

We were allowed to send a note to the school if we wanted a sibling photo taken. I never got around to it, but I think Quinn organised it on the day himself. He is such a sweet child. I love that one the most, they both look happy and relaxed and glad to be there.

(Please excuse the crap quality they are photos of photos.)

Quinn's Grade 4 pic

Griffin's Grade 1 pic

Their first siblings pic

p.s. I updated yesterday's post too... Quinn came home with another fabulous test, 19/20 for Afrikaans spelling!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Quinn - Grade 4 - not a walk in the park!

As you may or may not know the decision whether or not to send Quinn to school in the year that he started, was quite a major one. He was born (2 weeks over due) on 3 Jan 2000. Those 3 days into the new year basically meant that technically he was meant to start school a year later than he did...

I wrote about it at the time:
Quinn - to go to school or not to go to school...?
Time for school - and therapy
Quinn's going to big school!
Big School!
Right at home
Appointment with Quinn's teacher
Term 1 in the bucket
Quinn got the merit badge!
Quinn (proud mom alert)

The bottom line is that Quinn started school as the very YOUNGEST child in the entire school. He remains the youngest in his grade each year. From an intellectual and academic point of view this has worked well, as he responds well to pressure and a challenge. He gets bored easily and loses interest if he is not challenged, so for him it helps to need a bit of a push. Emotionally he copes well too, and almost always befriends people older than himself. So even as the youngest in his grade he seems to befriend kids in even higher grades. He is confident in social situations with both adults and children and has no problem speaking up for himself.

The only area where it is a problem is physically. Not only does it give him a sporting disadvantage (although the school does accommodate this by insisting that all learners compete in their AGE group rather than their grade) as well as struggling slightly to keep up with the physical volume of work he is required to do.

There has always been the 'risk' (for want of a better word) that the gap might widen to the point that he can't keep up and may need to repeat a year. If that happens we will deal with it. My stance has always been though that there was simply no point in repeating Grade R - a year he coped well with the first time and had no issues with - JUST for the sake of repeating it and then being chronologically older. It didn't seem to make sense at all, and I was concerned it could actually cause more problems if he got too bored and was not really stimulated at all. I'd rather he repeat a year he didn't cope well in, and can actually benefit from repeating. The possible social/emotional impact not-withstanding. However Quinn is a rational and level headed child and I am sure he would/will be ok with that if or when it happens. We have discussed it a lot and quite often.

So anyway he has completed 3 years of school now. Each year seeing me meeting with his teachers a couple of times to discuss his progress and performance. It is always acknowledged that he is bright and capable, but just needs a bit of a push to perform. They always tell me that he is not naughty, but he likes to chat and go off at tangents rather than focusing on the required task at hand. They always also admit that this is a result of his personality though, and not his age, and if he was a year older he would still be like this. He had OT (occupational therapy) for a term or 2 in Grade 2 to help him with his hand writing - speed and presentation, and that helped a lot. To the point that his hand writing went from his worst to his best mark during the course of the year.

But last year (Grade 3) was a VERY tough year for us all, but particularly for Quinn. I am actually not sure how he coped as well as he has with the whole break-up and divorce and all the drama and upheaval that came along with it all, because he has endured things no child should have to. :( I am surprised he is as happy go lucky and fun and playful as he is actually. The poor boy must have really hurt at times. Still, with support from a play therapist, his teacher and myself he managed to pass Grade 3, and is therefore in Grade 4 this year.

We were warned repeatedly that the leap from Grade 3 to Grade 4 (from Foundation Phase to Intermediate Phase) is vast. In FP they learn to read & write, and thereafter there is a major shift to writing and reading to learn. You are now expected to know and use the basics without thinking and now it becomes about the subject matter. They now have multiple teachers and separate subjects, many work books and a pile of text books too. They do proper formal tests now too with work to revise and they have speeches and projects to complete in between their other work. It really is a whole new ball game.

As a single mum trying to find my own footing and take care of all and everything on my own I also battle to find time to get everything we want and need done. So Grade 4 has been a bit of a shock to the system after the fun and games of the holidays.

A couple of weeks back, on 11 February, I wrote the following after being called in to see Quinn's teacher after her indicating that she was 'very concerned about Quinn':

11 Feb:
So it looks like the time has come to address the issue of Quinn and his ability to cope at school.

He is LOVING grade 4, as in really enjoying the change from 'Learning to Read' to 'Reading to Learn'. They have several 'projects' now where he has to do research and get info and write it down and do practical work too. Stuff on African beads, and planets etc. He researches, reads, types up stuff on his PC, made a cool knotted friendship bracelet, read me his facts, told me a bunch of stuff etc etc.

Last night he went on and on about incredible space info, as in a LOT. Some of which I didn't even now. (Number of rings Saturn has, speed of the winds on the surface of the planets etc etc).

BUT he is just not performing ON PAPER in class. The work he puts down when it counts is shocking. His handwriting looks like crap and it looks like he can't do the work. I know it's a case of being shoddy, but I have told him it looks like grade 2 work.

I don't know what to do. I spoke to him about it yesterday morning and yet he came home yesterday and the writing in his homework diary was terrible and barely readable even by himself.

I met with his teacher yesterday, and she is very concerned. To the point of thinking he needs to possibly be getting remedial assistance...

I have told him I am not fighting with him, or going to be driving him or pushing him though. And if it comes down to it, which frankly it very well might at this rate he is going back to Grade 3.

Although he is a maths whiz (really) he has been identified as one of the bottom 8 of the grade (of over 100) from what he has demonstrated at school . Yet at home he flew through the worksheets perfectly.

Obviously I can not make this decision lightly, but my gut feel is not to push him and have him on the back foot and not coping each year, yet I know he is loving the learning aspect change this year. I suppose the obvious answer would be home school, but it's just not an option.

He seems to want to stay in Grade 4, but unless he really pulls his finger and applies himself I can't see how he can.

Quinn and I started focussing on spending time doing extra work at home (over and above his aftercare homework). It also seems a lot of the boys and parents were battling to adjust to all the new challenges of Grade 4. T
he much increased work load and all the additional subjects and things to remember etc. Quinn's teacher is pretty tech savvy and she has the first implementation of interactive white board in her class which she teaches with, and she has a PC in her class which she uses a lot, in fact she encourages parents to email rather than write to her. And you get a response within a few hours. She is now emailing us the homework for the day every day.

It is so cool knowing way before I collect Q what we are going to have to do, so I can schedule and prepare myself accordingly to make sure Quinn can do it each day. It
has helped so much!

Then a week or so later I wrote this update.

Update 19 Feb:
Whoop Whoop! Smile

Quinn and I have been sitting for 30-60 minutes at home each evening since last week (over and above what he does at after-care) focusing on his work. He has done a lot of writing, maths and reading practise. He also worked hard on his speech - which was for today.

We are also doing mental arithmetic sums in the car while we drive around. Mixing in plus, minus, multiply and divide.

He started OT again on Monday, and she is going to help him to press more lightly and write more quickly. The Play Therapist said he seems settled and happy and that he mentioned that he is enjoying being in Grade 4.

I just got this email from his teacher:

He has been far more organised and responsible. His handwriting is also much better. Thank you for all your extra effort as it is paying off at the moment.

Yay, now we just need to keep this up!

And then:

Update 25 Feb:
Quinn came home with his Maths test from Friday yesterday and he got... 35.5/40!!!! The teacher's comment was 'a GREAT effort Quinn!!!' and he got 15 merits.
Very Happy Cool Very Happy Cool

He did his speech last week Thursday too and by all accounts it went very well. They were marked out of 4 for 5 different categories; Sticking to the topic, Speaking clearly, Interesting etc. He got at least 3/4 for each category and got a 3.5 and a 4 too. He said a couple of boys did better than him, but then told me about a boy who cracked and did really badly. But instead of being chuffed that he did better than this boy he showed a lot of empathy for the poor boy who was evidently very distressed by having to make the speech and fumbling so badly. I felt very proud of him for that too.

It's awesome that this work has paid off so well and so quickly. When I fetch him on Mondays he is always working quietly in the library now, and at home when I say it is time to do homework he comes and does it without a fuss. Previously he'd stall and mess around and drive me mad. Now he does what he needs to and then I let him go. YAY!


Update 26 Feb:
He seems to have suddenly matured as well and is being really helpful and even keeled at home. Really helping G with his reading, rather than blurting the words out for him or being disruptive or taunting. It's great.

Then yesterday he came home with his 'Afrikaans Aksie Woorde Toets' which they did yesterday and he got 19/20! (He actually did get 20/20 but they write in cursif now and he wrote wys with the joiner at the bottom not the top of the w so she marked it as wrong. Hrm, not really fair I don't think... but anyway). WOW.

I actually feel a bit bad that I wasn't giving him this much input and attention before. He clearly responds well to it. But we are in a good habit of getting into the homework as SOON as we get home now and generally get it sorted in 30 mins or so now that he is cooperating so well. He is also wanting to read independently for interest now too.

The Book People are in town and he desperately wants a book which costs R120. I had said no. But then in talking to him last night it sounds like a good book. It is about Egypt and is full of facts and interesting learning activities like deciphering hieroglyphic messages etc etc. I have made a deal with him that he can buy it today and bring it home and I'll keep it until the end of the term and if he keeps doing his best as he has been he'll get the book as a reward. He was happy to accept those terms which again shows progress and maturity, and also just how much he really wants the book if he will gladly wait a whole month if that's the only way he'll get it.

Well done Quinn, I am very proud of you!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Le sighe

A dark cloud has moved in over me...

I am eeyore right now.

Oh bother.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Isn't it ironic, don't you think...

So on the first day of school R wanted to come see Griffin for his first day of school.

I took both boys in and we all went to G's class and got him settled in and then R arrived and G leaped into his arms all happy. I asked if I could/should take a photo, and was told no. R was there with G for a short while, while I took Q to his class.

Anyhoo the point is there is now a photo of them on the school's website section showing First day of Grade 1 Wink

It is a sweet pic though...

I just find it rather ironic.

Can I just say....

(I know previously every time I mentioned being happy it was like I jinxed it and everything would screw up, but this feels different so...)

I am feeling really happy atm! Smile

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Evolving Garden Display

I keep meaning to tell someone this...

There is a house about 2km from me, near the boy's school, which I run past about once every week or 2, and I have slowly started noticing an evolution in their garden, it is so cute!

In Nov/Dec I first noticed a pretty rainbow coloured windmill thing planted in the lawn.

The next time I passed there was also a kitsch pink plastic flamingo.

Next time there were 2x pink flamingos.

Then the next time there was a big ostrich egg between the 2 flamingos.

Then this Saturday the ostrich egg was gone and there was a little fluffy toy duckling in its place.

I actually stopped running and stood there staring through the fence and grinning when I saw that.

It just the cutest thing ever. I am excited to see what happens next. I wonder who is doing it and if it is an adult (students?) or a child/family...?

Either way I LOVE it! Wink

Monday, 16 February 2009

Griff's First Athletics Day & Q an old hat.

It was the boy's school's inter-house athletics event on Friday. I have managed to go each of the past 3 years to support Quinn. This year I am a single working mom, so I wasn't sure I could pull it off to be there, although I was hoping I could... I spoke to Griffin in the morning and told him I would try but couldn't promise, and in his usual sweet and no-fuss way he said, 'It's ok, I don't mind. I don't want your boss to fire you'. Awww.(He can be either super sweet or super stubborn and grumpy).

His race was scheduled for 08:45. I really felt like I had to go through. Especially after making a point of going for Q previously... But well work is exceptionally hectic and we are short staffed atm. So I got to work and got stuck in. Next thing Mike came to my desk and I looked at the clock and it was 08:55. Faaaaarking hell! Poor Mike got brushed off and I literally grabbed my bag and ran out the door and tore to the school fields (about 3km away). I ran across the fields and found Griff sitting in the centre of the field. They were still lined up and hadn't run yet. They were running late. YAY yay yay!!! I would have felt SO bad if I'd missed the poor guy. He grinned widely when he saw me. I snuck him a sweetie to give him some energy, and well just as a little treat.

G in his athletics gear. I could NOT find a proper house vest for him. So that was a Mr Price laddies SS top with the arms cut off. Still way too big so I had to pin it up... he is going to hate me when he looks at these pics in a few years ! ;)

I made my way to the end of their track and waited for his race and 2 teachers tried to make me leave - saying I wasn't allowed to be there on the field. Listen ladies, I nearly had a coronary to be here, I don't really care. I have stood there for the past 3 years and I was bloody well going to do it again.

Griffin's race finally started and the poor boy nearly missed the start because he was looking here and there and everywhere rather than getting ready to run! *rolleyes* Then when he got going he was just jogging and not even running fast. He came stone cold last. In fact it was as if he was running his own race, because the others finished and he was only about half way. LOL. He didn't seem to notice or care. So not quite an Olympic athlete then, my boy. Shame. :)

After that there was an announcement that anyone not 'authorised' to be on the inside of the track must immediately leave and stay in the stands. Ja ja ja, whatever, I was going anyway. Pah! ;) I really am not one of those annoying in your face moms, but I do like to be at these things and take a shot or 2, and it's been fine up to now, I mean I make sure to keep well out of the way. Not sure why they were so anal this year though...?

Anyway I retreated to the stands as per the orders and Quinn found me there. Being in Grade 4 he is no longer ushered and shepherded around and they were freely roaming the stands in their 'house' singing and socialising and watching the proceedings.

We chatted for a bit and then I really needed to leave, so I couldn't stay for Quinn's race. He didn't seem to mind though. As I was leaving he asked if I had bought a sweet or something for him. But I had just had the one I gave G which had been lying in my car. So Q snuck of with me when I left and came to my car to get a few Rand to take to the tuck shop. He was rather chuffed about that.

I was so glad I managed to be there even if it was such a short while. I was back at work within about 30 minutes and I don't think my director even noticed I was gone. Yay :)

A bunch o' Pics from our week-end

These are photos from our week-end.

Monkey Town Saturday

Apes on the loose at Monkey Town - say no more!

SALLY and brood at Monkey Town. I 'met' on the Good_parenting SA group back in 2003(?) when she was pg with Rachel. I couldn't make the Kirstenbosch meet that was arranged for her, but I bumped into her at Monkey Town in Somerset West. I was astounded.

Then to explain to my companions how I knew it was her even though I have never actually met her before Wink

Our Valentine's Day Picnic up Lion's Head on Saturday night. It was cold and with gale force winds - as in crouch down and hang on for dear life so you don't get blown away by the gusty winds windy! I lost my hat while we were huddling behind a rock trying to survive the worst of it! - so we retreated into a cave for our actual picnic. The cave turned out to be really lovely and quite magical with a view of the sunset etc anyway. When it got dark we'd make ominous animal noises at the people passing on their way down, from our vantage point up in the cave. Some of the people skriked others thought it was really funny. LOL. Fun!

Fishing at Clovelly Vlei Sunday afternoon. TG J came with us because I had no clue. Thankfully he knows how it is done and Q managed to catch 2 fish. And I now know how to make bread and gob bait balls!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Run forest run

I do at least 90% of my running on the road, because I don't have time or opportunity to run anywhere else. So usually it is a case of kids go swim next door, and I bolt out the gate straight onto the tarmac, and off I go.

But having experienced a bit of trail running in the past few months, I have found that I really like it. It is quite different to road running. Road running is monotonous and rhythmical. Your feet plod and you can tune out, not thinking about what you are doing at all. You can listen to loud music and you can go into your own head and explore what is going on in there. It is a great way to have time to yourself to THINK and make decisions.

With trail running you have to focus. Each foot fall needs to be considered and you have to think about your every move. Also because trail running is generally in or near the mountains the terrain tends to be steeper and there are more hills and steps and obstacles. It is definitely tougher and more of a workout.

Last night the boys had their cubs meeting in Newlands forest, because they were doing an orienteering hike. It was a perfect opportunity for me to have a run through the forest. I droppped them off and by 17:45 I was on the trail. I saw about 6 other runners in the first 15 minutes (all men) and after that it was just me and the mountain.

I will admit I was a tad nervous, because there have been quite a few muggings (and worse) on these mountains in the past few years and at one stage runners seemed to be getting targeted, but my rational brain told me that because I was traversing up the hill, where no one else seemed to be at all, it seemed rather unlikely that some 'baddie' would be lurking, waiting in the hope that one lone sod like me might eventually come past. I decided the odds were pretty low, so I went on my merry way. But I am not stupid so I did keep my music low enough so I could hear ambient noise and stayed relatively alert. I am not a paranoid person at all. But I am sensible. So far it's worked for me.

Anyway that wasn't the point. I ran, looked at the ruins from the old Dutch East Indian company and read some historical facts. I ran on the jeep tracks, and then chose some smaller meandering paths, which go through beautiful ferns and peat, and found quiet paths where I was literally running through cobwebs. It was beautiful and magical and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I ended up following a sign which said 'Contour Path'. Yay I liked the sound of that. But this path had no bearing on a contour unless it meant 'crosses lots of contours' oh my word it was steep and unrelenting. This part of my run was more of a hike/scramble! When I realised I had gone half way up the mountain and to the very top of the Jeep track I decided it was time to descend again. This time via the jeep track, where I could let loose and really run. With gravity helping me all the way. That's the best part. Just going. Thinking fast as you plant your feet and staying 'light' enough that if you mis step you can correct quickly. It is so freeing and exciting and quite simply FUN.

I love it. It was a fantastic way to start the week-end.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Griffin - School Update & Merit Badge

This post is way overdue...

Griffin seems to have settled well into big school. He gets dressed each morning without a fuss and just needs help with his shirts top button, which is admittedly pretty difficult to button, what with the stiff collar and all.

I still help with his tie on most days, but other days he slips it off and then on again the next morning. He knows how to tighten it himself. I think I should be able to teach him to tie a simple tie knot in the next month or 2. (Quinn had learned by term 2 of Grade 1.)

He helps to get his lunch and bag ready and then when we arrive at school he hops out of the car and holds Quinn's hand while they cross the road together. This is done right next to me and I supervise this from my car. He is enjoying school and after-care and is happy as a lark each day when I go to collect him. When we get home he unpacks his bag and brings me his notices. He is really being helpful and very organised for the most part.

The photo below was taken one morning about a week into school. He came to me to proudly show me that he had completely dressed himself...

The school has a merit system - which I have written about before. Griffin managed to win this in the second week. It was awarded to him for 'Listening Well and working Quietly at His Desk'. I was very impressed and happy to hear that. Well done big boy! He got to wear it for a week. He was so proud of himself that he pinned it onto his after-care clothes each afternoon too, so he could maximise the time he had to wear it.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

More Bits & Pieces a catch up

Thanks to J, I have discovered Lindt Chilli Dark Chocolate:
Excellence Chili
This combination of fine dark chocolate with exquisite chilli pepper delivers an absolutely unique taste experience. When savouring this new creation, chocolate connoisseurs will experience how the initially mild, delicate flavour of cocoa gradually gives way to a full-bodied but harmoniously spicy touch. Seductively piquant!
And it has been relegated, along with Belgian Chocolate Hagen Dazs as an orgasmic equivalent foodstuff. YUM!

Last night the boys were with their dad for dinner. I ran to yoga, had a fabulous yoga class, one of those ones where you just zone out from everything else and really get immersed in the moment and really enjoy it. No watching the clock or worrying about anything else at all. I even did the Scorpion pose after an extended head stand! Then while I was running back from yoga, feeling super relaxed and happy, I literally ran over a R10 note lying in the street. Score. I have previously found a crisp R20 note lying in the gutter while I was out running one evening. See running clearly pays. *groan* ;)


Last week I went to see the new Coen Brothers movie Burn After Reading with J. I thoroughly enjoyed it. What a hoot! It was very well acted by Brad Pitt, John Malcovich and George Clooney. A few lines and actions in that movie were hillarious. But you had to be there.. ;) "You are part of a league of morons." Being one I am likely to be able to use often.

The boys went to Up the Creek with their dad this past week-end, and by the sounds of things had quite a bit of fun. So I spent the week-end with J. We had a fantastic sushi dinner overlooking Simon's Town harbour on Friday night. On Saturday I did a 12km run/walk around the area while he was on a shoot and then spent the afternoon reading, shopping and making bran & banana muffins etc. Once his kids arrived we went down to the local river valley for a braai with friends until the storm (complete with thunder & lightning) rolled in and we retreated home. Where I was told I had to read the bedtime story, and then also stay till they were asleep. I dutifully obliged until a little boy voice said 'You know it is quite annoying having a big adult in the way when you are trying to go to sleep...'. I took that as my cue to leave. LOL.

Sunday was J's son's birthday. After muffins, opening and playing with presents, we went to the beach where we played in the water and found all sorts of sea life in the rock pools. Then home for smoothies and lunch. After that I left so they could go off to the birthday boy's party. I made my way to Kirstenbosch, because I had won tickets from posting cool pictures from the Parlotones concert on the Facebook group. YAY! : )

I was on my own since no one was willing or able to join me. *sulk* It was actually exactly what I needed though. A bit of quiet time to myself. I relaxed in the gardens in the very welcome cool shade, read a trashy UK magazine, and sipped a bottle of bubbly for an hour or so. Then I watched the Arno Carstens Summer Sunset Concert. Arno is pretty hot, well actually he was VERY hot on the day (just look at all that sweat!)

He is very good. I have seen him perform (as part of the Springbok Nude Girls) twice before, about 10 years ago. He is not as good as my beloved Parlotones though ;)

Then back home via some grocery shopping to meet the boys who had retuned from their fun week-end adventure. They had a wonderful time on the Breede River and were just disappointed to have slept through the Dirty Skirts performance. Oh well, we'll be seeing them next month, at, you guessed it Kirstenbosch!

Quinn lost another tooth over the week-end. He has lost a total of 8 teeth now. The last 2 happened while he was away from home and the tooth mouse was not informed and he has therefore not had any money for them... how many teeth does the tooth mouse pay for anyway? I told him 12 sounds right to me...? He stopped believing in this stuff ages ago! So I am not going to be conned in to paying for all 24-28 teeth!

Poor Griffin has only lost 2 teeth so far! And doesn't even have any more loose ones. Shame he is waiting patiently, but I do love those little milk teeth, they are so perfect and cute. It's a pity we have to get those ruddy big gnashers afterwards!

My washing machine decided to start packing in recently, to add to the long list of things which have broken and need repairing & replacing in the past few months. So I have now replaced it and sold the old one for cheap-cheap. It was the Wedding present from my dad. I had it for 11 years... Now just the sewing machine needs to be repaired. See I was being literal, and not rude, with my recent FaceBook status, all you DIRTY minds out there! :P

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Praise be to mom who feeds us

Griffin came home today saying they have to say grace at school before lunch time.

He says they have to say 'Thank you Father for the food' but he says 'But Daddy doesn't buy my food, you do. So instead I say 'Thank-you Mommy for the food' '

Awww ;)

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

I'm Yours

I am really enjoying this one at the moment...

Jason Mraz - I'm Yours

Well you done done me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill but you're so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks, now I'm trying to get back

Before the cool done run out, I'll be giving it my bestest
And nothing's going to stop me but divine intervention
I reckon it's again my turn to win some or learn some

But I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm yours

Well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you're free
Look into your heart and you'll find love love love love

Listen to the music of the moment people, dance and sing
We're just one big family
And it's our God-forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved loved

So I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm sure
There's no need to complicate, our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours

D-d-do do you, but do you, d-d-do
But do you want to come on
Scooch on over closer dear
And I will nibble your ear

I've been spending way too long checking my tongue in the mirror
And bending over backwards just to try to see it clearer
But my breath fogged up the glass
And so I drew a new face and I laughed

I guess what I be saying is there ain't no better reason
To rid yourself of vanities and just go with the seasons
It's what we aim to do, our name is our virtue

But I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm yours

Come on and open up your mind and see like me
(I won't hesitate)
Open up your plans and damn you're free
(No more, no more)
Look into your heart and you'll find that the sky is yours
(It cannot wait, I'm sure)

So please don't, there's no need
(There's no need to complicate)
There's no need to complicate
(Our time is short)
'Cause our time is short
(This is our fate)
This is, this is, this is our fate
I'm yours

Oh, I'm yours
Oh, I'm yours
Oh, whoa, baby you believe I'm yours
You best believe, best believe I'm yours