Thinking & Feeling

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

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

2011 Crazy Frasers Wrap up

So another year has come and gone, and as usual I am late with my end of year letter. 

So much as happened this year, that it is hard to remember it all. It has once again been a pretty tough year with lots of sadness, heartache and stress, but overall in the balance it has been a good one with lots of positive and memorable moments too.

In January the boy's paternal grandfather, Wally passed away after a long struggle with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. He was a wonderful man and was much loved by all. Then in August our dear Granny Betty died, just shy of 92. We were lucky to have had a few months of really good quality time with her where to whole family visited with her and she delighted us with her wit and charm and sparling humour. She was a wonderful darling woman who was a true lady and absolute inspiration to me. I miss her a lot.

After my cast was taken off my broken ankle at the end of last year I rehabilitated myself and was thrilled that I could still run. I have had a good running year and achieved personal best times over 6, 10, 15 and 21.1kms. I am still loving running and am pleased that the boys have started entering the 5km events when they join me at my races and they have been enjoying them too. Griffin mostly walks, but Quinn has started enjoying running and is starting to get a bit competitive too.

Then after considering it for several years I eventually got myself a bicycle for my birthday. I have been loving being able to venture further afield than running takes me and have done several long rides around the peninsula and absolutely LOVE it. In fact I have entered the Argus next year. Although that it seeming a bit scary now! J

Early in the new year it became clear that I was going to have to leave my job at 1st Contact/Kube, which I had loved for about 3 years, as my role was becoming more and more at risk due to lack of funds and the UK financial crisis taking its toll. I ended up working 4-days a week (which sounds great) but also at only 80% salary in the last month or 2, at which point I had to leave. I found a new job which looked great on paper, but in reality it was really awful. It just didn't work out at all, despite having some really nice people on my team. I was having to leave before dawn, return after sunset, work nights, week-ends and it just seemed relentless and thankless. So after just 7 months, during which time I pretty much fell apart physically from the stress and demands of the job, I quit, on the spot. I had lost my health, fitness, and even my sense of humour and enjoyment of life. I was physically depressed and diagnosed with extreme bradi-cardia (slow pulse) and low blood pressure and my system was just shutting down. I was not happy.

I had a couple of weeks off where I regrouped, got fit, healthy and happy again and found a new job, just when I needed it, and could not be happier. It is keeping me very busy, and is also challenging, but I LOVE IT! It is exactly what I needed.

Griffin has had a good year in Grade 3 and as usual he is quiet, responsible, kind, caring and mature. He earned the merit badge at school several times and got a certificate for excellence in maths at the end of the year. His report was very good and he is starting to do pretty well academically. He has a strong work ethic, and although he struggles with spelling (and speech at times) he tries hard and gives his best. He goes to Grade 4 next year, so we are done with the foundation phase of school now. He has a fantastic sharp sense of humour and we often crack jokes between us which only we understand. He turned 10 in November and has really grown up this year. He is my precious poppet and I am very proud of him.

Quinn has had a good year in Grade 5, he has been social and playful, shrewd and scheming as always. He is always making something, selling something, buying something or planning something. He manages to simultaneously impress and irk me with his shenanigans. He has become a brilliant cook and can make pretty much anything he wants to now. After watching Master Chef he is great at presenting meals too. He is almost 12 now and is really starting to become a teenager now and we have a love-hate relationship brewing with him either being my best friend or being completely obnoxious. It's colourful!

Other memorable moments this year:
·         Going to the U2 concert with my darling sister Belinda in Feb
·         The family gathering for my niece & nephew's (Bee's children's) christening in Feb. It was wonderful having everyone together.
·         A camping Trip to Waterval with Ilse and family in March. What a wonderful place that is. I am definitely going back there.
·         My running come-back at the Mens Health Race Beer Challenge in March.
·         A 4x4 week-end with Warren in March. It was a wonderful fun and active adventure week-end, and a nice break from the boys for me.
·         My birthday at Beef Cakes with some awesome friends. Body shot on a HOT waiter... nuff sed!
·         A few games of pool with Mat & Tim. I even won a few games this year!
·         Seeing Lee-Ann & Pete before they sailed off for their big adventure in April. They rock.
·         Safari Half Marathon Week-end with the boys in May. I love that race. I'll be back next year I am sure.
·         Seeing my gorgeous sisters Catherine & Belinda in June. We don't see enough of each other but as the years go by I like, appreciate and admire them more and more.
·         The mid-winter Bainskloof week-end with Tim. I'd never been there before and it was possibly the coldest week-end of the year, but lots of red wine and food and fires kept us warm.
·         The 'Famous Dr Raynham' who with his incredible skill and expertise (and a tiny bit of titanium) fixed Quinn's hearing in his right ear!!!
·         Some fabulous hikes/runs in the mountains with Tim. I really appreciated and grew to love the mountain this year and spent more time out there than ever before. We truly live in a beautiful place. Somehow running around the Rondebosch Common doesn't really cut it any more.
·         Seeing my beloved parents in August. Just when I needed them here. They sympathised with me, took the boys out for the day (so I could have some time out and go for a hike) and took us for an awesome meal when I was at my lowest. This meant so much and really really helped me. Thank-you!
·         The Sister Mary James experience with Phil, Mat &Tim. Crazy but fun sweetie-darlings.
·         A fabulous week-end away at Beaverlac with Janine, Digby, Tim and kids. What an awesome place! I loved that week-end a lot.
·         Rocking the Daisies – possibly the best one yet, it was amazing! LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!
·         Meringspoort Half Marathon Week-end with Tim in October. ROAD-TRIP! Another fabulous week-end away full of fun and good memories.
·         Getting our new kitten Max(i-menance!) for Griffin's birthday. He is loving having a pet of his own.
·         Leading some of the RBPS Grade 5 boys on a hike to the Block House in December. It was worth taking a day off work for. I love the RBPS boys, they are amazing young men and such fun to interact with.
·         Getting to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Artscape with Andrew & Chantal. What a spectacular privilege and treat. Wow. It was awesome.
·         The Parlotones at Kirstenbosch – twice this year!
·         MCQP – the Japanese invasion with Mat. Such fun!

We really do lead a good life and are blessed to have the friends and family we do. Thanks to all who have been part of our lives this year.

There are too many thank-yous to mention but thanks go especially to our amazing neighbours who help me constantly in many ways (particularly with fetching and carrying the boys) and without whom my life would be much more difficult and harried. Beryl & family who are true and constant friends. Tiny who helps to keep me sane, keeps our house running and keep us clean, clothed and fed, and everyone else who has touched our lives. Especially those of who have made me laugh and smile. Thank-you one and all.

Love to you all and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, hope to see you all soon.

Love from Jane, Quinn, Griffin, Roxy & Max.

Monday, 12 December 2011

My boys took the heat

So I had a busy very tightly scheduled week-end. On Saturday morning Quinn decided he wanted to start on our Christmas cookies. He has enough experience with these, and cooking in general, now that I decided he was able to make them unsupervised thus giving me the chance to sneak in a  quick run before having to drop Griff off at a party/sleep-over.

So off I dashed. When I got back it was clear the biscuits had been burned... There were remnants of burned biscuits in the driveway! WTF? I did a bit of general yelling about having left them unattended in the oven and both boys insisted they'd only been in for 10 mins... I had no time to investigate or argue, so off Griff and I went to drop him off. While Quinn was at home cleaning up.

When I got back I noticed 2 important clues...
1. There was a distinct blackening of the cupboards above the oven and
2. The few remaining biscuits in the kitchen were charred on top, but still pale on the bottom... Hrm.
A quick check of the oven confirmed my suspicion... and yes they'd cooked them on GRILL and not BAKE. (I think we have all made that mistake at least once before..?)

I debriefed Quinn about exactly what had happened, and it turns out that...Yes, they did indeed pop the biscuits in the oven and then go to watch something on TV. But they did not leave them for very long though. On arriving back in the kitchen they noticed the burning smell and also smoke coming out of the oven. Quinn says there was flickering inside too. So he opened the oven and says the little flames then leaped into much BIGGER flames. (OH MY GOD!?). I asked him what he did, and he said he closed the door again straight away and turned the oven off immediately. Clever boy. Correct move on both counts.

He says Griffin then suggested they throw water into the oven. Quinn says he said 'No, because of the electricity'. Again, clever boy and brownie points for thinking, staying calm and using common sense. He says he got Griffin to go outside and get the hose pipe. He then opened the oven again and got the tray out with an oven glove and took it outside, placed it on the ground and Griffin then hosed them down. Hence the burned remnants in the driveway.

I was not thrilled that they'd almost burned our house down - while I wasn't even there! But I am actually very impressed with how they handled the situation. I think many adults would have panicked more and handled it less well. I did talk to them about being careful, not leaving things unattended in the oven AND always checking that the grill is not on when baking. I also reiterated that they could/should have phoned the fire brigade, or me or a neighbour, or ADT had they needed help and not been able to sort it out quickly or easily themselves.

I was initially horrified that it had happened, but now having had time to think about it, I actually think it was a great learning experience and I am once again impressed by my boys' level of common-sense, responsibility and accountability. Quinn cleaned everything up himself and packed the remaining dough away so that they can try again... Once the oven is properly cleaned up and we have checked if it actually still works. I have not had the time (or inclination) to check that yet. Please let it still work!!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Things are looking up....

Here is today's SOTD.... nice and early.

I LOVE this song. I heard it on the way to work and was sure it was Coldplay, but it isn't is a Durban based SA band. They are really good.

I love the sound, lyrics and feel of it....

Breaking the Silence by Gangs of Ballet

You can listen to it here:
(click play at the top)

The elves of Christmas 2011 have arrived!

Here they are...

(They still love doing this and I am going to carry on until they don't. )

Thursday, 8 December 2011

I love my job!

I really am loving my job! 

It is interesting, nicely challenging (without being unduly stressful), and very rewarding so far. 

Also I am getting awesome feedback (words of affirmation are one of my main love languages so that makes me feel warm and fuzzy). It makes me happy. I LIKE coming here every day. I have missed this so much in the past year or so!

"never could describe such a feeling"

This is my SOTD today... I am not sure why. It's not (just) the lyrics. I have heard it a few times while I have been working today and it does something to me physically. It fills me up inside and spills out through my heart. Making my chest literally feel full and swollen and almost overwhelmed with emotion. It is hard to describe (I am not sure if other people (everyone?) experience music the way I do..?)

FLORENCE + THE MACHINE - "All This And Heaven Too"

And the heart is hard to translate
It has a language of its own
It talks and turns and courts sighs and present proclamations
In the grand days of great men and the smallest of gestures
And short shallow gasps 

But with all my education I can't seem to command it
And the words are all skipping and coming back all damaged
And I will put them back in poetry if I only knew how
I can't seem to understand it

And I would give all this and heaven too
I would give it all if only for a moment 
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see
'Cause I've been scrawling it forever but it never makes sense to me at all

And it talks to me in tiptoes
And sings to me inside
It cries out in the darkest night and breaks in morning light

But with all my education I can't seem to command it
And the words are all skipping and coming back all damaged
And I will put them back in poetry if I only knew how
I can't seem to understand it

And I would give all this and heaven too
I would give it all if only for a moment 
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see
'Cause I've been scrawling it forever but it never makes sense to me at all

And I would give all this and heaven too
I would give it all if only for a moment 
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see
'Cause I've been scrawling it forever but it never makes sense to me at all

No, words are a language that doesn't deserve such treatment 
That all of my stumbling phrases never amounted to anything worth this feeling

All this heaven never could describe such a feeling as I'm here

Words were never so useful 'til I was screaming out a language that I never knew existed before

Monday, 5 December 2011

Quinn's Giant Pencil & Cross-bow

Quinn made this Giant pencil... which actually writes (it has a permanent marker attached in the front)


He also made this Cross-Bow one day...

He sometimes drives me a little crazy with his mad scientist projects (he makes a mess and uses everything up) but I must admit he is very creative and GOOD at making stuff. He has great ideas and the practical know-how to go along with it. It impresses me!