"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Saturday, 31 March 2012

the simple woman's journal

I don't know if this is where this idea started but I came across The Simple Woman's Daybook last night.  I clicked on a couple of the links and once again I was taken away into other people's lives and worlds.  Some I looked at very briefly (amazing how a font can immediately put you off reading the text) and others totally absorbed me and I wanted to find out more about the person writing it - where she lived, what she ate and who was Jeremiah?

So my friends and guinea pigs, what do you think about this format? I like it because it makes you reflect on your day, not just me but you as well.  I could not do it everyday for my blog (as some ladies do) but it is a great idea to keep you thinking.  A good posting for a Saturday, I think?

Outside my window

I did not take my tea into the garden this morning.  It was a little too fresh and after all the rain we had this week there was no need to water (lots of leaves to pick up though).  So I drank my tea looking out of my kitchen window.  The courtyard is green and lush (but it needs a sweep) and it is a glorious autumn morning in Cape Town.

I am thinking

that the new teak table has still not been treated with oil.  I need to buy the special Danish oil soon and do the job before winter arrives.

I am thankful

for the fact that tomorrow we will be heading off to Noetzie with Jan and Ellen for a couple of days.  The most special place in the world.  They have a wooden cabin on the river, you catch a canoe across the river to the beach where there is a wonderful ocean and a beach with castles and very few people.

A few pictures off the internet of Noetzie.  Rivers and forests, castles and cabins, sand and sea - Noetzie has it all.  I will have my own pictures to share next week (this is not Jan's cabin but you get the idea)

In the kitchen

there is washing up to be done. Stuff that the dishwasher can't do because it is all the bits and pieces from my food processor.   I made another couple of batches of my new chilli pesto.  Gareth, Nic and Amy love it.  The girls at office are asking for more and it is so easy to make that perhaps I should start selling it.

I am wearing

You don't really want to know.  My old, big, pink (can you believe it) sleep shirt - and nothing else (OK, my glasses).  I really hope the doorbell does not ring.

I am going

to head off to the shops for supplies for Noetzie and to the camera shop to find out about the charging adaptor on my camera.  Also planning some "girl time" this afternoon with Kathy and Dalene and the girls.  Perhaps a walk and picnic at the river in Bishopscourt Village?

I am wondering

whether Matthew is in Witbank yet.  I must give him a call.  They are playing rugby this afternoon and if they win they will be coming home for the week and not have to wait for next Thursday.

I am reading

about 3 different books and am nearly finished The Good Fairies of New York.  I have a Deon Meyer to take with on holiday and have also started The Fry Chronicles - Stephen Fry's biography.  I have the last three editions of Vanity Fair (two still in their wrappings) which I subscribe to, but never get around to reading. Noetzie has come at the perfect time.

A picture I am sharing
View from my kitchen
(Not taken this morning. Why? No dishes in the sink, Silly)

I am looking forward to

so much.  Noetzie tomorrow, swims in the sea and being lazy and coming home won't be sad because Matthew will be home for the Easter weekend.

Around the house

except for the kitchen everything smells and looks so good.  I love my house in the mornings when the sun filters through the slatted blinds.  Janette was here yesterday and she loves polishing the furniture and she cleans like a machine.  I have to move my old computer desk out of Matthew's room before tomorrow and re-arrange his furniture, then make his bed so that everything is ready for him.  From the lounge I hear the sounds of Super rugby.  The Cheetahs have just beaten the Hurricanes.  The Cheetahs are my new favourite team (after Griquas) because I have a feeling that Matthew could be playing for them soon!!  (I am a bit biased but a mother can be!!)

One of my favourite things
The Woolworths Club Pizzas we had for supper last night.  Not that cheap an option but Woolies really have the base recipe right and it is far better than any takeaway pizza (sorry Butlers).  I just added a bit of feta before cooking and then some of my chilli pesto once it was cooked.  Garnished with rocket but the avocado pear I was saving and thought was perfect was overipe and yucky (there is often disappointment in that fruit for me).  Despite the lack of avo it was very yum.

A favourite quote for the day

I have to get going.  So much to do.  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

new camera on a new day

I had a little fun this morning and ended up being a bit late for work (again).  Got the camera set up - quite a lot to learn as it has a pretty hectic zoom.   Thought I must just let you see a few pictures which are hot off the press.

 This morning's fruit salad
out of papino so mango, banana, blueberries and grapes
with lemon juice
(aren't the mangoes great at the moment?)

 Benjamin Bunny
You heard all about him 
and he stands proudly on my table in the courtyard
 I turn him around every second day so that he does not get bored and
can view life from all angles
 How lucky am I?
Dinner with my mom and Rob last night and she mentioned the white elephant store
at her bowls fundraiser and that she was "giving away" this old bone handled carving set.
My eyes lit up and I claimed it immediately
(now she just has to recover the grandfather clock that she has already marked
for the sale - or I will have to be there when they open (with my R50))
 The cocktail cabinet that I inherited from Margaret.  Still not sure of the right place for it, but I love it.
 The "desk" (also inherited) - works well in my study.  It is a little bit low but I have found a
ball and claw small table which works as a chair

Screen saver at work
 and at home
(Nicky is never too far away)
 More courtyard stuff
The 3 wire stands with the birds were a bargain at Mr Price on the sale
(from R199 to R29.99)
I am using them for candles but am not sure what they were really meant for
(maybe that is why nobody (except me) bought them)
 The ice cream bushes (Phallanthus (as Michael always reminds me)) are looking particularly good this year
  and the white Plectranthus bushes which, for the first time in three years, are flowering in abundance
Bees going crazy on the Guara at the front door
Michael and I going away with Jan and Ellen to Noetzie next week
Ellen is a pretty jacked up photographer so will be able to teach me all about zoom lenses
(cos I promise when I zoomed in I could see the bees (where are they now?))

I was also up late again last night (and very early this morning).  I have signed up to this interactive poetry site and had my first attempt at putting words to a picture.  What do you think?  I know you know me well enough and will realise that it is not a poem about a personal battle that I am facing but about what thoughts came into my head when I first saw the photograph.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

standing at the window

I found this wonderful blog the other day - Life at Willow Manor.  Tess writes the most awesome poetry and she has her own "reader" - RAD Stainforth.  Take a read (and listen).  He has the most wonderful voice and it reminds me of growing up before there was television in South Africa and we listened to the radio.  So I was scrolling through and reading her previous postings and then came across another blog of hers that encourages people to write poetry.  A great concept where you write a poem about a picture, so I am giving it a try.  Perhaps Tess will even read my poem (if I can do the linking correctly).  People make comments and everyone is so encouraging and friendly (like all people should be).  This is going to be fun.

will it never stop?
this sadness and sickness 
i endure
day after day
months turning to years

standing at the window
another clinic
another town
it does not really matter
where i am
i am alone
always alone
with my disorder

standing at the window
it must be autumn
the leaves are beautiful
the colours of
rust and
and the promise of
the cold to come

i am always cold

what happened to me?
to my ambitions
and dreams
why do i find it so difficult
to see myself 
like others see me
"beautiful and elegant (but too thin)"
why when i see my reflection in the window
(the mirrors they now hide from me)
am i so distorted, ugly and

standing at the window
cold and alone
waiting for winter

rivers and bridges and pooh and piglet

I found this quote earlier in the week in one of my draft posts, liked it a lot and thought I would share it.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, 
for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. 
- Heraclitus -

The quote and the river got me thinking about bridges.  I love bridges.  Last night I collected my new camera from Kathy and it felt like Christmas. I spent most of the evening (after sharing a bottle of wine with Kathy) downloading all the disks and instructions that come in the box.  The camera is great but I need to do some homework and find the right options and settings.  Once I had loaded the Nikon programme I started sorting through my pictures on Picasa,  I found some pictures that brought back so many good memories.  Quite a few pictures were of bridges.  So you see we are getting a bit of a theme going here (pretty unlike me).  I spent ages putting pictures into proper folders (someday very, very soon Gareth is coming to help me change over to my very own website).  Little wonder I am feeling so tired today.
Gareth and Dalene a stone bridge over Dart River in May 2005 (Dave's UK 30th birthday road trip)
Gareth and David on another stone bridge
Visiting Matthew in Bristol at the Clifton Suspension Bridge
Dalene, David, me and Mom

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge 
and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, 
you will suddenly know everything there is to be known

A.A. Milne
Winnie the Pooh

Here is the original Pooh Sticks bridge, in Ashdown Forest, near the village of Hartfield in East Sussex, England.

This is not my picture and I have not been there (but would like to go there - I love bridges and forests).  It kind of ties into the story, you know rivers, photographs, bridges, England, Winnie the Pooh

winnie the pooh

Piglet and Pooh
having an exciting time in Dartmouth, eating breakfast (?) in a pub, near a river (which had many bridges)

"It's the same thing"

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

share your heart

I found this title on a whole series of different blogs the other day.  Usually a little cheesy for me but something about the simplicity of the task appealed to me.  They asked each blogger to "Share their Heart" through a picture, a poem, a song, a quote, a piece of clothing and a place.

A picture

A picture.  I love photographs, I have plenty (but not all on my computer).  This was the one that stood out for me for a couple of reason. Taken on the happiest day of my life, minutes after marrying Michael, with my three gorgeous boys (and in my garden with a glass of bubbles).  It was indeed a special day, surrounded by those closest to me.  There was not much fuss or planning (just a veil of secrecy) as people were only told about the occasion once Michael and I were leaving the country for a month on honeymoon.

A poem.  There are many. Classics from school days and the more modern.  ee cummings is a favourite of mine - the lower case (and bracket vibe) has influenced me in many ways.  This one is pretty soppy and romantic, but beautiful.

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in 
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

A song.  So difficult. There are many but I would have to choose my "turning point song" - Dave Matthews - Crush.  I have told you about it before and you can see the video here too (if you want)

Dave Matthews, eesh 

A quote:-

What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.
John Ruskin

A piece of clothing.   I have this grey sleeveless cardigan that I have had for nearly 20 years.  I have pictures of myself wearing it in London in the mid 90's and at Amy's first birthday party but I do not have one on my computer (pretty strange).  It deserves a post of it's own.  I have been thin when I have worn it, fat when I have worn it, happy and sad.  I have worn it in summer and in winter.  It is soft and comfortable (and I think it hides my bum).  My family don't like it but it is the one item of clothing that has been the most used in my life and I love it.  
Grey Sleeveless Button Cardigan 
A bit like this one but slightly darker.

And finally, a place.  OK, you have guessed - New York.

Could be on a train anywhere, you say?  But on a subway heading for Manhattan
with Michael, Chris, Judy and Jaye (can't you see the Yankees cap behind me?  Silly you)

I have only spent 10 days of my life there but it was the most awesome, energising and exciting time.  I need to go back.  I want to explore more.  A part of me is scared to go back in case that was just a one-off magical time (but I don't think so).  I'll be back.

I mentioned "simplicity" in the first paragraph.  Sometimes a task you think will be simple and straightforward takes a lot longer than you think.  The music had to be sifted through, quotes I have in a file read through but the most difficult was finding the poem.  I hope this has got you thinking about which picture, song and poem you would use to "share your heart".

Friday, 23 March 2012

some thoughts for a friday

ffm is a great blog!

Hold your head up.  Always a good idea, except when sleeping (cos then you dribble and your head nods).  Also remember, while keeping your head up, to keep your eyes on the ground should there be something you could trip over.

Take an unplanned road trip.   Yip.  I love road trips and I have a "kind-of planned" trip to watch Nic play rugby in Kuils River tomorrow.  Gareth has just given Mike and I a GPS (TomTom) which he won in a sports quiz.  With some luck I will be able to find my way as I have been known to get lost as soon as I pass Toys R Us on the N1!!  Getting lost on an unplanned road trip is fine but not when you have to find the place before kick-off.

Be Thankful.  I am.  I am thankful everyday for my family and friends and the warmth and love we share.  I also read somewhere years ago that before you go to sleep you should make a list in your head of all the things that you have to be thankful for during the day - amazing how long the list often is and when it isn't or when you are too tired you can just be thankful that you are lying down on a bed, with a blanket and a roof over your head.

Try everything once.  Mmmmmmmmmm.......  I do have an adventurous spirit but things that I perhaps thought of trying in my 20's (like bungi jumping and skydiving) to conquer my fear of heights, I definitely will not try now.  Maybe I will be one of those 90 year old grannies that you see on the front page of the newspaper taking a tandem jump to enable them to have another tick on their bucket list.  (Don't think so).  I also believe in trying any foodstuff once, if you have tried it and don't like it fair enough but how can you not like mushrooms or bananas if you have never tasted them.  I can't even think of anything that I don't like and there still is lots to try.  Have you seen this list - (100 foods to try before you die).

Colour outside the lines.  Things we tell our children but as we get older we realise that if we all coloured inside the lines the world would be very boring.  Change the rules, make you own designs but perhaps a good idea to stay on the page.  Am I understanding it correctly?

Fall in love.  Good call.  Tick.

Embrace change.  Cliche and not always easy but things will always change and best to accept change that cannot be changed - call me Confucius.

change the way you think 

Trust in yourself.  Cliche - Who else can you trust if you can't trust yourself?

Do what you love.  Wish this one was easy - Stop  work, stay home, write, garden, visit friends, see movies, drink wine, do lunch.  One day.  Keep dreaming.

Dance when everyone is looking.  Oh my word - not really for me.  Brings back a memory from about 2 years ago with a Ikey's rugby Christmas Party.  Lovely party.  I gave Michael and Matthew my "Don't Stop Me Now, I'm having a Good Time" look.  They were ready to go home and as we left the captain pulled Michael and I into the middle of the dance floor.  The team then made a circle.  Thank goodness for Michael - he is not scared to pull a few moves on the dance floor and I edged my way to the outskirts of the circle (where I danced sedately (with my handbag on my arm)).  Only afterwards in the car with Matthew and Michael did I sing the words of the song he had just danced to Michael - Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire!!  He will forever remember that song and whenever he hears it, he pulls a few dance moves.

My favourite party song or "Please don't take me home, song"

Eat dessert first.  Oooh another memory.  My father and his ex-wife had a very fat friend called Judy.  She was a total scream and we loved spending time with her in Port Elizabeth.  It was those 70's days when buffet meals were the order of the day.  We went off to the Elizabeth Hotel for a meal one Saturday night and she headed straight for the dessert trolley.  "I made the mistake once of not having any space for desserts - never again".  She tucked into her chocolate mousse while we started off with the cold fish buffet.

Be nice to everyone.  We can only try.  No promises.

Send thank you cards.  I received a real thank you letter, in an envelope with a proper stick on stamp, written in ink from my friend Linda last week thanking me for her birthday gift.  It was delivered to our office and our postman, although we have a letterbox always parks his bicycle on our front wall, delivers his letters down the road and comes back to personally deliver our post.  Old school.  I like it.

Be the change you want to see in the world.  Cliche - No comment - Delete

Play in the rain.  Fun and happens often to me as I never have an umbrella and don't mind getting wet if the weather is not too cold.

Break the rules once in a while.  Always, that is why we colour outside the lines, Silly!!

Do random acts of kindness.  Cliche - Delete

Forgive even when it is hard.   Good policy

Make time for the family.  Always

Don't count the minutes count the laughs.  Cliche - delete

I really must stop this pinning habit.  It has sucked me in completely.  What about this one?

Just be... #life #quotation 
Have to cross out "hot baths" - a torture for me, not an indulgence.  Just be.

This is more like it.  Delete whatever you read before.

One Life 
Act accordingly!!  I like it.

Monday, 19 March 2012

some pictures to tell a story

I have a little godchild,
Darcey (very cute, hey?)

She turned 3 last week and had her birthday party on the banks of the Liesbeeck River in Bishopscourt Village.  Do any of you know about the stunning area just off Upper Noreen Road that has been built around the river? The River Project which was started by residents in 2004 and has been developed into a beautiful oasis with benches, mushroom tables and logs to sit on with walkways and beautiful plants.  It is so tranquil and peaceful you would never know that you were a stones throw from the highway.  The children loved it.  A couple of older brothers enjoyed sliding down the banks and jumping across the stones in the river (luckily the river is very low at the moment).  The little girls too filled buckets with water while eating cupcakes all dressed up like forest fairies.
Darcey the birthday forest fairy
The mothers chatted and seemed as relaxed as mothers of 3 years old children at a birthday party could be.  It was a great idea and perfect setting for a party (for 3 year old little girls).  The mind boggles at what 7 or 8 year old boys would do with stones and a river and a potential mud slide into the river!!
Wooden walkways 
Steps leading down to the river (potential mudslide bank on the other side of the river)
Giant salvia
(sorry can't find the proper name now)
Plectranthus Ambiguus - my bestest
Uncle Charles and the Clivia
Shady bench
It is a wonderful place for lunch or a picnic.  I am not so sure if the residents are happy about all the cars and   foreigners visiting the area but what a treat to have some green open public space available.  We were only talking about the lack of places to sit outside in the Claremont area the other day.  The Arderne Gardens used to be a safe and lovely place to visit but it has changed and it is also a little too far to walk from the central Claremont area.  So please take a visit sometime to this spot, you will be enchanted (no mudsliding Kathy!!)

And then not to be undone, I thought I should show you a few more Blackberry pictures of the Pletranthus Ambiguus in my garden. 

and my ice cream bushes
and some more under the Plane tree with the Clivia (Uncle Charles did not come home with me)
(AND YES it is a big empty magnum of champagne, Aunty Norma!!)

Thanks for all you help and input on the camera front.  The camera has been ordered and paid for and will be delivered to Kathy's hotel in New York tomorrow.  Amazon.com is amazing (don't know why they did not call it Amazin.com).  I get emails every couple of hours telling me where the camera is in the postal system and reminding me that I cannot change my mind anymore.   In the end, I went with a Nikon - none of the models which I had cut my list down to but the Nikon was at a very good price and the same model costs around R3 500 in Cape Town.  I got it for about R1 600 and it worked out to be a far better saving that what I could get on any of the other models.  For the R500 saving on the Canon or Sony, I was thinking that it would be better to then rather buy it in Cape Town and have the benefit of a guarantee.  This Nikon looks great, and according to my brother-in-law Colin, (who knows all about gadgets), it is a good deal.  But I am sorry for giving you my final 5 options, asking for your advice and then choosing something else.  It is also half of what I was prepared to spend so I have some change (to buy sunglasses and replace some of the other stuff that went with my handbag).
It also takes full HD movies and those pictures where you can have everything black and white and can just pick up one colour.  
Something like this

So, your whole table of friends sitting having fun in black and white with just the wine looking red in the glasses (but that would be lying because I have white wine).  Except tonight.  Nic and I had a glass (OK two for me) of red with our very chili supper.  I am becoming a champion chili sauce maker (but more about that tomorrow).  Bedtime!!
Imagine the poppies were glasses of red wine
(and the friends had fallen under the table)
It does give you an idea of what I am talking about
Bedtime Jennifer!!!
(and no more red wine for you)