I’ve made a little list

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I have so many things running through my mind at the moment, most of them not too great, so I thought that, in the style of Gilbert & Sullivan, I will make a little list of things that piss me off and hopefully that way I can let some of it go, for I’m sure that none of them will be missed.
  • SA Parliament. Can they get anymore unprofessional and childish?
  • Work. Why is everything such a mess all of a sudden? Processes that used to work suddenly is being ignored and we are bombarded with emails telling us to remember things, that we will NEVER remember
  • Certain colleagues who suddenly think things do not apply to them and need special treatment or do not have to follow any processes any more
  • This constant headache that just does not seem to go away
  • My shit internet connectivity. How is it possible to be ok one week and the next week all you get is Edge even though it says you have full signal. I just don’t understand
  • Dealing with call centres. Especially (and almost exclusively) to get shit internet sorted out
  • People who do not download complete seasons of Series. Seriously, be cool and just check that you have all the episodes. I know I should be grateful that I can copy your shit, but seriously I am assuming at some stage you would also want to watch it and good luck piecing together what happened in the missing episodes
  • Contestants on Reality TV shows who cry in front of the judges
  • The fact that everyone interviewed on these competition shows have seriously soppy stories. Nobody can just be a great performer, or singer or whatever it is they do. They all have had to go through some shitty ordeal. This might in fact be the thing that pisses me off the most.
  • People who starts playing a song and then skip it after 30 seconds, and then do the same to the next song and the next and the next. Seriously, pick a song and play it. How difficult is that?
  • People who compare Harry Potter and Twilight. Seriously, they are 2 completely separate and different stories. The only thing they have in common is that they are both book series and written by female authors.
  • When they carry on making more seasons of a series even though the story lines are depleted and most of the original cast has left the show, just because it is a cash cow. Grey’s Anatomy, I’m looking at you in particular, but not exclusively
  • This new fad of splitting movies into 2 or 3 parts to make more money, and then making us wait a whole year before releasing the next installment. I get it, Hollywood, you are a greedy bastard, but have you ever heard of double features? So how about making your damn multiple movies, keeping them until they are all done and then releasing them all together. Happy audiences and tons of money for you. It’s a win/win situation
  • People who create memes and then spell something wrong on them, then they get retweeted, repinned and spread around. Seriously? You made the effort to do all that, but it was just too much further effort to hit spellcheck?

My obsession

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I am definitely obsessed with books and reading. Even though I have more unread books on my shelf and my Kindle than I can read in 5 years, I cannot stop buying more books or adding books to my endless To-Be-Read-Lists. This year I at least decided to face my problem and unlike the last 3 years, I did not vow to stop buying more books. That is a very good thing, as I ended up buying 14 books last week at the Exclusive Books Eastgate, closing down sale. Even though I do not even have the space on my bookshelves to add the new books, but I did get a decent collection.

On top of the 101 Books to Read Before You Die list I have been working through the last couple of years, I have also decided to do the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge this year and these are the books I chose for the categories:

A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65
Inside, Outside, Herman Wouk
A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people)
The Collected Stories, Eudora Welty
A book published by an indie press
The Last Horror Novel in the History of the World, Brian Allen Carr
A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ
Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx
A book by a person whose gender is different from your own
The Scarlett Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
A book that takes place in Asia
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
A book by an author from Africa
Agaat, Marlene van Niekerk
A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)
Princess, Jean Sasson
A microhistory
Stiff, Mary Roach
A YA novel
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
A sci-fi novel
The Martian, Andy Weir
A romance novel
Possession, AS Byatt
A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade
The Goldfinch, Donna Tart
A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)
Before Midnight, Cameron Dokey
An audiobook
A Tale of 2 Cities, Charles Dickens
A collection of poetry
Prelude to Bruise, Saeed Jone
A book that someone else has recommended to you
The Unbearable likeness of Being, Milan Kundera
A book that was originally published in another language
The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind (Hi, have you met Panels?)
Still need to decided as I do not usually read graphic novels
A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over)
The Brightest Star in the Sky, Marian Keys
A book published before 1850
Vanity Fairm, William Makepeace Thackeray
A book published this year
Still to decide but there is 11 months of the year to wait for a new book
A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”)
This is How, Augusten Burroughs

*I have already ticked off 3 books on the Read Harder Challenge, so things are off to a great start

On top of that I have also decided to do the Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge, but have not specified all the books in the categories as I thought I can leave that open to complete as I pick up books during the course of the year. Unlike the Read Harder Challenge, I have decided that for the Popsugar Challenge books can overlap categories, otherwise I will just have way too many books that I can possibly read in 1 year.

So between all these challenges, I am sure to reach my reading goal of at least 75 books for 2015

Everything is so crowded

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I live in this very, very small flat. I have been living here going on 2 years now and the space is getting smaller and more suffocating as the months go by. I have been “reorganising” it basically since I moved in here, and after spending about 4 hours on Saturday, rearranging and shuffling my lounge furniture around, I have a half-way decent lay-out, which I am pretty sure I will be sick off in a couple of months.

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This is just the lounge bit, behind the couch is a massive mess of disarray and thing that just does not want to fit into the space. I have already gotten rid of my dining room table and had moved my glass outside table inside, as our massive hail storms almost destroyed it one time, but I can just not get my space into any comfortable, flowing area. It’s very frustrating and fucking up the little bit of inner calm I have.

Now I know the solution would be to just move, but it is not that easy. I have a few problems that makes moving almost impossible while I have to live in Joburg, and I am not willing to go through the torture of house hunting in this godforsaken city again. The first time around was bad enough and I barely survived the emotional distress it caused me. My problems are:

  • I work in Joburg, so because of the cost of petrol, e-tolls (or whatever is going to happen with that) and the hours I work, it just does not pay for me to live in Pretoria.
  • I have a really convenient job, so changing jobs just at the moment is not an option
  • I refuse to pay more than a certain amount in rent, and that severely limits my options in Joburg, as everything is crazy expensive compared to Pretoria
  • I have pets, a cat and a dog. Joburg seems to hate pets and I made hundreds of calls to rental agencies, complexes and personal ads who all have a “no pets rule” and the places I went to look at that allowed pets, is not fit for wild dogs to live in

So for now I am stuck in this tiny, affordable, ok flat and I will just have to keep on rearranging furniture until I can find a better flow. I must also focus on the little problem of want vs need. If I want something, I consider it a need and that explains the massive amount of stuff I have, from kitchen goodies, to books, dvds, shoes and a million other things I probably did not need. So I will have to figure out this want vs need thing and get that under control. I might need charts … in colour… with pictures…

I’m a winner!

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Hours I’ve been awake today: 2
Cups of coffee I’ve had today: 2
Episodes of Mentalist watched today: 2
Pages of a novel read: 37
Hours studying for Monday’s exam: 0

So I am not having a very productive day so far, in fact, I have not been very productive this whole week. That despite the fact that I have 2 exams coming up next week, I have a very disorganised lounge/dining room as my rearranging it did not work out the way I saw it in my mind and I have a weight loss challenge with my dad that started on Tuesday and I’m only now trying to work out a healthy eating plan for it.

The only sparkle in my week so far is that I finally received my prize I won from Masterchef SA, Nederburg and Le Creuset!

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I have wanted to start my Le Creuset collection for a couple of years now but just could not decide what colour range to go with and now my colour scheme has been chosen for me by Le Creuset themselves; Cerise.

It feels so great winning something, especially when it’s things you love, like Nederburg wine and Le Creuset!

Celebrating a furry birthday

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My little monkey turned 13 yesterday and we celebrated with a quiet lunch of her favourite take-out, sushi. She absolutely adores sushi and that is the one type of food where she forgets all her manners and doggy training and normally tries to grab it out of my plate or mouth when I eat it. Needless to say, she devoured her little plate in seconds.

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It has been an emotional couple of weeks for me, when it comes to my little girl. Firstly, her mommy, Bambi, died in August. She lived with my dad and we always used to joke that his order of children goes me, Bambi and then my sister. She had a heart attack on my dad’s lap as he was driving her to the vet. She was almost 15 years old. She is still missed and our hearts still hurt when we talk about her.

Then about 4 weeks ago, my little monkey got sick. She had a bit of a cough and cold, like she usually gets in the winter or when it rains a lot, but something else was wrong too. She was acting in a way I have never seen before. So after rushing her to the vet, she was diagnosed with a heart murmur and her heart was beating at only 40% capacity, which means she was not getting enough oxygen. She was put on cronic heart medication and 2 days later already showed amazing improvement. When her antibiotics ran out, she still had a cough and had also developed this weird gasping breathing when she sleeps. So back to the vet I went and after having x-rays taken, my vet’s suspicions were confirmed and she was also diagnosed with a partially collapsed trachea. For which there is no treatment but I am also assured that she is in no pain.

Needless to say, I have cried more over the last 2 months than I have in years and having to face my little Thumper’s mortality has been very hard and not something I have really been able to cope with. 13 years of raising and loving one of the cutest, bitchiest, naughtiest, most unique doglets ever forms a bond and having to face that one day she will not be around is breaking my heart.

Living on a farm, we’ve had a lot of dogs growing up and I loved them all, but I have only had 3 dogs that were mine and whom I loved completely with all my heart. The first was Snoekie, a little min pinch cross I picked out of a litter when I was 4 years old. She grew up to be 18 and she died in my arms. Then came Bambi whom I had to leave behind with my dad when I went to college, but she was treated like a queen in his care and I have seen him break each and every one of his pet rules when he accepted Bambi into his care. And then came little Thumper, born on my bed, very early in the morning of my very first matric finals exams

And as I sit here typing this post, biting back tears and thinking of the wonderful dogs who were and still is, part of my life, how wonderful and different and unique they all were and how much I have loved each of them, I do not think my heart will be cope with the loss of another one. Even though, I know it is the cycle of life and inevitable, I cannot stand the heartache.

It’s more than just dust and music

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Oppikoppi was definitely the highlight of August, and the rest of the month was lived in the shadows that are known as Post Koppi Depression. For a while there, I though I was going to miss yet another year because over the last 3 years all my friends had suddenly gotten “too old” for things like music festivals (even the ones younger than me). But I caught a lucky break in July, when I mentioned it to GB who was in exactly the same position as me. GB and I have been friends for a long time, but over the last few years, our friendship has morphed into 2 or 3 visits a year and a couple of phone calls. This is a perfectly natural thing when one friend starts having children, because no matter how anti-children they were before the baby comes, once it is here, it is the topic of 98% of conversations. But such is life, and that is a topic for another day. So after getting permission from his wife, we bought our tickets for Oppikoppi and the excitement started.

GB was so excited and he tried to plan everything, even though he has only been to the 2nd Oppikoppi, 18 years ago. This turned into daily phone calls (sometimes as many as 3 or 4 calls a day). It was insane, after a while I kept saying to him he should stop calling me so much as we didn’t even have anything new to talk about, he just laughed and kept calling and we would have the same conversation over and over again.  But eventually the 6th arrived and it was time for us to drive to Northam where our adventure began.

Now let me just say that even though the phone calls were way too much for me, and there was the Thursday of me being super irritated at GB for many, many reasons (all of them valid), the rest of the time we had a great time, we got along well and by Sunday, even though I could not wait to go pick up my little princess (the doglet), take a long hot shower and be by myself again, we were still friends, and after 2 days of phone calls, I am yet to hear from him again. So our friendship is intact.

Every one who has ever been to Oppikoppi will agree that there is just no way to describe how awesome it is. It’s like Oppikoppi is it’s own little planet where like-minded, yet totally different people come together for the love of music, alcohol, dust and a good time. Everything, from the minute you unpack the car and strangers come over to help you set up your tent, to jumping up and down in front of a stage with thousands of fans singing along to your favourite bands and finally having to pack up after 3 glorious days to return to the real world and saying goodbye to the strangers who are now new friends, is what makes Oppikoppi one of the best experiences ever.. 

A little lesson from Shawshank Redemption

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I love the Shawshank Redemption and have watched it many times before, but this last time, something Andy said actually stuck with me. It was right after he did his 2 months in the box and he was talking to Red, he said “It is time to get busy living or get busy dying”. It’s quite a profound statement actually and it got me thinking about my current state of being.

I need to get busy living!

I was thinking what I love doing (besides reading) and the answer is dancing. I really like dancing. I used to do ballroom dancing, years back but gave it up as it was too expensive and as I hardly ever go to clubs anymore, I haven’t danced in ages. While I am not going to join classes any time soon (damn finances, and being super unfit), I have decided to look for my ballroom dance music and will start practicing at home again, just get into the swing of things. This will have a double positive influence as it counts as exercise and I will be doing something I love.

When I was young, I used to think being a dancer was the most fabulous thing to be, but then again it might have to do with all the feathers and glitter.

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