31 July 2013

Re-looking Constant Connection

I have been pondering over the ongoing issue of connectivity in this world we find ourselves living in today. We are all slaves to it to some degree; life today requires connectivity but the degree of our entrapment remains our choice.

I am the first one to admit that I embrace technology wholeheartedly. The problem I am finding is that my face is glued to my super-awesome phone for many more minutes a day than I would like. The first assumption my kids (friends, acquaintances etc) make is that I am immersing myself in social media. Yes, I use Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. I use Whatsapp and iMessage but much of my time on my phone is spent doing the following:

  • Research for lessons
  • Watching YouTube instructional videos for a myriad of reasons including learning how to use my Mac, iTunes, fixing my fridge, how to crochet, how make ice cream, how to build various projects, how to do woodwork  - the list is endless but none of the tutorials are AIMLESS; each one has value to what I / we are involved in at that time in our lives.
  • Emailing
  • Banking
  • Photo editing
  • Reading the news
  • Finding noteworthy applications that we can use daily for life or education

The trick is how to avoid the trap of doing everything 'on-the-go'.  I tell myself I am just super-efficient and that technology makes my life so much easier but just because I CAN DO all these things on my phone does not mean I have to do it Right Here, Right Now. 

This is incredibly difficult for me - as thoughts fly into my ever-thinking brain I have the immense satifsication of being able to action them on my phone IMMEDIATELY. Sadly this is not good because often I am with other people (usually my family) and they become a soft blur in the background. I hate that I do this and it causes constant internal conflict for me.

Rachel will be getting her Blackberry within this year. She does not want it but I need her to have it. I need to develop my own healthy habits with regard to cellphone use before I can expect her to do the same. 

I realise I have been around this mountain before but I do believe that Technology-Creep is an ever-present reality and that pausing to reassess my position annually and making necessary adjustment can only be a healthy habit.

30 July 2013

Still kicking

It has been a while since my last post. I am often really short on time; priorities have shifted but I do want to try keep the family blog updated as often as I can.

As most of you know we said farewell to my sis and BIL yesterday - their new adventure has started in Luxembourg as of this morning. He (my BIL) was head-hunted and been given a 10yr contract with the company - a wonderful opportunity for them to live in and travel Europe - something they have both desired for many years.

While everyone reminds me that technology keeps us all close I do require some time to come to terms with the fact that she is phyically no longer here. She lived 5minutes down the road, taught at my kids school and was pretty much around. Remarkably we did not see each other much but as everyone knows that is Not The Point. Ugh. Anyyyyways.

Sibs minus one (who was down with manful)

I have been walking the hounds at least twice a week at the beach while Faith dances. Luke has become increasingly annoying in that he is taking off and not listening to me. That makes me mental. Earlier this week he disappeared completely. I had to leave the beach to fetch Faith from dancing and then returned to look for him only to find him cavorting with some random dogs. Once he saw me be bolted to me and jumped in the car oblivious to the chaos he caused. Little shite. I should probably just drop him off in the mornings and pick him up an hour later! ;-/

They have zero concept of personal space.

In other news - our schools market day happened this past weekend. It has been months in the planning and I have been co-anchor of making sure everything worked out so there was MAJOR stress and sleepless nights. This is the first time our little school has put on such a large fundraiser but it all worked out even better than I had imagined. The feedback from all fronts,  especially from our community, has been excellent.

I was truly exhausted - my co-chair and I were probably the only people at the event that did NOT eat, drink or get time to browse; we simply rushed from pillar to post and made sure things were ticking over. Thankfully we have roughly another year before we do it all again. (altho she is homeschooling next year so I have no clue how I am going to pull it off without her!)

I bought an 'old fashioned' phone at the market.....I cant stand the fact that if the power goes out for any reason our cordless techy phones dont work. I like to have the old school one on hand. My kids got SUCH a kick out of dialling and talking and hearing it ring. Small things hey?

22 July 2013

Bullets from a Weekend

That title could be literal....can you believe gunmen held up some church folk down the drag from us recently? Thankfully no-one was hurt but it certainly threw a curve-ball. Someone needs to let the baddies know that

a) church is casual nowadays so check your attire fit with the church you plan to heist
b) most cash is thrown via eft so dont waste your time
c) God may be ticked if you mess with His peeps

Anyyyyyway, moving on to my weekend. Which did not include church.

  • Friday night we had my sis and BIL over for a non-farewell farewell dinner. Lovely evening; of course now wishing we had done it more often in the 15-odd years we have lived streets apart. 

  • Saturday I had brekky with my sis and some mutual friends. We headed to the beach - a spectacular morning and great way to start the day.

  • I have no idea what I did that afternoon which probably means I watched tv or read a book? Oh wait! I sketched. True story. I sketched some very scary faces but I want to learn so I guess it means I have to try. I would post them here to show you but am not going to because they are very bad. 

  • Sunday morning found me lazing in bed while Russ went to church. I later cleaned house, yelled at the kids a little and then decided to take them to movies at Blue Route as we are apparently The Only People who have not seen Despicable Me 2. 

  • Horror of horrors the show was sold out at Blue Route so we had to go to Cavendish. My worst place in Cape Town. Its just a great Hall of Consumeristic Chaos. Argh. I had to breath deep and remember to smile as my kids had a jol and were just stoked to be out and about. As in 'out the valley'. 

  • We returned home just after 5pm and I immediately pulled on my running shoes and headed out to shake off the mall-vibe. Had an incredible run with the sun setting on my heels and found the girls catching tadpoles on my return route home. 

Normality. Nothing quite like it.

18 July 2013

Possibly Controversial?

I did eventually find my way out of my funk yesterday. Not in the bottom of a coffee cup although I did try, but instead by taking my whole family running! (Ness - you were right!)

The guy with me is a classmate from my youth; and an occasional trail run partner.

We all headed to the local time trials in our area and had a wonderful time - I was struck by how quickly it gets dark and felt a right twit in all my black gear! Next week headlamp and reflective gear for all of us.

There is much talk around the 67mins for Mandela and while I think it is noteworthy and a wonderful tribute to a great man I do get that 'rebelliousness' rising up in me.

If another person asks me what I am doing for our 67mins I may be forced to ask them what they are doing with THEIR LIVES.

I know. I am being obnoxious but I really feel that we should aspire to lives of '67min' moments you know?

So...for the record I have nothing official planned for the 67mins today but I applaud everyone around the country who is stepping out and doing something for the upliftment of their fellow countrymen.

17 July 2013

Belligerent Mel is in the House

After my previous post where it was all looking so neat and rosy .... now I am having one of those remarkably annoying days.

I think it may well be a culmination of grievances and things 'not going according to plan'. 

Due to factors beyond my control (isn't that always the case?) demands are again being placed on my time and I find this week I have not ONE uninterrupted morning.

Granted I do not need a full 4 hours to school my kid every day  but I also cannot have my time broken up into little bits and pieces - it is driving me (and her) nuts.

I think I may have been somewhat to vocal about just how much (or little) time we actually need to do school and now expectations are again creeping in and demands on my time are piling up.

I want to swear right now. A lot.

I had a school meeting this morning around our Market Day which is being held in 10 days time. Let's just say Belligerent Mel made an appearance and I knew I needed to excuse myself. Fast. (bearing in mind I had already sat in said meeting for 90mins).

Anyyyyyyway, such is life and I really should have more grace for people who are different from me. Perhaps I will find it in the bottom of a coffee mug? ;-)

15 July 2013

Third Quarter

New term = new opportunities for good habits.

Last term Russell and I both battled to find a rhythm and a structure to our days. There were days we felt disillusioned and downcast.

Both of us agree that what sets tone to our days is EXERCISE.

For him that means gym at 5am daily and lists.

For me that DOES NOT mean gym at 5am daily. Or anything else at 5am for that matter.

For me is means running at least 4 days a week, cross training and creative expression time.

To this end I have structured my days to include 30min runs on Monday and Tuesdays; an hour on a Thursday and my long run on a weekend.

On a Tuesday I will be attending a drawing class from 1030 -12. This is a scary thing for me as my drawing skills are, well, I have no skills. At all.

 Faith will join me; will be really interesting to see how she copes with an adult sketching class.....one thing I know....she will do amazing things!


The new term is upon us.

Once again Lulu and I are gearing up - me eldest has decided she is not ready for homeschooling and would prefer to finish her primary schooling years in formal education....and we relook things for high school. I think she has showed great wisdom in her decision even though I would have been happy to school her at home.

This term holds all kinds of opportunities as I am now captain of this ship. Last term I took Lulu out of school mid-term and we kind of floundered around a bit finding a rhythm and seeing how best to play out the homeschool gig.

This term I have a very clear idea of how life is going to look.

Last term we studied the life of Anne Frank and it proved to be a wonderful experience; this term we will be looking at the remarkable life of our very own Nelson Mandela. Such a pertinent subject right now as the media spotlight falls on him daily; if only the world would let him pass in peace! There has been much discussion at home around who he was in the life of South Africans so it feels perfectly natural to take that into our classroom.

We will also be starting the fabulous Story of the World series - this book as been on my shelf for YEARS and I am so excited to have the opportunity to actually meander through it with Lulu.

This morning Lulu spent time refreshing her memory around bonds (addition/subtraction) using XtraMath.

From there she spent time painting a ceramic pot for a plant that is fast outgrowing its current home - while she did this I began reading the kids version of The Long Walk to Freedom.

Break time for her meant making herself a snack and playing with the dogs while I went out for a quick 5k run.

Last order of business today will be lesson 1 from our new Math-U-See Gamma Curriculum and then some narration from our book this morning.

Happy week to you all!

13 July 2013

About the Furniture

I think everyone knows I have been on a massive mission to re-vamp some furniture in my home.

The arrival of Annie Sloan paint on SA soil has made many previously challenging endeavours far more manageable.

I have done quite a few tables which have been seen in previous posts but my energies lately have been aimed at rejuvenating a really rather unattractive cupboard.

not pretty but stored loads and loads of stuff!

The entire unit as is is probably worth R200 at the most so I did not want to spend much cash on the actual piece. I essentially wanted to slap on some paint and change the drawer handles. Initially I had dreams of using old maps (or map fabric) on the top and sealing it with a large piece of glass or perspex. Both these options proved outrageously expensive (R600 - R800)

Taking the doors off - will repurpose them someday soon

Glass handles, pallet crates and Mr Price boxes
The crates I had specially made at Harry Goeimans Nursery and I feel they really make this piece special. One day when I grow tired of the unit I will probably put them on castors and use them as under-bed storage or for firewood or or or. Such a versatile item.

The handles for the drawers were found at Heart and Home - a wonderful place to browse and find beautiful things for your home

Fortunately I spotted this grey table runner on clearance at Mr Price Home and just knew it would do the trick. At the same time I found the lovely grey/white French inspired boxes for the lower tier.

I am pretty stoked that I actually finished this. I have a rather ugly habit of starting projects with great gusto and then either NOT finishing or finishing in a hurry - this time I ran the gauntlet, did the hard graft and am grateful that it turned out so well.

12 July 2013

About Running

I havent spoken about the running aspect of my life for some time. I think it was Ostrich in the Sand syndrome. I have tapered dramatically the last 2 months due to some trouble with my left foot which I believed to be plantar fasciitis. I did the research and decided to treat it myself and even took a month off, truly believing this could help.

Well it did not.  In fact, stopping running is the worst thing for my body. I know it sounds weird but if I don't run then I get tight, achey in my joints, sore back and just general lethargy seeps into me like tar. Seriously. It just sucks - I feel like a duracell bunny running out of juice! The foot didnt get any better either.

I decided to go and see the physio on Friday and HEY PRESTO - nothing that cannot be fixed. Hurt like the blazes as she worked into the area but the news was all good.

Essentially, due to an old hockey injury on my left ankle, I pronate quite badly which is causing the pain in the fascia area. I had not struggled before as I was wearing supportive running shoes. Now I run in minimal shoes and it is flaring.

Two options:

1. Stick an orthotic in my natural/minimal shoes and run.


2. Do the rehab - strengthen my ankle, build the arch and teach myself to walk/
run neutrally on the left side. This also means running in a supported shoe until that foot is strong again.

I am not a fan of orthotics unless it is the ONLY option so I am going to do the time/exercises I reckon I will be back to full speed within a month. #eternaloptimist

Truth is I am just happy to be able to run again knowing that there is no serious problem - I have taken the leap and entered the infamous Camel Run on 1 September to get me working on a goal again.

01 July 2013

About Mcgregor

We spent a lovely few nights in Mcgregor with my folks. As always a time of rest  and rejuvenation.

our beautiful home away from home (with en-suite and flatscreen... ;-)

We had exquisite weather

The weather was lovely and I even got to tinker around with restoring an old garden table.

 Braai time!

Mischief in the making

fav family shot featuring King Photobomber

Highlight - riding Grandpa's motorbike

Good times!