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Another week…oh boy, these are going by so fast now!

13 October , 2014

Seriously. Where the hell is time going? Whoosh! All gone.

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We had a bit of drama in the week. You see, sometimes my mom will fetch Nicola for me from school, especially on a Wednesday or a Friday when we have dinner with them. It takes a bit of time to get Nicola, get Polka, and then head over – so it really helps a lot if I only have to pick up Polka.

This week Nicola decided that she wanted Oupa to come and fetch her…only one problem, Oupa was presenting training all day out of town on Wednesday and said he couldn’t make it.

Nicola was inconsolable, and somehow got from that Oupa didn’t want to come and pick her up, instead of Oupa wanted to but just couldn’t. There was sobbing of the first degree until I managed to distract her with roasting marshmallows over a candle in the kitchen. Even so, she still wasn’t over it – just a bit calmer. I gave it my best shot, but she just could not be reasoned with on this. She made it quite clear that her little heart was BROKEN.

Thank goodness Oupa managed to wrap up the training a bit earlier than expected and picked her up after all! Isn’t he just a hero? I know Nicola and I thought so for sure. :-) 

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I wasn’t actually trying to catch the brooding face – I wanted to show her the colour of her eyes. She reckons they’re yellow. ;-)

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This was what we looked at from the smoking balcony last week. Second fire in that street for the week! It got fairly big at one stage before the fire brigade rocked up to snuff it out – I hope no one got hurt, but I’m assuming the best since I didn’t hear anything on the news.

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Cramer’s coffee run with the team on Friday. I have pics of the team, obviously, but I’m not posting those. ;-)

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Amaryllis blooming in my parents’ garden. I was going to link it to Wikipedia, but theirs don’t look like these at all, but I’m still pretty sure that’s what this is. We’ve called it the Amerillo for the better part of 20 years, so it might be a bit awkward if it turns out to be something else all of a sudden.

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And again at my parents’ house – these lovely Pin Cushion Proteas. They eventually turn into a shrub, but at the moment this one looks more like a ground cover. A very pretty ground cover.

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At a family birthday party over the weekend. These three made turns to be on top, and generally got on like a house on fire. Nicola was laughing so much that quite a few people joined in, it was just so contagious and joyful. :-)

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Who’s a pretty bird? ;-)

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My cuzz Melanie, one of the three birthday peeps.

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With her parents. My uncle was also celebrating his birthday – I somehow managed to not take a photo of the third birthday pal.

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Melaans and I.

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Nicola sure loves helping out when I water the garden. Well, she does some interesting dance moves…I think she’s impersonating a sprayer or a fire-fighter. ;-) It’s a hoot when she gets completely tangled in the hose from clowning around.

It’s fun to watch…if you don’t mind getting wet and having to change outfits after. She certainly doesn’t mind! I think I need to show her how to operate the washing machine and see if that helps her mind just a bit more?

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Casting a beady eye on Oupa’s potjie yesterday. Yum!

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The  family chilling outside – getting HUNGRY. Potjie can’t be rushed.

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The BIG sulk after I said she couldn’t swim because she was already getting sick. I did eventually second guess myself on this one and let it be, but with the understanding that I wanted no lip when we worked our way through the coughs, colds and flu meds that night.

Seriously, is there anything more sucky than NOT ebing able to swim on a day perfect for it. Especially when cousins are visiting and everyone is set to be having fun in the pool? No…there isn’t.

That’s why I’ll put up with the Vicks, Mucospect and Panado this week. It’s okay. The fun we had was worth it, I guess.

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How cute is that?! :-D

Yip, I’m glad I let her have her fun.

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Starting a band, baby…starting a band.

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After swimming everybody settled down for some cartoons and lollipops – what’s not to like? :-)

PS! Studying, still going on and on and on…

PPS! Secret place – absolute chaos at times. I had to escalate an urgent matter on Thursday and got the most insane/inane response back. I felt like I could have a bit of a cry behind my desk about that one…but in the end, after deleting very wordy, strong worded-wordy replies obviously – three of them – I decided to just reply back with something along the lines of “No”. *sigh* I’m in SMH-ville. You know, when a building is on fire – some people will still question the need for an evacuation. My mail had nothing to do with fires or buildings, but you get the idea. I’m also not in the habit of escalating things just for the sake of keeping people’s inboxes well stocked with crisises. When I say it’s serious…you better bloody believe it.

PPPS! I am STRESSING out over a great many things at the moment. So. Many. Things. I have to remind myself to calm the fuck down and take one day at a time. Double bag my brown paper breathing bag if I have to, and just get on with it. Just think, by January next year I’m going to look back at how stressed I was and think to myself, “Haha, that was silly. Now THIS is real stress!”

PPPPS! Can everybody stop posting to fb how many stupid days are left until Christmas. I can read a calendar as good as the next person and I haven’t done any shopping yet. You are not helping my stress levels at all. Grrr…

PPPPPS! I also haven’t booked a bloody thing for Nicola’s birthday party yet. I’m thinking I’m going to scale this gala of hers down a little bit. Maybe. Or maybe not. I don’t know yet. Which is why I haven’t booked anything yet. I will draw a line in the sand for myself by the end of this month one way or another.

PPPPPPS! How the hell do you get through a year with your three or four weeks leave once your baby hits the formal schooling environment?! I am literally going to use up ALL leave over December/January (as I always do), but then there’s more needed in March/April again. What the hell am I going to do then?! What do the rest of you do?

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Living in interesting times

6 October , 2014

Caught this driving in to work one morning – I’m more a close ups of leaves and gazillion photos of my loved ones type of photo taker, but it was pretty with the clouds and the light and the sky line the way it was. This stretch of road is what I like to think of as the final gauntlet of taxis before I get to the office. Drive it, and you will constantly be amazed and how very little people are bothered by the K53 or general rules of common sense and personal safety.

I guess you could say it makes you grateful to be alive in a way… ;-)

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Cloud gazing…

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Gazed clouds from previous photo. Nicola of course thinks it’s hilarious that you can see a cloud burst if you look in the right spot.

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If you’re my fb buddy, you may have seen this already. Polka went for a parlour visit on Saturday. This is what the parlour calls a cowboy cut. I thought it was a schnauzer cut, but to clear up confusion I showed the manager a photo of more or less what I had in mind and this is what we ended up with. Too cute!

Oh, I have to tell you this: Nicola has picked up some Sotho at school, and when she moans at Polka for chewing something this is her language of choice. I don’t think Polka understands, although she might pick up on the sentiment expressed. I know I don’t understand most of it, but I do pick up a word here and there. She let rip with something-something, wena. I get the wena bit…means you. so I asked her what she was saying. She reckons she was telling Polka to stop. That’s not what I suspected she was saying, so I asked my dad to translate (he is somewhat fluent in it). It really meant I am going to hit you, which I guess implies the stop command – hahaha! The origin of this phrase appears to be one of the Teaching assistants at school, who didn’t realise she was giving Sotho lessons too – but who does now. ;-)

She’s definitely got an ear for languages, this pink terrorist. Sunday night when we said goodbye to my folks, she wished my dad ” Bonsoir!”

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Nicola wants in on the photo op.

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Ouma bought Nicola this skirt and she LOVES it! Of course when you wear something like this, you have to dance everywhere you go. ;-)

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Pensive in pink…

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We managed to work in a couple of quality naps over the weekend. We are all so very tired. Must be this time of the year, right?

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We were robbed (or surprise landscaped if you want to be polite) over the weekend.

Whilst we were out and about on Saturday the land-people came in unanounced and ripped out half the plants in the garden, including some new mini agapanthus plants I got as a gift from my dad a week ago. In their wake they left a few bunches of wild irises – which I loathe. There used to be two giant lavender bushes, three rose bushes and my agapanthus plants here. Grrr…

I threw a hissy fit of note Sunday morning after someone sent me a message to water the new plants. Calling me uninpressed would be the understatement of the year! My contract clearly stipulates that the flower beds are my problem intil I move out, which I pointed out…and you know, a phone call before would also have gone down a treat. The best was Sunday morning when one of the culprits came over, sort of expecting a thank you I gather. Yeah well, that didn’t go exactly as planned, ha! I would be very surprised if any surprise landscapers popped in again until we move.

I feel so angry and violated – a.k.a spitting mad  about this. I believe the time has definitely come for me to own instead of rent, once this contract is up.

Nicola is also very upset, and she wants me to set a trap to catch the plant thief – once we catch this scallywag she wants me to call the police. Also anything that can’t be found in the house, like a doll that was dragged under the bed for Polka chewing for instance, is now attributed to thrieves by Nicola. “Mom, I can’t fid my…(whatever). Do you think someone came in and stole it while we were gone?”

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It’s the season of Thunderstorms! Whoo-hoo! My favourite kind. This prediction/forecast was a bit premature though. At the time when I took it there was not even a wisp of a cloud in sight anywhere – but I like their enthusiasm ;-)

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 The biggest news of the past week has to be secret place news though. Obviously I can’t get into detail, but let’s just say I was grinning from ear to ear Friday night. Ear.to.ear. I tell you! :-D If I could do cartwheels, I’d be doing them all over the place.

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Still alive…and kicking

29 September , 2014

I.am.so.tired.

And I have a bloody headache straight from hell. This isn’t helping my studying as you can imagine.

Anyway…onwards and upwards…and forward regardless.

Now for a few highlights of the last week:

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I should have probably put a stop to this, but it was just too funny.

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First watermelons of the season – yum!

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I wanted to show a colleague what I meant when I said life is too short for a million little hooks in swimming pool safety, so I needed a volunteer for the demo.

She was sort of impressed when she saw the photo, but the video clip of my dad walking across blew her mind (or as Nicola would say that: her head exploded). ;-)

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Violets in our garden. They are extremely happy with the warmer weather and the first few rains.

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Supreme concentration.

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Action shot of clowning around before the last concert performance at school.

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The .5 second that she actually sat still in one spot.

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Nicola was very exvited about this bit, especially singing horsey sikilele with her friends. ;-)

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So…update on the home affairs thing with the unabridged birth certificate that took close to 5 years.

I couldn’t find the stupid receipt, haha of course not! So I phoned the number on the SMS to ask what I NEEDED to take along to be able to collect.

This lady did not think that 5 years was especially long to wait for something that should have taken 12 weeks. Also 5 years is not very long to hang on to an invoice apparently. In lieu of the correct papers, she recommended I try to collect with the original abridged certificate and take along “the baby”, and hope to encounter someone who is not too sticky on the rules and procedures.

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So “the baby” missed out on some school to stand in a two hour qeue with me in the tiniest, hottest and most unpleasant home affairs room known to mankind.

The lady on the phone told me that it took so long because they had to verify the birth records. Funny that. I’m pretty sure I handed in the verification when I applied, but what the hell do I know?

I think there was a bit of a clean up in progress because I found two other people in the waiting area who had been waiting two years. Amateurs!

I won’t lie. It was extremely unpleasant to wrangle my pre-schooler in there for that long. I started a bit of a thing with the other waiters. Every time someone actually got whatever piece of paper they were looking for, we cheared! (Loudly). It got buy in from the other people really quickly and made the home affairs officials very nervous.

Is it any surprise that I was out of there 10 minutes after I reached the counter? There was a lady in there who waited from 11:00 till 15:00 to get hers
Maybe the 5 years in the making pile was a bit smaller to work through?

And the guy who took my query? Didn’t even LOOK at the impossible to keep still Nicola after those two awful hours. He asked about the receipt and I let rip about timing and what not and everything the “helpful” lady on the phone advised. He let me go on for a bit and then blinked at me and then said…”Yes, but what happened to the receipt?” “I lost it.” “Okay fine. Just take a seat, we’ll call you in 10 minutes.”

And they did. So thanks guy. That was the best part of this whole experience! :-)

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Lazy days of summer…or is it spring…or are we flashing back to a piece of winter?

22 September , 2014

So, I guess the most surprising development of the past week has come from Home Affairs. I applied for an unabridged birth certificate for Nicola just after she was born, and paid for it. They said they would send an SMS when it was ready for collection and it seems that day has finally come. Hahaha, it only took almost 5 years instead of 12 weeks.

I’d actually kind of given up on it to be honest. I know I need one if I ever want to take her out of the country, but usually when someone asks for a copy they are happy to accept the abridged one I already have…so it hasn’t really derailed my plans in any way up to now.

Oh well, I better track down my receipt and go fetch it some time this week while it’s still available. ;-)

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These were taken laaaast weekend by T, when we visited there – aren’t they pretty. It doesn’t matter how cool your phone’s camera is, there’s just something about the quality of photos taken by a proper camera that can’t be beaten right? (I am still way too lazy to buy one and drag it along everywhere I go – but I really appreciate it when someone else does).

Thanks T! :-)

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Let’s talk about this crazy weather for a bit. Can it bloody decide if it’s hot or cold now already? Last week it was so warm, we had to stick our heads under the taps to cool down at times…then all of a sudden freezing again – just in time to ruin weekend swimming. And to top it off a kind of end of days hail storm Saturday night!

Anyway…still leaps and bounds better than full on winter, so I’ll take it – whatever it is.

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This is what is now known as a spagetti top, for the lack of sleeves obviously. How cool that she is finally happy to wear them. Last year she would have really kicked up a fuss about it, and now it’s all that she wants.

Apparently at school, anyone without sleeves gets sunblock on their arms and shoulders applied to them – and Nicola really wants the sunblock. She refuses to wear sleeves to school, other places are okay, but she doesn’t want to miss out on the sunblock. Odd right? Haha…

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Ouma very briefly had the use of her own tablet – Nicola LOVES playing games on it.

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Polka snuggles early in the morning. When it’s time to wake the pink terrorist up, I get my hands bitten. She knows once cyclone Nicola opens her eyes, all snuggles are over and it’s action packed from there on.

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On Saturday we had the first instalment of this year’s school concert – it was so cute!

It’s clear to me that the teacher who left in the middle of this year used to be the creative direction behind these things. It’s definitley very different than all the concerts we’ve had there before…but the dance numbers are in my opinion much more age appropriate and I whole-heartedly approve! :-)

Nicola has been SOOOO excited about this show, and they’ve been practising for ages. She did really great and she loved every second of it.

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I was way too far from the stage to get a good shot, but anyhoo – here are the best of the ones I did get. She was one of the three little piggies in her first scene, and then the second scene and onwards the blue class just had blue t-shirts on.

This is my favourite concert of hers yet. I am actually very excited about the DVD this year. We get it every year and Nicola loves watching them ad infinitum after the concert…this year I think I’ll be happy to watch along.

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The hail! This is taken from high-ish up, so you don’t really get a good idea, but they were HUGE. Some of them about 30mm diameter. It was a surprise, because not too long before that we were outside and there was hardly a cloud in the sky, all of a sudden it’s like armegeddon outside.

Luckily we brought all the dogs inside for their own protection, and thanked our lucky stars that we have insurance on the cars. There were quite a few dead birds under the trees the next morning, usually the trees offer them enough protection against this kind of thing, but they had no chance this time round. Diablo and Jessie ate most of them by the next morning before we noticed.

At our place, unlike at my folks, we didn’t really have much hail – but the rain obviously came through with some force. I raked up two whole bags of tree leaves on Sunday, in our teeny tiny garden, from a tree that doesn’t even grow there – you can see it over the wall about two houses down!

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Dogs inside during the storm.

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Do you want to build a snowman? ;-)

Well, no snow – but we built a hail one.

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Sunday the weather was MUCH nicer again, thankfully.

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I actually got a smile-for-the-camera photo, that’s not a funny face!

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These rocks are being put in the dungeon apparently – they’ve been naughty and Barney will guard them and make sure they don’t get into any more trouble. ;-)

Ps! I received my study material today. I am very likely going to be missing in action, or at least heavily reduced action, until mid-December. Wish me luck. This is kind of HUGE for me.

 

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J, T&J – a very social weekend

15 September , 2014

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We had an action packed weekend (haha, again!). I am definitely not the only one who doesn’t like to see people in winter?

Saturday we had a visit from Jacky, complete with chocolate croissants (is there any other kind?!). Nicola was in one of her moods where she is quite detremined NOT to let me talk to anyone but her – but somehow we managed to keep a conversation going in between all the, mamma! mamma! mamma!s 

Jax, it was great to see you in person again – I’m always joking that I only ever see her making fires on fb. I think for our next visit we probably should actually make a fire, what do you think?  ;-)

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Nicola giving Ouma some quality snuggles…Oupa has his own rugby TV there in the background, because we make too much noise! :-P

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Lizzard painting by Nicola, a special gift for T to add to her lizzard collection. :-)

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But first…lemme take a selfie!  We had a nice relaxed morning, slept late, had breakfast, lounged around a bit and then off to lunch!

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Nicola and Polka. Polka’s stitches can come out today-ish, and then she really needs a shave or something for summer…and/or a wash!  Foef! She’s very very dirty at the moment.

Oh yes…probably not blog-worthy, but I’m going to put it out there anyway. I was joking with P last week, that Polka is eating so many crayons that I’m surprised she doesn’t poop rainbows yet. Well, when I cleaned up droppings over the weekend, I spotted something unexpected – a bedazzled poop! Polka shat a rhinestone, chewed off one of Nicola’s dresses! Mwahaha. Shame, that couldn’t have been confortable at all. (Sorry, I know – TMI)

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Nails and gothy make up by Nicola. I managed to get most of that eye shadow rubbed off before we left home, haha – and I got an ear full for my troubles! I think I need to disappear some of that play make up. She loves it though. *sigh* Maybe I’ll just vanish the very dark colours.

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Tickles!

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These two and that wheelbarrow! Nicola gets SO excited when we go to visit T & J, and so do I. Although I don’t go in the wheelbarrow, but I’m 100% happy with that. Next time at our place. ;-) Poor J can put up his feet for a bit, haha – we don’t have a wheelbarrow. ;-)

I could spend all day in that garden – it just always looks so stunning.

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Bubbles!

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The very camera shy T. I have no idea why – if I was as photogenic as her, I’d be photo bombing the hell out of everyone!

It was so great to see you guys again and catch up. Thanks again for having us over. :-)

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Little things of the last week

13 September , 2014

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It seems that Polka, she of many rows of teeth, has found something worth chewing to alleviate her teething itchiness.

Succulents have had to be moved to higher ground for their own safety…jaws frequents the shallow waters. To-do…to-ro…to-do-to-ro…(jaws sound track).

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This is one of my secret place colleagues. As you may be able to tell, he is freakily double jointed!

This move is how he’s constantly stretching behind his desk during the day…the first time I saw it I almost fell off my chair!

On the upside, I bet he can reach that hard to reach spot on his back that no one else can reach for themselves, hey?

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Nicola and best friend/worst enemy L. Just love this little saunter they did down to the school gate.

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We had to pop into Builders Warehouse for a light bulb. Landlord has a “gift” for selecting non standard light fittings, so when a bulb goes it always turns into an adventure finding a replacement.

Of course there is no way we could leave before Nicola tried out EVERY chair, couch or lounger in the whole place…hahaha…it took a while, but it was fun to watch.

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Secret place is launching secret wear. We all got to attend a fashion show on Friday, of wrinkled clothes on models who not even slightly resemble anyone working in the building.

The clothes are really nice though. Since it’s not compulsory (yet), I sort of derailed HR lady’s Q&A session by asking if I could buy what I wanted in colours other than the corporate colours they showed us.

Apparently yes! :-) She said it would be for my own account. I asked if you buy the corporate colours, isn’t it for your own account too? Also yes…haha. Then I guess I buy what I want anyway. ;-)

It’s been an interesting week HR-wise…

The end result of one of these little interactions is that I’m probably going to go completely quite end November, beginning December. I’m going to be studying INTENSELY! So if you don’t hear from me then, it’s probably going pretty well.

Another thing happening at secret place is that we’ve got a couple of temporary transfers in from group. One from somewhere German speaking for three years, and two very English ones with cute accents for three months.

I am now giving Afrikaans lessons. The long term guy mentioned that he wanted to learn, and I sort of ran with it. We do a word or a phrase a day and it’s become a bit of a department initiative…I have a long list of suggestions on what to teach him next.

He’s picking it up REALLY fast, and the hard sounds people usually battle to pick up is no problem for him at all. One of the team insisted on teaching him something rude. I’ve been keeping it clean because I do actually want him to learn it while he’s here.

So just imagine what happened when he pipes up in a meeting this week telling someone, “Ek gaan jou bliksem!” Hahaha! We told him, not appropriate for the office, but one of the powers that be assured him that it’s one of her favourite words and she uses it often.

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Nicola has asked me to wear earrings, so I’ve worn a different pair every day this week. This was Friday. Super bendy colleague at the top of this post calls them chandel-ears!

My ears are not enjoying this experience, I tell you! I stopped wearing earrings when little hands tried to yank them out. To be honest, it’s not like I wore them daily even before that. My piercings were not all the way open on Monday, no big deal. I just pushed the earrings through anyway…I have done it before, never a problem. In fact I once added another piercing in more or less the same way. However they are properly sensitive now. Usually it’s a once off thing, and then weeks of rest again in between. Now, it’s every day.

I’m kind of in two minds if I should keep it up till they heal completely or just at least stop for the weekend so that I can stop pulling and rubbing at them.

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First swim of the season!

The water is still a little bit “fresh”.I think we’re about 2 or 3 degrees away from great, but this is a really good start. :-)

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A week in photos – loving Spring!

8 September , 2014

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Remember how I counted down?

So worth it! :-)

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This was on Thursday at the information morning at Nicola’s school for next year.

They planned a two hour event, but they lost about 130 little people in the audience 20 minutes in. Haha, when the principal came on, you could tell he definitely wasn’t used to being more or less ignored.

I really like the school. Obviously…otherwise I wouldn’t have stalked them online for the last three years. I do have my doubts about this new principal though…I hope he’s much more approachable in real life than on stage. Also, his one piece of advice to the parents very much didn’t suit me…apparently we mustn’t believe everything we hear because our kids all make up stuff? O_o I will always believe what Nicola tells me, unless I know for a fact she understood things wrong. Always.

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The children got to try out their new playground for next year – big hit!

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Nicola’s favourite part…this space ship! The little girl who joined her has a very unlikely name hahaha!

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Very pleased with herself. :-)

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My favourite part of the playground is this giant tree.

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Polka went for her big snip on the same day.

Cute vet asked me if I was a nursery school teacher because he heard the playground noise when he phoned to let me know that they had to pull some extra teeth while she was under and that she was doing well after the op.

Apparently the small breeds battle to lose their milk teeth. He left quite a few in…and she might have to go back for another procedure next year if she doesn’t lose them on her own by then.

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Feeling very sorry for herself…poor baby.

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Nicola and Polka, Finding Nemo while enjoying some breakfast.

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Helping Ouma make some of her famous apple crumble pies (or “tasting” big hands full of dough every time Ouma turns her back. ;-)

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It was so hot in the afternoon that I hosed down the children. They LOVED it! If all goes well, we’ll do our first pool swim of the season this coming weekend.

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Ice cream!

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More ice cream!

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More ice cream!

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I don’t know what this plant is called, but it’s putting up a great display at our place at the moment.

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I finally managed to tie up Polka’s hair. It lasted all of 5 minutes untill she figured put how to untie it again. I’ll take her for a serious trim once her stiches come out…

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The stitches…

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No small feat getting a photo of her double row of teeth…she kept trying to chew my hand off with them!

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Splashing in puddles after we planted some new shrubs at my folks yesterday.

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Watching a phone video with Oupa.

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Getting very comfortable on Ouma.

How was your weekend? :-)

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