Thirty-Five | 52

A portrait of my child, each week in 2015. Joining in with Jodie at Practising Simplicity.

A good friend called and requested a walk. In the mist and the drizzle. We were all feeling a little house-bound so we jumped at the suggestion. I tossed a Thermos of hot chocolate in the car, loaded up a wildly over-excited dog and off we went.

At Burnt Kraal, we parked and I let Riddly out. She tore off, running through long grass is one of her very favourite things. All the better if it’s wet too! You love to watch her as she sprints back and forth leaping over small bushes and splashing through puddles.

We ambled along, inspecting puddles, and dew-speckled spiderwebs.  Picking flowers for Mom & Auntie Jackie. The hot chocolate was most welcome in the brisk wind. The pockets on your hoodies are no longer purely decorative. I love the way you were standing, sipping hot chocolate, hand in pocket. Your mannerisms so like your Dad. Aren’t genetics weird?

{Last Year}

Thirty-Four | 52

A portrait of my child each week in 2015. Joining in (late!) with Jodie at Practising Simplicity.

“Dip-dip!” You point with exasperation. Your Dad & I exchange a look (we do that a lot) that says, “do you know what he want’s?” We shrug and Dad carries on beating eggs and dipping bread for French toast. “Dip-Dip!!” This time accompanied by a foot stamp. If we don’t work it out fast, there’ll be tears and frustration.

“Show me.” I say.

You huff over to the dining room chairs and push-pull-shove one against the counter cupboards. With a move that shows just how adept you’ve become at clambering onto them, your little fingers wrap over the far edge, and you slide on your belly onto the seat. Feet waving in teh air behind you. One knee then the other then you’re up.

“Dip-dip!” fingers outstretched, reaching for the bottle of tomato sauce. Oh! Light bulb moment for us! A squirt of sauce in a little cup, and a slice of still-warm French toast. Crisis averted.

{Last Year}

Golden Hours

I love the hour after I get home from work. Particularly on days when I don’t have something going on immediately after work. The mental unshackling from work and all its challenges and problems. Little Man hearing my car and running to the edge of the verandah shouting “MOM!!!” as soon as he sees me. Excited whole-body wagging from the dog, a polite brush against my leg from the cats. If they feel like it. Little Man excitedly shows me his latest Duplo creation and we wander around the yard. The I start getting supper read for us all. Showing him how to hold a knife and tuck his fingers out the way. Letting him stir diced onions in the pan and bash garlic until he looses interest or hears Dad’s car arrive. I’ll duck out to take a photo if the sunset is particularly pretty. John’ll pour me a glass of wine and we sit down to eat. I love catching up on his day and eating together as a family. “Down pweeeeeeeese!” signals the end of supper time and we go to run a bath and lay out “jarmers”. Splashing and podcasts before baby cream, stories with Dad and ‘binna’ (Little Man’s blanket). Quietly humming Moon River until he drifts off to sleep.

Then there’s the hour or so after Little Man is in bed. I hop in the shower, or  if I’m feeling decadent, a hot hot bath. Scented candles and bubble bath. Afterwards, my fuzzy jammies and big blue fluffy dressing gown. Tidy away the supper things. Maybe start a load of nappies in the washing machine. I’ll usually settle down to crochet something while we watch a DVD or stream something on YouTube. John might be working on something on his laptop or browsing football forums. I love the feeling of yarn slipping through my fingers, twisting and looping and becoming a whole item. One by one the cats settle in inconvenient positions on the bed and the dog passes out, farting and snoring.

Early mornings never used to be a favourite time of day for me. I’m not by nature an early riser. Now though, I am usually woken by the stirrings of a certain Little Person. Sleepy faced, bed head. Demanding to watch ‘Lowwies!’ on the iPad. I oblige and doze next to him. Later John brings us tea and Little Man sits on my lap. Giggles and laughter. What a wonderful way to start the day.

I have another three favourite hour blocks. My Monday pilates class. I take it for me, I can breathe and stretch and strengthen my body without having to count or verbalize cues or check clients! Bliss. I have come to love Zumba, despite my lack of coordination or the ability to wiggle my hips! I have never regretted going and finally, ParkRun. Started on a whim, I enjoy seeing who’s there, and the chats I have with whoever I can drag out of bed to join me. The smugness of having already done my 5km by 9am doesn’t hurt either!

A #LifeCaptured prompt.

In Praise of Toast

It’s often overlooked. The most basic of breakfast foods. Something quick, fulfilling the need to just eat something before heading out the door to work or play. I love toast though. It is a steadfast companion. An underrated comfort food. A quick dinner -for-one more often that I care to admit. Toast. Whether done in a toaster, a hot dry frying pan, or on a braai grid. Simple and satisfying, it’s all about what you put on it. What do I usually have on my toast? Well that depends…toast is the Little Black Dress of foods. It’s perfect for any occasion.
When I want to pretend I live on a farm? Thick slices of artisan bread, toasted and topped with just melted butter and warm honey.
Sliced bananas, bacon and peanut butter? Good enough for Elvis, better for me! Better yet…I don’t have to share it!
Mashed avocado stirred through with a squeeze of lemon, a twist of salt and a touch of chilli powder. Never fails to remind me of my Mom. My favourite lunch. Topped with a slice of sun-warmed tomato and a poached egg (that’s where Mom & I differ!) and it’s supper.
The traditional peanut butter; plastic jar with a pool of oil that has to be stirred in. Perilous to the braces I wore at junior school.
A dark, salty, slick of Bovril with a glass of cold milk. Still my go-to whenever I’ve been ill. More often than not evokes memories of afternoons spent with my Great-Aunt. Precisely trimmed squares of standard white toast, milk, old movies on the VCR. A cavernous empty pool. A huge swing and a perfectly polite Rotweiller called Malena.
Apricot jam and cheddar cheese, not a common combination, but whenever I prepare it, I see my dad’s hands. And more recently, the rows of jars standing in Aunty Ann’s kitchen. Treasures to be distributed to loved ones each Christmas.

Toast for lunch I think. What shall I have on it…

{This was a #LifeCaptured prompt}

Thirty-Two | 52

A portrait of my child, each week in 2015. Joining in (late) with Jodie at Practising Simplicity.

The days are growing longer and you are slowly pushing your bedtime a bit later. It means that we can take a short amble down the road and over the crest of the hill and into the undeveloped area. We’ve spotted duiker here, bounding away, hares and rabbits, heard mice scurrying away and spotted hadedahs and sacred ibises fly overhead. Your dad was seeing what there was to see inside the termite mounds. Nothing quite as exciting as a snake or a scorpion (thank goodness!) but lots of pissed off termites, and a very cool cicada nymph.

{Last Year}

An Empty Room

If I had an empty room, what would I add to it? Well, that depends. Immediately a deep comfortably couch springs to mind. Something that children and pets can climb on and something I stretch out on and sleep on. Nothing too precious. I’d probably like a carpet or a rug of some sort too. Something soft and practical. Something that allows one to lie down and read a book, or drive a “lowwie*” across it. Or simply stretch out in the sunshine a snooze. Then, I’d tuck in a bookshelf. Full of interesting books. I have an ever-growing list of books I want to read and collect. I’d also have picture frames on that bookshelf. Friends, family, special moments I want to remember. I’d also try to include a beautiful original pieces of art. Paintings and sculpture. Things that interest me. Then something to listen to. Classical music, jazz, podcasts, music to dance to. A fireplace would be wonderful too. I dream of an old cast-iron stove. Not as big as an Aga (though, I’d LOVE one of those too) but one of those smaller two-plates ones. For the soothing mesmerizing effects of staring into the coals and flickering flames. For the warmth.  A lamp, to read and crochet by, some soft cuddly blankets. Finally, I’d add my family and friends. Tucked up, warm cup of tea. Quite conversation.

What ten things would you add to an empty room?

*Little Man is somewhat obsessed by ‘lowwies’ aka lorries. Drives around town have been reduced to spotting ‘beegbeeg lowwie!’. I love it.

This post was written for today’s #LifeCaptured Prompt.

{Taking Stock} July

  • Making : Lots of things! Beanies, Little Man’s blanket, presents for little girls; Christmas gifts!
  • Cooking :  Eskom has screwed my supper plans two nights in a row with load-shedding. So my tray-bake chicken & rice with veggies has been sitting in anticipation of having electricity so that it can bake for 2 hours. Maybe I’ll get a chance tonight…
  • Drinking :  Hot coffee with hot hot milk. The only way to drink coffee.
  • Reading :  Pilates all the things. Exam is next week…eep!
  • Wanting : Any of the John Green books….Christmas gift idea!

  • Looking :  For a sharp crochet hook so I can poke through material and make pretty edges for blankets and things…
  • Playing :  Lego on Little Man’s new table.
  • Planning : This afternoon’s play group activity.
  • Crocheting :  Many things!  But on the hook right now, a secret Christmas gifts.
  • Wishing : Friends were closer. That I had the right works to lift a little of their burdens. That for a moment, things could be right and good.

  • Enjoying: Office rusks.
  • Waiting: For the coffee to drip.
  • Thankful: For Skype and early morning chats
  • Wondering: How many rusks is too many
  • Loving:  Heavy winter blankets
  • Hoping :  For favourable exchange rates to pay for my pilates exam. US$170. Ouch.
  • Marvelling : At how weird a process it is to learn and retain new information.
  • Needing : A loo break.
  • Smelling :  Nothing. Blocked nose.
  • Wearing :  Socks that say “Gym Hero”. I will never ever, ever, wear them to the gym.

  • Noticing: Tiny green leaf sprouts. Ever so slightly later sunsets.
  • Learning : semispinalis capitis, semispinalis cervicus, adductor brevis…..
  • Thinking: A lot about pilates. Can you tell?
  • Listening to:  Anglerfish Song by Hank Green <- So awesome!
  • Bookmarking: Sophie’s Universe, it starts tonight! Well, not me, but I’m going to be joining in with the ladies to crochet and chat!

  • Opening: This prompt always stumps me…
  • Giggling: Adding “in your pants” to the end of book titles. For example:  “The Hunger Games…in your pants” “Campbell’s Biology….in your pants”

{January}{February}{March}{April}{May}{June}

Copy+Paste

Studying is such a weird process. Looking at the same things over and over and over again hoping to copy+paste them into your synaptic pathways. Even weirder is when it works and you can look at a picture and *know* that that muscle is gemellus superior and not gemellus inferior or quadratus femoris both of which are in the same area and look similar.  How the brain takes the information arriving through your eyes, contextualises it, indexes and codes it so that your particular brain can make sense of it and then files it away. Hopefully to be retrieved whenever it is needed.

It’s weird to me too what sticks and what doesn’t. Why can I easily remember that muscle but the other one just makes me blank every time. Even though I know that I know what it is.  Why does one neural pathway have a speed bump and the other is smooth sailing?

serratus anterior (L) and pectoralis minor (R). Just FYI

Exam is next Thursday….wish me luck!

Thirty-One | 52

A portrait of my child, each week in 2015. Joining in with Jodie at Practising Simplicity.

Last Thursday Little Man and I hopped in the car and headed off to PE to get on a big aeroplane to fly to Cape Town to surprise my Mom & Dad with a flying trip.  My Mom had some doctor’s appointments (all was well) and I had a work meeting and it all just worked out. So lovely to be with family and my nephew and just hand out with no real plans. The weather played along too…the snow suit I packed for Little Man (yes really) turned out not to be needed! Little Man loves his Grandpa and apart from a little initial shyness, they were soon firm friends again!

{Last Year}