This weekend I went to London to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends. We have been through many an up, a down and a hangover together. She got married early last year and is now just over 3 months with her first purple one (we don't know if it's pink or blue hence we have to settle for purple) and it gave me such a kick to see her so happy.
It's at times like this that I realise why it makes sense to stop worrying about the little things and just live life whichever way it attacks you. So this obviously are 2 pics I took of her while she was beautifying herself before the wedding.
So this was the view out of our bedroom window Wednesday last week. Huge was our excitement and scramble to try and sort out snowboards, ski's and other torturous apparatus but alas, today we are back to green. Not that I'm complaining as we probably won't see green for many months, but the first snow of the season always gives me such a thrill. And there's nothing quite as nice as waking up and hearing the quiet, because there's no quiet such as the one that covers a landscape being duvet'd by several layers of softly falling snow.
So tonight I will not be doing the rain dance or the break dance, but instead I'll be running around outside in the probably close to zero temperatures, duly fortified with some wine dance trying to coax some random white flakes from the depressingly cloudless sky.
To be honest plants and animals aren't exactly my forte, but today I was dragged to our local botanical gardens so what is a girl to do but make the most of an otherwise dull afternoon?
I was feeling a tad apprehensive entering as just yesterday I threw out my latest attempt at household planting, but was much releived when I found Audrey II was not in attendance.
I was well pleased with the results considering it only took me about 487 shots to get these, but I am still not a converted botanist. However I made the afternoon without inadvertently committing mass plant murder so there's hope for me yet.
I think my last post inadvertently rekindled my lazy other half and I had no choice, but to submit to my slovenly self and shirk all blogging guilt.
I can also argue that I was practicing for December when I will probably be off-line for about 3 weeks due to holidays and had to test whether I would suffer separation anxiety.
The ongoing banking crisis also has to be given it's due for it's part although the other half seems to think we are in the pound position as all we have to lose is the delight of paying off our credit card.
But if I have to be honest it probably boils down to the other half recently starting a part-time job which has wreaked havoc on my carefully cultivated weekly schedule. I am a creature of habit and do not entertain change without a fair amount of huffing and puffing, but this was not a change, it was a historic upheaval the sorts of which I had not experienced since 2004 when "Sideways" was released and very publicly ridiculed my plonk of choice: merlot.
All excuses aside I was threatened with imminent blog closure by my dear sister if things did not happen pretty smartly so here I am. In the pub trying to coax merlot out of the corner.
Being a bean-counter my life consists of month-ends, quarter-ends and the dreaded year-end. The past week or so I had a double whammy: month-end AND quarter-end. So please excuse the lack of new and exciting fodder on this here blog, but at this point it's a miracle that I'm not locked in a padded room let alone able to harass the poor other half yet again.
We have been in our flat for almost 1 year now. My printer is still precariously perched on the last remaining (and still unpacked) box from our epic move. It is not the most stylish piece of furnishing I have ever entertained in my lounge.
So yesterday (on the holy sleep late Saturday) I convinced the other half that it's the perfect day to go wood shopping. This due to the fact that the other half is exceptionally handy when it comes to building/fixing/over-complicating things and I have not been allowed to buy myself a much needed little table as he wants to build me one. Hence my sudden insistence yesterday when I set sight yet again on the hideousness that is my "table" that we go not tomorrow, not next week, but NOW.
This was a very VERY bad idea (note to self to learn to love hideous temporary furniture). I'm not sure how I managed to forget, but somewhere along they way I conveniently blocked past excruciating experiences from memory. Other half is like kid on a glucose drip in Disneyland when exposed to any form of hardware/DIY/hobby shop. I created a monster.
We were simply buying wood for a small little printer table. That is it. How long would a reasonable person expect to take to complete such a silly little task? 10min? 20min? maybe half an hour if you're a bit indecisive about the exact shade of pine?
It took us 3 hours. Who knew paint guns could be so enthralling, paint stripper so intriguing, rotors (no, I have no idea what that is even after other half waxed lyrical about it f) so mesmerising? I eventually hauled a 5l paint can off the shelf and fashioned myself a little bench as the memories suddenly came flooding back of endless waits in hardware stores.
But I daresay we now have wood and glue (I will have you know that you NEVER hammer when you can glue and screw....erm, ok then) aplenty. All I need now is for other half to assemble said table instead of spending the day on couch with book.
But this here is the picture that won he "open" category in my camera club as mentioned on Thursday's blog (I think), but I would like to reiterate that there was a much worthier winner (out of the 6 entries), as this picture I have many faults with starting with the ridiculous piece of green leaf in the corner...
This was taken in the South of France just outside of Monaco and is one of my most favourite views for many reasons.
We flew into Nice without much of a plan expect a rental car, several maps (Nick is an utter map addict) and six days to fill. It was epic. We ate, we drank, we slept in a "broom closet" (the room was described as such by the hotel staff as we went to St Tropez which was completely booked out everywhere, but as we both fell in love with the place we simply had to spend the night and this was the only hole that was left) and somewhere along the way to Paris we fell in love all over again.
I remember drinking whisky in the hotel bar till 4 in the morning, I remember eating a heap of muscles so large I could barely see over it, I remember trying to order McDonalds in French, but most of all I remember being the happiest I had been in many years.
Not like me to get sentimental, but every now and then you have to give thanks where it's due.
So I'd like to say: Nick, jy is my hart se punt. (Apologies, but too much gets lost in translation)
So against all the odds my mini pumpkins have survived the week without being turned into soup. Decided that even though they look adorable they are much harder to capture on camera. So after wrestling with the orange brigade for the better part of an afternoon this is the best I could come up with.
And then we had monthly camera club meeting on Tuesday and one of my pictures in the "open category" won (bearing in mind that there were only 6 entries it's not the world's biggest achievement especially as there was a stunner entered which most def should have won by a mile). Where was I....oh ja, then I get home and share the surprising news with the other half. His response?
"You won with THAT picture?" (horrified expression on face)
Had I not shared his sentiments I would have been able to post some pics of two black eyes tomorrow and the most certainly would not have been mine...
What do you do when it's Sunday, it's cold, you're bored and your other half prefers fly-tying to entertaining you? You drive him insane with your camera until he admits defeat!
Easier said than done as I had no idea fly-tying could be quite as engrossing a hobby. Something about small things and small minds? Anyway. After I had rearranged all his fly-tying tools the final straw proved to be when I was cheeky enough to jam my camera in front of his latest fly-in-the-making.
At least I got some attention, but this rude intrusion only reminded him that he was in desperate need of some nicotine (yes, the reformed smoker has relapsed rather spectacularly) and promptly ran off to find some solitude on the freezing balcony.
Never one to give up I followed him out to the balcony to his utter dismay. He for one will be very happy when Monday rolls around and I have to go back to work and get out of his hair.
The road to winter is paved with many a pumpkin here in Switzerland. I have never before been exposed to such an explosion of pumpkin colour and it almost makes me dread winter less.
But what is even more interesting is that they grow special little miniature pumpkins purely for decoration. Of course I couldn't resist even though they cost a small fortune and arrived home with a small arsenal of weirdly deformed baby pumpkins. Unfortunately I'm not sure I've convinced the resident chef yet that they are NOT ideal for pumpkin soup...
So I daresay this week might feature more than one pumpkin installment.
This here is the story of Piggy Snead, the traveling pig. He mysteriously found his way into our garden when we were living in London and we spend many a night trying to piece together the past of this enigmatic pig.
Over the months watching Piggy sitting outside our house patiently awaiting our return from work everyday we grew rather attached to the poor little fellow. So attached in fact that when the removal truck came for our big move to Switzerland he was carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and got his very own comfy box.
So now Piggy Snead currently resides in our mini garden almost on the Swiss Alps and I can almost swear that I spotted him on the ski slopes last winter...
Oh well if all else fails there's always food (yes, we're back on the subject YET again). Just spend about an hour on the phone with my parents catching up on all the gossip while Nick was lying on the couch gorging himself on chocolate.
This, combined with my determination to not have any myself (having had more than enough cheese already) of course got me on the subject of food and Thursday is kinda a be-nice-to-yourself day. You've ALMOST made it all the way through a whole week so surely deserve a bit of pampering? And no, work really is not that bad, but my bed is just soooo good.
And I'm taking note from my sister who keeps telling me that when (IF) I have kids one day all my late lazy Saturdays will be but a distant, albeit fond, memory. So I'm packing them in while I can, but Saturdays take oh so long to come around.
As much as I hate to admit it, Winter is slowly but surely creeping up on us. I'm still in denial so refuse to wear a sensible Autumn jacket to work and instead stand shivering every morning while waiting for the bus and promising myself that tomorrow I'll maybe not be so stupid again.
Combined with this pending gloom I was only just yesterday thinking that I had not been sick for ages when today I woke up with a decidedly dodgy throat which only got progressively worse.
So in keeping with the blue-ish theme I started yesterday (even though it had an orange lining) I thought I'd stick with it, but give it a chilly twist.
And whoever developed Lemsip should be made to drink a double dose every other day until they admit that it is the vilest concoction since grappa!
This here is my nemesism, my best friend, my worst nightmare and my complete adiction.
I have steadily been growing sideways over the last year or so and have been a right grumpy cow of late not being able to shake the excess baggage, but also not really prepared to get back to doing any sort of serious exercise.
This might be due to the fact that my mates roped me into running the London marathon about 2 years ago. Finish I did (5 hours and 20 minutes later), but crawling was very much me for the next week. So after this less enjoyable experience my body has taken control and refused all forms of calorie burning save running for the bus.
This unfortunately left me realizing my only way forward is food, or rather lack thereof. This sounds easy as pie except for one small thing, CHEESE. I cant resist the lure of the big yellow monster and yet again tonight indulged in far more than is required for a mere garnish. Having read somewhere that acceptance is the first step to recovery can I please say this:
This little chappy is my hero of the week. Being rather far from home I generally see my family only once a year which is especially hard with my sister's kids growing so fast. Every time I see them they seem to have double in size! This understandably gives rise to bouts of severe homesickness which gives me carte blanche to wallow in self pity and indulge in more than my allowed quota of wine. This funnily enough seems to coincide with the female hormonal cycle making me more susceptible than normal.
This happened to be one of those weeks and I was fretting away about the fact that my sisters kids wont even know their weird aunt the next time she shows up to harass them with her camera. So when I phoned her today to see whether she likes her copy of Elbow's "Seldom seen Kid" (yes, me shamelessly promoting again, but this band is simply too fabulous to remain obscure)and her son answered the phone I proceeded to drill him with hundreds of ridiculous questions without telling him who I was seeing as I firmly believed he would have no idea. GREAT was my pleasure when he asked me to hold on and hollered to his mom that her sister was on the phone.
The smile on my face stretched from cheek to cheek that this adorable creature knew who I was so today and for the rest of the week he is without a doubt my most delicious hero. I took this pic of him about 2 years ago, but it's one of my favorites as you can see the mischief dancing in his eyes with a smile that will melt anyones heart.
At my monthly photography club meeting last week we had a quick presentation on back lighting and I was so inspired I could hardly sleep. I had so many brilliant ideas churning away it was all I could do to stop myself from waking Nick and making him play midnight model.
Woke up less energetic next morning, but still packed camera full of ideas for post work playing as the day before the light in the station coming home was positively angelic. So there I was, ipod firmly plugged in to drown out anyone shouting at me trying my hand at backlighting. I must have walked at least 10km up and down those silly platforms and scared at least 9 weird tourists, but alas, failure.
This was the best of the lot which as you can see leaves a lot to be desired. A far cry from what I had in mind and almost went straight into the bin had I not been so sentimental about my seriously sad photographs.
Ok, this is stressing me out now. This blog is MINE not so? Then why do I feel this mountain of pressure on me if I don't have another award winning (yes I have a slightly warped imagination) photo waiting in the wings to make it's grand entrance? So even though I technically had Thursday off being out and about and shirking me blogging duties I decided Sunday is just random day. Whatever happens, happens.
Today nothing of historical notability has occurred yet save me spending most of the morning in bed finishing my book and switching on the dishwasher (wanted more coffee but aoh (adorable other half for those of you not familiar with the lingo) pointed out the rather distressing fact that we are fresh out of clean coffee cups). I suspect part of the book finishing marathon was a weak attempt on my behalf to avoid impending blogging duties. Was MUCH relieved as I had just about resigned myself to imprisonment under duvet all day when it dawned on me that I am, contrary to popular belief, the ruler of this here space.
So as ruler I declare today list day, but unlike other dull and overcomplicated kingdoms, in this here place lists are not to-dos, they are not-to-dos.
So here's my not-to-do list for today: 1) Don't do poxy tax return (whoever came up with that ludicrous idea anyway?) 2) Don't water plants as I'll forget again sooner or later so why postpone their impending death. 3) Don't attempt to restore order to war-ravaged flat as there's surely another war to be fought today, if not on the couch then most certainly in the kitchen where a soon-to-be-roasted chicken is awaiting its fate next to a bowl of suspicious looking red juice which was supposed to have been turned into jam many weeks ago (aoh's attempt at impersonating Nigella Lawson) 4) Don't start dreaded task of saving all photographs onto disc even though long suffering hard drive has been on life support for several months now.
It's amazing how cathartic that job was. I feel liberated. All I need to do now is convince aoh that drinking your first glass of wine at 11 in the morning is not a sure sign of alcoholism. Alas, just as I was feeling better about life in general the sun has decided to follow suit and also take the day off. This is particularly distressing as convincing oah to take a dip in the lake is about as easy as catching mosquitoes in the dead of the night (which I failed at miserably again last night and might explain the horn growing on my forehead), but as the sun was at it's best behavior this morning he agreed to a quick one late afternoon. Even more reason to indulge in pre-decent-hour-to-have-tipple glass of vino.
On that note do yourself a favor and invest in a copy of Elbow's CD: The Seldom Seen Kid. I was just as dubious as you undoubtedly are now, but it only took 2 songs to convert me. Sent a copy to my sister, but as she probably hasn't received it yet being subjected to the incredibly efficient system with is the South African Postal Service she cant back me up just yet so just take the plunge and thank me later.
Now the question is just do I feel like white or red???
So how exactly does this qualify as being beautiful? Please permit me to explain. My most lovable other half has been smoking ever since he thought he was an adult without so much as a thought to the consequences being invincible and all...
This was until he met me and I politely objected to the fact the he had monstrous coughing fits most mornings, but being a social smoker myself I did not have much of a foot to stand on in terms of demanding an immediate halt to all things that had to be set on fire before they were of any use or relief.
So yes, it has been an uphill battle, but after finding some miracle drug which helps you quit he has been "clean" for almost 4 months. So this brings me back to my picture:
Isn't is just BEAUTIFUL that after giving up smoking for four whole months there he sits in the garden today smoking a cigar of all things???
The painter is a series I did last year when I shadowed some workers renovating a house. I actually meant to document my friend who was the plastered, but was so taken by this painter who was the loveliest chap. However he had a livid red birthmark on one half of his face which made him quite camera shy and I couldn't help but try and capture him the way I saw him without drawing attention to the one feature most people wont be able to see beyond.