Friday, 28 September 2012

PROJECT 365: Part 15

Two blog posts in one week! That's just not normal.

I've been having so much fun taking photos with Instagram on my iPod Touch.  The picture quality isn't the best, but it's pretty amazing considering the Touch has 0.8 mega pixel camera.  And I downloaded a new photo-editor app for my Blackberry which I've been having some fun with, as you will soon see.

Day 165: Last time I leave the guest bedroom open for the dogs on a cold day.
The story behind this is as follows:  First, I got Shilo. And I saw that it was good. 

I never had any trouble leaving Shilo home alone, aside from the occasional accident when he was a puppy, and a few chewed items, but really nothing more than was expected.  We lived in my little one-bedroomed flat with a small garden for him and he had access to everything. Oh except the bathroom, because the laundry basket was in there and he had/has a thing about exposing my dirty laundry for everyone to see.  But I left the bedroom open, he was always in the living room, I never had to close him off from anywhere.  Except the bathroom.

Then I moved to a bigger house on the property, one of the main reasons being, I wanted more garden for Shilo and I thought he might need some company in the form of his own puppy.  So a year and a half after getting Shilo, I brought Penny home.  I don't think Penny had the easiest introduction to the world, but I brought her home at about 7 or 8 weeks so she didn't have much time to be too traumatised.  She did have the worst case of worms I have ever seen on a puppy.  She was a bit fearful but also quick to aggression.  And she hated being left alone.  And she hated driving in the car.  For the first week I brought her to work with me, much to Shilo's distress, and those trips in the car were terribly unpleasant with her non-stop and very loud whining.  Anyway after love and care and some ground rules Penny has grown into a lovely, loving, confident and fun loving dog, so it was all worth it.

I treated and trained her as I had done with Shilo and things went pretty well, again aside from the expected accident and chewed item.  Until I came home one day and found pieces of books all over the living room.  BOOKS!  After the third time this happened I locked the dogs out of the living room while I wasn't home.  But the bedroom was always left open for them because, I mean, maybe they want to sleep during the day, and they have every right to access 'our' bed.  Wrongo! They do not, because Penny chewed the headboard, an old chair of my grans, the base of the bed and anything she could access on the night stands.  And I am a pretty untidy person in my bedroom so there was plenty for her to choose from.  And the worst was that these forays into destruction did not happen every day.  We'd go for weeks with nothing being chewed in the living room or bedroom and then WHAM.  And irreplaceable item was irrevocably masticated.  And I know Shilo was not innocent in these adventures, but I also know he didn't start them because well, he never had before.  But once the book was in pieces or the puppy had her jaws around the remote, any self-respecting dog would join in.  I blame Penny entirely.  So eventually the dogs were banned from the bedroom and I felt like the world's worst mother.  They were free to roam the passage and the kitchen and their bed was kept in the passage with their blankets but everything was closed off to them.  During winter I made sure there was an extra warm blanket in their bed, but our winters don't get too cold I guess, so I pushed through my guilt, telling myself I could not replace everything that would be destroyed otherwise.

And then it snowed.  Well not at my house, but it was damn cold and I could not leave my babies in the passage and kitchen.  I just could not.  So I had a brainwave and decided I could open the guest bedroom for them.  It's just the bed, I would remove the scatter cushions, and I could shift the nightstand so they couldn't reach it.  I felt so good.  I had discovered the solution.  I ruffled up a blanket on the bed and left for work.  I did this for the rest of the week and everything went fine.  We had a few scattered really cold days after that, and I had no qualms about leaving the guest room open for them.  And then one day, I discovered a teddy bear that was on the nightstand in pieces on the floor.  "That's okay," I thought to myself, "that is acceptable collateral damage for the comfort of my babies."  And so I continued to leave the guest room open for them during the cold spell. 

And then I came home to what is pictured in the photograph above.  All the bed linen and blankets had been pulled off and left otherwise untouched and a hole had been dug in my mattress.  Now, once again I know Penny started this.  Shilo was left alone on my bed, every morning for 18 months and the worst I got was a rumpled bed.  So now the dogs are once again relegated to the passage and the kitchen.  I don't know what I will do if it gets really cold again.  Maybe I need to buy them a doggy house...  I feel like such a failure as a furparent.

Day 166: It's raining.
Spring has officially sprung, and we are getting some lovely rain.  More than we've had in September for quite a few years actually.  I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Day 167: Cheesy goodness. I needs it.
I really did.  I still do in fact.  I'm on a cheesy binge.  Anything smothered in cheese is essential right now.  This was a delicious vegetarian pizza.  Olives and cheese. Yummy!

Day 168: Hi!

Shilo decided I needed to watch him much more than I needed to watch Supernatural.  I may have agreed with him.

Day 169: Rearview sunset.
I have been trying to get a photo of a sunset for y'all for just the longest time, but every time I try, the colours are all wrong.  We get amazing sunsets here, and were I live there is an amazing view of the sunset, everyday on my drive home.  The road I live in is a long main road, and it always looks like the sun is setting in perfect alignment with it.  Anyway, on the way home on this day, I was stuck in traffic and was being blinded by the sun reflecting in my side mirror, and I thought I'd take a chance and see how my iPod captured it.  And, aside from my dirty window, it captured it almost perfectly. That'll do little iPod, that'll do.

Day 170: How I almost left the house today. Lesson: always look at the shoes you slip on your feet...
 I am not really a morning person.  I sleep until the very last minute and have getting ready in ten to fifteen minutes down to an art form.  While I was rummaging through my closest with my toes for my shoes, these sure felt the same.  Good thing I happened to look down before I left.

Day 171: The Dungeon Of No Signal. Aka part of the archive of the National Cultural History Museum.
I'm sure some of you have seen me tweeting about spending the day in the Dungeon.  Well, this is it.  It is freezing in here and there is no signal at all so no phone, no Internet, no nothing.  If it wasn't so cold in there I'm sure I would be super-productive on my Dungeon days.

Day 172: Know Your New Street Names.
I was driving behind this and thought it would be a good follow up to Day 158.  There are numerous buses driving around with these posters on them.  I saw one yesterday about Steve Biko, who now has a street in Pretoria named after him.  I think this 'Know Your New Street Names' initiative is great .

Day 173: All finished! — at DITSONG Kruger Museum.
After six months and various delays, the renovation of the exterior of the Kruger House is complete!  There are still a few small things the contractors are attending to on site; blocked drains, paving etc.  But the house is finished and the museum will be reopening on Monday 1 October October the 10th (the CEO had other plans apparently and didn't think we actually needed to know *runs around frantically informing clients that the opening date has changed*).  While the house looks great on the outside, the revamp makes the shoddy inside very noticeable.  So the acting manager wants to try to get a project going next year to restore the interior.  That would be awesome.

Day 174: Surprise Daddy & daughter day.
My Dad and I just haven't spent enough time together lately.  He is very busy working, and works most weekends, and the fact that I live 63km away and the price of fuel is exorbitant is not helping any.  On this Saturday, I was just out of bed and dressed when I got a text from my Dad:

      Dad: Whatcha doing?
      Me:  A load of laundry. What you doing?
      Dad: Driving down your driveway...

This last I actually only got after I heard his diesel engine parking and my dogs going mad.  Then I squeed a little.  He had brought the fixings for boerewors rolls (hot dogs with boerwors) and some coke and cream soda, and he made me lunch!  Yummy lunch!  Then we fiddled with my car and sat around talking.  And I showed him all these photos.  He is so exhausted these days from the long hours he's working that the moment he sits down he basically passes out, but we spent the whole afternoon together and it was great.  And I had leftovers after.  Altogether a great day.

Day 175: Turquoise.
Can you tell I am not a professional manicurist?  Is there such a word?  There should be.  Just as 'sandwichify' should be a word. As in 'I'm gonna take this bread, cheese and bacon and sandwichify the feck out of em'...

Day 176: Blooming beginning.
First the jasmine and now the irises.  I love this time of year.

Day 177: Scrub a dub dub. Nikki's in the tub.

I used my new phone app to edit this and it came out pretty nicely.

Day 178: Two favourite toys working in fabulous union. (I used my new phone photo editor app :D)
Another photo edited with the phone app.  Can you tell I was having fun with it?  This is my iPod Touch and my fabulous docking station.  I have two docking stations: one in my living room, which also has a CD player, auxiliary output and radio, and this smaller one in my bedroom which just docks iPods.  The smaller one actually has better sound than the bigger.  I needed one in my bedroom so I could be lulled to to sleep by wonderful tunes with perfect bass beat.  It has a remote.  This makes me incredibly happy.  In case you're wondering the song playing there on my iPod Touch is Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas.

Day 179: Good Morning!
The sun was just rising.  Don't expect many similar picture from me, but the birds had been incredibly noisy this morning and I had a headache which prohibited sleep.

Day 180: Tomaraisins! Who knew?!
Seriously. Tomaraisins.  I didn't buy any to try but it's on my list of things to do.

Day 181: Thanks to Ma, herself and both us girls now have one of these signs ;)
I suggested we should all hang them up in the same place in our houses and what better place than the toilet?  Mom's is already up apparently.

Day 182: 365 halfway mark and Maid of Honour apparel is sorted.
Yep, I am halfway through this photo project!  And if you want to know more about the wedding clothes go here.

Day 183: Lazy holiday snuggling doggies.
The 24th was National Heritage Day, a national holiday over here.  It has also recently become National Braai Day but I don't think the Haw Family has managed to actually have a braai on National Braai Day.  Not yet anyway.  I spent the holiday reading and and snuggling. Which was perfect for a slightly overcast day.

Day 184: One of the more interesting spam emails I've ever received...
As one of my Facebook friends commented 'WTF?'. WTF indeed....

Day 185: Random traffic shadow play.
I seem to take a lot of photos in the traffic.  Makes me think I may be spending too much time in the car.

Anyway, I thought this was really cool.  I wonder if Johnny Walker always stays on the headrest or moves around the back of the car a bit.  I bet he moves around.  I wonder if they positioned that sticker like that on purpose?  I wonder what is causing the shortage of bacon?

Day 186: The Casual Vacancy day!
I could not believe this actually arrived on the day of release.  I preordered it ages ago, mainly because where I ordered it from had it for the cheapest I'd seen.  But I did not believe it would be waiting for me when I got to work on 27 September.  So excited!

Day 187: Rainy morning.
Another one.  And don't get me wrong, I love rainy mornings.  But it does make it just that much harder to get out bed.

Also today is the birthday of the Pixie from Day 97.  Pretty sure that tomorrow's photo will be a picture of the Birthday Pixie.

I just realised I wrote an essay on naughty puppy behaviour at the beginning of this post.  I hope you enjoyed the effort I put in ;)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Woman In White... and the one in blue and the one in charcoal

The Wedding Part 3 (go here for part 2)

We have bought the dresses.  This happened over three shopping trips and I was going to post after each trip but then I thought it would just be more interesting if I posted after everything had been bought. Fair warning: there are far more photos of me in this post than the bride because I am just harder to please.

The first shopping day was a few weeks ago.  We went to a huge, almost discount shopping centre in Johannesburg called The Oriental Plaza.

It's very serious business, planning where to start...

My Mom and Darren were part of this expedition, as you can see.  Poor Darren. The patience of a saint, I tell you.  So we walked into the first promising shop, and tried on a few dresses.

This was the first dress Mouse tried one.  I chose it because I liked the lace on the skirt.  But it's not really her style and she wasn't that impressed.  Parenthetically, my sister leaves her sunglasses on for dress fittings - she's just THAT cool.

I really like the top on this one.  I think it really suited her.
And then, the third dress she tried on was it...
You'll have to wait for the wedding photos to actually see it.
My Mom and I talked her into at least looking around the shopping centre we were currently in a bit before making a final decision, so she did.
This one looked far better on than I thought it would.  It sure was fugly on the rack, but the style suited her. 
Serious business, as I said...

Very serious business.
Mouse tried on a few more dresses, and while we were browsing, Darren found himself the perfect shirt. But I don't have a picture of it! I had ONE job!
Anyway, nothing else really caught Mouse's attention so we went back and she bought the third dress she tried on.  I guess she knows her mind.  And the bonus was, it was on special so it is probably the most inexpensive wedding dress ever purchased.
At this point in time it was decided to look for dresses for the mother of the bride and the maid of honour.  Let me just say right now that the maid of honour does not enjoy shopping.
The mother of the bride was easy! We were passing a Chinese clothing shop and...
...MaHaw found her perfect dress.
Also, MaHaw is an exhibitionist ;)
My sister insists there will be no colour co-ordinating among the family members and the bare minimum of co-ordination among the bridal party.  She wants a totally relaxed wedding with no stresses about who should be wearing what.  Works for me, although I did insist on a teeny bit of colour co-ordination which I'll tell you about shortly.
By now the bride, the groom and the mother of the bride are all sorted for outfits.  Which leaves me.  Let me just say that what followed did absolutely nothing for my self esteem, but I did get a few giggles out of it.  And while I am fairly pudgy, the clothes I was trying on were meant for petite Asian girls, and there was just no way.
Fat fairy number 1. I particularly like the leggings, they're a nice touch.
Fat fairy number 2. The flower strap... I just can't.
This one was quite nice, and was my plan B.  It was longer than I wanted, but it looked okay and it sparkled.  You can never go wrong with sparkles.
That was that for that shopping day.  Everybody was sorted except me, which is pretty typical.  The only time I can find clothes or shoes I like is when I'm not looking for them and don't have the money to buy them.  We scheduled another shopping trip, two in fact, but Mouse got horribly sick and so I had a two week reprieve.
This past weekend was a long weekend over here, and so we put our walking shoes on and headed to Johannesburg again.  This time we went to a well-known shopping mall, where we have spent copious hours shopping over the years.
As we walked in, Mouse headed to one of her favourite shoe stores and found these.
Bridal shoes? Check.
At the same store MaHaw found these...
...and we all agreed they were pretty perfect for her Chinese dress.
So once again the only one who hadn't found anything was me.  We headed out with purpose to find my dress.  And can I just say that grey or charcoal dresses are not that easy to find at the moment.  BUT the retro styles in fashion right now are just so awesome.  Every clothing store we stopped in looked like the 50s and the 80s had decided to throw a revival party.  Awesome!
I actually found my dress at the first shop we stopped at.  But it was in a ridiculously small size so we asked if any of their branches had fat fairy sizes and we got a list of possibilities.  But while we were in the mall we decided to keep looking anyway.
This was very similar to the previous dress I tried on.  And I liked what it did to my boobs.  But it was still a bit small.  I tried a bigger size on the next day.
I did like this one, but I really wanted charcoal or grey.  And I really think those socks should be standard with any evening dress I wear.  Adds a certain something.
This is the most expensive dress I have ever tried on.  And I'm not sure what made it worth it's price tag.
This was the first dress my sister actually oooh'd over.  I liked it.  A lot.  But that other dress was still on my mind, and anyway, this one was too big. Ha! Yes it was.
We made plans to meet up at my house the next day, and try the Pretoria stores to see if they had my dress in my size.  While we were out we found that other dress in a bigger size and I tried it on as well.
But whereas the first one was a bit small, this one was a bit big.  Also, I was told I shouldn't wear those shoes...
And then we found it. The right dress, the right size everything!

It's practically exactly what I wanted.
Well we were just all so relieved.  And as we were leaving we passed a branch of the shoe store where by some fluke, we have found all my special occasion shoes and my sister insisted we go look.  I do not do heels.  My comfort is far too important to me.  But I do have a thing for a particular style of pretty heel, and I never get the opportunity to buy or wear such shoes, so I grab it when it comes.  I have, now, three such pairs of shoes; my graduation shoes, my best friends wedding shoes (I was a bridesmaid) and now my sister's wedding shoes.
At first I thought these were perfect...
...but then I saw these...
And I needed them.
I should just be able to get through the ceremony wearing these, but a pair of purple ballet flats for the reception will be absolutely necessary.
And now seeing as the the bride and the maid of honour are wearing purple shoes I insisted suggested that that the bridesmaid should too.  I think it will look great; subtle and great.  I can't seem to convince the groom to wear purple shoes though...

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

PROJECT 365: Part 14

It's a cold and overcast Wednesday morning, and what better way to brighten things up than pretty pictures? Lets jump straight in!

Day 146: Tea Ducky!
My awesome friend Worm, sent me this all the way from America!  A number of my twitter friends have sent me pictures of ducky tea infusers from all over the world, but I've never seen one in South Africa.  I am so chuffed with this little guy I can't use enough exclamation points!!!!  He floats in my tea so sweetly it just improves every cup of tea.

Day 147: Filing assistant.
I decided to be productive on this particular Sunday, and do some home filing.  I'd left my papers etc to accumulate to unreasonable proportions so it was well past time I attended to it.  And Oliver was so sweet to offer to help...

Day 148: Ana.
My awesome friend Worm, sent me this ducky all the way from America! Worm had already named her and as the name was so apt, it stuck. Erm, Ana vibrates.  'For discreet massage'... ahem... She works wonders on tense shoulders...

Day 149: Say my name.
Pet jewellery.

Day 150: Queueueueue...
Stuck in a queue at the pharmacy.  And as soon as I took this photo, my phone's battery died so I was stuck with nothing to do, nothing to read, no tweeting possible and I was SO BORED!!!!  I got a great comment on this photo on Facebook.  One of my followers is the curator of the photograph collection at the Cultural History Museum and often has some little comment or just 'likes' my 365 Project photos as I post them.  For this photo she commented that my photo a day project is actually an anthropological documentation.  I had never thought of that, but I guess she's right.  One hundred years from now, projects like this could be really interesting to heritage professionals.  That comment made me kinda happy.

Day 151: The great music library rescue of 2012.
Obviously there is a story behind this photo.  I store my entire music collection on an external hard-drive, as my laptop only has a 60 something gigabyte hard-drive and my iPod has 160GB of memory which I plan to fill.  So far I'm up to 60.7GB of memory used on my iPod.  My external hard-drive had started giving trouble.  It would just disconnect from the computer for no reason.  Then it wouldn't connect at all, then it would, then it would disconnect mid music sync... It was getting unacceptably frustrating.  And of course my entire music collection was on there, so I didn't want to take any chances.  Darren offered to let the IT guys at his work look at it, and I thankfully accepted his offer.  So my hard-drive was at Darren and my sister's house.  And Darren and my sister's house was broken into.  And everything and anything looking like it had something to do with computers was taken.  Their laptops, their external hard-drive and my external hard-drive.  And strangely enough, some clothes and perfume...  When I heard the news my stomach plummeted to the depths of despair.  But before it dropped to utter hopelessness, I thought to myself that all that music is actually stored on my iPod.  How to get it off the iPod and onto my work computer...?  Google is my friend, and I discovered that iTunes has a backup function.  So I plugged my iPod in and started restoring my music library to my work PC.  Immediately, at work.  I needed to get this done.  And that is what's happening in this photo.  I'm still going through everything as it's not organized the way I want and there seem to be a few things missing, but all in all PHEW!  My sister and Darren were also quite lucky, as although a lot of electronic stuff was taken a lot was also left behind.  All in all, it could have been much worse.  And their kitty was fine which, lets face it, is the most important thing.

Day 152: Fill me!
Shopping at the local Spar, filling up for the weekend.

Day 153: Too cool for... wedding dresses. PS this isn't the one.
SisHaw keeps her sunglasses on for wedding dress fittings coz that's just how she rolls.  Yep we went dress shopping this day, and yes she found the dress.  Not this one, as the caption says.  I was going to do a whole post on this day of dress shopping, but there is still more shopping to be done for shoes and things, so I figured I would do one wedding clothes shopping post once everything has been found and bought.  Something for y'all to look forward to.

Day 154: Supernatural Sunday.
My current, renewed obsession.  I can't really say more than that or I will keep you here all day reading about the wonder that is Jensen Ackels/Dean Winchester.  I might even talk about Wincest fanfiction and we don't really want that, do we...?

Day 155: 'Nother new toy!
You know my sparkly, bouncy ball office distraction from Day 107?  It's battery is dying.  So sad.  So when a colleague found that out and found out that I had plans to get another one from the museum where I had bought it, he got me a new one as he had to go there for...something.  And when he went again, he got me this yo yo that LIGHTS UP AND SINGS!  Awesome.  I have been told that my office is like a toy store (I was told that this week actually) and there is always something fun to see and play with.  Well, duh.  It's my office.  Course it's that way, what other way would it be?

Day 156: Tummy rub.
 A fast action shot of Penny receiving a tummy rub.  Coz that's my purpose in life, apparently.

Day 157: When I grow up I'm gonna be sweet smelling jasmine.
Budding jasmine means my favourite time of year is just around the corner.

Day 158: Name changes.
Here in South Africa we go through these periods where everything gets a name change: provinces, cities, suburbs, streets, airports.  Obviously the first major name changing took place right after our first democratic elections.  Some of the name changes are perfectly understandable.  Some make no sense at all.  One morning a few months ago I woke up to numerous street name changes throughout Pretoria.  How do they do this overnight?! It's like magic.  The photograph above shows a few example's.  Another example is the name of the street I live in.  Zambezi Drive has been changed to Sefako Makgatho Drive.  Now apparently Mr Sefako Makgatho was the second president of the ANC so he deserves to be memorialized.  But what the Zambezi river ever did to insult our country and be removed as a street name, I'll never know.  Also, Zambezi is just much easier to say.

Day 159: It's bandana time!
When you see these bandana's all over the Pick 'n Pay supermarkets it's just another sign that warmer and happier days are coming!  Every year Pick 'n Pay sells these bandana's to raise money for The Sunflower Fund, an organisation to help children suffering from leukaemia.  National Bandana Day is on 12 October.  Every year, the bandana's have a different design, and I have a fair few colourful ones in my cupboard.

Day 160: Happy Spring Day!
It's officially Spring in South Africa! And New Zealand.  And other southern hemisphere countries I guess...  What better way to illustrate this than with blooming jasmine? There is no better way, none at all.

Day 161: Last packet of American cheesy goodness. So sad.
My awesome friend Worm, sent me three packets of Cheez-It's all the way from America!  This was my last packet.  Super sad.

Day 162: Always accessorise! (or, in my case, 'seldom accessorise' but sssshhhh)
Generally, I'm too lazy or too late to worry about accessorizing much.  Especially for work.  I do put more effort in for social events, promise.  Also, I have discovered that adding things like make-up and jewellery depends a lot on my mood and how I feel about myself.

Day 163: Blue shoes.
It is my aim in life to have one pair of ballet flats in every colour.  Luckily, my sister is my enabler in this case.

Day 164: Smells like rain.
It really does.