My blog has been silent and yet I have so much to share!

My blog has been pretty quiet lately. It’s not that I have nothing to share. Quite the opposite in fact! I’ve been busy. Very busy!

Here’s what’s been happening:

  • We bought a small business. What an eye opener this has been! It’s taken us ages to sort things out. From bank accounts, merchant accounts, web development, ordering stock, waiting for the stock to arrive. It’s been such a learning experience, full of ups and downs. We wanted to wait until we were ready to start telling everyone and sharing our news, but that seems to be taking forever! So here it is: We’re officially the distributors for CW-X in Southern Africa! *Squeal*
  • Running your own social media content plan for your own business takes time! Most weekends and weekday evenings, I’m sitting down writing posts and creating content. The Instagram account is live (go check it out!) but we’re reluctant to get going on Facebook until our website is ready & people can purchase stock. Want to help me? If you do wear CW-X and have any photos showing the running kit, please can you share those with me. I’d much rather show real athletes (that’s you!) than posed models in the kit.

    This is us both in our CW-X clothes at Parkrun. We might need to work on our posing. LOL

  • Like almost 90% of Jo’burgers, I got bronchitis and was out of action. It took forever to heal, two visits to the Doc, daily nebulizing, lots of sleep (read: Allergex). Then out of the blue, I get shingles. On my face! WTH? 3 weeks of misery has taught me two lessons. One: listen to my body. Read bullet point number one. It’s been a stressful time! Lesson number two: when you can’t run, your body had no way of de-stressing. You get even more niggly. I acknowledge the huge role running does play in my life & will try not complain about my running again.
  • I have been on a mission to help an after care centre in Kliptown called Izanokhanyo Community Based Project get SnapScan so that donations can be easier as well as kickstart their social media so that we can start telling their story. Let me tell you, it’s made me incredibly happy inside to help. It’s early days but here’s holding thumbs I can help make a difference! I’d love your help! I’ll let you know how soon!

    Helen, who runs Izanokhanyo without a salary, handing out sweet to the kids.

  • I’ve been successful in my application to be part of a pilot project kicking off at work. All new. Unknown. Virgin territory. Exciting as hell but I’m also nervous. But after climbing in & assisting with some of the project management for the last couple of weeks, I’ve proven to myself that I am capable of learning & trying something new. Doing this nowadays at work needs to be the norm.
  • My Dad’s partner Rina passed away too. It’s funny how you think you have time and you discuss illness and old age and plans on what to do if this happens and if that happens. But when things do happen, no one is quite prepared. Everyone grieves differently. Each person says goodbye in their own way. I’m glad we’re spending more time with my Dad. I wish my parents stayed closer.

Everything I’ve mentioned above happens for a reason and at the right time. The delays in getting our business up and running gave me more time to spend with my Dad. Getting sick slowed me down and forced me to rest and take stock of what mattered. What mattered was helping Izanokhanyo in my spare time and not using that time for reading work emails. And yet I was rewarded by getting the job at work.

I’m going to make more time to blog too. This one was long. If you made it to here, the key take out is that I’m fine, I’m excited and yes… I’m still running! We’ve got Run-The-Berg (or in my case with limited training Walk-The-Berg) coming up, Kaapsehoop and Otter.

Can’t wait for that purple carpet to line the streets!

By the way, the jacarandas are starting to bloom. It’s the most beautiful time to be outdoors! Go for that run!

Picnic for the soul 

During March, KK’s Comrades training was at its peak. Waking up at 4am, running 100km’s a week, he was exhausted. So I suggested to him that instead of wasting the March public holiday, that perhaps we should go for a picnic somewhere & spend some time together “chillaxing”.

My idea was loading our straw basket with some cut up vienna sausages, blocks of cheese and packets of chips. But when I woke up that morning, he said, “Dress comfy, we’re going for a picnic. It’s a surprise!”

We took a leisurely drive out to Magaliesburg and I kept wanting to stop and take photos of the fields of cosmos that greeted us on our trip.

Cosmos flower in bloomcosmos flowers in bloomWe finally arrived at our destination. The Budmarsh Private Lodge, tucked away in the heart of the Magaliesburg mountains.

Budmarsh Private LodgeKK had pre-ordered our picnic basket so the only thing required from us was to decide on drinks and select a spot around the grounds to have our picnic. Mmm, that beautiful gigantic tree or that sunny chair next to the gentle flowing stream?

It was so quiet! Our voices seemed to pierce the silence that engulfed us. We tucked into the food immediately! It was delicious! With full bellies, we lay back and dozed off…

It was the perfect day. KK has been doing such intense training for Comrades so the day “off” allowed him to relax and sleep, guilt free.

I took a stroll along the little stream next to the house and tried to get the ducks to come say hello. But I was full of thoughts and allowed the beauty of the surroundings to speak to me. The only ones who did come bounding by to say hi (and possibly steal whatever was left in the basket) were two adorable basset hounds. Scrumptious food, wine, warm sun, overly-friendly dogs… I was officially in my element!

There are a couple of public holidays in South Africa coming up. If you haven’t yet decided what to do, consider driving out somewhere unknown and escaping the city. It doesn’t have to be a picnic. It doesn’t even need to be a public holiday. But it’s the silence and time away from the daily chores and routine that allows your body and soul to recharge.

And yes, that includes runners. Be kind to your body. Take some time to rest!

Swapping the turkey for Chinese takeaways

A couple of years ago, I shared three Christmas survival tips. Tip number 2 was about making Christmas your own and allowing family members to celebrate in their own way. I remembered this tip when my Dad announced that this year, we would drop all tradition and get Chinese takeaways for Christmas Eve lunch. My head was saying, “WTF?!” but instead I agreed and said, “Great idea!”

In his mind, Christmas is always an exhausting day spent in the hot kitchen cooking loads of food, which is gobbled up in 10 minutes, with the remaining afternoon spent behind the kitchen sink washing dishes. He was having none of that this year! The decision had been made. Place your order, we’re buying lunch from Tong Lok!

Tong Lok menuTong Lok Chinese restaurant menu

KK was horrified and kept wondering if this was a joke. With strong German genes, Christmas Eve is very important to him. Gammon with mustard, roast potatoes followed up with rich fruit cake smothered in marzipan. Having to choose his lunch off a Tong Lok menu was not what he imagined!Front entrance to Tong Lok Chinese restaurantsoya sauce bottles

We arrived at my Dad’s place around 11 am and exchanged gifts, then headed out to the famed Derrick Avenue in Bruma. Tong Lok is not in the main drag, but rather tucked away outside the beautiful archway to Chinatown. The food didn’t take more than 25 minutes and we were already headed back home, with my Mini filled with the smells of sticky chicken and sweet and sour sauce. My mouth couldn’t stop watering!sticky chicken vegetable spring roll

The portions from Tong Lok are ginormous and as we chuckled reading our fortune cookie predictions out loud to one another, it was great to sit around the table relaxing. When we looked, it was after 3 pm and KK and I headed home.

It was everything Christmas is supposed to be about. Family, good food, laughter and spending quality time with people you love. Dad, you were right! What a great idea (and hopefully new family tradition?).

KK did get to make his gammon later that night. It was just the two of us. gammon christmas decorations

What a perfect Christmas Eve!  XXX

Celebrating Christmas traditions

Nothing exposes the differences between you & your partner quite like Christmas. How you both were raised and the family traditions you celebrated as a child is often glaringly opposite to one another. This might be a generalization, but that’s what I discovered. Here’s just a few examples:

  • KK’s family celebrate together on Christmas Eve. My family get together on Christmas Day.
  • Presents with his family get opened on Christmas Eve too. We wait until the next morning when we wake up. (I’ve always asked KK when he thought Father Christmas arrived? During supper, he tells me.)
  • KK’s family make a huge kickass gammon. I had never really eaten much gammon until I met them. As a child, all I remember was my granny’s beef and gravy.
  • In my mom’s house on Christmas Day, there’s gammon, beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, you name it. She even tried the turduken one year but we agreed never to talk about it again.
  • Growing up, we never had a Christmas tree and I never noticed it until I met KK.
  • Buying Christmas presents is also very different. KK’s family buy according to gift lists and wrap presents adorned with ribbons and name tags. My family either never bought gifts, or gave one another functional presents like PJ’s or car polish. And often, these gifts were exchanged anytime during December. KK’s is horrified if gifts get opened before the 24th.

Front entrance hall christmas table decorationsWhat’s common to both families is going to church and celebrating the real reason of why Christmas matters.

Christmas decorationsChristmas decorationsAnnie and ChristmasEmma and Father Christmas

Over the years, I’ve learnt that these family traditions are important. It’s not about changing one another or questioning why we do (or don’t do) the things we do, but rather recognizing how it brings families together and the wonderful memories everyone has.

One of our own traditions is putting up of the star on our decorated Christmas tree. Thanks KK!

One of our own traditions is putting up of the star on our decorated Christmas tree. Thanks KK!

So after reading this, is your family more like KK’s or mine. 🙂

Merry Christmas!