Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It snowed in South Africa!

We had the worst weather these last two days. Yesterday’s wind gusts and torrential rain were downright explosive at times. Someone we know works in an observatory in Sutherland and took these pictures today. (I hope he doesn’t mind that I ‘borrowed’ these pictures from Facebook. If you want to know who it was, I can let you know in an e-mail- so that he gets proper artistic credit). Please, please do not think that it does not get cold here! I have been freezing my little butt off!


The observatory.

Sutherland hostel.
 And Look!

The Observatory at sunrise.

I hope those of you in the southern hemisphere are keeping warm, and that you are basking in the warm weather if you live in the northern hemisphere. 

I’ve had TWO winters this year.


Song of the day:  Winter Song by Sarah Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.  No video, but beautiful song.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A quick question (with some history thrown in)-

Let’s say that a guy lives in the granny flat (guest house) and shares a yard with you. You have two dogs and he just adopted a dog with a few screws loose. This dog poos and pees on the common brick patio all the time, your dogs do it occasionally since the other dog came because of territory reasons. The guy has finagled the gardeners to pick up the poo (and they do it in a half-assed way). 

So today, his dog poos twice in what is obviously “our” part of the patio, including directly in front of our door, so that when we open it, we actually sweep it to the side. I am annoyed because our dogs lay right there quite often. I SMS (text) him “[Your dog] just pooed in front of our door (and by the pillar) …” 

The main suspect.

He SMS’s back (to my husband and not to me for some reason), saying “sheesh and she was sitting in that doorway yesterday night. All 3 the dogs have jointly decided, bathroom in the grassy yard is not in the books anymore.”

No mention of cleaning it up. We have waited at least 3 hours and the offending poop is still there! I am livid and the hubby is trying to be peace maker. I’m not much for confrontation, but I’m also not one to be “walked all over” or in this case, “pooped on”. 

I feel as though I need to tell him (or ask him?) to pick it up. Not the entire yard, but just the poo directly in front of our door. 

Or I could passive-aggressively pick it up in a paper towel and leave it for him to find in front of his door tomorrow.

Please, please give me some advice ASAP. I really do need guidance on this.

Thanks in advance!


... (no one responded in time)... 

I ended up picking it up late the next morning because I didn't want our dog to lay in it. Because she would have; and I would have had to let the hubby handle that. 

Le sigh. I just can't be mean or passive-aggressive to other people, and I always end up being the person to "cave/be the weak one". I hate it, but my sense of decency cannot allow it. Hopefully that also means that "I'm the better person" (at least in this situation).

We finally got an SMS (typos and all) that was as close to an apology as I think we are going to get: 

"Thanks you guys. When i left at 5:30am this morning to fetch her before heading out, i could see then she was sorted. Hm. I feelin next time its better for [her] to remain outside... She was on punishment, she was miss-behaving. I tried to get her inside after using her bathroom, she tried to bite me. She tried again when my girlfriend was here latter in the evening. She's tough and can handle the cold amon other things as told to me by her previos owners. She needs to learn that you cant bite. I care for her but still, enough. My foot is down now. once my cash is right i will get her more help and hm, "continue educating myself". Thanks for understanding. Co stuff."

He really does need to learn that disciplining a dog is not at all how you would discipline a human. A dog being left out all day because "she is in trouble" is more likely to undermine your relationship (instead of teaching her a  "lesson.") Different operant and classical conditioning techniques would help them so much- she could be reinforced for the behaviors that he wants more of, and bad behaviors can be reduced or become extinct. 

She is a very cute dog, with some quirks. I find that I have to have boundaries with her, for her own sake. It would be very easy to use me knowledge with dogs to help her, but it wold not help her relationship with her owner. Also, it would be very easy for her to become part of my dog pack, and it is already hard to shut the door on her when its cold outside and I bring my two dogs inside. I don't want to confuse her. 

What are your thoughts?

Song of the situation : That's Life by Frank Sinatra. You can see the nice quality video of it here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Brass Bell.

A few weeks ago we went to The Brass Bell in Kalk Bay and had a lovely afternoon. There is construction on Main Road, so traffic was “bumper to bumper”. We decided to get a parking spot as soon as we saw one so that we wouldn’t have problems. Well, we had no clue to we would have to walk almost a mile to get to our restaurant! Oh well- it was a nice jaunt on the sidewalk that skirts the beach, when we didn't have to jump over electrical wires and walk on gravel!

View of Kalk Bay, and father, Simon's Town.
This was the second time we had gone to The Brass Bell's The Cabin Bistro. The restaurant actually has four different dining rooms with different menus and ambiance. The Bistro usually has seating and you don’t need a reservation. The Main Restaurant, The Water’s Edge, and The Bikini Deck always look packed. We appreciate the Bistro because it is small and intimate; the others look crowded and loud. We’ll have to make reservations to try the others. The waitress told me that at 3:00 p.m. the Bistro changes its menu to the Main Restaurant’s, so you can get the same culinary experience.

The Brass Bell. Image source.
We arrived hoping that we could again have their amazing salmon tartare and fresh seafood basket. Unfortunately, they had changed their menu, so we settled for a Greek plate with feta, olives, dolmades, fried aubergine, pita bread, and fried cheese called halloumi; and also a sautéed prawn dish. They were both good (not as good as what we were hoping to eat!). 

View from our table.
Looking out towards the bay.

In my special way, I managed to get us free dessert, which was AMAZING! It was a vanilla bean crème brulee with a cloud of spun sugar on top, dribbles of a vanilla/marmalade (I think it was this) sauce, and a shot glass full of a vanilla bean shake! Scrumptious! 

Yum. Forgot to take the picture before eating, so this is half-way through. :)

Then we walked around and debated about buying stuff from the street vendors. Their hand-made art is actually fairly expensive, so we decided to wait.

A yummy and lovely afternoon!

Song of the day:
What a day for a Daydream by The Lovin' Spoonful. It can be viewed here. The video is very clear!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our First Wedding Anniversary

My bouquet.
A year ago today, we got married. We had already been together for six years, so we are now on our seventh year together! When did that happen? It seems like only yesterday that I went on a few dates with him and decided that we should just be friends...                
The back of my dress.
Yes, there was a broom at our wedding!

Our candy buffet!

After disappearing off the face of the earth, I ran into him on campus and made sure he realized that I had meant it when I said that we should be friends. We started having long, great telephone calls, he shaved his full “mountain man” beard, and showed me what an intelligent man he is. We were paired together to collect some research data early one Saturday morning and we met up at International House Of Pancakes first. After we were done with our task, we wanted to spend some more time together. We went off-roading; my first time. Then he let me drive his Jeep; I was flattered that I was the only person besides his sister allowed to drive it. We were hungry, so we had a late lunch at Bison Witches. During conversation we talked about The Sopranos and how I had only seen a few episodes. He had the entire boxed set on DVD, so we decided that it might be fun to watch a few “from the beginning.” And it was our beginning! I didn’t leave his house until 10:00 p.m. I was pretty satisfied with myself because I had found an “innocent” way to spend time with him as friends, by watching the television show. However, we went from friends to dating pretty quickly after that day. I didn't get tired of his companionship that day, and I have never gotten tired of him or his presence in the last seven years (maybe a little annoyed at times :)

We spent the year before our wedding avoiding the planning, then rushing to get it all done. He now tries to avoid doing any kind of editing on the computer with me because of how stressful it was for us to design and print our own invitations. I tried very hard to have as low-key a wedding as I could with minimal drama. Of course there still was some, but other people handled a lot of it for me. I am so grateful for my friends and family who helped us prepare for the big day. It went off as smoothly as I think it could have. We had an amazing day and have wonderful memories of dancing together and with friends. Our photographer worked with us and took great photos.

This sign got us many honks and "thumbs up" on our road trip.

The last year has been about change for us. Which is so hard. My hubby went away for the summer to work, and we left two days after our wedding. We were so sad as we packed- it felt like we were leaving each other that very day. We drove across the United States in five days! I got a stomach virus the day we left and puked my brains out for the first two days. I couldn’t even drink water. We had vehicle trouble, but made it through. We stopped in Buffalo and met some of his family. He hadn’t been there since he was one years old! 

Camping after our wedding.
We saw Niagara Falls briefly (like 30 minutes!) and had to leave to keep on schedule. I flew home from Connecticut and spent my summer alone and later, with my mother. It was pretty hard to be a newlywed and to not have my husband with me. While there, in August, he was flown to Cape Town for his job interview. Afterwards, I flew out to meet him in Connecticut, and we drove back out across the USA.
Niagara Falls. Briefly.

The fall of 2010 was made up of P working on gathering his dissertation data and making the decision about whether we really wanted to move to South Africa. We thought long and hard and decided to say yes. P graduated in the commencement ceremonies, even though he defended in January.

The first two months of 2011 were filled with finishing up my job and P writing his dissertation. The day he defended was the day that President Obama came to Tucson for “Together we Thrive.” We had a few good-bye dinners and social outings. We packed up all of our belongings and learned about ourselves and what seems to matter most to us. We left the top of our wedding cake in our freezer- hopefully his sister has it. But it really doesn’t matter- whether we taste it or not means nothing of the strength of our relationship!

To find out how our life has been from the beginning of 2011, including these last few months, look at our past blog posts. P’s blog is here.

I love my husband and I cannot imagine my life without him or his family. I love them all. Because of them, he has such a great respect for women and has always treated me well. I know I am lucky because of this. He cares about what I care about, and always supports my ideas and passions. He is smart, compassionate, loving, and he is my hero. I am so glad to have him as my true companion.                     

Here's to many more years together!

Song of the Year: True Companion by Marc Chon