Sunday, October 30, 2011

Highs and Low for the week of 24/10/11.

I was always short...
  • No Halloween for us. It is somewhat celebrated here in SA, but not much. There are people who throw costume parties though. And I’ve heard that trick or treating really only happens in a gated community, where people feel safer. 
This is like a Bob's Big Boy costume, right?
  • I caused a car accident on Friday. I’m okay. But three cars aren’t. I feel so bad for the owner of the car I was driving, and of the other two. My pride is severely injured- I am a good driver (everyone thinksthat about themselves), but we knew that since I do most of the driving, I would be the one most likely to be in an accident. We’ll see how it plays out. We of course will pay what we need to, but it could put us into dire financial straits. Here’s hoping for the best!

  • I finally felt truly alone here. Before the accident, I’d had a bad day, (fight with hubby and then kept waiting a long time for someone) and didn’t have anyone to “vent” to because all my American friends were asleep and I don’t have close friends here that I can talk to (or maybe I do...). Then after the accident, I couldn’t reach my hubby and I had no clue what to do! It was really hard to keep it together!

  • On Saturday, we had to go file an accident report at the Police Station that the accident was nearest to. The woman who worked with us was helpful and filled out parts of the report that we didn’t understand. That’s not the low. The low was that a man walked in, frantic because his bank account had been emptied. He had spent 3 hours at the bank the day before and they had sent him to the police to file a report and bring it back to them. The front desk staff were completely rude to him, treating him with suspicion and trying to catch him with his own words. They even spoke about him in another language to each other (I’m guessing it was Xhosa). He left without a report filed. Poor guy, he was so desperate. I hope it gets resolved. We were shocked at the treatment he got, and so thankful we got through the experience unscathed!


  • I’m safe and unhurt from the accident. 
  • I bought a full bedlah costume from my teacher, for a very good price. She bought it in Turkey. It is silver. I love silver. It came with a bra, a belt, a 4 panel skirt, a veil, two wrist bands, and a head band.
The bra top.

Fringe, glorious fringe!
  • I performed twice this weekend, the first since June. One was at a Waldorf school and the other at the International Oriental Dance Festival. It was different since I had a real costume. I felt more “legit.” It was a nice feeling.
My hip belt.
  • I went to Kamers vol geskenke craft show, and loved it. I will post about it and lots of pictures next week.

  • And I have a hubby that “wuvs” me, no matter what!

I hope you had a good week!

Song of the Post: Killing Me Softly as sung by Afro Blue. My friend is on the NBC Show The Sing Off and their group is doing great!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10 Things You Didn’t (need to) Know About Me.

This a a meme that has been floating around and Sami has tapped me to be the next in  line!

So here goes....

1.   I’m a very weird perfectionist. Only certain tasks bring it out in me. Housework is not one of them. Making crafts is hard for me, sometimes even to start, because I hate wasting my time, and if it does not come out well, I’m disappointed. I’m learning how to “just do it” and remember that it is from our mistakes that we often learn the most.

2.   My favourite candy bar in the USA is Reeses, then Snickers; here in SA, it is Cadbury’s Top Deck (white and milk chocolate).

3.   I have hypothyroidism (an under-active thyroid) and have been taking daily medication since I was 14 years old.

4.    I have only started to eat cauliflower since moving to SA.

5.   I collect old campaign pins, mostly presidential, from the USA. Here are some examples (not my collection).


6.   I have trouble making friends because I can be shy and tend to feel awkward due to social anxiety. I’m pretty good at hiding it though. Mostly people think that I’m “quiet.”

7.   I love silver toned jewelry (silver, white gold, platinum) and almost gag when I think of wearing gold. But then sometimes, I try gold on, and I have second thoughts- it’s not so bad sometimes, I guess.

8.   I never wear skirts or dresses, or high heels. I think I have worn a dress by choice only once this year so far, for our anniversary. I did wear a skirt for belly dance performances (you kind of have to…).
Mijo getting older. He's so gray!

9.   My first dog’s name was Mijo, Spanish for “little boy.” I really miss him. He was such a rascal.

I really liked him. As you can see, I also like cutting my own hair!

10.    I have had a secret dream of having my own café one day, like Bentley’s, where I can have “open mic nights” where up and coming artists can share their songs. Then, as we’re closing, have my friends come and have a “jam session” of our own. It seems lovely.

If you feel like doing this, go ahead! Please let me know if you do. It’s hard, but almost fun to think up these 10 things.

Song of the Post: Nobody Knows Me At All by The Weepies. They are one of my favorite bands.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Highs and Lows for the Week of 17/10/11.

Salsa getting frozen.
  • I thought I had found some cheap used belly dance costumes…nope. I’m too big. Le sigh. Story of my life…
  • Sleep. I need more sleep. Not a new story.
  • We defrosted the refrigerator, yes the refrigerator, not the freezer, because the cheaper fridges here have the cooling element inside the compartment. Open the door enough times, or leave it open long enough, and your salsa starts to get swallowed up in ice!
  •  I tried to cut back on my caffeine intake this week, not that I ingest an exorbitant amount. Failed experiment. I only replaced my lunchtime soda with milk once… I will continue to try. I think I need to get more/better sleep to counteract the lowered caffeine intake. What do you think?
  • Got annoyed at some ladies who told me how to park (they go to the same gym as me). I know darn well how to park and am the most strategic driver I can be. So I parked in the ideal spot for all traffic on the crowded neighborhood street. I moved, then decided it really was the most optimal spot, and re-parked. Then they pointed to a car and said they might have trouble; I said they could get out. They said, not if it’s a woman driver! The nerve! I had to shake it off before I got to snippy…..

Street performers.
  • I didn’t get robbed or killed when I went by myself to someone’s house to check out the belly dance costumes.
  • My belly dance teacher says that she might have one for sale that will fit me. I’ll check it out later this week.
  • On Friday, we went to a dinner party to raise money for someone. We got a fun wine tasting, had butter chicken and rotis, and got an intimate belly dance performance from Danisa of Argentina. I brought my Peanut Butter Fudge and it was a hit! We had good conversation and the hubby might have made some man friends. Man friends who like to go off-roading on dunes!

    Bees with bright orange legs. Do you know what kind they are?
  • On Sunday, we went to a friend’s house for homemade lasagna, which was yummy. The conversation flowed for hours. There, someone loaned us The first seasons of Breaking Bad and Arrested Development. Um, yes!

  • I looked on Etsy for bead inspiration- I literally looked through 142 pages and pinned all the stuff relevant to my interests. Check out my “beading board” on Pinterest. For some, this would have been torture, but I love the “hunt” and am tireless to find what I need, whether it’s shopping, finding something I lost, or pinning pictures for inspiration. I guess some people might call this "obsessive"- I call it thorough! Are you like me, or would you have given up?
  • I got inspired this week and made several lovely pieces of beaded jewelry. They’re lekker! I’m kinda holding off on showing them just yet. But I will soon!

I hope that you had more "highs" than "lows" this week!

P.S.- I'm thinking of doing my first giveaway to celebrate my 200 followers (when I get there). Friends, family, strangers, all are welcome! International is fine. What do you think?

Song of the Post: Sideways by Citizen Cope. He has such a voice! I like every one of his songs that I have.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars.

So I made something off my dessert list- Martha Stewart’s recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars. I’ve made sure to convert ingredient amounts for SA (metric volume and Celsius) in parentheses.

Sorry- no picture staging here!
  •     1 cup (2 USA sticks or 225grams) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus some to grease the pan
  •     3 cups all-purpose flour (white bread flour) , plus some to coat the pan
  •     1 1/2 cups (337 grams) sugar
  •     2 large eggs
  •     2 1/2 (562 grams) cups smooth peanut butter
  •     1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  •     1 teaspoon baking powder
  •     1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •     1 1/2 cups (337 grams) jam, you favorite flavour (I used raspberry).
  •     2/3 cup (150 grams) salted peanuts, roughly chopped 

Just to remind you of how small my kitchen is....

Butter and Sugar

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with butter (I used spray olive oil), and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease (or spray) the parchment, and coat the inside of the pan with flour (getting the sides as well).

2.  Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add eggs and peanut butter; beat until combined, about 2 minutes.

Eggs and Peanut Butter

3.   Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Add to bowl of mixer on low speed; combine. Add vanilla and mix until blended. Make sure to scrape bowl and mix again.

This is what the mixture will look like.
4.  Transfer approximately 2/3 of the mixture to the pan (eyeball it); spread evenly with a spatula (used one for frosting), spread jam on top of peanut-butter mixture. Dollop last 1/3 of peanut-butter mixture on top of jam. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

First layer down
Dollops on top.

With chopped peanuts sprinkled on top.

5.   Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; cut into however many pieces you want! They’re rich, so a piece the size of your palm is more than enough.

Golden brown

They were so good....I forgot to take a picture of a nicely cut piece! One thing I’d change- add more jam! I might put ½ to 1 cup more next time. And there will be a next time!


I'll be linking up to several blog linkys and hops. Check them out here, and here.

P.S.- Thank you Martha Stewart!

Song of the Day: I Wanna Dance With Somebody as sung by Afro Blue. My friend is on the NBC Show The Sing Off and their group is doing great!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Highs and Lows for the Week of 10/10/11.

  • We had lunch at The Dunes in Hout Bay. The food was fairly good, the view excellent, and the music sweet. There also seems to be a fun play area for the kids. The wind was blowing sand onto us little by little. Funny.

  • I got on the Wii yesterday for the first time in a while and it told me that in the last 105 days I had lost 5.7 pounds. Not bad. Not what I’d hoped, but I’ll take it!!

  • I got to chat online with some of my good friends this week and really enjoyed it. Too bad an ocean lays between us! And that I had to stay up until after midnight to do it.
  • We participated in social event for my hubby’s work. It was a quiz game and our team won! I have a secret competitive side that comes out in silly games, and I’m proud to say that my knowledge was key to earning several points. Our team received 4 bottles of wine, 4 giant Dairy Milk candy bars, and two boxes of biscuits (cookies).  We personally got two of the bottles, one candy bar, and the smaller box of biscuits.

The spoils of our winning!

  • Ohh, I'm so tired today. This was a week of going to bed late, being unable to sleep, waking up early on some days and sleeping in on others. I just woke up from a nap. I hate naps. Yes, I said it. I always wake up feeling weird and not refreshed.
  • I barely worked out at the gym this week, just 30 minutes on Thursday and 1.5 on Saturday. I can’t believe I just wrote that! I used to never work out, and if I was employed, probably wouldn’t that often. I’m lucky in that I have time to work out for an hour or two each day.
  • The biggest shelf in our little kitchen, one we use to store bins filled with grains, flour, sugar and salt, fell from high above, onto our counter and then the floor. A brand new 5 lb. bag of flour fell and split wide open. A single glass broke (our 5th since moving here- eek!), and a plate with a preexisting crack in it bit the dust. 

The missing shelf. Can you spot the bracket?
 Oh the destruction!  
As you can see, we went with a lime green accent color. 
Also, how many American brands can you see in this picture?

How was your week. Great, I hope!

Song of the Post: Another One Bites the Dust by Queen.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: 1.

So one of the blogs I like to read is called The Daybook. She’s all about style and has a fun way of writing. She does Awkward and Awesome Thursdays, and I thought I’d play along too.

So the premise is pretty simple- just write about things that embarrassed or annoyed you or things that made you smile. I’ll also be posting awkward (or awesome) pictures or pictures of awkward (or awesome) things in these posts.

Blurry picture of Table Mountain. Hurts your eyes doesn't it?
  • It’s awkward that I don’t know how to spell Awkward. Seriously two out of the three times that I just spelled it, I spelled it wrong. Thank goodness for spell check!
  • Forgetting to bring my movie rental with me when I left for the day and having to rush home to get it to turn it in on time, getting distracted, and still turning it in late!
  • Streetsellers/panhandlers that are so aggressive- they’ll even knock on your window when you’re pretending to ignore them. I literally had to put my hand up and say loudly “stop” to get a guy to stop harassing me.
  • Eating chocolate with the hubby- we both agreed that it “tasted weird” but kept eating it.
  • Trying to ignore the smell of incontinence while volunteering with old ladies. Good times!
  • Seeing my landlord shirtless and in his swim trunks cannonball into the pool every day.
  • I smelled dog poo all day and kept checking shoes to see if we stepped on it. Nope. Then I noticed a nice little pile behind our couch. This is the first time Reeses has pooed inside since we’ve been here…
Another blurry picture: khayelitsha.

  • I had little appointments every day this week. Yay for feeling a little busier!
  • I learned that the SA equivalent to “crossing yourfingers” is to “hold your thumb.”
  • Talking with an American here in SA for over two hours. The conversation flowed so easily.
  • Finding some cheap new tools for my beading. It will make life much easier!
  • Working with the same "old ladies" and helping them create something they are proud of.
  • How excited a friend was to get a postcard from me. Don’t worry- if I have your address, you might be getting one sometime soon. If I don’t have your address, e-mail me it and I will get one to you!
  • We finally set up a patio table inside our house for dining purposes. The hubby is happy because he has not spilled anything on himself since then! Hah!
  • Lovemaking in the middle of a sleepless night. Enough Said!

I have no clue why I took this picture. It's the stamp from Mzoli's.

So…that was kinda an awkward post- but I had fun doing it. I think I’ll do it every once in a while.

Song of the post: The World Should Revolve Around Me by Little Jackie

Don’t you just feel this way sometimes?! Maybe its because I’m an only child…

I first heard this song on Mercy (a TV show cancelled after one season on NBC).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Highs and Lows for the Week of 03/10/11.


My big girl!
  •  Spring is definitely here! On several days, I actually wore short sleeves and flip flops all day! Now, we’re gonna have to get used to no air conditioning. The other day, at the video store, I felt air conditioning and was surprised! I hadn’t felt it in so long…. Etta is doing better- we had to take her to the veterinarian a few weeks ago. She was diagnosed with a yeast infection in her ear. She’s had it for years (didn’t know what it was until this vet looked under a microscope)- he said that it’s not curable, but manageable. 

  • So we didn’t feel like such horrible parents that she has had it for so long. She kept shaking her head so often that she was making blood start to pool in her ears. It can get so bad that they swell up like balloons and need to be surgically drained. Luckily we are always on the watch, so at the first sign, we took her in. And now she's all better!

  • Volunteering twice this week and getting to attend a volunteer “thank you tea”. I’m working with older people during their “craft hour.” It’s satisfying, but my back tends to hurt from leaning over them to help them with a project. I’m the youngest volunteer there- I guess it’s not a way to make friends my own age…. 

She's thinking "why are you taking my picture?!"

  • We cleaned and organized our bedroom early in the week, and today, we organized and cleaned our “lounge” (aka living room). Things truly feel so much more “airy” and “roomy”- as much as it can for such a teeny space. 

  • I finished a very elaborate bracelet and also created some new 3-D shapes. 

"La Reeses."


  • After several great weekends in a row, a tough one. A "great weekend" for me is one where my husband and I flow together, get along well and have the same goals. This weekend, we weren’t getting along so well. Lots of mini annoyances- we apologize after each, but they can accumulate into a “hard day” for us sometimes. We are doing well tonight (Sunday) though. 
She's tired after playing ball.

  • We didn’t win the lottery- because we didn’t play. I’m actually not sure if we could play here. Hmm… 

Song of the Post: Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake. We saw "Friends with Benefits" this weekend- pretty racy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Good Friends.

So, the other day, I got a package (my second) in the mail from the United States! It was from some of my good friends, living far away.

There were four things in the box:  1. A card,  2. A scarf,  3. A necklace, and  4. A framed list entitled  “30 Things We Love About [Lovely Light]”. 

The necklace- so thoughtful, with my wedding colors

The scarf.

The list. So creative and accurate!

It was the nicest thing that anyone (besides the hubby) has done for me since moving here! It totally brought tears to my eyes. Thank you to everyone who had input into the package! It means so much and will not be forgotten.

Song of the Post: American Boy as sung by Afro Blue.  Again, one of my friends is participating in The Sing Off on NBC.  Here is their performance from round two…

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Herb Garden.

Today, we went to our local garden center and bought everything we needed for a small portable herb garden for our household.

You can find their web site here.
Since we have been trying to save money by eating at home more and not going out to restaurants, we have become more interested in fresh herbs. 

Some of the herbs to choose from.

Nicely organized.

I love succulents!

The center was well stocked with seeds, hoses, mulch and even had a little doggie section. Pets are welcome here. 

A butterfly on a daisy.

There was a great variety of plants, including indigenous ones, seedlings, succulents, and fynbos

The fynbos are so beautiful!

There were many options for containers- concrete, plastic, and glazed pottery.

There was even a café and an ice cream shop called “Sinnfull.”

The cafe's beautiful backyard!

We bought sweet basil, coriander (cilantro), greek oregano, mint, fennel, thyme, parsley, rosemary. Specifically for me, we bought my favorite scullent (Crassulla Gollum) and two French gray lavender plants. Here is a great website about the different types of lavender in the world.

Our cart full of our choices.
The containers we chose were “Stack-a-pots” because we want them to be portable and small. IF we move to a place without a yard, we’d still like to have our herb garden and not have it take up a lot of space.

The final product. I'm hoping the begonia will flower soon.

Close up of the pot and herbs.

Crassula Gollum succulent.

Song of the Day: I’m Real by Jennifer Lopez featuring JaRule. NPR was playing this song on a “This American Life” podcast we just listened to off the internet.