This Week on Showmax: The Girfriends’ Guide to Divorce nearly lead to my own divorce.

mv5bmtcwmzi0odg5ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwndywoteznze-_v1_Last Wednesday (I think) The Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce landed on Showmax and then my husband and I had a fight about it for an hour an a half. Because that’s what normal people in normal relationships do, right?

So the fight wasn’t the fault of the show, of course (the show is fine – something to watch if you’ve run out of other things to watch, like I have) but either something that happened on the show, or the mere act of sitting alongside my husband watching a show about the dissolution of marriage, prompted me to ask him if he ever learns anything from the stuff we watch. My question was met with an emphatic no and then he seemed rather incredulous when I suggested that fiction as a whole can serve as a catalyst for personal growth as well as be a valuable source of entertainment. He looked at me like I was mad.

Of course this sent me into an unrivalled panic. The flippant rejection of the social importance of fiction felt like an absolute rejection of my entire being. After all, I myself am made up entirely of books stitched together with television shows! Books might as well be my parents! (apologies to the actual parents who are both lovely people but who cannot keep the look of how in the hell did we create this thing from their faces almost every time I open my mouth to speak…it’s the books’ fault, parents, it’s the books’ fault…and apparently it is the fault of my refusal to separate fiction from life…) (more…)

Nesting Season

photo-on-2016-09-13-at-4-36-pmYou know… I didn’t know that I thought it, but I think I’ve always just assumed that humans are these massively evolved beings that don’t really march to the beat of nature’s drum. That’s kind of stupid, I guess, when you take things like menstruation and ovulation into consideration (glory!) but yeah, you know. Actually no. That’s not right either. That stuff is biological, not instinctual.  What I’m trying to talk about is uncontrollable instinct. *shakes the cobwebs from her brain* Here I thought we were all at least semi-in-charge of all this nonsense that goes on around us, but after observing myself as well as all the people around me over the past couple of days, I think I might be changing my mind.

Now I am wondering: are we somehow instinctively tied into the changing of the seasons as well? In the same way that animals are? I know you could probably go and read up about this stuff online (I might do so just now) but just from my own observations I help but wonder. After a short winter of stagnation – comfort food and cosy weekends in front of the telly – September has arrived and everything seems to have gone mad. Is it like this every year?

Suddenly everything is busy! Nevermind spring cleaning…it’s just all this getting ready for this and that and the next thing. Work is mad. Life is mad. Kids are mad. And it’s not just me. It’s everyone! I’m starting to feel like a bird who just automatically starts making a nest and then suddenly he’s all “wait a minute…what am I doing? Why am I putting this twig here?”

Yesterday I actually felt myself burn out. The switch came while I was trying to have a conversation with my mother. It was kind of like my body was telling me “you didn’t listen when I gave you a fever blister, you didn’t listen when you couldn’t sleep, so now you have to crash, don’t say I didn’t warn you”.

I’m dead on my feet. And I feel ridiculous! Because the reason I’m wiped out is because we’ve been working towards good things! We’ve got a road trip with the kids coming up, and a wedding. And then we’re off to Zanzibar. The chaos has purpose. But the chaos also has damn sharp teeth.

So now I’m just sitting here going: Nadine, do not wipe yourself out before you have the chance to enjoy your damn holiday. Find your energy. And find it now.

Enough of the nesting season! I’m ready for a cup of tea and a nap.

 

I finally got to see a happy lion thanks to SANParks Open Week

img_2194Every year SANParks have an open week in September where it is free for all South Africans to visit any of our national game reserves. I have to admit that as homeschoolers we kind of love Open Week. If nothing else it always serves as a reminder that hey we have game reserves around here and we should visit them! This year, we are sadly going to have to give Addo a skip as a family…but on a happier note the reason we have to skip it is because next week we are road-tripping to Clarens!

I was, however, lucky enough to be invited to tag along with Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism on their trip to Addo Elephant Park yesterday – along with some crazy people, I might add – and I’m so glad that instead of being reasonable and declining the offer due to this month being chaos from (nice*) hell, I accepted the invitation and tagged along.

Sarah Dirsuwei from Chasing the Rainbow told me yesterday that if she is feeling particularly stressed due to work pressures she and her family will come out to Addo and just spend the day marvelling at the elephants. I have to admit I think she has a point. Spending the day out there in nature, allowing yourself to be taken in by the existence of such fascinating creatures, is cathartic to say the least. And if nothing else, it certainly makes you ponder the world, instead of yourself.

img_2221As we started our journey through the park, I found myself wondering – not for the first time – about why we even bother having zoos. This right here is how we learn, I thought. It is so hard to get on board with the “reasoning” that zoos need to exist because they are how our children learn about animals. Nonsense! Conservation is how our children learn about animals. And sanctuaries. And nature. And the circle of life. There I was, at 34, listening intently and learning so much as our game ranger tour guide shared all his wisdom with us. Explaining why there are no giraffes in the park (no tall trees – guys we should have concluded this with our own logic) and telling us about all sorts of wonderful and interesting things. I felt cleverer just listening to him. Don’t take my kids to the damn zoo. Take them on a game drive!

And then, almost as if nature herself was thanking me for that very observation, our vehicle turned left and right there napping on the grass were two beautiful male lions. I’ve never seen them out there in the wild. I’ve seen them in cages, looking bedraggled and weary. I’ve been on so many game drives, but not once have I ever been fortunate enough to spot the lions. One time there was one very far away and I could only see him by using the telescopic zoom on my camera, but that didn’t count. There they were though, napping in the shade, content as kittens. It’s such a pity that attempting to cuddle them would lead to certain death…

All I have left on my game viewing bucketlist is a hippo. I’m pretty sure that means that I had a damn successful weekend! I wish I could take even more advantage of SANParks Open Week this week. I wonder if I can convince the husband to take a day off work?

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*nice hell is when you’re super overwhelmed but the reason you’re overwhelmed is because you’re working towards something awesome. In this particular case: Road trip to Clarens with the kidlets followed by 6 days of bliss in Zanzibar with the husband. The impending breakdown will be worth it. I’m sure.

This Week on Netflix: Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23

mv5bndkwmty4mdiwm15bml5banbnxkftztcwodc4mdk2nw-_v1_sy1000_sx750_al_Hmmm…. Three reviews in as many days… Should I rather be telling you about the rip-roaring 90 minute fight I had with my husband last night? And the conclusion I came to this morning? Perhaps… But causally mentioning my rather intense crush on Krysten Ritter (which started when she walked onto the Gilmore Girls set and culminated in the made-for-her portrayal of Jessica Jones – my god this woman is exceptional!) seems a more fun topic to delve into right now. Maybe I’ll tell you about that other bit of introspection tomorrow. If I feel like it.

So yeah… I have a crush on Krysten Ritter…

I think this show only recently came to Netflix. In the last couple of weeks at least. I’ve been Showmaxing more than Netflixing so I’m not entirely sure. But yeah. It was about time too though, because I find both Showmax and Netflix to be lacking in binge-worthy sitcoms for me to watch. At the very least they don’t have anything I haven’t already binged on before. So yay: something fun and new!

And? *hangs head* I binged through the whole thing in two days.

Believe it or not, James van der Beek is in it. He plays himself. He’s the celebrity best friend to one of the two main characters. I have this weird thing where I really really REALLY love it when actors play themselves and they’re just total tossers (have you seen Extras? haha!) so this show just kind of double does it for me.  Krysten is there being all kinds of badass that at least seven of my alter egos wish they could pull off…and then there’s ol’ Dawson being all doofish and kind of a tool.

Watch it. If for no other reason than we’ve run out of funny things to watch…

Review: The Boy on the Porch

The Boy on the Porch
The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s something very particular that I love about Sharon Creech. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think that it has something to do with her free use of niceness. There’s so much heart wrenching tragedy in books usually, but Sharon Creech’s characters are so often just kind. And I love that. It’s sort of like a breath of fresh air every now and then. It’s beautiful. This book is beautiful. I do so adore her writing.

View all my reviews

This Week on Showmax: Devious Maids

MV5BOTM0NzU0ODA0Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjE5ODIxOTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_Ever since the drama of Wisteria Lane came to an end I’ve had a TV hole in my soul. Yup. I totally just said that. And of course when I saw a few years ago that Devious Maids had begun to exist, I instinctively knew that this was the show for me. Of course…I’ve only just now gotten around to it because yesterday it popped up on Showmax and YAY!

Please don’t judge me but I’m totally just finishing off the last two episodes of season 1 this morning while allowing my lazy kid to oversleep.

I do love this style of show. These shows where it feels like a lot of women were involved in making it. And I don’t even know if that is true…but over dramatic crazy people just do it for me. I’m loving it!

For one, the four main ladies are just talent on legs. How brilliant is Ana Ortiz? And the rest of the ladies of course! I adore them! Each so distinct in their personalities. Stories about groups of friends just do it for me. Especially when there are four. Four is a good number.

Of course… Adrian and Evelyn are my favourites. There is something about them that reminds me of Gomez and Morticia Addams. It makes no sense, I admit. But it’s sort of like what might have happened if they had grown to hate each other in that way that only people who do actually love each other can hate each other. I find their dynamic fascinating. Heartbreaking. Intriguing.

I’m kind of excited to delve into the rest of it.

What are you watching this week?

Ok fine I’ll go camping…

IMG_1746My husband made me go camping last weekend, even though he knows I hate it. Why do I hate it? Well because I’m a 34 year old woman who has three kids (I’m tired!) and a penchant for living out of her own league. That’s ok, right?

Ok fine it isn’t…

Don’t tell my husband but I kind of didn’t hate camping too much. He’ll get all enthusiastic and go oh my gosh remember how much you moaned about this to everyone and he’ll totally not understand that I moaned about it so much because I couldn’t think of another topic of conversation at the time.

Anyway, we took a trip to the Baaviaanskloof last weekend with some friends(#nayesexploresbaviaanskloof) and then camped out at Bruintjieskraal. Don’t get me wrong, roadtripping and then arriving at a destination where you still have to build your own house will never be my favourite way to do things, but I do have to admit that the affordability of it has this addicted-to-adventure queen kind of reconsidering.

As long as it doesn’t rain.

Or it isn’t cold.

Or the wind doesn’t blow too hard.

Or there isn’t a bathroom.

And I still have to be allowed to moan about it all a little…

Don’t let hypothetical future plans ruin your current actual plans!

IMG_0994I have this thing where I tend to be either all in or all out when it comes to pretty much all the things. I have no middle ground. No balance. No chill. And I suffer quite a bit (okay like 100%) from a phenomenon called state dependency which adds to all that no chill and no balance stuff. Seriously. How do balancy people do this life thing anyway? Because I am failing so hard!

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve become a little travel and photography befok. This is sort of a midlife crisis I suppose. A nice one, though. It’s just that I suddenly woke up and realised that I don’t want to wait to do the things that I love anymore. And I actually for once and for real set about fixing that. During this process I came to acknowledge that while I will be busy being a mom for the next ten years at least, after that I’m going to pretty much be on my own with no career or idea of what to do to keep me busy.

And so I came to decide that while I educate my children, I should begin educating myself in a field that interests me: travel. Which will inevitably lead to taking more pictures and writing more stories. Three of my favourite things. Right there. Oh my god I am SO excited about my future for the first time ever!

So what’s the first thing I do after making this decision? I decide that I must go to a travel conference in Jerusalem in March. This I somehow need to finance on an unpredictable salary while still making sure my family doesn’t starve.

Nadine: chill. (more…)

The Art of Inspiration: A hat tip to Colours of You SA

13882138_1775442932698090_822200258108124904_nI’ve wanted to be a photographic artist since I was about 15. Before I even knew I wanted to write, I knew I wanted to take pictures. Silly thing that. I suppose. I don’t even know why I decided I wanted to do it. I probably saw a pretty photograph. Probably one that my grandfather took. I can’t remember, but of course this was a mad idea.

I wasn’t into the idea of being someone who is paid to take pictures at weddings. Or do school portraits. I wanted to take pictures because I wanted to take pictures. The idea of photography as an art instead of as a career was completely lacking in any pragmatism so it made no sense to pursue it once I left school. Of course I still have no career anyway, so walking away was of no practical consequence, but at the time it seemed reasonable to forget it. Forgetting it, back then, did at least save me a bit of money, because film photography was really expensive and I certainly could not afford to play with it!

Today, of course, digital exists, and with it a whole new artistic avenue. And I’m getting old now. I’m figuring out that holy crap life goes quickly thing. So I’m kind of less open to walking away from the stuff that makes me tick. Even if I’m a little shitty at it and have no business trying let alone succeeding.

And that is what brings me to my reason for posting today: Gerard and the Colours of You team. (more…)

A Sanity Saving Staycation at the Plantation

13934945_10157366918415094_3507844175433383530_nI’m sitting on my bed right now watching TV and feeling grateful that I’m in a should I nap or read? mood rather than a if I don’t nap for seven hours right now I might as well set myself on fire mood. Last weekend had a weird suck factor to it that I don’t really want to get into right at this moment but it did and it left me feeling out of sorts and perhaps a little irrationally wounded. Anyway, sometimes I have to wonder if The Universe somehow conspires to apologise for these things by injecting a little goodness just when you need it.

13906895_10157366918850094_535266262889412620_nOn Tuesday night Ty and I got to stay in the bridal suite of The Plantation which is situated just outside of town and it was more glorious than I even imagined it would be. Ty won the night for us in a little competition that he entered back in April, I think,  and we decided to use it on Monday night because Tuesday (Women’s Day) marked our 7 years together anniversary. Now of course, such places are usually way out of our league. We humble folk don’t usually indulge in such fancy things, but my goodness it was a welcome treat! We were fed the most incredible picnic right in our room. I think I squeaked and oohed and aahed through that entire meal! Cheese and crackers-type food is kind of my favourite thing to eat. But this was over the top! Homemade pate and a cranberry salad with salad dressing that I all but ended up drinking from the bottle! The luncheon meats were obviously bought from places I would never consider stepping foot in. All of it: so beautiful! And we got to wash it down with the most delicious bottle of champagne! And then blissful sleep with no real life to bother us until morning. (more…)

Homeschool Photo Club

69290_10152670267355094_1319767039_nForgive this post for possibly being a little long-winded as I preamble to the point. My husband and I were having a little bit of a chat the other day, saying how we wondered if we should worry about the amount of time our children tend to spend on their phones as well as their computers. Of course, their curriculum demands that they spend plenty of time on their computers as it is, but there’s also Youtube, Showmax, Netflix…the list goes on.

But the thing is: this is the world that we live in. And when it comes to technology I do try to consider such things. For one: I’m on my phone/iPad/computer/tv all the time too! I’m not saying that it’s particularly “ok” but it does definitely seem a ittle disingenuous to go the banish the technology route if I am a culprit myself.

So what I decided to do was have a discussion with the kids about our concerns regarding their phone use especially, all the while acknowledging that it is just sort of how it is these days. The we had a long discussion about creativity and how important it is to play with that side of your persona. I suggested to them that if we can’t get away from our phones, perhaps we could put them to a little bit of creative use.

The thing is, I am severely ill-equipped to help them draw pictures or paint or sculpt without resorting to Youtube videos and going “have at it!” but I have been getting into photography as a hobby lately (finally!) and while I acknowledge that I still know very little in this field, I am willing to play alongside them and share my tiny bits of knowledge if they’re willing to learn. Of course they were willing – they are quite polite children, after all – and so it came about that we decided to start a bit of a homeschool photography challenge.

Photography can be a great art medium, and if you use what you already have (phones, ipads, mom or dad’s camera) it doesn’t have to cost the earth to develop a love for it.

We’re calling it a homeschool photography challenge mostly because we’re homeschoolers, but also because we’re trying to put a bit of “education” into the challenges. That’s a bit of a challenge in itself! We’re hoping that a couple of you homeschoolers out there might join us on Instagram as we play our way through this journey. If you’re not a homeschooler, however, we really don’t care and we’d love you to join us anyway.

Basically we’ll share a challenge on our Instagram page and then possibly re-share photographs submitted to the challenge in a “special mention” kind of way.

Follow @homeschoolphotoclub to keep up with our challenges and check out #homeschoolphotoclub to see our collective pics.

Happy hashtagging, folks!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child *review*

13901513_10157331776850094_1030296456742360513_nSome of you are lucky enough to have The Cursed Child to look forward to right now, but Harry’s story is over for me. I’m done. I sat down yesterday and in one sitting I devoured the last of it. It’s gone. Over. Where do I even go to from here? The crime novel on my bedside table that I’ve slowly been making my way through doesn’t seem to be quite the right fit after the end of an era…

My not-one-for-crowds-and-late-nights self went to Exclusive Books’ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child party on Saturday night. At midnight. I admit there was a part of me that thought I might not make it. Not because it’s hard for me to be up at that hour. It’s just hard to find my enthusiasm at that hour! Especially in winter when it’s warm in bed. And there’s tea. I even dressed up as a more dignified version of Rita Skeeter (I can’t pull those sour lemon faces of hers!). I ended up having a ball being sorted into Ravenclaw (even Chance knows that I belong in Ravenclaw!) and being given my own wand before being handed a glass of red wine. (try #nayeslovesharrypotter for various pics)

And can I tell you another secret? I wasn’t sure that I even wanted this book. It’s a screenplay. Well, I keep calling it a screenplay  but actually it’s just the playplay. Surely that wouldn’t be fun to read? Especially not for R299 which I don’t have because we’re trying to do that thing where we save money to travel instead of buying things.

And yet… Oh I am so happy that I bought the thing!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is just exquisite. I loved every second of it. And I can’t tell you how impressed I am that reading “just the screenplay” was a wonderful experience. JK Rowling has done such an incredible job of making the Harry Potter world part of our core beings that I didn’t even need context or scene setting with this one. It was enough to just “listen” to the characters talk to each other. My brain filled in all the blanks. My brain drew all the pictures. I didn’t need to be told what was there. I already knew.

And I absolutely love that! I love that Harry Potter is just such a part of me that reading a play about it was such a colourful experience. I love that my breath was taken away from the beginning, and that I was able to take a leisurely stroll through the rest of the story, letting it envelope me in that Harry Potter whimsey just one more time.

To JK Rowling I would just like to say: thank you. I know I am not alone when I confess that Harry Potter has played a significant role in who I am as a person. I have learned so much from this journey that you shared with us. You truly are responsible for an incredible amount of goodness that exists in actual real live people and I find that so extraordinary. And while I am sad that today you announced that Harry’s story is well and truly over, I have no doubt that there will be much greatness still to come from you, as well as from the people that you have undoubtedly inspired.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.