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.

Social Media and the Trainwreck of Life

imageFor the fourth night in a row now I’m finding it difficult to fall asleep. I’m here in the dark, listening to the noises of the night, typing away and hoping that my keystrokes don’t wake Noah. My wakefulness doesn’t seem to bother him much though, so at least there’s that. Oh who am I kidding? He’ll probably wake up at some point and then refuse to go back to sleep until I do.

It’s been a weird day, I suppose. Or couple of days. My brain is trying to work things out and just not managing to process. This typically leads to a sort of sludge-like eep. I am still. And possibly stagnant.

It’s difficult to know who you want to be when it comes to writing. I’ve been a fiction writer probably since I was a little girl. It took me long time to admit it though, and it took an even longer time to figure out exactly what it was that I even wanted to write. It was only after I had written and published my first book, and finished my second (still unedited) book that I even began to figure out the style I wanted to write in. I picked up pieces of it in what I had already written, but there was something about the oh this is how I want to write decision that kind of just tied things together and gave me my identity. The two completed books and one half book that came after I realised how I wanted to write, I am surprisingly content with. Even though they need massive amounts of work before they look even remotely complete. I love them. They are properly me. Me, plus.

Online life, it seems, is following the same sort of unsteady-and-in-need-of-definition-pattern. Now I’ve been blogging since around the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009. I forget exactly when. But that’s quite a while. And I’ve never really defined my online life in any sort of way. I don’t mean to say that I in any way act a sort of online part. On the contrary I would most likely be hopeless at acting any specific part.

But what exactly am I even doing? (more…)

On Depression, SAMREC, Cape Recife Lighthouse, and why are all the snails dead?

13686700_10157312362800094_8714966834069855283_nCan I confess something just quickly? I’m feeling absolutely depressed today. Like cry-about-the-undone-laundry depressed. Worry-that-I’m-not-enough-for-the-kids depressed. Holy-crap-I-need-to-work-more depressed. And it’s damn hard to get anywhere when I’m feeling like this. It’s hard to not want to do anything but sleep. I get that it’s not real. I get that it’s in my head. But it’s here today.

So I need to try and think of something that brings me actual joy. And I need to damn well remember that even though 2016 has been a shithole of a year for the world, in many ways it has actually been a kind of awesome year for me.

Remember that, Nadine! Dammit! Remember that this is the year that you started to take your love of travel seriously. You made it work. You ARE making it work. For the first time you have moved from that’s not possible  to  how can I make this possible? And that’s a big deal. And even though the state of the world pains you to no end, it has also served as a very grave reminder that life is to be lived now because later might not exist. And you’re getting better at it. Which is something. (more…)

Congrats to the Ticket Winners!!

13782274_168105583595180_1259028898326339199_nHappy Tuesday, folks!!

This is just a short CONGRATULATIONS post to the folks who actually commented on the Wine Show Ticket Giveaway last week.

I decided to split tickets as follows:

1 ticket to Jocelyn Fryer

1 ticket to Anonymous (heehee I know who you are!)

2 tickets to Nkosana (we can’t leave out the Mrs now can we?)

This means that everyone is a winner and I get to feel like Oprah for three point five seconds which is kind of cool.


Would you like tickets to the Tops Wine Show?

imageI was hoping to put a post or two between all the alcohol posts so that folks don’t end up thinking that all I do is drink wine and beer, but yesterday was a hard mom day and the glorious plans that I had to gush about the wonders of one of our local institutions kind of fell by the wayside in favour of me hiding under my duvet and playing on Instagram for most of the afternoon (and evening). Did you even notice? Of course not!

Now, back on topic…

I mentioned before that there’s a Wine Show happening at The Boardwalk from the 4th to the 6th of August and I’m lucky enough to be able to give away two double tickets to the event. Technically I’m supposed to ask you a simple question like “when is the wine show?” but you all know that simple isn’t always my go-to style…

Because I adore Carnival Themes with An Extreme Passion and because I am a lover as well as a teller of stories, I thought instead that I would ask you this:

What is your absolute favourite Carnival Story?

Did it come in the form of a book? A movie? A tv show? Was your favourite carnival story a personal experience? Tell me what you love. Why you love it. How it makes you feel. Tell me. Show me! My favourite answers get tickets to the show, and if I struggle to decide I will hand it over to Facebookland to help me.

Sound good?

Of course it does!

(If you’re too stuck for an answer, go off and read Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern,  and then go and watch the series Carnivale and then come back and tell me how awesome they are.)

Otherwise, you can check out my Instajourney with wine here: #nayesexploreswine and leave me some Instalove while you think about your answer.