Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

Archive for September, 2018

Term End

…so today marks the end of the winter term. School breaks up for a quick week. I really am sad that I am not taking a holiday this year. Our last family holiday was this time last year, and I know I need another one. Oh well… I am just going to have to wait until January. Even though I am definitely a bit worse for wear.

In other news, my girl had an amazing report. At this stage of the game, they get a number score for eau subject (and aspect of it) with 1 being atrocious to 7 being the highest mark. Last term she had almost all 7’s, there were 3 6’s – for her third additional language (fair enough, I reckon). This term – 7’s all round! What a super star! My gran would buy us grandkids a bag of nobby toffees (chocolate coated toffees of supreme deliciousness) for a great report, I reckon Thandigirl deserves a bag – although the originals are no longer produced, so I will have to find a fair facsimile thereof and start my own tradition!

So, what will she get up to these holidays, while I am at work- maybe some time at Jonginenge – surf lessons down at the beach, a craft workshop, a birthday party, and there’ll be a couple of play dates? It’s going to be fun and busy!


A week in the life of Birdie

…crikey it was a hectic week, sorry about the radio silence. I spun and spun and spun; and finally made it onto an airplane that got me to CT on Thursday. The less said about the run up to that the better! I arrived in the Mother City exhausted, emotional and fragile. It was to be the start of a good weekend.

TAFKAD met me at the airport and we headed back to her new home. She has moved from her small little home behind my old house to a far more grown up, sophisticated home. It is lovely, with a clear view of the mountain, so it scores lots of pretty points. I love the feel of it, with clever use of space. Now she just has to stamp her mark on it.

An early night of solid sleep meant I felt great on Friday. After breakfast and a chill, we headed to the marathon expo and registered. It was starting to feel very real!The expo was crowded and noisy, despite us being there early, and they, foolishly, only gave us our goodie bags at the exit – so trying to juggle purchases, trying on things and not loosing one’s race number was a challenge! Anyway, we got some pre race piccies done, and we were psyched!

Saturday dawned just too magnificently, it was a stunning day and we had a lovely leg loosener before heading off to Jason Bakery for breakfast. I have been tortured of late, by the incredible pictures Jason posts on Facebook, and this really was my only demand of the weekend, I had to go and have a doughssant there. Oh my shattered nerves, it was magnificent, worth every wasted calorie!

Then after a quick stop at the sports store, it was back home to put feet up and have a rest – a lovely quiet afternoon, before JL and PL fed us prerace dinner – a rather delicious steak on the braai. Yum! It was good to catch up with our friends, and see how much their cute daughters have grown! Early to bed, to toss and turn…

Race day dawned – well, it hadn’t yet when we were up at 4:15, ready for our 5:15 pick up. We headed off to the start and we ready to rock and roll. The start was a little shambolic. The barriers dropped between the seeding pens, we moved forward and then apparently a gun had gone off – we didn’t hear it – and next thing after shuffling and shuffling, we were running. I like to divide a marathon into thirds – kind of like a pregnancy – the first trimester when it is shiny and new and exciting, with a knot of anxious nausea in your tummy though; the second trimester when you should feel good, but maybe a bit fat and flabby; and then the third, when you are digging deep and getting through to birth day – but I’m digressing. The first trimester of this marathon – to 14km went well, we were moving along easily, passing people, enjoying the scenery and settling the nerves down; the second trimester came with some hiccups – a bathroom break, some tweaky muscles and aches, and I will confess to a loss of my sense of humour (the usual, why am I doing this, I hate running, I’m not good enough to do this, wha am I fooling I can’t run a marathon kind of negative head nonsense). As the second trimester drew to a close, I found my sense of humour and my joy again, and had renewed Tigger-ness in my legs. And then it was time to wind out that third trimester – the last 2km of a marathon always feel about as long as the previous 40km; and on this day, according to my watch, we measured about 500m long – argh!!!!! Anyway TAFKAD and I crossed the line hand in hand, we had done it! I am so proud of my little friend, she did an amazing job, especially considering she did all her training solo, which is one helluva undertaking! A couple of other friend were also there – DrHF also ran her first one, but she was well supported with some club friends and another namesake also tackled her first with a good friend of hers.

The finish was a bit of a let down, I thought, a quiet crossing of the line, quietly being handed our medals and a coke and that was that. Fortunately, some non running friends were there and they screamed and cheered and allowed us to celebrate appropriately! Awesome stuff! The rest of the day was spent in quiet recovery and dinner was a delightful meal of bubbles and tapas at the elegant Bistro 1682.

Yesterday we started slowly with a massage, before breakfast and then a drive to the airport, where my plane was delayed for almost 6 hours – death by airport lounge…

I made it home in time to give my girl a kiss goodnight and settle myself back down, before my week began.

The ringing of the telephone

…at around midnight last night, the home phone (land line) rang. Charlie and I were so disorientated, neither of us could figure out what was going on, and by the time he got to the phone, it had ceased its noisy shrilling, and we were none the wiser as to the emergency. Because it can only be an emergency at that time of the night – there’s a death or an illness or an arrest. The phone never rang again, so then again, maybe it wasn’t an emergency. I haven’t had anyone accost me today with tales of trying to track me down, or heard of any family emergencies. Perhaps it was just a wrong number.

And with a tring tring, so my REM sleep evaporated.



…rest and store – that was the weekend. A few challenges along the way, being on call, but on the whole a restorative weekend.

Friday was busy, work ticked along, we ran our run in the evening, together as a family; Thandi was not having her finest hour and I had to do a lot of motivational speaking – little did I know how much I would have to do internally myself on Saturday’s run! Anyway we did it, we ran down steep little hills with a ‘Weeeeeeeeee!’ and trudged up hills with heavy legs. After a quick dash home for a costume change it was off to a formal dinner, supporting a friend who is a finalist in the Mrs South Africa competition. It was a nice evening, but I was not really in the mood.

Saturday I woke up to do my last ‘long’ run before the marathon. Well, elephants had taken up residence in my body and I had to really push myself to get it done. I was tired, frustrated and just so very slow! I cried tears of frustration on the way home. I headed off to work, and after sorting a few tasks out there, headed off to a paint pouring workshop – I loved that! And I will show you pictures once I have collected my works. there is no artistic skill involved, but it was messy and fun! A good destress. After lunch with my family, I collapsed in a heap, and slept for a solid 3 hours! Mercifully, the secret camera that usually tells the hospital when my eyes are closed malfuctioned, and I got 3 uninterrupted hours. Bliss! But that also told me quite how shattered I was – so I used the rest of my weekend to rest and relax.

Sunday was super chilled, I did some work, chilled on the couch; and then watched Thandi’s mock ballet exam – I’m so impressed with how nicely she dances! Yay! We don’t generally get to watch them dance; so it was great to see; and be able to compare to the other kids she was dancing with. My little super star! (an extremely unbiased mom!)

3 sleeps until I leave for CT, I can’t wait to see my friends. And, I’m kinda looking forward to the marathon, in a weird kind of way.

Breaking point

…you know when you were a kid, and you had that beautiful box of pencil crayons, and you decided it was time to sharpen them. you’d get your sharpener out, and one by one, you’d run them through the sharpener and you would be left with a box of beautifully sharpened pencils. And remember how every now and again, there would be a dud one, you’d sharpen it, and before it got to a beautiful crisp new point, it would break, and you’d sharpen it again, and it would break again – until you were left with a short stumpy pencil that you couldn’t sharpen anymore?

Life’s sharpener is having its way with me.

Workwise – the new computer system we are using has given us (my staff) endless grief, which has made them all crotchety and scratchy and difficult. Finally we are making headway; and today the system is off line… so I cannot look at my diary or retrieve any notes…

2 of my junior staff members have been stealing from me – one was already on her final warning, so we were due to have a disciplinary hearing today, but she has called in sick. The other now also has her final warning. My senior staff were hoping these girls would sort themselves out, so have covered for them previously. Fuck.

My grumpy dad remains the same.

School matters (remember I am a governor at the school) are stable, but because I am already stressed, I am probably taking on too much worry and responding poorly to the matters we have to oversee. I definitely feel as though I am becoming a sounding board for everyone’s thoughts, which although it is nice to feel trusted and my opinion sought, I am feeling stretched.

And then there is the guilt – the mom and wife guilt…

My blood pressure is not under control anymore, and I have had to change medicines again.

And I am running a marathon in 9 days… And I am on call this weekend…

I am quickly turning into a short stumpy pencil that cannot be sharpened anymore…


…and fall. This morning in the dark, after getting up at 04h20, I misstepped on the staircase not he way down and had a fairly (fortunately) undramatic slide to the floor. No major injuries – just a bit of a bruise on my foot; and if anyone had seen, a bruised ego, but I was alone in the dark and quiet of the early morning. I managed to pull myself together and still went for my run, and I don’t feel any injuries, so phew!

Just kinda hoping this isn’t going to turn out to be one of those life metaphors, where I am too stressed out and tired and make a mistake…


…mother nature sems to be having the last laugh with us. This weekend was freezing! I’d had a meeting in the neighbouring city on Thursday evening; the trip down took me 4 hours, instead of the usual 3, and the return on Friday morning 3 and a half! The pouring rain really slowed me down, it was harrowing. Friday continued in that fashion – cold and wet and miserable. I retreated to bed after work in the afternoon, but was so cold, I didn’t get much of a nap in!

Friday night Thandi and I headed to see a show done by the senior company of her modern and tap dance school. It was a local production, written by a local playwright, choreographed and produced by the school itself. Titled “The Last Straw”, it told the tale of a beautiful planet called Ultramarine, the humans from Earth (destroyed beyond hope) arrived to compete in the Intergalactic Surf competition, and slowly they started to trash Ultramarine. How they solved the problem and defeated the monster, Plastica, was great fun – with a very serious message. We thoroughly enjoyed it; and the highlight was when the company came out with tap shoes and tapped along to one of the last songs, turning it into something goosebumpy! (The other highlight was, because it was held at the Arts Theatre, as opposed to the formal theatre in town, we could eat dinner and drink wine!)

Saturday saw me doing a long run – I felt like I had run out of petrol – not sure why, but anyway, I got it done, had some coffee, sewed a dress for princess party Thandi was attending in the afternoon, and then headed off to a fundraising tea myself. While I was out, I’d left supper in the oven – a beef short rib ragu, which was slowly stewing itself into a puddle of deliciousness, served with gnocchi, it was just perfect for the weather. Yum!

Sunday was still extremely cold and windy, but I had signed up to do a 5km fun run with my family – they declined to get out of bed, but I had committed, so off I went. And, you know what, despite being cold and very windy, the sea was so beautiful.

And I enjoyed my ‘time trial’ experience. It was good to gauge where I am running wise. I felt refreshed and invigorated! Then, after a yummy breakfast, it was off to do some chores; and then we took Thandi off to watch “Charmed” at the movies – it’s a good one! A lazy afternoon reading, and drawing and chilling followed. I need more of those!

And now it’s Monday, deep with involvement already…