Saturday we went to one of the local racetracks for a track event.  The 11th International Zwartkops "Passion for Speed".  I would call this an exhibition race.  I personally wasn't sure how they classed each of the races, but there were cars from all over the world here racing in several categories.  The two races we watched from the pit entrance both looked to be older racecars.  I am not up on the lingo, but Chris called the cars from the first race we watched formula cars from the 50's and 60's .  The number one car below was the same model as used in the 1966 movie "Grand Prix".  (Chris thought you all might like to know.)  That particular car was blowing most of the others away, just sayin!

I picked the number 6 car as my favorite since he looked like an underdog.  And sure enough he petered out mid race smoking from underneath and had to bail out on the sidelines.  Glad I didn't bet any money on him :)  I think I enjoyed the first race we watched a little more than the second one which looked to be more "muscle cars" from the 60's - 80's.

I think 9 and 6 stayed with each other pretty much the whole race.  I think it was ten laps.  I have no idea who won.  Chris got some good shots of the cars as they went around our corner.  They were fast, but like I said, I liked seeing the oldies racing a bit more.
When we first arrived we walked around a little bit in the pits and the (for lack of a better word) staging area where you could see the different cars displayed and where their owners camped out.

It was really nice to be up close so you could see the cars, and all the bondo holding some of them together for just "one.more.race".  You would never get to be that close to those cars in the pits in the States.  We did get to see a couple cars cough their last on the track, and evidently one car lost his tire and we went crashing into the tire barrier close to the beginning of his race.  (We missed that, but saw the aftermath).  The kids had a good time I think, patiently waiting for their ice cream at the end.  Chris would have liked to stay a little bit longer to see some of the other races, but the kids (especially Maddie) were ready to go.  I too was a little tired of the endless revving of engines.  That many gearheads all together in one place leads to a LOT of noise.

Artistic temperament

I think temperament can tell you a lot about a person, I also think that there are some people who are born to do something and their temperament can confirm that.  Artistic people can be a very focused group.  So much so that sometimes they can seem self centered, impatient, and certainly emotional.  Also creative and controlling.

Quinn could be a poster child for the artistic temperament.  The other day his teacher emailed and mentioned that Quinn was having a hard time controlling his emotions when he didn't get picked for the "evens" team during PE.  Why the "odds" team was unsatisfactory I still don't understand except to say that he has it in his head that odd isn't as good as even ??  I don't know, but the issue was that he had a meltdown in class.  He felt slighted and out of control and didn't get what he thought was the better team so he had a tantrum about it.  We talked to him later and tried to understand where he was coming from and to try some meditation techniques with him to give him some tools to deal with the disappointment better next time it comes around.  Because we all know disappointment will come around again, don't we?
See, I can't really fault the kid, he just doesn't have the ability yet to control his emotions well.  Chris and I both have issues with needing to be in control and having things done our way.  We clash all the time during home improvement projects.  This is why we work together, separately, on things nowadays because we recognize the similarity in our personalities.  We are first born children, as is Quinn, and I can see him in both of us.  I can't speak for Chris, but I know it was disappointing to me when I didn't get my way.  I still have trouble with that.
Quinn is incredibly sensitive and thoughtful, empathetic and creative, but also energetic and competitive.  He throws himself in with mucho gusto when it's a project he's devoted to.  Not so much when he isn't interested in it.  I think he just needs to grow some and learn what works best for himself to deal with the frustration and the resulting flash of temper or emotion when he can't change or control the situation. 
I think the boy may have some talent if he chooses to work on his skills.  Certainly at this point he has a real interest in cars and racing.  He is just like Chris in that regard.   Witness his drawing and the photo he drew it from just yesterday.  I think he puts an incredible amount of detail into some of these drawings and at only 7 years old I think he could become very proficient.  Not that I'm not biased or anything you know :)

Foto Friday

Yes folks! That is a thorn tree.  A variety of acacia also known as locust trees.  The country is lousy with them.  What particular variety this is I have no idea, but the thorns are at least 3 inches long.
Quinn was pricked by one through his sock at school one day and he didn't really think anything of it until later on that night when his ankle swelled up to look like he had cankles.  And it was really sore.  Luckily it went down after a day or two.  But god help the guy who falls into one of those spiny buggers.

In other News...

The boy has learned to tie his shoes.  He's so chuffed.  Hooray!

Cradle of the World

The family had an outing weekend before last.  Normally our weekends consist of  hitting the grocery store for the weeks provisions and maybe scouting out the mall.  This weekend we needed something more exciting.  So we traveled to the Maropeng/Cradle of Humankind which is just a little southwest of where we live, about an hours drive away.
We didn't quite know what we would find as the site is really a collection of several attractions including a museum, caves, and archeological sites all under the cap of the "cradle" in a national park kind of arrangement.  We had previously visited the Lion and Rhino Park when we first arrived, which is inside the boundaries of the park, but we didn't really explore much beyond the preserve and the wondercave.
This time we were going to check out the museum.  When we got there it doesn't really look like much, kind of a big hill with a doorway leading into it.  Once inside you can go down a ramp to the museum entrance or up to one of the restaurants, the Tumulus.  It was close to lunch when we arrived so we were going to get something to eat before we hit the museum (nothing like trying to tour a museum when the kids are nagging you about being hungry) so we went looking for the cafe the map claimed they had.  We went up to the first floor where the restaurant was thinking it was the cafe and we could just get a couple burgers or something but once inside (with no way back) we realized this was a sit down Sunday lunch with full spread, or carvery as they like to call them.  Once in we didn't really have much choice but to stay and take a table as it would have been very embarrassing to leave at this point.  Turns out the meal was pretty good.  All you can eat and you know how I hate to pay 'all you can eat' prices when I'm just not that hungry.

Anyway, after we ate we went down to the museum and had a look around.  The actual entrance to the museum goes down a spiral ramp into the "hill" I mentioned and you take an underground boat ride into the belly of the earth (Seriously they made it up like a funhouse ride to demonstrate the creation of the planet and life on it.  With volcanic eruptions and ice ages.  The kids actually seemed a little nervous like they were expecting a skeleton to hop out.)
We looked at a lot of interactive exhibits focusing on everything from the origins of life to evolution to biodiversity, and the highlight of the exhibits were the Australopithecus fossils for which the region is famous.  The first and majority of these fossils were found here.
The kids enjoyed the hands on stuff and as it wasn't very crowded on the day, we cruised through the displays as fast or as slow as we liked.  We went through it pretty fast so the kids didn't get too bored, but still took in a lot of information.

We exited on a lookout platform that had a spectacular view of the park and we walked around the grounds back to the entrance.   It even had some of the nicest smelling public toilets I've come across.  Walking into this ladies was like walking into an A & F store.

The kids enjoyed the outside as much as the inside I think.

All in all a good day trip.


Back on the Wagon

No, not that wagon, never got ON that wagon.  Heh heh!  I mean the exercise wagon.  My pilates class resumed this week after the holiday hiatus.  One word sums up my condition today.. ouch.  I've gone three days this week, and I can feel my time off.  I've also added in some weight training just to bulk up and replace some muscle that seems to have left the building.  So I'll try to work that in three days a week too.  If I don't die first.  So far pilates hasn't been too bad.  Challenging for someone who is so out of shape as I am.  I have virtually no balance and evidently only enough muscle to carry my butt from one place to another.  Today at class I was, once again, the only student in attendance.  She must have taken pity on me, because I can still walk right now.  Last time I was the only one in class she kicked my tushy into tomorrow.  I couldn't move for 2 days and then just barely managed to walk up and down the stairs after that.  Fact.  I've never been so stiff and sore, ever.  Try to never, ever, be the ONLY focus of an incredibly fit and energetic pilates instructor. 
Today, however I'm a little sore but I can still lift myself up off the couch and can descend the stairs without squealing.  Thank god, it can really ruin a persons weekend when you can't move.
Next week I hope to add in a walking club to my fitness plan.  I'm not sure how that will fit into the schedule but it would be some good cardio and we all know it would be good to work some of that in to keep the heart disease at bay.  Righto!


foto friday

Yes, it's actually Saturday, but I haven't taken many pics this week, so I'm late.  Forgive me. 
Some asparagus for dinner that was fantasticly in season.

for you Poppy watchers.   This is her thoughtful look.

Oliver supports England in the world cup, a year late.

and for my mother.

Making connections

Being here in South Africa is a strange feeling.  I sit here at this point in my life and it almost feels normal.  Normal to a girl who never really traveled anywhere much before 30, and then became a world traveler visiting more places and further from home than she'd ever imagined.  Starting with a road trip to Wisconsin with a guy I hardly knew, to British Columbia for a honeymoon, to New Orleans for vacation, to the UK on a work assignment, and ultimately to where I am today, where it *almost* feels like home, but not quite.  But however far away I am from my friends and family I am fortunate in that I still have contact with them via the internet, whether I'm skyping, emailing, IMing, or googletalking.  It takes me just that much closer to home and makes it a little easier when I'm feeling far far away.
There are other people who I feel close to even though I don't really know them personally.  I follow other blogs and the glimpse into their lives is interesting and comforting in a strange way, drawing the world into an intricate, knit web of acquaintances.  I know that peeping into their lives even a little makes the world feel a little bit smaller and me not so far away.  My blog, for example, is a means of communicating with people at home and others who may not know me.  I hope they feel like they know me a little. 
I was reading the news last week and was upset to read a piece on a little dog who returned to a motel after his owner was killed in an avalanche in Montana.  The article caught my eye because the photo they had attached to the article was of the corgi, Ole.  He reminded me so much of the corgi we had and re-homed to a good friend.  Wonderful, faithful dogs those corgis are.
I didn't know the man who was killed by the avalanche, nor his wife who survived, but said a little prayer for them because I now knew it had happened.  Can you know about these events and not feel connected to these people after? Maybe it's too much to hold in your heart, every personal story you come across? I sometimes wonder about that.
Then today I was reading a blog ( http://www.minorcatastrophes.com/journal/2012/1/9/take-care.html   ) and found that the writer was a personal friend of Dave Gaillard, the man who was lost in the avalanche.  So, now that I find myself a little closer to each of them in turn, how can I not think that the knit is a little tighter around us all?  I don't know either personally, they don't know me, but by simply by putting it out in the world in their blog, or in a news article, I am now another thread linked to these stories.  And now you are as well.


Foto errrr video Friday

Today I have a video, this is the bestest thing about Poppy.  She is a complete babysitter/lifeguard.  She seems a little stressed out by the kids being in the pool alone.  But try as we might, she just doesn't like swimming herself.  So she just runs around the pool trying to get them to come out.

Funny though, she doesn't do this when Chris is in the pool with them.  And really the only time she barks is when someone is at the door or walking by and she lets us know they are out there.  Or if Oliver imagines some random sound.  Oh, he loves barking at nothing.


word of the week

Continuing in the same vein as last weeks word, I'm giving you another Afrikaans one.  One because concentrating on one word in such depth and using it in a sentence helps me out almost more than it does you :)
Therefore, the word of the week is,
onderrig  ('o'-(like cork) nd 'e' -(like pen) rri 'g' (the 'g' sound is like /x/ or clearing of the back of the throat.)
noun (no plural), education.

Many parents cannot afford private education for their children.
Baie ouers kan nie privaat onderrig vir hul kinders bekostig nie.

Small World

I find that satellite tv isn't terribly different here than in the UK, there are even a few good cable channels we love from home.  Discovery Channel, E (not so much love, but at least it's familiar, and you never know when you might want to keep up with IceT or maybe those freaky jerseylicious people), travel channel, food network, style channel, history channel, bbc.  You know, reality type tv at it's best.  (sarcasm) Well, the best thing, which I've mentioned before, is there aren't that many marketing commercials.   Whoo Hoo!  There are however a few product commercials on some of the "local" channels.  I don't mind a few here and there advertising other programs, or even the odd detergent commercial.  The best commercial I've seen lately and still cracks me up whenever I see it is this.  This is for a laundry detergent called OMO.  This "fairy housekeeper" cracks me up.

In other local news, our friendly spar isn't stocking the boxed kraft mac and cheese :(.  They have opted instead to carry another US import.  Guess who manufactures this product?  Anyone?  Dad?  Do you recognize the brand name?

For those of you wondering "what the hell?"

This boxed macaroni is made by a company who to those of us who know where Perryville, Mo is, will know about Gilster MaryLee.  This was technically made over the river in Chester, but same company.  For a little, hometown company, it's traveled a LOOOONG way to my pot.  And I kid you not, they have a fantastic duplicate here.  That's hard for me to say, because you know I love me some powdered dehydrated kraft mac and cheese.

Another thing I'm pleased as punch about are the cloned Bob Evan's Dinner rolls I made tonight.  I've even impressed myself.  I will go to Bob Evans' restaurants just to get the dinner rolls, seriously.   Maybe not a major culinary conquest for some folks, but for me... BANZAAI!  This is the only one left.

Back when I graduated high school, I went with part of my family to visit other family in Pittsburgh, and we went on a long road trip type family vacation.  All of the meals we ate on the road, excepting 2 or 3, were at Bob Evans' restaurants.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I think I sampled everything on the menu.  To Pittsburgh and back again.  We got to see lots of different shops and attractions, but what do I remember?  The art fair in downtown Pittsburgh, the airplane museum somewhere in indiana or ohio?, and bob evan's. 


Resolution 2012

Did everyone make their New Year Resolutions?  As I went to bed last night, before midnight because I was tired, Chris asked me if I had made any resolutions?  Nope, not really.  But I guess I had actually made resolutions, just before Jan 1.
I had resolved to continue this blog, and take more photos of our family,
To keep up with the pilates classes, and add in some weight training, 
To eat better, and cut back on the soda and the salt, 
To live more simply and not worry about things that aren't important, 
and to purge in a big way when we return home.  I thought I had already purged a great deal before we left.  As I found out there was still far more stuff than I thought there was.  I realize after living here in a sparsely outfitted home that we really don't need very many "things" to get by (realize though that we still have every convenience; wireless internet, and a pool, and satellite tv, don't get me wrong)  But that we don't need so many sets of china, or three extra sets of sheets, or a huge store of ziploc bags.  That there are only a few things that I wish I had brought along, and a whole lot of things I don't even remember having now, packed up and sitting in storage.
Can I free my life and my family of these burdens?  Spend less time taking care of stuff or worrying about acquiring more stuff, and more time taking care of us, enjoying us?

Maybe lose the electricity on purpose occasionally, spend more time quiet, just being together.