Lactose Intolerant

I was not convinced that this particular entry on The List would actually happen. I claim to have grown up in a village (not too far from the truth) but this girl is way more suburban than rural. The most annoying scene of The Sound of Music is when Maria is frolicking through the mountains singing, “The hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiills are aliiiiiiive with the soooooooound of muuuuuuuuuuuuuuusiiiiiiic!”

Sound of MusicSeriously, a nun running through the hills singing? The reality of that scene would be said nun tripping over her habit, landing face first in mud, getting bitten by mosquitoes or at least chased by some crazy, smelly sheep. At least in my idea of the Country Life it would be.  

This citified girl is not the Maria or Heidi type. On weekends you won’t find me communicating with nature or hand rearing baby animals (or frolicking on Table Mountain)… So I added “Milk a Cow” to The List and kind of hoped it would never actually have to happen.

I was laughing about it a few days later with a colleague who immediately said, “My friend has a farm and they have cows you can go milk!”

Yippee.

Five minutes later it was organised that I would milk a cow at their farm. I delayed the inevitable for as long as possible and ended up rushing to the farm four days before I turned 30. Great planning, Sarah.

My baby sister was intrigued by the idea of milking a cow so opted to come with me and my Mother was determined to have a good laugh watching my journey into the farm life. Supportive family right?

We arrived on the farm and greeted the cows while we waited for Andries, the regular cow milker, to help us out.

IMG_1619

We walked across the cow yard, sidestepping cow pats and mud piles, all the while keeping an eye on the cows there, making sure they weren’t following us. Some of those cows had crazy eyes, I swear.

Hello Baby Cows

Andries guided one of the biggest cows into the milking pen. Sharing a small square room with three other people and one super large cow was pretty unnerving. Mom was reminiscing about her childhood on the farm in between laughing at my squeamish response to the fact that there was no going back now…

Why

I figured the whole process might be easier and less traumatic for this city girl if I made a connection with the cow. I took Renicia to the cow’s face and asked Andries her name. She has no name was the response. No help there. Really? How hard would it be to call her something cowish? Bessie maybe? Daisy? Even Cow? No. No name.

Saying Hello to the Nameless Cow

So Andries put special cream on Nameless the Cow’s udders and gave them a few squeezes to get the milk flowing a bit easier. This was my reaction….

Oi

Then Andries turned to me. It was my turn to convince Nameless the Cow to give us some milk…

I was pretty much grossed out by the feel of her udders… Warm, old, soft leather is what it felt like… I pulled two or three times and was surprised and a tiny bit proud when the milk stream squirted into the bucket. This girl’s got skills.

Smiling Still

The pride was very quickly followed by the return of the “eew gross” vibe.

Action Shot

I lasted only a little bit longer before I realised I could now cross it off The List and I was done. Andries got Mom to give it a go and the farm girl in her kicked in with a bang and I realised my mother is Heidi.

Mom

Renicia was not easily convinced to try. The thought of milking Nameless the Cow did not appeal to my Sunshine. Eventually, holding onto Mommy, she let Andries help her try…

Renicia not sure

It’s clear from her reaction that we are definitely related!

Def Related

Done and dusted! (And glad its over!)

PS: No, I didn’t drink the milk… Eew! Gross!

Sting and The Police…

If you could tell a stranger anything you wanted, what would you say?

This was the opportunity presented to us after our Sunrise Special this morning as we each sat with a piece of paper while sipping our coffee… I challenged The Friend and The Sister to write down a few lessons they would want to teach their kids one day…

This is what we came up with…

The Friend: “Remember… Stop to take a moment and appreciate what you have/who you have and where you are… Keep your chin up and your eyes fixed on God, you can make it through anything – things will get better… Chocolate is good at any time of the day or night.”

The Sister: “You are never too far away to go home. It’s ok to admit that you were wrong and to start again. Life is about choices.   God loves you and will pursue you all your life.  Embrace Him.  It will be the best decision you will ever make.  Learn to laugh, live, love.  You don’t get too old to dance in the rain.  Wear sunscreen.”

And mine: “In my almost 30 years, I have learnt the following.  1.  A pretty face doesn’t make you beautiful.  People look at the outside but God sees your heart.  2.  Don’t waste time, don’t procrastinate… Time is a gift, not a guarantee.  3. Love loudly… Don’t let people ever be unsure as to whether or not you love them.  4. Life is too short to drink bad coffee.”

Great advice by all accounts. So we popped the messages and our email address into our bottle and headed off to the Sea Point Promenade… Finding a spot where there were fewer rocks and no sand for it wash up on immediately took a while…

Found a spot…

Looked around to make sure no one was watching (this was the moment I realised that i was in fact littering)…

Pulled back…

And there it goes…

Found it bobbing up and down in the foamy waters where it will probably hang out until the tide comes in and carries it out a bit…

So there it went, pearls of wisdom floating on the waters. Who knows where it’ll end up?

Things to do While Skyping…

 As I came into the kitchen earlier this evening I heard The Mother and The Little Sister skyping The Brother and The Nephew who currently live in The Land of the Long White Cloud… aka New Zealand.

I figured, why not get them in on the 30 before 30 fun and do something while we were chatting. So I put the pot on the stove, put in a little oil and added the popcorn kernels… As sad as this sounds, popping popcorn on the stove without a lid has been the thing on my list that I’ve always, ALWAYS wanted to do!

So we turned the webcam to face the pot, we switched on the stove and stood back, not quite sure what would happen. After about a minute we heard the first POP! Disappointingly though, it stayed inside the pot. I was just about to write off as a dud when I heard another POP and a fluffy white piece of popcorn sailed through the air and landed on the floor… Yes!

This was followed in quick succession by hundreds of tiny white missiles flying across the kitchen and littering the floor. All the while, The Nephew and The Little Sister were shrieking with delight at the sight of the flying popcorn and The Mother and The Brother were having a good laugh.

In less than three minutes, it was all over and there was popcorn everywhere! Well, everywhere but in the pot that is. It was awesome! So much fun!

My favourite part of it was that even though we’re thousands of miles apart we could share in something like this and all have a great laugh together. Distance doesn’t stop you from connecting with people.

Then began the clean-up… Copious amounts of Handy Andy, Sunlight Washing Liquid and boiling hot water later, The Mother and I had the kitchen sorted, the oil spray a thing of the past.

This one was a definite winner, you must try it yourself!

Smooth, Real Smooth…

Remember me? Sarah? The tall blonde with the ridiculously low pain threshold? Well I can’t believe it but I forgot to take my myprodol… A fact I realised only halfway en route to the Salon. Uh Oh.

Three teachers, an occupational therapist and a large amount of hot wax… Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, on the contrary it was the beginning of my evening. Tammy was my capable therapist who assured me that it wouldn’t hurt at all and that it’s not that bad. Not that bad? Excuse me? You are pouring hot wax onto my skin, sticking strips of fabric to that wax and ripping, yes, RIPPING, that strip and the wax AND MY HAIR off! But it’s not that bad?

I entered into this particular challenge with lines from an old email forward that circulated a couple years back. It detailed one woman’s journey into the terrifying world of home waxing… The thought of that email brought tears to my eyes and for a moment I couldn’t tell if I was crying from laughing so much or if it was mild hysteria… (Side note: Ladies, if you haven’t read that email, let me know)

So back to the saga at hand. Tammy the Therapist set to work waxing my legs. The wax rolled onto the back of my leg, warm and sticky, next the fabric strip was smoothed onto it… Felt quite nice actually… and then, oh my gosh! Blinding pain shot up and down my leg, stars gathered in front of my eyes and through the rushing sound of my blood pumping through my head I managed to turn around and look back to see what came off with the wax, my hair or my skin? I was able to enjoy the comfort of no bloodshed for a split second before strip number two was ripped… Barely breathing, the next few minutes were a blur as it was smooooth, riiiiiiiip, smooooooth, riiiiiiiiiiip…

“There you go!” What? Was it all over? Had I blacked out? I hoped so. Nope. Tammy had finished only one side… of one leg… Oi. As she continued rolling wax, ripping hair and the like I tried to keep up a steady stream of conversation… Every few rips, Tammy stopped, bent over double, laughing at my painful expressions, deep slow breaths and curled toes.

All the while Flo and Z were waxing bits next door. Soon there came a knock on the door as they joined us to witness my torture. By then Tammy was done with the legs and was turning my single eyebrow into two… Score!

Not satisfied with seeing my pain at having small fine hairs ripped out of my eyelids, the girls begged Tammy to do one more rip… She was only too happy to oblige. Just as she smoothed the strip onto the hot wax, The Sister walked in the door… Now it’s a party!

Cameras ready! And RIIIIIIIP! Grimace. Click, click, flash!

We hung around as The Sister had her brows waxed and discussed life and babies (Z is having one soon).

We walked out of there fuzz free and giggling, making plans for our next coffee catch up session. And my lingering thought on the drive home was the same as when I climbed Lion’s Head, “First and last time!”

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time…

“Oh OHHHHHH! We’re halfway there! Oh OHHHHHH! Living on a prayer! Liiiiving on a praaaaayer!” Nothing like a mix tape to get you rocking out on a roadtrip…

We gathered at the respectable hour of 10am to begin a day of much craziness, many laughs and loads of fun. The only real rule with roadtrips, in my opinion at least, is that you may not play “cool” music… Roadtrips are strictly for cheesy choons… I’m talking Spice Girls, Roxette, Billy Ray Cyrus, Cyndi Lauper and the like. Songs that everyone knows, can all sing along to and feel really good belting it out, even if it’s off key.

So we set off, in the general direction indicated by my navigator/co-pilot (in whose navigational skills I had very little faith – I wisely kept my mouth shut and followed instructions… who cares if we don’t end up where were going, that’s part of the fun, right?). The trusty, suitably girly mixtape in the CD player, doughnuts for breakfast and big smiles on our dials… We started tripping… Roadtripping!

The Sister was set to come with us but had to pull out due to other commitments, in her stead, she sent fourteen slips of paper. Weird, I know. Occupational Therapists these days. Each of these slips had a task that was to be completed during the course of the day.

These tasks ranged from the ridiculous to the hilarious and included:

  • Discuss at length in Austen or King James English how much wood a woodchuck would chuck if it could chuck wood
  • Using only small change, nothing bigger than one rand coins, buy something along the way
  • Play sweet and sour with the other cars, stop when you have four sweet and one sour

One of my favourites was to each decide our superhero names and update Facebook with them

Another slip commanded us to use a word to replace the words cool and lekker… This took some discussing…

Crispy?

Nah.

Slammin’?

Already been done…

Ziggy?

Hmmm, ziggy…

I like it!

So ziggy is the new cool. Not sure what I mean? Let me put in a sentence or two for you:

“Whoa! Check that stuffed lion cub wearing a sailor hat! That’s so not ziggy!” or you could say, “Wow, Dancing Diva! Your navigational skills are totally ziggy!” We are currently looking at copyrighting it… Now that’d be super ziggy! I must confess though that it may have been inspired by none other than Posh, Sporty and the girls, The Spice Girls… C’mon… You know you want to… “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends…” There may be a Ziggy Zig Ah! In the lyrics but I still say it was all us!

I am ashamed to say that even though we drove through flower country in spring, we did not stop to smell the flowers along the way, not ziggy I know… Next time though.

Our drive was a slow meander through the countryside on a journey to Paternoster. Where is Paternoster? No idea? What’s in Paternoster? Not much. But on Saturday, we were. Hallelujah it’s raining men… Actually, even a light drizzle would do.

We stopped at farm stalls with excess airfreshners, garages that allowed no swimming or other activities in the water and random signs… Really, the best name you could come up with for your B and B is “Juffroushoogte”?

We took loads of pictures, of ourselves naturally…

So we pulled up in the ‘Noster… Not Ziggy? Yeah, I didn’t think so either… Our first stop was graffiti central where we added our names to the millions of others…

And we discovered Paternoster rocks… no seriously, rocks from Paternoster…

After trying on flotsam and jetsam as fashion accessories we hit the beach. White sand, shells a plenty, gently rolling waves… paradise! Or pretty close at least. A slow amble down the beach and back again we went shopping with R5,10 in small change and then had fish and chips on the rocks…

The return trip was started with, “Look at that sign! Do you think my car will fit through there?” And of course we had to try! A quick four by fouring experience later in my trusty little Tata we drove right into a ditch, stopped for some pics (that’s what girls do) and then worked at getting the car out!

As the miles went by, the car got quieter but for the light snoring of The Courageous napping in the back. Being a superhero is exhausting apparently! The trip takes me one step closer to thirty and a whole lot closer to incredible friends… Let’s do it again sometime!

Not So Talkative Fish…

One of my favourite lines from a movie is when Ella in Ella Enchanted confronts the thugs and says, “Look, I think it’s only fair to warn you that I’m practiced in the art of Origami!” To which the thug replies, “Paper folding?” I have no idea why but it cracks me up every time.

I figured this one would be a breeze. I mean, really? How hard could paper folding possibly be? I can fold boxes and those whatchoomacallit doodads that you flick back and forth, check the photo to see what I mean…

I assumed that, naturally, this made me an Origami Ninja and I could fold anything… And once again I was surprised. Friday afternoon stretched out before me… An hour of invigilating, what fun…

So after starting my kids on their test I started folding paper on my trips between the desks… Earlier in the day my favourite design teacher had kitted me out with two Origami books, coloured paper, a ruler and even some scrap paper to practice with (like this paperfolding ninja would need to practice).

I scanned through one of the books (the prettier looking one… confession: I unashamedly judge books by their covers) and decided on The Talking Fish as my first attempt… A few quick folds later I realised that my “talking” fish was more of a sit-in-the-corner-and-rock-silently kind of fish… Fail.

 

My ego took a bit of a knock with that so I decided to set my sights lower and make something less challenging… A party hat! How could I possibly get that wrong? Obviously I underestimated my lack of Origami skills; I kept circling the classroom trying to figure out why my party hat was not coming to the party…

Finally I realised I had started with a square when I should have used an A4 sheet of paper… Still working with scrap paper I finally had my first taste of success! One complete party hat. I then spent the next few minutes putting stars on it and avoiding starting a more challenging project.

On what felt like my 100th time pacing about the room, I settled on making The Angel Fish… Starting with the scrap paper I successfully folded my first angel fish. The sweet taste of success! Victorious I realised I can now fold anything at all. That knowledge was enough for me, I didn’t feel the need to prove myself. So instead, I folded more Angel Fish, lots more, in different colours. And then, because I’m cool like that, I cut out water bubbles from blue paper and did a photoshoot with my amazing school of angel fishies (pun totally intended!).

And on my last trip around the classroom, cutting out bubbles, the time ran out. Their test and my challenge of Origami were over!

She’ll be Coming Around the Mountain…

It’s not a walk. Not by a long shot. It’s a scramble. It’s a hike. It’s a climb. It’s a stretch. It’s NOT a walk.

I enlisted the support of an incredible guide, the uber fab Baby J and then started recruiting fellow travellers via WhatsApp, BBM, Facebook and Twitter. Our group of adventurers met at 8am on a sunny Sunday morning in the Mother City.

Set to conquer a mountain, it was only as we stood in the parking lot looking up at Lion’s Head that I thought I may have bitten off more than I can chew… A lot more… Twenty minutes and a prayer session later we started off on a journey neither I nor my body will forget in a hurry.

It took less than 7 minutes for me to start sounding like an obscene phonecall, heavy breathing, no talking. Anyone who tried to start a conversation with me on the way up was met with hand gestures that were hopefully interpreted as “I cannot reply now as I am using all my mental ability to focus on getting air into my lungs”

I hope I lasted at least 20 minutes before I stopped us for our first breather but I’m not convinced. When I realised that most of the photos I would take that day would be of the rear view of the group, I appointed Baby J the official photographer (she was only too happy to oblige with her fancy schmancy new camera phone). I must admit though that at one point when everyone was admiring the view I ran a few metres ahead so that in at least one picture it would look like I was leading the pack!

 

The gravel road soon gave way to rocky steps which then gave way to rocks. Each time the path started getting uncomfortably close to the edge, the rocks got scarily rockier or I brought the group to a halt for yet another breather, I was overtaken by someone either under 7 or over 70 years of age who was doing a much better job than me.

But the group kept encouraging me to press on and push through. There came a choice of two different paths to take… The sign said, Left – recommended route, Right – use at your own risk. Comforting when the crew you’re climbing with takes the risky one. This was no Robert Frost type choice. The physio could be heard saying, “If I get a choice, I’ll take short and adventurous over long and safe any day” or something to that effect. Uh oh. It was when I grabbed the first chain that a friend urged me not to let go but there was a lizard to my left… I don’t handle creepy crawlies very well.

It was also right about this time that my infrequent fear of heights started kicking in. I really didn’t prepare myself at all for this adventure. I did however make it to the top of the chains section without hanging on, paralysed in fear, sucking my thumb and calling for my mommy. No small feat in my opinion.

From there to the top I was pretty much on all fours most of the way, spurred on by shouts of “100 more metres,” and “just a little bit further, Sarah…” It didn’t feel like a little bit further…

Lungs bursting, heart pounding, I was given three seconds to compose myself before officially summiting Lion’s Head.

One small victory cry later, I lay on the ground to catch my breath before being able to appreciate the view… But when I could breathe again… Wow! What a view it was! Spectacular views of Cape Town, Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles and the Ocean in all directions… Incredible.

Once all had recovered it was an impromptu photo session, some chatting and a bit of parkour from the crazier part of the gang. And a slightly off key “happy birthday” to me!

Eventually though we had to start on our way down… I was pleased to find that this came a lot easier than the uphill had for me! I can tell because I managed to keep up a loud and steady stream of conversation all the way down! Telling anyone who would listen that it was my first and last time up this mountain and asking why anyone would call it a walk.

I overhead the triathlete (hike/swim/eat breakfast – sounds legit?) state that, “Brave is what stupid people call stupid people.” I concur. I also swear I heard someone say, “You know what? You could show me a photo of this same view and I would feel the same as I feel seeing it for myself…” Oh no, she didn’t! Yes, she did… Confession? She is me. But in my defence, beautiful photographs draw an emotional response from me…

We got to watch a paraglider launch from the side of the mountain on our way down and after an incident free journey, one unlucky traveller tripped on the last step and ended up with a minor cut on his hand and scrape on his back. Finishing with a flourish.

All this effort deserved a reward… A trip to Seattle Coffee Shop was a well-earned treat for all!

So I made it up and back down a mountain, surrounded by incredible friends, great conversation and many laughs. I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly and encouraging all the strangers on the path were… As we walked past each other we were greeted and cheered with urgings of, “You can do it!” and “You’re almost there!”

I was not so pleasantly surprised by how much more difficult it was than I had imagined it’d be! It was an even less pleasant surprise taking my tired muscles to bed last night only to wake up with aching, painful and protesting limbs. I got up early just to get dressed for work and when I tried to put shoes on realised that I wasn’t going anywhere today. And so I have not gone anywhere today. As far as possible, I have moved only my hands and fingers as they are the only part of me that understands the messages my brain is sending to my body.

Both my boss and my uber fab guide thought this was funny… painfully so!

I went to get a glass of water earlier and couldn’t work out why the lounge was tilted at such an awkward angle… Am I living on a ship? And then I realised it was only because my body had developed its own system of walking, not unlike a combination between a crab, giraffe and a tranquilised rhino just before it falls over… Attractive.

With the beating my body’s taken from an easy “walk” up Lion’s Head, it has me wondering… Am I turning 30 or 60?

A big high five to all the crazies who came along to help me scratch this off The List! Here’s to more adventures!