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!

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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?

From Cape Town to Seattle…

“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna turn around and dessert you…”

Rick Astley at 5am? I’m up! I’m up! Enough already!

Early mornings are not my thing, not even a little. My central nervous system only kicks in after two, sometimes three, cups of coffee… Watching the sunrise with friends was problematic because not only did I need to get up at the crack of dawn but so did my friends. Luckily, I have amazing friends… The Incredible Flo and The Awesome Sister agreed to tag along. I hear some of you saying that that’s one friend and one sister, not “friends” but honestly, sisters make the best type of friends.

All the reports said sunrise was at 6:44 am this morning but as we drove down the N1 Highway, heading towards The Mountain That I Love, I caught a glimpse of yellow skies in the rear view mirror… Uh oh! The coffee stop would have to wait till after the sunrise…

We drove towards Lion’s Head and then kept on driving till reaching signal hill where we saw locals still in their pyjamas and locals who had obviously not gone to bed yet and were enjoying a liquid breakfast. Deciding this was not the spot for us, we drove back towards Lions Head and found a great place to pull over on the side of the mountain with a spectacular view of Table Mountain and the rising sun.

As we spent some quiet moments watching the ball of fire peep over the far off mountains, my sister and my friend beside me, it felt as if my soul let out a contented sigh. Golden rays washing everything it touches with warm light…

A spectacular sunrise, some awkward photo attempts and some laughs later, we said an official Good Morning to Cape Town and headed off in search of a very necessary cup of coffee.

Hello Seattle Coffee Co. *cue angels singing* Café Mocha with whipped cream and a Twix seemed an appropriate breakfast… A sunrise special!

Driving off we came across a delightful find! A photo op not to be missed… Guess and I share a history it seems…

30 Sexy Years!

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!

Stretch or Starve…

“The family that eats together… Eats together?” Or something like that.

So maybe I’m not great at finding suitable quotes for every occasion but when it comes to eating together as a family, I haven’t found the perfect quote because nothing can really adequately describe the Life that there is at our table when it’s meal time… elbows on the table, knives and forks on the wrong side, spaghetti slurped inelegantly (or heaven forbid, all cut into tiny pieces), The Little Sister talking with her mouth full and being told not to, The Other Sister messing on her shirt (without fail, seriously), days discussed, jokes made up (usually bad jokes), laughs shared, salt passed, stretching across the table, talking over each other… Wow! It makes us sound like barbarians, we’re not, I promise, but meal times in This Family are full of life. There is a strong connection between family and food in my memory… I remember there always being more than enough to go around, even when unexpected guests arrived. Back to this weekend though…

We got a rare opportunity to get away for the weekend… After weeks of not seeing The Sister as she has been lovebombing Cape Town (you can read more about that here) it was just what The Family needed. Time away, together. Bonus, it was a 4 day long weekend. Bigger bonus, it was The Mother’s birthday.

We packed the cars (a much better attempt than when we went camping) and headed out to Fish Hoek. We took a lot less than last time and did not need to fight off any deranged baboons as we were comfortably ensconced (big word for a Tuesday) in a house made of brick and mortar.

Friday night was the not-so-perfect storm. The heavens opened and a deluge of water fell to the earth in a night long flood. The occasional lightning (timed perfectly for when you were just about to fall back to sleep) lit up the house like the fourth of July (only less colourful).

The Lovebombing Sister slept through it all while the rest of The Family alternated between awake, moderately awake, sort of awake, not really awake but I am walking around, and what-the-heck-was-that awake.

Saturday morning’s arrival was heralded by Emile Sande singing, “Next To Me,” as my alarm told me to get my butt outta bed at 6:20am. You have to get up really early to beat The Mother. It was The Mother’s birthday.

Hustling The Sisters out of bed, Travel Size Sis wrote her super-beautiful message in the card while I put the kettle on. The mother was woken up with a truly awful rendition of Happy Birthday (the Von Trap family we are not!). We enjoyed birthday coffee, hot chocolate, gift unwrapping, card reading and Tim Tams in bed… Family Meal of the day number 1.

Not in any great hurry, we slowly got layered up to head out into the cold for breakfast. Fish Hoek Spur was ready and waiting for us and our awesome waitron, Florence lead us to a table with a great view of the play area much to The Rugrat’s delight. Lattes and juices were ordered followed by the bacon and egg fry up that Spur is famous for!

The Mother was treated by the staff and patrons to a sing-along of, “I don’t know but I’ve been told, Superlady’s getting old,” complete with sparklers and green tinted ice-cream (for the record, it was supposed to be green).

Around the same time, The Lovebombing Sister was carefully colouring a picture of Shrek, an accomplishment she was proud of! So ends Family Meal of the day number 2.

When the weekend stretches out before you and there’s nowhere you have to be, what do you do? In This Family, we drive. Anywhere. So we set off on a drive around the coast, at each point deciding to go just a little bit further… Delighting in glorious views of a stormy sea, mischievous baboons (not so delightful) and a visit to the spot where The Brother and The Sister in Law said, “I do,” Scarborough beach.

Eventually the slow meander took us back to our starting point where we found a hole in the wall that produced incredible fish and chips… piping hot, we stowed our bounty and rushed “home” where lupper (somewhere between lunch and supper) was devoured around the kitchen counter amidst much chatter and laughter. Hello Family Meal of the day number three…

A quick trip to Pick n Pay, a couple of cracked eggs, sliced lemons and condensed milk tins later, a lemon meringue (correctly pronounced ma-rin-goo) was baking in the oven. This was later set ablaze (flaming lemon meringue anyone?) with candles as we sang one final, awful chorus of Happy Birthday to The Amazing Mother that we have been blessed with. Candles were extinguished, meringue was cut and large slices of it were washed down with big mugs of rooibos… Cue Family Meal of the day number 4…

And just like that, the list decreased but The Family bond increased. What are meal times like in your family?

Guess Who…

A couple of weeks ago, around 18:05 on a Wednesday, the house was spotless, the dog was fed, the table was set for five, the Arrows were playing in the background and I was making a salad in the kitchen…

This was not the scene about two hours earlier with frantic vacuuming, dusting, tidying and the like. That moment in cleaning when you realise you don’t have enough time to clean the entire house and you rate each room on a scale of one to ten… One being “I’m sure they won’t come in here so I can leave it as is and just pull the door shut” and ten being “There’s no way I can keep them out of here and better clean up.”

At the same time as I almost had everything done, four people in the area received text messages with only an address. My address. All four headed out the door and on their way to me.

This exciting cloak and dagger type stuff (that included no daggers) was the order of the evening for my community. We had a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner evening. A few weeks before that we had each filled in a form stating whether we were willing to host a dinner or would like to be hosted for dinner. I figured hosting a dinner party is on the list so why not! CA coordinated the whole thing in such a way that if you were hosting you were told only how many guests to expect and if there were any food allergies. And those being hosted were told only what to take along and then an hour before dinner, were sent a text message with the address of their dinner hosts. Great idea and great fun!

The lasagne was baking in the oven and I had just pulled the salad bowl out the cupboard when the first guest arrived…

The walk from the kitchen to the front door was filled with thoughts like, “What if no one likes each other?” and “What if no one talks to each other?”

I swung open the door and there stood K. I know K. Relief. We don’t know each other very well but well enough to feel at ease. And she brought dessert… An amazing Malva pudding! Yum!

As we were chatting in the kitchen the doorbell rang a second time. It was the Paramedic. Fairly new to the community but I knew her well enough. She joined us in the kitchen.

The third ding-dong of the doorbell announced the Pharmacist’s arrival. Another one I was happy to get to know better. The salad was done and so we moved our party of four to the living room and chatted as we awaited our fifth and final dinner guest. A couple of minutes later the doorbell rang and in walked C, with a plate of incredible canapés…

Conversation started flowing as we curled up on the chairs and couches in the cozy living room and munched on canapés… Some shoes were even kicked off I recall!

The party of five moved to the dining table as the lasagne and salad appeared from the kitchen.

The paramedic broke a week-long fast with that lasagne! As we all dug in (in a restrained and delicate fashion of course!) the conversation carried on, exploring topics from work, to family, to hobbies and the like. There were many laughs over stories that highlight my paralysing fear of birds, spiders and monkeys (and most other animals) and over the Paramedic’s family member’s obsession with dehydrating foods such as cucumbers.

The warm dessert and custard was washed down with mugs of tea. A long time and a photo op later, the ladies started making their way home.

As I packed the dishwasher I reflected on the evening, God had definitely knit us closer together that night which was the goal of the evening. I would never have thought of mixing K, the Paramedic, the Pharmacist and C at a dinner in the natural just because we’re all so different, but because we’re all family in Christ, it worked. Really well!

So crossing this one off the list drew me closer to four amazing women and was loads of fun! Have you ever had some surprise guests for dinner? How did that turn out?