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Archive for September 2009


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I just found out a short while ago on the internet that I passed my Grade 7 Unisa piano exam! I am beyond stoked; this was such good news.

It was a bit of a scrape through, but considering all the obstacles I had in my way I am thoroughly delighted.

I prayed a good deal for help with this exam and I believe that without God I would not have succeeded. I truly believe that. My faith can be a little rocky at times, but with this I have no doubt. He helped me every step of the way and He sent me the kindest examiner in the country, who was so patient with me. If I had had an examiner like some of the ones my sister had, I would not only have failed, but would have been traumatised and put off music for life ๐Ÿ™‚

I feel very, very happy right now. One of my big goals for 2009 has been achieved, which motivates me to tackle the others head on. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and I so have.

It may not be a big deal to other people, but this is huge for me. It represents a whole lot more than just a certificate with the words Grade 7 written on it. It symbolises me moving on with my life. MS may be coming along for the ride, but I’m going anyway. No more putting my life on hold till I feel ‘better’. I feel good enough to live my life.

Written by Maggie

September 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm

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Got an award – and nearly missed it.

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Thank you to The Daily for my Top 100 award, in the category ‘MS blogs’.

Thanks also to Lisa Emrich for her Carnival of MS bloggers and the hard work she has done in tracking down all us MS bloggers on the web. Over 200 so far and counting.

I logged onto my wordpress dashboard earlier and noticed that I had 12 comments in the ‘spam queue’. Thought I’d better check and see if there weren’t any actual comments in there, and lo and behold, not only were there a couple of really nice comments from readers I haven’t ‘met’ before (saying nice things about my blog, too) but there was a message notifying me of my award and supplying me with the html code for the lovely widget.

And to think I nearly missed it!

I โ™ฅ a good award as much as the next blogger.

Michael is away from home at the mo playing in a golf competition in Bloemfontein. He left yesterday already so that he could map the GPS co-ordinates forย  hisย  Golf GPS, which is also his part-time career, as he agents it in SA. Today is the competition and I so hope it is going well and not raining. The weather forecast said 30% chance rain, so I hope that it doesn’t materialise while he is playing.

Funny thing, but when Michael is away overnight, Beary takes her guard-dogging extremely seriously. She’s normally a good watch-dog, but when it’s just the two of us here and the Alpha Male a.k.a. Michael is away, then she is super vigilant. Don’t know what I ever did without a dog in the house. I feel so safe with her sleeping outside my bedroom door ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m having a pretty good time on my own. The house is looking nice and spick and span, what with a man not being in residence and all, lol. Picking up all the sports paraphernalia lying around is a full-time job on its own ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have two great books that I am reading. The one is Katie Alender‘s book, Badย  Girls Don’t Die, which I have been wanting to read for ages. Katie and I became blogging friends about a year ago and I have been dying to read her first book. Finally ordered it on Kalarhari and I am so impressed with her lovely, accessible style. I’m only a 100 pages in and it was all I could do to wrench myself away from it to have lunch and do a quick blog post. (Well, it was gonna be quick, but then I discovered my award ๐Ÿ˜‰

The other book I am reading is the autobiography of Pattie Boyd, 60’s supermodel and ex-wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton. My mom ordered this book when I ordered mine. She read it in an evening as she is a superfast reader and then passed it on to me. It is shaping up to be such a good read and provides a lot of insider info into the rocking 60’s social scene. I wouldn’t have thought that it was quite my scene, but it is riveting reading! So well written, very engaging.

In between reading the two books, I make baleful eye-contact with my theory of music textbooks, lying neglected on the table. *sniff* Unfortunately, the competition is too stiff for the poor theory books to be contenders in the readathon. A fact I will probably bitterly regret while sitting the three hour exam on October 14. Oh well, Annie is coming to visit on Sunday and has promised me a crash-course and some of her old notes from when she was doing Four-part harmony.

My back is sore again. I think my sacro-iliac joint is a bit inflamed again, actually. Earlier in the week, one of my Crocs slipped in a smear of water (which may or may not have been dog drool) in the kitchen. My foot flew out from under me at lightning speed and I fell down heavily on my left knee and my hand, Luckily I didn’t fall backwards or it would have been a lot worse. The knee pained for a day or two and then it shifted to my lower back. I seriously need to get to the gym’s swimming pool to stretch it out a bit. It gets so tense and sore when I’ve been sitting in front of the pc for a while like I’m doing now.

Just before I sign off, a quick update on the poo situation: Much Improved. (Note: that’s the cow poo in the garden I am referring to, btw).

It doesn’t smell anymore and the grass is growing like there’s no tomorrow. Well, except for the bald spot which was the reason I got talked into fertilizing it in the first place! How annoying.

Written by Maggie

September 25, 2009 at 2:03 pm

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If you don’t think that Crocs (with or without socks) are the last word in glamour…

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…then you obviously know nothing about fashion.

I’ll pit them against designer Italian loafers any day of the week.

I mean, not only do you have supreme comfort and breathabilty with Crocs, but they come in such funky colours as butter yellow and lime green ๐Ÿ˜‰

I โ™ฅ my Crocs.

And if you haven’t realised yet that the above is tongue-in-cheek then you shouldn’t be on this blog. Off you go. To a blog that takes itself more seriously.

Written by Maggie

September 24, 2009 at 3:42 pm

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The great pig-shit debacle of 2009

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Well, I’m sure that title got everyone’s attention, lol. Let me expand on it, shall I?…

We are trying to get our grass to grow again. It is has that post-Winter, shrivelled look about it. Been watering like crazy.

On Saturday past, Beary and I were in the garden, where we do spend quite a lot of our time. The roses are growing beautifully again and I’m like King Midas counting his gold, only I count my rose-buds. At last count there were +/- 150. Can’t wait for October, when they will be in full bloom.

So I was admiring the roses, Beary was ambling around and chasing butterfly shadows (her favourite pastime) when I was hailed from the other side of the pallisade fence by an Indian gentleman selling compost.

He had three colleagues with him and they launched straight into a detailed sales-pitch, the gist ofย  which was that the magic contained in the sacks of compost would transform my ‘lawn’ into the most luscious, soft, green etc. expanse imaginable.

“How much for a bag?” I asked, even though I didn’t have a chance.

“For you, Madam? R30”

R30 for beautiful grass? What a bargain.

At this stage, Michael came out of the house to see what the commotion was about. He took in the situation with a glance, said, “NO” and went back inside.

This ruffled my feathers a little bit. What was I anyway? The little woman?

“Oh, the boss is cross,” said one of the guys.


So I said that yes, I would love to have a lovely lawn. They had assured me that labur was included, and that I could supervise while they ‘applied’ the sack of compost.


So I went and opened up for them and they very speedily went about ripping open the bag and scattering the dry contents on my grass. Then they starting ripping open another bag.

“Hang on, what are you doing?” I asked, slightly alarmed, like the naive fool that I am.

“Madam, one bag only covers this little bit of the grass.”

“Soย  how many will you need?” I asked, belatedly.

“Madam, we’ll put the empty sacks right here, so you can see how many we used. We won’t cheat you.”

The sales patter was fast and insistent. I was out of my depth. They would not commit to a specific number of bags and I watched with growing concern as thye opened bag after bag.

Eventually, with much difficulty, I managed to put a limit on the number of bags. Six.

Lightning quick, I was offered a discount on the 7th bag so that the grand total would be R200.

This made me feel like even more of a gullible idiot as I realised I probably could have gotten the same discount on ALL the bags. These were Indians. They expected you to barter. They are also the best salesmen in the world. Like I said, I didn’t stand a chance.

Okay, so I had just spent R200 on compost for my grass, which probably would have grown just fine after the first good rains, anyway. And I had been offered free compost by my mom-in-law.

That money was supposed to pay for one of my theory lessons. I’ve been hoarding it all month.

Too late now, I thought. Better just make the best of it.

They threw down the last of the stuff and I nearly had to forcibly restrain them from opening up more bags. I had to say, as firmly as I could, I only have R200, that is all I am paying.


The compost was raked loosely into the ground and then they grabbed my hose-pipe and started watering the whole project. In about 2.5 seconds, the smell hit my nostrils. And under the dusty layer of sand, there appeared the shapes of large turds of every size and description. I hoped fervently that it was cow-shit, but I’m afraid it could have been any species’ defecations.

My money is on pig-shit. It smelt vile.

“Is this stuff safe for dogs?” I asked in alarm.

“Yes, Madam. It is vet-endorsed, safe for all pets. 100% organic. Guaranteed weed-free.”

Well, shit is 100% organic, isn’t it!


Eventually the job was done, they were paid and on their way. And I was left behind. Knee-deep in shit.

It was so bad that when we went out, we could smell our house when we turned the corner into the street on our way back.

I’ve had to give up admiring my roses because I can’t get near them. I put the hose on full power to water them from a safe distance, turds spraying every which way as the water hits them.

And the smell is everywhere. We couldn’t even sleep with the windows open.

The worst of it is that poor Beary has to go out to do her business. She sniffed every inch of the grass when we eventually let her out. I considered leaving her outside for a week until things calm down out there, but that dog was reared in the house and she’d probably die of grief if we had to leave her outside for longer than two hours, lol.

I had to make peace with the fact that she was going to walk in the shit and then come inside again. Luckily we have tiles. And luckily it is not sticking to her paws at all, but just the idea! I actually saw her lying down in the house, lifting one of her back paws to her nose and giving it a delicate sniff. And I swear, a disgusted look crossed that dog’s face as she pushed her paw away from her.

I’m lucky, I guess. Any other dog would have rolled in the stuff.

I feel more than a little sheepish about the whole thing. Michael was right and I was so wrong.

And he’s not even gloating about it.

He just said he’s extremely grateful that it wasn’t him that imported the shit into our garden or he would never have heard the end of it.

Damn right.

Moral of the story? It might be a good idea to occasionally listen to your husband.

It is now Wednesday and the smell is much improved and a lot ofย  the manure has settled into the grass.

The grass which is growing like a plantation, it must be said. It looks strangely…luscious…

Written by Maggie

September 23, 2009 at 11:29 am

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Back to normal…or not.

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Things are kind of back to normal after my exam, except I was busy preparing for that exam for so long that was my new normal, lol. Now I don’t quite know what to do with myself.

Urgently need to start working on the grade five theory of music though. The 3hr long exam is on October 14.

Not sure if I’ll pass the practical. I set myself a bit of an impossible task with the whole thing. And I worked hard, but not necessarily ‘smart’. Plus, I kept getting interrupted by trips to the hospital and bouts of flu. Guess I’m just trying to validate a possible (probable?) fail. Will find out in a couple of days, anyway.

Something else I will be doing in early Oct. will be to sit in on a young girl’s Royal School’s piano exam as an interpreter. The examiner apparently has a very strong British accent and the Afrikaans-speaking children battle to make out what he is requesting them to play as far as the scales and oral part of the exam go. So I will be there to ‘translate’ if needs be and just generally set her at ease. I actually wasn’t overly keen on the idea of doing this but then I though, hey! This is after all my year for getting out of my comfort zone. So I will do it, much to the relief of my new music teacher, who was having a hard time finding another person to translate who can speak English and Afrikaans and has a working knowledge of music terms.

I will get paid for it, too. They insist. I will buy myself a new rose bush with the money. Maybe one with a musical name to commemorate my first job as an interpreter like the Mauve Melodee or Harmonie rose. Or I’ll just get the Alec’s Red, which I have had my eye on. Not such a fun name, but apparently a gloriously scented rose with a beautiful cherry-red colour.

As far as my health goes, I am thankfully over the continuous and never-ending cycle of flu that I was having. The MS has started up again, disappointingly enough, as I took a full 3g course of steroids mid July. I expected to be in the clear for a little longer than a month and a half.

Of course, all the stressing over the exam didn’t help much.

My legs are very numb. So numb that when mosquitoes bit me at the golf day (more about that later) I didn’t even feel it itch to scratch them. Some people might say that is downright wonderful, not to feel a mozzie bite, but I found it quite unnerving.

My feet are losing sensation by the day. As always, I worry about my ability to drive a car when this happens.

Apart from the numb legs and feet, I can feel I am getting tired more easily and that I can’t walk as far as I could three weeks ago. Not a nice feeling.

I really don’t want to go for another round of steroids so soon. I worry about bone density issues, which is a scary long-term side-effect.

I mentioned the golf day. This past Saturday was a competition day at one of our local golf-clubs and Michael’s father sponsored a hole for him to use as publicity for WeGolf (the excellent cellphone golf GPS that he is agenting in SA) So Michael hosted a variation on the popular ‘longest drive’ contest. In this version, the players didn’t have to have the longest drive – they had to preict how far their drive would be. Closest guess would win you a free version of WeGolf. Michael used WeGolf to accurately measure each drive, which was impressive to the players.

The idea was very well-received and people were enthusiast. We got great exposure and a lot of people expressed interest. Really a good day. I even helped out by sitting at a table by the tee, taking down people’s names and predicted drives. More fun than I thought it wouldย  be, actually.

I’ll have to sign off now. I got more involved in this post than I intended and I still need to prepare supper.

So ciao for now ๐Ÿ˜‰

Written by Maggie

September 7, 2009 at 6:31 pm

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Tonight I will sleep well :-)

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I did the exam today.

Don’t think I was aware of how much I was stressing for it. I feel so free.

Luckily, I got the kindest woman on the planet as an examiner.

Really. She completely put me at ease and got the best out of me.

I don’t know if I passed or not. Maybe. I am trying not to entertain this small niggling feeling that I may have done it ๐Ÿ˜‰

I won’t be terribly surprised and upset if I didn’t pass. Then I’ll chalk it up to invaluable experience and take the exam again next April.

In the meantime, I’m going to start studying for the theory part of it. Apparently I’m in for quite a rough month and a half with that!

Oh well. At least I get to have an unburdened night’s sleep tonight. I’ll worry about the theory tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

Rose season is starting up again. So far, I have spotted 9 buds on my various bushes. In a couple of weeks time, there should be a riot of colour in our garden. I had better get some new batteries for my camera.

Spring is such a wonderful season. I can hear the camera jumping up and down in impatience.

So much beauty to snap.

I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. I think I shall go and have some well-deserved sleep. No getting up early to practise – yay!

Written by Maggie

September 3, 2009 at 10:39 pm

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Little bit better ;-)

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Somehow I must have normalled out in the night a bit because I’m feeling quite a lot better today.

I can almost say I will definitely take the exam, ha ha.

Even the monster scales seem to be coming round ๐Ÿ˜‰

Spoke to sister Annie last night and asked her what she thought of the idea of me telling the examiner I wish to skip the sight singing.

Well, Annie said she doesn’t think it will go down well at all (maybe even negative marks?) and that I’d better ‘fake it’. Wahaha.

I have no experience at faking it :-p

On that note, let me say adieu and go and put in another gazillion hours (feels like) practise for the day.

Hey, I have this niggling feeling I may just pass…

Written by Maggie

September 1, 2009 at 11:08 am

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