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Archive for November 2009

Photo’s and a vlog! All comments welcome ;-P

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I’ve been meaning to take a video of Beary greeting Michael when he gets home from the office, because it is too darn cute. No-one can resist an animal that gives you such a super-duper royal welcome home!

Anyway, so a couple of days ago I took the video. Turns out Beary is just as bad as I am at making eye-contact with the camera!

Please notice, in the beginning, how she jumps up on the window-sill to see his car arriving, and appreciate why I had to get shorter lace curtaining ๐Ÿ™‚

My mom has seen theย  couch-jumping festivities, and all she had to say was that she hopes we are saving for a new lounge-suit.

(Note: Michael single-handedly is responsible for taught Beary this charming trick. I wasn’t that keen on the dog being on the couches, but as Michael said when I brought it up, some months ago, “Sorry, my love, but that ship has sailed.”)

So without further ado, here is the video:

The rose photo’s are simply a bonus feature, if that happens to be your cup of tea, as it is mine…

My Black Madonna rose bush is doing particularly well. ‘Floriferous’ is the word, I believe…

Here is a close-up of one of its blooms…

Here is Michael’s rose, named Herero. ( I call it his rose because it is the first time he has made any input whatsoever into the rose garden. We were at the nursery and he pointed out Herero and said I should get ‘that stunning rose’. Of course, it could have been man-speak for “just get any damn rose and let’s get out of here.” LOL

This is what herero looks like when it has been exposed to the sun for a couple of days…

Quite exquisite, actually.

Then there is this delicate beauty, for which I have an especially soft-spot…

Pearl of Bedfordview.

Even my ailing Gold Reef plant managed to get its sh*t together to produce this masterpiece…

The Double Delight is a solid performer this season, producing bloom after bloom. A favourite of rose-growers world wide.

The dainty little Bella Rosa outdid itself this week with a flush of 11 roses. These were the last three, which proved fairly Beary Resistant. (It is right next to her look-out post. Obviously I didn’t think that one through when I planted it ;-Pย  )

This next one is my oldest rose-bush, 7de Laan, which recently celebrated its first birthday.

And that’s a wrap, but for this one last one of Beary among the potted roses. How she got in there, I don’t have the foggiest, but I had to shift some pots to get her out ๐Ÿ˜‰

Written by Maggie

November 17, 2009 at 12:15 pm

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…Michael left the sweetest comment on my last post…

“You and Beary are clearly the prettiest roses in the garden :)”

Ooh, that does earn him a brownie point or two.

Just as well, because he lost a few yesterday…

We have a CD in the car with Foster & Allen’s Maggie on it.

I do โ™ฅ that song. When I was a little girl, my dad told me that that song was written especially for me. And I believed it for quite a few years, lol. (I didn’t pay attention to the actual words, just the constant repetition of my name).

Anyway, now I think the words are rather lovely. It’s this old guy singing of days gone by, when he and his Maggie were young. He goes on to say how theyย  are old now, but to him she is as beautiful as when they were young.

The exact words….

They say, we have out-lived our time… Maggie,

as dated as songs we have sung.

But to me, you’re as fair, as you were…. Maggie,

when you, and I, were young.

See, nice, sentimental words.

I turned to Michael and said that I hoped one day he would say that to me.

He replied, “I’ll say it to you right now. You’re not as young as you used to be. You were a young thing when I married you.”

Very tongue-in-cheek.

He’s lucky I found it amusing, or I might have belted the crap out of him. With my 30th birthday looming, I could easily have taken that the wrong way, LOL

Written by Maggie

November 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm

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Scraping the bottom of the barrel…

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*sigh* Beary is not the drawcard that she once was. Not even one comment on her vlog. Shame. She keeps checking if someone wrote something nice about her, but nothing doing.

And as if that isn’t bad enough, there is a fat ginger cat flaunting itself on the other side of the fence and it’s driving her nuts. The insolence of that cat is too much to be born.

On the upside, at least it’s distracting her from the lack of comments on her vlog, lol.

Anyhoo, you know blogging fodder is thin on the ground when you are reduced to posting photo’s of yourself like this:


I take a lot of photo’s in the garden of whatever’s in bloom. And late afternoon you’re likely to see a cheesy shadow cast by yourself and will be rendered practically powerless to resist taking a snapshot of it with the camera phone in your hand. hehehe

And then it will occur to you to try and make shadow animals with your free hand, though it won’t come out very successfully and your ‘rabbit’ will come out looking more like the ‘V’ sign…


Then a majestic vista catches your eye and, standing under the awning of the roof to avoid the glare of the late afternoon sun, you snap the scattered clouds as they whizz by, marveling at the simple beauty that exists…


Reluctant to end the trigger-happiness that is digital photography you twirl around for more subjects, and smile as the roses clamour, “Me, me, me!”

You admire a rose so brilliantly crimson that it almost hurts the eye to look at it with the sunlight bouncing off it. Even the camera has a hard time focusing…


Feeling like the paparazzi in the flower-bed version of Hollywood, you snap the following socialites in quick succession, already thinking up salacious stories to go with the photographs…


Double Delight.




Super Iceberg.


Soaring Wings.


Garden Queen.

(We do love photographing the Royals, after all).

Then you think to yourself that you better start getting ready for the Tswana lesson tonight before Michael gets home.

Fortunately, in between uploading photo’s onto wordpress, you have been making dinner, a hugely sophisticated dish known as Pap ‘n Wors :-p

But just before you dash, you feel the need to post one last pic, a gratuitous photo of yourself and the poochie formerly and currently known as Beary ๐Ÿ˜‰


Written by Maggie

November 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm

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Another vlog, starring…Beary! :-)

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I’ve read before that Chows are a somewhat lethargic breed. They’re known for being good apartment dogs.

Beary, on the other hand, is calm enough for most of the day, but every now and then she gets this spurt of energy that needs urgently to be dissipated.

We do take her for walks very regularly. This week has been very rainy, however, and she hasn’t gotten out much.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, is rare footage of the mythical Crazy Beary. Observe how small our garden is, and how expertly she navigates it at great speed, in the rain…and in between rose-bushes with no regard for the thorns:

Written by Maggie

November 7, 2009 at 10:32 pm

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Quick pop in on BlogWorld…

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I have started working on one of my grade eight pieces, Chopin’s Grande Valse Brilliantine. So far, so good. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle the virtuosity of grade 8 level. But as far as I can tell, the main difference between that and my old buddy, grade 7 is the workload, more than anything else. The Grand Waltz is 9 jam-packed pages of sheet-music. Yay! I only hope my fingers don’t drop off after I’ve finished playing that sucker in one sitting.

Actually, therein lies another story of me bragging about how much I have recovered, how much more stamina my fingers have than two years ago when I started this piano playing lark up again. How I only used to be able to play for about 15 mins before my fingers cramped and went all numb and cripple and cried for mercy. But how now they can go on for, like, forever. Well, until I need to take a bathroom break. I wish my bladder would get with the program like the rest of me!

On a less facetious note, I think playing the piano has been therapeutic to me on so many levels but especially in rehabilitating my fingers. There are a lot of theories about remyelination and how it needs to be stimulated by activity to repair. I actually do believe this, and I think this is what playing the piano has done for me.

I hope to sit the exam in May 2010. But shhhh! don’t tell my sister. She will lecture me on how that is nowhere near enough time to do it in.

I don’t care. I’m no spring-chicken anymore, I need to stay on a roll. She was 20 when she did her gr8. I will be thirty. I don’t have the luxury of taking my time on this one. I’ve lost too much already.

Anyway, so I reckon I’ll need 5ย  hours of practice a day. One hour for each of the 4 pieces, one hour for scales and one for sight-reading and practical musicianship (aural). Not to be confused with ‘oral’ as I was so fond of typing it previously ๐Ÿ˜›

The amount of work is easily double what it was for gr7, so best I get cracking. I’m doing quite well with the first movement of The Waltz. Maybe I can vlog about it soon. And I won’t even grin at the camera when I make a mistake. M’kay?

Edited to add:

WHOOPS. Good job I am not studying mathematics, because apparently I have trouble counting in multiples of one! Number of practice hours just does not add up to 5, no matter how you look at it. My bad ;-P

Written by Maggie

November 6, 2009 at 5:40 pm

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Tying up the loose ends.

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Beary doesn’t have ringworm, according to the vet. We don’t know what it is, but it doesn’t appear to be spreading. Just a single little hairless lesion on her skin. I guess something could have bitten her there. Poor poochie – she picked up on it immediately when I didn’t want to fuss over her like usual. (I had ringworm when I was a kid, and I did not relish the thought of having it again). Anyway, now that it doesn’t seem to be infectious,we’re back to snuggling on the couch together, so everybear is happy again. The vet gave me a topical cream to put on the sore and it is working, I think.

I meant to post the draft I wrote about the doctor’s visit I had back in July for the Fingolimod trials. When I went into my ‘drafts archives’ I scratched out only a couple of sentences on the topic. Well, there was more, but it went off on quite a tangent, which is why I never posted it in the first place.

Anyway, here is the bit that was actually interesting: (in purple)

I am apparently down to a 2.5 on the EDSS scale of disability. Now, considering that I started at a 5.5 back in 2007, this is nothing short of my own personal little miracle!

Back then, I couldn’t figure out where that 2.5 had come from, as I hadn’t noticed any difference that would explain it. 2.5 is practically neurologically normal! (Well, normal is a zero, but close enough, hey!)

Turns out I misheard the dude. He’d actually said 3.5, which is what it still is. I’m not disappointed about that, mind you, because I didn’t trust that 2.5. I was highly suspicious of it and thought the neuro had made a mistake. So no harm done. Am looking forward to the day that it really is 2.5 though. Or even a <2!

I’ve had a bit of PMS this week. And don’t hate me, but this is the form it has taken:

I have been feeling completely loved up with everybody. I feel so fond of everyone in my life. They’re all wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚

Even the ones that ordinarily get on my nerves a bit, lol. (Like some of my contacts on facebook, hah. Now I find their unique sense of humour quite underrated).

I’ve been finding everything charming and witty and beautiful.

Is this a bit weird? Probably.

I have been slightly emotional, but only to the point where I find things touching that I normally wouldn’t.

Michael’s shares have been insanely high ๐Ÿ™‚

I think the endorphins are starting to wear off now though, because I am a bit more sensitive than normal. If someone doesn’t greet me enthusiastically enough for my liking, I immediately feel slighted and start wondering if they are cross with me.


And the ones that do greet me enthusiastically enough for my liking, I’m liable to give them a hug if they’re not careful and chat their ear off for ten minutes.

(Actually, I just realised that the week prior to this carry-on, I felt like starting a feud with my neighbours (long story) which I thankfully didn’t.)

Sometimes it’s exhausting being me, lol.

Us women, we just can’t escape the hormones, hey?



Written by Maggie

November 5, 2009 at 2:55 pm

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Thank you for the kind comments on my last post ๐Ÿ™‚

I watched my video again and there is only one thing that can be deduced.

I am a total nerd, lol. (Mind you, a brave nerd, for having the guts to air it publicly ๐Ÿ™‚

Moving on.

Yesterday was a scheduled trials check-up day. We combined it with a visit to my granny, who stays only 4km away in an old-age home.

The trials’ visit went very well. It was short and sweet. Basically just a short chat with the main co-ordinating neuro, and then a quick EDSS check by the other neuro. I came up with 3.5 on the scale, which is pretty good.

He said I am testing neurologically normal on quite a few of the points, and only minor impairment on a couple of others.

What is holding me back from an even better score (with the lowest score being the best) are my bladder issues andย  my balance. He says he can notice my balance is slightly off when I walk into the consulting rooms.

I thought it wasn’t actually noticeable anymore but then again he does have a very trained eye and he knows I have MS. I don’t think the general public would notice it while I’m walking around in the shops.

The EDSS is a very broad spectrum test and is not sensitive at all to little changes. So to drop a whole 2 points from where I started in 2007 is fairly impressive. All the staff at those consulting rooms tell me regularly how much I have improved. Which is nice to hear. Nice to be reminded of how far I’ve come on these trials.

The chat I had with the ‘head-honcho’ doc was informative. Last time I saw him, I discussed going off the trials so that M & I could have a baby some time next year. He didn’t say much about it at the time, but this time he told me that he thinks I should stay on this medicine for the long-term. He said that usually on trials such as these, the pharmaceutical company continues supplying the drug to participants until the medication is available in the country where you live. And it could still be a long time before it is available in SA and, more importantly, approved by the medical aids.

Point of the whole story: I would do well not to go off the trials at this stage.

Mmmm, and all the while my biological clock is ticking away like a maniac, lol.

Next year’s worries, next year’s worries…

Then I had to hop on the scale and I am even more underweight than I was last time, clocking in at 47kg, which is very skinny for my 1.68m frame.

Interestingly enough, I still have the muffin-top. Maybe I should do a sit-up every now and then ๐Ÿ˜‰

What I love about that doctor is that he never makes remarks about my weight. He just writes it down and moves on. But even he said yesterday that I should put on a little weight, I’m very light. Light. I was so delighted by his diplomatic choice of word.

He said it in a very nice way and didn’t harp on about it.

He drew some blood from my arm, and I swear, the man is a magician with a needle! I never feel it when the needle goes in at all. When he was done, I said, “that was some quality needlework.”

He modestly said it is because I have good veins.

All in all, a good trip.

I have not had IV cortisone in over 3 months! I tried to get him to approve a course sometime in the future in case I have to treat this very mild relapse (which we agreed probably isn’t a relapse at all) without having to go all the way back to Joburg so that he can document it for the trials.

But the doc is too canny to write me a blank cheque like that, lol.

Maybe the sun will shine on me a little longer and I will not need to treat with steroids in the three months till I see him in February.

Wow, that would be incredible. I can’t remember the last time I had a festive season (and birthday) without a relapse.

Next, we went to visit my granny.

She is looking very frail and old. She had a bad fall last week (thankfully not breaking anything) and has spent a lot of time in bed. I can see it has taken its toll.

We had lunch there and it took her about fifteenย  minutes to get to the dining-room with her walker. By the time we got back to her room afterwards, she was exhausted.

She seemed to really enjoy our visit, though. I took her a Just Joey rose plant for her little garden and a mixed CD as she does so love music. I suspect it is one of her few pleasures. I also took her a strawberry plant, which she seemed very taken with.

From her, I got a book called Paws and Listen, which I can’t wait to read. It is by a woman who talks to animals. As in, conversations, as far as I can gather. The woman enthralled the whole old-age home when she came and gave a talk to them on the topic.

After we had lunch, I played on the dining hall’s piano for the old folks. They seemed to enjoy it and gave a nice round of applause when I was done.

I felt very sad when we left. I tried hard not to pander to the emotional thoughts that wanted to go through my head, or else I would have bawled and bawled. My granny looked so tiny and frail. I really love that old lady, and it’s hard to see her battling.

Michael has promised that we can go and see her every time we go to Joburg.

It was a long day. We got home late afternoon. The trip home was in parts terrifying and spectacular. Terrifying because we got caught in a very bad rainstorm. And spectacular because there were miles and miles of early blooming cosmos and sunflowers along the road, once we got into the platteland again.

And the most awesome sunset I’ve seen in a while. This great big red orb of a sun, hanging low in the sky. You could look directly at it without squinting. The sky was rose-pink with masses of white clouds that appeared to be backlit by the setting sun. I’ve heard of clouds with silver lining, but never fluorescent pink lining. Magical.

Lord, thank you for all the beauty in this world, and please help me to add to it, rather than to detract.




Written by Maggie

November 4, 2009 at 11:37 am

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