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Archive for October 2011

Worm farm

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My newly acquired earthworm farm:

I give them my kitchen scraps.

And in return, they give me the best compost ever.

Bargain! Plus, it reduces the amount of garbage that goes to the municipal dump.

I’ll post about the finer details tomorrow.

Written by Maggie

October 28, 2011 at 11:55 pm

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Quick post

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I don’t have much to say today, except that it was busy and fun but now it is 11:17 pm and I need to go to bed.

I spent the whole afternoon with my mom and it was awesome. We shopped and chatted and generally had a lekker time.

I bought a DVD of ABBA’s music videos from the bargain rack at Pick ‘n Pay for R50. (Incidentally, most of the videos on it were made by Lasse Hallstrom, director of Hachiko. I must really do another post on Hachiko. Michael and I can’t stop watching it and bawling our eyes out.)

Also, a fab pair of white shorts from Woolworths.

And some organic bananas. Not because I am eating that healthily at the moment – more because the worms in my wormfarm like banana peels.

What? Haven’t I mentioned my earthworm farm yet?! And I’ve had it three weeks already, my bad.

Tune in tomorrow for a special edition on runaway worms escaping from Alcatraz. Complete with photo’s.

Oh yes, and I am now officially a fan of Sebastian Vettel. Michael made me watch his interview on Top Gear and it was so good.

Vettel is as cute as a button. (Except, he’s not Button, he’s Vettel 🙂 )

I will probably be watching F1 from now on. Well, maybe only the interviews at the end 😉

Written by Maggie

October 27, 2011 at 11:28 pm

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Not my finest moment…

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Michael and I like to go to local restaurant, Makadu, on a Tuesday.

They have a special on Tuesdays. Buy one burger for R39, and get another one free.

Of course, the drinks push the tab up a bit,  but it is still an excellent deal. The burgers are quite huge and the patties taste like real meat and not like those cardboard tasting processed ones that you get. Very delish, especially after a meat-free Monday!

Anyway, there is a waiter there who usually serves us on a Tuesday. He is a fairly nondescript looking young man, but has a lovely speaking voice and is artfully charming.

When he introduced himself to us, he asked us which language we would prefer to be served in. He modestly said that he could help us in English,  Afrikaans or Italian.

I kinda thought he was kidding, so opted for Italian, to which he immediately fired off a stream of rapid and delighted Italian.

I furiously racked my brain to come up with a solitary Italian phrase, but the best I could come up with was a doubtful ‘capiche?’

After which I had to admit that I did not, actually, speak or understand Italian.

We all had a good natured laugh – it was fun. He was charming, and ever so slightly flirty (with me, not with Michael, lol).

I got that impression, anyway, but given what followed, was probably dead wrong.

We ordered the burgers, and they duly arrived at our table.

Like I said, they are quite sizable burgers, and I never know quite how to eat a burger in a restaurant. It always seems so messy, tomato and lettuce hanging out all over the place. I eventually plumped for cutting the whole thing in half, and then picking up the one half to take a bite out of it.

Except it was still pretty big for my mouth and I had to open wide to get any in.

As this was taking place, our waiter walked past our table, and without looking at me uttered in sotto voce, “That’s right, mam. You just eat the crap out of that burger.” And kept right on walking.

Oh elegance, thy name is Maggie.

Luckily, I thought it was hilariously funny, and he still got a good tip, lol.

(I must have a skin like a rhino).

Written by Maggie

October 26, 2011 at 10:43 pm

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Real food

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Michael and I have spoken lately about going more vegetarian in our diet. Better for one’s health and certainly better for the animals involved.

We’re not talking full-blown vegetarianism here (which I actually did do for three years, but anyway). Just a reduction of meat – maybe not every day. Two or three times a week.

I have been looking into some vegetarian meal options. On Saturday, I made a Mac & Cheese. Lots of milk and cheese went into it, but nothing died for it. Sunday, I made an omelet, same principle.

(I must just mention that omelet should have been nominated for best omelet of the year. It was light, fluffy and had in it as a filling cheese, tomato, green peppers and John West tuna. (Okay, so a tuna fish probably did die for that, my bad).

The next day, Michael cracked. When he realised that I was making a chickpea casserole for Meatless Monday, he said, (and I quote) “Ag no, I can’t take it anymore. I need real food! – I’m getting a Steers’ burger.”

This was not received with good grace by yours truly. In my defense, I had spent the last hour in the kitchen, steaming the chickpeas and dicing up my own hand grown kale (!!) and making a cheese and onion white sauce to put on it.

We had it for lunch, but Michael made no bones about the fact that he was having a Steer’s burger for supper. Real food.

I told him that the meal we had just eaten was probably the most nutricious thing that either of us had ingested all year. But good luck with the Steers’ burger.

I blame Steers’ advertising slogan: Real Food made Real Good.


Written by Maggie

October 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm

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So hot!

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Yowzers, but it is hot here in sunny South Africa.

Michael’s car recorded it at 38 degrees celsius!

I’m kind of loving it, though.

Something that almost everyone with MS will tell you, is that Heat is no friend of theirs.

Couple of years ago, I just couldn’t go out in the midday sun, ala mad dogs and Englishmen.

I’d be more likely to be hopping in and out of an ice-cold bath, just to try and keep myself cool.

I lost count of all the exacerbations I had in hot weather, unable to do the simplest of household tasks for fear of overheating and getting the most debilitating muscle fatigue. I’d be unable to walk and have to lie down and wait for it to pass.

The hot weather of today brought back the memories. I had a cooling vest that I used to wear. It had to be wet before you put it on, and frankly was never much of a success, as it wet my clothes and didn’t really help all that much.

Even though today was a scorcher of  note, I had absolutely no ill-effects from it. It was fantastic. My nerves must be greatly healed from the damage they suffered during my various ms-relapses.

I think as long as I live, hot days will fill my heart with thankfulness at how far I have come.

Praise be.


Written by Maggie

October 24, 2011 at 11:54 pm

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Curly hair, anyone?

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My mom has this photo of me in her house. I think I was 18 at the time…

I don’t have a whole lot of photo’s of me at that age, willingly posed, as I was notoriously camera-shy. (Something I quickly got over once I married Michael, the family really likes taking photo’s, lol.)

Anyway, I took a photo of this photo (with my cellphone, naturally) so that explains the poor quality. I uploaded it onto the laptop and promptly forgot about it.

Then I got a phone call from Michael one morning while he was at work (with his laptop). “Who’s the cutie in the photo? Is it you?”

“Huh? What photo?”

There followed a description of the photo.

Next thing I know, the photo is on his desktop background and he is crushing on the 18 year old me.

One day, he asked me, “So when are you going to make your hair curly like in the photo again?”

First time ever Michael has made any suggestion whatsoever as to my physical appearance. I know he likes my hair long. Doesn’t mind it short but apparently prefers it long. And curly, it seems.

Too bad I have the straightest hair on the planet. Not so much as a kink in it.

The above photo was the result of a half grown-out spiral perm.

Unfortunately, with my severe chemical sensitivity, there is no way I am having another perm now. Plus it damages one’s hair, yadda yadda.

Plus, I kind of like the way it is now…

All was not lost, however.

I was messing around on Bid or Buy and came across these…

I bid on them, won the auction at R90 and soon they were winging their way to me.

When Michael saw the box, he laughed at me and said, “Will you never learn?”

I have been known to make some dodgy ‘tv special’ purchases, it is true.

But I was too excited to care. The rollers are in a long tube shape. You poke the ‘magic wand’ (which looks like an oversized crochet needle) through the tube, and then hook a strand of your hair and pull it back through the tube. The tube then ‘springs’ in a curl and when the whole ensemble is dry, the hair is curly. Voila!

Oh, my! On the first attempt, my hair got so jammed in that tube I thought I’d have to cut it off 😦 Amid much cussing and tears (from me) and laughter (from Michael), I packed the damn things up in the box again and asked Michael why he always had to be right about everything!

Next day, we had a lunch date planned, so I thought, “What the hell”, and gave the rollers another try. This time I got a bit of a technique going and it went better. Michael looked suitably impressed when he saw me 🙂 Unfortunately, the curls had fallen a bit flat by the time this photo was taken. Will have to practice to get it better 🙂


Written by Maggie

October 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm

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If I only do one productive thing tomorrow, it had better be to transfer the 1000+ photo’s on my cellphone to my laptop.

Firstly, it is making my cellphone  s-l-o-w.

Secondly, I need a lot of those photo’s for blog posts.

I haven’t used our HP camera in more than a year. (Maybe two). It takes great photo’s still, but the dang rechargeable batteries just don’t last. Seriously, they only last a month or two at the very most in that camera, and they are expensive. Plus, it gets on my nerves that the camera will just stop working one good day without warning.

So yeah, I’ve been using my cellphone camera. It’s the Nokia N86 and has 8 mp, and frankly is just the bomb as far as cellphone cameras go. Obviously, it has got its limitations, but then so do I as a photographer. For my requirements, it is perfect and  I just love it.

The added bonus, is that it fits neatly into my handbag and is nearly always with me, so I rarely miss a photo opportunity.

Perhaps you would like to tune in tomorrow for a fest of roses and Chow Chow photography, lol. Yup, that would account for 90% of the 1000+ photo’s 😉


Written by Maggie

October 20, 2011 at 10:57 pm

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Inbox goodies – Couple split up after ‘betrayal’.

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I got this in my inbox today. I must confess to totally digging stuff like this. Stories of amazing coincidence enthrall me. I’m actually not sure that I believe in coincidence anymore – I think there is just a bigger plan out there.

Anyway, read on… I’ll carry on with my diatribe at the end of it…

Couple divorce after online ‘affair’
A Bosnian couple are getting divorced after finding out they had been secretly chatting each other up online under fake names. 
Anna Klinoo, 27, and husband Browne, 32, from Zenica, poured out their hearts to each other over their marriage troubles, and both felt they had found their real soul mate. 
The couple met on an online chat forum while he was at work and she in an internet cafe, and started chatting under the names Sweetie and Prince of Joy. 
They eventually decided to meet up – but there was no happy ending when they realised what had happened. 
Now they are both filing for divorce – with each accusing the other of being unfaithful. 
Ana said: “I thought I had found the love of my life. The way this Prince of Joy spoke to me, the things he wrote, the tenderness in every expression was something I had never had in my marriage. 
“It was amazing, we seemed to be stuck in the same kind of miserable marriages – and how right that turned out to be. 
“We arranged to meet outside a shop and both of us would be carrying a single rose so we would know the other. 
“When I saw my husband there with the rose and it dawned on me what had happened I was shattered. I felt so betrayed. I was so angry.” 
Adnan said: “I was so happy to have found a woman who finally understood me. Then it turned out that I hadn’t found anyone new at all. 
“To be honest I still find it hard to believe that the person, Sweetie, who wrote such wonderful things to me on the internet, is actually the same woman I married and who has not said a nice word to me for years.”


How about that, hey!

Firstly, I checked out whether this was true or not. It was reported by The Telegraph, if that adds any authenticity. Whatever, I think it probably did happen.

What I was dismayed at, though, was that the couple have decided on divorcing each other.

Neither of them has a leg to stand on as far as any allegations of cheating go, after all.

And couldn’t they just see the majestic cosmic design of the whole thing? They sought solace and found it with each other. I think that is completely amazing.

They had the opportunity to see each other in a different light, removed from the shackles of their unhappy marriage. Can’t they channel ‘Sweetie’ and ‘Prince of Joy’ to help rekindle what is obviously still there, under the layers of marital resentment?

Wow, that would bring out the sentimental romantic in me and then some.

I can’t believe they are gonna call it quits. I wish they wouldn’t. Now that would be a story for the grandkids!

Written by Maggie

October 19, 2011 at 10:15 pm

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Around here, we don’t iron our clothes before they go into the wardrobes. No siree bob. Clothes get ironed as and when needed, one outfit at a time.

That’s the system.

I just can’t imagine ironing a whole hamper full of clothes continuously for an hour or two – my head might explode. I can only tolerate ironing in very small doses.

Now, from 2003, my MS was so bad that I had an automatic GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD as pertaining to the ironing. The washing I could manage, barely, but the ironing was just beyond me, alas 🙂 It was the only good thing about my MS, as  I have been known to say.

By the time I got better enough to safely navigate the ironing board (we’re talking 2007/2008 here) habits had set in. I had an ingrained habit of not doing the ironing. And Michael was pretty much institutionalised into doing his own, every morning before work. Poor guy.

Then, last year, the road and transport industry, headed by the union, had a massive, nationwide strike. As this is Michael’s industry, he had a rough time for the two week duration of the strike, going in to work super-early every morning and working till dark, no lunch break, even.

I felt worried about him, and the least I could do was to have his shirt and long-pants hanging ready and crease-free for him in the mornings.

The strike duly came to an end, and so did my fledgling stint at the ironing-board.

With one big difference – I now felt guilty about not doing it.

I had a little rethink of the situation. Michael works pretty long hours at his job, which is fairly taxing. He has also started up a second job that he does from home, which brings in a second income for us. Well, a third, if you factor in my disability pension.

Bottom line, I can no longer justify not doing the ironing, which fits very much into ‘my domain’. It’s the pay-off for me being able to stay home in a very stress-free environment and maintain my relapse-free health.

So I now do the ironing and Michael gets an extra 15 minutes sleep in the morning. He doesn’t have to sing my praises for this, I do it myself, lol.

I used to be intimidated by ironing. Turns out it’s not so hard. I seem to have the hang of it now.

Except, last night I forgot. Well, I did remember at 11:30, just before going to bed. I told myself I would wake up at 6:00 and do it then.

But I only woke up as Michael left for work.

And did I ever feel like a guilty toad about that!

Bottom line of this whole long-winded story: I love what being able to do the ironing represents in my life. It may be a sucky job, but it sucks tenfold when you aren’t able to do it, even if you want to.

Written by Maggie

October 18, 2011 at 11:24 pm

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10 years ago today…

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… I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

The prognosis was not good. You’ll most likely be in a wheelchair in ten years time, I was told.

Here I am, though. Ten years later, and by God’s enormous grace, I can walk completely normally, run a fair bit, even jump over a puddle, if I need to.

Ten years ago, when I heard the doctor say that I had Multiple Sclerosis, the only emotion I felt was relief. Relief at a diagnosis and not being told yet again that it was all in my head. It meant little else to me – I didn’t have a clue. I certainly didn’t know what a cruel and incurable condition it was. That realisation only came much later.

The road has had many twists and turns, but I have been blessed to find a medicine that works so well for me and has changed the path of my MS in a 180 degree direction. And it hasn’t even cost me a cent. What an incredible day it was, that I landed on the Fingolimod trials, of the first oral medication for relapsing-remitting MS.

I am so unbelievably humbled and thankful.

That is all.


Written by Maggie

October 17, 2011 at 10:44 pm

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