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Archive for February 2012

Our heart in a cage…

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…if we had but known it.

That’s Beary on the right hand side.

I had gone to the petshop alone and taken this photo, and it took me two nights to persuade Michael to even go and take a look. Fortunately, she was still there when we went back and Michael was instantly smitten.

And she has been with us ever since πŸ™‚

Yesterday, we took the dogs for a walk, and about halfway on our route the rain caught us.

This, in itself, was no cause for concern, but the encroaching lightning was. We started running, and the dogs sort of shuffled along. Then, when it started raining in ernest, they really took off. It was quite funny, as they squinted their eyes closed against the rain drops and flattened their ears – but they each had a huge grin on their face, as we pelted along the road in the rain.

If I hadn’t been nervous about the lightning, I would have enjoyed it thoroughly. But as Michael is a walking lightning conductor, I was somewhat on edge!

We got home safe and sound (and in record speed) and I think we will always remember the time we went walkies in the rain, lol.

Written by Maggie

February 28, 2012 at 10:14 am

Posted in Beary, Chows, Dogs, Walks

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Domestic goddess, for once.

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I don’t get to say it too often, but I kinda outdid myself in the kitchen tonight.

Michael didn’t come home for lunch, because he had a ton of admin to do at work for month end. So he grabbed a Nando’s burger. And I had a vetkoek from Spar which was surpisingly delicious.

The point is, though, that we weren’t particularly hungry for supper. And as we’d both already had meat for the day, I thought I might just make some pasta. I don’t do the pasta thing a lot, and Michael does enjoy it.

I had bought a jar of readymade All Joy Tomato and Basil pasta sauce earlier. (This was probably the key ingredient.)

So I cooked some spaghetti, and at the same time, diced half a medium sized butternut and steamed it while the pasta was boiling away.

I think both were done in about 15 mins.

I strained the spaghetti, tossed in the butternut chunks, as well as some feta cheese that I had cut into blocks, and then put the whole lot back on the stovetop for a minute or two, along withΒ  a couple of dollops of the pasta sauce from the jar. Then I ground some black pepper on top of it, and some cinnamon (to go with the butternut) and mixed that in, too.

Done. I don’t think it took even twenty minutes.

And boy, was it delicious! I only hope that it wasn’t some supernatural fluke that I can never again replicate, lol.

It really was that good. Even better than the butternut and feta pasta at Panarotti’s πŸ™‚

I think this may become a regular on our menu. It was very tasty, cheap to make and filling. Neither of us felt hungry again, and normally we get a little peckish later on because we go to bed late.



Written by Maggie

February 27, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Food

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Bluebeary, cutest puppy ever – The Update

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This has been a perennially popular post of mine, my number one hits magnet πŸ™‚

I thought it time for a little update…

Sure, she was the world’s cutest puppy, my baby Bear:


Isn’t she just the cutest big puppy in the world, at 3 years old?

And she has given us nothing but the purest love πŸ™‚

Chow Chows are just the best!

Written by Maggie

February 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Posted in Beary, Chows, Dogs

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Good Saturday

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I think this may turn out to be a bit of a ‘what I did today’ post. But as it’s a day I want to remember, and as the only way to do that is to document it, well – I’m gonna.

You’ve been warned, lol.

I got up pretty late. After 9am. Probably closer to 10. I didn’t have the best night. I went to sleep well after midnight and then Beary kept barking me awake out of a deep sleep, which does tend to f*** one up a bit. She’s not a barky dog, so when she does bark, it is unsettling and I feel obliged to go and look why she is barking. About five times. So I was a bit knackered, but the lie in did help.

Then we buggered around watching tv and chatting till 11. I was determined to go to gym today, for the first time this year (cue trumpets), and Michael had to go in to work to catch up with his month-end admin stuff. I dropped him off there and then went and had a glorious swim. I put off going to gym with all kinds of excuses, but the moment I get into the pool, my whole body just relaxes and it feels so good to exercise. Must do it more often.

Finished up and then went to the bank to deposit some money. I used FNB’s self-service banking teller for the first time and it was amazing. I was in and out of there in way under five minutes. What an improvement to another bank that shall remain unnamed. All I had to put in was the bank account number and my reference. I didn’t even need to say how much money I was putting in. I just shoved it in the slot and it counted it out all by itself and then printed out the statement with all the correct information on it for me to use as my proof of payment. I am so impressed. I’ve heard about this thing they speak of called ‘technology’.

Back to Michael’s work to fetch him, and then we stopped at a shop that sells biltong, because it was rugby today and M felt like some biltong. Rugby isn’t rugby without biltong. Next door to the biltong place, is a branch of Montagu dried fruits and nuts. So we went in there too, because I had the bright-spark idea of getting pistachio nuts instead of chips (crisps) for the movie which we were planning on watching. They had some nice-looking guava rolls without preservatives too, so we got those. (Note: the preservatives they use for guava preserves, generally triggers asthma attacks in people with asthma, so we avoid it, as M battles with asthma).

Back home, and Michael played a session of Gran Turismo 5 on his Sony Playstation, while I cleaned up a bit and did some dishes. (This sounds terrible, but Michael hardly ever plays SPS games, and he’s had a really stressful week – or two, or three- at work, and he was in dire need of a bit of chillaxing. Plus, I had been a lazy-bones about the dishes, and that is why they had heaped up. Michael is not allowed to lift a finger to do dishes, or anything domestic, as he does work a 12-hour work day, and I do not).

Finished up with that, and then it was time for the movie. Michael’s choice weekend, so it was to be Cowboys and Aliens. Not the most auspicious title, in my opinion. Wasn’t really that excited about it, but I have lost count of the number of chick-flicks that Michael has watched with me, nay enjoyed with me. But within the first few minutes, I was immediately transported by this very enjoyable movie. Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Steven Spielberg as producer do notΒ disappoint in this Western.

Plus, the pistachio nuts and guava rolls were a huge hit. Absolutely delicious. We munched and munched and at the end of the movie were not left with that feeling that you pigged out on junk food and it’s probably gonna take till some time next week to digest. There is definitely nutritional value in the nuts and dried fruit as opposed to chips and sweets. I was quite chuffed about the whole thing. I do have a huge thing about pistachio nuts. And they must still be in their shells – that is half the fun, cracking them open.

Then Michael watched some rugby, and I read some book. (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle). I have been wanting to read this book for ages,since it was Oprah’s book choice in 2008 and she raved so about it. My mom got it out of the library and finished it in a day. She lent it to me and said it is a very special book, and that I’m going to love it. I can’t wait to get back to it.

At some point, we had dinner, which was a gourmet Steak & Kidney pie from Pick ‘n Pay, and a tray of roast veggies. The roast veggies weren’t up to much, to be frank. They looked so nice in the store, all pre-packaged and ‘ready to roast’. I forgot how I hate pre-cut veggies – they end up drying out on the cut sides in the plastic bag and tasteΒ  like crap. I generally slice and dice my own veggies and steam them, which is healthier. All in all, the roast veggies weren’t a success – edible but mediocre. The pie, on the other hand, was very good.

The weather has been so rainy today, on and off, that we had to skip our walk. (Horror! says Teddy.) It was dark so early. I think if I lived in a place that was overcast and rainy all the time, I would get a bit depressed. I really prefer the sun. But, having said that, I enjoyed the break from watering the garden in the blazing heat.

The dogs didn’t like it much. Apart from not being able to go walkies, they haven’t been in the garden much today. We can’t let them get soaked, with that thick fur! We’d never get it all dry underneath and some dogs (Teddy) are scared of a hairdryer. A charging Rottweiler he can handle – just don’t come near him with a hairdryer.

It would be nice if we could have a doggie-door for them to come and go as they pleased, but that would be such a security breach. So they nag us to open for them, then go out for five minutes and want to come back in. Teddy has this really imperious knock that he gives. He thinks this is an hotel and that I am the doorman, lol.

What else? Oh, yes! We watched Sh*t My Dad Says. That is one of my favourite tv shows. I am a big fan of William Shatner. I liked him as Captain Kirk, in the StarTrek re-runs. I liked him as presenter of 911 and I absolutely loved him as Denny Crane in Boston Legal. Now I find him hilarious as Ed Goodson in Sh*t My Dad Says.Β  Each episode just seems to get better, as Michael said. We laughed a lot at it tonight.

So nothing really eventful happened today, but it was just Such A Nice Day. Things have been a bit hectic this past while, so it was nice to just do plenty of nothing today.

Tomorrow morning, we are going to Wimpy to celebrate my lovely parents-in-law’s 43rd wedding anniversary. I think that is going to be a lot of fun. Afterwards, M is going to play a round of golf, and I am going to make a(nother) vlog on his laptop while he is out. The only thing more embarassing than actually talking to a computer screen that is busy recording you, is doing so while your husband sits watching you, probably laughing his ass off on the inside πŸ˜€

Ciao till then.

Written by Maggie

February 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Piano vlog :-)

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Okay, so there are two things, no wait, three, that I have been wanting to do on my blog. 1) A vlog. 2) Some footage of me playing the piano. 3) Some footage of me playing the Theme from Hachiko, specifically.

I haven’t used the webcam on my laptop, ever, so I was curious to see if I could use it to make a vlog. I thought I needed webcam software, so have been putting it off by dint of it being a tad time-consuming to procure. Today, I scratched around in my Programs (well, my laptop’s Programs, anyway) and actually found one pre-loaded called Video Web Camera.

When I saw again, I had whiled away the entire afternoon making the daftest vlogs in the history of vlogs. They were pretty funny though, especially the one where I recorded myself for five minutes without being aware of it. That one was hilarious! I might even share it one day πŸ™‚

I tried to video myself playing Hachiko, but the sound was so bad and distorted it was barely recognisable as piano music. The image was crap, too.

Note: We are mildly obsessed with the movie Hachiko. I really need to do a separate post on this. We have watched it at least six times and have sobbed our hearts out every time. And loved doing it, lol. So naturally, I learnt to play the theme song on the piano. For the first while, I could hardly play it without bawling, but I have gotten a grip on myself now πŸ˜‰ (By virtue only of repetition.)

I have let the formal piano exams go this year. That also deserves a post of its own. I’ll get to it some day. But where was I?

Oh, yes, it turned out my webcam is really, really sucky. Both the image and the sound quality are abysmal.

So I waited until Michael got home with his state-of-the-art laptop. At least, it is state-of-the-art compared to mine, lol. But even my high expectations were exceeded when I tried it out. This specific laptop is known particularly for its brilliant sound quality. Like, you can actually hear what it is I am playing.

This was more a ‘testing, testing’ type of video, not really intended to see the light of blog, but it turned out pretty well so I thought, “hey, why not?”

There is not a great deal of fanfare in the introduction, because by this stage I was utterly bored after having done it the whole afternoon. So I kinda launched right into it.

Without further ado, here is the Vlog. Now that I know how to do it, I can do a proper, more chatty one at a later stage.

Written by Maggie

February 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Posted in Hachiko, Piano, Vlog

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Beary-Bear, the Collie Chow

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Yesterday, while we were out and about on our walk, a lady and her two daughters stopped next to us in their car, to ask us if we had seen their Siamese cat, Sylvester, who has been missing since 28 Jan.

Shame, the lady says she has barely slept since he went missing and is looking for him every day.

(Teddy’s ears pricked up at the mention of the word ‘cat’.)

I assured her that we would keep an eye out, and got her address from her in case.

As we were saying our goodbyes, though, she looked at Beary and said, “What a beautiful dog.” I beamed at that, but then she went on to say, “She’s a cross between a…?” and waited expectantly for me to continue.

“Actually, she’s a thoroughbred,” I said, less beamily.

“Oh, just with the long face, I thought there might be some…”

“Collie?” I supplied.

“Yes!” she said.

“We get it all the time,” I said, “She’s our little Lassie Chow. But her parents are registered Chows, all the same.”

We waved our new friends goodbye and wished them luck with finding their beloved Sylvester.

Michael and I continued the conversation as we went on.

“I don’t care if she’s not 100% Chow. She’s beautiful and I love her,” said Michael.

“Of course!,” I said. “But her previous owner assured me that the parents had papers and we could register her if we wanted to. Still, I wouldn’t be too surprised if there was a collie in the old family tree, somewhere.”

This was naturally all pretty tongue-in-cheek. We aren’t that snobbish.

But we do get it a lot, people wanting to know what Beary is mixed with, lol.

I don’t know what it is, but frankly, I think it improved the breed.

On the other hand, I have seen photo’s of Chows that look exactly like Beary, that are show-Chows. That is just how some of them look.

But remember, they are descended from wolves, which would probably explain the long snout. It’s not the collie-dog coming out – it’s the wolfie πŸ™‚

Check out the sunglasses-tan on that dog ;-p


As for Teddy-boy, he is as traditional as they get; no-one ever questions his parentage…


But oh, how he loves his Beary. He is inseparable from her! They are quite a striking pair, we attract a lot of attention on the road, as does Michael in his WP rugby jersey…


Written by Maggie

February 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Chows, Dogs, Walks

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Cast of characters on our Walkies.

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To see Part 1 of the walking saga, click here. This is the photo part of it πŸ™‚

We take care not to bandy the word ‘walk’ about if we are not prepared to put our money where our (collective) mouth is. Teddy has ears like a lynx, understands the word ‘walk’ only too well, and if he hears it spoken out loud, well, then you have to deliver. He is this quiet, aloof dog, but it’s like he has an alter ego on walks. Large and in charge, lol.

So if we wanna ‘talk the talk’ then we gotta ‘walk the walk’. Literally.

As for the cast of characters on our route, obviously I couldn’t include all of them. We go past a lot of dogs. But these are a few that we look out for and have gotten to know a bit.

Firstly, our friends the lab-cross and the basset. We know the white dog’s name is Annabel, as we heard the kids call her that. The other one we just call Bassie. They look out for us, and our dogs just love them. Plenty of nose-touching going on through the fence…

One of the cutest sights that we encounter, has to be this Labrador. He really goes above and beyond the call of duty…take a look…

I’ve actually seen him walking along the top of the wall to get the perfect spot πŸ™‚ I don’t know how he gets up there. Must be something for him to climb up on the other side. He is a real sweetie. He was outside his gate one time, and he wagged his tail at me and tried to follow us home πŸ™‚

Next up is Rottie. I don’t know her real name, but she looks like a rotweiler. Anyway, she always barked at us when we walked past, until one day when she was locked outside her gate. She was as friendly as can be that day, and communicated so clearly to us that she wanted to go back inside her garden. We rang the bell, until they opened the electric gate for her and in she popped. Ever since that day, she is much friendlier and makes communicative whimpers at us, like she’d say hello if she could…

Then there are the 3 Huskies, who greet us like family. Actually, they are distant relatives of the Chows πŸ™‚ I have dubbed them ‘the 3 Husketeers’ so I guess that makes the Basset ‘d’Artagnan’. They posed for this photo for an awfully long time. First my phone’s camera froze and then it wouldn’t go back to the camera app. and they just stood and waited for me so patiently…

On today’s walk, I spotted this friend of ours peeping over the wall. We normally see him around the corner, in front ofΒ  his gate. I had no idea that he watched from the back view, too, because he doesn’t bark at us. Sneeky πŸ™‚

There are so many more colourful little doggy characters; just like people, you get all sorts of personalities.

(I was going to sign off now, but I believe there is time for just one more…)

I think this is a Great Dane, and there is nothing little about him πŸ™‚ He’s not too happy about it when Teddy marks the tree in front of hisΒ  house. Luckily there a high fence around the property.

I’m hoping to get a photo of Milo the Jack Russel one of these days to add to my collection. It’s becoming quite the hobby, lol.

Michael has his Endomondo stats, and I have my photo collection. A bit new-age, but as long as we’re having fun, right?

Written by Maggie

February 23, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Posted in Chows, Dogs, Walks

Tagged with ,