You Want To Freak Me The Fork Out?!?

Put a maggot anywhere near me!

The heat we’ve been experiencing and delays in rubbish collection with all the holidays and all the extra food and stuff that gets thrown out after get togethers means I am having a problem with flies. And flies mean maggots.

I know a maggot can’t hurt me, that they only feed on rotting produce, but knowledge and creep-factor are two very different things.

Those little fuckers move unbelievably fast and just when you think you’ve gotten rid of all of them another one will appear! They try to get out of the light because too much sun will kill them, so they squirm into all the nooks and crannies and underneath things, and if you aren’t already grossed out by them, you will be when I tell you they are covered – COVERED – with EYES!
Okay so they’re not regular eyes as such, they’re more like photo-receptors, but that doesn’t make it any less yuck to me.

So now I am going ASAP to buy those vapour dispensers for insects that seem to be working like a bomb in my sister’s house… But I am a little leery of them because my asthma has never reacted well to Doom or Target or any of those things… and it means I am going to lose my spiders, and I am not happy about that at all!

Where’s Your Pride, Spar!?

I’m sure I have complained about my local Spar before…?

I very rarely go there unless I am absolutely desperate, because I am disappointed every single time I go there. The staff are rude and the management uncaring. They never have stock of what I am looking for and the place smells funny.
And most people know I have no problem lodging complaints when I feel they’re valid- I also do not hesitate to pay compliment, but this place couldn’t care less.

One night last week we popped in there because it was ten to eight at night and nowhere else would be open, and they had Christmas decorations up. “Thats not so unusual?” I hear you say. Nope, its not, but the way their decor had been put up was shoddy and it just demonstrated perfectly to me, the attitude of the staff and management at this particular Spar store.

If you’re not into it, then don’t do it. I mean, packing tape? Seriously?!

The End Of My Thirty Ninth Year

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I am thirty nine years old today.
Yup.
Thirty nine.
Today is the day I finish my third decade on this planet and begin my fourth.
I am often told I look younger than I am and I get a kick out of that every SINGLE time!

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I was born in 1973. Or MCMLXXIII if you want to get technical.
In South African history, there were some serious strikes in Durban which had far-reaching effects on unionism in our country, and Sharlto Copley was born. Elsewhere, the Endangered Species Act was passed in the United States and Pablo Picasso died.
The most popular movie released in 1973 was The Exorcist, the Oscar winner for best picture was The Godfather, and Sacheen Littlefeather stood in for Marlon Brando and refused the Best Actor Oscar for Brando’s role in The Godfather, to protest the U.S. government’s treatment of Native Americans.
The Nobel Peace Prize went to Henry A. Kissinger (US) and Le Duc Tho (North Vietnam), and Nixon accepted responsibility for Watergate.
The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is designed and in 1983 it becomes the standard for communicating between computers over the Internet.
Some of the coolest songs were released in 1973 (according to musicoutfitters.com)! Like Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Crocodile RockWill It Go Round in Circles, Smoke on the WaterYou’re So Vain, Cover of the Rolling StoneKodachrome and and one of my all time favourite pieces of music – Dueling Banjos!

I have done a lot in my thirty nine years… Not nearly as much as I thought I would have done, but a lot nonetheless.

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I celebrated my birthday a month ago as having a birthday on this particular date in the year doesn’t bode well when it comes to parties, what with people being on holiday, broke, hungover and otherwise distracted by the festive season…

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In all honesty, I am feeling very old… My left knee is shot, my right ankle still aches from when I tore the ligaments, I have a little bit of arthritis-like aches in my fingers sometimes, my back is shot, and I am ri-DICK-ulously overweight. And if there’s one thing I want to fix before I actually turn forty, its my weight.

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I am almost ashamed to admit that I have actually had a couple of pity parties all on my own, bemoaning the state of myself and how little I have done with what I have been given… And then I count my blessings and I am pleased with what I have achieved.
I am actively supporting a couple of charities, I am supporting other parents, I am doing what I love to do to make a living, my son is happy and employed, I have a husband I just adore, I have more pets than I ever thought I would want to have, I have a beautiful house, and I am having a blast on social media!
I have the most incredible friends and I have a wonderful family, including the one I married into.

I know who I am and I like who I am. I am learning to mingle with strangers and I am not afraid to stand up for me, or to say no if I have to.

Happy birthday to me.

Merry Happy And All That Jazz!!

I love Christmas. The decorations, the songs, the family, the holiday, the giving, the sharing, the memories.

Our big Christmas tree in the living room – all tinsel and round baubles with some candy canes inbetween

Christmas has always been a big event in my family, on both my mom’s and dad’s side. A time spent with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We’d alternate and spend one year with my dad’s family and the following year with my mom’s family.
When I remember my childhood Christmases I think of slip-n-slides, horse riding, swimming in farm dams, motorbike riding, milking cows, hiking in the White Umfolozi gorge and roadtrips. I think of padkos, putting on concerts, waking up too early for the grown ups, Boney-M records, playing board games with my cousins, mountains of gifts under the tree and waiting (not so) patiently for whichever grampa we were visiting to wake up and hand out gifts. I remember having to take a pee next to a 2 lane highway on a trip to the coast. I remember my dad meticulously packing the car for six of us, and the boot on the van popping open, spilling our luggage across an intersection halfway to our destination. I remember our cars breaking down and I remember my daddy darling driving us halfway because he was working extra shifts, and being driven the rest of the way by our grandad with our dad then joining us in time for presents. I remember special Christmas parties with my Ouma and just her grandchildren, with her taking us to the snake park and the zoo and the ballet and pantomimes. And traditional Christmas turkey dinner with all the trimmings. And paper crowns and crackers. And nuts still in their shells.
And how strange it was the first time my parents and siblings went on holiday without me!
And creating our own traditions.

This year I even have a small tree in my kitchen!

You know, I spent more than ten years working for a company that didn’t allow its operational staff to take leave during its busiest business season, and I was down in the dumps for at least a month every year because I could never get over the feeling that I was missing out. I musta been a bitch to work with…
But oh how things have changed…
This will be my 7th Christmas holiday in a row, and the 6th Christmas spent with my darling Glugster. We don’t go overboard with Christmas gifts, but we do spend a lot of time with family and friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I hope that my knucklehead will one day have good memories of his Christmases.

 

My mommy & daddy darling’s Christmas tree – with some decorations older than I am and handled by several generations of our family!

My all time favourite Christmas song sung by ol’ blue eyes himself… I expect you to sing along y’hear!

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Music composed by Hugh Martin, lyrics by Ralph Blane

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Onward And, Um, Sideways?

I really need to make a plan for the new year for my business… Seeing my results for the full year has kinda brought my mood down. I suppose I should have waited till January so I could at least enjoy my Christmas without worrying about next year. Ah well.

I started the year very confidently. I actually managed to reduce my prices a little at the beginning of 2012, I set up an email newsletter with a special offer on it for subscribers, and I made sure my blog and Facebook page were regularly updated. I had work throughout 2012, and I have five wedding orders and a birthday cake for 2013 already.
BUT!
My competition has more than quadrupled in the last year without the same increase in the number of customers. In fact, because things like sugarpaste and decorations are increasingly easily available in supermarkets, more and more people are doing their own baking.
Businesses who used to order from me for special events are having their staff bake for them (I expressed my opinion on that subject here) and every supermarket now sells pretty cupcakes in nifty packages of 6, for easily half of what I charge- but I can’t buy my ingredients in the kind of bulk these people do!

I also lose at least an order a week because I won’t do any kind of cake or cupcake theme that may infringe on copyright (Disney, Marvel, DC Comics, CBeebies, Nickelodeon, and so on). I know most people have no problem with it, but I’m not  prepared to take that risk.

And sadly, for me, the kind of sugar art I am good at doesn’t come cheap, and few people are prepared to pay for it.

I have continued to experiment with recipes and flavours, and I currently have more than forty five cupcake flavours on my price list (not counting cakes and cookies) with more than ten different kinds of icing, and the choices for secret centres and cupcake fillings are almost endless! And most of my flavours are available in a gluten-free option and I can cater for egg and dairy allergies or dietary restrictions too.
This isn’t enough though.

I really don’t want to have to start working, full time or half time. Whilst it would certainly help to have a steady income, I have been able to spend the last two and a half years putting far more attention on the causes that are important to me, namely ADHD awareness and SA Guide-dogs. Working anywhere but at home means I can’t do that like I have been. And baking is my happy place. Seriously! If I don’t get to bake anything for more than a couple of days I start having withdrawal symptoms!

So I will be spending my holiday working on a plan… Or five.