Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Freedom Day

Today is the 22nd celebration of the first fully-inclusive democratic elections in SA, the day when Nelson Mandela put his first ballot in the box and passed the country into the hands of the ANC (the ruling political party since that day). This latter consequence may not have been the greatest considering the current state of the nation, but at the time it was a good step for the country. We call this day Freedom Day (for obvious reasons), and it's a public holiday.

This meant that I didn't have to go into the office and led to a spontaneous lunch-time beach visit with a friend. As we sat on the balcony of the restaurant waiting for our food and drink, I people-watched and felt the spirit of Freedom Day.

I am so used to being in a multi-racial environment, that I don't even think about it on a day to day basis. However, watching the people below, enjoying their free day with family and friends, I was struck by how different the scene would be if those elections of 22 years ago hadn't happened. There would be only white people milling around and only English, or perhaps more likely, only Afrikaans being spoken. The couples holding hands would have the same skin tone, or would be arrested if they didn't.

We may still have many problems with economic inequality (which thanks to Apartheid is equivalent to racial inequality), as well as other things, but I am glad that people from different cultures and backgrounds and melanin-quantities can enjoy the beauty of the Durban beach front together without fear of being thrown in a jail cell.

Happy Freedom Day, South Africa!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Bed hunting

Growing up, becoming an adult: one of the things that makes it for me is upgrading your bed. I have had the same bed frame since the latter years of primary school when my parents bought a wooden bunk bed which could be split into two normal beds. Obviously both singles. It's the one I had when Picasso came into my life, had my first kiss (though I was not around it at the time), recovered from the worst illness of my life in, and has been carted around to three different apartments since leaving home. It's a good frame. Can be dismantled with a screw driver and an allen key. But it squeaks. And it's time to move on, pass it down to the next person/kid who needs it.

So. I've been mentally bed hunting for a while, and I have specific criteria.
  • First things first, it must be a double (don't think my apartment will fit a queen). 
  • Next, it must have an actual frame - I am not a fan of base-sets. Yes, they're a lot cheaper but I they don't have the headboard and some things require one.
  • The frame must be wood. I will never be one to enjoy the sterility of metal. So many show homes are all swish and swanky with all the chrome and stainless steel a-gleaming. Not for me. Wood is warm, and beautiful, and homey. For me anyway. Also, I don't understand someone buying wooden furniture with a beautiful grain, and then painting over it. Varnish, fine. Oil, fine. At least it lets the natural pattern shine through. Anyhoo.

So that's what I want and I've been struggling to find something that fits the bill. And then an impromptu visit to the Midlands this weekend led me to Homewood. The furniture in their show room was beautiful - it's the only place at the Piggly Wiggly complex that I could imagine myself getting excited about if I ever had to fall into a giant pool of free money. Because, you know, that happens. Sales guy was great, gave me his card, and having had a chance to peruse their online catalog, I am impressed and excited to own a new bed.

But. Decisions, decisions. Which I am not the best at. Currently have two options that I like. Subtle differences and from the pictures it's a trade off between sturdiness and headboard-versatility. Take what you want from that. What do you think?
Less inspiring name of DZ1BED.
Shown in Semi-rustic Natural Oak.
Headboard is more versatile.
Their UBUHLE bed.
Shown in Natural Waxed Kiaat.
Looks pretty sturdy.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Mushroom Hat Achieved!

Getting hooded, or whatever it's called.
This a tad out of date, but hey hey hey, I finally graduated (actual ceremony was on the 13th)! And my parents finally made it to one. Was exceptionally wonderful to have them both there, and we were blessed by a relatively short ceremony. They also finally met my supervisor for the first time, and only once he was no longer my boss!

Photography silliness, but look - mushroom hat!

Best thing about a Doctoral Graduation? The mushroom hat. Although I'll admit that it was less poofy than expected. Bit of a flat mushroom. The robes were heavy and the hall was hot. Think I managed not to sweat off ALL my make-up.

Then it was up to PMB to have a celebratory supper with my sister and her hubby - first time my whole family has been in one place since longer than I remember. And it was great. This old lady barely made it through the champagne because I got drowsy, but still had good conversation and a couple laughs. What an end to my 9-year journey. Onwaaaards!

Happiness is...

Different things for different strings. Who knows? Today, for me, it's apparently everything. Hooray hormones for springing back from the doldrums of Tuesday, when I would look at a patch of weeds struggling to grow through the concrete and just feel sad and depressed.

Today is a different day. Work stress notwithstanding, I am decidedly chipper and have been smiling for no reason while I walk to and from meetings. Naturally, getting weirded-out looks from passersby. Must have merely gotten up on the right side of the bed. And Prince (RIP) music is cheerful; I've had Raspberry Beret on repeat a few times (shoop shoop do waaaah).

So, this nonsensical note will hopefully put a smile on your dial too, and if not, perhaps prompt you to find something around you, however minuscule, to smile about.