Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Woo hoo Cape Town!

After a hectic sports weekend with swimming gala and kiddie triathlon, last Monday saw us up at 3am to leave at 4am to get to the airport for our three flights to Cape Town.  Kilimanjaro to Nairobi, only a 45 minute flight and we saw amazing views of Mount Kilimanjaro rising above the clouds.  It really is a very very big mountain.  At Nairobi we boarded our flight at the stated time, ready for the next leg to Johannesburg.  Unfortunately, they had a problem with the air traffic controllers, so we had to wait on the runway in a queue for an hour and a half.  Luckily, the plane wasn't full so I could stretch out next to me and sleep for the period we were delayed.  Unfortunately, that meant that we were an hour and a half late getting into Johannesburg, so instead of grabbing a quick lunch at the airport Spur Steakhouse, we had 20 minutes to run from the International Arrival terminal to the Domestic Arrival Terminal.  Everybody said we wouldn't make it, but we did, arriving huffing and puffing, stinking with sweat, ready to board.  Of course, there was no way that they could remove our luggage from Air Kenya and load it onto Comair in 20 minutes, so we arrived in Cape Town without our luggage.  This is getting to be a bit of a habit for us.  My Mom took us shopping for clothes until our luggage arrived, so that was a bonus.  It did arrive the next day, we collected it and hired a car, a little KIA with enough boot space to hide a mouse and that's all.
Wednesday I saw the breast specialist and he found a problem with my 'healthy' left breast.  Two fine needle biopsies later, two mammograms, several ultrasounds and the results were still worringly inconclusive.  Seven years ago almost to the day, I went through all of this with the right breast, ending up with a diagnosis of two kinds of cancer and a tramflap mastectomy.  I'm not sure I can mentally and emotionally go through all of that again.  I do feel like hitting well-meaning people who tell me I'm strong and can handle it, when they weren't there the first time and never witnessed what it was like, and never experienced it themselves.  I've decided to wait until after Christmas for the core biopsy they want to do, where they remove some of the tissue.  With friends visiting, I don't want to ruin Christmas.
Yesterday, we explored the Cape Peninsula, and although I took them along Chapman's Peak because I know the scenery is stunning, I couldn't look at it myself.  For some reason, Chapman's Peak terrifies me, I keep feeling as if I'm going to drive over the edge.  It might be something to do with my fear of heights
Shopping, sight-seeing, splashing in the waves.  This is the life.  Until the money runs out. 
Sunday we had one of those eaarly family Christmas lunches, the ones you do when you have step-siblings.  Two families, you only can spend Christmas day with one of them.  It is hard.
Off to explore the wine route today!  Hic!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

All downhill from here

You know that little engine that goes, "I think I can, I think I can," when faced with a big hill?  Well, the past few weeks I have felt just like that little engine felt when looking at that big hill.  The end of a school semester is always a stressful time.  So much going on, so many deadlines to meet.  It's all a little crazy.  To top it all I was busy with NaNoWriMo which was putting undue stress upon myself.  With all the school deadlines, I  was trying to write 50 000 words in the month of November, crazy isn't it?  But I did it!  Just.  How I managed that I'll never know; I was forced to reach down deep into reserves I never knew I had.  For the first time NaNoWriMo wasn't fun, writing wasn't fun; it was all just too stressful.
Overlapping NaNoWriMo was report writing time.  But I can happily say that today I printed out the last report, now it's all downhill from here.  I feel like I made it to the top of the hill, desperately clinging onto my sanity and the view from the top is amazing!
NaNoWriMo is finished for 2010.  I still have to finish the novel and that I'll do in my own time when writing is fun again and something I look forward to.  Report writing is over until next May.  The swimming gala snuck in and besides two little kids nearly drowning because the older kids supporting them were so competitive they forgot the little ones couldn't breathe under water, it was uneventful and quite successful.  Work dramas and troublesome personalities are receding into the background.  Siobhan's play, The Apple, was very good and she was excellent again.  She is so talented.  Thursday, tomorrow, is a public holiday.  Friday is my last day of school before the holiday.  I'm leaving a week early to see a breast specialist.  Saturday morning is the Junior Triathlon and in the afternoon is the swim gala, both of which I'm organising, but after the past few weeks those should both be a piece of cake.  Monday morning I fly to Cape Town.  I'm counting down the hours...

Deception PointDeception Point by Dan Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmmm. I have to think about this. I know that many people say that Dan Brown's writing jarrs their literary veins, and he makes every mistake authors are told to be careful of. But, he is able to write a page-turner that you can't put down, filled with action albeit some a little improbable, that you get so caught up in you don't care if he uses the word 'coffee' five times on a page and overplays the adverb hand. You don't care, you just want to find out what is going to happen next. If it's highly improbable, so what, it takes your mind off the stresses of your life as you read about the stresses the hero has to endure. Dan Brown offers pure escapism and Deception Point is exactly that. He doesn't care about using perfect metaphors, he doesn't want to be a literary guru. All he wants to do, is write bestsellers that make people forget about their own stinking lives. That makes him money, so why should he care that people criticise his writing style? Deception Point is fast-paced, the action flows off the page and you are quickly caught up in the story. So what if it reads like a Hollywood script, it works. I won't say this is one of the best books I've ever read, but it did occupy my weekend and take my mind off all the crap at work.

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