Thursday, 27 March 2014

Pink Drive

No makeup selfies are popping up everywhere on facebook. Yesterday morning when logging in to facebook, I saw that I had been nominated by my friend Kate, to take a no makeup selfie and donate money to the pink drive in support of cancer research.

In perusing through the internet, I've found various sources saying different things on the origin of this trend - suffice to say, I don't know exactly where it started but somehow, the #nomakeupselfie is becoming synonymous with donations towards cancer research. 

South Africans wanting to get involved can visit the Pink Drive website to find out more about cancer awareness (specifically breast cancer awareness) in South Africa. The website also tells you about upcoming events in your area. For those in Cape Town, the Pink Drive will be at the Pick 'n Pay Women's Walk in Kenilworth this coming Saturday, 29th March. Gates open at 07:30 am and the walk starts at 09:00 am.

If you haven't been nominated to take a selfie, I would like to nominate you and encourage you to sms the word "pinkdrive" to the number 40158. And here's my proof of donation to the pink drive

Gents, if you're feeling brave, why don't you try out the #manupandmakeup trend by uploading a picture of yourself onto facebook and donating towards the worthy cause of prostate cancer research! Click here and go to their donations page to find their bank details. 

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Monday, 24 March 2014

Balloon Popping

My welcome back to Cape Town included an awesome surprise party that came complete with wine, cupcakes, pizza and balloons. The food was awesome, the company even better and the balloons stayed up for a few weeks before eventually meeting a painful end: popping-by-blow-dart-gun.

Frosty and I decided it would be fun to video the balloons getting popped by the blow dart gun and see if we could see anything interesting...Here are the most interesting popping moments!





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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Grape Escape

My first weekend back in Cape Town, Frosty had been invited to a weekend away called the Grape Escape, which he had also gone to the previous year. I was just going to go as a hanger on, but about 3 days before the event, a space opened up for me too!

On Friday evening, we met up with the group and headed out to Worcester to spend the night at Pierre and Tash's (our lovely organiser) aunt and uncle's small holding. We had a great supper and it wasn't too long after that, that we all went to bed, eager for the arrival of Saturday morning.

All in all there were 11 of us who spent the night and then early the next morning we set off in our teams for Sumsare Wine Farm - which is where the Grape Escape was scheduled to start from. The other wine farms participating this year were Arabella, Ashton Kelder, Excelsior, Bon Courage and Rietvallei.

To give you a bit of background - the Grape Escape is kind of like the Amazing Race and it takes place on the wine farms in the Robertson area. You go from wine farm to wine farm, figuring out clues and performing activities at each farm. Points are given for the accuracy of your activities, as well as the order that the teams complete the entire race.

For our first activity we had to differentiate between different flavours of witblitz. Some decided to use their taste-buds to try and tell the different flavours, but the wiser option turned out to be using your sense of smell to tell the difference! We also each got to taste one of the famous Sumsare fireballs before being given our clue for the next challenge. 

The following activities included rolling wine barrels (my teams barrel broke apart so badly that it was carried off the field in splinters!), a relay race, wading into a dam, wine tasting, wine blending, identification of grape varietals, eating a bunch of grapes, puzzles, a treasure hunt and more wine tasting. At the last wine farm, we were treated to lovely glasses of wine, as well as a delicious picnic lunch which rounded off the Saturday afternoon quite nicely!

The group I was part of entered 4 teams into the race and 2 of our teams came in the top 3 - which meant that at the end of the day we were able to split 72 bottles of wine between the 15 of us! 

Thanks to the Grape Escape organisers and competitors for a lovely day out!

Team Arabella - came 1st overall
Vaunie, Pierre, Gen and Frosty

Team Sumsare (Green) and Arabella
Sumsare was the first team to complete the challenge and came in second place!
(L-R): Tim, Tash, Vaunie, Pierre, Gen, Frosty, Nicky and me

Waving victory flags at the bottom of the garden
Relaxing after a fun day of activities
Our portion of the spoils - this should last us a while I think! Then again...

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Workplace Heros

I started writing this ages ago and found it when I was scrolling through drafts of posts - enjoy!

At my factory our jobs are hard. We're the factory that the whole business has been complaining about, week after week, for months. They 
forget that we've just completed major project, and have more projects coming, that will require us to somehow keep the factory running at full production even though we're changing major aspects of the factory.

Among the people in my team, there are those who stand out to me as workplace heroes. They are the guys who get called in at all times of the day and night to fix something that isn't theirs to fix. The guys who are in the top 10 of my favourite dialled list, just because I know that if I call them, they will be able to give me advice and help me out. The guys who have smiles on their faces whether it's 2am or 2pm. 

They somehow manage to still be interested and crack jokes with you after a frustrating session of problem solving and they're the guys who never stop learning and asking questions.

These guys are the ones who keep our factories running under hugely stressful work conditions. They're the ones who get by on minimal sleep because everyone else calls them when they have an issue. The ones who get called when people don't know what to do next. The guys who somehow still manage to be patient when explaining something they've explained a thousand times before, to a fresh-faced university graduate with no idea what's potting.

They're the guys you want on your team when you're faced with a problem that you have no idea how to fix.

I've now left this team behind and saying goodbye to these guys was something that I was not looking forward to. At the start I wasn't sure how I would fit into the team. When I left - one of them told me that when you work in this team, you become like family. This post is for those guys in my factory maintenance family - I learnt so much from all of you and am honoured to have worked side by side with you!

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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

What's Your Enough?

I often hear people complaining that they aren't able to afford something. Sometimes they go out and buy it anyway, even if it means living on bread and water for a week/month.

New clothes
Pretty jewelry
Home decorations
A holiday away
A fancy phone

The list is endless. There's always something that we want, but can't afford. I would like a whole lot of stuff. We go through life accumulating stuff, but just how much stuff do we have to accumulate before it's enough? How much do we need to be truly content. How much is enough?

Enough food so that you go to bed on a full stomach at night.
Enough shelter so that you can hide from the heat and cold.
Enough money to afford your necessary expenses every month.
Enough clothes that you are able to look neat and tidy.
Enough shoes to keep you walking comfortably for days.
Enough stuff that you can live the life you want to live.

What is your definition of enough that will allow you to enjoy the life you want to lead?

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Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Winds of Change

I think the factory knew I was leaving last week. On Friday morning (my last day) myself and my team were greeted with a breakdown that had brought the line to a halt and I spent the morning of my last day trying to figure out exactly what went wrong... I even had to leave my team members fixing the problem so that I wouldn't be late for my own farewell breakfast that my boss had kindly organised for me! Unfortunately, many of my closest team members missed the breakfast due to them staying at the factory to fix the breakdown - such is the factory life. After breakfast and back at the factory again, I luckily got time to say goodbye to almost everyone I wanted to say goodbye to before I left.

I must say, I felt quite melancholy when I drove out the factory for the last time - in these last (almost) two years I've made a good name for myself and was reaching a point where I felt like I actually knew what I was doing (most of the time at any rate!) There's something comforting about going to do your job and actually knowing how to do it, as opposed to just winging it and hoping for the best. However, with that comfort level, there was also a level of of complacency and I think that if I had stayed in my previous company, I would have moved roles in the next little while anyway in order to expose myself to new challenges.

I've now completed my first few days at my new job and I'm still doing a lot of reading of documentation and teaching myself the syntax of a programming language called Python. And for those that are interested, it's not named after the snake, but rather after the Monty Python's Flying Circus comedy! There is going to be a lot to learn, but I'm definitely ready for the new challenges that I'm going to encounter at my new job. 

Red tulips with yellow edges
Keep an eye out for this picture in a later post!

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