Mother and Daughter Goals

I’ve run plenty half marathons. Cool medals, amazing times. My best one ever was running the Two Oceans in 2016 with my brothers and sister-in-law. Now “that best one” will share best place in my heart with the one that I ran with my mom this weekend.

See, this weekend my family did our annual family getaway weekend – always centred around a running event. We’ve been to Knysna thrice and Langebaan thrice before too. A new development is that my mom, who previously was a solid supporter, joined a running club and started doing races since July last year as well!

 

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So this year she joined our running pack. I’m totally stoked, elated and chuffed to say I finished a half marathon with Momma Bear.

Treasured family moments

 

Rainy Monday mornings

So summer has officially left us in Cape Town. That’s ok. Transition is a friend, not a foe.

I must admit though that I was very surprised at the heavy downpour we’ve had since this morning. But the rain brings blessings along with it. It washes everything clean.

There’s a peaceful feeling about this rainy Monday morning. Hearing the rain fall down outside. There’s lots to be thankful for. Coffee and reflection. Lots of stuff to do, but everything will happen in its time. What will be, will be. Welcome Autumn 🍂…

Namaste 🙏🏾

And Bella agrees. She says that she loves the rain 🌧

Dichotomy

I have Olivia and Candice with me. They are my two greatest fears. About a month ago I came up with the idea to give my greatest fears names. I don’t know why the names Candice and Olivia – I just like those names I guess.

See, I have this gut feeling that “fear” is my friend. If I am feeling fear, it is my intuition trying to tell me something. It’s a message. Instinctively, my human nature wants to push fear away, or overcome fear. I spent ten years learning to overcome fears by challenging myself. Pushing fear back or running towards it. I achieved amazing things by doing that – but something (some seed of wisdom deep down in my tummy) tells me that is not the healthiest way to deal with fear. Hence, this my experiment.

Instead of fighting my two biggest fears, I’ve manifested them as real friends in my world by naming them. And whenever I feel their presence, I acknowledge them… even sometimes talk to them. Let’s see how far I get with this 🤦🏾‍♀️🤷🏾‍♀️. It just feels right.

Learning to be aware of my emotions, as I’ve explained above, is the most empowering tools that I’ve been gifted with. At the moment I feel very sad about something in my life. However, I also feel curious, excited and moderately nervous about two other things in my life. I feel strong and courageous about the work I am doing. I feel the weight of responsibility because I am determined to do a good job. At same time I’m feeling compassionate towards myself. And I feel loving towards the world in general. Our earth is so beautiful. People are so beautiful. Yes, sometimes people act in ugly ways, but when that happens it’s because they’re hurting inside. I truly believe that human nature is inherently beautiful. So I’m also feeling grateful. I’m also grateful for my amazing minions and my family and friends. A proper medley of emotions. A dichotomous melange.

This is why life is beautiful. The intense fear, the despair and sadness, the curiosity, the excitement, the hope, the courageousness and the gratitude. There, right there…. That is the point of life. To feel it all.

Yeah, I know what you thinking. This woman is nuts 🥜. You might be right. But I don’t care. I love you too!

The art of listening

I need to be heard. We all need to be heard. That’s not a selfish thing. It’s something that is as critically vital to good health as the air that we breathe.

These thoughts came about because I had dinner with a very good friend last night. She’s a very close friend too. Dinner was fine, however on my way home I felt a dull unsettled feeling that I just could not shake. When I got home I managed to fall asleep but when I woke up I still felt unsettled. I desperately felt a need to ground myself but I did not know why. I started to meditate.

Meditation is my favoured form of reflection. I meditate, then reflect then meditate some more. I always feel better. It allows me to understand my own feelings and my own behaviour which stems from those feelings. Most importantly, it reminds me to be compassionate and gentle with myself. I see my situation from a clearer, less judgmental perspective.

I realized that I was feeling unsettled because even though my friend and I conversed over dinner, we weren’t listening to each other. I think we both really tried to listen to each other – after-all we really are very good friends. However, there is a great deal going on in her life and equally, there’s a great deal going on in my life too. At present, the issues that we are both dealing with are very different to each other.

I believe that we both weren’t able to fully take in each other’s perspective without the filter of what is going on in our own lives. This doesn’t make us bad friends – we are both only just human. Human beings have a need to be heard. And unfortunately last night we were both not in a position to be ‘the listener’. Listening is an art.

Honestly, I believe that I know how to be a good listener. When my own needs are filled, it’s easy for me to be empathetic, unjudgmental and present. Last night for the most part we both struggled to be empathetic.

In restrospect, had I meditated before dinner it would have probably been a different experience. As I am writing this I feel that I have been ‘heard’ – and I actually didn’t need anyone else to hear me, but me.

Because my own needs have been taken care of, right now I am feeling more relaxed, less critical, more open and receptive. And those are the vital constituents required for the art of listening.

Reflections of a PhD student

Fifteen minutes ago I sent my final thesis (pre-examination) to the editor. All eight chapters consolidated into one document with abstract, table of contents, dedication, acknowledgements etc. etc.  After this it goes for examination. It’s another milestone on the journey.

Pause.

I finally finished the corrections to my final draft and finally got the thumbs up from my supervisor.  Every postgrad student will agree, it feels like a really painful experience. I pray that I will always be kinder that needed to my own postgrad students because heaven knows – I understand that sting.

Making corrections is painful because as a student, arguably you always present the best work that you can at that moment in time. Then your supervisor comes along and says “this” or “that” was not good enough. Even if you not precious about you work – when you’ve done the best you can, then you can’t yet see the “better way” yet. So manoeuvring out of the dark spot just ain’t that easy.  It ain’t.

It’s not making the changes per say that is difficult – it’s figuring out how to change it. When you don’t yet know how to do something, then you just don’t yet. Nine times out of ten when you reflect then you realise it wasn’t such a huge task but still. I guess that’s what growth is.

img_0993Enough on that. I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to the 18k mark of this half marathon journey (if I can equate a PhD to a half marathon). I can’t actually see the finish line yet, but I know it’s around the corner. I can hear the sound of noisy crowd and music playing in the distance…

Funny… yesterday a friend suggested we meet for lunch, so that I can tell him about my PhD findings. Instinctively I immediately replied “Hay Naah. Uh Uh …When we meet we can talk about ANYTHING but Quality Culture and Operational Excellence” – and yet I know in my heart that I am completely passionate about anything related to quality! Quality management, quality tools, quality strategies, planning, analytics and especially quality culture. But right now I’m just saturated.

My reaction took me completely  by surprise.

I have a feeling that it’s a phase and it will pass. For now I just need some a little bit of breathing space.

Chocolate indulgence 🍫

It’s that time of the year when as a collective we’re all rather social and typically gather around food. So here is a cool easy recipe for chocolate mousse that I recently discovered, and I’d like to share.

The best news is – this no-fuss delicious chocolate mousse is almost effortlessly quick to make and you only need 4 simple ingredients! It’s so easy that in less than a week I’ve made it twice for two different occasions. Was a hit both times! The ingredients are:

  • 3 eggs,
  • 1 slab of 125g of Bournville sweet dark chocolate (alternatively a slab of 70% dark chocolate – but then you need to add 3 tablespoons of castor sugar …Thank You Andykins)
  • 125ml fresh cream – not yet a full cup of cream,
  • Little bit of butter to melt the chocolate in the microwave – about 10ml or 2 teaspoons.

Easy peasy Lemon squeezy. So let’s start with the eggs.

1) Separate the 3 eggs yolks from the egg white

2) Whip the egg whites until you have stiff peaks. Use an automatic hand mixer to do this. If you can hold the bowl upside down without anything falling out, you know you have nailed it!

3) Break the eggs yolks (already previously separated) in a their own bowl. Use a spoon or fork to mix this. Set aside. We’ll add that to the dark chocolate later.

4) Melt the Bournville dark chocolate with 20ml of butter in your microwave. (Place both ingredients in a microwave bowl and the start microwaving. I put it on for about 30 seconds high heat then stir with a spoon, then microwave for another 1-2 minutes before taking out and stirring again. I then popped it into freezer for it to cool down a bit).

5) While chocolate and butter mix is cooling down, then whip up the fresh cream – also into stiff peaks. Use your automatic hand mixer to do this.

6) Once melted chocolate has cooled down (but still is liquid form) then add this to the egg yolks and mix well. I used a spatula and successfully did this manually.

7) Then take the egg yolk-chocolate mix (refer to point 6) and fold it in with the whipped fresh cream. You can use a spatula and manually do this – or use your automatic hand mixer – whichever- but do it as slowly as possible.

8) After the mixture in point 7 has been thoroughly mixed, first take just a little bit of the egg white (perhaps 1/3?) and mix this thoroughly with your spatula.

9) Once that (refer to point 8) is properly mixed then dump it in the container with the rest of the eggs whites and mix well – but mix rather slowly. You can use an automatic hand mixer but I personally prefer to do it manually with a spatula.

10) Once it’s thoroughly mixed, you can pour the mixture into containers to set. Use whatever container you prefer. I used ice-cream Sundae glasses.

11) Allow the mousse to set in the refrigerator for approximately 2 hours

Optional: I decorated those that I prepared with whipped cream (the kind you get in a pressured can) and Oreo cookies and a few mint leaves – because that is what appeals to me. You can use whatever you what for decoration. You can use chocolate flakes, astros – heck even jelly tots. Your only limit is your imagination.

Voila…. Dessert is served 🙌🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

Enjoy!!!! And conscientiously have fun while playing in the kitchen.

nom nom nom…

To see the original recipe that I used with an instructional video: https://www.recipetineats.com/chocolate-mousse/