Well, there goes February

The great thing about having a house guest is that you are constantly busy. The bad thing about having a house guest is that you never have time to do stuff in your normal routine (in my case like sleeping more, going to yoga, writing the blog, working in the evening 2-3 times a week). So while I had an incredible time when my friend was here, and I was quite sad for a few hours after dropping him off, it was also great to see him go so that I could get back to my normal (albeit less dramatic!) routine.

So in the interests of brevity here’s the quick rundown at work and non-work for the last two (!!) weeks:
• Social entrepreneurship prize-giving competition at St George’s Mall. Some of our management team were judges in this competition put on by the Western Province.
• Fantastic Wines with Heart strategy meeting. Love the new positioning, marketing plan, and the ownership that the guy who is running it is taking. Fantastic.
• Lots and lots and LOTS of work on FoodTents generic proposal doc, and then customizing for various opportunities. From tomorrow on, I am not working on sales any more. I allowed myself to get sucked in, and as a result my actual job suffered, and quite badly. From now on I will leave sales to sales and will draw the boundary where it needs to be drawn (i.e. I will review proposal docs but won’t help draft them).
• Great planning meetings on the Hub. Very excited to have our Hub host back from Brazil, to build our membership base and systems, and sell some events to bring money in the door.
• Agrizone hand-off meeting turned up a couple of interesting things I was unaware of. Big lesson here: it’s easier to do something right to begin with or nip a problem in the bud than to try and fix it after the fact.
• Site visit to Masikhanye Food Garden with the government monitoring agency.
• Lunch with the vegetarians at icologie, who are doing some very interesting work. Lots of potential for collaboration there.
• Great meeting with a volunteer at Harvest of Hope about potential areas for collaboration between FoodTents and Abalimi/Harvest of Hope.
• Time to stop talking about collaboration and actually do it.

I found a big area of self-blindness. I am always busy criticising people who see a problem and just talk about it and don’t solve it, and I realised I was doing that and not in a small area, but in a really darn big one that is really the core of my job. Well, now that I see what I’m doing I can fix it.

On this whole concept/reality of the universe sending signals and manifesting … well, the universe has been suggesting to me that it’s time to start thinking bigger. From discussing a mutual friend whose perspective I thought would help here who then contacted me out of the blue, to an article on the ticking time bomb that is the ANC’s running of SA, to being constantly reminded of the impending massive water shortage in this country … it’s strange. What we are doing is great, yes, but it’s addressing the symptom of the problem but not the solution. It’s like popping Advil and caffeine and going home and drinking a bottle of wine every night because you don’t like your job, or your relationship, or your friends, or any combination of the above.

But enough about work. We’ll see what comes of this, destiny and all of our future is unfolding now and it’s not necessary to see the whole staircase in order to climb up it.

So I forgot to mention in the last post that my newest toy arrived with Jason: the Google phone, the Samsung Nexus S. Now I’m a late adopter and not really a gadget person but this phone has got to be about the sexiest thing in existence. I am totally in love with it, not even kidding. Sometime soon I am sure the shine will wear off but in the meantime I am enjoying it to no end. I don’t even know the limits to what it can do yet, and it seems like at least once a week I’m discovering some cool new feature.

On to the fun stuff we did before Jason left! He got food poisoning early in the week so that put a bit of a damper on things but on Wednesday night we went on a road trip up the N7 north to Citrusdal, where we had dinner at this farmhouse restaurant where they had not a wine list but a rack of wine you just go choose from, and some lovely grass-fed steaks. We stayed in a thatched-roof cottage that was quite lovely and no snakes got inside, which was good. But damn it was hot – apparently the day before we arrived it was 47. I haven’t translated that but I know it’s incredibly hot; the 42 or so I encountered in Italy I thought was bad enough. Luckily the next morning’s brunch was air conditioned at a lovely café in town, where I got the waitress to look at me like I was crazy: “OK, you want the butternut salad with the dressing on the side, but not the honey mustard dressing, rather the balsamic vinaigrette, and you want a burger patty with guacamole on the side??” The challenges of eating with someone who’s eating paleo….

Thursday was mostly spent driving around: further north, over to the west coast … until we kept hitting dirt roads and having to turn around. But beautiful, so beautiful. This country is so varied; there was terrain resembling everything from Oklahoma (plains and old-school windmills!) to Arizona (dry desert rock with scrub brush, and I now see why they call it sandveld) to Montana (big mountains, big clouds, big, BIG sky) to California (citrus trees, rocky coast, wineries), all within a few hours’ drive! We finished up that epic day with dinner in Stellenbosch with my friend who goes to university there. Good stuff: great evening, fantastic calamari and a wonderful day!

Friday night was the much-anticipated U2 concert at Cape Town stadium. I think half of Cape Town was at that concert, at least according to Facebook. Amadou & Miriam were the opening act, followed by the Springbok Nude Girls (I got some great pics of the guy I met a few weeks back who plays for them), and then after a loooong wait, the main event. That was pretty mind-blowing. We were in GA and pretty close to the stage. Nice customization of the show to South Africa, and I don’t think there was a single song that I would have wanted to hear that they didn’t actually play. And they will be back. They apparently liked it here. And apparently The Edge is a poet and a priest. *sigh* Not that I’m at all jealous or anything ….

Saturday beach WOD (our girls team won!), followed by the obligatory Mexican omelette at Sandbar, then off to Stellenbosch for wine tasting. We started at Waterford, then went to Thelema, l’Avenir, and finally Kleine Zalze. Jason bought a ton of wine and I even bought a case of wine, which is unusual for me. After wine tasting we drove to Bellville for a braai and there I managed to drop my beer on the floor (only the third one, boy am I a klutz) so I had to drink a shot of some godawful thing that tasted like Everclear. Last time I drop a beer on their floor! Amazing, amazing braai, though, and the malva pudding with rum raisin ice cream. Oh. My. God. Now I knew I liked malva pudding but this, THIS, was out of this world. No joke! Great time though and some interesting answers to the question of if you could meet any historical figure who would it be. I scared the heck out of Jason by giving the same answer he did (well, considering we are basically the same person I guess that’s not so surprising….). I think the best answer we’ve heard so far is Gengis Khan.

The way home was interesting, first I made a wrong turn and we had some scary-looking dudes start heading for us so I hightailed it out of there, then I was crashing from the sugar high and it’s always true that a tired driver is much more dangerous than a drunk driver. But Jason kept me awake and we got home safe and sound!

On Sunday fantastic brunch in the shade by the river at Caveau in Newlands where the weather felt like autumn (in City Bowl it was hot again). The rest of the day I unfortunately spent working, first with my co-worker in Green Point then his place in Sea Point, then over to my boss’ house. Then we relaxed at dinner at the house of a friend in Green Point. Really good time, just chilling, and chatting to his roommate who had, oddly enough, spent time in Vermont at Killington. Small world … still, I think, cool to be able to show visitors what “normal” life is like even if it involves such boring things as working for 8 hours on a Sunday!

Monday morning I did 47 pullups as part of ½ Angie (full Angie is 100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats) and ripped open both my hands. So I finished with the bands, which I am actually now finding harder to use than normal kipping pullups. They get in the way of the kip you see. We had dinner that night (which was Jason’s last night in town) with two of my girlfriends at Café Paradisio. I have to say, after all the hype this restaurant has gotten, I actually wasn’t that impressed. But, we had a lovely dinner followed by hanging out for a while longer at my place. And I proved that I actually do have female friends! For some reason I think the circles I hang out in tend to be male-dominated (CrossFit, work, techie crowds) so most of my friends wind up being men.

Tuesday took Jason to the airport, worked Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (yay!!). Thursday I had a biomimicry lecture at Stellenbosch to get to and wound up traveling there on the back of the motorbike of one of the guys from icologie. Now this was strange. On the subject of coincidence: we had been trying to schedule this lunch for weeks, then I happen to see a magazine there that mentions biomimicry, happen to mention the lecture that evening … and it is in fact the case that with traffic out of Cape Town the only way to get to Stellenbosch for 6pm is either to leave at 4pm or to go on a motorbike. On the subject of trust: I did say if anything happened to me my coach would probably kill him but lane-splitting is hectic, driving 160kph is hectic, taking those curves on the N2 at speed is hectic and I was thinking three things a lot of the time:
1. Oh my God this is the most fun EVER
2. This is a lot like a video game except it’s not
3. I trust this guy completely when it comes to driving this vehicle, even though I barely know him from Adam

Weird. The lecture itself was very cool, the guy who runs Spier’s biodynamic farm came to talk to us about their principles of farming (which are the same as those from Joel Salatin at Polyface farm, for those of you who read the Omnivore’s Dilemma). The networking was also interesting, as it always is.

Friday afternoon, CrossFit advanced class followed by chilling with the guys for an hour or so, then back home to force-feed myself some grass-fed meat (I was so stressed I wasn’t hungry, and actually I haven’t been eating enough this week for this reason). Then I went over to Newlands (actually Rondebosch, technically, but I’d consider it Newlands ….) for a silent concert. This consisted of bands playing outside into full audio equipment but instead of it being broadcast on loudspeakers it was broadcast into headphones we were all wearing. Super cool concept, apparently one of the guys from Tonik (one of the bands, the other being D7 the acapella group that I most recently heard opening for Imogen Heap) thought up. When bands record in the studio they can hear themselves this way, so the concept was why not let the audience in on it. Anyway it was really a blast! And I got to meet some gorgeous models, one of whom I swear looks like a young Naomi Campbell. Damn she was beautiful, I wanted to talk to them just so I could look at her! But I also learned enough about modelling to be incredibly glad I’m not one.

… and finally yesterday. The day started with a lovely sleep-in, followed by heading to the gym for the first in a series of online events called the Throwdown Series. This is both an individual and an affiliate [gym] team event with the top 3 scores for men and women being combined into a team score. The workout consisted of the following:
50 wall balls @6kg
3 rounds:
• 30 double-unders
• 15 toes-to-bar
• 10 front squats @43kg (bar must be taken from the ground)
Then, within 3 minutes of finishing, 1RM clean (clean is bar to shoulders).

So this was interesting. Wall balls are really not my thing, and I suck at double-unders when I’m tired. In this workout the double-unders were definitely my weakest point. The toes-to-bar were pretty fine. The front squats were hard but not un-doable. I was actually a bit worried going in because my 1 rep max power clean was 47kgs, so knowing I would have to clean 43 three times while tired was a bit of a mindfuck BUT at the same time we had been practicing the clean a lot and I knew I could do it. But this workout was anything but easy, and watching Rika our resident Olympic athlete struggle through it in 15 minutes on Friday made me scared (then she power cleaned a stunning 75kgs: I am quite in awe of this woman!!). My final time was 22:43 which I am not very happy with, but not so unhappy that I have any desire to repeat the workout. Ever. One of our coaches has some family visiting and he took some good photos and videos, so I’ll maybe get and share those soon. The guys after the workout were saying how they were impressed with my front squats that I did them essentially unbroken, but the truth of the matter is I had no desire to have to clean that bar again! Also didn’t hurt that from about the last round everyone in the gym was watching me and cheering me on, so you don’t really want to look like a wuss with all that audience!

Ah but then the second half of the workout, the max cleans. Now we’ve been practicing cleans for a while now and it was interesting, because I was tired my form went all to hell and I wasn’t cleaning at all, I was power cleaning. Which indicates to me that my clean could be a hell of a lot higher than this, but I first did a safety clean of the weight I’d just cleaned and front-squatted. So that was fine. Then I loaded on 5kgs more and cleaned that (ugly, but up). At this point I added another 3kgs (this, if you’re doing the math, added up to 50 which would have been a new PR). I went to lift and I got it to just above my knees before I realized I wasn’t going to make the lift and dropped it. Now usually when I fail a lift at a heavy weight I’m done for the day and my mind takes me out of it … I get myself into a mindset where I think the weight is heavy and I can’t do it so I either don’t try again or I do but there’s not much use because I no longer believe I can do it, so I can’t. So, in this scenario, there wasn’t time to think (I had about 30 second left) and I knew I could lift the weight, so I rested until there was about 10 seconds left and then made the lift. Again, very ugly … but up. So, now I have something else to practice: doing squat cleans rather than power cleans while tired!

Biscuit Mill to stock up on meat, fish, nuts, and dried fruit, then late lunch @Caprice with the gang. I proceeded to eat 400g of burger patties and finish before anyone else did. But hey, I was hungry, I hadn’t eaten all day. Back home to do some admin and work, then out to dinner at Carne with yeah, pretty much the same gang (minus one girl and plus one guy, who managed to persuade me to order the chocolate soufflé and it was out of this world…). But I’m going strict paleo after the 27dinner tonight, we have the Fittest in Cape Town competition on Saturday and I’m determined to win (or at least, not get beaten by some girl named Angelique from Somerset West).

Full schedule for today, too. Bring it.

• “We need a miracle. But we have 6 million rand worth of miracles in the pipeline.” – Peter
• “They gave me a few glasses of wine. Which you obviously shouldn’t do if you want me to be decent.” – Deon
• “They are *this big.* And HAIRY!” – Mandy
• “You say that like I’d know.” “Oh, I bet you do!” – Ellie, Peter
• “They invited you to a braai????” – Peter
• “Thank you The Edge. Wildebeest.” – Bono
• “Cape Town kicks the snot out of Joburg.” – Jason
• “That’s not a sport! It’s a drug-taking hobby!” – Gareth
• “Wow, Ellie likes to eat hey!” – Phumzile
• “Did that sound like a gunshot? They *are* in East Johannesburg.” – Nathan
• “How do you feel about riding on the back of a motorbike?” – Andy
• “That’s a lot of wine for three people.” “No it’s not.” “No it’s not.” “No it’s not.” – Grant, Chris, Wayne, Ellie (this was funny because the “no it’s nots” came one after another rather than all at the same time)s
• “…and, look at that, Ellie’s still here.” – Rob (it *was* past my bedtime)

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