It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

I can’t claim I wasn’t warned that this was going to be a difficult time for me. This week had me rethinking a lot of things, from early retirement (that was just the frustration talking) to my priorities.
I physically moved this week from a furnished place in Tamboerskloof to an unfurnished place in Vredehoek. I now have a bed … thank goodness for built-in-cabinets or I would be living out of suitcases for a while, I think. I like the new place a lot. As Mona says, it’s cozy. It feels a lot more like a home than the last place. It also feels more … South African maybe? Hard to describe.
I also learned on Tuesday morning that the pain in my side was not something to be taken lightly. At first I thought it was a strained oblique but it turns out it’s actually my psoas. If you don’t know what this is, I’ll save you the anatomy lesson but suffice to say when it’s strained, almost every sort of movement hurts. And you can’t train at all because every single thing involves your core. I finally got the go-ahead yesterday to engage in some light swimming, which I plan to do tomorrow if I can wake up in time.
My body is a pretty amazing thing. It responds fast to whatever I do to it, good or bad. After a couple days of not perfect treatment I’ve been feeling very good because I’ve been doing the right things to it. Including rest. As much as I hate resting, I’m no longer impatient with my body for not always doing what I want it to do. There is no sense crying over spilt milk after all. I’m very blessed that I have good genes, adaptability, and an incredible ability to heal. I’m healing right on my estimated schedule: I should be easing back into it the back half of this week.
But still. The irony of being, in theory, one of the fittest people in Africa and I can’t even pick items up off the floor without pain at the moment does not escape me. If being CrossFit is about being functionally fit, then it feels like a big fail at the moment. But that’s not CrossFit necessarily, that’s me pushing my body too far without realising. That’s the difference between doing sport, and doing sport competitively. With the latter, when you’re pushing yourself to the limits of what you’re capable of, you run the risk of injury. The trick is to head that off at the pass. That’s a trick I’m going to have to figure out or like it or not I’ll be headed for early retirement because something’s going to break.
Aside from that wonderful navel-gazing it was a pretty fun week. Our interns returned, and I set Lilian to what I think is a pretty cool research project. The Umbono launch party was on Tuesday night (of all nights of the week to have a hectic party!). This was a cool party at which we discussed everything from fasting to venture capital to IPOs to the ins and outs of making explosives. Wednesday was acupuncture in which I brought Dr Lan some red wine after hearing that he loves a good bottle of red (I’d never seen the man so excited!). I was clearly tired because I fell asleep on the table. Thursday Joh spoke at the Girl Geek Dinner (a most un-paleo affair I must say), and I went to another opening at /A Word of Art, albeit briefly because I needed sleep. Quite the different experience to the last time I was there.
Had an interesting conference call with a senior director at Oxfam, who clued me into a couple of things I hadn’t necessarily noticed. Someone who has been working in the field 20 years will do that. I am still frustrated with myself for failing to make the link between what I know can be done, and how to get between where we are now and what we need to do. Before time runs out, in one of the many senses in which that fear can be realised. Priorities, priorities.
Friday I wasn’t feeling so well so I cancelled my more active plans in favour of going to listen to an acoustic set by Wolftown in Constantia, then went over to hang out with Mona, who promptly told me to quit my whining and harden the f*ck up. Politely, of course.
Saturday coffee at Vida in Camps Bay with Jo and Roland, then Sandbar lunch with Mona and Roland. Then after what I can best describe as a muscle realignment session (think chiropractic but with muscles not skeletal structure), which felt awesome, I went to Canal Walk to go shopping. I really hate malls, and I hate shopping. But I didn’t have plates or silverware, or really much of anything.
This country sometimes I do not understand. They want to sell dish drying racks for R350 but you can buy ceramic plates for R17 and china plates for R65 (that’s about $43, $2.50, and $8 at today’s exchange rates). You can’t buy a shower curtain rod to save your life, and there are more kinds of kettles for sale than there are oven mitts. By like a 7:1 ratio.  
Sunday we basically just chilled: slept in laaaate (I cannot remember the last time I did that!), went for coffee & lunch, then lay on the beach for a while. For once I actually felt like my body was enjoying the sun (usually I am scared of it because I burn quite easily). Probably I was low on vitamin D. Also touching the earth rather than lying on a towel somehow felt very right. Came home, washed dishes, put more things away, took another Epsom salts bath (this time with the very girlie SA Cosmo that I got in my goodie bag at the Girl Geek Dinner), and just completely decompressed. I think my brain needed the rest.
The first half of the week was actually kind of crazy in that I was eating everything in sight because my body was healing from the competition. It’s interesting how those levels of adrenaline can push you just that small percent more than normal, and when you do that for 5 events the cumulative effect is excessive. Back to the fasting from Wednesday, and happy that I now have a working kitchen again. As usual, I thoroughly enjoy my Sunday evenings prepping food for the week.
Was having a facebook chat a few nights ago with Mo, the rapper from Jeremy’s band. Now this poor guy has the brain of a genius and the soul of a poet, and is torturing himself over how the world needs more leaders, and real change-makers (and he has race guilt the way I have female guilt, aka we wish it weren’t an issue but it is, and so we feel the need to be role models of sorts), and all he wants to do is be a rapper.
“We don’t need no more rappers, we don’t need no more basketball players, no more football players. We need more thinkers. We need more scientists. We need more managers. We need more mathematicians. We need more teachers. We need more people who care; you know what I’m saying? We need more women, mothers, fathers, we need more of that, we don’t need any more entertainers.”  – Tupac Shakur
Shame, everything I could think to say to that was very trite. Except that hey, someone’s got to sing to me on weekends. And your song just came on in the other room. And why the hell not do both? Marx would have approved.
I have this strange feeling right now. Almost a tickle on the back of my neck. Maybe there’s a ghost who lives here.
But a better way to describe it is I have this feeling like something is going to happen. A shoe is going to drop. A logjam is going to break free. The only constant is change, and it just feels like that’s in the air like the changing of the seasons. Or maybe I’m just high from the homemade ginger tea.

  • “Be careful. I’ll put salt in your water!” – Jon (like THAT’s a threat….)
  • “How are you feeling?” “Terrible.” “Well I should f*cking hope so!” – Grant & Ellie
  • “Oh yeah. I know what that’s from. I dropped a bar on my neck.” – Ellie
  • “Can you take a few days off?” “Of course I can. I can do anything I want to do.” – Stuart & Ellie
  •  “That’s the only reason I’m letting you.” “Lettingme? Oh, I see how it is!” – Ellie & Jon (yip, he nailed that one)
  • “Oh no, no, I found it. I was looking for the bar.” – worker who was looking for The Hub
  • “I have so many comebacks for that, it’s unbelieveable.” – Jacques
  • “Oh wow, you’re hardcore! I thought you were normal … you like, go out and stuff!” – Alex
  • “Well, she’s really accelerating me!” – Willem
  • “I’m not stupid. Well, I can be stupid.” – Ellie
  • “Yeah he’s the sort of guy you either love him or hate him. Or don’t know what to do with him.” – Brett
  • “Is Ellie drinking you under the table?” – Nathan (HOW I get this reputation I have NO idea)
  • “Wait, so first you made chlorine bombs and then you made gunpowder?” “Yeah but by then I was at varsity.” – Ellie & Hugo (As though that explained it. … ! I still can’t quite believe this conversation ever happened)
  • “No idea! it was awesome though” – Roland (apparently I didn’t quote something awesome that he said, but it apparently wasn’t awesome enough for him actually to remember)
  • “Is that your drugs?” – Nathan
  • “Though I had one portion not 3kg worth.” – Sam
  • “The next thing is 10K runs with wine stops in between at the wine farms.” – Johan
  • “I called it the shark tank.” – Johan
  • “We’re having another one.” – Ricky
  • “Ellie, you’ve been injured for the last nine months.” – Peter
  • “I think it’s … very small.” – Tom
  • “You can’t micromanage everything all the time.” – Peter
  • “Overall, I must say, you’re pretty darn healthy.” – Kheyrne
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