After being away from blogging for the longest time, I’m having a joyful afternoon catching up on all my favourite bloggers and their challenges. I’m delighted to find that Cee has a new challenge. Well, new to me 🙂 – it’s the On the Hunt for Joy Challenge.
Cee posted Ingrid Fetell Lee’s TED Talk Where Joy Hides and How to Find it. In this talk she talked about the physical aesthetic connection to feelings of joy. Joy is only known when it is felt and experienced. She goes on to say that instead of searching for happiness which could be elusive to rather look for things that we feel joy in.
This week’s theme is Start a Garden (Indoor or Outdoor) – if you click on this link it will take you to Cee’s blog and more bloggers that are finding joy. I know that I find joy when I blog and enter photo challenges. I find joy in expressing myself, by providing my interpretation of a theme. It’s a subjective endeavour, and creative in nature.
This is my interpretation of this week’s theme – Start a Garden.
Three of my favourite vegetables. I dream of having an abundant vegetable garden and if these are all that grow I’ll be very happy indeed.
The title of this post is referring to my beautiful intention of participating in the once a year, April A-Z Blogging Challenge. I even had the topics for each letter worked out.
Then Covid19 lockdown happened and things went up in a ball of smoke.
Pivoting and Reading
The company I work for had to rapidly pivot to convert all face-to-face training and coaching to online offerings. I had little time for anything else. Easter weekend came and all I felt like doing was nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, but reading. All I did was read.
I’ve scaled back on social media in the last year. I still have the accounts, and occasionally check into them. The only one I actively post to is Instagram, where I have been mini-blogging.
I love my home office. I’ve had to ‘juje’ it up a bit for Zoom you see.
I live on Zoom, it’s so tiring. But I still have a job, and for that I’m grateful.
I dress up for delivering training, I do my hair and make-up. But I still wear wooly socks and slippers. No one needs to know right? My feet need to be warm and comfortable to be happy.
Lying on the Grass
As soon as my last Zoom session of the day is over I run outside to lie on the grass for a bit, let the sun touch my face before it drops below the roof of my neighbour’s house.
Godaddy still has my blog on older servers and trying to update the PHP version is so frustrating. Looking for the right help file is like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are no email addresses that I could find to send them a message. A call to the support centre was my last resort – they’re having some sort of outage so my wait was 43 minutes! Not a chance would I wait this long for help! So here I sit, and still, my site is on an older version of PHP. Grrrrr….
If we were having coffee we’d talk about my blogging sabbatical that wasn’t one but I made it one as a reason to explain why I haven’t been active here since about May, and blogging in a patchy manner for about a year. I wrote about it earlier on – Well, It Became A Sabbatical – in case you’re wondering. No? Ok, let’s move on…
If we were having coffee I’d lament the closure of my favourite coffee shop a few months ago. It was my go-to place, great tapas menu, great health menu, great cakes, great coffee, great vibe, great music, great welcome…you get the gist. The last time Ché and I went there for the “free coffee for having voted in the elections special” we noticed fewer waitrons, they were rushed and the service wasn’t up to its usual good standard. We noticed it but put it down to many people taking them up on their “free coffee for having voted in the elections special”. The next week they’d closed down.
Quite a number of shops have closed down over the years at this particular mall – more than usual. The latest casualty was The Tea Merchant. Previous to that was the furniture store. When a variety of shops closes down it usually means there wasn’t enough traffic to pay the hefty rent this mall charges, never mind break even. Our economy is battling, this despite the unprecedented growth in the past quarter. Rents don’t go down. Food is more expensive. Petrol is more expensive. Fewer people are at the malls. Less disposable income. Less spending on non-essentials. And a whole lot more. It’s a signal we need to pay attention to. The space the coffee shop occupied is still closed up, the furniture stacked up neatly within the closed doors. It’s a signal we need to heed.
If we were having coffee we’d talk about the weather, naturally, having gone from cold to hot overnight. No gentle spring warmth easing us into a new season. The season skipped the August winds and we’re in September, waiting for the rains to arrive. It’s lovely, the birds are happy, chirping, the humans are happy, the cat doesn’t really care, it’s great.
Talking about happy birds and cats, yesterday Ché and I awoke in the early morning to the sounds of chirping in our bedroom! Ché got up and found that Nermal had brought a tiny bird into the room, intent on eating it. The little bird was still alive and Ché put in in a box. Nermal was naturally put out, sulky that his toy and his feast had been stolen from under his nose. Luckily the little bird wasn’t injured at all – it didn’t look like it – because when Ché took him outside to put him on a wall high off the ground, he promptly flew away with no signs of any injury. Thankfully. Nermal settled into sleep the day away on our bed after he’d eaten some proper man-made cat food. He’s forgiven us and seems to have forgotten about it all. He doesn’t usually bring in birds – never up until now, that I can recall. It must be the spring-summer weather getting to him. I want a happy cat and I also want happy birds. No hunting in our garden, please!
Well, let’s meet up again next week, same time same place. I’ve enjoyed our coffee share this week and I’d like to gift you with the quote below as we part for the week.
…it sounds so much better than saying I “had no time for blogging” or “I was too busy to blog” or any other reason. It became a sabbatical from blogging, it sounds so much better. I’ve never taken a real sabbatical, oh I would so love to do it – blog all day, write, take photos – hmmm…something to look forward to indeed.
My blogging had been patchy at best since October last year. We had a bereavement in our family – I don’t know how to describe it better, it is still so raw. Click on the image to go to source
It was during this time of confusion and chaos that I decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into completing all I needed to be able to submit my application to become a Certified Scrum Trainer. I’ve now done so and am waiting to know if I’ve made it to the Trainer Approval Committee in Vienna in October. Well, I’m going to be in Vienna anyway to attend the Scrum Gathering, it would also be amazing to make it to the TAC. I’m holding thumbs, toes and other fingers.
I’ve also been traveling a fair bit. Apart from the usual jaunts to Cape Town, I’ve been to New York (oh man!), Raleigh, Zurich, Marrakesh, Casablanca, Lisbon, and Istanbul. All triggered by work trips. I’ve taken mountains of photos and I’m busy sorting through them now. I only managed to download the New York and Zurich ones on Friday.
This means that I have loads of content. I’ve started writing a list of all the stories to tell and there are many, so ja, loads of content.
It’s becoming warmer hotter here in South Africa, we went straight from cold to 30 degree (celsius) weather. I’m not complaining – our days are longer and it’s easier to wake up in the morning due to the sun rising earlier and earlier each day. We have the heat of summer and the wonderful smells of spring, fresh, flowery, perfumed, all the gardens up and down the street competing to see which one contributes most to the heralding of a new season.
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
? Henry James
So my sincere hope on this summer afternoon is that you’ll continue visiting me here; I will also be doing some catching up.