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Yours *TrulyJuly*

I do everything content.

 

Samsung Galaxy Fame: Such a crappy little phone, over 5 years old, hardly working. But still it gets stolen in South Africa.

Samsung Galaxy Fame: Such a crappy little phone, over 5 years old, hardly working. But still it gets stolen in South Africa.

 

One month ago my phone got stolen…

 

As I don’t have an SA ID number, because I’m an immigrant and am never entitled to one, I can’t get onto a contract for a new cell phone.

As I don’t have a job, because I’m an immigrant and Home Affairs is processing my visa for years all the while I’m not allowed to work, I don’t have the funds for a new mobile phone anyway.

 

So I’m phoneless!

For one month already!

I wonder if anyone noticed?

Because it’s not so bad, actually!

 

I’m not suffering from FOMO, so I’m not dependent on my phone.

Everyone who needs to get in touch with me can use email (TrulyJuly@web.de) or message me via the various social media networks.

 

So please bear with me while I’m trying to sort this… At this rate it’ll only take a couple of months longer… 😮

 

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Most social media limit the space you can use to communicate your message.

Twitter is one of the extremest, giving you only 140 characters per tweet.

Similarly your profile copy for your Twitter bio is also restricted, here Twitter is a bit more generous with 160 characters.

So use what little space you have wisely, as every character counts!

For example: Why repeat your username if your social media handle already clearly identifies you. Rather use the space to promote your current hashtag campaign.

Like in this well executed Twitter marketing:

Well executed Twitter marketing: This sponsored suggestion is doubly effective, promoting the Twitter profile and current hashtag campaign.

Well executed Twitter marketing: This sponsored suggestion is doubly effective, promoting the Twitter profile AND current hashtag campaign.

 

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Rattie Yoshi cannot believe this #rattie #treat is for him.

Rattie Yoshi can’t believe this #rattie #treat is for him.

 

Most breakfast cereals are unhealthy

Generally most breakfast cereals are not actually healthy, not for us and not for pet rats either.

They contain too much sugar, salt and fat: Those crunchy mueslis are baked in oil, those great flakes are sugar coated, those crispy pops get their taste from salt.

You might as well eat a dessert for breakfast. So don’t give this unhealthy, non-complex carbs, loaded with artificial flavourings and other additives, ‘breakfast’ to your pet rats.

 

Read the labels!

If you don’t read labels already, do it for your rattie’s sake:

Pet rats should only eat cereals which contain less than 5% sugar, or 5 to 10% sugar if it’s entirely from fruit.

On the food label find the row for carbohydrates and take a look at the amount of total sugar per 100g: It should not exceed 5g.

 

Tip: Only as a treat

Because of their high sugar content, breakfast cereals should be regarded as a #Rattie #Treat, like a dessert for your pet rats.

If your pet rat is old / ill / underweight, breakfast cereals can provide extra energy, in addition their sweet taste cover any medicine you might need to administer to your rattie.

 

Bonus Tip: Add yoghurt

Pet rats need animal protein. If you give them breakfast cereal high in carbohydrate countermeasure it by adding plain additive-free yoghurt. I use amasi, as most yoghurts in South Africa contain preservatives.

This can also help to keep your pet rat’s weight in check: The yoghurt fills them quicker and they consume less carbs.

 

 

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“Wer die Wahl hat, hat die Qual!” = “Spoilt for choice” – A vintage beer ad confirming clichés. (Interfoto / TV-Yesterday)

 

I’m only writing this because of the reaction I get every single time I politely decline a beer with the words: “Sorry, I don’t like beer.”

The response: “What? You? But you’re German!”

Yes, I’m German. And I don’t like beer.

 

I just never got used to the taste.

Because isn’t that what we’re doing as kids when we start drinking or smoking: Trying to get it across our lips even though we don’t like the taste. Eventually we get used to it and voilà! we’ve become grown-ups.

 

I had all the opportunities in the world to bring myself to like beer:

In Germany we have free beer parties, where you pay a small entrance fee and it’s open tap all night. By around midnight there’d be a puddle of beer building up on the ground that would eventually stretch through the entire dance hall. Hence I always attended these events in my second hand combat boots that protected me from any beer seeping in.

Then of course there was the local ‘Kneipe’ (pub) that also didn’t stock much alternative to beer. Germany is scattered with microbreweries, but try to get a cider or glass of wine there. Also, non-alcoholic drinks are often limited to soft drinks, which is a total no-go for me.

Luckily I found one version of beer I can revert to when there’s no other option: ‘Altbierbowle’, a dark beer with fruit compote.

 

But generally it’s “No thanks” from me when it comes to beer.

So there you go: A German who doesn’t like beer. It does exist.

#BreakTheStereotype

 

Molly enjoys hanging atop of Smudge's cage. Smudge is happy about her company too.

Molly enjoys hanging atop of Smudge’s cage. Smudge is happy about her company too.

 

RattieSitting pet rats sometimes brings a whole lot of ratties together. The dynamics are fascinating: Every rat has their own personality, and sometimes this gels with an unlikely match.

When Smudge is around for #rattiesitting, he certainly brings a lot of dynamics into the rattie crowd, because he’s the only buck who’s still intact.

The girls flock to him and trick me with clever manoeuvre: Like when I clean Smudge’s cage, and unexpectedly out of nowhere one of the girls jumps on my shoulder from quite a distance, only to then sneakingly slide down my back, in such a slight and light manner that she just seems to disappear into thin air, but actually made her way over to her object of desire.

Alas, the interaction can only ever take place through cage bars.

That didn’t deter Molly though: She decided to set up camp atop of Smudge’s cage.

Molly enjoys snuggling up under the blanket that covers Smudge’s cage from draft. In addition his heater gives off a comfy warmth that makes every rat just relax. So she spent the night, laying stretched out flat atop the cage bars, one foot and her tail dangling down. Even though they can’t be together, they can still be close to each other.

That’s #RattieLove for you! ♥

 

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Smudge enjoys hanging in the banana rattie hammock.

Smudge enjoys hanging in the banana rattie hammock.

 

Ah, life can be so sweet when you’re a pet rat!

Especially when you’re the only intact male amongst 13 rattie girls and 2 neutered rattie boys!

 

Pet rat Smudge is the biggest rattie male by far, and so handsome! All the girls have the hots for him!

So whenever Smudge comes around for #rattiesitting, he’s the top banana.

 

Here you can see why:

🙂

 

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It's easy to change the Google Calendar default settings to your preferences.

You can change the Google Calendar default settings to your preferences.

 

Nowadays it’s easy to add an event to your calendar or quickly accept that meeting request.

But it’s annoying if the reminder pops up at the wrong time.

By default Google Calendar reminds you 10 mins before the event. That’s great if it’s a work meeting and in the same building.

I freelance and need to get to my meetings first. As I cycle, this might take a bit. So 10 minutes is not going to cut it.

 

How to change your default setting for reminders in Google Calendar:

In ‘My calendars’ click on the drop down menu arrow and go to ‘Settings’.

Beneath ‘NOTIFICATIONS’ click ‘Edit notifications’ to set your preferences for event notifications and notification messages.

Remember to click ‘Save’ before heading ‘Back to calendar’.

 

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A classic blunder: The German article 'die' reads like the English verb 'die'.

A classic blunder: The German article ‘die’ reads like the English verb ‘die’.

 

“Die” is the female version of the article “the” in German.

So all it actually says is: “The SundanceFamily”.

But reading “Die SundanceFamily” in an English context of course makes you think someone is out there to kill them.

Why an English name has to be used to promote a product in Germany is a mystery and why they, when they are so anglophone, not realise that “Die” could be read as, well, “Die” is even more puzzling.

It shows that localisation rather than translation is important, and of course, proofreading helps too.

 

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One man's trash is another man's treasure: I needed 3 folders and here they are.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: I needed 3 folders and here they are.

 

Or shall I write ‘Ordner from the universe’ as in the German word for ‘folder’?

 

Because sometimes the universe works in surprising ways:

 

I was cleaning up my office stuff, but couldn’t pack it away properly, as I needed some folders.

 

I know I have folders somewhere in our packed things, but until we’ve properly unpacked everything I don’t know where to find them. So I’m a bit reluctant to buy new folders.

 

In the meantime however I sorted my documents into 3 piles = 3 folders.

 

So as I’m leaving the house for a doctor’s appointment I’m thinking: 3 folders is all I need.

 

After the hospital appointment I wanted to shop our groceries, but cycling down from Groote Schuur I landed up by the main road first, needing to cut back to the supermarket.

 

This was random, normally I would have turned right earlier to get straight to the parking lot.

 

So now that I had already lost my way of most efficient route I decided to take a shortcut through the vegetation.

 

And lo and behold: I stumble across 3 discarded folders.

 

Somebody must’ve dumped their old office equipment in the bush. But there was nothing wrong with it!

 

I still can’t believe this coincidence, because it is so precise in its execution: It was always just about 3 folders.

 

As if I had ordered them from the universe!

 

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Chino is having a great time exploring balconia.

Chino is having a great time exploring balconia.

 

Keeping plants outside makes them vulnerable.

Putting a plastic crate upside down over your plant pots safeguards them from birds who would otherwise pick seeds and seedlings.

The plastic create also gives your pet rats a feeling of protection and allows them to roam their rattie garden freely without having to be anxious something might be out there to get them.

The openings of the plastic crate are the perfect size for their cute heads to pop out and check that everything is still alright. 🙂

 

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Queueing at a public clinic in South Africa.

Queueing at a public clinic in South Africa.

 

I’m a fan of the South African public healthcare system, because it offers affordable medical aid according to the Uniform Patient Fee Schedule, with some services completely free.

 

If something comes free I guess the ‘don’t look a gift horse into the mouth’ attitude would be appropriate.

 

But let’s just say I advise to take a good book:

As hours of waiting in queues lie ahead that cannot be spent in any productive way due to the run-down facilities and anyway no point in bringing any devices as there’s nowhere really to keep them safe, it’s back to basics when it comes to public healthcare in SA.

 

So take a good book, make yourself comfortable, practice patience, and you will be helped, eventually.

 

Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.

Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.

 

Our first rattie garden started by accident:

 

To my surprise something began growing in the abandoned flower pot on our balcony.

It was tomatoes!

 

Seems like rats have a green thumb, well if they had a thumb.

 

Because this is what happened:

One of our pet rats wanted to hide her treat – a cherry tomato – away from the rest of the clan.

She left it in a flower pot on our balcony. Really a great hideout, especially if you bury the treasure.

 

The tomato plant thrived and everyone had a good portion of delicious cherry tomatoes.

 

I contribute this to our pet rats:

They played an important part in loosening up the soil to the point that it flew in form of sand dust into our apartment, planting new seeds even if they were no seeds at all but rather food stolen from our plates, and trimming the plants sometimes with the result of total destruction.

 

Well, without our pet rats, the rattie garden would’ve never started.

So if they want to demolish it all and start anew with a different plant, then so be it.

 

It’s a bit like tending to a zen garden, just that the ratties add a random wrecking factor which teaches you to let go of the things as they are and understand that nothing is lost, it just comes back in a different way.

 

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A lot of technical equipment in South Africa comes from the US. By default these devices are set to American English and will autocorrect you wrongly.

Some might prefer American English even outside of America, but this should be a conscious choice to define your voice.

If you write in English for the South African market, localise your copy and change your default language settings to South African English:

 

It is easy to change your default language.

It is easy to change your default language.

 

In Word go to ‘Review’, in the ‘Proofing’ tab click on ‘Set Language’ and select ‘English (South Africa)’.

Before clicking ‘OK’, press ‘Default…’ and a window pops up asking:

“Do you want to change the default language to English (South Africa)?
This change will affect all new documents based on the NORMAL template.”

Tab ‘Yes’ and then click ‘OK’.

 

Note: You might have to repeat this, as your device can revert back to factory settings. At the bottom of your Word window it’ll tell you which language is set for your document. If this is wrong, quickly reset your default language.

 

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Tipsy is in good spirits, despite having lost her tail.

Tipsy is in good spirits, despite having lost her tail.

 

In the 20 odd years that I have owned pet rats, I have witnessed several times that a rat can lose their tail.

So be warned that this can happen to your rattie.

 

Rats are quick and nimble, but their tail can get easily caught.

Rats are tough little fellows, but don’t overestimate their tail: It can break!

 

Do not grab your rat by their tail: I’ve seen the skin rip off like in Robbie William’s “Rock DJ”.

 

Luckily rats are great healers and will take good care of any injuries.

But a rat’s tail is really important, for balance, and furthermore for heat release.

 

Always remember that rats are actually quite fragile little creatures.

 

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In my search to find yoghurt without preservatives I came across amasi.

 

I grew up with buttermilk and kefir, so when I discovered amasi, I was delighted. It’s taste is creamy mild and has a refreshing tang to it.

 

My favourite amasi uses only goodness in their ingredients: full cream milk, amasi culture

My favourite amasi uses only goodness in their ingredients: full cream milk, amasi culture

This is what I like to see in the ingredients list: Only goodness.

 

Amasi is fermented milk and what those cultures eat away in the process is the lactose. So amasi is naturally low in lactose, giving IBS sufferers like me a bit of a break.

 

In addition, 2 litres of amasi cost around R20, which means it costs less than half of what you pay for supermarket yoghurt in South Africa.

 

Bonus Tip: Shake it up!

Amasi comes in a handy bottle, perfect for liquid yoghurt. All you got to do is shake it up a little.

The amasi turns so creamy and fluffy, you’ll want to gulp it down like a milk shake.

 

Pour it over fruit salad or muesli, soften up a curry, use it in salad dressings, make lovely smoothies and deserts. Bake with it.

Use it instead of milk, yoghurt, cream, sour cream, kefir or buttermilk.

You can also feed it to your pets as a healthy source of calcium.

 

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In Europe I used to go to the cheapest supermarket and buy 100% yoghurt.

 

In South Africa simple yoghurt is surprisingly expensive and full of stabilisers and preservatives.

“Ingredients: Low Fat Milk, Stabilisers (milk), Yoghurt Cultures, Preservative (pimaricin).”

 

While Whoolworths hail their yoghurt as preservative free, it still contains stabilisers and they added emulsifiers and whey powder instead.

“Ingredients: Full cream milk – Stabiliser (Plant-based stabilisers – Emulsifier) – Milk solids (Whey powder) – Yoghurt cultures – Bifidobacterium (HN019) culture.”

 

What’s going on? Clearly it’s possible to make yoghurt without all those unwanted additives?

 

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Three brown dogs take to the couch in one leap.

One looks out.

One looks up.

Then they all do it like the pup:

And sleep! 🙂

 

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Tip: Use the 'Date modified:' advanced search function to find your files.

Tip: Use the ‘Date modified:’ advanced search filter to find your files.

 

Have you ever looked for a document but couldn’t remember what it was called?

Even with a Naming Convention and Filing System some document can slip through and for the life of us, we can’t find it.

But don’t despair, there’s still a hack that can help:

 

Search your documents by date modified.

Simply select the advanced search options in your explorer folder by clicking on ‘Date modified:’ under ‘Add a search filter’.

You can select a specific date, or a date range, or a preset time frame from ‘Yesterday’ to ‘Earlier this year’ to ‘A long time ago’.

This also works on a Mac.

 

Tip: Clicking on 'A long time ago' gives you an instant throwback to all the work you've done.

Tip: Clicking on ‘A long time ago’ gives you an instant throwback to all the work you’ve done in chronological order.

 

‘A long time ago’ is my personal favourite, it instantly catapults you back a couple of years ago and gives you a lovely chronological overview of the documents you created since.

As a writer this helps me find inspiration for my blog posts, but it’s also quite uplifting to just look at the sheer volume of the work you’ve done and clap yourself on the shoulder.

 

How about offering a break instead of a permanent unsubscribe.

How about offering a break instead of a permanent unsubscribe.

 

By law and to be ethically sound every promotional email should contain an easy one-click unsubscribe button.

 

However, you don’t want to give up on your subscribers so easily.

 

The usual ‘sad to see you go’ might be polite, but only confirms their action.

 

Instead, prevent your customers from unsubscribing by first offering them a real alternative: To pause their subscription.

 

This might not mean much to your subscribers, but for you it’s a second chance: It gives you the time to work on your newsletter and improve it. So when their subscription is back on, they hopefully like what they see and stay subscribed.

 

This will lower churn and improve your customer retention, showing how creating Value Added Content can have real impact on business success.

 

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Southern Guild's exhibition 'Stellar' is worth a visit.

Southern Guild’s exhibition ‘Stellar’ is worth a visit.

 

The Southern Guild’s exhibition Stellar wows with a uniqueness and newness that inspires to design materials in a way no-one had dared before.

 

Every single piece has a quality to it that you can feel a life’s effort went into it. The craftsmanship is humbling in its dedication to detail.

 

Attending the walkabout where the designers were present and filled their art pieces with stories and struggles added depth and personality.

 

But the designs speak for themselves. It is easy to get submerged in the features of the physical embodiment representing a great concept that emerged from the love for the medium and the sheer will to transform it into new sculptural heights.

 

Stellar is running until the 14th of October, go see for yourself: https://southernguild.co.za/exhibitions/stellar

 

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Is this a test?

Oh no, it’s just a spelling mistake.

Another great example why it’s a good idea to proofread your copy before posting it.

Following good practices such as a spellchecker integrated in the publishing tool could’ve avoided this funny little blunder.

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So, how do you like living in Lower Woodstock?

 

I like it. I enjoy living in this street. The neighbours are friendly. It’s safe to cycle.

 

What about the crime?

 

Crime is an issue everywhere in South Africa.

 

What about the dirt?

 

We can all help clean it up by doing a MOOP swoop.

 

And the children? What about the noise?

 

You mean the kids playing soccer on the empty plot next door? But that’s the best part!

 

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When ticks are crawling up your wall… You know your dog had a good run in the bushveld!

When ticks are crawling up your wall… You know your dog had a good run in the bushveld!

 

Ticks…

Rats, snakes, spiders I don’t mind, but ticks! These sneaky parasites are a true horror for me.

That is partially because I always get them!

Let it be an entire group that ventures into a tick area, be sure it is me who ends up with a tick bite.

 

Since we have dogs I’m even more prone to tick bites: Lola’s thick fur is heaven for ticks. In addition she loves roaming, especially through the fragrant fynbos grasses in the bushveld.

But that’s where the ticks are: We can go to the sand dunes, we can go to the forest, our dogs are fine. We take a walk through fynbos and our Lola comes back with ticks.

 

You can try to deter or prevent them, but if you own pets, it’s about facing the tick phobia:

Check your dog for ticks after every walk, and be prepared to find some after you went into the bushveld. Remove them right away in a safe way.

 

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How to safely remove ticks with a tick card.

How to safely remove ticks with a tick card.

 

If you have pets who roam outside, you’ll sooner or later encounter ticks.

Ticks can actually be very dangerous if you get infected with one of the many diseases ticks can carry.

However, for the tick’s disease to spread to you, it needs to stay attached to your body for a day.

So, as soon as you find a tick on your pet or yourself, remove it!

But only, if you can do so properly!

If you do this wrong then the head of the tick stays stuck in the skin and is likely to cause an infection. It is therefore very important that you consult a professional about this.

Alternatively there’s an easy and cheap, and safe and secure way to remove ticks: The tick card!

Even with struggling animals, it is easy to slide the notch under the tick. Simply lifting it pulls out the tick intact with its head.

 

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Willo the Wisp got it right back in the 80s, portraying TV as Evil Edna.

In ‘Willo the Wisp’ TV is portrayed as ‘Evil Edna’.

 

Watching TV has become synonymous with relaxing: We can’t wait to get home from work and chill in front of the telly.

 

But I never feel refreshed after watching TV! I feel drained and empty, like sucked dry.

 

On top of it TV is designed to lure you into bingewatching, so before you know it you watch more than you wanted, leaving you with no time for yourself, not even for catching up on some sleep.
In the end we all know it: Watching TV is a waste of time.

 

So next time you feel like you’re running out of time, switch off that evil box.

 

You might not know at first what to do with all that extra free quality time. This only shows you how bad a habit the TV has become.

 

Learn to appreciate JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) and soon you’ll throw out that stupid TV! 🙂

 

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Whether you’re a brand, company or person, in order to be recognised your voice needs to be consistent. That’s why I recommend to develop a Copy Strategy.

 

If you do so, you have a much greater chance of letting your unique voice shine through.

 

There you go! Terms don't have to be boring.

There you go! Terms don’t have to be boring.

 

Like in this example, where they could have referred you to the usual terms and conditions, but decided to rather let you agree to the fascinating terms of service.

 

If this is ironic, sarcastic or even true, at least there is some personality coming through, making this a more personal and less officious experience.

 

The BBC Comedy of the Week podcast is not only hilarious, but also really informative.

The BBC Comedy of the Week podcast is not only hilarious, but also really informative.

 

I’m not into news. They’re too depressing. And now they turn out to be fake.

Instead, because I used to be interested in global affairs, I listen to topical comedy podcasts from the BBC.

They have a new feature that allows to download their podcasts at low kbps, so the download goes quick.

Some time ago I decided to rather laugh than cry at the craziness of nowadays times. This podcast helps. 🙂

 

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This shows that notes of your work do not belong in your work. 

This shows that notes of your work do not belong in your work.

 

I’m sure the person who included notes in the title of this job posting had all the best intentions of removing them before posting.

But we’re all only human.

 

That is why following good practices is so important:

Never meddle with the original copy and rather message yourself your notes and reminders.

 

We can do the best job possible, unfortunately human error is a constant threat.

So don’t make your job more difficult by adding room for blunders.

A streamlined process is one that leaves no chance for a mess-up.

And that should very well include proofreading!

 

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Comfort blanket for our puppies: the orange kanga.

Comfort blanket for our puppies: the orange kanga.

 

My parents brought this kanga back from Kenya before I was born. So it means a lot to me.

 

It’s also an incredibly versatile cloth: From provisional mushroom gathering net to sick rescue puppy sling to scarf, hoodie and blankie, this fabric’s cherished.

 

It holds so many memories, it’s as if the bright orange is fuelled with great moments. While the light blue just along the outer edge is the perfect balancing complementary colour of freshness.

 

Now this comfort cloth has gone missing. If you have seen this sarong, kindly get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

Because searching ‘rat’ is too unlikely according to Facebook, I'm being presented search results for 'ray'.

Because searching ‘rat’ is too unlikely according to Facebook, I’m being presented search results for ‘ray’.

 

When Facebook autocorrects your search from ‘rat’ to ‘ray’ it can feel very lonely, having pet rats.

Of course, this is just one of their predictable algorithmically calculated assumptions – and it’s working badly at that because I have ‘rats‘, ‘pet rats‘ and ‘wild rats‘ as my interests.
But it shows how the majority of Facebook users tick: They misspell ‘Ray’ with ‘rat’.

Pity they never get to find out that rats make great pets. 😮

 

Follow Rats Make Great Pets on Facebook and on Google+. 🙂

 

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When I open up Facebook I have gazillions of notifications, and it’s pretty clear that these are in Facebook’s – and not in my – interest:

 

Facebook tells me my friends are interested in going to events. While this information comes to no surprise, it's the fact that I get alerted about it, which turns this into a FOMO trigger.

Facebook tells me my friends are interested in going to events.
While this information comes to no surprise, it’s the fact that I get alerted about it, which turns this into a FOMO trigger.

 

Today I was informed that a couple of my contacts “are interested in going to an event in Cape Town tomorrow”. What a surprise.

Clicking on this ‘notification’ I land on the events page of a club night. Really not something I’m interested in.

Facebook will regard my click as a success, whereas I find this incredibly annoying. Facebook is not my AI diary. In fact, it offers me such predictable content – like the update to being married leads to ads about babies – that I’m simply frustrated.

 

But now I’m not just bombarded with consumerism, I’m also pressured to be hip and cool and constantly know what everyone else is doing and on top of it best participate in it.

Facebook fuels FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Just another reason to switch off and appreciate JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out)!

 

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What’s going on next door?

I think they’re having a braai.

Yes, I saw, but what’s the commotion?

I don’t know?

It sounds more like an argument.

Shall we have a look?

Yes, that’s like, they’re shouting.

But wait.

What?

It has stopped.

Gosh, that silence is more worrying than the shouting. Please take a look.

Okay.

What is it?

No way. It looks like…

What?

I think they’re busy taking a selfie.

 

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Better view with the naked eye: My camera only managed to capture this crooked looking full moon...

Better view with the naked eye: My camera only managed to capture this crooked looking full moon…

 

This full moon had been building up over the last couple of days and because Cape Town has such clear air, the visibility of it is amazing.

From the dog park the views over Cape Town, Table Mountain and the Harbour are stunning. But yesterday night the moon outshone all of that: Huge and massive it rose over the Hottentots Holland Mountains, so close to earth, as if it was possible to pluck it from the sky.

Because of the angle of the moon to the earth, in South Africa it looks like a bunny sits in the crescent rather than the face of the ‘man in the moon’. The detail was incredible. Fat and round sat the moon like a big cheese looking down from heaven. The moonlight was so bright, it lit up the scenery in a silver shimmer.

The more astonished I was to see this wonderful full moon crooked by the time I showed it to my husband at home.

I blinked my eyes, and then some more, because there was something covering the moon.

The night sky was clear and the wind was still strong, so it couldn’t be a cloud.

It puzzled my brain: I knew we had a full moon, yet, I couldn’t see it because it was partially blocked, by what?

A quick Google search revealed that it was earth’s shadow, creating a partial lunar eclipse, visible from Cape Town at excellent conditions.

 

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We managed to find two of Lola's puppy teeth.

We managed to find two of Lola’s puppy teeth.

 

Time is flying, and life nowadays is often defined by what we’re missing out on.

While having a puppy is pure bliss, it’s also over quicker than you expect. Yes, even if you wish they’d grow up already, because you’re mopping up the puppy pee.

A clear signal that every puppy grows up one day is when they grow their adult teeth.

At the dog park I got a great tip from a friend: Collect your pup’s teeth. You can find them in their toys.

Puppy teeth are like a piece of frozen time from your dog’s childhood. When they start falling out, watch out for them. It is very likely they get swallowed, but you might be lucky and find them if you check the toys your pup has chewed on.

It’s already hard to think back how small your pet was in the beginning. Having something as lasting as a tooth remain from their babyhood is a real treasure. Accordingly, you can find creative ways to preserve puppy teeth.

 

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When you encounter an exhibitionist: Don’t let his problem become yours.

In case you encounter an exhibitionist:
Don’t let his problem become yours.

 

I was only a teenager when someone decided to expose himself to my friend and I.

 

He asked for the way, one of the many tricks how they get close to you.

 

While we were distracted about how he could best get there, he was already presenting himself to us.

 

What’s so mean about it is that you can’t help it but look, so even if involuntarily, you give him what he wants.

 

Not so in our case however:

 

My friend, only one year older than me, had the wits to point at it, laugh out loud and shout: “That small thing? Really not worth showing!” With that she linked arms with me and we walked off.

 

The mere satisfaction that we did not react liked stunned deer, but like empowered women, who embrace the situation they’re thrown into and have something witty to say about it, shrugging it off like the dirt these scumbags are, and not taking any of it!

 

Knowing that this person did not get out of it what had motivated him in the first place: Shocking someone who’d otherwise never even notice him, and having that moment of power.

 

Don’t give him the reaction of a victim.

 

Instead, prepare to have a good laugh at it!

 

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The Evolution of the Light Bulb

The Evolution of the Light Bulb

 

As incandescent light bulbs are banned and fluorescent light bulbs are poisonous, LED lights are the way forward.

However, prices vary greatly.

 

What to watch out for when buying LED lights:

 

Fitting:

Check first if you need a Bayonet or Edison screw base.

 

Lumens:

Lumens are the amount of light emitted per second. The more lumens, the brighter the light.

If you’re used to watts for determining the brightness of the light, consult a conversion calculator.

 

Lifetime:

The better the quality of the LED, the longer the lifespan. But also, the higher the cost.

 

Dimmable:

Dimmable LEDs cost about 40% more than non-dimmable LEDs of similar wattage. Alternatively the switch can be replaced.

 

Light colour

LED light bulbs are mainly available in ‘warm / soft white’ or ‘cool / bright white’, meaning you can choose between comfy accent and daylight task lighting.

 

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Good morning M’am, please sign the register.

 

Of course.

 

‘Ranzani’? Are you Venda?

 

Sorry? A vendor?

 

No, I mean Venda.

 

Sorry, I’m not selling anything.

 

No, I mean ‘Ranzani’, is that Venda?

 

Well yes, you could say so, my husband runs Ranzani Design, a product design and manufacturing company.

 

So, is your husband Venda?

 

Ja well, he sells his products.

 

No, no. You know, ‘Ranzani’ means something like ‘Loving’ in Venda.

 

Ah! … Oh! … Wow!

 

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#LocalisationFail: When the Translation Add-on needs to be translated...

#LocalisationFail: When the Translation Add-on needs to be translated…

 

I’d like my mom to read my blog, so I’m researching Translation Add-ons for Firefox.

Unlike Chrome, Firefox doesn’t automatically detect and translate languages. An Add-on is required. This alone makes things highly complicated for my mom, who is technophobic.

To make matters worse, most resources for Firefox are in English, even the ‘About’ section (= ‘Über dieses Add-on’) of this translation tool!

While this Add-on has a good rating, it is completely useless for non-English speakers if the instructions are not provided in their language.

So ideally my mom would have this Add-on installed in order to read how to install this Add-on…

#LocalisationFail

 

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Our handshower did everything for us: dishes, dogs, rugs, clothes...

Our handshower did everything for us: dishes, dogs, rugs, clothes…

 

Decisions, decisions!

Do we need a bath, isn’t that just a water waster? Should we have the shower in the bath or stand-alone? And if we go for a separate shower cubicle, can we at least have a handshower in the bath tub?

The handshower it is, and thank goodness!

Who would’ve thought we end up with this one handshower as the only water point in the entire house besides the showers, meaning we washed our hands, did our dishes, brushed our teeth, all with this one handshower.

It was like doing an AfrikaBurn in our own house.

Turns out also my mum ended up doing the dishes in their bath tub when they got a new kitchen.

So this is just another one of those bizarre experiences that weirdly enough some people you’d never expected share with you and totally understand what you’re going through.

 

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Wheatgrass is one of those superfoods that all of a sudden we have to consume to stay healthy.

I thought you need 4 stomachs to digest grass, otherwise it’s impossible to derive any nutrition from it.

I’m quite sceptic towards these food fads and at the prospect of wheatgrass simply thought: Now we need to eat grass, what comes next? Bark? Soil? Pebbles?

However, I can’t judge things before trying them myself, so I looked deeper into this wheatgrass craze.

 

Is wheatgrass a health food?

Wikipedia simply dismisses this as “Health claims”:

“Proponents of wheatgrass make many claims for its health properties, ranging from promotion of general well-being to cancer prevention. However, according to the American Cancer Society, “available scientific evidence does not support the idea that wheatgrass or the wheatgrass diet can cure or prevent disease”.[9]

Wheatgrass proponent Charles Schnabel claimed in the 1940s that “fifteen pounds of wheatgrass is equal in overall nutritional value to 350 pounds of ordinary garden vegetables”,[4] a ratio of 1:23.[7] Despite claims of vitamin and mineral content disproportional to other vegetables, the nutrient content of wheatgrass juice is roughly equivalent to that of dark leafy vegetables.“

So you can also just eat a bunch of spinach and be done with your health boost for the day.

 

Is wheatgrass tasty?

Wheatgrass is full of cellulose and thus stringy and fibrous unless you strain it through a cheesecloth which is messy.

In addition wheatgrass tastes as green as it looks, and while I love the smell of freshly cut grass, its not a palatable flavour.

So with wheatgrass you have to find a recipe that actually masks its overpowering grassy taste.

I tried a couple of wheatgrass juice recipes and in the end had to come up with my own: #Wheatgrass #Smoothie

Its very zesty tang might make you pucker, but at least it helps to finish that one wheatgrass portion.

 

Is wheatgrass worth your money?

To my own surprise I liked the wheatgrass smoothie: It filled me up like a sandwich would have, without the sluggishness. It kept me light, as it’s a small portion of already ground up goodness. My sensitive IBS tummy felt good loaded with freshness and energy.

Given that there is no scientific evidence that wheatgrass is more effective than a placebo, I would not waste my money on it.

But if you really believe in the benefits of wheatgrass, why not grow your own: It is so easy, my pet rats get fresh wheatgrass all the time from our rattie garden.

 

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Need a nut milk bag? A cotton or linen handkerchief can work well to strain liquids.

A cotton or linen handkerchief can work well to strain liquids.

 

Depending on the complexity of your cooking, you might come across the requirement to strain a liquid free from solids.

For making nut milk for example, it is suggested to use a nut milk bag. – Although I found a much simpler method to strain coconut milk:  #HowTo make coconut milk yourself at home. –

A nut milk bag sounds complicated, but all that’s actually required is a cheesecloth.

So a cloth napkin or handkerchief can easily work. 🙂

Bonus Tip: If you treat yourself to buying a new cheesecloth, do yourself a favour and cut it round. That way there won’t be any edges flopping out, which can leak and cause a mess.

 

 

I don’t understand: Why even mention the person’s skin colour? It is not needed for the context of the story?

 

You wouldn’t know, you’re not from here, you’re an alien.

 

Well, I’m still from the same planet!

 

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Our puppies sleep like humans. While Lola is an above the duvet dog, Gigi loves to crawl under the sheets. It is I who covers Lola so she's warm and digs out Gigi's nose so she has access to fresh air.

Our puppies sleep like humans. While Lola is an above the duvet dog, Gigi loves to crawl under the sheets. It is I who covers Lola so she’s warm and digs out Gigi’s nose so she has access to fresh air.

 

Fostering a tiny little rescue puppy who could be stricken by a seizure any given moment, it was clear she’d sleep with me in the bed.

But while that keeps her close to me for observation, I’m plagued by other irrational fears:

I already researched that it’s highly unlikely to ever accidentally crush your pet while you’re asleep.

The other silly worry I have is:

 

Could my pet suffocate under the duvet?

No. There are no known cases of this happening.

What makes us uncomfortable being fully covered under the blankets is hypercapnia, a condition of abnormally high carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the blood resulting from rebreathing exhaled CO2.

Hypercapnia normally triggers a reflex which increases breathing and access to oxygen (O2), such as waking up and turning the head during sleep.

Pets however seem to love digging their nose into the sheets and can sleep right through the night under heavy covers.

So you can rest assured next time your critter clambers into your bed.

 

Please note:

These fears are not unfounded: While animal babies are equipped with instincts to keep them protected even when asleep, human babies are not!

As the Lullaby Trust states: “The safest place for your baby to sleep for the first 6 months is in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you.”

 

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Am I seeing double? Also Gigi pops up only one ear, the same as Lola.

Am I seeing double? Also Gigi pops up only one ear, the same as Lola.

One of Lola’s unique traits is that she’s got one ear up:
It’s her right ear, and it stands up most of the time, while her left ear is mostly floppy. I guess she’s right eared then?

Fostering Gigi we jokingly referred to her as Lola’s Mini-Me:
Although she’s very different, there are a few characteristics that are so identical with Lola, they make her look like Lola when she was a puppy.

Now that Gigi stays with us we get to see how well she develops.

And every now and then I wonder if I’m seeing double:
Also Gigi has only one ear that pops up, and it’s her right ear, too.

Little Gigi only pops up one ear, and looks ridiculously cute!

Little Gigi only pops up one ear, and looks ridiculously cute!

 

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In today’s information overload it’s difficult to get people to do something without giving them a reason why.

 

Here’s a great example how to present an attractive hook and bulletpoint the very convincing reasons why right away:

 

A great hook together with a reason why list make a convincing case.

A great hook with a list of reasons why make a convincing case.

 

The “I’m in” button leads to a donation page. Making a contribution allows access to exclusive content.

 

This email was the last chance, so this campaign has now ended.

 

It’ll be interesting to see how successful this sponsorship drive was.

 

According to my theory of Quality over Quantity Common Sense Media deserve to fare well.

 

Oops, too many 'o' around!

Oops, too many ‘o’ around!

 

Here’s an easy to slip through mistake, as the spell checker won’t necessarily pick up on it.

 

Despite that ending a question with a preposition is not the best grammar choice, misspelling ‘to’ with ‘too’ is an obvious blunder.

 

It’s not like I want to be bothered by this.

 

I can’t help it, these spelling mistakes jump into my eyes like little grammar gremlins.

 

It’s as if an obstacle was placed in the middle of the page that my eyes simply can’t move over. They involuntarily jump back and my brain will scream a grammar nerd alert that this is wrong!

 

I just think a bit of respect for your mother tongue and the meaning of words is missing here, and with that so much depth.

 

Or, some bloody proofreading! 😉

 

 

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Illegal Dumping on the corner of Greatmore and York Street.

Illegal Dumping on the corner of Greatmore and York Street.

 

Every Friday, as it’s bin day, I clean up all the rubbish in our neighbourhood.

The more frustrating it is to find someone dumped their waste on the otherwise relatively clean abandoned plot.

It seems empty property in Cape Town attracts crime.

In the meantime the kids have nowhere to play soccer and are forced to kick their ball around next to used pampers and condoms.

Why not kill two birds with one stone and turn neglected areas into much needed green space?

Where children have nowhere but the streets to play, it should be a crime to leave public space to rot.

 

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Our puppy licks her mouth in anticipation of this tasty treat.

Our puppy licks her mouth in anticipation of this tasty treat.

 

Researching how I can help our foster puppy outgrow her rickety legs, I always came across one food that seems to be only good for dogs: Sardines!

 

I like adding real food to my puppies’ diet, and already feed an egg a day.

 

Looking for a dietary source of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, sardines kept on popping up.

 

In addition, sardines are not a risk of high heavy metal contents like mercury.

 

I was interested what others say about sardines and found that the internet is raving about the benefits:

 

Can I Give My Dog…?
“Sardines help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, particularly if your dog has joint issues. It’s also good for the brin and may even protect against allergies.”

 

Dogster
“Sardines are full of omega-3 fatty acids and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10),” Kutcher says. “The fatty acids have many health benefits, like cancer prevention, reducing inflammation, and keeping the immune system strong. CoQ10 supports a healthy heart and circulation. The fatty acids also help brain development, which makes them good for puppies and kittens.”

 

It is even recommended to feed double the amount of sardines to puppies than to adult dogs.

 

This is perfect for our little sickly rescue puppy. Hopefully eating sardines will help her catch up in her development.

 

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