Today is 1st March 2012. My last post was 31st January. The whole month of February vanished somehow, in the blink of an eye. Yet so much happened.
This post will be a catch-up post, with a glimpse of the highlights that have slipped by.
First and foremost, the time with Dani. It was wonderful to have her here. Time evaporated in the heat of the summer sun, her and my shared and separate activities, and the merging of times past, present and future which are shared in the various personae that each of us has - spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical. She left on 24th February. Afterwards I needed time, like a chrysallis, to turn away, and towards, to adapt and to change, back into my way of living.
Next, progress on photography. I have now submitted seven items for grading as a Level One worker. Of those seven, I achieved six golds and one silver, which extrapolates into 18 + 2 = 20 points. This means that I should promote to Level Two this month, as the criterion for upgrade is 20 points and 5 golds. We will see when the next newsletter is published.
Then there is my bird course, which I have so enjoyed. Sadly, due to unforeseen and distressing circumstances, I missed one of the outings. Yesterday was the seventh session, and the final one in our 'classroom'. The eighth session entails an outing to Zandvlei Bird Sanctuary. I am looking forward to that. Despite not having put in as much effort as I would have liked to have done, I have somehow held my own, and have time now to brush up on the theoretical side of birding, which took a bit of a backslide whilst Dani was here.
In terms of the workshops that I am giving:
There has been one so far on the Internet. Plans are in progress for three more covering two different
lesson formats. It is a difficult and varied topic. I have had mixed feedback, but on the whole, participants
seem to have enjoyed it so far.
The second, one on gardening, is scheduled for this coming weekend. I have prepared the course material.
We'll have to wait and see how participants respond, before I commit on the level of enthusiasm with which
it is received.
Then there are workshops that I have attended, or am planning to attend:
The first is a geology workshop, presented last month. I thoroughly enjoyed it, having learnt a lot about my
beloved Western Cape. What is especially nice about this is that my hiking will be enhanced, as I will be on
the look-out for the various rock formations which Neal explained during the workshop.
Others that I haved booked for include Mythical Revival in Britain, Birding, and Self Development. I will
blog about those as and when they happen. What delighted me is that the person who does the birding is also
the treasurer of the photography club to which I belong.
Of all the activities in which I am involved, hiking gets to be my favourite. I walk with people that I have come to like and respect a lot, in places which are so incredibly beautiful. When I look back over this blog, it astounds me that so many posts are on wonderful experiences in this area of my life. Hiking took a bit of a back seat during February, as did photography. I think the sacrifice was worth it, as I got to spend so much blessed time with Dani.
On the preserving front, I managed three sessions of pickled onions resulting in 15 jars, two of which have already vanished. These are particularly yummy, as I used malt vinegar and carefully selected pickling spices. I will add the recipe to the recipes page next time I blog. I have done one session of quince preserve which proved to be highly successful. It culminated in 3.5 bottles, with the half-bottle having disappeared into sandwiches already. I have enough quinces for two more sessions, so I can anticipate about 8 more bottles overall. I will post the recipe I used for this as well, as I do think it proved to be highly successful.
Having risen early this morning, I did something that I have never done. I cleared out some of the debris on my friends list on Facebook. I very seldom remove people, unless they stop using Facebook. Today I removed a few people whom I have carried around for a while, but with whom I have absolutely nothing in common. In a way, I found this to be a healing experience. I am pleased that I did it. It also gave me the opportunity to assess the bulk of my friends whom I have kept. This was, perhaps, the very best part, as I know why I retained each of them, and it gave me an opportunity for whimsical memories and the prospect of future fun. I mailed a few of them, too, setting up possible plans for this coming weekend. Also a first for me, as I am so seldom the one who arranges social things. I'm normally the one who agrees to what other people suggest. So enter the new me - someone who organises social events. Hmmm.... we'll see how long this lasts :).