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And with one last stop, the Rewind time machine will deliver us back to present day! A quick recap of July, and then back to our regularly scheduled programming.

July highlights…

Attended the Durban July for the 3rd year in a row. This year’s theme was weird (“A Material World”, all about recycling, which makes perfect sense for a festive horse race party event. ???) So we didn’t go as all-out as last year, but I did rummage through the recycling bin to whip up a couple of on-theme accessories.

On her: BioClassic washing detergent, BonAqua water bottle cap. On him: egg carton, green tea box, Coca-Cola cap.

Celebrated my birthday a few times.

Red wine and bday cake at Mocambique restaurant on the actual day; more red wine and more bday cake with the ladies a few days later.

Got an iPhone! YIPPEE! I had wanted one for my birthday, but called it off a few days before because I just couldn’t get past spending that kind of money when I already had a perfectly working smartphone (more of a lamephone, but a phone nonetheless). My sacrifice was rewarded when JG played in a golf tournament two days after my birthday and received an iPhone 4S as a door prize! I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

The finest iPhone cover that China Mall had to offer!

Attended a Muslim-Hindu wedding reception.

The ladies (relatives of the bride) are lined up to exchange gifts with the groom’s female relatives.

Attended (JG) and crashed (me) a conference at a swanky resort just north of town.

The view from JG’s VIP “garden suite”

While JG was off hobnobbing, networking, golfing, and spa-ing, I spent a few days in his office helping out on a huge proposal that his company was invited to bid on with just a few days’ notice. No word yet if “we” won the business, but I have to say it was fun to be in the mix of a frenetic project for a couple of days. I love the flexibility of working from home, but I do miss being part of a team. I know the grass is always greener – most of you reading this now probably don’t have a snoring pug in your lap or your bare feet propped up in the windowsill under your desk – so let’s call it a draw.

The sea view from Johnny’s desk, which I never knew was so lovely at 7am.

Attended our friends’ Lyn and Steve’s beautiful beach wedding just south of the city.

A windy but stunning start to a beautiful life together.

…for which I made the cake! Vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, and carrot cake topper – all smothered in 9 pounds of cream cheese frosting and decorated with chocolate seashells and crushed cookie “sand”. I made the stand as well, and can’t even pretend to be humble about this one: it ROCKED.

Steve and Lyn were kind enough to bring the carrot cake to breakfast the next morning, where a huge table full of hungover people absolutely demolished it.

Roxy gives us a subtle hint that she would like to be included on our next trip, please.

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OMG, are we still doing this? Yes, apparently so. Even though it’s August now and we’ve just returned from an amazing 2-week holiday with John’s brother and his family which I’m dying to catalog… I still feel like I need to catch on the past first. Right then, let’s catch up to present-day already! In no particular order, we…

…cheered on the runners in the world’s largest and oldest ultra-marathon, The Comrades. Even on a “downhill” year like this year, I can’t wrap my brain around running 56 miles in a single day.

Pug catches some shade on a hot and sunny day

…dabbled in boozy gummi candies! Grape candy + coconut rum = delicious. Gummi cola bottle candy + bourbon = gross.

For one of the Aussies’ many going-away parties – with a Georgia theme, natch.

…spent a fabulous weekend at our friend Ed’s house in Leisure Bay on the South coast, celebrating his fiancee Dana’s birthday.

Family portrait on the exact rock where our friends got engaged earlier this year. Aww!

We’ve invented African Rules Corn Hole, which involves a small and feisty Pug running back and forth between the boards. She occasionally steals a bag, but she’s completely impartial and always an equal handicap to both sides.

…spent a lovely but stormy evening at the rugby.

Sharks win!

…finally said a sad goodbye to the Australians who officially went wheels up at the end of the month.

What so proudly we ate, at the Moffitts’ last leaving.

…failed to snap any pics of the 5k that we ran – the same one I had done two years ago, and in which I trimmed 2 full minutes off of my official time to bring it down to a blistering 35 minutes! Hey, I run, which is all that I claim.

June, finis!

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Rewind: May

So after a nice visit with the folks for a few days, we were off to Richmond to attend the wedding of two of our favorites (and our first-ever visitors in Africa, waaaay back in 2008!), Phil and Marguerite. The wedding was perfect, and just so uniquely ‘them’. Johnny and I had the honor of giving the wedding toast, and we gave it a travel theme to fit our two buddies who have literally traveled the world together:

When thinking of an analogy for your lives together so far, and for the future of your marriage, we both thought first of your world-traveling ways. When traveling, you have to choose your partner very carefully. You’ll have to make difficult decisions, often on the fly and in the face of uncertain circumstances. Youll have to reach agreement on financial matters. You’ll have to make tough choices regarding your destination, the route you take along the way, and the menu and sights you’ll enjoy each day. You’ll have to lean on each other when it seems like everyone around you is speaking a foreign language.

You two have experienced this everywhere from Colombia to Morocco, Spain to South Africa, and now you’re embarking on the greatest trip of your lives. Some days will be like a five-star Ritz Carlton; other days will be more like a Turkish youth hostel – but we have no doubt that the two of you will rock this next adventure with all the joy and zest that you bring to every trip, and every day of your lives.

Gah! I’m getting all choked up again. Love you P + M!!

Adorable Phil and Mizzy right after their “I do”s.

Phil with some of his other best girls (have I ever mentioned that I am the short one in our group of girlfriends?…)

After a quick stopover to hang with my sister and her little peeps for our last night, we were back on a plane to SA — arriving just in time for another sendoff for the Aussies (their “official” going-away party, although 3/4 of them would linger for another 5 weeks and 20-some farewell events) (love you, Moffitts!) I guess word of our toast-making abilities had spread, so we took over the mic again and poured our hearts out to yet another pair of our faves embarking on a major life moment.

There was definitely some mush and sentiment and love and whatnot, but there was also this:

Maybe one day we’ll see Sam on TV representing his new country in one of our beloved national sports like catfish noodlin’, corn hole throwin’, or moonshine drankin’. In fact, to give you a leg up on that hobby and just a little taste of the good Southern life you’re going to enjoy so much, we’ve brought you a genuine jar of homemade contraband Virginia moonshine. This particular jar is watermelon flavored and was made in an illegal still by a full blooded redneck named Crazy*, buried in his back yard, dug up and given to my brother, then bequeathed to me to be smuggled into SA to be given to you as a welcome-to-the-South gift.

*names may have been changed to protect the guilty

Bequeathing of the moonshine

Nikki gets her first taste of the South

Sam approves of Crazy’s handiwork!

Not a going-away event, but one of the small Aussies celebrated his (February) birthday in May (hey, they’ve had just a few things going on) and requested “green cake pops” for his cake. I aim to please.

Cake balls make kids go completely nuts. Who knew?!

Apart from celebrating our 7th anniversary (not really – we were so exhausted from the rest of the month that we stayed home and threw a steak on the grill), we just chillaxed for the rest of May. Onward to June!…

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I need to put this rewind on fast-forward! I’m finally taking photos again, but I’m determined to get caught up on the missing months before I start blogging in real-time again. (What, you thought this blog was for you?)

March: month of dam trips, birthdays, and soap-eating. Read on.

We took two weekend trips to different parts of the same lake: Albert Falls Dam. Only about an hour away; a game reserve, so there may be zebras drinking out of the lake next to where you launch your boat; and always fun to get away with the peeps.

Simpsons clouds on a perfect day at Albert Falls

We celebrated Johnny G’s birthday a few times. Once at dinner at a tasty Cuban steakhouse (with a group including the dearly departed Moffitts, sniff sniff), and once with a redo of the Beer Olympics! A huge hit again in its second year, we had representatives from Sweden, Mozambique, India, two different teams from the country of Hawaii (??), and the fan favorite Somali Pirates.

Celebrating JG’s birthday like grownups…

…and like kids. Viva Germany!

I made a pretty stellar cake for a friend’s daughter’s 18th birthday:

Possibly the most humid day of the year in Durban – it was a battle to keep the frosting from sliding into a swirly blue puddle.

And finally, what would March be without a Pug-bingeing incident? We’ve been vigilant about keeping food out of her reach, so she resorted to this instead:

Yes, that’s a bar of SOAP. Words fail me.

March, out (like a lamb)!

 

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Gift Wrapped

Dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache frosting for Nikki’s birthday!

My official retirement from working with fondant / plastic icing. Nightmare!! Though I was fairly impressed with how squared off I was able to get the ganache.

I also whipped up a stack of “fairy bread” (a fancy Australian delicacy of buttered white bread covered in sprinkles) as a decoy in hopes of making Nikki think that was what her pastry chef friend had prepared for her birthday. I lasted about 3 seconds before caving and running back to the car to get her real cake.

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Pug Army

Treats for Roxy’s 2nd birthday party (yes, we are those people — surely you know that by now).

Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting (and bonus pug-pops!) for the humans:

Uncanny likeness, no?

…and puppy carrot cake for the canines:

Frosted with cottage cheese, some of which was dyed pink with beet juice (which Terry sampled, and decided it was best left to the dogs)

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Since he only got 1.5 birthday cakes (poor deprived boy), John also got 2 kinds of cupcakes for the birthday proper on Tuesday.

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