Monday, January 31, 2011

oh, go take a hike.

who wants to hear about an adventure i had yesterday? yes? yes :) let me begin at the beginning, then...

the itsy bitsy town in which i have lived for my whole life has very little street cred. growing up, i would sometimes taunt it; there is so little to do here that seems fun to a tweenager. but i have grown to love it... and yesterday solidified exactly how much. (and how much is A LOT.) you see, our town is built around a forest. this means that we are surrounded by a plethora of trees. many, many trees. life is very green where i live. my dad is an avid bird-watcher, so we've visited the forest itself frequently, and i'm incredibly grateful for its existence. i'm now aware of how unique it makes our town, and how beautiful the forest actually is.

but that's not all our town has. oh, no. on the outskirts of town, if you're willing to go for a bit of a hike, you'll find - no lie - a WATERFALL. and here is where i duck my head in shame and wait for you to scold me soundly... yesterday was the first time in my entire life visiting said waterfall. when some friends of ours announced that they'd be trekking down to see it with a small group of people and invited anyone who wanted to join them to come along, i was such an eager beaver! and my enthusiasm didn't waver... despite the steep inclines and slippery slopes and hot weather. i was scratched by thorny bushes (clever Hannah wore knee-high pants!) and sweaty and sticky and aching by the time we got to the bottom. but oh my friekin' goodness, it was worth it. if you want photographic evidence of why, scroll down to the end of the post; otherwise, stick around for some preliminary photos of the journey down :)

i loved the signs that we came across, pointing us in the right direction :) (the idea of a picnic site is a fallacy... the picnic sight is completely useless and overgrown. however, the idea of having an actual picnic down there... well, THAT, my friends, appeals to me!)

how cool are these trees? they make me think of arms reaching heavenward.

one of the things i adore most about our town is how spacious the sky is. there are no tall buildings to interfere with its space; it stretches out, like a great big yawn, comfortable and vast.

at the beginning of the hike; my dad is on the right, and our friend Bill is on the left. luckily, we weren't exercise-hiking, so i could keep up most of the time ;)

up at the top of the waterfall; this is the stream which precedes the drop. it's been raining TONS here, so it was flowing fast.

and here begins the waterfall! *excited face*

this is... lantana. *boo! hiss!* i took a photo of it cause it made me laugh and remember when i was 8 years old and at my mom's school. this plant isn't indigenous, so we'd scowl whenever we saw it growing along the fence at school and pull it up. now it just makes me grin.

this tree stump is ENORMOUS! as in, two of me could have sat inside it with room to spare. if it was hollow. which it wasn't ;)

a bag of one of our fellow hikers... too much cuteness!

the leafy greenness was all around us - on our left and right, and above us! remember how i mentioned that everything is green in our town? ;)

this was our first view of the waterfall after travelling a little downwards from its top. i almost didn't make it down here because the climb down was steep and crazy. and i don't like steep and crazy, no sirree! thank goodness for sturdy branches and my dad's help :)

funny story. we eventually got down to the very bottom of the waterfall, after an incredibly tedious climb, and found our view obscured. my dad sighed in major disappointment. he's a photographer guy, so he was really looking forward to getting a shot of the waterfall. but he decided he wouldn't let this little dilemma deter him! oh no. instead, he took off his boots and socks and left me as their guardian while he gingerly wandered upstream in search of a good view of the waterfall. turns out if we'd turned right a little sooner down the path, we'd come to a spot where the waterfall was in full view, with no wading required. (my dad discovered this after wading, of course...) anyway, after he returned, we went around and this view awaited us:

HELLO, BEAUTIFUL! my breath was taken away. and i'm not just sayin' that :)

and then the obligatory pose with the waterfall in the background... because, let's all admit it, when you've climbed that much and are dreading the enormous climb that awaits you, you want EVIDENCE that you've actually made it all the way down to the bottom. somehow, it makes it all a little more worthwhile ;) [photo courtesy of my dad]

and i chose to end off with this photo because for the longest time, i saw these gorgeous little daisy-like flowers growing all along the path down and up from the waterfall, and yet i continually failed to get a decent photo of them. this is the best result, my sort-of triumph... and i am proud of it :)

in any case, after this trip, i don't think i'm gonna be able to hold myself back from the waterfall for very long. such a miraculously glorious example of God's infinite coolness should be experienced a little more often, don't you think? ;)

what's the most breath-taking thing you've ever seen? i want to hear all about it!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

a poladroid birthday: episode 3

hi there, dears!

it is time. time for my last birthday post. *look of solemnity* here's what transpired on my birthday weekend - technically not on my actual birthday, but close enough to be considered birthday celebrations ;)

first off, we went to Gateway on Saturday. Gateway, for those of you who have no idea what i'm talking about, is a mall on steroids that lives about an hour and a half from my town. my family and i go down there fairly often... cause we are legit like that. anyway, the plan was to see Tangled, but - sadly for us - the movie posters up in the mall got it wrong. they said it was being released on my bee-day... but it really only released a week later. sadness.

so, instead, we did some crazy shopping. as a belated Christmas present, my parents bought me the most beautiful address book known to man, which i will now show you.
she's beautiful, isn't she? send me your postal addresses and they can prettify her insides, too!
...but seriously. i'm on a campaign to write anyone and everyone letters this year. so SEND ME YOUR ADDRESSES! kay, done.

after we did a whole lot more shopping, we decided that as a birthday treat... we'd sit down at Cacao. hello, most decadent chocolate bar i have ever encountered. thank you for making sure everything you make is simply smothered in the most amazingly rich, sumptuous chocolate.

and thank you for having roses on all of your tables! so classy.

no, really... this stuff is heavenly. i love that it comes in a "love mug" - aka a mug without any handles. except i call it a "cuddle mug". *shrugs* seems cuter.

i can't even talk about this. just look at the picture and salivate for yourselves. i know i am... AGAIN.

and just for the record, who'd have thought that banana dipped in chocolate would actually be SO delicious? i was skeptical. and then i was proven wrong.

forgive my face. but i was excited.

and that concluded the celebrations on Saturday. on Sunday evening, however, i decided to take advantage of my birthday weekend sway, and convinced my mama and sister to partake in a game of...

(i love fooling around with the Scrabble letters.)

while we were at it, i decided to eat my birthday cupcakes. but before i did that, i lit my beeg "18" candles and watched them die.

Sindi's game companion was her awesome teddy bear, Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear. (if you get the pun in his name, i am mentally high-fiving you right about now.)

my game companion was quite obviously Squishy Darren the penguin... he has no pun in his name, but he makes up for it in sheer fantasticness.

i just simply heart Scrabble.

and, as it turns out, i had some birthday luck and managed to win the game! woohoo :)
please appreciate the way i score... writing down the word/s that each player plays in each round. you know you think it's amazing.

and then my birthday weekend ended... and life returned to normal ;)

Friday, January 28, 2011

a poladroid birthday: episode 2

welcome, friends, to the second edition of my birthday posts :)

in case you missed the first edition, last Friday - the 21st - was my birthday! yay for birthdays :) after all the morning happiness that went down, i had a fairly normal time. we went to my mom's school for the day, and i got to hang out with some of the coolest kids on the planet. we ate cupcakes with the Grade 3s - my mom's class - and i got a couple super-cute cards from them.

after school, i invited a whole bunch of friends over for an informal tea-and-cake fun time. i decided a couple days before my birthday that i ought to have SOME kind of celebration, and since i hadn't planned a party, i thought a tea party would do just as well. here follows a few photos of the tea celebrations - unfortunately, i didn't get a lot of shots of my friends that came over, but this'll do!

first off, how cool are these cupcakes? my sister can claim full responsibility for their awesomeness - she baked them and decorated them. i only stuck the candles into them. but hey.

i was a little concerned that some peeps who hadn't been over to my house in a while might try to come in through the front door. that would be logical, right? but our new main entrance is to the side of our building, through the kitchen. so i decided to make a poster showing people exactly where to go. don't mind the fact that the arrow is really REALLY dysfunctional.

aren't my mom and my sister the cutest?

...and once again, Sindi can boast full responsibility for the amazing decoration of my cake. i baked the two layers... but they looked less than half this gorgeous before she took over, icing and melting chocolate and placing M&Ms... in rainbow order and everything. *shakes head in amazement*

this is Mpilo (aka Lilo). we have been BFF for over five years, and i love her, and i will always love her. she brought me Lindt chocolate... and balloons. i nearly died.

remember how super-awesome those cupcakes looked up at the top of this post? betcha didn't think the candles on them were just as, if not more, legit! i'm a pyromaniac, so relighting candles are right up my alley. every time i'd blow one out only for it to relight, i would give a half-crazed giggle and grin in a neurotic way. i'm sure it was something to behold.

...just in case you were interested, this is what i wore for most of my birthday. and yes, that's my floral fiesta dress! it's happifying, isn't it?

of course, i had to try on my new tee, and then i decided to pose with some cupcakes.

and then, i didn't take any more photos. but we ate ribs and chips and watched How To Train Your Dragon and i fell in love with: a) Hiccup; and b) Toothless. such a precious movie!

and that concludes my ACTUAL birthday festivities... but just you wait till you see what celebrations occurred during the weekend :) in other words -

stay tuned for episode 3!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a poladroid birthday: episode 1

get excited...
i'm eighteen!
:) :) :)

my birthday was on Friday last week, and i had the funnest day. i took a ton of photos... and so i'm splitting my birthday up into several posts, so as not to completely overwhelm you with the obscene amount of pictures goin' down.

this post is gonna revolve around my presents. because we all know half the fun of a birthday is the presents you get. okay with you? cool.
every year, whenever it's someone's birthday in our family, we wake up super-early (i'm talking about 5AM here, folks) and gather in my parents' room - more specifically, we pile onto their bed - to sing "Happy Birthday" in a merry fashion and then...
OPEN PRESENTS! *cue evil laughter*

this year, my family had the funnest idea. they bought a big, beautiful box and filled it with 17 gifts of assorted value and size. with the box itself counted as one of the gifts, they ended up getting me 18 awesome presents! i loved it :) so, without further ado, here they are: my birthday gifts!

by the way, how gorgeous is the box they picked out for me? i love it!

just three words: om nom nom.

this gift cracked me up... but they're extremely useful, especially when you're as uncoordinated as i am ;)

it reads: "Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."

who gets this cultural reference? i'll give you a clue... it involves Topher Grace :)

the single most useful things on the planet when you want to wear sneakers "without" socks. they're so sneaky!

the pun is so appreciated. i can't wait to give someone a FootNote! who wants one?

yeah, i'm only a little obsessed with Softlips. i can't get my favourite favourite Softlips in SA - the pomegranate one - but i love ALL their "flavours" - tasty and good for lips, too :)

i should explain... i don't want to cut up the magazine cause i hate it. it's a decentish magazine... not my favourite, but it'll do. but i LOVE cutting up magazines! i cut out cute pictures and fun fonts and use them when i write letters or make collages. so fun and relaxing! (yeah, i'm weird... i know.)

oh, hi there, loveliness. it's a wonder i don't eat you, you smell so good. and you make me smell good. and you make me feel good. wow.

E.L. Konigsburg rocks. she writes such cool literature for young people! and i know that now that i've "come of age" (psssh, whatever) i should be reading more high-minded stuff... but i say "phooey" to that. and return to my Young Adult Lit :)

is this not the most beautiful thing your eyes have ever beheld? is it not? i cannot stand its greatness. that is all.

just in case you didn't already know, my favourite animals are penguins. hands down, no competition. if i could have a pet penguin... i would. as it is, i'll settle for having an enormous stuffed penguin, a penguin pendant, a little metal-crafted penguin who sits on my window sill, two pairs of penguin earrings, a penguin on my keychain, a penguin brooch... are you getting the idea? thus, this present basically made me squee with sheer delight. now when it is dark, i can reach for my darling little penguin torch! how much funner will this make my life? lots, i say... lots.

i love roses. and i love hair clips... but most of the time, they do not look awesome in my hair. just a thing. not this one though - not only is it beautiful by itself, but it looks really lovely clipped in my hair! this is such good news, friends. i wore it in my hair on my birthday and it made me feel wonderful :)

okay, i love all of the gifts i received. but i love this one ESPECIALLY. for the longest time, i've been looking for a James Dean poster - one with his classic quote, "Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today." the amount of trouble my sister went into to get me this poster just makes it that much more special - she purchased what was supposedly the last poster in stock, only to find out that it was actually a New Moon poster that had been mislabeled. so she returned to the shop, explained what happened and asked them to trade. turns out the only one they had left was the one in the display case - and she got them to take it out of the case and give it to her! how cool is she?!

these are too cool for school. because who doesn't want to wear cute cartoony elephants as ear art? they just make me feel happy inside :)

um, hello. best thing ever? i think so. it comes with little cupcake cases, an icing piping kit and a whole bunch of other really cute baking implements! it rocks!

my last gift is really beautiful - a little heart made of stone (i think...). i adore it!

and then, of course...
the obligatory snuggle that closes off the gift-opening ceremony ;)

doesn't my family rock?