Why I blog...

I use this blog as a kind of therapy. Sometimes I'm happy and want to share it, sometimes it's just a random thought and sometimes it's to deal with things in my past. After all a burden shared is a burden halved

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Handle with care

She was so tired; the last few weeks of work were insanely busy. So many last minute things to do, but tomorrow would be the start of her holiday, she could not wait. Kay closed her eyes out of sheer exhaustion and fell instantly asleep

She awoke with all the excitement a seven year old could have on Christmas morning. She heard her mom calling her, “Are you awake Kay? Come to the living room we have a surprise for you” She ran to the living room as fast as her little legs could carry her, heart pounding with excitement. “Merry Christmas sweetheart” said her mom and dad in unison. “Do you want to open your presents?” said her dad. She looked at them and shouted “Yes, yes, yes, but first you have to open yours okay” She handed her mom and dad their gifts and watched with great anticipation as they opened them. Mom received a hand drawn picture in a photo frame made out of cardboard and macaroni. “Its beautiful honey” she said and gave Kay a hug. “Now you, dad” she said. He opened it calmly, looked at the empty tin can covered in brown paper and colourful stickers and said “What is it honey?”  “It’s for your desk daddy, you put your pens in it” she said. “Ah, just what I need” he said and gave her a kiss on her forehead “Now you have to open yours “He said gently.

She opened the biggest present that was under the tree and squealed with excitement as she discovered its contents. “It’s the Rapunzel Barbie with the flowing long golden hair!” she exclaimed, “thank you, thank you, thank you, it’s just what I wanted”. Then something shiny caught her eye. It was sitting to the centre of the tree all alone, hints of silver streaming from it. “What’s that?” she said, pointing to the little silver box in the corner with a big pink ribbon on top of it.

“I don’t know honey” said mom with a puzzled look on her face. Dad looked at the mysterious box and then at mom with suspicion. Mom met his gaze and shook her head and shrugged her shoulders as if to signify that she too was just as flummoxed by the appearance of this little box. Was it from Father Christmas? She thought, did he really exist? Mom turned to her and said “Well why don’t you open it and find out?” almost as if she was reading Kay’s thoughts. She walked over to it, picked it up carefully and placed it on her lap. She shook it gently, and then sniffed it, as if that would give her some clue as to its origin. She looked at the pink bow; it was the most perfect bow she had ever seen as if it was formed in a factory, both sides in perfect symmetry. On the side of the box was a little card that read, For K.

She tugged ever so gently at the ribbon, being careful not to tear it. As the bow unfolded and the ribbon fell silently to the ground, she began peeling back the silver paper. “What is it?” said mom. A stream of light flooded the room, “I don’t know” Kay replied. Then Kay woke up.

She sat up in bed, looked at the bedside table, the alarm clock read 4:25. Dammit, she thought what a dream. Then it caught her eye, the little silver box with its perfectly formed ribbon. She reached for it, hands trembling and immediately ripped open the box.

As she stared down at this gift, she heard an audible voice from within it saying; “This is your future Kay”.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift! That’s why it’s called the present.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The unpaid babysitter

As the year draws to a close and people everywhere have a million and one end-of-year functions to attend more and more parents find themselves in need of the services of a good babysitter. I have been babysitting for many years and found it to be quite lucrative. Then I thought, being a parent is much like being a babysitter, except that there is no one to relieve you at the end of your shift (the hours are sporadic at best). There is no salary (a big minus if you need money to survive) and the responsibility of ensuring that this little being is reared in the best way possible is as great as if you were the CEO of a major corporation.
So why do we do it then? Why do we go through all that pain (and believe me there is pain, they don’t call it labour for nothing) of childbirth for something that seems to have little to no reward?  And why would parents who have more than one child do it over and over again?

Because there is a reward, one that is far beyond anything you can ever imagine. It may not be measured in monetary terms or seem to be of much worth in this materialistic world, but is much greater than you could perceive.

My children are all grown up now and it has not all been a bed of roses. There were times when I thought the hospital they were born in had made a horrible mistake and given me the wrong children.  The one thing that has remained constant is that I love them unconditionally. It’s not something you plan, it just happens right from the moment they are born (and sometimes for parent’s right from the time they find out they are with child). When you hold your little baby in your arms you are overwhelmed by so many things. You immediately know that you will do everything in your power to love and protect him to the best of your ability. You may never be the best parent in the world but I reckon that as long as you strive to do your best that is good enough.

So how about those rewards I mentioned then? Well….You will receive great joy in seeing your child’s first smile, it has been known to be quite infectious you can’t resist smiling back. You will enjoy (yes enjoy) being drooled on and having bits of food all over your clothes when he first learns to eat solids. First steps are always exciting, thank goodness he has a nappy to land on when he stumbles. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Then we get to the pre-school years….You will be entitled to receive very cute hand made mother’s day cards with lots of squiggly drawings that only your child can decipher. You will fill with pride watching him on stage at his very own nursery school concert where you just know (even though he may only have a minor role) he will be the star. When he puts his arms around you and says “I love you mommy” the feeling you will have inside your heart is so great you will feel like you have just won the biggest lottery on earth. It gets better and better as he grows into his own, and you get to watch how this little individual is becoming a grown up person. You will fill with pride at his many achievements and be there to help him along when he has doubts and sorrows.

I could go on and on about the many rewards of being a parent, but, for, me the only thing better than being a parent is being a grandparent.

Below is a Face book message I received from my daughter a week after her little girl was born:

Hey mommy, I just wanted to say THANK YOU! For putting up with us 3. I can only now understand and have a deeper appreciation for how difficult it must be being a mom. I love you. I really am having a hard time adjusting, but taking it every day at a time. *mwah* I really am grateful for everything you have done. xx your daughter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What if

It was a quarter past midnight when she heard the noise. She sat up startled and listened, yes it was the sound of the telephone ringing. It was downstairs in the hallway, far away from her warm comfortable bed upstairs. Should she get it? She wondered.  
It was the middle of winter and freezing, the temperature downstairs was sure to be almost sub zero. And anyway if she got up now it would take her forever to fall asleep again afterwards, and she had work in the morning. No let it ring she thought. Again it persisted, “ring ring” who the hell could it be at this late hour?

Then she jumped up, remembering the words of her mom, “this is the death hour. No one calls you after 11pm on a week night unless someone you know or close to you has died”

Oh dear she thought, what if it is serious? What if something bad has happened to someone she loves?  Still the ring persisted. It must be important, she thought or they wouldn’t keep ringing. She got out of bed, slipped on her gown and stumbled down the stairs barefoot. Clutching her trembling body tight, as if to keep all warmth from escaping.

She got to the bottom of the stairs in record speed, almost tripping on the last step.

As she reached down to pick up the telephone receiver, it stopped. “Hello, hello, anyone there?” she said.
Dial tone.

Disappointed she trudged back upstairs with a sigh. Now I won’t be able to get back to sleep at all she thought. As her mind raced around all the possibilities of who the caller was and their reason for calling.

I have often sat down and played the ‘what if” game with myself. I’m sure you all know that game, the one where you think of all the decisions you have made and wondered, what if I had made a different one. I have also been in situations where my intuition tells me one thing and I have ignored it and had to suffer the consequences.

No one has the luxury of a 100% guarantee. I’m sure every divorced couple will tell you that the day they said “I do” they honestly thought it would last forever.

Life throws darts our way and most of the time we try and duck out of the way, occasionally getting hit in the process. But we heal in time and we carry on and sometimes just sometimes we are brave enough to pick up that dart and throw it back.

No more regrets, missed opportunities or what if. get out of your comfort zone and take a chance on life.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Blogger event

Last night Scott and I attended the Kodak Cape town Blogger event. It was great fun and I won two prizes! A cute Kodak camera and T-shirt from The friends of design Digital Academy.

Because Scott works in Town, and we had an hour to kill before the event started we thought it would be a good idea (it wasn’t) if we met at Neighbourhood for a few pre-event drinks. Dinner was the farthest thing from our minds, this would come back to bite us on the ass later.

Upon arrival at the Blogger event, we were all given a number to be kept for the lucky draw later and a complimentary glass of wine. Note that we had already had a few drinks prior to our arrival, oh and did I mention the one glass of wine I had before I left the house. The evening went well, lots of people received prizes as did I when my number was drawn out of a champagne bucket. Then they served a few horsdeuvres and topped up our wine glasses (more free wine). Then Phillip Schmid from Friends of design announced that he had 10 free T-shirts to give away if you checked in at Friends of Design on foursquare.

Now If you are on foursquare you will know that when you type in a venue, it will bring up about 5 different ones in that same vicinity and it can be very easy for someone (say like me) to scroll down your blackberry and click on the wrong one by accident. Especially if your vision is a little blurry and your fingers not so steady from beer, wine and an empty stomach. I clicked on what I thought was friends of design and when I saw that I had checked in I went to Phillip and proudly announced that I had. He was very polite and reminded me that I won a prize from them at the last blogger event. I replied: “but I checked in”. He then gave me a T-shirt. I was stoked; Scott was not too impressed that I had won again. I gloated and may have used the phrase ‘been there done that AND got the T-shirt’. Yes I know very cliché.

Well, this morning we woke up to discover that we were both suffering from a debilitating disease called Alcoholic Amnesia. Yes this is very serious; it affects about 1 in every 5 people who like to partake in such things as complimentary drinks on an empty stomach and beer. The symptoms are; memory loss, feeling of embarrassment, severe headaches and dryness of the mouth (or fuzzy tongue as it is known in medical circles). The side effects; the excruciating pain of tagged faceboook notifications, and strange status updates. Early indications; Waking up in the morning and saying stuff like “how did I get here? Where am I? Where are my keys and (in Scotts case) I can’t find my cell phone and cigarettes.

For me the worst side effect is undoubtedly the feeling of guilt! I checked my twitter timeline this morning to see if I had made any embarrassing drunken tweets last night only to discover I was still on foursquare. I had to my horror not in fact checked in at Friends of Design last night, but into some place called the Null. Now I have know idea where or what the Null is, but I feel so ashamed for having claimed a prize for which I was not worthy. And so to Phillip and the People at Friends of Design my sincere apologies. I did check in this morning at 3:45 when I woke up!

The photo above (taken on my new camera)is of Amanda and I with our T-shirts.

Monday, October 3, 2011

5 generations of AWESOME

5 generations of Awesome

It doesn’t happen every day and it doesn’t happen to everyone, in our family there are 5 generations of AWESOME women (yes we are that awesome I had to use caps!).

The day my daughter came home from hospital with my second grandchild we all got together to welcome her, it was at this gathering we realized that there were 5 generations of women in one room. Now I know you probably thinking so what? Your family breeds like rabbits and this is special? Well it’s just that I know quite a few people who have never even had the chance of meeting their grandparents let alone great grandparents. So when you have the chance to meet your great great grandmother it’s pretty awesome.

Ok so we may have cheated a little by having our children very young. My gran had my mom at 18 (she was married by then) my mom had me at 17; I had my first daughter at 16. And yes as you can see by the rapid progression of age declining I was a bit nervous when my daughter turned 15. I think I may have threatened her with death should she come home pregnant at 15! Luckily both my daughters waited till after 20 to have their babies breaking the teenage cycle.

These women in our family are strong; we have been through much in our lifetime and remain a formidable force to be reckoned with. I am proud to have a young at heart 78year old granny and I told her if she can hang in there another 20 years, till my granddaughters have daughters of their own. Who knows there may just be 6 generations of awesome to celebrate.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My most embarrassing moments and the one that is cringe worthy

Thinking back on things the other day, I thought about embarrassing things that have happened to me in my lifetime. There are quite a few and I won’t bore you with all of them and then of course there is that one that is THE most embarrassing of all.

There were the few usual falling down of stairs while wearing ridiculously high heels, a couple of foot in mouth episodes and of course an unfortunate bird pooping on my head incident, whilst trying to teach a Sunday school lesson outside in the sun. Needless to say class momentum was lost and the lesson, well who knows what, if anything, they remember of it. (I certainly don’t).

But then there is the piece de resistance, the crème de la crème of all embarrassing moments and now (nervously) I am going to share it openly with you.

This was about 15 years ago and while I was still married. My husband at the time decided to buy me an adult toy (yes, ok it was a vibrator if you must know). This was intended to spice things up a little. I never used it and so he put away. We didn’t have the original packaging for it anymore so he put it in the inside pocket of his leather jacket.
This was a very heavy (read- expensive) black leather jacket that he received as a gift from a close friend. He never wore it as it was too thick and heavy, and so the jacket along with its raunchy content sat forlorn in the cupboard for about 5 years.

One day my grandmother (who still thinks I am a sweet little angel and that’s the way I like it) came to visit, my ex had put on a little weight by then and said that he had a few items of clothing that were too tight for him and that my gran could take them for my grandpa as they were still in excellent condition. My gran was overjoyed and so my ex began unpacking his cupboard of clothes that he no longer wore.

In the meantime I went to the kitchen to make some coffee for us all. When I came back to the bedroom there was a pile of shirts, T-shirts and some other items of clothing on the bed. I grabbed a few shopping bags and helped my grandmother put these items into the bags for her to take home. Right at the bottom of the pile was the black leather jacket. I (and my ex I guess) had forgotten what was inside of it. My grandmother picked up the jacket and said: “ooh this is a nice jacket”. Then she proceeded to feel inside the jacket pocket. She felt something and put her hand inside and whipped out the vibrator, and said: “oh what’s this?” I looked at her, my face turned about 10 shades of beetroot red and said, “oh I dunno, it’s not mine”. I very quickly (I think the speed-of-light springs to mind) grabbed it out of her hand and put it into the bedside table drawer. I gave her, her coffee and changed the subject.

Now I have told you mine, why don't you tell me your most embarrassing moment! I know you wanna ;-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The first week

It was on a very cold and rainy Monday evening that I moved in with my boyfriend. Everything I owned of value, crammed into my car. I couldn’t quite believe that I had actually done it. I left the only home I had known since I was 16 years old. This was a huge step for me. Monday night we were still in a bit of shock, but happy to be together. Tuesday night we were still very much in the “I still can’t believe I am here” phase, but also very much in our little love bubble. Wednesday night he thought (being the considerate person that he is) he had better let his ex know that his girlfriend was now living with him. Not just out of courtesy, but also because they share the parenting of their three children. Also it would be an appropriate time for her to voice any concerns she may have about the person who was going to be spending time with her children. This went well and she had no objections. Thursday evening (while still in the love bubble phase) he remembered that it was HIS weekend with the kids and the fret of how they were going to react set in. Friday evening, the kids arrived!

He set about calling them aside to explain to them that I was now living with him. I remember their reaction and the way he so lovingly set about his grand explanation.

“Now guys, you remember my friend Karen” he began, “yes dad” they said in unison.“Well Karen and I like each other so much that she is now going to be living here with me”. “uhuh” they said, looking slightly confused, but not upset. (So far so good).

“Well you see, because when we don’t see each other then we miss each other and if she is living here then we can see each other all the time and we don’t have to miss each other anymore”. Then he looked at their faces to try and gauge their response. “Is that okay with you guys?” he asked.The two older children said it was fine with them and went off to do their own thing. Jonah (who was only recently 4 years old at the time) looked at me and said “why you living here?” and “where is your house?”

It was about four months later that he finally stopped asking me, “can we go to your house?” and “where is your house?”. It was quite sweet when James (the eldest who was 11 then) would answer him and say “this is her house Jonah, she lives here now”.

I think they took it very well in the end, and the way my boyfriend was so concerned about what his children would think about the whole situation just made me love him even more. He is such a caring and considerate daddy and I respect him as a parent. I think Hannah (the only girl ) really enjoys having another girl around when she comes to Dad’s house, she often likes to go through my jewelry and make-up. All in all a good fit: when the kids are here we all get along and when they are not we have ‘our’ time together.

It’s been a year and a bit since I made that giant leap and I have never been happier.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Women's Day

August 9th is women’s day; the whole country celebrates this day as the day women marched up to parliament to demand equal rights. I am very patriotic and love my country very much. I abhor things like racism and intolerance. That’s why it pains me to see things when they appear to be unconstitutional.

Our constitution states that women enjoy the same rights as men

Polygamy (in my opinion) infringes on this right, as women are not allowed to have more than one husband unlike their male counterpart, according to the SA legal system coupled with customary law.

Why then I ask myself is the president of our country allowed to be a polygamist?

In researching polygamy and the law, I have discovered that the law itself on this issue is vague. In order to obtain a marriage license to marry you have to produce a death certificate or certificate of divorce from your previous spouse before obtaining one. The president of our country is a polygamist, and uses his right to practice his beliefs under his cultural heritage as a way of allowing this.

This infuriates me. This is not your average Joe Soap from down the road, this is a man who is supposed to represent us as a country and what we as South Africans stand for. This is a man who is going to pay tribute to women around the world tomorrow in celebration of women’s day and yet he himself lives a lifestyle at odds with the constitution he has sworn to uphold.

On women’s day it is important to reflect on gender equality and women’s rights. Do you personally think that there is a conflict between the law, customary law, the constitution and the actions of our president?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Best Boss I ever had

4months ago the nursery school I teach at was sold by the owner and principal who has decided that at age 52 and after 15 years in the business it was time for her to retire. I was very fond of her and naturally was anxious at the prospect of a new boss. Fortunately I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that the new boss is just as if not even more lovely the previous one. This got me thinking about all my previous bosses and reminded me of my favorite one who is no longer with us. Her name was Nolene and she was the most wonderfully compassionate woman I have ever met. Her husband Neville was the district superintendent of al the churches of the Nazarene in the Western Cape (about 33 churches altogether at that point in time) He was also a minister. He reminded me of Bill Cosby because he had a great sense of humour, but mostly because he looked just like him.

Although they lived on a huge property (owned by the church for the purpose of housing the person in his position) and drove a Mercedes Benz, they led very simple lives. Nolene never wore any jewelry or make up and was as humble as they come. She was a great principal and boss. She ran a nursery school called The Little lighthouse (which was at the time also owned by one of the Nazarene churches). I had the privilege of starting my teaching career under her guidance.

One Sunday evening in 1996 on their way to preach at a church service a truck got a flat while driving alongside them on the R 600 on the way to Mitchell’s Plain. The driver of the truck lost control of the vehicle and it flipped over on its side landing right on top of Nolene and Neville’s Mercedes. Their two youngest children were in the back seat of the car with them, Alana-Lee aged 13 and Eugene aged 15. All four of them were crushed by the impact. Nolene, Neville and Alana-Lee died instantly but Eugene managed to hang on, but later died in the early hours of Monday morning.

We received a phone call Sunday telling us they were involved in an accident and that we should all pray for the family. Later that evening we received another phone call telling us they had passed away. That was a bad night for me I could not sleep a wink. Monday morning I opened up the school as I usually did (I did the early shift so I opened the school every morning). I told each parent as they arrived and asked them to please tell their child at home that evening. We figured that would be best as each parent deals with the topic of death differently and the news should come from them. The school had approximately 80 children and every one of them was very fond on ‘aunty Nolene’ as they affectionately called her.

The next evening was particularly harrowing for me, as I was asked by the governing body of the school to go to Nolene’s house on the Monday evening and get her set of school keys, the ones containing the office safe. As occasionally parents paid her fees late on a Friday afternoon she would keep it in the safe till Monday morning when she would go and bank it. I went over to the house and her two older sons Quentin and Stuart were there along with dozens of family, friends and other mourners. I had to ask Quentin the oldest son (age 22) for the keys. He said they were still in his mother’s handbag and that I should just go look in it and get it. I went through to her bedroom and found the bag on the bed. I looked inside and was crying as I scratched around looking for the keys as her bag was full of her blood. I also had to ask for the school’s industrial size pots (the ones we used to make the lunch meals for the children) as Nolene had borrowed them the Friday to cook for visiting ministers over the weekend. I went to the kitchen only to discover that relatives had made pots of curry in them for all the other relatives and mourners who had arrived to support the sons who were left behind. I felt so bad when they had to scrape the curry out into other dishes so I could take them with me and slinked out of there as quickly as possible.

I miss Nolene still even though it has been 15 years now, but the memories I have of her will remain with me forever.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


After reading my last

blog post, my boyfriend turned to me and said; “shew your posts are heavy, cant you blog about what you had for lunch?” I know he said it with a humoristic tone of voice and laughed, but I can’t help think he is right in some way. So I decided to share a little confession of mine with you..

Hi my name is Karen and I am a twaddict. It has been a half hour since my last tweet…..

Last Thursday evening I had a sudden realization, I am an addict. I am addicted to twitter. This poses no serious threat to me physically, but can and sometimes does infringe on my emotional state of mind. You see I have a confession to make, I have a pet peeve. The one thing I truly cannot stand is to be left out. I hate the ‘not knowing’. If you start a sentence and don’t finish it, or say oh never mind I will hound you till you tell me what it was you were going to say. I NEED to know.

I need to know to the point that if left wondering I will wonder all night long and not sleep, with my mind playing over all the possibilities (usually the wrong ones) of what it was you were thinking of saying. Yes I hear you say under your breath, with a slight cough, OCD much. But this is a problem for me. And since twitter is constant and the conversation is always going on whether I am there or not, I end up missing stuff when I am not on and find it most irritating. As you can imagine this does mess with IRL (in real life) activities from time to time. Especially when you have household chores to do or books to read and you go on twitter just to say hi and 3hours go by.

So I decided to take a little twit break. Well, I lasted a whopping 4 days! I must just say that I was extremely productive in those 4 days. I baked up a storm, shopped, read and even started knitting! (I kid you not). As you can imagine the more productive I became the more hollow the feeling that grew inside me became. I missed my tweeple!!

I realized some things in life just can’t be fought. I am a social person and if I can’t be at every doorstep visiting with a freshly knitted scarf or box of baked oat cookies and jelly; the best I can do is tweet you to say hi.

If social media is helping me fulfill a very social part of me, who am I to go against it. As long as of course I do see people outside of twitter (which I do frequently). I am through fighting things that are against my very nature and am just going to be true to what is the essence of me and tweet.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I can say; "never again"

I remember the events of that day so vividly as if they only happened yesterday. Me lying on the bed in my favorite outfit (the last one I would ever wear) hands trembling as I held the gun up to my temple. I remember the perspiration, so much nervous perspiration. It was November 24th 2000. Today was going to be the day I ended my life.

I had it all planned out, I would take my then husband’s police issue 9mm Beretta and shoot myself in the head. Quick and easy, and it would all be over in a matter of seconds.

I had thought about this for a month now: how I was going to do it, where I would do it and what would the best method be. I thought about cutting my wrists, but I was too much of a coward to actually hurt myself and there most definitely would be pain. Pain…..hhmm that kind of defeats the object when you are trying to get rid of pain right?

I thought of hanging myself with a rope, but where? The garage beams seemed the best choice, but again with my luck they were probably old and rotten and I would just end up breaking the beam and my legs too. I thought about taking a bunch of tablets, oooh swallow some pills and drift off into an endless peaceful sleep. There again no luck, the strongest thing I had in my poor excuse for a medicine cabinet was panado.

So the only solution was the gun. I knew how to cock it, you simply pull the top lever back till it clicks then you aim and shoot. Easy peasy.

I wrote letters to all my loved ones (the ones I thought would actually care) so no one would be in any doubt about what had happened. How considerate I was in the planning of my suicide, I thought. A note to my grandparents for all the love and support they have given me over the years. A note to my children, telling them how much I loved them and that it was not their fault. A note to my husband telling him there was nothing he could have done to have prevented it and finally a note to my pastor telling her not to blame herself for not noticing the signs.

And now the day had arrived! I lay on my bed, ready to say goodbye to the world. I contemplated the best way to do it. Should I put the gun in my mouth for maximum damage or point it against the side of my temple. I put the gun in my mouth and not liking the taste of the metal I decided the temple was best. I propped the pillows up behind my head and squeezed the trigger. BANG!!!!

I will never forget the sound of the shot; it was the loudest sound I have ever heard. I looked down, I was still alive, what the….how? I looked at the gun, still firmly in my grip. My elbow had slipped down the pillow and I had shot the window above my bed. There was a very distinctive hole in the window. I heard a loud ringing noise in my right ear. Nervously I giggled at my own clumsiness of not even getting that right, so I cocked the gun once again, but this time I could not bring myself to pull the trigger. I lay there crying, a big pool of nervous perspiration and tears and that’s how he found me when he came home from gym that day. The sound of the gunshot was too much for my eardrum to bear and I could not hear out of that ear for a week afterwards.

That window still has that hole in it today, it was to be a reminder to me of how close I came to ending my life.

I have been told many times that I am so optimistic about life, and yes I am! I love life and the experience I had on that day is the reason why. After that day I made a promise to myself and to my God that I will never ever again allow circumstances or issues in my life to get me so low that I am at the point of even contemplating suicide. Never ever again!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The meeting!!!!! (note the excitement)

The meeting

So on Saturday the 9th of July (quite a momentous date in my life as it was previously my wedding day) I met my sisters.

I waited for them at the table at Vida café a few minutes early so I could secure a table where I would be able to see them approaching. I was nervous as hell, not sure why though I mean after all I was the older sibling, but still nervous and fidgety I was. And then they arrived!

The younger one arrived first, all smiles and sweetness, then the older of the two. First thing that struck me was how pretty they are, and skinny (clearly I didn’t get that gene). The next thing I noticed was the similarities, we all had certain similar features and mannerisms.

They both admitted to being just as nervous and from then on we just relaxed. I apologized for the way in which I broke the news to them and they accepted my apology with protest, “after all we deserved to know” they both said.

I told them that dad (it still sounds weird saying it out loud) had called me the night before, but I had missed his call and I wondered if he knew about our meeting. “Oh yes” they said, “And he is shitting bricks right now stressing about it”.

We went into an hour of catching up and getting to know one another, but to be honest I could have sat there all day. We have so much to tell each other and so much to learn about one another that I sense many more get-togethers in the near future.

They spoke about their family life and from what I gathered they sound like a pretty tight-knit group. I liked them instantly and wanted to know more about them, they seem like such sweet, gentle women; not a mean bone in their bodies.

We said goodbye with the promise of a big family braai and meeting each other’s children, sometime soon. I am happy at this point in my life. I have a wonderful man who loves me, 3 beautiful children (two of whom are about to become mothers themselves) a job I enjoy and now two new sisters, a father and a step-mom all wanting to be a part of my life and having me be a part of theirs.

Later that evening dad called me and asked how it went. I told him it went well and I think that his daughters are lovely. He said, “Yes all my children are”. Then he said one of them called him after our meeting and told him, “Daddy, we like her”.

So as one side of the story comes to a closure, a whole new beginning has opened up for me as I now look forward to meeting the husbands and children and getting to know them all a little better.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


(part 1 here, part 2 here)

Part 3……..
So the moment of truth is finally here!!!!

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I finally have the DNA results.

Today he called me out of the blue and said “Hi, the results came back today”. I was a bit in shock and said “What? How do you know?” He told me that he had received an email this afternoon with the results. I said (still in shock) “really. That’s weird I didn’t get an email, and all my mail comes directly to my blackberry.” Then he said “Well, don’t you want to know the results?

“Yes, yes of course” I said “what is it?” Deep breath………………………

“Well I can call you daughter and you can call me dad” he said. I said “Wow, awesome. So what did it say exactly?” and he said that it just said Parentage a match. Then he started a sentence with “I don’t know how…… (Stopped mid sentence, then continued with) I can never make up for all the time….” I stopped him there and reassured him that this was not about that. I told him that I was never lacking a father as my step father was wonderful. This was much bigger than just the two of us. I wanted to get to know my sisters, if they were interested in getting to know me.

I reassured him that I would not contact them first and allow them to decide if they want to be a part of my life and vice versa. He asked me if I was happy with the result. I said yes, that it was a big relief and that now there is no more doubt. “Yes no more doubt, no more question mark “he added.

He then told me, he has not even spoken to his wife and daughters yet, (my step mom and sisters!!! It finally sunk in) he wanted to tell me first.

He said he was happy with the result.
I said thank you so much for letting me know and said goodbye.

Exhale…………… I felt elated, excited and weird all at the same time. Why did I have such a huge physical reaction to confirmation of something I have known all my life? I mean this isn’t news to me. Then I realized, it was because had the news been the opposite my whole life would have had a new question mark. There is a lot to be said for closure, it is truly a beautiful thing. Also there is the excitement of new family, two sisters (aunties for my children) and their children (cousins for my children).

What’s even more weird is that I find myself gaining two new sisters on the eve of the 3rd anniversary of my sister (on my mom’s side) death. Tomorrow marks 3 years since my sister took her own life, I miss her so much.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Reason and my CSI moment

Part 2

So the (bio) dad came to visit. I was filled with pre-visit anxiety. I wasn’t sure if he was going to be angry with me for telling his daughters, I wondered if he was going to crap all over me. My boyfriend was beside me all the way and said he would stay with me in case things went pear shaped. (I flipping love this man! So caring and supportive, I would be utterly lost without him). So back to ‘dad’-> I wondered if he was ashamed of me, I mean why else wouldn’t he have told his daughters, they had a right to know…..right?

Was I his dirty little secret? His skeleton in the closet? Or maybe he just couldn’t be bothered with me, just a blast from his past. I didn’t know him well enough to presume what his frame of mind would be at this time, so my own mind ran away with wild assumption.

Then he arrived. He looked exactly the same as he did the last time I saw him, approximately 7 years ago. He told me first off that his daughters were angry with him and their mom to a certain degree. (Uh Oh that can’t be good). They felt as thought they had been lied to their whole life and didn’t much care that this was kept from them. He said the older (and more skeptical) of the two told him he needed to apologize to me (you go sis). -Phew ‘sigh of relief’ Things may not go pear shaped after all. Digressing for a moment-> have you ever wondered why that phrase exists? I mean what’s so wrong with a pear’s shape anyway?

Ok so where was I…..

So (bio) dad apologized and began to explain why he never told them. He said that he had a doubt that he was my father (big shock for me). As we know my mom was a teenager in the 70’s with raging hormones and more than one partner. So when I was 10 (that fateful weekend) he took me for a blood test in the hopes of clearing the matter up. My mom was always quite adamant that he was my father and he just wanted to make sure for his family and his own piece of mind. (fair enough) I do remember going to town with him and having blood taken, at the time of course I had no idea what it was for after all I was 10.

He said that the blood test came back as inconclusive

. He said, all it said was that ‘it didn’t rule out the possibility of parenthood’. This was not convincing enough for him. Then he asked what else he could do to get a more conclusive result and was told he would need to bring mother and daughter into a UCT lab for bone, skin and loads of other such analysis. He felt at the time he could not do that to a 10 year old and so he left it. He explained how he lived with this doubt all of my life (38yrs) never knowing if he really was my father or not.

Stop and think about that for a moment……..Imagine not knowing something as life changing as that for 38 YEARS!!!! ->hectic

I told him he could have come to me at any point and explain this to me, I mean I haven’t been that 10 year old for quite some time and as an adult I would have totally understood. Needless to say I cried a little, and he (lump in his throat and a slight teary look in his eyes) just said, “I know that was my mistake I am sorry”.

So there I had it, the teal reason why he never told them. Of course I understand, but this new found information didn’t really make me feel better. On the contrary… I now felt as though my whole life had a slight question mark to it.

Then he said, “I’m going to ask you to do this one thing for me and if you agree to it, then we will take things form there.” I said “sure what is it?”.

It turns out he had ordered a DNA paternity test kit online and wanted me to take it with him once it arrived. Of course I agreed I mean after all, I didn’t want to live with the ‘not knowing’ a minute longer. So he left and returned a week later with his wife and test kit in hand.

It was quite an easy test really, I was very nervous beforehand and my boyfriend would not kiss me all night until after, for fear of getting his DNA mixed with mine and contaminating the sample. All we had to do was fill in all our information and take a swab of tissue from the inside of our mouths, being careful not to touch the ends of the sticks and placing them in the right envelopes.

Then he left. I received an email a week later saying they were processing the samples and I should have an answer in 3weeks.

Now we wait.

Part 3 –results.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Secret Sister Saga

So as I have stated in a previous blog entry, my mom and my biological dad had a one night fling, which resulted in…….well….me.

As I grew up I knew about my dad from early on, but was never apart of his life nor was he apart of mine. I was curious to meet him and eventually did. After that I met him on occasion and even spent a weekend at his home when I was 10. By then he was married and had two daughters aged 7 and 5 respectively. So being the 10 year old that I was (and desperate for siblings of my own) I blurted out to his daughters on the Sunday morning after spending the entire weekend with them as ‘a child of a friend’, that I was their sister.

Of course they didn’t believe me. They ran to their mom and asked her if it was true, she said I was lying. Further fuelling their disbelief. I now know that she was just protecting. Her daughters who were far too young to cope with the truth. She did promise to tell them when they were old enough to understand. Needless to say that was the last time I spent a weekend at my ‘dads’.

Fast forward 28years I am now 38years old. He has floated in and out of my life about 5 times in total. Roughly every 7 years or so he would pop by for an hour to visit my kids or I would do a ‘drive by” visit to his house. I would pack the kids I the car, drive up to his house, send my son to knock on the door and ask for Mr. so and so and then sit in the car and wait for him to come out (being careful not to upset the wife and kids). He would come over to the car and I would say “look how big your grandchildren are getting”. He would smile and say “hi, I promise to come visit”. But never did.

It never phased me much as I had the most wonderful stepdad. I was truly blessed as my Grandparents were my earliest parental figures until my mom settled down from her wild ways and got married and took over that role. I was given a stepdad who treated me as if I was his own flesh and blood. So it was not like I was lacking in the father figure department.

Years went by and I always wondered why my sisters from my (bio) dad side never contacted me. Surely they would want to meet me? Or my children? (Their nieces and nephew). As much as I wanted to meet them. Apparently not.

Every two years or so I would try and look them up. I did a drive by ‘dads’ house in 2008 only to find he no longer lived there. I had no idea where he lived, no phone number to contact him on. I tried to Google him or his daughters, but I had no idea if they were married and what their new surname would be. I tried Facebook, but that too was fruitless without proper surnames. I gave up and carried on with my life and forgot about them for a while.

2011: In April this year I got a Facebook message from someone with the same surname as him. She said “a friend of mine says we are related”. It turns out she was ‘his’ niece.

Eureka I told her how I was related to her and that I wanted to track down that side of my family. I was totally overjoyed at my new found family member. Through her connection I managed to befriend one of my ‘sisters’ on Facebook. It turned out they had both indeed gotten married and had different surnames. I sent the one who accepted my friend request a private message. Telling her that we were sisters. Of course this was quite a shock for her and she contacted her older sister. The older sister (obviously the more skeptical of the two) messaged me with the “do you have proof to back up your statement?” attitude. I counteracted with “ask your dad”.

Well the next day I received a phone call from said ‘dad’ saying “I need to see you”.

End of part one…

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

my life is sometimes like a seesaw

I have often thought of what it must be like to be bi-polar, that's probably because sometimes I feel like I am or at least my life does.
Isn't it weird how things seem to happen in bulk amounts. For instance if you buy a new car, suddenly you notice so many of the same make of car on the road. It's as if now they are being mass produced and paraded around in front of you just to say, your car isn't special.
Or when you hear of a death or pregnancy. Suddenly in one week 3 people have died or every second high school friend is expecting.
That old expression 'it never rains, but it pours' springs to mind.
I am a Pre-school teacher, so my only real skill is getting along with children. So to supplement my income I au-pair afternoons and babysit on a regular basis.
The financial climate at present dictates that I do this as often as possible.
Some months I am fully booked every weekend, even getting 3 or 4 calls for bookings on the same night. Then there is the proverbial 'salticrax' month, when no-one can afford to go out and pay a babysitter.
Strange how things often come in 'all or nothing' packaging.
You cant be a little bit dead/pregnant, you either are or you are not.
Extremes seem to be the norm in my life. The problem with this is that when I am up on a high it's great, but when I am down, I am really low. I am not even glass half empty instead I am glass is completely empty.
A little bi-polar? maybe, who knows? Only one thing I can be sure of, when its good it's very very good and when its bad I have two choices; face it head on and come through stronger for it, or run for cover and wade it out hoping it will pass quickly until its good again.
Here is a line form a movie called, Tenderness (crap movie, but great line)
There are two kinds of people in this world. Those that run towards pleasure and those that run away from pain.
Pleasure helps you forget the pain, but pain makes you hopeful, because while you're going through it you think "surely this can't last, at some point it must come to an end".

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

closure and moving on

Deep Breath; inhale……..

Dear ex husband:

I’m so sorry that I hurt you

I’m sorry I caused you pain

You were the one I was meant to spend the rest of my life with, the one I pledged my vows to. We were meant to grow old together. I loved you; I really loved you with all my heart.

Alas this was not meant to be, not the way things worked out. Sometimes life changes course. It’s no use looking at how it unfolded with tons and tons of remorse.

Communication was lacking and it’s not anyone’s fault I should have communicated to you how I was feeling, but I had become so good at concealing.

Now its time we both move on, now that the initial hurt is gone away. I choose to remember the good times we had, I choose them over all the bad.

I wish you all the happiness this world could offer, for I have found it in the arms of another. I wish you a love that knows no bounds, one like I have found, one that know no bounds.

I wish you peace and comfort, health and wealth too. These wishes really come from my my heart. From me to you.


Monday, April 11, 2011



You know that feeling when you are drunk and the room is spinning at 20km per hour and you feel like you wanna hurl. Or when you’re a kid and you spin yourself round and round till you get dizzy and can’t walk a straight line? Yeah feelings are kinda weird like that, they come and go with every circumstance or situation you may find yourself in at that moment in time.

Pain: The feeling when you have the most excruciating toothache and there is nothing you can take to relieve the pain. Or the thickest needle you can imagine going through your spine when the nurse gives you a lumber puncture because your mom thinks you have meningitis and you are eight years old (true story). The pains of childbirth as you go into labour, or the burning sensation from liquid nitrogen as your warts are being burnt off at the age of 11 (another true story).

Hurt: The feeling you get when you realize your best friend has betrayed you, when someone you cared about deeply, says something derogatory about your weight or your personality. The feeling you get when you are six years old and no one wants to be your friend.

Guilt: The feeling you feel when you have done something wrong and you know you need to make amends. When you have said something bad about someone and you instantly regret it. The feeling you feel after being raped, even though it wasn’t your fault somehow you still think it was.

Sad: That feeling when someone you were close to, dies and you know you will never get to see them again. (Not in this life anyway). When you leave a job you have been in for many years and say goodbye to colleagues and friends. When you feel down for no reason and feel the urge to cry and you just don’t know why ( depression). When you watch a movie and something awful happens to the main character and it strikes a chord with you and you are overwhelmed by your emotions. When you watch your loved one suffer form Alzheimers robbing them of everything they used to be and you can see the deterioration of everything they were slipping away one memory loss at a time. When someone you love is hurting or ill and there is nothing you can do about it.

Angry: When you are so spitting mad you could literally stab someone (preferably with a real sharp instrument). That time of the month when everything irritates you and everyone around you had better steer clear. When your kid is disobedient to the point of disrespect.

Hate....Fear....Disgust....... I could go on and on,

But……….then there is also;

Love: That feeling when everything is just right with the world. When you meet that special person with whom you want to share every moment with and hang on their every word. When your soul seems to connect with theirs and despite war in the Middle East, dictatorship in Africa and poverty and hunger the world is just a perfect place to live in and you can find nothing wrong with life.

Happiness: When everything seems to be going right, friends are many and life is just great. You have financial security.

Joy: That feeling when the labour pains have ceased and you hold that tiny baby in your arms for the first time (pure elation). When you get that promotion, job accolade or prize or win that prize you had your eye on for a long time. When your kid looks into your eyes and says “I love you mommy, this much” and stretches their arms out as wide as they possibly can.

Sexy: That feeling when someone you are attracted to gives you that look (yeah you know what look im talking about). The nervous giggle just before the end of a date and you know there is going to be that awkward ‘do I kiss him or not’ moment. When you slip into that little black number and it feels so good you turn into a flirt machine oozing sex appeal. When you find your partner so attractive you just wanna pounce on him like a tigress on heat. ‘hhhhhmmmmm’…………….

Oops sorry lost in thought there for a moment!

So feelings are real and we have them all the time, but they are fickle and come and go as easily as a healthy bank balance. Sure if we had the choice we would all like to just have the last few and skip the first 5. But without those negative feelings we can’t really appreciate the positive ones. And the fact that we as humans can experience all of these complex emotions some of the time just shows us we are alive.

I am happy to be alive whatever that means and I am taking life one day at a time whatever comes my way.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

10 things I hate about you

To no one in general, but someone specific:

1. I hate that you are so darn cute and irresistible. I am completely smitten by your charms.

2. I hate that you are so talented and yet undiscovered. Your talents are like a precious gift to this world, yet unopened. Like the last piece of cake on a plate waiting for someone to take it.

3. I hate that you sometimes feel despondent, It makes me feel helpless and inadequate.

4. I hate that you can do so many things so well yet doubt your abilities in doing them. I know it is a good quality to be humble I know, but it frustrates me at times.

5. I hate that you put my feelings first and never consider yours important.

6. I hate that I can never get into your head. Your thoughts are an enigma to me, and when they spill over into the written word I am amazed and often pleasantly surprised by what is revealed.

7. I hate that you find all my imperfections special and attractive, especially when I am pointing them out to you in the hope you would agree with me.

8. I hate that I cant give you everything you truly deserve.

9. I hate that your piercing green eyes can look right through to my soul and it excites me.

10. Most of all I hate that you will never know the true depths of how much I love you, because there is not enough words, deeds or actions to show you. There is nothing conceivable that will measure up to the way in which I am totally and unashamedly in love with you!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentines Day

I don't normally do a 'diary' type of blog, you know the kind of one that chronologically records all of your events. Usually its just ramblings from my inner thoughts, but since Monday was valentines day I thought it fitting to share mine with you.

As this was our first valentines day together my boyfriend and I naturally wanted it to be special. By the way i abhor the word 'boyfriend' it sounds so juvinile and conjours up mental images of teenagers in high school. I much prefer something like partner in life and love, but that is quite a mouthful when it comes to introducing your fellow to people, but I digress. So back to Monday the 14th of february, which as fate would have it falls smack bam in the middle of the month when funds are usually low and momentum is waning. I had ordered a gift for him via kalahari.net (a first for me) What a pleasure using that site, just enter your details, choose your item and click, what could be easier. If I was planning on becoming a hermit this would definately be my medium of choice for shopping. Fortunately I am a people person, so no danger of that happening soon. Anyway as I was saying I ordered the gift at the end of January thinking two weeks for delivery and it should arrive in time for valentines day, but to my suprise (and a little shock) it arrived within 48 hours. So he didnt actually receive anything tangible from me on the actual day. Not to worry we love each other and still wanted to make it special. Well when I arrived home there was a brand new bedspread waiting for me (because the previous one that took us 4 months to find and agree upon came to a very ugly end, but that is a story for another day). On the bedspread were 9 little hand cut hearts with these words written on them: I love you Karen with all my heart love Scott (instant heartmelt). At the end of the heart trail was a gift wrapped box with a red ribbon on it, and inside was a gift set of my favorite perfume with a matching body lotion. This in itself was a wonderful surprise and I would have been happy there and then.

But you know what presents and surprises aside the very best part of the entire day, was when we went to look at a house, and came home full of hope and joy. We sat on the couch discussing possibilities for the future one in which we will share a life together and where it could take us. We were excited, elated, full of hope and most importantly of all in love! deeply completely and madly in love with each other.

I leave you with this beautiful poem I found by Frances Gay:

When you have a key, you need a lock in which the key will fit
when you have a lock, you need a door in which the lock will sit
when you have a door, you need a wall in which the door will stand
when you have four walls, you need a roof to make your house look grand
when you have your house just right for you, you can settle and never roam
but with all these things you need a mate, to make your house a home

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Random Childhood Memories

Isn't it wierd the things you remember from your childhood? Why is it, that some things you remember, and some you dont? Like a dream. We dream, on average, every single night; some dreams you can't remember, but others are so vivid, you can't help but remember them in great detail. I often have childhood memories popping into my head from time to time. Why these particular memories, I don't know.

Like: A boy named Sasha Harris, who stabbed me in the thigh with a pencil (Yes- I remembered his full name) I still have the broken tip of his pencil stuck in my leg. This happened in grade two/standard four. Or an incident when I was ten, when I thought I was going to bleed to death, and cried all day. Because a two year old girl from Sunday school named Nicole (yes, I remember her name, too) pulled on my mole, and it bled. You see, my mom always told me, if I pulled it, I could bleed to death. So here's me: Crying for my impending death, as I watched it bleed all day.

Or the time when I learned to swim in Hermanus, at the age of seven. I was swimming in the sea with my cousin, when I stepped down, and the water level suddenly went over my head. I remember the feeling of almost drowning, and, in my panic, I jumped on my cousin's head, and pushed her under the water. That's when my aunt grabbed me, and said: Right. Today you will learn to swim. And by late afternoon, I could swim froggy style.

My best friend, at the time, when I was ten, Rene- I was sleeping over at her house, but I heard noises in the night, and we woke her dad up. He jumped out of bed, and went through the house in stealth mode, looking for an intruder. In his underpants. Turns out, it was just some branches in the wind, but the sight of my friend's father, with his skinny frame, in his "onnies", will haunt me forever.

One of my mom's early boyfriends taking me for a ride on his motorbike, to impress her.

Meeting my biological dad at the age of nine, for the first time. And realising how much I resembled him irritated his new wife.

Feeling smug, when I threatened a bunch of bullies who were teasing my cousins.

Having an argument with the local cafe owner's son. and being told to leave the shop.

Sleeping in my grandfather's VW combi in Bain's Kloof, because it poured with rain and our tent leaked.

Having a giant mural of Maya the Bee on my wall when I was seven, because that was the in thing to watch at the time.

Singing "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" at the top of my voice, whenever it came on the radio- my mom bragging to all of her friends that I knew all of the words, and demanding impromptu performances. (Why do parents do that- myself included?)

I suppose, if I really sat down and thought about it, I could go on and on. But I digress- because the point of this blog entry is simply to point out the pure randomness of these thoughts, and how strange it is, that some just stick with you forever, and others, you simply forget, as time goes by. I suppose, that these thoughts will be with me forever, until, one day, I don't remember anything anymore.

What do you think your children's random memories will be, when they're grown up?

"To be in your child's thoughts and memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today".