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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sunshine on steroids and end of year blues

I have been teaching since 1992 and I have loved every minute of it. Every year at this time though I get very nostalgic as I am preparing to say goodbye to my class who are going off to big school.

Every year I make a DVD slide show of pictures I have taken of them during the year and as I watch their happy little faces I feel like a little part of me is going away. These are my children, yes I call them mine, because that’s what it feels like. I have worked with them all year for 4hours every day and they have become a part of me. Each child is unique and each class brings something new and different. Each child has different strengths and all of them have lovely qualities. To name a few: I have a boy who has the most enquiring mind, he never stops asking questions, then there is another boy whose smile is so big that his whole face lights up. There is the little girl who is loving and affectionate she is always making me little drawings. I could go on and on about each child and find at least one wonderful thing about them.  And then there is one little girl who just stands out, not as a favourite or anything like that, but just because she has taught me something amazing this year.
She is the most cheerful little girl I have ever met. She loves everything and approaches all activities with such enthusiasm and joy. She arrives every morning with a big smile and gives a big hug. Then enquires about our activities for the day and when I tell her she just gushes with excitement. She is like cheerful on steroids. I call her my little ray of sunshine.  I have only ever seen her unhappy once, and that was because her dad was away and she was missing him. Her attitude towards everything is so positive and she is caring and kind towards her fellow students.

Last night was our class gym display and at the end when I was saying goodbye to everyone in the doorway, this little girl turned to me and said: “Oh teacher, look the sky is pink, it’s so pretty” I looked up and saw that it was. And you know what, had she not pointed it out to me I probably would not have noticed. As I was driving home last night I marvelled at how pretty the sky was.

This little girl has taught me to look for the good in everything and have a positive attitude towards life. I hope she never loses her sunshine.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A life full of rewards

Monday evening I had a moment of shear euphoria, yes I was happy. In fact I was so happy I had a fit of laughter, the kind of uncontrollable laughter that left me with a headache and aching tummy.  And then of course in true Karen tradition I had to over think this phenomenon, why am I so happy and how did I get here?

I started thinking about rewards and what the term “to live a rewarding life” really means. We all (whether we realise it or not) do things based on a reward system. We work all month to claim our reward of a salary at the end of it. You see rewards are great incentives. We enter competitions in the hope of being rewarded with a prize. There are businesses whose marketing involves some kind of reward system should you join their mailing list and what not. Buy in bulk and you are rewarded with a discount. Buy a magazine and you get rewarded with a free pair of sunglasses etc. Rewards are everywhere and in almost everything we do.

One thing I have learnt about human beings is that no matter where in the world you live, who you are as a person and despite cultural differences, there are two things everyone needs:
1.        The need to feel loved
2.        To feel good about yourself
Everyone wants to feel loved, whether it’s  in an adult relationship with a partner, the love of a pet or simply the love of a parent, everyone needs to feel loved by someone or something other than themselves.
Feeling good about yourself, everyone loves to feel good, in fact it is even better when you are feeling great. That feeling you get when you leave the hair salon and your hair is perfect and you feel awesome. The feeling you get when a new outfit fits just right in all the right places and makes you feel sexy. When you are praised for a job well done, you feel on top of the world. I could go on and on about feeling good about yourself, but you get the picture.

Then there is the unselfish act, the one that you do to help someone else feel good and expect no reward.  When you help someone in need with no expectation of them returning the favour, a true act of kindness.
 Even in those moments, there is a reward. Even if you don’t want one, there is, because it is in those moments that we feel good about ourselves. Not in an arrogant way where we smugly proclaim to the world, I am a good person, see I just helped someone. No, it’s in those unseen moments when we genuinely have compassion and want to make a difference for totally unselfish reasons. Even in those times we are rewarded.

 That is the true meaning of living a rewarding life.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

new beginnings

It is arbor week this week and planting new trees always reminds me of new beginnings, so I wrote a poem about divorce and starting over.

Trapped I feel trapped and I just want to break free
Because deep down inside, I know that this is not how my life is supposed to be
But how do I do it? This is a humongous task

Where do I go from here? Who do I ask?

The voices say don't look at the obstacles ahead
Focus only on one small step at a time instead

My mind is racing, I don’t know what to do
I don’t know what I am or who

How did I get so lost inside
Where did I go, where did me hide

Who is this person I have become
I really don't like her not even some

Time to change my life's direction
And start liking my own reflection

Looking back I must admit

My life as it is now is a much better fit

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Tree house was collapsing

Scott challenged me to write a blog post/story using the phrase: The tree house was collapsing.
So here is my pitiful effort. (Read with a southern accent)

Mama said her life has been filled with sadness. When grammy and gramps got divorced she thought she had done something wrong. Later on she learned that some things in life just don’t go well together and that her parents were one of those things.

Lately mama has been sadder than usual, crying all the time and sometimes for no reason at all. Daddy says it’s something that happens to women when they get older, something to do with hormones. I hope I never get hormones when I get older.

Lenny (short for Lenard) and me are almost ten years old, we are twins, but not the kind you can tell just by looking at us. Mama says it’s ‘cos God knew she couldn't  handle being pregnant twice so he gave her a two for one special.

Daddy built us a tree house when we were five years old; it was made out of old pine boxes and has a bamboo roof. I love that old tree house; it’s where Lenny and I have spent most of our time playing. At least it was until Lenny fell out of the tree last summer and broke his leg. The doctor said it will take some time to heal. Lenny hasn’t been able to play in it for a while since he can’t rightly climb up the ladder. So I decided to redecorate it with pink pillows and call it my castle. My friend Shireen and I play princess princess in there every chance we get.

I don’t know why mama cries all the time, Aunt Emma says it’s ‘cos mama feels like her whole world is falling apart.  I can’t imagine what that must feel like. I think it would be as if the tree house was collapsing. I think it’s ‘cos daddy works so hard for us and comes home late at night.

Last week daddy came home very late and I heard mama yelling at him that he smelled of cheap perfume. I thought it was kinda thoughtful of daddy to make himself smell nice for mama before he came home. She just didn’t appreciate it I suppose. Grownups are kinda weird I guess.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Be Brave

You are braver than you think
Stronger than you can ever imagine
Wiser now than before
You feel broken, but you can be mended
You feel lost, but good people can help you find your way again
Speak out, for yourself!!! for all those who have not yet found their voice
Be brave
                                             Karen Meyer

I shared this video last week, this song has just struck a chord with me.
Every time I hear it I think of all those rape survivors who are hurting and not speaking
out. I chose the copy with the lyrics in it, because these words resonate with me.

Please listen to this song and read the words, and you will know what I mean.

Words can heal, use them.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sexist tendencies, no way

I love my teaching job and I have been doing it since 1992, so I am pretty confident (without sounding obnoxious) that I know what I am doing and that I am a pretty good teacher, but every now and then a kid comes along and challenges me. Yesterday a little boy in my class asked me a question, that actually made me question(doubt) that what I am teaching my class is the right thing.

I have always tried to cultivate an atmosphere of gender equality in my classroom. I teach that girls can be engineers, pilots etc and boys can play with dolls and so on.(who knows they may make great dads one day) So imagine my surprise when a kid asks me something so trivial yet it makes me think twice.

Yesterday, just before outside time, I announced, like I always do: "Alright girls go put your message book in your bags, then go outside to play" Once all the girls have gone, I always let the boys do the same. Then just after my announcement one of the boys put his hand up and asked: "Teacher, why do you always let the girls go first?" .....stumped.....

 I never really thought about it before, it was just the way I always did things. I looked at him, at a loss for words and suddenly thought; am I cultivating a sexist environment?

I turned to him and replied: "Well because it is the polite thing to do, by letting the ladies go first you are showing that you have good manners." He responded by saying; "Ok"

Now I know this may seem trivial and my answer was good enough, but it got me thinking. I have to be so careful of my actions as a teacher, what I do impacts these little lives so much ( I have always known this) but never questioned it before.  I also don't want women to be seen as the weaker sex, but am merely teaching my class to respect women.

I have since then decided, that he has a valid point and that from now on, I will alternate, by allowing girls first one day then boys first the next. After all, I do try and teach equality as much as I can.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hell hath no fury like.......

So this morning I decided to tidy up my huge pile of old magazines (I know being on school holiday is soooo exciting) Anything that was a year old had to go, unless of course it had articles in it written by my brilliant fiance.  Then I came across a magazine (the name of which I will not mention for fear of being charged with defamation) which I really enjoy and receive monthly. This issue was 18 months old and I wondered why I kept it so long, until I paged through it and then I remembered! It was a reminder.

I had submitted an article to the features editor of said magazine for their consideration and after waiting a month for a reply, received a polite, no thanks. At the time I thought, Oh well at least I tried. As I know I am not a great writer, but sometimes I do get great ideas.

Two months later this particular issue of said magazine came out and one of its main articles was the exact idea of mine. It was written by one of their staff writers, the words were very cleverly changed around so there was no actual plagiarism, but the idea and meaning was the same.

To say that I was miffed is and understatement, I mean how could they do that?

Could they not have used the idea I had and just edited the content profusely? with a small credit to the person who wrote the original?

I have no idea how this whole writer thing works, but I am pretty sure I am not the only one this has ever happened to.

Makes me feel a little like this:

"I am Jack's smirking revenge"
Fight Club

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The proposal (so unexpected)

Thursday 13th June 2013, such an emotional day! here's how it all unfolded.......

That afternoon I entered a competition on the radio and won some money, I told Scott about it and said that we could go out to dinner to celebrate. He suggested we got to Wakame as it is the place where we met. It was pouring with rain that day and when he got home I told him I didn't want to go to Wakame as it really is more of a sit-by-the-balcony-overlooking-the-sea-in-summer kind of place. Little did I know  he was planning to propose there. You see Scott is a hopeless romantic, one of the many reasons I love him so much. He had been looking for ways to propose for two months!!! He bought the ring in April and hid it from me. His first choice was to create a video of him singing a song and in the middle of the song, he would stop and propose. This was to be uploaded  to the Internet and scheduled to go live on my birthday (end of June) while we are on top of table mountain. Lovely idea, except it always rains on my birthday and the mountain is usually closed. He was running out of ideas and so decided tonight was the night.

Since I vetoed Wakame, we decided to go to a local dive for dinner, not the kind of place you want to propose in, so the plan had been foiled again. Then things turned ugly, we had a huge argument. The kind that leaves you crying and not wanting to talk to each other for a while. We got home from dinner and the argument continued, each side trying to make the other see his/her point of view. This was getting us nowhere, we kept going round and round the same issue. Eventually I had had enough, I put on my pink and white stripy pj's (the ones Scott likes to call my wheres wally outfit) and climbed into bed. This has been an emotional day so far, from being happy about my winnings, to this, I was spent and just didn't want to continue this argument any longer. Then Scott did something completely unexpected. He came around to my side of the bed, knelt down on one knee and pulled a small box out of his pocket. I looked up at him in disbelief and said "NOW? you are doing this NOW?" He looked at me and said "Yes,............ Karen will you marry me?"
my beautiful ring

I looked back at him and said "Seriously? dude, you could not have picked a worse time"  He stayed there, on one knee took the ring out of the box and held it up to me and said "So will you?"

I looked at this man whom I have loved for as long as I have known him, but hated just a few minutes ago and realised that no matter what, I do actually want to marry him.  And so I said "Yes! I do want to marry you"

We hugged, we cried, we kissed and then we hugged some more. I ran to call my gran, my mom and tell the whole world. I was elated!

Later that evening I asked Scott, " What if I had said no, not because I didn't
want to marry you, but just to spite you because at that moment in time I was mad at you? " He then told me that he had been planning this for a long time, he wanted it to be the best most romantic proposal ever, but suddenly right there in the middle of our argument he suddenly thought, if in our darkest moment, when we are at our lowest point with each other, I love him enough to say yes, even when I hate him (not really) I still want to marry him, then he knows it's for keeps. He said that was the big test of our love for each other, that if we still wanted to be with each other in those horrible times, then we could survive anything together as a couple. (heart melt right there)

That to me, was the most romantic thing ever!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

who would have thought....

Life has certainly been unpredictable for me the last 20 years or so. I would never have imagined being where I am today. I would have laughed in the face of anyone who told me 5 years ago I would be divorced after 22 years of marriage. I would have thought you mad if you even hinted that I would be 'shacking up" with the man of my dreams ( visions of my ex pastor shaking his head at me) and the thought of me selling houses for a living, that is just preposterous.  But the biggest surprise in my life has got to be my daughters.

10 years ago my daughters were teenagers!!!! they were the most trying times of my life, from the time they both turned 13 till around 17 years of age, they gave me nothing but grief. So imagine my surprise when they actually turn out to be healthy stable grown up individuals who are now also mothers. Not just any mothers mind you, really good ones, who love their child with every ounce they have, who put their child's needs first and make me beam with pride.

This mother's day I would like to acknowledge them.

Cherilyn: Who would have thought, this defiant, cheeky, cocky teenager would produce such a happy beautiful little girl. You tested my patience, you fought with me(literally) and constantly. I was amazed by your ingenuity when you used your butter knife to unscrew the burglar bars and escape your bedroom after I grounded you. I could see then your strength of character, but never imagined you as having a soft nurturing side. I have watched you grow and mature and admire the way you face the constant struggle of being a single mom. The love you have for your daughter knows no bounds and the way you can be strong and independent yet gentle and nurturing towards her is wonderful. You are a great mom!!  Who would have thought!

Melissa: From a sweet caring little girl, to a stubborn strong willed teen, your transformation has been completely unpredictable. From hanging with a rough crowd, to meeting a lovely boy and getting married.
I was initially blindsided by your choice of lifestyle, I never showed it, but I had my doubts about your choices. Turns out you know what is best for you and it shows by the intelligent choices you have made so far.  Your amazing transformation from Melissa to Yasmin has made me realise that you are in control of your life and it is definitely going according to plan. It could not have been easy changing your whole belief system, but you made it seem like it was nothing. I am in awe of all you have achieved through your studies and watching you blossom into adulthood has been a privilege. You make family life seem so easy and yet you have to juggle being a wife a mother and a university student daily. Your love for your daughter is evident in the way you care for her every need. I can see you have great plans for her future and the determination to see them through. Who would have thought.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY GIRLS may your daughters one day, bring you as much joy as you have brought to me x

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to boil a frog

I was told once that the way to boil a frog is not to put him directly into hot water as he will just jump right out. Instead put him in a tall pot of tepid water, where he feels comfortable and slowly, very slowly turn up the heat.

An so I think it has become with our society, these images on the news of bombings rapes and war have become the norm. Our children are growing up with these images and stories and eventually will become desensitized to it.
With all this violence and rape in the media and the hundreds of outraged citizens, you would think someone would have come up with a brilliant plan to eradicate it by now.

We all know something must be done about it, but no one knows how. The only thing we can do in the meantime is try and teach our kids respect, tolerance and self discipline.

When the rap stars are singing about bitches and hoes, our sons will respect women. When religious fanatics are telling them to fight anyone who opposes their belief, our sons will show tolerance.

And self discipline, this one is extremely important, when that hot chick comes onto him in the club and they go back to his place but just in the thick of things she changes her mind, he will show self discipline and respect her no. Even if he doesn't respect her or what she is wearing, the NO is to be respected.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stop looking

Single women out there who constantly whine about not having a relationship or a man in their life and expect him to drop into their lap, just stop!!!

Ok if you are single that may have sounded a little harsh, but let me explain.....

I have watched some women on social media complaining endlessly about the lack of good men out there and moan about being lonely. Yes I agree being lonely is no fun, we all want someone to spoon with or to cuddle late at night, I get it and I really understand.

What I don't understand is this constant need to find THE ONE. I have seen woman make status after status groaning about ''when will I find the one, I need a boyfriend, am I destined to be alone forever?"

The problem is this: you need to stop 'looking' and go out and have fun.

I did some research and asked almost every couple I know, (and I know a lot of people) how they met.

Apart from one couple who met through a dating site, everyone else had met their partner at a time when they were not really going out actively looking for one. It was either a friend of a friend, or they met in a bar while having drinks with the girls. A work colleague who introduced them. Or through some form of customer service connection. Some met at university while others were friends of their partners siblings.

The point is this: All of these people were simply out there, living their lives. Having fun and hanging out with friends when they met their respective partners.

I mean it stands to reason that the special guy you are meant to be with is not going to land in your lap while you are at home complaining about being lonely. Go out, have fun, hang with some mates. Get a hobby that will expose you to more people. The more contact you have with other people the greater your chances of meeting them and maybe some day when you least expect it, one of those people will end up spending a lifetime with you.

Live life!!! Be!!! socialise!!!! and attract the right person.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Just keep swimming

An ode to Dory from Nemo....

I dived in all excited and a little nervous, new adventure all that.
The water was so cold, I felt it sting a little against my skin, no worries my body will adjust to the cold soon enough.
I swam, and swam and swam....

My body grew weary, am I near the end yet?  I can't see anything, just dark cold water, all around me.
I swam on and on an on.... like there was no tomorrow.

My mind began to grow weary, just as my body had a long time ago. The relentless tides, wave upon wave crashing down upon me. I held my head as long as I could till eventually the waves became bigger than me.

It was so cold, cold, wet and relentless.

My chest hurt as I struggled to breathe. Water kept flowing into my face, I swallowed some, it was salty and the burn on my chest became almost unbearable.

I looked up there in the distance, I can see it! the horizon. It looked beautiful, with the promise of warmth and hope.

I pushed on, tired weary and almost broken.

My eyes felt heavy I wanted to close them forever and not have to worry about moving my arms about to keep me afloat. If I could just stop and rest, yes just for a little while.

I felt myself sinking, deeper and deeper, the darkness overtaking me, the sweet sweet feeling of rest.

I floated towards the bottom, when suddenly I realised I was drowning.

I panicked, kicked my feet as hard as I could, flapped my arms around me and ascended towards the top again. Must..... not...give...up

I reached the surface, took a long deep gasp and carried on....

Just keep swimming I told myself, until one day....the tide has consumed me.