Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's 3 o'clock and Daddy's Nowhere to be Found

It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you are wrenched from sleep by the distinct sound of your child whimpering from their room. You dash down the hall, only to find you’re too late and not only have a child to soothe, but a mess to clean up. This is the start of a potentially long day. We’ve all been there, and it doesn’t shape up into anything pleasant, but what about if Daddy is nowhere to be found?
If you are a single parent with another child to tend to, and start your day like this, then life might be a wee bit miserable for the day. And while it might not bring much comfort, you are not alone. According to Statistics Canada’s 2006 records, 15.9 % of all families in Canada were lone-parent families. That’s 1,414,060 single-parent families within our borders[1]. There’s a lot of potential for a logistical nightmare, if those families tending to an ailing child, also have to provide for other children as well. With brains racing through the previously planned activities of the day, such as shuttling children to school, or getting to that big game, what do you do with your sick child that has their head hung in the toilet?

[1] 2006 Census – Statistics Canada

Well in my case, I hold the garbage can for my little girl's head, and pray that the bug doesn't spread beyond her. It is one thing to have an ill child, but to follow one sick child with another, or even to fall pray to illness myself, makes life more than tricky. I don't want to go down that road. I am hoping for blue skies in my tomorrow, but we shall see.

Today I begged a favour from a neighbour to watch the poor pasty girl and ran the other to school, then hunkered down for the day. I managed to still be productive between bouts of dry heaves, by working on this article (see beginning of it above) for the class that I had to cancel this evening. Laundry got done, but the icky smells in the house made that a priority, so I don't claim to be a superhero there. I kept a water glass filled and held hair out of the line of fire. I was here to help, but was mostly helpless to stop the ills of the day. It had to run its course.

Now I am tired. My sleep was interrupted and the flow of my day was far from ideal. My child was ill and I sat back and watched, offering what little support I could. I feel melancholy and alone at the end of this day. I have supports, but these are the days when I miss the normal that "you" have. You two parent families. You single parent families that can call the missing parent back into the fold for crisis. You are blessed and I hope you cherish that. I survived, but am reminded of my loss again. Damn lonely day.

I am going to lay my weary body to bed. Kiss your children. Tell your partner you love them. Let's all hold the world a little closer in our hearts today.Tomorrow is a new day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Art is Named Tops

crinkled eyes hold thrill
a heart full to bursting as
Art is named tops and
One Stop Poetry stands
at pedestal for all

Congratulations to the team at One Stop Poetry for winning the Shorty award for Best in Arts this past weekend. You guys have worked so hard to highlight this wonderful forum that means so much to so many. You provide a wonderful service to us all. I am proud to be able to have one little piece of the One Stop Carpet to call my own. I am overjoyed for you all. Bask in your glory. You all deserve it.

Woohoo! Party time and OSW is buying rounds!!! Yeehaw!

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Ghost on Board

Bodies littered the filthy, open deck. Colourful sarongs tucked in close beside stunned chickens, and giant bags of God knows what.  It still amazed me that live chickens could be found everywhere. You saw them scratching in the dirt around rondavels, at market waiting to be plucked and fried, or sold to another for the same treatment. They were a common traveller on buses, and here too on the ferry sailing South to Monkey Bay.
The large checkered polyethylene bags, that were always stuffed to bursting, were an anomaly as well.  They could hold a traveller’s entire worldly possessions, or more likely, their wares to hawk at the market. Always dirty white with a blue or red  pattern, they adorned women’s arms and heads. It struck me that the men usually travelled much lighter, leaving the heavy work to the women.
Chickens and plastic totes were not the only thing that the women travelled with. Everywhere you looked,  babies clung quietly to women’s backs or chests. You never heard them crying or making a fuss, but perhaps that was due to their close proximity to the most important person in their lives; Mother. These mothers seemingly did not even notice the addition to their load. Babies were a constant and just a part of who these women were. It was only age that released them from that burden.
The men on the other hand, had it comparatively easy. No babies or children clung to them, and luggage was left to the women. They could be seen engrossed in a  game of bao just about anywhere. Even here, I could see a few games set up in various corners of the ferry, before we even left shore. Their factions were boisterous and held the air of a party. I wouldn’t doubt that a carton of Chibuku or two were being imbibed. They loved their shake shake, but despite giving it a try, I was not a convert to the millet beer. The taste of the sludge was not worth the possible effects that could be gleaned from drinking it.
I was not offered any now though. At present, I was curled onto a little bench that I clung to. We had left Nkhata Bay at 3PM. There was to be a stop at Senga Bay and a few other little ports, before we reached Monkey Bay  at 6 or 7AM two days hence. It was a very long ferry ride and my white legs were the only ones that walked this boat. I was a ghost amongst a sea of black travellers. Curious eyes followed any movements I made, but the shy women made no attempt to speak to me. I pondered that it was not their place to speak, and certainly not to a foreigner. My inner voice gave thanks that I had not been born to their reality.
Without Brett by my side now, I silently watched the world go by. I prayed that my pack would not disappear overnight, as I shivered through the misty darkness on deck. I was glad to have it too, for the cool night air found me digging for extra clothes to put on, so I would survive my ordeal. The warm bodies of sleepy chickens looked inviting now, as I mentally willed warmth into my chilled limbs. And while I could have looked into an inner cabin for the voyage, my pockets were thin in change. So many others were willing to ride on deck, hence I deemed that I wasn’t above it myself. I looked around at the others that huddled about  and couldn’t help but contrast our stations though. Comparatively, I could have afforded better accommodations. Elusive sleep screamed my folly.
It would be a long unpleasant ride, ever vigilant of the filth and thieves that potentially lurked everywhere, but as long as this ferry did not sink, as the other had done a mere month before that, I would survive.

Sunday, March 27, 2011



Time yet to play
Time yet for song
Time yet to count
Time yet to read
Time yet for yawns
Time to protest
Time to

I am willing the children to let go of the weekend and ease into sleep. It is Sunday and I want to finish my last assignment for the week before heading to bed myself. 
Happy Sunday 160 to Monkey Man and all of you.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Anyone want to adopt a cat?

Awww, look at the cute kitty!

Haven't played along over at 6WS in a while either
so I am going to link in there too.

*Some days you just don't feel like playing along
and that's alright...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

This post
is number 500!
(minus the deleted entry due to spam up the ying-yang)
-aside from a picture of Grandma, you aren’t missing anything
I have also
been scribbling
My thoughts & ramblings
for two years
As of the end of March
(1st post - March 30th, 2009)
Exciting Times At
>< >< ><

Those are my 55 words for G-Man
but I thought I would celebrate
by re-posting a few pics
of the woman behind the
blinking cursor

Taken during renos that got a lot of blog play back in Jan 2010

There I am with my boyfriend on a date away from the computer

Loafing again - From Dec 2010 snowstorm

A Delightful take of me from Christmas 2010 (must have had a few drinks that day!)

Aha, the missing photo!
Now you are all caught up.

so grab a glass of something yummy,
as its Friday night
and I think
the fact that I have kept at this little writing experiment
for two years!
is worth celebrating!

may tomorrow bring you the heart
and wisdom that you desire

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shades of Blue

Can anything be so perfect
as the cerulean blue sky
cut against 
the stark yellow branches
that suggest Spring?

or the circular swirl
of a Ceil-coloured seashell
swept ashore
to be found 
by searching hands.

but these hands
have found the magic
in Maya blue
running to Palatinate
that flutters delicate wings
and my heart.

Ah, but my heart
loves this blue best.
Tiffany blue that wraps
around my child's
petite frame
and keeps her snug 
and warm
until Spring will finally break
at last

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Canadian Spring

Round about eleven
it started to snow.
As the flakes piled up
the ground disappeared below.

Alas and alack,
Spring's grip, far too loose
I shivered in nightgown
and begged for dreams to induce

In the wan light of day
I woke to winter a'fresh
back with vengeance galore
a thick shelf o'er all enmeshed.
Well, I should just relent
and make peace with my home
Tis Canada I live in
and this is Spring in its glory - OHM!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Late Winter Storm

A scant
four days ago
you gently peeked
through the snow.

As neighbours watched
you stretched up
towards the sky.

Without heed to crystals cold
a'strew amongst your path
you warmed thy promised leaves
for sun's rays you did grasp.

but woe to you today
as fresh chill has touched the air
and looking out yon window
snow has returned without a care

Blast for winter's grip
be gone from morrow's day!
we've enough of flurries trip
right kindly I say "Go Away!"


Looking out my window, I see that the snow the weather forecast warned of has arrived. 10-15cm! What!!! Poor tulips and daffodils won't know what to do with themselves.

Damn winter! Be gone already!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spare Me a Towel

The sun rose warm on another beautiful day in Malawi. I pushed the mosquito net aside from my sleepy cocoon and wandered out to join Brett for coffee on the verandah. Joey heard our muted conversation and hurried over to serve us our breakfast. I felt like royalty as I sipped on my freshly squeezed orange juice served by our attentive minion.  Nothing in life was as sweet as this day and I savoured every moment of it.
My day continued in a tranquil vein, as I headed out to the beach to catch up in my journal. I laid my towel in the shade, aware that the day would get hot soon enough. The hope was for a lazy day of swimming, writing and nothing more strenuous than that. My time in Mwaya Beach was coming to a close and I wanted to soak in every nuance of it.
I laid my handful of possessions down and strode into the gentle waters that lapped at my skin.  I dove into the warm lake and popped up for air, only to strikeout for the distant shore.
Aw, who was I kidding though? After several strong strokes, I paused to tread water and look around. A wisp of wind touched stately palms on shore and I caught sight of the housekeeper wandering over to clean our hut. I rolled onto my back and lazily kicked my feet, as I traced cloud shapes in the Malawian sky. A bird flew overhead gliding towards shore.  Life was perfect in this moment and I wanted it to last forever. My sun-warmed  smile filled the universe and I was at peace.
Eventually my fingers began to pickle though and I made my way back to shore. I laid down on my towel and picked up my pen to capture life around me. I became engrossed in recounting my experiences at school the day before and only looked up when I noticed a man walking by me on the beach. I looked up with a smile in greeting.
“Jambo”, he said.  “Hello”
“Hello,” I replied. “Beautiful day today.”
I noticed the net thrown over his shoulder and asked him if he was going fishing. He looked confused, so I pointed to the stringy bundle on his back.
“No,” he said. “I work at the Matete post office. This is my towel.”
His towel was nothing more than a few threads loosely strung together. He then proceeded to ask me for my towel. While my heart lurched, I had to say no. It was my only towel and a possession that I would continue to have need of for the foreseeable future. While I could afford to go and purchase a new one, I was still on a tight budget.  Comparatively, I was rich in their eyes. Just by my presence there alone. Handing them anything and everything would do little good in the greater scheme of things though. In Mozambique, the widespread aid organizations that handed out alms only helped to create a beggar society. I loathed the thought of the friendly people of Malawi following in those same footsteps.
My visitor took his leave with a smile. He wandered off to enjoy a bath in the lake and I was left to contemplate the economics of wealth in a continent largely unfamiliar with it. Back home, I had clothes and towels aplenty. More than enough to spare and share. I knew that hand-outs took their toll in pride though. I offered my good-will and that was enough for the day. I prayed that the warm heart of Africa could keep its special nature, and perhaps one day be able to proudly have more wealth to share with its people. Today though, it shared what it was able and I was grateful for all that Malawi was.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Hush of Nightfall

A little late, but I post 160 for Sunday night at Monkey Man's place.

The hush of nightfall
fills  the  house
and mind
a  calm
that  I hope
continues into sleep
and my week
of new ad-
into writing
for  my bread
and butter living

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Something for Me to Look Forward To - groan...

This one is for the ladies, but I am sure that it might get a giggle from you menfolk. They say you are supposed to start getting Mammograms at 40. After reading this email, I can't wait.


While conducting some business at the Court House, I overheard a
lady, who had been arrested for assaulting a Mammogram Technician,
say,  "Your Honor, I'm guilty but.....there were extenuating circumstances." 

The female Judge said, sarcastically, "I'd certainly like to
hear those extenuating circumstances."  I did too so, I listened as the
lady told her story.

"Your Honor, I had a mammogram appointment, which I actually
kept. I was met by this perky little clipboard carrier smiling from
  ear to ear and she tilted her head to one side and crooned, "Hi! I'm
Belinda! All I need you to do is step into this room right here, strip
to the waist, then slip on this gown. Everything clear?"

I'm thinking, "Belinda, try decaf. This ain't rocket science."
Belinda then skipped away to prepare the chamber of horrors.

With the right side finished, Belinda flipped me (literally) to
the left and said, "Hmmmm. Can you stand on your tippy toes and lean
in a tad so we can get everything?" Fine, I answered.

I was freezing, bruised, and out of air, so why not use the
remaining circulation in my legs and neck to finish me off? My body
was in a holding pattern that defied gravity (with my other breast wedged
between those two 4 inch pieces of square glass) when I heard and felt
a zap!

Complete darkness, the power was off!

Belinda said, "Uh-oh, maintenance is working, bet they hit a
snag." Then she headed for the door. 

"Excuse me! You're not leaving me in this vise alone are you?" I shouted.

Belinda kept going and said, "Oh, you fussy puppy...the door's
wide open so you'll have the emergency hall lights. I'll be right

Before I could shout NOOOO! She disappeared. And that's exactly
how Bubba and Earl, "maintenance men Extraordinaire" found
me...half-naked with part of me dangling from the Jaws of Life and the
other part smashed between glass!

After exchanging a polite Hi, how's it going type greeting,
Bubba (or possibly Earl) asked, to my utter disbelief, if I knew the
power was off.. 

Trying to disguise my hysteria, I replied with as much
calmness as possible, "Uh, yes, I did but thanks anyway."

"OK, you take care now" Bubba replied and waved good-bye as
though I'd been standing in the line at the grocery store.

Two hours later, Belinda breezes in wearing a sheepish grin.
Making no attempt to suppress her amusement, she said, "Oh I am sooo
sorry! The power came back on and I totally forgot about you! And
silly me, I went to lunch. Are we upset?"

And that, Your Honor, is exactly how her head ended up between
the clamps...."

The judge could hardly contain her laughter as she said "Case Dismissed!


Friday, March 18, 2011

A Reawakening

The snow melts
and waters flow.
A muddy sight
for cheery soul

Spring is near
and birds now sing
Life reawakes
rebirth begins

Clad in squishy boots
and wet snowpants
my girls point out
a line of ants

We follow close
And then we see
That all those ants
Have entered the home of ME!

^^^ ^^^ ^^^

Well G-Man, while I am thrilled that Winter seems to be retreating under Spring's imminent onslaught, I am not impressed that it has brought those little creatures to life. At least in my house. Yuck. Hate ants in the house. Better than in your pants though, I guess.

Happy Spring folks.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ting-sha bliss

A special moment of release
a favourite one
of my month
dis ahhh peers,
but the music

tones fill me up
beat in my heart
(when I cannot)
tender emotions
raise hairs, just as they 
let unseen 
energies slip away
like water scrubbing
the earth of my soul

energy unblocked
I am left limp
dazed in the beauty
of  this sound,
this moment

It happens every time
and yet I marvel
that there are hard niches
that can still release their hold
with our passion's beat
beat, beat, beat
all those pains,
strains with refrains

I am left
white with whimsy's

this smile born 
of God's release;
my penance
beaten on a drum
and given wings on
the tones of 
that ting-

I have been gone and super-busy the last week, but
found inspiration for a little free-verse
for my friends at One Shot Wednesday
via my monthly drum circle

Monday, March 14, 2011

No Chamba, No Marriage, Just School

Now though, I sat in front of hundreds of nervous pupils as they received their marks. I was at the end of a line of  the school’s twelve teachers, and tried to follow the proceedings as best I could. I was able to get the gist of the fact that they were reading out all the students marks from recent testing, and the results were not good. New testing formats had been implemented and it would seem that the majority of the students had failed. I silently wondered at the practice of reading grades aloud, so that everyone could hear how well or poorly one did, but then remembered their lack of supplies. They could not spare the paper to write down individual student's marks.

Once the dismal results had been read, speeches began.  I was lucky to get a quiet English synopsis of the speeches that the teachers addressed to the students. There was an announcement that a new junior primary school was to be opened the next term. It would only be for Standards one through three, but it would help to reduce the walk that some of the children had to make, and the hope was that the school could be expanded later. I was shocked to learn that some of the students had to walk upwards of four-and-a-half kilometers to school every day. The reality of that would be that many of those children would just not bother to make it all the way to school on many a day.

The Head Master continued and spoke of the ills of “chamba” or marijuana. I looked out at the children in front of me and was saddened that this was a reality that needed to be spoken, but glad to hear that the issue was being addressed. Another teacher spoke against the practice of early marriages. It would seem that many families married off their children young, so that there were fewer mouths to feed. The problem with that though, was that it only served to create new young mouths to feed.  When children begin having children at age 14 or 15, there was time enough to have quite a few babies.

I processed the experience the best I could through my translator, trying not to disrupt the proceedings. My head swam with the details and my heart ached at this very real picture of life in Malawi. All of these smiling faces in front of me held such beautiful promise, but their odds of success in the school system and later in life were bleak. Some of these children would continue on to high school. Even less would be able to attend university. As the ramifications threatened to overwhelm me, a young girl crept over and tugged at my skirt, reaching for my hand to touch. With a smile I returned to the present, and promised myself that I would not forget this day or the lessons that these genuine people offered me. The warm heart of Africa had stolen mine. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Day of Rest

brain empty of any

hint of cognitive thought

replaced by sinking sensation

that sambuca might not have been

such a good idea after all -

Thank God for McD's playland

Monkey Man, I swear I didn't ask for any of those shots, but I guess I didn't refuse them either. One of these days I am going to learn...
I am out of town visiting my sister, but am joining in for the Sunday 160. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Getting a Nod

Here was one of the emails that put a pretty big smile on my face this week. I wrote a book review earlier this week on Playing the Enemy. If you missed it you can go back here and check it out. Well, I thought it would be a nice thought to advise Mr. Carlin of my review, just for his own knowledge, so I went to his website, collected his email, and sent him a brief link to my review. And guess what?!

Here was his response, with my original email to him;


Thank you so much for sending this piece.  You zero in on the essence of the story quite beautifully. Love your word "panache". Wish I'd thought of it! So apt for Mandela. 

You also make a point in passing that SO frustrates me. That women may not read the book because of the rugby angle. Inevitable, I guess, though there's hardly any rugby at all there, in sporting terms. 

Anyway, thanks again and so happy the story moved you. 

www. johncarlin. eu

On 8 Mar 2011, at 18:28, Katherine Krige <> wrote:
Hello Mr Carlin

I just wanted to give you the courtesy to know that I wrote a book review on Playing the Enemy. I thought it was a fabulous book and it touched my heart. If you are interested, the link to it is here

Katherine Krige

I was even so bold as to respond to his email, which he again promptly (within 2hrs) sent response to;  

Interesting, your SA past!

And thank you for the impending promotional work!

All the best,


www. johncarlin. eu

On 9 Mar 2011, at 20:29, Katherine Krige <> wrote:
Hello John

Thank you so much for reading and responding to my post. I am glad that you liked my thoughts. 

As for the aspect of it being a "sports" book, I suppose that you will have that as a hurdle for readership. It is true that rugby plays a key character in your book (and I use character deliberately, as I think that the game is almost another character unto itself),  but the bigger story is obviously Mandela and the long-held rifts between the races in South Africa. Mandela purposely uses rugby as a leverage point, so it has a place in the book, but the marketing to a wider audience requires focus on the wider breadth of your tale. Of course, having a movie made about the book helps. 

I have to tell you that I have vested interests in the country myself, as my father was from South Africa. While he died when I was only five, the draw to the country stayed strong within my heart. I followed my heart and made a trek to South Africa in 1995, just a few short months after the rugby game that is the topic of your book. I have my own experiences of what the country looked like at that time, and heard many stories from various family members who were born and raised there. I loved how your book gave me more details of the political and socio-economic state of the country leading up to that point, and found myself re-evaluating my own experiences there. 

And as far as audience is concerned, your book will be discussed at my next (all-female) book club later this month. I for one will be giving it my thumbs up. Thanks again.

Katherine Krige

Well, that may not be very earth-shattering for many, but it tickled me that the author appreciated my small, little two-cents worth. Heck, he got a movie deal out of his book! And he took the time out of his day to respond to me. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. 

Just wanted to share, as it put a smile on my face. 

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Weather Systems Around the World

I woke up this morning to a world of white. Mother nature had dumped 5cm of snow on our city, with 20+expected before the end of the day. Argh! Enough already!

While disappointing, as a road trip is planned, the radio had worse news. Across the world Mother nature was wreaking much worse havoc. An earthquake measuring 8.9 on a Richter scale that only goes up to 10 hit Japan with a force to spawn tsunamis there and beyond. A nation not a stranger to earthquakes, this is the largest earthquake they have experienced since they began measuring 140 years ago.

When I turned on the radio at 8:30am (est), announcements of school bus cancellations were quickly superseded by evacuation reports from Hawaii, where a tsunami was expected to hit any time. Hundreds of people were killed and missing in Japan with damage probably running into the billions. Hawaii is still on high alert, but looks like it might be spared the worst of it.

I look back out my window at the snow steadily falling and cannot help but think that having to cancel a road trip is a pretty small price to pay. Life in perspective is a pretty heavy thing. My thoughts are with the people in Japan and beyond that are affected by this devastating disaster. Peace to them.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Winter Release

icy heart forgotten
by winter's refusal to
relent to spring
Melt those damn snowflakes already!
I'm craving the warmth within

I'm going to stomp my foot
and hold my breath
until snow melts
and gives way 
to just a 
little bit

but I am going to link in to OSW in the meantime

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation

Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation;
by John Carlin
(© John Carlin 2008; Penguin Books, 288 pages)

"One Team, One Country"; the slogan that brought the 1995 Springboks to victory on the rugby field, and more importantly, brought a country back together again, united under a new colourful flag as ONE people. Not an easy feat, and one that took years to bring to fore, but done with a compassion and panache that only one man could manage; Nelson Mandela.

"Playing The Enemy" is a book about rugby, but as the story unfolds, it holds so much more. Not one to follow rugby myself, I wondered if this month's book club pick would hold much interest for me. By the end, I felt like I was there in the stands as the final game was played on June 24, 1995. I was on the edge of my seat rooting for the boks with all my heart, aware that this game was so much bigger than just a mere rugger game. This game, played on the world stage, was a key piece in the defining moment of healing wounded South Africa's national pride. Every breathe in the nation was held and every eye was keenly aware that the game played was more than sport, but in fact symbolic on so many levels. The triumph of the day was ecstatically sweet, but moreso a triumph over old ignorance, mistrust, and hatred.

The final game would not have held such importance though, if not for South Africa's long and sordid history with apartheid. In 1948 laws were put in place to legally separate the races. Black people were restricted in their movement around cities, and in their rights as a whole. As their restrictions mounted, violence escalated and trade embargoes were meted out by nations around the world in protest to the barbaric laws and policies in South Africa. The sanctions against South Africa even went so far as to ban their sports teams on an international field. The Africaans beloved rugby was grounded. 

One man watched from a jail cell, as his nation slowly collapsed under the weight of its oppressions. That man was Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela was a high-ranking member of the African National Congress (ANC) when he was arrested in 1962 and convicted of sabotage. He was sent to prison at Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, along with several other political prisoners, and remained there for the next eighteen of his twenty seven years of imprisonment. In the book, Mandela's tale is picked up in 1985, when he started the negotiations that began the process of liberating himself and his country. 

John Carlin skillfully relates the details of Mandela's struggles to bring his country together, united as one. Carlin paints a picture of the embattered humanitarian, learning about his captors and their world. The Africaans people begin as an anomaly, but through mastering their language, and learning more about them as a whole, Mandela recognizes that they are people too, scared and not unlike himself. Through skillful negotiations, he gently builds relationships with the white world, that ultimately leads to breaking down the walls and laws of apartheid. 

Well aware before picking up this book that apartheid existed and had ended, what I loved about Carlin's story was his mastery in bringing the human emotion to the story from so many viewpoints. As I poured through the pages, I learned more about the delicate relationships that Mandela crafted, and I found tears in my eyes more than once. So much pain existed in this war-torn country, but Mandela was able to bring the races together as one in a heartfelt victory for the entire nation. He allowed blacks, whites, and all people in between to let go of their hurts and embrace each other as brothers. With Carlin's words, I wept at their hard-won and very deserving victory. 

I leave you with the South African national anthem sung at the 1995 rugby game that brought a nation back together again, via the strong figure of Nelson Mandela. Thank you for sharing this story Mr. Carlin. I truly enjoyed it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Drop in the Bucket

Somehow I ended up sitting at the head table with all of the teachers, and Head Master. A sea of little black faces looked towards me, listening intently to the speeches being poured forth by teachers, Head Master and Deputy Head-Master. The only white face out there was Brett, almost invisible though he was, swamped by the hordes of little boys that fawned over him with his magical camera slung around his neck once again.

As we walked to school that morning, our entourage of children had grown from one or two, to a large contingency by the time we reached the Mwaya Beach Public School. Children danced and skipped, hooted and hollered, as we walked along. When we neared the building, our group merged with the other students that milled about, and Brett and I found ourselves under the wing of an adult now. The Deputy Head Master at that!

I felt like an honoured guest, as we were treated to a tour of a class room and the main office. The Deputy Head Master had a running commentary of life for the students in his community, as he showed us the sparsely decorated class room. There was a chalk board in the simple rectangular room, but not a chair or desk to be seen. In fact, most of the lessons were done outside in the open air, as it made little difference if they were inside or out, except for on rainy days. Supplies were almost non-existent and the chalkboards could not even sport chalk to illustrate points on a good day. The beleaguered teachers had classes that numbered in the hundreds. How could one person teach effectively to a class of over 300 pupils? And why would they want to, when their pay was poor and usually late?

This was a far cry from the schooling that I had gone through back in Canada. I could not help but think that the teachers there had nothing to complain about in comparison.

A tour of the cramped office was a little better, but still dismal in its breadth. Stacks of books sat on the floor and on shelves, but when compared to the numbers of pupils, it was a far cry from the necessary needs. There were 1096 registered students at Mwaya Beach, and the stacks of books I saw numbered at most close to a hundred; probably less. When the Deputy Head Master learned I was from Canada, he picked up a book and handed it to me with the cover open. My national pride fluttered, as I read that it had been donated by the Canadian government. It would seem that they had sent several text and workbooks. It helped, but looking out at the sea of students, I knew it was just a drop in the bucket. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Sunny Day

Verdant green
foreshadows the coming
of Spring
Despite a fresh blanket of snow
covering the mud puddles again.

A halo of flowers
bids haste
to sunshine’s warming balms

Happy Spring and Happy Sunday
to Monkey Man 
and all his friends at the Sunday 160.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Diet Tips

~Happy Saturday All~

This informative video has helped me get to where I am today!
  Umm, well maybe only some days... Enjoy!

Oh, and pop a cold one for me later, as you think of me crawling towards the fridge for my diet aids.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Slippery out There

I slid down the driveway
  trying to scrape off the van
I slid up the path
   Attempting to take the kids to school
I slid around the corner
   trying to limp the van home
Then gave up
   And drove to the shop

Ice or no ice
It is time to get the brakes done $$

Miserly me is squeaking in 55 slim words for G-Man today. Won't be able to afford any more once I get the repair bill this aft!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Visitor

Stumbling in
with a fearful grin.
Will they show smiles
or toss me out to snow piles?

Why soever do I doubt
my fain erstwhile clout
for hugs did abound
& remembrances astound

dear friends counted true
time no match for you
inquiries honest thought
and sincerity truly bought

This passage marches on
and workmates, some gone,
but delightful none the same
despite leaving the repair game.

For they were mates by
punch-clocks cry.
Yet friends of mine
those forever I find.


I can just barely squeak this under the wire
I am going to link this up to One Shot Wednesday
and perhaps do a little more visiting tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Interpretation of a Poem

calico cat naps
snuggled under purrs of love
stretching the moment

Last night I read poetry to my girlies before I went out. I read selected poems from the chapbook that I created for my book club. I read some of my poems, and some from many other poets, known and not-so-much. At four and six, they don't care if the poets are wildly famous or not. They just like the sound of words strung together. 

In fact, the ladies of my book club didn't really care if the poets within the pages of the chapbook were known or not either. I know that I dragged some of them to the table of poetry, but for their part they were game to play along with my suggestions. Did I get any converts to a passion for poetry? Yes? No? Probably not so much, but they all claimed to like the experience. I read a few poems and they all exclaimed that the poems sounded so much better for the reading of them. I myself often read aloud words as I write them down, as I too like to hear how something sounds. If it doesn't sound right or flow right, then words are just scribbles on a page. 

Ah, but true poetry is all in the readers interpretation. This I found fascinating over the evening. I was surprised by people's reactions to poems, that I had never thought of. Poems that I had grooved on, were passed over, while other poems were held in high esteem. Interpretation and personal bias is key. No one is right or wrong in their opinions, and I hope that I allowed everyone to express themselves, without fearing to hurt my feelings. No matter, the experience was a good one and an experiment I might try again. 

Of the poem at the top, I wrote it for my daughter. T kept encouraging me to read another poem and another, until it was almost time for me to go. She likes to hear the poetry I create, and I in my turn love to share my meager creativity with her. She suggested that I should write a poem about a cat, so I used our dear Miss Kitty as inspiration this evening. She seems always to be a sleepy ball of fur, and now I should take my cue from her. 

Good night my friends and thank you to those of you who allowed me to share your few precious words with me. I am indebted to your kindness and offer you payment in loving kindness sent to you. Peace.


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