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Showing posts from 2014

Mindfulness and my future introspection

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"One of the buzzwords among psychologists and life coaches is the concept of "mindfulness".  More than just a new-age concept, mindfulness is the simple practise of becoming more aware, slowing down and really paying attention to what you are doing, thinking, eating, feeling and even how you are relating to others at any given time.  It can be as simple as choosing to take a break to eat your lunch outside, as opposed to rushed and hunched over your desk, or avoiding multitasking and choosing to focus on one task at a time"  Sunday Times Renew 28 Dec 2014 

Mindfulness seems like a wonderful concept to me .... I thought about it a lot today.  I also thought of what happens when you often put your heart out there .....Because sometimes trying to be all things to all people, multitasking and wanting to be irreplaceable to everyone is a big time waster.  The truth is that many people stop noticing.  You become so reliable and dependable in several spheres of life that i…

New Year Resolutions - made to break

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So it is THAT time of year.  When we make the list of all those things we are going to change / amend / start / stop / adjust in the New Year which is lying in wait on our doorsteps. 

Problem is that these "items" on the list are usually ones that you have been dragging with you for a number of years now.  Yes, it is possible that sometimes we come up with a unique and new one .... and then actually follow it through.  I too have had a few of those.  

But mostly .... mostly .... the Resolutions are strong and as the hours and days of the new year tick by, so our Resolutions drain away at the same speed. 

Now from chatting to friends, family and acquaintances I have gathered the following: 


Diet and weigh loss are almost always the top of the list.  This will be the year that we will eat less, eat healthier, stop carbs, increase protein, cut out sugar, eat 18 portions of fruit and veg a day, ignore the sweets at the tills, drink no coke and stop unhealthy snacking.  We will also …

my 2014 list including the most embarrassing moment

Every December, Bloggers who are hosted by Google have a list that goes around asking us for our favourites, our highs and lows, our loves and hates .... so here are my 2014 answers ..... 


TOP HIGHLIGHTS:  Moving into my new office, My daughter's new job in CT, My son's continual wit, changing my job.  

BEST SONG:  Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

BEST MOVIE:  Gone Girl 

WORST MOVIE: There were several but I will go with Into the Storm and The Counsellor 

STUPIDEST THING SAID BY ME:  whahahahahahaha ..... Not even enough space here.  Probably any sentence I start with "I think ............."

LOW POINT: I know it.  Most people do.  

MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT:  Getting my woollen scarf caught on a man's zip as I was exiting and him entering the Gautrain.  It was a ten minute battle to get it loose.  I had to get back on the train and travel to the next stop. 

BEST BLOG RESPONSE:   Highest readership was for my blog on same-sex orientation.  Followed by the blog on my daughte…

the open-handed random act of kindness

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Tonight I chatted to someone at Mass.  Not a person really involved in my personal life, but someone who is aware of the sort of "main" things in my life, as one often is with certain people you regularly go to Mass with.  God has the most incredible timing when putting someone in front of you and inspiring them to say something highly relevant or helpful or kind at exactly the most perfect moment. 

Such was this conversation tonight. 

Wrestling with a number of things in my head at once, and a lot of time to wrestle with them now that I am officially on leave, I arrived at Mass with a very mixed head and mixed heart.  

I had prepared my reading for the evening  well by not only going over it several times, but by going to a Catholic site to have the meaning of it explained (love Google) because I believe that the infliction in your voice is affected by what you perceive the reading to mean.  Sometimes I feel myself emphasising certain words when I read, only to find out when t…

when a teenager moves to ct - the luggage thing

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So the 19 year old, about to be 20 year old is leaving on Friday morning for CT for her 6 months' practical training in the crazy chefs' world. 

Now please understand that she is the person who goes to sleep at her BFF's house with a big suitcase in tow.  She is the one who goes to the coast with a large, and I mean LARGE suitcase which contains not only clothing for every weather condition from sweltering to snowing, but also a vast collection of her favourite thing .... shoes, plus a myriad of other stuff. 

So imagine when she moves to CT for 6 months.  Mango Airlines .... brace yourself!!!

Now firstly the chefs kit ...... 3 jackets, 3 check pants, 3 neckties, 3 hats, a pack of white tshirts, chefs shoes and lots of black socks.  That alone made up 10kg of the 20kg allowance of the airline.  Next the equipment of her own that she HAS to have with her .... which was tricky as she has a toolbox full of equipment she used at the chefs academy and had to be selective. 

 Next the…

be kind. for you never know what someone else is going through

In my job I this year interacted 3 times with a particular person I had not met before then ..... today I got his simple Tumblr quote below in my email box with one word "thank you".  

Mine is a job that literally most people could do, I know that ..... but it is all mine and I am proud to do it. 

“God is not impressed by how many Bible verses you know, He is impressed by how kind, merciful and gracious you are to people you know and people you don’t know.”




the gift of wings

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So.  The time has come.  It took 19 years and 11 months to get to this point.  It seems quite poignant that on the 26th of December it will be exactly 19 years and 11 months.  

The daughter child has now finished a year of intense, crazy hours, minimum sleep, maximum stress, sore feet, sore back, blisters and burns on a regular basis, long shifts, massive assignments, lots of research, hours and hours in the demonstration kitchen perfecting her skills and hours and hours in the restaurant kitchen at the Prue Leith Chefs Academy where she is a full time trainee chef. 

And then comes the practical placement.  6 months.  In which you get hand placed by the Executive Chef along with the HR Manager at Prue Leith, at a restaurant which suits your skills, temperament, work ethic etc for you to train under a Chef of note.  

She always wanted the Western Cape. That bastion of top restaurants and world class chefs.  And then the dream came true ..... she was placed at the Pot Luck Club.  A renowne…

Can you taste Christmas?

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So deck the halls with boughs of holly. 
On second thoughts perhaps don’t.  And no fake snow. 
Because it is December.  In Pretoria it is 36 degrees outside.  Not even the slightest indication that snow is a-coming. 
I am a huge fan of Christmas trees and decorations.  Of all things sparkly and twinkly (although those that know me will tell you that I am a sparkly and twinkly fan 365 days of the year).  I love Lebkuchen and Christmas cake (why can we not eat it in other months?), I love tinsel, chasing lights, candles and incense. I know the words to all the carols and can be seen singing along merrily in my car. I just do not want to do or have anything in the above paragraph on the 29th of October already.  Which is when I saw the first Mall Christmas tree.  In the 2nd week of November I found myself singing along to Silent Night in another mall until I realised what the hell I was doing and switched to something more current.  Like Eminem. 
Our tree will go up this weekend, which i…

One racist, One peanut butter and One good heart

Something pretty sad happened this weekend.

I went off to Pick 'n Pay with my BFF on Saturday after spectacular cappuccinos at Abreu (again - thankyou).

I only bought 2 things so I sped through the Express till (sped is an exaggeration, there is nothing Express about that till in this branch).  The less than 10 items sign seems to mean nothing to most people.

While hanging around opposite the end of the tills, waiting for BFF, I was lazily watching the people paying.  Along came a guy.  Nice clothes but obviously old and extremely worn everywhere.  I judged him to be about early 20's.  The reason I watched him is because he had 2 loaves of bread, one tin of fish and a small bottle of peanut butter.  He looked like he really needed it.  It made me sad for reasons that I am not going to talk about here.

When time came to pay there was much money counting, from every pocket.  There seemed to be a problem.  He counted again.  The cashier counted.  You could see his deliberation of…

This is how it works

For those friends that I will never walk away from.  And who will never walk away from me.
And also for my friend who I need to remind constantly that there is a lot of love from many people for. 


“This is how it works. I love the people in my life, and I do for my friends whatever they need me to do for them, again and again, as many times as is necessary. For example, in your case you always forget who you are and how much you're loved. So what I do for you as your friend is remind you who you are and tell you how much I worry about you . And this isn't any kind of burden for me, because I like who you are very much. Every time I remind you, I get to remember with you, which is my pleasure.” 
― extracted from paragraph by James Lecesne


Cracking open the Bible Books

I have had a number of friends be part of a Bible Study group.  I was never sure what this was.  A continuous group reading of the Bible? A quiz like situation where you were lost if you did not know all the Books in the correct order? 

I went to a Bible Study group many many years ago.  Twice.  It was a mixture of the two scenarios above and I battled to fit into either.  I found myself paging frantically through my Bible, trying to look as if I knew exactly where the Book being referred to was located, repeating in my head what we all know, Genesis and then... Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ..... and hoping to spot Hebrews along that last route, which of course I wouldn't. Because it isn't.  I never went back.  

This year our Parish started Bible Study and feeling enthused I decided to join.  Well.  Look. At. Me. Now.  

I know that all the "ians" are together ... Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians ... I call them the Ian family.…

Same Sex Orientation

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So this month is Mission Month.  In our Parish our very forthright Priest has arranged a series of Tuesday Talks.  Taking place in the church we are going to hear, and discuss, several issues of importance in our modern day lives.  In fact these are not new issues, they are here since forever issues, but they will force many people out of their comfort zone. 

This is a good thing. 

Tomorrow night we kick off with "Same sex orientation and the Family of God" .... I hear a lot of cheering ... I also hear some "ongemaklike" squirming and fidgeting. 

Come with an open mind, asks Fr Chris.  I hope this is heard by all.  Come ... come and listen .... parents, kids, young adults, pensioners, middle aged people, for and against, come and listen.  

Remember that wonderful verse John 8:6 "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

I will be there.  My kids will be there.  It is an issue we feel strongly about.  I get quite feisty and…

Letters from my heart

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My daughter cooks.  I write.  She puts her heart and feelings into her cooking.  I put it into my writing.  She cooks when she feels great and she cooks when she is sad.  Ditto for my writing.  Her cooking makes you think as you savour every mouthful.  My writing will make you think .... it either touches you or it doesn't, but hopefully it stirs something in you.  Maybe you do not like every single dish my daughter can make, the same for my writing ... she cannot cook for every palate, sometimes people think I am writing about them when I really am not! 
 Her life is as a 2nd Commi Chef, training full-time.  My writing started when I took Journalism for 3 years during my studies and got the opportunity to write for Beeld during that time.  

And I write letters.  Good old fashioned letters, on paper, by hand, that get put into an envelope.  Yes I blog and email and type normal letters on computer, but when I write from the heart, for a purpose, to someone specific, I like to do it b…

the secrets we keep for others

How far would you go to protect a secret of someone else? 

"What kind of secret" is going to be your immediate answer I think. 

Because there are so many of them.  I have been reading a lot on this subject lately as I have been pondering over the weeks.  I seem to ponder all kinds of stuff lately.

Secrets that are quite trivial but someone wants to keep it under wraps.  Secrets to do with life-changing decisions, secrets that will shatter lives, secrets that will end careers, secrets about childhood, secrets about adulthood, secrets about behaviour, big ones, small ones and many many other types. 

So ..... what would you be able to hold, and what not?  I am not talking about anything mindblowingly illegal .... but I wonder about secrets that have major effects on people's lives .... secrets they live with.  And thus so do you.  

I find myself pondering this .... because I think that you need to ask yourself what relevance the person has in your life, would they even acknowled…

Bullying for grown ups

Bullying.
We all know it, have done it, been party to it or suffered under it.
We tend to associate bullying with school ... and thug like behaviour ..  those who hold the perceived power towering over the bullied person, whether verbally or physically.
And then you leave school and live happily ever after right?

Wrong.

Adulthood brings a new playing field.  There is an extension to the bullying roster ... a game that I am sometimes prone to being a victim of ..... mind games.

An older friend of mine, a counselling expert with wheelbarrows of experience, was happy to meet me for cappuccinos a short while ago, in the hope of helping me - I wanted to explore this topic in the hope that my questions would find answers.


People have strange habits and "almal het hulle nukke" but the answers I received that morning were interesting .... I was told that mind games are one of the foremost adult bullying tactics.  It manifests itself in people who deliberately express themselves or …

Reach Out

For the past 3 weeks I have been carrying some stuff with me ... sometimes in my heart, sometimes in my head, sometimes clearly etched on my face.  Those that are close to me noticed ... it is the down side of being a chirpy and lively person.  The reactions were odd .. some of those that I care for simply turned a blind eye, their body language making it clear I was an irritation.  It hurt.  Because this is not the way I would deal with their hard days.  It is not the way I am taught.  Others, even some who are not that knowledgeable about me, did the little things ... a hug, one kind word, a little warmth.  It went further than sarcasm and indifferent attitudes. On Friday late afternoon I found myself on my knees in church ... in the furthest point from everyone because I did not want them to see or hear my tears .. caused so quickly by something that I should have laughed off as trivial and petty.  I told myself that there in the parish I have such an incredible bond with, I would …

How do women dry their tears?

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You know that men and women, Venus & Mars thing?  I was dubious.  I now believe it to be true.  
Now I know my girlfriends damn well .... and let me tell you, they all have their thing.  I am not talking about when they are punch you in the face angry ..... I mean when they are hurt ..... in tears ....... they do stuff. 

Now me .... to drive me to tears .... and I do not mean happy ones ...... the number one winning trigger is meanness.  Simply for the sake of being mean.   And especially if you know this and still persist.    

I have a friend who cleans house on such occasions ..... top to bottom even if it means staying up till 3am.  Everything is cleaned, floor to ceiling.  She would lift the tiles if she could.  I should have her over.  And make her cry. 

Another one irons.  Everything.  And when she runs out of ironing, she simply re-irons stuff from the cupboards.  I pray that I will never be so teary that I have a desire to iron something. 

A 3rd one drives.  Gets in her car and…

New beginnings

Today was my first day .... fulltime in the parish office.  It felt a little strange ... I sat behind my table working and thought "this is my job" and then the strangeness of realising that this was now my place, gave way for delight    ... that I no longer had to go through the Zambesi tollgate in the morning    . .. no longer had to pass through 4 eToll gantries every day.  No more driving on the highway to work.  Just simply pop over the hill.  14.6km to be exact.  No more riding from one appointment to another .... fuel, parking and toll costs soaring.  Being a 5 min drive from Nic's school ... literally up the road.  Working opp my church so I can pop into Adoration chapel every day and spend ten mins with the Blessed Eucharist.  And a job that I am excited to do.  The day passed in a blur of baptism and funeral docs and requests, admin, brides via email, filing and a non-stop phone.

I left late afternoon.  Mind spinning.  But my heart was smiling.  Thankyou Fr Chr…

Leap of Faith and the Winds of Change for my career

So I am down to the final 10 days at Irene Homes after 5 years here.  Feels a little strange.  I am used to driving the 30kms to IH and had just started to make peace with the Etoll gantries I pass under to get here.  The ladies of the Homes, whom we take care of, have crept deeply into my heart, as have the friends I have made here over the years amongst the staff.  Mentally disabled are two words that are a natural part of my vocabulary as I spent my days Fundraising for this very worthwhile NPO. 

But God always sends opportunities in His time, and that time for me is now. 

I am going to work fulltime as the PA for a very dynamic parish priest.  We have a unique relationship and working together is going to be a big blessing in my life and the opportunity to be in and around my faith all the time.  He will tell you I am like a whirlwind of glitter and craziness ..... and he means it with great kindness.  In addition I am going to freelance as a Fundraiser, predominantly within the Cat…

Single sock party

Yesterday my son showed a friend of ours that he had a pair of socks on that were both black but the toe part was red on the one sock and orange on the other.  I commented that my black socks seemed also to be mismatched.  My son blamed it on the "laundry department" i.e. me.  My friend commented that he would never wear mismatched socks.  And seemed to have great sympathy for my son.  Ugh.  

This quickly lead to a discussion about the "single sock laundry syndrome" which is one that will be familiar to all moms ...... what the hell happens to socks in the wash ...... because in my mind they go to that great sock heaven, along with tupperware lids. Our friend looked completely stunned when I told him that we currently have 68 single socks in a basket in the laundry. 

Now:

Did we originally buy them in a pair - Yes
Did we wear them in a pair the first few times - Yes
Did we throw them into the laundry basket in a pair - Yes
Were they washed as a pair - Yes
Did they come ou…

Retreating into myself .... the Corpus Christi weekend

This weekend past I went on a Corpus Christi retreat with mostly members of my own parish, along with some from other parishes.  The retreat was led by PIE with our very own Fr Chris contributing greatly on the Eucharist, Order of the Mass and of course celebrating our daily Masses over the 3 days. 

What did I leave at home?  Laundry, lists, TV, social media, questions like where is this and where is that from kids, cooking, driving, working, emails etc etc. 

What did I find there?  Peace, quiet, God, fellowship, Worship, friends, SLEEP, the Rosary, insight into my religion, prayer, music, Mass and in many ways .... myself.  Me.  Just Karin.  Not Karin the mom or Karin the employee or Karin the whatever.  Just Karin.  

I know this because during the Mass I cried.  All 3 days.  Why?  Who knows .... it felt like I was a big over-inflated balloon and when you took all the stuff as listed in the 2nd paragraph away, it was like pricking me with a pin .... and as I calmed down, slowed down, br…

One ball. Millions of people

So life as we know it has come to a temporary halt.  World Cup is the central theme of our home --- meals taken in the lounge .... chefs kits steamed in the lounge .... update of each other's lives ..... yip ..... in the lounge.  Armed with 4 new sherpa blankets ... one for each of us, we have entered the football zone.  

We are not "only during World Cup" soccer supporters.  We are all year round soccer supporters in our house .... so World Cup is huge.  We have drawn our teams in our family pool (yes as per previous blog I have every crap team that somehow managed to drag themselves kicking and screaming into the tournament), we have the chart up ... not the one only entering scores from quarterfinals, we have the large oversized one which shows every result of every match and in addition we follow the updates online and watch every other related programme during this time.  Eug and Nic judge the players on skill alone, Jess and I are inclined to value them even more hi…

Returning ... And the wisdom of a friend

So I went on a small sojourn.  To think and regroup.  To look at what I want to blog about.  I looked at who reads my blog in which countries.  I managed to speak to some of those people simply because their comments on my blogs gave me access to their email details.  It was amazing to discover what draws them and often how people in different countries are drawn for different reasons.  Some like the humour.  Some like the pain.  Nearly all love the honesty with which I write.

The harshest critics are often those who know us the best .... Simply for the reason that they know me.  I read a lot of blogs .... Especially those that are forthright, honest, blatantly stating pain and challenges and concerns.  Sometimes I too have to remind myself that I am not part of the problem when people I know bluntly state what hurts them or has hurt them.  And I have emerged from my break more resolute than ever to remain honest ... Because it is what keeps my readers reading.  And to remind those t…

FIFA World Cup 2014 to be won by Honduras. Please.

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So we did the family draw in our house for the World Cup. 

Simple system.  32 names in a bowl.  4 family members.  We draw in rotation.  8 countries each.  

There are enough superb teams in the World Cup that the spread should be ok for all right? 

No.  That is a fabulous theory.  Somehow the actual "draw the folded paper from the breakfast bowl" reality was somewhat different. 

I held my breath each time I dipped my hand in ..... Would it be Germany?  Brazil?  Spain? (who I have supported year in and out for a loooong time now).  Would it be .... Would it be ....... 

In all my "would it be's" I never once mentioned the following teams:

Honduras
Nigeria
Algeria
Costa Rica
Russia 
Uruguay
Cameroon 

But somehow I managed to pull them out of the bowl.  For myself.  To support. 

How wonderful.  How lucky.  How Blessed.  How flippen unlikely that I will win the pool. 

I did get England.  Make me proud boys.  

I am begging. 

So if you see someone in the mall wearing a World Cup t-shi…