I really just don’t know

From 25 November to 10 December is the 16 Days of Activism for Non violence against women and children. and by the very name it is a call to action, a call to do something, to change, to stand up and be counted, but I must admit to having no idea as to what we can do that will make a discernible difference.

“The pen is mightier than the sword” Edward Bulwer-Lytton

I love words they are my chosen medium for; dealing with issues in my life, communicating with others and hopefully in some small way challenging people to think. I truely believe that words and stories can bring about change, yet today I feel like the power in the words is gone and that all eloquence has left me. I am however determined to say something and I hope that collectively if we speak our words trigger thoughts which mean actions are examined and maybe one day changed. Reminds me of the Starfish Story

Sam Wilson on Women 24 wrote an article ‘Where are our men?’ she said every year they tell women’s stories and highlight the issues but not much changes so this time she was challenging the men. Many guys took great exception to the article and I was really quite shocked by some the comments. So many of the guys went no further than being defensive and taking what Sam said out of context. I must admit to be quite despondent after reading some of these comments. I felt like there was no hope for our society and that change would never happen.

In a discussion with a male friend about the article he asked me for my opinion on what I thought he should be doing and I must admit to being at a bit of a loss as to what to say. Besides the obvious of not standing for abuse if he ever had knowledge of it, but I guess most nice guys would do that, what other tangible thing could I suggest? The problem is that this is rarely something that happens where others can see it.  Men like to fix, they like to do, they don’t just like to talk and hope that it will affect change. We tell them to stand up and join the fight but we don’t give them the tools to do it.

Sam in response to a lot of the attacks she got for her article said:
@Camelthief There’s lots you can do. 1) A monthly stop order to Rape Crisis, POWA or any credible NGO that assists victims of violence. 2) Speak out whenever you hear of/see abuse happening. I know it’s not something often ‘bragged about around the braai’ (at least I fervently hope not)… but vigilance and attention does challenge the silence around domestic abuse. 3) Be a role model. Look to your own relationships; your own family and ask yourself… am I present enough in my child’s life? Am I providing an example of manhood that I am proud of? You can see from many of the comments above how badly even these simple steps are needed.I was kinda hoping other men would make suggestions…that didn’t involve abusing me.

I don’t have the answers but I think the call to action needs to have a few guidelines as to what we can all do. I know as a mother I hope to work from the ground up and teach my kids about respect and that this is paramount no matter their gender. I think that lumping all women with children, and other groups that need protecting in our society might make some view them as somehow vulnerable. It is easier to take advantage of something/someone who you have preconceived ideas about being vulnerable. I know that Andre has blogged about a similar thing before. I want both of my kids to feel they have a right to be respected and that they have to treat others with the same respect.

The sheer frustration of this blog has been looking at such an important topic, on in which we really need to pull together and yet at the same time not have a clue how to even start initiating the change I so long for in our society. I dream of a future where our sons and daughters do not face this issue in the pandemic levels that we do now. What I do know is that we have to be careful not to come across as attacking because we are not going to solve this problem if we get people’s backs up.  If we make all men feel like they are lumped together with the perpetrators I think we have failed them too. We have to leave our egos at the door and stop trying to say who’s fault it is and look at what it is we as a society are doing to perpetuate this problem and how we move forward to solve it.

I am really keen to hear if anyone else has some bright ideas.

And if you are interested some other people’s views and blogs
Andre: I’ve had an apostrophe
Scott: I have XY chromosomes, too.
Megan : 16 Days
Thought leaders Cows Makarovs and the dangers of Charming men

Magaliesburg

On Tuesday I drove to the Mountain Sanctuary Park in the Magaliesbug to spend time with my good friends Ghilraen her kids and Anna and her kids. It was such a nice overnight get away. Here are some pics. I have spent ages trying to find a few non naked pics out of the 200+ i took. Most of the kids were naked ALL the time, it was so relaxed and wonderful, just what a childhood should be. But because this is a sick sick world we live in I can’t share them with you. I am wondering if I should do a password blog for some of the very cute naked ones and share them only with people I know – what do you think? ( Ghilraen and Anna I will make a disk for you guys with all the pics)

view from the house
view from house

the house
house

Meelah and Caleb playing cars
oh look a nice track for my car

rope swing
Rachel on rope swing

Titus on rope swing

Rachel on rope swing

river fun
kids in the river

zoe slidding on rocks

frog

Photobucket

Callie

Callie and Meelah

story time

Mama Love
mama love

mama love

Ghilraen and Meelah

around the house

Titus and Aehdyn beading

David and Caleb

Photobucket

kids helping with breakfast

zoe making eggs

Zoe and Mika

Caleb in the bath with 3 girls – could you get a naughtier face?
caleb and the girls

All I want for Christmas

I had a whole list of geeky things that I wanted for Christmas, I am surprised by how rapidly I am embracing my inner geek. I wanted a GPS, new phone, better laptop, iPod etc etc the list goes on and on, that was until today. Now there is only one thing I want for Christmas! How totally awesome are these?

Pink Doc Martens

Pink Docs

I am in love!

I don’t date

As a general rule I don’t date. The very thought fills me with dread. Since I have been single a few friends have suggested on line dating, but I am too terrified to even set up a profile. Well that is not entirely true I did try to set one up once but I got to the part where you select hair colour on the first page and gave up. Other will in no way shape or form describe the awesomeness of pink hair. I try to avoid letting friends set me up with people they know. The whole thing is just fraught with too much stress.

My biggest problem is that I suck at saying no and I hate hurting people’s feelings. Everyone says “oh it is just a date and it will be fine and no pressure” but there is pressure. The date is after all about sussing the person up and deciding whether you want to keep seeing them and this is the part that I feel I am not being completely honest about, as I am not sure I want to be seeing anyone at the moment. I am dealing with issues from my failed marriage and trying to figure out how and why I landed up where I did. I want to make sure that I do not make the same mistakes again and so I need to do some soul searching first. I have what I need right now.

So why you ask was I blow drying my hair and applying make up last night in preparation for a date? Well I guess in a moment of madness I thought that it would be okay and after all it is just dinner. That was last week Tuesday, as the time got closer I started to really think about all the implications of dating and I started to fret. To say that I was out of my comfort zone and a little bit nervous would be to stating it mildly. A few friends had to deal with my total and utter blind panic the days preceding last night. You see as vain as it sounds the fear was not if they do not like me, but rather if they do. I hate letting people down and hurting them, and seeing as by the time date night rolled around I was very very sure I was not ready for this I felt like a total fraud even going.

But I went, I arrived at 7:30 asked for the table reservation, sat down got a glass of wine and waited. A few frantic sms’s went out to help keep me occupied. 8pm arrived and I thought oh my goodness after all that worrying I had been stood up and I could escape. I checked with some friends as to how long one is supposed to wait and the general consensus was that 30mins was long enough. A few friends said they were sorry and that I must not take it too personally and all I could think was, the house is empty and quiet and I will just get a pizza on the way back and have an evening alone. Now if you know me you know that me relishing an evening alone is quite a monumental thing in and of itself.  Just as I was about to leave the manager asks if I was waiting for anyone and what name he table was booked under. I told him and it seems my date was in fact at another table and we had had our backs to each other.

It was actually a very pleasant evening; conversation flowed easily even though we had to shout over the loud live music that was playing. We laughed and chatted and all round it was very nice. But I still knew in my heart that I was not ready for this. I was honest and he was very gracious and I guess in a way I am glad I went. I can tick going on a blind date and surviving off my list of things to do in my life time. He was a very nice guy and it was fun to get out but I am firmly back to my resolve not to date. I have everything I need and can cope with in my life right now.

Loving a wild woman

I think I should come with a warning or disclaimer or something, like proceed at own risk. I have even been known to warn men not to get too close to me. I have been called a wild woman, free spirit and a tigress. This got me thinking about what kind of person  can love a wild woman and does anyone gets to keep her forever?

  • The controller: You get the kind like my ex who need to try and control the wild woman, cage her, control and for a while they might even get this right. I was very subdued in my marriage and almost lost the wild side completely. I think this is why so many people think I have changed so much as I was never like this when married. ( but change is a topic for a whole new blog) This controlling only works for a while and then finally you have to break free or it breaks your spirit forever.
  • The ones who run away: I have a gift for attracting people to me who should not even start the journey in the first place. They are intrigued and drawn to the energy they are scared to let it pass by without at least making some attempt to be in the wild womans life. These people she is often very willing to give a huge part of herself to, but inveariably they return to the safe and normal,  but never quite the same. A small part of them will always wonder, “would she have been worth the risk?’ These people leave her hurting.
  • The rock: The strong, calm one who offers the wild woman a safe place to be herself but is never tempted to try change her. The one willing to watch as she runs wild, who will occasionally offer warnings if they think she is about to hurt herself, but they know she may heed no such warnings. So they are ready to pick up the piece if she does in deed get hurt. She knows the calm is so good for her but will she seek the wild to match her own even if it is not as good for her?
  • The lover: the one that offers to meet her needs for passion, for intimacy and touch. They give all within the boundaries of physical love, but her life as a whole is either not offered or not wanted, the balance is fine and the rewards and risks are great.
  • The forever: Is there one that can possibly be enough or not be frightened away by the enormity that is the wild woman, is there one that can not try control her but excite her and be her calm safe place? Is there one that can bound with the tigress who’s energy, spirit and passion matches hers? Can they survive her and she not tire of them or does she just get to past in and out of lives and touch many souls,  having her heart filled with gifts from those she passes during her life? Maybe no one can have her forever. Yet she wishes with all her heart that this is not true.

50 Things you should be able to do

Found this on Jane’s blog, I don’t think i am doing too badly

1. Build a Fire
2. Operate a Computer
3. Use Google Effectively
4. Perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver
5. Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle
6. Do Basic Cooking
7. Tell a Story that Captivates People’s Attention

8. Win or Avoid a Fistfight ( I am not sure that this is a skill girls need as much, we don’t often resolve things with fists but I am pretty sure if i needed to I could avoid a fight)
9. Deliver Bad News – working in palliative care this is something I have had practice at
10. Change a Tyre – I know the theory and can do it as long as I can get the nuts undone, sometimes this is limited by physical strength
11. Handle a Job Interview

12. Manage Time
13. Speed Read – I can read quite fast but not the whole speed read down the middle of the page thing
14. Remember Names
15. Relocate Living Spaces
16. Travel Light
17. Handle the Police

18. Give Driving Directions I get lost enough to know how to give directions so that others do not get lost
19. Perform Basic First Aid
20. Swim
21. Parallel Park – working in London taught me to be able to parallel park
22. Recognize Personal Alcohol Limits – I can recognise them and often choose to ignore it
23. Select Good Produce
24. Handle a Hammer, Axe or Handsaw

25. Make a Simple Budget
26. Speak at Least Two Common Languages
27. Do Push-Ups and Sit-Ups Properly

28. Give a Compliment
29. Negotiate

30. Listen Carefully to Others
31. Recite Basic Geography – one recited poetry, Geography is not nearly romantic enough as to need reciting, do I know some Geography as in what countries are where, what mountains there are, some rivers, I know about a few clouds but I hated Geography at school so I am not sure know even enough to count as basic.
32. Paint a Room
33. Make a Short, Informative Public Speech
34. Smile for the Camera
35. Flirt without Looking Ridiculous
36. Take Useful Notes
37. Be a Respectful House Guest
38. Make a Good First Impression – I have pink hair so I make an impression I am not sure if it is always good, Ilike to think it is
39. Navigate with a Map and Compass – We drive out of our gate and my daughter asks if we are lost
40. Sew a Button onto Clothing
41. Hook up a Basic Home Theater System
42. Type
43. Protect Personal Identity Information
44. Implement Basic Computer Security Best Practices
45. Detect a Lie
46. End a Date Politely Without Making Promises
47. Remove a Stain
48. Keep a Clean House – no I am very very untidy
49. Hold a Baby
50. Jump Start a Car

Over to you

I have had a few discussions with people since I posted my 101 books to read post. Everyone has books they think should be on the list so I am throwing this post over to you guys, what would you include that was not on the list? It does not have to be of great literary genius status but anything that touched you and you think is worth a mention. I am keen to see what books have made an impression on people.

One that springs to mind for me is Four Letter of Love – Niall Williams, strangely enough I am reading another one by him now and although as beautifully written I am finding it harder to get into.

So tell me your recommendations

balcony revamp – before pics

If you have been reading this blog for the last few weeks you have heard me go on about my balcony ad nauseam, so feel free to skip this post as it is really arb, but there are some quite cute pics of my piglet so worth a quick scroll down.

So I have decided that my lovely balcony needs a bit of a face lift to make it a bit more aesthetically on par with the emotional awesomeness it already has.

This is my balcony from the street, and the fat dog Stanley and my car newly named Fred by Rachel ( Freddy actually and she like this because she has a friend Freddy in England who she misses a lot)
balcony

There are a few little things on it like this wire sun which needs some candels
balcony

these little dragonflies which Rachel likes
balcony

but for the rest it is pretty bare
balcony

This pot could do with a proper non-weed variety plant
balcony

My sister made these angels for my mom, they are not very big as you can see by the size comparison to my hand, but I love the idea and think I will cut bigger ones and mosaic them for the walls.

angels
angels

So my shopping list for my balcony is:
candels
plant
wooden wind chimes
wood for angels
mosaic tiles and grout
chair and small table

These are just some random pics I took of me and the kids while we were out on the balcony

Only got one of Caleb as he was running away most of the time, I have quite a few of the back of his head
piglet,caleb,son,cute boy

Rachel
piglet,rachel,princess
rachel,princess
rachel,princess

Our family – momma love
family,kids,momma love

The thing about holidays

We spend ages looking forward to holidays we build up an expectation of how great they are going to be and the fantastic stuff we are going to do. We have plans to come back refreshed and ready to face the world again.

The thing is that real life does not stop because you go on holiday, it is not like you get to leave yourself behind and just stop thinking or worrying about the stuff that raced around in your brain before you left. Actually remove the normal everyday chaos and some of those thoughts just seem to get a megaphone and crank up the volume.

See I am wise to this sneaky holiday trick so I went prepared and it was nothing like I expected, my thoughts were loud and at times very intrusive but I let them run their course. Eventually they get hoarse and or you just get used to the idea that you might as well embrace the noise and stop fighting against it. I thought too much, rested too little, had loads of fun, laughed more than I have in ages, cried lots of tears, filled my soul with quite moments spent looking at some of the most breath taking places on earth.

But because I am me and what makes me tick is people, it was the people in the end of the day who made my trip to CT the rollercoaster of awesomeness that it was. Time alone was great but I can only do it in small doses. People and their stories and laughter and madness – that is what fills my soul and makes me ready to face my life again.

To all the people I met in CT – thank you. I’ll be back…

pink hair girl, cape point, holiday

P.S To Barbara: more than business partner, more than just a friend, my gratitude has no words big enough. You rock hard!