Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stretched to the limit!

This week saw both boys at home ill: William all week, and Alexander on Thursday and Friday with his brother. I have a deadline of TOMORROW (Monday) for the first chapter of a textbook I am co-writing - so Friday and Saturday saw me feeling frazzled! On Friday, none of my ususal supports was available; but by Saturday I had managed to bail out of one or two commitments (guiltily), and have more or less finished my chapter. We are writing an Additional Language English Textbook for Grade 11s - "we" being a group of 4 authors and an editor who is like a 5th author in terms of help! I've had to do some fiction-writing for the chapter, which I've enjoyed - putting into practise all I teach.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

swimming in the rain

My own title, before I explain it, reminds me of seeing the musical "Singing in the rain," in the West End in London...I only really recall that main song! Back to swimming: today was a bit overcast, and we got home late, but the boys wanted to swim, save time I let them swim naked, and it was just starting to rain, but the pool was warm (heated, don't you know!) They had such fun, and it is such a delight to let them do out-of-the-ordinary things...So when last did YOU swim, or walk, in the rain? - on purpose that is, not because you had to!
I am gradually taming my Blackberry - it now delivers emails to me, but I haven't yet sent one...I still don't quite understand its interfaces...
I had a hard-working weekend editing a job from Stellenbosch University, all about "service-learning" - community service, in a broad sense. Very interesting, stimulating work!
On Saturday Steve's mum invited me to a fundraising tea, where we listened to a briliant story-teller. She told very realistic, every-day stories about her relationship with God - waiting for rain in the Karoo; being patient with her kids...I could see myself doing something similar one day, I think! (the storytelling that is; being patient with kids is MUCH harder...)
I wish I needed less sleep! - there is so much to do, and learn, and enjoy...

Monday, October 10, 2011


today, I am thankful for normality. There have been no "downs" in my day; and quite a few "ups" - enough to make me smile, and laugh, and think, "This has been a good day!" I have succeeded, as on so few days, in focussing on what is good and positive and right...the sun and cool wind; Alexander's smiles; satisfying work reviewing essays, and revising poetry with a student; a tasty meal to cook with meat in it; an afternoon where William didn't get too cross or upset; time to write...I haven't shouted, or been shouted at...(Yes, gentle friends, I do indeed shout!) Life is good. Even better, God is good - and he is good all the time, not just when life seems to be going well! That is indeed a rock-solid thought.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I nearly titled this "Significant birthdays", but realised every single one has its own unique meaning...The week has bee filled with birthdays: Steve's dad Danny, and our friend Elizabeth/ Granny H, and our friend Rex, all on Wednesday 5th; then the Archbishop and his controversial birthday guest, the Dalai Lama, who appeard via video conference link in the end...Last night, Friday, saw Rex treating some of his friends to dinner at Henri's - what a pleasure! The gracious old house has been tastefully painted and decorated and there are (electric) candelabra in the windows, whose glass is still leaded. The drapes are rich embossed silk, the wooden tables a deep shiny brown, while the cutlery appears old-fashioned and feels it too: strange but satisfying to hold a heavy knife and fork, the fork with long tines and a good curve to it! The dinner was elegantly presented, and in "elegantly sufficient" quantities! We had our own waiter who hovered discreetly with the wine...The atmosphere was relaxed, yet formal enough to feel speciall but not so formal as to overwhelm. We're looking forward to the next decade or four, Rex!
Oh dear...I've just finished reviewing some essays, and find myself reading my own work in the same way, looking for punctuation errors and other faults! I really am grateful, though, for all I've learn through the reviewing process; especially the wonderful stories and insights as people share their life-histories with candour and a real zest for life!
Yesterday saw me in an all-day workshop at Oxford University Press, discussing the development of a new textbook for Grade 11 English Second language learners. We came from all angles: the lecturer running intervention classes for both teachers and learners in under-performing schools; the teacher with a full class load and time to run workshops for SADTU; the managing editor with a wealth of successful publications behind her; me with...well, the skill of writing, and following given parameters, and not much else, or so I feel in that company!; the education specialist who has delved into theory and used it to run programmes in farm schools; and the publisher who gently reminds us of our focus, and has firmly in mind the specific aims of the book...We had such an enjoyable time! Needless to say, I will now be working at quite a tight pace to meet the even tighter deadlines...
And in the midst of that, my precious (little-er) boy is coughing in his sleep with the usual hay-fever, so I am off to administer honey and try not to get the pillow sticky! Goodnight...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Learn to Earn

Ihave always had the means to "learn to earn", whether from parents, scholarships, or my own funding...Many don't have this opportunity - so how apt it is that, in my own process of "learning to earn" via magazine writing, my first "proper" article, published this month, is about a project called Learn to Earn. Some serendipity there, methinks! Do go to the website and read the magazine, Indwe - you will have to log on, but it's worth the read, overall.
I've been encouraged by those of you who have noticed the long silence - I intend to blog regularly, once more!

I have just ventrured into the world of cell-phone contracts, thereby acquiring a Blackberry. I didn't realise that it is a small computer, all by its purple self (yes dears, purple - couldn't resist!). I'm having a frustrating time getting it not to want to change my name, when I sign off an sms, from "Keren" to "keen" or "Karen"...Ho hum. Technology is not always that useful...
Please take a moment to look back on your own "learn to earn" journey, and give thanks for where you now find yourself. Maybe I should write your story!