Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

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Morals & Ethics

These two words are buzzing around in my head today, I am digesting and contemplating their meanings. Not just their universal meaning, but the bearing they have on me and my life.

Recently a question was posed to me that directly relates to my personal morals and ethics and has made me seriously consider what they are. We all have some morals and ethics that we live by some more than others but at the end of the day they are present in some form. At times we stretch the boundaries of the two in order to accommodate changes in our circumstances and to get on with living. We have all done it one way or other, even when we have not wanted to circumstances have dictated it and we find ourselves adjusting our boundary lines.

I find myself confronted with a long list of cons and very few pros. My instincts are saying ‘no’ and we are always told to trust our instincts. For me that is something I have always lived by, but in recent years have realised that those very instincts often stop me from stepping out and experiencing life. At times it has been hard lessons learned but necessary, other times it has been a life changing experience that I have really enjoyed and not regretted one bit.

So as I ponder these things, I ask you the reader to share with me any of your experiences and lessons you have learned along the way. Have you regretted it? Have you enjoyed it? What have you learned? Would you do it again? What makes your morals and ethics different to mine?

Ethics:
  1. Moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behaviour. The moral correctness of specified conduct.
Morals:
  1. A lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.
  2. A person’s standards of behaviour or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.

Creative juices flowing …

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday with a murder mystery dinner. My first official party since my 21st birthday brunch. My man chose the theme for the party and facilitated it for me. He made sure everyone was forwarded their characters and info that they needed to make the evening a success.

My job was to organise the decor for the party and the other small details. The theme was “Origami and the Gentle Art of Murder”. My mind started buzzing with ideas for the decor, I googled origami projects and then set about testing my origami skills. My first project was a cube using sonobe units. I set about doing this and loved the challenge and ended up with a pretty awesome cube. Inspired by this I searched for other ideas and things to make for the table decor and room decor. The internet has thousands and thousands of ideas and tutorials. I downloaded and printed some simple ideas and armed with a ream of paper set about making some cranes and pelicans. My character for the murder mystery dinner was responsible for using origami as a rehabilitation tool at the local prison and the prisoners were working on folding a 1000 paper cranes for a special project in Japan. I wanted to make some cranes and hang them up for display purposes.

I need to back track a bit and say that last 2 weeks ago I was struck down with migraine type headaches that lasted for ten days. My man was on a training trip to Nigeria the weekend before my party so I decided to spend the weekend in bed folding paper, in the hope of kicking my headaches. Now for anyone who suffers from bad headaches and migraines know just how debilitating this can be, for a day or two after the headache/migraine you feel rather fragile, well I felt as though an 18 wheeler had ridden over me and then reversed just for good measure. So sitting in bed I was attempting to make the A4 sheets into squares and had a production line going of folding the cranes to a certain point and leaving the remaining folding for the following week.

On Monday bright and early I collected my man from the airport and went home. Very proudly I show him my masterpieces and explain that I will complete the folding of the cranes during the week. While talking to him he casually picks up one and very quickly completes the crane! I was gobsmacked as I had been very carefully following my googled step-by-step video. I forgot that when he was a child his mom bought him an origami book and he is very good at origami. Then he proceeded to inspect my half folded cranes. The long and short of it was that my folding really sucked and my lines were not crisp and he told me off … I wasn’t mad at him for doing this, he was right, the secret of origami is a perfect square and crisp lines. (My 10 days of headaches is been blamed for my poor folding techniques.)

I decided to recycle my 50 half folded cranes and start again. So instead of having 50 cranes in my display I landed up with 8 perfectly folded cranes, about 50 pelicans (much easier to make) and a host of other stunning paper decorations. I made some fantastic paper daisies and made a ‘curtain’ of hanging flowers. I also made some really easy paper lanterns using strip of paper, very effective, will definitely use them for other functions. For the table we folded paper napkins into Lotus Blossoms, and it looked so pretty. The ream of paper I bought consisted of 5 bright colours – red, orange, blue, green and yellow. These colours made the decorations look bright and cheerful. The total cost of the decor was R60, the cost of the ream of paper! The reward for me was priceless.

The problem with me when I start something like this is that my creative juices start flowing and I am continually finding more and more things I want to make for decor and I have to stop myself from going overboard and exhausting myself. I now have a host of paper creations that I am planning to work on during the course of the year, simply for my own satisfaction and to show my craft ladies how simple it is to make some decorations for any occasion from ordinary paper.

Happy crafting!

45 & fabulous!

Yesterday I turned 45! Instead of feeling depressed about it I am rather excited about being 45. I still have another 30 – 40 odd years, maybe longer, I have had several great grandparents who lived well into their nineties.

I look at the next chapter of my life with excitement and anticipation. There are so many things waiting for me to try and adventures waiting to happen. I need to add my bucket list to my Toodledo organiser.

As I turn 45 I realise that many things have changed in my life in the past 3 years and I am eternally grateful for that. I like who I am now and am comfortable with myself.

Currently playing on my Ipod Twisted Transistor by Korn – absolutely love it. My taste in music has changed I enjoy Enomine, Rammstein, Korn, Muse, Live, System of a down. I can no longer watch chick flicks, I want to poke pins in my eyes when watching them. I enjoy a good romantic movie, don’t get me wrong but I really don’t enjoy the predictable romcom. I enjoy art movies something that challenges me and makes me think about life and the things around me.

Within the next 4 years both my children will be finished with school and embarking on their own adventures. Instead of finding myself in that empty nest syndrome and panic of what now, I have started making plans and thinking about what I am going to do with my life once they are living theirs. I am super excited about it, more about that in another blog.

At the ripe old age of 42 I started clubbing! Horrors some would say, but what a fantastic time I am having. We frequent a particular club that is close to home and caters to the alternative club culture. They hold very specific themed evenings and we love the Goth evenings. Getting dressed up for the evening and mixing with like minded people is great and thankfully I am not the oldest clubber on those evenings!

I am more adventurous in my eating, for years and years I stayed away from sushi because I found the thought of eating raw fish and avocadoes repulsive. Then my man sat me down and patiently took me through the different types of sushi and now I am hooked. How stupid, I missed out all those years, but am making up for lost time. I will choose sushi over anything else anytime, even chocolate.

Gone are the box t-shirts and trying to hide my voluptuous figure. My curves are just great and at the moment a little curvier than I would like but none the less very much part of me. I am what I am and I intend to show it off with clothing that has shape and shows off my cleavage, that I for some odd reason I have kept hidden for the past 20 years! For many years I detested clothes shopping and would avoid it at all costs, now I love walking through stores and wondering if that jacket, skirt or pants would suit me. I don’t just wonder, I try them on and I have been amazed to find that things I think won’t look nice, look absolutely stunning.

I have a new lease on life and I don’t intend to squash it or allow anyone else to squash it for me.

45 TODAY!


TODAY!

Managing friends and facebook

Going through a divorce opens your eyes to who your friends are. In fact going through any particularly tough time in life soon weeds out the true friends.

Friends who stick by you through the good, the bad and ugly are keepers. Those that hand around while the going is good and run like crazy when things start going downhill, are in my opinion no loss.

Three years ago I had the opportunity of starting over, I was in control of who I let into my life and who I excluded. This sounds relatively easy to do but it isn’t. Well maybe not for someone like me who is hugely sentimental and struggle with letting go. I was married for 18 years and had friends from my pre-marriage days who had now become ‘our’ friends and friends that were made during our marriage and then friends or acquaintances that were just friends with me and not my spouse.

I was faced with a dilemma, how do I separate them and move on without hurting people. For anyone who knows me the one thing I hate doing is upsetting people and being rude, intolerant and nasty. So it was a huge heart ache for me to cut ties with people but I knew I needed to do this in order to move on and cope with all the changes.

The first thing I did was look long and hard at my circle of existing friends. I identified a handful of people who were not judgemental but supportive and naturally they became my small circle of confidants. The next step which was extremely difficult was to wade through my facebook friends. Most people have a few hundred friends some thousands. I had over 300 friends and I went through each friend on my list and made the decision to keep or remove. It is simple and requires your selecting the “remove Friend” button, but actually removing that friend emotionally is hard. The first day I managed to remove 100 friends, these were more acquaintances, people I knew through others and did not see or have much to do with. That was relatively easy. Then during the course of the next week I sat and went through my remaining friends list and looked at each person based on a list of criteria. This sounds harsh but trust me it was the only way I could do this. I rated them on the following criteria:

  1. Can I trust this person?
  2. Are they still friends with me so that they can hear the gossip of my divorce?
  3. Have they had any contact with me since my divorce, have they shown me any support?
  4. How close are they to my ex husband?
  5. Have they judged me harshly without hearing my side of the story?
  6. Have they listened to me and then gone ahead a gossiped about what I have confided in them?
  7. Will they help me to move on with my life and encourage me?
  8. Do they care about what others are saying about me and allowing it to affect our friendship?
  9. Are they interested in knowing me?
  10. What value do they add to my life?

From the above list I went through my friends, initially it was simple based on the above, another 20 were removed easily, but then it was tough. Some of the friends I had had for many years and there was history but I needed to look at it logically and based on a couple of other things had to make the decision of keeping or removing them. After about two weeks of heartache I managed to get my list of friends down to 100. These remaining friends were people that I cared about, saw on a regular basis, people who put something into my life. On the list were obviously some friends living overseas who I wanted to maintain contact with, some close and extended family members.

After the initial pain of doing this I cannot explain the absolute joy I felt knowing that I no longer had to be careful about what I said or offending anyone. I also blocked my ex and some people from viewing my profile. I was finding that because a large percentage of my friends were from my marriage days I was constantly seeing comments made on their profiles by my ex and felt as though I could not escape him that he was intruding on every part of my life even though we were now divorced. The criteria I used to block people was based on how they use facebook. We all know that many, many people use facebook as a means to keep up with gossip and if I knew that these people did that I blocked them.

It was an effective way to simplify my life. I have since only added people that are either new friends or part of a group that I am involved in. I regularly go through my friend list and remove people every now and again. I try to keep my friends to about 120, as this is easy to manage.

It all depends on how you use facebook. Do you use it to keep contact with friends, do you use it as a marketing tool for yourself or things you are involved in, do you like to keep up with your friends and family, do you want to keep tabs on people for purely gossip purposes? Everyone uses it in different ways, there is no wrong or right way, you have to do what works for you. My one facebook rule is that I will never allow myself to publicly pull someone down or lambaste them for the way they behave or think, if I can’t say it to their face why be a coward and post it on a social network. Where possible I try to remain positive, every now and again I have pity party, but generally it has helped me to remain positive and happy by looking for the good instead of the bad.

So how do you manage your friends? Think about this, if you are in destructive relationships take action. Friendships require work, maintenance and time, if you can’t do any of these than be honest with yourself and move on. Put your energy into people that matter. Remember friends are like the seasons, they change all the time.

Arty Crafty

One thing that keeps me going is been creative and trying out new crafts. There are certain magazines that I find so inspirational. I look at the pages and am inspired to try out the ideas and see what I can do with them.

I grew up in a very crafty family, my dad makes the most stunning furniture, he can do almost anything (except operate a computer!), we refer to him as the Oracle, if we are stuck with something we can always ask him and he will tell us how to do it. My mom does all kinds of crafts and is very artistic, a skill I do not have. My brother can make and do pretty much anything just like my dad and he can operate a computer! My sister is like my mom, draws, and paints and will tackle anything. I too can do most crafts and am not scared to try out something new, what I cannot do is draw or crochet. My plan is to learn to crochet this year but drawing is not on my list of priorities, I have other ways of been creative that fill that gap.

My love for crafts grew from my mother encouraging my sister and me to try out all things. Her motto was you don’t know if you haven’t tried. My sister would grumble and groan her way through sewing, embroidery projects that my mom set us. One Christmas about 5 years ago my mom bought me, my sister and sister-in-law a strange Christmas gift. Strange if you don’t understand our family, but for me it was great. She bought us each some wool and double ended knitting needles to knit ourselves a pair of socks. The gift included the pattern, but it did not stop there. After lunch my mom had us sit in a row and got us started on knitting our socks. Now I need to explain that my mom and dad live in the Southern Cape, we had flown down on Christmas morning and had some very dear friends, and their mother and sister join our family for Christmas Day and spending the night. I am sure that they thought we were absolutely crazy, sitting there and knitting socks on Christmas Day. What transpired was quiet unique, after sitting watching us for a while the mom and sister also wanted to knit so we hunted down some needles and wool and we all sat knitting. Now the strange thing is that I am sure they never ever thought that they would spend a Christmas day knitting, but by seeing us doing something it inspired them and they wanted to join in.

So my theory is that people need an avenue to explore their crafts and someone needs to provide that avenue for them, hence my arty crafty afternoons. I want to give ladies the opportunity to try out crafts and become inspired to do things. I have a friend who I met in 1995, when I met her she did absolutely no craft or hobbies of any sort. I was appalled by this and got her started on cross stitching before long she was hooked, then I introduced her to scrapbooking and before long she was trying other things. Now she no longer views crafty things as scary, rather she looks upon them as a challenge and goes for it.

My challenge to you if you are not a crafty person is to give it a try, try different mediums until you find the one thing that you truly enjoy and fills your emotional tank. Never say I can’t until you have tried.

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