5th August 2001
I thought of my mother. She used to say, "Life is full of challenges. What matters is how you face them. You always can, if you use your head wisely." This advice has never failed me. I accepted the challenge. It was too good a chance to be thrown away.
I remember my first encounter with my charges. The numbers really frightened me. But I could not go back. The challenge was mine and I had to prove myself. Of course, I had all high-tech facilities at my command. What was missing was my knowledge to handle them. Anyway, come what may, I boldly walked up. As I walked up I kept hearing comments like:
"Oh! another school ma'm!"
"What is she going to be like?"
"A repeat performance!"
"She'll learn from us" - That was too much. It sounded somewhat threatening. "No, we'll learn from each other," I quickly corrected somewhat sternly.
And that sent the message.
We got to the day's work. There was a request that I talk about myself. I agreed to, allowing the kids the task of finding out for themselves. A-an-d did I face a barrage! It looked like a press interview, with me as the hero or the bully in a situation. Perhaps my charges attempted to frighten me. Very patiently I answered, sometimes to screams of delight, showing no resentment or frustration. In short, we enjoyed the banter. The questions ran dry. But we had built bridges. And I got through the planned work for the day easily. Happiness surged in me as I knew I would succeed. Little by little, I got to know my kids though I confess I know no names. What mattered were the lessons and they went according to plan mindful of the hurdles to be faced. On our last day of work these are some of the chits I got from my 'kids'. What more could one ask for!
"We love you and we always will."
"You are a very kind woman, indeed."
"We are very sorry to lose you. You are the only one who made us feel easy." - the underlining is theirs.
"Thank you so much for your kind words and your pleasant companionship." "Without you we were nobody's children" - reference to the song 'Nobody's Child' done in the class. Thank you 'kids' for making me years younger and stronger. May you all reach the heights you aspire to!
* Problems usually come to pass. Weren't there times in the past when you were in the middle of a problem you thought would never go away. But it did.
*Quite often things are not as hopeless as we think they are. Sometimes when we are in the middle of a big problem we don't see things as they really are and our whole world seems darker than it really is.
* So think positively. Don't entertain negative thoughts. Think of what you have without thinking all the time of what you don't have. You do have a lot to be thankful for.
* We can't choose our problems but we can choose how we react to them. We can take every problem as a challenge. Happiness doesn't depend on outward circumstances. There are people with a lot of problems who still are fairly happy.
* Sometimes we wonder why did this have to happen to me, but some day you'll probably realize it was for the best. Sometimes by losing out on one thing you might end up with something much better.
* You might think you are in an impossible situation but is worrying about it going to solve the problem?
Instead pray and leave it in God's hands. With God nothing is impossible.
Those words twinge the heart when they've unveiled
'till the last breath certain heart could never be mended
Remember words, which are said, cannot be unsaid
Unequivocal ruthless words re-echo over and over
Mrs. Rinoza Riaze
I guess I was not studying as usual. You know what is cool about this year; my 18th birthday is on a Friday the 13th.
All my life I have been struck by doom and destruction. Born a failure. But God does love me too; He gave me an opportunity to belong to the wonderful religion I believe in. Gave me great parents, two energetic sisters and a good standard of living to keep me out of the gangsterhood.
I attended an all girl school for 11 years; I only attended school to be in the principal's office all the time after getting into trouble, beating up girls and the head prefects that sort of stuff.
I made a lot of friends younger, older and the ones in my grade. I helped troubled kids to get out of trouble but nobody could or can help me.
I never liked guys. I was too busy building muscle and beating up boys and girls to even consider going out with a person from the opposite sex. I kind of got sick of my daily, ruthless life style and wanted to change schools well after my O/Ls.
In my previous school I didn't make any use of my life as I was known as ''trouble'' and no teacher gave me a chance to display the hidden talents, I didn't even know I had and I didn't want to take a chance of messing up cause I knew what people do to the people who fall down, they just trample them and laugh at their downfall.
When I was in school I was put down by my teachers. They humiliated me in front of all the other girls and my grades fell from bad to worse due to this reason, until I knew if I needed to get somewhere and out of this school I had to work at it.
And so I tried my level best and got through my O/Ls with flying colours, made my parents happy and gave my teachers the shock of their lives. Then I shifted to another school despite the request made by my friends and teachers and not forgetting the principal, to stay back in school. I still recall the principal's words when I went to collect my leaving certificate. She said, "Hope, my life will not be the same without you. You are one of the reasons I am this strict. Do me proud child."
After shifting schools I found my talents whereas I thought I had no talent at all.
Ever since I left the principal's office that day my grades have gone up and I have a control of my life, I know what's right and what's wrong at least a little. I still have battles with myself trying not to hurt people.
I still am scared to let people get too close to me cause they eventually get hurt or die. I know it is weird people who I take advice from (that is a very few) all die, like my drumming master, a school teacher, my accounts master and my wonderful grandpa, who passed on after my 13th birthday. May be I am an omen or just bad luck. Never mind that, my point is that to the people who are down cast or shy please get over your mistakes and shyness. Come out to the world, show the world what you've got.
People may laugh at you for the mistakes you made and may be for the way you look, but you have to stand up for yourself and move on.
There are people who are good, who will appreciate and admire you and your work and let people into your life because you don't know what you are missing.
And to those people who put others down and enjoy humiliating others, may you get your turn soon for you will then learn your lesson. Teachers please give chances to all your students to come up in life, be happy for them.
(An extract from HOPE'S journal of life )
I magine living with some one who, instead of sitting on the sofa creating a one-man rubbish mountain, actually followed you around cleaning up? Sound too good to be true? It is.
Just ask me and Victoria Beckham, because we both share our lives with fanatically tidy men. If it were simply a case of some light dusting, it would be perfect. But it isn't, because both David Beckham and the Bloke suffer from a mild form of OCD.
For those blissfully ignorant of this ailment, it means Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and it manifests itself in all manner of ways. For example, in an interview with the current issue of Face, Beckham admits to being troubled by the sight of three, centrally positioned mirrors on his dressing-room wall.
"See, that disturbs me," he says. "There should be four mirrors. There just should." Classic OCD.
He also admits that in hotels, he re-arranges chairs and complimentary bottles of water if he feels they are "positionally wrong", "I'm just a very tidy person," he says, by way of explanation.
But there's tidy, and then there's obsessive. If poor Posh is anything like me, she spends most of her time feeling like Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight, wondering if it's her that's going loony tunes.
The other day, I put some coffee into a mug, then left the spoon on the side while I walked across to the fridge to get the milk. When I turned round, it had gone.
"Have you seen the spoon?" I asked the Bloke.
"The spoon that was here just five seconds ago."
"Oh, that spoon."
He had swilled it under the tap, dried it and put it back in the drawer in the time it takes most people to blink.
The kitchen cupboards hide an inner terror straight from the script of a bad horror movie. Unsuspecting guests recoil in shock as they open the doors to find every bottle, jar and tin neatly positioned so its label faces the outside. You have no idea how alarming this is until you witness it.
"It's common sense," he huffs. "It saves time looking for things."
Remember Julia Roberts' certifiable husband in Sleeping with the Enemy? The Bloke makes him look sloppy then it comes to synchronised towel formations. I kid you not, he simply can't sleep if I have been in the bathroom after him. Because even though he can't actually see it, he just knows there's a towel in there that is out of line with the others or_ stuff of nightmares! - might even be scrunched up on the floor. So off he goes, checking and straightening. Then there's the bedside-table ritual, where he meticulously places his watch, mobile phone, television remote control and Psion organiser in perfectly straight, parallel lines.
Jack Nicholson won an Oscar for his portrayal of an OCD sufferer in the film As Good As It Gets, and although it was never mentioned, Mickey Rourke's character in 9 1/2 Weeks had it, too. Those wardrobes full of immaculate suits and folded shirts are pure OCD. Similarly, the Bloke colour codes all his ties and shirts, and all his suits are separated into summer and winter wear. No, he's not homosexual, just strange.
Only last week we had to change places in a restaurant because he couldn't bear to sit facing a wall where the pictures didn't have equal space between them. "It's just sloppy," he said. "I mean, why don't they just do the job properly in the first place?"
I pointed out that, compared with world hunger and global warming, the space between wall hanging might not be paramount in everyone's minds.
Bizarrely, candles are another obsession. He recently told friends he wasn't coming out for dinner because he was going to have a night in "rearranging my candles". And Beckham admits he takes scented candles with him everywhere in the world because: "I like to go into an environment where it's like my environment, what I live in. It's a big perfection thing."
It is indeed. Of course OCD at its height is a serious condition that has to be medically treated. Symptoms can include an excessive fear of contamination, hoarding objects of no value, repeatedly checking locks and cookers, and constant counting in one's head. It can destroy sufferers and their families.
Luckily, Beckham and the Bloke only have the recognised symptom of "obsessively
arranging things in an extremely orderly fashion", and once you learn to
live with their little foibles, this mild form of OCD can have its good
points. Their quest for perfection often drives them to be one of the best
in their chosen field. Which means they are often talented or rich. Or
both. Well worth the annoyance of someone putting the teaspoon back in
the drawer before you've finished with it.
In the movie's first week alone:
ùTwo people were killed when a New York street duel went horribly wrong.
ùMore than 100 people were arrested in California when a police task force closed in on a busy racing circuit.
ù A 20-year-old passenger died and two others were critically injured when a Maryland roadster slammed into a pole.
"We don't want kids coming out and trying to be like the stars of this movie," warns police detective Mike Macias of Ontario, California, the setting for the film and the epicentre of the illegal street racing craze sweeping the U.S.
"We already have a hot rod problem and I'm afraid the movie is making it worse. Kids do what they see - no matter how stupid it is!"
The high-octane flick roared off with $41 million in its first week at the box office. Varsity Blues hunk Paul Walker and Boiler Room stud Vin Diesel star in the tale of souped-up hot rods using nitrous oxide injectors for extra speed, illegal drag racing and truck hijackings.
But all of the lead-footed action set to heavy-metal music on screen was carefully choreographed by pro drivers - unlike the real-life street racing.
"These guys have no training at all to be involved in that kind of activity," warns LAPD Capt. Kenneth Garner, a member of the task force that targeted the movie's opening night. "It was no coincidence. When movies about fast cars open, we have an increase in drag racing."
Although cops busted six drivers and handed out citations to more than 200 spectators that night, L.A. Sgt John Pasquariello points out,
"When the police come, the cars just scatter and reconvene on a different street."
The week before the heavily promoted movie hit the screens, a speed crazy man died when he lost control of his car at 100 mph and careened into another vehicle, killing a 38-year-old mother of two in Union City, Calif. And the problem isn't just a West Coast fad. There were a pair of fatal crashes back East just two days after The Fast and the Furious debuted. In Maryland, a drag racer and a rear-seat passenger were seriously injured, while another passenger, a 20-year-old was killed when the car slammed into a pole.
And on Long Island, 30-year-old Michael Vasapolli pitted his $300,000 2001 Lamborghini against a 1990 Corvette with the vanity plate LOV2XLR8 (love to accelerate) driven by Kevin Hart, 27.
The duel ended when Hart ploughed into a parked, empty school bus. Meanwhile, Vasapolli smashed head-on into another vehicle, killing himself and the other driver, 43-year-old father of two Glenn Jacofsky. Witnesses say the cars were cutting in and out of traffic, drag racing," reveals Nassau County police spokesman Adele Burke.
Hart was charged with two counts of manslaughter and cops are investigating whether a red button was used to inject nitrous oxide into the fuel line to make the car go faster- just like in The Fast and the Furious. Movie execs had a disclaimer against street racing at the beginning of the film and claim the story illustrates the potentially deadly results.
But cop Garner blasts, "The first night of the movie, more than 300 gathered to watch a street race, so obviously, it's not enough. I commend them for what they're trying to do - but it's not working."
- The National Enquirer
Mariah hospitalized for exhaustion
She's head over heels for movie hunk Nicolas Cage _ a huge Elvis fan _ and pals say they can't wait to spend time together in The King's beloved home. But their Graceland getaways mean temporarily closing the shrine to Elvis' life and career.
"Graceland isn't big enough for tourists AND Lisa Marie," says a source close to Graceland Enterprises, which has managed the estate since Elvis' 1977 death. If privacy with her new man is what Lisa Marie is looking for, she won't get it with people traipsing through all day. Graceland would have to be closed whenever she's there."
"It's an outrage! It would be cutting off Elvis' fans from his greatest memorial _ just to accommodate a couple of rich, spoiled celebrities. The fans need Graceland much more than Lisa Marie and her new man do! She can afford a love nest with Nic anywhere in the world. Why can't she let ordinary folks have Graceland?"
The answer to that question, say friends of the couple, is that Lisa Marie is desperate to get out of Hollywood, where there are lingering memories of two recent heartbreaks _ her broken engagement and an overdue debut record album.
She found comfort in Nic, 37, and they've been dating up a storm since she called off her wedding to musician John Oszajca in April. They were drawn even closer when Lisa Marie learned that Nicolas is a die-hard Elvis fan who cannot get enough of his idol.
"Nic goes around singing like an Elvis impersonator all the time, and he even uses a recorded Elvis voice on his answering machine," says a friend of his.
"He's a regular Elvis nut! In fact, Nic and the director of his 1992 movie 'Honeymoon In Vegas' added the 'flying Elvis' scenes especially to honour the King. And he's often said he feels there is a lot of Elvis in him, and that he uses those qualities in his acting."
At Graceland Lisa Marie could relive the happy memories of her idyllic childhood in the Memphis mansion.
Her old room, which Elvis furnished with a round, fake fur-covered canopy bed, remains exactly as it was when Lisa Marie was yanked out of Graceland by her mother Priscilla at the age of 9.
But Priscilla is all shook up over her daughter's plan to move into Graceland, say sources.
"After Elvis' death, when his finances were in a shambles, Priscilla made it her business to turn Graceland into a moneymaking machine," says a family friend.
"She wouldn't be happy if anything cut into those revenues." The financial stakes are enormous. Tens of thousands of Elvis worshippers tour the house seven days a week, paying up to $25 for tickets. Weekends and holidays _ likely to be Lisa Marie and Nic's preference for staying there _ are the busiest days of all.
"It would be impossible for Lisa Marie and the tourists to co-exist," says the source.
"Elvis meant for Graceland to be a cozy family home, and that's exactly what it is. I think he'd like the idea of letting his fans enjoy it now. I don't think he'd approve of Lisa Marie using it to shack up with her boyfriend."
"She wouldn't have a lick of privacy unless the place was closed to the outside world. But Priscilla is livid over that idea. She relies on the money she earns as a board member of Graceland Enterprises to support her lavish lifestyle. She doesn't want to do anything to threaten it.
And as usual, Priscilla and Lisa Marie are at odds over Lisa Marie's love life. With two failed marriages and one broken engagement behind her at the age of 33, she feels Lisa Marie has not done a very good job at choosing men. Priscilla thinks it's much too early in the relationship for Lisa Marie and Nic to be making plans to move into Graceland."
Instead, say sources, Priscilla had hoped Lisa Marie would swear off men for a while and put all her energy into raising her two kids, daughter Danielle, 12, and son Benjamin, 8.
Lisa Marie has hopped from one man to the next since her six-year marriage to Danny Keough, the father of her children, ended in 1994. She stunned the world and sent her mother into a rage when she married oddball Michael Jackson a few months after the divorce. They split up less than two years later.
Rock musician Oszajca was the latest victim of Lisa Marie's fickle heart. She'd been alone for only a matter of weeks when she caught the eye of Nic at her birthday party last February. Friends say they've been inseparable ever since. Lisa Marie was at Nic's side when he received an honorary degree recently from Cal State Fullerton, one of the most important days of his life.
"Both Lisa Marie and Nic prefer to avoid the typical Hollywood scene, so Graceland would be a perfect hideaway for them," says a pal.
But the Graceland source blasts: "Closing Graceland to Elvis-lovers, even for an occasional weekend, is the height of selfishness. Lisa Marie may have inherited the house, but it really 'belongs' to his fans!"
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