Friday, January 27, 2006

iPod-ing and loving it- well almost

Finally got my ipod video on Saturday. As it had to be ordered from the States (so much cheaper there) it took some time to arrive so it's a veerrrrrrrryyyyyyyyy late Christmas present. But its here so who's complaining.

I am loving it. I have spent the better part of my evenings since Saturday ripping all my CDs - I didn't realise I had so many! But its just so amazing that such a little thing can hold so much. So its goodbye to my CD walkman (however did I cope with that thing...) However, it's now the real expense starts, what with having to get all the accessories to go with it. Apple provides the bare minimum - headphones, a little soft case and that's about it. If you want anything else, you gotta shell out. One would have thought that for the amount of money you pay for an ipod, they could have included a few more things. For instance, a user manual would have been helpful, but no, you've got to order that separately. Ah well, like it's said 'Good tin dey run bele'.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I Passsssseeeeeddddddd!!!

I am so pleased to say that I passed my driving test. I am absolutely over the moon. I hadn't slept much over the last one week just worrying about it. I was so anxious. There are a million and one things I want to do now!!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Reflections and Milestones

Its my birthday today. I am now 36 years old.

It looks quite an age typed down but the truth is, I don't feel a day past 18. No kidding. After more than a decade of being in active employment and reaching quite a respectable level of responsibility, I still feel I am playing pretend. I cannot explain the feeling any further than that.

I look back and take stock of my life and ask myself what have I really achieved? And the stark truth is - nothing remarkable. People tell me oh, but you have moved countries, gotten married, had a child, bought a house. Yes. I have. But there is nothing remarkable or outstanding about that. People do stuff like that everyday.

When I was twenty I really thought that by the time I turned 30, I would have done something different with my life. Not necessarily become hugely rich or successful, although that would be nice, but I thought I would have made a change somehow. Thought outside the box. Achieved a whole lot more.

Looking back, I think at fourteen/fifteen, the age at which I was expected to start making life choices as regards my future path - you know, you are in form three and expected to choose the subjects you thought would lead you down the path to a law court, or operating theatre, or a successful engineering firm (notice how all other options were pooh-poohed. No siree, no child of mine is going to become a fashion designer. Sigh, how times have changed.) - at that age, I was far too young to know what I wanted out of life. The fact I did well in certain subjects and not so well in others, was in no way an indication of what my true talents were. For goodness sake, here I am at 36 and I still don��t know what I want to do with my life. I have just drifted to the point I am at now. I really didn't follow any sort of check list to get here.

I sort of half admire, half envy people who know exactly what they want to do and set about achieving it. I, on the other hand, am still Searching. Trying. Probing. Experimenting. Not implementing. Maybe its not such a bad thing. Maybe it is.

So, do I still want to make a difference, leave my mark, do something with my life? Hell yes, who doesn't? But the question still remains�� WHAT?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Memories of Nigeria

Went to spend the evening with a friend yesterday. My man was away, so my daughter and I bundled ourselves up in our many layers of clothes, fell into the car and off we went.

Two hours later and over a hot meal of freshly cooked stew made with sea bass (a most delicious tasting fish)boiled rice and fried plantain ( as you may have guessed my detox was shot but I am making up for it today ;-)) we did what we normally do - talked about Nigeria.

She has been wanting to 'go home' for at least a year now but her husband has not been too keen. However he has come round and decided that they will be making a trip back home sometime this year. I thought this will be welcome news but on the contrary, my friend has suddenly developed cold feet. Reason being? She doesn��t know what to expect. Recently two of her friends cut their respective three week holidays short and returned to the UK after just 10 days. The just couldn't hack it for any longer.

We spent the next hour recalling 'only in Nigeria' experiences. I wonder if anyone else identifies with these:

  • Living in block of flats in Lagos, NEPA takes light for 24 hours (or more), the water in the overhead tank runs out, no power to pump up more water, so no water to flush toilets or have a bath or drink.

  • Emmanuel. I am standing on the balcony shouting for the landlord's nephew. He comes and I make my request. Half an hour later he returns laden with a couple of huge jerry cans filled with water in a wheel barrow. Buckets and basins are quickly filled and off he goes again. And again and again. Until all containers in the flat that can hold water are filled. Money changes hands and I hop into the shower. I stand in a large empty basin (kept empty for precisely for a purpose which will shortly be revealed) and pour a bowl of water over my body and soap myself down. I rinse off. Now the purpose of the empty basin I am standing in is revealed - to catch the water that runs off my body!! This water is then used to flush the toilet. Ta-da.

  • I can wash dishes, a couple of undies and myself included with half a bucket of water. No kidding. Nigeria has a knack of revealing hidden talents.

  • Sometimes the water that comes out of the taps is so muddied that having a bath or anything else in it is out of the question. So out comes the handy piece of lime stone which is dropped into the bucket of muddy water. A few hours later and viola, 'clean' water. Only drawback though - it makes for a very 'squeaky' bath. And the water becomes very hard so you get almost no lather from your bar of soap.

  • Coming home from work, still no light 36 hours later. Open fridge. Wish I hadn't. The stench that comes from it is almost unbearable. 10 minutes later, two bin bags full of food at various stages of decomposition.

  • Power is off (yet again). I hold my breath because I know what is coming. Yes I hear the first one, then the second and the third until the din of the generators threatens to drive me crazy. I sigh and go underneath the staircase to the machine I have hiding under there. I unscrew the petrol cap and peer inside. Good, its half full. I pull on the rope and it roars into life. I flick the light switch and my flat is illuminated. I close my door. If you can��t beat them join them. Whatdahell.

  • Close from work. I make my way gingerly up Awolowo road and up the bridge that eventually feeds on to third mainland bridge (I forget the name). Traffic. As far as the eyes can see. I struggle with a few danfo buses to get into the lane I want. I slam on my brakes as they jerk forward to stop me joining the queue and rain abuse on me for my effrontery. Woman, commot for road. You wan try me. I sigh and keep trying until someone feels sorry for me and lets me in. I take five seconds to decide that I am getting the hell out of the country. And I do. And I haven't looked back since.

Needless to say, my friend was really rearing to go by the end of the eveing- not! Ah, Nigeria. No place like it.

Food for thought

��Only when the last tree is cut; only when the last river is polluted; only when the last fish is caught; only then will they realise that you cannot eat money.�� ~ Cree Indian Proverb

Keeping Motivation Going

How do you keep motivation going?

Like millions of other people I suspect, I am always very gung-ho when I start a project or have a new idea bubbling around my brain. I search for every little bit of information I can about it on the internet, write copious amounts of notes about it, buy books, talk to other people, join classes and then ��nothing. It just fizzles out. The excitement goes, the fire is extinguished. And yet another idea bites the dust.

Its happened quite a bit to me in my life and I am trying to understand why. Why do I go so far and no further? Am I not ambitious enough? Is it the fear of the unknown? Am I lazy? I dunno but I don't think its any one of those things. Or maybe it is. Like I said I dunno. Its a habit or behaviour I want to change though because I feel am throwing away what could have been fulfilling, profitable, joyful, life changing experiences I could have had. Why can't I be like Nike and just do it?

So, how do you keep motivation going?

Annoying ways at the Office

There is nothing I hate more than walking into my office to see my desk strewn with other peoples mess : post-it notes, files, papers, magazines and the absolute worst - half drunk mugs of coffee. Because I work part-time, I am away from my desk for two days in the week and sure as not when I return to it, it is almost always invariably in a mess. Ohhhh, how this annoys me. And as I am always the first person to get in in the mornings, I just transfer the mess onto the culprit's desk - I always know whodunit - and make very obvious references to it (falling on deaf ears mostly). But today took the wee wee.

I walk in and there are files elbow high on my table, post- it notes dotted everywhere - half of them not containing messages for me - and two boxes of fax toner down by the side of my desk. I calmly transfer the files and post it notes (okay, I was breathing heavily) and pointedly ignored the fax toner boxes. My colleague walks in an hour later I pass a comment about the state in which I had found my desk an hour earlier (I actually got an apology ... progress!) and I bring the boxes to her attention.

  • Are these here for any special reason I ask.

  • Yes, the fax machine is out of toner.

  • Yeah, and�� I say trailing off.

  • I don't know how to change it.

  • Neither do I but there are instructions on the box that show you how.
I raise my eyebrows to communicate the unspoken word 'fool' and smile sweetly.

Thinking its not worth the hassle I change the toner anyway. Sometimes I wonder if people are just dumb fools, can't be arsed to do the messy jobs themselves or are just trying one on. Tonight, I am going to make a huge sign which will say 'Please leave this desk as seen'. Hope it works.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Models and Journals but getting nothing done

This was one of those days that all the grand plans I had laid out before me in my dozy waking hours never did materialize. But in my fully conscious state, I looked around and really couldn't be bothered to do much. It was dull, dark, cold and wet. In fact it's still raining outside. The pile of ironing and house chores will just have to wait till tomorrow. And they do need to be done tomorrow, unfortunately no more procrastinating, as we are having guests in from Wednesday straight through to Monday.

I am in a bit of a dilemma as to what to cook for my august visitors as I am on a detox and living on rabbit food (translate that to mean lots of veggies), fish and Soya milk!!! It's a regime that doesn't leave very much room for creativity. And I really do not feel like making up a menu from which I cannot partake. Oh, can't be bothered to think too much about it at the present moment. Something will work out.

So apart from a quick trip to the shops to stock up on some more fruit and veg with my daughter, I just pottered around the house doing little bits and bobs. In case you are wondering how I can do this on a Monday when everyone else is rushing off to work - I work part-time.

But the evening certainly warmed up though.... The new season of America's next top model started tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Heeyyyyyy girls!!!!!!!!! I don't know how I coped without it. I already have a favourite girl - Ebony.

Desperate Housewives starts again this week and a new series of Boston Legal starts on Thursday. So my evenings are pretty much booked up now. Hmmmm. It's a pity though that curling up in front of the box with a mug of hot chocolate/horlicks is out of the question for now so I'll have to make do with a mug of herbal tea. Doesn't quite have the comfort appeal though.

Was determined to start writing in my Journal today. But there is something about that first blank page that can be so daunting. what do I write? How to do I write? Do I just plunge in or do I give some background history? What type of pen do I use? Papermate? Bic? Fountain? What colour ink? Pastel? Metallic? Normal? Just stupid things y'know, holding me back from just. Simply. Starting. So another day goes by and the lovely journal gets put back on my bedside table - blank.

I used to keep a journal years ago but got rid of it when I got married. I am not giving any reasons as to why I did but I regret it now for only one reason only - I had some great entries in it from the two weeks I spent in one of the remotest and poverty ridden parts of Nigeria where I did my orientation camp for NYSC. It's a pity because I would have liked to have kept those entries - the description of the scenery, the raw emotion I was feeling at the time, the friendships I made (friendships that were never sustained and their names long forgotten now), and just having a record of that time of my life. But no need crying over spilt milk as it's said.

That's why I feel so desperate to start journaling again - to have a sort of record of my life. My achievements, failures, hopes, dreams, thoughts, joys and so forth. And for me, it's a release to write. Just getting 'it' out of my system. Perhaps tomorrow?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Soap suds - hidden health benefits?

There is an alarming habit I have noticed and it takes place in millions of kitchens in the UK ( I am certain) including Office Kitchens where I first noticed this habit. And this is it: After (most) people here wash their cups, plates and cutlery, THEY DON'T RINSE THEM!!! Is there something I am missing here or are dried soap suds healthy? As a result, I rarely say 'Yes' when a tea round is offered as I am never sure if half of it is made up of dirty soap suds. Ugh, it doesn't bear thinking about.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Trademarked Me

If I trademarked me I would:

Have a signature scent.
Wear only silver.
Put God first in everything
Be calm always
Listen much, speak little
Keep a journal.
Write all my personal letters by hand.
Only use a fountain pen.
Be mysterious.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My goals for 2006

I cannot believe that it is already the 11th of January already. Its my birthday in the next ten days.

Ohh, what a start to the year it has been. I have outlined my goals which are very short and to the point

  1. Read my Bible from cover to cover by December 2006.
I have quite a good bible reading plan which I am pleased to say I am on track with - well almost, I am two days behind on my reading. Hey, what do you expect I am a busy woman!! I barely find time in the day for me.

  1. Start my business.
This is going well as well although the actual product is yet to be produced. Sounds dreadful seeing it typed down in black and white but it boils down to the same thing mentioned above. Since my product is handmade, I need to find the time to sit down and make them. Does anyone out there have any ideas of how to make the most of ones time during the day?

  1. Lose 8kg by March 1, 2006.
Now this has gotten off to a very good start. On the first of January I started a detox programme which means I am not having any salt, diary products, red meat, tea, coffee, bread, butter, wheat, palm oil etc, etc. What I am having lots of is fruit, Veg, fish, Oat Cakes, Herbal Teas and water and all cooking is done with very little olive oil. I thought it would be really difficult to stick to but its been surprisingly easy to do. I feel so much better in myself - lighter, my skin is clearer and the added bonus ? - the weight is just dropping off. Ta-da. The longest one should embark on a detox is 28 days after which time you should be sufficiently in the swing of things to naturally alter your diet to a healthier one. Oooohhh, I have just had a compliment off my colleague. She has just told me that I have lost a lot of weight. I am sooooooooo pleased with myself. I ought to have done this a long time ago.

There are other little goals which I have set myself and will table in due course. Apart from all this, I plan to take 2006 by the scruff of its neck and shake out all the goodness that it has going for this year.

On a different tangent, does anyone have any idea who is behind the programme 'Nigeria International'? Its really quite professional. I am impressed.