Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Being PC

Gone are the days when gay meant happy and queer meant strange and Baa Baa Black Sheep was a harmless little nursery rhyme. These days the English language has become fraught with do’s and don’ts - a minefield of offence causing verbs and pronouns.

Here is a brief lesson in how to be politically correct in our increasingly touchy world.

You don’t say Black
You say African-American, Afro- Caribbean and for a thorough bred African or non White person, you say Ethnic.

You don’t say Baa Baa Black Sheep
It’s Baa Baa Woolly Sheep

You don’t say Blackboard
You say whiteboard or Wipe board

You don’t say Fat
You say overweight

You don’t say Disabled
You say Otherwise Abled

You don’t say Short
You say Vertically Challenged

You don’t say Cold Blooded, Heartless, Vicious little Creep
You say Thermostatically Defunct

You don’t say Merry Christmas
You say Happy Holidays

You don’t say Homosexual
You say Alternative Lifestyle

You don’t say Husband/Wife
You say Partner

You don’t say I believe in God
You say I am Spiritual

You don’t say Brainstorm
You say CloudBurst or Word/Thought Shower

You don’t say Blind
You say Visually Impaired

You don’t say Clumsy
You say Uniquely Coordinated

You don’t say Chairman
You say Chairperson or simply, Chair

You don’t say Fail or Failure
You say Deferred Success

You say it’s being Politically Correct
I say what a crock of …*Bleep, Bleep, Bleep*

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Maternity Wear Conspiracy and a New Look

I have come to the conclusion that there must be a worldwide conspiracy among clothing manufacturers to keep pregnant women looking as unattractive and dowdy as possible. You don’t believe me? Well, have you tried looking for maternity clothes lately?

Last Friday I did just that. I took a day’s annual leave from work and headed into the City Centre in search of some maternity wear. My clothes are all tight and I can’t get away with having the zip of my jeans half undone hidden under a long shirt and being held together by a scarf anymore. I didn’t have much on my shopping list – all I wanted was a pair of jeans, a pair of black trousers and a couple of nice tops. Easy peasy one would think. Ha, I wish.

People, there was no shop I didn’t go into from Marks and Spencer (they have discontinued their maternity line. Now why would they go and do a thing like that?) to BHS (Ugh!! Who goes into Bhs???) – No joy. Why didn’t I do the obvious and go into Mothercare I hear you ask. My reply to that is, I did but have you seen the prices of their clothes?? I’m sorry but I am not paying a kings ransom for a flimsy little t-shirt.

The cost of maternity clothes is extortionate!!! And the quality is crap. Lets put it this way, you wouldn’t want to stand too close to any candles if you had on any of the maternity clothes I saw being sold on the high street. Plus, the clothes are the untrendiest things you have ever clapped your eyes on. Anyway, after four hours (4hours!!!) of trudging up and down the high street and round and round the Bullring a nice lady at M & S asked me to have a look in Dorothy Perkins. I would never in a million years have thought that Dotty P had a maternity range but they did, surprise, surprise. Their collection wasn’t huge but it was acceptable and I ended up getting a pair of jeans. However, as I can’t exactly live in a pair of jeans for the next six months I decided to have a look on the internet when I got home. Good News – I found loads of sites selling maternity wear. Bad News - the prices!!! If you don’t have £60 and above to spend on ONE item then forget it, and if you haven’t figured it out by now I’ll spell it out for you – I’m a tight fisted git. I am a £20 and less kinda gal. Besides I’m funny about buying clothes online or even out of a catalogue. I am a great believer in trying on clothes first. I like to try before I buy.

On Tuesday, I took the plunge and went to the hairdressers and had all my hair chopped off. Yes, I am now the proud owner of a head of hair no longer than a centimetre long. In clipper speak, I’m a number 3. It feels great to be able to wake up in the morning and just go. No more blow drying and shower caps and heat protecting hair spray. Freedom!! My daughter wasn’t too pleased though as she burst into tears when she saw me. Why did you cut off all your hair mama, she wailed . I had to reassure her that it would grow again. Now if only I can find the clothes to go with my new look….

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Office Rule

Here is a little office rule for you – I just discovered it from first hand experience and thought I would pass it on.

If your colleague has been in the toilet for longer than 10 minutes, DO NOT go in as soon as s/he gets out.

Air freshener anyone?

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Beta Blogger or Not?

Since blogger introduced their new beta blogger I have been torn as to whether to switch over or not. My biggest fear, and the primary reason I’m holding back from doing so, is losing my template. I have worked hard and long on it and I won’t be a happy bunny if it got all messed up or even worse, disappeared completely.

Have any of you switched over yet? Have you had any problems with it? Did your templates remain intact? Is it worth switching over? One thing I find though is that I have problems leaving comments on blogs that have switched to beta blogger. I have to click on the publish button several times before my comment appears.

Please let me know if you’ve had any problems with it before I take the plunge.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Goat Meat Pepper Soup, Anyone?


Friday, December 08, 2006

Of Death, Rights and the Future

(A dark post)

As I watch my belly swell with the new life that grows within me, I find my mind increasingly filled with thoughts of death. I try to shove these thoughts aside but it’s difficult to and they forever hang onto the fringes on my consciousness.

You see I have what one would call elderly parents I guess. My father is seventy-six and my mother is sixty-seven. They are both in very good health, for which I am very grateful but I know at the back of my mind that they both perhaps have on average about twenty years each left on this earth. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not being morbid or wishing the inevitable to happen, but it’s a fact of life and I know, more so now than ever before that my parents are not going to be around forever, as much as I would like them to be. Each time they come to visit or I go over to see them, they are that bit more frailer, more greyer, more older, that bit more not able to do certain things. The last time I saw my dad after about three years, I had to go to my room for a good cry. This wasn’t the strong athletic man I grew up with, who seemed to be invincible. This was an old, frail man that stood before me. I was so shocked by what I saw and it hit me really hard.

Now, practically every time I speak with my parents the conversation almost always includes this bit…

‘PTS, do you remember Mr/Mrs. so and so?’
‘Don’t tell me. They’ve died’
‘Yes, two days ago. The funeral is next month.’
‘How old were they?’

And I have to hold myself back from blurting out ‘Oh, they tried now. That’s a good age.’ Why? Because it hits me that my parents are in the same age bracket, and suddenly sixty-five/seventy/eighty is not a good age after all.

When I think of the future and the unavoidable, I guess I worry most about my mother. As a foreigner living in Nigeria, I don’t think my mother will have many rights in the event of her husbands death in spite of the fact that she has lived in Nigeria now for almost 47 years. I may be wrong though. However, even if the law is on her side in terms of inheriting the property and other worldly possessions, it largely depends on the largesse of my dad’s extended family.

Let’s be realistic here. On the death of a woman’s husband in Nigeria, be she a foreigner or not, seven times out of ten the family can make serious wahala for her regardless of what the law says. For now, my fathers’ family have been great – all of his siblings bar one have passed on and my dad, although the youngest, put all his nieces and nephews through school. The majority of them are doing well for themselves but there is always the possibility of someone popping out of the wood work – as it so often happens back home. And it’s these wood work popping individuals that can make life very miserable for the family the man has left behind. I worry about this, I really do. In addition, there’s the fact that my parents had only girls – so there is no mighty Son to fight for us. I have no idea if my father has made a will and I have never asked. Wills are still a bit of a taboo subject as the person you are asking usually tends to think that you are planning their demise.

And even if the worst case scenario doesn’t play out i.e. some stranger wanting to claim all my dad’s property for themselves, I worry what will happen to all the property of which he has quite a few. I know for sure that I will never go back home to live – not in Benin anyway, where the said properties are – and I don’t envisage my mother remaining there on her own. Both my sisters are married to foreigners so there’s no chance of them returning either. What’s going to happen to all the stuff in the family home? What’s going to happen to all the houses? Do we keep them (to what end?) or do we sell (which would break my heart as the house I grew up in holds very many dear memories for me)? There will be so many life changing decisions to make. I get weary and depressed just thinking about it.

It’s a strange post and a sensitive subject I know but it’s the place I find myself at, at the moment.

If there are any lawyers reading this post, or if you are knowledgeable about what the rights of foreigners married to Nigerians are I would really appreciate some advice or signpost me in the direction where I can look for further information.

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