Thursday, March 30, 2006

My Five Factor Personality Test

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have low extroversion.
You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.
A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.
You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.


You have high conscientiousness.
Intelligent and reliable, you tend to succeed in life.
Most things in your life are organized and planned well.
But you borderline on being a total perfectionist.


You have low agreeableness.
Your self interest comes first, and others come later, if at all.
In general, you feel that people are not to be trusted.
And you're skeptical that anyone else really feels differently.


You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is medium.
You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

*Not sure I agree with everyhing, but it's close enough

That Elusive Paperless Office

Did I read/hear somewhere the prediction that with the advent of the computer age, offices were going to become paperless? How wrong could that prediction have been?

Take my office of example. I handle the petty cash (I wonder why it’s called ‘Petty Cash’ when the budget is in the thousands? Nothing petty about that) and out of curiosity (or was it boredom) I decided to count just how many bits of paper are generated by 1, yes ONE claim.

  1. Claim arrives (on an expenses form: 1 bit of paper)

  2. Claim is recorded in workbook (1 bit of paper)

  3. Claim is written recorded on Petty cash sheet (1 bit of paper)

  4. Write cheque for claim (1 bit of paper)

  5. Write voucher for claim (1 bit of paper)

  6. Write out remittance form to go out with cheque (1 bit of paper)

  7. Photocopy 1,4,5,6 twice!! (2 bits of paper: I can fit two things on an A4 page)

  8. Photocopy two new claim forms (2 bits of paper)

  9. Stuff envelope with 4, 6 and 8 (1 bit of paper: envelope is a bit of paper technically, right?) and return to claimant.

  10. Record that cheque has been posted out in Post Record Book (1 bit of paper)

Total Number of bits of paper: 12. TWELVE!!

Paperless office indeed!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Pleasure of My Company

There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than being on my own. I thoroughly enjoy my own company. I find it difficult to understand when someone tells me that they are bored, have nothing to do or don’t like to be at home on their own. I, on the other hand, am the exact opposite. Being on my own? I LOVE IT!

I can potter around totally content  with my own company. I read, garden, browse, blog, daydream, write in my journal and get those little odd jobs done. In peace. I don’t have a mad urge to go out and spend every minute surrounded by people or in the company of a friend; I have never been much of a social creature. Which is why I get a trifle irritated when the door bell rings unexpectedly and it’s someone ‘just dropping in’ for a visit.

Living here, as a mum without help, each day is planned with military precision. It’s the only way to cope – bedtimes and naptimes are set, meal times are set, playtimes are set, TV time is set and on and on. You can almost set your watch to it. And of course you are seldom alone. You are always in the company of your child and/or husband. And when your child does go off to nursery, you are probably at work. So as you can imagine, time alone is such a precious commodity,

Which is why when I do get some down time (normally by taking a day or two of my annual leave), to have someone just drop in to kill a few hours because they are bored, or don’t want to be home alone, is frankly, annoying. These are hours, I sit there thinking, I have planned for - being more productive or indulging myself in some other interesting past time. And because I am not crazy about having people call round unexpectedly, I am completely in support of the habit of ringing up first before dropping in for a visit. In that way, I can plan my day around the fact that I’ll be having someone round later on. I get the stuff I need to do out of the way; I can prioritise my to-do list and I am also a much better hostess when I am pre-warned. I can tune my mind into your visit, and I can sit down without guilt for a few hours with my feet up making idle chit chat. But, most importantly, I can give you quality time.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Nigerian Census: Bathrooms, stand up and be counted!

Just got off the phone from my mum telling me about the census in her part of Nigeria – Benin City.

Not only were the census officials interested in how many people made up her household they also wanted to know what sort of ceilings and floors the house had, how many cars they owned, how many bathrooms and toilets in the house, how many bedrooms as well!!! I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life and neither had my parents who bluntly refused to answer these strange questions. I mean how does the number of bathrooms in a house have any bearing on census figures?

Was anyone else subjected to this, quite frankly, alarming line of questioning from Nigerian census officials?

Ink on Paper

There is something about writing that is so freeing, n’est pas? At least for me there is. Eventually putting pen to paper, or in this case, fingers to keyboard always begins with a tiny little seed of thought which grows and grows until it just has to be planted onto a page.

To start, I generally have a vague idea of what I want to write about – an idea that came to me suddenly, or is triggered off by a word I have seen or as a result of something I have read. And as the idea takes on life, the words begin to form in my head – the construction process I call it. After a few hours, days or weeks I begin to jot these thoughts down. The first attempt hardly ever reads right but at least it’s down on paper (PC) in a rough and mostly unstructured form. Then the editing starts until I have it down (almost) just right.

I don’t have any burning ambition to publish a book but I do enjoy writing about random things that catch my fancy and since starting this blog and reading through earlier entries, I feel I have developed in my writing. (If you feel otherwise, please keep your thoughts to yourself and don’t disabuse me of this idea!)
It’s true though, the more you do something, the better you become at it.

Its just so enjoyable and utterly self indulgent (it is) to sneak off by myself and just write. I truly admire people who have a way with words. Who are able to string a perfect sentence together or are able to put a description across with such vivid clarity it’s like you, the reader, become a part of the picture. Truly amazing.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Book(shop) Junkie

I love bookshops. Just walking into one does something to me. I go into a trancelike daze as I slowly make my way through their doors and subconsciously take a deep breath -dragging in the smell of the books mixed with the heady aroma of coffee coming from the in-store Costa or Starbucks, as I inhale. I can almost squeal and clap my hands in delight as I look around. The possibility of finding something – a GEM of a book – that will change my life, transport me from the grind of my daily routine to a world of make believe, or give me the chance to morph into the character that I am reading about for a day or two or week- has me almost salivating at the mere thought.

There is just something about bookstores – they are a bit like a pair of comfortable house slippers that you have owned for as long as you can remember. Threadbare, but still doing a great job at keeping your feet warm. They have a ‘safe’ feeling about them, almost comforting in their ambiance. I can spend hours, and I mean hours in them. And although I usually come out empty handed, I am still filled with such a feeling of contentment you would think I had just won the lottery. And, and this may sound a bit loopy, but I feel instantly intelligent when I walk into a bookstore, don’t you? It’s like the words on each of the pages of the books I walk past take on a life of their own and seep into my brain by osmosis.

And this leads me on to another one of my weaknesses - I compulsively buy books. I love books that are bound beautifully, printed in particular fonts and on thick, luxurious paper and are hardback. All these features catch my eye first before the actual content or the name of the author. As a result of this unconventional approach to buying books, I have a weird and wonderful collection of books sitting on my bookshelves. From books on poetry to meditation to books on French cooking, candle making and more. And don’t even get me going on books whose titles start with ‘1001 ways to…., 21 steps to…, 100 methods of ….,’ I am an absolute sucker for books like that. I’ve got tonnes of them. Amazon has made a small fortune from all my purchases.

Yes, books and their stores are certainly up there on my ‘things I love’ list.

Picture: Daily Candy

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Use your life

When I was 18, life stretched ahead of me with endless possibilities which, sadly I tended to put off till ‘later’. I was foot loose and fancy free with loads of time on my hands to achieve all the things I wanted to. Life seemed eternal.

Now, 18 years later, my life has taken on a kind of urgency. I am always in a rush. There are not enough hours in the day and so much to cram into my schedule. Books to read, emails to answer, projects to begin. However, most of these never get done because as I begin one task/project another one starts to tug on my subconscious until finally it grabs me like a bulldog refusing to let it’s victim go and I succumb and move on to the next ‘pressing’ task/project, leaving the first one unfinished. And on it goes. If I were to draw my life’s map, it would be littered with these unfinished projects, or goals, and unachieved dreams. Many of which have never gone beyond the drawing board stage.

At 36, it’s finally sinking in that I don’t have all the time in the world to achieve my dreams. If indeed I live to ripe old (biblical) age of three score and ten, then that means I only have 34 more years to do what I want to do –to achieve and live my dreams. So I have to start NOW.
Do you know that this is the first time ever I have worked the maths out and it looks pretty scary seeing it down in black and white. 34 years, in spite of what you may think, is not a very considerable length of time. So thinking about this and looking back on my life, these are a few things I know now, but wish I knew then:

Take risks. Something I don't do enough of. I’ve played life very safe indeed – ‘risk adverse’ is what I will be known as in business terms. Risks challenge you and make you reach for resources within you never thought you possessed. Some risks are good and some risks are bad, but all risks help you grow. The best time to take risks is when youth is on your side, I think. At that age you are fearless, resilient and largely innocent to the ways of the world. In fact, at that age you think the world exists solely for you! You are more positive when you are young as well and always ready to try something new – most times without questioning.

Follow your instinct – it’s hardly ever wrong. Something tugging at you from the inside telling you to go for it (or not)? Listen and follow. Caution: This doesn’t apply when you are standing on the 13th floor of a high riser looking out of the window and wondering what it would feel like to fly!!

Eat well. Keep junk food to the minimum. Eat lots of fruit and veg, and drink lots of water. And exercise. You’ll be grateful you did as you watch yourself age gracefully. But then again, I am sure you’ve heard this all before.

Learn the finance and business lingo – women please take note. Do you walk past the Financial Times thinking, ‘Oh it’s all Greek to me’? Well, don’t! Familiarize yourself with money and how you can make it work for you. You don’t need an MBA to learn about business and finance. And please don’t use the cop-out by telling yourself that your partner deals with it so you don’t need to bother yourself.
A couple of months ago, I realized that I was falling into this trap myself. I had no idea who our house was insured with (or if it was indeed insured), whether or not we had life insurance, how the car tax got paid. Ditto council tax, ditto electricity bills, ditto water bills. It came as a shock to me because I was floating along merrily in my own little bubble, letting my husband sort it all out. If you find you are doing the same thing – then pull yourself out of your ignorance right now! Get out the files tagged ‘Bills’, ‘House’ and ‘Bank Statements’ and study them. If you’re stuck, ring or look up the relevant agencies on the internet and read their FAQ’s on their website. And if you are in England, listen to BBC Radio Four’s Money Box program. You can pick up loads of useful tips. And have a one to one financial update with your partner at least once a month.

Educate yourself on things to do with money- there are loads of books out there to help you on your way. If you don’t like to read, then get the audio versions of books and load them onto your ipod. Listen to motivational tapes, read autobiographies, and if possible, have a mentor. Motivate yourself!

Save. Always have something put away for a rainy day. As soon as your paycheck hits your account, take something out, it doesn’t matter how much or how little, and put it aside. Look for savings accounts that will maximize your money. Switch banks if you need to.

Take advantage of opportunities when they come your way especially if they are beneficial and will put you one step closer to achieving your dream.

Pick your friends carefully. Drop those who drag you down or away from your dreams. Surround yourself with positive, forward thinking people.

You will grow old. When you are 18, 25 seems ancient. Now that I am 36, 40 doesn’t seem so old after all! Life on earth doesn’t go on forever so use the time you have well.

Picture courtesy of Daily Candy

Friday, March 17, 2006

25 things a sista should never apologise for

Got this from a friend. Thought it was worth sharing

1. Never apologize for pursuing what makes you happy. Even if you need to quit your job, transfer schools, or move across country, always do what you really want.
2. Never apologize for using proper English. Keeping it real doesn't mean speaking Ebonics.
3. Never apologize for giving your best in a relationship that just didn't work out.
4. Never apologize for being successful. Only haters want to keep you at their level.
5. Never apologize for crying. Wear waterproof mascara and express yourself.
6. Never apologize for ten pounds you need to lose. People who truly care about you will accept you as you are.
7. Never apologize for being frugal. Just because you save your money instead of blowing it on the latest fashion emergency doesn't mean you're cheap.
8. Don't apologize for being a single Mom. Babies are a blessing.

9. Never apologize for treating yourself to something special. Sometimes you have to show yourself some appreciation.
10. Never apologize for leaving an abusive relationship. Your safety should always be a priority.
11. Never apologize for keeping the ring even if you did not get married.
12. Never apologize for setting high standards in a relationship. You know what you can tolerate and what simply gets on your nerves.
13. Never apologize for saying NO.
14. Never apologize for asking for what you want in bed. If you don't, then who will?
15. Never apologize for wearing a weave or braids. You bought it so it's yours.
16. Never apologize to your new friends about old friends. There's a reason she's been your girl from day one.
17. Never apologize for ordering dessert or more than one dessert.
18. Never apologize for dating outside your race. Just because you found Mr. Right across the color line doesn't mean you don't love your brothas.
19. Never apologize for demanding respect. You are to always be treated as a queen.
20. Never apologize for not knowing how to cook. Even if you can't burn like Grandma you know how to order good take out.
21. Never apologize for your taste in clothes. It's your style.
22. Never apologize for changing your mind, it is your prerogative.
23. Never apologize for making a decision from your heart, even if others don't agree. You have to live with the consequences not them.
24. Never apologize for making more money than your man, you work hard and you deserve to get paid.

25. Never apologize for being you!

The (lost) art of Conversation

I receive an email which gets my temperature boiling. It’s something I must discuss with my hubby. I take a deep breath and tell myself to broach the topic with stealth and diplomacy. I do – to begin with. However, after about 10 minutes all semblance of civil discourse has flown out of the window. We are not exactly having a blazing row but we are definitely having a heated exchange. And then I draw back and with both guns drawn, I do what all women do best when all else fails and the flood gates of anger cannot be held back any longer – I begin to drag up old grievances from the beginning of time and start firing them off. I have totally lost focus and been side tracked by pent up frustrations and hurts which all come tumbling out in a torrent of barely comprehensible words. I have lost my cool. I have lost my calm and I realise I have lost control.
Husband feigns ignorance, looks confused and becomes tight lipped. And one week later, I’m still seething, the atmosphere in the house is somewhat icy to say the least and a satisfactory conclusion to the conversation is yet to be reached.

But this got me to thinking: Why do we (women) allow ourselves to get to the point where we lose all grip on our emotions that we have to resort to delving into issues that are centuries old and dragging them up to see the light of day in order to fuel the flames of our anger. Women (am not saying men don’t but I am focusing on women here) almost always seem to fall back on this good old faithful – when all else fails, drag up issues from 10 years ago. It’s almost an unconscious habit that we have. There’s nothing like calling to memory a perceived slight which happened in the past to keep the adrenaline pumping.

And when a conversation turns to an argument then an altogether different element is introduced – the element of competition. Ha! We think, someone must win this argument and it has to be me! It’s human nature and in order to insure victory you’ve gotta pull out all the stops. And I mean ALL – look we are talking WINNING here, another point on your score card, another trophy on the shelf, another battle scar to be worn proudly.

But is this win worth it at the end of the day? No, not really. Why? Because I would rather have peace in the house than another victory trophy on my shelf labelled ‘I won this round’. However, this is not to say that I am going to lie down and roll over for the sake of peace, oh no, nobody is walking over this female especially when I know I am right! What I am saying though is that females have to devise a better battle strategy. A better grade of ammunition to fire off when the going gets tough. And these are a few ideas I have come up with.

  1. Never go into battle seething. If something gets your blood boiling, give yourself a cooling off period. If you approach a battle – oops, I meant conversation – already angry you’re bound to lose focus somewhere down the line.

  2. Never let resentment build up. Pent up resentment is a ticking bomb and one day it’s bound to go off – and most likely at a most inappropriate time. Sort out issues immediately. Don’t give yourself a week to ‘get over it’. If it has really peed you off, discuss it, sort it and let it die its natural death. But make sure the issue is settled completely because if it’s not then you are more than likely to drag it up again sometime in the future.

  3. Talk, talk, talk. If you are not ready to talk to your partner just yet, call up a trusted friend and pour your heart out to her. Apart from helping to release some of your pent up frustrations, you’ll probably leave her presence with another perspective – a more rational one.

  4. If you have this in you then – Write. Pour everything out onto those blank pages. It helps. It really does. And then tear it up when you are done.

  5. If face to face discourse doesn’t work for you then send an email to your partner. List all your grievances (remembering to stick only to the relevant ones), fears and hurts and hit the send button. Caution! Keep a check on those fingers as they fly across your key board and try not to come across as a raving nutter! However, I won’t advice that this method becomes your preferred form of communication. Let it be an exception rather than the rule. Nothing can ever substitute for real heart to heart verbal communication between two people.
  6. And a word of warning ladies. No matter how much you want to – do not involve any sort of family member. HUGE mistake. Keep all disagreements between your and your partner. Do not breathe a word to them. Anything you share with them (whether with your family or with his) can be taken into evidence and used against you at a future date. As far as they are concerned all is well in relationshipsville. Alright?!

Okay, I’m off now to implement Number 5.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Stepping back

‘Are you alright? You’re acting very strange.’ My concerned husband asks. I smile half heartedly and mumble that I am okay. It’s obvious that I am lying but he realises that I am not about to or willing to talk about it just yet so he backs off.

But he is very right though. This week has been a strange one for me and I guess it’s manifesting itself in the form of moodiness, exhaustion even after a full night’s sleep, lack of motivation, lack of humour, a short fuse and fretting about things that are for now anyway, only imaginary. And I forget things! I walk into a room knowing that I came in specifically to get something and then it completely goes out of my head. And I am standing there mentally trying to retrace my steps in the hopes that it’ll come back to me. Okay, maybe that’s just down to age.

Seriously though, it’s like I am flailing around in some thick gloop at the moment – everything is in slow motion. I’m feeling a bit removed from reality and life seems just a bit out of my control. The feeling has been on and off for a few weeks now, but it seems more on than off at the moment.

I think I am going to step back for a while and just ‘let go’ and not worry so much. Easier said than done though.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Do these for two months and see the difference they make!

1. Get physical
Exercise for half an hour three times a week.

2. Count your blessings
At the end of each day, reflect on at least five things you're grateful for.

3. Talk time
Have an hour-long uninterrupted conversation with your partner orclosest friend each week.

4. Plant something
Even if it’s a window box or pot plant. Keep it alive!

5. Cut your TV viewing by half

6. Smile at and/or say hello to a stranger
At least once each day.

7. Phone a friend
Make contact with at least one friend or relation you have not been in contact for a while and arrange to meet up.

8. Have a good laugh at least once a day

9. Every day make sure you give yourself a treat
Take time to really enjoy this.

10. Daily kindness
Do an extra good turn for someone each day.

source: BBC lifestyle

Friday, March 10, 2006

My first email scam

For all these years I have escaped getting one, alas no more. I am now one more on the growing list of millions to have received scam email. Fortunately, hotmail was smart enough to send it to my Junk Folder. Here it is:

Customer Services
ACCL. Inter Cooperate Head Office
Ref: ES/9420X2/T008
Batch: ES/05/M0097th March, 2006


We are pleased to inform you of the result of our 2006 International prize Award. Your email address, attached to ticket number 04142331354124,with serial number 5368/02 drew the lucky numbers 37-13-34-85-56-42, won in category C (third category).


You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay of 150,000.00 Euros credited to security file number ES/4080318306/AL. This is from total prize money of E15,000,000.00 shared among the ten(10) international winners in all categories. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 30,000 names from Australia, New Zealand, Africa, America, Asia, Europe,USA and North America as part our International Promotions Program, which is conducted annually.


Your fund is now insured awaiting claim. Due to the mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award strictly from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your account. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming. You are at this point advised to contact our claims officer below to begin your claim:

Name: Dr.Dennis Ricky
Tel:+ +34 685 563 514

You will be given a form to complete and return same to our lawyer whose details will be given after you have confirmed the receipt of this winning notification .He will thereafter forward claims to any one of our appointed financial trustees.You are advised to initiate contact with our agent within three weeks of the receipt of this mail.

Any prize whose collection is not initiated within the stipulated time will be deemed unclaimed.

Yours Sincerely,

Mrs.Melanie Regan
For Claims Manager

I am almost tempted to mail this Dr. Dennis Ricky but I just cannot be bothered.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dare to De-clutter

Everywhere I look there is so much clutter. Not that my house is untidy it’s just that it seems to contain so much stuff. My wardrobe is filled to bursting point, my freezer is screaming out to be emptied, even my book shelves are groaning. The plain truth is that I have too much stuff. And the thing is I just keep adding to it! Ah, an offer I just can’t let slip by - buy it, a must read book – buy it, oh I feel like eating squash today (don’t have a clue how to cook it though but what the heck) – buy it. And so it goes on and on.

So, solution?

I have decided to have a pre-Spring declutter. My wardrobe (haven’t worn you in the last year? Out!), my hard drive (do I really need to keep all those inspirational emails sent to me since 1997? out!), my book shelves (haven’t so much as glanced at you in the last 5 years? Out!), centuries old birthday cards that I feel I must keep because they are from family? Out! My filled to capacity garage (a great place to hide things you don’t want to see, but now I will and Out!Out!Out!). Just the thought of it is so liberating.

Why so keen to declutter? Simple. I can barely think for all the stuff I have plus it’s getting on my nerves. Also the realisation that I don’t need half the things I own and could easily survive on a whole lot less. Less clothes, less food, less books. Just less!

The Echo of Empty Words

I was struck the other day at how many times empty, meaningless words drop from our lips. We say them not even realising just how meaningless they are. It is, for most part, done unintentionally and usually offered as a kind of comfort to the recipient.

First scenario:

A friend comes to you and tells you of some of the challenges she is facing in her life and she ends by saying ‘Please keep me in your prayers’, and you glibly answer ‘Of course I will pray for you’. As you say it your conscience reminds you that the last time your knees hit the floor was about six months ago or maybe more. Too late though, it’s been said.

Second scenario:

Someone else recounts a tale of loss, or grief or some misfortune or the other. As s/he talks you murmur from time to time how ‘you know just how s/he feels’. No you don’t! So why say it?

Third scenario:

A colleague at work complains to you about how fed up she is with her job and that she’s planning on throwing in the towel and resigning. You rise up full of indignation and announce that if ‘she leaves you’ll leave too’ (how many times have I heard this one?!). No you won’t!! You’ve got bills to pay, food to buy besides you love your job. Why did you say it then?

I guess it’s a need to connect on some level with the person who is pouring out their heart and soul to you, to identify with their heartache, or anger or distress that drives us to offer up empty words of comfort. A sort of ‘we are in it together’ – camaraderie.

Why do we feel pressured to say something when a squeeze of the hand, a nod of the head, or simply silence, will do?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Women of the World!!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Honouring African Women

As you may or may not know, today Wednesday March 8, 2006 is International Women’s Day and it has been celebrated for almost 90 years. On this day we commemorate Women’s Rights and Peace. For more information on International Women’s Day and its origins please spare a moment and click on the following link

When I got the email from Sokari asking if I would like to be a part of this project, I leapt at the idea. There is nothing better than celebrating the achievements of people of my own heritage and more so, the achievements of the African Woman. But then the euphoria soon wore off as I wracked my brain as to who I wanted to honour on this day. Who did I want to celebrate? Who did I want to recognize? Who had made an impression on me? I ran through a mental list (albeit a short one I must confess) and stopped a couple of times as my brain sifted a name out, paused and then carried on. Then, quite suddenly, the perfect choice came to me.
Today I chose to celebrate the women who most of the times are …

Unheard Voices

These are the women who keep the wheels of society and their community and indeed Africa well oiled and turning but who never get any sort of recognition for it.

This is for the woman in the village with a baby strapped to her back and another one on the way, her heels cracked and bleeding as she makes her way to the stream to fetch water, to the farm to work the land, to the home to take care of the family. She stretches whatever she has to feed two, three, seven mouths. She washes clothes till her hands are sore and bleeding, and pounds the yam till her arms scream out in pain.

This is for the woman who watches as her country is ravaged by war. Who stands by helplessly watching her child die because the land refuses to cough up crop and her breasts have dried up a long time ago.

This is for the woman who has been sold into marriage for sake of family, faith or tradition. Who endues the breath on her face and the feel of a man she knows she will never love.

This is for the woman who suffers abuse because of her colour, lifestyle, faith, opinion, background, ethnic group. Suffers abuse because of the mere fact that she is a woman.

This is for the woman looked down on because she has chosen to stay at home and look after her kids. Often ignored at her husbands office functions because it is thought that her only job is being a housewife and therefore has nothing intelligent to contribute to conversation – after all looking after the kids the whole day is a no brainer.

This is for the woman in the business suit, competing in ‘a man’s world’. Working a 9 – 5 on paper, but in reality is putting in twelve hour days. Trying to get her voice heard, her paycheck increased, her work recognized, her achievements honoured.

This is for all women who have ever asked the question Why me? Is this what my life has become?

This is for all of us who in one way or another are forgotten and maligned because of who we are – Women.

This is for all women who have triumphed, succeeded, broken out, challenged stereotypes, spoken up and fought for what I take for granted today.

Today I am your voice.
Today I recognize you.
Today I celebrate you.
Today I Thank You.
Picture credits to A. Olusegun Fayemi


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Phenomenal Woman

This must be my all time favourite poem. On days I feel low about myself, I read this. Enjoy!

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion 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 steps
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 of 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 for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman Phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That's me.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hello March and re-discovering hidden gems

I am staring at my wall planner and still can't believe that it is March already. Where did February go?Just looked back at my goals for February and I am sad to say I achieved NOT A SINGLE ONE. I don't know what happened to me in February, it's like my motivation and drive shut down big time. However, it's March, a new month and a new beginning so I'll just carry my goals over. So my goals for March are (once again!):

Have an hour of power everyday.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Reply to my emails as soon as I get them.

Actually, I did achieve goal number three as I didn't get many emails and the ones I did get only required one liners in response.

In addition to the above, a new goal for the month of March is:

Start writing again.

This new goal was sparked off by an entry made by fellow blogger Ore (she has the uncanny knack of blogging about stuff that I had just been thinking about) which she titled Yellow Oranges. In it she briefly explores the art of writing. I left a comment on her blog and got some very positive feedback and advice from other commentators. This then set me off thinking - why in the world have I abandoned writing? I used to write poems as well jot (jotting?) down random thoughts and observations. And then suddenly, I just stopped, like the well of creative juices dried up. Keeping this blog has helped a whole lot though as it's re-introduced me to writing again and built up my desire to want to write more and more and more, which I think is a good thing. So I have taken some positive steps and set up a blog solely for my poems and random jottings (see, I took your advice B).

I have started reading Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach (see sidebar for a link). The book is described as '... a book of 366 evocative essays , one for every day of your year, written for women who wish to live by their own lights...' I got it as a gift 6 years ago but never quite got into it, I guess because a lot of the things the writer was writing about, I just couldn't relate to - marriage, managing work-life balance, being a mother - but now, oh, how I can so relate to what she is saying. And then I wonder, you mean my life has changed so much in six short (?) years?

I like discovering little gems like these that have been sitting up on my bookshelf gathering dust just waiting to be re-discovered and believe me I've got loads of them. At some point in my life, I went through a period of frantic, almost maniacal, buying of books. I used to go into a bookshop pick up a book - the binding and print get me before the content - read the back and decide yep, that's for me. I'll bring home this new treasure all excited, read one or two pages then pop it on my bookshelf never to be revisited. The following week I'd be doing exactly the same thing. As a result of this habit, I have quite a vast and varied collection of books. So at the start of 2005, I swore I wouldn't buy another book until I had finished the ones I had and by and large, I stuck with it. However, when I now look over my collection of books I notice that each and everyone of my books was bought for a purpose (which I probably wasn't aware of at the time of purchase) and now those purposes are been slowly revealed. And that's how I feel about books, especially non-fiction ones, they arrive in our lives seemly randomly and without purpose but at some point they will meet a specific need. I am so glad I have my little gems waiting for me to pluck them off their perch and give them some good eye contact.

Speaking of buying books (yes, I succumbed), I just ordered two books off Amazon (the only way I buy books these days). Hallelujah, The welcome table and The collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou both written by Maya herself. I am so looking forward to them arriving, which Amazon tells me will be in the next 4 - 6 weeks.

So...Hello, March!