Friday, February 23, 2007

So, Just What DO You Do All Day?

Have you ever found yourself moaning about how there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get all the things you want to do done? Do you start your day with good intentions and a long list of all the stuff you are going to accomplish only to find at the end of the day you have managed to put a check mark against just one thing on the list? Do you spend hours in front of the TV and then kick yourself afterwards? Do you ever wonder what EXACTLY you do with your time?

If you do, then welcome to the club!

So, to find out exactly what it is I do all day I have decided to embark on a week long project and I am hoping that perhaps one or two or more of you will join me. Here’s the plan:

Starting from Monday 26th February, 2007 I am going to keep a Time Log of all the activities/tasks I do in a day for one week. So it may look something like this:

7.00am Woke up
7.10- 8.30 am Had shower, dressed up, got daughter ready, breakfast etc
9.00 – noon Got to work, phone calls, meetings etc.

Of course, daily logs will differ depending on whether you do or don’t work, have kids, work from home or run your own business. The important thing is to just log what you do.
It looks tedious and it probably will be but I’m sure I/you will get into the grove of things after the first couple of days.

What I am hoping it will do is give me a visual account of what exactly I do with my time each day. Ideally, it should flag up ‘dead’ time in my day e.g watching TV, aimless phone calls or web crawling - and armed with this information I can eliminate my dead time and in the future use that time more effectively and productively instead.

And that’s it!

If you do decide to join me – one week is not very long, is it? – you can, if you want, post your daily time log on your blog (if not the whole week then maybe two days out of the week will be fine). I will be doing the same.

Here’s to being more productive! Good Luck!

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Invasion of the Blog Snatchers

I have noticed something odd lately. When I click on some blogs on my links list I find that have dissappeared and been replaced by a page full of links to porn sites. I wonder why this is happening. Belle, if you are reading this ( your blog is one of those that has been taken over. Has anyone else noticed this?

I have quickly backed up my blogs as a word document just in case mine get taken over too.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Big Bellied Mama, a Parking Ticket and Books

Okay. It’s official. At 24 weeks, my feet have disappeared. That’s right folks, you read it right. Now when I look down all I see is a mound of belly and nothing else. Not a very fetching sight but hey, I’m pregnant so it’s allowed! I guess from now on it’s hairy legs, slip on shoes and unvarnished toenails until sometime during the middle of June or thereabouts.

There are three things that become very awkward to do when your belly gets to this stage:

1. Scrubbing your feet in the shower. I got myself a huge natural sponge to get around this little problem. I soap it up, throw it down in the bath tub and vigorously wipe my feet on it to get them clean. Ingenious, huh?

2. Bending over to pick things off the floor becomes a near impossibility. I have now become quite adept at picking things up with my toes.

3. You can’t do your shoe laces up anymore so footwear now consists of slippers, loafers or comfy Birkenstocks. All trainers and edgy plimsolls have been relegated to that back of the wardrobe until after the birth.

Then of course, you develop that odd waddling walk that all pregnant women seem to have. You know the one – it closely resembles the walk of a duck.

A few advantages of being big bellied though is that you get a lot of smiles off strangers. True most smiles can be interpreted to mean ‘Aww, you poor thing. Blither knock you up again?’ but they are smiles nevertheless. You also get more offers of help/assistance. This, however, depends on what city you live in though so don’t expect anyone to give up their place for you on the London Underground.

Knowing that these advantages are not going to last forever I am revelling in them for now because after baby comes, I know things will change with the positive attention turning to negative attention when all you start getting from strangers are dirty looks when your baby decides to start screaming its head off in the train/bus/library/restaurant/shopping mall etc. Also be prepared to get dirty looks when you whip out your boob to breastfeed in public. Now why is it that people here are so uncomfortable and/or offended when a woman breast feeds in public? Hey, I’ve got news for you people who get offended – THAT’S WHAT BOOBS ARE FOR!! – to provide nourishment for your offspring. Any other sort of nourishment or comfort they may offer is purely secondary. I tell you women, once you’ve breast fed a baby, you’ll never look at your boobs in the same way again. Trust me. Anyway, I have decided to be good this time and I have bought myself a lovely, large scarf for the 'cover up' should I ever have to breast feed outside the confinements of my four walls.

Moving on swiftly…

Got behind the wheel of my car on Thursday after work only to see the dreaded yellow and black striped plastic wallet of a parking ticket peeking out from underneath my windscreen wiper. Letting out an expletive ( okay, okay, several expletives) I struggled out of my seat to retrieve it. I was being fined for overstaying the parking limit of 3 hours. How much? £60!!! But if I paid within 14 days I’d only have to pay £30. Several more expletives were let out. I was parked right in front of my office building for chrissakes!! Okay, granted there was a sign up stating clearly that this was a 3 hour parking zone only BUT the council had never been back to check and enforce this rule since the sign was put up almost 8 months ago!!!!!!!!!! Realising I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on should I try and contest the ticket, I meekly picked up the phone the next day and paid my £30 fine. Everyday for the thief one day for the owner of the house, abi. However, I must confess that I felt a stab of joy when I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who got ticket on the day. Hehehe – wicked woman eh?

My copy of Helon Habila’s new book Measuring time landed on my doormat over the weekend and I am looking forward to starting it. As mentioned before, I am reading Ben Okri’s Dangerous Love but I am finding it a bit of a struggle. I am hoping it will pick up soon. Then I still have Iwela’s Beasts of No Nation waiting in the wings as well – so lots to read but where's the time?

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Basement Bargain and Weather Woes

I do love a good bargain. I was in the city centre yesterday to having a mooch around the shops to see what goodies I could find when I walked past one of those bookshops that just draw you in – you know the ones. They have a big sign up saying DISCOUNT BOOKSHOP. I wandered in more to kill time than with any expectations of finding a book worth buying. I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Scoring the shelves with a faint air of disinterest I stumbled upon a gem (I think) of a book – Uzodinma Iwela’s Beasts of no Nation. It was such an unexpected find that I leapt on it without even thinking. There was no price on it so I strolled up to the till with baited breath. You’ll never believe what it cost - £1.00!! Yep, you read right ONE POUND. Now if that isn’t a bargain then I don’t know what is. But Iwela will have to wait as I have just begun reading Ben Okri’s Dangerous Love.

Birmingham ground to a halt yesterday as its inhabitants woke up to 10 centimeters of snow that paralysed the City. It snowed overnight and then started again by 11:30 am and lasted through till about 9:00pm. People were being chucked off buses and being told to walk the rest of the way to their destinations as the buses couldn’t make it up the hilly roads. The tailbacks went on for miles and miles. Some people aborted all attempts of driving home and checked into hotels instead.

Needless to say, I took advantage of the situation and didn’t go in to work. Teeheehee. It was thoroughly enjoyed by my daughter though who took every opportunity to pelt her dad with snow balls. Even now in my old age, the sight of snow turns me into a little kid again – bursting with excitement at the thought of running outside and building snowmen and making snow angels. Ahhh. And to think that my parents are being cooked slowly by the harmattan heat back in Nigeria.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Blogging - The Things We Do

Are there any rules for blogging? Like the Do’s and Don’ts of the blog world? Here are some questions I find myself aimlessly wondering about sometimes

1. When comments are left on your blog, do you have to respond to each and every one of them?

2. If a blogger puts you on their blog roll links list do you have to link them back?

3. If a blogger leaves a comment on your blog do you have to leave a comment back on theirs?

4. If I stop blogging for one month, would anyone still read my blog?

5. Would anyone really care?

Then there are the things we are all guilty of doing when we first start blogging…

1. Leaving comments on EVERY blog to get your blog noticed even if it’s a comment that says only :-), or Please visit my blog (cringe), or a comment totally unrelated to the post.

2. Submitting your URL to every blog directory going. Be honest I am sure your blog has been listed on at least one of these
*Blog Explosion
*Nigerian Blogs Aggregator
*Blog Africa

3. Posting like a person possesed everyday, sometimes three posts or more a day. Ohh, the excitement of seeing your posts online!!

4. Checking your blog every five seconds to see if any comments have been left (okay, okay many of us still do this)

5. Google-ing things like 'How to get your blog noticed.'

And finally, doesn’t it just piss you off when you post a mini thesis on your blog and no one leaves a comment but someone else posts one sentence like …

Guess what I did today??

and there will be 67 comments left in the comments box? Go on admit it, you know it does.

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Growing Up Black

Kiri Davis is a young filmmaker whose high school documentary has left audiences at film festivals across the country stunned -- and has re-ignited a powerful debate over race.

Watch this and weep!


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Doing Something for Myself

I was genuinely surprised this morning when hubby rolled over in bed and announced that it was the 1st of February today.

Yikes!! Did January just happen? Where is the year running to? I cannot believe that we are already the first month of the New Year down.

Ever noticed that the older you get the quicker time seems to whiz by? As a child/teenager the time couldn’t go quick enough. I don’t know how many times my parents had to listen to my cries of ‘I’m soooooo bored’. Nowadays – in this our fast paced world of iPods, computers, microwaves, dishwashers, memory sticks, PDA’s, blackberries and blogs- I find that I just don’t seem to have the time to be bored. In fact, I just don’t seem to have the time to be anything! But on closer inspection – what exactly am I doing with my time? Shall I be brutally honest? Not much.

Sure I do what every body else does, I try to juggle the work-life balance – I sleep, wake up, go to work, come back home, cook (if I’m in the mood), veg out in front of the TV or PC for a couple of hours or curl up with a good book/glossy mag, be a mom, be a wife, have a shower, go to bed… and the cycle continues. Sometimes there might be a blip to the routine in the form of a visitor or an unexpected phone call from a long lost friend and that’s about it. Exciting stuff, huh?

I remember when I was packing my bags to move over to England seven years ago (that long??? Feels like yesterday) I was full of drive, motivation, oomph! Oh, the things I was going to do, the heights I was going to reach, the accomplishments I was going to achieve. Yeah. Right.

People say Count Your Blessings, Other People are Worse off than You, One Day, yada yada yada. I do count my blessings but, BUT- I find myself thinking - I want MORE, is this such a bad thing? I don’t mean more in financial terms, although that would be nice, I mean more in terms of achieving SOMETHING, filling up this void of unfulfilment, making my life count for something. I think the bottom line is – DOING SOMETHING FOR MYSELF. There. I’ve said it. I want to do something for myself. Not for hubby, or children, or family, or country but SOMETHING FOR MYSELF. Feels good saying that.

But here’s the tricky part: What do I REALLY want for myself?

I shall sit back and reflect upon this. I feel a lengthy list coming on.

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