My Hips Do Lie


It is a big old hilly city out here. To be able to get through the seven hills on which this city is built on, you need a degree of fitness attribution. I am by no means a sporty person and I am by no means the fittest either. If I can make it to the bus stop without pulsating lungs, it is a triumph.

Almost a year ago I was proselytised into a new form of sport, I mean dance – Salsa! My hips had me believe that neither the hills of this city nor anything else they could ever engage in would:

  A- Reduce their burgeoning size

B- Give them eternal innomination

 The past 15 years saw the birth and the consequent rapid growth of my hips. There was the occasional truce here and there but for the most part it was an onslaught on neighbouring citadels of legs, bum and tum! They got greedy and were not content with their specified or desired territory. There was no stopping them.

  Oh the horror!!

The sovereignty of my legs, bum and tum and their right to exist independently was thus tested and tried; pushed to the fringes of no definition. With no afore mentioned referendum, a union was sought.

Salsa dancing proved otherwise. It came in at a precarious time in our affiliation. To an extent Salsa provided us with some truce, a common ground…at the very best it gave me the ammunition I needed to respond to this offensive.

After having the pleasure of being swirled, twirled and twisted around the dance floor to the rhythms of Mambo, Cucaracha, Basic back and Opening out, hours on end every week; a white flag of mercy was waved by my hips. Something I wasn’t familiar with was taking place, a new phenomenon was emerging!

Oh the joy!!!

Muscles, tendons, labrum, cartilage that I didn’t know existed were beginning to surface. The cries of help emerging from the opposition were now all but too palpable.  I revelled in this: in this revelation that my hips concealed from me.

Alas these hips were responding to something!!!

As it turns out we both liked Salsa; so much so that we came to a mutual agreement hitherto unheard of. Insofar, we are enjoying this harmonious period. My hips have agreed to put the ambush on hold and I stopped my feeble threats of joining the gym and exercising.

I am not certain how long this peace process will last for, but I am sure I speak for both of us when I say that I and my hips are currently enjoying the right to life, liberty and security provided under the Salsa 2013 Treaty.

 

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Grapes Are Not The Only Fruit


I am someone who has had the good fortune of being borne and brought up in a household full of feminist hypochondriacs. From a young age I was indoctrinated with the ways of the world albeit cryptically. As a child you don’t appreciate the linguistic wonders of metaphors, analogies and proverbs which my parents utilised more often than I could recall and thus I was unable to fully comprehend the gravity of what messages my parents were attempting to convey to me. I was too busy chasing balls (strictly of the leather type), being a tom boy and advancing my skills as a centre forward to care too much for their crypticism.

 

With little assistance from the Angels and the Almighty or so my mother tells me I came into this world. I was always a cheery go lucky child who grew up to be a bit too trusting of strangers, or so my father tells me. So unbeknown to me my parents devised a plan to ensure that I don’t grow up too gullible especially where men are concerned and later in my teenage life – girls. My mother was always of the belief that girls are a mischief and having brought up five girls she was of the belief too that this was her golden ticket to heaven – My mother works in mysterious ways!

 

I was born at an unfortunate time where the joys of wondering off as a child were slowly diminishing. Though things were not as bad as they are now but the signs were cropping up. There were the odd horror stories here and there concerning children.

 

Years of primary socialisation that my parents took upon themselves remained forever ingrained in my brains. My mother used to say “strangers are friends you are yet to meet and I’ll be sure it stays that way”. We can all conclude that I had a sheltered life.

 

Consequently, as an adult hypochondriac woman with Feminist tendencies, I am weary of unsolicited conversations, gifts and offerings from people who I am not familiar with. Not so long ago a male colleague started working with us. Unfortunately before we could get to know each other I jetted off on much deserved and belated annual leave from work. I am unsurest as to what happened in that time but all I know is that grapes are a thing for this guy.

 

I am not aloof and I am not overtly friendly either. I am particularly volatile capricious pre 12pm. I don’t ask for much, all I want is to be left alone with my coffee and respond to whatever vituperation humans have via the best mode of communication invented for folks like me- Emails! Save the world one human at a time with few unicorns and mermaids thrown in for a good measure.

 

Post 12:00 pm a different woman emerges; one that is more receptive to other modes of communication including the occasional human format; I’ll even hmm and ahh at few office gossips! Suspending my frivolous digression and coming back to the story at hand… So when someone disturbs this little routine and wants to engage in some small talk pre 12:00 pm with offerings of grapes that I don’t know where they have been, I am a little taken aback. When someone offers me grapes that I don’t know where they have been and then instructs me to eat them as they watch me; I am more than taken aback.

 

My hypochondria comes out in full blow. I assume some verbal diarrhoea about how it is lunch time and studies show that grapes are best eaten after food and how the acidity found in grapes can cause untoward incidents to someone’s intestines.

 

All the inculcating ideas on how I shouldn’t talk to strangers my parents instilled in me as a child do go out of the window every now and then. I like to give people benefit of the doubt, most of the time anyway. So I got talking to this individual. There is something inviting about me despite all my attempts at staying aloof. Our exchange was plagued by platitude at best, mendacity at worst.

 

I don’t know if this guy has some weird grape fetish, or whether I show signs of grape malnutrition or if it is just his way of peace offering- maybe a triangulation of all three. I don’t know…

 

All I know is my germ sirens have been giving off prolonged warning signs. I have had few sleepless nights worrying about all the possible germs I might have contracted. I have rescheduled few meetings in an attempt to disinfect my desk, only for Mr. Grapes to come back with yet more lashings of the damn fruit personally hand washed by him. I also know that I probably erased all possible signs of natural oils in my hands due to excessively washing them.

 

In hindsight I wish I feigned an allergy to grapes but then again grapes aren’t the only fruit and I believe where there is a will there is a way.

 

There was a banana on my desk this morning!

 

I wonder how much time one should allow to lapse before one can report suspicious behaviour on the grounds of gratuitous grapes?!

 

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Mellow Monday Musings


Turkish Tea Delight

Turkish Tea Delight

Mondays are contentious. They always crop up on me unexpectedly. Things never take the course they intend to take, which means come Monday morning I am all over the place. Every place other than where I should be both mentally and physically.

Mentally I am still entangled in a web of weekend wisteria partying hard with fellow ethereal entities. I brush shoulders (amongst other bodily parts depending on the style of our rave) with mermaids and unicorns. We have established a happy coexistence over the years. Untamed, undiscovered, unnaturally natural. 

Somehow Mondays happen to be the day in which my mental capabilities desert me and remain in that vortex of daydreams. I don’t think ethereal entities realise that I am a wanted women in the real world come Monday morning.

Physically, things aren’t any better either. My physical capabilities too are restrained to that of my slumber chamber. There is something about morning sleep that is enchanting and encompassing in a way that night sleep isn’t. Night sleep doesn’t offer as many enticing prospects, thus we are not best of buddies. Resistance on either part is futile, so we gave up the struggle to please one another long ago; it is safe to say we don’t miss each other.

Night time sleep allows me to get on with pursuing perplexing paraphernalia that are hitherto not possible. Insomniac idiosyncrasies are thus the norm. Where night sleep fails, morning sleep succeeds. It flourishes, nourishes and fulfils. 

Gripped by post annual leave blues, I begrudgingly left my slumber nest this Monday morning in a feeble attempt to re-join the wonderful world of work. What I didn’t expect on this unlikely warm northern Monday morning was mellowness… Mellowness to this Monday. 

I went into work expecting the place to wreak havoc, not because I hold the place together and my absence will make it fall apart (actually why the humbleness, that place more or less relies on the functionality of my brain cells), but because Mondays generally are a mayhem. Everything that could go pear shaped from wardrobe to board decisions do indeed! The day just refuses to cooperate or allow me to operate on mutual terms, so by the time it’s almost over and Tuesday is beckoning; I am left disparaged. 

But not today … Not this Monday. It came with a sense of empathy. It recognised my need, my want, my desire, my hope and prayers to be left alone; for this day to pass without things going haywire both at home and at work. It left me alone to get on with more pressing issues such as having one last rave with fellow ethereal entities before I fully let go of the holiday mode. Monday has recognised that Tuesday is another day too, for which such catastrophes can be left for; in which case I shall be more aptly prepared to deal with. 

But for now I shall sit here, slowly sipping my Turkish Tea whilst I await the denouement of this day to unfold. 

She Beckoned Me To Come Forth


Lately we haven’t been spending enough time together

 

She whispered to me across the room as she lay gloriously next to the double glazed window where she takes pride of place. Her edges are broad yet soft to the touch, not overpowering but complimenting her surroundings. She glows frantically amongst the lead of fairy lights adorning her. Her pearly hues dance joyously across the room; those fairy lights providing a graphic milieu.

 

I starred longingly at the warp of yellow and grey stripped cotton sheets wrapped around her. They were a reminder of the sun that never transpired today and the grey state of affairs outside.

 

I know!!”

 

I whispered back as I unchanged.“What can I say it has been a hectic month thus far, but fret not dear, I am here to stay today; all day and no one can get me away from you, even if all the flood warnings materialise, I am all yours today“.

 

I could sense an outburst of excitement, relief, and that of sheer joy beckoning;  in knowing that our encounter today shan’t be disrupted by alarm clocks suggesting lateness to something or somewhere or someone of importance.

 

It has been incredibly hard every morning getting up and leaving you behind. It has been incredibly hard every morning to ignore your pleas of “stay in with me … don’t go“. But today I shall succumb to you, and I shall let you satisfy my needs. I shall let your warmth engulf my fatigued body.

 

Today has been long coming and oh girl do good things come to those who wait. I shall get in with you today curve my body into a fetus position, and wander off into la-la land.

 

An architect of soft comfortable stature you are, my dear bed!

Parenting 101


Parenting 101

I have a new form of admiration for parents. Last week my sister has foolishly wisely trusted me with her two children. And thus I was thrusted into the world of parenthood with no afore mentioned training or manual. Being an acting-in parent is just so exhausting and I can’t even begin to imagine what the real gig is like!

One of the main reasons I am not a parent yet and happily (carelessly would be the chosen adverb here if my mother was the author) allowing the number of good eggs I have dwindle away is precisely that. I can just about manage to take responsibility for myself let alone have another living being(s) solely depend on my good counsel… I mean what even constitutes as “good”?

I am a chocoholic with no self-restraint and I don’t believe anyone should be deprived of it. Milk on the other hand, now that is gross, I wouldn’t force anyone to have it in fear of forever loathing it. And this is coming from an experienced soul who was tortured as a child with my father’s weird concoction of cardamom and honey infused milk. **gags at the memory** I now have an irrational fear of all three ingredients; I wouldn’t want my niece and nephew to follow suit. Do I mind children playing outside for extended periods of time..? No, not at all, by all means please do. Why would anyone say no to some peace and quiet watching some good old telly without the need to have subtitles and voice-over simultaneously on because of the noises these littlins make! It is truly mystifying.

Of course the end result of my non-conformist untraditional parenting strategy results in rearing insomniac children who are hyperactive, with a Maritime stench, suffering from calcium deficiency and superfluous melanin! Yaay me!  This is probably the underlying reason why I am my niece and nephew’s favourite aunt.

Sunburned-Child-Clipart

In my quest to be an infallible acting-in parent, I concurred that I should dive straight into all things parenthood; I am not one to do things half-heartedly. So I befriended other parents whom I now had common grounds with, albeit temporary, who have kindly indoctrinated me in all things parenting. I must say I am well versed in a new kind of acronyms these days such as the likes of SEN, LEN, LEA and PTA. I now find myself championing causes that were not so long ago foreign to me. I find myself campaigning for small classroom sizes in schools and volunteering at various events. I even had my own stall bursting with homemade goodies at one of the events. I believe they were called cake bake, cake sale, sell cakes, bake sell cakes, sell bake cake…who knows something to that effect anyways.

My diary now indicates school term times where it once indicated cherished bank holidays. My lifestyle now revolves around childcare duties and forward planning is pretty much part of my realm these days. Spontaneity has taken a backseat in favour of forward planning and that child psychology module I did in my undergraduate days has finally come to some good use.  Yes positive encouragement … that I do utilise quite a bit; stick and carrot chocolate, yes that treatment is quite handy too and a bit of 10 minute strikes here and there does a child (and my sanity) wonders. My egg-timer is called upon in such instances where it once notified me if my quadruple chocolate brownie (yes quadruple you heard it right) was ready to be scoffed, I mean taken out of the oven.

Quadruple Chocolate Brownie

Quadruple Chocolate Brownie

I now know the various after-study school clubs within a 10 metre radius of my post code. I even attended my first ever parents meeting. Of course I attended numerous parents evenings few decades ago but not in my current elevated role as an enquirer of my supposed children’s academic attainment but more as a culprit that needed reporting. Those teachers always found the need to report me to my parents for all sorts of trivia; from the sublime to the ridiculous. My personal favourite was from my science teacher who said that I daydreamed a fair bit in her class. Unbeknown to all parties to that conversation then, such was to be my case forever more. Of course my parents didn’t see day dreaming as trivia. To them if something warranted a report regardless of how big or small it was, then it must be serious. The meeting I attended last week though was altogether different.

I sat amongst other parents where we discussed the faith of the after school club. Our good counsel was called upon to determine the next course of action. There was no time or frankly patience for indecisiveness so I quickly relinquished such known idiosyncrasies and put on my sensible parent hat and thought deep and hard about what I the parent would say should say.  There were penetrating questions (clearly to other parents) thrown in on us. Such as should we still have classes during the Easter break? I with my sensible parent hat on uttered the unthinkable… “Sure lets have classes during the Easter break”.  Because in my head I was thinking parents would need their children at some form of an educational asylum to keep them sane… Nope I was mistaken!

This is what I imagine a sensible parent hat to look like!

This is what I imagine a sensible parent hat to look like!

It transpired that everyone else voted for having Easter off because as one parent put it “they needed a break from toing and froing the length of the city“… I had to quickly retract my vote and act in unison. Clearly I suck at this. I can’t wait to hand over my acting-in parent role and resume my permanent favourite aunt role.

As if the universe was telling me something, I was introduced once more to the world of parents and children this week, though this time in my place of employment working on infrastructure and capacity building for early years. If you are baffled by that it is just a shamancy phrase for working with parents. Seriously you don’t have to be a superstitious person to sense that the cosmos are trying to convey some sort of a message here. I am not a superstitious person, you know what let me go and decipher this cryptic terseness first before I make any ill-founded claims … which reminds me I mustn’t walk through that scaffolding on my way out later.

The Get-Out Clause


I am an unmarried woman who is yet to loan her womb for the advancement of the world. Whilst I can’t give expert commentary on holy or civil matrimony nor on making one’s womb habitable for other beings to survive within it however, I believe that I am well placed to share few personal opines on dating doldrums and other paraphernalia. I am not a paragon of familial union or maybe I am but let’s not digress because this is not what this post is intended to be.

I have given the dating charade a passing chance here and there. In 99.99% reoccurring of the cases, friendship was both the get-in and get-out clause. I have only partaken in such exercises once or twice, maybe thrice at a push if we widen the criterion and add the hot guy from my college days who at a closer inspection and one date night at Pizza Hut later turned out to be what our cousins across the pond would call a douche.

Of course this process isn’t representative of all. But there is no reason why my own ethnographic study couldn’t be replicated.

I am a very guarded individual and thus it is hard to let those sentries down for any man, or women may I add. Unsurprisingly when it comes to dating it is the same. I say dating, it is anything but. I equate “dating” (ok we’ll stick with the word for now because I can’t think of a suitable synonym) to a phone contract.

No reputable phone company will allow you to just walk away with a brand new off the shelf state of the art mobile device and entrust you to keep up with monthly payments for 36 months without doing some rigorous examination. I too follow suit minus the credit check because how much a man makes or doesn’t is none of my business (damn you feminist ideologies for leading me astray from the much desired and lucrative path of gold digging. I once scolded an affiliate for showering me with gifts, would you believe it; on the basis that I am more than capable of buying my own gifts).

I subject my potential affiliates to meticulous and painstaking examinations that would last anything from 2 years to a lifetime. Some people just ooze suspicion so they are put under permanent surveillance. Such examination ranges from, but are not limited to: surveillance in the form of internet trawling, cross examination (usually with fellow female companions), character reference, covert participant observation (to the man in question this usually translates as: she is digging me but playing hard to get so let me up my game), overt participant observation (to the man in question this usually translates as: she is a flirt and probably equates to numerous other things in his head that I fortunately aren’t privy to).

With each test that is passed the male in question moves up a rank. Accepting a friend request on whatever social medium I feel most comfortable with adding him to, to exchanging email accounts (I must admit to begin with their emails are delivered to the junk inbox and are treated as suspicious sender), to adding them to my mobile phone’s contacts list once I am satisfied with their writing skills. If he can manage to write/send an email with most linguistic rules intact with the odd LOL thrown in for good measure, he can proceed.. it is all in the writing my friends, it is all in the writing.

If a man can conjure up a simple declarative sentence other than ‘I want you tonight’ it is a good indicative, as any, that his dealings are that of elevated social groups, not the one-night-stand types. I must admit that I suffer from an innate subconscious ability to read between the lines. Ambiguous grammar punctuation is a turn off. Am I alone in thinking so?

Of course I make an exemption for hipsters, no need for tests where they are concerned. I say let us go on few tree hugging sprees and dabble in some bohemian sensibilities whilst enjoying the sweet sound of alternative music. I’ll happily gift you my favourite black skinny jeans for you to titivate, when yours has come off at the seams.

Hipsters aside, once a potential affiliate has passed all the required competency tests they enter the coveted stage of ‘getting to know one another’. This stage is more organic and more often than not lasting friendships emerge from it that transcends distance, language, religion and culture. What can I say I am an international lover!

Google translate and my listening skills come in very handy when the person in question doesn’t speak any of the Lingua Francas I am versed in. I just listen to them and pick up the odd word and depending on what translation Google feels like giving me that day (because that thing is a fickle) I make up the rest of the conversation based around that word/phrase.

Similarly when the romantic endeavours of both parties come to an abrupt cul-de-sac, the sustained friendship refrains both parties to the contract to cancel it altogether and return to the perfect strangers we were. Bit like you fulfilling your contractual obligations to the phone company, and once the company is satisfied that you aren’t a dodgy person they offer you more lucrative deals in the hope that you will stay with them longer. Friendship is thus the get-out clause. See, there is a point to all those tests after all.

And on that note…Happy Thursday lovers! Believe it or not, Thursday is the start of the weekend for many. The rest of us mere mortals such exoneration shall await till 5pm Friday.

A Nation of Poets and Bards


Poets and Bards

It has taken me an awfully long time to finally make a blog. Three years if memory serves me right. I never quite understood what it all entailed other than of course doing the obvious- blogging. Therefore, I have been doing a bit of scouring in the hope of understanding how to utilise this site and after a fair bit of searching and stumbling on few illustrious blogs, it dawned on me that I needed to ‘introduce myself to potential readers’. Thanks Daily Post for pointing that out to me, YAY!

Now how can I encapsulate what this blog is about in a nutshell …? Hmmm let’s give it a go.

So legend has it that I come from a nation with avid oral traditions – not in the kinky sense but rather in storytelling. So detailed and rich it is that a mere narration of trivia could give an acclaimed Steven Spielberg movie a run for its money and that isn’t hyperbole.

Growing up I often had the (dis) pleasure of receiving handwritten or tape recorded messages (yes folks I’m from the Walkman era and I have just given away my age bracket, shoot) from distant relatives to family friends and characters I have never met; where a simple hello turned into a poetical portent in itself. Sometimes it even made me wonder if these people were competing in a bardic poetry competition. Clearly their poetastery was lost on me then and naturally it took me a while to understand that this was a little more than an emotive grunting. More often than not these messages started with something along the lines of:

I give thou sincerest of greetings

One that stems out of the

Hollowest of thy muscular organs

Transported to thou through the air waves

That distance us

*Side note: if you are unfamiliar with the culture and such traditions you might be stunned when you find a long lost relative showering you in person with such elaborate romanticised, elongated passages, always accompanied by the continental and arduous four kisses on either cheeks. Perhaps even uncalled for if you are lacking a bit on the emotional side of things. Alas, the times I miss-calculated the number of kisses required or rather their timing and landed myself in the awkwardness that is kissing someone’s lips…YIKES… I know!! Oh the utter embarrassment. I better move along because that warrants mortifying memories to come forth.

So by not following this long line of traditions I feel as if though I’m betraying my ancestors and denying my heritage. I am not an oral person (again not in the kinky sense, so please do refrain from such connotations). I am more of a writer. I could never relay a diatribe, a discourse orally. I was never blessed with the “gift of the gab”. But I do have a way with words, or so I am told (hmmmm pauses to think this through. Really now isn’t the time to be doubting oneself).

I feel as if though I’m harbouring a defect gene, some kind of gremlin in my makeup for not having such gift/burden (depending on what angle you are looking at it from). I come from a family of talkers, a nation of story tellers. We weren’t dubbed “a nation of poets and bards” for no reason. I think Margaret Laurence was onto something when she gave us that title.

But in my defence poetry (or rather prose) doesn’t have to be limited to the spoken format. Hence, why I created this blog after much debate that is because I am a highly indecisive individual; as you will come to know throughout the course of this blog. And whilst we are on the subject of my inherent indecisiveness, I guess now is a good time (as any) to confess that due to this little idiosyncrasy of mine I wasn’t able to categorise this blog into one specific genre.  I mean why pigeon hole yourself..?! The possibilities are endless so why not explore whatever topic or put forward whatever idea/problem/ vituperation/ personal opines and otherwise, eh..?!

I am very aware that I have just given a long winded diatribe of an explanation to the question posed at the beginning of this blog post. I am not good at explaining things so I like to think that I have done a pretty darn good job at answering: what is this blog about..? Having said that, if you still feel that you are none the wiser then hey, stick around and maybe we will figure it out together, one day, fingers crossed.

And on that note…

Happy reading folks!